Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Strange but True

My boobs need their own zip code. And the nipples? They're trying to go all Quebec on me and secede.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A big To Do about Nothing

My theoretical to do lists, both at work and at home, are colossal. I started a new job two weeks ago, and it's the beginning of the school year, and my new school has 600 kids (20% more than my last school) all of which adds up to a staggering list of things to learn, prepare, juggle, conquer, and just plain survive. And of course at home there are all the usual things (laundry, shopping, cooking, bills) plus we're still -- two years later -- getting our house in order.

However, my actual list of accomplishments looks more like this:
1. Cry
2. Eat
3. Watch the clock
4. Check G-mail, FF, and various blogs for updates
5. Check again since there weren't any updates the last time I checked
6. Sleep

I'd like to get more accomplished, but I have so little energy and my emotional reserves are kind of empty. The combination leaves me feeling even MORE overwhelmed, and the vicious cycle continues.

The crying is pretty much hormonal wackiness. ANYTHING can make me cry right now. Commercials, jokes, the news, anything that my brain can remotely connect to the idea of family (e.g. "Twist ties? Bread bags are closed up with twist ties. People bake bread. Moms bake bread. Families eat bread." Waaaaaah! It's that ludicrous, I tell you.)

And time? Time is definitely the enemy. As my dad said the other night, "Well, when you find out you're pregnant so early, it's going to last a loooooooong time." I hope he's right... but I *know* he's right about things so far. I feel like I've been pregnant for an eternity, but I'm not even eight weeks yet. We've got ANOTHER MONTH of this until we get past when we had the D&C last time; another month until we're out of the first trimester. Another month until I may be able to show the people that hired me that they made the right choice and hired someone with the capacity to be something other than an inert lump.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Going Bananas

It's been a struggle to get to work on time these past two weeks (prior to that I had the luxury of summer vacation), but I'm getting closer and closer to the mark every day. Good thing, too, since the kids come back Monday, and today we had our Open House at 9:00 am, when students and parents can come check out the school and find out who their teacher will be.

Since I've only met a couple of parents and kids so far, and I barely even know the staff and the principal, I wanted to be there, good and ready well before 9:00 am. I'd picked out linen pants and a matching blouse, an outfit that satisfied my three diverse criteria: look respectable; fit my bloated, early but unannounced pregnant body; and give me enough freedom of movement to be able to shove boxes and furniture around after the Open House ended. No mean feat given that the weight I had already gained from stress this past year has put a lot of stress on my wardrobe - the bloat and the Goodyear Blimps breasts make it near-impossible.

I got up when the alarm went off (almost), glumly ate breakfast (food and I only seem to get along between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm, but avoiding it has BAAAAD consequences), and was almost ready to leave when I realized I needed to do a little tidying up the house in preparation for the cleaners.* I had left some bananas on the counter in a bag to ripen for banana bread.

Well, they were ripe all right. I picked up the bag by its handles and swung it toward the sink. The base of sodden paper sack disintegrated and six liquefied banana remnants hurtled toward the floor, where they landed with a loud, sloppy smack, splattering banana goo all over my bare feet AND my cream-colored, newly-ironed, comfortable yet presentable outfit of choice.

I think my cursing and wailing could be heard on the very banana plantations where the fateful fruit had grown.

*Hiring a cleaning service is one of the only intelligent things we've done since we decided to mix chronic illness with TTC and early pregnancy. But we do subscribe to that weird middle-class guilt thing where you have to CLEAN the house before the cleaners come. Oh well.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

45 minutes in Hell (ok, maybe just Purgatory)

As a school librarian, I spend a lot of my time teaching people (students, teachers, and parents alike) how to find information. You might think that I’m reasonably capable of finding the information I need to solve problems in my own life. You’d be wrong (at least yesterday).

Being incapable of brevity, I already know that this post will be plenty long without detailing everything about Cait’s and my current thoughts on midwives vs. doctors and birth center deliveries vs. hospital, but suffice to say that at least for early prenatal care this go round we would like some kind of middle ground – ideally midwives with an OB (and perhaps more importantly an ultrasound) in the same office*. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of midwives in this area, and many of them are affiliated with the three freestanding birth centers, none of which have physicians or sonography on the premises.

However, I have long heard rumors from many people – our neighbor the midwife (not currently practicing except when she does home IUIs for us), several midwife-shopping friends, a neighbor who ultimately chose hospital birth and “my” gynecologist (whom I haven’t seen since Repropalooza began in earnest) – that there are some midwives who have a shared practice in a major hospital center with their supervising OBs. This sounded like the ideal situation for this stage of our pregnancy and nervousness, but I could not find the names of the midwives or the doctors in my files. Since “my” GYN – let’s call her Dr. Cool – is really, really hard to get a hold of, and her office staff can be just a wee bit brusque, I decided to use the “Find A Practitioner” feature on my health insurance website. It did indeed spit out the names of three midwives at the hospital, though some of the office addresses and phone numbers looked suspiciously erroneous or incomplete to me. However, yesterday I went ahead and began calling to see if they were indeed practicing and seeing patients at the hospital. That’s where the fun began.

Deciding that the name at the top of the list was as good as any other, I dialed the number. “You have reached the offices of the (garbled) program. No one is available at this extension. Please call back on (slightly different number) to speak to a staff member.” Oooo-kay. I have no idea what the Garbled Program is, nor if it has ANY connection to midwifery. On to name/number two – which, given that it ended in “8000“ seemed quite likely to be the main number for the hospital.

It was. And I was on hold, seemingly indefinitely. Eventually I gave up and dialed number three. Bee-bee-beep! The number you have reached is not in service. Damn! So it was back to #2. This time, an operator answered almost immediately – a miracle! I gave him the name of midwife #2, and after some difficulty spelling the name, he connected me to another voicemail for Garbled Program. "Aha!" I thought. "Garbled Program probably DOES have SOMETHING to do with midwifery, but I really want to talk to a person." Accordingly, I decided to call the slightly different number I learned during call #1. Sadly, this too, led to voicemail, and I decided I just was not ready to leave a message, since it would have been something like this: “Hi. I’m looking for a midwife and I think you are midwives. Can I make an appointment?” Too weird/risky. Thus, I dialed 0 and returned to another operator.

(As an aside, I was remarkably lucky in this irksome venture that every person I spoke with was cheerful and at least attempted to be helpful. That is SO unusual around here, especially when dealing with operators for large bureaucratic complexes like hospitals.)

I explained to Operator #2 that I am trying to find a midwife to provide prenatal care and I understand that there are practicing midwifes at this hospital, but I haven’t been able to reach them and I don’t know which obstetricians they’re affiliated with. I could almost see him scratching his head as he ponders the request. He finally offered, “Well, how about I connect you to Labor and Delivery?”

Now I don’t know how often you’ve tried to call hospitals but you could have knocked me over with a feather. Here he was offering to connect me directly to the floor nurse on Labor and Delivery!!! It was like winning the lottery – except in Monopoly money. I actually don’t need L&D quite yet, but I thought, “What the heck. Maybe they’ll be able to point me in the right direction.” So I agreed, and shazam! I was talking to another friendly & helpful hospital employee.

“Midwives?” he mused. “Well, I don’t know where to send you. Hmmm.” He thought a bit longer and finally said, “Why don’t I connect you with…

…Dr. Cool’s office.”

Having devoted more than half an hour to this fruitless endeavor, I agreed, and he patched me through. I began, yet again, my inane-sounding monologue, except now with the fillip, “I’m a patient of Dr. Cool (at her other office) and she once recommended some midwives to me, but I can’t find their names. Can you tell me who the midwives are at the hospital and who they practice with?”

To which the nurse replied, “No, but if you call her other office I bet they can tell you.”


Since I didn’t have it with me, she gave me the number of the other office, and I made yet another call. The receptionist (who was MUCH nicer than when I call to make an actual appointment) was somewhat baffled by my request, but put me on hold and checked with Dr. Cool. The verdict? Call the birth center.

Which I guess is what I should have done from the beginning. And which I finally did, to very little avail. Yes, they deliver at the hospital, but no, they don't see patients there for routine care, and no, they don't have ultrasound capabilities, and besides, they probably don't take my insurance.

And that is the end of that, at least for now. We've got an appointment with a more tradtional OB practice with nice high-tech screening equipment right there in the office, and we'll give it a try at least for the rest of the first trimester. We'll hang on to the possibility of midwives for later if/when we get a sense of whether or not things seem to be ok with this pregnancy.

But geez! I sure had better ways I could have spent that portion of my afternoon!

*Yes, we know this is somewhat contradictory, but we also know this model exists. And we thought it existed here. But we may be wrong.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

(apologies to my politically conservative readers)

GRRRR! A person might be forced to think that there was a big, well-financed, politically-connected industry out to prevent women from finding midwifery care for their pregnancies. I'll post details later but I have spent the last half hour on hold and in insurance/medical bureacracy hell. And NOTHING to show for it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

$#&*$^# SSSPPPAAAMMM *(#@&(*

Anyone know anything about b l * g s p * m and how to prevent it? S p * m m e r s have found AdProb and I don't want to be overrun by them!


The Donald as RE

Dr. Reserved tried to crack a funny today. "You're fired!" he said, after vigorous probing determined that all was well with the contents of my uterus. Donald Trump he's not, but apparently, we are indeed fired, and left to wander on our own in search of an OB or a midwife!

The details:
Harpo's heart is beating away between 120-140 bpm (right on target).
Harpo measures .94 cm crown-to-rump (right on target, perhaps even a bit ahead of the curve already).
Harpo's moms' hearts are beating reasonably steadily, and their anxiety level is measuring somewhat lower than previous.

We are quietly ecstatic (and only a little nervous!).

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Good, The "Bad", and the ZZZZZ

As you know, I'm (currently) pregnant.
Cait is back on Rocephin (The Wonder Drug)
It's the weekend.

Pregnancy seems to reduce me to a wet dishrag.*
New drugs + a summer cold make Cait rather puddle-like.**
There's nothing bad about weekends, except that they always, annoyingly end.

As a result, we sleep. A lot. Which is great for us, but not so good for the blog. So "tawk amongst yourselves" and we'll have more to say on Monday after Ultrasound #2.

* and ** We are not ungrateful. We are SO, SO unbelievably happy both to be pregnant and back on the kick-ass drug. But the reality is, both conditions happen to have some less-blissful side effects, but they in no way render us unhappy about the big picture. We hope we're not offending anyone.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Time Warped

A year ago today, I drove my friend (a single mom by choice) home from the hospital with her baby. Jen was pregnant, and I had Lyme disease.

Today, the same friend drove me home from the hospital. Her baby is a year old. Jen is still/again pregnant, and I still have Lyme disease.

Funny how other people's lives change and ours stay frighteningly the same.

I was in the hospital this morning to have a picc line put in my arm. For the medically blissfully ignorant, that's a small tube that runs up a vein in my arm, ending just above my heart. It allows me to do daily IV infusions of a drug that, a little over a year ago, had me thinking I'd kicked this Lyme thing once and for all. A few days after my insurance-mandated stopping of it, symptoms began to creep back, a process that would continue through many other attempted treatments.

So, it's a good thing that I have this back, sort of. And a sign that, a year later, maybe we're not in exactly the same place.

Here's my wish for a year from today: Nobody driving anyone home from a hospital, Jen not pregnant, no more Lyme. We will be exhausted from caring for a four-month-old. And we will be happy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Comfortably Numb

When I do something, I like to do it well. I have been accused from time to time of being an overachiever. And apparently, this applies even to pregnancy symptoms. Oh, I'm a little nauseous, a bit tired (and Cait LOVES this, it puts me more at her speed), and um, grumpy as hell. That's par for the course. The part that's over the top?

The carpal tunnel syndrome. Or, to be more precise, the ulnar tunnel syndrom (because, in addition to overachieveing, I like to be unique). Pregnant women often experience pain, numbness and tingling in their hands and fingers due to swelling IN THE THIRD TRIMESTER. Me? Started at 5 weeks, 5 days. My GP says (with an evil, gleeful grin on her face*) "You worked really hard for this! You'll probably have it the whole time. Heck, I had it WORSE for 8 weeks POST-partum."

Whining aside, I am actually pleased at this, because NOTHING like this happened last time. Nor the dizziness that plagues me most of the day. These symptoms, much more than the ultrasounds, the betas, or the statistics, make me think this one might just work out. So keep on tingling, fingers. (But not so much I can't post, ok?)

*I do love her. Really. Anyone else have a doctor who can call them a "freak" and laugh? She's like a friend, not just a doctor.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sac-ily We Roll Along - UPDATED, lengthily

Houston, we have a sac. WE think we saw a heartbeat but Dr. Reserved was dismissive - unconcerned, but dismissive. Size is good, cellular agglomeration present.

Hello, Harpo, we love you already.

(more later, including young Harpo's first picture when we're not posting from my phone)

We were delighted with this morning's ultrasound, and yet, we're still emotionally really whacky. Cait cried (with joy and general emotional release) as soon as Dr. Reserved, Nurse Cheery, and Nurse LessCheery left the room, but I waited until we were in the car an hour later to have a general meltdown. Part of is it just how tense and stressed out we've been in anticipation of today's appointment, but I think we also don't know how to handle the hope and excitement while we still have some lingering apprehension.

Cait says that today's image seems more defined than the one 366 days ago (ain't that date coincidence weird, folks?), and that Nurse Cheery admitted that there clearly was circulation if not, technically, a heartbeat yet, indicating to her that this pregnancy is already in better shape. I, on the other hand, still feel a bit numb. The doc & nurses were giddy with excitement, congratulating us and offering hugs and handshakes, which I received rather robotically. I can't quite accept that everything is ok, especially since the medical folks thought everything was great at last year's u/s and look where we ended up 7 weeks later. But we were able to be optimistic enough to finger baby bedding and discuss the merits of various baby and children's furniture when we were at Ikea this afternoon with my mom.

I'd love to get to a place where I don't have to question my every thought about the (potential) baby. See? I had to write "potential". And there's an army of voices in my head saying, "You're such a drama queen!" and "Well, duh! Anything could happen! She doesn't want to jinx it," and "Oh, for god's sake, quit whining!" Argh.

However, I will keep on looking at the lovely photo and trying to drown out those voices by talking to Harpo the Embryo.

P.S. Thanks for all of your excitement, reassurance, compassion, friendship, and just plain old comments. It's really comforting and all kind of warm'n'fuzzy knowing that so many friends-in-the-computer are there for us.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ultrasound Tomorrow


Thursday, August 11, 2005

These Aren't The Droids You're Looking For

(begone, evil eye, begone!)

I am gripped by a certain superstitious paranoia (against speaking about certain things) and that is rendering me a blogger with not much to say. So I will treat you to a few odds and ends from my most assuredly odd mind.

1) The Red Menace Approaches
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2) Huh?
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3) Etiquette
At the beginning of the week, Cait and I went to Dr. Reserved's office, which is in a downtown medical building. The elevators conspired to run on very odd schedules, such that at 9:00 am as the lobby filled up with people, only one elevator arrived. The horde stuffed itself into its confines, and we ascended. About halfway up, I noticed someone gesturing oddly out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look, and discovered an old family friend of my parents'. Strangely, he was motioning shhhhhh! at me. Baffled, I stayed quiet, but kept turning his direction every few seconds. Every time, he made the same gesture. Just as I was about to say something, the elevator stopped at the floor before ours, and my acquaintance started to get off. As he moved away from the back of the elevator, the reason for his strange action became apparent in the form of his floppy-hatted, giant-shirt-shrouded wife whose face looked a bit like she'd been a little too close to the test range for the Manhattan Project.

So what is the etiquette for greeting someone after they've had cosmetic surgery, anyway? (I don't mean for when you bump into them in the elevator on the way to their doctor's for the post-op visit, I mean weeks later, when they look lovely, but, well, altered.) It seems awkward and impolite to say, "Hey, babe, niiiiice facelift!" or "Chemical peel or sandpaper? I'm in the market myself!" but NOT saying anything would seem to invalidate the thousands of dollars poured into the physician's boat.

Inquiring minds want to know.

And now, I'll return to my previously scheduled couch.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Five Week Fun

"Morning" sickness seems to have hit early this time. The SeaBands made an early appearance yesterday as Jen turned green and tried not to puke in the hardware store and the movie theatre and the grocery store. Last year it didn't get this bad until at least 7 weeks. Gonna be a fun first trimester. But difference is good.

Just for kicks, Jen peed on a stick yesterday. It's kind of fun when the test line shows up before the control...

It's kind of fascinating to watch my strong, decisive, take charge, control freak wife dissolve into a puddle of hormones. On Monday night, she wrapped herself around my legs whimpering, "Don't leeeeeeave meeeee," as I tried to go to karate for the first time in weeks. She was much better after I called in an order for Chinese food. She cried during the Coke advertisement at the beginning of the movie yesterday. And the previews. And at the end of the really dumb kid movie we'd taken my sister and my sister's sister to. Though Lyme makes me tired, and I usually melt into the couch long before Jen's ready for bed, the last two nights I've practically had to carry her upstairs. I fear for the future of our house and our financial status (last year when Jen was pregnant, our house was trashed, and bills were frequently late as neither of us had the energy to lick a stamp, much less clean), but I'm thrilled to have Pregnant Jen back. Now if we can just end up with a baby this time...

But maybe not the triplets in Jen's dream last night.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Our Morning

"Oh My God."
"That's water. That's water. Dripping from the ceiling."
"Oh My God."

Oh, well, at least it's something to think about besides the contents of my uterus.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


We have returned from Maine and the wilderness of no internet connection. For those of you who were stumped (or intimidated or bored) by our puzzle, here’s a hint: Jen is 4 weeks 5 days pregnant today. For those of you who did solve the puzzle and sent congratulations, thank you.

Here’s the data:
10 dpo: faintly positive HPT (yes, yes, right after the whiny post)
11 dpo: beta of 24, positive on a digital HPT
12 dpo: left town
13 dpo: beta in NYC was 71
14-19 dpo: hung out in Maine, tried not to freak out too much. Told family and close friends, as we will need their support if we have another miscarriage. Were bad and bought a couple of (wicked cheap) baby outfits at the Children’s Place Outlet in Freeport. Please universe, don’t kill us for that.
20 dpo (tomorrow): beta #3 (cross your fingers and send good luck)

We haven’t done any HPTs since the first beta. Pretty restrained for us, no? Actually, we’re both terrified that it will reveal something bad. In the absence of further data we can try to remain positive.

In actuality, I’ve been a bit of a wreck. I realized partway through the week that I was just waiting for the miscarriage and wondering how far we’d get and what happen this time. Somehow my head has taken the one (albeit horrible) experience of pregnancy and loss, and turned it into a lifetime sentence. I’m trying to turn this around. Little glimmers of “maybe it will work this time after all” have started to peek through. But I’m still terrified. Especially with tomorrow’s beta looming.

Jen has been a little more stable, but is also zooming back and forth between “it could work!” and “oh, my god, it’s never going to work.” On the symptom front, she is tired, tired, tired, has sore boobs, is starting to get picky about food, and gets cranky in a way that is very reminiscent of last year’s pregnancy. We’re taking those as good signs, though we know from last year that their presence is not a guarantee that everything is OK.

It’s interesting to go through this after a loss. Last year, there was a lot more excitement, joy, and a feeling that everything was going to be OK. When Jen miscarried, we both knew we would never experience that innocent elation again, but it’s different to actually be in it. Yes, we get excited or hopeful from time to time. But a lot of it, for me anyway, is just hanging on and taking each day that nothing bad happens as one more step. It’s much slower than last year. We’re not even 5 weeks, and it feels like it’s been forever (though that’s partly our own d**n fault for testing early). I wish we could just skip the first trimester. We’ve been through it once before, we know how it goes, so why do we have to go through it again? And what if we have to do it again again?

Did we mention that the due date is exactly the same as last year’s pregnancy? I don’t know whether to be impressed or terrified. Right now, at least, I think I’m leaning toward terrified.

With a teeny, tiny glimmer of hope.

C’mon universe.

Update: Today's beta was 3032. We're done with tests until next Monday, when we have an ultrasound. We're staying cautiously optimistic and are glad for your support.