While These Drugs Are Working

I realized that 2009 contained 0 failed cycles for us. Because the only
one we did actually worked. And somehow, we have a Real Live Baby
resulting from that one attempt this calendar year.

The numbers go like this:
Failed cycles in 2007: 1
Failed cycles in 2008: 11
2009: IVF and eventually, wee Vivian!

Every day of her short life thus far, I look to the heavens, I look down
at her perfectly round, slightly hairy head, I plant a thousand kisses
on that perfectly round, slightly hairy head. I grow drunk on her baby
scent, I listen as she sighs and snorts, I look into her blue, blue eyes
as she attempts baby pushups on my chest and I thank God for the miracle
and the technology that brought her to us.

Though it seems pushing my luck to do so, I also give thanks that she
was not born with a heart murmur the way Val was. We are spared any
visits to the cardiologist's office. Even though having Viv end up back
in the hospital was awful and scary (make no mistake, it was all of
these things) I knew that we would emerge from that hospital stay with
her jaundice fixed. And we did. And it was.

And with that, 2009, I bid you a fond farewell. I thank you for the
many blessings we received this year and hope that your replacement,
2010, has only good to offer as well.

I Must Have Overdone It

Tonight at water aerobics, I was the only student. We had a substitute
instructor, as our regular one is out of town. The sub taught Monday's
class as well so I had an idea of how much faster the pace was.

I thought I was up for it.

So when tonight's sub put me through the paces, I tried to keep up. And
I did, for the most part.

Only, um, about an hour ago I woke up in the worst pain of my life. My
abs and my back were so painful. Cannot. Describe. There was
sweating, my face was red, red and oh the panting/heavy breathing got me
nowhere but made me feel like I was doing something.

I took 3 advil and paced the house, breathing like I was in labor,
periodically crying out. Eventually, I wavered between wanting to go to
the hospital (but stopped short since who would take me? Andrea? Yes,
but then What About The Kidz? Ah yes, the shortcomings of having a very
limited local support network once again rear their ugly head. Why
can't emergencies happen at a convenient hour?) wanting to die and
wanting to just call 911. I grabbed my giant ice pack and headed back
to bed, stopping to take a perco.cet on the way.

At this point, I woke up Andrea because the thought of being alone and
feeling like this was too much. Even for stoic me. She asked what she
could do (nothing) and held my hand.

Eventually, the drugs started to kick in.

That's right. This post is brought to you by advil and narcotics I just
happen to have laying around the house. It's been a little while and
I'm starting to feel less awful. But crap, I'm scared about how I'll
feel when these drugs wear off.


Let It Be Noted

That just now, the Baby Who Won't Latch enjoyed a whole feeding session
from the Real Thing, then fell asleep.


I Do Not Care To Discuss It

But for posterity's sake, I want to share that I just threw away Alice's
well-loved teddy bear. She's been gone 8 years now and I doubt she'd
feel I've betrayed her memory by doing so, but still. It smarts even
though it's the right thing to do.

Yes, I still miss her. After all, she was #1.



So we have this thing, where for Val we don't go batshit crazy at
Christmas. In her 3 previous Christmases, she's not woken to a giantess
pile of presents from us (please note that her grandparents have been
amazing in this regard and she has, in fact, gotten many, many wonderful
Christmas gifts thanks to their generosity). Instead, she's gotten a
few, hopefully well-chosen items that we feel good about giving her.

Plus, she wasn't all that cognizant so it was just fine. She didn't ask
for many things and we didn't bombard her with demands that she want
many things. As an aside, I remember so many Christmases where I was
hounded for a list of Things I Wanted. We had a budget for our
Christmases and I felt obligated to use that whole budget on Things I
Wanted so there would be enough packages under the tree to make a Nice
Christmas, even though I might've liked fewer things. I know this type
of tradition isn't unusual and oh yes, I had many Nice Christmases. But
I also had some where most of my memories are clouded by the pressure to
want Things when, that year, I really didn't.

I've wanted something different for Val. And I think we've created it,
for the most part. Yes, so far, our Christmas is still Santa-free but
we're on track for Val to have another Nice Christmas without adding a
ton of things she didn't really want and we don't really have room for.

Instead of that giant mound of gifts at Christmas, she gets things
throughout the year, little or big surprises ranging from blowing off
some activity for a bookstore trip to the day she got to get a Hello
Kitty dress that has glitter, sequin AND a built-in tutu. If you ask
me, these random gifts are more powerful because I'm thinking it's a lot
easier to be sure that gifts bought one at a time are the Right Thing
than to compile a list of 20 things.

Plus, Val gets a surprise, which she loves. For me, these outings are
about the memories we're creating and oh, I must tell you, her excited
3-year-old gasp makes it all worth it.

But as I wrapped her few (hopefully) well-chosen gifts for this
Christmas, I sort of felt like a chump. Seeing the meager pile under
our tree doesn't quite outweigh those excited gasps throughout the year,
not when compared to the Nice Christmases of my youth. I look at our
pre-lit Charlie Brown tree, the one that we now sing the opening bars of
the Charlie Brown theme song for each year as we pull it from the box
because it's more than a little vertically-challenged, and I think oh,
this is so much less than what I had growing up. Is this Enough
Christmas for my children?

But I know I'll get over my minor guilt over having just a few things
for her because in the long run she is getting something much better -
the knowledge that we really do listen to her (even when that means
embracing the fact that somehow we have a daughter who loves all things
pink, sequined and of course, The Tutu) and that we're more than willing
to spend time really listening to her.

I think the power of spending time together when we didn't expect to or
the appeal of a little impromptu shopping is greater than the sum of all
packages under the tree. It's just proving harder to remember that
today than it is on the random June day I pick Val up from school and
take her to the park, walking with her in a man-made stream as the sun
begins to set.


Last Year At This Time

We were knee-deep in what would be our last IUI cycle in what was
seeming like a completely fruitless effort to create child #2. We'd
already tried clomid for a while, then moved on to injectable
medication, because who doesn't like getting shots at home? This was
our last-ditch effort before moving to IVF and since the other
injectable attempts had failed, I said what the hell, up the dose. Make
a thousand follicles and see what happens.

Now, what can happen is best summed up by 2 reality shows: Jon & Kate
and Table for 12. That's right, if you make a shitload of follicles,
then do an IUI, throwing what could be a shitload of sperm at them,
well, you *could* make a shitload of babies.

The odds are small, but I have bad luck. We rolled the dice anyway and
didn't cancel the cycle. In fact, hell, we did 2 IUIs just for the hell
of it. The day of the first one, the RE mentioned that if we actually
got pregnant, we had a 20% chance of it being triplets.

And then, was I sure I wouldn't selectively reduce if pregnant with

So we went for it, but in each day of those two weeks I got more and
more nervous. What if? What if more than one took? Like, as in 3 or

I spent most of the time between Christmas and New Year last year
worrying, praying for either 1 or 0. When my period finally came and I
knew that IVF was our next step, I cannot tell you how relieved I was to
know that we would have more control over how many possibilities there

Ironically, it's the billing over those IUIs that's part of our
still-ongoing dispute with the RE. I know, that's funny. Only I'm not

But I am, because somehow, through the miracle of modern medicine and
insurance that came along exactly when we needed it, I am blessed to
have a chubby little baby who re-enacts her own version of Jack.ie
Chan's 38 Cr.azy Fists several times a day, batting the shit out of
anything we put into her mouth if she's not ready for it.

It's As If

In the last year we've gone from:
- it seems like we've always been patients of the fancypants fertility
clinic, always living our lives in 2 week increments (2 weeks to gear up
for the attempt, 2 weeks to wait and see if it worked).
- to it seems like I've been pregnant forever, being almost violently
kicked by a fetus who turned out to be wee Vivian.
- to it seems like I've been pumping forever, washing pump parts every 3
hours, with our fridge full of milk.

We are so damn lucky. Even though having Andrea's company be bought by
Giant Soul-free Company has meant her job now contains a lot of
suckitude, the astounding insurance that company provides is a big part
of the reason a wee baby is here between us, snoozing on her little
reclined mat.

Yep, lucky. I may not have a lot to say here these days, that's because
I'm busy enjoying the hell out of our expanded family.


Let The Assvice Begin

Today, we were at Val's first dance recital. When she came on stage, I
totally started to cry. And spent too much of her dance taking
pictures. I shoulda just watched.

She did great. We are so proud.

Afterward, another mom came up to admire wee Viv and ask how old she
was. I told her, just shy of 4 weeks. She told me she'd just had twins
6 months ago. Congrats, I said. She came back with some shit about how
it wasn't that long ago but oh how glad she was to be past these early
days we're having with Vivian.

Gee, thanks.

She ended her 'wisdom' with 'good luck' as I just stood there,

If I'd had my wits about me, I'd have said that her being here at all is
the culmination of a long, painful, expensive, heartbreaking road, that
given all that was required to bring my lovely, tiny daughter into the
world, I simply do not give a shit that right now, we don't sleep as

Because I wouldn't trade this little sweaty patch on my chest that Viv
is making as she sleeps for anything. It took a thousand miracles to
add this baby to our family, no way will we take her for granted long
enough to complain about any bits of these early days.



The breast pump somehow survived getting milk into itself. Lesson
learned: try not to fall asleep while pumping. And I think I'll keep
that manual pump I have as a backup. Just in case.

The wee child survived a night without eating much due to bottle
failure. In fact, she's gone on a crazyass growth spurt and is about to
leave newborn clothes behind, abandoning them in a huff for the promised
land of 0-3 months.

Of course, I'm cheap so she'll likely sport many of those teeny clothes
one last time before I totally stop dressing her in them.

Me? (If I didn't post this already) as of last week, I'm only 4 pounds
over my pre-pregnancy weight and I've been cleared to return to water
aerobics. So I did, I've gone thrice now and it feels great. It's also
weird to be able to bound up the locker room stairs, now that I'm down
22 of the 26 pounds I put on while With Child. But it's good.

I'm planning to attempt a hockey clinic next week, a little earlier than
my doc suggested. With the holidays and the hockey break due to leagues
wisely scheduling 0 games during that time approaching, the choice is to
wait longer than I want to or come back a little early.

Vegas is not that far away. So I'm coming back a little early. And
I'll sit the hell on the bench if it feels like I need to. But mentally,
I am so ready. I'll be interested to see if my body is as well.

And that's the news from 4:30 am. Where I alone am awake, having been
forced from sleep not by an angry, hungry infant*, no, but by the need
to pump milk for that child. The child herself is a fan of sleeping
long stretches at night.

Do not think for one moment that we're not insanely grateful for this
phenomenon or that we remotely understand it.

Also, I think if you make a statement like 'we really don't know that
much about the baby,' it might behoove you to go ahead and ask a
question, ANY question about that baby. Right away, so you don't look
like an insensitive boob when you then launch into a very detailed story
that in no way relates to that baby.

* my mother has declared that wee Viv is no longer a newborn since she's
almost a month old. I have no clue from whence this distinction came or
why it needed to be made but it's sort of amusing. My mother also
seemed surprised that I was driving around by myself with both kids in
the car at the same time and that wee Viv, in fact, has her very own


Mechanical Issues

Friday night, wee Viv was mighty unhappy. For a baby who (so far) is
rarely unhappy, this was odd. She was up much of the night, fussing and
being mad, mad, mad. She also was eating but the bottle seemed to stay
at the same level (this should've been our first clue but hey, sleepless
nights don't really mean top-notch intelligence). It took until the
next day at lunch for us to realize that her bottle was clogged and she
wasn't getting much/any milk.

Yep, that's now twice when we've inadvertently starved her.
Fortunately, once we figured it out, she sucked down a whole bottle,
pooped up a storm and was happy baby once again.

Part two of our mechanical failure is me falling asleep while pumping
just now. Somehow, the milk spilled into the pump tubing and made its
way into the motor. It's 4:39 a.m. and I'm parked in the living room,
running the thing until the milk works itself out. I can only hope that
it didn't completely fuck up the pump since it's not like you can buy a
new pump right now. If the kid ate any other way, I'd have swapped out
the lines and hoped for the best at my next pumping session.

But since pumped milk makes up 90% of Viv's food, here I am, watching
that milk get sucked out of the motor while everyone else sleeps.



Wee Viv and I have colds. Only 2 weeks old and this poor girl has been
jaundiced, in the hospital, hating the boob (learning slowly to like it,
tho) and now she's all sniffles.

She's sleeping on my chest right now, scooting as close as she possibly
can. As I write this, her wee face is under my cheek and I feel all of
her breaths on my neck.

I hate that she's feeling so yucky. She's been through more than enough
in her short life already.