As of May 31st, my maternity leave began and I cannot express how happy I am. It could be that working full-time while chasing a 4 1/2 year old around or the fact I’m pregnant, but I am TIRED! No longer do I have to rush to drop off the Princess at school then rush to the subway to travel for 40 minutes to get to work. Instead, I leisurely (more like waddle, but leisurely sounds better) walk her to school and then walk home. I still do some aspects of my job, but fortunately I can do all of that from home and it’s only for a short period of time a day, so I can get in my noon nap. I am very grateful that for the next year I will be home with my babes, enjoying every moment life will throw at us.
I am happy to announce we are in our final stretch of this pregnancy. We are now 29 weeks pregnant and so far everything has gone well. We did have a bit of a scare a few weeks ago with some unexpected light bleeding, chest pains and fainting, but after going to the hospital (better safe than sorry), our Rainbow is doing really well and I am ok. Turns out baby is sitting really low and sitting on a nerve, cutting off blood supply which caused the chest pains and fainting. I now have to be constantly moving, like I’m not tired enough, to encourage blood flow throughout. But overall baby boy is kicking like crazy, my dreams are more and more vivid, and we are anxiously awaiting his arrival.
It’s hard to believe that time is flying as fast as it is and that it won’t be too long before I’m off on maternity leave, holding my baby boy and chasing after my very active little girl. I have fears of how I’m going to handle two children, a newborn who’ll be up all night and an early riser 4 year old who will be up all day. In the end, I cannot wait to add to our family and start another chapter of our life.
I received the best birthday gift today. Not only is Hubby and Princess cooking me a delicious steak dinner and I’ve got movie plans with family, but today I found out the sex of our baby. Being 21 weeks and 2 days along, I had the standard 5 month test. It ran about an hour as my doctor wanted to measure all the organs and check for other things due to our past complications. Of course the baby did not want to cooperate and kept flipping over and refused to have its picture taken. I was put in every position possible and told to go for a walk and “talk” to the baby and get it to be cooperative. After all the measurements were taken they asked if I wanted to know the sex.
“Yes, I want to know.”
“It’s a boy,” she informed me.
“Are you serious?!”
They looked perplexed. “What? You don’t want a boy?”
“No, a boy is fine. Everyone kept telling me I was having a boy. I thought I was having a girl.”
They then brought in Hubby and asked him if he wanted to know. They told him and he is so very happy. For my birthday I found out what we are having and for Father’s Day, Hubby will receive a son! Turns out all those Gender Myths were right, I’m having a boy.
Today I received a compliment, all the while gracious and extremely flattering, I am not sure that I deserve such a compliment. There is one mother whose son is in the same class as the Princess and her and I have grown to know one another over the last few months. Today, we were speaking and she said this;
“You’re such a powerful woman.”
I said thank you very much and was left flabbergasted. The bell soon rang and we parted ways. On the ride to work, I kept thinking in my head “Am I a powerful woman? What exactly classifies a powerful woman?” I perceive women who have persevered, sacrificed and conquered as powerful. I have been very fortunate to have known many powerful women in my life.
My mother’s mother was one of the most influential people in my life. A war bride during the second world war, she moved to a country and started a family. That alone speaks volumes to me. She was a stay at home wife and mother to 5 children when my grandfather died when my mother was only 5 from a heart attack. She then had to find the strength and courage to raise 5 children single-handedly. She would later retire, own her own home and at one point or another had 6 of her 12 grandchildren live with her. She bought me my first dictionary, quizzed me on trivia and really instilled the love of reading I have now. I was only 14 years old when she died, but her legacy will have a lasting effect on me for the rest of my life.
Next was my father’s mother. A dutiful farm wife, she raised 11 children. She cooked, cleaned, and worked in the field up until she gave birth to my father. She never complained about the work load and even sacrificed her own education so her brother could go to school. Family was paramount to her and for that I have an enormous amount of respect for her. And she loved my grandfather. At every meal, she always ate using the utensils my grandfather brought home from basic training in WWII. I will always remember her rocking in her rocking chair, staring out the window, watching my grandfather work outside.
These women demonstrate and illustrate strength to me that I one day hope to possess. While I may have been told I was a powerful woman today, I feel like I have big shoes to fill. I do greatly appreciate the compliment.
Today I went for some genetic testing to ensure that everything with my Rainbow is going well. At first I was very nervous because the technician wouldn’t show me the screen. She then told me that my “baby is not cooperating.” Noooo that couldn’t possibly be a trait that my children have. *Cue awkward silence* Needless to say that whenever she tried to measure the nasal bone, the baby would either hide it’s face or roll over. Once everything was measured, she let me look at the screen. There I saw the flicker of the heartbeat, and this squirmy little joy using my womb as a romper room.
After I left the clinic, I began to compare the differences between this pregnancy and my pregnancy with the Princess. They are entirely different in almost all aspects thus far.
PREGNANCY WITH THE PRINCESS
- We don’t like to say “accident” but the Princess was an “unexpected surprise.”
- Symptoms occurred almost instantly
- Little nausea but vomited for 7 months
- Heartburn and swollen feet were the only other symptoms
- Gained a whopping 40 lbs
- Felt like it was a boy, but a girl it was
- Delivered the Princess via emergency c-section
PREGNANCY WITH THIS RAINBOW
- Planned after 2 1/2 years of trying, 2 miscarriages and secondary infertility
- Little vomiting but extreme nausea to the point where food repulses me
- Tender chest, heartburn, blotchy dry skin, bleeding gums, bloody noses every morning, a round ligament tear, pregnancy insomnia and fatigue
- I have lost 10 lbs thus far
- People keep telling me it’s a boy, but I feel like it will be another girl
- I will be attempting a VBAC
Since learning that I am infertile, one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with is learning to ‘grin and bear it’. I will admit it is not one of my strongest personality traits as I am one of those people who whatever I am feeling is almost guaranteed to show on my face. If it’s annoyance, anger, disbelief, happiness, or sadness, the expression is there on my face. I don’t like to hide, I don’t like to lie, but at the same time, sometimes the time and place for such conversations are not appropriate. My Princess is almost 4 years old now and many of our friends and family are having children. And with that, the question Hubby and I dread is being asked at every turn.
“So,” they cheerfully ask, poking me in the abdomen. “When is she getting a brother or a sister.”
Cue the awkward smile and shift in my stance. Most of the time they corner Hubby and I alone so we are unable to lean on each other for support or help with the answer. I know they don’t do it out of spite or malice, but I cringe when I am asked it.
“Oh, umm, you know, hmm, when it happens. We’ll see how it goes.” I divert my eyes anywhere but in theirs. I don’t want to have to see their expression when I don’t give them a straight forward answer. How do I say, “Well my prolactin levels are extremely high and have drained my estrogen levels so my body is incapable of maintaining any pregnancy and my ovaries are not releasing any eggs. My body is essentially going into early menopause and I’m only 26. Oh and my ovaries are covered in cysts.” That doesn’t really make for a great conversation. It is one thing for me to be uncomfortable, but I really wouldn’t want to be the cause of someone else’s discomfort. I’ve had strangers on the bus ask me, teachers at my daughter’s daycare, coworkers, friends, family and everyone else in between. I haven’t yet found a suitable answer.
So many people I know are having babies. My sister is pregnant and so is a close family member. My cousin just had a baby and her sister is due any day. My hubby’s brother had a beautiful blue-eyed baby girl 6 months ago and my friend is having a baby as well. I am all very happy for them, I really am. I rub their tummy’s, ask them how they are feeling, celebrate the life the life that is about to be brought into this world. But as I smile there is a dull ache that lies inside. It’s not cramps from bad food or from menstruation or ovulation, it’s a dull ache from a fear that I may never get to feel another kick, hear the whooshing of the ultrasound, crave pickles, have heartburn radiating through my body or be hunched over a toilet praying to the porcelain gods again.
I’ve received so many comments from people who I know mean well, but they come off so inconsiderate and back-handed.
“You just need to go back and enjoy sex again. Then you’ll get pregnant.”
I really wish it were that simple. Out of 28-35 days, depending on your cycle length, you only have about 25 – 30% chance of becoming pregnant. You have to determine when you ovulate, how long your luteal phase is, how soft and where your cervix is. I took Siberian Ginseng, Prenatal Vitamins, Evening Primrose Oil, Dong Quai and Green Tea for their ‘fertility’ aid. I was charting my entire cycle. I charted my basal temperature, my cervical mucus, how tender my breasts were, lower back pain, how heavy my flow, how long it lasted, basically acting as an ovulatory detective searching for clues when my ovaries will release an egg and when to approach Hubby and give a very small timeline to when we have to “enjoy sex”. Nothing says ‘sexy’ like “We have to have sex right now and tomorrow and I have to elevate my hips for 30 minutes.”
“Just chill out, you are way to stressed.”
Unfortunately stress and infertility often go hand in hand. Stress can lead to infertility and infertility only increases stress. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of situation.
“You should be grateful you have one child. Some people don’t have any.”
I would have to say this is the most inconsiderate and cruel comment I’ve ever received. I am very grateful for my beautiful brown-eyed, blonde curly-haired little Princess. She is my entire world. I look at her and thank every lucky star in the universe for giving her to me. We almost lost her at 3 months, and the cord wrapped around her neck during labour and she was born via c-section. I hug her and kiss her and tell her how much she means to me every single day. Most of my happy moments are the ones where I am with her. But I also dreamt of giving her siblings. A house full of siblings. I always wanted to be a mom to many children. I took care of my sisters and babysat many children. I love kids. Their laughs, smiles, their attitudes, everything about them makes me smile. They are so innocent and happy that it always boggles my brain when people say they annoy them. The old adage “Barefoot and Pregnant” was my mantra growing up and I couldn’t think of a better dream for me. I’m not talking about pulling a Dugger, but I wanted at least 4 kids, if not more. Just a house full of children running around, me ragged and tired, but overjoyed. The doctor says I’ll be lucky if I am able to have one more.
“There’s always adoption and surrogates.”
Generally it’s these people who know nothing about costs and legal matters. These options are not always available to everyone.
I think what hurts the most is that I have to look at my little girl when she asks me where the ‘baby’ went and why she doesn’t have a sister and try to come up with some sort of child-friendly response and then look at my Husband, who wanted a house full of kids and try to articulate ‘I’m sorry’ that I let him down. I am 26, at the supposed height of my fertile years and have to say “I’m infertile”. I never thought that phrase would ever come from me. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed. I have come to know many people who are infertile and are suffering from what I am suffering from. It’s just an overwhelming sadness, guilt and grief that is so very hard to explain, comprehend and come to terms with.
After 2 years of trying to get pregnant, I have found an online community that has truly helped me realize I’m not alone and one blogger in particular, Practical Katie and her post “When One Isn’t Enough” really did help me understand this. And to my readers, your kind words have really helped pick me up when I have been feeling down. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I was very fortunate to have been able to get away for the weekend to go visit a girlfriend in Ottawa. We have been friends for the last 12 years and no matter how much time passes between our visits, it is like no time has passed at all. Her main squeeze is in the Canadian Military and has been away all summer, so I thought I would go a visit her and we could have another one of our random adventures. It would be a short trip, having left Saturday morning and home Sunday night, but it was a thoroughly enjoyed one.
After being friends with someone for 12 years, they have pretty much seen you at your worst and at your best. And my friend has seen both. We first met in grade nine, and then played rugby together, had classes together, went to the same university and even worked together. In my third year of university, I moved in with her. That had to have been one of the best years of my life. We had a place that we shared with two other girls, partied whenever we wanted and even made a weekly get together of what we called The Tuesday Night Meeting of the Walking Vagina Club. The basement was turned into a bar and we would mix random concoctions of liqueurs and drinks and dare each other to drink them. Sometimes it would be whiskey and vodka, Sourpuss, Bols Blue and Creme d’Menthe, making up names for them as we went along. We would go to the movies and even on one of our Random Adventures. Her and I could always get in a car and not know the destination. The real journey was in the drive itself. We stole pumpkins out of a pumpkin patch, drove into Quebec to make our own beer, went to concerts, and even a Senator’s hockey game where my infamous line was “Hold my shoe.” For St Patty’s Day, she would tirelessly make t-shirts for “Beer Quest” and we would stumble aimlessly through the Ottawa Market.
We refer to each other as our “Other Ovary.” She even threw me a baby shower and one of the games was Pin the Sperm on the Egg. She and my other girlfriends painted a HUGE poster of my Uterus and hung it on the back of a deck, clearly visible to the passing drivers. She was the first person I told when I was pregnant both times and when I had my miscarriage last year, she drove 5 hours the next day to spend a couple of days with me at home. She watched over the Princess, did my dishes and even brought me Beef Jerky (I love beef jerky). She hugged me and let me cry and was the very best friend anyone could ever ask for.
Last year, Hubby told me he wanted to take me out on a date. I thought this was weird because it was way out in the East end of the city. He even went to all the trouble to make sure Princess stayed with Grandma and Grandpa. My spider senses were tingling. the girls at work were telling me he was going to give me jewellery. I didn’t think so but he had something up his sleeve. We finally got to the area of the restaurant but he told me he wanted to take me shopping. First of all, he never likes taking me shopping so I knew something was up. After some time, he finally said we could go to the restaurant and when I went to sit on the bottom level, he said “No, upstairs.” I was thinking to myself “What the heck?” I was running over what he was planning and when I turned the corner, there she was sitting in the booth. That was better than any diamond ring he could ever have bought.
I was so happy to see her. We went for lunch and then we went back to her place, but first stopping at the LCBO for some Dionysian beverages for later. She told me she had a surprise adventure for me later. We had plans to go out for dinner to our favourite Fajita place but she said she needed to take me somewhere first. She handed me a pair of socks. What do I need socks for? She smiled and told me to get in the car. After some time, we were driving into Quebec and we pull into the parking lot of a leather shop. Firstly, I was like “Why are you taking me here? Is this some Fifty Shades thing?” She laughed and said no. We went in and there was a lower level with some gates. Behind it were helmets. “Are you taking me to ride motorcycles?” She shook her head. We got to the back of the store and there it was…a wall of the finest cowboy boots I had ever seen. We had both always said we wanted cowboy boots and she had taken me to get some. I didn’t buy any as I didn’t budget for leather on my trip, but the fact that she took the time to take me there was good enough for me. We drove to another part in Ottawa to a place called the Butchery for some real authentic beef jerky. Mmm. We went to dinner and then I asked her “Have you seen Magic Mike?” She smiled and said “No, but I hoped we could tonight.” We went and both agreed that only with each other would we see that movie. We left red-faced and giggling like silly school girls. Once we arrived back at her place, the drinking commenced. She whipped out her blender and the concoctions of the past were in full swing.
She is one of the most genuine, uber chill, down to earth, funny, cool, witty person I have ever met in my life. Her and I have never argued and can and do say anything, and I mean anything, that comes to our minds. She is my best friend and I hope that our Random Adventures continue well into our 80’s.
Hubby and the Princess enjoyed their weekend together making cupcakes and having their own slumber party in the living room. I hugged them tightly when I got home and asked my Hubby “Would you ever wear skimpy underwear and dance to ‘It’s Raining Men?” He shook his head and walked away laughing.