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Counting blessings...

Posted by Anotherhopeful , 29 December 2009 · 923 views

I have been absent for what seems like an impossibly a long time from this board – although in reality it has probably only been about four weeks.

When I did at last log in tonight, I was overwhelmed and touched by the number of you who had noticed my absence and written me personal notes checking in. Thank you; I can't really explain how heart warming it was, and how much it means to me.

The first and most important update is that the babies are doing just fine. We had our 24 week scan last Wednesday and both babies are right on track in terms of growth with no visible issues. Although one of the placentas in the front of my uterus, I have finally this last week started to feel unmistakable movement, and it is the most wonderful feeling imaginable. Despite Doppler audio and multiple ultrasounds, I am not sure I really BELIEVED until I felt that first movement. I finally hear the baby sleigh bells, and the sound is so sweet.

My cervix is stable; not improving and not deteriorating. My obstetrician will keep me on reduced activity/bed rest until 32 weeks. After that, we will reassess, although realistically all involved want to keep the boys cooking as long as possible so we will in all likelihood continue with this regime until they make their appearance – hopefully not before mid-March.

I would like to say that I have been absent from these boards because I have been happily nesting, resting and visiting with friends in real life. Although elements of this representation would be true (I have certainly been resting physically, and have been blessed with lots of friendly and supportive visits from friends), the truth is that I have been melting down a bit emotionally. I wouldn't call it depression exactly (been there and done that several years ago following my divorce), but many elements of that sadness are there, even as I work daily to count my many blessings.

While being put on bed rest for incompetent cervix was not a complete surprise (I had surgery for cervical cancer 11 years ago and knew that my cervix might be compromised; I also knew that IC was more common with twins, particularly when they occur in a first pregnancy), the abrupt change shook me to the foundation. The first week or so after receiving the order I was still quite busy finishing up work projects, and DH was still finding picking up all the dog walking and household chores romantic and novel.

Things have not been so rosy for us in the weeks since. I (you guessed it) tend to withdraw when I am sad or upset, especially with myself; and the communication tap turns off. DH is one of those rare and lovely male communication junkies – maintaining a consistent emotional connection through dialogue is hugely important to him. He feels hurt and rejected when I turn off, which I did quite abruptly when my fear of loss and inadequacy took over where all of the mental busy-ness left off.

Although DH has repeatedly and sincerely said that what I am doing for the family (gestating the twins) is the most important thing imaginable it is surprisingly hard to go from feeling you are a full partner in an enterprise to being a sidelined, bit player; especially when the doctors all say that no matter what precautions are taken, both babies might still be lost or have very lengthy NICU stays.

I have always been the higher energy partner in our pairing. Like many women here, I am the one to get up early to walk to dog, the one to initiate new projects and cheer them on, the one who kept the household running with groceries, meals and clean clothing. DH is much more laid back; and also much more susceptible to illness, injury and plain old procrastination. While I grew up with the motto, "finish the work first, and then play if there is time", DH grew up in circumstances where he learned through observation that now is all that there is, and if we don't take the time for fun now, we might never have it. He can happily compartmentalize tasks and live with levels of chaos that I find intolerable. Normally, this isn't a big issue; as working together motivates us both, and I am generally capable of finishing projects that he might start and leave at the 90% complete mark.

Now of course, it is all different. I am not allowed even to walk my dog – probably one of my most mentally grounding and sanity preserving activities. I can't shop for our food, and even my ability to cook (due to lifting and standing restrictions) is limited. DH is feeling the burden of it all now – it is no longer so romantic for him to take care of me. He was been ill and uncharacteristically tired. He has been escaping himself into late night movie-fests and long conversations/visits with his friends. Many projects around the house are languishing (including important safety related projects like stair rails), and I feel I have no ability or right to try motivate or encourage my already over-burdened partner to do more.

We are not spending our nights together (pregnancy has also brought with it ongoing nasal congestion that causes me to snore very loudly - how attractive) and sex, not surprisingly, is entirely off limits. I have been feeling guilty; he has been feeling snowed under and deprived.

Our house hasn't been the happiest of places over the last few weeks; mostly brought on by my contagious negativity.

Christmas Eve coincidentally brought us to 24 weeks; the point where my OB says that the boys have a 50% chance of survival. With each day that has passed since, I have felt a little bit lighter, and a little bit more hopeful that all of this will somehow work out.

After a tearful meltdown on Boxing Day, DH and I had a long overdue heart-to-heart. He continues to reassure me that he thinks that what I am doing is worth any sacrifice in the world. We were finally able to share our fears about losing these two precious angels after coming this far, and I think both got comfort from acknowledging this darkest fear, and realigning ourselves in the direction of our goal - healthy babies. We have also started the life affirming task of seriously discussing what these two boys will be called once they make their appearance. I think that we are both looking forward to moving ahead and out of our rut.

I often worry about the toll that 2009 has taken on our marriage and love for each other; I worry about the toll that the next weeks of ongoing bed rest will take, the potential of premature babies and NICU, and then the absolute exhaustion of caring for two newborns. I have not even started to worry yet about the next phase – will I be a good mother? What I wonder will the toll be in 2010?

I understand in every way that we are being given the greatest possible gift – children. I understand that for some of the dear women and men here, that suffering any restriction would be entirely justified and would be borne without complaint. I will/would suffer anything to bring these two miracles into the world – as would my DH. I fall guilty of complaint however. My demons have gotten the better of me these last weeks. I wish I could conquer my fears – of both potential loss and my own inadequacy.

In the meantime, I will continue to count my many blessings – most importantly these babies in my belly, my loving and long-suffering DH, and my dear dog, who no longer gets my company on her walks. The trap door to the cellar of my fears and doubts remains wide open, and I need to watch my step more carefully to avoid falling in once again.

Life is so fragile. Marriage is so fragile. Love is so fragile. And yet, despite obstacles, they all somehow continue to thrive.

AH I am so glad to hear from you!! You will be the most wonderful mother!!
Lots of love and hugs on this difficult journey. Just please know that you are doing great and all will be well.

Love and blessings
Dec 29 2009 07:34 AM
It is so good to read you dear heart.

Blessings and love to you all.

Happy New Year sweet friend.
Dec 29 2009 08:03 AM
AH - I'm so happy to hear from you. I'm also very sorry to hear you are struggling but I know you have the strength for this. I am thrilled to hear all is well with the babies, keep up the good work!
Yay! for nesting and baby sleigh bells! So very happy you've been absent for good reasons and to hear that you and the sweet peas are doing well (even if cervix is not quite as cooperative as you'd like).

Worry and fear for the 'what ifs' of the future are, unfortunately, part of the parent job description but I am completely convinced that those Mums who worry about being good enough are those who WILL be good enough because they recognize the awesome responsibility and amazing opportunity parenting is. You will be magnificent!

As for you and DH, life takes a toll on all of us and our relationships - like you say love is fragile, life is fragile and yet somehow concurrently sturdy. It's good that you and he are able to work together to find the way forward through the scary bits.

Hugs to you and your growing family (and for the wee mutt too)! Here's to a stellar 2010!
Wow, AH. Beautiful honesty, nicely written.

Your blogs are always deep, always making me reflect on some of the everyday basic things in life.

Clich้, "Hang in there."
Posted Image
Wow, AH. Beautiful honesty, nicely written.

Your blogs are always deep, always making me reflect on some of the everyday basic things in life.

Clich้, "Hang in there."
Posted Image
AH- What an insightful blog! I so appreciate your honesty and your ability to articulate your feelings in such a raw way. I think given what you have gone through, your fears, worries and anxiety are completely justified. Your world sounds like it as taken a 360 turn, so you are bound to be feeling the way you do. Do take care of yourself and looking forward to more reports from you in the coming weeks:)
Good Fortune
Dec 29 2009 01:10 PM
A wonderful blog. I can't think of a single bit of advice as you are clearly so very well-adjusted, even though you think you aren't.
I can totally understand every little thing you write.

Good luck dear AH, whose name I can't recall. Everything will be alright. xxx
AH - Thank you for posting! I too had been worried about you and am so happy to hear that the babies are doing well and that you are working through the many changes that 'incubating' brings up.

Thank you also for your honesty and ability to articulate these issues so well. I have been struggling with very similar emotions since I have been on no work and limited activity. My DH has had to pick up so much and it's been incredibly difficult for me to sit back and become an observer instead of a participant in our life. Unfortunately, I have no advice or words of wisdom as I too am working daily on being happy with what I do have and why I'm here. I'm an incubator these days and it's my wish, hope and dream that one day soon, I'll meet the little guy that has so far turned my life upside down and that he'll be healthy and happy. I wish the same for you - only times two!! Good luck and take care :)
i can`t begin to tell you how very worried i have been. i have so much to say in response to this entry' but am pressed for time at the moment. I will revisit it later' when i have more time to absorb it. For now' please know how relieved i am! :)
It is with a HUGE sigh of relief that I saw your message this morning. I cannot tell you how worried we all were about you and the babies. I just want to say that everything you are going through is NORMAL and you WILL get through it all, and your marriage will be STRONGER and your babies (God bless them) will be strong and healthy!

I applaud the work you've done so far and cheer you on through the home stretch.

I too went on bedrest at 26 weeks and it was the longest time of my life. I read many good books, wrote many letters to friends and journalled the whole experience for my twin sons.

I wish for you happiness and peace through these last 16 weeks!

Dear friend, I'm so pleased to hear that you and the babies are well, even though you've been struggling through a tough time. Some of the dynamics of your relationship with your DH sound very much like mine and I can imagine how tough the bedrest is for you. But you are an awesomely strong and insightful woman and you don't need me to tell you that this too will pass.

All the best
AH, So glad to hear that the babies are doing well. Like everyone said, you articulate yourself so well and everything you are feeling is understandable. Hopefully you will be able to look back at this time in a few years with your little boys running around the house (stair rails in place) and all this agonizing waiting will all feel like a distant memory. It sounds like you are enduring well all things considered.

((Hugs)) :)
I finally have a few moments to write! Just wanted to reassure you that what you are feeling is normal. I went through the very same emotions, particularly an intense fear of loss (and I didn`t have complications except previa). I think it`s just a side effect of infertility. We are so used to being robbed that we don`t want to accept success. This fear was so intense for me that I didn`t truly believe in my pregnancy until very late, i.e., 30 weeks-ish. I also think that the loss of control that you talked about is very hard, especially for those of us who are used to taking the reigns. But, it is something that you should try and accept (as hard as it is) because after those two beautiful babies arrive you will have very little control! That was one of the hardest things that I experienced early on, and I think it`s one of the key things that contributed to my own emotional meltdown after bringing them home! For awhile, they will be the ones in charge - not you, nor your DH. You will have to learn to live by their rules for the first few weeks, and everything you once knew (your tidy house, your routine, etc) will need to be put on hold. So perhaps, as hard as it is, passing control over to your DH right now is a good trial of what is to come. I also believe that marriage is so very fragile, and my DH and I have had our own share of problems lately which I feel stemmed from the toll that infertility took on our relationship. My only advice would be to work on your relationship NOW while it is just the two of you. Once the babies come, keeping the lines of communication open is so very challenging; so try and work through your issues so that the foundation is strong when they arrive. That`s something that DH and I ignored while I was pregnant...until now. I guess we hoped that the babies would magically repair any breaks in our relationship, but what happened was just the opposite. It intensified them. We are working through it all now, and are on the right track, but it is that much more difficult with two babies vying for our attention! Anyway, wishing you all the best in the coming weeks. Take good care of yourself, and keep cooking those little babes!
Dec 31 2009 04:40 PM
Thanks to all of you for your support and excellent advice. DH and I are doing better this week and are more connected than ever since the Boxing Day Meltdown!

I am 25 weeks today, and trying to focus on celebrating the milestone.

Thanks to all of you; what a wonderful community this is.

Happy New Year!


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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
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Me: 40, DH: 45, TTC: 2 years, Issue: Male factor (morphology, count, motility and agglutination) and my age

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