Monday, November 28, 2011

Warning: I'm Going to Start Talking about this Pregnancy

I love this community and I don't want to leave it. And I'm not going to. And knowing what I know, and fearing what I fear, I need you all, very much.

But now is that time, the time where this blog becomes a little more about my pregnancy and a little less about a struggle, not completely without struggle, but definitely less.

So you will see some changes...

1) I've added a ticker at the top tracking the growth of my twins (eek!! MY TWINS!!!). I saw this on a few of my other post infertility pregnant friend's blogs and just loved it and have dreamed of seeing it on my blog.

2) I'd also like to start talking more about my pregnancy here, and while this may deter some of you from reading, or maybe even make me lose some followers,  in the end, this is my space to document this whole journey, or "tumultuous trip", and get some support from those of you who have made it to this other side.  So expect a few symptom discussions, some ultrasound pictures and some belly shots.

3) I intend also to talk about things related to pregnancy after infertility, i.e., how much the fear and depression and expectation of bad things affects the way I go through this.

4) Finally, I really want to talk about donor eggs and how this choice we have made has affected our thoughts around this pregnancy. I want to be honest and true here to this amazing gift we have received. I want to let others know what this choice has meant to us and how it is impacting us, or families and our babies.

I do hope you decide to stay. I truly enjoy having each of you read and journey along with me on this. My blog is one of my favorite spaces to work through my thoughts, get support and connect with this amazing community.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Skin

This new skin I am living in, this pregnancy thing, is so.... different, and yet so right, like I've known how to do this all along...

I should say however, that every now and again, infertility's hold on my fear and my negative expectations gets the best of me.

Today, we went into our health care clinic to get a "dating" ultrasound at 8 weeks are 4 days. It was our second peak inside. I had no reason to worry, really. My symptoms have been pretty consistent (which I'll get to in another post) and we did already see the heartbeats once, so we shouldn't have reason to worry, but that expectation of bad news is SOOO strong. Infertility has done a number on my psyche and sometimes I can't seem to shake it.

I was waiting for Tidy to get there, but he was running late, so the tech called me back and I looked at her and simply burst into tears. I blurted out that it was only our second look inside, and we've been trying for these babies for about 5 years and I'm so scared that we aren't going to see what we need to see today and so I really really wanted to wait for my husband. She was sweet and showed me back to the ultrasound room and to the box of kleenex and let the women at the front desk know to get Tidy back there ASAP, when he showed up.

I was so crippled for a few minutes by true terror that those babies inside me had stopped growing and I didn't want to face this without Tidy. Crippled with a quickened heart rate, streaming hot tears, and panic of bad news.

But I pulled up my big girl pants, and dried my tears and got on that table. And sure enough, we weren't disappointed.  Both babies showed their beautiful heartbeats to the tech and she then turned on the overhead monitor so I could see. I saw them both flickering away, super fast, at 167 beats per minute. Both Baby A and Baby B are also measuring around 2cm, just about 8w4d.

Big... Sigh... of Relief

Big... Jumps... of Joy

A few minutes later, Tidy walked in and I cried even more, sharing with him the good news and just reveling in another moment of this amazing journey we are on and the new skin that I am living in...

... a pregnant woman, with twins.

Grateful can not even begin to describe what I am feeling right now.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Telling My Dad (Part 2)

And now for the conclusion of this story from yesterday's post...

After giving thought to my dad's email, I took some time over lunch that day to craft a response back. I thought it would be hard, but the words just flowed. Here was my response:

Well, Dad, we were hoping to have this discussion with you in a different form and at a different time  (ie in person, not via email) but since you asked, no, they are not my eggs. 

We found a very giving young woman, who is anonymous to us (except for some early childhood pictures and characteristics and health history), and we are anonymous to her, to donate her eggs to help us have our dream of building our family. It's a very gracious gift and one we can not thank her enough for helping us get to this point.   

L, C & J are all aware of this. They have been "in the loop" since earlier this spring when Tidy and I had made the decision to go down this path. In fact, they helped me one weekend when they came to our house. I explained all of our options to them and the potential costs and success rates and graphed it out on a white board. We sat and discussed with wine and cheese and laughed and cried and it was great. They were very supportive of this route and it really helped me feel supported in our next steps.   

Tidy and I then decided to keep it quiet between L, C & J until we had any news to share because we thought there was no need to get "too many cooks in the kitchen" and ultimately, this is Tidy and my decision to make. And why make a whole bunch of people start to develop their own opinions, worries and thoughts on something that might not work. 

Thankfully, this worked ... and we now have to determine the best way forward in sharing our news. We do know that we want to raise our kids so that they understand their story and how they came into this world and how much we went through to get them and how much we  wanted them and why we felt this was the right option for all of us. I don't believe in hiding this information from them, so we did intended to let everyone in on the news so that it just becomes a non-issue at some yet undetermined point in time...   

It's possible this all might be a bit overwhelming, so I'd love to talk with you more about it. And I do ask that right now, you keep it to yourself. I'd like to share this with Mom in our own way....  So I'm  very sorry to put you in this position right now. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on what you think might be the best way to broach this subject with her.   

Honestly, I had thought to not tell anyone else (except J, C & L) about using donor eggs until after they had met our babies and fallen in love with them. And even then, more so on a 'need to know' basis, or if we were asked. There's many books on this topic and Tidy and I had decided to venture into those as we get close to meeting our babies, or at least past the 1st trimester when we have more confidence that they are going to stick around.... 

Either way, managing everyone's emotions will be hard, but something we are going to prepare ourselves for. We want to be open about this and educate everyone as much as possible. I know we can't change anyone's opinions, but we do hope that people can set aside their beliefs and focus on our babies as they would any other child that would come into our life via natural methods or adoption.   

Know this... regardless of the genetic makeup of our children, I get to carry them.. it is MY blood coursing through their bodies right now, it  is MY immune system protecting them, it is MY food and exercise choices nourishing them and sustaining them to grow, and ultimately, some of their genetic expression of traits is unique because they are inside me (google the term "epigenetics") and not someone else... Yes I grieved my genetic loss and I will always be curious about what that combination with Tidy would look like, but I don't believe they are any less MY/OUR children or any less YOUR grandchildren.  

I hope that you can feel this way... maybe not right away, but at some point.   

And we are OH so very excited to meet our unique, individual babies...   

(Clearly this is a very deep and emotional issue and I could go on and on and on...)   

We also have not told anyone from Tidy's family yet either, so as of right now, only You, J, C & L are in the know... Please keep it that way until we determine our next steps.   

Should we talk more on the phone? Maybe you have lots of questions? I have tons of answers :-) What else do you want to know? 

Love, Tippy

And after I hit send, I realized that email might NOT be a bad way to share this topic with certain people. It is giving my dad some time to process this on his own and then be able to ask me questions on he is ready.

And that is basically the response I got from him:

Yes, I will keep it to myself no problem, and work through my own thoughts and then we can talk; in the grand scheme of things it certainly matters not, I believe its the initial feelings I will work through and then we can talk soon. The mom issue, that's a tough one.  It's almost like I would initially say never or not for a long time, but then again that's your call.  Obviously, it's Tidy and your decision when.   

Ok, thanks for telling me and it'll be fine. Let me reread this later again and ponder the mom thing. I will have a goodly share of questions.

This response from my dad makes me happy. It may not seem very overjoyed to the reader here, but knowing the person my dad is, a very analytical, well thought out and emotional, this is exactly the response I was hoping for. I look forward to talking with him more about out babies beginnings and know that as he processes this more, this will be a non-issue and he will see the true miracle that our babies are.

The next challenge is how and when to tell my mom. Soon? Or wait until the babies are born... tbd.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Telling My Dad (Part 1)

This past weekend was pretty amazing. And we got it all on video (which I may post a snippet or two of..). There were a lot of "Oh my gosh!!!" and "Shut up!!"s, a few tears, hugs and some great facial expressions.

We told my family about the two heart beats we saw just over a week ago, growing inside me on Saturday, November 5th, my 37th birthday. The faces of my mom and dad were the most precious and I will treasure those looks forever.

We did not, however discuss the donor egg topic with them, at that point. My 3 sisters do know, as they were part of helping me make the decision. I thought I wrote a blog post on this, back in May, but apparently not. Regardless, I'm very glad that they sat with me oh so many months ago to help me sort out my thoughts and support me and Tidy in our big decision to use donor eggs. It really made it feel more like a family decision and that is important to me for something this big. Thank you J, L & C. I love you guys and can't wait to see you holding our babies.

I had mentioned that donor eggs was an option way way back in late 2010 to my dad when I told him we were thinking of doing one final IVF cycle  (IVF #4) with my body and if this didn't work, I was considering looking into donor eggs. It was a quite and quick conversation at my P's kitchen table over the holidays and he made a face and said a few words that made it apparent he wasn't a big fan.  That, along with my mom's disapproval of IVF, period, was one of the reasons that Tidy and I decided, besides my 3 sisters, and a few of our close friends who have known the day to day details of this journey, we would keep the 'donor egg' part of this journey to ourselves, until later on down the road, when we figure out the best way to share with our friends and family and more importantly to our babies.  (That was one HUGE run-on sentence).

So, this past Monday, I got an email from my dad, with the subject line of "WOW"

Dad: Just tearing up occasionally thinking about how the two of you have handled this reasonably long journey with such strength, confidence and faith. I can't imagine the past levels of disappointment, and now the great hope and joy that has taken over. Love, Pops.

Me:  Thanks Dad! Each day I wake up I still feel like I'm in a dream. I definitely have some low levels of fear that this will all be taken away from me at a moment's notice, but I am trying really hard to tell my fear to go to hell and just enjoy this time. 

Dad: I am with you, of course, on all of this. Yes, go to hell! (re: fear). I have one nagging question I need to resolve, if I can... your eggs, right? heart dropped into my stomach and my pulse quickened. I wasn't ready to tell him, especially not over email. He's my dad, the one I want approval from on most things, and of course want to make him proud! I was also a bit angry at him for asking about this in a email, but I got over it. He has every right to ask whatever he wants, how he wants it. So I forwarded it to Tidy and we decided that I would respond and go from there...

Stay tuned to tomorrow for the remainder of this story.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fear can SUCK IT!

I went to a spinning class last night!  Me, a 6w3d pregnant woman... spinning. (I'm pregnant!!! HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!! )
And it felt amazing, cathartic...revolutionary...

I spent an hour in this class, staring at myself in the mirror and biked just like when I was not pregnant (well maybe not as hard... ). I wanted to scream from the rooftops with joy and victory over fear.  I watched myself pedal to the music with the energy of the class, I felt free, invigorated, like I had hunted down my fear, and made it cower in the corner, yelled at it, shamed it, and said... "FUCK YOU fear !! I WILL NO LONGER LET YOU DICTATE HOW I LIVE MY LIFE! I will RUN and I will SWIM and I will BIKE WHILE I am pregnant and it will feel GOOD and be healthy for my babies! I am done with you, fear, YOU WILL NOT RULE ME!!!!"

Before infertility, when I foolishly thought getting pregnant would be "easy", I had always said that I would want to continue doing what I love to do while I am pregnant (taking the necessary precautions of course, like getting a heart rate monitor so I don't over do it and make sure I don't get over heated).
But as it took us longer and longer to get pregnant, I cut out more and more activities that I had thrived on and fear took over a place in my mind, tainting my actions.

It would tell me that if I do something wrong or did too much activity, I will not be able to get pregnant, AND, if I was lucky enough to become pregnant, I would have to sit in a little bubble for 9 months and not move for fear of my babies not wanting to stick around. This fear dictated that I shouldn't exercise or even think of going to the gym... But exercise is such a huge part of my life and it keeps me sane and defines who I am.

So last night, after I made the decision to get myself out the door and to the gym, fighting the little life that the fear had left in me, I was finally able to hunt fear down for the last time and put it out of it's misery.  It hit me and I thought... I can do this! I CAN bike, I CAN swim and I CAN run!!!  And I WILL!!!  (as long as my babies are safe and healthy and my doctor thinks it's ok.)

It's an amazing feeling to be free... simply amazing.

So, suck it, fear... You no longer rule me!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Best Birthday Ever!

(This is a long one today, sorry but I just have a lot to say...)

Today is my 37th birthday. I am up because I couldn't sleep. "Snackzilla", as we are calling my ravenous stomach of hunger, woke me up and needed quieting. I fed her, because after all, she's very demanding, and then well, I couldn't get back to bed.

So here I am at 5:30am on a Saturday, when I should be getting much needed rest, but am instead going to recount to you yesterday's events.

It started out by waking up and driving Tidy to his work and then on to mine. We normally don't commute together since we work in opposite directions, but his car got vandalized last weekend and so it is un-drivable. Long story, nothing taken, just punk-ass kids being jerks. It's an old car. It's my first car that I bought out of college, in fact, and we tend to drive our cars into the ground... so it really is time for a new car for Tidy, and this ended up being a good motivator.

Then, at work, I was nervous for 2 reasons, 1) the impending ultrasound later in the afternoon and 2) a first interview for a job that I really want and that would make life more comfortable for us when we have our children if Tidy stays home. I hadn't prepared all that much because this week has just been insane, so I spent the first 2 hours of the day writing down examples and things in my head that I could use in those lovely behavioral based interview questions, blech. Anyways, the interview went really well, I think. And hopefully I will hear back next week if I survived to the next round. Fingers crossed.

With that one big event out of the way for the day, I then started to get very anxious about the ultrasound. So much nervous energy!!! But I still had about 4 hours to go until the appointment, so I dove into getting my desk and "to do" list organized at work... tick. tock. tick. tock.

Finally, as 2:15 turned over on the clock, I quickly shut down my computer, gathered my belongings,  drove back to Tidy's work to pick him up and then on to the clinic. Our u/s was scheduled for 3p and we were there right on the dot. Of course the RE was running a bit behind, so Tidy and I sat in the ultrasound room and chatted, nervously. I felt so anxious and jittery, shaky even. You know that energy that just needs to get out, that you can't help but tap your feet, really really fast...

At about 3:20, our wonderful and talented RE came in and said hello. I asked her what we were hoping to see today and she said, "The gestational sac and the fetal pole. You are 6w1d so I don't need to see a heartbeat. No need yet".  (Secretly I was hoping we would see one, of course). She got the dildo-cam out and turned on the monitor and I laid back and closed my eyes. I didn't want to see her facial expression if we didn't see what we wanted to see. But as soon as she peeked in there, I could hear it in her gasp.... She was happy... tearing up. And so I got brave enough to look...

And we saw our babies, thriving, hearts fluttering away. And yes, I said BABIES!!!!!!!!!!! Yesterday, for the first time in 5 years, we can finally, confidently say we are pregnant, and with TWINS!!!!!! It was the most amazing thing that I have ever seen. And I hope it's just going to get better from here.

Baby A, is measuring at about 5w5d and we could see a flutter, flicker of a heart beat, but my RE couldn't get a signal to count it. Baby B is measuring at 6w0d and the heartbeat was at 108bmp. Both she said were fantastic for this early and the simple fact that we are seeing both heartbeats is just icing on the cake! We'll go back in next week for one more u/s from my RE...

Tidy was so sweet, SO happy. I haven't seen his face that bright in a while. And it warmed my heart. I wish I could remember what he said, but his happy smiling face will be in my memory for a long time. I cried and my RE cried as well. We hugged and talked about a few things, but just mostly looked at each other in utter joy. She has been an amazing partner in this journey with us and I am going to miss her terribly when I have to go on to my OB. We really bonded.

And if those two events weren't enough for one day... we then 1) went to Best Buy, where Tidy bought me an iPad for my birthday... (That little sneak! He got all of my family and his to go in on it together for me) and the 2) We bought Tidy a new car!!!

Phew! What a day before my 37th birthday. On our way home, we picked up a pizza, sat on the couch, ate it, and proceeded to get VERY tired from our emotionally charged day.

So now you are caught up. And here I am, on the morning of my 37th birthday, simply reveling in the fact that we are pregnant, with twins.

Everyone said that they suspected twins with my betas, so maybe this was meant to be all along. I'ts quite appropriate given the name of my blog... Think I should change the name???
Tippy and Tidy's Tumultuous Trip To TWIN Toddlers...  LOL!!!