The Texture Of Things

A Bullet List to Remind Myself

October 30th, 2006

These are some pre-birth details I probably should put in the tot’s baby book, but hey – why start now? If I leave it blank, that Hallmark baby book should bring me a buck, buck and a half on eBay.

*I got pregnant fairly quickly, despite having an unreliable cycle. (Only 8-9 periods per year, but that was then, and now I get them right on time so you can quit talking about “what it’s like” so loud in front of me because now I know.)

*I was lay-down-on-the-floor, vomit-when-HG-tried-to-cook-or-eat-anything sick from about 3:30 p.m. until the next morning everyday from week 8 to 14. From week 14 to about week 18, I just wished I could vomit and have a respite from the nausea.

*For a while, I loved pregnancy, and then around week 22 or 24 (I don’t remember) I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD). (Completely diet controlled.)

*That sucked. OMG, that sucked.

*Since I was overweight before getting pregnant, telling just about anyone I had GD resulted in a sideways glance that oozed “Well, duh.” Newsflash: that’s not how it works, but thanks for making me feel even fatter, jerk.

*Since I was overweight before getting pregnant, I was told to keep my weight gain down to 10-15 pounds, which I did. In fact, I don’t really think I ever looked pregnant, except for when I sprawled backwards at 7:30 p.m. every night to watch the gymnastics in my belly. And even then, while I looked pregnant, I mostly looked inhabited by an energetic alien.

*Because of the GD, I was considered High Risk and I never, ever quit hearing about how HUGE my baby would be or how they wouldn’t let me go to my due date because of how HUGE the baby would be.

*Also being High Risk, I got to go to the OB once a week from early on. They needed, you know, to measure my belly to make sure the baby wasn’t getting too huge. I also got extra ultrasounds because – impending hugeness.

*I had an ultrasound on a Monday at the start of my 35th week. At that point, I had gained 16 pounds and they figured the baby weighed right around 4.5 pounds. My belly measurement was on the small side, but that was okay since in the last month the baby was going to get HUGE.

*That morning, I woke up with a wicked kink in my neck and left shoulder. For the next few days, I was only able to sleep on my left side, on a slight incline. Even then, I could hardly sleep because the pain was relentless. It showed Tylenol no mercy.

*On Thursday, I had diarrhea all day. I thought I was never going to want to poop again, and my neck hurt. I finally broke down and called the OB’s office. The nurse, normally suffering from chronic stick-up-butt, suggested I not wait until my appointment the next Monday. She didn’t want me to go into the weekend with all that neck pain. So, I made an appointment for the next morning, Friday.

*Two hours later, HG came in from work and before he even said “Hi,” he said, “Your belly looks different, smaller.”

*The next morning, the doctor agreed. I had lost 5 pounds since my last weigh-in and my belly measurement was about 2 weeks smaller than it had been 5 days previous. She had me cross the hall to the ultrasound room, where I found an ultrasound tech who just found out her scheduled scan was in the hospital giving birth and could she maybe squeeze me in real quick like?

*This sudden opening is unheard of in this practice. The ultrasound tech is only there two days a week, and she is always booked beyond solid.

*The baby measured a pound smaller and my amniotic fluid was dangerously low, despite the fact that I had not been leaking. (My cervix was soft, but fully closed.)

*My OB sent me to the hospital to see the perinatologist, in whose office I got another ultrasound with a personality-free tech, this time with color and blood flow measurements. Woot!

*No, actually, it was really just more of the same – lying on an uncomfortable bed, unable to stretch my neck to see the screen because of the kink, yada yada yada.

*After the perinatologist repeated the entire scan and double checked every measurement, I got to visit with her in her office. In very short, she told me to go on bed rest and come back on Monday.

*There is a lot I’m skipping here that I will have to come back to when I feel like I can write it. Suffice it to say, she ruled a bunch of things out and said she didn’t have the answer, all without a shred of humanity, kindness, sympathy, or anything but a cold bedside manner.

*When I asked her if I should go downstairs and do the Non-stress Test (NST) I was scheduled to do that day (twice a week when you have GD, baby!), she shrugged and said it probably didn’t matter. It was up to me.

*I went for the NST.

*During the NST, I noticed nurses hovering like bees, first one, then another, then both. The tot had a track record of slipping out from under the monitor, and when that happens, the baby’s heartbeat disappears off the monitor. She seemed to be doing it a lot more than usual this day.

*Except she wasn’t. She was staying in place, for the most part. The disappearance of her heartbeat on the monitor was because she was compressing her umbilical cord, which was stopping her heart.

*The scariest not-sound in the world is the buzzing of the fetal monitor turned up to eleven and not picking up anything while the nurse manipulates your belly, looking for a baby but only finding a faint reverberation of your own heartbeat, at 90 bpm.

*Because they were not telling me anything, I didn’t know that it was my racing heartbeat. I asked, “Why is it so slow?” The nurse said, “That’s yours.” She never looked away from the machine.

*She called for a doctor and a swarm of nurses flipped me onto my hands and knees, still trying to find a heartbeat, which they did find.

*There is a piece I have to skip here, as well. I will write it when I can.

*They loaded me up with as much IV fluid as they could, gave me a spinal, and did a c-section.

*The doctor had warned me that she would be small and that she would need to go straight to the nursery, but he gave me hope that she was not so early. She wouldn’t look like a translucent-skinned preemie; she would look like a very small newborn.

*She did. She looked like a little old man who hadn’t eaten in a month. Well, in the delivery room, she looked like a small head on a burrito, but in the pictures Husband Guy took in the nursery, she looks old. Small and old. And if you think about it, that’s really how a lot of newborns look.

*When she came out, she came out crying. I couldn’t see anything but a surgical drape and an emesis bin, but I could hear her.

*It was antithesis to the buzzing fetal monitor, only an hour before. I understand now why some women cry when they become mothers. When a child is born, so is a mother. Tears are the only reaction befitting so drastic a transformation.

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