Keeping it Light
Approaching the second ultrasound in a couple days that will finally hopefully mark our graduation from the fertility clinic, I’m making a diligent attempt to be positive. The hormones really raged this past week, causing bouts of weepiness and terror that made me question everything in my body, while my exhaustion has hit at crazy moments, including falling asleep sitting up midday with my laptop in front of me, heh, with a grand finale of getting horribly sick near the end of dinner with my mom that included an emergency stop on the drive home. Yee-haw! So Monday morning I woke up, put on my happy face, and took a deep breath and refocused on following my own advice about staying zen and confident in the process.
Let the Doula Interviews Begin!
This week we scheduled doula interviews with four doulas with very different backgrounds and perspectives. We invited them to our home so we can get a real feel for how they are with us in our home (after all, we are planning a home birth!) not to mention let Ruby meet them. Some may laugh at that last part, but my sweet pup is going to be with us during this process and I want both the doula and her to be comfortable around each other. If the doula was in any way uncomfortable, it would be an automatic no.
Along with overall vibe and experience level, I also want to see how each treated my husband versus myself. This doula might primarily be for me, but she is going to help both of us and he’d better feel comfortable being vulnerable around her as well, as he’s not the type of man to open up to just anyone who walks in the door. I want to make sure he’s in good hands, particularly while I’m going through transition. Too many men feel left out of the process or couples think that because they went to childbirth education that the partner can handle it, but if it’s your first kiddo? They are just as clueless as we are but without the benefit of at least feeling the baby inside!
Someone on a community forum or blog or somewhere talked about two that she met who were basically the yin vs yang of personality styles. One had a more directive style and externally stronger presence (I say externally because both were strong, this one was just more overt) which matched her extroverted preferences – what I envision as the more “buck up, camper!” style, and another had a more soothing earth mother type persona, which matched her introverted need for that warm enveloping type of support during childbirth. It made me think of myself, as I definitely feel that duality in myself, wanting someone who can help me listen, but also one who I can be completely vulnerable with. For me, it is the latter type that will usually prevail but one who I can tell underneath the hippie dippy exterior is strong and knows how to work with ME as well as my more intellectually-based (but soft on the inside) husband. Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Childbirth was a super cool piece by a birth doula that I found especially touching and to find someone who has learned these as well would be wonderful.
As of today we have met three:
- #1 was a lot of fun to talk to but absolutely definitely on the capital “E” extrovert side. Big personality, loud voice, very chatty. Lots of opinions and resources and encouragement. Killer focus on education. Very kind and definitely one you want to hug. But I didn’t mellow, rather I found myself rising to meet her energy, in typical recruiter mode. Dan wasn’t completely relaxing either and I know he needs someone who can talk in his language. In addition, to meet the backup doulas, you have to go to their meetup – driving downtown during rush hour – and only can meet them in a group setting (unless you pay $50 to meet one-on-one…strange since we could meet our primary doula for an informational for free…hmm.). That and when we asked about how many years she’d been a doula, she said “I feel like I’ve always been one” then said 2 years but never talked about getting certificstion. So that was also a red flag. Ultimately, nice person, but not a fit for our personalities and needs.
- #2 was absolutely lovely but had attended significantly less births than the other candidates. She was warm, kind, genuine and also happened to be a massage therapist who included prenatal massage as part of her doula package. We also liked that she showed curiosity about us including asking how we met – none of the others asked my husband anything about himself! She was upfront about her experience and while she’d only attended 20 births in 2 1/2 years, we liked that she only does one birth per month and therefore has a lesser chance of needing a backup….but she did not have a backup doula which was hard to hear (what if she got in an accident or something?). But we liked HER, and if we only could choose between #1 and #2, or if it were our second pregnancy, she would have won, hands down.
- #3 started off quiet and ended up a slam dunk. We worried at how quiet she was after the first two were so outgoing, then realized she was actually absorbing US and listening to US. We quickly got comfortable with her and found we had a lot in common with her. Not only is she in her 40s but this is her primary job, she’s been doing it for 7 years, and brings a degree in psychology along with massage studies to the table. I also had a mind meld with my husband as she talked as I could tell without his saying anything that he was digging on her killer combo of intellectual, psychological, and intuitive skills. She’s friggin’ smart, unassuming, and we saw wee bits of humor peeking out when we were suddenly sharing movie references (hey, anyone who knows what movie (and what comes after) “pointy pointy” is in gets bonus points from us, haha). But most importantly, she shared our philosophy to a tee when it comes to pregnancy as part of life and not a medical diagnosis. She had planned home births with all 3 of her children, and when the first one ended up in a hospital transfer, she learned immediately that she should have had a doula with her as her fear had gotten the best of her and she really believes that would have kept her out of the hospital. Yet she’s not anti-hospital, she just – like us – has a holistic care perspective and understood where we were coming from, in so many ways.
- #4 we canceled because we knew, without a doubt, #3 was the one. The fourth one was also from the same collective as #1 so we knew that the meet-your-backup-only-in-a-group-setting-otherwise-pay-$50 and the downtown meetups were not going to be a fit for us. She seemed way cool but we already found our person 🙂
Whew. Hoooooly moly what a day.
8 weeks, 5 days. Or, approximately 219 days to go.
It’s been interesting ride thus far. As with any IVF expectant mum, paranoid as hell while simultaneously trying to be excited and happy. And being on Ultrasound #2 Eve, I can feel it amping up no matter how I try to ignore it. I’ve seen fellow IVF’ers make it all the way to birth, and I’ve seen fellow IVF’ers go from great #1 ultrasound to “there’s nothing in there” in the #2 ultrasound.
But I don’t want to make any contingency plans this time. I just want to look forward and believe that the odds are on our side to have a healthy baby delivered in March.
So for now, I’m focusing on health.
Nutrition has been ace, I gotta say. While I’ve always eaten really well – organic, homegrown, etc. while doing a decent job of avoiding processed foods – and have never had any blood pressure or blood sugar issues, the 6 small meals a day (or basically, snack on healthy stuff all day long, not sure if it’s actually 6 or possibly more) has been great, not just for staving off nausea but for overall health.
I got some ‘bonus curves’ during the mega-fucking-horrible-adventure of 2 failed IUIs and 3 failed DEIVFs before this 4th one gave us a BFP, and so because of that, my body is not actually gaining any weight. I shit you not, I’ve lost 7 lbs in 2 weeks. Yay for nausea pehraps? Losing weight in first trimester is not considered a bad thing unless you’re already skinny, and overall based on my figure I’m not supposed to gain much anyhow. So I’ll take this little bonus. I couldn’t eat more if I tried, because halfway through a ‘regular’ meal I get full now. Very weird.
Daily PIO and twice-weekly Delestrogen shots are officially becoming hell. Two out of three times they hurt like hell now because my ass is just one giant bumpy bruise. 68 shots in the bum with a 1.5″ needle since the start of Cycle 4 is hardcore, let me tell those of you who haven’t had to do it, and we still have 25 days to go. Because this is more than I’ve ever had in a row since the previous 3 cycles failed, I had no clue so originally figured we’d stay with the shots because the side effects and overall mess is so much less – and yeah, the drugs are already paid for. Tomorrow Dan will ask for 25 gauge needles, since we’ve been using a 22, to see if that helps (the pain is excruciating, by the way, when the needle DOESN’T go in believe it or not – if it goes in easy it’s just a tiny twinge if anything, if it’s near one of the lumps it hurts like a mofo and these involuntary yelping/screaming noises come out of me…so fun. SO fun. This morning he tried 3 different spots on my left cheek before switching to the right, as the 3rd try put me in demon voice mode to put it mildly. Poor husband.)
Exercise means attempting to walk 30 minutes a day (I feel bushed going any longer), which is usually 5 days a week as there seem to always be 2 days where I can’t get off the sofa without severe exhaustion and am just glad my old girl Ruby is there to be walked at least around the block a couple times. Along with that, I’m of course working in the garden at a modified pace (not digging or doing anything nutty) and am incredibly appreciative that this year our raised beds are 18″ off the ground (twice last year’s height) which means I can sit on the edge and prune tomatoes and such. Some say it’s bad to be gardening when pregnant because of the leaning and squatting. I say fuck that. Just like in yoga, if something doesn’t work, MODIFY…don’t just stop.
(Well unless you are so emo during yoga that you ran out crying uncontrollably a week before IVF transfer…then you can stop. Heh.)
Beyond that just digging my weekly prenatal acupuncture – my little place to float on a cloud for 45 minutes 🙂 Relative to women who are tossing their cookies regularly in the first trimester, my symptoms aren’t too terrible (again, being an IVF’er I swear my tolerance to nausea is higher than the standard pregnancy crowd, from shooting up so much hormones in advance of the transfer, ya know?), so my needles are focused on a few on the top of my head for relaxation and one on each wrist for nausea. So far no barf.
Yet it’s ironic that even 7 lbs lighter my pants are actually tighter around the waist. Gee thanks, bloating. That’s super rad of you, bloating.. Ah well, I know the real truth, right? Right?
And oh yeah it’s particularly intriguing to my husband that a sappy movie doesn’t just have me sniffly but full on doing the Ugly Cry. Why, oh why did we watch Hachi last night?
But hey, whatever. I’ll take it if it means tomorrow we Graduate. In the meantime…