Childhood cancer survivor. That's the good news. Bad news? Chemo and radiation zapped my eggs leaving me infertile. Egg donors were found, several attempts were made and finally we were blessed with beautiful twin girls - born too early (21 wks, 5 days on Dec. 5, 2008). Hang out with me while we savor life with Big Baby Boy, who arrived via gestational surrogate on March 25, 2013.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Me and My Areolas
I know that some women love being pregnant. I know that others are absolutely horrified by what becomes of their bodies as other bodies grow inside of them. Can I just say that I am absolutely fascinated by all of it?
Not that I look at my dark, DARK areolas that seem to be infesting my entire chest and go, "oh man, that's hot." But I think there is something about witnessing the changes that occurred to my body through cancer and chemo and radiation and then (thankfully) watching my body recuperate and, for the most part, recover, that gives me a little bit of appreciative distance to these current events. Dark areolas are not nearly as traumatic as unintentionally pulling out clumps of hair.
For the first time in my life, my belly is a source of pride and wonder and not the "weakest link" of my physique. Gone are the days of clever wardrobe disguise and dressing so that eyes barely notice my midriff. Gone! Now, I will happily lift my shirt to any passerby. No, really.
Gone are the days when, "hey, you look like you've put on some weight," is worthy of a punch. I am still a little (just a little) concerned about the lack of my gut (shouldn't it be bigger by now?) so these words now get a heartfelt thank you.
I have no fear of stretch marks. I already have a ton from losing weight too quickly in the days of C. The addition of any more would be seen as things finally coming around full circle.
I should probably tone down my, "hey, have you seen my boobs lately? They're huge!" remarks. It seems that this causes some folks to blush and perhaps not everyone is as enamored with my new body shape as I am. (but they should be). I've noticed that the growth of my midriff and boobs finally put the rest of me into proportion. I rarely notice the flab on my upper arms that no amount of push ups took off or the fact that my butt is so, so flat. I have never been too obsessed with body image, but I can honestly say, for the first time ever, I love my body.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Dear Hanna Montana,
I'm wondering if you could do me a favor?
You've got a pretty nice run going on right now - movies, concerts, paraphernalia galore (based on what? I have no idea, but that's a topic for another day.) Anyways, I'm wondering if you could agree to enjoy this little stint while it lasts.
And then fade away into obscurity by the time my little girls are, let's say, three? I'm not asking for a spectacular lohan-esque meltdown or even a hubris-induced flame out. If you could just simply go away, that would be great.
You see, I'm just not down with your multiple-personalitied self, or the thousands of products that little girls seem to HAVE to have in order to be deemed worthy of being your fan. And frankly, I think being a little girl is tough enough without having to don a long blond wig at every sleepover you get invited to.
Perhaps, I'm speaking out of turn here. Maybe there are some valuable life lessons that you teach in your shows, concerts, whatever. But as an outside observer, the only message I am taking away from your shtick is that in order to be successful and still keep your pals, one has to be engaged in an elaborate act of trickery, disguise and an ultimate hiding of one's true self. And none of that translates into the kind of young women I hope my girls to be.
Dear, dear Hanna/Miley, please be gone in a few years. And please take the Jonas Bros. and the entire cast of High School Musical with you.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Muppets from Space
Contacted through my breakfast cereal and then confirmed to me by the cosmic fish...I am from outer space.
Sometimes I feel like Gonzo.
Not always. But every once in a while I get that nudge, that reminder. That feeling like in a sea of genes, in a long line of dominant traits and bloodlines, I am a little blip. Seemingly dropped at the doorstep. Origins unknown. With no ability to pass those pieces of myself along either.
Sometimes that's humbling. Sometimes these thoughts feel like the worst kind of hubris. Hey, I'm a one in a million! I could exclaim.
But aren't we all.
Sometimes I wish for a grand reunion. An easy search. Puzzle pieces falling into place, all leading me to one or both of my birth parents. It's not as if I landed in a bad place. My parents love me. H*ll, they adore me. And the support they have shown us ever since we shared our journey to bear children has been amazing. Eager grandparents-to-be is a grand understatement.
But every once in a while there is that desire to look into my cereal bowl or up to the heavens for some answers.
I think about beginning a process. Recently, my brother asked if I was at least going to go in search of my medical records in case we would need then for the seedlings, forgetting that their origins are also a bit unknown. To be honest, I did too for a moment.
What can I do to ease this longing? Will the seedlings have these same feelings? If they do, I will need to remember that this particular kind of curiosity and longing does not go hand in hand with rejecting the life, or family, or love that you have. It really does coexist.
And I have to remember that in the end, Gonzo doesn't run into the spaceship, into the open arms of people who share his nose, his personality, his love of cannons, people just like him. He opts to stay right where he is.
My life is here. This is my home.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Needless to say, he wasn't that cheery at the office and maybe even scared the nurse a little with his demeanor.
Other than that, the appointment was fine. Two strong heartbeats - one seedling seemingly annoyed by the pressure of the doppler since it kept squirming around as we tried to count the beats. Gained 4 lbs. since the last visit - "right on target" says the nurse. And when the midwife measured my lump we found it was expanding just above my belly button - a little ahead of schedule but totally normal since there's two in there.
No ultrasound today - we'll have to wait for the uberscan next Wednesday to be peeping toms.
Until then, my homework is to sign up for a prepared childbirth class, find a pediatrician and drink at least a gallon of water a day. The only thing that makes that last pill easier to swallow is my sweet new liter-sized SIGG bottle that we festooned with stickers from our visit to the Bonny Doon winery a few summers ago.
"You can pretend it's chardonnay!" says hubby.
You can laugh all you want, says me. But in fact, I was happy to see him crack a smile.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
What's that Sound?
What an understatement to say that music is an integral part of our lives. It is seriously something that I cannot imagine living without. I know that I secured the love of my sweetie through his perusing of my CD collection. (Ask him.) We can muse for hours on the merits of My Bloody Valentine, listen to every Pavement album back to back to back and still not decide which one is the best. We can entertain ourselves for hours in front of our computers in his office singing along to Belle and Sebastian or bring ourselves to righteous tears hearing Sizzla Kalonji.
But you know, not all of these artists are necessarily appropriate for young ears. Catch my drift?
I had that revelation as I was going for an afternoon walk the other day rocking out to The Clipse. Fabulous hip hop. Fabulous beats. Witty lyrics, but not really the words I want my little ones to know by heart by age 2, right? Does that mean I forsake all songs with "explicit lyrics" for now? Or keep on listening and just be on the lookout for "teachable moments" later on in life?
"Mommy, what does _______ mean?"
Um, er, um. Ask yer dad.
Am I being ridiculous for even worrying about this now?
I love the local music scene in our town and support the bands as often as we can. Thursday nights mean live hip hop around the corner at our "local." Weekends bring a mix of jam bands, garage, some countrified rock and more. But as I was listing off to my mom the number of concerts (minimum five, not counting the Thurs. hip hop shows) the seedlings have already been to in utero, she got one of those "oh dear, but..." looks on her face.
What, mom? Whaaaaat?
"Oh, well, you know exposing them to loud music and sounds now will probably make them cranky and hyper. Don't you know?"
Huh? Whuh? Says the lady that never went below double digit decibels to get a point across throughout my youth?
And FYI, I've actually heard the opposite. As in, acclimating your baby now to sounds they can expect to hear when they emerge makes them less freaked out when they do hear them IRL. For example, babies who hear dogs barking in utero don't go nutso when they hear dogs barking as infants. They get it. It's a familiar sound. As opposed to babies who have spent in utero all quiet, who are far more prone to let out a banshee scream at the first woofs they have even known.
So, if I have no intention of ceasing our kitchen dance parties when the little ones are here, shouldn't they get a little whiff of drum-n-bass now?
That being said, I am planning out a more mellow nursery mix that will hopefully stave off the commercialized baby gook for a while (I know, L. you don't have to say it. I understand it's inevitable). I think Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake make lovely lullabies, don't you?
Monday, November 10, 2008
Over the Hills and Far Away
The other evening, as I was making dinner and hubby was keeping me company, we were listening to Echo and the Bunnymen. Ok, maybe we were listening to me sing along to Echo and the Bunnymen at the top of my lungs. And hubby wondered out loud...
"Do you think they'll like cool music? How do you like the music that you like now?
Hmm. I'm not sure. As a kid, I can remember doing somersaults in my living room listening to Mac Davis and Neil Diamond, pulling wheelies on my Big Wheel singing out loud to the Charlie Daniels Band. The tastes of my parents do not seem to have translated to my own.
Hubby went a little further:
"What kind of music do you think you listened to when you were in the womb? Do you think the music your birth parents played had any part in the equation."
And all of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with this image of an awkward 18-yr old boy, holding his baby daughter in his arms, knowing that he probably would not win his case to keep her so spending every evening at the orphanage to capture the moments before her new parents came to get her...
Humming Led Zeppelin into her little ears.
"I think my birth dad sang Zeppelin to me," I announced to hubby. Based on nothing but my own dreams.
Oh dad. I do love Zeppelin. I do. And I think you'd be proud of what's become of me.
You really ought to know...
I really ought to know...
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This Moment Right Here
A few days ago I was twittering and saw that Sassy Cupcakes twittered this: Man on tv just said it's nearly Christmas. I want to punch him in the face.
I teased, but sitting on my balcony this beautiful autumn morning sifting through the stacks of Xmas adverts that were stuffed in today's newspaper had me feeling the exact same way. It's not nearly Christmas. It's not even close! Can't I just enjoy these gorgeous colors and dark blue fall sky just a little bit before I have to start thinking about holiday obligations? What is wrong with this moment. This moment right here? I put the paper away, took a few deep breaths and tried to refocus on what I should have been focusing on in the first place - the quiet of a Sunday morning spent with my sweetie capturing that last few warm days of fall.
And as we are want to do with a few quiet moments, I had a little revelation.
For the last couple of weeks, I've been immensely disappointed with the size of my belly. Sad that no one can really tell that I'm pregnant. Bothered that the reason I am tired or not game to go out isn't obvious to anyone asking. Maybe I've even been prone to sticking my gut out a little bit on purpose after comments like, "my gosh, I can't believe you're carrying twins!" And maybe, just maybe, I've been secretly wishing that these weeks would move a little faster so I could justify my growing stash of maternity duds and secret stash of chocolate in my desk drawer.
But what is wrong with this moment. This moment right here?
I feel great. And while the changes in my body might not be readily apparent to many, they are to me. My boobs are huge! My belly is firm (a feat unparalleled in my non-pregnant life, teases hubby), a linea negra is beginning to appear and damn if my feet haven't grown a size which is challenging when you are wearing size 10 boots to begin with. Why is it, that once you reach the size 11 aisle in most shoe stores, they assume you are a tranny or cross-dresser and stock accordingly? Yes, I need size 11 shoes. No, they do not need to be clear-heeled platforms thank you.
I am thinking that this is probably the golden period of pregnancy. Besides an obligatory bathroom break, which almost always occurs at 3 am, I sleep through the night. My legs get tired, but by no means has my mobility been disrupted. I can still fit into most of my favorite things and, as previously mentioned, now have no shortage of clothes to fill in for the ones that have taken a back row in my closet for now.
I am thinking that these moments will not last forever.
I have been fascinated by this pregnancy from the moment the two sacs appeared on the monitor. Overjoyed and a little awed at the changes taking place in my body and within our marital relationship. But that doesn't mean that I haven't been nagged by this constant, "this is cool, but I wonder what happens next" mentality which is similar to the thought process behind peddling Xmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile there is a perfectly wonderful pregnancy/autumn sky happening right in front of one's eyes.
Which I do plan to savor while I can.