Thursday, May 31, 2007

18w4d - taking a peek

In brief: the Insider is alive and kicking

After more than a month, it was finally time to have another look at the Insider. At 18w4d it's a bit too early for a real anatomical scan, but we had it now since we're leaving on holiday this weekend.

The scan didn't take very long, but long enough to ease our minds.  Our doctor paused briefly to measure the head and look at the abdomen. Everything is still very small at this age, but as far as she could tell everything looks fine.

We could clearly see the Insider's tiny feet and legs moving around. I can't feel the movement yet, though I often wonder whether those twinges I feel are actually soft kicks or just twinges. It could easily take another couple of weeks before I figure it out.

Finally, the doctor told us what gender the Insider has. She's not entirely sure, so the next scan will have to confirm.  We're keeping the news to ourselves though, so I'm not going to tell the entire internet either.  I would have been happy not to know, but my husband insisted. He doesn't want to discuss boy and girl names, just the kind we need. Unisex names are out of the question.

Many times, I feel amazed at how far we've come. I can hardly believe it still. We haven't bought a single item of baby attributes yet. We have received our first baby gift: a colourful wrist rattle. Wow, for us?!

How I wish for positive news for all of you.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

One step at a time

In brief: the doppler says all is well.

A whole month without any kind of doctor's appointment is a very long time.
In the back of my mind, occasionally a fleeting sense of worry would spring up.
Is everything still all right in there? How can I know?

Originally, I had an appointment with the midwife on Monday. Unfortunately, work decided otherwise, in the form of a meeting I could not miss.
Fortunately, the midwife was willing to squeeze me in today.

The highlight of the visit was the doppler, of course. Time to get an answer.
The Insider did a good job of evading the machine though, it took quite some time (and a gel reapplication) before the midwife managed to track him/her down. What  a relief to hear it thumping away at last.
The midwife reassured me it was normal to have to search a while, the baby still has enough space to move around a lot. (Please, don't tell me otherwise).

I'm still not showing, at least not that I can tell. That's normal too according to the midwife. To date, I'm still managing with my regular clothes, but I don't know how much longer that will last.

Meanwhile, I've decided on a course of action regarding the birth plan. I've opted for the hospital birth with my ob/gyn and the midwife cast in the role of doula. The midwife I saw today is willing to do this, which is great.

Hiring an actual doula isn't really possible, since there are hardly any in the area. I'd never even heard of the term before reading North-American blogs. But if I get my way, it'll be just like having one anyway.

Having made this decision should tide me over for a while. No more worrying about the birth for a while. There's still the second trimester to get through, after all.

And I succumbed to the temptation of putting up a ticker.

Coming up next week: anatomical scan at 18 weeks.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

So much to tell, so little time.

In brief: all is well, mulling over the birth already

All is still well.  I no longer wake up in the middle of the night for a toilet run. I still fit into my regular clothes, most of them at least. There's definitely something growing in my abdomen, but I don't think it really shows yet. At 16 weeks, I'm trying not to let that concern me. Let's just say there's plenty of fluff for the baby to hide under.

I'm still feeling remarkably relaxed. According to my book on PG, the hormones can cause a sense of euphoria. That might explain it.

That doesn't mean there isn't any anxiety left, oh no. A fear has nestled itself into my brain: what if something goes horribly wrong during delivery?  
It's not entirely logical for all my anxiety to be pinned on delivery, rather than spread out evenly over the entire PG. But that's how it is and I'm looking for a way to deal with it.

(Warning: this post goes on and on about delivery options)

For one, I've been looking into available options for delivery in my area (put like that, sounds like I'm having goods delivered to the house). These are the possibilities:
- hospital birth with an ob/gyn
- hospital birth with a midwife
- labour at home with a midwife and then hospital birth
- home birth or at a birthing centre

The last option is most definitely out of the question for me. If something does go wrong, I want to be in hospital already. The three other options are under consideration.

I made an appointment with an independent midwife to discuss option #2.
There are clear advantages. When you work with an independent midwife, you have her undivided attention during delivery.  She knows alternative pain relief techniques. She has time to wait while the delivery proceeds at your body's pace.
The thing is, if something goes awry, you have to trust the midwife will be able to recognize this in time and call in an ob/gyn. This is where I start to tremble.
There is an ob/gyn on call at all times, but often he/she is not in the hospital but at home. It can easily take half an hour for them to arrive at the hospital. A lot can happen in half an hour.
The midwife tried to reassure me, telling me signs of trouble generally show up early during labour, leaving the ob/gyn plenty of time to arrive. Unexpected trouble is rare.  'Rare' has lost it's soothing charm for me. Total fertilization failure is rare.

At our next ob/gyn appointment, I asked the doctor's opinion on option 2. She was less than enthusiastic, to put it mildly. Being an ob/gyn, the only times she would come in contact with deliveries led by a midwife is when complications occur. She is then expected to swoop in, take over a patient she knows little about, and fix whatever needs fixing. The stakes are high, the pressure is high, and I can imagine the doctor is less than keen on getting involved. She told me she has seen too many near tragedies over the years. After our difficulties conceiving, did we want to take the risk?
Now, some would say this is all about protecting her turf, but I believe there is more to it.

I explained to her that I was feeling anxious about the delivery and that probably I would panic because of it.  What attracts me in option #2 is having a personal coach to talk me through. The idea is that I wouldn't need to panic, I'd have the professional by my side to push the emergency button if necessary.   
The doctor didn't brush away my concerns, she suggested I talk to one of the midwives of the hospital's maternity ward.

Thus, I made an appointment with said hospital midwife. Turns out, she works at the hospital part time and with the rest of her time has her own practice. In her practice, she doesn't do home births or lead hospital births. She does monitor labour at home and then escort you to the maternity ward, where she hands you over to the hospital staff present. Apparently, my ob/gyn had consulted with her beforehand, because she said it might be possible to stay with me for the rest of the delivery, to coach me until the ob/gyn would take over.

I'm still wavering what to do, though I think I'll try to make the hospital birth with personal coach scenario happen (provided we get that far). If tragedy does strike, I don't want to be left wondering 'what if I had stuck to my ob/gyn?'. There are no guarantees, but then at least I'll have done everything in my power to make it to the other side safe and sound.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Letting the cat out of the bag

In brief: sharing good news is uplifting

After the 12w scan, I decided the time was ripe to start sharing our news with the outside world. Everyone reacted in line with my expectations.

On Wednesday, I informed my manager and the head of department. They were both taken by surprise, and both congratulated me.  Very quickly, they mentioned coming back to work after maternity leave, which is some reassurance regarding job security.

Then, I told my colleagues over lunch. They too were surprised. One guy said 'another one!', referring to the two other PG co-workers. My female co-workers responded with great enthusiasm, little exclamations in high-pitched voices. Predictable reactions, from which I gather there are no other infertiles present. Good.

Though I considered it, I didn't mention that this is an ART pregnancy. It still isn't any of their business. The reason I thought I might, is because I'm not sure I can handle all the attention. The normalcy of it, the assumption that all will end well (when I said that was my main concern, I got 'of course it will go well'), and the plain intrusion on my privacy. The thing is, YOU may understand the connection between IF and a sense of reserve, but I don't expect them to - at least not without a thorough explanation, which I'm not prepared to give. So, I will do my best to handle it.  Not that I did a stellar job of handling myself during treatment, I was so self-absorbed that toes got stepped on without my noticing.

On Thursday evening, I invited over my brother and sister with their partners for dinner. Through dinner we chatted about how they were doing and saved our news for desert. Their reaction can only be described as stunned.
My sister wanted to know if it was planned. Yes, for years. I didn't want to go into all that then and there, but said I'd gladly give more details later.

This weekend, we visited my grandparents. One pair was also stunned at the news, though they congratulated us immediately. A good two hours later, after chatting about all sorts of other things, suddenly some questions came. When was I due, had I been feeling ill, ... Rather sweet to see the news sink in like that.
My other grandmother was all questions at once and visibly very happy for us.  She said she had wondered about us, but never wanted to ask, because she knows that can be a painful question. Turns out, she had to wait over a year to get PG with her first, an unpleasant wait - even though she had 2 more children at appropriate intervals after that.  Let's not forget treatment was hardly available at that time.

We still have to tell SIL&BIL #1 and #2, whom each have a son of about 1 year old.
No opportunity has presented itself to tell them in person, and we're not in a hurry to tell them by phone or mail. One reason is that I have a lingering feeling of resentment towards them, a jealousy that hasn't quite disappeared. It's not their fault, but I don't feel guilty either. It takes time to get over IF.
Anyway, we'll have to tell them before we go on holiday next month.
The risk is they'll find out some other way, since they live in a small town where news travels fast.

While sharing our news was mostly pleasant, it's also a bit scary. What if ...
Telling other people is in a way an act of confidence. It's not that I feel so confident, more that telling builds it, if only a little bit.