Monday, March 29, 2010

State of Union-Type Post

Oh goodness, my dears. I felt so well today- no traces of the cold, the morning sickness just a vague queasiness if I let myself get too hungry, energy level NORMAL- that I went a little crazy on the built up housework: I was vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and laundering like a crazed Donna Reed. And HOO BOY can I feel it. I had been wondering previously about my hip pain, or rather, my lack of hip pain, with this pregnancy, because even with my first baby, my hips were aching any time I was on my feet by about two months along. This time, I haven't felt so much as a twinge. But today? Today my hips are being jackhammered apart and my lower back is screaming in protest. Guess the pain was there waiting all along- I just haven't been moving enough to feel it until now! Good to know everything is business as usual. But whatever, it's so worth it. My house is so clean again. Even the throw blankets are clean and dog hair free. Ahhh. And I haven't even dry heaved once today.

That would be in direct contrast to Friday, when I ran out of Zofran (and was already feeling especially yucky, even with the meds) and was completely without it for over twenty four hours due to a fuss between the doctor's office and my insurance company, trying to convince the insurance company to PAY for the refill my doctor had already APPROVED. Grr. While waiting for them to stop griping and cough up the coverage, I managed to throw up about five times, one of them on my own front lawn. A stellar day. After this pregnancy, I don't think I would even consider getting knocked up again if I didn't know that this fantastic medicine existed should I need it. (And every day I think, "Dear God, please let my kid not have six fingers because of this drug.")

Anywhays, that's pretty much all that's been going on over here. Oh, Eli continues down the path of great resistance re: toilet training, despite all the fabulous Spiderman and Cars underpants awaiting him in his drawer and the stockpile of Cars... cars waiting in the closet to be handed out for potty successes. He's had a few, but for the most part seems highly suspicious of this whole bathroom independence prospect. He's especially unimpressed with the underwear: every day we ask him if he'd like a diaper or underpants and he shrieks "DIAPER! Want DIAPER!" So.

We did an Easter egg hunt with family this past weekend, so we have plenty of candy now, especially considering the jelly beans and malted eggs I had already purchased for the baskets. Anyone have good ideas for Easter basket stuffers besides candy?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cravings and Teh Belly

I'm almost all better from the Sinus Infection That Would Not Quit. In fact, yesterday I felt so good I could hardly believe it. It was like being back from the dead.

Today, not so much. Nauseous, weak, nauseous, weak. I tried to clean the bathroom, and the combination of leaning over to scrub the tub and the smells of the (natural! green!) cleaners left me feeling woozy and sick. And then a bunch of trash cans needed emptying, and their contents were a little more pungent than I could handle. Ahem. But still- other than a few bizarre throwing up incidents that kind of hit me out of the blue, I have been doing much better, in terms of nausea, than I was a few weeks ago. I have hope that it really will end with the first trimester and the summer will be nothing but nesting and eating for two to my heart's content.
(EDIT: Hah hah hah. Should've known better than to gloat about feeling better. Today ended up being steadily downhill; the grand finale found me barfing in my hand as I ran for the bathroom. For my next trick, I will perhaps puke in your handbag!)

I keep fantasizing about all the delicious salads I want to eat so badly but can't stomach right now: a REAL Caesar salad, my favorite goat cheese/fruit/walnut salad, even just a good old cheese and egg and baco-bit and ranch dressing concoction... I love salad. But right now all I ever seem to want is turkey sandwiches. For reals, I have one at least once a day. Toasted bread, shaved turkey breast (and yes, I gave up on heating it a long time ago, listeriosis be... darned) provolone and cheddar cheese, honey mustard and lettuce. Works every time. I feel like I'm eating a lot, or at least, very frequently, but so far I actually haven't gained more than a pound or two (coughcough more like four on the doctor's scale coughcough.) My tummy, however, is no longer flat even in the mornings:

I am so excited to find out what the baby's sex is. I wonder if we'll find out a little early like with Eli... or, heaven forbid, not at all, like with modest, legs-crossed Adelay! A lot of how the bedrooms will get rearranged depends on baby's gender and who will be sharing with whom, so I can't start doing much about that until we know. I do so love to have projects to work on while I'm pregnant to make the time pass!

Although, I don't know that I'm all that anxious for the months to pass this time around. It kind of feels like it's going fast already, and I'm frankly quite intimidated at the prospect of three kids all day long! Pregnancy may be uncomfortable, but at least the baby is safe and sound and happy (one hopes) in there, and doesn't need nursing and burping and changing every two hours. Once it comes out, everything changes. Again! And then a year or so from its birth, of course, we will wonder what was ever so hard about ONLY two kids.

I did at least manage to get Adelay registered for preschool, which is she very excited about, so it won't be all three kids ALL day long. Bonus: it's afternoon preschool, which means I won't have to get myself and three kids packed up immediately following breakfast. I mean, let's face it: given my usual morning productivity, I'll be lucky to have my TEETH brushed before noon most days.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Practically A Novel Here. Perhaps Read In Segments.

I've been feeling for awhile now the need to address an issue that I often think you guys must wonder about, which is how I reconcile my faith with loss, and the unfairness of it all, and the pointlessness of pregnancies which begin only to end. It's easy to be happy now, and to well up with gratitude every time I get more good news (and yes, I am still pregnant and sick and all systems are go!) but it was a little different when I was trying my best to follow what I thought was the right path for our family, getting hopeful and elated every time I saw a second pink line, and then feeling hollow and betrayed every time the ultrasound found only stillness where there should have been life.

Some days I just trudged through, and told myself I'd think about it tomorrow.

Some days I felt angry, and felt perfectly free to express that anger. I would start by feeling angry at myself, wondering what I might have done or not done to create an environment which did not sustain my baby. What could I have done differently? And why did it have to be so HARD for me, when other women were out drinking and smoking and foregoing prenatal care altogether and still managing to produce live children at the end?

But then I would end up feeling angry at God. Why did He let us both believe we were supposed to have more kids, and WANT more kids, if this was going to happen? Why would He allow us to get pregnant at all if He knew down the road it would fail? If it wasn't the right time yet, which I could accept as plausible, then why not just let me be unable to conceive for awhile, you know? Was He in control of every little thing, or not? Did I even want to believe that He was?

In the end, after much pondering, I came to a few conclusions. Or maybe just reaffirmed them under severe scrutiny, and found them still valid.

I believe wholeheartedly in free will. I think God can (will) change things and intervene in our lives only if it involves a circumstance NOT controlled or altered in any way by a person's intentional actions. This is not to say that He can't work in people's hearts, but that's just it, work. Movement. Nudging, through circumstances or other people (who have perhaps also been nudged) or just a feeling in their spirits. But He cannot actually force a person to do something that they don't will to do.

The implications of that are staggeringly far reaching in terms of the ultimate question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" I have no idea where free will ends and the opportunity for a miracle or intervention begins. Also, sometimes free will seems kind of cruel to me, frankly- is it right that Hitler had free will and that God did not force that man's hand, even at the expense of millions of lives? But on the other hand, the inevitable truth is that there can be no love without free will. I wouldn't want to live in a world without love, even if it was also a world without cruelty and senselessness and unfair suffering.

Which is to say, I don't believe that every little thing that happens is God's will. I believe in grand plans and God's design and that we're each here with a purpose. But I don't sit around thinking, "God wanted me to miscarry three babies." I just really don't believe that. I believe the verse that says, "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." I believe that God has the power to redeem certain situations and give us good gifts even out of ugliness and hurt, but I really don't believe that every hurt is orchestrated by God in some grand plan.

I'm not saying it's out of the question that God tests people and strengthens their character to prepare them for future events or to enable them to help others, but I'm also not saying that I believe you can blanketly look at every crappy, painful, unfair thing that happens and say, "Oh, God's just testing you!"

So is it possible that miscarriages are part of a master plan in my life? Sure. Is it also possible that the world is a just a messed up place full of bad health and disease and deteriorating bodies and that people who believe in God still have to live in this world and deal with the same circumstantial detritus as other people? I think so. I don't think God keeps Christians under some kind of special umbrella of protection from the real world. Jesus said something about it- "God lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust." I would say, though, that I feel like my heart has been kept under a special umbrella of protection. I can't really explain my determination to try and try again any other way. This determination is one of the gifts that I now believe I have been given from an otherwise just plain unfortunate series of events.

Let me explain. My personality is not exactly one given to a desire to conquer obstacles and surge through barriers. I usually stick with doing what I'm good at and avoiding what I'm not so good at. Even as a kid, I remember having mini panic attacks at the idea of math, just because I had it my head that I wasn't really very good at that. So, yeah, after the second miscarriage, there was a big part of me whispering, "Hey, it kinda seems you're not very good at this baby having business. Bedrest, random illnesses during pregnancy, low progesterone, two miscarriages- maybe you need to stop while you're ahead." But I just couldn't.

And after the third, I remember feeling this sort of swelling surge in me, like, "I refuse to give up on this. I KNOW we are not done having kids." Even that night five weeks ago, when I thought I was beginning to miscarry for the fourth time, (after initially sobbing over and over, "I am never doing this again. I can't do this again") I remember finally telling Jim, "We can't let this beat us. We just can't. Somehow it's going to happen."

I can't explain that hope or determination as anything other than a gift. I have never had to work harder and invest more of myself in something than I have in the effort of getting and staying pregnant, both mentally and physically. I don't really like being pregnant, overall. I just don't feel well or like myself, is the best way to put it. And complications seem inevitable- it's always something going on besides just gestating the baby! I would have loved to say, "I'm done! I want my body to myself and I want my mind to be done with the anxiety seesaw that is pregnancy." But I am learning that it's possible to want something enough to endure things you really hate. Having never once participated in an organized sport or trained for a marathon or anything of the sort, this is honestly the first thing I have had to physically push myself through, keeping my eye on the prize. I feel like a stronger person for having persevered, mentally and physically. (Mind you, this does not keep me from whining at great length about these physical challenges. AS YOU KNOW.)

Another gift I feel has come from the awfulness of lost pregnancies is a profound appreciation for every good doctor's visit, every ultrasound that ends happily. It is no small thing to see that flicker of thumping heart on the gray, fuzzy screen, and where with Adelay, and even somewhat with Eli, I took a healthy baby and uneventful check ups for granted- thinking bad things only happened to people who were binge drinking or were, you know, OLD or something- I now find my breath catching in pure joy every time the baby's safety is confirmed.

I had to go in AGAIN today, to get another antibiotic scrip, but since I was her last patient of the day, the practitioner hurried me back to the sonogram room and did a quick check just to assure us that baby was indeed still well after all that pharmaceutical popping! It was just a brief peek, a minute at most, but seeing my baby wriggling around nonstop, its arms and legs a blur of motion, made my throat close up in a way no sonogram ever has. You're alive! You're still ok! I thought all the way home, praising it just for being there. Keep it up! And as much as I want a beautiful natural birth BLAH BLAH BLAH, I kind of don't give a rat's you know what, in the end, how it happens. I just want to hold this baby. I can't wait to say, "You're here! We've been hoping for you for a long time, and we wanted you so very much. So, so much."

And THAT, my friends, is a little gift called perspective. (This also applies to how I don't mind too much anymore the chores that go undone and the dust that gathers here and there. It only took five and a half years of motherhood and a rather debilitating case of nausea/sinus misery to finally erase the inscription CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS from my brain.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Maid Is Really Slacking

I have been sick since last Monday. The cold has stayed steady, but now my head is starting to hurt again, too. Is it possible to reinfect yourself immediately after getting over a sinus infection? Or maybe the pregnancy-approved antibiotics are wimpy and didn't do the job well enough?

Either way, man is my nose raw. And about ten trees have been sacrificed on the altar of this cold. Our house is constantly dusty from the tissues being yanked out of their box approximately every five minutes. Yesterday Eli and Addy were dancing around in the cloud of dust motes floating in the sunlight. "It's fairies!" I told them. "It's the end of my six year stint as a thorough and dedicated housekeeper," I thought.

Because, boy do I just not care anymore. Fighting the sick and the nausea and keeping the kids reasonably well cared for and showering myself on a regular basis is about all I have energy for lately. Cleaning on my part has only been happening when the sight of the dirt is enough to make me feel even sicker, like last night, when I was brushing my teeth and started gagging uncontrollably because the counter was just so nasty with dust and lint and toothpaste globs. After the retching passed I stood there weakly with a washcloth, scrubbing and wiping for about ten minutes. How has it come to this- the sink has to look gross enough to send me heaving before I wipe it off? It seems some of this is preventable. But I'm just so TIRED from being so dang SICK. I'd rather escape the house altogether (especially lately, when it's been sunny and in the fifties and downright spring like) than force myself up to mop and scrub.

Not to sound too whiny, though- Jim's still doing the lion's share of dishes and laundry, and my mom continues to drop by on lunch breaks here and there to vacuum, wipe out the microwave, pat my head pityingly, etc. The dog continues to be no help whatsoever, by standing over me, shaking vigorously, as I try to dust buster up tumbleweeds of dog hair in the kitchen. Just for example.

I officially have pregnant face, btw. I thought maybe I was imagining it, so I mentioned it to Jim last night and asked, "Have YOU noticed?" "Yeah, I kinda did the other day," he replied nonchalantly, wiping off bowls. Well. Darn it. I was really hoping one of these times I would magically still have a jawline while gestating, but I guess it's not to be. Well, at least I have my health. OH WAIT HA HA HA.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Feel Pregnant. And Awful. But I Guess That's Kind Of Redundant!

Well. Nothing says early pregnancy like a raging sinus infection, hmm? Coupled with nausea, which on the one hand is helped by the sudden, total inability to smell anything, but which is then on the other hand greatly irritated by a week of post-nasal drip.

Also, nothing says pregnancy like worry/guilt about every little thing you do, such as taking Sudafed, antibiotics, Tylenol and Zofran for five days straight. I sure hope this poor kid comes out with just one head. If not, well, you know who to blame.

I will say this, though- Breathe Right strips are a straight miracle when you're trying to go to sleep with a stuffy nose. How have I lived twenty five years without those babies?

*This too, was an absolute miracle- Eli threw up twice on Saturday, and not in small amounts, either, but both times someone else cleaned it up instead of myself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure We're Actually Having A Baby

Yesterday's ultrasound and appointment was pretty much all good news, aside from a diagnosis of developing sinus infection. But miserable head cold aside, all is well- baby is still alive and growing and measuring right, and, thank GOODNESS, the subchorionic bleed is much, much smaller and more spread out this week. Last week, it was a giant, visible sac, bigger than the baby's sac, dense and black. This week, it was just vague grayish patches here and there. So it seems the baby aspirin most likely was the culprit, and hopefully a few more weeks of being off it and that sucker will totally clear up. Thank you thank you thank you.

I hadn't even realized what a worrisome thing it was (well, I knew I was worried, especially after researching it online, but I didn't know how worried the doctors were) until the practitioner burst into the room with a big smile, waving the ultrasound picture at me. "I'm so relieved!" she exclaimed. "With your history and all, I was just going to be so upset if this... you know, caused a problem." Um, yes. Indeed.

The cherry on the sundae was that during the ultrasound, I asked when the baby would first start to move. "You mean, so that you can feel it?" the tech asked. "No, just like, at what age would we start to see it on the sonogram," I clarified. "Well, it's just kind of coincidence if we happen to catch it this early- they do move a little, but not much yet at this stage," she shrugged. But then a second later, it kicked! Inasmuch as one can kick with little buds for legs, but it was definitely, totally a kick. There were several, in fact, and you know what? I did feel them, all the way to my toes. I could not stop smiling all day, even though my sinuses were throbbing and my throat felt like sandpaper and my nose is red and raw.

Because! Kicking! Nine weeks on Sunday!

The only baby-related bad news was that my progesterone is still only seventeen, which is the bare minimum my particular practice likes to see before putting you on supplements. That means it has gone up a bit since the initial draw, when it was fifteen something, but it's still awfully low compared to normal women's. Also, the corpus luteum (the thing that produces progesterone and keeps the yolk sac, which the baby survives off of, healthy until the placenta takes over) was pretty small and kind of barely hanging in there. It just has to stay functioning for about a week longer though, and then the placenta will be producing progesterone and the baby won't need me to do it anymore. Which is good, cause I suck at progesterone making. But, whatever. I managed to make enough this time- just barely!- to keep the baby going this far, so hopefully I can churn out enough to get us through the next week or so and then we should be golden.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Half The Time It Might As Well Be A Sugar Pill

Okay, I really wanted to try to post about something other than pregnancy today! I did! But the first thing I thought of to say was: even though I usually hate jello, Jim insisted on making me some and it is in fact tasting sort of comforting to the tummmy. But still. Jiggly food. Oh and also: peppermint tea, especially ICED peppermint tea, has been a lifesaver lately. I highly recommend. Especially, say, if you happen to be feeling kind of sick anyways and then you're sitting in the backseat of your van during a carpooling situation and THEN you get horrible hiccups that start making you want to gag each time... Some tea after that might be helpful. I've been keeping a big iced pitcher of it and guzzling it down all day, actually.

So yeah. The Zofran is helping, I think, as I'm spending a lot less time actually running off to the bathroom to try to throw up. But I can't say I'm feeling quite as magically cured as I did a few days ago, especially since now I have some kind of sore throat/cough thing and every time I've had a big coughing fit today I end up retching and dry heaving. Swistle, I seem to remember your having a terrible first trimester cough/barfing issue during your last pregnancy, yes?

I was filling out my paperwork for my Official First Prenatal Visit this Wednesday (even though it will actually be the fourth time I've been in- and, why do I even have to have an Obstetrical Education appointment? I've been pregnant once or twice before!) and got to the part about birth preferences. There is a big part of me that really, REALLY wants to try a water birth. I know I want to go without an epidural or drugs again if everything falls into place without induction or whatever, but I'm all for any ways to naturally reduce pain. And also reduce the chance of- well, there's no delicate way to say this, so, TEARING, ok? Would like to avoid that. And I've heard great things about water birth in terms of eliminating or reducing both of those above things, and I'm finally seeing a doctor who's willing to DO a water birth, so it seems like the obvious choice.

But. I can't seem to get past the ick factor. I mean, you're in there... with everything. Bodily fluids aplenty. It's not like you can push the baby out and then jump up immediately and hop on the bed before anything else BESIDES the baby comes out, you know? Yet it sounds so appealing and relaxing, the whole water thing. Do you think I could tell them I want a water birth all the way until the actual birth part? Like, "Keep that tub warm and filled throughout labor, but then as soon as I'm ready to push, drag me out and throw me up on the bed, m'kay?"

Friday, March 05, 2010

This Baby's College Fund Is Going To Buy My OB A New Boat

Hello, all. Everything's fine over here, though we had yet another scare and it was back to the doctor yesterday! I started bleeding again about four days ago (on top of the unrelenting nausea) and at first I hesitated to rush back to the doctor, since she had said some spotting was probably inevitable given the bleed near my cervix. Yesterday it got a lot worse though, so I finally called and went in for an ultrasound, and boy am I glad I did.

You remember that second sac they saw on my last ultrasound? Now they're saying it was never a second sac at all, but a pooling of blood from a subchorionic hematoma. It unfortunately has gotten a lot bigger since the last ultrasound. You can see a jagged, clotted edge where it's trying to heal itself, but it's just not doing a very good job, most likely because of the baby aspirin I'm on for my clotting disorder. Baby is still fine, thank goodness, measuring exactly right and with a heartbeat of one sixty two this week, which is great. But the bleeding is such that now the doctor is worried it might leak behind the sac where the baby is still implanting in the uterus and cause problems, so they want me to stop the aspirin immediately to try to get it to heal up and stop spreading.

It's weird- if a hematoma is diagnosed later in a pregnancy they sometimes recommend aspirin to try to bleed the clot right out of your uterus, but this early in pregnancy there's a danger that if the whole clot comes out it will trigger a miscarriage, so they try to avoid that scenario, obviously. Ugh. It's just one of those frustrating wait and see situations, and I certainly don't enjoy having the odds of miscarriage raised even more. All I can do is try to take it easy, and go in for weekly ultrasounds to monitor the progress/deterioration of the stupid thing.

I swear, it seems I can never get through a pregnancy without some complication or another. Maybe at least I'll get them all over with at the beginning this time, and by the end it'll be smooth sailing, no sign of heartburn or stretch marks or incontinence or constant false labor or bedrest... Nothing but a serene pregnant lady who still has a visible jawline and normal looking ankles, rubbing her belly and glowing and blissfully folding onesies, just like in the magazines at my doctor's office. Bwah ha ha ha.

Well. Sarcastic laughter aside, I am still delighted that as of today, I am seven weeks, five days pregnant, and without progesterone supplements or Clomid or trigger shots or anything! Just a spontaneous weekend getaway, a wing and a prayer, and our optimism, which seems to spring eternal (perhaps even irrational.) And I still believe everything's going to be okay this time. I may end up on bedrest much sooner if the bleed gets bigger or won't go away, but hey, that was pretty much inevitable anyways, right?

I may seem weirdly cheerful today, I know, but it's all thanks to a prescription of Zofran which I finally got up the courage to ask for yesterday. I had held off on asking for it even though I've been thinking of it for weeks now, since I'm not really actively barfing all day. Instead, I just feel constantly seasick and spend a lot of time either fighting off the desire to throw up or trying unsuccessfully to throw up, thinking even that might feel better than my current misery. The effort of fighting the sick feeling has been leaving me constantly shaky and fatigued and wrung out feeling, with only brief respites here and there when I would eat some magical, impossible-to-replicate combination of foods which seemed to stave off the sick for a few hours. I was getting nothing done around the house, doing nothing fun with the kids, and cooking nothing more ambitious than cold cheese sandwiches or soup, though even the smell of something warming on the stove sent me running.

So. I asked for the Zofran, and it was procured, and then the clouds parted and the angels sang and I wondered why on earth I waited to ask for it for even a single day. True, it leaves me a little tired and dazed feeling, and it hasn't magically eliminated ALL the nausea, but it is very manageable seeming today, and I even gave the kids baths and cleaned the bathroom and took us to the library and then made some lunch without retching and then managed to get on the computer without having the light from the computer screen send me gagging (yes, that's why I've been MIA lately, no kidding.) These are all things I would have had trouble with heretofore, so I'm pretty darn happy. Now I just need to get this pesky little subchorionic bleed under control and I'll be the perfectly happy pregnant woman.