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Radio Silence January 30, 2008

Filed under: ?Baby? — booksunread @ 6:35 pm

On a lot of the better read blogs, when the blogger doesn’t update for a while, people post in the comments all “Where are yoouuuu? Is something wrong?  Did your dog die?” and the blogger comes back all “OMG you guys, I’m not DEAD, I just have a life and don’t have time every day to come dance for you like a monkey!”  Um, so the three people that read this were not clamoring to know my whereabouts the past couple weeks or so, but just for future reference, when I’m not posting here, it is usually because something IS wrong and I’m not ready to write or talk about it, and I can’t focus on anything else enough to put up some inane post.

The last couple weeks have been a serious roller coaster.  That ultrascreen test I had just so I could get another ultrasound?  Came back with worrisome results-what is considered a positive risk for Down’s Syndrome.  1 in 417 is the normal risk for someone my age, when the measurements taken during the ultrasound and my blood work were factored in, my risk jumped to 1 in 86.  Tempting fate: 1, Books: 0.

Of course, this meant that our chances were 85 in 86 that everything was just fine.  Working in our favor is the fact that we don’t have any family history, and everything has looked fine on the many ultrasounds to this point.  Babies with Down’s usually have heart and digestive abnormalities that are visible at ultrasound.

Still, now that we had this frightening prospect in front of us, there was no way we could wait out the next 6 months and take our chances that the odds were still in our favor, so we opted to have an amnio to know for sure.  The ultrascreen is not a definite diagnosis, it just tells you your statistical risk of having certain birth defects; the only way to diagnose an abnormality for sure is with the amnio.

Even having the amnio was stressful and scary.  The test carries with it anywhere from a 1 in 200-300, to a 1 in 1000 risk of miscarriage. So potentially, there could be NOTHING wrong, but we could end up losing the pregnancy because we had this test.  The nurse I originally talked to had said that she’d never seen it happen clinically in 8 years, the doctor I saw the following week was less reassuring, and more matter of fact that yes, it does happen.  And if the way our whole history in this area has gone holds true, anything that can go wrong, seems to.  So I was terrified to have amnio, but I had to do it.

I had an entire week to wait and fret and stew and worry from the time that I got the initial results until the amnio was scheduled.  I did not get very much work done and I mostly spent the time ducking calls and e-mails because I could just not deal with happy pregnant talk at the time.  I’m planning a whole separate live from the amnio room post, so I won’t get into it here.  After the amnio last Friday, I stayed in bed for the next 24 hours or so and everything seemed fine, no spotting, cramping or leakage.

Monday I had an appointment with my OB just to do a heartbeat check and be reassured that everything was still a-ok in there.  After the nurse was done scaring the crap out of me by taking forever to find the heartbeat with the Doppler, everything was pronounced fine with wee baby. 

Monday was also the day that we were expecting the rapid results to come back on the amnio.  I have probably never been so anxious and wound up, whenever I would think about the phone ringing with the news, I practically had a panic attack imagining how I would react one way or the other.  I really just wanted to know and be put out of my misery.  So of course, they call me after lunch all, “Well, this has never happened before…the lab screwed up and did not run the rapid results part of the test, so they’re doing it now and I’ll call you tomorrow.” OF COURSE. If there was a first time for something to go wrong, it would happen to me.

I was just crushed, I couldn’t imagine living in this limbo for another day.  Miguel was PISSED and he called the perinatologist and was like whose ass do we need to kick to make this happen?  In turn, the doctor told him what he had been too chicken to tell me (probably due to the sobbing on the other end of the phone when he told me he didn’t have my results), that since they hadn’t been done right away, there was a good chance that the rapid results wouldn’t even work, in which case, we’d have to wait until Friday for the full panel of results to be done.  Again, much angst at the thought of waiting out another full week.

What is turning into a really long story short, the rapid results DID work so we got the results yesterday.  And wee baby is 100% perfectly healthy and free from any chromosomal abnormalities.  As a consolation prize for going through all this, we now know if it’s a wee baby girl or a wee baby boy.

In hindsight, I kind of wish I had not opted to have the ultrascreen knowing how all this turned out.  Me wanting another look at wee baby just opened up a can of worms of stress and agony during the wait for the amnio that was all for nothing.  It’s one thing to say, you don’t know for sure, so don’t worry yet, it’s another thing to actually NOT worry.  On the one hand, we would have wanted to know if I was carrying a baby with Down’s, but we had no reason to really worry about that before the ultrascreen. And since it all came out negative anyway, I could theoretically have skipped the ultrascreen and coasted through this in blissful ignorance that there ever could have been something wrong.  I guess though, if it had gone the other way, I would have been glad to have had the info so we could prepare and make decisions (which no, I’m not getting into what those would have been). 

So anyway, hopefully, this is the very last scare/roller coaster ride of this pregnancy.  Of course, I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, who knows what new scares/illnesses, close calls loom around the corner for us once we actually get the baby here! 

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I’d help you, but I’ve got no pants January 17, 2008

Filed under: ?Baby? — booksunread @ 2:02 pm

Last year, while on a girls weekend trip, my roomie and I were lounging in bed one morning, regretting our overindulgence of the night before.  “I need someone to bring me an ice cold diet coke from the vending machine,” she moaned. To which I replied sincerely, “I’d go, but I’m not wearing any pants.”  Which for some reason, we found HI-larious (probably still drunk from the night before).

And thus it became a thing for the weekend.  Up by the pool and you forgot your sunscreen in the room? I would…but, no pants.  Getting ready and can’t find your mascara? Sorry, no pants over here. (Okay, you’ll just have to take my word for it; it was funny at the time.)

Anyway, today I discovered that the state of not having any pants is NOT a laughing matter.  Over the past week or so, my stretch twill pants have one by one joined the discard pile as now not only will they no longer button, they will no longer zip.  That is a shortcoming that not even the bella band can camouflage.  No matter, I thought, I have several pairs of dress pants in a size, uh, schmelve, bought in bulk when I was a bit heavier. 

Since last spring, they’ve mostly stayed up through the grace of my hips and a few well placed safety pins.  A couple weeks ago, the safety pins were retired. This morning? Can’t hook or button them regularly. At least I can still zip and jerry-rig one of the hooks onto the button hole, then hide the evidence with a long shirt or bella band.  However, if these pants follow the pattern of my other ones, I’ll only be able to get away with this for another couple of weeks.  I was really counting on these pants to take me through at least another month, when I’ll be going home and raiding a friend’s maternity clothes stash. 

I just have to keep reminding myself…this is a good thing…this is what I signed up for…there is a (not so wee anymore) baby growing in there…

 

Mr. Salty January 16, 2008

Filed under: Daily Grind — booksunread @ 1:32 pm

For as far back as I can remember, I have been a side sleeper, curling up happily into the fetal position, a pillow hugged in my arms.  As I moved into my mid-to-late twenties, however, regular acid reflux caught up with me, and I discovered that it gave me some relief to have my tummy pressing against the mattress. 

Unfortunately, I do not understand the mechanics of stomach sleeping.  Where do you put your face? How do you breathe?  It hurts to turn only your head to one side or the other for any length of time, and even then, there is still pillow all up in your face, threatening to smother you as you sleep.  And also, my boobs are kind of in the way.  I think the only way I could accomplish being a stomach sleeper is if I slept on a massage table, with a little cut out to stick my face in, and maybe a little fan circulating a fresh flow of air. (Wee bit claustrophobic there…can’t even sleep with a sheet near my mouth/nose.)

So instead, my sleeping style has morphed into some weird hybrid of stomach and side sleeping.  My head, neck, and shoulders are all side sleepers.  From about the chest down, my torso and legs are stomach sleepers.  On paper, this sounds about as comfortable as trying to sleep on a bed of nails, yet somehow this contortionist position has become the only way I can sleep.  I know it can’t be good for my neck and shoulders (as evidenced by the continual tension and pain I carry there), but I can’t seem to break the habit and go back to the side sleeping. 

While I occasionally enjoy sleeping on my back, this is out as it intensifies the small problem I have with snoring (and also, when you’re pregnant, it will kill the baby or something).  I won’t be able to sleep on my stomach much longer now anyway, so it’s not like I’ll have a choice on the side sleeping; I guess I’ll just get used to it. 

But seriously, how DO people sleep on their stomachs?

 

Puppy Love January 15, 2008

Filed under: Pawprints — booksunread @ 7:53 pm

Last week, two people in the same day to whom I announced my pregnancy responded with “Your poor dog.”  As in, your dog is about to get knocked from its spot as the precious and coddled family baby.  I think this officially qualifies me for crazy dog lady status…you know, if the Halloween costumes didn’t already…

But seriously, how could you look at this face, and not try to love the fur off of it every single day?

Mag dog
Admittedly, we have treated the dog like our big furry practice baby and she has a pretty sweet life right now.  Each morning upon waking, she flops down on the floor and waits for us to come over and ply her with scratches and cuddles and love.  Then, prior to her morning constitutional, she gets some luncheon meat with her allergy pill.

As we get ready, we make up and sing silly songs to her-a huge favorite is Camptown Doggy (“Doggy’s tail is 5 miles long, do dah, do dah…” Yes, yes I am ashamed of myself now that I’ve typed it out).  As soon as the blow dryer comes out, she runs over for a rousing round of the blow dryer game, snapping and growling at the stream of warm air each time it’s pointed at her.  Each and every morning, we marvel at the cutely fierce expressions she assumes.  And we have names for them…when her lip gets stuck all curled up, we call it the Elvis…and oh, the excitement on the mornings we achieve the rare Double Elvis!

After work it’s at least 3 minutes of greeting cuddles and love, then walks, large bites of my dinner, and roughhousing with Miguel.  When I’m home the dog is my shadow, curling up in the office if I’m working in there and jumping up to follow me from room to room as I complete chores.  When I’m traveling and don’t come home at night, she sleeps at the top of the stairs waiting for me and can’t be coaxed to her bed.  (Not all of this is pure unfettered canine devotion; I have a feeling, most credit can be given to the fact that I am the keeper of the walks and also the most free with the people food.)

Linda of Sundrymourning fame recently posted about this very topic on Parentdish.  I thought her first post was a pretty realistic summary of what I imagine happens to every top banana dog when baby comes into the house.  But oh the controversy in the comments with people accusing her of what amounted to doggie abuse.  (Her rebuttal post from Dog was also awesome.)  It made me really start to worry about how our dog is going to feel when we bring the wee baby home.  I’m sure that morning cuddles will get lost when there is a baby crying to be tended to.  Likewise, in the hurry of our new morning routine, there won’t be much time for the blow dryer game.  I’d imagine that greetings will be cut short when there is a baby to get settled in once we arrive home.  Now matter how much we try to minimize the impact, the dog’s whole routine will have to be altered out of necessity.  I just hope that she doesn’t hate us too much for ruining her cushy life.

 

Just Killing Time January 14, 2008

Filed under: ?Baby? — booksunread @ 7:01 pm

So we’ve officially passed into the second trimester as of last week.  I’m still waiting for the stomach o’ acid and fatigue of the dead to pass.  I had two good days last week and thought, “that’s it, I’m done, here comes 2nd trimester feeling awesome!” (so all the books promise). Ah, hubris!

Anyway, I’m still having a hard time believing on a day to day basis that there really is a baby in there.  Other than the increasingly complex system of hooks, rubber bands, and pulleys required to keep my pants up, that is.  “Just loop a hair rubber band through your buttonhole and loop around your button to extend your waistband,” is really kind of shitty advice.  For starters, for some reason, the majority of pants that I own are not of the single button variety.  Most have a tab, and a combo of hooks and a button, so in theory, I’d need not one, but three hair bands, if I could get a rubber band underneath the almost flat hook receptacle.  And then, they have to be exactly the right length or they don’t do any good dangling there. Additionally, without the security of a tightly fastened button, a few of my zippers can not withstand the strain of my gut and head directly due south.  And finally, I believe I’ve already discussed the problem of my equally expanding ass and thighs.  I tried the Bella band last week with jeans and it does seem to work okay, but did tend to need tugging every time I got up.  Plus, even the two colors I got will not work with every outfit.

Since all this expansion could all be put right down to the jelly donuts and ice cream that have found a regular place in my “diet,” I’m still looking for constant reassurance that everything is going on okay in there.  Even though we’re now past the magical 1st trimester marker, I still feel like I’m tempting fate with each new person that I tell.  As I’m now back in the low risk category of regular OB patients (physically, if not mentally), I’ve been put back on the 1 visit a month schedule.  How do regular people do this? Go weeks without a heartbeat check or scan to confirm baby is still alive and kicking in there?  To squeeze in an extra peek under the hood, I went ahead and scheduled an ultrascreen test for last week.  The combination blood test/ultrasound assesses your risk of carrying a baby with a neural tube defect like Down’s. 

At the time, I just wanted another visit to confirm there was still a beating heart in there before my next regular OB appointment at the end of the month.  Now I’m a little worried about what we would do with the results if they do indicate we are in the high risk zone. We would definitely test further with amnio or cvs for a definitive diagnosis, of course, but what if that comes back positive?  Am I the only pregnant woman who is this much of a worrywart? 

The ultrasound itself was a little disappointing.  I think because it was an external, rather than transvaginal, scan, wee baby’s parts seemed less identifiable than before, even when the doc was pointing directly to things and letting me know what they were.  However, from the doc’s POV, everything looked good, so that is what matters!  Wee baby was being very stubborn about getting into position for the measurements needed for the testing.  He/she was all curled up, waving around fists and showing off flexed biceps.  Now I’m worried that he/she won’t cooperate for the sex scan… 

 

Jitters January 11, 2008

Filed under: Daily Grind — booksunread @ 12:58 pm

Today’s post will be dedicated to my bitter McDonalds rant.  So this week, the news broke all over about how MickeyDs was adding barristas and frabulous coffee drinks in order to try and steal Starbucks business. 

Coincidentally yesterday, the warm weather really made “the baby” crave a Mickey D’s iced coffee (decaf, of course).  I made sure to get out of the house a few minutes early to accommodate the pit stop without being late.  Now I had been visiting the golden arches frequently over the summer, when I was avoiding caffeine but not religiously, and I could swear that getting a decaf iced was not a problem then.

Today however, I was told no dice, no decaf on the iced. Wah. I contemplated for a second and decided my already delicate system could not take the hollow stomach and shakes provoked by a sudden a.m. caffeine injection after being off it for so long.  A decaf hot coffee was out of the question; I could make myself a cup of that for free at work.  As I squealed away shaking my fist I muttered “Good luck competing with Starbucks, can’t-even-make-a-decaf-iced-coffee-fuckers!”

From here, my options were somewhat limited.  I’d already passed way back by the house the local coffee store where a decaf iced could be had, and neither of the two Starbucks still in my path have a drive thru (WTF is up with that? One of them is brand new, too).  Plus, I did not want to pay $4 for a simple iced coffee, and I find their coffee to be on the strong side. 

The only logical solution? Drive miles out of my way to Dunkin Donuts where I know for certain a decaf iced coffee is not a problem (before we moved to this building and got the coffee machine, I had a serious DD habit).  All the while, I’m chanting to myself, “Baby doesn’t need a jelly donut. Baby doesn’t need a jelly donut.” But then I looked at the clock and realized I was going to be strolling in at least 15 minutes late with my iced coffee, and decided I’d better have something to contribute to the greater good.  So the 50 pack of assorted munchkins got added to the order. And then, the words “jelly donut” came tumbling out of my mouth as well.

The donut was gone before I made it back to work. So sugary, so wrong, yet so tasty with the refreshing iced coffee!  And then my healthful, nutritious whole grain, egg and fauxage patty sandwich did not look appealing. At all. Know what did look appealing? Munchkins.  Three of those and the healthy breakfast went into the garbage untouched.

By 10, I was feeling the first starts of some sort of system crash.  Either my beloved DD screwed up my order and floated me a regular instead of decaf, or my body was protesting the total lack of nourishment and commencing a sugar crash.

Either way, totally McDonald’s fault.

 

Poo Flinging Monkeys January 9, 2008

Filed under: Daily Grind — booksunread @ 1:17 pm

I have had it with my work bathroom.  In our new office building we share a common bathroom with half the floor who also rent office suites here. I don’t know what is wrong with the other companies, but they employ some gross, disgusting animals. (We never had this problem at the old building, where it was just us, so I know it’s not my coworkers.)

Yesterday, THREE of the four stalls were shitted out-one held the remains of a case of explosive diarrhea, one someone’s streaked used toilet paper, and the last a great set of skid marks on the bowl.  It is like a pack of rapid poo flinging monkeys had invaded the place.

This is not by any means a rare occurrence, there are always leftovers, ass-gaskets on the seats, pee sprinkles/floods, and various other grossnesses in our bathroom.  This is however, the first time we’ve managed the impressive record of rendering 3 for 4 stalls unusable.  It is worse than a dirty frat house up in there, and it is an all woman’s bathroom.

There are usually two schools of thought on this:  the “I would let it back up until I choked on my own poop before I went at work” camp, and the “eh, you gotta go, you gotta go” camp.  I fall into the latter camp.  If you’re not a regular person, you take your poops where you can get them (especially in pregnancy).  The best you can do in a public environment is to do it as discretely, considerately and quickly as possible. 

So it’s not the pooping per se that offends me, it’s the aftermath that these people seem to be incapable of taking care of.  I know some people even less prude than me about this must be rolling their eyes and thinking “So just flush the toilet yourself already and be done with it,” but I like a fresh bowl.  Being confronted with someone else’s pee or shit and having to flush a public toilet containing it myself gives me the willies. Especially if like me, you’ve read about and believe that toilets can spray germs up to 20 feet (And yes, I realize that I will be up to my elbows in baby shit coming up here, but you know, at least I’ll kinda know where that’s been.)

How hard is it to take 10 seconds after the flush to make sure your massive production has all gone down as it should?  What kind of a pig do you have to be to think it’s okay to leave your poop for someone else to deal with?  I’m seriously considering putting up a nasty sign on bathroom etiquette along with instructions of how to manually flush the automatic toilets a second time if needed.