The Texture Of Things

NST!! A++++++!!!!1! Thanks!!!

August 20th, 2008

For a fan of the TV game show Jeopardy!, a non-stress test is about the best thing that can happen to a pregnant woman. I get to go in, sit in a recliner with my feet up, and click the Jeopardy! clicker every time the baby kicks. (Minor downsides include the cold gel used with the monitors the nurse straps to my belly, the crappy daytime television on the unreasonably quiet TV, and a general lack of scenery while I sit facing the back corner of the NST room.) Still, I feel all cool with my thumb poised over the button, ready to click every time I feel the baby move.

Of course, this attitude will be short-lived. This week was my first NST, and there will be many more to come – like, once or twice a week from here until (hopefully) the end of September. (Thanks, Diabeetus!) I predict it will take two or three more for me to get truly bored with the damned things, though I also predict I’ll start complaining after the next one (this coming Monday).

FWIW, Dos and I passed this week’s NST with flying colors within mere minutes, but I still had to sit there for another half an hour in order to generate enough heartbeat record for the doctors to feel like a $1000* test was worth ordering. (Major downsides include having to sit there for at least a half an hour with my thumb poised over the button, having to sit there much longer than a half an hour if the baby and I aren’t passing the test, and what will happen if we flunk one as majorly as the tot and I did the day she was born.) On departure, though, I was so pleased that I felt like I should be able to leave feedback for the experience somewhere. I guess that’s what blogs are for.

*I made this number up, based on my poor memory of my 2004 insurance bills. The test was either $750 a piece and I had two tests a week (totally $1500 per week) or it cost $1500 per test and I only went once per week. I honestly don’t remember, so I split the difference, more or less. Thank any and all applicable deities that our old insurance covered almost all or all of the cost of those tests, and let’s hope the current insurance follows suit.

Dos: A Programming Note

August 20th, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos” means.

Beginning with this post, posts relating to Baby Dos may or may not be separated by the heading “Dos”. I can’t separate this stuff in my life or in my head anymore, so it’s actually getting me stuck when I’m trying to put together posts. Then I end up not posting anything, and that’s not cool. At all.

I guess from here on out, this is just a blog with two kids, instead of just one.

Dos: A Dream of Things to Come

July 18th, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos” means.

I’ve been trying to sit and write a couple of other posts, but they are all being blocked. This post is something I need to write in order to unblock the other things I want to write.

I don’t think I’ve ever written about a dream I have had, so this will be a first, and probably a last. Generally, dreams are only interesting to the person who dreamt it and her/his therapist. This is likely true here as well.

Also, as a heads up, if you are sensitive to images of death, dying, and/or suicide, please come back another day. Thanks.

***

In my dream, I am heavily pregnant with Dos. “The time” is drawing near, and HG and I know it. We are trying to ready everything, and we are mostly there except for one thing only I can do: I must kill myself.

To complete this task, I have to prepare some things. The method, hanging, requires a rope, a good place to drop, and – this is of utmost importance – secure privacy. The person to find me must be HG because he’s the only one I trust. Under no circumstances do I want the tot to find me. The idea of her stumbling in on me, in fact, terrifies me and saddens me. I simply do not want her to know about this because I don’t want to scare her, I don’t want to hurt her, and I don’t know how to answer the questions she’d naturally have if she discovered me. So, I cannot prepare for this monumental step because every time I start to get my things together, in bounds my little girl, all hugs and I-love-yous and blissful ignorance.

At one point, I’m kneeling on the floor in our front room (in the dream, we live in a house completely constructed in my unconscious; it bears no resemblance to any house I’ve ever been in), and as I’m getting out the rope to tie the noose, the tot runs in, giggling. She’s having a marvelous time doing something, and she’s taken a break to come hug me and get a snuggle. HG is in the room with me, and as the tot runs in, I return the rope to a hiding place (under the floorboard, maybe? or under the green rug? not sure). He and I make eye contact. We both know what I must do and we both want to protect the tot from it. It is heavy in our hearts, to be torn between doing what we must and doing what we feel is right.

It is a bittersweet place to be, wanting to hold on to the present yet being compelled to move forward. Both are good places, good lives – even within my dream, I know this – it is just the transition that is scary and hard.

***

Of course it is all symbolic, but it is also all true. In order to be the new person I must be (mother to child numero dos), I must shed my current identity. I cannot be both. I cannot be a wife to HG and a mother to only the tot and simultaneously be a wife to HG and a mother of two, just like when the tot was born, I could no longer be only a wife but not a mother. To pretend such a thing is broken and dysfunctional. No, I had to kill my current self and create a new self on the other side of the birth of Dos.

What’s different this time around is that I know it. When I had the tot, the transformation was hard because although I knew I would change, I had no idea going in how I would change nor how deep the change would go. We aren’t talking exfoliation here; we’re talking skinning oneself alive (while sleep deprived) and growing new skin to cover the exposed nerve endings. Both the process and the product are powerful, to be sure, but is it something I can do in front of my small child? I feel uncertain.

I have to do it, but I know I don’t want to. Back when I was fighting some wicked-ass morning-day-sickness, I was terrified, horrified at the thought of puking in front of the tot. Once you start puking, you’re kind of at the mercy of your body. If I was alone with her in the house, who would be with her while I could not? How on earth would I explain, comfort, answer questions for this tot, so sensitive to outbursts that a hard scolding in response to stalling at bedtime results in a cryfest? It was too hard for me, yet what I’m about to do to her will be so much harder, and the truth is, I cannot avoid it. I think I even knew this in my dream, and that is what has been whispering itself in my ear since that night.

Perhaps reminding me is my brain’s response to what I have been doing to get ready. I’ve accumulated diapers, coupons, clothes. I’ve cleaned out a room and watched HG paint it. I’ve helped the tot move in to her big-girl room and sort through what toys she wants to share with the baby and which ones are hers alone. I’ve made registries. I’ve made lists. I’ve begun to pack a hospital bag and to wonder if I should actually write a birth plan or if I can ask HG to be responsible for communicating it to the hospital staff.* I’ve cleaned out chunks of basement and made piles for donations and itemized the contents for next year’s taxes. I’m waiting impatiently for the tot’s new dresser to come so I can reclaim her current one for the baby and start loading it. I’ve washed receiving blankets and located the car seats. HG and I have looked for ways to include the tot and make her feel like this big change is something she’s a part of. We’ve reminded her of how she was as a baby and of what babies do and can’t do, especially when they first come home.

But what we haven’t done is talk, really talk, about the hard stuff. HG and I are bracing for the sleep deprivation but we don’t have a plan for dealing with it. For instance, I’m not sure at this moment where the baby will sleep or where I’ll sleep. Not sure if this is denial or realism. I can rationalize it by saying that it’s foolish to buy a co-sleeper if the baby doesn’t need the presence of my body to sleep, so we’ll just wait and see what we need when the time comes. At the same time, that is short-sighted. Sure, we have a crib, but the tot didn’t sleep in it until she was almost 6 months old. By not having a safety net in place, I could be setting myself up for disaster. Or struggle, at the least.

And the tot? The tot has no idea. She knows I’ll be going to the hospital to have the baby, but she doesn’t know what will happen during that time. Maybe we should make a plan for what to do with her while I’m in the hospital? She knows babies cry a lot, but she doesn’t know what that means or what that will be like. Maybe we should help her make a plan for what to do when the baby wakes her up in the night? She knows the baby will need a lot of help, but she doesn’t know how it will affect her life. She doesn’t know what it means that we’ll have to hold the baby ALL THE TIME or that the baby will need to eat ALL THE TIME or that the baby might cry ALL THE TIME. Will she know how to get her needs filled when HG and I are so consumed with fulfilling the needs of a baby? Maybe we should help her make that plan, too.

Some time back, Moxie asked (basically) if dealing with new baby struggles was harder the first time or the second time around. In other words, is it easier when you don’t know what’s coming, so you just roll with it? Or is it easier when you know, at least in one case, what it took to get through the rough patch? Commenters were split, and I understand why now. Both are hard, just differently hard.

.

Since the dream, I am trying to embrace the transformation. I am trying to own it by telling myself that I get to make my self over – no one else has the power to do it but me. It’ll be sucky hard, but if I can do it myself, I can make my self in the image of how I want it to be, not how others desire it. This, if I can do it openly and honestly, could be a powerful lesson for the tot.

.

If I hadn’t made me, I would’ve been made somehow..
If I hadn’t assembled myself, I’d have fallen apart by now…

You should make amends with you,
If only for better health.
But if you really want to live,
Why not try, and make yourself?
Incubus “Make Yourself”

.

*For the record, here is my birth plan. It’s a rough draft.

Plan: repeat c-section. Desired outcome: live mama, live baby. Extra goodness/ Ideal outcome: healthy mama, healthy baby.

Dos: Sugar Sugar

July 1st, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos” means.

For those who are not in the know, pregnant chicks get subjected to a certain kind of torture, right around 24 weeks* along (*out of 40, which, if you’re me, HA HA HA HA HA HA!). That torture is the glucose testing.

For the first test, you (and here, “you” reads as “amy”) go in and drink this dense, mostly flat, nasty-ass orange soda. If you are lucky, it will very, very cold. You score extra points (with yourself only) if you are a normally a diet soda drinker and can choke this stuff down without wishing you were either unconscious or, worse, a fan of orange soda. You then sit in the waiting room for an hour, get blood drawn, and go home, where you will wait for the call telling you that you flunked the test and must undergo the second leg of this wretched journey.

The second test is a three-hour glucose test, where you (and again, here “you” reads as “amy”) are instructed to follow a “special” diet for three days, ending with fasting for the night before the test. The diet is a best described as a trap.


It’s a trap!

This “diet” is basically three days of carb loading.

Then you (and this is where it gets hypothetical and I’m drawing on my memory of being pregnancy with the tot and recent instructions from the nurse) go in, have 7 pints of blood drawn, and then drink a dense, mostly flat, nasty-ass lemon-lime soda. If you are lucky, it will be very, very, very, very cold, but let’s be honest here – dry ice couldn’t get this stuff cold enough. Then once an hour for three hours, you have another 15 pints of blood drawn, and then you go home and wait for the nurse to call you and tell you that you flunked this test too, you failure of failures.

Or so I’ve heard.

This time, it started much earlier for me. At nine weeks, I got to do the one-hour test because I had Gestational Diabetes with the tot. I barely passed it, but then, I hadn’t kept down anything to eat or drink in, like, a week or more, and that can mess with how your body processes sugars. Still, my OB told me she was fine with the numbers and I could expect to repeat the test later. My perinatologist told me she wasn’t fine with the numbers and I could expect to fail the test later and require insulin.

Quite a vote of confidence, wouldn’t you say?

At nineteen weeks, I saw the dietitian, who was perplexed because technically I hadn’t received a diagnosis of GD but who gave me a glucometer and a GD diet anyway and sent me on my way.

At twenty-four weeks, I flunked the one-hour test, right on time, albeit barely.

At twenty-five weeks, I did my three-day carb-fest, arranged for babysitting, packed up my billion and four papers to grade while I sat in the waiting room waiting to donate more blood to the sweet tooth vampires that live in the OB’s lab, and happily (HA HA HA HA HA HA!) marched my butt to the OB’s office to drink the world’s worst limeade.

And I flunked the test without even trying. My fasting sugar level (the one before you drink the nasty) was already capital-F Flunking.

Sing it with me: Flunking!

So I got sent home to eat exactly the prescribed number of carbs at exactly the prescribed times, track my blood sugars, and call back, um, yesterday (I should really do that today) so they can tell me if I need insulin yet. (Short answer is no, I don’t, and that’s why I haven’t made it a priority to call: my numbers are fine now that I’m out of carb-loading hell.)

None of this exceptionally crappy. I did the GD diet with the tot and I can do it again, but it is generally a drag. Fortunately I am not typically driven by pregnancy cravings, so that helps. Where the experience goes solidly south will be when my fasting numbers, which cannot be controlled by diet, go high and insulin is my only recourse. Oral meds are out because of my sulfa allergy. The mere thought of sticking a needle in anything other than a pincushion makes the panic vomit rise in my throat.

So, yeah. It’s gonna be a long ride from here ’til the end.

There had better be a kick-ass prize at the bottom of this cereal box, is all I’m sayin’.

Dos: Brains – I needs ’em

May 9th, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos” means.

So, seriously. My brain is teh swiss cheese lately. Stuff goes straight through. Common sense stuff, too – not just unusual things that anyone could forget. Stuff like driving skills.

OMG, I cannot believe I’m about to admit this.

Yesterday I needed to move a car in the driveway. I told HG before he left in the morning, and we hit on the genius idea of me putting it neutral and rolling it down a bit instead of starting it up just to move it 10-20 feet.

Genius!

And yes, for those of you thinking it already, our driveway is on slight incline, so it wouldn’t take much than a gentle push-off or a mild to vigorous side-to-side steer to get it rolling. I opted for the one-foot-out-the-driver-door push-off.

Except it didn’t work. I pushed and I pushed and I went nowhere, not even an inch. I pushed harder, I grunted I pushed so hard. Nothing. WTF?

I added steering, to no avail.

And then I realized I had my foot on the brake.

Dos: One or the Other

April 12th, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos:” means.

In response to the PSA, Summer wrote me a comment I wanted to respond to, but I found my response growing and growing. I decided to put it here instead of in the comments because it might answer some questions down the way.

Summer wrote:

Actually, I quite like reading about other people’s pregnancies, as long as the pregnant person writing is happy about being pregnant. That doesn’t mean you can’t bitch about symptoms — please, feel free to moan about swollen ankles or getting up a million times at night to pee, because I do like to be reminded of the uncomfortable, unattractive parts of pregnancy. As long as you don’t complain about the gender of your unborn child, or otherwise act as if a second child is a burden rather than a blessing, I’ll be happy to read your Dos entries.

I fully intend to bitch about being pregnant because being pregnant? not that gr8, akshully. End result = great, awesome, wanted; ends to the means? not so much.

For the record, I won’t make it any secret that I’m rooting for a girl*, but you will not find me bemoaning my “bad luck” if it turns out to be a boy. (Also, we intend to find out as soon as we can.) My reasons for wanting a girl are, quite honestly, fairly empty.

1. I already have all the girl stuff, and although I do enjoy shopping for kids’ stuff, I just can’t get excited about all the stuff in my basement that I couldn’t use if the baby is a boy. That said, I know I’d be in 7th heaven about the tax deduction after I donate the unneeded stuffs to charity. So really, it’s a toss up. (Mmmmm, tax deductions…..)

2. Though I know in my head that no two kids are the same to parent, my emotions are not as easily convinced. I feel like I’ve already got a start up the learning curve with a girl. How realistic that is, I can’t tell. When I anticipate having a girl, I feel a sense of comfort, but I feel a sense of “Oh No! I Don’t Know How To Be A Mother To A Boy!” when I anticipate a boy. But seriously? I didn’t know how to be a mother to a girl either until I had one. So that argument doesn’t really hold water either.

I guess in the end, I just want a healthy baby. A baby that’s close to or completely full term. A baby that doesn’t go to the NICU instead of rooming in with me. And when it comes to sex and gender, I’ll take one or the other and love what I get.

*Why do I root at all? I think I root for one over the other because (again, I know this is shallow) even when my team isn’t in the Superbowl, I still pick a team to cheer for. Even if that choice is based on uniform colors.

Dos: Barfing is bad, mmm’kay?

April 11th, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos:” means.

I honestly don’t think I need to say much beyond the title, do I? I hope it gives away why I’ve been so absent.

Oh, wait. Okay, let me say this: when you’ve barfed so hard that your blood vessels around your eyes and down your throat burst, don’t go around making jokes in public about having been choked. That’s just not a good idea. I’m not saying how I know this, I’m just sayin’, is all.

.

P.S. When a woman you know is pregnant and suffering morning-noon-night sickness, asking more than once a week when this trimester is over will serve only to increase her despair and, consequently, her nausea. I’m sure you mean well, but again, I’m just sayin’, is all.

PSA: Numero Dos

April 10th, 2008

Despite my haphazard posting schedule, there are still readers out there, some of whom I believe do not care to read about my pregnancy. I don’t want to chase off any reader, but there are some pregnancy-related things I do want to write about. So, the question on my mind lately has been how to separate out the pregnancy-related posts in a way that is immediately recognizable, allowing readers to choose whether to continue reading or not.

I’ve given this a lot of thought, and this is the best solution I can come up with.

The title of every post containing pregnancy-related chatter will begin with Dos, standing for Numero Dos, as in Baby # 2. Here is an example:

“Dos: Coming Soon to a Blog Near You”

And before the text body of each Dos entry, I will link to this entry explaining what “Dos:” means.

I hope this:
1. works.
2. is worth it to somebody, anybody.

Thank you for your time. Suggestions for improvement are always welcome.

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