Archives for the month of: December, 2013
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It is official, I have discovered that pregnancy comes with nausea. I blame it on trying to drink a cup of half-caf coffee this morning, it was trying for too much to think that I could keep drinking coffee. But it’s half-caf people–one cup is way under the caffeine limit for pregnant ladies. And so I had a cup. Ha.

The rest of the day has been filled with crackers and water.

I have mixed emotions because a) nausea means that I’m really pregnant. Apparently this is a fact that requires constant reassurance at this point. b) Today was not debilitating, which if it continues like this seems at least livable, if lacking in real food groups. But then there is c) I work in a tiny, tiny office. And tomorrow I have a one-on-one lunch meeting with one of the heads of our organization. And I’m trying to picture ordering anything normal off the menu.

So yes. At this point, nausea is a novel symptom that means that the “itty bitty parasite” continues to grow. And we’ll see if it remains as novel as the weeks continue ūüėČ

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It is a clear sign that something is off, when I lose my sense of humor. It is a danger, even a sign, when everything becomes very serious. Frequent causes include not sleeping, forgetting to eat, or apparently major life news (and can I blame hormones yet?).

It’s like in Harry Potter when facing a Boggart–it’s only dangerous if you can’t find a way to laugh and call it ridiculous.¬†

Which for the record, make some sense when you are facing a huge life and body changing event. I’m also going to blame the dark days, that always seem to make things more lonely and serious. Last night after dinner, I took a few minutes to be still and meditate–trying to let those big emotions through me. I felt better, but still feel the looming “sad and serious” beneath the surface. Which maybe can be met by… I don’t know, picturing nausea dressed up in a tuxedo? hmm…

All this to say, I am hoping to soon regain my sense of humor after learning about the pregnancy. This is joyful! This is good! And if something happens, it will happen, but that falls squarely in the “totally out of my control” category of events.

So today, along with doing some work, will involve adventures such as “finding fancy nonalcoholic beverages with which to ring in the new year” and “thinking of things which aren’t baby or pregnancy related” and maybe taking in a bit of those few hours of sunlight we are getting. What about you, any suggestions for regaining a sense of humor?

My family just left after staying with us. I love them and it’s unusual to have us all in one place. And I had really good news to share.

But every time it came close, I ended up not telling them I was pregnant. In the moment, it felt too new or uncertain or I just felt like bursting into tears. This is why I really love my partner, because he helped me talk through it. This will be good news no matter when I share it. And I can say “and I found out when you were here for Christmas” and they will just be amazed.

I just feel a bit like a giant vulnerable nerve at this moment. And it’s ok to sit with this for a while to wrap my mind around. And it means that they don’t need to keep it a secret for as long–which would be hard for them.

I’m going to need to remember to be gentle with myself, and this is a good place to put it into practice. It’s ok that I didn’t tell them.

(as a side note–haven’t told the family that is staying with me yet. We’ll see! So many thoughts).

Several years ago, I was working in a job with hospice–on the feelings side, not the medical side. Over the course of that time, I was present with two people when they died. Once, it was me and her brother in the room. The second time, I was alone with the patient when he died. For both times, death seemed so slow until it was final. Long stretches between breaths, and then you realize wait–that was the last one. The last breath has already happened.

For me, as a non-medical professional, this moment was surreal. I knew that something had changed, but didn’t trust my own knowing. It can’t really be true–that this person that was¬†just a moment ago–now is not? How can I say the word “died” because that sounds so final? For me, it was this long drawn out moment when this huge portentous thing has happened, and you don’t dare say it out loud.

That has what it has been for me since seeing two lines before dinner last night. I had a glass of wine poured for the meal, that when it came time to eat, I didn’t drink it.

I took another test this morning–and yup, still there.¬†

I called the medical office this morning. “What is the purpose for this appointment?” “A positive pregnancy test”

This is when I learned several things about this practice. I’m not allowed to keep seeing the nurse practitioner who I actually know, I’m required to see an ObGyn, who I’ve never met. Also, they don’t schedule your first prenatal appointment until you are at 8 weeks.¬†

So in case you are wondering, that would mean not being seen by a medical professional for another month.

 

This is killing me. Because what I really need right now, is someone who can shepherd me out of this moment. This time when I know a truth, but it feels too big to say out loud. Someone who has the authority to say “yes, you are pregnant.”

These are my needs as a woman who has seen two lines.

  1. I need someone who is an authority to say the sentence outloud
  2. I need to have a person to tell me what I’m supposed to do–now that this is real.¬†
  3. I need to have a person who is wise to help tell me the difference between floating fears and real concerns

Because at the moment I feel vulnerable, and amazed, and I love my partner, but I’m wondering when this floating reality will sink in…

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I’m not going to forget this Christmas. Oh for goodness sakes. So much for hiding, I think I’m going to start blurting to my family tomorrow. Oh my goodness.

 

 

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Ok, internet. I am going to share too much and ask for your feedback. Which can’t go badly, right?

So as a slightly neurotic type-A individual trying to get pregnant, the question of whether or not to use a thermometer has been weighing on me. I have read Taking Control of Your Fertility, and wow, does she talk you into basal body temperature readings as a way of understanding¬†what’s going on with your cycle. It’s not mysterious: there’s charts! You can draw lines! Look at all those magical stories of people who just started charting and understood themselves better!

But being a slightly neurotic person, going into this process I am trying to make choices that lead to health and flourishing and not feeding the anxiety. And for me in particular, when I get stressed, it comes out in sleeping poorly. Ever since I have been a kid, at times of high stress or who knows what, I won’t be able to fall asleep or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night wide awake with concerns.

I’ve gotten better at dealing with occasional sleeplessness, often by keeping myself from panicking. It’s the middle of the night and you are the only one awake, and rather than say “I’m doomed! I have so much to do tomorrow and my whole day will be ruined! It is dark and lonely and I am the only one up! Ahhh!” I have gotten better at saying to myself “It’s ok, self. The night isn’t scary. Let’s go get a glass of water, and read or watch something light and fluffy on the couch, and if you fall asleep that’s ok, and if not that’s ok too.”

All of this is to say that for me sleep is highly reactive to stress in my life.

So it seems like a really bad idea to start something potentially stressful¬†that depends on how much and how good of sleep I have had. If there was another way to do it, it would be a more serious consideration, but I would hate to add “And my temperature will be off in the morning!” to my list of crazy middle of the night thoughts.

Which brings me to today. I am now on cycle four off of birth control and I have no idea what is happening. I have had wonky spotting each cycle so far. Before going on birth control, six years ago, I had regular normal periods. Since going off I have few days of spotting in the middle, a few days to a week of spotting before anything I would call a period, all-in-all weirdness. I went to the ObGyn in cycle two, after about two weeks of spotting off and on, and her response was “well, at some point you will ovulate, and then things will kick in.” I would say she was right, except there seems to be a method to the madness, I have started spotting consistently on day 24 of the last two cycles, which coincides with lots of PMS-y symptoms. Which makes me think that it’s not completely random?

So in the absence of actual information, I have been naming random spotting: like I call these two days of spotting “ovulation!” or trying to come up with why a few days to week of spotting before something period-like is possible. I think actual information would be helpful, or at least give me more of a sense of what this is or isn’t. I know after hormonal birth control, a body can be odd… and yes, I know at some point another trip to the ObGyn is in order, but I would love to have a better sense what is going on. If this is just “now I spot in the LP,” that’s a different thing then “you haven’t ovulated”–right?

Which brings me back to trying to decide about charting temperatures. Hmm. 

So internet–what has been your experience of temping? Any anxiety-prone tempers out there?¬†

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I have family that will be coming to visit next week–which will be fun and lovely and all those things. But over the last week, I’ve been mentally going through our apartment to make my list of all of the things that must be hidden before they arrive.

You would think “booze!”assuming they are teetotalers, or “the Obama coffee mug” to avoid a never-ending debate on health care.

But neither of these are my problem. Instead, I am terrified I will forget to hide the vitamins.

Sigh.

I need to remember to hide the prenatal vitamins, that live next to the morning coffee–the only place I remember to take them. And the copy Taking Charge of Your Fertility¬†in the living room. And make sure that box of “just in case” pregnancy tests are not in a place someone would go looking for an extra roll of toilet paper.

I feel so silly about it–we are at a stage of life that “trying to have a baby” shouldn’t be a shocking thing. And my family are lovely and supportive people. But the idea of having this conversation with them makes me really uncomfortable at this point. I have enough emotions and expectations on my own, that the thought of experiencing¬†their emotions and expectations just seems overwhelming. I love them, and they are dear, and this is not the time I’d like to have that conversation thank-you-very-much.

So yes. There are some parts of the process of trying to conceive that are ridiculous, and I can say “what a ridiculous world we live in!” Draconian dietary expectations of expectant mothers? Scare tactics to anyone who might possibility consider giving birth after the age of 35? Unreasonable and contradictory standards of motherhood? All these things are ridiculous and part of the nutty world we live in.

But anxiety about being discovered with prenatal vitamins in your possession? That’s just me being ridiculous.

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After the first year or so at my first job, I had applied to a fellowship and gotten up to in person interviews. And, you know like you do, I started imagining in detail what my life would look with it–where my apartment would be, how my then-boyfriend would travel back and forth, the opportunities in the position and exploring a new city–full out 3-D image of what my life would look like. And I didn’t get it.¬†

What I’m really glad about, is that I had continued to do things to invest in my current job. As I think back on it, each year I was there, some opportunity had come up to leave. And if I had stopped creating new projects while I daydreamed about other possibilities–well I really would have wasted my time there. I’m really glad for the work that I did and all that I learned, and a lot of that was from making sure that my time there was worth it. All this leads me to agree with Ms. Sandberg, to not allow imaginings of a future to keep you from investing in your present.

Which brings me to summer vacation. 

At this point, I love my job and would absolutely be returning to it after any maternity leave. So apparently my odd “counting by nines” questions comes up over making plans for this summer

One of the things I love about my life as I know it is enjoying time with my partner. He’s pretty swell. And it feels like because we know that it won’t just be us forever, that we should be enjoying this stage of life for what it is. We went on a big trip last summer, which was a great experience for us both–exploring a new country and experiences together. And now I’m looking at that June-August period of opportunity before us, and trying to decide what to do.

Because here’s the thing–if I’m not painfully pregnant–this is a time we should be relishing. The fella would love to go to England and Ireland–I think mostly to spend time in pubs across the world ;-). This is time we should cherish and enjoy for the stage of life that we are in!

But as any person who is currently counting months by nines, the way I am, that would be very early September. Which means being very pregnant for a very long trip. There’s questions about travel restrictions and if I did get pregnant soon, if they would let me on the plane! Even, let’s say I get pregnant six months from now, thinking having morning sickness when faced with exhausting travel really doesn’t sound pleasant. And in the most practical sense of the word–if we are going to go travel through pubs across the UK– well wouldn’t it be more fun not to be pregnant? The answer is yes.

I’m in such a quandary. Because if we want to make a big trip, we need to start planning and saving now. And it’s really possible I wouldn’t be pregnant… like really. And don’t I say that we should relish our life as we know it as it’s here? Yes self, I do. But because it’s also possible I could be pregnant, and that’s a possibility dear to my heart, I have trouble even imagining plans like it isn’t.

So friends, thoughts on summer vacation plans? How do you make choices in the near term with possibility floating through your life?

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(As a note, this analogy may not be helpful for those who have suffered reproductive loss)

I am almost into what is known as the “two week wait” or for those opposed to shorthand: the time between possible conception and being able to actually know if your pregnant. I’m not looking forward to it, and was trying to put into words the unique kind of frustrating such a wait can be.

Which brings me to Schrodinger’s Pregnancy.

Nerds, gather near as we speak of Schrodinger’s Cat.

There once was a physicist named Schrodinger, who created a thought experiment to bring to light quantum mechanics and the relationship to observation. It goes by saying that there is a cat in a box, along with a crazy contraption that leads to a cat’s life or death depending on the state of a subatomic particle. If a particle decays, then a device is tripped and the cat dies. If it does not, then the cat lives inside the box. When time has passed and the box is still closed, there is no way to know what has happened within. So it is said that the cat remains both alive and dead–to the universe outside the box, until the box is opened. When the box is finally opened, the act of observing collapses that “indeterminate both or either” to a single state.

So how does this relate to the two week wait? Because you are walking around for two weeks with this indeterminate both or either uterus–Schrodinger’s pregnancy where the only way it can be resolved is when you are finally able to get some news from the box through either a period or a reliable pregnancy test.

For those two weeks, the experience of your own body, is going about your business being both pregnant and not pregnant. Suddenly drinking a glass of wine becomes being torn between two indeterminate states–if I’m pregnant then no, if I’m not–then it doesn’t matter–dear goodness how do people manage to make choices like this?

Do I make plans for this vacation next year, when I am pregnant/not pregnant?

Do I sign up for the absolutely exhausting project at work, knowing that I am in this pregnant/not pregnant state? What would Sheryl Sandberg say?

Regardless of whether a sperm has met egg, or is on its journey to implantation or whatever, your experience from the outside is of this dual contradictory possibility of being pregnant and not pregnant. 

What makes this experience unique, compared to situations of waiting in unknown like waiting for results of a job application, is that the box of indeteminancy is located within your own body. That box that contains one truth and the experience of living with two, that is placed in the intimate space of your self. It’s why so many message boards try to discover and determine the meaning of symptoms–as we try to collapse this world of two competing possibilities into one that we can understand, and honestly the one that we’ve hoped for. Every twinge, ache, or fluid becomes a potential messenger–sending us word of what has happened that we cannot know.

So wish me luck with my next two weeks of Schrodinger’s Pregnancy. It’s exhausting trying to live within two indeterminate states.

This woman has feelings. You can tell because there is rain.

This woman has feelings. You can tell because there is rain.

My husband and I are both 30 as of this writing. After months and months of angst-ing over the decision of exactly when to come off birth control, (seriously there should be some epic stories of “not refilling the prescription” or something–this is a major life choice), finally stopped the ring in late August. Since then been waiting for my cycle to become normal–at least one trip to the Dr thinks I haven’t started ovulating yet.

So here we are, have decided that we’ve had enough “waiting for normal cycle” and are currently on the edge of possibility. So I’m emotionally between “I could be pregnant at any moment—ahhh—possibility!” to “my body is irreparably broken and doomed.” ¬†I am finding there is really very little in between ground.

Along with this, although I am very excited for pregnant possibilities, I also am aware of the loss of how this would/will affect our lives. There’s a lot of emotions involved in changing your life forever–right? And I’m finding it’s way to easy to subsume all those emotions in a neurotic analysis of cervical fluids. Oh feelings.

How about you all? Where are you at at this moment?

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