I felt it move! At Week 18, as expected, I guess…
I had a sort of movement inside before, but it felt like a vein pulsing or a bit of gas finding its way around.
But 2 days a ago, it was somewhat different. You know when someone accidentally brushes against you? I felt that inside my abdomen.
And this morning, it was definitely there! It felt like a pulse on the belly, but a little more pronounced than usual. I thought if I touched my belly, I would feel it, but it stopped. I thought we would high five each other… Maybe still too early for that.
So this is what it feels like… a slight brushing inside…
The weird thing is, I am now getting bit by bit why everyone thinks pregnancy is such a great experience.
‘Le bebe’ is in me, close to me, and we are having “quality time” that we will not be sharing with anyone else… Because no one else is in my shoes, or in my belly 😀 No one else can know how exactly it feels to be so close to another being. And to have my body as a place of dwelling, a safe enclosure for a new life, a life ideally I am going to be responsible for…
Damn, I just realized I have gone all maternal…
It also scares me to feel the attachment grow by day, considering that I will be getting the amniocentesis results in a month and I might suddenly go from an aspiring mother to… carrier of a hollowed abdomen if I may be dramatic.
I am still trying to keep it as “scientifically cool” as possible, to be prepared for all sorts of amnio results, but it is not so very easy. Especially when pregnant women, mothers with tiny babies and baby stuff are jumping at my selective perception…
Especially when people keep asking me whether I know the sex or what name we have chosen… the name we have suspended the search for until the much anticipated results are ready.
Well, I will enjoy it while it lasts. Especially my new belly… It reminds me of the days when as kids we had a balloon, how at some point it ended up beneath our shirts… And do you remember how it moved when poked? As a whole. It feels like if I poke my belly, it will move around as a whole, as if unattached to my skin…
That’s it for pregnancy news on my part for the week… Will soon be back with more “action” inside!
On the day of the amnio, I got pretty selfish. Firstly, there was the fear of an amnio triggered miscarriage, something underlined, emphasized and highlighted everywhere I turned to for more information. On every page on the internet, whether scientific research or personal experience, the possibility of miscarriage differed from 1 in 200 to 1 in 1600. Moreover, the numbers apparently changed based on the hospital and doctor, a matter in which I did not have much of a choice.
As if all this was not confusing enough, the procedure itself was described as being very painful to a tiny pinch on the tummy. I am pretty scared of pain and needles so the idea of having a huge needle piercing into my belly and fooling around in me, especially so close to the fetus was not a comforting idea.
Still, the morning of the amnio, husband and I were the people we usually are in nerve wrecking foreign situations: funny. This helped to deal with the anxiety of the inescapable and tasteless procedure I was to go through.
In the procedure room, the nice nurse did an ultrasound to see where the fetus was… This was the second time we were seeing it, a sneak peek into my womb, the tiny thing’s dwelling. At first it was asleep; in contrast to the last time, it was completely motionless with only the red and blue interchanging colors showing the heart beat. While the nurse poked around to determine the best spot to insert the needle, as far away for from the fetus as possible, it woke up and started moving around. That was a heart melting, lactation stimulating, hormone invigorating moment. The thing I haven’t yet met in person was reacting to physical contact like an ordinary human being.
Then she left to fetch the doctor who was busy with another patient. When they came back and had a look again, the fetus had moved. Something I found surprising, since both hubby and I like to remain stationary most of the time. It also made the fetus more human than ever, with all these attributes coming together to make up the first aspects of a personality.
Finally, the dreaded moment arrived and the needle was prepared for insertion in latex wrapped hands. I started singing a tune I heard a few minutes before I entered the room to calm my nerves. The husband was playing with my hair like I had asked him to the night before to help me relax.
And pinch! That was it, like having an ordinary blood test… But when the needle went through my womb into the amniotic fluid sac, then I felt a bit of a cramp, as the doctor had warned me. I thought it would affect my lower abdominal like menstrual pain but I felt it more in my vagina, which was unexpected.
Then, I looked at the ultrasound screen and saw my fetus, just below the needle moving around. Once inside, the doctor withdrew the needle and what was left was the tiny soft tube to extract the fluid. This was done because as I could see on the screen, the thing in my womb, the fetus seemed to be reaching out to the foreign object in its surroundings, and a sharp needle could have caused problems. For the first time in its lifetime, it was encountering something so strange. And as the doctor said, “babies are curious whether they are in the womb or out in the world”.
In a matter of seconds, enough fluid was collected and the tube was taken out of me. What I felt was definitely not pain but more of a new strange sensation. That was it. All in all, the procedure was fast, the nurse and doctor were nice and comforting, and it was painless.
Once I got home to rest for the day, much more relieved than I had been for the last few days, with no major cramps, discharge or fever indicating miscarriage or infection, I thought about the fetus movements I saw on the screen. Then I thought about how long it usually takes for a baby to actually realize what is going on around it, much less react to stimulants with conscious movements such as reaching out for an object. Thus, I decided what I saw on the screen just below the needle, was nothing but normal motions the fetus was going through on a regular day and any other meaning I wanted to attribute to it was the motherly affection I couldn’t retain easily with my hormones.
Now is that “fun” part where we wait for the test results… One more month, and I will find out whether I will become a mother or not. The emotional and intellectual debate we are having in us will have to continue for yet another month. I have to say, I can now understand much better anyone who might choose to carry on with their pregnancy in spite of a genetical problem a test shows. Yet, for us the choice is the opposite.
By the way, on the ultrasound, there was nothing protruding from the baby’s torso… Can it be a girl?
Normally, when it comes to such matters, I consider myself to be logical and ready to act based on scientific facts and numbers, but I still couldn’t help crying for a while before going back to work that day after the clinic. What if the fetus really does have down’s syndrome? How about the 1 in 400 risk of a miscarriage after an amnio? What if I lose the baby – I mean fetus – and a month later, the results are of a perfectly healthy baby? How does one cope with that?
At home that evening, I was surprised and also pleased to see the husband, for the first time in his life, doing research into the ethical side of the whole matter. The “what if” he had been asking himself for the last few hours was what would happen once we got the results of a defected chromosome fetus. We have seen the baby – ugh, fetus – on the ultrasound, we have lived with it for 4 months and we have been making future plans for 3 people and despite all our efforts to prevent it, we have established a bond with the tiny fragile life in me.
One month later, once we got the “positive” results as in positive for defected chromosome, after 5 months of living together, we were supposed to end the life that depended so much on us to survive. At this point, we realized, that was exactly why we had to choose to interfere in the pregnancy. There was no way of knowing how severely our child would be affected and there was a chance it might depend on us for the rest of its life. Even if we were ready to give up on the future life we had pictured for ourselves, what would happen to the child once we were gone? How would he/she live on? Who would be there to help? What kind of a life would await him/her without us around?
I ended feeling close to what Dawkins meant when he said it would be immoral to bring a child under such conditions when one has a choice.
Thus, we made up our minds to go for the amniocentesis the next day.
On Tuesday September 23, on my birthday, I got a call from my obstetrician’s clinic. They had received my trisomy 21 results, the test showing the probability of me carrying a baby with down’s syndrome. I was expecting the results any second but I was not expecting a call… And definitely not an emergency appointment during a week when my own obstetrician was away on vacation and I would have to see another doctor.
Based on the manner the appointment was scheduled and the mere fact that I had gotten a call from the clinic, I could have worried myself to tears for the next two days but husband and I decided to see it as a standard procedure where they would be calling anyone whose results were ready in order to avoid any possible complaints from patients although I knew the likelihood to encounter otherwise was high.
And yes, on Thursday I did find out that the results were not so bright. The trisomy test gives you a certain percentage as to the possibility of your fetus having down’s syndrome. And this possibility rises with age, and of course your body’s age. I was 33 when I got pregnant and turned 34 this week. Normally, I try to eat well, though not a crazy sports fan exercise whenever I can, I don’t smoke and in fiercest weeks, I used to drink a glass of wine per day. So I was surprised that my blood test proved my body to be that of a 36 year old woman and that my possibility of carrying a fetus with down’s syndrome had risen from 1 in 500 before the trisomy tests to 1 in 200 afterwards. The threshold being 1 in 300, I was offered an amniocentesis.
While all this information was being poured on us, both the husband and I were trying to take notes on our notebooks like good little students but I was jotting numbers in a meaningless order because no matter how much I had prepared myself for the worst, I still hoped to hear “your numbers are just fine, and you do not have much reason to worry about anything”.
Waiting for that very sentence, staring blankly at the ob, trying to digest the info, relying heavily on husband’s skills with numbers and probability theory, I watched as the nice ob I was seeing for the first time in my life arrange an amniocentesis for the next day at the hospital giving us the option to not go if we chose to have the baby no matter what the chromosomes may show. Before doing so, she also added that couples who chose to have a baby with down’s syndrome after getting the amniocentesis results had a better chance of staying together in the future than those who refused the amnio only to have a down’s syndrome kid while expecting a perfectly normal one.
Numbers and words floating in our heads, we left the clinic and came the time to brood and fight with dilemmas…
Yes, the ultrasound and seeing that tiny being in my belly doing disco moves incessantly, being astonished by how magically the human body, or any living creature’s body functions was groundbreaking and eye opening for me.
However, 5 minutes later, while I was wiping the semi-liquid thing off my belly, hubby and I were asking questions about the trisomy (Down’s syndrome) tests…
You see, I could get the trisomy test done right then and there, but what all the receptionists, the hospital officials and the nice assistant asking me whether I would like the ultrasound done blah blah forgot to mention was that for the trisomy test to be conducted along with the ultrasound which itself cost 130 dollars, I would have to be paying an extra 400 dollars.
So, being not so poor but definitely NOT rich, we said, no thanks, we would rather get the free state supported trisomy test done.
But apparently, to receive the results for that test, we would have to wait 6 weeks!
Naturally, hubby asked the question resonating in my head: would it be too late?
Too late for what? I had to put it into words, “to terminate the pregnancy”…
You see, I have always been pro-choice, not being pro-choice never even occurred to me. When I heard about so many Americans being anti-choice, I could not believe it, a country that is supposed to be “the centre of all sorts of choices” (this opinion of mine has quickly been vanishing, as I find out more and more about the USA, now living so nearby)… Every woman should have the right to refuse to give birth to a baby they believe they cannot take care of… No matter what their circumstances may be, whether the baby was conceived in as terrible circumstances as a rape, or during a light hearted love affair that ended with a “woops”.
I felt weird, having to say “terminate the pregnancy” when I was marveling at my tiny baby a few minutes ago, but, although a child with certain congenital diseases may grow up to be a healthy member of the society, I also had to watch a few of my mother’s friends give up on their own lives so that they could carry their child to the bathroom several times a day, feed them, change them and make up a life for them, all the while the child seemed to be unaware of anything going on around them.
Therefore, rather than selfishly permit a possibility for such hardships to affect both our lives as parents and our child’s, I would rather have an abortion and give everyone a better chance at a fully lived out life…
My pregnancy is advancing. 3 months already… I realized that pregnancy came with its surprises and I wondered, how come so many women got through the same thing but so little is told about some experiences throughout the whole process…
A few days ago turned out to be a landmark of surprises for me. I finally met my obstetrician, who seems very nice. I was expecting to be brushed off after a brief look at my blood tests… but I was actually asked if I wanted get an ultrasound done… Something I thought was unreachable here in Canada. As far as I can tell, most clinics do not have ultrasounds… And even if they do, it is hard to meet all the requirements to get to one, to feel the cool touch of one on the tummy…
So I thought the soonest I would be able to have the cold, transparent, semi liquid thing squished on my belly and be used as a skating ring for an ultrasound gadget would be in a month, at four months, that is…
Well, apparently, I was supposed to have gotten my ultrasound sooner… As told by my obstetrician, no other person I saw until I finally made it to her said anything about that! Come on, this is once in a lifetime (for me) experience and you guys are making me miss out on stuff…
Plus, I paid 130 dollars for it… The result: There really is a living thing in me!!! It was incredible… I shed a few tears, and could not believe, though it may sound cliché, that my hubby and I could have unprotected sex and produce a living being!
I never thought much about human’s or any other creature’s ability to procreate, but since that day at the obstetrician, this has changed for me… I cannot believe that the body whose only function was to move around, eat and shit until 3 months ago has now taken on a new mission, producing the right environment for a new living being to flourish…
Cheesy but still, it all gets one to wonder…
I was also astounded by how much that little thing of 5 cm, a tiny replica of the smallest baby, complete with a set of legs and arms and a huge round head (much like my husband’s) was moving! No one ever had told me that babies move no matter how small they are. I thought it would be sleeping and resting like a sea cucumber!
But no! It was so active that the doctor had difficulty making some measurements. Now I see why every parent to be, on seeing their kid on the ultrasound decide it will be a footballer…
Mine will be a dancer… despite the giant daddy head 😛
Hormonal resentment of the week: Of all the screenshots my dearest doctor (whom I will be seeing maybe 6 more times?) before labor only to be greeted by a completely strange person dressed in green to be by my side as one of the most valued parts of my body are being ripped apart…
Angry Preggo is me…
Frstly, why have I been away for the last few weeks?
I have been having morning sickness for some weeks now. And anything I do during this time ends up being associated with nausea… Including blogging, story writing, eventually trying hard for anything…
I am 2,5 months pregnant now, and hormones are everywhere. I am sticky with hormones.
My boobs are huge, well, actually they have finally attained normal boob sizes… I feel terribly embarrassed when I bend down to get something and from the corner of my eye, I see this cleavage I used to stare at on other women…
Well, at least I am not in Turkey anymore, so I don’t really have to feel shy when I accidentally show popcorn (suddenly popping) boobies… They just happen to be inserted there. What do you want me to do?
And why am I angry? Hormones! I am pissed at a lot of stuff… I had never realized how many things can make me lose it… I am exasperated with people, systems, elevators but mostly tiny behaviors that could be overlooked but are making my life harder these days!!!
Well, yes, I have been rather at the extreme end of annoyance recently, but I am sure there are a few people out there, probably not reading my blog, that would agree with me.
So here is item number one that pisses me off:
– that dear friend/colleague who keeps saying something quite useless, like “what’s up!”, whenever you are concentrated on some work you have to finish asap. To respond, you have to raise your head, take your earphones off, “Sorry, didn’t catch that?”, hear the useless words, smile trying to be polite and hiding you are greatly annoyed, put your earphones back on, concentrate, write a few more words, only to be shaken with a finger pointing at you with a boogie dancer’s expression for no reason by that same colleague/friend… And you have to repeat the process, again…
In the end, for some reason you are pointed out as a slow worker… NO! I am only kind and rather than hurting anyone’s feelings, I choose to smile, grind my teeth and lose time…
– How about that friend who finishes your sentence before you have even started it? Usually their version of the sentence has nothing to do with what you meant to say, but they carry on with that topic and ask you a question, reprimand you for making such a wrong choice and start giving you a lesson. I was NOT going to say that! The sentence I began with “Smoking is hard to give up, even during…” was not supposed to be continued by pregnancy and followed by a lecture about what an awful potential mother am for not quitting and harming my fetus! I don’t even smoke!!!
– When you are trying to tell a serious story, being pregnant and tired and all, sometimes a slip of the tongue makes you mispronounce a word… But not a big deal, you want to continue with the story, but your listener, the person you are trying to confide in is already in tears from laughing out loud… You try to smile politely, grinding your teeth, and wonder if you will ever be able to finish that major issue of yours you need to get off your chest.
– Another one in your audience gets so inspired by the first few words you uttered to introduce your story that they start telling for the 50th time an anecdote of theirs, showing how great, how brave, how incredible they were, while you try to shut your ears with invisible pillows and try to think of unicorns until the sentence ends.
– Then there are those who come up with the weirdest questions that make you wonder about their IQ. For the first time in my life, feeling nauseous and not being able to retain much of the healthy food I loved as a normal, non pregnant person, I was eating a lot of weird stuff I would have normally stayed away from, just to be able to survive the fidgety stomach days. Then comes along a lunch buddy, a person you only see during lunch, and asks me, a hormonal preggo woman: “Are you sure it is not all in your head?”
Please, see me puking my guts out, and I dare you to ask me that again!
So, these are just a few people I have been pissed by throughout my short pregnancy till now… It feels great to let them go now, at least until my next encounter with them… Thanks for bearing with me till the end. Apparently that is a rare quality these days…
Surprised? I was…
I had to register for the TEFAQ, the French exam to prove that I am Francophone enough to live here in Quebec. Well, TEFAQ is sort of the French equivalent of TOEFL… Have you ever registered for TOEFL? You can do everything, I MEAN everything ONLINE from one particular website, without having to search all the different establishments that may be giving the exam, while registering. For TEFAQ, I had to google search all establishments giving the exam, plus the prices were different (how is that even possible?) and figure out how to get to their online registration site. Well, most did not have one, or dates or something was missing! Except for McGill! Thank you McGill, for figuring out the internet.
Plus, I have registered for a few classes and applied for CSQ, the first step of permanent residence and am paying rent on a regular basis in Montreal. I have undertaken similar endeavors in different countries, it was never a big deal. I have used the internet to make my payments for exams in Turkey, for work permit and rent in Australia, to register for a number of things here and there. It was always simple, use your credit card, and voila! You do not have to do anything else! Worst case scenario had always been depositing the amount into a specified bank account and sending the proof of payment, which, needless to say, can also be done online!
But here, for some reason, old school checks are a favorite. You have to send a check for course registrations, rent (!) payments, governmental applications (which LOVE payments) and anything else you can think of!
And of course, if anything goes wrong in the mail, or if the recipients happen to lose that little piece of paper representing a certain fraction of your account balance, you are the one to be blamed and miss your chance for whatever you were sending your money for.
Now, here is another little experience my friend and I had: He won tickets for the Just for Laughs festival here in Montreal through the company we work for and since I am such a great friend, he picked me as his plus one. It is a big deal! He already has tickets that have been paid for, right? All we have to do is choose the shows we want to see and everything will be fine. That should not be so hard once you have your registration ID number, right? A very easy task that can be done online; time and nerve saving!
Instead of a huge web address to get the easy task done, they have inserted a huge phone number, so that we can easily reserve places for the shows we want to see.
I called them. On the phone, I learned that most shows we wanted to pick were already sold out. So making a representative wait for our decision, still on the phone, with major difficulty, we picked the shows and paid for the delivery of the tickets.
Oh nothing is ever free in Canada! Not even a show ticket you may have won!
Then we waited… Nothing, no mail, no ticket, no e-mail for a month…
So we decided to call them… No answer…
Now my friend has given up on the show and does not care for any other prizes that might take a toll on his time and energy. Side effect, I am not being taken to a comedy show…
In an era when plane tickets can be bought online and printed, when tiny codes are used as entrance tickets or even as currency, why is it so hard to make online registration and payment available?
But I still love you Canada. It is this naive side of you that makes you so attractive, and safe, as I like to believe.
Not quite finished, yet. More to come: Health and Banking…
“What?! You have to be joking! If any one of these happened here, there would be a lot of suing and TV shows to follow!’
This was my mother’s reaction earlier today to my one hour ranting about things that carry only the vital aspects of life to somewhere between difficult and almost impossible here in Montreal, Canada.
I love Montreal, and I can see why it is supposed to be civilized. I am not getting harassed at all, there is a greater equality between man and woman, I can express freely that I am an atheist without getting reprimanded for it, I can bike almost wherever I want and most drivers are respectful and patient, when anything goes wrong, I no longer wait for a fight to break up but smile only to be responded by an understanding gesture and a warm approach by people I have never seen before.
Yes, these are reasons why do not want to leave this city.
However, when it comes to vital aspects about life, such as medical situations, banking, taxes or even intercity transportation, I am more homesick than ever!
Here are my experiences in ascending order of importance:
Phone: When I got my first mobile phone line here, with Chat-r to be precise, I waited for 1 hour!!! STANDING! Another woman with her kid, waited at least 1,5 hours, if not more. In Turkey, it takes 15 minutes, max.
Internet: My husband applied for an internet connection with a little known internet provider. They did their end fairly quickly, but because all connections are dependent on a few huge companies, he had to wait for BELL to pass by and get him a line for the internet to function through, in the simplest terms. Around the same time, a friend of mine who had been assigned to a tiny village in the south east of Turkey, a part of the country considered to be not quite developed, applied for her internet connection with of course a Turkish provider.
2 weeks later, she had already been updating her facebook status and doing skype calls, while I could reach my husband only when he went to St Hubert, the fried chicken shop, and managed to connect to gtalk. It took Bell about 4 weeks to do the job with one appointment rescheduling.
One more tiny addition, if you opt for something ultra technological, like internet through a cable connection (wow!) it might take you a few months, as was the case with my colleagues.
Transportation, namely Greyhound:
So the people who work with Greyhound have learned one sentence by heart: First come, first served.
I have had to use Greyhound on two trips, on my way to Ottawa and New York.
Coming back from Ottawa, naturally like a lot of people who wish to be seated as they please together with their company, we made it there about 30 minutes earlier, which is a needless waste of time, but who am I to talk, I come from a third world country, right?
Just as we left the garage, the driver noticed that a window was open and would not close. The first thing he did was to blame the passenger sitting there, the exact reason why I had chosen not to sit there. Thus, we went back into the garage and the bus was changed.
Yet, this time, rather than first come first served, it was front seats first served, because all the people sitting in the first rows were the first to get off and thus the first to get on the new bus and sit wherever they pleased, leaving a woman with her baby and toddler to be seated on seats quite far off from each other.
Of course she got mad. She had arrived there 1,5 hours earlier, just so that she would not have to encounter such a splendid challenge to stimulate the ride and wanted to get off the bus. Some people had to give their seats and problem was solved (!).
Greyhound experience number two unraveled thusly: On our way to New York, the problem started before we got on the bus, even before I got the feeling we were being carried to a high security prison with a plastic indoor door to prevent us from approaching the door to reach for our freedom unless it was unlocked from the outside by the guard/driver who kept calling us folks, but rather treated us like a flock.
We had arrived 1 hour before the departure and got to waiting. While waiting, unless you are one of the first 5 people to be in line, if you get too tired, you can always sit on the floor, please, by all means. Make yourself at home. As we got closer to the gate to get on the bus, I realized there were two busses, and was relieved that we would get proper seats no matter what, since we had been there much before many others. I got on the first bus with my husband, but there were no seats left, except for two aisle seats, one next to a very large scary man, and two seats that would allow us to be together for the next 8 hours, but they were all the way in the front and contained large suitcases. I figured they had been reserved for the driver.
So since we had arrived there much earlier than a lot of people getting on the second bus, I asked to be seated in the second one. But there was this harsh answer that you get from people “in control”, with an undertone reminding how worthless I am. So, not to show how uncivilized I was, I kept quiet and headed towards the separate seats. You know, with one that had the pretty present of a large scary guy, with compliments from greyhound.
However, when a few minutes later, a pretty blond couple wanted to sit together, and the suitcases were removed for their sake, I got mad, as did my husband. The response from the Greyhound guy was: First come first served.
Wow, how could I not think of that?! What a logical and sensible answer and what a problem solving attitude! Our problem persisted until we made it to New York, that is, no special treatment for us. Next time, either I will not be using Greyhound, or there will be a MAJOR scene to follow!
In Turkey, the underdeveloped country, you know where many people still think have camels on the roads, while buying our tickets online, we can see the seats we are buying on the screen, check the type of bus we will be riding in. Thus, even if we arrive 5 minutes before the bus takes off, we know our seat will be safe! And there are ALWAYS free snacks and drinks! Thus, the driver is always kept awake by the in-ride attendant. Oh, did I forget to add? The driver snoozed a few times with his foot on the gas pedal, but we survived.
There will be more…