Thoughtful Thursday: Emotion

October 15, 2009

Quick health/baby update before we begin Thoughtful Thursday: I am feeling better and better every day; the percentage of the day in which I feel Human has gone from 0% for several days post-birth to 80% today. The Burrito and The Tamale are developing incredibly well — so well that we’ve been discussing discharge with the NICU team. Looks like just a few days until they come home!

Thoughtful ThursdayToday’s topic follows from a question I submitted (and then subsequently answered myself) for this week’s Barren Bitches Book Brigade on It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather B. Armstrong of dooce.com. Since only a few people participated in the book club, I’d like to open the topic up for discussion more broadly.

On your blog, how much emotion do you express? Is that more or less emotion than you tend to express in real life?

From my BBBB post:

In real life, I am very guarded with emotional expression. On BabySmiling, I am considerably more expressive.

For years I have enjoyed Dooce’s monthly newsletters about her daughter. They combine snapshots of Leta’s growth, snarky humor, and pure love. I think that I will be comfortable expressing emotion directly to my children, but it feels strange to think of writing emotional public newsletters under my real name for friends and family (and strangers) to read. Do I save the emotion for BabySmiling, even though it goes against the mandate of the blog as an infertility blog? Do I write the letters privately? Do I remain guarded and let the emotions go undocumented? Probably not the latter, but I’m still figuring this one out.

To elaborate on what I wrote earlier this week…

I have never felt more emotion than in the past couple of weeks. Part of it is attributable to fluctuating hormones, sure. Some is attributable to having babies, the same as anyone. But a big part has to do with the realization of 7 years of infertility plus months of more-difficult-than-usual pregnancy. I am so filled with love, but there’s also a good measure of disbelief, overwhelming retrospective sorrow, hope, worry, wonder… And there you go. I am expressing emotion here on this blog. Emotions which most likely will never be expressed anywhere else, certainly not in writing.

I just don’t see myself writing gushy love letters to my babies under real name for my friends and — gah — family to see. But I am feeling that gushy love, so where do I put it? Here, where I never set out to mommyblog? Some sort of BabySmiling annex? Privately, for only my babies to see someday? I didn’t have an answer on Tuesday during BBBB, and I don’t have one today.

On your blog, how much emotion do you express? Is that more or less emotion than you tend to express in real life?

Note: Here is the birth story people have been requesting. It also involves a major infertility turning point. And, it is very long — you may want to grab a snack and get comfortable.

So it looks like the magnesium did its job.

Recap: A week ago Tuesday, rehospitalized at 33w0d due to further cervical dilation (5cm). Given another course of steroid shots for the babies’ lungs, and put on mag to hold off labor until the steroids could take effect. Tuesday night, had lots of very strong contractions (up to 7/10 pain level, which is almost unheard of for me) 4 minutes apart, but cervix didn’t change further.

Wednesday, contractions slowed then stopped. No notable contractions or cervical change through Friday morning when mag was discontinued.

Friday morning, mag is stopped. Friday morning and afternoon, no contractions. Lower back, which has been hurting steadily for quite a while, starts hurting more.

Friday early evening, contractions resume. Not wanting to be deprived of food and drink for no reason, as I had been on Tuesday night for half a day, I decide to eat my dinner first then report contractions. The model patient rebels a bit. Hungry + thirsty + contractions = crankier than I intend to be.

I ate dinner, then reported the contractions. Monitor showed contractions 4 minutes apart. They weren’t as painful as those on Tuesday (more like 5/10 pain), but I definitely felt them. Cervix still at 5cm.

Throughout the past month+, DH had slept in my hospital room only the first night of each hospitalization, then visited during the day every 2 or 3 days. Most recently, he’d slept over on Tuesday night, left on Wednesday, then hadn’t returned until Friday night. He thought that the discontinuation of mag was as good a time to stay over as any, because I was at higher risk of delivering. This would be the first time he’d voluntarily slept in the hospital with me. He worked late on Friday and arrived well after dinner and the start of contractions. Because my cervix was unchanged, “contractions! come here right now” became “finish your work, see you later.”

He arrived, we hung out for a few hours, and we decided to go to bed around midnight. We wanted to watch a bit of TV before going to sleep. Halfway through the show, I had to pee.

I peed.

Then something else started coming out. Something pink. Something that was not urine.

The nurse and resident quickly concluded that it was amniotic fluid. Baby A’s water had broken. Fluid continued to trickle then flow then pause then trickle then flow over several hours — such a bizarre feeling. How much fluid could there possibly be in one amniotic sac?

Previously, the perinatologist had told me that further cervical dilation would buy me a quick c-section, but that breaking my water at 5cm dilation would buy me an even quicker c-section. Once my water had broken, urgent could become emergency very quickly. (Remember this part.)

DH packed up my room and we were whisked away to Labor and Delivery.

They said that the resident and attending were occupied with another birth, but that we’d deliver soon.

We waited.

My contractions got stronger and closer together.

We waited.

Stronger and closer together.

We waited. What the hell?

A second vaginal birth jumped the queue. Hmm, remember how my water breaking was supposed to constitute a near-emergency?

We waited. Both very sleepy, but it was no time to sleep.

Finally, with my contractions 2 minutes apart and extremely painful (no pain meds on board, some combination of my being a trooper and it being “any minute now”), the nurse announced that both births were finished. I didn’t get to the pushing part, but no one can ever say that my c-section didn’t involve full-blown labor. When contractions are 2 minutes apart, that means that it’s 2 minutes between the peak of each contraction. The respite between the end of one contraction and the start of the next was less than a minute. The limits of my iron pain tolerance were being tested and pushed to the limit.

Finally, it was time. I headed to the OR first for anesthesia while DH was asked to wait. The anesthesiology resident attempted to place the spinal in the midst of my almost constant contractions. Just sitting up in the right position was reeeeally difficult. I got seriously pissed when I heard the anesthesiology attending tell the resident, “You blew the space.” I remembered reading that nowadays, the dreaded spinal headaches are rare and usually only happen if they keep blowing the space and have to do multiple sticks. Luckily, the second try worked. If he had blown it a second time, I was prepared to tell the resident he was incompetent and should step aside. I was also prepared to tell him that I liked the other two anesthesia residents I’d met before much better, and that he was ugly.

With the spinal in place, they started to prep me, and I lost track of the dozen people in the room. I’d never met the OB attending before, but I knew the OB/MFM resident well.

Eventually DH joined us in his gown, shower cap, and mask. He is not the type to peek behind the curtain, but he could still see plenty.

More than 3 hours after my water broke, the babies emerged quite quickly. A, the boy, Burrito, came first. He had the most fabulous loud cry. They showed him to us, and he looked big and perfect. A real baby. A real baby! The neonatologists went to work on him, but not much was needed. From the first moment he was breathing room air and was just perfect.

B, the girl, Tamale, came two minutes later. Her cry was weaker. They bagged her, but she seemed to be doing okay. Also a real baby. We had two babies! All of my Dead Baby Thoughts had been unfounded, and all of the fears of severe prematurity at 26w and 28w had not come to fruition. They were alive, and apparently healthy, and so beautiful.

From my vantage point, I could see Burrito’s station very well, but couldn’t see Tamale. DH was able to see Tamale quite well, as well as some of what the doctors were doing to me. As the doctors started to work on putting me back together, I was so grateful to be distracted with views of Burrito and DH’s reports about Tamale. When I met with the neonatologist at 29w, he’d said that they might immediately whisk the babies away. The fact that the babies were still in the room seemed like a very good sign. It exquisitely seemed like forever, but was about 10 minutes, that I just watched the hustle and bustle and caught glimpses of my baby. DH, despite declaring years ahead of time that he wouldn’t feel comfortable, cut both of their cords. I was proud of him.

According to the time stamp on the photos, 13 minutes after Burrito’s birth, they brought him over to me to look at and touch for a few moments — longer than I was expecting. Was this really my baby? I knew they hadn’t smuggled any babies into the OR, and there were witnesses who saw these babies come out of me, so they must be mine. After I touched and kissed Burrito, DH held him for a minute. They said that Tamale wasn’t ready to be held, but that we could see her soon in the NICU.

Meanwhile DH could see the activity level around my abdomen growing.

Here comes the part relevant to infertility.

The babies were still in the room and I was still wonderfully distracted when the OB attending interrupted. In a very calm but clear voice (thereby telling me that the situation was serious but that he was trying not to freak me out), he said:

BabySmiling, we need to talk about what’s going on. We’re trying to finish up, but it’s not going as planned. B’s placenta was what’s called accreta. Her placenta is attached very deeply to your uterus, and it is so deep that it even goes beyond the uterus. This is very rare, but it is more common with multiples. We have been trying to remove the placenta and control the bleeding, but it’s not working. We may need to do a hysterectomy. This would mean that you couldn’t have any more children. We will try everything we can, but right now it’s looking like we will need to remove your uterus. You will still have your ovaries, so you won’t go into menopause, but you won’t be able to have more children. You have also lost a lot of blood, so we will need to transfuse you.

Here is the golden moment when 7 years of infertility came to a head.

DH and I looked at each other. In one split second it felt like three things occurred as we made eye contact: taking in what the doctor said, asking the other’s opinion, and simultaneous agreement. It felt like we both shrugged with our eyes. Here is what went through my head.

  • Oh. Wow.
  • Hey, it’s like Abby on ER. She lost her uterus during childbirth too.
  • I guess this settles the conversation about having more babies.
  • It’s fine, I can live with that. At least we don’t have to use contraception, and I never have to wonder or take a pregnancy test or cry over a BFN.
  • This will make a really good blog post.
  • Huh, I bet most people would be really upset right now. Abby on ER was really upset, even though she didn’t want that baby in the first place. I’m fine with it.
  • DH looks fine with it.
  • Those pesky placentas! First A’s was previa, and now B’s is accreta.
  • Technically I could have more children via surrogacy, but I know what the doctor means.
  • No surrogacy, these two are enough.
  • Thank G-d the babies are okay. They both seem to be doing so well!
  • Little does he know, even if I have a uterus I probably can’t have more children.
  • I’m so glad the babies are still in the room for me to have something to watch while this goes on.
  • The doctor probably wants an answer.

The way it looked to everyone else: Doctor finishes speaking, DH and I look at each other, and we both say something to the effect of, “Whatever you need to do.”

The doctor said, “Thank you.” In my mind, the unspoken full sentence was, “Thank you for not freaking out like most people do, thank you for not making my job harder while I’m trying to do this, and thank you for not requiring me to convince you that this is the only way to save your life.”

My little distractions weren’t in the room long, and they soon went upstairs to the NICU.

The doctors kept working, and the anesthesiologists started getting really busy.

DH made a joke/offer about the transfusion being convenient because he is a universal donor, and rolled up his sleeve.

I asked him to tell me everything he remembered about the babies to keep me busy, and to show me the photos he’d taken.

DH, normally rather squeamish, was quite fascinated as the surgeons worked and told them as much. “This is so cool!” “From a medical standpoint, this is so interesting.” Usually I would be the one filled with intellectual curiosity for my own surgery. We weren’t entirely ourselves that day, in lots of ways.

DH didn’t tell me at the time because he didn’t want to alarm me, but there was a lot of blood. He later said that it seemed like an awful lot of blood, between the huge tub of suctioned blood and the giant puddle of blood on the floor that everyone kept having to step around. No one ever mentioned the word hemorrhage.

Later, DH asked how much blood I’d lost, because he thought he’d heard an amount mentioned but it couldn’t possibly be that much. They confirmed that he’d heard correctly. I had lost more than 6 units. My loss was 2/3 of the normal human blood volume, though because blood volume increases during pregnancy and even moreso during twin pregnancy my percentage was lower, closer to half of my total blood. That is still really a lot.

With a spinal, you don’t feel pain but you do feel “pressure.” The pressure got stronger. The way they were throwing my body parts around felt a lot like Thai massage.

Eventually the doctor said, “The bleeding is slowing down. We tried [a drug whose name I don’t remember] and it worked. We aren’t going to transfuse you right now, and it looks like we won’t need to do a hysterectomy.”

DH asked, “Is that drug commonly used for placenta accreta, or did you just try that drug on a whim?”

Everyone laughed.

As the doctors continued to work, they started talking to us more. Several times, DH or I made them laugh quite a bit. I don’t think either of us was trying to be funny.

The OB attending said that it was lucky that B had been breech and required a c-section. If I’d had a vaginal delivery, the bleeding would have been harder to control, they might not have had time to open me up, and I might have died.

After a while, they were done. With all the genuineness I could convey, as they were wheeling me to recovery, I told the doctor, “Thank you so much.” Thank you for saving an organ that I probably have no use for but would have missed, thank you for doing such an incredible job, thank you for saving my life.

As they wheeled me out of the OR, I started feeling pins and needles in my legs. This meant that the spinal was wearing off and they had finished surgery just in time. If it had taken longer or if they had needed to do the hysterectomy, they would have switched to general anesthesia.

Recovery did not go so well. It was supposed to be “an hour or two” but ended up being more than 3 hours — among other things, we had to wait for a shift change in the NICU then in the mother-baby unit. In my altered state, I had it in my mind that I shouldn’t go to sleep because I needed to be alert when they wheeled me to the NICU to glance at the babies. I really should have gone to sleep. I dozed off here and there, but mostly I lay there being agitated.

The nurse appeared periodically to tell me it wouldn’t be long (sound familiar?) then would disappear for far too long. During that time, they had a post-op conference to discuss my case. A Morbidity and Mortality meeting, without the morbidity or mortality. A “here is what went right with this crazy case” meeting.

I was also terribly thirsty even though I was hooked to an IV for hydration.

And I was itchy, so itchy, from the anesthesia.

Unprecedented sleepiness + agitation + impatience to see my babies + thirst + watching DH eat and drink + itchiness + not knowing how much longer + severe nausea + almost dying = a bad combination.

I remember so much about the birth, but the NICU trip is pretty hazy. I thought I’d just get wheeled by each isolette momentarily, the way that a tour bus pauses to look at a monument, but we stayed in each room longer than I’d expected. They told us that the babies were doing wonderfully. Tamale had disagreed with their recommendation for breathing assistance and had pulled out her tubes, so she was breathing room air like her brother by the time we saw them.

The next days were a weird combination of highs and lows. I’ve already talked about the contrast at Show and Tell earlier this week.

To preempt an inevitable question: They didn’t transfuse me because the preference in that hospital on that service is to avoid transfusion below a certain very high limit. I was actually kind of glad that they didn’t, because even screened blood carries a certain amount of risk, but dealing with that level of blood loss has made the recovery much more difficult.

My next post will have pictures of both babies, as well as some processing of the events I’ve just told you about. This post is long enough.

Birth details (in metric or disguised to reduce Google-ability):
Born one week ago exactly (on Sat.) around 3:30 a.m. at 33w4d
Burrito weighed 2.15 kg, Tamale weighed 2.25 kg
Burrito was 47 cm long, Tamale was 44 cm
APGARs 8 and 9 for both
Off the charts in terms of being loved

Thoughtful ThursdayHappy October. No, really, I mean it.

Happy October! OctobeBabies!!!!

Here are the Intelligentsia (people who have commented on every Thoughtful Thursday post for the month of September). September was a busy month for Thoughtful Thursday, and it was an extra-busy month for several members. There are quite a few mothers of multiples this time around, including some who gave birth in the past month. Given my own current status, it seems appropriate to point those out (but kudos to all, including parents of singletons achieved through any means as well as those without children). This says to me that people with all sorts of similar experiences gather together, and it also says that you can’t keep some people away from blogs no matter what.

Wiseguy from Woman Anyone? continues her remarkable streak with 9 Intelligentsia appearances.

Ernessa from Fierce and Nerdy and Kristen from Dragondreamer’s Lair are both back for the 7th time; in the middle of Ernessa’s June Intelligentsia participation she gave birth to her daughter.

Jill from All Aboard the Pity Boat and Photogrl from Not the Path I Chose return for the 5th time.

Making her fourth appearance is Cat, non-blogger but mother of triplets.

Jules from Just Multiply by 2 is a twin mom, and Lost In Translation from We Say IVF, They Say FIV is a singleton mom who first achieved Intelligentsia status at 41 weeks pregnant.

Heather from Joys In My Life took time out from her twins and singleton for Intelligentsia appearance #2.

There are lots of new members. Long-time commenter, first-time Intelligentsia member Lori, a.k.a. Lavender Luz, from Weebles Wobblog; twin mothers Elana from Elana’s Musings and Stacie from Heeeeere Storkey Storkey; Jamie from Sticky Feet and Michele from My Life After Loss, who both gave birth to twins this month while also achieving Intelligentsia Status, and Carrie from Tubeless in Seattle, expecting to deliver triplets sometime in October (the later the better!).

Thoughtful ThursdayNow for this week’s Thoughtful Thursday topic. Skrambled recently had an interesting post about the reasons she writes her blog.

In my comment on her post, I wrote:

In addition to those, I’d say that I blog to connect to others with the benefit of a cohesive story and set of people. In earlier IF days I often read and considered message boards, but usually unless people are following a board closely, each post ultimately stands alone (plus the little signature at the bottom with all of the details of your cycles etc.).

One thing that really appealed to me about blogging is that you don’t have to retell your story over and over, that instead people follow along with you over an extended period (and I them). When I have read someone’s blog for a long time and feel like I know them as a person, their highs and lows are much more meaningful to me.

Sometimes this involves feedback/comments and sometimes none at all. Of course I love my regular commenters and I enjoy it when my lurkers show themselves, but I’m also happy to have lurkers who continue to lurk. Whether or not they’d get more out of the experience if they started participating in the conversation (which varies by person and is not for me to judge), if they’re getting something out of one-sided reading, mission accomplished.

This leads us now to another blogging-about-blogging topic, but one that we haven’t addressed on Thoughtful Thursday before: Lurkers.

As a blogger, how do you feel about lurkers? As a reader, when and why do you lurk? When and why do you delurk?

One feature that causes ALI blogs to accrue lurkers more than other types of blogs is the secrecy that often accompanies these topics. Many of us create pseudonyms with associated email addresses for our ALI life, but even so, people can find it difficult to comment on a blog and therefore out themselves (even if anonymously) as adopting, dealing with loss, or infertile — or some combination of those.

On the other hand, ALI blogging seems to engender more commenting than any other corner of the blogosphere that I’ve seen. Much of this is due to Mel’s efforts to encourage commenting through ICLW, LFCA, and the general atmosphere. Other types of blogs, even very widely read blogs, often receive few or no comments (except perhaps during National Delurking Week), but in the ALI blogosphere, the ratio of readers to commenters seems vastly higher than usual.

Which, therefore, means that the people who don’t comment can stand out in a way they wouldn’t for blogs on other topics.

To answer my own questions, as I said above, I am personally in favor of lurkers if that’s what they need to do. I also enjoy seeing them delurk when they think it’s time. Part of why I chose this topic now, aside from the related post on Skrambled, is that I have already experienced some delurking here recently, and expect to see more soon — perhaps when I have a birth announcement to make.

As a reader of others’ blogs, I am the opposite of a lurker. On many blogs I comment on just about every post, and on quite a few others others I comment on a fair number of posts. There are some blogs I follow where I comment less often, typically because the person is in a different place and I want to be sensitive to the fact that they may not want sympathy on a failed cycle from a pregnant woman (though if I’ve been commenting on the blog for a while, I often comment anyway). My commenting has gone down lately due to logistic constraints of horizontal typing during bedrest, but I don’t think there are any blogs that I read regularly (and there are a lot of them) where I’d consider myself a lurker. I do follow some as a Clicker for which I comment rarely but post news often, but that seems to be a different situation from regular blog reading.

And so, I can’t really answer the delurking question because I don’t lurk in the first place. I guess I used to lurk before I had a blog, but once I started my own, I tried to fully join the community, and I’ve never looked back.

As a blogger, how do you feel about lurkers? As a reader, when and why do you lurk? When and why do you delurk?

Pssst… hey, lurkers: now would be a perfectly fine time to delurk. Are you really going to lurk on a post about lurking? C’mon! Say hi!

Or, if you prefer They Might Be Giants to Alice in Wonderland, “It’s not my birthday, it’s not today!”

Last night was quite a night. I finally understand the contractions that people always talk about; all of my others have been silent or at least painless. This time they were 3-4 minutes apart for hours, and painful. If I consider them painful, that’s saying a lot — the doc estimates that my 5 out of 10 pain rating might be someone else’s 10 out of 10. My bizarrely high pain tolerance is sometimes unhelpful (as when I didn’t feel any contractions at all at 28w), sometimes handy. “Do you want pain medication for the contractions? We can give you the medication we give to women in labor.” Naah, 6 out of 10 pain I can take. The pill pushers (and IV pushers) don’t know what to do with me.

Somehow, despite many hours of full-blown contractions last night, my cervix stayed at 5 cm. And eventually the mag kicked in, and the contractions have stopped.

My reaction to the drugs is also blowing minds around here. With my first mag experience at 28w, I had plenty of side effects, but fewer than average. This time, almost nothing. It’s having the desired effect, but so far not the usual side effects. Vastly preferable to my reaction to fertility medications, where the desired effect was on the low side (except for Infamous IUI #7 in which I had enough follicles to set new world records for higher-order multiples) but I had plenty of bitchy side effects. All of the good and none of the bad on mag? Am I being punked?

The head perinatologist doesn’t think I’ll give birth today, or even tomorrow. I’ll stay on the mag for two more days, long enough for this round of steroids (first was at 28w when I was originally admitted) to take full effect, and then we’ll see what happens. If my cervix resumes dilating during or after the mag, we’ll just deliver.

Know what that means?

October! T minus 4 hours and counting.

In my mind, the plan to stay on mag for a couple of days is the doctors’ secret plot to get me to October. Of course I know it’s not, and DH thinks I’m obsessed with October, but a girl’s gotta have goals.

No matter how long it takes (very likely this week, but maybe at 34w, probably not beyond), I’m definitely having the babies here in this big hospital (>1 hour from home) instead of at the little hospital 15 minutes from the house. Now that I’m this far dilated, they won’t release me, and my regular OB won’t take me back! I feel more confident about the care for myself and especially the babies here, with a proper NICU and high-risk OBs/MFMs on the premises 24/7 for whom my case is no big deal rather than frightening.

As my bloggy friend Carrie (30.5w along with triplets) has been saying since August, “October or Bust!” At the risk of jinxing us, it looks like we made it!

Now I have to come up with a new goal. How about “as long as possible”? Or “any day that’s not today”?

33w: Milestones

September 29, 2009

When I was admitted to the hospital five weeks ago, I had a series of milestones in my mind that I wanted to achieve before giving birth.

Not August? Check.

DH’s birthday? Check.

Autumn? Check.

The Jewish New Year of 5770? Check.

Past the Days of Awe and Yom Kippur? Check. (Bedrest and hospitalization did not allow for Tashlich, so last year’s will have to do).

October? Hmm…

I’m back in the hospital at 33w. 5 cm dilated, having more contractions. Can these babies wait another 26 hours until October? I’ll let you know either way.

I’m not afraid for their health anymore. But I’m a little freaked out that after all these years, I’m finally going to meet my babies.

Put To The Test

September 29, 2009

[Pregnancy update for those who have been concerned due to my silence over the past few days: 33 weeks today. Still at home for now. As of yesterday, cervix dilating a bit more and Baby A’s head apparently can be felt through the cervix, so I have no idea whether birth is imminent, whether I’ll be back in the hospital tomorrow, or whether I’ll be able to come home after I see the perinatologist. I will post something in the evening so that I don’t leave anyone anxious with suspense.]

A year ago I wrote about an old friend of mine, one who is likely to struggle with infertility due to her medical history. I also wrote about how we’re no longer close enough for me to bring up such topics.

Today, after almost a year since our last contact, she emailed me, asking if anything was new.

Obviously, being 33 weeks pregnant with twins qualifies as news.

Here is my chance to practice what infertiles preach: the art of the gentle pregnancy announcement.

  1. Do I just tell her about the impending babies, and that’s that?
  2. Do I tell her about the babies with a subtle hint about the length of time we’ve been waiting, leaving the door open for her if she wants to talk about IF?
  3. Do I flat-out tell her how these babies came to be, and extend the hand of infertile friendship?

1 or 2 would be my natural inclination, but I wonder if the situation calls for 3.

What would you do if you were me? That is, what would you do if you were generally secretive and taciturn, but also trying to be caring and helpful to someone who was your close friend more than a decade ago but is now a very casual acquaintance?

Thoughtful ThursdayOver a year ago, Mel wrote a BlogHer post on the topic of purchasing baby items during post-infertility pregnancy. Many fertiles seem to run out and create a registry before the pee stick is dry. A lot of infertiles, on the other hand, are too fearful of something going wrong to make purchases, especially if they’ve experienced prior losses. In the comment section of Mel’s BlogHer post, Lori had a turn of phrase that I particularly liked: “Don’t buy until you see the whites of their eyes.” She didn’t buy anything at all until after the birth of her daughter.

Here is the progression of my thinking about buying baby items during pregnancy.

  • Too early
  • Too early
  • Too early
  • Hmm better start thinking about it; I’ll make a registry but I won’t show it to anyone
  • I’ll get a few things but it’s still too early to make major purchases
  • Let’s see what other people give us
  • Eek! I almost went into labor and we have none of the essentials!
  • I can’t very well buy things when I’m afraid of losing one or both babies
  • We’ve passed the danger zone, I guess we’d better get moving and stock up
  • What am I waiting for?

…which brings me to now. I actually might have put off major purchases even longer, but during the drive home from the hospital on Tuesday, DH declared, “The registry. We need to get going, now.”

I had basically nothing whatsoever for the babies (if you don’t count a couple of things I bought in Spain right after the first BFP like a mobile and a rattle) until the 4th month of pregnancy. I visited a Mothers of Multiples sale (just to scope it out) and bought a few clothes and a few toys at low low prices, but nothing big.

During the 5th month of pregnancy, I visited a close friend who is parenting twins after infertility. She gave me all sorts of hand-me-downs, mostly clothes. Suddenly I had full wardrobes for the babies’ first 6 months and partial wardrobes for the next 6 months.

Then I visited my mother-in-law, who heaped all sorts of garage sale purchases upon us. We rejected about half of what she bought, and we still filled up our entire car trunk and back seat.

Then came a CraigsList phase. I checked the listings many times a day. Via 4 transactions, I filled out the rest of the babies’ wardrobes for their first year, plus a few bigger purchases like swings and slings.

Suddenly the babies’ room, my home office (which essentially serves as a big filing cabinet), and the linen closet were filled with brightly colored plastic and cozy cotton. But still, I didn’t have essential items like cribs or car seats.

It was a little embarrassing when, on the day of my big preterm labor scare, both hospitals asked if I was “prepared” for the babies and I had to say no. Not that embarrassment was my biggest concern that day.

My fear-based procrastination was vindicated somewhat when I met with a neonatologist. He commended us for not having car seats yet, because we don’t know how much the babies will weigh and many seats are too big for preemies to leave the hospital. He told us not to buy car seats until the babies are born. We will probably buy them once the babies’ weights pass the minimum size for those car seats, hopefully in a couple of weeks.

Now, at DH’s insistence, the wheels are in motion. Apparently these babies really are coming, and with (most likely) less than a month to go, I’d better get ready. Family members have started picking items off the registry, and soon the babies’ room will be bursting with paraphernalia. Any procrastination on my part at this point is based on bedrest fatigue, not fear.

Does infertility/loss affect your attitude toward preparing for a baby’s arrival?