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.