Monthly Archives: March 2014

11 Weeks – First Midwife Appointment!

Hey Baby. You are 11 weeks and 4 days old today. You still look freakish and weird, according to the pictures, but you look more like a person than you did a few weeks ago. I still don’t look pregnant, but my boobs are bigger and my belly fat is rearranging itself weirdly to accommodate the change. We celebrated your 11 week anniversary by going to our first midwife visit and hearing your heartburn. After being told repeatedly that it wasn’t normal to hear the heartbeat at 11 weeks. Is this your way of telling me that you’re not going to be normal? If that’s the case, welcome to the family, kid.

Otherwise, the midwife was a pretty typical awkward doctor visit. The midwife was a little flighty and unfocused at the beginning, but I think that was from trying to read paperwork while chatting with my wife and I. A lot of the intro information was discussed at the info session we went to earlier in the month, so it felt a little old hat. But it’s nice to know what the schedule will be, that it takes longer than I thought to get there from the office and that they seem to run a little late with appointments. Still everyone is super nice and is committed to working with us the way we want to be worked with (always yay). We discussed screening, which I find very scary, but also necessary, so I think we’ll take that plunge soon.

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Dream a Little Dream…

Vivid dreams are a common symptom of pregnancy and boy howdy, do I have it! I’m remembering 2-5 dreams per night, something that hasn’t happened since I was in high school and kept a dream journal. (Funny digression, I kept a dream journal until I remembered all of my dreams and journalling took 45 minutes most mornings and I decided I’d rather sleep instead)

And they’re all anxiety dreams. Last night’s dreams featured telling a colleague in a related department that I was going to be out on medical leave in the fall and that we should make a plan to adjust but don’t tell anyone and I couldn’t tell her why just yet. It was super weird and awkward and that feeling continued until I woke up.

The other long involved dream I had involved a wife of an environmentally concerned football player (Ginger) finding the corpse of his first wife (Mary Ann) in a cabin around his house. Which then segued into a long and involved flashback / transport back in time to trying to stop the wedding and getting Forrest Whittaker (who truly loved her) to stop the wedding. As you do.

I mentioned some of my crazy anxiety dreams to my mom, the certified dream therapist (it’s totally a thing!) about an hour before I told her about the news. She told me that it probably signified a time of transition. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Morning Sickness, OMG Why

Morning sickness is super common during early pregnancy (75% of women have it). Mine isn’t even that bad and I’m still pretty sure I’m going to die.

It’s basically constant low-grade nausea. Everything gives me heartburn. Food is utterly unappealing.

In the two adult, non-alcohol related instances I’ve had of tossing my cookies, it was less about the nausea and more about the certain knowledge that I was about to be ill about 5 minutes before I did. This is not that. This is just continuous feelings of awful, usually packaged with some bone crippling tiredness. Today I practically ran to my office bathroom because I was pretty positive I was going to be sick. I didn’t and I’m glad, but it was a near thing.

SeaBands are supposed to help – wristbands that hit your wrist pressure points. And they kind of do, for a while, but if you’re trying to be stealthy in the office, it looks like you’re wearing sweatbands under your suit jacket and no one is buying it. My wrists aren’t huge, but these things are tiny and they hurt after a while. So I ditched them and now just try pushing on my pressure points when things get bad.

The heartburn… the heartburn is intense. And constant. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to give up coffee and subsist on tea and/or Diet Coke. Antacids barely touch it and when they do, I have sour stomach for the rest of the day. Chewing gum works pretty decently, but my favorite sugarless gum now tastes awful to me… and I’m still only halfway through the carton from Costco. Plus, with TMJ, there’s only so long I can chew. Not to mention that sugarless gum has… effects on your digestive system.

At least the nausea is passing – it seems to have only lasted a few weeks. I don’t think the heartburn is going anywhere, alas.

The Baby Dilemma: Make or Buy?

Once you decide you want a baby and this is just about the right time, you have to ask yourself the important question: are you making your own or adopting someone else’s?

For us, it came down to very practical purposes: money. Even without the support of insurance, seven months of trying costs us approximately $8,000, including doctor visits and donor… materials.

Adoption fees are easily $20,000-$30,000, plus you can never be certain you’ll actually be selected. And while we did preliminary research, my crazy brain was already dealing with us being denied by agencies or mothers simply because we were lesbians. Plus, the wife is self-employed and while I have a steady income stream that can support a frugal 3, we may not look like the best bet to this panel of judges I envision standing before.

Plus… I wanted to be pregnant. I never really thought I did, but watching my boss have her first child in 2009 switched the baby hormones in me from off to on and suddenly, I wanted to be pregnant like I never had before.

I had always been one of those children who envisioned adopting all of their children and fostering the unwanted, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt the want to have a child that is biologically related to me or my wife. To see my eyes reflected back at me. Maybe I’m selfish, maybe it’s biological urges wanting to pass on my genes. But this, combined with the financial reality, made the choice simple.

I don’t regret our decision, even 9 weeks into this pregnancy. I will say that even this early, it is much harder than I thought it would be.

The Two Week Wait: A Narrative in Anxiety

When undergoing any kind of infertility treatment, after treatment, you have to wait two weeks to see if the treatment was successful. This is basically torture. Here’s a chronicle of how most of my 5 two week waits after IUIs went.

Day -6: Begin ovulation tests, knowing that this is a waste of time and money, but is required by your fertility doctor.

Day 0: After needing to go to the bathroom for three hours, go and do your ovulation test. You are, of course, at work, so you have to jury rig a way to do it in the tiny bathroom stall and then smuggle it back to your desk drawer for the 5-10 minutes it takes the results to develop. Open your drawer every two minutes. See a faint line.

Call the fertility center and schedule the IUI. The only slot they have open is at noon tomorrow and 9:30 the day after. The center is in metro unaccessible Maryland and is an hour round trip from your office.

Try to decide what excuse you’re going to use with your boss this time, friend from out of town, appointment you forgot to mention, or doctor needs some tests. You decide to go with doctor needing tests and then going over results the next day. Tell your boss. Become convinced she knows you’re trying to conceive.

Day 1: Make the call to thaw your donor… materials… 90 minutes before the appointment. Juuust make it out of the office in time for the wife to pick you up. Get caught up in endless beltway traffic. Call the office at 11:50 to let them know you’re going to be late. Get their lunch time recording, which is supposed to start at noon.

Freak out. Get to the office at 12:05. Sign in. Realize your panic about being late was, as usual, moot, as you wait half an hour for them to call your name. Chat nervously with your wife about nothing. The physician’s assistant you like with the blue eyeshadow takes you to an exam room, where you undress from the waist down. Put the scrub over your lap as you sit, nervous, doing positive visioning, holding your wife’s hand.

The doctor comes in. Awkward small talk as they confirm you are who you say you are and the sample is from the correct individual. Small talk continues as the procedure occurs, and then they leave you alone in a dark room to stare at a mobile for 5 minutes, continuing to do positive visioning, holding your wife’s hand.

She drives you back to the office. You still feel oddly sore and full inside. You have already started to guess whether this procedure works. Your 90 minute doctor’s appointment was just over 2 hours and you still have to eat lunch. You sit at the desk for the rest of the day, tilting your feet up and your pelvis down, just in case.

Day 2: Get up with just enough time to make the call, walk the dog, get dressed and get coffee before heading out the door. Nervous car chatter about nothing. Worry about commuter traffic, but manage to make it in at 9:25 for a 9:30 appointment. Sign in. Wait 20 minutes past appointment time until the physician assistant you don’t like takes you to a different room with a different mobile. Everything else is identical to the time before, except the awkward small talk is different. The wife drives you to work, you come in at 11:15, pretend like you’re on time and try to get back to your job while propping your feet up and tilting your pelvis back, just in case.

Day 3: You’re really starting to feel going down to only one cup of coffee a day and no diet coke. Become convinced that this is a pregnancy symptom. Give your stomach reiki at night as you fall asleep.

Day 4: You’ve already decided whether or not this round was successful and you have decided that this one isn’t. The super hopeful voice reminds you of other success stories where people didn’t think it worked until it did. Tell the hopeful voice that your expectations cannot be high. Hopeful voice tells you about other people with low expectations who were happily surprised. Hopeful voice is an asshole.

Day 5: Nearly fall asleep at your desk from lack of caffeine. Decide that this, too, is a pregnancy symptom.

Get bored at class and do visioning work for a successful pregnancy rather than pay attention.

Day 6: Begin to really, really chafe at the exercise restrictions they have you on. It’s bad enough to leave your weightlifting class for two weeks, but giving up jogging is even crueler. You are so close to finishing the Couch to 5K program and then starting Zombies, Run! You have plans! Console yourself with the fact that if you are pregnant, you can’t do either for 9 months. Find this poor consolation.

Day 7: Remember you are actually still gainfully employed and in grad school and try to do your work. You are only semisuccessful.

Day 8: Listen to the This American Life about how acetaminophen will kill you. Take an acetaminophen for a headache, because ibuprofen is off limits. The acetaminophen, it does nothing.

Day 9: Become obsessed with your boobs. Are they sore? Are they bigger? Are they bigger and sore? Are you just wearing your wife’s bra today?

Day 10: Start counting the days until you can take the pregnancy test. Look at a calendar for reassurance. Count again later that night. Start couching it in terms that show that hours have gone by and you are closer.

Day 11: Begin fantasizing about taking the pregnancy test in 4 mornings and how you’ll respond when you see the second line. Will you go silent? Will you cry? Will you scream and wake up your wife?

The lack of weight conditioning class is making you a cranky, tired asshole. How will you be able to lift the kid if you don’t work your arms before this? WHY did the doctors forbid Zumba, body pump and jogging? Why don’t they just ban joy while they’re at it?

Day 12: Begin spotting that night. Become convinced it is implantation bleeding and are ecstatic for an hour, until it gets heavier. Take an ‘Implantation Bleeding or Period?’ quiz online. It tells you you’re probably not pregnant. Continue to stay in denial.

Day 13: Even though you are clearly having your period, take a pregnancy test. It comes out negative. Cry. Email your case manager and begin making arrangements for next month’s testing.

Day 14: Despite the fact that you are still bleeding copiously from your crotch, become convinced that you are, in fact, pregnant. Recall every clip of ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant’ you watched on the Soup. Know you are crazy. Hope anyway.

Day 15: The day you were supposed to take the pregnancy test originally. Take another one. It comes out negative. You are still hurt by it. Cry again. Stay convinced you are pregnant until day -6 rolls around the next time and you have to start ovulation testing.

Hello World!

Hi all.

I started these shenanigans over 7 months ago with a post on A Practical Wedding and lots of plans. Currently, I am much poorer but 8 weeks pregnant. You’re welcome, overpopulated planet.

I figured I might as well blog about this whole process. My wife is sure tired of hearing me complain, but the internet hasn’t heard a thing! Besides, eventually the kid will be able to read this and be certain in just how lame his/her mommies are.

As a side note, this is going to be disjointed for a while, as I throw months worth of thoughts at you. This may become more linear and/or boring and/or infrequently updated as time progresses.