You know what's weird? Being pregnant.
After NOT being pregnant for so long and wanting to be pregnant for so long, now here I am on the other side (finally) and it's awesome. It comes with this whole other set of stresses though. At week 18, I can finally say I have stopped checking for blood every time I wipe. Sorry if that's TMI, but it's the truth and I'm all about dropping truth bombs here. It's a safe place for too much information.
While I am entirely relieved to not be worrying about "will it ever happen/will we die alone/stop being jealous of your friends/do people feel sorry for us", I now seem to have transferred my worries on to the fetus growing in my tummy. Let me give you a time line.
Sept 10, 2013. Oh look, I got my period AGAIN. Hello, old friend. You motherfucker.
Sept 13, 2013. Okay, I'm ready to shake off the disappointment. Let's do this.
Sept 23, 2013. OVULATION STATION.
Sept 24 - Oct 6, 2013. The two week wait. If you have never had to try for more than 1 year to get pregnant, you won't get this, but dear mother of God the TWW. It's....the.....WORST. You do everything you can not to symptom spot, but of course it's all you do. Obsessively.
Oct 7, 2013. Hmmm, I wonder if I should pee on a stick? They are almost expired and I have about 30 of them, so why not? It's not like it's going to be positive because it never is. *pees* *walks away for five minutes* *comes back* *IMMEDIATELY BURST INTO TEARS BECAUSE IT'S POSITIVE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. *Call James, sobbing* *Goes for a walk with a bestie, keeps mouth shut for once* *Comes home, pees on a more expensive test, and it's still positive. CANNOT BELIEVE EYES*.
Oct 8, 2013. Go for beta test first thing in the morning, which measures the levels of the pregnancy hormone HCG in your blood. Go to work. Waits nervously all day for the call from the doctor's office that is sure to tell me that I was only seeing things. The doctor office calls and I swear the tone of her voice is sympathetic like last time, but alas she confirms what I already knew. Pregnant! VICTORY IS MINE!
Oct 10, 2013. Go for beta test #2 first thing, wait around all day for call to confirm that HCG levels are doubling, stress when the call doesn't come at the same time as last time, and then relief when they finally call at tell me things are looking good. It's official. I'm pregnant. WHAT.
Oct 28, 2013. 7 week ultrasound. I am nervous leading up to this because I am afraid my embryo won't be there. I haven't had any pregnancy symptoms, and I am just concerned it was all too good to be true. But there it is. This little blob. With a heartbeat. It's the most beautiful thing we have ever seen. Morning sickness/gag reflexes, sore boobs, exhaustion settle in and I am THRILLED.
Nov 12, 2013. First maternity appointment with my new doctor, who I love. She's lovely, I am in love with her and answers all of my questions and takes the time. Confirms I will need a c-section thanks to Crohn's and some less than pleasant complications I have, but I'm okay with that because I pretty much knew that already. In fact, more than okay with it. I get the first round of pre-natal screening bloodwork. A niggling, persistent worry I know won't know away until after the 20 week ultrasound that will finally confirm that everything is a-ok with the little alien.
Dec 9, 2013. 13 week ultrasound. This checks for nuchal translucency, which measures fluid at the back of the neck. A lot of fluid can indicate Down's, so I was of course concerned for no reason other than shit happens. However, as soon as she measured, I was relieved (thanks to my research) to see that it measured normally. Still, frustrating to know that I can't put that niggling fear to rest yet until the beginning of February. That being said, it was completely amazing to see something that looks like an ACTUAL baby on the screen, moving around, waving its arms and legs. Incredible that I could not feel it at that point. Weird that there is something inside of me that is growing and I cannot yet feel.
Dec 11, 2013. Second maternity appointment. Takes a minute to find heartbeat with doppler, but there it is, a soft but consistent shush/shush/shush. Does a full physical. I have good boobs. She would know, she felt them. I am in my second trimester and I am relieved that I can finally stop worrying (so much) about miscarriage. I've read the statistics and I know the chances are good that once you've seen a heartbeat and you're past three months, you're pretty golden. I want to tell THE WORLD!
Christmas time is really fun this year :)
Jan 9, 2014. Third maternity appointment. Very quick, but pulls out the doppler and BAM! Heartbeat is detected right away at 160 bpm. So strong and loud I am shocked. It's STILL in there! Second set of screening bloodwork over, and I know this (one) small worry will be behind us soon.
Jan 14, 2014. Felt baby move for the first time?? I think?? It felt like little taps under my belly button, to the left. I haven't felt anything like that since so maybe it was just my imagination, but I can't wait to feel this little nugget roll around more.
Upcoming: Jan 27th Gender Scan. They actually call it the Fetal Abnormality Scan but Gender scan is more positive and fun, so we're going with that. But yes, this is the final point when they can determine whether or not everything is developing normally. And yes, part of me is worried even though there is no reason to be other than, you guessed it, shit happens. I know everything is fine though, so overall I am just REALLY excited to see the baby again and maybe(?) find out the gender.
Boy or girl? What's it going to be? I have had more people tell me "Oh, it's definitely a girl" because of the way I am carrying (high), or just having a "knowing" (my mom). I think that's just wishful thinking because of all the boys in our family, and because I think my mom is under the impression that girls are easier because I was easier than my brother. That's just personalities though. I don't REALLY care, either way. In my ideal world, we'd have one of each, but this might be the only one, so as long as it's healthy and whole, I'm the happiest girl in the world. I'm 18 weeks, or entering my 5th month (so confusing!), and all is well.
And now for some more truth bombs.
If anyone is reading this and has struggled or is struggling with fertility, I feel you. It felt like I was the only person in the world that was having issues, until I started opening up and gained a little circle of friends in other women who knew what it felt like to feel so hopeless and angry and sad and every other emotion. TWENTY EIGHT babies were born in our close circle of friends during the four years it took us to conceive. I know because one day I decided to torture myself and count. Because why just be sad when you can be OBSESSIVE AND SAD?!
It's the hardest thing in the world to watch all your friends have babies so effortlessly, while you have no answers as to why it's not your time yet. And as much as they are lovely and sympathetic, they don't get it, and they never will. And that's not their fault, in fact, it's their blessing. To be so blissfully unaware of the pain! I envy them. I was happy for all of them, but it was hard when that particular happiness was clouded with jealousy and sadness for yourself.
A word of advice, that you may have not considered if you're one of the lucky ones. If someone close to you is struggling with this, please be sensitive when telling your happy news. She doesn't want to hear this at a party or have it sprung on her in public. She's happy for you, but she needs time to digest the news before putting on a happy face and really and truly mean it. Maybe that sounds selfish to you...after all it is YOUR good news and shouldn't everyone be thrilled? But you have to try to understand how much it hurts, as much as you can't fully understand it. No one wants to be left out of the celebration, but damn girl, for future reference......that is the proper etiquette on dealing with your fertile-challenged friends. I got so good at detecting pregnancies before they were announced, as a form of self defence (steak well done, virgin martinis...I see you). "Psssst...are you pregnant?! You ARE?! It's early and super secret! OMG SO HAPPY FOR YOU" was the easiest way for me to control the situation and the ensuing emotions as I struggled to find a healthy balance between happiness and frustrating jealousy.
I expressed terrible and mean thoughts to the only other women I knew would understand my frustration, my fellow fertile challenged warriors, and it was invaluable to have. Long phone calls and emails back and forth to these two gems were therapy. And currently one of those women now has a two year old and the other has a baby growing in her tummy, three months younger than mine. And my heart bursts for them. And I can let go and enjoy everything that is to come. We can all let go and finally believe it will happen because it is.
It feels like coming up for air and it's so goddamn refreshing. Breathe.