Wednesday, December 11, 2013

22w4d - The Family Grows

Holy emotional shit storm. Yesterday, December 10th at 10:10 AM, I became an aunt to a beautiful baby girl. 8 lbs 1 oz, 21 long, long inches.  7 months and 9 days after the announcement that sent me reeling for so long. 2 days after my first due date. I wish I could say that in the moment, none of it mattered. I am not proud. My mom and I paced the hall outside of the delivery room until we heard her first cries. Immediately, we both bawled. We cried, while she cried, for the total miracle of your own daughter/sister having her own healthy baby. I cried too for the distance this pregnancy put between us, even while I was in the midst of my own. I flipped back and forth between elation and this difficult feeling of longing, a childish response of "this should have been me." I hate to admit those feelings. It was not my time. It was a miracle, my family had grown by a whole perfect human being.

Those feelings dissipated entirely once I got to meet her. Really, she is possibly the most beautiful little girl in the world. She has a shocking amount of thick, dark brown hair and rosebud lips. I couldn't stop touching her impossibly soft cheeks and belly and holding on to her feet. She will know me as "that giant that won't stop poking me." I spent the day my newly larger family. Mostly we stared and commented on how much she looked like a member of our immediate family. Halfway across the country, my brother-in-law's family commented on how much she looked like their family. They are wrong. She is totally one of us. Smushy, rosy lips are our trademark. It's hilarious how narcissistic newborns make us. We are so quick to claim their every feature as our own. I really do think she looks like a hybrid between me and my sister as newborns because me-me-me-me-me. That's what babies do to us. We become so vainly introspective as we gaze into their every-baby-could-have-been-switched-at-birth faces.

My sister was a total trouper. Her water broke on Monday afternoon with nary another sign of impending labor. Once at the hospital, they started her on Pitocin which led to a completely sleepless night. At 6:15 am she was 3 cm dilated. Only 2.5 hours later she was fully dilated and evicting that kid. No sleep, no pain meds, 1.5 hours of pushing. She's like a Navy Seal of childbirth.

I stayed until early evening and then drove back home to the city. I gushed on the phone to friends (hands free, safety first) and then sat in traffic and allowed anxiety set in. Seriously, I hate that I did this and that I continue to let myself go to these dark places. It seems so selfish. I am sometimes incapable of reason and seeing the big picture. My heart started aching. Surely, it would not go so perfectly for me. Bad things happen to me - this is my default, stupid, dark place mantra. I will never get my boy. I will go into early labor. I will lose him. April will never come (unlikely). Maybe he will be born but not healthy, not beautiful like his cousin. Will my family gush over him as much since he's a boy and not a rosebud-lipped girl? Send in the men in white coats. I'm sure there's a perfectly lovely asylum where I can convalesce for the rest of my pregnancy, preferably in a medically-induced coma. These are the fucking thoughts that circled my mind last night and this morning. I hate them. I hate those thoughts. They represent the worst of me and the worst of two years of infertility. I am ashamed that I can't just revel in the love and awe I feel for my niece and enjoy this wonderful, healthy pregnancy that I've been blessed with. To clarify, I do get those moments of peace, wonder and happiness. I experienced that nearly all day yesterday with my niece and sister and didn't fall apart until I was alone in the car. On weekend mornings, when I sit around reading, sipping a cup of tea, and feel and see my boy bopping around inside, I am there: totally in love and in the moment. He and I feel natural and meant to be. I just can't always cling on to that. I bought a Christmas ornament for him and hung it on our tree. I visit it as my reminder of how good I have it and how real he is. Fake babies do not have Christmas ornaments, right? We call our boy "Pindakaas," the Dutch word for peanut butter, because...because why not? Pin for short. We remain miles apart on names and I am a bit concerned that he will forever be known as Pindakaas. I suppose there are worse names. Pin's ornament is a piece of toast with peanut butter and two banana slices on it (J and I are clearly the bananas - one of us more than the other). Impossibly cute, like my fetus. Handcrafted affirmations in felt.

TGIE - Thank God for Etsy

I am going over to my sister's house after work to welcome them home and eat my mom's home cooking. As soon as I'm there, I'll be madly in love again. I will feel like that the whole time I'm there. I will possibly/probably melt down in the car. And then I'll pull myself together, feel my baby boy squirming, and will be fine. And then not. And then fine again. Possibly until April.

I'll leave you with a photo of my family's new perfect love.

Look at those sweet lips and that head of hair. Could you die?

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Belated Bloggy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, my day was book ended by incredibly fabulous news. With my morning decaf, I read this by Stupid Stork. Rejoice.Then, I went about my day, doing boring work things, generally rolling my eyes, practicing mediocre posture and pondering the merits of baby play yards-bassinette combos. Riveting. At the end of the day, I checked my blogroll once again and found yet another holiday miracle BPF story from Cork & Stork. This mixed in with Amanda from Beloved Burnt Toast tepidly celebrating the end of her first trimester. Honestly, I felt like my computer screen was set to the infertile Hallmark channel. My heart simply sung. If pregnancies were earned through wit, sarcasm and enviable writing skills, these girls would be octomoms several times over. Alas, they are not. And so through lots of science, patience and determination, they finally have what they deserved. This year, may we all be thankful for petri dishes. I know I am.

Blogging as a part of the online infertility community has been such an affirming, therapeutic experience. I don't know but I can't imagine the same level of camaraderie among knitting or home improvement bloggers. Some of my readers are my pre-blog, real life friends (IRL, as the kids say). They check my blog to see what's going on - IVF treatment status, the sitch in my underpants, etc - so that I don't have to write countless emails or go over the more painful details over and over again. In part, that's why I started blogging. Mostly, I began blogging to purge all of the stuff rattling around in my head, built up over this bizarre experience of having major lady organ failure. While the purging has been a blessing, the community has been the real boon. Call me creepy, but I think of many of my fellow IF bloggers as real friends. I think I can sympathize with Nev's sad-eyed participants on MTV's Catfish. You make me feel loved. It really doesn't matter whether that's crazy or not. I haven't invited any of you to move into my parents' house despite never having skyped with you. Your video chat has been down for 3 years, I understand. You only have 3 photos of yourself on Facebook and 10 friends with suspiciously unusual names. That's because you're an army brat from Guam. I get you. You get me. Our uteri are shaped like popcorn, our eggs are poached, and our husbands' nuts are filled with pop rocks. You are my (IRL and interweb) peeps. Thanks for being here. I'm not signing off, just having a little belated Thanksgiving gratitude fest.