Bra shopping adventures

After a month of searching I finally have some bras that fit! And it feels so right to have it on now that it’s the appropriate size.

I started out with a trip to my local Lane Bryant where I’m usually treated really well. Unfortunately the sales associate I got this time seemed taken aback that I would ask for bra measurements and rushed through it and then disappeared and wasn’t helpful in finding options. And it appears she measured me wrong too. She said I was either a 42B or 40C (anyone can look at me and tell I’m definitely not a C yet). But I tried on the few options they had for 42B and they didn’t fit well, especially since they were all underwire which I don’t need at this point. And the bralettes they carried had a flattening effect which is the opposite of what I want right now.

So I went home disappointed and decided to try online since my size is rare to find in stores. I first tried an order of 42B wire-free bras from HerRoom. And I managed to find a couple that looked good if I used my silicone breast forms. But the jump from having very little to suddenly being in a padded and stuffed B cup didn’t feel right. And the silicone against my chest made me sweat like a pig in the summer heat. Every time I looked down or caught it out of my periphery, it felt like I was an impostor for being so large so suddenly.

So this time I tried ordering some 42A bras from Bare Necessities. They just arrived last night and today I’m wearing the Coobie Comfort Bralette with molded cup inserts which lives up to its name. I also got the padded Leading Lady Smooth Wire-Free Bra which fit well with a little bit of room to grow. This time it really feels like the right size and shape for where I’m at. And especially with the bralette I like the comforting feel of the gentle pressure around my chest.

I still don’t have many options for shopping in stores with a large band size and small cup but at least I know what to look for online now. And I’m still growing of course so eventually I should properly fit those B cup bras. I’m at the 4 month mark after HRT now and while the growth has slowed down, they are still tender which means they are still growing. Hopefully I’ll have another growth spurt soon and my right side will catch up with the left.


PMS sucks – HRT week 10

I know this isn’t news to anyone who’s had an estrogen-dominant system but PMS really sucks. Apparently I’ve already settled into a monthly cycle because I am SO grumpy today and ready to burst into tears over little things. When I look back at my messages this happened almost exactly a month ago. And surprise surprise, it matches my spouses cycle. Also my boobs hurt way more than usual. Maybe the bra shopping trip I was planning for tonight will have to wait…

The game of anxiety life

Life with anxiety is like a game of whack-a-mole. If you deal with one thing, another will just pop up. And adding more estrogen to my system shakes it up and switches the game to advanced mode. I am (re)discovering so many things that I thought I had dealt with hiding beneath the surface.

Breasts are cool – HRT week 9

Last night I was admiring how different my breasts feel now. Before I took estrogen I did have some fairly visible breasts due to my weight and low testosterone levels but they were just pockets of fat with pectoral muscles deep below. Now there is definitely tissue underneath and they feel totally different. My spouse described them last night as “somehow soft yet firm” because underneath the initial layer of squish they have a layer that is clearly not muscle but also not fat. I think my nipples are already bigger than hers too but she disagrees.

One of the funniest parts is watching how they grow unevenly. The pattern seems to be that my left breast will grow one week and then my right will catch up. Sometimes they are the same size but right now the left is significantly bigger. Currently they are pretty tender and painful with pressure but don’t actively hurt. We just redid my measurements last night so I guess it’s time to start trying out some bras.

Last week I increased my dose of estrogen to 6 mg a day which seems to really be helping my mood. I no longer appear to have the radical mood swings. At first I was taking 4 in the morning and 2 at night but I was seeing a dip in mood and energy in the early afternoon. I spoke to my doc and she recommended spacing it out evenly which seems to be solving the problem. Apparently my body likes estrogen, just not low levels of both hormones.

HRT Week 8 update

I just got the results back from my first checkup post-hormones. My estrogen is twice the maximum for recommended male range and on the low end for women (90.5 pg/mL). My testosterone is almost nonexistent (21 ng/dL). I’ve been swinging pretty radically between extremely depressed to extremely euphoric throughout the course of the week and my breasts continue to grow. I talked to my doc about the mood and she said that there is a 50/50 chance that more estrogen will make that either better or worse. So tomorrow I start with 4 mg in the morning and 2 mg at night (currently 2 twice a day). We’ll see what happens!

PS – I’m not taking spiro to suppress my testosterone because my T levels were already below the male range before I started and clearly I don’t need them now.

Libido changes – HRT week 6

Content Warning: Discussion of sex ahead

I’m now past the 6 week mark of starting estrogen and the changes are coming quite quickly now. My breasts are continuing to grow noticeably every week and my nipples are at least 50% larger and much more prominent. Whereas before my nipples used to lay flat about half the time, now they are pretty much always erect which means I have to cover them when I go out. Yesterday I almost had a very embarrassing moment where I arrived a professional conference I was helping host only to realize I had forgotten my nipple covers. Luckily I always keep band aids in my bag so I had to go and strap them down.

Some of the other changes have been less pleasant. Last week I was extremely moody, irritable, and depressed. There were times I wanted to strangle people who annoyed me and moments where I wished I could not exist (not the same as suicidal but close). Luckily I have an amazing chosen family who talked me down during my emotional breakdown where I felt like life wasn’t worth living if I couldn’t make a difference in the fight against greed and evil. Right now I’m taking a break from the news and some of my social justice communities until I can better handle the demoralizing parts.

This week has been more stable in terms of mood but I am really becoming aware of just how much my libido has changed. I was never a “think about sex all the time” kind of person. But I did have an active sex drive and sex life. Now I’ve realized that I haven’t masturbated in weeks and don’t even really miss it. And I haven’t been able to have sex without viagra in a very long time either.

What I’m not sure of is if this is truly a drop in libido or just me not being used to how that looks different. I am still very interested in other people’s bodies but I have almost no interest or even enjoyment in using my own. And whereas before I use to have more bisexual interests, I am definitely becoming more and more focused on just queer women and nonbinary femmes. Some of this started before estrogen but has continued to be more pronounced.

So the short version is that I’m not sure what sex looks like right now or how to relate to it. I am extremely lucky to have people in my life who don’t have expectations of exactly what that looks like either and the benefit of being polyamorous is that nobody is relying solely on me to have their sexual needs met. Having that pressure taken off is a huge relief while I am in this phase where I am essentially becoming a demisexual or gray ace.

Right now it is mostly confusing for me as I try to navigate this new feeling (or rather lack of feeling) and it is a lot less frustrating than I expected. But I know I will be sad if my libido doesn’t come back so I’m hoping this isn’t permanent or that my relationship to sex improves as I adjust.

Hormone update – week 5

Potential TMI warning ahead!

I’ve been taking estrogen orally for 5 weeks now and last week I definitely started to see some changes. Last Wednesday I noticed one breast was tender and even though I couldn’t really perceive it, others agreed that it was getting bigger. What I did notice last week is that there were a couple times I was talking about emotional topics that I found myself on the verge of tears far more easily than before.

This week I can definitely see a change in the shape and size of both breasts and the areas under the areolas have been tender on and off. I really didn’t expect to see this much change so quickly but I’m very excited! Some friends have already mentioned being able to see the changes through my clothes. I guess it’s nearly time to go bra shopping.

In the meantime, I highly recommend silicon nipple covers for anyone with prominent nipples. Even before hormones I needed them with femme clothes since they are often made of thinner material. I’ve found the Nippies brand works great for months of use.

Fertility and Hormones

The thing that I’ve had on my mind a lot lately is the question of when to begin my hormonal transition in relation to what to do about having a child. I’ve known I wanted a baby since I was pretty young, though in more of a maternal parenting role than a paternal one. The only times I’ve questioned that were when the pressures to be a father made me feel inadequate to the task. And especially since learning that induced lactation is possible, I’ve known that starting from infancy is definitely what I want to do.

But the thing is, I’m not in a place yet where I’m ready to start a family. Part of that is personal – I think I need to do more growth and self work before I am ready to devote that much time and attention on a mini human. And part of that is situational – my spouse doesn’t want to be a primary parent and I don’t have anyone else to co-parent with in my life right now.

The part that gives me pause is what to do about my sperm. Once I start hormones it is fairly likely that I will quickly become permanently infertile. There aren’t a lot of studies  about what happens when you stop hormones but the advice is to assume that it is a permanent change. I’ve looked into freezing my sperm but that is a very expensive procedure with no guarantee of success, and frankly, I don’t have the money right now dues to other high medical expenses. It also requires me to have good sperm count and motility to begin with and I’m becoming less and less sure that is the case. When my hormone levels were checked recently, my testosterone was low (no surprise) which doesn’t bode well. I also have many habits that tend to lower fertility such as wearing tight clothing, smoking pot, and taking ibuprofen.

So even if I was ready to make a baby right now, there is no guarantee I could do it without major changes that don’t really seem possible. I don’t want to take testosterone supplements because that’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do. It would be very difficult to wear loose clothing with my current style and wardrobe. And cannabis is the only thing I’ve found that makes my chronic pain even tolerable.

As I’ve come to accept that, I’ve realized that I can’t keep waiting on starting my transition. It’s harming my mental health to be stuck in this limbo waiting for a sign. So I’ve setup an appointment with my primary care physician, who luckily specializes in trans patients, to talk about starting hormones. I am going to have to trust that if the universe wants me to have a child, destiny is going to have to meet me halfway.

There are other options for the future. Being nonbinary and nonmonogamous with a nontraditional family structure means that adoption would be difficult, especially through an agency, but there are local places friends have recommended where the birth parent gets to make a choice. What I’m really hoping happens is that I find someone to co-parent with who has a working uterus and possibly another partner with sperm. If not there is always artificial insemination or surrogate parents.

Right now I need to focus on beginning my transition and hopefully along the way find the right way to build a family. If anyone is interested in starting conversations about co-parenting, platonically or otherwise, please let me know.