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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The Follow Up

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Once I received my positive beta numbers I was sent into a tizzy with the next steps I needed to manage. After speaking with my clinic, the nurse advised me that I needed to get in for my next beta (that she couldn’t send me for), as well as a 7 week ultrasound (which she couldn’t book for me). My clinic has had their hand slapped by Big Brother (the Governmental overseeing body) and is no longer allowed to do any prenatal monitoring as they are specifically a fertility clinic and not an OB/GYN. So, the clinic advised me to contact my family doctor to order my next beta and arrange an ultrasound.

I don’t like my family doctor (she was very flippant and dismissive when I came to her after a year of trying to conceive), plus she only works 2 days a week and her location is no longer convenient to me as she is in a suburb of the city I currently live in (I used to live in said ‘burb, funny how I moved out of the ‘burbs and into the city to start a family). I don’t trust her to give me the care and attention I crave, since being under the watchful eye of the clinic. I’ll admit my fertility clinic is far from perfect but I know the people, the routines, what is expected of me and what I can expect from them. All of this prenatal stuff is new to me, and I’m struggling. My GP is away until Jan. 6 and her office was unwilling to help me, so I went to a walk in clinic.

A walk in clinic at Christmas time (well anytime really) is never a place I want to be spending my evening, because I know I will be trapped there for hours of unending boredom. I wasn’t wrong about that as I endured listening to the most odd couple pair of nurses manning the counter for 2 hours, before I finally got moved to an exam room, where I sat for another half hour. I feel badly for the doctors in walk in clinics. Most people are not super happy after they’ve been left to wait for several hours while generally feeling unwell so I tried to be patient.

When he finally came in, he asked what he could do for me. I explained that I was newly pregnant as a result of IVF and my clinic needed to pass me off to a doctor, but that I didn’t have one to be passed off to. I told him my clinic wanted me to have another beta done, and that I needed to be referred to an OB. There was supposed to be a fax sent to the walk in clinic with instructions from my clinic but there was some confusion and it went to the wrong clinic (that was my fault) and the clinic it went to shredded it, so I couldn’t even get it forwarded to the correct place. So I did my best to just ask for what I thought I needed. Once the doctor grasped my convoluted situation, he offered his congratulations, took my blood pressure, and checked my throat and lungs. He offered me some pearls of wisdom for pregnancy including (but not limited to); “no crazy sex, try to avoid potholes (so as not to jolt myself too hard), no heavy lifting, and don’t let myself get too physically or mentally exhausted”. Thank you for the vague, generic advice…

Afterwards he ushered me into his office to ask about my medical history, get me a bunch of requisitions and refer me to an OB. As he began filling out my medical history, he asked “why I had to do IVF, as I’m only 27” (his words). I gave him a sort of vague answer, concerns on my husband’s side of things. He asked how long we tried before IVF and I told him a little over a year naturally, then 3 IUI’s then IVF. He then asked me what an IUI was, I am not shitting you. I answered his questions, he gave me a requisition for an early pregnancy work up, my next beta, an ultrasound and a referral to an OB. Not only that, he asked me if there was an OB in particular that I wanted. Seeing as I had just spent two hours sitting in a waiting room, of course I had done some searching on rate my MD. The doctor I chose didn’t have the highest ratings, but she is at the same hospital as my clinic (which I very much wanted) and a lot of complaints with the doctor actually had to do with her staff so I think it will be fine. I appreciate that he gave me a choice.

I spoke to my clinic the day after I went to the walk in clinic and told her what transpired, and that I just asked the doctor for everything I needed and got him to refer me to an OB. She told me I did so good, not having had any of the paperwork from the clinic with me, so I’m glad that all worked out. She advised me to do my beta next week to see that it is over 1000, rather than just checking to see if it was doubling (since I only had the one requisition for another beta). She told me to book my ultrasound for the week of Jan. 11, we get home from Hawaii on Jan. 13 so I will have to miss a bit of work right after returning from holidays, but I don’t care. Though the clinic can’t monitor me anymore, the nurse is sending me a requisition for my nuchal translucency testing to complete between weeks 11 – 13 and referring it back to my OB (now that I have one). She told me I can stop progesterone at 10 weeks, but I am hoping I can see my OB before then so I can chat to the doctor about it, as I don’t want to just stop on my own.

The whole situation is still so surreal. Having a conversation with the walk in clinic doctor about my pregnancy just seemed so far-fetched. I toggle between trying not to get too excited, and my mind being blown. I feel a little like I am back in that naive spot of when I first started TTC. I’m a pro at infertility now, but I don’t know how to handle this whole pregnancy situation. J is so so excited. I sort of want him to take the enthusiasm down a notch, but really, can I blame him? I’m terrified of something bad happening, but if I try to remain stoic, is it really going to hurt any less if something does go wrong? If this had happened naturally I would have thrown myself into pregnancy books, and researching everything I could right from day one, but now I am hesitant and reserved. I will probably wait until at least having our 7 week ultrasound before I do much of anything. No sense in getting ahead of myself. I am going to enjoy this time, but take it day by day.

And on that note, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.