Thursday, October 14, 2010

To Have and Have Not

So I survived yet another surgery on my girl parts yesterday, thanks to my friend versed. It went well in that I got through it with very little pain, though I still felt foggy for most of the day today.

Here's what didn't go so well: She got only 70 percent of the adhesions. Apparently they can't stay in there all day long once they start (something about fluid absorption reaching a limit), so since my ute was in worse shape than anticipated, she ran out of time at 70 percent. For the math challenged out there, that leaves 30 percent to get out. Which means that I? Was so right in hoping to avoid a c-section in the first place (not that I had much control, in the end). I'll be headed back into the OR after a month on estrace followed by two weeks on provera and an in-office hysteroscopy.

The other thing I learned is that the worse the adhesions are, the greater the risk of placenta complications during pregnancy, like placenta previa (which I had with H) and placenta accreta, the scary condition in which the placenta burrows too deeply into the uterus, sometimes requiring hysterectomy during childbirth.

My doctor still thinks my Asherman's case is only a "3" on a scale of 1-10, and remains quite optimistic about my chances of conceiving again (though she said the scarring had affected at least one of my tubes, which further diminishes any minuscule chance of it happening au naturale).

Am I optimistic? I guess you could say I'm cautiously optimistic. I hope to give H a sibling, which is why I'm going down this path again (and it turns out to be a good thing I'm starting now). I know I would not be content to simply watch my 30s slip away without at least giving it a shot.

But in the meantime, what I am is 100% determined not to let this -- infertility, Asherman's, bad luck -- get in the way of my enjoying H's babyhood. It seems to me that it's easy enough on a normal day to let the moments pass without notice. Add the time and emotional drain that is infertility treatment and it becomes even easier. It would be the ultimate sad irony to sacrifice the sweetest moments with baby #1 in pursuit of baby #2. And it just won't happen.

It won't happen in part because no matter what the answer is this time -- another baby or not -- there is a baby boy upstairs, right now, who already made me a mother. And I owe it to myself, to my son and to every single woman out there still in the fight for motherhood to fully appreciate what I have without pining away for more, or at least without letting that longing overcome the joy.

And so, now back to my regularly scheduled life as a mother.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Good Fight

Went in for obligatory pre-surgery blood work today -- they need to make sure I'm hcg-free before going in to fix my ute tomorrow, because there's nothing like an infertile girl on the Pill to stir up a pregnancy scare.

Actually, these days I prefer to think of myself as fertile until proven otherwise. I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, while I was in my RE's waiting room, in walked this cute, 30-something couple: she very perky and he cooler than a cucumber. They were either totally new to the process or putting on a very believable, synchronized brave face. They were chatting up a storm about things that seemed quite strategically apropos of nothing. What I wanted to do -- and it actually felt difficult to restrain myself -- was go over, give them a hug and tell them this: Keep fighting.

Keep fighting, because what's at the end? Is so worth it.

Keep fighting, because the warmth of a newborn's breath in the crook of your neck is all that you imagine it will be.

Keep fighting, because when this process isn't breaking you, it's stirring up exactly the amount of strength you need to continue.

Keep fighting, because when you are playing with your baby and he looks right in your eyes and laughs an unrestrained belly laugh that sounds like pure joy just sailed right into your living room, this moment -- whatever you're dealing with today -- will seem very, very far away.

That's why I'm crazy enough to think about doing it again. Starting tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Down the Hatch

Because I have been completely lame about blogging from the moment I set foot in the hospital to give birth, and have failed to provide the kind of day-to-day updates I'd intended (or solicit smart advice from readers that could have saved some of the time I seem to woefully lack) I am now forced to summarize important topics like eating over the past eight months (baby H turned eight months on Saturday -- can you believe it?). Because that's what happens when you don't record everything.

So here goes. Eating. H started out as a great eater. He immediately got the whole thing, and our nursing challenges were never about intent or latching or any of that (issues were always supply meeting demand). We began supplementing with formula right in the hospital since his body weight dropped from the initial 8 lbs 9 oz to below 10 percent of that (I'll leave that math to people more equipped to handle it). After some trial and error we settled on Good Start Gentle Plus formula, which has been great for H as a supplement and then the sole milk product. Really no problems with it other than chronic spitup, which I really think is about him more than the formula, and has improved significantly over the past month or two.

Everything was pretty much chugging along (literally) until H started teething. He got his first two bottom teeth at the age of four months, and then in late August/September all four top teeth started coming in at once (actually, first the fangs started coming in alone, which was kind of hilarious looking -- but then the middle two filled in quickly). This seemed to impact his appetite, so between that and his propensity for easy distraction while eating, it seemed impossible to get any nutrition in him for a while.

We started solids (rice cereal -- Happy Bellies organic brown rice, to be exact) at four months, but we went probably more slowly than we should with introducing new foods -- so only at six months did we really start getting into it with him, offering a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. I guess was hesitant simply because there seemed to be so many different and conflicting points of view on the right approach (including within our single pediatrics practice, which provides two conflicting handouts for each age range on its website) that my brain kind of shut down as it does in situations of information overload. I was afraid of giving him the wrong thing.

Over the past month, though, we've really stepped it up and have introduced finger foods (which he really gets, thanks to all those teeth) in addition to a wide range of jarred (Earth's Best organic) baby food varieties. I've attempted to make him food myself but he has completely rejected it, apparently because I can't make it as thin and smooth as the jarred foods.

I guess at this point, I'm looking for ideas. I want to keep expanding his cuisine horizons but am not sure what else I can be giving him at this point. So here's a list of what we've done so far -- would love to hear what you're all giving (or gave) your babes at this stage, as well as any resources you've found particularly helpful ( is one site I've found moderately useful). Also, how quickly should I introduce more finger foods -- and what?

-Rice cereal (he will not eat oatmeal -- have tried two brands)
-Jarred fruits, veggies and meats
-Yogurt (Yo Baby)
-Egg yolks
-Canned pumpkin (which he loves)
-Veggie puffs
-Shredded mozzarella cheese
-Have also tried applesauce and smashed avocado, but he is not a fan -- I think texture bothers him.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Banner Day

It was an interesting day.

Started with a drive into town for an ultrasound at a diagnostic center with 3D ultrasound equipment. It impressed me that it was a test I had not previously been acquainted with, having done what I thought was most OB/GYN procedures known to womankind at this point. I was not impressed with what I saw on the screen -- my fibroids (which was what my doctor was looking at in anticipation of my upcoming operative hysteroscopy) looked pretty average and I didn't see anything particularly special about the images. I mean, for a commute into the city and $11 in parking shouldn't they have provided a little entertainment?

Anyway I became quite wistful sitting in the waiting area among all the big bellies. And an abdominal ultrasound is just so anticlimactic when all you see is your own boring body parts. No little hands waving at you, no baby hiccups to see in action. It confirmed for me that I'm doing the right thing, exploring the possibilities around baby #2. I like thinking that I have that to look forward to again.

Ultrasound completed, I went on to my alma mater to exchange a t-shirt I'd bought a few weeks back when I visited campus with a good friend and fellow alumna. (Note to self: When buying a t-shirt that says "slim fit" at a store specializing in sizes for students nearly 20 years your junior, even size Large is laughing at you.) The wistfulness continued. Once you've reached a certain age, nothing makes you feel older than walking around your old college campus early in the school year when the fresh-faced incoming class is still buzzing around with all the hope in the world about the good things to come. Still, as I lugged my diaper bag around (H was at his grandparents' house but I was too lazy to switch purses -- don't judge me), I couldn't help but feel a little self-satisfied too. I mean, if I could talk to my own fresh face I'd tell her to just eat this time up. But I'd also tell her there's a heck of a lot of good to come much later. And also, she will someday be just so much smarter than she was at 18.

From there, I went on another long-overdue errand: I went for a bra fitting at a respectable underpinnings store like a real lady. I mean, I've been getting through life wearing a nursing bra because it's the only thing that currently fits (having graduated from my reliable 34B somewhere in the second trimester), and seriously, we simply can't have that any longer. I confirmed I am exactly the size I expected and bought one, perfectly fitting bra that did so much for my mood that I think there should be a nationally mandated bra fitting day.

After H was home for a while and went to bed, I ended the day catching up with a friend -- the kind of friend you miss if you don't talk for a few days -- over a civilized glass of wine.

On my mind the entire day: this news about Robert Edwards and his well deserved Nobel Prize. I blubbered as I heard NPR report on it this morning, on my way to the ultrasound. If it weren't for this guy...well, thankfully, we'll never know. But I'm glad he's around, and that he did what he did. What else can I say but thank you, Professor Edwards. Thank you.

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