… to a lesbian conception adventure!

Posts tagged ‘first trimester’

13 Weeks!

*Thought this posted earlier today, apparently it did not, here it is now!

 

And depending on who you ask, I’m either into or just about into the second trimester as I have completed twelve full weeks (or ten full weeks of actual baby development or eight full weeks of actually knowing what is going on).

My 12 weeks weekend was full of vomit, including getting sick all over myself while driving to a training, necessitating a return home to change. I’ve gotten sick at least once a day since then but today so far (it’s only 8 in the morning), all is well.

I can’t say that my appetite is back, but I have been able to cook food and C is finally seeing glimpses of her old wife. On Sunday, I cleaned a good amount of the house, went grocery shopping, and cooked lasagna (with beef AND sausage). Last night, I stopped by the grocery store again on my way home and when I got home, walked the dog (for the first time in over a week). I was pretty much done after that, but “that” was a whole lot, considering.

I definitely have a bump at this point, and it is fairly substantial. I think some of it is all the food I ate trying not to be nauseous, but it has gotten more noticeable in the past two weeks despite the fact that my weight has been steady. My jeans still button (though I’ve used a belly band and have not buttoned for real in weeks) but it’s a stretch and they are much less comfortable. My “baggy” sweater no longer has bag, but belly, and I am not going to be able to keep it from anyone at work much longer. I could still be misconstrued as eating a tray full of holiday cookies, I guess, but the gain is definitely in my stomach. I can’t imagine 27 weeks from now!

This afternoon, I give notice at my part time job. I plan to stay another couple months (so that I will have been there a full year) but need time to transfer the work. It will be weird to be quitting but good to get two evenings a week back. C is very excited and wishes I would quit even sooner.

C’s mom is coming to town this weekend to help us prepare the house and get things together. This will be the first of hopefully many trips and we are both excited, though I’m also exhausted thinking about it. 13 weeks does feel solid enough to move in this direction, but I am still nervous that something could go wrong. It’s hard to be in between ultrasounds and in between ultrasound proof and baby movement proof.

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A down and up day.

The midwife office was… interesting. It’s a small place with a waiting room that looks like it needs quite a bit of updating. When we walked in, we weren’t really greeted and C made a point of saying hello. Though they’ve worked with same-sex couples in the past, their paperwork was very heterofocused with “father of baby” throughout.  When I asked if perhaps I should list C on the paperwork somewhere (if she should be listed where FOB was), the person collecting the paperwork seemed confused and at first said no but then said yes after the (much younger) midwife corrected her.

Meeting with the midwife was good. She was very low-key in terms of discussion about their practice and we had to ask a lot of questions to get an idea of their philosophy. It seemed like it was in line with our own, in terms of being supportive of the process in whatever form that takes. At the hospital, they will be the ones in the room along with a nurse and there will not be other folks coming in and out. They want us to write a birth plan so they have guidance in what we want. They will not offer medication but will provide it if it is requested. She offered us a variety of screenings that we would have to take advantage of in the next several weeks and spent a brief amount of time explaining the pros and cons (though that was probably more due to the fact that we already knew we weren’t interested in most of them). There was no pressure to either have the screenings or to avoid them, which I appreciated. The only thing I really did not like about our whole conversation is that she dated me from LMP despite the fact that I explained that there was no chance of conception prior to CD 19. It’s not the end of the world (it amounts to a difference of 4-5 days) but it annoyed me because if I know one thing, it’s the very brief period in which I could have conceived, and I did not feel like she either fully understood or cared.

After chatting, I had an exam and then she pulled out the doppler to try to find the heartbeat. She mentioned that it might be hard to find “at 12 weeks” (I’m about 4 days shy of that per my estimate and measurements at the RE which lined up with my estimate) but that we would try anyway.

And she tried. And tried. And tried. Lots of neat wooshing sounds, but no sound of a heartbeat. She tried one last time and found… nothing. She noted that my uterus is slightly tilted, which may cause the problem. We spoke briefly of ultrasound and she told us she would try to get us an appointment with a radiology place that day, maybe by “lying a bit” and saying I had some bleeding.

I wasn’t terrified but I certainly was not okay. I was tearful and worried, especially when the prescription we were given was for a “viability ultrasound.” The administrative assistant called around and got us an appointment while we finished up with some final questions. We had a little over an hour to kill and we spent it eating lunch and watching bad television before heading out for the u/s.

Fortunately for us, the place was not super busy and we were seen fairly quickly. I am far enough along that I have graduated to abdominal u/s (and I was glad… was not interested in getting undressed again). The way the room was set up, my head was next to the screen and C was at my feet. So she could see the screen but I could not. As the tech began to work, I watched C’s face. The tech did not speak much at all at first, just scanning and punching the keyboard and scanning some more. After a couple minutes, C smiled at me (she later admitted she had seen the heartbeat but didn’t want to say it in case she was wrong).  The tech showed me the heartbeat – it was probably the most emotional moment of the pregnancy thus far. Tears sprung to my eyes as I expressed my relief and also noted how amazing it was.

And that’s when it got fun. I don’t know if it was my enthusiasm for the u/s or my relief or the tech feeling good… or maybe they always do this, but she spent another several minutes “giving us a tour” (as my RE would say) of the fetus. She showed us the head and the arms and showed us different angles. We saw the bottom of the feet. We watched the fetus dance around – arms moving, legs moving – I have never seen anything so amazing!

And then… she went 3D.

(Let me add here that I never have been terribly interested in 3D ultrasounds. The ones I’ve seen right before a baby is born are kind of strange to me and I know that a lot of folks pay extra for them and I can think of other ways I’d want to spend my money)

It was amazing. Sure, I can imagine the 3d version of the fetus when I’m looking at a 2d ultrasound. But seeing it? Wow. She also did this thing where we could see activity by the colors that poured over the screen (kind of like heat detection, except the movement was red).

When we left the radiology place, I sobbed. Like my own mother, I am okay at holding things together when everything is up in the air. Once I know the outcome, good or bad, all of that pressure releases.

We spent the rest of the day showing our 3D picture to our parents, who were also amazed. And we slept. Because a wave of feeling awful and needing to sleep came over me very quickly after the stress of the day.

I realize that this was a terribly long post – mostly out of a need for a regrouping activity for me. But if you’ve made it this far, there’s a reward!

 

 

Nervous

Off to the midwife appointment in a little bit and I have to say, I’m quite nervous. Nervous to meet new practitioners, nervous that I might not like them, nervous because the world of prenatal care is so vast and even with recommendations it seems like it’s pretty much a crapshoot.

The practice we are going to today has at least three midwives. We will not work with any one midwife more than the others, ideally, as they rotate your appointment so that you see all of them over the course of your pregnancy because any one of them could be on call the day of your delivery.

Although I do not want a super medicalized birth, I am realizing that it might be hard for me to not have a medicalized pregnancy. I may be bizarre, but I have had many good experiences with doctors and I generally don’t mind medical intervention. That being said, I do not want to head down the surgery route at delivery and my chances are far less with a midwife than with an OB where I live (the midwife practice has a section rate of 13%).  It is going to be hard for me to not have tons more ultrasounds and invasive investigation into what is going on because I so desperately want to know that everything is going well ALL. THE. TIME.

That being said, I really do want a more personalized experience and I think if there is anyone who is going to give it to me, it will be the midwives. I am, however, already missing having just my one RE who was present for everything (every meeting, every appointment, even my HSG) and I realize that I was incredibly spoiled in that regard.

Really, I’m just afraid of the unknown. I think that so much of giving birth (and pregnancy in general) is hindsight being 20/20 and there are so many things I won’t know until I’ve experienced them regardless of any other experience that others have had. I also have to remind myself that one visit to one provider does not mean that I have to stay with that provider out of some false sense of loyalty or oh-they-spent-time-with-me-I-feel-bad-for-leaving.

Outside of the nerves, I am excited and hopeful that we get confirmation that things are swimming along nicely. I took off today so that C and I can enjoy the day together and following the appointment we are going to go clothes shopping because my (super form fitting) clothes just aren’t cutting it anymore.

!!!

So back in the beginning of December, my dcotor wrote me a note for work, indicating that I needed to limit physical activity. Fast forward twenty days, and HR tells me it’s “too broad” and that they won’t be able to accommodate that sort of letter. After a bit of phone tag, the doctor invites me to come in today so we can write a letter. He was very gracious (probably because he’ll bill my insurance for the visit) and noted that we can keep writing letters until they are happy and I can be accommodated.

Anyway, I guess he was done for the afternoon because he was very relaxed and chatty with C and I. After the letter was written, I asked him a question about ebbing and flowing symptoms (my breasts felt just a bit less full this morning) since I won’t see my midwife for another two weeks. And voiced some of my anxiety about anything going wrong. And then the following conversation occurs:

Doctor: Do you want to go take a look?

Me: Are you serious?!

Doctor: Sure! Let’s do it.

Me: Don’t toy with me.

And just like that, I’m back on the table, seeing the baby again! And it GREW! A lot! And is measuring right on target. And because time was not of the essence, he spent quite a bit more time with us than during the first ultrasound, pointing out the head, arms (elbow!), legs, heartbeat. And we saw the whole embryo ( / fetus… we’re in that gray zone right now) MOVE! He gave us five more pictures to take home with us and chatted about how much he loves this part of his job and how he could look at the ultrasounds all day. So. Fun. And a happy start to several days off.

I haven’t scanned the picture yet, but will add a quick picture of the picture for fun. Pardon the quality.

Image

8 Weeks

How has it been eight weeks already? How do I have four more to go of this trimester?!  I warn you now that this will be a post full of TMI fluids and rambles.

I have not made it a day this week without vomiting sometime in the morning. Today I thought I was going to make it, and it happened in the sink when I was spitting out my toothpaste (after drinking cranberry juice, so you can imagine my initial horror before I realized what was actually going on). Some days I feel okay in the afternoon, other days I just want to curl up in a ball. I do feel better when I am distracted (by blogging, hanging out with C or friends, etc.) and worse when I’m doing tasks I’d rather not be doing (paperwork in my office, for example). I find that if I just force myself  to eat, I do better and that peppermints take away that awful nauseous feeling for a little while.

Tonight, while technically week 8, was a special highlight. C called me at work and asked if I wanted to meet her at one of our favorite restaurants. I have been feeling okay today, so I said sure. Ordered my favorite meal. And then could. not. eat. it. It was so gross. And SAD, because it’s my go-to at that restaurant. I hope I can look at it the way I used to sometime in the future.

Other than the nausea, all is (pretty) well. I don’t sleep on my stomach anymore and my back has never been an option, so I’m on my side all night, wrapped around a pillow. It’s not that I’m super uncomfortable any other way, I’m just more comfortable snuggling with a pillow. (Anyone have body pillow recommendations?) I’ve always had a little pouch in front but it’s now a noticeable pouch and I’ve already graduated to wearing a belly band that my mom gave me for my birthday (my jeans will still button but I figure I should be comfortable and as I get bloated throughout the day they get less and less comfy). I have gained six pounds somehow, which is probably mostly water and soda (I seldom drink juices and sodas and they have become my new calorie-ridden best friends). I also eat multiple times a day just to keep the nausea down and have had less than ideal exercise thanks to feeling awful, a busy work schedule, and freezing  temperatures.

I continue to have pregnancy apathy, which is akin to pregnancy fatigue. Last night was a night of major life accomplishments when I did all of the following:

  • Worked all day despite feeling awful
  • Stopped to pick up a gift
  • Stopped at home to pee and pick up the dog
  • Went grocery shopping and procured something for dinner
  • Picked up some food from my mom’s house
  • Had food ready when C got home from work
  • Cleaned major portions of the house
  • Walked the dog (the “long” way which is just over half a mile)
  • Promptly fell asleep on the couch like it was my job.

Do you see that list?! Look at All. I. Did. We’ll ignore the fact that many of those items together constitute a normal hour for pre-pregnancy me and that I used to do many of those things all the time.  We’ll just focus on the SUCCESS (and the fact that I puked this morning and was reminded that I am still pregnant, so I didn’t feel too nervous that perhaps something going wrong led to my energy burst).

Obviously the highlight of Week 7 was the ultrasound. Other highlights included setting a midwife appointment (we’ll be seeing them just after 11 weeks) and telling more people about the pregnancy. We have not graduated to telling the whole world yet, primarily because there are some key folks still in the dark and partly because we are going to wait another four weeks.

Happy Raspberry!

A Bunch of Birds

… since I’ve missed posting for three days for the blog challenge! We’ll go in the style of the song, backwards from most to least.

Four French Hens: Travel  Tales

Prior to meeting, C, I was only a for-vacation, for-adventure traveler and then only rarely because travel was expensive and not native to my family experience.

C, on the other hand, has family in probably a dozen states and within a month of starting to date, I had flown halfway across the country to hang out with her family “as friends.” A few years later, her mother moved south, and we travel to visit her as well (and get a reprieve from colder weather). Even our trip to Hawaii over the summer was related to C’s family arriving home from war.

I can safely say that we both love to travel, whether by plane or car, and we have had some great adventures on road trips (three day road trip where we were on the road more than at our 16-hour-away destination) and trips a little further (Costa Rican ziplines, horses, and one-engine planes!).

Just like in many aspects of our relationship, our traveling together has improved the more we have done it. We tag team really well, from packing, to parking, to getting tickets, to getting food. We agree on quite a bit and usually easily compromise on any disagreements. I genuinely love traveling in generally, but especially with C, and I am grateful that the addition of a child will be a challenge, but not the straw the breaks the camel’s back.  And that we will have a new opportunity to work together.

Three Calling Birds: Holiday Cards

In a sentence: I love them*, C hates them. Every year around our annual Halloween party, I start to make comments about wanting to have The. Most. Amazing. holiday cards out there. I talk about taking funny pictures of the dog, using funny pictures of us, and putting together something glamourous and spectacular. C would be fine if we avoided the task altogether, but goes along with my ramblings.

This year, we took several cute pictures of the dog in November. And suddenly it was December 10th. And I hadn’t picked the “official” pictures to use, hadn’t designed cards (because we don’t just stick them in REGULAR cards, that would be ridiculous! :-P), hadn’t done any of the necessary prep work to make these cards happen. And then we found a box of 40 beautiful cards for $10. And that was the end of that. C took on the task of addressing them while I signed and sealed (they were self-seal, thank goodness!) and we put them in the mail yesterday. I feel good because they are done, C feels good because they are done AND because she got to address them her way instead of my usual formal style (Think “Grandma and Grandpa” instead of “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So.”)

(*Also I’ve made sending cards every year a personal goal… which means even when I don’t love them, I. Must. Send. Them.)

Two Turtle Doves: Loved Ones

Such a broad topic! Right now, when I’m thinking about my loved ones, I’m just feeling grateful that we have so much support around us. We have now told all of our parents, two close friends, and one sibling about the pregnancy and gotten nothing but enthusiastic support and congratulations. I am particularly grateful that C’s family has taken my pregnancy in stride (her mom is apparently hitting up a maternity store today) and that we haven’t gotten any rejection in terms of genetic relatedness. We are super excited to be telling C’s grandparents for Christmas – her grandmother, in particular, has been a huge support of both of us and has been (im)patiently waiting for this news (we had told all of the family in advance of trying that we were “thinking about it,” etc. so that when the announcement did come we would have a clue about how they might respond and they would have a clue that it was coming and could better prepare if there were any issues – this could be a whole other post, as I think it was a really good way for us to do it).

I am also excited to see so many loved ones this holiday season. We have some really nice traditions that worked out in a way that with very little effort we are able to see both sides of the family.

 

Happy weekend, everyone!

 

 

The Medicalization of Conception: Unforeseen Consequences

I first started posting about the medicalization of conception shortly after meeting with our RE. In that initial post, I focused on the questions one begins to ask when starting down any kind of medical ttc path. Other posts followed, focusing on the control (or lack thereof) that welcoming the medical profession into your home (or body) offers.

What I did not realize at the time, and what I failed to realize until our BFP, is that for me, the medicalization of conception had another surprising dark side.

You see, a long long time ago, back when we first started thinking about babies, I had a lot of concerns, worries, and, at times, reservations about becoming a parent. None were overwhelming or deal-breaking – they were just the product of a normally anxious personality with a little too much directed thinking on a process that could not be left up to the whim of unprotected love.

These concerns and fears, while totally appropriate to the life-changing nature of bringing a life into the world, were also totally incompatible with trying to conceive. Because as we quickly discovered, trying requires an unceasing drive in which normal worries have no place. Taking daily temperatures and prenatals, monitoring fluids and OPKs, trying fertility treatments, the actual insem all require setting aside normal fears and concerns and focusing intently and whole-heartedly on the goal: pregnancy. And when each pregnancy announced by a friend and each stark white test feels like a  tremendous setback to that goal, you push harder and more relentlessly than ever, so much so that even the idea of taking a much-needed break becomes ludicrous. With so many concerns about how to get pregnant, there is simply no space for any other worries about the impact of that pregnancy.

And then, suddenly (and even almost unexpectedly), there are two lines on that stick, the start of a second life inside your singular self, and the race is over (but not yet over) and the race is won (but not quite won) and you can relax.

For about ten seconds.

Or at least that was what happened to me. Excitement, joy, happiness, hope, all that is good rolled into a few moments. I faced you, medicalization, and with your help (and heartache), I won. I. Won. KING (Queen!) OF THE WORLD!

And then, as if on cue, all the normal concerns and worries of pregnancy and childbirth and changing my whole life and family began to resurface like a high school acquaintance you haven’t seen in a decade – recognizable, but confusing and awkward. And that awesome feeling of winning was challenged a bit with fears that I had suppressed months ago.

In a nutshell, medicalization and relentless focus on trying prevented me from coming to terms with any other concern and success brought those concerns to the forefront alarmingly quickly. Add that to the fact that medicalization (and participation in a community of women who have faced all kinds of challenges) makes one all too aware that two lines does not mean that you pass go and collect a baby and you have a recipe for some confusing sadness and uncertainty.

It was also briefly a recipe for a bit of guilt and resentment. Guilt because I felt like I should be feeling happier with all the good news and resentment that I was not having the elated, walking-on-air kind of experience that some women seem to have.

Since I started writing this post days ago (and half of it disappeared at one point), I am happy to say that a lot of the negative flood has receded and that I am in a much calmer place. I strongly believe that I was unable to properly prepare for the impact of a positive because I was so focused on getting the positive, period. I am grateful that I have a wife and friends who have listened and reminded me to be gentle with and accepting of myself and I am feeling much less overwhelmed, though I am still surprised just how many worries about the future hit me all at once as if I had never considered them at all.