It’s Christmas night and he’s kicking up a storm.

I take comfort in his kicks. They let me know he’s here, that he’s still thriving, that he’s ready to move, that he’s a part of me, but also apart from me. I don’t control him. I don’t know when he’s going to kick. He’s on his own schedule, his own time frame. It’s strange, but comforting.

I think about him all the time now. We have just over two months to go before we meet in person. And I can’t wait. I’m so looking forward to having him in my life, to holding him, to feeding him. To having him frustrate me, challenge me, totally depend on me. It’s going to be amazing.

This Christmas was special. We know he’s coming. He got tons of presents from everyone. He’s beloved, and everyone was thinking about next year, when he’ll be part of all of this.

Everything seems to be going well with him, with me. We’re moving along right as we are supposed to. We are monitored a little more heavily, but nothing so far has come up of concern. I don’t even have the gestational diabetes I was convinced was going to change everything. Heart is fine. Blood pressure is fine. Some swelling but manageable.

I keep wondering what he’ll be like. Whether he’ll be assertive and opinionated like his cousin. Whether he’ll be quiet and reserved. Whether he’ll be challenging or easy. Whether he’ll be one we have to be careful for when he’s quiet or will we know he’s coming from a mile away.

In some respects, I feel like he’s already here. He’s taking so much of our energy and love. But we’re overjoyed to give it to him. And it’s not a chore. He’s adding to our lives, and I think we’re even closer than we were before because of him, if that was even possible.

This world we are bringing him into is chaotic and scary and messed up. But we know he’ll add value to it, try to make it a better place. And we will do everything in our power to protect him, to love him, to prepare him for this world.

Merry Christmas little one. I’m so happy you’re in my life, kicking me, letting me know you’re here. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms, to show you the world of love that you’re coming into, to feel your excitement and wonder and awe at this place we’re bringing you to.

I’m so very much in love with you.

Come Together

I try to play music for the little dude when I’m thinking about it. I play what is important to me, what is important to Graham. I play him music that Graham made. I play him classical. I play him rock. I play him jazz. I go back to the music that has given me comfort throughout my life, and I’m sure it’s as much for me as it is for him.

Sometimes I talk to him and explain something about the song. Or a memory associated with it. Or a person who comes to mind when I hear the song. Sometimes I sing along, hoping that he can hear that too. Some of the songs I’ll sing to him later, when he’s with us. Some he’ll only hear played and sung by someone else.

Last weekend it was Springsteen. We listened to Born to Run and the Live 75-85 album. Both are old, both have specific memories associated with them.

Today is the Beatles. We started with Sgt. Pepper, moved to Revolver, and just finished the White Album. Now, we’re listening to Abbey Road.

I haven’t talked to him about it yet, but I’m sure Graham is mentally working on a playlist in his head for those first few hours/days with him. Songs that mean something to us. Songs we want to be important to him. Songs that soothe. Songs that inspire. Songs that bring joy and happiness. Songs that bring peace and inspire slumber.

I think this focus on music is really just a simple way of connecting. A way of connecting that has been used for millennia. A shared language between people, and it’s a way that our little dude can start to feel things, hear things, even it they’re just disparate noises that come together a little. And it exposes him to stimuli without us necessarily having to do anything more than looking up what we want to hear and pressing “play.”

And music is a value that Graham and I want to pass on to him. It’s really important to both of us. It moves us. It inspires us. For Graham, it was a source of income and profession for decades.

And so this this will probably happen to him for the rest of his life with me. Sometimes he’ll love it, and we’ll connect through it. Sometimes he’ll roll his eyes and want to be anywhere else. And that’s ok. He’ll develop his own tastes. He’ll follow the trends of his own generation. He’ll make his own choices. But we’ll give him the building blocks to do that.

And so…

I’m not even sure how start.

He’s inside me. And he has been for awhile. He’ll be here, hopefully, for awhile longer.

And then, I get to meet him, and my life will change forever.

I forget sometimes. Or sometimes I think something terrible will happen. But the scans are good. The tests are good. It’s been an uneventful event, with only a few signs. Like being super tired at first. And my boobs growing.

Lately, my hands fall asleep at night, which is due the the fluid build up.

And I’m showing. In the four months so far, I haven’t gained all that much weight. I’m happy about that. But my belly gets more and more prominent every week.

I can tell when I go to yoga every week that suddenly poses aren’t accessible to me anymore. I can’t bend as well. I can’t lay on my stomach. I have to find modifications.

With all of the issues we had getting here–nearly ten years of dashed hopes, disappointments, trying something new to have it fail–it’s amazing to actually be here.

We’re talking about how to rearrange things. We’ve bought some clothes. We have a plan. And we’re so excited. So very, very excited.

At first, it seemed to take forever. Waiting for testing. Waiting for documents. Waiting for timing to work. And then it was a rollercoaster.

She gave us 41 eggs. Our mouths dropped when we heard that. 28 of them fertilized. 13 made it to day 5. We joke that we have a soccer team plus substitutions on ice. Later, when we were talking to the agency, the lady told us they usually hope for three or four. 13.

He took immediately. Transferred into me on June 23. July 3, I found out I was pregnant.

We’ve been quiet. We didn’t tell anyone but the immediate family at first, preparing for heartbreak. We let a few people in over time, and even though we have sort of lost count of who knows and who doesn’t, we still are individually telling people rather than broadcasting the news.

I think I felt him a little. Maybe. I have felt something a few times, though I don’t want to say for sure it’s him.

By the regular numbers, we are halfway through this. I’m still in shock about it. Can it be real?

Let me explain, no there’s too much, let me sum up.

A timeline:

February 22, 2017- Go in for consultation on Mini IVF with a specialist in women with low ovarian reserve.

February 22, 2017-present. Be told I need to lose weight for IVF so lose 62 pounds.

Several months ago, decide to have a party in the back yard to show off the new garden

January 27-March 4: Go through long ass stimulated cycle that seemed to fuck up my estrogen and didn’t develop any retrievable follicles but got me a cyst instead.

March 14, send 100 paperless post invitations to friends inviting to Spring Backyard Party at Celosa and Fusilli’s house on April 1.

March 21, surprise period starts after an 18 day cycle due to body thinking cyst was ovulation.

March 22, go to Dallas for initial scan. Go to Austin for work thing.

March 23, in Austin for work thing; start stimulating for IVF. Go to ranch afterwards

March 24-5, continue IVF stimulation at ranch

March 26-29, continue IVF stimulation at home.

March 30 (Friday morning) 8:00 am appointment in Dallas for day 7 scan and labs. Inform doctor that really would be inconvenient to come back this weekend due to family obligations. Get back to Houston by noon and go straight to work.

March 30 (Friday afternoon) 1:11 Call from doctor that they really do need to see me on Saturday because of one of my lab levels.

March 30 (Friday afternoon) 3:30. Bosses send us home early due to holiday. Breathe because that gives me two more hours to get ready for the party before I have to go to Dallas.

March 30 (Friday afternoon) 3:45 Find husband in bed and not really responding to anything. Dr. Celosa says that Graham is very sick, and shows us where it hurts. She says we need to take him to the ER.

March 30 (Friday afternoon) 4:08 Doctor calls me to the back at the ER to let me know they think it’s appendicitis, but we have to wait for the CAT scan.

March 30 (Friday afternoon) 4:11 Call IVF doctor to ask if Graham can’t be part of the cycle is there a backup (there is a frozen sample just in case for situations like this). Discuss with Graham on whether to move forward or not. Decide to do it.

March 30 (Friday afternoon) 5:39 Send 100 notices that the party has been cancelled.

March 30 (Friday afternoon) 6:00 Get the official diagnosis and the transfer initiated to a hospital to get on the schedule for surgery.

March 30 (Friday evening) 8:00ish I go home to get some stuff and Graham goes via ambulance to the hospital. At some point, I remember to give myself the IVF meds.

March 30 (Friday evening) 8:30 Graham texts me to let me know he’s in the hospital. I meet him 29 minutes later.

March 30 (Friday night) 9:00-10:00 Wait around for what’s happening next. Get conformation that surgery will be at 9:00 am tomorrow morning.

March 30 (Friday night) 10:30 I head home. 11:30, I’m in bed.

March 31 (buttass part of the Saturday morning) 4:00 am haul my ass out of bed and drive to Dallas. Talk to Graham at 6:30 whose pain has gotten worse and was interrupted a lot over the night.

March 31 (Saturday morning) 7:45 Go in for ultrasound and labs.

March 31 (Saturday morning) 8:15 Drive back to Houston.

March 31 (Saturday morning) 11:20 Get call from Hospital that Graham is out of surgery and doing ok. Will be recovering awhile.

March 31 (Saturday afternoon) 12:11 Walk into the hospital. Spend a few hours with a groggy but much happier Graham.

March 31 (Saturday afternoon) 2:30ish. Go home, promising to be back at 5 or 6 to shower and get a cat nap. See mess in house for party prep and start putting all of that away first. Manically clean kitchen and finish cooking the two items that needed to be finished before the debacle started yesterday. Have 2 dozen deviled eggs, 4 pounds of poached chicken in green sauce, and lots of basil mayonnaise. Jose and Liv (who drove in for the party) come over to help. I shower. Only one guest comes over having not gotten the “it’s cancelled” message.

March 31 (Saturday afternoon) 6:19 While deciding whether to visit Graham first or get crawfish first, Graham calls to say he’s ready for discharge. Jose, Liv and I go to get Graham.

March 31 (Saturday evening) 7:17 Talk to Graham’s dad on the way home. Drive to pharmacy for drugs and then go home. Liv and Jose get takeout crawfish.

March 31 (Saturday evening) 8:12 Crawfish is at the house, and Claudia and Matthew come over to help eat them. My siblings later help me walk the dogs. Graham recuperates on the couch. Somehow I remember to take my meds.

April 1 (Saturday night/Sunday morning) 12:21 Go to bed, sleep 8 hours and 22 minutes.

April 1 (Sunday morning) 11:00 Claudia comes over for brunch. Jose and Olivia follow shortly afterwards. We eat a lot of the food I made for the party and those who can drink (my siblings, but not me or Graham) drink sangria. Siblings linger until around 2:00. Liv goes back to Austin, and Jose goes to a party.

April 1 (Sunday afternoon) 2:20 Claudia and I get our nails done.

April 1 (Sunday afternoon) 5:23 I walk around the corner to the pub to attend a friend and colleague’s wedding reception.

April 1 (Sunday afternoon) 5:37 I get a call at the wedding reception that someone is in crisis and I need to help.

April 1 (Sunday afternoon) 6:34 I leave the reception and go home. Deal with crisis until around 9:30. Go to Walgreens for scripts. Am in bed by 11:40.

April 2 (Monday morning) 5:00 leave for Dallas for 9:00 appointment. Get scanned, find one follicle in a very hard to reach place. Decide to go forward. Egg retrieval scheduled for Wednesday. Need to be in Dallas tomorrow for scans.

April 2 (Monday afternoon.) 1:00 arrive home, go to work and try to figure out what the plan is.

April 3 (Tuesday morning) 6:00 am drive back to Dallas for lab work.

April 3 (Tuesday morning) 10:42   breezed right through a stop sign without seeing it, and got pulled over. Was fine when they took my licence and insurance card, but while they were doing whatever it is they do in the cruiser, the weight of everything that’s happened in the last five days hit me and I started sobbing uncontrollably. The poor cop was a bit flummoxed when she came back with just a warning. I apologized and said I’m not usually like this.

April 3 (Tuesday morning)  11:15 Find a Dennys, find a hotel.  Camp out at hotel and get some work done while waiting for Graham to fly to Dallas.

April 3 (Tuesday evening) 8:24 Go to airport to pick up Graham.  Wander around until he gets here.

April 3 (Tuesday evening) 10:05 Go back to Dennys because it’s the only place open.

April 4 (Wednesday morning) 7:20 Go to clinic, get ready for retrieval.  Under general anesthesia, they are able to retrieve one egg. The other, smaller follicle did not have an egg inside.  Drive back to Houston,

April 4 (Wednesday afternoon)  1:28 Go to work.

April 5 (Thursday morning)  9:20  Get call from the lab that the egg fertilized.  Exhale major breath that I’d been holding.

April 7 (Saturday morning) 9:33  Get call from the lab that the embryo has eight very good looking cells and has been frozen.  Jump for joy.

There are so many odds stacked against this kid from happening, that I kinda think it’s starting to reverse itself and get astronomically MORE likely that it’s going to happen. I mean, 4 years of trying, on top of the year of losing weight on top of this crazy ten days.

I keep on thinking of Jyn Erso’s speech: If we can make it to the ground, we’ll take the next chance, and the next, on and on until we win, or the chances are spent.

We’re still very early in the fight, but so far the chances have gone remarkably in our favor with very small odds. Here’s hoping we can deliver the plans of the Death Star.

40 Days Day 4–30

“So you’ll love her, she’s great,” Kevin said.

Helen snorted. “Not that great.”

“Don’t listen to her. She’s still pissed about the car thing.”

“She borrowed my car for a single errand, and it took six hours.