Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Something to Hold Onto

I spent the earlier parts of this pregnancy hoping fervently that it would continue, and carefully - very carefully - trying to avoid tempting the fates. In some ways it’s a Jewish superstition thing - like flaunting something before you have it will tempt the evil eye. In some ways, it’s just me being afraid to publicly announce this fabulous thing for fear that it all falls apart and I’m left with good wishes for something that isn’t any longer.

And so I rejected offers of baby showers. “No thank you,” said I, “We’re not planning to have a shower before the babies are born.” We’ll wait, we thought. We don’t need so much stuff before the babies are born. We have a few things, it will be fine.

And yet...

And yet...

The room - the, um, nursery - has not yet been painted and needs a carpet. We don’t have a changing table or cribs. (We have a mini-crib that will go in our room for the first bit of time, so I’m not actually worried about the cribs, but still...) We have some outfits - mostly bought at garage sales and consignment stores, with a few absolutely irresistable things from Old Navy (and a shipment from Children’s Place on the way). We have yet to register (though I have lists - oh, do I have lists).

I feel a weird combination of thrill and guilt when I try to move forward on the plans and preparations. And it’s mixed with something else - a kind of sadness. I was afraid to take these steps too soon, and now I can’t do much of anything, and I’m so sad. I feel like after all this craziness, I’m losing the opportunity to stand quietly in the nursery (no “um” here) and fondle the cute things and fantasize about what it’s going to be like. And it’s my own fault for being afraid to act sooner.

We have plans to go register this week - special dispensation if I do it in a wheelchair and try not to be up and out too long. And I know family and friends will send stuff, even without the official occasion of a shower (which we’d started to reconsider right before the bedrest hit). But I’m so scared that if we don’t get it together REALLY soon that I’m going to miss this, too. I’m not so much worried about the babies right now (at least, not in this particular momentary freak-out), but I’m terrified that something will happen that will land me on medicated, full, mind-numbing, no-outings bedrest, and I won’t get to put clothes in drawers. And it makes me so sad.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Knowing and Telling

28 week update: Apparently, my cervix is back to it’s normal, lengthy self. The peri actually spent some time pointing out how nice it was (though without all those flattering adjectives), and why he was pleased, and illustrated with his hands (how when I bear down, my cervix compresses, but doesn’t open). So, all’s well on the cervical front. I’m still on bedrest, but I have permission for a weekly outing (”as long as you’re not going on a 4 mile walk,” he said. Ha!). So that’s good news all around.


While we were in the waiting room (because the peri was running 45 minutes late - not unusual) another patient came in who was huge - bigger than I am. Turns out, she’s the surrogate for our new friends G & V. Which we learned because G walked in to the waiting room just after huge-preggo-woman. So we chatted with the two of them for a while (they had the appointment after mine, so it was going to be a while...)

We were talking with G about various childbirth and prep classes (since last time we saw them was at the infant CPR class) and it occured to me that in a room of pregnant women, she regularly introduces herself as “expecting twins by way of a surrogate.” Now, the other day I had a long conversation with my mom about “telling” and about which people get which information (ranging from the fact that we’re having twins, to due dates, to the vague mention that we had some help, to more detailed info about IVF). What I have, in contrast to G, is the luxury of privacy. (At least when my mom isn’t telling people whatever she’s telling them...) I can choose to tell people as much or as little about how these twins came to be as I want. And I do. Mostly, I don’t bring up the IVF. People ask if twins run in the family, and I answer (not really, though there are some). But unless it seems like the person might be going through infertility or have some other knowledge of the topic, I don’t generally expand on our methods of conception. As I said to my mom, for the most part, you wouldn’t tell people what position you were in if you conceived the “old fashioned” way (if you even knew), so why would it automatically be anyone’s business how we conceived?

On the other hand, it’s not something I’m hiding. When I think it’s appropriate, I share varying degrees of information. One example: When J told people at work that we were expecting, and expecting twins, mostly they gave the standard responses (Do you know the genders? Do twins run in the family? Oh my god, twins!). But one woman asked if we’d been trying long. See, there’s a flag - that she thought to ask meant she had a clue. So he told her, yes. And yes, we had help. And they had a chat about this woman’s secondary infertility and how she only has one child (which we knew - he’s 17 or 18 now). Another example: The other day I was sitting in my neighbor’s kitchen chatting with her when her DIL and the DIL’s sister came over to drop off the grandson for the night. And they mentioned that they knew someone who had just had twins - with an egg donor. And it seemed like the next step in the conversation was how lucky we were not to have done that or something. So I said something vague about having had some help. No details for them, but I didn’t want them to have the mistaken notion that this was an easily achieved pregnancy.

I don’t know who else knows, really. Most of my school colleagues don’t, except for one who also did IVF. (More people know about hers, but then, she’s single so people were going to know there was some intervention there anyway. Plus she needed more support during the cycle. My hats are off to people who do IVF on their own - I can’t even imagine. But I digress.) My work colleagues don’t, except for one who has 10 year old B/G twins, and when I told her I was having twins, she told me about her pregnancy complications and the fact that she’d done IVF. So she knows. Some of my mom’s friends know. And of course, I have no idea who else my in-laws or my parents have told, or who has pieced it together. I mean, I wasn’t being vocal about it, but nor was it this huge secret. It just was.

So what’s the point of all this? I don’t know, really. I think on the one hand that infertility is this taboo subject, and I wish more people could/would talk openly about it (coughJuliaRobertscough. And on the other hand, how I conceived my children isn’t necessarily a topic of public conversation. So at times I feel like I’m walking a fine line between being too open and too secretive - between having my own private life, and being an ambassador for those that can’t speak out for whatever reason.

I would have thought this would end with the pregnancy, but I suspect that walking around with non-identical twins will continue to elicit (likely obnoxious and ill-informed) questions and comments, both about the twins in general, and about how I “got” them. And I don’t know what I’m going to say.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Neither here nor there

I meant to post something profound on Mother’s Day, something about how it’s different this year, or not, or whatever. And I just couldn’t do it. In some ways it IS different. At our family gathering, people gave me Mother’s Day cards. (J, thankfully, saved his for a more private time.) I wasn’t the one doing the setup/cleanup as I have been in years past.

Maybe this is the source of my ambivalence: one time, several years ago, after my mother and my aunt were the primary worker-bees while some new, young, non-mom extended-family-members just sat around, my mom made a request that the non-moms be responsible for Mother’s Day. Which made sense at the time, sorta, though every year that I was again a non-mom through no choice of my own it sucked more. Especially last year when we decided to just skip Mother’s Day all together. But this year I wanted to see my mom and my grandma, and so we went.

And it felt weird. Weird to be considered a mom. I mean, I feel a sense of protectiveness toward the babies, and I do think of them as my babies, but that’s an internal, private sort of motherhood - not the kind you get a Hallmark card for.

Maybe it was all too much. At Monday’s ultrasound, the radiologist who reviewed the u/s shots said my cervix was “dynamic” - which sounds so positive and energetic, but really means that the length changed during the course of my wanding, which concerned them a bit. If I weren’t already on bedrest, I think that would have put me here. (In fact, the on-call doc was concerned enough to call my peri and consult with him about what they wanted me to do, which was the scariest part of the whole thing.)

Personally, I’m blaming the u/s tech, who had a very weird insertion technique for the transvag wand. As in, she sorta aimed for the wrong spot. I never thought I’d miss the people who asked me to self-insert, but after this I’d be tempted to offer.

More updates from bedrest-land to come...

Friday, May 12, 2006

It’s not that I’m pessimistic...

I’m just not surprised.

I ‘failed’ the 3 hour glucose tolerance test (and what a fun experience that was, let me tell you. Actually, let me not.) So I’m on bedrest and now I have gestational diabetes. And a whole new set of things to google. Like, what the hell can I eat for the next few days until the Diabetes in Pregnancy class? (The nurse faxed me a brief intro to the food plan, but since I can’t go to the grocery store and J is working a lot, well, I’m not really sure what to eat.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Just like a Boy Scout

Be prepared. That’s the Boy Scout motto, right? So I’m working on getting prepared.

Over the weekend, we took the hospital’s L&D tour, which was surprisingly less surreal than I’d expected. Of course, it was also less useful than I’d hoped because except for learning where we’re supposed to go (which WAS useful) it was a bunch of information that probably doesn’t apply to us. We did stay after at the end to ask a bunch of our twin-specific questions (after being the ones wanting to know where the NICU is and how soon you can go visit if the babies are in the NICU, I decided to hold back on some of my more specific questions to avoid freaking out the normal people). I’ll skip the specifics, except to say that her information contrasted with some of what I’ve been told (both by other practitioners, and by the internets), so I don’t really know what to believe. On the other hand, my inability to trust the people in the know is a bit of a liability, and I should probably work on that.*

I had a slightly better experience at the breastfeeding class last night, though I knew much of what she was saying, and was somewhat frustrated by her lack of mention of other resources for breastfeeding - like kellymom or Dr. Whatshisname in Canada - both of whom have incredibly useful web presences. (Or even the La Leche League - I guess they’re too far “out there”?) Plus there was no mention of herbs or drugs to increase milk supply, how to build a support network, or really much of anything beyond latching and why breastfeeding is a good idea. Oh, and information about pumps for people going back to work - which was probably useful (how often do you get to examine various pumps up close to get used to the idea), but I missed some of it because I had to pee. I’m hoping to trust the ‘expert’ teaching the childbirth class on Monday (should be taught by a L&D nurse, and has the potential to be the most useful, since it will hopefully be information specific to our hospital), at least long enough to get something out of it. After that, I can go back to my general mistrust. Except for my peri, whom I actually trust quite a lot. (Partially because he’s always happy to explain why he recommends whatever he’s recommending, and because they’re almost always recommendations and not edicts, as if he recognizes that I’ve got a brain in my head that is not completely fried by this whole pregnancy thing, and so it’s really my choice if I take his advice or not. So refreshing, isn’t it?)

* I had an encounter with the midwife the other day that was basically the equivalent of the nurse at an RE’s office talking about “implanting” embryos or something. Really inspires a lot of trust right there, doesn’t it?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Welcome to bedrest. Population: me.

Well, it’s official. I’ve joined the ranks of the bedresting (bedresters?). Sorta. Nothing major has happened, and I’m still allowed up a bit (I was allowed to keep two already-scheduled meetings today, in fact, hence the “sorta”). And thankfully, I’m still allowed to go to the breastfeeding class tomorrow night, and the quickie childbirth class next week. Unfortunately, I’m also being allowed forced to take the 3 hour glucose tolerance test tomorrow. Oh the fun.

I suspected this would happen, I just thought I’d have a few more weeks to wrap things up at work. And home. And psych myself up for it (or wind down, or something). So this takes a bit of adjusting.

More after I process it all.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Note to self:

It is far preferable to stay hydrated throughout the day than to have to drink 60 oz of water all at once to stop the Braxton Hicks contractions, and then spend the next hour peeing every five minutes.