Friday, February 29, 2008


My contribution to A Day to Remember...

We went into the ultrasound expecting reassurance. We knew the midwife hadn't been able to find a heartbeat, but SHE wasn't worried, so neither were we. 12 weeks was still early for a doppler. There may have been some touches of concern lurking in the dark corners of our brains, but mostly we were stupidly, naively hopeful. The tech took some measurements transabdominally, not saying much. We should have known then, but didn't. I was still waiting for them to get to the right angle--the one that showed the growing baby, the one with the heartbeat, that we'd seen a month earlier at the RE. The tech left, and came back with someone else. The fear was growing, but I still didn't want to admit it. He switched to the transvaginal wand. As the image came up on the screen, there finally was no denying it. Everything was still. Quiet. No flicker of a heartbeat. No movement. Little growth or change since the last time we'd seen it. Jen started to cry. I buried my head in her shoulder, having seen more than enough. In the little dressing room, Jen angrily threw her newly-purchased pedometer into her bag. What the fuck was the point of getting exercise- of anything, really- if this baby was dead?

We spent the next four days curled around each other on the couch. On the fourth day, the remains of our first hope were removed from Jen's body and taken to pathology. We thought that was the end, but it was only the beginning of months of betas and waiting and toxic injections and anger and fear and watching other people become parents when all we wanted was for our fucking miscarriage to finally end. It finally resolved about a month before that child would have been born.

Our next pregnancy had the same due date, but a very different outcome. There was no giddy optimism this time, but somehow, to our surprise, there was also no disaster. Natalie was born in April, as the bush planted for Coqui bloomed a second time. When people remarked that she looked or acted so much older than she really was, we joked that she'd gotten the extra weeks from the first baby. Maybe she'd needed two tries before she was ready to be born, or maybe somehow that first child had passed on part of its spirit to her. We didn't fully believe it, but at the same time, we never fully doubted it either. Somehow, in this "do over," we'd gotten back a piece, however small, of what was lost with the first pregnancy.

It seems like forever ago in some ways, but I can still call up images of that day with remarkable clarity. I still know what I was wearing, what I would have done at school if I'd gone that day. I still see that too-quiet image, and I still feel the uncertainty that loss introduced. There is no blind faith that everything will be OK. There is no giddy joy. But there is intense gratitude for what we do have, and knowledge of what it means to be truly lucky.


...we were rejected by the nursery school we fell in love with.

The FIRST Part of the Week was Good

The drama continues and multiplies...

Yesterday I ended up going in to teach one class and one class only. They didn't come because the teacher had screwed up her schedule and double booked the class.

I picked up Natalie and successfully kept her awake on the ride home (yay) and DID get her to go down for a decent nap with little difficulty. No complaints here.

The plumber was supposed to come by 2 pm but did not show until 3:30 or later. Not surprised, but not happy.

They DID determine the cause of the leak (fist sized hole in drainage pipe!!!) and repair it, but no one has stepped up to take responsibility for the damages to our unit. I'm not worried - we're not going to pay for it - but I am not looking forward to the process.

On the way to drop Natalie off this morning, a car in the middle lane drifted further and further into MY lane, practically running me off the road. As a result, when I turned the corner, I clipped the curb with a loud bang, freaking Natalie out. THANK GOD the tire seems ok.

Half a mile later as we sat at a light, another car behind us tried to squeeze by to get in the left turn lane. Bang! She smashed the rear left of our car and kept going. I was shocked for a few seconds, noticed her mirror dangling freely in the wind, then realized I could pull into the turn lane behind her. I did, and honked. She ignored me. I honked some more. Finally she lifted her hands and shrugged. Steam began to pour out of my ears.

In a righteous fury, I wrote down her license plate, car make and model. The light turned, and I followed her around the corner. This particular road has a big gravel turn off on the side of the road where I figured we'd stop and exchange info. But she kept going AGAIN. At first I thought, well, if that's the way you want to play it lady, and kind of enjoyed the thought of siccing the cops on her. But we stopped at a red light so I figured I should pull up next to her and make sure she realized there really was damage to both our cars.

"Do you know both our cars are damaged?" "Yes... I was going to stop." (Me, goggle eyed.) "But you didn't stop at the pull off." "Well, I'm going to stop up there at the next pull off." "I do have your license written down." "Don't threaten me!" (Me, stunned again!) "You hit ME and you didn't pull over!"

Then I shut up, for everyone's sake. We did pull over and exchange info. She was very weird. She looked at the damage on our car and said, "That's nice," two times, in a completely ordinary tone of voice. It was like reading something online and being completely unable to determine the writer's mood. But I got her info and I will be calling my insurance company shortly. Usually I try not to bring insurance into things but I am not completely trusting this woman and that's exactly why insurance exists.

On the whole, I can't complain about this week. Nobody is puking, we have a roof (albeit wet) over our heads, I am still pregnant and we got to see the bean wiggling away, and I have a wonderful family. But YE GODS, enough with the calamities and repairs, ok?

Thursday, February 28, 2008


All right, kids, the grammar and spelling bitch is back in town.

For the record, if you are crying hysterically, you are "bawling".

If you are "balling" you are doing something else ENTIRELY different.


5:00 pm - Coop babysitting mom calls to tell us her son (whom we've watched the past two afternoons) has been puking since they picked him up yesterday. Maybe we don't want her to watch Natalie tomorrow?
6:00 pm - Call Gram - she can backup babysit but only until 1:30 pm. Fine. Will leave work early.
6:30 pm - Attempt to put Natalie to bed. Discover sippy cup has leaked on bedroom floor. Clean up.
7:55 pm - Natalie finally asleep, after much fussing, occasional gagging noises, and 3 mom shift changes
9:30 pm - Natalie cries and makes weird noise
9:33 pm - Cait calls for help - Natalie is fine, but water is racing down the walls of her room, flooding the floor.
9:34 -10:20 pm - Moms call upstairs neighbor repeatedly, mop up floor, relocate crib, rescue water damaged books, rug, curtains, lay out all towels on floor and windowsill, set up pack & play in moms' room
9:34-10:20 pm - Natalie parties in crib watching moms do very weird things
10:21 pm - Moms crawl into bed. Natalie refuses to get in P&P
10:21 pm-12:05 am- Moms try music, rocking, nursing, singing, snuggling, ignoring, explaining, pleading, but Natalie will NOT go back to sleep.
12:06 am- Natalie is finally quiet and stays that way.
12:06 am-5:20 am- Moms and Natalie sleep somewhat restlessly. Moms jump at every rustle, certain that puking is about to begin.
5:20 am- Natalie cheerfully starts chattering.
5:30 am- alarm goes off.
5:30 am-5:45 am- Moms hit snooze and try to convince Natalie to sleep just a little bit more. Natalie tries to convince moms that sleeping is for chumps.
5:45 am- Moms drag themselves up and investigate status of Natalie's room. Flooding has ended. Damage yet to be determined. Begin morning of many overtired meltdowns. Continue begging universe to let the stomach bug skip our house.
7:00 am on...only time will tell.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


We had our Nuchal Translucency scan yesterday. We didn't do this test with Natalie, and I can see now why we avoided (and will continue to avoid) most testing, but it was good to see the kid, and to get some reassurance that he/she is still there and still growing.

Before they did the scan we had a long conversation with one of their genetic counselor-type people. She did a great job of explaining things to us without being condescending, and we both really liked her until the end when she suggested that Jen might want to get a late ultrasound just to make sure that this baby isn't too big to deliver at home. Um, OK.

But really, she was fine and though talking about all the horrible things that can happen left us feeling unsettled and a little bit wishing we hadn't decided to go this medicalized route, it was OK. There were some pictures on the table that showed enlarged NT measurements, so we looked at them while she was out of the room so we'd know what to look for during the scan.

After more waiting, they finally called us back. (Did I mention that I'd had caffeine earlier that day and that combined with anxiety and a longer-than-expected wait was making me a horrible, twitchy, terrified mess? It's a wonder Jen didn't kill me right then and there.) Immediately we could see the baby squirming around and looking much more human than at 7 weeks. The heart was beating away, so while the tech measured the heartrate, I focused my attention on the back of the neck. And OH MY GOD, the space there was HUGE. My heart started pounding. A prickly feeling of dread flooded me. Our baby clearly had some horrible genetic condition, and I was quickly convinced that he/she surely would not survive.

And then the tech switched angles and started measuring. And I realized that what I'd been seeing was the space between the neck and the sac. The actual NT measurements were all below 2. (They wouldn't tell us anything one way or the other, but from my googling, it seems that that's an acceptable measurement.) Once I saw her measure a few times, I was able to relax a bit and enjoy the wonderful things our bean was doing, like rubbing his/her face and kicking. Oh the kicking. And the squirming. I remained jittery, anxious, and over-caffeinated, but was able to admit that in all likelihood, this kid would probably be OK.

Following his/her sister's example, Carbo measured 13w1d at 12w3d. This time, however, we were able to reassure the tech that our first child measured way ahead at this point too, so managed to sidestep the whole "are you sure of your dates?" conversation.

Natalie has been figuring things out little by little, so we finally gave up and just told the poor kid last night. We had been planning on waiting much longer, but seriously, between a book she saw while visiting friends, and a baby shower we went to over the weekend, she and I had been having multiple conversations a day that went something like this:

"Baby in Nanee's belly?"
"No, honey, babies only grow inside grownups" (yes, I know there are many exceptions to this rule, but I'm not ready to go there with my not-yet-two-year-old)
"Baby in Mama's belly?"
"No, honey, there's no baby in Mama's belly."
"Baby in Mommy's belly?"
"Uhhhh...maybe someday. Would you like that?"

Her first act as big sister? Crumpled the ultrasound pictures. This is going to be fun, isn't it? So, the funny lines and scratches in this picture are her work. I'm already reading Siblings Without Rivalry.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Adventures in Pottying

We're sort of potty training. And when I say sort of, I mean we hadn't really planned on doing it yet, but Natalie went through this "NO DIAPER!" phase and as a result we've been allowing lots of bare-bottomed time as she wants it, and talking about potties a lot and ending up with a lot of pee in the potty but quite a bit on the floor as well. All while trying to be as low-pressure as humanly possible, but still hoping that we won't be mopping up puddles for the next year. On Friday, Jen decided we should just give up for a while because Natalie is in a fabulously oppositional stage which makes the whole deal a little tricky at times. However, yesterday and today she wanted nothing to do with diapers, and was able to make appropriately timed requests for the potty. But I'm not here to brag about how my child will by out of diapers by 2 (Because she won't. Not by a long shot.) No, I'm here to write about...The Poop-cident. You may want to stop reading now.

Natalie has had a habit of being a naptime pooper. Many a nap has been cut short by an untimely poop. So really, we haven't had to deal with poop much in this potty endeavor. The few times we have, it has seemed like she's possibly a little scared of the whole pooping on the potty deal. Which is not that unusual, really, and is no big deal to us. So we've tried to be extra laid back about that. This afternoon, however, it became clear that she really did have to poop. We tried the potty to no avail. We discussed options, and she decided she wanted to poop in a diaper. No problem. We put a diaper on, she went back to playing with C (our Monday toddler companion), and I went back to doing dishes. And then she began to cry.

She was pooping in the diaper and clearly distressed by that, so we took the diaper off, sat her on the potty, and she finished there. She was pleased with herself and quite anxious to examine the poop in the potty. Excellent. Progress made. She went (bare-bottomed) back to playing with C, and I once again returned to the dishes. And then there was another cry.

She was pooping again, this time with nothing to catch it. Begin high-speed poop calculus. The closest potty involved crossing area rugs- too hard to clean with two toddlers. Playroom floor is wood, so easy-clean, but second toddler might have too much fun with any...droppings, while I dealt with cleaning her. I suppose I might have been able to grab a potty and make it back in time, but, honestly it didn't seem likely. So...I grabbed the poop. Right before it hit the floor. Yes, with my bare hands. Ran it to the bathroom. Returned, grabbed still-pooping child with unscathed hand. Dropped her on potty. Began scrubbing hands. Child happily finished pooping, this time for good.

Gave up on dishes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

See What I Mean? I Can't Even Come Up with a Title.

I must be an incredibly shallow and self-centered person because every time I go to a funeral* I end up thinking two things 1) I wish I'd known that person better and 2) Wow, I am so inadequate. I've never done ANYTHING like that in my life. No one is going to say anything like that at MY funeral. (Then there's usually a side detour about what kind of memorial does a completely non-religious person have anyway? but I digress.) Or maybe it's that I know all of these astonishing people. I don't know.

I went to the memorial service for the mother of my best friend from high school today. I left feeling like an intellectual gnat, a cultural ignoramus, and a failure as a feminist. I *should* be thinking about my friend's mom, and the loss my friend is enduring. Instead, I am fueling my inadequacy by blowing off a meeting I should be attending and sitting on the couch in a self-centered, melancholy funk.

In that whole circle of life thing, Cait and Natalie spent the afternoon at a baby shower.

*except my stepmother's memorial. Then I thought about what a lousy daughter I'd been.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Turns out I don't know how to blog anymore. One might argue that I never did in the first place, but let's leave my writing skill (or lack thereof) out of this. The real issue is that I don't know how to blog about this pregnancy.

When we got pregnant with Natalie, we had just had one of the worst years of our lives. Between the loss of the first pregnancy, the discovery of the molarness and the long, long aftermath, it felt like we'd "earned" that pregnancy. I know that one doesn't earn or not earn such things, but I guess what I mean is it felt like we'd earned the right to post unabashedly about it. It feels different this time.

Friends (online and IRL) who have been trying for years are still yearning for a baby. Of four people in our little buddy group who all got positive tests around the same time, only two are still pregnant. Having had my share of people I hated because they got pregnant so easily (or accidentally!), I don't like being that person. Somehow it also feels different because this is our second. Like we're greedy for wanting (and getting this far) with a second while some people are still trying for their first. I guess I'm having survivor guilt, and I don't know what to do about it.

Because at the same time, we're happy about this. And things are looking OK, at least for now. Today is 12 weeks. We heard a heartbeat last week. We have the nuchal on Tuesday. Jen's body is starting to change. Natalie inadvertently outed us to some friends today (we haven't even told her yet, but...well, apparently she's noticed enough to clue other people in). So far, so good. It just feels wrong to be publicly happy when that could make other people feel bad. And we all know that all the good could come crashing back down around us at any time.

So I guess this is my apology, both for the lack of posting and for any pain our pregnancy has caused anyone. Here's hoping that there's joy coming to everyone somehow...and soon.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


We said we weren't going to do it. We cringed when other people did it.* But today...we cut our daughter's hair. For a long time it was hidden well enough by the curls and the pigtails, but really, Natalie's hair was quite uneven and only getting worse. A bit mullet-like, but really more just messy and shaggy looking. Now don't get me wrong, I loved the shag and the long curly back. But even I could admit that it was starting to look a little wild-child-ish. And Jen's mom began hinting that if we didn't do something about it soon we might pick her up one day to find it done for us. So we figured it was better to take matters into our own hands.

We didn't touch the front. Neither of us felt comfortable cutting bangs, and then we'd just have to keep cutting it. We'll just continue pulling it back so that she can see. And really, it continues to look a little wild because of the curls. But it's a more or less one length wild now. And there's a little baggie of curls to waiting to be added to her woefully neglected baby book. Waaah.

*No, not at the results. Don't go getting all offended. We admitted the cuteness of the after shots. It was more the implication that these children were growing up, and the slightly older look post-cut.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Jen is tired and nauseous. I am tired and achy, enjoying a prolonged flare of Lyme symptoms. Or something. Jen's hormonal changes+travel+a cold+the 2 year molars that are finally almost breaking the surface=crappy nights of sleep for Natalie (and therefore, me) since...before Christmas? Progress reports were due last week, and conferences are this week. Natalie, of course, has lost no momentum. Add in the ebb and flow of feelings of doom*, and you have very little...anything. So to save you from weeks of postlessness (all two of you who read us anymore), I present Natalie, who never lacks something to say. While eating lunch one day last week, she started telling me she wanted to go to the zoo. What I caught on film is not as good as the original, but it'll do.

Zoo from Jen and Cait on Vimeo.

*No, nothing has happened to indicate anything bad. It's just hard to trust that everything will be OK. Having Natalie has shown us that sometimes it does work out, but a lot of the fear and the inability to be blindly happy is still there. Does that ever go away after having a miscarriage? I'm inclined to say no, but I have little to go on other than my own experience.