Monday, August 25, 2008

The other side

Our culture is full of subgroups and clubs. You're gay, left-handed, Asian, Muslim, from another country, into pony play, a Mac user, whatever. When you meet a like-minded person, you might find a connection that others lack.

That's how it works among infertiles, too. We bond -- especially online -- over the months of disappointment, the dashed hopes, the miscarriages, the insensitive comments of family members, the fights with insurance companies, the misery at others' baby showers. We use cryptic acronyms, mourn the arrival of Aunt Flo, and send sticky vibes to one another.

But then some of us -- too few, it seems -- graduate or evolve or escape or something -- from our in-group. It's not quite like Susie Bright turning semi-straight, or a Jew going for Jesus, but it sometimes feels in the same ballpark. We are, now, one more poke in the eye of a person trying and failing to get knocked up.

That's how I felt this weekend, when I ran into a friend who's been trying to get pregnant for probably as long as I did. There we were in the supermarket, me with my Baby in a Bjorn, her with her husband and a slim waistline, looking at each other with much left unsaid. We talked of having lunch. Perhaps we will and she'll ask me for tips, or maybe she'll find the whole prospect too difficult and won't call. Who could blame her?

I've realized that I'm now on the other side. I'm done with my infertility supplies -- my speculum, my copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility (great book) and Fertility Wisdom (skip it), any ovulation predictor kits that may be lurking in the depths of the bathroom cabinet. That's because if I decide to have another kid -- and though I always wanted two, lately I look back at the two years of struggle and am tempted to quit while I'm ahead -- I'll go straight to IVF and skip all the tracking/IUI crap. I used to consider friends who'd had miscarriages and went on to have healthy children as a beacon of hope. Now somehow, improbably, I'm that person who struggled mightily to get and stay pregnant and went on to have, keninah horah, a healthy child.

So I'm in a new club -- the club of new moms. We get together and go for walks, talking about sleep training, vaccinations, breastfeeding. We complain about our weight and exchange tips on the best Mommy and Me yoga classes. We do not, however, discuss our antral follicle counts or FSH levels. In fact, we don't talk about getting pregnant at all. Maybe some of these women had trouble conceiving; statistically, that has to be true. Maybe they look at their babies with the same amount of awe and disbelief and wonder and humility that I have when I gaze at mine. Maybe, like me, they tell their babies how very wanted they were, sometimes with tears in their eyes. Either way, they seem to have quit the infertility club, and for now, I have, too.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rejected Facebook status updates of a new mom

- 4 am AB's Baby slept 5 straight hours! Right on.
- 8 am AB is happy to have lost 3 pounds. Only 17 to go!
- 9 am AB, eying a sticky bun, wonders if how much her boobs weigh and if maybe she could get away with losing less than 17 pounds.
- 10 am AB is wondering if other parents find it odd to touch their children's genitals. Come on, has no one else felt this way?
- 11 am AB washed her hair two days in a row!
- Noon AB ate lunch standing up and walking around her house with Baby in a carrier, hoping the movement would keep him calm. Perhaps this is the secret to post-partum weight loss.
- 1 pm AB's Baby is on his third outfit of the day, owing to diaper malfunction compounded by user error.
- 2 pm AB tried and failed to run some errands, as Baby was more interested in screaming than in shopping.
- 3 pm: AB is trying to get Baby to nap.
- 4 pm: AB is in hour two of Project Sleeping Baby.
- 5 pm: AB is (sigh) still at it.
- 6 pm: AB has given up on the napping thing and wonders why motherhood doesn't come with its own personal bartender. Mojito, please.
- 8 pm AB remembers when she didn't wolf down every meal, hoping to finish eating before Baby cries.
- 9 pm AB, ever the partier, is heading to bed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The swing of things

That's what we're getting into around here, it seems. The good news:
- Baby is gaining weight appropriately.
- Breastfeeding is going quite well, except for a possible plugged duct situation. Overall, I seem to be the Bellagio fountains of lactation, which provides for some entertainment in our household. I can't complain.
- Baby sleeps often but not for long periods of time, though we have had a few glorious stretches of four hours and, once, a six-hour stretch. Am hoping for more.
- I'm healed from the birth and am starting to move my body around again.
- Baby is beautiful and sweet, and he seems to be on the verge of smiling.

The challenges:
- Staying at home alone with Baby can be difficult when, say, I want to take a shower, eat something, or do something other than feed, change, or hold him. Since I'm a Type A personality who excels at multi-tasking, sitting around nursing and watching the TLC network can be frustrating in its lack of productivity. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm solely responsible for the survival of another human being, and doing that is the very definition of productive. I get that.)
- Baby is frequently gassy, poor thing. Even when I don't eat foods from the cabbage family. (I don't buy the whole, it's related to what you eat business. At least not yet.)
- Brain is feeling the effects of non-consecutive sleep, causing me to write sentences like this one.
- Need to lose 20 pounds, but want to bake cookies instead. Only maternity clothes fit, and I have three weddings to attend next month.

So far our favorite baby products are the Miracle swaddling blanket (our ticket to longer sleep stretches), the Aquarium bouncy seat (which I scoffed at, not wanting something so, well, bright in my living room, but it's my ticket to a shower most days), and Calmoseptine diaper cream (this stuff rocks).

Since I'm fanatical about keeping this an anonymous blog, I'm not going to post any photos here. Sorry. Picture a cute Caucasian newborn, with a nicely shaped head and perfect features where they're supposed to be, and that's our Baby.