All Linked Out

I’m a somewhat half-hearted member of Linkedin.  I say half-hearted because I have literally a dozen connections, two of which are with co-workers.  I haven’t used it to its full potential by any means.

Nan Palmero via Creative Commons

I recently got an invitation that I’m pretty certain will not help me realize LinkedIn’s full potential either.

It was from none other than Dr. Salsa.  My RE. The man whose face I gleefully peed in, who harvested my eggs twice, wanded me more than a TSA agent, and finally impregnated me.  That Dr. Salsa.

My first inclination was ah, no. No, not even with a cherry on top.  The man has seen my private parts way too many times for me to be able to accept his invitation without blushing.  He saw me at my most vulnerable, on multiple occasions.  He literally has a map of my uterus.  How can I possibly be publicly linked to him?

It took me a few days to realize that a) it’s very unlikely that anyone who sees that we are linked would assume that the only reason was because he was my doctor; but b) even if these facts weren’t advertised on Linkedin, I would know. I would know everytime that I saw that we were in the same network that the only reason I know him was because he helped me to get pregnant.  I’m not embarrassed by this – I tell people all the time that we had trouble conceiving Rex.  I just want to be able to have that conversation – or NOT – at my choosing, not because a prospective client sees that I am linked to an RE.   Would they necessarily assume that’s the only connection? No. There are several other legitimate reasons why I might be networked to Dr. Salsa, but there would always be that question in their minds.

I’m all for being friends and sharing, but as Nancy Regan taught me, I think I will just say no this time.


The Root of My Evil

Dear Pfizer:

I am the poster child for better living through chemistry.  My OCD is controlled with Prozac, my child was conceived with the use of multiple injectible drugs, my pregnancy with him was made easier with Zantac and Flonase and he was delivered quite comfortably once I had a fabulous epidural.  So, I obviously have no problem with drugs.

What I do have a problem with, however, is your drug, Zoloft, which I went on because I was breastfeeding. Only now, after finishing up my course of it and switching back to my beloved Prozac do I realize just what a wretched drug Zoloft is for me.  Let me tell you what happened.

Four weeks post-partum, I began having stomach issues.  Constant, uncomfortable and rather embarrassing stomach issues.  They didn’t go away.

My head was surrounded by a giant fog that refused to lift. I’d sit down to read a book and wouldn’t be able to concentrate.

Also starting around the four week mark, there was not a day that went by that I didn’t think about suicide.  I envied dead people. I would think about what a release from the grind of it all it would be.  I would be able to sleep.  Finally and consistently sleep.  I wouldn’t have the anxiety and uncertainty of anticipating the needs of a newborn.  I fought it, though. I fought it hard. I reminded myself that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  I would look at my son and will myself to hold on for another day on the promise that it would get better.  I reminded myself what a terrible impact it would have on him. I thought about how Mr. X would be alone and how much I would miss him.  I thought about how angry everyone would be with me for being selfish and taking the easy way out.  But, the thoughts were still there.

I finished the pills a week and a half ago.  Within days, the stomach issues improved, the thoughts began to go away and the fog lifted.  I began to feel like myself again.

The only conclusion that I can reach is that your drug screwed up my digestive system, put me in a fog and made me want to kill myself. Way to go.


Mrs. X.

image: K’vitsh

Same As It Never Was

Ah, the joys of the postpartum body.

While I was pregnant, I didn’t give one rat’s ass of thought about what my body might be like after growing a little human and then evicting him, at the whopping size of 8lbs 5oz and over a foot and a half long through the in-door.  I knew that the tummy area might be a little jiggly for a while and I figured it would take some time for the weight that I had so thoughtfully and doggedly put on to support the little human to come off.  So it’s no surprise that the tummy is not it’s former flat self or that the hips and booty are a little more generous making my favorite jeans rather explicit when wrestled on.

I was still surprised when I surveyed my landscape, though, to notice that my boobs, not the largest to start with, had actually shrunk.  Yes, shrunk.  They have been inflated and deflated so many times through pregnancy and nursing that it’s a wonder they are still on the top half of my body, but it was still a shock to put on a bra from my previous life and see how much room there was.  Mr. X doesn’t seem to mind, but still.  I still also have those tattoos of pregnancy; my linea nigra hasn’t disappeared nor have some freckles on the mid-section that cannot thank the sunshine for their existence.

The biggest shocks however have come from the inside.  I don’t care that my OB advised that Mr. X and I could resume nookie six weeks post-partum.  We waited until 8 weeks and it hurt like a mofo for the first half and then I didn’t feel much of anything for the second half.  Common sense dictates that if you stretch something to the size of a cantaloupe, you should expect that it might take it a long time to get back to its normal size.  Common sense and I parted ways at about week 30 in my pregnancy and we have not made up since.  So, genuine shock and dismay followed. It’s getting better, at least on the tightening front, but it still hurts. A lot.

And then there is the weird problem: to put it simply, there’s trouble in my alimentary canal.  About four weeks postpartum, I started having bad digestive problems.  I’ve always had a sensitive stomach so I figured it was just something I ate. But, the problems didn’t go away.  They have been so persistent (going on six weeks now) that I have earned myself the Old People’s Test – a colonoscopy! If you ask me nicely, I might even post pictures.

To recap, the boobs are smaller, the tummy is lumpier, the sex is painful and I get to have a camera placed in the other location where the sun doesn’t shine because of continuing troubles down below.  But, Rex is almost on the verge of laughing and can put himself back to sleep in the middle of the night.  I think that’s a fair trade.

Point of Origin

Ferreting out the root causes of my PPD has helped me immensely in dealing with the thoughts and feelings that I’ve had.  I got the idea from Brooke Shields of all people.  I read most of her biography, Down Came the Rain, and despite not being a model, Princeton grad or Hollywood actress myself, I found that Brooke and I have a lot in common: we both suffered through infertility, miscarriage and PPD.  So, I found her book very helpful, particularly the process that she went through to identify the root causes of her PPD.

I’ve thought long and hard about what caused my PPD, particularly in the middle of the night while rocking Rex back to sleep and being half asleep myself.  Here is what I have discovered.  Some of it will sound very familiar, other parts not so much.

1) The Mother of All Hormone Hangovers: I vaguely remember hearing in Childbirth 101 class about the sudden drop in the hormone cocktail once you give birth, and frankly I think I was actually relieved because I was pretty tired of the hormones at that point. They wreaked havoc on my joints, my head, my GI tract, and my emotions.  I was one cranky lady toward the end, and lot of it had to do with those wonderful hormones.

So, how is it that I could still feel like crap after they had gone? How is that fair?

2) Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes:  Nature abhors a vacuum. I abhor change.  Both are constants.  And, what does having a baby do to one’s life in literally an instant? Change it. Big time. Like every conceivable (ha!) facet of said life.  Intellectually, I knew this.  Emotionally, I really thought that people were making it sound a lot more awful than it really was.  They were right.

Here I was with an 8lb ball of Change and I was struggling mightily against his current.  I wanted something – anything – of my old life back because this new one was completely alien to me.  At one point, I wasn’t even sure I was in my own home – everything looked the same, but it was completely unfamiliar.  Being the geek that I am, I also couldn’t help but feel like I was in that episode of Star Trek where Kirk is in an alternate universe and they are all bad – including fabulous Evil Spock!  I was waiting for Mr. X to sprout a goatee overnight. He didn’t shave for a few days, but there were no goatees.

While I hate big life changes with every fiber of my being, I do eventually grow to accept them.  With this one, it was a matter of just plodding through each day and recognizing that I was still there, this was still happening and I had better get used to it. Who knows, maybe I would even begin to enjoy it. The shock of the change has worn off and there is enough now of my old life interspersed with this new one that I no longer feel like a stranger in my home.

3) What Does this Nipple Do Again?:  One of the quickest ways for me to get really upset is to be put in a situation where I have to accomplish something and I have no freaking clue about how to do it.  Add screaming infant who depends upon you for his very life and the pressure is really, really high.  We took Baby 101, and practiced swaddling and changing the diaper – on a plastic, non-moving, non-screaming baby.  In the hospital, all of a sudden we were expected to do this on a squirming, screaming, red-faced little infant who did not care that you had no prior experience.

That was just the tip of the iceberg.  We didn’t know how much he should eat or how often he should poop or even how much he should sleep.  We were clueless to the highest degree possible.  We overstimulated that child for a week easily before someone explained to us that babies get overstimulated super quick and once they do, you have an easier time getting an active volcano to stop than a screaming overstimulated, tired baby.

What is amazing is that I am usually extremely well informed about just about every major thing in my life.  I research and read anything I can get my hands on, but up until we brought Rex home you would not find a single tome about parenting in my house.  Why? My infertility.  I refused to allow myself to even look at parenting books let alone read one lest something terrible happen and we have no baby.  So of course, when it came time to deal with the real thing, I didn’t know which end was up (well, almost. I could tell one end from the other, even though liquids came out of both ends sometimes).  Mr. X was equally clueless.  I was shocked that they let us take Rex home from the hospital.  Didn’t my look of utter panic give them any clue?

4) The Power Struggle: I hesitate to add this one, but I know that it played a part.  Since both Mr. X and I were clueless, it meant that we had to learn the quick and dirty way with on-the job training and boot camp.  I assumed that we would be doing this equally.  It became pretty clear rather quickly that Mr. X was very uncomfortable with holding, handling and doing pretty much anything with Rex.  It was not for lack of desire – it was because he had never done this kind of thing before and didn’t know what to do.  My inclination in those situations is to just do it and see what happens.   His inclination is to opt out.  Unfortunately, with an infant, you can’t opt out (much as you’d like to sometimes).  So, I would ask if he could do some task just because I really needed a break and he would get this look of combined panic, pain and general discomfort which would make me feel even worse.

This became a real problem when he went back to work and I stayed home with Rex.  I was of the opinion that if I had to be home with an infant who demanded constant attention, the least I could expect would be a break when Mr. X got home.  He didn’t really see it that way, mainly because he was still rather clueless when it came to infant care and had spent the whole day at work.  A whole day at work then sounded like a day at the beach to me – no infant to be constantly on the watch for, no mind-numbing television, and no stealing food on the sly before said infant wakes up.  I would have killed to be at work.  But, the balance of power for getting a break was not in my favor since I could sleep during the day (rather difficult when you are on pins and needles waiting for the baby to wake up and you have no idea what you are going to do in that situation) and was not expected to be conversant with adults on complex topics in a work environment.

We both underestimated what the other was doing and this contributed to the feeling on both sides that the other was not fully appreciating what each had gone through.  All he wanted when he got home was a break and all I wanted when he got home was a break. Unfortunately, we couldn’t both have our way at the same time.

In the end, we both gave a little – he became more comfortable with Rex, I wasn’t as on edge at the end of the day (thanks to Grandma who would come over for a few hours each day).  Rex, for his part, also helped by getting a little more predictable and helpful in letting us know what he needed and when.  But, I was disappointed by him and that really saddened me and added more to my overall difficulties.

Knowing now what I do, I can see that it was a perfect storm a-brewing when we brought Rex home that would cause me to have PPD.   I’m just so glad that others saw it, talked about it and helped me through it.  I’ll still have little moments, but they are just that – moments.  And, every day, I have more moments snuggling with Rex where my heart swells with love and I want to just breathe him in for as long as possible.


First, thank you so much to everyone for your lovely wishes of good luck on my delivery.  It was so wonderful to read all of your messages!

We arrived promptly at 5am on St. Patrick’s Day, with no expectations of what was about to happen. You can read as much as you want in a book, but the experience is uniquely personal.

I was  hooked up to the pitocin drip by about 6am (after a really nasty round with the IV insertion) and didn’t really get much in the way of contractions. My OB arrived at 9am to break my water and jokingly said that she was going to wipe the smile off my face.  She was so not kidding. Having my water broken was easily more painful than anything I dealt with in all of my infertility treatments.  I was coming off the bed in pain.  The pain then triggered a nice crying fit.

Once she managed to nicely wipe the smile off my face, my contractions came on very strong and very fast which really surprised me.  I was in constant pain it seemed. They kept asking me if I wanted my epidural (which I ordered ahead of time – I knew I would want one and once I did, I would not want to wait) and I said no.  I wanted to get a good idea of how I could handle them.  After an hour, I knew I was done and wanted my epidural.  I decided that I had experienced enough to know what they felt like but I didn’t need any more.  Once I had the epidural, though, all was right with the world.

It also managed to speed up my progress – in one hour, I went from 2cm to 9cm.  I thought my nurse was crazy when she told me.  I quickly progressed to the full 10 cm, but unfortunately, Little B was still up pretty high (-1 station).  After being at 10cm for about 2 hours, my OB called and instructed that they had me start to push.  I pushed for an hour and didn’t make any progress.  So, they let me rest for an hour and then we started up again – only, this time, I was put in every conceivable position to push to get him down – truly, the Kama Sutra of Birthing Positions.  After about an hour and a half I managed to get him down and thank goodness for that – I was very close to a c-section.  All of a sudden, there was just a flurry of activity – my OB was getting suited up, Mr. X was holding up my right leg and I was fitted with an oxygen mask to help me get air to Little B while I pushed.

And, Little B was born at 5:59pm! All of a sudden, there was a little alien on my chest looking right at me with beautiful blue eyes and a rather dazed look.  We all wiped him down and I was just overwhelmed.  Mr. X cut the cord and Little B was whisked away to the warmer to be weighed and cleaned.

I, on the other hand, was attacked with a needle and thread by my OB – I managed to get a 2nd degree vaginal tear pushing him out.  They had to give me a boost on my epidural because it hurt so much while she was stitching me up.

So, our little boy arrived in the world in the usual way and is slowly working his way into our hearts.

It’s Time

As we’ve gotten closer to term, I gave some thought to induction but figured that it would only be an option once we get past a due date with no progress.  What I didn’t factor in was the possibility of a not-so-overdue, but rather gargantuan baby.

The estimate from yesterday’s ultrasound was a whopping 8lbs 12 oz.  The doctor did tell me that there is a 20% swing in either direction meaning he could either be on the heavy side of 7lbs or on the really heavy side of 9lbs.  Either way, I say oof.  I may have child-bearing hips, but I don’t know if they are up for the challenge of passing a possibly almost 10 lb bowling ball.  So, we decided to pull the trigger right at 40 weeks before he got any bigger and my chances of a c-section increase.  As it is, my chances are at about 20-30% because of my cervix, which is neither favorable nor unfavorable.

So, tomorrow at 5am, we present ourselves at the hospital for induction.

It’s time.

So Engaging

While we were dining at my parents’ house on Saturday night, I noticed a distinctly different feeling… down there.  Call it pelvic pressure, call it baby breakdancing on my cervix, I had a pretty good idea of what was going on: Little B has begun to make his final descent into My Pelvis Airport.  I had read about lightening, but it was always in that amorphous later portion of pregnancy that I would get to at some unknown point in the future.  That unknown point has apparently arrived.

Of course, this means that we are getting a little bit closer to D-Day, still not knowing exactly when that will be.  The part of me that would like my body back is close to being ready. The rest of me is not.

Still, everytime he sends shockwaves down my hoohah, I imagine some perky flight attendant in my uterus with the on board PA system chirping about tray tables in their upright and locked position and seat backs fully upright.  Hopefully, they also covered the importance of keeping arms and legs inside the cabin at all times during final descent. Otherwise, it could be ugly.

Is This Thing On?

Lots of pregnancy mentions below.

It’s February. Did you know that?  My due date is next month. Next month.  Last summer, March seemed awfully far away, and now, we’re looking at 6 weeks left.


We’ve been busy, though.

• I met with both of the other OBs in the practice and found one that I really like.  She’s straightforward and very thorough.  Two of my favorite attributes.  She even got me an u/s which was amazing. I hadn’t seen Little B since 24 weeks and boy has he grown.  He’s measuring 5lbs and at 35 weeks (I was 33w5d at the time).  Fluid levels are good, cervix is 4 cm and shut up like a steel trap.

• We attended childbirth class which was like Lamaze Lite.  We also saw the obligatory childbirth video although it was the non-freak out version especially designed for pregnant ladies.  The other version is the birth control version shown to teenagers with screaming banshee women with no pain relief.  The only screaming in our video was the baby right after it was born.  Probably a good choice for showing to expectant first timers.

• The week after childbirth class, we went to Baby 101 class (not the real name) and learned how to diaper, swaddle, hold and feed a plastic baby who’s head really did go all the way around.  I made that gem of a discovery and almost got into trouble with the instructor.  Mr. X managed to get the diaper on backwards the first time and we both had a good time practicing the football hold.  We also got the tour of labor and delivery.  We are at a brand new hospital and it is really, really nice. Very quiet too, so we’ll hopefully get lots of attention when the time comes.

• Next week we attend a class on how to introduce your baby to your pets.  Like the slackers that they are, though, the animals don’t have to actually attend the class.  We are the ones that have to go and pay attention. They get to stay home and snooze.

• We are slowly working away at the names list.  We decided early on that we did not want to settle on a name before Little B arrives.  We may pick a name and it’s not him at all. So, we have a short list of names that we’ve been trying out these past few weeks.  But, no final decisions until the end.

Basically, we’re doing this whole process in our own way and still, as always, one day at a time.  But, the days are definitely numbered.  41 to be exact.

Better Late Than Never

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

Part of the reason is that there hasn’t been much news.  The other part is that I’ve had a hard time feeling like it is ok to talk normal things about my pregnancy.  Maybe I’m just a particularly sensitive person, but those posts by other bloggers usually got me right in the gut with the bright cheery discussions of nurseries, etc. that seemed to my wounded infertile mind as if they had forgotten the struggle to get there entirely and those who were still struggling.

Upon reflection, I understood that the part that bugged me was not the details (which frankly, I found interesting), but the posts that read as if they were written by a normal, happy, fertile pregnant lady.  The change always seemed so abrupt as if to say, “I’m cured!”  Meanwhile, I wasn’t.  (Why yes – I do have a problem with envy.)

I’m not cured.  I don’t think I ever will be.  But, I do feel that it is ok for me to share some details.  So, here goes.

If you are in a bad place right now, I’d strongly suggest that you move along.  I understand – trust me. I really, really do. I won’t hold it against you.  Feel free to come back later or block me entirely.  Do whatever you need to do.

I am officially in the third trimester.  That one is still sinking in.  Totally shocking, although at the time, it seemed as if the second trimester dragged somewhat toward the end there.  I look as if I have swallowed a basketball and it certainly feels like that when I bend over, which I am doing less and less.  Mr. X is still amazed at how hard the belly feels.  He continues to press his ear to it and I’ve warned him that one of these days, the kid is going to kick him.  So far, he’s been lucky. Little B gave the OB’s doppler a nice karate chop a few weeks ago.

I did my glucose screening and passed.  I studied very hard.  It means no gestational diabetes and no three hour test (which if I had to do, I was totally going to make a song about to the tune of Gilligan’s Island).

And, lastly – but certainly not least – I think it is high time to share with you just what we’re having.  I could make you guess – after all, you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right, but this is one of those times where I’d much rather just say it.

It’s a little Mr. X.  Yep, a boy – and boy was he not shy about sharing.  As if it wasn’t obvious enough, the amnio did confirm this.  We were not all that surprised, frankly, because there has not been a female born of Mr. X’s patrilineal line since 1932.  And, if it had been a girl, we would have been worried about Turner’s given our prior history. Yet another infertility parting gift.

So, there you have it.  We’re still taking it one day at a time and that is suiting us just fine.

No Swining

I don’t think I have ever had the flu, at least not in adulthood.  I get maybe two colds a year, both corresponding to sudden changes in temperature and that’s about it.  There was that nasty sinus infection on a five-flight bender back from Australia, but I blame recirculated cabin air on that one.  Even so, stories of raging flu viruses hunting like vampire bats for new victims just didn’t really impress me.  I figured that if I did manage to catch something I would be out for the count for a few days and then rejoin the living.

swine-flu-bacon-revengeAnd then I got pregnant just in time for the most exciting panic-inducing flu season in decades.  My timing as usual is perfection.

Almost immediately, I was told by various and assorted organizations with impressive sounding names that I had to get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it was available.  Just because they said so, though, didn’t exactly make up my mind since I’m no longer just deciding for myself.  Someone else is going to be directly affected by my decision.  On the one hand, you have the stories of pregnant ladies dying at rates higher than their representation in the population from H1N1 or having severe complications including miscarriage.  On the other hand, you have the nagging little voice in your head arguing against introducing anything in your body other than what is already been obsessively thought through and approved.  Even my OB was initially skeptical about whether or not to get the vaccine.

But, this was back in September before the vaccine was even ready, so I figured I have some time to think about it.  Right around the time that the vaccine was supposed to become available, I decided that I was more worried about what swine flu could do to me or to Little B than I was about what the vaccine could do.  I decided to get the vaccine.

That was the hard part, right? Um, no. What turned out to be the hardest step was actually finding the damn vaccine.

Naive little me, though, I first called my maternal fetal medicine specialist and innocently asked if they had some H1N1 vaccine.  The answer: no.  Do you know when you’ll be getting some? No. Do you know who does have it? No.  Ok, I thought, I’ll just call the health department and see if they have any information.  I ended up speaking with the most clueless man ever, more no’s and not a few ‘um’s thrown in for good measure and I still had no answers.  I was beginning to get really annoyed now.  I’m in the highest priority group. I have the CDC and every major news outlet telling me that I. Must. Be. Vaccinated. NOW.  and yet, I was hitting the worst roadblock of them all – no one had the vaccine.

I asked my OB’s office if they knew where I could score and they were just as frustrated as I was.  I left with promises to let them know if I was able to get my hands on it and asked that they return the favor if need be.  I called my general practitioner. No dice.  I called the private run emergency clinics all around town and managed to get on a list of those waiting to be vaccinated with some vague promise of the future.

And, I finally resigned myself to waiting.  Waiting to either get the damn vaccine or get the damn flu.  I started avoiding anyone who coughed, especially children, and considered foregoing certain events that would have large groups of people. I made Mr. X paranoid enough that he was going to give it to me that he’s becoming a handwashing savant.  I should buy stock in hand sanitizer because I now have containers in my office, the kitchen, the car and my purse.

Then, this morning, a call.  The clinic where I had my name on the waiting list for the vaccine didn’t have it but one of their sister clinics (which was actually nearer to me) did.  I could have kissed that man through the phone.  I gathered myself and the belly and headed in search for my own little piece of vaccine.  I brought a book because I was expecting the Soviet-style line for precious commodities.  But, I arrived to a relatively empty parking lot and an even more empty waiting room.  I’m here for the H1N1 vaccine I said, and was told about the priority groups at which point I uncovered my secret weapon: the Belly! I had to fill out the requisite paperwork and swiftly was ushered back into a waiting room.  And, there it was – the Holy Grail I had been seeking for all these many weeks. After so much drama, it all came down to this tiny little room with a nurse who obviously did not appreciate the lengths I have gone to get this because she was rather unimpressed with the task that she had been given. 10 minutes from door to needle and I was done.

In the end, the denoument to my quest was anticlimactic, but I can now move on to the next worry.  I would now like to ask all major media outlets and government agencies to stop telling me that I need to get the vaccine. Been there, done that, got the sore arm.