Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Best and Hardest Year of My Life

Last year was my "Golden Birthday." You've probably only heard of this if the actual day of your birthday is in the second half of the month.  I hadn't heard of it until my husband mentioned it a few years ago.  Your Golden Birthday is the year in which you turn the age of your day of birth.  And it's supposed to be the best year of your life.

In imagining my "Golden Year," I probably wouldn't have scripted it the way it went.  As I turned 31 last year, I had some of idea what what was in store for me, but I couldn't have fathomed everything.

We had already been TTC a year last year on my birthday.  At this point I knew it was not going to be easy, I had started to seek medical help, I was frustrated and bitter, but not depressed about the situation.

But I had no idea how difficult and rewarding the year would actually be.  I did 3 IUIs and 1 IVF cycle.  I had more responsibility at work, which I asked for and enjoyed.  I welcomed my second nephew, but my sister's first.  I got my first dog since childhood.  (This was definitely part of the hard part! But I love her so much!)  I started blogging.  I had my first student teacher (I will not be trying that again anytime soon).  I reconnected with a lot of college friends; some through blogging, some in other ways, but I'm so happy about this!

And I got pregnant for the first and second times.  I cried a lot.  Probably more than most years.

But the amazing thing is that I felt old enough and strong enough to handle this year.  This year did not break me and I would say my relationship with my husband has just continued to get stronger (it's been about 6 years now).

I'm glad this year is over and that it held the times it did.  Well most of them, I would definitely have edited a few things out if I had been in charge of my destiny.

This year to come will probably be even harder, but in a way that I so welcome!  I'm going to learn how to take take of a newborn.  Communicate with my partner about parenting (I think we'll be good at this, but there are definitely a few things we will have to work on).  Figure out how to have a career and a child at the same time.  And how to pump at work.  (This is the part that is stressing me out the most currently.)  But I'm excited about this new challenge.  I've been hoping for it for ever and trying to make it happen for the last 2 years.

So let's go 32!

And again, thanks to all of you out there who have become a part of my life in ways small and big throughout the last year.  I could not have made it without you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Second Trimester Resolutions

I'm 15 weeks tomorrow - fully in the second trimester.  Now that I'm feeling better and things are a little bit less crazy, there are some things I need to start doing.

When my belly first started to grow, I felt like I couldn't stand up straight.  My muscles rebelled and my back ached.  All of that is starting to subside as I walk and stretch.

So resolution #1: Stretch every night.

I've been so tight everywhere.  My IT bands which I've been to physical therapy for before.  My hips...ditto.  My shoulders.  My back.  And my stomach.  Pretty much everywhere above my knees and below my head.  I spent about 10 minutes stretching last night and it felt like painful heaven.  So little stretching makes such a huge difference!  So I need to do this every night.

#2: Figure out some way to exercise.

I never considered myself an exercise fanatic, but I have been playing adult soccer for 7 or 8 years now.  I've gone between playing 1 and 3 times a week throughout those years.  I would occasionally run in between and I had also really gotten into yoga in the last year or so.

During my first trimester I really could not exercise.  I did walk some and I tried running once, but it just didn't feel right.  So I walked whenever I was allowed, but that was about it.  I know it's typical to get short of breath while pregnant, but I seriously get winded walking around the block!  I went shopping for errands last weekend for 2 hours and hit a major wall.  How am I going to teach all day in a little less than a month?

I'm thinking the plan will involve a longer walking routine along with hopefully more than 1 yoga class a week.  I'm only comfortable doing prenatal yoga, so I need to find some new studios.

#3: Start to slowly get the house ready.

I want to go slow in the nursery/registry process because I'm still nervous, but it's going to be a heck of a lot easier to get things done before school starts.  Job 1: empty out the office.  This might be the only one I actually complete, but it's a big one.  We want to put new closets in both downstairs bedrooms.  I also really want to redo one downstairs bathroom and redecorate the other, but that's just on the wish list for now.

I'm keeping the list short.

And if everything goes well at my appointment tomorrow...it's Facebook time!  I appreciated everyone's comments and everyone who said they didn't even post, but I've already told most of my close friends and my "FB friends" are pretty close too.  And I'm definitely going to include something about how long it took to reach out to anyone who is struggling.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I guess this is really real.

This is first and foremost, an infertility blog.  I started blogging to help process the struggle of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant and in the process found this amazing, huge, community.

Throughout these months, there have come and gone waves of discussion about what happens when infertility bloggers who are trying to conceive become pregnant bloggers.  I don't want to get into that side of the issue, but I want to examine a bit about what makes us different.  It's pretty cool that there are many infertility bloggers who are pregnant right now so I've been able to watch how everyone has processed it.

First, no one seems to fully engross themselves in their pregnancy.  Everyone is happy and relieved to "finally" be pregnant, but at the same time there's this sense of waiting to see when the other shoe will drop.  When will this end and go back to the miserable, unhappy time before?

Now, many of us are entering the second trimester and I'm seeing a shift.  Many of us are starting to believe that "maybe" this is real.  Quotation marks because we'll be silently waiting for viability and then counting each week past that toward full-term.

For me, it's all about my belly.  My belly is real.  I look like an obvious pregnant lady.  I'm not so self-conscious about how I look, but I am self-conscious about everyone in the public knowing that I'm pregnant.  This whole struggle has pretty much been invisible, but now, the evidence is on the outside.

And I still don't really believe it's real.  I'm getting there.  I'm thinking about the future and names and nurseries, but I'm not willing to actually get started and buy anything.  I'm still somewhat scared that it will all end in disappointment.  So there's a weird dichotomy between the physical public evidence of my belly and the truth and struggle and fear that this long journey has engendered.

Another part of it is that everyone looking at me will just think I'm just like every other pregnant lady.  But I'm not.  I'm scarred from the process and I don't want what I've been through minimized by people looking at me and asking seemingly innocuous questions.  But I'm not going to explain what I've been through to each stranger.  And I'm not going to be upset by their comments either, because I fully expect them and know they will be good-natured.  I just feel exposed now and it's weird!

I'm going public on Facebook next week.  I'm due mid-January and I've already seen announcements for March!  I'm kind of excited, but I also kind of wish I could just wait until the baby is born to actually tell people.  Does that make any sense?

How is everyone else processing their pregnancies after infertility?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We're having a.....!


We did genetic testing two weeks ago and got the results yesterday.  We wanted to wait until after our procedure to find out the gender, so we had the doctor write it on a card and as soon as we got in the car, we read that we're having a boy!

I have always wanted a girl.  But I felt that the singleton was a boy and I've really been hoping that it was.  One, for my husband.  He's ecstatic that it's a boy and is already planning out when he can teach him to golf.  Two, my sister and our good friends have just had boys.  I am so excited that our little boy will have a cousin BFF who is only 7 months older than him.  It'll be perfect.

As long as I can still have him play soccer, I'm in! : )

On our two hour ride home from the doctor we discussed names and nursery ideas and really got excited about this pregnancy for the first time.  It feels real and normal now.  I wouldn't wish the last two years, especially the last two months, on anyone, but I feel like we might be finally putting them behind us.

Thanks again to everyone for your continued support.  It's been really hard, but we're doing really well.

We're going to wait another week to make it Facebook official - we are not out of the risk zone yet, but we're so close!

1 Baby

I have to write this post because you know what is going on and otherwise there would be a rather large hole in my commentary, but I'm not looking forward to it.

I'm going to keep it short and tell you some good news in it's own post right after.  That's my plan.

We had our reduction today.  I was extremely anxious leading up to it.  There are so many different emotions swirling around inside of me but beforehand they were primarily anxiety and a little sense of doing something "bad."  Now that it's over, the anxiety has been replaced by excitement and the bad by sad.  I'm sorry these are such simple words for such complex feelings, but it's the best I can do.  I am extremely relieved that this is over and I am ready to move on.

I could go into more detail, but I really don't want to.  But I will say that the procedure was pretty brief and not very painful.  If you have any specific questions, leave your email or your question in the comments and I will definitely give you more information.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm 13 weeks...please tell my uterus that.

I really want to get back to "my" normal - posting about whatever is going on at my life at the time and processing it on here.  Some people have thought that posting regular pregnancy stuff is insensitive in light of my"decision," but it's all real stuff and it's what I'm going through.  And I'm sure some of you are curious about what a multiple pregnancy is like.  I know I probably won't be here forever, but for the past 13 weeks, I've been pregnant with multiples.

I've felt pretty horrible (physically) the last few days.  I feel a ton of pressure in my lower abdomen.  There's no real cramping exactly, but I do have the general crampiness that for me at least, is like what accompanied the beginning of my period.  I'm peeing as often as every 30 minutes.  It's pretty ridiculous!  I'm sure that I'm just not fully emptying my bladder each time, but I'm doing all I can...  I also feel like I have to hold my bump a lot, especially if I cough or sneeze.  I've even needed a little cushion underneath to support it while I sleep.

I also have been spotting the last couple of days.  This is the first spotting of my entire pregnancy, so it made me anxious to say the least.  Fortunately, all the spotting has been brown, so it's nothing fresh.  I almost went in to see the call doctor yesterday, but already had an appointment today, so I just waited.  My doc thinks it's probably just cervical irritation from my CVS procedure last week, but I also got tested for a UTI.

Everything was normal on today's ultrasound including my cervix, but the doc shocked me when she announced "your uterus is measuring 17 weeks."  Now I realize I am growing faster than normal...3 times faster at that...but I just haven't heard it put into words yet.

This is happening FAST!  I started wearing maternity clothes around 9 weeks.  But during this last week I've fully "popped" I guess you could say.  My belly is now really firm.  The whole process is so strange!  So many changes happen so fast.

Food is still the same as before.  Some things sound good, most don't.  But my biggest current issue is heartburn.  It's excruciating!  I'm working hard to try to prevent it because it is just so unpleasant and so hard to alleviate once you have it.

Today feels much better than the last 2 days, so hopefully my body is getting used to its new self.

I have been a horrible commenter on everyone else's blogs during the past few weeks.  I'm sorry and I promise to do better!

That's all for now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Results of Going Public

Most of my thoughts and responses have been mixed among the numerous comments to the last few posts, so I thought I'd lay them out here as well as some of the things I have done in response to the comments I have received.

1) I said in an earlier post that I would still have transferred 2 embryos.  I have completely changed that opinion.  There is so much data thrown at you during IVF that it kind of all blurs together.  I honestly only considered the chance of twins (i.e. both embryos taking).  I saw and heard very little about identicals except that they are very rare.  Now that I have identicals after IVF, I'm seeing that's it's much less rare, especially with twins (triplets are still extremely rare).  Although we never got a satisfactory diagnosis of our infertility, the main factor was most likely my husband's morphology.  Although I had borderline high numbers for ovarian reserve.  In that case, and because our embryos were high quality, I believe I should have been advised to only transfer one.  Really the reason I didn't is that I was totally comfortable with having twins.  I didn't think it was a huge deal.  Obviously it is.

2) I had already done a lot of the scientific side of the research.  But at the prompting of some commenters, I looked at additional personal stories.  Mainly I was looking for women who had gone through reduction and that is what I read.  Most talked about being extremely conflicted beforehand.  Some were really comfortable with their decision, for various reasons, after the fact.  Others, one in particular that I read, felt pushed into the procedure by doctors and regretted it the entire time.  I had already found and reached out to a few women in my position, but I'm glad I looked a bit further.

One woman said that in this situation, at some point, you have to think with your head, not with your heart.  This is most of the part that I have posted.  The emotions, anxiety, conversations with my husband and family...that has all happened behind the scenes.  Then I came here and described how I was feeling and how I came to my decision.  Yes, I'm straightforward in my writing.  No, that does not mean that I'm a heartless bitch. 

Some commenters have really twisted individual words I have said around, but the fact is that this has been a difficult pregnancy for me.  I don't feel invested or excited.  I believe most of that is protecting myself against the reduction.  I don't want to get attached because it will be harder than it already is.  I've said this many times, but I feel like I'm in limbo, just waiting for the rest of the pregnancy.  This also seems to be a common feeling in women who are pursuing reduction.

3) I've been not surprised or shocked, but saddened by how women can treat each other.  I am being personally attacked by people that do not know me.  I know that I chose to make this public, so I can't be and am not upset that people are reading about my story and that the word is spreading.  But I really don't see the point in attacking me.  I am making a decision that many people do not agree with.  But what does it solve to attack?  If I cry, will it make you feel better about what I'm doing?  Just about all of these women are moms.  Is this how you are going to teach your kids to treat other people?  Is it ok since it's something you believe is morally wrong?  I personally don't think so.  I will teach my child to respect all people, including the ones he/she does not agree with.

At the same time I want to thank the triplet moms who have shared their story without attacking, even when you still urge me to reconsider.  I read every single comment and I appreciate hearing your stories.

4) None of this has shaken my decision.  Once my husband and I looked at all of the information that we felt was important to our situation, we decided what to do.  Many comments have focused on the fact that you can have a successful pregnancy with triplets and you can raise triplets.  I understand that. Everything could be perfectly fine.  But after our struggle, we are not willing to take that chance.

This is from a CNN article:

"When a woman is carrying three or more fetuses, the medical argument in favor of selective reduction is clear. A 1999 study compared the outcomes of 143 cases of triplets reduced to twins with 12 sets of triplets and 812 sets of twins. A quarter of the women carrying triplets lost the entire pregnancy, versus 6.2 percent of those who reduced triplets to twins, which was in line with the miscarriage rates for the nonreduced twins.

Further, a quarter of the triplets were severely premature (and all had attendant complications), compared with 5 percent of the triplets reduced to twins."

Yes, there is a risk with reduction.  But statistically, it is smaller than the total risk of a triplet pregnancy.  This is fact.  I am happy there are so many successful stories out there.  But there are also many pregnancies that ended in total miscarriage.

This is the primary reason that we are choosing to reduce.  Along with this is the risk of medical conditions caused by premature birth.  And yes, we are also worried about raising 3 children, but that is definitely the last reason, not the first.  I know it's easy for readers who disagree with me to latch onto the last factor, but it's just not the whole story.  If this pregnancy was less risky, it would be a much harder decision.

5) I almost decided to share some of the nastiest comments here.  I've been trying to hold my anger back, but when a group of women choose to talk shit about me, it makes me mad.  I'm only human.  But after smartly waiting a few days before posting, I'm less angry and I don't see a point in posting them.

6) I want to thank my husband for being the best partner I could ever ask for.  This entire infertility journey has really held us together.  When I have a tough day, he finds a way to make it better.  There is no way I could do any of this without him.

*     *     *     *     *

Some people have shared there story completely publicly.  And this experience has really made me want to reach out to them and say thank you.  Because it sucks to deal with the effects of making controversial decisions public, but if you reach even one person in a positive way, I think it's worth it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

12 Weeks!

I think it's time to get back to normal.  And I've been promising a picture...

Summer and blogging don't really fit as well for me which is why I've slowed down a bit lately.

Although I'm still tired, my energy is definitely returning. I'm starting to feel a bit more normal which is nice.  My doctor told me that I'm anemic at my 10 week appointment (my sister and mom were also anemic during pregnancy) and I just started actually taking an iron supplement.  So far no major constipation...

I still have some aversions, but it's still more of a nothing sounds good kind of issue with food.  I've ordered 2 salads and haven't been able to eat them which seems weird.  I can eat the chunky parts, just not any type of lettuce.  I'm also pretty much off of pizza.  I can eat it, but I usually feel nasty after.  My go to's are fruit, PB&J, yogurt, and pasta.  Oh and I just started eating cucumber and avocado rolls to get my sushi fix!  I honestly don't even miss the fish!  I get the same basic taste with my veggie roll.  I'm also loving BLTs from Submarina.

I think my scale broke (really - like it's saying ridiculously low numbers) so I don't know how much weight I've gained, but I'm guessing about 8 or 9 pounds.  I'm in maternity pants full-time (have been for weeks now).  I think I can still mostly hide the bump if I wear the right shirt, but with fitted clothes it's getting pretty obvious!

I have pretty frequent heartburn and stuffiness, but that's about it.

*     *     *     *     *

I also did CVS testing this week (chorionic villus sampling).  The genetic screening tests aren't normed for 3 babies so we can't do any of them.  So we decided to do CVS.  Through the abdomen or vaginally, the doctor takes a tiny piece of the placenta (through suction) and it is tested for chromosomal abnormalities.  (Mine was vaginally and it was NOT very comfortable, but didn't exactly hurt either.)  I also opted to do the 99 panel blood test.  It checks for 99 different genetic disorders!  I guess 20-30% come back positive for something.  Then your partner has to be tested to see if he is a carrier of the same issue.  If so, they can test the CVS sample.  All of these are extremely rare, so I'm not too concerned. 

*     *     *     *     *

I'm fully in maternity clothes, but really have been for 3 weeks at least for pants.  Many of my shirts are too short to work with the pants, so I'm sticking to the longer and/or baggier ones.  Everyone that knows me can definitely tell I'm pregnant, but I'm not sure if it's obvious to strangers yet.

One of my friends just gave me all of her maternity clothes and I'm really excited to look through them! I can't really borrow my sister's (except for shirts) because she hemmed everything and is shorter than I am.

*     *     *     *     *

My beautiful and perfect nephew was born last week at 4:53 in the morning.  (I'm going to write another post about the birth story.)  I'm so in love with him!  He's so tiny (born 7,7 - now a bit under 7lbs) and he looks me straight in my eyes with his little blue eyes.  I'm so excited to watch him grow up!

Alright, alright - here's a pic:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Update: And the bubble is broken... (Choice.)

Update at bottom:

I 100% stand by my choice to talk about what is going on in my pregnancy even though I am opening myself up to "the world."  I also knew writing for Hellobee could potentially bring a larger spectrum of readers to the blog because so far it's been pretty limited to the IF community.

And so it's official.  My nice little protective bubble has been broken.  And it's a little bit stressful, and my heart beats about a million times a minute when I read a mean comment, but I'm ok with it because I am going through a unique situation, but one that others will go through in the future.  And there is just not enough information out there about it.  So I'm adding a story.

I will still choose not to publish any unsupportive comments.  I appreciate your opinion, even when it's mean or attacking me.  But since this is my blog.  I get to choose.

I think some people are telling people about my blog and the paraphrase: heartless unemotional way that I intend to abort or murder my babies (word choice depending on the author).  A few readers thought that it was extra insensitive for me to be writing about maternity jeans making me feel better after a post about reduction.  First, the last 2 years of my life have been full of emotion.  And my husband and I have used those emotions to in the end, rationally make the decisions that are best for us.  I have acknowledged throughout that I do not expect everyone to agree, but if you've only read one post of mine - you don't know me or my emotions.  Second, the jeans did make me feel better.  About my growing belly - NOT about reduction.  That's ridiculous.  No wait, maybe I'll buy myself an ice cream and everything will just magically be ok.

Anyway.  I hope that if you read my blog, you learn my perspective.  I try to teach my students to look at all perspectives of an issue.  It's how we learn about people.  And like I have said before, I don't believe core values can be changed or at least that they are extremely resistant to change.  I think they're formed fairly early in our lives and are pretty fundamental to who we are.  I am firmly pro-choice and always have been.  I cannot envision a world where I don't have the right to control what happens to my own body.  That's what's great about being pro-choice in my opinion.  Everyone gets to make their own choice.

In two weeks, I will make the choice to go from a high-risk pregnancy, to a low risk pregnancy.

(I'll post my 12 week update tomorrow...)


So I've spent the last hour or two reading a few women at another blog talk and speculate about me.  I know I'm a glutton for punishment, but I really had to read it.  I'm not going to name the blog because I am not going to engage in internet bitchiness.  But I just have to repeat a few of the things said about me.  First they speculate whether I'm even real, but "sadly" realize that I am very real.  Then they repeat bits and pieces of various posts and twist them to show how "unsympathetic, callous and selfish" I am.  Others wonder why I would post any of this online, why I wouldn't just keep it private.  I guess you can read above to answer that one.  I wrote one response on the blog telling the author how I found her blog when I first found out that I was pregnant with multiples and actually enjoyed reading it and was saddening to find her then misrepresenting me. I know that this type of thing is extremely common, but I find it very sad.  I'm sure these women think of themselves as "good" women.  Then why do they feel the need to talk shit about me?  I hope that they realize that this benefits no one.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest Post on Hellobee today!

Hey everyone  I've been working on a post about my sister (and new nephew) but haven't quite had the energy to finish it.

But...I have a guest post up on Hellobee today!

It's a great summary of my overall IVF process.

Here's the link if you'd like to check it out.

Hellobee Guest Post