No Pomp, No Circumstance, No Problem

I have been in no less than three graduation ceremonies in my illustrious educative career.  And, through all three I never got tired of the ceremony, the playing of Pomp and Circumstance as we paraded solemnly down the aisles, subtley craning our necks to see our relatives.  Of course, with my maiden name, I was toward the end of the alphabet so I usually got the tail end of the song, but it still had the cache.  I loved the feeling that I had earned this pageant and I was finally participating in something that everyone got to do. 

wicckedToday, I had my fourth graduation: we have officially been released to the OB.  This time, there was no ceremony, no cap or gown, just a brief check that Little Bugger was still in there and doing his disco thing (he was with a heartbeat of 175).  It was surreal and ordinary at the same time. 

I have thought (and agonized) about this moment a lot in the past.  I tried to imagine the feeling of knowing that I had finally made it to the next step.  I envisioned the nice parting hug from the doctor and the nurses and then being carried out on a litter leaving the office without looking back and moving onto the next grade: Big Time Pregnancy.  Reality was a wee bit different than fantasy.  The appointment was lightening fast – I don’t think I am particularly interesting now since I am no longer a problem to be solved.  I was given the name of the OB that Dr. Salsa handpicked for me on a post-it note.  We paid our final fee and like that, we were gone.

I realize though, that an uneventful graduation was exactly what I wanted and needed.  I didn’t want to be fawned over or exalted (although, being carried out on a litter would have been pretty awesome).  I just wanted to be patted on the back and sent on my merry way.  And that’s exactly what happened.

We already have set up the appointment with the new OB.  Not only have I graduated to the next level of pregnancy monitoring, I have graduated to the infertile gal’s version of the ninth ring of hell – an OB waiting room with lots of beaming pregnant ladies.  That might take a lot more to get used to.

image: wiccked

That’s What Friends Are For

hopper_chop-sueyI have a very hard time asking for help from my friends.  It always starts a running tally in my mind, “ok, so and so had us over for dinner, so now we need to have them over for dinner” and I begin to feel very guilty if the perceived balance of favors gets out of my hand.  With the drama of last week, I think I have piled up so many favors to repay that I will be cooking from now until December. 

When I started bleeding last Monday, I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to walk the dog.  I intended to remain horizontal until told that it was safe to do otherwise.  When we saw Dr. Salsa the next day, I was told to take it easy, and that included not walking the dog.  Mr. X was able to pick up some of the slack, but only in the evenings.  My dear friend in the neighborhood graciously stepped in and squired G about the neighborhood three to four times during the week between the bleeding and when I was finally cleared. 

As if that wasn’t enough, she also took me to my latest monitoring appointment* with Dr. Salsa since Mr. X thoughtlessly scheduled business travel this week (I give him no credit for the fact that this was scheduled several weeks in adanvce).   She had such a great time that she even offered to come on our other appointments.  

How did I ever manage to find such a wonderful friend?

How did I ever manage to find such wonderful bloggy friends who left such lovely notes last time?

How can I possibly make all of this up to everyone?

*I was still anxious about this appointent because even though we are officially farther than we’ve ever gotten before, I cannot let myself begin to assume that everything will work out.  But, the minute the picture came up on the screen, Little Bugger was no kidding spinning around like a disco ball.  The arms were longer and the heartbeat was a nice 180.  It also measured 11w2d even though at my appointment I was 11 weeks at the appointment.  We’re still taking it one day at a time.

I Would Not Have Chosen Kenny G For This Moment

Ode to Joy, would have been more like it.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.


This morning was pretty quiet on the southern front – just some brown, as I had been having from the day before.  I got to my desk and called BossMan (since I work from home) and informed him that I was planning to have a relatively normal day work wise and that was it. Silly girl.

Mr. X came home from work around 11:45 and we headed out for lunch.  We noshed, talked memories – specifically when I moved in with him after we were engaged – and headed home.  He dropped me off, I got the mail and went inside.

And then, I went to the bathroom. 

So, there was blood. Again. I was not as surprised since Dr. Salsa had informed us yesterday that this bleeding could last some time.  Then, I felt something literally fall out of me and I heard a giant plop.  I looked down and it was a huge bloody mass (think round, globular, like an egg yolk except about 5 times as big).  I was pretty convinced that I had just passed my baby. 

I will not begin to try to describe the emotions that I felt.  Suffice it to say, I was numb and shocked and everything else all at once.  You would think having gone through this twice would have prepared me, but no such luck. 

I did at least have the presence of mind to run to the kitchen, get a baggie and a spoon and fish  out the ‘specimen’.  When I got to it to the freezer, I had the Sophie’s choice of where to put it – on the ice cream? on the Omaha steaks? If I had been in any other situation, I probably would have found this hysterical.  But, not this time.

I called Dr. Salsa’s office and told them what I thought had happened.  I then called Mr. X and had him turn right around from driving to work and come home.  Dr. Salsa called back and told us to meet him at the office at 2.  We had an hour to wait to see him.  I cried with Mr. X – I mean I bawled.  I sent an email to my parents.  I needed all the support I could get.  And, I cycled through all of the plans that would likely need to be made.

Finally, we left to see Dr. Salsa with our precious cargo in a little white styrofoam container.  We didn’t speak on the 10 minute drive over. We had already said what needed to be said. Thankfully, there were no patients at the office and we were able to get into the room immediately.  I placed the styrofoam container on the desk and got undressed.  And, we waited.  For some unknown and frankly unfathomable reason, they had Kenny G piping through the speakers.


Dr. Salsa peeked at the specimen and said it actually looked like a clot. Funny, the thing was ginormous – easily the size of my fist – and I could have sworn I saw a little baby in it, but I thought I’ll let the man have his delusion. I know

In went the dildo cam and I mentally prepared myself to see a vacant uterus.  What I wasn’t prepared for was what we actually saw:

The Little Bugger.  Still there, still going strong, heart still beating.  OMFG, I bawled right there – do you know how uncomfortable it is to cry big heaving sobs with a wand up your snatch? I don’t recommend it. But, I was just so relieved that I just started crying.  Heart rate was 177, and we saw the unbilical cord complete with the blood flow looking like a giant highway with cars going back and forth on it.

Turns out what I passed was just a clot – in fact it was the clot that had started the original bleeding before.  This would explain the absolute lack of cramping and pain in the passing. 

And, once I had settled down and realized that all was, in fact, still well, I could not help but think that any music other than Kenny G would have been far more appropriate for this moment. This moment of the utter joy of relief.

Scare Tactics

Or, when good trips to the bathroom go bad.

I can easily count on both hands the number of times that a trip to the  bathroom has scared the beejezus out of me – and I am not including the large spider in the West Virginia outhouse or the no other option use of a port-a-potty.  I mean where what you find in the bowl is not what you thought would be there.

JanesdeadFor a lady in a family way, that usually means one thing: bright red blood.  And, I had it.

Last night around 7, after a quick trip to the grocery store, I went to the potty for a respite before making dinner.  I wasn’t really paying attention until I wiped and the previously pristinely white tissue had taken on an alarming shade of bright red.  But wait, there’s more!  A nice pool in the bowl as well.  Gives new meaning to the phrase blood in the water.

So, I quickly hurry out and tell Mr. X of the latest development in five words or less (“I’m having red!”) and we pow-wow on what to do.  I really did not want to go to the ER.  I’d had a terrible experience there the first time I was pregnant and while bright red bleeding is certainly not a great thing, I had no cramping.  I decided instead to contact Dr. Salsa who advised that if the bleeding was heavier than a period, then do not pass go, go directly to the ER.  If not, we could see him the next morning at 7am.  Have I told you how much I love my RE?

Anyway, having 20 years of menstrual experience behind me, I could tell very quickly that this was not heavier than a period and elected to stay put.  The bleeding came and went which was just awful because you get lulled into thinking that the worst is over and then the worst starts all over again.  The good news was that it wasn’t getting heavier and I still had no cramping.

alice-palaceThis morning, I put off going to the bathroom as long as I possibly could and finally couldn’t stand it any longer. Sure enough, still bleeding.  We headed out at 6:30 am and Dr. Salsa saw us first thing. 

After a very uncomfortable encounter with the speculum, he declared that it was true blood – to which I wanted to respond, as opposed to fake blood?  But, I kept my mouth shut and deduced that he meant as opposed to menstrual blood.  And, it was definitely coming from the cervix. 

Out came the speculum (thank God!) and in went the dildo cam and there was the little bugger, apparently oblivious to the commotion going on around it.  I could have sworn that I saw it wiggling, but Mr. X thinks it might have been the camera angle.  Either way, the heart was beating away.  Dr. Salsa also found the source of the bleed: a blood vessel outside of the uterus had likely been broken by the overly aggressive tentacles of the growing placenta, which he – no kidding – likened to a tumor.  This of course required me to say in my best Ahnold voice, “It’s not a tuh-muh!” 

Dr. Salsa declared that he was not concerned, particularly since my cervix was shut tighter than the credit markets.  Still, I’m on somewhat modified duty on a wait-and-see basis.  Today’s highlights have been little to no cramping and brown spotting/bleeding.  I’m learning the hard way that when it comes to me and the big P, there is never a dull moment.

Also, I had planned on posting a lovely little entry yesterday since yesterday was our bi-weekly check up appointment at 9w4d or 9w6d, depending upon who’s method you use.  Everything looked good – heartbeat was 180, measurement was at 9w5d and we saw little arm and leg buds.   We’ve never made it this far before – with the first, the baby died at 9w2d and with the second, it didn’t make it past 8w6d.  So, it was quite the milestone and while it is not the same as an all clear, we savored it nonetheless.  Needless to say, this has been tempered a bit by last night’s fireworks.  While we’ve made it farther than ever, we were reminded that we’re not out of the danger zone.

images: Janesdead, alice-palace

So Not Much to Say

edward-hopper-morning-sunFour Weddings and a Funeral has been on a lot recently and I have had flashbacks to high school swooning over Hugh Grant.  For the life of me, I cannot understand what I saw in him back then, with those silly glasses and that scrawny little frame of his. I need meat on my man, and he was positively anorexic in that movie.  Still, he was so … earnest.  Anyway, one of my favorite lines in the movie was uttered by Gareth (the gargantuan gay man who ended up being the subject of the lone funeral). He opined that the only reason people got married was to have something to talk about, after they had run out of all other topics of conversation. 

Sometimes, I feel that the opposite is true for Mr. X and I when it comes to this pregnancy.  We hardly mention it except in terms of, “if things are still looking good, we can go do ____” or “how is your nausea today?”.  I have absolutely no problem not mentioning it in polite conversation or even not thinking about it for long stretches of time.  Why? A big fat shout out to those of you who guessed Self-Preservation!  As I have detailed ad nauseum (no pun intended) here, I just can’t get too invested yet because there is still that chance, however small, that it can all end.

I was confronted with this problem today when I got an email from my dad.  It was so wonderfully supportive, letting me that he was thinking of us all during this time and that he specifically was sending good thoughts to the baby.  I wanted to think that he was referring to the dog or one of the kitties, but I knew this wasn’t the case when he specifically mentioned them later.  I wanted to blur out the word – I can’t bear to make that connection yet and it pained me to even have to think about it.  There is no baby yet for me. There is a pregnancy and this is what has allowed me to stay sane while navigating these treacherous waters where we sank twice before. I’ve only been able to string the words, “I” “am” and “pregnant” into a sentence twice since we found out. Obviously, I am not ready to make the leap to the ‘b’ word.

This of course, takes a huge topic of conversation out of circulation, but that is fine with me.  I know that talking about it, even remotely with optimism would cause little suspicious synapses to start firing in the old noggin causing more anxiety than a trip to the bathroom.  Instead we talk about our upcoming vacation to the northeast, the dreadful two days we spent without air conditioning before the system was fixed, work and weekend plans.  Or, we just sit in a companionable silence.   And that is just fine with me.

* * * * * *

Edward HopperThere is one topic that we have been discussing that is somewhat related – my depression.  It has gotten better, mainly because I finally admitted to myself why I was in such a funk.  I had apparently made the executive decision not to allow myself to look forward to anything lest I suffer the pain of disappointment, during this time when disappointment can be at its peak.  I mentioned this to Mr. X and gently asked if it was okay for me to look forward to some things (like a weekend or a good book) and he wholeheartedly agreed.  Once I made that connection, I was able to begin to see some light.  I haven’t completely climbed out of the trench, but I’m slowly getting there.

We Came, We Saw, We Heard

I have a really bad habit when something big is about to happen. I think, “oh, in x number of hours, we’ll know” or “in another hour, it will all be over.”  Of course, this is only used for events that are anxiety inducing – they are not pleasant thoughts and only serve to cause more anxiety about the impending event.

This was what I was thinking as we drove the five minutes to the clinic in 6:50am cool air.  I’ve driven this route so many times now, seen the same people walking the same dogs, it’s amost comforting. Almost. Because today, was no ordinary day.

Today was the 8 week scan. The scan where the stakes were raised to threat level heartbeat.  Luckily, Dr. Salsa didn’t waste much time getting down to business.

And, poof, there was the little p.  I could tell right away that there was significant growth since our last scan two weeks ago.  And, with the movement of the wand just a milimeter, I saw the tell-tale flashing.  The tiniest heart amongst us.

You will probably shocked to hear this, but I never actually saw the heart flash before on either my two previous pregnancies.  Dr. Uterus’ scanning equipment was fine, but there was one monitor and it was rather hard to crane my neck to see the important stuff. Dr. Salsa of course, provides you with your own monitor on the ceiling which I am appreciating more and more each time. 

He turned on the sound and there it was – wocka, wocka, wocka – like Fozzie bear.  The rate measured at 167 bpm which is nice and solid. He took some measurements and everything was on track.

I also tallked with him about the big D.  He gave me the name of a psychiatrist who can, if need be, proscribe me something.  I also see my regular therapist on Monday and will definitely raise the issue with her as well.  Between the two, we’ll see what we can do.  The uncertainty level has gone down a little with today’s appointment.  But, it will come back up again.  We are in charted, but still dangerous waters and know that the boat can capsize still.  We’re just taking it day by day.

Thank you all for your lovely comments and support. May this karma rebound to you in droves!

The Sixth Symptom

I’ve been pretty fortunate so far in this go round with symptoms. And, frankly, I’m like Goldilocks when it comes to them – I don’t have too few or too many, but just the right amount at the right (read not incredibly uncomfortable) level.  I have the usual suspects – nausea, sore boobs, occasional back pain, tiredness, crankiness – all of which make feel better and worse at the same time. 

I have also developed another one that until today I did not realize I even had.  It is the most anachronistic one too, one that I had originally chalked up to that general personality change that I go through in the beginning of a pregnancy (think Jeckyll and Hyde).  What is this mysterious new visitor?

I’m almost embarrassed to type this because I know when I was not knocked up if I had read this I would have likely said something very unladylike at the screen. But, here goes:


Yes, I am depressed – the version where you have no interest in anything that used to bring you joy or pleasure, the version with the extremely low attention span – huh? – the version that you really wonder why you get out of bed in the morning, the version that makes you question, will this ever get better?

I was incredulous at first.  Depressed, really? Not a toxic side effect of the hormone soup going on?  But, deep down, I knew that no, that was not the cause, although it damn well may have helped. 

I have given a lot of thought as to why I might be depressed.  On paper, this would appear to make no sense – I have finally gotten that thing I have been trying to get for a really long time and while there are no guarantees, there have been no statements of alarm yet. 

The problem is the no guarantees part, the part where I don’t feel as if I can plan past tomorrow because I don’t know if the little p will still be around.  And, I love to plan.  Along with the no guarantees comes the uncertainty. Will it work? If it doesn’t, when will we know that it won’t?  I was perversely fortunate last time to know pretty early on that viability was not looking good.  This time, Dr. Salsa has been nothing short of maddeningly cheerful making it that much harder for me to remain skeptical and preserve my fragile little heart.  I can’t let myself look forward and I can’t look back so all I am left to do is look at now and see the ocean of uncertainty that I just don’t know how this is going to end.  And that doesn’t help. 

Should we have progress tomorrow, I will talk with Dr. Salsa about this issue and will ask him about other options that are safe for me to take because I have finally figured out that this is not normal and I don’t have to live this way.