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.