The Soul Twin

English: aima n baby boy

English: aima n baby boy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My son, please sit down,  I need to tell you something. Nothing is wrong, dear, please do not worry. It is something that happened before you were born, I have carried it in my heart, my secret heart for many years. I am old now but I wish for you to know something of our past.

You know your father and I tried for over two and a half years to get pregnant. I was so sad thinking I could never have a baby. Yes, I went to a big city and had all kinds of tests and shots and drugs and procedures but I would have done anything to have you and I knew someday I would. Now, you, Dad and your sister are atheists but I am certainly not. One night I had a dream and God looked down at me from Heaven and He said, “It will take a little more time but you will have a baby and it will be a boy.” God’s message to me was all I needed to keep going and I believed in  this completely. I still, as you know, do.

Months later I got the call. Two nurses were on the phone telling me I was pregnant. There was not a happier person in this world. I remember I closed the door, dropped to my knees, said a prayer of thanks and sobbed with joy. I was in a daze the rest of the afternoon. Immediately my hand cupped my tiny belly like a fluttering butterfly. I told your father in person and he was in shock; I had to repeat the joyous news three times before it sunk in.

Three weeks later, and still I had told no one about my pregnancy except our families. After two and a half years of trying to get pregnant we wanted to wait three months, in our culture that is what we did. One day, I went to the bathroom and as I pulled down my underwear I saw spotting. I was very calm, I called the doctor’s office and they told me to come in immediately.

I got in my car as if I was in a dream, “be brave and strong, be brave and strong” I whispered to you as I headed to the clinic. By the time I got there they rushed me into the ultra sound room but this time there was a lot of blood in my underwear.  I remember saying calmly “this does not look good.” I was still in the room and then the senior nurse spoke up and said  “Wait, look right here, it’s a heartbeat, your baby is fine.” I was so relieved, so happy to see your little heart beating that I thought of nothing else. You were alright, safe inside of me. After a few minutes I asked what happened? They told me that my hormone levels had been very high so that could have been an indication of a twin or perhaps another unhealthy fetus, they were never sure.  Apparently this happens to women all the time many not even noticing the passing of an embryo.

I tried to feel sad and guilty but I couldn’t. You were still inside me and you were safe. I went home to lie down and take it easy. I tried to have feelings if it had been a twin but I couldn’t force myself to feel loss when I didn’t feel it. I had you, my baby, still inside me and that meant everything to me. We were born to be with one another. Your father and I would finish our sentences always saying: “If we should be so blessed” and we were, with you, our first son.

The only reference I have to this is a pair of small twin purple bears that I keep hidden in my bedroom closet. A psychic once said I had a baby floating in the universe that could not go to heaven because he did not have a name and out of my mouth and hers, the name Steven came. His soul was then at peace.

You were in my arms and we were a family. Twenty one months later your beautiful little sister was born, naturally, meant to join our family. Now our family was complete. I needed to tell this story to someone and it belongs to you. I had everything I wanted, a boy and then a girl but my love story is just about over, yours is barely beginning. Take with this what you want and now we can bury the past and only look to the future.

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Bust An Infertility Myth “You Have Really Old Eggs…”

Venus

Image by Daquella manera via Flickr

Twenty years ago my husband and I battled infertility for over two and a half years. Infertility back then was shameful, shrouded in secrecy. Never have I fought for something so hard in my life, not before then and not after. This had been my dream since I was five years old, I was not going to give up easily.

I woke up at 5am, every day, to have blood drawn and an ultra-sound. Often, I was there again at night. We had tried IUI twice with no success. I was on a lot of medication and nightly shots that my husband administered into my sore buttocks. It is a draining process both physically and emotionally and it was not working. Eventually, I was told it was time to try IVF and we did.

The day for the IVF preparation was here and I was ready. I went in for one last ultrasound  and an unfriendly nurse started shaking her head, clucking and frowning. “Bad news” she said:  “you started ovulating on your own, the IVF is canceled, get dressed.”

She stopped me in the reception area as I tried to leave. In front of other patients she said loudly “You have really old eggs, at your age they just shrivel up.”  I was 33, not very young but definitely not old. I was crushed and left the clinic weeping. It didn’t even occur to me how unprofessional and rude the nurse was, I was too upset and depressed. The next morning I was scheduled to have an IUI .” My husband sat with me and stroked my hair.  We both needed a break and decided to have a date thinking only about the two of us. We went out to a small Italian restaurant, came home and did what we had not done in a long time, we made love.

I was scheduled to go in for a blood test the next week and I didn’t even tell my husband.  After my blood test I got the usual “call us tomorrow for the results.” I knew that routine by heart but I felt calm, peaceful. Later that day, I got a call from a nice nurse who asked me how my day was going. I said “fine.” She said “well, I’m calling to tell you that your day is going to get a whole lot better! Congratulations, you’re pregnant!” I remember saying “no way.” She replied with “way” and had to convince me that it was  true. I shut the door to my office, sank down to my knees and wept with gratitude. Later, I opened the door and in a dream-like state walked out slowly, one hand already cradling my stomach.

After all we went through I didn’t want to tell my husband on the phone. I knew he was supposed to play racquetball after work, across the street from my office so I surprised him there. I asked our friend if I could borrow my husband for a few minutes and he smiled and left us alone. I leaned against my husband and whispered in his ear: “I love you very much and we’re going to have a baby, I’m pregnant.”  He stared at me blankly for a few seconds in shock. “I’m pregnant” I repeated and his warm brown eyes bulged out of his head. “Are you sure?” he asked softly and I said “yes” beaming.  He was so excited that he canceled the game  after ten minutes and arrived home shortly after I did. Apparently, my decrepit old eggs were still viable. We had a baby boy nine months later.

Addendum:

On our son’s first birthday I got out the number for the clinic. I tried to see the date of my last period but I had forgotten to keep track. I felt peaceful, calm and happy. “Oh my G-d” I whispered to my son, “I know this feeling.” I went out and bought a pregnancy test and it was positive. Our daughter arrived without any medical intervention, nine months later.  My eggs rocked.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101  National Infertility Awareness Weekhttp://www.resolve.org/takecharge.*A wonderful organization to raise awareness for infertility with compassion.

On Being A Patient, Again

I never stopped being a patient, not since my thyroid went out of wack 3 years ago, not since I was told I had Fibromyalgia (and then told it was a “lazy diagnosis”)  Not since the prednisone, the hospitalization for eppiglottitis the 24/7 cough that would not go away, not since I was sent to the Pulmonologist, the ENT  the addition of 5-7 different medications. Not since my stint in the packed emergency room with an overnight stay in the hospital with the worst pain I have ever had in my life.

Here I am again, world! Stuck and pissed off with yet another chapter to my ever-so-boring and relentless saga of pain, chronic pain, auto-immune diseases, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, lack of energy and tonight,  a really bad, horrible, disgusted and angry, almost-in-tears mood.

The latest is that my Synthroid level ( TSH) is very, very low, too low said the doctors.  To those in the Club of Thyroid Disorders out there, (COTD- I made it up but it works) I know you will understand. The T4 is perfect. One doctor, the evil endocrinologist (lower case on purpose) sent a prescription (albeit the wrong prescription) in the mail telling me (no, writing me) he was surprised with my numbers but I should reduce the Synthroid medication (buzz word) to 50 mcg. First I was at 88, then 75, now 50???   That’s like telling someone who has the flu, to get up out of bed and do somersaults while standing on their heads, backwards.  I’m down enough people, now this? It makes no sense.

I wrote to my Guru Dr. in the City who handles the type of Autoimmune Disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) as in***THYROID DISEASE  to tell him. He suggested that my” Endocrinologist” do a simple TRF blood test and he guessed I might have something called Secondary Hypothyroidism ( I know, I could so be on Gray’s Anatomy with the amount I’ve had to learn and remember.)

Here’s the problem. The nasty, dull, mean-spirited endocrinologist (lower case on purpose again) who I am going to DUMP as soon as I find a new one, refuses to talk to me on the phone. Just for a couple of questions. “No, come in”,  he said. “I just want to ask him a question” I pleaded to his nurses “No, come in.”  I’m seething. First of all I have never heard of a doctor that won’t take a phone call for a question (I wasn’t demanding to speak to him at that moment) and that absolutely refuses to return a phone call from a patient. Second, he knows about my Guru Doctor in the city since I have copied him on everything. (Do you think this could be a terrritorial thing?)  Third, he did not believe that I had, indeed, a note from my Guru Dr. to suggesting he test me for TRF (whatever it is). No. What? You heard me. No. No phone call, no question, no way, no how. “It is too difficult to explain on the phone” the nurse parroted. Are you kidding me? I had one question about the blood (yes, in the lab in the office) test and a simple thought: wouldn’t it make sense to test the TRF level FIRST (as my Guru Doctor said) then to start on a regimen of a new medicine that could take 4-6 weeks to kick in? Isn’t that throwing the donkey in front of the carrots? (or whatever that stupid expression is.) Not to mention, I do not want to go back to a doctor that treats me with such disrespect (and he always has). I know he doesn’t know that the fifty dollar co-payment would be hard for our unemployed selves. I understand that, but, a 30 second phone call?

Well, you know what the answer is I’m sure. “No”. So here I am, calling new Endocrinologists (one is on vacation until the 20th, the other does not return phone calls) waiting to make an appointment. Oh dear Lordy, Lordy, it’s July and the doctors (at least the ones I’m trying to reach) are on vacation, and of course you cannot leave a message.

I have that creepy, queasy, angst-ridden feeling in my stomach. What now, I ask? I can’t reach any doctor AND short of sending an “I BEG of you” message to my Guru Doctor (which I will do anyway in the early a.m.) I will be sitting home in a flurry of frustration and anxiety. I will be sitting on my bed, fed up, confused and furious and yes, a little scared too. A little courtesy, perhaps DOCTORS?? Yeah, right.

I feel totally helpless and demeaned. I feel anxious and confused and ignored. Does anyone understand this?  Is this the time for an out and out binge on sugar- laden treats?  Can I run and hide from my anxiety for a few minutes with cookies and chocolate,  and that sweet powerful surge in energy? This doctor says Yes. Absolutely. Starting Now.