A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

"Visualize a being you are responsible for," she said.

I thought of my m&m--a little pink shrimp curled around its own tail with big black spots for eyes, safe in a gelatin sac.

"Think of something you can do for this being. Some way you can improve your care of it."

Hope, I thought. I can have hope.

I breathed in (baby) and breathed out (hope). I'm not very flexible and I'm not very strong, so sometimes I thought more about my body, more about the pain of the stretch or the stiffness of the joints, than about my breath. But whenever I remembered, I breathed in (baby) and breathed out (hope).

Lying on my back in the dark, eyes closed, the room still, the m&m floated through my interior vision, a crystal champagne bubble on a field of black.

"And now, let that image go."

The sac drifted away, melted into darkness. I felt my cheeks wet, but I didn't try to keep it with me, to hold it back from where it needed to go.



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Of Mice and Men; or, My Best Laid Plans

Okay, I lied (just a little) in my previous post. I do have some--let's call them "intentions" for 2010 beyond the babymaking that lies in the realm of the wished and longed for. I still refuse to call these "resolutions," because that term implies to me a desire to radically unmake or alter or shift or switch the current course of one's life, and that's not what I'm planning to do. I don't need to lose 50 pounds or change my career or move to a new state. I just need to advance a little farther along the path I've already set for myself.

So that being said, here are two categories: Intended Achievements and Intended Explorations.

Intended Achievements in 2010

1. Finish my course work for my PhD, including all incomplete papers.
2. Put together my Oral Exam committee.
3. Draw up my Exam lists and begin reading.
4. Take my Exam (possibly deferred depending on certain life changes that may necessitate taking a semester off next year. No more needs be said).
5. Help my husband more with housework.

Intended Explorations in 2010
1. Develop a yoga practice.
2. Travel to Scandanavia
3. Visit at least one new restaurant in Brooklyn each month.

So there we have it. What I wish and what I intend, what I'll accomplish and what I'll explore. Modest but important goals that I anticipate successfully completing.

Not a bad way to start the Awesome Year of Hope and Achievement, no?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

When You Wish; or, The Anti-Resolutions

I'm not making New Years resolutions. What's the point? I can't "resolve" to get pregnant. I can't "resolve" to carry a healthy baby to term. So much of what I hope and long for is outside of my control. I get that. I'm even starting to be (just a little) okay with that.

So these aren't resolutions. There are wishes.

1. I wish that I will get pregnant in 2010.

2. I wish that my body will nurture and protect a healthy baby.

3. I wish that I will accept the timing of this pregnancy--however long it may take to get there--with grace and humor.

4. I wish that I will remember my life--the every day of school and teaching, of loving my husband and talking to my friends--is just as important as the dreams I have for my future.

5. I wish that I will accept my body for what it can do and what it can't do; that I will love it even when it takes 30 days to ovulate or switches up my luteal period, or gives me BFN after BFN, because its the only body I have, it's a gift from God, and it didn't fail me (or I it).

6. I wish for 28-day cycles with ovulation on day 14. Like clockwork.

Since I'm wishing for things, and all.

Edited to add: Merry New Years Wishes to all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh Dear; or, We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Cycle to Bring You...

The Time: Last night.
The Place: Oh, hovering about 5 inches above the toilet.
The Cast Members: Secret Sloper. And Egg Whites. A lot of them.

Cue Internal Dialogue:

Huh? Egg white CM? The super gloopy, just-came-out-of-the-egg kind? You shouldn't be here yet. I'm only on CD 7. You're a good 2 weeks away.

Unless-- maybe those 4 days of heavy spotting last week weren't a period. The bleeding was really brown. And consistent, but not heavy like usual. With no bright red flow. I assumed it was an effect of the d&c. But maybe it was just some kind of whacked-out post-miscarriage body readjustment that only seemed (and felt) like a period.

Maybe this is CD 34. Maybe I'm ovulating really late. Maybe it's CD 7 and I'm ovulating really (really, REALLY) early. Maybe I'm not ovulating at all and you're just a big old party crasher.

Maybe we made a baby yesterday morning.

During the cycle we're supposed to be avoiding.

Shit? Yay?

*End Scene*

Should I be happy? Freaked? Concerned? I'm definitely confused.

And yeah--we had sex again last night. Just in case.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ring Out the Old; or, 2009: The Year of Suck

I just got home from my niece's second birthday party (husband's brother's child). She's very sweet and I enjoy spending time with her. It was mostly family, and I think I handled it fine. I put on my game face, and whenever anyone asked me "How are you?" with that furrowed brow of concern and oh-so-significant stress on the are, I just gritted my teeth and smiled and said, "Doing okay, glad the semester's over."

It's not that I don't appreciate people's concern, because I do. And it's not that I think I need to hide how I feel about my loss, because if anything I'm too indiscriminate in telling people and unloading my sorrow onto them. But this day was about my niece, it was about celebrating a living baby, and it was a gathering full of my SIL's cousins and aunts and uncles and whatnot--people I could barely pick out in a line up and people who do not need to know exactly how shattered I am. If I let my guard down, it would all come rushing out, the tears and the anger and the horrible self-pity. And I was just not going there today.

All of which is preamble to the fact that I'm tired, I have a headache, I cried on the way home, and I want to bitch a little. So here you go, 2009: The Year of Suck.

- I spent 7 months agonizing over not knowing whether I could (or would ever) get pregnant, turning what should be a happy time into something stressful and depressing.

- My dad spent two weeks in the hospital with a near-fatal case of double pneumonia in June.

- My dad has suffered from cardiac issues all year long (which didn't help the pneumonia situation)

- I have heard 10 pregnancy announcements from friends and family since we started trying to conceive in March.

- My husband didn't make partner at his law firm and was brutally disappointed.

- I felt beaten to a pulp by my teaching/course schedule all autumn--and this was before I got pregnant and started falling asleep at 8:30 every night.

- One of my closest friends lost her mother to cancer; another friend's father was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

- I lost my baby, experienced the joys of dilation and curettage, missed two weeks of teaching which I had to make up at the end of the semester, and basically zombie walked through the last month of school.

- Yeah, I think I can repeat it one more time: I lost my baby. The baby I dreamed of for 7 months of TTC and for the two years prior that my academic schedule forced us to wait to start trying even though I desperately longed for a child. The baby I sang to in the shower and whispered to at night. I lost my baby.

I know that in the grander scheme of human sorrow and tragedy, this list is a blip. I know I have SO much more to be grateful for than to resent in my life, and I truly try to express that gratitude every day. I feel rather guilty even voicing my frustration with this admittedly petty list of disappointments.

But I felt those disappointments. I feel them. 2009 had a bitter sting that all my attempts at Pollyanna perspective can't quite remove.

So I write them down and send them into the world. Goodbye, 2009. Goodbye anger and sadness and dismay. Goodbye disappointment and depression.

Hello--something new. Maybe better, maybe not. But something new.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ring Out the Old; or, 2009: The Year of Not So Bad

I was planning to post 2009: the Year of Suck today. But I'm sitting on my couch, watching the snow blanket the city, enjoying the quietness and peace of the weather and the fire in our fireplace. Lawyer Guy is home from a week-long business trip, we had a delicious brunch, we're listening to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and we're planning to spend the afternoon baking cookies. Life just feels too good to dwell on the Suck.

So I bring you 2009: the Year of Not So Bad, my intended follow-up, instead.

- I presented my first paper at my first professional conference and I didn't make a total fool of myself.

- I traveled with my husband to Rome and London.

- My sister just below me in age (I have three younger sisters) moved to NYC after ten years in Montreal, China, and San Francisco.

- That same sister got engaged to a really wonderful guy who makes her very happy.

- My husband's job remained secure and he received a raise during a tough economic time.

- I realized I enjoy teaching, despite its challenges.

- I've had a really good hair year. Seriously, my colorist's done a great job, it's growing out nicely, and it's very soft and shiny.

So that's been the good. And I'm honestly appreciative for all of it (especially the hair part--it's taken me years of restorative treatments to get to this point. And I'm only slightly kidding about this).

I'll still post on The Year of Suck, probably when I'm feeling pissy and cranky and fed up with life. That day is not today.

Coming up: 2009: The Year of Suck and Plans for the Awesome Year of Hope and Achievement

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ring Out the Old; or, Ring in the New

As the heavy haze of anguish started to lessen a little in the days after learning we'd lost the m&m, I turned to my favorite activity: mathematical calculations. Now, don't get me wrong, I am no mathlete. I didn't even make it past pre-Calc in high school (my talents lie in more literary directions). But TTC for--jeez, is it 10 months now?--has turned me into something of a human abacus, if everything you need calculated comes in increments of 9.

So, I started adding: one week + four-to-eight weeks + 18-to-24 days = no chance of getting pregnant again this year. Awesome. I felt sad, defeated, useless and empty. No 2009 pregnancy left for me. No babies in 2009.

Well, fuck 2009. What did it ever do for me, anyway?

So in honor of 2010--which I have determined will be the Awesome Year of Hope and Achievement--I'm doing a series of blog posts about New Years. I'm looking forward to that day in a way that has nothing to do with balls dropping, corks popping, or kisses at midnight (though I will enjoy a few of those, I'm sure). I'm ready to clean out the muck of sadness, anxiety, and inadequacy that bedeviled me all year. I'm ready to make things new.

Stay tuned for: 2009: The Year of Suck

Monday, December 14, 2009

Unexpectedly Expected; or, A Different Kind of Hopefulness

I'd come to expect the unexpected when dealing with my reproductive organs. Cycles of varying lengths were par for the course. Unpredictable ovulation times were routine. Even my luteal phase liked to keep me guessing. So waiting for my period to come post d&c isn't an unfamiliar experience to me. A 4-8 week timeframe? Yeah, I'm used to that. And I fully expected it to fall in the latter range.

What's not expected is this: two days shy of the four week mark, I'm crampy, bloated, and spotting just a little bit.

This could be nothing. It's probably just my uterus smacking me around a little more. But if I get my period this week, right on schedule--heck, even early!--I'll feel the kind of hopefulness I haven't experienced since the morning I peed on my first positive pregnancy test. Since the day we decided, "Let's make a baby."

I never thought I would look forward to peeling off a tampon's paper wrapping with so much relish.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today; or, Good Things

Today we're going to decorate our Christmas tree.

Today I'm going to put the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas on repeat.

Today I'm going to drink hot cocoa and cook with my husband.

Today I'm going to grade my students' papers.

Today I'm going to sit in front of a warm fire on a cold night.

Today I'm remembering why I love living in this neighborhood.

Today I'm going to be happy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Letter to My Baby

Dear m&m:

Today was supposed to be a very happy day. Today is your daddy's birthday. Today you would have been 12 weeks. Today we planned to have dinner with our closest friends and tell them all about you and how excited we were to meet you.

Today it is one month since we found out you were gone. November 11 is Remembrance Day, and when we scheduled your ultrasound for that day, a little voice in the back of my head said it wasn't a good idea. But you were already gone when we showed up at the doctor's office that morning. You had already left us. 11/11 is just a series of perfectly symmetrical numbers that don't point to anything, in the end.

I still cry every day, because I wish you were here with me so badly. I wish you were snuggled inside me, growing strong and healthy and getting ready to meet all the wonderful people out here who would love you so much, your daddy and me most of all.

I still talk to you every day, too. Sometimes outloud and sometimes in the quiet space inside my head. I don't know if it's you I talk to when I tell you how sad or how angry I am that you were taken from us. It could be you, the spark or soul within that heart that beat with life--that did beat with life, no matter how briefly. It could be God, or myself, or some dream vision of the future baby I hope I have, that I sometimes think you will become. It could be no one at all.

I miss you. I love you.

Your mother

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What We Think; or, What We Can't Say

Before I started trying to conceive, I spent a few months visiting IF and loss blogs. I'm not sure why--intuition? fear? happenstance? I found one blog through The Nest (as it was pre-Bump), became entranced in the writer's story, cheered when she got her BFP after two long years, rejoiced when she brought her daughter home. And from there, I discovered dozens of other blogs that made me laugh, cry, and--eventually--gave me comfort of my own.

In my early blog reading, I encountered an essay, or a prose poem. I can't remember all the lines, but I know it began with something like "There are mothers who have everything come easy to them, and I know they are good mothers, but I will be better."

I didn't agree with this, in those pre-TTC days. In fact, I was a little offended. "There are fantastic mothers who get pregnant at the drop of a hat," I thought (assuming, of course, that I would soon be one of them). "And there can be abusive mothers who struggled with IF, loss, and adoption." And of course, the opposite can be true, too. How one becomes a mother does not dictate the kind of mother (or person) that one is.

But now...how to confess what I now feel? What I tell myself to make this pain more bearable?

I tell myself that I will be happier when I hold my first child in my arms. I tell myself that the joy nearly every parent feels on that incredible day will be just a little better, a little sweeter, with the memory of my sadness to heighten it.

I tell myself that my family and friends will cry with me and laugh with me and celebrate with me in a way that they couldn't or wouldn't if we hadn't been through this. Just as I celebrate with my whole heart when a woman who has faced conception struggles (whether a blogger or real life friend) finally welcomes her child.

I don't tell myself I'll be a "better" mother. But when I talk to my pregnant and recent-mom friends--even my dearest and most beloved--in the back of my mind is a little thought. "One day I will be happier than you can even imagine."

I don't know if it's true. I doubt that it's fair. And maybe it's not healthy. But for those few moments I have that thought, I feel like I can suck it up and muddle through.

So that's what I tell myself.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quick & Dirty; or, Open for Business

My crotch is ready to rock. My cooch is on the loose. My vagina is going to China.

That last one's probably not happening, actually. And please forgive these awful odes to my reproductive organs. But I am officially no longer at risk for infection and can now put things where the sun don't shine. Things like tampons. And my husband.

(Can you tell it's been a while since we had sex?)

The wait for my appointment took forever, as it frequently does with my doctor. But she is so caring and compassionate, I can always overlook it. The exam was quick. She said everything's looking fine and healthy, that I shouldn't be surprised if I spot this entire "cycle," and that I can expect my first post-pregnancy period in 2-4 weeks. In the meantime, we have to break out that box of condoms that's been sitting in a drawer since last winter.

Birth control. Huh. That's something I haven't thought about in a while.

In non-Crotch Watch 2009 news, I've been up-and-down with my emotions these last few days. I'll feel fine and relatively content for several hours. But then whenever I tell someone about the miscarriage (i.e., the professor I met with yesterday after missing out on 2 weeks of classes) I just can't control my tears, and I'm usually pretty weepy and low in spirits afterward. Sometimes I'll hear a song--the final trio from Der Rosenkavalier, or one of the songs I sang to the m&m when I was pregnant, or something else that just makes me think of pregnancy and babies--and that can start the crying off, too.

But overall, I'm doing better than I was three weeks ago. My eyelids no longer resemble two slabs of raw liver and I can actually form coherent sentences. I'm setting the bar for improvement pretty low.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings; or, When Feelings Become Farts


The date: Thanksgiving Day, 2009
The place: 'Round the dinner table at the Sloper's familial home
The event: The annual recitation of "What are we thankful for this year," in order from youngest to oldest.

I knew I would cry. I did cry. My sisters cried. My mom cried. My husband stroked my back. My sister's fiance told me how sorry he was. I mentioned my gratitude for health insurance. We all laughed and cried at the same time, wiped our tears with our napkins, and ate some good food.

Conclusion: Crying's not so bad.


The date: Day after Thanksgiving, 2009
The place: 'Round the table at Mr. Lawyer's father's familial home.
The event: People just eatin' some lasagna in a traditional product-of-divorce, making-the-best-of-a-split-holiday kind of way.

I knew I would cry. I felt like crying every time I saw my sister-in-law's tiny baby bump (though no one mentioned the pregnancy at all that night, thank God). I was close to tears all evening. And then Mr. Lawyer made some innocuous comment about, "Yeah, it's a real trial taking care of her" (it was a joke and in the context of a conversation). And then I thought about all he's had to see me go through the last two weeks, and all the support he's given even while hurting himself. And I burst into tears.

Silence. Complete, utter silence from every person at the table. Even the 22-month-old niece was silent. It could not have been more silent if I had just let loose the loudest, smelliest fart ever heard or smelled. I got myself under control and took off for the bathroom for about five minutes of nose blowing and pep talking.

Conclusion: Crying sucks major balls.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankfulness; or, Counting Blessings

I am thankful this weekend for so many things:

For my family, for the fact that we can all be together tomorrow, that we love each other and are always a stable force in each others' lives, even when we fight. And for my in-laws, who show me the love and kindness they would give to a daughter of their own.

For my friends, who have been so supportive these last two weeks. So many people have shown me how much they care about me, how sad they feel with me, and how hopeful they are for me.

For my education, that I'm paid to study a subject I love, and that I have the opportunity to introduce students to books they may not choose to read, but that they will (I hope) remember for all their lives.

For my home. It's comfortable and big enough for us and our dog and in a neighborhood we love. We have plans to fix up a few things and money to afford the improvements and we're not in danger of losing our place to live.

For our health and (maybe even more important!) our health insurance. I'm so grateful that all of the ultrasounds, doctors' visits, test and procedures were covered by insurance. I'm grateful that I was able to be proactive about seeing my physicians during my pregnancy, about testing to try to find out what went wrong, and that I can trust I'll be in good hands going forward. And I'm grateful to have mental health coverage and a therapist who is helping me through these struggles.

For my husband's job, which is secure (as secure as things can be right now) and allows me to pursue my academic dream instead of working in a better paying industry.

For the pregnancy. Even though it was short and even though I'm sadder than I ever imagined being, I loved my baby for the four weeks I knew I was pregnant. I'm grateful the baby had those seven weeks to live. And if there was something irreparably wrong, I'm grateful the baby felt no pain during its short time alive.

For the moments of hope and optimism, when I feel confident that we'll conceive another child and that we'll have the family we dream of.

Most of all, I'm grateful for my husband. He is my partner, and I couldn't survive any of this without him. I've never felt as loved and supported as I have these last two weeks, and I thank God every day that he is the man I married and the man with whom I will one day have children.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back to School; or, Back to Life

I'm up at 6:45 am because I'm going back to teaching for the first time in two weeks. I keep thinking about the fact that at the last class I taught, I thought I was still carrying a healthy pregnancy. I was puking between my courses. I scarfed down two slices of pizza at a staff meeting. I drove home and puked some more.

And then the next morning everything changed.

I really don't want to go back. I want to curl up in a ball in my bed and drink tea and hold my hot water bottle and watch bad tv. But my students have missed out on a week-and-a-half of their course. And while they wouldn't mind never coming back in again, I'm sure, I can't let them down like that.

Only three weeks left. I can make it.

I guess that's what being a grown-up is about.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tennyson; or, Break, Break, Break

I like to read poetry when I'm sad. I like it when I'm happy too (there's a Christina Rossetti poem I was memorizing for the occasion of the m&m's never-to-be birth), but I especially like it when I'm sad. Tennyson is one of my favorite poets.

Break, break, break
On thy cold grey stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Odds and Ends; or, Collecting Thoughts

I forgot to relate a little event that happened at the d&c. Before anything began, I had a stack of medical and other forms to fill out. Slipped in among them, they had accidentally put the consent form for termination of pregnancy.

I'm Catholic and have huge moral problems with abortion. (Which, I want to clarify, doesn't mean that I think people who have had them are evil or bad or immoral. One of my closest sources of support during this process has been my friend who aborted a first trimester pregnancy with a d&c two years ago, and I understand her reasons for making her choice. (The political aspects of the issue are a whole other kettle of fish. I'll just say that I tend to vote Democrat)).

Anyway, seeing this legal consent form intended for a woman voluntarily ending her pregnancy just made me flip out. I started sobbing. And weirdly, the first thing that popped into my head was that if I ever decided to run for political office people would think I had an abortion if I signed these forms.

I didn't sign them, and they cleared up the mistake and gave me the right ones. But my husband found my reaction a little bizarre--simply because he knows running for political office sounds like hell to me!

* * *
Today we're going down to my parents' house for an engagement brunch in honor of my sister directly below me in age. We're going to meet her fiance's parents, sister, and brother-in-law. I've been really looking forward to this. But I woke up this morning at 4:30 crying. Emotionally this doesn't feel like a stable day. I'm going to have to get past that for my sister's sake.

* * *
Rapidly fading/fluctuating pregnancy hormones don't just mess with your emotions. They also fuck with your skin. The clear, smooth, slightly dry skin of my pregnancy is gone. I've got zits now in places I didn't know they could grow.

* * *
Finally, we're going on a cruise in January! I've never been on one before and usually like more personalized vacations. I pour over travel guides, search online for deals and tips, try to cram in as many sights (and sites) as I can in a short vacation time. But right now, paying someone to take me around to sunny islands while providing me with booze and unlimited food (and a gym) sounds pretty great. My husband is delighted I've come around to his planning-free mode of vacationing.

Anyone been on a cruise before and have any recommendations? We're planning to depart from NYC just to cut down on bother and expense, and the only cruises leaving from their in our time frame are the Queen Mary 2 (ha!), Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two Steps Back; or, Toddlerhood

I thought I was doing better the last two days. I felt so calm after the d&c, so capable. I can do this, I thought. I can get through this. I'm going to be fine. At least it's behind me.

Today I feel like crap. I woke up at 6 am and promptly started crying. I cried on my husband's shoulder after he woke up. I cried on the walk to breakfast with my mom, and I cried as she drove away to go back home. I'm lying here, completely exhausted. My eyes hurt. My chest hurts. Every part of me feels raw and alive with pain.

It's not fair! It's not fair! I'm like a three year old who wants to shout at her parents. It's not fair that my first pregnancy was a screwed-up one. It's not fair that all my friends have had such easy times conceiving and carrying their children. I want to stand on my roof deck and just scream that this isn't fair.

I know the answers to that: Life isn't fair. Everyone has his or her own challenges. Don't judge my struggles by what I can see of others'.

If the good days are just a phase, then so are the bad ones. But God, do they ever suck while you're riding them out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

D&C; or, Done

I'm not pregnant anymore. I guess, technically, I wasn't before. The baby died probably about a week and a half ago, so I hadn't had a living, healthy pregnancy since, I don't know, last Monday? Or Tuesday? But now, I'm really, truly not pregnant, with the empty, scraped-clean uterus to prove it.

The D&C was not fun, but the recovery has been better than I expected. They drew blood and gave me an IV to administer the sedative, and I panicked like I always do, but I got through it. And afterward I puked three times from the anesthesia (again, as expected, I'm super sensitive to it) and lay there moaning with the worst cramps of my life. But eventually the ty.lenol kicked in and I felt a little better and was able to go home.

We paid extra out-of-pocket for the "VIP" treatment, which meant a comfortable, private room with a bed in which to wait for and recover from the procedure and extra attention from the nurses. It was expensive, but worth it to be able to have time and privacy to recover without feeling like I was a cow in a cattle stall. We joked that this was my Christmas present.

The nurses were all lovely and kind, and the doctor was nice too. They all reassured me that this was just an accident and doesn't mean anything about my ability to have children. One of the nurses was alone with me in the OR for a little while before it started, and she told me how sorry she was for my loss. I started to cry for the first time that day and thanked her. She told me she had been where I was and she now had three children. That she miscarried her first, too, and that it had taken her a year to get pregnant the first time. A lot of people have told me those kinds of stories, or told my mother (they're mostly older women who are done bearing children). They do help. I try to hold on to them when I feel scared about the future.

I've been popping ty.lenol every 4 or 5 hours and that seems to keep the cramps at bay. I'm also using my trusty old hot-water bottle. I bought it 10 years ago at Bo.ots' pharmacy during my year living in England between high-school and college. I never knew it would get me through so many awful times, but it's been there for me through periods I didn't want to get (and, long ago, periods I desperately wanted to get) and now through this.

I seem to have moved into the anger phase of this process. I've been a cranky bitch these last two days to my mom, my husband, the voices inside my head. I snapped at Lawyer Guy last night for nothing! Because he was talking to his mom about being upset he'll have to miss his family's Thanksgiving this year for mine. I sniped "Screw you" and stomped off to the bedroom to sulk and cry for three hours and then try to make up. Is it hormones? Am I angry at him? He's been so wonderful.

I don't know what I'm feeling half the time. I don't cry all day any longer, but I don't feel like myself, either. I need my husband and family so much, but I also push them away.

Real life starts again next week. I think I'll be ready for it. I think I'll be ready to move forward.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ten True Things; or, Promises

On the eve of my D&C, I make to myself these promises:

1. I will be pregnant again one day.

2. I will have a healthy, beautiful child one day.

3. I give myself permission to cry, to moan, to huddle in a ball, to avoid their babies and their swollen pregnant bellies without punishing or hating myself for being weak and selfish.

4. I will remind myself that their babies didn't take mine away, that their happiness doesn't cause my unhappiness, and that being there for others even when times are tough is the mark of character.

5. I give myself permission to laugh, to smile, to have happy times and moments without feeling guilty and callous or like I'm forgetting.

6. I will show my husband every day how much I love him and how indispensable his comfort and support are to me.

7. I will never complain about being pregnant. I will never bitch about vomiting, or getting fat, or people touching my belly.

8. I will never assume I know another woman's story. I will never assume my pregnancy or my child are of interest to the world.

9. I will never respond to another woman's struggles--be they infertility or miscarriage or loss--with silence.

10. I will practice patience every day. I can't control this. I can't force God's time. But I can love my life as much as possible at each moment.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home; or, Hindsight


I never thought I would feel a sense of dread thinking that word. But walking up the stairs to our apartment tonight--the night outside dark and the world inside empty--I felt my heart sink with sadness as I approached the door. I'm alone and nothing seems right.

I'm waiting for my husband to return from California. He's somewhere between Dallas and New York right now, and thinking too much about his exact location in the sky activates my plane phobia and terrifies me that I could lose him, too.

He shouldn't have gone to the wedding. I needed him this weekend. I was glad to be with my family, glad to have my mom to coddle me and my dad to hug me and one of my sisters to make me laugh. But I needed my husband to grieve with me. I needed him to hold my hand and talk with me about the baby and work through this together.

I didn't even realize I could miscarry while he was gone until the morning he left. I wasn't thinking. My mind didn't work quite right those first few days. And then he was at the airport and I suddenly pictured myself bleeding and going to the hospital and him being 3,000 miles away. And I realized how stupid the whole situation was.

I was a cranky bitch to him while he was gone, but it was only because I missed him so much. And it felt so utterly wrong that I was sitting with my family crying while he was off at a wedding full of happy people. Not that I thought he was one of those happy people--I know that he wasn't. But we should have been together, dealing with this together. Not on some sort of weird marriage sabbatical just when we needed each other most.

I've cried a little since walking back through the door, and now I just feel blue and blah. I have to walk the dog, fix something for dinner, and maybe even get some teaching prep done for next week, though I haven't decided if I'm going to teach Tuesday yet, or not. And at some point, he'll come back home. And I think things will be better then.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Telling; or, Not Telling

These past few days have been both busy and empty, frantic and calm. I wake up early and lie there in the dawn light and after a few hours the sadness sinks in and I cry for a while and hurt so much. And then it passes, and I get out of bed and try to talk to people and deal with my life with a heavy weight of sadness in my chest that doesn't cut as much as the tears but that never goes away.

Yesterday morning I sent e-mail, just one. I wrote to five of my closest girl friends and let them know what happened. Danny's parents told family. And the phone has rung constantly the last 48 hours. Sometimes I answer it and talk to people. Sometimes I don't feel up to it and let it go to voicemail. I've received so many words of kindness and encouragement, so many thoughts and prayers and good wishes. It means so much to me, even when people don't say the "right" thing or when they talk more than they listen. I know not everyone's good at grief, and I do appreciate the effort.

I've also heard from several women who've gone through this, and not surprisingly, it helps so much to talk to them. One of my husband's cousins called, one of my cousins called, one of our close couple friends, and a friend from graduate school. Just to hear someone say "I know how much you're hurting" makes me feel less alone. All of those women have children now, too, so that helps me to fight back the anxiety and fear that are never far from the surface.

There's someone I haven't told yet, though. One of my closest friends. A bridesmaid in my wedding--I was maid of honor at hers. I threw her baby shower just 1 month ago.

She had her baby yesterday. A boy. She left me a voicemail with the details, telling me she wants to talk and that I can call her today.

I can't call her today. I can't chat and pretend nothing happened to me two days ago. And I can't dump all my sadness and need on her blissful new motherhood. I bought her a baby gift right away, and I sent her a congratulatory text (and mentioned that I'm out of town and will call her next week) and a congratulatory facebook message. But I can't talk to her about this right now.

Which means I can't talk to her.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The baby is not viable any longer. The heart beat is gone. Only limited growth in the last week. Once again, I felt nothing when they gave me the news, but it didn't take long for the tears to start.

I feel very reasonable and calm right now, other than the fact that I keep crying. All the rational explanations make sense. All the platitudes and comforting things people say. I'm totally on the "at least we know we can do it/it's better for nature to take care of its own" train right now.

Of course, I feel completely dead inside and I can't even begin to let myself start to think about trying again next cycle, or how unfair this is, or how much it fucking sucks that I'm still puking my guts out an average of five times a day when there's no baby to show for it.

Nope, right now I feel a limited range of emotions: a numb sort of disconnect with the situation. A huge amount of love for my husband. Overwhelming gratitude that I got this news today and not last Friday, when it would have ruined the baby shower. I'm truly so thankful to God for that gift, the gift of being happy and celebrating with my best friend. Nothing can take those memories away from me.

And a calm sense of inevitability. Did I always know this would happen? Does it just feel that way because it did?

I'm also really tired and would like to go to sleep until 2010.

Monday, November 9, 2009

November Showers; or, Time with Friends and Family

I threw my best friend her baby shower on Saturday. My mother and I did it together, and for a while last week, I was desperately afraid that I'd be hosting this shower while anticipating a miscarriage. I would have done it, because this is my best friend since childhood who I never see, and she deserves it. But it would have been a kind of pain that I'm afraid to even imagine.

As it turned out, I was able to host the shower in a much different state of mind. My parents knew about the pregnancy, so my mom was really sweet to me all weekend, making sure that I ate and rested and took care of myself. And my best friend also knew--and knew about all our fears and worries of last week--so she, too, was a great source of comfort. She reassured me that even though the doctor wants us to have another u/s this week, everything sounds great and normal to her (my bf is a doctor, as well as pregnant herself, so I take her medical advice with more trust that I would most of my friends').

In all, it was a really nice weekend. Nice to see my friend get so many nice presents to welcome her little boy when he comes in January or February. Nice to spend time with my family and people I love. Nice to be away from the city, from job and school stress, and from the worries that have bedeviled us these past few days. And nice to have other people know what we've been going through.

The one not nice thing: I was horribly sick on Friday and Saturday. I puked three times in the car on the drive down to my parents' Friday night, and Saturday I puked about eight or nine times from the afternoon to right before I went to bed. I also made the terrible error in judgment of eating a carton of raspberries and a carton of blueberries at midnight after vomiting so I'd have something in my stomach. They burned like hell on the way back up ten minutes later.

I've noticed that my morning sickness isn't in the morning at all--it starts about mid-afternoon and is at its worst around dinner time. In the mornings I feel fine! As hard as it is to puke so much, I am so grateful this baby is giving me trouble and causing me symptoms.

Please be healthy and strong on Wednesday little baby!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Emotionally Drained; or, Still Hanging In There

This has been the most emotionally exhausting 24 hours of my life. I apologize for leaving you (or just Stef, if you're the only reader) hanging, but I needed to process and deal with my emotions and fears before I could post.

We went in to my gynecologist's yesterday at 4:30. My doctor performed an exam first and found the cervix closed, so she said the blood had not come from my uterus. Then she did an u/s. Almost immediately, we saw the embryo--big and totally obvious. My husband gripped my hand with relief. I felt oddly detached. And then she said, "Let me just find the heart beat. Hmm, I can't find the heart beat."

She referred us to a diagnostic sonography place for today. She said she gave our chances at a viable pregnancy at 50-50. She spoke a little bit about our "options" if the pregnancy wasn't viable. But then she stopped herself. "Don't think about it any more tonight," she said. "Just go home and rest. We don't know what's going on yet."

My poor husband had almost fainted when he heard her say there was no heartbeat. Literally, he had to go lie down in another exam room (Can you tell we're cut from the same anxious cloth?). I felt numb and calm. We left the office together around 5:30 and began walking down 2nd Avenue.

Our close friends had given birth the day before and were in a hospital 30 or 40 blocks south of my doctor's. We had planned to visit them after the appointment to meet the baby, but at that point we didn't know what to do. I suggested we just walk for a while. While we were walking, I called the other doctor's office and set up an appointment for this morning at 8:30.

After I made the appointment, all my fear hit me. I started crying, gripping my husband's hand. At the same time, I was aware more than ever of how much I loved him and how grateful I was to have him at that time.

We walked, and sometimes I cried, and sometimes I didn't. We decided to visit our friends--who suffered a miscarriage about 2 years ago, then tried for over a year afterward before conceiving this child. We are both so unadulteratedly happy for them, it seemed like the right, unselfish thing to do. And the visit was good. For a little while, I put what was going on out of my mind and just felt happy for two people I care a lot about and their very cute little baby boy.

And then we went home. And I fell apart. Sobbing, vomiting, I was a mess. I wound up calling my mom and I spoke with her and my dad for about an hour. They were comforting, reminding me that we can't know God's plans for us and just have to trust in him. And that hardship comes to every life, but that I'm strong and will survive it. My mom said she would go to morning mass for me today.

We fell into an exhausted sleep at 10, and then I woke to pee at 2 am--I didn't sleep again until 4 or 5, waking for good at 6. I puked all morning and cried into my tea as I got ready for the drive back into Manhattan.

Even though my doctor had given us 50-50 odds, I felt like they were 90-10. I was sure this was not a viable pregnancy. I sobbed the entire car ride to the office. I imagined how difficult hosting my best friend's baby shower tomorrow would be, and attending my husband's family wedding the following weekend in California, and getting through Thanksgiving and Christmas. I felt heartbroken. But I also knew I'd be able to survive whatever came.

We had our ultrasound with the doppler. It lasted forever, at least 10 minutes, and was actually painful by the end of it. The u/s tech didn't say anything throughout. She had told us she wouldn't, but she spent so long looking at everything, I was certain she was searching fruitlessly for signs of life. She stopped the exam then, went to find the doctor, came back and said, "I see an embryo. And I see a heart beat."

My husband started to cry. I just felt--nothing. Not sadness, not joy, not even relief. Nothing. Tired. Spent.

We met with the doctor after I dressed. He was concerned that we were measuring two weeks behind based on my last menstrual period. I tried to explain that I always have longer than average cycles and this cycle I ovulated especially late. Even so, he wants us back next week to check on the progress.

And he told us the heart rate. 92.

I came home and ate McDonald's with my husband and slept for two hours.

I feel like I've had a stay of execution. I feel released. I don't feel happy or sad right now. Just peaceful. The baby is still alive for now and that's a good sign. I honestly did not expect to get this news today. So it's enough for now.

Though my cervix is letting me know it did not appreciate 2 vaginal ultrasounds in as many days.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Still Spotting

This makes the fourth day. It was a little heavier last night than it has been. It's still brown (ranging from dark to light) and still accompanied by cramps. Both the spotting and the cramping are intermittent.

I'm waiting to hear back from the doctor again. I'm praying that God will keep my baby safe. I'm trying not to cry too much, trying to get some work done before class this afternoon.

I'm reminding myself to be thankful I'm pregnant at all. But I'm really scared.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Something Scary; or, A Little Bit Pregnant?

Over the weekend, I had my first real scare with this pregnancy.

I went to pee on Saturday night around 2 am and found a swipe of very light brown on the paper after wiping. I panicked. I went back to bed and lay there, tossing and turning, crying quietly to myself. The Lawyer was asleep--he hasn't been sleeping well lately because of insomnia due to anxiety/excitement, but he took a sleeping pill that night-- and I didn't want to wake him. So I just lay there for hours, imagining worst case scenarios and periodically getting up to check on the spotting (which didn't come back that night). My parents were in Maine for parents' weekend at my younger sister's college--I pictured myself calling them to tell them to stop off in Brooklyn on the way back down to Philadelphia, pictured myself telling them about the pregnancy after it was gone. I thought about the baby shower I'm throwing for my best friend next weekend and wondered how I would get through it. I was not in a good place.

I finally managed to get an hour or so of sleep, then woke around 6 am thanks to daylight savings time. I went to bathroom again and found more spotting--still faint, still brown. I told my husband what was going on and we called my doctor's answering service and left a message for her.

I was sick that morning. I don't know how much was due to stress and lack of sleep and how much was due to morning sickness. I lay on the bathroom floor feeling awful and waiting for the phone to ring.

My doctor called around 9 am and reassured me. She said this was fine and normal and likely caused by dehydration (as were my cramps). She told me to rest for the day, avoid exercise and sex, and drink lots of water. She said not to worry unless there's lots of blood, "heavier than a period."

I felt better after speaking with her. I made it through the rest of the day lying on the couch, snacking on saltines, sleeping, and working on homework. And I feel okay today, even though I'm still spotting a bit now and then.

We have four days left until we tell my parents about the baby and just over 1 week until our next u/s at 7 weeks 4 days. Those milestones are so close, but I know that so much can happen in an instant. I really want to enjoy the first trimester, but I also really want to move on to a more secure stage. I want to feel like I'm definitely, absolutely pregnant. Not just provisionally.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dog Tired; or, My Nursery Dreams

I'm supposed to be working my tail off on an overdue paper, but my exhaustion is kicking in and sending me to sleep every time I try to get some work done. So I'm taking a study break to show off some of the ideas I have for the nursery.

The Lawyer and I decided to wait until the birth to learn the baby's sex-- I want a gender neutral nursery and accessories anyway, and it just seems like such a fun surprise. Plus, it should cut down on familial pressure to find out the names ahead of time. So, that being said, here is the nursery plan for a boy or a girl.

I've wanted cafe au lait or cappuccino-colored nursery walls for a long time. I think that's a color that will coordinate well with pink accents or navy accents. Our second bedroom is rather dark, so we want something light for the walls. And I want the room to have a relaxing, restful feel.

I also love green, particularly sage green. So imagine my delight when I discovered this bedding pattern at Restorati.on Hardw.are Baby&Child!

I love the color contrast of light brown and green

RH also has a matching rug and wall paint (called Toast) in the exact color palette as the bedding. So put together, the whole look would be something like this:

We'll paint the walls that toast color, use the toast and silver sage dot rug, and the polka dot bedding in that colorway. Then, we'll bring in more green with the curtains, most likely in this colorway:

Finally, for the crib I'm considering the Argington bam bassinet/crib system (which also has a toddler bed conversion). It has a matching wardrobe and dresser that we would also probably get (and I'd use a changing pad set-up on top of the dresser instead of a full changing table). It has a trundle underneath for extra storage, is made of sustainable wood, and costs a lot less than other fancy, modern-looking cribs.

I'd also want a traditional glider in dark wood with cream cushions. I don't know what kind of wall art we'll use-- my husband and I chatted about a puppy theme. That would bring our first "baby," our fluffy pup Bella, into the room and would work for a child of either gender. Then if we had a girl we could add subtle pink accents--pillows for the glider, a lampshade, perhaps a toy chest--after the birth (or a do similar things in navy for a boy). And there's so much great nursery art available on etsy and other online retailers. In a quick afternoon search I found all of these:

Aren't they adorable?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ultrasound Update; or, "Baby's" "First" "Picture"

My husband and I had our second appointment with my gynecologist yesterday. In the past week, the m&m has gone from a tiny, barely distinguishable black smudge on the ultrasound to a round silver dollar shape.

We didn't see anything inside the gestational sac--no yolk sac or fetal pole--so my doctor couldn't definitively date the pregnancy and we don't know if the embryo is developing normally. But it's still so early, as she pointed out, that we wouldn't expect to see those things yet. She seemed pleased with the development in the last week, although still cautious.

I'll post the ultrasound scans below. My husband and I can't stop looking at the print outs and smiling. I'm amused at the fact that we love this picture so much when no part of our future child is actually visible in it! So, not really a first picture of a baby, but the closest thing we have to that right now.

We go back to the doctor in two weeks, on Wednesday Nov, 11. I'll be about 7 1/2 weeks at that point, so we will most likely see a fetus and heartbeat if there's anything to see. These next two weeks will pass so slowly. I can't wait to get the reassurance of those images and see the picture of my developing baby. And I'm so scared about what could happen in the meantime.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One Week; or, Joy and Fear

I found out about this pregnancy one week ago today. These seven days have progressed so slowly, but so happily. I think about this baby all the time, and dream about him or her. I've mentally decorated and redecorated the nursery about twenty times. I'm drinking as much water as I can hold and trying to take pleasure in every back ache, cramp, exhausted night, and disgusting cystic zit that just won't go away.

I'm also thankful every day I see no spotting or feel a symptom. And I'm nervous every time I read another "Please remove me from June/May/April Mamas" post on The Bump's 1st Tri board. A friend of friends on facebook posted a picture of her digital pregnancy test about two weeks ago. Over the weekend, she had to make an announcement that the pregnancy was no more.

My husband is taking our doctor's advice very much to heart and trying to keep a little distance from the baby until he feels more secure about the progress. This doesn't mean he's keeping distance from me AT ALL--just that he's trying to avoid too much future-talk until after our appointment tomorrow.

I'm so excited to have another peek at the baby and to see what's going on in there and learn how we're coming along and what to do next. And I'm scared that we'll get bad news, that we'll lose this dream just when it seems the closest.

It's early. I'm just over five weeks. That's so early.

But I know that the odds are things will be fine.

So I'm trying to take it one day at a time. Every day I'm pregnant is a good day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Opera Date; or, High on Hormones

I have a confession to make. I don't care whether this baby turns out to be a boy or a girl. I have my suspicions about which it might be, but I don't actually have a preference any longer. But if it's at all possible, I would like to specify my choice for this baby's future profession. I want to give birth to an opera singer.

One of my little luxuries is a Young Associate membership to the Metropolitan Opera. I see about 6 productions a year. I started going regularly six years ago--with my old roommate--after we'd both graduated from college.

I love the opera so much. And I feel so lucky that I get to see international superstars a mere taxi-ride from my house. My husband is not an opera buff (to put it mildly) so I only force him to attend once a year with me, and this year I'm giving him the season off. I usually go either alone or with any of a rotating cycle of friends.

Last night, I took the m&m to its first opera. It was Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. I'd shockingly never seen this before, though I was familiar with the famous concluding female trio. It was spectacular! Renee Flemming and Susan Graham were the Marschallin and Octavian, and they were heartbreakingly beautiful.

I was feeling close to tears all day without having any reason other than hormones for it. I was quite happy and content even as I could feel salt-water pressure behind my nose. So at the opera, I really lost it. And this is a comedy! But there are moments of such poignant beauty, particularly at the end, that the tears just rolled down my face.

I felt so conscious of the fact that I wasn't really alone, even if no one else knew it, including the m&m. I have at least four more productions to see this season, the last one in May. I can't wait to watch the baby's progress through the shows and see if it likes and responds to the music by the end.

I hope this is something I can share with my child all through our lives. I hope one day when someone asks my child, "What was your first opera," he or she can say, "Der Rosenkavalier."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How I Told My Husband; and, The First Doctor's Appt

What an amazingly busy 36 hours I've had! And most of it had nothing to do with this pregnancy. Meetings yesterday, teaching butt-early today, my first post-pregnant appointment at the gyno's, class this evening, and homework--it's 1 AM and I finally have time to update. Phew.

So to begin, how I sprung the big news on my husband! Lawyer Guy works in Lower Manhattan, which is only a 20-minute subway ride from our apartment in Park Slope. He's always asking me to come in and meet him for lunch, and I usually am so busy (or lazy) that I don't. But yesterday, I called him and suggested that since I had to go into Manhattan anyway for a therapy appointment and my Junior League committee meeting, I should meet him by his office for a quick lunch. After some heming and hawing about all the work he has to do (and he has been working incredibly hard on a case the last two months) he agreed. The plan was in motion!

I had figured out how I would do this so long ago, I didn't need to weigh any options. I went down to Brookl.yn Ind.ustries, where they have these cute "Made in Brooklyn" onesies (my husband has gotten very into Brooklyn since we moved her last year). Unfortunately, they only had that particular onesie in the 12-18 month size. Not going to cut it! So I got a navy blue onesie with red piping and red "Brooklyn" letting and the image of a water tower. I've thought for ages that my first kid will be a son--but even if not, I'll put a daughter in navy. I live dangerously.

I asked the cashier for a box to put it in. He only had large, rectangular boxes (the kind you'd put a sweater in if you were giving it as a gift). No problem--it would only add to the deception. I had him put the pee stick in with the onesie (cap on, of course), wrap it all in tissue, and give it to me in a shopping bag.

Then I went into Manhattan and met my husband outside his office. He was surprised to see the shopping bag--I told him that I bought him a gift because he'd been working so hard recently. We went to the A.u B.on Pai.n across the street (so romantic), found a place to sit immediately (I could not wait to let him order food), and I gave him the box. He almost jumped out of his chair when he opened it and saw the pee stick. "Seriously?" he asked. He stared at me for about four minutes straight. Then he kissed me, and I started to cry, and everyone at A.u Bo.n Pai.n wondered what the hell was wrong with the crazy couple in the back.

We talked for about 40 minutes about how I found out, what we were each feeling, what plans we wanted to make, what the next steps were. I had already eaten, but he hadn't--and he could barely get any food down he was so excited! We said goodbye and he went back to work while I took off for my meetings.

Last night I was exhausted. I fell asleep at 10 pm, which I never do. I guess my body just needed the sleep. Good thing, as I was up at 6:30 this morning to go teach.

Then, this afternoon, my husband and I went to my doctor's office. My doctor started laughing at me as soon as she walked in the door, since I'd just e-mailed her the week before freaking out about my inability to become pregnant--not realizing I was pregnant at the time (it was a bad week). We knew it would be too early to see anything, but she didn't an internal u/s anyway. She confirmed that I am definitely pregnant, though it is still very early. She pointed a little dark blotch that she is pretty sure is the sac formation--my husband is calling it the M&M (since we had always referred to any unconceived babies as our jellybeans). She gave me a prenatal vitamin scrip (which I dropped off at a pharmacy uptown and forgot to pick up) and told me I should eat whenever I feel hungry. "If you feel like eating the whole cake, eat the whole cake," she said. I will try very hard not to eat the whole cake--or the whole cow, since I am craving red meat like whoa and like damn.

My doctor warned me not to get too "psychologically attached" to the pregnancy yet, since it's early and anything could happen. I know that. I know it's possibly short-sighted of me to take such wholehearted glee in this. And I've begun to worry a bit in the last 12 or so hours. But there's nothing I can do to keep this pregnancy going except eat and drink water and avoid motorcycle gangs that like to punch women in the lower abdomen. So I might as well enjoy it, right? Tomorrow will be tomorrow. Right now I'm pregnant.

There was an embarrassing incident at the end of the appointment. Because I'm so early, she wanted to do a blood draw and test my hCG level. I've mentioned my anxiety issues on this blog before--I'm not only a chronic worrier and procrastinator and seriously afraid of flying. I'm also phobic of needles. And not just any needles. Shots are fine. I don't like them, but I can do them. I even used to do electrolysis. I'm not afraid of needle-poking pain.

I am seriously psychologically upset, however, by needles staying inside my body for more than a second. So having blood drawn really bothers me--it generally makes me throw up in distress. And IVs--forget it. Still half-under from general anesthesia, I will be clawing that thing off my hand as I come to. I'm more scared about having an IV in my arm when I'm admitted to the hospital than I am of giving birth.

I really tried to keep it together for the blood draw. I didn't watch; I held my husband's hand; I tried to talk and think about other things. And I also had a full-blown panic attack that nearly culminated in me fainting. As I was hyperventilating and as my lips, fingers, toes, and chest went completely cold and numb, the nurse took the needle back out without having drawn any blood.

My doctor is SO sweet. She and the nurse got me a blanket and made me some tea and helped me get my breathing under control until I didn't feel faint any longer. And the upshot is, they didn't get a blood sample so I'm going back in at the same time next week instead of two weeks later so she can do another u/s and check on the embryonic development.

When I switch to the OB (after we hear the heartbeat) they'll have to do a full blood work up. So that gives me a few weeks to figure out how to woman-up and stop being such a loon. My therapist has her work cut out for her.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lucky Number Seven

I just took my test this morning. I just heard the timer I set (for 8 minutes) go off and went back into the bathroom to see. It's positive! Clear as day, the two biggest pink lines I've ever seen.

My hands are shaking, and I'm crying as I type this. I can't believe it. I never thought I would see those two lines. Even as my period was late, and the spotting didn't come, even as I started to think this might be the cycle, I STILL couldn't picture myself actually happy after testing.

But they did show up. And I'm pregnant. PREGNANT!

I peed into a cup this morning when I woke up and hid it in the bathroom to test after my husband left--gross but devious, and I REALLY wanted to surprise him with the announcement if I was positive or spare him the disappointment if it wasn't. There's no way I could have hidden this joy from him.

Oh God, I'm still shaking. I can't believe this is real. I still feel like I'm about to get my period! This is so amazing.

A quick run down of my symptoms:
7 dpo: Dull, lower backache (right above my tail bone) that grew stronger if I sat for a few hours at a time. I also became RAVENOUSLY hungry. I inhaled a ramekin of mac and cheese in about three minutes.
8 dpo-12 dpo: Normal pms symptoms (cramps, bloating, weepiness, swollen tender boobs, loose stools). Nothing out of the ordinary. I actually got really depressed and gave up hope.
13 dpo: I realized that my skin was completely clear and a little dry. It's usually oily before AF, and I get at least one unattractive pimple.
14 dpo: My boobs shrank a bit while getting more tender. My cramps decreased and my bloating went down.
15 dpo: I could not stop eating all day.

I have so much hope and good wishes for the women of The Bump Getting Pregnant board right now, especially StefB at Baby Blakely. You'll get your BFP too, Stef, I'm sure of it. And I will be SO happy for you when you do.

I'm off to put together my surprise for my husband and get some homework done. And I'm going to carry my pee stick around with me all day!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do or Die Time; or, Letting Hope Live

I'm 15dpo and I don't see or smell any blood. Unless my period starts some time today (which it could and probably will), I'm going to test tomorrow morning when I wake up.

I'm really scared to test. It doesn't make sense, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid because I've started to think this might be...it (I can't even write the words).

And I like feeling this hopeful feeling. I could hardly sleep last night, and I woke up at 6:30 am. I kept tossing and turning in bed, imagining how I would tell my family and my friends if what I hope comes true.

The thought of looking at another negative test makes me feel sick.

I want to hold on to my hope a little longer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Waiting on the World to Not Change; or, AF Keeps Things Interesting

(Warning: Those with a low tolerance for discussions of bodily fluids should stop reading now).

I'm blessed to not only have irregular cycles with inconsistent ovulation days (anywhere from day 18 to day 30), but to also have an inconsistent luteal phase. It's always "long enough" but almost never the same length. In the 11 months since I first charted, I've had an LP as short as 10 days and as long as 15.

After pregnancy testing early in my first couple of cycles and realizing that getting the heartbreak of a negative twice in one week does nothing for my spirits, I made a resolution to no longer test before 16 dpo. I've yet to reach that goal.

Today I am either 13 or 14 dpo. And everything in my body tells me my period is on its way. Ravenous eating habits. Bloated lower abdomen and swollen, tender boobs. Looser stool. All the signs are there.


I usually spot before AF comes. And even before that, I'll see a tinge of blood in my cervical fluid. And even before that, I can smell the iron of the blood in the mucus and on the tissue after wiping.

There's no blood. No smell.

If AF is coming, I'd really like her to just hurry up and get here. Because waiting through the weekend only to see her show up on the day I'm supposed to test will REALLY not do anything good for our relationship. And she and I are on uneasy terms at the moment as it is.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cycle 7 Stats; or, The Plan, Such As It Is

Tomorrow I'm going to call my gyno and schedule an appointment for early January. We'll be in our 10th cycle and 11th month of trying to conceive. She'll run a battery of tests and we'll discuss options and next steps.

I'm going to tell myself that this is what will happen. I will not expect to get pregnant in the next 2 and 1/2 months. For whatever reason, that's not the direction my journey is going to take. I'm going to focus on finishing up the semester, getting my students' papers graded and final grades in, making it through the holidays, having a fantastic trip to Vegas, and finishing my incomplete papers from last year.

I will not expect to get pregnant. I will not expect to get pregnant. I will not expect to get pregnant.

CD 36 of Cycle 7
10 or 11 dpo
AF anticipated anywhere from tomorrow (if it's 12dpo) to Sunday (if it's 15 dpo)
Slight cramping that comes and goes (typical pms for me)
Ravenous appetite (typical pms)
Bigger boobs (typical pms)

No spotting or bloody smell to cervical mucus.

I'm going to hate myself in a few days for feeling optimistic about this. I have no real reason to, but I can't help imagining when we'll tell the families, how I'll tell my husband, and having a June due date.

I shouldn't imagine I'm pregnant. I'm really going to hate myself. I never learn.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Very Pregnant Weekend; or, The New Tally

The shower was great! A wonderful afternoon of delicious prosecco (and Cava--it's pink and sparkly! How did I not drink this before?) and good food and music in a gorgeous apartment on Park Ave (not mine, clearly). And my friend E was glowing and beautiful and happy and I felt her baby wiggling around inside her 36-weeks-pregnant belly and pulled out all the old-wives' tricks to determine the sex and decided she's having a boy.

And then today we had a nice afternoon watching football and eating Italian food with some couple friends, one of whom is 38 weeks pregnant and probably enjoying her last baby-free weekend.

And then the other couple, who had their sweet, adorable two-year-old with them, announced that they are 13 weeks along.

Which brings the grand total of pregnant women I chilled with this weekend to three. And brings the tally of friends and family who have announced their pregnancies since I started TTC to (drumroll please): NINE. That's right, I have heard nine "We're expecting!"s since March. Who wants to bet I'll hear a tenth before too long?

I'm getting better at taking them in stride. This time, I barely cried at all and not until we were home and all settled into our pjs.

I keep reminding myself of the kind of woman I want to be. Someone gracious and warm. Someone who treats others with consideration and kindness no matter what's going on in my life. Every one of these children deserves to be celebrated and welcomed joyfully--as much as my future little boy or girl will, however he or she may join our lives.

So I'm trying to suck back the sadness and desperation and just be happy for everyone. And if I don't feel quite as generous as I want to be, I'll fake it until I make it.

Quick update on Cycle 7 as it stands:
I'm on day 34.
I estimate I'm either 8dpo or 9dpo
I have my usual pms-type lower abdominal cramps
I have my usual pms-type insatiable hunger for sweets and fat
My boobs are normal sized and not particularly tender
I have had lower back pain for three days.

The back pain is kind of new, and my boobs have usually swelled up by this point, but other than that we're on track for the start of Cycle 8.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shower the People You Love With Love; or, Keeping Spirits Up

Tomorrow I'm co-hosting one of my close friend's baby shower. She lives in another state, and I haven't seen her since she fell pregnant (isn't the British expression nicer than our "got"?) I love hosting parties. I've had my usual fun ordering platters of tea sandwiches from a local upscale grocery and picking out bottles of proseco and choosing flowers and music and the like. I'm excited to give her things that will help make this adjustment to motherhood easier.

I wish I had to abstain from the wine, too. But I truly am happy for her and her joy.

I'm half way through the 2ww. I'm feeling pretty crampy and bloated. I'm craving sweet things and cheese and fat (I devoured a baked gruyere mac and cheese at dinner tonight). Both classic PMS symptoms for me.

I'm not harboring much hope for this cycle.

I don't know if I can get it back next month.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Non-Babymoon in Vegas; or, The Art of Self-Distraction

I had a brilliant idea last night for something that makes me feel excited and optimistic even when work and school overwhelm me and the wait to be pregnant feels so long.

I've never been to Vegas and have wanted to go for a while. My husband hasn't been since his bachelor party over two years ago.

So...we're going for New Year's! My old roommate who now lives in San Fransisco is going to come with her boyfriend!

I can't wait to start researching hotel deals. It will be the perfect little getaway, something to look forward to and plan when all I want to do is obsess over fertility monitors. If I'm not pregnant by January, we'll have this fun trip and then come home and start the testing with my doctor. And if I am pregnant...that will be the perfect way to celebrate!

I'm so proud of my genius right now.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Making Connections; or, That Was Unexpected

It's no secret (and probably no surprise) that I've been feeling rather lonely the last four or five months. My friends who want kids right now are pregnant. My non-pregnant friends don't want to be yet. My husband feels upset when I'm upset, which forces me to temper my disappointment and anguish at each negative test or new cycle. And he doesn't really understand my pain--a baby is something he's willing to wait for, not something he needs with every atom in his body.

So I've been lonely.

And then a close and special friend of mine (one of the married but not ready for kids yet types) called me up. I had previously confided a little in her about my husband and my thus-far thwarted efforts to conceive. And she called to let me know that J, a mutual friend of ours, had recently spilled that she too was having a bit more trouble than she expected getting knocked up.

I've known J a while and like her a lot, but we've never been especially close. But I contacted her anyway and we met up last night for a bottle of wine, some chips and salsa, and a long evening of soul-baring and cervical mucus-centric discussion. What a relief it was to share this with her.

She's on her 6th cycle, I'm on my 7th, we each have best friends who got pregnant the first try, we're each hosting baby showers and struggling with the infuriating, frustrating, startling, frightening, overwhelming, maddening range of emotions that come with this process. We both fight feelings of jealousy, envy, and down-right resentment at the difficulties we're facing--mixed with moments of reflection and glimmers of acceptance.

And we share the same strange mental block-- the inability to imagine ourselves looking at a positive pregnancy test or the belief that it will ever happen...even while we fully know and accept that one we WILL have children, through whatever means possible.

It helps to feel slightly less lonely.

Another relief: the Cle.arblue E.asy monitor detected peak hormone levels today. Day 25. Still, I'll take it.

Let's hope my husband's crap week at work doesn't put him entirely off babymaking tonight.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Should Be More Careful; or, Day 17

Day 17. No egg whites. CBEFM still reading low. Am I not going to ovulate on schedule this month (generally before day 22)? Or at all?

Part of me kind of wants me to not ovulate...because then I can go into the doctor next month and start testing and figure out what's going on get me knocked up through whatever means possible.

And part of me really, really wants to ovulate. Because if I don't...then maybe I have a problem and this isn't just normal, oh-it-takes-the-average-couple-at-least-six-months stuff.

I started to cry in the car this morning on my way to teach. Just thinking--I'm broken, I'm broken.

This fucking roller coaster.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Only In My Dreams; or, Looking for Signs

I had a dream last night that I was pregnant. It was one of those dreams that slowly emerge into consciousness, when you're awake enough to feel and remember everything vividly but asleep enough to believe that what your mind imagines is real.

I was pretty far along, six or seven months, and had this huge belly and felt so happy and complete. When I woke up, I still felt that way. I felt somehow hopeful that it would and could come true.

Life continues as usual. I'm tired and exhausted from teaching and taking classes, and I try to convince myself that it's better for my work and my strength to not be pregnant this semester. I try to assuage my sadness with reminders of how happy I am with my husband and the many things and can do now that a child would interrupt.

The spotting is back. I'm tracking my ovulation. Maybe I'll have some answers in a few weeks.

I'd rather keep dreaming.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Other Side of Six; or, the Benefits of Action

Now that I've been officially trying for over 6 cycles, I feel like I've reached a milestone or crossed a bridge. I will either get pregnant within the next 6 months or I will be diagnosed with infertility problems and begin serious testing. I obviously would prefer the first outcome, but I'm glad to know the second is in reach, too.

I've always been a person who wants to know. If something's the matter, I want to be told. I'd rather work toward a solution to my problems, struggle after my dreams, and deal with sorrow and pain, than wait around in idle ignorance, letting life pass me by. The thought of "only" having six months left to conceive naturally doesn't scare me and it doesn't make me anxious. It encourages me, because however things shake out, I'll start to get some answers and make some progress. That's my coping mechanism: making a schedule, setting up the steps.

My Cle.arblue Ea.sy monitor came yesterday in the mail. My period stopped today. I'll start pee-sticking in a few days. And then--I ovulate or I don't. Depending on the outcome, this journey takes its path.

I feel good about peeing on this stupid piece of plastic, because it's a concrete action. My husband is feeling pressure, though, and we know he does not do well with that.

So those are my goals for the month: pee on sticks, see if/when I ovulate, keep my husband from knowing what the monitor says, and make things fun and relaxed for him.

Wish me luck, oh silent internet world!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Staring at Six; or, I'd Start to Worry If I Hadn't Already Started to Worry

I'm 29 days into my sixth cycle. I'm 2 to 6 days away from getting my period and starting another one. My boobs are bigger, my stomach bloated, and the cramps are slight but definitely there. It's coming.

I really thought I'd be pregnant by now. I tell myself I'll be pregnant within the next six. I worry I'm wrong.

At least I get to buy a fun, expensive toy to pee on in a week or so. Doctor's orders!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust; or, Times Like These I Really Hate Myself

After a weekend with my (wonderfully, beautifully) pregnant best friend and her husband--in town from the West Coast--my husband and I stopped by his mother's birthday brunch to find our toddler niece wearing a shirt that read "Big Sister." Yup, my sister-in-law is pregnant with number two.

Please pardon me. I don't do this sort of thing in real life, but I've got to get it out somewhere, and to someone, and anonymous random people on the internet are probably better than strangers on the street, my husband, or my dog.



My husband says I kept it together just fine while we were there, looked happy and normal. I asked lots of questions about names and morning sickness and whatnot, and then I got in the car and cried all the way back home.

I hate being this way. I hate begrudging people their happiness. I hate feeling shut out of my own life by my own feelings. I hate being the invisible girl in the room, the one with the empty uterus and nothing to offer. (And it's my fault I feel that way, no one else's).

I toggle between wanting to let myself feel my feelings, and wanting to give myself a kick in the ass. So after crying, it's time for some ass-kicking:

1) Six months is not that long to try, and there are people who've been through so much worse for so much longer, so I have no right to complain.
2) Things are good in my life, I'm lazy and happy (when I'm not thinking about babies) and busy and I really don't mind things being the way they are.
3) Everyone I know (literally, EVERYONE) who was trying or potentially trying to get pregnant is now pregnant. All my other friends and relatives of child-bearing age are either unmarried or have told me they are not trying yet. So I figure, I've got at least the next six months to be free of pregnancy announcements, and then I'll be either pregnant myself or starting fertility testing, and there will be a plan.

Honestly, I can perk myself up reasonably well with these kinds of mental reminders when I'm on my own. But I'm sort of dreading the family get-togethers for the next seven months, which will be come increasingly and overwhelmingly focused on the baby. I want to be happy and have fun and not feel shitty and resentful and angry and sad.

How do I do it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Annual Checkup; or I Love My Doctor

I went in for my biannual exam/annual pap on Tuesday. This was the first appointment with my gyno since the pre-conception visit back in February, when I confidently expected that I would be knocked up the next month.

While there I brought up my irregular cycles, the weird bleeding last month, last month's extremely short cycle and period that only last for two days. We've got a plan for moving forward, and I feel okay about it. No, I feel good about it.

We keep doing as we do this cycle, the sixth. Then, starting with the seventh (sometime in September) I get an ovulation predictor kit. If it registers that I ovulate, I let my doctor know and we keep trying until January (the 11 month mark) when we take the "next steps." If I don't register ovulation, then I let her know and come back in (in October) to start testing.

I don't know why I feel so positive about this. She just seemed so upbeat about my chances, that it made me feel good. "You're going to get pregnant," she said. "Aren't I always right?" she asked her nurse. And if I'm having trouble ovulating, she asserted, "We'll get you pregnant. There are ways."

I know some people dislike cheerfulness before the fact. I know some women would suggest I find a new doctor who'd more aggressively test or who would mitigate against hopefulness. But I can handle the doom and gloom on my own. I can provide the pessimism.

She gave me a big hug and a smile before she left, and I felt like she was already happy for me. And for the first time in a long time, I feel okay for me, too.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What the Hell?; or, Seriously, What the Hell?

I used to be a textbook. I used to be a clock. I used to be the hatching cycle of the northern cicada, or Halley's Comet, or some other eminently predictable natural occurance. I used to be regular.

What the hell happened?

Two years ago, my always-35-day cycle decided predictability was out and intrigue and surprise were in. "Why not 30 days?" it asked. "Okay, how about 34? Still too boring? Let's do 39. Oh, oh, and now 44. And back to 34. And now we'll do 31."

Fun. It's tons of fun never knowing when I'm going to ovulate or exactly how long my luteal phase will be afterward (yeah, that's in on the hijinks, too). But the most fun of all is my exciting mid-cycle bleeding!

That, too, started two years ago. I think the two have to go hand in hand. I now bleed for anywhere from two to five days consecutively and four to ten days total preceding my ovulation (there are often breaks of several spot-free days between consecutive days of spotting). Sometimes the blood is very light and one pantyliner will last all day. Sometimes the blood is heavier and I'll need to change the liner twice or so. One horrible month, it was so strong I bled right through my skirt. Thank you menstrual cycle for allowing me to relive the worst moments of junior high in my late twenties. Really special times.

Okay, so now comes my What the Hell incident of late. I'm on day 28 of my cycle. I'd guess I'll get my period in the next three to six days...BUT:

- I visited London two weeks ago with my husband. International travel across time zones has always screwed with my cycle.
- I've been spotting for the last eight days straight.

So I have no idea what's going on. This isn't ovulatory bleeding, as usual. That's usually pink and quite watery for me. Plus, I had that while I was in England. This is brown and kind of viscous.

I was supposed to ovulate while abroad. Since I don't temp any longer, I'm not sure if I did--but the mucus was right for it while I was there. But, since I traveled I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't. Plus, I NEVER spot after I ovulate, just before. But, like I said, this isn't normal spotting.

I see four possible causes:

1. I didn't ovulate yet and I'm going to have a seriously long cycle/delayed ovulation/anovulatory cycle.
2. I did ovulate, and now my body's just thinking up ways to mess with my head and screw with my system.
3. It doesn't matter whether I ovulated or not, because the spotting is being caused by some serious underlying fertility problem that my gyno hasn't caught yet.
4. I'm pregnant.

Yeah, that last one always slips in there uninvited. Party crasher.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting There; or Relaxing Can't Make Things Worse

There's a new plan, and it's no plan at all.

Meaning, we're taking a break from "planning." I'm not temping, not checking cervical fluids, not worrying about the timing of our sex life.

Things have been much better since then. Husband has felt less pressure and I've felt more relaxed.

I've spent the last few weeks thinking about all the things I can do in the next year if I don't have a baby: Finish all my coursework for my PhD program; teach my entire first year of my fellowship; attend my friend's wedding in Florida in June; present a paper at the Wordsworth conference in Grasmere, England next July.

And... my husband and I are planning a big trip to Scandinavia for Midsommer's Eve!

Basically, there's a new timeframe. I'll wait until I'm 30 before I worry about getting pregnant. When I turn 30 in May, we'll have been "trying" for 15 months, so that will be long enough to move forward with any testing or treatments we may need.

In the meantime, not planning lets me enjoy my life. It's not about "relaxing makes babies." It's more that relaxing makes babymaking more...relaxing! I'm young, I'm fine, I'm happy and I have a wonderful marriage, a fulfilling career path, good friends and family, and a city in which I adore living.

When the baby comes, it will be great! But I should make the getting there good, too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It Had to Be You; or, the Pleasures of Marriage

Things have been rough the last few days. I'm going to get my period any day now and lose whatever faint hope I had for this cycle. The stress in the bedroom has not improved.

But...yesterday marked two years since my wedding, a day that makes me so happy every time I think about it I can't help but smile. Despite the difficulties and frustrations right now, I am so grateful to be with my husband, can't imagine anyone more perfect for me. He's my partner and my best friend and the one man in the world with whom I want to have a family.

I know our time will come, and until then I'll try to take comfort in how good we have it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Taking Care of Business; or the Head-Shrinker's Tale

I went back into therapy today. My new therapist seems lovely, even if we spent much of our first session chatting about my family history of anxiety disorders (it's quite extensive) and my own history of panic attacks, general anxiety disorder, and occasional bouts of depression. I feel good knowing that I'm doing something to get my mind back on track and my emotions under control. I also feel good that she's an LCSW rather than an MD-- I really don't want to go back on anti-anxiety meds when there's a chance I could become pregnant.

Things are also going well with my husband and me (I have now dubbed him Mr. Lawyer for the purposes of this blog). We've taken a step back from sex for the past week because he is spooked and worried ever since losing his erection last week. Mr. Lawyer and I have been having "fun" in non-baby-making ways to get back into enjoying sex rather than thinking of it as a chore.

Ultimately, I feel like we're taking care of necessary business right now. We can't make a baby the way that I thought we could. Meaning, we can't control this. I can't make it happen faster by reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility or obsessively analyzing my cervical fluid. Maybe there's a chance that I'd conceive marginally faster that way, but the toll it takes on my sanity, Mr. Lawyer's emotions, and the health of our marriage is not worth it.

My therapist told me I'm feeling the emotions and suffering the reactions common to couples going through infertility testing. And this is only after 4 months. I need to reset the clock, throw out the calendars, rethink this process. I need to relax.

Right now, I'm working on forgiving myself and my husband for not conceiving yet. A sex break isn't what I wanted, but maybe it's what we needed.

Let's see where we are six months from now.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's All in the Timing; or Embracing Imperfection

I'm starting to accept that this whole conception project may, can, and likely will take longer than I had originally anticipated. Cycle four is most likely a bust as we had an old and dear friend visiting us in our little (thin-walled) apartment while I was ovulating. And when I told my husband that we had to have sex the day before J arrived--he kind of panicked from the pressure and it didn't happen. He feels crappy, anxious about his ability to get the job done, and sad for disappointing me. I feel disappointed, frustrated that I can't control this, and sad that my control-freak tendencies are hurting him and his self-esteem.

I can't go on like this. I can't spend every month biting my nails in anticipation of joy or sadness. I need to learn how to go on with my life, treat conceiving a child as just one part of a busy, full, happy existence. To start, I have put away the basel body thermometer and stopped obsessively tracking cervical mucus. I know generally when I ovulate. I have very strong secondary signs (ovulatory pain, among others). "Perfect" timing didn't work the last few months. A little bit of calm might.

And now, a list of things I'm happy about, even though we couldn't have sex at the right time this month:

- I'm glad my husband had a good weekend catching up with one of his closest friends, whom he rarely sees.

- I'm glad my husband and I are communicating openly about our worries and feelings about trying to conceive.

- I'm glad I have an opportunity to be a loving, supportive, and nurturing wife right now, which is more important that seizing every possible baby-making opportunity.

It's a beginning.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trying to Let Go; or The Wisdom of Mothers

I just got off the phone with my mom, after finally telling her about our hopes of getting pregnant and the stress I'm having over it. I share a lot with my mom usually--I've always gone to her when I'm distressed about something. These last few months of wanting to be pregnant and feeling so upset when I'm not have been so difficult to keep from her. I found myself snapping at her constantly and passing it off as general stress because I felt so burdened by my concealment of what was really troubling me.

So I'm really glad I talked to her about what's going on. She reassured me that there was nothing wrong and told me that it took over a year for her to get pregnant with me and with one of my sisters (though much less time with the other two). That after three months, it's absurd to think there could be a problem, and that I need to just (here's the dreaded word) relax.

Except she's right. I do need to relax, and I know that more than ever after last night. I'm putting so much pressure on my poor husband--unintentionally, but he feels the weight of my hopes and expectations nonetheless--that it's affecting his ability to "perform." Last night he couldn't finish. Nor could he this morning--the first time we've had a back-to-back like that.

I feel just terrible that he's psyching himself out like this, that he's absorbing the intensity of my desire to get pregnant and turning it into pressure on and recriminations against himself. He and I both need to learn how to deal with our anxiety and frustration around this issue.

We don't know when we'll get pregnant. We don't know if we'll get pregnant. All we know is that we will one day be parents-whether without help, through intervention, or through adoption. I have to keep reminding myself of that fact: this is not in my control. This is not something I can plan. This is something that comes as a gift, not a reward for effort, planning, and precision.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daily Meditation; or The Wisdom of the Middle Ages

All shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of thing shall be well.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kindred Spirits; or a Happy Sort of Sad

Today I got the phone call I've been praying for and dreading at the same time. My best friend in the world is pregnant. First cycle, first try. Her husband came home from Iraq and she was knocked up within two weeks.

We live 3,000 miles away from each other, but we share everything. We even got married 1 day apart. We've talked for the last year about how much we both want to get pregnant and when we would start trying. I'm the first person she's told about the pregnancy. She hasn't even told her mom yet.

I'm thrilled for her. Legitimately, 100% thrilled. I'm happy that it was so easy. She deserves it. She and her husband are both doctors in the Navy. They were apart for 7 months while he was stationed in Iraq. She was up for deployment herself sometime next year if she didn't get pregnant. I am so glad this happened like this. I'm so glad this could be easy for her.

But I'm... I'm sad too. I don't want things to be harder for her, I want them to be easier for me. We've always talked about having kids the same age who would be best friends, just like we are. I'm afraid that now that I know she's pregnant, I'm going to be even crazier about my time-tables and deadlines.

The good thing is 1) she's a doctor and 2) she knows all about my getting-pregnant wackiness. So in the midst of a long, happy phone call all about her symptoms, and how she found out, and the names they like, and who they're telling when, I also asked her if it was normal for it to take longer, like it is with me. And we both finished the phone call saying that I'll be pregnant sometime in the next 6 months.

I just hope I get to join her on the other side, as one of the pregnant ladies soon. And I'm scared I won't.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It Starts...; or The Wisdom of Earplugs in Crowds

I've heard about all the unsolicted "advice" pregnant women/infertile women/mothers get from "well-meaning" friend and acquaintances. Very few people even know I'm trying to get pregnant, but I guess because I'm of child-bearing age, I'm fair game for this sort of thing.

I went to a sip and see last night to meet the baby of a college friend who was visiting from out of town. Another former sorority sister (lets call her X) was there with her baby and her husband. I like X very much, although we're not close. Her husband I can take or leave (if I'm honest, mostly leave).

Both babies are around 3-4 months old, so of course we started chatting about adjusting to being a mom and giving birth and all that jazz. The other women present were not mothers, but we're all in our late-twenties/early-thirties and were genuinely interested.

Somehow I got into a conversation with X about the hospital in Manhattan where she gave birth that led into a slag-fest against another NY hospital...where my gynocologist delivers. "Change doctors," X advised immediately, as they went on to describe how this hospital "kills babies" (those were literally the words her charming husband used).*

I love my gyn. It took me years to find her. I have never liked a doctor as much as I like her. The thought of switching away from her breaks my heart. The thought of giving birth in some third-rate hospital where babies' heads are crushed by forceps gives me nightmares. And I'm not even pregnant!

My husband was furious. He felt like this was just an example of "I know better than you" superiority (all too common in NYC). He knows how much I love my doctor. He knows how anxious I get about anything baby-related. He knows I'm going to start stressing about this, when (I repeat) there's no reason to because I'M NOT PREGNANT YET.

I'm seriously considering going back on anti-anxiety meds, except I'm worried about the effect of them on my non-existent fetus. Maybe I should just learn to practice selective deafness.

* This is not some scary inner-city hospital. Sarah Jessica Parker freaking delivered here. It doesn't have the "best ranked NICU" in Manhattan, but it's also not dog-shit.