Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm Definitely Patient of the Year

I'm a little over 21-weeks along and I saw my OB last week.  He reviewed the big ultrasound results from a couple of weeks ago and everything looks, in his words, "excellent!"  He was very happy to hear that I haven't had any spotting episodes since the last appointment and the baby's heartbeat sounds great. 

He commented that my weight gain (6 pounds total) is "wonderful" and added that it would be a bit on the low side if I had been at an ideal weight prior to conception, but he was happy with my progress since I was a little overweight to start.  Ouch!  My husband patiently explained several times after the appointment that, no, the doctor did not say I was fat and I'm going to choose to not obsess on the matter.  I guess it could have been worse anyway since he could have told me to reign in my eating and stop stuffing so much food in my pie-hole. 

As it is, he told me to keep doing whatever it is that I'm doing.  Um, that would be basically living on Sonic burgers, Del Taco tacos, and those vile little tacos (that are oh-so-freaking delicious right now!) from Jack in the Box.  Oh, and lemonade.  Lots & lots of lemonade.

It really should have been a quick in and out appointment because we were done within around ten minutes.  Sensing I had an opportunity and feeling like there was no time like the present, I decided to ask him about a few things that have been rattling around in my noggin.  Yep, it was time to talk about childbirth and placentas.  I asked my hubs to leave the room since the poor guy turns green when I talk about my placenta plans.  I'm nearly certain that my doctor was thinking, "Uh-oh, it's so off-the-wall that she's sending her husband away. . .what in the world is about to come out of her mouth?"  If he did think such a thought, he was right to be wary.

I chose to tackle childbirth first.  Thanks to the way that my HMO staffs OBs at the hospital, my doctor has no interest - financial or otherwise - in seeing me have a c-section.  That's great and I think it would be wonderful if that were the standard because I believe it means the doctor will be more honest when discussing the risks v benefits and less likely to use bullsh*t scare tactics to push a c/s in order to line their own pockets or manage their own time effectively.

Though I'm well informed and have taken it upon myself to get educated on the matter, he detailed the risks involved with each method of delivery.  I tried to tell him that I know all that and he asked that I listen because informed consent isn't really informed consent unless the patient is actually informed.  The logic of the statement struck a chord so I did listen.  When he was finished, I still hadn't made a clear decision.  He shrugged and said that there was no need to decide anything yet and I could take another couple of months to come up with how I'd like to birth this baby.

He didn't bring up certain things that I specifically wanted to know about so I came right out with what has been bothering me.  I will not disclose the specifics of my questions and I won't share his exact answers.  Let's just say that decades of dealing with pregnant females and their kooky questions is probably the only thing that kept him from doing a total facepalm during this discussion.

At the end of it all, I said that I'd rather have an elective repeat c-section and I am not willing to experience a trial of labor.  No, he didn't use any scare tactics.  No, he didn't push another c/s.  He simply stated the obvious and pointed out something I already knew.  I was already leaning toward another c-section since last January so I feel confident in my decision.  Of course, that's not to say that my thoughts won't change in the coming months. . .

He stood up, ready to leave, when I mentioned that I had one last question.  I asked The Question.  I wanted to know if the hospital would release my placenta to me.  I wish that I'd had a camera handy because the look on his face was priceless.  I really do think that I shocked him. . .his jaw actually dropped!  He recovered quickly and explained that he'd never been asked that question and he wasn't sure, but that he'd inquire about it on my behalf and get back to me.  He made a quick note, stared at me for a moment and asked why I wanted to take my placenta home. 

My response?  "I'd rather not disclose that information."  Yeah, I'm pretty sure that shocked him too.  I mean, I'm the patient who is basically an open book about every gross & weird thing that goes on in my body and I'm totally silent on this so I'm certain that he would like to know why I'm mum on the matter.

My husband groaned and rolled his eyes when I told him that I'd discussed my placenta with the doctor.  He was certain that there would be no way they'd let me have it because it's, as he calls it, "biological waste."  Well, I received a message yesterday from my OB and guess what?  I can take that bad boy home!  Woo-hoo!

Poor hubs shuddered when I told him the good news and remarked that I probably wouldn't be allowed to take it if they knew about my plans.  I said that they don't so it doesn't matter.  Then I gagged the poor guy out even more by suggesting that I might just plant it in the garden because it's supposed to be an excellent soil amendment.  I don't know that he'll ever eat another bit of produce that I grow again. . .LOL!

So now I'm looking for recommendations for placenta encapsulation in the Orange County area.  I will know the birth date since I'm having the birth scheduled.  Does anyone know anyone who provides this service?  Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do You Primp. . .

for pelvic exams?

While I did have a female physician for around ten years, it's true that I generally prefer male doctors because I've mostly had not-so-good experiences with female physicians.  I would think that females would be more understanding or more gentle and men would be, well, brutish men.  But I've universally found the opposite to be true; the male doctors I've had (save one) have been far more respectful and sensitive than their female counterparts.

My experiences as a patient lead me to prefer male physicians.  Yes, even when I'm looking for an OB/GYN.  Therefore, it might sound odd that I have a routine I follow to prepare for a visit to any doctor who might have to paw around my ladyparts. 

Some of you might think it sounds like I have a weird kink, but I look at is as more of a courtesy.  For example, I wouldn't think of going to the dentist without making sure my mouth is pristine with freshly brushed and flossed teeth.  So why would I expect a gynecologist to dig around in my vagina when I have a 5 o'clock shadow and haven't bathed that day?  Simply put, I think it would be rude and inconsiderate.  All this said, I've often thought it would be hilarious to eat a mouthful of Oreos and see the dentist immediately afterward with all those grainy chocolatey cookie bits up between me teeth. . .

What's my routine?  I do a few things, but my primary concern is to make sure that my legs, hedges, and undercarriage are freshly shaved which means that I've taken a shower the day of the exam.  I might trim the turf up top if I have the time though it's not something that I worry about since that's not the part that is being handled during a gynecological exam.  I make sure that the bottoms of my feet are clean since it would be grody to put dirty feet in the stirrups.  I also remember to shave my underarms and put on deodorant because no one wants to catch a stinky whiff while doing a breast exam. 

My husband seems amused that I have this prep involved before a pelvic exam and he understands the comparison to visiting the dentist.  In any event, I suppose that there's no real primping involved since I just practice what I think is good hygiene before a doctor visit.  I can't be the only woman who does this so do weigh in if you primp for pelvic exams. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sleep is for P*ssies!

It has been weeks since I've slept more than a couple of hours in a row and I've come to the conclusion that sleep, while certainly nice and definitely coveted, is for p*ssies.  Settle down, Sleep Police, I'll explain.  I just hope I can finish before I completely pass out from utter exhaustion.

There was a time not long ago in my adult life - it seems like it was a lifetime ago - that I actually required nine-hours of sleep each night.  NINE HOURS!!  A third of the day spent in bed. . .just sleeping and dreaming my life away.  I do very little in moderation and can think of nothing quite so decadent as my old sleep schedule.  That said, I'm intensely envious of the hearty serving of sleep that my non-parent self used to enjoy and take for granted.

I'm currently operating on around four total hours of sleep.  I know, I know, "It's just preparing you for when the baby comes."  Yeah, well, I'm quite aware of the demands that an exclusively breastfed newborn puts on mama and I remember all too clearly the shockingly little amount of sleep that I had for months upon months after my son was born.  I hate to state the obvious, but this baby won't be here for 18- to 22-weeks so I have plenty of time to get back into the no-sleep groove.

What is causing my sleep troubles?  In a word, EVERYTHING!

My younger son begins kick up his heels at the same time each day.  What time would that be?  Around 1:00 or 2:00. . .in the morning.  This wouldn't be such a big deal if his dance fever didn't last until around 4:00 or 5:00 am.  I must confess that I still thrill at the feeling of his tiny hands and feet beating a tattoo against his uterine home.  I just wish he'd do it when I'd ordinarily be awake.

My older son, not to be outdone by his little brother, has also started to wake up in the middle of the night.  I can count on at least one (if not two or three!) nocturnal bedside visit from him.  He might have to pee, he might walk in and ask if his father is home, his might even grab a carton of milk from the fridge and crawl into bed with it.  Yes, that actually happened.  The strangest thing he seems to be doing (stranger than the milk carton incident in my book) is wandering out of his bedroom to the living room and crawling up on my rocking chair where he promptly conks out; though he once sat up, gave me a funny look and said, "What's going on out here?"  What indeed!

My body is also getting into the act and is my constant wake up whenever I actually am able to catch some winks between the shenanigans from my boys.  First, my bladder is clearly way too small because I'm up half the night just to pee.  Yes, I've tried limiting my fluid intake at night.  No, it doesn't appear to make much difference because my baby will still jump up and down on my bladder and make me feel like I have to pee.  Whether I actually do have to urinate is debatable because sometimes I think it's just the kicky pressure that gives me the sensation that I might have to pee, which of course wakes me up anyway.

If it's not my bladder signalling me to wake up, it's heartburn, gas, or my gallbladder.  The pain in my chest is becoming a serious pain in the @ss.  I can't sleep for hours if I'm awakened with the awful sensation that feels like I'm being run through with a sword.  The pain is directly below my sternum and it goes straight through and out my back.  I can't get a decent breath, let alone get comfortable enough to sleep, when this pain is presenting.  I'm not inclined to believe it's heartburn for reasons I've previously detailed, but I can't say that it's my gallbladder either.  That leaves gas so I'm not only getting fat, but I also have to fart.  Lovely.

I'm not sleeping anywhere near the amount of hours I'd like and guess what?  I'm still handling life.  Poorly at times perhaps, but handling it nonetheless.  Here's a thank you to my children and my body for showing me that, even with only a few hours to recharge each evening, I can do so much more than I could have ever dreamed. . .ah, dreams. . .zzzzzzzzz

Monday, August 22, 2011

Are You Down There Too?

A quote came to me a few weeks ago while thinking about an ugly situation.  I'll paraphrase:  so long as you hold someone down, some part of you is down there with them so you can't rise up as high as you might.  I suppose that it can quite literally mean to hold someone down, but I believe that the author is talking about emotional abuse and the mean things we say rather than the things we physically do.

Putting people down, talking badly about others, and being duplicitous are some of the most unbecoming behaviors in humans.  In my experience, I have found that women are far more likely to engage in said behaviors than men.  Even worse, they act that way toward each other and that makes me particularly sad.  I'm not naive enough to believe that there is a cohesive sisterhood of women, but it would be refreshingly nice to have it demonstrated that they might outgrow high school at some point and start acting like the grown women they are instead of the teenagers they once were.

I'm certainly not trying to pretend that I've never given in to the urge to gossip or otherwise act like a b*tch toward other women because I have.  I may not always be successful, but I do try to resist those urges.  How about you?  Are you busily holding someone else down?  If you are, remember that you're down there too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Helpful Tip

It's generally not a good idea to shave your nether region
if you can't actually see it. 
Yes, I am now speaking from experience. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm Having a. . .


Our son asked for a little brother
and we are thrilled
that we're having another son.  

What Does it Look Like to You?

As I indicated last night, my big ultrasound is this afternoon.  Here is what I look like at 19-weeks, 6-days.

I find it hard to believe that I'm actually smiling while baring such a fleshy midsection.

Another shot for your, uh, viewing pleasure. . .

I have 100% guesses for girl on my Facebook page.  What gender do you think it looks like I'm carrying?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wanna Make Bets??

My big ultrasound is tomorrow and I'm obviously excited because it never gets old to hear your baby's heartbeat or see them performing a busy tumbling routine while in the womb.  I'm hoping that the ultrasound reveals that everything looks wonderfully normal.  It's been around a month since I last had any spotting episodes and I'm  optimistic that the second half of this pregnancy will be far less nerve-wracking than the first half.

Of course, I'm also very interested to see if the technician can make a gender determination.  That's dependent on a number of factors, primarily that the child will sit still and, ahem, provide ample viewing opportunity.  That is, open their legs and not move away too quickly.

My husband's family is heavily male and the general feeling is that it's definitely a boy I'm carrying.  I did have that name dream about two weeks prior to conception and the name was definitely female with absolutely zero gender ambiguity.  This pregnancy is very similar to the one I had with my son, but it is significantly different in many ways and the exact same could be said about the baby's movement patterns.

Anyone care to weigh in on whether you think I'm having a girl or a boy?  If so, why do you think this baby is the gender you think?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Fun From My Son

I'm endlessly amused by the things by son says. . .except when I'm infinitely irritated by the same!

- We were at dinner with some friends and one friend is named Sally.  My son kept mumbling a song under his breath while eating and I ignored it.  I finally heard what he was singing when I took him to the bathroom.  "Lay down Sally, lay down Sally."  Relax, prudes, he wasn't trying to make time with her - he's just a Clapton fan like his Mama.

- Del Taco has a deal where you can buy 6 tacos and 6 burritos for a price break.   The tacos and burritos come in a special cardboard box.  My son is now obsessed with said box and my pervy mind gets plenty of lulz every time he says, "I love taco box." 

- My husband was explaining to our son that misbehaving in restaurants makes us unhappy and that the little guy would have to behave if he wanted to dine out at a restaurant.  Hubs roared with laughter when the boy replied, "That can be arranged."

- He knows that our family is getting a baby after Christmas, but that the baby is in Mama's tummy until then.  He lifted my shirt the other day and kept looking at my belly button which is an innie.  He finally asked, "Is the baby in there?"

- The song "Summer Breeze" by Seals & Crofts was on the radio one day and he said, "This is your song, Mama?"  I told him that I like the song and he patiently listened to my explanation of which song his Daddy and I had picked for our special song.  He said, "This is my song," when Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey" came on.

- We were listening to "Hard Headed Woman" one day and he asked, "Who's this?"  I replied that it was Cat Stevens.  He cracked up and was laughing so hard that he couldn't even say his name.  I just know he had a vision of a cat singing and playing guitar.

- Thanks to a cartoon that he likes to watch, my son recently learned about the concept of forgiveness.  He got a boo boo from something that I did the other day (I can't even remember what it was) and he said, "I don't forgive you."  Understandably upset, I tried to explain that forgiveness and love go hand in hand.  He was having none of it and I gave up because it's not like I did anything to need his forgiveness anyway.  Today he asked me, "Mama, do you forgive me?"  I said he'd done nothing that requires forgiveness, but that I would always freely forgive him because he's my son and I love him.  His reply melted my heart and reminded me yet again why I am so thankful to be his mother, "I forgive you too.  Oh, I love you Mama.  I love you Mommy."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fears and Joys Exist with Either Gender

I'm 19-weeks along today!  Full term is considered anywhere between 38- to 42-weeks (most EDDs are calculated as 40-weeks from LMP) so I'm essentially at the midpoint of this pregnancy.  Crazy, right?  It seems like it was just yesterday that I saw that miraculous second pink line on Easter morning.  I'm trying so hard to savor each moment of this pregnancy because I'm very aware that it will likely be the last time that I'll ever have this experience.  I love this baby so much and the time really is flying!

In less than a week I will finally find out if I will need to purchase new baby clothes or if I can make do with hand-me-downs from my son.  I technically could find out right now, actually a few weeks ago, but I couldn't get in any earlier due to scheduling difficulties.  In my typical way of overthinking things, I've been pondering parenting each gender.  The word around the campfire is that it's impossible for my husband's family to yield girls, but the name dream I had two weeks prior to conception was definitely a girl's name and I find myself mentally calling this baby by that name.  Of course, I will be beyond thankful for either a boy or a girl and I pray every night for a healthy baby born at term.

My Thoughts on Boys
I wasn't sure that I'd be up to the task of raising a young man, but I believe that I was truly made to mother a son.  My son is a bright star in my life and I adore him.  He's my joy, my heart. 

I "get" how boys think and I think I have far more in common with males than females.  I certainly get along better with XY than XX.  I like watching sports, shooting guns, building stuff, taking things apart, and getting dirty.  My superhero and sci-fi geekery is well known and I'll pick an action movie over a rom-com (the gag-inducing chick flick) any day of the week.  I love sharing my love of all manly things with my son and our relationship is a perfectly comfortable fit.

Much as I like being one of the guys and mothering one, this mother does have fears about raising boys.  I worry that my soft tendencies will make him a wimpy doormat and I alternately worry that he'll become a bully.  I cringe at the notion of a predatory woman targeting him or of him becoming a predatory male.  I ache over the thought of a woman breaking his heart, cleaning out his bank account, moving away with his children (my grandchildren!), and otherwise hurting him in any way she can. . .unfortunately, our court system so heavily favors women that he'll be pretty much guaranteed an unfavorable outcome if he ever suffers the pain of divorce.  I so hurt over that last notion that I already find myself praying about his future wife - that she'll be lovingly raised and that she'll always be there for my son, his biggest cheerleader and greatest helper.  The flip side to that is that I pray he will be the kind of man who knows how to be lovingly considerate and that he'll easily inspire such devotion in his mate.

What upside do I see to mothering boys?  I think I've covered how well-suited I am to mother boys, but it's also that I would always be the queen of castle and I like being the only female in the house.  It sometimes seems to me that sons are closer to their mothers than daughters are though that relationship often appears to reverse sometime in adulthood.  I guess the bottom line is that I have a good track record now with mothering a little boy and I think I would be more comfortable to have a familiar experience by having a second son.

My Thoughts on Girls
Pink is my favorite color, but I am not a girly-girl.  I don't like frilly dresses, I think tea parties sound boring, I don't understand why screaming about bugs is more effective than simply squashing them, and I'm not generally a fan of fussy behavior.  If it weren't for my vagina, I'd wonder if I'm really a girl.

I like being the main source of estrogen in my house and I proudly wear my queenly crown, but it seems to me that the family dynamic changes significantly when a princess is added to the mix.  I have noted that some, not all, mothers and daughters have a bond that isn't one I want to have with a child of my own; they just aren't that close or loving with each other.  Two hormonal chicks in the house at one time generally is not a positive living arrangement.

Based on mother-daughter relationships I've observed, I fear that my own competitive nature would roar to life and perhaps an unspoken jealousy would begin to exist on my end at some point.  Females are so often mean to other females and I wouldn't want a child of mine to experience that special brand of girlish cruelty - from others or their own mother.

I believe that girls are sexualized at a far earlier age than boys and, perhaps as a result, girls are more likely to be sexually and/or physically abused in some fashion by their peers and by older people.  Unfortunately, abuse often negatively impacts victims in their relationships for years, even decades afterward, and a girl who has been abused will many times end up in what is essentially the same relationship with a new abuser.  The very thought of a child of mine being so wounded actually brings tears to my eyes because it's a lifelong injury and I don't think the healing is ever totally complete.

The upside I see to mothering a girl?  Obviously it's that you can support another woman, your own daughter, on her own motherhood journey.  Sure, your son may father children, but frequently that child's mother would rather have her own mother offer help, advice, and support.  In an ideal world, you would be more actively involved in the pregnancy, birthing, and raising of your daughter's children because usually women on their motherhood journey can count on their own mothers to be there for them.  I tell myself that I absolutely would be there for my daughter, no matter what. 

I guess I am afraid of the unfamiliar and I'm not sure that I have the history or ability to adequately mother a girl.  I have many friends who are wonderfully loving mothers to their daughters and I think it's possible to be the kind of mother I want to be if I observe and learn what girls need.

* * *

Do you have sons or daughters or both?  What joys did you find about mothering your children?  What concerns did you have about mothering either gender?  Were your concerns valid or did you find that they were totally unfounded?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So Similar and So Different

I assumed that I'd sail through any pregnancy after I had my son because I'd done it before.  It's funny how each pregnancy is totally different, isn't it?  Perhaps it's just that memories fade over time and I can't totally remember what it was like when my son was growing in-utero.

- I am completely surprised by how wiped out I am even in the second trimester.  I remember being slammed with first trimester exhaustion with my son, but it seems like my energy came back at some point.  Otherwise, how in the world did I put in the hours I did at work when I was pregnant with him?

- I don't remember backaches beginning so early with my son, though my husband says I complained about my back the entire time.  I had gained more than twice that amount of weight at 19-weeks when I was pregnant with my son than what I have so far so I'd expect that I had backaches that time around.  I still haven't even gained five pounds yet and it makes no sense that my back already hurts.

- I have never eaten as much protein in my entire life!  I ate a very balanced diet when I was pregnant with my son and, other than suddenly liking pork, I didn't have any weird cravings.  I certainly didn't have any food aversions.  I only want to consume animal flesh this time around and it is very difficult for me to force down veggies which is certainly a weird about-face on my normally veggie-heavy diet.  I still can't bring myself to consume dairy right now and that's bizarre because I used to go through a gallon of milk each week.

- I never had any spotting and certainly didn't have any outright bleeding when I was pregnant with my son.  I've detailed my drama with this pregnancy in this blog so there's no need to revisit that bloody mess.

- My breasts ACHED throughout my entire pregnancy with my son.  I can't remember what hurt worse, my back or my boobs.  The twins don't exactly feel very touchable at this point and are still sensitive, but I don't think I'd kill someone for copping a feel either.

- I felt baby kicks far earlier this time around, but the baby is significantly more mellow.  My son made me feel like I was being beat up from the inside out and so far this baby is more gentle and seems less active.  I'll be 19-weeks tomorrow and it's entirely possible that I'm just not feeling all the movement yet.

If you've had more than one baby, how were your pregnancies different?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm a Girl!

No, I'm not having a girl. . .that I know of. . .I'm just amazed that I've become somewhat girly in the last several weeks.  No, I'm not suddenly obsessed over screwing around with my hair and I'm not investing much time powdering my face.  However, I am dressing more girly now than I have in YEARS.

What do I consider to be girly clothes?  Dresses and skirts.  Long or short, doesn't really matter, just as long as it can be lifted up out of the way so you can pee.  Hm, that wasn't a very girly description now was it?

I'm not terribly fond of showing my legs because I think they are my least attractive feature.  Chunky thighs and cankles generally aren't all that desirable, even among people who like women a little on the thicker side.  So I always wear pants (I have only started wearing capris in the last few years) to cover up my stems.  Okay, okay, stems sounds a bit too flattering - my legs actually resemble something more like tree trunks.

For some reason I can't figure, I have been only wearing dresses and skirts for several weeks.  I don't know if it's my increased body temperature and the hot Summer days or what, but I don't want fabric wrapped around my legs.  Ideally I'd get a cooling breeze to drift up my dress and if I was young enough or hot enough I think I'd be living in mini-skirts.

Do you find that your clothing tastes and preferences change with seasons, age, and/or pregnancy?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why is Miscarriage so Isolating?

A couple of things on Facebook reminded me of a post that I always intended to write.  Though I had an outpouring of love and support after I lost my baby in January, I was surprised at how isolating a miscarriage is to women who have lost their babies.  Not only is the tragedy isolating, but I found that most women keep quiet about miscarriage unless they pulled my move of blabbing about the pregnancy early on and ended up with a loss.

Why is it that miscarriage is shrouded in painful silence?  We know that around 20% of confirmed pregnancies end with a miscarriage and there is some evidence that it's more like 50% of all pregnancies (not necessarily confirmed pregnancies) end in loss.  Think of the women you know. . .chances are that several of them have lost at least one baby; perhaps you have too.  So why are women so reluctant to talk about it if so many of us have experienced it?

I wonder if the medical establishment view toward miscarriage doesn't help squelch healing discussions after loss.  After all, one miscarriage isn't considered to be a problem and a woman isn't generally going to receive additional care until she's suffered at least two (or more!) losses in a row.  The message that this attitude sends is that your one miscarriage isn't a big deal.  It's not even important enough to warrant any further examination once they've verified that the "products of conception" are out of your womb.

You know what?  Every baby that is lost is a big deal.  It's a big freaking deal to the woman who miscarried and it's a big deal to her family because they also lost a family member.  It's heartless and cruel to suggest or imply that miscarriage doesn't matter.

I also wonder if the standard responses people give to women who have experienced miscarriage doesn't force women to clam up and hold back their feelings.  I heard some things that were so off-the-charts insensitive that I almost couldn't believe that a loved one would ever consider saying them to a grieving mother.  And that's exactly what a woman who lost a baby is - a grieving mother.  It makes no difference that her baby was never born when the fact is that her baby was alive at one time.  I think sometimes people forget that a baby is very real to a woman as soon as she discovers that she's pregnant. . .as soon as she hears that precious heartbeat.

I was contacted by many women who had lost babies after I shared that my pregnancy had ended.  Whether or not they went on to have a perfectly healthy baby later, we are all united in knowing the pain of miscarriage.  A sisterhood of sorrow.  Not surprisingly, none of these women tried to downplay what had happened and their support was particularly comforting.

If any good can be found in losing my baby in January it's that I know the ache of loss and, since I have a big mouth (or, more accurately, an active keyboard), I hope that I make the loneliest of tragedies feel a little less isolating to at least one woman.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Are Pregnant Chicks Wearing?

I'm nearly halfway done with this pregnancy and, since all my maternity clothes are packed up and out of my house, I'm starting to look at clothing options for when I outgrow my existing wardrobe.  "Wardrobe" makes it sound so grand, but at the moment I'm limited to three pairs of pants, five shirts, and a few dresses.  Yeah, right about now I'm really annoyed that the vast majority of my clothes are gone.

I hate shopping, but I'm forced to do it so I can get some clothes that will fit for the next few months.  That is, I will need to purchase some maternity clothes.  And there is my problem.  NO ONE SELLS MATERNITY CLOTHES!!  Seriously. 

I have dragged my old bones to stores all over town, grumbling to myself about how much I hate shopping the entire time, and all I found was three small T-racks and a wall display of maternity clothes at Kohls.  I should also add that I'm continually irritated that no one sells plain ol' cotton nightgowns either.  Pajama sets, yes.  Night shirts, yes.  Nightgowns, no.

Am I the only woman in SoCal who would like maternity clothes and a cotton nightgown?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Decisions, Decisions - Childbirth Edition

At my appointment a week ago, my OB asked if I'd given any thought as to how I'd like to birth this baby and the fact is that I'm just not sure at this point in time.  Thanks to the way Kaiser staffs OBs in their hospitals, he doesn't have any vested interest in pushing either method of delivery (surgical or vaginal) and I truly get the impression that it doesn't make a difference to him one way or another.  The only thing that he had a definite opinion on is that he asked that I decide how I'd like to birth this baby by the 7th month or so and I'm hoping that I'll have an answer by then.

I hate feeling this way, but I fear that my body won't do what it's supposed to do if I choose to have a VBAC.  I feel like my body has already failed me in terms of pushing out a fetus so I have zero confidence in my ability to vaginally birth a baby being born at term.  I know myself well enough to realize that I will feel like a personal failure if I go for the VBAC and still end up with a c/s and the last thing a hormonal new mother needs to feel like is a failure.

On the other hand, I felt like I was hit by a freaking bus after my c/s.  I really don't relish the thought of such a painful recovery while caring for a newborn and my son.  I also would like to spend as little time in the hospital as possible and I'm pretty much committing to three-days if I go the c/s route. 

Adding another wrinkle to my decision making process is that I'd prefer to have my doctor do the honors if I have to have someone slice open my abdomen.  I know it sounds kooky and I'm sure the other OBs on staff are perfectly competent, but I have absolute confidence in my doctor's competence and I don't want some stranger to cut me.  Going back to the way Kaiser staffs their OBs at the hospital, the only way I can be sure that my own doctor will be the one rifling around in my insides will be if I schedule the c/s.  Well, that and it would be important to know if he'll be scheduled to work in the hospital at some point when I'm at term.

At the moment I'm leaning toward having an elective repeat c-section and it's only the weeks of pain that I know I'll experience if I go that route that is keeping me from outright saying that my baby will be cut from me rather than naturally released.  I feel so emotionally scarred from my failed natural miscarriage that I don't think a VBAC is right for me under any circumstances.  I can't even visualize a VBAC without thinking about that painfully heartbreaking day and I'd hate to cloud this baby's birth-day with memories of such sadness.  Of course, my thoughts may be totally different on another day so my decision is far from being made.

Did you have a c/s and end up having another child afterward?  What did you choose?  Why?  What was your outcome?  Thoughts, advice, and opinions are welcome and I only ask that all comments are kind and respectful.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Due Date with No Baby

Most readers probably remember that I suffered a miscarriage earlier this year.  If they don't, it's probably because they couldn't bear to read the things that I wrote while trying to process my heartbreak at losing a long-desired pregnancy.  I can't say that I would blame anyone for skipping those posts. . .I wish I could just erase that part of my life and I certainly wouldn't want a spectator's seat to it.  If you missed out and are interested, check out the posts I wrote in January and February to know what I'm writing about.

I realize that most children are not born exactly on their due date, but today was my baby's due date.  I would have either had a newborn by now or I would have had one in the next two weeks or so.  Of course, that wasn't to be and here I sit, just shy of 18-weeks pregnant with the one who I hope will be the final member of our family.

Losing that pregnancy resulted in a loss of innocence, an awareness that sometimes the most painfully cruel things can happen when least expected.  Sometimes you really do get kicked when you're already down.  Losing that baby also resulted in fostering a fierce love and gratitude, deeper than I ever knew possible, for my son who was born and for the baby currently living in my womb.  I guess it's because I realize that they could have been, and I suppose still could be, taken from me at any moment.

I attempted to achieve pregnancy for so long and I now know that life is never promised, even where life once existed.  In that mindset, I've tried so hard to think positive about this pregnancy and avoid complaining about any uncomfortable symptoms because I know that I'm lucky to have them at all.  Some may say that I'm reallly not all that successful with either intention, but I really do try.

One day, one day far in the future, I fully expect to be able to finally hold my babies who were never born.  And on that day, the holes in my heart will finally be filled.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kiddie Matinee is a HIT

My son is becoming quite the big boy!  For the first time ever, he actually sat through and watched a movie!  If you know my son, you'll realize this is a major accomplishment because the kid doesn't sit still for more than a few minutes at a time.  Not only did he watch the movie, but he paid enough attention that he LOVED it! 

He told me how much he enjoyed the "chickmonkeys" (that would be "chipmunks" to you) once he woke from his nap.  I asked which one was his favorite and he replied the red one (Alvin) was his friend.  Then he had fun hollering, "ALVIN," just like Dave Seville.

Just last year he wasn't able to be in a theater for more than twenty minutes or so. . .my little one is growing up so fast!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fallacies and Falsehoods on Facebook

I like politics and I like healthy debate.  However, I try my very best to avoid political discussions on my friends' Facebook walls.  I don't steer clear because I am uninformed or because I can't get my point across (some may well say that I'm a little too pointed), but I generally try to restrain myself from participating because it has become abundantly clear to me that political Facebook statuses are meant to become a circle jerk of like-minded believers.  That is, dissent is not usually appreciated or tolerated. 

Why not participate?  I mean, we are all adults and we should be quite aware that the entire world doesn't share our viewpoints.  Besides, learning about and hearing other ideas and thoughts is one of the ways that we achieve personal growth as individuals.  In an ideal world, both preceeding statements would be true.  In the real world, we appear to be stuck in obstinate toddlerhood when it comes to politics - we want to oppose, but we can't truly handle opposition from anyone else.

Put simply I try to avoid commenting on these statuses because, at best, I alienate a friend.  At worst, I end up learning that a friend is too cowardly to let their thoughts (and others') remain and they make active use of their delete button.  I've already blogged about how I feel about trying to erase thoughts as it relates to blogging and I feel the same about people, friends or otherwise, doing it on Facebook.  It doesn't mean that I won't be friends with them any longer because I'm an adult and I accept my friends as they are, perceived flaws and all, but it is disappointing when it happens.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't care if someone is so narrow-minded that they can't handle reading a difference of opinion.  I certainly do care when someone who I care about is off-the-charts judgemental and mean-spirited toward those with different political persuasions.  Those "different" people would be those who share my political thoughts and ideals.  I have to say that I even find it hurtful to some extent because engaging in and condoning name calling against "those" people is the same as doing it to me.  Get it?  What is said about "them" is being said about me.

I don't exactly wear my heart on my sleeve so, my personal feelings aside, I'm more disturbed when I see that someone I care about is whole-heartedly approving outright fallacies and falsehoods.  Seeing a friend spreading and applauding fallacious arguments and outright falsehoods feels like it did when you found out that a friend was behind the vicious rumors about you in high school and it's very much the same thing your Facebook friend is doing now.  "I don't get her or her way of thinking so she must be fill-in-the-blank."  I've actually seen that "blank" filled in with words not based on any facts, but solely designed to incite a violent reaction (verbal or otherwise):  racist, misogynistic, @sshole, stupid, unpatriotic, Rethuglican, Dumbicrat, etc. 

I respectfully submit that it's intentionally ignorant to ascribe a negative name toward someone when you aren't even interested in hearing why they believe the way they do.  This childish name calling is essentially the internet way of putting your hands over your ears and saying, "la, la, la - I can't hear you!"  Even worse is that it's not that they can't hear, it's that they won't hear and there is a huge difference between the two.  Who knows, maybe they have been so conditioned to have an "us vs them" mentality that they really can't hear.  If that's the case, I find it profoundly sad that they've been so brainwashed to have tunnel thoughts. . .like tunnel vision, but infinitely more detrimental.

I have written some controversial blog posts.  I have shared some controversial content on Facebook.  I have sometimes stirred up an entire hornet's nest of venomous activity.  One thing I haven't done, and will not do, is talk sh*t about friends who think differently than I do.  And I surely will not be chickensh*t about it and phrase poisonous ideas about "those" people.  It's not about "you," it's about "them!"  Yeah, keep telling yourself that and perhaps someone will eventually believe it.

Another thing I won't do is delete comments that aren't in perfect lockstep with my own thoughts.  See, I may be an unpatriotic, racist, misogynistic @sshole (all that would be news to me and, I hope, to those who know me - well, except the @sshole part!), but I am not a coward and I am not afraid of people who think differently than I do.  As one who loves freedom, I sure as heck am not willing to censor other people who are flexing their own freedom to share their thoughts.

I love Facebook because it's a great tool to keep in touch with people who I don't often see or have an opportunity to chat with, but sometimes I can really do without the things I learn about friends and family.  Of course, the flip side is that those friends and family members are probably thinking the same thing about me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Was Just Old, Now I Get Another Label

I think Kaiser might be label-obsessed.  I was reviewing the paperwork I received from the doctor's office last week and found yet another label applied toward me.  You probably remember that I was so offended at the "advanced maternal age" label in June that I wrote an entire blog post railing about it.  I still bristle at the designation, but it is definitely preferred to the label I found on another bit of paperwork which specified that I was "elderly."  Grrr.

What was written in my medical record to bother me this time?  It's that I'm officially considered a "high risk pregnancy."  High risk.  High freaking risk.

I'm assuming that I've earned this new label because my body won't stop with the stupid spotting and it's not considered in the realm of normal to have any vaginal bleeding in the second trimester.  Though I still have spotting every now and then, I am thankful that I don't bleed on a daily basis any longer.  I guess the occasional spotting is enough to earn me a spot in the high risk category of pregnancy designations.

So I'm old and high risk now.  I'm afraid to ask what label could possibly be next?  Chronic oversharer?  Demanding complainer?  Of course, my next label could be Patient of the Year, but I'm pretty sure that I'm out of the running at this point.

In other news, my baby apparently thought today was a good day to boogie down in my womb and I felt tiny kicks and rolls several times in the wee hours of the morning and after eating during the day.  I'll gladly take the designations that I don't like as long as I get to hold this sweet little baby in around 22-weeks or so.