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, December 29, 2008

When life hands you lemons...

You may have a baby!

Again, we're moving further into fruit sizes that trouble me.

I wonder who came up with using the produce aisle specifically as a measure of fetal size, especially because it can be so variable, depending on time of year and region where the fruit originated. I'm guessing there are many other things (even in the grocery store!) to compare with. I saw at least one that used "jumbo shrimp" for a week or two ago, but why not... a golf ball, a baseball, a deck of cards. Or even a whole set of things that men specifically could relate to!

We've decided that now, because it's week 14, and we're safely into the start of the second trimester we're going to start telling *everyone* who didn't already know! We're going to start with Kevin Smith, of course, because without him...well, Craig and I wouldn't be at this particular party! And from there we'll branch out to the rest of our circle of Worldwide and local friends.

Christmas Eve I managed to only wake up ONE time and I was ecstatic about it Christmas Day. So for now you can just imagine that waking up every two hours at night is continuing like that until I say otherwise, and I will cease to bitch about it going forward. (Thank God for nap time!)

Otherwise I still don't "feel" pregnant. Except my pants are at this weird stage where they're too tight, but I don't yet feel like I'm ready for maternity-wear.

To ease my mind I bought one of those hand held fetal Doppler devices for home use on eBay. Craig and I were able to hear the baby's heartbeat with it on Saturday night and it was very, very comforting to me. Slowly, but slowly, this baby is starting to feel more "real." I'm thinking that when we go for the next ultrasound at 20 weeks (the "big" ultrasound as they say) and Blobby starts to look like a person instead of a growth, that it will somehow then really sink in more. Or maybe when I'm able to feel the baby move, my brain will make that connection.

Some people say, though, that they don't really have a connection with the baby until after it is born, and even then it may take weeks or months. I don't obviously know yet how I'm going to feel, but we'll wait and see. (Like we had a choice.)

I will admit I'm starting to feel more excited now that some of the danger is gone and I'm not so worried about miscarrying again. But I still don't feel that same level of excitement and happiness that I felt last time. I'm slowly letting go of the guilt for that, as I definitely want my happiness back. Everyone tells me it's "normal", but that sounds like such a cop-out.

In the meantime, I'm trying to think as many cheerful thoughts as possible and I'm trying SO hard to be less cranky all the time. Which is no easy task considering I'm not sleeping. However, by the time this pregnancy is through, Craig should be eligible for canonization.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peach baby, peach baby...

Do doot, do do do doot...

I apologize for skipping week 12, as we were in Atlanta for a mini-vacation. But week 12 was kind of an uninteresting fruit anyway, as it was a plum. Didn't we just see "prune" two weeks ago?

We are beginning to move into the relative sizes of things where I'm starting to be concerned.

"HOW big, you say?"

"And that's going to come out of WHERE, you say?"

You get the idea...

So far I've decided pregnancy is not "fun."

It's been 13 weeks of boring waiting for things to happen. Waiting to ovulate, waiting to be able to test, waiting for test results, waiting for the doctor to tell me, "You look fine. Come back in 4 weeks.", waiting to lose my mind waiting...

Also, I would love to reclaim sleeping through the whole night. It's been a good 4 months since I haven't had to get up multiple times during the night (thanks Desmond, too, at first) just to empty my bladder so I can go back to sleep. I don't even remember what it was like at this point to sleep an entire eight hours. Some would say that it is preparing me for the trials of motherhood. To that I say, baloney. I've got a LONG way to go until then. I should be storing up on sleep now instead!

I've developed daily headaches and neck aches, which I've discovered are "normal." I've got stabbing and cramping pains in the appropriate areas above and below the belt, and all my husband can say is, "Wow, pregnancy has got to be so strange."

If I'm not nauseous, or can't eat something that was once good, I'm exhausted and need a major nap. (From all the "not sleeping" at night, you see.) I'm not allowed to do *anything* or eat all sorts of interesting things I DO want to eat, or come in contact with anything even remotely hazardous.

I feel small, and vulnerable, and unsure of myself, and I don't think I've felt this way since I was about 12 years old.

And I don't like it. At. All.

What happened to the brave, strong, independent, smart me?

Someone please tell me it's all worth it.

No don't, because that's just what I expect you to say, and what everyone says, and that they'd do it again in a heartbeat, blah blah blah. But I suspect that those are all the post-partum endorphins speaking. You know, the ones that make it possible for people to even THINK about having children again, and thus perpetuate the species... Nature's rotten little joke.

More perhaps when I'm in a better mood...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Lime is in the Coconut!

Rounding out week 11, the baby is key lime-size! I can't believe how fast the cub is growing in there! The uterus is about like a grapefruit-size...or a coconut maybe?? Hence all the singing in my head about how I'm going to relieve my "flipper ache!" (See the link in the title if you have no idea what I'm talking about!) Of course, the baby doesn't have flippers any more...(I hope!)

Today's visit to the doctor was quick, but extraordinary!

We got there on time, (though it was raining like mad), got brought right back, the nurse checked my weight and bp (thankfully back to 110/70!) and we were put right in the exam room.

Then another nurse came in with the hand-held Doppler that looked for all the world like a walkie-talkie with a microphone attached. She said, "I'm going to try to hear the heartbeat, but it's kind of early and we may not be able to find it, but we'll try! If we can't find it, the doctor will do a pelvic..." So I hopped up on the table and she said, "Okay, since it's early I'm going to have to go low, like near the hair line. You're going to think I'm listening to your bladder!" Luckily, in anticipation of this (hopefully) being what they were going to do today, I wore the stretchy pants!

So I laid back, and lowered trou, she squirted on the (cold!) ultrasound gel, and started with the transducer kind of low. It sounded at first like one of those white-noise-generator ("sleep machine") rainstorms, and she apologized for there being a lot of static on her device today. Then there was a slow heartbeat at my right pelvis near the femoral artery/vein, which she said, "There's you..." and she kept squishing around...

Then somewhere near the middle-right was THE distinctive, faster, wush-wush-wush sound, and the nurse nodded her head and said, "There. You hear it?" And then I laughed out loud, which messed the whole thing up, but the nurse laughed too, (and I'm sure that's not the first time that's happened!) So she said, "Let's see if we can find it again!" A little more squishing and she found it again more to the left, and I could see her nodding out of the corner of my eye.

I was grinning like a fool, but I tried to hold still. She found it in one more spot, and seemed pleased, so she stopped. She wiped me off and grabbed my hand to help me up (which I thought was cool -- obviously not her first day with preggos!) gave me a big smile, and said, "Good! It should be even easier next time..."

As the nurse walked out, the doctor walked in and said in a loud voice, "CONGRATULATIONS!" and shook our hands. He could tell we were thrilled, and he seemed pleased that everything was going well. I said we were fine NOW, of course, because I really needed that confirmation that everything was okay. I had been cramping kind of badly the last couple of days, but there was no blood, so they had told me not to worry when I called the office. But of course telling me not to worry, and me actually not worrying are two entirely different things.

He told me it's very normal after a loss to feel anxious about everything, and be worried about the progress the whole way. I confessed that I had been dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety and guilt still over the last pregnancy, and he asked me why I feel guilty. I had trouble articulating it. Finally I managed to get out that I feel like if I had only done something better, or more right, or tried harder that baby would have made it.

And he looked me dead-on serious and said there was nothing I could have done to have that baby come out okay. He said 99% of the time, it's just a chromosomal abnormality that is incompatible with life, and no amount of anything I could have done would have fixed that. There is no reason at all for me to feel guilty. And I told him I know that in my head, it's just a matter of convincing myself. I admitted that I tend to be hard on myself, and he said I have nothing to feel guilty about.

And then he reminded me of something, which I thought it was very sweet of him to say. He said:
"It is not man who gives life."

And I found that very comforting. He said that part is not up to us. But then he also said, "By the same token that means if everything goes well, you can't take credit for that either!!!" Being reminded that it's not up to me, and that I have to give up some of that control sometimes, somehow just made me feel a lot better...

With that, he said, "Great! Let's see you again in four weeks, and then four more weeks after that is the BIG ultrasound!" (meaning we get to see the much bigger baby, and possibly find out gender!)

They repeated my prenatal blood work before I left, because they hadn't taken any since the last pregnancy and it's time to start checking up again (which I hoped they were going to do) and happily we split back out into the rain!

I've been on a high all day because that visit was very quick, but somehow very satisfying. I feel like I can relax a lot more now, because here we are nigh on week 12, and everything seems to be going like it should! We're feeling safe, and happy, and I think we're ready to start telling people. Craig told everyone at his job today, and I think I will bring it up on my next team call at work too. The next person I think we should collectively tell would be Kevin (Smith) because, well, without that guy, we wouldn't even be at this point today. I'm just trying to think of the right way to tell him...

To celebrate, we went out for a very delicious and well-deserved dinner at 131 Main. And now we're looking forward to a nice getaway in Atlanta next week with no worries. I'm sure at this point, being the holiday season, the time will fly by until the next appointment on Jan 12th!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thursday! Thursday! THURSDAY!!!

So once again our shared life is in a holding pattern with everything hinging on a specific event. There seems to be once such event every year or so, at least for us. Two years ago, it was "Once we get married, we can do X, Y and Z". Last year, it was "Well, once we buy a house...".

This year, everything seems to be contingent on how things go on Thursday.

More about that in a minute. First off, I'd like to apologize for my long absence from this blog. I've had a few ideas brewing in my head since the loss of baby 1.0, but haven't been able to successfully birth any of them (no pun intended). Many of Kathy's blog entries have come about, at least in part due to conversations she and I have had, so rest assured I've been here in spirit, as much of a cop-out as that may be. Hopefully Thursday will bring with it a marked return to blogging for me.

Ahh, Thusday. Thursday will be, for all intents and purposes, our 12 week checkup. This will mean several things to us (and some to you as well):

1. 12 weeks will mark the end of the first trimester, and with it, the period of time when spontneous miscarriages (like the one we experienced last time) become significantly less likely to occur. In other words, we're not out of the woods, but we'll be well on our way.

2. This will be the date on which we've already decided that we're going to tell most people we're going to have a baby. So if you're just finding this blog now, congratulations: you have a few dozen entries' worth of backreading ahead of you. If you somehow found the blog ahead of time, like the disclaimer says, try to at least act surprised.

3. I know that hitting the 12 week mark without major incident will go a long way toward improving Kathy's state of emotional well-being. There's nothing like losing a child you didn't even know you could have in the first place that better exemplifies the phrase "all bets are off". Once we get over this hurdle, we can stop holding our collective breath and start getting real with things like preparing a room for the kid and begging for supplies.

Thanks to all those of you who've taken this journey with us so far, and a hearty welcome and preemptive "thank you for your support" to those just joining (or about to).

Who knows what the next year will bring? For now, though, I'll be content just to find out what Thursday has in store for us.

For the record, I'm optomistic.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Moving along

Week 10 Baby is now moving into the "fetus" stage (or foetus, if you like your Alphabits with extra vowels), has completed the development of all the major organs, and is now past the stage where any congenital malformations are most likely to happen. Yay!

I think whoever came up with the comparison of "prune" for the week 10 baby was having a joke at the state of first-trimester preggos, as it is a well-known fact that constipation can be rampant right now. Because otherwise, why would you pick something so shrively and unappealing (and which rather resembles a big turd?!) I've heard other comparisons though, like walnut, or a kumquat (what??) But I appreciate a good joke. I'll stick with prune!

Which brings me to another thought: why is it that they never tell you about GREAT things that will happen to you during pregnancy. It's all things like constipation and acne and morning sickness and sleeplessness and having to pee all the time. Or, "You may notice that your pants are starting to get tight and uncomfortable," and "Your breasts are probably extremely tender and feel like rocks." Why couldn't it be, "You may notice that your teeth are slowly getting whiter!" or "You may notice that your farts now smell like roses!"

However, everyone tells me that the second trimester is the "magical" one, where the bizarro symptoms clear up, and you learn the gender of the baby, and you can feel the baby move so you're not worried about how the little one is doing ALL the time. Just a few more weeks...