Check

Clearly I was still needing some perspective yesterday, and what do you know…boom.  Two things, one sad, one so happy.  Either one would have had me crumbled a year ago.  I keep saying it, but it’s very helpful to have this link to the future that’s starting to feel real, if still somewhat tenuous.

My Great-Uncle Stan died the night before last.  I was not very close to him, but I can only imagine how my sweet Aunt Lulu is feeling.  He had been fighting cancer, and while the information that filtered through to us was surely incomplete, it sounds like hopes were up and down that he might get the strength back to pursue more treatments. He turned 80 on our wedding day, so he was … 86.  Not sure if I’ll be able to go to the services or not, but I imagine it will be much like my grandfather’s funeral, with many stories of a full and generous life.

My cousin and her husband had their second little boy last night.  It’s so much better to be able to be happy for them.  I hated feeling envious when people announced pregnancies and had babies.  It’s such an impossible feeling to describe…the happiness for them wasn’t missing, it was still there, it was just shadowed by this…I don’t know. Not jealousy – I would never want to take those experiences away from anyone.  But some envy, also wanting the same things for us…and mostly fear that I would never ever get to make those announcements myself.  I’ve gotten to trade some emails with her over the past couple of weeks, and she generously offered to send her maternity clothes back with her mom.  Much appreciated, even though she’s probably at least seven or eight inches taller than me. Some hemming will be in order, I’m sure.  Plus I asked my sister to get them from my aunt, so then we’ll have an excuse to get together.  Which will be right when the snow finally starts to pour and make travel inadvisable, I’m sure. But maybe not.  It’s so weird to have had no significant snowfall yet at this time of year.  Nice, but not right.

Speaking of announcements…seems like I ought to be putting something on Facebook.  I want to, I just…haven’t.  I did send an email to the one person on my list who I know might be hurt by it…but I never got a reply (which I explicitly said I didn’t expect), though it would be nice to know she’s at least seen it.  Should have sent it on Facebook rather than through regular email.  Oops.   Oh well.  But anyway…I’m trying to work up the nerve to just post it.  So many people already know, it seems silly to not be open about it there.  I just need to find the right words and do it.

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just write

I keep staring at this blank screen trying to compose my thoughts.  It’s not working well, so I’m just going to ramble on for a bit, I guess.  It’s either that or fall back into the rut of not writing hardly at all, which is probably less helpful than trying to put into words all the things clanging the anxiety alarms in my head.  Let’s try chronological order, to start, I guess.

Holidays.  Were very nice.  I hated them an awful lot less this year than in the past several years.  Still really nowhere near jolly or anything, but it’s an appreciable difference from the active loathing I’ve had in the past.  It’s helping a lot to have something to look forward to, I think.  I enjoyed Christmas Eve with my immediate family, and survived Christmas Day with Mike’s extended.  Nothing against them, honestly, they’re sweet people, but it’s exhausting for me.  His mom had already told at least one person that we’re expecting, but he clearly had not spread the word, so it was sort of our first in-person coming out.  It’s…nice that everyone is excited for us, it is…I am just already weary of the advice and feeling a bit judged somehow.  I know, I know…any parent on earth will tell me to GET USED TO IT.  And I’m sure I will, eventually.  It does however seem particularly hard to swallow right now when I am still not feeling so sure that I’m going to get the chance to apply or eschew the advice.  Still a bit terrified that something will go wrong and leave me with only ultrasound printouts and a baby spoon from the RE’s office as the things of substance that prove we ever got this far.  Yikes.  Not a pretty thought ‘tall.  But that’s what I’m doing here, trying to get these things out of my head and into the verbal realm, where hopefully they can seem a little less scary.
Shopping.  Oh I hate it.  Most of the time, anyway.  But I did a lot of it with my mother in law and with my mom. Well worth it, as I’m very spoiled for it.  Got a few actual maternity pieces, including a belly band.  Haven’t brought myself to even cut the tags off yet, let alone wash and wear any of it.  Still doing the hair elastic through the button hole trick on my jeans.  It’s working.  Not uncomfortable for the most part.  I did break down and order some leggings, which may be waiting for me when I get home.  I have not owned leggings since I was a child, but the trend that’s now probably almost past is finally starting to grow on me…and I have to believe they’ll be comfy.  I do hereby promise to always remember that they are still not pants, though.  Scary shit happens when people forget that very important point.  But they’ll work with the boots I treated myself to right after Thanksgiving, and will force me to find more long tunic-y/dress type things to go over them.  I’ve slacked on the taking of belly photos.  I have a few from the early weeks, but it’s now probably been two or three weeks since I’ve picked up the camera.  Not exactly sure why…I guess I’m not loving this part where I clearly look pudgy but certainly not pregnant enough for anyone to assume, especially with the frumpy sweaters I’ve been wearing.  I haven’t gained much actual weight according to the scale, but things are definitely spreading, both in the middle and up top.  Just in case you wondered, it’s no easier (but not impossible) to find a 34D than it is a 32C in the stores.  Well, in Target anyway.  I hesitate to order a bunch online – I’m not even halfway yet, so I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if more adjustment is needed before we reach the finish line. 
Nursery furniture.  We haz it.  A crib, convertible.  A changing table and a dresser, too.  Well, it’s bought and paid for (super generous gift from the in-laws), but we have to pick it up this week.  We’re nowhere near ready to assemble it. The room right now is an oversized junk drawer.  It needs cleaned out, painted (which color I may not decide until we know the sex), and carpet ripped out (along with the living room, hallway, and master bedroom), and laminate installed.  It’s insane to try and do all this inside the second half of a pregnancy, but it would be even harder to accomplish with an infant in the house, and I absolutely cannot stomach the thought of a baby crawling around on the current carpet.  Too gross.  Was there when we moved in, and since we knew we wanted to get rid of it (sooner than later then turned into eventually, of course), we never had it professionally cleaned like we should have.  It’s icky. We have a long way to go, and frankly not a lot of money to spend getting there.  Going to take some creativity, determination, and maybe…magic or something.
OB appointment.  Yesterday.  Was good overall, I think.  She is taking the low PAPP-A result very seriously, and will follow any recommendations from the peri.  I didn’t get an actual number, but the letter the peri sent my OB said <0.5 MoM.  So yes, very low.  My RE had said he would contact the OB’s office to put together a plan for continuing/stopping any of the meds I’m still on, but he hasn’t done so yet.  So my OB wants to have him coordinate with the peri’s office instead, since I will clearly be their patient as well.  “Fetal surveillance” is what they seem to call this program.  She’s definitely got me pegged as high risk.  Not warm and fuzzy phrases, but still better than intrauterine demise, which I could go the rest of my life without hearing again.  Short of quitting my job and spending the next six months lying on my left side, I’m not sure what else I can do other than follow instructions and keep all these appointments.  Went for basic prenatal bloodwork and a cystic fibrosis screen yesterday after the appointment. In two weeks I go for the AFP quad screen (which I’m sort of confused about since the first trimester screen gave low odds of chromosomal issues, but whatever, at this point I’m game for any needle other than those used for CVS and amnio), and another OB appointment, with a nurse practitioner appointment in between.  I’m glad to have an OB who’s overcautious rather than dismissive, certainly.  It’s the whole keeping stress levels low that’s going to be problematic – sorry, but this shit is stressful.  Going to make an appointment for a massage, going to keep up with yoga, and try to maintain some level of calm.  I did forget to remind them about Rhogam, but I’m sure it’ll come up again after they get the results from the prenatal panel.
Okay, there is more that could be purged, but I think this is plenty for now.  (14w1d)
[Notes to self – personhood and natural birth rants]

Chances are…chances.

Got a call from the peri with results from the first trimester screening.  Mostly good.  A tad worrisome, but I’m reserving freakthefuckout for necessity, which this is not.  Yet, maybe.  Anyway, first, the good:

  • 1 in > 10,000 risk of Downs
  • 1 in > 4,700 risk of Trisomy 13 or 18
But, of course, there has to be something.  Low PAPP-A levels.  I didn’t ask for the actual number, since I can get that from my OB next week if I want it then, I’m sure.  She said not to panic, so I will do my best, that there’s still less than a 20% chance of complications…which include IUGR, low weight for gestational age, pre-eclampsia, and pre-term labor/delivery.  Pretty much all my biggest fears after miscarriage and stillbirth.  I realize it’s still more likely than not that everything will be perfectly fine, but I have a hard time finding comfort in statistics anymore.  Miscarriage is supposed to be 1 in 4 or 5 pregnancies, and we already beat the pants off those odds (not in a good way, I should clarify, just on the off chance you’re brand spanking new around here).  (I’m probably not framing that entirely correctly, mathematically.  I’m the first to admit that I sort of hate stats and never grasped probabilities all that easily.)  All I know for sure is that SOMEONE has to be the one in whatever unimaginable number they tell you.  I’d like to think that it’s my turn to not be that someone, but I know it doesn’t work on a merit-based system; I don’t necessarily get credit for time served.  In fact, I’d lean more toward thinking that past pregnancy failures increase chances for complications even in successful pregnancies.  I haven’t googled all of this quite to death yet, and will still have to talk to my OB next Thursday of course, but right now I’m thinking that this points strongly toward staying on the heparin for the long haul.  All of these complications are placenta-related.  I of course don’t know the detailed mechanisms, but I’d still somewhat ignorantly theorize that blood clots could easily contribute to adverse effects on the size and efficiency of the placenta.  
I guess the silver lining is that it sounds like I’ll be getting lots of ultrasounds.  I’m sure my OB will have to confirm this, but the peri said detailed anatomy scan at 20 weeks, which I believe is pretty much standard for all pregnancies anymore, and then scans every four weeks until 32 weeks, and then every week until delivery.  I question whether I heard that last part correctly, but I’m pretty sure that’s what she said.  Not sure how I feel about that yet.  Obviously, proper monitoring far outweighs whatever desire I had to get as close as I could to ‘normal’ with this pregnancy, but I guess I’m a bit bummed that it sounds like I’ll actually be a perinatal patient.  I really kind of thought I would be back for the 20 week scan and that would be it.  It’s a silly thing to be sad over, and I’m sure I’ll get over it quickly…I was just beginning to enjoy somewhat seriously considering working toward a natural delivery, maybe even one in a birth center (albeit a birth center AT a hospital; I’m not THAT brave slash foolish).  Maybe I could still have these things…but maybe not.  I’ve just been happy to be allowing myself to think that far ahead, that I’ve not been telling myself that I’d better not get greedy with thoughts of a live baby.  It’s actually been remarkably positive thinking for me.  I don’t want to backslide.  

First trimester…check!

I’ve definitely gone much, much longer without posting (and that’s still an extreme understatement), but I did not mean to leave that last dire, doom-and-gloom post up there for that long.  Not claiming a 100% turnaround, but Tuesday’s “graduation” appointment with the RE helped a lot (finally got u/s pics that look distinctly more like a baby than a blobby, though the NT scan on Monday should be even better), and going to a prenatal yoga class that night helped another metric fuckton, and best of all, there should be a doppler waiting on my front porch when I get home from work today.  I really hope I can get it to function and find the heartbeat and it doesn’t just freak me out if I can’t. I forgot to actually ask for official clearance for the yoga at my appointment on Tuesday, but I never had official restrictions, either, so I just went for it (oooh, I know, I’m such a rebel…I use sarcasm but there is of course a sliver of my brain that fears I killed my baby with yoga.  Sounds so rational, right?).  Some places make you wait until the second trimester, and I pretty much did, but this instructor is really reasonable.  She just said, you would know if you shouldn’t be here, so in theory I could have (and maybe should have) started weeks ago.  There were only three of us in the class that night, and both of the other women were much more pregnant than me, at 24 and 31 weeks, so I definitely did have that feeling-like-a-fake feeling, but it was also nice to do something “normal” for pregnancy, and I’m clearly in need of more exercise and relaxation.  It felt really good to break a sweat and to feel that soreness yesterday and today.  The Groupon for the five-class pass was a gift and I had been sooo looking forward to it.  I was a little afraid that the prenatal version would be all relaxation and nothing that required much actual effort, but definitely not – I can’t wait to go back again next week.  I am still cranky and feeling stressed, but it helps to realize I do have tools to help deal and small things like these to look forward to to help get me from one week to the next without feeling like it’s just one single giant hurdle to get to 40 weeks – breaking it up into bite-sized pieces should help, I hope.  It’s the only strategy I’ve got, so let’s go with it.

(12w0d)

Something summary-like here

I’m struggling today.  Why can’t I just believe it’s all going to be okay?  I want to believe this is in large part due to the hormonal shift that should be happening right now, but I’m feeling infuckingsane with worry.  Not just with whether this pregnancy will end in a live baby, but also how the hell we’re going to pay for all the things that need to come with a baby.  I know we’ll get by, but I’m just so sick of every little thing seeming like a huge thing, and right now I’m having a hell of a time putting the big picture over all the details.  I don’t regret doing this.  It was either start trying when we did or continue down the path of slowly losing my mind over the question of whether it would ever happen or not remaining wholly unanswered.  I don’t need a life of luxury, or even many luxuries.  I am just sick of worrying, but I don’t know how to stop short of a magical money tree sprouting in the backyard.  I should be enjoying this time, not suffering through it because I can’t take care of every single detail this instant.  Sometimes I am enjoying it…I do not mean to exaggerate.  I just…can’t get a grip on it right this second.

Maybe it’s because a year ago today I was having a D&C.  It’s been wonderful beyond measure to have this pregnancy start in time for Thanksgiving and the time between then and now to not be completely filled with backward glances of how awful this interval was last year.  Maybe I haven’t given that enough thought or something…I don’t know, it’s been so very nice to be distracted by something future-oriented and happy.  I just feel like I’m flattened by an emotional semi truck carrying a metric fuckton of tearful anxiety bricks today.  Today’s the birthday of two of my best friends on earth.  Last year I didn’t get to celebrate with them at all.  The thought of going to the party tonight is freaking me out too.  I feel like fake-drinking is going to be obvious, and I’m not ready to be “out” to every friend, acquaintance, and stranger alike in a face-to-multiple-faces situation.  I still feel like a fraud.  I need to go buy new clothes but I think today is not a good day to force myself into a maternity section.  That would just be asking to take this meltdown public.

I’ve come so far, yet…it just doesn’t feel like anything is accomplished by it right now.

Not my news….

…but I hate to read this, all the same.  Despite the fact that I would never leave my personal reproductive future “up to God,” and regardless of what I may think of their choices, they are THEIR choices, and it doesn’t matter what I think of them…I hate this for them.  Some of the commentary that I’ve read (I know, never read the comments) is just despicable.  I don’t care how stupid you think a person is, this is just not something you wish on someone, ever. They may have (a lot) more kids than most of us would ever even contemplate, but even without having seen their TV show I’ve gathered that their kids are loved and cared for.  They wanted this baby, and that’s all that matters.

Every day that passes lets me be a sliver more positive that eleven weeks (and a day!  hooray!) is so close to the end of the first trimester, and after that the risk of miscarriage drops again.  The Duggars’ loss is also a sickening reminder that some people never ever get to forget that while the risk does decrease, it doesn’t entirely disappear. This happens.  Yes, she’s had a lot of kids.  Yes, she’s 45.  Yes, her last child was premature due to preeclampsia. But it happens even in first, healthy pregnancies, too.  I wish that wasn’t true, and I even sort of wish I didn’t know that so well, and as much as I’m letting myself get somewhat excited, I can’t be certain.  I’ll never be a smug pregnant woman (I hope – feel free to pinch me if I get annoying).  I can marvel at the cuteness of cloth diapers on Etsy for hours on end, but I don’t know that I’ll ever feel sure of getting to use them until the first time I get to clean up a blowout.  Once you spend enough time asking, why me? you eventually come around to realizing, why not me? It’s sadly a part of life, for some of us.  And it sucks, for all of us.

No news is good news.

Yesterday’s scan was good.  Measuring 11 weeks on the nose, so two days ahead, which the RE says they expect to see about now.  Lots and lots of squirming, definite arms and legs and “I think that’s an ear.”  Awesome to see. The pictures they print out are still pretty blobby-looking, but I am going to do the first trimester screening tests, which consist of blood tests and what I assume will be a fairly detailed ultrasound.  Hoping to get some pictures from that that would be semi-recognizable as human to anyone that’s not actually present for the scan.  Still have to schedule that.  Oh, and call the OB’s office.  Only one more appointment with the RE.

Cutting back on some meds.  Cut metformin in half starting yesterday, and Friday will be the last day for that.  Four days after that I stop the progesterone.  Keeping on with prednisone and heparin for now, though the RE said he would rather see me continue heparin than prednisone.  I don’t really see it as necessarily an either/or kind of deal, but frankly it’s more up to me and whoever I see for OB care than him, though I of course do appreciate the recommendation.  So we’ll see.  I’m not convinced either way.  I think the aspirin will stay for the long haul (until the last few weeks, I believe is the recommendation).

Feeling a little less queasy most days, and hoping that holds, but still sooo tired.  Yet of course not sleeping all that well.  Either can’t fall asleep as early as the fatigue makes me think I should, can’t stay asleep (waking up to pee has lost its charm, I will admit), or just weirdly non-specifically uncomfortable.  I am the asshole who thinks restless leg syndrome is nonsense, yet…well, I swear I have it.  It is supremely annoying.  Not quite painful like a charlie horse, but somehow just short of that, like the feeling you (I, anyway) get right before the cramp really comes on.  And only streeeetching that leg that you JUST got to a comfortable position will help.  So strange.  I’m very ready to be able to start some yoga classes.

Oh, yes.  Just read a very cute fetal nickname on one of the support boards.  SLIM.  Someone Living Inside Mommy/Me.  That gets a chuckle.