Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Feeling Craptastic

I fainted on the bus this morning. First I was sitting in my seat, then I started to feel nauseated, then I got that unsure-if-you're-hot-or-cold feeling, then my face started to feel sweaty, then everything got darker and grayer. (I couldn't put my head down because the seats are too close together for that.) This took place over 2-3 minutes, from the time we entered the HOV lane until we got to the lower deck of 93. Then all of a sudden we were entering the Big Dig. I missed the driving over the Zakim Bridge part of the ride, so I must have been out for 20-30 seconds. I really wanted to get off the bus, but there aren't any stops from the time we get on the highway until we get to my regular stop, and they aren't allowed to stop without an authorized bus stop. Usually, the fresh air helps if I feel faint on the bus, but the bus windows were open today, so it wasn't stuffy, and when I got to the office, my assistant told me I looked like crap (in the nicest way possible). And my stomach hurts every time I eat something.

I am hoping that maybe I'm coming down with something, which seems like a weird thing to hope for, but the doctor's office seemed concerned that I fainted while seated and that it would make more sense if I were coming down with something, so here's hoping I am. Either way, I'm going home.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Half-Baked: Because You Asked

Today marks the halfway point, which seems absolutely preposterous. But evidently it is. I have my 20 week appointment on Tuesday, which I have to go to myself, as P will be getting ready to leave for Cleveland on a business trip. He put all our appointments in his calendar but then didn't consult his calendar when he booked his flight. This is very typical of him. I have to tell him 10 times about any plans we have, and he still asks about the date/time at the last minute. For him, making dinner involves me preparing him a shopping list and reading him the directions step by step. I generally find it easier just to make it myself. But I digress.

Because you asked, I added a ticker.

And because you asked, here are belly shots. I've been doing them weekly since week five. I'm trying to do them in the same tank-top and sweatpants each week (though the top was in the wash this week, so I wore the same one in a different color, and I wore different sweatpants the first week). Buddy is frequently in the photos, though sometimes he's under the covers. Thus far, the biggest changes have been from 15 to 16 weeks and from 18 to 20 weeks.

From hereonout, I'll add one (probably just adding to this post) every four weeks. So, starting with week 5 since I didn't take one week 4, here are belly shots every four weeks.

Five Weeks:


Eight weeks:


Twelve weeks:


Sixteen weeks:


And today, twenty weeks (excuse the visible underwear on the side!):


22 weeks 1 day:


24 weeks 2 days:


26 weeks 1 day


29 weeks 1 day:


31 weeks 4 days:


34 weeks 1 day:


36 weeks 1 day (sorry it's blurry!):


37 weeks, 1 day:


38 weeks, 2 days:


39 weeks, 5 days (the day we went to the hospital):


One week post-partum:


Thursday, April 24, 2008

19w4d: Belly rubs

I always assumed pregnant women touched their stomachs to bond with their babies (or to gloat, depending on my emotional state at the time), but that's being called into question. Maybe it's just me, but when I touch I'm just trying to confirm that I still have an innie.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wii, or Learning New Things

I got P a Wii for his birthday. I figured these will be the last birthday's we can get each other frivolous gifts. He was surprised to discover that I was a bit of an idiot savant when it came to most of the sports (except baseball -- my timing is terrible). I was not at all surprised.

When I was 16, I spent the summer living with a family in France. For the first week, the program sent us to Paris, where we stayed with a different family from the one with which we spent the remainder of our time. My first family had a son who was a year or so younger than I was (and a daughter a year older, but she had a job, so we mostly hung out at night, mostly)). One day he asked if I wanted to play Sega hockey, which he and his friends were really into, which sounded slightly more enjoyable than wallowing over the fact that my then-boyfriend was canoeing in the Arctic Circle for the summer and oh-how-I-missed-him. So we played. And even though I'd never played before, I beat him. Badly. The next day, he invited his friends over and bet them that I would beat them. And I did. This made us fast friends, since, well, I helped him hustle his friends.

So my eerie skill at Wii Sports in the face of my general incompetence at all things involving hand-eye coordination did not surprise me in the least. And my husband discovered that after 8+ years together, he could still learn something new about me.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The rest of the ultrasound photos

18w1d 4



A update to yesterday's disturbing news item

Yale calls it a hoax. If you read the underlying Yale Daily News article, though, the school's position seems to be that because she didn't know that she was pregnant, they weren't miscarriages or abortions and that therefore the whole thing is false. This seems inaccurate to me, if for no other reason than because she also didn't know that she wasn't pregnant, so at most the truth or falsehood of calling it miscarriage or abortion is uncertain, which, according to her statements, was one of her myriad not-exactly-well-made points.

The school claims it wouldn't have sanctioned a project like the one she is claiming to have had its consent in undertaking and that the whole thing is in actuality a piece of performance art. The student denies that account wholesale. I would think, from having to get approval for my own thesis at a similar school (a thesis which was, in fact, rejected by the ethics board, until I wrote them a letter explaining, in a semi-polite way, that they were being obtuse), that there would be some record of what it was she proposed.

Ultimately, everything about the whole affair leaves me feeling upset and unsettled. I was surprised (or maybe not so surprised) to find myself agreeing with both the pro-life and pro-choice commentators to the Yahoo article -- the woman is callous and the project offensive. And I am disturbed by the whole thing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I thought I had lost the capacity for true emotional shock

But apparently I was wrong.

For [Yale] senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse

Setting aside any moral reaction, I nearly passed out when I read this from the emotional shock.

Okay, screw setting aside a reaction. Politically, I believe that the government shouldn't involve itself in people's medical decision-making (i.e. I am firmly pro-choice). Morally, though, I think this is truly f*cked up. Truly and completely. And I honestly can't imagine doing this, wanting to do this, or being capable of doing this.

I feel the need to take a shower now.

Monday's Ultrasound

So, we had our Level II ultrasound Monday. Everything looked good, according to the radiologist and the tech. (Apologies to anyone who was worried when I didn't post right away -- been working awful hours this week.) We saw the little hands and feet, the bladder, the stomach, all four chambers of the heart, the blood flowing in and out of the umbilical cord, and the spine and ribs. And they took a lot of measurements of the lengths of the bones in the arms and legs and the size of the skull. The radiologist said we'd get more info when we met with our regular doctor, but we don't have our next appointment for 2 weeks, and that appointment is with the midwife rather than the OB. I assume we'll still cover the details then, since Memorial Day (which is when our next doc appt is) seems awfully far away.

The baby is much higher up than I expected -- at or around my belly-button already, which I suppose explains why said body part is getting shallower and shallower (I don't want to lose my innie!). Crazy. And baby was very wiggly -- the doctor had some trouble getting some shots/measurements. We didn't get to see him/her in 3D, as s/he was covering his/her face with his/her small hands and arms most of the time, but we got some pictures in 2D. Sadly, most are a little fuzzy-looking (and have the aforementioned hands in front of/arms across face problem), and my computer crapped out this morning while finishing the scan and upload, so I've only got the worst of the lot ready for sharing. I'll post more later.

18w1d 1

Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious from that horrific sentence filled with him/hers, we're waiting until September to find out the sex.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A letter to you, on what could have been your birthday

When the digital test said "Pregnant" in August, we were thrilled. Nervous, admittedly, but thrilled. I immediately went to an online calculator to find out when we might be able to expect to meet you in person, and April 13, 2008 became a date forever written in my heart. I could hardly wait for today to arrive, so full of hope and expectation.

When we found out something was wrong with your heart, I was lost and sad and angry. I felt spiritually lost, which is definitely not an unfamiliar feeling for me. I was tempted to pray that everything would be okay, that the doctors were wrong in their reading of the ultrasound images, that seeing your heart beating was a more important fact than seeing it do so irregularly, that maybe part of your heart was obscured by something else in there, that anything was true other than that we would have to say goodbye to you. Instead I prayed for the strength to get through whatever came next. I prayed every day, multiple times per day. I can't think of any other time in my life when I've prayed so hard.

Tomorrow it will have been seven months since we were surgically separated, a surgery made necessary by the fact that you appeared to be having as tough a time saying goodbye as I was. I don't think a day has passed that I haven't thought about you. In the end, my prayers were answered, as I had the strength to survive losing you, though the me that came out the other end of the experience is decidedly different from the one you might have met today. But I can't help but wonder if I should have asked for more, if perhaps I should have set my sights higher and prayed for what I truly wanted rather than what I thought God would be likely to give me. I'm so sorry if, in that, I failed you, failed to do enough to protect you and will your heart to continue beating.

Know that I love you with all my heart and will always miss you, forever and always.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Warning: Fundraising Plug to Follow

On Sunday, May 4, I will be participating in the 40th Annual Walk for Hunger here in Boston. I am hoping that I'll be able to complete the full 20 miles again this year (I did 100 miles over three days when I was 13 or 14, so 20 is, in theory, a piece of cake ;) If you care to support my efforts (even a small amount can make a big difference), follow the link below (or here!). If you follow that link to my Walk for Hunger homepage, you'll see that this is my answer to the question of Why I Walk. (And you can find out my real name, for any of you who don't know it.)

Why I Walk

When I was twelve, I began volunteering at the soup kitchen at the Cathedral of St. John in Providence on Tuesday afternoons after school. I continued to do so every week throughout middle school and high school. I got to know many of the patrons over the years, some quite well.

David was the piano man and was one of the first people I got to know well, and certainly one of my favorites. My first Christmas, I helped him figure out who to ask whether he could play Christmas carols on the piano while people ate. I'm not the greatest singer, but I loved to sing along. We made quite a team. And we kept playing and singing, long after Christmas was over. He loved to make up new lyrics to songs that, to my twelve year old mind, were a riot. Every week, we did Billy Joel's Piano Man, but instead of wearing a younger man's clothes, he wore his nose, which made me giggle endlessly each time.

Sophie was probably five when we first met. Her elderly grandmother cared for her and her older sisters as best she could, but when they couldn't find shelter they lived on the street. I shared her excitement when she lost her baby teeth, then saw her shame when her new adult teeth fell out due to malnutrition. It was heartbreaking and made it difficult to imagine a positive outcome for this girl who would now be in her early twenties.

Jeff had lost his job and his marriage in rapid succession. He was bright and articulate, but not especially compassionate, seemingly lacking the inner voice that tends to tell a person when to keep his mouth shut. He came every week for a couple of years, then stopped all of a sudden. A year or so later, he resurfaced -- employed, in a relationship, and wanting to volunteer. Having somewhere to go where people would listen to him and where he knew he could get a solid meal each week helped him to get back on his feet, and he wanted to give back.

Why do I walk? I walk for David, and for Sophie, and for Jeff. And I walk for the more than 450,000 people in Massachusetts who are struggling to put food on the table. I walk for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens — children, seniors, people with chronic illness, and the working poor who are suffering from an increase in poverty and from the high cost of living. In a state as prosperous as ours, no one should have to start and finish their day hungry. Funds raised through the Walk support more than 400 emergency food programs in 126 communities statewide.

To make a contribution, click here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

3 Things to Worry Less About

We got the results back from our serial-sequential screening* last week:

Pre-testing, our risk of a neural tube defect was 1:900. Now it's 1:10000.
Pre-testing, our risk of Down Syndrome based on my age was 1:660. Now it's 1:3900.
Pre-testing, our risk of Trisomy 18 based on my age was 1:2600. Now it's 1:8600.

Of course, it's a screening, not a diagnostic test, so, as noted in the subject, all it really does is decrease the amount of worry about the aforementioned conditions. But decreased worry is something, no? Said worry would be further decreased if it were accompanied by some actual sensations of fetal movement. I heard the heartbeat a few days ago (thank God for the doppler) but find the lack of any clear** movement disconcerting. I keep having visions of some video or movie I saw years ago that scared the crap out of me, which P is sure, based on my vague description, is the video for Metallica's One, but the video didn't really look like what I was remembering, so I'm not convinced that was what I was thinking of, but it's been a while so it might have been. Regardless, I'm scared that the baby has no arms/legs or is paralyzed in utero or is just a vessel containing a beating heart (even though at 12 weeks we saw arms and stumps that we were told were legs and the baby did something that P still describes as sit-ups).

The Level II ultrasound is Monday (five more sleeps). The reality is that the closer we get to any appointment, the more paranoid I start to get, I think steeling myself for any potential bad news.

Monday is also the day after my original due date. I wish I could go to bed on Saturday and wake up Monday (or perhaps several months from now if the ultrasound doesn't go well), but that doesn't seem likely. Plus, I am having breakfast with the new minister at church on Sunday, then ushering at the 10am, so sleeping through the day would be a bit, well, rude. I ushered the Sunday that was 2 days after the D&E in September and cried silently through much of the service. I'm hoping I will get through Sunday in a more composed state, but I'm not holding my breath. Any prayers and/or positive thoughts heading into Sunday and Monday would be much appreciated.

* NT+1st trimester bloodwork+2nd trimester bloodwork with results only after all have been analyzed and integrated -- apprently it's newer, and not available everywhere, and more accurate than any of its constituent parts

** I feel things periodically that could be movement but they're extremely inconsistent (and infrequent) and could just as easily be minor spasms in or around my bladder.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Welcome to 30, P

P turned 30 yesterday. Every year for 71 days we are the same age. I very much enjoy my 71 days of not having to hear him comment on the fact that I am older than he is.

For my 30th last year, we decided to splurge on what proved to be a well-worth-it very expensive dinner. We both enjoyed it so much that we went back for his 30th. Well worth it again. The restaurant is relocating to a larger space inside a hotel from their current location in a brownstone, and I am a bit apprehensive. Part of the charm of the experience (and it is as much about the experience as it is about the food) is the intimate feel of the place, and I'm just not sold on their ability to replicate it in a hotel. I guess only time will tell.

I really hope that P has a great year this year, since last year wasn't the best ever for him (though not the worst either). He's wanted to change careers for a long time now, but has been where he is for so long that he isn't really qualified to do much else. And he really wants to make a major change. He said he would wait it out until April to take advantage of the copious paternity leave his years of seniority entitled him to, but now April will (hopefully) be September, and five more months seems like a really long time. Nothing has ever been handed to him; life always requires a lot of effort from him. And a career change is going to take a lot of effort, and I'm not sure he has come to terms with that yet.

I hope 30 brings him what he wants, or at least gets him started along that path.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Some new Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds film was filming across the street from my office late last week and yesterday. Traffic has been ungodly, and the police have been ticketing cab drivers who stop outside the strict boundaries of the cab stand, which seems wrong since frequently more people are in need of cabs than the number of cabs that will fit in the stand itself. I'm glad there's been something decent in the cafeteria for lunch, since I'm guessing there are long lines at all the local lunch spots, since there doesn't seem to be space to set up much of a spread for the crew. (And there's a lot of crew -- four blocks of trucks of equipment worth of crew.)

This is the third movie to have filmed within a block of my office in the past year or so. It's really not that cool of a location, people. I know studios were filming in Canada for a while, but with the collapse of the U.S. dollar and the near parity in the exchange rate, I suppose the need for work permits to film in Canada makes staying in country more appealing. Especially so for a movie like this that supposedly involves an exec forcing her assistant to marry her to keep her from being deported back to Canada. Oh the woe.

That said, one of my assistants spotted Sandra Bullock yesterday and came back to report to the rest of us. To be honest, I'd prefer a Ryan Reynolds sighting.