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

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.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The In-Between Place; or Dante in Brooklyn

If pregnancy (or motherhood) is heaven and infertility is hell, I'm definitely in purgatory. Waiting. Perpetually waiting. Waiting to see two lines on a pee stick. Waiting to tell my parents and in-laws (and husband!) the great news. Waiting for my period to come a day late, for God's sake.

I'm generally a patient person, but I hate indeterminacy. I hate being in purgatory.

I haven't even been waiting all that long. We've been trying to get pregnant for three months, since March. I just started the fourth cycle. Already I'm seeing how this wait can grind a person down. The perpetual mental calculations as each cycle ends and the next one begins are crazy-making. ("So now I'm aiming for a March baby, and if it works this time, I'll be this pregnant on x date and this many months post-partum on y, and I'll have this many cycles left to conceive a '29' baby instead of a '30' " etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum).

And then there's Park Slope, my lovely Brooklyn neighborhood. Full of little cafes and cute boutiques and pretty trees and a big park and lovely brownstones we can't afford and a sweet little two-bedroom 1 bath w. fireplace and washer/dryer that we can.

And babies. And toddlers. And families. On the street, in the park, in the restaurants, in my building.

We moved here because of the families. We moved here because we knew we would soon start our own.

And now...we wait...