Sunday, December 25, 2011

happy holidays

Over the last 48 hours, I have cried almost as much as I did last Christmas Eve/Christmas, though for very different reasons.  I am completely overwhelmed by how blessed A and I are to have our son and daughter this year.  Last year we were reeling from three losses in a row, while at the same time ramping up for IVF.  Christmas was terribly difficult.  Today, though, we got to experience the magic of a child's first Christmas. 

As the tears of joy flow, I keep saying to A that we are so lucky, and that I cannot stop thinking about all of the women and couples who are not as lucky as us.  The ones who are still trying, still waiting for their miracle.  For all of you who haven't "found" your take home baby yet, I pray for peace during the holidays and for your greatest wish to come true.  Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

waiting with a friend

We all know that waiting is the worst part of infertility.  Whether you are waiting for results, for your next treatment, for money to be saved...waiting is hard.  It is during the waiting when we often reach some of our darkest, loneliest points. 

An old friend and I recently reconnected over infertility.  Last month she had her first IUI, and about two weeks ago she got her BFP.  Her numbers, though, have been lower than desired.  She goes Friday for her fourth beta and an ultrasound.  Until then, she is waiting with great hope, yet almost equal fear.  She recently started a blog, and I would love it if some of you would leave her words of encouragement this week:  I know that your comments got me through many hard weeks, and I'm hoping they can do the same for her.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy December!

body guilt

As I get further away from the twins' birth, I am realizing more and more how much infertility, pregnancy loss, and the circumstances surrounding their birth have affected my body image.  Women today have plenty of reasons to be disappointed in our bodies.  Those of us who have faced infertility and pregnancy loss, though, have an even more complicated relationship with ourselves.

In the past few weeks, immense guilt has been bubbling to the surface.  It was my body's fault that we couldn't get pregnant without medical assistance.  My body essentially killed the first three babies we conceived.  Then, when we finally got our miracle babies, my body couldn't hold them long enough.  They required three weeks of intensive care because of my body's failure.  Even now, although my body is producing most of their nutrition, they will not actually nurse, which feels like a type of rejection.  I know that I didn't conciously choose any of this, but that doesn't make it less true for me. 

One of my goals post-twins was to get back to pre-inferility weight.  And as of today, 15 weeks and 2 days after the twins' birth, I have made it.  I have lost both my baby weight and my infertility treatment weight.  I don't exactly look the same, but I am back in pre-infertility jeans.  I even ran a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving.  My body did exactly what I asked of it in a rather reasonable timeframe.  But this isn't the goal that mattered.  On the hierarchy of "things I would like my body to accomplish," this would come in dead last.  This isn't even in the same realm as holding the twins in for one more week (or even a few more days), or of achieving and sustaining a pregnancy.  Why, then, is this the thing my body seems able to do?

I don't have some neat way to tie this post up.  I wish there were some magic formula for dealing with the guilt, but I know it's going to be something I work through for years to come.  I am thankful, though, that I have this forum to come to when I just need to be honest, to say things that others may feel uncomfortable hearing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

an overdue update

It's been far too long since I've updated this blog, and I'm hoping the twins will cooperate long enough for me to remedy this (or that their dad will get home soon). The me who existed a year ago would find my current life totally unrecognizable.  I live in a different house, I wear a different bra size, and, most importantly, my days and nights are filled with the sights and sounds of my son and daughter. 

Our babies are now 14 weeks old, and life is pretty crazy.  To be honest, raising twins is quite difficult...but it's the best kind of difficult, the kind you wouldn't exchange for anything.  I am staying at home with them, and I'm incredibly lucky to have this option.  By the end of the day, though, my brain feels a little mushy.  You can only talk to yourself with no one answering for so long before you begin to question your sanity.  The little ones are starting to interact more, though, which is amazing.  They are smiling (our boy smiles more and our girl is more serious, guarding her smiles more carefully), and our little boy can practically giggle.  They are paying attention to some toys, mostly things that move or have lights.  They started sitting in their bumbo chairs last week, and I think they are enjoying the change of scenery.  We were doing well with tummy time (they rolled from belly to back at 4 weeks but have gotten progressively lazier), but they have had their first cold this week, so tummy time has taken a back seat to cuddle time.

When I'm evaluating something, I always try to name the best and worst part.  First the worst....pumping.  Because the babies were in the NICU for 3 weeks and the only way to get them home was to get them eating all their food via mouth via bottle, they got very attached to their bottles.  I tried to reintroduce the breast many times, but they were simply not having it.  So for two total hours every day I hook up to a pump, which I must say is pretty terrible.  On top of that, there is the cleaning and prepping of pump parts and bottles.  I'm currently producing between 50 and 60 ounces each day, which is about equal to how much they eat.  For the first ten weeks, they got only breastmilk.  In consultation with our doctor, though, we began doing one bottle of formula each day at 10 weeks.  The idea is to make the transition from breastmilk to formula more gradual and to stretch out the breastmilk.  I'm not sure how much longer the pumping will last, as I believe it may be making me crazy, but my goal is to get to at least 4 months.

The best part is without a doubt their sweet faces.  Whether they are awake, asleep, smiling, crying, their faces are absolutely precious.  I could literally gaze at them for hours!  I feel so blessed to share each day with my two little miracles.