Friday, September 30, 2011


While visiting an online forum for donor egg parents today (through Parents Via Egg Donation, an organization I highly recommend to anyone considering this route to parenthood), I had reason to reflect on how very fortunate I am to be in my current position. 

Certainly this thought has crossed my mind numerous times before today.  But I don't know that I've written much about my feelings on the subject beyond the posts about my initial positive pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.

I realize that suffering isn't a contest, and I don't minimize or forget the difficult emotions I struggled with during over three years of unsuccessful TTC.  I also acknowledge that, even having had 40 unsuccessful cycles TTC, I've gone through much, much less than many others who have struggled, and continued to struggle, with infertility. 

As you might guess, most people do not turn to donor eggs as a first-line fertility treatment.  Although there are some women who know from the outset that conception using their own eggs will be out of the question, either due to prior cancer treatment or diagnosed medical problems, it is more often the case that women undergoing DE IVF have already experienced many failed cycles with their own eggs and/or many miscarriages before moving on to this treatment option.

On the forum I referenced above and on some of the blogs I read, there are a number of women who, in addition to having had failed cycles/losses with their own eggs, are now going through DE IVF for the second, third or even fourth time, sometimes with different donors.  DE IVF generally has higher success rates than IVF with one's own eggs, but they still aren't anywhere near 100%.  Knowing what goes into a DE IVF cycle, financially, emotionally and mentally, it's hard to contemplate how difficult it must be to keep trying after a failed cycle.

If you've read this blog (or even just our TTC history page), you know that we conceived my current twin pregnancy on our first DE IVF cycle, which was also our first-ever IVF cycle, since I never did IVF with my own eggs.  I had many failed IUIs and a chemical pregnancy, but in the overall scheme, I'm one of the lucky ones.

Yes, our cycle was a huge investment, emotionally and financially.  It was something we contemplated for a long time before taking the plunge.  I needed counseling to come to terms with taking this path to parenthood.  My husband was hesitant to go into debt to try this, even though the odds were (finally) in our favor.

But the gamble paid off for us; it worked on the first try.

Now I am in the (enviable) position where so many other women hope to be.  I am humbled and moved to tears when I think of all the strong, deserving women who would give almost anything--and have given an unimaginable amount--to be where I am now.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's up, Blogger?

I am having trouble leaving comments on some of the blogs I read regularly.  I thought I'd solved the problem, but had to give up after four failed tries on sunflowerchilde's blog.  Frustrating.

Anyone know how to fix this problem?  I tried deleting cookies from my browser, but it didn't help.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

18 weeks

(Today's post will be all about pregnancy. If you don't feel like reading about that right now, I completely understand. Hope to see you again soon.)

I keep hoping to post something other than these weekly or bi-weekly updates, but I never seem to get around to it.  My apologies to those who are still reading; I know this stuff probably isn't all that interesting to most of you.

Total Weight Loss/Gain: I have now regained about 3 of the 9 lbs I initially lost.  Overall change in weight:  -6 lbs.

Maternity Clothes: Some pants, though I can still wear some of my usual pants with the Bella Band.

Stretch marks: I've had stretch marks for years from growth spurts and weight gain. I don't have any new ones related to pregnancy yet.

Sleep: OK.  I bought a Snoogle to help me sleep on my left side, and I'm still getting used to it.
Movement:  We've seen them moving on ultrasound for a while, and a few nights ago, I *think* I finally felt something.  It felt like a fluttering feeling in my lower abdomen (and this time it wasn't gas).

Cravings/Aversions:  The only foods I'm "craving" are the things I can't have, like deli turkey sandwiches and sushi.  Still not crazy about some cooked vegetables or dishes with sauces, but overall, I'd say my aversions are getting fewer.

Gender: We hope to find out in just a little over a week!

Symptoms: Still some nausea, though I'm having more good days than bad days with that now.  Occasional heartburn and bloating, but again, not as bad.  Sore, darker nipples.  Starting this week, I've also felt some pulling sensations across my abdomen which are new.

What I miss:  Having a normal energy level, being able to eat anything I want.

What I look forward to: Anatomy scan on 10/7.  Actually looking pregnant instead of just fat.  MM being able to feel the babies' movement.

Moods: Generally good.

Milestones:  I'd count possibly feeling movement as a milestone.

Medical concerns: None so far.

Sex?:  Eh.

Misc:  Had to travel yesterday for work and didn't get home until 11:15 p.m.  Am exhausted today.  Have another trip coming up in three weeks and not looking forward to it.  My OB told me I won't be able to fly after 28 weeks, and although I usually don't mind traveling for work, I must admit, I'm looking forward to that restriction!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

17 weeks

(Today's post will be all about pregnancy. If you don't feel like reading about that right now, I completely understand. Hope to see you again soon.)


Total Weight Loss/Gain:  I am still down about 5 lbs from the morning of transfer, but at least the scale is now moving up.  I plan to discuss my lack of weight gain with my OB tomorrow at my appointment.

Maternity Clothes:  I bought a few pairs of pants because, although I could still fit into many of my old pants, they were feeling a little uncomfortable on my abdomen.  Haven't had to buy any maternity shirts yet.

Stretch marks: I've had stretch marks for years from growth spurts and weight gain. I don't have any new ones related to pregnancy yet.

Sleep:  OK.  I'm trying to train myself to sleep on my left side, and that's been tough.  I am getting up 1-2 times a night to pee.

Movement: They are moving but I haven't felt them yet.

Cravings/Aversions:  My aversions are fewer than before, but I still have many.  No real cravings.

Gender:  We hope to find out in just a little over a week!

Symptoms:  (To be clear, just providing information here, not complaining. . . )  Still more tired than usual, though not as tired as during the first trimester.  My nipples are sore and sensitive and still have the bumps I described in my 16 weeks post.  My nausea is better in that it is less severe most days and doesn't seem to last as long--I've only had to take one dose of Zofran in the past two weeks--but I'm still far from normal.  I am hungry every 2-3 hours, whether nauseated or not, and even small meals leave me feeling as bloated as I would after Thanksgiving dinner.  (Most of the day my upper abdomen is bigger than my "bump" because of all the bloating.)  I still have occasional heartburn, but I've cut out Zantac and Prilosec.  I don't perceive a pattern to which foods will make me feel worse than others, which is frustrating at times.

What I miss: Being able to eat what I want, whenever I want.

What I look forward to: Anatomy scan on 10/7.

Moods: Generally good.

Milestones: Hmm.  I can't think of any since my 16 weeks post.

Medical concerns: None so far.

Sex?:  Meh, not so much.  In addition to my not feeling so great, MM was sick part of last week, too.

Misc:  MM continues to be anxious and concerned about the babies.  Before a wedding last weekend, while waiting for the outdoor ceremony to start, he meant to bring me a glass of lemonade and inadvertently brought me a margarita instead.  (I realized it after the first small sip.)  He was worried all through the wedding.  He also thought I shouldn't be doing the macarena at the reception because it might "disturb" the babies. 

Also, MM and I went on our first date four years ago today!  Awwww. . . .

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gratitude and complaining

A few posts I've read recently got me thinking. . . . can someone be grateful and yet still complain?  One oft-suggested strategy for complaining less is to shift focus to gratitude.  But I think one can be truly grateful for something and still feel annoyed or challenged by it.

One example:  I have a good job that I am lucky to have, especially in the current economic climate.  Many people would be happy to have my job.  I'm happy to have it, too, but I still complain from time to time about certain aspects of it (annoying opposing counsel, difficult clients, capricious partner/supervisors, to name a few).  Does that mean I am not grateful for my job?

Another:  we have a dog we love.  MM regularly picks up his poo in the back yard and takes him for a nightly walk, but occasionally he complains about doing these things.  Doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate our dog; he does.  It's just not fun to pick up poo, or to go for a walk in the neighborhood when it's 100+ outside after dark.

Even things in life that are great in the main have aspects that are hard.  Pregnancy is a good example.  I am thrilled to "finally" be pregnant with twins, but that doesn't mean that it has been, or will be, easy.  I try to confine the majority of my complaining to MM (who, let's face it, should be willing to listen at a minimum), but I am sure that some of the thoughts I've posted on here about my nausea, heartburn and fatigue may have come across as complaints.

I don't think that complaining means someone is not grateful.  I think it is usually an acknowledgement of the hard aspects of whatever she's experiencing.  But I come from a family of kvetchers, so maybe I'm wrong.

What do you think?  Are complaints and gratitude incompatible?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

16 Weeks

(Today's post will be all about pregnancy. If you don't feel like reading about that right now, I completely understand. Hope to see you again soon.)


Total Weight Loss/Gain: Still down about 7 lbs from what I weighed the morning before our embryo transfer.  My weight loss has leveled off in the past month, but I'm still not gaining.  I'm a little concerned and plan to discuss with my OB at my next appointment on 9/22.

Maternity Clothes:  Not yet.  I've considered them, but I'm not quite there.  I've been wearing more skirts/dresses and pants with stretch lately, though.

Stretch marks: I've had stretch marks for years from growth spurts and weight gain. I don't have any new ones related to pregnancy yet.

Sleep:  Still sleeping OK. I do have to get up once or twice a night to pee, which is new since the last update.

Movement: I've seen them moving on my ultrasounds but haven't felt movement yet.  One night I thought I did, but it was gas.  LOL

Cravings/Aversions: I still have some food aversions, though not as many as before.  I have continued to have a bad taste in my mouth after eating off and on, but it seems to be improving.  No cravings.

Gender: Don't know yet, too early. (Yes, we have a "guess.")

Symptoms: Blessedly, I haven't taken Zofran for a week--hooray!  I still have nausea from when I wake up until mid-morning or mid-day, but I've been able to tough it out because it's not quite as bad.  (P.S. I tried two flavors of Preggy Pops since my last update and HATED them.  Had to spit 'em out.)  I continue to have heartburn, now sometimes even when I take Zantac. My nipples are sore/sensitive, and they have changed color and devloped some bumps I never had before. I am still more tired than usual.  (What happened to my "return to normal energy level" in the second tri?  I feel cheated.)  I'm feeling like I have to pee more often.

What I miss: Having a normal energy level.  Being able to enjoy food and eat whatever I want.  Sushi.

What I look forward to:  Seeing the babies at my next appointment on 9/22 and our anatomy scan on 10/7.

Moods: Generally good.  I can be irritable when my stomach is upset.  If I'm at work, I generally stay in the office with my door closed.  MM gets the worst of it when I'm home in the evenings, poor guy.

Milestones:  My belly looks pregnant!  Well, at least to me, though not yet to others.  I can feel my fundus (top portion of my uterus) just under my navel.

Medical concerns: None so far, thank goodness.

Sex?: Eh, maybe later.

Misc:  I want to include that we are already accumulating baby items!  In addition to some gender neutral clothing, towels and blankets my in-laws bought when we first learned we were having twins, we now have a bouncy chair, a swing, a Pack-and-Play and some beautiful handmade blankets.  Also, my in-laws very generously gave us a sizable check to cover all the necessities (in lieu of birthday & Christmas gifts for this year), so we are ready to really start shopping!

Now I just need to clear out our home office so it can become the nursery. . . . .

Friday, September 9, 2011

Darn Beyonce

(This is another pregnancy-focused post.  If you aren't in a place where you want to read that, I understand.  Hope you'll come back soon.)


I'm sure by now that many of you have seen photos of Beyonce displaying her "baby bump" at last week's VMAs on MTV.  I honestly don't have an opinion about her pregnancy or the way she chose to announce it or the media's reactions.  But the photos that have circulated of her "bump" have caused some consternation in our household.

I know I've mentioned here before that MM is a worrier.  At least a few times a week, he expresses a new concern that something may be wrong with the Wonder Twins.  There are always different reasons for his fears, and I do the best I can to provide information that will allay them when I can.  (He has even been losing sleep some nights because he's worried "something is wrong.")

Well, seeing the photos of Beyonce's "bump" and hearing that she is also due in February prompted him to wonder why *I* don't look pregnant.  I mean, I have *two* babies in there. . . . I should definitely be showing by now, right?  I have tried explaining to him that everyone's bump shows at different times and that the fact that Beyonce is normally quite thin while I am, um, plus-size (size 16-ish), also makes a difference, but so far he has not been reassured.  He thinks I have no bump because the babies have (inexplicably) stopped growing since the NT scan.

For the record, I do have a "bump."  It just wouldn't be noticeable to anyone who doesn't regularly see me unclothed.  (Oh, and in case anyone is thinking of asking. . . . no, I won't be posting photos of my bump here.  At least not until it is a definitive baby bump instead of just looking like a fat belly.  ;-)  )

Unlike Beyonce, I have what I (lovingly) refer to as an "insulating layer of fat" over my bump.  So it simply looks like I am fat, not pregnant.  When I lie on my back, it is clear that the rounded bump is, in fact, my uterus and not just fat.  It's also obvious to the touch.  But no one would ever look at me and think "Aha!  She's pregnant!" let alone "Aha!  She must be having twins!"

I've seen photos posted by other bloggers pregnant with twins who are not as far along as I am (15w2d) and are showing.  But again, all these bloggers started out their pregnancies much thinner than I.

I'm sure because I'm having twins, I will soon be showing and will get plenty big enough to assure even MM that I'm pregnant and have growing babies in there.  And I really don't mind that I don't look pregnant yet; I certainly *feel* pregnant, I'm not worried about the babies (much--have no reason to be), and it's been nice still being able to wear most of my same clothes.  I do kind-of feel bad, though, that this has given MM something else to worry about.

Darn Beyonce.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What glow?

I'm sure we've all heard people talk about the pregnancy glow that women get or the positive effects that pregnancy is supposed to have on your hair.  I know I've actually seen a lot of women who look very beautiful pregnant.

Allow me to share with you that I am not one of these women.

These days when I look in the mirror, I see someone old and tired.  My skin is drier and blotchier than usual, and the few dry lines I've developed over the years look more pronounced.  This has the effect of making it seem that I have more wrinkles/lines now than I did a few months ago.  My hair is flatter and duller.  I have what seem to be permanent bags under my eyes, even after a 9-hour night of sleep, and no makeup can effectively cover them.

These observations don't even include the fact that the all-day nausea I've been battling often makes my face pale or sweaty.  Attractive, right?

My husband, bless his heart, is honest to a fault (seriously, would a little white lie once in a while kill him?), and he has admitted when asked that I don't look good.  He kindly says that it's probably temporary and obviously due to "what [I'm] going through" and that it's all for a good cause.

Prior to the past couple of months, I'd taken pride in the fact that I could pass for 35 instead of looking my age (40).  Now I'd probably guess me closer to 45, definitely not under 40.

I am, in the main, not a particularly vain person, but I have to admit that even for me it's a little disheartening to look in the mirror each morning and see that I don't look good.  It's hard to get "up" for the day when you're nauseated, tired and also look like crap.

I'm starting to try to adjust my thinking to this just being my "new normal."  I mean, I can't imagine that I will miraculously look better once I give birth (and I can't imagine that the sleep deprivation which will accompany caring for two newborns will do wonders for my looks). 

I had hoped to be one of those beautiful pregnant women, or to at least maintain my status quo.  Yet another pregnancy myth debunked.  Looks like I didn't get lucky there either.

But looking old and tired will seem a small price to pay when the babies are here, I know.