The Eternal Guest Room

Infertility kinda sucks.

born

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My babies were born on August 1.

It feels so surreal to write that. None of it feels real.

But they are very real – my perfect, beautiful babies. Two of them! I still can’t believe it, and I don’t know if I ever will.

I worried the whole way through, but it turned out to be a waste of time. They were born at 37 weeks exactly – 6lb 10oz and 7lb 1 oz. They had no complications, no health problems, nothing – they were born, came to our room with us right away, went straight home with us as soon as I was ready to leave the hospital.

I’ve been meaning to post for the longest time. In short, I’ve been super busy. In reality, I wasn’t sure what to say. What do you say after five and a half years? What is there to say? There are times in life when you realize how inadequate words are. I know I’ll never have the perfect thing to say.

I know how lucky I am. How fortunate. How blessed. However you want to say it. I only had to do one round of IVF. I got 2 babies. Both babies made it – to 37 weeks, at normal baby size. What more could I ask for?

I still feel guilty. It came so easily, really. Despite the worries, my fears, and the possibilities. How did I get so lucky? I’ll never know.

But I know what I’ve been given. It isn’t easy, for sure – having twins is as hard as everyone said it would be, and even harder than I could have imagined – but they bring happy tears to my eyes all the time, and I know.

almost here and almost real

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I can’t believe that in less than 3 weeks, we’ll be parents. After such a long struggle, it doesn’t seem like it could ever be possible. Every day I’ve thought “I can’t believe I’m pregnant.” Even though my belly now attracts stares wherever I go. Even though I can see the babies moving around on a very regular basis. Even though I’ve seen them in 3D. Moving. Practicing breathing. Blinking. Their little hearts beating, their chests moving up and down, their (strong) little arms and legs waving around.

Yet here we are. They’ll be here in less than 3 weeks. Either 2 weeks and 6 days, or even less. It’s hard to wrap my head around it, and now that it’s so close, it’s finally starting to kick in – we’re having babies. Two babies. We’re going to be parents. I can barely think about being a Mom – I think I’m still afraid to jinx it. I still have a hard time calling them by their names and “she” and “her” and even “my babies.” They’re usually “the babies” and “this one” and “A” and “B.” I’ve allowed myself to enjoy every day of this pregnancy, but I think I still put a little bit of distance between me and them. Just a tiny bit.

Even after 5 years of dreaming and planning and hoping, I still don’t feel ready. But they’ll be here soon, and life will never be the same, and I am so excited for the road ahead.

an overdue update

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It has been a long time since I’ve written here. My main excuses are being busy and tired, but those are both lame excuses and I shouldn’t really use them.

I have a lot of mixed emotions these days. It sort of makes it harder to write about; I can’t really put my finger on exactly what I want to say, and as as result, I just don’t write much. I’ve started to, but then I hit a wall and give up. It’s easier these days to stick with the surface stuff.

The most important things are: the babies are doing good. We’re at 29 weeks (and 2 days) and both babies are healthy, active, and growing at the right rate. We had a scare around 19 weeks when we discovered that the fluid levels were unbalanced, and the doctor freaked us out by mentioning the possibility of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). I was terrified. I just knew everything had to be too good to be true.

But now we’re “stable” and the threat has passed. The babies are the right size – and, maybe more importantly, the same size – and if things started to go bad, they could be taken out and taken care of and have an excellent chance of being a-okay. Obviously we want them to bake for a little longer, but the darkest outcomes have been taken off the table.

Not that something still can’t go wrong – and of course I think about that every day – but our chances of bringing home 2 healthy babies are pretty good, and we’ll take that hope and grab on to it.

fears

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I’m nearly halfway there. At least. With twins, there’s a good chance I’m more than halfway there already. I know that I have a good chance of things working out. But I’m still afraid.

I know too many things. In the case of pregnancy, ignorance really is bliss; and I lost that innocence years ago.

Last night I dreamed that we went in for a doctor’s appointment and one of the babies had a really slow heartbeat. The doctor told us that the baby probably wouldn’t make it. And then I started to have signs of losing the baby, and went to the hospital, and without going into details, it was probably the most terrifying dream I’ve ever had.

About a week ago, a facebook friend sent me a message saying that she dreamed I had my twins at 24 weeks. It freaked me out. Probably because I know someone that gave birth to twins at 24 weeks and lost one, while the other one is still struggling in the NICU over 3 months later.

It’s scary stuff.

I’m in sort of a weird place, because if I confess my fears to people I know, most of them will brush them off and say they’re sure everything will be fine. But I don’t want to be insensitive to those who are still struggling to get pregnant or those who really wish for twins, becuase I’d guess their response would probably be to just be glad for what I’ve been given.

And I am glad. So beyond glad. But I’m still afraid that something will go wrong. In the beginning I had dreams of losing one twin. I read how common it was and was in a constant state of terror throughout the first trimester. I kept my fears to myself for the most part, but they plagued me.

Now I’m further along and worrying less, but still not out of the woods. I’m afraid every day. Just one baby would be scary enough, but two is even more frightening.

I’m enjoying my pregnancy. I’m loving every moment of it. Even when I had migraines nearly every day for 3 months, I wouldn’t trade them for infertility. The migraines weren’t nearly as painful. I don’t let the fears keep away the happiness – I want to make that clear. But the fears are there, and I suspect they will be until I’m holding two healthy babies.

I hate that almost 5 years of infertility made me so afraid, but I know I appreciate pregnancy far more than I ever could have without it. So it’s kind of a trade-off. I don’t want to wish away the next 18ish weeks, because I’m thoroughly enjoying them (even though I always have some physical and/or emotional ailment). But I will be glad when these babies are safe in my arms.

transitioning

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I’m going to continue posting on this blog, but I don’t want to post straight-up pregnancy updates here. So we’re moving those to our other blog, which we created awhile ago in hopes that it would eventually lead to that. Be warned that it’s very picture-heavy.

If you want to follow us there, the address is “d and s dot com” – but with our names instead of initials (and no spaces, and no quotation marks of course). And remember that D’s name is spelled uniquely and my name with an IE at the end. If that doesn’t help, you can find our names in the comments pretty frequently, or you can email me at eternalguestroom@gmail.com and I’ll be glad to share. I don’t want to post it here outright because of the same reason we stopped using our full names – work/client reasons.

I’m definitely not leaving this blog; I still have more to say. But I want to post pregnancy news elsewhere, so that’s where it will be for anyone who wants to see it.

moving forward, starting to believe

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We didn’t quite hit five years, but we came close to it.

It wasn’t easy – in fact it felt like it was going to just about kill me at times – but we’re finally moving forward.

Our 12 week appointment this afternoon showed two healthy, active babies. They moved their limbs and flipped themselves around. One of the babies kicked the other one in the head (totally safe, the sonographer said). The sonogram lasted 45 minutes and I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time.

While the infertile feeling remains, I feel like I can start to move ahead. We passed the scary first trimester. Things are looking good.

We have a long way to go still, but I’m enjoying every moment.

Things are good.

in between

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I’ve had a few people ask me when I’m going to post again. My answer has been “I don’t know; I guess when I have something to say.”

The truth is, I’m not really sure what to say here. I feel like I’m in a weird sort of “in between” place at the moment. I’m where I want to be – pregnant – but I haven’t really left the other side yet. I’m afraid to post anything here that can be read as negative or complaining because I feel like people are likely to think that I should just shut up and be happy to be here. And I really, truly, incredibly am – but it’s not always easy all the time.

I’m really happy. Excited. Thrilled. But the fear hasn’t left and the infertile feeling lingers.

Several weeks ago I got to attend my first “pregnant after infertility” support group meeting. And after looking forward to it for such a long time, I hated it. I felt like everyone had already moved on; meanwhile, the reality of the struggle and the pain was still so fresh and raw for me. I actually thought I was going to cry. And I felt so guilty for feeling that way – I should be 100% happy.

But I’ve been infertile for a lot longer than I’ve been pregnant, and it’s not like a switch just flips and I can forget the last 5 years. They’re such a part of me and they always will be. I’ll never forget what it took me to get here.

So for now I’m kind of in between. I don’t feel confident enough to consider myself part of the pregnant group yet. I’ve left the infertile group physically, but not totally mentally, and definitely not emotionally all the way. I don’t know what I want to do with this blog yet. I don’t want it to become just a pregnancy blog (though I have no problem with others doing that; it’s just not for me) but I don’t want to abandon it, either.

Right now I guess it’s just kind of waiting, like I am.

My next appointment is Monday. We’re meeting with the perinatologist (high-risk doctor). The last 3+ weeks have been the longest of my life; I know I say that every time, but each wait feels longer. I’m so anxious to get there and make sure everything is ok. I think it’ll be easier to breathe after that.

And for those of you that want updates – I’m 12 weeks today. I still can’t believe it. Hopefully Monday will make it easier.

good news

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We got to see the babies today (babies!). Both are measuring right on track at 9 weeks and both have good heartbeats. We got to hear the heartbeats this time too – it was incredible. I had tears in my eyes.

After the sonogram, we went into an exam room to wait for the doctor. I couldn’t stop smiling, looking at those pictures. When she came in, she was all excited, and said “she saw the dividing membrane!”

Hooray!

I honestly wasn’t spending too much time worrying after asking around, but it’s such a huge relief to know it’s there!

I had to ask what our chances were at this point – the risk of miscarriage is less than 5% now, and the additional twin risks don’t kick in this early. So for now I can breathe and enjoy it and know that there’s a really good chance we’re going to have babies. Identical twins. Whoa.

My next appointment will be in 3 weeks with a high-risk OB. Tonight I have my first “pregnant after infertility” support group meeting.

It’s all so crazy.

more waiting

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I should have posted yesterday after my appointment but I was so tired I just sat on the couch all evening.

Walking into the waiting room was hard. I figured I’d be thrilled to be arriving in this condition instead of my usual one. With my husband instead of my own infertile self. I’ve only been there alone, facing couples and big bellies and usually at least one woman with at least one child already. And so often a teenage girl pushing a stroller as her mother takes care of the bill and a confused-looking kid that looks more like he should be on a playground than in an OB’s office.

When I looked around to see where to sit, a very pregnant lady caught my eye and smiled; I gave her a very wary smile back. As I sat in the waiting room, it all came rushing back. The isolation. The pain. The grief. That feeling of loss. Even though I’m technically “one of them” now, I still felt a million miles away. Alone. Defective. Broken. I had to fight back tears and tell myself to get a grip.

We didn’t get a sonogram. Which was a real bummer; I guess I just assumed we’d get one, but I’m learning that pregnancy for a normal person isn’t the same as one for an infertile. I’ve ventured from the ” TTC over 2 years” and “infertility and medical assistance” online forum boards over to the “other” side, and learning that people don’t get early sonograms and even necessarily blood tests. You just assume everything’s ok. We are scheduled for a sonogram on Tuesday, which she seemed to think was really soon, but feels like an eternity to me.

I had hoped that yesterday’s appointment would relieve some fears and make me feel better, but it really had the opposite effect for some reason. The doctor seemed really concerned about the lack of a dividing membrane and said you can usually see it by now if it’s going to be there. I didn’t want to argue with her, but the people I’ve been asking who have identical twins all said they didn’t see it this early. I’m still holding on to the hope that that’s the case, but really, the doctor made me worry more.

I should add that I really do love this doctor and have been seeing her for 8 or 9 years and absolutely know that she’s the doctor I want to continue to see. Everything else about the appointment went fine; she has a new nurse that I really liked (I hated the one she had last time I was there, so this is a great improvement), we went over history stuff, they took most of my blood, I got a flu shot (*$#%&* OW!), all my questions were answered, I got an exam, we talked about things. After an hour and a half she sent us on our way with a huge folder of information, a book, and an overwhelming amount of information.

People texted me all afternoon asking how it went and if everything’s ok. I hate that I don’t have an answer. Basically the worry continues. I have no idea what’s been going on in there for the past 9 days. So I guess now we just wait until Tuesday.

fears

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We have an appointment with the OB on Thursday afternoon; as Thursday draws closer the panic sets in. I’ve still been afraid to look too far ahead because I know how many things can go wrong. I hear so many stories of people going in for appointments and finding out that the baby(ies) stopped growing weeks ago. It’s terrifying.

I try to stay busy, I try not to think about it but in the back of my mind I am always thinking “what if?”

I have to admit that having twins terrifies me – but losing one or both is a much scarier thought. It’s incredible how you can get so attached to something so tiny so quickly.

I’m trying not to eat all the chocolate in the house but I’m alone tonight and it’s proving to be a very difficult thing to do.