Archive for January, 2010

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Tomorrow

January 31, 2010

Saturday we went in for another NST, and before we left the hospital our doctor had us scheduled for a cesaerian birth on Monday (yes, that would be the same Monday that is also tomorrow).

I haven’t been able to buy many baby things yet. I’m still struggling to believe that we’ll need them, though it’s a hopeful struggle. N bought a bag of diapers last week, and I still find myself staring at them, thinking, “We have diapers. We may need diapers.”

And we may need them soon, because early tomorrow morning Dot will be born. It’s amazing and mind-boggling and surreal, and it’s hard for me to pray these days, but I can’t stop putting this out there for God or the Universe or for any kindly-disposed passing glimmer of luck or magic: Please, please, please let her be healthy and safe.

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Coming soon

January 26, 2010

Sometimes it feels like the non- stress tests are all comedies of errors, that appointments with the doctor always involve at least one or two unexpected elements.

Yesterday evening we went in for our pre-scheduled NST and caught the L&D folks in a state of (hopefully unusual) disorganization. We had to wait while a room was cleaned, had to wait for the nurse to come in and hook me up to the monitors (which were actually set up to monitor someone else in another room – I didn’t know they could do that). Dot decided not to cooperate and persisted in wiggling off the monitor, and the attempted remedy for this was to keep tightening the straps around my belly.

Finally, after the shift change (we were there a long time), one of my favorite nurses showed up and gently held the monitor on my belly until the test was done. We trudged home, tired and pensive, hoping that the next test would be easier.

At today’s doctor appointment, after the usual checks and questions, we talked about delivery plans. It looks like we may well be meeting Dot next week. The words “next week” keep echoing in my head.

I think I’m as ready as I’ll get; I just don’t know if I believe it yet, that this part of the journey is so nearly over, that we’ll get to (oh please, oh please) keep her.

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The new mundane

January 19, 2010

So, here are some glimpses of my life on bed rest:

I am coming to find some reality tv shows soothing, particularly The Dog Whisperer. Something about the phrase “calm, assertive energy,” perhaps.

I’ve become positively blasé about carrying 24 hours’ worth of pee into the hospital every week, and am no longer embarrassed that I need to use two of the big orange jugs, not just one.

I’m getting used to the L&D rooms (which I visit twice a week) and haven’t had any repeats of that first NST’s skyrocketing blood pressures and PTSD-like reactions to smells, sounds, and staff.

I’m getting used to being alternately stir-crazy and shut down about having to leave work before I was ready, to monitoring my blood pressure and blood sugars multiple times a day, and to letting N do all the cooking and cleaning while I feel mostly useless.

Some days it is all too easy to shut off the troublesome, worrying parts of my brain. Some days I feel like a cow-witted incubator. And some days I fill up with panic until it bubbles over into anger and frantic-ness. I’m not sure which is worse, but I’m madly grateful for the ability to throw myself into novels.

Dot continues to look really good – very wiggly and reactive, and she’s now 36 weeks old, which is encouraging and hopeful. We think we’ll be naming her after a Shakespearean heroine and a nymph who knew her own mind.

I just hope she’ll have years and years to make the name her own.

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Update

January 9, 2010

Quick update – quick because I’m writing it on my phone (the home internet connection isn’t working so well these days – not getting our router set up sooner is another thing I’m kicking myself for just now).

I’m on moderate bed rest (no work, but allowed a 20 min walk a day) while being watched for preeclampsia. Blood pressure readings have improved dramatically since New Year’s NST, though, which is good.

I wanted to be one of those women, like my
mother, who have no-fuss pregnancies, but this is the body I have, the experience I get. And Dot is looking good, so I’m trying not to be bitter about watching my carefully hoarded work leave disappearing before I even get to hold my baby, or about the fact that L&D rooms, happy places for so many, still make me want to run for the hills.

I’m so grateful for all of you, for your words & stories. You make me feel less isolated and blithering.

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Diversion

January 4, 2010

In order to not think about the things I don’t want to think about at the moment (and how’s that for an ugly beginning to a sentence?), here’s the story of my Christmas horse.

When I was about two years old, my favorite thing in the world was my gray Wonderhorse, a gift from my grandparents.  It was a hard plastic horse (gray with pale dapples) suspended on springs so that I could bounce up and down on it.  And did I ever bounce.  Mom had a difficult time keeping me off of it, and there are some amusing/embarrassing photographs in my baby book that were taken when I couldn’t wait to get dressed after my bath before riding him.  And while I’m not positive about this, I’m guessing it’s not every two year old whose father names her Lady Godiva.

My love for Wonderhorse was strong and true, but he was, alas, the kind of toy that children outgrow.  However, when I was three years old I had my first pony ride, on a little black pony at some small fair.  I didn’t want to get off.  I dreamt of ponies.  I became, at a very tender age, one of those many horse-obsessed girls.

When I was four, my family moved to the same small farm town in Montana where my Mom’s parents lived, partly so that Mom and Dad could work at the family farm, located about 18 miles out of town.  At that time it was a wheat and barley farm but my Mom had grown up there when there were chickens and cows and horses, and there’s still an old barn, an old meadow, an old chicken coop.  I, of course, thought we should have a horse.  I think I started seriously campaigning for one when I was five, and my mom told me that we’d have a serious talk about it when I was eleven.

Eleven seemed a long time to wait, but I waited.  Every birthday brought me a little closer.  I read books about horses, found an old saddle in the barn at the farm that I rubbed with saddle soap and hung over the back of an old chair so that I could pretended to ride it.  I dreamed about a horse who could live in my bedroom closet.  With varying degrees of patience, I waited.

And then came my eleventh birthday, and Mom kept putting off THE TALK, except to say that a horse was a big responsibility and that horses needed a place to live and lots of care.  I pointed out that the farm was a perfectly good place for a horse to live and pushed and nudged and waited (a bit less patiently) some more.  I didn’t realize until many years later that Mom was really hoping I’d forget about the horse talk long before I turned eleven.

A few weeks before Christmas, my brother and I were talking, in the mercenary way of children, about what we wanted most for Christmas.  For me, it was easy and predictable.  I wanted a horse.  I’d been asking Santa for one for years.  My brother wanted an Atari.  It may say something about my knowledge of the world then, that I thought an Atari was just as wild a dream as a horse.

And that Christmas something was different.  Something was in the air.  And on Christmas Eve day, Mom and Dad told us that this year we’d be opening all of our presents on Christmas Eve instead of on Christmas morning, something which had never happened before.  I was tingly with anticipation, wondering what was happening, and hoping that Christmas morning would bring me something warm and furry with breath that smelled like hay.  I don’t know how I managed to fall asleep, but I did.

Christmas morning dawned, and my brother and I ran out to the family room to find, hooked up to our television, an Atari game station, my little brother’s wildest fantasy fulfilled.  And I was overjoyed.  It never occurred to me that he might get his biggest, wildest wish and I might not get mine.  I ran to the window and looked outside.  No horse.  But I was used to waiting, I could wait some more.  Mom and Dad woke up, came out with us, and enjoyed watching my brother’s glee over the Atari.  They probably wondered why I didn’t pay it much attention.

Eventually, while Mom was cooking breakfast, she wondered why I kept peeking out the window.  Eventually, she realized why I kept peeking out the window and was faced with telling me that there was no Christmas horse, that we’d opened presents early so that we’d have time to play video games before going to church.  My dreams of horse ownership popped like so many soap bubbles, and there was a bit of a melt down.

I got over it, of course (though Mom still feels guilty), but I think this may be why I don’t like video games.

My big wish for the new year is that all of us who want horses get horses instead of Ataris.  Metaphorically, that is.

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New Year’s Day

January 3, 2010

It started out as a good day. We slept in, planned the weekend, played with the cats, and took a perfectly-timed walk, managing to get home just before it rained. Then I took a nap and we braced ourselves for Dot’s first non-stress test.

I hate NST’s, for the record. I had several when pregnant with Teddy, and they were all hellishly stressful – because of my high fluid levels, multiple nurses would try (and fail, every time) to get Teddy’s heartbeat on the monitor for the required amount of time. We’d leave, after hours of waiting and worrying, with no better information than we had when we arrived. In addition to this, everyone we talked to at the local hospital was afraid I’d deliver before we headed to Portland, and their worries fed my own.

So I expected this NST to be no fun whatsoever. I really did. I just didn’t expect it to be quite so bad as it was. The good (very good) news is that Dot looks just fine. The bad news is that walking into this place brought back a flood of technicolor, surround-sound memories I was not ready to face. I relived all of those miserable past NST’s and some of Teddy’s birth and death.

I felt like a trapped animal.

Not surprisingly, my blood pressure readings were high – not that anyone told us this till we’d been sitting in the damned room long enough to wonder what was going on. So they talked to me about preeclampsia and HELLP (I know all of this, I kept thinking) and ordered some labs. While the lab tech was drawing my blood, they took my blood pressure again, and when I questioned this, just told me they’d keep the reading anyway.

One of our nurses was nervous, talked to me as though I was a twelve-year-old, and seemed to think that I needed scaring when I suggested that frequent NST’s might not be in my best interests.

We were there for hours, and I left with a giant jug and instructions to save all of my pee for 24 hours.

What I’m really worried about is that, by going in for these tests I’m creating a condition (or the appearance of one) that will need to be treated by bedrest, which isn’t in the best interests of treating my raised blood sugar levels (the reason I showed up for the NST in the first place). And, if I’m honest, I don’t want to go back there – not back to Labor and Delivery, not back to those overwhelming memories.  Right now I wish I could give birth in a cave or an abandoned barn.