The Orion Nebula

This is one STELLAR nursery!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

When is it just whining?

Problem #1: I'm a little bit of a hypochondriac. I'm the type of person who comes down with any disease I read about on WebMD. I watch WAY too much discovery health, and I'd be more likely to recognize the symptoms of primordial dwarfism in my soon to be hatched offspring than I would be to recognize the common cold. If you want to find something on the Internet or TV to be scared shitless of during pregnancy, that something is pre-eclampsia followed by HELLP, possibly with a premature delivery and extended NICU stay thrown in for good measure.

Problem #2: I'm terrified to use the telephone. I don't even like to call my family and friends. Text messaging, IM, and email have been miracles to me because they allow me to be connected to the world without having to pick up the phone. I've often joked that if you gave me $20 and a telephone I would starve to death before I ordered a pizza.

These problems have combined to create one large problem that really has me kind of bummed out. I have all of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia at about 75% the severity of what would be required for my doctor to take action. My blood pressure is high, but not too high. I have protein in my urine, but not too much or consistently enough. My hands swell up, but then the swelling goes down. I have headaches non stop, but it's really pollen-y around here lately. Oh, and did I mention that I have a blood pressure cuff and my own protein pee strips that I can use to keep myself thoroughly freaked out? Yeah, I'm not a doctor but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

The first phase of me being freaked the hell out was the "I'm too scared to call at all" phase. Doombot talked me out of that and I've been in a couple of times for various combinations of symptoms (with some pre-term contractions and lack of fetal movement thrown in to keep things interesting). Just when I started feeling all empowered to pick up the phone, I started to realize something. All of this stuff that seemed like a big deal to me? Not turning out to alarm the doctors one single bit. So I started to feel like a dumbass whiner for bothering them with it.

So I don't know what to do now that every one of the above symptoms has gotten even worse. The solution I've found so far isn't really working. That "solution" has been to dig in my heels in, refuse to call the doctor and to then bitch about it non-stop. Poor Doombot.

Ah, what the hell. Now I've started contracting again. I'll probably be in labor before the pre-e can kill me anyway.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just You Wait

I try not to wear my infertility or my history of early pregnancy loss on my sleeve. First and foremost, I simply don't think people want to hear about it. It makes them uncomfortable because it implies all kinds of biological processes they'd rather not think about. Plus, the general public just doesn't know what kind of sympathy to show over the loss of a barely identifiable glop of tissue. Even if they feel terrible for me, they just don't have the words for it.

Talking to Doombot the other night I really started to reflect on how Orion's imminent arrival makes me tempted to say "no" when I'm asked if I've ever been pregnant before. People don't want to know if I've been pregnant before. They're asking me if this is my first child or if I've ever experienced what I'm going through right now. I've never been one of these girls who puts the dates I lost all of my "angel babies" on my forum ticker, but should I be doing more to honor them? Should I at least do more to honor myself for having endured all of that trial and error? All of that loss?

I've also started to hear a lot of lectures from well meaning friends who start in with the "Just you wait..." laundry list of all the ways in which having a baby will be a giant pain in the ass. I love these ladies. In almost every case, they've given more to me in the way of genuine support than I could have ever had the stones to ask for. But this? Makes me want to do a spit take. How can I have forgotten to let these wonderful ladies know that I have waited. And waited.

The first time I had an ultrasound to make sure I'd passed all of the "products of conception", Bill Clinton was still president. The first time I squealed with glee when a second line popped up on a pregnancy test, the World Trade Center was still standing. It was still there when I got fired from my job for missing time to have the D&C. It's been five years since I washed down the first fertility drug I paid full price for because it wasn't covered by insurance. It was a year ago when I gave up on ever being a mother and decided to move on with my life, and at 35.5 weeks pregnant it was 39.5 weeks ago when I had my last miscarriage. Have I waited enough?

I recognize that every one's world view is filtered through their own experiences. I also recognize that one of my biggest fears is to be seen as a whiner. Maybe that clash between other people's perceptions and my own secrecy has created an atmosphere where I have made it virtually impossible for anyone but my husband and my mother to avoid my emotional landmines. All I know is every shitty diaper I change at 4am will be a miracle in my world, and I'm choosing to see that as a gift.

I'll just wait.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My baby shower was today. It was over 10 hours ago, and I'm still in awe of the generosity my friends and family showed. Maybe it's because my wedding shower was such a complete clusterfuck, but I had no idea how moving it would be to see these women come together to celbrate me and my baby.

My cousin did an amazing job putting it together. She held it at a tea room in our little historic downtown. So, right away, there was an amazing atmosphere and the food was delicious. Fourteen people were there representing all aspects of my life, and it was really cool to see them all mixing together. Even though these ladies didn't have anything in common except for me they all seemed to have a good time. In fact, it turned out that one of Dannon's aunts and one of my aunts knew each other from high school!

I hate to make it sound like I'm most impressed by how many gifts I got, although it did blow my mind. It's more that by looking at the pile of gifts I realized how loved Dannon and I are and how welcomed Orion is. I don't usually feel like I'm part of a big, close family. That's made me feel (until now) like Dannon, Orion, and I would be on our own in a lot of respects. To know that these awesome ladies will be part of his world is a huge relief.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thank God I'm Having a C-Section

I just got back from a doctor's appointment that included an ultrasound to estimate Orion's size. In short, he's huge. Overall, he measures about two weeks ahead and in the 92nd perctintile for weight at 6.5lbs (just shy of 35 weeks). The kicker is that his fucking head measures 42 weeks. No wonder my pelvis is killing me. It has the head of a kindergardner crammed in it.

In spite of this, and the slight rise in my urine protien, I'm still expected to carry him to the limit. In my case, the eviction notice will be served on April 14th, another piece of news we got today.

When I can get in front of a scanner, I'll post pictures. I got some great profile shots, along with a foot that looks like its sporting a giant monkey big toe. Good times.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Bad

This may be my biggest preggo brain moment. I'm sitting here at work (shhh...don't tell anyone) when I thought I'd be having blue goo smeared all over my belly. Why? Because the appointment is tomorrow. That's why. There I was, standing at the reception desk of my OB's office watching the poor receptionist look through every stack of papers and search the computer by every piece of data she could think of with a sense of dread creeping over me.

"Uh...unless I have the wrong day."

So she checks, and "bingo!" I'm to be back at 3pm tomorrow. Gah!

I'm choosing to see the glass as half full. This way, the size estimate I get will be one day larger than it would have been otherwise. Oh well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Home Stretch

We got past the floor issue, for now. Doombot finished all but the last strip of flooring in the office. He claimed that it was because he ran out of material, although he really could have trimmed up what he had left and finished it just fine. I think he just couldn't figure out how to bring the line to an end. It's not a perfect job. There's lots of little gaps here and there. I'm going to have to make sure I'm around to supervise when we do the living room, because I'm too much of a perfectionist to stand for that shit in a room that anyone else is going to see.

We had a little bit of a scare last week. On Sunday night my blood pressure went all wonky. Any time I got out of bed, it would spike and then if I laid back down it would go back to normal. At about the same time, both of my ankles swelled up. Not too bad, but enough that when combined with the blood pressure issue, it was worth calling the doctor first thing on Monday.

They had me come in, and although there was no protein in my urine, the blood pressure was enough of a problem that he put me on "house rest". He wasn't sure if I was going to need to stay home from work for the duration of my pregnancy or not. I went home, and crawled in to bed. Over the course of the next few days, Doombot and I attempted to bring my blood pressure down to an acceptable level by proceeding to freak the fuck out. We simply do not have five weeks of "house rest" in our budget. I have five weeks of paid time off at work, and that really needs to cover the time after Orion is born. Especially considering that they won't even take him at day care until he's six weeks old.

I had a follow-up appointment on Thursday morning, during which I was let off the hook. Ironically, what saved me from having to go on the dole was the fact that my blood pressure was still high. I guess the idea was that if "house rest" isn't helping, he might as well let me go back to work. I'm betting the added luxury of a paycheck is going to do me more good than a bunch of laying around.

I have another appointment tomorrow. This one is a regular check-up, with the added bonus of an ultrasound to get some size measurements. Right after I got pregnant, I found a forum thread online that talked about how my very own doctor tends to move due dates up as much as two weeks based upon the size estimate that comes from this ultrasound. If that's the case, I could find myself cutting in half the amount of time before I meet my little dude! I just hope he's done cooking.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I Never Assumed I'd Married Bob Vila

I'm stuck working this weekend. In my pre-maternity leave holding pattern at work, I've found myself working a rotating weekend for the first time in the seven years I've worked for this company. I could probably pitch a fit and get out of it, but they've been pretty decent to me around here lately and I don't mind giving back a little bit. Anyway, there should only be one more weekend after this one. I'll survive.

Doombot is at home. He's been gearing up for weeks (months?) to lay this awesome flooring in the office. This is the main pre-baby Honey-Do project on his list, and its really critical that it gets done before we bring Orion home. The carpet is pretty much shot in the whole house, courtesy of the zoo we're running, but the office was the worst. We figured it was a small, confined area where we could practice using this great new floor that promised to be the solution to our problems. After a long and drawn out process of selecting the color, gathering gift cards for Christmas, and special ordering the materials he was ready to get started.

Friday night was "tear up the carpet" night. That went pretty well, and made us optimistic about the entire project. We had fully expected that the cat pee would have soaked all the way through the carpet and the padding and that we'd have a complicated concrete treatment plan to execute. We got lucky. There were only two spots that looked like there was any pee/slab contact at all, and even those didn't stink. We had the vinegar on hand anyway, and went ahead and treated it as planned. I guess it did need it at least a little bit, because it caused a really cool Mr. Wizard bubbly reaction.

The next step was applying the concrete sealer. By this point, we were kind of thinking that maybe we didn't even need it. But, what the hell, we'd bought it so there was no sense not plowing ahead. Doombot applied the first coat while I was work yesterday. The smell was absolutely overpowering. Yesterday was pretty cool and breezy by Florida in March standards and even with all of the windows open and the fans blasting the house was intolerable when I got home six hours later. There was nothing to be done besides head out for some cheesecake, and by the time we got home another six hours later the noxious cloud had cleared. I think for the rest of the house we're skipping this step!

After depositing me at work this afternoon, Doombot went home to get down to business. I started working along, happy in the certain knowledge that flooring was being laid as I typed. Then the phone rang, and I heard the worst possible greeting. "I think I fucked up."

It took a few minutes for me to get the details straight, but here's how it went down. As Doombot had started the project, he saw where the box said to "follow the included instructions". He opened the box, and saw no instruction sheet floating on the top of the stack of planks. So, he did what I'm sure at least one other man would do. He started working, assuming that he would eventually come across the instructions. Now, you and I both know that when you lay "wood" floor, you use this pattern:

So what does my husband do? He takes the entire box of material, and sticks every piece together (permanently) long end to long end, making himself a free floating slab of PVC wood simulate 24 inches across and about 10 feet long. I guess he wanted a really fancy Slip-n-Slide, because that's about all this thing is good for. The kicker? After he'd emptied the box and thrown in across the room into the garbage heap he realized that the instructions were printed on the bottom of the box. Nice. So now he's calling me asking how to fix it. I answered the only way I could, I told him to scrap it and start over the right way.

So now he's a man on a mission. He's got instructions and he's not afraid to use them! God knows what I'm coming home to, but he's headed to Wal-Mart now for some essential tools that he didn't know he needed until the Mystical Oracle of the Back of the Fucking Box revealed itself. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Orion So Far

Once More with Feeling

I'm a serial blogger. I love to start new blog, pick a layout, write a few posts, and then abandon it. It's not that I have trouble commiting, it's just that I always feel like I have to have something to say before I actually inflict it on the general public. Recently though, I've realized how much satisfaction I'm getting from reading the mundane thoughts of girls like me: knocked up girls, new parents, employed people, wives, and friends. I finally decided to make one more fresh start. Maybe someone will get a kick out of finding out that there's nothing new under the sun, just like I have.

Why "The Orion Nebula"? Because "Orion Nebula" without the "The" was already taken, although I bet that didn't really answer the question. Currently, I consider myself to be The Orion Nebula, since at the moment I'm huge at celestial porportions and I'm a "stellar nursery", natch! Geez, fine, I'll just tell you. At this very moment I'm 33 weeks pregnant with our first baby, and we'll be naming him Orion. Since everything in my life is already swirling around him, The Orion Nebula seemed about right.

This is my first trip to the third trimester, but by no means my first pregnancy. I'm one of those girls whose medical chart shows an obscenely high number in the "Gravid" field, and a big fat goose egg in the "Births" field. It also kills me that said chart lists these failures as "Abortions". Even though it does go on to clarify them as "Spontaneous", as if I was just driving by the clinic and thought I'd stop in for shits and giggles. No, every one of those babies was very much wanted and is only not with us today becuase of, evidently, the want of baby aspirin. Seriously. The only thing I did differently with this pregnancy (aside from be about 40 pounds lighter) that I never did before was take one single baby aspirin every day for the first trimester. Go figure.

However, I don't intend for this blog to be about miscarriage. While I'll always remember those lost opportunities and feel a kinship with other women who have experienced pregnancy loss, I feel like I've graduated from that emotional place. Even though in the back of my mind I know that I'm not out of the woods until I'm holding Orion in my arms, I know that this time is different. Even if it all goes to crap now, it will be so much worse than before. If all is well, it will be the most amazing thing that's ever happened.

So, lets take a step forward and have us a baby!