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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Big Projects, Busy Weekend; or The Nursery, Part 1

How were everyone's Memorial Day Weekends? Relaxing, enjoyable, and full of sunshine, I hope. Mine was definitely the latter two though not so much the first because we were BUSY.

Busy doing what? Going to the movies and dinner with friends and family. Cleaning up our roof deck in preparation for summer planting. Attending baseball games. Dropping off donations at a local thrift store. And, oh yeah, two big things: Starting a Registry (!) and Beginning to Prepare the Baby's Room (!!)

We went to Gi.ggle on Saturday afternoon to check out strollers and cribs. We wound up choosing a different stroller than I had anticipated walking in after we compared weight and ease of collapsibility, but we're both excited about it. And we started our first baby registry, stocking it with little clothes and toys and a few decorative items.

We didn't actually register for or purchase the stroller and crib yet. One will be a gift from my MIL. The other apparently only takes four weeks to be delivered and we are nowhere near ready emotionally or space-/planning-wise to be setting up baby furniture yet. But I'm glad we looked at a few options and made some decisions.

I have to confess that afterward, as we ate lunch in SoHo, I began to completely freak myself out about what we'd just done. Even though we hadn't actually bought anything, I still started to worry about jinxing things by registering before 24 weeks. Right now, that's the magical safe point in my mind, even though I know rationally that a) it's not all that safe and b) I have no compelling reason yet to worry about reaching it. Something about this month (weeks 20-24) is really amping up my stress and fear, though, and I'm over analyzing every cervical stab, weird back ache, and uterine twinge. I ran to the bathroom at the end of lunch to check my tp for spotting-- and it was clean, as it has been the entire pregnancy, despite my conviction that I'd felt myself bleeding.

My anxiety's calmed a little since then, though, so much so that Lawyer Guy and I were able to tackle our second big get-ready-for-Smudgie project of the weekend: clearing out his giant desk in preparation for selling or donating it. People, we uncovered some real crap during the process. I'm talking about receipts for $15 sushi lunches we had TEN YEARS AGO! Credit card bills from 1999 that somehow made the move to two different apartments. Tax returns from 1997. Actual credit cards that expired in 2008. Not to mention dozens of weekly, two page response papers from multiple English classes I took as an undergrad. Altogether, we collected two giant garbage bags of paper, old batteries, dry pens, and corroded rubber bands to chuck and made a neat little pile of important documents and useful office and stationery supplies to transition to the new, smaller desk we plan to get for the living room.

Which leaves Smudgie's (hopeful) future room looking like this:

Yeah, it's a not so impressive Before picture (and yes, Bella is a permanent fixture of this room and will be less than thrilled when "her bed" makes the trip to the big furniture warehouse in the sky). But we made a start, at least, which is something. Over the next month we'll dispose of all the furniture in there, find homes for the books and CDs and knickknacks that clutter up the place, and then we can begin the real work: renovating the closest, painting the walls, and putting up the window treatments.

We'll get it done in time, right? Don't answer that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Smudgie Quickie; or 21 weeks

We had our follow-up anatomy scan this morning (21 weeks exactly). Everything looks good: all the things they wanted to check-up on are present and accounted for and Smudgie's growth is right on target (he/she is at 52% right now). Smudge was sleeping for most of the scan and did not want to be woken up, the little sweetie. Smudge sleeps the way I do--one arm flung over the head--and let out a big yawn at one point. Awwww.

I asked lots of questions of the doctor afterward: about some crazy awful pain I'm having in my tailbone, about my practice's policies for working with doulas and allowing med-free births (both of which I'm considering but haven't committed to), about movement and weight gain (too little?) and the like. The doctor gave me nice, thorough answers.

I have a lot to update about how I'm feeling and how things are going, but that can wait until after this holiday weekend is over. I wanted to let everything know that so far, things are holding steady. I go back in four weeks for another growth scan and my GD screen. Until I reach 24 weeks, I'm just going to try to hold onto the image of my sweet, sleepy baby.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Let's All Talk About My Uterus; or, Telling

Okay, confession time: I may have just passed the 20-week, half-way point, but I am still pretty anxious about this pregnancy. Not all the time. Not even most of the time. But I can tell that this week is going to be rough. Over a month since I've seen my Smudgie! And an anatomy scan on Friday! And despite the fact that I have felt his or her thumps and bumps with increasing frequency and vigor over the past few weeks, I still have my days when I worry I'm making it all up or Smudgie's less active days that freak me out.

And in the back of my mind is always the fear of showing up for the scan and not seeing a heartbeat. I can't shake it, not even when I have physical proof that Smudge is dancing a jig in there.

So this is all in the background, but not really what I wanted to write about today. Today I wanted to write about the "Telling."

To be quite blunt, I suck at it. There are still multiple close friends (that live in other parts of the country) that I haven't told. They've gotten busy, I've gotten busy, I lost my cell phone and a lot of my contacts, blah de blah de blah. I could send them e-mails, but I somehow convinced myself I would call them. And then I don't. So they don't know.

Or take my neighbors. Most New Yorkers wouldn't tell their neighbors something like this anyway, but Lawyer Guy and I live in a small, 5-unit co-op building (hmmm, how to explain co-ops to someone not in New York. We all own the building together but only have leases on our individual apartments and the co-op board has to approve all sales of apartments). In my building there's one family with two small kids, two young, married heterosexual couples without kids, a gay, single 40-something guy (whom we're closest to), and us. We've all lived here upwards of two years.

We've told our Single Guy neighbor (who was totally sweet and excited for us) but I haven't told anyone else. Not only that-- I'm actively hiding it from them! I make sure to wear this swing-shaped, loose trench coat I own every time I leave the house to cover the bump. Fortunately it's been raining constantly the past month, so this isn't as weird as it might be otherwise. But this is getting ridiculous. I'm almost into my 6th month! What the hell is my problem?

I just told all my academic advisors last week because I had to reschedule my oral exam date and they needed to know about my time constraints. I've told a few friends at grad school, but find it weird and awkward to tell the randoms. And because so many of my fellow students are in their early-/mid-twenties and not yet to the bumpwatching stage, they kind of don't figure it out on their own. At our end-of-the year party last week, there was a perfect opening to tell someone-- she asked what my teaching schedule is for next semester and I responded, "Oh, I'm taking a break from teaching in the fall." Fortunately, my close grad school friend (who's pregnant after IVF) was like, "Tell her why you're not teaching, dumbass!" in not quite those words.

I could recite similar stories all day. I find the whole "telling" routine really awkward and uncomfortable. Why should conversations suddenly shift to involve my uterus? Why should extraneous people be involved in my pregnancy, the most private and intimate and sacredly special thing I've ever experienced? Is it okay to let the belly speak for itself? Is it rude? Awkward?

I just don't know how to do this very well.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's for Dessert Tonight?; or Milestones


And a "Smudgie" tab with some belly pics to follow.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rainy Monday Updates; or, Odds and Ends

It's a glum rainy day here in New York and I'm still nursing this frightful cold. I want to curl up in bed under a bunch of blankets with a cup of tea and the blanket I'm knitting for Smudgie (oh, I can't wait to share it with you!) and watch the Cooking Channel all day long. But I have to write tomorrow's final exam and grade my students' presentations. And even if I could avoid those tasks, I'd still have to tackle the acres-high stack of books to be read by September.

But a quick blog entry won't totally compromise my Monday To-Do List!

- We're about 10 days out from the follow-up anatomy scan. The fears always creep back in, the terrible fantasies of how the day could go always emerge. But thankfully Smudgie has been thumping a bit harder the last day or two. This morning, he (or she) woke me up with some tentative tap dancing on the left side of my pelvis. I can't imagine a nicer alarm clock.

- Lawyer Guy and I have taken the first tentative steps of our own toward cleaning out our office/second bedroom in preparation for Smudgie's arrival. This consisted of a visit over the weekend to the apple store in Manhattan to pick out a new laptop to replace LG's cumbersome, centuries-old PC that currently resides on a massive desk exactly where we hope Smudgie's crib will soon rest. The PC is still there (as is the desk), but the plans to remove both are in motion. Still, as LG said, he needed a new computer regardless of the outcome of this pregnancy, so it wasn't exactly a massive leap of faith. Baby steps...

- I sometimes catch myself making mental plans of the "We'll get the walls painted by x date and then the crib in by y date and some curtains right around z" variety and have to stop to quell a moment of panic. I still can't fully believe that I will have a real live squirmy, happy, healthy baby at the end of this. I don't deserve this more than any one else. I don't know why we would be lucky when so many people aren't. I don't know why this time would end differently than the other times (even though I get the statistical evidence in our favor). I know that worrying and doubting won't protect me from pain and sadness, but it's an awfully hard habit to break.

- Every spring, a few sparrows try to build a nest on the living room window ledge under our air conditioner unit. Every year LG takes a broom and knocks out their early attempts at nest-building. Last year, he confessed to me that he thinks he saw some broken eggs in the remnants of the nest lying down by our garbage cans below the window. This year, back in March, I let him know in no uncertain terms that those birds and their babies are staying put! I don't care how much noise they make fluttering around in there. I'd feel like a monster hoping and praying to bring my own baby home while dashing those little birdies' efforts to pieces. And yes, I admit, I do feel like by protecting those birds and their nest I can protect my own baby, too.

- Last night, LG pulled a carton of Ben&Jerry's from the freezer. He had surprised me with a favorite flavor that I haven't had in a while, and while I appreciated the gesture, I asked him to put it back in. I think it will be much more appropriate to share with him on Friday.

- I'm 19w3d today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quickening; or, Updates at 18 Weeks

Towards the end of last week-- right around the 18 week point-- I finally felt my first "I'm positive" Smudgie kick or wiggle. For a few weeks before I felt flutters or brushes that were too faint to tell apart from gas or other intestinal situations. But driving home from teaching last Thursday, I felt a distinct little "tap-tap-tap" low and on the right that I was certain was Smudgie saying hello.

Over the weekend I continued to feel a little poke her or tap there, and I loved every sensation, no matter how faint. But yesterday and today I've felt nothing, and I'm trying hard to maintain my sanity and calm. My doctors said not to expect to feel movement until 20 weeks, so feeling flutters and pokes at 18 weeks is just gravy. They said not to expect movement every day until 24 weeks, so this is absolutely normal, I know. But it's still hard to relax.

This up and down is the new normal, it seems. I've felt fairly confident about things since the 16-week anatomy scan. I've let myself pick up a onesie here or there when I found them on sale. I confessed my pregnancy to my fellow students at a conference at school last week (My belly was starting to attract some seriously quizzical glances). I notified the writing program director at my university that I won't be teaching next semester. I even told my orals advisor about the pregnancy (more on that later).

But this week, the combination of vanishing movement, 2 weeks since our last scan, and 2.5 weeks to go until the next scan has me worrying again. I love Smudgie so much. I wish I knew that he or she was safe in there. It's so hard to trust.

At least I am not stressing about orals right now. But--unfortunately--that's not because I passed. I met with my advisor last week to talk about pushing them back until the beginning of next semester (late-August/early-September). With all my first trimester anxiety and exhaustion, my studying was not at the level it needed to be for most of February and March. I studied hard in April, but it just wasn't enough to make me feel ready to move to the next stage of the process. So now I'll be reading seriously through the end of July, then reviewing notes while I'm in California in August, and then coming back and taking my exam. (And then, I hope, having a baby).

It will be a busy summer, but as long as my Smudgie is doing okay, it will be a good one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Today is a happier day for me than Mother's Day last year, when I spent the entire weekend sobbing over a pregnancy announcement/arrival of AF double whammy before having a breakdown in the card aisle of the Rite Aid in my hometown. I hope that this day next year will be even happier, though I know I can't take anything for granted.

I'm thinking about us all today, as I'm getting ready to go have brunch at one of LG's relatives house. I'll be surrounded by women who got this easily, who have a very different perspective on everything than I do, but I'll be thinking of you:

My friends who are holding their long-desired babies. My friends who are mourning and remembering the babies that they never got to hold or held for too brief a time. My friends who are waiting excitedly to welcome their babies into the world. My friends who are completing home studies and filling out paperwork. My friends who are gearing up for another cycle, an egg retrieval, an IUI. My friends who aren't sure what comes next, but who know what they want to eventual destination to be.

I hope that all of us can remember that whether we or the society we live in consider ourselves mothers yet, we are wonderful people full of love who are making a difference in the world.