Monday, November 30, 2009

In which I am ashamed to admit that I was surprised by a negatvie

Our first cycle ended in a dazzlingly white HPT a week ago Saturday, and I was...well, I was let down and I was disappointed for a few hours, but then I was almost completely OK with it. At least the spinning and incessant wondering were put to rest. I was also, uncomfortable truth be told, a little surprised. In some deeply irrational corner, at certain times of day and in certain frames of mind, I had this unreasonable belief that it would work--just like that, hey presto!, one shot. I am not usually given to flights of fancy this ludicrous, but Josh's easy conception kept tickling me with the feather of unwarranted hopefulness.

So, we will press on with our low-tech "trying," and I will aim to establish a modicum of equilibrium instead of letting myself bob around in that turbid mental wave pool. That's my intent, anyway, though who knows where my head will be as I approach the next HPT.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Emotional pinball

There must have been something to be said for being in limbo, because since the unexpectedly sudden procreation attempts began a week and a half ago, I have been a disaster. I am unable to focus, unable to plan, unable to do anything except ride along with my emotions as they whirl like a thousand-color roulette wheel. Even my most mundane dreams have been infested with that unsettling lack of control that makes everything seem to be moving.

I am giddy! I am pessimistic! I am obsessed! Look at me--whee!

I had honestly forgotten how the simple possibility of it all can wind you up and spin you around and leave you teetering on a stilt in the middle of a neurotic kaleidoscope. Every potential outcome is reflected in shards and distorted like a funhouse mirror; I can almost hear the carney barking in the background.

On a more important topic, I was truly moved to tears by Julie's post this morning and immediately--full of this burning need to do something--located two volunteer programs in my area for those who want to help NICU patients. Unfortunately, with my schedule and lack of skills and experience, I do not qualify for either, so I am going with the cash approach for now--easier, if perhaps less immediately rewarding.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's like the internet is out to discourage me

It's galling, trolling the internet for statistics on getting pregnant over 40. I Googled in a frame of mind that I considered both realistic and hopeful, and found a vast, depressing world of disheartening, scary assertions. I can't quite bring myself to call them facts as it was hard to find primary sources, but they were reasonably consistent from site to site so I figure they're probably in the ballpark, if not exactly on the money.

I can't rouse the energy to properly footnote, but the gist is this:

  • At age 40, 90% of a woman's eggs are chromosomally abnormal
  • For a 40-year-old, 50% of pregnancies result in miscarriage
  • The risk of Down syndrome is five times higher at a maternal age of 40 than at 35; there is a twofold increase just between 38 and 40
  • Prenancies in which the male partner is over 35 are also at increased risk of Down syndrome
  • Parental age is linked to significantly higher rates of autism spectrum and pervasive developmental disorders
  • The risks of developing preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and other complications of pregnancy are significantly elevated after 40
  • Advanced parental age is linked to more distant relationships with adult children
  • Women over 40 are selfish, privileged idiots for wanting to have babies
  • We should have done our childbearing in our 20s like Real Americans

Gah. I feel like a failure already.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Out of the blue

Either Jeff has started reading my blog or he's developed some totally bitchen new psychic superpowers. Wednesday night, the very night I wrote that last post, The Decider made his debut.

"I think we should try to have one more."

Just like that.

I am both overjoyed and terrified.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Fuzzy-headed limbo

So, as though it hadn't been half a year since the last post, here I am, right where we left off.

I am still in an odd mental limbo, reproduction-wise. I can't stop wanting to be pregnant, baby dreams tickling at the edges of my thoughts as I go through my day. Sometimes I can even smell that heady new-baby scent. But then I also can't stop being vaguely relieved each month when my period arrives. To be clear, we are not actively trying, but I have these irrational moments of magical thinking in which, sure, why not, I could be pregnant even though it would be nigh-on impossible, followed by a little tug of anticipation and fear capped off by that odd half-relief when it's proved otherwise. Which is followed by a little aftertaste of depression, an underexposed print of the old misery each month brought before Olivia and Josh.

I used to be so certain of myself when it came to big decisions, and now I'm living in some kind of fuzzy fog-realm where what I really want is for someone else to simply tell me what to do. I want to shirk my responsibility and just wait for a clearly worded directive. For once in my life, I do not want to be The Decider.

Unfortunately, while the obvious candidate for Decider is Jeff, he is never one to simply say, This is the way it is and this is what we are going to do about it. His thought processes are too complex to distill into simple yesses and nos, and the pros and cons of another child are in so many shades of gray for us both that it seems impossible to form a clear picture.

Even fretting about this may be a preposterous waste of energy; I'm forty years old for heaven's sake, forty years old. This perceived choice may be completely illusory: What are the odds that I would be able to achieve another healthy pregnancy? (Seriously, what are the odds?)

And I'm not one of those forty-is-the-new-thirty women, with their toned legs, smooth skin and chic clothes. I was thirty-four when I started this blog and felt then like I was starting to deflate; the intervening years of children and career have not laid gently on me. I look forty and I feel forty and I have basically accepted it, crow's feet, pudgy thighs and all. I presume that my eggs have gone downhill right along with the rest of me.

I kept thinking that I would blog again once we'd made a decision, that I'd chart the next attempt to conceive or bemoan the end of my reproductive life. Maybe I still will, if I find myself able to make that choice instead of letting time make it for me. Maybe I won't be back here in another six months, still stuck in this timorous, seasick limbo.