Dream Company Anxiety

I’ve been all out of sorts this morning. Irritable and jumpy and tears lurking close to the surface. At first I thought it was because we stayed up too late watching Orange is the New Black (NSFWish), and I was just tired. And then I thought it was because I was waxing philosophical in my mind about my former life of drugs, sex & rock ‘n roll (“It was actually kind of glamorous in a way….JESUS, Sarah. It was HELL. Please take the idiot stick out of your ass and remember how brittle and cruel you life was back then”). Orange is the New Black has really gotten to me, apparently.

And THEN I realized it has to do with Tammy and her job situation. Tammy is extremely talented at what she does, and is highly sought after. The job she currently has is prestigious, and she’s being head-hunted by other, even more prestigious companies. About 6 weeks ago, she heard from her Dream Company. They had seen her resume and wanted to interview her. So she had an interview and then never heard back. We had kind of assumed that was it, and (I at least) more or less wrote them off.

Until last night, when Tammy got an email saying they would like to move forward with a second interview (this company apparently has many, many interview rounds).

If Tammy got a job offer, it would probably be a GREAT job offer. One that would be difficult to turn down. It’s the kind of place where, in Tammy’s field, if you work there you can write your own ticket afterword. A good analogy: if you work in politics, the dream  is always to work at the White House. And if you’re lucky enough to do that, once you leave the White House you can pretty much pick who you want to work for. You’re set. Same idea here (although vastly different fields).

So why am I unsettled about this, you ask? Dream Company, moving forward with a potential job for my wife?

Taking a job with Dream Company would mean probably moving, potentially across the country or around the world. The Dream Company does have an office in our city, but I don’t think they do the type of work Tammy does at that location.

It would also mean giving up my job. I don’t love my job, but it is a job that I’ve been at for over three years. It’s stable, and I contribute to our household bottom line in meaningful ways (although Tammy does make more, and would likely make considerably more at Dream Company).

And it would also mean giving up our support system, right before we have a baby. When Tammy and I discussed finding a way for me to stay at home with the baby, I always envisioned that being in the context of the city we know and love, surrounded by friends and family to help and give advice and babysit.

I can’t imagine myself, unmoored in a new city, with a new baby, and unemployed for the first time in my adult life.

You know that old saying, “be careful what you wish for”?

And that other saying, that even an atheist like me can recognize for its truth: “humans plan, God laughs”.

We’re still a long way off from any kind of job offer. And then, if/when a job offer is made, we’d have to sit down and seriously look at all the factors. But, given my dream of having a baby, how could I deny Tammy her dream of working for this company?

A lot to think about, ponder over, and worry about in the weeks to come.

Nuchal Translucency and Facebook

We had our nuchal translucency scan this morning, and it went swimmingly. The neck measured at 1.something, which is good (they want to see less than 3, although the tech told us most Down’s babies measure closer to 6). We saw the nasal bone (also good because Down’s babies often don’t have a nasal bone at this point). The abdominal organs are almost all in the abdomen now, having migrated from the umbilical cord. The heart was beating at 161. We saw two hemispheres of the brain. Saw a genital nub, but it’s too early to tell if it will grow larger into a penis or shrink into a clitoris. We saw little webbed hands, and wee tiny feet that waved and kicked.

Because I’m still under 30, my risk of trisomies was low to begin with, but now it should be even lower with the reassuring scan.

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Most of us know how hard it is to be ambushed by Facebook announcements, especially as they seem to come in groups, just after your latest BFN or right around the due date of a miscarriage. Facebook has impeccably shitty timing.

For a long time I promised myself if I was ever lucky enough to get and stay pregnant, I would just skip the cutesy/smug Facebook brag. (And side note here, getting pregnant does not, at least for me, make me like the announcements any better. Seriously, y’all. You’re fecund. We get it. How marvelous for you, etc. Shut up with the beribboned, sparkly announcements)

But now I find myself trying to figure out how to let people know what’s going on in our world. We’ve told our families and close friends, but I do want some way to let less close friends know, many of whom are scattered around the world. I considered phoning (don’t have most people’s numbers, and hate talking on the phone) and email (ditto on not having many emails, and that seems kind of cold, no?) and have come full circle to Facebook. Dammit, Facebook is friggin convenient. How annoying.

But I need help figuring out what to say. I obviously want to be as sensitive as I can to those struggling, and I’d like to acknowledge our own struggle to get where we are. I’m considering the following, but would appreciate any insight, recommendations, edits, additions, etc.:

“Tammy and I are absolutely overjoyed to announce we are going to have a baby. We are so grateful to our doctors, nurses, and embryologist for helping us get this far. Below is a picture of our embryo at 5 days past fertilization, and our fetus at almost 13 weeks gestation. I am due in January, and we cannot wait to meet our little one.

And with the announcement, post a side by side picture of the day 5 blast with our most recent scan.

One final note, those friends/family members that I know would react to the announcement with complicated feelings have been told already, via the medium we thought would be easiest for them.

Thoughts? Skip the pictures? Or skip the embryo picture but include the fetal scan? What would you want to see, and not want to see if you were reading my page?

9.5

Hi, my name is Sarah. It’s been 12 days since my last ultrasound. [Hi, Sarah.]

I’m 9 weeks, 5 days today. I vacillate multiple times a day between joy that I’m pregnant and fear that the b-b-b-baby is dead.

I’ve been feeling physically better since my post a few weeks back. My doctor recommended I take vitamin B-6, and it seemed to help. I also stopped taking my prenatal vitamin, at least for the time being, as it increased my nausea and caused crippling constipation. In the next few weeks I’m hoping to ease back on to it; I know it’s important.

Care to indulge me in a little game I like to play? It’s called, “Is the Baby Still Alive?” To play, we run through my symptoms at any given moment. Here, let me show you:

-Nausea has decreased dramatically. Could definitely be +1 on the Dead Baby side, but could just be a result of the B-6, lack of prenatal vitamins, and time. Let’s call this one a wash. (but secretly I always count this on the Dead Baby side.)
-Bo.obs have grown 2 cup sizes. +1 on Live Baby side.
-Food Cravings and aversions noted. Could be +1 on Live Baby side, but also could be just in my head.
-Tammy says I have a “glow”, but I call bullshit on that one. In punishment for her (sweet) lying, I’m putting +1 on Dead Baby side. Because the universe is a bitch.
-Peeing a LOT – waking up multiples times a night. Also very thirsty. Could be +1 for Live Baby, but it’s also summer, so it makes sense that I’m drinking more. Ok, I’m feeling generous, so I’ll give this to Live Baby.
-Bought maternity clothes. Definitely a +1 for Dead Baby.
-Toilet paper checks come up clear every time. +1 for Live Baby.
-LOTS of twinges, pains, cramps, twitches, pulls, stretches, etc in the abdomen. +1 for both Live and Dead. Could go either way.

OK! Let’s tally the score! One plus one plus one, times eleventy, carry the fuck, and you get a win for Live Baby. Unless you count the secret point for Dead Baby and then it’s a tie.

Damn, I wish I could have another ultrasound. I feel like sending an email to my fertility clinic, begging for a fix. I’ll take my pants off in the waiting room! I’ll have Tammy do the ultrasound! We’ll clean up after!

My next scan is July 12th, with my (gulp) OB. I’ll be 11 weeks (in theory). My biggest fear is being told it’s been dead for days or weeks. I’m not sure why a missed miscarriage seems so much more terrible than a regular miscarriage, but to me it does. Don’t misunderstand me, either would be absolutely devastating. Maybe It’s a control thing? With a regular miscarriage the cramps and bleeding would give you some kind of warning, no? Not that it would be less terrifying to look down and see blood than it would be to look on an ultrasound screen and see…nothing, but…oh shit. I don’t know.

Hi, my name is Sarah. It’s been 12 days since my last ultrasound. [Hi, Sarah.]

ln Which We Tell People

Tammy and I had decided after our 6.5 week ultrasound we would tell family and close friends. While half of me remains scared that telling people will jinx everything, the other half longs for normalcy in this decidedly un-normal process. So we told people.

A bit of background here: my family is incredibly supportive of me and Tammy, and gay rights in general. I have three family members (that I know of) that are LGBTQ, etc. etc. 1)I have a gay cousin, (on my dad’s side) who’s been out since he was born basically. 2)Supposedly I had a great-aunt (sister to my dad’s father) who one day announced she would no longer be known as “Margaret”, but “John”. And the family, oddly enough for that time and place, just kind of went with it. I guess when you’re isolated in a tiny holler in the West Virginia mountains, you deal with the family you get without too much fuss. And 3)my mom’s sister told her that growing up she strongly identified as a boy, rather than a girl. And that she’s bisexual. So basically, my family is responsible for more than our share of gayin’ the place up. YOU’RE WELCOME, FUNDIES.

However, on Tammy’s side…Tammy grew up in an extremely conservatively Christian household. Think Jesus Camp. She is the youngest of five siblings, and when her parents divorced and dad remarried, she got three step siblings in the deal. Interestingly enough, only one of her siblings still maintains that “lifestyle” (oh yes I DID call it a lifestyle) but they all possess, to a certain degree, holdovers from their upbringing that affect their relationship with and reaction to us (and all that comes with us). Shockingly, all but one sister, one step-sister, and one step-brother came to our wedding (the sister that maintains the “lifestyle” and two step siblings that aren’t that close and/or couldn’t afford to travel up here for the wedding). Even her dad and step-mom came, though they sat in the back and her dad promised to be “miserable” the whole time. Thanks for coming, asshole!

ANYWAY, (God, could I stretch this intro out any longer?) we were a little apprehensive about the reactions we would get from Tammy’s family. But, for the most part, we were pleasantly surprised. Tammy’s dad had clearly been coached, and did his best “gee golly shucks, that’s just wonderful! Jesus loves ya, kids!” which is basically how the baby Jesus has told him to respond to everything (baby Jesus doesn’t like anything unpleasant, don’t you know). Tammy texted one brother (wife to the pregnant “V”, who I haven’t spoken to since she stomach bumped me at the wedding in April). He texted back: “congrats,” and that was it. She called the other brother on Father’s day, which may be why he responded, “well, congratulations, I guess, dad”.  Cue eye roll. Tammy’s mom and sister number 1 were both told while we were undergoing IVF, so they were told of the resulting pregnancy earlier, to mostly positive results.

The only really negative response we got was from the sister in the “lifestyle”* Her two kids had just gotten back from summer camp (not unlike the camp in Jesus Camp, I imagine), and she was in a good mood. Tammy broke the news to her by modeling the reaction we were looking for (“[sister], we have some great news. We’re really really excited to let you know that Sarah’s pregnant. You’re going to have a new little niece or nephew in the January!”). Lifestyle sister was silent for a good 90 second count, before bursting out with “well how did that happen?!” If I was quicker on my feet, I would have told her it was a miraculous conception, but I do try to keep my asshole tendencies in check. Somewhat. Tammy muttered something about IVF (for which she received a whack, because we’re so not going there with this sister) and I tried to drown her out by talking about a donor. Honestly, I’ve never heard Lifestyle Sister so shocked and unsure of herself. She got off the phone quickly, after telling us she would be praying for us. But to do what, I’m not quite sure. I suspect she isn’t either. Tammy said her reaction is typical, because for her, gay people simply do not have kids. Children are something the Lord gives to straight people.

JL OK

This sister not only didn’t attend our wedding, but likes to pretend it didn’t happen entirely. We were told not to send her an invitation or any pictures. And now that it’s a done deal, she will literally get up and walk out of the room, often taking her children with her, if our wedding is brought up, even in passing.

Here’s the thing: I can handle her being a bitch (but a bitch in a Christian, Lordy way, obviously) to me, and to Tammy. It sucks that she is the way she is, but we’re big girls. We can take care of ourselves – and I have no problem giving her a piece of my mind if the situation warrants. But a baby? No. A baby is innocent. She can ignore the fact of our marriage if that’s what gets her rocks off, but she cannot, let me repeat that, cannot, ignore our child. Our child is going to be a member of her family, like it or not. The second she makes my child feel any less than is the second we have a serious, serious problem. I don’t even really know what I would do in that situation, but given her reaction, and her behavior surrounding our wedding, I feel like I should be prepared.

Since I can’t think of a way to finish this blog post and I have to get back to work, I leave you with this picture of the pirate, taken at 8 weeks gestation. I don’t have another ultrasound until June 12th, with a regular OB. Sob.

8 weeks
*I’m getting way too much of a kick out of calling it her lifestyle. Seriously, I’m five. And petty.

Hope, or Something Like It

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

– Emily Dickinson

Blue Bird feather

Some days I think it will never happen. That it will never come true. That’s I’ll never see the second line again, or it will never go past a few weeks. Sometimes, a tiny voice, barely more than a whisper, tells me to give up. To stop trying. That it isn’t meant to be.

And other days I’m filled with Hope. Emily D. describes Hope as a thing with feathers “that perches in the soul”. In my mind, Hope is like honey. Sticky and thick, it oozes into the nooks and crannies of your soul, rather than perches daintily.  And like honey, Hope is almost impossible to fully clean up, wipe off, get rid of. I’m always thinking that this vitamin is IT! Or this shot will do the trick! Or this procedure! Or this new donor! But it never is.

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I’ve been kind of down the last few days. I don’t know if it’s the weather (crappy) or the birth control pills (still barfy) or just the feeling that I’m sitting still while the world races on without me. I think that the birth control pills are contributing to my sense of stalling out. At least with the injections and the blood work and the office visits I feel like I’m DOING something. I’m actively WORKING toward having a baby. Being on birth control pills goes against every instinct I have, and my sub conscience is screaming at me.

My parents sent me a card this week.

photo

The inside reads:

photo (1)

Here’s Hoping.

blue bird

Metaphors for Life

We were supposed to get snow yesterday. Everyone in the city was excitedly freaking out about it, making their little plans, filling up their gas tank, and buying the requisite milk, bread and toilet paper from Giant or Safeway.We haven’t had more than an inch in over two years, so people thought this was IT! The Big One! Finally our snow deficit would be filled!

Every single weather station in town was predicting at least a few inches, and most predicted upward of that. Maybe even 10 or 20 inches! And the suburbs might get two feet! The snow was supposed to start overnight, depositing the first inch or two, and then continue to snow all day Wednesday which would lead to the big accumulations. I woke up Wednesday to almost all schools and business having closed, including mine. Even though there was only a dusting, I was reassured that the weather reports indicated a slow start, but it would happen! Any minute now! Conditions would deteriorate rapidly! Don’t forget to check in on your elderly neighbors!

Given the build up, I guess you can see where this is going. No snow. It was just too warm for the snow to stick, and eventually even the snow gave up and switched over to rain.

Someone posted this picture to a local weather blog. It’s a couple of kids trying to sled on a snowless hill.

No Snow

When I saw it, my heart broke in a million pieces. Those poor kids had been told by everyone they trusted (parents, teachers, the weatherman) that they were getting snow. Older siblings talked up the wonder of snow angels and snow ice cream. Friends with half recalled memories bragged about the snowmen they built, and predicted how many days they would get off school. They just KNEW it was going to happen, and they couldn’t wait! And then, when it didn’t happen they way it was supposed to, they fought through their disappointment and went sledding anyway, goddamn it. Which is about the saddest thing in the world to me. They wanted it so badly they would do anything to keep the illusionary hope alive.

Alright, we’re not really talking about snow anymore. But you knew that, right?

Negative*

*Not a picture of my own test. I stole this from the internet because I forgot to take a picture of mine this morning. The way I stole the above picture of the kids sledding from a weather blog. My fertility sucks and I don’t credit images from google properly. Out of fucks to give.