Friday, April 15, 2011

One or Two?...well...yes it is

Add this one to the ever expanding list of This Is A Little Bit Different Than We Expected. Everyone (meaning the medical professionals who knows these things) told us that at this ultrasound we would know if we were having one or two babies. Well, it didn't exactly happen that way. So much for "One if by land, two if by sea"....I guess we're currently in one of those vehicles that can travel on water or over land.

When the doctor doing the ultrasound started out with "Here's the first embryonic sac," I braced myself. I mean, when someone starts out a sentence with "Here's the first...." you automatically think that there's another. So the thought that runs through my mind is (as my breath catches in my throat) "OK, two, we can do this." The first embryo was a beautiful 7mm long, floating in a lovely sea of amniotic fluid. There was a strong heartbeat that we could see, a little blip-blip-blip on the computer screen.

Then he went to the second embryo. He pointed out that it was considerably smaller, that it hadn't consumed it's "yolk sac" and that he didn't see a heart beat. He said that the remains of that embryo would simply be absorbed into the body. So I took another deep breath, "OK, one baby, beautiful, great, healthy!"

He went back to the first embryo and took a picture (already added to the growing stack). Then he went back to the second embryo, paused and said, "Oh wait! I think I see a faint heartbeat!" So here's my inner monologue, "Holy cow! OK, so is it one? Is it two? What the heck do we tell people? What the heck do we plan for? This is so so so weird. Seriously, completely, utterly, totally weird."

So the main story is, we have one fetus that looks very healthy. The heart is beating strongly, the size is good, and everything looks good. The other fetus is about two thirds the size of the first one with a faint heartbeat. At this point it could survive, or it may not. The medical professionals seem to be thinking that it won't survive, and that at the next ultrasound, in two weeks, we'll find that we have one healthy baby. But no one will make an absolute call on that. "It's too hard to predict," one says. "There's a slight chance it may survive," says another. And my brain says, "OK. Another two weeks wait to see what happens. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Repeat again. Repeat until you can wrap your head around this one."

It was an odd appointment to walk away from. We had gone down there thinking that we would have an answer, and, as so many medical things go, it's not quite black and white. So much for definitive ordinal numbers. So once again...we wait. For another 2 weeks to see what God has in store for our family. If nothing else, I'm learning how to wait and rest in Him, knowing that He has it all under control. Thank goodness!

Nonetheless, it was thrilling to see at least one healthy, happy baby, and to see our good friends, "Lisa" and "Leon." Speaking of "Leon" (the surrogate's husband) he had a very interesting exchange with a friend on the phone the other day. He was talking to a friend on the phone and mentioned that his wife was pregnant. The friend launched into a "Hey! Congratulations on number 3...." at which point Leon interrupted him and said, "No, no. It's not mine!" There was a pause on the other end of the line. It's an interesting journey for all of us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Interesting Feelings

It's interesting. One thing I had not anticipated was this acute sadness I am feeling. After spending time with a friend who is 3 months pregnant I came away with a longing to experience what she is experiencing, and an envy/jealousy towards our surrogate who gets to actually carry this pregnancy. The feeling grew even more this weekend when I spent time with a woman who is 7 months pregnant. We've been so focused on getting to this point of being pregnant and the ultimate goal of a child that I really hadn't anticipated this, and I don't quite know what to do with it.

I kind of feel like an involved and engaged bystander, but a bystander nonetheless. Everyone fawns over expectant mothers, asking them how they are feeling, telling them they're glowing and giving sage advice, wisdom and folk remedies on stretch marks. It's our pregnancy, sort of, in that it's our child, but I don't get all that part of being pregnant. And yes, I know I won't get sagging breasts, or morning sickness, or stretch marks which may all be a good thing, but I also don't get the joy of the sideways pictures taken of me every few weeks, or feeling the flutter of little feet and hands inside my womb or the knowing smiles from everyone I see, strangers and friends alike, that says, "I know what's up with you. What an amazing experience!"

In my philosophical moments I've been thinking about archetypal persona of what it means to be female, to be a mother. It's not exactly something Hallmark makes a greeting card for. It's not the 50s, there are so many acceptable roles for women other than homemaker, wife and mother. Nonetheless, when one talks about a 'Mother-To-Be' there is the image someone glowing with the anticipation of the life inside of them, the life that they get to support and nourish before the child is even born. What happens if you don't fit that image?

Maybe if the distance were shorter between our surrogate and us I would feel a bit more like I was experiencing the pregnancy along with her. It's nothing she's done or said, indeed she and her husband keep talking about this being "our" (Aaron's and my) pregnancy. And we've bought some children's books to create audio CDs of our voices reading to play to the as it grows child (and her children). And I bought her a "pregnancy" journal that I hope she'll keep so that I can later share that with our child. I feel like I'm doing everything I can to feel involved. But it's just not the same. I mean, let's face it, nothing about this journey is the same as most people's journeys toward parenthood. And I'm mostly ok with that. Mostly grateful that there is a way for us to become parents. Amazed that someone will join us on this journey and help us become parents. But, to be totally honest and transparent, every now and then I do feel that ache of wishing it were different...more like everyone else.