Sunday, May 25, 2014

I Am Not In Your Club

This is the second time I find myself cringing with hearing the gleeful congratulations given by a "fellow pregnant" person. It sounds different then a normal congratulations. It is ringing with the tones of Welcome to the club! and Phew, we're the same now. It's as though they feel this sense of relief that they no longer have to feel guilty about being pregnant in front of me. I cringe because I don't feel I belong in this fertile pregnant club. I don't entirely think I want to belong.

I find myself just wanting to scream. No! We're not the same! I am not in your club! This was not easy for me! You didn't go through what I went through! You do NOT understand how I feel! 

In case there was ever a question, pregnancy does not cure infertility. My friend joked that I "graduated" from the infertility club and joined the pregnancy club, but it doesn't feel like this. That club appears to be full of naive and innocent women who lose all lack of sensitivity in the face of bump-pics. My rose-colored glasses are broken beyond repair.

Note: This post was written a few weeks ago. I kept thinking I'd have more to say on this issue, but in reality my emotions are not as strong anymore. Still there, just not as strong. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

F.B. Official

This was our announcement that we texted to some friends and then eventually posted on FB, after ensuring that everyone close to us knew in a more personal way. I was nervous about doing this, nervous and excited. As I was about to hit "publish", I turned to C and said, "Well, it's about to be official." He smiled and reminded me that it already was.

Today I had an OB appointment and it was very casual. I heard the heartbeat with the doppler. He said that my weight and blood pressure both looked good and the baby's heartbeat and my uterus measurements also looked good. The next appointment to schedule is the anatomy scan in a month and then a follow-up appointment with him.

I asked the doctor the following:
When I go camping next month, would I be able to go canoeing and kayaking? Yes, just not white-water rafting. 
There may be a conference that I would like to attend in early September. Is this too late to plan to travel? No, he would let me go as long as things continue to look good. 
I have been getting sharp pains in my lower back. Is this anything to worry about? No, this is completely normal. It is the uterus pushing against my nerves. 

The rest of the day, I would curse my uterus when walking around like an old grandma with the stabbing pain. Luckily it is still intermittent.

I then went shopping for some new bras, as my current ones are starting look ridiculous. Well no wonder! I had myself measured and it turns out I jumped from a size B straight to a size D! I didn't believe her at first, but when I tried on the new size, it felt and looked sooooo much better. Then I just had to find ones that didn't feel like old-lady bras but still provided good nipple coverage, which was a little challenging.

Yesterday, I wore full maternity clothes to work for the first time. Previously, I had worn some maternity tops with regular bottoms or regular tops with maternity bottoms, but never both at the same time. Well it had the anticipated (but not necessarily desired) effect, three different people commented on how I looked pregnant. Two of those did not already know that I was. So there is no more hiding it.

It's FB official. It's visually obvious. And I am still working on accepting that this is really happening.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Second Trimester

Welcome to the second trimester, baby. We’re one third of the way there, although it doesn’t feel like it. From a preparedness standpoint, I’m still working on wrapping me head around being pregnant and haven’t really begun the whole preparing for an actual child coming into this world.
I have started looking at (stressing about) all the “equipment” required, but really haven’t narrowed anything down yet or purchased anything. I did purchase some maternity clothes on two separate occasions. The first day, I purchased a pair of work pants (my parents and C kept telling me the rubber-band trick was ridiculous and unprofessional), some tops, and two bathing suits because they were a great price. Within a week of that, the weather changed and I needed capris. One huge word of advice on Destination Maternity – the front part of the store has designer clothing items that a much more expensive then I would want to spend for maternity clothes, but the back part of the store has the off-brand “Motherhood Maternity” clothes that are much more reasonable. I nearly gave myself a panic attack when I spent twenty minutes going through every rack in the front and couldn’t find a pair of bottoms for less than $90! Before finding this store, I had tried the maternity sections in Kohl’s and Target, but couldn’t find anything I liked. OK, in reality, I was probably just too chicken to actually try on anything and left too quickly. By the third attempt, I got desperate and made my mom come with me to force me to take the whole maternity clothes buying more seriously.
I have told most people I care about telling. It’s been mostly casual, when the moment seems right, and there really haven’t been any theatrical announcements. I do have a cute idea for a facebook announcement, but might just be too lazy to actually put it together. I’m generally not a fan of having a big fuss made over me, pregnancy included. The one person I have left to formally tell is my pseudo-boss who is the head of the department I consult with but has no real control over me (she just pretends she does). After this, I need to set my patient schedule for the fall and stick to it. This means I will soon be turning down all new referrals and I don’t expect this to go over well with some of the staff that rely on me. Oh well. 
Slowly, and intermittently, I’ve begun to feel more human. I only get nauseas when it’s been too long from the last time I’ve ate. The heartburn is still problematic, but not daily. There are many days when I don’t have the desire to crawl into bed at 6pm immediately upon getting home from work, but then there are still days when this is necessary. I have begun exercising again, but not at the same level of exertion as previously. It still feels like my heart is pounding out of my chest with a brisk walk! I have also noticed that I will feel a burst of energy and want to exercise, but then it is quickly followed by exhaustion so sometimes I miss my window. The one relatively newer symptom is lower back pain. There are moments it hurts so bad that I feel my legs are going give out on me. Usually this is after I’ve been sitting too long, or standing too long, or laying down too long. Changing positions is a good thing. 
Approximately twenty six weeks to go, should the little one decide to follow the prescribed timeline. Onward and upward! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Normal Pregnancy

At my first official OB appointment a few weeks ago, he assured me that after the first trimester, women who get pregnant through IVF are considered at no greater risk then women who get pregnant  "naturally". The one exception is that there is a slight trend for IVF pregnancies to more often end in a cesarian section. Also, because of the PCOS, I am at higher risk for gestational diabetes, but this not a given. He assured me that this should be a "normal pregnancy".

Since this time, I have really tried to take this message to heart. I no longer require three monitoring appointments per week. I no longer require blood draws so often that my arms stay permanently black-and-blue and I begin to develop scar tissue. I no longer require extra testing, monitoring, or supervision. I am off all extra medication. No more shots, patches, or vaginal suppositories. Only a multi-vitamin. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Coercion

I normally consider myself a rule-follower, but I don’t like being told what to do, especially when it feels coerced and is not from an authority figure. Case-in-point: Songs that give you specific directions annoy the crap out of me! (Cha Cha Slide, ugh) When I feel like I’m being directed, I get this very strong urge to do the opposite just to spite the source. I will admit, that has led to occasional issues in our marriage when C attempts to give me “helpful advice” and I proceed to stubbornly carry on with my original idea. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Word About Weight

Living with PCOS, although not realizing this until trying to conceive, I have always straddled the line between "healthy" and "overweight". Always is probably an exaggeration, but I do remember feeling awkward wearing leggings in fifth grade, aware that I did not have the stick-skinny legs other girls had. I remember lying slightly when they recorded my weight on my first driver's license and never seeing that number on the scale again. I would occasionally get as low as ten pounds below the arbitrary cutoff point on the BMI scales, but often being a few pounds above. That number has followed me around for over the past decade, always threatening to call me overweight if I overindulged.

Just to be clear, I was never a crash dieter. Mostly because I didn't have the stamina. I would occasionally follow SouthBeach or Wieght-Watchers, lose 5 pounds or so, and then become complacent. I never gained or loss more than 10 pounds in a year. Until infertility.

I'm not sure if was the medication effects, the fact I was no longer managing my hormones with birth control and now they were running amuck, some emotional over-eating from the stress of it all, or that I wasn't exercising as much because I constantly bloated and uncomfortable. It was probably a combination of all of this. Whatever the culprit, I gained 20 pounds in less then a year. Thirty pounds in two years. Three pant sizes. At times, this felt worse then not being able to ovulate.

I promised myself that if the IVF didn't work, we would take some time off of medications and I would focus on my health. It felt like a consolation prize - if I can't have a baby, then at least I want to fit back into my regular clothes.

So, here I am, twelve weeks pregnant. Almost out of the first trimester. I have weighed myself nearly every morning, as soon as I wake up. I watch the scale like a hawk. According to You: Having a Baby, women who begin overweight should gain 15-25 pounds total over the course of pregnancy, compared with the 25-35 pounds recommended for women beginning in the healthy weight range. Specific recommendations are that only 2 - 4 pounds should be gained in the first trimester, with another 8 - 13 in the second trimester, and 5 - 8 in the third. This is especially important for women with PCOS, because we are already at greater risk for rapid weight gain and gestational diabetes.

I am at just around three pounds so far. I'm on track. And I feel horrible. I think I keep focusing on the number because my body image is so skewed. I don't feel pregnant. I feel fat. When I have gained weight in the past, I've always carried it around middle. My pants get tight and this is a sign that the scale is tipping out of my favor. Now, my belly is expanding and my pants are tightening, and the scale is hardly budging.

I'm at this awkward, in-between stage where I'm not yet comfortable "coming out" as pregnant and wearing empire-waste shirts, but I feel horrible in my current attire. It feels like I'm hiding something, which I am. I keep scorning myself for starting out overweight and then I imagine the ideal pregnant woman as someone who with skinny arms and skinny legs and a little belly sticking out so obviously not a part of the rest of her petite figure. At this point, my protruding belly could easily be mistaken as the overweight rest of me.

Now, I keep fantasizing about how I plan to lose the weight during my maternity leave. I look forward to this all being over and getting back to my regular borderline-healthy body. The ridiculousness of this is not lost on me. Here, I spent years and most of our life savings on this goal, and now, not even a third of the way done, I'm looking forward to it being over.