Saturday, December 30, 2006

I washed clothes.

No, no. I don't think you caught the gravity in my voice in the above statement. Let me try in italics: I washed clothes. Now, with a little boldface for emphasis: I washed all the baby clothes.

How about THAT! How's that for making myself get ready for this baby!

I am also reading The Mother of All Baby Books by Ann Douglas (Canadian parenting expert, bereaved mother, author of Trying Again), since I have a small inkling that I have no idea how to actually care for a real live baby. We didn't do the prenatal class thing this time (it was a waste of time two years ago, anyways) and I didn't take the breastfeeding course offered by Public Health (lead by militant breastfeeding Nazis). So I turned to my favourite babyland gal-pal in print, Ms. Ann. She is brilliant and has a sense of humour. I am half-way through the book.

Besides, I hate the What to Expect people. It was their stupid book that said "wait until contractions are 4 minutes apart to go to the hospital", which I did, and could have possibly made the difference for C.'s survival (and then again not, but that doesn't stop the hatred).

I talked to my high school friend for nearly 3 hours on the phone last night. It was wonderful. I love to talk to people that I don't have explain myself to. Also, she lets me talk about C. without giving it a second thought.

I am like a kid before Christmas - I see my OB on Wednesday. How many more sleeps? I am hoping that he will schedule induction at that appointment. I have no idea if he will. I hope that I am not disappointed by him - expecting for him to set the date and then not having it happen. Sounds like a wedding.

Since my parents have left town, they have now taken to calling with a worried tone of voice. I called their place this morning, to share some gossip with my sibling who is there, and every extension was picked up and filled with worried tones of voice. I had to tell them all to hang up so that I could have a private conversation with my sibling. NO. I AM NOT IN LABOUR!!!! Honestly, I will tell you if I have this baby. I won't try to keep it secret. STOP HOVERING!!!!

This is why I didn't want to tell them anything pregnancy related. But I felt I had to tell them about the polyhydramnios and arrhythmia (side note: to my untrained ear, the arrhytmia seems to have resolved itself... another reason to want to see my OB soon for confirmation). Now they are all scared.

They annoying part is that it seems as though they never considered that it would be possible that this pregnancy could have complications. Until there were. They were totally blindsided. It is like they were able to completely return to the world of the naive, where every pregnancy has a happy ending!!! That is repression to a level that I will never understand.

Bleh. Does that all make sense? I tend to ramble, don't I.

P.S. Here is to a 2007 that has little or no heartbreak, okay?? Impossible, but that is what I am wishing for all of us.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A few photos

The quilt I was dying to buy (but couldn't justify the pricetag - it's handmade locally), and that my dearest husband bought me for Christmas.
A close up of the detail on the quilt. The strips are done in flannel, the appliqué is done in chenille, and the quilting is all done freehand. It is gorgeous. And soft. Yay!

Me at 32 wks. (almost 3 weeeks ago)

OK - enough frivolity. Go do the Myers-Briggs quiz below!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I am curious...

I am going to write a real post soon, hopefully with some pictures. However, after discussion with my husband regarding our respective reactions to our Christmas visitors, I was reminded that by Myers-Briggs testing, I am something of an introvert. Which is part of the reason why I was getting so irritable over the prolonged stay of people in my house.

I am an INFJ.

-moderately expressed Introvert
-slightly expressed iNtuitive personality
-distinctively expressed Feeling personality
-very expressed Judging personality

Of course, take it all with a grain of salt, but there are certainly aspects of me that I read in the description... What are you?

Monday, December 25, 2006

And a Ho, Ho, Ho.

I am feeling very blah and irritable today. I guess I am expecting too much of myself to think that I would feel any differently.

My family has been here since the 22nd. It has been quite good, generally. I am on a sort of modified bedrest, as I have been having Braxton Hicks at a little too regular intervals. However, I would NEVER tell my family that, because my parents would both freak. As it is, they are hovering.

Also, I was concerned with the contractions last night and decided to go into labour and delivery to be monitored (they turned out to be nothing - Murphy's Law: no contractions when hooked to the machine). Of course, both of our families were here at the time, so there was no way to hide the fact that I was leaving the house at midnight. With a packed bag. So I had to tell them that "I'm not feeling right, so I'm going to the hospital to get checked out."

This morning I woke to my mom crawling into bed with me, holding my hand, and petting my arm worriedly. I know that this may sound nice to some, but I can't TAKE that kind of hovering over me. I can't stand it. She has behaved this way all day, following me around, talking in hushed tones, asking me if I'm okay. Even my dad, who generally would give me my space, has done a little of it. Then asked me if I wanted them to leave when I was a little irritable. They are trying so hard to be here for me, but I just need to be treated normally. That is what I want.

I'm afraid that my patience was quite thin to start with. I just thought that I was overtired, but then realized that all the stress was taking its toll. And my son is dead.

I just can't even believe it some times. I had a son. He is dead. Today I had to visit my son, who is dead and buried in the ground. I had to sit next to a headstone in a frozen expanse of snow, surrounded by other people's babies who are also dead. Babies die. My baby died. I just don't understand it, not in any way at all. There are days where it is all too big and confusing for me. Today is one of those days. I just don't understand.

I feel like a real failure today. I wasn't much of a daughter and I am reminded that I am not able to mother my son. My body is contracting, two weeks too early. I can't get comfortable. I don't sleep at normal times. I feel sorry for myself and I am irritated with everyone around me. I am just a joy to be around.

Merry Christmas, right?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Are you excited?"

It seems that this is the question of the week. "How much longer? Are you getting excited?"

I doubt that I have to explain to you, my bloggy comrades-in-arms, how far excited is from the right word. There is so much fear and hope intertwined in what we are doing here - this subsequent pregnancy. The word excited applied to the blissfully naive as they approach the end of their pregnancies. It is way out of context for me.

The word excited does not apply when I spend my days flipping between terror that something horrible has happened, then relief when I feel movement. When every little pain or ache means the worst in my mind. When I have to survive my second Christmas without my son. When I have to mark his second birthday, baking cupcakes to take to the cemetery. All at the same time as trying to be positive that I will never again walk into labour and delivery and have my doctor say "I'm sorry."

Nope. Excited is most certainly NOT the right word.

I don't think there is a word to accurately describe my emotions. Life is too complicated for that.


Thank you for all the support re: my weekend non-trip to the hospital. I suppose I should have just gone. It is so hard to know the right thing to do. But I am promising here, right now, that if I ever get feeling that way again, I will go.

Rosepetal asked what will be the conditions that will lead to induction - basically, I understand that it is lung maturity. My OB doesn't want to induce early, since the drugs can cause extra stress for the Babe's heart (a concern with the arrhythmia). So he is probably going to let me go until 37 weeks, hoping that labour starts on its own before that. Then he will induce. 37 weeks is term, so he won't worry about lung maturity at that point. However, I am trying not to set my heart at that date, since I have heard so many people's stories of OBs that changed their minds about inductions at the last moment. In the mean time, I am going to hope that labour comes any time after Jan. 1.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy? Sad. Happy? Sad.

Mood swings. Between utter joy and utter terror. The terror and anxiety seem to be winning the battle (hopefully not the war).

Friday/Saturday was horrible. Post-NST (where I was a little annoyed with the attending nurse who sent me home with what I considered to be below-average reactivity), I went home to sleep and have a snack. The Babe must have decided to have a lazy day, because the times where s/he is usually most active were quiet. All evening. There was movement, but not to the strength or frequency that I was used to. Saturday morning was the same. I actually got up in the night, drank orange juice, and laid down again in complete terror. Until I got some wimpy little kicks.

Movement never trailed off to the point that I went to the hospital. What would I have said, anyways, that the baby is moving, but not to schedule? They would have admitted me and given me another NST, but it seemed overly neurotic. When to go, when to try and ride out the anxiety? What will I live to regret?

Sunday brought us normal activity at normal times at normal strength. I don't know how I can live through the next few weeks, if this continues! The stress level is through the roof and I feel like crying half the time. Then I am snarky with my husband, who is just trying to keep me sane and the household running, and who is dealing with just as much stress as I am. I am actually looking forward to my mother's arrival for the Christmas weekend (which, considering our poor relationship in the past, it pretty telling that I want my mommy).

Are you as confused as I am with my mood swings. Happy sappy post. Over dramatic emotional post. Back and forth.

I just wish that there was some way that my GP or OB could set an induction date and I could actually tick off the days. But, as they always say, as soon as the Babe is ready. And s/he is the only one in control of that.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Prenatal update (33 wks) and Christmas Crap

We saw our OB yesterday. No new news, really. The polyhydramnios and arrhythmia remain unchanged. We will continue with weekly NSTs and ultrasounds every other week. At 36 weeks, we will have weekly ultrasounds. At 37 weeks he will probably recommend induction.

This kid is huge. Current ultrasound estimates put her/his weight at 6 1/2 pounds. Lordy me. C. was 6 lbs 15 oz at 38.5 weeks. At the current rate of growth, we may be looking at a 9+ pounder. Um, what about those cute little newborn-sized sleepers we bought? I guess those will need to be used immediately...

I also spoke with my GP yesterday (after a mix-up with the message that I left with her nurses). I get the impression that she would rather not continue my care and wishes that my OB would take over completely. I can't say I blame her - I am a little high-maintenance. Nonetheless, I would miss her, since I just trust her so much.

One of the implications of all that is going on is that I will not be delivering at our hospital (5 blocks away), but rather my OB's hospital (45 miles away). I can't tell you how disappointed I am about that. That's what Santa can bring me for Christmas - a way to deliver here....

In other news, we put up our Christmas tree and a few decorations. I am hosting my parents and siblings for the big day, so we figured that we should look like we made an effort. 1/2 the decorations are staying in the box - I just can't be bothered. Last year, all we decorated was a small tree at the cemetery (which was good enough for all of us). I don't know how I feel about this... thing... sitting in the corner of my living room. It's almost too cheery for me. Anyway, the cat likes it (knocking stuff out of it, climbing it, etc.). Perhaps I should think of it as a large cat toy...

And, in cuteness to end all cuteness, my husband put on the DVD "Christmas fire" last night while we put up the tree. It is just too campy - video of a fire burning with Christmas carols playing in the background. We both think it is hilarious, which makes it even funnier that we actually use the thing.

And, when he went out for stocking hangers, he came home with the cutest pair of pajamas for the Babe. Actual pajamas, not a sleeper. 3-6 month size, of course. Because I am growing a giant child.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Imprints on our soul

My grief counselor has often spoken of the idea that our lives, lived so cyclically, are permanently imprinted with the experiences of the years before. Meaning that, if something tragic happened in October of last year, it is entirely likely that the repercussions of that tragedy will echo through time to be felt in October of this year.

So I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that, as we trudge closer and closer to Christmas every day, my soul drags further and further down. In the next few weeks, I will celebrate my second Christmas without C. and mark his second birthday. And it hurts.

Honestly, I am quite surprised. I get good at fooling myself about my capabilities to deal with my grief and move on. I am not hating Christmas the way I did last year, so I thought that meant that I had experienced a miraculous healing over the past 12 months. I didn't consider the fact that not hating didn't mean over the Christmas pain. Foolish, really. But true.

To think... if my life were different, this would be the first Christmas that C. would start to really participate in the childhood wonder of Christmas tradition. His two-year-old eyes would take it all in; in wonder, in disinterest, in fear, who knows? Would he boldly march up to Santa Clause for his Christmas photo, or would he burst out in hysterics? Would he tear open his presents and play with all the toys, or would the wrapping and boxes be so much more interesting?

There would be sloppy kisses, and fights with his cousins over new toys, and my total annoyance at the insanely impractical gifts from his grandparents. He would be overtired and overstimulated, or laid back and cozy, or a bit of both. We would go to the park or skating or play street hockey, and he would insist on playing, even though his legs are too short to keep up with his cousins and he would probably end up crying. His dad would video it all.

I don't usually allow myself this indulgence... who he would have been. But there is something about the Babe's impending arrival that has allowed me this without stepping too far into the realm of imagination. And losing myself there.

And then my heart tears in two with longing, knowing how much I miss him.

None of this weight is lifted by the uncertainty that I feel regarding the Babe's safety. I suspected that I would be more fearful towards the end, and I am. There are so many unknowns - even down to where I am supposed to deliver. Is s/he okay in there? Are we going to get so close and then lose it all again? My strength and hope is faltering in these last weeks.

I am looking forward to two months from now, when I am past this Season of Pain.

Friday, December 08, 2006

...and the results are:


Well, the morning session was crap. Have you ever written an exam where you looked up at the clock and discovered that you were half done and there were only 15 more minutes to complete 40 questions? Then you might have done what I did this morning; start filling in answers randomly, with no thought to process or rules of engagement. They can't give me partial marks if I write nothing. So I wrote something. Gibberish is better than blank, right?

The afternoon session went quite well. Though I have some complaints about the format and the authenticity of assessment that would be possible from such a poorly constructed exam. But I expected that, so didn't let it phase me.

I didn't have to pee and my back held up to the strain. Thanks to you all for the good vibes. The Babe tried to kick me answers in Morse code, but I don't speak Morse code.

I am still upset about my crappy morning. Well, sort of. I believe it is still possible to pass. And that is all I care about. Whatever my mark is, I will not be satisfied - I could have answered properly, given a little more time...

Only one more examination to complete to achieve the certification that I am working towards. Perhaps in the summer I will do that. Until then, I shall put it all out of my mind.

Tonight is the office Christmas dinner. I hope there is something double-chocolatey for dessert. I earned it!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bits 'n pieces

Tomorrow is big exam day. My body is currently ill-suited to sitting for 6 hours straight (OK, not straight, I do get a lunch break). My brain is ready, my body is not.

And the exam monitor is not supposed to let me leave the room to pee. Good thing I know the exam monitor personally and suspect she is willing to bend the rules for my poor, little cramped bladder.

Please, please, please send me tons of good vibes tomorrow. Especially the kind that help with backaches.


We saw our GP on Wednesday. She was not particularly concerned with anything that our OB discovered last week. In some ways, that is a consolation to me. She is a good doctor who cares a lot about us and she isn't worried about the Babe right now. In other ways, I want a reaction. I want my caregivers to spring into action at any sign of difficulty.

I did, however, get her to agree to me doing weekly NSTs from this point forward. Hooray! Though the NSTs are certainly not "non-stress"-ful, they are really the only touchstone that I have with the Babe's well-being.


I like cake. Yummmmm.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Little update

Friday's NST went well enough. It took us 2 hours to get 20 minutes of good strip - the Babe apparently joined Cirque de Soliel and was showing off. I had to keep moving the transducer-thingy to find the heartbeat again every time s/he moved. This is also one of those fun little side effects of polyhydramnios - gives more fluid to play around in, making things like NSTs and Doppler-ing more difficult.

Secondly, it is actually quite horrifying to listen to a heartbeat (for the better part of 2 hours) that has an arrhythmia. badump, badump, badump, badump (130 bpm)... pause... badump, badump, badump, badump (130 bpm)... Sorry, but I am not crazy for listening to my kid's heart skip a beat.

Saturday was a barrel of monkeys, when we went out to a movie (Stranger Than Fiction - LOVED it) and I sat there with Braxton Hicks contraction after BHC. It took about 2 hours after we got home from the movie for things to settle down. They were strong enough and regular enough for me to time them - 12 minutes apart for 90 minutes. Oh fun.

Felt fine on Sunday, but discovered when I slipped out to renew my cell phone contract that any time spent on my feet is inducing strong BHC. Which will stop when I lie down. This is "cramping" my style (hardy, har, har).

So, with the added worry of BHC when I have already been informed about my increased chance of pre-term labour from the polyhydramnios... well, we are a little stressed around our house. Ever pain I feel, I imagine to be placental abruption. Every contraction: pre-term labour. Every time I pee: has my water broken?

Oh, this is fuuunnnnn...

5 more weeks.