Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Birthday

After all the craziness and chaos that has defined my existence over the recent months, I am finally holding in my arms the silver lining I needed to find the momentum to change the direction of my life's course. Annika Joy was born this afternoon at 1:27pm. She is a very petite 5 lbs, 13 oz. and 18 inches long. She is absolutely perfect and has a firm grip on my heart already.

Show Time

I didn't make any progress all morning until the last hour. I've dilated to 7 centimeters and I'm 80% effaced. With any luck Squishy will be here within the hour.

Come on Birth Day!

It's about 6am and I'm now dilated to 3 with bloody show. I slept from 2am until 4:30 and the contractions waned while I was out. Now that I'm sitting up they're picking up again and the Pitocin was increased a little bit just recently to help move things along. I'm nervous about the Pitocin because I know it can be brutal. I realize that because of the fact that I'm being induced I can't claim a "natural" birth but I would really like to do this without pain medication. I don't want to have a drugged baby because it increases the risk of complications for her and since I don't have anyone here who can advocate on my behalf, I would like to maintain control over my body and my mind.

More to come as we progress.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Impending Birth Day

I'm pretty sure my sweet little girl's birthday will be September 7th. I'm sitting in the hospital strapped to a machine that sounds like a galloping horse with my bare bottom stuck to a chux pad. I ended up here over the weekend because of my kidney again. The doctor decided that it would be in my best interest to induce labor now since there is no treatment that can be done while I'm pregnant. So this morning I went in for an amniocentesis to determine if the baby's lungs would be developed enough for induction. Well, we got a blaring green light so here I sit waiting for them to administer Pitocin which will run on a low dose through the night.

I was pretty scared at first. I'm 180 degrees from where I had anticipated when I started this journey nine months ago. But I'm beginning to feel excitement about it now. I can't believe that I'm finally going to be meeting my little girl. The elation evaporated with all of my dreams when Josh left but now it's back. I can't wait to hold her in my arms, I can't wait to look into her sweet face, I can't wait to inhale the sweet smell of her warm little body.

I'm hopeful that labor will start with just the low dose of Pitocin. It's not an unreasonable hope since I've already got four births under my belt. My midwife is on tonight and it would be really great if she could attend my birth. If, however, Squishy doesn't make an appearance by 6 tomorrow morning then the Pitocin will be increased and more than likely the doctor who ordered the induction will attend my birth. I'm ok with that too, I just would prefer my midwife because, well, she's a lot more likeminded and I think would be more intuitively inclined to respect my wishes than the doctor.

I'll update as soon as there is something to report. Let the adventure begin!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

29 Days

Today it's been 29 days since Josh turned my whole life upside down. 29 days since my family was irrevocably ripped apart, 29 days since I've had any glimpse of happiness. It's been four weeks and one day since I've felt the touch of another adult whose name doesn't end in M.D. 29 of the longest, most excruciating days of my life full of sadness, rage and pain. In the last 29 days I have faced my worst nightmare and finally formed a plan to move through it. There are some days when I don't cry but the tears remain ready and threatening to burst forth at any number of triggers. I have developed a rage that is bigger and more violent than anything I've ever experienced in my life. Josh has become something I can't even identify except to say that he's deceitful and intent on spreading his path of destruction to include the kids. He's spending more time with his new girlfriend and her kids than he is with his own. I'm just grateful that my babies are too young to see that they've always been back-burnered. Hopefully we'll be gone from this place before they see that it will always be that way because he's too much of a pathetic, spineless coward to do what's necessary for the sake of his kids.

We're planning to leave Kentucky. Just as soon as money and weather permit it, we're going to rent a trailer, load it and the suburban up with everything we own and burn rubber out of this horrific nighmare and never look back. We need a new beginning in a place where we have friends and won't be outcast. Bastyr University in Washington state is rated the number one midwifery school in the country so that's my destination. I was hopeful that we could leave before the next semester begins but after working the numbers, we're going to have to wait until the spring. I just can't continue to put my kids through what their dad is doing. If he wants to be irresponsible and hurtful, we need to be as far from him as possible. And the further away we are, the less it's going to hurt when he continually puts everyone else ahead of them.

Squishy will be here in a little more than three weeks. She is healthy and growing well. I'm still planning to birth here at home because there's no reason to believe there will be any danger. Physically, my body is done being pregnant. I am not sleeping well, I'm uncomfortable and I'm an emotional, soggy mess. Mentally, however, I'm petrified. Another little person who is counting on me to do what's right, to provide for her, to protect her, to nurture her as she grows into the beautiful person she is destined to become scares the piss out of me. The gravity of carrying the weight of four young children by myself through their lives, hopeful for the best possible outcome is daunting at best. I truly hope they all will be able to forgive me for the mistakes I'm sure to make. Ready or not, the time is coming.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chaos and Mayhem

The lag in my blog posts has all been for a reason. Well, a lot of reasons, actually. I've been in and out of the hospital weekly. When I was home I was in so much pain that I required narcotic medication to manage it which left me loopy and unable to form coherent thoughts. The last time I was in the hospital was last week for dehydration and multiple deficiencies resulting from three days of vomiting due to my stomach lining being depleted from all of the drugs and antibiotics I'd been on. I'm finally recovering. I still have some kidney discomfort but I don't need medication to manage it.

The time I was in the hospital before the stomach issue was to have the ureteral stent removed because it was more painful than the kidney stones. When I was finally discharged after five days, Josh dropped an atomic bomb on me: he no longer loved me and didn't want to be with me anymore. Since then I've been an emotional train wreck and have decided to join a Unitarian Universalist church in an effort to find some kind of community. I went to my first service today. I think I've found something pretty darned cool and I feel like it will be very helpful in my journey through my ruined marriage and road to self-discovery.

Josh moved out today and I'm working through a lot of feelings about being alone, raising my kids alone and losing my best friend. I am thinking about Squishy and how I want to proceed with her birth. I am leaning toward a home birth still but not entirely sure yet. I should be seeing my midwife this week and will discuss my options in the hospital with her.

In the darkness that followed the devastation of my marriage, someone told me that the birth of my baby would also be my own rebirth. I think there is some good wisdom in that statement. It is comforting now in these moments when I feel like I don't want to have a baby because it seems so wrong to bring a new, precious life into such a chaotic and broken situation. But such a significant moment such as birth and rebirth (especially at the same time), I think it's only fitting that I do so in my own way that makes me feel empowered. We'll see what the midwife says.

I took a picture before I went to church this morning. I think I've actually shrunk since the last picture 5 weeks ago.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Month of Hell

I have to convey my deepest apologies for my absence. I actually have an excuse this time; I have been pretty sick. It began as dull back pain not unlike the discomfort one might feel after being hunched over a desk all day - only I don't have a desk to hunch over. For a while I thought it might just be more gas (come on, you didn't think it ended in the first trimester did you?). After about a week of that it became worse and was concentrated more on the right side. I didn't think that even the most stubborn gas bubble would hang on that long so I diagnosed myself with a kidney issue and headed to the hospital with a pain level of about 7 out of 10.

I was right; the diagnosis was kidney stones. I spent two nights in the hospital where they kept me drugged up on narcotics and bloated with IV fluids, collecting everything that came out of my body. I was finally released with a prescription for Percocet and my very own collection kit. The Percocet made me very dizzy and loopy so I couldn't take it when I was alone with the kids and so I suffered through it while Josh was at work. Oh, but you can bet your butt I was waiting with drugs in hand for him to walk through that door so that I could find some measure of relief, at least for a little while, from the awful pain I was trapped in.

Within a week and a half I found myself perched on the end of the bed at 2am, writhing and screeching in pain - this time with a pain level of 11 out of 10, setting a whole new precedent. Despite my best efforts to be quiet so that the kids wouldn't wake up, Josh was disturbed from his sweet slumber and so helped me to the living room where he called an ambulance and got me some of the pain meds and a glass of water. This pain, however, was far too intense for mere Percocet to even touch.

By the time I reached the hospital I'd been dribbled, bounced, jerked, thumped, and poked - all while one of the EMTs was trying to chit-chat with me. He asked me what brought me to Lexington, where my husband works and when he asked me if my husband enjoys his job, I hissed at him through gritted teeth as I writhed on the gurney, twisted and contorted in pain, holding my right flank in a ditch effort to cushion myself against the turns and bumps, "I DON'T F*CKING KNOW!" He remained quiet for the rest of the ride.

Once I was taken to my appointed room and transferred to the bed, I was asked a whole gambit of questions that I don't remember, spitting answers through my clenched jaw while every vein in my neck and forehead stood prostrate through angry, red flesh as my blood pressure peaked with the agony of piercing, stabbing pain that can only be summed up as feeling like you're being skewered in through the flank, straight through and out the bladder.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, a nurse came in with a couple of syringes and alcohol wipes. Morphine was the name of the game. One syringe was given to me through the IV that the EMT had clumsily administered through jarring bumps and swerving turns while I was in the ambulance. The other syringe was violently stabbed into the top of my left thigh where it burned like acid as it seeped into my muscle. While it didn't take the pain away, it disconnected me from it enough so that I could relax through it and I went limp. Sleep was next. By the time I woke up, the pain was gone but I was still in Morphine Land. I was released that morning and went home to sleep off the drugs.

My kidney seems to be healing up nicely but it sure took a long time for the Morphine and all the effects of it to pass. After I'd had time to reflect on the whole experience, I decided that from this point on I really want to stay as far from allopathic medicine as possible. I remembered that I wasn't allowed any water - not even ice chips - while I was in the hospital passing a kidney stone. WTF? No, their answer was a slow-drip IV and hardcore narcotics - for a pregnant woman! And my pelvis feels like it's splitting in half from laying in bed for so long. Now I've enlisted the services of a wonderful chiropractor who works with subluxations. It was really the best I could do here in Lexington, KY where the overall lack of evolution and, consequently, modern concepts, means there is a significant shortage of naturopathic healthcare options.

I would also like to find a midwife who will take me seriously and not snicker behind my back when I mention my previous birth experiences. I'm not sure how possible that will be but the quest has begun. We'll see how it goes. If I can't find someone in whom I can convey my confidence, then I will fall back to taking care of myself. I'm standing on that precarious edge now because it's a lot of effort to seek out such an individual and I'm approaching the end of my pregnancy rather quickly. Wish me luck!

Oh, and through all of this chaos we found out that Squishy is a girl. And, for your viewing pleasure, here's a couple of recent pictures. The first is Squishy at 26 weeks and the second is me at 29 weeks. We've only got 11 weeks left!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Howdy Stranger!

Oh, I know you've missed me. And I've missed you too. This last month has been a little hectic with furnishing our home, visiting relatives, being sick and settling in. School is out for summer so that adds a new dynamic to my days now, too. But the good news is that we're all alive and well (that is, except for the chest congestion with which we've all suddenly been stricken).

Over the next month we will be buying beds for all the kids and decorating their rooms. I've also reluctantly decided to seek out a midwife team to oversee my prenatal care. Life is just too hectic around here and I could really use an hour or so away from home with no kids once a month. I found a place that, from the info on their website, sounds like they'll be a little more down-to-earth and a little more respectful than the allopathic chop-shop I visited in Tucson. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll be open to my intentions. I really hate having to lie and fight for my rights.

Squishy is now 24 weeks gestation. This means I've only got 16 weeks to go before I get to kiss that sweet face. The excitement is mounting! On average, Squishy should weigh about a pound and measure a foot long, give or take. However, I'm still measuring pretty big for my dates - about 5-6 weeks ahead, actually. So I'd like to have another ultrasound. Hammy measured big too but it was mainly due to excessive amniotic fluid. And he only measured 2-3 weeks ahead. I joked I was going to birth a Volkswagen. I imagine this time I'll look like a parade float in another couple of months.

So far we've got most of Squishy's wardrobe acquired. We still need a car seat, swing and bassinet but I think we're going to wait until we're a little closer to the end to grab those. This summer will have us busy with my step kids which means an overdose of chaos. I think shopping is going to have to wait until the mayhem subsides and school is back in session. Then I can lose myself in baby heaven. For now I need to work on weaning Daisy and hopefully potty training her as well. So much to do, so little time.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Sad Day

I realize that I just posted yesterday but today my heart is laden with a heaviness with which I need to make peace. Writing usually enables me to organize my thoughts and feelings so I figured, what the heck?

Only a few short days ago I found that an acquaintance, who was only a week further in her pregnancy than I am in mine, gave birth to a very tiny little boy. Unfortunately, he was way too small to survive outside of his mommy and he died. My heart broke for her and I wept as I imagined the tiny toes she would never kiss, the gentle, gurgling coos that would never sing out to her, the first smile that would never spread across his tiny lips, and a mother's heart with a hole the size of Texas where that little boy should have lived.

My heart burned as these thoughts passed through my head and I thought of the beautiful life growing and squirming inside of my belly. How delicate, how fragile this little person is. I can do everything right, taking care of myself for the sake of this frail child and still, there are no guarantees.

Tonight my mom called to tell me that a friend of our family had gone into labor today, planning a home birth, when her baby's heart rate dropped. She was transferred to the hospital but by the time she arrived, her sweet child was lifeless. She was a going to be a first-time mommy. Once she comes out of the fog of narcotics she's been given, she will go home with empty arms and an empty womb. She will have to face all of the tiny clothes, diapers, and furniture which await a baby who will never arrive.

Once again my eyes are being wrung out as the tears flow uncontrollably. It's so unfair. And what about my own baby? As I'm grieving for these women, I'm terrified of the mortality that is only a heartbeat away from stealing away the life inside of me, like a thief in the night, which would leave me emotionally beaten and defeated. How can I protect him or her? I'm already doing everything I know to ensure a healthy baby. But what if it's not enough? What if death comes skulking with razor-sharp talons and rips away all of my hopes and dreams in a bloody mess of lifeless flesh as I'm left trying to find and repair the shreds of my broken and devastated heart?

Oh, the unfairness of life. I wish there was a way I could wrap my arms around Squishy and protect him or her from harm. I want to kiss him, hold him close to my heart and reassure him that everything will be okay. But I can't. Despite my aggressiveness, my arrogance, my strength, and my determination, there are still things beyond my control and that terrifies me. I already have four great kids who have no health problems or concerns and never have. Am I tempting fate? Infant mortality, especially in this country, is as random a gamble as a roll of the dice. What if it's waiting on my back steps?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Last night as I was lying in bed waiting for sleep to overcome my exhausted body, I experienced an enlightening epiphany. It began as contemplation over what I'd like to do for Mother's Day when it occurred to me that all this time we've been doing it wrong. Household matriarchs, the country over, each year bask in the breakfast-in-bed-and-flowers scenario each year as their children and partners try to express their gratitude for the mothers in their lives. I can't help but to think this is completely backward.

Maybe my house is a bit unusual in this way but for me, most days are "mother's day". I awake each and every morning surrounded by the little people who bring happiness and joy to my life. They gaze up at me through half open eyelids still heavy with sleep as a smile dances across their lips. They grunt and then wrap their little arms around me in a soft, heartfelt hug and say, "I love you, mommy." Even my husband never lets me forget how much I am loved.

Throughout the day my kids reveal life to me through their naive and innocent eyes - things that have long been forgotten since my own childhood. Just last weekend Damian picked me a grubby handful of Dandelions out of the lawn at park. As he handed me the fistful of dying weeds, he plucked one from the bunch and asked me to bend down. When I leaned forward, he took the fuzzy, yellow flower and tucked it behind my left ear. As I stood up, he looked me over and, with a nod of approval, said, "mom, you're beautiful."

I don't need Mother's Day for that. That day held more sentiment than any Mother's Day I've experienced to date. But what I realized last night as this reflection was playing through my mind is that Mother's Day isn't about being Queen-For-the-Day. I'm the queen in my house every day. Mother's Day is about the gratitude that overflows from my heart when I look into the eyes of my three year old and tell him I'm sorry for yelling at him and he says, "that's ok, mommy." Mother's Day is about looking into the beautiful, shining faces of my sweet babes and NOT taking for granted that they love me unconditionally. These amazing little people don't care about the countless screw-ups I've made in my life, they forgive me when I make a mommy mistake, they stroke my hair and caress my face when I'm sick or sad, and they think I'm beautiful even when I look like I've been hit by a Mack truck. These precious little lives that I've been so lucky to be surrounded with give me more than I could ever hope to give them. They make being a mom worth every peed bed, every snotty nose, every broken dish, every fight, and every "EEEWWW, we're having THAT for dinner?!"

I think that, as mothers, we get so caught up in the stress of work, dinner, laundry, school and fights that we sometimes forget to notice how truly amazing these little people are. So from now on Mother's Day in my house is not going to be a greedy, self-indulgent, matriarchal party where everyone caters to me. On the contrary, Mother's Day in my house will be about showing my kids how thankful I am that they've chosen me to be their mom.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kentucky Woman

After a trip to the local grocery store here in Lexington, it has become apparent that I absolutely MUST make a local, native friend. How else am I going to learn what chitterlings are? I also encountered an entire shelf of bright purple pickled eggs - and I don't think it's an Easter thing. There are many, many more such things about which I am completely ignorant (hard to believe, I know but sadly it's true).

In my absence from here we have endured the stress, chaos and sheer hell of selling off all of our furniture, acquiring a storage unit and trekking 1800 miles across the country with our meager bare necessities. We have landed in Lexington, Kentucky where my skin is enjoying much-needed hydration via almost daily thunder storms. If we can survive tornado season then we should be ok.

Also, Squishy has grown substantially. He or she is now the length of a bell pepper, 5 1/2 inches long, weighing almost seven ounces. I'm titillated with the feeling of little fluttering kicks daily. Other than being exhausted from the move, I'm feeling pretty darned good now. I am back to eating just about anything I want without suffering eternal gastric damnation for it. My belly is growing a little more every week and will soon be the size of a Winnebago. Maybe I should be calling Squishy "Winnie" instead. Hmm, thought-provoking indeed.

I'm sitting on a pile of extra blankets and pillows contemplating an object with which to compare my expanding abdominal sphere of maternal development because we have nowhere to store the extra bedding and no sofa upon which to thoughtfully consider such queries. What better way to handle both conundrums? We are hoping that Josh's bonus will come soon so that we can begin accumulating furniture. At the very least we need a bed. Air mattresses are really not very comfortable despite the deceptively ecstatic smiles worn by the models posing in the picture on the box. And they become less comfortable as you add more slumbering yet restless occupants.

So with the bonus I will also be ordering my prenatal supplies. While I'm not in a big hurry, I also think that if I don't do it soon then it will become pointless as my pregnancy wanes, dwindling down to mere weeks and then days until delivery. So better sooner than later.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Relocation and Bubbles

Squishy is on the move. Laying in the bed this morning, ritualistically checking email, perusing craigslist, reading up on the latest news (aka Facebook) I noticed a subtle but distinct little bubbly feeling in my belly. I know what you're thinking: gas. And with my previous brief history of overwhelming flatulence, I can see how one might come to that conclusion. However, in the last few weeks the bloating buildup of  intestinal gas has subsided dramatically. My sweet little Squishy, who is now somewhere between the size of a lemon and the size of an apple, is big enough that when he or she moves I can feel it. How exciting! It just makes this whole experience that much more real. Of course in another four or five months when I'm all but crippled with sciatic pain and wetting myself every time Squishy moves, I might not be so excited but for now I'm positively elated and living in the moment.

In other news, my absence here has been for a reason. We are moving. And not just across town either. We're moving 1800 miles across the country to the beautiful town of Lexington, Kentucky. We have been wanting to relocate to Kentucky for some time now and it's finally happening. And what great timing! My morning sickness seems to have passed now - at least most days - and I'm not huge and uncomfortable yet. We'll be closer to Josh's kids which will save us thousands of dollars every year for plane tickets we won't have to purchase anymore. And we'll be swapping the insane heat, cactus, scorpions, javelina and kissing bugs (don't be fooled, kissing bugs are NOT endearing as the name would suggest - each time they bite their victim, he or she becomes more and more sensitized to the venom and will eventually suffer anaphylactic shock from a "kiss") for green grass, trees, four seasons, tolerable summers, and fertile top soil capable of bringing forth life-giving vegetation.

Consequently I've been packing, arranging our move, calling property management companies and utilities and desperately trying to patch up our current house so that we don't have to pay more than our security deposit for cleaning and damages. So far I've ripped up carpet, vinyl and linoleum; laid new vinyl; spackled the built-in entertainment center and painted it as well as the walls that the kids have artistically graffitied with various implements which bring forth permanent ink upon any given surface to which they are applied. This has been repeated a couple of times now because evidently my kids just can't resist white walls. The gleaming, flawless surface calls to them as a blank canvas to Van Gogh.

Despite the stress involved in moving, this experience is actually helping to alleviate the intense anticipation of waiting for Squishy. I'm no longer obsessively perusing craigslist and various online catalogues for baby booty. My dining room has been emptied of its furniture which has been replaced with what feels like hundreds of diaper and beer boxes (my sister, who is bartending her way through college, generously donated several beer boxes to our cause and we already had quite a few diaper boxes because I'm a pack rat and can't bring myself to throw away a perfectly good box) plastered with bits of masking tape labeled in fat, black Sharpie. Unfortunately, our move is going to happen in two stages due to financial unpreparedness. We're going to be putting at least half of our belongings in storage and taking only the barest of necessities along with us using a borrowed trailer. In a couple of months one of us will drive back to return the trailer and retrieve the rest of our possessions. If we time it just right we'll be able to pick up Tianna for the summer in the same trip.

Our move date is around April 21st so my posts here might be few and far between until we are finally settled. In the meantime there is still a lot of packing and cleaning to do.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Show Time

Today Squishy is 12 weeks and is now causing an abdominal protrusion. Even though Squish is only a couple of inches long, my uterus is roughly the size of a cantaloup. And the rest is indigestion. The morning sickness, while slightly milder, is in no hurry to leave. I am, however, able to get out of bed sometimes now which is a major improvement. Hopefully my little couch potatoes will come alive too now that the weather has warmed up enough to play outside. I thought we might grow a garden this year. The only problem is that we're not sure if we'll still be living here when the time comes to harvest our bounty. I think I'm going to do it anyway, though, because it would be a great experience for the kids.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And the Magic Number Is...

Today was my appointment with the OB/GYN. Last night sleep was elusive. I couldn't stop thinking about today's impending adventure. Finally somewhere around midnight I finally drifted off to sleep. And then about three minutes later, at 6:45am my eyes snapped open with no hopes of returning to dreamland. I got up, shuffled around half asleep, made sure Damian was getting ready for school and did a little clean up so that my mom wouldn't have to wash dishes just to get the kids breakfast once they awoke.

Soon Damian was off to school, mom arrived, Josh and I got dressed, he tossed down a cup of coffee and I inhaled a chicken sandwich (eggs totally gross me out lately). The babies woke up crabby but were soon distracted from their irritability when they discovered that gramma was here. Once they were absorbed in the book gramma was reading, Josh and I slipped out the door and off to the doc.

Upon arrival at the clinic, I signed in and soon was handed a sizeable stack of paper to fill out. A lot has changed in the 15 years it's been since I jumped through the hoops of mainstream obstetrics. For starters, the list of personal and invasive questions has quadrupled! It used to ask if you had VD and if you had any ancestral history of diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Now they also want to know your specific heritage and whether any of your distant relations had freckles (what?). After signing and dating 400 times, I handed over the book and waited. [I'm going to just say here real quick that the medical industry needs a serious overhaul when it comes to customer relations. If I showed up at, oh, say the salon for a hair cut and a massage, I would not be waiting for 30 minutes after my appointment time to be invited back. If there were such a delay I would be offered a beverage and maybe even a discount or coupon for my trouble. Any time I've ever been to a medical doctor, I was expected to wait for at least 30 minutes for my appointment and then bow down and kiss the egotistical feet of the all-knowing doctor who has so generously graced me with his presence. Horse crap, I say! I'm paying that person - and I'm paying him significantly more than my hairdresser. I think he should be hopping around trying to make me more comfortable in an effort to earn my business. Ok, that's the end of that rant. Back to the story.]

Eventually we were escorted down the long hallway to a nondescript exam room where I was handed a napkin and asked to, "undress and put this on, open at the back." I'm sorry, what? I think there's a mistake; this is a napkin. No, I was expected to adorn myself in this paper dress with the thickness and transparency of 1-ply toilet paper.

I undressed to my socks (sorry, the floor was really cold and they don't need to examine my feet anyway) and unfolded the napkin. From between the layers of the napkin a white strip of what looked like plumber's tape slipped out and fell on the floor. I still do not know what I was supposed to do with it as it was much too short for use as a tie-back. After carefully unfolding the fragile paper, I slid my arms into the holes and gingerly alighted upon the exam table so as not to damage or tear the garment. Josh compared my outfit to somethine Lady Gaga might wear (eyeroll - I don't like her at all). I was disappointed that, with the few hundred dollars they would be receiving from my insurance company, they couldn't provide something a little more... dignified? I mean just prior to being escorted into the exam room I was asked to pee all over my hand while holding a very thin strip of paper with bits of colored paper stuck to it. Few things in life are more degrading and undignified than peeing on yourself ON PURPOSE! And then they want me to wear a paper dress. [Another interruption: pregnant women often suffer from hot flashes which cause excessive perspiration. Have you ever washed your hands only to discover that the restroom was out of paper towels and you mistakenly thought toilet paper would be a good substitute? Remember the thousands of tiny bits of wet paper shredded and stuck to your skin like persistent white boogers? This is much the same effect of combining sweat with a toilet paper dress!]

The nurse took my vitals and I waited with Josh for the ominous obstetrician to grace us with her presence. Eventually Dr. Narcissistic showed up. She did some poking around on me, listening to my lungs, etc. Then I made love to a speculum while having my cervix poked and brushed. Finally, she wheeled over the ultrasound machine and squirted a nice sized glob of cold, slimy wetness all over my lower abdomen. It felt so good in the midst of my hot flash. I asked her if she would squirt some on my forehead too but she didn't think that was very funny. My grin at my own joke faded as quickly as it had come on and she proceeded to apply the ultrasound wand to my skin in search of Squishy. She found one very cute little alien-looking fetus residing in my lower abdomen. When I asked why I am measuring 2 weeks ahead of where I should be for the gestational age of the baby, she suggested fibroids. Lovely. She didn't see any point in looking for any fibroids since there was nothing that could be done about it anyway. So now I get to spend the rest of my pregnancy wondering whether or not I have a tumor growing on my uterus. She printed out a few ultrasound pictures for us and left me to clean myself up.

She then sat down at a computer to enter in whatever findings she had procured when she began to argue with me about tests, procedures and exams. I explained that I did my own prenatal care and delivery of my last baby after educating myself on the topic and that I didn't feel the need for tests and procedures which were not medically indicated. In fact, the only reason I was sitting in front of her today was because I was concerned about my uterus measuring so big. Had it not been for that fact, I would be sitting at home, awaiting my prenatal care items and assuming the care of my own body and baby. I was ready to pull my hair out by the end of the visit. Suffice it to say that Dr. Narcissistic and I don't like one another and I will not be returning to their office for any other concerns. It was certainly a mutual feeling as was evident by her suggestion of a group of midwives who might be a better fit for me.

Despite the aggravation I experienced at the OB/GYN, I am relieved that Squishy is singular. There was a small measure of disappointment but after seeing the flutter of a tiny heartbeat, that disappointment quickly melted away. I'll be putting in my order for my prenatal and birth supplies next week and assuming my own care from now on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Size Matters

As previously notated, I felt my bump last week. And that cute little bump is still there. Shocking, I know. But here's the thing: I think Squishy has company. As in Squishy might be plural. Ok, wait, before you start rolling your eyes, let me explain. If I were under the care of an Obstetrician I would have likely had an ultrasound by now and would be able to hear the rhythmic galloping of a heartbeat in the next week. Multiples would have most likely been discovered by now. For those who don't know, beginning usually between 14-20 weeks, the provider will begin measuring the fundus or the uterus. They do this by taking a nice, flexy tape measure, placing the end of it on your pubic bone and then stretching the tape up over your belly to the top of your uterus. The number of centimeters you measure is proportionate to how many weeks pregnant you are. This means that at 25 weeks you should be measuring 25 centimeters. This is accurate to within 2 centimeters either way. Well, I thought that my bump seemed rather large so just for funsies I decided to dig out my handy tape measure (I normally use it for sewing but, hey, a centimeter is a centimeter). First I emptied my bladder to assure an accurate measurement. Then I dropped my britches, layed flat on my back on the bed and unrolled my tape measure. Imagine my surprise when I brought the tape up to my eyes where my fingers were holding the place of the measurement and saw....

(drumroll please)...


WHOA NELLIE! It should say 10.

So I called and made an appointment with some random OB/GYN that was spit out at me by the website owned by my insurance company. I'll be going in on the morning of March 9th for a head count to see if Squishy does in fact have a roommate or if my uterus is just abnormally large.

If Squishy is all alone then we continue on as planned, providing we don't discover any other threatening anomalies. However, if Squishy turns out to have cloned him or herself then all of my plans for an unassisted homebirth go right out the window and I begin the tedious hunt for someone who is spineless enough for me to push them around to get what I want, MWAHAHAHA! No, seriously, I want to find a doctor or midwife who is willing to put up with me and my very highly specific demands. I know more about natural birth than the average bear and fear that I won't be able to exercise self restraint when the urge to slap the lips right off of some patronizingly arrogant doctor overwhelms me (anyone who has been pregnant before knows the kind of unbridled rage I'm talking about here). Thus the need to find someone who won't fight with me.

If there's one Squishy in there then he or she is now the size of a kumquat (just over an inch long). If there are two Squishies (Squishes? Squishi? Squish? Squeeshe? whatever the plural is) then there are two kumquats in there. I think I should mention that the kumquat comparison is just the baby, not the furnishings required by the wee tyke. Each little kumquat is enveloped inside of a water balloon complete with a full functioning kitchen, or placenta. That's quite a bit of occupied space when you double it up. I'm 10 weeks now which means I'm 1/4 of the way through my pregnancy already. Also, if there are a couple of little citrusy sweeties in there then I can feel justified that my belly pooches out a bit further than I really like. HA, it's not just gas!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Have a Bump

I'm 9 weeks pregnant today. Squishy is about the size of a plump, green grape. This morning when I woke up I rolled over onto my back and instinctively put my hand on my lower belly and there it was! My tiny, little bump is there! And it's so darned cute! Then I got up to relieve myself and it was gone. I can't wait until it's still there even when I don't have to pee but I'll take what I can get. I love this point. It momentarily justifies all the puking and misery I'm dealing with and makes it feel more real. It's a nice reminder that the ick I'm going through is all for a reason - and a darned good one too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Professed Fears

When a woman finds out she's pregnant, she begins down a road of a wide range of thoughts and emotions, some which are valid concerns, others are completely irrational, paranoid delusions, all contribute to the volatile state of delicately fragile emotions beheld by the owners of abdomens swollen with new life around the globe. This is a bond we share which transcends language barriers, cultural differences and vast oceans.

After the reaction of a positive pregnancy test we usually walk around in a cloud of racing thoughts ranging from, "what will I/we name this little baby," to "I should make an appointment with the doctor," and a bazillion other ideas which are packed tightly into that space between a woman's brain and reality. This results in "pregnancy brain" whereby a woman will be driving down the interstate and completely forget what she's doing and why she's there.

And then it happens. Fear. No, I mean FEAR! Not the fear that there might be something wrong with the baby, not the fear that something could go awry. No, I'm talking about the kind of fear that stops you dead in your tracks and makes you form an escape plan beginning with a stash of money kept secretly and conveniently in your box of feminine supplies and a fully packed overnight bag behind the toilet just in case your fear comes to life and you suddenly have to purchase an anonymous flight to some distant and forgotten place like the jungles of South America to hide in shame among the indigenous people, clad in nothing more than a loin cloth and a small animal bone horizontally impaling your septum.

What could possibly cause these wide-eyed, insomnia-inducing, paranoid schemes, you might ask? I'll tell you. Horrific visions of mortification in the form of uncontrollable body functions. What if I poop when the baby is coming? Worse, what if my sweet husband, who doesn't even know my body is capable of such a disgusting and unclean process, witnesses this event? I will forever be marked with shame. I may as well walk around with a scarlet letter P on my sleeve because I will no longer be worthy of the dignity and status enjoyed by other women who have managed to completely conceal the fact that they even own such an offending orifice.

Another fear which startles a woman into forming an escape plan comes earlier in this process than the delivery room: What if I toot during s-e-x? This is of particular concern to me at this point in my pregnancy being that the swelling in my abdomen comes not from the development of new life but from bloating and gas. The aromatic, flatulent wind sock that I've become strikes FEAR into my heart, keeping me wide-eyed and feigning a headache to avoid the embarrassment which is eminent should we engage in intercourse. The thought has occurred to me that I could put on a video or soundtrack of trumpeting elephants and set a fan on the nightstand, aimed south but something tells me Josh might become suspicious. And rightly so; the sound of trumpeting elephants isn't exactly romantic background music.

These fears plague every pregnant woman from the primitive and forgotten tribes of South Africa to the porcelain dolls of the orient to the cheeseburger-hoarding Americans from sea to shining sea. But these are also the secrets that are not passed on. I am breaking an unsaid, sacred covenant among women to tell you of these woes. No been-there-done-that wiser woman ever tells the naive first-timer that she needs to come to terms with her back door and all of it's evils before considering allowing her husband into the delivery room. I don't know why but it's always been this way since the beginning of shame.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm Bringing Back Scary

I look really rough nowadays: greasy hair; oily, pimply skin; random, blotchy patches of discolored flesh; the stench of bile which envelopes my body like an aura; bleeding gums; and gas. Yes, I said gas. I know you don't want to hear about it but it's one of the not-so-pleasant side effects of pregnancy. It might actually be the worst symptom because, unlike vomiting and insane stomach cramps, it affects everyone in a 20-30 foot radius. In public, this unpleasantness parts the masses while the elderly lie crumpled in my wake, gasping for breath in heaps like beached fish flopping around, desperately hoping their panicked fight will bring them back to their life-source.

I suppose the morning sickness is a blessing because I don't leave the house now. Ever. I've become nothing more than a mysterious hermit that people hear stories of; children scare one another with these haunting tales of the creapy, smelly, pizza-faced lady on Agassiz Street who vomits incessantly and never comes out of her house except on the full moon to scare the bejeezus out of 10 year old little boys. Parents use these same tales to scare their children into obedience. Yep, that's me: pale-green, anemic-looking, stinky and antisocial. Isn't that a lovely picture? Yea, I'm not getting laid for a while.

Friday, February 11, 2011

First Trimester Woes

Morning sickness is in full swing now which is why I haven't been writing much as of late. When my head isn't poised over the pot, I'm pathetically lying in bed groaning with the discomfort of indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn. I consider myself very lucky lately if I only puke once during the day but alas the norm is, well, every time I eat. Cravings and food aversions are wildly unpredictable, like the swinging, vomiting arm of a pendulum. What I love and crave one day becomes my Kryptonite the next. And I'm being visited by the haunting acne of my youth, only I don't remember it being this bad back then. This means that many of the developing belly pictures I'll be taking during the next several months will likely be headless.

On any given night, as I'm turning off lights and tucking my sweet babes into bed, preparing to crawl beneath my own sheets, I stop in the kitchen to take my vitamins. I fill my hand to capacity with my prenatal vitamins (2 capsules twice a day only I can't seem to hold them down in the morning), Omegas, B-complex, Vitamin C and a Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc combo. That adds up to six gigantic horse pills that I swallow in a flush of water down my gullet every night. Normally this is not a problem. While many folks (Josh included) squirm at the thought of having to swallow even a teensy Tylenol caplet, I scoff, toss my head back and swallow vitamins and other medicine with champion skill. Only not now. The slightest brush from the mere aura of said vitamins even approaching the back of my throat sends my gag reflexes into a dramatic display of tumultuous, spasmodic wretching. So now I've cut back to the bare necessities: my prenatal vitamin and my omegas. I figure the prenatal has a bit of vitamin C, B's, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc so if I can just choke down half of the number of capsules then I'm doing pretty good. Besides, the aftertaste of B complex is not the stuff romance is made of, not that bile is any better or that I'm feeling anywhere near romantic but I digress.

My precious little squishy is in the middle of the 7th week which means that he or she is slightly bigger than a blueberry, approaching kidney bean size (just over 1/2" long by Monday). If I were to choose to go see an Obstetrician right now I would be able to see Squishy's heartbeat on an ultrasound and it would likely be somewhere between 120 to 200 beats per minute. As it is, I don't see any reason to jump up and run to have a scan done. While puking is not my idea of a good time, so far my pregnancy appears to be progressing quite normally. I have not lost any weight, still at 172, but if I did, that would be very normal. I'm still planning to begin tracking Squishy's heartbeat at around 14-18 weeks. Hopefully I'll be past this puking business by then and, fingers crossed, able to enjoy the remaining months of pregnancy nausea-free.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Six Weeks and Counting

Food is just nasty stuff. Period. Within about 20 minutes after I eat I start to feel nauseous. But I can't exactly not eat. So I've been playing around with different patterns of eating and food combinations. As it turns out, anything I eat in the morning will make me green no matter what. But! If I just keep eating all the time, when that ick feeling starts to come on I just cram something into my mouth, then I can keep it down. Well, that is except for eggs, corn tortilla chips, and anything tomato-based so far. The smell of beer immediately sends my stomach into hurls.

The Pee-Pee Fairy has finally moved in the last of her things and will be staying for quite some time. If I didn't have to swallow a sizeable fist-full of supplements every night with what feels like a quart of water at 3am then I might be able to manage at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I'm actually not drinking enough water. I need to start making a conscious effort to get in my 10 glasses a day.

The excitement is mounting as I'm anticipating the beginning of my prenatal care. Only about 8 weeks now until I start recording all of the goings on. I bet you are on the dge of your seat too, aren't you? I'm not sure when I want to rent the doppler since it's $20 a month so I might wait a little longer for that. In the meantime I'm 6 weeks pregnant today and Squishy is about 1/4" long with a tiny, little racing heartbeat. There are budding legs and arms developing too. Oh, I can't wait to kiss those tiny fingers and toes!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

So far, this pregnancy is fairly uneventful (if there are any morning sickness fairies or indigestion gnomes reading this, please understand that I am not complaining - uneventful is good). I do have some indications that there's a tiny, little poppy seed-sized baby growing inside of my body, however, but they're tolerable. Fatigue is probably the most prominent symptom as I sluggishly scoot about the house with my face on the floor and arms dragging behind. I've even contemplated propping my eyelids open with match sticks or toothpicks to conserve energy. I've never been a coffee drinker which is just as well since I am hyper-sensitive to caffeine but even if I were a java junkie I would have to hang up my mug for the next nine months anyway. Apples on an empty stomach seem to send my blood sugar spiraling out of control so I'm afraid I'll have to suffer with my fatigue for the next few months until I get the second trimester energy burst. I hope nobody in this house has any expectations of me. Oh, what I wouldn't give for a nap right now.

Last night we ran out after dinner to do a little shopping and put a deposit down at the bowling alley for Damian's birthday party. As it turns out Walmart still has some holiday swag left on the clearance rack. So, for $1.75, I just had to grab another Christmas outfit for Squishy. Normally I have to restrain myself from wanting to buy Squishy's entire wardrobe any time I go shopping but Walmart makes it easy; their selection of gender-neutral baby-wear is almost non-existent. Wow, I need to go do some jumping jacks or maybe plug the kids into the TV so I can squeeze in a cat nap. I'd prefer the latter but the former is the most realistic. *sigh* 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hot Flashes and Cold Flashes and Hormones, Oh My!

I have a feeling we'll be burning through thermostats faster than paper plates over the next 9 months. Temperatures which were previously comfortable to me are no longer tolerable. If you don't know, when a woman is pregnant, her body temperature is elevated by up to a couple of degrees. Mine, however, seems to be all over the board based on the pendulum swing of the poor thermostat. When I go to sleep, I feel too hot so I turn down the thermostat to about 72, toss a leg outside of the comforter and hike up my pantleg with the fan blowing on my skin. Meanwhile, the kids are bundled head to toe in footed fleece pajamas and Josh is curled up all cozy in the comforter, fully clothed. Fast-forward about four or five hours: Holy cow, who turned off the heat? Oh yea, it was me. Crank that puppy up! Wait, first we have to make a pit-stop because the Pee-Pee Fairy has now taken up residence in my body. In a bleary, 3am haze I bump the "up" button on the thermostat a few times until it shows something that looks like 76, I think. Then I feel my way back to bed after I put on my hoodie and socks and pull the comforter all the way up until nothing but my nose is sticking out. This whole fiasco happens during the day too. I change clothes three or four times daily as my body plays this oh-so-fun instant sweat/ instant cold game.

In between racing my incontinent bladder to the loo and maniacally punching buttons on the thermostat, I managed to squeeze in a little online price shopping for birth supplies and found everything I am going to need that I can't find at the pharmacy at a great price all on the same website. The results are as follows:

*Protein/Glucose Urine Strips - $14
*Eldoncard - $7
*3 oz. Bulb Syringe - $1.90
*Perineal Bottle - $ .60 x 2= 1.2
*Cold Pack - $2.40 x 3 = 7.2
*Disposable Mesh Panties - $1.40 x 3=4.2
*Overnight Pads - $ .45 x 4 =1.8
Grand total = $37.30 plus shipping

I think I'll order these as well as rent a doppler at about week 12. My midwife with Hamilton waited until 14 weeks for the first prenatal appointment so I think that's a pretty good time to begin charting my own prenatal care. I'll be 4 weeks tomorrow so I've got a little over two months until I'll need to order this stuff.

Friday, January 14, 2011

If You Want Something Done Right...

I made another update on here. In the upper right corner I've got a page set up for my prenatal care, which I will be starting sometime around 6 to 8 weeks, I think. For anyone who doesn't know, our last two babies were born at home. Hamilton's birth was attended by a wonderful midwife whom I adore. We would have loved to have the same midwife with Daisy but we moved across the country when there were still two months left of my pregnancy. I felt that it was too late in the game to find a new midwife and build a bond so after much discussion we decided to do it ourselves.

Daisy's birth was a dream. Everything was just perfect with only Josh, Hamilton and Damian there. It was so intimate and personal that now we can't imagine doing it any other way. This time I will be responsible for my own prenatal care; I'll be weighing myself, checking my blood pressure, measuring the baby's growth (fundal height), the baby's heartbeat (FHR), the baby's position (presentation), and using urine strips to test for proteins. Additionally, I will be watching for signs of preterm labor, edema and gestational diabetes. Of course if there is a problem at any time then I will transfer my care to an obstetrician.

I also have, for your viewing pleasure, a positive pregnancy test with a much darker line, which should eliminate any doubt about our impending little sweetheart.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Population Increase

Normally I wait until the end of the day to post because by then I've got enough fodder to come up with something half-way entertaining. Today, however, I just have to post now (9:15am) because I have super cool, rad, awesome, gnarly good news. WE'RE PREGNANT! Yes, folks, I peed all over my hand to get this little trophy:

Yes, I realize you probably can't see it. Try looking at it from an angle, it's there. I'm going to take another one in a couple of days just to get a darker line and then I'll post it here for those of you non-believers who might be doubting the existence of this faint line. Have a little faith!

As we were jumping up and down in excitement over our faint little line, I happened to glance over toward the window and noticed a very subtle orange-gray creeping up over the eastern horizon. I continued to watch as the display of color and brightness gradually became more colorful and much brighter. It was so beautiful, magical even. It felt like nature was congratulating us on the discovery of our little Squishy who is now a tiny ball of hundreds of rapidly dividing cells.  

I can't believe how much I love this little baby already - I loved it before it was even conceived! I'm anxiously awaiting late September/early October when I'll be cuddling my sweet little cupcake in my arms, inhaling the intoxicating smell of it's tiny head. Oh, but there's so much to do before Squishy comes: move across the country; move Hammy into Damian's room; move Daisy to the toddler bed; buy another dresser; sew and crochet blankets, sweaters, hats, booties; and replace and reupholster the baby gear with our theme.Of course all of this will have to wait until I finish making the blanket for Josh's sister's upcoming little sweetheart who's due to arrive in May. Well, I'd better get started! ...Zippety doo dah, zippety day, my, oh my, what a wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Tonight's post is short and sweet. I am cranky, tired, have a headache and hoping I don't slip into a low blood sugar phase before dinner. Other than feeling kind of full in my uterus, there's nothing of particular interest to report. I'll most likely test again tomorrow morning. I'll post again when I'm feeling better.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Laying Down the Law

Well, today's test didn't reveal anything. I'm not surprised. However, there's always the tiniest little glimmer of inspiration that twinkles somewhere far off in the corner of my brain that's hoping that we'll get our positive this time. It will happen eventually; I just don't know how long my enthusiasm will hold out.

Today I've been reflective, thinking about my previous pregnancies and remembering the reactions people have had to first the news of my upcoming bundle of joy and then, later, to my bulging abdomen. It would seem that the idea of someone having a baby reveals a hidden, shallow rudeness in most people. Here's a fun idea: announce to your family, "we're having a baby," and then observe. For some of you they might be happy but if they're like my family they'll become nasally with grimaces not unlike those worn by folks who have just had the unpleasant experience of inhaling the rancid odor of sour milk. Then a hesitation as if they're trying to find a diplomatic way of telling you that they think you're insane. And then finally they open their mouths and some hurtful diarrhea comes out like, "oh, really." Not to be confused with the happily excited, "REALLY?"

I think it's terribly rude when people don't think before they speak - or touch for that matter. When we were expecting Hamilton I told Josh that the next person who touches my belly is going to get felt up! Yep, you manhandle my belly, I'm gonna cop a feel. Hey, it's only fair! I was actually beginning to look forward to the mortification that I was sure to cause. Josh never passed up a chance to go grocery shopping with me for fear that he might miss the fireworks. His anticipation reminded me of the stance and expression possessed by video gamers when they're racing for the finish line. Nine months later and no takers. Then we became pregnant with Daisy and I reinstated the reciprocal touch rule. Much to my disappointment I still have yet to fondle a boob. I must have a big sign on my back that says, "don't touch the bump," because two whole pregnancies later and nobody has dared to trespass upon my body. Oh well, maybe with the next one...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

One More Day Down

Today was my beautiful niece's 3rd birthday. I assumed that since it's so close to Christmas that her toybox was already stuffed with Yule booty. So I bought her a couple of outfits and a pretty salmon-colored jacket. Oh, and Play-Doh because I couldn't get her just dumb old clothes. I"m sure my sister will have at least a few expletives to sling at me the first time that she finds herself on elbows and knees plucking solidified Play-Doh from the fibers of her carpet. But before she sets the offending Doh aflame, I'm sure my sweet niece will gleefully enjoy making caterpillars or noodles or whatever her creative little mind conjures up. Play-Doh can be so fun.

Back to the subject at hand: I'm now having trouble maintaining my blood sugar levels. I remember when I used to be able to live on Coke and cigarettes and then gorge myself once a day to the point that my stomach was distended. Nowadays I need to eat at least two meals a day and steer clear of soda and smokes. Yea, and I'm 30 pounds heavier now too with crow's feet and two parallel canyons between my eyes from squinting and furrowing my eyebrows. *whistle, whistle* Yea, that's me, baby!

Anyway, what I was going to say is that today I had a late breakfast (10:30am-ish) of two fried eggs over medium with three pieces of whole wheat toast. Then, at my sister's I picked at the fruit platter my brother's girlfriend so beautifully organized (3:00-ish). We arrived home at about 6:00 and started dinner maybe a half hour later. Before dinner was even ready I began to feel dizzy, lightheaded, shaky and overheated. I quickly made a turkey sandwich with nothing but unprocessed turkey and mayonnaise on 12 grain bread. I didn't feel like I had enough time to build my usual turkey, spinach, tomato, onion, avocado, alfalfa sprout, sunflower seed sandwich before the point of collapse so the shortened version had to do. And then, when the rigatoni was finally done I had a heaping plate of dinner too. I sure hope I'm pregnant because if I'm not then there might be something wrong. I'm going to see how much truth there is to that banner on the front of the box of tests by taking one in the morning. I think it will be negative but we'll see. If so, I've still got one left that I can take later.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Evil Marketing Geniuses

And today's new symptom is (drum roll, please)...

TADAAAAA - Frequent Urination (I bet you're just tickled pink to know that I have to pee a lot, aren't you?)

Oh, those horribly evil marketing geniuses who manufacture the First Response Early Response home pregnancy test! They decided it would be a good idea to just throw an extra test into the box so I got a super value of three tests for the price of two (although I didn't realize this little added bonus until I was already home). And of course you know how my thought process went from there:

"Hmm, there's an extra test in here, how convenient. You know, I calculated that I could take one test at 8 days past ovulation (the banner on the box claims claims that this test can detect pregnancy 6 days before your missed period which is at 8 days past ovulation for me: Monday) and one at 10 days past ovulation with the 2-pack. Now that I have three, that changes the whole equation (mwahahahaha). Aww, heck, I'll just take one now!"

And so I did. And guess what? It was a Big Fat Negative. DUH! Ugh, I'm such a dork! Why couldn't I just wait a couple more days? Oh, I don't know... probably because I was tricked by those horrid marketers who knew that if they stuffed one more test into the box that there would be no way I'd be able to have enough will-power to keep myself from testing TODAY. I am weak; I feel so ashamed.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Reproductive Hypochondria

That's it. I've finally lost it. Someone call those nice young men in their clean, white coats to come and take me away. I'll laugh maniacally as they cart me off for shock therapy and Thorazine. I have become that annoying girl who can't shut up about all of her health issues, both real and imagined (yet we all lean toward the belief that it's the latter). Yep, that's me. I'm a self-diagnosed reproductive hypochondriac. I'm imagining pregnancy symptoms. I am now feeling cramps. I felt them yesterday too but thought I just needed to use the bathroom. They feel very real and they're mildly uncomfortable, kind of like I feel on the day that my dearest Aunt Flo comes to town, only Auntie isn't due to arrive again until January 17th. Yes, I know, TMI. That's what I'm saying! I'm that girl! Oh, dear Lloyd, help me!

So now my list of symptoms consists of fatigue, bloated-feeling and cramps. Gosh, I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Probably some other symptom that's just as taboo as a topic for public discussion. Maybe I would find solace and comaraderie at the local assisted living facility where Ethel and I can share stories about our hemorrhoids and compare brands of disposable incontinence panties. Boy, this is exciting, isn't it?

On the bright side I received a phone call today from New Life Health Centers saying that the prenatal vitamins I special-ordered have arrived. I was pleasantly surprised because it was only yesterday that I ordered them. Why, you might ask, did I not just grab a bottle of prenatal vitamins that they already had at the store? I'll tell you why. Because there's a trend going around right now stemming from the immature perspective that if a little folic acid is good for a developing fetus then a lot of folic acid must be great. Thus the majority of prenatal vitamins contain at least double the recommended daily allowance of folic acid established by the FDA. I'm quite content with 400 micrograms of folic acid in my multi-vitamin considering I typically enjoy a very healthy diet.

Another preference I favor in this particular brand of vitamin is that it's not a one-a-day tablet. As we all know, most vitamins are water soluable. That means as soon as you take your first bathroom break, you've flushed away most of the vitamin content in your body. This is why we must eat several times a day; to replenish lost vitamins. But when your diet is deficient in these life-sustaining vitamins, it's necessary to replenish them with a suitable supplement. So there you have it. I have used the same brand of prenatal vitamins throughout all of my pregnancies and I just love them.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Waiting is the Hardest Part

After asking other women how soon they were able to get a positive result with a pregnancy test, I've decided that I just need to go out and buy half a dozen or so tests and begin marking my territory at 10 days past ovulation. Even at 10 days, I've still got six to go. This waiting is killing me already. I'm pacing around, restless, making plans for a baby we don't even know we're going to have yet. I've purchased half of Squishy's wardrobe already and decided on the theme I'm going to create for this little cutie. Today Squishy is 8 cells and getting ready to descend into my uterus. Tomorrow Squishy will officially become a blastocyst. Isn't that exciting?

After perusing the fabric department of JoAnn Fabrics' website and rejecting everything in the nursery print section, we've decided to keep with the Squishy theme and go with jellyfish. The more I imagine it, the more fine-tuned it's becoming in my mind. I can't wait to get started but Josh and I decided we're not going to acquire anything else for Squishy until we get a positive test. Oh, the agony of waiting! I suppose I could do some dishes or laundry but I don't. I prefer to sit here on my laptop driving myself insane with anticipation as I daydream more and more of the galloping sound of Squishy's heartbeat on the doppler, the bubbly sensation of those first little kicks that eventually become injurious Chuck Norris round-houses that leave me gasping for breath, cute maternity blouses and dresses, tiny little socks and the sweet smell of my newborn baby as he or she sleeps quietly on my chest. Just six to ten more days to go. You'd better believe I've got one eye on the calendar at all times.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


AAAHHHH! I give UP! My calendar changed yet again. Now it's telling me that I was fertile December 30, 31 and January 1. So now I'm nervous because Josh was out of town until January 1st and, well, you know. What if once wasn't enough? Looking at Josh's travel dates, my next cycle is totally shot. All I've got left is late February. Boy, it's sure going to be fun packing and moving when I'm puking my guts out. Let the good times roll.

I don't know why I ever thought to chart my cycles. And I didn't even think that I wouldn't be able to figure out what it all means. I'm so stressed out by it that I woke up stiff as a board. The whole right side of my back is so tense that I have limited movement of my right arm and turning my head to the right is so not happening. Muscles relaxers? Nope, what if we're pregnant? And if we are? When should I test? Should I count two weeks from January 1st or should I count two weeks from yesterday? Three days is a big difference when every second that ticks by is like an eternity.

I think the kids are picking up on the stress seeping from my frazzled aura. Damian was so emotional last night that his voice was trembling on the edge of tears for about an hour before bed. Hamilton was up until 11:30 last night and Daisy is in melt-down mode this morning. I need to lie flat on my back with ice so that this pain will go away and try to bring myself down out of the rafters. What I wouldn't give for a trip to the chiropractor and a good masseuse. If we don't become pregnant this month then I'm throwing this chart out the window and we'll just do it the old fashioned way: do the baby dance like jack rabbits until we come up positive.

In other news, I went through the shed to evaluate the condition of the baby items we have stored there only to discover that most of it has been used beyond it's ability to withstand another child. The infant car seat that has faithfully cradled and transported two babies and is now old enough that I don't think it meets current safety standards. The swing was brutally abused by Hamilton who would sneak into the seat any time his baby sister wasn't occupying it and so the frame is bent. The stroller held up pretty well but I think we're going to need an additional tandem stroller since Daisy and Hammy are still pretty small. The Pack N Play has lost a crucial pop rivet but I think I'd rather just have a bassinet anyway. So I've made up a couple of relevant lists which are over in the left column. The first is for Squishy and the second is home birth supplies. As we accumulate the items, I will add an asterisk (*) next to it because my keyboard doesn't seem to possess a check-mark and the editing tool for the list doesn't allow me to strike through the text. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things which I will add as they occur to me. For now I'm going to go ice my back and try to get this stupid fertility junk out of my head!

(Later today)
I found the coolest little illustration in today's daily obsession. We're on day 3 now which means that Squishy is at this moment a cute little 4-8 celled blastocyst. Of course, this is assuming we conceived this cycle. Isn't it adorable? It just baffles me that in a very short time this teeny, tiny ball of dividing cells is going to be a whole person! Far out, man. That's, like, so deep.

I can test at 12 days past ovulation which will be January 14th. Oh goodness, what can I do to make that time go by faster? I've got nine whole days to wait! By then my nails will be gnawed to the quick, finger tips calloused from strumming the table, hair style changed, house cleaned and spit-shined, and probably a sizeable project completed. How am I going to get through this? Waaaaaa!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Technical Error

I thought charting my cycles would be fun and educational. I was wrong. This fertility stuff is really confusing and, thus, frustrating. On the bright side I think I may have figured it out. As it turns out we have another day in our window and Squishy is still a phantom. Another worrisome day of hand wringing, headache-inducing, nekkid hand stands followed by two weeks of hurry-up-and-wait.

In between all of this chaos and confusion I obsessively search for awesome deals on baby gear, read about what my body is going through if Squishy is conceived this cycle, stalk message boards where other women have posted pictures of their positive pregnancy tests, and sigh as I watch videos and look at pictures of my previous births. There are words in my vocabulary which were previously dormant but now are getting plenty of exercise as they roll off my tongue in extreme redundancy. I never thought I'd have so much to say about cervical mucous, basal body temperature, and cervical position. My poor BFF! Poor Josh! I love them so much. They humor me while I bathe them in my verbal incontinence with this obsession.

Tonight begins our two week wait. For reals this time, I promise.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Beginning

**I started this journal in a Word document. Since I can't backdate here, I am just including what I have all in one entry.
It took a while but now we’ve decided; it was easy and we just knew that despite all of the negative feedback that we’re sure to receive from our families, we really want another baby. Of course this means a serious upgrade to make accommodations for four kids: a bigger car, bunk beds for the boys and a new toddler bed for Daisy.  We’re not even pregnant yet and I’m already itching to go out shopping for our eventual little tyke. So without further delay, here’s our baby journal:
December 22, 2010 ~ We’ve visited this topic before, many times: do we want another baby? We’ve always said not now, but maybe we've finally gotten past that moment and into a time where it's feasible. So today the subject came up again; we’re pretty sure we’re ready to try for another baby. Daisy is 18 months old and with all of the ambitions we have for the future, it’s now or never. But we’re going to sleep on it and see how we feel about it tomorrow.
December 23, 2010 ~ Ok, it’s decided: we’re going to try to make a baby! Wow, I’m so excited I can’t stop smiling. I keep touching my belly remembering what it felt like to have a little person growing in there and now anticipating another one. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’ve got to run out and grab a few last minute gifts for the kids. I think I’ll peruse the baby section too while I’m at the store. Eeeee, I can’t believe we’re really going to do this.
December 24, 2010 ~ After using a few online calculators, it has been determined that I’m most likely to ovulate on January first. In which case, our new little sweetie should be arriving sometime around September 26th.  So I dashed off to the store to shop for the kids with a sweet little secret teasing my mind. Once I had all of the items picked out and in the basket, I headed straight for the baby department. The selection of gender-neutral apparel was grim but I couldn’t just walk out empty-handed. I can’t go crazy about it, we aren’t even pregnant yet! I just got a couple of things and then hurried home. Today I bought for the baby:
* one package of 5 white Onesies that we’ll likely tie-dye.
* one package of 3 white long-sleeved body suits that we will also likely tie-dye.
December 25, 2010 ~ Merry Christmas! The kids had a really good day. We just stayed home and embraced our amazing young family while we daydreamed of future Christmases with one additional stocking decorating the wall.
December 26, 2010 ~ Josh left for West Virginia tonight. I hate when he has to leave, especially around the holidays. I think it’s even worse now because his absence may prevent us from conceiving a baby this month. I’m a little sad but the excitement of our decision is holding the tears at bay. It’s funny, I love this baby already and it’s not even conceived yet!
December 30, 2010 ~ Oh, what a day! First, it snowed. In Arizona. Not much but there was enough to scrape off of the windows of the car to make a small snowball. Then Damian’s grandma came over for a few hours to bring the kids gifts. I had promised I would take Tianna shopping for an outfit as part of her Christmas gift so as soon as Linda left we bundled ourselves up and dashed out to do our shopping. I was secretly excited for another chance to shop for baby paraphernalia but dreading the department stores post-Christmas. I was right. Kohl’s was a madhouse with the checkout line wrapped halfway around the store. Then we went to Target where I found a whole booty of baby items on clearance. After that, we grabbed a bite of fast food and then headed to the grocery store. By the time we arrived home I was worn out and my feet hurt from wearing my snow boots all day. Today I bought for the baby:
* one Christmas sleep and play outfit that says I *heart* Santa, size 3-6 months.
* one duck print sleep and play outfit, size NB
* one 3-pack of neutral print sleepers, size newborn
* one convertible duck print 3-piece outfit, size 3 months
* one 5-pack of neutral colored Onesies, size 0-3 months
* one super soft yellow and white striped sleep bag with a duck on the front, size 0-6 months
* one 3-pack of neutral print body suits, size 3-6 months
*one white and green long-sleeved body suit for St. Patrick’s day, size 6 months
* one oral thermometer
* one 6 oz. VentAire Playtex bottle
* one box of 6 reusable nursing pads
* one box of 50 breast milk storage bags
* one bottle of prenatal vitamins
December 31, 2010 ~ New Years Eve. Josh should be home tomorrow afternoon. I drove a million miles to take Tianna back to Phoenix. Thankfully David and Jeanette took the boys to a movie so I had a few hours of hanging out with Daisy before they came home. Later, our landlord came over with gifts for kids and a big platter of cookies. I ate so many that now my stomach hurts and I’m feeling nauseous. It’s going to be an early night if I can ever get the babies to bed. I’m pooped and really missing Josh. Tomorrow should be the day that we make our baby. I’m crossing fingers and toes and everything else I can cross that it happens this month.
January 1, 2011 ~ Josh is home! Let the show begin!
January 2, 2011 ~ I’m not sure if I’m ovulating or not but we should be any time now so we’re still trying. We went out and bought more baby stuff too. At this rate we’ll be all ready for the next little cutie before we even tell people. This afternoon Josh and I wished on a wish bone from yesterday’s chicken and the weirdest thing happened; the bone broke into 3 pieces leaving both of our fragments the same length while the tip of the bone flew across the room. I said it’s probably because we both made the same wish. I’m not sure if it means we both get our wish or if it means that neither of us gets our wish. Only time will tell. Today we bought for the baby:
*a sleep and play neutral print outfit, size 0-3 months
*a sleep and play striped neutral outfit, size 3-6 months
*a sleep and play teddy bear print  outfit, size newborn
*a fuzzy sleep and play duck print outfit, size newborn
*a 6-piece beige and white duck print layette, size 6-9 months
January 3, 2011 ~ The shop is closed up now. If we didn’t make a baby in the last couple of days then we’ll have to hope for the next cycle.  Oh, the waiting is going to make me crazy. Two. Long. Excruciating. Weeks until we find out if we’re pregnant.