This post has been marinating my brain for a while. I know what I want to say, but I can’t seem to find the right words so I’m just going to jump right in. I know these thoughts aren’t terribly profound, and you’re not likely to stand up and say “Wow, I’m so enlightened now” but I feel like it’s an important thing to acknowledge.
I think the dark days are mostly over. All of the stressors are still in place, but the overwhelming fear and anxiety and frustration are (mostly) gone. Which is interesting, because I started to immediately feel better after my last post. It seems that the very act of acknowledging and articulating my fears and frustrations drained the “poison” from the wounds. Like I said, not profound – after all this is the reason that talk therapy works, the reason people confess their sins, the reason people pray. But nonetheless I felt a profound sense of relief. And I received overwhelming support. It was like I was chained in Plato’s cave and by recognizing my fears and asking for help you all shined your collective lights into the shadows and helped me to accept and validate that my fears, while real, weren’t nearly as frightening as I imagined.
Isn’t it interesting? I have such profound love and gratitude for a group of people that I don’t even know. I could pass you in the grocery store and we wouldn’t recognize each other. And yet you have been a tremendous source of support to me. I have read your comments over and over again, even when I didn’t have the words to reply. I started this blog on a whim, as a way to document my journey (rather like an electronic diary) and hopefully to help anyone else who found themselves in a similar position. To be honest the fact the people even read this little blog is still shocking to me. And it has turned into a lifeline. There’s a lot of chatter about how social media is taking the “social” out of society and that may be true. But the interwebs also offer the amazing opportunity to connect with people you would never otherwise know. It has given me the space to be complete honest and uncensored, without fear (well, without much fear) of judgement. It is an invaluable resource. YOU are an invaluable resource. Thank you for sharing my journey. And I am honored to be able to share yours.
Now for an update…
I graduated from the RE last week. We had our last ultrasound at 9 weeks 2 days and Baby A was measuring 24 mm (9w 1 d) and Baby B was measuring 26mm (9w 3d). Both had nice strong heartbeats. Baby A was sleeping but we got to see Baby B wiggling around, which was an immensely satisfying moment for me. My next appointments are on Jan 27 (with the Ob) and Jan 29 (for an ultrasound and to test for Down’s).
I’ve actually started telling people. It’s earlier than I would have liked, but inevitable. I popped. At 9.5 weeks. I’m showing. I’m still in that “is she pregnant or is she chubbing up?” phase, but to anyone who knows me at all it’s clear that I’m not just chunking up. I don’t have a really small frame but I am relatively thin and fit so the pooch is very obvious, even under bulky sweatshirts (which are themselves suspicious since it’s 75 degrees out). The reception has been heartwarming, with the notable exception of my Ph.D. advisor, who was lukewarm (but that was still loads better than I expected).
My mother is over the moon, and actually reached out to a friend of hers from college whose daughter did IVF (not DE, but there’s not really that many of us). She tells everyone she meets that her daughter is pregnant with twins and when they sometimes ask “Naturally?”, she says “No, they struggled for a long time with infertility and found success doing IVF”. She doesn’t mention DE, which is fine as it’s a bit much for casual conversation, but I am so pleased that she doesn’t seem to view of the method of our conception as anything but a selling point. She seems to have adopted the attitude that anyone can have a baby, but that her child had to fight for her babies, and that makes her proud.
Recently I was corresponding with a friend who is also pregnant from DE, and she asked me if I ever think of the donor. I do. But not often. These are my babies, not hers. The importance of her role in this process can not be overstated, and I will always be grateful to her beyond belief. But all of the doubts and concerns I had about doing DE are almost totally gone. Like I said – these are my babies. I am building them out of my own blood, sweat and tears (and vomit, lots of vomit).
I’m excited to be pregnant. I’m scared, but in the normal way. My husband has finally relaxed and allowed himself to believe that these might actually be living breathing children in our arms one day. We’re talking about cribs and strollers and co-sleeping. But I still feel suspended between 2 worlds – not really part of the pregnant lady club (after all I snuck into their fete through an unlocked back door) but no longer really part of the infertility tribe (although I am still infertile – I have DOR and still am unable to have my own biological children – I just found a work around). I’ve chased down the many resource y’all sent for “pregnant after infertility” and am working to understand and integrate into that community. But in truth I still feel like a pregnancy impostor. The experiences of the women in my prenatal yoga class are unbelievably foreign to me. They seem so relaxed and natural about their pregnancies…what must that be like? But, that is a post for another day…
Steph Mignon said:
Congrats for graduating! I had IF but not DOR and around where you were until about 20 weeks I too had a hard time counting myself among those of the prego club. Now, after attending 2 birth classes, it’s really starting to settle in! Looking forward to more updates and hoping you find some relief from the vomiting (with only one baby I puked daily from 7.5 weeks to 14, then nausea stuck around until about 20 weeks). It’s horrible, but also amazing wonderful what our bodies do to protect our babies!
You are not a pregnancy imposter. These babies are yours. You are carrying them and caring for them as they grow. They are so lucky 🙂
I am so happy for you! I feel like a pregnancy impostor too, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the DE part. Just the IVF part. Like how can I be pregnant after such a long struggle!?! But with twins, you start looking and feeling pregnant so soon (as you learned!) that you wont feel like an impostor for long! I also think about the donor, but not often. And I feel very much like these are MY babies! Glad you feel the same. Thats how our donors want us to feel!
Congrats on the graduation! It’s nice to hear what you have to say about the donor and feeling like the babies are yours…it’s something I’ve thought about a lot if we end up doing DE. I’ve heard this over and over again from DE blogs and it makes me feel better.
I can totally relate. Pregnancy after IF is so much different than I thought it would be. Wonderful, scary, and different.
So glad the babies are thriving! How amazing to have no indications of any problems and fly on to graduation—this all seemed to happen so quickly!
I love your mom’s attitude. Happy for you. 🙂
Congrats on graduating! I, too, felt like a pregnancy impostor, and still sometimes have to remind myself that there’s an actual baby in there. It’s hard to wrap your brain around when you’ve struggled for so long. But it sounds like you and the babies are doing well, and I’m so happy for you!
yeah! So glad to hear the great update!! As a scientist, I suggest you talk to your doctor and get their exact predictions that you will have complications. My guess is that you are at a much lower risk than the other mamas in your yoga class, given all the tests and screenings you and your donor have gone through. But, I certainly understand the fear. I am a big beleiver that there is no “right way” to feel during a pregancy. Maybe you will be more worried than some other pregnant ladies. But, motherhood is 18+ years and worries don’t go away after birth. I am sure the tables will be turned at later points. Enjoy the parts you can and survive the rest and super congratulations!!!