Third Trimester/Lamaze/Poetry

*Picture warning. Read at your own risk*

.

.

.

.

Friends, I’m totally in the third trimester. This is what I look like now, sans head:

28 weeks

Quite a change from the last picture I posted, no?

Sorry about the crappy picture. Clearly, we suck at photography, and/or the lighting in our bedroom is terrible. Let’s go with the lighting in our bedroom being terrible.

Sometimes I am overjoyed that we are going to meet our sweet girl in a few short months; I’m confident that if person X, who is an absolute moron, can manage then so can we. Sometimes I am filled with abject terror that we are going to meet our sweet girl in a few short months; I’m quite sure that we are going to scar our child for life with our woefully inadequate parenting. Sometimes I’m cheerful and calm as I run my hands over my belly, feeling the baby kick. Sometimes I’m enraged the universe could be so STUPID and UNFAIR to allow me to drop salsa on my sweater (actually, Tammy’s sweater, but these are details). Sometimes I’m sobbing hysterically because Smash got into college on Friday Night Lights, without stopping to question why I am watching a show about high school football when I a) hated high school and b) hate football. But these thoughts don’t occur to me as I wipe salsa smeared sleeves under my runny nose.

Sometimes I get all miracle-of-life-y about how I’m finally pregnant, and other times I feel like a little part of my soul dies every time I think about the one that didn’t make it. (And the whispers come from the tiniest echo of my heart, what if I wanted the first one? What if I cannot love my baby girl as much as I loved the one that I lost?)

Sometimes I revel in the attention that I get – me! Attention for being pregnant after so many months of running away from pregnant women! – and other times I feel like if one more person comments, questions, or offers advice I will absolutely strangle them with my bare hands. Since when did my body become public property?

(Speaking of comments, questions, and advice, as much as people like to offer all that up, unsolicited, including birth horror stories THANKS FOR SHARING, I’m pissed that no one told me about the weird pregnancy stuff. I’m not talking about nausea, backaches, etc. I was expecting that. I’m talking about things like nosebleeds, changes in body hair (increasing and decreasing), and carpel tunnel. Why does nobody talk about this? That’s some bullshit. I demand a refund.)

********

We had our first Lamaze class last week, and the second one tonight. We were the only lesbian couple, naturally. The instructor did her best, I guess, to use “partner” instead of “husband” or “dad,” but she mostly used “husband” or “dad.”

There was one incident that got to Tammy in particular, when the class was split up into pregnant women and partner groups. The idea was to go with your group and discuss positives and negatives about being pregnant and the impending delivery and child rearing. The instructor told Tammy to stay with the pregnant women, rather than going with the partners (who were, of course, all men). She told Tammy that she would be more comfortable with the women.

I know she was coming from a good place when she said that, but honestly, as Tammy told me later, she would have felt much better with the partner group, even though she would have been the only woman. The pregnant women group mostly talked about physical ailments of being pregnant, feeling the baby move, concerns/hopes/fears about the delivery, postpartum recovery, etc. Tammy can relate to that, but only as much as the rest of the partners could. Yes, she’s a woman who is the proud owner/operator of a uterus, but that uterus has never been occupied by a fetus, and there are no plans that it ever will be. When the partners came back into the room and we shared lists, Tammy sat there thinking, “yep, I have that fear. Yep, I’m excited about that, too.”

She was kind of pissed off that the teacher viewed her womanhood as more important than her partner status. It took me a while to see it from her point of view, but I get it now. The whole fertility process and now the whole pregnancy was/is SO MUCH about me, me, me. Obviously, there’s a reason for that, but Tammy’s role is vital in this process – and that is not hyperbole. Hats off to all the single moms by choice. You are brave and I am in awe of you. I am in no way, shape, or form strong or brave enough to do this on my own. I would have given up a thousand times before this moment if it weren’t for Tammy.

Anyway, we’re going to either send the instructor an email letting her know she might consider giving female non-gestational partners the option of which group to join, as I’m sure some would prefer to be in the pregnant women group. Others like Tammy, would prefer to be with the partners. Why bother trying to choose for them?

The Lamaze class moments that *I* could have lived without are as follows:

1. Watching the instructor jam a baby doll through a plastic pelvis with more vehement glee than I thought necessary

2. The realization that our large (LARGE) circular name tags were ten centimeters, “which is how big your cervix will be when you’re fully dilated!”

********

I want this poem framed on our baby’s nursery wall. It’s kind of cliché now, as it’s become pretty popular but I don’t care. My sister read it at our wedding, and I get goosebumps every time I hear it. I would copy/paste it here, but WordPress eats the formatting and I can’t do that to ol’ e.e.

Be well, friends. “this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart”

Comments

I got my first less-than-supportive comment.

When I started blogging, I expected that I would get comments that would regularly require a tough skin and a stern self talking-to (“you CHOSE to blog”). But I found you lovely people, and I’ve been impressed with the kindness you extended to me, a virtual (see what I did there?) stranger, coming over to emote in your corner of the internet.

It’s not even that the comment was so bad, but it did make me wince a little. It was on my post about sharing pregnancy news on fac.ebook:

“Popping out of lurking to say I can see why oyu are in a tough position. But to think you don’t have the email, or phone number, of your ‘less close’ friends’? So why bother telling them? If FB crashed tomorrow…oh me, oh my…you wouldn’t have ANY way to communicate with said friends? That’s weird to me. FB is your ONLY means of communication. With a potential move coming up, you may want to I don’t know, try to form more meaningful relationships, than just ‘liking’ something here or there. Just my 2cents.”

Before anyone jumps all over me, please know that I would have emailed her directly if she had left an email address or blog site. But she didn’t.

And before anyone jumps all over her, she does partially have a point and I DID ask for comments.

Before I decided to update my status about the pregnancy, I did think about why I should bother telling people who I’m not that close to. Why does it matter if they know that I’m pregnant? Here’s what I came up with:

1) We’re a lesbian couple, and I’m working hard to spread the idea that gay people having kids is normal and blase. Studies show that when people know someone who is gay, they become more accepting and tolerant. It suddenly is less of an abstract concept and more about someone’s life. Same idea with gay people having kids. I’m trying to up the tally for ‘acceptance’ in the ‘parents who are gay’ category.

2) There’s been so much about this process that has been hard, and I’ve so often felt isolated and alone. It’s a large part of the reason I started this blog. I didn’t know anyone IRL that was struggling to get or stay pregnant. I was desperate to talk to someone (other than Tammy and my mom) about it. Since getting and staying pregnant, I’ve longed for a return to some kind of normalcy. The scars that I have from this process (both physical and emotional) continue to haunt me. I wanted (for once!) to not feel weird. I wanted to be a normal person announcing a normal pregnancy. I wanted to bask in the happiness of my friends, even my ‘less close’ friends. I wanted the community affirmation, that this was a GOOD thing, and it was OK to be HAPPY.

But then on to the ‘ouch’ part of Kate’s comment:

“With a potential move coming up, you may want to I don’t know, try to form more meaningful relationships, than just ‘liking’ something here or there.”

Like I said, ouch. That comment hit a little close to home. It’s something I struggle with, maintaining friendships. I’m an introvert, but I also struggle with anxiety, often manifesting in social anxiety. I also struggle with depression. The infertility process has made both my anxiety and depression much harder to deal with.

I have people who I enjoy spending time with; friends from college, friends from work. But it’s HARD for me to maintain those relationships. I work at it, and I try, and sometimes I do better and sometimes I do worse. Since getting pregnant, I’ve been working hard on getting out of the house more, half for my sake and half for Tammy’s. She’s much more social than I am, and she’s often home with me more than she would like. We’re working on trying to find a balance.

But that comment also stung because she hit on the context of a potential move. It’s one of the things that scares me about a move; having to meet new people. I wouldn’t have the natural environment of work to socialize, and I would have to force myself to push out of my comfort zone and talk to people I don’t know (gasp!).

I have met with a psychologist off and on for years (since college). Sometimes I see her very frequently and sometimes a year or more goes by between sessions. But I’m aware that this is an issue for me to work on, and I’m aware it’s not something I will ever be “cured” of. It’s something I’ll have to fight against for the rest of my life. I know that.

Kate, if you’re still out there does this answer your question? Please don’t take this as an attack on you. Like I said, I asked for comments and you gave it to me. It’s highly probably that I’m extra sensitive about the topic given my history. It’s also likely that I over react to things. So no hard feelings?

Insurance Can Kiss My Ass

I have no insurance coverage for infertility, other than an initial diagnostic appointment (that doesn’t include any, you know, diagnostic tests like blood work, HSG, ultrasound, etc., because that would be too fucking logical). Everything else was 100% out-of-pocket. I am so envious of those of you who a) live in states where there is mandatory coverage and b) can utilize those benefits. We used to live in a state where there was coverage, but HAHA SUCKERS it didn’t apply to us. It only applied to those individuals who used their husbands sperm. i.e. no lesbians or single women or hetero couples with severe MFI who decided to use a donor. Because obviously, those of us in the previously mentioned categories do not deserve to have children. Obviously.

ANYWAY, moving on swiftly. I had an experience today that reinforced my need for an insurance vendetta.

As I stated above, I have no insurance coverage for infertility; no monitoring, blood work, ultrasounds, procedures themselves (IUI or IVF) and definitely no prescription drug coverage. HOWEVER, once I got pregnant (ultrasound tomorrow to confirm that I am, in fact, actually still pregnant and not newly awakened from a month-long delusion/psychotic break) certain medications that I took for infertility (estrogen, progesterone) are now covered due to my pregnancy “status”. When I called to order more drugs after my BFP, I told the pharmacists my new “status” and asked joyfully what the co-pay was. The pharmacist responded that they needed to have my doctor’s office call my insurance company to confirm that I was, in fact, pregnant. This was a month and 3 refills ago. Each time the pharmacist tells me they’re going to call over to my doctor’s office and ask THEM to call my insurance company. Of course, they don’t fucking do that. Today I got a little royally pissed off vexed in a MOST ladylike way, and told them what was up.

30 minutes later, I got a call from someone at the pharmacy asking if I was pregnant. OMFG. I only told you all that a fucking MONTH ago. She promised that she would call over to my doctor’s office to have them confirm the dates of my pregnancy, so they could retroactively reimburse me for money paid out-of-pocket for the last 3 refills. An hour later I found out that my doctor’s office would only confirm my pregnancy as of May 29th, and I had called for a refill on May 28th. So that $400 haul of drugs won’t be covered.

Reading over what I wrote, maybe I should be more irritated at the pharmacy and my doctor’s office, instead of the insurance company. And yes, the pharmacy definitely dropped the ball on this one. And I’m going to have a little chat with my doctor’s office tomorrow to see WHY they claim me pregnant on May 29th when I had my positive beta on the 24th. But you know what? All of this mess would have been avoided if I had coverage in the first damn place. God.

**UPDATE: I just got my meds delivered to my office building (damn right they deliver) and the workers in the mail room made many HILARIOUS jokes about my “drugs”. HA.HA. Hilarious. Lets talk a little louder about my DRUGS when the CEO is just down the hall! Fabulous idea.

Heavenly Day

Heavenly Day
By Patty Griffin

Oh heavenly day, all the clouds blew away
Got no trouble today with anyone
The smile on your face I live only to see
It’s enough for me, baby, it’s enough for me
Oh, heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

Tomorrow may rain with sorrow
Here’s a little time we can borrow
Forget all our troubles in these moments so few
All we’ve got right now, the only thing that
All we really have to do
Is have ourselves a heavenly day
Lay here and watch the trees sway
Oh, can’t see no other way, no way, no way
Heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

No one at my shoulder bringing me fears
Got no clouds up above me bringing me tears
Got nothing to tell you, I’ve got nothing much to say
Only I’m glad to be here with you
On this heavenly, heavenly, heavenly, heavenly
Heavenly day, all the trouble’s gone away
Oh, for a while anyway, for a while anyway
Heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

**********************************************

The doctor called with my beta results. As of this morning, my hCG was 372. With my last pregnancy it was a 17. Obviously, this could mean absolutely nothing for the long-term. I could miscarry this baby just like the last one. But today, at least, I’m chosing happiness. I’m chosing joy. I’m chosing peace.

Stick around, little one. Your mamas can’t wait to meet you. We love you already.

Love in My Family

Equality

Folks, this has nothing to do with infertility, and everything to do with gay rights. If that’s not your cup of tea, please close your browser* and move on.

Today, the US Supreme Court heard arguments for and against gay marriage. Specifically, the arguments over Prop 8 in California. Tomorrow, the Justices will hear arguments on DOMA.

The outcome of these cases will have a direct and meaningful impact on my life. I’m incredibly lucky to live in an area where I am legally married to my wife (at the state level), but no matter where you live in the US there is no federal recognition. That means that all of the legal benefits of being married – think taxes, inheritance, hospital visitation, social security, health care, etc. etc. – are not extended to me and my wife. There are some state benefits, but the bulk of them are at the federal level. My wife and I had to pay a lawyer to draw up legal documents expressing our will to make health care decisions on each others behalf; we had to file 2 version of taxes this year – one as a married couple for the state and one as single individuals for the feds; we pay extra taxes so I can be on Tammy’s health care, and on and on and on.

I have no idea how the Supreme Court will rule, but I’m incredibly nervous. If you’re the praying type, send some of those to the Supreme Court, that they might rule in favor of love and equality under the law. If you’re more of a “good vibe” person, ditto. If you’re pissed off at the world (ahh, people after my own heart), please direct your ire at the idiots who will almost certainly vote against love and justice. Those assholes.

Thanks! Now back to blathering on about the state of my uterus.

*Also, go fuck yourself. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Hope, or Something Like It

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

– Emily Dickinson

Blue Bird feather

Some days I think it will never happen. That it will never come true. That’s I’ll never see the second line again, or it will never go past a few weeks. Sometimes, a tiny voice, barely more than a whisper, tells me to give up. To stop trying. That it isn’t meant to be.

And other days I’m filled with Hope. Emily D. describes Hope as a thing with feathers “that perches in the soul”. In my mind, Hope is like honey. Sticky and thick, it oozes into the nooks and crannies of your soul, rather than perches daintily.  And like honey, Hope is almost impossible to fully clean up, wipe off, get rid of. I’m always thinking that this vitamin is IT! Or this shot will do the trick! Or this procedure! Or this new donor! But it never is.

**********************

I’ve been kind of down the last few days. I don’t know if it’s the weather (crappy) or the birth control pills (still barfy) or just the feeling that I’m sitting still while the world races on without me. I think that the birth control pills are contributing to my sense of stalling out. At least with the injections and the blood work and the office visits I feel like I’m DOING something. I’m actively WORKING toward having a baby. Being on birth control pills goes against every instinct I have, and my sub conscience is screaming at me.

My parents sent me a card this week.

photo

The inside reads:

photo (1)

Here’s Hoping.

blue bird

Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? Injected myself with a needle in the STOMACH for god’s sake. Cooked a holiday dinner for my family all by myself. Bought a house.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I’m terrible at remembering what my resolutions were, so I’m going to go with no, I didn’t keep them. I do have some for the coming year. They include making at least 2 homemade meals a week, getting back into yoga, and taking time to do little things for myself.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope. Early in the coming year though.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No. Knock on wood.
5. What places did you visit? Canada, Virginia, & Florida. All family related travels.
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? A baby.
7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? The date of my miscarriage – November 17, 2012
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Making it through the year, (relatively) sane, and still happy in my marriage.
9. What was your biggest failure? My first instinct is to say “not being able to have a baby” but I’m getting off that train to negative town. So I’ll say work something mumble mumble let’s not talk about work.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I had a few bouts of illness, plus the miscarriage. My body was pretty wacked out from the fertility drugs.
11. What was the best thing you bought? We bought a bedroom set, and LOVE it. We both agree it is the most comfortable bed we’ve ever slept on. Plus, we now have room to store all of our clothes (damn you, old charming houses with miniscule closets!)
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Tammy’s, always. She keeps me going.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Various extended family members that I’m not going to name. They all seem to have similar traits though, that grate on my nerves. I read somewhere that the traits you most dislike in others, you really dislike in yourself. God, I hope that’s not the case.
14. Where did most of your money go? First to the down payment on our house and then to unsuccessful baby-makin’.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My pregnancy.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012? Somebody that I used to know by Gotye. Not because the lyrics were significant, but because I heard it, loved it, and played it about 3 million times in a row until I hated it.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. Damn fertility drugs!
c) richer or poorer? Ha! Poorer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Yoga. Time with Tammy. I wish I’d started cooking sooner. Standing up for myself at work.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Sitting in the house, depressed, avoiding pregnant people or babies. Those fuckers are everywhere – it’s not safe to go outside! But also, being short and snappy with Tammy. I hate that tendency in myself to get frustrated with something unrelated and be an asshole to people around me.
20. How did you spend Christmas last year? At my parent’s house…working remotely. That sucked, but it’s always good to be with my parents.
21. Did you fall in love in 2012? Stayed in love, how about that? And I fell in love with the embryo that I didn’t get to keep. What ever happened to “you break it, you buy it”?
22. What was your favorite TV program? I’m literally years late on this one, but we started watching Battlestar Galactica and LOVED it.
23. What did you do for your birthday in 2012? Tammy took me on a double pedicure date (the first pedicure she’s ever had. I know, what?!) and out to dinner. Oh, and my date with a vial of sperm and a cold speculum.
24. What was the best book you read? I read so many books this year, it’s impossible for me to pick one. A few that come to mind are: The Hunger Games Trilogy, Flight Behavior (in the middle of this one, but so far it’s good), and The Red Tent.
25. What did you want and get? We’d been dreaming about owning a home for years, and it finally came true!
26. What did you want and not get? Ugh, I’m a broken record: a baby.
27. What was your favorite film of this year? I haven’t seen Les Miserables yet, and I’m dying to. This weekend, for sure! I can only assume that will be my favorite. But wait! That’s not this year! Umm…I have no idea.
28. Did you make some new friends this year? Nope. Neurotic, intraverted homebody to the core.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? (Ok, not saying baby for this one AGAIN) I wish we’d gotten the house closer to “done”. We still have a lot of little (and big) projects to do.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? This was the year I started caring a lot more about comfort than style. So “personal fashion concept” is probably a misnomer.
31. What kept you sane? Tammy. The fact that even though money is tight, we CAN try again. My parents.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No idea on this one. I will always love me so me Hillary Clinton, but it’s not like I want to sleep with her. Does that count?
33. What political issue stirred you the most? It was awesome to see the country move toward marriage equality. Leaps and bounds, y’all!
34. Who did you miss? I miss my co-workers that left for other jobs this year.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.  You cannot control everything. Remember to breath.