Friday, September 11, 2009

Halfway there

Rainy gray days like today are meant for writing. Also a good cup of tea with creamy milk. It's also a day to remember. Today is 9/11 of course and being a New Yorker you always have to take pause and remember. I will never forget that morning, waking up and turning the TV on just to check the weather. It's always something simple like that. You intend on doing something so normal, so everyday, so boring and boom, you get slapped in the face. The two towers firing up the TV screen with their ailing billows of smoke. Tower one falls. "Holy fuck." We sat stunned, watching outside my window as the streams of people run up from the Wall Street area. Just as we were about to go outside, we turned to the TV screen. Tower two falls.

Life is crazy that way in that you never know what you are going to wake up to. One day those two towers were there, always a good tall visual aid to orient you if you were lost in the city, the next day obliterated. One day someone I loved was alive, the next day dead. One day I thought I was pregnant, the next day not anymore. I have to say I've had a lot of loss in my life since those towers fell. So I can say with great relief that I've been a rather boring blogger these days. I have felt like infertility and pain haven't been at the forefront of my mind. I am just living. What a lovely luxury to finally be able to do that knowing that I have a baby to look forward to with none of the physical ailments that go with it. It's like I am coasting on a boat and only when a fog horn blows or a seagull caws that I notice how far we have been moving. Today is like seeing a lighthouse. We are 20 weeks, the halfway mark. The rough waters I hope are really behind me.

The halfway point is always a breather - being able to look equally behind you and ahead of you. I never had that during all my IVFs. There was never a halfway juncture where you could measure how much more you needed to endure. You never knew when it was all going to be over. You never could breath and orient yourself to where you are in the process. There are no beginnings, middles, or ends when you are faced with infertility. It's just a constant sense of limbo. I remember feeling that so acutely and being enraged that I had to live my life with no lifeboats in sight.

So now that I am entering into the second half of this pregnancy, it's a funny thing to not be pregnant. I would be showing now and perhaps someone might offer me a seat on the subway and I might get asked by strangers how far along I am. But since I am physically no different than I was when I started this journey, I don't get asked anything. Nothing is offered to me and no one treats me any differently. But that's really all I can observe since I never have been big belly pregnant and therefore have no idea how life changes in terms of how the world treats you. All of my imagined ideas of how people treat pregnant women come from TV or sitting near a pregnant person. That's about it. So in some ways I really am not missing out on much. I have remained a strong believer in this whole pregnancy that ignorance is bliss. How can I miss something that I don't know about? I think my only twinge of sadness of not carrying the baby is simply being able to know his/her presence all the time. Also, people remember to ask you how you are feeling or are reminded that you are carrying life when they see you blowing up like a fat balloon. There is wonder to that, a protective impulse comes out of everyone when they see a big pregnant belly. I guess it's a primal reaction. Just like babies are soft and round and cute so you want to take care of them. That's what I am banking on since I won't really have a connection until that point.

So in just one week we will be traveling out to see A. and will do our big anatomy scan. That's made my radar perk up this week knowing that soon we will know if it is a boy or girl. Knowing that will give me some kind of compass for understanding what's ahead. I realize that in my coasting I don't have something inside me literally jabbing at my ribs reminding me I better get some books on how the hell to take care of a baby. When faced with the reality of this new helpless person arriving in our lives, I don't know anything about the instruction manual. I am like a student unprepared for the exam. So as soon as we find out the sex, and make sure all it's parts are there, I will go out and buy my first baby book (any recommendations would be greatly appreciated).

Again, what a lovely luxury to be speaking of new life when so many perished on this day.


Infertile In the City said...

Great post TABI - the half way mark! So fabulous, so happy for you.

Sarah @ When two becomes three... said...

This was a beautiful post from a beautiful Intended Mother. I truly missed that "unknown" pregnancy attention when we were expecting. I just recently blogged that I went to an event with our almost 8 month old and was swarmed by admiring onlookers. I can't tell you how much I appreciated that. I also understand the compass aspect of finding out your sweet babes gender. It's kind of like an emotional wake up call that your babes on the way.

P.S. You already are a great mother. You can read as many books as u're mind can handle but it really ends up being simple in the end. Don't discount your natural instinct and ability.

Congrats on your halfway mark!

FET Accompli said...

It's definitely a mixed bag of emotions when we reach the point where we would have started showing, if we ourselves were carrying our babes. Today I was on the subway and almost wanted to share the news with a passenger - "I'm 27 weeks execting twins!! Don't you see?!"

But of course, they don't see. We aren't able to have the spontaneous conversations because our bellies aren't conversation starters. But you are right, in certains ways it is a luxury not to be carrying.

Happy 20 weeks! Congrats on the halfway points!!

luna said...

wonderful post. love the lighthouse image.

it's strange expecting to become a mother but not showing any signs. after s/he is born, it won't matter that you didn't carry the baby yourself. you're still mama!

I agree so much of it is instinctual. at the same time it's nice to have some guides. you know everyone and their mother will have advice. but that can get old fast, unless you're asking for help...

I'd recommend "the baby book" by dr. sears. it's like a bible (though heavy on breastfeeding, it still has some really great reference info for at least the first year).

also, since you asked for assvice... you might consider either (a) taking a newborn care class (if you can find one and bear the preggos), and/or (b) hiring a post partum doula for a few days. I know it sounds funny since you won't have given birth, but you can learn so much from an expert about everything. plus a doula can help ensure that you get fed and rest too. very important.

so excited for you, tabi!

Sue said...

A pregnant belly is a good conversation opener, but it doesn't always make for good conversation! I hope those in your life who know what you're going through are being thoughtful and asking how you're doing.

You will figure out how to parent without reading a book, but now is certainly a good time to do your reading. I had little time or energy to read after the birth of my baby. My insurance company sent me the American Academy of Pediatrics Book, "Caring for Your Child From Birth to Age Five," and that was fine - not too much information, which was about all I could handle anyway.

Good luck to you - you will do great!

Dora said...

Congrats on the halfway mark. Looking forward to the results of the anatomy scan.

As for getting the seat on the subway, SOME WOMEN have gotten up for me, but mostly people purposefully look at their laps so they can avoid offering their seat. It's been interesting to experience.

Holly said...

Congrats! Your little miracle is thriving and growing and so are you!!!

If I lived near you, I would come pamper you for a day like I do my prego girlfriends...

As for the baby books...don't read too much, it will make you too paranoid. Luna & Sue's choices are the best books IMO also.

Motherly instinct is the greatest, and it is SOOO true, you are all ready a great Mom. Trust yourself, take a newborn class and everything else will fall in place.
Heck-the newborn class will give you an inkling of being a pregnant woman(if you can handle being around the bellies)!

peesticksandstones said...

Let me tell you, lady -- it's rare that anyone offers a seat to a pregnant lady on the NYC subway anyway. But I am impressed by how many folks offer me theirs when I'm wearing the baby on the outside, in his carrier on my chest.

Congrats, congrats on reaching this milestone. It's such a different experience beyond this point. SOOOO much to look forward to. I love Luna's recommendation about the Sears Baby Book, taking classes, etc. Infant CPR/Safety at LittleHearts in Chelsea was awesome.

Best of luck at the anatomy scan!

Shinejil said...

While it would be shitty to say you're not missing anything, the something you're missing doesn't seem to be the real heart of the matter: That will come when you hold your little one in your arms. That's the real deal, if you ask me.

I totally second the Dr. Sears' Baby Book and post-partum doula recommendations from Luna. They are spot on, and will both help ease the transition.

I am so excited for you!