Monday, June 29, 2009

Being "the fertile one" sucks

Yesterday's scan showed 1 dominant follicle in my left ovary, measuring about 12 mm. Lining approximately 6 mm. Right on track for CD 10. Next scan thursday.

My guess? Ovulation Friday or Saturday, and FET Monday or Tuesday. If there is anything left to transfer after the thaw of our 3 popsicles...

That's the hard facts. Now for the rest of the story:

I am such a bad person. I am. Really!

Remember that person in the waiting room? That woman who would always be there while you were waiting for your scan? The one that made you painfully aware of just how empty your arms were? No, not the one with the pregnant belly. Yes, the sight of her hurt, too, but she couldn't help it: pregnant women need scans, too. No, the OTHER one. The one who brought her CHILDREN with her to the clinic. Yes, THAT one...

Yesterday? That woman was me.

The "babysitter" cancelled at the last minute, leaving me with no other option than to bring the kids with me to the hospital for the scan. There I was, in that waiting room I am so familiar with. The same waiting room where I waited for so many hours, so many days, so many years. Waited for another follicle-scan, another IUI, another appointment. Another DISappointment.

But also the waiting room in which I waited for the many many scans during my pregnancy with the twins. It being a "high risk" pregnancy meant every OB/GYN appointment was accompanied by a thorough scan to measure size and fluid levels of both babies. Sometimes sitting there with my obviously pregnant belly made me very aware of the women there who were still in the midst of IF-treatments. Sometimes I'd try to hide my belly. Sometimes I'd try to give them an encouraging smile. Trying to let them know that I was aware of their situation. "Yes, I am pregnant. But I know what you're feeling right now. I've been there. And someday, I hope not too far into the future, you will be me..."

This time was different though. This time I could've left the kids at home. SHOULD have left them at home. But didn't. I tried to, but ended up having to take them anyway. And all the encouraging smiles in the world couldn't hide the fact that I had two healthy, happy, beautiful children with me. And it being a combined RE/OB/GYN clinic, as far as anyone knew I could be there for a pregnancy scan. Trying to send knowing smiles to the other waiting women I must've seemed like the most smugly overly fertile person in the whole wide world. I have never hated myself more than I did at that moment.

And I have never been so glad at hearing the nurse shout the following words at me from across the room: "Cycle day 10, right?"

Do you think she knew?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Countdown to FET...


Called the clinic this morning to schedule u/s for first (and last) FET. Since then I've been alternating between excited, nauseated and scared shitless.

There's this knot in my stomach that just won't go away. All the fears and hurts of all those years of ttc for our twins came flooding back in the second I put down the phone. Multiplied by the fears and hurts and worries surrounding their premature birth. I thought I'd "gotten over" them, or at least hidden them somewhere hard to find. Guess not...

I thought I was ready for this.

Am I, really?

What if this doesn't work?

There's less than a 10% chance that it will. What will be the next step? Will there BE a next step? Will we start all over again with a fresh IVF-cycle? He doesn't want to. I don't really want to, either. We have two wonderful, healthy children. We have the family we always wanted. Why would we start all over again? But I'm afraid I'll change my mind. Afraid I'll drag our family back into the whirlpool of emotions surrounding IVF. Afraid I'll magnify the little piece that's "missing", forgetting about all the big pieces that ARE here. I'm also afraid that I'll forever look back on this and think: "Why didn't it work? Why does everybody else get lucky and we didn't?" instead of "Look at those two beautiful kids! Aren't we the luckiest people in the whole wide world?!?"

What if it DOES work?

Will I carry this new child to term, or will it be born even more premature than our twins? Will it be healthy? And if it's not, will our still a bit shaky family be able find a new balance? Am I a good enough mother to even raise two, let alone three? Will I be able to love a new child as much as I love our twins? Oh my god, what if I love it MORE? What if this child has a "normal" start, and when I hold it in my arms for the first time right after birth, the way it is supposed to be, my love for it will suddenly hit me like a huge big tidalwave and make me doubt all I've ever felt for our twins?

Did we make the wrong choice? Is it too late to turn back? Do I even WANT to turn back?

Right now I don't know anything. I feel a thousand things, but I can't wrap my head around any of them. So I'm just letting those feelings flow through me, wash over me. Trying to ride the wave, wondering where it will take me...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where did those babies go?

In about two more weeks our twins will be 18 months old. A year and a half. That's ALMOST TWO! Well, not really, but in just a couple of weeks they will be closer to two years old than they will be to 1. They are becoming less baby and more toddler everyday.

It's amazing how far they've already come. When I look at pictures of their NICU stay, of their first few weeks of life, it seams just unbelievable that those small and fragile beings grew up to become such playful little babies. Excuse me. Toddlers.

They started off so small, with such an uncertain future, and now look at them! All those things they told us could happen, didn't. All those things I worried they might not ever be able to do, they are doing. Or at least trying.

From the beginning I have tried to give them space to grow and develop on their own schedule, but it hasn't always been easy.

When our son failed to put on weight like he was supposed to, and our pediatrician sent him to a dieticien when he was 8 months old, I worried. I knew he was drinking/eating enough, but was my milk good enough for him? Was I giving him enough and the right kinds of pureed foods? Should I be feeding him bread and solids as well, like so many people were telling me to? Even though he just couldn't keep them down? Even though he started refusing them as soon as he realised that they would come right back up? And how much was he keeping IN with all the puking he had been doing since the first time they introduced him to a bottle or nipple way back in the NICU? How much of his energy was spent on crying and feeling miserable, that should have gone to growing? Was I doing something wrong, or was something wrong with HIM?

He has gained some valuable pounds since he's stopped puking all the time about three months ago, although it is still a problem whenever we take him out of his comfort-zone or whenever he's feeling "off". He's doing great now: he's growing and playing and in between his fortunately ever rarer puke-fests and his unfortunately still frequent "suddenly-crying-and-yelling-and-feeling-miserable-for-no-apparent-reason"-fits he seems the happiest little boy in the world. He must be healthy after all, and I must not be a complete failure of a mother...

I wonder when he'll start realizing it's the perfect blackmail-opportunity, though: "NO, I don't want that! Stop it or I'll PUKE!" or "Pick me up NOW!! And give me everything I want! And more!! Because you know I'll puke if you don't!!"

Weight and nutrition have been such defining factors in their lives, from the first half cc they "drank" through their feeding tubes in their isolette and the first few grams they gained on their road to come home with us. Those first few weeks in the NICU, and the first few months at home, how they were doing was judged almost solely on how fast they were growing. When those are the terms you face as a new parent, it's very hard to let go. Every puke (and the inevitable missed next feed because of him feeling miserable and of us being scared of him puking more) means a loss of calories, of nutrition, of growth. And a step up the anxiety-scale for me. There will come a time when he will realise that. And will use it against me. That's just how toddlers work...

When our daughter was still not showing a lot of gross motor skills at 1 year (she would roll over, but that was about it) she had me really worried. I started to forget that she was developing okay in other areas, began to focus on just the gross motor skills, comparing her with her twin brother (and every other kid the same age) all the time. Looking back on it, she was just focussing on other areas at the time. And since energy can only be spent once, and most of it was already going into catching up on weight and fighting off all sorts of nasty winter-related bugs, she was just a bit picky when it came to motor skills. Prefering to learn how to pick up small things between her fingers (to be able to pinch her twin brother when he would try to crawl on top of her again) and to put blocks into boxes (to be able to hide her toys from her twin, next time he'd come up to her to try to steal them from her), instead of spending energy on moving around. She probably knew her brother would beat her in a rolling race anyway, him cheating by weighing so much less than herself. So why bother trying?

Now, at over 17 months (real age), they have caught up to each other in all areas. It's amazing how much more "twin-like" they are now compared to a year ago. They are roughly the same height and weight. They are both chatting away at the world and eachother in a language noone but themselves understand. They are crawling like crazy, following each other everywhere. They're cruising, and have started to try to stand up without support from tables or chairs or toys. Sometimes they even take a few uncertain steps without holding onto something. They've completely caught up with their corrected age, and I'm sure those two months they are still behind their real age will fade into the background when they grow older. After all: what difference do eight weeks still make when you are, for example, 4 years and 7 months? Or 7 years and 3 months? Or 29 years and 8 months, like myself? If I had been born in August instead of October those 29 years ago (my mums due date was early September, so I wouldn't even have been much premature if I had), would I be any different now?

I try not to compare them too much to each other, and certainly not to all other children around them. They are two unique little people, growing and developing in their own way and on their own schedule. They are happy and healthy and who cares if they can walk 3 unassisted steps (They can! They can!!! Are they brilliant, or what?!?) or 30?

I try to let them be just them, to let them be the perfect little miracles they are, but I still worry. I can't help it. That's just what mums do. But letting them find their own way in this world has paid off so far. I'm sure it will continue to do so in the future. Whether I worry or not.

Fortunately, there's moments like these to remind me of just how strong and healthy and happy they are. Moments like these in which all the worries in the world just plain fade into the background and all that's left is love:

These are the moments in which I feel I am ready to dive head-first into another pregnancy, another child... But also in which I am most scared of it...

3 weeks until our FET-cycle. Possibly. Maybe.