Archive | November, 2011

Final decision

30 Nov

So I finally made a decision that I am happy with about the IPS testing. I’m not going to do it. I had a great conversation with my doctor and with a handful of close friends. My doctor refused the tests for her own three kids. My friends were divided down the middle. I decided that the only circumstance under which I would terminate the pregnancy is if the fetus had a condition like Trisomy 18 that was incompatible with life. But the chances are extremely low and the diagnostic testing has a high level of false positives.

The majority of babies are born healthy. I am prepared to accept that our child may be born with or develop any number of challenges. For now, I just want to relax and enjoy my pregnancy as much as possible. The IVF process was so invasive and medicalized. I am sick of being diagnosed, poked and prodded. Our next midwife appointment is on December 14th. If we are able to hear the heartbeat on a doppler, I’ll be thrilled. If not, I will request an ultrasound.

In other news, I have had a terrible tension headache for the last few days. My massage therapist theorized that I may be clenching my jaw more due to more intense and frequent dreams. That may have some truth to it. All I know is that my neck and jaw have been all jammed up. Hopefully today’s (brutal) massage session will help loosen things up.

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The pregnancy card

28 Nov

I am 10 weeks pregnant as of today and I am exhausted. While my voracious appetite seems to have tapered off a little bit (frequent, smaller meals seem to make all of the difference), I am astounded at how much sleep I need. Ideally 9 hours a night with a 2-hour nap in the middle of the day. I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I was a total zombie during a completely bonkers day at work. And the rest of the week is going to be even more nuts. So even though I know that exercise is good for me and gives me more energy, I am pulling the pregnancy card this week. I am going to focus on eating and sleeping well, gym be damned. If the weather is not too awful, I will walk as much as possible. But whatever spare time I have this week will be spent in front of bad TV or sleeping. That is all.

The fear

23 Nov

If I had to dig deep into myself, I would admit that I am actually feeling rather calm about this pregnancy so far. I haven’t had any physical cues to indicate that anything is wrong. And though I have been spared the extreme nausea (thank goodness!), I’ve had enough hunger and sleepiness to convince myself that yes, this is really happening. But I guess that’s where the little nugget of fear resides. It’s almost going too well.

And today I heard some very sad news that a friend who was three weeks ahead of me in pregnancy had a miscarriage this weekend. Actually, she went in for an ultrasound and they discovered that the fetus had stopped developing, so she had to take the drugs to trigger the miscarriage. It’s so sad and heartbreaking for her. And it represents one of my biggest fears — that I could be coasting along right now, assuming that everything is going okay when in fact it is not. I really have no way of knowing. It makes me leery about doing a 12-week ultrasound. Do I want to know or is it better to delay the inevitable if things aren’t going well?

I am used to being able to get a general sense of what my body is doing. I inherited wicked PMS from my Mom and I also suffer from terrible cramps. So I know when the hormones are shifting in my body, usually signified by a giant pimple on my chin. Since getting knocked up, I actually feel more hormonally balanced. It’s nice to be off of the menstrual merry-go-round. My pregnancy symptoms have been milder and more tolerable than my usual periods.

So I am calmed by the fact that I don’t feel an impending sense of doom. But I am scared that I don’t really know what I am talking about. I guess there’s nothing I can really do about it except hope.

9 weeks (ish)

21 Nov

Depending on what calculation you use, I am somewhere between 8.5 and 9 weeks pregnant right now. I’ll go with the higher number in a not-so-transparent attempt to bring myself closer to the end of the first trimester. I know, it’s all semantics, but it makes me feel better.

This weekend, I got hit with a wave of extreme exhaustion, despite two 10-hour sleeps and a 2-hour nap on Saturday. I have also had some stomach/digestion issues and mild nausea after any big meal. I have managed to keep it under control by eating smaller portions more frequently (well, practically constantly). It seems to be helping. I lasted only about 20 minutes at the gym yesterday, due to some pretty intense gas pains. Guess I need to accept reality and start eating more bran or break out the prunes.

Ugh. Sorry for the TMI update. It’s just that these are the things I’ve been obsessed with lately. I have been a bit socially isolated, due to general exhaustion and a reticence to got to many social events and have to answer the question, “how are you doing?” I am not a good liar and I have already told quite a few people that I am pregnant. I am trying to keep a lid on this fact being broadcast all through my local queer community until at least Christmas, ideally New Year’s. So that’s why I keep willing time to go faster. I know that there is no real “safe” zone during a pregnancy, but the statistics say that the longer you stay pregnant, the more likely that you will end up with a baby at the end of the deal (imagine!).

I am also really struggling with whether or not to do the prenatal testing. A week ago I was at a firm no. Now I am leaning toward yes — mostly because I would really like the opportunity to have a 12-week ultrasound. I know it will be tremendously reassuring to see a fuzzy image of our little zygote. It feels like way too long to wait till 18-20 weeks to see our little blob develop into something more tangible. I am still sitting on a final decision, but that’s where I’m at right now.

I am going to try and break out of my shell and get social again. I’m not gonna lie, there’s been far too much TV-watching lately. My winter hibernation tendency has kicked in big time. I just keep visualizing Chanukah/Christmas, where we will be surrounded by friends and family and excited to share our news. Only a month to go!

Hooray for midwifery care!

16 Nov

Caitlyn and I had our first appointment with our team of midwives. It was such a lovely experience and I am so grateful and happy that we are choosing midwifery care. One of my closest friends is a student midwife, so she gave me the advice to call and get on the list with a couple of practices the second I confirmed my pregnancy. Lucky me, I got a call back the very same day and we were in. Given that there is a shortage of midwives in Canada and particularly in the city we live in, we are so lucky to be working with these amazing women.

I left our final appointment at the fertility clinic with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. While I am so thankful that IVF worked this time, I am thoroughly sick of being treated like a patient — someone who is assumed to be broken and needs to be diagnosed, drugged and “fixed.” When we had our post-ultrasound exit appointment, the doctor tried to convince me to choose obstetrical care, because IVF pregnancies are supposedly “high risk.” This advice came from a doctor who was obviously old school and who was looking at my file for only the second time ever. He also mentioned that I am a bit “heavier” and may be at risk for hypertension. Of course this set me off.

The reality is that midwives are well-equipped to handle prenatal care and deliveries of uncomplicated pregnancies. And if complications arise, they consult with an OB. It’s the best of both worlds — woman-centred care coupled with additional advice if needed.

The midwives we met were warm and accommodating. They emphasized that birth is a natural and normal process that rarely needs to be treated as a medical emergency. As the future mamas, my wife and I get to make choices about the tests we want to take part in, the way we want the birth to happen and the risks we are willing to take as future parents. This was so comforting to hear and such a contrast from the high tech world of the fertility clinic. Oh, and our midwife said there is no reason for me to weigh myself. I will just keep on taking my vitamins, eating well and exercising as much as I can handle. Which makes total sense. She expressed no concerns about my size.

I am so glad we chose midwifery care. Now Cait and I need to decide if we want to do the Integrated Prenatal Screening. I am leaning toward no, and my wife is leaning toward yes. Given that I am young, healthy, and don’t have any genetic problems in my family, I am inclined to skip the tests.

If you are or were recently pregnant, what decision did you make about the testing? I am interested to hear how you made your decision.

Maybe we’ll get a baby at the end of this

14 Nov

I know that the sentiment expressed in the title of this post may seem a bit hilarious, given that I am eight weeks pregnant. It’s just that I still don’t quite believe that this is happening. And the worrywart part of my brain keeps thinking, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

It’s hard not to think that imminent disaster is inevitable when you spend too much time perusing infertility websites. It’s a bad habit, I know. But reading other people’s blogs over the past year really gave me a window into the realities of tying to conceive. Some women experience loss after loss and it’s hard not to feel like this might be the norm. It’s the myopic world of infertility warping my brain. And while I don’t really have any confirmation that I actually have a problem with my fertility, it sure took a long time to get pregnant. There were dozens and dozens of appointments involved — multiple doctors, more needles than I want to think about and enough internal ultrasounds to last me this lifetime and the next.

And here I am now. There’s absolutely no indication that anything is wrong. An ultrasound on Thursday confirmed that there is a microscopic little heart beating inside me. But it all still seems like such a remote reality.

One of my closest friends gave birth less than two weeks ago. When I held her daughter in my arms, it donned on me that it’s very possible that my wife and I will be doing the same thing in June. It’s so crazy and wondrous. I am starting to believe that this may actually happen for us. But I’m not quite there yet.

136 bpm

11 Nov

My wife is a DJ and tells me that 136 bpm is the rhythm for any good house music. And that’s how fast our little bean’s heart was beating yesterday. We saw it flicker on the ultrasound display screen, along with the embryonic sac and the fetal pole. The little thing growing inside me is about one centimetre long, measuring 7 weeks, 4 days. We are so relieved and thankful. We may even get a baby at the end of this process. Imagine!