Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Navel Gazing

WARNING: belly shots appear later in this post.

Well, I had lots of ideas for posts, but I wanted to wait to include them with a belly shot, and now of course I've forgotten what they were about.

I have now been to two prenatal aquatics classes - very enjoyable, if also very effective at producing scalding heartburn - and one prenatal yoga class. My prenatal yoga teacher is also a labor doula, which is good to know in case I decide I need one. As predicted, I was among the least flexible people in the class, but at least pregnancy is a good equalizer of flexibility - it narrows the distribution of talent, so while I was still in the bottom 20%, there wasn't the usual gaping abyss between the top 20% and the bottom 20%.

What's that you say? Yoga isn't supposed to be competitive? Yes, I realize that. I don't begrudge anyone else their flexibility, strength, balance, etc., but I do hate to be the worst person there.

Anyhoo, I have my monthly OB appointment tomorrow. Topics to discuss include a strange pain I have in my ribs (expanding uterus? bra too tight? cirrhosis?) and some occasional light cramping during my spins on the elliptical machine.

After eating my way across Omaha last weekend, my belly is now OUT. But my belly button remains deeply in. I swear, it may even be getting deeper, although What to Expect assures me that everyone's navel pops out. We'll see.

24 wks, 6 days. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Among the Fertiles

Last night, I went to my first prenatal aquatics class. It was rather enjoyable, but the two other people there (the instructor and a woman who's a regular at the class) were blithe fertiles with multiple other children already. I did not reveal myself to be as neurotic as I am, although they may have sensed it when they asked whether I would be doing a natural childbirth with the midwives (which they are), and I replied something to the effect of Ahem, I don't do anything reproductive without a team of expensively educated experts. (Speaking of experts, when we have to talk about the birds and the bees someday with our son, that story will begin: "First there was Mommy and Daddy - and a team of experts....") In any case, the class was fun, and it was enjoyable to be weightless and bouncing about in the pool to hyperkinetic remixes of "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want to" and other classics. I start prenatal yoga later this week, which should be hilarious, given that I am less flexible than most men. Most ninety-three-year-old men.

In other news, I was solipsistically mulling over my symptoms so far, and I've determined that there are benefits to being someone who normally is absent-minded, pees frequently, sleeps poorly, has bizarre dreams, etc. - it means you don't even really notice severe effects of pregnancy! But there is an exception: clumsiness. Oh, I am definitely graceless normally, but I really have been dropping a lot of shit (not actual shit, mind you, which is still not dropped often enough, if you know what I mean). I don't know why it's so hard to hang onto things. Yesterday, I knocked a venti hot tea (fresh from the hot-water dispenser) all over my thigh, which resulted in five (5 ) blisters. Nice. And then I almost did the same damned thing today. I need a handler.

Today, I bought my very first nursery item: this rug from I dislike blue stuff in the house (although I do frequently wear various shades of blue myself), so we're going with a cheerful yellow look and animal theme, I think - no going overboard on blue or, like, trucks until I'm sure that my kid digs that stuff, which isn't at all assured since I am probably secreting hormones to make him gay so that he will be especially devoted to his mommy. We'll also buy some IK.EA furniture, which will necessitate a trip into the Chicago suburbs, which I find harrowing in their indistinguishability (at least from a navigational standpoint). I was sure that my engaging in Internet commerce had doomed me when I felt a bit of a warm gush from my own personal South America, but nothing seems to have happened, and the little feller just keeps kicking me in the bladder.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Naming and Necessity

That's the title of a philosophy book that I can never hope to understand. Since I can't understand it, I am instead using the catchiness of the title to refer to the naming of offspring. (How banal!)

Some of you know me in real life, and you know that I have a very, very boring name. All three of my names are common. To provide some context, at nearly every place I have ever been educated or worked, there is someone else with my name - first and last names, and even sometimes first, middle, and last names. My name is the equivalent of, say, Emily Ann Smith.

At my first job, when I was a young professional, I once found that suddenly I was receiving no emails at all. What soon came to light was that a secretary in the London office had recently gotten married, and she had changed her name such that she was also now Emily Smith. The IT department had simply changed her email without checking to see whether anyone else already had emily.smith@thiscompany. I distinctly remember being on a business trip and calling the Help(less) Desk from a pay phone (this was before the days of widespread cell phone usage; I am old), trying to get them to change her email to something else, and they kept trying to tell me that I had to change my email now to emily.a.smith@thiscompany, which resulted in my blurting out, venomously, "But she's a secretary!" Yes, I sold out the sisterhood. I am not proud of this. But I got my email address back and she had to be emily.a.smith. Ha!

I didn't change my name when I got married. I wasn't inclined to do so to begin with, since even though my name is dull, I was rather used to it. Also, I often sign my emails with my initials, and I identify with those initials - some people even just call me by my initials. Moreover, my husband's last name, while less common, isn't really any more exciting. It's no Spinoza or Slater or Del Toro, no Hamburger or von Trapp or Boutros Ghali. His whole name isn't much more thrilling than mine - and he's a Junior. His mother tried to lobby us to name our little fellow the same name, and I didn't even pretend for a moment to consider it. I may have even said, Pish-tosh! or Poppycock!

What I'm getting at is that I feel a burden to name our son something interesting. But then I am afraid of naming him something too interesting, since that isn't my style, either. We've bounced around a few candidates, all of which will remain secret until he debuts (knock on wood). There were a couple of names that looked particularly promising - slightly left of center, just like us.

Well, in the past three weeks, friends of ours have stolen our names! (Okay, "stolen" isn't the right word, since we uncharacteristically hadn't breathed a word of our ideas to anyone, but you know what I mean.) First, my husband's ex-almost-stepsister named her son one of "our" names. Of the two names in question, this one struck me as much more likely to become fashionable, so I rolled with it. But then today I learned that our across-the-street neighbors (and fellow IVFers) named their son the second name, which I thought no one would ever come up with. All this goes to show that we are all breathing in the same influences, I suppose, and that resistance is futile. We will just have to pick a name we like, even if that means "taking" a name someone else has already used. (But, for the record, note that I would never steal someone's, like, family name or really unique name or anything like that.)

What are your thoughts on names (your own, your existing or prospective children's, or other people's)?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

22 Weeks, 5 Days

Warning: belly shot appears later in this post.

I may have mentioned this before, but I am too lazy to check. I once saw a post on a "Pregnant After Infertility" message board that was to the effect of, "Does anyone wish they could hide their pregnancy until the end?", to which several people replied in the affirmative. At the time, I was kind of like, you've got to be kidding me, but now I am totally with that woman, whoever she was.

I am now officially outing myself at work, but I can't rid myself of the feeling that I am going to jinx everything by making it more real. I haven't ordered a single piece of baby gear yet, even though I recently learned that some things, like cribs, take a while to arrive. So I need to get on that. But, damn, I'm superstitious. I was emailing yesterday with a friend of mine who had a miscarriage not too long ago, and she was complaining about a mutual friend who had just announced her (effortless) pregnancy - inexplicably, this woman had had CVS done, but was telling everyone before the results came back. What's the point? Anyway, my friend who had the miscarriage said she wouldn't announce any future pregnancies until twenty weeks. You can get away with that on the first pregnancy, so I say go for it.

Anyway, what a difference a month makes - I now have a gut! See photo below. I was wearing a loose sweater on top, so I probably could have gotten away with just looking tubby, but I started telling work people today. I'm pregnant. It's still so odd to say.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Welcome advice

When I was on my recent travels, I solicited advice on parenting and how to survive it. I thought I would share what I had learned; if you have anything to dispute or add, please do.

- Sleep when the baby sleeps. (This one came from multiple sources.)
- Steal as much shit as you can at the hospital, such as infant-sized caps and swaddling blankets.
- If you're having a boy, you will learn a lot about insects and dinosaurs.
- When someone comes over to see the baby, let them help - don't try to host them.

There may have been more pieces of advice, but those are what I remember.

I realize I have been over-blogging lately, but never fear - I am about to leave town again for a few days in NYC for work, so things should calm down, unless some extra-late amnio result comes back or something.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Regular OB visits are very unsatisfying, since you don't even get to take off your pants.

First, let me say that my third wedding anniversary was yesterday. One thing that's bad about a January 3 anniversary is that it's right after the holidays and you're too wiped out to celebrate or exchange gifts, but of course that's also what's good about it. We were in bed reading by 8:20 - it was awesome. We did reminisce briefly about how friggin' drunk everyone was at our wedding, which we often cite as a point of pride. There were also at least five hookups, which is impressive for people in their thirties, don't you think? One of those couples is now engaged and planning a New Year's Eve 2007/08 wedding, extending the chain of love (we met at a NYE 2000/01 wedding).

In other news, I had another level II ultrasound today. I go to a huge teaching hospital, so there are always like 90 people in the room whenever I have anything done, and I seem to have established a rapport with one of the maternal-fetal medicine fellows. I feel that I am doing the various medical students, residents, and fellows a service by demonstrating how an overeducated, neurotic, infertile patient behaves. These doctors-in-training will be well equipped to take positions at clinics in affluent urban areas and college towns all over America.

The ultrasound itself was good. The technician was very verbal and helpful, showing me my baby's ass, brain, bladder, stomach, legs, perfect feet, hands, and nose, as well as my placenta, which is apparently very attractive. The baby was breech and I expect that he will choose that position again later on, since that's the way things go around here. The MFM doctor was not my regular doctor, but thankfully the stalwart fellow was there to provide continuity. They thought things looked fine, but they also grilled me for info as to what the UCSF people had said, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence. They agreed to schedule me for more ultrasounds to check the baby's growth - I'll get another in late February and then another at 34 weeks. Yay for me!

I then went to my regular OB appointment, which was - how shall I put this? - both quick and boring. Not much happens at regular OB appointments, you know? You pee into a cup; they check your blood pressure (111/67 today); they make you get on a scale (I'm now 10 lbs up); they measure your uterus (21 somethings - cms?); and they listen to the heartbeat (ranged from 150-163). It all takes about five minutes, and you don't even have to take off your shoes, much less your maternity jeans. I did manage to extend my visit for an extra two minutes since I needed to find out whether my OB had strong-armed my way into an appointment with the infertility/PPD specialist, and she did! I go in in late February. I wish I could have seen this woman during the throes of IVF, but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The difference between fertiles and infertiles

Okay, this is a common topic of posts on infertility blogs, but that's never stopped me before.

I was staying with a very dear friend in San Francisco, a woman who has seen me through many difficult times and who has endured many difficult times herself. I say this as a prelude so that you don't think I am complaining about her - really, I am not, as she is a truly wonderful person and deserves as much happiness as the universe can muster on her behalf. Instead, I bring this up merely to illustrate the differences between the pregnant fertile and the pregnant infertile.

My friend and her husband recently succeeded in becoming knocked up (first or second try), and she is currently seven weeks along, or about fourteen weeks behind me, or about five "real" weeks pregnant (ie, three weeks post-BFP). She has not yet had an ultrasound since bona fide fertiles aren't allowed to have one until eight weeks or later. But here are the things I observed when I was staying with her:

1. She already had a subscription to the Ba.byCenter pregnancy magazine.
2. Her husband had already bought the baby a teddy bear that has "My First Bear" embroidered on it.
3. She was already heading out to buy maternity jeans, since hers were feeling tight. She also asked if I could send her the maternity things I had borrowed from a mutual friend but didn't want (which I am happy to do).
4. She and her husband were already clearing out and organizing their spare bedroom so that it can become a nursery.
5. They had already told many, many people that they were pregnant (some on purpose, some accidentally when the news just slipped out).

Meanwhile, I am still having a hard time not trying to hide my pregnancy (though it is physically difficult to do so at this point), and there have certainly been no baby-related gear purchases.

I've long read blogs of pregnant infertiles expressing this kind of sentiment, and I've always kind of thought that you'd get over the weird, superstitious infertile behavior at some point, but it sure is hard to rid yourself of the idea that everything is going to come crashing down, and that any presumptuous behavior on your part is bound to cause such a calamity.

(Speaking of calamities - on a happier note, Jane of Jane's Calamity has debuted her adorable twins, Clio and Elsa! And she gets the tax break on them for 2006! Good girls.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Relapse: don't do it

So I'd been having some good days and some bad days, but my overall hyperemesis trend had been positive. I was most prone to nausea in the late afternoons, and had probably puked twice a week during that time for the last five weeks - not so bad.

Until yesterday (ie, New Year's Eve). I started feeling fairly nauseated in the afternoon. We were staying with friends who like to eat and stay up late, so I thought that maybe I was feeling ill because I hadn't slept well or enough. I took a nap, but when I woke up to help prepare for the NYE dinner party (which started at five), I was really not feeling good. I popped an extra Zo.fran, since Zo.fran is my BFF.

The party began, and I was really feeling like crap - huge waves of nausea, etc. I tried to nibble on some bread, but no luck. Fortunately, this was a dinner party of close friends, so no one really minded when I said, "Excuse me - I need to vomit." And vomit I did - oh, did I vomit! I believe the puke left my stomach at a rate of no less than 75mph and possibly as high as 90. I did make it to the toilet (bad form otherwise, though surely NYE has seen many non-toilet-based pukes). This turned into the heinous, heaving feeling that I knew so well from the early days of hyperemesis. I repeated this pattern several more times until finally I realized it would be more polite to excuse myself from the rest of the dinner and lie down in another room. My husband and I snuck out just after midnight to stay at a quieter friend's house.

I managed to keep down my Uni.som and B6 and a megadose of Zo.fran before bed, and I do feel somewhat better today. I am just relieved I didn't have to go to the ER in a big city on NYE - that is one experience I can live without, although I'm sure one encounters many colorful characters there.

We fly back today, and I am excited to see my little dog tomorrow. Happy 2007 to you all!