Thursday, 18 December 2008

Merry Christmas


Tuesday, 24 June 2008

5 weeks along

The condom covered probe moves in my insides, looking for a fetus. I am 5 weeks along and terrified. My HCG is not rising like it's supposed to and I fear I am losing the baby. I called the OB's office in a panic and was told to come in; my second doctor, an obstetrician, looks at my test results. My hormones haven't doubled but have risen some.A handsome man in his early fourties, my obstetrician is not equipped to handle a pregnancy like mine because I am not the garden variety of pregnant woman. The first thing that sets me apart from everyone else is my mentality; most pregnant women get their positive test and then happily await the birth of their baby nine months later and that's as it should be and I am happy for them... Except my innocence was stripped away when I had my first miscarriage and again when I was told I simply could not have a baby without help. Lots and lots of help.

After three years of tests and procedures, my arms remained empty and my heart remained painfully hollow. The longing for a child burned a hole in my being, I could fine no way to close and the word "mommy" left a bitter tasted in my mouth, because that was all I ever wanted to be... a mommy.

In desperation I searched the internet for information and stumbled upon an on-line community that in the months to come, would save my sanity more than once.. Just before I left the house to come to this appointment, I wrote a message, worried about my hormone levels not rising appropriately. Messages of support came my way from all over the world and I am sure they too were waiting with baited breath, to hear the results of this ultrasound.

"I can't find anything in the uterus" the doctor said as the probe still searched my insides after 10 whole minutes, looking for a sign that I was indeed carrying a child, "It's too soon maybe" he reassures, unwilling to give up on this pregnancy whose only signs so far have been about 20 positive pregnancy tests and the results of blood tests.Upon hearing the words, I remember thinking "it's not too early doc. My HCG is over 1000, you should be able to see him by now... " and then tears rose to my eyes but surprisingly it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. Had I not believed I was having a baby? Maybe it was too soon for me to bond with him.Or maybe, I somehow knew so I didn't expect too much of this broken body. I couldn't conceive, what on earth made me think I could carry a child?I remember trying very hard not to cry, to be brave, to take it like a trooper. I didn't want to break down in front of the good doctor and then...

"There it is!" exclaimed the OB, a smile lighting his face. I see it too! I can't take my eyes off the monitor as for the first time, I see my baby..
It's a little white blob, unrecognizable as a human being still, floating in a bigger black round ball. It's not technically a baby yet but all the potential is there, all that is required in order for him to become a laughing, wiggling child are there, in that tiny blob.
My tears now fall unchecked but they are tears of joy. My chest shakes as I sob in utter happiness "thank you, thank you" to the doctor who seems to feel a little embarrassed. He is not used to dealing with women like me, infertiles, and this is not a momentous occasion for him. But for me, this is the most momentous occasion ever and unfortunately I know it might not even last.
But for now, right now, I am pregnant and if I can just stay pregnant for 3 more weeks, then the risks of miscarriage will drop to 5%.
I rattle the statistics off to the doctor as he removes the wand from my body and prints off a picture of my fetus. He looks at me with his jaw nearly hanging open; I suppose most of the women he has encountered so far rattle off baby names and pram brands right about now... all I can think off are miscarriage statistics. I so want this to last, but I am not counting on it... this is how infertility changes a woman; I can't think so far into the future, I dare not name the baby or buy him anything just yet. All I want to do is for him to stay alive, for my body to keep him alive so that one day I will be able to hold him and never let go.

I'm pregnant... I am finally pregnant... now if only I can stay that way...

Friday, 20 June 2008

June 2008

I can hear the sounds of happiness coming from the next room; Thomas the train rushing down his blue plastic railroad tracks, interjected by enthusiastic squeals of delight from the boys.

I smile as I prepare their night bottles. I pour the fortified milk straight into Cody’s bottle, a habit we have still to knock out, and then I turn my attention to the more complicated preparation of John’s special formula: warm the water, pour it first, then the sachet of the liquid meal with the 300 calories, then 5 measured spoonfuls of his special thickened GF formula. Shake well. Add cold water. Shake some more. Add the fish oil, add the Echinacea, grind and add the pediatric sleep enhancer. Shake some more, screw lid, find appropriate pacifier.
The cat watches me with interest, his blue eyes recording my every move. When I turn to look at him, he snuzzles his empty water bowl, asking me in his own way to refill it. He dips his tongue a few times before coming after me, tail held high like a flag pole in the air.

I walk into the boys’ room, bottles in hand. In the middle of the colorful carpet, sits their newest acquisition; A brand new Thomas the Tank Engine set. Two Thomas trains run on the same line as the boys watch in fascination. Thomas has been a favorite for the last 6 months. It took us a while to replace the first Thomas that after being played with for 6 months daily, broke into 5 pieces. But today the new Thomas is here. In fact we got two sets since John has now become interested as well and we would do anything to stop the fighting.

As the boys watch the plastic train with the happy face run along his line, their eyes shine as bright as the stars, and so do mine, and a smile creeps along my face until it spans ear to ear. My heart throbs with happiness, the price tag of $150 already forgotten in the face of their obvious joy.
They don’t even notice me standing over them and I creep sideways like a crab over to their bookcase to put the bottles and pacifier down. It’s time for their bath and it’s past their bed time but I don’t have the heart to tell them. Ten more minutes, I tell myself and quietly I leave the room…


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

In the beginning

I told my husband I was going to the dentist that evening. My palms were sweaty and my face was flushed; I wasn’t used to lying and I wasn’t good at it either. As I drove to the Reproductive Endocrinologist’s (RE) office, the neat stack of test results from the last 3 years on the seat next to me, I replayed in my head the last year’s events. We couldn’t get pregnant. There was something wrong with me and him. His problems, a low sperm count, was minimal… my crazy hormones was more serious.We started on the journey to parenthood thinking we could fix whatever was wrong with me and soon, really soon, we would have a baby… surely the doctor knew best and he would fix me, in his infinite wisdom…

That was 3 years, 3 doctors and 80 lbs ago. Whatever was wrong with me, it couldn’t be fixed. Medication, after medication, test after test, procedure after procedure failed for me. I gained weight, our marriage stretched at the seams. I became someone else. My mind was lost and my heart was aching every time I saw a baby or heard of a pregnancy. I wanted a child. I wanted a child so bad it hurt to breathe…

No more, said George, no more tests and doctors. If we can’t have a baby of our own, from our own sperm and ova, flesh and blood, carried by me, then we wouldn’t have a baby at all. No adoption, no donation, no fostering… these were his terms.
Desperate, I went to seek a new doctor, a promising one, one final opinion. I didn’t tell George. I figured the doctor would just look at my test results, shake his head and tell me “you are overweight, that’s why you can’t get pregnant. If you lose a little weight, you will have a baby”. That’s what the last doctor had said too. Except when we first started trying I wasn’t overweight…but I was still infertile and had been since I was 12 according to my OB.
I drove across town thinking of what I was to tell George when I got back. I hated lying to him, but this whole ordeal had changed me. I wanted a baby… for me, it wasn’t ok to live childless as it seemed to be with him. So one last shot, just one… besides it wouldn’t really work, would it? No need to have a 2 hour argument with him over nothing.

I parked the car and walked to the building… waited in the lobby. The walls were covered in baby photos that he had helped create. I thought it was so sweet. It showed a caring man…The door opened and he walked in. He was tall in his forties with graying hair and very white teeth. His smile was warm and when he talked, I could just barely make out an accent. He reviewed my file and then asked me what cycle day I was in… He went on to explain how everyone until know had been trying to lower my raging hormones to a balance that was never achieved. What he wanted to do was raise the low hormones so that a balance would be achieved… on the high end.He told me I was just barely in the window when I could start the new treatment. It was costly but we could make it work through insurance. Should we start now?

My heart raced. This appointment was not as I was expecting. There was hope! What would I tell George? The thought passed through my head and for a moment I thought about calling him, coming clean… but I feared his rage so I decided it was best if I saw him in person before I did any explaining.The doctor gave me a shot in the gut, then showed me how to use the pen syringe. He gave me enough medication for a few days and sent me on my way.
On my way to the car I stopped at a church and lit a candle in prayer… A Baby, Virgin Mary, just one baby, and I won’t ask for anything else in my entire life… not even for a second baby. Just one and I will be happy… forever and ever…

I went home but didn’t tell George immediately. I wanted to, I felt awful not telling him. We had to be in this together, he had to know… Finally I summed up the courage and told him a few hours later. I told him I didn’t have to do any more shots if he had changed his mind. I apologized for not telling him but I didn’t want to fight with him over nothing… except this time, there was something. He nodded and hugged me… there was hope and he wanted a baby too. “Last chance”, he said and I nodded in agreement… “Last chance…”


The pain was excruciating! I just wanted it to stop! The fever was giving me the shivers and I found no relief anywhere. On top of everything I couldn’t take anything for it on the off chance I was pregnant. I had developed a rare side effect of the hormones called OHSS. My abdominal cavity was filled with fluid, my ovaries were the size of a grapefruit each… but there was hope! For the first time in 10 years I had ovulated! For sure, honest to God, I had produced eggs, from both ovaries! And there was a chance… a sweet chance, that I was pregnant.Except the pain was making my brain hazy… at that moment I didn’t care. I just wanted the pain to go away. I was pumped full of hormones that would help support a pregnancy and this was making things worse. I just hoped it was worth it.


The test was a blaring positive! I looked, still half asleep, chasing cobwebs from my eyes, in disbelief. How could it be? I was bleeding just 3 days ago, I was sure I was getting my period. Positive? POSITIVE?!I called George, I called everyone! I’m pregnant! I was really, really, honest to God, cross my heart, PREGNANT!! My roller coaster ride was about to begin…