She’s arrived

24 Jun

Sophie Harper

One day early on June 21st at 10 pm. 7 pounds 4 ounces of perfection.

More on labor, delivery and first days home later.

 

 

Almost there

17 Jun

It’s June. How did that happen? I’ve been wanting to post for weeks, but I suppose like most things, the longer you put if off, the harder it gets.

I’m not sure where my blabbermouth went these past few months. Every time I sat down to post, it seemed like there was so much to say that I became easily distracted with things like “Countdown to baby to-do lists” or ‘Hospital packing” lists or “Things we still need” lists. Or the endless researching. Of the strollers, the cloth diapers, the baby seats, the bedding, the bassinets. I’m not complaining one bit. I realize what a milestone it was to get to the point where I was comfortable transitioning our office into a nursery, or actually buying stuff that a baby body would go into. Or agreeing to showers people wanted to host for me, and actually attending those showers and not feel like I was watching someone else’s life from across the room. (There were many moments in my first and second trimesters that felt that way for me.)

Listen to me, talking like it’s over. It’s not. But almost. Almost. I’m 39 weeks and 3 days and at today’s appointment I was told that things were definitely happening and baby is perfectly positioned for labor. Obviously my OB is no fortune teller, but she said she’d be a little surprised if she didn’t see me before my 40+ week appointment. Like see me at the hospital, delivering my baby, rather than seeing me for the pee in a cup, weigh-in, cervix grope and see-you-next-week ritual.

It all feels so surreal. Once the milestone-to- milestone anxiety began to wane (for the most part, more on that later), I settled into a groove and loved being pregnant. I’m someone who hates being the center of attention, but I thoroughly enjoyed strangers’ exuberance at my big belly, everyone at work celebrating it and so excited for me.  And on the vain side, my skin and hair have never looked better. (I know what this means — I will be a beast post-partum — that just seems fair, right?) And until very recently, (when I have become very impatient about wanting to know whether Floss Baby is a boy or a girl), I loved the state of not knowing. I daydreamed about a baby with fat wrists and chubby fingers. Sometimes he was a boy with dark curly hair like Mr. Floss, sometimes she was a girl in the prettiest little dress, or playing soccer in big, muddy shorts. It didn’t matter. I loved every fantasy and idea that popped into my head.

All the old wives tale speculations have also been very entertaining. I wish I’d written them all down. Like, “Your nose has been running for the past two days! It’s a GIRL!” (No, I just had a cold), or “You have no weight on your butt, it’s SO a BOY.”  (All my life I have wished for a BOO-TEH. I’m not built for it. Bun in the oven or not.) What else? The dangling necklace test has come up girl every time, but last weekend a stranger passing me on the street yelled out “BOY!”

There have been some dark moments. I would be withholding a great deal if I ended this post here. Part of me doesn’t even want to go there, but there have been some crippling moments of panic. Those mornings when I woke up and didn’t feel movement in the early hours like I normally do. When I would reach for my phone, lie there in the dark and start reading about umbilical cord tangles, placental abruption and all the other things that can go wrong up until the end. I wish I could say I had eventually reached a definite end point to my pregnancy anxiety, but one of those moments was just this morning.

It had been a long time since my last freak-out. I think it was a combination of being so close to the end, the day of an appointment, and my (sometimes ridiculous) attempts to still juggle stressful freelance work at this eleventh hour all colliding in my mind in the wee hours. I finally got up to try and get out of the zone and my husband found me a bit later sobbing on the floor in the nursery while I looked at all the baby things around me. Wondering what I would do if this did not in fact result in a real  take-home baby.

But I float out of that space. I always do. Baby knows what to do by giving me what is sometimes the gentlest little roll kick at the end of a dark hour or two. He (or she) is saying, “Chill mom. We’ve got this. It’s in the bag. Now lets get our asses back to that comfy bed with the new bedding I had to listen to you hem and haw over in the store three Saturdays in a row.”

So now we wait. We’re pretty much ready. The nursery isn’t completely done, but I’m such a tinkerer when it comes to decorating that there’ll be “finishing touches” moments for the next few months, our bags are packed, the freezer is stocked and the only obligations for the weekend are a grown-up dinner at a new restaurant downtown and “Bridesmaids.” Sounds like a good way to say goodbye to our old life and think about the new. (Of course we could be doing it all again next weekend…)

 

Still here

14 Mar

Where have I been? Not blogging. To be frank, I’m still not entirely sure what to do with this space. I’m tossing around ideas for a different blog, but since this is the space I have currently, I thought I’d drop in and say a few things about pregnancy so far, and where I am in all of it.I am bullet pointing it, because I am lazy and fear that if I attempt paragraphs the jumble of delayed thoughts will be manic and nonsensical.

  • I will hit 26 weeks this Wednesday. My last doctor’s appointment (Friday) felt like a milestone of sorts in that it was the first where I didn’t completely freak out (on the inside) when she placed the doppler on my belly. For some reason, I just felt like I could stop worrying that the heartbeat wouldn’t be found and I was able to infuse my mind with calm, rational thoughts. I’ve had a few appointments now in which the day prior, I had NOT felt a great deal of movement. Now I accept that that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and the baby is likely to still be there, doing somersaults in its shrinking jacuzzi.
  • Speaking of movement, while it is still pretty sporadic, it’s definitely stronger. We felt our first kick from the outside a few weeks ago and it was such an amazing thing. My husband’s startled but delighted reaction was even better. He is now constantly trying to cop a feel.
  • And more on the subject of movement, what is it about the second trimester and the cooperation of the colon? I’m happy to report that the first tri digestive strike has ended or at least abated.
  • Still don’t really have much together in the way of the nursery, but we have mapped out a plan for the room. I can’t quite bring myself to buy the crib yet, but I know I need to. We plan on using some sort of co-sleeper the first few months, and this is the only one I’ve found that I like. Guess we can rent one, which is good. We have a platform bed, and those identical side tables, so I think it will work.
  • Creating a registry was actually hard work. It actually felt like a full time job for about a week. But a fun one. Unlike our wedding registry, which was based purely on our aesthetic sense, now I also have to worry about safety. But we’re getting there. I also managed to navigate through the swamp of cloth diapering and I think we’re going to go with the hybrid cloth/disposable gDiapers. Hubs has been dying to set up a composting system so here’s his chance. I’ve also fallen victim to falling in love with a particular thing when I see it out and about, and then researching it and learning that it the Porsche version of said thing. (I’m talking to you Bugaboo strollers.)
  • I am being churlish about childbirth classes at the hospital where we will be giving birth. This is Los Angeles, and it seems that many annoying douchebags call it home. I’d say we’re slightly higher than the national average for douches.  The thought of being in a childbirth class with even one of them is making me wonder if I’m cut out for the homebirth. I know I’m generalizing unfairly, and I’m sure said classes will include a bunch of perfectly lovely people. A friend told me that there are some good newborn care and breastfeeding classes at the Pump Station, so I think I’ll bark up that tree first.
  • Books I am loving about babies and newborn care are Superbaby (totally misleading name, this is NOT about turning your baby into an over-achiever) and Dr. Brazelton’s Touchpoints.  Love that man, and his sage advice. Still need to find a good breastfeeding book though. And one about birth itself. Still leaning towards trying for a drug free vag birth, but I know that ultimately, the baby is often the decider of the birth plan, so I’m not typing up any detailed declarations.
  • Starting to meet with pediatricians. Contrary to my usual style, I am jumping on this one a little early. I wanted to meet with more than one, and got a few good recommendations. While I loved the first one I met with, I was very turned off by the practice’s $150-300 (depending on family size) admin fee. This is for calling in prescriptions, faxing records to schools and camps and other things that I thought were just a regular part of a medical practice’s office staff’s responsibility. Right? Somehow I’m sure such a fee can be traced back to our broken healthcare system (my favorite rant) but maybe it’s just a Beverly Hills thing. As luck would have it though, the director of the program I’m interning with has a husband who happens to be a pediatrician. He was also on my OB’s “highly recommended” list. I initially wondered if it would be weird to go to him, but when I mentioned it casually to her, she said (jokingly), “Well you have to go to him. That way I’ll be confident your little one is getting the best care!” He had actually spoken at a Continuing Education event I went to last year and I thought he was charming and lovely. So I think that’s where we’ll land.

Okay, so that was long. Longer than I intended. Sorry for the long silence and often sporadic commenting on your blogs. But I am following along quietly at home, staying updated on the frustrating WTF IVFs, the IVFs in progress, the pregnancies in full swing and the ones about to come to full term, those of you on the bench or trying naturally. All of it.

 

 

20 down. 20 to go.

3 Feb

I am halfway there.

Yesterday’s anatomy scan was so much fun, (even though we had to look away when they were in the money shot area).  The amnio had ruled out so much, so knowing that my baby is healthy makes me actually able to relax during all the measuring and the not talking. Because really, what ultrasound tech wants to chatter the whole way through an anatomy scan? We even got one of those smushed up face 3D shots and seeing an actual face on the monitor was amazing, incredible, humbling. I turned to my husband and said, “I can’t believe we made that!” Seeing those lips, eyes, a nose and a chin are making me giddy with excitement to meet this little person and shower it with kisses. I got major girl vibes from the face, but I still have this sense that it’s a boy.

This scan also confirmed that my cervix is a healthy 4cm and closed. So I can stop obsessing about my what-iffedly short and incompetent cervix (I feel like the universe is getting ready to open its sphincter right about now just because I wrote that.)

Aside from all the worrying that’s been going on (much less so in the last two weeks), I’m having a pretty easy pregnancy. (And here comes that poop from the universe…) I’ve been so lucky with my relative lack of symptoms (even though there was a time when symptoms would have been very reassuring) and I seem to be barreling through the first part of the second trimester with tons more energy. Part of this energy could just be the “Oh my god! We are about to get an 18-year houseguest and we need to get ready!” This getting ready has necessitated a complete blitz of our office (soon to be our “nurfice”), cleaning out closets and generally purging our lives of everything we haven’t so much as glanced at for five years but have held on to. Just because we could. And now we can’t.

After the amnio I finally come out of the pregnancy closet to everyone at my internship. They were a bit stunned, in the manner of  “That’s wonderful news! But you’re already 18 weeks??!” I felt a bit guilty for holding out for so long but I really wanted to wait until Big Scary Genetic Test was out of the way. And it’s only really been in the last week that my “bridge” wardrobe started to not work and there was no concealing the belly. I had been spending way too much time in some borrowed maternity items from a friend since about week 16, but finally broke down and got more Ts and tops earlier this week. It is such a relief to be able to dress myself in the morning without having an anxiety attack.

I still have not come out to my boss at my freelance copywriting job. I like to think I can manage this even after the baby is born. Not right after, but soon. It’s a work from home thing, I won’t have any other work commitments (school is done and I’m putting my clinical hours on hold) and it’s generally work that’s easy and familiar to me and it pays well. And as it is I only do about 15-18 hours a week (often less than that). I am currently NOT telling because I’m worried that once I tell, my knee-jerk reactionary boss over there will immediately decide to replace me. NOW. Something that I don’t want to happen because we could use the money to help deal with the costs of having a baby with a higher-deductible insurance plan. But I know I need to say something soon. Like next week. This (aside from my generally mixed feelings about Facebook pregnancy announcements) is partially the reason for my still being in the FB pregnancy closet. Of course my friends with kids laugh at me when I tell them how soon I plan on starting my freelance job again. “Yeah,” they chortle, “let us know how that’s going when you’re staring at your laptop glassy eyed and sleep deprived. THEN tell us how much marketing drivel you can drum up on a whim!”

That’s it for this long post. I don’t post often, but boy, do I make up for it!

I have taken to late afternoon/early evening naps on days when I can pull it off. And today is one of those days. So pardon me while I go use some trash on Tivo to put myself to sleep on the couch.

This is what relief feels like

19 Jan

Got the call late this afternoon. I have a chromosomally normal baby with no Trisomies or Spina Bifida. I hung up the phone and cried. Then called the husband, crying. It was such a release. I don’t think I’ve been able to fully enjoy pregnancy until this moment. I’ve had days where I’ve been blissfully happy and so so grateful when I catch sight of my abdominal profile in a store window but then have instantly told myself to get off the cloud, because things could still go horribly wrong.

And there are no guarantees – I’ve read and heard enough stories about second trimester loss – but the reassurance that everything is fine for now, despite my advanced maternal age and dusty old eggs, is huge.

I think I can finally start researching diaper options and car seats. And buying a crib. And let myself daydream about things I’ve pushed to the side of my mind for so long.

I can’t believe it. I can’t believe we’ve made it this far, little heirloom tomato-sized baby of mine. 18 weeks 1 day tomorrow. (Yes, I am still counting to the day.)

I have to say that it suddenly feels weird to know that the sex of our baby is documented in my file, but I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS. The genetics counselor who called with the results knew that I didn’t want to know, but said that if I changed my mind I could call them or my doctor’s office and find out. Argh. So hard, but I’m holding out. For now.

Update

16 Jan

It’s been a while.  I tried to limit my laptop hours when my family was in town. There were also wi-fi problems where we were staying up in San Francisco so that didn’t help either.

It was great to have my parents in California for Christmas – their first here ever – and although my sister and I did our usual reverting to childhood roles of big sister – little sister, for the most part, it was okay. It was good my husband and I weren’t staying with them so we had a place to go to get away from it when it was all too much family time. Thank god for friends with comfortable homes and geriatric cats who need taking care of while they are out of town for the holidays.

Having my mom here in LA for 5 days flanking the amnio was wonderful.  She took such good care of me, not letting me get up off the couch after I got home and busying herself in the kitchen where she cooked meals to freeze, yummies for the rest of the weekend and the kind of baked goods I would never bother with. You know, things that have to rise and shit. She even indulged my trashy TV habit by watching a little Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with me.

Amnio itself wasn’t nearly as bad as the anxious anticipation, which sort of ruined the very detailed ultrasound they did beforehand, because I was not able to relax and enjoy all the cool stuff we were getting to see, like actual fingers and toes. The tech was reassuringly cheerful, but only mildly talkative, where I would have preferred she talk non-stop. I started to relax a bit when the doctor came in to review all the measurements and said everything looked “beautiful”, beautiful enough that he did not see any reason to get rapid results. Obviously it’s not a guarantee, but it was a relief. Enough of a relief to make me think, “Um wait! Maybe I don’t need this needle that you’re about to stick me with!” But I did it anyway, and he couldn’t have been more calming and reassuring. So now we wait. I imagine I’ll know at the end of this week, since it was already a week ago. Not sure I can count weekend days in their 10-14 day estimate for results.

I had my monthly check in at the OB a week after the amnio and it was a relief to know my fetus had not perished from the procedure and was still going strong with its little beating heart. (Yes, it’s an “it”. Even though we probably could have found out the sex at that pre-amnio ultrasound, we’ve decided not to find out.) I agonized so much over that decision and now I feel pretty good about not knowing. I want labor to end in the biggest surprise of my life, if I am lucky enough to be able to deliver that way. And I am not the sort of person to want a very gender specific nursery. But it was hard to look away when the tech ventured over into the thigh region. And although it would be fun to buy some cute boy or girl clothes NOW there will always be cute clothes.

Even though I am now just a few days over 17 weeks, I am not feeling great amounts of movement. I am mildly aware of the “fluttering” that others have described, but nothing has happened yet where I’ve been able to say, “Yes, that was IT!” It’s more, “Is that gas, or a kick?”

Things are more or less getting back to normal after the holiday excitement and family visit, and that’s a good thing. But I am missing having my mom around so very much. There’s something about being pregnant that makes me extra sad that she lives so far away. But she will be back and we are already planning for an extended visit and looking into a place for her to sublet since she wants to stay a really long time without imposing.

My goal for the next week is to stay away from my best friend Google and everything she knows about miscarriage weeks after amnio, and of course all the trisomies I could be working myself into a frenzy about.

Bits and Bobs

14 Dec

Things I’ve learned recently:

1. You can feel the most nauseous ever in your 13th week, when you’ve barely felt it for the past six.

2. It is truly impossible to tell the difference between beginnings of a baby and bloat.

3. Because of the above, people (who know) will tell you that you look “adorable” when you know you actually don’t. Or if you do, it’s not for adorable reasons.

4. You can work your way out of a huge hormonal outburst and see things differently. I was so convinced I was my family’s lesser citizen with all the stuff that came up around my parents’ visit. And then my mom set things straight (lovingly), “Did it ever occur to you that your amnio is the VERY reason I wanted to come to California? I have been deprived of the chance to be there for you in the same city, on the same continent since you were 22, you will not deprive me of the chance to do it during your pregnancy and scary testing.” OK, mom. Amnio party of 3.  Now I’m really looking forward to having her with me that weekend. As is my husband, because she is a damn fine cook. We will also be able to eat off every surface in the house by the time she has spent a weekend here. I mean, we’re clean and all, but my mom takes clean to places I rarely go. I’m hoping that we can also do some fun mom things, like go to the Huntington Gardens for tea and a little shopping.

5. You learn that because of infertility and loss, it is pretty much impossible to come out on Facebook, even as you make your way into the 2nd trimester. Part of me thinks I won’t do it officially. I’m sure as the word starts to leak out in the next few weeks, there might be some wall posts by others, but I don’t think I’m going to be the one to share the news. I have a few FB friends who I know are struggling to conceive, and they are ones that I know spend time on the site, so I just can’t do it. And my god, there will be no ultrasound pics.

6. Pregnancy really can take over your brain in weird ways. I am a girl who loves to read whatever I can get my hands on. I have also made a considerable effort to keep up my professional development and skills as a child therapist since graduation and have what I call my “Tower of Learning” next to my side of the bed at all times. Now all I want to do is watch TV. Last night there was NOTHING good on Tivo and I almost started crying. That means I have been scraping the bottom of the “Tivo Suggestions” barrel and it isn’t pretty. Jersylicious, anyone? Keeping up with the Kardashians? (Of course the fact that this is what Tivo is suggesting for me is pretty telling about my taste in general. Or maybe Tivo just knows I have the attention span of a gnat right now.)

7. No matter how thrilled I am to be pregnant, and just want a healthy baby, I have a fairly strong gender preference. And I feel guilty about it. And  I can’t decide: although I’ve always leaned towards not finding out the sex, part of me wonders if this is the smart thing to do when I have a preference so I have time to adjust if it’s not my first choice (I feel awful just writing that – I feel like I have no business having these feelings as someone who has dealt with IF and miscarriage). Or, would it be better to just be surprised, because by the time I hold that baby in my arms, I will feel nothing but joy no matter what? Something to ponder in the days leading up to January 7 when it will be a sure thing.

8. I CAN watch an entire episode of Dexter and look at the screen the whole time rather than hide under a blanket when it got too much to tolerate.  Still have mixed feelings about that season finale, though. (Okay, that one has nothing to do with pregnancy, but whatever.)

Yesterday was also my 13 week appointment with my OB. Seems I haven’t gained any weight since my last visit during week 8 (hard to believe considering how generously I am filling my bra and beyond.  I was actually embarrassed when my OB pulled my t-shirt neck down to listen to my heart. “Hi, meet my cleavage. Soon it will need its own zip code.”). I am also not a carrier of Fragile X or Cystic Fibrosis; and my cervix, while possibly slightly shorter than average is nothing to worry about just yet. So that was all good stuff. Now we’re just counting down the days to the big old needle test. But at least there’s a little falalalala, folderol and good cheer to tide me over until then.