Infant in lap, embryos as carry-on

The last few weeks have been really busy, with interviews and job offers and big decisions to make. In the end we decided to go “back” to Europe. The “back” is in quotes as we haven’t actually lived in this country before, yet nevertheless some cultural aspects are probably going to be quite familiar. Plus distances to see our families will be much smaller – they’re all thrilled!
Besides trying to organize an international move and learn a new language, we also need to figure out what do with our frozen embryos. A and C and SB’s potential siblings. My understanding is that New Country’s public health system covers fertility treatments, so it most likely is cheaper (though not necessarily cheap) to send them there than to pay flights and transfer fees here. But – how do I find a good clinic from miles away? Will they accept them even though I’m not a patient yet? Our yearly storage fee here is coming up, so if possible it’d be nice to send them off before that comes up, but of course it’s more important that they will be properly received… if you happen to have any insights on the topic of international embryo shipping, I’d love to hear them.
Given my to-do list, blogging may be sparse – or soar as a means of procrastination. Either way I’m reading along and sending good thoughts when necessary.

Today

Today a year ago, I lost my mucus plug in the morning. I freaked out, but the nurse tried to convince me that I needn’t come in (and perhaps they couldn’t have done anything anyway). A couple hours later, C’s water broke. Our poor little girl was all curled up on the ultrasound. It was heartbreaking – and the slim prospects of survival they were giving us for either of our twins didn’t make it any better. It was one of the worst days of my life.

This morning (my time zone), my brother’ girlfriend delivered their daughter, overdue and 9.5lbs, but healthy and alive. She is my dad’s first* living grandchild, and I wonder how he feels about it. He’s not one to talk about emotions but was clearly devastated by the loss of A&C. I’m happy for them, really, but I wonder how I’d have taken this without Strawberry Baby kicking me reassuringly.

* My MIL wrote an email about this baby being my dad’s first grandchild. H was very offended.

sidelined

My brother called to tell me that his girlfriend is pregnant.

The fact that he called (we mostly just text) told me it was something important – good or bad. He really tried to do this in the kindest and most gentle way possible, and he knew this would not be easy for me to hear. But, as you probably know from experience, some news still sting even if transmitted ever so gently.

I was ok on the phone, congratulated them and wished them all the best, asked how his girlfriend was doing (pretty good) and whether they were planning to get married (yes, but later, once the baby is there). But of course this brought up all those ugly infertility feelings: they are younger than we are, they have been together for a fraction of the time we have! (because clearly it works this way) Maybe they weren’t even trying! Add to that the ugly loss feelings: she’s 9 weeks, and they assume they will have a baby in September. Even if I am pregnant now, I will worry about losing the baby until we have reached at least 26-28 weeks (not that it’s “safe” after that, I just haven’t been there, and the likely outcome is better than at 20w). Probably beyond that, too.

I finally burst into tears just before H came back home. We spent some quiet time missing A & C, and being hopeful for this cycle.

Of my three brothers, this is the one I am least close to. Not that we have big arguments or anything, we’re just different. I had told my two other brothers about the FET but not him, and didn’t feel like mentioning it yesterday. The others might have told him, it’s not a secret – but as he didn’t bring it up either I think he might not know.

And yet, there is some sort of silver lining when looking beyond the stings. I grew up in a big family and always enjoyed spending time with my cousins – and, as it looked like neither of my brothers was going to start a family soon, I was a bit sad to think that our children might not have this. Admittedly, much of this thinking was before we lost A & C, so now there is an extra layer of complicatedness. But as I’m really hoping to bring home a baby someday soon, I’d be happy if he or she had a cousin to play with.

breaking the silence – part 2

My aunt and uncle write a yearly newsletter that goes out to friends and family, usually with the Christmas cards and presents. Both of them, as well as their grown children, write about the main events of their year. It goes to many people – they are wonderful and have many friends as well as extended family on both sides.
Last year, they included how very sad they were when they heard about the loss of our twins. I cannot even begin to describe how much this means to me, such a public recognition of their lives and the depth of our loss.

cover girl, part I

I didn’t quite know what to give my godchild for Christmas. I was planning to get the book with the turtle with my firstborn’s name for myself, and decided she’d get one, too. It is a good book after all, and I don’t think she is too old for it.
Given my lack of energy beyond basic functioning, I didn’t have it yet a few days before Christmas. Thinking I’d try my luck, I went into a local bookstore and asked if they had it available. The nice shop assistant led me to a table with selected children’s books and gave me the paperback version, featuring the cover I knew from childhood. As I had wanted the hardcover copy, I looked back to the table. There was a stack next to it, very different in design. I wouldn’t have recognized it. “This new design is so beautiful”, the lady at checkout commented, “with C on the front”.

moments

On the plane I asked for decaf with breakfast. Not that I’d slept much – it’s midnight “my time” when we arrive, but 9am locally. That situation seems to demand coffee. But last time I took this flight I was pregnant, and remembered that I really liked that decaf – in part because it was freshly brewed for me. When the flight attendant came back with my cup, I heard her mention a powdered coffee brand to her colleague. My recently developed coffee-snob-ego wanted to get miffed, but even when I smelled it I knew why I liked it: this was the kind of coffee I used to have with my mom on the porch after coming back from school. I have so many good memories of us sitting and talking and having (powder-based) coffee.

***

We went downtown, and H was taking pictures of me with the Christmas decoration in the background. He wanted to try another angle (he’s serious about this) and asked me to look more relaxed and to smile. “I can’t”, I said. “I’m sad.”. He apologized and hugged me, I cried some, and eventually we moved on, at least in the literal sense. This is how many of my days go – I’m okay most of the time, and then something triggers a reminder of our loss, and I become so sad again, for a little while.

of mothers and daughters

My mom died seven years ago today.

Long before we even started trying, I was sad my children wouldn’t get to meet her. She was a wonderful mom and would have been a great grandma. Perhaps, somewhere in the back of my mind, I worried I might leave my children too soon, like she had to leave me, leave us. But the thought that they might meet her first didn’t occur to me until it was almost too late.