A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Friday, July 29, 2011

This Is Just to Say That...

...I survived the plane trip/shuttle ride/walk around university campus.

...LG made it home Thursday morning and was able to spend all day and night with me yesterday and then drive me to the airport. And I didn't even cry until this morning.

...That Smudgie wumped like crazy almost the entire plane ride, which helped keep me (almost approximately) sane.

...That I am going to be super busy with reading and working and conferencing and traveling and weddinging for the next three weeks, but I will check in when I can.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snowball Effect; or Inevitable Bad Days

I'm having a rough night. After the honeymoon of last weekend, I am missing Lawyer Guy a whole lot. Plus, while he was home he made the mistake of telling me he thought the trial was going to end early and he'd get to come home Thursday night, see me before he leaves, and take me to the airport Friday morning. Yesterday he said the case is now going slower than expected and that may not happen. I got my hopes up about seeing him an extra time, and I've had a really hard time dealing with the disappointment.

I hate flying. I mean hate, hate, hate flying. I need to be in a doped-up stupor with my face buried in LG's chest just to make it through take off. Now I'm flying with no LG and no drugs. And I'm scared. I keep thinking that the plane will crash and I'll die and I won't have seen my husband before I go and we just ordered the crib and he'll have to return all this nursery furniture while grieving and my sister's wedding will be totally ruined. And I'll be dead, which will suck.

I'm so scared about this flight that it's making me crazy anxious about everything else going on, too. I'm supposed to meet with a professor tomorrow to discuss one of my orals lists. But I also have to finish and turn in an overdue paper before I leave in order to avoid any potential complications with scheduling my exam. I don't see how I'm going to prepare for this meeting and get enough done on my paper. But, but, but, but...

And then today I got a manicure and pedicure at the same time--it took about 30 minutes and I told them they needed to rush. Well, they rushed so much the girl working on my toes stabbed me with the cuticle cutter and I bled. They slapped some disinfecting ointment on there, but I'm still worried I'm going to wind up with sepsis or gangrene and Smudgie and I will die in California (notice a pattern to my hysterical anxious thinking?)

I'm so lonely without my husband. Why am I going on this trip? (Because it's really exciting to have been chosen by my school and I've looked forward to this opportunity for years and it won't be any easier to do when/if I have a baby). I need to take one task at a time, pace myself, and not let the worries start snowballing. But tonight, that's really hard to do.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homecoming; or, My Rock

Just a quick update to say that Lawyer Guy did in fact make it home for today's scan. My anxiety is already so much better just having him here (until Sunday morning!) to stroke my back or help me negotiate the subways in this wicked heat.

Smudgie looks grand--he/she was having a sleepy day and not moving much and stayed pretty chill during the ultrasound. But the growth is good, and as soon as LG and I saw that beautiful heart pumping away we let out a sigh of relief. Amazing how fixated we are on that little muscle. Smudgie is a hair shy of 3 lbs. Incredible--I am carrying a 3 lb. baby around in my abdomen all day long. No wonder I'm feeling so tired.

We put together another bookcase. LG helped bring up some packages that had arrived that were too heavy for me to carry up two flights of stairs. We're making some glorious no-cook meals tonight with our CSA produce. I'm really happy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What Dreams May Come; or, Alone and Afraid

I've been struggling these past few days without my Lawyer Guy, I have to admit. The first night he was gone, I was beset by terrible nightmares for hours. I've never had a dream like this--I would wake up to pee or to flop over in bed, catch my breath in amazement that I had only been dreaming and none of it was real, feel Smudgie thump me reassuringly, go back to sleep...and continue the nightmare right where I left off!!!

Smudgie was stillborn in my dream. I was at a hospital, wandering around and talking to a friend (who is in real life pregnant with a boy after IVF and due a few weeks after me). She had just given birth and was telling me about it when I suddenly realized that I had never finished giving birth to Smudgie. He or she was hanging out of my body as I walked around. I reached down and pulled Smudgie out and wrapped him or her in a blanket and looked at the waxen little face and tightly closed eyes. I then ran around the hospital desperately searching for the NICU, trying to find anyone who would help us. I finally found a nurse who told me he was dead--and a boy.

I was shaking when I woke up from that dream at 4am, disorientated and adrift, but Smudgie's kicks helped me fall back asleep.

And then for the rest of the night, I kept dreaming. I was wandering around dark city streets, waiting at a bus stop, crying because my baby was gone. I was at a party with LG's family at a huge hotel, trying to find a space to be alone and sob over the loss of my child while everyone around me celebrated. Toward morning, Smudgie's thumps must have infiltrated my dream-consciousness because even in sleep I could feel them. They became part of the dream, a refusal to accept that my baby was gone when I could feel him or her.

Finally at around 6:45 am, I hauled myself out of bed. I was exhausted from the terrible night's sleep but I was afraid to dream anymore. As soon as I got up, I started sobbing and shaking, completely overwhelmed by all those terrible visions. I texted LG to let him know I was scared because of a nightmare (I didn't want to call him crying and scare him) and we spoke while I cried and cried.

I eventually calmed myself down by watching CBS Sunday Morning (it was all about animals, very relaxing) and knitting. But I was unsettled and on-edge all day and worrying about Smudgie like I hadn't in a while. We're about to order furniture--I second guessed doing so. I over analyzed every thump or lack of thumps. I prayed extra hard in church.

That night, two friends came over for dinner on our roof deck and one of them slept over on our air mattress to keep me company. I slept much better and dreamed about nothing more frightening than wilted CSA produce (my pickup is today). And last night I slept alright, too. But it was terrible being so scared and so alone. And as hard as it is to be without LG here in my own home, I'm even more worried about my trip to California. What if I need to go into L&D while I'm out there? I've been lucky to have avoided that so far in this pregnancy, but so many women do, even women with perfectly healthy babies. Where will I go? How will I get there? I'm scared of being alone at a hospital, hearing bad news by myself. I'm scared of flying. I'm scared of hauling my suitcase (don't worry, I'm bringing our smallest one) up and down the California coast. I'm just really scared.

I'll end on a positive note, though. I'm feeling very well physically and I found out on Friday that I passed my three-hour glucose tolerance test. So no GD for me! It's a huge weight off my mind. And yes, I have indulged gleefully in a cookie or two since getting the news. The apartment is in shambles, but the renovation projects are slowly coming together and I'm hopeful that things should be much more orderly before I leave at the end of the month. And LG might be able to come up for the weekend on Friday to be with me at my ultrasound and to spend a wee bit of time together before we're parted again. I so, so, so hope he can.

Friday, July 15, 2011

28 Weeks!; or Third Tri!!

I woke up this morning with sore hips after flopping back and forth all night trying to find a comfortable place to rest this heavy belly and waking four times by my outrageous need to empty my bladder.

Yup, I'm finally in my third tri! I love this milestone: 90% chance of survival with limited long-term complications after this point. Less than three months to go. Three months until I might be holding my baby boy or girl in my arms, giving him or her a name, kissing his or her sweet little face. I'm in awe that we've made it this far. Last July I was counting down the weeks until our first RE visit with anxiety, sadness, anticipation, and a lot of anger. Lawyer Guy wasn't doing much better. This July--as stressed as I admit I am by having so many huge events (massive grad school exam, sister's wedding, cross-country trip, baby prep and due date) crammed into three months--I wouldn't change a thing.

Every Friday morning LG comes and wakes me up and together we read on his laptop about Smudgie's development for that week. This morning felt a little bittersweet, since he leaves for his trial tomorrow. A few days ago, I was feeling very sad about the upcoming separation and spent most of the day crying. But now I'm trying to look on the positive side. Next weekend he'll be home from my ultrasound Friday afternoon until Sunday morning. Then it's a week alone at home, a week at my conference in California (where I'll be super busy, I'm sure), and a week relaxing and studying at my BFF Dr. Lady's house in San Diego. And then LG and I are together in Napa! We can get through this, and the final 8 weeks of the pregnancy will be even more wonderful after being apart for so long.

Smudgie's room is now a soft, gentle grey and his or her closet (that must be shared with LG and thus needed a lot of modifications) will be finished on Tuesday. We've ordered one or two pieces of furniture and are waiting to pull the trigger on several more. I'm so excited to set up my baby's nursery. And I'm also very nervous and scared.

Not that I think doing so will jinx anything or make anything bad happen to Smudgie--I know the world doesn't work like that. And not because I think having to dismantle a nursery would make the pain worse should anything go wrong from here out. Nothing could make the pain of something bad happening to Smudgie worse, and it's silly to even think so. But there's something so presumptuous and arrogant about setting up a nursery. Like I assume everything's going to work out for the best. And I don't. I want to, but I don't.

Still, as I keep telling myself, I don't want to let fear of what might happen poison my enjoyment of what is happening. Right now I am a 6+ month pregnant lady who is excited to start preparing for her baby's arrival, who wants to make a safe and comforting and happy space for the little one that will show just how much we love him or her. So I'm going to go with that.

Monthly pic is uploaded to Smudgie tab. Nursery photos to come after the remodelers return and take the giant step ladder, the plastic sheeting, and the tubs of paint and liquid sheetrock out of the center of the room.

Monday, July 11, 2011

One of "Those Posts"; or Bullets Make it Better

I didn't think I'd turn into one of those blogger who, when pregnant, ran out of things to say. The truth is, there's lots to say! But I'm so preoccupied with all the stuff I need to get done in my life (and the stuff I don't need to get done, but that is impinging on my life regardless), that sitting down and organizing my thoughts into a coherent post is low on my list of priorities. That said...um, here's a list of my thoughts:

  • There's been a lot of family drama going on in the last few weeks. I don't feel comfortable sharing it here, as it has nothing to do with IF/Loss/Pregnancy and isn't my news to share. It doesn't even really involve me, other than that I've been party to a lot of intense phone calls, confusion, sudden flights out to New York, and people either crashing on my couch or wanting to crash on my couch. I hope it's calming down, because I'm already so emotionally overwhelmed I don't think I can take much more.

  • I have an official date for my oral exam: September 9th. I will be 36 weeks pregnant. Yikes. It's nine weeks away. Double Yikes. It's the week after my baby shower. Triple Yikes.

  • I leave for California in three weeks. Next weekend, Lawyer Guy leaves for a two-week out-of-town trial. I'm spending three weeks in California (part of the time--thank God--with LG for my sister's wedding). That means that only one or neither of us will be home for the first five weeks of my third trimester. Needless to say, we've had to spend the last several weekends getting a LOT done around the apartment. I've also been sad. He and I are rarely apart, but now we'll be separated for an entire month, with the exception of the day of my 29-week ultrasound (he insisted he return for that). He's going to miss an entire month of my pregnancy with Smudgie. I suddenly have even more respect for military wives, who can spend an entire pregnancy apart from their husbands. So hard.

  • We attended our first childbirth education class last weekend, specifically a Yoga for Labor and Delivery class. LG thought it was just a boondoggle to force the husbands to massage their wives' feet. I wasn't complaining.

  • We've hired a doula to be present at our (MD-overseen, hospital) birth. We'll be meeting with her for the second time this Friday to start talking about a birth "plan" (I freaking hate that word because I have no plan. I do have some hopes, but I know full-well that hoping and planning are worlds apart). I suppose this means I need to actually read some books about labor now.

  • I still feel scared. I hear about a woman who lost her child to a cord accident and my heart clenches up. Or Smudgie has a sleepy day and I poke and poke the poor little thing, trying to get him or her to dance for me. I'm trying hard to enjoy every moment, though, and to not let fears of what might happen destroy my enjoyment of what is happening. Still, I worded my baby shower invitations very carefully so as to avoid any apparent presumption that I'm banking on a baby at the end of this.

  • The 3-hour GD test sucked and I'm still waiting for the results (and for the massive, plum-sized bruise on my arm to fade). But it's over and whatever the results are it will be fine and I'd do it 100 times again to keep Smudgie safe.

  • Smudgie has really cranked the kicking up to a new level in the past week. Now when I side-lie to go to sleep, he or she starts playing the timpanis on both sides of my ueterus at once. Not very restful, I must admit, but very cool.
  • And finally, the latest update on the Smudgie Room progress:

The stack of books in the corner will be going into our space-challenged bedroom once I order this nifty bookshelf. The big bookshelf in the room will be going to charity or craigslist once LG's trial is over. The other stuff is going into one of our many closets once we recover enough from last weekend's reorganizational frenzy to take care of it. The diplomas will be going somewhere sad and out-of-the-way until I have an actual office and an actual reason to display them. Later this week or early next, the closet will be renovated to fit LG's and Smudgie's clothes and the walls will be painted. And then I think we might actually have to order some baby furniture.


I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In the Whirlwind; or, Updates at 26 Weeks (2 Days)

I failed my one-hour glucose screening. Not by a lot: my practice's cut-off is 129 and my glucose level was 135. From what I've read, this is below the cut-off in less conservative practices. But the upshot is I'll be taking the three-hour Glucose Tolerance Test on Wednesday morning.

I was pretty upset when I got the results from the office. I had visions of testing my blood four times a day and of insulin shots. Of no more sweets or fruit or carbs. I felt like a failure-- I've tried to eat healthfully, with lots of fresh vegetables, next to no packaged or pre-prepared foods, and only the occasional treat. My weight gain has been a moderate, steady 2 pounds a month throughout second tri. How could I possibly have gestational diabetes?

This will sound whiny, so I apologize in advance, but I'd been feeling really good physically lately and was both grateful and proud of it. After all the struggle to get to this point, it was such a source of pride and comfort that my body seemed to like being pregnant. We might have had trouble making healthy babies in the first place, but once we (apparently, cross fingers) got one, everything seemed to be going well. The thought that my body was betraying me once again got me very down.

But after talking to various people, including my mother (who had GD after gaining 50 pounds in one of her four pregnancies), I feel a lot better. I've been able to mostly put the upcoming GTT out of my mind and focus on more immediate tasks and pleasures this weekend. I've also gathered that if I have GD, I'll probably be able to deal with it through diet modifications that don't seem too awfully restrictive. I should be able to manage them even while traveling in California. And there's a reasonable chance that I'll pass this second test (I hope so!), especially given the borderline result on the first.

And of course, the only important thing is that Smudgie is healthy. As long as he or she continues to thrive, I will take whatever comes my way.

* * *
Otherwise, life is busy but happy here in the Sloper household. We continue to make progress cleaning out the second bedroom--we've got bags and bags of books and CDs to donate next week. We're researching renovating that closet to make better use of the space and trying to find an affordable solution. We're thinking about ordering some baby furniture in a month or so. We did order (with my mother) the invitations to my upcoming Labor Day baby shower.

We also went Facebook official last weekend. After the 25-week growth scan, I consented to let Lawyer Guy say something (which he had been champing at the bit to do for months). While I'm still scared and worried about something going wrong, I also know that at this point I would want to publicly acknowledge Smudgie no matter what happens, so an announcement feels like less of a threat.

We bounced some ideas for what he could say back and forth for a while, but nothing really sparked. He wanted something more than a bare-bones "We're expecting a baby in October" post and I didn't want anything self-aggrandizing or too attention-seeking. Then last Saturday, while we were walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, we spotted a giant orange construction sign reading "Bump Ahead". So I posed in front of it showing the bump off in profile and we posted the picture without explanation and that was that.

The response to our announcement was sweet, but not over-the-top and I feel happy about the way we handled it. Because it was all so impulsive, I didn't have time to warn my friends still suffering with IF to hide my profile. But I hope that the post being so simple helped with whatever pain it might have caused. Over the past week, a few people have congratulated me on my wall, and I've thanked them as simply and briefly as I can. I haven't posted anything about the experience of being pregnant and I don't know if I will. I don't feel the need to, honestly. But I may post a few nursery pictures when it's finished and I plan to upload a picture of Smudgie after the birth along with his or her name, assuming all goes well.

* * *
In one week (on our fourth wedding anniversary!) I'll finally be in the third trimester. LG leaves for an out-of-town hearing in two weeks. I leave for California in four weeks. My baby shower is two weeks after we return. I officially take my oral exam (qualifying exam for my doctorate) on September 9th, the day I turn 36 weeks.

There's a lot to do and not much time to do it in. But there's also so much to celebrate, and I am so happy to be celebrating this summer. I may not have time to write much in the upcoming months until my exam is finished. But I am trying to savor every happy and special moment to its fullest.