Monday, December 29, 2008

twenty-two weeks

I'm stealing some time away from work to write. The darn internet connection is down at home again and has been for a couple of weeks. I have no idea what is wrong with it or how long it will take until it is working again. Once again I get to practice being patient.

Our snow is finally gone. After more than two weeks of one snowstorm following another the temperature got above freezing on Saturday. I normally don't mind the snow, actually enjoy it, but not being able to leave the house by myself was crazy-making.

Today is the first day of week 22. We had another good visit with the Peri last week. My cervix is still holding strong and nice and long. The little guy looks great and is kicking lots and lots now. The P17 shots seem to make a difference with the contractions as well, but I still have a few here and there. All that being said, I have still had a rough last few days. It seems like a good doctor visit puts me on an emotional high for a day or so, then I crash down hard. I get myself convinced that something horrible is about to happen. It doesn't help that I have physical symptoms (cramping, lower back pain, contractions) that can be twisted into something dreadful. (I do know, though, what the real danger signs feel like...) The Peri offered to see me once a week during this time if I felt I needed it, but I said no. I know that I will be able to make it until my next appointment, which is in 10 days. It's nice to know, though, that they would fit me in if I called. And, of course, he has made it perfectly clear that if I ever feel like something was wrong that I should just head directly to the hospital.

It is so hard to not have even a modicum of control over my thoughts at times, too. Just like when the one year anniversary of William's birth/death was approaching, I have found memories presenting themselves without warning. This is the week that we went from everything being wonderful to everything falling apart. And it was exactly on the first day of the 23rd week that he was born. All told it was a five day ordeal and it is amazing how clear and precise my memories are. Things I haven't thought of...I guess things I thought that I had forgotten...are still as sharp as if they were happening now.

Mr. C has been wonderful. He is so peaceful now, so sure that this little guy will be in our arms, alive and healthy, in a few short months. At the same time, though, he comforts me and tells me that it is OK that I am freaking out. He has such a sweet way of reminding me of the facts, of bringing me into the reality of the present moment, while never invalidating my fears.

I made a paper chain for this pregnancy and I open a link for each week. Inside I wrote potentially comforting quotes. The quote for last week was "This, too, shall pass." Today the quote read "Life is not as serious as my mind makes it out to be." My response to that is that I believe that it is true, but it also pisses me off. My brother called me a while back and asked if I had been having much anxiety. He suggested using humor and silliness to help keep it at bay. Does anyone out there have any ideas or suggestions?

Monday, December 15, 2008

'tis the season

We are covered in a blanket of snow. It started on Saturday evening and last night another several inches fell. It is still snowing now. So, in a way, Mother Nature has helped me to make the decision to slow down.

I had planned to go to work today, but with this additional snow it just won't happen. Even though I could get there without a problem (Mr. C has a big truck with 4 wheel drive) the residents can't go out of their houses in the snow until all of the walkways are shoveled and safe. Even then many of them aren't up for going out when it is this cold. At first we thought that I could go in and visit each of the houses. Then Mr. C decided that he doesn't like the idea that I might fall down or something. So he said, "On this very special episode, BasilBean gets a snow day."

Today will be my second day of cocooning inside by the fire. I've started two more paintings. The circles are still being worked on, but slowly, because my belly gets in the way. They require a lot of detail, which means that I need to bend over the painting to some extent whether I use an easel or hold the painting on my lap. This is uncomfortable, but more than that it makes me worry that I am putting pressure on my cervix. I'm using oil paint at this stage,too, so the paintings are messy if I try to handle them too much. So I've started a pair of bigger paintings that are more abstract and textural. Fun. I'm not sure what they will turn into yet, and that is part of the fun.

The anxiety subsided somewhat yesterday. I didn't sleep well during the night, but the coziness of the fire helped me to take a very long nap in the afternoon. When I was reading blogs yesterday I found a reference to a post on a blog I had never seen. It was this: http://growinginside.blogspot.com/2008/12/releasing-attachment.html (I'm sorry that I am not properly linking it. It's been so long since I've done so and I don't have the energy right now to find my cheat sheet. I can't use the shortcuts on my laptop because it is a Mac). What Gal wrote was beautiful and rang true to me. Then I read the two posts that bookend the story of her Tikva. I was so moved at how connected Gal was with Tikva, even before she knew about the challenges they would face. I cried like I haven't cried in a very long time. I cried for Gal and her family and sweet Tikva and all of the people she has touched. I cried for William, for myself and Mr. C, and for this Little Guy I am carrying now. I needed that cry.

Today marks 20 weeks. Half way in a full term pregnancy. It is difficult for me to look that far ahead. Instead, I am keeping in mind (whether I want to or not) my two upcoming milestones: getting through the 22nd week (after 5 days of struggling to turn things around, he was born/died on the first day of week 23) and getting to week 24--what I consider the cusp of viability. Really, though, as it has been said, most days it is enough just to get through the day.

I hope the roads are cleared soon, so I can at least feel like it is an option to get out of the house, because I know that the novelty of a snow day will evaporate before too long. But for now I am enjoying being cozy with Gracie, painting, reading, watching tv, and getting kicked by the Little Guy every now and then.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

where did my confidence go?

The sense of reassurance I felt after this week's visit to the Peri didn't last long. Now I have myself convinced that something horrible is just around the corner. Because...of course everything has been fine so far, it was fine at 20 weeks last time, too.

How will I get through the next few weeks? Will I "get through" the next few weeks?

I feel like I shouldn't be going around acting like things are OK. Today I went shopping with Mothership and after about an hour or so of walking around I started to have this nagging thought that I shouldn't be on my feet. I haven't altered my activity-level over the last several weeks, yet my cervical length has remained good and long. But does that mean that I should continue with this level of activity until something changes for the worse? Or should I start taking it easier, as a preventative measure?

I sound pathetic.

Friday, December 12, 2008

my first P17 shot

Yesterday I picked up my prescription for the P17 shots. The pharmacist was so sweet, she said that it was a joy to prepare them for me, because she knew that they were helping a sweet little baby. She apologized that the needle was pretty large, but she felt it was necessary since the solution is oil-based.

I went back to work and asked our nurse to give me the shot. She had me ready for some pain--but it didn't really hurt. And it wasn't/isn't sore afterward, either. So, yay.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the best possible outcome

Just after we entered the waiting room the door opened and it was an ultrasound tech calling back another patient. It was the tech that I got last time, the one I was hoping not to see again today. Check.

A little while later when the door opened for me, it was the ultrasound tech who I did want. She is the one who has done all of my other ultrasounds at this office. She is so kind, spends what seems like an endless amount of time going over everything, explains all that she is seeing and tells me everything is alright--doesn't leave any mysteries for my poor little mind to twist. Check.

Despite the fact that the Little Guy was BUSY (they eventually asked me what I ate for lunch today!) she was able to get every measurement she needed. Everything about the little Guy looks great. Fluid looks great. Placenta looks great. Cord looks great. Check.

And can we have a drum roll, please? My cervical length is....the same!!!!!!! They didn't even have to break out the wand--they were able to get good enough measurements abdominally--so I didn't have to go through the torture again. Check.

And to top it all off, the Peri redeemed himself in my eyes. Last time I had felt that he was insensitive. Today when we met in his office he told me that because of all of the results he doesn't feel like it is necessary to see me so often. However, he quickly added, since we are fast approaching the loss week as well as Christmas he feels that it would be best to continue with appointments every two weeks for the sake of my emotional well being. He said that he doesn't want to back off on the visits until I am through the highest risk time. Bonus check.

I am a happy lady. I can tell that the experience was a much needed reassurance for Mr. C as well, based on comparing his moods prior to and post appointment.

nineteen weeks

I wrote a post about what happened just before Thanksgiving that threw my life into a bit of turmoil. It was a well written post, albeit long and very revealing. It is on my laptop and, for some reason that I don't understand, I can't connect to the internet from my laptop. So here I am sitting at an actual desk.

An attempt at a brief explanation of what happened:

*****The explanation has been deleted, as my anonymity has been thwarted where my family is concerned. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, as things could be taken very personally, so I am taking this particular part of this post out.


_________________

Later today I have an appointment with the Peri for a cervical length check and also to have the fetal survey done. I managed to make it until the wee hours of this morning before the anxiety set in. I woke up two hours before my alarm with my mind swimming. I fell back to sleep, only to wake up again about an hour later...from a bad dream in which, in the dream, I started to have a painful contraction. I woke up, lying on my back, and was, indeed, having a contraction. I have no idea if it was actually painful, or if that was just from the dream. I've been having irregular contractions (uterus bulges and hardens) for several weeks now. Usually there is no pain, only some discomfort if my bladder is full. The P17 shots should start in a couple of days, as the pharmacy is filling my order now. The whole thing was delayed because my OB wanted me to have a home health agency come and do the shots. But my insurance wouldn't cover it, so Mothership will be doing it for me. I will feel so much better once we get started with it.

I am focusing on having a good experience today. They will treat me well. The results will all be good.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

a great report

Little One, who is definitely a BOY, was all curled up in a ball, which made it impossible to get a good measurement of my cervix from the outside. So they had to resort to (as I've heard it referred to) the dildo cam. This is something that is extremely difficult for me because of my traumatic experience when my water broke with William but also because my dang uterus is still retroverted, which makes it pinch pretty bad. Difficult or not, it allowed for a good look and an accurate measurement: 4.5 cm!

Yaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!

I talked to the Peri about the contractions that I've been having and how I want to start the P17 shots. He is just a consultant, though, so I will need to wait to see my OB on Monday to get things arranged. I've decided that I am very glad that the Peri is only keeping an eye on my cervical length and not the one who is in charge of my care. He seems to think that the P17 shots and tocolytics really don't help prolong a pregnancy. He says that the research just doesn't back it up. He says that if I were to go into PTL that he would recommend tocolytics to hopefully buy a couple of days so we could get the steroids on board. I disagree with how he interprets the research. I know that the P17 shots don't help everyone, but I think there is strong evidence that they do help many women. And likewise, many women need tocolytics to not only stop all out PTL but to keep their uteruses "calm." Fortunately my OB is the one who manages my care, and I am well educated and have a Mother In Law who advocates for me as well. So if it came down to it we would have me on terbutiline--or whatever--if that is what it would take to keep things under control. OK, the rant is over.

almost over now

It looks like we will be skipping the "real" Thanksgiving, so it will be only 2 X Turkey Dinner after all. Mr. C and I just want a peaceful day at home instead of a big family gathering. We've been invited to dinner at a second-cousin of his father's, so it would essentially be us, his parents, and about 20 to 30 people we have never met. We have been through a lot of stress for the past week, so a day of no obligations is something we will both be thankful for.

I will write a post explaining what has been happening, and keeping me from posting, soon. I just need a day or two, now that the drama seems to be passed, to process it all. It's a family thing, and when I alluded to it before I thought it might be going in one direction but damn if it didn't take turns I could never have imagined. I decided today that not only is it OK to write about it, but I think it is something that I need to do. I've managed to keep my blog away from the eyes of my family so far. And fuck it, if someone reads it then they can just deal with what I've written.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the Peri (actually it is today, since I am up late). Thank goodness, too, because I really need my Little One fix. I need to see him/her and have that confirmation that he/she is alive and well. Oh, and that cervical length check, too (which is the official reason for the visit). Please, please, please, a million times please, let it still be long. If there is any shortening then I will be putting myself on modified bed rest.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The streak is over

Darn. I wasn't able to maintain the post-a-day pace. And I only missed it by a couple of minutes, too.

I won't write right now about what happened today to take me away from my happy comfort zone, and therefore made it impossible to write. I will say that I am fine and the Little One is great and so is Mr. C. At some point I will write about it, though.

Instead, I will write about the fact that today is my two year blog-birthday. I decided to start blogging on a whim. I had been following a few blogs that I had come across somehow and had no idea how blogging worked or that I would find a community of amazing women who would offer me so much support. I just figured it might be a good idea to have a place to write as I started the TTC journey again. It is hard to believe that that was two years ago!

So, how does a girl celebrate her blog-birthday? Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I really wish I could just post a picture

I feel so lame for posting this. Not just because the quiz says I am boring old mashed potatoes, either. Sorry. If it weren't for my Nablopomo pledge I would be sparing everyone this pathetic post. I'm tired.




You Are Mashed Potatoes



Ordinary, comforting, and more than a little predictable

You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving dinner...X 3!!!

We have celebrations at our long-term care facilities pretty regularly. There was a Valentine's Day dance in February, a St. Patrick's Day dinner in March, a big Cinco de Mayo fiesta in May, a brunch in June, and a BBQ in August. And this Saturday at the four houses that are located all next to each other we will have a Thanksgiving dinner. On Sunday the fifth house, which is located a few miles away from the others, will have a dinner as well.

The residents and family members at each of the houses have already made it clear that they expect to see me at the dinners. So this means that this year I will be enjoying Thanksgiving dinner three times! That's just fine with me, because we have some amazing cooks at our houses. And I cannot begin to express how much I LOVE pumpkin pie.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

back at it

I've started painting again.

Just some little circles, a way to play with color, really, but it is a start.

I have so many paintings in my head. I have a list, too, of promised paintings to some of you out there. I haven't forgotten. I just literally have not picked up a brush (until a few weeks ago) since I made that promise. I will make good on it, though.

This blog looks so incomplete to me without pictures. Another promise: I will find the cable for my camera or buy a new one...soon. We took more belly pictures yesterday. And he said he thought it was a good idea to take a bare-belly picture. It was pretty funny, because, without thinking, I sucked in my stomach when he took the picture. We laughed when we looked at it, because it was so obvious. So we took another one where I relaxed.

Oh, and on an almost completely different topic:
You know how they say that horizontal stripes aren't a good idea if you are trying to look thinner? Well, this has never been an issue for me (unless I got crazy and decided to find some pants with horizontal stripes, as it is my rear end that needs minimizing) so I do have some striped shirts. Today I am wearing a top with small black and white stripes, kind of a sailor look, and I swear that it camouflages the belly. At least from the front view.

Monday, November 17, 2008

sixteen weeks

I started a reply to Monica in the comments of my last post, but then it got so long that I decided that I better just post it here.

I didn't have a TAC (transabdominal cerclage), I had a vaginal (McDonald) cerclage. This is my first pregnancy after my IC loss, and all of the high-risk specialists that have reviewed my charts have agreed that I am a good candidate for this type of cerclage.

In my links list I have a link to a new IC forum (under IC Support) and there is a spot on there all about TACs, so that may be a good place to go for information/personal experiences with them. I have found this to be a pretty good forum. It is active and it represents a wide variety of IC experiences.

Physically I'm feeling pretty good. I tried to pay attention to all of the different twinges, aches, etc. before my cerclage was placed, so I could have a bit of a clue what might be "normal" for me and what might be due to the cerclage. I still find myself obsessing over anything that doesn't feel quite right, though. I find that I tend to have good days and bad days. Some days I feel more confident, like everything is going well. On the bad days I feel like everything is on the verge of falling apart. It can be set off by something physical--like a back ache that really is muscle soreness, cramps that turn out to be gastrointestinal, or a bit of extra discharge--or it can be set off by something psychological or emotional. Hopefully as the days go by I will have more good days than bad days. This was true as I got through the first trimester--then the surgery kind of threw me into a new kind of turmoil. I went from fearing miscarriage to fearing PTL.

I feel so fortunate to have the information that I've learned through the two and a half years prior to getting pregnant again. Without it I know that I wouldn't have been the advocate for myself and this baby that I have been able to be. A lot of what I have learned has been from women I *met* through the Stillbirth board on iVillage and through the world of deadbaby momma bloggers. My doctors know that I am well informed, too. I've come at them with so many questions that I don't think they get very often.

Here are some things that I might not be doing/wouldn't know about/might not be taking as seriously if I had only relied on the advice of my doctors:
*I might not have pushed to have the surgery earlier. Yes, my loss was "later" at 22 weeks, but it is still better to get the cerclage in as early as possible to allow for healing and to avoid possible complications due to contractions. I would advise anyone who had an earlier loss than I did to push for as early as 11 weeks.
*My doctors have been agreeable to my suggestions and have altered my care accordingly. If they hadn't, I wouldn't have hesitated to find a doctor that would listen to me and take me seriously.
*Even though my OB really downplayed the impact the cerclage placement would have on me (he said I'd be up and about in just a couple of days and that I would probably only feel some cramping) I knew to expect a wide range of possibilities of how my recovery might go. One woman on a message board who has had 4 (successful) cerclages told me that each time her experience was different and that with two of the surgeries she needed up to a week to feel like she could be up and about.
*I am avoiding some things that both of my doctors have said are "probably fine," like baths and sex; my OB said that I don't really need to alter my activity level, aside from not lifting anything heavy, while my Peri said he'd like me to take it easy and put my feet up as much as possible--I'm following what the Peri says.
*I have made it clear that I think it is important to monitor for infections. My OB has already taken cultures once and I do believe that it is because of my encouragement. The research may not (currently) be able to prove a causal link to infections and cervical changes, but my feeling is that it is easy to test for and easy to treat--so why not do it?
*We don't currently have plans to do the P17 shots, but both doctors have told me that if it is something that I decide that I want to do then we will do them. If anyone out there has strong feelings on this, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

That is just a start to a list of what I would hope every woman would know prior to a sub-pregnancy after an IC or PTL loss. If anyone has anything to add or alter about what I've written, I'd appreciate the feedback.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

optimism

Yesterday I was out running errands and somehow found myself in a boutique baby furniture store. I was practically tip-toeing through the store. But the woman working there wouldn't let me be invisible. She watched me for a while, payed attention to what I lingered over. Then she led me to a crib in the corner with a matching dresser/hutch combo that she thought I might like. It is perfect. But while I was able to find the courage to look, it still feels way too early to buy anything.

Today Mr. C called me while I was over visiting his parents. Somehow we all got on the topic of names and started coming up with ideas. We thought of funny names, boring names, odd names, biblical names, traditional names...and we hit on a few names that we are now actually considering. It's not that I've been avoiding the subject, but I haven't been pursuing it, either.

Tomorrow I go back to work. I am so happy about this. I've missed the residents and the staff and I've missed being a part of something outside of myself. It will be good to have other people and activities to focus on. I'm starting out with an abbreviated schedule each day. After I see the Peri again we decide if it is a good idea to extend my day back to where it was before the surgery.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

in need of distraction




You Are a Yellow Crayon



Your world is colored with happy, warm, fun colors.

You have a thoughtful and wise way about you. Some people might even consider you a genius.

Charming and eloquent, you are able to get people to do things your way.

While you seem spontaneous and free wheeling, you are calculating to the extreme.



Your color wheel opposite is purple. You both are charismatic leaders, but purple people act like you have no depth.

Friday, November 14, 2008

foreign body

A few mornings ago I noticed as I was getting into the shower that from the side my belly is sort of shaped like a triangle--with the point at my belly button.

And speaking of my belly button...when I went in for my surgery a nurse removed my navel piercing. It had been in for 15 years, so it left a well healed but decently sized hole. So now it looks like I have a little mini belly button above my actual belly button.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

visit to the Peri

I saw the Peri today and my cervix is measuring over 4 cm. Yahoo!!!!! The little one is doing great in there, too. And we are pretty sure that those are boy parts we're seeing. While it is still a little early to tell definitively, or as close as you can get with these things, she was pretty sure she not only saw the twig, but also the berries. We will have another look in a couple of weeks when I have my cervical length checked again. At that point we will be in the 17th week.

I'm feeling good, better each day. The Peri wants me to take it easy, preferably until after week 30. He said it is wonderful that I have that much length, and he wants to do whatever we can to keep it that way. So I will go back to work but on a modified schedule. I am so happy to be going back to work.

The scanner isn't set up, but I will ask Mr. C to help me do it because we are getting so many ultrasound pictures. Today we got one of (him) in 4D sucking (his) thumb. So cute. Oh, and a belly photo had finally been taken. A couple of nights ago my brother told me that we really need to take some pictures of my growing belly because if we don't do it then we will regret it. A few minutes later he came back into the room with his camera. He doesn't have a cable for his camera, either, but at least the picture has been taken.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

they will be here soon

About the situation with my sister...

I had decided that I just couldn't give it any energy. Tuesday night after the election results had been in for a while and our celebration here had settled down, my brother came into the room and handed me his phone. It was my sister. We talked for a long time about our feelings about the election and the world in general. It was a nice conversation and we didn't talk about her upcoming visit or any of that (even though she had sent me an e-mail earlier that day saying that her work assignment had changed and that the visit would be cut to just three days...I chose to not address it over the phone since Mr. C and I hadn't come to a decision). She did say that she would be thinking of me in the morning while I was in for my surgery and that she just knew everything was going to be OK.

The next day she sent me another e-mail saying that it would actually only be two days. I was in no shape to come to a decision at that point. Heck, at that point I wasn't really in shape to make a simple decision like what I wanted to eat.

A couple of days went by and I received another e-mail from her. This time she actually asked me how the surgery went, hoping I was feeling well and getting plenty of rest. She also asked if I would be on bedrest.

Another two days went by before I was up for calling her. By that time Mr. C and I had taken the time to discuss it. He feels like it is a bad idea to have guests since he knows I need my rest and that I will over-do it if they come. Even still, though, he agreed that they could stay. Based on the conversation she and I had on the phone that day I think it was more that she was oblivious to the reality of what I have been going through. When we talked she asked how I was doing and I told her that the pain was letting up quite a bit but was experiencing a lot of nausea. She was completely taken aback...pain? Why was I experiencing pain? She honestly seemed to have no idea what the surgery entailed. I know that I had explained it to her. But my sister is prone to denial, especially when it concerns someone she cares about. It's almost like the information just won't process. So I described to her, graphically, the details of the surgery. One part of it I had been unaware of myself until afterward when Mothership explained it to me (the part about how they pull the cervix down with forceps in order to get the stitch in high...yuck). The other thing that I explained to her, in no uncertain terms, is that the cerclage is not like a magic trick that makes everything perfect now and we are guaranteed a healthy, full-term baby. I could tell she didn't want to hear this, but I needed her to. It's not that she doesn't care, it is quite the opposite. I think it is that she cares so much that it just is too much for her to hear.

So they actually arrived yesterday, but stayed the night in a hotel. I had told her on the phone that I could handle them coming on Wednesday and staying two nights. She ended up having a meeting on Tuesday after all, so she made other arrangements for last night. I was proud of myself for holding strong about that. Especially because she had hoped to stay the night with a colleague last night but because of the dog that wasn't an option. I actually told her, in what to me felt like a nice and respectful way, that it wasn't reasonable to ask people to bring your dog along. She didn't say anything in response to that, but I am glad that I put it out there.

I love my sister and I miss the days when we had a close relationship. I am hoping that we can have one again, but I realize that it is important for me to set boundaries that are healthy for me and my family. I am praying that this visit goes well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

my new default mode

For most of my life anxiety has been my default mode. I can't remember a time when I didn't have a "nervous stomach." My mother always said I was her contemplative child, others called me sensitive. Sure, there are some things that seem to be hard-wired into us. And I could explain in detail the reasons why I developed this way. But there came a time when I realized that I don't have to be burdened by my tendencies, that I can change the way I respond to life's stressors and, more importantly, how I respond to what I have come to understand are my "triggers."

How I did this was through a combination of things. First of all I got some pretty intense individual therapy and Mr. C and I saw a therapist together, which was also intense. This happened about a year and a half after losing William. I kept saying that I was going to find someone to talk to, but never got around to it until things were so bad that I couldn't eat or sleep. To the therapist's credit, she didn't push medication, but I requested it. The very small dose that I took was enough to bridge the gap for a while so I could function as a human being again. I have never been one to do something part-way (I guess that is why I love training for marathons so much) so while I was in individual therapy I also began a pretty rigorous practice of meditation.

I went off of the medication after six months and despite a not-so-fun withdrawal experience got through it without too big of an impact on my mood or level of anxiety. But then about a month or so later I found myself in the grip of high-anxiety again. It caught me off guard. I really thought I had fixed that problem. When I fought against it, tried to shut it off, it just seemed to get worse. So, since that wasn't working, I decided to take the opposite approach and look directly at it and really allow myself to experience it. I had started with a new layer to my meditative practice which had me much more deeply exploring my spirituality. I now believe that this is what brought up the intense negative reaction, so that I could work through it more effectively. In the months since then I have continued with my practice.

And then I got pregnant. It is so hard to meditate when your mind just seems to have a life of its own. Where did my sense of peace go? Where did my focus go? I realize that even in a "normal" pregnancy that concentration is a challenge. As the weeks have gone by my meditation practice has been stripped down to the bare minimum. And then, last night, I felt that familiar free-falling feeling again. I woke up this morning to the raw, bitter, heavy pit deep in my solar plexus. Oh. I know this feeling. My mind immediately started its old game--obsession over things that were said last night between me and Mr. C, how he shared his fears and some negative feelings. But then a little nudging came from a corner of my mind. I don't have to do this. There is another way. I reached for the book that sits beside my bed and read through some of the pages. I closed my eyes and brought my attention to my breathing. Eventually my body calmed down. I don't have to go down that old road again.

The surgery was harder on us emotionally than I had anticipated. I guess I was just so focused on getting through it, that I didn't give much thought to how the experience might affect us. For me it brought up a lot of fear because it signals the beginning of the part of this pregnancy where so many things can go wrong. For Mr. C simply being at the hospital, as well as seeing me vulnerable, brought back a lot of bad memories and yucky feelings. We've both been doing our best to be positive through this pregnancy. But the fact is that it is not the exciting time that we had before, up until the day it all went to shit. It feels like holding your breath and walking across a tightrope.

Today was the first day that I had almost no pain. I actually was up and doing things more than I was resting. I am still "taking it easy" though, until I get that ultrasound on Thursday. By the way, my sister and her husband (and the dog) are coming tomorrow and will stay two nights with us. I will write later about what has transpired since I last mentioned it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

follow-up

I saw my doctor today for a follow-up on the surgery. Everything looks good.

But in the hours leading up to the appointment I had myself convinced that something horrible was happening/going to happen. The pain is getting better, but for the past two days I have been nauseated. I even grabbed a thermometer to see if I had a fever. I didn't. Still, I was fighting thoughts about an infection. I didn't tell my doctor of my fears, since I knew he was looking to see if everything was healing well. He took a culture, just to be on the safe side, and that made me feel so much better. The exam was such an ordeal for me. I was practically climbing off of the table. They must think I am such a wimp. Honestly, the way I acted, they must be wondering how I got pregnant in the first place! Of course they are so kind and understanding. The nurse kept telling me to relax. But it just wasn't an option.

I see this doctor every two weeks, but since the next appointment would fall on the week of Thanksgiving it will end up being three weeks until I see him again. That is fine with me, since I will see the Peri in between. At that point I will be 18 weeks, which sounds so far away right now.

Oh, and I tempted fate today. Not really, but it sure felt like it. When I was getting dressed I found myself with two pair of jeans that just didn't feel good. One pair is not maternity but still fit reasonably well last week. Now they are fine when I am standing, but when I sit down they cut right across the bump (which is just below my belly button). The other pair has a band that is about 4 inches thick and is made of heavy cotton and elastic. It hits me right across the bump as well, and is tight. This bothered me before, but now with that particular area being tender/slightly painful it is not at all tolerable. So I opened the bin that holds all of my old maternity clothes and pulled out the jeans. They fit and feel comfortable. They are also what I was wearing the day I was admitted to the hospital when I went into labor with William. I almost didn't wear them, but decided that I needed to just do it. I sure do hope the seamstress calls soon so I can go get the three new pair of pants I got that fit and feel good across my tummy. I will wear the old jeans at least a couple more times. If the memory keeps haunting me when I wear them then I think I will give them away.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

a decision will have to be made eventually




You Like Names that Are Retro and Fashionable



You like names that are from the past but becoming modern again.

Names with a strong history are very appealing to you.



You're a big believer in giving children very adult sounding names.

You're not a fan of nicknames or newfangled spellings.



Some female names you might like: Audrey, Emma, Fiona, Georgia, Isabelle, Naomi, Rosemary, and Veronica



Some male names you might like: Brendan, Colin, Ethan, Jared, Kenneth, Martin, and Nathaniel



I'm too tired for a real post. But I figured that if I looked around on blogthings a bit I'd find something to amuse myself. I don't know how I feel about all of these suggestions, but I do agree with the overall assessment of what I like in a name. And Georgia is among the girl names I like.

We haven't had the name discussion too much yet. I think we are both waiting to see if it is a girl or a boy before we take it too seriously. Mr. C does have a couple of favorite boy names that he loves to torture me with: Conan and Red. Ugh.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

too much of a good thing

I was delighted to take a nice hot shower this morning, but after three days of very little time on my feet I guess I over did it. Afterward I was pretty tired and had a nagging pain that didn't seem to be subsiding. So I took one of the pain pills, rather than the tylenol. They aren't anything strong, are mostly tylenol anyway, and yesterday I took a tylenol and it seemed that only after taking a pain pill (four hours later) did I feel any real relief. But today even the pain pill didn't seem to be doing the trick after about an hour so I took another one. The prescription is for 1 to 2 pills, so this is well within what should be reasonable.

It ended up being a very bad idea. It made me nauseated beyond belief. I even tried to make myself vomit to get some relief, but nothing doing. Eventually I was able to fall asleep and was knocked out for several hours. Now I feel like a human being again. A groggy, weak human being, but better than I did earlier today. A day has been shot, and a lesson has been learned.

Friday, November 7, 2008

paradox

Last night I had a bit of a meltdown and came to the conclusion (more like it was brought to my attention and I finally acknowledged it) that I was in pain and that it was OK to take something for it. I took some tylenol and it really did help. While I am still moving slowly and am spending most of my time resting, I really am feeling a lot better today. I have hope that tomorrow will be even better. Still, even when I am back to feeling great, I have resolved to "take it easy" for the next...well, until I get out of the danger zone, a.k.a. the second trimester.

I marvel at the fact that I am now in the second trimester. I do realize that for most women this is something to celebrate, and I definitely am happy and thankful to continue to move forward every day, but making this transition came with trepidation. What is supposed to be the "best" part of pregnancy (according to one of my books) is the part of pregnancy that carries with it the most risk.

But I have made it this far. And I've done so by focusing on each day as it comes and not getting too far ahead of myself. Besides, while I look forward to Valentines' Day and the special significance that it will hold, there will be many great days between now and then to enjoy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

the details of my cerclage surgery

We arrived at the hospital at about 7 a.m. and didn’t wait long before I was taken back for pre-surgery. I had a student nurse helping with my intake. She was really nice, but the vein in my right hand blew up, so the other nurse had to take over. She got a vein in my left arm to cooperate. The anesthesiologist came in to consult with me. My doctor had me thinking that we would most likely be using a general, which I did not like the idea of at all. But the anesthesiologist let me decide and he recommended the spinal, so that is what we went with.

In the freezing cold O.R. the anesthesiologist went right to work on my spinal, which was a piece of cake. I was shivering slightly through the placement of it, but that was due to nerves and how freaking cold it was in there. He kept swiping swabs of something cold on my limbs to test to see if I was numb, which I didn’t feel like I was at all. My feet and bottom felt tingly, though, so we knew that it was starting to work. After a few minutes the nurse started to prep me. I could only just barely feel what she was doing, so he assured me that the spinal was kicking in. He said that if I felt anything close to pain that he could give me something additional to help. When my doctor started with the sewing I could feel it. It wasn’t the type of pain that even makes you say “ouch” really loud, but it just felt wrong. It felt like someone pushing something sharp against the outside of my belly. So I let them know and he put some kind of narcotic in my IV and slipped a mask on my face for a few minutes. By the time he did that the doctor was pretty much done. The actual surgery took less time than the placement of the spinal did.

In the post-surgery I started out feeling great. They got me set up to monitor all of my vitals and put some warm blankets on me. But after the nurse went away I started to have a cold sweat, strong nausea feeling. I wasn’t afraid that I would throw up, I could hear my heart rate, which was normal, and my blood pressure was normal as well, so I didn’t panic. I started to feel a bit better by the time the nurse came back. She noticed right away that I wasn’t feeling well, though. So she got me some anti-nausea medication. She also gave me a shot of terbutaline per doctor’s orders as a precaution. My vitals had remained stable, so after a little while they took me to recovery.

Mr. C and Mothership got to visit me in recovery, but since I knew I was going to be there for a couple of hours the nurse and I kind of kicked Mr. C out after Mothership left to go to work. I had a prescription for pain meds that needed to be filled, so really we sent him on an errand. I mostly just tried to rest. They brought me soup and crackers and lots of water, checked on me every now and then, and listened to the baby’s heartbeat. All in all I heard it four times yesterday and every time it was 156. The last nurse to take it said, “That means it’s a boy, right?” And Mr. C and I responded, “We’ll see.” At some point my doctor came by to check on me and remove the dressings they had packed me with. When I saw them I thought that it looked like a lot of blood. But the nurse and the doctor both seemed impressed by the lack of blood on them. This made me feel better.

Eventually they released me to go home. I bled a little for the rest of the day. But it was not too much and by the late evening there was almost no blood at all. I did start to have some cramping/pain, so I took one of the pain pills. I was going to try to go without them, but I worried that the pain might get worse. It wasn’t a strong medication, because it didn’t completely knock out the pain. I felt fine, though.

Mr. C wouldn’t let me climb the stairs last night, so I slept on the sofa. One way or another, my accommodations will change for tonight, because it wasn’t comfortable. The fact that my lower back is tender from the spinal has a lot to do with my lack of comfort, I’m sure. So far today I haven’t had any bleeding or cramping. I am very tender, though, and move VERY slowly when I make my occasional trips to the bathroom. It feels so strange to rely on others for pretty much everything. But I’m under strict orders (from Mr.C) to not do anything for at least a couple of days.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

cerclage is in

I'm home. I will write a more detailed description of my experience later. For now I'll say that things went well. It does suck, though, that after all of these weeks of being paranoid about spotting, I am bleeding. It is to be expected and isn't a lot, but it still sucks.

So now I rest.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

support

Thank you, ladies, for all of your supportive comments. I go in early tomorrow morning for the cerclage. I'm sure I will have questions afterward, so expect to hear from me:)

Right now we are glued to the television. Mr. C has been all day! I mean that literally, too. He actually stayed home from the office.

I got to see the little one today. I went in for a cervical check and she looked at the baby a lot, too. She even took a look to see if there is a little penis. Since it is still really early, it is by no means for sure, but there is a little something showing up between the legs. Could be girl parts, too, but she did write "boy...?" on that screen. It is among the pictures she printed for me. If this does end up being a girl I can use that picture against her some day. Not that I would ever do that!

Monday, November 3, 2008

fourteen weeks

I spent a couple of hours today at the doctor's office and the hospital doing all of the pre-op stuff. While in the midst of it all I do very well. But it occurred to me while I was sitting in one of the waiting rooms that my obsession for the past two days that I am leaking amniotic fluid is due to anxiety. Duh.

We had hoped to do an emergency cerclage last time, but my water broke as they were prepping me for the surgery. That was then. My membranes had prolapsed three days prior and, well, it didn't come as too much of a shock (to the doctors) that things turned out the way they did. This is now. We are doing this surgery as a preventative measure, well before things went wrong last time. That is the logical analysis--but logic has nothing to do with the subconscious fears and the memories that, even if on the surface I have come to manage, are still very much a part of me.

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I haven't done anything about the situation with my sister. I just can't put any energy toward it right now. Tomorrow I plan to get home from work as soon as possible to watch the election returns and that will most likely occupy me for the rest of the evening (we're having the parents over for dinner and we will all either celebrate or commiserate together). Obviously Wednesday is going to be busy with the surgery and all. So it will be Thursday before I can call her. Maybe after a week she will have gotten some perspective. Maybe not. All I can do is hope for the best.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

bad timing

My sister and I were dressed alike a lot when we were small. She is a little over two years older than I am, but we were pretty close in size so many people mistook us for twins. As we got older it seemed to me that our appearances became more and more distinct, yet through the years this has continued to happen on occasion.

We grew closer as we got older. Even though we lived several hours away from each other we found time for frequent visits. There was a time when we spent a considerable amount of time together. I called her my sister-best friend. But things changed shortly after she returned from New Zealand, where she did her graduate research, when along came the man she fell in love with there. It didn't take long before they were engaged, and the wedding was only a few months after that.

They will celebrate their third anniversary next month. I danced at her wedding with William in my belly, about the same size as this baby is now. I didn't see her again until after he was born. She tried so hard to be there for me. I believe that she wanted to say all of the right things. But she said all of the wrong things. I didn't hold it against her, or even let on that I felt that way. I knew that she was hurting for me and that what she said was really to make herself feel better. This happened with a few other people in my life as well, and I found that it made me fill up with compassion for them rather than anger or frustration.

I haven't seen my sister in a long time, not since she came shortly after William's funeral. I reached out to her last summer, before I moved, when it seemed as if my world was falling apart. We spoke on the phone several times and it really did help to have someone to talk to. But we never found the time to get together.

When we moved to the other side of the state last year she said she might need to come to the office her company has over here for a meeting at some point. Finally, after talking about it for months, she e-mailed several weeks ago to say that she would be coming in November for a couple of days. Her husband isn't working, so he will come along, too. And she asked if it would be OK to bring their boxer, who they take with them everywhere. I said sure, since it was only for a couple of days, and I was so happy to plan a visit with her after all this time.

Then came another e-mail, saying that the stay had been extended for a whole week, and asking if they should get a hotel. Yes, I replied, a hotel would be a good idea, easier for everybody. Then came her response, that she had spoken too soon and that she didn't think her company would provide a hotel, wondering if they could stay after all. So I said yes. A little voice in my head that I pushed aside whispered that this might not be a good idea. I didn't mention it to Mr. C, who was reluctant for the two day visit since it included the dog. My brother has been living with us for the past two months, so now the house would be very full and Mr. C has already been feeling the strain of not having his house to himself.

And it didn't occur to me that the timing was particularly bad considering that their visit was scheduled for the week after my surgery. I continued to neglect telling Mr. C about the extended visit. Partly this was due to avoidance, but I am also blaming it on pregnancy brain. On Wednesday my brother mentioned it to him, though, so that took care of that. He spoke with me about it on Wednesday evening and as we talked it became very clear to me that having three extra adults and a 60 pound high-maintenance dog here for a week when I am recovering from cerclage surgery was not a good idea. Mr. C is certain that I would try to do too much, and after reflecting on it I have to say that I believe he is right.

I know my sister very well. She takes everything personally and I knew that she would most likely not get the main point--that we were making this decision because it is what is best for me and the baby. I tried my best to explain it to her, but I could tell that she was upset. Apparently because this particular meeting is for a government project, they really won't pay for a hotel. They do offer company housing, but that means that the husband and the dog cannot come along. She said she has a colleague that they can stay with. She said that she will give me a call when she gets into town. She just didn't hear me. I told her over and over that this really disappointed me, that I wished the timing was different, that I am so excited to see her. But I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was just not getting it. She didn't even ask me about the surgery (other than to ask if it was including a hospital stay), or how I was feeling about it.

Yesterday my brother talked with my mom on the phone and, sure enough, she asked about what was going on. She has only heard my sister's version, and it doesn't paint me in a very good light. I was right, she is really upset. She even told my mom that she doesn't even know if she will see us when she is here! We have always had a good relationship. How do I respond to this?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

secrets

I am good at keeping secrets. It seems like people can just sense this about me, because I have carried many secrets throughout my life. Most recently I was the bearer of a secret concerning a woman I work with. She is younger than I am, but has five children at home. She has a sixth child, too, a daughter who died of anencephaly. A few weeks ago she started to wonder if her lack of a period wasn't just caused by the birth control shot she was using, which the doctor had told her could cause her period to be scant. So she took a HPT and, low and behold, baby number seven is on its way.

All of her other children were planned, including the 15 month old who came after the one who died. That pregnancy was really hard for her. Her husband hadn't wanted to go down that road again. He was too scared to lose another and felt that their family was complete. She needed to have another baby. The pregnancy was not easy, though, and she ended up on IV meds through most of it due to extreme "morning" sickness. Through all of it she continued to work! She had a pick line in her arm and would administer the IV before and after work. He was supposed to be their last baby. But she didn't get her tubes tied like they had planned and, well, obviously the shot wasn't very effective.

She has been very scared. Since this pregnancy came as a surprise she wasn't taking the high dose of folic acid that is so vital during the early weeks when the neural tube is forming. But her 6 week ultrasound showed a beating heart. And while she is still realistic that things aren't guaranteed to go well, she shared her news with everyone else at work a week later. So now I don't have to carry her secret around any more. I am moved by her courage and optimism. I encourage it, too. I tell her that she brought five healthy babies into the world and what happened with her little girl won't necessarily happen again. I believe what I am saying to her. She is due six weeks after me. I pray so hard that our little babies will play together some day.

There was a time during my grieving process when it was difficult to be around mothers with their children, and especially to be around pregnant women. At first it was just too painful a reminder of what I had lost, and fear that I may never have. But after a while it turned to something more along the lines of anger. I found myself thinking that these women had no clue what a blessing it was that they had these children, that everything worked out for them. At some point, though, it settled in for me that there is no way for me to know what was in the hearts of these women. Just as there was no way for them to know, just by looking at me, of the loss that I have experienced.

Friday, October 31, 2008

putting it in writing



Maybe it is because of all of the Halloween candy I have been eating (so bad...I'm so bad) but, yes, although I have posted an average of less than two times a month over the last 9 months and a whopping 9 times in January, I am actually planning to participate in NaBloPoMo.

Now I have even more incentive to find the cable and charger for my digital camera.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

thirteen weeks

I can't really put a finger on why I've been finding it difficult to write. Sure, Mr. C was out of town for a week and he took the notebook with him (which would have meant sitting up in a proper chair at a desk, yuck), but he has been home now for several days and I am only just now giving it a try.

Things are still moving along in a way that should be reassuring. Yesterday we had another visit with the OB and the nurse, who pronounces my name right and everything (which I can't tell you how much I love), made a comment about my growing baby belly. Doc found the heartbeat without too much effort and I didn't have a panic attack when it didn't happen right away and he had to apply a bunch more goo for his second attempt. Mothership went with me for this visit in case she had any questions concerning the surgery. She was beaming all day afterward because she got to hear little one's galloping heartbeat.

I go in for the cerclage a week from tomorrow. I know I keep going on about it, but I really do heart my OB. Yesterday, after asking him a page full of questions I started improvising even more questions. At that point some of them kind of don't really have an answer, but he still worked through them with me. When I asked him a what-if sort of question that basically was "what if I am freaking out?" but worded in a way that veiled it to make me sound more reasonable, his answer was that I could call them and come in any time. I needed to hear that. So far, I have been managing to talk myself down whenever I freak out. But it is nice to know that I can go in there if I need to. Fortunately I have appointments with him every two weeks and visits to the Peri in between, so I should be covered.

I met with the Peri a couple of weeks ago. They did the nuchal translucency scan that day and it showed little one meeting all of the standards. I went to the lab and did the blood test that day as well. No results have been reported to me, so I am taking that as a positive sign. We got to see little one in 4D, all curled up and looking cozy. Next week I will have another ultrasound done before the surgery. They will be measuring my cervix, but I sure do hope that we will get another peek at little one. Who, by the way, I've started to feel fluttering around in there. At first it was so subtle that I thought it must be my imagination or, well, gas. But after several days of feeling it I am certain that it is, indeed, the baby.

Over the weekend I took what felt like a giant leap and went shopping for maternity pants. If I had gone alone I probably would have chickened out and just bought some low-rise pants in a size bigger than I normally wear. But I had told our office coordinator that I needed to go shopping for pants and Mothership was in her office and overheard me. I didn't realize she was there, otherwise I wouldn't have said anything. She loves to spoil me and will take any opportunity to go shopping, which makes me feel a bit guilty. Without any prior discussion when we got to the mall she led me right into the maternity shop. To my delight I found out that there has been a great advance in maternity wear in the three years since I was pregnant with William. Yes, the clothes were pretty much the same then in terms of style and quality. But the belly panels have really advanced. Among the pants with thick, heavy weight belly panels they now have many with this thin, light weight stretchy fabric that feels so good to me. For some reason this time I cannot tolerate anything even slightly tight around my belly. I have officially crossed the threshold and am now wearing maternity clothes. The earth didn't open up and swallow me, like it felt like it would.

I'm taking tiny steps, tip-toeing though this pregnancy. I try to visualize the baby. I want so badly to feel some sort of connection, but so far I don't think that I do. Mr. C is great. He talks to the baby and puts his hand on my belly. He says things like, "Honey, come here, and bring the baby with you." I can't shake the feeling, though, that it is all just pretend. Whenever my due date is brought up it reminds me that we had one of those before, but it came four months after the baby arrived. For now I just can't think that far ahead. One week. I can handle thinking ahead to one week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

about the littlest bean

Note: this post, and probably most of the posts for the next long while (God willing), is primarily about this pregnancy. I am pretty sure that this subject is tolerable by most of the readers of my blog. If not, then I just want to be clear about it so you know what to expect. I realize that some dead-baby momma bloggers have found sensitive ways to blog about a sub-pregnancy, but I just can't think of a way to write honestly if I am censoring myself. The original intention for the blog from the start was for it to be a place where I could record my experience of a sub-pregnancy. It has just taken me far longer to get here than I had anticipated. During these (almost) two years of writing I have come to realize that this blog is so much more than just a place to record my thoughts and feelings. I guess what I am trying to say is that I acknowledge that for some of you out there it is painful to read this particular type of good news.
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I saw my OB today for one of those quickie visits and was treated to the beautiful sound of the little one's thumping heart. I had myself prepared for the very reasonable possibility that we might not be able to find it. As he moved the doppler around I breathed calmly and allowed myself to hope. Hearing it was so darn fantastic. You couldn't wipe that smile off of my face. I asked him if he could get a BPM for me and he said it was in the 160 range. It seems like everyone is certain that this is a girl (everyone but me...I have no clue) so if the heart rate stays high we will see if that old wives' tale is correct.

As I mentioned before, my belly is growing rather impressively (the rest of me is staying small and the weight gain is minimal, which wasn't the case with my last pregnancy, Mothership says this is all the more evidence that this is a girl). A couple of days ago Mr. C commented that I should probably just break down and go out and get some maternity pants. My response, which came out of my mouth without thinking about how it might upset him, was that I was waiting for my doctor appointments to make sure that the baby is still alive. Today when I called him to tell him about the heartbeat he was so relieved. He said that he has been worried since I said that. I realize that while it is important that I am honest with him about how I am feeling, he doesn't need to hear everything that goes through my often anxiety-riddled mind. To be sure, he does not. I pretty much span the range of hopes and fears throughout the day. My mind can be a scary place.

The doc brought up the cerclage surgery and when I told him I'd rather do it sooner than later he agreed to do it the first week of November. He had been indicating since our first conversation that he'd like to do it at 16 weeks, so I didn't expect it to be so easy to talk him into doing it earlier. I have a pre-op visit with him in two weeks. I am anxious about the surgery but am so glad that it doesn't require general anesthesia. The spinal is scary, but I find it to be a much less frightening option.

To change the subject to a non-pregnancy topic I have to say that I am counting down to the first week of November with much anticipation: 22 days until the election. Oh it is such a focus of our attention around here! We DVR several news shows a day, as well as The Daily Show and the Colbert Report (just to keep things in balance, you know). I am so captivated by it all. I'd like to say that I am shocked by some of the twists and turns that have developed, but things have gotten so bizarre that it is hard to even be shocked anymore. I have talked to many people who found the debates to be boring and, so far, my unscientific data collection proves out the stat that I heard that the majority of the viewers tune-out after about a half an hour. I, however, have watched all three debates practically on the edge of my seat. I am just so riveted by the possibility of what might be said or how it might be said or if a particular candidate might actually make eye-contact with his opponent. My years as a high school humanities teacher trained me well to hold a discussion about such a sticky topic without pissing anyone off or being too overt about my personal views. Fortunately my in-laws, while of a very different religious background, share my political perspective. And Mr. C and I are on the same page, too. I know several couples for whom this is not the case, so I am grateful. Perhaps if we all weren't of a like mind we would avoid the subject altogether, though. As it is, we have the tendency to get ourselves a little too worked-up sometimes. Which is why I am counting down the days. Oh, and we have a tight race for the Governor in Washington State as well. Last time it came down to a highly charged re-count, and the same two candidates are squaring off again. I am always glad when the election is over, because I feel like I can relax again.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

finally connected

We moved into our house at the end of January and all this time I have been without an internet connection.

But tonight when I got home I was delighted to see that the new router Mr. C bought today did the trick and the wireless connection is working!

I'm going to have to pace myself, because I am so excited to finally get caught up on blogs.

Yay!

I am an optimist and am not superstitious, but still it is difficult for me to write that things with the pregnancy are going well. They are, but that doesn't mean that I am not pretty much a nut-case most of the time. While the spotting hasn't returned and my belly is growing at a much faster rate than anyone can believe, I have cramping and lower back pain a lot and sometimes it sends me into a panic. There is a cause for it and it happened the last time I was pregnant, too, so my rational mind knows that it is "normal" (I have a retroverted or backwards-facing uterus, and as it straightens out it causes a lot of discomfort). I have appointments with both my OB and the Peri next week, so that will help. When I see the OB we will hopefully be able to hear the heartbeat with the doppler (if my effed-up uterus doesn't pose a problem). And when I see the Peri we will do an ultrasound, so that will be good--whatever it shows, for better or for worse, at least the results are reliable. If all looks good we will be scheduling the cerclage surgery then, too. If possible I am going to schedule my OB and Peri appointments so they are staggered, rather than occurring in the same week. The more frequent I can be seen by someone the better.

We were keeping the pregnancy a secret and planned to do so for as much of the first trimester as possible. But Pops (my father in law) blabbed the news three weeks ago to one of our employees. By the next day the word had spread like wildfire. At first I was filled with this fear that it would jinx things--now the pregnancy is doomed for sure. I get that feeling almost every time I write in the cute pregnancy journal that I bought in a moment of bravery several weeks ago. And today I went to buy the new book that my book group is going to read next and I found myself walking over to the pregnancy section, actually picking up one of those big books that walks you through your pregnancy (complete with a week-by-week section), and taking it to the register with me. As I walked out to the parking lot I was thinking that I had just done something stupid.

I'm almost to 10 weeks. It is still so early. Each day feels like a victory, though. The idea of 40 weeks is just too daunting. So instead my focus right now is to get to 15 weeks and the surgery. After that my focus will shift to 24 weeks and viability. I know that is still a long-shot, but it is something to grasp for. After that is 28 weeks, a much more realistic chance for survival. And if I can make it that far then I know I can start to breathe a little easier. Everyone around me is so darn positive about this pregnancy. It is touching, and I hope that I can join them in feeling that way at some point as well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

baby steps

I'll share the good news first: I got to see the little one today and I am measuring right at date (6 weeks 2 days) and even got to see the flickering heartbeat. And the ultrasound technician was WONDERFUL.

My first appointment isn't scheduled until this coming Monday, but they ordered an ultrasound today because over the past 10 days I have had three incidents of spotting. Until this morning it happened on the weekends, so each time I talked to an on-call doctor. Both times they told me pretty much the same thing--that since it was a scant amount and brown blood, it was probably implantation bleeding. And that is what my Doctor told me today as well after he saw the results of the ultrasound.

I hate being scared. I hate not really believing that this will all work out.

What I am so grateful for is that I have my own covert team of medical professionals on my side who order labs for me and have the ability to get me in even on the weekend when everything is closed to get an HCG level, stat. Seeing that high number last Saturday and the number continuing to go up on Monday helped me to breathe a little easier. So much so that when I saw the spotting this morning I didn't break into a cold sweat (like I did the first time, last Sunday) or cry and cry, certain it was all over (like I did the second time, this Saturday). Instead I kept my wits about me and calmly called my Doctor's office. And I am full of gratitude that I have found a practice where I am treated so well and with such expedience.

Thank you to everyone for your kind and thoughtful comments. Your words of encouragement have been part of what has helped me to move forward each day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

words left unsaid, and words I cannot keep to myself

I know that I have already mentioned that we don't have an internet connection at home yet. Because of that I have been out of touch not only with my own blogging but with keeping up with the blogs I'd like to read.

During this time many posts have been written in my mind. Some of them are things I can still write about, and maybe I will at some point. But others needed to be put out into the world at the time, and now their time has passed.

This post is one that I haven't ever really allowed myself even to imagine. How might I write the post that I had in mind when I created this blog in the first place--but because life has gone in directions I never expected at that time has been delayed for a year and a half.

I guess this is how--by writing choppy sentences and dancing around the perimeter instead of jumping right in. Goodness knows that any attempt at being eloquent is just not going to work out right now.

Yesterday, on 11 dpo in my first cycle using Clomid (Dr. suspects a Luteal Phase Defect caused my trouble conceiving this time) a digital test taken after work confirmed what a "line" test was hinting at in the morning: I'm pregnant.

And trying not to be completely freaked out.

My absence over the last several months, and lack of support to the ladies out there who have been going through pregnancies after a loss, makes this announcement feel odd to me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

our youtube debut

Mr C and I were about ten miles out of town when we turned around and headed back to get the charger for the camera. It wasn't until we were in San Diego that we realized that the darn battery wasn't in it. I bought a disposable camera on the ship, but only snapped a few pictures. We did, however, have a flip with us. Only about 2 minutes of space was available, so we came up with a plan for how we could shoot a movie that would encapsulate the cruise in 30 seconds or less.

There is one part that I begged him (pleaded with him) to take out. But he thinks I am crazy, it remains in. I don't think I am crazy, and it may sound silly but it feels like a really big accomplishment that I didn't freak out and refuse to let him do it.

This is my first time attaching a video, so I hope it works.




By the way, he really did hit a hole-in-one! We planned the whole gag (complete with my over-the-top vaudevillian response) and were surprised that the ball was actually in the hole.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

a non-post about not posting

I realize that I am writing what is perhaps the lamest thing possible for a blogger to write about: the fact that I'm not writing.

(But I'm doing it anyway.)

I'm still alive, but I am also still without an internet connection at home. There is a light off in the distance, though, a promise that I will once again be connected to the outside world.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

tagged

Christyna tagged me for a meme today and I am compelled to do it since it is (I believe) an "end of April" meme. I have so many posts unposted, including a meme Brenda tagged me for a while back...but, alas, I am doing what I can right now when it comes to the blog.

Here is my list of 10 things that have been keeping me busy:

1. I start (pretty much) every day in meditation. I'm not a morning person, so any extra time is precious. But since I started doing it last July, it has made such a profound impact on my life that I manage to get up and do it. I don't mean to sound like some sort of zealot or anything...so I'll leave it at that.

2. Running after the animals, mostly Gracie, keeps me busy. She is happiest when she gets a lot of activity--so I'm either busy taking her places and playing with her, etc. or I am busy dealing with her hyperactivity and downright goofiness if she was left alone for too much of the day. The kitties follow me around whenever Gracie is out in the backyard or when she is sleeping--they know the coast is clear so they take advantage of some cuddle time.

3. Trying to get knocked up without going crazy about it.

4. Morning exercise and afternoon activities with our residents, and a myriad of ever-changing diversions throughout the day. You never know what might come up when there are 30 residents, over 30 employees, volunteers and community contacts, and 5 houses to keep running (inside and out).

5. Mr. C got me XM Radio for Christmas and I love it. I want to get it in my house now too, because I find that at least once a day I sit in my car to continue listening to something that has compelled me.

6. Trying to fix healthy food for me and Mr. C each day. We decided when we were on our cruise that we want to eat lunch together as often as possible. This can be a challenge because our tastes are so far apart. I would be happy eating brown rice and veggies while he would be in heaven if pizza, cheese burgers and fries were actually healthy and he could eat them every day.

7. The house still isn't "moved in." I have three rooms that I still haven't finished painting and NONE of the rooms are fully furnished (not to mention accessories, art, etc.). The garage is filled with boxes. We still have a storage unit that is mostly filled. Mr. C is busy (understatement) with this film project so he hasn't had the time or energy to help with these things. So I plod away slowly and some days, like today and yesterday, I only manage to keep the house reasonably clean and tidy. It's OK, because I've got nothing but time. We were thinking we'd have a house-warming party at some point. Is there a time limit for such things?

8. Almost every evening we watch a movie. Without cable it is our only option, but it does require that we give attention to what we are watching rather than just turning on the TV and flipping through the channels.

9. I've been reading spiritual books lately. Good stuff.

10. Daydreaming about summer, which will be here before too long. I love spring, so I'm not wishing it away. I will, however, relish time outside, long days, grilling like crazy, riding our bikes...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Will this surge ever end?

I've been using OPKs and so far I have had pretty regular cycles with a positive OPK on day 17 and all of the physical signs of ovulation following.

This month I was on the cruise on day 17 and, sure enough, got the positive. I didn't notice the normal signs to follow, though. But that didn't set off any alarms or anything, since my schedule and eating patterns were all out of whack due to being on vacation.

I had a couple unused OPKs, though, and four days after the positive I--just for the heck of it--tested again. It was positive. The next day I tested again and, yep, it was positive. When I got home I went out and bought another box of OPKs. I've tested now for 5 days in a row and, you guessed it, still positive (I've even done both FMU and evening tests). So now I am 9 days out from the first positive.

What the...?

Of course I have done some research and did read that your body can have a surge and then not ovulate, only to later surge again. This wouldn't be surprising since travel, stress, being sick, drinking a lot of alcohol, etc. can impede the egg from releasing. But what is up with a surge lasting (at least) 5 days? I know I don't have PCOS. I also read that an OPK will go positive if you are pregnant, but only after implantation.

I ran out of OPKs today and will not buy any more. It is expensive (albeit strangely satisfying) to pee on sticks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

back on land

...but I feel like I am still on a boat, even though we got off the ship on Sunday morning. We had a long travel day yesterday that started at 4:30 a.m. and included two flights and a 4 hour drive. Today I am tired.

The trip was quite an experience. We had fun and enjoyed being away for a while. Being on a cruise really was a step into a different reality. I enjoyed sitting in the sun and reading, eating good food, and dancing almost every night. Mr. C and I made a little video of some highlights of the cruise which I hope to post in the next few days or so. He wants to fiddle around with it, so I'm really not sure when it will be done.

I got a little taste of summer, which felt wonderful. Apparently the weather here was pretty sunny and warm as well while we were away. Before we left it was still feeling like the verge of spring. The tree in our backyard, along with trees all over the area, was covered in blossoms. Now, the trees are full of yellow-green leaves. It is like the color dial on the landscape was turned up several notches--spring has definitely sprung.

Friday, April 11, 2008

away for a while

I realize that I have been away from the blog already--haven't posted in a very long time, which has been hard because I miss blogging and I miss catching up on all of you out there who I care so much about--but I am going away for an actual vacation.

Mr. C and I are taking a cruise and we are looking forward to some serious down-time. We started vacation planning with something tropical in mind and when the idea of a cruise came up I think we both were attracted to the idea of being out to sea.

Life is good and I am starting to get back into a groove again. I had really gotten in the swing of things before our move into the new house, then everything was thrown about into a swirl of activity and newness. Time away will be, perhaps needless to say, wonderful.

I have made a lot of progress on the house--all but one of the rooms that I intend to paint are either finished or almost finished and the unfinished room has paint on the wall (just doing one accent wall in there) but we decided to change the color.

I do plan to get back to posting regularly again. And I promise that if/when there is any news to share of any substance I will, most definitely, share it.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

sorry if I left anyone hanging

My days are so full now that I haven't been able to squeeze in even a moment during the last week to even peek in at blogs. We may be getting closer to being online at home, but sometimes it is one step forward and two steps back. Mr. C told me that he was getting things connected last week, then said he wasn't happy with the service so he is continuing his search for the perfect plan. If I had any time on my hands I would just do it myself, but I don't.

The mysterious spotting turned out to be just that. AF came right at 14 days. Since I was pretty sure we had missed the "right time" anyway it didn't disappoint me too much. Another month, another cycle. Anyone who was sending positive thoughts can (pretty please) continue to do so.

And now it is back to work!

Monday, February 25, 2008

OK, so maybe "soon" is a relative term

I still haven't gotten it together enough to manage to get the darn pictures onto my laptop. Add that to the fact that I have only found the time to get on the computer at all about a handful of times since I posted last. Each of those times I opted to read blogs instead of posting, partially due to the fact that I felt so lame for promising pictures and then not being capable of following through.

Ah, such is life.

I've been painting and getting rooms (slowly/partially) furnished. It seems that by the time I get around to posting pictures they may be before-and-after shots. Mr. C is out of town until tomorrow night (he went for a long-weekend to Vegas with a friend) so I have been spending every spare moment painting. It isn't that I cannot do it when he is here, but he does reel me in and keep me from going overboard. I reeled myself in last night, though, since I no longer have a schedule that is wide open. Our activity director quit last Thursday and we decided that I will run our activities instead of hiring a replacement. This means that I run our exercise program every morning and our afternoon activity. I love it. At exercise we sit in a big circle and do deep breathing, stretching and arm and leg exercises. We start the whole thing off by kicking a big yoga ball around the circle. The afternoon activities are different each day. Today we had an ice cream social, Friday we had a tea party (complete with fun hats to wear, it was a blast), Thursday we played bingo, tomorrow we are doing community service and Wednesday is spa day.

I need to share something. I've decided not to talk about it with anyone IRL but I feel like it is OK to write about it here. On Saturday, which was 5 dpo, I had a tiny bit of red spotting. I thought at first that I was having an extremely short LP, but I would be lying if I said that it hasn't crossed my mind that it could have been implantation bleeding. There. I just needed to get that out.

The meme where you post about six things about yourself has actually made it's way to me. Brenda tagged me and, like Brenda, this is the first time I have been tagged for a meme. I've already had a mental draft of something like this for quite some time, so it gives me an excuse to actually write the post. For now, though, I am off to read blogs.

Monday, February 11, 2008

pictures coming soon

We don't have an internet connection set up at home yet, and I don't know when it will happen since this is in Mr. C's domain and so far it is not very high on the priority list. But here I am helping out at the office so he can get a break and I am taking advantage of the opportunity to get online. If I had known I would be here I would have brought the digital cameras to download pictures of the new house.

It is still pretty empty, as the move is happening slowly. Gracie and the cats seem happy with their new home. There is plenty of room to run around and an abundance of hiding places.

We have been welcomed to the neighborhood--something that has never happened to us before. Yesterday when I opened the front door to take Gracie out for a walk I found a package containing a plate of cinnamon rolls and a note from one of our new neighbors. Soon I will summon up the courage to make my way over to their house to say thank you. Later in the day the phone rang and to my surprise it was the woman we bought the home from. Mothership ran into her a few days ago and mentioned that it was her son and daughter-in-law that were the new owners of her home and she gave her my number. She phoned to introduce herself and to ask if she could stop by to say hello. A little while later she and her husband came by with a basket filled with goodies for us. To my relief Gracie didn't maul them with kisses while we visited. They are a lovely couple who are originally from Brazil and they have five children. I knew they had children, but had no idea that there were five. The house is so quiet right now that it is hard to imagine so many people filling it with activity and noise. They are still in the neighborhood but built a larger home a couple of blocks away. It was very clear to me how much they loved the home and how many good memories it holds for them.

I was very impressed by the fact that I made it through the entire process of looking for a home and all of the home-buying experience without getting anxious. Then Saturday morning it snuck up on me. Hmmm...what is that clenched, acidic feeling in my solar plexus? It was still with me yesterday, like a gnawing in the back of my brain, all-the-while my insides were churning. At first the rational part of my mind tried to sort it all out. This can be a big problem. A person who has never struggled with anxiety might not understand this, but it is the thoughts that can be the true undoing.

Well, I have to run before I can really finish where I was. I will just say that overall I am doing OK. I will try to write again before too long.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

not long now

It has been so difficult to get onto a computer lately, and when I do it isn't the one I love (I've become, over the years, a mac snob...but I won't get into that now) and I can't spend much time on it.

We signed the papers yesterday, today we are supposed to get the key.

Tomorrow is February first.

I am wondering if anyone, even Mr. C, remembers. And maybe it is childish of me, but I have not brought it up to them.

I do have plans for how I want to spend the day, though, so if anyone asks anything of me tomorrow I will kindly tell them that I am busy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

hurry up...and wait

This is how I have been feeling lately.

Because we are new to the business, and because it is a family business, there have been some hoops to jump through with the financing. We were pre-approved before we even started the house-hunt, but the underwriters want more information. And our accountant has stalled our progress more than once because he didn't adequately provide them with what they were asking for.

Ugh.

So we wait.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

green lights

We heard back from our real estate agent and the sellers have agreed to fix the things that need fixing. He gave us the green light to contact the woman we are working with at the bank to move forward with all of the financial stuff. I have no idea what sort of timeline we are looking at until we are officially the new owners of the house. I will post when we are, and take pictures as soon as I can. I am really looking forward to getting in there and adding our personal touches to it. My sister offered to come and help paint and I plan to take her up on her offer.

The other green light came via the telephone as well. I am now officially insured.
I need to make an appointment for a consultation with the Peri who has been recommended...why am I so reluctant to do this?

The snow melted away and the roads are safe and dry again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

uprooted again

Hopefully our current state of "homelessness" is temporary.

We are still waiting for the response to the inspection to be responded back to us. Things went a little more slowly than I believe is usual, primarily because the Seller's agent had to have a stay in the hospital to have minor surgery on his heart. (I'm not really sure that any heart surgery should be considered to be minor, but that is how it was described.) At any rate, we haven't closed on the house yet.

But I have been so busy that it is fairly easy to distract myself (most of the time).

We opened our new Adult Family Home Monday and since then have admitted four residents. Our maximum capacity is six, but we will wait a bit before adding two more. It has been a whirl of activity over there.

And it has been snowing. It is beautiful and I don't have any aversion to the snow, but Mr. C is being cautious and since my little car doesn't have snow tires he has asked me not to drive in it. Relying on others to get you from point A to point B sucks.

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to post in the days ahead, but I will try. Reading and commenting on blogs will be limited as well. I am thinking about you all, though:)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

a look back

Something similar to what Kristin wrote about recently in a post titled
balance occurred between me and Mr. C on New Year's Eve. I didn't say anything negative about the year we were saying good bye to, but he raved about how wonderful it was. At first I thought, "was he living the same life as I was?" But then as I listened to him review the year I realized that he was right. 2007 did bring us lots and lots of good. Much of it was painful in the getting there, but we got there.

I've seen other bloggers do this sort of look back on the year that has just passed and I wondered what it might reveal to me if I did the same. I tried to find the post from the first of each month, although there were a few times when I had to select the post from the date closest to the first of each month.

MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 2007
And a Happy New Year!
"It is now 2007 and I am so happy that 2006 is history."

This speaks for itself.
__________
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2007
flowers for our William
"We took it easy today and did things at a pretty slow pace, so our trip to the cemetery was later than we had originally planned."

This was the one-year anniversary of William's birth/death.
__________
THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2007
the last link
"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen." -Frank Loyd Wright

We had intended to begin TTC in February, but the plan changed. I had created a chain with links for each day in my cycle. Each link contained a quote that I had selected.
__________
FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2007
such good news!
"Happy, happy, happiest of news today! 

My friend and her baby girl are doing well!"

Mrs. MacGyver over at Pyjama Mummy gave birth to her Li'l Miss. I knew she had gone into labor but it took a few days to hear from her and I was elated to know that all was well.
__________
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2007
pathetic me
"I'm trying not to get worked-up over this, and really am a bit embarrassed that I am even posting about it, but my cycle is wack."

Even though we weren't TTC I was paying attention to (obsessing about) my cycles since in the past they have been irregular (and, of course, every little oddity seemed like a sure sign that something was terribly wrong).
__________
FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2007
totally frivolous things
"Quite a while back (really I am not sure how long ago, so it was long enough for me to forget, which must indicate a significant amount of time) I got lost in blog things."

Sometimes frivolous things are nice.
__________
SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2007
our little buddy
"It seems that there has been a change of heart here."

The raccoon, who Mr. C had initially responded to with great distain, somehow won herself into his heart. He later named her Linda and she and her babies visited regularly until we moved away.
__________
TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2007
never a dull moment
"Well I am back from Chicago."

This post described the events of my birthday, trip to Chicago, and the destruction of BOTH of our vehicles while I was away. Looking back I see the time surrounding my birthday and this trip as a turning-point for us. I sensed it at the time, but there was no way I could have written that then. Oh, and if you have never shot a gun, it is really fun. Something I suggest trying at least once.
__________
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2007
fucked-up
"....really, just too many drinks to count."

Ah...this was the night of the bachelorette party. I had fun.
_________
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2007
finally making some time to write
"The days are beginning to blur into each other."

My writing had fallen off significantly as we prepared to move--there literally was no time to write.
__________
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2007
Our Gracie
"look what found us at the B.est W.estern two weekends ago!"

We still marvel at how this dog that is so perfect for us just walked (bounded) into our lives. We are so lucky.
__________
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2007
the countdown starts
"I picked up my last month of prescriptions at the pharmacy yesterday."

It took a lot of courage to write this post. That magical thinking is some powerful stuff, and it is scary to openly express my hope for the future.
__________

Going back through my blog to find these posts brought back many memories. I was struck by how much pain I was in--how I buried myself in my work and felt so frequently the overwhelming desire to push pause on life and disengage. I was also struck by how, in times when I honestly didn't feel like there was anyone I could turn to, I was able to write and receive amazing support.

I want to say thank you to those of you out there who took the time to comment. Sometimes your words made me feel better and sometimes they offered some practical advice or a much-needed fresh perspective, but they always made me feel a sense of connection.

And I want to say thank you to all of you for writing your blogs. Through your writing and sharing I have found hope, inspiration, humor, and encouragement. I have such a deep admiration for all of you--for the unique beauty that each of you possess and for the love, compassion, and kindness that you show to each other.

something to see...before it's too late

The visual blog I have in my links is a project that two women who live across the country from each other have spent the last year working on. It is a visual record of "a year of mornings." I have enjoyed seeing the beautiful and often poignant compositions, the juxtaposition of the two photographs (which complement each other sometimes in their contrast, sometimes in their similarity, always in their spirit), and the narrative quality of the work as a whole--it truly tells the story of a year in the lives of these creative women.

The project is now complete and the women are planning to move on now to a "year of evenings," which I am looking forward to watching develop.

I'm not sure how long the current project will stay up, so go and take a look before it's gone. Seriously, go look at it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The inspection was today...

...and it went great. Now we're just waiting on the disclosure paperwork from the seller. Maybe it is because of everything that we've been through over the years, but I don't feel like I can really celebrate this yet.

But it hasn't stopped me from diving head-first into furniture shopping. Since I've barely left the house in almost a week, so far my shopping has been online. But this afternoon I ventured out among the living into stores and looked at things in 3D. It was fun.