Posted by: laughing4heir | October 20, 2011

Brighter Horizons

I’ve reached 31 weeks in my pregnancy. 31 weeks. And I’m still at home, chasing a toddler and going about my life. At this point in my last pregnancy, I had been in the hospital for about a month. I had another month to go, and though I didn’t know it at the time, I would be a mother in 3 short weeks.

Also, at roughly this time in my last pregnancy, I was supposed to have had a baby shower, to be held in the hospital cafeteria, since, well … I was not allowed to leave the grounds. But that was canceled due to yet another bleeding incident within 36 hours of the proposed shower. It was a major bummer for me. I had really been looking forward to it, not only because all expectant mothers do, and I was looking forward to the rite of passage, but because it would’ve afforded me a rare outing from the confines of my room.

This time around, things have been different. We now belong to a church (sidenote: it feels great getting back into a faith and worship community) and they’re planning a shower for me at the church. Also, my sister in law reached out asking if she could also throw me a shower to make up for the one I didn’t get to have last time. I said that would be nice and we settled on a date for November. I sent her my updated registry – mostly with supply refills and a few gap-filler items – and some suggestions for third party locations where we might be able to do this.  I noticed some people had started buying off the registry, so I assumed that the invitations had been sent, but mostly I forgot about it.  My focus instead went toward daily grind stuff and getting ready for Halloween, which I still need to do!

In the midst of being 31 weeks pregnant and all the toddler chasing, we’re hosting one of my husband’s young cousins for the fall.  She’s interning at a company downtown and living (or maybe camping?) out of or basement guestroom for the semester.  We mostly see her in the mornings as she begins her commute in.  When she’s not interning, she’s working a second job or going out with newly-made friends.  We’re rather mystified by all this as it’s been so long since we were college students, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to have boundless energy.

Anyway, last Saturday, she asked if I could pick her up downtown.  I like getting out of the house and I love her, so I agreed.  She got in the car and after we drove about two blocks, I told her as part of her cab fare, she’d have to go to the grocery store with me.  “Actually – ” she interjected.  I cringed.  “Could you drop me off at this other restaurant? I promised some friends I’d meet them for lunch.”  “LUNCH?!  It’s 4PM!  Who has lunch at 4PM? You’re hanging out with vampires, aren’t you?  Your friends are all vampires!” But I agreed.  Then she told me she’d been talking about me to her friends and they were very eager to meet me and could I just pop in for a few minutes to say hi? Ugh. For real? Now I have to be “interesting” to a bunch of Generation Y/Millienial vampire kids? I told her I would, provided we could find nearby parking.  I’m clearly too nice for my own good.

We walked into a charming little French restaurant and a hostess greeted us asking if we were here for the baby shower.  “Great!” I thought to myself. “Now her friends aren’t even here and they forgot to tell her where they were, because they chose a place that’s been closed off for the afternoon and now we have to get back into the car … and what’s my sister in law doing over there?  And my aunt?  And my mom?  MOM?! She’s supposed to be in Texas!”  All that reasoning took a nano-second, of course.  In the next second, the room shouted, “SURPRISE!!”  And I was surprised.  Truly.  I began to cry.  I made my way around the room and hugged all my friends and family who were there.  I suddenly wished I had taken a shower that morning; and that I was a naturally snappier dresser rather than one who wears just jeans and t-shirts.  Oh, well!

It was a lovely gathering. We ate crepes and I drank sparkling cider while the rest of the ladies got to have champagne (sigh), but I really didn’t care much about that. My friends and family went around the room and expressed how much they love and appreciate me and there were a couple of toasts, as well.  I cried more and was flattered beyond belief.  Not only had my mom come into town for this, but my best friend, as well, who, it turns out, was in on this with my husband, sister in law and other local bestie. I have been on a high for the last 4 or 5 days since.

But here’s the amazing thing:  this simple shower, a mere late afternoon lunch with the ladies, has given me a confidence about this pregnancy that I’ve been lacking all along.  Something about getting to have a shower with people I’m closest to and who love me dearly, has lifted the pale specter of doubt that hovered over me regarding this pregnancy.  For the first time ever in my reproductive history, I feel confident that I will make it to my delivery date.  And that my baby will be healthy.  And that I needn’t worry.  In other words, I feel like a regular, blissful expectant mother.  This must be what other pregnant women feel like.  When things go right and everything’s healthy and normal and boring.  Those 75% of women. This must be what they feel:  like it’s just part of life and that’s that.  They don’t know how lucky they are.  But I do.  Of course, I don’t know that everything will go smoothly from here out, but I’m not worried about or haunted by it.  I feel liberated.  At least for the last 5 days, I’ve felt liberated.  I feel normal.

Posted by: laughing4heir | August 5, 2011

Good News/Bad News

The first time I was taken to the hospital after a bleeding incident when I was pregnant with Giggle Girl, I remember joking with one of the nurses that this kid was trying really hard to be an only child.  And as children go, she’s so much fun, so sunny, so sweet, so social and (thus far) so responsive to our admonitions, that it would probably be wise to quit while we’re ahead and just let her be an only.  However, we’ve always known that if we could, we’d like more children.  And so we decided to give it the old college try again.  By “college try”, of course, I mean having lots of sex, frequently after pizza and alcohol.  Always, when the baby was asleep.  Children, I’ve decided, are like the parents’ parents.  You have to sneak around behind their backs to have sex when they’re in the house, or sneak out of the house to do it.

Unsurprisingly, given my history, it worked.  I got pregnant.  None too soon.  We’d decided that if it took one more month, we’d contact our old friends at the fertility specialty clinic and get the ball rolling on IVF again.  Of course, the problem with finding out I’M pregnant is that I have a narrow window between confirmation and miscarriage in which to act.  I took my test at week 4 and immediately called my doctor who called in a prescription of Lovenox for me.  Thank God.  We think that has been the magic bullet for me.  I’m now 20 weeks pregnant and so far the only medical intervention we’ve had to rely on to make this pregnancy work is a daily shot of blood thinner and baby aspirin.  Take that, MTHFR!  So that’s the good news.

What’s the bad news?  We discovered at my 20 week ultrasound, this week, that I have placenta previa again.  This isn’t entirely a shock.  Apparently, placenta previa, though rare, is more likely to occur in women who’ve had uterine surgeries and c-sections.  Check and check!  While we’re relieved that there has so far been no indication of a recurrence of vasa previa, we’re nonetheless concerned about this complication.

Until this point, everything in this pregnancy had been so far so good. No bleeding in early pregnancy.  A first!  We could have sex during this pregnancy.  A first!  A pregnancy that lasted longer than 6 weeks.  A very happy second!  Could we be so bold as to hope for a completely complication-free pregnancy?  One of those ones that friends all around us have?  One of those ones that family all around us have?  Oh, dear, silly us!  I’ve joked with friends that my uterus had a Dickensian past, and that’s why we’re going for an elective c-section this time.  I’ve also likened my reproductive system to a hard-luck woman’s Lifetime Original Movie starring Meredith Baxter Birney.  Though I’ve never given it voice, I’ve thought of my reproductive history as something out of a Greek tragedy.  And what does Greek drama warn us against, above all?  Hubris!  And so, methinks, Pan, or some trickster Olympian god with whom I’m not well acquainted, tossed in placenta previa, just to prevent us from getting too comfortable.

Now anxiety is rushing back in.  I should say first, that the baby looks healthy by all indicators.  For this, we are pleased, relieved and joyful.  But right now, the anxiety is definitely returning.  My technical due date is December 21.  We were already thinking a c-section would occur a week or two before that, though. And frankly, my husband and I will be happy if the baby stays in till December 1.  That’s our minimal target date:  December First.  Stay put, baby!  But what if I start contracting at week 32?  Can I please, please, please avoid hospital bed rest this time?  What happens with my daughter if I have a bleeding incident or go into premature labor while I’m at home?  If I call 911, where does she go?  My husband can’t always get to his phone from work.  My mother in law frequently doesn’t have her ringer turned on, plus she’s a slow mover.

I guess my main worry is pre-term or spontaneous labor.  And my secondary worry is clotting.  Preterm or spontaneous labor would be a concern for anyone with a complete placenta previa, but it’s doubly concerning for someone on blood thinners.  You don’t want the mother to bleed to death.  MTHFR truly is a MoTHerFuckeR.  At what point do I quit the thinners?  Last time it was at 29 weeks.  I had several bleeding incidents past that and even an emergency c-section and I was fine:  no blood clots that broke off and killed me.  (I totally agree that we have WAY too many c-sections in this country, but I hate that everything I read lately is that a c-section WILL result in a blood clot that WILL kill you before you can go home with your baby!  Thanks. As if there aren’t enough anxieties inherent to pregnancy and childbirth!)  If my MTHFR is the brand that typically aborts pregnancies in the first 6 weeks or so, when should I go off the thinners?  Especially since I’ll be at home, and not under the constant eye of nurses and doctors?  Can I drop them, now?  And there’s a whole host of other criss-crossing venn diagram anxieties that sound even less coherent and than these that I can’t fully articulate, nor should I burden any self-respecting literate person with.

Anyway, suffice it to say:  I’m excited and I’m very anxious.  And who knows?  Since this pregnancy is already less complicated than the last, maybe the next will finally be uncomplicated.  We can hope, right?

Posted by: laughing4heir | May 29, 2011

Sexual Identity and Miscarriage

It’s strange how I forget and then remember.  Or rather, maybe it’s strange to me how I put up an emotional barrier to the memories of trauma.  I’ll explain.

The other night, my husband and I rented Away We Go.  It’s a drama starring Maya Rudolph (formerly of SNL) and John Krasinski (Jim, from The Office) as a couple three months from the birth of their first child, trying to decide where to move.  They visit friends in various parts of the country (and Canada) in hopes that those existing connections might inspire them to choose a place to create family.  It’s charming and moving, if heavy-handed in places.

One of their treks takes them to Montreal, where they visit a pair of college friends who’ve married and adopted (by my count) four children.  The two couples go out for a night on the town, wining and dining and partying.  Later in their night, at a club, Maya Rudolph’s character and her female Montrealite counterpart sit across from eachother in a club, chatting.  Her friend asks her if they were trying to get pregnant, and she says no, they weren’t.  Then she casually asks if everything had been going okay in the pregnancy.  Yes, it had.  No problems.  Betraying no emotion, her friend nods her approval and takes a sip of her drink.  The scene cuts away.  My husband spoke up at that point, “She had a miscarriage.”  “Maybe, ” I reply.  “But I doubt it.”  Miscarriage is rarely addressed in movies.  Realistically, anyway.  I figured they had trouble conceiving, and that explained her stone-faced curiosity.  Two scenes later, we see John Krasinski and his friend presumably at the same club, watching a group of four or five men dance on a stage.  They dance poorly.  Some have their shirts tied around their waists.  It’s “amateur night” at this club.  The women dancers, his friend assures him, will turn up later in the night.  Speaking of women:  where did your wife and my girlfriend (Rudolph) disappear to?  One is in the ladies room, the other … and with a wider shot, we see the other, the Montreal wife, is on the stage.  She’s fully clothed, but she saunters with a morose and drunk gait to the pole down-center front.  She proceeds to spin around the pole slowly, dreamily, sadly.  The husband is suddenly sobered.  His visiting friend feels a little awkward.  Without taking his eyes off his wife, the husband tells his friend, “She had another miscarriage.”  “Whoa! You were right,” I tell Hubby.  “When?” asks Krasinki’s character.  “Thursday.  Her fifth.”  The husband goes on to describe the despair of being caught in recurrent miscarriage.  And the emotional confusion, “… you watch these babies grow, and then just fade.  … you don’t know if you’re supposed to name them or bury them … ” His wife finishes her performance and wordlessly leaves the stage and crawls into his lap.

What struck me about this scene wasn’t so much the truth of what the husband said – though it felt accurate for some of my miscarriages – as the wife’s dance.  It reminded me of an aspect of recurrent miscarriage that I’d either moved past or simply repressed.  Feeling disconnected from one’s own sexuality.

Though I didn’t feel it viscerally watching the film, I suddenly recalled how in the middle of all our losses, I began feeling less and less like a woman.  There were times, I’d look in the mirror and not see a woman looking back at me, but a sexless human figure.  Or rather, a human who, though she engaged in sex, was completely lacking in all sex appeal whatsoever.  I wondered how long it would be before my husband would divorce me to find a woman who was capable of carrying a baby to term.  Because isn’t that, in the end, what makes a woman a woman?  I could intellectually separate my woman-ness from my reproductive abilities.  God knows I certainly don’t think women who choose not to bear children, or who cannot bear children are any less feminine, and less sexually women.  But until your own reproductive ability is under assault or is revealed to be incapable, you don’t realize how intrinsically tied your sexual identity is to your ability to conceive and bear a child.  It’s what we’re built to do, right?  So why can’t I do it?  And if I can’t do it, then I must not only be less of a woman, but utterly sexually unattractive to my partner, and quite possibly, the world in general.

Sexual identity and reproductivity is such a minefield these days.  On an episode of “The Tudors” I watched recently, King Henry VIII told his young bride that nothing would please him more that night than to visit her chambers and have her conceive his son.  And that was a megahot pick-up line.  That was their version of, “Are your legs tired?  Because you’ve been running through my mind all day.”  It was simple then.  You’re sexually appealing.  I want to have sex with you and the by-product of that will hopefully be a baby.  How much of that has really changed?  Okay, so it’s not politically correct to ever assume a woman wants to ever get pregnant.  Fine.  I actually don’t assume that.  But isn’t that at the base of sexual attraction, the desire to reproduce?  Even if we cognizantly don’t want to reproduce, our bodies do.  That’s the impulse behind arousal, right?  So failure to produce a healthy living baby is essentially a failure of one’s sexual abilities, which affects our own sexual identities.  And it’s not just women.  A man may not want to father a child, but if he discovered that his sperm were weak or otherwise incompetent, he would likely feel less like a man.

Because we have more control over our reproductive destinies than our ancestors did, we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking we actually have a say over our reproductive abilities.  When we remove contraception, we assume we’re turning the switch to “on” and that conception will follow, shortly.  Doubtless, for many, if not most, people, this is the case.  Their base sexual identity will never be challenged or attacked from within, because they’ll be able to be sexy enough to attract their partner and have sexy sex and make a baby, which is the height of sexiness.  Or most people’s sexual identities will never be challenged because they’ll always keep the switch to “off” and live with the pleasant illusion that their fertility or ability to carry to term is nothing short of stellar.  Either way, many, if not most will never have to negotiate that minefield.  I am woman. I am lips and hips.  I am sexy and nothing in my life tells me I’m not.

But those of us who have had to negotiate that minefield, or who still do – whether because of recurrent miscarriage, infertility, disease or prior sexual trauma – see that woman on the stage, with a vacant stare and a sleepy spin around recognize her pain and confusion.  I’m not here, but I’m here.  I am.  If I assert my sexuality enough, maybe it will return.  Right?





Posted by: laughing4heir | February 8, 2011

Are you there, God? It’s me, Laughing.

Ha ha! You thought I had gone! But you’re wrong. I’d only submerged. Happy 2011, all.  I hope this new year is filled with blessings for you and your family.

When I began this blog, I included “faith” in the title, because my personal faith in God is important to me and, though I’m reluctant to  be demonstrative about it, I do tend to discuss it in writing.  I’ve begun wondering what I mean by faith in God, though.  And what affect the journey of five miscarriages and a perilous successful pregnancy has had on my faith, if any.

A friend of mine spent the better part of last year in misery.  It turns out she had contracted Lyme’s disease.  On top of that, though, she had a pinched nerve on top of her stomach which made eating painful.  She lost a lot of weight because of both.  And she’s been battling fatigue and general pain because of Lyme’s disease, too.  She emailed recently saying that her illnesses this last year had really tested her faith.  I haven’t followed up on that thread yet, but I was curious what she meant by that.  How had her faith been tested?  How has it been changed?  But then it got me thinking about my own struggle.  Five miscarriages, including an ectopic pregnancy, two emergency surgeries, two potentially fatal pre-natal complications (one super-fatal, if there is such a thing), two months on hospital lock-down and a delivery wherein I was not even conscious.  That should have rattled my faith, right?  As a believer in God and as a faithful Christian, shouldn’t my response have been to feel abandoned by God?  To feel like God is letting me down?  It wasn’t.  I didn’t feel that way.  And I wonder, what’s wrong with me?

A treasured college friend of mine who is now a minister edited a book of essays called Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! , of  young adults writing about sexuality and Christianity.  (It’s a good read .) Among the essays is a story from a woman who had troubles with infertility.  She and her husband eventually went the IVF route and have a little boy.  The way she describes her prayer life (or at least, how I remember she writes about it) is similar to how I would typify mine:  ask for God’s will to be done.  But then she goes on to say that for the first time in years, as she and her husband went through the emotional and physical trial of infertility and IVF, she started praying for specifics:  “God, grant us a child,” as it were.  She allowed herself to request of God’s will; to expect.  And this is where she and I depart.  I don’t recall ever directly asking God in prayer for a successful pregnancy.

Actually, that’s not true.  The few times I knew I was pregnant before I knew I was miscarrying (pregnancies 2 & 5, essentially), I think I asked God to let it live.  In the second pregnancy, I was so stunned to have gotten pregnant again so quickly after the first loss – literally weeks – that I probably just prayed it and let it go.  By pregnancy number five, I’m sure I was not in formal “prayer,” but more the mantra “please, God! please, God! please, God!”  All the while thinking:  “If it doesn’t happen God, please let me be okay.”  I gave God an out.  And while I was pregnant with Giggle Girl, I did pray, constantly, for the success of the pregnancy.  Particularly after the complications emerged and endangered us.  But as I prayed for those successes, I kept in the back of my mind that the successes may not come.  Vasa Previa carries a 50% infant morbidity rate, on the low end of estimation.  Though I didn’t know, at the time, how high the morbidity rate was, I knew it was uncomfortably high, so I knew there was a chance our child would perish in delivery.  Why should I expect of God to let me be one of the mothers whose babies lived?  Just because I request it?  Embedded in all this was also probably my notion that even if my pregnancy with my daughter resulted in a stillbirth, which would indeed be an unimaginable loss, I somehow found comfort – however cold and bizarre – in knowing that I could carry a pregnancy not only past 6 weeks, but to birth … ish.

I guess where I’m going with this is:  during my pregnancy and my losses, really I relied on God more as a comforter than as intercessor.  Does that make me spiritually stunted?  Shouldn’t I have demanded God make these pregnancies work?  Shouldn’t I have been furious with God that they didn’t?  Shouldn’t I have railed at God when my only successful pregnancy turned out to be so precarious?  That I didn’t, does that mean I don’t really believe in God?

I do. At least I think I do. In as much as anyone can believe in anything that cannot be quantified or empirically proven.  (Like love or hope, say.) Ultimately, my image of God as creator is not divergent from my image of God as parent and comforter, it’s just different.  While I do believe he watches me, because he watches the sparrow, and I indulge in the belief that humans are favored among creation, I find it difficult to submit to the notion that because I am the top of the foodchain, I should get special preference in the laws of nature.  Or because I’m a believer. Or a Christian.  Or a tither.  Or, or, or …

I kept miscarrying, to the best of the medical knowledge available to us, because I have a strain of MTHFR that effectively aborts the pregnancy at 5 to 6 weeks. Those are the rules of the condition. Those are the rules of how that aspect of creation works.  God set creation in motion with the rules of physics and biology.  Who am I to tell him he needs to tweak them for me, as opposed to for everybody?  We beat those rules with other rules:  blood-thinners and progesterone, and hormones and, and, and … and it was still part of God’s creation.  I developed vasa previa because the rules of pregnancy as God created it is that sometimes – it’s freakish, and we may not have the medical understanding yet to explain it or prevent it – it just happens.  I developed placenta previa because the placenta implanted low, and because it’s more likely to happen in women who’ve had previous uterine surgeries.  Those are the rules of God’s creation as they relate to biology.  I prayed for a trouble-free pregnancy.  I didn’t get it.  But I didn’t lose faith in God, either.

Laughing4Heir is not immune to the rules of creation and nature just because she’s had a hard go of it.  Or because she’s hilarious. Or because she was saved at age 7.  A fundamentalist aunt of mine once lamented to me that she thought Christians were supposed to be spared sorrow; she was upset that she wasn’t.  I don’t remember my reply, but I do remember my thought:  “Jesus Christ himself wasn’t spared sorrow and anguish!  What the hell makes me think I won’t be or that I shouldn’t be?!  If Jesus can’t get a free ride through life, why should I think I will?”

What it comes down to is this:  I don’t see my relationship with God as a tit-for-tat deal.  I don’t think it’s one-sided on my part, either.  I feel amazingly blessed.  I have love.  I revel in the beauty of God’s natural world.  Sometimes, just sometimes, I even hear his still small voice.  I am not without sorrow, but neither am I without blessings.  Even if I never had a baby, I have been blessed.  If nothing else, blessed with the ability to seek blessings – which is something I strive for in myself, and envy in others.  (Damn that pesky envy!)  I don’t know that my faith was strengthened any, but I don’t feel it was tried much either.  I dunno.  Maybe I’m far less spiritually mature than I already imagined. (And frankly, I imagine myself to be a spiritual pubescent!)  Or maybe I just feel guilty that I don’t look at God the way others do and I wonder if I’m missing something by not feeling like I’m missing anything from God.

… of course, I also haven’t read my own blog in over a year.  In all likelihood I’ve just contradicted myself in this post 100 times over.  Now how’s that for a laugh?

Posted by: laughing4heir | June 3, 2010

The Rest of the Story

If any of my 1.5 readers has checked up on this blog in the last six months, I would be amazed.  I also can’t believe it’s been six, almost seven, months since I last posted.  For anyone who was curious how the rest of my pregnancy unfolded, I apologize.  Here’s the rest of the story …

My days in the hospital generally went like this:

Between 5:30 – 6 AM every third day, blood drawn for reasons I can’t recall.  Blood-typing, I think it was.

Between 6 – 8 AM get a visit by the OB resident to check in on me.

Breakfast somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30-ish.

Around 8 – 9 AM get a visit by my OB/Gyn or her partner.

Around 9 – 10 AM temperature check, blood pressure check (the vitals) and spend 20 – 30 minutes on fetal heart monitor and contraction monitor.

11AM-ish shower. Yea! My favorite part of the day!

Noon-ish lunch.

2PM-ish vitals check and about 2-5 minutes on fetal heart monitor.

Around 5 – 6PM dinner.

6 – 8PM vitals check and about 2-5 minutes on fetal heart monitor.

7 – 8PM was the daily nurse-shift swap.

Around 11 or later, I’d fall asleep.  This hour grew later and later the longer I stayed in the hospital.  Toward the end, I was sleeping very poorly at nights and napping like Heaven loved me during the afternoons.

This basic routine went on for weeks.

However, there were shifts in the routine, and emergencies and minor dramas.  For instance, three days after I wrote the last post on this blog – and one day after I had gotten to be moved to the window side of the room – the baby’s heart rate was elevated.  Consistently elevated.  When the fetal heart rate is elevated for a minute or so, no big deal.  But when it stays elevated for several minutes, it causes concern.  My nurse jumped into action.  Within five minutes, I was flanked by 4 nurses, my perinatalogist, a portable ultrasound machine and a tech.  Oh – and I was hooked up to an IV drip.  The worry was that with the heart rate so high, and knowing that I had both placenta previa and vasa previa, I might have internal bleeding.  Apparently elevated fetal heart rate can indicate distress.  My perinatalogist started asking me several questions like, “when was the last time you ate?” and “when was the last time you had a lovenox (blood thinner) injection?”  I remembered, months earlier – before I had any major complications – my OB/Gyn had told me that since I was on blood thinners, she would want to take me off of them a day or two before induced delivery so that I wouldn’t – y’know – bleed to death bringing new life into the world. After I learned about my two previas, I remembered learning that I would need to fast for 12 hours before planned C-section.  Given the nature of my perinatalogist’s questions, I suspected she was thinking we may need to get the baby out of there, pronto.  “Should I call my husband?” I asked.  “Yes,” my nurse told me.  Luckily, I caught him just moments before he was going to turn off his phone to go into a meeting. Even more luckily, everything was fine with the baby.  My perinatalogist was very calm and deliberate and watching her work with the ultrasound tech made me feel confident in her skills and decisions, despite the worries flooding me in the moment. There was no indication of internal bleeding and within about five minutes of the IV drip, the baby’s heart rate started descending and returned to normal. It turns out that, among other things, insufficient hydration can cause sustained elevated heart rate.  So, I stepped up my hydration from that day forward.  Baby had a few other incidents of elevated heart rate after that, but we managed them with me sucking down buckets of ice-cold water.

I went off the lovenox and the baby aspirin at that time.  With placenta previa, I presume you’d want to move swiftly to get the baby out if there was a rupture, so you’d not want any blood thinners in the patient’s system.  However, if the vasa previa bursts, you’ve got maybe 30 minutes to get the baby out alive, 20 minutes to get it out without the risk of brain damage.  So, I was more than happy to stop the injections and the aspirin if it meant that both of us could live to meet each other in the event of an emergency.  Plus, with the brand of MTHFR that I have (heterogenous, I believe), my risk of pregnancy loss due to clotting is more prevalent in the first trimester – as I now know all too terribly well – so dropping the thinners was less of a risk.

Due to Swine Flu outbreaks around the country – our region being hard-hit, in particular – the hospital had a strict visitor policy during the fall and winter (ie, flu season).  Only two visitors at a time, visitors must wash the ever-lovin’ sin out of their hands, and NO CHILDREN! I had a decent share of visitors while I was hospitalized.  In fact, I’d say I was blessed by the outpouring of love that I received from friends while I was in the hospital.

Thanksgiving in the hospital was good. Good, because I got to spend it with my husband.  He brought in good turkey from Texas and sides from Boston Market. That was leaps and bounds better than the food the hospital had prepared.  Though, God bless them for all they do for us. Seriously, I cannot express how much I learned to appreciate everyone who makes the hospital run:  from the doctors to the nurses to the cleaning crew.  I love them so much!  The nursing staff, in particular, I now believe to be angels sent straight from the bosom of God.  It was also a good holiday because my doctor gave me a wheelchair pass, so Hubby took me on a wheelchair tour of the hospital for about half an hour.  It was really strange. I was so happy to be out of the room – and even outside the building in the chill, grey air, for a few minutes – but I found that every bump I passed over scared me.  Is that jostling the baby closer to the placenta?  Will that bump rupture the vasa previa?

Soon after Thanksgiving, I got my own private room.  And it was paradise!  Also, apparently, that’s when my body decided that more bleeding incidents would be hilarious.  During the month of December, I probably had another 4 or 5 bleeding incidents.  And they seemed to almost always happen on Thursdays.  One of them canceled my baby shower, which was to be held in hospital cafeteria, since I was on lockdown.  That sucked, hard core.  I’m still sad about that.  (Though two of my shower-coordinating girlfriends ended up spending a couple of hours with me the day that it was supposed to happen and shared one of the games they’d created for me. Which was really sweet! Oh! And cookies, too!)  In almost all cases, it was handled the same way:  the bleeding stopped quickly, so the concern downgraded a teensy bit; but more importantly, I wasn’t contracting, nor was the baby’s heart rate elevated, the baby was still kicking and so I would be monitored for an hour or so and the staff would basically comfort me.  In one incident, about a week before Christmas – so, I was maybe 32 weeks along – I was having a lot of Braxton Hix contractions, so I had to get a terbutaline drip to slow them.  Which is hell.  I’ve never done illegal drugs like heroin or cocaine, but the shakes and sensory amplification that it gave me made me feel like what I’ve always suspected it must feel like to go through cold turkey detox from those drugs.  I was then put on a regimen of terbutaline pills four times a day.  The oral version is far more commodious to the bed ridden life than the drip, by the way.  That particular incident – the pre-Christmas one – was bad enough that I was disallowed to leave the bed for 24 hours.  I had use bed pans, and got a sponge bath and … just ick!  I felt so bad having to call in a nurse every half hour or so to bedpan me so I could pee.  They didn’t care, but I felt like a bother. And it’s just gross.

By the week of Christmas, though, it really did look like I was going to make it to my scheduled C-section date.  It seemed like my body had calmed down.  At one point, I think I went 9 or 10 straight days without a bleeding incident.  January 4.  That was when our baby was supposed to be born.  And my body was holding out. It’s going to happen, that day, I told myself.  That’s what I told the baby, too. But apparently, baby didn’t believe me.

A few days after Christmas, I had been feeling progressively sicker.  I won’t get into the details on the Internet, but just suffice it to say that by the 29th, I was miserable.  Hubby took off early from work and came to the hospital to sit with me and watch movies and comfort me.  By bedtime that night, I was feeling markedly better.  He’d had a long day, so he kissed me and said he’d see me tomorrow.  I went to sleep.  Then I woke up an hour later, went to the bathroom and emerged with blood running down my leg.  This was a bigger incident than any before.  I pulled the emergency cord and within seconds a team of nurses and a resident had me in my bed and were hooking up the fetal monitor and the contraction monitor.  It was moments before midnight.  The resident ordered an IV drip and got my OB/Gyn on the phone.  They both agreed:  it’s just 6 days from the originally scheduled C-section; she keeps having these incidents; the baby is 34 wks and change; let’s just do this. Can’t say I disagreed, and frankly, I’d always been worried about the baby surviving each time I bled, so I kind of just wanted to have the kid already. I called my husband to meet me in the O.R. if he could get there in time, and was whisked away to have my baby.

He didn’t get there in time.  It turned out in the wee hours of December 30 was when the freeway between our house and the hospital decided to close down for a major repair.  So he arrived just after the delivery.  The only thing that made his absence bearable was that I was completely knocked out.  Because of the nature of my complications, they treated the C-section as an emergency one, which meant, no time for epidural:  I had general anesthesia.  When I came-to about half an  hour (or more) later, I discovered that we were now the proud parents of a 5lb 0 oz baby girl.  I will refer to her as GiggleGirl from here out. Because she is the heir that brings new joy to my laughter.  Hubby and I now both joke that neither of us was present for the birth of our first child.  I certainly hope we’re both there for the second!

Altogether, with the initial hospital stay of a few days, the few days of home bedrest, the long stay and after the delivery of our daughter, I was in the hospital for about eight weeks.  In that time, I crossed the threshhold of my hospital room only a handful of times.  I actually went 4 weeks, at one point, with no egress, save for a sonogram which was performed across the hall from my room. I’ve had hospital stays in the past – for the emergency ectopic pregnancy surgery, for the day surgery to remove embryonic tissue that turned into emergency uterine surgery – and after about a day, I’ve wanted to rip my hair out and flee. But for some reason, I held up remarkably well.  Except for one day when I was just overall sad and weepy about the whole situation, I was actually in pretty good spirits.  The only reason for this, I suspect, is because I knew I had an out date, and because I was doing this for GiggleGirl as much as for my own health.

It was odd coming home without our daughter.  She was in the NICU for the first two weeks of her life.  Odd, but in a way, kind of good.  It allowed me to be back in my space, mostly as it was when I left it.  It allowed me to re-ground and prepare for her arrival.  I really hated having her in the NICU, but what are you going to do?  We were very lucky.  Due to the steroid injections I got at weeks 27 and 32, her lungs were wonderful.  She mostly just needed to be able to increase her nutrient intake and learn to eat on her own, not through her nose or through nutrient IVs.

She’s 5 months old now.  Little, still, but thriving.  She likes to smile and laugh and likes the dog.  She’s a good sleeper and pretty easygoing for the most part. She coos and sings. She loves her bouncy chair, and finally likes tummy time.  She can even roll over if you position her arms under her chest. I’m hoping the self-roll isn’t too far behind.  I’m not worrying about it much. I kind of suspect that she’ll be one of those kids who goes straight for the walk and skips the crawl.  You know, the ones you have to be scared of!

I’ll keep blogging now and then.  I’ll try to be more frequent and more regular than once every six months.  And though our story of getting to our first kid has resolved, I’ll try to still blog about miscarriage.  I don’t particularly want this to evolve into a mommy blog.  I created this blog because I found very few blogs dedicated to recurrent miscarriage, so I want to still stick with that mission:  being a voice in a the wilderness. I still don’t know how to talk about it in public, or when to, but I want to preserve this space as a place to talk about it, so hopefully other women will know they’re not alone.

Posted by: laughing4heir | November 17, 2009

Life as an invalid


Fighting the pull of gravity


It was bound to happen, but we were seriously hoping it wouldn’t happen for another month.  There is still so much to do.

I had a bleeding incident last week.  I was admitted to the hospital for about two days, to make sure nothing else happened.  The baby is fine.  The critical vessel – vasa previa (I finally learned the term)* – hasn’t ruptured.  My cervix is still nice and solid and the lake, Lake Dash-it-all is still there, though slightly smaller.  It’s unclear where the blood came from, though prevalent opinion is that it’s from the placenta.

*I have not read anything online about vasa previa, because as I understand it, it is extremely rare and if the vessel bursts, extremely dangerous for the baby.  Since statistics seem not to favor me, I’ve chosen not to learn them this time.  However, I am going to ask my perinatalogist how long we have to get the baby safely out, if it does burst.

After it was clear that I wasn’t bleeding red anymore and all was left was just brown residual stuff, I was allowed to go home on modified bed rest.  The doctors – my OB and the perinatalogist on my case – said I could stay home until week 32, provided I didn’t have another bleeding incident or other preterm labor indicators.  Because of the vasa previa, they wanted me to return at week 32 to remain under hospital bed rest until delivery at week 35. If I had another incident, the perinatalogist told me, I was to return and not depart until the baby comes. Got it, coach!  So my fantastic husband set up the house such that I could park myself in one spot all day long, only having to climb stairs maybe twice a day.  I stayed reclined and only got up to use the bathroom and, for a few minutes at lunch, to put together food.  By Thursday or Friday, there was no trace of blood at all.  Yea!

Then randomly, Sunday afternoon, after everything had been going perfectly, all things considered, I found more bright red spotting in my underwear.  Not a lot, but quantity didn’t really matter. CURSES!!  I called the on-call doctor who recommended I go to labor and delivery triage and get checked out.  The baby’s heartbeat was monitored as were any possible contractions.  Baby so far is fine.  I was given a shot of tributeline (sic) to stop the braxton hix contractions.  There weren’t many, but they wanted to decrease the activity.  Then, as suspected, the on-call doctor decided to admit me to the hospital for overnight observation.  I have had no bleeding since that episode Sunday afternoon.

That was Sunday.  It’s Tuesday, now.  I’m still here.  Basically, so far, I’m still being kept here until they decide what to do with me.  I’ve met briefly a couple of times with my OB’s partner.  He knows what’s going on, almost as well as my OB does.  She’ll be doing hospital rounds tomorrow, so I’ll get to see her then.  I’ll also have a sonogram tomorrow to see how the inner workings are doing, as well as to see how much our baby weighs.  My OB will be in contact with my perinatalogist to come up with a plan of action.  My OB is sympathetic to my desire to be home; she’d prefer it, too.  However, vasa previa is nothing to screw around with and she’s less familiar with it than the perinatalogist and is basically giving her deference on the topic.  My OB sees maybe one a year; my perinatalogist sees many, many more.  And she’s more familiar with the ugly statistics.  We both know the perinatalogist is going to recommend I stay here until the baby comes.  We both hate it, but I think neither of us wants to risk either a) an emergency at home nor b) a scenario in which I go home and a week later have another (thus far) innocuous bleeding incident and I just have to return once more.  Staying put might be less stressful than checking in and out.

So, I write this, sitting at a 35-degree angle in my hospital bed.  Waiting to hear if I’ll leave at the end of the week, provided the perinatalogist agrees my innards look sturdy enough, or if I’ll leave after the New Year with a baby in tow.  The prospect of spending Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years in bed is unattractive to me, but far more attractive than losing a baby.  I’m kind of hoping I’ll be told to stay put.  I’ve told my OB and her partner that Hubby and I are basically preparing ourselves for that.  Truthfully, the more I think about it, the more I prefer it.  I’m praying that baby stays put past his/her delivery date, so that the poor thing is caught off-guard when s/he’s fetched at 35 weeks.  But I’m beginning to think it may be less stressful on our family if I’m kept here till delivery.

I’m at 28 weeks.  Factoring in a few days of recovery, I’ll probably be here for another 8 weeks.  It blows.  Hard.  But I’m lucky.  My roommate is 21 weeks along with triplets and here until she delivers in February.

Oh, and I guess it goes without saying that I’ve been told no more performing until the baby comes!  Which blows, as my show opened last weekend.  But at least I had a great high-profile Halloween gig (a fantastic experience!) and got to have a good performance retreat in the woods with my group literally days before I had the first incident.  (Incidentally, the medical staff thinks this was inevitable; that I didn’t do anything to precipitate it.  Especially since I’d been dialing back pretty well.  That’s a relief.)  So, I’m happy I had a high note before I had to go down.  But it is the high notes I miss.  At least once a week, baby got to rehearse with me and listen to me belt and hear other great singing around me.  Now, s/he can’t.  I don’t know that my roomie would appreciate me belting out a tune just so baby could hear me.  I’m hoping I eventually get a private room.  If/when I get one, then I’ll feel freer to sing to baby; not belt out, but sing.  I hope baby likes that.


Posted by: laughing4heir | October 28, 2009

Days of my Uterus

Oh, the drama!  What will happen next in the on-going saga of Laughing’s uterus?  (cue organ sting, here)

We went in for our 24 week ultrasound last week to check on the progress of my placenta previa and while we were at it, check in on the little critter who is right now waking up, but the feeling of him against my tummy.  The good news:  the kid looks fine.  No news is good news and we got no news on the fetal front.  The bad news:  barbarian forces are running rampant inside my womb and while the baby is doing so far so good inside her amniotic fort, she’s got to come out sometime and we’re gonna have to deal with the vandal hordes.


When I was diagnosed with complete previa at 12 weeks, I wasn’t that worried.  It usually moves out of the way, I was told and had read.  No sex until it’s a safe distance.  At 20 weeks, it hadn’t moved sufficiently and then some other placenta patches were discovered, as well as some vessel.  No sex, no exercise, no heavy lifting, no strenuous activity. No. No. No!  (Except performing.  I can still do that. WHEW!)  Now, at the 24 week looksee last week, I swear there must be some other entity in there making it harder and harder and damn nigh impossible for me to ever even attempt to have a regular “squeeze the baby out the intended exit” birth.  Placenta previa has not moved sufficiently. Oh, and you’ve got a pool of blood sitting on top of your cervix, which we’re calling a “lake.”  Oh, and best of all, there seems to be a vessel between the baby and some of that spare Jackson Pollock-style splattered placenta on the wall there.  It’s at the front of your uterus. Nope, it’s not an umbilical cord, but we don’t want that sucker to rip, ’cause it’s the baby’s blood, not yours. You can stand to lose a lot of blood; your kid can’t.  So, to be safe, instead of either inducing or c-secting you around week 39, in late January/early February, we might recommend doing a c-section around week 35.  Come back in 3 weeks and we’ll take another peek into your battlezone to get a better idea of a course of action to safely deliver your baby as healthily as possible for both of you.

ARRGGHH! The curse of being on the losing side of statistics strikes again!

I shouldn’t complain.  Our baby is, by all available measures, healthy and developing nicely.  I am immensely grateful for that.  Immensely.  And, let’s be honest:  no one has a worry-free pregnancy.  Not even the young woman who gets pregnant immediately, has no problem maintaining the pregnancy, sails smoothly through pregnancy, has a perfect placenta, perfectly turned baby and 3 hour delivery without drugs. (Don’t we want to punch her teeth in?) Even she’s worried.  But still, as long as everything’s going okay with the baby, could I just please get cut a little slack?  A random blood vessel connection for the baby?  Really?  I’ve already apparently got two items blocking my cervix and disallowing me to have sex when I’ve got major hormones rushing around me like a fucking horny 15 year old boy in gym class.  Now I have to worry about baby’s overachieving tendencies being his downfall?  The cosmic unfairness of this is just laughable.

And a lake?  A lake??  I sincerely doubt it’s even fishable, so what use is it to me?  I think we need to name that lake.  Dash-it-all!  I’m going to name it.  Name it something.  If I’ve got a lake inside my uterus, I’m going to name it, by gum!

And it looks like a c-section is unavoidable at this point.  Even if my placenta moves clean out of the way, and the lake disappears, there’s still the issue of the baby-connecting vessel.  If I go into hard labor, the way evolution designed us, the vessel could tear and the baby could lose a lot of blood. Not good.  And even worse, if I go into spontaneous labor.  The bad news is that I might have to go into the hospital on bed rest a few weeks before delivery so that if (God forbid) I go into spontaneous preterm labor, they can have me right there in the O.R. immediately to help us both out, as opposed to having to weather the shitty traffic we have in this area to get there and hopefully save the baby.  The good news is:  the same constraints from last month apply to this month, so far.  So, I’m not on regular bed rest, nor am I having to miss out on performing or otherwise living my life, with minor modifications.  Whew.  I will do the c-section, but it saddens me.  I was really hoping, after all the losses and the scientific intervention to get to this baby, that I could have one aspect of the baby-making process proceed as it has for millions of years.  But I’m sure I’ll get over it.  Truthfully, in my situation, without medical types in bunny suits with all their accoutrement, baby-making would be impossible for us.  As recently as 30 years ago, I’d never have had a successful pregnancy.  And as recently as 50 or 60 or 70 years ago, there’s no doubt in my mind that all the aforementioned complications of this pregnancy would result in maternal or infant death or both upon delivery.  At least baby and I will likely come out of this alive.

So, it looks like our baby will be coming closer to New Years, right after the year turns.  Which, as I hate the month of February, I should probably be happy with.  I kind of am.  Except, on the petty end, that removes a whole month I was going to use to plan with:  painting, etc.  And mostly except that I’m just concerned about the baby’s health.  As the perinatalogist was explaining this to us, last week, all I could see was our little baby, taken 4 – 5 weeks too soon, trembling and cold in a NICU, with a plethora of tubes connecting him to breathing devices, like some sort of human squid.  It was all I could do not to cry.  I was very proud of myself for staying calm and not letting the knot in my throat or the heat behind my eyes betray me, as we asked our questions.  After having talked to a pediatrician family member of mine, I’m more convinced that she’ll be okay if she comes into the world a month early.  I was – and still am – most concerned about the baby’s lungs.  The closer to 40 weeks the better, but we don’t all have that luxury.  The only other thing that concerns me is the condition of my uterus.  With all the flotsam and jetsam mucking it up right now, I wonder if I should expect that with subsequent pregnancies.  Or if it’ll be too damaged to even hope for future pregnancies.  We want at least one, maybe 2 more kids after this one – provided, of course, that this kid is nice and doesn’t sour us on parenting alltogether!

Ahh, how blissful my ignorant days when I just assumed all my lady parts were fully functioning!  Whoever said “knowledge is power” didn’t know how powerless one can feel when in possession of knowledge you can’t really use, but effects you so deeply.

So, there you have it.  Sorry to complain.  I shouldn’t.  The baby’s healthy.  I will do whatever is necessary to continue to facilitate that.  It’s just that it would be nice to get a break some time on the lady end.  I would love to love my uterus and not feel at odds with her.

Posted by: laughing4heir | October 13, 2009

Snug. Probably. Safe? Eh…

No guarantees.

No guarantees.

Since I’ve gone public with my pregnancy, I’ve had a few women – maybe two or three or four – say something to me along a common theme that I find very curious.  “Enjoy your pregnancy.  It’s the only time you know your baby is completely safe and taken care of.  It’s the only time you have total control over their safety.”


Granted, these women didn’t know about my previous history, and I can only assume that each of their pregnancies resulted in a live baby delivered at, or near term.  Otherwise, how could one so easily dispense that reason for enjoying pregnancy?  I find it hard to believe they’d hold me personally responsible and accountable for the losses of my previous five pregnancies.  (Though, there’s little doubt in my mind there are some wack-jobs out there who would.)

Of course, I smile and nod politely and respond with a shy, “Okay.”  But naturally I’m thinking:  “The only time I know it’s taken care of?  The only time I have control over its safety?  You have no idea what you’re talking about.”  The only thing I can say about my offspring, in this condition, is that I know where he is and under whose physical protection he is.  I can’t vouch for her safety, really.  I feel her kicking and moving, so I assume all is well, but I don’t know how she is reacting to her environment.  I don’t know if he is perilously close to kicking the snot out of the low-lying placenta which would endanger us both.  I don’t know if she has an organ condition unfolding that could lead to a prenatal fatality.  I don’t know if he’s having an allergic reaction to something I ate.  There are SO many ways I don’t know if this baby is safe; that I don’t have control over its safety.  Just because she’s inside me, doesn’t make her safety any more certain than if she was outside me, fully gestated.

And assuming I have complete control – or even a large portion of control – over the baby’s safety assumes a lot.  It assumes I have a large amount of control over my own safety.  We like to think – especially in this nation of self-determinism – that we have the majority, if not complete, control over our own safeties and destinies.  But really, we’re lucky if we have 50% control.  I drive in a car to work every morning.  I can only control my own safety so much.  I fly in in airplanes, where I have way far less control.  I breathe air, drink water and eat food polluted by generations of waste and chemical experimentation – even if I ate only locally grown, organic food this would be the case.  I climb staircases, step over and around obstacles and turn corners in a hurry.  Gravity is not, and has never been, my friend.  Trips, slips and falls happen.  Sure, my baby is protected by the finest suspension system nature has to offer a woman’s body, but it’s not fail-safe.

What I can say is that my baby is likely warm and hopefully cozy and comfortable.  It’s the only time in early parenthood when I can take my kid with me to a movie unsuitable for children.  It’s the only time in early parenthood when I can do fun stuff with my husband and not worry about a babysitter.  It’s the only time in early parenthood when I can do fun stuff without my husband and not worry that leaving him with the baby is overwhelming him.  It’s the only time I can be a parent and still be pursue my own interests more or less as I like, as far as I see it.  At least that’s how the experience unfolded so far.

There is really little I can say with certainty about the state of my baby as she is inside of me. He seems to respond to my laughter. She’s healthy, as far as we’ve been able to gleen. Can I rest assured that I control his sustained safety?  Of that I’m pretty certain:  no.

Posted by: laughing4heir | September 6, 2009

Swooshes and wubbles

That’s what we heard Tuesday morning with the nifty doppler machine.

Hubby was finally able to join me for a doctor’s visit.  Since we’re at week 17, I was hoping we’d have an ultrasound, so he could take a look at the baby.  He hasn’t seen it since it was just an amorphous spindle with a beating light that would become a heart, at 7 weeks.  He hasn’t gotten to see legs and arms and face and stuff yet.  But it was another checking-in and listening-in visit.  Which is fine.  I also wanted to make sure he met the doctor who’ll be delivering our child.  He’ll come to as many of these as he can with me.  He didn’t have any questions this time around, but I assume he will as we progress.

We were pleased with what we got to hear:  144 heartbeat and fetal movement.  That was the coolest part, for me.  Not just hearing the heartbeat – though that was awesome – but hearing the wubbly sound of the interference with the doppler was my favorite.  That, evidently indicates the baby moving.  In the 15 to 20 seconds we listened in, the baby moved about 3 or 4 times. I don’t know what average is, but it was music to our ears.  And our doctor again happily commented that we had an active baby moving around in there.

I think – though I still can’t be certain – that I’m beginning to feel the baby moving around in there.  I am still not quite sure whether it’s the baby or whether it’s gas.  The only differentiating factor right now is whether after I feel a bubble movement in my abdomen, I then feel the need to expel gas in some form or fashion.  There have been a few moments this past week – one in particular – in which I have felt with some certainty that it’s the baby.  Every night, Hubby takes about 30 – 45 seconds to place his hands on my lower belly in the hopes that he feels it, too.  But right now, it’s so unpredictable.  I can’t wait until the movement is more predictable and I can share it with him.

I’m pretty sure I feel it move at least once a day.  Yesterday, I was concerned because I hadn’t felt it move all day.  So, Hubby dug out the stethoscope and listened around my lower abdomen.  I listened in, too.  We could hear liquid gurgling noises, which I assume you’d find in anyone’s tummy, be we also heard tiny, arrhythmic knocking sounds.  Since they weren’t in keeping with my heartbeat, and didn’t sound like sloshing, we decided it was the baby moving.  Don’t know if we’re right, but we’re clinging to it.

My pregnancy is now common knowledge.  I’ve told just about everyone I’ll see on a regular or semi-regular basis, as well as those I don’t, but who might be happy to know.  This kind of scares me.  Again, still don’t want to find myself in an “un-announce” situation.  But this moment had to come.  I’m not fitting into my clothes easily anymore – or even with strained difficulty – those who know me will recognize soon, if they haven’t already, that my body is changing; I can’t really hide it anymore, so I’m not going to fight it.  I feel like making it common knowledge is a bold step.  A very scary, bold step.  I’m doing it confidently, now, but inside I still quiver; I still hold my breath.

The strangest thing – or maybe not so strange – is that for as open as I am now about my pregnancy, I sometimes want to tell people that this isn’t just a pregnancy.  That this isn’t just a happy accident.  That this is hard-won and it’s still not over.  And it will probably never be over, even after we’ve had all the children we want to have and they’ve grown and gone on.  Some people, now that I’m basically public about it have said, “17 weeks? Oh, so you’re out of the woods?”  Am I?  Just because I’m past trimester doesn’t take me out of the woods, in my mind.  This little fetus is still so frail and dependent on me.  Though, I’d always thought the same thing.  The other night, talking to a friend after a show, I said all I really wanted was a happy, healthy baby.  “That’s what you’re supposed to say,” she amiably quipped, teasing my political correctness.  But it’s so genuinely true.  Yeah, I’d prefer a baby born in springtime, because I SO hate mid-winter, but by golly, I’m really not going to be picky. After 5 pregnancy losses, all I really DO want is a happy, healthy baby. Hubby wants a happy, healthy baby boy really badly, but I’m really of no opinion on the sex or who it looks like or any of that.  At least not with this kid. It may sound trite, but when you know all the things that could go wrong in a pregnancy or in fetal development, healthy really is all you want.  Just because you’re likely to get it – as most women do – doesn’t mean you take it for granted.  And when you’ve had nothing but failure in the past, hoping for much else feels like hubris.  Mostly, and I don’t know why … I sometimes want people to know how hard-won this pregnancy is so that they don’t take it for granted.  That I’m not just a woman who made love to her husband and this is the outcome.

But I can’t tell most people I know all that.  It’s too weighty and private and reserved for a select few:  those in our closer circle and those who have let me glimpse some of their pain.  Most people have no idea of the far-reaching sadness that recurrent miscarriage carries with it.  (Hell, I’ve been through it 5 times, and I’m still not sure I grasp it.)  Most people can offer their sympathy, but it’s a limited sympathy that you give a friend who’s lost a pet.  I’m sure they’d be sad for me, but they have no idea how miscarriage affects not only my hopes for that embryo, but my self-image, my internal health, my marital health, nor much less my dreams, both for motherhood and career.  It’s hard to make career plans and movements when you’re constantly thinking:  by next quarter I’ll be pregnant and then in a year I’ll have a baby, so I don’t know if it’s worth it to make this risky move.

But I ramble.  I’m 18 weeks, today.  And thus far healthy.  We’ll find out in two weeks how the baby has grown and see if the placenta has begun to migrate to a safer place.  For now, genuinely, I’m really happy and more hopeful than I’ve been since this month four years ago when I first stripped the last Ortho Evra patch off my cheek and we decided to get this experiment going.  I’m actually hopeful that these swooshes and wubbles will quite soon give way to coos and babbles.

Posted by: laughing4heir | August 28, 2009

Word is getting out

Im telling.  Who else is telling?

I'm telling. Who else is telling?

I finally talked to my boss yesterday to tell him that I was pregnant.  Or rather – am – pregnant.  I was going to hold off until Tuesday afternoon to have the talk with him, mostly because I wanted to make sure, after our Tuesday appointment that everything’s still going well.  That we have a little, beating, breathing, wiggling baby inside me.  But my closet forced my hand.

What’s that?  My clothes have been getting tight lately, but I’m still in my regular clothes.  (I tried a belly band last week and it didn’t do much more than escape my pants and seek refuge around my waist like some bad lycra belt.)  Yesterday morning, however, I pulled on a smocked top sundress that I was looking forward to wearing, and I looked a lot more like I was packing a bump than I ever have before.  As someone who carries her fat in the front and who has been asked by people in the past if I was pregnant, this is saying something.  So, I scrambled as best I could to put something together that didn’t make me look totally with child and decided to lay it out for him yesterday morning.  He already knew I wanted to “chat” about something, and was nervous.

But I was weepy.  Not with him, thankfully. Just leading up to it.  Leaving the house; sitting at my desk.  I was so scared.  Not of what he would say – I knew he’d be happy for me – but of bringing it to his attention.  Thus far, we’ve told just about everyone who needs to know:  family, very close friends.  And we’re letting it out among the wider circle of friends who may not have known we were even trying, much less all the heartache that’s been leading up to this.  I was pinged by a friend on Facebook who heard it through the grapevine of our performance community.  The news is now spreading beyond me.  But for some reason, letting my boss know – even more than letting my female coworkers know, who’ve known for weeks – was seriously tough.  It’s like admitting to him, officialized it. “I will need time off to bond with and care for my baby.”  It made this more real and less retractable.  I don’t want to have to “un-announce” to anyone, and statistically, it’s unlikely that I’ll have to.  Nonetheless, when it comes to babymaking, I’ve been on the losing end of statistics so much in the last 4 years, that I no longer trust the notion of the “likeliest outcome.”

I’ll be at 17 weeks this Sunday, and have a check up on Tuesday morning.  It can’t come fast enough.  I just want to take a peek or hear a heartbeat or anything to assure me that we’ve still got a growing baby in there.  And I know it’s still kind of early to feel kicking, but I want to feel it so badly.  I want this little critter to communicate with me and let me know he or she is doing well.  Every day I take sometime to feel around on my bloated, rubber ball of a uterus and hope for some movement.  Invariably, I always get my own pulse and the palpitation of my excited breath as it courses through my body.  <sigh>  Hurry up, little bug!

My therapist was right:  this is going to be a loooonnng pregnancy.

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