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.