Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thanks, and OB Appointment

First, I want to thank you all so very much for the comments I received on my letter to my birth parents. It was so hard to write, and even hard to read (I cry every time). And I debated putting it on my blog. But I’ve always tried to be super honest here, and this strange little public place I call my blog has become so safe to me – because of you guys that read my words. I put this letter out there, and I was so vulnerable, not knowing what the response would be. But y’all gave me so much love and support, I can’t thank you enough. I read the letter out loud to my therapist, which was so hard. Through my sobs, I finally got it out. And I felt relief after doing this. I still don’t know what to do with my relationship with my birth parents. I’ll probably keep the one that I have with my birth mother the same – Christmas cards and pictures, although I hope to do more pictures of my little one brewing inside me. But I would like to reconnect with my birth father. Perhaps sometime this summer I can muster up the courage to call him and start talking again. We’ll see… But in the meantime, I’m so happy to have all of you in my life, standing beside me as I work through all these things in my life. Thank you.

I had an OB check-up today. It was my first visit without an ultrasound, and it definitely wasn’t as cool. He did the Doppler, and the little one is still alive and has a heartbeat – 145 today. Although I could have told you that – the Doppler at home told me so! I told someone at work that I was having an appointment, and he asked me how it went. I think he was a little surprised when I responded happily, “The baby is still alive!” I forget that other people, normal people, just assume that the baby keeps living. But when you have gone to an appointment and the doc tells you that your baby is no longer living, it’s no longer a given, is it? Even if the Doppler at home picked up the heartbeat, it makes a world of difference for me to have a doctor tell me it’s true.

I asked the OB about traveling in August. We would like to go visit family and friends in Denver, and people keep asking about having a shower for me there. I can’t go any earlier than August for work reasons, so I asked the doc. Originally we had planned on driving there, as I have a bit of a fear of flying while pregnant. I didn’t before, but in my last pregnancy, one week my baby was alive, and the next he wasn’t. During that week, I took a flight for a wedding. I know in my head that flying had nothing to do with my baby dying, but I may not always be the most rational, especially when it comes to being pregnant. So I asked the doc what he preferred me to do: fly for 2 ½ hours, drive 18 hours, or stay home. He said I should definitely fly, and it will be fine then. I’ll be right at the beginning of my 3rd trimester, and he said there’s no reason why I shouldn’t fly. I should get up at least once during the flight, but it should be easy. He said that driving isn’t contra-indicated, but he will tell me to stop every 1 ½ hours and walk around for at least 15 minutes. Which would make a trip super long. And he said I’ll be very uncomfortable. So we’re following his advice and booking a flight to Denver. But I’m still scared to get on a plane. Hopefully I’ll get over my fear by then.

My next appointment isn’t for another four weeks. I haven’t yet gone two weeks without an appointment, so I’ve been very lucky, but there’s no reason for an appointment any sooner – everything is going very well. The best news is my next appointment is the anatomy scan – we get to find out the sex of the baby!!! On a side note, did you hear about the family in Canada who is raising their child to be gender neutral? Nobody outside the family and the midwives that delivered the baby knows the sex. Interesting idea, but I think it’s a little too weird!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two Years Ago

Two years ago, I married the hubs. It was our dream wedding. We had 45 of our family and friends go to The Bahamas with us to celebrate. Here is the wedding ceremony:

After the wedding:

Here is our cake. We had gone to Sweden the year before, visited the hubs' family, and I fell in love with these Dala horses:

We hired an amazing band, and we danced all night. It rained during the reception (note the hubs' wet and rolled up pants), but we didn't let silly rain interrupt our plans - it didn't rain at all during the ceremony:

I wish we were back in The Bahamas, but we have plans to return with some of our guests for our 5-year anniversary. I had such a good time that day, we did exactly what we wanted to do, and we had the best wedding I have ever been to! But none of the stuff like the flowers and the chairs and the band really mattered - all I wanted to do was marry the hubs, and that was the best part.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Letter to My Birth Parents

My therapist gave me homework, and I usually don’t do my homework. Just like when I was in school, it always seems like I have something better to do. But I have a lot of anxiety about being a parent given all my history, so we’re trying to work through some stuff, so I thought I should do this. She asked me to write a letter to my birth parents, focusing on my feelings and explaining them. I don’t have to send it, and I probably won’t, actually I know I won’t, but here it is. I’m going to read her my letter tonight, and we’ll talk about it – wish me luck. As a bit of a background, I wasn’t adopted until four years old, bounced between my birth mother and foster homes for the first four years, birth father was involved – both were alcoholics and drug addicts. I have been trying to establish a relationship with my birth father for awhile, but I asked to stop talking in December during my first IVF cycle. I don’t talk with my birth mother except for exchanging Christmas cards.

Dear T (birth father) and M (birth mother),

I guess I should have started out by saying thank you. I know you both care about me a lot, and you did what you thought was best by giving me up for adoption. You also could have chosen to not have me at all, so I thank you for my life. Unlike a lot of adoptees, I know for a fact that you truly wanted me. You tried to keep me, and you tried for a long time. Also, you have both been very respectful of my feelings in our interactions as an adult, and I thank you for that. I have so many feelings about you both, and this is my attempt to explain myself.

I’m angry at both of you. I don’t understand why you couldn’t have figured out how to be sober earlier. Both of you got your lives together eventually, why couldn’t you try to be sober and able to take care of a child when you actually had a child? M, I think based on my calculations, that you got sober around the time you were pregnant with your second child, my younger sister. Why was she worth getting sober and I wasn’t? I’m also angry that I never have met my sister – I would have liked having a sister, I always wanted one.

I’m also angry that you didn’t give me up for adoption earlier. I read these studies about so many things developing early in a child’s life, and I think about being homeless and hungry, and going to 18 foster homes prior to adoption, and all the stuff I don’t know. I’m sure there are so many things that happened in those four years, that thankfully I can’t remember, that weren’t good for me, for any child. If you would have realized that you couldn’t take care of me earlier, maybe I would have been better, maybe I wouldn’t have the abandonment issues, and all the other stuff. I know you tried, that you wanted to keep me and raise me, but I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I didn’t have the first four years that I did.

I feel guilty. Everyone tells me I shouldn’t, but I still do. I feel very guilty about not putting more of an effort into having a relationship with you now. Growing up, I figured I would become an adult, and then I would be strong enough to have relationships with both of you. But then I grew up, and I never became strong enough. I’ve tried, somewhat, but it’s so very hard.

T, you are making such an effort. You call me every month, or at least you did until I asked you to stop (I’m sorry), and you try to find things over which we can relate. You keep talking about music, and sending me videos and CD’s of you playing your instruments, and encouraging me to play the piano again. I keep saying I might, but here’s the truth: I don’t want to. Piano hasn’t been in my life for years, and I have no desire to play it. We are completely different people. You are into your music and other creative things. I am a business woman, I read the WSJ, I like numbers, and I’m not creative. You don’t understand my life at all, and I don’t understand your life. And that has to be ok – we’re not going to find some great thing in common. Maybe when (if) we start talking again, I will have the guts to explain this to you, but then what are we going to talk about in our awkward conversations?

M, I feel so guilty on behalf of my parents. You say, and I believe you, that they were supposed to keep in contact with you, and you were supposed to be able to see me occasionally. This didn’t happen, and I’m sorry. I would ask my parents why this didn’t happen, but there really is no point. It just happened. Perhaps you were too drunk for the first few years after my adoption to follow up, but when you sobered up, you couldn’t find me, and I’m sorry for this. When I was about 22 years old, I found your phone number on the internet, and I called you. I acted like a telemarketer, and I asked you questions. I asked if you had children, and you said yes, you have one child, a daughter that is 12. And then I hung up. I was sad that you said you only had one child – what about me? Of course I realize that you wouldn’t tell some random telemarketer that you had a child that you gave up for adoption, but it still hurt to hear you say you only had one child. I was excited though to find out I had a sister.

M, when you tracked me down and called me a few years later, I was so excited to hear from you. But then I heard the sadness and guilt in your voice, and it was too much for me to handle. I’m so sorry for not responding well to your attempt at initiating a relationship. Right now, all we do is exchange Christmas cards, and I feel so guilty about this. I always had a vision in my head of going to see you (and T, separately of course) with my child, and introducing you to your grandchild. Then we would have a distraction, and something to talk about. I hope I can do this someday.

Trying to have a child, and having such a hard time doing so, has brought up some strange feelings about both of you. T, I know you were confused when I asked to stop talking. It was just so hard, and I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough. Here I am, doing everything in my power to have a child, and you walked away from your child – from me. I don’t understand this. How can I relate to you both, knowing that you didn’t want what I yearn for more than anything? Like I said, for some reason I have always thought that once I was a mother, I would be stronger, and I would be able to see you both. But now I’m afraid that this won’t be true. What if I see my child, and feel the emotions that I know I’ll have, and be able to relate to you even less? What if having a child makes me even angrier at you?

I don’t know how to end this, or how to help our relationships. I only know that I’m hurting, and I really hoped that I would be over this hurt by now. Thirty-two years have passed since I went to my parents, and I’m still struggling with a lot of things, including what my relationship with you should look like. I would really like to have more of a relationship, and I would love for you to know your future grandchild. I can’t promise anything, but I can hope.

Monday, May 16, 2011

2nd trimester - and request for advice for a friend

First I wanted to say I can’t believe I’m in my 2nd trimester. I was 14 weeks on Saturday, and by any of the books, I’m now in the 2nd trimester (why do they disagree, by the way?)! I can’t believe I’m actually at this point. Throughout all the treatments, and the months of not getting pregnant, and the losses, I always wondered if it would ever happen for me. And although I’m still not convinced, there’s starting to look like there’s a good chance that there will actually be a baby at the end of this road. Unbelievable! I’ve had a lot of weird moments lately like this. I was complaining to my therapist last week about the hubs and how he’s not helping out around the house, and what is he going to be like when we have a kid, and I was getting really upset. She asked me, “do you think that you’re no longer as worried about actually having the baby, that you’re starting to worry about bringing a baby home?” That struck me… Um yes, it never really occurred to me that I might have to worry about a BABY! Suddenly I’m thinking about things like sleep schedules, and maternity leave, and daycare, and I should probably figure out something about breastfeeding, and how we’re actually going to do this, and honestly, it’s a little scary – good, but scary. Once I realized what was going on in my crazy head, I started to relax. I can do this. I WANT to do this – more than anything. I’m going to have a BABY, and it’s going to be wonderful! (Oh I hope there’s going to be a baby…)

Things have been going pretty good in the pregnancy front. The 2nd trimester is definitely shaping up to be better than the 1st. From the anxiety levels decreasing, to no more nausea (mostly), to sleeping a little better, all things are looking up. I went to the doc on Friday to have my cervix checked, as I had a LEEP about ten years ago. It measured great – 3.6 cm. He said anything over 2.5 is good, so no cerclage. I’m starting to look bigger, which I’m doing pretty well with (mostly). I went to a maternity store for the first time on Saturday, and I loved it. I had so much fun shoving that pillow in my pants, looking at my future big belly, it was like playing dress up as a child. But now it’s for real! And maternity pants could be the best thing ever. For the first time in weeks, I’m super comfortable at work…

I had a really stupid pregnancy moment this weekend, or at least I’m blaming it on pregnancy – there’s no way I could be this forgetful, right? For the first time in my entire life, I ran out of gas. Seriously, I’m driving along, and it just stopped. Thank goodness I had just exited from the highway and was close to home so the hubs could bring me gas. Who does this? I’m almost 36 years old, and I run out of gas???

Last weekend in Austin was fun. I successfully hung out with everyone, and didn’t get upset at their drunkenness or anything. The day we got there, my friend, the woman who had said I talked about TTC too much, got a call from her gyno recommending Clomid. They have been TTC since October, and it’s not working. She has consistent 6-week cycles. The gyno tested her for a bunch of stuff, but because she has 6-week cycles, and the day 21 progesterone test was low, the doc concluded that she’s not ovulating, and therefore needs Clomid. My friend was not happy. Through tears at a concert, she told me, “No offense, but I don’t want to take fertility drugs.” I feel so bad for her. I asked if she had charted at all, and she hasn’t – her doc told her it wouldn’t work since she works nights. Also, she hasn’t used ovulation kits. I told her before she did the Clomid, to try charting for a few months. As long as she’s sleeping for longer than 4 hours at a time, I think charting could work. Maybe she has a normal, ovulating, 6-week cycle. This is possible, right? Also, I told her to stock up on the OPK’s. I sent her my Taking Charge of Your Fertility book to teach her about charting, but do you ladies have any other advice? Is it possible to have an ovulating 6-week regular cycle? Also, could it take more than 8 months to get everything to work after going off BCP’s? She keeps blaming the pill for her wonky cycles, but it should be good by now if she went off in September, right? I don’t want to give her false hope, but if she’s really against meds, then maybe she should do some other things first, right?

One more thing – wanted to give a bit of a warning. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the book Sing You Home from Jodi Picoult – it’s fiction about infertility. I’m always looking for something good to read, so I downloaded it yesterday and started reading it before bed. I only made it through the first chapter I think, and although I will probably continue it another day, I do not recommend it to a pregnant woman. Or maybe even some women that aren’t yet pregnant. I don’t know – you have to be in a decent state of mind to start this book. Reading about how the main character lost her baby at 28 weeks (I’m not spoiling it – this is how the story begins!) is NOT GOOD. I was crying before bed, and then had the worst dreams ever. I kept waking up, afraid of losing my baby. I’m feeling better today, but I may need to read something else tonight. Something light and happy perhaps!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

NT Scan Results

Great news! My baby scored “Normal”! The nurse was trying to get off the phone after telling me that, but she didn’t realize she was dealing with an infertile with a penchant for numbers. I wanted specifics! She sounded confused, and then started reading results, and then I got to the good stuff. For Trisomy 21 (Down’s), the chance is down from about 1:250 for a 36 year old (next month – blah…) to 1: 4,361! And for Trisomy 13 and 18, it’s 1: 7,681!!! These are better than a 20 year old!

I’m hoping this news makes me feel like a 20 year old this weekend – I’m in for an exhausting one, and I’m having a hard enough time keeping my eyes open with my normal life. The hubs has picked up his BFF and his wife from the airport, and they’re at the bar waiting for me. Then we’re off to Jimmy Buffet concert tonight. Then we’re getting in the car tomorrow to go to Austin, and then headed to 6th Street tomorrow night, which if you’ve been to Austin, is the place to party… And then Saturday we’re headed to New Braunfels where the three of them will go tubing down the river with their beer cooler in a tube. Then a concert that night too! I’ve booked a massage during the tubing time. Sounds like they’re living their college days, doesn’t it! My goals for the weekend are to not act too tired, don’t get too grumpy, and be a good sport. Wish me luck!

Oh, and not bring up trying to get pregnant. The wife is the person who said I talked about TTC too much. Plus I know she’s trying, so I will not be the obnoxious pregnant girl either! I hate to say it, but I’m not looking forward to this weekend…

Monday, May 2, 2011

NT Scan – 12 weeks!

I had my NT scan on Friday, one day prior to reaching 12 weeks. 12 weeks – can you believe it? I certainly can’t! I’m almost in the 2nd trimester – unbelievable! Every day, I feel like pinching myself – I can’t believe I’m this far along in my pregnancy! Anyway, back to the scan – it went well. Little baby was sleeping most of the scan, so it took awhile to do the scan as they couldn’t get a good measurement of the nuchal fold, but baby finally woke up, and there was a measurement of 1.3 mm. My understanding is that anything under 2 mm is good, so I’m relieved. Also, there was a nasal bone, so that’s a good sign as well. Baby looked good – like a real baby! The heartbeat was strong at 156 bpm, everything was great!

We then went to see the doctor after the ultrasound, and he wanted to do a full exam including pap smear and breast exam, which was a little weird in front of the hubs, I have to admit. Not that he hasn’t seen a bunch of docs hanging out in my nether regions before throughout the whole IVF process, but still it was a little weird. For me – the hubs didn’t seem to care less! But everything looks good. I asked the doc about my LEEP procedure that I had about 10 years ago, and he scheduled me for a cervix measurement at 14 weeks. He said that my cervix felt and looked good and long, but he wanted me to have a precise measurement at 14 weeks to make sure it was long enough, as a LEEP can shorten the cervix. If it’s not long enough, I’ll get a cerclage as a preventive measure. I’m just happy to have another ultrasound in two weeks! I should get the blood results by the end of this week, at which point they’ll tell me my risk of trisomial issues, but I think it will come back fine.

After the doctor’s appointment on Friday, I was feeling so good about my baby – like this might actually happen – that I came out of the closet at work. There were some people that suspected because they knew I was going through fertility treatments. But there were some that were truly surprised. And everybody was so nice. And I found myself telling people I never thought I would tell that I did IVF. It never really was a secret, as I told many people. But I never thought that I would admit to everyone that I did it! But when people start asking specific questions about due dates (I’m pretty sure it will be at the beginning of November as I will be induced because of the Lovenox), and how many ultrasounds I’ve had (lots – love the fertility early monitoring), and whether it was an accident or if we were trying (seriously? why do people ask this?), I found myself explaining that I did IVF. I have this overriding desire for people to know that we really WANTED this baby, and that I’m scared, not just assuming that everything will be fine. I’m very comfortable with my decision to tell people about IVF – I may not be putting myself out there on Facebook (you know how many random people in my life are “friends” with me on FB?) but at least I’m open and honest in my real life. I guess it makes me feel better to tell people, and be open for questions. I wonder sometimes how it will be taken, but so far, so good. Granted, it’s been with about five people… Have to start somewhere!