Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bucharest: Week 1

In fairness my brother-in-law tried to warn me.  "You shouldn't come in August" he told me as we were booking flights in February.  "It's hot here then."  In February "hot" sounded just about right.  He left off the right terms.  "Fucking hot" would have been better.  Unbearable, hell-like, atrocious.  Much better descriptors. The guide book we looked at even went so far as to say "Avoid Bucharest in August at all cost".  I should have listened.

"I like it hot, heat doesn't bother me", I told him as a reply.  At the time this was true.  But I wasn't pregnant then.  Now the heat bothers me. 

We had selected our dates to visit my in-laws not around dates that worked for my husband or I but to line up with the dates that worked best for my family.  We were doing one last hurrah vacation with my family and we were going to Spain.  At the time it made sense to merge the two trips, thinking that we could get a cheaper flight within Europe than by having to flight over once for Spain and again for Romania in the fall.  My brother and his wife, who have a nanny, wanted to take the vacation when she was going to be away in the Phillipines.  It saved them money.  My husband and I had another trip planned in August but we agreed to cancel that trip (it was to a nerd convention) and make all of our travel plans around their schedule.

The day we arrived in Bucharest was the hottest on record.  We were told it was 43 degrees Celsius in the shade in the countryside.  That's 109F.  Without taking into account the humidity.  Without taking into account the fact that Bucharest is a utilitarian city with few strips of grass or trees to break up the radiating concrete.  That's fucking hot.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that very few of you have visited Romania.  It's not exactly a tourist hotspot.  It's beauty was really beaten out of it during the communist era and it is now filled with concrete blocks and uninspiring architecture.  There are thousands of feral dogs that roam the streets with no home. The walls are covered in graffiti and even the city parks are not maintained.  There may be no grass on median strips, just dirt, or weeds.  There are a few beautiful parks, but they aren't well groomed the way a park would be in Canada. 

The purpose of the visit was for me to meet my in-laws.  My husband left Romania when he was 13.  His mother had left more than a decade before and his father had finally agreed to let him go and visit her.  She refused to send him back.  My husband didn't return for almost 20 years.  He still has 2 half-brothers, a sister-in-law and a niece, his father and step-mother who live there.

My in-laws were lovely... although neither of us spoke the other's language, so it is hard to get into fights.   They were very kind and are hoping we will come back in soon.  I have told them never in August.

One of the places we visited was the People's palace.  Ceaușescu, the communist leader,  had thousands evicted from their homes and moved into apartments so that he could use the land to build the world's heaviest building, the world's largest civilian building with an administrative function and the most expensive administrative building in the world. 

We toured the palace one day and it is awe-inspiring in size and design.  From Wikipedia the description says :  The building is constructed almost entirely of materials of Romanian origin. Estimates of the materials used include one million cubic meters of marble from Transylvania, most from Ruşchiţa; 3,500 tonnes of crystal — 480 chandeliers, 1,409 ceiling lights and mirrors were manufactured; 700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze for monumental doors and windows, chandeliers and capitals; 900,000 m2 (9,700,000 sq ft) of wood, over 95% of which is domestic, for parquet and wainscoting, including walnut, oak, sweet cherry, elm, sycamore maple; 200,000 m2 (2,200,000 sq ft) of woolen carpets of various dimensions, the larger of which were woven on-site by machines moved into the building; velvet and brocade curtains adorned with embroideries and passementeries in silver and gold.

 My in-laws also took us to the mountains for a weekend where it was a "refreshing" 36 C (98 F).  They really wanted me to see all the beautiful spots in Romania... the problem is that they wanted me to see them all on foot.  One day they took me on a "short walk"for lunch.  It was 2 km...uphill... on a mountain... starting at 1.5 km altitude... in the heat.  I was gasping for air  and water by the time we arrived.  I was afraid by the end of the week that I had boiled the baby.  Fortunately she seems to be doing just fine. 

The beds however were awful, the apartment we stayed in had no air conditioning, the shower had no shower curtain (i'm not even kidding... this was the most annoying thing... after a shower everywhere in the country that we stayed we had to mop the floors afterwards because of pools of water).

We will be going back to Romania... how can i prevent my child from an opportunity to know her roots.  But if I didn't have family there I don't know that I would be going back. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The one where Shmily gets a new name

Yesterday was the big day.  The anatomy scan.  Shmily hit 20 weeks of age yesterday as well and we were told it was the last possible day that we could have our ultrasound.  So even though we had been out of the office for nearly 3 weeks my husband and I "had" to take half of the day off yesterday and head into the city for an ultrasound.

No matter how we tend to think of them there is a lot more to an anatomy scan than just the sex determination.  So let's get the serious stuff out of the way first.  Our baby is completely normal from what they could say.  Yes, those words that will strike anxiety into our hearts on baby's academic record, describing our pride and joy as merely average are the sweetest words a mama-to-be of "advanced maternal age" can read.  Our baby is normal... boring almost.  Shmily is measuring at 19.8 days on average which is only a few hours smaller than expected.  So a pretty nice size so far.

I personally am rooting for this baby to maintain size on the smaller side, I have no desire to push out a record sized baby.

The results weren't perfect.  The radiologist wants us to come back in two weeks for a more detailed analysis of the heart and brains, but the comments we were given were that it was due to baby's positioning and poor visibility not because of a red flag... so I am oddly comforted and not panicking at all... so not my normal attitude.

Now for the news that gets way more attention.  The big reveal.

I had always pictured this moment as being one where with my husband standing by my side holding my hand the ultrasound technician would  reveal the baby's sex.  But apparently our hospital will not allow the technician to discuss this information with the parents.  Instead, you receive a report after waiting in the waiting room for (in our case) an hour and a half.  You read through the words quickly and you feel the tears start to well up as you read the words:

"likely female"

a girl.

They think we are having a girl.


While we were on one of our many flights over the last few weeks my husband and I took our onerous list of 120 girls names and 145 boys names and weeded them down.   We went through the lists and if either person objected to a name is was crossed off.  We were left with a list of 12 boys names and 17 girls names.

We each then ranked the names and then tallied up the combined ranking.  We both ranked our little girl's name as first choice.  This process wasn't meant to be as decisive as it was... just a way to kill time while we were on an airplane.  But we had both fallen in love with the same name.  Neva.  (pronounced with a long E)

Neva means from the place of snow in Italian, which we thought was appropriate for a little girl born in January.  It is the name of a river in Russia, my husbands father's side emigrated from Russia so we felt like it went well with our last name.  It isn't common but we don't think it is freaky weird, or too You-neek in spelling. 

We haven't shared this information with our families yet... we are going to reveal the gender to my family on the weekend, but we are keeping the name a secret in case we change our mind.  But for now our little girl will be Neva Margaret Rebecca P.  And we are looking forward to meeting her.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Make up Post

Ummmm.... so yeah... it's been a while. 
Sorry about that.

First of all, everything is just fine. 

Work got stupid crazy for a while and I didn't have any free time day or night to write even a simple blog post.  I was rushing, trying to tie up the loose ends of my projects before my husband and I disappeared in what was meant to be a blissful 2.5 weeks of vacationing first with his Romanian side of the family who I had never met and then with my family.

I thought FOR SURE I would have lots of time to write a blog on vacation.  But then I discovered that my husband did not bring his computer with us on the trip and somehow seized control of my computer because he was always downloading pictures or figuring out the best route to take tomorrow.  Somehow the time got away from me.

So today I am finally back at work.  And I am about to run out of the office to attend my anatomy scan for our little squirmy bundle of joy.  So I can't really do much. 

They moved my office while I was away and we are moving again in about a month, so it doesn't seem worth while to even unpack anything.  So I am managing to find a few minutes to write a quick blog post before I dash off.  But I clearly have some making up to do.

First I promise to post with all of the details of the anatomy scan asap.  ANd then I will write a blog post about all of the "fun" vacation time we had. 

But I just want to warn everyone.  NEver go to Bucharest in August.  It is too freaking hot!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Basements and vistors

This past week has been one of those weeks... one of those weeks with no good news... and one big mess.

This week we have friends of my husbands staying with us.  They are the same friends we visited a few months back in New York and they are currently expecting a baby in October.  She is vietnamese and has the tiniest little frame with a giant belly bump sticking out of it.  She is the poster child for what a beautiful perfect belly bump looks like.  I am jealous.  As a shower gift we, together with another couple, are giving them a maternity photo shoot session.  She was very excited about it.  And even this early in her pregnancy her bump will look amazing.

By contrast I look lumpy in the wrong places.

It has been nice to see them, but it's also a bit hard to have someone staying with you, especially when they get to sleep in every day and you have to get dressed to go to work.  And last night they came home and put Strawberry cheesecake in my refrigerator.  I have an anaphylactic allergy to strawberries.  The one thing I ask is to not bring strawberries home.  ug.  I've asked them to make sure it is gone by the time I get back.

My father is home from the hospital and seems to be on the mend.  Currently they think he might be able to go to Europe with us, but only because my mother has agreed to put her nursing training to work and pack his incision site from the abscess he had.  Literally a pain in the ass put him in the hospital and caused all of his numbers to go wonky. 

And then there is the mess.  Our basement is flooding.  But, not from the rain.  We haven't had much rain.  My husband thinks it could be that the air conditioner isn't draining properly.  I hope he's right...  The idea of having to rip apart our basement to redo it makes me weep.  We have gorgeous hard wood floors down there.

So, excuse me for not writing much... it's just been one of those weeks its hard to get excited about. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Husbands and fathers and heartbeats... oh my!

My hubby and I had no plans for this past weekend.  We had hosted my "precocious" nephew for the previous week and even though we had fun we were exhausted.  Then we realized on Saturday we were going to have to go to my parents to do some laundry.  Because I am really on comfortable these days in maternity clothes, and because I don't have a lot of them, i have to do laundry fairly regularly.  And, of course, our washing machine has elected to break down.  My parents were very generous letting us come and use theirs.  And, my hubby, managed to get a gift from his wife who allowed him to go and watch two, yes TWO horrible summer action movies by himself while I did the laundry.

So I'm getting into the shower and I ask my husband to finish gathering all of the laundry together, strip the beds, while I finish getting ready.  I shower and return to the bedroom to find the linen still on the bed, and on the bed in the guest bedroom.

"Babe, what are you doing?" I call out, I can see he's in the kitchen, standing over the sink, holding his outside running shoes, covered in mud and grass and who knows what else

"cleaning my shoes" he responds innocently.

"in the kitchen?" I can feel the wrath of the pregnant woman hormones overcome me and my husband immediately knows he has done wrong.

Maybe I'm paranoid.  Maybe I know too much.  There are lots of parasites in the ground, in the dirt.  They advise pregnant women to wear gardening gloves and wash their hands well to make sure they don't pick up toxoplasmosis.  And here's my husband dropping dirt and grass bits all over our food preparation areas.

I mean even if I wasn't pregnant , to me this is not where you wash your running shoes.  We have a laundry tub... acceptable.  We have two outside hoses... acceptable... even the bathroom sink or tub to me is way better... but the kitchen????

And this is from my husband who is certain he is a germophobe.

So, sunday morning, after 8 hours of laundry (which my husband avoided by going to two, yes TWO movies) i forced him to clean the kitchen.  A lot.  With bleach.  And then clean it again.  And then I made him clean out the fridge.  I don't think our kitchen has ever sparkled as much as it does right now.  

Then came the bad news.  While I was doing laundry it was apparent that my father was getting ill again.  He looks so sallow and weak.  He can't sit because it is causing so much pain.  At 9pm Sunday night my mom took him back to emergency because he had a fever of 39.5.  He's been readmitted with a bacterial infection and has been placed on IV antibiotics.

We're all supposed to go to Europe together in just 3 weeks.  And i keep wondering if my father will be well enough to make the trip. 

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning at the same hospital where my father is a patient so i went to visit him after.  I heard the baby's heart beat for the first time.  What an incredible symphony that little one is making.  The most incredible sound I have ever heard. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Superstition

I have no idea why this was so hard... but I took a big and scary step for me today.  I had to call our RE's office and say that we would no longer be needing the appointment we have scheduled next week. 

I had put it off as long as I could.  I wouldn't even cancel when they called last week to move it up a week.  I couldn't bring myself to trust that I could cancel because we wouldn't need their appointment.  I am 3 months pregnant and yet, still, hanging over me is the terror that today could be my last day. 

I'm not normally superstitious, but i feel like one of those baseball players that when they are on a winning streak they won't change their socks, or their route to drive to the baseball field.  This total paranoia that even the slightest change in the routine will upset the delicate balance of the universe that has led to them being 12 for 12. 

That is how I feel about Shmily.  I feel like this pregnancy is a streak that is just waiting to be broken.  Like those signs in factories that say 114 days without a workplace accident.  They always seem to be tempting fate.  I have been pregnant for 93 days.  And even now I wonder if I am going to make it to day 94.

I know this is my pregnancy after loss brain that is completely not trusting my own body, or trusting this pregnancy.

But, I called (because my tomorrow we would have had to pay) and I cancelled.  They called back.  They congratulated me.  Told me it was wonderful news and how happy they are for us. 

But I just feel unsettled.  Like I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Updates

First, sorry for the delay in updating.  I had tried to post something from my cell phone but it didn't seem to work. Then I've been feeling a bit "off" for the last few days.  I don't know if this is a new and "exciting" symptom of pregnancy or if i have a tummy bug.  Either way I'm not enjoying it.  Finally, my beloved nephew of "can I see your lady parts?" infamy is staying for us for the week.  I'm keeping the bathroom door locked. 

First, the NT scan.  I was so incredibly relieved that Shmily's little heart is beating away.  This was my biggest fear.  I was terrified of a missed miscarriage that would be discovered at this scan.  It was keeping me up at night as I ran my hand over my beginning bump and murmuring to the baby within.  But that baby is still doing ok.  That was the biggest relief.  Our beautiful little baby is doing well.  However, it has taken after it's future mummy and daddy and was soundly sleeping through most of the ultrasound.  The tech kept making me wiggle on the bed to try to move the baby around.  It wasn't really well positioned for taking pictures of the neck, which after all is what we were there for.  She even finally tried a vaginal ultrasound and had me wiggle around with that damn dildo-cam inside me... those made for some interesting pictures flashing across the screen.

She didn't tell us the size of anything, but my husband is pretty sure that when she did measure something it measured 1.5mm, which is well shy of the 3mm worry point.  But my husband could be wrong on that front.  She did tell us that there were no red flags and nothing to worry about.  I cried with joy the whole way home that day.  Seeing our babies heartbeat momentarily relieves any fears that still flare up because of my previous miscarriage.  Even though this baby has made it (almost) to the second trimester I still don't 100% trust that this baby is coming home with us.

I was trying to send a picture to my work account so I could upload it to my blog, but I seem to be incredibly technically challenged.  If i figure it out i will include a pic.  

The other update, which is minor in a way, but could become bigger, is that I have begun the steps of talking to the hospital about the "genetic counseling" that we received.  When my maternity nurse called to check that I had all of my paperwork filled our correctly for the NT scan last Friday I told her what had happened.  She was horrified that such a thing had gone on.  I am currently waiting for the Patient representative, or advocate or whatever her title is to call me back about what happened.  The more I thought about it, the more horrified and angry I became.  Until it got to the point that I couldn't not do something.  So i will keep you all updated on what becomes of that.

Other than that, like I said, nephew number 1 is with us this week.  This mostly involves he and my husband playing video games while I nap.  He's taking a camp on lego robotics where you build a robot out of lego and program it to perform certain tasks.  Yesterday was the first day and he really seemed to enjoy it.  And it's good practice for us... well... good practice for my husband... I don't need any practice at napping.   

Friday, 5 July 2013

NT Scan Today!

Today is the day.  The scary test and test results and also another opportunity to see our beautiful bundle of joy.  We are so excited... and nervous.  The test is at 3pm today.  My whole family is waiting for a picture of Shmily.  My parents, who have had the same aging flip-phone for 8 years actually went out and upgraded to a iPhone so that they could receive a picture of their newest grandbaby.  They will be at a party this evening with my father's family and if everything is ok we have given permission for them to spread the news. 

So, keep your fingers and toes and eyes crossed for me today, and for Shmily, if you pray, feel free to add us to your list.  I am hoping that our baby will be in there still, dancing away, perfectly safe and happy after all these months, and that s/he will have a beautiful, slim neck. 

After today we can safely move out of the terror of miscarriages that is the 1st trimester and into the second trimester knowing we have a beautiful healthy baby. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Genetics Counseling

So last Friday my hubby and I made our way into the bowels of the city for a VERY early morning appointment due to my ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE.  I feel like this sentence should be read in a deep foreboding voice and filled with reverb. 

Can I tell you, it was horrible?

First, there was the requisite cheesy, outdated movie with outfits that were cheesy and outdated in the 80's.  The entire room burst into laughter at the awful cheesy dialogue and poor acting.  Then there was the over simplified genetics discussion... at least it was oversimplified for someone who has worked in molecular genetics for years.  I imagine that there are many people who don't know what a gene is... but I was annoyed that I had gotten out of bed for that.

Then we met with a genetics counselor,  she was fine, asked some vague questions about ethnicity and disability diagnoses in our family and then turned us over to satan the doctor.

The man was horrible.  I was so angry by the end of the appointment that I couldn't see straight.  It has taken me days to calm down and even still I am feeling my blood pressure ramp up again as I try to write about it.  This was his advice:

"You should have the amniocentesis done.  You might not appreciate this, but life as you know it will be over, forever, if you have a retarded child.  And then, if you go on and have other children their lives will be ruined by this retarded child too.  There are risks of course.  At our hospital we have a very low risk of miscarriage for an amniocentesis 1/900.  Now suppose that we establish you as having a 1/300 chance of having a child with down syndrome.  That means that if we take 900 women with a 1/300 risk we will find 3 children with down syndrome and terminate those pregnancies and we will only cause a miscarriage to one healthy baby.  I know, I know, you think that will be bad if you are the one woman with the miscarriage to the healthy baby, but it won't be so bad if it happens to you.  You will be back here in 6 months pregnant again."

This was spewed at us as one entire sentence.  There was no counseling, we were told that we need to abort a child who had a developmental delay, that they would ruin everything if we didn't.  And a complete disregard for the fact that, no, it took us a long time to get this far in pregnancy.  There was no guarantee we would just be able to ever get pregnant again.  And how dare he disregard a child with a disability as someone who would destroy my life.  As I said my husband later "our life as we know it will be over when this child comes regardless of if it has disabilities or not". 

I am angry, furious, that this is the level of advice that we are given.  No real insight into what the risk profile might look like for someone of my age, the point at while they would recommend having additional testing done, and no information to a family on what support they might have or choices they could make in the event of a diagnosis of a chromosomal abnormality.  This was from a government paid specialist.  A foregone conclusion that we would abort.

Then he tells us an anecdote as a parting shot.  "When I was still in Israel I was talking to this bedouin woman and explaining to her how horrible it would be to have a child like this.  And I figured she didn't understand because she just kept nodding.  Finally, she said to me, 'that is the child I want.  We have some children like this in our community.  They are filled with love, they do as they are told, they cause no trouble, this is the perfect child'. "  He shakes his head with wonder and says "The things these primitive people think are important". 

The benefit of this day is that it seemed to arouse a protectiveness in my husband for his unborn child.  "Maybe we shouldn't even do the testing", he says on the drive home.  "I don't want to risk losing Shmily.  We're a family.  No matter what."

Thursday, 27 June 2013

He ain't heavy, he's my brother

It was no surprise to me of course when we got pregnant.  I have always known the statistics on an increase in birth defects, miscarriages and chromosomal abnormalities for an older mom.  I am not super scared about it, because i know the statistics are still in our favour.  Tomorrow we are attending a Late Maternal Age counseling session.

At the moment I am not sure we need it, but at the time that I was first asked if we wanted to go I was certain we did.  See, the night before my very first doctor's appointment my husband and I had a fight.  A big fight.  Biggest of our marriage.  A bad fight.  A fight that shook me to my core and made me question the choices that I had made in marrying this man.  He told me that if something was "wrong" with our baby he would probably leave.

I was so angry with him.  How could he tell me this?  I remember hearing the "worst", "poorer" and "sickness" words in our marriage vows, and he agreed to it all.  He knew in advance, I hadn't sprung that part on him.  But here he was telling me that he couldn't take it if we were to face that. 

I was furious.  "You don't get to issue ultimatums to me.  We have no information.  This is a decision that we make together about whether not to continue or end a pregnancy.  Not something that you say to me as though any choice I make results in your leaving.  You chose to make this child.  You knew the risks." 

Since this time my husband has come around.  He has since told me "no abortions for us". 

Our family knows the impact that a severely disabled child has on a family first hand.  I have two beautiful nephews.  They are both special needs.  One is super bright, high functioning, ADHD, asking me about my lady parts kind of kid, my other nephew is a beautiful, laughing, smiling, wheelchair riding kind of kid.  They are both adored. 

The youngest of my two nephews is highly disabled.  He will be 7 in August and cannot walk or crawl (although he can roll his way around a house pretty fast), he can't feed himself, he uses a diaper, he can't talk much although we recognize when he says a few names.  He is also highly loved.  There isn't a single part of my body that doesn't love that little boy.  He has the best giggle in the world and I love to make him laugh.  I fell in love with him the second I first saw him.  We didn't learn about any developmental delays for months.  Even if we had known it wouldn't have changed anything.

My brother and his wife are AMAZING.  I can't say it enough.  They will fight tooth and nail for that boy.  They ensure that he has everything that he needs.  They make sacrifices and save for a future where they won't be able to care for him themselves.  They make sure he will always have everything he needs.  And they make sure that his older brother is a part of his life.  That he learns to love and accept and defend his little brother.  There were times when it was hard.  When my older nephew despaired of his younger brother ever "not being a baby".  But now he knows.  His little brother is special... and it will be his job to make sure that no one every hurts that special boy.  

My husband on the other hand met my nephew as a highly disabled 5 year old.  While he is quite charmed by the 9 year old, and likes to share tips on video games with him, he doesn't quite know how to relate to the younger boy.  He won't hold him, or hug him or play with him.

I have always been determined not to force this relationship.  But I do want to see it flourish.  I want my husband to love this wonderful boy who has a special gift for teaching us about ourselves. 

All these things go on in my head constantly.  We have out NT test next Friday and I am terrified of the results.  But it isn't just about having a disabled child.  I know I could love that child.  But I don't know that it won't make my marriage crumble.  It is amazing to watch my brother and sister-in-law support each other and make it work.  But that's so hard.  And even though my hubby has realized that he can't issue a dictate like that I don't know how he will cope in practice. 

And I am scared of my own weaknesses.  My inability to be as strong as you have to be to fight every day for that child.  My inability to provide financially for that child as well as my brother can.  My older nephew will always be there to provide for his little brother, but who would look after our child when we are gone if they can't look after themselves?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Reveal: My In Laws

I don't know why I have been so hesitant to write this reveal.  I guess it is probably because for me, in so many ways, it was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done.  I wasn't/still aren't ready to share my news with my husbands family, but it had to be done for my husbands sake.

I've talked a little about this before but for the sake of this blog i want to recap a little bit why i am so uncomfortable.  I do love my husbands family, they are wonderful and kind and loving people.  But, they are so different from my family.  They do what my Grandfather used to call "loving loudly" meaning they fight and scream at each other.  It doesn't really mean anything, doesn't mean they are pissed off, just that they disagree.  My family is not like this.  My brother pisses me off on a regular basis... I complain about him behind his back to my mother.  That is the nice normal way of doing these things.  :D

I agree there are advantages to the more forthright communication, but it is something I am still adapting to.  My husbands cousin got married in November of 2011.  Within 2 months they were pregnant.  While I was struggling to conceive the first time his wife said to me "You just need to relax.  We did.  This little bundle (she pauses here and strokes her rounding belly) was conceived because we just relaxed and drank a bottle of wine".  This was the moment that I stopped confiding in her.  It was the moment that in my head I screamed "It doesn't help to give that advice after months and months and months of trying.  We were relaxed the first couple of months."  Because I grew up in a family that doesn't tell you things to your face like this I smiled politely and cried on the way home.

The day I found out that I was losing the baby we had dinner with her and another pregnant wife of a cousin-in-law (I swear these people are more like SILs to me)  I had to do all the dishes because they were pregnant.  The week that she gave birth was as I was still going through the miscarriage. (I get the impression from many women that their miscarriages last 1 really bad day.  Mine occurred over 5 weeks.  I don't know what actual day it happened.  I suspect with better medical care (I have since changed doctor's) i would have been given a D'n'C.  But I could detect hcg in my urine for months.)  I visited her in the hospital.  I brought gifts.  I held her freshly baked baby, all cute and snuggly.  I held back my tears until we got back in the hallway.  I cried for 4 days straight. 

Then things went from bad to worse.  Now the pressure was on.  My husband and I had been married for months.  Where was the announcement.  Every week if I declined scotch the jokes would start "Oh!  She's pregnant" and if I didn't decline it "OMG!  You are drinking when you are pregnant?  You are going to make a terrible mother!"  It was funny to them.  It was never funny to me.

Every week I would say to my husband.  "You need to get them to stop".  But, he is like me.  He avoids confrontation.  By the next week he had put it off until the jokes started again.  I began to roll my eyes at them.  Make sarcastic comments like "Yeah, that's really funny", and sometimes flat out say "Not funny".  Did I say stop?  I think I did.  But i can't remember how clearly.  But I also think that pregnancy is one of those things, if they aren't telling, you don't ask.  A couple who doesn't have children either is trying or doesn't want to try.  Either way, it's no one else's business. 

Then came the day when I couldn't take the teasing.  It kept going.  "Not funny".  I said the first time.

"I think you should stop that", I said the second time.

The third time I unleashed a torrent of anger upon them that ensured the topic was never brought up again.  "Stop it.  It isn't funny.  It hurts and it's hard."  I was crying and hysterical and I don't know what all i said to them.  Needless to say the dinner was quiet after that. 

In the week that followed my husband was sent multiple apologies.  I was sent advice and recommendations.  "We went to see a naturopath both times and got pregnant right away," came one unsolicited recommendation.  I wrote back "It is staying pregnant that has been hard so far".  I was angry and upset that these people had been so pushy and unkind to me even though i knew it was because they meant well and that is just what they are like.  It was a few weeks before I returned to family meals. 

Because of this I wasn't prepared to share with them the news of our baby.  The evil side of me wanted to wait until they asked... especially if it was at 8 or 9 months... i figured I had been strong enough that they wouldn't dare.  So, the last few months as I have been declining scotch no one has commented.  When my husband finished (drank) my wine at shabbat it was done fairly discretely... if they noticed no one said. 

Last friday as everyone gathered we gave my MIL a "Memories for my grandchild", attached to it was a piece of paper underneath that said "Due Jan 2014".  The amount of time it took her to figure it out was PAINFUL and i got the sense that no one wanted to be the first to say anything.  When they did I was smothered in love... not the loud kind... the normal, kind, hugs and kisses and Beshaah Tovah wishes (Do NOT SAY MAZEL TOV to a pregnant woman... you say Beshaah Tovah which means "All in good time" or "At a good time" or "In God's time). 

Of course they were happy for us.  I never doubted that they would be.  My Aunt-in-law told us she had been praying for us every night.  The pregnant wife of the cousin (seriously... can i just call her a sister-in-law?)  who had the baby last October... she wouldn't let go... she was so glad that this was happening for us.  My MIL hugged me and told me she was glad that she was going to be a grandmother. 

They all were over the moon with happiness....  but still... i am not quite ready for them to know.  I think it is because I HAD to tell them about the last miscarriage, in the most painful of ways I am reluctant to reveal any information about this one until we know without a doubt that s/he is going to be ok... even if that means not until week 42 of this pregnancy.  I know that isn't reasonable... but it is how I feel.  Please don't ask the pregnant lady to be logical or rational.  

I did think it was strange that not one of them asked me how I felt, how the pregnancy was going or if everything was ok.  It is usually the first thing that everyone asks.  I don't know if this is a difference in my family, or if it is more of the same idea that you don't wish for congratulations because the baby isn't here yet. 

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Reveal: My Father in Law

Revealing my pregnancy to my father-in-law was it's own kind of awkward.  This is a man I have never met, and with whom I can not speak because we don't share a common language.  Still, this is the man who cared for my husband as a small boy and who stayed with him when his mother pulled up stakes and left.

We started out by trying to call my FIL on Sunday morning.  Five different times my husband tried to call Romania and kept being told that the number could not be put through.  He decided, finally in desperation to call his half-brother and make sure the number was working.  My husband spent the next 5 minutes conversing with his brother, I could make out that they were verifying numbers and that my husband did indeed have the right number... I also managed to understand that using Skype wasn't possible... and that my husband hadn't shared the news yet with his brother.  When he finally did, he did so in english (which both brothers speak well) and so i was able to join in the conversation.  It turns out that the step-mother is out of the city and my FIL is apparently unable to operate Skype, or really the computer at all, without her.  The brother told us he would call the father and ask him to call us, and promised not to reveal the reason why.  He told us he was very happy to see us in just 6 weeks now! 

We waited by the phone for a while but FIL didn't call until we had made our way across town to a birthday party for a very cute 1 year old boy.  It is so different now being at these parties with small children everywhere and deciding what sort of parents we are likely to be (my guess is very protective).  When my FIL called my husband went to the foyer and began to speak quickly in Romanian.  I joined him and listened in unable to understand anything.  When he was finally done he looked at me with tears in his eyes.  You could tell he had his father's approval and that it meant a lot.  He said "This is from my father" and kissed me tenderly on the cheek.  "He also says 'easy pregnancy, easy delivery,  and don't stop!' ".  We laughed and then my husband held me and whispered in my ear "He also says that even from this distance he can tell how much joy you have brought into my life.  He says he is very glad that you are his daughter." 

I am looking forward to meeting my father in law, although disappointed I will not be able to communicate with him directly.  I expect to see a lot of my wonderful husband in this man. 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Reveal: My family

I have to say that my beloved oldest nephew did not disappoint.  This weekend we finally told our families that we were expecting to have to add another table to the family gatherings, and of course everyone was thrilled.  But my oldest nephew... he gave us the best reaction... and then the worst.

We decided we had to come up with  new way to reveal to my family that we were expecting a baby.  We had told my parents the weekend before, but now my brother, sister, sister-in-law and nephews needed to be let in on the secret.  We decided to give the oldest nephew, who will be turning ten in January the following:

   On a 10th birthday card we wrote the message:  "Ok, you aren't actually 10 yet, but it is such an important birthday that we decided to give you a hint of the gift that is coming"

Then he opened a gift that had a bottle inside with a note tucked in that say "A new cousin".  It took him a minute... but when he processed it the the eyes popped open, the jaw fell to the floor and he started yelling in joy.  My sister was shooting me daggers "You already know what you are getting him for his birthday?"  Then she found out what the note said.  There were tears.  Everyone was happy.  (Obviously).

Then it started to get awkward.  "I can be there when you have the baby?"  my nephew asks.  "For two reasons, I want to meet the baby and I want to see a lady's private parts".

ewww...

"uh... you can come and visit us in the hospital but no, having a baby is a private moment."

"How long have you guys been doing it".  Comes his next question.

My sister-in-law jumps in "since they got married last year."  My husband starts sniggering in the chair next to me.

"But then how come you are only 11 weeks pregnant,"  comes the next awkward question.

"Because you can't get pregnant the first time," his flustered mother tries to stem the flow of questions.

"Uh... I don't think you should tell him that!  That's the way to become a really young grandmother."

My sister-in-law looks at me stricken, "I don't really know why I said that."

I think this is how bad sex ed and teenage pregnancies get started!

So, my nephew is very, very happy.  He wanted to tell all of his friends and immediately started trying to speak to my belly button.  My sister is thrilled.  She can't wait to become an aunt... again.  I wonder how we will make next weekend as much fun.

Friday, 21 June 2013

D-Day

Today is the day.  Today is the day that my beautiful perfect little secret becomes slightly more public knowledge.  Today is the day we tell HIS family.

We see his family every Friday night.  His extended family is Jewish and so we get together for the sabbath and have a huge family meal.  My husband's relationship with his family is complex.  He was raised in Romania under a communist regime.  His mother hated the communist system and used her religion as Jewish to get a visa to travel to Israel.  My husband was 3.  She never came back.  The story is complicated.  She swears she thought that her husband would find a way to follow her despite the fact that he would not be eligible for the same visa.  She thought her son would join her.  He didn't.

My husband didn't see her for a decade.  By then he had been raised in part by an awful girlfriend of his father's, an aunt, a grandmother, a step-mother.  When he was 13 and now the elder brother of two young step-brothers his father capitulated and sent him to Israel. Whether it was because the 13 yo damaged young man was difficult to deal with in a house with two young babies I don't know.  Or if his mother had finally worn down his father... it could be.  But finally he was sent to live in Israel with a mother he didn't know.  Within a month of his arrival she had left to immigrate for Canada leaving him in the care of yet another aunt.  Within the year he moved to a 3rd country, started a life in a 3rd language.  Tried to fit in to a new culture.  He had a hard life.

I have mixed feelings about my MIL because of this.  I can't quite understand how as a mother she could ever leave behind her child.  I will say that my MIL has always been very kind to me.  She has accepted me and given me gifts and been considerate and kind.  But, at the same time, she can be a wee bit self involved.  On the day we announced our engagement her response was "I know just what I am going to wear [to our wedding]".  This came before "congratulations" or "I am so happy for you" or even "welcome to the family".  Her first thought was about her. 

My husband's relationship with her is complex.  On one hand he wants to have a comfortable typical mother-son relationship, but at the same time he has resentment and anger that can't just be washed away, especially since she doesn't ask for forgiveness.  He is much closer to his aunt, the one he was left with in Israel.  She is like a surrogate mother to him, and to me.  She is loving and caring and wants only the best for him.  When she learned of our engagement her first thought was about how happy she was we had found each other. 

So, today, we are telling the whole family sooner than i had hoped.  My MIL is going on vacation tomorrow.  I can not, in good conscience, let my husband tell his aunt and cousins when his mother is not there.  By right she shouldn't find out second hand.  And, by the time she comes back I am certain to be showing.  But there is something in me that is very petty and doesn't want to tell his family first, after all of their horrible teasing as i was going through a miscarriage (that they didn't know about).  It is hard for me to tell them when there is still a chance that something could go wrong, that something could happen to our little Shmily.  It is taking such a leap of faith to go to dinner today and tell them our precious little secret.

Tomorrow we tell the rest of my family.  I have no qualms about telling them.  Except my 10 year old nephew who would be devastated to have to learn that not all babies make it.  That would be horrible. Wish me luck... it is a long weekend filled with a lot of trust.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The jig is up.

I have caved.  All of my clothes, while they might still technically fit, are getting so tight that they are no longer comfortable and are clearly screaming to everyone that my bust is bigger and my belly is bigger. 

People might not technically guess that I am pregnant yet.. they might just think that I have been over indulging in sweets... but I think it is more obvious when I wear my non maternity clothes that i have gained weight then when I try to wear maternity clothes... so today.. this is it... i'm in maternity clothes for the first time.  I took the belt out of the shirt so it won't emphasize the bump so much... It just looks like a loose fitting tunic.  And so far no eyebrows have been raised.  Although most people are out of the office today anyway. 

I am just hoping to get through this week... Once we've told our families I feel less bad about wearing maternity clothes. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

2nd Prenatal appt.

Yesterday was my second prenatal appointment.  My family practice is a teaching centre, so, with pregnancy you alternate between a full doctor and a resident for your monthly appointments.  Yesterday was my first appointment with my resident.  I am very touchy when it comes to doctors, they can be so hit or miss... sometimes they are so full of themselves that they put me off right away, they can be rude, or condescending or just give you a general feeling that they are incompetent.  I am always apprehensive when I meet a new doctor. 

I was pleasantly surprised.  My new resident is about 3 feet tall and just happy and bundles of energy.  I am a little concerned the baby might be bigger than her when it comes out but she seems very nice and very competent.  Now the trick is just to hope that Shmily makes an appearance when one of them is available.  I hate the idea of at the last minute getting someone that I don't like.

The appointment was very run of the mill.  They did NOT bring out the doppler and let me listen to my baby's heart, which was a huge disappointment, but they also decided they didn't need to do a pelvic exam which was a huge relief.  I hate those things. 

Generally everything looks good.  I've lost some weight so they were worried that I was vomiting too much but really I haven't thrown up much at all.  I am kind of glad that I have lost some weight because it means i can totally blame the baby for the fact that most of my clothes are getting tight and not because I had Indian food with a ton of naan for dinner on Sunday. 

The doctor also made me aware that on my ultrasound they had found a corpus luteum in my right ovary.  I had seen the notation on my ultrasound but didn't realize it was significant.  Apparently it is unusual (but not worrying) and can rupture at any time causing a lot of pain.  The resident didn't warn me about the pain, I wish she had because if I suddenly have agonizing pain I am going to worry a lot that something is wrong with the baby!  But The Google sorted me out.  Now at least I know what to expect.  Apparently they can rupture during sex and The Google doesn't recommend sex when you have one (uh... I'll think about that).

Next appointment is July 15th.  Next ultrasound is July 5th.  That ultrasound is the NT scan, one that will show us hopefully that everything is ok with the baby.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Double Digits

Last week was a bit of a crap week.  I had posted a blog about it and have taken it down as I think it was sort of an off-topic rant that doesn't really belong.  And there was nothing really going on with the pregnancy last week... just plodding slowly towards the next milestone.

That's today.  25% done.  10 weeks in.  Woo hoo.  Shmily graduates to double digits!!  We also came out to my parents this weekend. 

We didn't expect too... I mean originally we did, but then my family screwed around with my carefully planned reveal by deciding that this weekend had too much going on and we would celebrate father's day next week along with my father's birthday.  I sulked a little because I was getting excited about telling everyone....

Then my mom learned about a furniture sale near us.  College Woodwork furniture is made a college not too far from where we are.  I frequent a garden centre on the same campus and my mom regularly makes a drive to visit us and buy plants there too.  On Friday she took me out for lunch and then went to the greenhouse and was given a pamphlet for this sale.  So Sunday morning we went to look...

We bought a crib.

See, we didn't mean to... but the sale was so good... This gorgeous bed, made from solid wood, regularly nearly $2000 he offered to us for $600... we walked away with a dresser, change table, day bed conversion kit, double bed conversion kit and crib for $1300.  And it is beautiful. 

Well we didn't exactly walk away with it... see none of it would fit into our tiny compact cars... so we had to call my parents and see if they wanted to join us for dinner, oh and maybe could we use their van to pick up some furniture.  I tried to be evasive when they asked what we bought... my dad swears he knew it was a crib.

They came to our house and my husband and I vibrated with excitement wanting to tell them.  Before they had even sat down we thrust a father's day gift into my father's hand.  "And, we liked it so much we got you one too mom!" I smiled brightly, trying to hide my nerves.

My mom looked at me as she saw it was a GRandmother's journal... she cocked her head at me when she read "Please return by Jan, 2014".  I nodded, slightly, and she started to cry.    My dad kept looking at the note, "Is this trying to tell us something".  I don't think he wanted to sound too pushy.

The problem is now, we have to reveal to my siblings (worst of all my sister!) that we already told my parents when we see them next weekend... and we have to figure out HOW to tell them now.  The words "I'm pregnant" still get caught in my throat.

I have another doctor's appt this afternoon, I am hoping i get to hear Shmilys heart, that would make my day. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

The longest week. EVER.

Today... finally... I graduate to being 9 weeks pregnant exactly.  It feels like such a relief to finally be moving forward.  Last week, my 8th week of pregnancy was unnaturally long.  The ultrasound which showed me the most beautiful picture in the world also readjusted my due date.  And I had to repeat pregnancy days 8 weeks 1 day through 8 weeks 4 days.  It felt like Groundhog Day.

It's funny that they are so worried about being precise.  I mean Shmily is going to come when Shmily damn well feels like coming whether his/her due date is on the 10th or 13th of January.  And at the end of the pregnancy those days will be meaningless. Whether s/he is born at 39 weeks or 39 weeks and 3 days is a completely unimportant point.

But here, this early, in the beginning of my pregnancy, slowly and painfully inching towards the relative safety of the second trimester those three extra days felt like an eternity.  They just felt like 3 extra days when something could go horribly wrong and take this precious life away from me. 

Now... Just another 3 weeks and I will breathe a little bit deeper.

My husband confessed to me yesterday that he has been having panic attacks every night when he falls asleep.  They apparently started when he saw the ultrasound.  I think it made everything so much more real to him and he started to think about the consequences of what we did!  He realizes that there is going to be another person in our house, another mouth to feed another body to clothe... and i think the responsibilities are feeling a bit overwhelming.

I'm hoping that if we talk about it then he will start to realize we are capable of getting through everything... and we aren't likely to be named worst parents on the planet and everything will be fine.  My husband can be a bit skittish though.  If anyone has suggestions on calming a husband down they would be appreciated it. 

Friday, 7 June 2013

How Sweet!

I'm all choked up!  I was very kindly named for the Super Sweet blogging award by CAM at Recipes for Lemons. I've seen this award circulating through a number of people in the ALI community but it is so sweet to have been recognized in this way. 

There are some rules I need to follow:



  • Thank the blogger that nominated you:  Dear CAM... Thank you.  This means a lot because I feel like I have only just started this li'l blog.. and it was something I was doing just for me.  To help me deal with everything we were going through.  To have someone read my blog was more than I ever expected.  To have you nominated me for anything that involves cupcakes is the highlight of my day! (Ok... confession... not that hard because I just spent an hour under my desk because our office was on lock down because someone was coming with a weapon... but we're safe now)
  • Answer 5 super sweet questions:
    Questions:
    Cookies or cake?: What is this "or" business??  Do I have to choose?  Fine...cookie.. or cake... one of them.
    Chocolate or vanilla?I am allergic to chocolate... it gives me migraines.  So I reluctantly pick vanilla... but I am really bitter about it.
    Favorite sweet treat?: Key Lime Pie
    When do you crave sweet things the most?: With a cup of tea.
    Sweet nickname?:   Man... that's hard...I'm not really a sweet nickname kind of person.  I guess my dad called me "Sweetie"... but usually when he was apologizing for something so it's not a name I ever liked.
  • Include the super sweet blogging award picture in your post: Ta Da!


  • Nominate 12 other bloggers
    • Sarah J from When is it my turn:  Sarah is currently in a two week wait after trying a new protoccol with her IUI.  I know Sarah has been struggling with how painful this journey has been for her and her husband.  I am hoping that next week she will get her BFP and she will know when her turn is.
    • CAM from Recipes for LemonsCAM nominated me and I want to return the favour.  She is an inspiration in so many ways.  She was pregnant not too long ago and shared a due date with me.  When she went to an ultrasound they discovered the baby had stopped developing.  I was crushed for her.  But she and her husband have taken this in their stride and are moving forward with making their family through adoption.  She is determined to be a mother and she will be. 
    • Catwoman 73 from Two Adults, One ChildCatwoman73 has a beautiful girl but is still coming to terms with the fact that her family won't be getting any bigger.  Although she did just adopt a really cute cat which is helping to give her the family she always wanted.
    • Kharini from My Fertility Blog:   This was the first fertility blog I ever found and she has been through so much.  She's currently working with an Egg Donor and Surrogate to give her the family she's always wanted and deserves and is hoping to do the first transfer before the end of the year.  Her kindness, sweetness and heart bleeds through the page with every log and I am so looking forward to the days that she finally gets to take home her family. 
    • Stupid Stork from Stupid StorkThis is probably the funniest blog I have ever read.  She has such a hilarious attitude towards life.  I look forward to a new post from her because I know she will have me in stitches.  I kind of want to stalk her in real life because I love funny smart women.
    • Knalani from The infertile ChemistThis is probably one of the most informative blogs out I've ever read as Knalani uses her chemistry background to breakdown the drugs that she's taking and how they interact.  She spends the time studying up on everything, learning all the statistics and reminds me of the nerdiest side of myself.
    • Mrs. E from ttcbabye3Mrs. E has conceived her baby 3!! And our due dates are 3 days apart.  I love updates because she often has pictures from her ultrasounds that make me feel like I get a sneak peek into what is going on inside my own uterus. 
    • Yeah, Science! from Yeah, ScienceIs a local blogger too who I found out shares my ultrasound clinic.  She just received news on her ultrasound that the baby has an echogenic bowel which can be a marker of trisomy 21 and CF but may also just be nothing.  She is currently waiting for results and hoping that everything is going to turn out ok. 
    • Lauren from On Fecund ThoughtLauren has recently suffered a miscarriage and is only just getting her body back on track from the experience.  She's struggling a bit I think in dealing with a SIL who is currently pregnant as she deals with her own loss.
    • Amber at Old Lady and No BabyAmber is also currently pregnant after loss and happily just got her second betas back showing a beautiful normal doubling.  I am so happy for her but recognize the same paranoid feelings about not 100% trusting that everything is going to be ok.  I think, like me, she is holding her breath until she gets to the 2nd trimester. 
    • Aramis at It Only Takes One:  This is another hilarious blogger.  She has gone through a lot of tests and is surrounded by overly fertile coworkers these days.  I have only just found her blog but I am glad that I have and I look forward to learning more about her journey.
    • Risa and Chris from Who Shot Down my Stork:  I want to nominate both Risa and her occasional guest blogger Chris for this.  I love when Chris blogs because too few men keep blogs and his insights allow me an insight into the things my husband might be feeling but doesn't tell me about. Risa is a fantastic blogger and she just shared the story of how they got together.  They seem like a perfect match for each other.
Wait... how is that already 12?  There's so many brilliant bloggers out there and they have given me a lot of inspiration and reasons to feel hope.  I love this community and am so glad that i have found them all.  The support that I have felt is amazing and I find myself looking forward to following all of these stories every day. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Deep Breath

For everyone else out there this is going to seem silly... or maybe it won't because most of the people who do read this blog have been exactly where i was and understand why the teeniest tiniest steps are the hardest to take.

Today I took one of those teeny-tiny steps, but one that has profound significance for me and accepting and believing that Shmily is really going to be ok.  Today i ordered books on line.. Yay me!  Ok.. see.. teeny tiny step... but there's background.

First, when i was pregnant the first time I ordered this book (except not from Amazon because I read this article and now I can't order from Amazon because I just keep picturing the nightmare of a cut-out cheerfully telling the poor person putting together my order that it is the "best job they've ever had").  I pictured being able to follow along with my baby as it went through all of the milestones... knowing what was going on inside my belly.  I was excited and thrilled and happy. 

The day after i started to miscarry was the day it arrived.  I went to the store to pick up the book (oddly if you order a book to the store you don't pay shipping charges and it is often cheaper than the price of the same book in the store)... stone-faced, determined not to cry, and damning myself for spending the money thinking that the baby was for keeps when it so wasn't meant to be.  I couldn't return the book... I couldn't get the words out.  I brought the book home and took to bed crying.  My husband came home and found the book and hid it for me so i wouldn't have to see it. 

I was determined that I wouldn't ever do that again.  I wasn't going to tempt fate into giving me another miscarriage because i was out buying things for a baby that wasn't meant to be.  And then today that's sort of what I did.

We have a plan.. it's kind of a cheesy plan, but I think my husband and I are pretty cheesy people sometimes.  Our plan is to give my father a grandparents memory book on father's day (or possibly the weekend after on my father's birthday) ... tell him we are going to need it back in January (and hope that he gets the hint... or at least that one member of the family will).  We are going to do the same thing for my MIL to tell her.  But now we've decided that we want a memory book from each of the grandparents so that no matter what Shmily will have a sense of his/her history. 

Well Father's Day is quickly approaching, as is my father's birthday and the books that I want are mostly not available for perusing in the bookstores... or at least not all in one place... so today I took a big step in trusting Shmily and my body again by ordering 8 different books (what?  I can return the ones we don't want) so that we can choose the ones we like best. 

Trusting that we are going to get to use them.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Meeting Shmily

Yesterday was amazing.  There's just no other words for it.  Unfortunately I am terrible with blogger app for my phone and swipe texting in general.. so I lost patience trying to write a proper update yesterday.

I will admit, fully, that I was unfocused and unproductive yesterday.  I fortunately could spend the morning looking for some cartoons to use in a talk which meant that I didn't really have to be too productive at all. 

My husband was coming with me for the appointment and, because I HATE driving in downtown Toronto I would much rather take the bus to my husbands workplace (3 municipalities over) and have him drive us both into the city.  However, the bus runs on its own schedule, not mine.  The only bus that would get us there in time for our appointment meant we were almost an hour early.

Fortunately this paid off, they were running ahead of schedule and they were able to take me more than half an hour early. 

At first the tech said she was going to try an abdominal ultrasound.  I didn't want to waste the time, i just wanted her to go straight for the money shot, the one that would clearly and unambiguously show us our baby.  But... I acquiesced.

I lay dociley on the bed and pulled up my dress.  She covered me in jelly and instantly the words were out of her mouth.  "There's the heartbeat."  there was no waiting, there was no agonizing seconds as she tried to bring our baby into focus.  It was just there with a beautiful flickering heart beat. 

The tears started to stream down my face.  "You can see the heart?  It's really there?"

She showed us on the monitor.  My husband, who had been hovering awkwardly at the foot of the table slumped into the chair at my feet and began to stroke them.  "It's ok" I could hear him mumbling to himself.  "Our baby is okay".

The technician then decided she still needed to do a vaginal ultrasound to get a better picture for dating.  I happily assumed the position for a better look at our baby. 

"That's the head.  Oh and the baby is waving his arms" the tech points out to us.  "See that big empty spot in the head... that's normal' (uh... dear ultrasound technician... please don't point out my baby's brain area as a empty spot and tell me it's normal.. it makes me worry the baby will take after my family!) 

We couldn't have been more thrilled.  I could have stayed for hours, never has a vaginal ultrasound been such a wonderful experience. 

Shmily measured at 8 weeks and 1 day (1.6 cm) which means my due date has been adjusted to January 13, 2014.  This is 3 days later than I thought, puts the ovulation date fully into where I was testing with OPKs.  Total stealth ovulation.  Stealth baby. 

The disappointment was no takeaway pictures to nauseate our friends and family with when we finally tell them.  But I have another ultrasound in about 3 weeks so hopefully then. 

But what a relief to know that s/he is in there and growing happily. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Ready for my close up Mr. Demile

They took me in almost a half hour early and saw a heartbeat!  Just waiting for our report.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Somebody shrank my weekend.

How is it possible that the weekend is already over?  that makes no sense.  There is absolutely no way it lasted as long as it was supposed to. 

Every year my parents street hosts a giant garage sale and a street party.  My parents decided to seize the opportunity to try to get rid of some of the clutter from the house they have lived in for 36 years.  Friday night we went over to help bring up things from the basement.  Saturday we were there at 8 am putting up tables, laying out books and snorkel gear and snow shoes.  We sat and shilled for 5 hours.  At the end of the day we had a net take of almost 15 dollars.  Yup... that's it.  Apparently no one wants my parents crap.  But then of course this crap could not go back into the house.  It needed to be given to a charity in the hopes that someone somewhere would find a use for it. 

We drive very small cars... there was no way all of that junk would fit in our cars... we needed to use my parents van to drive everything to the closest Value Village... but my mother had taken my sister to the funeral of a friend's mother... so we couldn't get rid of the stuff Saturday... it meant we had to go back on Sunday, load up the van and find someone who would accept most of it.  No one will take a mattress, so a perfectly good mattress futon which someone who really needs a place to sleep at night could have used went to waste. 

All of the lugging of furniture and books has made my back ache something awful... i'm not sure if it is aggravated because of the pregnancy or not.  Regardless these activities wore me out.  I was in bed by 8 on Saturday night.  Maybe that's why the weekends feel so short... I sleep through most of them.

I couldn't help but think that it is probably the last time I will see my parents before we tell them about our baby.  I can't tell them until after the viability ultrasound.  My parents have so much bad news in their lives these days I can't tell them about Shmily unless we know that S/he is going to be ok.  Fingers crossed that in 31 hours I will have finally met our baby.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Ford Nation to the Rescue!

We have a fetus to greet us!

As of today young Shmily is no longer an embryo... he... she... it.... is officially a fetus... at least he is according to several on-line baby books.  I am very impatiently counting down the days until tuesday when we get our first glimpse and first reassurance that the baby is ok.  It is a good thing I have a years worth of 2-week waits behind me to teach me how to be a little bit patient. 

The one really brilliant thing that has helped has been the distraction created by the mayor of Toronto Rob Ford.  We don't actually live in Toronto... we are suburbanites... but the distraction and constant breaking of new news on this story is brilliant.  Mayor apparently filmed smoking crack, denies it... his whole staff quits... tries to have documents shredded... may have sent someone to get the film... shooting in the apartment where film is reportedly stored...Brother was a major hash dealer in the 90's... Crazy.  Assed.  Shit.  I have watched soap operas with less involved plots.  There are many who think it is a reality version of The Wire. 

I can't help myself but I am hooked... the man is such a buffoon... refusing to answer questions... refusing to make such clear statements as "i have never done crack".  He is making it perpetually worse on himself.  I have to refresh the news every 20 minutes to make sure I don't miss something. 

I never thought I would be grateful for Rob Ford... but he is certainly filling in the time between now and my ultrasound.  Now, don't judge me too harshly... I avert my eyes at actual train wrecks... i do have sympathy for those in a tough position... but Rob Ford... I just can't.  All he has to do is play nice with the media and this sideshow would go away...

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Making his/her presence felt

Tomorrow marks the end of my 7th (or is it 8th - seems to depend on the book you look at) week of pregnancy.  Woo hoo.  Tomorrow I will be exactly 20% of the way through carrying this baby. 

So far... so good.  I have been feeling some vague morning queasiness, but nothing I would describe as awful.  I have had about the worst heart burn... in fact heart burn is a misnomer since it seems to start somewhere around my toes and continue until about mid-forhead.  I told my husband I wasn't sure this baby was mine because it doesn't seem to like spicy food.  Today I am subsisting on yoghurt, tums and soda crackers to see if I can get some of the burn under control. I have also taken to eating vast quantities of fiber to keep things moving.

Is this the extent of my pregnancy symptoms?  The day by day pregnancy book that I check as soon as I wake up in the morning says that symptoms sort of reach their worst as you finish the 7th (or is it 8th) week of pregnancy. 

All I know is that every day is a milestone.  One extra day that Shmily has to tell me that s/he is doing ok, still growing and not leaving.  Every day I become more convinced that this baby is sticky.  So far s/he's stuck good.  Every morning as I wake up to pee (for about the 3rd time that night) I whisper to the baby inside me "7 weeks 6 days down... you're doing good Shmily.  Please stay safe, please stay healthy.  Please stay inside".

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Signed, Sealed, Delivered... I'm yours!

So, it is official.  I am currently employed for another year.  I felt I had to tell my boss of my "situation" before i could hand over my job offer to him.  I had to tell him that currently, my expectation was that I would be taking maternity leave in January of 2014.

His reply "congratulations.  You are going to be a wonderful mother."

I knew I could trust him with this information.  He didn't have any problems with me signing the contract.  He was just happy for me.

These are among the reasons I love my boss.  He is fabulous!

I wish everyone could have a boss as wonderful as he is and I hope he never leaves.  I hope he stays until I retire.  He's amazing.

So, after I revealed my news he urged me to sign my contract and hand it over.  Signed. Sealed and Delivered I get to continue in my current position until the arrival of Shmily.

Um.... yeah... Shmily is the nickname we've given to that unbridled lump of joy that is currently transforming itself into a baby in my uterus.  It is an acronym that stands for "See How Much I Love You".  Sappy right?  But I love my husband and he loves me and together we made Shmily.  Yay. 

Monday, 27 May 2013

In the weeds

My husband, it seems, is determined not to be one of those men who coddle the women in their life who are pregnant.  He has watched his one brother not allow his wife to do even a dish and I don't think he was impressed with the additional extra work that is created for the husband if this should occur.

Long before I found out we were pregnant we had started a somewhat drawn-out process of building a vegetable bed.  The sunniest part of our yard, and best place for growing vegetables is slopping and subject to intense weeds.  The only option was to build a box, level the dirt, roto-till the soil, cover it in weed barrier and eventually plant.  My husband was determined this was not going to be a one-man job. 

the day we bought the wood I dutifully loaded half the wood into my car, drove it home and unloaded the wood from my car... my husband took care of the other half.  The next morning I peed on a stick... i was pregnant.  But, my husband wanted me to continue with the moving of the wood, the digging of the dirt so we could sink the wood beams, the roto-tilling, the weeding etc... I happily complied until saturday afternoon.  I went to the bathroom and there was the teeniest, tiniest amount of brownish discharge.  (sorry too gross?)

The fear that it struck in my heart was immediate, I was certain it was going to be the start of a miscarriage.  I spent the next 24 hours grabbing my own boobs to see if they are becoming any less painful (oddly, the more I manhandle them the more painful they seem to get), and obsessively looking for more signs or symptoms every time i went to the washroom.  My husband was equally terrified.  I was ordered to bed for the rest of the weekend (ok... i complied with that order really fast I am exhausted). 

Fortunately there hasn't been anything else going on and today I had some nausea (although still no vomiting).  My symptoms have been mild to date to say the least.  When I finally have this baby safely in my arms I will be so very happy and grateful for the mildest of pregnancy symptoms I have experience but right now I would be so much more comforted by some compulsion to pray at the porcelain basin and something, anything that makes me feel horribly, awfully, uncomfortably, undeniably pregnant.

They finally called late Friday afternoon with the date of my viability ultrasound...  June 4th.  Another 8 days from now.  I am so anxious i have no idea how I am going to be able to wait.  This can't be good for the baby.  They should sneak me in early on compassionate grounds.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Job offers and tight pants.

It is cold here today... a chilly 4 C outside, but rather than sensibly wearing pants that covered my legs I am in a sun dress and jacket because my pants were just not comfortable wearing them today.  I am choosing to believe that this is because my belly is starting to bloat (and not because I ate too much fast food on our drive to New York last weekend).  It has taken me by surprise how quickly this happened.  Suddenly buying maternity clothes last weekend doesn't seem like quite as early as it did.  I am surprised at how quickly this has come up.  I mean I can still fit in them... but not comfortably. And it was so flustered because we were running late that I just tore off the pants and grabbed the first dress that I saw. I am starting week 8 today. 

In other news my current contract is due to expire at the end of July.  My boss had mentioned to me that he wanted to extend it for a year... the man has his shit together because I got handed a new contract this week.  The good news is that he likes me enough to keep me around... the bad news is that I feel compelled to tell him about my pregnancy before i sign the new contract.  I know that legally I am not required to tell him, and believe me if the man was any sort of bad boss i wouldn't tell him, but i do feel compelled to let him know because he has been so kind and respectful of me and so helpful and wonderful to work for.  I in no way expect this to affect the terms of the contract. 

I think it is way, way, way too early to share this sort of thing with your boss... that's the only problem.  There still like a 10% chance that this pregnancy will not make it to happy healthy baby.  And as much as I like my boss I don't know if I want to discuss all of the details.  However, i am supposed to sign my contract by Monday.  So I don't really know what else to do. 

Any advice?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

1st Prenatal

When my GP finally walked into her office yesterday she was an hour late.  She sat hurriedly at the computer. "I am so sorry.  I am running so late.  Give me a minute, let me get up your file... and here it is... and... OMG!  I didn't know that's what you where here for.  That's fucking amazing".

Yup.  My doctor actually said that to me.  

I had my first prenatal appointment.  They did the usual, height, weight, and ordered some labs for blood work and urine and of course to get the magic hcg numbers.  The numbers that will let me know that the baby is going to be ok.  I am also going to be going for a dating and viability ultrasound sometime next week.

I am excited and terrified.

I am so excited to hear my baby's teeny, tiny heart beating away, and to see him or her for the first time, all contorted and tadpole like this early in the pregnancy.  Terrified about the viability part.  Terrified they won't find that teeny tiny heart.  They are doing this of course because of my history.  Because of the last pregnancy that ended so early.

My doctor is actually also my mother's doctor, and my sister's, and my sister-in-law's, and my nephew's... what can I say... if you find a doctor that is so excited for you that she swears at you you share her with family.  But this means she has to be sworn to secrecy because we aren't ready to tell family.  My mother has enough on her plate worrying about my father that she doesn't need to hear news that won't be forever good.  We can wait to tell her for a few more weeks.

My doctor however did almost let the cat out of the bag already.  Because I am negative for titers to measles, mumps and rubella I have concerns about my in-laws who don't vaccinate as well as a trip to Europe we have planned for this summer where these diseases are having an outbreak.  My doctor decided to seek advice from the head of infectious diseases at the hospital.  She started the e-mail by saying "my patient" and she used my name.  "That's my mom's boss!" I quickly pointed out to her.  "You can't let my mom's boss know I'm pregnant before I tell her!!"

Yes, not only do I go to the same doctor as my mother, but the doctor is at the hospital where my mother has worked for 25 years and the head of infectious diseases for the hospital is my mother's boss.  It is so hard to keep a secret in a town the size of 3 million people isn't it?

The good news is that the advice is to be more afraid of car accidents.  The infectious disease doctor says I likely have some functional immunity even if I don't have titers being raised against the diseases and so I should feel comfortable to enjoy our weeks in Europe. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

New York, New York


Monday was a holiday in Canada and my husband and I took advantage by leaving Canada as quickly as we possibly could.  We made it a 4 day weekend and we made a run for the border early Friday.

One of the biggest problems with traveling to the states is the high cost of an international data plan, leaving my internet addicted husband twitching in pain.  We thought we had solved this problem last year when we went to the states by getting my husbands phone unlocked and purchasing him an american SIM card.  However, we discovered that after 3 months of non-use his card was canceled.  This meant that as we crossed the border in buffalo we had no GPS, no WAZE software and no way to guide us to our destination.

As a result our little road trip ended up being much longer and more scenic than we had hoped for.  But, eventually we managed to find our shopping mecca - the outlet stores.  I made a few purchases from motherhood maternity... and I am hoping I am not jinxing anything.  Unfortunately this pregnancy has already managed to change my breasts a cup size... and has also put me out the size range of bras available at the maternity stores... so I have no idea what I am going to do in 8 months time.  I did manage to find a larger bra at a plus sized store... but I am going to be in a bind in a few months.  I also bought 3 pairs of pants, 4 maternity shirts and a dress.  I feel strange buying things so early but the sales clerk said she had already had a woman in there who was due February 7th... I mean she wouldn't even have missed her period yet would she?? 

We stayed overnight in Binghamton New York.  It seemed like a good stopping place and using the WiFi at a McDonalds enroute my husband found a hotel with good reviews.  When we got there we discovered that it was graduation weekend at the local community college and the only room left was going to cost us $200.  By this time we were exhausted and forked over the money.  The bed was awful and neither of us slept well.

Saturday morning we hurried on towards Piscataway New Jersey where our friends live.  Mission number 1 for my husband on arriving there was to buy a new SIM card.  He truly is addicted.  Our friends, 1 a graduate student at Rutgers university and his 4.5 month pregnant wife (who can't work in the states because she has no visa), had no spare beds so we spent two very uncomfortable nights sleeping our couches. We visited New York finally on Sunday, but it poured rain all weekend and was miserable for doing much more than touring Madam Toussauds (My husband loved it - weird guy). 

We are keeping very hush hush on this pregnancy because we are so afraid of miscarriage again.  As a result I spent the whole weekend pretending not to be pregnant but using the pregnancy of our host as cover for needing an early nights sleep "Oh, we don't want to keep you up, you must be exhausted.  Pregnancy makes you really tired I hear."  Hopefully they don't know.

All in all a very successful little vacation.  I feel much more comfortable in my new bras...although I am noticing tops are getting a little tight and I am wondering if i have enough lose fitting tops to get me through the first trimester. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Welcome ICLW

Hello to all ICLW'ers.

I have a confession to make.  I some how managed to get pregnant.  Forgive me.

We were waiting for our next appointment and first treatment with our RE when all of a sudden the bunny died.

I assure you, it was completely unexpected.

Apparently it happened in a week while my father was hospitalized and I was over my head in worry.  It happened in a cycle where I didn't see any sign I was ovulating.  It happened in a cycle where we were desperately trying to cram sex in between hospital visits.  It happened in a cycle when we least expected it.  Although for the record it did not happen when we just relaxed.

I did not know I would be pregnant when i signed up for ICLW this time, so I hope you will forgive me. 

My background is that my husband and I have been trying for 13 months.  We had a miscarriage in September of last year.  We had seen an RE.  We thought this would never happen.  As a patient with Cushing's who has had 1 of her adrenal glands removed I was supposed to be infertile.  Completely.  We weren't even sure if we would be able to get pregnant with IVF.  There as so few cases of Cushing's women getting pregnant they quite often still make the medical journals. 

And then suddenly it happened by accident. 

What remains to be seen is if it will stick.

I look forward to reading everyone's blogs this month.  But I understand completely that this might make my blog difficult for some of you to read.  So... my blog has moved from trying to conceive to  hoping to stay pregnant. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Jumping up on my soapbox

I want to start this post standing on my soap box.

Vaccines rule.

If you don't have one go out and get one. It saves lives.  Period.  Andrew Wakefield is a big fat liar who has made a lot of money selling fear to parents.  He was stripped of his medical license for being a fraud.  He has been discredited by scientists everywhere.  Millions of dollars that could have been spent investigating the causes of autism have been spent trying to replicate his lies, trying to prove and disprove his lies.  In the meantime lots of children have died.

this web page is a bit chilling.  It outlines the number of illnesses that could have been prevented by vaccines as well as the number of lives saved.

If you are an "objector" then I suggest that you watch this.  It is an hour long lecture which is aimed at breaking down the rhetoric used by the anti-vaccine movement.  Or read this article which outlines the unraveling of the web of lies.

All of that said I think that the anti-vaccine movement is a bit like a religion.  You will never be able to talk someone out of their religious beliefs.  They will not convert from Judaism to Later Day Saints or Protestant to Baptist based on a 2 minute tirade  from a crazy woman writing a blog.  So i recognize that if anyone who reads this is part of the anti-vaccine movement all I've done is piss you off... sorry.

That said I am very passionate about the anti-vaccine movement for a number of reasons:

1) The science was bad.  Andrew Wakefield made money.  Babies died.  That simple.

2) Because of my medical condition I seem to be practically completely unable to maintain an immunity for a long period of time to any vaccine.  I have had my measles, mumps and rubella a couple of times, i have head the hepB shot 7 times (i worked with human blood and it is a requirement).  No immunity.  I've actually HAD chicken pox.  No immunity.  As a result I rely on the herd immunity to keep me, and suddenly my precious little package, safe.  Measles, mumps and rubella cause miscarriages and birth defects in unborn babies.  A baby who is breast fed continues to receive maternal antibodies for months after birth until they develop their own immune system.  This is something I will not be able to do.

My in-laws are among the group of conscientious objectors who do not have their children vaccinated.  As a result my husband and I have decided that until our baby is born I will not visit them.  For the first few months, until we tell them this is going to be so awkward... but after they know why I am hoping they will understand. 

Unfortunately there seems to be a shit storm of outbreaks brewing and while I can easily (if not pleasantly) avoid my in-laws I can not avoid everyone else.  I have just heard that there is an outbreak in an ultra orthodox Jewish community  in Brooklyn New York and a single cases in Williamsburg.

Ok - so it amounts to 22 cases in a city of several million, but measles spreads, easily.  And so I feel a bit of reluctance to travel there this weekend.  The case spread from a single family who traveled to the UK recently, where there are over 1200 cases reported just in Wales.  Many people in the UK are scrambling now to get vaccinated.

The fact is:  it is safer to be an unvaccinated person in a well-vaccinated community than a vaccinated person in an unvaccinated community.  There is always the incentive for people to wait for everyone else to be vaccinated rather than to take the precautions themselves.But, remember: the safest is to be a vaccinated person in a well-vaccinated community.  This is how we eradicate the diseases like polio and small pox.  And hopefully we can eradicate scourges like Andrew Wakefield too.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The dilemma

This weekend is a long weekend in Canada (hurah!!!!).  And, despite the currently crappy, chilly temperatures will mark our unofficial launch of summer and cottages and drinking beer by the pool.  My husband and I have elected to visit some friends who live just outside of NY while he attends Rutgers University for his PhD. 

They are currently 6 months pregnant with their first child and we figure we are quickly going to lose our free place to crash just outside of NY in about 3 months time... so we had better take advantage.

It is a long drive for a long weekend.  Over 8 hours each way.  Once you figure in pee breaks every 2 hours or so it is going to take us quite a while to get there.  Originally we had decided that we would use the long weekend to do some cross border shopping.  I love a good bargain. 

Suddenly, however, I face a dilema.  What kind of clothes do I buy?  I feel like it is way too early, too much of a jinx to buy maternity clothes.  I will just be starting my 7th week... that said I've read that many women feel the need to change into nursing bras by about week 8.  And within a few weeks my pants will start to get tight.  I might be able to get away with my current wardrobe and dresses for a while... but will we end up making another cross border trip??

I am a big girl due to the cushing's and I feel that my selection of plus sized maternity wear are better in the states.  I have enough trouble finding bra's here as it is.  I can't imagine if I have to track down cup sized H, I or J (gulp!).

So, do I invest the money now... and worry about jinxing my pregnancy so early, or do I buy nothing and plan another trip in a months time?  It is quite a dilemma..although one I am very blessed to have right now.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Step away from the thermometer

After making checking my temperature a default activity over the last 8 months I have discovered that this is a habit I now have to break.  I sent myself into a tailspin of panic last week because my temperature was 36.8, then, 36.7 then 36.6 I was panicked... I was certain I was going to lose the pregnancy.

I asked The Google.  Google gave me a good piece of advice (I hope).  Step away from the thermometer.  There will be fluctuations in temperature at this point.  That a temperature change is not the sign of a miscarriage unless it is a much bigger temperature drop.  I haven't had any severe cramping, just little cramps.  And unlike last time there has been no spotting or bleeding of any kind.

I am trying to remain calm, to not panic, to not give my poor baby any more stress hormones than I already have coursing through my body.  I keep wanting more pregnancy symptoms.  I am definitely (TMI ahead) constipated.  And I have to carry tums in my purse already.  But where is the nausea??!! Where is the morning sickness??!! I want to have every classic pregnancy symptom in the book so that I know my hcg is rising.   My husband laughs at me, he thinks I should be thanking my lucky stars.