where i have been…( don’t read this if you are still waiting for your forever baby)

I wrote this long post telling you all where I had been. Then I pressed the wrong button and it disappeared. I have no more time to myself tonight.
I am in severe doldrums,  called overwhelm and depression.
The baby is fine. He is a boy!We have to move. We are doing a short sale. The bank is foreclosing on us. We have little help or support. I am so fed up of working hard and being broke.
I will update more soon when I get time.
I am sooo bummed I lost the post. I gave it everything. ugh.
Please send nice thoughts our way.
Isobel is doing great,
xo

a movie you won’t want to miss…

my trying to be creative pregnancy announcement…courtesy of my clever wife.

I won’t tell you about the scary as all eff maternal fetal medicine appointment we had today where we discussed all my risk factors and past history. On the more optimistic side, we did see a very cute baby  via ultrasound, with her / his hands up by his / her face and two fingers very visibly giving the peace sign. 

Graduating from the RE

Yes, I have become a newsy poster, as is most people’s wont when they are in a cycle or pregnant. I have to say I feel a bit sheepish about it, but it is a good way to record our little family history so here I go.

We saw our baby last week at the baby factory and she / he had a heart beat of 180 beats per minute and her ( ok for expediancy I will go with her until we know otherwise) head and body were visible. Susan swore she saw an arm waving around too. According to the ultrasound tech and the doctor everything looks fabulous. I have a tiny hematoma ( not the correct medical term)  – last time I had a large one accompanied by bleeding – but this time no bleeding or cramping. All looks good. He mentioned in passing that we still have a few ( three, I think) very good looking embryos left and I shuddered. Let’s get this pregnancy nice and cooked first and then we can look back and say no more. Even with those beautiful embryos, we know there are no more babies on our horizon apart from this one. Of course we will probably keep the embryos until the baby is born and then decide what to do. They cannot be donated to anyone else because the egg donor  prohibited it, and I understand that is the best thing to do with anonymous donors but it does feel like a waste especially when they are so good and Isobel is a pretty darn sweet kiddo. So we believe the others would be too. So the options are medical science or disposal. I am pretty sure we will donate them to science.
But I digress.

Don’t I sound optimistic about this pregnancy? I am reasonably calm about it and trying hard to believe that all will be well. In fact the only thing I am stressed about now, is my usual bugbear, work. And I was similarly stressed when Isobel was in utero. I can’t do that again. I am going to look into a mindfulness group that my doc told me about. I need to learn to switch off my monkey mind and my endless ruminating. It is so bad for me and such a waste of energy.

So yeah, we graduated the baby factory amidst hugs and promises to send photos and are now under the regular every Wednesday morning care of Mr Ob. Yes a man OBGYN.

Two weeks ago I went to see said new OBGYN to review the medical records of my last pregnancy and to hear from him what he thought about what happened, especially at the end when I had to have the C section because Isobel was not moving properly. He reviewed it and he reminded me that there had been meconium in the amniotic fluid when Isobel was pulled out of my uterus ( which he said was very unusual at that stage) and that the chord was wrapped around her neck four times ( which he also said was very unusual). I wept in his office. I was overcome by the feelings  and the thoughts of what could so easily have happened to her if I had not paid attention to my instincts about her  lack of movement in  utero. If I had not called the midwife and gone to the hospital when I did. If I had waited another day.  No one can say why she was in distress, or what happened to cause it. She got a 7 and then a 9 on the Apgar – something that I had never heard at the hospital and apparently was fine and healthy  ( if tiny at 5 lbs and 13 ounces). The fact that I was offered the opportunity to labor ( even though I was not dilated or effaced) really upsets me too. I believe that labor would not have progressed and would have put her in grave danger. Not doing anything – and ignoring my instincts – would have also put her in more grave danger. The only thing to do was a C -section. Which I agreed to in a nano second. I really believed that once the baby was in my uterus, cooking away at 30 something weeks, nothing could go wrong, it was just a case of waiting it out. I had a doppler, so I would listen to her heartbeat and I knew she was alive. Of course I couldn’t detect the ebbs and flows of her movements and her heartbeat with a doppler. And when I couldn’t feel her movement much  throughout the pregnancy – and I had been asked throughout my pregnancy if I could feel her and I said, not much – no-one really said anything about it.  (I had non stress tests weekly towards the end and passed them all with flying colors. Though again, no one really explained what they were lookng for in these tests. I feel I may have pushed the button sometimes when I did not feel a movement, although I now know that they don’t really pay attention to those button pushes.) Or it was chalked up to the placing of my placenta. I was clueless really. But trusting. I think I trusted too much.  I wanted to believe in the miracle of “natural” childbirth. Because everyone was telling me I should. But I couldn’t. And I think that in my case I was right.

So my new OBGYN knows all my history, he is well versed in high risk pregnancy ( if mine should be that way – he says that every pregnancy is different and I am holding onto that thought) and he is willing to monitor me very regularly.  He listens. He takes time. He has many satisfied customers, including my own GP. I will have a scheduled C section. I still have a large fibroid that sits right by the birth canal, I have had one C section, a myomectomy and I have no desire whatsoever to have a VBAC.

Nine weeks and four days, folks! Amazing.

PS Did I tell you that my last progesterone reading was 29? that’s pretty darn good for me, folks!

I owe you all an update!

All is well in the pregnancy department. We saw the heart beat at the first ultrasound which showed a tiny flickering line over a cheerio shaped blob. The second ultrasound showed the heart beat at 145 beats per minute and  clearly showed the fetal pole and yolk sac and a kind of blob that is the baby. Everyone exclaimed that it was beautiful. My progesterone has been a little bit of  a roller coaster but the last reading on Friday so I was relieved and happy.
I have been religiously taking all my meds and getting shot in the posterior every night by my lovely devoted wife. I have managed to pretty much keep it a secret to the general public in my life although I did let it slip to two “work friends” in the last few days.
My next ultrasound ( and last fertility clinic appointment) and meeting with my doctor is next Monday. I have barely seen him – in fact I think I have seen him twice – once for a consultation and once for a saline sonogram. 
The person who has kept me going through this whole conveyor belt of excellent science and near perfect embryology is the nurse who worked with my previous doctor who retired. She is not really anything to do with my care anymore, as I am managed by a so called “IVF team” but I ask for her every time I am there and she meets with me in semi secret and looks at my charts and results and cheers me on. She came trotting down the hall looking for me on the afternoon of our first ultrasound took me off to draw my blood ( in a perfect in and out, no problems like I usually get with my shy veins)  and gave us big hugs and smiles when we found out the results.
I am going to miss her and one of the other nurses who is also an old timer and incredibly kind and sweet. But I won’t miss anyone else.
Symptom wise I am feeling ok. No morning sickness, extreme dry mouth, slight nausea, sense of nervousness and hyper-ness now and then and  heightened emotions. The heightened emotions are a problem because work is incredibly stressful and I feel angry and disgusted a lot of the time. It is never the actual work or the clients, it is always the politics, the petty unprofessional staff and the lack of accountability that hurts the people we serve and makes the services they receive a kind of Russian roulette. You can get really good service or you can be devastated. It’s a crap- shoot. And based on who you get to “serve” you.
But that’s another story for another day.
For now I am still pregnant and very grateful. Thanks for all your support and cheers along the way.
PS Isobel is thriving and super cute and funny. I will do a post about her really soon I promise!

200th post: 5 weeks and one day pregnant

It’s a big number post milestone for me in more ways than one.  I am 22 days past 5 day FET. My first BETA was 285,  progesterone was  18.8. Second BETA  was 1185, Progesterone was 16. Commence major freak-out at dropping progesterone levels, which resulted in adding another PIO to the protocol for a total of 1cc PIO every day as opposed to every other day and another blood level check today. Third BETA was today 2600  and Progesterone went up to 20 ( to prove my point that I needed extra support). My EDD is January 29th, 2014.

Big huge  thanks to Itiswhatitis(orisit) for technical and emotional support through the crazy rollercoaster of HCG and progesterone tests. Honestly I would have been a basket case ( okay I was anyway) without Dr. It Is What it Is ( or is it?). Thanks, friend!

This is a strange pregnancy so far. Despite freak outs, I do feel calmer. I do feel able to plan a little bit ahead and not worry that this pregnancy is not going to last or bad things will happen. I still know that anything can happen but I feel a little more laid back about it. I don’t feel so fragile. I am still lifting Isobel ( 25lbs) –  but not as much as I was. What can a mama do? I went to the gym yesterday and worked out on the eliptical – something I would never have done last time.   Today I went to the garden center and got plants and bags of mulch for the garden and spent much of the morning gardening. I sit down when I get tired and I am definitely not overdoing it. My big symptoms are mild indigestion,  thirst and dry mouth ( could be the meds) tiredness and raging hunger – especially at night. I am still snoring – never stopped after my last pregnancy and since I am even fatter than I was then it’s not going away anytime soon. I started drooling while I sleep. Fun! And I am determined not to sit on the couch for the next 8 or so months, like I did last time.

I was at the clinic today sitting in the sterile waiting  room with a bunch of other patients all staring at our smart phones, when a couple walked by who looked shell  shocked. The woman was crying but trying not to and the man looked sad. She had to check out and it only took about 15 seconds for her to do that and walk through the waiting room and I thought it must have felt like an eternity for her. No one else seemed to notice. My heart was in my throat. It followed them out the door. I wanted to reach out and envelop them in a  big psychic hug. Then I wanted to tell her that she could use donor eggs or donor sperm and it would WORK! It did for me! I know there are all sorts of heartbreaks in the infertility world, and the need for donors is not the only one, and there is all kinds of loss too. I imagined that they had not seen a heartbeat when she needed one, or  they had met with the doctor and he had told them they were screwed, or she had had her sixth miscarriage. I know that the first time I prepared to receive donor eggs I felt so relieved not to have to worry about my old and washed up eggs  and that all I had to do was to focus on my uterus ( that was pressure enough). And I mentioned to one of the nurses that it felt so good to be in this position and she told me that she wished more people would do what I was doing. And not just keep going through the pain and misery in the hopes of a bio child. But that was an easy decision for me. And it’s not for everyone. I know that. I know that my answer isn ‘t everyone’s answer. I am just really really grateful that it is mine.

So that is my 200th post. Not deep, mostly the facts ma’am. And a short musing on the gratefulness quotient that is verging towards infinity. And holding all my sisters in waiting rooms everywhere, and those who are doing that sad walk out the door in my hopes and dreams too.

Yes +

That’s what the pee stick said! I haven’t used one of these ones before and even though I read the instructions I was a bit perplexed it didn’t say either “pregnant” or “not pregnant”, but I got the idea pretty quickly and started yelling from the bathroom and laughing and doing a little jig. I was holding the fancy plastic digital test stick ( with cap on) and Isobel wanted to come into the bathroom when she heard the commotion so she grabbed it off me and was dancing around laughing and cackling and looking gleeful. For a minute I thought the genius had heard me say “I’m pregnant!” and understood. But pretty soon she said, “what is it?” Ha!

I was pretty convinced it was no. Apart from a few things. Emotional breakdown last night over Susan sitting in her usual arm chair with her usual computer doing her usual work while I tried to talk to her. Almost getting into a car crash today ( distracted and scattered). Feeling twinges in my uterus a couple of days after transfer. Having two lunches today: a healthy one and one that consisted of pancakes and fried eggs. That sort of thing.

So how do I feel and what’s on my mind? I am cautiously optimistic. Hoping for a good Beta tomorrow. Praying this pregnancy lasts a long time and provides a live baby. Wishing for a smooth pregnancy. Feeling energized. Making plans. All those  sorts of things. And as I said to a buddy tonight on chat, enjoying the telling of the news. Because though it’s a secret in the wider world, there are many in my smaller circle that know and cheer me on, even when I don’t feel optimistic ( like the whole TWW!)

I will update tomorrow, hopefully with a nice number:)

Great expectations…

Today was the day. Embryo transfer day. Susan, who is a fledgling minister had a gig doing   a graveside service which she could ( obviously) not re-schedule, so I was on my own. Yes, it was a circle of life day. We should have got civil unionized just to top things off really.

The part that I was most looking forward to, apart from the idea of bringing new life into my barren womb, was the lying down part.  That’s from being a mom and never having enough time to just relax. (Once when I was driving past a cemetery I thought to myself, wow, that must be really relaxing to be in there. I know. Bad. I think it was before I had Isobel but I can’t be certain. Yes, I know two kids are way more tiring than one ).You know, the hanging on the treatment table / couch   before and after the transfer, and  the part when you get to go home and lie in bed. With a valium which they prescribe for you. One pill. It cost me about $1.40 with insurance. Except I had no one to drive me so I wasn’t taking the valium until I got home. To Isobel who was lively and needing lots of activity. I finally coaxed her into bed with me for a nap around 3pm and we slept for about 1.5hrs. It wasn’t enough but it wasn’t bad.

The transfer went very quickly. I had just settled myself in the waiting room, even plugged in my phone charger and was meaning to post on here and my secret FB groups and they called my name. I was scheduled for 1.15 pm with a 12.15 arrival. They called me at 12.15pm and I think I was out of there before 1.15pm. I had been kind of blase about drinking enough water because I thought I had time so my bladder was not very full but it didn’t seem to matter very much. The perky embryologist came in and told me that the first embryo they froze survived and I asked if it was hatching ( they don’t give you much information really) and she said yes. She said it was 2AA quality which is the same it was when it was frozen, which means good.

The doctor who did my first fresh SET  in 2009 was doing the transfer today and was friendly and professional. The ultra sound tech was the same as for my other two transfers. She is so frikking chirpy and romantic about the whole thing. It’s like being in the Sound of Music when she is around. She calls it the “homecoming” when the embryo settles into the the cavity surrounded by the endometrium. She burbled on about second babies and how SFETs are the thing now and that it’s easier to get pregnant when you have done it before. She was excited to hear about Isobel. She said she hoped I had a nice scheduled c section for the birth….It was cute, but also a little irritating. She pointed out that the  endometrium was bright on the screen which means that it is nice and soft and receptive for the embryo. I got to see the embryo on a screen before they inserted it into the catheter. It looked nice. I am not an expert so I can’t say more than that. The doctor thought she was going to have a hard time getting past the bend in my cervix ? uterus ? but it went smoothly. I think they were all very  pleased with how it went. I got to see the burst of light as the embryo came out of the catheter and have a picture to take home of that moment. We don’t get to keep photos of the embryos. I was looking it and thinking, “this tiny tiny little thing could be a sibling for Isobel.” Amazing and miraculous.

So yes, they said take a few minutes, get dressed and you can be on your way. No lying around for me. One of the two people left at the clinic that I like is my old doctor’s nurse. She is one of the few of the  remaining old guard ( she was the first nurse that the IVF program hired in 1988) while many  of the rest of the staff seem slightly disinterested baby factory types.  I think that it’s the result of the company going very corporate. Anyway, Nurse D has kept up with my progress and came in to see me and to wish me luck. Very sweet. That clinic has phenomenal success rates and embryology but is seriously lacking in bedside manner. You never meet the IVF nurses who do your schedule and call you with updates. But I have Nurse D so I don’t really care.

So my beta is on Friday May 24th and I will POAS the night before. That’ s how it was the only other two times I got to this point with IVF, so that’s how it’s going to be this time.

Seriously hoping for a BFP!

Deciding

Firstly thank you all so much for your incredibly helpful, honest, true and compassionate comments. I just want to clarify – I completely know that this is our decision and ours alone, but I really thrive on hearing others opinions and experiences and your words helped me to have a dialogue with myself and my partner in making this decision. It’s kind of like when I used to write papers. I liked to read many opinions, weigh them, cogitate, ruminate and then the way forward would emerge for me and I would be able to write the paper and be clear about what I was arguing and how I saw a dominant  theme emerging for me.  So, even though I was asking for help, it was help in the discussion, in the rumination and the unconscious churning, not help making the actual decision. Just in case you think I am a complete nincompoop.  Thank you!

I think most of you are right in what you said. And I did freak out completely about what to do when I had made what I believed was a final decision. In the end  it all did  boil down to regrets, and not knowing and not trying and wanting to do everything I could to keep going in the search for our family picture. So we decided to go ahead.

The caveats and the cautions for those ( including myself and my family)  who have concerns about my health and Susan’s are: I am going to go to see a high risk OBGYN in the next couple of weeks and show him all my records from my previous pregnancy and get his opinion. This doctor was suggested by my PCP when I told her of my desire for a high intervention, extremely not naturally focused OBGYN. I have written about this before so I am not going to go into details, but I need that kind of doctor. And she says she knows one who is just the ticket. He does not go by the book, but he knows each patient as an individual and listens to what they say(!) I know I know.  What a concept! But last time I really felt that the risks were not taken seriously by my providers and I honestly felt overlooked until I was in the L and D department  with reduced fetal movement and a c section looming.

Our other promise is to really work on our diet and exercise in the next few months and try to be stronger and healthier for if and when another baby comes ( and for the pregnancy). You all know that this is a really tall order and one of the biggest things many of us struggle with in life. We are not naturals when it comes to cooking, we don’t post on Facebook about our three course gourmet meals and naturally sourced ingredients.  We do eat organic when it comes to the dirty dozen and as much as we can afford, which is something that we started to do more of when Isobel started eating solid foods. But  probably the most exciting thing I have made recently is blueberry muffins, which I made tonight   at the behest of Isobel ( and with her help). I learned to bake as a kid who didn’t have a tv but who had a mom who was fair to middling at baking. My mom was an earnestly healthy but rather uninterested cook and i am more of the vaguely healthy and extremely uninterested ilk.  We will see. And we are trying.

So I am taking BCPs  ( I took my last one tonight) and started Lupron on Saturday. The transfer is tentatively scheduled for May 10th, the Friday of Mother’s Day weekend. Gulp. It seems I might be back in that coveted place of updating you all on the excruciatingly minute details of my FET cycle. Gratefully so.

So thank you. I will keep you all posted. I know how lucky I am even to be in this place. Fair, fat and forty something even though I am.

In which very big decisions are pondered…

Warning – do not read this if you are in the trenches of infertility or loss and are still waiting for  a live take home baby.

 
I have been planning to have another baby since Isobel was born. I did everything I could to enjoy her precious and beautiful smallness,  even as a clueless first time mother who did not grow up around babies, knowing that life is short and that there were no guarantees of another baby in my future. Even before I knew who she was, I  pictured siblings.  And once I met her and experienced her happy go lucky personality and her inner and outer beauty, I pictured her with a brother or a sister, so  similar but  also different to her.  I saw them giggling together, playing side by side, arguing and fighting and snuggling and finding their own way and their own passions. I have seen my sister’s girls grow up side by side and that has always inspired me to want this for myself. When I was first pregnant with Isobel we freaked out when we  found out we were having twins,  which as everyone always says, is an instant family, but that fear and euphoria only lasted a week  until the second embryo’s very slow heartbeat petered out.

We have had challenges from day one. Not even taking into account the years of waiting and wondering and treatment, and donor eggs and donor sperm that we went through to get to Isobel, it has been a bumpy ride.  A hard and stress filled pregnancy, bleeding, a huge fibroid, pre eclampsia, post partum depression, unemployment, parents dying, dogs dying.  But after I survived  and mostly thrived through the first year of motherhood I was ready to start looking for a job that would pay the bills and then some and would provide insurance for us to do a frozen embryo cycle to make our sibling plans come alive.

Susan and I  have both come late in life to facing our longings head on and going for it despite the odds and difficulties. NOT doing was too painful. Susan wanted desperately to complete an MDiv. and work in the ministry of a church that was liberal enough to embrace her queerness and allow her to serve in a full ministerial capacity despite the fact, or because of the fact she is a woman. This was something that had been in the works for over twenty years, and which had for many reasons, but mostly financial, been put on hold.  I was equally set on  fulfilling my desire to become a mother. The delay of that also had a lot to do with money ( sperm is expensive and so is insemination and it was all so unknown and I dealt with a sizeable amount of ambivalence).  We were also busy with long distance family obligations and it wasn’t till 2007 that we finally thought we might be ready to have a baby. And that’s when we started in earnest.

Fast forward to the wonderful birth of Isobel and our circumstances were these: Susan was still finishing school  and had been laid off from her job  of 24 years when Isobel was 6 months old, so we were living off her 401k, student loads and money that my recently dead parents had left me. I had always wanted to stay home with my baby and this combination of resources made it possible. We had a wonderful time staying home together for the second six months of Isobel’s life.   So there I was in the summer of 2011 looking to embark on the second part of our family planning. Baby number two. I was still breast-feeding and I did not have an exact time line but I knew that first I would find a job and we would take it from there. I landed a part time on call job doing psych evals in the ER and I actually liked many aspects of it ( apart from managed care and the horrific mental health system which I won’t get into). I got to connect with patients in their darkest hours and lend them my ears and my heart and give them a little hope sometimes.  I was hoping it would lead to a full time gig that would support my little family and move us along to the next part of my goal, courtesy of insurance and five gorgeous frozen embryos from our one live cycle with the wonderful egg donor.

The job did not lead to anything apart from sleepless nights for all of us. Isobel missed me while I was gone in the nights and Susan’s  physical health issues that made it really hard for her to coax Isobel into and to stay in her crib. They often were sleeping in the armchair together when I got home at  2 , 3, 4,5 or 6 in the morning and the lack of sleep and physical pain was making it unbearable for Susan. I wasn’t exactly myself either working these odd unpredictable hours. Great for someone with no obligations and hours to sleep in but not so much for a mostly attachment, avidly breastfeeding parent and her spouse. After three months training and three on call I had to reluctantly call it quits. A  couple of months later  I got a director of social services job in the not for profit field I had worked in previously.  I knew in the interview that it was probably going to be a disaster, but I needed work, and I thought I could manage it. It was good pay and benefits ( as not for profits go), near my house, flexible,  and I thought that I could return to that type of work, even though it had burnt me out the last time.

Fast forward 10 months – unbelievable – and I am not the person I was when Isobel was born. I am tired, crabby, even fatter than before I got pregnant the first time, lethargic, angry and just plain unhappy. I have a hard time handling Isobel’s new found independence and strong will. With weaning comes less endless snuggle time in the mornings and early risings. I get impatient. I am the one asking Susan what to do about various behavior issues, whereas before I thought I was in charge.  But I am still determined, really determined to keep going, no matter what. My actual job is not exactly difficult, it is a managerial one that demands good clinical judgment, great supervisory skills and organization. I can manage all of that. But the environment is absolutely toxic. I had angst during my last job, before I got pregant, serious serious angst. Much of it was about my supervisors. Having worked at an agency for nine years previously that was rich  with mostly sane and often down right inspirational supervisors I have never again had that experience. Right now I have a supervisor who does not show up for work much. And does not really lead. But more than that I have a co worker who is a toxic bully and whose whole department seems to work to make my department look bad. It eats away at me.  Despite all this I have managed to wean Isobel, have all the tests I need to prepare for an FET, including a mammogram, and CHANGED  MY ANTI-DEPRESSANT  over a four week period to something my new psychiatrist was more comfortable with me taking while pregnant. Also we  got our condo ready for a short sale, which involved a huge amount of paperwork, it went on the market a few weeks ago  and we have a buyer. So all being well, we are moving in about two months. And our credit is probably going to be ruined.  And we will be paying the same in rent that we paid in mortgage because rents are so high but we have no credit to buy a place and we are not sure where to go based on Susan’s job search. But because of our physical and mental and financial hardship  ( including my depression which is really affected by the lack of light in our “garden” apartment), we are able to do a short sale and get out of this underwater, small  and rather damp apartment. So yes a lot of shit is going on and I have ploughed on, being crabby and mean to Susan and trying hard to be nicer to Isobel but not always succeeding. Because that is what I do. I plough on. I am known for my determination and not giving up.

We have so many unknowns in doing this  upcoming FET. Many of them are not anything to do with infertility issues or pregnancy.  When we had Isobel we didn’t really know how we would manage, how we would survive financially, when I would have to go back to work, but somehow our leap of faith payed off.  Susan was still working when Isobel was born, she was able to take off 3 months unpaid with FMLA. She went back to work for three horrendous months and then was laid off in a very uncool way. But she got severance and we survived ok. This time it feels like we are not leaping a few faithful feet, but that we are hurling ourselves down  a cliff in the Grand Canyon and praying that we will survive the fall. Ironically enough I have all the tools I need to get pregnant ( knowing that there are no guarantees of course). Star embryos, a birth controlled uterus with a thin progesterone induced lining,  insurance to cover everything except 10% of the hospital costs ( which is the worse part of it  ) a history of being able to get pregnant. But we have no child care plan. I make too much money to afford any kind of financial assistance for childcare. Susan is not physically able to take care of two kids because of her health issues. I would like to stay home ( even though it would be a big challenge of course) but because I am 17 years into my “chosen” field I can make more money than Susan in her new career.  And as someone who waited 24 years in the wilderness of an often meaningless career, she is dying to get out into the world of her new ministry / social justice, chaplaincy career. She feels her vocation so strongly and while she is  a fantastic mother and care-giver to Isobel, she needs to be out in the world as well, fulfilling her vocation.  At the age of 55 she feels her future slipping away and she is down about the prospect of not being able to fulfill her dreams. Our  childcare solution that we had half-heartedly convinced ourselves  we may be able to  do was that I would work three or four days a week, Susan would work about two days and we  would  juggle the child-care and maybe pay for a day or two in daycare. We have no clue if Susan can get a job in the very competitive field she is moving into and she has many strikes against her: older, female, lesbian,  to name a few. Her metabolic health issues that mean that she needs to take care of her diet, get a lot of exercise and get a lot of rest. Which as you all know, are difficult to achieve with one baby, let alone two.

When we had Isobel I had this fantasy that we would find our tribe and that all the people who were so thrilled that we had a baby would be part of our newly formed “family”.  I know that was awfully naive. It did not happen like that at all. As she got older people lost interest after a couple of visits. I eventually realized that it’s more important  to have a few people that are well known to her and that we can all rely on rather than an endless stream of visitors.  We have some lovely lovely people who care about Isobel. But they are all busy busy busy. As are we. I expect people might think that it’s selfish of me to think that there would be people who would give up their schedules to help us, but I did. Our church family loves her and finds her to be cute and funny and smart, but they go home to their families after church. We have a very small family and a very small number of people we can rely on. Mostly we have to pay people to help us with child care. Even though there are grandmotherly types at church, they all have their own grandchildren. We long to see grandma Margaret, who is a wonderful grandma and sometimes grandpa too, but she is in Canada which is a long train ride or a short expensive plane ride away( we hate flying). So we and mostly I, feel bereft in this department. We have our baby mamas that we see on the weekdays and do stuff with. And I definitely cultivated that group and feel that we are to some extent like family. But on the weekends they go off and do their thing with their families. Isobel’s number one fan outside of our little trio is my sister. They absolutely adore each other. But she is busy too. And my nieces have lives of their own and don’t really have the inclination to just come and hang out with Isobel. My brother and his wife and their son, who also adore Isobel live 3,000 miles in England and we don’t see them very often. They have never visited here, and they don’t intend to. They are eco people who are fanatically against flying. They won’t even do it for family.

So the night before last,  my sister told me that she was really worried about my physical and mental health should I get pregnant again. She had seen me a couple of weeks ago being tired and depressed and had wondered how I would put myself through a very risky pregnancy (sic) and put myself and my family through the trials and tribulations and unknowns of all this, when what we have is pretty damn good and we don’t know how things would turn out. We could end up with a disabled child, a preemie, etc etc.

As I got up on Friday morning, I told Susan what I had decided, and felt like a weight had been  lifted from my proverbial shoulders. I went about my business getting ready for work and when I got there I wrote my sister a text explaining that we had decided not to do it:

“I am not sure what happened but something tipped the balance for me. The only reason apart from obvious selfish ones of nurturing and being close to a baby, was providing a sibling for Isobel and expanding our little  family. Even though  that is a huge reason and one we both want very much for her, we can’t do it. For many reasons that we wanted to overcome. Money could provide  for some of the gaps, or a big support system but we don’t have either. We  are going to focus on Isobel and on trying to fulfill all of our dreams and not being stuck in a miserable job just so I can stay employed and pregnant and help Susan to get her career going. Just when things are getting a bit easier with mobility and Isobel’s independence it would be really hard to have another baby and also for my health. I know many people who have struggled long and hard against many odds to have a first or second child but it seems the odds are too great for us to have a second one. You will have to make sure we don’t spoil her. I  am mourning a dream. It is a huge loss. But even though you might see me as vulnerable I feel I have beaten the odds so many times and persevered when things were hard. But I realized the toll is too great on all of our lives. I think we can all be happier and healthier if we focus on what we have and listen to what our hearts and minds are telling us. Anyway, this is quite long enough. Thanks and see you soon. Xoxo. ” 

I felt relieved. I started thinking about all the things Isobel could have if she was an only child. Our undivided attention. Music lessons. Soccer or some other sport. We would have to make sure she had friends who were close to her that she could hang out with. (And with our track record that was another reason to have a sibling – an instant playmate – albeit 3. 5 years older). We could get rid of all our baby stuff in storage that we had been hanging onto and it would help us to downsize our storage. I could sell my cloth diapers. I could get a more fulfilling, maybe lower paying or even part time job eventually because we would not have to pay for childcare for two kids for 5 or more years. Susan could find something extremely fulfilling. We would have time, if not money.

Then  I started to cry. Thankfully I was in my small office with hardly any co-workers. I confided in one of my co workers and she was very sweet and gave me a big hug and we went and got coffee and talked. I cried on and off all day. I cried at the huge loss of my huge dream. I cried at all the face book posts about second or third siblings. I wanted so much to get on the baby bandwagon like so many of my FB and blog friends ( and my IRL baby mamas too) and get pregnant, have another baby and begin the rest of our lives with our perfect family. I wanted to post updates, and talk about my BCPs and the schedule and how we were excited etc etc. My clinic nurse had been so encouraging to me and had really boosted me up as I returned there again after so much time had elapsed, and I had really got the baby fever bad. I felt that all the misery at work would be worthwhile if I could just have that second baby. I even had fantasies about how wonderful pregnancy could be again ( not true, TGal, not in my experience ) and how it would all be roses, or maybe a few roses. (Again, not true, if I look at the list of symptoms I had that I put in my note sections on my I phone as I waited at the doctor’s office for my appointments last time. I will pull that out one of these days for the really curious. It’s bad. ) In thinking about being pregnant, I hadworried about my ever swelling feet and ankles, and the leaky urine issues, and the weird anxious feelings I had last time, but I convinced myself I would know better this time, and I always have Isobel. Except what if something happens to her. Then we won’t have any children and that would be unbearable. I was worried that I would have pre eclampsia again and be tied to the bed for two days till I had to fart so bad it was making me crazy, taking magnesium and not being allowed to be alone with my baby. I asked my sister a few weeks ago if she would take care of Isobel when the baby was born and she said of course she would. But I did have to ask her.
I took my BCPs on Friday night and I will be taking them tonight. I have not really decided.  We have not decided or had chance to talk about it. I have been googling childcare and trying to figure out how we could make it work.  I make too much money for state sponsored child care but once our rent is paid ( or our mortgage) I only have the same amount left to pay all the bills and eat.  My clients have anywhere from 1 – 9 children and we provide them with housing and social services for basically no cost, because they have disabilities ( mental and physical). They don’t have to worry about childcare but they don’t have the resources or education or privilege that I have, so I can’t really begrudge them what I want.  And they struggle so hard with their childrens’ issues.

Isobel has had the stomach flu last night, and while she was throwing up all over me and clinging to me, I was thinking how much harder it would be with two sick little ones in the house. When I was pregnant and before, I would wake up in the night and feel sick and wonder how I would do it when I had a baby, and it all just worked out. It’s not like I have a choice. And I want to comfort my baby.

So here I sit, with a girl who is on the mend and who wants more of my attention after I have taken the first time away from her since she got sick. A wonderful wonderful girl. A wonderful wife. And I really don’t know what to do.

Please help.

Honoring Caemon

Caemon, even though I never met you and I only know your moms Timaree and Jodi 
slightly through the vastness of blog land, I also know you through the intimacy of a smaller group of bloggers that I have been on the periphery of for some time. So even though we don’t know each other, I feel compelled to post about you and put up this candle placeholder from An offering of love.
Like so many others, I will miss your sweet smile and joyful spirit. I miss the life that you could have had, but that was taken from you by cancer. I am so sorry that you had to go so soon and leave your dear moms,  and all the hundreds of loving followers you have. You fought so hard. Your moms fought so hard. You are a valiant little guy and I love you and miss you too.
In honor of you, Caemon, I am participating ( a little late) in the week  / or weeks of blog silence. Life does not go on. Life stops for a while. We pause for Caemon. We take deep breaths and say prayers and wonder at this huge loss that we have all suffered.
Sweet dreams, Caemon. Fly Free.
Stop by and send your moms a message of love and reassurance while they grieve so hard.
With love,
Tireegalxo