Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to the mines

So, I did it. I called Smirky's office this morning for the first time in more than a year. It was funny, actually. I really didn't know what to say. The receptionist--the sweetest woman in the world--answered the phone and I stammered:

Um...er...I don't know if you remember me, but, well, um, I got pregnant a year ago June thanks to you and had twins 9 months ago. Well, um....er....I...well, um, I have two frozen blastocysts and we'd like to come in for a consultation because, well, I guess....well, I mean, we're thinking about trying for another.

Yeah. I'm graceful under pressure.

Despite my incoherence, I did manage to book an appointment for next Thursday.

NEXT Thursday.

Holy sh*t.

I know it doesn't mean we're doing something next Friday so I don't need to totally panic yet, but it does mean we're moving forward. Or talking about moving forward. On Thursday.

Tonight at dinner I asked hubby, "so, really, you're ready to add ANOTHER child to this equation?"

"Yeah! I really think I am!"

Wow. What, not enough chaos in our lives right now, then?

But, that's the kind of optimistic thinking that could really get me in trouble, frankly. I mean, I'm already talking as if deciding to "try" means that we'll get to take home a real, live baby in the imminent future.

It's cute how naive I've gotten again, isn't it?

Of course, all of this talk is really premature given that I haven't had AF since June of '07. Yeah, that's right. Since my IVF cycle.

Is that normal?! The stickies are more than 9 months old. Don't get me wrong, I'm LOVING the hiatus. I don't miss her ugly mug one bit. But still. I can't help but wonder: is something amiss?

I'll definitely update after my visit to Smirky's office. I still can't say I really know what I think of all this. I guess my biggest fear is getting drawn back into the vortex of cycling and HPTs, OPKs, betas, shots, waiting, wondering, hoping, and disappointment.

But, one step at a time. I'll just talk to Smirky and figure out what this whole FET entails and how long after I get AF for the first time we need to wait before diving in.

Madness. Happy madness (for now), but madness nonetheless.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Feeding time at the zoo

I haven't posted much about breastfeeding. Mostly because there isn't much to post. It's gone reasonably well. Sure, there are twin moms out there who have had even more success. Hats off to them! But what I've settled into mostly works for me.

I never breastfed exclusively. Almost, but never exclusively. In the beginning I would supplement with maybe an ounce or two here and there (mostly with Sweet Potato), nothing much. By the time the stickies were a bit older, I would supplement with a bottle at night, but breastfed the rest of the day. Then, not too long after I went back to work, I was almost exclusively pumping and bottle feeding. You see, I would breastfeed both babies in the morning--which was my absolute favorite time of day with them--but then would pump and bottle feed for the rest of the day.

Frankly, it was just easier. I was at work all day, so had no choice then. And, when I got home, trying to breastfeed both of them before bed was something I had long since stopped--it was too complicated and too tenuous. I wanted to make sure they both got great feeds before bed, and depending on the last time I pumped or fed, my supply at night wasn't enough to satiate both. (They stickies have been eating 8-10 ounces at a sitting for a while. I generally pump 6-8 ounces at a sitting, which is only enough to satiate one, and barely that.)

But, by pumping all day, including two to three times after they go to bed, I've been able to maintain a supply that gets them 75-90% of what they eat during the day, depending on the day. (The days either one goes on a tear, they get more formula.)

I'm pretty proud of what I've done so far. The stickies will be 9 months old next week and are thriving. I take some small amount of pride in the fact that that might have something to do with getting so much breast milk for so long. I'm not saying that they wouldn't be doing great without it, and I am making NO judgment call on anyone who doesn't, particularly because I didn't suffer through supply or latching issues, or any other of the myriad things that would have definitely caused me to stop earlier. Rather, I'm just proud that, because it's been relatively easy, I've kept it going.

But, as you might expect, it's getting tough. Sweet Potato has already weaned himself. He stopped showing any interest in the morning breastfeed several weeks ago. I was adamant about NOT fighting to breastfeed. That doesn't feel good to either of us. So, I let him wean himself and we exclusively bottle feed him (mostly breast milk).

Monkey Girl and I still really enjoy our morning feed, though. It's a really special mother-daughter time that I know I'll treasure forever. But, I fear that it, too, might be close to coming to an end. I worry. There have been a couple of days this week when I had to pump before she got up and couldn't feed. I worry that too many of those days will lead her to wean herself, too. Then I'll have nothing. I'll be exclusively pumping. I'm not ready for that.

I realize that it's still really good for them (to pump and feed breast milk). But selfishly, I want to maintain that morning feed for as long as I can. It's the last real physical attachment I have to either of the stickies at this point and I'm not ready to give that up.

You see, among other things, giving it up would be like a larger symbol of leaving the baby stage. Something that I'm at once both really excited and sad for. Excited because they get more and more fun every day. Sad because this has been such a magical and wonderful stage and I really can't believe it's coming to a close. I want to savor every last second; to sip it slowly like a fine wine because, given our history and the fact that since we were blessed with twins, I can't see going down the treatment road again if the FET doesn't work, I don't really know if we'll be lucky enough to have another.

And so tomorrow, I'm going to do everything in my power to breastfeed Monkey Girl. And I'm going to hope she lingers a little longer than usual. I'm going to treasure every touch of her hand on my skin and on my face. I'm going to drink in her beautiful scent and I'm going to savor the way she looks up at me with her beautiful big blue eyes.

And I'm going to hope that time slows down, just this once.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Remembering

It's not the same, I know, but today will always hold a special place in my heart. If things had gone according to plan, we'd be celebrating the second birthday of the the baby I lost in my first miscarriage.

There is no question that sweet potato and monkey girl take the sting out of this year's anniversary. It's not sad this year as much as it is bittersweet. But it is a reminder of everything that we went through.

I can so clearly remember two years ago the pain I felt. We were several months past miscarriage. We had gone to the RE for the first time for a first round of tests and realized that nothing was "wrong." You know, other than the fact that we had gotten pregnant, lost the baby, then couldn't seem to get pregnant again.

I remember how much pressure I had put on the holidays that year--I just kept telling myself that as long as I was pregnant by the holidays, everything would be okay.

Needless to say, I wasn't pregnant. Hubby and I got in a big fight on December 4 that year. He thought I was taking it too hard, and I thought he was being too flip about it. I remember the fight SO. CLEARLY. And I can remember the pain and the desperation I felt. That day, two years ago, I really felt, perhaps for the first time, that this journey might actually not end happily. I realized that, for some, eventually taking home a baby isn't a foregone conclusion, and that we might be among that group.

In the midst of the most painful months, I can remember hubby and I talking and saying that, if someone just told us that it would take us X months to get pregnant, but that we would, indeed, have children, it would be easier to go through IF. The certainty of knowing that it would ultimately work was all we needed.

In hindsight, that's absolutely true. Looking back, it doesn't seem like it took that long to get pregnant after that first "due date." I mean, 16 months after the miscarriage and 8 months after the due date, the stickies nestled in for the long haul. I now see how lucky we were that that happened so quickly. At the time, though, that didn't feel quick. It felt raw, interminable, painful.

But now? Well, now here I sit. I have a half-decorated tree and two extra stockings hung. I don't know if we'll ever find time to finish putting the ornaments up, but I don't care. My house has never looked more chaotic, but it's never felt fuller.

And, while I'm not saying that everything happens for a reason, I can say that the joy I feel right now makes the pain we went through somehow okay. I mean, I would do anything for monkey girl and sweet potato, and that journey did bring them to me. I know we're lucky in that way. I know there are far too many people who haven't gotten the light at the end of the tunnel, and my heart breaks for you.

So, on this December 4, in honor of everyone having a tough holiday season, I want to remember the one we lost. And I wish everyone joy that will dull the aches that right now are so intense.