Wednesday, January 14, 2009

the birds and the bees

houston, we have a problem
“mommy, where do babies come from?”

“well, honey, when a man and woman love each other very much, they meet together with a team of highly specialized medical personnel. mommy takes drugs and has shots so that her follicles and eggs will grow big and strong. then daddy’s sperm is washed in a centrifuge, leaving only the bestest and fastest sperms behind. and finally, when the timing is *just* right, a nice doctor or nurse uses years of expert training – along with a hefty dose of luck -- to bring daddy’s sperm and mommy’s eggs together. poof! baby conceived.”

for the uninitiated, this is not the prelude to ethan hawke’s sci-fi thriller, gattica, it’s what happens when plan A fails. trust me, ye ol’ fashioned baby-making is much more fun.

bryan loves the image of 23 year old emily sitting in the waiting room of the fertility clinic before a surgery, surrounded by women in their late 30s to early 40s. her hair is spiked. she’s in her pajamas. she’s chewing bubbalicious bubble gum. and yes, she’s slouching in her chair and playing tetris on her nintendo ds. doesn’t seem quite right, does it? that’s because, people, 23 year olds do not belong in fertility clinics. they belong at home happily childless, easily impregnated or patiently waiting. but as none of these were me, there in the waiting room i sat.

to put our situation in perspective, the average couple who employs no timing or other fertility-enhancement techniques beyond simply avoiding contraception, has a 20% chance of conceiving during any given cycle. by contrast, bryan’s and my odds had been whittled down to a not utterly hopeless 4% -- and that’s with medical intervention. on our own, we were much closer to a big, fat zero.

nevertheless, after two years of “trying,” one year of “testing,” and four rounds of “treatment,” our dear baby summer finally found her way home.

look ma, no hands!
so imagine my surprise when not but one lunar cycle after my post-pregnancy, post-breastfeeding return to womanhood, i’m staring at two (count ‘em!) two pink lines! now, i know what a negative test looks like, having seen more than my share of them, and if it’s negative, there ain’t no way you’re going to see a second line. not even if you squint and stare r.e.a.l.l.y hard.

still, i found myself looking at that line and wondering if it wasn’t a mistake. shouldn’t it be darker? could i still have hcg in my system from, oh, a year ago? maybe it was something i ate? poppy seeds, perhaps? whatever the mystery reason for this purported positive test, it couldn’t be a baby. bryan and i are talented and successful in a lot of ways, making babies isn’t one of them.

to punish me for my unbelief, i was smitten with an unfortunately familiar two months of debilitating nausea. now, when I say “debilitating,” i mean curled-in-a-ball, can’t-get-out-of-bed, don’t-even-wear-pants, living-with-my-mom, this-is-my-last-baby kind of debilitating.

clinicians refer to the condition as hyperemesis gravidarum, whilst sufferers are more likely to use the street name “tenth circle of hell.” usually managed by zofran, phenergan, pills, suppositories, IVs, etc., such drugs in all their various forms proved ineffective in my case, and i was therefore left to mine own devices (i.e. misery and endless wo). for those unlucky women who do not get to experience this particular joy of pregnancy, here is a sample:

at the emergency room for IV fluids. 12 weeks, 100 pounds.
that look on my face? it says: ABSTINENCE FOR ALL!

que sera, sera
miraculously, the baby fetus and i are beginning to emerge from the life-sucking clutches of the first trimester, and i hope to soon be a functioning member of society once again. baby fetus has been a real trooper, draining any and all nutrients from my body and continuing to develop healthy and strong.

but even amidst the confusion and illness, bryan and i are thrilled to be welcoming the newest member of the wheeler family circus. the greatest show on earth.


Jason and Melanie Morales Family said...

Wow- what an amazing turn of events! Congratulations to all four of you!

Katie said...

What the eff? Are you serious??? That is so exciting Emily! And I love how you told the story. So.... 'you're saying there's a chance."

betsey said...

Such exciting news! We are thrilled for you guys!!! Sorry about what sounds like the worst trimester ever..Yikes! Summer is so cute...keep 'em coming Wheeler's!

Deon said...

I love the way you tell it, Emily! We are happy for you and hope you return to strength and energy very soon!

Alisha said...

I can only say "I told you so!" Well, that and Congratulations!!!


Katie said...

Congrats Emily! I have to say I've been wondering....

Beckie said...

I love the story -- very informative and very entertaining! Congratulations on the new guy -- and sooo sorry to hear about your sickness, but sounds like stuff is going well now!

amy said...

That's amazing! Congratulations!!! I hope you'll keep us posted on No. 2 and how No. 1 handles having a No. 2 around. And I wonder if it's a boy or a girl?! Yay. How exciting.

fawndear said...

Don't ya just love that miracles still happen even when we are not looking for them.
Loved your announcement!!!
Congratulations from someone who survived the 10th circle of Hell 6 times and is sooooo grateful she did.
I've got extra jello if you run low.

Heather said...

Ahhh, Summer, a big sister--she'll have another someone to share a toothbrush with! We are thrilled for you, and so sorry you've been feeling so miserable. I had no idea. Can't wait to have you back.

Heather said...

Ahhh, Summer as a big sister--the thought makes me smile. She'll have another little someone with whom to share a toothbrush. Congrats. You and Brian are great parents, and I'm sorry you've been so sick. We've missed you.

Ally said...

Congratulations Emily!! I hope that the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly!

McBrides said...

Congratulations Emily! So happy that you are feeling better now. When exactly are you due??

Jonathan & Cheri said...

That is awesome! And your post is, as always, entertaining to read =)