Tough Nights

I think night is the hardest time to be single and pregnant.

You don’t feel well (you never feel well), but there’s no one to pamper and encourage you.

You’re anxious (you’re always anxious) with no one to reassure you. Except you’re old friend Google, who truly causes more problems than he solves.

You’re alone. You feel alone. Especially at 7 weeks, when you’re still keeping this massive secret from almost everyone.

And the nights are so long and uncomfortable. You keep waking up hot. You always need to pee.

Work in Progress (Five Weeks)

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What is my life like right now?

Heartburn, mostly. Worry. Trying to eat all the nutrients when more often I don’t want to eat at all. And a constant looping thought of “OMG, I’m pregnant, I need to tell EVERYONE.”

I have not told everyone.

A few friends. One of my sisters (only because I haven’t seen the other one in person yet) and my parents. I tried to go out to dinner with just my parents, but then my brother-in-law showed up (my sister is out of town) so I had to play things cool until he left. I gave them each a rocks glass: one reads “Grandma’s Sippy Cup” and the other “Grandpa’s Sippy Cup.” Turns out, my mom’s reaction was exactly what I was waiting for to make this all seem real. More real. She hugged me multiple times and cried, and I cried a bit, and then we sat and talked about my plans for an hour or so.

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“Grandma’s Sippy Cup” and “Grandpa’s Sippy Cup”

I also got to have a fun, totally unplanned reveal when a friend told me she was pregnant and due at the end of October, so I had to tell her that I am pregnant too! Then we went to catch some closing deals at Babies R’ Us…mostly we just walked around holding up every single item of clothing and cooing over how cute it was.

On Sunday I will finally see my other sister and tell her and I’ll see my brother-in-law and he’ll get to know. After that, I just have to struggle to keep quiet with everything until the traditional twelve weeks, I guess. We’ll see. I’ve never been good at keeping secrets.

In the meantime, I keep taking my basal body temperature and pregnancy tests. Not every day on the tests anymore (I did consistently for the first few). Every couple of days. I am terrified that one day I will take the test and no line will show up and the pregnancy will be over as quickly and surprisingly as it began.

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That line is quite dark now…

If you, like me, are terrified and keep thinking every little downstairs twinge is a miscarriage, this site is very helpful.

I went to a baby shower yesterday, and while I still find them annoying (but I’m totally having one- bring me allllll the gifts), it was fun to walk around with my smug little secret.

Pregnant?

I appear to be knocked up.

I can’t quite fathom it. My research said 3-6 tries on average for an IUI, so I was preparing- financially and emotionally- to hunker down.

I’m pregnant.

I was sure I wasn’t. I felt all crampy, exactly like I normally do when my period is on the horizon. I went out dancing with a friend and had two glasses of wine. She commented that a lot of times people seem to know when they’re pregnant and if I thought I wasn’t, I was probably right.

I woke up at 2am and I suddenly knew I was pregnant.

Of course, I say I knew easily in this narrative. It could just as easily have been ha-ha, remember when I woke up and thought I was pregnant?

I waited until 4am to take the test. Such a light line on the wondfo that it was practically invisible. I thought I was crazy. Went back to bed.

I took another wondfo when I woke up. Another light line. So I went out to get a fancy First Response test. Three tests now. All faint lines.

This is a time it would be nice to have a partner, because who do you tell? I texted my best friend from college. Still sitting on the toilet. Staring at that faint pink line.

I understand, of course, that I’m actually pregnant. And I’m excited, of course. But I’m also terrified. So much can go wrong, especially in this first trimester.

Now I’m trying to decide who to tell, because I’m awful at keeping secrets, and I don’t want to be in this totally alone. Also how to people handle walking around like this and not blabbing to everyone?

My first prenatal appointment isn’t until the end of May. How is that possible? There’s so much to worry about. No one’s going to tell me what to do?

Me (on phone, to Nurse): So what do I do til then? Just hang out being pregnant?

Nurse: Pretty much. And take your prenatal vitamin.

If I calculate from my last period, even though I ovulated late, I’m due December 30th. So I don’t know for sure what YEAR my baby will be born!

Also:

…and I’ll leave you with that golden image. I’m going to try to get some not crazy sleep.

My First Two Week Wait (sponsored by Google)

My bra is uncomfortable. I know my bra is always uncomfortable, but is it this uncomfortable? Can my boobs even be changing this soon? Google it.

What’s the earliest I can take a pregnancy test? Like, the absolute earliest? Google it.

I know I read that I can drink wine, because I’m not actually pregnant yet, and I’m not sharing blood with the baby, and also, I already drank wine, so there’s no point obsessing about it anyway…but can I really drink wine? Google it.

When does implantation occur? Could I be pregnant now? Google it.

(takes a break to stare at my Kindara chart for ten minutes straight)

How about now? Am I pregnant now? Google it.

Is that a twinge in my uterus? Is that an implantation twinge? You have already read about this and do not need to research it. Google it anyway.

I’m feeling kind of crampy. Are these cramps normal? Am I pregnant? Is this a sign of pregnancy? Google it.

Is my sperm donor still available? Only six vials left. Should I buy more vials now?

Wait, when is the absolute, 100% earliest I can take a pregnancy test? Google it.

Moment of Inception

If this round of IUI works, and I do become pregnant, I’d like to think that fertilization happened around 4:30 in the morning when I woke up and felt so very happy. I got up to go to the bathroom and literally thought: “You’re doing great! You look good, you cleaned your house, and your body is, right now, doing amazing things. It’s going to make a human. You’re incredible.”

Those are some serious pregnancy vibes, right?

Blossoms and Sperm (IUI Attempt 1)

 

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The world is fertile…so am I?

This morning when I went for my first IUI, the world was dark and dreary and I was full of doubt. But this afternoon is the first real day of Spring, high 70s, shining sun, flowers in bloom. It’s an afternoon to believe in the possibility of new beginnings…

My cold and my anxiety levels had been getting much worse since my last post. Finally, FINALLY, yesterday evening, on Day 18 of my cycle (I usually get my LH surge on Day 13 or 14), I got that precious dark line. The clinic was closed already, so I called as soon as they opened to schedule my appointment.

I did get berated- over the phone and later at the office- for testing in the evening so they had to scramble to get things ready today. My doctor said that from now on, I should only test in the mornings…but I really feel like if I had done that, I would have missed it. Also, I told the nurse that I spoke to on Day 16 that I was testing three times a day and while she seemed to think that was excessive (yeah, I knew it), she said nothing about mornings.

After being on hold for fifteen minutes (and hung up on once), I got an appointment for 9. The plan was I would come at 9, thaw my sperm for half an hour, and then wham, bam, quick insemination, and back to work. I scrambled to find coverage for my classes, but most of the appointment fortunately fell within my planning period. The more tries it takes, the more difficult it is going to be to come up with excuses as to why I need to leave the building ASAP. I am a superhero. I lead a double life.

Because of traffic, I arrived almost ten minutes late. I called ahead to let them know. I still ended up waiting for over half an hour. I had a book with me, but I couldn’t really focus on it. I kept trying to stay calm, because I read that that’s helpful for insemination, but at this point, I was freaking out that I wouldn’t be back in time for my next class.

Finally the nurse came and got me and took me to my exam room. After that, things happened pretty quickly.

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This is where the magic happens.

The nurse brought me my sperm vial. I had to confirm that it was the correct number (memorize this- I did not know) and sign a form to that effect. The sample had 20,000 sperm, which is significantly more than what is needed. She told me to keep it level and hold it in my hand to warm it up.

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Can you believe this tiny vial is holding 20,000 sperm? (and now, I guess my body is???)

I took a few pics (obviously) and texted my friend who wanted to know how things were going. She was the only person I told exactly what and when I was doing this today, and only because she asked. I had toyed with the idea of inviting someone- one of my sisters, or a friend- to come with me, but it all happened so fast, there was no time. Honestly, it was better this way. In and out, a quick procedure.

I really wished the room had some music. Something soothing. The other clinic I visited and turned down I felt was too spa-like, but I could have used something spa-like today. While I was sitting there, I felt horribly unprepared. I felt like a kid undertaking something too big, something she couldn’t comprehend or in any way be prepared for. But I comforted myself with the fact that no one is ever truly prepared for parenthood.

The doctor came in and the actual procedure took about two minutes. He inserted the speculum and told me there would be a pinch, then some light cramping. I felt the discomfort from the speculum but never felt the catheter for the IUI. I wish he would have spoken a bit more about what he was doing. I only knew a lot about what was going on because I had done my own research.

Then he told me to get dressed and meet him in the main room of the clinic and we would talk about what else I needed to do (besides get pregnant- his words). And it was over. I can definitely see why some people prefer midwives and in-home insemination. There was no atmosphere, nothing comforting, no real communication. I was a cog in the baby-making factory. But, if it works, I’ve no complaints.

When we talked afterwards, the doctor was concerned that I was ovulating so late. If I am not pregnant this cycle and my period doesn’t come later to match the late ovulation, he wants to start me on clomid. I don’t have a problem with this, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I told him that I thought this was unusual and I have previously gotten my LH surge on Day 13 or Day 14.

Then I got into my car and drove back to work. Outside, it was a normal day, but inside…the chase is on, right? There are 20,000 little guys, a stranger’s sperm, trying to track down my one little egg. I really don’t believe it will take on the first try- statistically, I have read that it takes 3-6 tries. But somewhere inside me, there’s a biological survival of the fittest brawl in progress. And so begins my first Two Week Wait.

Good luck, fellas.

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Ooh, I get to see the insemination graphic on my Kindara chart for the first time! And yes, I am bad at keeping track of my temp.

Day 16: Symptoms include excessive Googling

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Day 16. Nothing.

In the past, I have gotten my LH surge on Day 13 or Day 14 of my cycle (granted, I have only tested for two cycles). My cycle is a regular 28-29 days, every month, forever and ever. But this cycle, the cycle that actually counts, I am testing and testing (I am up to 3 times a day) and…nothing.

Nothing.

Is it stress? Have I killed my ovulation with stress? I do have a cold and one of my many, many google searches indicates that having a cold can affect your ovulation.

I am totally, 100% freaking out.

Update: I spoke to a nurse at my clinic and she assured me that if I am testing three times a day (yeah, I am), there is no way I should have missed my LH surge. She said that if after the 18th day of my cycle I still haven’t gotten anything, call and they will have me come in.

 

Review? The Kids Are All Right

This and The Switch (which I’ve seen and is super unrealistic and not actually about donors) are the only two films I know of about sperm donation. I’ve wanted to watch this one for awhile and since I’m not successfully ignoring the fact that I am probably going to get my LH surge tomorrow and go for my first IUI on Sunday, I thought I might as well embrace my nerves and finally sit down for this film.

The Kids Are All Right. The title, at least, is promising.

The idea that the sperm donor (Paul, played by Mark Ruffalo) seems to live right down the road from the kids seems unrealistic. I guess it’s possible for other people’s situations. This idea of getting to know the sperm donor and sharing meals with him won’t be part of most people’s experiences; however, it seems like this film is still reflective of many anxieties a person or couple using a sperm donor might feel. Looking at the feelings of the kids about their donor is very interesting as well. The themes of the film can be relatable to anyone. Families are complicated. Relationships are complicated. Nature vs. Nuture.

Some things (spoiler included):
– What if I think I am naming my kid something awesome, but it turns out it is a name like Laser (Josh Hutcherson)?
– The moms are concerned that the children’s desire to have a relationship with their sperm donor means the moms are not enough. This is a worry I can definitely connect to. What if my child feels like this? What if I’m not enough?
– One of the reasons that they picked this donor was because he was studying International Relations and now they are shocked to learn that he dropped out of school.
– Joni’s friends are very accepting of her unusual family dynamic.
– “Can I ask you something? Why’d you donate sperm?” “It seemed like a lot more fun than donating blood.” Paul says actually he wanted to help people. Laser wants to know how much Paul got paid. I worry that the transaction nature of sperm donation will make potential future spawn feel awkward.
– Am I supposed to feel that Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo are attracted to each other or am I just heteronormalizing this movie?
– Ok, yes I am supposed to think they are attracted to each other.
– I expected Laser to bond more with Paul but Joni is the one who seems to really relish having the father role in her life.
– I don’t know how Nic is going to be redeemed by the end of this film. I mean there’s no way this film can possibly be a romance between Paul and Jules.
– Ok, all the adults in this movie are awful. The kids are…(wait for it)…alright.
– And yet everyone ends up super sympathetic. Paul falls in love with having a family and because he’s the outsider, when he messes up he loses it all. The other adults who make mistakes get to keep the family. On the other hand, being a sperm donor does not give you the right to the family and that’s important. But it’s still a super sad resolution for him.
– “I just wish that you could have been…better.” The dangers of meeting your sperm donor.
– The ending, like the title, reaffirms that this movie is not about the scandalous love triangle stuck in its middle, but about the kids.

Family Dinner Panel (or how to kill the vibe)

Quick update first: my sperm did arrive safely (what a strange sentence to type) and I should be having my first IUI attempt sometime in the next week.

The night before Easter my immediate family (mom, dad, two sisters, brother-in-law) were sitting down to dinner. Everyone there knows at least vaguely of my plans and my sisters and my mom even came to my Sperm Donor Party. However, I have found over the past few weeks that people have A LOT of questions and I wanted to give them the opportunity to ask them.

I waited all through dinner for the perfect moment, feeling anxious butterflies in my stomach.

There was no perfect moment.

Finally, as we were clearing dishes, I smoothly jumped in with “So, moving on from that topic…I am going to be having my first attempt at getting pregnant soon” (I just can’t say insemination or sperm in front of my father. Maybe I should work on that) “and I am probably going to have some disappointments before I have any success, so I am not sure how much I am going to want to talk about it while it’s happening. So I wanted to give you the opportunity now to ask any questions you might have for me about the process.”

Awkward silence. I know how to murder a dinner party.

My mother panicked and could not think of any questions. I assured her that she was welcome to ask me things later if she wanted to.

My sister wanted to know mostly about the timeline and warn me about getting toxoplasmosis from my cat.

My other sister wanted to know if I’m moving in with my parents (maybe; they’ve invited me) and then my mom wanted to know if I’ve told my roommates I might be moving out (no, as I’m not even pregnant yet).

My brother-in-law wanted to know if I was getting genetic testing and, if there was a problem, if I would be terminating the pregnancy. While I assured him I was getting testing and had of course thought about many possible scenarios, I am in no way making a decision on that right now and hoping I never have to.

My dad said nothing.

Through this process, I have been surprised and buoyed by my father’s early acceptance of my choice. Though, looking back now, I realize that all this support was filtered through my mother and not told to me directly. My mother came to me with the invite to move in, saying that it was my dad’s idea. My mother told me at my Sperm Donor Party that while my dad didn’t want to come (good, really), he wanted her to tell me that he still fully supported my choice. The fact that my mom was telling me all of this instead of him was not strange, because that’s how our family dynamic works. We communicate with Mom the most.

At dinner, I pointed out how lovely my dad’s been about everything. He said, to the whole table, “Of course I support you in whatever you do. Just like I support you” (sister) “and you” (sister) “and you” (brother-in-law). “Doesn’t mean I agree with it, but I support you.”

Am I wrong in feeling crushed over this? Does it matter if he agrees, as long as he supports me? Aren’t they somewhat synonymous in this particular situation? Does he think support is just a financial crutch? A place to come home to?

I know there will be a lot of people who disagree with my choice, but this is really the first time I have confronted it head on. And so close to home…