Monday, June 30, 2008


We took our "prepared childbirth" class this weekend. I'm not sure how much I actually learned, but it was good to have reinforcement for things, and I think a lot of it was new for P. I have been giving him specific responsibilities (like research baby monitors or finish redoing the f'ing patio), which means he hasn't really focused at all on anything else. Things like, say, how it is that the baby will get out of me. I think he found the whole thing frightening. Also, he was the first partner to be willing to try wearing the empathy belly and concluded that he could probably handle the extra weight but wasn't so sure about the difficulty breathing or the bladder pressure. Those two things taken together seem to have given him a newfound empathy. I've gotten more backrubs than usual over the past few days, which is nice.

My biggest fear about the class was the other people, but they were all pretty much fine. The place offering it this particular weekend is in a ritzier suburb, so the attendees were largely well-educated married couples in their 30s. My biggest fear was giggling pregnant teens or really stupid questions, and the demographic pretty much precluded both. We were by far the least far along people in the class, mainly due to scheduling -- the majority were due the first week in August. We'll be on vacation for two weeks later this month, then our shower is the following weekend, then my dad's wedding. The next weekend after this that they offer the class and we are free is three weeks before the EDD, which seems like cutting it close. That said, three couples in our class had less than three weeks to go, so maybe I'm just being overly cautious.

Related to preparing for childbirth, we are in the process of acquiring a new vehicle. This makes me nervous. We both drive 1997 compact cars. Mine is largely fine, but Ps is starting to fall apart, so we're looking to upgrade. I paid cash for my car when I bought it (used), and P paid his off years ago, so taking on an expensive car loan makes me super nervous, but I know we need to do it. Eek.

Finally, I added a belly shot from this week (this morning, in fact). As you can see, I've sort of exploded lately. Double eek.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Somehow I passed the one hour glucose screen last week. I'm not convinced it wasn't in error, but the result sheet said 89. So I've been enjoying frozen yogurt without guilt.

Monday, June 23, 2008


How do those of you with one or more less than ideal parents not quake in fear at the thought that you might not be able to do any better, that the flawed model you have been presented for parenting may have left its subconscious imprint despite all efforts at conscious rejection?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ha, Maybe?

So, I nearly fainted at my 28 week appointment today. Apparently my issues are neither psychosomatic nor anxiety related, which I think the folks at the doctor's office may have suspected until now. In less than five minutes, my blood pressure dropped from 120/70 to 70/50, seemingly caused by me spending less than 10 seconds in a semi-reclined (far from fully reclined) position so they could check Lou's heartbeat (they later checked it with me lying on my side -- I wasn't concerned, since s/he had been kicking away all morning). And it took a really long time to rebound, inching its way up to 80/55, then 90/60 over a 35 minute period.

They wouldn't let me leave the exam room to get the glucose screen blood draw done, so the lab tech came to the exam room and did it there while I lay on my side. (This was totally embarassing.) Right before the blood draw, my bp had gone back up to 100/70, but fell back to 80/50 after, so they kept me there for another half hour until it was back to 100/70 and let me leave.

What I am to try until my next appointment in two weeks, at which point we'll reassess: one can of Coke or one cup of coffee first thing in the morning (what pregnant lady is prescribed caffeine??), followed by an iron supplement washed down with a big glass of full-sodium v8. I am also to drink at least 40 ounces of water before leaving the house in the morning (I was drinking 30, which seemed like enough, but apparently it may not be). I am also to call immediately if the dull, uncomfortable ache under the right side of my rib cage gets worse or is accompanied by vomiting, as they are concerned my gall bladder is inflamed, further compressing my innards (and causing problems of its own) -- someone had suggested that in the comments a while back, and it turns out that may be part of it, so thanks for the heads-up.

As for the glucose screen, the drink wasn't nearly as bad as I feared. It was far less syrupy than I thought it might be and not really that difficult to drink. I'm pretty sure I'm going to fail (just a gut instinct), but the midwife said we'd cross that bridge when we came to it (the thought of having to get my morning caffeine in the form of black coffee makes me want to vomit).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two Weeks

I think that is going to be the over/under on the innie nature of my poor belly-button, which is getting shallower by the day. Oh, and please ignore the dark fuzz around it -- others get a linea negra, whereas I see to develop something closer to an orbis negra.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Party pigs

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to us
Happy birthday dear party pigs
We love all this fuss

That was the song my grandfather sang for my birthday growing up. I have no idea where it came from (I thought it was from a book). I tried googling it to no avail. But to me, it's the birthday song.

I have never cared so little about the arrival of a birthday. Generally, I'm not one of those people that demands a big deal be made regarding her birthday. But I usually am at least vaguely aware that it's coming and consider planning something (or hope someone else does so). But, honestly, this year I just don't care. Maybe it's because I'm now 31, which seems like one of those who-gives-a-shit ages. You're just another year older. Or maybe I just have other things on my mind. I wonder if my family will even remember.

Monday, June 16, 2008

27w1d: Father's Day Redux

So, I updated yesterday's post to add a picture of the sneakers, just because they were too cute to resist. Also, I forgot to add last week's belly shot last week, even though I did take it, so I added it today.


Yesterday, in addition to giving P a small pair of sneakers, we went to see my dad. I constantly have to remind myself that having one normal parent is more than a lot of people get, and for that I am very thankful. My dad is a semi-uptight, uber-intellectual, (now-retired) attorney. Growing up, my friends were afraid of him until they got to know him. He's not the warmest guy in the world (which I think was in part what was intimidating for friends -- that and the fact that they often didn't get his quirky sense of humor), but he knows that and has worked hard at it.

My dad taught me basic algebra and how to play backgammon when I was in elementary school and asked us science questions over dinner. He built us a play house in the basement with lights and shutters and a door that closed. And he videotaped all our birthdays and holidays (and filmed "slice of life" segments too, to ensure we didn't end up with a distorted sense of our family life), borrowing a camera from a local university before any normal person owned one -- he interviewed our friends on these tapes to be sure we'd all remember who was who and how we knew them when we watched the tapes 25 years later. We get together every Christmas to watch these old tapes, a tradition that began after my parents split up, when my dad became obsessed with creating new family traditions for the three of us, traditions that now involve P and my sister in law and my dad's fiancee. He's a great dad, even if he's not like most other great dads.

Thankfully, while I look quite a lot like my mother, my personality comes almost exclusively from my dad. You know, because he's not an alcoholic and, rather than being a narcissist, always has the interests of others foremost in his heart, even though others (namely, my brother) don't always see it that way (note to my wonderful but not always sensible brother: your interest isn't always furthered by being told what you want to hear).

I have never lived more than an hour and a half from my dad. He's getting remarried this summer (congrats Dad!), which means he'll be moving, ending up three hours away, which makes me sad. And the timing (right before the birth of his first grandchild) makes me especially sad. But I know it's what he has to do for himself, a constituency he considers far too little, and I'm glad he's doing it.

I love you, Dad!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

I got P a pair of tiny sneakers for Father's Day. When we first met, he sold sneakers, so to me this gift was emblematic of the distance we've traveled as individuals and as a couple in those eight and a half years, and the distance we have yet to go. Sadly, I think he thought it was just weird.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Even though the near-fainting continues (I only got through 30 minutes of church on Sunday -- ought to make ushering this week fun -- and had to get out of the car and walk before I actually got to work this morning), I feel like I need to talk about something else.


The other night I dreamt that I finally confronted my mother about her drinking and its consequences regarding her relationship with her grandchildren. I woke up with an odd sense of calm and relief. And then I remembered that it was just a dream.

It's not just that I don't feel comfortable leaving young children alone with her. I don't even feel comfortable with the idea of her holding them -- she has been known to misestimate the distance between herself and the floor and just let go of a wine glass, shattering it. Wine glasses are fungible and replaceable, unlike, say, children. In attempting to pet him, she has poked my dog in the eye, more than once. And, as the day goes on, she has trouble standing or walking (or speaking in complete sentences, or following the conversation taking place around her). I don't want to put vulnerable people at risk, and I don't want them exposed to her behavior, and I certainly don't want them growing up with the same warped belief I had, that all grandmas (mommies in my case) are like that.

But I am also fully incapable of dealing with this issue. As much as I hate the person she often is, I do love my mother. That love used to be tied to various fond memories from my childhood, a vague recollection of the person she once was. At this point, as those memories have faded and/or been replaced with worse ones from adolescence and adulthood, that love has become untethered, existing primarily as something more akin to a requisite (but fully ingrained) filial affection. The type of love that stems from a feeling of "supposed to." But regardless of its source, it keeps me from dealing with these issues, in part out of a fear of hurting her while gaining nothing, and in part out of a fear of losing her affection, an affection that often feels as unanchored as my own, and far more fleeting as well.

I have managed to avoid the ultimate confrontation with my mother for 16+ years. I wish I could avoid it forever. But I know P harbors the same fears that I do regarding my mother and our future children, and we're going to have to deal with this issue at some point, and that point is starting to seem a lot closer to now. It's weird, because I can actually envision the conversation -- and can envision it going well. It's probably a conversation I should have had with her a long time ago, one that would have improved our relationship substantially by this point.

But the only way it goes well is if we have it alone. My stepmother can't be there. Even though I can only imagine that my mother's drinking has as profound an effect on her as it does on me, she perceives everything as an attack and first goes on the defensive, then switches to attack mode, making it about me and the ingrate I am. And I can't handle it. I become a mess. But I've only seen my mother alone once in the past 16+ years. Once. Because I insisted. Just because I missed having a mom. A mom with whom I could have a relationship, like other people.

And in the end, the whole subject just fills me with dread.

Friday, June 6, 2008

100 days to go

First, thanks so much to all of you for your supportive comments! I have been riding in the car with the seat not reclined, sitting on an otherwise useless throw pillow, and it seems to be helping. I think it pushes me up out of the bucket part of the seat in the car. That said, when I was at the movies, I tried leaning forward, which would also theoretically seem to relieve pressure on the vena cava, and it didn't help, but I'll keep up with the pillow. And I've stopped drinking v8 in the morning, since the other commonality between the various near-fainting episodes was recent consumption of copious quantities of sodium (v8, movie popcorn, Thai food. Mmmm. Thai food.).

Second, I do have a body pillow and started using it a week or so ago. It's not one of the fancy pregnancy ones, but rather a generic long, semi-firm pillow that a friend loaned me (like this one). It seems to help relieve the pressure on the hips, which is great. I think the stomach pain isn't muscular/physiological but rather digestive. And it started coming during the day too. The other day, I ate an apple as a snack and felt awful for the rest of the day. P had commented that he thought pregnant women were supposed to be gassy, and I haven't been, so I'm wondering if it's been getting trapped in there. So, as my first trial-and-error solution, I've cut back on gas-inducing fruits and veggies, and it seems to have helped so far. We'll see if it lasts.

Third, we got a call last night that our furniture had arrived at the warehouse and was ready for delivery. They said it would be 10-12 weeks, but it was less than 4. We are sooo not ready for furniture, since the room still has junk in it and the ceiling needs to be skim coated and the room needs to be painted. Yikes. They'll hold it for as long as we need, though, which is great. I have a new-found love for the Baby Furniture Warehouse.

Finally, 100 days to go. Crazy. I have started having dreams about babies. Ones with actual babies in them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Near-fainting: Getting worse

It seems to be getting worse. The world started to turn black yesterday on the way to work, about 10-15 minutes into the ride (P was driving). Luckily, I got to work shortly thereafter and quickly jumped out of the car. And it happened again today, but only 2-3 minutes in. Today, I lay the seat all the way back and turned onto my left side. It left me feeling tremendously nauseated, but eliminated the about-to-black-out feeling almost immediately.

I called the doctor after yesterday's episode. The nurse eventually got back to me. Initially, she said it was a vasovagal syncope issue, but standing should make that worse rather than better. So she spoke to the midwife, who agreed that it wasn't that, due to the standing making it better thing, and concluded that my uterus is somehow positioned in a way that is compressing my inferior vena cava when I sit in certain positions. She then said there's nothing they can do about it and I'm just going to have to learn to deal with it. Fun. Apparently, I have 3+ months of riding to work lying on my side to look forward to.

This really fucking sucks. By the time I get to work I'm unbelievably exhausted again, just from not having had proper blood flow for a few minutes on the way in. Plus, my limbs still feel cold and tingly, thirty minutes later. And I have way too much work to do (and I'm really struggling to get anything done) to be able to take a day off right now (though maybe later this week). I'm hoping that if I start out lying down in the car tomorrow, I can avoid cutting off the blood flow at all and feel a bit better. But I feel so nauseated right now (and my stomach feels really strangely full, even though all I ate was a (big) bowl of cereal -- it's really uncomfortable).

On top of it all, I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night as well. I have been sleeping exclusively on my left side for months now, but last night I felt like I was having stomach cramps all night, even though I know my stomach is much higher up in my abdomen these days so they weren't really where my stomach is anymore. I kept waking up and finding it hard to get comfortable.

Okay, I really need to stop with all the bitching and moaning.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

25 weeks

The doctor sent me an email today regarding the bloodwork results, saying that while my numbers were low, they were not very low, especially for a pregnant woman. Her recommendation was to increase dietary iron, which I had already done in the days since getting the results and getting her email. It doesn't seem to have helped yet.

Case in point: We went to see the new Indiana Jones movie last night and had to watch the last ten minutes standing in the aisle. About an hour in, I started feeling dizzy. At some point I thought maybe I had to go to the bathroom, so I did, and I felt a little better afterwards. But once I sat back down, I started feeling progressively worse. I changed positions frequently, but it didn't help. The dizzy feeling came back. And I felt increasingly nauseated. And then I started to get simultaneously hot and cold, and my face got clammy. And then I got that darkness closing in around me feeling. Knowing that I was going to faint again, I got up. And once I was standing, I felt much better. So we watched the rest of the movie standing in the aisle.

The other times I have fainted or thought I was going to, I had been sitting in a hard seat. This time we were in the nice theatre, which has super-cushioned stadium seats. They recline and have the armrest that flips up so you can actually sit close to the person you came with. So much for my hard seat theory. WTF? And I wasn't dehydrated -- I had drank a gallon of water during the day, including a bottle during the movie. I wish I knew what was causing this. Sometimes there's just no way to be able to stand up!