Word of Advice

Here is something not to attempt when you're very pregnant and your child likes to see how often she can jab your ribs and your bladder at the same time:

Reclining "comfy" style or not, a movie theatre isn't your best option right now. Trust me. Today we brought little man to the grandparents at 10am, hit the OB's for the ultrasound (see below) and then went out together. We assume its our last 'date' for quite a bit and so we were determined to get out. Had a nice lunch at a local coffee shop where we made fun of a couple on a blind date. (Yeah we're snotty like that.) Then we went to the movies to see The Village. Movie was good - especially if you don't go expecting the sort of 'shock' twist that may have 'gotcha' in the Sixth Sense. Anyway, I digress. Our local theatre has changed a lot since our last movie - including the cost of tickets AND the new comfy, rocking, reclining "wide-body" chairs. . .that still wasn't enough to make me comfy. No siree. The moment I sat down I felt incredibly unweildly. I felt as if my stomach were being pressed from the inside in all sorts of directions because, let's face it, it was. I got jabbed in the bladder enough times to need to leave for the bathroom twice. This in addition to the rib shots that left me short of breath and the side jabs that had me shifting position endlessly. I'm sure the guy behind me was tickled to death I choose to sit where I did.

Then add in raging horomones that render you totally emotional. I must confess that I tend to be a sap at movies. Hell, if I'm being really honest I'll even admit that I shed a tear or two during Terminator 2 many years ago. So the fact that I cried during the movie a wee bit shouldn't totally be blamed on my hormones. The fact that I wanted to lunge across the aisle and wrap a Twizzler around some talker's neck might be better left to that "Its not me its the party my body chemicals are having" excuse.

And finally, there are the smells. As already mentioned ad nauseum (not meant to be a pun) I had wicked morning sickness at the start of this pregnancy. Lately its been starting back up again. Not that I throw up like earlier, but I do on the occasional morning AND certain things have a tendency to make me feel a wee bit queasy. Apparently among these smells is popcorn. Ok, you can just smack your heads now and collectively say "DUH! And you went where?!" But in my defense the popcorn thing was news to me too. I mean I even MADE and ATE the darn stuff a week ago. How would I know that a giant room full of the stuff would make me feel seasick?!

Ultrasound update

Today was step one in the aforementioned forarray into "moving into the OB's office." Today was our ultrasound. Everything went well - baby looks great. Everything on target. Head down...and oh yeah, still a girl. Here's a few "photos" Click on the image if you want to see it a wee bit bigger Posted by Hello


Drama Queen

So, I can't seem to get through a pregnancy or at least through a visit with Dr. Panicky without drama. Nope, impossible. Today I go in and my little protein test seems to be ok. There's no worrisome elevation in my blood pressure (I was 128/80). But there's a 5 pound gain in my weight over the last 3 weeks. Ok, says the doctor and looks at the charts - well you're only up 16 pounds total over the pregnancy. That's fine, but oh, wait, what's this? Hmmm, 11 of that over the last two visits? Hmmm....how's everything going...wait, do you normally wear rings?

Me - Ummm, yeah well I haven't in the last month because they're tight. My fingers are a wee bit puffed.

Dr. P - Hmmm, let me see.

And he pokes at my fingers. Then he pokes at my ankles - which are not puffed really but are enough to have the little marks from the elastic around my sock at the top.

Dr. P says - Well there's some water retention but no major edema. You passed your 1 hr glucose test? (and he moves to my chart.) Hmmm. Ok, look, normally no worries with the weight because overall you're right on target. (some blah blah stuff about the body and normal gains, etc...) The only thing is your history with the pre-eclampsyia and one early sign is rapid weight gain with water retention. Have you changed eating habits?

Me - not really. I mean yeah from early on in the pregnancy to now there's a difference in that I don't throw up a few times a day but from say May till now, no.

He looks at my chart and sees the no weight gain at all in May. . . so I add that I had stopped my walking in the heat and per Dr. L's input.

Dr. P says - Ok. Well I'm not going to put you through a 24-hour urnine test for protein yet but because of your history the weight gain is something we really want to be very watchful of. I want to do the 2-hour glucose test too just to rule out late apperance of any tolerance issues. And then instead of 2 weeks between visits I want you to come back in next week to make sure everything is still ok with the blood pressure and the protein.

So he then decides to listen to the heartbeat - says baby is sounding perfect. He measures the fundus and frowns a bit. "Hmmm," he says. "When was your last ultrasound?"

Me - Oh, geez, maybe 10-12 weeks ago.

Dr. P says - Ok, I want to have you in for a new ultrasound too - that coupled with the 2-hour will help us rule in or our GD.

So anyway, that's the summary of my visit. . . basically there is a reason I call him Dr. Panic - BUT - with the P/E last time he's got me all sorts of depressed now. I mean damn. My weight gain with L was much more signifcant. Heck I think I was well over 35lbs up by this point last time. That said, my "nearing the finish line appts" all had normal to low-end of normal blood pressure with no signs of protein BUT large jumps in weight gain up until that 37 weeks appt when I had a 5 lb gain in a week PLUS the elevated BP and still a clear urine test. The 24-hour test I took that week showed elevated levels of protein which indicated I was in the early stages of pre-eclampsyia. All that weighs in on my mind as I sit and process today's appt.

I go back to the office Saturday am to see the ultrasound tech who apparently puts in weekend hours unlike the old one. On Thursday am it looks like I'll do the freakin' 2 hour test because its the earliest I'm not at work, I have someone that can watch L and the tech is in. AND, Thursday afternoon I have an appointment with the more relaxed easy-going Dr. L. We'll see what he has to say next visit.

The thing is - early delivery does not worry me. I know they won't induce until 38 weeks and that's exactly the point L was born. I know she'll be fine then and frankly, the 2 weeks between then and my due date seem like an eternity as it is right now. Somehow August 31st/Sept 1st seems a whole lot more managable to my achy back than Sept 15th or beyond. . . What plays on my mind is the between then and now type thing if they should decide there's reason to be seriously concerned. I know there's medication they can give me to help manage my blood pressure should I need it and I know they're ready to say the big 'b' word - Bed Rest. THAT is what scares me. Bed rest. Bed rest with a 2 year old around. Yeah, I have help. Yeah, mom will be here endlessly during the times Bruce is not. That's all fine...but I also know that I have a two year old that, while not quite the clingster he used to be, is still a mama's boy. I know there will be times during bed rest, should it come to that, when he stands next to the bed crying and begging me to come to the porch, come to his room, come to play, come outside. And I know that to me, there's nothing wrong with sitting with my feet up on the floor in the living room pushing trains around a circle...but those that will be helping me will be looking for the soft restraints should I suggest such a thing.

Of course all I really want to do right now is sit and process this appointment. I want to figure out if its a real issue or if its just dr. p living up to his nickname. I want to cry a little because I'm kinda bummed that I seem to avoid drama within pregnancy...and I can't...no, because today, Mr. aforementioned 2-year-old has decided that he need not nap. We've tried everything. He actually did fall asleep when I ran out to get gas in the van about two hours ago. He slept for 10 minutes...until I placed him in his bed. Now this isn't normally an issue because normally he'll stay out about another 1.5 to 2 hours from there. But not today. No, today he sat himself up as I left the room and asked me to sit with him some. So I did. Then he knocked on my forehead and told me to wake up we weren't sleeping as I laid there with my eyes closed hoping he'd get the hint. He's in VERY good spirits. He's also very much full of energy and he's most content to amuse himself for a bit anyway...but its still not the "just time to me" time I needed/wanted.

ack and ugh.



Recent debate in the comments fields over at A Little Bit Pregnant has me doing some serious pondering. The conversation there centers on the idea that women that put their careers and establishment of self before starting their family later pay the price of such a delay with their fertility. Many a wise woman through that comment thread have put in their two cents.

What is eating at me is not the debate itself per se, although I certainly have my very own healthy opinions on it. No, what I see in some of the responses is something that quite often baffles me many times over in numerous places. There are those that approach a topic with blinders on. They become so convinced in their own points of view that they can become judgmental and sometimes even offensive. Its not that these folks always mean to become this way in their presentation, but others, equally convinced of their own positions may read what was meant to be innocent commentary with such disdain and hurt feelings that the whole thing tumbles wildly out of control.

It always stings me to see it. Woman in particular are often thrust into a no-win situation. If we choose, for example, to stay at home with our children some applaud us while others scoff at the way we're throwing away our degrees and wasting our intelligence. If we choose to work, there are those that applaud our feminist ideals to have it all, while others look down on us for being "selfish."

It happens time and time again, issue after issue. Even those that pride themselves on being supportive and open minded can fall prey so very easily. Something we feel passionate about is easy to view with those rose colored glasses - its just a given that someone would want to x. I can't understand how anyone could not see that! What we don't realize is that in saying something - even in close confidence with someone we feel believes as we do - we're slipping down a dangerous path of judgment. Or even more treacherous I think is when we qualify our support. Statements like "Well I'm supportive of any choice, but I get so burned when someone chooses to do y because of z." The very need to qualify your support removes its truth.

Its hard enough being a parent without being beaten over the head by others for our decisions. Actual abuse aside, why can't we just let others choose their own way and give them a grand old pat on the back for trying their darndest to do the best they can for their children. The beauty of life is found in its unique tapestry. Each of us a very different thread from every other. The gift we all offer is our own unique history and varied paths to our distinct futures. Trying to quantify what makes a good, acceptable series of twists and turns along the way does nothing but mar our own thread.


Is this an epiphany?

So it dawned on me last night as I lay there in my bed wide awake wondering if my back would ever be the same again - this thing about feeling guilty for being cranky is just not fair to me or to anyone else. And then, in a sleep induced fog I realized that the guilt wasn't just limited to my bitching, no, I feel guilty about being pregnant sometimes. I feel guilty when I see friends of mine struggling to have a child. I feel guilty when I read other people's tragedies and tales of treatments. I feel like I didn't pay my dues this time in.

Its been a while since I shared our story and I know now there are some reading these words that never read earlier entries - so perhaps I should explain myself a tad. We entered our quest for kids as naive little parent-want-to-be's thinking it'd all be as easy as having some sex. And it wasn't. No, not by far. After a year of getting no where near a positive pregnancy test we sought out help. We did tests. We did Clomid. We got no where but increasingly ticked off with my OB/GYN practice over that charade. So we sought out the pros - the fertility doc. We did some more tests. We scheduled a laproscopy...and then we had a consult. The doctor laid out his opinion as plain as can be - if they found anything during surgery, no matter what they did to 'treat' it, he'd advise IVF. If we skipped the surgery we could just go to the IUI and frankly he wasn't convinced they'd find anything with the surgery anyway. He drew me a chart - your odds with IUI, your odds with IVF. Our odds with IVF were better no matter what path we took to get there.

I went home that night and we talked. We talked a lot. We weighed our options. We did some research. We stared at our bank account. We reached an agreement that we needed to start our family with money in the bank and so therefore we couldn't drain our resources on treatments. And all that left us with one option - a do or die shot at IVF. Long story short that shot failed miserably. Its not just that we weren't successful - no, we were abject failures at IVF. It was horrible. Yeah, we had eggs galore at one point. Only about 11 of which were deemed worthy after retrieval. Only 8 of those fertilized and only 3 of them survived to transfer day. . .one of which was showing certain signs of imminent death. We transferred two little not even quite yet blasts....and on beta day I bled and was rewarded for it all with a negative result. We were broken. We were tapped out physically and emotionally not to mention in danger of burning through our monetary resources if we choose to continue. I always think that if we had better luck with those collected egg cells we'd have been more willing to give IVF another go - but the simple idea that of so many bursting follicles we were left with two potentially viable embryos that went on to some place other than a live birth was just too demoralizing for us both.

So we choose to move on. We choose to go down the path where it was just the two of us - spoiling ourselves and our dog rotten. We choose to close the door tight behind us. And then nearly 3.5 years from the first time we tried to start our family we found ourselves staring at five separate positive home pregnancy tests. I have no idea what our troubles those years of treatments and tears - and I honestly today don't care because it really doesn't matter. The heartache will never leave me. I have my battle scars and I still cringe when I hear women find themselves unexpectedly 'saddled' with what they deem an unwanted pregnancy. It still twists a knife in my back to hear them bemoan their plight.

When our son was 17 months old we decided to give it another go. I'm only just recently 31. My husband though is 44 staring at 45's approach this fall. We couldn't wait. We didn't want to start with a new baby after he was 46 so it was try now or never. And we both expected that in the end we'd raise an only child -that we couldn't possibly get lucky enough to sneak past our infertility demons twice. . . but we did. In fact we did it the 2nd month we tried -- and there is my guilt. This time I didn't suffer. I didn't do shots. I didn't do migranes from high doses of little pills. This time I didn't stare at blank home pregnancy tests and cry tears that blurred the control line on me. This time I didn't even have time to worry what was wrong with us. I feel like I cheated somehow. And sometimes, when I'm gimping around in the midst of killer lower back pain, I think that this pregnancy's tough toll on my body is to make up for the easy road we took to it. I know, I'm a sick. ;)

But back to that first mentioned guilt - the one in which I feel bad for whining about my aches and pains. The thing is, fertility treatments suck big time. They hurt. They hurt in ways people that have never had to load their own syringe with Gonal-F or what-have-you will never know. Your ovaries are so swollen with excess maturing follicles yet they have no where to go but jammed up against all your other organs. Your stomach is swollen and bloated enough to make you look and feel like you're 10 weeks pregnant in your 'normal' clothes yet the only thing you've got to show for it is a date with Verasid and a doctor with a long needle. And that's just some of the physical pain. Then there's the emotions. Feeling betrayed by your own body. Feeling like the one thing every woman in the world is supposed to be here to do if she so chooses to play along - to procreate - is the one thing your body can't handle. You feel like you've failed. Like you're half a woman. A broken body that can't ever be whole.

Yeah, there's all that...but ALL of that doesn't take away the toll a pregnancy can take on your body as well. And there's the rub. The thing is there are pregnancies that are easy on the mom-to-be as getting pregnant is for some...and then there are others that make you want to find the nearest cave to crawl into and just hibernate till its over because anything has to be better than hanging your head over a toilet and puking up the very pills that are supposed to take all that puking-need away. Knowing that fertility is a gift not a given doesn't make my back hurt any less. It doesn't remove the pain in my hip that appears with each step I take. It doesn't massage away the inability to be comfortable in my own body.

And, at the same time, wishing I was about 8 weeks farther along than I actually am (which would put me at my due date, for what its worth) also doesn't mean I don't appreciate this growing child. I already feel connected to her in more ways than just the umbilical cord. She's part of me and always will be. I know when I watch my son that he's a gift. He's my miracle. And even if we never struggled he'd be the same. I didn't earn him by suffering; I was given him to love and to adore because that's just the way things are. And this one, is no different. I cherish my children and I don't take for granted their presence - even as I bitch about the return of
morning queasies.



When we did the infertility attack on our self-esteem I swore to myself that if I ever became lucky enough to get pregnant I'd not be one of those women that whined about how miserable she was. What was a little morning sickness in exchange for a child? After enduring hot flashes and diabiltating migranes brought on by Clomid, what was a little waddle? After taking needles to the stomach, what was a few well placed kicks? When I sat there - feeling barren - and listened to pregnant women complain about swollen appendages and sleepless nights I'd seethe. They are just so incredibly ungrateful, I'd think.
And throughout my first pregnancy I kept my word. I didn't whine. I didn't fuss. I didn't even consider myself in any great discomfort. (Although I did take occasion to mention how difficult it was to shave legs you couldn't actually see or reach.) Then again, I had no morning sickness. My weary fatigue of the 1st trimester was limited to earlier bedtimes. My baby sat high in my womb and the weight added (generoulsy I might add) around my entire body. I didn't notice it feeling any hotter than normal because frankly I find 90+ temps pretty damn hot no matter how many of us share this body space.
This time, however, is different. This time I feel like all I do is whine about how miserable I am. It started early on when I actually had all-freakin-day sickness -- when the mere thought of opening my eyes caused me to throw up whatever stomach acid and water from my sips of the cup near my bed I managed to sneak in during the night. I got to whine about that for 19 weeks. And now its picked up again. I realize I don't go long without complaining to someone how absolutely freakin' miserable I am and how looking at the calender and realizing I have two damn months left just puts me in a black cloud mood. This baby is low - yet still manages to stretch a limb out well enough to poke up up under the ribs if I'm not at least semi reclined. This child is completely out in front - so combine that with low you get wicked lower back pain all day long. This one makes me wake up at night with a throbbing ache in my hip that has me starting my days with a limb. By days end I waddle - at 32 weeks. I find the pokes and jabs of fetal movement disconcerting and quite honestly a wee bit freakish. I feel so incredibly foolish when I get down on the ground and struggle to get back up - something that sort of sucks rocks when you've got a 2 year old to play trucks with. So I whine a lot lately. I whine to anyone that will listen to me and then some. . . and then I feel guilt.
I read other people's blogs. Some of these people I know. Others I could crash into on the street and have no idea that she's the one that wrote that post that moved me so the day before. Some of these blogs are about struggles with infertility - and as I read them holding my achy back or pleading with my daughter to stop using me as a punching bag - I feel immense guilt. I sit here doing what I had sworn not to. . . and I read the words of women that would give anything to feel someone's foot in their lung. I see their words and I recognize that pain. That feeling of brokeness and uncompletness. The sense that you're body has failed you and its somehow all your fault...and yet here I sit - carrying the very thing I, like they now, once longed for. . .and I complain about it. It makes me feel incredibly guilty and ungrateful.
Logically I know this is an emotional, unreasonable response on my part - but that doens't make it go away. Its there. It'll be there. When my child is born I'll hug her tight and I'll put the discomforts of these 9 months behind me. I won't forget them. I won't ignore them and say "Hey, let's have a 3rd" but I won't let them rule me as they do now. I do wonder though, if the guilt will remain. . .


So this is nesting

I thought I was happy to have the little guy's room painted and set up and the baby's room painted and mildly arranged. But I wasn't. No, because you see that phenomon I once thought a bunch of hooey is in fact alive and well in our house. I am massively nesting. So today I found myself a hammer and some nails when there was only a toddler to watch me climb up and down step stools and I hung everything I had to hang on my not-all-that-soon to arrive daughter's walls. I even hung some thing I later decided needed to go back to its old hiding space. Then, after the nap that wasn't. . .by the way, MUST the 2 year old give up naps?! He seems hellbent on doing so. He'll drift off for 5 minutes and then appear next to me ready to play. What the heck! Anyway, after the nap that wasn't, I dragged the boy's little picnic table next to his sandbox where he was contently digging in wet sand. And then I set about painting - yes painting. I, you see, had located a handful of little wooden things at the craft store that would make nice wall hangings in either child's bedroom. Weeks ago I discovered the car, truck, airplane and train for L's new room. This week it was a butterfly and two flowers for the new addition and a sailboat to add to L's. And so today I painted.
When I was through with that, and L content to have made purple footprints along the grass in the yard as well as coat himself in paint, we washed up and hit the stores. Yes to buy yet more crap to hang. Picture hangers for my painted creations and then a handful of this and that for the baby's room - rounding it out and allowing me to ditch the thing I never should have hung.
Tonight I am content that the walls are properly covered with misc. this and that. Of course for the nursery to be done I still need to sew together to panels of curtains I've chosen not to hang in order to piece a make shirt bedskirt (I really only need one side skirted anyway so it works out nice.) I also need someone to lug down the old black rocker that was MIL and that B would not allow painted in the past. I've worn him down and now I have cans of white spray paint waiting to make that thing look nicer than it is. ha! I also need to get another person to paint the drawers of the old dresser that currently keeps the old Noah's Ark theme from L's nursery days. I've got butterflies and flower rubons waiting to get on to there. But I'll take a deep breathe and know that it'll get done - maybe next week and so next week I can scratch my nesting itch.


Right there in black and white

When I'm not passed out cold from a day of toddler chasing or dabbling in writing, I like to dabble in photography. I just took the annual black and white roll of the boy to mark his growth and as usual I stole a few frames for "just because" photos. Here's one of those. . . Posted by Hello


Our growth. . .

I've never before had one of those real "My baby is growing up, sniff, sniff" moments. The thing is, while I love my child and child-to-be, I'm not a real "baby" person. Yeah they're cute. Yeah, I like to hold mine close and cuddle them, marveling over their tiny fingers and small little noses. But, I find the stage incredibly needy and quite frankly a bit boring. Infanthood is, afterall, the blob stage of life. You lay there, you cry a bit, you eat, you pass waste, you sleep. And you start the process all over again.

When my son began to react and interact, I started having fun. When he could play and talk and walk, I realized that I absolutely LOVE this toddler age. Sure, its incredibly frustrating sometimes, but being able to really speak to my son and have him respond is so incredibly fulfilling. I find his young sense of humor funnier than anything you'd find in a comedy club. I love his singing. His story telling - all that stuff. And with this, I honestly have not once missed the stage prior. I've not once mourned the loss of my newborn in place of my infant. Or the growth of my infant for my toddler.

But this weekend, it hit me. Even amongst the increasingly common exclamantions of "I DO IT MYSELF!" and "NO MOMMY! I TRY!" I've not once fallen to the "Oh my Lord, my baby is not a baby anymore." But this weekend he moved out of his crib and its sunk it. Maybe its horomones. Maybe its the fact that we've also prepared the room for one who WILL be a needy newborn. Maybe its the fact that he looks so darn big suddenly or that he just took to his new room in such a way that really said - Yup I'm ready for my 'big boy' room. It just sunk in. My baby is not a baby anymore.

We sat in the living room that first night with L in his twin bed (complete with "can't fall out" saftey rails) marveling over how easy it was to get him in there without the turmoil we had expected.

"You know what I just realized. This is the last real 'baby' thing he had left. With him out of the crib, he's now moved past all that stuff," I said to my husband as we watched yet another Law and Order rerun.

"Well, he stil has diapers," he responded like a typical man not quite getting the point.

"Oh, yeah, those," I said and went back to reflecting to quietly.

"Well, that's different," I said after a few moments, trying to get him to see the mushy point.

"How?" he asked, being male again.

"For starters, he's more than capable of knowing when and how to use the potty. He's done it before. He just chooses not to at this point."

"Ok, but he's still in diapers." he responded.

"Ok, but its just different. I mean this was a major move," I protested, now feeling silly for bringing it up.

"Yeah, but so is using the bathroom," said B.

"Oh be quiet." I said with a huff.