Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


So someone's been stealing my mail. And my packages. As if I didn't have anything else to get accomplished right now, now I have to figure out what to do next about this extremely distasteful situation.

I placed an order with Eddie Bauer back on January 3rd for four pairs of jeans/khakis/cords, about $180 worth, since I've really needed some non-maternity stuff that I could still wear with a belly band. After I tracked it, I discovered that it had been delivered a week earlier, but I hadn't seen it anywhere. Eddie Bauer was happy to credit my account and place a reorder...a few things were no longer offered in the colors I wanted, though, which was frustrating, and Eddie Bauer offered to ship it via FedEx express. I specifically asked for the "signature required" option. Tonight I discovered via the FedEx website that not only had the second package already been delivered and left on my porch (NO sign of it), but that there was no signature required. I called up Eddie Bauer, quite upset, who looked it up and their records still said "signature required", apparently a miscommunication on FedEx's part. So the grand total so far is SEVEN pairs of jeans/khakis/cords stolen, for a total cost of over $300. Fortunately, this time, the same items were still available, so now I have placed a THIRD order (they credited order #2) that will also be delivered via FedEx express. Tomorrow I will have to call EB again to get a tracking number, and I will be calling FedEx personally to make sure that the order indeed specifies "signature required". So here's hoping. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me I have no business ordering anything from Eddie Bauer ever...

I am quite sure that not only are my packages being stolen, but also my actual mail. Which freaks me out because of the possibility of the thief getting his filthy hands on one of those unsolicited preapproved credit card ads that has my name on it. He or she is probably trying to find a check or something else valuable, too, no doubt. Thankfully I'm not expecting any other checks, deliveries, anything else even remotely valuable, anytime soon. I put my mail on hold at the post office, to start tomorrow, and I'll be heading over to the post office in person tomorrow to find out what my next step should be. I also left a message with my landlords explaining what's been happening, and asking for permission (or for them to do it) to purchase a locking mailbox instead. Sadly the post office that services my address is way out of the way to even consider getting a post office box. The worst part, by far, is how violated I feel! Cliche`, I know, but it's true. I really want to drop-kick the bastards. Or worse.

The other bad news of yesterday is the fact that starting this Monday, I now have to go in to my OB's office for twice-a-week monitoring for the rest of my pregnancy. I was prepared for once a week, but the person who does the monitoring only works during the school day, not before or after. So I either have to give up a ton of maternity leave time, or find three or four teachers to cover the three, possibly four class periods I will be missing each week. Not to mention that the co-pays each week will total somewhere between $60 to $90. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely glad they're keeping a close eye on me (looking specifically for toxemia), but this is both expensive and extremely inconvenient and stressful. I am trying to remind myself that at least I have not been put on bed rest, which would really eat up my maternity leave time. I'm trying to focus on the positive, but it's been a challenging week.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nope, can't do it. Sorry.

Well, this is a first...I've decided not to continue reading a blog I've been following for a (relatively short) while now because this blogger has apparently chosen to follow a path that absolutely breaks my heart. [I actually had to take a short break while typing these words because I was crying so hard I couldn't catch my breath.] I know that my visceral reaction is undoubtedly affected by all these pregnancy hormones coursing through my body, but truly, I can't relate to nor understand this choice in any way whatsoever. I can type the words, "Her body, her choice," but right now, to me they sound so completely hollow. I can't get past it, and I honestly have no desire to read even one more post, something I've never said before.

I can hardly type the words: she has survived through four miscarriages, three after IVF's and one after an FET, she just found out that she is pregnant with seemingly healthy twins, both of whom have been predicted by her OB to make it, and she intends to reduce to one. And as far as I or the other commenters can tell (sure, we could be wrong), a twin pregnancy would not put this mother's life in danger.

I don't know which aspect hits me harder...the fact that she struggled for such a long time to get and stay pregnant, her OB's belief that both twins seem to be equally healthy, the fact that this pregnancy was achieved through the use of donor eggs, or even the fact that in my opinion, twins don't fall into the higher order multiples category. If it were three or four (or more), it would be one thing, but two? I sit here at 34 and a half weeks pregnant, at age 40, hoping and praying with every fiber of my being that my little girl makes it safely out into the world and beyond, and I know that I'd be over the moon if I were able to have two, risks and all. I'm not sure I'll ever get to have two period, twins or not, and I would so love to be able to give my daughter a sibling. There is a very real possibility that she won't ever get to enjoy that special sibling relationship. And this woman plans to intentionally end it before it even gets a chance to get started? I don't get it.

I can't even imagine what other readers who have dealt with infertility must be feeling. For someone to finally have a healthy embryo growing inside of her (two of them!), the promise of a life, and she wants to end it?? All of the women and couples out there trying to adopt, who would give just about anything for a healthy baby...for me it defies logic. And how do you pick which of your babies will live and which one won't, especially when they both seem to have been given an equal chance by your OB? After the one baby arrives, will she always wonder whether she picked the "right" one? I have no answers to any of this, except that I know I won't be able to follow this story any further. Even as I type this, I can feel my tiny miracle kicking away inside me, and I am so happy to have made it this far, to have the privilege of dreaming about our future days together...I am thrilled to even be able to experience this life-changing journey at all. And to say no to the chance to have two? Yeah, I don't get it.

No, I don't have to get it because it's her choice, but I don't think I'll ever understand it, in all honesty. This choice flies in the face of the generosity--the ultimate gift--given by these egg- and embryo-donors. If it were a case of safety for the mother, and I'll admit it certainly could be, I'd be a lot more empathetic. But right now? Nope. Can't go there. Not at all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Squeaky clean

As in, I had my first baby shower last Friday!! And it was *awesome*.
I'm still feeling completely overwhelmed by everyone's amazing generosity. That, and I'm drowning in pink!! I guess I hadn't fully realized that a love of all things pink seems to be a prerequisite to having a daughter... Nothing against pink, per se, but MAN, I now have a lot of it! Honestly, in order to preserve my sanity (and my eyes!), I think from now on I will consciously seek out cute baby things in non-pink colors. I'm glad that I didn't choose an all-pink bedding set for her room!

So it was a joint baby shower thrown by my colleagues at work for both me and my coworker named Sarah, who is due on February 6th and is now officially 1 cm dilated...crazy! (What really blows my mind is the knowledge that basically, either one of us could go into labor at any time and have our baby girls, like, tomorrow or something--and am I ready? Nooooo...) Like I said, I'm completely bowled over by the generosity of the people I work with, and, I have to say, of some people I don't even work all that closely with! I can't get over the beautiful little things (and necessities) they "showered" me with! Because I was curious, I counted up the number of staff members who either gave me a gift or went in on a gift with others: 43!! I feel completely blessed and humbled by that, I tell you.

I have close to half of my thank-you cards done, and unfortunately I've run out, so it's off to Tar.get for me tomorrow to buy more. I wish I could find a way to adequately express the gratitude I feel, especially as someone who has struggled at times with the utter isolation of going through a pregnancy alone. Cognitively I know that of course, I'm not alone--there are a lot of people who care about me and this baby girl, and who wish the best for us. But the reality is they are not there 24-7 like a spouse or significant other would be, so it's still easy to give in to feeling utterly *alone* at times. But still...according to the ticker at the bottom of my blog, I now have 45 days until delivery. Forty five!! And that's not even completely accurate, since my OB plans to induce around week 39. Not a whole lot of time, people. And I still feel like I have a huge to-do list looming overhead. Such as...

  • Finish my will using a template that my awesome cousin-in-law (lawyer) put together for me, which leads to...
  • "Officially" ask my cousin and her husband (not sure which cousin yet) if they'll be willing to be her guardians in case anything should happen to me
  • Buy a carseat!! (kind of important, since the hospital won't let me take her home without one)
  • Finish packing my hospital bag
  • Register at the hospital
  • Deep-clean my whole house!! (making progress, but not there yet)
  • Get all things baby shower put away (the tiniest things she'll wear the soonest are being laundered even as we speak)
  • Buy a crib mattress, even though I don't need it right away--but in all honesty, I want it set up, like, tomorrow, just to feel "ready"
  • Set up the co-sleeper next to my bed
  • Finish hanging things up on the walls of her room
  • Ideally, settle on a NAME! But in all honesty, I feel the need to actually meet her first to know for sure...
  • Finish my sub plans for the first week or so I'll be gone from school (thankfully, after I put together roughly a week's worth, then it's up to my long-term sub to do the rest)
  • Still looking for childcare starting in August
I know there is more, but these are the ones that come to mind first. And thanks for humoring me...this list is more for me than for your reading pleasure, and it helps! The first baby-related class starts on January 30th, and the four-week childbirth class finishes up at the end of next month. No guarantees as to whether I'll make it that long, but I plan to glean as much information as I can before then! My pal Lisa is going to take the classes with me, and they're going to consider us two halves of a "couple" so we can each pay half price. She's not due till July, but like me, she too appreciates being able to take them with a friend rather than on her own.

Speaking of Lisa, I found out today that she recently discovered the likely genders of her twins...fraternal twin BOYS!! I get the sense that she's a bit disappointed she's not having one of each, but it's still so early (about 13 weeks or so) and her doctor isn't 100 percent about the genders of both of them. One almost definitely is a boy, and the other...pretty sure, but could be wrong... I'm thrilled for her nonetheless. I can get my "boy fix" by hanging out with her and her boys, and she can get her "girl fix" by hanging out with us! And she's been "outed" at school, too--she's most definitely sporting a bump these days! (Can't wait to see how big she'll be once I get back from my maternity leave!)

So in the meantime, I'll be here, chipping away at my to-do list, trying not to freak out about the BIG changes ahead in my life (not doing such a great job at that right now), getting excited about baby shower #2 coming up on February 13th, and trying (operative word) to be productive and get it all done! Sad to say, when I start feeling completely overwhelmed (like I did this past weekend), I tend to shut down and not do *anything* rather than pick something small and conquer that. Still working on that one. Unfortunately the mundane rigors of life don't stop when you're waiting to meet your little one... :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oh! Em! Gee!

Wow...today really was just like Christmas all over again:

  • The crib arrived today--finally! It was supposed to be delivered between December 9th and December 16th. As they say, better late than never! I haven't opened the big box yet to make sure it's not scratched, dented, or the like...I still have to finish painting two walls of the baby's room first. But I may not be able to hold off. Plus I'm keeping it as a reward for getting all of my second quarter grading finished up and entered into the computer (it's all due by midnight tomorrow). After all the yuck is finished up, THEN I get to paint and put together the crib and see how it all looks. I'm just so glad it's HERE!
  • My backordered baby quilt and bumper arrived today as well! (Yes, yes, I know that bumpers aren't safe...right now it's all purely for decoration. I have a breathable bumper listed on my registry. The quilt will become a wall hanging.) This is the third crib set I purchased, believe it or not, and it's absolutely PERFECT. (I returned the other two.) It's gorgeous. Stunning. Perfect. I LOVE the colors...no pink whatsoever...and it's so perfect for a baby girl. The bumper has a sunrise on one side, and a sunset on the other. I absolutely love the nature theme of it all! I'll post a picture once it's all set up in her room.
  • But by far, the best news of the day (the week, the month, the year...) is the fact that my good friend Lisa is having TWINS!!! She conceived the exact same way I did: same fertility clinic, same sperm bank, different donor of course, and it worked on her very first diui. Twice over! She is a single mom-to-be of healthy fraternal twins, and everything is looking very promising. She found out on December 30th at her second ultrasound...the ultrasound tech was quite certain at her first ultrasound that she was having just one, but apparently the other one was playing hide-and-seek. Two strong heartbeats, and she's just about eleven weeks along. So now she has a lot to think about, but also a lot to celebrate, too. My little girl will only be five months older than Lisa's twins, so here's hoping they can be playmates. :)
  • Shiloh, my friend who miscarried last week, is also doing really, really well, all things considered. She's recovering from her D & C, and she and her husband have been wonderful supports for one another. They're planning on trying again as soon as they get the go-ahead from her doctor. And they have a beautiful new dog in their family (which they apparently were planning on for quite a while now) as well. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Survivor's guilt

My friend S had a miscarriage about six days ago. It's taken me all week to even get to the point of being able to write about it. And even then, I may or may not write much, we'll see.

My heart just hurts so much for her. I really wanted a long and happy pregnancy for her, and then a healthy child. She has wanted this so much, and for so long. Just like I have for myself.

She was nine weeks along, which is such a common point in the pregnancy to miscarry, so logically speaking, it doesn't surprise me. Chances are, she'll go on to have a healthy pregnancy the next time she gets pregnant. But she and her husband K have been trying for at least two years now, and I know that when it does work--and it will--they're going to be fabulous parents. All of this I logically know. But it's not making me feel any better because I can also imagine the kind of pain they're going through...S has been on cloud nine ever since she found out she was pregnant--SO happy. The day she had her first ultrasound, the same day she saw and heard the heartbeat for the first time, it was just magical. I was so happy right along with her, and it kills me that it all had to end.

Being 31 weeks along myself, I want this for her. I want for her to get to experience all of this. And all I can do is hope that it happens again, and have faith that it will. Again, logically speaking, she's young--she's not even thirty yet. She's got time. But I hate the fact that so many couples, for whatever reason, can't conceive...even though they'll make great parents. I am so hoping that S and K won't end up to be statistics. I think of my friends L and J, who survived through five (five!) losses, including a stillbirth, but thankfully now have a beautiful three-month-old baby girl. So I know that miracles can and do happen. I just would never wish the kind of pain I imagine a miscarriage would cause on S and K...they're wonderful people. They'll make equally wonderful parents.

I think maybe this loss hits so close to home for me because it's been my greatest fear for the past eight months, despite having passed that first trimester "danger point", as they say. Even now I'll say that I'm feeling a great deal of anxiety, though 99 percent of the time I won't admit it to people IRL. L and J lost their beautiful baby boy, Liam, at 38 weeks, and my friend M lost her amazing baby boy, Benjamin, at 38 weeks as well. Both due to cord accidents. There are just no guarantees. My one wish is to bring this tiny girl safely into the world, and if for whatever reason it doesn't happen, I'll be devastated. (I know that goes without saying.) I'm not sure how I'd get through that kind of pain. I pray I'll never have to find out.

The good news is that I had my most recent OB appointment on New Year's Eve, and I received the gift of a clean bill of health for both of us. NO gestational diabetes. NO anemia. Great blood pressure reading. Strong heart rate, great measurements, no problems with movement. Just nothing wrong whatsoever, and by rights it should be reassuring, which for the most part it is, but that whole 38 week thing just looms large and scary. Logically speaking, fetal death at 38 weeks is very rare, but what are the chances that it could actually happen to TWO people I know?! It's like, the further along I get, the greater the stakes. And the more anxiety I feel.

Which brings me to the title of this post. What I've surprisingly found myself wanting to process is why it seems to have worked for me, and not for S. She's happily married, I'm single. She conceived in what some would call the "right" way, I did so in what those same people would call the "wrong" or "backwards" way--anonymous sperm donor, fertility clinic, no marriage, no relationship to speak of. Most of the time I don't buy into that perception, but there's a part of me that occasionally thinks about it. She's not even 30, and I'm the "advanced maternal age" of 40. Why on earth should it work for me and not for her?? I can't answer that question. I wish I could. I'm just thankful for this chance, and I am praying that everything works out well. For both S and me.

(I'm happy to add that S and K are recent new "parents"--of the furbaby variety! They just acquired a new dog--a beautiful black Lab--and I'm so glad for them. I completely get it, and I hope that turning their attention towards a new canine family member will help to ease the pain they've gone through this week. My thoughts and prayers are with them.)