Friday, June 30, 2006


Anyone out there working on a novel or similarly long and intimidating creative undertaking, take heed! I have discovered the formula for productivity:

1. Get pregnant, preferably with more than one baby.
2. Go to an artist and writers' colony in rural Vermont for two weeks
3. Add frequent rainshowers and thunderstorms

Presto! You will crank out at least 1500 words a day, for lack of anything else to do, acutely aware of the fact that in several months your time (and, likely, inclination) to write is going to vanish completely and indefinitely.

Honestly, I can't say enough for this thing I'm doing right now--getting away from work, home, wireless access, books about pregnancy, having to cook and go to the grocery store, and other vicious time sucks--to do nothing but write. Granted, it still takes some willpower to keep pounding out the words. And the daily routine does get a bit monotonous. But overall -- hallelujah. It's been a long time since I felt this much like a "real writer." And for the first time in years, I'm actually even letting myself dream (silly girl) about how nice it would be to write full time. Maybe, someday. Sigh.

Somebody here asked me the other night if I ever talk to the babies. (I'm being fairly open with folks here about the fact that I'm pregnant. Why not.) And that night as I was lying in bed I actually cried, thinking, my god, I'm a terrible mother-in-waiting! I don't have conversations with my gestating children! The fact is, they still just don't feel real to me. I don't have a pregnant belly (just what looks like a beer belly) and I can't feel them moving. I can't imagine what they will look like or become. I just don't connect them with *babies* or *children* yet. They're only about two inches long, their skin is transparent, and their genitals haven't fully developed. Should I be able to think of them as my babies? Do I suffer from a horrible lack of imagination? And if I did talk to them, what could I say besides, "Well--um. Hey there, sea monkeys. I hope you're OK in there. Can I get you anything? Another protein bar? Another nap?"

Of course, the woman who asked me if I talked to them is kind of loopy. There are lots of loopy people up here. It's great. And there are some less loopy ones as well, like the woman with a 2 year old back home who told me that she didn't really feel pregnant -- in the psychological, there-is-a-human-being-inside-me sense -- until she was 7 months along. I'm hoping for 5 months.

In the meantime, I am sincerely enjoying these incredibly selfish two weeks, sea monkeys in tow, but unobtrusive for the most part. Yesterday and the day before, I was pretty nauseated, which sucked; my fault for taking my prenatal vitamin too early, on an empty stomach. But today, appetite is back in full swing. Selective, but hearty. I try to get a little belly rubbing in every day, often at night before bed, when I tend to look and feel "bulgiest." Here's hoping the wondertwins feel the love, even if they can't hear it.

171 pages, 11 weeks, and counting.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Pregnancy Dreams

I know that other people's dreams are rarely entertaining, but indulge me. (This is a blog, after all.)

I dreamt I was looking after a friend's baby boy -- an adorable 18-week old named Buster, who was very smiley and, like your average 18 week old infant, liked to sing little songs. (?)

Anyway, I took him outside for a walk, holding him in my arms. I had to put him down for a second to open a large, heavy, ornate wooden door. (Because we were suddenly on my college campus, you see.)

The second I put him down, he was off like a shot, running away out of sight on all fours, and I suddenly remembered: he was half monkey.

Fortunately, my father-in-law was there to run after him and catch him, though he was a little peeved that I'd forgotten about the half monkey thing.

This dream is, of course, transparently simple to interpret. It's all about my relationship with my mother.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The twin thing

Of course, we knew twins (or more) were a possibility when we started the whole fertility drug adventure. But I was convinced that it wouldn't happen to us.

I make it sound like it's some kind of booby prize -- and of course it's not. Lots of people pray they'll have twins. And now that I've gotten used to the idea, I'm extremely happy to be having them, for a number of reasons. But I must admit that initially, my reaction wasn't "Wow! Cool!" -- which seems to be the reaction of most people when we tell them we're having twins.

Actually, I take that back. When we first saw those two little dots on the ultrasound screen at 6 weeks, my very very first, un-vocalized, gut reaction actually was something along the lines of "wow, cool." But it was quickly followed by a feeling of disappointment. I wanted one baby. Two eventually, yes, but not both at once. I wanted to lavish all my attention and love on one little being, not have to juggle two. How would I give them both my undivided attention? What if I accidentally loved one more than the other?

Next came panic: how are we going to afford this? Are our careers / social life / sex life over? Will I ever write again? This was followed by the more physical fears: can my (rather petite) body handle this? Will I be OK? Will they be healthy?

(I should admit that at some point, maybe a day or two later, the catty little devil on my left shoulder snickered and told me I'd never wear a string bikini again. The angel on the right was quick to remind her that I never had anyway, so stop being such a petty bitch.)

I'd just never imagined us being Twin Parents. Something about it seems so -- I don't know -- suburban. Trendy. Yuppie-ish. Qualities I like to think don't apply to us. (See Jane conveniently ignore the fact that she has a job in advertising, lives outside a major metropolitan area, and just bought a house). I think it also has something to do with a vestigial prejudice against the whole fertility treatment thing, and the association of multiples with it.

It wasn't that long ago that I thought if we weren't able to have a biological child, we should just accept that fact, take it as a sign, and adopt. The idea of fertility treatments seemed selfish to me somehow; entitled and unnatural and consumerized; the province of priveleged, career-crazed people who wanted it all and waited too long to start trying for a family, assuming they could, in essence, "buy" a baby with a little Clomid and maybe a round or two of IVF if it came to that.

Of course, I was quickly cured of my high-and-mightiness when it became clear that getting pregnant wasn't going to be easy for US. And I realized just how many couples, of all ages and walks of life, struggle with it. All of a sudden, I understood why infertility is such a painful and frustrating thing. Adopt? Hell no! I want MY OWN child! Teenage meth addicts manage to get pregnant. Why not healthy, responsible, 31-year-old me?? Overpopulation? Screw overpopulation! My children and I will be dead by the time things get really bad anyway!

We didn't have to spend much on our treatments as they were covered by insurance, but I'm pretty sure I would have begged, borrowed, or turned tricks for extra cash if they hadn't been. I have no shame or regret whatsoever about the fact that we "got help" getting pregnant. And I don't begrudge anyone for a minute their decision to do the same. I guess there is just some part of me that fears that when people see our twosome their first thought will be: Fertility Drugs. And maybe they'll be thinking the kind of uncharitable thoughts I might have just a few years ago. Assholes.

I promise not all of my posts will be this long.

Let me just end with this: on my way back to work from lunch today, I felt an odd little twinge in the right side of my abdomen. And, even though it's too early to feel any fetal movement, I smiled and touched my belly and thought, "Hey, little monkey on the right, you OK in there? You dancing? Or is your brother/sister pushing you around?"

That felt really cool.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"I want you to gain a lot of weight"

Yes, finally, someone has said to me the words I've been yearning to hear since I was fourteen years old. Today, at my first pre-natal appointment, my OB told me he wanted me to gain a good 40 pounds over the course of this pregnancy to ensure nice, healthy, roly poly twins. "You get a free pass when the nurses weigh you."

Hell, even my high school social worker, when I was 100 pounds and eating a bread and mustard sandwich and half an apple for lunch, wouldn't tell me that I could stand to pack on a few. (Not that I would have -- and end my love affair with my ribs and pelvic bones? Heavens, no!) Obviously, this is quite a different situation. I am by no means underweight anymore, nor am I nearly as fucked up on the food and body image front as I was at 17. And, well, I'm pregnant with twins so -- uh, yeah. Gaining weight would be a good thing.

Still, how nice it is to be given permission -- nay, ordered by your doctor -- to do so. He's even having me meet with a nutritionist to make sure I get on track. Given that I've already gained 4 or 5 pounds and it hasn't even been 10 weeks, I'm not terribly worried. And no, I'm not using this pregnancy as an excuse to eat volumes of crap. I really am trying to eat well. OK, maybe I'm a teensy bit less likely to refuse dessert. And when I'm starving and all I want is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, by God, I'll have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or more likely two. (And anyway, think of all the calories I'm saving by not drinking wine!!)

But enough about that. Today's appointment was very, very good. I really like my doc. He's youngish, he's got twins himself, and he seems able to strike the right combination of being friendly and pleasant and kind without it coming across as rehearsed and fake and condescening, like my reproductive endocrinologist -- a smug geek who clearly took some kind of seminar ("2 days 2 a Better Bedside Manner!") and would say things like "Let's watch and learn together," as he began an ultrasound and "You're a delight" as he said good bye. Ptooey.

There was no ultrasound today, which was a little disappointing. When you go through fertility treatments you get spoiled. I got to see the embryos (now fetuses, or "sea monkeys" as I fondly call them) at six and seven weeks, and even see their little hearts beating. Today, I got nothing -- too early even for a doppler to listen to the heartbeats. So, I have to just take it on faith that they're both still in there and thriving. Crazy! How do women who get pregnant the normal way manage to go so long without any empirical evidence that there are actually little beings developing inside of them? We're just supposed to assume everything is going according to plan? And in the years before ultrasounds -- hell, you could be carrying a two-headed piglet and you wouldn't know it until D-day.

The amazing, miraculous, unbelievable thing is that most of the time, the little buggers just keep on growing, in all the right ways. Faces, limbs, organs. And they're almost never two-headed piglets.

As for me, I'm exhausted, I'm bloated, my boobs are the approximate density of uranium, and if I don't eat just about every 2 hours, I start to feel sick. By the end of the day my pants feel tight and I look like I've eaten a toaster oven. At around 8:30 pm, I become incoherent with fatigue. And then there's the peeing. My God, the peeing. I don't understand how it is anatomically possible that I can empty my bladder completely and then five minutes later have to pee again. And not just a little obsessive-compulsive symbolic pee, but the real thing. This, I'm sure, will only get worse.

Well, speaking of fatigue, I only got 6 hours of sleep last night (culprit: Chicago O'Hare airport) so it's naptime for this preggo lady. Hasta la proxima, my nonexistent readers.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

An experiment

Greetings, non-existent readers.

I created this blog over a year ago as a place to post allegedly humorous writing by myself and some of my (much funnier) friends, but lost steam, had another project to focus on, and let the idea die. Now, I'm considering a new, more conventional iteration of this blog -- one in which I actually post my own personal musings / news / etc.. The triggering occasion for this is the fact that I'm pregnant -- 9 weeks today, with twins -- and have a number of far-flung friends that I think (and maybe I delude myself) wouldn't mind hearing updates on how things are proceeding, seeing pictures of me when I get as big as a house, etc.

But I'm not entirely sure I can go through with it. The thing is, the idea of this kind of blog feels awfully self-indulgent to me. I mean, seriously, who CARES about me, my opinions, my burgeoning uterus?? This is why I've never been very good at writing memoir-esque non-fiction in general: re-reading it is akin to hearing my own voice played back on a tape recorder. Ugh.

On the other hand, I have no problem at all blabbing incessantly about my life to friends in emails. So, I'm going to try to think of this blog (if it survives beyond this inaugural post) as just that: a big group email to my friends. And anyone else who happens to drop by.

I should also note that I don't find other people's blogs self-indulgent in the least. I've loved reading my good friend MWDB's account of her pregnancy. And I adore Bihari's musings on writng, motherhood, the medical profession, and life in general. While my husband and I were trying (unsuccessfully) to conceive, it was a great comfort to read blogs like this one by women struggling with infertility.

So, I really don't have a problem with the whole blog thang as it were. Just a mild case of self-loathing. But maybe this will prove to be an effective cure. So, I'm just going to quietly, secretly start posting, and maybe if I find that I like it, and actually feel compelled to do it, I'll continue. Like I said, it's something of an experiment.

Oh, and if anyone who knows me who didn't know I was pregnant has happened to stumble here (though I can't imagine how or why you would...) well, I guess the cat's out of the bag. Do me a favor: pretend you didn't see this, and keep it quiet for a few more weeks, K? Thank you!

More soon....maybe.