Updated: Sep 17
Read part 1 here
Image description: a small white newborn with blonde hair sleeps on a white muslin square. Baby is wearing denim dungarees with a tractor on and a black and white striped tshirt underneath
Part one is here
When I realised I was transgender, I pondered putting off transition so that I could have my own child, because like many other trans masculine individuals I was wrongly under the impression that testosterone makes you infertile. Eventually I decided to begin my medical transition privately because the mental and physical pain I was going through daily was unbearable and I had come to terms with the idea that I would adopt or foster – something I still wish to do in the future.
Understandably when I found out that I was pregnant at twenty-two-years-old I believed that it was now or never, that this was my only chance of having my own biological baby and some other-worldly force decided that I would get pregnant the week before I started testosterone. I don’t believe in one God but I’m a massive believer in fate and despite knowing now that many trans masculine people have came off testosterone years later and managed to conceive, I still believe that I was intended to have my son. I struggled greatly coming to the decision that I wouldn’t go to that appointment because I was meant to be going into my final year of Acting at university that September and I didn’t have a partner, or my own house, but I knew that if I did struggle to have a biological child in the future then I would always remember what I could have had, had I not gotten a termination.
I spoke to my mum, in her car in our local supermarket carpark, telling her that I was pregnant and that I didn’t know what to do. I know that my mum only believes in abortions for very specific reasons, so perhaps on reflection I had probably made up my mind that I wanted to keep the pregnancy when I asked her for advice, I was more asking for her consent to do so. She was happy with the idea, when I came out as trans she also believed that I wouldn’t be able to have biological children so I think that she felt the same way that I did, and she told me that she would support me in any way that she could.
Throughout the pregnancy I was concerned that my having used testosterone for 10 weeks of his 11 weeks of life would have had negative affects on him, so the NHS gave me extra scans and did my blood work until my testosterone levels were back within a “normal” range for a birthing person. With my first set of bloods, I had a phone call asking me whether I could come in and have them done again, I was concerned about this and agreed that she could come and take them that afternoon, when she was taking them, I asked her what had happened and she told me that they had gotten lost somewhere. At a later appointment a lead came in and told me that what happened with my first bloods should not have happened, she explained that they arrived at the lab for testing and the technicians saw a male name and discarded them believing that they had been sent there incorrectly, she then put down a piece of paper and said that they have updated their guidance for maternity blood testing and showed me that they had changed it to reflect that regardless of what gender sounding name it is they should test them, this I was thrilled about knowing that despite the minor mistake they had actually taken action to prevent it happening again.
Unfortunately the NHS Pennine system won't allow for a pregnant male to be selected, so my midwives and other health professionals involved worked around it in hopes that something would update or change on their systems before it was too late in my pregnancy. At around thirty weeks one of my midwives sadly informed me that I would have to go on the system now because the risk would be that I could turn up at hospital without a computer record. They put me on as female, apologising profusely. I had someone ring me from higher up apologising and saying that only two people would be involved in doing it and that it wouldn’t affect me being marked as male on other systems. It sucked, but I knew that it was coming because change is something that doesn’t happen fast, but hopefully them working with me will be a part of it changing for the future birthing people.
Mostly the pregnancy went well, aside from the sleepless nights and pain from wearing a binder – Still I was constantly worried that I would lose him, I kept checking how young a baby has been born and still survived, it’s typically considered viable after 24 weeks however some babies have been born before then and still survived, the earliest a baby has been born and survived is 21 weeks and 5 days.
Once that milestone had passed, I was relieved, I think the initial shock of being pregnant had just turned into fear of losing him, but as the weeks passed the more his survival rate went up and I became slightly more hopeful.
Read part 3 here
Some names have been changed for privacy reasons