Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scary day

I woke up yesterday in a wonderful mood, as it was my first night sleeping with my Snoogle - the best $50 I've ever spent... seriously, this thing is a life-saver. No more pins and needles and tossing and turning.

However, about a half hour after I woke up, I started to get abdominal cramps. They felt like really bad constipation cramps, so I tried to do what I could to get rid of them. Shortly after, they didn't feel like cramps anymore, as they felt like they were getting more and more intense and building up to a pain so bad that I had to consciously breathe through them to get through the pain. 

The scariest thing was that Devon was leaving for the States that afternoon for 8 days and I had to drive her to the border by 3 pm. By one o'clock, I was in tears because of both the pain and also the fear. TMI alert... it didn't feel like constipation for long, as I was back and forth to the bathroom with really loose stools, which didn't bring any relief. 

I pulled out the pregnancy book and read the symptoms for preterm labour, and was having some of them. There was a rhythm to it and they were definitely progressing into something bigger. I was bawling with Dev - feeling bad because of the timing of leaving for her trip and terrified that she had to go and I'd potentially be giving birth to this baby on my own. She was really good with me and basically told me she would cancel her flight if she had to, and that I came first, which of course made me feel better (and worse... because I'm that kind of girl).

I paged my midwife, who called back almost immediately. I explained my symptoms to her and she was worried that it may be preterm labour, considering the cramping would come back strong every 5 minutes or so. However, I didn't think my uterus was getting hard (although I wasn't sure... can you feel that through your skin or is it more of an inner feeling?), it didn't quite feel like menstrual cramps and baby was moving tons, which she took as a good sign. She had me down a ton of water and lay in a bath to see if the pain would subside. It did, thank God. I think the extra water helped too. 

Long story short, the cramps stayed away for the majority of the day and I was able to say goodbye to Devon for the week and know that I was going to be okay. The midwife called to check in later in the afternoon and was happy with the way things were going. She suggested it may have been an intestinal bug of some sort that was bringing on really bad pain. Hell, it may even have been the curry and the sex from date night the night before... though I didn't feel like I needed to mention that :)

Cramps have come back a bit last night and again this morning, but not nearly as painful as they were before and I'm feeling more confident that it has little to do with my baby girl wanting to come early. I think I was more scared than anything else and with Devon leaving, that intensified everything. Today, I have to call my best friend to ask if she'll be "on call" this week in case anything happens, and I have to be okay with the fact that Devon will probably not be able to get back in time. 

And without giving too much of my location away, another scary thing happened yesterday: There was a 7.7 magnitude earthquake off the coast. No damage or anything, but a tsunami warning and the coast shut down. I'm feeling very blessed today that it was far enough away and that nobody got hurt, and that this little baby girl is snug as a bug in my tummy, not going to make her appearance anytime soon.

P.S. Thanks for all of your comments on the last post - your experiences were painfully hilarious to read. Another comment came in last week, when I was chatting to someone about weight gain. At one point she said, "well, you weren't exactly at your 'best' going into this pregnancy". Nice.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shit you shouldn't say to pregnant women

Worst comment of the week, from someone I haven't seen since I got pregnant: "I totally expected you to carry just in your belly, but you're carrying this pregnancy all over - especially in your face."

I thought the comment last week along the lines of "Looks like you'll be getting a pre-Christmas surprise - wonderful!" was bad, especially when I had to explain that baby is due well after the new year and not anywhere near Christmas. But apparently, this was was just a warm-up.

I always find it fascinating that having a baby bump invites people to just say the stupidest shit. I didn't like the "are you sure it's not twins?" but that feels like nothing compared to this week's gem.

Anyone have any other gems?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A little lonely, a lot pregnant

Thank God it's Saturday. I'm struggling these days, mostly because last week and next week, I have something every day after work. If I don't have at least two hours at the end of my work day where I can just come home, take off my bra, and collapse horizontally, I am in constant pain all night. My rib pain is back with a vengeance and is getting really hard to deal with. The only relief I get is sleep, and the mornings aren't bad pain-wise. Devon tried to give my ribs a little massage the other night; even though she was super gentle, I was in tears in pain. I see my RMT today (also our doula), so I'm hoping she can do something to give me some relief. 

We started prenatal classes last week and it was nothing like I expected. We went with a private company as opposed to a hospital class for numerous reasons. It also came highly recommended by our midwifery group. It is run by a doula and the classes are based on Birthing From Within philosophy/practice. I consider myself a very open-minded person, but the first class was just too far out there... complete with a visit from the oxytocin fairy. We were asked to draw "A Womb with a View" on art paper with pastels and spent much of the class holding ice (because I'm sure that's what labour pain feels like). We are the only same-sex couple, which we expected and were fine with. There is one very young single girl and the rest are married hetero couples. It's a good group. The second class was a little more tangible and much more informative, so I think it's going to get better.

Speaking of being open-minded, I went to my naturopath this week. This is the same naturopath who sees Devon and has had some messages from Dev's dead mother for her. This week, she had messages from my fetus for me. Apparently BoomBoom needed to tell me some things. Very random things. I don't even really know what to do with the messages except just accept that they are something I needed to hear. Yeah... some interesting people in my life these days.

Devon is gearing up for her (music) competition in a few weeks in the States. I've decided not to go and I'm not super happy about it, but financially, it would just be stupid, and if I went, the competition days are often 15 hours long and I'm not sure that would be wise. Nor would a flight, I think. It's silly... to fly out of our nearest American airport, the flight would cost $180 each way. Flying out of Canada, it's about $800. Redick. We usually fly out of our fellow US airport, but if I did go, I would probably not fly with Devon and therefore would probably have to fly out of Canada. I think it's best that I stay home and watch the competition on the webcast. Boo.

Leading up to contest is always tough too, as Devon is basically performing or rehearsing 5-6 nights a week and is pretty much staying at work until she has to do so. She's away this weekend on a coaching retreat and leaves next Saturday for 8 days. I know it's silly, but it's the first Halloween we've been apart since we met, and we have a tradition of taking our nieces and nephew out trick-or-treating. Instead, this Halloween, I have an appointment with my midwife and Dev can't be there, and then I'm either going to go to the kids house afterwards or just crash on my own. No painting my tummy like a pumpkin or anything like that. Or like this!

It sucks, but I too was involved in this organization for 10 years (it's how we met) and I know the commitment, so I understand. That said, I don't know how we are going to get through these bi-annual competition periods when I'm home alone with a baby. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I'm also feeling really lonely. I don't have the energy to go out with friends, so I'm stuck at home with my cats (who annoy the hell out of me), watching bad TV, icing or heating my ribs. And yes, I know that now I'm in my third trimester, I'll just be getting more and more uncomfortable. Can't wait.

I've updated my belly bump pics. Now that the sun is no longer shining when we get up, we're going to have to get a little better at the lighting. I wish we could move the photos to sometime during the day when the light is better, but it's the only time we're home together.

Oh, almost forgot - new milestone this week: BoomBoom is stretching the outside of my stomach to the point where my entire belly moves. I was giving a presentation at work this week and just before I got up to do it, BoomBoom kicked so hard and popped out under my ribs enough for the lady next to me to gasp. Kicks are starting to hurt and it is SO weird to see her under there, happily moving parts of me around. For the first time too, I can feel the punches and kicks separately when she decides to do both - on either side of me. Crazy. However, she's still not very good at performing as soon as Devon comes to watch/feel.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Last day of second trimester

Today is the last day of my second trimester. Crazy. Although each day seem to drag on, collectively, the days are flying by and I can't believe we're close to meeting the little one.

We had our 3D ultrasound on the weekend, which was a quick 10 minutes because we felt weird doing an "entertainment" thing for solely our benefit. But man, it was awesome. It's confirmed that BoomBoom is a girl, which I'm thrilled about. She was actually sucking on her knee the whole time - with a brief interlude to suck on the umbilical cord - so her face was covered and we didn't get a head-on shot. We did get a few profiles and it was extremely cool. It looks like she's got my (pointy) nose, poor girl, and we were actually amazed at how similar the print out photos are of my brother's son. I was initially a little disappointed that she was being stubborn, as she was for her first ultrasound too, but soon got over it when I fell in love with her face. Looks like we may have to invest in some pacifiers. She's a sucker for sure :)

There's been no improvement yet on the iron front, but I've heard it can take up to a few weeks to build up the store. I initially got the wrong kind of supplement, so have only been taking the high dose for 5 days. I'm hoping things will change soon. Thanks for your comments on the last post.

I've been thinking a lot lately about fertility. Since I've become pregnant, two of my good friends have also shared pregnancy news, as well as three colleagues in a relatively small office. So far, I'll be the first to give birth, if everyone goes full-term. I honestly don't know what I'd do had we not conceived and had we still been trying to get pregnant and I heard all of these announcements. Although it felt like forever at the time, we were actually incredibly lucky that we got pregnant in nine months of TTC. It was an incredibly tough road, but reading other people's journeys put everything into perspective. 

Unfortunately, when I couldn't get pregnant, I also couldn't let myself be happy for other people who got pregnant, no matter how close they were to me. I couldn't help it - I really wanted to, but couldn't find it in me. Selfish, maybe, but definitely something I felt I needed to do to get by.

Every time I'm on Facebook and see that my sister-in-law, who has four beautiful children, posts yet another status about how she can't wait until school starts so she doesn't have to deal with the kids all day or how there are too many mouths to feed or how she needs booze to get through the endless soccer games and gymnastic practises or how she should be paid for her incredible homemaking, I can't imagine reading this without crying every time. Her comments are heartbreaking and I wish I had it in me to tell her how it might be hurtful to people trying to conceive - or how much harder it was for me to read when I was trying to conceive - but so far, I haven't had the ovaries to do so. She thinks she's being funny. 

I feel similarly about people who update their statuses 5 times a day about their children, and though I do "get" this one a little more than bitching endlessly about your children, it's still tough sometimes. I am a big fan of STFU, Parents and use that as a good meter of what not to do when the time comes (I will not be updating my Facebook status during labour).

At work, I can't imagine what it would be like to see all these women around me grow beautiful, big bellies, when mine was just getting emptier. I realize I wouldn't have the strength to deal with these everyday meanderings - on social media or at work or within my group of friends - had I still been trying to conceive. I just don't know how this would look. Devon and I have one friend who refuses to see me right now, as it is too painful. She's been pregnant 5 times and has lost each and every baby. I understand why she wants to sever ties, but wonder whether I would do ever the same. But maybe this is the only way to deal with the pain.

I'm incredibly lucky that things worked out the way they did, and there isn't a day that goes by that I am not thankful. I think dealing with fertility setbacks has taught me a lot about how to deal with certain situations, and I am not that pregnant lady that won't shut up about every single aspect of her pregnancy. This blog is really the only place where I let loose about everything... and that's one of purposes of the blog for me, but I still feel horrible that there are some readers out there who are struggling to conceive, and here I am writing about how awful heartburn is. 

Puts things into perspective. Take care, everybody.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fitness woes

I thought that going to prenatal fitness classes would be something I'd enjoy. I thought I'd meet lots of new friends and feel good about exercising for myself and my baby. I thought I'd feel empowered and energized and proud. 

I hate to say this, but there is very little I actually enjoy about the classes. Yes, the ladies are lovely and I'm sure it's good for me, but it's the last thing I want to do in the evening and unfortunately, I don't leave going "oh, I'm so glad I came."

After class, I don't have the energy to stay and get to know anyone and I just get frustrated during class at all the things I cannot do. Years ago, I was a very good athlete and played soccer, basketball, volleyball and track at a provincial level. Then I got sick, spent four years (in and out) in a psych ward and started smoking. It's been 6 years since I quit smoking, but I never got back into sports and I just get frustrated at my lack of fitness and ability. I'm used to being good at things... not the worst in the class.

I'm hoping this has everything to do with my iron levels and nothing to do with my mood. I'm hoping once my iron levels are back up, I'll feel like I have energy to do anything outside of work and collapsing at home. 

Something has got to give...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Double digits

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and I have so much to be thankful for this year. Mostly, I'm appreciative of maternity clothes that stretch for you during holiday dinners so you don't have to slow down to unbutton your pants in order to fit more food in. Oh, and I'm pretty thankful for the whole baby thing too :)

This weekend, we passed the 100-days-til-she's-due mark and we're solidly in double digits and this week marks the last week of my second trimester. Scary... and wonderful. There is still a ton of things to do, but we're getting there, slowly. 

I did my fasting blood glucose test on Saturday morning for Gestational Diabetes, which was fine except for by the third blood draw, I was so dehydrated that my veins kept collapsing and they couldn't get any more blood from me. I had also not stopped bleeding from the draw an hour prior. They eventually went through the top of my hand, after several attempts in both arms. The drink was gross, but not as bad as I expected. Reminded me of cold winter mornings on the soccer field when I was a kid, drinking tangy orange at halftime. 

I also had my iron levels tested. I just got my results back for both tests. I passed my Gestational Diabetes test, but my ferritin, hemocrit, hemoglobin and red blood cell count was very low and I'm considered anemic. I think I finally have an answer to why I've been so incredibly low in energy over the last few months. I wish they'd tested me earlier, as now I'm coming out of the second trimester and will soon have low energy again anyway, so even if I treat it now, I feel like I can't get the last three months back... which was supposed to be my "honeymoon trimester". Oh well, at least I know and will get treated accordingly. Bought some iron supplements today, so we'll see if things get better. I take comfort in the fact that regardless of what's getting to me, BoomBoom has been sucking up everything she needs. Midwife says my light-headedness could be attributed to low iron to.

I brought up the fluid leaking thing and mentioned how sporadic and inconsistent it's been. She asked if I wanted to do an internal exam, or whether I just wanted to wait to see if it would happen again, and I chose the latter. I'm not super concerned about it, but if it does happen again, I'll page her. She mentioned that it could be amniotic fluid, but they could find out fairly quickly. It hasn't happened in weeks, so I'm sure it's fine.

I'm becoming more and more anxious about the actual birth, as I feel it's getting closer. We watched The Business of Being Born on Saturday, which was awesome, but brought up a lot of "what if I'm not strong enough to make it through". Granted, the film is about the American system, so a lot of the politics don't apply to Canada (though in my province, we do have the highest rate of cesareans nation-wide). Midwives are allowed to deliver in hospitals here, and it seemed like - at least in the film - that that wasn't the case in the US (or at least NY), so going with a midwife doesn't always equal a home birth. I take comfort in the fact we will be close to medical intervention if needed, though I hope we don't need to go that way.

Devon is getting a bit anxious too. She hasn't yet thought about the specifics, but feels as though it's time. I think she's always had it in her head that I'll give birth like they do on TV, so when it was brought up that giving birth on your back is potentially the worst position ever, she was taken aback at the fact that I could be standing holding on to her, or squatting or whatever... I think it's just weird for us now that we're trying to picture how it's going to be or how we want it to be. 

Prenatal classes start this week, which I think will help with that kind of stuff. I'm pretty excited and am looking forward to meeting new people in our neighbourhood. I imagine we'll be the only same-sex couple, which is always a challenge, but it is what it is. 

Oh, and I *think* we picked a name, though I thought we did a month or two ago too. It's less popular than our first choice, which I think we've decided against for that reason, but still relatively traditional. I like the meaning and the way it looks and sounds with my last name, and there are endless possibilities for nicknames. I never knew how much of a responsibility it was to name a human being! Both Devon and I changed our names in late teen / early adulthood, so we're extra sensitive to being given a name we don't like. No pressure or anything. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Surreal social media trip and a confirmed doula

Funny how timing works out with things and worlds come together. I had an appointment with my Chinese Medicine doctor the other day and she asked who would be in the delivery room with us. I told her just us, a midwife, and that we were trying to find a doula, but couldn't afford an "experienced" one. Turns out one of the Registered Massage Therapists in her office just finished doula training and is looking for a few couples to work with for free to finish her qualifications.

Ideally, it would be great to have someone more experienced, but we just couldn't justify the cost. We met with potential doula yesterday after work and we instantly clicked with her. She's awesome. She's young and extremely passionate. I did really like the fact that she is an RMT who specializes in pregnancy massage and fertility - I'm sure having an RMT in the room during labour would be an added plus. She's also gay, which doesn't really change anything, but I like that she understands the additional complexities of our situation.

My main question for her was how her role would work when I really, really want Devon to be my primary birth partner. She explained that she's mostly there to be my voice and that if I want, she would coach Dev to do things that might help me through certain times in the labour. I appreciate that. She's never been to a birth. Does that bother me? Not really... we all have to start somewhere. It also can't hurt to have an extra pair of hands in the room. If I were spending money, I'm not sure I would invest in someone nobody can't vouch for, but I like the fact that we are giving her this opportunity, as she is with us. We're pretty excited.

25 weeks today, and not a ton of change, though I almost passed out at work today. I'd eaten lots and drank lots and was just standing and it was pretty sudden onset. A colleague sat me down and fed me sugar. The extreme dizziness subsided eventually (not quickly!), but I was light-headed for most of the afternoon. I see my midwife tomorrow, so I'll bring it up.

Another semi-scary symptom (warning, TMI) is that two or three times over the last month, I've suddenly had a sensation where I've peed my pants. My underwear gets soaking wet and I know it's not pee (it's clear and odourless) and it's not regular discharge. I've heard about amniotic fluid leaking like this and maybe should have called the midwife, but it's so sporadic that I'll just bring it up tomorrow too.

Something weird happened this week, and I'd love to hear from others about similar experiences. I was on our sperm bank's Facebook page just to check it out and started clicking through photos that clients have posted of their children. It amazes me that people can post so many pics - which include personal information - with comments thanking donor #9346 or whatever.

Here I am clicking through the pics and I come across a picture of a mom thanking a donor and I'm suddenly staring at BoomBoom's half sister. You could definitely see some of the donor's features in her... oddly enough, the one characteristic that I'm not super keen on... and I was fascinated. She was a lot darker in colouring than I expected (eyes, hair and skin), and her mom was very blond and light-skinned. Our donor has reached his maximum number of offspring and has retired, so god knows how many are out there. I followed the link to the mom's profile and totally Facebook stalked the family.

It's a surreal experience, and one that I realize I haven't really figured out how to deal with before. Part of me wants to join the donor sibling registry, but part of me wants to keep my family just that - my little family that's mine and mine only, you know? We did choose a donor who is willing to be known eventually, and I have no problems with BoomBoom finding him later in life, but I still don't know what I'd like to do about half siblings.

Is this part of the process that would be helpful for our future daughter? We plan to tell her from very early on that she has two moms and a donor and explain what a donor is, but I have no idea what to do about bringing sisters and brothers into the mix. I know some of you are in contact with half siblings and some of you have chosen not to be, but I don't even know where I want to stand on the issue! Would love to hear some advice from others who have already dealt with something similar.