Thursday, October 23, 2008

Please Don't Leave the Seat Up...

...Is a phrase I need to get really, really, really comfortable with.

Not only because I hate accidentally landing in a pool of urine, but because between my husband and TWO sons, I'm going to be vastly outnumbered.

Yup. Not only does Baby A have a penis, Baby B has one too.

And after months of referring to Baby B as "Baby B," I'm starting to think that maybe we can end the name game. If Diddy can be "Diddy," then I think Baby B can be "Baby B."

Because my god - the name game is getting old and I want to throw every baby name book in the fire. Really...really do you think I'm going to name my child Ulysses? My theory on baby name books is this: there are really very few AWESOME names out there. So most names that get thrown in are just fillers to make you think you have options. If the name "Baby B" doesn't pan out, perhaps I'll switch to a new strategy: the random striking of letters on a keyboard. Perhaps we could use the name "daoiljfkk" or "reoiojjg." If someone could just clarify the pronunciation for me, we might be good to go.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I woke up nice and late a few Saturdays ago to a disappointing reality: I had broken a finger in my sleep. Sleepy and perplexed, I tried to rummage through the prior night's dreams to see what possibly could have led to such physical duress. Coming up blank, I glanced down to look at the injury, only to realize that the finger in question was not broken at all. It was suffocating.

Overnight, my once slender ring finger had turned into a grotesque purplish sausage. So I did what any normal hysterical pregnant woman would do and quickly scoured my house for every possible lubricating product on hand. I plopped myself down at the dining room table, applied enough lotion to cure an elephant with dermatitis, and after a few minutes of panicked claustrophobia, the finger was freed.

As my wedding band and engagement ring sat on the table in a slippery puddle, I massaged my throbbing finger and weighed my options. It took me seven years to get those rings on my finger, and I wasn't sure how I felt about parting with them so quickly. For goodness' sake, people might look at my big belly and then at my bare finger and start to make judgements. (You've done it. The belly-finger compare. Admit it.)

And then it occurred to me. This may be the perfect therapy for a former infertile. Because there's something about knowing that I got knocked up with a plastic catheter in an operating room that kind of weighs on me. I can (and will, as a matter of fact) argue that getting pregnant through assisted reproduction can be much more a labor of love and partnership than a regular old roll in the hay, but still. Sometimes I just want people to look at my pregnant belly and think, "oh. She must have had sex." If this seems odd, please consider how many times people have learned I'm having twins and commented, "oh. Did you take fertility drugs?" (Next time I'm asked this rudely probing question, I think I will respond: "yes, I did, because they're delicious and taste like Skittles).

So the idea of my newly ring-less finger FAILING The belly-finger compare is sort of totally appealing. People may think that I got pregnant ACCIDENTALLY! And that would mean I'm a fertile myrtle, here with my doubly pregnant belly and not even attached!

Let's just say I scooped those rings up, dried them off, and put them away in a nice, safe place.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

How I Got Pregnant

Okay, perhaps the whole IVF thing is a bit obvious. I subjected myself to an experimental drug study and paid a lot of money to produce four of the cutest embryos I've ever seen. Then I had two of those embryos catapulted into my happily waiting uterus and the rest is history.

But I don't really think that's the whole story. I got the inspiration for this blog when reading yesterday, which made me painfully reminiscent of my infertility days from not so long ago. As I've probably contemplated to death over the past year on my blog, one of the things that was most difficult for me about infertility was not knowing what would happen, (would I ever become pregnant?) and not understanding why stupid sucky-face infertility was happening to me. I used to spend hours surfing the web, looking for a solution. Because good god! there were a lot of people on the Internet who had gone through infertility and gotten pregnant. Somebody had to know the secret. I actually remember finding teaser sites of couples who did "know the secret" and for the small fee of a few hundred dollars, would actually sell it to you. I hope those people catch a very bad case of diarrhea in public.

So now that I'm pregnant, do I know the secret? No. But having gone through it, and looking back on it, I do think I have a few insights to it that I couldn't see quite so clearly before. I don't think there is any one secret to overcoming infertility. I think that every one of us is different, and that infertility goes above and beyond the physical makeup of our bodies. I'll never be convinced that my experience with infertility was solely due to physical factors, especially since I still don't really understand what the physical problems were. Anyway, I do think there are a lot of things that helped me to get pregnant above and beyond that whole massive medical intervention thing. Maybe that's because I'm not a massive medical intervention kinda girl and it's just too hard for me to believe that after three painful years, the one and only answer was to let Western medicine take over. I think that the reality of it is that the right things came together at the right time. I found my secret recipe. And because we're all different, we probably all have different recipes.

So I don't have any massive revelation to make. Just that I think overcoming infertility is really about finding the right holistic recipe. And I'm not even sure I know the entire recipe. Because while I may over analyze every aspect of my life, I'm still on the outside looking out. But I thought it might be helpful to share my ingredients. Here they are:

  • I joined an infertility support group. Nothing fancy...a small group of self-led, local women going through the same painful process. I had resisted this for a LONG time. Going to a group made infertility seem so real. I didn't want it to be real. But I finally gave in, got together with these women, and shared, and laughed, and cried.
  • I got addicted to acupuncture. I went every day to a walk in acupuncture clinic which is much more affordable than the cushy one-on-one sessions that are lovely but for me, cost prohibitive.
  • I cut out soy. I've always been quite the fan of tofu and soy products, until I started really looking at research on phyto-estrogens. I decided that my body didn't need any more synthetic hormones, and I cut out most soy products cold turkey a couple months before I got pregnant. I did continue to eat tempeh in good quantities, because it's fermented.
  • I read. My two favorite books on the subject are "The Fertile Female" by Julia Indichova, and "The Infertility Cure" by Randine Lewis, Ph.D. "The Fertile Female" told me everything I needed to hear. It comforted me, and helped me to begin thinking of myself in terms of fertility, rather than INfertility. "The Infertility Cure" helped me to feel empowered. It made me feel knowledgeable about my body and offered many holistic solutions. I followed the instructions of this book pretty closely. Not everything made sense to me, so I took what I needed and left the rest.
  • I purchased the guided imagery/meditation CD "help for infertility" by Belleruth Naperstek. I LOVE this CD series, and often miss how relaxed and comforted I felt when I listened to it. And I listened to it A LOT. Like, every day on my drive to and from work (almost two hours round trip) and many nights on headphones while I was falling asleep. I listened to this incessantly during every car trip to and from IVF appointments...especially before and after my embryo transfer.
  • I followed (mostly) the dietary recommendations of my acupuncturist and "The Infertility Cure." For me, that meant cutting out sugar and cold foods.
  • I DID NOT cut out alcohol. My wonderful OB/GYN gave me permission to do this...I'm so rigid sometimes that I actually needed permission to drink as I wanted. Most infertility advice tells you to cut out alcohol. If that works for you, great. But my doctor one day said to me, "Why are you doing this to yourself? Why are you living like a nun? Have fun. If you live like you're pregnant each month, then each month when you find out you're not, how much more painful is that going to be? Relax, and have a glass of wine if you want a glass of wine." And I did. I had quite a few, in fact. And it was great. It helped me to live in and enjoy the present moment.
  • I drank a lot of pomegranate juice before my embryo transfer. You're supposed to load up on fluid ahead of time to help aid in the transfer process. I chose pomegranate juice because of its antioxidant qualities because I was worried that maybe inflammation was hurting my chances of getting pregnant.
  • I cried. Whenever and where ever I wanted. I gave myself permission to live fully through the emotions of infertility and to stop trying to control the experience. To the horror of some friends and family members, I made crass jokes about infertility when I was in the mood. Blogging helped in this process. Once you put it out on the Internet, well. For me, that helped solidify my commitment to living fully and honestly through it.
  • I allowed myself to feel hateful and jealous toward pregnant people. Non-infertiles might not find this to be a redeeming quality. It's probably not. But good god, it's survival.
  • I did a lot of fertility yoga. I followed the DVD, "Fertility Yoga" by Monica Morrell, Ph.D.
  • I ran my ass off.
  • I had very supportive friends and family, and a wonderful, accepting, loving husband.

I think there are more ingredients as well. But I'm ending the list here for now, because I just scrolled back and realized how long it is. I used to really hate it when pregnant or fertile people would tell me how to overcome infertility. "Just relax." "Stand on your head after sex." "I don't know what to tell you, all I have to do is look at a man and I get knocked up." This list isn't a list of recommendations, just a list of what was helpful for me. If it makes you feel better, then stand on your head all you want. I think that's actually what I'm really saying in all of this.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Do you think my babies can see Russia from inside my womb?

Just wondering.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm Pregnant, Not Kind.

I said that today. Twice.

But let's be honest, I actually am fairly kind. I like puppies and kittens, and I believe in the possibility of world peace.

It's just that lately, I'm feeling a little ferocious. I always envisioned that as a pregnant person, I would be ethereal, wise, and emanating love. Instead, I find myself to be frumpy, sarcastic, and emanating the f-bomb. It's not quite what I'd had in mind.

And so I suppose I need to be honest with myself. I have probably never been destined for ethereality. Is that even a word? For one thing, I don't have the hair for it. Everybody knows that you need long and flowing hair to be ethereal. Go figure, mine is short and far from flowing; unless you count the profusion of peach fuzz on my belly. And although I have very recently grown some breasts, I'm probably not quite voluptuous enough either.

Wisdom, I think I might have a shot at. I mean, sarcasm and wisdom are basically one and the same. Some of the funniest, wisest old people I know just so happen to also be very sarcastic. Sometimes, if I'm having a bad day, my sarcasm can be a little mean-spirited. But nobody is nice ALL of the time, and I think the fact that I can be honest about that probably means I am a little bit wise.

If I'm having a good day and the hormones aren't completely steering the boat, I sometimes emanate love. Certainly towards my sweet babies and husband and quite a few family members. But then I also seem to have this little swearing thing going on. And the demeanor of a crusty, grumpy old man.

Part of me is sad about this. Because I think everyone would really love me an awful lot if I was ethereal and wise and loving.

I am instead like a hairy sailor with a big belly. And although this probably makes me slightly less lovable, I'm not so much minding. Because while pregnancy has not brought with it all of the pretty-princess images I conjured up over the past 27 years, it has brought on some new life perspectives. Small things, like peace and acceptance.

P.S. The hormones are steering the boat.