Sunday, October 10, 2010

Frozen Maybes

So, I don't know. I've been so stuck about how to keep writing here. I wish I could just transition easily to paragraphs about jumpy bouncers and first teeth, but it's been hard for me to recuperate from having every single thing in my life revolve around infertility. For so long it seemed like every vacation plan, every spat with my husband, every decision about my job was really about whether or not I would, could, or should even keep trying to get pregnant. I think I was just so used to thinking about my whole life in terms of cycling that I literally couldn't adjust for a while.

Of course, the sleep deprivation is a kind of eraser. I hadn't been able to actually think about much of anything for a while when I suddenly noticed that old harbinger of possibility, EWCM. It was such a shock that at first I didn't even know what to think. I mean, I actually entertained the idea of trying to jump on the post-pregnancy hormonal rollercoaster and maybe get lucky the old fashioned way. Which is the absolutely ridiculous, both statistically and practically. But still, it was impossible not to think about it.

And then reality really hit hard when my lab called to say that my pre-paid embryo storage was about to expire and did I want to go on a yearly payment plan?

And while it is SO OBVIOUS that we will never use those embryos, I can't help but feel wretched about destroying them. It took me seven years to get those embryos. I will never again even get a chance to have embryos of my own. Those embryos are related to my kids. But of course it is SO OBVIOUS that another pregnancy would not be good for me, that both my husband and I are too old to do this again, that we are worn out and tapped out and emotionally spent and that cycling put such a strain on our marriage that even talking about those embryos caused a gigantic argument. There are a jillion reasons to put an end to this whole thing and move on with our lives and not even think about the frozen maybes anymore.

If I had fifteen fabulous embryos I would donate them and hope that they would make somebody incredibly happy. But I have two semi-good embryos that came from 40 year old eggs. I'm pretty sure isn't what couples who have gone through whatever it takes to get to donor embryos are looking for. I think about my daughter's sunset-colored hair or my son's olive-green eyes, her abnormally high IQ, his impish crinkly grin. They are both long and lean, with delicate features and old-soul eyes. As a mother, it's impossible for me to imagine that somebody wouldn't want these exact traits, even the pale skin and freckles. But as an infertile, I know that nobody chooses embryos that don't maximize their chances of a take-home baby.

So, that leaves research. Which I wholeheartedly support, knowing that research is the only thing that helps anyone have success with IVF. And increasing the chances for success, especially on "old" eggs, is so important to me that I really WANT to be more gung-ho about just signing the donation papers and getting on with things. But it's hard to just give away, give up, something I fought for so desperately.

I have always said that the longer someone struggles with infertility, the more damage it seems to do, and I know that's what this is all about. Seven years of clinging to hope makes it hard to just let go.

Friday, April 16, 2010


So, it's just hard to write while you're drastically trying to keep up with the basic laundry/groceries/billpaying/etc., even with an "easy" baby. But you already know that, don't you?

Just so you know, and "easy" baby isn't all that easy. I mean, he does wail inconsolably sometimes. He does want to eat every hour for at least part of the day. He gets fidgety in his car seat and he doesn't like to have his diaper changed. But that all seems kinda normal for a baby, so it's more or less what I expected.

My daughter was colicky and fussy and demanding and sensitive. I remember walking around the house with her for hours at a time, singing and rocking and patting and desperately hoping she'd conk out. Which she would, only to wake about two seconds after I carefully transferred her from my arms to a spot in her crib which had been strategically pre-warmed with a hot-water bottle. The frustration was so aggravating that I would cry at least twice a day.

This little guy is a piece of cake in comparison. He'll sit in his bouncy seat and stare at the light fixtures until he drifts off to sleep. (Sometimes.) He'll wake up and just coo for me instead of screaming his head off if I'm not right there. (Sometimes.) He'll gaze wondrously at the thrill of a warm bath, at the feeling of the water rinsing his head, at the leg massage I give him afterwards while he has some diaper-free time. I am astounded at the sheer amount of time that goes by while he actually looks happy. Which may sound ridiculous, but my daughter was so high-strung as a new baby that she had to be held all the time. One of her first words was "carry-you" since she didn't understand direct pronouns and we were always saying "Okay, I'll carry you" or "Do you want Daddy to carry you?". She said it like one word with a badly pronounced R, "kewwiyew."

Anyway, he's so much more laid back that I can put him in his baby-lounger in the bathroom and take a shower - or cook dinner, whatever has to be done. He wouldn't be happy in there forever, but I can get a half hour or so when he's fed and burped and freshly-diapered. He'll just watch us move around and turn his head to follow the sounds of our voices. He seems fine with just observing and relaxing. Or his eyelids will just get lower and lower and he'll conk out. Then we can have about 90 minutes, which seems like forever. It's kind of unnerving, really - I keep wondering if something's wrong with him, but hopefully he's just a mellow guy.

So, I'm not exactly at my wit's end, but I am trying to get one house ready to sell and organize another. I found a nanny-sharing arrangement, which is great, but I need to get to know her a bit before I decide if it's permanent. I had been telling everyone I knew that I wanted a nanny-share, hoping that something would eventually come of it. I didn't expect it to work out so soon, but it was too good to pass up. The other mother has 3 year old twins, so I think the nanny is happy to have a mellow newborn three days a week. She hangs out with him while I dash between houses - seems like she has the better part of the arrangement, but at least I am almost done moving.

Anyway, that's me these days. Mellow baby, part-time nanny, not working for at least a few more months... and I'm still propping my eyelids open sometimes, moaning about my creaky back and realizing almost every afternoon that I haven't eaten since six in the morning. If I am ever done fixing up the old house, landscaping the new one and figuring out how to get rid of half my husband's old junk without him knowing about it, I might actually worry about some kind of exercise. Meanwhile, elastic waists for me...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Post-Partum Post

So, the birth. I've tried to write this so many times and it always comes out rambly and bitter and weepy and just too long. I'll try to stick to just the facts, ma'am.

I was on low-dose pitocin overnight and my cervix didn't budge. I had been walking around at about 2 cm and when the doctor checked me at 9:00 am it was still 2 cm. So, my water was broken and the pitocin was turned up and my doctor was supposed to come back around 11:30 to check my cervix again. The nurses told my husband that I'd probably have the baby around 4 or 5 that afternoon, so he left to get some breakfast. My doula had called earlier to find out if she had time to take her kids to school, and was stuck in horrible traffic. I figured the contractions weren't that bad, so I'd be okay for a while.

You see where this is going, don't you? The contractions got steadily stronger and closer together until they were a minute and a half apart and lasted almost a minute each - so, thirty seconds of recovery between each little bout of agony. My husband came back as soon as I called him, but by then I was moaning for the anesthesiologist. My doula didn't even try to talk me out of the epidural - she took one look at me and said that the baby looked great on the monitor and that was all that mattered.

At that point I didn't care about the whole needle in the spine thing anymore. The nurse told me it would be just four more contractions and then I wouldn't feel them. After the fourth contraction the pain was somewhat duller than it had been, but mostly it had just shifted. It was less abdominal and more concentrated right between my legs. I kept saying that it still hurt and the nurse said that it should be getting better. Um, no, actually.

Then they were checking my cervix and telling me not to push yet and asking if I could wiggle my toes (yes) and my husband was putting the swing-tilt lens on his camera (a way of getting only some of the field in focus, which was one of my conditions of being photographed in the delivery room) and then my OB was there and I was having the baby. It was 11:00.

Everybody kept telling me when to push and when to hold my breath. I couldn't feel the contractions at all anymore but I could feel my skin tearing. I was screaming like I was auditioning for a horror movie. I couldn't believe that I had given in and gotten the epidural and I was in excruciating pain anyway. I heard the nurse talking about novacaine and then I could feel the needles and I just hoped I would pass out from the pain.

Maybe I did pass out, because the next thing I knew I could hear non-stop crying and somebody was handing me a baby. My baby. After 13 minutes of Really? This little puffy faced eskimo baby? I was still crying and holding him and my doctor said I had a little tear and needed stitches. No kidding, huh? Then the nurse was asking me to wiggle my toes, asking if I could stand up.

They took me to the postpartum room and gave me percocet. I finally slept for hours while my husband held the baby. When I woke up everything hurt and there was blood all over and I had swelled up so much that I couldn't even put my flip flips on to go into the bathroom. I had to walk with my toes curled under because it hurt so much to put any weight on my giant feet.

I was okay as long as the percocet kept me from feeling to much or thinking too much about anything. But they won't send you home with it, so I had to settle for vicodin, which just makes me feel stupid and constipated. I kept swelling for about a week after the birth - retained IV fluids, supposedly. I only lost about nine pounds after delivery because I was so full of excess fluid - and the baby was 7lbs 4 oz of that.

A few days later I stood up and blood poured down my legs, soaking my jeans. When I tried to wash up, clots the size of dessert plates came out in the shower. I had to go in for a uterine "massage" (external squishing) and a speculum exam, which believe me is NOT a good idea with fresh stitches in that general area. I drew the line at the vaginal ultrasound. Not a chance.

Whoever says there is "no medal" for having a medication-free birth is way off track. Who cares about even the stupid idea of a medal when you can't even hold your new baby because you're zonked out on narcotics? When you're hobbling to the bathroom while blood is soaking through your third pair of pants?

The only reason any of it was worth it was that when the doctor broke my water there really wasn't any in there. The baby had stopped moving much in the day and a half before I was induced, so things were definitely getting more precarious. And of course I would do anything to make sure that this baby was okay. And he is - he's great. More than great - he's a relaxed little guy, a good sleeper, breastfeeding is going well. I mean, it's exhausting but I couldn't really ask for an easier baby unless I was being wildly unrealistic.

I'll always feel sort of bitter about the whole birth experience, just because I felt like nobody cared how I was doing in anything but a technical way. My blood pressure was good and my oxygen was fine, so it didn't matter that I was completely dilated and still getting the maximum pitocin drip. And why bother checking me before the epidural? Just get the drugs into me and maybe I'll stop moaning so annoyingly.

Obviously, the most important thing is that in the long run everything is fine. And the truth is, after that first week, I'm doing pretty well. All the swelling and bleeding and pain is gone and I've lost about 25 pounds now. I'm getting almost eight hours of sleep at night (usually two, two and then four) plus a nap in the afternoon. I'm easing back into life again, going to baby-massage classes once a week and doing some strollering in hopes of someday actually exercising.

In the meanwhile, I will write about my mother's impending visit, the fact that somebody has already offered to buy my baby, and how to buy trees. Plus, maybe another photo or two of the little guy?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

All's Well That Ends Well...

I'm not sure I can even try to describe the birth. I'll try to figure out what actually happened and then write about it, maybe.

But I can absolutely say that the babe is fine. Even though he is apparently an eskimo. Since the rest of us are fair-skinned blue-eyed Gaelic-ish people, there may have been a mix-up at the lab...

Even though he looks kind of eskimo-esque, he has the facial expressions of a three-star chef-de-cuisine touring the kitchens of a junior-high cafeteria. Shock, disdain, repulsion and suspicion are his specialties.

But, he has been a bizarrely easygoing little guy so far, so I can't complain. I'll have to let the clinic know that even though I seem to have been given the wrong baby, I'll probably just keep him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ides Of March

That's the date. Monday, March 15th.

Originally, it was a day of festivity to celebrate the Roman god Mars. Although it this case it may be more fitting to "beware the Ides of March", the dire warning in Julius Caesar. Yep, that's the day I'll be dripped with pitocin and hoping for the best.

At my appt. this morning I was on the monitors for almost an hour and Mister Baby only moved twice. I honestly think he was just sleeping, but my OB decided that it was time to make a move. Not an emergency move, obviously - more of a precaution.

And I agree - I have been so worried that I will have made it this far only to have it all end badly. I feel better knowing that I'll be in a hospital the whole time. Since cord compression and placental abruption are the risks that have had me on bedrest for so long, I've been a little nervous about what might happen when I finally start having serious contractions. I mean, the bedrest was supposed to help by keeping my uterus calm and not disturbing the placenta. Labor is kind of the opposite of that, right?

So, I get the weekend to wrap up any last little things. Not that "everything" will be ready. But things will be ready enough. I went to Targ yesterday, my first and only trip there during this entire pregnancy. It's funny, but after so much online shopping I found the selection incredibly limited. I didn't actually buy much, but it was good to get some of the little things crossed off of my list. Boob cream. A lightweight robe for the hospital. Felt pads for the legs of the new furniture.

The crib and changer and glider were finally delivered yesterday. The nursery will just be my project for the next month or so. For me, it's still better than getting all of that ready months ago and then having to take it all apart if I didn't end up with a baby. There was a time when I wouldn't have considered waiting until the last minute to get things ready, and I suppose I'm not so cautious when it comes to other things. But this one was hard.

In any case, the upside is that I spent so much time figuring it out on paper. It all came together almost exactly as I planned, and I think I'll have fun finishing it up during the nursing-pooping-laundry-exhaustion of the next few weeks.

So, my bag is packed. The car seat is installed. I finally bought diapers. There is an InDesign document on my desktop, all ready for a photo and a few extra bits of information to be added and made into an email announcement. I think I might be ready for this. Yeah, I'm a little worried about the whole pitocin thing, but maybe it won't be that bad?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dear Baby, Dear Body

I just want to say thanks for hanging in there these last eight weeks. Way back in the beginning of January, that first L&D nurse told me you'd be lucky to last another few days. Remember that? How you somehow managed to keep what little fluid there was in there from leaking out and a few days later the perinatologist said we could go home? And even though things have been a little rocky since then, you've both really pulled off so much more than any of us expected. 38 1/2 weeks! Woo-hoo!

And, Baby - thanks for making the kick counts so easy, too. It never takes you a whole hour to bust out ten moves. You're quite a little wiggler. And you've passed your non stress tests fabulously, too. I can always see exactly where your heartrate correlates to your movements, which is just what the doctors are looking for. You usually manage to kick exactly on the toco meter, too, which I think is a reflection of your still-developing fetal sense of humor - sometimes on the printout it looks like I'm having crazy spiky contractions, but we all know it's just you.

After trying so hard to just stay in for so long, you might feel hesitant about switching gears and trying to come out now. And I totally understand. But the thing is, you are getting bigger and bigger and your fluid environment is getting smaller and smaller. Things are not going to get better, so you should probably just make a run for it while you still can. Otherwise, the doctor is going to come in and get you. Now, that wouldn't be then end of the world, but it would make things a bit more complicated and let's face it - this has been complicated from before you were even a bunch of cells in a petri dish. How about a nice, natural birth with no emergencies?

As for you, Body - I know it hasn't been easy. You've been poked and stretched and swollen and weakened. I know it hasn't been ideal. I know you didn't really want to do this in the first place. But you've been so good about coping with everything from the stims all the way through the bedrest, and I really, really appreciate it. I know you did your best with the fluid leak. Only about 6% of leaks seal back up and allow the pregnancy to continue without infection - I am so impressed that you managed to do that against such low odds!

The thing is, we don't have to do all this any more. You don't have to lie down all day just hoping to churn out another few drops of fluid. You don't have to let all your muscles keep withering away doing nothing. We can just have the baby now and get this all over with! Think of it - you can hike and do yoga and have wine and cappuccino again! What else is there I can bribe you with? You name it, Body. Anything but a spinning class. How about a spa day?

You've both been fantastic and I so, so appreciate it - let's keep up the good work and get on with things before the doctors come up with some kind of drastic surgical plan. After all, Body, you don't want to be sliced and scarred. And, c'mon Baby - the boobs aren't going to be good for much if they're full of demerol. It's time, you two. Thanks for making it this far, and now it's time to get on with the next phase!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pricked and Prodded

I am just so done with bedrest. In the old days, I would have said that anyone who thought they could get anything done with a newborn was just delusional - but now that I have been on bedrest I realize that at least a newborn is portable, if you are allowed to walk around. Yeah, it won't be easy to manage a long to-do- list, but at least it will be possible to do SOMETHING. I am so, so tired of doing nothing.

I've been having mild random contractions, but nothing that feels significant. Yesterday the OB swept my membranes, which is not exactly painful but weirdly uncomfortable. My cervix was about 2 cm dilated, and after the procedure it was almost 3. The actual cervix manipulation didn't hurt at all, but the pressure against the whole nether region was almost unbearable. The process is supposed to get things going by introducing the whole idea to the body and hoping the body takes over and keeps going. Kinda like putting on dance music at a lame party and hoping that everyone starts to boogie down. And, from what I can tell, maybe just as likely to work...

I've had two acupuncture treatments to stimulate my uterus and calm the rest of me, but so far my ute is still reluctant and the rest of me is still antsy. But it is nice to lie down somewhere else for 90 minutes and listen to this CD which supposedly syncs the two hemispheres of the brain. It's kind of hypnotizing. As my OB said, it can't hurt, so I guess I'll keep trying it every few days. Anything to at least give myself the illusion that I'm doing something to get this labor going.

I know that, short of cervadil and pitocin, there isn't that much that can be done. And I know I'm heading towards those things, so I keep telling myself that the goal isn't so much labor as cervix ripening, since pitocin on a rock-hard cervix is supposed to be a recipe for pain. My next OB appointment is Friday (unless I have the baby before that - I mean, I can dream, right?) and she says she won't let me go another week after that. Monitoring low fluid is so random anyway that it just gets riskier and riskier.

Anyway, I have finally made a birth plan. It basically says: do what you have to, but I'd appreciate it if you could support my desire for a non-medicated birth. The main other thing it says is please, please no cheerleading. If somebody starts chanting "Push-push-push-push-push-push!" or "You can do it! You can do it!" I will just scream at them to shut the #@%! up. Last time I tried to just ignore all that and concentrate on maintaining my zoned-out non-awareness of pain. I think I said "Shhhhhh," once or twice. This time I already know that I am starting off with weak muscles and less stamina than I had before. I just can't worry about being polite on top of everything else.

I put the plan in a basket of individually wrapped Newman's Organic cookies. If I wanted to be totally Miss All Natural, I guess I could have made a basket of seasonally appropriate fruit. But who wants to eat fruit in a germy hospital? Anything sealed up is a better bet. Plus, if I was really Miss All Natural, I would probably be planning a home birth instead. I really do want to be in a hospital - things have been risky enough already that I need the reassurance of having a whole staff of emergency specialists there. So, cookies it is. But at least they're not laden with extra chemicals - and I hope I won't be, either!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Mean, Really...

I've eeked out the last two months constantly hoping for a few more days before anything else frightening happens, and here I am at 38 weeks, wondering if I will ever just have this baby already.

I've been organizing as much of my new house as I can via the internet. I think I'll have to make about a zillion trips to The Container Store (yes, Brenda! I'm hooked! We will definitely have to make a plan when I am off bedrest!) as soon as I'm allowed to go wander anywhere for a few hours. It was interesting to read about other people's organizing, too. I especially liked the comments everybody's underwear-folding preferences, although I'm pretty sure I won't manage to fold my own. But I'll lay them flat in a nice stack by color* and if my husband and I both die and somebody has to go through my things I hope they are just too bereft to worry about my panty storage.

Speaking of underwear... does it seem that JUST when you've found a really good style of panties they are discontinued? Maybe it's just me, but this has happened to me way too many times. I found a great style last summer and now they are nowhere to be found. Does the market really demand new underwear styles all the time, or is this a fiendish plot to get me to buy a whole new batch of "test" panties and then hope they aren't obsolete by the time I decide which ones I like the best?

* Is it weird to be picky about underwear color? I prefer my undies to be of a similar tone to the pants/skirt I'm wearing. Not the same color, necessarily, but black pants should be worn with black panties, etc. - it always bothers me if I have to end up wearing undies that don't seem like they belong with my outfit. See, that's where I worry about dying and what if somebody finds out that my panties and bra don't look good together (I don't really do sets, because the fit is never right on one piece) or that my underwear has no relation to my clothing?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Holding Pattern (With Extra Questions)

Yesterday's visit was the same mix of good and bad - everything looks fine, but the fluid is still low, of course. I had a different u/s tech, a younger woman who is only there two days a week. The regular tech also works at a perinatologist's office, and she is very focussed on the medical details. This other person was way more chatty about the baby, showing me his face and his hair and poking around to get good images of his feet and hands. Which was nice - it lightened things up, so it wasn't all about wondering if he was in some dire situation.

So, here I am, poring over organizing-supplies on the internet. If I was allowed up and about I would bribe Brenda with lunch if she would meet me at the Container Store to help!

Here are my organizing questions of the day:

How do you store medicines? In the kitchen? In bins per person? Per type of ailment? Is it okay to leave daily things (vitamins, etc.) out on a tray? Would that be helpful or just contribute to clutter?

Where do you keep screwdrivers? This is a big point of consternation, since my husband keeps all tools in the garage, but I tend to think that a screwdriver (not one of the giant ones) that is used for taking off battery covers, etc. is more useful inside. Should I just get another set? (It might be worth noting that our city ordinances more or less require that our garage be detached from the house.)

Do drawer dividers work? The boxes that fit together? Or the spring-loaded panels that make sections? Everything that looks so neat and tidy in organizing photos seems like it might be hard to maintain in daily life. Like, I don't think I'm going to fold my underwear - but if you all swear that they will last twice as long and make my ass look fabulous if I do, then I'll try it.

Is drawer space or hanging space more useful? We have a smallish walk-in closet in the new house - one side has more drawers (along with more useful surface space) and one side has more rod space. Which should I claim?

And finally - what do you most want when you are a houseguest? Now that we actually have a room that can be used for guests I need to stock up on some guesty things. And I already know that my mom and then my dad and stepmom will be coming soon!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Yep, still on bedrest. Low fluid (down to 8) is one of the few things that can mean bedrest even when the baby is technically at term. The main problem it can cause is cord compression. No signs, no symptoms, nothing to do but wait and see if it goes down to the point (like, if it was at 2) that requires an emergency C section. Or, if it's going down steadily and gets to about 5 we might try to induce before it gets too low. But that would mean a uterine catheter for amnioinfusion, which puts extra fluid in there to help cushion things as the baby moves around during labor. Which means I would be limited in terms of mobility, and that just makes an unmedicated birth harder.

So, here I am, still on the couch. Frustrated and disheartened and nervous. If I ever hear anyone go on about "enjoying their pregnancy" I'll just roll my eyes as many times as I can before I tell them to get over themselves and shut up already. Enjoying pregnancy is a big ridiculous myth that's built on soft-focus ad campaigns, with gay male models pretending to be doting husbands to winsome actress-wannabes reclining delicately with a fake bump under a linen sundress. It has almost nothing to do with reality, other than the fact that pregnant women do seem to wear a lot of sundresses.

Reality is just being glad you managed to get pregnant at all, and then wondering what dreadful things might go awry as you count down the weeks. And at the end, when it's supposed to be all about folding the tiny outfits and picking out slings that coordinate with the stroller, here I am wondering if my baby is still alive every time I haven't felt him kick for a while. (He just rolled way to one side, by the way, so apparently is not dead!)

If I wanted to have a C section and just get this over with I could probably talk my OB into it - I get the feeling that docs are happy to do it if there is any kind of a good reason at all. It's faster, easier to fit into a busy schedule, they can bill for it - what's not to like? Except that I have to move house now. Recovering from labor is pretty easy. Recovering from a C section while moving into a two story house is probably not a good combination. And - standard disclaimer - of course I'd be fine with the C if it really is necessary. But I'd rather have the one day of pain followed by five days of tenderness than any kind of surgical recovery.

And why the hurry to move, you may ask? Well, if we could afford to maintain two houses in Los Angeles, we would probably have a vacation place in the mountains, or a beach retreat in Malibu...Plus, I have to get an army of plumbers and painters and gutter-fixing handymen in here as soon as possible, and I don't want to be here nursing a baby while their varnishy smells and drooping pants are lingering around.

The good news is that the biophysical profile always looks great. The little guy does all of the flexing and breathing and swallowing sort of movements that he's supposed to be doing. The cord flow is always good. He's measuring at about 5 1/2 pounds. Most of him is in the 65th percentile, except for his abdomen, which is only in the 10th. BUT, I am not panicking about that yet, since my daughter's pediatrician always measured her in about the 20th percentile for weight but off the end of the chart for length. So, he's probably just following in her long skinny footsteps.

I guess the thing that panics me so much now is that if anything goes wrong I know that I'll never be able to tell myself "it was probably for the best." Which I was always skeptical about anyway, but it gives you something to at least try to cling to, a toehold of understanding. I mean, I'll never know what went wrong with my last pregnancy, but I can at least tell myself that it might have been a terribly unfortunate problem with the baby. I don't really believe that, but I can at least concede that it's a possibility.

I think the bedrest thing is just getting to me, making everything seem worse than it really is. Basically, I should be thrilled that I even have a reason to be stuck on the couch, and I know that. But the grouchiness is getting in anyway.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Last Night

Not as in the night before last, but the very last night before I can claim to have made it all the way to that goal of 36 weeks. Although I am technically on bedrest until my next OB appointment (on Wednesday) at least I am now at the point where nobody seems especially alarmed about earliness. Now, every few days means more brain development, less chance of any breathing difficulties and increased ability to regulate body temperature. All of which are good, so I do hope the little mister won't pop out the minute I hoist myself of off the couch. Still, having been told back on January 10th that I'd be lucky to keep him in long enough for the betamethasone injections to affect his lungs, I am starting to feel like I have been waiting for a looooong time for this kid to get out of me!

The sweet thing that happened this week is that my cousin-in-law (is that a real thing? My cousin's wife?) announced that she is expecting again. She has had several early miscarriages, although that's about all I know. She hasn't wanted to talk about it, which is fine. But she called me to say that since she is having a girl she would be happy to send me all of her son's baby clothes and various boy-ish things. I'm not sure if she realizes how much of a relief it is to have a big box of newborn things just sent to my door. All of the things I have been dragging my heels about buying, just in case something happens in the next few weeks. I mean, I have a few things but nothing like the amount of clothing and blankets that a spitty, poopy newborn needs. So it was a true gift, not just of things but help of a practical nature.

Today my bassinetty thing also arrived, along with some bra pads and new havaianas. I guess that about sums up my actual needs - somewhere to stash the baby while he sleeps and a way to keep milk from dripping on everything - and flip flops, because even though my hospital is literally brand new, I just can't cope with the idea of showering there in bare feet. So, at this point everything else is extra. And it's not like I don't like the extras, it's just that I feel okay about not having them all right here at once. The good news is, I might actually be able to go out in the world and get those extra things myself. Otherwise, I could be the only finally-pregnant lady who hasn't set foot in a BRU or a Target - kinda weird, right?

In the meantime, get ready for a whole other set of posts - non-baby questions about how you organize your kitchen and what you REALLY keep in your coat closet. Now that I am moving to a house that has more than three cabinets I am flummoxed about how to separate all of the things that are usually stacked precariously on top of each other and behind other things to the extent that only I know where everything is. Like, if someone wants to sew a button on they really would have to know to look behind the stack of dishtowels (in front, because they're in heavy rotation) in the red plaid tin box under the "scratch paper" basket. Because that's where all the thread and needles and those spare buttons that come in the little paper envelopes attached to the side seam of clothes are all kept. I mean, it works for me - maybe having more cabinets will just be incredibly confusing...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One More Week!

Of bedrest, that is. After that, I'll still be on "light activity" but at least I'll be able to go out without rationing my vertical minutes.

I had my weekly NST- US appointment today and my fluid has gone up even more. Since the baby is bigger (5 1/2 pounds - ish) and taking up even more room, that's a really good sign. The comet-tail of my placenta seems to be slowly disintegrating, but without disturbing anything else. That could mean that the blood supply to the tail is gone, and that it won't irritate the rest of the placenta so much. In any case, it's hard to tell until after delivery - and even though it seems kinds gross, I want to see the placenta almost as much as I want to see the baby! I think that typically the placenta gets whisked away so the new mom doesn't have to look at it, but I am curious. I think I'll put it in my birth plan.

So, I am going to spend my last week on the couch ordering things for the nursery - thanks for all of your comments and encouragement, by the way. I don't actually have any of those things yet, but it helps with the ordering process to have some good feedback.

I am an Ohdeedoh and Apartment Therapy addict, which I guess is obvious to those of you who are, too. Not just for the nursery, but since we are moving and I have so many other things to figure out, AT has been my oracle of decorating advice. There are so many tidbits of good info in there - like the make-your-own-sheet instructions. And really, a sheet is just a rectangle with some elastic corners, it doesn't need complicated tailoring. Although if he is born before I get it done, I will probably be cursing the idea of sewing anything. I don't think of myself as crafty, especially in the Martha tradition, since I am just not dedicated to doing things like that routinely. But after four years of art school and two years of architecture school at least I can usually figure out how to make things. Plus, I have accumulated a lot of the tools, which makes it easier.

I do think the glider will be good for a snooze - I didn't order the ottoman, but I'm hoping that a big firm floor cushion will give me support for my feet, and the back of the chair is high enough for nodding-off against. I was able to find a store that has floor models, so I did try it out. It's the most comfortable one I tried, and my husband liked it too - a big plus. And, yes Mrs. LC, the pillow I thought would look good with it DOES have a drawing of a vespa on it - although technically it is an advertisement for a brand of matches, so maybe it is just vespa-esque?

I'm not sure why that dresser/changer doesn't have the changing pad in the photo. It's one of those case-furniture pieces with the lip around the top to keep a changing pad secure, and then you are supposed to take the pad off and use it as just a dresser. Which could be a bit weird, with that rim. But, maybe it will be good to keep things from falling off? Although things falling off the top of a dresser doesn't seem to be much of a problem for most people, as far as I know.

In other news, I had a lovely visit with Brenda a few days ago. Not only did she come to my half-moved out house (with one chair left for visitors) and chat with me all afternoon, but she brought me bed-rest survival goodies and super-cute baby things. She herself is lovely, too - waaaay more beautiful than the photos she has posted of herself and definitely not what you would think of as the stereotype of a physics-nerd! Since her blog was one of the first that inspired me to start writing my own, it was great to spend some time with her in real live three-dimensional space. It's funny how the whole anonymity thing really only applies to people you already know in real life...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sneak Preview

No, no - not a 3D ultrasound, or even some kind of dramatic early labor story. This is all about the nursery. And I absolutely understand if you don't want to look at baby-room stuff - it can be like a Target full of strollers if you're dealing with infertility. I used to skip nursery posts even though I could cope with belly shots. Weird, but true.

Since we are moving, this nursery is mostly hypothetical. Or in transit. Or in boxes. Our moving date is vague, but should be sometime in the next few weeks, so there isn't much point in converting the little office nook we have in our old house into a baby's room. We'll just plop him in his bassinet (that I finally ordered) in our room.

By the way, back when I mentioned that I had emailed another blogger about her bassinet, she did write back right away - and said her daughter was just growing out of it and would I like it! But she was in NY and the whole taking-apart-and-shipping thing got to be complicated, so I just ordered my own. (I'll just try to keep it in really good shape so I can sell it on Somebody's List after six months. Actually, that's my plan for a lot of stuff...) Anyway, it is nice to know that she loved it.

So, the nursery. I am under absolutely no illusions about this being a room that is "for" the baby. This room is for me. I will (mostly) be the one using whatever is in it to contain or amuse or assist me in some way with the little guy. And I know it has to function someday as a toddler room, so it can't be just a mom-lounge. But in any case, I have been trying to put together a semi-boyish, adult-friendly room that might be able to be toddler-y at some point. And so far, this is what I have come up with:

So, this is the problem I mentioned having with the crib sheet. The orange fabric with the little diamond pattern is the only one that is actually made to be a crib sheet. The other options are just possible fabrics that I could sew elastic onto and - voila! - custom crib sheet. And maybe crib skirt-panel thing.

We have display railings that I'll use instead of a bookcase, so that the front of the books face out. It makes the books double as artwork, and it's easier for kids to pick out books when they can see the fronts. And even if he doesn't choose his own books for a while, we do have quite a few left over from my daughter's collection (just waiting, in case there ever was another baby.) I always wanted those rails for my daughter's room, but we already had bookcases so we just used those.

The glider is my most coveted piece of furniture, the only thing that I think I'll really use for years to come. (I ordered the crib and dresser only after figuring out how much I could sell them for on my local Somebody's List.) I'm planning to use a large floor pillow as a pouf instead of one of those matching glider ottomans, since I need something lower for my feet. I still have to find a good reading lamp and a side table, although I may use the large orange stool for that.

I think the carpet could be fun for a young toddler with all of those spots, plus it's washable. And of course the two pieces of art are the details that are supposed to tie it all together. The little plywood rocker is probably completely unnecessary, but just too cute to pass up - at least for the photo board. (It's on sale for half-price, though, so if I think I have room for it I might have to get it.)

So, that's what I've been doing with all this bedrest time. But I would love to hear suggestions, if anyone had something fabulous or knows of something great or has heard fabulous things about such-and-such. I may add decals, or a banner of fabric triangles. I love the idea of a mini-bean-bag chair, maybe instead of the little rocker. Anyway, since I am still figuring it all out, let me know what you think!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Five Pounds (+ Two Cents)

According to ultrasound, the little guy has made it to five pounds. And even though it's just an estimate, the tech says she's usually fairly accurate - a few ounces either way, not the pound or so that I thought was the normal plus-or-minus range. So, good news, because five pounds is also the weight that seems to be a magical cutoff in terms of how the baby does out in the world. I will hit the 35 week mark on Sunday, then one more week of bedrest and I am free to be up and about and go into labor. Although I won't be doing any step-aerobics or, you know, trapeze work. And I have already decided that my husband might not get to know when I am technically allowed to resume normal activity - he still has plenty of carpooling/grocery shopping/etc. to do if he's going to make up for ignoring me in the hospital.

It was so gratifying to read all of your sympathies about that in the comments, by the way. I've been thinking a lot lately about how blogging works - that you get a self-selected group of people who share something about your experiences or your point of view or your sense of humor - whatever it is, there is something there that establishes a connection. That's why I can't understand the crappy anonymous comment - I mean, why bother reading at all if you
really don't have any common ground with the writer? And of course I don't mean the gentle nudges that some comments offer with the best intentions. Those are given within that sense of connection, and (at least in my case) appreciated. Anyway, what I really mean is that my husband is just lucky I have a good source for understanding and shared feelings - otherwise, things would be much, much worse for him! (And I'm lucky, too, of course.)

In other news, I am finally going to buy a crib mattress. It's just been hard to get these last things wrapped up with the specter of "placental abruption" hanging over me. I had a shower, which made a huge dent in my "to get" list, but the things that are left are kind of important. I am not the sort of person who needs to have every little piece of the nursery ready months in advance. I'll enjoy getting the details together while the baby is (hopefully) cuddled in some kind of baby-holding contraption. Or in a sling. Or whatever - the point is, I have never cared that all of my son's future teddy bears be lined up in rainbow-color order on the second shelf from the top before he is born. But it might be a good idea if I can put him in his crib (on an actual mattress) while I decide if I'm going to put up those Eames decals.

images from

They come in different colors and sizes, so it's a kind of mix-and-match project. I am definitely not a circus-parade-around-the-top-of-the-room kind of gal, but this could be good. Since we are in earth-quake land, I won't put any framed art near the crib or the glider, so that leaves something like a decal. For years, my daughter has decorated her room with her own drawings and things from friends just double-stick-taped to the wall. It's almost floor-to-ceiling, like a museum installation of kid-art, and it covers years of her favorite things. Occasionally she curates a bit, but mostly just adds the new things in where she can. But this next little guy may not be at that point for a while.

So, mattress. And after that I may try buying a crib sheet. Actually, that's a whole different post, since I may try making a crib sheet. Not because I'm the world's craftiest person, but because I can't find a crib sheet I like. Yes, I realize this may be a psychological block, and I'm working on it, really. See? I'm off to order the mattress right now...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hospital Jail

So, it's no surprise that bleeding means another night in the hospital. A few days ago, I woke up from a nice mid-morning nap to find... well... more than "spotting" but less than "flow". I grabbed the doppler, was flooded with relief to hear the little guy's heart banging away, and called my OB.

I am sooo glad I got the doppler back, by the way, since it is really the only thing between me and full-blown panic at this point. I suppose I could just get a stethoscope, but I like the digital readout and the fact that I can compare the sounds to what I'm used to hearing.

Anyway, she did an ultrasound and an hour of monitoring in her office and decided that I was having too many contractions and needed to go for overnight monitoring until they subsided. Which I didn't mind - better safe than sorry and all that.

The contractions were the same sort of tightening that I've had for a while now, so I hadn't thought much of it. But at the hospital they were getting bigger and closer together, so my OB finally ordered terbutaline, which shut them right down. Apparently, it sometimes just takes one dose to calm the muscle and sort of reset things. The theory is that my little tag of placenta gets irritated and then it bleeds and the whole uterus gets irritated and that causes contractions. Obviously, the main problem would be if the placenta gets so irritated that it starts to detach. And of course, the thing that is most likely to irritate it is Mr. Baby himself, mashing it with his (relatively) gigantic feet.

So, a night in the hospital isn't so bad, right? Except that when I called my husband to tell him what was going on and ask him to bring me my computer and my already-packed bag, he said he was "really, really sick" and didn't want to go out in the rain and into a germy hospital and that it was exhausting enough that he had to pick up our daughter and figure out dinner, etc. etc., and that he would just pick me up in the morning.

Um.... really? For one thing, I hadn't eaten anything except oatmeal at about 7:00 am. And even though the hospital looks kind of like a fancy spa, the food is the same old soggy bland stuff that any hospital serves. I pointed this out to him, and he told me to order take-out. Yes, that's right - my husband told his pregnant wife, in the hospital for the third time, that he wasn't going to drive the twelve blocks to see her, much less bring her anything like decent food or a toothbrush.

I am pretty sure I will never forgive him. I mean, I won't hold it against him actively, but it will go into the general understanding of how our relationship works. And the thing is, he's basically a good guy - I am always caught off guard by his detachment from me when I need him the most. I mean, it's not like I was asking for much.

And to make matters worse, the on-call doctor never showed up the next morning. I was supposed to be released if the contractions hadn't come back, but nobody would officially let me go. By lunchtime I told the nurses that I was done, I took off the monitors and got dressed - there was a hep-lock in my arm, but no IV, so at least I could get my sleeve on. I called my husband and told him to come immediately.

I hadn't had any real food (graham crackers the night before, a soggy pancake and old lukewarm coffee for breakfast - the ideal pregnancy diet!) for almost 30 hours. I hadn't brushed my teeth or taken a shower. I felt like I was in jail. The nurses made some half-hearted excuses for the doctor, but it was pretty obvious that if the on-call isn't your own doctor and you're basically fine, there isn't hope for much consideration. I asked if I could just take the hep-lock out myself, so they paged the doctor and I was released over the phone. Why did I have to wait until noon for that?

My husband did at least come to pick me up, but he wouldn't come up to L&D. A wheelchair guy took me down to the lobby - my husband had somehow managed to gather the strength to drag his carcass from the ten-minute parking spots right outside the door to the seating area inside.

I am telling you, I have a lot of sympathy for anyone with a horrible respiratory illness. I've had bronchitis (several times), whooping cough and mycoplasmic pneumonia. I worked on a master plan for the redevelopment of a major respiratory hospital, including interviews with long-term patients and staff. I know how weak and awful you can feel when you can't breathe properly. But I also know that if you're doing that badly you wouldn't be able to go watch basketball with the guys later that day.

I'm just focussing on the fact the baby is doing well, that I am past 34 weeks now, that in another week and a half my OB won't do anything to stop my contractions, and that I may have a chance to raise a boy to be a considerate and compassionate man. The kind who would bring his hospitalized wife a spinach salad with grilled chicken, maybe.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bedrest, Schmedrest...

My too-sick-to-move husband has gone to NY. Yep, couldn't manage a trip to the drugstore, but going to the absolutely other side of the country was okay. Hmmm...

To be fair, he didn't want to go - but he didn't even try to get out of it. And, also to be fair, when you are self-employed you are always semi-worried that you may never work again, so you do things you might not do if you had a regular job. It's not like there's someone else to be sent in his place. He's not only the business, he's the product, too. So, while I admire his determination and his commitment...

I am pretty sure things will be worse when he gets back.

Meanwhile, I am allowed up a bit more now, with all kinds of warnings to take it slowly. I waft slowly around the house like someone playing a ghost in bad community theater. It takes me half an hour to fold a load of laundry.

My favorite new item is one of those grabber-things with a handle on one end and pinchers on the other, so I don't have to bend and twist if I need to pick things up from the floor. I ordered it from Amazon, which tracks your orders and suggests other things you might like based on recent purchases. When I signed in this morning, Amazon wanted to know if I'd like a J-shaped handle to hold the toilet paper so that I don't have to twist to reach behind me when I wipe...

Should have just bought the grabber at the hardware store. And paid cash. Am kind of worried about the database associated with my credit card now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sick Husband

My husband is sick. By which I mean he is moaning and whimpering and hacking dramatically and has taken over my spot on the couch.

So, yeah, he's back from his trip, but he's basically of no use to me. The eleven year old is the only reasonably fully-functioning one in the house. Except she's at school all day, so I'm stuck here with Hacky.

At this point, I'm hoping it's the swine flu, because at least my daughter and I have been vaccinated against that.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Yuck Than You Ever Thought Possible

Okay, pregnancy is weird. I get it. In fact, I embrace it. Theoretically.

After I peed today there was a gob of yuck in the toilet. A thumb-sized tannish-shredded-something-with-dark-reddish-brown-spots in it. Now, I never lost my mucus plug before my daughter was born, but the phrase "mucus plug" is so yucky that this seemed like it might fit the description.

I called the nurse. She seemed perplexed by the whole description and had me fish it out of the toilet (note - use slotted or perfed pasta spoon, not ladle, to get anything out of the toilet, otherwise you just have to chase it all over the place and it tries to go down the plumbing) and bring it in.

And you know what that means - another hour of toco/fetal monitoring, an ultrasound and a speculum check. Yay! But it's nice to know that things look good in there, even if nobody's quite sure what the yucky thing was.

People actually kept coming into the room to look at the yucky thing. It was like an obstetrical roadside attraction.

I probably should have charged admission.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


First off, I hate that the word "natural" is used to describe a non-medicated birth. It just seems like it's co-opting a universal but often vague word to describe something that is actually very specific. Plus, as someone who had anything but a "natural" conception, it seems silly to start assigning words like that to any part of the process. So, I'll work on a better semantic descriptor, but in the meanwhile, let me tell you about the apprentice doula who was better than drugs.

I had a doula for the birth of my daughter. That was back in the dark ages of the 90s, when it was harder to find people on the internet. I wanted a doula because my husband gets nauseous at the sight of blood - I knew he would be of no use to me. I didn't want my mother there, because, well - I've written about my mother before. I wanted to have someone supportive and knowledgeable and calm by my side, and I figured I'd have to hire someone. But it was hard to find a recommendation - there were some lists at the hospital and a national organization that gave our names in the area. Finally I decided to use the woman that also taught a pre-natal class at the hospital - I figured that at least she had some relationship with the staff.

She was fine. I think she knew what she was doing and her class was informative. I didn't feel an instant connection with her, but I respected her level of experience and she seemed like a caring person. After we hired her, she asked if she could bring a doula trainee with her to my birth. The trainees had to attend a certain number of births as part of their program, and she said it would be to my benefit to have an extra person helping me. I figured it would be to my benefit to have an extra person helping her, so that she could concentrate on me, so I said sure.

It was the best decision I could possibly have made. The apprentice was exactly what I would have wanted in a doula if I could have figured out exactly what all the options were. She was calm, she knew when to distract me from a mild contraction, she knew when to do accupressure massage for a stronger one. She would tell me stories about being a new mother (she had two young children) while we were in the early phase, and then later she would rub my feet while the nurses watched my contractions on the monitor and made a big fuss over how intense they were. Honestly, all I could feel was the best foot rub I had ever had.

I had a long early labor - almost 24 hours at home (easy, very mild contractions - not even as bad as a period) and then about 12 hours at the hospital. The doulas were there for maybe ten hours. I think the first part of the day was fairly easy, some contractions and a lot of walking around the courtyards. I have low blood pressure normally, and lying down for a long time tends to make it even lower so we tried to keep moving. Plus, walking is supposed to help move labor along, and I was obviously on the long, slow plan. After a while the nurses had me stay on the L&D floor because I was so dilated. I remember suddenly feeling like I had to lie down, and the apprentice doula put me on my side and began doing counter-pressure massage on my lower back.

Just as I was thinking, hmmm, this labor thing isn't so bad, the other doula came back with a nurse and said she thought I was ready. The nurse checked, and suddenly there were people flying in and carts being pushed around and they were telling me that the doctor wasn't there yet and I needed to wait. I was fully dilated. The apprentice doula kept rubbing my back and then she whispered that I had gone through "transtition" - the worst part of labor - in 8 minutes, and that if I wanted to push I shouldn't worry about the doctor. She told me that my nurse had been a midwife for 20 years in Australia, and that she was perfectly capable of delivering a baby.

I remember thinking that I was glad for the nurse-midwife, but that I really wasn't worried about waiting for the doctor anyway. I mean, L&D nurses knew what to do, right? I was in this perfect zone from the counter-pressure massage, and I was going to just stay there. Suddenly the nurses were yelling for a resident. I just decided to go with the pushing feeling, and the apprentice was guiding me into a better position and then my doctor showed up and before she could get her gloves on my daughter was born. We have photos of Dr. D waving at the camera with her hands all bloody.

Afterwards, things were so easy. We just got wheeled to our room (now that hospital has labor-delivery-postpartum rooms, but at the time there were separate areas for the before and after). I had never gotten to a point where I desperately needed an epidural. I had felt like I was in charge of my own experience. I could tell that everything was fine. I was so glad that I had the chance to feel what childbirth was like without being in terrifying pain. And I don't know if any of that would have happened without the apprentice doula.

So, that's my experience with "natural" (substitute your own phrase here) childbirth. I would sum it up by saying it's really not bad if you have the right kind of labor - and don't rely on your husband to get you through it, of course.

Afterwards I found out that long slow labors almost always slow down with an epidural, and then need pitocin to pick back up again. Labors that are naturally long and slow suffer the most complications from pitocin, with decreased fetal heartrate, retained placenta and maternal hemorrhage topping the list. Um, yikes!

Some people have drastic, incredibly painful labors and can't imagine going through the whole thing without an epidural. My most "all-natural" friend went into the hospital swearing she would never stoop to anesthesia, and was screaming for medication after a few hours. She had a hard fast labor and it was just too much for her. So, I get it. And if I have a different kind of labor this time I am totally open to needing the drugs. After all, it was less than a month ago that I was willing to kiss the nurse who put morphine into my IV.

Anyway, I figured it would be easier to find a doula today. Anybody who wants to be found has a good internet footprint, and it only makes sense that doulas would make sure they can be googled. So, I typed the name of the apprentice doula into the search bar and - voila! She's a midwife now, but she will work as a hospital doula in high-risk cases. I have high hopes for another great experience with her, and if I have the same kind of labor I'll be glad to go through a little pain to avoid more serious complications. (If I have the hard, fast, incredibly painful kind of labor, I'll be glad that I'm in a hospital with an anesthesiologist right there.)

And, in case you were wondering, I don't think I'll be going in for an emergency low-fluid C-section any time soon. Since I've been on bedrest my AFI has gone up to 14. I saw my OB this morning and she said that as long as I keep resting and glugging liquids she doesn't think I have any more risk than anybody else of an early birth. So, yay! I am allowed to do a little bit of light activity, but other than that I have to stay horizontal as much as possible. As long as it's working, I won't complain too much!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kick in the (Maternity) Pants

I had another round of non-stress test and ultrasound yesterday, which showed that nothing has really changed. My fluid is still hovering just above 10, but the little guy seems to be growing well and doing fine. My official diagnosis is "borderline fluid." All of this leaking and low fluid and bedrest at least gave me a much-needed jump-start as far as getting some of the baby-stuff figured out.

I am basically torn between wanting to just get it all done now and knowing that I don't really need much in those first few weeks anyway. Since I am trapped on the couch, I have been doing oodles of research about every baby product I can find. And it's been interesting - there are so many new baby-contraptions out there! For instance, I had never heard of a Tummy Tub before, and now I simply must have one. Even though it's $40.

Yep, it's a giant expensive bucket. But there are hundreds of reviews raving about how fantastic it is, that bathtime isn't the screaming disaster that it is with the lounger tubs, that babies love to stay in the water when they are upright and mostly submerged. Okay, I guess you could just get a bucket at the hardware store, but this one is phthalate and bisphenol free, blah blah blah. Of course, I'll save my final opinion for after I've actually used it.

I did order a car seat and a stroller chassis, thanks to Gwynn's recommendations. I have my eye on a "light-jogging" (i.e, brisk walking, which is all I'll do anyway) stroller which won't be available until March, but really I doubt I'll have the gumption to do any actual brisk walking in those first few weeks. I still need to get a crib mattress (gah! latex vs. coconut vs. the pristine wool of hand-fed mongolian goats...) and some kind of Other Thing that can be the thing the baby sleeps in next to our bed for a while.

What this Other Thing is, though, is unknown. I am intrigued by the idea of the co-sleeper, but our bed is this upholstered platform thing with wide edges. The mattress sits about five inches in from the edge of the upholstered platform. I think that the edge of the co-sleeper won't be able to scoot all the way over to my mattress, so it's whole raison d'etre will be irrelevant. Other than that, a moses basket on a stand? They are really little, though, so probably only good for a few months. Bassinet? I can't cope with one of those poofy things that looks like a miniature coffin inside Scarlett O'Hara's petticoat. There is one intriguing option, but I have found two reviews of it: one person loved it more than anything, one person thought it was a death trap. Hmmm.

See? It could go either way - organic cotton and FSC wood, all very green and fabulous and yay. Or, flimsy and collapses on your baby. Although I am always suspicious that the person who thinks it's dangerous just put it together backwards. I did find one blogger who got it for her nursery back in November - I emailed her to find out what she thinks, and if the blogosphere is all it's cracked up to be she'll write back with the real scoop.

So, that's it so far. Next time - "natural" childbirth!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ongoing Whatever

So, I am still low on fluid, but not super-low. My averaged fluid measurement is 10.4 - they like to see at least 11. I mean, it's close. It's not drastic. The little guy is banging away in there and it seems like he doesn't have any trouble moving around.

But maybe the bumping is just really dramatic because he isn't cushioned by a vat of fluid? I've had two ultrasounds since I left the hospital and I go back on Friday for prolonged monitoring and another scan. I'm at 31 weeks now, and I know that every week until 36 is important, so I'm just hoping to keep things going for a while with bedrest and liquids. I'm not having any contractions, so if my doc decides that this guy would be better off out in the world, I'm guessing that means the dreaded C.

My husband is going out of town for ten days at the end of the week. I think I can pull off the bedrest with the help of friends and carpoolers and delivery guys, but I can't pull off another late-night trip to L&D by myself. I semi-wish he would cancel, but it's a big deal thing that he's doing and he might never get a chance to do it again. I hate to take away something that means so much to him, especially since I have been so demanding in the past few years - IVF, private school for my daughter, a new house. (Sheesh, I'm like a Real Housewife of Somewhere!) So, he's been working more (which for a freelancer sometimes means taking dumb jobs with idiots he can't stand, or not getting any time off after a grueling project) and now FINALLY he gets to do something prestigious and meaningful and important to him.

I'm gonna try to make it work, but I hope he can get back here fast even if he might have to hijack a snowmobile if he ever hopes to make it to an actual airport in an emergency. My little guy better just hang in there until his dad gets back...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Taking It Easy...

I'm trying not to really do much of anything, but I'm not sure how long I can keep that up. I am just not very good at lounging, unless I am under a pine tree on Kailua beach, and there's not much chance of that for a while.

I have decided that going through boxes while lying on my side on the couch can count as resting. Today I sorted through letter and photos and travel souvenirs, the junk that accumulates while you try to decide if you are sentimental enough to save any of it. I love the idea of keeping these things as a record of our experiences, but the truth is I'm just not very scrapbooky. Still, packing everything and moving makes you think about your stuff in a way that doesn't usually come up. A sense of minimalism is definitely driving me to get rid of anything that seems superfluous in any way, but there is still some sentimental attachment to all these things I know I don't really need.

And at the same time that I am trying to figure out what to get rid of, I am also researching all the stuff I am thinking about accumulating. I've registered, although my list is on the odd side. I have enjoyed finding a kind of scheme for the baby's room, although I'm still not sure how it will work out in the long run. Let's just call it modern and graphic for now - I'll post some pictures if it seems to work out. My registry has pillows from Bodalee and wall art from Bookhou on it.

I love these things, but they are definitely not necessities. It's been hard for me to figure out what I might really need - when my daughter was born I didn't know anyone with a baby, and learning as I went was a hit and miss process. By the time I found things that might work for us she would be on to a new phase, and we tended to try to make due without things that might have been really helpful. So, if anyone has knows or has heard that such-and-such is absolutely essential, let me know!

I guess I should get up the gumption to read some actual parenting blogs. I have been so amazed at how much it has helped me to find other people going through infertility and the fear of loss - it should be the same for infancy, right? It's just that after years of IF, those parenting sites have always been risky territory. It's not as easy to just jump right in as I thought it would be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Home For Now

I'm sprung, at least for a while. My amniotic fluid seems to be increasing a little bit, and there is now a new theory about what may have happened.

My placenta isn't a perfect disc shape - it has a comet tail that wraps around towards the back. It looks like the tail may have separated a bit, which led to some bleeding. That blood formed the giant clot, which passed through the cervix - taking with it the chorionic fluid.

Yep, there is also the lesser-considered second sac of fluid around the amniotic sac. The second sac has it's own thin layer of fluid. It's not something that usually ruptures, but it can happen. And it is just a theory - my amniotic fluid measurements are low, but they were never huge anyway. As long as the baby seems to be doing well we are going to just hope for the best.

Meanwhile, I am exhausted. A hospital is no place for sleep, what with the IV fluids being changed at all hours and the monitors going off for the tiniest reasons. I had to have the IV in the back of my hand since it was so freezing when we got there that all my other veins were shrunken. My fingers are now stiff and swollen and my hand is giant and sore. I can't really type with only one good hand, but I just wanted to post an update.

Tomorrow: why to pack a "just in case" bag, even if you think you have lots of time left...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Crib Curse

I have been too exhausted to post lately. Having finally begun to think that I might actually really have a viable baby going on in there somewhere I realized that I should probably get all the baby stuff together. Not just a cute outfit and some burp cloths, but all the stuff that normal pregnant people have so much fun buying. So, I went on a spree.

We wanted to be sustainable reusers of whatever baby things we had left from eleven years ago. Really we did. But when we unpacked it all we saw how it hadn't fared so well through several lendings, so we decided to put what we had on Craig's List and start over. My friend L, due 5 weeks after I am, went on an all day research excursion with me to all kinds of shops, fancy and basic. We loaded both of our bags into countless strollers and car seats to find out how heavy they might be with 10 lbs of baby to schlep around in them. We debated zippers vs. snaps. We rocked and glided, with and without ottomans. We wondered why it is that crib bedding sets always seem to include one component that you really don't like.

The I did a lot of internet research for pricing and scheduling and reviews and even made a universal wish list on Amazon so that I could combine items from other vendors in one place. I figured that the discount some stores offer for registering barely covers tax in Los Angeles (9.25%), so getting a no-tax deal on low-cost internet shopping usually turns out to be better anyway. I bought a few items to have on hand and was really congratulating myself on catching up so quickly, and having over two months left to take care of whatever is left.

Then I woke up in a puddle of wetness.

I've been in L&D since last night, had lots of tests, seen my OB. We still don't know exactly what is going on. When I woke up with a soaked pajama seat I was too woozy to panic immediately. I went to the loo and saw pink and red. I thought, hmm, not so good. Then I felt a whoosh and a giant (maybe like the diameter of a soda can) dark clot came out. I vaguely realized that panic might be appropriate, but all I could do was start saying "oh, no!" over and over again until my husband woke up and took over.

Clearly I had a leak. But the nitrizine test was inconclusive by the time they did it, so the leak had stopped. The ferning test was also hard to read. There is still some fluid around the baby, but not as much as they like to see. It's rare but not unheard of that a partial leak will seal over and the fluid will be replenished. I was started on betamethasone injections to mature the baby's lungs, and antibiotics to ward off infection, which is what usually happens when the waters rupture.

But so far, no more leaks and only a very few minor contractions - just the BHs I've been having for a few weeks now. Yesterday we figured it was our son's birthday, but now I may actually be able to go home (on bedrest, of course). Perinatologist tomorrow - I saw her Friday and she got fluid measurements then, so we'll have something fairly recent to compare with.

The thing is, I never thought I'd have this kind of problem. I assumed that my troubles were at the front end - once I had made it this far I thought it was just a matter of waiting it out. I have low blood pressure, no GD, my asthma hasn't acted up, my cervix is like a vault, my placenta is in a good place, my blood flow and clotting times are perfect...

Nobody knows what happened. The little guy looks good on the monitors, so it's just a wait and see at this point. Either I'm glad I got most of that ordering and shopping done, or I am really terribly cursed with the infertility jinx.