Sunday, January 11, 2009

The 1st Trimester in Snippets... Month 1

Weeks One and Two

Poppet is just a glint in our eye. I didn't realize, until recently, but the first two weeks of pregnancy are those weeks before conception. We've decided that we'd try for a baby... finally.

Being an academic I've turned this into a scientific endeavour. Timing is everything, it seems, so I am temping. I even joined a TTC (trying to conceive) bulletin board and enter a previously unknown world. I have to get to grips with an entirely new lingo - which involves lots of acronyms: BD (baby dance) meaning 'sex', AF (Aunty Flow!) meaning period, BFN/BFP (big fat negative/positive) meaning positive or negative pregnancy test... and many, many more. I frankly am a little lost with it all.

I temp religiously, taking it first thing in the morning and obsess over slight fluctuations. My world-view is shrinking and I'm feeling rather myopic... I keep worrying about Rich doing too much biking (those lycra shorts) and have constant, nagging doubts that maybe it'll never work out for us. Melissa (my sister... recently pregnant herself with her second) swears by tomatoes for men, but tells me to chill out. It's alright for her, I think, she's pregnant.

My temp pleasantly goes up at the 'right' time, which signifies - hopefully - that I've ovulated and that we BD'ed (I know, I know) at the right time...

Weeks three and four

I still obsessively temp, hoping, hoping that the temp doesn't go down. it's going up and up... Since I am so nervous and excited I'm not getting much sleep, which makes my waking time and rested state a bit chaotic... thus making the temps I'm getting a bit meaningless. I think I note a dip... possibly an implantation dip?

I'm not expecting to be pregnant and don't intend to test early. Alas, 10 days past ovulation (dpo.. if you're interested in the ttc lingo) I get up at 4am to get ready to head to Boston with Rich and friends to attend the Veg Fest. I note a pregnancy test in my cupboard... and simply cannot resist. peeing on the stick I have absolutely no doubt that I am NOT pregnant. But is that a faint line?

I wake up Rich to see if he can see the line... he keeps saying 'I see something.. something's there'. I'm a bit frustrated as I want him to just say there's a line... But he does see something! We had agreed we wouldn't tell anyone for a while.. at least a couple of weeks, but I go downstairs and call my parents in Spain and Melissa in the UK. So much for keeping quiet...

We pick up Renate who's driving with us to Boston. She's without trousers and standing outside her mum's apartment in short shorts and a winter coat (Ren is in grad school in Boston, is under 30, and has a social life... ). I am wanting to see my women peeps (we're meeting Laur and fia in Boston, too) but I am really wanting to just retest and to goggle 'faint pregnancy' lines to see if this test is really positive, I do have a metallic taste in my mouth when I drink water, and my boobs are killing me, so I feel a bit hopeful. We'll see.

Lovely time with my women folk, but desperate to get back to Maine... We stop off at a Target en route to Maine and I buy more tests. I pee on a stick in the Target bathroom and am excited to see another line! Alright, it's really faint... I buy a digital test too.

This is a mistake... I test at midnight (I get up to pee) and receive a NOT PREGNANT. Oh, mercy. I res-test with the strip test the next morning. Another faint life. I'm really becoming obsessive now. I even take photos of the tests and post them on the TTC website. I receive lots of 'we see it'.. only to receive... oh, I would use another test as those blue dye tests are notorious for giving false positives.

Feeling a little destroyed by this I have to do everything in my willpower not to test again with the other digital. I can't resist, though, stopping by hannaford en route to see some girlfriends for lunch. I buy a pink strip test (a first response) and do the test, with not much dignity, in the market. I am fully expecting a negative... and thus the realization that i have to call my parents and Melissa to tell them I'm not pregnant. Oh lord. BUT.. there's another faint line. I keep it to myself, though I even rush out to the car during lunch to check to see if there really is a faint line. I resist telling the friends I'm with as I don't want to have to un-tell them...

between Sat and Sun I take nine tests... I know, I know. All positive except the dreaded digital. Monday I see the sport's doc and tell him about my tests. He says congrats and I say that I can't be sure because of the digital test. To ease my mind he does a blood test... I have no idea how I will wait until tomorrow.

Before my classes on Tuesday morning I take another test (I know, I know) and then summon up the courage (or stupidity) to take the digital. I am shocked(!) when it reads:

Here are a selection of tests.....

Weeks Five and Six

I immediately tell Jen about my digital positive test (which I carry around in my pocket...). I am so unbelievably happy and tell many more people than I should. Rich is demonstrating far more restraint. My criteria for telling folks is this: if I would tell them about a miscarriage I will tell them about being pregnant...' And so I tell many people...

I am, though, constantly worried about miscarriage. I constantly google statistics and signs of miscarriage and work myself into such a panic that I can barely talk. And then I suddenly feel a sharp pain... which I try to ignore, but it's unrelenting. As it happens I have to pick up a visiting academic and take him to dinner so I put the sharp, continuous pain out of my mind. But as I sit in the car and wait for him I call my Dr's on call nurse hotline and I explain the symptoms. Expecting that they'll say 'no problem, it's normal, the nurse sounds worried and tells me to go to the ER. Oy. I ignore the advice, thinking that I'm perhaps over=exaggerated the pain and take the visiting academic out to dinner with Julia. I put it out of my mind and have a lovely time only to feel the pain all night and it seems to be getting worse.

I call my Dr. in the morning and talk to her nurse who tells me to come in for an emergency appointment. I am completely distraught. I know they are worried about an ectopic and I feel a horrible dread. I'm supposed to pick up the same visiting scholar and take him to college where I'll be responsible for looking after him. I have no idea what I'll do. Poor Julia... I call her in floods of tears to see if she can help... thankfully people rally around and I rush off to my appointment which is preceded by an ultrasound.

The technician is not very nice, frankly. I am in tears and she is not especially empathic or communicative. She asks if I have used a tampon before, and I nod... and then she hands me a very big transvaginal wand... I cannot even describe how much it does not resemble a tampon. because it's so early, they don't expect to see much... maybe a gestational sac. Which they see... though it's not a definitive sign of a heathy pregnancy (an ectopic can produce a pseudo sac). The meany technician explains absolutely nothing and I'm left with google for help.

2 more weeks I have to wait for another scan.... Mercy. It's a very long two weeks. I am so grateful for my friends for being so supportive and lovely to me during this time.

Weeks Seven and Eight

The night before the scan I am literally shaking in bed. I can't talk and I have extreme anxiety that tomorrow will bring bad news. I sleep fitfully and as I drive - about an hour early - to the appointment, I don;t think I'll get through it. Rich meets me there.... I am hoping, hoping for a different technician. Fortunately for us we have a lovely sonographer. I say, as we follow her in, that I am panicking and would appreciate if she could explain everything she sees... which she does! As soon as the picture comes up on the screen she announces that she sees the heartbeat (126bpm and 6 weeks 4 days) and everything looks good. Phew. The poppet is measuring right on track...

Rich and I almost cry with relief and happiness.

Weeks Nine and Ten

I am so sick. So, so sick. I can barely keep anything down. I end up in the ER hooked up to drips because I am so dehydrated. It's a relief to feel pregnancy symptoms, and very reassuring, but I can barely keep water down. I have no idea how I'll get through the semester. I can't exercise, I can't eat, and I can't imagine ever feeling okay again.... I constantly moan about my sickness as it;s so overwhelming and I can think of little else.

I do go to see Deb (my Dr.) and she tries, at 9.5 weeks to hear the heartbeat with a doppler. She warns me that it's likely that it's too early... Still, when we can;t hear it I panic. I'm due to see her in two more days so try to remain calm... only we don't hear it at almost 10 weeks, either. Ack, Deb is going away for the holidays and is worried about my worrying about this for the next few weeks... How well she knows me. And so I go for another scan a few days later (I should add that I was hoping to go through the pregnancy with only ONE ultrasound... well.. clearly I have had to weigh that decision against my intense anxiety). We have another technician who is just wonderful! I cannot believe how big this baby is, and how well formed, at 10 weeks. The poppet is measuring 11 weeks 1 day... she even waves at us on the ultrasound. Her heartbeat is beating away at 172bpm.

Isn't she lovely?

Weeks Eleven and Twelve

I am slowly feeling less anxious about miscarriage. I am truly so sick that that's all I can think of. Rich and I have a lovely Christmas, despite me throwing up everything I touch... but knowing that this is our last Christmas as a childless couple after close to 15 years... well, it's just a wonderful thought.

Here's some Christmas shots... lovely food. Alas, not much stayed in :)


  1. Dear Alexandra,

    I love being able to read this! Thank you for taking the time to go back and recapture the early parts of this journey.

    I had no idea how many tests you took, man alive. Though, I have to admit that I'd likely do the exact same thing. In fact, I'm positive that I would.

    And finally, that is such a lovely photograph of you.

    With ¡excitement!....

  2. Thanks so much, ania. I was wanting to write for so long and so made sure to keep things in my mind. There's so much that isn't here... probably really incidental things like cravings and major food aversions, and my crazy breakdowns (which involved me throwing something!!)

    Oh, mercy, the testing! Deb actually called me at my office to say STOP TESTING :) I didn't listen... It's sort of addictive, too, because with each positive test you just feel the sheer excitement all over again.

    So glad you're visiting the blog, ania :) xo

  3. I think I would be that obsessive too, I really do. Just one to make sure, then another, and another...

    Poppet is beautiful already and so are you x