Well, the cat’s officially out of the bag. As difficult as it was to keep ttc a secret, it’s virtually impossible not to blab to everyone around us that we’re pregnant. Last night we went to my company’s holiday party and it seemed like all of a sudden everyone knew. It feels so premature for this to be so public, but it’s too late now. I can keep bad news a secret indefinitely but when something this good is going on in our lives, it’s hard not to share it with people we love (and apparently the blogosphere). Truth be told, I’d put up a billboard if we could afford it. It feels so gratifying to hear words of congratulations instead of condolence that at this point we couldn’t really care less who knows.
With a growing number of people “in the know,” come endless words of advice and pregnancy anecdotes. I love the advice from those who have had kids. Since announcing our bfp, I’ve learned of a few remedies for nausea, and had several ladies tell me just how much sleep to get. I learned that it’s going to be awhile before the breast tenderness will go away, and got advice about everything from what to keep in the car to entertain a toddler, to the best kind of cloth diapers to use (the jury’s still out on how “green” we’ll be when it comes to diapers!). I’ve even heard a rumor that the years I’ve dedicated to building my diaphragm strength to support my singing voice will come in handy when it comes time to push. And then last night I talked with a co-worker who had spent a little time at the open bar. Through wine-stained teeth, she told me about her friend who invested $28,000 in ivf. She got pregnant, a state that lasted exactly 4 days before her hcg levels started to drop, and she found herself once again with an empty womb. Awesome. What a great story to tell a woman who is about 20 minutes pregnant. She meant no harm by passing on this tale, and I love her no less for it – she’s an adorable mother of 3 who was just relaying the only personal knowledge she has of any kind of assisted reproduction. All the same, I peed on a stick the minute we got home. Still preggers…phew!
And of course there’s the standard round of questions, all of which I’m happy to answer every time. The most popular:
- “Do you know how far along you are?” Such a cute question from women who conceived naturally with their husbands and had to wait until a few days or a week after they missed their period to realize they were potentially expecting. Uh, yeah. We know how far along I am…our entire existence for the past 4 months has centered around this process, so we’re pretty well in tune with my body’s calendar. For the record, today begins my 5th week. I love that the 40 weeks of gestation begin on day 1 of the cycle you conceive. It’s like two free weeks of pregnancy!
- “How do you feel?” I assume most people are asking about my physical state of being, so I’ll address that first. Overall, I feel about the same as I have for the past few months during progesterone treatments, which stands to reason, since that’s the hormone that causes pregnancy symptoms. This time around though, the symptoms are heightened, since I now have both natural and synthetic progesterone in me. I’m more tired, more nauseous, and my normally nothing-to-write-home-about breasts are swelling at a seemingly hourly rate. My sense of smell is also crazy right now. If someone is smoking a cigarette within a 2-mile radius, I can tell. And it makes my stomach churn, even despite years of being a smoker.
The physical signs of pregnancy are definitely here, and I’m fully aware of what’s going on in my body. In the meantime, what has amazed me most is how I feel emotionally. I had a brief crying spell yesterday that I couldn’t control, but other than that – knock on wood – I’ve felt pretty good. Of course I’m concerned about the health of the little monkey, and won’t really rest safely until we’ve heard a heartbeat and doc tells us that everything is fine. But I seem to be in a rare state of optimistic zen about the whole thing. [My mind and mood are subject to change without notice…I do know that the stress will continue to build over the next 9 months.] My mind wanders constantly to topics like how to convert our spare room (aka MKL’s office/my vocal teaching studio) into a nursery and forecasting how big my belly will be at different milestones in the spring and summer. And I think constantly about how this is impacting MKL.
Each time I think I can’t love my wife more than I do, I am proven wrong. Since Tuesday afternoon I’ve watched her read the pregnancy books that have been on our shelf since May and make mental list after list of projects she wants to complete to get our house baby-ready – she’s constantly nesting. She has always been very protective of me, but I’ve seen this trait explode in the past 6 days, as she keeps me away from anything that could potentially harm me or our little monkey – right down to soft, bacteria-laden cheeses and second-hand smoke. While we were still in the planning phase of this journey (pre-iui), MKL once said that she felt a little detached from the process. At the time it hurt a little to hear that, but I totally understand why. The world knows how to treat an expectant father; most people are far less experienced in talking to the expectant non-biological lesbian mother. And this is why I love our merry band of supporters. At the party last night, I saw her face light up more than once when friends greeted her with hugs of congratulations and called her “mama.” A few jokingly referred to her as “dad,” making us laugh but also prompting a dialogue about parental nomenclature. Every now and again, I look over at her and she smiles a twinkly, nervous smile, telling me she has just remembered I’m knocked up, and that her stomach has flipped again as a result.
Tomorrow I have another round of bloodwork to check my hcg level. If everything looks good, then I’m settled until my ultrasound in a few weeks. So for now we’re just taking one day at a time, one hurdle at a time. We’re nesting, reading, laughing, listening, and marveling at the life now growing in me.