Friday, January 29, 2010

The Big Tell

We still haven't told anyone I'm pregnant. Unless you count the doctors of course, but I'm sure they would have figured that out on their own. We didn't tell a soul we were TTC, so nobody has been watching me carefully for weight gain or sudden food aversions. I'm 11 weeks along, and realize that we need to start telling people soon. It's only a matter of time before I start showing. After keeping this secret for so long, it's going to be strange finally tell.

I'm pretty sure that the parents have no idea. I was on the younger side when I realized I was gay- about 12 years old. It was the early 90's, and I didn't know of any gay people who had children. I decided that as a defense mechanism, I should just pretend that I was indifferent to children. That way, it would hurt less when I never had any of my own. As I grew older, I saw that some gay people did in fact have children, but they seemed very few and far between. Knowing that there was no guarantee I'd end up with someone who also wanted children, I kept up the act through college. My mother has started referring to herself as "grandma" when she talks about our dogs. I think I played the part so well that she's given up any hope that I'll ever have kids. I'm a bit worried that I kept up the act so well that my family sees me as someone with no maternal instincts- the kind of person they can't picture with a child.

Elizabeth and I are planning to drive up to Connecticut one week from today to tell our parents. We will have had our 12 week ultrasound that morning, so hopefully we'll have some good pictures and good news to share. We're lucky that they only live about 45 minutes from each other, and they get along incredibly well. It won't be a problem to get them all together and tell them at the same time. The problem is, we're not quite sure how we're going to break the news. Do we just come out and say "we have something to tell you" and then give them the news? Do we try something cute or creative? How did you break the news to your family? What about friends? Did you put much thought into the order you told people? Did anyone know you were trying? How far along were you when you told? I know, that's a lot of questions, but I'd love to hear from anyone who wants to share!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hospital tour #2

We were officially released from the RE on the day of our 8 week ultrasound. Our OB told us that we wouldn't be having an ultrasound again until 12 weeks. I freaked out a bit about this. It was very easy to get used to weekly ultrasounds at the RE. I joked with Elizabeth that I should go to the emergency room and say that I had been bleeding in order to get another ultrasound. Of course, I would NEVER actually do that. I don't want to take up space in a busy ER. And I'm also a bit superstitious. It's like that rule that you never fake a funeral in order to get a day off work.

Well on Sunday I started bleeding. Bright red. Serves me right for even joking about lying to get another ultrasound. I called the OB to see what I should do, and they scheduled me for an ultrasound the next evening. I had barfing butterflies in my stomach all day long. When I hopped onto the table, the ultrasound screen was turned in such a way that I would not see it at all. But Elizabeth could see the screen, so I just watched her face. After a few seconds, her eyes welled with tears. She mouthed the words "they're moving!" to me. And indeed they were. After a few minutes, the tech flipped on a TV screen in front of me. Baby A had heart rate of 164bpm. Baby B (formerly known as C) had a heart rate of 176bpm and was wiggling away. I think B is going to be our wild child. The scan didn't reveal any bleeding near the placentas or anything else abnormal. The OB is convinced that it has something to do with the empty third sac. Apparently, it's common for women with an empty sac to experience bleeding.

Tonight, we had our tour of Medium Hospital. I was a bit nervous since the hospital has Saint in its name. Fortunately, it was nothing like I expected. Although it's a Catholic hospital, they have a kosher kitchen too, which I take to be sign that they are very inclusive. The nurse who led the tour was fabulous. She used the word "support person" instead of "husband". Elizabeth appreciated this so much that she thanked the nurse after the tour. Unlike the nurse at Small Hospital, the nurse at Medium Hospital actually smiled and made eye contact with Elizabeth. Medium Hospital also has one of the top NICUs in the state, something that's very important for me with a twin pregnancy. They encourage babies rooming-in, breast feeding, and immediate bonding between mother and baby. But the nurse also stressed that they respect the mother's wishes and don't make judgements. If the mother wants to bottle feed, nobody is going to push her. If the mother just wants to sleep and would like the baby to be in the nursery for a few hours, that's okay too. Overall, I just got a much better feeling about Medium Hospital. And it didn't hurt that the nurse pulled me aside and told me that since I'm having twins, I'm all but guaranteed a private room. Two tours down, one to go!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jealousy, Jesus and Hand Sanitizer

It's only Thursday, and already it's been a long week. Yesterday was my first appointment with the OB. I'm happy with the practice we chose. The nurse who saw was spectacular. She needed no explanation of our relationship and seemed totally at ease working with a same-sex couple. She kept referring to us as "youse guys" - as in hey, if youse guys decide you want more kids, you should make her go next. She also decided that Elizabeth needed a job, and gave her a journal so she could write everything down at the appointments. The OB may or may not be on the team. Either way, we liked her. The exam itself was much shorter than I had expected. At my request, she tried to find a heartbeat/s with the doppler. She warned me that 9.5 weeks was a little on the early side, and I shouldn't worry if I couldn't hear anything. She was able to pick up a heartbeat sound, but not two distinct heartbeats. She told me not to worry, that it's still early. Why do doctors always tell you not to worry when they know that you absolutely will?

On Monday we did our first hospital tour. There are 3 possibilities in the area that I'll refer to as Small, Medium and Large. Monday night was our tour of Small Hospital. When we made the tour reservation, we were told to meet by the piano, and only my husband was allowed to come with me. Grrrr. As the wives and their husbands began gathering around the piano, it was clear that I was the least far along of anyone. ALL of the other women had big beautiful bellies, so I began to feel a bit out of place.

The nurse who led the tour made it seem as though the only things we need to get through pregnancy, delivery and childrearing are Jesus and hand sanitizer. Every time we passed one of the hand sanitizers on the wall, she used it and took the opportunity to remind us about germs. She didn't speak too much about the other amenities available at the hospital, c-section rates or anything like that. Just the hand sanitizer. As the tour was about to end, she told us that the most important thing it to find faith before we have children. And that she should know because she has 11 herself. Yes, she did say that it was her opinion and not the opinion of the hospital, but it still turned me off a little. I don't want to have to worry about some rogue nurse trying to convert me while I'm in labor.

I have also been dealing with a lot of jealousy and anxiety this week. It started when I had the 8 week ultrasound. I googled more pictures of 8 week ultrasounds, and all of the babies look bigger and better than mine. Then I started googling belly shots. It's amazing how big some of these women are at 10 weeks (I'm 10 weeks today). Most of them are only pregnant with one. I'm not showing at all, and I've supposedly got twins in there. It makes me worry that there is something wrong- that I've lost one or that they aren't growing properly. And it makes me jealous. I wonder if this is just the beginning of the jealousy some people feel as parents. Jealous that their cousin's baby crawled earlier. Jealous that the 4 year old down the street speaks two languages fluently and plays the violin. Jealous that their neighbor's teenager is polite. I am trying very hard to work on this jealousy, because I know it will be unhealthy for a child. But I still can' t shake the anxiety that there's something wrong. The days until my 12 week ultrasound are just going to drag by.

ETA - I don't want to come across as anti-religion.  I have very deep respect for all of the religious people in my life.  But I wasn't raised in any religion, and haven't become religious in my adult life.  I just don't want the hospital staff to judge me as an unfit parent for that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To Doppler Or Not To Doppler

We finally have an appointment with an OB scheduled for the 19th. We picked the place we did because it is a large-ish sized practice with many doctors. I want to be sure that if I have any problems I'll be able to get an appointment quickly. Seeing so many different doctors at the fancy fertility clinic got me very used to the idea of dropping my pants for anyone with a speculum. I'm more concerned with being able to see someone than seeing the same person each time. Besides, it's still early enough that I can change my mind if I really hate this practice.

I think the fertility clinic has turned me into a very needy, coddled patient. I just found out that I will not be getting an ultrasound at my appointment on the 19th. That has me a bit freaked out. I am still sailing through this pregnancy almost entirely symptom free. Sure, I've been filling up quicker at meals, have a new found love of ketchup, some minor food aversions, and have fallen asleep on the couch a few times. But really, nothing major at all. You'd think I would be grateful, but it actually makes me nervous. It makes me worry that something is wrong- that one or both of the babies has stopped growing. I don't think I'll feel confident about this pregnancy until I am sending a healthy, well adjusted 18 year old off to college.

So my dears, this is where I need your advice. I am very much on the fence about getting a doppler. On the one hand, it could ease some of my fears. On the other hand, it could make me more obsessive. I'm not even sure how a doppler would work with twins, and if I'd be able to distinguish between 2 heartbeats, etc. How many of you out there use a doppler? If you do, is there a brand you recommend? For those of you who decided against the doppler, what are your reasons for not getting one?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Trading in the H0nda

"You're going to have to buy a mini van!"  Those were the doctor's last words to us as he left the exam room grinning after our very first ultrasound (5w2d).  Well folks, Friday's ultrasound (8w1d) revealed that we will not need a mini van after all.  It looks like we'll be trading in the H0nda Acc0rd for a station wagon.   

Baby B stopped developing between 5 and 6 weeks.  Baby A and Baby C on the other hand looked great.  Baby A had a heartrate of 176bpm, and C clocked in at 178bpm.  They are both measuring on target.  Two perfect little gummy bears.  Twins.

(sorry for the crap quality-  it's a photo of a small grainy printout, but you can see two!)

Elizabeth and I are absolutely elated to see these two doing so well.  And honestly, we're not devastated over the loss of B.  Any sadness we might feel is tempered by the knowledge that twins have fewer health risks than triplets.  I won't have more babies than arms...or breasts.  There's a chance I won't need a C-section.  I won't have to take out a loan to buy diapers.  Two babies seem downright manageable if you've gotten yourself prepared for 3.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Graduation Jitters

This Friday is my 8 week ultrasound at the clinic. It is also my last appointment there. Ever. As in, I will graduate to the OB after this appointment. The OB where real pregnant women go. The only problem is, I still feel like an impostor. It hasn't quite sunk into my thick skull yet that I might actually know...that p word. I had heard from others who had long TTC journeys that it might take a while to sink in, but I wasn't expecting it to take this long. I mean, I've seen heartbeats for crying out loud, but I still don't quite believe it.

I don't feel ready for my final exam. I've gotten used to lots of appointments, and constant attention. Although it's not a label I enjoy, I've even gotten used to being a bitter infertile. I've spent the last year and a half of my life with these people. I have to admit, I'm going to miss them just a bit. Some of them. Did anyone out there do anything for their doctors / nurses upon graduating to the OB? I was thinking of getting something small for our nurse at the very least. She has been our primary contact person from day one, and has been so patient with all of our fretful phone calls and silly questions. If any of you bought gifts, what did you buy? I have no idea what is appropriate, or how much to spend. Maybe I'll bring some treats to be placed in the coffee area too. My only concern -and I know this might be a bit paranoid- is that the doctor won't see anything at my next appointment. I'd hate to show up to the clinic grinning and carrying a load of donuts only to leave sobbing. Maybe I'm being crazy. The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. I start with the initial high of a good appointment. As the days drag by until my next appointment, I become more and more anxious, worried that my next ultrasound will reveal bad news. This is far more difficult than any TWW.

So now I begin the task of trying to find an OB. I think I know which practice I'm going to chose, because their doctors have delivery privileges at the 3 hospitals closest to me. Hopefully I'll find someone I like there. It's as good a starting point as any, I suppose. I feel so unprepared to graduate into this big world!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wow.  2010 already.  My 2009 was consumed almost entirely by TTC.  It was a trying year indeed.  But when I look back, I think the thing I'll remember most is not the heartache or roller coaster of so many BFNs, but the support from my wonderful, beautiful Elizabeth.

She has patiently and lovingly dealt with all my ups and downs this year-  some of them hormone induced, some of them pure frustration.  She remained optimistic, even when I was unable to do so.  She has oh-so-slyly swapped wine glasses with me so our friends and family wouldn't pick up on the fact that I wasn't drinking.  She has attended dozens of boring appointments.  When she saw that her mother was planning on serving sandwiches for lunch she pretended that she really wanted her sandwich grilled, so that I could have my sandwich grilled too without arousing suspicion.  (you know-the whole listeria thing).  She has showered me with raw milk cheese and other forbidden foods as a consolation after each BFN.  She has asked all of my pressing medical questions in Dr.Google, and filtered out the horror stories that would make me crazy.  She has worn her lucky penguin socks to every appointment since my retrieval.  Now that I've finally gotten a BFP, she has indulged my every craving.  When I saw ice cream on TV today and said it looked good, she had her coat on within seconds to run to the store to pick up a pint.  

So to all of you non-gestational moms out there, I hope you know how much you are appreciated.  Elizabeth, you are everything to me.  I don't know how I would have gotten through this last year without you.  I love you now more than ever.