Monday, March 31, 2014

Finally, an Update: My Birth Story, my Baby, and My Postpartum Life

My little one arrived at 38 weeks and 1 day, on February 20th, 2014. His name is Leo and he is a sweet, sweet little boy.
Leo, on day 4

Today he is already 5.5 weeks old. I know, I know- I have been really bad about updating this blog. I have multiple reasons for this.

First, his birth was really hard. I had been receiving care from a midwife practice throughout my pregnancy, and other than some spotting in the end of the first trimester/beginning of the second trimester, I'd had a really healthy, easy pregnancy. This all changed when I went in for my 38 week check up. I had missed my 37 week check up because it had snowed and the roads were too icy. Since I'd been so healthy, they said not to worry about it. But when I went in at 38 weeks, my blood pressure was high. I've always had borderline normal to high blood pressure, but I had crossed the line where they start to worry. I think it was around 138/95. Not awful, but not great. They did test my urine and I had no protein in it, which was good. But they told me to get some lunch, and then swing by the hospital for a quick blood draw and an ultrasound to check the fluid levels. Okay, no big deal. So I did that, and the bad news is that my blood pressure remained high. So they turned on the ultrasound and as it flickered on, the midwife let out a gasp and said, "That is NOT a head!"

Yup. Although I'd been told for weeks that my baby was head down, they had been WRONG. And the shitty thing is, I think I had always known this. I'd been feeling a really, really hard thing up under my ribs on the right side. The midwives had never done anything but a cursory feel, and proclaimed it to be a butt, but I was always skeptical, and then always brushed off my concerns. And then, sure enough, I had a breech baby.

So, with the blood pressure remaining high and the breech presentation, they called in the high risk OB and it was decided I should deliver my baby soon. The recommendation for high blood pressure is to deliver between 37 and 39 weeks, and I was right at 38. I asked if we could delay, but they really weren't excited about the risks. And after having seen the characters with preeclampsia in "Call the Midwife" and "Downton Abbey," I was scared too. I tearfully asked for one night to prepare, and they agreed. Also, the OB on call in the morning was skilled at doing external versions to try to flip breech babies, so the timing was good.

I went home, panicky and shocked, and we called our families to tell them what was happening. My mom said she'd drive down first thing the next morning. I told work that I would not be back again.

This was all a huge, horrible shock to me. I'd had such a healthy pregnancy. And although 38 weeks is full term, it's not ideal to deliver that soon. But I wanted a healthy baby, and this seemed to be what the doctors and midwives recommended.

I didn't sleep much that night.

In the morning, I remained a ball of dread and anxiety. Although some of me was excited to meet my baby, I was still in such shock at this sudden turn of events, and worried that he wouldn't be ready to come out or would need care. They told me it was unlikely but possible that he'd need help breathing, and I tried to focus on the unlikely part.

So this was the plan: get to the hospital at 7:30 am, and try the version to see if he'd flip. If he did, we'd immediately induce me and try for a vaginal birth. If he did not flip, we'd move into a c-section to get him out. If the version resulted in a problem such as a placental abruption (about a 2% risk, and terrifying), we'd have to have an emergency c-section, which was my biggest fear. I wanted desperately to be awake to meet my baby.

At the hospital, it was a lot of waiting around. Finally around 10:45, they moved me into the operating theater. I had been offered an epidural. It was just an option, because if the version worked, I would be trying a vaginal birth. Although I had always thought I'd try it unmedicated, I was such a ball of freak-out at this point that I said I wanted all the drugs they could offer. Also, the version is supposed to be very painful.

So I got an epidural and a spinal, with my husband out of the room. It was scary, but I was held by a nurse and remained pretty calm. I focused on meeting my baby.

The version took about 15 minutes, and was unsuccessful. I had not had high hopes and had already accepted the inevitable.

In a blink of an eye, I was prepped and the c-section began.

About 15 minutes in, I felt a tugging that became stronger and stronger, and then my son was lifted up and out of me, and held above the blue curtain. I cried and cried. He was perfect and healthy, and did not need a breathing tube. A few minutes later, he was brought to me and held to my chest. At which point, I decided I needed to throw up (thanks, epidural) and so my husband held him instead.

One hour from the start, I was sewn up and taken to recovery, with my perfect, healthy, small but not too small, 6.7 pound baby boy.

Just hatched!
First photo after birth

And this is where things got joyful and also really, really hard. The c-section was actually not very bad or very scary, but recovery was rough. I don't know WHY anyone would ever elect to have a section. I had a catheter in for 24 hours, I lost a lot of blood (enough to have a transfusion, though we decided against one because I was borderline), and the indignity is intense: I was wiped up between the legs on a regular basis by multiple nurses, and shaved in the operating room by a middle aged man named Diego or something, in front of at least 12 people. I couldn't get out of bed for a day or so, and I spent four nights in the hospital. Leo didn't latch on for eight hours, and I believe our breastfeeding troubles (more on this later) stem from either his early arrival or the c-section or both.

I don't want to go into the hospital stay too much, but suffice it to say I loved my baby, and hated everything else. It was impossible to get any sleep in the hospital, there were teams of people in my rooms at all time (a teaching hospital has it's drawbacks) and I was told there were multiple things wrong with my baby, none of which turned out to be true (heart murmur, failed hearing tests, and something much worse which I will also discuss later). But at the same time, I was in a fair amount of pain from the surgery, and I was having a horrible time with breastfeeding, and the hormonal swings were nearly incapacitating, so it was nice to be in a hospital with services available.

After four nights we returned home, and this was challenging too. One of the main problems was my unhelpful mother, who criticized our decision to bottle feed our baby. This was not our choice: he was not gaining weight from breastfeeding, and I was horribly engorged and needed to relieve the pressure with a pump, and I needed my baby to gain weight so we were using a combo of SNS, a syringe, and the breast. It was a nightmare, and he kept losing weight, and we saw so many lactation consultants... it is all a blur to me now, but it was a hard, dark time. I never understood postpartum depression, and this is an entry for another time, but it hit me hard, and I continue to struggle.

I mentioned earlier that we were told he might have a serious medical condition. It's still hard to talk about it, but the summary is that the peds teams said he might have a skull condition that would require surgery. Thank goodness, three weeks after he was born we met with a reconstructive surgeon and Leo was cleared as not having the condition. His head was just a little funny shaped because he was breech. It's already starting to get better as he grows up and his head re-forms. We have a follow-up with the specialist in three months.

The breastfeeding issue remains. We are not sure why he has such a lousy suck, but he lost about 12% of his weight, which is not good. So we had to try lots of different things, but ended up with me pumping my breastmilk and feeding him from bottles. Where I had a very ample supply to begin with, it's been reduced through his lack of sucking at the beginning and my bitter hatred of pumping. So now we give him about 60% breastmilk and about 40% formula. And I breastfeed on occasion, but I spend a vast chunk of time pumping and bottle feeding. I am struggling with what to do about this. I can't pump forever, and I don't believe formula is evil, but I feel a lot of guilt in my considering giving it up. I am still undecided.

His birth did not go as I had hoped or expected, and the feeding is very disappointing and stressful. But, there are shiny moments in all of this. I love, love, love to wear him close to my body in the Moby wrap, since I don't get the closeness from breastfeeding. It took me awhile to be okay with this, but I now sleep curled up around him, with his little head on my shoulder and his body pressed to mine. True, I have to sleep in the guest room because the bed is harder/safer than my cushy bed, and I now sleep separate from my husband so we all get a little more sleep, but sleeping with my baby is one of my favorite parts of the day. I always mean to get stuff done during the day, and I do, but I also spent long amounts of time just rocking him and staring into his tiny face. This is love, and despite my crying almost daily because of stress and sleep deprivation and sore breasts and being chained to the pump, this is my son, and this is why I endured all those years of infertility, tests, and heartbreak.

For all of you out there still struggling, I can't say it's been easy, but it's worth it. Though to be terribly honest, childbirth was not what I'd hoped, since really, I didn't experience it, just had a surgery. And I can't breastfeed as a primary nutrition source, so that's not working out how I hoped either. On my dark days, I wonder if adoption would have been an equally fulfilling road to parenthood.

But then I look into my son's face, and I can't imagine having anyone other than him.

As I said before, it's not easy, but for me, it's worth it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Dark Side of Nesting

Up till about 36 weeks, I would say I was doing really well. Since I've only gained about 23 pounds, I haven't been lugging around too much weight, and for my whole pregnancy, I've had minimal symptoms. Most of the time this has been great, although I have mentioned on this blog that it's been a little hard to hear from other people how I don't look very pregnant. At many times, this has really hurt. It's like I wasn't good at getting pregnant, and when people tell me how small I am, sometimes it feels like they are saying that I'm not good at being pregnant either. I know this doesn't sound totally rational, but it's the way people say it.. it's like everyone wants this nice big round pregnant lady, and I'm just not that. So I always get this sense of disappointment from people.

Anyway, overall I think I was doing well. When people would ask how I was feeling, I'd always say, "Great!" And I was. Though my energy level has flagged a bit in the third trimester, overall I had been sleeping well, feeling pretty rested, and not bothered by many physical symptoms at all. As long as I didn't lie down after eating, I avoided heartburn and indigestion, and my teeth were sensitive in December but have improved about 90% since then.

And then... it hit. Almost exactly at 36.5 weeks, this past weekend, everything changed. On Friday I was EXHAUSTED after work. Like, almost crying by the end of the workday. I didn't even do much at work- I basically have a desk job. But I felt dizzy and sick by 5 pm. I spent the evening trying not to move off the couch. And on Saturday, we went to a breastfeeding class, then lunch, then some shopping, and came home. B went out with friends around 3:30. I knew he'd be with them all night. Normally, I'd have made plans with a friend. But I didn't want to do anything but sit on the couch. I am just so tired, all the time. But then I started freaking out, thinking about all the things I still have to do at work... several major projects are unfinished, and I won't bore you with details, but there's lots of stuff I really don't want to leave unfinished. Also, I went to do some laundry and realized that I have a ton of baby clothes, but they're all give-aways from one friend, one neighbor of my mom's, and my sister-in-law... and they all must have had summer babies because ALL of the clothes are short-sleeved, legless onesies. And it's COLD here, and probably will stay that way for most of March! So then I started to freak out about being the horrible mom who takes her baby home from the hospital, in a snowstorm, in a summer outfit. And THEN I started to freak out about everything else: how I am going to eat or cook with a newborn, how I haven't sorted through the cradle full of books, how we don't have a car seat yet, etc. etc. etc. It was not rational. It was crazy worrying. I couldn't even read my book because my head was literally buzzing and my heart was racing. And I was exhausted and tried to go to bed at 11:30 pm, but I didn't get to sleep till 1 am because I could not calm down.

Sunday was the same- though I did go out and buy some stuff, and we have a car seat arriving tomorrow in the mail, I also meant to get the oil changed in the car, groceries purchased, etc., I just had to come home and sleep for two hours. And then again I could not get to sleep till 1 am, and I tossed and turned all night, at one point waking up drenched in sweat, and even the bed was soaked in my sweat. It was awful. I showed up at work yesterday an absolute mess, and was too tired to do any work at all, and had a couple of crying fits with my door closed.

This is what I am now referring to as "the dark side of nesting." I have read about nesting- this website defines it as "a pre-labor ritual that helps get your home ready for the baby, and helps you to pass the time"- and in birthing class, they warned us that it can be irrational and excessive and is not always healthy, but I did not expect it to be something that would hit me, or hit me this early, at 36.5 weeks. But it has- along with major anxiety about everything, and an almost chain loop in my head that he could arrive in as little as one week from now (I'm 37 weeks tomorrow, and 38 weeks onward is fair game).  I could still have 5 weeks, or I could only have 1!

Anyway, it's amazing what one good night of sleep will do. Last night, instead of peeing five times like Sunday night, I managed to only pee twice in the middle of the night. I slept a solid eight hours too. And today, I feel much calmer and normal. I still have anxiety and to-do lists, but it feels.... manageable. I don't feel like a crazy person. I haven't sweated through my clothes several times, the way I did yesterday. I don't feel a slave to my hormones the way I have for the last few days.

I know that today could just be a temporary respite. I have to keep plugging away at my to-dos, and I need to let B help me with the things he can. And I have to remind myself this is NORMAL, and some of it is irrational, and I need to slow down and remember that essentially, I am prepared. When he wants to come, he will come, and it will be okay.

Throughout it all, the fears and the anxiety, sometimes the sun peeks through and I remember: I will hopefully be holding a baby in just a matter of weeks. And then the incessant peeing and the washing of clothes and worrying about work undone in the office will just have to fade away. In March, my focus will be on the baby. It won't be easier, but I hope it will be more joyful. Because quite frankly, the dark side of nesting is pretty sucky. And I know it's not over yet. Hello, hormones. Welcome to taking over my life.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

35.5 weeks

I haven't updated this blog in close to two months. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, I just haven't known how to frame it. It's especially hard when two of the women whose blogs I used to read on a regular basis had negatives/miscarriages from their last cycles. I feel immensely grateful and lucky to be experiencing pregnancy. It's funny- there's this whole pyramid of how bad it can be. There are the women who come crying to RESOLVE groups about how they can't stand the thought of doing an IUI. Then they get pregnant the first time, and I'm like, oh cry me a river. Sorry you didn't get pregnant from a romantic evening of wine and dining, but you GOT PREGNANT. With relatively little expensive and invasive procedures. And then the next step up- IVF. While IVF sucks, and is expensive (I should know about both of those- I did it three times), I can only imagine how amazing it would have been if that had worked for me. Not to even mention those for whom it works the first time, and they have frozen embryos for the future.  I know it's not easy for either of these groups of women, but it's definitely a bridge I crossed a long time ago.

The final frontier in assisted reproductive technologies often feels like donor egg, though when I really think about it, it can go much beyond- for example, using a surrogate. Or moving to adoption, by choice or by necessity. So while I still strongly believe that anyone who wants a child badly enough will find a way, provided they have a supportive partner and the financial means (neither of which is small potatoes), there are so many different roadblocks and challenges to overcome for some women and couples. I count myself as extremely unlucky to have needed donor egg at the ripe old age of 32 (I'm 33 now, but was 32 on the day of transfer- and had been trying to conceive since I was 30 years old), especially when I never actually received a conclusive answer for why three IVFs failed so horribly.  But when you're in the infertility world for awhile, you realize how unluckiness takes all shapes and forms and degrees. And then I look down at my belly and thank the universe and my donor that I am able to sustain this pregnancy, no matter how much it took to get here and the tears and draining of money and greying of hair that have resulted.

This journey is not over yet. I am 35.5 weeks pregnant but no baby is here yet. I find it very difficult to connect my stomach to the idea that one of these days, hopefully 4.5 weeks from now, a baby is going to be laid in my arms. He won't be my genetic material, but he was grown and nurtured by my uterus and my healthy food choices and my love and my sheer determination to bring him to this world. I think it will be utterly surreal. I have watched my friends from RESOLVE go through the transition to being mothers, and I can't quite translate my growing stomach to this eventual event. But I know it's coming. I feel my stomach roll and see it ripple and I remind myself it's not gas- it's a human being in there.

Still, life right now is totally surreal. My hormones have mellowed a lot from when I used to cry all the time (see my previous entry on my very emotional birthing class), but I still occasionally tear up when I walk by the room we've decorated for him, or when I think of being able to introduce him to my mom and dad, or when I look through the photos of this whole journey that I am collecting in a special folder on this laptop. My physical discomforts are very minor compared to many women, and I hope birth will be the same way, but ultimately, I just feel so grateful to be experiencing this. Oh, I get tired and cranky, and I worry about daycare and money and the actual process of giving birth, but mostly, I just still am in disbelief that I am going to be a real mom someday soon. I cannot wait to sit on the couch and do nothing but hold him, and thank my lucky stars that something finally worked.

I don't know if I will continue to update this blog. I guess I will put something on here when he has safely arrived, but mostly, I just go to work, come home and sack out on the couch, and count down the days to meeting him. My infertility journey is not over- I still have fertility jealousy when women seem to come by new babies so easily, and I get uncomfortable when people want to talk too much about my pregnancy, and I know that I'll have to endure clinics and ultrasounds and shots if we decide to do this again, even for a frozen embryo transfer. But mostly, I just hope and pray that anyone else struggling gets through this too, and that it was all worth it.

Signing off for awhile, then. Good night.

His room, in progress

Monday, December 9, 2013

Birthing Class Meltdown

So this past Saturday we went to part one of a two part "Prepared Birthing" class at the hospital in which I will give birth. I'd heard mixed reviews about this class, but we got lucky- the instructor is wonderful, and we learned a lot. B took careful notes, which was super cute. 

I, on the other hand, couldn't take any notes because I spent about 60% of class time crying.

I feel pretty well balanced most of the time, mentally and emotionally. But something about being in this class full of perfectly fertile people really pushed me over the edge. At the beginning, during introductions, we were supposed to say where we'd most want to be in the world, at 10 am on a cold Saturday. So of course everyone was like, "bed." And I just couldn't help but think, "HERE." I worked for 2.5 years to get pregnant so I want to be right here! I didn't say that. But later, we had to say what we wanted to get out of the class, and I didn't plan on saying anything much, but suddenly I found myself telling the whole group how hard it was to conceive and that I can't believe I am here in this class, and that I am finding this amazing yet hard to handle. In a good way. Anyway, the instructor was great and later told me she had trouble too... but everyone else didn't react at all, and I felt like a total doofus. Then I proceeded to bawl during every birthing video we watched, and half the time in between. 

I have no idea what set me off, because I'm okay most of the time. I have even gotten to the point where I can talk about my pregnancy without mentioning IVF (except clearly not in that class, where I had to TMI everyone). 

Anyway, I got through it, and I learned a lot, but I was definitely the emotional mess in the room. Then on Sunday, B's asshole dad told us the photo we sent him for his holiday card isn't good because I don't look pregnant enough. Fuck you. I'm 28 weeks pregnant and I'm sorry if I can't look pregnant enough for everyone else. This is just the way I look. So we re-took it today, with me wearing a tighter shirt, but I can't be what others want me to be. I'm fine and healthy, I'm just not 9 months pregnant with a perfect belly. I don't even want to be on any stupid card.

Okay, end of vent. I just am totally confusing poor B, who seems to want to put the trauma of infertility behind us, and I thought I did too, but then I lost it in the dumb birthing class. I hope I can calm down for next week's class, but I'll just try to sit in back in case I'm a weepy mess again. They are not sad tears, more like happy and disbelief, but I realize I probably look like I need therapy and not birthing classes (I don't think I need therapy- I'm fine most of the time, and excited for March). 

It's exhausting, being pregnant. But, I remember how it was not being pregnant, and fighting infertility was a million times worse. I think I can safely blame some of this on hormones, and the rest... is just me. Still infertile, now pregnant, and feeling not quite comfortable with either. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

For the Future

It's been a long time since I've written. I have been feeling fine, and nothing exciting to report. I'm 25 weeks today, and feeling more and more comfortable with this pregnancy. The baby has been kicking day and night, and I can't explain how much I love it. I LOVE it. But that's not what I want to talk about. I want to tell you about the project I'm working on.

For background: I spent the last couple of nights working on one of my Channukah gifts for my husband. It's a yearly tradition of mine to make a desk calendar for him, highlighting our travels and other fun times we captured in photos. This year, obviously, there are a few recent photos of my small but somewhat noticeable pregnancy belly. I'm still not showing much, at 25 weeks, though I have gained about 14 pounds and am in the normal range. Not sure where it's all gone, but should I be relieved that if I ever become a permanently very chubby woman, no one would notice that either? Ha.

Anyway, after making the calendar for my husband's gift, I realized I have all these photos of my (barely-there) tummy, and even more photos of all the ultrasounds we've had (five total, from weeks 7-20). So I just spent a bunch of time collating the photos from my email, my phone, and my iPad into one big folder.

What will I do with these? Well, they tell a story. There is a picture of my 5-day embryo we transferred, a grinning and crying photo of me holding my first ever positive pregnancy test, records of all of our ultrasounds, and the photos of me with my little tummy, slowly growing. I put them all in order, labeled by the number of weeks I was, and sometime before or after the baby comes, I'll make a photo book using Snapfish or some other service. Then, someday when he is ready, my child will have a record of how much we wanted him, how long the process was, how excited we were every step of the way once I became pregnant, and how very special his conception was.

I want to be very open with him about his donor conception, but in a way that makes him feel wanted, loved, and precious to us. Because that's what he will be, and already is. I know we will have hard times when he may scream that I'm not his real mom, as even genetic children probably do at some point. It will not all be perfect or wonderful, and we've taken a very non-traditional path to parenthood. But I hope this book I will create helps with him understanding how intentional our choosing this path was for us. I will present it as very matter-of-fact, as one more picture book amongst his collection of books. I think this will be a really good way to normalize his unique beginnings.

And if he doesn't care, then it will be a piece of history for me. It doesn't show the heartbreak and failures I endured before we had success, or the financial disaster that infertility was, or the frustration and anger I struggled with for two and a half years. But it shows that we are (I hope) on the way to a happy ending that can come after all the struggle.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's A....


Which is what we thought it would be, from the sonographer's prediction at 13 weeks, but it was still really good to learn for sure. This makes it much more concrete that this is really, actually happening. My husband was so cute... he is fascinated by the ultrasounds and almost squeals every time the baby would move. As soon as we left and were in the hall, he had his phone out and was texting everyone he knows! His friends, his sisters, his study group from school, everyone! And of course many of them didn't even know I'm pregnant, so there were several confused texts back of "?????" in response to his "It's a boy!"  I had to remind him that we've been very cautious in sharing our news, so he needs to first tell people we're expecting! Anyway, it was cute.

More importantly than the sex, the baby is very active and healthy. Since we did IVF with ICSI, they did an echocardiogram of the heart. It looks fine. My friend's IVF baby was born with his urethra in the wrong place, so of course that risk remains (those are the two things that show up in slightly higher rates than non-IVF/ICSI babies: heart defects and urogenital abnormalities in baby boys). But hopefully all is well.

The sonographer also assured me that he is very active. I'd been getting concerned because I was 20 weeks at the ultrasound and had not felt any movement yet, which is a little on the late side. But just like I am not really showing yet, I guess I was late for that too. We saw the baby kicking and moving a ton, but I felt nothing. However, on Friday evening, I started to feel a strange bubbling in my lower abdomen. I thought maybe it was gas... but no. It has continued consistently now, and seems most noticeable after I eat, and when I am sitting quietly. It is definitely kicks. I have to say, I LOVE feeling this. Between the ultrasound and the kicks, I actually am starting to feel pregnant. Sometimes it has been hard for me to accept that I am pregnant after so many years of failures, so it's really amazing to me to actually be pregnant, and to start realizing I may really have a baby in my life in a few months....

Anyway, telling people has also helped me to feel like this is really happening. My mom has now told all her friends, and I did the dreaded Facebook reveal. I had been resisting for months, but as I talked about before, my husband really did want to tell his friends. He is five years older than me and most of his friends have one if not more children already. I consented, though we ended up posting very different things: he just announced it's a boy, whereas I felt an acknowledgement that it's not easy for everyone was necessary. So this is what I wrote: [my name] is thrilled to share that we're expecting a baby boy in early March. It's been a long, long journey to get here and we couldn't be happier or more excited.

And immediately, I started getting "likes" and congratulatory comments. Nearly half of my total friends on FB actually "liked" it, which I find shocking. I usually get like four likes for typical cat pics (I can't resist! she's so cute!) or shots of what I made for dinner (yes, I am that person- cat and food pics). So this is what I am wondering: do people just like babies, or did anyone read the second part about the long journey?

Oh well, who knows. I just hope I didn't hurt anyone or ruin their day, as so many pregnancy announcements had to me for all those years. Oh, I'm sure I did upset someone, but my wish is that the second line spoke hope to anyone who is still trying or is frustrated with their situation. My pregnancy is still so tied to my infertility that I can't separate the two, nor do I want to. I am grateful every day that this is where I am, and that I was financially and emotionally able to undertake this long and harrowing path. I hope to appreciate my child every day, in ways that I might not have if I hadn't seen a future where this would not have been possible. I am grateful to my donor and to my doctors and my husband every day.

For those still considering donor egg, I can't say enough good things about this decision I made. While I mourn the loss of a genetic child, and I had these slightly sad thoughts as we tried to see the baby's face during the ultrasound, and I think of my donor quite often, this was the best decision I could have made and I don't regret it for a fraction of a second. I thank the universe every day that I live in a time where this was possible.

Today I am 21 weeks and 1 day, and grateful.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Upcoming Anatomy Scan, and Musings on Facebook Announcements

Pregnancy has many things in common with infertility. One of the biggest is waiting. I am 19 weeks today, and my big anatomy scan ultrasound is one week from yesterday.

In general, my anxiety is much better. It's been three weeks since a midwife appointment, and six weeks since we last had an ultrasound. It's easy for me to forget that I am pregnant, since my first trimester exhaustion and mild nausea have been gone for so long and my spotting tapered off about week 14 (thank goodness!). I am still not showing (well, I look a bit chunky but who doesn't nowadays?). No one can tell except me and my husband- well, okay, my stepmom pointed out my, uh, increased breast size, but that's not really something I hope people at work are noticing! I have maternity clothes but I just don't need them. I wear my regular clothes, though I do need the belly band thing every day.

I have no real reasons to worry, but I create them. I spend a lot of time thinking I am not gaining enough weight. It was really disappointing to me last night when a neighbor told me my belly looked smaller. Also I was asked if I was in the right class at prenatal yoga two weeks ago. And women weeks behind me are popping out more than me. It's a little discouraging. I am on the small side, but by no means a shrimp. I am 5'4'' and my pre-pregnancy weight was around 130. Pretty average sized. I have gained only about 6 or 7 pounds, which seems a little on the low side, but maybe I will catch up. My donor is more petite, so I'm not expecting a huge baby, but come on! It's hard to feel pregnant when I look the same.

So, I worry about my weight, and I've had some pretty bad headaches lately, which isn't helping me to feel like eating. But I did something daring yesterday: I did a 40 minute home workout tape for pregnant ladies! I really haven't exercised except for yoga, and it felt amazingly good to squat and stretch and kick. Before the transfer in June, I used to go to the gym about three days a week: boot camp, body pump, and Zumba were all my ways to relieve stress and feel good. I used to go for hikes in the woods behind my house too, but lately I've been sick, and now it's been raining for a week straight, so that's been off the table too. But the workout video felt good! I am going to try to do it again soon.

My husband is also getting increasingly persistent in asking when we can put something public on Facebook. I know he is excited to be a dad, and it's cute, and he's a bit older than me so most of his friends already have kids and he wants to share his happy news with them. But this is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. While I was happy for friends always, pregnancy announcements and photos hurt me so much when I would stumble upon them on Facebook. If he wants to do this, I'd like to find some way to acknowledge it's not easy for everyone, and was a long road to success. As a message to those who are still on that hard path, and a reminder to the oblivious masses that procreation is not a guarantee. But I also don't want to be a TMI person on Facebook, as I am friends with plenty of work colleagues, relatives, even friends of my dad's. So I don't know. Has anyone seen particularly sensitive yet short postings on Facebook that touched them the right way?