The Baby Bean Blog

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Second Prenatal Visit

Today I went for my second prenatal visit today. We talked about my anemia and discussed ways to fix this. Here's a funny tidbit. I switched to Total Raisin Bran cereal because it is loaded with iron. It has 100% of the daily recommended value of iron in it. Great! I'm still having trouble with vegetables, especially those which contain iron, so this seemed like the perfect solution. Then the midwife told me that calcium actually blocks iron absorbtion. I don't know about you, but I eat my cereal with milk (actually, fortified soy milk). And if the calcium in the soy milk is blocking the iron....then there's not much point in loading up the cereal with all that iron, is there?

So it looks like I'm going to get an iron supplement and abandon the goal of getting iron from food sources. I'm fine with this. Of course, now I've started upping my calcium intake by taking Tums. I'd just sort of added it to meals (my source of iron) because that was an easy way to remember to take it. Now I find out that I need to keep my calcium intake and my iron intake separate by about two hours. Learn something new every day.

The best part of the visit, of course, was getting to hear the baby's heartbeat again. I had thought about trying to record it and then post it as an audioblog, but the last time I heard it, it was was very faint, and I didn't think you would be able to hear it via an audioblog. But the midwife used a different doppler this time, and it had volume control, and it was quite loud. Oh well. You'll have to wait until next time. It was also very comforting how quickly and strongly it came through. Very cool indeed. The baby is still in there, and his/her heart is still beating. Score one for the home team!

The downside of the visit was the continued discussion about genetic testing, just like my first prenatal visit. The big question right now is whether or not I'm going to do the "quad screen." I am now 14 weeks, 5 days pregnant. The quad screen should be done between 15-18 weeks. Obviously, it's decision time. I'll write about that soon.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Amusing Little Story

Yesterday I was talking to my mother, and the subject of my Aunt Lynn (her sister) came up. Aunt Lynn lives in San Diego. She used to come out east maybe once a year or so, but since my grandmother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a few years ago, she's come out more often. And since my grandmother died last summer, she's been out twice already to spend time with her father and help him.

So my mother and I were talking about some things of my grandmother's that she'd been going through to see if we were going to keep or give away, and I asked if my Aunt Lynn had already made plans to come out again so that she could also go through these things. My mother said, "I don't think she's made plans, but I have a feeling that she might come out in August."

My mind immediately turned to August here in the mid-Atlantic. Hot. Humid. Miserable. Actually, the perfect time to go to San Diego (which I have the past two out of three Augusts) where it is dry, sunny, and 78 degrees. So I said to my mother, "August? Why would she come here in August?"

And my mother sort of paused and then said, "I don't know. Why would she come in August?"

And that's when it hit me. I'm due in August. I find it very, very funny that little piece of information slipped my mind. You'd almost think I wasn't obsessed with my pregnancy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Very Strange Question

As I mentioned in my previous post, we've been spreading the news of the pregnancy. Our close friends and family know that we have been actively trying to get pregnant, so they respond to the news with an unmitigated, "Congratulations!" What has been a bit bizarre is what happens when I tell those outside of our immediate circle. I'll say something, "I'm pregnant," in response to something that warrants the reveal. For instance, last night, my teacher asked me if I was feeling better, if I'd had a cold, because I'd missed a class last week. So I said to her, "I wasn't actually sick. The thing is, I'm pregnant. So I was just feeling really rundown." Then the person usually smiles spontaneously and then says, "Congratulations," just like anyone else. But then, the Very Strange Question gets asked:

"Are you happy about the pregnancy?"

Each time I get asked this question (and it's happened several times), I'm completely surprised. I mean, most people, even superficially involved in my life, know that I am a lesbian. So it's not like I could just accidentially get pregnant. "I don't know what happened! I just fell onto this doctor's examination table with my legs spread, and he put some semen inside of me without me knowing. And now I'm pregnant! What am I going to do?!"

I guess this sort of question could possibly be appropriate to ask a young, unmarried, college student. And perhaps that's how my teacher sees me. Except...I've written about my long-term relationship with my partner in compositions for that class (in French, no less). And I've also told her that I'm 30 before. And I wear a rather conspicuous gold band on the ring finger of my left hand. So, well, then the question loses some validity.

Another time a person who manages a store that my partner and I often go to together, who knows that we are a couple (and he's actually gay himself), and he asked if we were happy about the pregnancy with my partner standing right beside me. I just look at these people like, "Are you serious?"

I guess I just can't get over the fact that these people do not seem to be thinking. Although I understand that straight people--or even gay people who have no desire to have children-- probably can't fathom how difficult it is to conceive as a same sex couple. There's so much planning that goes into it, so much time, so much effort, and so much money.

So when I get asked, "Are you happy about being pregnant?" I just sort of feel this need to look towards the ceiling, tap my fingers against my chin and muse, "Let's see, I've spent the last year and a half of my life with getting pregnant as the main focus. I've spent thousands of dollars to accomplish this. I've lost one of my best friends. And I would do it all again if I had to. So, yeah, I guess I'm happy about it."

Maybe I'll try that next time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Cat Is Out of the Bag

It was fun, I have to say. My mother was quite excited, as I expected. I think I have mentioned before that I am her only child, ergo her only chance for grandchildren. One of the first things she said to me after I told her that I was gay was, "I guess I won't have any grandchildren." So I feel a little pressure is off my shoulders. I've done it! Whew! My grandfather was also very, very happy. He has five grandchildren, three of which are estranged from our side of the family (that is a long, long story). As far as I know, none of those three have any children. My other, non-estranged cousin has no children, and it looks like he's going to be a bachelor for the rest of his life. The moral of the story here is that I am producing his first great-grandchild, and my partner and I might be the ones to produce his only great-grandchildren. I just wish that my grandmother was stilll alive. Of course, I wish that all the time.

After we told my family on Friday night, we started breaking the news to friends and neighbors over the weekend. Everyone has been very happy for us. Most people know that we started trying a year and a half ago (including the big break from ttc), so they know that this has been something that we've wanted for a long time, even though we haven't talked about it for about a year now.

In some ways, it's a little weird to have everyone know now. I'm glad we've told everyone, because I'm not good at the actual telling, which is weird because I've been wanting to do it for so long. When we told my mom, I said, "We have something tell you. I'm pregnant." And then my mind became a blank slate. I mean, that's kind of it. What else is there to say? I followed it up with how far along I am and my due date, then I was sort of at a loss. I mean, do people want to know all the details? We're happy to share them, but we don't want to bore people.

You might have noticed that in all the talk about who we've told, my partner's family wasn't mentioned. The big reason for that is her sister had a baby on Saturday morning! There is some family history relating to her wedding that makes us really careful about "stealing her thunder." So we've decided to wait another week or two to tell that side of the family so that all of the focus right now is on my sister-in-law and her firstborn child. For me, it's not difficult not to tell my partner's family because none of them live around here. Understandably, my partner is a little anxious to spread the news, but we will do so in the near future.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Yes!

I heard the heartbeat today! Quickly and easily. It was really, really cool. This pregnancy seems unreal sometimes. Actually, it seems unreal most of the time. I'm not really showing yet (although I think I'm starting to); I don't feel very sick; and I can't feel or see the baby. But today, I got to hear him or her. There's a little baby in there with a cute little heartbeat. I'm feeling kind of protective right now. And a bit proud of myself. When the midwife picked up the heartbeat, it's this little, faint, quick noise: rat-tat-tat, rat-tat-tat, rat-tat-tat. She was moving the doppler around a bit to try to get the baby's heartbeat louder, and at one point, she moved over the placenta, and then you could hear me pumping blood to the placenta, and it was this loud, solid, authoritative, WHOOSH-WHOOSH. I felt like a good mommy taking care of her little one. :)

This means that I will get to tell my mother tomorrow night. It's just one more day. Usually, the last day of waiting is the easiest one for me. I can make it through one more day! But it's hard this time. I want to tell everyone now! What's been so effective at holding me back thus far is the fear that I would tell people and then have to untell them if something went wrong. Well, the chances of miscarrying are somewhere around 0.2% now. I don't have to worry about that anymore. So I want to shout it to the world!

One more day.... One more day....

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Excited and Nervous About Tomorrow

Tomorrow I am going back to the birth center to try to hear the heartbeat again. I am very excited about this because hearing the heartbeat will make me feel confident in finally telling my family and friends about the pregnancy. But I'm also nervous about it because I'm afraid that...well, you know...something's gone wrong and there is no heartbeat. The chances of that are small, but I've been worrying about this pregnancy for a long time now, and that pattern continues. As I've said before, if they can't locate the heartbeat via doppler at the birth center, I'm going to try to get an ultrasound at my fertility doctor's office. I expect that they will see me and perform the ultrasound if it comes to that. I hope it doesn't.

I've already made plans with my mother to have dinner with her (and my partner) on Friday night. She just thinks we're coming down to spend some time with her. She doesn't know that anything is up. We've also made plans to have brunch with my best friend, Emily, on Saturday morning, but I wasn't able to be as sly with that arrangement, so Emily knows that I have something to tell her. She doesn't know what, but she's very curious. If, in fact, I don't have something to tell her because something has gone wrong, well, I'll just have to make something up. It will be difficult, knowing that I was supposed to be sharing such wonderful news.

Anyway, I know I'm getting myself all worried about something that most likely won't happen. But that's the way I am. The good news is that this should all be settled within 24 hours.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Thinking About Drinking

Last night I had a sip of beer. That's the second sip of alcohol I've had since I tested positive with a home pregnancy test eight and a half weeks ago. And I do mean a sip of alcohol. I suspect that it will be my last sip. Both times, I've been in social situations and been encouraged by either my host or my guest to try the drink. Yes, I could just say no, but that would be a little weird. And besides, I hate it when a person refuses to try something they've never had before, usually because they "already know" they won't like it. How can you know you won't like it if you've never had it before?! So anyway, I've had these two sips of alcohol. This week is the week where I start telling people I'm pregnant, so now I'll be able to say no with a good reason, and that will be that.

But it got me thinking about alcohol. When I was trying to conceive a year ago, I swore the stuff off pretty much, especially when there was a chance (during the two week wait) that I could be pregnant. I basically did the same this time around...except for Thanksgiving this year. We had my partner's mother and step-father here, as well as my family. We'd bought a lot of alcohol for the occassion...and we went through it all. I drank on Thanksgiving Day/evening. The day after Thanksgiving, I conceived my little bean (unbeknownst to our families). And then I drank that night. I drank the next day, too, and on Sunday, my mother-in-law left, and that was that for alcohol. But I certainly drank those three days, although I only got buzzed. I was never truly drunk or anything. I don't feel guilty about it because the little embryo was not attached to me in anyway. It was just floating around in my uterus (it doesn't imbed until around eight days after ovulation).

What I was thinking about yesterday was how, when I was trying to conceive a year ago (and everyone knew all the details) several people advised me to get drunk during the time I would be conceiving (i.e. during an insemination or thereabouts). They said, "People always get pregnant when they're drunk!" Like most rational beings, I chalk that phenomenum up to poor judgement about birth control rather than any increased fertility due to the fact that alcohol was in their systems. But then again...I guess it worked for me. :)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

One Week Left of the First Trimester

So today I am twelve weeks pregnant. It's a bit of a milestone. The baby is now completely formed. All of his/her parts exist, all of his/her organs. Now everything just has to grow and mature!

This also means that I'm only a week away from being able to tell people about the pregnancy. (The first trimester is over at 13 weeks.) My partner and I have decided to tell my mom next Friday night. Then that weekend, we're going to tell everyone else. The plan is to get some champagne (and sparkling cider for me) and make the rounds of friends and neighbors. It's not all that many people, don't get me wrong. It's going to be great to spread the news though. Especially since that means I can start complaining and getting some sympathy! I've been so tired, and I haven't been able to say to people, "Hey, give me a break, I'm busy creating a human life from scratch here!" Instead I just suck it up and deal with it like a mature adult. I hate that!

As you might remember, at my first prenatal visit we were unable to hear the heartbeat. Although at this stage in pregnancy, you just go in for appointments every four weeks, I made a quick little appointment for next Thursday (13 weeks!) just to try to hear the heartbeat via doppler. I want to hear it before I tell people. And if I can't hear it next week....well, I'm taking myself back to my fertility doctor (whose office is just across the street) and saying, "Would you mind giving me another ultrasound?" I can't imagine that they'd say no. I just want to make sure that everything is fine before telling everyone.