Thursday, July 25, 2013

Farewell 36 years of me, me, me.

I am 34 weeks along. Or shall I say 'we'? It gets weird when you're sharing your body with someone else. Anyway I can't believe it. In a matter of weeks, I'll be a mom and my life will have shifted in a way I can't even begin to comprehend.

So I thought I'd take a few minutes to ponder and honor this pre-life altering event. I want to share our story because I wish I'd found more like mine out there when we were trying.

We started 'opening the door' as they say to the idea of a baby three years ago. Neither me or my husband are the type to take bringing a baby into the world lightly (in fact there was even a period in our twenties when work so crazy that neither of us could even imagine doing it period.) We're both control freaks, selfish, youngest of big families and career-driven.

But then the hormones kicked it. As it turned out, our clocks started ticking at about the same time. I was 33. Him 32. It sounds dorky, like a scene from a Hallmark movie, but I honestly remember thinking that suddenly our house felt a little too quiet. It was kind of creepy actually.

So we opened that door and I had all kinds of visions of missing a period, stealthily going to the drugstore to 'double check' with a test then surprising him with the news in some wildly romantic, crazy way like baking a passifier into a cake or something.

A month went by then another and another. I never missed a damn period. Hmm. At that time I decided to google how to make a baby. Imagine my surprise when I learned the window for baby making is just 2-3 days per month! Oops. And shit. I hate science.

I mean of course I knew there was a window. I just didn't know it was that freaking stingy. My husband went one further - he flat out told me I was wrong. 'How can so many high school teens get knocked up if there's only a 2 day window??' he asked. I had to agree. It seemed bananas.

But google doesn't lie so I begrudgingly got an ovulation kit and we went from there. More months went by and no dice.

It was time to consult a doctor. I went to an OB since I needed one in Austin anyway, dragging my sweet hubby along. Her first question was 'how old are you?'

At that point I was 34. I expected a warm smile, maybe even a little sisterly wink like 'you still got it, girl. Don't you worry your pretty head...'

'Hmmm,' she said. Fucking hmmm. Then I got the speech. At 34 I was technically past the 'babies come easy stage' of life. Way past in fact. My eggs were less and less viable all the time. Finally she ended this little coffee klatch with the wise words that 'it could be really hard' and that we should 'do it a lot.'

Seriously? This is what I'm hearing in the year of 2011? I went on the defense, spitting out the fact that my mom had me when she was 37. Something that was all but unheard of back then. I mean her friends were probably all waiting for me to come out with a cyclops on my head, fiddling the song from Deliverance with my little crab claws and I turned out adorable.

'Were you her first child?'' she asked. Nope. I was her fourth. I would get this question/rationale a lot from friends that had undergone IVF. Apparently the whole age factor wasn't as big of a deal if you'd started having kids earlier. For example, if you have a kid at 25 you're much more likely to be able to have another one Halle Berry-style, at 45. But if you've never had a kid, waiting until you're 45 is like having filled your vagina with cement . Game pretty much over so to speak.

Anyway more time went by. More periods. Finally my mom called one day and said she'd seen a local doctor on TV who was supposed one of the best in the country for fertility. Not for the actual IVF process per se, but for doing everything possible to encourage pregnancy before having to resort to IVF.

This whole IVF thing was already lurking around the back of my brain so I liked the sound of this guy a lot. We were in his office in less than a week.

Dr. Silverburg was MUCH more what I'd pictured when I envisioned our 'let's get pregnant' doctor. He was warm, friendly and funny. He was super freaking positive. His thoughts were basically 'I see nothing wrong with either of you. This is going to happen.' He didn't talk about my age like I was totally effed. He was just generally pumped.

As it turned out I was ovulating (hi egg!) right there for the whole world to see on screen during my examination. We got sent home with a sex assignment.

But once again, nothing. So now it was time to ramp up the tests. My husband would get his brethren makers checked and I'd get something called an HSG, a procedure where they put a catheter into your lady parts and pump a colored liquid into it which you can follow on tv (okay, x rays) to see if the liquid makes its way to the proper places (your left and right fallopian tubes to where an egg usually waits to receive its gentlemen callers.) The only hitch is the liquid is applied with a bit of pressure to encourage completion of the journey as sometimes your tubes can be blocked for one reason or another and this can be painful.

I won't lie. With my husband's junk getting tested, I totally admit to having the 'She's Having a Baby' moment where I envisioned some part of his wardrobe as the culprit for inhibiting his man power. Maybe his jeans. Or the damn laptop that was never far away from his crotch.

Well we both did our thing and were back in the doc's office nervously awaiting to hear how we measured up a couple weeks later. This time Dr. Silverburg was sick and therefore not his usual jovial self which only added to the intensity. On top of that neither of our results were anywhere to be found which really put him in a good mood.

Finally after a series of phone calls he got my husband's over the phone from someone at the lab. Boy was I wrong. He so did NOT have a problem. In fact let's just say if the world was coming to an end the FBI or MIB or whoever the hell would probably single-handedly track him down to freeze his baby makers to use to save humanity post-apocolypse. He'd have the population back up and running in no time.

Well shit. That left little miss you-know-who. And to make matters worse, my test results had apparently vanished into thin air.

Regardless he made a gut call. Based on how omni-potent my husband was, he thought that without a doubt I was the problem, something I'd been dreading deep down for a while. He wanted me to have two minor surgeries done immediately. One where they go through my belly button to break up a small septum in my uterus. He hadn't thought the septum was big enough to be a problem before but now wasn't taking any chances. It just might be the reason why an egg wasn't attaching. The second procedure was something where they go in with a camera and investigate for signs of endometriosis. Eek.

I tried not to cry but it was pretty sucky. Not the end of the world yet but definitely a solid, concrete red flag as to why we'd had such a hard time and would continue having a hard time without minimal if not major help. I finally had to let go of the image I'd always clung to where I just woke up one day pregnant like Heidi Klum or half the teenagers in America.

Anyway because it was the holidays we waited to schedule the procedures until after Christmas and got on with life. The pressure was off and the holidays took over as only they can do. On Christmas Eve I remember my boobs hurting me so bad, I asked my sister for a Tylenol. TMI but monthly boob pain isn't unusual for me. Boob pain that requires medicine, however, is.

The day after Christmas they were still killing me. I have modest little boobs but I felt like I was lugging around a couple of anchors. We were eating at Salt Lick with my in-laws and I remember two things: a) my boobs killing me and b) me not drinking wine. Me not drinking wine with dinner is admittedly unusual and I hadn't even thought about it.

On the way home I asked my husband to stop by CVS so I could 'run in' for something. In classic form, he asked me to get some ice cream. When I rolled up to the counter with two pints of ice cream and a pregnancy test, the clerk, a flamboyent gay guy with black and Crayola red striped hair put down his People magazine and said ' you didn't.'

'Actually I hope I did,' I said. 'I'm getting old.'

I didn't say a word to Kris or the in laws but instead went home and took the test straight to the bathroom. I peed and waited like I'd done so many times before. Only this time, instead of seeing the grim, final 'no', it read pregnant.

I literally couldn't believe it. In fact, that's a selfie of my reaction at the top of this post. I literally couldn't believe it.

So that's my story. Our story. The story of a baby that we tried and tried for that just kind of happened. A baby that was already inside of me when we sat there in the doctor's office hearing the news that I was going to have to have a couple of procedures, if not IVF, to conceive. Crazy.

Do I know how or why? No. But I have a hunch. I honestly think the HSG unblocked something. When I was having it done, the liquid went up the left side of my body like lightning while the right took its time and even stopped a couple of times. The technician had me roll on my right side and after a few seconds it was off to the races again. So I'm guessing that all those times I was ovulating on the right side, the doorway for the little men was blocked which pretty much wiped out half of our efforts. I also think that our lack of timing during that first year hadn't helped us any either.

But truthfully we'll never know. I am just so thankful that it happened!

And I've had the world's best, easiest pregnancy. I literally have no complaints aside from early boob pain, some early bitchiness/tiredness and nose bleeds. That's it. Just this week my doctor told me 'you must be reading all the right books.' I told her I love buying all the books on pregnancy and not reading them which is true.

Books freak me out. And so do peoples' comments on google. If you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, stay away from the comments sections. I'm convinced half of them are written by 14 year olds - kind of a modern day version of prank calling - or by those people that poison their kids to get empathy. Or people who actually have gone through truly terrible stuff and need to get it off their chest. Either way it's not worth putting yourself through it. Just my two cents.

Anyway I am so, so thankful. And excited. And terrified.

Wish me luck.

It's gettin' real.