Saturday, May 31, 2008

When to tell people we're pregnant

A few people recently have asked if we are going to start telling everyone that we're having a baby (well, two). Despite the fact that I have a blog that is technically public, there would be no reason for anyone we know to happen to come across it. The question is something that is big in mind for me right now because the longer we are married without kids (it will be 9 years this year), the more likely people are to get nosy: "When ARE you going to have kids?" It happens with an increased frequency. Aside from that, we are of course excited to tell people. Then there is the trepidation about how to explain this whole surrogacy "thing".

Ironically, I feel much more comfortable telling strangers or those tangential to us (like my dentist) than friends and family who don't yet know. I guess that makes sense because strangers are never going to think twice about it if something bad happens with this pregnancy. I'm terrified to tell friends and family who don't yet know because then you are on everyone's radar and they just expect that 2 babies will arrive in December. I certainly hope they will, to put it lightly, but good grief so much can happen between now and then. For the last few weeks B and I had a policy of absolutely no tell (outside of those we invited to this blog). But I've noticed we have sort of naturally evolved lately to telling certain individuals without consulting each other. I guess that means we are feeling more and more comfortable. We just let each other know that "so and so" knows and that's it. We have a good feel though for who the other person is comfortable with. Usually they are friends very close to each of us. I can break down the groups and current status (LOL this is like a status report for work - those who know me well know how very much I love frameworks!):

1. Strangers - This, I have to say, is a fun group for me right now. They are an outlet because I can share my excitement without the ramifications of fear for what could happen. The first stranger I told was a woman at the pet adoption center at Pet Smart! We were considering adopting a 3rd cat and she wanted us to fill out the paperwork right away. I had to explain why it was such a big consideration at this point....blah, blah, blah, "and we're having a baby in December". I almost couldn't get the words out. My stomach turned over and my voice got shaky. Did I just say that out loud? "WE" are having a baby? I was petrified. She looked at my stomach and said, "oh how wonderful. Is this your first?" I just nodded and said yes and changed the subject quickly. I realized I can get away with it now because we are early enough that people don't question my flat belly. Soon enough explanations will have to be automatically attached. Since I told the pet lady, it has been like breaking a seal. I don't just blurt it out but it comes up with amazing frequency. :)

2. Light acquaintances - This becomes a little scarier because we will see them again so now we're on the hook to answer if something bad happens. An example from this group would be my dental hygenist. The last several times I have been to the dentist I have had to tell them what was going on because I couldn't have x-rays due to being in the middle of an IVF cycle. When we went to the dentist yesterday I finally proudly said, "no, I'm not pregnant or trying to become pregnant, but yes we are expecting a baby!" Bryan went just before me and had actually told her first so she was ready to say congratulations when she came to see me. That still freaks me out.

3. Friends you only talk to periodically - This group is pretty much a no go right now. For the most part no one in this group knows we have even been trying to conceive, much less done IVF, much less done it 5 times, much less have a surrogate carrying our children. :) This is the group I think about most in terms of when to tell. There are a lot of them I'm looking forward to telling but I constantly wonder how to explain all the surrogacy stuff. It will be an email for sure, but I'm trying to think of fun ways to create a power point presentation, a web page, a FAQ or something to help people understand that "yes, it's our biological child", "no she doesn't want to keep the baby", "no the movie Baby Mama is not indicactive of a real surrogacy situation", etc.

4. Friends you talk to regularly - This is a mixed group. If it's a friend who is a close friend, see the next category below. If it's a friend who is not necessarily very close but we see regularly, he/she may or may not know. This is the gray area and we've been telling on an as needed basis. We wouldn't lie about it or hide it at this point if we see the person all the time and it comes up for some reason, but if there is no reason for the person to ask and it doesn't come up, we're not bringing it up.

5. Co-workers - My "coworkers" are people I have never met in person who I work virtually with so they fall under light acquaintances/strangers. One of mine has a daughter who is currently pregnant through a gestational surrogate (ironically - this is pretty rare!) and I told her. B's situation is definitely different because he works closely with people, albeit virtually as well. I think he has only told his partner and no one else.

6. Close friends - The close friends we talk to regularly pretty much all know. Close friends we don't talk to regulary mostly don't know. B and I have a lot of these (e.g., people from high school we are/were very close to but don't necessary talk to all the time). These are people I can't wait to tell. :)

7. Family - Of course our immediate families know. We have not told extended family yet, however. Neither of us has a large extended family, but there are still several people we need to tell. I don't think we will tell them any earlier than everyone else.

So this probably all sounds nuts to people reading who had no trouble conceiving. What's the big deal? Well, I feel extremely vulnerable emotionally on this stuff after all we've been through and if, God forbid, something awful happens, I think the pain of having to tell everyone would just be unbearable. I want to find that perfect time when I will feel that in ALL likelihood those babies are coming. That will certainly be after the first trimester is over, but I'm not sure when. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our Second Ultrasound

Our second ultrasound this morning went great!

Baby A - Measured 8 weeks, 3 days (exactly what we are today) with heartbeat of 171

Baby B - Measured 8 weeks, 1 day (apparently it's common to be off by a couple of days) with heartbeat of 169

We heard the heartbeats again - I can't believe how fast they are at this age! It's like a horse gallop! Baby B is in a position that allowed for the cutest "teddy bear" like picture. Baby A didn't cooperate as much so we only got a side view. You can see them to the left - you're looking at the top of Baby A's head and then full frontal/teddy bear view of Baby B on the right. We did get individual pictures of them with full views of Baby A but I haven't scanned those yet!

We've crossed one more ultrasound is two weeks from today then we are released to a regular OB. I hope we can find a good one! I'm nervous to be let go from the constant attention of the clinic but I know it's a good milestone. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First post in new home!

I decided to re-start my blog at this new site because there were so many technical difficulties with the other site. It also feels like a fresh start, which I like. The original blog seems like the journey TO the point of pregnancy. This one can be a fresh start for the pregnancy itself. I have of course saved all of those entries for the baby book, and these will join. :)

The latest news is that we have our second ultrasound tomorrow! I have to admit that I have been quite peaceful for the most part since our first ultrasound. After finding out two weeks ago that we are having twins, I've been consumed with excitement and thoughts of "oh my gosh, I need to read at least 50 books to figure out what to do with these two babies when they get here"! I've gone into major planning mode, including the beginning of a master baby checklist. B and I started it over dinner recently, to list everything we need to do before the babies come. Yes, we are only 8 weeks along. Our need to start planning is for a few reasons:

1. It's exciting and this is an outlet for that excitement.

2. We are both major planners by nature.

3. Neither B nor I know anything about babies, so finding out that two will join us later this year has snapped us into task planning perhaps more quickly than other people. We genuinely have a whole lot to learn. I've never even babysat a baby younger than 9 months before!

4. I have big decisions to make about what I will do work-wise. I own my own company and work from home, but I work a lot. And I really don't know what I will do at this point.

5. When you're not pregnant with your own children, you have to find a way to "join the pregnancy" somehow. That's the only way I can think of to describe it. I don't feel progress in my tummy - seeing it grow, having morning sickness, feeling muscles stretch, etc. - so the only way for me to feel progression over this time and grow along with the babies is to do other things. Setting up a task list for the next few months really helps with that because it allows me to conceptualize at each point where we are in the pregnancy. Fortunately, J (our surrogate), is in our weekly Bible study and so I will get to see her (and her growing tummy) very regularly also! We will probably start the nursery earlier than other people do as another attempt to "follow along". It's very important to me to experience all of the pregnancy we can, and be mindful of the progress, even if I'm not actually carrying the babies. I am also reading along pregnancy week-by-week books and learning all I can about how they are developing as we go.

I really couldn't ask for a better surrogate. I feel like this whole thing has been like winning the lottery. Sure, I realize that we went through a whole lot to even get here and most people don't have to do all that, but given where we were things couldn't have happened in a better way. I can't imagine trusting anyone in the world more than I trust our amazing surrogate with our babies! The interesting implication of that is that I probably have less concern about the pregnancy than others who have gone through multiple failed IVFs before getting pregnant themselves. Most people I know in that situation were terrified the entire pregnancy that their bodies would let them down again at some point and they would lose the baby. I know that miscarriage is still possible due to problems with the embryos themselves, but because I don't fret over the pregnancy itself being in my uterus I am able to feel better than many who are actually pregnant after IVF! I'm really, really thankful for this upside. :) I may have gone crazy if I carried myself after all we've been through.

That said, there are still fears that creep up. Today especially is a little nerve wracking because our second ultrasound is tomorrow morning. What if the babies aren't there anymore? Or what if only one is there? It's all really scary but I'm trying to be more excited than scared. I will of course be updating when we get back.