All is Well

I've been wanting to update since, well September... but having a baby really doesn't leave room in my life for all of those lovely introspective, fill-the-hours things like blogging, anymore. I'm lucky that I had so many years of self indulgence! I hadn't read a book either since pregnancy, until I got wise and started downloading books onto my iphone. The only time I have to read is during nursing when I can't hold a book because I need my hands, or right after when he's fallen asleep, and its dark. So I am glad for my iphone.
This will be really short, because its 2 AM and the only reason I'm not asleep is that I ate chocolate and I'm buzzed on the caffeine.
I am so in love with my little boy. I love being a mommy MORE than I ever dreamed I would. Nurturing a child is the most delicious thing ever. That said, when I make parenting mistakes, its so very scary, he's so precious and open and vulnerable. Tho he does seem to recover from any and all booboo's very quickly.
My boy is ten months old now. He is such a Leo, totally outgoing, smiling and calling out to people he see's(it really seems like mostly pretty young women!) and charming them. He is strong and energetic and happy. He sings and loves animals and waves bye-bye and this week he has taken a few staggering steps letting go of what he was holding onto in the playground and throwing himself into my arms. This week he started to dance for the first time to music we had on. He also clapped his hands for the first time. (now he claps every time he nurses!LOL.) So much has happened this week. He is evolving so fast its dizzying.
Here are a few recent pics of my Noonie (where do we get these nicknames?). Enjoy them.


Wow, New Motherhood is awesome!..Zzzzzz

Today Luca is one month old. What a month. I am so happy. This is so much better than I ever imagined. I had so many fears about bonding, based on my own abandonment as an infant (I was in a foster home for some weeks/months as a newborn, then adopted), based on my history of depression, and also fears about what would happen if I had a c-section (I did), would I still be able to bond, breastfeed etc.
Sleeping on the boob
Well, I just love this little guy. Just can't stop looking at him, kissing him, making up silly love songs for him. I adore nursing him (tho it's painful at times), I just want to give him everything. I am a total mush over him, and I have never particularly been a "baby person". So thank god.
I am nursing him so much that I very rarely have both hands available. I don't know when I'll be able to write anything well thought out, between the lack of hands and my brain has been pretty foggy since the birth.. whether its recovery or lack of sleep or hormones, I'm just not that here, mentally.
I'm going to leave it at this for now, but I'll try to get back and write more about the birth.

Well there you have him, my beloved baby.


Our Beloved Baby Boy Luca Is Here!

One day old

He decided to grace us with his beautiful self 3 & 1/2 weeks early. He is a beautiful miracle. I cant believe I have this great baby. Wow.
Two days old
More to come soon on how this all happened


35 weeks, 1 day

I know its been a terribly long time since I last posted. I think about posting all the time, and read blogs every day. You are all in my consciousness, and in my highest prayers, even if you didn't know it! I'm not clear on why I haven't wanted to write, but I haven't. I realize that I left on a tragic note, and I do want to say that the last 2 months have been good, the best in the pregnancy. I have felt well, and have really enjoyed the enjoyable parts of pregnancy, mostly consisting of being kicked and poked by this little guys feet and hands. I am dying of suspense to know who is in there!

Suddenly I am in my last month, here. As the weeks go by, and the baby passes milestones of maturity, I feel more and more joy and excitement. I'm still surprised that I'm pregnant. I love to catch myself in the mirror, and see this big belly. Up until this month I don't think it has been that obvious, because I was big to start out with, and usually wear flowy types of clothes. Believe it or not, I am still wearing non-maternity clothing. Not of course jeans, or anything fitted, but most of my dresses and a good many of my other clothes fit great! This is a very good thing, because if you have ever tried to find plus size maternity wear you are in for a very, very sad experience. Anyway. I saw myself lying naked on the bed, on my back, in the mirror for the first time this afternoon (having just moved the mirror), and I am HUGE! Mountainous! Bodacious! Rotund! And I LOVE it! And its getting harder and harder to do simple things like get out of bed. Forget picking something up off of the ground. That involves getting all bowlegged, and grunty and out of breath.

So much has happened in my life since the last post. We moved back into my apartment in the West Village, to be near the hospital since I was/am so high risk, and because I felt so isolated last year in our little town in the country, I couldn't imagine going through another winter there, especially with a baby.
We have been getting the apartment furnished and livable.. on a severe budget. The apartment was once an "L" shaped studio, now with a wall built in the L to make a tiny one bedroom. A portable crib fits in one side of a closet you walk through to get to the bathroom. The place is small. It's a little weird coming back here, I've had the place for 29 years, it was my first apartment when I was 20 (yes, that makes me 49 if you're counting). I went through a lot in this place, a lot of years of loneliness, depression and spiritual and emotional growth. And now I return here with a wonderful husband, and a hoped-for baby boy in my belly.

Goodness I have so much to say. You want to hear the darndest thing? We are in the midst of acquiring baby stuff. That will be fun to post about soon, I notice people like to describe the stuff they get, and I tend to enjoy reading about it. (as I struggle to keep my space uncluttered, ha ha). Anyway, as a design junkie, for years as I longed for a baby, I drooled over the uber expensive Bugaboo strollers that cruise the West Village in flocks and hordes. Especially the red ones. Now, we are not rich, and my beloved husband is looking for a job, so we found a nice, cheaper other kind of stroller to register for. (My shower is tomorrow and nobody bought it). The darndest thing part is, two days ago, as I was exiting my dr.s office after my weekly appointment, in a pissy mood because I had been kept waiting for-ever, there in front of me, parked next to a bus stop, was a red Bugaboo Cameleon, with a "for free" sign scrawled on a piece of cardboard attached to it. I kid you not. It was used, but in wonderful condition. I took it home and my husband cleaned it up, we washed all of the fabric on it (which all comes off easily), and Voila! our new stroller.

Unfortunately there was no infant bassinet included in my find. I may have to look on ebay.

I am anticipating my baby shower tomorrow with excitement mixed with embarrassment. Why embarrassed, you may ask? I guess it's that feeling of being an impostor, a fraud, a fake.. this a result of not getting married and easily pregnant when I was 25, or 30, of now being months shy of my 50th birthday, and having tried to get pregnant now for ten years. Oh yeah, and using IUI's, IVF and the cherry on top? Donor eggs.

Something that makes me smile right now is that I attended a baby shower three years ago, given in this very same gracious home, for a friend who had also used ALL of these same methods to reach her goal. So I walk in her footsteps. Thank you V.!

The excited part of me is relishing the attention and celebration and gifts for this very much wanted baby! I will leave you with a photo taken tonight, of me standing next to a pile of gifts that have come in over the last two weeks. I will open them at the party tomorrow. I got bold (against my usual more discreet nature) and told everyone near and far that I had a registry, and look what happened.
What fun!


My little flower

I've been scared to post because the subject of selective reduction is so difficult and painful, and the last thing I need, personally, is critical opinions. BUT, I have only gotten wonderful support from everyone so far, everyone who commented on this blog, and in my real life. I'm very grateful. It's good to be pleasantly surprised by compassion.

We terminated the little girl two weeks ago. I still have my little boy kicking away inside of me. I feel much better physically now, and with that and the reduced medical risks, I have actually been enjoying being pregnant for the first time.

We weren't given much time to decide, really less than a week. It was so short because New York State laws prohibit terminating after 24 weeks, and I was almost there.

We did get a second opinion, and contacted and spoke to several other medical professionals in the field, all of whom agreed with our doctor. I got a clearer picture of what was going on. I am left with the fact that my current doc is not a very good communicator. Clear and thorough communication is very important to me!

So we started to feel clearer, and then I did something really interesting. I had a session over the phone with a medical intuitive. We told him that we had to make a decision about terminating one twin in a pregnancy. (that's all). He went through every organ and system of each baby. and of mine. He told me that one of my twins was very small with little amniotic fluid. He said that there had been a partial separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. He said the heart was fine, but the baby's kidneys weren't working properly. He told me that the baby would die, but that it would destroy my kidneys if I waited for that. He told me to go ahead with the procedure. He also told me that her spirit wasn't strong, that she was in a very weak state. He gave the procedure an 80% chance of complete success (it could cause miscarriage, etc.)
He said that the other baby had a very strong spirit, and all the organs were fine. He did mention that the hip joints weren't developed fully, but that it could be the gestational stage, or possibly he might be prone to hip dislocation. He also said that the boy has a musical ear!
When he went through my body, he was uncannily accurate, picking up on my knee and hip issues, my vision (I need glasses) and my high blood pressure.

I actually felt very reassured by this reading, because he had confirmed all of the things that the doctors had put forth as likely scenarios. I also told him that I was concerned about feeling responsible for killing my baby girl. He said that feeling was based in an old sense of bad self esteem and feeling like I was bad, from very early in my life. He also told me that the spirit (of the baby) wasn't sad. It all made perfect sense to me.

My beloved husband and I decided to do the termination, and we were given a very immediate appointment. We sat the night before and talked about all our feelings. We stated our intentions for the highest good. We prayed for support from the universe. We asked all of the close people in our life to hold us and the babies in a place of love, and to pray or send loving energy during the time of the appointment. We were both determined to be in complete love and to hold little baby B with that love. And that's the way it happened.

The week after was hard, because I was crying a lot, feeling a lot of sadness at all odd moments. There is a particular quote that really touched me and opened up my grief. It is this:

Yet, though it is like this, simply, 
flowers fall amid our longing,
and weeds spring up amid our antipathy.
— Dogen Zenji, Genjokoan

She was my little flower that fell amidst such tender longing.. I longed for her so much.

I still have her little body inside of me, I will deliver it when I deliver my boy. I have no idea what that will be like. I have concerns. So far, the thought of it hasn't taken over, I feel that she is gone, I'm much more aware of the kicks and wiggles I feel from the boy who is already probably twice her size.

And so it is, for now.


A Rock and a Hard Place @ 22 Weeks

I am in the most excruciating position I have ever been in. Both of my Dr.s are recommending that I terminate baby "B", who I now know is my little girl.

Last week I had a amniocentesis to help determine why baby B had growth restriction, hyperechoic bowel, and little amniotic fluid. They had trouble getting to her sac, and had to put the needle in six times. I can't believe I survived it. It hurt when it went in initially, and felt like a terrible piercing punch when going through my uterus, and then he would fish around, and I could feel the length of the needle through me. Once would have been bearable. The babies kicked the whole time and I kept worrying about them getting hurt by the needle. I listened to the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra on headphones and held my husbands hand. Despite feeling traumatized I also felt like a warrior.

Yesterday we were told that the results were normal, but they recommend termination. (why put us through that amnio?) The Dr's are afraid that her condition will put me at risk for early preenclampsia, and very early delivery of both babies. They want me to have a better chance with baby "A" who looks normal. He is a very cute boy by the way, I got a sonogram pic that actually shows his little face somewhat and what a sweet little face!!!

I have no idea what to do. It feels like Sophie's choice.

Will I be murdering my own sweet girl who could possibly be normal? And then carrying her body with my living baby till birth? Will I be saving the life of my boy and maybe myself? Will I ever get over the burden of this choice? why can't the doctors tell me something that will make me feel more clear?

I am having a second opinion this week. I have to make this decision within the next two weeks. Help?


A Difficult Time

It's been really hard for me to post, I have thought about it a hundred times in the last weeks, but everything has just been so miserable, and I had this terrible feeling that it would all just be depressing bad news and complaints for people to read, so as much as I've really craved support and feedback, I've been afraid to post.

Three weeks ago when I returned from Florida, a really nice break with lots of sunny beaches and calm sweet time with my honey, (plus it was the beginning of relief from a long period of first trimester 24 hour nausea, on and off depression and exhaustion), anyway when I got back to NYC, I had a day of seeing clients before we went off to Long Island to celebrate my stepdad's 80th birthday with a weekend gathering of a gang of family I haven't seen in a long time. I was excited that I was going to announce the pregnancy there.

I had had a headache that had gone on for 2-3 days and I just wasn't feeling well. My pregnancy books said headaches in the second trimester were to be expected. I felt a strong need to show up at the birthday gathering, it meant a lot to me, but I woke up the day after arriving there with the same weird, bad headache on the left side of my head, and just felt off. I called the midwife on call at my OB's office and she said to have my blood pressure taken. We drove to a local walk-in clinic that didn't take my insurance and charged $100.. walked out and went to the local drugstore for a reading. The reading was so high, I thought the cuff was just too tight. We ended up buying a bp machine, and then still going back to the clinic because we didn't believe my BP was so high. At the clinic it was somewhere in the 180's. They sent us to the local emergency room. I was put on IV magnesium, and two other drugs that made me so ill I couldn't see straight. At one point my BP was 200 over 110. I began vomiting. Over the next 24 hours I vomited so hard that I broke blood vessels in my eye. I was sent by ambulance to Stony Brook Hospital. They kept me there for 5 days and did every test you can imagine on me. I won't bore you with the details, but the upshot was just a diagnosis of hypertension. I was warned that I have a high chance of getting pre enclampsia, tho they don't diagnose that until after 20 weeks, and I was only 17 weeks at that time.

The other thing going on was a very bizarre and painful condition that I have had since I got pregnant. It's called Reynauds syndrome of the nipple. People usually get Reynauds in their fingers and toes, and it is a vasospasm, often but not always caused by cold, that turns them white, and then blue. I get it in my nipples. It is the most painful experience I have ever had, it feels like I'm being tortured with pliers. It compares to the pain I felt when I was having surgery and the anesthesia wore off in the middle. It burns. I have a high pain tolerance, but this has made me cry. I was getting it about once a day or so, for about 15 minutes, before the hospitalization. I told every single health professional I encountered about it and got lame responses from my OB's like, "try moisturizer" and "my wife had really bad breast pain too" and from the midwives and my doula, "I've never heard of it, I'll look into it". I ultimately learned what it was, from googling "severe nipple pain". There were quite a lot of women on the Internet wondering what the heck it was.
The kicker was that the drugs that they gave me in the hospital aggravated the syndrome, so that I was getting episodes every hour or two. No one knew that..about the drugs. They ended up having a meeting there to educate themselves on it, to their credit. Finally I was put on Nifedapine (pro.cardia) which was what I kept telling people was the answer. It has lessened the torture, but has not gotten rid of it. I still get it many times a day but it is a bit more tolerable.

By the way, I was treated very well at Stony Brook. I hate and fear hospitals in general, but I have a new respect for their potential. I felt respected, listened to and very thoroughly cared for, and had a lovely private room in the antenatal section. My husband was allowed to sleep there with me the whole time. We joked about finding one of the linen closets and having hospital sex a la Gray's Anatomy, but I didn't really feel up to it :)

A few days after being discharged (on medication now for BP) We visited my Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor upstate. When I walked in she said "I guess they didn't diagnose you with Pre Enclampsia because you're still pregnant". I felt like she punched me in the solar plexus. I still feel my understanding of Pre Enclampsia is tentative but what I seem to be getting is that the "cure" for it is to deliver your baby or babies whether they are viable or not. This is  terrifying for me.

My Obstetricians office had basically fired us over the phone while I was in the hospital. The Doctor my husband spoke to said "we're too rinky dink for your needs"... OK, well better know that now than later. Long story short we have found a wonderful, heartfelt, kind and good doc, who shares a practice with a very reputable high risk specialist. I am extremely happy with them. They only downside is that they are in Manhattan, two and a half hours away! My husband and I are seriously considering moving back to the city. Very seriously, and soon.

We went for my first appointment there 3 days ago, and they did the anatomy scan. Baby A is a boy. I am afraid to celebrate anything.
Baby B is now three weeks behind (they can't see the sex), and the doc saw something in the abdomen that concerned him. Some fluid.. he wasn't sure what it was so I am referred to a super rock star doc at NY.U for another sonogram next week. The doc said that there could be an issue like downs or trisomy 18 (even though our screening came out well before). Or that there might be a defective placenta due to the high blood pressure. In any case no one has much good to say about the fate of baby B.

I can't even begin to say how upsetting this has all been. Maybe in a later post I can describe some of the feelings coming up. One result has been that I am afraid to have any hopes for any baby at all. I am so afraid of the the images of their death and suffering that play in my head all the time. And all this is while I can still feel them swimming around inside, still a new feeling.