Monday, February 26, 2007

The Double-Edged Sword

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about twins and the thoughts you have about them when you find out you need infertility treatments. I’ve been surprised to see how many people always dreamed of having twins before they even knew they needed treatment that would increase their chances. I’ve always wanted twins, but I am alone in this sentiment in my family. Twins are so common in my family that most of my relatives are hoping they’ll dodge that particular bullet. (It’s funny when people ask me the “are they natural?” question, because I’ve never considered twins to be anything but.) My mom is not shy about saying how relieved she was about having just one baby at a time. My sister has said that her biggest fear would be having twin boys. For me, it was the coolest thing growing up with so many twins in my immediate family, and I wanted a set of my own. My mom says I’m the only one out of the three of us that could handle twins—which is pretty much the biggest compliment she’s ever given me.

Even with the history of twins on my mother’s side of the family (the side that is supposed to pass it down genetically), I always knew that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high about having twins myself. Wanting twins was like wanting a pony. I could hope, dream, fantasize, even pray—but I knew the chances of me actually getting what I wanted were very, very slim.

So I drew the infertility card before drawing the twin card. But I got what I wanted, right? Well, I don’t know. Is the pain of infertility worth the dream come true of twins? If I were in “The Mat.rix” and could take the red pill, wake up with no infertility problems, and go on to have healthy singleton babies rather than continue on my current path, carrying my dream twins in my womb but also shouldering the weight of infertility, would I take it? Would you?????

There are many clich├ęs that can go along with this. Stuff about not being able to know great joy without knowing great pain, and the idea that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I am stronger. I am so much more appreciative of what I have. But ignorance is bliss, right?

Infertility is a huge wound that H and I are still nursing. It opens up every time we’re faced with an insensitive comment about fertility treatments, a friend who has gotten pregnant on the first try, and the occasional thoughtless Starbucks cup. Am I a survivor of infertility because the odds came out in my favor and my IVF cycle worked? I think I’ll only be a true survivor when I can say that I’d flush that red pill down the toilet and embrace the experience I’ve been through 100 percent, the good and the bad.

Which would mean no more lying about my twins being natural. But I’m just not there yet.

Should I Take My Coffee with Cream or Sugar?

How many customers has Starbucks lost due to this infamous cup? Surely not enough to matter, but the corporation can count yet another regular patron lost. I told H about the cup on Saturday when he mentioned wanting to stop at the new Starbucks for some coffee on our way to a friend’s house. Starbucks is now dead to him. We went to the adjacent Dunkin Donuts instead while giving Starbucks the evil eye as we passed.

We both agreed that if the first sentence had been left out, it would have been a great quote. Why suggest that adoption is just for the infertile, and why call people seeking treatment desperate? It seems to me that going through the adoption process involves just as much work, stress, money, heartache and worry as IF treatments in order to bring a child into your life (unless you’re Angelina perhaps, who I do applaud for showing people that you don’t have to be infertile to adopt). Both ways create a family, and both require careful consideration and a deep love of children. One method should not be deemed desperate. And that, Starbucks, is the way I see it. If you haven’t already read it, A Little Pregnant’s send up of how the quote was created is brilliant.

Friday, February 23, 2007

26 Weeks

Last week I had an appointment with the peri and my regular OB. Both babies are measuring at 2 pounds and all their measurements are exactly where they should be, according to the peri. Baby A has been firmly planted head down towards my cervix for the whole pregnancy—the peri said he still has room to flip around if he wants to, but that boy seems content to be camped out for the exit. Baby B, accepting he won’t be first out the door, is still taking advantage of being able to move all over the place. Every time we see him he’s rolling in a different direction. In fact, it’s sometimes hard to measure him because of all his gymnastics. I’m just hoping he’ll settle for head down when the time comes.

My placenta has finally moved out of the way of my cervix, so between that and Baby A’s head down position I’m wondering if I might actually be able to have these babies the old fashioned way instead of through a C-section. The docs are still in a wait and see mode. I wish I could know one way or another to mentally prepare myself, but that just isn’t going to happen. Both ways have their pros and cons, so I just want to do whatever is best for the babies.

My poor feet are really feeling the pain of my 37-pound weight gain. The new shoes I bought last month to accommodate their swelling no longer fit. When I walk, I feel like every step takes an amazing amount of effort. I’m out of breathe quickly, and boy have I been sweaty, even in the cold weather. Gross side effect—my underbelly really sweats a lot! I change all my clothes as soon as I get home each day. My blood pressure is still really good, though, so all the swelling is just one of those things. My fingers are starting to look like cocktail sausages.

The return of the extreme fatigue I had in the first trimester has meant that I’m passed out by 7:00 on the couch each night. The trade off is that my appetite has quieted down. I have a very small dinner around 5 or 6 and then nothing else for the evening. I’m still eating plenty of small snacks throughout the day, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had that super starving feeling.

Sleeping at night is a challenge. When I try to roll over to switch sides, I feel like I might suffocate in the few moments I’m on my back. I haven’t had to pee quite as much, but sometimes I get up and go anyway just to try and stretch a little. My hips throb at night. My back hasn’t been hurting as much, and I wonder if that’s because I finally started wearing a support belt.

Overall, I would say that I’m doing fine and I’m not too bothered by all of these symptoms. The babies move like crazy and that is making everything so worth it. I’ve spoken more to my sister this week, and our pregnancies continue to be like night and day. The funny thing is, every time she complains about something she doesn't like about being pregnant, her husband tells her she should think about how I feel. That must kinda suck for her. I don’t really think my symptoms are something to complain about, because if I didn't have them I'd panic that something was wrong. My comments are really just observations so I remember what it was like to be pregnant.

On that note, I should point out that pregnancy has made my hair super soft and glossy. It was always thick to begin with, but now it feels luxurious instead of frizzy. My nails, on the other hand, which were always strong and had super white tips, have been really bad. They’ve been growing downward into my skin in a really weird way and they’re not nearly as white. Time for some more calcium?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Finding the Right Words

There are plenty of things that strangers will say to you that will drive you nuts when you are expecting or have twins. (Are they natural? Better you than me!)
There are just as many annoying things that people say when they learn you’re experiencing IF or that you’ve had treatment. (Did you consider adoption? Maybe you should give it more time and just relax.)

Because these responses are so prevalent, I have to wonder, are we such an unoriginal society that we must rely on these rote responses just to be able to say something? Do people not realize that their remarks could be seen as hurtful because they aren’t even thinking as the words come out of their mouths?

For example, have you ever responded with a rote response to someone before they’ve even had a chance to ask the anticipated question? I’ve been guilty of this when I’ve been particularly scatterbrained or distracted. The other day I responded “Fine, thanks, how are you?” to someone who normally greets me with “Hi, how are you?”, when this time the person had only said “Hello.” Oops. I felt pretty stupid. It just goes to show how thoughtless our interactions with people can be.

I’d like to think that after you’ve shared your joyous news about twins or opened your heart about your struggles with IF, the person you’re talking to could come up with more than just stock phrases and questions. But that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Even my mom, who was praying with every ounce of her being that I was going to tell her I was expecting twins after she found out we transferred 2 embryos, responded with
“Twins!?! Better you than me!” when I could finally share the results. Her response made me mad at the time…but as I think about it now, I guess she just went into autopilot speak.

Still, what happened to a heartfelt “Congratulations” or a “I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” Why can’t those be the stock phrases we use to address twins or IF?

Maybe we need to break the trend by coming up with effective responses that encourage the person to rethink what they’ve said. And maybe the next person they encounter will be spared. Here are some I’ve been thinking about.

Q: Are (your children) natural?
A: Why yes, are yours?

Q: You should just relax and you’ll get pregnant.
A: Do you really think relaxing will regenerate my tubes (or increase my husband’s sperm count/quality, or heal my uterus)?

Q: Have you considered adoption?
A: Yes, I researched the whole process. Have you?

Comment: Better you than me!
Response: You’re right about that!

Please give me your best responses to the annoying, repeated comments you’ve received!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Whale Crossing

Sometime over the summer or early fall, I read a hilarious post by one of our fellow IFers about how she conducted a social experiment on how people yield right of way when walking down the street. She said as a result of not yielding to other people like she normally does, she got knocked into quite a lot, I believe mostly by old women and mothers with kids with them. I can't find the post for the life of me (I thought it might have been Hope548's???. If anyone knows what I'm talking about, please let me know so I can link to it!)

Anyway, my experiences this week had me thinking about that post a lot. I've read from a lot of expecting women that one thing they really have liked about pregnancy is how courteous strangers have been to them. Boy, have I had the reverse experience lately!

It started Thursday as I waited in line to catch the bus home. I was first in line, standing with my feet carefully planted so as not to fall since the median strip was still covered in snow and ice. When the bus finally showed, it didn't pull up all the way, which meant a little walk from where we were all standing. Given the snow and ice, I was watching my step carefully as I headed towards the bus. The guy behind must not have thought I was moving fast enough, because he swept around me and cut right ahead, brushing into me as he did. Now, the people on my bus are all professionals and there is strict but unspoken bus etiquette. I was shocked that this guy would do that to anybody, let alone a small whale with poor footing. I know I'm moving slow these days, but not that slow! The bus driver gave him a really dirty look but didn't say anything.

Then, I'm on the elevator headed to my doctor's office. When the elevator doors open, I get rushed by two kids pushing to get on before I can get off. Now, their mother tried to hold them back and this is typical kid behavior, so it didn't bother me at all. What bothered me is that as I continued to try to get off the elevator, a herd of old women--probably in their late 60's--continued to push past me to get on before I could get off. They knocked right into me, and I was the only one to say excuse me! (and I still said it nicely, I might add)

Before this pregnancy, I was a fast walker and always on the go. I always yielded right of way to other people, no matter what. Now that I'm so big and every waddling step really does take quite a bit of effort, I'm getting really tired of people knocking into me, especially since my balance is so off. I can't easily change paths, and surely given my size people see me coming! I'm just surprised at how rude people have been. It's been like this on the city streets all week, as people have brushed past me in a hurry.

Then, last night, I met the rudest woman of all. H and I were going to dinner at a busy chain restaurant. I was in line to put in our name as he parked the car. When I had entered, there was plenty of seating in the waiting area, but somehow it all disappeared just as I finished putting in our name. I eyed one last seat, and as I made my slow way to it, a women in her late 30's or early 40's standing by the seat made eye contact with me and then sat down. Okay...thanks. I just stared at her for a moment. The woman next to her, probably in her 50's, saw what happened and immediately offered me her seat, which I graciously accepted, noting that I probably wouldn't have been able to stand for the 40 minute wait.

Then, the be-otch who had taken the last seat turns to me and says, "Wasn't that soooo nice of her? This must be your lucky day. Though you must not really be doing that bad if you can sit for 40 minutes."

WTF???? I didn't know what to say to that, and since it was loud I just muttered a "yeah" and looked away. Then H arrived, and he stood in an empty spot next to be-otch. Be-otch turns to me again and says, "Oh--is that your husband? Well, this really is your lucky day, because I'm willing to switch seats with you so he can stand right next to you." I was about to say, "that's quite alright!" (as in, don't do me any favors, be-otch!) but she immediately stood up to switch with me. So I moved, muttered a thank you, and tried to turn my attention to H.

Be-otch continued to talk to me, saying it was no problem. Because her husband was still shopping, she could afford to move over for me. Again, WTF????

Then be-otch's husband arrived, and it was funny to see how she immediatley grabbed an open seat for him next to her when another party left, even though there were lots of older people and people holding kids around. H would have never taken a seat, even if one had opened up, for that very reason. He is extremely courteous that way. Pre-pregnancy I would never sit either if there were other people standing, so I was annoyed that this be-otch was treating me like this when I had a good reason to get off my feet.

I had to wonder what was behind her attitude. Perhaps she was an infertile having a bad day and didn't need a hugely pregnant woman in her face? I can understand that. She doesn't know what I've been through to get to this point. Or maybe she's just a mean person. Still, I think there had to be a reason for it, and I hope things go better for her whatever it is.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone and their significant others are having a great day! One thing is for sure, the love between couples dealing with IF is pretty strong. H and I don't make a big deal about Valentine's Day, but it's still nice and we always enjoy each other's company. Usually H cooks a special meal for us, but today we went out for the first time in many, many years to a restaurant right down the street. It was quiet and nice.

The only sad thing today is that we didn't get to see the babies--our afternoon appointment with the doctor was cancelled due to the weather. I was looking forward to seeing how the babies were doing today. We'll reschedule for sometime next week.

Now that I'm at 25 weeks, I'm getting more and more anxious to make it to that 30 week mark when I'll feel like the babies will have a good chance of surviving if there are any preterm labor issues. I find that my fatigue is back hard core--when I get tired, I practically pass out. Luckily this only seems to happen at home. Just the same, other than going to work I've been unable to do just about anything else. Last weekend we wanted to do dinner and a movie, and I only made it through dinner before feeling that I had to return home and rest. I've had to increase my online shopping since I can only go to one store before I'm exhausted.

My feet and ankles are huge, and I have been getting more and more leg cramps in the middle of the night. I find I can't eat much after 5:00 pm now or else I feel a little sick. The babies have been moving around like crazy, so that's been fun.

Okay, this is a pretty boring post, but there's not much to say. Thanks for listening to my shower rants, those of you who made it through those rambling, moody posts. I feel much better now. I'm sure a lot of it was my hormones acting up. I haven't really been moody or weepy at all this whole pregnancy, so the fact that I was for about a week probably meant that it was a long time coming. I just want to feel like my parents care about my feelings, and sometimes I really don't think they do. Maybe I'm just a big baby, but it seems like nothing is ever about me with them. If my pregnancy can't be about me, what can be? These are my last few weeks of caring this much about my own feelings. Very soon all that will matter are the feelings of my two little boys. I know I will be able to make them feel very loved.

Monday, February 12, 2007

You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

So here’s my final installment on how my mom has been upsetting me with all the shower stuff. After this, I’m letting it go and getting back to TMI with my weight and pregnancy symptoms.

I hate carrot cake. Really, really hate it. Now, what did carrot cake ever do to me? Nothing, really. It’s not the cake’s fault. At first, if a carrot cake was at a party and so was I, I went my way and let the cake go its way without any confrontation. I’m not a huge sweet eater, so if there is a cake I don’t like, it’s not the end of the world. I just don’t eat dessert at that party. Geesh, half the time I don’t eat dessert for the simple fact that I don’t want or need any.

So, when my parents suddenly fell in love with carrot cake and made it their mission in life to make me love it or at least eat it too, it got annoying fast. They’d have it at every holiday and family party. I’d always decline. But there’s no telling my mom no with food. No matter how many times you tell her you don’t want something, she will keep pushing it. I think she might have missed her calling as a dru.g dealer.

Here’s how the conversation would go every time:
Mom: Emmie, we have a wonderful carrot cake for dessert. Why don’t you try it?
Me: Oh--no thanks, Mom. I don’t really like carrot cake. Dinner was delicious and I’m full. Where did you get the recipe for that stuffing?
Mom: Really, Emmie, if you tried the cake, you would love it. It has the best cream cheese icing.
Me: Yeah, that’s the thing--I really don’t like cream cheese. But thanks anyway. So, Dad, when is your next business trip?
Mom: Emmie, just have a little piece.
Me: No. So are you off to Portland, Dad?
Dad: Carrot cake is my favorite. Mmmm.
Mom: The other carrot cakes you’ve tried couldn’t have been good as this one. If you’d just give it a chance.
Me: No, really, I don’t want any!
Mom: Well maybe you could just take a piece home with you.
Me: No, no, no…

For about two years, this would go on for an extensive amount of time at every.single.family.dinner. I never gave in to eating it. I mean, since I don’t eat many sweets to begin with, why waste calories on a cake I’ve tried and hated?

Finally, last year, I totally lost it. My mom was pushing the cake on me again while we were talking on the phone about an upcoming family dinner I was planning. I literally yelled—“I hate carrot cake! I will not eat carrot cake! I will not serve it at my party! Stop forcing it on me!” My dad was on the line at the same time and he and my mom were just silent. I immediately felt bad for yelling—I really yelled—so I followed it up with “I’m sorry, but we’ve had this same conversation over and over again for years now. Please respect the fact that I don’t like something.”

Pause.

Dad: Okay, we won’t bring it up again. It’s not that big of a deal, Emmie. We just really like it.

At the next family dinner they hosted, my parents still had their carrot cake. But they also had another type of cake there too. A peace offering cake, perhaps? After that, they were real careful about not offering the carrot cake to me more than once. I still felt really embarrassed by my outburst, but at the same time I was relieved they had stopped hounding me about it.

Now on to the shower. I’m not a picky eater, and there are very few things (like carrot cake) that I really don’t like. One of them is deli meat. Well, my mom doesn’t think a party is a party without a cold cuts deli tray, and she has been determined to have one at my shower, even though there will be six pregnant women in attendance and we are not supposed to eat cold cuts (at least not without heating it first, and whose going to do that at a party?). I’ve explained this to her multiple times, and she doesn’t believe me. She believes about soft cheese and high-mercury fish being bad, but since she loves cold cuts she can’t imagine that I couldn’t eat it. I’ve suggested several alternatives to her, such as the really great party platters other friends have had at their showers. So she asked me to pick up the menus for her so she could look. I picked them up and sent them to her (we’re going to have to order the trays from nearby my house since my parents live far enough away).

There are some great grilled chicken wraps and stuff like chicken and shrimp salad sandwiches that cost less than the deli meat trays, all of which would be great party food. Well, my mom looked at the menus and told me that she doesn’t think anything I’ve shown her would be better than the deli meat tray. (Um, except for the fact that I and others aren’t supposed to eat it!!! Never mind the fact that I don't like it.) She then tells me that “The men attending this shower would eat 10 of those chicken wraps, making it too expensive to order enough, and the deli tray is the only thing that would fill them up.”

First off, excuse me—what men attending the shower?????????????

You mean my dad and H, who would only be there to help set up? H plans to take my dad to out to lunch after the party starts, like he did for me when I hosted my sister’s wedding shower. H’s dad most likely is not coming, and if he did, he would go out with them too. So who are all these men????? Occasionally the older women in my family have their husbands drop them off and they stop in for a minute or two. You mean they’re all going to come in like tornadoes and eat all our chicken wraps and run?

I told her she was being ridiculous and she snapped back that the wraps were too expensive compared to the deli tray. I told her to take it up with H, who would be placing the order for her, and promptly got off the phone before she caused me to hyperventilate.

The phone rings almost immediately, before I even have a chance to tell H about my conversation with my mom. It’s MIL, wanting to talk to H about the shower. MIL’s role is to bring the shower cake. I hear H say to her, “A carrot cake? Emmie really hates carrot cake, mom. No, really, she hates it. Her mom told you that she loves it? Well, she doesn’t. Seriously. Trust me on this one.”

Any tears I had been holding back burst. I stared at H until he got off the phone.

H tells me, “My mom asked your mom what type of cake to get for the shower and your mom told her that carrot cake is your favorite cake and that it would be perfect for the shower.”

I couldn’t speak. I was seeing orange. (A much worse color than red in my carrot cake hating world.)

H told me not to worry—it was all taken care of. There would be no carrot cake. But I just couldn’t swallow the fact that my mom had told MIL that carrot cake was my favorite. After all the history between me and that cake. The blow up I had over it. The peace offering cake. Did my mom hate me or did she just not care enough to know anything about me?

I e-mailed my dad later that night saying: “H tells me that MIL was going to order a carrot cake for my shower because mom told her it’s my favorite. Surely she and you know how much I hate it and how I never eat it. I hate to make a big deal about it, but why would she do that?”

My phone rang a few minutes later. My dad says, “Emmie, your mom would never tell MIL that carrot cake was your favorite. Your MIL suggested the carrot cake, and since your MIL hasn’t offered to do anything else for the shower, your mom didn’t want to say anything negative about it.”

Me: Okay, so mom didn’t suggest it, but she didn’t think it was important enough to tell MIL how much I hate carrot cake??? What would MIL think when I didn’t eat any of it?”

Dad: There will be so many people at your shower, we figured you probably wouldn’t get a piece of the cake anyway.

Me: Huh???????????????????????? I’m pregnant, hormonal, eating for 3, and loving cake these days because of it, and yet you think I wouldn’t have a piece of my own shower cake????????

Dad: We didn’t think it was a big deal. Your sister was going to bring a small extra dessert.

Me: So you actually discussed this? Well, it IS a big deal! Thank goodness H stopped this in time.

Dad: There will be plenty of other things for you to eat at the shower, Emmie.

Me: (Incredulous laugh) Um, yeah, you mean the deli lunch meat platter I’m not even allowed to eat but that mom insists on ordering? Do you guys want me to be able to eat anything at this shower at all?

My dad started to take my side a little after this, probably sensing the building hysteria in my voice and realizing that my hormone levels were starting to transform me into a force he didn’t want to mess with. He said he didn’t see why my mom had a problem with the other party food options and that he would make sure I got my chicken wraps. (In the back of my mind I’m thinking, no--H will make sure I get something I can eat, because he’s the one who has to pick everything up that morning.)

So, that’s the story folks. I hope everyone keeps carrot cake far, far away from me for the rest of this pregnancy because I can’t be held responsible for what I will do to it.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hooray!!!

A heartfelt congratulations to Hopeful Mother, who has received a great beta number. I am so very happy for you!!!!

Gift Giving

I feel pretty guilty for venting about a shower that people are throwing for me, so I’ve been debating whether or not to continue with what I had to say. Afterall, at least this has not turned into the joint shower that my sister told me my mom had originally intended for the two of us. That would have been even more horrible.

Well, my friend K really doesn’t want to get in the middle of things with my mom and MIL, so she has just backed off entirely. I’ve asked her to call them so that they could talk to her instead of me, but she’s actually afraid to. I can’t blame her.

So, more background info is that my mom really doesn’t ever listen to or respect what I like even when she is buying or doing something specifically for me, and that has caused a lot of frustration for me over the years. For the most part, I let it go, because I feel that a gift is a gift and you can’t tell people what they should give you.

Quick example—my parents have given me a lot of nice jewelry over the years that I rarely ever wear. Why? Because H has already given me very similar pieces. For Christmas last year H gave me a diamond solitaire necklace, and my parents still gave me a diamond solitaire necklace for my birthday three weeks later because they felt very strongly about giving me one for that particular milestone birthday, whether I already had one or not. I know, poor me—two diamond solitaire necklaces in one year. The funny part is, I’ve always wanted a specific type (and I’ve been vocal talking about it). Since H didn’t get me that type, you’d think they would. No, they got me the same thing as H. Knowingly. It’s just a waste. Sure, I could take it back or exchange it, but guilt won’t let me.

Which brings me to the other reason other than the shower that my mom upset me so much this week. I wanted to get her something very nice for her upcoming birthday—it’s a big one. Since her birthday is around when the twins are due, I wanted to take care of this gift early. Wanting to make sure she liked what I got, I went shopping with her before Christmas to see what styles of this particular item (a designer handbag) she preferred. She picked a style and I made note. Well, when I decided to go get it this week, none of the department stores had it any longer. I was told it was being discontinued. So I went online to the designer’s site directly and found it…with one minor difference. Instead of a dark handle, it had a light handle, but the main color and everything else about it was identical. So I ordered it.

For some reason, I had a nagging feeling that I should show it to her when it came in because the return policy was only for 30 days and I’d have to ship it back. So, when I found out she and my dad had to run an errand not too far from my house, I told her what I had done and asked her if they could stop by to make sure she liked it. She flat out refused. She said she would never use a bag with a light handle, period. Since this style was being discontinued and it was so much like the one she had picked in every other way, I suggested she at least take five minutes to see it. Nope. She didn’t want to. She said there was no way she’d ever use it. I was really hurt. First off, because she was so mean about it. And second off, because she never comes to my house and she would have been right near by. I got off the phone and just bawled. Maybe I was being overly sensitive, but seriously—did she have to bite my head off over a gift I was trying to give her? The funniest part is that she never acknowledges what I like when she gets me gifts! I was ready to take that diamond necklace back that day and exchange it for the one I’ve always liked, but I couldn’t find the paperwork.


More to come...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Stuck in the Middle

I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so depressed lately when the obvious answer finally hit me. My mother has been so rude and careless with my feelings this past week that I have cried after every single phone conversation I’ve had with her. It needs to stop. In order to bring you up to speed, I need to go back a bit. Therefore, this will probably span several posts. I’d been trying really hard not to vent about my and H’s family lately, thinking it was unhealthy, but now I think it’s better to just start letting it out. So, here we go.

It all began with baby shower planning two weeks ago. A friend who has wanted to throw me a shower since the day she learned of my pregnancy asked for a list of those I wanted invited a few weeks ago so that she could prepare for an early March shower. Since she has a small place and lives far from me, she suggested that she hold the shower at my house, an ideal situation for me since my mobility is decreasing. At the same time, my MIL asked H if there were any plans for a shower for me, and H told her about this girl’s plan. Although the friend, K, was thinking of having a friends shower assuming one of my relatives would host a family shower, H suggested that his mom get in touch with her and they could jointly do something. This was because MIL only has a few people she would invite, and having a shower out of state where she lives wouldn’t work at this point as I’d be too uncomfortable to make the trip in my third trimester. Well, K was fine collaborating with MIL, but MIL wouldn’t even call her to talk and just asked H that all planning responsibilities and a list of invitees should be transferred to her. Of course, at the same time as she started to try and take this over, she told H that he would be responsible for actually doing everything for the shower since she wouldn’t be able to from out of state. Makes a lot of sense, huh?

So MIL then calls me directly and asks for invitee addresses. She asks whether my family will be planning their own shower or whether I want my mom and her relatives invited to this one. Well, I say I have no idea (after all, isn’t it awkward to ask people whether they intend to throw parties for you?). I suggest that she call my mom directly, which she says she doesn’t want to do and that I should just give her a list of addresses by tomorrow because she really wants to send the invitations as soon as possible. Great. She says it would be good if we had one big shower because then there would be enough for a minimum order of special twin-themed invitations. (We had 15 people on the invite list so far and she said that minimum orders were 30.)

So I call my mom and tell her of MIL’s plans and the date that has been picked, asking her if she is free that day and whether she’d like to give MIL the names of anyone else to be invited or if our side of the family was already being covered. I felt uncomfortable having this conversation, but felt I had no choice.

My mom’s response—(in her nastiest voice), “Honestly, Emmie, I haven’t given the slightest thought about a shower for you. I don’t even have the time to think about that right now. (ironic side note—she’s retired) Isn’t March awful early for a shower?”

I gulp and say “Okay, no problem. No, March isn’t too early for a twin shower, given my premature labor risks... Anyway, I just wanted you to know the date and keep you informed in case you wanted to invite anybody from our side of the family.”

No, she replies. No I don’t think so. She asks where the shower will be held. When I tell her my house, I get the most disapproving grunt you’ve ever heard. (In everything I’ve read, having a shower at the mom-to-be’s house is more and more common, especially when mom is carrying twin whales and can’t be in the car long.)

I quickly get off the phone, very hurt.

My dad calls me not 10 minutes later. He tries to smooth over my mom’s nastiness, explaining that my mom has been talking about planning a surprise shower all week, for March, and just hadn’t gotten around to informing my MIL yet. He also said that he realized it would be better to have it near me or at my house than far away. He said my mom didn’t want to ruin the surprise and that’s why she responded the way she did to me, but I countered that she didn’t have to be so mean about it. He and I had a rational conversation about the shower, in which we decided that there should only be one, at my house, with everyone hosted by my mom, MIL, and K. (I really wanted K to be able to host alone as it would be more appropriate and would get an objective third party involved but MIL and my mom would not hear of that.)

So I sent an e-mail to my mom, MIL, and K thanking them all for wanting to do something so nice for me and the babies and explaining the details K had planned so far—the date, location, etc. I attached a list of all addresses I had. I said I was sorry to ruin any surprises but that given my condition they were really helping me out by giving me advanced notice and letting me stay in my own home. Since everyone lives more than an hour from me, I didn’t think I would be comfortable for a long car ride in March. With that, I said H would be at their disposal to help set things up and pick up whatever they needed, and I would stay uninvolved.

Yeah, right.

A few days later my mom calls my MIL and fills her in on the fact that she had, indeed, been planning a shower but that she’d be willing to combine it. She told my MIL that she had 15 people on her list, making 30 people total. My MIL immediately complains that this is more people than she had counted on hosting a party for and now things like invitations would be awfully expensive. (Huh??? This totally contradicted what she told me.) How do I know this? Because my mom calls me griping about every conversation with MIL even though I’ve asked to stay out of it. So now I’m caught in between MIL and mom, and neither will allow K, who is the only person who genuinely wanted to throw me a shower in the first place, to help out. My mom constantly tells me how expensive everything she has bought for the party is (plates, favors, invites) and she questions how MIL is going to pitch in at all. When I point out that she’s not even giving MIL a chance to do anything, she tells me that the only thing MIL has offered to do is bring a cake. More griping ensues.

Thus concludes part one of why I’m stressed and depressed…To be continued.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Getting Overwhelmed

I’ve still been depressed the past few days. Maybe it’s the hormones kicking into high gear combined with the frigid weather we’re having. The fact that I’m outgrowing all my clothes much faster than I would like doesn’t help. I don’t want to spend more money on outfits, but I see little choice. Since everybody in the freakin’ fertile world that I know is pregnant at the same time as me, I can’t benefit from any borrowed clothing.

I’m getting a little apprehensive about the cost of my maternity leave (I’ll be off unpaid for 4 months) and all the things we need to pay off/buy before the babies arrive. I was hoping for a super huge tax refund thanks to all my IVF bills this year, but no such luck. We spent a lot on medical care/meds, but not enough to qualify to get any of it back. We’ll still probably get a little refund, but it will probably get spent before the check even clears.

H and I have made an appointment to meet with an au pair coordinator. We’ve been thinking a lot about our day care options, and we think an au pair will be the best solution for twins. I like the fact that it means the twins won’t have to leave the house every day when they are so tiny, and the cost is more reasonable when compared to day care for two infants under 2. I’ll pay whatever it takes for good care, but even finding some place that would have two spots open for infants is very unlikely.

I’m a little nervous about having a stranger come live with us for a year, but H and I have a lot of international friends and we enjoy other cultures, so having an au pair seems like a good fit. I also like that it will give us a chance to really work together with one person who will be caring for the babies, unlike at a day care where turn over could be high and the babies wouldn’t get as much one-on-one attention. I just wonder what having another adult living in the house will do to my relationship with H. We really value our privacy and private time, and I wonder if it will be just too overwhelming having a person in our home full time as we adjust to the babies. Maybe we won’t have time to care—after all, what kind of private time will be left anyway while we scramble to feed and care for the twins? I just worry that we won’t feel comfortable talking as intimately about things with a stranger around. At the same time, knowing we have an extra set of hands around will be a comfort. Any thoughts on au pairs???

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

You May Be a Whale If...

Thank you for all your kind comments and appropriate shock at my photos. I really am happy to be this big, but just kinda shocked.

Anyhow, I had another checkup with my OB practice yesterday and met another doctor. (There are 5 doctors in the practice and they rotate so that you get to know everyone.) She said everything was looking great, and she kinda paused when she got to my weight. I asked if I was gaining too much, and she paused again and said, "Well, it's hard to tell with twins because you're supposed to gain more, but if you're eating sweets in between meals I'd cut them out."

I think that means she has confirmed my whale diagnosis.

The thing is, I'm not eating sweets. Not many anyway. I have some chocolate from Christmas (which is month and a half old, thank you) and I occassionally have a piece after dinner. If I were eating too much, that chocolate would have been gone before the New Year. So, I didn't feel the need to get defensive with the doctor and tell her about how I really only eat healthy snacks or that every other doctor I've seen has said my weight gain is right on track for twins. But I was still a little surprised and let down, especially since I really haven't gained much since my last appointment.

I left feeling kinda depressed, like I got a bad grade after having straight As throughout this whole pregnancy. So I went home and did what any hormonal pregnant woman would do-- ate a few more of my chocolates.

The baby whales were looking good and have been kicking like crazy. I got two cute pictures of them. Baby A is head down and looking good for a vagonal birth, and Baby B is in a different position every time I see him, so it's hard to say. My placenta is still covering my cervix just a tad, so we also have to see how that will resolve. Most everyone thinks it will grow out of the way in time for delivery.

None of the doctors have really talked to me much about whether I'll have a c-section or vaginal birth, and I kinda wish the answer would be more clean cut than this wait and see approach. But I know I have to be flexible here, and ultimately I will do whatever is best for the babies. I think both methods have their pros and cons, and I'm trying not to get my mind set on either way since anything can happen at this point.

I'm starting to get nervous about the actual birth. I've gotten used to having my little whales inside. H talks about how much he can't wait to meet them, and I think--they're fine and safe right were they are so no rush for me.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Check Out My Whale Impersonation*

Warning: Very graphic belly pictures included.(Update--pictures removed temporarily)

When I saw Motel Manager's pictures of her super cute 24-week belly, I had to laugh somewhat insanely as I looked down at my own 23-week belly. Yes, I know I have twins in there, but twin what--whales?? It certainly feels like that sometimes when they are thrashing around in my uterus. I imagine them doing all sorts of water tricks in there.

Anyhow, since this is a first-time pregnancy for me, I thought it would mean a delay in my, er, blossoming. Not the case, it seems.

I am amazed at my body's ability to make this transformation. After the disappointment/despair of not being able to conceive on my own, it's nice to see my body taking it's job so seriously. I just hope it isn't working too hard too fast. I can only imagine it is growing in response to the babys' needs, and they must be doing a good job growing in there.