Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My New Perspective on Pregnancy

WARNING:  This post contains an ultrasound picture.  I completely understand if anyone wants to turn away now.

I have another OBGYN appointment tomorrow, with one of Dr. C’s colleagues.  For the first time in the history of all of my “baby appointments,” I’m not nervous.  I haven’t been counting down the days to the appointment.  I don’t even have any topics or concerns to talk to the doctor about.  I’m just “chill.”

That is not to suggest that I am always “chill.”  I frequently have anxiety or crying bouts for no particular reason, but I am at least able to recognize those things for what they are…a hormonal response.  There is no impending doom coming down the pipeline, causing premonitions of emotions.  I’m sane enough to realize that now.  I’m not so certain that I was a few weeks ago.

I’ve thought a lot about what it is that has changed my perspective about the pregnancy.  Here’s my list of ideas:

-Feeling the baby move all day and all night.  There is something intensely reassuring about the wonderful little feelings that go on in my belly all day. 

-I trust my OBGYN.  The contrast between how I felt when I was treating with Dr. B and how I feel now that I’ve seen Dr. C is remarkable.  I didn’t know how much anxiety I was having over the Dr. B situation until it was gone.

-I’m seeing more “success stories.”  Perhaps they were always there, but during my IF battle, I learned to focus on the “bad” statistics…as they were the ones that were always applying to me and, in large part, to my friends.  I’m starting to let go of my obsession with what can go wrong.  I know what could happen, but I am willing to let it go and have faith that it isn’t going to happen to this pregnancy.  I’m learning to focus on all of the healthy babies born every day and to believe that my baby will be joining their ranks.

-At 24 weeks pregnant, and with a “birth date” in place (exactly 15 weeks from today…but whose counting), my eye is now on the prize.  It is difficult to focus on the past when something so significant is rapidly approaching in your future.  The Prince and I have so much to do and so little time to do it, there simply isn’t time to “what if” the pregnancy anymore.

-Pregnancy is no longer miserable.  I know that sounds like a horrid, harsh statement, but I’m not one to sugarcoat things.  The first 16-20 weeks of my pregnancy were rough…really rough.  I always felt blessed to be pregnant, but I wasn’t able to enjoy being pregnant.  Now, I am keeping food down and actually enjoying some things that I eat.  I am not in constant pain.  I am gaining confidence in my body (not its looks, but its ability to not let me down).  It is easier to be at peace with the pregnancy when you aren’t feeling like your body is sabotaging you.

-The Prince has been awesome.  He has been reading parenting books (plural!) and spends every free minute he has working hard to get our kitchen and nursery renovations done before the baby’s arrival.  He also gets some kudos for putting up with my recent mood swings and my inability to help very much.

-Finally…there is the picture of my baby-boy-to-be.  Every time I look at the photo, I smile.  We have a real little person in there.  He has a little profile (that looks strikingly similar to The Prince’s profile) and a little hand.  You can even see his heart in the photo!  (It’s the shaded area in the chest).  I can’t fathom having him taken away.  And I don’t mean just that I am afraid of him being taken away (which is more akin to my usual use of the phrase “I can’t fathom”).  I mean that I truly can’t imagine or comprehend a scenario where I don’t get to see that little profile in person, staring up at me as I feed him.  I’m really happy and content holding onto that visual right now…and I hope this photo keeps me going for the next 15 weeks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Revealing Our "Non-Secret" To My Mother

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, The Prince and I have decided that, for better or worse, we will tell our boy at a very early age that he was conceived through the use of donor eggs.  Obviously, he will be told subtly and in age appropriate terms, but we never want there to be one specific day on which the “secret” is revealed.  We want our child to feel like he has always known and there is nothing to hide because there is nothing wrong with how he was conceived.  We realize this may be a risky endeavor, as we could face (or worse, our child could face) ridicule or uncomfortable questions if the information is made common knowledge in the wrong forums.  But, I have looked at the research and it seems that children who grow up not associating egg donation with any negative stigma rarely blurt out the information at inappropriate times or places.  To them, it isn’t really that interesting, so there is no reason to tell people.  In contrast, children who are told later in life may feel like the information is a secret, questions why, attach guilt or shame with the information, and be more compelled to “share their secret.”  (I use the term “research” in this area loosely, as I have come across no studies beyond self-reported anecdotal information).  Still, The Prince and I have made our choice and we are committed to it.

As part of this “gradual reveal” process, we decided to tell close family members and friends about how the baby was conceived.  We are hoping that by portraying the information as “no big deal” early on in the pregnancy to family and friends, the information will not seem significant enough to warrant further conversations after the baby is born.  We want the focus to be on our child as a person…not our child as a donor egg-conceived child.

The one exception that we carved out in our strategy was for my mother.  As I’ve previously mentioned, my mother is mentally ill and she has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.  She thrives on drama and is incapable of caring about how the drama she creates hurts others.  I’ve gotten to a point where I truly believe it isn’t her fault.  It is just part of her illness and she has spiraled to a point where she couldn’t’ control the behavior even if she wanted to.  But, you can imagine how her issues could become a problem for our child in the context of sharing the egg donation information.  The Prince left it up to me to decide what to do about my mother, after we listed the pro’s and con’s of telling her versus not telling her.  I had initially decided not to tell her, but eventually decided that by telling her now and riding out the wave of her likely telling people who have no business knowing about how our child was conceived (because the information will be the closest thing to “juicy gossip” she has to offer), she may be bored with the information by the time the baby is old enough to be effected by any insensitive comments she might make.  My nightmare scenario is our child telling her and her saying something cruel directly to our child in response to the shock. 

Even after making the decision, I haven’t been able to actually bring myself to tell her…until last week.  Last week, during a telephone conversation with my mother, she was (again) suggesting that I might be lying about being pregnant, was actually adopting, but was ashamed to tell people that I was adopting (I guess she thinks I faked the ultrasound pictures we’ve given her).  Anyways, I told her we had tried something new with our last IVF, and it worked.  Of course, she wanted to know what the “new” thing was and she asked if I used someone else’s sperm to get pregnant.  I said “Not someone else’s sperm, someone else’s eggs.”  She said, “What do you mean?  How can you do that?”  So, I explained to her how egg donation works (scientifically speaking).  She listened and after a pause said “I wish I had known about that.  I could have been selling my eggs all of this time and not had financial problems.”  UGGGGHHHHH!  I know that there are a million worse things she could have said, but I have to admit that it was frustrating to have her immediately jump to making things about her.  She then asked if The Prince was okay with it, as she could imagine that it would be upsetting to him to have a wife who couldn’t’ get pregnant with her own eggs.  I was shocked that was her first question.  Everyone else we have told seemed to understand that the decision to use someone else’s eggs was hard on me.  My mother was the first person to jump over my feelings and assume that The Prince would be put off by having to use donor eggs.  I explained that he was all for the idea long before I was okay with it.  My mother then asked if the donor looked like me, and I replied that we wouldn’t be mistaken as sisters, but she looked enough like me so as not to raise any questions when people look at me and our child together.  She wanted to know information about my egg donor and I explained that I wasn’t giving any information I had about the donor to anyone.  Someday, when our child is ready, I will have a book with the photos of the donor and her profile available for our son to look at.  He will decide what to do with that information…no one else.  I explained to Mom that I was hesitant to tell her about our use of a donor because she sometimes “forgets” to keep private things private.  I told her that I believed she loved our child already and that she would find a way to make sure that our child’s conversations about his origins are with The Prince and I, at the time of our choosing.  My mother claims to understand and she wasn’t as melodramatic about receiving the information as I thought she would be. 

I have no confidence that I won’t, at some point, regret my decision to tell her.  But I also believe wholeheartedly that I would have regretted not telling her now, as well.  When I struggled with the idea of using an egg donor, I never even considered these issues.  I was only concerned with the immediate issues of letting go of the idea of my baby sharing my DNA.  Now, the DNA issue seems so insignificant and I realize that I have a lifetime of hard choices ahead of me…a lifetime of trying to balance what I feel is right and the protection of my child’s feelings and self-esteem.  I’m up for it and our baby is worth it already.  But still…a selfish little piece of me is irritated that I have to think about these things at all.

Friday, September 16, 2011

She's up...and she's down again.

This morning, as I was working, I was thinking that I am soooo happy right now.  I am not feeling unbearably ill.  I am not seriously uncomfortable like I was a couple of weeks ago.  I know what I am struggling with and what I have to do to fix those issues.  I’ve switched to an OBGYN that I trust.  I know our baby boy is okay and I even got to see a cute little profile picture of him.  I can feel him kicking away.  My baby registry is complete (except for clothes) and my shower is in the works.  This morning, I was relishing how good my life is right now.

Then, the doorbell rang at lunchtime and everything changed.  Our mailman had a certified letter that I needed to sign for.  I couldn’t imagine what it could be.  Well…it was a letter from Dr. B informing me that she could no longer be my physician and that she would transfer my records to Dr. C.  The letter is dated over two weeks ago, before I even requested that my records be sent to Dr. C.  Clearly it is back-dated to two days after my last appointment with Dr. B and, for whatever reason, the back-dating is making me mad.  It could have been a typo, but in my head I’ve come up with as theory that she is covering her butt for not dictating my anatomy scan for the last two weeks.  Being “broken-up” with is making me mad…even though I was breaking-up with Dr. B anyways (can we say junior high?).  Even though it is obvious that the letter is a form letter, the snotty tone of the letter makes me mad.  I know that this isn’t personal but every word seems personal to me.  And…worst of all…is the fact that Dr. B had time to send me that letter by certified mail but not to send my records to Dr. C or to dictate my anatomy scan report.  I’m so mad. 

“Mad” may not even be the right word.  What I feel is more like anxiety mixed with indignation.  My hands are shaking (even though it has been a couple of hours now since I received the letter) and my stomach is sick.  The Prince can’t understand why this is upsetting me and he thinks I should just fight paying Dr. B for transferring my records, as she didn’t do it in a timely manner.  I tried to explain to him that I don’t want to prolong my dealings with Dr. B’s office and fighting about a bill is pretty much the worst thing I can imagine having to go through right now.  I just want to completely forget about all things related to Dr. B.  The Prince is right that I am completely over-reacting.  The problem is…I truly can’t help it.

That seems to be a common thing for me right now.  I am fine, happy even, most of the time.  But then something small happens (like finding out the exact date that our baby will likely be born) and I end up on the verge of a panic attack.  This isn’t like anxiety I’ve experienced before.  In the past, my anxiety was always a response to some traumatic situation, conflict or negative thoughts.  This new “pregnancy anxiety” is silly and illogical.  It comes out of nowhere and (thank God) it goes away as quickly as it comes on.  The problem is…it comes.  Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding, covered in sweat, sure that something awful is about to happen.  I have no idea what that “something awful” is, and I barely remember the feeling the next morning.  But, I still have these “episodes” periodically.  I feel like a mad person.  I know there is no reason to feel this way, but refocusing my thoughts or talking through the issue isn’t helpful at all when there is nothing to talk about.

Is this normal during pregnancy or am I becoming mentally unstable?  I’m high-strung normally…but this seems excessive.  I'm sure in a couple of hours, this post will feel silly to me.  But I would still love some reassurance that this has happened to other women during their pregnancy...and that it goes away.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This-n-That Update

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me lately.  I keep thinking, throughout the day, “I need to write about this.”  But then, when I have down time, I just can’t seem to bring myself to write.  Because of that, I now have a whole collection of thoughts, feelings and updates that I can’t possibly catch-up on in this blog…unless I suddenly start writing multiple posts per day.  In an effort to get myself back on track, I’m going to try a quick “this and that” kind of post today…telling you all a little bit about a lot of different stuff. 

Yesterday, I had my first appointment with Dr. C.  It wasn’t easy for me to switch OBGYN’s.  I hate conflict and Dr. B didn’t make it easy on me to switch.  She was very nasty about it and charged me 50 cents per page to have my records transferred to Dr. C.  Then, Dr. B didn’t even send the records, so The Prince and I had to wait an extra hour while Dr. C’s office harassed Dr. B’s staff into faxing over the most important records during yesterday’s appointment.  We even had to redo our 20 week scan because Dr. B hadn’t dictated her report of my scan yet (even though it was performed two weeks ago)!  Don’t get me wrong.  I always love seeing our little boy…but I am a little concerned that the insurance company is going to give me a hard time about having a second scan, as they don’t like to pay for duplicative procedures.  I really don’t have the energy to go through an insurance appeals process.

I can’t get into all of the details of my reasons for leaving Dr. B.  That would be a three-part post in itself.  I will say that the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was Dr. B’s insistence that I change my insulin protocol because she wasn’t happy with my blood glucose numbers.  I asked Dr. B to call my endocrinologist, as I didn’t want to have to choose which doctor’s instructions to follow.  I didn’t feel I should be put in the middle.  Dr. B told me she didn’t have time to be calling my endocrinologist and that I always should follow my OB’s advice.  I called my endocrinologist and explained what Dr. B was doing and asked that, if the endocrinologist had issues with the change, she call Dr. B to work it out.  I got three frantic phone messages that day from the endocrinologist.  Dr. B had prescribed a different type of insulin…one that could cause a spontaneous miscarriage in pregnant women.  Had I taken that insulin, I may have lost the baby.  Thank God my endocrinologist is so diligent (it was her day off, too).  The endocrinologist was so unhappy, she called Dr. B…who refused to talk to her, saying she was too busy.  The endocrinologist did something she NEVER does…she strongly recommended that I change OB’s.  She agreed that I should never be put in the middle of a disagreement between doctors and she felt that what Dr. B did would be like the endocrinologist walking into the hospital and announcing that she was going to do a C-section on me, so not to listen to Dr. B’s recommendation.  Specialists aren’t supposed to have their toes stepped on by non-specialists.  So…that was what pushed me over the edge (although my appointment with Dr. C was already set up before that event).

Dr. C was good.  As I remembered from my law firm days, he has a calm demeanor (a little too calm…The Prince said he felt like Dr. C was drugged).  Dr. C is a tall, thin, 70(?) year old man with a huge mustache, which curls around in circles at the ends.  He looks like a cartoon character.  When you ask Dr. C a question, he is quiet for a couple of minutes, flips through the chart, and then gives a short one or two sentence answer.  I have a hard time with silence…and brevity…but I like Dr. C’s attention to detail and I trust his professional judgment (except about cervix-ripening with seaweed sticks…an issue for another post).  He wants to see me every 2 weeks (instead of every 4 weeks, like Dr. B recommended) and he feels that my labor is pretty high risk (he said that in the same tone he would say he is ready for lunch).  I wish there was an OBGYN who was warm and fuzzy (and coddling) and an expert…but I think I just have to choose what is most important to me.  Right now, competence trumps the stuff I cared about before.


I am still dehydrated every time I get tested.  Sometimes the dehydration gets so bad, I have horrible cramps and feel dizzy.  I really am trying to drink more water, but apparently I’m not trying hard enough.  I was read the riot act by Dr. C’s nurse, yesterday.  She told me that I am to set out 3-16 oz. bottles of water each morning.  They must be gone by noon.  Then, I need to do the same thing again and have them gone by dinner time.  I should try for 2 or 3 more before bed.  To me, that seems like an impossible amount of liquid to drink (especially when I feel queasy), but I’ve agreed to try harder (I say, as I sit here sipping a couple of ounces of juice…having taken in no water so far this morning).  Shame on me.
I am now having to test my glucose in the middle of the night (during a midnight pee break).  I also am supposed to eat something in the middle of the night.  Dr. C feels that my blood sugar is very well controlled (another Dr. B screw-up) and he wants me to keep working with the endocrinologist.  We’ve had to keep raising the dose on my insulin, but my body responds well to the dose changes.  The only issue I’m really having is that I am still losing weight…although only a little.  My weight is still down a lot from when I got pregnant.  The morning sickness is still coming and going.  I think this may just be how my pregnancy is going to be.  The doctors are putting a lot of pressure on me to try to consume over 2000 calories a day, each day.  That just isn’t happening right now.  The baby seems okay and my belly has gotten appropriately large, so I’m not terribly concerned.  Still, I felt horrible when The Prince sat me down two nights ago and told me that he is concerned about me not trying hard enough to take care of myself.  He said that he wants me to be around for a long time with him and the baby because he loves me, and he worries that I am going to leave him to do this on his own.  I had no idea he was so concerned.  I promised to try harder.


Dr. B had told me the baby was small.  Not so.  At yesterday’s ultrasound, the baby measured in at 1.1 pounds…putting him in the 78th percentile for weight.  He is over a foot long.  Everything looked great, structurally speaking.  My placenta is “in front,” which the nurse said would likely lead to me not feeling strong movements and would mean I wouldn’t feel the baby move as early in the pregnancy as most women (wrong and wrong).  The baby is in a head down posiiton, against my pubic bone.  Dr. C isn’t worried about the position.  While it isn’t comfortable, it isn’t indicative of the baby coming out too soon.  We didn’t get any cute 3D shots of the face, although Dr. C and the ultrasound tech tried really hard.  There is a sufficient amount of amniotic fluid in the sac, but not much of it in front of the baby’s face.  We did get a great profile shot, in normal black and white.  I will probably post it later on…but I’ll give a warning in case people want to avoid it.

During the scan, Dr. C did a close-up on the baby’s ears.  They stick out…just like The Prince’s did before his surgery.  The Prince is adamant that, if our baby has “stick out” ears (we’re not talking a little…The Prince’s were almost straight out on the side of his head), we will have surgery done when he is still a baby.  It was too traumatic for The Prince as an adult, and The Prince’s doctor told him that it would have been much easier to fix when he was a baby and the cartilage was still soft.  I pray we don’t have to make that decision.  Dr. C said all babies have big ears at 22 weeks…but I’m skeptical.  Still…no matter what his ears look like, our baby is really beautiful.  I know I’m biased…but his features really looked adorable on the scan.


I’ve been working from home for two weeks, and will continue to do so for the rest of the pregnancy.  It is SOOOOO much better than dragging myself into work and sitting at a desk, leaning over to type on the computer all day.  I am more productive at home and I love wearing pajamas all day (not sure The Prince loves my new wardrobe as much).  I am disappointed with myself in that I am already having a tough time getting motivated some days.  I still work…but I had hoped to ride the wave of appreciation a little longer.  Still, I am not having to leave work all of the time, so I am finally accruing some decent leave time for maternity leave.  I wish I had pursued working from home sooner.


So, I saved the best for last (a reward to those of you who have stuck with this marathon post).  I asked Dr. C if I would be able to have him, personally, deliver the baby.  He works on Tuesday’s at the hospital we chose to deliver at (the large teaching hospital with the great NICU…Dr. C would rather be safe than sorry, so he recommended we go with the best NICU).  He wants to induce or do a C-section (depending on the baby’s size later on in the pregnancy) between 38 and 39 weeks, so …we will likely be having our baby on January 10, 2012 (unless the baby gets impatient and decides to come out earlier).  It is so surreal having a tentative arrival date, as opposed to a due date that we knew we would never be allowed to reach.  Things seem more urgent with that steadfast date.  I’m trying to chill out about it.  I am really excited, and it is great timing for us.  The Prince doesn’t start his evening job until January 17th that semester, giving him a week to help me out at home before I’m on my own in the evenings.  His Mom can take time off from school that week, too…so I feel more secure about being able to handle the transition. Still…1/10/12….less than 4 months!!!


Okay.  I don’t know how many people will actually read this whole post, but to those of you who did…THANK YOU!  I feel so much better having caught-up on this.  I feel like I’m gabbing with friends when I write this stuff.  I know I’m supported and not judged by my blog readers, and I can’t tell you how comforting that is.