Tag Archives: pregnancy

miracle, part 1

(I see my husband has already spilled the beans, if a little obscurely.)

Cayenne is here, and he is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

His birth story starts three weeks before he was born.

At 34 weeks pregnant I came home from yoga class, had dinner, and started feeling … wrong. I didn’t know it was contractions — there weren’t any waves of feeling, there wasn’t any pain, and my belly just felt consistently tight. I actually thought it was a digestive problem. I went to bed, and in the morning when it hadn’t gotten any better I called my OBGYN. They sent me to the hospital, and I checked in feeling very silly — surely they were going to examine me and send me home with instructions to keep taking Colace, right?

They put me on the monitors and asked if I was feeling any contractions. I wasn’t, but they kept me on the monitors and as the morning went on I did start to feel discrete contractions, about five minutes apart, and not very painful. I was dilated to 2 cm. They gave me Procardia to stop the contractions and steroid shots to help Cayenne’s lungs in case things should progress. They kept me overnight and then sent me home when it was clear the Procardia was working.

Three days later I was back — painful contractions, less than 5 minutes apart. Because I wasn’t any more dilated they sent me home. No drugs this time, and the contractions did not stop. I was put on restricted activity — I went to work, then came home and went to bed. No yoga, no music, no housework, no shopping. I continued contracting for the next two weeks.

When I went in for my 35-week OB appointment I asked for some clarification: throughout the pregnancy I had been told that it would be dangerous for me to have contractions, which is why the C-section was scheduled for 37 weeks. But there I was, contracting regularly, and no one seemed to be concerned. I figured one of two things must be true:

  • Either what was happening was dangerous, in which case we should get the baby out, or
  • It wasn’t actually dangerous for me to have contractions after all, in which case we should push the C-section back to 39 or 40 weeks.

It was explained to me kindly that I am an idiot.

Apparently 37 weeks was still the point at which the risk to me from the contractions intersected with the risk to Cayenne’s lung development. The answer was still to wait it out and keep contracting.

Then I went back for my 36-week appointment. They did another non-stress test and noted with surprise that I was having contractions.* Three minutes apart by this point. I still don’t really know what made this so different from what had been going on for the past two weeks, but this particular doctor was definitely not of the opinion that I should go home and wait it out. She had the nurse walk me directly over to the labor & delivery section, I was admitted, and I had the C-section that night.

*I don’t want to malign any of the doctors I saw throughout this process, but really, would it have killed any of them to have read my chart? Every time I saw someone new (which was often) we had to start from the beginning.


still here

I am having a Month. Starting in mid-February, I have not been home for more than 4 days at a stretch. I  have two more trips to go before the end of March. Then I will finally (finally) be done traveling.

It’s some unholy convergence of a lot of work projects culminating all at once and also needing to get things out of the way before I can’t travel anymore. It is unbelievable how much harder it is to do this with Cayenne than without, and yet I have this obstinate need to prove to everyone that I’m not in fact having a hard time. I am not letting people carry my bags, I am not asserting my food needs very well,* and I am certainly not letting anyone even imply that maybe I’m not really up for this. Pure bullheadedness is what it is, and it ends with me lying down in a hotel room with my back all knotted up. When will I learn?**

Cayenne and I have reached 28 weeks. If he were to decide to come out (don’t come out yet), he would be more likely than not to survive. Shocking, that.

We had a bit of a scare at one of our ultrasounds when the tech saw an echogenic focus (a bright spot that can be a soft marker for various things, and can also be nothing at all). One day I will learn not to Google things. Unfortunately that day has not yet come, and I got myself all hopped up about Very Bad Outcomes. We had to meet with a geneticist and I had a fetal echocardiogram, but as it turned out the spot resolved itself and Cayenne seems to be doing fine. No need to worry about the Very Bad Outcomes (and if you think that has stopped me I’ve got a bridge to sell you).

I feel like I’m holding my breath all the time, waiting for the bad stuff to start. Really, bullheaded business-trip oneupmanship aside, this has been a remarkably smooth pregnancy, and I can’t help feeling that this is not supposed to be happening to me. I’m the one who’s broken, remember? How can I possibly be, right now, at this moment, gestating a fetus who is quite likely to be an Outside Baby in 9 short weeks? I am starting to imagine holding him. I can see his tiny scalp with downy hair, I can see myself cradling him and I can almost feel the weight of him sleeping on my shoulder, and it feels like hubris.

I will see the doctor again at the end of this week, and I’m going to try to get the C-section scheduled if possible. They want to do it at 36 or 37 weeks so that there is no chance of me going into labor. As it was explained to me, I actually have 5 separate incisions on my uterus right now (one for each fibroid), and each incision is a potential rupture point. They won’t let me wait any longer than 37 weeks because they’re so worried about what could happen if I go into labor. Of course my reaction is “Well, don’t worry about me! What about his lungs? Shouldn’t he stay in as long as possible?” And my doctors (remember, best in the state. Best in the state. Best in the state.) won’t even consider it. Apparently my arcuate uterus also puts me at risk for premature labor, so I think that’s also a factor in wanting to do it so early as opposed to waiting for 39 or 40 weeks.

I suppose like everything else about this process I will have to trust the doctors on this — but I do want him to stay in as long as he possibly can, so hopefully we can do it at the very end of 37 weeks. Which would bring him here on May 25.

* No, I really don’t want to eat meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner … and have you heard of this new fad called FRUIT?

** And now I have the perverse need to reassure all of you that I’m not hurting the baby, only myself. By all indications Cayenne is doing great.

it’s more complicated than that

I find myself completely unable to parse my feelings in relation to this pregnancy. It continues, seemingly without my really having to do anything, and I watch my belly* with awe and amazement, and I faithfully read my weekly updates in my Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, and my house is full of things that shock me every time I see them — a car seat, a changing table, a freaking crib — and I am still, incredibly, unable to believe it is actually happening. I must be pretty dense.

In a way I guess I can’t believe my luck.

I really didn’t believe the IVF was going to work. I did it because I didn’t want to be 80 years old and regretting not having tried; I did it because my husband had hope; I did it because it was finally possible, and I’m not getting any younger, and why wait any longer?

But it did work, and this is happening, and I haven’t fucked it up yet, and I’m at 23 weeks, which means that I may be more than halfway to an actual, live baby.

And this post … this is why I haven’t been blogging. Because I don’t want anyone to think I’m not happy about this. I am over the freaking moon. I am weeping at sappy commercials and smugly rubbing my belly and melting over tiny socks and totally rocking my maternity pants (dude, why does the panel go all the way up to my armpits? Why?). I have a short list of names. My husband has rigged up a transducer mic for my belly to try to record the heartbeat. Let me say it again: I am over the freaking moon. So no, I’m not trying to say I’m not happy or excited, and I’m afraid that’s how it’s coming off. It’s just … more complicated than that.

It’s a mistrust of my body, after four years of failing. I have no faith that any part of me is going to do what it’s supposed to do. I’m secretly grateful for the scheduled C-section that is part and parcel of having had a myomectomy because I know I could never deliver a baby. Breastfeeding? Well, of course I’m planning to try, but I’m reading up on formula, because my body? It doesn’t work.

So, to no one’s surprise, I’m sure, I am a mess. I am thrilled every day to wake up still pregnant, and I am overjoyed every time he kicks me, because there is a part of me that can’t stop thinking it’s all going to go to hell.

* Like, literally watch it. The other night I SAW Cayenne** kicking me. Why did no one tell me this was a thing?

** I’ve resisted giving the fetus a blog nickname, but I’ve been secretly calling him Cayenne for months, so I’m going with that, especially since he kicks the crap out of me when I eat spicy food (which is all the time). I figure that means he either likes it or hates it; I’m going with “likes it.” And yes, I just footnoted a footnote. My name is gingerandlime, and I have a problem.

new year’s i.v.

I thought I was done with nausea! Apparently not. I was up all Sunday night vomiting, and when I called my doctor first thing in the morning they told me to go to the emergency room. They gave me some Zofran and some IV fluids, and checked to make sure all was well with the fetus, then sent me home. Scary and unpleasant, but not dangerous. Hopefully there will not be a repeat of this.


so, this happened

I had an OBGYN appointment today* and this happened.


conveniently labeled to avoid confusion

I go to a high-risk OB clinic (supposedly the best in the state, which I am repeating to myself like a mantra these days. Best in the state. Best in the state. That means nothing can go wrong, yes? Wait, don’t answer that.) in the nearest smallish city. Because it’s a clinic, I see a different doctor each time, and I won’t really have any control over which one of them does my C-section when the time comes. Mostly I am OK with this.

But today?

Maybe I shouldn’t have been weirded out by this, but the more I think about it the less comfortable I am. Please tell me if I’ve gone off the deep end in feeling grumbly about this appointment.

The doctor (whom I’d never seen before) came in and asked me if I could feel the baby moving yet. I said no, and he said “Good! It’s too early. I was just asking that to test you. If you’d said yes I would have known you were making it up.” At the time I laughed, but now I’m just pissed off at the assumption (even in humor) that a pregnant woman’s perceptions of her own bodily sensations are up for mocking, questioning, and pre-emptively disbelieving.

He had me lie on the table, and then addressed my husband. “Are you responsible for this?” High-larious, dude.

He showed my husband how to use his hands to feel for my fundus, which was kind of cool, I must admit, and I tried to get him to show me once we got home but I couldn’t find it. Once they had found it, the doctor whipped out a pen and started drawing on my belly. (See Fig. 1.)

He outlined my uterus (and labeled it “uterus” in his inscrutable doctor’s handwriting) with a ballpoint pen. On my belly. During my appointment. While addressing only my husband.

Was I even fucking there?

I mean, seriously, does this sound OK to you? I know I have kind of a thin skin, and it’s true that Hormones are making me Feel Things lately, but the whole thing felt very dehumanizing to me. And if I’m not totally manufacturing my dudgeon, should I call the clinic?**

I think probably the best course of action is just to hope that (a) I don’t have to see that doctor again, and (b) his actual, you know, clinical skills far surpass his sense of humor.

* Today? Yesterday? Who can say when I’m blogging at 4:30 in the morning?

** And tell them what? “Excuse me, but the doctor drew on my belly and it made me uncomfortable?” Even I know that sounds loony.

T2 is here

Thank you so much for your thoughts on my last post. It was really helpful to read such thoughtful commentary from so many smart ladies, especially some who have been in similar situations.

I was on the phone with my brother and by some miracle none of his 3 kids were crying or needing his attention at the moment, so I bit the bullet and told him about the money. I did just as some of you suggested — I asked him to please listen to what I had to say, even though it was about Dad, and I just laid it out as simply as possible. I have this money, your girls deserve half of it, and I would like to bring you a check when I see you after Christmas.

To my surprise, he didn’t get upset. He was thrilled at the idea of having something extra to put in their college funds, and he will happily accept the check. I guess some things do go better than expected! Either he’s mellowing or he’s just that freaked out about paying for college x 3.

In pregnancy news, there is now a Bump. Like egghunt, I find myself in need of constant proof that this is actually happening. My nausea is getting a lot better and I’m not feeling any movement yet, so the expanding belly* is the best evidence I have that I didn’t just make this whole pregnancy thing up. I am still finding it  hard to believe that there is an actual live fetus in there. To try and direct my thoughts a little better, I am touching my belly a lot and thinking of the fetus inside. Making myself visualize a still-beating heart, a growing body, in the hope of making it all feel a little more real.

We are starting to think about names. What we have learned so far: picking a name is hard. Luckily we still have lots of time. I know it’s early to be making lists of names, but it’s another way for me to feel connected, like this is really happening.

We are also thinking about furniture. My husband is on winter break for the next few weeks and wants to get things bought and set up as much as possible before spring semester starts. I understand his thinking and certainly the longer we wait the less help I will be in terms of moving stuff around and putting things together, but this feels like tempting fate to me. I am barely into T2 (15w), and so much can go wrong. How much worse would it be if we had already set up a crib? I can’t imagine the pain of dismantling a never-used nursery. Despite my latent superstition, though, I think we’re going to go furniture shopping in a couple of weeks and proceed as though a real live baby is actually coming.

* And the still-growing breasts … seriously, are they ever going to stop? I was a D and then some before I even got pregnant, and this is getting ridiculous!


the worst pregnant lady ever — a sordid confession

I had to go on a little internet diet for a while there due to Reasons. (Explanation below, but first the short version for those who were worried.)

Still pregnant. 10w4d. Still shocked every day that I wake up and it hasn’t all gone to hell.

Last week I was a featured artist at a music festival. I committed to this almost a year ago, before we had even done the IUIs, and it never occurred to me that I might show up pregnant. Let me tell you, it was HARD. I did lots and lots of bad-pregnant-lady stuff to get through it. In fact I think I may be the Worst Pregnant Lady Ever, and if there is a live baby in my future I am quite sure he or she will come out shaking his or her tiny adorable fist at me.

If you’re still trying, be warned — there is some Ungrateful Pregnant Bitching and Moaning ahead. Were I in your shoes I would either click away or start pre-emptively rolling my eyes.

I have the easiest job in the world, which consists of sitting in a cubicle and making shit up.* So work isn’t super stressful, but while I was preparing to do the festival it was just about all I could handle to get my sorry ass to work, come home and practice. I think I said it in a previous post, but I didn’t know tired like this existed. I will be very interested to see (presuming we get there) how tired-because-newborn compares to tired-because-pregnant. I suspect they are quite different. So. Work, then lying on the couch trying to get up enough energy to practice, then bed. I was a Fun, Fun Lady for a few weeks there.

I did exactly what I needed to do to get through it, which included giving in to cravings and aversions, and eating things that I would not have believed possible a few months ago. Like, for instance, did you know that food comes in cans? As in, you don’t have to stand in the kitchen smelling all the food smells that used to be amazing and now are terrible, but can instead just tell your husband to open said can and heat up the contents? And did you know that sugar exists? Because for a few weeks there I was eating sweets like they were a new invention. This is deeply weird for me. I’m one of those sanctimonious make-it-from-scratch whole foods assholes, and that all went to hell when my nausea got bad. I couldn’t stand to be in the kitchen and I let a lot of perfectly good food spoil because I couldn’t bring myself to cook or eat it. So I sent my husband to the grocery store and he came back with things I would have rejected SO HARD before.

The Wise Internet says that the proper response to nausea is to ease into the day, not getting up too early, then to eat a wholesome breakfast consisting of whole grains and fresh fruit. After my lovely breakfast I am to do some appropriate low-impact exercise (yoga, or walking, or swimming). Either before or after the exercise I am to spend at least ten minutes quietly thinking about, or talking to, the fetus. Only after I have accomplished these things am I to go to work, where I am to take a walk at least once an hour.

Yeah, I didn’t do any of that.

I stayed in bed as much as possible, then ate frozen french fries and canned soup and apple slices and popsicles and cookies (so many cookies). For weeks. I am apparently four years old.

And that’s where the Bad Pregnant Lady stuff comes in.

  • Rolling out of bed for work? Check.
  • Processed food? Check.
  • Too much sugar? Check.
  • Not enough (OK, any) exercise? Check.
  • Inability to believe there is a live fetus in my uterus? Check.

And then I got to the festival.

Shockingly, my nausea did not magically go away just because I had to be on stage six times over the course of three days. (I know, right?)

So what did I do? I POUNDED diet ginger ale. Lovely fizzy gingery chemicals, settling my stomach right the fuck down and likely poisoning my fetus.

Then we got home and I felt a lot better. I’m hoping the worst of the nausea is over, and I even cooked twice this week (yay!), but then The Craving hit. It needs to be capitalized because it goes so far beyond any desire for food I’ve ever felt before.

All I could think about was Japanese food.

A Japanese restaurant just opened in our town,** which is amazing and delightful (“ethnic” food here means homestyle Italian and truly appalling “Chinese” buffet), and I want so much for them to NOT CLOSE DOWN. I have brought this up at least daily over the last week, and I know my husband is really ready for me to stop talking about cold soba and seaweed salad and pickled ginger. And sushi.

Lovely fresh clean delicious cool sushi.

I think you can see where this is going. We decided to go to dinner at said Japanese restaurant last night, and I called my doctor’s office to check on The Sushi Question. It seems people are divided on this, and of course no one in Japan stops eating sushi just because they’re pregnant (or so went my rationalization), so I thought it was worth a try to see what they would say. The nurse was frank: “We don’t recommend that you eat that.”

And we got to the restaurant and I ate it anyway.

I had two lovely, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of salmon sushi.*** It was quite possibly the most amazing thing I have ever eaten.

And now guilt has overtaken me. I am not sure if I am looking to be reassured, judged, or both — but these (the cookies, the processed food, the diet pop, the sushi) are the things I have done to get through the first 10 weeks.

Maybe I will be able to do better starting in week 11.

* Seriously. It’s totally bizarre. I got promoted from data-entry land to something more creative, and every once in a while I look up and say, “They’re paying me for this?”

** Strangely, the craving started before I knew about the restaurant. I got a flyer in the mail for this new place that was promising exactly what I wanted SO MUCH, and it was like mailing drugs to an addict.

*** I did check on mercury levels — salmon is supposedly one of the better ones.