Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Baby, Baby: The Dark Side of a Public Online Pregnancy

Having made it more than halfway through a fairly public pregnancy, I have discovered a few things that have surprised, shocked, and dismayed me.  The world is an interesting place, to be sure, and I feel like times of transition are times when the interestingness becomes a little more apparent :-)

I am active on Instagram, using hashtags that help connect me to currently pregnant moms, moms of twins, women in the trenches of infertility, and women pregnant after infertility, and my account is public to make connecting easier.  I have also been very public about our fertility struggles, process, and treatments on my personal facebook.  The benefits of sharing in these venues have far surpassed the downfalls, but let's talk about those downfalls for a sec, shall we?  

Pregnancy Fetishists

I cannot flipping believe I am saying this... but I've been hit on when sharing pictures of my bump.  Yeah.  Fortunately, it's been pretty mild for me, but I've seen some pregnant women get a LOT worse.  I've had the occasional, creepy "gorgeous" from a random dude... you just know he's trolling the #pregnant hashtags looking at all the bellies. And then there was the poet who simply commented "Boobs belly" followed by a zillion laughing emojis.  Yes, yes, I have both of those things, and they do both seem to be growing a bit... seeing as how I'm carrying twins.  There are whole Instagram accounts dedicated to "sharing" or "featuring" pictures women have taken of their pregnant bellies, and the comments on those can get fairly aggressive.  Most pregnant moms I follow have been asked to submit their pictures to these, or if the account can go ahead and share a picture they like.  I've clicked over to see some of these accounts... a few of them seem to prefer full or mostly nudes.  

This is why in every photo you have ever seen, and will ever see, of my baby bump... I'm dressed.  I realize that when I upload photos to Instagram, I lose a degree of control over them.  While I have seen some pretty and tasteful pictures of bare pregnant bellies, and would honestly like to have some for us to keep at home, I don't want any pictures floating around of me that can be perverted in this way.  It's bad enough that I get "belly boobs" comments on fully-clothed pictures!  

Belly Boobs!

Comparisons

One of the biggest upsides to following so many twin moms-in-the-making online is that I can compare my experiences and my bump with theirs.  One of the downsides... I compare my experiences and my bump with theirs.  There's an adorable lady I follow who was 29ish weeks pregnant with twins, also after IVF, and she shared a collage of some of her bump pictures a few weeks ago.  I looked like her 24 week picture... when I was only 18 weeks.  Granted, she probably weighed about 100 pounds before she got pregnant, and I weighed, um, more than that, so we clearly have different pre-pregnancy builds.  But the temptation exists to compare our bodies in a way that has mine coming up short. And it is tempting to feel bad about that.

I think this is something that would bother me a lot more if I didn't revel and delight in every tiny growth spurt my belly has.  ;-)  I like to say that I worked HARD for this bump, and I'm going to enjoy every inch of it.  And I'm glad that I started showing early, because it maximizes the time I'll look pregnant, and what I've wanted most for five years was to look (well, BE) pregnant!  But if you're the type (as I am when not pregnant) to feel bad when you compare your figure to someone else's, you may want to reconsider tuning in to and following other pregnancies.  Seriously, this is a time for complete and utter joy... cut out anything that threatens that!


Cyberbullying

Yeah, it's not just for the kiddies.  People on the internet of ALL ages find boldness in the relative anonymity behind a keyboard, and use it to criticize any part of a person's story or self that they can.  A couple of months ago (I was about 16 weeks pregnant), I saw a picture of a young girl on Instagram, showing off a cute outfit accessorized with a certain brand's purse.  With her permission, a fan page of that brand that I follow shared it.  And one of their other followers (whose username states that she "lives to run" - sad life!) commented that "fat girls shouldn't wear high heels or skinny jeans."  This girl may have been a size 10 or 12, but she carried it well and looked phenomenal (which is beside the point - the comment was still cruel and unnecessary).  Anyway, my school counselor and impending-mom-ness kicked in, and I commented back that the tendency to tear someone down for their appearance generally reveals deep insecurities on the part of the bully.  Which was not smart... I should've left well enough alone... but I can't.  It's me.  I felt defensive of the beautiful young lady who just wanted to show off her awesome outfit.  Anyway, this bully (who looked like she could be anywhere between the ages of 30 and 60... and not healthy) told me that EVERYone loved HER body, and she could tell from my profile picture of my face that I was a fatty too.  Then she must have popped over and checked out my pictures because next came "16 weeks prego?  You look overdue!"  And she kept going and going until I could get through the steps to block and report her.  

Fortunately, I'm an adult, and have come to terms with what my body looked like pre-pregnancy, and as we've discussed, I'm overjoyed with how it looks now.  So I could file that cruelty away in the little file in my head titled "people suck."  It did put me in a funk for a few hours, and I may have cried a little - not about how I look, just about the fact that people suck and really shouldn't.  Seriously, how much harder is it to keep that junk to yourself?  And... keep in mind, this was an exchange between two adults.  I opened myself up to the bully by defending that girl, but my public profile with pregnancy photos gave her so much more ammunition to try to use against me.  Something else to consider if you choose to publicize photos or other aspects of your pregnancy... even grown-ups can attack with all the viciousness of a sixth grader, and it doesn't take much to set one off.

Overdue? :-)

 The Sensitivity Factor

This last topic probably applies more to the infertility community than the general pregnancy community, but it is the one that really shook and hurt me, so it's worth mentioning.  I think we all can understand that reading pregnancy announcements and updates can be pretty brutal for those who are in the midst of a fertility battle.  I've written about it myself several times.  I've been there.  And I know that not everyone is as "out" as I am about their infertility, so I knew that there were likely people I was friends with on social media that were going through their own private battles that I knew nothing about.  I'm also a fairly nice person, so it was important to me that I try everything in my power to mitigate the pain that any of those friends would feel if our IVF was successful.  I made an announcement long before it was time to test that I would be announcing a positive OR negative result on a certain date, and not before.  I explained that this was so anyone who needed to could unfollow me, hide me from their newsfeed, or just prepare their hearts for the possibility of a pregnancy announcement on that date.  I've never seen anyone else do this, but it was so, so important to me to try to protect my infertile "sisters," and this was the best way I could think of to do it.  I personally have hidden a lot of people from my newsfeed while they were pregnant, so I know that this is a really effective way to protect yourself from things you don't want to see!  

Unfortunately, at least one of my friends didn't see the announcement or didn't do anything about it.  A couple of months ago, she sent me several facebook messages that broke my heart for the obvious hurt behind them.  She accused me of being insensitive to my friends who are still trying or may never be successful in having children, which absolutely devastated me.  I tried so hard to be sensitive in advance of our announcement... I do post a lot of little pregnancy observations and bump pictures and nursery progress pictures... but I hoped that the people who would find those painful would have taken my advice before I was pregnant.  Or at least hidden me once it got to be too painful.  The second-to-last thing I want is to hurt anyone... but the VERY last thing I want is to hide my joy over a pregnancy that was never sure to happen, is high-risk, and is likely my only one ever.  

So I guess I'm trying to say that if you're getting ready to announce a pregnancy, realize you may inadvertently hurt somebody.  And if you keep posting updates, you may continue to hurt somebody.  But there are ways they can protect themselves, and they should know them.  Celebrate your joy, try to keep complaints to a minimum when you can... if you see an opportunity to be extra-gentle (like if everyone knows you're doing an embryo transfer, use my strategy. Or ask your infertile friend what would be the easiest/least painful way for them to find out.) take that opportunity... And if someone calls you out on your "insensitivity," try not to take it personally, remember the pain behind that response, and perhaps kindly recommend that they unsubscribe or unfollow you.  (I'm mostly talking online friendships here... in-person interactions are a little different, and you might need to limit your pregnancy talk.  But that's a whole 'nother blog!)


Thanks for reading the world's longest blog entry!  I hope I've given you some food for thought when it comes to how much/whether to share your pregnancy online, what pitfalls to expect, and how to mitigate them :-)  Have you shared details of your pregnancy online?  Did you regret it?  Are there any potential pitfalls I missed? 

 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Baby, Baby: 24 Week Bumpdate

The Kidlets
via

How far along?
24 weeks!  Today marks another milestone, "viability."  It's sort of a morbid milestone, but generally, babies born after this mark have at least a small chance at surviving.  Estimates of survivability vary a lot, but most sources seem to agree that a baby born at 24 weeks is about twice as likely to survive as one born at 23 weeks.  Of course, the odds only increase from here on out :-) Hang in there, babies!!
 
Genders?
One girl, one boy :-)

How big are they?
Each baby should be about 13 inches long and weigh about a pound and a half or more, and it looks like they will be gaining a lot, quickly over the next few weeks.  My apps compare them to ears of corn, eggplants, and cantaloupes.  I also read that my uterus would be the size of a soccer ball... if I was carrying ONE child.  So... bigger than a soccer ball :-)


Changing Momma


Have you started showing yet?
I'm going to have to find a new question to take the place of this one... yeah, I'm showing :-)  And still stopping in shock to stare as I pass mirrors. 

Weight gain?
I don't know for sure, but I'm betting I've gained a good bit more.  I'm feeling rather massive these days... and it's still early! :-)

Maternity Clothes?
Yes, and I have two new pairs of Old Navy yoga pants on the way... thankfully!  They're about the only maternity pants I find comfortable.  I think I lost some thigh/hip/butt weight in the beginning, and it's hard to find pants that are comfortable through there, but still accommodate (and will continue to accommodate) the bump.  If I had to make a list of pregnancy must-haves (that'll probably happen eventually), these yoga pants would be right near the top!!!  Yoga pants have given me so much joy... some day, I should actually try yoga ;-)
 
Stretch Marks?
Found three more last night!!  All under my belly... one of them is pretty long.  I'm earning my stripes ;-)  It's weirdly comforting, that there is physical evidence of why I've been so uncomfortable and stretchy lately... it's not me being a wimp, there's some serious growing going on!  

Belly Button In or Out?
It's more of a belly dimple at this point...


Momma's Feeling

Cravings?
Really, really random food.  The other night, I wanted soft pretzels and mozzarella sticks.  Someone needs to combine those two things... 
 
Anything making you queasy or sick?
Not really, but I do seem to be getting sensitive to smells again.... 

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?
Thankfully, I've been much more even-keeled this week than last!  I have moody moments, but they're usually less random-emotional and more because everything hurts.

Movement?
Yep.  Love it!  It reminds me to pause and talk to them.  :-)

Sleep?
Getting a little rougher, but I'm still sleeping reasonably well.  I just never feel that rested in the morning.  It's weird.

What I Miss:
Caffeine, scalding-hot baths, and walking up the stairs without needing a 20-minute breathing break ;-)

Other Symptoms:
Had a random recurrence of my heartburn one night, despite still being on daily Prevacid.  Other than that, just the regular aches and pains and stretchy feelings that come from having two rapidly-growing humans living in your body.  ;-)  Oh, and the gas.  Both kinds.  Constantly.  There's no room for air with those kids in there....  


Highlights and Coming Soon


Best Moment of the Week:
THE CRIBS ARE BUILT!!!! There are two assembled cribs in our "crib" and soon they will be occupied by real live babies!  I alllllmost lost it as we stood back and checked out our handiwork the other day... I sometimes don't know if I ever really, truly, completely believed we'd be building ONE crib, let alone TWO. 

Looking Forward To:
Ultrasound in about 10 days... shower right after that... and packing hospital bags :-)
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Baby, Baby: 23 Week Bumpdate

The Kidlets

via

How far along?
23 weeks... Almost to "viability week"!!  

Genders?
One girl, one boy <3

How big are they?
They should each weigh a little over a pound... my apps say the size of a large mango (is this the third week someone has said mango?), a papaya, a bunch of grapes, or a grapefruit.  I personally like the grapefruit idea... 7 months ago, I had two grapefruit-sized ovaries, now I have two grapefruit-sized babies <3


Changing Momma


Have you started showing yet?
Yep. ;-)

Weight gain?
Up roughly 20 pounds, but haven't weighed this week. 

Maternity Clothes?
Exclusively :-)

Stretch Marks?
YES!  One teeny tiny one under my belly that I need a mirror to see.  It's, like, a quarter-inch long, and I've named it Squiggles <3

Belly Button In or Out?
Soooo shallow.  It cracks me up :-)


Momma's Feeling

Cravings?
Reese's cups/eggs/whatever.

Anything making you queasy or sick?
Nope, feeling pretty good on the nausea front :-)

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?
Well, I spontaneously cried almost every day this week... for reasons ranging from "those flowers are pretty" to "I really love my dog" to "pregnancy hurts and I can't breathe."  So we'll go with moody ;-)

Movement?
Yeah... it's neat :-)  I love it when Ethan can feel them too... still haven't been able to catch them on video yet, though. 

Sleep?
Not half bad :-)

What I Miss:
The usual gripes... hot baths and caffeine ;-)

Other Symptoms:
Aches and pains... labored breathing, especially at night.  Annnnnd the belching.  Still So.Much.Belching.


Highlights and Coming Soon


Best Moment of the Week:
Every little kick... finding out the cribs have shipped... and our kids got their first pieces of mail!  (Invitations to their shower, haha!)

Looking Forward To:
Building the cribs, and we have some little decorating ideas we're hoping to tackle this weekend. :-)
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Baby, Baby: 22 Week Bumpdate

The Kidlets
via
How far along?
22 Weeks!

Genders?
One girl, one boy!

How big are they? 
We had an ultrasound on Tuesday this week, and the sonographer calculated Baby Girl to weigh 14 ounces, and Baby Boy at a whole pound.  He said these weights are right on track and that the difference between them is no problem, since each baby has their own placenta and sac.  They are each about a foot long from head to heel - comparable to a spaghetti squash, an ear of corn, or a papaya.  


Changing Momma


Have you started to show yet?
Oh yeah.

Weight gain?
I gained about 9 pounds in the last month, so I'm up 20-21 pounds total this pregnancy.  Which is exactly where I should be, but I'll admit that seeing that number on the scale was a little bit startling for about zero-point-six-eight seconds (for an android, that is nearly an eternity).

Maternity Clothes?
Exclusively.  :-)

Stretch Marks?
Not yet...

Belly Button In or Out?
Still in and super-shallow.


Momma's Feeling

Best invention ever!

Cravings:
Nothing in particular, but a LOT of it!

Anything making you queasy or sick?
Not really.  

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?
Pretty happy. :-)

Movement:
Yep.  Lots more this week, so I'm a happy camper. :-)  

Sleep:
Pretty good!  Especially last night... it was lovely!

What I Miss:
The usual... lol!

Other Symptoms:
I ache, but my Prenatal Cradle came in this week and I wore it grocery shopping, and then I wore it making freezer meals, and it worked wonderfully!


Highlights and Coming Soon


Best Moment of the Week:
Ultrasound time, of course!!  <3  Baby Boy was so busy that it was hard to get any great pictures... the best was a shot of his little ear :-)  We caught Baby Girl bracing/pushing against my uterus with a tiny little foot.  He seems to like playing in his own space, and she seems to prefer kicking/punching me.  

Looking Forward To: 
We have the cribs ordered, and they should be shipping in the next week or two...I'm excited for those to get here :-)  Our next ultrasound is March 3, so of course I'm looking forward to that, too!

 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Baby, Baby: 21 Week Bumpdate

The Kidlets

via

How far along?
21 weeks today!

Genders?
One girl, one boy...

How big are they?
Each baby should weigh about 3/4 of a pound, and measure about 10.5 inches long from head to heel... about the length of a carrot, a banana (slightly bigger than last week's banana, haha!), a pomegranate (again?)... or a baby bok choy... whatever that is... ;-)

  
Changing Momma
I feel like this one pretty well captures how tired I've been... and I was actually feeling decent when it was taken! ;-)

Have you started to show yet?
Oh yeah. And I'm pretty sure most of this week's growth happened between yesterday and today.  Yesterday I was thinking how I hadn't really grown much... today, I noticed a difference :-) 

Weight gain?
I guess I'll find out Tuesday :-)

Maternity Clothes?
Exclusively :-)

Stretch Marks?
Possibly?  I can't quite tell if they're stretch marks or remnants of skin irritation from my insulin pump sites and CGM sensors... 

Belly Button In or Out?
Still in and shallow for now, but I had a pretty wild dream about it popping out last night, haha!!! 

Momma's Feeling

I had to lay down at my in-laws' last night after my back started throwing a fit.  Charley and their pup Dixie were very attentive!  Charley was laying on my ribs/hip, with one paw on my bump, while Dixie snuggled as close to it as she could :-)

Cravings:
Chocolate.  Really hadn't featured much in my pregnancy cravings so far, but it's about all I've thought about this week, food-wise :-)

Anything making you queasy or sick?
Not really!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?
Does a little anxious count as moody?  Not necessarily about the babies/pregnancy, just generally a little unsettled and restless.

Movement:
Some, but not as much as I'd like.  Still earlyish though... they're probably moving lots that I can't feel.

Sleep:
Really not bad!  

What I Miss:
I had a couple of pretty nice lukewarm baths this week, so I may be getting accustomed to them.  A nice hot one still sounds wonderful though :-)  

Other Symptoms:
In all honesty, this has been the hardest week, physically, of my pregnancy so far.  I'm hurting a lot, just from stretching and carrying so much extra weight so quickly.  By the end of each day - which is getting earlier and earlier - my back hurts, my belly feels HUGE and stretchy, my legs and feet are tired and I'm very ready for bed by about 9pm.  I've ordered a "prenatal cradle," and it's past due to arrive... I'm hoping it helps buy me a few more weeks of feeling good.  But, if a twin mom measures and feels about 6-8 weeks further along than she is, I should be feeling like a singleton mom feels at the start of her third trimester.  I.E... uncomfortable.


Highlights and Coming Soon

Best Moment of the Week
We got a new rocker/recliner for the nursery (we wanted two so we can each rock a baby at the same time)... and got an amazing deal on it :-)  I put a whole jumbo case of newborn diapers into the top drawer of the dresser... didn't even take up a third of the space.  They're so tiny and precious, and I can't believe we're going to have two people tiny enough to wear them!  (And that those 128 diapers will probably not quite last us a week!)  Every little thing we finish in there is so exciting... :-)
  
Looking Forward To:
Ultrasound on TUESDAY!!!  I miss seeing our babies!  Can't wait to check in and make sure everything is okay... and just watch them play a little :-)
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg