Baby Showers, Alone for a Week, IMAX Baby, and Insensitive Comments

Baby Showers, Alone for a Week, IMAX Baby, and Insensitive Comments

1.2.2018

Delayed Post Apologies

Currently, 36 weeks pregnant and approaching 37 in two days (Due January 25th) , each week since the last update I gave you at 30 weeks has been an upside-down roller-coaster ride. So I apologize for having to make-up for it here. I keep saying that I will do better in subsequent post timings, but obviously, life is sometimes much more overwhelming than my swollen and numb hands can handle!

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Week 31

My wife and I both flew back to New York to attend our baby shower, hosted by the same wife’s cousin who pretty much slayed our wedding decoration and design. The theme of the wedding was, “Game of Thrones” and included her making each table a specific “house” as featured on the show, complete with plush animals representing each. Also featuring a beautiful head table with treats and various other beautiful touches. I will be sure to place photos when time permits!

So how did the baby shower go? With a majority Latino and different generation attendants, I would probably say that less than 20% of the individuals who went actually understood the theme. Culture would have expected some baby blue everything baby shower- but we don’t like corny, we like epic.

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So for us 20%, we were blown away by how beautiful it was! For the others, they must’ve thought it was cute to have stuffed baby animals and decor everywhere.

How did I personally deal? Well, I was lucky in that my wife and I found a great dress, and my colleague helped me find decent heels…which I decided within about 15 minutes of wearing on the actual day to gave away to one of my wife’s cousins. Heels were never kind to my Flintstone feet.

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As far as emotionally, it was a little more complex. I could feel the amount of love and support in the room. Yet it also felt overwhelming. It was again, a complicated emotion, feeling supported and yet feeling uncomfortable with the attention. Usually, attention does not bother me much, but since I have been pregnant, tides seemed to have shifted a little. Perhaps it is a mix of me not feeling like I am in my own body anymore, not recognizing myself, therefore not feeling very confident. Or just the strange feeling that everyone is literally sizing me up: how I look, act, carry myself, and how I compare to other pregnant women they have known. My stomach wasn’t enormous, I admit- with a feeble appetite the first and second semesters, plus the new Gestational Diabetes diet, weight wasn’t putting on so much even though the baby and I were healthy.

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I have become so much more self-conscious, and at times it has become a strange nagging discomfort randomly during the pregnancy. It also may have to do with a twinge of passive sadness, watching people I knew and some I cared about just get up during the baby shower, get unlimited drinks from the bar, gathering in groups to take shots,  and I not being able to really be a part of that social aspect and unwinding- in the past more than half a year. I can admit, from what I could decipher about that day, I missed being a part of that silly bonding gesture that we had been doing for years now; that now I wasn’t invited over even with water. What makes it harder? I wear my emotions on my sleeve, making me an open book to those who know me well. Also, well…hormones.

Yes, I know- everyone was there because of my wife and I (+ this beautiful little guy), and I am so thankful for my ultra supportive and incredibly patient wife, her friends and family + and this amazing opportunity I have been given to physically cultivate a life inside of me who will eventually conquer the Seven Kingdoms…

um, I mean-  be awesome.

Additionally, I am not in any way regretful of this process, the role shift, nor prospective responsibilities and future baby giggles- I look forward to that growth and emotional evolution, but the thought did honestly cross my mind that those “other” days were actually really behind me, the new Chapter is being written. That the little guy inside of my tummy was going to start running things from now on, and I think it just all made me feel nervous and insecure. There is no pause button to gather myself at this point. I also irrationally feared that everyone there would eventually size me up as some sort of a “this or that” kind of mother at some point, or already have.

Seriously though- why did I even care? No idea, I never really cared for anyone’s perception, except for that of my wife, some of her family, one friend and mother-in-law to be honest. Hormones again perhaps? No one really knows that I plan to be the best damn wife to the love of my life and an award-winning mother to our child!

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It also didn’t help that I felt exhausted from lack of sleep, bummed by the void of my immediate family not being present, and one of the foods there that I smelled even covered throughout was making me feel sick to my stomach. I definitely miss my stamina. I tried to play it strong, but don’t think it came across that way at all.

My emotions that weekend were all over the place, while I tried to keep it together- I know it was obvious something wasn’t right with me. For that, I feel pretty bad. Aren’t I supposed to be the glowing epitome of the blushing miracle of motherhood after all? Where the lights turn down and the spotlight comes up when I enter a room? Where the confidence in what I am doing radiates with every single stride and gesture I make? Instead, I went to the restroom five times, threw up pitifully as silently as I could only about 20 minutes into getting there, had some diarrhea because, well why not? Then rubbed my tummy in the stall, hoping the baby’s random movements would make me feel like I was doing a good job and that I got this. Hoping that I could pull myself together emotionally.

I absolutely loved the baby shower, the games, the gifts, the laughs…just wish I felt more confident that day (although now at my 36-week mark, that has much improved). I reflect on that day affectionately, the work involved in people putting it together and all of the wonderful people I admire who have been there since day one of my wife and I’s relationship…minus one individual who should’ve just stayed home.

I love them all, and hearing all of the drunken and non-drunken words of support was charming. I am so lucky to have my wife, her family, friends, and that support in my life. I hope that my wife knows how much I appreciate her- and that I constantly think about the above and beyond support she has been providing being amazing.

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Week 32

This week, my wife had to go away for work for about a week. We had been talking for awhile about finally putting up the forest decals (including a lion, zebra, birds, and a tree!) that we purchased for the baby’s room. We knew it would be time-consuming, and with all baby preparations going on it was difficult to find the motivation to get it done. Yet we finally committed! It took us about two long hours, but the outcome was pretty adorable! Will have to post pics to this blog when I have the time!

Then came D-Day (aka wife work Departure day) and I felt pretty down about it. She had managed to get her employer to drop another week-long departure that was supposed to occur soon-after and I was smitten. I honestly could not ask for a more emotionally present woman than her throughout all this, and count my blessings.

So she left for the workweek, then I realized…being this pregnant is a little hard on your own (think: getting up from couches, in and out of beds, in and out of cars, dropping ANYTHING on the floor that needs to be picked up)- also, I missed her making me laugh through the ligament pain and other neat things my body was doing. Even since the beginning of the pregnancy, I was experiencing insomnia, but this week was the worst! Looking at the empty spot next to me on the bed I felt a real void. So eager to see her upon her day of arrival, I told her I would pick her up from the airport, and that was the most rewarding part of my week.

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In that week, I felt and literally saw my stomach grow exponentially. Finally, I actually looked legitimately pregnant! I tilted my head in the mirror and thought,

Hmph, this does not look so bad on me!

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Two of my colleagues planned a baby shower for me at work, and it was absolutely sweet. Chock full of games and decor, they clearly enjoyed the distraction from work and a moment to have some cake (that I couldn’t have, thanks GD!). Again, I counted my blessings that I moved from my prior contract to this new one just at the right time. The quality of my colleagues is hands-down better than the rigid and chaotic organization I had been tasked to assist for over six months prior to the move. I would say I wished the other org. the best, but I don’t.

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Week 33

IMAX Baby

Due to the GD diagnosis, we have been seeing tyke weekly for ultrasounds to ensure his growth and other aspects are as expected. This week, we watched as our fabulous ultrasound specialist Karen placed the goo on my tummy ritualistically, found tyke and then like a flip of a switch, showed us a first-time 3D image of his face!

I know, I know…have mentioned it plenty of times, “This is when I felt things began to get real”. Honestly though, THIS is the moment the little guy inside of me truly became a little person our little person, – not a moving 2D image; but with gorgeous chubby cheeks, a pair of closed eyes, and clearly sucking his thumb. Since then, we have noted that this guy is an insatiable thumb sucker, and also pretty chill only when it comes to the ultrasound appointments, making poor Karen’s life pretty difficult. This is also the only time we believe that since then, we have ever seen him move is hand remotely away from his mouth to give us a mostly full view of his face. Ohhhhh and those little lips! We took the photo from this session, plastered it on baby shower thank you cards, and sent them out to everyone. Then I took the photo, put it in a small heart-shaped ornament that says, “My first Christmas, 2017” and gifted it to my wife.

Wife Ready for Lift Off

One reason that I adore my wife is that she is absolutely a planner. She is a woman who has a plan for her plans- whereas I am a more, hey lets wing it kind of character (don’t worry, this does not apply to the pregnancy as much, lol). There is an entire corner of our living room dedicated to what she calls, “Go time.” A medium-sized suitcase with essentials such as my bio-oil, clothing, clothing for the shower (for both her and I) if I need to wind down there at the hospital, and probably quite a few other things I didn’t take stock of. The car seat is ready and raring to go, a large binder of the baby’s medical records. a written list of additional things to take stock of. Her excitement is palpable at this point, with any move I make that seems out of the ordinary making her ask,

“Is it Go time????”

In our years of being together, I have never witnessed her so gleeful about something that so horrifies me. It is the truth, we are indeed ying and yang, and I am so grateful that she seems to have control of this situation before it even happens.

 

Her: giphy

Me: giphy9

She is so excited to begin this family, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of it in this way. To be a parent, with her alongside me to our son.

Baby Still Has No Name

Yep. That is pretty much the update on that. We have been back and forth on this, and are now taking it with a grain of salt. We will figure it out.

Yo Momma Should Have Taught You Better

I realized something. Those blog posts and mentions stating that some people are absolutely senseless when it comes to pregnancy are completely true. Sometimes colleagues are the ones who make the most unnecessary comments. For example, I got this one the other day:

“Wow, you’re losing your bustline”

My response? giphy1

Or they make a big deal every…single…time they see you, every day like you just told them you were pregnant an hour before and now all of a sudden you look like a hot air balloon.

Even those individuals who aren’t your colleagues. One of the contenders for most insensitive:

“Wow. That’s gonna be a big bebe.”

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This was after I put a small collage consisting of three photos of my wife putting her hand on my tummy, us beaming for the camera on Facebook. I grabbed my phone tightly and began typing,

“Your a (*#)ing idiot” [delete delete delete]

Taking a breath, I then waited 10 minutes to pass before satisfying the compulsion to respond. Maybe I am sensitive about my GD and proud of the fact that our son is actually measuring normal in the 57th percentile (we found that out Week 36); especially with my struggles regarding the daily meal plans. Yet how could you possibly allow your fingers to punch that into your electronic device and not expect a smart remark from a sarcastic individual that doesn’t take to idiocy lightly? Tactfully, I responded (after plenty of backspacing):

Nope, average size. In fact, I’m smaller than most at [this many] months with little weight gain = good pregnancy.

The response from miss congeniality? A heart emoji.

This entire pregnancy I have held my tongue much better than I thought I would. Someone needs to give me a happy-face sticker or something.

Symptoms of Torture…For My Wife

I have noticed that pregnant women often speak about their symptoms (don’t worry that part will be coming up soon in reflection), but not so much about what inflections they commit on their significant others. I have to admit, I have been feeling terrible- at about 33 Weeks I began doing something I never did unless I was heavily intoxicated or sick…snore. Snoring loud enough to wake up my wife, snoring loud enough to even wake myself up.

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Combine that with the tossing and turning, insomnia, andddddd pulling a turtle-on-her-back struggle the many times I to go the restroom at night. At some point, I woke up to a pillow in my face smack dab in-between us and after peering over, her sleeping like a princess. The other, I woke up to her feet in my face. It had gotten so bad that she actively decided to sleep opposite me in the other direction, holding my legs as a substitute for my body. I do love this woman.

She mentions that she is surprised and thought that I would be more of a nightmare (my word) while pregnant. My hormones are all over the place, but for the most part I have tried to keep my composure. Guess my ultimate goal is to not to let everything get the best of me for more than one day, simply accept the pains and other things as a blessing quite a few women out there wish they could experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I still cried when I saw the animated movie Coco, cried when I completely used up all the hot water in the shower and there was none left, cried when I couldn’t find my phone in the house, cried in a bathroom stall at work when everyone seemed to have brought doughnuts to work and I couldn’t have any (damn you Gestational Diabetes!!!), cried when I had to go back home only five minutes into my drive to work because I forgot my  ID even though I was still going to be early going in, rolled down the window while driving and yelled obscenities at the guy in front of me that kept weaving in the lane because he was on his cell phone, andddd my short-kept patience with idiocy has only become shorter, making snarky remarks here and there I couldn’t stop myself from making.

Yet besides all that, I have endured.

There are things I miss, but there are some pretty amazing things that this surreal experience has given me that I could never have imagined. While I do know that sleep will be less attainable than it is now (and it really is!), I look forward to waking up to this little guy sometime soon, the minimal sleep I will get but without snoring and able to hold my wife in my arms without my hands going numb- even if it is a for half an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

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Social Media Reveal, Ninja Kicks, and Failing Childbirth Class

Social Media Reveal, Ninja Kicks, and Failing Childbirth Class

12.1.17

Week 29

Looking at the past entry regarding my diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes and breathing a sigh that I could get all of it off my chest. Now moving on to the better things. Week 29 things began looking upward again despite the no-fun meal plan I am now on.

So onto the fun stuff. As they say, nothing is official until social media makes it so. At 29 weeks we decided we were comfortable enough to announce our pregnancy to the outskirts that didn’t consist of close friends and family…via you guessed it, Facebook. Can’t get more official than that.

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My wife had taken me away on a more than wonderful weekend getaway in West Virginia to relax, and while there we took a ton of photos trying to get just the “right one” to feature for the picture. The theme had to match “Game of Thrones”, which is what we had decided the theme of our impending baby shower would be and what her amazing/talented cousin was putting together for us. Initially, we attempted to do photos in our backyard with a pair of swords (yes swords) that we own, but that ended up becoming too dangerous and for some reason my wife could not stop hysterically laughing at me not being amused. At the end of it all, we chose a photo from our backyard, which I edited to feature snow, border and lettering matching the theme that read:

It has been said before, but now there is no denying it…Winter Baby is Coming January 2018!

I was nervous, with the emotional difficulties because: I enjoy my safe privacy, worry that something will go wrong, and cower a little to make things so private…so public. Yet can admit that nearly at 8 months, we were ready to be showered with will wishes for our son and our impending new little family. Showered we were, with congratulations, joy, and great enthusiasm. Clearly, no one would have seen that coming off the heels of our marriage five months ago. Not like we “accidentally” got knocked up, after all. Truth is, it felt great to bullhorn that to the social media world. So there you have it, no turning back now? lol

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Week 30

So back to tyke, he is doing well. Everyone thinks I barely look pregnant, the Bio Oil I am using for my tummy has been warding off the stretchmarks, and I am feeling alright. My wife and I were sitting on the couch watching television, when she had her hand on my stomach and tyke did the absolute hardest kick I have ever felt. Wincing at my wife while she looked at me with her mouth open, I felt like I must have turned pale saying,

Oh my God, that [bleeping] hurt.

Then I tried not to budge much afterwards, honestly afraid that would happen again and scare the hell out of me.

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Since then, gentle kicks, turns, and whatever the heck else he is doing in there to keep himself occupied. Yet all bearable.

Childbirth Class

We submitted to the request of our doctor and attended a childbirth class. We were a group of three couples (us the only lesbians, of course- but this wasn’t even flinched at). The lady next to me is only a week older than I was and is much larger…is what I was thinking as I chomped down on my exactly 2 medium carrots and yogurt to meet my morning snack carb count.

We each sat down in a chair and the instructor (a doula and birth instructor), stated,

I’m going to ask you each what do you envision your birthing experience like, and do you plan to go natural or epidural?

Then she turned to us. I hate going first, and never been a morning talker since…ever. Seriously, no one spoke to me in high school until about 10/11pm- teachers and students alike. I inwardly grumbled and stated,

Epidural, and I envision that the birthing experience may be painful and challenging.

At the word, “Epidural” the instructor was clearly not in approval. It was not anything she said, but my wife and I agreed that from that point on she clearly probably did not like me.

 

Her:  giphy3

Had she asked me either second, last or after 12pm, I would probably stated,

I will attempt to do as much as I can, but realistically understand that I may ask for the epidural if it is too overwhelming.

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She then said,

No. What do you ENVISION your birthing experience to be like.

What the heck did she want me to say? It would be glorious, everyone will dine on biscuits and drink their fill of wine! The child will appear like a dream in the clouds and cause no pain, but gracefully enter this world laughing instead of crying.

I felt myself glare a little and tried to rein it in.

I envision my birthing experience to be hopefully minimally painful and with no complications.

She quickly went to the next couple and since I had already served as an example of what not to say, they answered textbook style indicating that they weren’t sure of epidural yet. Moving on to the last couple where the enormous girl said,

I plan to give a natural birth (emphasis placed on “natural”) and envision the birthing experience to be beautiful, with minimal pain, no complications [and some other crap here].

The instructor clearly chose the teacher’s pet in her head, the enormous girl smiled broadly and I wished I could be Skyped into her birth; witness when she yells for the epidural.

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Moving on.

Admittedly, there were a few things that were interesting, but overall I did not find much information very valuable. Also realized at the end after arriving home, no one really asked questions about the actual “process” of giving birth. No Lamaze, nothing. Was mostly how our significant others can massage and push points on our back and hands. In addition, the instructor said she would send us follow-up emails with additional information and guess which couple never got any email?

I sent her an email requesting the information a few days later. Her response?

I thought I sent them to your wife’s email. I will forward the complete email to you in just a moment. My apologies.
Hope you are both doing well.

Looking at the original email chain, neither one of us were originally included. Hard to believe she would forget one of three couples she had that day.

Week 30 Continued

This week had proven to be a little challenging, not simply due to the food restrictions, but as a result of the food restrictions in light of the Gestational Diabetes (GD). This whole pregnancy I have been quite lucky to experience a few of the harsher symptoms that many women report (examples: ankles swelling, belly itching (thanks BioOil), very harsh back aches…). What I have gotten however since the meal plan, is constipation. So much so that my wife had to go on a hurried mission to the pharmacy to get me something to get me through the week. I wouldn’t take, “Your not drinking enough water” from any doctor or anyone else for that matter. I had been drinking OVER the amount required each day. It was simply the meal plan. It was painful, frustrating, and embarrassing. How my wife will ever find me attractive again is beyond me at this point.

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I sat in the restroom in tears as my awesome wife ran out, and came back with 3 purchased laxatives safe for pregnancy. I chose the most immediate one and laid down on the bathroom floor (yes the floor) for 40 minutes until it took effect. Even afterwards, the results were lackluster, but sufficient enough for the pain to subside. I was mortified that I would have to go through two months of that. Going into the 32nd week, my body seemed to have adjusted a little to not getting what it prefers, and the constipation subsided for the most part, giving way to an not fun version of #2…but I will take it over laying in the fetal position on the floor of my bathroom, any day.

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Gestational Diabetes- Diagnosed

Gestational Diabetes- Diagnosed

11.24.2017

Week 28: Failing the Test

Well here we are. Right around the 28th week of pregnancy, the doctor will set you up with an appointment to take what is referred to as the, “1 hour glucose test”. What is this lovely little examination, you ask? Well, apparently there is something pretty important about blood sugar and determining what level you are at after eating meals, as it effects the cute little being inside your tummy. In a nutshell, after anyone eats a meal, snack, or cookie, your body breaks down or converts most carbohydrates into sugar glucose. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, and with the help of a hormone called insulin (excreted by the pancreas) it travels into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy. When someone is pregnant, lovely little things called hormones get all out of wack (long-story short) and as one progresses through pregnancy, the body becomes a little more inconveniently (but for the right reasons) insulin resistant.

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…if your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or if the cells have a problem responding to it, too much glucose remains in your blood instead of moving into cells and getting converted to energy.

When you’re pregnant, your body naturally becomes more resistant to insulin so that more glucose is available to nourish your baby. For most moms-to-be, this isn’t a problem: When your body needs additional insulin to process excess glucose in blood, the pancreas secretes more.

But if the pancreas can’t keep up with the increased demand for insulin during pregnancy, blood sugar levels rise too high because the cells aren’t using the glucose. This results in gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes needs to be recognized and treated quickly because it can cause health problems for mother and baby.

Source of Information Above

All that being said, let us return to the 1-hour glucose tolerance test. My wife joined me as I went for the test. They provide you with a choice based on what is available: cherry, strawberry or orange super sweet concoction to drink down in less than five minutes. Choosing orange, I drank it down and was pretty content that all of the crap I Googled which indicated how terrible it tasted were pretty wrong. Joked to my wife if I could have another.

Her: giphy14

I went into this test thinking, you know what I don’t eat that many sweets, much less food to be honest, have not felt sick and have been drinking over the required amount of water each day. If I test positive, I will deal with it…but I think I will be fine.

Then the wait. You wait an hour and they take blood to test. Any score between 140 and 200 means that you’ll have to take the three-hour glucose tolerance test for a definite diagnosis. I go home, the next workday is coming to an end and no phone call. I know that no phone call is good, but I have a bad feeling. So I ask my wife if I should call the office and she agrees. Called, and after some back and forth they forward me to the attending nurse. She confirms that I failed the 1 hour test by 10 points and I would need to return to take the 3 hour. Fantastic.

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3 Hour Glucose Test

My wife and I agreed that her sitting around for 3 hours and missing out unnecessarily on work was unnecessary. So I go in, let them know I suck at life and that I need to take the 3-hour glucose tolerance test. I go in same as last time, having to fast the night before and they tell me that only Cherry is available, instant cringe. I go ahead and chug it down- so Google was right, this was the absolute most disgusting concoction I have ever had. I gagged once trying to get it down, as it was so unnecessarily sweet that I questioned if it is given to some women to automatically fail. For this test, they would draw my blood hour after hour for the next 3 hours and monitor the changes in my blood glucose to see if it goes down as it should.

While I waited, did actual work with my laptop and everything set up in the waiting room. After the second blood draw, I began to feel sick. Word was, if you throw up the solution you would have to take the test again another time. Told the really sweet nurse who draws my blood about me not feeling well, she takes me, and all of my belongings (as she literally goes into the waiting room and took all my things for me- shes amazing) into an empty examination room in the back and tells me to lay down on the gurney and relax. The nausea subsides and I begin working again. The third hour passed by pretty quickly, blood drawn and I leave. It is recommended you have some food upon leaving as you technically had not eaten anything since 10pm the night prior. I honestly have no idea how this test does not have any real impact on the baby, you are starving him for that many hours then forcing him to have that much glucose.

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Since I had taken the test towards the end of my workday, I had gone home (recommended) and had a sandwich then headed out to go vote (yes, its that important). My wife was on her way home and would meet me there, so I sat at in my car in the parking lot and waited what would have been 40 minutes. Until about 20 minutes into it I felt disgusting, no doubt about it, I was going to throw up. I text my wife that I felt like crap, she said to head home that she would pick me up from there. I held off for what was probably 5 minutes, then felt it coming and sped off the 8 minutes back to my house. Barely making it through the door fast enough to unload the entire sandwich into the toilet. I felt TERRIBLE. Downright, first trimester terrible. My wife arrived and we went to go to the school to vote (yes it is that important). We vote, and as we leave this adorable what seemed to be only spanish-speaking couple came up to me. The gentleman asked me if I spoke Spanish, I nodded, then how to distinguish who were the democrats on the ballot. I explain to him that if you see a “-D” that is a democrat. He says, “OK good we were trying to figure that out for about an hour, so I check all the D’s right?” I laugh and nod. Then think, see- I was totally meant to be here at this moment at this time…even if I was feeling gross.

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We head home. My wife recommends that I really eat something, since technically the poor baby hasn’t had anything to eat and only water. I make myself another sandwich with only cheese…OK, I can do this.

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Eat the sandwich and was alright for awhile. Next thing you know, I feel terrible and again, there went the sandwich into the toilet. At that point, I was in tears and my wife comforting me. I exclaimed how idiotic that test was and how stressful it was that I couldn’t technically feed this guy for even one day. It was incredibly frustrating.

In the upcoming days, I get a phone call from the same nurse who seems to be the only nurse that delivers bad news. As soon as I hear her name I flinch.

Nurse: So, you failed the 3-hour test and will have to sign up to take a nutrition class and have an assessment.

Me: giphy4

Believe she probably could’ve worded that a little more kindly, but hey- it is what it is. After the phone call, called back and asked for the exact numbers:

Interval abnormal reading
Fasting 95 mg/dl or higher (Me? Passed)
1 hour 180 mg/dl or higher (Me? Passed)
2 hours 155 mg/dl or higher (Me? Failed)
3 hours 140 mg/dl or higher (Me? Failed)

So there we have it, I had been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. Without gorging myself in ice creams, cookies, and a plethora of sugar my entire pregnancy. Without overeating, or binging. With barely much of an appetite at all. Yet with as much bitterness as one could muster at all those other extremely unhealthy-eating pregnant women who would never have to go through what I am about to go through for 2.5 months. I cried. I questioned what I did wrong, thought about history of diabetes in my family…not really, thought about my weight, not perfect, but definitely not terrible…thought about what I ate…not perfect, but definitely not terrible. I was so down on myself, and just plain embarrassed. Yes, they say that gestational diabetes will end after you give birth. Yet that doesn’t really take away from the stigma. I told myself before the testing that if I had it, I would just deal with it. Silly me.

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Gestational Diabetes 101

Newly diagnosed, I went to an assessment. Where they billed my insurance so I can go someplace else. Upon arrival, the Assessor took me to the back room and weighed me. I called my wife so she could be on speakerphone, then proceeded to tell me about how from now on I would have to prick myself with a needle on the side of my finger 4 times a day. She hands me the device, and asks me to try it. I asked if I had to, she said that it would be good to practice in front of her. I knew all I had was an apple for breakfast (not too long prior to the visit), to hold me over as I would eat an actual breakfast when I arrived to the office. She tells me to have the penetration on “3” and I asked if it could be smaller, she says that most people have it on 3. I prick my finger, flinch because it does not tickle, put the blood on the gauge, and it comes with a number on the high side. She dramatically asks me what I ate, I said flatly, “an apple”. I think she noticed I was not in the mood for a lecture, so she continued and then tells me I have to schedule another appointment so they can give me the class and a dietary plan. I wonder to myself, why this ridiculousness had to occur during another appointment, then chalk it up to them wanting to charge my insurance again.

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I return to the office for the class at 9am, arriving 15 minutes early. Ended up waiting a total of 40 additional minutes because an individual was late. I was seething, as taking off of work for this for 2 hours already was inconvenient, now we had to wait for a straggler; we should’ve just proceeded and the straggler either come in late or told they need to take another class. My cynicism was at its height, already irritable at one inconvenience after another, disappointed and self-loathing. I just wanted it to be over with.

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We enter a room and are given pamphlets, with individually tailored meal plans based on our height and weight. They didn’t say what to eat together, just listed individual ingredients, what to avoid and what to indulge in. I noted that everything I could indulge in:

  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Eggs

Were all things that I hated and could not keep down as it was, that even reading I felt a little of my breakfast that morning come up. I must have had the kindergartner told to stop having fun scowl of the century.  Taking a breath, I took my attention to the presentation on the projector. There is listed that while many have the misconception that sugar is what causes gestational diabetes, that there is no one specific cause and they blamed the hormones secreted by the pancreas as the main cause. That it is more of a focus on monitoring carbohydrates, which convert to sugar in the blood and thus require the insulin regulation. I remembered going through most of my pregnancy only able to eat things like pasta. On top of having to monitor carbohydrates, another side of the coin would need to be monitored, lovely little things called Ketones. This is done to ensure that you had sufficient carbohydrates the day before by peeing on a stick in each morning. The higher the Ketones the worse it is, as it could be as toxins are then built up which could hurt the baby. So not only can I not have too much, but I have to have enough too. How the hell am I going to do this for 2.5 months?

In a nutshell, nearly every two hours of every day would be regulated as follows:

  • 8:00am- Shoot my finger blood check & pee on stick (Glucose in the 80s range)
  • 8:20am- Eat breakfast w/in an hour of waking up (Carb. allowance: 26-35)
  • 10:20am- Shoot my finger blood check (Glucose below 120 range)
  • 10:30am- Morning snack  (Carb. allowance: 26-35)
  • 1:00pm- Eat lunch (Carb. allowance: 41-50)
  • 3:00pm- Shoot my finger blood check (Glucose below 120 range)
  • 4:00pm-  Afternoon snack (Carb. allowance: 26-35)
  • 7:00pm- Eat Dinner (Carb. allowance: 41-50)
  • 9:00pm- Shoot my finger blood check (Glucose below 120 range)
  • 10:30pm- Eat bedtime snack (Carb. allowance: 11-20)

My wife was beyond sweet and met me at the grocery store that night of taking the class so we could stock up on all the things I could eat. It was like navigating a puzzle, and it nearly put me to tears a few times.

Wife to me: giphy25

The Two Weeks on the Plan

I will not lie. The first week on the plan was hell. Why?

  1. Forcing yourself to eat roughly every two hours when you barely have an appetite to begin with which makes you nauseous
  2. Eating meats and eggs had me feeling sick 99% of my day
  3. Time required to put these meals together was ridiculous, my wife had been doing the brunt of it and I dislike the regulation
  4. It makes weekends complex and effects my wife’s meals as well; (eg. going out to friend’s houses to eat, and counting carbs on my phone)
  5. I am now constipated, something I never experienced ONCE during this pregnancy
  6. Nothing is satisfying

So what makes my blood glucose levels spike? Rice and beans. Yes, they are trying to take my Puerto Rican card away. Pasta, why? Apples and grapes. Bread. At this point I sometimes wish I could just pop a pill that gave me my exact carbohydrate requirement.

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The Reality

By now you have noticed that this whole blog post has gone from high to low, low to angry, angry to bitter, and bitter to exhausted. The reality of the matter is that this regulation is a likely good thing, it will allow me to feed tyke more regularly- regardless of my struggle, allow me to monitor my weight (which has not really been skyrocketing anyway, I am more baby than weight gain), and in a nutshell ensure that our child gets everything he needs each day. Despite the difficulty and frustration this is all causing. While sometimes I feel that two big meals would just be better for both him and I. It will make me auto-regulate during Thanksgiving dinner and the baby shower.

Luckily for me, my numbers have been alright to regulate and the fasting numbers which, many women say are the most difficult to regulate, have been great for me. Experimenting with wheat pasta and other foods has been successful. In the end, I have to lay off the guilt of it all…and this is hard. Seeing other pregnant women just stuff their faces with everything, when all I sometimes want is a ham, cheese, lettuce, and mayo hero or a slice of toast…is disheartening. Will likely have my days where I will purposely falter, because to be honest I should eat something I actually want to once in a damn while. Yet, of the most importance is our son’s health and luckily for me, I have a great supportive wife to deal with my gagging, throwing up, and whimpering these next 2.5 months.

Taylor Dayne, Selena, and Whitney Houston- Complaints, Announcement, and Tyke’s Cool-Factor

Taylor Dayne, Selena, and Whitney Houston- Complaints, Announcement, and Tyke’s Cool-Factor

Week 21: Brunch/BBQ

With the Summer dwindling down and the first week of Fall about a week away, it was clear from the forecast that the temperatures were dropping.  My wife and I decided it would be a good idea to throw a little BBQ at our house for some friends, to take advantage of the weather and to have one final gathering. I will keep this long story short, and provide you the gist of the afternoon. It was nice, we had some laughs, and then some people who stayed began talking about their children. The nightmare of potty training, the nightmare of birth, the nightmare of breast feeding and bottling, the nightmare of them growing too fast and having to keep buying clothes, the cost of children, and so on. To answer your question, yes they knew I was pregnant.

My face during the conversation:

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Don’t get me wrong. It is not as though I do not know that tyke will not come about without some challenges, but give me a break here, let us enjoy this experience and stop complaining!

Besides that, much food was had. Tummy was happy, and some good laughter playing Cards Without Decency.

Week 22: On the Sick Again

So my wife and I decided to attend this LGBT Expectant and New Parents brunch thing which occurred in our area. We honestly have no actual friends who are experiencing this, and thought it would be a good idea to get to know some new people. So off we went, volunteering to bring some Apple Scrapple bread, domestically interacting with adults we never met before.

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As we walked in, there were babies everywhere. Big ones, small ones, loud ones, quiet ones, drooling ones…gay parents galore, both men and women. I have to admit, it was comforting to see. However, what we noticed was that we were the only pregnant couple there and in addition, we were the only minorities. I am not saying that makes me exceptionally uncomfortable, but I cannot lie that it would’ve been nice to interact with someone with a similar background. We had a chat with a few couples, they commented how I didn’t look that pregnant and then it quickly came to a close.

Two days later, same horror that occurred during the beginning stages of pregnancy happened again. My throat began to hurt the first day, the second day it became accompanied by congestion, the third, a headache. Fantastic, I managed to get sick again…and my wife and I chalked it up to being at the brunch with all of the germs likely present.  This cold managed to take hold of me and induced vivid memories of the cold I attained when we went to visit the two women’s hospitals awhile back, figuring out where we were going to give birth. Where at 3/4 a.m. after two days of sheer exhaustion and pain, I told my wife crying that I was going to the 24-hour grocery store to buy lemons, ginger, and honey; then she perkily took the journey with me, navigating through drunk drivers.

The second thought that came to mind as soon as the throat pain began, was how long it took me to recover the first time. Here we were again, getting sick. Unable to take hardcore medication to shake it off. Destined for less sleep than I already get! The horror!

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Yet, I had been lucky this time around- like a pregnancy veteran, I went to the grocery store after work, picked up the lemon, honey, and ginger. Have been drinking more orange juice than I probably should, and water enough to swim in. The cold has been slowly breaking down. Now at Week 23, I can breathe mostly through my nostrils, and the terrible congestion at night that was causing me to leave my lovely wife in bed while I meandered to the sofa so that I didn’t keep waking her up, has itself calmed a bit. Leaving me now with one muffled ear and an occasional dry cough.

No more of those brunches for awhile, we decided.

Week 23: Time to Tell the Office

So I came to the conclusion after the zipper of my dress pants only zipping halfway for the past few weeks, that the time would soon come to tell the office of our impending bundle of joy. I tactfully told the few different individuals that should know, inclusive of my supervisor, and left it at that. Most commented that they hadn’t a clue, others stated that they had guessed as much. When I asked whether it had to do with my clearly growing stomach, the answer was no. They said the fact that I didn’t drink and was eating healthier. I think that is clearly a lie, but you know what? I will take it.

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One of my colleagues who I see most of the day was over the moon. Ran over and gestured that she wanted to rub my stomach, I drew the line. Nope. Mostly because I have personal space issues (thanks New York). She is sweet enough though, exclaiming she is so excited to help whenever she can.

Week 24: 6 Months Pregnant

We hit the milestone…exactly six months pregnant as of today. Size of corn on the cobb they say. Nom nom.

Where yesterday my colleague told me,

“Oh my goodness, you don’t look pregnant”

and now today,

“Guuuuuurl! You are definitely showing now!!!”,

loudly in the hallway.

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Then my wife texts,

“A few more months. One more month and we hit the 3rd trimester!’

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It isn’t that I am unappreciative of this amazing opportunity/privilege, hell it has taken so much for us to get to this awesome point…it is more of- my body and emotions are being battered, while everyone else gets to have a nice time, wind down from their hard days at work with an afternoon at the bar, out and about as they please. The movie, What to Expect When Your Expecting is really hitting home.

Daily I am experiencing round ligament pain, where your tummy ligaments are stretching to accommodate the growing baby. Happens where you usually get PMS cramps, the median right below the belly. My nights are the worst, my hands are swelling so badly that my thumb joints ache and I cannot close my hands- the living rigor mortis is what I call it.

Not inclusive of the carpel tunnel and back pain that actually hurts enough to wake me up. I find that during my nightly restroom breaks, I just sleep-drunkenly reach over as I pee and run freezing water on my hands- which soothes for a few.

Trust me, my wife doesn’t hear the half of it- what is the point? It isn’t like she can wave this magic wand and “make it better anyway”. I don’t want to be that one whining pregnant woman. Ok, Ok, enough with the complaining.

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Here is the fun stuff. Tyke’s kicking, and quite a bit, about two to three times a day which I find bewildering and amazing! Recently began putting my wife’s headphones on my belly for a little bit while I read at night. Learned that if I play classical, the kid runs faster than Olympian Usain Bolt, as far away from the headphones as possible. However, if I play this specific YouTube video titled:

The Best Relaxing Music for unborn baby, music for babies brain development in womb. Pregnancy Music

which I have hyperlinked for your enjoyment; he goes nuts. Gravitates right to the middle of the earphones and does these small kicks and punches; then calms a bit. Here is the even better part. The first couple of songs in the mix are:

If that doesn’t already make him pretty damn cool, I don’t know what else does.

giphy10

Now we ride into the sunset of the six months, all while I keep lathering up like a pro-wrestler day and night.

giphy6

 

Land of Pregnant Women, Anti-Us, and First Kicks

Land of Pregnant Women, Anti-Us, and First Kicks

9.19.2017

Week 20: Honeymoon, Babymoon, Moonmoon

Since we did not have an actual honeymoon, we finally forced ourselves to take one…combined with the baby, thus babymoon. After a ton of research with the only criteria being “Zika-Free”, we weren’t left with many options. So we chose Bermuda, no real reason in particular…just beach and “zika-free”. What we had also braced ourselves for was how expensive it would be while there (since practically all items there have to be imported, the prices are extremely ridiculous; try $4.50 for even a bag of chips). We, however, did not brace ourselves for the torrential downpour of pregnant women and children.  They were EVERYWHERE. It was like we had come to the island of pregnant women.

My Wife and I: giphy

What was a tad more awkward was that there seemed to be a few babies there that didn’t look over a week or two old. Tinier than my Cabbage Patch Kids doll when I was a kid.

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To add to that, there were also women who made me look skinnier than a supermodel if this were on the Miss Pregnant Pageant Showcase 2017. Literally ready to pop.

Being immersed in that swarm of hormones did make me question my own, and also made me feel less pregnant for some reason. Yet every time I heard a child scream, I cringed- then recovered. “I can do this [in the future]”, I would mantra in my head jokingly.

Bermuda Triangle of Heterosexuality

What we knew was that Bermuda was not exactly super gay-friendly, yet hadn’t anticipated  how super-“religious” Bermuda is. I am not saying, “oh the majority of the residents are Catholic…” I am saying, this country has more churches per capita than any other nation in the WORLD. If there is a least likely place in the world that gay people can marry much less consider having a kid together in this entire universe, Bermuda is probably it.

Whenever we travel to another country, I always do major due diligence when it comes to us a lesbian couple traveling there (can we be openly a couple, do we have to be careful in certain areas, are there any LGBT friendly bars or events…etc.). I especially enjoy reaching out on Facebook Messenger; to those whom I would research as major players in the LGBT movements in those countries. People who clearly hit the news and are making a difference, and ask them, “HEY, whats up.” Which has led to chatting with quite a few friendly and helpful people!

When we took our vacation last year to Hungry, a leader of the LGBT movement that I had been corresponding via Facebook with invited us to this “Gurl Party” that was clearly not on any tourist radar. It had nothing but locals, was a blast, she was extremely kind, I did karaoke on a stage, and overall it was a really great experience to remember. I think of the biggest things I enjoy about our travels is doing the research on each place, and actually creating the opportunity to experience the LGBT culture there. Whether it’s an entire mall of gay clubs in one building in Thailand with an amazing drag show,  a Latin night at a gay club in Budapest that runs until 6am that kicked ass with energy, or a teeny trashy gay bar in Austria…it makes you appreciate connecting on some level with people who don’t even speak your language in those ways.

Yet, back to Bermuda. While it is true that in only May 5th of this year, their Supreme Court ruled that gay people could marry on the island (many blaming to lack of people at the polls).

http://www.royalgazette.com/news/article/20170601/bermuda-has-first-gay-marriage

It is not to be denied the large influence of right-religious views that will not waver anytime soon. As we speak, a new bill has been introduced in the island to dissolve gay marriage. There are no clubs, bars, events…what there are, are websites- with few faces.

https://hornetapp.com/stories/bermuda-gay-marriage-ban/

When we went to arrive through immigration after our arrival flight, the officer asked what we were there for. My wife said, honeymoon, babymoon…I flinched. The officer’s face looked stark. I haphazardly mentioned that we had both gotten married to different people and were instead celebrating the honeymoon together with a laugh. Even starker face. I really need to work on my reigning my sarcasm and rationality. My wife quickly jumped in, “we are married to each other. She is pregnant.” The officer’s face was not amused, but she did her best to hide her disapproval…terribly. She told us to proceed and my wife scolded me- I know, I know, not the smartest thing but this former equality campaigner was irritated, lol.

giphy5

We arrive at the hotel and approach the check-in desk. My wife gives the individual the personal details. There must’ve been some notes or something under the account, because the demeanor of this woman changed as well, not as seemingly friendly. A part of me wanted to throw some water on her face and tell her to change it, but I kept quiet- instead nearly glaring at her the entire interaction. The room was not yet ready, so they told us to enjoy the amenities, we eventually abided, went to change, took the shuttle to the beach and relaxed a bit. Made it back in the afternoon to our now available room and I noted the chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne with a note saying, “Thank you for choosing [us] as your honeymoon destination”. Yep, there were notes, lol.

Besides those two first experiences, we found other locals to be a bit nicer. Yet I wouldn’t say that I would have ever considered going there under any other circumstance. On the brighter side: the beach was gorgeous, the bed was comfortable, and I was able to spend some real quality time with my wife- something we had not done in sometime this year. Even brighter side?

  1. I love being in the ocean apparently while pregnant- goodbye swelling hands and achy back!!!!
  2. I thought and then realized later that I felt tyke kick for the first time.  We were laying in bed, and I felt like that little bubble right before you pass gas- but it never passed. Then it happened again, in small successions. I tell my wife that I think I felt the baby move, put her hand on my stomach- nothing.

During our wait at the airport for our flight back, we saw two women sitting next to each other rather closely with matching wedding rings. Those same two women were holding hands when we arrived in New York. I smiled, then thought briefly about how many youth and adults on that island must wish that they could do even this small gesture themselves.

Week 21: The First Confirmed Kick

We came back from Bermuda during the weekend. The following Tuesday we had our 20-week ultrasound appointment, where we saw more of tyke that we had ever seen before, and were then told that he is as fit as fiddle.

My wife and I: giphy3

The following Thursday, we lay in bed before work. There it was, the same feeling from Bermuda, a flutter in my lower abdomen…the another. I told my wife to give me her hand and I placed it with a little pressure on my stomach, she flinched at how hard it is. Told her to be quiet and try not to move…and after a few moments, thump- right against her hand. The look on her face was priceless, horrified and mystified at the same time.

So there you go- tyke made contact. Since then I have felt it at random times. Usually in the morning when I wake up, maybe a sparse few times during work, and sometimes before I go to bed. They also feel as they are getting harder.

I was told by someone to brace myself for when the rib kicking began- there is always that one person with that one comment, isn’t there?

giphy4

So there you have it. As I type this, I am on Week 21, Day 5 and it seems that these weeks are just flying by.

 

Emotional Changes

Emotional Changes

8.24.17

*Warning, this blog is a little more emotion-filled than usual, feel free to skip if you get bored* 😏

*chimes Whitney Houston singing* "I believe the children are our future…teach them well…"

I believe that one of the most trivial things about pregnancy and marriage for me so far is how fiercely analytical I have become (my wife would probably just say, 'hormones').

Me:

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Any disagreement has a whole new meaning for me, and now it quickly branches from an overall issue, to instead the small things that could've been done so that it would not have been so infuriating. Its not just about being wrong sometimes, because mistakes will happen on behalf of both parties in any relationship…but how wrong we have allowed any issue to be. Before all this, it was right and wrong for me. Now its mostly, why wasn't something done to make it less wrong?

This blog has served as a stage for me to speak about something incredibly private and exciting that my wife and I have been going through for a long time and continue doing so…additionally, to serve as a conduit to friends and family so they could have an intended portion of the ride with us. It has also become a platform to reflect on things such as disclosure and how we choose to express ourselves.

My wife and I are two completely different people. She has an incredibly strong bond with her family, while I…don't have that bond at all. I lack the ability to quickly emotionally trust, or forgive when I have been wronged, and always want to protect myself from situations or prospective people that make that possible.

I have the ability to put my mind to paper, and feel that it is the best outlet for me. I also acknowledge the fact that I have had this blog as an outlet, during the good, bad, and ugly. My wife did not while we went through it all, which was difficult for someone who is so emotionally capable with her family. Yet I cannot fight in my mind how incredibly intimate this whole experience with this pregnancy is. For example, thoughts cross such as, where do we draw the line? Is there a line? When is something in particular just between us or not?

Approaching Things Differently

Two small disagreements with my wife the other day via text provide the perfect example of our differences. Whether hormones are magnifying feelings or not.

I know this is what she really means:

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At my core, I am moved to feel that mine are rational thoughts and feelings. Understand, that I am not touting that I am always correct. This is more of an acknowledgement that as a unit, sometimes it can be difficult to come to an agreement on even the simplest of things when you so strongly believe in your own point of view. It is a reason we also love each other, we are strongly stubborn and steadfast. Yet it can be challenging…even after eight years. It is also a contributing reason that we have endured for so long. Our love for each other is enduring. Our improvement on collaborating with regard to huge decisions as we come across them is constantly evolving.

One of the most important things I am learning during this process, is that it is important to have a unified front. That decisions or actions that I make are no longer decisions that just effect me anymore (sorry, forever independent me). They effect my wife, our unborn child and then I. Therefore, anyone going through such growth needs to be more courteous to their counterparts and come to terms that we need don't always need to agree on things together, yet find a common ground. Even if it is the most minute. That I need to be better at rationalizing instead of just seeking an answer to things. That I sometimes need to not jump the gun emotionally and open my mouth based on sheer feeling. That fair communication and forced understanding is important.

Compromise

I believe that the evolution of a relationship such as ours and those of many others are tested in these ways. Also that this pregnancy is going to magnify our need to come to understandings, processes, and agreements as a couple. Sparking conversation from disagreement, and ironing out as much of the fine details especially before tyke makes his grand appearance. Then continuing and evolving together so long as we live. From something as simple to figuring out a name for tyke, to what do we do if we get some important news from the hospital during this process…these hills and mountains need to be led by no one, but instead trekked by the both of us, hand-in-hand. Regardless of how difficult it may or may not be.

Teamwork:

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Personally, I have to let go of the discomfort of connection I have to others, and the vulnerability felt of allowing any emotional worry or pain to remain not verbalized.  Hoping to find common ground with my counterpart. This resolve won't happen tomorrow, or even the day after. However, when it comes to things I love or care about, I am fiercely protective and want to see a landscape before I describe a lay out of the land to anyone. I cannot speak for my wife, and what her insights on this are. Yet I believe that she would agree, that the personal evolution of us as individuals in this relationship and eventual family together will mold new perspectives we have to take into consideration. Some will be easy, others will be hard.

While your body is cultivating a life, you realize that the little things now matter…the wrongs turn into "how wrong" regardless of who initiated it. Mitigating a circumstance is just as important as simply trying to prevent or act like it will not happen regardless. Understand that the world is greater than yourself, yet your world is also somehow just about those you love at the same time. It is a difficult balance to rationalize.

Respect Myself

Finally, I have even more focus on respecting myself. If someone is not an advocate, respectful, or has never served as positive contributor to the things that mean the most to me, they have now completely lost the opportunity to do so. Forgiveness is an important element…of that there is no doubt. However, there is a point in your life when you understand that it is best to simply prevent what is a history of negativity from reoccurring. All with sight of valuing your future emotional quality of life.

On the other side of the coin, I have also acknowledged this as a time to reflect on others (not like those above) and consider embracing a change of heart.

Alright…enough with the emotional spill…and back to regular blog antics next time!

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Next up? 19 Weeks Pregnant in two days and a Vacation to celebrate!!!!

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Polar Opposite Experiences and Epiphanies

Polar Opposite Experiences and Epiphanies

8.18.2017

Bye Felicia

We went through a few hiccups with our first OBGYN and we realized we made a huge mistake. The signs were in even at the first visit where she gave us the paperwork, saw us for less than about 15 minutes, and she kept confusing our names. All correspondence with the office was to be done through an internet Portal, which would not even allow for an actual response after two days.  We received blood screening results and they were delivered via the Portal. Indicated I had low Vitamin D. I never received correspondence from the Doctor regarding this. Instead we had to write a message to the doctor via the Portal to help explain the results. Her response? What do you need to be explained and that basically everything was fine. We outlined my low Vitamin D. Her response? Oh then just double the dosage of the vitamin D. We were irritated.

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As previously mentioned in another blog post, my wife was to retrieve lab results from the provider, including an agreed upon sealed separate envelope with results of the gender of tyke. After confirming that she was permitted to go retrieve them without me, they gave her grief in the office over paperwork that had already given her permission to attain them. I even had to speak to them over the telephone and repeat the same paperwork. It was hard to imagine this occurring, if she was my husband instead. Additionally, after obtaining the documentation the gender was highlighted. Therefore my wife knew before me the gender of the child. That was the last straw. We had to get another provider, we learned with our previous experience advocating for a new nurse and being happy to have done that; that again we would have to put our foot down and actively search for someone better. We should've done it after the stupid vitamin D episode.

Then another issue. We received a letter in the mail indicating that the insurance did not cover genetic testing that my provider said would be covered due to particular reasons. We have attempted to contact the provider three times via the Portal. After a lack of response for the first message, I wrote a follow-up message. The Doctor responded that she hadn't received the first message. Even though the message was clearly in my sent messages. We sent another message which included the original. A week and half later, no response. We then send another message to everyone individually in the office and eventually received a response that they would look into it. No response yet. What grief!!!

We finally took it upon ourselves to ask another practitioner regarding a recommendation for another OBGYN, and we were so glad we did. This office has been great so far and we have only had one visit. We explained to the doctor that we had been taking a doubled dose of Vitamin D. She looked upset and told us to stop that immediately, stick to the single dose. I went home wanting to call the old office and speak to the doctor personally about how "*#&$y they are. Yet my wife was right, telling me that we still needed to be in decent graces with them due to the insurance issue. The MOMENT that is resolved, I am cracking emotional skulls damn it.

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Abnormal Screening

Our new OBGYN office had us do blood-work screenings as well as an ultrasound measurement for tyke. Everyone in the office was great, they even saw it was my birthday and gave us a cute little take home gift. Finally, we felt that we were being treated as if we were cared for.

Fast Forward.

My wife was out of the country for work the week, I was 16 weeks and experiencing some pretty unfunny but normal symptoms. Yet the week seemed to have been going slow and steadily forward. Until at work…

*cell phone rings*

Her: Hi, this is [so and so] from [so and so's] office. We received the results from your AFP screening and they were returned positive for being high risk for a neural tube defect for…

Me: {irritated that she rushed into the dialog and that now my heart was racing} Wait wait mam. One moment please, I am in my office, let me go out for some privacy please.

I leave.

She proceeds to tell me that the AFP Screening that tests for neural tube defects for the baby turned a positive result for being high risk. Meaning the child was at possible risk for spina bifida or other neural defect. I took a gulp of air, feeling like someone punched me in the gut…didn't say anything initially. Then I responded with a tremble of, "Oh…ok…" She continued that the office wanted me to get an ultrasound (level 2) with a specialist as soon as possible to conduct further tests. I indicated that I would inform my wife and get back to them.

Immediately texted my wife via the phone application that allows us to chat while abroad and mentioned everything. Returned to my desk, and took a moment…thinking that she would not likely receive the message until later in the day and it was only 1pm. That I felt alone, worried and not able to focus. Closing my eyes, I got up, left to the hallway and called her emergency work phone…she didn't pick up as I had not expected her to due to duties, and I left a detailed voicemail. Knowing she would receive those two notifications before the texts I sent. I just wanted to tell her, she needed to know. I wanted to schedule the appointment as soon as possible, I wanted to make sure she could be there. I just needed her.

Shortly after the phone call, she calls back. I go into the hallway at work and could barely get the words from my mouth. Then I explained everything that the doctor told me. She was silent for a few seconds, then proceeded to calm me and tell me to schedule the appointment as soon as possible. That she would be there. I could hear the hurt in her voice that she wasn't in the states at the moment. I felt guilt that maybe I should have just told her after work, that maybe I should not have called her emergency line. Yet the nagging feeling that this involves both of us and she should know anything the moment I do, inclusive of the fact that I really emotionally needed to hear her, overtook that guilt. We hung up after exchanging comforts and I called the office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Returned to my desk and immediately Googled the hell out of AFP screening and neural tube defects. I can probably now be considered a pro on the subject. My wife called me again a little later during work to see how I was doing. I was glad I reached out to her as soon as I found out. Felt additional comfort reading in a few places that the tests did have a strong record of false positives. The test is simply that, a screening…not an affirmation. I was just sincerely hoping that everything goes well on Tuesday and that tyke is OK…the worrying was terrible. My wife returned on Saturday, and I could not count down the hours fast enough.

She says on the phone,

Babe, Tuesday is a GREAT day! Its the 22nd, the day we got married. Things will be ok, lets be thankful that they are being so cautious.

As much as that made me smile a little…all I could think of is, exactly one month after we were married, we were commemorating it by one nerve wrecking anti-natal specialist visit to ensure our son is alright. Also now, according to the doctor I think I have a high-risk pregnancy.

Tyke's Close-Up

We went to the appointment in separate cars, I was leaving from work and my wife from home. Then arrived at the hospital parking garage at about the same time and walked to the building together. Nervous wasn't the word. Then a sense of strange calm as we walked across the bridge and into the main building. Man…this place is huge and looks like it was made in the future. I looked around, and suddenly the thought consumed me that this is where tyke would be born. This place was like being on a Star Trek ship, they will totally have the capability of making us feel safe and protected.

I won't go into every detail of our time there, except the staff were nice and the visit was long. They conducted an in-depth ultrasound, which was the longest we had; the quality was also much better than those at the doctor's offices. My wife held my hand, I squeezed. The ultrasound technician was mostly quiet throughout, analyzing the kidneys, bone structure, spine, brain, and other parts of tyke. It was nice to see him there, and she turned up the volume a moment so we heard his heartbeat. Nice and steady. Atta boy.

Tyke was mostly calm throughout the process, not as squeamish as the other ultrasound, and I took in each little inch of him. Two feet, two hands, femur, spine, outline of his profile…damn, he was put together fast and looked much less scary than last time. The technician leaves, returns a few minutes later, saying she would like to conduct an additional ultrasound. We nodded, she squeezed the warm jelly on my belly and hunted down tyke again. Then had me lay on my left side, and continued to observe. Finally, she leaves again.

Returning with the doctor, he proceeded to tell us that the results turned up no alarms and that everything seemed well. That the percentage of certainty was something like 95%. If we really wanted to, we could consent to an amniocentesis which would increase that probability by 2% more. I felt my wife's eyes beg no before I even looked at her.

For those of you who are not aware of what an amniocentesis is. The nutshell of it is when the doctor takes a needle into your stomach, to extract a small amount amniotic fluid from the amniotic sack that surrounds the baby. This gets tested and in our case, would be compared to the blood extraction they performed on me. In a nutshell, while the risk is low- there is a risk of miscarriage and other things that could occur. As there is risk in more surgical procedures. The doctor warned us ahead of time. Little did he know I became a amniocentesis genius already thanks to a plethora of Google and books.

Full description here: http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/amniocentesis#1

We proceeded to his office where he spoke at length about the findings from the ultrasound. No alarm bells. In fact he said that had we not tested positive for the screening and the same ultrasound was conducted, he would not have even fathomed anything, as it seemed like a very normal pregnancy. Of everything that guy said, thatwas the only thing I heard. Everything is normal. My wife didn't see the need to undergo a risk for 2% guarantee and neither did I. He recommended they continue to monitor and that we do our 20 week ultrasound at the hospital instead of the doctors office to keep tabs.

We left, relieved.

Feelings…

During the wait for the ultrasound, my wife and I went into some discussion about all of the screenings and so on that the doctor's have been doing. I could go both ways on this. While the worry of a possibility can be stressful for the potential parents-to-be…we were undergoing screenings that go above the usual review because of IVF. There is also the other side of the coin where so many women out there never get certain screenings, and are one less worry. Initially I was a little resentful of the screening, and the worry it caused. However, during the testing I realized that I would probably submit to nearly anything to ensure that we keep tabs on tyke, that we are prepared and proactive. Then there is the other side of the coin that maybe this is all just a gimmick so the hospitals can make more money, which is a bitter pill. It is to be honest that the baby-making business is to quite a few people, just that…a business. A screening is not definitive, it is only an possible indication that you may want to keep more of an eye out for certain things.

I think that this experience has shown me that while it may not be pleasant to worry, that I am happy that we saw so much of tyke before the 20 week mark, relieved he seems ok, and that regardless, each professional is going to keep a good eye on him from here on out.

So- I'm OK with that.

Now, back to the fun stuff!

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