Sunday, April 29, 2007

Shot of pitocin please

I just posted the following at sidelines, a bedrest support group. i posted there because i thought i might get some desperately needed support, attitude adjustment, anything. i'm posting it here too for the same reasons.

i'm seriously a woman on the verge.

"anytime anybody asks me if i need anything i say, "shot of pitocin?" seriously i am over it. i'm 33 1/2 weeks, serious bedrest since 26, modified since forever.

i have so many d**n contractions that i havent bothered even going to l&d. my doc checks my cervix and it feels fine, NOT TO ME IT DOESNT. somehow the cerclage is holding. the ctnxs hurt now. been havin them for months but they are getting worse. i really need to breathe thru them and my whole lower torso seizes up, clear out the vagina and other lower orifice. ouch. they wake me up and keep me up. i had one non-stress test and of course had no strong contractions during the 30 minute test.

called my doc the other day and his asst prescribed procardia, on his behalf of course, but i didnt fill the prescription bec i wanted to dicuss it in person. he was off for the day so i couldnt see him.

i feel like i've been going into labor for weeks but it never goes full-blown or more than five or six ctnxns an hour. i'm just exhausted esp from bedrest. i seriously get winded brushing my teeth and i feel like my water is about to break. there is so much pressure and discomfort.

i'm having a c-section, hopefully at 38 if the amnio shows the lungs to be mature. my doc will be away from 38-39 1/2 weeks. i cant stand the idea of going to 39 1/2. i'm afraid the contractions are going to cause the cerclage to tear out of my flesh.

i am struggling to remember that i'll never do this again and i might miss it when its over and the baby really needs more time but it isn't really helping. i feel like a selfish brat but i am SOOO uncomfortable. i've been pregnant since summer of 2005 (long, awful story). check my blog at

it's not pretty but it's honest.

somebody please help me remember/realize why i need to make it a few more weeks. i was holding on so i could get a bedrest reprieve at 35 weeks but i can barely walk around at all without being incredibly uncomfortable. my uterus is constantly seized up and it feels like i've got a bowling ball in there. i dont think i'm going to fulfill the fantasy of being pregnant and cute and out and about. i cant sit at a table without sitting on a big red donut cushion and even that hurts.

i saw a slight pink discharge last night and my first reaction was, "yay, maybe that's my mucus plug coming." how warped is that at only 33 1/2 weeks?

i'm going to ask my doctor for a steroid shot so if my water does break the baby will have a good chance at mature lungs. is there a down side to getting the steroid shot? side effects?

help! i've asked lots of questions here. thoughts about any part of this post would be helpful.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Contractions out the ass, literally

I’m not up for much typing because it annoys the shit out of me by making me more uncomfortable. Laying on my side twisted so I can type while a laptop lays on my belly. Everything annoys me lately.

My contractions have been getting worse and worse. They leave me short of breath and needing to try to breathe my way through them. I get REALLY hot and feel like ripping off my top. My uterus gets as hard as a cinder block. My lower back aches all the time and I often feel period-like cramping down low in the belly. The contractions are getting longer and more painful.

Last night I was up at 1, 1:30, 2, 2 something, 3, 3:30, 4, and so on. They weren’t super-frequent but they hurt a lot and they woke me up. At about 4, I stopped going back to sleep. Last night things were feeling pretty weird so I thought this might be it.

Turns out fancy doc is off today. Trusty assistant called back to say that he wants to put me on procardia to stop the contractions. I told her about my other symptoms and she was underwhelmed. She said she’d call in the prescription.

I googled procardia and it’s FDA schedule C and causes hideous problems in animal fetuses. The pharmacy cant get it anyway until Monday but it’s just as well because I’m not going to take it. I don’t feel comfortable starting a drug like that without discussing it first. With my doctor. It’s a blood pressure drug. How do they know that my contractions aren’t caused by a need for more blood in the uterus, placenta, baby, whatever. Lowering the blood flow? I’m no doctor but I am somewhat paranoid and screw that. And my blood pressure is on the low side to begin with.

I was annoyed that trusty didn’t want me to come in but I didnt push it because fancy isn’t even there. He knows what my cervix feels like and it didn’t seem worth it to drag ass into the city to see somebody else.

I am the little girl who cried contraction. And nobody is listening. Because, say it with me now… "if the contractions aren’t causing a change to the cervix, then they really dont fucking matter." They are wearing me out, night and day. That’s for fucking sure.

Walking around I feel like my water could break any minute. I feel the stitch. I feel like I am carrying a bowling ball around. Last night I felt something that felt like it could be the bag of waters pressing against me, way up near the cervix. Something leaked out of me, not a lot but enough to go through underwear and a skirt onto what I was sitting on. I feel little feet or hands, way down low. I feel the vibrations out the vagina. Oh yeah, forget to mention that when I have these contractions, I feel them reverberating straight down the vaginal canal and straight out my ass. It’s like my vaginal and ass canal seize up. Good times.

Sometimes I want to go into labor so a) I can get this over with and b) so I can say “I told you so, fucker.” How fucked up is that? I am ashamed to admit that and I dont really mean it but I cant stand this much longer.

Oh yeah and i didnt go to mommy and me with my daughter because i was feelin so awful. So my dad did the school drop off and then called to check in and then went without me. And for what? So i could get talk to trusty for 4 minutes about a prescription that i dont want.

A few times this week my daughter has stopped what she was doing and announced, "Mama I gonna tell you a secret." Then she ran over and pressed her cheek to my cheek (she doesnt understand exactly how secrets even work yet) and she whispered, "we going to go to side-by-side on friday." She is that happy and excited that I was planning to go with her. Three times this week she brought it up out of the blue. I thought about this after they went without me and I had another big, snotty, huge, cry. I thought about her nestling her little butt in my dads lap and not mine (in my lawnchair). She only says her name in the what's-your-name song when I'm with her. I thought about her not saying her name because I wasn't there. (she didnt say it). I cried and cried.

This whole thing really sucks a big one.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

33 week update

I've had a hard time posting because typing is so damn uncomfortable and the baby kicks like hell at the computer resting on her turf. I managed to write this email for family and friends; I haven't sent them an update since 28 weeks. It's a pretty good update so I've pasted it below.

Hi folks,

Okay I admit it. When I was first pondering what bedrest would be like, I thought, "Not only does that sound pretty good to me but I think I am well-suited for it." I mean, I can lay around with the best of 'em. I would be happy to lay on my couch and knit, watch movies, answer a few emails, chat on the phone. Once I discovered that sudoku requires no adding or subtracting, I was hooked. Filling up the time is no problem. Piece of cake.

It's the couch time that is a drag. For the last SEVEN weeks, I've been under doctor's order to get up for no longer than 20 minutes at a time and leave the house for doctor's appointments only. Before that it was a month or so of limited outings and half the day on the couch.

After a while I stopped wondering, "Hey what are we doin' today? Oh yeah, nothing." Sure I get out of all the mundane tasks, of which there are many but the catch is that I don't get to do anything fun either. I don't get to be out in the world, pregnant in a cute outfit. Eating for two is no fun when you are lying on the couch feeling like a beached sea lion. Pregnant burping is VILE, for HOURS, when you can't sit upright after a meal. I'm constantly uncomfortable. My back and hips hurt from laying down all the time. The kids go fun places like the zoo and the beach without me. The kids come in (thank god they GO OUT) like tornadoes, wreaking havoc on my tiny couch world, spilling my drinks, mangling my glasses, inspecting my tray to see if they've missed out on a tasty snack, eating anything that is left, pressing buttons on my laptop, climbing on me, giving the baby the occasional sonic elbow, absconding constantly with my knitting scissors, unraveling my yarn, swiping my carefully placed pillows. (Actually that's my nutty daughter that does pretty much all of those things.) I could go on, but I won't.

I just recently got a pass to do one thing each week that I want to do. WOO-HOO!! I've used my pass to go with my dad and the kids to drop my son off at school and then take my daughter to her mommy-and-me class. It's crazy how exciting it is to go on this outing! Spring has sprung, there are lots of people around, the sun is shining. Feels like I have emerged from a cave.

This week I have an extra pass to go out to dinner. Sitting upright in a chair is wicked uncomfortable and I'll burp up my dinner for seven hours afterwards but I am optimistic that it will be worth it. Hey was that optimism?! Go figure.

There was a real low-point back in March when I had to miss the opening day parade of my son's Little League. He was in the parade. My little guy riding in the back of a pickup truck with his tball team. In his ADORABLE uniform. And there were firetrucks in the parade. When he told me about the firetrucks, I fully burst into tears and could not stop crying. I'd never missed anything in his whole life and I missed him riding in a parade. After all, I learned quickly that tball is ALL ABOUT the parade. And the uniform of course. That was a real low point.

I did defy my doctor's orders later that day and went to the opening day game. I reclined on my lawn chair and watched him play his first tball game. I didn't even mind that people walked by and said things like, "Well don't you look comfortable" and "Hey, you brought your living room." I am happy to look like a fool to see my kid play tball.

I'm 33 weeks tomorrow!! On their first birthdays, babies born at 32 or 33 weeks look the same as full-term babies. Generally there are no lasting effects of the early arrival. WHEW. We are out of the woods.

Recently I have started to think that we are most likely going to have a baby. A live, kicking and screaming baby. Up until now, there was no convincing me of this but lately I am starting to believe it. After being pregnant basically since July 2005, it's hard to really believe that a baby is coming. Fortunately she has proven to be quite a robust fetus and regularly thrashes around like a wildcat trapped in a burlap sack. Not super comfortable but at least I know she is alive!

My thoughts have turned from questions of the baby's survival to "Maybe I should pack a bag for the hospital (so the baby has just the right outfit for her homecoming, of course) and then jumping ahead to "How the hell am I going to pick up two kids from two different schools at virtually the same time with a baby in tow?"

It's a welcome change that's for sure. I've pretty much been terrified this entire pregnancy. I would've been petrified anyway because of my three disasters. But add to that the rollercoaster of the plummeting progesterone, a suspicious cyst on my ovary, a gut-wrenching episode of spotting and cramping, the cerclage surgery, fears of infection, Christmas and the anniversary of losing LC, a funky genetic test result that compelled an amnio, a godawful wait for results, a third "no-longer-due-date," contractions starting at 16 weeks, a funneling cervix at 26 weeks, bedrest, fear, fear and more fear.

Now here I am, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Only I am stuck on the couch so I have to look at the light from here. Don't get me wrong, I do go outside to lay on a lawn chair people. I'm no fool. And of course it will all be completely worth it when the little darling makes her grand entrance.

Regarding when that entrance will be, the plan is this: At around 36 or 37 weeks, I will have an amnio (fluid drawn out of the placenta with a big long needle) to see if the baby's lungs are mature. If there are mature or mature enough (97% chance of maturity) AND my cervix is showing ANY signs of readiness, then my doctor will deliver the baby by scheduled C-section just before 38 weeks. That's May 30 or so.

The reason to do the C-section at just before 38 weeks is that my doctor is leaving town from 38 weeks to 39 ½ weeks. I only very recently got up the courage to inquire about the delivery. Didn't want to jinx it. Turns out he'll be away during a crucial point.

I DO NOT want to go to 39 ½ weeks. I have ZERO interest in going into labor with this bootlace holding things together downtown. Normally a cerclage is removed at 36 weeks but mine is a more complicated type of stitch and requires serious anesthesia for removal so we are leaving it in until the C-section. My doctor is most capable at removing this type of stitch so I want him to do it before he goes. I also want this baby out of here before there's a chance for anything else to go wrong. I also want my happy ending to come with this doctor who saw us through two heartbreaks. So we'll see.

So for now I will remain on the couch, occasionally timing the contractions that are getting stronger and stronger (somehow they haven't escalated into labor). If things look good at 34 weeks, I'll be up and around a little more so I can regain a little strength. It's scary how quickly I get winded when I am up. It won't be easy recovering from my fourth major abdominal surgery (1st one was to remove a fibroid which is the reason I must have C-sections to being with) and months of bedrest.

It'll all be worth it when I hear this baby cry. Speaking of the tiny tot, I've attached a really cool photo of her at 30 weeks. I could fill an album with her ultrasound photos but this one should go in a frame.

I've also attached a photo of my daughter and me, taken a few weeks ago. I was determined to have lovely professional photos taken and I am so glad I did. The pictures will leave me with memories of the joy of growing a baby with a big brother and sister reveling in the process. The kids' infectious and unbridled enthusiasm has buoyed me up through these trying times.

Now that I have written the great American novel, I'll sign off. If all goes as planned (do I dare put that in print?), I'll update again when a delivery date is set. If not, we'll email whenever we can.

Holy crap, we're havin' a baby.

Next email could be from the hospital!

Thanks again for all of your support and well-wishes, not to mention your willingness to hang in there with us and to read this whole damn email. Having such a great support system has helped us get through this.

Big shout out to my dad who has been with us for 3 1/2 MONTHS, working night and day, putting up with my grumpiness, to help ensure that his granddaughter arrives safely and that the kids are well-cared-for in the process. We are fortunate indeed.



Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No news is good news

Sorry for being such a slacker. I have posts percolating in my head but haven't managed to make the effort to write them. Here's alittle bit of all of them.

Here's a picture of our daughter at 30 weeks. 4-D scans are friggin' unbelievable. I look at this picture to make myself believe that there is a real live baby in my belly. She is very active and I feel her moving all the time but I still have a hard time connecting the dots. WIth my son and daughter, it wasn't until I heard them cry that I REALLY got it. Sounds crazy probably.

Recently, I am starting to believe that she will most likely be born and live and come home with us. I am thinking about packing a bag for the hospital, mostly so I'll have a cute outfit for her to come home in. I might also wash some clothes for her soon. Her accomodations pretty much consist of a crib in our bedroom. She'll sleep in bed with us until she starts making an unreasonable amount of noise and then we'll reevaluate. We could put her bassinet in our bathroon; our bathroom is beautiful and has the best feng shui of any room in the house.

My dreams have been crazy. A few nights ago I made the acquaintance of the grim reaper, then the next night it was multiple near-death-experiences in Mexico. Last night I was about to get bussed off to prison for six months when Tina Fey saved my ass on the basis of a positive blood test of some sort. Fortunately I have learned that, in the dream world, dying is actually more about rebirth and than it is about death. Still.

Sticking with the death theme, I am feeling ready to deal with the two boxes of ashes sitting in my kitchen cabinet. It's time to release them, the ashes that is, not the babies. The babies are long gone. If I ever get around to finishing the story of the Big Fucking Nightmare, I will elaborate on how, after LC died, she was gone, gone. It seemed like she shot out of my life in a flash and left nothing behind. Her ashes never felt at all like they had much to do with her. The thread between us broke when we gave her back to the nurse. MAybe I haven't allowed myself to feel her presence. Who knows.

So I have a question. I have been thinking a little about whether I should keep a tiny bit of her ashes, and her tiny, baby brother's. Anyone have any thoughts about this? I am somewhat inclined to let the ocean lap them all up and take them away. But I don't want to have regrets. I have pictures, handprints, footprints, an impossibly tiny hospital band. My jizo statue is on the way, finally.

Should I keep some ashes? Any insights from personal experiences would be most welcome.

Maybe after I release the ashes, my heart will open more fully to the little acrobat in my belly. I'll sign off for now so she'll stop trying to kick the computer off my belly.

If anything dramatic happens, like I go into labor or my water breaks, I will have a friend post for me. So no news really is good news.

I am 32 weeks on Thursday! This is the first milestone that seems like it will feel good. The baby will most likely be fine if she insists on being born. Every day and week after is shaving off NICU time and increasing the likelihood that she goes straight to her daddy's arms.

I see fancy doc on thursday and i will demand that we have a detailed discussion of the plan for my delivery. I'll give him some more shit about scheduling a vacation during my 38-39 1/2 week period. I know he really wants to be there so giving him shit will be satisfying. I'd like to talk seriously about having a C-section before he leaves. I know that he has some concern about who removes my cerclage. Any one of his partners could do the section but I'd love for it to be him. At any rate, he isn't putting me off again with any bullshit about superstition. I need to know whatever is knowable about the plan for my delivery.

Christ this kid is still thrashing around like a wildcat in a burlap sack. Feels like she is doing backflips with my right hipbone as a her launching pad. Gadzooks.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

There is a crib in my bedroom

On Wednesday, we bought our neighbor’s crib and it was put in our garage. On Thursday, it was assembled and now it is in our bedroom. I was thinking that seeing the crib in the bedroom might help me picture a baby in it. As it is now, I look at the crib and think, “Is this really going to happen?” “If a baby ends up in this crib, will she be healthy?” “Are we going to have a happy ending?”

I guess the heart of the matter is the question of the happy ending. After being pregnant for so long, after two disasters, it’s a leap for me to believe that this will end well. It’s not that I think it will end badly. I just don’t trust the universe when it comes to babies. I’ve lived a few horror stories and heard many, many more. The baby got the hiccups for the first time the other day and the thought that leapt into my mind was, “Jesus I hope it’s not cord compression.”

Call me negative. I call it jaded. I know too much and a lot of it isn’t good. And I was no little miss sunshine even before I lost my deadbabyvirginity. Please spare me any comments about how I should focus on the positive. I already know that there is a very bright side here and that I would help me to pay closer attention to it. Being able to feel gratitude helped me survive the Big Fucking Nightmare. After the next disaster, I was just pissed. And bitter. Being grateful felt better. I digress.

I started this blog so I could vent about my experiences and find some community in the process. Angst is what inspires me to post. Notice that most of my posts are about fear and anxiety and catastrophizing. I don’t feel that way all the time or I would be posting more frequently. After I post a big, gnarly rant about whatever, I generally feel better. Catharsis, I believe it’s called. I’d rather give the negativity, or whatever, a voice and release it into cyberspace than let it eat away at me while I try to stuff it down. I like the old “trying to keep the beach ball under the water” analogy. It’s exhausting falling off that ball all the time and trying to climb back on. Here, my beach ball is all over the place.

Having empathic readers who leave empathic comments feels good. Having somebody tell me to pull up my skirt and quit bitching is not so helpful. My dad did that as I grew up with a very depressed and abusive mother. I am trying to re-parent myself by listening to my inner 5-year-old instead of telling her to rise above it. We all need to be seen as we are and loved as we are in order to have a shot at feeling anything but self-loathing. I digress again.

I get that other people have it worse than me. Lots of them. My life is full of riches and beauty and treasure. I am constantly awe-struck by my children. I live in wonder that my husband, the most decent and generous person I know, really and truly loves me. I am blessed in myriad ways.

But I still need a place to complain and that place is here. I appreciate the comments defending my right to complain. I didn’t get involved in the discussion because I feel very certain that not only am I justified in griping but that it’s good for me.

So back to griping. I’m finding it hard to trust that my happy ending is coming. At the same time, every ounce of my being rebels at the notion of some sort of disaster. I’m in limbo.

I saw fancy doc on Thursday. At that point I had two weeks of house-bound, I shouldn’t be up for longer than 20 minutes bedrest under my belt. He said that I should continue that way for 2 more weeks and then we’ll reevaluate. However, he did give me a pass for one outing a week and I will use it to take my son to school and then my daughter to her mommy-and-me class. I’ll bring my lawn chair to the class.

The stitch is holding my cervix steady at 3 cm. I’m always surprised by that but I guess the only way for the cervix to shorten is if the stitch slips. The stitch feels very pinchy like there is a uterus full of baby sitting right on it, which of course there is. The baby looks good. The fluid looks good, the cord is not wrapped and seems to be attached properly and in a good spot.

The contractions are getting more painful but I haven’t had more than three painful ones in an hour. I just sneezed and felt like I about blew the stitch right out of me. Often I feel like my water could break any minute now. This morning I had crampy pains and aches in my lower back. But so far none of these symptoms has escalated into anything that caused me to consider calling fancy doc’s office.

Oh yeah so fancy is gong to be away from end of May’ish until June 8th. That is week 38 for me and part of 39. We hadn’t discussed “the delivery” earlier for fear of the dreaded jinx. I asked him if we’d do the C-section at 38 weeks before he left on vacation and he said no. Regarding what the actual plan will be, he said it’s too early to talk about and that we should discuss it at 34 weeks. My world-renowned, cerclage-expert, fancy doctor is too superstitious to go there.

So I guess that leaves me delivering, if not sooner, than at 39 ½ weeks. I’m not thrilled about that especially since my cerclage will still be in. Given how uncomfortable that little mother is right now, I am not too psyched about going any longer than necessary. A 38-week delivery would work for me. So we’ll see.

In the meantime, there is a crib in my bedroom. Maybe I’ll put some tiny clothes in there along with her little cowboy booties. To help me get in happy-ending, live-baby mode. And I am moving into full-on, this is the last several, or few, weeks that I will ever be pregnant and so I intend to enjoy some of it mode.

Oh yeah and I have the “consent for sterilization” form. It needs to be signed at least 30 days before the C-section; there is a waiting period of sorts. I would’ve preferred that the form say “consent for tubal ligation.” Sterilization. That’s a little intense.

To answer the question of why I am having a C-section: In 1999, I had a large fibroid removed from the wall of my uterus. Since it was embedded in the wall and then removed, a vaginal delivery carries a 10% chance of a uterine rupture. My ex-doctor was adamant that a vaginal delivery would be too risky. (She didn’t bother to tell me that a LEEP procedure, aka lopping off 25% of my cervix, might cause an incompetent cervix but that’s another story). So it’s scheduled C-sections for me. It’s not so bad especially when they are scheduled so there is no labor. More on that some other time.