Thursday, March 30, 2006

And yet I still don't believe it

I'm sitting in her room.

Today, we bought diapers.

I'm due on Wednesday.

It still hasn't sunk in.

But she's coming.

She's coming.

She's coming.

She'll be here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another test, another terror

OB visit today, 38 weeks 6 days. External measurements have not increased since last visit, though I have gained 4.5 pounds, seemingly all in my ankles. Baby not engaged, so no handy excuse for external smallness. OB's look said, "I'm-concerned-but-don't-want-to-freak-you-out-so-I'll-stay-very-calm-and-strangely-upbeat" and her chipper voice said, "Let's send you in for another measurement ultrasound now." There was talk of possible induction, pending the test results.

Jeff asked what it would mean if she were, indeed, not growing anymore. When he heard the words "lack of adequate perfusion from the placenta" and "possibly not getting enough oxygen" tossed in among the lighter possibilities (e.g. funny position, maybe she likes to curl up really tight, maybe I'm built more spaciously on the inside than the outside, etc.), he looked quite stunned. Like I hadn't told him the grim stuff last time. Guess it's worse to hear those words from the doctor than one's paranoiac wife.

So we were trotted off for the test, conveniently located at the hospital where we were heading anyway for our twice-weekly testing, and after a little breakdown and panic session, were told that she is measuring at 49.5% for her gestational age-- that she is, in fact, well over seven pounds, and that everything looks "perfect."

And that was our requisite terror for the day.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The deal

As you get to know me, you will see that I hedge. I'm a hedger. I'm not big on promises, not big on absolutes. But for you--for you, my daughter-to-be--I will make some promises. At least a few.

I will have expectations. You will break them.

I will be impatient. I'll feel bad about it.

I will worry. Your father will worry more.

I will stare at you in wonder.

I will find you beautiful, even if you're not.

I will hurt when you hurt.

I will try to make the hurt go away.

I will hold you.

I will nurse you as best I can. I will try not to feel bad if I can't.

I will get frustrated. You will get frustrated.

I will learn to bake, but only if you really want me to.

I will feed you good food that you hate. Some day you'll like it.

I will not let you watch Barney. Some day you'll thank me.

I will always be old to you. You will always be young to me.

I will always love your father. So will you.

Today, we will love you more than yesterday.

Tomorrow, we will love you more than today.

We will always love you.

Always.


And I will tell you the story of how you came to be, some day when you're old enough to understand.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

An urban legend in the flesh

A woman at work, very senior in the company and in her mid-fifties, stopped by my desk the other night to ask how I was feeling, and why I was there so late when I should be home, propping up my swollen feet. Well, you see, I am a little bit afraid of going home and staying home and having nothing else to concentrate on...I mean, I don't want to think too much about it...not that I don't want to think about it, I can't think about anything else...and I don't mean I think I'll jinx it, or something...not superstitious...I'm just...nervous, I guess. Blather blather, ramble ramble.

She looked at me rather keenly and started in on the story of her first daughter, now nineteen, and how she had stayed at work right up till the day her daughter was born, then brought her right back to the office a few days later so she could finish up a deal. But, she said, my first daughter was adopted, so it's not like I had just given birth.

I smiled a little, quietly assuming the infertility link, and asked whether it had been hard to make her bosses understand that adopting a child was just as much work, and just as worthy of a maternity leave. She said it was hard to make them grasp the point, but, being a partner in the law firm, it was more her own career drive that kept her at the office so long.

Plus, she said, I didn't know I was also pregnant at the time. I might have taken it easier if I'd known.

Her second daughter is now eighteen. She went on to tell me that she had been doing infertility treatments--at that point in the mid-1980s, just Clomid IUIs--for five years straight without success. And then she adopted and immediately got pregnant.

And the month she did get pregnant? No Clomid, no IUI--just sex. Just like normal people. Sex, of all things.

Now thirty-six and with two infant daughters, she assumed her reproductive life was at an end and didn't think about it again for a few years. Nearing forty, though, and beginning to read about the improving success rates of IVF, she thought she might give it one more try. So, for two months, she and her husband timed intercourse while she got herself set up with a new RE. On the third month, she went in for a wanding and was told on CD 12 that she had no eggs maturing that cycle. That, in fact, she was probably heading rapidly into menopause.

Four weeks later, with her period understandably late after the anovulatory cycle, she felt a little "funny" and decided to test, just on a whim. Daughter #3, now fourteen, was born nine months later.

I couldn't quite believe that I had this woman right in front of me--this walking, talking urban legend, purveyor of unwanted hope and that tiny, tinny voice in the ear that says, Maybe it could happen to you someday, too.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Relief

She is fine. Just fine. Her measurements were normal. She weighs six and a half pounds. There is no answer as to why the external measurements have shrunk; one guess, from the NST nurse, is that she "must have twisted herself up all funny at the doctor's office just to scare you." Seems as good a theory as any.

I have cried with relief exactly twice in my life: first when the amnio results came back, and then again today. If she makes it out safely, I'm guessing there will be a third time.

I didn't realize till now how close simple relief comes to joy for me.

Scared

She has shrunk another two weeks. I am being sent immediately for a biophysical profile. I am scared beyond words.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wading back into the pool of worry

After the uneventful NST and AFI this morning at the hospital, the weekly visit to the OB seemed like a formality. No contractions, no pain, no bleeding; weight gain on track; BP normal; no protein in urine; cervix soft but undilated, strep B culture negative; head down. Things couldn't be going more steadily, or more like a normal pregnancy, I thought, even feeling a little proud of my body and the big, flopping trout inside.

So then the OB measured the fundal height. Then measured it again. And again. And once more, moving the bottom end of the tape farther down than ever before--all the way to the other side of the bone, in fact.

Last Tuesday, at 34 weeks 6 days, I measured 34 weeks: close enough. The height had gone up a week for each previous week between visits; the OB said it was "perfect growth." But today, one day shy of 36 weeks, and even with starting the tape distinctly farther down, I measured just 33 weeks. She smiled and said it was nothing to worry about, since the twice-weekly testing was going so well. And she seemed so confident that I just waltzed on out of the office without thinking or questioning.

By the time I got to the car, though, it had started to niggle at me just a bit. By the time I got home, I was feeling quite ill at ease. Now, moments after my first Googling of "fundal height behind," I am downright freaked out.

How could she have shrunk?

I would really like to know.

Her amniotic fluid is fine. Her movement, acceleration and baseline heart rate are fine. How is it that she is smaller today than she was a week ago? How, exactly, is that possible?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sam and His Right-Handed Club

Sometimes even the Mammoth Red Monolith of Retail Slaughter makes a pretty decent decision, albeit under duress.

Sure as hell hope they have a lot of Wal*Marts in South Dakota.

One step back, one step forward--it's like the Hokey Pokey, only with paunchy old white men instead of preschoolers.