Sunday, January 27, 2008

the good and the hard

I was awake in bed last night, thinking that despite my book knowledge and the wisdom of friends, there are some things that I just never knew about being pregnant. I don't know if "they" told me, and I just didn't listen, or if I just never knew.

  1. Pregnancy hurts. Okay, it may be a no-brainer, and I knew it wouldn't be comfortable, and yes I believed my friends when they had various complaints during their pregnancies. But for some reason, I wasn't expecting *everything* to hurt. My hips, my butt, my feet, my abdomen, my back... It's not severe pain most of the time (round ligaments kill when I cough sometimes, and sciatica is not fun), and it's totally bearable at this point. I just didn't expect it.

  2. Sleep depravation starts long before baby arrives. And it makes you mean. Between the heartburn and the joint pain and the restless legs and having to pee, I'm fortunate if I get three hours in a row every night. Some people call it "practice" for when the baby comes, but wouldn't it make more sense for Mother Nature to let me sleep now, since I'll never ever be able to sleep again once the baby gets here?

  3. The pain of IF does not magically go away. This one is probably the biggest surprise. I thought - and many people told me - that it wouldn't matter anymore once I was pregnant. That *how* I got pregnant, and the months of tears, and the pain of being infertile, would be healed once I was pregnant. Bologna. Yes, pregnancy goes a LONG way towards healing all of that. And maybe once I hold my baby it will heal even more. But I am still bitter over the fact that it took us so long. That it seems to come so easy for others. That conception took place after a catheter of sperm and a sterile examining table, instead of a romantic dinner and candle light. Okay, okay, so it wasn't all romance and candles even at the beginning. But it was an option. And I had no trouble feeling like a woman. It became a struggle and a conscious effort to keep reminding myself that my womanhood was not based on my fertility. And I am still dealing with the ramifications of that, and probably will in one form or another for the rest of my life. Especially if I have daughters who have to deal with this same thing. Or my son, even - science still doesn't know how what causes PCOS affects males. How ironic, to pass infertility down to my children...

  4. I am now one of "them." For the most part, those who know me know what I've gone through to get here, and are able to celebrate with me. But I remember seeing random pregnant women out there, and hurting. I remember hating some of them for no better reason than they were pregnant and I wasn't. I remember the tears streaming down my face as I typed a congratulatory message to someone on the board - genuinely happy for them, heart broken that it still wasn't my turn yet. I remember politely asking someone how it was going, and being subjected to her going on and on and on about how great and wonderful and miraculous it was. Or worse, hearing a long list of complaints, when all I could think to myself was, "I'd change places with you in a heartbeat, you ungrateful woman." And yes, I had my favorites who could complain or gush without end, and I was right there with them, and it didn't bother me. Real friends, those who struggled themselves and somehow, in my mind, "earned" the right to be pregnant. But yes, sometimes I was just being polite. And now... I'm afraid of becoming one of them. In a lot of ways, I already am. I can't help it - I'm out of the TTC club and into the Mommy club. And that's wonderful, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I don't want to lose that part of me who understands. Who gets it. Who knows that, when a friend who's TTC just can't deal with talking to me or hanging out with me, it has NOTHING to do with me. It has EVERYTHING to do with just how much a prolonged TTC process can hurt, and take its toll on the strongest of us. But I also don't want to forget that there are those still on the other side who genuinely care about what happens to me, and want to know what's going on. It's a fine line between sharing enough, and sharing too much. And I want to learn how to walk that line, out of respect for those who still are where I was for so long.

  5. You never really feel "safe" in pregnancy. There is no magic cutoff date when everything is guaranteed to go perfectly from then on. I'll read a story of someone who lost her baby at 10 weeks, and when I pass 10 weeks I feel a sense of relief. Until I read about the woman who lost her baby at 16 weeks. And so on. I have had a sense from the beginning that this baby is here to stay. I didn't worry when the doctor kept saying, "Let's not get excited just yet, we have to see what happens..." I knew that this was my baby, and it was here to stay, and God wouldn't let me go through all of that to get to where I am now, only to take it all away from me. Then, I follow a friend through even more invasive measures to get pregnant, with even more at stake, and have to watch her lose her joy just a few days later. And I realize, there are no guarantees. This is precious, and it could be lost at any moment. I still don't believe it will be - I can't let myself believe that. But in a realistic world, it is always a possiblity. So it's hard sometimes to just relax and enjoy it all. The only way I can think to describe it is like someone who lived through the Great Depression. My grandfather survived the Depression, and ended up having quite a bit of money later in life. But he never stopped hoarding essentials, or pinching pennies. He never seemed completely comfortable that those times wouldn't return. He usually seemed to enjoy his life, and was very generous and giving to all of us, but I'd see glimpses of what that time did to him. It left its mark. In a way, that's what this is like.

There are wonderful things I didn't expect, either. How much I'd fall in love with someone who was barely 2" big. How I'd cry the first time I heard the heart beat. How protective I'd become, willing to do anything to protect this little person inside me. The wonder of feeling him move for the first time, the joy of picking out colors and decor for his room, the way I just can't seem to stop smiling whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in profile in a store front window. Despite the aches and pains and issues I'm dealing with, I love being pregnant, and I'll do it again given the chance. What they DID tell me was that it was all worth it, and they were right on that one. Everything is worth it. No question about it. And the good FAR outweighs the difficult. But both the good and the hard make up pregnancy. And that's something I keep learning day by day.

Friday, January 25, 2008

belly o' love

When I was in college, I had a friend who was large. Everything about him was big - he was tall and wide, he had a big booming voice, his personality was huge, and he had a heart of gold. He also had a big belly, and referred to it as The Belly O' Love. He'd stick it out, rub it, and grin. He not only seemed secure in who he was, what he was doing, and what he looked like, he seemed proud of who he was becoming. He got along with everyone, probably because he got along with himself so well.

Me, well, I've never been one to be proud of my belly. Most of my shopping time has been spent looking for clothes that "hide, disguise, and slenderize." Dark colors. Vertical lines. Certain cuts. Anything to flatter a figure I have never been proud of. (Okay, once, in high school when I was dating a skinny guy and starved myself so I would look good in my prom dress. I liked the way I looked then. But it didn't last - as soon as I let myself eat again, I plumped right back up.)

Today is a different story. I am not only okay with the fact that my tummy is getting larger, I am proud of the fact. I'm still the plus-size woman I have always been. But I can't suck it in anymore, and there's more of it out there now, and I find nothing but joy in that. I wear clothes that accentuate my blossoming form. I walk around with my shoulders back, standing straight - not just because my back hurts and it helps to stand up straight, but because I enjoy the fact that it makes my belly stand out more (and it does help my back, and helps me keep my balance, which is growing more and more precarious). I catch sight of myself in profile in a store window, and instead of cringing with the familiar thought, "Oh geeze, is that *me*?!" I look at it and think, "Oh geeze! That's ME!"

Everything about me is getting bigger, and in a world where small is in, that would ordinarily cause me to stock up on baggy clothes and hide from the general public. But I worked hard for this belly. It truly was a labor o' love. And by gum, I'm going to be proud of it!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

don't know why

Sometimes I just don't have a fucking clue what God is doing. I'm fine, but a friend of mine is in a lot of pain right now, pain that seems like it could have very simply been avoided.

After the heartache and trials of TTC, she finally became pregnant on a last-shot IVF. She's been so thrilled all week. We all celebrated with her. I prayed for this so hard and so long for her, and it was pure joy to see that she made it. But yesterday, her beta was 13 and today the digital test says "not pregnant."

It just seems cruel to me. Why even let her have what she wanted for so long, just to take it away? What possible good can come of this? So what if now she knows she and her husband can get pregnant - she now has to deal with the loss of m/c on top of the pain of TTC, and coming to the end of her options, and feeling like she's running out of time. I still believe she can have a happy ending to this horrible journey of hers, but now she has one more wound to overcome.

I sure hope God knows what He's doing. Because I don't have a fucking clue.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

NT test, heartbeat, and more

Well, we had what the doctor called a "First Trimester Test" today. It was an ultrasound where they took a bunch of measurements, and they did a blood test, to see if there are any genetic anomolies going on. I'm not really worried about it at all - I just wanted to see the baby again. ;-)

So it went well, baby is right on target size-wise. At one point, the doctor turned on the mic and we heard the heartbeat for the very first time! He said, "I'm sorry it's not that great, there's a lot of static..." I just burst into tears and said, "Are you kidding? It's wonderful! It's the first time we've heard it!" Wow. I can't even explain. Just... Wow.

Then he says to us, "So, do you want to know the gender?" He said that "officially" he could only tell us with 80% accuracy, but he got a pretty good shot between the legs and "it's pretty obvious." So, we're having...

...a Baby Boy!

I am so thrilled! I have wanted a boy ever since I can remember. When my accupuncturist told me we were having a girl (based on my pulse, I guess), I was a little sad about it. Not that I wouldn't love a little girl just as much. I was more sad at the thought of NOT having a boy, than of having a girl. And whenever I imagine myself with my kids, I see boys. I always have, ever since I can remember.

So overall it was a great appointment! I have pictures, my computer is still acting wonky, but I *think* I'll be able to put them up this weekend.

What a difference one week makes. I'm suddenly in the 2T. My m/s is all but gone. And I'm starting to need maternity clothes. My mom says that us French women tend to show early - she started showing at about 8 weeks. Most of my shirts will work still, but I have a pair of pants on order and I'm hitting the outlet mall next weekend!

Oh, and this is the first time in I-don't-know-how-long that I've been to the doctor and been able to leave my pants on! I brought my own sheet this time and didn't even need it. The baby is big enough, and there's enough amniotic fluid now, that the tummy-cam was just fine. It was nice to meet a doctor who doesn't know what my girly bits look like. ;-)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

rejoining the book club

I did something I haven't done for about 15 or so years. I got me a library card.

I haven't been in a public library in ages. Probably since my last high school research project, whatever that was. I think it was on ancient coins. Or Emily Bronte. Either way, it's been something I haven't even thought of, and once the internet was up and running for common use, I did all my research there. took the place of checking out fiction.

But, there are a few books I want to read, and I'm not sure if I'm going to like them or not. I don't want to fork over $20 for a book that I'll think is crap. So I hopped online (of course) and discovered that our public library has a HUGE selection of books. And that I can look for them online. AND that they're open seven days a week, until 8 on two nights of the week. So I grabbed DH and we made an after-work trip downtown to see this place.

Amazing! It was HUGE! Two stories, with an information desk and computers every 10 feet where you can look up the books you want. They actually use the same online system inside the library. The last time I was in a public library, I had to use the card catalog to find a book. But here, a very nice man covered in tribal tattoos even came up to me to ask if he could help me find something. (Incidentally, this same system allows me to renew books and place books on hold from home. I'm impressed.)

Then I went downstairs. Holy moly - they have CDs! CDs didn't even *exist* last time I was in a library! DH and I stood there for a second, mouths open, not quite believing what we saw. I turned to him and asked, "So, what's to keep us from having the greatest music collection ever?" He just kind of laughed nervously and said, "I was thinking the exact same thing." Then we look over, and there's a guy at a nearby table with his laptop and a stack of CDs, just burning through them. DH checked out two CDs, and they cost 25 cents for a two week loaner period. I checked out two books. They had a two-item limit for new customers.

After, we stopped by a local Italian deli we found for meatball subs, still boggled by this library. I mean, I know it's just a library, and probably everyone else in the world knew about all the stuff that just amazed me, but it was all new to me. We're thinking this may become a two-week habit, going to the library to return our books, pick up some new ones, and stop for meatball subs (which were super yummy). DH is planning on bringing his laptop. They have wi-fi, so we may start spending hot summer days there instead of at Panera.

It's okay if you're laughing at me. I feel like a hillbilly hick venturing into the big city for the first time - "Look Pa! They gots music in them thar stacks!" DH has been bugging and teasing me for years about my resistance to going to a library. I think I've put it off for two reasons. One, the library in the town I grew up in sucked. It was a pain to find anything, books were never where they were supposed to be, and it was small. And two, there's something about the combination of white noise and the smell of books that always makes me have to pee. Oddly enough, this place didn't do that. Maybe because it felt more like a bookstore. My own little bookstore where I don't have to pay for books. Who knew?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

wait... you mean I'm *pregnant* ?!

Holy Cow! How on earth did I make it to the 2T?! It still doesn't feel real, and I've seen the baby several times, including one where s/he was waving and wriggling around. We've seen the heartbeat (though not heard it yet). I have an OB, my pants are tight, and my appetite is all cattywumpus. But I still feel like a total poser, like any day now someone is going to find out I'm just faking this and I'll be kicked out of the mommy club.

I had big plans to head out to an outlet mall about an hour away from me this weekend. But it's raining, and I'm sleepy/lazy/pregnant. So I decided to do some light shopping online, get some pants to hold me over until I "need" maternity clothes. I'm just a few weeks along, right? This isn't baby yet, the baby is too small...

My mother gave me a maternity top when she first found out I was pregnant, so I tried it on to get a feel for sizes. WOW! I took a look in the mirror, and I freakin' look pregnant! WTH?! Did some quick math - we've got about six months to get ready for this kid! I just found out I was pregnant, I'm supposed to have nine months! I was so freaked out, I called my mom. I *never* call my mom. I'm not an "I need my mommy" type.

I'm pregnant. Really and truly pregnant. I'm not just lazy and sleepy all the time - all my energy is going to growing another person inside of me! I'm not just a picky eater all of a sudden, there's a BABY in there! This is actually really for reals! Crazy...

top ten reasons I can't sleep...

  1. restless legs
  2. heartburn
  3. husband is snoring
  4. had a bad dream, creeped me out
  5. too hot with covers, too cold without
  6. can't get that damn Uno song (Xbox) out of my head
  7. cat insists on sleeping on my feet
  8. too much sleep last night? doesn't feel possible...
  9. worried about getting enough sleep
  10. our electric blanket smells like cat (just started yesterday, going to the cleaners today)

Friday, January 04, 2008

my husband the genius

No, I'm not being a smartass. He really is quite smart.

My "baby" sister had her 30th birthday shortly after Christmas. Being as it was so close to the holidays, and as my family doesn't know how to NOT do the holidays to the extreme, there was limited fundage and energy to do anything spectacular for her. Which made me sad. So I called her up to ask her what she really wanted, hoping to help her ring in 30 with style.

She said she didn't want to do anything really. Mom was making some of her favorite foods for dinner, and she wanted to just stay home and hang out with us. "But, can you bring your Wii? We can bowl, and make Dad bowl too, and it will be fun." Okay, easy enough.

So we get to the house, and DH goes to set up the Wii, and realizes he left the sensor bar at home. This is the component that sits on top of the TV and sends out IR signals so the controllers know where they are in space, so you can use them to point at the screen, bowl, golf, fight evil monsters in the land of twilight, etc.

My mom calls Toys-R-Us, but of course they don't even answer the phone. They try Radio Shack, and they don't have them. Sis is looking sad, but holding tough and saying "It's okay, don't worry about it." I, on the other hand, was about to have him drive back home for the sensor. After all, this was the ONLY thing she wanted to do to celebrate her 30th birthday!

Here's the genius part. DH sits and thinks for a minute, then out of the blue asks Sis if she has three pillar candles. Confused, she says yes and goes to get them. He sets them on top of the TV, hooks up the Wii, turns out the lights, and *bam* - the controllers work!

As it turns out, candles emit IR light. Go figure! So having three candles on the TV worked about as well as having an electronic doohicky with three IR lights in it. We had to play in the dark - as my sister said, "Just like in the olden days!" ;-) And we had to stand a little closer to the TV. But it worked, Sis got her birthday wish, and everyone was happy.

My husband. Freakin' brilliant.

By the way, this is my 100th post on this blog.