Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm not used to "normal"

I got six vials of blood taken from me today for tests to go to my midwife. And a urine test. I think it's hilarious that although I got the same blood work done three days before the IUI that got me pregnant, I have to prove to the hospital that I am giving birth at that I did not contract a sexually transmitted infection during the conception.

I know it would be silly to expect an exception, but I feel like explaining how frozen sperm is pretty much free of all disease (except TB, according to our stream-of-conscious nurse) and that there is no way I obtained an STI during my time in the pristine clean doctor's office, but there are some fights that are totally not worth fighting. I'll take the bruise in my elbow crease, the lightheadedness and the half-hour-late-for-work in stride, like the straight folk would.

I'm still waiting on my urine results, but all of the other test results have come back normal (iron, hematology report, thyroid, etc.). I keep getting surprise every time something comes back NORMAL. I guess I just haven't expected it. I think I may just have to get into the head space that there is a possibility that all of this could go better than expected. That my choice to treat my depression and anxiety with medication during pregnancy will outweigh the risks to BoomBoom. Like the doctors told me it would.

I know I have a long way to go, and I know we've barely even started. I know I only have a heartbeat and a 4-week-old ultrasound to go off for now, but I think everything is going to be okay. For now, everything is okay.

Friday, June 22, 2012

First midwife appointment with a bonus

We finally had our first midwife appointment today and it was awesome. I feel very supported and the place is incredible - there is a lending library (which includes books on queer families), and trading post where you can pick up anything from maternity clothes to onesies to diapers and just bring something in yourself when you have something you don't need, drop-in new mom info sessions, a massage therapist... the list goes on and on.

The midwife herself was fantastic. She will be one of three midwives we see, so that we build a relationship with all of them, and any of the three will be on call for the birth. I was nervous that as soon as I gave my medical history, along with a list of medications, they would find me too complex, but she was incredibly non-judgmental and just asked questions and wrote down all of the info. I cringed when she said, "which medication are you on?" and then had to list ALL of the medication that I was on. But no reaction. It was was it was. And it is what it is.

We decided against the genetic testing for weeks 10-13. She walked us through it and basically said (without trying to sway our vote) that it can lead to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. For me, who is anxious to begin with, although I really really want to know my baby is okay, I realized that these tests are not going to be able to tell me that. And we are against doing an amnio, so we wouldn't be going any further anyway if the initial tests came back positive. So we didn't really see the point. Devon was grateful that I finally arrived at this place (she has always been against all genetic testing and I was on the fence). I feel better about it having talked it through with the midwife. It feels like the right choice for us.

At the end of the appointment, she asked that although it's early and she probably wouldn't be able to find a heartbeat, would I like to try. I didn't think they'd ask this early on, but regardless, had prepared myself to try and fail, so we said yes. It took a while to find and I was losing hope, but eventually we got it! Beating at a strong 160! 10 beats faster a minute than three weeks ago.

Honestly, hearing the heartbeat today was even more reassuring than actually seeing the baby at the ultrasound three weeks ago. Yes, I saw that there was a baby in there, but today, I found out that the baby STAYED in there... and oddly enough, it became more real today that ever before. I feel so much more relieved and it was quite funny - every time we got a good run on the doppler, I started giggling and then we had to start again. I couldn't help it. It's like the best sound in the entire world.

BoomBoom is okay. We're okay. Today is a good day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Not quite a baby bump, can't be just all fat...?

I'm looking forward to having a new place to live. We sold our house about a month ago and though we don't have to leave until July 9th, we've been house-sitting since the end of May. We go back "home" on Saturday for two weeks before the move. I put home in quotations because it doesn't feel like home anymore. All the upgrades we did were made with another owner in mind. It just feels so not-us. I'm looking forward to our move on July 7th and making a new home with the baby in mind.

I'm not liking the way I'm expanding right now. Obviously it's not a baby bump yet, but my pants are fitting tight and when I relax, it may as well be a baby bump. I've never cared too much about my weight, but for some reason, I'm really self-conscious about it. I think it's because I don't look pregnant, I look fat. And to onlookers, I'm fat for no reason. I just don't feel comfy in my skin. Once I start to show, I'm going to kill it and love showing off the baby bump, but right now I feel full, bloated, gassy, fat and extremely unsexy. And hairy. Oh my god I'm hairy.

I actually got my bra size measured the other day (I needed to buy the biggest push-up bra of my life for a horrible bridesmaid dress I need to wear in August). I'm up a cup size, which for a barely-A-cup is actually pretty nice. Not complaining about that part. 

I've been planning on telling my boss about the pregnancy on July 13th - my last day before a week's vacation, which I've yet to plan. I just don't want to be around for the backlash of the news. I witnessed the backlash with my colleague after she told the boss, and I am not looking forward to it. One of my other colleagues at work knows I'm pregnant and she's cautioning me not to tell the boss until I start showing, which may be a month later (although not sure now that I can barely do up my pants). She says there is no need to freak her out early than I have to and we both know what the backlash might be. I'm torn a bit, because I see her point, but at the same time, I'd like to share my news with all of my colleagues, and I don't feel comfortable telling anyone until my boss knows. Not sure what to do...

Lots to think about in these last few weeks before the second trimester. I can't believe we're almost there. Next week, I'll have a baby the size of a lime in my belly :)

Very much looking forward to our first midwives appointment tomorrow morning. I can't wait to feel like I have part of a team for this. I just hope they're up for the challenge of treating someone on a cocktail of antidepressants.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On telling the family and other stories

Life seems to be going so fast right now with all that we have to get done, but at the same time, the second week of July can't come fast enough. Second week of July = 12-week "safe" mark and fully moved into our new home. And the thing I couldn't tell you about until now: With the work event over last week, I had a full two days to focus on Devon's surprise 40th birthday party!

It was on Friday. I'd been planning it for months, but didn't really have a chance to do anything about it until the day of (other than invite 40+ people). I took the day off work (didn't tell her that... I dropped her off at her work and she just thought it was a regular work day for me) and got everything done in a couple of hours. Picked her up at 7:15 and by 7:30, we were walking into my brother's house for the big surprise. She was shocked and didn't talk for about 10 minutes, which if you knew her, you'd know how hard that would be to do! She loved it and had a lot of fun. I was exhausted the next day and pretty much couch-ridden, but it was worth every second. Her real birthday is tomorrow, and though I don't have a lot planned, I'm sure it'll be a lovely day.

On Friday, between running errands and deflecting questions about my work day, Devon and I had a follow up appointment to go over the ultrasound results from May 31st. The doc said the report was "squeaky clean" and that I'd officially graduated from the program. I didn't realize that the report had actually put me at 6 weeks, 6 days (when I was 7 weeks, 2 days) and although the RE says there is nothing to worry about, the babe is measuring small. He basically said it's probably a girl (kinda kidding, but kinda serious).

I imagined I'd feel a lot better about this pregnancy after hearing the doc say there is nothing wrong, but my anxiety levels just got worse afterwards. I'm not sure why. We decided not to do genetic testing and I can't believe that we're going to tell the world we're pregnant when we don't get to see what's going on until the 18-20th week, at the next ultrasound. I think I would honestly feel better just seeing my baby on a screen, even without any information about its health - just to see that it's still there and alive. It sounds stupid, but I don't know how to get over not having that option. Devon is having a hard time with my anxiety levels and we're trying to work on how I can still be honest with my feelings but try to rein in the anxiousness. I still don't know where to start. I'm not sure how to make this less debilitating. I know anxiety in pregnancy is normal, but I know my levels are a little too off the charts to fit in the "normal" category. I need that reproductive psychiatrist to damn well call me for an appointment.

We told the family about the pregnancy on Sunday at the piano concert. I slipped my niece the extra cue card to read that said, "Auntie Devon and Auntie Lex are having a baby. The baby is due on [her 5-year-old brother's] birthday." Though my sister-in-laws were distracted by their busy babies, we got a pretty good reaction and it feels good to have it out there. The nieces and nephews were SO happy (though the girls will apparently only be happy if it's a girl) and haven't really asked any questions about the hows and wheres. I did ask my 7-year-old niece if she was happy that a baby was growing in my tummy, just to make it clear that it was me who was pregnant (not that it really matters, but I thought it might help) and she just beamed and said "YES!". Love this new generation of kids.

The thing I didn't really like was that after the announcement was over, the first thing one of my sister-in-laws wanted to know was about the donor. I guess I expect these types of questions often, but seriously? Is that the most important part? What about Devon's role? How do you think it makes her feel that that's what you're concerned about? I don't know... I thought it was a little tactless. All I said was, "His colouring is the same as Devon's. That's all we really cared about." That said, she was extremely happy for us and has sent us some encouraging text since Sunday. On the most part, the family's reaction was wonderful and I feel it went well.

My grandmother is another story, which I've yet to figure out. She lives in England, though at the tender age of 94, still makes the trip every summer to Canada. She'll be here in August. Although she is quite liberal and has absolutely no issues with Devon and I being together - she did after all come out for our wedding five years ago - she told my dad last year that she has issues with "lesbians having babies." I asked my dad if it would be easier for him to pass on the message, but he suggested I write her a letter - which gives me time to think about how I want to say it, and gives her some time to react without showing anyone her reaction. Anyone have any advice or want to share their experiences with sharing such news with a much older generation?

At the RE appointment, we got some bad news about the clinic. They had to close suddenly for renovations a few months ago and because we got pregnant at another clinic while they were closed, we never really needed an update. Turns out the hospital won't fund the equipment they need to upgrade their labs, so the clinic is closing down for good. It is the only not-for-profit place of it's kind in the province and it made me really sad. They need about $750,000 to get things up and running, but the president of the hospital doesn't see the investment. Eight doctors, about six nurses, fifteen administrators and about ten lab technicians are losing their jobs. Our RE is in his 60s, so he'll probably just retire, but I feel for everyone else. If I had the money, I would give it to the program in a heartbeat. They have all become like family. And although I did technically get pregnant using another clinic, I feel as though they did all of the necessary legwork.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Throwing up in the kitchen sink

Oy oy oy...

I am glad today is (almost) over. We had a big event at work today that I planned and managed. It was a building opening with government officials and lots of VIPs and a lot of money and a lot of high stakes. Despite having to deal with a very inadequate new colleague, the event was a success. I've been holding it together for the past two and a half weeks of long hours and on-my-feet-all-the-time days and stress and now, I can finally relax. Kind of.

All is going pretty well on the pregnancy front, I think. The stress has been a bit tough and I'm feeling really tired and a bit down, which I know is just me being over-doing it. Yesterday, on the penultimate day, I woke up early to get to work early and ended up having to stay home for half an hour longer than planned because I was throwing up violently in the kitchen sink.

Yup, morning sickness may have been late, but I guess it's officially here. I have had waves of nausea through these last weeks, but haven't actually thrown up. In fact, the last time I threw up was when I was 27 (5 years ago) after an awful drunken night that I would rather forget.

I have one more big thing to deal with on Friday, but I hope I can relax this weekend a little bit. Thanks for all of our feedback on the early announcement thing. The piano concert is on Sunday, and we've decided to go for it. We've already told my mum and dad, so it will just be my brothers and their wives, and the kids, that should be surprised. It should be fun.

And then next week..... Devon's 40th birthday!

And then July 1st, we move into our new house, which we've just signed the lease for!

Lots and lots of stuff going on, and I'll go into the house stuff in more detail another time. I'd love the world to slow down for juuuuust a second, but not sure that's going to happen any time soon.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On the fence

I'll start out with some good news: We have our first midwife appointment on Friday morning, where we get to meet one or two of the midwifery team that will hopefully follow us through the pregnancy. It is the one-stop-shop place, not the one who didn't call me back for almost a month (they finally did call yesterday and I told them considering the time lapsed, I found care somewhere else and wasn't really happy with their lack of service. No apology; no nothing).

We also see our RE on Friday in the afternoon. I imagine this will be the last time we use the clinic for this pregnancy. I will actually miss him a lot. I already miss the people from clinic a lot. I work in the same hospital as the clinic, so I always look out for the staff in the halls, but rarely see them. We will go over our ultrasound from a week and a half ago and then I don't really know what else they do with us...

I haven't heard from my reproductive psychiatrist yet and I don't have a number for the office. Guess I'll have to be patient. Luckily, my mood has remained good, but I do need some insight on my meds.

So this next week, we are going to meet the 9 week mark. Next Sunday (we'll be almost 10 weeks), my entire family gets together for my niece's birthday and the girls' annual piano concert (I teach piano to my oldest nieces and each June, we put on a concert for the family). My eight-year-old niece usually emcees the concert and we had an idea to slip her an extra cue card right at the end of the concert that said something like "Auntie Lex and Auntie Devon are having a baby"... and announce the pregnancy that way.

But I'm on the fence.

We will not have the family together like that again until far further into my pregnancy, when I'd have already had to tell them. It is the perfect opportunity to share the news and just thinking about it makes me smile, but I don't know how presumptuous it would be. Yes, 10 weeks is better than 6 or 7 or 8, but at the same time, it's not past the "safe" point... especially if we tell the kids. If something goes wrong, I have no doubt that the adults in the family would be extremely supportive and wonderful, but I worry that the kids are too young to understand (though their mom did have a miscarriage at 9 weeks about 2 years ago after having told them she was pregnant, though I'm not sure they remember).

It seems silly to throw this perfect opportunity away when we're so close to that elusive mark, but I worry - because that's what I do best. I really want the energy of the entire family in the room and it makes me sad that if we don't do it next week, we'll not have that.

I don't know... what would you do?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Midwives, OBs and shrinks

I'm hoping that I can work with a midwife through this pregnancy,  but I'm not sure I'd be accepted based on my health history.

I called one of the very highly reviewed midwifery groups in town several days after our BFP. It took them a week to return my first phone call to ask me one question, which I answered when I called back (I was in a meeting when they called). That was more than a week and a half ago and I haven't heard back. I have followed up every two days. On Friday, I left a message saying "Could you let me know either way whether a midwife would be able to see me, because if it's a no, I'm going to have to look somewhere else." Nothing. No call back, no nothing. 

So, yesterday we started looking somewhere else and found something that really clicked. We submitted the intake form last night and I got a call today. Of course, because I'm "further into my pregnancy" (at 8 wks!) I may not be able to get the midwives that I requested (I asked for them because they said they work specifically with queer women), but I would be able to see someone. I will have an appointment set up by the end of this week. It is both a midwifery clinic and a program for new mom groups, yoga classes, prenatal classes, info sessions, workshops and a library. It sounds awesome.

If the midwives do choose not to work with me because of my preexisting condition, I'm hoping that they will refer me to an OBGYN, because I don't know where to start.

I still haven't heard back from my reproductive psychiatrist either. Because of the time that lapsed since I saw her last (due to how long it took to get pregnant), I had to get another referral, so have to go through the process again. I really need her guidance on all my meds right now. Although what I'm currently taking is working for my heath, and she's happy with the levels I'm on for baby's health, it's one thing talking with her about "in theory" and another "in reality". It's now my reality and I need some help.

In all honesty, I'm feeling kind of unprepared and unsupported in the healthcare sense of all of this. I don't like my family doctor and don't plan to use her through this pregnancy, so it's just me and Devon right now. I see my regular psychiatrist every two weeks, which is awesome, but he's a bit clueless on the reproductive front. My naturopath is great too, but says stuff that I don't really agree with and am not comfortable doing (have some raw beef! raw eggs are great too!).

Essentially, I don't feel like I have a team backing me up yet. I need a team. Even if nobody sees me until the second trimester... I just need to know that I won't be alone through all of this. (We also haven't found a place to live yet, so I'm feeling extra unsettled).

I love Canada and its public healthcare system, but there are some downfalls to always needing referrals and the ridiculous waitlists involved. I do, however, have an appointment on June 15th to go over the ultrasound report with my RE, so if worst comes to worst, I'll ask him for a referral to an OB and start from there.

I imagine the clinic would have booked that ultrasound follow-up appointment sooner if they'd found something wrong???

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My heart is burning, but strong

Tomorrow, BoomBoom officially graduates from an embryo to a fetus. Every day towards that elusive 12-week "safe" mark seems like a blessing. Today, I was cramping pretty badly in the morning and it's hard not to jump to the worst case scenario (which is what I do best), but after lying down with a hot water bottle on my tummy for a few minutes, I was fine.

I didn't expect the heartburn to be this bad. It is to the point where I can't eat. Yesterday, I had to skip dinner because the heartburn made me feel completely full (even though I hadn't eaten that much). It was originally deemed to be an old wives tale, but the link between heartburn in pregnancy and a baby with a full head of hair has actually been scientifically proven, so I won't be surprised if BoomBoom comes out with a mullet.

What's surprised me most, however, has been my mood. When we were seeing our reproductive psychiatrist leading up to this pregnancy, one of the first things she warned us about was that mood disorders do not get better in pregnancy, and for the vast majority of women, they do get worse. Now I know I'm only barely into this pregnancy, but so far, my mood has been fine. I did go through that two-week period of insomnia, which was tough, but I felt sleep-deprived, not depressed. My anxiety levels are heightened, but, judging by the forums from my online pregnancy group I joined, I don't believe they are any higher than other women.

I did expect my mood to drop. I almost expected the panic attacks to come back. I know I have seven more months of hormonal changes, and anything can happen, but I'm honestly surprised at how sound and strong I've felt through this. Yes, sometimes I'm exhausted and I get teary at stupid things, but I think that's normal. I do think too that being on Clomid and letrozole throughout the TTC process has probably got my body and my mind ready for some of the roller coasters. Perhaps a silver lining in the TTC journey?

I'm doing what I can to hold onto this good mental health. I know a lot of it is not in my control, but whatever I can do to keep my mental health in check, I will. I know too well that it can rear it's ugly face out of nowhere at any time, and I know I have to be ready for it. I've always been ready for it, ever since I was 13 and got sick in the first place. But for now, I'm happy. BoomBoom is happy. Devon is happy. We're all happy. I love it.

On a last note, I do have to share quickly that I got an email out of the blue last week from a writer at Healthline, who voted Crazy Lesbian Mom as one of the best pregnancy blogs of 2012. Her write-up of this blog was overwhelming, and there are a ton of really, really good blogs listed. Check it out if you're interested.