Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photos to Tide You Over

Not much time to post, but here are some pictures of Harry.

One day old:

Going home:

Checking out the crib, where we won't sleep for a couple more weeks:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's a boy!

H@rrison J0hn M.
September 13, 2008 at 1:54pm
8 lbs, 3 oz, 20 inches long

He is absolutely perfect.

Birth story and photos to come.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Making Progress

I woke up at 4 this morning to go to the bathroom. When I got back, I noticed some lower back pain. It was coming in waves. By 5, when I still hadn't fallen back asleep, I decided to get up. Mild contractions came every 3-7 minutes until 7 or so. I lost my mucous plug. And the mild contractions continued to come and go like this all morning, including while hooked up to the monitor for the NST. The doctor checked me post-NST, and I had finally dilated a centimeter. Exciting. Baby still hadn't dropped.

Nothing new with the NST -- it was pretty much identical to Wednesday, but with contractions. Arrhythmia continues, but the NST was reactive. Since I had started to make some progress, and nothing seemed worse or more worrisome as far as the arrhythmia was concerned, we decided to reevaluate on Sunday morning, when my doctor is on call.

Contractions have become significantly more painful since the internal, but are still only every 5-7 minutes and are still not extremely painful -- I can talk through them, though walking is pretty uncomfortable.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11

P and I were on our way to work. I still remember what road we were driving down. The DJ was talking between songs and the phone in the booth rang. He answered, as it was one of the producers. All the producer said at first was "Stop broadcasting." The DJ didn't understand. After a few moments, the producer was able to get the DJ to understand what had happened, that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. And that was all we knew, because that was all anyone knew. I got to work before the second plane crashed. We were sent home by mid-morning.

I read something earlier today that expressed much of my own sentiment regarding this day in a far better way than I ever could, but now I can't find it. Until I locate it, I'll just note that I'm glad Lou stayed put today. That's just too much baggage to enter the world with.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 10

A year ago today we were told that our first baby's heart had stopped beating. Ten days or so earlier we had been told that this was the likely outcome of that pregnancy, but I don't think it made hearing the news any easier. And the passage of a year and reaching 39.5 weeks in this pregnancy did less to ease the sadness than I had imagined. I spent much of the morning crying, not sure which tears were in grief over last year and the rice krispie and which tears were in fear for today and Lou.

Today was not a repeat of a year ago. The news was largely neutral. The arrhythmia persists, but only some of the time. And the NST was reactive, though Lou chose to snooze through most of the first 30 minutes, so I had to be strapped in for almost an hour in a position that is far from my favorite. We go back Friday for another round. And the doc is spending the time between now and then contemplating the next steps, specifically, whether to induce this weekend, as she is on call on Sunday. Sunday, of course, is our due date, and is a year to the day after the D&E. The doctor is weighing two factors: while any there is some sense that Lou's arrhythmia might be easier to evaluate on the outside, s/he is clearly not ready to come out yet, or at least s/he thinks s/he is not yet ready given the complete and total lack of progress taking place with my cervix. For now, the waiting continues.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

39 week appointment: Echoes of September Past

I heard it too. The irregular heartbeat. buh-buh-buh-----buh-buh-buh---- I know it's not supposed to skip like that. She had me hop off the table and get dressed.

"We have three pieces of news. None great. All unrelated. One: You're retaining a lot of fluid. Two: While the baby's head is on your cervix, it's very high. This makes a c-section highly likely, though it makes a prolapsed cord unlikely. Three: The heartbeat is irregular."

She kept talking. I waited until she was done. I tried not to cry. But it didn't work. I cried anyway. I reminded her that those same words had been spoken to us last year, at a different stage with a different pregnancy, and it didn't end well. She said it's usually nothing -- 90% of the time it's nothing, never heard again. She had me get back on the table. We heard it again. She got a cool, damp paper towel to wipe my face and made an appointment for an immediate ultrasound. I called P. Off we went.

The ultrasound showed very chubby cheeks, a very active baby, and "occasional to frequent arrhythmia." The baby was too big and too squished for them to get a good view of the heart. But they saw nothing to cause concern. 99% of the time they see this, it's nothing and goes away before birth or shortly after. So now we wait. No more work. Call if there's any change in movement, even if it seems insignificant. NST tomorrow. Waiting. September is for waiting.

Monday, September 8, 2008


I am so tired. I woke up last night and couldn't fall back asleep and now I just feel completely wiped out. And overly emotional.

I got to work this morning and pushed the elevator button. The light above a car flashed, as the car was already there, but the door closed when I pushed the button, and the button deactivated, so I couldn't get on that one or summon another. Then two women with too much makeup and too much perfume got on the first one that came, along with seven other people, all of whom were going to lower floors than I was. By the time I got to my office, I was on the verge of tears for no reason at all. And I still am.

This is all made worse by a combination of my truly ambivalent feelings about work and my overwhelming (and not at all unrealistic) fear that I am going to be fired while on leave. My hours have been really bad for a long time now, and that is how we are judged here. From what I've heard, they give you one review period (six months) before they let you go, but with a second you are at real risk of firing. And my review will be while I'm out on leave, and my hours sucked this period too (as they did in the last), putting me in that "real risk" category.

Were this to come to pass, I don't know that it would be that hard to get a new job doing the same basic thing at a decidedly similar place (though I probably won't be able to go part time, which could be a real problem, since I'm not sure who will take care of our child if P gets a job an hour from our house, which is what he wants, and I have to work 60+ hours a week, as day cares don't do long hours, and I would really prefer not to have to do that), but, coming back to that ambivalence, I'm not sure I even really like what I do. But I earn 80% of our household income, and P really wants/needs to get out of his job, which will entail a further paycut for him, so I think I'm stuck doing this for a while longer (which seems fair, since it's only been three years and I still have 40K in law school debt, plus we have a mortgage, payments on the new car, the rising cost of oil to heat our drafty house, etc.). My other ambivalence issue is that fact that in addition to not being sure I like what I do, I'm not sure I'm very good at it. I think this is in part what kept me up last night and is contributing greatly to my stress these days. But I don't know whether I'm really not good at it or if I just feel that way right now because I'm tired and probably should have stopped working a week or two ago. Right now, I just wish I had an easy job with some real job security.

Today may be one of those days where I close my office door and cry for a while.

Friday, September 5, 2008


My mother called a couple of nights ago, semi-drunk as usual, in part to let me know that my grandmother's health is failing. Because of the semi-drunk part, I didn't ask a lot of questions and therefore don't know much by way of details, which makes it hard to determine how serious this is, but I'm guessing it's at least somewhat legitimate.

As I have mentioned before, my grandma and I have always had a special bond. One of my favorite girl names is my grandmother's middle name (and was her mother's first name, as well as my paternal grandfather's paternal grandmother's first name). I like it on its own, it has a nickname I like, and it has personal meaning. In a world in which I made unilateral decisions, this is the name I would give our child should said child be a girl (and I felt this way before any recent downturn in my grandmother's health). But P doesn't like the name. At all. And this makes me sad. Since I know it's not his favorite (okay, since I know he really strongly dislikes it), I've been trying to push for it to be the middle name rather than the first name, especially as it would go with most of the options currently on the table first-name-wise. And while he hasn't outright vetoed it, I know him well enough to sense that his silence is not one of acquiescence but one where he hopes I'll just drop it.

I'm into genealogy, and connecting to the past while honoring family tradition and legacy are important to me. And all of a sudden, with both of my remaining grandparents nearing the ends of their lives, it feels even more so. P, on the other hand, is more of the mindset that all names that belong to anyone he has known, family or otherwise, are generally off the table, I think for fear that using the name of someone else will give the impression that we're naming after them and that person (or their closest living relatives) will get some sense of undeserved honor. And in the end, the genealogy/honoring relatives thing just doesn't have any salience for him (which it doesn't for a lot of people -- I get it).

With boy names, we've done well on finding names we both like that have some meaning to us, but it's been much harder with girl names, in part because the girl names in our families are almost universally unpalatable to us (as a sampler, our grandmothers are Ed.na, Mil.dred, Wil.ma, and Est.her), either in general or in combination with our last name, and in part because P is partial to French names for girls, and we aren't French (and also in part because it's much harder to use a last name as a first name for a girl). I just wish there was a way we could both be truly happy with the name (or, for now, names) we choose, rather than just ending up with a name we "like".

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Two nights ago, P and I ordered Chinese food, but we forgot about the fortune cookies until we ate round one of leftovers last night. I opened mine first: "You are about to embark on a most delightful journey." I hope that's true. I am glad I didn't open the one P got, though I don't recall what it actually said -- it was in no way personally meaningful. (Though not as bad as the one he got once that said, I believe, "You love horses, sports, and gambling, but not to excess." That one was just odd.)


Based on my midwife's warning on Tuesday, I now have a serious fear of a prolapsed cord should my water break (which was how my mother went into labor both times), so if anyone has any suggestions for getting Lou to move down into my pelvis (or to get my pelvis to open enough to let this happen), I'm glad to hear them. Or if you think I'm now worried over nothing, I'm glad to hear that too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

38w2d: Continuing to count the days

I'm still here, and it's looking less and less like Lou will be making an early appearance. Apparently my colleagues may get their wish of having me work through the 12th. I'm trying to decide whether I should keep working the following week if Lou is late.

As of right now, no dilation. Cervix is soft, but that's about it. And Lou's head seems to have retreated from whatever descent it had made. Without a single contraction, I have no idea how any progress will be made, but I suppose it will happen eventually -- as the midwife noted, no baby stays in forever, despite what the tabloids may write. Her only advice was to walk every day for 30+ minutes, which I'm happy to do. The only issue is that we live on a street that is halfway up a steep hill, so either the start or end of every walk absolutely sucks (or I have to just walk up and down our very short street many, many times), but I'm willing to grin and bear it if it increases the chances of getting things moving.

I just want to feel my fingertips again!