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.

Oof.

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.

In Due Time

Normally, I’m a planner.  I love to plan.  It gives me a feeling of control where maybe I don’t really have that much control.  But, when it comes to planning for Little B, I panic with a capital P.

This is not a new phenomenon with this pregnancy.  It started right out of the gate when I was debating whether or not to pee on a stick.  As beta day grew closer, I would ask myself, do I want to?  For a few days, the answer was ‘no’.  Then, about three days before beta, I was working and all of a sudden, I wanted to pee on a stick.  As a benefit of working from home, I was able to do it right then and there.  Next was when I would take another test.  Again, I listened to myself and trusted that I would at some point reach a point that I was comfortable to take that next step.

I’ve been listening to myself about these kinds of decisions regarding pregnancy ever since.  I waited until our 15 week check up to shop for maternity clothes – and then only at Target where I would not be completely immersed in pregnancy.  I didn’t hit the big time (Destination Maternity) until around the 20 week mark because I knew that I could not handle it – and even then, it was still overwhelming.

The thing is, as the pregnancy progresses, the bigger decisions are beginning to loom larger.  We’ve been asked multiple times recently if we have begun to think about names (we’re waiting for now).  Closer to home, Mr. X has been gently prodding me to start making some decisions about the nursery.  Not only do I love to plan, I love to decorate and the thought of being able to transform a room that frankly I have really not liked ever since we moved in is intoxicating, except for one small detail.

It’s the nursery.

Most pregnant ladies, especially the first timers, would probably think that I am crazy or mentally ill, or both to be wary.  I prefer cautious.  I’ve already told him that we aren’t buying anything until the baby arrives safe and sound.  He countered with at least picking out things to which I relented.  The thing is, of all of the steps that we have taken so far, creating a nursery is by far the biggest and most permanent.  All I can think is, what if I decorate this room and make it adorable and something happens and I will be forever reminded?  Paint is a lot more permanent than a pair of stretchy maternity pants.

I told Mr. X that I’m just not ready yet to committing to decorating and he understands.  I just hope that I can find a middle ground between my anxiety and need to go cautiously and my growing desire to begin transforming that space into the future.

image: mumchancegaloot

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.

That Old Infertility Magic

3324427905_977ffcd916These past few months, I have been neglecting my inner infertile.  I admit it.  I’ve been paying way more attention to the pregnant lady because frankly, she just demands so much time.  I need more maternity pants! Get me to the bathroom, again!  Get me this crazy exotic food that doesn’t exist anywhere within a 50 mile radius!  She has been rather vocal and consuming. But, my inner infertile is always there, waiting patiently to remind me of where I have been and ready to insert a nice reality check when required.  Apparently, today was the appointed reality check day.

Mr. X and I were walking G in the neighborhood this afternoon on a lovely fall day.  It was still light out and so inquiring eyes could probably see the bump.  I’ve only recently begun to not actively hide the belly.  I can if I need to, but I just didn’t feel like it today and I’m trying to get more used to putting it all out there, so to speak.

We run into a neighbor who we haven’t talked to in a while.  She has eagle eye vision and homes in on my stomach.  Eyebrows raised, she asked, “is there news?”

I respond, “I’ve grown a beer gut?” Not satisfying her.

Second try, “I’m dressed as a pregnant woman for Halloween?” Still no. She would not accept anything short of outright victory.

Ok, I said. “I’m pregnant.” Much squealing (her) ensued and then, came the total buzz kill: “Oh, our next door neighbors are expecting too! She’s 18 weeks and they just found out that they’re having a girl. They are SO EXCITED!”

I felt like I’d been socked in the gut. Again. And it wasn’t because my announcement was met with another one.  No, my supreme discomfort was because I was reminded of how much it took me to get to this point when I strongly suspected that my doppleganger had done nothing more exotic than have a few mai tais too many.  The usual and customary feelings hit me like a wave:  I felt like a lesser person again, an inferior and an infertile, perpetually incapable of bearing fruit.

My inner infertile took this opportunity to perch on my shoulder and whisper into my ear, “you know she got pregnant without drama and that she hasn’t had any of the issues you’ve had.  She’s actually excited! She can be excited, unlike you.  And, of course, she’s due in March, too.   So, don’t get comfortable there prego!”

Meanwhile, Inner Prego Lady immediately climbed into bed, pulled the covers over her head, and declared that she wanted to hibernate for the next four months.  She’s a dramatic thing.

We left soon thereafter and went about the rest of our walk.  Inner Infertile and Inner Prego were still in their various throes when the Ref stepped in to bring some clear thinking to the proceedings.  “First”, she said, “we have no idea how this lady got knocked up and frankly, it doesn’t really matter.   She’s also perfectly entitled to be excited.  We are doing just fine taking it one day at a time and anything more would induce anxiety attacks.  Besides, there are far too few measured, content but not overly excited pregnant ladies in this world.  And, finally, her pregnancy has nothing to do with ours.  It doesn’t change a thing nor should we let it have the power to. We can only be responsible for our sphere and she is not part of it.” Amen, sister.

Inner Prego peeked out of the covers and saw that the world had in fact not changed in the slightest. Little Bugger kicked her just for reinforcement. Inner Infertile went back to her retreate on the beach to her book and fruity alcoholic beverage to contemplate the concept that it really doesn’t matter how someone else got knocked up.

As for me, I was relieved to be reminded that I was solely responsible for worrying about me, and not someone else and their pregnancy.  Besides, Inner Prego has to go to the bathroom. Again.

image: FAB O LENS

95, 99, 100!

Less than two weeks ago, we were told that our baby had a 1 in 20 chance of having Down Syndrome.   It also meant that we had a 95% chance of having a chromosomally normal baby.  A week ago, we were told that our chances of having a chromosomally normal baby went up to 99%.  Today, our chances went to:

100%.

The amnio results were normal.

Statistics have not been my friend these past four years.  So it was hard to take comfort in 95% or even 99% because we know what it is like to be in that 1%.  I can relax with 100%.

Go Fish

My cell phone rang yesterday afternoon as I was on my work line with Mr. X. I had just been talking with him about hard it was to wait for the FISH results from our amnio. Like a predictable novel, it was of course the MFM’s office.

This time, it was the nurse who gave us the results of the FISH analysis: Normal, blessedly normal.  She of course immediately harshed on my mellow by warning me that these were preliminary.  I did remember, however, from our conversation with the MFM at Monday’s amnio that FISH is pretty darn accurate and the false rate is very low.  I later found literature that put the false negative rate at 1%. 

We still wait for the final amnio results, but we are grateful for this encouraging news.

ps – yes, we did find out the gender. And, sorry, I’m not ready to divulge. I’m enjoying having that little secret amongst us and the parentals for now.

One Stop Shopping

Today found me once again on my back, slathered in jelly. Oh, how I wish I could say I was in some exotic jello wrestling contest, instead of at the staid, sterile offices of the maternal fetal medicine specialist.  At least with the jello wrestling, I would be able to have a definitive result in almost no time (most likely I would not be the victor).  Alas, I was slathered in jelly on a very uncomfortable bed at the staid, sterile offices of the MFM for our enhanced ultrasound. This was not the same MFM who made the call – this is the MFM that I like.

While we still don’t have a Final Answer, we do have some more information: no soft markers for Downs.  So, our chances have not gotten worse, but they also haven’t gotten better.  In fact, the baby was measuring ahead of schedule: 18 weeks on the nose, and I am 17w5d.

The thing is, this information is still not enough.  We need to no kidding KNOW one way or the other and the only way to do that in utero is amnio.  Initially, I would give an involuntary head shake of absolutely not when posed with the option of an amnio.  I had read too many horror stories about miscarriages due to amnios of otherwise normal healthy babies.  But, upon learning of our 1:20 ratio and the fact that even the most conservative estimates of miscarriage rates for amnio was 1:100, I knew that I was in a losing head shake battle.

Even though we focused on our vacation, I did devote some private time to thinking about amnio and realized that I would need to know now rather than later one way or the other and that I would not be able to live with a maybe.  So, after the ultrasound, I asked when they could do the amnio and was told, “right now!”

No time like the present, so ten minutes later I had my eyes squeezed shut while my abdomen was rubbed with iodine and I got the bee sting in the belly.   I’ve been through a shitload of procedures these past four years, but this was a first for me and boy was it uncomfortable.  The doc tried to make me feel better by explaining that they didn’t have to put the needle in very far, but frankly, it still hurt like a dickens.  Later Mr. X told me that he was surprised that I didn’t start swearing like a sailor.  I know enough to know that you do not under any circumstances make sudden moves or noises when a man has a needle in your stomach.  It was over pretty quickly and I was sent on my way home with strict orders not to lift anything – does that include fingers? – and to take it easy.  I have had no problem following doctors orders.

As for the results, we are doing FISH which should hopefully give us some answers relatively quickly, as well as the usual amnio culture which takes longer.  Just like the past week, though, we are taking it one day at a time.