Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How Bunlet Came to Be

I don't think I'll ever get tired of saying "I'm pregnant!". For the first few weeks of my pregnancy, I made this joyful announcement to Roy every morning. I've stopped having to say it, though, because you can tell just by looking at my stomach that I am, indeed, marvellously pregnant.

But this is something I still whisper to myself, and every time my heart smiles. (And yeah, I look a little insane in this picture.)

I feel the need to document my TTC/pregnancy journey in detail, so my apologies in advance to all the baby-haters reading - there will be a series of posts about all things Bunlet coming your way. Some of this, particularly this entry, has been covered before, but whatever, here it is, in all its glory: our journey to become parents.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that it took us some time to get here. We started officially TTC (trying to conceive) when I started a fresh cycle on December 3, 2007 (after being off birth control for two cycles). Because my two prior cycles off birth control were very regular, I figured my body had returned to its normal, pre-birth control state.

It turned out that I was wrong. Not only were my first three TTC cycles long and erratic, but I was also covered in acne and suffered from really bad mood swings. It was pretty damn obvious to me that I was coming down hard after being on the pill for five years. Despite the unpredictable cycles, we started (and kept) trying for a baby. I charted religiously and used my morning temperatures to figure out if I'd ovulated. I used the Clear Blue Easy fertility monitor for our second and third TTC cycles, which ended up being too much of a stressor and ultimately a waste of money (because I got absolutely no good information from it). I added in ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) in our third cycle and got ten positives, all spread throughout my entire cycle (see chart below). This was not normal, and so I began to worry about the possibility of my having PCOS.

I got in to see my OB at the beginning of April 2008 (and the beginning of cycle 4 TTC), and she ordered the day 3 hormone level bloodwork to check for hormone issues, egg quality, etc. Everything came back normal.

We weren't really worried at this point. Frustrated and stressed, yes, mainly because my cycles were on the long side, but not really worried. Coincedentally, my cycles became very regular after I saw my OB in April, which did wonders for my stress level. I kept charting and using the OPKs every cycle, and every cycle ended in disappointment.

By the time the summer came around, I was getting pretty nervous. And the disappointment was turning into something more like sadness. When my temperature dropped at the end of each cycle, signalling that my period was on its way, it triggered something like a breakdown. I would cry, eventually get it all out of my system, and begin the next cycle determined to be positive.

It seemed I was surrounded by two categories of people: 1) people who were either so fertile they were getting pregnant on their first cycle trying or 2) people who were infertile. In my mind, I kept putting us in category 2 because we obviously didn't fit in category 1. At the same time, I knew it could reasonably take awhile to get pregnant.

At the end of July, we decided to go ahead and start testing for possible fertility issues. We went to an infertility seminar at the beginning of August and got in to see the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) near the end of August. They immediately ordered tests.

Thus began the Infertility Testing Reign of Terror. This is not something I would wish on anyone. While I really wanted to know if there was anything wrong, I was terribly afraid of what the tests would reveal. I had spent months in blissful ignorance (well, not exactly), and now we were going to find out some things that could potentially be very devastating. My concerns were more financial than emotional, as our insurance didn't/doesn't cover infertility treatments. But I won't lie - finding ourselves at this point was pretty emotionally trying for both of us.

I found myself in an odd in-between state during cycles 8 and 9. At that point, I had stopped charting, because the stress of it was just too much. Maybe it was the lack of charting, maybe it was that we felt defeated enough to seek the help of an RE, but I lost that sense of urgency that had propelled me full force through most of our TTC journey. I started focusing on other things, and I stopped planning anything with a baby in mind. I started making changes in other areas in my life. I cut off my hair, got Lasik, changed my name, readjusted my attitude about my job, rearranged our apartment, started doing more portrait sessions, and decided to take a class on campus to help me get jump-started on my thesis. All of these things gave me a sense of power that I really needed at that point - wrestling with the possibility of infertility makes one feel very helpless.

We went through cycle 8 without using anything to track my fertile period except plain ol' intuition. We didn't even use OPKs. When cycle 9 came around, I went in for my HSG - it was August 29. I barely slept the night before. I cried a lot. I was preparing myself for really bad news: my tubes being blocked, etc. Most people would probably have told me to "think positive," but envisioning the worst possible outcome worked for me. I was able to face my fear that night and have the test done the next day. There is nothing like the feeling I had when I saw the dye travel through my tubes and spill out around my ovaries. It was the best kind of relief. For the moment, we had avoided heartbreak.

Roy and I decided that he should wait to do his semen analysis after I had ovulated, as a semen analysis requires abstaining from sex. Roy gave his sample on September 18, and we were told we would get the results on September 22. This required us to wait all weekend. And that weekend (September 20 and 21) was when I began to notice that something was up.

That Sunday, Roy and I did our afternoon workout as usual, and afterwards I was so tired that I could barely get out of bed for family dinner. But I did, and we walked over to my mother-in-law's, as we did every Sunday evening. Dinner that night was enchiladas, and I ate a bit. After awhile, though, I began to feel really sick. The smell of the enchiladas was really getting to me, and every time I took a bite, I was acutely aware of the texture of the food. My mouth felt like it had entirely too much food in it. I thought this was slightly odd, but nothing out of the ordinary, as I have always had a strong sense of smell and have a lot of food-related phobias.

Roy and I did end up sitting outside for awhile (to get away from the smell), and when we came back in, I laid on the couch with him sitting beside me. At this point, the conversation amongst everyone had turned to a specific couple of foster children with whom everyone was acquainted. For some reason, the stories about these poor kids were entirely too much for me to bear, and tears began slipping down my face silently. I think Roy knew I was in big trouble and that I would soon end up wailing, so we excused ourselves and walked home.

On the way home, I was thinking about how my emotional craziness was a sure sign my period was on its way. It was due within the next couple of days. Roy mentioned how we were going to get the semen analysis results the next day, and that was all it took. I lost it. There on the streets of downtown Riverside, I began sobbing. I just felt doomed.

As it turned out, the results of Roy's semen analysis were excellent. I was elated when I got the news. I felt like we'd won the lottery. To celebrate, Roy and I went out to dinner at a nice restaurant that night. I was due to start my period the next day (or thereabouts), and as usual, I was sure that I wasn't pregnant. I honestly wasn't in any hurry to test because the results of the semen analysis were good enough for me for the time being.

Tuesday came and went without my period showing up to crash the party. That night I published this post about how I had been feeling about our testing. We also tried working out that night, and my heart was pounding so hard I couldn't finish the workout. I told my good friend and chart stalker Kim about this, and she said that I should take a pregnancy test. But I was determined to wait until my period was officially late, even though I knew I was about fourteen days past ovulation at this point. Every single cycle before this, I always caved and tested before my period was late, only to have my period show up a few hours later. I was not going to make the same mistake. Wednesday morning I would test.

Finally, early Wednesday morning (around 1:00 AM), I woke up and had to go to the bathroom. I decided that my pee was concentrated enough to give me a good test result, so I decided to test. While I was peeing in the cup, the typical testing thoughts were running through my mind: "Why am I even doing this? It's just going to be negative!"

I stuck the test (an internet cheapie) into my cup of pee, waited the requisite ten seconds, and then laid the test flat on the table by the toilet. Of course, I looked at it right away. The test was behaving exactly like every other test I'd taken: I could clearly see the control line, but of course, there was no test line to be seen. But I picked up my domino magazine and began looking through it. After about a minute or so, I looked at the test.

There were two pink lines.

I literally could not even believe what I was seeing. So I grabbed a First Response test from my stash (yes, I am hardcore) and stuck it into my cup of pee.

Right away, two pink lines.

Looking back on it, my lack of a reaction is really uncharacteristic of me. I didn't cry or scream or start shaking or anything like that. I still just couldn't believe what I was seeing. And yet, there it was. Two different brands of tests had told me the same thing: I was pregnant. Seeing those lines ranked right up there with my walk down the aisle on my wedding day as the most surreal moments in my life, ever. It was something that I thought might never happen to me. And then, all of a sudden, it was happening.

I briefly considered doing some kind of cool surprise for Roy to let him know I was pregnant (you know, buying him a onesie that says "I love Daddy" and presenting it to him with the positive tests), but I quickly decided that I absolutely had to tell him right at that moment. So I went into the bedroom, woke him up, and told him that he needed to see something. He followed me into the bathroom, where I showed him my tests.

In his half-asleep state, I don't know if Roy realized what he was looking at, so when he said, "Wha??," I said, "I'm pregnant!" We hugged, and I teared up. But I still didn't cry. Instead, I paced around saying things like, "I can't believe this is happening!" I stayed up almost the entire night, registering at baby sites, writing my BFP (big fat positive) email to my homies Kim and Melinda (who had seen me through my entire TTC journey), and starting my Bunlet blog. (Yes, I have a baby blog. Sorry, but no, you can't have the link - it's set to private, and it contains my personal letters to Bunlet.)

I really couldn't believe it was happening. And honestly, I still can't sometimes. I am still anticipating waking up from this wonderful dream. Even now, at almost 15 weeks, this pregnancy sometimes still doesn't seem real. And then I hear the sweet sound of our baby's heartbeat, and I know it is.


It's amazing, isn't it? I am completely in awe of this little human. I am filled with happiness at life's little surprises and how quickly they can become the most important thing in your life. In this case, in the wee hours of September 24, 2008, a new mother was born. It's been a little over two months since that night, but there is no going back to the way things were before. I can't feel Bunlet moving, and I don't know if Bunlet is a boy or girl yet - but one thing I do know is this: I am already a mother, and I love this kiddo with everything I am.

And the journey, that sometimes painful journey - well, needless to say, it was all worth it. I realized almost right away that it was a piece of cake compared to what others go through. And sometimes it's best not to get what you want right away; sometimes it's better to delay that gratification and have to wait an extended period of time for your heart's desire. Because, as I've said before, if there's anything worth waiting for, it's your child.


inflammatory writ said...

I love everything about this post and you know I am totally over the moon for you, but I have got to say, seeing that p-test with two lines on it makes feel like I am going to faint. I literally got a little nauseous and had to scroll down. But, I've never taken a test wanting a child, and that second pink line is my worst fear! Funny how one little test can mean something different to two ladies. :)

Hope you are feeling great and not too barfy.

amber said...

this is an awesome post! thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. and i'm sure bunlet will be happy to read it later, too, so they can see just how much their mommy and daddy wanted and loved them well before they were ever on this earth :)

Aline said...


Congrats friend!

sherthebear said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. Bunlet is soo loved!!

JennB said...

That heartbeat is like a little lullaby. Beautiful post friend.

Erika said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

I know you are going to be one awesome mommy.

Wishing you and Roy all the best.

ssinca said...

such a sweet post. a huge congrats again!

Brenda said...

Awww...the heartbeat!! Tears I tell you, tears!! Thank you so much for sharing your TTC journey with us. Can't wait to watch your belly grow!

Angie Eats Peace said...

What a beautiful post. I am so happy for you, my friend.

Angie Eats Peace said...

What a beautiful post. I am so happy for you, my friend.

Bex said...

Thanks for sharing your story Les, this is such a great post. There are alot of things that I can totally relate to, just can't put them into words nearly as well. Again, I'm so happy for you two (three!).

Anonymous said...

beautiful story with a beautiful ending! thanks for sharing. hope you have a happy and healthy 9 months.

A Real Librarian said...

What a fabulous post!!! Congratulations - and thanks for sharing!!!

Nanette said...

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! I'm so late, but CONGRATS!

And now I'm off to read this post. :)

Nanette said...

Ok, now I can comment on your actual post!

So beautiful! You are so very eloquent, and I look forward to reading more about your journey. You are going to be a GREAT mommy! There really is nothing better in the world. :)

Crazy Daisy said...

I love this post! Congrats again!

Claire said...

What a great post. I can't wait to hear more abnout the journey -- and your Bunlet is going to love, love, love reading about the journey someday.

Christine Farah Photography said...

Oh Leslie CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so very happy for you, that child is lucky to have you both as parents.

kim said...

I just knew it. I KNEW you were pregnant. And I am *so* glad I was right. ;)

As you know, I am truly thrilled for you and Roy. :)

alejna said...

What a beautiful heartbeat, and a beautiful post.