The Babies!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

There Really is a Baby in There (12w0d)

I am too emotionally and physically exhausted to write a detailed blog post of my maternal fetal medicine appointment today, so I'll save it for tomorrow. I wasn't able to get all the testing I wanted, so I'll need to wait for some blood work and schedule another appointment. Basically, I don't know much more now than I did before the appointment. Frustrating, to say the least.

I did get another ultrasound (the NT scan) and got to marvel at how much the baby has developed in just a couple of weeks. He or she was wriggling around in there like crazy (and being rebellious about moving into the right position for the test). It was great to see-- and to hear the heart beating at 146 beats per minute. As I said when I first saw it-- I guess I really am pregnant. One of these days, the reality might sink in.

I'll post all of the pictures later, but this one is my favorite.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Waiting for Wednesday (11w5d)

My maternal fetal medicine appointment is Wednesday afternoon. It promises to be a fun-filled afternoon (ha!) of genetic counseling, blood work, tests and an ultrasound. The only part of it I'm really looking forward to is the ultrasound. It will be nice to see the baby wriggling around, reminding me that I really am pregnant. Another picture (or two) to add to my collection and to send to Jay. One of these days, he'll be home for an ultrasound.

Wednesday is going to be a stressful afternoon, likely followed by a stressful week as I wait for test results. But then... then I will be able to breathe when I find out everything is fine and the baby is healthy. I might even be ready to go public with the news (meaning on my blog and Facebook and Twitter, since pretty much everyone who knows me in real life already knows I'm pregnant).

I am trying to stay calm and optimistic, but the fears creep in. I dreamed I went to the hospital because I knew something was wrong with the baby. I ended up at Seattle Grace, home of Grey's Anatomy. They were very comforting (I remember Callie and George, in particular) and told me everything was fine and the baby's heartbeat was strong.

I found out last week that Jae and Shannon are pregnant. With Shannon around 8 weeks behind me and Wendy 2 weeks ahead of me, it's hard not to think about the future and the potential of having two friends with babies the same age. Playdates and babysitting swaps and maybe even vacations-- it would be nice not to go through this process alone. Fingers crossed that it works out for all of us.

I don't know when the worries will stop. Probably never. But I am almost through the first trimester and I know that once this week is over and I have reached that mile marker, I will feel like at least one weight has been lifted. And that's something to look forward to, isn't it?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Misconceptions (10w3d)

Contrary to what some people think, being pregnant at 42 isn't such a strange and unusual occurrence in and of itself. There is a misconception that the older mother thing is a contemporary phenomenon, spurred by Type A career women and narcissistic Hollywood types. Not so. Generations of women previous had babies well into their 40s. I believe my grandmother was over 40 when she had her youngest child. The difference between her and me is that she was having her last child after 40 while I am having my first. I am channelling my grandmother for this pregnancy (though I never really knew her) and hoping that I can do just once what she did a dozen times over.

I am a bit of an enigma in some respects. In light of my age, I am asked a couple of questions pretty routinely. The first is whether all of my miscarriages were with the same partner. This question is for genetic purposes, not because they're questioning my promiscuity. Miscarrying multiple times with the same partner might point to a problem on his end. When I answer yes, the next question is about the years of my miscarriages. 1991, 1997, 2008. While they're doing the math in their heads, I tell them I've been married almost 19 years. Their eyes go wide (wider than when they learn my age) and then they ask the most ridiculous question of all: "And you've been trying to conceive all these years?"

Seriously, folks. I am a stubborn, determined individual, but I'm not a glutton for punishment. No, I have not been trying for almost 19 years to have a child. In fact, I did some math of my own and figured out that we've only not used birth control for about two years of our marriage. (And yet I managed to get pregnant four times. Maybe I am my grandmother's granddaughter.)

The thing is, I was never obsessed with having a baby. I never believed motherhood was my "calling." I was not a little girl who played with dolls. Sure, I had them, but they sat on the shelf in favor of my books. Babies were cute and kids were okay, but I never felt the urge to procreate to a) have someone to love me, b) keep me company when my husband was gone, or c) to save my marriage. (All reasons I've heard before.) The truth, plain and simple, is that I was more than willing to believe what will be, will be. Periodically, we'd give it a go. I'd get pregnant and miscarry or I wouldn't get pregnant at all and then circumstances would change (a move, a new command, grad school) and I'd go back on birth control. I didn't pay attention to when I ovulated (my cycles were all over the place when I was younger) and I just figured it would happen or it wouldn't. And I could imagine a perfectly happy life for myself (and us) either way.

In fact, the reason I'm 42 and pregnant is not because I woke up one morning and suddenly realized I MUST HAVE A CHILD NOW, but because I woke up one morning and realized, hey, if I'm going to experience this thing called motherhood (and give Jay the opportunity to experience that equally delightful thing called fatherhood), I'd better really focus on making it happen. I'm still not obsessed with having a child, but it does seem like something we'd be good at. We are emotionally and financially stable and we have a lot to offer a child. Plus, the dog is getting old and won't be around forever. (Kidding. I'm kidding.) So I threw out the birth control and started temperature charting, which was tedious and unnecessary, since I found I ovulate like clockwork. Then I bought ovulation kits and pregnancy tests and we gave it a go. The result was we got pregnant two times in eight months. Go, me.

After last year's miscarriage and some unpleasant experiences with the naval hospital, I became convinced it wasn't going to work out for us. I'm not entirely convinced yet that it will, but I lose a little bit of my skepticism every day now. I was sad last year, but deep down I still had the belief that what will be, will be. And if it didn't happen? Well, we'd still be happy and we'd take a trip to Italy in the fall. I love my life now. Really love it. If this is what it was going to be for the rest of my life, I would consider myself lucky. But there was still a part of me that thought maybe we should give it another try. At some point, I will run out of chances. Why give up before then? And... eight months after the last miscarriage... here I was again. Maybe this time, huh?

As much as I love my life now, I like to imagine I'll love my life with a child, too. In fact, one the scariest thoughts I have after all the usual pregnancy and labor scary thoughts, is that I won't be as happy. Some women aren't. I fear losing my freedom and independence, my time to write, my peace, my privacy. I fear losing myself, even though the rational part of me knows it's just not in my nature to be that kind of woman. But wouldn't that be a cruel joke? I want to believe that maybe my life with a child will bring a new kind of happiness and a different kind of peace. I will still write, I will still find time to do the things that matter to me, I will put aside some privacy and independence (and peace, no doubt) for awhile, but I'll get it back as the years go by. And maybe we'll make it to Italy another year... with tickets for three instead of two.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Double Digits, Baby (10w0d)

Ten weeks. It's nice to see those numbers growing, even though I have a long way to go before I can relax. But every new week brings a new sense of calm. Plus, I feel like I can laugh at all those dire warnings of debilitating morning sickness since I seem to have avoided that unfortunate pregnancy symptom.

The cool things about pregnancy so far?

Longer, stronger nails-- I have to file them every few days because they're growing like crazy.

Better hair-- It's not shedding as badly as usual and most days are good hair days.

Healthy food cravings-- I want fruit, salads, cheese and protein (usually chicken).

Vivid dreams-- my imagination is going wild while I sleep. Dreams of jungles and animals and otherworldly places. Not to mention enough sex dreams to keep me writing erotica for another ten years. Hee.

Body awareness-- I don't know how to explain this one except to say I'm much more aware of my body in a good, healthy, sensual way.

Nesting instinct-- I'm already cleaning out drawers and tossing out junk.

The negatives of pregnancy have been minimal for me so far...

Fatigue-- I feel tired a lot of the time and have been taking naps most afternoons/evenings. It's really not so bad as a symptom goes, as long as I can get a nap or more sleep at night. Except...

Insomnia-- My insomnia is worse than usual these days. I wake up in the middle of the night and it takes me hours to fall back to sleep.

Heart palpitations-- I don't get these very often, but they're disturbing. I think it's a side effect of the Prometrium, so hopefully it'll fade after week 12.

Heightened sense of smell-- This hasn't been too bad, but the smell of cleaning solutions gives me a headache.

PMS Boobs 24/7-- They are tender and achy most of the time.

Honestly, that's the worst of it. There were those few days of nausea early on before I figured out I need to keep something in my stomach. I had three days of spotting before my new doctor put me on progesterone. And I sometimes feel bloated, as if I've eaten too much. That's it.

I spend most of the time feeling pretty good and a little tired. I have absolutely nothing to complain about at this point. I'm just pleasantly surprised how smoothly it's going because it didn't seem possible after everything I've been through. It's just nice to hit the ten week mark and feel this good.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wriggle, Baby, Wriggle (9w6d)

No matter what fears were running through my mind sitting in the waiting room this morning, they faded away when I got to see this little shape wriggling and waving at me. The picture isn't much to look at, but it's something else to see it moving around on screen. I even got to hear the heartbeat today, whoosh-whoosh-whooshing along at 167 bpm.

I also found out that the fibroids that have caused so much concern since my miscarriage last year aren't necessarily as big a problem as I had been led to believe. Three of them are rather large, but they are outside the uterus and in the uterine wall. The other two are in the uterus, but aren't in a position to inhibit a vaginal delivery. I have spent a year thinking that C-section was a forgone conclusion because of fibroids and now I'm finding out that isn't true. That was almost as good as seeing the baby on the ultrasound.

It was a good appointment. Better than I could have expected. I have two weeks until my Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment. Fingers crossed that everything goes as well then as it did today. If it does, I might actually be able to breathe.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here I Am (9w5d)

I haven't posted much here lately. It still doesn't feel real sometimes, this whole pregnancy thing. I have been so lucky so far-- no morning sickness, just those few days of nausea early on-- and the symptoms I do have aren't all that bad. I'm tired all the time, but I'm an insomniac and often tired anyway. Combine my usual insomnia with a dramatic decrease in caffeine and it's no wonder I'm tired. But pregnancy tired is different from insomnia, different from a lack of caffeine. This is the kind of post-sickness tired where I feel like I'm recovering from something. Not a bad feeling, just... tired. Naps are my friends. Still, as symptoms go, it's been smooth sailing for me. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I turned 42 a few days ago. 42. Crazy number. Sometimes it's hard to even believe I'm this age and pregnant, but I here I am. I keep running over the statistics in my head. I probably shouldn't be here. Pregnant twice in less than a year-- a miracle considering Jay wasn't even here for a few of those months! But here I am. I repeat it like a protective mantra. Maybe I shouldn't be here, but here I am.

I have my second ultrasound in the morning. It's hard, going to these things alone. I know Jay wants to be here and he's doing a great job staying involved and informed from a distance, but it's hard sitting in that waiting room alone. No matter how cheerful and calm I manage to be most of the time, that wait is interminable. It doesn't matter that the news at the end has been mostly good so far-- I want to share it with Jay. And if the news turns out to be bad-- well, no matter how tough I am, I don't want to go through it alone. But, here I am.

I have been lucky. I know that. So I keep hoping for the best (though finding out Jay's upcoming schedule has totally thrown me for a loop, but more on that another day) and reminding myself that I've managed to get here despite my age and fibroids and miscarriages. I got here and maybe I'll stay here. Tomorrow I'll be one day closer to that due date. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I will have a little more reassurance so I can reclaim the cheerful and calm attitude I need to get me through another thirty weeks of feeling like I'm holding my breath.