/ The RE's Muse: February 2005

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Friday, February 25, 2005

On my mother's mothering and mine

Like many people, my upbringing was not the most traditional. My parents relationship was a rocky one. In fact, my father used me as a pawn to get girls. Seems dragging along the cute little girl was akin to going somewhere with a puppy--it helped him score some prime tail, all while he was still married to--and living with--my mother. And I was sworn to secrecy, which I honored. There was also the added treat of watching him use my mother as a punching bag from time to time. Oh, yes, life was swell in my series of childhood apartments. Notice I didn't say "homes" because they never were. We didn't stay long enough to make it home-y nor did my parents ever have enough $ to buy their own place.

After my parents finally split up (but didn't divorce until many years later because neither had the $ to get an attorney and/or actually file for divorce), I went with my mother. She wasn't the best of moms but she did what she could. A few years after my father and she split, she went through a promiscuous phase (when I was about 11 or 12), bringing guys back to the studio apartment we lived in--where we had beds a mere six or so feet from one another and where--on one particularly memorable evening--I got woken up by the "melodious" sound of their rutting mere feet from my head. Despite some of these setbacks, I know that she worked hard to provide for us--usually in a series of menial jobs, mostly waitressing. I know she did her best, don't get me wrong, but she did make some poor choices along the way. I'm not faulting her for this, merely pointing it out.

Perhaps as a result of her model at the time, I dropped in with a rough crowd in high school. Heck, I even dropped out of school in the 10th grade because all my "friends" were doing it. After a year or two of BS, I got wise, realizing that I would never be better than my parents if I didn't keep learning and bettering myself through an education. I went back and completed my diploma. From there I went on to earn a college degree from the University of Florida, and am currently one credit hour (and about 35 thesis pages) shy of my master's degree. I met and married a wonderful loving man who is my partner, my best friend. We have traveled the world, shared experiences, grown as both a couple and as individuals, and more. We've bought a home (actually, this is our third, thanks to moving out of state--first to Georgia and then to Alabama courtesy of his work transfers) and filled it with love, happiness, memories, and hopes for the future.

Returning to my upbringing, perhaps the worst thing about it was the fact that not once did my mother ever tell me she loved me or was proud of me. I never heard those words growing up--a time when you need to hear that kind of thing so desperately, a time when you're still trying to establish your own sense of self-worth. The first and only time I heard her say she was proud of me is when I told her I'd be graduating from UF. But I didn't invite her to the graduation ceremony...that's a time for families who've been a part of their child's life, their education, for sharing the day and taking some honor in raising them to accomplish their goals. I didn't think she deserved that credit. I put myself through school both emotionally and financially (and have a sizeable DOE student loan to prove it). And I didn't want others there at the graduation (who didn't even know me) to have the assumption that ours was a normal family, that she was a part of my college experience, that she was in my corner rooting for me while I was working so diligently to better myself.

In recent years--say the last four or five--my mother has begun to tell me repeatedly that she loves me. That's all fine and dandy but I don't need to hear it now and, quite frankly, I somewhat resent hearing it now but am not exactly sure why. Nowadays, I have a healthy sense of self-worth, a husband and friends who love me, a good career, an education, a beautiful home...in short, the good life I feel I'm deserving of and that I worked so hard to get. Where were these proclamations of love when I needed them years ago?

She currently lives in an apartment (she still can't afford a house) about 3 hours away from us. Shortly after telling her we were expecting, she announced that she wants to move back to a town about 45 minutes away from us. A town that she used to live in until about 3 years ago and hated because of it's small town-ness--in fact, she couldn't get away from it fast enough when A and I moved out-of-state a few years ago and it is a town she had no interest in returning to when A and I moved back to Florida last year. As far as family goes, I am her only child and her only living relative except for a distant second cousin who she has no contact with.

But moving back closer to us? I think she may have an altered perception about the reality of what her living fairly close by will be. We are not close as a mother and daughter, and quite frankly, I don't want her to be too involved in my daughter's (g-d willing we have a live baby in a few months' time) upbringing. Yes, I realize that the very people who raised us often are different creatures with their grandkids. My best friend swears she doesn't know who her father is when he's with her two little boys. But still....

A thinks I should let bygones be bygones and let her in, forget the past. I say, it's too little too late. I forgive but I don't forget. Yes, I realize that I would be devastated if I lost her, I'm not saying I don't love her, don't get me wrong. There's so much I've left out here because I've already gone on way too long about this and my feelings are so very complicated.

I know, however, that I don't want to be like her--that I don't want to raise my daughter like she raised me. A has told me on numerous occasions that I am nothing like my mother--that by age 25 I had already accomplished more than she (or my father) ever had. He has seen me grow and he is who I credit with helping me establish my self-worth, my ability to love, and my strength.

I want to be a good mother. I want to give my child a happy home and a strong sense of pride in herself. I want her to know love, and happiness, and joy. I want to--and will, unlike my mother--tell my daughter that I love her EVERY single day. My child will never doubt my love for her--though she may at times resent it or perhaps feel constrained by it, but she will never not know it.

So I guess when all is said and done, despite overcoming my upbringing, I am a bad daughter. But I don't intend for my daughter to be one.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Since some of you asked...

Here are some possible names for the principesa that were negotiated during our V-day dinner:

Christina (or Christine)

We each ranked them numerically by preference and agreed to scrap Jenna (we both weren't sold on it), Liliana (A just didn't warm to it), and Christine (in favor of Christina). He favors Samantha (which is my #2) while I prefer Juliana (his #2). He says then the baby will be named Juliana--but I want us to agree on this and I don't want to feel that he's 'giving' me the choice because he thinks it's what I want. He's been known to do that, and I'm while not complaining about his tendency to want to give me the moon and stars, this is something entirely different. Going on, Christina is my #3, followed by Elizabeth--and, yup, you guessed it, Elizabeth is his #3, Christina #4. Oh, and lest we forget a middle name, so far two have been bandied about: Nicole (just love it) and Denise (a family name).

Of course, all this talk assumes that there will be a live baby coming home with us sometime between late June and early July. How I hope that is the case, though much remains to be seen (but in related news, two days from now marks the halfway point of 20 weeks--where did the time go?!).

So what do you think of these selections? And do you have any names you'd like to throw into our ring? Bear in mind--as if you couldn't tell--I'm a big fan of those "girly" names that end in the feminine 'a' (oh how I always wanted one for myself but all I got was a middle name that ends in 'a') and I'm typically indecisive.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Love actually

(Coincidentally, one of my favorite films....)

Yesterday was a day not often seen around these parts. It was filled with sunshine, baby dancing (no, not that ridiculous TTC-message board euphemism for hot monkey love), heart, good food, and love actually.

To bore you with the details, A dropped me at work so we could drive to our peri appt in one car later in the day. He was kind enough to come and take me to lunch too--something we try to do at least once every two weeks. The sun was shining, it was a balmy 75 degrees, lovely spring weather in south Florida. All in all, rather uneventful. 3 p.m. found him picking me up to head to the peri appt. Of course, it goes without saying that we waited to be seen (though this time only 1 hour, 20 minutes as opposed to the usual 2+ hours) for the level 2 u/s but oh, was it worth it.

La principesa was quite active, dancing around, but cooperative for the most part. She was, in the tech's words, "beautiful"--and what mama doesn't want to hear her child described that way? Everything measured within normal range--her head, femur, arms, belly, liver, diaphragm, kidneys, brain, and her little heart (all four gloriously beating chambers of it). She's about 10 oz right now and around 8 to 10 inches long (holy crap! something that size is in there?! and only going to get bigger?!). Her actual ultrasound age matched perfectly with my due date so things remain on track and we got some lovely pictures of her in all her glory.

After the beauty that was the u/s, A and I stopped at a quirky little local seafood shack for some romantic dining a deux. Okay, so it wasn't really romantic but the crabs were fresh and the company excellent. We spent some portion of the meal discussing name possibilities for our girl and writing/ranking them on the paper covering the tabletop. When I asked him if he ever thought we'd one day be having that conversation, he replied, "Yes, I never doubted." But, oh, how I did. And once again I was reminded just how much I actually love that man.

So home we went, where he surprised me with a lovely gift basket from The Body Shop. Inside were formerly unscented body lotion, shower gel, salt scrub, and massage oil, all of which he had custom fragranced for me. Very original on his part and, oh, do they smell divine. Also included were a wooden foot massager as well as a small back/hand/whatever wooden massager. Very thoughtful of him and very appreciated by me. We then spent some quality time on the couch, me reading while he killed soldiers on his new PS2 game (courtesy of moi) before calling it a day. The reality of it is that we're quite boring. And now that I've bored you with the details of my V-day, I hope that yours was enjoyable, no matter where the day found you....

Today was a regular OB appt but I've got nothing exciting to share. My BP was a normal 130/70, weight good (a little higher than I wanted to see though the nurse and doctor didn't seem fazed by it), and baby's HR good. We discussed my insulin resistance, the few high glucose readings I've had here and there, etc. The doctor did commend me on doing good with my diet/glucose. She said the fact that the baby is measuring right on is in direct correlation to my doing a good job of managing my condition/sugars well--which was good news. It also really woke me up to the fact that I need to keep it up (and not let myself do things like share that chocolate volcano cake with A that we had for dessert last night--but, hey, at least I didn't eat it all by myself!). All in all, the visit was quite mundane and I go back in a couple of weeks.

So now that I've bored you with the highlights of my week, how are you doing?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

This just in....

46 normal, healthy, perfectly numbered chromosomes...and she's a little girl.

Wait, did you hear that? That was the sound of one hell of an exhale, followed by tears of joy, the blowing of snot, and the wiping of the face, all in a 10 second span.

The best part? Besides the good news itself--was that A was the one to deliver the basics to me. It seems our fair hero went home on his lunch break to, shall we say, "take the browns to the super bowl," and there was a message from the peri's nurse on our machine. So he played it back for me on the phone. It went something along the lines of, "This is nurse friendly from the doctor's office. I have the results of your amnio and it's good news. Call me back at XXX-XXXX."

The words "good news" in that sentence were so incredible to hear and I know they meant the world to A too--I'm so glad he got to hear them before me. He's been worried about me; hell, I've been worried about me and I know many of you have been worried too. But for now--and let's hope the next 21 or so weeks--there are no more worries to be had in these parts (ah, who am I kidding? Here's to 18+ more years of --which all began at conception).

So I called nurse friendly back, who herself answered on the first ring. She gave me the good news, the gender (after asking if we wanted to know), and then followed this with, "I just wanted to tell you as soon as the news was hot off the presses/fax. You got a bum deal with them not being able to do the InSight (FISH) test and I wanted you to know as soon as we got the results." Thank g-d for small miracles and thoughtful nurses--I was beginning to wonder if either existed.

Like a broken record, I again say "thank you." If I could, I'd write and send you each a personalized thank you card--after all, "thank you" is truly becoming a lost art. Perhaps that's one reason why I am sure to say it when it's warranted--and it is so very warranted in your case(s). One particular friend commented that I was handling this challenge with grace, but I have to say that I couldn't have done it without the support of each of you. It was that which helped me, especially when I was at my lowest points. Your kind words and thoughts brought a smile to my face, and even some talking aloud to myself (a la "thank you friend, you can't imagine how much that means to me to know that," or even just a belly shaking chuckle, etc.) as I sat reading them at the computer. Please know just how much this means to me...*sniffling again/much wiping of eyes*

Monday, February 07, 2005

Just passing time

Ho hum...not much going on around here these days. Just interminable waiting, I'm sure most of you know the kind. Two weeks of sheer agony, hell on earth. Alas, while my wait this time does not involve analyzing my body for pregnancy symptoms, I am analyzing my body for living baby symptoms. That is, do I feel it moving still? Check. Can we find the heartbeat every night with the doppler? Check. Is my waistline still disappearing about as fast as acres of Brazilian rainforest are? Check--though that could be all the eating and not necessarily the baby growing. And at least every few hours, I ask A yet again, "Now are you sure you saw the baby's hand fully open at that ultrasound?" and his answer is always the same: "Positive." I take that to be a very good sign indeed since clenched hands are often a hallmark of trisomy 18. And I take each movement I feel the baby make as another good sign since fetal inactivity can be also be a hallmark.

Outside of that, there's not a lot I can do to make the time pass any faster. I putter around the house, do dishes, straighten up things, or fall asleep on the couch at some point in time (it happens so frequently that A has crafted quite a library of photos of such on the digital camera--we're wild huh?).

The genetic counselor did call us at 7:30 Thursday night to personally let us know about the lab error and that we'd have to wait a full 10 days for the results. Maybe she didn't realize that I had already found this out from the nurse (though the nurse said 10 to 14 days for results) earlier that day. The genetic counselor also clarified that it was quite normal for blood to get in an amniotic fluid sample. Apparently, when the needle goes into the uterine wall, a small bit of tissue can get in the tip and sucked into the sample when the fluid is aspirated. So while the sample looked normal to the naked eye, the tissue and blood from it rendered it useless.

I don't think about that. Instead, I wait and try to keep my mind busy elsewhere. Yesterday I went to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and to see The Wedding Date with two girlfriends which helped burn a few hours, as did grocery shopping. For my "Ebert moment," I can say the movie was enjoyable, though predicable...I enjoyed the book it was based on (Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young) more.

Anyway, I try not to dwell too much on time these days. I'm taking an optimistic approach (which is SO not me) and truly believing that this baby is fine--and I will continue thinking that way until someone tells me otherwise.

So while I may be setting myself up for an incredible, precipitous fall if bad news comes back from the amnio, I can't let myself dwell on that now. For today, this baby still thrives, still lives, is healthy, and nothing has shown up on any previous ultrasound to tell me otherwise. For today, at 18 1/2 weeks, I am still pregnant and so very grateful for each day that has passed and each that dawns fresh, with hope for tomorrow. For today, I can keep the darkness at bay for another day while I wait for news that should be good, that I hope with all my heart will be good. That's the best I can do...and say thank you for waiting with me and helping make the time more bearable (great jokes and web sites you provided too!).

Thursday, February 03, 2005

No news yet and there won't be for a while

Sorry to say but I've not yet gotten word of the FISH results. How I'm hoping the call comes today but I realize that tomorrow is a very real possibility as well. I will say that when my cell phone rang this morning, I near jumped out of my skin to get it but, alas, it wasn't the doctor's office.

Turns out my realtor had a very similiar experience with a false-positive quad screen with her second child. She too came up at a high risk for for trisomy 18 and had to do the amnio with a full 2 week wait for the results--which she said was the most stressful time of her life. Fortunately, her son did not have it. And apparently, this same thing also happened to a friend of hers so perhaps it's more common than I thought. Of course, you know how it seems that when something potentially bad (or bad) happens to you, you're convinced you're the only one who's ever faced/been through it--even though deep inside you know you're not. Thank you each for facing this challenge with me and for helping make my wait that much more bearable.

So that's where we stand today. I will post as soon as I know more.

UPDATED to add: And now I know more. Turns out--this after I called the peri's office a little while ago--that there was too much blood in the amniotic specimen for the FISH test to be run. The report came back today stating this. The blood could have been from the needle going in, or something else (though the nurse didn't specify what), but it makes it impossible to distinguish maternal cells from fetal cells. So the only thing that can be done is to do a standard chromosome analysis of the specimen--which will take anywhere from 10 to 14 days. I'm wondering if someone can just kill me now and get it over with because really...I can't take much more of this shit. Apparently, there are no breaks to be caught around these parts. Just fucking great. So please excuse me while I go break down, just when I thought I was fresh out of tears.

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