Pieces of Me

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This past Wednesday, on my 28th birthday, we had our nuchal translucency scan. I don’t know the results yet, as the ultrasound findings and blood work get sent back to my doctor and she will advise me accordingly, if there is any cause for concern. I am a little worried because the ultrasound tech kept pursing her lips and scrunching her face when she was taking measurements. It could just be that my bladder wasn’t quite full enough (she told me so when we started, so she had to push quite hard on my abdomen), or the fact that the baby was very squirmy and she was having a hard time getting the correct angle (apparently it needs to be very precise). It should really be a prerequisite that ultrasound techs must have suitable poker face for their job.

Obviously I’m hoping that the main takeaway from that scan is that there are no visible anomalies, or abnormalities, but it was also very exciting to see the baby again. The heart rate was around 160 still, and the tech seemed to think everything looked good (on a vague level). It looked like an actual baby this time, instead of a little shrimp, and it was waving its arms and kicking its legs. We could see the mouth opening and closing. It was pretty amazing, and I am still having a hard time getting my brain to understand that it is my baby, in my uterus. Still just, surreal.

Since we had confirmation that there still is, in fact, a growing living baby inside of me, we decided to go ahead with telling our families this past weekend. I had plans for dinner with my mom, aunt and grandma on Saturday (for my birthday) so I gave my mom a bit of a story that J was dropping me off at her place because his vehicle was in the shop (otherwise it would have been weird that he was there). He brought me to my mom’s and came into her place with me, so I told my mom he just came in to say hi. I had printed out a copy of one of the ultrasound pictures and had pinned it to my shirt under my coat.

We came in the front door behind my mom and she went down the hall while we were taking our boots off. She was over by the kitchen with her back to me, when I took my coat off and said “Mom” so she would turn around. She turned to face me, and it took a few beats for her to notice what was on my shirt. When she saw it her eyes got huge, and she hugged me and kept alternating between “Oh my god” and “I’m so happy for your guys”. She is so excited, as I am an only child, and her only possibility for grandchildren. My aunt and grandma arrived shortly thereafter, but were picking us up to go for dinner. My mom text my aunt to tell them to come in, and my aunt text back “Why?” clearly annoyed. My mom told her that I wasn’t ready yet, so in they came, and I was standing in the kitchen partially hidden. When I came around the corner, my aunt noticed the ultrasound pinned to my shirt and started shrieking! It was hilarious and adorable. This particular aunt is like a second mom to me, and I am the daughter she never had (she has two boys) so it was very special that she was there. And my grandma is just, my grandma. You know, grandmas are such special people, and with mine having early stages of Alzheimer’s/dementia I am glad she could be there.

There were lots of questions, and we gave them a pretty thorough rundown of what we had been through and that we eventually turned to IVF, how the transfer kept getting delayed and cancelled and when we finally did it, and when we found out we were pregnant. They were all very excited, and there were only a few obnoxious questions. My mom asked how much it cost, and when I gave her a figure she replied “well that’s not bad, at least it wasn’t thousands and thousands of dollars.” Um, yes, yes it was, as I just told you. Someone also made mention that we could have another one with the remaining embryos, it was sort of like a “when are you going to have another” before the first one even gets here. I got a little snippy with that question and went on a bit of a rant that people feel it’s their business to ask about other people’s reproductive business. My mom told me I am just a private person, and very sensitive about these things. Clearly she still doesn’t get the inappropriateness of these types of questions, and she probably never will. One reason it is hard to want to try to educate the masses.

The next day, we had lunch with my husband’s family, his parents, brothers, his brother’s wife and our nieces. Again, I had the ultrasound photo pinned to my shirt and because J’s parents are never on time I sat in the restaurant in my winter coat for an awkward 15 minutes before they arrived. Once everyone was finally seated and settled, I went to hang my coat on the rack beside our table. From where the coat rack was, and where J’s mom was sitting, I had my back to her as I took off my coat so I told J to get her attention when I turned around. I stood at the end of the table facing my mother in law while she looked at me, and then at J while I stood there just waiting. She didn’t notice the picture for what felt like an eternity and finally when she saw it, the look of shock registered on her face. Hugs and congratulations were given all around, my sister-in-law hugged me fiercely and told me how relieved and happy she was for us.

After also giving J’s family a slight rundown of how we got to this point, one of the first questions out of my MIL’s mouth was “How much did it cost?”. I was talking with someone else when she asked it, and I sort of just shrugged my shoulders and let J deal with it and he just told her we didn’t really know the exact figure (total lie). She has since asked him if we need any help paying for it, and he told her no. As much as the money would be nice, and we could pay it off of our line of credit, for this I don’t want their money. I have a feeling they may buy us more baby things to try to “make up for it”. I know they have the money and would like to help us but it just gives me icky feelings. They’ve offered to buy us a crib and dresser set, as they did for J’s brother when him and his wife were pregnant. My MIL seems to think we are going to go pick it out immediately but I am still (shockingly) in no rush to buy anything.

Before we told everyone, I was feeling really nervous, which I thought was weird because we knew everyone would be ecstatic. After we told, I was happy and excited but, not like I thought I would be. As I always seem to relate life back to Sex and the City, it reminds me of when Miranda had an ultrasound when she found out her baby was a boy and had a non reaction to the news while everyone else showed great excitement in knowing the gender (as will I). That’s how I felt, as though I should have been outwardly exuding this immense excitement, but I was just sort of meh. Not that I’m not thrilled, but I’m just more of a quiet reserved person, in all types of situtations.

I felt like it was the right time to tell everyone, yet I sort of didn’t want to. It would have been nice to have the NT results back first, to know the gender first, to reach viability first, to have a healthy baby first. Is that unreasonable? I still have this horrible way of dealing with this pregnancy, I just keep expecting the worst, that there will be something terribly wrong, that one day we will go for an appointment and the heart won’t be beating anymore. It’s the reason I don’t want to buy anything too early, or get ahead of myself in any way but we’re going to have to prepare eventually. And for the longest time I’ve been looking forward to this stage, planning for baby. I still am, but it is tinged with this fear that I’ll get ahead of myself, and jinx everything. There’s that unreasonable, superstitious side of me coming out again.

This whole process we have closed ourselves off from involving other people, so it felt almost wrong letting them into our bubble. I wish I could keep this pregnancy just for us, because things get messy when other people get involved. I have complicated feelings on the issue, and how a baby in our lives is going to change the dynamic with our families and it makes me nervous. It may make me sound selfish, but as much as I know this pregnancy makes our families so happy, it feels like by letting them in I am giving a piece of it away.

For now I am trying to take it all in stride, everyone is overjoyed for us, so far things are looking good. We will know the gender hopefully today, eventually we will pick a crib and a stroller, decorate the nursery and continue to prepare our lives for baby, I will try just to enjoy the ride that so many are still struggling for.

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#Microblog Mondays: Through the Eyes of a Child

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This weekend we told our family’s that we’re expecting (more on that later, I have a lot to say about that). My 3 year old niece had one of the best reactions. She was pretty non-plussed by the whole situation as everyone was hugging and crying, she was more concerned with her chicken fingers. Her mom (my sister-in-law) told her that Auntie (me) had a baby in her tummy, and that she was going to have a cousin.

She somewhat gets the idea of pregnancy because she has a one year old sister but I think it’s still a bit of a vague concept to her. She said to me “Auntie, you’re going to have a baby in your tummy”. (A statement, not a question). I told her I already had a baby in my tummy, and she said “Oh, well then you’ll have a baby and you’ll be a mommy”. Such sweet words to hear, and just so matter-of-fact. I already consider myself a mom to this little babe inside of me and I’m hoping it’s all that simple to get my take home baby.

#Microblog Mondays: What’s in a Name? Pt. III

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I think everyone does it, as a little girl, and then together with your partner; dreaming about the names you will give your children. I know J and I have discussed it for a long time, I have a list going in my phone, and we completely settled on a girls name several years ago (and it has stuck all this time, so I am confident it is the right one). Because we are finding out the gender early, we will be able to use the name throughout pregnancy so it will just feel right (hopefully) once attached to our newborn.

I know many people, once they know the gender of their children, in-utero, will announce the name along with the gender. We have no intentions of doing this, as I find people have an easier time judging a name attached to a (at this point) theoretical infant, before it is set in stone. The names we have chosen are definitely unique (nothing super weird, in my opinion) but would definitely garner some judgement, especially from the older, and more traditional family members (ahem, my mother for example). So we will have to use it only between J and I, careful not to let it slip.

Do you have names already pick for your children (or did you before you had them)? Would you (or did you) share them with anyone, or keep them close to your chest until there was a baby to attach it to?

Steady Reassurance

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Wednesday I had the first appointment with my OB (who I randomly picked after googling and trying to find a doctor who delivered at the hospital I wish to use). She had some mixed reviews online, so I wasn’t sure what to think but too late now, at this point it would be tricky for me to be referred elsewhere. That’s the thing with public healthcare, you can’t always be super choosy. I’m lucky I got to pick at all, but the doctor that did my 2nd beta (from a walk in clinic) asked me if I had any preference.

From the dealings I’ve had with the OBs office leading up to this appointment I knew it was a very busy practice (there are 5 doctors in total, and each one has their own receptionist). When I first checked in with my doctors receptionist she pointed to a jar with little pieces of paper in it, asked me to take one, and pee on the little boxes to check for protein in my urine. So I had to show her after, and then turf it. It looks as though I’ll be doing this every time, as several other ladies were doing the same.

They were running behind, which I had read was a peeve of people who complained online. To me, that’s par for the course at most any doctors office, so I wasn’t all that bothered (plus I had a day off so didn’t have to worry about getting to work). J came with me, and I think they time delay bothered him (he’s a stickler for punctuality), plus he did have to go to work after so he missed almost a half day. We were taken back by a nurse who asked several questions about my family medical history and my own, took my weight and my blood pressure. From there we were taken to an exam room and told the doctor would see us soon, but in the interim a medical student would come in and ask me some questions.

The medical student came in and asked me about medications I was taking, and a bit more medical history. It is noted on my file that I am an IVF pregnancy, and he asked us how long it took to conceive. I don’t like to think about it too hard, but I swallowed and told him near 2 1/2 years. He congratulated us, and gave me the rundown of some of the do’s and don’ts (most of which were obvious, or already known to me). I asked him if we would get to hear the heartbeat at this appointment, and he told me usually they don’t check with a doppler earlier than 12 or 13 weeks because it’s not always possible to hear. But he seemed excited at the opportunity, and had a little doppler machine in his pocket so he said he’d give it a try. I laid back on the table and he started moving the probe across my stomach. He wasn’t having any luck but there were some swooshing noises and he said there was definitely something moving around in there (perhaps my breakfast…). He was quite high up on my stomach (I didn’t even have to un-do my jeans) but what do I know about where the heartbeat would be? He didn’t have any luck but I wasn’t overly bothered as I knew it might not have been possible anyways.

After a bit more discussion about prenatals, proper nutrition and exercise he left to get our OB. They came back a short time later, and Dr. A introduced herself to J and I with a firm, hearty handshake. She offered her congratulations as well, and asked a bit more about our history. She asked if there was any determination for our infertility, or whether we were unexplained. I’ve seen my chart at the fertility clinic, and technically we are listed as “unexplained”. I suppose because our motility and morphology were not as such that it should have prevented us from getting pregnant, after all the time we tried naturally plus IUIs they consider us unexplained. I would still say MFI, but I suppose it’s neither here nor there now.

She gave us a bit of a run down similar to her med student, and he mentioned to her that he had tried to find the heartbeat earlier but couldn’t. She had me lie back again for her to give it a go. This time she had me undo my jeans, and fold them down a bit so she could put the transducer just above my pelvic bone. She said normally this early in pregnancy she wouldn’t even offer to try but because I am thin, it could be possible. It took her all of about 6 seconds before we heard the steady whooshing thrum of the heartbeat. It sounded slower than last time, but I suppose back at 7 weeks the rudimentary heart could pump pretty quickly seeing as it would be pushing blood in a much smaller volume. It was fantastic to hear it again, just as a reassurance that there is still something living in there. I think the med student was a bit shy and didn’t really want to have me undo my pants for him (if he’s going into obstetrics pretty sure he’s going to have to get more comfortable).

Dr. A told us she does all of her own day deliveries (the hospital is literally right across the street from her office) so occasionally she has to rush out on her daily appointments to deliver someone’s baby. For night deliveries, her and the other 4 doctors share a rotation, which from what I gather is pretty standard so I am trying not to get completely attached to the idea of our doctor doing the delivery (or even think that far ahead).

She asked me on two separate occasions whether I had any questions and I tried, I really racked my brain before we went as to what I could ask her but I really couldn’t think of anything pressing. I’m still trying to take things slow, and not get ahead of myself so I didn’t want to get into questions about delivery, ect. She told me the timeline in which I’ll see her; every 4 weeks until 28 weeks, and then every two weeks, until I am closer to delivery then it will be once a week. She congratulated us again before she left, and that was it.

I got a pretty good vibe from her, she’s very different from my GP (whom I dislike). She doesn’t seem super polished, she has a brash raspy voice and talks quite loudly (we could hear her through the wall when she was in with another patient), but she seemed kind, and caring, even if a bit rushed. I felt comfortable, and I guess that’s what matters.

In other news, I stopped all fertility meds (progesterone, estrogen and ASA) last week and it was awesome. No more wearing panty liners, getting up early, and staying up late to take meds (7am, 3pm, 11pm, that was my schedule). I finished my pack of progesterone, and then…nothing bad happened. I was a bit freaked out to stop, but I’m sure they keep you on it longer than necessary just to be safe.

Baby is officially a fetus now, past 10 weeks (11w2d today). I still have some mild nausea but I find eating breakfast as soon as I get up helps. I get tired really easily, and I’m generally hungry near all the time. I baked a cake the other night just because I really wanted a piece of cake. Most of the time I am really into fruit, I went to the grocery store just to get oranges, apples, grapes and kiwis. I guess it’s good that they’re healthy options but of course everything I want is out of season and twice as expensive right now. My weird dreams have subsided somewhat, my skin is still awful and sleeping is so so. I really don’t have to pee any more than I used to, and I don’t get up in the night. That could be because I have a hard time staying hydrated, and because I am mostly off caffeine which is a diuretic which would have me running to the bathroom often.

We have our nuchal translucency testing next week, and the following weekend we plan to tell the parents. I’m nervous, and sort of just want to keep it a big secret forever and not make a big deal. I mean I know it is a big deal to us, and our families but being pregnant just makes me feel so awkward, with all of the unncessary attention that will be paid to me (though I do enjoy that hubby is waiting on me hand and foot). I still can’t bring myself to even step foot into a Babies’R’Us or look up any baby items I might want/need. My best friend has offered up any of her left over baby items (she has two boys, 2 and a half, and 8 months).

J and I went into the spare bedroom last night to discuss nursery organization but it was a brief, very theoretical conversation. It’s starting to feel real, but still hard to wrap my brain around. J has been adorable with everything, he gets the same baby centre updates that I do, so he’ll say to be “did you know that such and such is happening with the baby this week?”. I love that he is following along, and he has really stepped up around the house; making dinners, cleaning and taking care of the dogs when I am feeling tired or unwell.

The last, and one of the most exciting things to me right now is that we submitted my bloodwork for early gender testing. I am sooo impatient and to many people who have been through IVF I know they want to keep the gender a surprise because so much mystery has been taken out of the whole process. We should have it back somewhere around Feb. 23 and it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% accuracy. They test the maternal blood for the presence of Y chromosomes, indicating a male, if none are found, they assume female by process of elimination. It’s not something covered by provincial healthcare, so I did have to shell out a good chunk of money for it, but to me it’s worth not having to wait.

Slowing we are building confidence with every step of the way, but the fear of being blindsided is still there. I think the weight of pregnancy is going to become more solid in the coming weeks, looking forward to it all.

#Microblog Mondays: What’s in a Name? Pt II

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I would say that I have a complicated relationship with my mother-in-law, as I’m sure most people would. She’s a nice enough person, but I feel like the daughter in law is always viewed as the one who takes the son away from his mother, to some extent (even if she doesn’t hold it against me ha ha). I’m fairly close with my husbands family, in that we see them fairly often, have vacationed with them, ect. But even with all that, it’s just not the same as my own family, the one I grew up with, aunts, uncles and cousins that pepper the memories of my childhood. Of course, how could it be? Yet, as I witness other daughters-in-law calling their mothers-in-law “Mom”, I think, “I could never…” My mother in law is not my Mom. I call her by her first name, and that’s as far as it’s ever going to go. Her and my father-in-law will sign cards, and emails with “Mom” and “Dad” which is all good and well, but I would still never call them that. I don’t know, maybe I’m being weird about it but my Mom is the person who raised me, and she earned that title by mothering me. What do you call your mother-in-law? Would you ever call her “Mom” (if you don’t already)?

#Microblog Mondays: What’s in a Name?

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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Most people come up with a name for their baby in-utero, because using “it” or “the baby” all the time just isn’t as fun. There’s the typical, “bean”, “peanut”, ect. I wanted something original and cute (is it weird that I gave so much thought to this..?). In any case, in the first week after we found out I was pregnant, our embryo was the size of a poppy seed, so J was playing on that and he said “Poppet”. Like from Pirates of the Caribbean when the pirate calls Kiera Knightly’s character poppet as a creepy sort of term of endearment.

It sounded kind of cute, so I googled it and it came up as “a middle English word meaning small child or doll” as well as a term of endearment. I figured that fit, and so Poppet it has been. It wasn’t until later that I read the entire definition that also states that it is primarily used for a young woman or girl. Oops, sorry to Poppet if it is a boy. But we are really really hoping for a girl, so perhaps it is a foretelling…