10 Weeks

I’m almost a week late on this post, and I think I may have missed nine weeks, but there is nothing really exciting to share. I continue to feel pretty good most days. There is a tangible difference between days when I’m hydrated and days when I fell behind drinking water. The effect comes the following day. If I wake up without having peed sometime in the night, I’m already off to a bad start. I feel more achy, icky, and cranky. However, the days following a big water day, I feel nearly 100%.

I’m still ravenously hungry in the mornings. I can easily put down two bowls of cereal, eggs, yogurt, some fruit, and a muffin between 6 and 9 a.m., if I have access to them all. I also eat my packed lunch between 10 and 11. By noon, the hunger has subsided, and I make it through the afternoon until dinner with just a small snack or two. I can’t stomach a huge dinner. Something small to medium is satisfying and keeps me full through the night.

I’m having a tiny bit of heartburn, especially if I eat a lot in a short time span. I’m also getting an acidic stomach on occasion. It seems to be after I eat more sugar than I should (read: Christmas cookies). Otherwise, I’m thankfully not nauseated.

This week I’m craving honey nut cheerios with almond milk and bananas. I wake up thinking about them and could eat them all day long if I let myself. I don’t, but I would like to. My peanut butter cravings seem to have passed, as well as my endless cravings for cinnamon rolls and other sweet pastries. Though, I will ALWAYS eat a donut.

Sleep has been mixed. Sometimes I sleep straight through from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Other nights I wake up at 1:00 and will lay in bed, wide awake, until about 4:00. Having holidays off work does not help, because I inevitably sleep in later on those days and it throws off my sleep schedule. But, I enjoy the warm, cozy mornings in bed.

I continue to make it to the gym 4-5 days each week. My capacity has really diminished, and I’m pretty exhausted after a warm-up. I’m increasingly feeling apprehensive about things like box jumps and rope climbs. I need to have the conversation with my coaches so that they know why I’m “taking it easy.” Otherwise they give me the side-eye, because they know I’m not doing as much as I can. I figure I’ll have that talk next week, when I’m almost 12 weeks.

Overall, I’m happy to be in double digits, happy to be “1/4” of the way there, and very happy to be so close to the end of the first trimester. I’m looking forward to hopefully hearing baby’s heartbeat on the doppler at our 13-week appointment for reassurance that he’s still kicking it in there.

In other news, my cousin’s water broke about 4 hours ago, and we’re anxiously waiting to hear that baby Ellie has been born. I hope we get to go see and squeeze her soon!

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Reactions

We’ve told most of our families and close friends now, and we’ve gotten some pretty amusing (and a few infuriating) reactions.

Telling an aunt/uncle in California:
“We’ll see you for next Christmas, and we’ll be bringing a baby!”
“What?? From where??”

Telling our cousins over Christmas dinner:
We had my dad, who always give a hilarious drunken grace before dinner, include the fact that we would have TWO babies join us in the upcoming year (a cousin is about to burst any day now). Several people’s first reaction was to look at my brother and his fiancee, the only hetero, coupled,  baby-bearing-aged people at the table and shout, “what!?!?!”

Once we clarified that it was actually US expecting baby number 2, they were very excited, but asked, “HOW??” I answered by saying, “We prayed and prayed and prayed!”

Telling our good friends over dinner:
Us: “We have big plans for next summer, too. We’re having a baby!”
Friend 1: “Who is pregnant??”Friend 2: “Look who is drinking beers and who is drinking water…”

Telling my hair stylist who I’ve known my whole life:
Her: “Oh my gosh! Was it intended??”
Me: “Um, yes…”She later REALLY pissed me off with this line of questioning:
Her: “So, how does it work – is the baby both of yours?”
Me: “Yes, it’s just like if we were a man and a woman – we are both the parents.”
Her: “So if you split up, you would both have custody?”
Me: “Yes, we would both have custody.”
Her: “You must really like this girl.”
Me: “Well, I did marry her…”

Overall, we have had very positive reactions, just quite a bit of confusion. I’m not really sure how we could have set the conversations up to be more clear, but it’s also amusing to watch the puzzled looks on people’s faces until they figure a few things out. I’m always happy to rattle off the basic details of our donor, if people want to hear them, but at the same time I can hear their hesitancy in whether it would be polite to ask. One thing that has really surprised me is how many people have asked about what types of doctors we saw and how many tries it took. Can you imagine asking a hetero couple how many months they had been having sex trying to make a baby? Or how many times they had sex the month it succeeded? I don’t really mind sharing information, because I feel like the less people wonder, the better. We feel supported, but I also wish there was a way to convey the appropriate amount of information without the confusing and awkward follow-up questions and answers.

Our First Glimpse

We had our first appointment yesterday with the CNM. They took pee, blood, more pee, my weight, blood pressure, and did a breast and pelvic exam. Then we checked the little bugger out on the ultrasound. The CNM said that it was standard for us to have a peek, since it’s the first appointment, but I let her know that we’re ultrasound averse, so I would prefer not to have them every appointment, and only when necessary. She said that they don’t do them unless necessary, though many parents want to see their “bun in the oven” as often as possible. One of the things we were checking yesterday was how many babes might be growing, since three follicles were ripe at insemination. Luckily, we found only one. While we would have been happy (yet apprehensive) about two, we feel much more comfortable adapting to one new family member in our lives.

The ultrasound was performed via dildo cam, with which I am well acquainted. The CNM was MUCH more gentle than the ultrasound tech at the fertility clinic though, which kind of amused me. I’m sure she didn’t want to disturb the baby, but I’m used to that thing rooting around in there, hunting for ovaries, counting follicles, etc.

Our first glimpse of baby was a little startling. His head was obvious, and he was waving his little hands. It was bizarre to me to SEE him move, but not FEEL him move. It’s also strange how human he looks – I still think of a little blob of cells. His little heart was ticking steadily away at 171 bpm. We could see it from almost every angle and we heard it for a minute or so. It sounded strong. We saw his eye sockets and the beginnings of his bone formations. We also saw the yolk sack. He measured spot on at9 weeks and 4 days, which is precisely when we had the IUI. I enjoyed seeing him, and it made the pregnancy seem much more real. Well, maybe more accurately, it made his presence as an entirely separate being inside me, with a human body and independent movements, more real. It’s odd to have something, or someone, foreign inside you. The pregnancy itself has seemed real since about 6 weeks.

The CNM printed us a boatload of those blurry ultrasound photos. I’ve always thought those are strange, though I’ve happily ooo’d and awwww’d at many friends’ first baby photos while thinking…that really just looks like a stormy black sky with some white clouds. I feel the same about our photos, haha. I like the one that shows the heartbeat pattern, and I really enjoyed seeing him MOVE, but the photos aren’t that interesting or meaningful to me. My wife seems to like them, especially the one where his eyes are apparent, so I think she’ll save them or send them to family.

As soon as we saw him and everything looked good, I wanted that wand OUT of there. I did not like the idea that the extra radiation or heat could be bothering him. I wanted us to leave him alone. The CNM was super sweet and we probably only watched him for a few minutes, but as soon as I felt assured that he was growing and developing normally, I was ready to let him get onto his fluttering, growing, and snoozing business.

It sounds like we’ll see him again at 20 weeks for the anatomy scan, and then hopefully not again until he is born. I’m using the pronoun “he”, but I really have no idea if bugger is a he or she. Of course those particular organs have not even developed yet, so there is no possible way we could see them, but something about his little image made me feel boy. It is not a strong conviction, by any means, but it will be amusing to see if I’m correct.

Now we wait until our next milestone – 12 week appointment, which we actually scheduled for 13 weeks, since my wife will be at a conference the week prior. I’ll try to remember to upload some of the ultrasound photos into this post later.

8 Weeks

Time is ticking by. I feel fine, overall. As I described it to my best friend (who had two fairly easy pregnancies), if on a scale from 0 – 100, 0 being the worst stomach flu or illness of your life and 100 being your absolute best, rested, healthiest day, I maintain a pretty even 92. I have enough faint symptoms to assure me that something is happening, but not enough to complain about. I’m often hungry, pretty tired in the afternoon and at 8:30 p.m., and I regularly feel sluggish at the gym at 5:30 in the morning. I catch scents that make me curl my nose and once or twice a day the idea of eating sounds awful, but I still haven’t been sick (knock on wood).

I think I’ve gained 1.5 pounds in 8 weeks, which surprises me. I figured that by cutting out the calories from alcohol, skipping the syrups from pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint mochas, and continuing to exercise, I would maintain my weight through the first trimester. I guess that by easing off the workouts (intensity, not frequency), I’m not burning as many calories as I used to. I’m aiming to hold steady for the next four weeks by cutting out sweets (except for on Christmas) and limiting refined carbs.

Baby is the size of a kidney bean, which is mind-blowing to me. I know it seems mundane to others, but I cannot believe he or she is a tangible, growing, living being. It’s really bizarre to have a mystery person inside you.

That being said, I curiously LOVE the kidney bean. I am not a very emotive person, but I have this strange, consuming, spontaneous love for it. I don’t understand it. For example, as I was driving along the other day, I wondered about the baby’s hair color. My wife and I both have brown hair, and the donor has blonde hair. I speculated that this baby is going to have light hair, and I pondered how our future family photos might look different if we’d used a donor with a dark complexion. I felt a sudden jolt of betrayal out of nowhere, feeling instant guilt for even considering that this little kidney bean wasn’t exactly what I had hoped and prayed for. And that jolt blew me away. I recognized that he or she has an identity, and it was the one I was going to love and care for the rest of my life. There was never going to be a reconsideration of donors, as we have had the luxury of doing for the past two years. This kidney bean is what we got, and I love it.

I’ve been having really strange, intense dreams, which I think is still a product of the progesterone. They are really strange. Two or three times I have dreamed that baby is a boy. In one of the dreams we had the baby, but then we realized that the hospital had switched out a doll for the real baby. I was clearly in a panic. I don’t know how it resolved, but I vividly remember a battery pack/speaker on the back of the doll. Not all of the dreams are about babies, but it’s quickly becoming a trend.

Not much else to report. We haven’t told anyone else about it, yet, and I think we’re going to hold out for a couple more weeks. I’m feeling relatively confident that everything is fine, but I am also feeling relaxed about keeping this information close for the time being.

7 Weeks

This is a bit of a mundane post, and no photos to share, unfortunately, but I’m writing it for my own reflection in the future.

I continue to feel pretty good. I had a hard workout on Monday, and my quads still haven’t fully recovered by Thursday. I am theorizing that my body is directing more resources toward babymaking than muscle recovery, which is good. I’m just surprised that it’s taking me sooo long to bounce back. I didn’t expect that.

Foods and smells are all still normal. I do crave protein-rich foods and salty/savory things MUCH more than sweet, but I’m still enjoying a little treat here or there. I cannot eat a lot of sugar at once, or I get a stomach ache. That’s a new experience for me – I’ve historically been able to eat a big bowl of ice cream or multiple cookies at once without problem.

I don’t feel much going on in my lower abdomen – occasional tugging from my uterus stretching, but not as frequent or intense as it was during week 5. My boobs are always slightly swollen, and they are sore at different times of the day. Sometimes I cannot lie on my stomach or side because it hurts my boobs too much, and other times they are perfectly fine. Interestingly, they hurt the least after a workout.

I’m still tired, and nighttime sleep is returning to normal, thankfully. I’m still getting up to pee once most nights. I feel like I pee All. The. Time. I’ve never spent so much time in the bathroom.

Our immediate families know, and they ask how things are going every couple of days. I also told my best friend last night, and she is THRILLED. She had followed the journey for the last two years, so she knows how long we’ve waited to finally be parents. I think she hugged me tight for about three solid minutes and then asked for every detail. It was fun to get such a positive reaction, because while our families are pleased, there was really no jumping up or down. The experience has made me reflect on how I’ve reacted when other people told me they were pregnant, and I hope I expressed enough enthusiasm and delight. In the future, I’ll make sure to help them feel special. We plan to tell our close friends from San Diego sometime this weekend via facetime. They know we have been trying, so it won’t be a surprise. Otherwise we’re trying to hold out until Christmas to tell the rest of our families and friends. I’m hoping to wait as long as 20 weeks to tell my work. They will be happy and very surprised (I think), but I don’t generally share personal information with my colleagues.

So, we march on. I get slightly more confident that everything is okay with each day that passes. I’ll be really happy to hit the future milestones of 10-week appointment (and hopefully hearing a heartbeat), finishing this trimester, and eventually feeling the baby move. Until then, we pass the days by hoping for the best.