13 Feels Lucky

 

We are still going strong. I’m thirteen weeks pregnant. Bring on the weird dreams, continual progesterone (the worst part of this, honestly), the food aversion and the maternity pants. I look back at amazing times we have had together, see above?

I keep trying to imagine what life will look like for us as we go forward, adding a new member to our family. I’ve been cleaning the basement, reorganizing, trying to make everything perfect, to assuage the anxiety that hits me around 7 pm each night – which is about the time I start to get really tired. 8:30 bed times. It’s really happening. Pre-natal yoga. Adjusting to having so much less than my usual energy.

Nesting. I know it’s a coping strategy; if I can just perfect my surroundings, all the things out of my control will feel more manageable. If I just keep moving, sharklike, I won’t let my fears catch up to me. Just a breath ahead of them.

There is an ice storm (of historic proportions, apparently) happening outside. I am busying myself, preparing for disaster… a house made chaotic by little hands and lots of spit up. I sometimes can’t believe that the me who relies on order and comfort at home, which gets me through the total insanity of my day-to-day work life and all the unpredictable things that come with working in place full of 2400 teenagers, is actively pursuing a massive, seismic change in our lives. The most beautiful chaos I can imagine.

Little baby, for you, I would turn my whole world upside down. I think I’m starting to let myself fall in love.

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Things I Will Never Consider

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I feel (again) like I should stop following the comment section on BabyCentre and just read What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Today I read a post from a mom desperately seeking advice:

“I am having another boy… and I’m so disappointed that I’m considering an abortion.”

One person responded that this seems like a bad April Fool’s joke. The reply to that was ‘be sensitive and support this mom, this is supposed to be a safe space.’

Trying to be balanced, while also staying real, I replied:

“I agree that this should be a safe, supportive place.

And it should also be safe for those who have had losses or struggled to get pregnant. It can be very difficult to hear that someone is considering aborting a pregnancy due to the gender/sex of their child (which is illegal in Canada I believe). I have no judgement for this mom and her struggle, nor for the other mother who is pointing out that this post could be triggering for some; having hopes and fears related to the life you see for yourself and your future child is normal, but I think it’s possible to see multiple sides of this issue with sensitivity and compassion. People’s advice to get support from a doctor and seek some relief from the depression she is experiencing is the most helpful and likely to help the initial poster to feel she is able to make a decision.”

What I didn’t say was: I have some questions – Do you consider how you will feel if you do keep this child and know that you publicly professed that you considered terminating the pregnancy? I would never advocate bottling up your feelings and not exploring your true emotions, but I also can’t help but project myself into the future and think ‘what will I do when I look at my child and consider these thoughts?’  When I say, I have no judgment, I mean: I don’t think you are a bad person. I will not tell another person what to do with their own body. But I do think there are some underlying questions and assumptions that need to be asked. It’s also really hard to post something so polarizing and expect only supportive, affirming replies.

There is a part of me that wants to ask: should you be having more kids, if the reason you want them depends on something so tied to fate and chance? When you get pregnant you KNOW it’s a fifty-fifty shot you will get one gender or the other (not considering intersex children). And you DON’T want another boy enough that you’d end a pregnancy to avoid that outcome? I can’t say that I understand that. It seems to imply that you believe there is something so inherent about what is between a child’s legs that their whole life and experience will be shaped by the assumptions around what gender means. All boys and all girls are different. Vastly. You could get any kind of ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ and your child, raised according to whatever gender you believe fits them, could transition as they grow up. Will your love hinge on their ability to fulfill a gender role you have built for them? Does your conception of having a ‘girl’ have such rigid expectations that you feel a boy-child could not fill the space you’ve built in your mind for them? What is it about having a girl that you think will be absent in your current situation? Other than a body part? Is your plan for her so wildly different that you will not experience joy in parenting the other? I would assume (I know the danger here) that you plan to raise a child who is loved, building their confidence, laughing and crying through the joy and struggles of their discovering and as they stumble. None of what I envision is prescribed by what colour or sports society thinks they should enjoy. I know enough people to KNOW that there are as many types of men and women as there are stars in the sky. I don’t know what I will get, but I hope that, starlike, they are bright and that they will fill me with wonder.

I do have preferences.  Obviously. I am attracted to women. I married a woman. And I hope for a little girl, and a boy, too, maybe one day. But if I found out I was having a healthy baby that would trump any fear or trepidation that I have about raising a child. I think my desire to have a girl is more about my own comfort. I know I can raise a strong, independent, feminist daughter. I am less sure that I will be able to impart the wisdom I have to share to a male child… but I will sure try. I think it’s harder to raise a good man, in many ways, than it is to raise a woman; it is hard to be a woman. But the bar for ‘goodness’ in men is embarrassingly low right now and my standards are high. My comfort and confidence are tied to my own preconceptions about gender and what it will mean for my offspring.

First and foremost, I don’t want it to be the most important thing about them. I want a child who is thoughtful, kind, critical, brave, empathetic and who trusts their intuition. My love will not be gender-dependent. I have to at least offer myself the same compassion that I will afford my child, as they learn and grown, knowing that we will not be perfect. I will also not be doing this alone.

I am so interested in your thoughts about your (future) child’s sex and your future hopes. Please share and also, please know that my passion may seem judgement-laden, heavy and convinced, but it’s more about the doubts I have experienced (that I will be good enough at this) that bristle when I see and hear other people who don’t seem to consider, as they question of ‘if they should have child X’ that maybe there are other questions they could ask: like why do I want to have this child? And what do I really believe about gender that makes me think one experience will be so different that I would forgo it altogether, rather than embrace a healthy child, irrespective of the chromosomes they happen to bear?
I have deliberately left out details of this mom’s story, to maintain privacy. Thank you for respecting that.

 

Should I wait to buy things for baby?

This is such a complex question, especially when you consider your own history with trying to conceive and previous losses, but it is ALL OVER pregnancy message boards.

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Everyone has their ideas, and here are mine:

Our reality is that my wife had three miscarriages and I’m now pregnant. I’m terrified, if I really let myself think about it, but I want to be full of joy and optimism. That’s how I approach most of my life – because usually the things I want and hope for are, at least to some degree, within my control and achievable through hard work. Not so for pregnancy. You can do everything ‘right’ and still get a raw deal. Having so little control over such an important thing can really mess with your mind. I had to accept that my actions (like wanting to set up a nursery) would have literally no medical impact on my baby’s future development. But it could have a considerable impact on my own wellness and the stories I told myself (consciously and otherwise). The way we talk to ourselves can be debilitating, as anyone who has struggled with body-image, anxiety and many other obstacles can tell you.

As hard as it has been, I feel that making a decision to avoid buying things was like telling the universe I didn’t believe this pregnancy would last.

I bought a crib. I decorated a nursery. I recognized that I needed to nest, almost as an acknowledgement that we WILL be parents, as part of my own grief and as part of celebrating and allowing my hope to build.

I don’t want to steal the joy of this pregnancy by dwelling on past losses. I’m not naive to the fact that we could have a bad outcome, but I also don’t want to spend the next 3-4 months anticipating the same results as last time(s).

On some of the message boards, people have advice about waiting until you know the gender. Seeing as how we are not going in for ‘princessy’ or heavily gendered decor, clothes or other baby stuff, regardless of what we find on that date, we don’t care about waiting until we find out the baby’s sex.

All I hope for right now is a healthy child. If buying things helps you put out the positivity you need right now and brings you joy, I say ‘go for it!’ On that note, my very dear friend, who tried for years to have a child via adoption, now has a beautiful daughter through surrogacy. He gifted me a sweet stuffed rabbit and advised me to look at it every day, knowing that one day I’d snuggle that bunny with my own baby in my arms. I want to embrace that kind of hopefulness. That is enough for me in this moment.

7 Weeks

For the first time in my life, my boobs were in the way. That seems to be what happens when they are swollen and getting bigger as fast as I can keep track of it. I was at the chiropractor getting an adjustment and the hip adjustment, which twists the body, produced a silent ‘oouch’ in my mind as my now, humble, but full B-cup pressed together.

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I am at the end of week 7, with a projected due date of Oct. 21. We have had two ultrasounds. The most recent was on Monday and we got to see the heartbeat. So so so cool. I am still reserving my excitement.

The doctor was able to answer some key questions: can I use our Sage essential oil diffuser? Yes. It keeps me feeling relaxed, so the ‘no herbal products’ edict was a sad one to hear, but apparently diffusers are okay. Also, can I use our Hitachi? Yes. Thank god. The myth that you should avoid sex during pregnancy (as long as there is no pain) was thankfully dispelled. Although, finding any time when I’m not exhausted is proving difficult.

My bedtime has gone from 11 pm to … 8:30. 9 pm if I’m lucky.

I’m taking Endometrin (progesterone) 3 x per day. My hormones are at 65, 957 HCG? HSG? HST? How do we keep all these acronyms straight?

We have our next ultrasound on March 29.

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16,684

That’s a number I heard today. HCG? HGC?

Progesterone 24

5 weeks pregnant.

And tomorrow I will be 36 years old.

I’ve never been a fan of counting. I prefer feelings and shapes. It will have to become my normal. I’ve been wishing for it. Counting periods, follicles, needles, now weeks, or months or trimesters. I hope.

I’m ready for numbers to mean new horizons and milestones.

I had to take a knife away from a student at school today. This isn’t typical, not an everyday occurrence, but it felt strange to feel nervous in that moment in a way I never have before. I noticed it differently.

I’m responsible for more than just me. I always feel responsible for others, but now there is an other inside me. I guess that means it’s starting to feel real.

Every blood test is the same nerves. A shoe suspended and me waiting for the sound of it to hit the floor.

4 weeks

I cannot believe I have to sit on this secret. I’m 4 weeks (at least) pregnant. It is such a mind trip. I think about sperm. Weird. I think about a little creature in there. Weird. I think about the fact that I won’t get a period (I hope) for a year. Awesome.

I had my second blood test done and the levels are progressing well, I’m told. The next step is blood test 3 (early next week) to keep watching the levels rise. I’m taking my prenatals and progesterone. No drinks, light exercise, lots of Netflix and early bedtimes. I’m feeling so much less anxious. Now I have a reason to which I can attach the moments when I start to feel fluttery. Obviously… I am aware that this is major. And knowing myself, it would be weird if I wasn’t a little worried in the back of my mind.

I’ve been seeing a therapist weekly since I had my series of panic attacks (pre-transfer).

Now I’m starting to cautiously see this as real.

If all goes well, I will be due some time around Oct. 28. Halloween is my favourite holiday, so this would be completely amazing!

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Biding time

I’m getting so nervous. And I feel so uncomfortable. I’ve been waking up at 5 AM for the past few days, because every position that I lie in just feels twisted, like my stomach is a balloon being warped by some children’s party clown. Usually animals make me happy, but not at 5 am. Not today.

I am watching Grey’s Anatomy, which is probably a bad idea. But I keep reading over my notes about what I’m supposed to do, and not do.

I went in to the clinic for my 9:45 blood test. They should know by noon (by now anyways) if all is well. I was told not to do anything to disrupt my pelvis; no lifting, no running, no sex, no Zumba. How specific. Let it rest.

I took my two shots of Decapeptyl last night. The amount (volume) in the shots felt like a lot. It was pretty smooth sailing, now that I’m an expert self-injector.

Started reading all the ‘what to expect during your procedure’ stuff. I’m glad I have it. I worry and have mild but real anxiety. The Ativan should help with that, they said. Not going to lie though, I’m antsy about having them administer Fentanyl during my procedure tomorrow. People are literally dying from it. I had an actual conversation with Allia that if I start ‘crashing,’ don’t wait for the lab techs to call  911, do it. Look like a fool. Don’t let me die. I was half serious. Thanks, Grey’s Anatomy.

Talked to my bestie who has been through all this before. She is due in two weeks and had a terrible, 7 year slog towards FINALLY keeping a pregnancy. She had lots of calming, soothing words and tidbits of advice. Namely, she said she did everything ‘right’ and had terrible results, but now with her little one on the way, she thinks the best thing she did was realize there isn’t one right way; whatever gets you through the stress of it. She went out for lunch and laughed all through the meal with a friend right after her implantation procedure. So, when I asked her if I should try to stay home Tuesday, following Monday’s visit she said:

‘But you LOVE Hallowe’en! Won’t you be sad to be at home thinking about your uterus and ovaries, when you could be with your students, talking about cultural appropriation, wearing a costume, learning Thriller (*don’t worry, I have two students teaching it, since I’m on ‘no Zumba’ doctor’s orders) and spending time doing something you like?’

So, I’m keeping it low-key today. Marking away. 18 of 31 essays done. 12 of 23 dance tests done. And Allia is doing all kinds of stuff around the house, including baking me buckwheat banana muffins. She turned to me and said:

Think about this; how many more days like this will there be? Me baking quietly in the kitchen, you on the couch with the marking, the cat asleep on the chair? Soon, hopefully, this kind of tranquil Sunday will be a distant memory.

Here is what they tell you before the IVF Egg Retrieval. I will update this blog as soon as I’m not woozy and can make sense again. Wish us luck!