Thursday, December 30, 2010

Four days and counting

This morning the phone rang at 7:30. That's an unGodly hour around here (I'm working 2nd shift these days. I sleep until Robbie gets up, usually around 8:30 or 9.) Robbie heard it and immediately started shouting "Hallo! HALLO? HALLO!" (yes, his hello sounds oddly British.) I did not answer the phone, but I did smile at my son's immediate response. Fortunately he went right back to sleep. Kids are amazing.

After we then got up at a more decent hour (closer to 9) I checked the voicemail. It was my RE's secretary calling to get some info for preauthorization. Whoa. That sure felt real. I spoke to her when I set up the appointment, but this was like... really happening. Our appointment is in 4 days. Really.

When I called her back, she seemed short, though. It surprised me because she's usually quite friendly. This time, however, she seemed annoyed. She asked a few questions about our history, so she could apply for the pre-auth. Then she asked what our coverage is. I told her it was 100% because it is mandated in Illinois. (The clinic is in Missouri but since I live and work in Illinois, those laws apply.) She seemed almost irritated, "They're going to cover it..........again?" Um, yes?

After we hung up, her tone had me worried, so I double checked the statute in Illinois. There is no provision about number of children. It will only pay for 2 egg retrievals (for IVF) after a live birth, but that is the only reference to previous children at all. After I confirmed that, I set about being annoyed.

I'm not sure what her tone was implying. Perhaps she thinks the law is stupid? Skeptical that the medical coverage is truly there. Maybe she even thinks it's selfish to want a second child? I honestly don't know. Whatever it was, it certainly made me defensive.

The feeling of selfishness is something I've really struggled with. The fertiles of the world often imply that any infertile attempting to conceive is selfish. "But there are so many babies in the world who need parents." (Not sure why they aren't out adopting all these babies themselves. Maybe they can pick up a cute one for me while they're at the baby store. But I digress.) And then there is the fact that I DID conceive and have this amazing little boy with a transient British accent. How can I want more?

I know that having a child is selfish on some level. The reasons or background don't matter. Bringing another life into the world purely for the joy of watching them grow is selfish. And here I am hoping to do it again. I can't help but feel a little guilty about it. (Guilt IS what I do best.)

Hearing that tone today, it hurt. And it also brought back a lot of feelings of inadequacy that have been buried for a while. Having been out of the infertility closet for so long, it's actually rare that those feelings creep in. But it's funny how a careless comment or disapproving tone can dredge them all back up.  I hadn't missed them at all.

But regardless of snotty secretaries or my own unresolved guilt, we are moving forward. Four days and counting.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting There

I confess that a busy schedule isn't the only reason for my infrequent postings recently. A large portion of why I've been quiet is because I just don't want to talk about it. That's unusual for me as I usually want to talk about everything (both online and off) and the dark, twisty stuff more so than anything else. But I just don't. I don't know if I haven't processed all my thoughts or I just am not sure if I want to hear everyone else's, but I just haven't been ready. What is the elephant in the room? Another baby. Or I guess, more specifically, trying to have another baby.

The decision is made. January 3, we have our second first appointment at the fertility clinic. That came only after my OB appointment, multiple surgical appointments to ultimately remove my gallbladder and a few appointments with a particularly bitchy MFM. We are going to try again. I wonder if the dildocam has missed me?

People mostly seem excited when they hear. As usual, we're mostly out of the closet about stuff. I haven't exactly been volunteering the information (see above "I don't want to talk about it.") but people ask and I answer honestly. Yes, we are hoping to have another. "So exciting!" they say. I wish I could muster even a portion of their enthusiasm. Mostly I'm just terrified.

I'm not so much scared to actually try again. At this point, the fertility clinic feels no different to me than grocery shopping; mundane, but necessary. The best I can hope for is someone acting crazy so I have a good story to tell. I really like my R.E. and I know what to expect for the most part. There is always the possibility that David's latest sperm count is even more abysmal than before and we have to go straight to IVF, but as we're fortunate enough to have infertility coverage, that isn't as terrifying as it could be.

I'm not even so scared that it won't work again. The first round of fertility treatments left me anxious and bitchy. Every waking moment was filled with the terror that I would never get to be a mother. That is something I can cross off my list. I know the joy of motherhood and like it so much that I want to do it again. I would be immensely sad not to have another child, but that is no longer the worst thing I can think of.

No, my biggest fear is getting pregnant again, getting sick again, and delivering early again. It could happen even earlier this time- maybe before viability. Maybe my baby won't even make it out of me alive. Maybe it happens around the same time or even a little later, but he or she doesn't make it. Maybe I'll watch my baby die. Maybe even the exact same thing happens and our NICU stay is the same and the baby turns out to be happy and amazing just like Robbie. The difference this time will be sitting at my baby's bedside knowing I took this risk on purpose. Every time a tube is stuffed down his throat or a needle jabbed into his vein, I'll know that I CHOSE this. Indeed, the worst thing I can think of right now is hurting another baby.

Dr. Bitchy (as my MFM shall now be known) says my risk is 12-25% of getting sick again. It "should" happen later. It "should" be less severe. She hopes I can make it to 36 or 37 weeks. I am to count on bed rest at some point. She also made sure to tell us that we needed to be risk takers to do this again; that we had to accept that having another baby meant risking our futures, our marriage, even Robbie's future if we have a disabled child. In her opinion, a disabled child is "worse" than a dead one. I found that impressively offensive, but I know she was trying to prepare us for the (her) worst. I can't imagine spending your days seeing nothing but patients who have gotten bad news would lead to the sunniest outlook on life and pregnancy.

I've been tested 7 ways from Sunday and found to be nothing but perfectly healthy. The girl at the hospital lab made me chuckle when she repeated "this is a lot of blood" over and over again when I had my labs drawn. They were all normal. I dutifully peed in a jug for 24 hours and proved that my kidneys completely recovered from the onslaught the preeclampsia gave them. My MFM was surprised. My kidneys were in worse shape than I knew, but they have completely recovered. She said we gave her "angst" and she'd prefer we adopt for find a surrogate (yes, with that money tree I have growing in the backyard) but that she would sign off on us trying and see us through to the end- whenever that may be.

She's adamant that we can not have a multiple pregnancy. She's very displeased about ART. I'm afraid there's not much to say about that. We haven't prevented pregnancy since Robbie's birth. Two and a half years later, and not so much as a late period. I will discuss with my RE ways to mitigate the risk of multiples, but fertility treatments are a necessity for us, obviously.

I know that there are people who think we're nuts to even try. Hell, I think we're nuts to try. But I also know that it could go the other way. I could go full term and have a nice, fat, healthy, hungry, full-term baby. Or something else entirely could go wrong. Pregnancy is the riskiest time in a woman's life, after all. We've discussed it and done what we can to mitigate our risks (which really consists of losing some weight and praying a lot) and are choosing to go forward.

I know that if things go badly- either really badly or just a little badly- I'm going to feel guilty. I'm going to BE guilty. But I also know that the rewards that come from this risk are unbelievably amazing. As unique as our parenting experience has been, I've never been happier. I want to be a mom again. It's just the getting there that sucks.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Am I the only person who feels like Christmas is killing them this year? I'm convinced it's because it falls on the weekend. That makes us lose that last weekend of preparedness. We're doing in-law Christmas this weekend and spending real Christmas with my family. That means I have to be ready like....uh.. now!

We also had/have a number of parties this month. Last weekend we did a birthday party an adoption shower in the same day, the day after a work party for David's work. This week I have a work potluck, a potluck at Robbie's daycare, and all the baking I'm doing for gifts, then preparing for the Faux Christmas weekend. Next week, I have another work party and David's potluck (he's cooking for himself, but using one of my recipes, so I'll be involved) and then of course, Actual Christmas. I'm wiped out!

Things are honestly pretty good around home, just busy. Robbie's eating pretty well. We began using an appetite stimulant and it seems to be working. He's not eating much more than usual, but it definitely made him thirsty. He went from averaging 2-3 oz/day to probably more like 5-10oz/day. I wish he would drink more milk (or even juice, anything with calories, really) but he still much prefers water. School and we encourage milk, but he will bring an empty cup and say "ah-ter!" He knows what he wants.

Speaking of speaking, man is the language coming quickly now! In barely over a month he's gone from 37 words to hundreds, regularly using 2 word sentences and now beginning three. He's able to express his needs and desires with words most of the time (though he's also shrieking incessantly. I'm really at my wit's end with the screeeaaamming.) and that has really changed the dynamic at home.

The other night he kept saying "Assipah! Assipah!" I had no idea what he was walking about. "Yes, dear, assipah.. mm-hmm." Until he finally brought me a container of applesauce and shoved it at me, obviously frustrated that I didn't understand English. "ASSIPAH, momma! ASSIPAH!"

I asked him to say apple- "App-uh."
I asked for sauce- "sawssse."

Say applesauce! "ASSIPAH!"

You win some, you lose some. All in all, though, it feels like a lot of winning. David and I go to bed at night recapping all the adorable and amazing things he's done all day. We sound like giggling morons telling each other repeatedly, "he's so cute." Sometimes I'm not sure if Robbie is cuter, or David's love of Robbie is. Suffice it to say that family satisfaction is pretty high right now.

I sure hope it can continue through Christmas. David's been very helpful. I'm glad I married a pretty domesticated man. He's doing most of the cooking for faux-Christmas and even taking off a day to do the house cleaning so we don't have to rush around. I've been in charge of all decorating and shopping. I think it's a good deal, really. I'll take toy shopping over toilet scrubbing almost any day.

Will try to do a better job of keeping up with the blog. There are lots of other things floating through my head almost constantly, but by the time I sit down to write, it's all gone. I need to carry a notebook. You know, after Christmas.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tube-Fed Kid in the news

The Today show did a story on a tube-fed kid today. It's short and not terribly detailed, but it's so rare to see anything about a tube-fed kid in the news, I had to share.
I'm certain the feeding clinic they are referring to is the Graz clinic, which is the model of tube weaning our method has been based upon.