Verisimilitude
Site Specific Installation
Satchel's Arrival | Satchel's Journey | Links

For those who have asked, Site Specific Installation means:
Art that was created for a specific location.

hand.jpg

A journal about Satchel...





i will wade out
til my thighs are steeped in burning
flowers
i will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
Alive
with eyes closed

- ee cummings

I decided to keep a journal of my IVF in order to remain objective, yet experience it more fully.

IVF was my plan (B) approach to getting pregnant, but as I learned that my new insurance plan (under my husband) did not cover the procedure, plan (B) became plan (A). I read that most IVF clinics will not use the patient's own eggs after the age of 42. I will be 41 in October and I feel time rapidly catching up to my ovaries. I do not regret having waited this long to get pregnant because it was very important to me to meet the right life partner to have a child with. I have always felt that I would rather be single and childless than have a child and a relationship with someone who is not right for me. If I had not waited until I met Robert, I would never have known the happiness I know now.

The decision to go forward with IVF will require living apart from Robert for approximately 2 months until the cycle is completed as I must continue working at the center to keep my insurance. Robert must start his new job (in July) in Syracuse (5 hrs away). He will come home on the weekends. So I will be administering my own injections.

Blood, blood and more blood....
bloodtest.jpg
One of my many blood tests.

July 4, 2004

Robert and I had a battery of blood tests. I had to take my own blood this weekend because the doctor's office was closed and I didn't want to miss the cycle because I didn't have a "day 2" hormone level. I will be getting my blood tested twice a week to start, then more frequently as we go along.


sono2.jpg
Sonohistogram

July 17, 2004

A Sonohistogram: a small catheter is inserted through the cervix (pinches a little), and saline is injected into the uterus (burns a little). This is done to check for abnormalities such as scarring, or blocked tubes. By the time I experienced any real cramping, the test was over.


sonohist.jpg
A healthy uterus...we can now go forward with IVF.

July 29, 2004

The first suppression phase begins. I must take Desogen to suppress ovulation.


August 20, 2004

The stimulation phase begins. I must self-inject 600 i.u. of Follistim in my abdomen every night. This is to stimulate egg production.

Phase Two: Stimulation
folllistimboxes.jpg
14 boxes of follistim in our refrigerator

600 IU vial of follistim and 4 needles
follistimvial.jpg
No major side effects so far, except for some crazy headaches.

The "Pen"
pen2.jpg
It reminds me of my old Rapidograph from art school.

Dial Detail
dial.jpg
The dial doesn't go up to 600, so I have to give myself two shots to get the full dose.

"Microfine" Needle
follistimdetail.jpg
Sometimes it hurts...sometimes it doesn't.

August 22, 2004

I just got my first bruise.

Belly Bruise with Purple PJ's
bellybruise.jpg
After my second night of shots.

August 26, 2004

...and another.

Belly Bruises
bellybruises.jpg
Six nights, twelve shots, two bruises

August 27, 2004

Today I had more lab tests and another sono. The sono revealed that I had 3 follicles forming. My doctor didn't seem enthused because with IVF they like to see a bigger response to medication. I'm still very optimistic. I see it as two more follicles than I would have without medication. I see it as three more than zero. And...you only need ONE healthy egg to make a baby, so I think my odds are pretty good.

August 30, 2004

Last night a third shot was added to my treatment. It's called, Antagon, and it's to prevent my ovaries from releasing the eggs so that they can be harvested.

The needle was so dull that it didn't slide into my skin. It stopped on the surface and I watched my skin depress before the end of the needle popped through the skin. Still, it wasn't horrible.

I discovered that if I put an ice pack on the injections sites for a short time after, it minimizes the bruising.


Phase Three: Suppression
anagonbox.jpg
Seven boxes of Antagon on our table.

This brings me up to 3 injections per night.
antagondetail.jpg
This needle is so dull that it stops on the skin's surface. I have to push hard to get it in.

My doctor said that my hormone levels are too high and my body is not going to produce more than three follicles. Normally they would stop treatment and try next cycle. Because my insurance only covers one cycle and because Robert and I have already lived apart for two months so that I could complete my treatment before joining him...I must go forward regardless.

If all three follicles produce eggs I can have IVF. If my follicles do not produce three eggs, then I must get IUI. Naturally we are hoping for three eggs because with IVF I have a 40% chance of pregnancy and with IUI, I only have a 5% chance.

More blood and another sono tomorrow.


sonofollicle.jpg
One of my three follicles

September 2, 2004

(Yesterday and the day before...more of the same, blood tests and sonos and waiting and 3 shots in the belly). Today's visit to the doctor (blood and sono) was key and I was told that I'm ready to go. I'm to stop the Follistim and Antagon shots and give myself an Intramuscular shot (butt) of HCG at midnight. This is the final kick in the pants, so to speak. Saturday will be my surgery to remove the eggs. The implant will be on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I came home and cried my eyes out. I cried because I was happy that we are almost "there". I cried because I was relieved that I didn't have to inject my belly anymore even though I really don't think it's that bad. I cried because I am nervous about the unknown. I cried with admiration of my own strength and courage.

I am swollen and bruised. Metaphorically, I feel like an over ripe, over handled piece of fruit. One of my favorite authors (SARK) would probably say that at this moment I'm just "Living Juicy"!

September 3, 2003

I was so paranoid about missing this very important shot that I not only set my alarm for 11:50 pm, but I also set a timer. I wanted to give myself 10 minutes to wake up, mix and measure the medication. This shot was tricky to administer as I had to twist around like a pretzel to get it in just the right area of my bum.

To date...that makes a total of 31 self-administered injections.

Last night Nova did a piece on IVF. How fortuitous! I enjoyed watching it and now I have a vivid picture of what will be happening while I'm under anesthsia.


HCG...a very important shot.
hcg.jpg
The next day I felt achey and tired.

September 3, 2004

Begin taking Doxy. This is to prevent infection due to the surgery tomorrow.

September 4, 2004

The surgery wasn't that bad. (I will not get into the details of the experience at this particular clinic) Basically, I put on a gown and was escorted to a room where I was helped onto a table. My legs were strapped into stirrups. An IV was set in my left arm (didn't really hurt). I could smell and taste the medication as it was injected in my vein so I knew what was about to happen. I closed my eyes and thought of Robert, and a baby. The medication took effect VERY quickly and the next thing I knew, I was in a recovery room. The IV was removed and I waited for Robert.

I was told that they were only able to retrieve one egg because the other two follicles only contained fluid. Because I only have one egg they will perform ICSI. This is a procedure in which they pick out a very healthy sperm and chase it from behind with a needle. They suck it up (tail first) into the needle and then inject it into my egg. This is to ensure fertilization. We now must wait to see if the egg fertilizes properly; divides properly; survives; and is healthy enough to put back in me.

If all goes well, it will be put back inside of me on Tuesday or Wednesday. We will be waiting for a call from the embryo lab in the next day or so.

Tonight more medication will be added. I will be continuing the antibiotic, but in addition I will also be adding an oral steroid that will help prevent rejection of the blastocyst after it is inserted. I will also be administering another intramuscular injection. It is called, Progesterone, and it will help my uterine lining get thick and sticky to help the blastocyst implant firmly. It is a thick, oil based medication. Since my right side is still a little sore from the HCG shot, I may teach Robert how to do it so I can get it on the left side. The progesterone shots will continue nightly until further notice OR until I can convince my doctor to allow me to use a vaginal suppository instead.


Progesterone ( 20 doses)
progesterone.jpg
Another intramuscular shot, only this one is known to be painful.

September 5, 2003

Last night I phoned my doctor and spoke to his nurse. After this third attempt, I was finally able to get them to allow me to use the Progesterone vaginal suppositories instead of the injection.

My reasons were:
- Painful injection site
- No evidence to support that injection is better than suppository
- No evidence to support that the medication works at all.

My feelings are...why make IVF more painful and invasive than it has to be. Up until now, the injections were completely tolerable. The HCG was the only one that made me sore because it went into a muscle. Moreover, it is difficult for me to inject properly into my left side. As my right buttock was still sore from the HCG, I couldn't imagine injecting the same area up to 20 more times.



September 5, 2004 11:00 AM

Over another hurdle...

We just received a call from the embryo lab. The egg was fertilized and we now have a morula. It will have to survive and keep dividing during the next day or two...if all goes well, it will be inserted on Wednesday.

September 7, 2004

I spoke to the lab today and our morula continues to grow. Tomorrow at noon, the 'little one" will be put back where it belongs. I'm getting acupuncture in the morning for a little zap before the insert.

For the last couple of days, I've been sending all my love to a tiny growing mass of cells in a petri dish on Park Avenue. Robert has created his own mantra, "keep dividing, don't fragment, keep dividing, don't fragment".

Next we wait to see if it implants. I keep trying to visualize our little blastocyst wearing cleats.

welcomehome.jpg

September 8, 2004

The procedure was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. Once I was on the table I opened my gown to show the doctor my "Welcome Home" message on my belly. He laughed and one of the techs called more staff over to see it. There was a sense of happiness and anticipation in the room and everyone had their eyes fixed on the screen as the doctor positioned the equipment and catheter. He angled the montior so I could watch and someone slipped a pillow under my head so I could see everything. When he was ready to make the transfer he said, "Ok Wendy, this is it". I saw a small white burst inside my uterus and I gasped with amazment. The doctor asked, "How do you feel?" I replied, "I feel like crying...that was the most beautiful and amazing thing I've ever seen...thank you". He told me to "think positive and pregnant" and I told him that's what I've been doing all along. I had to remain there...horizontal for some time.

Now I just have to take it easy for a couple of days and wait to see if it implants. There was no pain with this procedure...just elation.

Tomorrow our morula officially becomes a blastocyst. I will celebrate...continue to send it thoughts of love...and cheer it on.

Our beautiful morula.
morula.jpg

"nothing which we are to perceive in this world
equals the power of your intense fragility" - ee cummings

Home again.
morulainside.jpg
Here it is back inside of me.

September 20, 2004

Today is my pregnancy test. It's been 16 days post ovulation or in my case, post retrieval. A pregnancy test is usually done on day 16 - 18, but sometimes as early as day 10. I think the waiting is the most difficult part of IVF. Waiting has always been a problem for me in my life and perhaps there is a lesson here. I've been trying to remain neutral, but of course I analyze every twinge and cramp. The reality is there is no way for me to guess if I'm pregnant or not. Both viable and nonviable pregnancies can cause these sensations, and so can all the hormones I've been taking. While I am both excited and nervous to find out if I'm pregnant or not, I have resisted the urge to test myself. I am waiting for my doctor to do it. If the IVF worked I will be elated, if not I will continue to try on my own.

A few years ago, my mom gave me a thick silver ring which I wear on my right index finger. Inscribed on the band is one simple word, "BE". I have always thought of it as a reminder to "BE" myself; not compare myself to others; to "BE" truly present and aware in my own life; to live fully. It's been a proverbial "string tied on the finger" so as not to forget.

This morning, as I look at my ring, all I can think of my pregnancy test. I look down at my belly and whisper, "BE"..."BE"..."BE".

be.jpg
September 21, 2004

I'm pregnant!!!

When I went for my blood test I told the staff, "I know the odds, but I want to be the success story...pregnant on the first try with one egg. So keep your finger's crossed for us".

It happened!

My doctor's office called yesterday and said, "Congratulations!" Everyone within in earshot began clapping. It's big, BIG news because of my age, because it was my first try at IVF, and because I had one egg. My doctor told a mutual friend that he thought I was a little kooky because I remained so positive during the whole ordeal. He said, "Wendy acted as if the odds were 100% in her favor". My friend replied, "Wendy is well aware of the statistics...she's just a very optimistic person".

I can't help thinking about that childhood story, "The Little Engine that Could"...only I think of it as, "the little EMBRYO that could". I want our story to bring hope to others. When I get to Syracuse, I would like to get a part time job in a fertility center. I want to teach women how to self-administer their meds with barely any pain or bruising. I want to encourage them to remain realistic, yet optimistic. I want to share everything I learned along the way and coach them through. For me, IVF was NOT an unpleasant experience.

I wrote yesterday that "perhaps there is a lesson here" and I think I've figured it out. The process of having a baby is about giving up control and having patience. (Two things that I'm not very good at.) I realized that giving myself injections wasn't horrible for me, because I felt like I was doing something to help...I was in control of something. We give up control of our bodies and allow another human being to live and grow in it...we allow our bodies to change. We give up control to nature, not knowing if we will even get pregnant. We learn patience in the waiting... waiting to find out if we are pregnant, waiting to see if it goes to term, and waiting to meet this little person 9 months later.

I know we're not "out of woods" yet, but I so hope our little embryo continues to flourish. I want so badly to share this story of his/her beginning. I want to say, "This is a photo of you when you were a morula. I watched the doctor put you inside me, and it was so amazing and beautiful that I gasped in awe".

I look forward to sharing everything I learned in my 40 years of BE-ing. I look forward to playing, making castles out of boxes, puppet shows, and toasting marshmallows in our fireplace. I look forward to seeing Robert be a daddy and taking photographs of them together. I look forward to being a family.
"somewhere i have never traveled
gladly beyond any experience"

- ee cummings

September 25, 2004

I saw an entry on Jen Gray's blog called, "Hand Blessings". The photo was that of a cluster of hands on a pregnant belly. I liked this idea so much that I began asking friends and family if they would like to send their love and blessings to our little embryo. I asked them to place their hand on my belly while I photographed it.

Little embryo, here are some of your blessings......(there will be many more to come)

Belly Blessings from:

daddy.jpg

momandlee.jpg

gramp.jpg

cands.jpg

lori.jpg

diane.jpg

nancy.jpg

alex.jpg

September 27, 2004

The last of the HCG blood levels. My doctor said that the levels are all good and that I only need to be followed with weekly sonograms. Below is the first picture of our embryo. You can clearly see the margins of the sack. On the screen I could see the rice sized little embryo, but it's hard to make out in the scan. In the coming week a rudimentary heart tube should form.

There will be another sono on Monday. If all goes well we should see a heartbeat.

embryo1.jpg

October 4, 2004

Today I'm 6 weeks pregnant. The sonogram today indicated the flutter of a heart beating. The doctor said, "It looks great". There will be another sono in 2 weeks.

Six weeks pregnant...there's a heartbeat!
sixweeks.jpg
CLICK on photo above to see video.

October 8, 2004

I've been debating about whether or not I should write this entry because I don't want to seem as if I'm complaining about something as miraculous as pregnancy. Still, the title of this journal is "Verisimilitude" which means truth or reality therefore I feel I should remark on what my pregnancy feels like.

There a days when I feel pretty good and almost forget that I'm pregnant. There are days when when I feel so crappy and nauseous that I've actually said to Robert, "Why would anyone in their right mind want to be pregnant" and "I'm glad you only want one child because I'm not doing this again". Of course, when I'm feeling good I forget that I've actually made these comments. It is only from sheer will that I haven't barfed. When I'm nauseous I can't even go into the kitchen. One night we had vegetarian chili and it was as if it was the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. The next night I didn't even want to look at it. One evening, the only thing I could even think about eating was a single piece of corn on the cob which Robert bought from a local farmer. After the first bite I thought I never tasted corn this good in my life, but half way through it was suddenly too sweet and I had to force myself to finish it. It is very strange.

The most interesting symptom I have experienced is an intense fatigue that hits me hard. It's like nothing else I've ever felt. When the exhaustion hits my whole body aches. The first time it happened I thought I had a fever because every muscle in my body ached...it even felt like my bones were hurting. According to my doctor, this is very common. I learned that the reason this happens is because my body is working very hard at building a little human with tissue, nerves, organs, and bones of it's own. We don't realize how much energy it takes to create a little human, but judging by the way I feel when the fatigue hits...it takes a LOT.

The other symptom that I'm experiencing is the result of the hormone, progesterone, which my doctor is now trying to wean me off of. My breasts are so swollen that I look like a cartoon of my former self. I wouldn't mind it so much if the size was due to milk production for breast feeding...at least then they would be useful. At the moment, however, they are nothing more than extremely painful decorations.

I am told that pregnancy makes our sense of smell more acute as a means of protecting the embryo from poisonous substances. If there is any truth to this, it happened to me last night. I woke up and said to Robert, "I smell a skunk". He said he didn't smell anything, but I could clearly smell it and it kept waking me up. Having spent nearly 18 years living in Manhattan, I would swear that nothing smells worse than the subway in June, but now I crown the humble skunk the malodorous KING. Bradford Morrow wrote a prose poem about the skunk in "Bestiary". He describes it's scent as "satanic perfume". It couldn't be more accurate. This morning Robert remembered that, when he was taking out the trash the other night, he saw a skunk running down the sidewalk. All I can say is, "AHA!!!"

We go into this experience not knowing how it will effect us. We hope that we will be one of the lucky few who breeze through pregnancy with minimal discomfort. It is an example of how brave women truly are. The 9 months following conception is like a test of our endurance, our strength. Somehow we all seem to prevail. And some brave souls head right back into the ring for another round.

Embryo at two months.
twomos.jpg
Click on the photo above to play the sonogram.

October 18, 2004

Today was exciting. Not only could we see the heartbeat, but we could also see the curve of it's back, the arm buds (mid-left of screen) and leg buds (lower left of screen) that have formed as well as the outline of the embryo's large head (at the top of the screen).

bellythreemonths.jpg
Third Month (almost 10 wks)

October 27, 2004

I didn't think it would happen this early but my belly is no longer flat. There is a small, but noticeable curve.

Still image of our very active munchkin (11 wks)
elevenwks.jpg
Click on image above to watch him kick and jump!

November 10, 2004

Today was the cvs test (Chorionic Villus Sampling). The doctor extracts a fragment of chorionic villi, tiny fingerlike projections on the placenta. The cells taken from the placenta are full of genetic information that can be analysed for chromosomal abnormalities and the sex of the baby. This test is done due to my advanced maternal age. Since my eggs are older there is a slightly higher chance of chromosomal defect. We opted for this test as opposed to an amniocentesis because it can be done much earlier.

Our doctor first tried to obtain the sample through a catheter inserted in my cervix. This was uncomfortable, but not that bad. However, she was unable to get the sample because my uterus is positioned more to the right so she decided to try again through my abdominal wall. I watched everything up until this point. The needle was quite large so I chose to close my eyes for this attempt. It didn't hurt too bad when it punctured my skin, perhaps because of the 30+ needles I had to give myself. What DID hurt was when the needle punctured my uterus. The uterus is a muscle that has one job and that is to contract....jab it repeatedly with a needle and it will show you that it's an expert at contracting. The pain is not like a menstral cramp, it's more severe and localized and causes one to bend in the middle. It was very difficult to keep still and not bend my legs during the sampling. I tried my best to remain still and said, "ouch, ouch, ouch" with each jab. The sampling was several quick hard stabs... an up and down motion that made my eyes tear. Thankfully it was over quickly so it was not too horrible. Afterward I was a bit sore and tired. Robert felt nauseous and light headed.

As you know, I wanted to film the procedure, but when we got into the room they told us that we couldn't, so we bought a vhs tape and asked them to record it. They recorded the sonogram prior to the biopsy, but would not record the biopsy. Still, the video we have is amazing. Our little 2 inch, 11 wk, munchkin put on quite a show. Our wee one stretched and kicked and turned around. We both had tears in our eyes as we watched. You can watch video by clicking the photo above.

In the photo above, you can see the right hand in the background. In the foreground, you can almost make out the left arm (bent at the elbow) with the hand near the side of the head.

We will have our results in approximately 10 days.

November 19, 2004

Yesterday I was over at our new house raking leaves (we are moving in on Saturday). It started to rain and I went inside to get warm. I walked into the front bedroom, put my hands on my belly and said aloud, "This will be your room". I then walked over to the window seat in the dining room and began counting the days since we had our CVS and took a guess that they would be calling sometime in the next three days.

Well they called last night and it's good news! They said that they examined the chromosomes from the biopsy last week and our baby is normal!!!

They also told me that I'm carrying a baby boy!!! To say that we are elated is an understatement. Robert swore he knew it was a boy all along, as did his sister and several of my friends. And I don't know how to explain it, but deep in my heart I've always felt like I would be a boy's mommy. I even thought of a name many years ago in the event that i would one day have a child.

All I can say is....if this little boy is half as adorable as his father, I'm a goner. I'll be doing so much swooning that I won't be able to walk a straight line.

To my friends that have sons....PLEASE put us on your hand-me-down list!!!

Dizzy with joy,
wendy

December 2, 2004

We have chosen a name for our son:

Satchel Cooper Cox

We wanted a name that wasn't widely used, one that we associated some sort of goodness...or "goodliness" as we like to say. I thought of "Satchel" because of "Satchel Paige" who once said, "Work like you don't need the money...dance like nobody's watching...love like you've never been hurt"....very wise words about living life to the fullest (Maybe his last name should have been "Sage" instead of "Paige). When I mentioned the name to Robert he really liked it.

The middle name "Cooper" just felt good to us and the only
Cooper I know is my friend Cooper Bates of "Hint Mints"
whom I feel, is a truly good human.

Cooper and I met (figuratively) when he launched Hint Mints. I discovered a tin while wandering through Barnes & Noble. I loved that they contained NO animal products (unlike Altoids which contain gelatin) and I loved the design of the tin. What I didn't like was that the tin was co-branded with the Barnes & Noble logo, therefore I wouldn't buy it. So....I wrote to the vice president of Hint Mint (Cooper) and told him all this.

He wrote back AND sent me a six pack of hint mints without any advertising on them. He also told me that Hint Mint would no longer offer advertising space on their tins. This pleased me greatly. We nearly met (physically) when he came to the Javitz Center for a trade show...testing his chocolate Hint Mints (which I love), but our schedules got wonky and we (Robert and I) were unable to meet him for dinner.

So I have good associations with our son's name.

I have since learned that the directors, Woody Allen and Spike Lee both have a son named Satchel. As I am quite fond of their films, I am doubly pleased with our choice.

December 3, 2004: A wish for my child

Dear Satchel,

May you live your life fully with wisdom, passion and humor.

May you base your decisions on knowledge and personal conviction and not be swayed by popular opinion or media hype.

May you have the strength not to accept, but to question that which doesn't make sense (regardless of it's source), and form your own conclusions.

If you witness an injustice, may you have the courage to act, speak your mind, and stand up for what you believe in.

May you have compassion for all living beings regardless of race, gender or species.

May you laugh loudly and often.

May you always feel loved.

December 7, 2004

A very sincere thank you to Renee, Andrew, Kenedi, Jace and Madison for sending Satchel the enormous box of clothes that Jace outgrew. I think Satchel would be thrilled to know that his clothing is infused with so much love! I think I feel him smiling.

(Renee recently gave birth to beautiful twins, Jace and Madison)

* Make that TWO boxes!!! Another box filled with all sorts of baby gear arrived on Friday. Thank you all so very much!!!

December 11, 2004

Yesterday this super cool sweater arrived by post for Satchel. His cousin Katie knitted it for him. THANK YOU, KATIE!

Coincidentally, the "rockin' baby sling" that I would like to get for Satchel is turqouis with (brown faux suede) stars. I want to carry him in this pouch in front of my belly like a marsupial for as long as I can.

I would also like to thank our friends and family members for their complimentary emails regarding our son's name. I applaud those who figured out how I came up with the name "Satchel" before I even posted the explanation.

December 13, 2004
sixteenwks.jpg
16 weeks.....a little more noticeable.

January 2, 2005

On December 21st, I felt Satchel move. I wasn't sure what it was at first. I only knew that something was tickling me. I can't describe the emotions I felt when I realized that the tickling was actually my son moving. I waited until now to write about it because I wanted to describe what it feels like. I can't! It's indescribable. I can only say that it tickles.

He is very active in the morning and then again at around 8pm.

Friday morning I experienced what I think was a Braxton Hicks Contraction, though I'm not sure. All of a sudden the muscles in my abdomen began moving by themselves. My abdomen slowly became very tight and hard and then slowly relaxed again. It didn't hurt at all, but it was a really weird sensation.

January 5, 2005

I don't know if this will make any sense, but here it goes:

Do you remember that sound that Sam's nose made when she casted a spell on Bewitched?

Well....when Satchel moves, it feels like that sound!

January 6, 2006

The very talented sonographer where I work took some pictures of Satchel today that were quite beautiful. We even have close-up shots of his feet which are now 3 cm long. He weighs 13 ounces. Below is a profile as well as a close up of his right hand.

satchel19wk.jpg
Satchel at 19 wks and 3 days

"to dash against the darkness
in the sleeping curves of my body
shall enter fingers of smooth mastery"

- ee cummings

January 6, 2005
satchelhand.jpg
He seems to have my long fingers.

Excerpt from "The Son" by Pablo Neruda
(one of my favorite poets)

Ah son, do you know, do you know
where you come from?

from kissing each other's souls,
that's how you came into the world.

You come from so many places,
from the water and the earth,
from the fire and the snow,
from so far away you journey
toward the two of us,

we want to know what you're like,
what you say to us,
because you know more
about the world we gave you.

Like a great storm
we shook the tree of life
down to the hidden-most
fibers of the roots
and you appear now
singing in the foliage,
in the highest branch
that with you we reach.

January 14, 2005

Today was our offical 20 wk doctor's appointment. I finally gained some weight...4 lbs! Satchel now weighs 1 lb...the rest is placenta, fluid and the added "boobage". At 20 wks they examine the baby with a sonogram and make sure there's growth and that the organs and spine are normal. They wouldn't allow me to take photos or film the sonogram. I didn't tell them that I already had a peek at Satchel last week in my own office. (Jen took the most wonderful sono photos) In the short time between the sono Jen took and the sono taken in my doctor's office, Satchel has gained 3 ounces and is now 12 inches long. We were told that he's a little big for his gestational age, but that it's ok. The sonographer commented on how long Satchel's fingers are. Robert replied, "Look at his mom's hands". It is clear that Satchel has my hands.

The amazing thing about the sonogram is all the movement that's going on...not just the baby, but you can actually see little specks of shed skin cells floating around in the amniotic fluid. I told Robert that Satchel reminded me of an astronaut floating in space attached to his ship by a cord at the belly....space dust floating by. It's like an actual universe in there. He agreed.

I told our doctor that, every so often, I get a pain that feels like it's in my cervix. I thought for sure he would think I was nuts, but he told me that it's very common and that it's actually Satchel kicking the top of my cervix. After all the procedures I had during the IVF process, I have become very aware of exactly where my reproductive organs are. I also told him that I thought that I was having Braxton Hicks Contractions and he confirmed that I was indeed experiencing them. It's my body practicing for Satchel's birth. I find this amazing. We don't think about breathing or our heart beating...it just happens. And so it is with birth...our bodies just know what to do.

I can't help thinking about something my sensei once said to me. I was in the dojo trying very hard to learn a series of movements and becoming frustrated with myself. He turned to me and said, "Wendy, when you create a piece of art you see it in your mind first then your hands make it....all you have to do is picture yourself doing the moves and your body will eventually follow".

I have applied this wisdom to many areas of my life. I pictured myself pregnant during IVF. I literally stood in front of the bathroom mirror one day and pushed my belly out to give myself an image to hold on to. I pictured us living in "Fuller House" before our offer was ever accepted. I pictured myself working in an OB/GYN practice (with the hope of helping other women who are considering IVF) before I actually got the job.

I will hold this wisdom close to my heart during labor and try to remember that my body knows what to do. I will listen to my body. I will try to picture Satchel's birth going smoothly so that my body will follow.

21wks.jpg
21 Weeks

kiss.jpg
A kiss for Satchel from his daddy.

February 10, 2004

Our "24 week" visit to our OB/GYN went well. We met the midwife, Heather, whom I've heard great things about. I've gained another 2 pounds. I thought it would have been more by the looks of my belly. The midwife said my weight is perfect and Satchel's heart sounds great. Our next visit isn't for another month.

A 3D sono taken by the talented Jennifer Dewan...
satchel24wks.jpg
Satchel at 24 wks 4/7 days

February 11, 2005

Above is a 3D sonogram of our son, Satchel, taken by the very talented sonographer, Jennifer Dewan. At 24wks 4/7 days gestational age, his feet now measure 5 cm long. He made faces and yawned. It was amazing to watch. The 3D sono takes many slices with sound then puts them together to form an image. It gets a little distorted as the sound must travel through my abdominal wall, uterine muscle and amniotic fluid in order to reach the baby, but it's much more realistic than the standard 1D/2D sonogram. You can even see the shadows from the cord. There is a shadow on his right cheek and part of the actual cord is resting just below the left side of his chin.

Wendy & Satchel 26 wks
icarryyourheart.jpg
i carry your heart 2005 W.Cook

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart )i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go,my dear)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

- e.e. cummings

Click to hear Satchel's heartbeat

February 20, 2005

Satchel received his first email today while in utero:

Dear Satchel,

I love hearing about you and your every move, as the time of your much awaited arrival gets closer. We already love you and congratulate you for having chosen your parents with such care and great ability.


Give my regards to your Dad, my love to your Mom, and to you all the best wishes to you,

Marilys


March 14, 2005

At 28 weeks we are tested for gestational diabetes. I had to drink 50g of glucose and have my blood tested one hour after ingestion. My glucose level came back high so I had to do a 3 hour test after ingesting 100g of glucose. I failed that too and have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My advanced maternal age is probably the culprit, nevertheless...my placenta is not behaving. Therefore any sugar that I ingest does not get absorbed by my cells and excreted, but rather floats around in my blood stream and goes to Satchel. This can make him grow rather big and cause complications so now I must be monitor my carb and sugar intake and check my blood several times a day.

March 20, 2005

This morning I made a little slide show, entitled "i carry your heart", that I will give to Satchel one day. It's a work in progress. The slide show will end with a live video clip of him right after he's born, but I'll have to wait 10 more weeks for that. We will give it to him as a birthday gift.

The link below will take you to the preview.....

Click here to play "i carry your heart"

April 6, 2005

I have to see my OB/GYN weekly now because of the gestational diabetes. We are hooked up to a monitor which checks Satchel's heart rate, movements as well as uterine contractions. As soon as the nurse attaches the sensors Satchel starts squirming and the sensors begin to bob up and down.

strip.jpg
The line L. shows the movements and heart rate. The line R. monitors contractions.

satchel.jpg

Jen Dewan, the sonographer at my office, took the above 3d still of Satchel at 30 wks of gestation as well as a 4d movie. Satchel smiled several times in utero and we have the film to prove it! When I get a chance I will try to record a strip digitally and upload it to the journal.

April 10, 2005

Yesterday was Satchel's celebration (a baby shower of sorts) hosted by my Mom. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and it took place on the roof of our old building (thanks to my former Sensei) in NYC overlooking the harbor and statue of liberty. We had delicious vegetarian Tibetan food from my favorite restaurant, Tsampa. There was fresh fruit and scrumptious cake from Magnoia Bakery (where Robert and I stopped for a snack on our first date). I played the birth cd that I made for Satchel and had copies to share with everyone. We had a huge bundle of blooming cherry branches on the table and other assorted spring blooms scattered about in bud vases. The mood was joyful and it felt so good to see all my friends again that I neglected to take photos. It was wonderful!!! Thank you all!!!

Sunday May 1, 2005

My co-workers, Di and Jenny, threw Satchel a "Welcome Party" (shower). It was wonderful. There were all sorts of delicious treats...spinach dip, fresh veggies and fruit, soy "meat" balls, vegan brownies, and a wonderful cake made by Julia's sister with the muppet, Grover, on it and which read "Welcome Baby Satchel" on it. There were delicate bouqets of flowers in baby bottle vases on the table. Diane's home had the most magnificent views I've ever seen. We were showered with all sorts of wonderful gifts....special labor and baby care package from "Mother Love", adorable clothing, toys and books and bird feeders that will attach to his bedroom window....even a gift certificate to learn baby massage.

Diane gave out candles and a poem that requested each guest to light the candle when I go into labor (to light Satchel's way).

I am so touched by everyone's generousity and warmth!

May 11th, 2005

Satchel weighs 6 lbs 9 ounces. I have gained 13 lbs total. The doctor said that my blood sugar has been so good that he is treating this as a normal pregnancy. He doesn't think Satchel will be too big because of the gestational diabetes and we will plan on giving birth at the low risk birth center a planned. We will be assisted by our doula, Christine Goldman.

Saturday night: 5/21/05
9mos.jpg
8 Days Until Touchdown

To see Satchel, click on "Satchel's Arrival" above.

footnote:

On September 29th, I moved from Manhattan to Upstate NY. Prior to relocating, I notified both Earthlink and Time Warner Cable of my upcoming move. Both companies assured me that nothing would happen to my data because it would be stored on Earthlink's server. When I reached my destination and logged in, I found that everything on my blog was erased. After a frustrating day of phone calls, I was told that there was a miscommunication between Time Warner Cable and Earthlink. Earthlink told me that Time Warner sent a de-activate notice to Earthlink and therefore my files were erased. Time Warner told me that sending a de-activate notice is protocol and that Earthlink should not have erased my files. Neither company would take responsibility for the error.

Yesterday I received a phone call from LA. It was Andrea Kreuzhage (film producer / director) calling to interview me regarding a journal project that I participated in. She is doing a documentary about the project. She told me that while she was doing her research about the participants, she discovered my IVF journal and had been following the story.

I explained that Earthlink erased my data and that I was in the process of rebuilding it from memory and notes. Then the most astonishing thing happened....Andrea told me that she copied my journal and saved it on her hard drive. She emailed me all the data so that I could restore the blog.

I am once again reminded of how truly connected we all are. I am grateful for my beautiful life and the steady stream of amazing moments like this one. I am quite grateful to Andrea. I look forward to meeting her and participating in her extraordinary film project.

portfolio.jpg

All designs and images on this site (unless otherwise noted) are the sole property of Wendy Cook and may not be used without prior written permission from the artist. Copyright 1991-2004 Wendy Cook. All rights reserved.