Out of Sorts/Quarter-OK-30ish-Life-Crisis-Maybe?

I realized a few weeks ago that I have spent years in the pursuit of conception, pregnancy, postpartum, or infancy survival. Literally YEARS. Surely that kind of uterus gazing cannot be healthy. So I tried to think about myself not as a proud owner/operator of a uterus or as a mother, but as an individual, and consider what I would list as a hobby or interest, if asked, (not that I have been asked, but conceivably there might be a situation in which I was asked such a question) and I could not think of a single thing.

Guys. Have I become a conservative’s dream woman, aka a walking uterus? (No, because: the gay. But still, moving dangerously into that territory.)

Maybe I’m feeling this acutely right now because I’ve been so heavily in toddler mode. (I typed out a whole breakdown of my day here but it was so boring I had to delete it.) Tammy’s working really hard on her master’s program right now, so the bulk of the childcare falls to me.

Maybe I’m having a some-time-in-life-crisis? Maybe it’s normal to feel this way as a mother?

It’s so incredibly frustrating, because I adore my daughter. She is funny, and smart, and of course stunningly, achingly adorable, and trust me when I tell you that I very clearly remember all of the blood, sweat, tears, and credit cards we went through to have her with us.

But is it so bad to want more from life? Is it so bad to want Ellie, but also want friends? Is it so bad to crave baby snuggles/board books/squeals of laughter with pretentious intellectual debates in coffee shops, hipster glasses optional? Is it so bad that I simultaneously love the expression on Ellie’s face when I go into her room in the morning, and desperately, achingly want to check into a hotel, eat and drink massively marked up room service and then sleep until noon? Is it so wrong that I love feeling her head heavily rest on my shoulder as I put her to bed at night, and feel, well, trapped by the schedule of naptime, bedtime, snack, bottle, etc., etc., etc.?

So speak to me, o wise women of the internet. How do you deal with the push and the pull of being both an individual person and a mother? Going guilt free? (how?!??) Medication? (Which one(s)??!) Occasional weekend babysitter?? (Not actually a bad idea…) School me in your ways.

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It Never Left

You know how when that Justin Timberlake song “Bringing Sexy Back” came out, and everyone went around saying “I wasn’t aware that it left”? No? Just me? Ok then.

Video break!

Well, that’s how I feel when people say things about getting their body “back” after having a baby. INCLUDING my Mother in Law who told me I really should be working on regaining my girlish figure.

Liz Lemon Eye Roll

I managed not to make this face. Barely.

Look, I, like most women in our patriarchal BULLSHIT society, have a complicated relationship with my body. Sometimes I think I look ok, good even! Other times I despair over this or that, and feel like I’m not fit for polite society. Then came infertility and a miscarriage, and I started to truly hate my body, because I felt like it had betrayed me and killed my child. Healthy, no?

Pregnancy was strange for me. I watched in a kind of fascinated horror like my body was an out of control science experiment. A Frankenstien, if you will. I gained weight, and that was OK because I was supposed to gain weight, for the first time in my life. All told, I gained about 40 pounds, a little more than the “recommended average,” but that was OK. Not only did I grow a baby bump (obviously), but I rounded out all over. My face filled out, my arms grew plump, and my ass curved and filled out my jeans in a way it never has before.

Once Ellie was born, I was pretty shocked with how I looked and felt. I was still plump and swollen, my boobs were rock hard and freakin’ HUGE and my stomach felt heavy and jiggled like I was pregnant with the world’s largest bowl of jello.

jello jiggling

It’s aliiiive!

I lost “the baby weight” pretty quickly. I felt enormous pressure to do so, mostly from family. And now I actually weigh 7 pounds less than I did before I was pregnant. But you know what? My body isn’t “back.” I feel deflated and soft. My stomach is a lot softer than it used to be, and my pants don’t really fit the same way. My breasts are softer, and after Ellie eats they sag. My nipples are bigger and darker. I have the dreaded “mom butt.” Stretch marks cover my stomach, hips, and breasts.

So will my body ever again look like it did before I was pregnant? Probably not. I would be lying if I said I was totally comfortable with that fact. I’m trying to work on making positive changes for my body – becoming stronger, building muscle, etc. – in the hopes that I’ll come to terms with my new body and learn to love it the way I never loved it pre-baby.

It’s Aliiiiive

I just got a call with my second beta (that was done 4 days after my first beta, due to the long weekend).

First beta (at 10dp5dt): 372
Second beta (at 14dp5dt): 2032

That’s a doubling time of 39.19 hours.

The nurse that called me said this was “good.” My next appointment won’t be until I’m between 6 and 7 weeks pregnant (if I make it that far*) to see a heartbeat.

No more betas!?! No more appointments for over a week?! I feel adrift. Can I come in for blood draws for fun? What about visiting my old pal, Monsieur DildoCam? Or could I come in to breathe the heady, intoxicating scent of sadness and fear that permeates the waiting room? I’m still generating plenty of that pungent elixir to contribute. What if your stores are depleted without me around??

Another hurdle has been cleared. I keep trying to tell myself that I’m farther (further?) than I’ve ever gotten before. But poor Tammy had to talk me back from the ledge over and over this weekend, repeatedly fielding my teary questions of “what if it’s dead?” “what if it doesn’t double?” “what if I’m a fucking lunatic for hoping this would ever work?” (that last one was only in my head)

But so far**, my fears have been for naught. I am assured by What to Expect When You’re Trying to Freak Yourself the Fuck Out that our baby is the size of an orange seed right now. The heart is beginning to function at a rudimentary level, although it will be a few weeks until we can see it on an ultrasound if we get that far.***

Tammy and I also engaged in extremely risky behaviour this weekend: we looked at baby stuff while we were at Target, and talked about a possible/future/maybe nursery.

And THEN I held my friend’s baby for hours on Sunday, wiping her little teeny baby butt, kissing her baby toes, rocking her to sleep, and drinking in the perfect sweet/sour baby smell of her head.

Is it possible that I actually, maybe, possibly might end up with a baby of my own? Boggles the mind.

*I have GOT to stop doing that. Industrial strength asshole = me.
**That was the last one. Promise.
***Ugh. I’m the worst.

Heavenly Day

Heavenly Day
By Patty Griffin

Oh heavenly day, all the clouds blew away
Got no trouble today with anyone
The smile on your face I live only to see
It’s enough for me, baby, it’s enough for me
Oh, heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

Tomorrow may rain with sorrow
Here’s a little time we can borrow
Forget all our troubles in these moments so few
All we’ve got right now, the only thing that
All we really have to do
Is have ourselves a heavenly day
Lay here and watch the trees sway
Oh, can’t see no other way, no way, no way
Heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

No one at my shoulder bringing me fears
Got no clouds up above me bringing me tears
Got nothing to tell you, I’ve got nothing much to say
Only I’m glad to be here with you
On this heavenly, heavenly, heavenly, heavenly
Heavenly day, all the trouble’s gone away
Oh, for a while anyway, for a while anyway
Heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

**********************************************

The doctor called with my beta results. As of this morning, my hCG was 372. With my last pregnancy it was a 17. Obviously, this could mean absolutely nothing for the long-term. I could miscarry this baby just like the last one. But today, at least, I’m chosing happiness. I’m chosing joy. I’m chosing peace.

Stick around, little one. Your mamas can’t wait to meet you. We love you already.

I Held Out for as Long as I Could

So this happened.

tests2

Beta wasn’t scheduled until Tuesday, but I broke down and emailed my nurse yesterday, begging her to let me move the blood test up. She agreed, so my beta is tomorrow morning (when I will be 10 days post a 5 day transfer, or 15 days past ovulation).  I guess that makes me officially 4 weeks pregnant today.

I don’t really know what to think or how to act. I’m excited, of course, but I’m also scared out of my mind. There’s a large part of me that feels detached, like this is happening to someone else. I feel like I’m watching a movie, sitting back and saying, “Huh. Well, that’s interesting”. Tammy suggested I feel this way because I’m scared it won’t work out, that I’ll lose this pregnancy like I lost the first one. She may be right. Which is why I wanted to move the beta test up. A strong beta number will help to ease my mind (a tiny bit). And if it’s strong, I’ll worry about the second beta doubling appropriately. And then I’ll worry about the 6 week ultrasound to see a heartbeat.

I told a friend of mine yesterday that I was pregnant. He responded that since I was doing IVF, he didn’t realize it was a question if I was or wasn’t, that he thought it was a “done deal”.

HAHAHAH! At “done deal”!!!! OMG. Wiping away tears of laughter (and a little bit of bitterness). Don’t I fucking wish it was that simple. Take some drugs, get lots of beautiful embryos, pop one or two or three back in, and just wait to find out how many! Then have a blissful, worry free pregnancy, a textbook delivery, and a happy & healthy baby.

God. I fucking wish.

Anyone have suggestions about how to be calm/happy/enjoy the moment while I wait for my beta number?

 

Edited to Add: Sorry the bottom test is so yellow. That’s disgusting. No idea why it’s so yellow (I did pee on it, but why has it gotten so yellow? Barf.) Also, I cropped the picture to take out the pee stick part. There were droplets (DROPLETS) visible, and I do have some pride.