Little Acorn

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

ocean on overdrive (11 weeks)

Today I'm at 11 weeks, 4 days. I heard the heartbeat today and actually got to record it! Such beautiful sounds, of horses thundering down my path, of an ocean on overdrive, waves lapping 160 times per minute. The doctor found it immediately, comforting me to the very core to know our little acorn is still hanging on! I have had no pregnancy symptoms (besides tender breasts) since a few weeks ago, but my waist is starting to thicken to the point of removing my spanx half way through the day because the pressure was getting noticeable. And I have gained a bit of weight, between 2-4 pounds, but I think I'm okay with it. I just look chubby right now and I'll have to find alternative means for my pants as the most comfortable position right now is unbuttoned.

Everything is going along so eerily smoothly that it's hard to trust it. But I do. I trust that our hard part was getting pregnant and now that we are in that car, it's going to be a low-maintenance, smooth, and beautiful ride. And so I don't have much else to say. It's funny how my long-winded rants have come down to a brief update, but I think that's expected. I have used this forum to release my noxious pain into the air, to let it dissipate and set me clean. I've used it as a dumpster, to throw out those painful memories, hoist every frustration and annoyance over the lip, and watch them get hauled away.

Now that I am eerily calm I don't have much to pine over, to wish for, to be jealous of, to be sad about, to be frustrated at, to be depressed by, to overcome. Now I just have grateful peace. It's quiet here now, deep within and all around. Just Ryan, our little acorn, and me, together. Content and excited. Peaceful and pumped. Thankful and gracious. Our first trimester will be over next Sunday. I can't believe how time has flown! I am so thankful for a mild first trimester, for not too many scares (except unnecessarily so in the beginning), and a wonderful start to our next phase. God bless our pointed little heads!

Week 11
To think, I thought this was a belly! Hahahaha!

Friday, May 18, 2012

name and tell (10 weeks)

I am 10 1/2 weeks pregnant and the only symptoms I have left are extremely tender breasts and exhaustion. Oh, and wild mood swings--we're talking continuous emotional upheavals of epic proportions. Any nausea I once had is now gone, along with the extreme thirst and headaches. I'm hoping this is the placenta doing its job and taking over. Go placenta! Grow, baby, grow!

I am gaining weight, though, which is seriously scary. My eating habits have skyrocketed. They're out of control. And I've already gained about 4 pounds. I'm hoping this is just water weight and I've really only gained about 2, but it's scary nonetheless! Luckily it is mostly in the gut area. I'm definitely feeling the abdomen expanding and am starting to unbutton my pants a bit. I need to keep this under control - this is a marathon not a sprint and I'm definitely sprinting right now.

Exhaustion hasn't been made better by my late work hours, surveying well into the night for Houston toads. It's all I can do to peel my eyelids open for the drive back and pour myself into bed around 3AM. Ryan is increasingly getting upset that I haven't told my bosses yet. He thinks they won't make me do anything, but that's not true. So I am sticking to my guns on this one. Why can no one respect my wishes to tell my boss after the first trimester is over? 

Obviously, it's because no one - meaning Ryan or my mother - has a concept of the consequences of telling our good news early to the general public. I know first hand people's reactions when someone comes out and says they're pregnant way before it's traditionally time. Everyone says that's way too early to be telling people, that it's bad luck, that they're taking a chance that everything will work out and they should have waited. 

As for genetic testing, I think we're going to do all the non-invasive stuff, (blood samples and a sonogram) and if there's any reason why we should continue with testing, if there's a high indication for one disease or another, then we'll do the more invasive Chorionic Villus Sampling or CVS test, which has about a 0.5% chance of miscarriage. Yikes! 

As for the name situation, Ryan is convinced its a girl and every once in a while he'll say something like "little Rhea" and I kind of freak out and tell him not to go there. I am in such denial about that name. HE LOVES IT and I cannot handle having our child be made fun of so easily! "Diarrhea" and "Gonorrhea" are both horrible, very embarrassing dysfunctions that have "Rhea" in the word. Kids are stupid, but unfortunately, not that stupid. One sex ed class in 6th grade and little Rhea's a goner! Once they see how that word is spelled, a light bulb will go off over their pointed little heads. I can just see it now..."GonorRHEA! DiarRHEA!" Perhaps we could try "Rheya," but really? I'm not going to be one of those people who names their kid all wanky, with extra "y's," trying to act so original, but looking like a fool! 

I am falling more and more in love with Stella every day, because of its beautiful meaning and because it really works all around. Ryan's not opposed to it. He'll say "Little Rhea Stella. Little Stella Rhea."And I still tell him not to go there. But what about Rae as a first name? I hate it as a middle name. It immediately evokes a southern, hickish flare. I keep thinking in a deep southern accent, "Stella Rae! Git yer fingers outta that nose!" But as a first name, it's kind of original and beautiful, like one of my favorite characters in an old movie, "Dead Calm." Nicole Kidman played Rae Ingram in this nautical drama and completely won me over with her strength, beauty, and love for her husband.  

Rae Greuter is kind of interesting, actually. It kind of works with the "ae" and "eu," where visually they look like they balance out the oddity of two vowels together, making it normal. But a middle name for Rae? That will take some work. Rae Marion Greuter? Rae Lauren Greuter?

I'm sorry, I still love Stella Marion Greuter.  Stella Greuter sounds normal, but not common, not weird and made up, kind of popular but not thought of. Well, no use worrying over it until we find out the sex at 20 weeks. And we certainly plan to do that as it will take another 20 weeks to hash out this name issue if it happens to be a precious little baby girl.

Friday, May 11, 2012

break dancing (9 weeks)

We saw the baby again yesterday on my birthday. Such a wonderful birthday present to know he's alive and kicking! Acorn was measuring right on track, to the day (9w4d). Every time I see Acorn I am astounded by how hard s/he works, by how much s/he's grown. S/he is SO BIG! Well, relatively speaking, s/he was about the size of a key lime, but s/he was just a grape a few short weeks ago! We saw Acorn from the side, front, and back, got to see the outline of the little spinal cord, arms, legs, the huge head, and the blood pumping through the placenta.

And wait for it...we got to see Acorn move around, jump for joy, and even break dance! The doctor pushed on my belly several times trying to get him to wake up. S/he was pretty passed out when we first saw Acorn, but s/he got a bit irritated at the last push and started really moving! We saw Acorn's little arms wiggle around, the legs kick, the head buck! It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and I will forever hold it in my heart, along with his other beautiful screen debuts! Such an award-winning performance! Magic on screen. I think he gets it from my side...we are very dramatic! 

But with pure joy and awe comes the reality of life. So the next hurdle is genetic testing. We were recommended to have all the tests that were appropriate for us (those that we didn't have the heritage we won't do). And we've decided to take them. I'm not so worried about most of them as neither side of the family has ever had any illnesses besides those related to obesity, no syndromes, no mental retardation, no disabilities whatsoever. 

But the one thing that popped out at us is Fragile X Syndrome. Our child could have it if I'm a carrier and there's a possibility that I am since my mother had early menopause (age 42) and I had diminished ovarian reserve and egg quality issues. This would cause a range of disabilities from severe mental retardation to small behavioral issues. 

I started to doubt our determination to have our own genetic children because I have been so worried that our children would really feel the heat of my genetic misfortunes. But no matter. Education is power. I'd rather know that I'll have a child with behavioral issues as early as possible. I can prepare better and be ready for when that unbelievably perfect bundle comes shooting out of me and into my anxiously awaiting arms! So we'll take the tests and determine our chances. 

But I think you're perfect, baby. I think you're gonna be just fine. And if you're not, I'll think you're perfect anyway. Because we love you so much. We've wanted you for so long. We will kiss you and hug you and never let you go. You will know you are loved, no matter what mental state you're in. I just want you to live if you want to live. I just want you to be healthy and happy. Just live is all I ask of you.

Kisses to you, sweet love of my life. I still feel your warmth deep within. You are so warm and wiggly and so very much alive. I see that you're okay. I see that you are good. So I continue to float on your thermals, soaring into each new day with expectation and wonder and awe and love and excitement and sheer joy for you.   

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

a locket of lessons (9 weeks)

We are at 9 1/2 weeks. Tomorrow will be my 33rd birthday and our first ultrasound with our normal OB. I could care less about the birthday and can't wait for the doctor's visit where we get to see how much our little acorn is growing! 

This last week has been very interesting in the symptom department. I have had wild mood swings, crying fits, sheer exhaustion, and actual vomiting. So to me that's a good indicator that all systems are still "go." I am having a hard time concentrating at work and symptoms seem to diminish during work, but maybe because I'm distracted. 

We pretty much told our family at my mom's 60th surprise birthday party on Saturday night. Well, everyone pretty much already knew thanks to my sweet parents, we just said it out loud. I'm not used to that yet. I still like to think of it as a secret and that only a few people who have shared our struggles get to know early. But Ryan doesn't see it that way. He wants the whole world to know and has been making his way through  one person at a time. 

He even told the baby boutique saleswoman that we were pregnant after I had said we were just browsing for a gift! I just stared at him, jaw dropped, and he stood there as proud as can be, not realizing he deeply embarrassed me. Just happy and proud and excited. I almost didn't have the heart to tell him so, that he also needs to respect my wishes to keep it quite. Almost.

I think once we're through the first trimester I'll ease up a bit on being outwardly excited and overly joyous. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled and pumped and crazy over this possibility. But I also still can't believe it's happening. It's still so surreal. After all this time, I'm actually pregnant? Just like that? No complications? No cramps? No bleeding? No worries? Just normal symptoms? Just regular scans? Just increasing hormone levels? It can't be!

I mean, it's too good to be true! And acting as if we are pregnant just makes me think we're pushing our luck, that this is just another cruel joke, that this vivid fluffy dream will end and we will wake up to the jagged nightmare that we've been living these past four years. You think you're normal now? Hahahaha! Just kidding! Of course you're not! This was just a little joke, a little interlude to keep you on your toes and make you have wondrous hope before we snatch it away from you! That's how we bitches roll!

I should, but I can't shake that it frustrates me that so many strangers know already. Random people shouldn't know our most precious secret yet! Not when most of my friends don't even know. Good God, I need to get over this. Why can't I be simply and earnestly happy like Ryan (instead of cautious and annoyed)? Why can't I revel in everyone's reaction like Ryan (instead of cringe)? He didn't heal nearly as much as I did, yet he's better for it, unabashedly excited without any consequence. Why can't I be like that? Why do I still carry around with me the burden of infertility? 

The answer is that infertility changed me forever. I can never let it go. It deeply affected me, irrevocably molded me, tore me up and spit me out so I will never be the same again. I am a completely different person from my innocent, excited self four years ago. Sure, I'll move on to raise my child just like everyone else. I'll have the same trials and worries and celebrations, but I will never forget what happened. I will wear it small and light around my neck, but a necklace it will still be for me.  I will carry it with me until the day I die, reminding me of the challenges we faced, the sadness we endured, the bull-like determination we fought for, the growth in spirit and mind we encountered, and the sweet and precious reward we were blessedly given.

Maybe it's not such a bad thing to keep this on a locket so close to my heart. Maybe it'll help ground me and remind me of how valuable life is, how precious our child will be to us every single day of his or her life. Maybe I'll learn to let go of the darkness, the sadness and frustration and only hold on to the light and shimmery lessons it taught me. Wear these lessons out in public and show the world how precious and delicate life is, that it truly is a miracle that all 7 billion stinky people are here on this earth and no one should be taken for granted. I should be an advocate for the infertile population. Take this lesson God has given me and turn it into something everyone can wear around their necks, something beautiful, positive, and loving. 

It's time. Time to let go. I will try. NO, I will do. I will keep infertility close to me, but use it for good and not evil (like it's a super power!). I will be a better person than I constantly want to be. I will give the gift of hope and light and happiness and excitement to my friends by sharing our good news, no matter what the baby books say the right time to tell them is. I will embrace all that is good in this situation, remember the person I once was, and say goodbye to my past. I will give my changed soul a big smile and a bear hug until it feels accepted. I will love me for who I am today, all crookedly healed and wobbly walking, wearing my locket like a trophy. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

released into a clear blue sky (8 weeks)

I am 8 1/2 weeks pregnant. Our official 7 week ultrasound last Wednesday was incredibly beautiful and promising.  I stopped worrying about miscarriage last week and offered up my fate to God. I am just happy to get to spend each day with our genetic baby. It's such a gift and I am blessed to have been given any moment of it. So whatever happens, whatever is meant to be, I am not in control of it. God controls my fate. He controls this life inside me. He will decide to push forward or to let go. So there is absolutely nothing I can do but enjoy each day He has given me. And I genuinely do.

I was calm and assured when we went in. And I was right to not worry. Our little acorn had a heartbeat of 155 bpm and measured at 7 weeks, 4 days (on day 3). And after a painfully long and torturous journey, we were finally released from Texas Fertility Clinic. I was so overcome with emotion, from the happy faces of all the nurses to the bittersweet goodbye from my doctor, to the congratulations and goodbyes we received. And I balled my eyes out the entire way home. 

That moment meant so much to me, that we graduated to a genuine OB/GYN, a "normal" doctor and we don't have to go back to that place for a long time, if ever. While it made our dreams come true, it was a very trying experience, going to that horrible place, day in and day out, side-glancing at all those other sad infertile people, no one looking at each other in the eye, constantly monitoring the progress of my follicles or my lining or our embryos or cysts or estrogen levels or whatever else I can't think of. The endless probing and uncomfortable situations, the awkward laughs and forced optimism. It was completely exhausting. 

And so I had an emotional breakdown. All of the years of going there, all of the sadness, all of the pain, it has now come to an end. We no longer have to go there. We can see my regular OB now, where insurance pays and I'm just a regular, normal patient. And so I cried. I balled my wrinkled little eyes out for the release of our freedom, for the release of our joy and happiness, for the release of the weight that had burdened me for so long. 

I took flight that day and soared into beautiful clear blue skies, skies of deep azure against white cumulonimbus clouds, my tears staining my smiling cheeks, then falling down, the only drops to wet the earth, no storms on the horizon, no cold winds. Just weightlessness and clouds. Clouds, and then...sun.

I have since embraced each day with gratitude and humility. The gift inside me is now olive-sized. And I am so blessed for each amazing day where I don't bleed, where I am not in pain, where I am just full and sore and tired and nauseous. Those are the beautiful symptoms that reassure me our little acorn is growing into a seedling and I greet each one with a smile and open arms.

Thank you, God, for the bountiful gifts you have bestowed upon Ryan and I. We and our families are overjoyed with happiness, consumed by it, gluing any and all broken wounds back together again. It is a gift for all of us. I am savoring every day. Loving every minute. And grateful for each moment I have with our little acorn.