When will I be able to breath again?

September 3, 2013 § 43 Comments

Being pregnant after infertility is really just very weird.

It is definitely not what I thought it would be. Which was pure unadulterated relief. Joy. Heavy, happy sighs. Floating of baby names and predictions of gender. And joy. And relief.

That was clearly very naive of me. It is all of those things. At times. But it is also some other really not so nice things.

My faith in this pregnancy can be understood as coming in three stages.

Stage I: Right after an ultrasound, I feel on top of the fucking world. Like life could not improve if I won the lottery and my family could live forever and I could travel and not work feel no stress ever again. This is obviously the best stage. And, consequently, the time when I am most excited and can get absolutely no work done. I fill my day with googling things like “twins AND sense of self” and “side-by-side versus tandem double strollers” and “baby carrying twins.” It is bliss. I’d live there forever if I could.

Stage II: And then after a few days, I start having nightmares. I mentioned these before. But, guys. They are so bad. I do fine during the day, but at night I dream of dead babies. Dead babies sliding out of me when I pee, disastrous dead baby ultrasounds, stillbirths. I’m able to snap myself out of it when I wake up. I can keep the monsters at bay during the day. I continue my google frenzy. And then I go to sleep again. And the icebabies cometh. This is happening about 4 times a week.

Stage III: Finally, as the next ultrasound draws near, I can’t even control the fear during the day. I’m certain I’ve spent the last weeks kidding myself. There are no more babies in there.

It’s such a confusing rollercoaster. Right now I’m in Stage III. My last appointment with my RE is tomorrow. It is the day I am supposed to ‘graduate.’ I am going to predict a few things. I will not sleep tonight. I will shake during my drive in. And I will have ridiculously high blood pressure when I get there. The Artsy Engineer and I talked about baking some of my grandpa’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the nurses and other staff and taking them with us tomorrow, but I don’t know if I can do it. What if we come in carrying cookies and everything they represent (e.g., optimism, hope, ease) and come out with no babies? I don’t think I could manage the pity I would feel (imagined or otherwise) from the providers. She even brought cookies. Poor dear.

In true fashion, though, I am at least trying to fight this beast tooth and nail. I want so badly to enjoy this pregnancy. It may, after all, be the only one I have.

So, we did some crazy stuff over the last couple of weeks.

First, we started belly pictures. I think all I have right now is bloat, but my stomach is definitely not as flat as it was a month ago and I know it’s going to ‘show’ faster than a singleton pregnancy, so I want to document this progression. I’ll be 11 weeks on Friday, after all. Second, I went maternity shopping with my mom this weekend, who was visiting from out of town. If these twins continue to grow, I will need these clothes faster than most. I didn’t really want to buy any, but I have very few friends who have been pregnant and none who live in the area. And my mom was really excited about it. I may not get to see her again before I start needing stretchier pants, so I let caution to the wind and went with it. It was frightening. And exhausting. I used a prosthetic belly while trying on a couple of items, which was waaay WEIRD. We were there for nearly 2.5 hours. And I came home in significant enough pain that I was having a hard time walking without wincing (and I have a pretty high pain tolerance). Pretty sure it was coming from my uterosacral ligaments around my tailbone, but I can’t be sure.

And third (this is the real kicker), we bought a new car. We needed it. Both of our cars have nearly 200,000 miles on them. And my car is breaking down regularly. It was time. What I did not think it was time for was the type of car we went with. Get this. We bought a minivan. An 2011 Odyssey with only 20,000 miles on it. For a steal.

I thought I was years (possibly a lifetime) away from a minivan. But, listen. I am about to have 2 kids (positive thoughts), I have two dogs who come with us everywhere, and we drive all over the country to visit family. More than anyone else I know. I’m talking 16-24 hour one way trips. Comfort and ease are crucial.

We were first thinking we’d go with a wagon. But then we looked at the size of the double strollers. Those suckers come up to my husband’s nips (folded up). They are enormous. There is no way we could fit stroller and dogs. Or stroller and groceries. Or a stroller and anything else. I was shocked. So, naturally, we moved up to thinking we’d get an SUV. But holy gas mileage! And, really, many of them didn’t have too much more space than the wagon. And they’re expensive!

Then I test drove a minivan. And I was like, alright, Lentil. This car is perfect. It will carry your shit comfortably. It gets 28 miles to the gallon. It drives more like a car than a boat. You hate driving boats. You can WALK into the back seat and feed your babies while driving across the country.

I realized that the only thing that was not perfect about this van was, well, that it was a van. You know what I’m talking about. The van image includes the mom jeans, the food stains, those horrible stick figure family decals on cars (my reaction to which Things That Hurt Me in My Soul describes perfectly). Which is so silly. But still. I’m still in my 20s (for another month and a half). Am I really at the point where I am considering buying a minivan? Me? But I’m hip! I go to shows and love beer. I eat pretentious foodie food and make my own household products and shop at consignment stores. I DO NOT drive minivans.

But, really. Does a woman piling out of a luxury SUV with a couple of kids and a husband carrying two diaper bags look hip? No. Definitely not. It isn’t the car that determines the hipness. So, who am I kidding? The reality of the situation is that we will become a family of 4 (please please, universe) overnight. In March. And I’m pretty sure all I’m going to care about at that point is making the day-to-day things simpler and more convenient. So a minivan it is. We pick it up from the seller on Thursday morning. And I’m actually incredibly excited about the car and pleased with the decision. Unreal. Maybe I’ll even post a pic. You guys can help me think of names for it. And, if push comes to shove (har har), it has plenty of room for this.

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§ 43 Responses to When will I be able to breath again?

  • Isabelle says:

    I think buying a mini-van is a great decision for all the things, kids, and dogs that you have to haul. And it’s a great way to start embracing this pregnancy. I am hoping for great news at your RE’s tomorrow. πŸ™‚

  • julieb79 says:

    My only advice on Stage III is that it gets better the more appointments you get through. I still get nervous in the days leading up to an appointment, but each time I’m less and less nervous. I’m slowly retraining my brain that the anxiety is not necessary. Don’t bake the cookies if you’re too scared to jinx it – whatever it takes to get you through it.

    Great choice on the Odyssey! We test drove one a couple years ago when we were thinking about TTC and upgrading cars, and fell in love, despite the uncool minivan factor. They are SO comfortable and feel like driving a luxury spaceship! We’re definitely getting one when my husband’s car kicks it.

  • Number 1: I’ve decided we never ever get to breathe again without thinking of the welfare of our kids. Never. Ever. And I believe your anxiety is “normal” and will let up a little when you can feel them move. Then escalate again when you’re 34 weeks along and actually have to think about nothing them. I have full faith that they are healthy and intact and going to be fine. Full faith.
    Number 2: a minivan! That’s some sweet shit. You got a Honda. That’s hip. Foodie hip even. I love it! (I drive a Tahoe. My bank account hates that beast!)

    Best wishes friend. We’re headed to our 39 week appointment. So freakin surreal.

  • J o s e y says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you’re allowing yourself to start doing the little things like belly pics. You taking a picture of your belly will NOT affect the outcome of this pregnancy one way or the other, and you’re going to love having the entire series to look back on (I know I do, and I don’t have a twin belly!).

    I’m hoping that after your appt tomorrow you can move back into Stage 1 more often. Seeing those heartbeats and knowing what a good sign that is will be incredibly reassuring.

    I made fun of my Mom for having a minivan, and now that we’re expecting a 2nd child I’m seriously considering it for all of the reasons you mentioned above. Way to find a great deal on one and jump on it!

  • Jeannette says:

    I had the same thought about making cookies before my graduation day and I totally chickened out! Which was dumb because the ultrasound went really great and I pretty much just cried and hugged them and left when it was over. But I graduated a couple weeks ago at 8w5d. I’m 10w5d now and going to my first midwife appointment tomorrow. So, I’m right there in stage 3 with ya praying this baby is still alive and kickin!! Good luck tomorrow! And maybe before bed just try to think about something other than the babie. Like take yourself to your favorite place in the whole wide world. Mine is on a hammock on a white sandy beach with clear blue water, and I try to just imagine the waves crashing and the breeze blowing and sometimes it can keep those negative thoughts out for the whole night. HTH!

  • missymakes says:

    Oh my gosh. You pulled this right out of my brain. Right down to the new car! We also have two dogs and twins on the way and there’s no way they’ll fit in my teeny-tiny crossover SUV with all their gear. We’ve just started researching and we’re really trying to avoid the minivan route, but I’m afraid we might end up there, too!

  • Amber says:

    I am sooooooooo with you on stage 1 and stage 3. I haven’t quite had the nightmares that you have, that is AWFUL, but I do still have a version of stage 2 where the feeling of euphoria leaves a few days after the u/s. Ugh. I have super high blood pressure when I go in for every appointment too, along with a (un)healthy dose of anxiety. I’m hoping that goes away soon when I can actually start to feel these little ones move so I will KNOW they are still in there alive.

    If you are going with a minivan, an Odyssey is the very best kind to get! I think it’s a great choice.

    Good luck with your appointment tomorrow! I’ll be thinking about you!

    • I’m sorry you’re experiencing these dreadful stages, too (minus stage I, which I would stay in foreverandever). You’re getting close to feeling movement!!!! I can’t wait to read your first post about it.

  • SM says:

    I’m still in Stage III right before an ultrasound. I have another one next Tuesday at just over 32 weeks and I can feel the anxiety rising already. It’s not fun at all. Your totally normal, friend!

    Congrats on the minivan! We just bought a 2010 Sienna. I’m so glad we did! We only have Penny now but with Turkey on the way we needed something bigger.

    • Dearme, woman. Don’t tell me this! Your posts have become much less fear-based, though, so it must get better. If it doesn’t, just lie to me. Ha.

      Congrats on your minivan, too! I’m a real believer in these vehicles. Great minds!

  • thefamilyvan says:

    My own artsy engineer husband will be jealous to hear you agreed to the minivan. That was all he wanted. We went with the wagon to accommodate our twins (no dogs, though). It’s a big decision.

    I totally understand the 3 stages of pregnancy you’re experiencing. I was right there, too, during my own. In fact, the husband even created a graph showing how my happiness levels were in direct correlation to ultrasounds. It’s really hard to let yourself feel settled after infertility. We’re so used to protecting ourselves from emotion, as it was so often pain we’d be feeling. I can’t say anything to change this for you, but I hope your worry is unfounded.

    Good luck at your appointment! Looking forward to reading all the details.

    • you have an artsy engineer, too? love. if we had no dogs, we would have certainly stuck with the wagon option. i’ve always wanted a wagon, actually, so i was pretty disappointed when i realized our needs kind of skipped over that stage.

  • Sara says:

    I totally agree with what you said, I definitely go through stages I and III. I haven’t had nightmares but when I am alone I have some pretty scary thoughts. I am 19 weeks pregnant with twins and the week between my every two week ultrasound is rough.

    My husband does not want to get a minivan, I just hope my Kia Soul can handle two car seats and a double stroller, I know my husbands car will not.

  • JenS says:

    Pregnancy after infertility is definitely challenging. There is happiness and joy but also so much other stuff that I don’t think fertiles deal with or think about (at least amongst my friends). The further along I got the less anxious I would feel before appointments. Now that it’s a dance party in my belly, I am much more relaxed (at least about them being alive – there is plenty of other stuff I am anxious about).
    My husband is still trying to convince me to get a minivan. The funny thing is, it’s the gas mileage that’s holding me back. It’s just as bad as an SUV from what I could tell. I know I won’t be able to hold off for long, though. We desperately need a car with more space.

  • Aramis says:

    I hate those fucking stick figure stickers. But if it makes you feel any better, the best one I ever saw was a car that clearly USED to have a whole family on there, but Mr. Divorced Dad was clearly so bitter that he had scraped off mom and the kids and there was a big gap between him and the dog. Sad but funny. Anyway, I have nothing to offer on pregnancy after infertility but all the best thoughts that your ultrasound will go well. Hang in there, you’re gonna need that Minivan!

  • Emily says:

    Oh boy do I feel ya! I am also in stage III…big scan tomorrow!

  • Steph Mignon says:

    I’ve been pretty sick so I’ll keep this brief. I β™₯ this post because your described my stages perfectly! I also have such great feelings about this extremely hip mini-van twin mama life you’re brewing. It warms my tired little heart so so so much. πŸ™‚ Keep the updates coming!

  • K&A says:

    I have been waiting for a post from you! So glad all is going well. What if you made your car kinda hipster like with a crap load of bumperstickers that really prove the point of how cool you actually are? juts a thought. A little Obama/Biden with some equality and maybe an eARTh sticker too? just some ideas.

  • 2dognite says:

    I am absolutely with you on stages I and III. I find I vascillate a lot more between the two rather than coasting on I until I crash to III. I go to an ultrasound (still weekly at the RE at 8w4d) get all pysched, then immediately go to the computer to google all the information the doc told me, convinced that he is absolutely incorrect in his optimism. I’m awesome like that.

  • oh man, i can only imagine what you must be going through. it has to be totally nerve wracking. hang in there! and take care of yourself.

  • Daryl says:

    I whiplash between stages I and III regularly. It has been a bit better since my last ultrasound, though. My 10-week u/s is tomorrow (already!) and so far no thoughts of doom and gloom–or, at least, not ones that last more than a moment. I went ahead and took cupcakes to my last visit (before graduating this week), and I had the same thoughts of bringing them and then having a bad u/s. But that was not the case. Good luck!

  • redbluebird says:

    I hope your RE appointment today reassured you a little! I completely empathize with all the stages you listed. I caved and ordered a Doppler last week because I had/have FIVE weeks in between appointments. That’s a whole lot of worrying time right there. It’s tough. But I do feel (a little) better as time goes on. I’m sure you will too.
    Yay for the new vehicle! My husband just realized yesterday that our dogs plus a car seat won’t likely safely fit in either of our vehicles (at the same time). Maybe you can make minivans hip? You know, in an ironic, I’m so hip I wear mom pants and drive a minivan and don’t even care sort of way.

  • Jane Allen says:

    I was annoyed by those stick figure families even before I was a bitter infertile, I once saw one with 7 kids so I stuck a birth control options pamphlet under the wiper

  • bustedoven says:

    Oh friend, those nightmares sound terrible. I’m so sorry, I wish you could be in stage 1 all the time. But I think you should go ahead and bake those cookies, just don’t hand them out until after your (undoubtedly healthy!) ultrasound. I’m sure it will be great and you will be to see 2 wiggly little inmates in there.

    On second thought, definitely bake them but send them to me instead because I like to eat all the things.

    Also, I think it is VERY AWESOME that you are getting a minivan. We rented one for a road trip with a bunch of friends a couple years ago, and I have thought fondly of minivans ever since. They are so comfy! And roomy! You will love it, and you can’t help but be hip so don’t even worry about that noise.

  • […] at this moment I’m in Stage I, as described in Lamenting The Lentil’s latest post. I’m on top of the world. This is really happening.Β  This might actually work out! I may […]

  • I’m pretty sure we all go through the 3 stages- especially during the 1st trimester. I didn’t have the nightmares, but just crazy thoughts. It lessens a bit (just a bit) in the 2nd trimester before you can feel kicks. Now I just wake up in the morning and freak out until I feel kicking.

    My husband is pushing for a minivan but I just can’t do it. I’m glad you were able to push through the silly thoughts, but as of right now I just can’t do it.

    I also don’t understand the stick figures and have made my husband promise that we will never EVER put stick figures on our car.

  • sarah says:

    Great breakdown of this roller coaster. I think after the first trimester, at least for me, stage 3 really dissipated – almost disappeared. I became more concerned with seemingly ancillary matters – was I gaining too much weight, did the baby have two arms and two legs, ohmygodi’mrunningoutofclothesthatfit, etc. But it’s hard. The post-infertility pregnancy thing is, put simply, just strange – surreal but exciting, terrifying yet supposed-to-be exactly what we wanted. Just embrace the weirdness – it dissipates, I promise.

  • sarah says:

    I saw one of those stickers the other day with a woman and 8 cats! I couldn’t get to my phone fast enough to take a picture!

  • JustMe says:

    Ohhhh a minivan. Ohhhh I’m sorry. But, yes, I totally get it. I was just thinking today, my car with a carseat in it will really only easily fit 3 ppl. And how can I have a stroller AND a dog in the car? Eeek.

    And about the anxiety…as someone else said, it does get easier as you go along. But I doubt it ever goes away. Today at our midwife appt, they couldn’t find his heartbeat for awhile (hiding behind my placenta) and it was nerve wracking. Do you know what the worse answer to this question “When will I be able to breathe again?” is? I HATE when people say, “Never.” As in, you’re having a kid. Welcome to the world of anxiety. Ok, people, we get it. That doesn’t help.

  • I’m not there yet but I so get your stages. But you completely magnetized luck to you by buying that mini-van—so awesome! Sitting here with a AA embryo inside for 2 1/2 days now, I am surprised by how trepidatious I feel—I guess I thought I’d be happier, you know? But it’s hard to shed fear and the non-stop “What if what if what if” monologue droning on in the brain. Little by little, am feeling more hopeful. But it’s kind of hard to realize how hard it’s gonna be to trust positive news in this experience.

    I love the image of you with babies and dogs, driving around the country. Your own little community on wheels!

  • Everyone I know has vans now! They are so convenient and spacious. And with twins, come on, so much easier. It’s a decision you won’t regret. Plus I think you will look adorable driving it, haha.

    I truly hope the nightmares stop and the anxiety subsides. I think it will get better for you as time goes on, and your belly grows, and your babies grow, and everything keeps well.

  • YeahScience! says:

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear about the nightmares. But not as sorry as I am to hear about the minivan!

    Haha, sorry, I kid. You can totally pimp out that car and make it hip in some way, if you really want to… find some ironic bumper stickers or put a huge flame decal on the front. πŸ™‚

    I’m kinda with you on maybe not bringing cookies in for the staff — I had very similar fears and entire situations would play out in my brain, exactly as you describe. Just get to 12 weeks and get the NT scan under your belt and then I think you’ll feel a lot better about buying baby gear and whatever else. You can send cookies when you’re past viability. πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous says:

      Those nightmares do sound bad! I’ve had a much more active dream life since pregnancy began, but thankfully only a few have been nightmares and only a few have been about the baby you or having kids. My favorite stage one where I gave birth to twins who were human but then at home we had no baby stuff and they morphed into kittens. And it was my childhood home.

      Sending you relaxed vibes and hoping those dreams taper off soon.

      Well, how did it go?!

  • katherinea12 says:

    So sorry to hear about the nightmares. Those sound horrific. Hoping that your ultrasound went well!

    Congratulations on the new van, that sounds fabulous actually. I am so with you on hating those stick figure decals – they just seem so smug or something…

    As far as cookies – why not bring in cookies or a nice box of chocolate (even if you have to go store-bought or recruit someone to bake for you) after the twins are born? Or even just write a heartfelt thank-you note? Then you could bring the office pictures of the babies and give a hearty thank-you. I bet they’ll love getting to see those pictures!

  • […] KNOW that what I am feeling is normal for someone who is pregnant after infertility. I LOVED Lamenting the Lentil’s blog post about the different stages of feelings through this and I continue to think of myself in these […]

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