Monday, February 26, 2007

Round I: First Trimester Screening

The short of it: everything looks OK. The genetic counseling, while entertaining, just went to show that Husband's family is a cluster when it comes to health issues, mine is fairly normal, but the women tend to have stroke issues. No red flags.

The ultrasound went well. Well, unless you count Husband getting yelled at for recording with his cell phone. I told him not to, he did it anyway, and he pissed off the sonographer. He just doesn't get that recording, in any form, creates a significant liability for the hospital, which this clinic is attached to. He doesn't get that malpractice insurance is through the roof, and that suites happen all the time. He sort of ruined it by NOT listening to me, yet again. This is getting VERY old.

Anyway, there really is a baby in there! A lot less blobish, and looking far more human. Very active once they changed my position on the table (which by the way, was the best ultrasound table I have ever been on. With a screen that I could see. That never happened at my OB's office. Man, did I get screwed the last time around!). Hands waving, bouncing around a little bit. Rolling around. Still measuring around 3 days ahead (11w5d), so we may be headed to another big one this time. They even flipped on the 3D capability to take a look. I've never been that excited about the 3D thing-I have never been offered one for diagnostic purposes, and I have some issues about going to a strip mall somewhere to have it done. Just feels too back alley for me. However, how cool! We have our level II there in late April, so I'm hoping that we'll get some more of the 3D done.

We'll get the blood test results back on Fridayish. I'm not too concerned, since the nuchal measurement was endorsed by the perinatologist on duty as normal, and that the baby looked great. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday morning.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Help! Need some cultural awareness!!

OK, here's the deal. A colleague and friend in Singapore is getting married. In two weeks. Long story short, she slipped in her news to her manager in an email, manager missed it (this is the same guy that I work for...ugh), and figures that no one would be interested. Anyway, just found out that the wedding is on March 10th!

So, here's the quandary. What to get for a wedding gift? She really is a good friend, and while we don't see each other much, we have kept in touch. She spent a year here in the U.S., and is now back in Singapore. If I'm lucky, I get to see her about once a year for our department all-hands meetings.

Her parents are mainland Chinese who emigrated to Singapore when she was small, and she was raised with all of those traditions. She's also a born again/fundamentalist Christian, and is very conscious of living her faith. She's also a lousy cook, who managed to bake a lid onto a casserole dish that was on so tightly that she had to throw the whole thing out. Don't talk about her can you manage to total a three cylinder car (OK, golf cart on steroids) in Singapore urban traffic? She's sensitive culturally, so I want to make sure that I don't blow this.

I've done some research, and what I've come up with is that chopsticks are a traditional Chinese wedding gift. (Hey, I know that the girl can eat, and is double-jointed or something when it comes to using those things). She also likes sushi a great deal-to quote Terry Bradshaw "...where I come from, that's bait!", but I have no clue as to whether she would actually ever endeavor to prepare it for herself. I was thinking either a nice set of chopsticks and rests, or something sushi related. Outside of her time here in the U.S., she's lived at home her entire life, so I'm pretty sure that she is starting from scratch. Singapore has very strict housing regulations, and living by yourself and being single is a very tough thing to do.

Any suggestions, anecdotal advice, whatever, would be helpful. I think that I like the chopstick idea the best, although I'm struggling to find something that also uses the color red, since that is the Chinese symbol for luck and prosperity. Any direction from blogland would be great!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Just stuff

Lots of random things bouncing around right now. Doesn't make for the most interesting entry, but it does have cathartic properties.

  • Baby stuff. Everything is progressing at a quiet, yet steady pace. I'm beginning to have to get more creative with my wardrobe. I'm at that crappy stage where things are beginning to fit strangely, the progesterone bloat has worn off, and my passenger is making its presence much more visible. (We aren't talking about the flotation devices on my chest...I'm going to have to go and actually get measured to see where I am. Lovely.) However, since I'm a plus size and short (I barely graze 5'2" on a good day), I just look frumpy. In an effort to assuage my general frustrations about the situation, I ordered some stuff from tres chic JCP*nney today. Don't judge the fashion sense here...they're one of the few that actually make plus size maternity without everything looking like a tent. Other than that, not too much to report. Still sick in the mornings, although all I can manage is dry heaves, and still sick at night. Yuck. We have a our first trimester screen next Tuesday, so I've got something to look forward to (I hope).
  • Work. It's still crappy, but some of my hormone-tinged frustration and anger has dissipated, but I still think that it is high time that I have an honest conversation with my manager. Communication isn't his strong suite, something that he will readily admit to. Unfortunately, my mind-reading skills aren't up to Troi standards, so we tend to be universally screwed. He's going to be here next week, somewhat at my behest (geez, I should've thrown a fit a while ago). Originally, it was supposed to be a week later. Now I just have to decide whether to tell him about the baby or wait. Quite honestly, it's getting harder and harder not to let it slip, and I'm getting a bit tired of it. In addition, the appointments are coming fast and furious over the next couple of weeks, and I hate having to slink around because of it.
  • Son. He's been a little off since we got back from vacation and his four days with my parents. The smallest frustrations are sending him to complete and total meltdowns. Part of this is what I think is going to be a personality trait, inherited from his father. You know the one; throw a fit, throw things, scream and cry, when if you calmed down, took the time, the issue would be fixed in five seconds. I HATE this about Husband, and the fact that he knows that he does it, recognizes when he's in the midst of it, but yet does nothing to change. I worry about the example he is setting. It doesn't help that even though I'm pretty sure that my parents tried to stick to Son's schedule, he just doesn't seem comfortable. The loss of the long nap during the day at daycare is also throwing him for a loop. Another part of the meltdown factor when we get home is that he is REALLY hungry, and just can't seem to wait for me to make him something. We have been wanting to eat dinner together, but that has gone out the window. Husband "forgets" to eat all day, then gorges when he gets home around 4:00, so he's not hungry. Meanwhile, I think that at least I could have something with Son, but that means that we actually have to cook something. I want him to start having more whole foods, not so much processed stuff. However, that means that things take time. Son doesn't seem to have that kind of time, and since nothing food-related is even appealing to me right now, we both end up frustrated. GAH!!!! It makes me want to scream. I hope that he settles down after this week, because I'm having a hard time coping with it all. Husband wanted to go on yet another road trip this weekend, this time four hours in one direction, but I think that he'll either have to wait, or go by himself. I don't think that Son can handle another trip this soon. The weather is supposed to be less than nice as well (snow, rain, high winds), so I think that we just need to all stay home. His friend can wait another week.

God, this entry is boring even me. I've been working on another set of entries having to deal with Son's delivery, what I learned, and what I hope to not repeat. While in the end, everything went OK, there are still things about it that upset me. Things that I don't want to repeat.

Anyway, that's it for now. Work must be done.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why can't I get out of this?

I'm having another one of those days, and I don't know why. Everything is making me want to cry. I just want to crawl under the covers, and hide out from everyone and thing. This doesn't make sense.

I understand the whole pregnancy hormone roller coaster, I do. However, when do I get to be at the top of the hill? When? I'm just getting worried that I may need to seek out some chemical intervention (i.e. anti-depressants) and I really, really don't want to. There's just not enough out there in the literature that can convince me that they won't mess with my baby at some level. I can't risk that.

Things are really good. Son is transitioning into the toddler room at daycare, and at the halfway mark, things seem to be going pretty well. He's having to learn some new things, like sitting still for more than two minutes (unrestrained mind you), and he's even starting singing a little bit of the songs that they use. Husband actually remembered to get me a card today. In the almost 10 years that we have been together, this is the first valentine that I've ever gotten from him. We're leaving on a mini-vacation this weekend, the first time without child and dogs. I haven't had any more spotting since our scare a couple of weeks ago, and everything looked fine on the ultrasound. Why can't I get out of this funk?

There are some things that aren't so good. My job, well, I'm on the brink of really beginning to hate it. All I see in front of me is doing the same thing for the next 10 years. I'm bored, and feeling pushed out to the periphery. There is no opportunity to move up or anywhere else. My first maternity leave hurt me, even though I can't point to any one thing to support it. It's just a change in attitude. I haven't told anyone here yet, and I plan to continue this until I can't hide it anymore. As far as I can tell, I should be able to make it until March, or even further. I know that I'm due for a growth spurt at some point, but if I work it right, no one should be the wiser. I'm sort of the opinion that it's no one's business.

Our vacation plans are also looking to go haywire, as I found out his morning. We were supposed to leave to go up to my parents to drop off Son on Thursday afternoon, with the intention of getting out of town before the afternoon rush hour. If we don't time it right, a three hour trip rapidly turns into four, and we get to deal with Son having a meltdown the last hour of the trip. Husband called this morning on his way to his doctor's appointment, and told me that his inspector is in town. She was at one property today (she only can do one a day), and will probably hit him either tomorrow (please) or Friday (shit). It's an all day thing, and he won't get done until at least 4PM the day that he gets it. We could go on with our plans, but he really should be there. He has a good chance to become an outstanding property with this inspection, and it really would be a feather in his cap. However, we may end up paying for a night at the house where we aren't even there. The plan, for now, is that I will still go up to my parents on Thursday, and he will follow when he can. If it turns out to be Friday, I'll probably just meet him in Duluth. No sense in him driving six hours when he only needs to go three. We actually allowed ourselves to get excited about this. Dumb, dumb.

So, there's my happiness for the day. I'm frustrated, and I want to throw a tantrum of my own, pitch a fit, and scream that it's not fair. We play by the rules, and we get screwed. Ugh.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Just when you think that there isn't a whole lot of good

I was reading through my daily updates from a legal news source, and I came across a story about this amazing young man (yep, see, I'm o-l-d). This is a kid of privilege that, at least on the surface, has his head on very straight, and really could make a sizable difference in this world over his lifetime. A difference that could change a lot of peoples lives. Makes my day-to-day complaints seem pretty trivial. .

His name is Uzodinma Iweala, a son of a doctor and former minister of finance of Nigeria (with degrees from MIT and Harvard). Who says that there aren't any role models left?

Monday, February 12, 2007

'Cause, you know, you're old

This whole over 35 and over being pregnant thing is really beginning to bug me. I know that there is nothing that I can do about it, and that I need to just suck it up and go through it, but jeez.

Yes, I could say that I don't want all the testing and fussing. But, I know me. Then I would be worried that I should be worried and that since I don't know that I shouldn't be worried I'll worry even more. I'm a dork, I know it.

So, being a born researcher, I've been reading. Not obsessively as I may have wanted to, since Husband, being the font of support that he is, refuses to talk about the possibility of anything being wrong. Since I need to verbalize at times to organize things in my head, and he is the only available adult most of the time, all of this just sits in my head. I have a cousin that has Downs. He is very high functioning, and is in his early 40s, and while living at an assisted living facility (mainly to help with cooking; he's a guy after all, and is a bit challenged anyway), he has an independent life. He holds down a job, has friends. As far as I know, he's avoided a lot of the medical issues that are common with Downs. The thing that worries me is that he isn't the classic Down case-older parents, etc. He was the first child of my aunt and uncle, and they were both in their early 20s when they had him. They went on to have two other genetically normal kids, and there have been no issues with their children. I just wonder why then, why him? Is there something lurking in my genetics that could rear it's head now?

I know that there are other things, things that can be controlled to some degree by lifestyle. Diabetes (yea, yea, I've flunked on that one myself), and stroke risks. My great grandmother and grandmother all ultimately died of strokes. My mom, who really takes great care of herself, has had one unexplained blood pressure spike that resulted in blowing out a vein in her eye. Husband has Alzheimer's lurking, and a recent CAT scan has scared us both as to what we may be facing. This is stuff that we can address.

I'm just getting worried and building up all sorts of anxiety over all of this extra screening. We elected to do the first trimester screen, and have that scheduled for the 27th (yet another day that I'll have to make up a plausible excuse for...this is getting hard). I won't get my 20 week ultrasound at my OB's office, but have to go back to the same place where I get my first trimester, since it has to be a level II off the bat. Dammit, I don't feel that old!!

Myabe that's the gist of it: I don't feel that old. It's not like this was a choice. I wanted to be done having kids at least three years ago. This would have meant getting pregnant when we first starting trying. I was 28. I was a couple weeks shy of 33 when I delivered Son. There are still days where I don't feel like a grownup and am amazed at this life that I have. A mortgage, a career, planning for retirement? What the? When did this hapen? I've put away the worries about how old I will be when Son and #2 graduate from high school. The fears that I may not live to see them married, and with their own kids. Husband's dad didn't get to meet his grandson, something that really bothers Husband. Husband's dad was in his mid-40s when Husband was born. I keep telling Husband that, first of all, you were 35 when Son was born, so you've got 10 years there. Second, he hasn't had as tough of a life physically as his dad, he can still be active. Maybe his fears are rubbing off on me. Great, just what I need.

Sigh, I guess I'm just going to have to deal with it. Still doesn't mean that I have to like it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ah, then the sun came out

....NO, I'm not talking about it finally getting (and staying) above zero here. I'm a hardy, born and bred Minnesotan. I sort of revel in the fact that I have the gear and the wherewithal to withstand these types of temps. However, over a week? Even my patience is wearing thin. And the dogs, my poor puppies. Black Dog just isn't built for this type of weather. He shivers, he pathetically holds up one paw. He sits and has enough balance to lift his front two paws off the ground and looks feeble. He then won't move, even to go inside, because then he would have to touch even more snow. He's too big to carry, so I usually have to resort to bribery to get him to move. Yellow Dog even is more expeditious when she's outside, and will even engage in the feeble one paw lift. Don't suggest booties. I tried them a couple of years ago. Yellow Dog got them off in about 45 seconds, and I didn't find one of the four until spring (the sneak put it in a snowdrift). Black dog will tolerate a coat, but I swear that I see Yellow Dog laughing at him. Poor thing, not only does she assert her dominance on a regular basis, but she laughs at him too.

The sun that I am talking about about is Son. Yesterday, he did the best thing that he could have done for a stressed out, cranky, work-hating mommy. I walked into daycare and he was playing with the rest of the big kids in the large muscle area. He saw me (uh-oh) and proceeded to put away the fire truck that he was playing with, as he had been told by one of the teachers. He then did the most amazing thing. He turned, smiled that smile that lights up everything, and ran to me!!!!!! He hasn't done this in ages, and my God, it felt so incredibly good. I was able to hug him, and he showed me the little Tonka truck that he had grabbed. He has no idea how much that meant to me. Probably never will. Yet another one of those moments where I wish that I could be certain that I would forever be able to see that look and feel that little body against me. Good grief, I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

8w1d OB appointment

It only took almost 2 1/2 hours, but we were able to see that everything was OK yesterday. Dr. Wonderful lived up to his name and suggested, before I even had an opportunity to ask, that we get an ultrasound just to make sure that everything was still moving along. Of course, I wasn't on the schedule, and their afternoon was already pretty full. They did manage to squeeze us in, and all it really took was 10 minutes. Still measuring a day ahead, and a heartbeat at 167. I was sort of surprised that they were able to get everything doing an external (avoided the wand-hooray!), but all is well.

The downer of the appointment was that since I'm 35, I'm now going to be subject to all of the screenings for all of the genetic abnormalities. I've never really given this a thought. I mean, egg quality has never been an issue, lifestyle has been boring to say the get the picture. However, we still spent the first 20 minutes of the appointment going over all of the options. In the end, I don't see the need to do anything intrusive at this point. We elected to go for the first trimester screen, which includes the nuchal fold scan, and bloodwork for t21, t23, and t18 (I think). If that turns up any concerns, then we'll talk about an amnio.

It was pretty sobering to have to even discuss it. I had been blithely going along not really thinking about the age issues. I guess that it just didn't seem to matter too much to me. Dr. Wonderful didn't push any one option, but he agreed with what we chose. Apparently, some insurance plans don't cover this, so I have to sneak off to a conference room today to call my insurance and see what will be covered (No, I still haven't told anyone at work. Not planning to until I absolutely have to.). Not a big deal if they don't cover it, since we have scads of money in our FSA this year. I just want to get it done with. I have to wait until 11-13 weeks, so I'll have plenty of time to chew on it. Great, just what I need.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Big breath...exhale slowly...

After my fear and freaking out on Saturday, things are now quiet. They did get a little worse on Saturday after I posted. I had the blood with an itty bitty clot. I lost it. I didn't call Husband, since in his sleep deprived state with a 30 minute drive home, I didn't want to freak him out. I did what any mature, 35 year old would do: I called my Mommy.

I met Husband out in the garage before he could even turn off the car-sobbing. He did the best that he could. Which was quite an effort since, at 26 hours without sleep, he could barely form a coherent sentence. He took care of Son when he woke up, and I took it from there. Son cooperated, playing pretty quietly and nicely, and tolerated me sitting on the couch zoning out.

My parents ended up coming down (a three hour drive) for the day to help out with Son. Personally, I think it had more to do with them needing a Son fix than anything, but it was nice to not have to do it all alone (Husband ended up sleeping from 9AM until around 2:30.) Taking it VERY easy all day seemed to do the trick, since the bleeding tapered to brown and then nothing by the time we went to bed.

Today, blessedly, there has been nothing. I've allowed myself, whether prudent or not, to relax and realize that this was probably a blip on the radar. I'm extremely happy that I have my OB appointment scheduled for tomorrow with Dr. Wonderful. If I'm very lucky, I might even get another peek. I know that we won't be able to get anything on the doppler, but I could really use seeing that flicker on the screen again.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

After tapering off to brown yesterday, it was bright red this morning. No clots or cramping, but I'm so scared right now. Husband had to go into work last night, and still isn't home. He's working on 24 hours with no sleep. I don't know what to do.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Spoke too soon

Crap! Just when I start to relax a little, things get goofy on me again. Since I never did say too much about our ultrasound on the 29th, I should probably start there....

Our ultrasound was pretty uneventful, which was good. Only one passenger, who was actually measuring a day ahead. Heartbeat, the whole thing. The tech seemed to spend a long time digging around, rather painfully, for what I think was a corpus luteum, which wasn't found. Dr. RE said that everything looked fine, and that I was released to my regular OB. I was handed the worksheet with all of the important information to give to my OB, and an envelope of four pictures of our blob. Our blob with a heartbeat. It lasted all of 10 minutes.

I went home and started to finish up cleaning the house for our appointment with the rep from the remodeling contractor that we had contacted, and really didn't think much more of the ultrasound, other than the relief that there was only one, and that everything looked OK.

The next morning, after my usual bathroom routine before my shower, I turned to put down the lid and flush, and I noticed that there seemed to be something out of the ordinary on the toilet paper. I started to feel a little panicky, and wiped (OK, so maybe TMI, but we've all been there) to find some generous pink discharge. I calm myself down, chalk it up to the thorough wanding of the day before, and decide to call my OB when the office opens at 8 AM.

I call my OBs office, and leave a message for one of the nurses. She calls back, but doesn't seem horribly interested in talking to me. Basically, call your RE back if you start cramping. Lovely. They don't seem to want to do anything with me until they see me on the 5th. Such a nice place to be; in the limbo between the RE and OB.

The discharge eventually turned brown over the course of the day, and I didn't see any more of it until this morning. Since I'm a little leery of sex per se right now (if an ultrasound probe can cause problems, what damage could one of those things do?), we engaged in, well, getting each other happy. Mission accomplished (man, this is so much better when pregnant and not yet the size of a small killer whale). No more than five minutes later, pink on the paper again.

I called my RE's office this morning, and they pretty much said no activity, period, until I see my OB. I'm getting a little scared here. I didn't have any, and I mean absolutely no, spotting with Son. This just doesn't feel right. There hasn't been any cramping other than the normal pulling going on down there, and some round ligament issues have popped up, but nothing out of the norm. I know that it's probably not a big deal, but I'm still a little worried. I know that I've been coming off as a bit ambivalent about the whole thing, but I do want this baby. Monday seems a long way away all of a sudden.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A banner day

Today is shaping up to be a banner day in the Chronicle world. Nothing too earth-shattering mind you, but still a testament that things are actually moving ahead.

1. Today Son started the transition into the toddler room at daycare. He's been popping in over there on a semi-regular basis over the last month or so (to help out with the transition of his good buddy that is a month ahead of him). This morning, one of the infant teachers said that he needed to go to the toddler room, and he was banging on the door and bouncing on the balls of his feet, he was so excited. It's more than time for this to happen. He's the biggest kid in the infant room right now, and it poses a safety issue both for him and the other kids. He's ready to hang out with the bigger kids. The other bonus? Tuition, even for the extended care, goes down $200 a month! Just over the amount that we need to be saving for my maternity leave. Hooray!

2. I finally said screw it and pulled out the full panel maternity jeans today. I'm getting to that point where things are getting a bit snug, and downright uncomfortable by mid afternoon. I've been putting this off, partially as a self-imposed punishment for already gaining three pounds. I mean, that's one third of my grand total for Son! My choice was sealed this morning as I stared at my closet, and absent-mindedly straightened the elastic in my now larger sized underwear. It hit me that gee, this isn't just a lack of any abdominal muscle tone letting things pouch out...It's getting pretty darn solid down there. If I were a regular sized person, I don't think that I would have questioned it so much, but being plus sized, it just seems different. The question always looms...have I gained more weight or is that baby? This morning it didn't matter-I knew that I would be sitting down all day with lots of reading and review ahead of me. Pregnant pants it is! Now, I can just be in denial about the fact that I'm already filling out my full term pregnancy bras (at 7w4d) and will probably be in need of new ones in a couple of weeks....gah!! That's what you get when you only leave two months between weaning and getting pregnant. The girls just keep on growing.

So, things aren't too bad today. I'm actually feeling pretty OK, although I keep getting ravenously hungry around 10:30. As long as I'm smart enough to address it, I'll be OK. If I try to make it until lunch....not so much. Yet another reason the pants were a good idea!