Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You asked, I answer (Part I)

What a fun game, thanks for playing along you guys! I got many great questions, I'll break them up into a couple of posts. So here goes.

Kristina P. cut right to the chase and asked if DH and are done having kids after the twins. Yes? Probably? The one thing I can say for absolute certain is that we are done with infertility treatments, which seeing as we went three years without producing a pregnancy on our own likely means the old ute will be in retirement very soon. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I daydream about having one more baby for a nice even four kiddos. I did in fact already post on a twins forum to find out if the mamas who were formerly on bedrest had the same trouble with any subsequent singleton pregnancies. I think flirting with this possibility helps keep me from mourning this pregnancy as my last, as outrageously fun as it's been. I love being a mother more than I ever imagined I would when I firmly declared I wanted no more than two children. But I have only one child now... in a few months I could easily be racing DH to the doctor to ensure that this set of stretch marks is my last. Let's just say this is probably it for us, but I have no immediate plans to give away my maternity clothes.

Martha asked how I met my DH. The short answer is that we grew up together, from elementary school to high school graduation. I've had a crush on him since 6th grade and asked him out on our first date when we were 16. He claims he had a crush on me too, and would have asked me out eventually -- but I didn't want to wait until I was in my 50s. For the long and detailed answer, I'll refer you to my anniversary post from a year and a half ago. Martha also wondered what reality shows I enjoy. I've been watching a whole lot more since being on bedrest, and only some will I admit to. Not all are in season right now, but here's a list: Top Chef, The Bachelor, American Idol, LA Ink, So You Think You Can Dance, 16 and Pregnant, Project Runway, Shear Genius, The Little Couple, What Not to Wear, People's Court, Judge Alex, and America's Funniest Home Videos.

K and Jen asked about my biggest fears about raising a toddler and twin infants. Hmmmm... how to narrow down the biggest of 1,263 fears. I worry how there will possibly be enough of me to meet the needs of three little munchkins at the same time, plus meet the needs of myself and my marriage. I worry that Bean won't adjust well, that I'll lose my connection with him, that he will no longer be mommy's sweet little buddy. I worry about the logistics of nursing two infants with a toddler at home, as breastfeeding is very important to me. I worry about how we will afford a family of five on one salary. I worry that we won't be able to participate in many of the fun activities we do now, because I'll be overwhelmed with the effort and cost involved. But honestly, even with all these fears, I am so excited for the future of our family. The beginning is going to be the biggest challenge of my life, but the rewards even greater. To have three children with the man I love most in the world... it's mind-blowingly awesome. K also asked what will be the first sweet yummy dessert I'll eat after having the boys. Whatever is closest to my hospital bed at the time, which will likely be a packet of sugar or creamer they have sitting out for coffee. My hospital does have wi-fi, so I may try to order a box of fancy truffles or sampler of popcorn during my C-section. Rush delivery, of course.

Third, K wondered about what to expect when parenting after infertility (IF). I wish I had some good advice on this, but all I can do is share my experience. It seems to be so different for all of us, depending on what we went through and how much we identify as an Infertile.

One of the hardest parts of IF for me (and for many women, I imagine) was the feeling that my body was constantly failing. As cycle after cycle of BFN came to pass, even though it was another month of delaying motherhood, I was more upset that my body was the WRONG variable in an equation that was otherwise completely RIGHT. So when my attempt to deliver my son felt like an utter failure (24 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing, baby hadn't budged so C-section time), then breastfeeding was such a train wreck for several months, it seemed to confirm to my hormonal, emotional, sleep-deprived self that I was a sub-par woman. And even besides the delivery and nursing issues, I struggled to adjust to motherhood all around. Although I would have stepped in front of a bus for him (and it kinda felt like I had), I was miserable at home all day, isolated with my newborn. Did I make a horrible mistake in fighting so long and hard for this?

I remember our first day of co-op preschool. Bean was 6 months old, and we sat in a circle with about 10 other moms and their infants. I felt like an impostor, as if somehow they were "natural" mothers and I was a fake. Then we had the opportunity to go around the room and share our pregnancy and birth stories. Hearing about the struggles they had, whether with IF or giving birth or otherwise, helped me feel so much more normal. It's always good to remember that just as your IF scars are not usually visible to others, neither can you see what they have been through. It is often more than you'd guess.

From that point, things only got better. Bean and I became champs at breastfeeding and got into a groove on other aspects of keeping an infant alive. Each month, motherhood was more enjoyable as he got both cuter and more talented. I gained confidence not that I necessarily knew what I was doing, nor that I was always doing "the best," but that I knew where to look for support and could make reasonable choices that would minimize the duration of his inevitable future therapy. I started feeling (and still feel today) like I am a real mom, worthy to sit next to any other mom at a playdate. Except for this one woman who is tall and thin with such a fantastic sense of style. She's super nice but I prefer to sit farther from her.

And also as the fog of new motherhood lifted, I could clearly see how my IF has made me a better mother than I would have been otherwise. Of course I am several years older and more financially stable, which helps. But I am also so much more appreciative of what I have, and thus more patient and able to live in the moment with Bean. Because this was not a guarantee. My automatic assumption that I would one day have a child was completely shattered, so motherhood feels more like it was earned than given. At the risk of completely throwing myself over into the cheese (TOO LATE!), every day with him is a bonus, one that could possibly have never have happened if our treatments had not worked. That's not to say I don't have the occasional frequent fantasy about a (long, very very long) getaway alone with my hubby -- no Gerber allowed. I'm human, after all. But although IF can leave a permanent scar even after parenthood becomes reality, it fades into what can also be a reminder of your strength to endure, and what an incredible blessing was waiting at the end.



E said...

How is a popcorn sampler sweet? I think I will have my husband go and get me an Italian sub, a Mocha Latte, and some pizza.

I dream of this.

I do plan to stay on the diet though afterwards just to lose some weight. ;)

I was wondering through your answeres, yet another question, what kind of nursing problems did you have? I couldn't nurse my first one, but I think it was more of a lack of information and a sucky hospital staff. I am very anxious and worried about this again.

Expectant Duck said...

Thanks for sharing - it is funny I thought the reasons I had all those feelings (of body hating not a real mother) was because we are working with a surrogate (obviously my body is totally out of hte picture) so it was good to know that other infertile women who can carry babies feel like that!
I am really planning on working hard on bfing the twins because of the benefits for them, but me too as I hope it helps me feel more like the "real mother"

Kristina P. said...

It was great getting to know you better! You watch as many TV shows as I do!

Michelle said...

It is amazing sometimes, when you feel like you are the only one going through what you are going through, then you find people who have the same thoughts and feelings as you or you hear what they have gone through and then suddenly you are so thankful for your own journey. It definitely is going to be hard but you are going to be an AWESOME mom to the twins and your little Bean!!

strongblonde said...

thanks so much for this :) i totally feel you on so many of the responses, but it was especially nice to hear about your struggles with IF and parenting afterwards. the twins are my first kiddos, but i find myself thinking a lot: "i could be a much better mom if x, y, or z" :( it's nice to know that everyone has thoughts like that!

Jen said...

Can I just say that Judge Alex is the hottest of the TV judges. He and I will be spending a lot of time together in a couple of months!

K said...

Thanks for answering the questions! Especially the parenting after IF. I think that's something I think about how with IF you try to so hard to get there that once you're there you have so much more to think about that you may never have considered before and the feelings that go with it. I am glad to hear it gets easier. Thanks for the unvarnished truth.

AND- 16 and pregnant last season was absolutely riveting. This season I saw the one with Jenelle and was a bit horrified. if the rest will go that line I may just not watch it was too infuriating!

Lisa said...

Sunny that is fun info! You are a great mom. I have a total secret right now...can you guess? I'm only letting you know. I'll post more in about 5 weeks. Shhhhh! I was going to be your Seattle stalker and email you, but I don't have it!

Chad and Gena said...

I can relate to so much of what you wrote about...especially adjusting to motherhood...I didn't have that immediate bond w/my babies that was something that happened for me slowly and over time...I seriously thought there was something very wrong w/me until I started talking to some friends that said they went through the same thing...but now I can hardly think of them w/o tears rolling down my face :-)

What I really wanted to say though was to offer some encouragement in regard to nursing your twins because I know how important it is to you...it was to me as well. I think what you have going for you is that you have done it before so you know what you are getting into and you know what to expect. I would say that I am sure nursing 2 is similar to nursing 1 only that it takes more time and you need more milk. Nursing wasn't easy for me, I have struggled w/supply issues and DS wasn't a very efficient nurser so that just complicated the issues and probably one of the reasons for my supply issues. I had a ton of milk just maybe not quite enough to fully feed 2 babies all day long. One thing I did that I really think helped me continue to nurse (still nursing at almost 11 moths) is I allowed myself to supplement when needed. I think that you have to allow yourself to do that w/o feeling like you are failing or beating yourself up. I harbored a lot of guilt and a lot of feelings of not doing a good job every time I stuck a bottle in their mouth but now I say if it kept me nursing as long as I have then the occasional (and sometimes daily )bottle I gave them then it is all right and I know I did the best I could.

Good luck I know you are going to do great!!!!!

Coffeegrl said...

Um - those truffles sound like a *brilliant* idea!

And I think your thoughts about what to expect when parenting after IF are spot on. I can't tell you how many days I have wondered if we made a mistake....not because I don't love my daughter. It's just that sometimes it is really, really hard to be a stay at home parent esp. if you feel isolated (like I did!). But there are good, nay great days too and it does get easier as you say.