Archive for March, 2008

Cautious Mode

March 29, 2008

Not sure why, I’ve gone into cautious mode again. Part of it has to do with what feels like a mellow baby day. I’ve poked and prodded and calculated until I think I have a fair idea of how the Critter is positioned – sideways, facing back. I’m not getting any more big kicks or punches, just squirmy feelings. This means that instead of being startled by the movements, I have to pay attention in order to notice them. Which creates an impression of less movement overall. Which leads to worrying. But we had a long hiccup session this morning, and just enough squirms and tickles and deep-down thumps to keep me going.

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The JLo story

March 28, 2008

This is probably a waste of cyber-space, but I was thinking about what I would do if I were in the public eye, like a certain 38yo new mother of twins whom we all suspect of lying her ass off about not using ART to conceive. I feel like I can’t throw stones, mainly because I have been pretty private about our infertility – not even my in-laws know – and I can’t help but think that I might very well do the same thing. Maybe not LIE, outright, but maybe just not tell all.

At the same time, what bothers me about the interview in People (yes, I did read it) – besides the ridiculously ostentatious display of wealth, which always turns me off – was the repeated use of the word natural. Why is it so much more important that conception have been “natural” than birth and feeding? She is quite comfortable discussing her scheduled C-section and decision not to breastfeed, without any intimation that there could be a philosophical contradiction somewhere in there.

I know that I too am susceptible to the glorification of all things “natural,” but the thing is – it’s not that clear-cut.

Taking the Bump to Church

March 24, 2008

T. and I had to laugh at ourselves yesterday – we went to church for the first time since Christmas, and even though the service started 45 minutes later than usual, we were still 10 minutes late. We had to sit on folding chairs in the aisle because the church was so full.

The day before, I was feeling self-conscious about bringing my bump to church – so T. suggested we wear T-shirts printed with the words, “Yes we had sex. But only once. And we didn’t like it.” A friend who is a single mom told me, “just enjoy it. I never was able to enjoy being pregnant because it was such an awful situation.” So I did. (Critter loved the singing, as always) 🙂 Only one person said, after the congratulations, “What took you so long?”

The youth pastor told us that there are 7 babies expected in the congregation this year. Of course that makes you happy, I thought. Keeps you employed! When did I become so cynical?

During the service, a lot of the songs we sang were ones I had learned at the church I went to during college – probably the one church I’ve ever attended that I participated in without reservations, without holding anything back. Singing the same songs yesterday peeled back part of my heart and exposed something raw and tender, and I didn’t try to stop the tears that slid down to drip from my chin. I thought about my late BIL, as we sang of resurrection. When my sister scattered his ashes on the beach in Hawaii, she saw a sea turtle surfing the waves nearby, and felt him near. What I have lost these ten years gone is the ability to find my rest in God, or in the idea of God – to find solace or consolation in that trust that I once had in him.

Driving back to NY in the afternoon, that rawness remained near the surface. My mind wandered back over other losses and griefs, though not (come to think of it) infertility. I guess it was a bit of emotional housecleaning.

Well, back to the weekly routine – I should get ready for class.

Him too

March 23, 2008

When I got back from my most recent ob/gyn appointment, I gave T. the full report of how completely fine everything is, including the 3-hour glucose test, blood pressure, heartbeat, etc. He said, “I wonder when the other shoe is going to drop?”

On the other hand, we are full-on into the name game which is really fun. T. comes up with the goofiest ideas, I swear. E.g., Thorax (for a boy – he thinks it sounds manly), Nextexit, and Insertnamehere.

Three Years Ago

March 17, 2008

I haven’t moved since the call came
Since the call came I haven’t moved
I stare at the wall knowing on the other side
The storm that waits for me


In memory: Aaron K., 1974-2005
“The heart of him who truly loves is a paradise on earth”

And the Negotiations Begin

March 14, 2008

In which EEP gripes about her in-laws, navigates new territory with T., and interviews a doula. So yeah, it’s all about the P-word.

Somehow I failed to notice that I had failed to communicate to T. that my parents are planning to come for a whole month around the time of my expected due date. My dad will stay with his sister’s family about an hour’s drive away, and my mom will stay upstairs in our landlady’s daughter’s room (said daughter is away at college). Whenever I go into labor, we will call my in-laws and they will come for a few days and stay at a motel. That was the plan, anyway. Once T. realized how long my folks are staying, we started talking about how small our apartment is, and actually running simulations. Six adults is a lot for our place. Even though there are two separate rooms (one kitchen/dining/couch room and one bedroom/office/sitting room), the door in between does little to block sound, so really there is no actual privacy. So now we are thinking of subletting a 2-BR apartment for the month of June where we can stash all relatives and visitors . . .

The other area of negotiation that this opened up was T. asserting a stronger idea of how he perceives his role in all this. Honestly I was pretty confused, because on the one hand he’s often said that he wishes it was the old days when dads just paced the hallway with a box of cigars. But on the other hand he’s recently been very clear that he wants to be by my side for D-Day. He also came along when I went to meet the doula, which frankly surprised me. So what I figured out this morning, while walking to campus lost in thought, is this: he feels proprietory and responsible, but the physical details of the birthing process completely wig him out. So he wants to be there in some kind of protective/guardian role, and does not want to be supplanted from this role by either my mom or the doula, but at the same time isn’t about to perform the “new age” dad role. There is no way on earth he is getting anywhere near that umbilical cord.

The bottom line is that we are going to have to continue to work out what everyone’s role will be – especially for my mom. Basically what I want from her is a comforting presence and the soothing sound of her voice. But T. worries that she is going to encroach on what he perceives as his territory (there is historical precendent for this).

Really the conversation with the doula was a springboard for beginning to talk about all of this. So it was good we both went.

And that brings us to the in-laws . . . why is it that my MIL gets so under my skin? This coming week is my spring break; I was prepared to spend the whole time in VA, but T. was inclined to spend at least half the week here. When we looked at the calendar, I realized that I had scheduled my next appointment for Wednesday morning – smack-dab in the middle. So we thought to drive to VA immediately after my appt. But then my MIL e-mailed inviting us to dinner early in the week, since they are leaving on vacation Wednesday a.m. and won’t be back until after I’ve returned to school. I told her about the appointment, and she wrote back:
“We’re disappointed that we may not get to see you before we leave for Costa Rica, and who knows for how long afterwards. I wanted to check out that ‘critter habitat’ which Terry says is bulging nicely!”

Why was this phrasing so freaking irritating to me??? It had occured to me, prior to this exchange, that if I didn’t see them now I probably wouldn’t see them again until after the baby is born, and I felt kind of bad, knowing that she in particular would enjoy seeing me pregnant. But for some reason, having her say it just rubs me the wrong way. Plus the last time we talked on the phone she said something about how we’re going to have to work on the house a good bit while we’re in VA on break, getting ready for the baby. It’s like any insinuation of being told what to do or how to do it just makes me want to hiss and spit like a cornered cat. It’s really not fair to her, because overall she is very sweet to me and talks like I walk on water. T. has often made the claim that I could get away with giving them both giant wedgies and they would just laugh and say what a wonderful wedgie-giver I am. I can’t figure out why I react to her this way. In some ways I guess I feel like I’m being judged on my performance of pregnancy by some rubric that I never had an opportunity to consent to or refuse.

In any case, I did get the appointment changed to Tuesday morning, so we can see them Tuesday night at least. But then T. told me not to tell his mom yet, because he has a soccer game here Tuesday night and he wants to keep the option open of deciding at the last minute which is more important – seeing his parents before they take off, or playing soccer.

So buckle up, folks, this summer is bound to be a bumpy ride.

A Good Day

March 13, 2008

I am 35 today. It is a good day.

Sober thoughts

March 10, 2008

Why, as spring approaches, do I find myself thinking so much about death? The recent late-term losses that several bloggers have experienced had me crying over the keyboard, even though I wasn’t even a regular reader. I think it’s natural that reading these stories should evoke our own memories of loss and grief, though they be of a different nature. I hope I’m not being terribly self-centered in turning the reflections inward here.

When a friend of mine died in a bus accident in 1998, her husband said at the memorial service that we should all cover our loved ones with death – that we should always be mindful of their mortality, so that we would live in such a way that if they did die we’d have no regrets. I was 25 and in the early swirl of romance with T.; these words have stayed with me.

What I didn’t know at the time was that this event was the first in a series that would, by the end of the year, unmoor me from the dock of my faith and set me adrift for the foreseeable future. The thing with drifting is that you don’t even notice it at first; when finally you do look up and measure the distance, it has become to far to paddle back. I’m still watching for a promising place to dock. But maye the point is actually to flow with the river.

Grief

March 6, 2008

Last night I was thinking about the extended family network that the Critter will be born into, and realized with surprise that s/he will have only one uncle! I grew up with ten, so having just one seems weird to me! I know D. will be a great tio. At the same time, I also started thinking about my late BIL, and suddenly the thought that the Critter will never meet him made me unbearably sad. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up – the third anniversary of his death. This day will always be marked with grief for our family.

Thinking Forwards and Backwards

March 1, 2008

Rachel’s post about her baby dedication got me thinking. I haven’t been to church regularly for probably almost two years now; my participation was already waning previous to that, but when I started grad school again in the fall of ’06 I made a definite decision that I would not go to church again until I really wanted to. Forcing myself to go was mostly making me feel resentful.

For the first time in a long time, this week I started feeling like I kind of want to. I’m thinking of checking out the Quaker meeting on campus. I’m not sure how much of the desire comes from being pg, vs. meeting the parents of a Quaker friend here and really connecting (especially along the lines of their peace/justice commitments).

Meanwhile, I’ve been mulling over the baby dedication question. Not so much whether, but how. Specifically – does a conversation about IF come into it? Our church in VA seems to kind of ignore the whole realm of IF/pregnancy loss. Recently I came across an old Christmas newsletter from the three pastors and each piece of it was like a stab and twist of the knife, as the meditations focused exclusively on birth and parenting. I think there is zero awareness of how painful that could be for some people. I think it’s also an issue in the larger congregation, this taboo, because out of 400 members, a 12.5% statistic would suggest that around 50 people there have had their lives affected by infertility or loss. Or have those 50 people just stopped attending?

In all fairness, my issues with the church predate my difficulties conceiving; it’s possible if I had been in a better place faith-wise to begin with I wouldn’t have become so alienated. But what does it mean that we’re in a small group with our pastor and I haven’t felt able to talk about it even there?

I have a tendency to take on Causes. Part of me wants to make a potential baby dedication a platform for opening conversations in the church about infertility. But I’m also a pretty private person – we haven’t told our in-laws about our struggles, not even a hint. They attend the same church, so obviously if I shared some of our story in church this would be a big Reveal to them too. The thing is, I really don’t want to have that conversation with them at all – I don’t want to be subjected to a lot of personal questions, judgements, “why didn’t you”s, or the hurt they would feel knowing that we hadn’t told them, and being made to feel guilty about that.

So who knows. It feels like a long time in the future yet, anyway. But there’s still this niggling desire to want to educate people about IF.