The factory is silent. Its assembly line stands motionless. Somewhere off in the darkness, a buzzer sounds. One by one, lights begin to flicker and illuminate on long-unmanned diagnostic panels, giving a sense of enormity and complexity and scale to the machinery. The low hum of power supplies warming up comes next, followed by the higher and louder whine of turbines and electric motors. A whistle sounds, and one by one, employees begin to file in and take their places at the controls. Purposed for a single task, whose time has now come, the factory slowly comes to life...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ho ho ho...

Green olive!

Or something much cuter. That baby is almost an inch big already. But I'll let you read the facts for yourself. As with any of those pictures, you can click on them and read more about how the little produce is developing! (I would tell you all about it, but I need a nap...)

My appetite is back with a vengeance, though I still have the wicked food aversions, (lettuce? yuck!) and I can't eat nearly as much as I used to so we have a lot of leftovers.

Other than that I'm taking this week off work to get some things done around the house before Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays. Though mom is already insisting on bringing everything reheatable so I don't have to cook more than the turkey! (Which is just as well, as I am SO TIRED right now.) I hope the baby likes turkey, or I am going to be SO SAD, because I love it.

I have much to be thankful for this year, as every year. I plan on taking a little of my time off on Thursday to just sit and think about the many ways in which I have been blessed the last 11 months, and then enjoy the day with loved ones. I really look forward to family get-togethers, because my family ROCKS. That in itself is something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Panic! At the Doctor

SPOILER: This story has a happy ending, in case you are now afraid of reading further because of my silly title.

Yesterday I woke up feeling crappy. But not in the good way. It wasn't the pregnant way. In fact, it was just the opposite. Where the last few weeks, the boobs had been KILLING me, they hardly hurt at all, and they had hurt slightly less the day prior. My appetite had returned. I was still getting up to pee 4+ times a night, but that was about the only thing making me still feel pregnant.

As an alternative, the last few days I've had killer lower back pain. It kicked me right in the coccyx. It wasn't sciatic nerve pain (which is supposed to be "normal") because I've had that, and what I've got wasn't it. And I've had some weeeird cramping, like if I didn't know better I would have assumed I was going to get my period any moment.

So, being in a foul mood with all those things combined, I placed a somewhat aggravated call to the doctor's office, where I spoke to a nurse. She said, "Oookay, why don't you come in for an ultrasound and talk to the doctor..." Because I live close, she scheduled it for about an hour after the call!

I got there early, which meant a bit of a wait. I ended up getting the same sweet little ultrasound tech who did our "second opinion" ultrasound with the miscarriage. She realized she had scanned me before and I said yes, but we're really hoping for better news this time!

I felt doomed. I had this feeling like I KNEW everything was going to be wrong, and the baby was going to have passed, and I was going to be back where I started, except months later. I worried about how I was going to tell Craig, (he couldn't come with me because of the short notice and work,) and how I would tell my parents after I hadn't even told them I was pregnant yet, and how to tell our families...

I got up on the table. For me, there's a terrible moment of anxiety the moment the wand goes in, and the little grayscale blobs start to take shape on the screen. Because there's that big black spot with the little gray blob in it, the blob okay???

The tech said, "There's the heartbeat..." and I said, "You know, you guys keep saying that, but I just don't see it." So she zoomed waaaaay in for me, and there it was! Flicker flicker, like a little LED flashing on and off. Wheeee! Blobby was just fine!

(I dig that little arrow with the word "baby" above it, in case you couldn't tell what that was!)
She told me the left end is where the head is, (so the other end is the rump end, natch) and the black spot in the middle of the left end is where the brain and such will be growing!

She turned on the Doppler so I could hear the sound and there was that shew-shew sound but it was so faint. She tried repositioning, and she just had a hard time getting a measurement because someone in there wasn't cooperating...

I told her I was also experiencing some pain on my right side, so she poked around for a while and checked out the ovaries too. She explained the things we were looking at, and I was fairly amazed. She said ovaries are pretty much the most difficult thing to find and distinguish with the ultrasound machine.

Before she wrapped up, she said, "Let's go peek at the baby again, and I'll print you some pictures." She was able to pull up the heartbeat better this time, and it came in at 171 bpm, which is just perfect.
(Can you see the little brackets in the middle of the dotted line through the baby? That's where the heartbeat flicker is! So tiny! No wonder I couldn't see it in microview.)

She said the little berry was actually measuring 8 weeks 4 days, which is a little ahead of schedule, but I don't care because it means it's growing!

So with my new pics in hand I trotted off to see the doctor. When he finally came in he smiled at me and said, "What's going on?" in that delightfully southern charm way that he has, and shook my hand. I said, "Doc, I think this baby is going to worry me every damn day until I have it. And probably after too." And with a smile he said, "Probably for the rest of your life!" I agreed, but I added, "At least then it will be on the outside and I can actually DO something about it!"

I told him about my symptoms going away, and he said they're supposed to do that, so I shouldn't worry. He confirmed I was taking my baby aspirin every day. I told him that the tech saw some kind of hematoma on my scans, and he looked them over and said he wouldn't worry about it; it happens often that there's a small hematoma where the placenta and the uterus meet because of implantation, but it usually just goes away, and he wouldn't hardly call that a hematoma. He also told me it was my corpus luteum giving me pain on the right, and that should go away too. (That's what I hoped it was, because I was pretty sure I had ovulated out of the right side!) He said, "You've got a good-looking baby in there, with a good strong heartbeat! See you in 3 more weeks!"

Fears smited, seeing the baby again, and having a positive chat with the doctor...I left there happy! I'm so glad I went because now I KNOW we're past the point we got to last time, and I no longer have that nagging doubt in the back of my mind that was keeping me awake nights. We went out for Japanese last night to celebrate! (No sushi for me, though...)

I was so happy with the outcome that I caved in and told my parents. They deserve to share the happy news too, and I just didn't think I could hold it until Thanksgiving! Of course they were elated, and now my sisters are relieved of their secret-keeping obligations...

Friday, November 14, 2008

I feel about like this...

Guess which one is me!

It's hard to to just spend my days gestating and not feel concerned about every little thing. And Craig has no option but to just hold my hand and help me feel better as best he can...

I have so many things to do, but I'm anti-motivation at the moment. I just want to go lie down, mostly!

And I am seriously craving an egg roll.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If they name him "Ronald"...

The Charlotte Observer is reporting today that someone abandoned a baby in a McDonald's bathroom this morning. I don't think I have to comment on the sad and wasteful aspect of it, when so many try so hard to bring a baby of their own in the world, and others are just literally throwing them away... I'm hoping that baby will have a better shot at life than if it had stayed with those miscreants. Maybe grandma or someone will come forward, because I can't believe it would go unnoticed: one minute you're 9 months preggo, the next minute NO BABY?

In my own news, the nausea has subsided a bit today, and I actually feel like eating! I had a bacon egg and cheese biscuit for breakfast! (Though the baby has liked breakfast food this whole time.)

Top things I'm craving this week:

TOMATOES -- fresh ones, with just a little salt. Mmm, mmm, mmm. I might move on to pico de gallo a little later today for variety.

Complex carbs -- pasta, mac and cheese, and POTATOES (hash browns, mashed, fries.)

Tomatoes and potatoes? My baby likes to rhyme!

Roast beef au jus -- I would kill for a French dip, but I know that meat would have to be nuked beyond recognition before I could consider it "safe." So I am sating the need with French onion soup from a can...

I never got that sushi dinner I wanted before I got pregnant again. So we will go out one night and have the other things on the menu that are okay: miso, udon, tempura, and maybe I can throw a cucumber roll in there or something too!

(Did I mention that I'm probably the only whacko lady on earth who LIKES her nausea? It's a sign to me that things are at least okay... Maybe it will come back soon!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Go baby, go

Well, we went in for the post-positive-pregnancy-test ultrasound today at 7 weeks. (They gave me one early because I had a miscarriage last time...) I was quite nervous going in because I remember how much it hurt the last time when we were so disappointed. It's kind of like knowing you have to rip a Band Aid off the fuzzy part of the inside of your arm, and just trying to build up the adrenaline to do it... (I'm sensitive where they take blood - I always lose some skin too! Ouch!)

Walking down the hall, my throat was kind of dry, and the ultrasound tech asked me, "So, you're 21 weeks is that right?" And I said, "Noooo... More like 7. Maybe you're thinking of someone else?" Turns out she saw something earlier in my chart, and well, I guess if I had still been pregnant from the first time, that's how far along I would have been. When she got back in and looked at my chart, she saw the error and correctly guessed that I had a miscarriage last time. So I told her we were definitely looking for better news this time! In that case, she handed me the sheet and told me to come on back out when I was ready.

I was feeling cautiously optimistic about it because I actually FEEL pregnant this time. I've been pretty nauseous all day, but when I do get hungry, and I go to look in the fridge, I can't find anything even vaguely appetizing. I get up every couple of hours at night to pee. I'm constantly tired, I've got that slight lower abdominal cramping, and my boobs hurt like CRAZY, especially after I take off my bra. So this time, it feels like it's "developing."

I got up on the table, and she did her thing with the wand (thank God for warm gel!) and started poking around a little bit. And there was our little blob!

She said she could see a heartbeat, but of course that's exactly what happened the last time and then the tech couldn't find it again. I started to panic a little because she kept poking around, but she didn't take the statement back about finding a heartbeat, so I just sat still. And then she turned on the Doppler:

And then I started to cry! Look at that lil baby go!

The tech asked me to try to hold still...

She said the baby had a good, strong heartbeat of 135 bpm. She took the measurements, and said it's at 7 weeks 1 day, which is exactly right! I couldn't believe it! She said she'd print us one to take home:

(I guess techs have a sense of humor when it's good news!)

And we went off to wait for the doctor. When he came in the room he greeted us with a big smile and shook our hands, and darned if he didn't seem as excited as we were! He told me now that we've seen a heartbeat, the chances are excellent -- as good as 98% -- that this will result in a baby! He suggested that I take a baby aspirin every day to possibly help things. Apparently some people with clotting issues or people who have antibodies that pass through to the baby are helped by a daily dose of baby aspirin to prevent miscarriage. He said it definitely wouldn't hurt to take it, but might actually help. He also suggested a different kind of prenatal that may not give me fish burps, and said, "We'll see you in 4 weeks!"

(Ugh, 4 weeks!)

So I've been happy-crying on and off all day, because I just feel so relieved. It's like maybe I can let myself be happy again, and pick up where I left off the last time on all the planning and excitement now.

I still haven't figured out when I'm going to tell my parents. If I can hold out for 12 weeks, that will be around the same time as my next appointment, and the end of the first trimester, which is like the "safety barrier" to break through before you can relax a little... (Which is why most people wait at least that long to tell everyone.) I don't know if I can make it through Thanksgiving without saying anything though.

Okay, I don't know if I can make it through this WEEK without saying anything.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hospitals: Still a Downer

Well, in my last post you heard that I was prescribed amoxicilin.

So Thursday night I came down with a pretty horrible case of diarrhea. I was concerned about it enough (it kept me up all night, and my abdomen was painful) that I called the gyn/ob on Friday to talk to one of the nurses, because I didn't want to do anything that would harm the baby. The nurse called, and told me not to worry about it too much because sometimes that happens with antibiotics. (Which I knew, because cephalosporins have done a number on me in the past!) I was thinking it might have been some kind of food poisoning because it came on about 4 hours after I ate dinner. She then asked what I ate, and when I told her I had some bagged salad for dinner, she said that sometimes the preservatives in that will cause a bad reaction in some people. She said that Immodium was perfectly safe to take, and to make sure I stay really, really hydrated, and to eat soft foods, including yogurt, and I should be okay soon after that. Well, later in the day is when things got bad and weird...




I took some Immodium, but it didn't seem to be helping. I took the maximum dose (no more than 4 in 24 hours) but it didn't work. The next time I was in the bathroom, there was blood! For real, red blood, mixed in with everything. At first I panicked that it was coming from the front, but then I confirmed that wasn't it at all. Then I was worried because the Immodium specifically says on the box DO NOT TAKE if there is blood and/or mucous in your stool. By the end of the day I had both, and I felt like pieces of my colon must be falling out with every bathroom visit. Plus, I had a pretty severe case of abdominal cramping. I decided that if it was still bad in the morning, I would go get help...

In the morning, I was still peeing blood out of my backside, so we decided to head to the emergency room.



We decided I should go to the emergency room on Saturday because the gyn/ob was closed, and I know the urgent care doesn't have the diagnostic equipment should something be really wrong. Plus, we have good insurance. (Thank God!)

So we get in the car and...the car starts acting funny. Belt squealing, power steering is not working well. We could hear the belt squeal occasionally, so I figured it wasn't *broken* per se. Craig was driving and he was in a panic. As we got a couple of miles down the road, the battery light started flashing. The whole way we were praying at every stop light that we wouldn't break down, and that we would just make it to the hospital! Luckily, we did! We decided to deal with the car thing after we got me taken care of...

I'm happy to say that, really in reality, the hospital experience we had this time was nearly just as good as the one we had with the D&E in July. Almost everyone was courteous and helpful, and asked lots of good questions, which is welcome and expected. Unfortunately, the wait time was crazy was Saturday in the ER! The desk clerk apologized for the wait though, which was nice because he totally didn't have to.

The up side is that you get to watch all the interesting injured people come in. There was an older man who did something to his ankle, and a teenager who hurt his foot, and a little kid who hurt his knee at a game, and some guy who came in just holding his hand in a towel (yike! We were wondering how he was going to use the palm scanner that they use to sign you in!)

We got called into triage where I was asked a bunch of questions. They too apologized for the wait, but said I had priority over some of the others so I shouldn't have to wait too much longer.

Finally, Nurse Surly called us back to a room. I call her that because she was the only person I met the whole day who was devoid of niceness and personality. Maybe she was having a bad day, or maybe she was just a bitch. Who knows? All I know is that she acted somewhat annoyed the whole time. She gave me a cup for a urine sample and a gown and told me to put it on with the opening to the back. I asked if I needed to strip down all the way, and she said, "You can do it when you come back from the bathroom," which completely didn't answer my question...

We waited for a while, and met the friendly young girl volunteer on the floor who told us she would be happy to help if we needed anything. Finally Dr. Meek came in. (Again, not his real name, just my impression.) He was soft-spoken, but had a kind face, and asked probing questions. He told me also my illness was quite possibly a reaction to the antibiotics; I just may be very sensitive. He asked about the pregnancy, and he said he was also going to get an OB consult from the doctor from my clinic on duty today, which made me feel good. He then told me I was also going to have to provide a stool sample so they could test it to be sure... And then he went off to get his consult.

Nurse Surly came back and gave me a cup for a stool sample. She said she would come back later, I didn't have to do it right now, but to let her know when I was done.

Boy, talk about pressure. Ever try to poop on demand? It's exactly as difficult as it sounds. Especially when you haven't eaten ANYTHING in roughly 18 hours and your body was busy cleaning that out all morning.

I tried one time. A half an hour went by, but nothing. Nurse came back and gave me a bottle of Gatorade (which will probably cost about $65 when we get the bill.)

I tried again and still nothing. More time went by.

Craig got bored with his video game and had resigned himself to staring at me.

I tried walking around, sitting, lying down. We listened to the goings on in the next curtain -- an elderly woman had passed out in the dollar store after eating some catfish at a restaurant earlier, and they thought maybe she had an allergic reaction to it. The thought of catfish made me a little nauseous, but I was at that fine line where I was so starving, I was sick. I also know Craig hadn't eaten anything all day, and he had to be starving by now too, but he refused to step out to get something to eat.

We called the nurse back over, and when she poked her head into the curtain I asked her what if I can't produce a sample? And she said, sorry, that's the only way we can test to see what you have. She said I could take my time though. And I said, really? That's the only test, like there's no blood test or something else we could do? And she said, "Nope, sorry," and left.

I laid down on my left side. At my wits end of all the frustration and feeling crappy and bored starving husband and no eating and nausea and broken down car and blood and pregnancy and stress, I started to cry.

At this moment, Craig sprang into action. He came over and comforted me, and asked me what he could do for me. He asked me if I wanted him to see if he could get me some food or something, and I sobbed, "Ok." He used the call button and when the nurse desk answered he said, "Can you see if my wife can have something to eat?" and they said they would check.

Suddenly, people were attentive again!

The volunteer doing rounds came in and asked me what she could do to help. She said they had all kinds of crackers, and peanut butter, and some things to drink if I wanted, so I asked for some saltines and water.

Nurse came back in and said it was okay for me to have some crackers, and took my blood pressure and pulse. (134/84! Yikes!) She asked how far along my pregnancy was, and I told her, and she said maybe some of my sickness was from that. I said none of this happened last time I was pregnant, and she asked me if I had had a boy or a girl.


The volunteer came back, and I tried to stuff a few crackers down my gullet. I was amazed at how absolutely nauseated I could be by Zesty crackers. I made Craig eat a few too so he didn't pass out. The doctor came back in and said that it was okay if I didn't think I could give them a sample now; they could send me home and let me bring one back! They weren't going to keep me hostage, he joked.

He said he was going to write me a prescription for a new antibiotic, and he had talked to the OB doctor on duty and they both agreed it would be okay for me to take, but not to start it until they got the sample, because otherwise it could affect the results. He said he would send someone in to do my discharge paperwork, and I could get dressed.

I felt somewhat relieved, except then I was thinking about how in the world we were going to get a sample back with a broken car. And then I felt something else...

I trotted off to the restroom, and then I proudly marched back down the hall in my sexy open-back hospital gown with my sample! Hooray for crackers!

When they came to discharge me, they told me to ignore the directions to wait for the sample to start my prescription, and just start it right away. They signed me out, and we left to deal with my car.

True to my suspicions, the serpentine belt was loose. I was afraid we wouldn't be able to drive it farther, so we called AAA, and ran across the street while we waited to get my prescription filled and get Craig some Wendy's. When we got back, the AAA guy called, and we happened to get the nicest tow truck driver I've ever had tow me somewhere! He towed our car to the shop we trust a few miles down the road, and agreed to take us home even though he's not really supposed to drive people more than a mile outside of towing. (It was only 5 miles home for us, anyway.) He was funny and kind, and when we said something about getting the prescription I needed without a car, he was all set to drive us there too! (But then we told him we had already picked it up.) When we got home, I found the tow company's website and wrote a really nice review about him...

So all things considered the end of the day summed up much better than the beginning. Later that night, I had a scare when I had the tiniest bit of pinkish spotting when I went to the bathroom, but nothing since. I followed up with the gyn/ob this morning (per my ER discharge instructions) and they told me it was okay to wait until my ultrasound next Monday to come in.

And so begins the waiting and healing game. I'm completely sick of clear fluids and soup and rice, so last night I ate a slice of pizza! I have not yet regretted it, so the new antibiotics must be working.