August 16, 2007


Just as twirl was saying recently, I'm not sure why I was excited about the 100-days-to-go mark, except that I guess it's just nice to pass another milestone. 100 days still feels like a LONG time, although 14 weeks sounds almost scarily soon. What I'm most excited about at this point though is that my sister is coming this weekend and staying for a week. She's here to host my babyshower on the 26th. I'm not too keen on being showered in general, but having her back home really makes it something to look forward to.

So thanks for all the understanding comments about my weak moment buying the stupid fetal heart monitor. I did get some reassurance listening to the heartbeat at my regular OB appointment yesterday. And then some. I ended up being sent to the hospital for additional monitoring and got to listen to the heartbeat all day.

My blood pressure was high at my appointment so they wanted to have me monitored a little more closely. Over at the hospital they hooked up the fetal heart monitor (a REAL one, not some lame-o playskool microphone jacked up to look like a maternity product) and a blood pressure thing that went off every 15 minutes. They ran a bunch of lab work which all came back normal and eventually my blood pressure mellowed out too.

So it turned out to be a great day in the hospital:
* Got to listen to the heartbeat for hours, plus some hiccups (too early to feel them yet so that was a first), and all the kicks and little swims around in the fluid were picked up by the monitor too
* Got out of having to take a business trip next week while my sister is here since I'm due back for more monitoring in a week
* Found my way around the hospital to labor & delivery (no small accomplishment)
* Husband was there and seems to finally have noticed that there is a baby in there that may warrant taking an interest in this whole pregnancy thing

Not a bad way to start off the 100 day countdown.

August 13, 2007

I Caved

And I feel like such a loser. I bought one of those stupid fetal heart monitor thingies. Apologies if you have one and love it, but I always thought they were lame. This is probably more my Tom Cruise aversion that anything else (yes I know they have a million dollar doppler or u/s machine or some such thing and not the cheesy $20 glorified microphone I got), but I also thought the heart monitor would only fuel obsession and paranoia and was basically the last thing I needed. I was content with just my monthly OB appointments, and kind of liked not worrying about it and feeling "normal" in the maternity department for a change.

Until last night, after a day of weird belly pains and a late night call to my doctor. The pains were very intense and came in waves, lasting for a count of 3 or 4, disappearing for just as long, then again, off and on like that three to five times in a row, then nothing again for an hour or so. Earlier in the day they happened every few hours, but as the night wore on it was happening as often as every 20-30 minutes. Kind of sounds like contractions in timing and duration, except that it was isolated to a very small area, size of a silver dollar, about midway between my public bone and my belly button. The pain sort of radiated out, but didn't feel like a tightening or hardening of the muscle. It was probably round ligament pain, except that you normally feel that on one or both sides, not there in the middle.

Dr. Google had led me to worry about placental abruption, wherein the placenta separates from the uterus, potentially cutting off oxygen to the baby. Of course Dr. Google shared with me only the most gruesome stories of women who had not gotten care when they had the symptoms and whose babies might have been saved if only they'd gone to the hospital but were sadly found to be dead much later when the woman finally saw her doctor and there was no heartbeat. She just thought she was having normal pregnancy pains. Scary.

So I called my doctor and he never suggested placental abruption, but did mention preterm labor. He said I could come in and be monitored for contractions, or see if I could get the pain to go away at home. If changing positions, Tylenol, or a heating pad did the trick, it wasn't labor and was probably nothing to worry about. I really did not want to spend the night hooked up to monitors in the hospital, my gut was just telling me it wasn't preterm labor, and the doctor agreed it really didn't sound like it, so I decided to stay home and see if the pain would subside.

I have felt it only a few more times and much milder, but in the morning I was worried again when I didn't feel the baby move for several hours. Usually I feel it as soon as I get up and especially after I eat, but this morning nada. So I decided to give the fetal heart monitor a try, thinking I'd be far enough along that it would be easy to hear and wouldn't freak me out and would at least reassure me that placental abruption hadn't killed the baby.

I am so irritated with myself for being so lame. What you can't tell until you buy the stupid monitor and read the manual inside is that it's not suggested until the third trimester (three more weeks, how did that happen??), and even then you may not hear anything unless the baby's spine is pressing back against your belly button. I swore I wasn't going to cave to that thing, dammit! So I can't hear anything but my own heartbeat, but on the way home from the ridiculous purchase, I also got a caffienated frappucino (I know, terrible) and the baby's been kicking ever since. I got a lot more reassurance from my overpriced $4 coffee drink than that stupid microphone.

Next OB appoitment is Wednesday, so unless anything more dramatic happens in the meantime, we'll just discuss the weird pains more then.

August 5, 2007

24 weeks

Or, Holy shit! We might actually have a baby!

I got a bit emotional yesterday morning when I read my email from one of those annoying pregnancy sites. It goes on and on about how my uterus is now the size of a soccer ball, 1.5 pounds of my 15 pound weight gain is now attributable to the baby, and that I likely feel the need to urinate frequently. Then it says, dryly:

"With modern medical technology, your baby would have a chance to survive if it were born now."

Other bloggers have talked about this being a moment when it became more real for them and I was really hoping to feel some of that too. I had lost track though and didn't realize I was there, so the line in the email took me by surprise and really got to me. Kind of makes me think about your comments on why not knowing so much can be really nice. Of course I don't want to go into labor anytime soon and plenty of babies born that early won't make it, but the point is for me to even be thinking of going into labor and that there could be a baby who makes it is a major leap forward.

Things continue to be pretty normal and boring. We're still in the Outer Banks, although everyone else is leaving the house today and we have the place to ourselves all next week. J's cousin is here with his three-week old baby Noah, which has mainly served to remind us to enjoy our unencumbered time as much as possible in these last four months but did lead to one interesting moment. I was holding Noah and felt the now-frequent kicks in my belly, and Noah moved in response so he felt them too. Kind of a neat thing to tell the cousins one day. No doubt they'll roll their eyes and groan, but it will be neat for me to tell them anyway.

Jack is here too, and doing fine. We went through a very rough period after his $10,000 vet stay (in spite of the initial $30 fee to the pound, it seems all of our dependents must come with at least a $10 grand price tag), when he had a neurological reaction to his medication, couldn't get up or walk, and behaved exactly like my grandmother after her major stroke, except that his eyeballs were literally spinning and jumping all around in the sockets. I think he actually believed the rest of the world was spinning but that he was fine. With those drugs out of his system, he returned, thankfully, to normal within a few days and has settled in to the beach house just fine.

I still remain completely opposed to belly shots (of me that is, it's fun to see others'), but for those who've asked I'm compromising with this picture that illustrates my expansion nearly as well, without all that hideous rolling flesh:

Okay this actually makes me look a bit smaller because my hand is sort of in front of part of the belly, but close enough. And there's J too, showing a little more skin.

August 3, 2007

For Fun

Click to view my Personality Profile page

It was fun coming across this on a couple of blogs this morning. I used to teach Myers Briggs and now occasionally use it in my work. My results haven't changed at all in the last 15 years since I first took the test, and they are very much in line with my purpose in blogging (to inform others irl and to share with all of you bloggers). It makes sense that my blog has been very public from the beginning, and that my style has never been heavily introspective or cathartic, rather more oriented around putting the infertile experience out there, from the medical processes to the emotions, with the intention of supporting the infertile community and informing the fertile world around me.

From the test website: "ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental."

This makes me sound MUCH more perky and chipper than I am, but otherwise rings mostly true.

And for even MORE fun, here's my husband, my complete and total opposite:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

"ISTJs are responsible, loyal and hard working. They have an acute sense of right and wrong and work hard at preserving established norms and traditions. Because of their deep sense of duty they are dedicated to everything they do and are very dependable. ISTJs care deeply for those closest to them."

This is totally J, and I'm so lucky to have him. Sounds like the makings of a great dad too, doesn't it?

August 2, 2007

The things people say

A vaguely connected family relation keeps unloading pessimism on me. Each time I see her she begins by telling me how HUGE I am and asking (again) if I'm sure I'm not further along or having twins. You might remember I have already given her a stern look in the eye and told her: "We saw it happen in the dish. We know exactly when it happened. We are 100% certain there is only one." Or something like that.

But that's not the worst part. She also insists on the belly rub. Why does anyone do this? I have never in my life had any desire to touch a pregnant woman's belly. But that's not really the bad part either. All of this is just the usual stuff that goes with the territory.

What really bothers me is how she always follows the belly rub with some awful story about a tragedy that happened in someone else's pregnancy at this same exact stage. "Oh you're five months? So and so lost her baby at five months, but that was because of such-and-such completely weird freak thing that could happen to anyone at any time but I'm sure you'll be fine." Or if there's not a horrifying story to correlate with my current stage, I get awful birth stories about babies who died, mothers who suffered miserably, or new parents who got unexpected and devastating news of some kind.

This woman's step-daughter is currently visiting while we're vacationing at a rental house in the Outer Banks. We had a little chat on the beach yesterday that finally gave me a possible explanation for all the pessimism. Ages ago, Ms. Negative lost her first baby just after delivery. I'm not clear on the details but there was some sort of trauma, the baby went into a coma, and died within a few days. The woman was very young and I'm sure totally shocked. It must have knocked her entire world upside down. Maybe she wished she had known more about what could go wrong so she might have been prepared.

Infertiles do not need to know more. We know more than enough. I think the entire world knows more about these things than we did 40 years ago, which is a good thing, but I'm not sure whether I'd prefer to be prepared or blissfully niave if I had the choice. Throughout all the years of infertility I've maintained a "prepare for the worst, hope for the best" approach. I actively searched out information about all the possibilities so I wasn't blindsided. I guess this is a normal reaction to the shock of finding out it wasn't going to happen the way we always believed it would. I guess I forgive this woman for the way the remants of her awful experience still affect her. We all cope in our own weird ways, and they're not necessarily in synch.

We often say we envy those stupid fertiles their naivete. Would you REALLY rather not know what you know?