Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Even More Time Has Flown

My goodness. How does it go so fast?

Jessie is nearly six months old now. Happy, laughing, chubby. She is joy personified.

Keeping very busy with working full time and caring for Jessie. Not much time for anything else!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Time Flies

I can't believe my last post was over a month ago!
Well, ok I can totally believe it!
Jessie had her naming ceremony on Saturday at Q's synagogue and we've had family visiting since Thursday, which has been great. It was so wonderful to finally see Jessie with Q's parents and his brother and sister. This little baby is well loved.

We had a scare at three weeks when Jessie got sick and was in the hospital with a urinary tract infection and low white blood cell count as well as a virus. She recovered but has a condition known as VUR or urinary reflux. Most babies grow out of this but it has to be monitored carefully because it causes infections and can cause kidney damage.

I return to work on April 25th and that hangs over me like a dark cloud. Jessie has been enrolled in a cooperative daycare and this week is transitional week so we can ease into this big change starting tomorrow.
I've been out of work for seven months. The time on bed rest seems far away and like a bad dream. So much has changed!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Is That Normal?

I find myself asking that question a lot these days.
I have quite a bit of experience with infants, even worked at a daycare taking care of them, but all that experience flew out the window once I was out of the recovery room and settled into the hospital room in the early hours after Jessie was born.
Sleep deprived delirium only enhanced my irrational fears of the baby choking or smothering and every hiccup, body jerk, change in breathing, cry, poop and pee has been fearfully observed by me as I expect the worst of nearly everything. Logically I know it's an unhealthy and irrational way to be but I can't help myself.
I'm unable to meditate but in the last day I've done breathing exercises and was able to observe how often my thoughts are drawn to Jessie and how worried I am. Sigh...

I thought I was an independent thinker in many ways. That also flew out the window as now I worry constantly about being seen as a bad mother and rely less and less on my instincts.
Today my husband called from his teaching job and put a student on the phone to ask me a question relating to Monet. Easy work for someone with a degree in Art History, but at first my mind was a blank. Then somehow, out of the murk, rose the answer, "Rouen." Maybe there's hope for me after all.

I spend all day alone with Jessie, and often the evenings, too. There are times when I am so weak from hunger and exhaustion that I think I'll pass out or throw up.
Breastfeeding has not gone well. For a time I was pumping, feeding by bottle and breastfeeding, but that was too much. The other morning, after another prolonged and difficult breastfeeding episode, I decided no more. I will pump and feed Jessie breast milk in bottles. We also occasionally supplement with formula and at night, Jessie lies next to me and takes the breast, primarily for comfort.

The past week has been one full of crying and gas pains but we may be past that as Q and I bought new bottles and nipples which seem to help a lot in keeping excess gas out of her tummy.

I like our pediatrician very much. We've had to return twice since our initial visit for weigh-ins as the doctor was concerned about weight gain (in part due to Jessie's jaundice). Weight gain has been a bit slow but she is gaining and we return tomorrow for what I hope is the last weigh in.

I'm not much of a television watcher and don't even have cable, but the TV is on all the time now broadcasting all manners of stupidity in order to calm my nerves and have some other sound in the house besides a crying baby.
The house is a wreck. I still have to deal with the insurance company about the car accident, and fill out paperwork to get Jessie on our health insurance but finding the time is nearly impossible. I can't get too worried about those things, I'll get to them when I can.

For the most part the weather has been miserable but we did get out the other day for a walk. I need to get out more and am eager for decent weather so I can walk and work on getting my strength back.

This is hard. Bed rest was hard. The delivery was hard. And now this test of emotional and physical endurance. The hormonal shifts come like a wave and it's so strong I feel it physically before the emotional response kicks in--crying, depression, frustration, loneliness.
But no matter how hard it is, I would go through it all again just to have Jessie with us.

Tomorrow I will be speaking with a postpartum doula that I hope to hire. Not sure what we can afford but even if it's just a couple of visits I think it will be a great deal of help to me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Famous Last Words

Boy, did things take a dramatic turn on Thursday!
When I last left you I was anxiously awaiting to hear when the cesarean was scheduled bu I heard nothing the rest of the day, to all our disappointment.
Later in the evening, I got up from the couch but it felt wrong to me. It hurt a lot and I felt something strange in my uterus. I walked to the bathroom and then the deluge! My water broke!
Q and I quickly finished packing our hospital bag and he drove us in driving rain to the hospital, in less than an hour I was in Triage, hooked up to monitors and having contractions every 3-4 minutes. They wanted to rush me into surgery but it became a game of hurry up and wait because an even bigger emergency occurred just before we were to enter the operating room, and the doctors attending to us were called in to save a mother and her baby.

But, by 12:19 am on February 25, Jessie had been delivered into the world.

7 lbs 8 ozs, 20 inches long. Beautiful. Overall a calm demeanor although she becomes very unhappy when we change her diaper or clothing. Loves to be swaddled and loves to snuggle close to me. Loves her Daddy's voice.

Needless to say we're exhausted. I had maybe three hours of sleep between Thursday morning and Saturday morning. And dealing with a cesarean is no picnic, either. And I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia after I delivered. Fortunately that cleared up quickly but the cure was worse than the disease.
But we're so happy and enjoy every second with our baby. I can't stop staring at her, kissing her, and I want to snuggle with her as often as possible--I still can't believe she's ours! Breastfeeding has its challenges but we made big strides today.
I'll be in the hospital until Tuesday and I really hope to catch up on some sleep before we leave. I feel there's so much I could write about but I'm simply too worn out.

The bed rest chronicles are over. The baby chronicles begin. (But first let me take a nap!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Waiting Anxiously

It's definite. I will be having a cesarean...within a week's time! I'm sitting right by my phone waiting for my doctors' secretary to call with the day and time. My primary doctor, the one who saved our pregnancy and who did the cerclage will be the one to perform the cesarean. I'm glad it's working out that way.

The doctor I spoke with today confirmed that due to the membrane issue it's too dangerous to move the baby, and because she is so adamantly sticking to her breech position, a C-Section is the best option. This particular doctor was so helpful, too. She has had four, yes four! cesareans and she really put my mind at ease about the recovery period. I had envisioned much worse. I really need to work on having a more positive outlook!

I'm excited and scared and running through a mental list, hoping we will be prepared for the baby's arrival. At the same time, there are some things we just don't know what we'll need until we're in certain situations, but the basics are all set. And ready or not, she's coming.

And while uncharted territory lays ahead of us, I am so relieved to finally know there will be no more shots, no more NSTs, AFIs, cervical exams, and all the pain and discomfort I've experienced will be over in a week's time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I wrote this poem a few years ago, just read it for the first in a very long time and it evokes for me a sense of freedom and exploration I haven't felt in quite a while.

Like van Gogh’s cedar trees,
Like a Wyeth field,
Reflections mirroring back
the examination of other worlds,
worlds within worlds.

A flower.
No bigger than my fingernail
yet within its closed petals,
thinner than an eyelid,
there are other worlds.
And beyond its stem and leaves, more worlds.

The endless cycle of birth and death.

This is just one small flower
in an ancient forest.
But what of me?
What is born and what dies
just in the space between breaths?
How many worlds within me?
And how many worlds will I discover
just by turning left when I meant to go right?
Who am I then,
to sit here alone,
a beggar at the banquet.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Here's some music I really like.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wispy Membranes?

I had my regular tests today and made sure to tell the u/s tech before the AFI that I'd been in a car accident. Of course she found something and the doctor had to be called in to do a more thorough ultrasound. The issue is my amniotic sac has "wispy membranes." The doctor said she'd never seen it before. Can't say I'm happy or proud to be the first.
I asked her to explain wispy membranes and she explained it this way, "Imagine a swimming pool with lining and the lining has come apart from the wall so there are wrinkles and bubbles."
Yup. Welcome to my world, dive on in, the water is fine.

She said she didn't know for sure if this was a direct result of the accident or if it had been there for a while and they are just now seeing it due to normal changes in the amniotic fluid that revealed it. She also said she wasn't overly concerned about it, and the baby and the placenta are fine.
BUT, she told me that because of this issue I am not to have a Version or a vaginal birth and that when I see the doctor on Thursday he will schedule a cesarean section. So that's that.

I'm happy that after this issue being up in the air for a while to have a definite answer but I'm apprehensive about the recovery time.
I'm nervous about the surgery, too. While I've had lots of physical challenges throughout my life I've only had two surgeries, and one of those was the cerclage back in October.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grateful, if Still a Bit Shaken

I was on my way to the hospital yesterday for my weekly appointments when I got into a car accident on the highway. Definitely one of the scariest episodes of my life.
I got to the hospital as soon as I could and was admitted to Triage then eventually moved to a room in Labor and Delivery where I was under observation and testing for four hours.
The baby is doing just fine. I'm feeling much calmer this morning but despite a decent night's rest I still feel very tired. I'm under instructions to take it very easy and see no reason to dispute that!

I have a history of quick reflexes and thinking that get me out of bad driving situations; this was my first accident in over twenty years, I just wish if it had to happen it wasn't while I'm pregnant.
But this had an element of something else. I was driving in heavy commuter traffic in the far left lane and in order to avoid an even bigger crash I swerved into the middle lane. Amazingly, I didn't cause another crash and it seemed within seconds the traffic had thinned so much that I easily moved into the breakdown lane without any trouble.
The other car had no damage but mine has some. I have a small sports car and hit a very large SUV, right on the corner of its bumper.

As I moved over to the breakdown lane I felt sharp back pain and uterine pain. I was in shock, not thinking straight, but I had this laser focus on the idea that I had to get to the hospital and protect the baby. I was asked on the phone if I was feeling the baby move. No, I wasn't, and that was very scary, even though I knew things could still be ok and I wasn't far from help, it was still frightening.
By the time I got to Triage I was not only in a lot of pain but was crying my eyes out and in a panic, despite my use of deep breathing exercises. I wish I was a bit more stoic in these crises but I've found being pregnant adds a whole new dimension that I've never experienced before and it can be overwhelming.

My friend Marty came down and stayed with me the entire time. Having her support helped a great deal but I was in such a state that it took a long time to calm down--my blood pressure was the highest it's ever been. I still had moments last night when I would cry, in part due to a sense of relief. When I think what could have been...
I don't believe in God but I do believe there was a force at work yesterday that was protecting us, and it's not the first time I've experienced that. There's just so much in this universe that is bigger us.

I was so sick yesterday morning. Couldn't stop throwing up and I was so exhausted and in pain. I canceled an appointment to visit a daycare center but kept the doctor appointment because I really wanted to talk to my primary doctor about the cesarean option, among other things. Hindsight being what it is, I wish I had asked a neighbor to take me, but it honestly didn't occur to me at the time.

I'm looking forward to a quiet, uneventful day--with no driving. Fingers crossed that's what I get.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Week 37

So tired these days, it's hard to focus on writing. I find thoughts just slip and slide in my brain before falling into oblivion, and any bursts of energy I get are used to prepare for the baby's arrival.
I haven't worked on my writing in weeks and my reading is reduced to baby books and to the things I used to avoid, like Sue Grafton books. I just can't seem to grasp anything more complicated.

I start week 37 today. I've been experiencing contractions and changes to my body, and even an intense night of false labor, so things are gearing up but the baby is still breech. Oh, not just breech, mind you. Our ingenious little fetus is using the placenta as a pillow for her head and my bladder as a footstool.

I'm almost over the sinus infection, my knee is improving day by day but this is countered by the normal aches and pains of a late-term pregnancy. Sleeping through the night is a long gone luxury, but that's ok. I figure it's practice for when the baby arrives and at least at this stage I can take naps if I really need one without missing out on anything too important.

I have a little space set up for the nursery; all the clothing and blankets have been washed and stacked, ready for duty. Still no final decision on what we'll do for daycare but it looks more and more like it will be my neighbor for four days a week and Q one day a week. I still have to get a pediatrician lined up but I've done research and just need to make a couple of phone calls. I feel less overwhelmed than I did a couple of weeks ago as I've chipped away at the to-do list.

Q and I have had our fill of upsets, worries and stress. At this point we just want to get through whatever lies ahead until the baby is born. So much has happened that it's hard to feel much of anything anymore, let alone excitement, we're just too worn out. I often feel like an automaton who goes from one to test to another, from one problem to the next. To say this experience has been an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement.
Still, I think every day of the moment Jessie leaves the confines of my body and is in our arms. And then a whole new adventure begins.

Funny, I've had quite a bit of experience with babies, even helped raise my niece and nephew, but when I think of taking care of Jessie my mind is paralyzed with fear and I think I don't know how to do anything! Well, I just have to put aside all those thoughts and rely on instincts and experience because the fact is I do know what to do in many situations and I can't be ruled by fear. When my nephew was a young infant I saved his life. If I can do that, then I can handle a lot of what will be thrown our way, and so will my capable husband.

We have been planning for a naming ceremony for the baby at Q's synagogue. It will be in April and Q's family will come in for it, which means a lot to us considering how far they have to travel. Q and I are looking forward to it as it seems like it will finally be a time to celebrate unequivocally. We've had precious little time for that so far as problems started within days of finding out I was pregnant.
We've chosen the Hebrew name Yiskah. It means foresight, seeing potential in the future and even clairvoyance.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

To C or Not to C

That is the big question these days.

The baby is still breech. Not "just" breech but she recently settled into a position where her buttocks are down around my pelvis, her head is behind my belly button and her arms and legs? Pretty much anyone's guess these days!

So there's been talk about having a cesarean section. I spoke about it with the doctor last Friday, and during our childbirth class, Q and I spoke at length about it with the nurse. Both seem to think it's inevitable.
Tomorrow I meet with a doctor in the practice that while not my primary doc is one that I've seen many times, and we'll talk with her about it.
Because of my knee pain I've been unable to do any exercises that could help move the fetus into the correct position. Another suggestion was manually moving the fetus but I'm not on board with that one.

This was the big, exciting week I've thought about since October. The 36th week! I am supposed to have my cerclage stitch removed but if I schedule a c-section then the stitch stays in until the baby is born.
Last week the doctor told me the cesarean would happen in the 39th week, just three weeks away. As if I didn't already feel an urgency to get things ready...

My cold is gone but I'm on antibiotics for a sinus infection. My knee is still in bad shape. I went to the doctor the other day and she thought it was either a burst cyst or a blood clot. I had an injection of blood thinner at the office then had to self inject the next morning--in my belly, no less.
I had an ultrasound done on my entire leg and they found no clot nor any evidence of a burst cyst. The next step would be to see an Orthopedist but I said I'd wait as there's too much going on right now to deal with that, too. The doc offered me narcotics but I am strongly opposed to them. My feeling is if I can tolerate the pain then I will do so without powerful drugs. So it's been ice packs and Tylenol and rest.

My knee had been improving some but yesterday I felt I HAD to put together a nursery space for the baby. So much for rest!
I really pushed myself, so the pain today is bad. Still, I am planning on going out to check out a daycare center. There's a lot I need to accomplish before the baby is born, bed rest or not.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reality 1, Fantasy 0

For a while now I've engaged in hormone fueled visions of losing my husband in some terrible accident so that he is suddenly taken from me and I am left to fend for myself. Very dramatic fodder for my mind, indeed.
I think these happen in part because being on bed rest has made me so dependent on Q, in part because I of course do love him and want him in my life and as mentioned, raging hormones. The same ones that cause me to cry at silly commercials and leave me sweating buckets in the middle of the night contribute to this intense need for and connection to this man I've been married to for just five months.

When I returned home from the hospital and lunch on Friday I found a message on my Facebook page from an old high school friend. A mutual friend's husband died in a terrible car accident the day before and she requested that our old group of friends be notified and contact her as she needed our support.
They had been married 17 years and have two young children and now all that is over in the blink of an eye.
Today I got a message from the friend who lost her husband. It's clear she's still in shock and is operating on autopilot. I would imagine it will take a while for this to really sink in.

This is someone I haven't seen in many years and our contact has been spotty but often when you're young you create ties with people that survive distance, years, fights, and hurts-- whether valid or not.
She is saying that she will move back to Massachusetts when the kids get out of school to be near family and friends. I tend to think that's a good idea.

I'm not sure how well this old friend will do in the coming weeks, months and years. This is quite a blow and she still has two children to raise and has to earn enough to live in a very expensive part of the country. I hope she finds her strength.

Friday, February 4, 2011


After dealing with more sobering news at the doctor's office today I decided to treat myself to lunch on the way home from the hospital and ponder the issues.
I went to a Bob Evans. I haven't been to one of those in more years than I can count but the idea seemed comforting to me, and I ordered a meal that was frighteningly artery clogging and felt like a rock in my stomach before I was halfway through.
But I was reminded of the times I'd been to this restaurant chain, in different parts of the country, with family members that I no longer have contact with.
I thought how years ago I would eat this food without a second thought and how at this point in my life, being in this place, I couldn't be much further from my yoga practicing, vegetarian lifestyle.
But there is something about a restaurant like this that demands so little of us. The bland decor that is uniform across the country, the bland muzak one can easily tune out, the little plastic containers of jelly, and the continuous offers of coffee poured into thick white mugs all make it easy to blend in as well. There are no demands on us for food reviews and we don't have to compete with the wall decorations, or behave a certain way to fit in. Come as you are, read a USA Today and leave full and satisfied.

Many of the customers were regulars, and the waitresses visited as if they were old friends, even sitting at their tables to chat. My own waitress looked to be in her sixties and when she came to take my order, she sat down across from me, "I'm so tired" she said as she lifted her reading glasses to her face. I could empathize and was half tempted to invite her to eat lunch with me, my treat, and I'd be happy to hear her story, too.

The bland looking couple across from my table were on their way to Florida after escaping a Michigan winter. The man in the booth behind me begged them to take him along.
This part of town is next to a major interstate highway. There are chain restaurants, an overpriced gas station and hotels. To many people it's nothing but a blur on the highway, maybe a place to sleep after a long day on the road. It's not a home to them and holds no interest beyond providing for their basic needs in ways that costs them a lot of money and a little heartburn. How many of these places are there in America? Just thinking about it makes me feel dislocated from my sense of place in this town where I have lived for seven years.

The hostess had a loud, cackling laugh that she used often. It filled up the restaurant and fell somewhere between frantic and desperate. Every time I heard it I clenched my paper napkin tighter.
I dropped bits of biscuit into a bowl of sausage gravy and thought again of my family who I haven't seen in years, who made sausage gravy all the time, and biscuits, and pinto beans and cornbread. Who always had stories to tell and gliders on the front porch and fresh green beans to string for canning.
I thought of trips I'd taken with my parents and meals we'd eaten at this restaurant or ones like it. One night nearly eight years ago we went to a similar restaurant and had the most relaxed time we'd had in a very long time. We enjoyed the conversation and company so much we didn't want to leave, and felt angry that our rude waiter did everything he could to rush our meal and push us out the door.
The next day my father collapsed, went into a coma and died ten days later. I don't remember what we talked about, I just remember not wanting it to end.

I couldn't finish the meal but left a big tip and as I walked to the car I was happy to leave all of that behind, happy I am no longer the person I was all those years ago. Happy, despite everything, for the life I have now, and the strange alternating feelings of dislocation and nostalgia were shaken off as I embraced the Now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Err on the Side of Caution

Several years ago, a cousin of mine who was five months pregnant went to the doctor because she felt no fetal movement. Sadly, she waited days before saying anything and lost her baby. She then went through a nightmare of induced labor for 24 hours combined with an allergic reaction to the inducing medicine that caused her to vomit the entire time.

About a year ago, a co-worker was nine months pregnant, felt no movement but wouldn't call the doctor because she had an appointment in a couple of days, anyway. She lost her baby, all of her organs shut down and she was pronounced dead before she came back to life and was in ICU for many days just barely living.
Recently, she and her husband had a healthy baby girl but I'll never forget the look of devastation on her face when she finally returned to work after what happened.

Well, we all have our pregnancy horror stories, whether ours personally or someone else's, that we can call upon at any time. I was thinking of these lately because over the past couple of days I'd noticed reduced fetal activity. Logically I knew that at this late stage a fetus is not going to have the same strong kicks or as much room to move around but I was still concerned, and was keeping a close watch on any movement.
Then this morning I went about five hours with no movement at all. Even after eating breakfast, which always meant heavy fetal activity, there was nothing. I felt very uneasy and called the doctor. They told me to come to the hospital right away and take a non-stress test and amniotic fluid intake test. They didn't have to tell me twice!
It felt strange, like I'd lost this vital connection I believe I have with my baby, and that was scary.
I was seen right away and as soon as the nurse put the monitors on my stomach, Jessie began moving and kicking and her heart rate was strong. The AFI showed good results, too. And this afternoon there's been a lot of movement again.

The thought crossed my mind I may be overreacting but I didn't let that stop me. I feel it's always best to err on the side of caution, and this was repeated to me by the nurse who told me to never hesitate no matter what the time because that's what they are there for.

So I left the hospital relieved but drained, even managed a bit of grocery shopping and I was happy to return home to a quiet and peaceful house.
It's been a rough week. I've been sick with a cold that's turned into a sinus infection and something is wrong with my knee. The pain is excruciating and I can barely walk. I've had to spend more than one night asleep in a recliner due to the congestion and I think that may have caused this latest flare up. Since I've been on bed rest the knee problems occur on occasion.

My father passed away nearly eight years ago, but I still feel a connection to him. When I first found out I was pregnant, I clearly heard my father say to me, "You will have a healthy baby but it will be very hard." This wasn't the first time he's come through to me letting me know I would have a baby but I've held on to these particular words all these months.
I've reminded myself of them every time there's been an emergency, and there have been many. Sometimes I feel strong in that truth, other times, it's a struggle and then I feel bad for doubting it. But at the same time I would never ignore what I see as my responsibilities in caring for this pregnancy because of these words.

I find there is so much about pregnancy that can make a woman doubt herself. Or is it just me that thinks this? Whatever the case, this time is great practice for believing and trusting in myself and my strength.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quiet Day

I'm in the fog of a cold or virus and feeling pretty miserable. I'd like to read but find it hard to focus so I've spent most of the day browsing the Internet and am currently eating a bowl of homemade yogurt which feels soothing on my throat.

I did take a short walk earlier. Or should I say, a short waddle? That's how it feels these days. I'm sure I was quite a sight, crammed into my coat, breathing through my mouth with a bright red nose slathered in Vaseline!
When my beloved dog Kenyon was alive, I enjoyed taking him for his evening walk around the neighborhood. Right after he died back in March, I went for a walk and cried the entire time and since then I can count on one hand the times I've walked around the neighborhood.

I've lived in my little home just over seven years now. About six years ago I read a book by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and he wrote that one should live in a place at least five years, and work at a job for at least five years, too. I thought at the time, "No way! There's no way I want to be here in five years!" And then I got cranky. "And who is he to tell us how long we should live in one place anyway, what did he know?"
Apparently, quite a bit.
I found over time that as I walked with Kenyon each evening, the little world of this modest neighborhood opened up to me. Every day there was something new to see. I enjoyed watching the change of seasons play out in flower gardens. I loved some lawn ornaments and loathed others. I took a whole series of photos of the homes here. I followed the arc of light through the varying seasons and weather.
I gained a feeling of connection to place I hadn't felt in a long time, and I found that Kenyon worked as a bridge between me and neighbors so that it became more unusual to not have a friendly exchange with someone who admired my Sheltie or who wanted to visit with me.
I heard a lot of gossip, learned who the troublemakers are, did my part to fight some crime, yelled at people who drove too fast, and every year enjoyed the Christmas displays, always being sure to take a long walk on Christmas Eve.

I've lost a lot of that sense of connection in the past several months but now that I'm on modified, I am trying to take relatively short walks outside and I feel that connection returning. I'll admit, winter is not the nicest time to see this place, I have to look a little more carefully but I find things, like the red berries on holly bushes, a colorful flag fluttering on a lamppost, as well as seeing who has done what to their home and which homes are now for sale.

There is the old saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff." It is in the small stuff that we find whole worlds that when put together with other small things create whole people, whole neighborhoods and whole countries. Maybe we don't need to sweat them, but I think it's good to pay attention to them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pregnancy: the Good, the Bad and the Weird

Boy, did I mess up. Days tend to run together when one is on bed rest, modified or otherwise. I've also been really sick with sinus issues, so imagine my surprise when I received a call from the doctor's office this morning asking if everything was ok. Um. Fine. Why do you ask?
Seems I'd missed my weekly appointment and progesterone shot, as well as the second of my twice weekly non-stress tests. Had my dates and days all confused.
Despite all my kvetching about the excessive appointments I feel a bit panicky because I had to cancel last week's doctor's appointment due to snow and bad roads.
The doctor's office is so busy there's just no time to see me until my next scheduled appointment, too.
Maybe there's no need to be panicky, I don't seem to have any issues that demand immediate attention but after all this time of weekly appointments I feel uneasy about missing two.

Night sweats. Fun stuff. I'm having episodes where I feel so hot I can't stand it. This happens nearly every night now and last night I woke up and surprise! was panicked (there's a theme here) because I thought my amniotic fluid was leaking or my water had broken. But it was sweat. I got out of bed and the moisture dissipated quickly and there was nothing on the sheets and nothing coming out of me. My hair and the back of my neck were soaked, too. I finally fell back asleep only to awaken a hour or so later just as sweaty.
My hormones must be going haywire. The other day I ate five bowls of cereal, then tried to take a nap but instead cried uncontrollably for no reason for at least an hour.
Good grief. Maybe I should just be happy I have no stretch marks or hemorrhoids and stop complaining.

Oh, but wait! I forgot to mention two other things! Reader, aren't you glad you stuck around?
OK, first of all, it seems getting a good ultrasound photo of Jessie's face these days is like taking the ideal snap of Bigfoot. It may happen, but you know you'll more than likely end up with some blurry shot of a furball, off in the distance. I'd love to see her face again but last week all I got once again was a grainy, blurry shot of an alien.

Secondly, as was pointed out to me rather pointedly by two professionals the other day, the baby is still breech at 34 weeks. Do I need to panic? Just tell me now so I can get it over with. I guess I'll try some exercises to see if Jessie will take the hint and move but I think we'll be ok for a couple more weeks, so I reserve the right to panic at week 36 if she hasn't yet turned.

34 weeks. Dealing with the long list of pregnancy's good, bad and weird. Feeling overwhelmed because I don't feel prepared in any way for the baby's arrival. The to-do list seems to grow every day but I just have to chip away at it and do what I can each day.
Q and I have regular freak outs now as the stress mounts. Doesn't help that Q is also working on refinancing his mortgage and working on taxes. Yes, my love, you can panic, too.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thank You, Steph for the Blog Award

I am surprised and flattered that I was named for a Stylish Blog Award by Steph, who writes the A House Full of Faeries blog.

My husband came across Steph's blog when he Googled "incompetent cervix" a few months ago and I was happy to find someone who had experienced a very similar incident to what I am going through now, and has gone on to have more children despite the challenges she faces. Steph is currently pregnant with her fourth baby and I enjoy checking in now and again to see how things are going. As a former labor and delivery nurse and Mom to three girls, I can always count on learning a lot from her posts.

So here are the rules that go along with the award:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave me the award
2. Share seven things about myself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers to tell them of their award

About me:

1. I'm 41 and am having my first baby which feels intimidating at times but things tend to come late for me; I didn't get my college degree until I was 34.
2. I suppose one of the oddest things about me is I can't stand Victorian furniture. It gives me panic attacks. Seriously. I get a good laugh out of this until I'm in the unfortunate position of being anywhere near Victorian furniture.
3. My spiritual journey is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of my life, one that has brought profound changes and positive growth for me.
4. I've loved photography since I was a kid and found a camera lying in the snow in our backyard! I have three series of photos stored on my computer that I hope to one day see framed on a gallery wall.
5. I write poetry and recently started writing a memoir. In the past I've written articles for online political web sites and art web sites. A couple of my articles on art and artists became number one Google searches.
6. I love American history and before my pregnancy complications had volunteered for a local organization that is restoring a Shaker village.
7. I've lived in Ohio for eleven years but will always think of New England as my home.

Well, there's no way I can list 15 blogs. I'm afraid I just don't read that many, but here is a list of the few that I do read and enjoy.

1. A House Full of Faeries is regularly read for the above mentioned reasons. Also, Steph has three absolutely adorable babies, and what's cuter than an adorable girl in a snowsuit, I ask? Not much!
2. Cindy is an old friend from Boston. This is a woman who sets her goals and works hard to achieve them and her blog Pretty Neat Things is entertaining and enjoyable to read, I especially enjoy the Cheesy Thursday posts.
3. Wendilea and Gerry are not only really cool people but they are on a really cool adventure right now, having left their home to travel around in a VW Eurovan along with their beloved rabbit, Otis. Interesting stories and great photos are a highlight of their blog, Astral Nomads.
4. In tandem to the above is Gerry's blog, Gerry Boyd's Poetry. These days his poetry adds a nice dimension to their travelogue.
5. An "oldie but goodie" is Farmgirl Fare. I was an avid read two or three years ago and just recently picked it up again. The author provides stories of farm living and recipes.
6. A stylish blog? Probably not, but Washington's Blog is the blog of one of my favorite rabble rousers. The author brings loads of information often overlooked by the mainstream media. Sobering, at times overwhelming, but always thought provoking.
7. This is a new discovery, Flying Solo, written by an artistic woman who lives in Mexico. I look forward to reading more of her posts.

Thanks again, Steph. Onward and upward!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Non-Stress Test? I Don't Think So!

Today began the the much dreaded bi-weekly and weekly tests.
I drove myself to the medical office which is a first since this adventure began on October 1. Once a week I go to a hospital much closer to home, and it turns out I'm in the same office where I had the amnio, and the same room where we first heard all the bad news, so that's a bit strange for me.

I had my 32 week growth ultrasound and amniotic fluid intake test, and while I realize it's not the ultrasound tech's job to please me by showing me the baby's face, I was still really disappointed that she spent so little time showing the baby's face! Unfortunately, the baby's position didn't help matters and the tech's photo taking abilities seem limited, so the two photos I got are blurry and I have to say, strange looking. I would feel a lot better about things if I was given the time to really look at her face and check things out.
I did notice the delivery date is now 3/5/11 instead of 3/9/11. And the baby's head measures larger than normal at 32 weeks, while her stomach measures slightly smaller. It's not an exact science, that's for sure but for all interested parties, I hope the head size levels off by delivery!

Jessie doesn't seem to like the ultrasounds and I don't blame her, and she moves and kicks quite a bit. By the time it was over she had curled into a tight ball in the center of my stomach which looked a bit strange and was pretty uncomfortable.

Next was the non-stress test. First, I get to put on a huge elastic band around my waist. It reminded me a bit of a belly band, only bigger. And uglier. Like a giant ace bandage, really. This holds the monitors in place, for heart and contractions. Then I lie back in a recliner and listen to the baby's heart for twenty minutes.

Apparently Jessie had calmed down quite a bit and may have been asleep as her heart rate lowered, although was in a normal range. Well the nurse wasn't too happy about this so she came in and took out a buzzer, placed it on my belly by the baby's head and blasted her. This of course startled the baby, who made a big jump, and her heart rate soared. The nurse was very pleased with this. I on the other hand was upset by what I see as a cruelty and was crying a bit.

For a while I looked out the industrial, tinted window to the ugly, dreary, industrial view and wondered how I would handle all the normal bumps and bruises a child receives if I cry over something like this. Since before I became pregnant I've believed that one of the biggest challenges for me will be to overcome insatiable worry and not be a hovering, overprotective parent.

For a minute or two I wanted to pull off the monitors, tell them what they could do with their tests, leave and not come back. But I didn't.
I'd like to think that Jessie was thinking the same thing because the nurse would get the monitor in just the right spot and leave and Jessie would move and kick and throw off the whole test. But after several adjustments it was over, and her heart is fine.
Of course it's fine. And it will be fine every time I have this done, which I could tell them now but it won't matter.

Tomorrow I will see the doctor and get my progesterone shot and in five days I will have another non-stress test. And so it will go until delivery.

I've not allowed myself to think of what it would be like if my pregnancy had been normal, or to think too much about other women who are having normal pregnancies. I think I would feel too discouraged, too isolated, if I did.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Not a fun word. Not a fun way to live.
Fortunately, some of my restrictions have been lifted so that I am now on modified bed rest and was also told last Friday that I can drive again and do a little shopping.
In addition to my weekly doctor visits, I begin this week with the twice weekly non-stress tests and the weekly amniotic fluid intake tests, so this takes a big burden off of Q's shoulders as he won't have to drive me to all the appointments.

I've made a couple of ventures out into the big, wide world since this news but I have to say it isn't easy. I feel like I'm slogging through mud, and I feel a lot of pain and wear out quickly. I ran some errands this morning, which was great, but sad as it sounds, I was happy to lie back in bed and relieve the pressure and pain I felt in my uterus.
However, I believe that with a little movement each day I will gain some of my strength back, and hopefully some flexibility, so that I don't experience so much pain.

I've also enjoyed being able to cook easy meals, and the other day I made yogurt for the first time in months. Homemade yogurt mixed with berries picked this summer, honey from a friend's bees and walnuts. Heaven.

Seven months pregnant now. In roughly four weeks the stitches will be removed.
I have to laugh at myself sometimes, when I struggle to get out of the car or find that to pick something up off the floor requires a weird, spread leg move with my butt way up in the air!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


There have always been times of bitter partisanship in politics, and times when hatred and intolerance rises to frightening levels.
I think the situation we currently have in our country began in the last Bush Administration, the members of which displayed arrogance, intolerance and outright contempt and mockery for not just Democrats but for anyone who countered their own agenda and world view.
We have seen this build through the years so that we are now to the point where politicians and would-be politicians think nothing of encouraging the full use of Second Amendment rights, or who like Sarah Palin regularly use seditious speech and threatening words and images, or those in the recent campaign who used tactics like inviting people to shoot photos of Congresswoman Giffords with their M-16s.
I believe the fire added to these flames has been the media from mainstream to the fringes on both sides. Everyone has their anger and their gripes, few have any positive solutions and are regularly drowned out by the others.

Ultimately, Jared Loughner is responsible for his own actions, but people like his hero Sarah Palin (or so I've read) and others played a big role in what happened yesterday. The fact that they will not take responsibility for their words and actions is a given.
Words have consequences. Free speech has consequences.

I don't have cable television and I don't listen to talk radio but there are three things I'm pretty sure we won't hear from the talking heads: They won't call this an act of terrorism, they won't call for gun restriction, and they won't make the point that after all the talk in Arizona about how dangerous illegal immigrants are (to the point of bald faced lies) this act was done by a white American.