Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I just can't leave this kinda stuff alone:

This gives new meaning to frozen sperm.

Whoa. I totally get where these people are coming from - after all, I'm the one who was considering freezing some swimmers so we could continue with our efforts even while DH was deployed (and yes, I'd have kept and used those bad boys even if the worst happened). I understand wanting to have your loved one's offspring no matter what. I'm all about saving and storing sperm or eggs in the event that they will be needed later.

.. but this seems a bit like a non-consensual donation to me. I mean, this man was deceased, he didn't ask them to remove his sperm and save it for later use. His parents went to court to get permission to use this sperm because he didn't ask for it.

I'm squicked out that the loved one in question here didn't plan this himself, or leave explicit instructions. Sure, they've proved that he wanted children... but if this guy's desire was to raise a child (as they've stated) that's not the same as just passing on his DNA.

I could be totally wrong here, and maybe leaving his genetic mark on the world was more important than being a father ... but I don't know too many people who want children who think that just procreating is the ultimate goal. It's all about being a parent. Not just about making a baby.

That, combined with the fact that his child will be carried by a surrogate, someone who was a total stranger to him in life, makes me question if this is right, if these grandparents are really following their son's wishes... or just carrying on with their own dream at his postmortem expense.

What do you think?

Monday, January 29, 2007

I need some cheese...

.. to go with my whine.

Did you know that it's possible to hit a second wave of paranoia during pregnancy?

I got past the initial hysteria of weeks 5-9 (which sucked bad), had a good month or so and some time in the last week, paranoia has returned. In my heart I don't believe that things will turn out badly, but I can't seem to wrap my head around that concept.

I'm blown away by this. I really, truly expected that once I made it past the first awful weeks, I'd be ok. I was trying to explain it to a friend, and her opinion was that once you've lost a baby, you're never really secure in pregnancy. She's smarter than I am - I was pretty sure I'd be ok after the initial panic.

No one told me that this paranoia would return.

I hate this, I truly do.

I always wanted a big family, but now I'm thinking that if things go well, this may be It. I just don't know if I can put myself through pregnancy again. Mentally, it's too damn hard.

And then I feel like a big fat whiny baby because I worked hard to get here, and there are so many people who would love to be in my position, fragile mental state and all, and it seems so incredibly rude to complain about it.

So let me set the record straight: I'm not complaining about being pregnant. I'm complaining about how I feel about it.

Fear sucks. Especially when it seems like it's groundless fear. I can't get a sore belly and assume it's just normal growing pain. I have to start worrying about uterine infections and placental abruptions. Backache? Hmm... I hope that's not the start of preterm labor. Baby not moving much today? Well, it certainly can't be because it's too early to feel much, must be a problem. If I feel absolutely normal and ok, and I'm having a good day, well that gives me reason to worry, too.

Yeah, that's my life.

I'm trying so hard to just relax and enjoy this, and I'm pissed that I just can't seem to do that.

I'm almost 16 weeks now, and I still have a hard time admitting I'm pregnant. I can't even think about baby names without flinching.

I'm going nuts making baby blankets - because it's the one thing I can do. (I've got several friends who are pregnant, so even if things go to hell here, someone will be able to use them, right?) I'm starting my fourth quilt today. I've window-shopped a million strollers, but can't bring myself to seriously consider any of them, let alone actually buy one. I have a ton of cute fabric upstairs just waiting to be made into diapers or slings or dresses. Some day. The one thing I'm seriously looking at with the intent to buy is a new carseat... for G.

I just can't seem to do anything else.

The more I do, and think, the more 'real' baby becomes, the more attached I become.. and that feels dangerous. That's the real problem. The reason I start getting scared when we talk about names, or when I think about where we'd put a crib. I worry when I want to buy a stroller because what if I don't need it? What if it's just sitting there as a reminder of what should have been? This is a problem for me.

I remember being scared with G, but not like this. It's a whole new thing, and one that literally keeps me up at night. I'm working through it, telling myself it's normal, but it's still hard. I'm simultaneously working to keep myself sane and detached (just in case!) and berating myself for not wholeheartedly throwing myself into pregnancy and reveling in it. I keep thinking that the next big milestone will be the one that gives me some peace, but so far... I haven't reached that part yet. I've thought all along that once baby is moving reliably and often, that will be what bring me peace, secure in the knowledge that everything's still ok... but I know, deep in my heart, that will just bring its own set of worries. Each milestone is a big deal to me, one more hurdle I've passed, one more day we've come through, but I see endless weeks of milestones and hurdles ahead of me before I reach my goal... and even then, the worries don't stop.

I understand why I'm protecting my heart by not planning, by not thinking.. and I understand why I'm fighting that.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tuesday, when I bitch some more about what I'm eating... or not.

I'm still struggling with getting the right nutritional plan down.. it's been further complicated by the nurse-practitioner who told me at my last visit that she's never heard of imposing a gestational-diabetes diet on someone who was only insulin resistant.

Gee, make it a little easier for me to want to cheat on my diet, why don't'cha?

Throw in that a close family friend (who is diabetic) was told that her fiber-grams can cancel out some of her carb-grams to give her an adjusted "actual carbs ingested" number, which would allow me to be a bit more lenient on what I'm doing over here... and I'm back at square one, just as freaking confused as I was to begin with.

Naturally, confusion makes me angry.. control freak that I am. Confusion is the enemy.

I'm really angry that PCOS is so poorly understood that there's no protocol for treating PCOS during pregnancy.. it's almost like they figure if they can get you over the getting-pregnant hurdle, you're all set and no need to worry any more. Such bullshit.

I'm especially pissed off that no one - out of the doctors and nutritionists, dieticians and nurse-practitioners that I've seen thus far - will even consider the idea that metformin is not contraindicated in pregnancy. I am comfortable with the idea of met for the duration, but hell - what do I know, I'm just living with this.

And, uh, yeah, I did have to give up my met this week. Which is why I'm a little more sensitive to the whole topic. I've saved a few, just in case I feel the need to go overboard and eat, you know, a fruit salad or something.

I've got my first gestational diabetes test coming up this week or next, depending on when I can get someone to hang with the G. He's not a take-with-me kinda kid, and it's a walk-in lab, so I've got some leeway in waiting til someone can spend time with him. Plus it's not a fasting test, so I'm not as worried about planning ahead. The early GD test was the one compromise the NP came up with when I broached the topic of changing my diet unless until* I actually develop gest diabetes. So we're testing early to give me peace of mind and see if things are going ok so far with my diet. I'm all about easing my restrictions if I can - I feel like I'm walking a tightrope with my health and nutrition here. When I was following my diet 100%, I wasn't meeting my nutritional needs and started spilling ketones in my urine... but throwing it all out and going back to unrestricted eating scares me.

Still, if I'm not showing a problem now, I would be comfortable changing to a low-sugar but less restrictive diet.

I'm not entirely comfortable making all the decisions about this, though. I want someone - who is trained and knowledgeable about PCOS - who can give me a little guidance. I feel like I'm flailing around in the dark. Kinda like playing pin-the-tail-on-the-diet, but with this damn blindfold on, I can't tell if there's a better way than what I'm doing... and there's a lot at stake here.

*not that my doctors give a rip, but studies are showing that women with insulin resistance have something like an 80% chance of developing GD unless metformin is continued throughout the pregnancy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

.. just a thought.

G has school this morning, it's colder than frozen snot outside (lovely phrase, no?) so I'm procrastinating getting us ready.. and I figured I'd start my next post even though I just finished one. Ahh... neglecting my child's needs in favor of blogging.

I touched a little on asshat behavior in my last post.. things like the superfertile who swears she would never-ever use IVF because "it's just wrong" even though she can't really know what decision she'd make if she were in a situation where IVF was the only option for her to have a child. I'll preface today's topic (custom-created embryos) by saying that if I were in that position hell yes, I'd go for it. I'm not sure if that makes me more or less ass-hat-ish for what I'm about to say, but there it is.

I've seen a buttload of articles about The Abraham Center of Life and their semi-controversial 'embryo bank'. Now buying/selling donated embryos is nothing new. Sperm and egg donation, also not new. Creating embryos from donated sperm AND donated eggs, made-to-order, that's a new twist on existing technology. to me at least, maybe it's been going on for ages and I'm just out of the loop? but that's totally not my point...

My point is that the option of picking and choosing your child's genetics seems like a slippery slope. It's dangerously close to seeming like picking 'the perfect' child... which makes me hesitant to say this is a good thing.

And here's why I feel like an ass-hat: I could see me doing it. After all, when I met B and decided that I wanted to see a Mini-B with those same blue eyes and dimples, wasn't I sort of picking my future child's genetics? Sure, I was also weighing in his great sense of humor and his personality, but hey, those were also things I wouldn't mind seeing in a child.

So how is it so different for a person in a position to need donor eggs and sperm to choose what characteristics their child may have? Is it the ultimate in eugenics to specify that you want your eggs donated from a healthy, intelligent blue-eyed blond with athletic tendencies .. ? What if YOU are a healthy, intelligent blue-eyed blond with athletic tendencies and you're just interested in trying to have a child who might have something in common with you? I don't think it's unusual to seek a donor who looks like you, or who has qualities that are prized by you. It's not unusual to seek a spouse or partner who has attributes you like, or would like to see passed on to your children, so why is it different with a donor? Perhaps it's because when picking a donor, you are only looking at how that person will might translate into a child.

That's what people think of when they think of donor selection, if one believes most of the articles out there - people think that by picking a donor who is intelligent and still tall, dark & handsome, you're actually picking a child who will grow up to be a rocket scientist when he's not modelling underwear on the side... I don't really think that's true. Maybe bloggers are different, but I've never read a donor blog that thought like that. I have read some heartwrenching blogs about the decision of which donor to choose, and for all of them, all they're really looking for is a donor who looks similar to them, or to their partner. Or who has similar interests or personality. Just someone with whom they have some connection. Not the perfect genetic component to complete Perfect Embryo.

But I can't help but wonder if someone out there, somewhere WILL use the opportunity to (try to) create a custom embryo as a chance to make the perfect child. I'm sure it's possible. Just like PGD can be used for sex selection (as we've all read so many times) .. But, also like PGD, I think that will be the exception, rather than the rule. Still, I can't shake the feeling that the potential for misuse is there. Particularly when the talk is of selling embryos. Selling implies the ability to pick and choose, which to me, also implies the right to be unhappy if what you've bought isn't exactly perfect. Not a good way to look at a potential child.

So much of infertility treatment is technology which can be misused, or which treads close to shady moral ground... maybe that's the real problem for me. It feels like there are no safeguards in place to keep abuse and misuse from occuring. Relying on the moral and ethical compass of the RE works 99.9% of the time, but that last 0.1% is what worries me. I want to see something that will limit the unethical minority, while not making IF treatments more difficult to obtain than they already are. Preferably before the technology gets too much further ahead of the ethics of fertility.

Hello second trimester... goodbye paranoia!

Shit, wouldn't that be nice?

Paranoia is the name of this pregnancy. Just when I think I've settled in and started feeling super-optimistic, something happens that knocks me down a bit. I'm still reading that pregnancy message board, and one of the women there lost her baby this week. She was just about 14 weeks, well past the time when most people think they're safe. She knew she wasn't safe (she'd said that many times), but she had started to feel a little more confident. Kinda like me.

I'm proud of myself, though - usually when I'm feeling insecure, I run for the doppler. This morning, I've not used it. Yet. That's a big deal. As much as I'm trying not to overuse my doppler, it's addictive.


I'm working on a couple of posts about things I've seen in the news lately - uterus transplants and custom embryos.. fascinating stories that are getting a lot of press lately. I'm thrilled to death with the concept of a uterus transplant. It wouldn't help me any, but women with uterine abnormalities have very limited options right now, so I think this is a big step in the right direction. And any pioneering work in treating infertility is a good thing.

I'm a little more torn on the embryo concept. And having a hard time finding an unbiased link to put here since apparently this is one of those topics that people feel strongly about. Go figure. In case you haven't seen an article, here's the link ---> NPR : Adoption Agency Offers Up Embryos to Couples, and I'll work on putting my thoughts together on the subject soon. It's time-consuming because, in general, flirting with a semi-negative opinion on things which do not apply to you (and probably never will) is asshat behavior. However often I write about things which have abso-freaking-lutely nothing to do with my life, it's still asshat behavior and must be treated delicately... because, you know, it's very easy to disparage something when you're safe in the knowledge that (for you at least) it's all theoretical. Much harder to hold the same opinion when you're staring at a decision affecting your own reality.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Historical Fertility

Oh hey it's national delurking week, so, like, come out and play, ok?

I realized yesterday that I play this little game I like to call "Fertile.... or not?". Usually with celebrities. Julia Roberts had twins... assisted? Un? Is she.... fertile... or not?

Yeah, it's fun... but any time a celebrity magically gets pregnant with multiples or has a baby in their late 40's or in their 50's, I automatically throw 'em into the "Not" category. I think it's supposed to make me feel better. Because it's a rare, rare thing to have a public figure admit to infertility (shameful as it is, right?), everyone's fair game. Especially the ones who swear their children were 'natural' even though they birthed triplets at 60. With a surrogate.

So yesterday I was reading an article about Laur@ Ing@lls WiIder... when I realized that she only had two children (one living). In the late 1800's. When large families were common, and birth control was not.

Things that make me go hmmm... Does it count as an obsession to retroactively apply Fertile or Not to historical figures?

Am I the only one who wonders about this stuff?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

My first post of the new year (slacker)

Each new year that dawns brings with it seemingly endless possibilities. No matter how bad the previous year was, there's always a sense of "well that's over with now and things can move on". For me at least.

I had to buy some maternity clothes just before the end of the year. It was a very difficult step for me, but one that I took out of necessity. In the last few days, I have found myself looking at tiny clothes, and even - gasp! - buying some. That step was surprisingly easy. I'm not sure if it's the difference between the old year and the new, or if it's just my relief at reaching the end of the first trimester, but I've seen a big change in my own attitude. I'm still nervous enough to hope that my optimism isn't misplaced, but I'm looking forward now with some definite hope that things will be ok.

It's a nice way to start my year.