Friday, July 29, 2011

I Just Want to be Surprised

After people find out that I am pregnant, their next question is always, "Do you know what you are having?"  When I inform them that we aren't finding out the baby's sex, they either want to know why or lecture me on why I should change my mind.  Since I haven't gone around to people who have found out the baby's sex and lectured them on why I find that wrong, I find it very irritating and rude that people are constantly doing this to me.

When did finding out the sex of the baby become so important?  I don't know if it because I have lost so many pregnancies or because I am just so traditional, but I honestly feel as though the life of the child should be celebrated over the sex of the child.  I could care less if we have a boy or a girl, just as long as we have a baby that is alive, healthy and well.  I want to concentrate all of my energy on that, not something as superficial as the baby's sex.  Plus this is the only surprise that I will ever get in my entire life.  I can't wait to push the baby out and find out then what the sex of the baby is.  Now that will be a surprise.

People are concerned about how we are going to get the room ready if we don't know the baby's sex.  In my mind, it's pretty easy.  You get neutrals.  Our house is already full of earth tones, which are primarily neutral colors.  Thus, we will pull off of these colors to get the nursery ready.  Besides, I'm not that worried about material things.  Again I want to focus on the life of the baby, not on materialistic things.  I'm okay with boys wearing pink and girls wearing blue.  For me, the color of the clothes means nothing and I find it kinda funny on how concerned some parents get on making sure that people know the sex of their child.  I guess I see it as I know what the sex of my child is, so really what does it matter what other people think.  But, everyone has different opinions on this, which is fine.  I'm just asking for people to respect my decision to be surprised by the baby's sex at the birth.

I mean who doesn't like a good surprise?

18 Week Appointment

My eighteen week appointment took place on July 18th.  It was pretty much the same as all the other appointments up to this point.  Mark was able to come after missing the last appointment as he had the day off. 

I lost another three pounds, bringing the weight loss total up to around fifteen pounds.  Mark was super concerned about this and the doctor's concern is growing as well.  Her biggest concern is that I need to stay hydrated enough as dehydration while pregnant is super bad.  I drink a lot of water, as I have completely given up caffeine and soda (although I still do drink Ginger Ale), but I obviously need to make more of an effort to drink water.  Mark is concerned that the baby's health is being affected since I'm not eating.  The doctor wants me to keep trying to get down small amounts of food and is hoping that I won't lose anymore weight between now and my next appointment.  Depending on the amount of weight lost, she may want to try other options.

Besides that everything else was fine.  We got to hear the baby's heartbeat again and were told to make our ultrasound appointment for the 20th week.  (She had told me to make the appointment at my last appointment, but the last three times I have called the August schedule has been unavailable.  After the appointment, we went to try to make the appointment again, but still the schedule is not available.)  The doctor also wants me to do the glucose test either before or right after my next appointment as diabetes runs in my family and I'm overweight.  She really wanted me to do it now, but was afraid I would throw it all up since I am still so sick.  I kinda think she was right about that.

My next appointment is on August 11th and the ultrasound is scheduled for August 1st.

14 Week Appointment

On June 21st, I had my 14 week appointment.  Although they try to schedule your appointments on the month marks (12, 16, 20, etc), that isn't always possible.  Thus you usually just get an appointment every four weeks, which for me has turned out to be in the midpoint of the months.

Like all the appointments before this, I checked in at the front desk, waited about five minutes and then was called back by a tech (nurse).  I then get weighed (my most unfavorite part as the scale is usually showing more and more weight loss - if I wasn't pregnant I would be juiced by this) and taken to the exam room.  There the tech takes my temp and my blood pressure.  They usually ask a few questions, like if I have had any pain, any sudden loss of fluid, any bleeding.  Then they leave and I wait about five minutes for the doctor to come. 

Once the doctor comes, she looks over the records and makes a comment about the weight loss.  I had lost another 2 pounds at this appointment.  She is super kind and very empathic, which makes me feel very at ease.  She usually reminds me to keep doing all the things I have been doing to stop the nausea.  She prescribed me Zoflan to try and counteract the nausea since I had now begun throwing up a few times a day.  Unfortunately, Zoflan only makes me sicker, so after trying it four times, I gave up on it.

After asking some more questions, she has me lie down on the exam table and pull up my shirt.  She uses a portable Doppler to listen to the baby's heartbeat.  I get butterflies every time I am able to hear it.  After this, I'm free to go.

The Never Ending Sickness

I'm only going to make a few posts on this topic because I am really torn on it.  When you're not pregnant and trying to get pregnant, it is one of the most irritating things in the world to listen to people talk about being sick, or sore boobs, or peeing all the time, or any of pregnancy's other discomforts.  When you're trying to conceive, you would give anything in the world to be sicker than a dog if it meant that you were carrying a child.  I still have this belief and thus am trying really hard to not make a big deal out of being sick.  I am beyond thankful of this pregnancy and don't in any way want to give off the idea or perception that I am unhappy about it.

With that being said, being sick has been a huge part of my pregnancy.  Thus, I have decided to do a post on it because it has gotten to the point where the doctor is beginning to become concerned.

Since my sixth week of pregnancy I have been plagued by being sick for a large majority of the day.  I'm fine in the morning, but around 11 am or noon, the tides begin to change.  Nausea then takes over and I am beyond sick for the remainder of the day.  Most days I don't throw up although I feel that if I did, I would feel so much better.  Instead, I am just so nauseous and motion sick that walking causes me pain.  It is a trial to get through the work day.  As soon as I get home, I find myself lying down on the bed or couch and that is where I remain until bedtime.  Let's just say this has made doing school work a major problem.

Since I have been so sick, I rarely if ever eat.  I have lost around ten pounds.  The doctor put me on vitamin B6 to try and counteract the nauseous.  It does very little for me.  I have tried everything known to man to help with the nausea, but nothing works.  I've tried teas, ginger, peppermint, sea sickness bands, Saltines, small snacks, Prego Pops, fresh ginger, etc.  Mark is freaked out beyond words and is constantly trying to force food down my throat.  Although I appreciate his concern and love for me, it just makes it worse. 

The smells of almost all foods make me sick, especially meat.  I haven't had any real cravings, so nothing sounds yummy, except for juice.  I have developed a real love for juice and drink quite a bit of it everyday.  It is one of the only things I am able to get down that doesn't make me feel even worse.

In addition to the all day sickness, let me just say that my boobs are killing me.  I mean I literally cry some days because they are so sore and tender.  Plus they are already growing in size!  Already?!?  I thought they wouldn't start growing till the end of the pregnancy, but nope, I think I am already a cup size bigger.  I know many girls who would be escatic about that, but I am already extremely large breasted.  I don't want my boobs getting any bigger.  Mark is excited to see how big they will really get, but I am scared out of my mind.  God please don't let them get too much bigger.

Some days I am so sick that I spend the entire day in bed, rolled up in ball, crying my eyes out.  However, when this happens I feel so guilty and ungrateful for the gift I have been given.  This has been very hard for me to deal with as my emotions are so conflicted over expressing how awful I really feel and still keeping my gratitude for pregnancy, sickness and all.

Spilling the Beans: Part II

I decided that letting the rest of the world in our baby news would take place on Father's Day.  I didn't want to make a huge deal out of it, so I decided that making a simple post on Facebook would be the simplest and easiest way to let everyone know at the same time our secret.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of well wishes and support we received.  I spent the entire day crying, which has definitely increased since my pregnancy, although I've always been quite a crier.  It was just such a warm feeling to know how excited people were for us.

It was also a hard moment for me to share this news because I have been on the other side of the fence so many times that I didn't want to hurt any of my friend's feelings who have been trying to conceive.  I know about a dozen women who are having fertility problems and the last thing I wanted to do was make them feel saddened by their own pregnancy status.  When you are trying to get pregnant, but are unable to do so, it can be heartbreaking to hear of other people's success.  I didn't want to be the cause of their heartbreak, but at the same time, I wanted to share our happy news with all of our friends and family.

Time to Spill the Beans

Mark and I had decided that we would keep the baby our little secret until the end of the first trimester.  In the past we had told people about the pregnancy only to have to go back and tell them that I had ended up losing the baby.  That is not a fun experience at all, so we were going to keep our mouths shut until we had made it to safer territory.

I decided that telling our families together would be the best bet.  Since Father's Day was approaching, we decided that having dinner in celebration of Father's Day would be a great way to let everyone in on our secret.  Mark had to work on Father's Day, so we scheduled dinner for Friday, June 17th at Chili's and invited both sets of our parents.

We waited till the end of dinner when I passed out a gift bag to each set of parents.  Inside they found a picture frame with the baby's first sonogram prominently displayed.  A lot of "Ohhhs" and "Ahhhs" escaped from their lips as they looked at the picture, immediately followed by a litany of congrats.  I seriously think my father almost broke his face from smiling so hard and Mark's dad looked as though he was going to cry.  It was a great family moment full of love.  They proceeded to ask lots of questions and I'm sure we would have been there all night, if I hadn't eventually ushered us out of the restaurant.

I'm very happy the unveiling went so well.

We've Made It!!!

June 13th marked the beginning of my 13th week.  I had made it through the first trimester (although the little pregnancy book says the first trimester lasts through the 13th week, I'm going by the 4 weeks per month route - plus I was really anxious to make it this far!)

Mark and I were both escatic about this.  We both expressed how making it this far really solidified that this pregnancy had a real chance of making it.  We finally gave ourselves permission to talk about the future and the fact that we are well on our way to being parents.  We had refrained from having these conversations before this point because we did not want to get ourselves too happy and then lose the pregnancy.  This had happened in the past and it made getting over the grief that much more difficult. 

But, now we were in full celebratory mode!  We have not stopped talking since about how happy and blessed we are.  We have had discussions about everything and anything related to the baby, from diapers, to when they will be allowed to ride a dirt bike, to what we would do if we ever caught them smoking, to the expectations of their school years and yadda yadda yadda.  I am so blessed to have a husband who is so excited and willing to be a father.  It has made me love him all that much more.

I'm Starting to Hate This Place

Over the next few weeks, I had two more appointments at DGMC.  I was beginning to grow a real hatred to that place, especially the lab.  Unlike what I have heard most pregnant women say, my doctor does not require a monthly urine sample.  However, they do a clean catch urine sample at the beginning of your pregnancy.  Being my luck, it seems I am incapable of doing this.  Each time I have seen the doctor or nurse I have been told that my sample was contaminated and needed to go give another sample.  I have yet to give a good sample in the four samples I have given.  I won't go into the details, but let's just say I have trouble peeing in a cup.

I met my doctor, who I genuinely like.  Mark likes her because she is a lieutenant, continuing on his obsession with qualifications.  The rank means nothing to me, but her kindness, humor and ability to listen to me and my concerns have left me happy that she will be overseeing my entire pregnancy.  (It was a huge deal at our first appointment with the nurse if we wanted to stay with family medicine or transfer to OB/GYN.  The benefit of staying with family medicine was that I would have the same doctor for my entire pregnancy.  I like consistency, so this was the route we choose).  She went over all the paperwork that we went over at the last appointment with the nurse.  She also weighed me and took my blood pressure and temperature.

At my next appointment I had my pap smear....ugghhh.  I have yet to meet a woman who looks forward to these things, but in comparsion with ones I have had in the past, it was a fairly nice one.  When I told the doctor that, she said, "Thanks I guess.  I've never had anyone say that to me before."  I was glad to be the first.

Our First View of Perfection

On May 23rd at 8am, we got our first glimpse at our little miracle.

I got up that morning at 6am to go to the bathroom.  I then had to down 32 ounces of water in an hour and then hold that water till the appointment, so my bladder would be full.  It was torture to say the least.  In my senior year of high school, I took psychology where we watched this video of an abusive mom who used to give her daughter an enema of water and force her to hold it.  When the girl eventually wet her pants, the mom would beat her.  It was a sick video of human cruelness, but I felt that girl's pain during that hour of holding water in a very full bladder.

After making Mark drive as slow as possible to the doctor's office (the bumps were all bad), we arrived at the radiology department.  We were directed to the ultrasound waiting room, but thankfully we only had to wait about five minutes before being called back.  I think the nurse knew how uncomfortable I was, so she quickly proceeded to get to work.  After putting on the sticky, cool gel, she gave us our first glimpse of our baby.

I have had an ultrasound once before in a pregnancy, which was when I found out I had miscarried.  I held my breath and prayed to God until I saw that first image.  It was absolutely perfect in every sense of the word.

The image wasn't coming in as clear as the nurse would have liked, so she had me go empty my bladder in order to do an internal ultrasound.  While I was in the bathroom, Mark quizzed the girl on her credentials.  This has become his new thing every time we go to the doctor's office, making sure that everyone who sees me is qualified (although I'm not quite sure how well of a judge he is on medical qualifications).

I came back and we continued the ultrasound, listening to the baby's heartbeat, which was 157 beats per minute.  When we were done, she gave us a printout of the baby.  I seriously stared at the picture for hours upon end. 

I finally let myself feel the full emotions of joy and happiness.  This baby really was growing inside of me.

First Appointment

Two and a half weeks after I found out the glorious news, Mark and I made our way to the DGMC with a huge packet of paperwork.  The packet must have consisted of around fifty pages, all asking for information on Mark and I, our health history, my pregnancy history, our family history.  Mark's favorite part was a questionnaire that asked some of the weirdest questions I had ever been asked before.  His personal favorite, "Do you ever feel that it is right to hit a woman?"  You don't even want to know his smart aleck response.

We anxiously sat in the waiting room unsure of what was to come.  I had been hoping that our first appointment would involve the doctor since I desperately wanted reassurances that I was still pregnant.  I had experienced a few random days of slight spotting, which supposedly is normal.  However, after having three miscarriages which all began with spotting, I was on pins and needles.  Everyone says to not stress out, but having never had a pregnancy precede past the first trimester and only having experienced loss, those words were loss on me.  I was nothing but a ball of nerves.

Unfortunately, our appointment didn't include the doctor, but a wonderful nurse who went through all of our paperwork and made sure we both understood the do's and don't's of pregnancy.  She gave me a folder full of handouts on what medicines to take, which parenting classes to go to, which seafood to avoid, etc.  She also gave a nifty little purple book full of pregnancy information.

It was all stuff I had heard before, but this was the first time Mark had heard any of it.  I think he was a bit overwhelmed.  When we left the office an hour later, I think we both felt as though this pregnancy is actually happening.

I'm Pregnant!

When the nurse let those words out of her mouth, I released a floodgate of emotions.  I couldn't stop myself from crying.  I had been waiting to hear those words for years and although I had heard those words before in the past, I was ever so hopeful that this time my pregnancy would actually last a full 9 months.

Over my crying, the nurse went on to again explain all the things I needed to stay away from and when I needed to come immediately into the ER.  She told me to come back down to the lab for some more lab work.  She also informed me that another nurse would soon be calling me to set up my first appointment.

After I got off the phone, I hugged Mark who was sitting next to me for the whole conversation.  We hugged each other for quite awhile.  I can't explain how much peace and love flowed between us during that moment.  After you have been waiting for something for so long, when it finally occurs, you are left breathless.  In the back of my mind all I could think was thank you Birdie for giving us this miracle.

Waiting for the Official Results

That Monday I called DGMF to find out what my next steps should be after having a positive pregnancy test.  Thankfully this was spring break from work, so I was able to call in the morning and didn't have to rush through the phone call.  Like all medical facilities, the wait time to actually speak to a person is often quite long.  The lady took down my information and told me that a nurse would call me shortly to tell me what my next steps were.

Three long hours later, a nurse finally called.  I was told to go down to the lab for a blood test and then was given the long list of stuff to avoid if I was in fact pregnant (Alcohol, smoking, raw fish, unprocessed cheese, cat poop, gardening, etc).  I was also told what to do if I started bleeding or cramping, but I already knew all of that from prior experience.  She said a nurse would call me back after my blood results came back.

After getting off the phone, I jumped right in the car and headed over to the lab.  My excitement had been growing expediently since Sunday morning and I desperately wanted to know if in fact I was pregnant.

I wouldn't get the results till the following Monday after Mark finally had to call and make a ruckus to get someone to call us back. 

When I finally heard the results, I cried.

One Little Word

On April 17th, Birdie's gift became apparent to Mark and I. 

We were lounging in bed, getting some extra cuddle and chit chat time in, when Mark made a remark and I burst into tears.  It wasn't anything mean or rude, but I became a puddle of tears nonetheless.  Since this is usually a sign of my impending monthly friend, Mark asked when I was suppose to start.  I thought about it and began to realize that my period was in fact late.  Typically, I know my cycle like the back of my hand, but the grief from losing Birdie had preoccupied my mind.  I got out my calendar and realized I was a week late.  My hopes began to rise just a little bit.

We had to go grocery shopping that day, so I picked up a box of pregnancy tests.  When we got home I took a test and the most marvelous thing in the world happen - pregnant appeared across the screen.  My heart literally flew out of my chest.  I was extremely excited and hopeful, but with my past history, I didn't want to get my hopes up too much.  I came out to the kitchen to show Mark the test.  He stared at it, stared at it some more and then asked, "What's it say?"  I told him it said I was pregnant.  He asked if I thought that was right.  I responded that I sure hoped so and he nodded eagerly in agreement.

I took two more tests that night.  With each positive result Mark and I got more and more excited.  Could this finally be happening for us?

When One Door Shuts, Another Opens

Birdie was our black lab, a person trapped in a dog's body.  She had been with my husband since she was a pup, traveling with him from Virginia to California.  Birdie was a light in our lives.  She kept me company whenever Mark was away on work, which often was 300 days out of the year.  Birdie was one of the few people I told all my secrets too and besides Mark and Bruce (our other dog), the only person I talked to on a daily basis.  She was our everything. 

Unfortunately, on February 22nd we took Birdie into the vet's office as she just didn't appear to be herself.  After some antibiotics, x-rays and ultrasound, we found out on March 7th that our baby girl had advanced cancer that had spread to her liver, kidneys and lymph nodes.  The doctor gave an estimated two months left to live.  However, Birdie couldn't hold on that long.  On March 12th after picking Mark up from the airport we had to put Birdie down after a blood vessel in one of the tumors burst, leaving her bleeding internally.  It was one of the most difficult times in our lives and I still tear up thinking about her.

However, it is my belief that Birdie is the one who caused our miracle to happen.  Before we let her go, I asked her to send us someone else to love (I was thinking another dog).  Being the compassionate being she was, she listened to my request.  Two weeks after her death, she sent us someone new to love.