Monthly Archives: January 2009

a new day

I’m tempted to proclaim this reader appreciation day at Reproducing Genius. You all are lovely, and I appreciate you propping me up after last night’s immaturity-induced drama. I’m ready to wash my hands of it all and move on. Honestly, I haven’t encountered anything like that since I was in my twenties, so it was shocking to see here in a place where people are generally kind and respectful, even if they do disagree. So I’m really, super duper grateful for you ladies. I thank you for sharing your similar experiences. I am starting to understand where all of that came from, and I’m just glad that I’m not at that place in my life. But that–in all its vagueness–is all I’m going to say about that. We’re back to the drama-free zone.

Now for an awkward transition, some preggo talk, and something juicy and unexpected:

It’s amazing how sleep changes during pregnancy–even early on. I get up to pee at least twice in the night, but sometimes more like five times. I can no longer sleep on my stomach at all unless I want to sleep in pain. When I roll from one side to another (which I have discovered I do FAR too frequently) I have to hold onto my boobs instead of letting them fall as they will because otherwise the pain is too unbearable. I’m sure it’s quite a sight. Some nights I remember to wear a tight tank top or sports bra to bed, but other nights, I’m just too annoyed with being constricted, and this results in the painful turnovers. It’s something I certainly didn’t expect–at all–and it makes sleeping a little more difficult. The books say this prepares women for the baby’s sleep patterns. I say that I can wait to prepare until a couple of months before the baby is born. I don’t need to prepare now. I’m a procrastinator at heart, and I would like the option of procrastinating with this too. Now, I need and want sleep like never before in my life.

But there is something far more interesting happening as I sleep now, something that would make me the envy of every girl in the neighborhood if only they knew.

I think we have all heard of odd pregnancy dreams. They are apparently incredibly real and vivid and sometimes even disturbing. I haven’t had the super-vivid dreams yet, unless we count a certain, um, sensual variety. Since I’ve been pregnant, I have had exactly four dreams that resulted in orgasms. In the past, I might have had one of those per year, but now they seem to be a nearly weekly occurrence. Most often, these are related in some way to my wife and I engaged in marital bliss,  or myself taking care of things, but once it had something to do with none other than C.NN’s Anders.on Co.oper. Why him? Don’t ask. I don’t particularly like the guy. I don’t find him particularly attractive. I don’t have a thing for well-dressed gay men. I don’t know what it was.  Overall, it’s a fascinating phenomenon, and I really can’t complain. I mean, who would, right? They’re orgasms, and orgasms are good.

I did worry initially. During the earlier weeks, orgasms were giving me cramps, and then once I was spotting for a few days, this really freaked me out. Having orgasms in my sleep seemed like a sneaky thing for my mind and body to do behind my worrying back, and so I was a little afraid of them. I would wake up in a bit of a panic.  Now I’m not fearful, and I can’t say I mind at all. It’s far better than the other night-time phenomena. I just wonder if they will last. Only time will tell, I suppose!

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Filed under blog drama, sleep, the P word

Mom and Grandma and Grandpa + 14?

I’m sure many of you have read about the woman who just had octuplets, and today, CBS is reporting that this woman, who is apparently rather young, has six other children, and lives (along with those kids) with her parents in what is likely a 3-bedroom house. No one has confirmed whether or not any sort of fertility treatments were involved, but I think in this community we all know they probably were.

I must first say that I support single moms by choice. I don’t think women need a partner to have a child or even multiple children. However, at some point, when one is living with one’s parents in what seems to already be a fairly difficult situation, shouldn’t one opt NOT to have more children? Putting aside the dangers of a pregnancy like this to both mom and the babies, what is this going to do to those around them? What about these other children who are likely to become caretakers for their siblings? How much of their lives do they have to sacrifice for mom’s choices?

How is this woman (or her parents) going to afford to raise fourteen children? Maybe she’s got hoards or cash. More likely is that she’ll be given all sorts of donations from the usual suspects because her multiples birth is so unusual.  As someone who is trying to make ends meet so that our child has a good life, I just don’t find this fair. Those women out there who opted NOT to inseminate or have sex when they had too many follicles growing aren’t going to get a special van or house or even diapers for a year for having just one or two kids. None of us is.

This woman and her doctor clearly made some decisions that led to her litter of children, and I’m not sure those decisions should be rewarded.

I’m curious, though. What do you think?

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Filed under in the news

an ode to the olive

If I still wrote poetry, I might actually write an ode to olives today. I have been feeling the ick worse than ever, and no matter which remedy I employ, it doesn’t seem to be going away. I ate about ten saltines. I had a good breakfast with fruit and yogurt and whole grains. I had ginger tea.  I was sitting here turning green, a frown growing across my face. And then I remembered olives–those lovely, salty green orbs–the only thing that can cure the ick nearly instantly for me. They are the magic elixir.

J, ironically, is allergic to the things. They make her vomit, and as a result, we haven’t had them in the house much since we’ve been together, despite my great love for them. When we do, I have just a few that I get from the olive bar at the market so that she doesn’t have to see them. Now, she is handling whole jars of them because they make me feel better. She is such a trooper.

I honestly thought I might escape the all-day ick, but that has not been the case the last few days. Yesterday, I walked into a grocery store only to be assaulted by the overwhelming odor of chicken frying. I can’t stand the smell of meat cooking right now, and I have always hated this cloying odor of frying chicken, so this very nearly caused my first lost lunch. Thus, it would seem that I haven’t escaped the ick at all; I’m just late to the game. I don’t do nausea well. I am frankly a baby about it. I hope it doesn’t get much worse than this. I really, really hope it doesn’t. If it does, my doc has me ready to take extra B6. I need to pick some up. Oh please don’t let this get worse.

Eight weeks tomorrow. Somehow that feels like a milestone. I may celebrate by buying a giant jar of olives.

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Filed under ick, remedies, the P word

Moonrise

This week I can feel my uterus rising like the moon above my pubic bone. It’s remarkable, and each day, it seems higher. I will be eight weeks on Thursday, which means just four more weeks of this crazy first-trimester, or what I am calling the longest TWW in the world (it is no surprise to me that others have referred to this time similarly). It will be four weeks tomorrow that I have known that I am pregnant. Looking back, it doesn’t seem so long. I hope the next four speed by just as quickly.

I cannot claim that I have been the best of partners lately. When J read the section in my post yesterday about retreats to napland, she told me, “Napland I can handle. It’s these frequent trips to crazyland that I could do without.” She’s not exaggerating, nor is she being mean. I’m insane. I can be going along having a perfectly fine morning or afternoon, and something will set me off, and I turn into crazy pregnant lady. It’s more than a little  unsettling, and I feel horrible that my wife has to deal with this. Me + hoards of pregnancy hormones = scary lunatic.

I’m told it gets better. I imagine once I’m not indulging in so much anxiety, that will help. It helps when I make sure I eat something substantial regularly throughout the day (including as soon as I wake up).  And it also helps when I just shut my mouth from time to time. I am less likely to get myself worked into a frenzy if I stay silent and just move my body. J is learning this and as a result has begun walking me much more regularly. Then there are days like today when I seem to need both the frenzy and the movement. After a bit of a tantrum this morning, J and I went for a good long walk in the oak trees during which I was determined to be angry, and after which I was a pleasant human being again.

We’re talking about a trip to Humboldt soon where we can be amongst the big trees again and get filled up by old friends. So much of the pain we are both feeling lately stems from missing our people–our old mentors, our very best couple friends, our poker ladies. We still haven’t found community here; we’ve been bad about meeting people and have been discouraged the few times we have attempted to do so. Not having those people whom I used to cook for on a nearly weekly basis–who used to fill our home with their lovely energy and laughter–is heartbreaking right now, so we shall seek them out and hope for some healing within the coming month. Sometimes I wish we had never left.

I suppose I am thinking about all of this because we are coming up on one year here. It has been a year of struggles and adventures too, but it is nothing like we thought it would be.  Whereas we used to have people over fairly regulalry for meals, I have not cooked for anyone but J in months. There were friends we used to meet at the local brewery to complain about students and laugh and laugh and laugh; now we inevitably go out alone. And yet, we are making a home here in wine country, and we will eventually find our people. I am looking forward to the prenatal and parenting classes we’ll soon be able to take, which will hopefully acquaint us with other parents-to-be. That, to me, sounds just great. I think we simply need life to feel a little warmer now. We need to feel a little less alone.

But I started this post talking about a newfound joy of pregnancy, so I don’t want to end on a sad note. I promised J today that I would try to be more positive, that I would try to enjoy this a little more. Maybe it will feel more enjoyable once we can share it more openly, once it all feels a little more real. For now, when I want to know it’s real, I feel that hard little crescent in my abdomen that wasn’t there even a couple of weeks ago. I try to bask in a little moonlight.

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Filed under anxiety, friends, the P word

spewing forth boredom and panic

It has happened. I have become one of those bloggers who cannot seem to write now that she’s somehow miraculously made it to the other side of TTC. My blogs consist of updates on pregnancy matters and little else. I’m so boring. Unfortunately, I am not just boring in blogland. My wife mentions once in awhile that she feels she has lost me to napland. At some point in the day, some days earlier than others, I collapse on the sofa or in bed, and I sleep for hours. I am utterly useless. No wonder she misses me. The cats, on the other hand, are loving this.

Now for more boring. Here are the things that are keeping me up at night:

  • Neither J nor I were ever given classes for this semester, so I’m working part-time from home right now, and in some ways it’s a good thing. I cannot imagine entertaining thirty people who hate writing while feeling so exhausted. I fear I would have been as apathetic as they are. However, this also means that my income has been cut in half, and J’s income has been cut by 100%.
  • Living in the Bay Area, this income might as well be nothing.  J is feverishly job-hunting, trying to land something that will provide us with insurance so that we aren’t without. For now, we still have health insurance through J’s last teaching gig–until the paychecks stop. That won’t be long now. While my OB appointments and labs thus far have been covered, they won’t be after this month, and this is more than a little scary. We do have backup plans: California has a great, privately-funded program for middle-income pregnant women who can’t get affordable health insurance. If J can’t find a full-time position with benefits, then we’ll have access to that, and it seems that my clinic honors this program, so that is helpful.
  • One unfortunate scenario that could occur, however, is that J could be offered a job with benefits only to find that those benefits are limited to a really fucked up HMO  (Ka.iser) to which we refuse to entrust our lives (they are solely to blame for the death of her father). In this case, I would not have access to the cool California program, nor to my clinic, nor to any kind of freedom regarding prenatal care or birth. A midwife may or may not be out of the question depending on income (we would have to pay out of pocket). The birth center we hoped to use would certainly be out of the question at $5000 out of pocket.
  • We really need to move. We just learned that one of our neighbors was evicted for complaining a few times about a noxious odor in her apartment, about which the owners refuesed to do anything (yes, she sued for wrongful eviction). The people who own this apartment complex are crooked. They have been known to deny maintenance in hopes of keeping security deposits. We have the law on our sides, but we don’t have the money to afford attorneys. It’s a great apartment, but we need to get the hell out of here. Besides, living in a house would be far preferable once we have a baby anyway. We could use the space, and we could certainly use the privacy.
  • We really need a more reliable car. The two we have are on their last legs. That simply isn’t acceptable. This all depends, of course, on gainful employment. And so the cycle continues.
  • Some seem to think that since we have master’s degrees that finding employment should be a cinch. Were I naive and much younger, I might think the same. However, those who haven’t spent their lives in academia are also unaware that few employers really give a shit about how many students we’ve taught to write if we don’t have ten years of copyediting or technical/grant/business writing experience. When it comes to being payed what we’re worth, we’re screwed.

Oh, it’s all annoying, but it’s going to be fine. It is. It really is. (Right? Right?!) If nothing else, we will piece together part-time gigs as we always have. I just can’t panic. I want to, but I can’t.

So perhaps this is why I haven’t been writing. I’m spewing–and whining–and complaining, but I’m not writing anything worth saying. See, blog silence is a good thing.

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Filed under anxiety, health care, Ramblings, the P word

Introducing…

…our little Egghead. (That would be the white blob within the black blob below.) Isn’t s/he adorable? Our doctor says s/he is the cutest fetal pole she’s ever seen. How could we disagree?
Egghead
Egghead

Needless to say, we went for our second OB appointment today. It began with weird shit. I had to complete all of my paperwork over again, including my medical history, because they couldn’t find my chart. I was just there a week ago! J and I both complained, and when I finally completed the stack of papers again, I asked for copies. I had no idea what the hell was going on, but I was pissed.

I was finally sent back to do my weight and urine and all of that good stuff, and then we waited for the doctor in the ultrasound room. She came in very cheerful and ready to get started right away, so she pulled out the magic wand and immediately found the above. That would be our baby–measuring 6 weeks 5 days, which seems right on target. We also saw a strong flickering heartbeat, and to assure J that there were indeed no other babies in there, she swished the wand around (she also offered to give J a sympathy ultrasound to show her just how comfortable it all is. J declined.). The doctor, for whom I have got to figure out a name, was very pleased with the little one’s progress. It is truly remarkable how much it’s grown in just a week.
Then Dr. K said, “I need to tell you something.” I panicked for half a second, and then she informed me that they had a break-in, some files were stolen, and mine was likely one of them. Fuck. They gave me a credit agency’s number, apologized, etc. Honestly, I was relieved nothing was wrong with me, but I can’t believe my information was stolen. I suppose it explains the need for me to fill out all the same paperwork over again. Honestly, after seeing everything was okay with Egghead (more on that below), I didn’t care. It will be okay.
Other than this bit of news, the visit was wonderful. Our OB is so attentive. She talks with both of us equally, answers our questions, spends a good amount of time giving us information and talking about how things are going, and generally has a lot of fun with us. I don’t know what we’ll end up doing for the birth, but should we have to stick with an OB and hospital due to insurance purposes, I would feel great with her.
My other encounters with medical professionals today were not as joyful. After my appointment, I had the joy of going for my bloodwork. I’m frankly surprised that I didn’t step onto a conveyor belt when I entered the lab. I was in and out within fifteen minutes, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. J befriended a mom with a 6-week-old as I was called back by the butchest, meanest phlebotomist I’ve ever encountered. She sat me down, ordered me to take off my sweater, roughly cleaned the poke spot, jabbed the needle in (hard!), and proceeded to take about ten gallons of my blood without ever once looking at my face or acknowledging that I was a human being and not a large vein. She then ordered me to give them a urine sample. If I hadn’t been so irritated, I may have cried.
But now we’re home, and we have this picture of a .79 centimeter creature growing inside of my very own uterus. It’s crazy to think about.
Because we have a visible, viable fetus, we had to give it a name for the blog. At home, we have cutesy German names for it, but they would make no sense here, and I wouldn’t be able to spell them without umlauts. So we went for something more in keeping with the whole smartypants theme of the blog, hence the name Egghead. Somehow, this seems to make it that much more official. There really is a baby growing in there!

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Filed under Egghead, OB, the P word

Happy Inauguration Day!

What a remarkable day this is in American history. J and I have been watching inauguration coverage since about 6:30 this morning simply awestruck with the enormity of it all. There’s a sense of relief that the last eight years are over and a sense of great pride that this is our country’s future, that our child will be born during the Obama administration.

I have  a weird obsession with the pomp and circumstance of events such as these. I don’t want to miss a single motorcade, procession, or trumpet flare. I’m a geek like that, I suppose, but I don’t care. I have happily sat here with tears streaming down my face all day long.

On the baby-growing front, I haven’t meant to be missing for so long. I guess I just haven’t wanted to whine on and on about how I feel. Things are fine though. The spotting stopped a couple of days ago, and things like nausea and exhaustion are increasing, making me feel much more confident, albeit icky. We are very much looking forward to our appointment Thursday morning, and we’ll be certain to post a photo.

For now, I’m back to watching the inaugural parade.

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Filed under Politics, the P word

first appointment

We just returned from our appointment with the OB. She was young-ish, warm, informal, smart, and she treated us like smart, informed women. J and I were able to ask questions, and she was able to calm some of my fears. She told us over and over that some spotting is very normal, that it was likely related to implantation.

And then we got to have an ultrasound! At this point, all we could see was the gestational sac and yolk sac, but she said both look great. She’s having us come back next week so that we can try to see our wee one. J and I swear, though, that we saw a little flutter in there. I would post the photo, but I am too lazy to scan it in right now. It’s really just a black blob (gestational sac) with a minuscule white blob (yolk sac), so you’re not missing much.

The crap part was having a pap–they always make me bleed, and she warned me that she angered my cervix quite a bit but not to worry for the coming day. I would rather not see any blood coming from my nether regions at the moment, but I’ll deal.

The best thing we heard her say is that everything looks good, that there is no sign of impending miscarriage. She thinks everything is going to be just fine. That’s just what we needed to hear, and I’m calmer already.

Next appointment is next Thursday when we’ll do all of the blood work and have another ultrasound.

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Filed under OB, the P word

enough already!

Last night I had my first scare. I had a teeny bit of spotting on a trip to the restroom, and thirty minutes later a bit more. That was it, but it threw me into a tailspin. I read everything I could in the books I have, and I know that a small amount of spotting can be normal. It seems like mine is of the normal variety, but no newly pregnant woman wants to see even the remotest of pink.

Last night, my dreams were frought with horrid dreams of losing the baby. Our OB appointment is not until Friday. I don’t need this anxiety. I have plenty.

I wish that I could just think positively, that I wouldn’t have any fodder for thinking otherwise. I need that right now. I need a break from the worry.

—–

Thanks girls. I need the positivity. I called the doctor and they found me an appointment for tomorrow, which is a relief. I’m still spotting off and on today, which makes me dread my frequent trips to the restroom. I will be much more at ease when tomorrow comes.

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Filed under anxiety, the P word

On Hope

J here–finally! I don’t know why I haven’t written sooner except that the immediacy of each moment seems to take precedence. First off, let me just say how thrilled, how absolutely over-the-moon happy I am that after all this time, we are finally pregnant!

Sure, there are many challenges that face us as we take this journey together. I’m aware that T and I have together challenges and individual challenges. I’m working very hard to understand hers and help her to get through them. But despite the moodiness, the hormones, the financial struggles, etc. I can’t help but feel peaceful about most of it.

See, before the positive result on Dec 31st, T and I had hit a crisis point, not with each other necessarily, but a crisis point nonetheless. T was particularly difficult. She picked fights with me, complained about everything, and had a generally negative attitude. Add to this that she was completely uninterested in my own stress and worries, and we were not doing well heading into the Christmas holidays and the lengthy stay at her mom’s. Some of it was the stress of finals and impending holidays, but we had weathered these tense times before. There was something very different–and scary–about the last TWW.

I realize this is like airing our dirty laundry, but I find it so significant, so bear with me.

I told her during one argument that she was losing it. I told her she was out of control, and she did not deny it.

We weathered the holidays and put our angst on hold for a week, but mostly out of necessity rather than any normalizing force. When we returned home after Christmas, the stress returned. T was just so. . . . unpredictable? negative? whiny? all of the above? We had this one particular day, the 29th I think, where it all came to a head. I told her that I was so worn out, so torn down, that I didn’t think that I could take another negative result, that it would just do me in and sink me into a depression. I had never said or felt that before in our long journey, but something was just dragging me down, and I didn’t think I could take all the disappointment and despair that comes with a negative test. T must have also been at her wit’s end because she was worse than usual–overreacting to every little thing, misinterpreting my words, and despairing about everything. When I called her on it, she told me it was likely PMS.

That statement ran me over like a freight train. It was not what I needed to hear, whether true or not. I stopped speaking. What was there to say? She went silent too. This went on for a few hours until I couldn’t take it anymore. It all hurt too much. I went into our bedroom and cried. Big, heaving sobs spilled out of me, and I had to hold on to the bed just to keep from falling to the floor. It hurt so bad. When will something, anything, go our way? We work so hard, but for what? What a lonely, godforsaken process TTC had become for us. I couldn’t take it. I wept until I was completely wrung out. Eventually, after an hour or so, T came into the bedroom and found me sitting on the floor staring at nothing in particular, my eyes swollen and red. She felt terrible for blaming her mood on PMS, and we decided to get out of the house and go to our favorite Irish pub. We drowned our sorrows. We paid the price the next day. The following morning T tested positive.

And there you have it. Just as we were spiraling into a dark place born out of the frustration, emptiness, and panic that comes with trying to get pregnant, we got our heart’s desire.

T’s disposition was the result of early pregnancy, not PMS. I could not have known, nor could she. We got used to disappointment over this long process. This is perhaps the most maddening thing about TTC, in my opinion. While we must brace ourselves and even expect a measure of disappointment, our efforts are also steeped in hope. They must be. Why try to get pregnant month after month if we have no hope that it will eventually happen? Why would we want to bring a baby into the world if we lack hope? Hope is our fuel, our thrust, the very thing that moves us through this process no matter how painful it gets. Necessarily it must be so. Without it, we would never continue the process because it feels so bloody awful at times. Weeks of hope followed by crashing disappointment, only to have to find a way to start all over again with hope.

But for me, hope was about the future. Something was going to go our way soon, just around the bend. We’d get around that bend only to find our surroundings just as littered with complications and disappointments. Hope. At the moments when the universe seemed to strip us of all hope, we dug a little deeper, and hoped a little harder. When we had no reason to hope, we did so anyway. To do anything less was to give up, and giving up wasn’t an option. To give up on being a parent was never an option; there was always another plan, another approach. We could not and would not consider the “what if.” You know, the what-if-I-can’t-get-pregnant thought. Hope wouldn’t allow it.

I used to think hope was for fools who hadn’t suffered enough to know better. I was too smart, too enlightened to ever stake my future on such a naive emotion, and yet it saved us. It saved us from our worst inclinations. It saved me from myself, from my tendencies to engage in self-destructive behavior; it helped me to not give in to anger and despair, which is my nature. It helped me prop T up when she was low and being negative.

Hope, for most of this long process, was all we had, but I’m sure as hell glad we found it.

I cling to it today, hoping I’ll be able to find a good job that will provide healthcare for my wife and baby. I hope I’ll be able to be a stabilizing force in my wife’s life during her pregnancy. I hope I’ll be a good mom and pass on good behaviors rather than the ones passed on to me by my mother. I hope, I hope, I hope.

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Filed under the P word, ttc, us