Thursday, April 26, 2007


Last night, I had my first Braxton-Hicks contractions - or the first ones I'd noticed, anyway. And I had like a million of them overnight, interrupting my precious ZZZZs. I wondered whether I might be going into labor, but fortunately I already had an OB appointment today. She checked my cervix and didn't think I'd be going into labor imminently, but who knows. I do feel better (ie, no more BHs), but I also now feel extremely motivated to accomplish a great deal in the next few days in case he does decide to show up. I've been a little crampy lately, too - like light menstrual cramps.

I had gained one pound since last week. My blood pressure was 115 over 78, and the baby's heartrate ranged from 140-150. My fundal height was 35 weeks, continuing its constant two-weeks-behind approach. My group B strep test from last week was negative. While I was waiting for the OB to come back to check my cervix, I overheard a nurse asking her whether she'd told her son about the "new baby" yet. Sure enough, when she came back, I did detect a bump beneath those scrubs. I still feel a jolt of jealous hostility when I find out someone is pregnant - or, namely, when they are pregnant sans fertility treatments, as I'm sure this doctor is.

After a totally disgusting lunch in the hospital cafeteria (since all the cafeteria there offers is totally disgusting items), I had my neonatology consultation. They will check our little guy's chromosomes at birth to see if he still has t20 mosaicism. The doctor's opinion was that even if he does have some of those cells, the good cells will dominate and he will be normal. As for the clubfoot, the pediatric orthopedists will take a look at it early on and start casting it if necessary. All of this was reassuring. He did then add one more thing to my list of worries, however - because of the baby's breech presentation, he will have to be tested at two months for some congenital hip-dislocation thing. If he has it, the pediatric orthopedists will have to correct it somehow.

The weekend cannot get here soon enough. I'm pooped these days! Next week, I'll have another OB appointment, and also an anesthesiologist consult. I want the anesthesiologist to look at my weird spine (it sticks out in the lower back where most people's curves in) and also tell me whether there is any way that I can be prevented from barfing as the result of anesthesia. So far, the evidence suggests that I will barf no matter what. I've barfed from general anesthesia, twilight anesthesia, m0rphine, and perc0cet. Clearly, I have a very sensitive vagus nerve.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I am going to be a wonderful mother

Here's a photo from last week, when our dog turned two. I made him wear a hat.

This little fellow will be awfully disconcerted when the new little fellow arrives. Aside from the forced hat-wearing, his life is pretty awesome at present.


Warning: belly shot appears later in this post.

So, my MIL had said my husband was blond at birth. Or he thought that's what she said. Those possibilities are equally likely.

Anyway, she mailed us photos of him as a baby, and he had a full head of brown hair at birth. Sure, it was blond a few months later, but it was brown at birth. He was one cute little kid, too. He's very handsome as an adult, which he'll be happy to tell you. I wish I had a scanner so I could post the photos him as a plump little fellow with a rosebud mouth. So cute! I wonder if our little fellow will be that cute. I sort of hope he's not too cute, since I don't think it's good for kids to be too good-looking at an early age (apologies to any consistently gorgeous readers out there). I endured an extended awkward phase, and it is the memory of those years of ostracism that keeps me from being even meaner than I naturally am.

My adorable husband was 8 lbs., 1 oz. at birth - that's bigger than either me or my brother (we were both high 7s), even though his mom is quite petite (5'2") and my mom is above average (5'7"). He must have taken up a lot of space in her little frame.

Tomorrow, I have an OB appointment, and then an appointment with a neonatologist to find out what tests they'll do at birth (re: clubfoot and T20 mosaicism). I've been interviewing pediatricians and navigating the myriad insurance possibilities we need to choose from when the baby arrives. I feel very productive! 19 days! Ack!

For your viewing pleasure, here is a belly shot of me last Sat., at 36 weeks, 2 days. It's kind of distorted because of the sunlight. Anyway, that's nine full months for ya.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Oh, crap!

That's what every day feels like to me, now that we have an official end date on this pregnancy (a date that is three weeks from today - egad). Obviously, this is irrational, since the baby could come at any time if we were just going the natural route, but somehow this seems more definite. And so each morning when I wake up, I know that I have one fewer night of restful (if interrupted) sleep. And each day requires that I accomplish a great deal. I guess it's good to have that incentive to keep me from foolishly procrastinating.

We've wrapped up our classes now, feeling only slightly more enlightened than when we began. The breastfeeding class last Thursday was quite useful, although when we have an actual squirming and probably disgruntled baby in front of us, I'm sure panic will set in. The upside of a c-section is that I should still be in the hospital when my milk comes in and will have access to the lactation consultants. The "parenting the newborn" class yesterday was taught by the woman who says "make for sure" instead of "make sure." My husband and I counted up 40 times that she said it. We did this because we are assholes. Anyway, that class was mildly useful - she kind of rushed us through the actual practice of swaddling and diaper-changing; I was hoping it would be a boot camp of those things so that we'd establish the motions in our muscle memory and would be able to execute them when in the throes of sleep-deprivation and panic. No such luck.

Despite my continued anxiety about everything, I am getting excited to meet the little fellow whose name I will not tell you just yet. Obviously, we sort of know what he looks like from the ultrasound, but not really. My husband had blond hair when he was born (it's now medium-brown), while my hair color has been a consistent medium brown from the get-go. No one in my family has blond hair - every single person who is relatively closely related to me has brown hair of some variety - so it would be bizarre to produce an even-temporarily Nordic-looking child. I suspect the child will be reasonably tall (I'm 5'8" and my husband is 6'1"), although my husband and I do both have short people in our families. I hope our son gets my husband's musical abilities, athleticism and muscle tone, and crisp jaw line. I hope he gets my organizational abilities, common sense, and lack of gray hair. I hope he is creative and brave and empathetic and hilarious. But on my side of the family positive traits have a tendency to be bred out, so he'll probably get my singing voice (caw! caw!) and eyesight (poor), as well as my husband's hygiene (disturbing) and absent-mindedness. Alas. We will love him anyway. And we hope the dog will, too.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I hate Target and Pottery Barn Kids

I have registries at these two baby-industry behemoths - there's no BRU nearby, so I went with these instead, despite bad things I'd heard about Target in particular. I now regret my insouciance.

Okay, so I had a pretty extensive registry chez Target. One item on there was a frame into which I could snap my carseat in order to create a stroller. This is a pretty essential item, right? Well, I saw that someone had ordered it back in early March, but I'd never received it, nor was there any way online to see who ordered it or check its status. Weeks passed. I still didn't receive it, and as I am an avid thank-you-note writer, I started to feel bad that I hadn't even sent the gift-giver a thank-you note. On PBK, you can see who ordered things for you, so you can write the note even if the item is back-ordered.

So I called Target this week and ended up in customer-service hell. Their policy, which they repeated to me over and over regardless of whether the question I had asked pertained to this or not was that that for "privacy reasons," they can't tell you who has ordered things for YOU, off YOUR registry, to be shipped to YOU. They also told me the buyer had been quoted "2 to 6 weeks" as the time it would take for the item to be shipped. When I pointed out that that window had now closed, they said that it was still showing "2 to 6 weeks" - ie, if you ordered it today, that's what you'd be told. I asked when it was REALLY going to show up, seeing as how I needed the frame in, oh, a few weeks, and they insisted there was no possible way to find out. I said it could say "2 to 6 weeks" forever and never arrive. They blamed Target's marketing department for this, as that department is in charge of inventory updates. I said I didn't care about Target's internal problems and asked whether someone at Target, which is obviously a big buyer of these products, could call the supplier. They said no. They said the only thing I could do is have them email the gift-giver and say that I no longer wanted the item, allowing the giver to cancel it. I said I'd think about it. I then called Graco, the supplier of the frame. In a call that lasted two minutes (in contrast to the 40+ I'd spent trying to go up the chain at Target), they told me that Target's distribution center would receive the item in two weeks, but that I could get it right now from BRU, which I did. It has already shipped. I then called Target back, asked them to email the mystery gift-giver (explaining that Target wouldn't tell me who they were) about cancelling the item. I also described my ingenious idea to call the supplier myself. Wow!

Anyway, meanwhile, one of my husband's relatives generously offered to get us a Pottery Barn Kids glider. She wanted us to order it ourselves and she'd pay us back. I did so a couple of weeks ago and was told it would take 5-7 days to ship. Meanwhile, I never received shipping confirmation. So I called today to find out the status, and they said it wouldn't even arrive at the manufacturer until May 10, at which time it would be at least 5-7 days to ship. Obviously, that doesn't help me, either. I'd like to cancel it, but I think most gliders are really ugly, and I'm not sure I can find one locally that appeals to my rigorous aesthetic requirements.

I resent the false inventory representations that are occurring out there on the Internets. Fist in the air, Target and PBK!!!!


On the message boards I read, women are always posting about a particular and apparently common problem: how to keep people (mostly family members, and often specifically in-laws) out of the delivery room or how to keep them from descending upon your residence and demanding to be entertained when you've just come home with your new baby. Apparently, lots of people get deeply insulted if you don't let them see your distended vagina or engorged boobs.

In contrast, allow me to share with you what my mother emailed me yesterday when I said I'd like her to come to town a week or so after the birth and stay for a week or two to help with cooking, cleaning, etc. (As context, she means this good-naturedly, not snarkily):

"That sounds fine to me. Hopefully, by then you will have figured out how to take care of a baby and won't be relying on me to show you!"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

D-Day Determined

At my 36-week ultrasound today, our little guy was still firmly breech, so we've scheduled a c-section for Monday, 5/14. If I go into labor earlier, I am to go to the hospital, and they'll do the c-section right then. If he turns, we can cancel the c-section and do a normal labor. My cervix is very competent and closed tight at present, so I hope he'll stay in until 5/14. He butts his head out all the time, which makes me think he's trying to get out, a la the aliens in the Alien movies (see image at right).

And he's not so little anymore. They estimated him at 6 lbs, 13 oz., which puts him in the 81st percentile. I know those ultrasound estimates are notoriously off, though, so who knows what size he'll really be. If this estimate is correct, then he'd probably be about 8.5 lbs. at birth. Like me, he has a big head - it is already the size of a 40-weeker. We had a very nice ultrasound technician (a woman I recognized from doing IVF ultrasounds), and she let us watch his fat little face for a while. We saw him open and close his eyes and mouth several times. He looks like a real baby now - so amazing! My husband was insulted that I hadn't taken him to prior appointments, so he went with me today.

The heartbeat was at 143; my blood pressure was 106 over 70 or something like that; and I didn't get my uterine measurement. Somehow, I hadn't gained any weight since the last appointment, even though the baby has and I feel much larger. This may have to do with, ahem, the recently emptied colon I had today. I will now be going to the OB every week until the bitter, surgical end.

Tonight, we have our breastfeeding class. Of all the classes we're taking, this is the one where I probably need to pay the most attention. I really want breastfeeding to work well for us.

In other news, one of my IF sisters in real life just had a BFP (and high beta) on her latest IVF. Aside from one's own BFP, nothing is more satisfying than when a fellow IVFer has success. I am keeping my fingers crossed for her. Yay!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Unexpected development

Well, I think we've picked a name - at least a first name. I always assumed we'd pick something fairly traditional, but with an edge to it - like maybe something just old-fashioned enough so as to be a bit out of the mainstream. Barring that, I assumed we'd pick a pretty common first name and go with a more unusual middle name.

Instead, we've picked a pretty unusual first name. Like, it's a name that exists (ie, we didn't make it up), but I've never known anyone with it. It's not a crazy-sounding name in and of itself (ie, it's no Balthazar, which we love but couldn't bring ourselves to use), but it is unusual enough that people will likely say, "What? How do you spell that? Is someone in your family named that?" the first time they hear it. I think some (perhaps many) of our friends and family will not like it and will talk about us behind our backs. Hey, is paranoia a sign of impending labor?

Anyway, it is far from finalized. In other news, my husband was poisoned on Thursday by our favorite local Thai-food place. Normally, I would have eaten the takeout, too, but I had prenatal yoga that night and thus wisely decided to skip the spicy meal right before class (or right after class and before bedtime). I was spared, but he spent all of Friday puking - and then some. I almost offered him Z0fran, but I figured it was good for him to get the offending bacteria out. I can't tell you how glad I was not to be the person vomiting.

I spent much of the weekend putting together the baby's room and doing other errands. The nursery is coming along. We had the handyman over on Friday to do a long list of easy things that we could probably do ourselves if we weren't stupid. The last major item we need is a glider, which should be arriving this week or next. Last week, I went to pick up a breast pump, an errand which seemed an awful lot like tempting fate since it was five weeks before our baby's ostensible debut. But I did it anyway! So crazy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I am beginning to emit lots of noises whenever I do anything like bend over, get up off the couch or bed, or sit down. Oooooof is my most common noise. Sometimes, inexplicably, I say, "All right," as in "All right, how the fuck do I get off of this couch?" It all amounts to rather old-ladyish behavior. My dog has been looking at me askance, even though he might deny it.

I have been lucky not to be too uncomfortable in this pregnancy, aside from the yarping and nausea and heartburn. I haven't felt bulky; I haven't had back pain; I haven't waddled or huffed and puffed or even lost too many steps at the gym. I haven't had swelling; I haven't fallen down (yet); and I can still wear high heels when I want. But now I'm really beginning to feel pregnant - the skin on my tummy feels streeeeeeeetched and resistant, and I am peeing 6-10 times a night. My dreams, which are always vivid and weird, are now so insane that I can spend 9 hours in bed and still come out of it feeling exhausted. And speaking of exhaustion, naps are beginning to sound appealing - I do just generally feel more tired now.

Re: dreams - I am now starting to have childbirth- or child-rearing-related dreams. Last night, I dreamed I was breastfeeding (improbably quite easily, I might add), but then my charming baby with a full head of hair was replaced by Law, who was sitting in my lap and refusing to get out so I could return to my feelings of self-love over my natural breastfeeding skills.

I am also starting to feel more on edge emotionally. For most of this pregnancy, I've found that I'm not at all hormonal in the classic pregnancy sense - if anything, I've been less prone to tears and more prone to being mean (e.g., being very ready to deliver lectures to people cutting in line or otherwise violating the social contract) than usual. But now that the end date is approaching, the stress level has ratcheted up, the restful sleep has ratcheted down, and I feel as if I might burst into tears if a checkout clerk asks me if I'd like my receipt. Okay, it isn't that bad yet, but I could see it getting there. I'm always like this in stressful situations, like when a big project is coming due and I have 10,000 things to do in too little time. Let's hope this baby stays in for a few more weeks so I can get some shit done.

Random aside: my insurance covers renting or purchasing a breast pump. Does yours? I would never have known if Bihari hadn't told me this, so I thought I'd spread the word in case yours does as well. That said, my insurance does totally rock (hence my willingness to stay in a relatively low-paying job), so it may be an anomaly.

The baby is still breech. His head is in my ribs all day, and his feet are kicking me down below. We have an ultrasound next week, at which time I hope to get a good look at his fat little cheeks and full head of hair. And clubfoot.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Movement, sort of

This morning, I awoke to rather painful machinations occurring in my pelvis. Could it be? I wondered. Did the baby flip? I began to feel lots of sharp pains near my cervix, which caused me to wonder whether those were his little hands down there now, punching away.

Well, it appears he is still breech and may have just unfurled his legs - ie, he has moved from the frank breech position (which is considered the least bad of all breech positions) to complete breech. See pirated image at right. This is my OB's best guess, based on her palpation and my description of cervical/vaginal pains.

I made the mistake of asking her why some babies are breech. She said no one really knows, but perhaps it could have to do with an anatomical abnormality (like his possible clubfoot) or maybe it's related to his tris0my 20 mosaicism. I've penciled "worry constantly" into my calendar for the next five to six weeks.

If he hasn't magically turned by my next appointment (two weeks from now), we will be scheduling a c-section to take place between 39 and 40 weeks. While I am attempting various DIY turning techniques, I am not going to try the external cephalic version; I realize this decision may seem foolhardy to many. But the issue is that they give you a uterus-relaxing drug, and it makes your heart race like you're having a panic attack. This is my least favorite feeling in the entire world, aside, perhaps, from what I might feel if I were forced to tell Dick Cheney that I esteemed him greatly and considered him a paragon of virtue. And also it doesn't work that well for first pregnancies, and if anything goes wrong (e.g., cord compression), you have to have a c-section right then. Anyway, I hope not to regret this decision, if it indeed comes to that.

In other news, I was up three pounds in two weeks, which pleased me, even if it may have been partially due to the fact that my appointment was later than usual, giving me more time to stuff things down my gullet. My blood pressure seemed higher than usual - 118 over 62 - but they said it was fine. Uterus is measuring at 32 weeks; it's behind but growing at a steady rate. I don't think she told me the heartrate, now that I think of it. I also got a swab for strep throat, since one tonsil has been sore for a week, but I don't really think I have it.

One of my close friends was due April 17, but it was decided yesterday that she should be induced today for a variety of reasons (large baby, swelling, dilation, doctor going on vacation next week). She's running around doing last-minute logistics today. Luckily for them, they already have a name picked out, unlike us.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Two down, two to go

We went to our childbirth-education class on Saturday, then to an infant safety/CPR class last night. Now, we'll have a couple of weeks off, then a class on breastfeeding and another on parenting the newborn. We'll be experts! Ha.

In my opinion, the all-day childbirth-education extravaganza is the way to go (ie, instead of weekly sessions). I think I would have started to dread it if I had to do it every week for six weeks, but in this case we only had to get up the energy once. And it wasn't so bad. The nurse who was doing it was very competent, and she was debuting a brand-new PowerPoint, with brand-new videos in it. I was a little disappointed to miss out on the 1970s videos that so many of my friends all across the country have seen, but I appreciated the up-to-date nature of this. And the nurse communicated an approach that was anti-interventionist in many ways - low rate of episiotomies, etc. - which also seemed very sensible. That having been said, someone in my prenatal aquatics class went to a 'childbirth refresher' session at the very same hospital, and that nurse was cesarean- and induction-happy. So who knows. The highlight of the videos was seeing one woman with these incredibly gnarly stretch marks all over her belly - they were vertical and looked like flames.

The class itself was about half professional people in their 30s and half people who appeared to be unmarried and were between 16 and 20. There was one young married couple who didn't fit into either group. It was hard to be snarky, even internally, about the teenaged couples, since their lives are obviously not going all that well. I felt particularly sorry for one girl who was with a guy who was a bona-fide half-wit. Of the thirtysomething professionals, there was one extremely earnest man who was going to be a stay-at-home dad. When asked what he had liked most about his wife's pregnancy, he said that he was looking forward to reinventing himself as a "homemaker." He was one of those people who are so sincere and kind that you probably couldn't hang out with them for more than 10 minutes.

At the end of the class, we went on a tour of the labor and delivery and mother and baby units. Holy crap - they were nice! Hardwood floors (or faux hardwood, I suppose, given all the leakage that must occur), sleeper sofas for the partners, whirlpool tubs, DVD/CD players, internet access, etc. The M&B unit had double beds, too. They were all like hotel rooms, aside from the medical equipment discreetly hidden in closets or - I kid you not - behind paintings. The food will still be awful, though.

The infant safety/CPR class was taught by two nurses, one of whom was an IVF nurse. She hugged me when she saw me and remembered I'd had hyperemesis - nice memory for someone at a large IVF clinic. The other woman had just been certified as a lactation consultant, so I grilled her after class about how I can get help if I need it post-delivery. She was also very nice, although she had an incredibly irritating habit of saying "make for sure" instead of "make sure" - e.g., "make for sure that you babyproof your house." Anyway, the class was fairly useful, although I'm not sure (or for sure!) that I am a CPR expert just yet.

What else? The baby is still breech and still wiggles, punches, and head-butts a great deal. Sitting is sometimes hard when his little head is pressed up into my ribs. I'm definitely a bit more tired than I was a few weeks ago, and I am very conscious of time flying by. We still don't have a name picked out. Nor do we have a rocking chair/glider, swaddling wraps, a new roof, or childcare lined up. Apparently, I should have been on daycare waiting lists before I was pregnant. Yeah, like any infertile is going to jinx herself by doing that.

Tomorrow: my 34-week OB appointment.