Sunday, December 21, 2008

TMI question

Major TMI, don't say you weren't warned.

Little gushes of bright red bleeding two and a half weeks after a D&C. Not a lot, maybe a teaspoon a couple times a day, but it's happened consistently every day for five or six days now. Some cramping, nothing too major, just enough to keep reminding me that hi, I'm your uterus. No fever. Normal at this point, or time to call the doctor tomorrow?

Or, more properly, time to call the doctor and yell until someone pays attention? I mentioned that I was spotting when I saw her for my post-op visit last week, and she said spotting was normal. At that point, I had only had some pink spotting for a couple days, and a single gush of red the day before, so I thought, okay, fair enough. However, this is getting beyond what I consider spotting -- it's more like a light period, and it's bright red, and it's happening every day. And honestly, I'm not overly trusting of her right now, not after the infection debacle, and I'm not that inclined to take her word for it.

I know a little bleeding probably isn't all that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but I'm gun-shy now.

ETA: they said it was normal (OF COURSE THEY DID) unless I'm having a fever or severe pain along with it. I'm letting it go for now, but if I have to call again, there will be a stink made, oh yes indeed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas scorecard

Win: Christmas tree decorated
Lose: On December 17

Win: Christmas shopping completed
Lose: Wrapping? AHAHAHAHAHA.

Win: Knitted one lace shawl and three socks for Christmas gifts
Lose: Three socks left, and men have really big feet

Win: Baked awesome chocolate chocolate chip cookies
Lose: Ate three-quarters of awesome chocolate chocolate chip cookies

Win: Worked out a reasonable holiday in-law visit schedule
Lose: Said plan probably does not include the presence of my husband. Curse you, holiday deadlines.

Lose: I have no outside decorations this year, not even a wreath
Win: The girls are so impressed with the neighbors' lights that they don't care

Lose: No Christmas cards sent this year
Win: Sanity and fresh scar left intact after choosing not to drag all three kids to the photo studio

Monday, December 08, 2008

On zebras

You know you made the right choice when you already feel better, just three days after major abdominal surgery, than you did beforehand.

Even though the surgery turned out to be a bigger deal than previously foreseen, I'm recovering quickly. I have a 2" incision in my CS scar as well as the laparoscopy ports, which I assume is where the tube was removed, so I have some lifting restrictions and incision pain that we hadn't anticipated. However, it's still better than the pain I was having in that junked-up left tube, and I think in a couple days I'll be feeling like a new woman.

Right now, I have to say that I'm a little angry. Losing the tube shouldn't be a big deal to me, since I was having it tied off anyway, but I'm upset nonetheless. It's not so much that I lost the tube, but that the tube was diseased enough to need removal. I'll know more when the pathology comes back, but it certainly suggests the infection wasn't treated adequately. If I'd been given the right antibiotic or an ultrasound when the infection was first diagnosed, if I'd insisted on a D&C when we found all that stuff in my uterus, if I'd gotten IV antibiotics after the first recurrence, if we'd gone to surgery in early November instead of waiting around until an elective tubal ligation could get scheduled, could it have been avoided?

I understand that my doctor is conservative by nature, and that I didn't have a very high fever or highly elevated WBC. I know she didn't want to rush into potentially complicated (and expensive) surgery or IV antibiotics unless she were positive I needed them. Thing is, apparently I did need more aggressive treatment than I got, because the infection took root and ate up my tube. It might have turned out the same way even if we'd gone after it sooner and harder, but what we did wasn't enough. And I had to fight to get even that much -- she had originally wanted to wait another week after the first antibiotic failed before proceeding to ultrasound, and didn't want to do the lap unless I were having a tubal anyway.

Maybe my presentation really was unusual, and infections which do that much damage generally have more outward signs. To be fair, it's not like she ever suggested it was psychosomatic, just that she didn't see any indications to proceed, other than the pain. Still, she blew the pain off, even when I made it clear that it was affecting my life, and that I felt something was really wrong. And so I lost my tube, maybe my ability to have children, because of it. No, I didn't want to have any more, but what if I had? I shouldn't have lost that option, or have had to push so hard to get the pain taken seriously. If I hadn't wanted to get my tubes tied, this would have gone untreated for months more, and yeah, I'm not happy about that at all.

I really do like my doctor. I think she's very capable, and conservatism is usually a good quality in a physician. However, if we'd been more aggressive at any point along the way, I might have had less damage. Of course, it's a much easier call to make with the benefit of hindsight, and I do understand why she wanted to proceed with caution. Still, she and I are going to talk about whether she should not have been so quick to dismiss my symptoms, just because there wasn't a strikingly obvious cause.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The end of the fertility journey

So, now it's conclusive: I will never be pregnant again.

Yesterday, I got all teary-eyed about knowing that I would never hear another newborn baby's first cries, and I had a moment where I thought about backing out. What if I might change my mind someday, when the trauma of my last pregnancy and birth has faded?

I'm currently.. not overwhelmed exactly, just whelmed, with the three children I've got, but I imagined changing my mind when Andrew goes to preschool in a few years. I love babies, and I'm having such a good time with him right now -- those wide gummy grins make me melt. And I've discovered that I love toddlers just as much, and that there will soon come a day when nobody in the house thinks that being chased around the living room with a plastic duck is the height of entertainment. So I feel some loss to know that those stages will pass away and never come again.

Since Andrew's birth, I've been wrestling with the question of whether I've had a mild form of PPD or even PTSD. I literally get the shakes at the idea of being pregnant again, and sometimes I feel so short-tempered and emotionally fragile. I've been through a lot, so I think I'm justified in feeling this way, but I've had to ask myself if I think I can manage, or if I need to get some therapy and/or meds. I've come down on the side of trying to manage, at least until we got through this diagnostic process and found or didn't find an explanation for the chronic pelvic pain. Given all that, I've wondered if I decided to have my tubes tied out of fear, rather than for good and rational reasons, and if I would regret it in five years.

Now that it's done, I might still have regrets in five years, but I know it was the right choice. Given what they found, I might have had a very hard time getting pregnant again, and my chances of an ectopic would have been non-trivial in that messed-up left tube. The tube and the adhesions and the endometriosis would have continued to give me pain until I'd had them fixed, and I would not have done well with an IUD. Plus, in five years from now, I'll be 37, and advanced maternal age + one lost tube + internal scarring and adhesions + a history of infertility adds up to make it a moot point. So I'm really at peace now that I know another pregnancy would have been a long shot. I made the decision not to have any more children, rather than holding out hope and going through the emotional rollercoaster of infertility, and being able to make the choice makes all the difference.

This may not be the end of my reproductive troubles. Adhesions come back, and so does endometriosis, and I might get another infection from this surgery (my temperature's slightly elevated right now, which I'm watching like a hawk). There may be another lap, or even a hysterectomy, in the future, because this is my crappy body we're talking about. But we took a big step toward being done with it today, and I feel good about it now.


I went in this morning for a laparoscopy, D&C, and hysteroscopy to explore the chronic pelvic pain, plus a tubal ligation. Going in, I was concerned they wouldn't find out what was wrong, or be able to fix it, but that turned out not to be the case.

Hysteroscopy revealed a lot of endometrium, which the D&C removed, and that's being biopsied. No retained placenta, so that's good news. When Dr. Pro got to my ovaries, she found that the left fallopian tube had several cysts, extensive scarring, plus there was some nasty stuff coming out of it. Clearly, that one got badly damaged by the infection, and now we know why I had pain on my left side. She removed that tube entirely, and clipped the other one. I also had some adhesions at another point where I'd been hurting, and she snipped those out.

The big shocker, though, is that I had quite a few endometriosis implants, on the back of my uterus, on my bladder, and attached to my pelvic wall. Nobody has ever even suspected I might have endometriosis, so both Dr. Pro and I were pretty surprised about that one. She also pronounced herself "concerned" that they are already there, given that I'm hypoestrogenic from breastfeeding. She hopes that nursing will keep the endo under control until I'm ready to wean, but we may have to address that again at some future point.

I'm groggy and sore, but not too miserable physically, and very relieved mentally. I KNEW there was something wrong, and that it wasn't in my head, and I feel very vindicated at the moment. I'm not especially overjoyed about having endometriosis, but at least now we know it's there. I'll take known unpleasantness any day of the week, so even a bad diagnosis is better than none.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And the great day came...

Andrew's new trick: sleeping through the night! For about the last week, I've been able to put him down at 10 PM or thereabouts, and then he's woken up at 7. We backslid last night and woke up at 2 AM, but I'm hoping he goes back to staying down for the count tonight. His night wakings really haven't been too bad, since I just pull him into bed, nurse him, and (sometimes) put him back. Still, no night wakings at all is better yet! I'm hoping he shifts to going down earlier, but I'll certainly take this for now.

(To be clear, I'm not doing any kind of sleep-training with him, nor do I plan to until he's much older. I'm just lucky enough to have kids who like to sleep at night. Yes, I know you hate me now.)

Naps are much more difficult, partly because of the chaos created by his sisters, partly because he's still a little thing, and partly because I think he may just not be a great napper. He is slowly starting to develop a three-nap pattern, but it's still not consistent, and the naps rarely last longer than an hour. Some days we don't have any naps at all to speak of, which turns him into a gnarly thrashing beastie, and since the girls have basically given up naps, such days are looooong. We'll see what happens with that as he gets bigger.

He also has enough head control for a Bumbo seat.The head-control thing was a big deal with the girls, because it's just plain hard to maneuver two tiny floppy babies. There's only one Andrew, of course, so it didn't make quite as much difference, but it's still helpful. Also, he loves the Bumbo, which I speculate is because it makes him feel like he's more a part of things than when he's just lying in his bouncy seat. The kiddo does not like to be ignored, and he seems to have more patience for sitting in the Bumbo while I fold laundry or whatever than for being in his bouncy seat.

At his two-month checkup, he was 23" tall and weighed 12 lbs even, up from 8 lb 4 oz at two weeks. For comparison, Claire weighed 12 lbs even at her SIX-MONTH checkup. I don't quite know what to do with a child who is growing in accordance with his age. Claire and Katherine wore 6-9 month clothes until around their first birthday, and even a few 3-6 month things. Andrew's in 0-3 months still, and probably will be for another couple weeks, but I think he'll be moving up around Christmas.

He is generally a happy little guy, and he's starting to get really cute. He's smiling, at me and G and Grandmama and the dogs and especially his sisters. He's starting to make happy noises at his toys, and to wave his hands at them. Today, he managed to get the ear of his giraffe into his mouth, and he cooed and squealed about it like anything. He's also starting to gnaw on his fist, though he really prefers his pacifier.

He's a joy, but it's going so fast!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Twin dilemmas: the potty edition

So, we're potty-training here. Katherine is ready for it -- she's very interested in matters scatological, wakes up dry, and announces when she has dirty/wet diapers. Claire likes to sit on the potty, but she is clearly not as interested in it as Katherine, and not as aware of when she is going in her diaper. If she were a singleton, I wouldn't even try to train her for a little while.

Problem is, she insists on doing everything that Katherine does. Right now, I'm sitting in the kitchen with them, doing the bare-bottomed thing. We did it yesterday morning, and Katherine peed in her potty, while Claire peed on her chair. Today, Katherine has peed twice(!), while Claire hasn't done anything so far. When Katherine goes, I get really excited and praise her, and then I dish out a piece of Halloween candy. Since they are old enough to understand about fairness, this causes a giant problem, because Claire wants a piece too.

On the one hand, it seems wrong to give her a piece, because it's a reward for using the potty, which she is not doing. On the other, not treating her just causes a tantrum, and I worry she will transfer the frustration to the whole potty process. But then, she is at least sitting on her potty enthusiastically, which is a good thing, and is all I should expect of her at this point. I don't really expect Katherine to go exclusively in the potty either, for that matter -- I'm just working on getting her going there on a regular basis right now -- but if Claire goes, it's really just a matter of good luck.

I'm compromising by giving Katherine two pieces for each potty usage, and Claire gets one "because you sat on the potty so well!". However, it's an inherent problem of having multiples, the conflict between fairness and individual maturity. I suspect future versions of this conflict won't be so easily solved with a few extra M&Ms.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

All better?

I haven't posted about my postpartum appointment, largely out of frustration. The short version is that I'm still anemic despite supplementation, the pelvic exam was AWFUL, but neither that nor the ultrasound (also miserable to the point of tears) showed any smoking guns. I'm not running even a low-grade fever, and don't have an elevated white blood cell count, so Dr. Pro doesn't think I have an active infection. She did some hand-waving about breastfeeding and hypoestrogenism, but basically said she doesn't know why I'm hurting, since there's nothing obviously wrong.

I am still hurting, though, and consistently. I sometimes wonder if I'm just being a whiner, because after all, it's not crippling pain, and I can function normally most of the time. It's like an uncomfortable period, where you're aware of feeling crappy in the back of your mind, but don't hurt so much that you're balled up and writhing. Still, I haven't made it through a day without naproxen in... I dunno, weeks, and on bad days I wish I had something a little stronger. The funny thing about pain, though, is that it's two-dimensional -- there's the level of sensation, and then there's the duration. Even a low-level pain which goes on for weeks takes on an outsize presence in your head. The longer it goes on, the less you feel like just tolerating it, and the less energy you have for coping with everything else.

We talked about what to do next, and that wasn't a very satisfactory discussion. She initially didn't seem inclined to pursue it farther, but when I mentioned that I was very seriously considering getting my tubes tied, she said she'd want to do a D&C and a hysteroscopy at that time. I don't understand the linkage -- if she thinks they're worth doing, they shouldn't be dependent on the tubal ligation, but if she doesn't, don't do them just because you're there -- but it's a moot point now. I'm booked for the lap, the tubal ligation, the D&C, and the hysteroscopy at some point in December (I don't know the exact day yet).

I hope some answers come out of it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


For months now, I haven't seen what the fuss was all about, never felt the much-vaunted charisma. Tonight, though, I'm watching his acceptance speech on CNN with tears pricking in my eyes. I've watched election night since 1984, the year I had a playground fight with my friend Daniel over Reagan vs. Mondale, and I've never been so moved.

Tomorrow, I'll remember all the reasons why I voted for the other guy today. I'm pretty sure that in a year or two, I'll be griping about him, because I have some fundamental disagreements with his policies. But I wish that weren't so, because I like feeling as proud of my president and my country as I do right now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Waiting to exhale

I finished up the third round of antibiotics on Tuesday morning. Last time, it took about 48 hours for the infection to come back, so I'm somewhat hesitant to declare that they've worked just yet. I'm still having some pelvic pain (it never entirely cleared up this time, even with the abx) but no fever or malaise at this point, so who knows.

I feel like my uterus is still a ticking time bomb, but that's probably to be expected after the events of the last four months -- I definitely have some work to do to sort out the psychological ramifications of it all. I'm still feeling pretty traumatized by the whole thing, and every little twinge and ache seems like a harbinger of doom. I am also very conscious that, even if the infection is healed, I'm still very physically debilitated from everything. My mom and I strolled the kids around the neighborhood on Tuesday, 30 minutes of leisurely walking, and that was the limit of my endurance. Still, it's progress, and I hope I can keep advancing now.

Andrew is a good baby overall -- he wakes me up at night about every three hours, which is as much as you can expect from a month-old baby. He seems to be a little needier than I remember the girls being at this age; they were content to sit in their bouncy seats between feedings, but Andrew mostly wants to be held or at least talked to. He doesn't really nap right now with any consistency, just dozes off whenever he's comfortable and wakes up and complains whenever I decide he's asleep and put him in his crib. He's reasonably fond of his paci, but cannot reliably keep it in his mouth, and I'm half-hoping he decides to switch to a thumb soon. He is also growing like a weed, and I'd be shocked if he's not ten pounds by now, the little piglet.

My nanny is still taking care of the girls right now, but G has been working some late nights recently, so I've been flying solo with all three of them in the afternoons and evenings for the last couple days. This was, quite frankly, a terrifying prospect. The reality hasn't been so bad, but I wouldn't exactly call it easy either. Since Andrew isn't keen on being put down, I'm less able to wrangle the little girls when needed, and they need more wrangling than normal lately. They usually play pretty independently, but this is complicated by the fact that they LOOOOVE the baby. They want to hold the baby all the time, and fight constantly about who gets to hold him. They're very good with him by two-year-old standards, which means that they only pinch his nose or poke his face about every five minutes, but they will. not. leave him alone, at all. If I can get him asleep in his bouncy seat, they immediately begin being "helpy" by covering him up with his blanket (face included), giving him his paci (whether he wants it or not), and patting him and saying "sssh baby no cry" (especially when he is sound asleep).

Honestly, they are fantastically good with him for their age, although it's a lot of work to manage at the moment. I'm looking forward to when he is a little sturdier and they are a tiny bit older. Two or three months makes such a difference in their maturity level, and it's obvious that he will adore his sisters when he's ready to be played with. When they're not messing with him, he seems to find them entertaining -- he'll be content in his bouncy seat or on his quilt if they're around, which is not the case if he thinks he's being ignored. A lot of people told me I was crazy for having Andrew with the girls still so little, but my MIL told me that there are definitely advantages to having children close in age, too. I think I'll see it soon, and that right now is the hardest time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Round 3, and what comes after

I think I spoke too soon about the infection's being cleared up. I started hurting more again on Sunday, and the low-grade fever came back. I gave it yesterday to clear up, then when it didn't, called the doctor back this morning. She wants to do another round of the same antibiotic, about which I have mixed feelings. I felt much better while I was on it, but obviously, as soon as I stopped it, I started getting sicker again. Did I just not take it for long enough, or is it inadequate to the task at hand? I'll give it one more go, but if it doesn't clear everything up for good this time, we'll revisit the question of the D&C.

Speaking of questions to revisit, this whole infection business has pushed me to revisit the postpartum birth control question. We knew all along we were probably done after this one, but I couldn't quite bring myself to get a tubal done with the CS. I hated to rule out even the outside chance we might want another in a few more years, when the girls will be in school and I could better handle another awful pregnancy. Also, this may sound silly, but I wanted to make sure that Andrew was born and that everything would be okay with him. After all the drama of this pregnancy, some part of me didn't believe that we'd really have a live, healthy baby, and I knew that if something awful went wrong, I'd eventually want to try again. So, I said no to the tubal, and had planned on getting a copper IUD (not the Mirena, don't care for hormonal birth control after the events of the last several years).

However, this infection has officially been the straw that broke the camel's back. I can't handle the thought of ever doing this again. I held up through the hyperemesis, the T18 scare, and the months of bedrest for preterm labor. The asthma exacerbation was almost funny, in that "now what!" way where you have to choose whether to laugh or cry. But there's nothing funny about the fact that, four weeks after my son's birth, I'm still spending most of my days in bed because my pelvis feels like it's full of rusty nails and barbed wire. I was feeling so cheery last week when I was feeling well, but now I'm right back to wondering what it's going to take to cure this, and what kind of permanent damage I'm going to be left with before it's all said and done. For all I know, it may not even be possible or prudent for me to conceive again -- endometritis is a type of pelvic inflammatory disease, after all.

In any case, I never want to have another pregnancy, even an accidental one, unlikely as the idea of that seems to someone whose bathroom cabinet still holds a sharps container. I don't want my husband to get a vasectomy, since that is even less reversible in the event of future circumstances than a tubal ligation. If I get myself sterilized, I'd have the option of doing IVF if I wanted another pregnancy badly enough; but if he gets sterilized and anything happens to me, any future wife would be like my sister, permanently infertile as a result of a choice made in another marriage.

I haven't decided whether I will do the Essure procedure or a traditional tubal ligation, but this is mostly a question of logistics. I have to see what is covered by my insurance, and will cost me less. I have to see whether I'm going to wind up being anesthetized for another gyn procedure like a D&C or a lap, where it would be convenient to tie my tubes while I'm already out. Heck, for all I know, this still could end with a hysterectomy, which would render the whole question moot.

In any case, we've got to get the infection cleared up before I can make any decisions. I hope this round of antibiotics does the trick, though I'm less confident than I was.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cognitive dissonance

Lady behind me in line at the Dollar General: "Oh, how old is your baby?"
Me: "Three weeks tomorrow."
LBMILATDG: "Oh, he's so big for three weeks old!"

Nobody EVER told me how big the girls were for their age. Oh, they'd ask the birth weights and say "They're a good size for twins!" or the like, but if anyone ever commented on their actual size, it was to say how tiny they were. So, it really threw me for a loop when LBMILATDG said that Andrew was big for his age.

Of course, it might actually be true. He's got to be above nine pounds by now -- he was gaining 2+ ounces a day as of a week ago, and it's not like he's slowed down his eating. He feels heavy to me, and he's starting to really fill out his newborn clothes. I can't tell whether he's bigger than other three-week-old babies, because everyone else's babies have always looked like giants to me, but I know he's not small. Still, it's just not something I had really expected to be told. Weird.

On another note, Claire is hobbling around the house pretty darn well for a kid with a fractured tibia. Casting the leg was definitely the right choice -- she's moving much more easily than before, even if she does look like Peg-leg Pete. She still prefers to sit on the sofa a fair bit, and be indulged with coloring books and Wow Wow Wubbzy, but she's not as hindered by it as I expected her to be. Good news, that.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

From the department of I-am-not-making-this-up

Claire tripped over her toy vacuum cleaner yesterday afternoon. She wouldn't put any weight on her foot yesterday or this morning, and there was some swelling, so we took her to the pediatrician this morning, who sent her to the orthopedist.

No fracture was seen on the X-rays, but some types of fractures don't always show up very well. The orthopedist suspected that there probably was a fracture, and said that in children her age, he'd rather treat the kid instead of the X-ray, and proceed as if there is a fracture.

She's now in an over-the-knee cast, which will protect her ankle and hopefully make her more comfortable. She threw epic tantrums throughout the doctor's visits, for which I really can't blame her, but stopped crying and got fascinated as soon as the doctor started wrapping the cast on her leg. It's not precisely a walking cast -- her foot is pointed, rather than flexed for easy walking -- but she was already putting a little weight on it at the doctor's office. We hope that as she gets used to the cast and as the pain abates, she'll be able to move around a little bit better. Still, we're probably looking at a lot of time on the sofa for the next two to three weeks.

What ELSE is going to happen to us -- raining locusts and frogs? This year has been just such an extraordinary string of bad luck in all things health-related, that I can't even imagine what we'll be in for next.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Continued improvement

I was well enough yesterday to go over to my mom's with the girls for two hours (while G cleaned up yet another diaper disaster, on which more later). Today I sat at the sewing machine for a little while, dealt with some laundry from the diaper disaster, and then went over to Mom's again for our usual Sunday supper. That was the absolute limit of my endurance, and I'm now thoroughly wiped out, but it's more than I've been able to do since the infection took hold.

The low-grade fever is gone, I'm off the painkillers, and I'm feeling so much peppier. I still half-worry that it will come back when I finish out the antibiotics, but that's just because I can't quite fathom being fully well again after all this. Realistically, my odds are good, and I think I've dodged the D&C for now.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Cautiously optimistic

Yesterday afternoon, I was still pretty worried that we were heading for a D&C after all. I had a little spotting, but certainly not the kind of uterine fireworks Dr. Pro had led me to expect, and my uterus still hurt. I'd felt so relieved when we left the doctor's office, crying this time from the shiny new hope that we were finally getting things back on track. By the evening, with nothing much happening so far, the gleam was starting to wear off a little bit.

However, I did start cramping more as the evening went on, and my bleeding picked up some. I've never been so glad to bleed in my life, even with my first period after all those months of hypothalamic amenorrhea. I'm still not reenacting Carrie or anything, but I'm having what seems like a normal period, so that's definitely progress.

This morning, my temperature was actually normal for the first time in weeks, and I didn't hurt as much even before the pain meds kicked in. Better still, I don't FEEL sick any more, have lost the underlying icky awfulness I've been carrying around since this started. I am still dreadfully fatigued -- my SILs came over this morning to see the baby, and the effort of sitting on the couch for an hour has nearly undone me. Clearly, I will be looking at several days yet before making a full recovery.

However, today is the first day since the beginning that I can unequivocally say I'm better than the day before. I'm really starting to believe that I'll get over this soon.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I want a new drug

I was really a lot more upset than I let on in yesterday's post. I didn't just cry in the doctor's office -- I cried on the way home, and on the phone to my mom, and later when my mom came over, and before going to bed. When I woke up this morning, got out of bed, and still hurt as much as ever, I found myself at the end of my rope, and I couldn't stop crying this time.

After bawling my way through a long hot shower, I decided it was time to do something about it. If there was a physical thing to fix, I wanted to get working on it; if not, then maybe it would be time to start talking about postpartum depression. In any case, though, I didn't have a week's worth of patience left. I called the doctor's office and told them I wanted to have bloodwork and an ultrasound done today instead of next week. That involved tears too, but I think those were actually useful, since they realized what kind of shape I was in and told me to come in ASAP.

Lo and behold, turns out I have a uterus swollen full of blood. I'd stopped bleeding before I even left the hospital, and while that was different from my previous pregnancy (in which I bled for eight weeks straight), I didn't think it was anything to be concerned about. Nobody even asked me about my bleeding, so I never mentioned it to anyone. However, the doctor thinks that is very likely the root cause of the problem.

We discussed doing a D&C today, but Dr. Pro was pretty clear that she wants to avoid that if possible. It involves anesthesia and surgical risks, and would cause breastfeeding problems too, so she wanted to take one more shot at fixing it surgically. I left with a prescription for a different antibiotic, as well as one for methergine, which will cause my uterus to contract and expel all the junk. Since that's probably going to be unpleasant, I have more pain medicine too, which is good because I'd run out. We're going to try that over the weekend, and if I'm not substantially improved by Monday, we'll do a D&C then.

I already feel better just knowing that we've got a different strategy in place. I'm not the world's most patient patient, and I have just about reached the limits of my ability to cope with crap, but I can hang in there for a couple more days. The space of a weekend, with enough pain medication to be comfortable and a new Plan B in place, is an entirely different prospect from waiting an entire week just to begin investigating.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

No milk supply problems here

When we came home from the hospital on 9/21, Andrew weighed 6 lb 10 oz, down from his birth weight of 7 lb 5 oz. Eleven days later, he weighs... 8 b 4 oz. That's a gain of more than two ounces a day. Nope, I don't think we have any milk supply issues!

I also went to the doctor today for a follow-up appointment. I'm feeling a small bit better, but still more crappy than not -- I'm still in worse shape than I was the day after the CS. The doctor said that the antibiotic I've been taking is the only one she really wants to prescribe a nursing mother, and that in her experience, uterine infections either get rapidly worse or slowly get better. Since I'm not getting a whole lot sicker, she thinks I'm going to improve, and it will just take some more time. I'm to come back in a week, and if I'm still fighting it, then we'll do bloodwork and a sonogram to check for abscesses.

I think that's a reasonable answer, on the merits, but it wasn't really what I wanted to hear. I know there's rarely such a thing as a magic pill, but... dammit, I wanted one. I'm so TIRED of struggling, and feeling rotten, and needing to wait just a little longer. I've spent FOUR MONTHS now trapped in my bedroom, and I am so sick of it and so desperate just to be able to get outside. I kept telling myself I had to hold on until the third trimester, until 32 weeks, until 34 weeks, until 37 weeks, until the baby was born. I really thought that once the baby was born, I'd be able to start leading a normal life again. When the infection started, I thought I'd go to the doctor and get antibiotics, and they'd start working. After a day or two, when I wasn't progressing, I thought I just had to hang on until today's appointment, and we'd try something different. Now, I have to hang on another week, and while a week isn't really a long time, I'm just flat out of patience.

I cried in the doctor's office, and she asked me if I felt like I had postpartum depression. I replied that there's nothing wrong with me that won't be fixed by getting healthy and being able to live like a normal person instead of an invalid. I *do* feel pretty freakin' depressed and disheartened right now, though. I don't need anti-depressants to fix it, though; a walk around the block, or a trip to the bookstore, would be all the medicine I need, if I just felt well enough to be able to do them. I hope that happens soon, I really do.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

One is the easiest number

I'm only now coming to understand just how grueling the first couple weeks of the girls' life was, now that I have a singleton to compare it with. I had very easy babies, so my stint as a new mom of multiples was easier than most women's, but it really is a whole different ballgame when there is only one baby to contend with.

The memory of the girls' insane feeding schedule makes me thank the sweet baby Jebus whenever Andrew wakes me up to nurse. He's waking up at 1-2 am, 4-5 am, and 7-8 am, which was about the same frequency as the girls did. However, I don't have to turn on the light, strap on the giant twin nursing pillow, struggle to latch two tiny little mouths, spend the nursing session gritting my teeth in pain from cracked nipples, change two diapers, and then pump. With Andrew, I have achieved the impossible dream of being able to reach over, pluck the baby from the co-sleeper, latch the baby, and go back to sleep. (G is currently on diaper duty because the uterine infection makes it so unpleasant for me to get up -- as of today, I'm starting to feel a tiny bit better, but I have a long way to go still, and am likely to spend several more days recovering.)

Nursing is somewhat easier simply because I'm experienced now, but the bulk of the difference is physical. I don't have cracks this time, because my nipples are only subject to half as much abuse, and it doesn't hurt that Andrew was as big at birth as Claire at six weeks. With the girls, I was so aggressive about ramping up milk supply so that I could nurse two babies AND supplement with pumped milk that my production went crazy -- I would nurse them, then turn around and pump 6-8 oz after each feeding. When you're making that much milk, you have to be religious about removing it promptly, which is why I constantly struggled with engorgement, plugged ducts, and mastitis. I haven't pumped at all with Andrew so far, though I really ought to start building a freezer stash, so I don't know how much extra I am making, but the oversupply troubles are far less. He's having some gas issues, which implies a foremilk-hindmilk imbalance, but this time I can actually use block feeding to resolve it.

Andrew likes to cluster-feed during the day -- really, what he does is nurse on one side, fall asleep for a bit, and then wake up for the other side 30 minutes later. I nursed the girls "on demand", but when one baby woke up and wanted to eat, I woke the second baby and fed her as well, and I made them stay awake long enough to eat full meals. With Andrew, I don't have to be as hard-core, and can allow him to nurse more frequently if that's what he wants to do; sure, I spend more time nursing, but it's nice not to force him to stay awake. As he gets a little older, I'll guide him to finish his meals more promptly, but I don't feel the need right now.

I also spend so much more time holding Andrew during the day than I did with the girls. He sleeps in his co-sleeper without complaint at night, but during the day, he takes one or two naps in it, and spends the rest of the day snuggled up with me. He might be soundly asleep on my chest, but should I try to put him down, he'll start howling like his bed is full of baby-eating crocodiles. Again, I'll steer him toward more naps in his crib or bouncy seat as we go along, but I really actually like holding him, so I'm indulging us both.

As a result of all the one-on-one nursing time and the holding time, I do feel like I'm closer to Andrew than I was each to the girls at this point. For the first month or two, they were a unit to me -- I did things with "the babies" or "the girls", not so much with Claire and Katherine, if that makes sense. Newborns don't express a lot of individuality anyway, so pair-bonding was the default. Now, there is just Andrew, so I can focus twice as much on him. We noticed this literally even in the delivery room -- G wasn't running back and forth from baby to baby, trying to focus on both at a time.

One luxury I do have is a nanny for the girls, so Andrew is an only child for me right now. I'm not physically capable of taking care of them myself, due to the infection and the c-section recovery before that, any more than I have been for most of the pregnancy. However, in a few weeks from now, I'll be letting the nanny go and spending some time as a full-time mom to all three kids. Our nanny is pregnant, and not having the easiest time of it, so she's pretty ready to stop chasing after three toddlers (her son is two years old, and she brings him and cares for all three children). I'm not sure what the long-term plan is -- we're discussing putting the girls in day care after Christmas, and I will stay at home and work around the baby for a few months -- but again, it's great to be able to focus just on the baby, instead of juggling the needs of all three children.

Even when the girls were tiny, I loved having twins. I always felt like they had a companion, and I think they found each other's presence comforting, even as tiny babies. Now that they're a little older, they have a built-in best friend, and entertain each other to a degree that makes my singleton moms envious. They fight too, especially in the last couple weeks (new baby upheaval, I'm thinking), and right now Katherine is sporting a set of Sister's toothmarks on her forehead. Plus, at 30 pounds each, they can be physically different to manage when they want to be ornery. Still, I'm glad that they are twins and sisters, and during my pregnancy, I wondered if Andrew would feel lacking because he didn't have a twin.

I still think he may do so, as he gets older, but at the moment, my perspective has completely changed. I feel that he's getting a chance the girls never had, to be my only child. He has not yet had to cry in his crib because I am feeding or changing his twin -- this will come in a few weeks, I'm sure, but for now he's able to get what he wants when he wants it. I'm able to give him undivided attention and love, and I'm wistful that I missed out on that with the girls, even if I didn't realize what I was missing at the time. I'm really thankful that I'm getting to experience what it's like to mother a singleton, and to have a "babymoon" with him.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I knew it couldn't be that easy...

I knew the delivery went entirely too smoothly. Why, there were no major medical catastrophes at all! I thought maybe my body had FINALLY decided it had dished me out enough crap, and that all would go well for a bit, at least until the inevitable tussle with mastitis.

Wednesday afternoon, we had a diaper disaster occur -- the girls are TERRIBLE about taking off their diapers, and the nanny hadn't taped their diapers thoroughly enough. She had to leave early early that day, so I went up to get them from their nap, and the wave of poop smell hit me before I'd even opened the door. Little monsters that they are, they'd gone fingerpainting, and I had no choice but to bathe them immediately, before Daddy got home to help. I was sore that evening, but thought it was just because I'd lifted them into the tub.

I was a little worse Thursday morning, and I thought perhaps I might have a UTI. I called the doctor's office, talked to the nurse, and they called me in a prescription for it. I took Andrew with me to go get it, and we stopped into the Big Baby Store to pick up a few more clothes for him -- I had bought mostly 0-3 month stuff rather than newborn, and he's still pretty little. I put him in the sling rather than carrying around baby + carseat, but I was still pretty sore when I got home.

By Thursday evening, I was really starting to hurt badly, and Friday morning, I could barely move. I wasn't running much of a fever, though, and my external incision looked fine, so I figured it couldn't be all that serious. G nagged at me to go to the doctor, but I didn't want to make him leave work to take me, and I wasn't very keen about the idea of getting out of bed. I took some more pain medicine and stayed in bed with the baby all day, hoping I'd start getting better.

I didn't. I got worse instead, and by the time I felt like it might be a good idea to go see the doctor, their Friday office hours were over. I got a lecture from my husband, another one from my mom the RN, and a third one from my brother the MD, and they all made me promise to go in to the hospital if I wasn't substantially better in the morning. I wasn't, and we did.

Turns out I have a "mild" uterine infection -- mild because my white count isn't really elevated. However, I definitely have what the doctor described as "uterine tenderness", and I would describe as AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH STOP PLEASE OH MY GOD THAT HURTS. Seriously, I haven't hurt this bad since the ovarian hyperstimulation nightmare, which actually felt quite a lot like this. The pelvic exam left me sobbing and shaking, once I finished with the screaming and the moaning, so yeah, I guess you could call that tenderness.

I left with a prescription for a different antibiotic and for more Percocet, and I am a bit more comfortable now. The doctor didn't want to hospitalize me for IV antibiotics if he can help it, given that I'm nursing and all, but if I get any worse, that's the next option. Hopefully it won't come to that, but since this is me we're talking about, I'm not betting against it.

I swear, if I have to have any kind of pelvic surgery as a result of this, I will tell them to just yank the sucker out. Ridiculous isn't even the word for it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here, have some baby cuteness

The birth

While it lacks the excitement of the middle-of-the-night "honey, it's time!", there are some definite advantages to having a scheduled C-section. My in-laws had arrived to stay at the house with the girls, my hospital bag had been packed and re-packed, and my clients had been notified. I'd even gotten to take care of some minor details like folding laundry and assembling casseroles. When we pulled out of the driveway at 5 AM, it felt great to know that everything was all squared away and ready for the baby.

When we got to the hospital, they started an IV, did my pre-op meds, and monitored the baby, and they wheeled me into the OR at 7:02. I had been concerned about the spinal, since I'd had some trouble with my first CS and had also had a failed spinal for one of my knee surgeries. However, the anesthesiologist (who, in an odd coincidence, is the wife of my former RE Dr. Boss), took her time placing it, and in short order I was lying down on the table. I thought I was doing well, but while Dr. Pro was beginning the incision, I did start to feel nauseated. Anti-nausea meds and ephedrine helped, but not before I threw up several times. Let me tell you, it's surreal to be throwing up while listening to the scissors going snip-snip through your uterus.

Dr. Pro announced that the baby's head was out, and that he had a full head of dark hair, and I started to cry. Some tugging and pushing, and there he was, squalling like a scalded cat. She brought him around for me to see, then off to the warmer for cleanup. With the girls, that took place in a separate room, but this hospital has the warmer right in the OR, so I could see and hear him the whole time (he was Not Happy about the proceedings). I didn't hemorrhage this time, and wasn't so messed up from the meds, so I was lucid enough to talk to him and ask about him while they were stitching me up. They told me he had "wet lungs", i.e. transient tachypnea of the newborn, and that he'd need observation for a while. However, it's not an urgent condition, and he wasn't in any real distress, so I got to hold him and kiss him before he went off to the nursery and I went to recovery.

The immediate recovery period is the only part of the experience that was not much fun. I started to hurt as the spinal wore off, and was given a shot of Demerol and Phenergan (in my thigh for some reason, rather than via IV). They brought Andrew back in for me to try to nurse, but he wasn't the slightest bit interested in latching, probably due to the TTN. I did enjoy holding him, though, and G and I tried to decide who he looked like and where he'd gotten his freaky monkey toes. Unfortunately, my pain medication was starting to wear back off about the time they took him away. They gave me some Percocet right before taking me to my room, but the Demerol wore off much faster. I try hard not to be a baby about pain, so when I'm hurting enough to feel like I need more drugs, I expect to get them. When it got bad enough that I was crying and unable to keep my legs from twitching, and the nurse told me I couldn't have anything else and that I just had to wait for the Percocet to kick in, I was very unhappy indeed. They relented after an hour and gave me a shot of Nubain, which got me back to feeling human, but it was a very, very unpleasant hour. After the Nubain shot, I did fine with just Percocet from then on, but I don't think they managed it very well in the immediate post-op period -- the hospital I used for my first delivery did a much better job.

Andrew spent most of the day in the nursery, with my husband popping in to visit him every half-hour or so. He was finally brought to me late in the afternoon, at which point we tried again to nurse, but he didn't actually latch on until later in the evening. I knew it was because of the TTN, so I wasn't too fussed about it, and they assured me that his blood sugar was fine and that he didn't need formula or sugar water. He stayed in the nursery that night for observation, but was brought to me for nursing and cuddling every time he woke up. Honestly, I didn't mind all that much, because I was able to get some rest in between visits. At mid-morning Friday, he was moved to our room for good, by which point I was feeling much better prepared to be his mother!

After the initial post-op misery, I actually recovered much quicker from the surgery this time around. I was able to get out of bed much more easily, and was starting to wean off the pain meds by Saturday. My milk began to come in on Saturday, whereas with my first birth, it didn't show up until the fifth day. Once Andrew got the initial idea of nursing, he proved to be a good eater, and of course it didn't hurt that I've done this before. His breathing began to slow down as the fluid cleared from his lungs, and he began to be very alert and interested in the world. In retrospect, we could have gone home on Saturday, rather than on Sunday morning -- it would have been one less night of the Grand-Central-Station experience.

I'm feeling very nearly back to myself, and better in some ways than I have in months. The asthma is just about licked, now that I'm back on my inhaled corticosteroids, and it's nice not to have any contractions or heartburn. I did not get nearly as engorged as I did with the girls, and aside from some minor soreness and chapping, I'm having no breastfeeding trouble at all. I'm moving almost normally, though I'm still a little sore if the girls start crawling over me. My lower back hurts a little bit, and for some reason I'm having some trouble with dizziness, but nothing too bothersome. Andrew is a very good baby indeed, so I'm getting a reasonable amount of sleep, especially in comparison to the nightmare that is newborn twins. Overall, I think I'm doing pretty darn good for six days postpartum.

So, that's the birth, and our current physical status quo. I've got much more to say about having a singleton this time, and about the girls meeting the baby, but that will have to wait until after a few more feedings and snugglings of Mr. Monkeytoes!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Andrew Leon

Born this morning at 7:27 am, with a full head of dark hair, 7 lb 5 oz and 20". He's under observation for transient tachypnea of the newborn, but he should get over that quickly. He's gorgeous and adorable. Pictures to follow soon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

All done, part 2

My CS has been moved up to Thursday at 7 am. Like, two and a half days from now. I got a steroid shot at the pulmonologist, too, so it's a double helping of awesome.

All done, indeed!

All done

Claire loves to be "all DONE!" with things. I never thought about how many times you say "all done" over the course of the day, until I had a two-year-old to parrot it. After every meal, every cup of water, "all DONE!" Diaper changes are "all DONE!", getting dressed is "all DONE!", putting anything away or closing a door is "all DONE!".

Well, today it's my turn. I am "all DONE!".

Other than the lung stuff, I'm pretty much okay. Oh, sure, I'm tired of the heartburn, and getting generally impatient to meet the baby, but I'm not otherwise physically miserable. I'm pretty small still, only measuring about 34 weeks, so it's not like I'm hauling around 12 lbs of baby like last time. I've had zero swelling, and I haven't outgrown all my maternity clothes. I'm sleeping fine at night, and my hips don't hurt except when the baby occasionally twists himself into weird positions. I still enjoy feeling him kick and wriggle. The random bouts of contractions are tiresome, but I don't have a problem toughing those out for ten more days.

I'm all recovered from the cold, too, except that someone forgot to send the memo to my lungs. I'm basically done with the cough and the snot and the sinus stuff, but it's been more than a week since I had even 70% of normal lung capacity. I'm hovering around the 60% mark most of the time, and while albuterol opens me up a little bit, it's short-lived, and wears off well before I'm supposed to take my next hit. I still feel tight all the time, get winded walking into the kitchen, can't get out a full sentence without needing to take a breath. It's the asthma exacerbation which won't end.

If I weren't pregnant, this would have been fixed a week ago with a round of steroids. That's how I got diagnosed with asthma in the first place -- I went to the pulmonologist to find out why my colds lasted for three weeks and required steroids to clear up. After the disaster last October, the plan was that we'd start with the steroids sooner rather than later, once my peak flows started going downhill. For a wonder, and probably because of the pregnancy, I didn't catch any kind of upper-respiratory infection last winter/spring, so we never had occasion to try it.

I understand where Dr. Pro is coming from with avoiding steroids. When you take oral steroids, it can suppress your body's ability to produce its own hormones. If you've been on steroids recently and have any kind of major physical stress happen, you can go into a full-blown adrenal crisis if you don't get extra doses of steroids. Since childbirth and major abdominal surgery definitely count as major physical stress, it's sensible to avoid them if at all possible in a patient who could deliver literally any day.

But you know what? I like to breathe properly, and would very much appreciate the chance to do so again. I don't feel like we've got this under control, and I feel like I could easily over the edge into being in bad trouble. It's pretty clear to me that I am not improving, and past history suggests I won't for at least several more days. So, if I can't get better without steroids, and I can't have steroids because I'm pregnant, well, I've got a brilliant idea.

I will be 38 weeks tomorrow by LMP. The dating is iron-clad, and I even have the extra edge of having had steroid shots during all the PTL fun. However, at 38 weeks, the risk of transient lung issues is still a little bit higher, given that I'm having a repeat c-section. If it were just a matter of being tired of being pregnant, yes, we would probably do better to wait another week. But when you put the baby's theoretical lung issues up against my actual ones, I am thinking that maybe the picture changes a little bit.

I see the OB this afternoon, and the pulmonologist after that. We're going to talk about steroids again, and if everyone feels that those are off the table, I'm going to ask if delivering the baby is an option. I don't know that it will be -- there are anesthesia considerations too, if the spinal fails and I have to have general, so we'll see what all the doctors say. But I'll tell you, I am "all DONE!", and ready to bring this nightmare of a pregnancy to a close.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The dinosaurs who came to breakfast

... and lunch

... and to bed

Notice a common theme?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Still ugly

Went to the doctor this morning, because not only am I completely unable to breathe normally, the baby wasn't moving at all. Even a breathing treatment didn't get him going, and those usually make us both fairly wired. He finally woke up and started hiccuping while I was sitting in the waiting room, and I nearly cried in relief (as well as out of general misery).

The doctor did a non-stress test and said he looked good, but she still sent me to L&D for a pulmonary workup and a few hours of monitoring. Chest x-ray was clear, white count was OK, so it looks like it's just a garden-variety upper-respiratory infection and asthma exacerbation. My peak flows were rotten -- I'm only breathing at about 40% of my normal capacity, though a couple breathing treatments put me closer to 50%. However, there's just not much to be done about it right now. She doesn't want to give me steroids as long as my oxygen saturation levels are OK, so I'm just supposed to keep sucking down the albuterol until I start to kick this.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I have now entered the mythical land of the full-term pregnancy.

Of course, because it's me, there is a complication. I caught the girls' cold, and like all of my colds do, it headed straight for the lungs. It's ugly. Really ugly. Like, nebulized-albuterol ugly, and if I get any worse, it'll be ER-ugly. No such thing as "just a cold" for an asthmatic.

I hope the baby holds off for two more weeks, because right now, I'm too sick to take care of him.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Happy Birthday

Lyme disease/incipient colds/uterine irritability notwithstanding, we had the girls' birthday party yesterday evening.

I thought their first birthday would be the big meaningful birthday-to-remember, and I made a big production out of it last year, invited a bunch of people and cooked a bunch of food. There was the requisite amount of cake-smashing, but the girls were a bit overwhelmed by all the goings-on.

This year, I didn't have the energy to do much of anything. I ordered cakes from a local cake place, a Wubbzy cake for Claire, and a Birdie Bird cake for Katherine (characters from Wow Wow Wubbzy, which is TV crack for toddlers). I had my in-laws pick up a few pizzas, blew up a 99-cent package of balloons, and invited immediate family and two close friends with toddlers. I was pretty sure it was going to be small and quiet.

Know what? It was AWESOME. This year, the girls were old enough to understand the concept of presents, and to get really excited about the unwrapping. All of the kids had a fantastic time bouncing the balloons around the living room. Both girls were wide-eyed with excitement when we brought out the cakes and started singing Happy Birthday. They're also really into all of their new toys, and loved the train table G and I bought them. I get the giggles seeing Claire carrying around the large plastic T-Rex (which she insists is a "hossie"), and I could hire Katherine out if the toy vacuum cleaner and lawn mower worked.

I loved having little babies (and am so looking forward to another), and I used to be afraid that I wouldn't enjoy the toddler era as much. Let's face it, we all have ages and stages we prefer, and I've never been as keen on the toddlers as on babies and preschoolers. In all honesty, I do think 18 months was the hardest age for us -- most twin moms find it's the infant period, but my girls were really good babies, and we had a relatively easy time then. By 18 months, though, they had developed all the physical capacity needed to get into trouble, without the understanding to stay out of it. They were relatively slow talkers, and couldn't communicate wants and desires very well. They wouldn't hold hands reliably or sit still in chairs, so taking them out in public could be an ordeal. It was still neat to see them learn things, but there were a lot of frustrations too.

In the last three months, though, they have grown up so very much. I hate that I've spent so much of the time confined to bed and missing it, because I am purely loving this stage. They follow simple directions, and they love to "help" -- give them something to carry or put somewhere, and they're happy as clams. They're still not as talkative as some two-year-olds, but they have a lot of words and several phrases, plus incomprehensible sentences. They can ask for water or a cracker or a hug, and they identify each other as "ti-tuh" (Sister). (My favorite verbal idiosyncracy: "Katherine, what's your name?" "ME!") It's amazing what a difference basic communication makes.

Yes, there are challenges. Katherine in particular has very, very definite ideas about how the world ought to work, and she does NOT appreciate it when things don't go accordingly. Since the Katherine Plan includes things like collecting a large pile of toys in a box or arranging all of her peas just so, it is frequently ruined by her sister or her parents. Katherine comes by her OCD tendencies honestly, to be sure, so it's easy for me to draw on my own childhood to foresee years of "MOOOMMM! She got in my STUFF!". Claire is much less attached to the idea of personal property, and doesn't care so much about the world being orderly, but she wants very badly to know how everything works. She gets very frustrated when she can't make something work right, or when we drag her away before she's done investigating, or take something away precisely because she's gotten it to work. Of course, there are also the generic toddler meltdowns, and the days when naps don't happen, and the boundary-testing to see what happens if we hit the dog or throw our toy.

All in all, though, I am enjoying them now more than I ever have, and so is G. He loved them as tiny babies and was tremendously helpful with them, but it was clear he didn't have quite the same hunger for the smell of their little baby heads, wasn't as captivated by the way you could nestle one in each side of your neck. Understandably enough, he looked forward to the period where he could interact with them more, and that's where we're at. A few weeks ago, he told me that he's no longer waiting for them to grow up and do X, and that now he wishes they'd stay right where they are for a while! I couldn't help but laugh, because now he understands how I felt their entire first year, but I also agree with him. It's great to be the mother of two-year-olds.

Friday, September 05, 2008


From the Department of OF-COURSE-It-Would-Happen-To-Me:

Two weeks ago, my sister asked if the girls could come visit her and my niece for the weekend. Since G's been doing solo weekend duty for all these weeks of bedrest, I packed them off without a second thought to her house. M lives in a very rural area about an hour and a half from here, and the directions to her house include "turn off the paved road".

A fantastic time was had by all, and we picked up two worn-out babies on Sunday. The next day, I noticed that Claire had two little bites on the back of her arm. I figured they were just mosquito bites -- both girls welt up badly in reaction to them, just as I did as a child. We applied a little hydrocortisone cream for a couple days, and didn't think much about them after that. I remarked a few days later that they were still there, but again, I thought they were just slow-healing mosquito bites.

Yesterday afternoon, there was an... incident (I will spare you the details)... involving one of the dogs and the girls. It led to an unscheduled bath, the first one I've given them myself since the preterm labor fun began, and when I took Claire's shirt off, I was horrified to find that those two little bites had grown into giant rashes, each the size of a silver dollar. They were warm to the touch, red on the outside with a lighter inner ring and a red center, like a bullseye. In short, they looked EXACTLY like the classic Lyme Disease rash. Surely not, I thought, but I called the pediatrician this morning and brought her in.

Wikipedia says that "Of cases reported to the United States CDC, the ratio of Lyme disease infection is 7.9 cases for every 100,000 persons," and the state health department says that "very few cases have been reported in the state". After Katherine's ITP, I thought that we HAD to have met our statistical-anomaly quota for the year, even leaving my pregnancy complications out of it. Right?

The pediatrician, while admitting that she's never actually seen a case of Lyme in person, is reasonably certain that's what it is -- the rash is unmistakable, and the history fits. She drew blood for the antibody test, which may not show positive yet (it often doesn't until you've had it for several weeks), but felt confident enough to go ahead and treat Claire for Lyme. Three weeks of amoxicillin, and she'll be fine.

Unless, that is, a meteor falls on our house in the meantime. Honestly, given our luck over the last year, I don't feel entirely confident ruling that out.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

High-water mark

As of today, I'm officially more pregnant than I've ever been before. Despite a lot of contraction activity over the last, I'm still not dilated, so I might even make it to term. In any case, I think NICU is off the menu, and that's very good indeed.

I'm starting to get excited to meet the baby, though I'm a little nervous as well. I recall feeling very much the same way with the girls, though. At the time, it was apprehension about coping with newborn twins, and now it's apprehension about coping with a newborn and toddler twins. I did just fine then, or at least I felt like I was doing just fine at the time; it was pretty tough in retrospect, but I had a massive post-birth high, which helped a great deal. This time around, the mechanics will be easier if nothing else, so I think it will all work out just fine.

Now, I've just got to try not to have him until after the girls' birthday on Saturday. We are doing nothing more elaborate than cake/ice cream/pizza on Friday night for a few friends and relatives, but they're two, so it's not like they know the difference. Still, I would like not to miss it, and I would also like for Brother to have his own birthday and not share with the girls. One birthday for three children would be a little bit skewed!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The good and the Gustav

Good: 35 weeks! Six more days, and I'll surpass my first pregnancy. The birth is now officially scheduled for September 25, although Dr. Pro says she really doesn't think I'll make it that long. I'm mostly effaced, which while not uncommon for this point in pregnancy, doesn't necessarily bode well for going another month. I kind of have the feeling it may be getting close -- restlessness, nesting, and some fairly intense contractions. If I had to guess, I think he'll be born the next week or two, and my money's on early next week.

Thankfully, I have been able to engage in some intensive shoppiness, so I have clothes to put him in and blankets to wrap him in. My mom had bought a few things, but she simply cannot be convinced of his likely size. I called her on Monday to tell her about the things I'd bought, and she was all, I hope you bought them in 3-6 months! Um, no, because he likely won't be wearing that size until NOVEMBER. I understand, to an extent -- my sister was nearly 11 lbs, and I was a hair short of 10 -- but I'll be very surprised if he clocks in at 8, or chunks up quickly afterwards. I had a hard time not picking up a few preemie-sized things, just in case...

The other interesting wrinkle:

Yeeeaaaah. It's early days yet, but if it follows the projected track, it's gonna hit almost exactly where Katrina did, potentially at close to the same strength at landfall. Katrina was still a Category 1 hurricane when it passed over my house, 150 miles inland. We personally came out of it relatively easy, with no significant damage and without power for less than 24 hours, though my mother went without it for over a week less than two miles away. However, the entire city was a giant freakin' mess for more than a week -- trees down everywhere, no power, and no gas. It felt like (and was) a disaster area, even this far north, and was much worse for G's family on the Coast.

Understandably, everyone is a little bit on edge, and that most definitely includes me. Of course, Murphy's Law would seem to imply that my odds of going into labor increase during a natural disaster, particularly one which may well strand my in-laws at home for days. And did you know that there's apparently a well-established correlation between falling barometric pressure and onset of labor?

Of course, hopefully the storm will go elsewhere, or peter out before landfall, or otherwise become no big thing. But if you're picking days in the betting pool, Tuesday/Wednesday wouldn't be terrible ones to pick, methinks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nearly there

34 weeks, people. No matter what, he'll be at least a near-term baby.

Actually, it is looking like we have a really good shot at going all the way -- 10 weeks of near-constant irritability doesn't seem to have had any effect at all. Dr. Pro wants me to stay on the Procardia for another two or even three weeks, but I can ease up on the bedrest to some extent. I'm still supposed to spend most of my time sitting or reclining, but I'm free to move around the house more, run a few short errands, and I even have the OK to go out to dinner or a movie or some other "quiet" activity.

Yesterday's ultrasound showed an estimated fetal weight of 5 lbs even, exactly consistent with gestational age. Dr. Pro says she'd be shocked if he actually weighs that -- I'm measuring a full 5 weeks behind, and I am neither tall nor long in the torso, so there's some question about where exactly I'd be keeping 5 lbs' worth of baby. In any case, it looks like he probably won't top 8 lbs even if I make it all the way to my scheduled CS. Guess I'll be picking up a few newborn-sized things for coming-home wear after all!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Black velvet in that slow Southern style

One of the few joys of a late-summer pregnancy in the Deep South? Fresh local watermelon, ripe and chilled.

I've eaten three-quarters of the melon all by myself, and it wasn't a small melon. I eat it till I'm stuffed, and I would go back for another chunk if I had anywhere left to put it. It's out of control.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Into the threes

As of yesterday, I'm 30 weeks along. It's such a relief to be into a week that starts with a 3, even if I still have several more goalposts I want very much to pass. 32 weeks, not that far away now, and we'll be past the "very preterm stage". 34, and we're into late prematurity. 36, and I'll feel reasonably confident about avoiding NICU time. One more week after that, we'll be into the fabled land of the full-term baby.

I can't really imagine what it's like to actually have a full-term baby. The girls were born at 35w6d, late enough to avoid any serious morbidity, but early enough that they were still clearly "not done". They were a good size at birth, 5 lb 7 oz and 6 lb 4 oz, but both lost over a pound in the first few days, and Claire didn't reach 5 lbs again until she'd been home nearly a week. I remember thinking their chests looked deformed, because they didn't have enough fat to cover their ribs the way a baby's should be. They were sleepy, and we only just scraped by without phototherapy for the jaundice. They wore preemie clothes and preemie diapers for weeks, and were three months old before I finally put away their newborn-sized stuff.

Of course, 30 weeks, or 32 weeks, is a whole lot scarier than almost-36 weeks. Still, it seems a much shorter distance now than 30 weeks did from the vantage point of 28.

It's strange to think that I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy. In some ways, I feel so much less pregnant than I am -- I've gained less than 20 lbs, and measure several weeks behind. I actually even think my belly's shrunk in the last few days, as the baby seems to have finally gone head-down for good, and his head has settled into my pelvis, rather than poking out in front. I worry that this is the prelude to cervix change, though. I haven't had many contractions the last few days, but I'm more aware of the baby's weight in my lady business even when I'm not contracting. I've got an ultrasound scheduled for the morning, and I won't be surprised if there's shortening/funneling going on.

I don't miss the bladder fandango of a breech baby, but the crippling heartburn and nausea is beginning to make its appearance. I have heard other women with hyperemesis talk about the dreaded third-trimester relapse, and I was miserable at this point in my first pregnancy too (despite almost never being sick in the first trimester that time). It's more a mechanical issue, rather than the all-over constant seasickness of first-tri HG, but the result is the same. I lost 10 lbs in two weeks because of this in the last pregnancy, and somehow I don't think I'll be putting on much weight from here on out either. Thankfully, I am not suffering the joint pain I did last time, which is good because the joint pain came with permanent soft-tissue damage. I guess there are some upsides to having had most of the poorly-behaved joint removed and/or reworked. I do notice some extra joint laxity, especially in my fingers (no joke when you're double-jointed to begin with), but at least it's painless. No carpal tunnel, though, thank goodness, and no ridiculous swelling either.

Aside from the contractions, I really feel pretty good, especially in comparison to a twin pregnancy. I'm so glad I'll never have to go through a third-trimester twin pregnancy again, though in all honesty, I'm not sorry about the idea of being done with pregnancy, period. Assuming all goes well with the Lagniappe, G and I both feel like our family will be the right size, and God knows neither of us want to go through another pregnancy like this one. The infertility chapter of my life is very nearly over and done with, and I'm not sorry to be bidding it farewell.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A good week

I've made it a full week without having to go in since getting out of the hospital last Friday, a first since the preterm labor started. I had a couple runs of contractions this week, but they subsided before I felt like it was time to go in. There's a reason I wait until I've been having them more than every five minutes for 2-3 hours (though I wouldn't do this if I weren't also getting frequent cervix checks and in possession of negative FFNs). Sometimes they will slack off on their own, no matter what I do, and sometimes they will continue and get worse, no matter what I do. Likewise, I don't think that making it a week without a PTL admission is a sign of improvement, just the way it randomly worked out this week. Still, I'll take it.

I finally ordered a crib and crib bedding today. We'd seen the style at our local baby store, but in a finish we didn't care for, and stopped at a baby store in Birmingham while on our vacation in June and saw it in another finish we did like. I'd meant to order it the week we got back, but when I got admitted that Wednesday at 24 weeks, I got spooked. Now that I'm 29+ weeks, I'm a lot more reassured about the odds of making a few more weeks without delivering, and making it out with a live baby if I do. At this rate, the baby is likely to be here before the crib, but as we'll be keeping him in the co-sleeper for the first couple months anyway, it doesn't matter much. The bedding set I picked out for him is cute, even if it's not as cute as the quilt I'd planned to make, and includes a valance for the window, so that's something. I had seen it in the store a while ago, and liked the colors of it so much I used them for the fishie blanket I'm knitting.

Unsurprisingly, I have been doing a metric ton of knitting. The fishie blanket is half-done (ends woven in and strips crocheted together, even, as I go along!), and my Clapotis is complete except for blocking. I finished one pair of socks, started on another, and acquired yarn for three more -- I have a little sock problem, can you tell?. Of course, I also hate doing plain socks, and while the Monos Locos lace pattern is quite easy, it's not post-mag-sulfate easy. I am usually pretty much useless for about 12 hours after I get off the mag, and plain stockinette is about the limit of my abilities. So there's a Wicked sweater in progress, in bulky-weight wool I dyed a nearly-solid forest green a while back. I'm skipping the pocket, so other than a little waist shaping and collar/hem, it really is just straight knitting, easy enough for the mag aftermath. Finally, there is a Snowdrop Shawl (PDF) in progress, if you count "sitting at the bottom of my knitting bag under the needlepoint I also restarted" as being in progress. Yeah, project monogamy isn't my strong suit lately, but given the overall state of crashing boredom that exists around here, I think I can be excused for not putting up with knitting boredom too!

If you ever get put on 12 weeks of bedrest, I highly recommend being a knitter, or a crocheter, or a needlepointer, or a hand-spinner, or *something* -- thank the gods and little fishies I'm a handworker. Or, really, thank my mother for being a handworker, and for teaching me to cross-stitch when I was six. I look forward to teaching the girls to knit and embroider in a few years (and Lagniappe too, if he wants to learn). Claire, I think, has the makings of a knitter, and already loves to play with my yarn and needles, often to the detriment of whatever project she gets a hold of.

So, not a very exciting week around here, but those are the best kind I can ask for lately.

CODA: or it wasn't, until poor Claire slipped and fell on the hardwood floor just before I got around to posting this. She landed smack on her face, and immediately spouted blood all over everything from her nose. I'm actually somewhat concerned that her nose may be broken -- nothing feels out-of-joint, but the bridge of her nose is swollen, as is her upper lip, and one of her eyes looks like it might be blackening. The pediatrician said that as long as she's not having trouble breathing, give it the weekend to let the swelling subside, and see if there's any crookedness (they won't do anything for it if it's not). I iced it a little and gave her ibuprofen, and then sent her off to Nana and Pops for the weekend as planned -- I came thisclose to keeping her home, but decided there was no rational reason for doing so, as Nana and Pops are perfectly able to apply ibuprofen and kisses and popsicles. She didn't seem like she was in that much actual pain, so much as very scared and upset about it, poor girl.

See? Boring = good!

Friday, July 11, 2008

In and out

More contractions yesterday sent me back to L&D -- for those of you keeping score at home, that would be the SIXTH visit in one month, since my first admission on July 11. Sedate-and-hydrate worked, and after keeping me overnight for observation, I got to come home this morning, grateful to have avoided the mag. Still no dilation and a negative FFN to boot, though the baby can't seem to make up his mind about whether to be breech or vertex).

BTW, I have tried DIY sedate-and-hydrate at home, with adult beverage of choice. I did that toward the end of my last pregnancy, when I was past the point of tocolysis but wasn't continuing to dilate. Lagniappe has all his important bits by now anyway, so it's not like a drink or two will hurt him. I was having contractions Wednesday night -- in retrospect, usually a sign the next day will be bad -- and I got a really dirty look from my husband when I cracked open a Blackhook Porter, but he quieted right down when I told him to think about it as being like five minutes of mag sulfate. I mean, hey, I give the baby Stadol all the darn time, a little alcohol isn't going to do much on top of it.

Why, yes, I *am* a prime candidate for Mother of the Year, now that you mention it.

Anyway, the beer worked on Wednesday night, but not on Thursday. I tried a Phenergan after that (mixing alcohol and heavy-duty prescription drugs! the good parenting just keeps on coming!), but all it did was make me groggy for the three minutes in between contractions. I laid around for a while and felt sorry for myself, and then realized it was probably time to go in -- when I start getting miserable enough to cry, it's time to call it. The contractions don't hurt that bad, but when they're coming right after each other, it gets upsetting, as does the realization that I'm going to have to go in AGAIN.

For real, y'all, I know all the nurses at L&D by name now, as well as all the OBs. I also know the hospital admission clerks, and the lady at the front desk, and the night security guard recognized me the last time I came in after hours. The nurses even know my "good" veins now -- like it's hard, you just look for the marks from the previous IVs that aren't also surrounded by old bruises. It is to laugh, because crying is the only other reasonable alternative.

On the bright side, I have survived four weeks of bedrest, so I'm one-third of the way to my 36-week goal.

52 days to go.

Friday, July 04, 2008


My uterus decided to kick off some fireworks of its own, so it was back to L&D last night. Sedate-and-hydrate calmed things down partially, but they started back up again this morning, so I'm getting magged again. They started it at about 11 am, and as of 8:45 PM, I'm still not quiet enough yet to be weaned off it. Hopefully that will happen at some point over the night.

Two pieces of good news: cervix measured 3.8 cm (down from 4.8 at 21 weeks, but still a good number), and baby had flipped himself head-down. If I do start dilating, it's not so worrying with a vertex baby. Of course, that's assuming he stays vertex -- he was amusing himself doing somersaults this afternoon, and I think he turned back to breech for a bit before rolling over again.

59 days to go.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Big-girl bed night #1

We wound up only converting Claire's bed, because I can't really sit up and watch the children for longer than a few minutes. G took the girls up to see, and great fun was had climbing in-and-out-and-in-and-out. At bedtime, there was more crying than usual, mostly from Katherine -- I really think she wanted a bed too.

Both girls quieted down after about 5 minutes of crying, and we didn't hear any rumpusing. We heard a thump at about 10:30, and Claire cried a little bit, so we thought she might have fallen out. When G went up to check on her, though, she was still in her bed. Unfortunately, that woke both children up, and there was a few minutes of more crying before they calmed back down. At the final check of the night, both girls were asleep, and amazingly enough, Claire was still in her bed.

She was up at the nursery door this morning, of course, but didn't seem to have done anything other than play happily. Of course, we basically stripped the nursery of anything get-into-able, so there wasn't much she could have done. (Our nursery is upstairs, so it is literally just the room they sleep in -- all clothes, toys, diapering materials, etc. are downstairs.) Still, it seems to have gone well enough for a first nursery night.

We'll see how naptime goes in a couple hours.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The end of the cribs

Claire was standing at the door of the bedroom this morning, so it looks like the age of the cribs has drawn to a close. We bought convertible cribs for them which turn into daybeds and later double beds, so when G gets home this afternoon, I'll be sending him upstairs with a screwdriver. Tonight, the girls will go to sleep in "big girl beds". Trouble is, I don't have the faintest idea of how the mechanics of this are going to work, either at naptime or at bedtime.

We don't have an ironclad naptime or bedtime. The nanny feeds them lunch at noon, and then takes them upstairs when they seem to be getting tired -- one baby first, and the other a little later. If the first girl is very tired, she will be asleep by the time the second one is obviously ready for a nap. On many days, though, they go up together or in such short order that they're awake together. At bedtime, some days Katherine will outlast Claire by a substantial margin, but on other days she demands to go night-night as soon as Claire gets taken upstairs. (Naptimes are variable, but Claire is almost always ready to go to bed first.)

Whenever both babies are awake together, there will be talking. They will often spend half an hour or more talking to each other from their separate cribs, reading the books we let them take to bed, and playing with their "babies". I have no doubt whatsoever that if they're not confined to the cribs, they won't stay in bed even as long as it takes us to walk out the door.

What do you DO when multiples are too young to be reasoned with, but too old to be restrained? If they were a little older, we could perhaps explain to them about how we stay in our beds at night, and institute rewards/consequences, but they're not. I think it will be a long time before this will happen -- we have to teach them to resist not only their own impulses, but also the persuasions of Sister, which at just short of two is THE prime directive. With a singleton, we could create a quiet and boring environment which is conducive to sleep, but with multiples, there is always a built-in playmate.

Me, I'm thinking that we just lost naptime. At bedtime, they can play in the semi-dark for a while, and they probably will eventually fall asleep. I'm sure this will happen on the floor, but we can always go up later and move them back to bed. At naptime, I don't think this will work so well, because it's harder to fall asleep in the daytime, and the shorter duration of naptime means they're not likely to be moved into bed easily. I have thought recently that Claire is preparing to drop her nap -- she skips it at least once a week, or fights it hard and takes a very short one -- but she still can't really make it through a full day without one.

I've had the luxury of not having to worry about sleep issues for a very long time now, but I think that just got thrown out along with the cribs.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I didn't get around to posting that I got released on Saturday. But I guess you didn't miss much, because I'm back in L&D this morning.


Update: Sedate-and-hydrate did the trick, so I'm back home now.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Off the mag

It took a while, but I got off the mag at noon, though I am still in the post-mag coma. Currently still in L&D, but I'm theoretically being moved to the floor any time now, and will stay until tomorrow.

Still no dilation, so I'll get to go back home. I guess they really weren't kidding about how we'd keep doing this every week if we had to. And I guess it looks like we'll have to.

67 days to go.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


... is, apparently, the new Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The trend is broken

It's Wednesday night, and I am NOT in the hospital. How sad, that this is a deviation from the pattern.

Things have been... not exactly quiet, but not enough to make me feel like it's time to go in, for which I have a reasonably high threshold. The standard advice is 4 contractions or more in an hour. I don't even NOTICE if I have that -- I can't be bothered to time them until they get under 10 minutes, and I don't do anything about them until they've been well under that for a couple hours. Otherwise, I really would just check into the hospital for the rest of the pregnancy, and the food is much better at home.

26 weeks, 1 day. 69 days to go.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Home again

After a quiet night of almost no contractions at all, I was released this morning to the comfort of my own bed. I've had a few contractions here and there, but nothing that seems to want to fall into a pattern, so it's back to the routine of bedrest and Procardia. It's nice to be home.

74 days to go.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Uterus alert level: yellow

So, no prizes for guessing that I got a second scenic vacation to L&D. (I got the same room as last week -- no new scenery, even!) I had had a lot of contractions Tuesday evening, aaaallllmost enough to push me over my go-to-hospital threshold, but they settled down enough for me to fall asleep. I suspect they might have continued throughout the night, though, because I woke up with them in the morning. It eventually became clear they were settling in for the long haul, and after a couple hours, I called G to come home and take me in.

For a while, it looked like the second verse would be the same as the first -- get on the monitor, verify that yes, those are contractions, give me some terb and fluids, and wait a while for it to not work. However, the baby started going a little bit off-script during that waiting process, and decided he was tired of having his head squeezed every four minutes. He started having early decels with the contractions, and dropped off the monitor entirely here and there, and generally started freaking everyone right the heck out, so they quit fooling around and got a mag bag hung.

Mag sulfate is pretty much just as lousy as I remember it being from last time. I felt really miserable while I was getting the initial bolus dose, enough to make me ask for some Stadol so I could just go away for a little while. After that, it settled back down into general queasiness and fatigue, which is pretty much where it stayed. Most importantly, it got the job done with the contractions.

They took me off the mag this morning, because in addition to not having contractions, I stopped having some skeletal reflexes. Mag sulfate works by interfering with the calcium ions that cause muscle cells to contract, so it tends to stop *all* your muscle cells from contracting very effectively. So no, your uterus doesn't contract, but it also gets hard to do things like stand up or focus your eyes, or have your leg kick out when something hits the front of your kneecap. I've been off the mag for quite a few hours now, and I still feel like I'm just kind of half-melted into the bed.

Since my uterus decided to get with the program, I've been moved to a regular room, and fed, and heplocked off, and allowed to go to the bathroom. All of these things are fantastic. There's sunshine coming in my window and cool white sheets on my bed, and I'm content to just lie here and not contract and not have a baby. I'm not dilated or effaced, and nobody has said anything about yesterday's FFN being positive, so I'm assuming it's negative. I tested positive for a mild UTI, although I had no symptoms of one, and I'm kind of hoping that maybe that's what's been behind all this uterine uproar.

I fully and completely expect that I'll be making more visits to L&D over the next few weeks. I'd like to avoid having one *every* week, but Dr. Pro says if that's what it takes, that's what we'll do. There's really nothing else *to* do -- not much point to trying a terbutaline pump when the terbutaline shots never work, and I'm already on Procardia. As long as I don't dilate, she'll keep throwing me back out to home bedrest.

75 days to go.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hint: it's not Tahiti

Guess where I am? No, really, just GUESS.

76 days to go. I hope.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 5

For Father's Day yesterday, my husband got up at 7 AM with the girls, mediated four fights and two tantrums, then took them to Toys R' Us, Target, Best Buy, Linens N' Things, and Wal-Mart. He put up with naplessness and the ensuing whining, grilled pork chops for supper, bathed the girls, and did the dishes and a load of laundry. He got up at 6 this morning, so he could get to work by 7 and be home for more child duty by 4:30, when the nanny has to leave.

I think I may have to cave and let him buy the giant widescreen TV he's lusting after, as a reward for being Father of the Year. He certainly deserves it, poor man.

I got to leave the house today and go to a doctor's appointment. It was nice to see some sunshine, although it is freakin' HOT outside today, 96 degrees with heat index. I'm already flushed all the time from the Procardia, and heat doesn't help. Procardia isn't as bad as mag sulfate, which is like the aftermath of a day at the beach on spring break -- you didn't use enough sunscreen and drank too many margaritas, and you feel sunburned and nauseated and dizzy so tired you can barely move -- but it's vaguely reminiscent of it.

The doctor's appointment itself wasn't too exciting. Baby sounds fine, and I just need to keep doing what I'm (not) doing, and come in if I have contractions. Dr. Pro did say that she will be concerned if I do begin to dilate at all, because the Lagniappe is breech, and therefore at even higher risk for things like cord prolapse If I do start dilating and he is still breech, we'll be talking about hospital bedrest, and we will make the decision to deliver sooner than we would with a vertex baby. Clearly, the thing to do is not to start dilating.

78 days to go.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


So, two days of bedrest down, and hopefully about 80 left to go.

I'm supposed to be on complete bedrest rather than just house arrest, although of course I've been experimenting to see what I can and can't do. I sat on the sofa for a couple hours yesterday and chatted with my girl Stacey, with the girls crawling up into my lap and all over me (and ran out of nifedipine to boot). That was good for a round of contractions, although they settled down after I popped a pill and lay down for a while.

My husband the jail warden says no more sitting on the sofa with the girls around, which is just rotten. I'm in the bedroom with the door closed -- can't even leave it open and baby-gated, because the poodles can jump the baby gate, and they will get excited and leap on me. (The dogs in question are 50-lb standard poodles, mind, not your grandmama's teacup Fifi.) Basically, I'm locked up alone in the bedroom, without my children or my dogs, alone with the laptop and the knitting. Doesn't that sound pathetic?

I'm hoping that the contractions will settle down in time, and I'll be able to move around the house a little more. Today, I am having them whenever I stand up, sit up, sit back down after standing up, roll over, get kicked in the cervix by the Lagniappe, or do anything other than stay in a semi-recumbent position. There's no pattern to them yet, but it feels like they're just waiting for a good excuse to fall into one.

There's a lot I wanted to do before the clock ran out on this pregnancy. I was going to make a crib quilt and bumper set for the baby's quilt -- I should show you the play quilt I made for him, it's adorable -- but that involves lots of standing up and cutting fabric, and then lots of sitting at a sewing machine. I have a maternity top cut out and ready to piece together, but I don't need it now, because I won't be leaving the house to speak of. The nursery is nonexistent (well, right now it's an occupied guest bedroom, which is a whole 'nother story), and I guess I won't be picking out paint or window treatments or decorations or furniture. I wanted to get my hair cut next week, and sort out a bunch of old clothes and take them to Goodwill or sell them on eBay, and replace the dead pansies in the flowerbed, and fold and put away the laundry. I planned to go to my sister's wedding next weekend, and my niece's birthday party the week after that, both of which are over an hour's drive away, and held outdoors. We were going to take the girls down to the Coast for the weekend, and try to get away for an evening to see a movie or two. I have business meetings to go to, which will either have to be canceled or held in my living room.

Most of all, though, I have to hang on to the baby for a while longer. I don't think I'm in imminent danger of delivering any time soon -- it's reassuring that I'm not dilating or effacing -- but that's not something I want to put to the test.