It’s official, there is a seamonster in my uterus. See it there just clinging on like we wouldn’t notice it? But who cares because nugget has a heartbeat! a crazy fast yet adorable heartbeat! As awkward as it was to be stuffed into a postage stamp sized room with my mother-in-law 8 inches away from my hoo-haa and knowing she saw the wand the doctor was holding and knowing she knew where it was going, in the end it mattered so little. Because there it was the little nugget I was imagining. Well luckily I couldn’t see all the features perfectly because I was imagining a tail and crazy looking wrinkly head. And I don’t know what I was thinking the heartbeat would look like on screen. I think I was imagining to see a giant zoomed in picture of the heart, but all we saw was a little alien bean and in the middle a little flicker of light. Then doctor-talks-too-fast-to-have-any-time-to-respond turned on the doppler and loud and clear, nugget’s heartbeat was there in the room with us. The doc said ‘it sounds really fast because it is about twice as fast as yours’ then Andy chimes in ‘it is probably scared shitless of that giant stick you are poking it with’. hahaha. I love that guy. It felt like there was no time. No time to spend looking at nugget and really letting it sink in that all was well. Before I knew it, he/she was off the screen. Never thought I would have wanted to have some stranger keep a foreign object in my v-jay-jay, but I found myself wishing it had been just a few minutes longer.
Okay here’s a rundown of funny things that were said:
When Andy and MIL got in the room, Andy saw the “probe” and asked : does that go inside you?
Andy: How much of it goes in?
laughter all around.
While the doc was entering my name into the machine Andy looks up at the screen and says: Is that your vagina?
Me: No the wand isn’t inside me yet.
Andy: Oh I was going to say it is really dark in there.
more laughter all around.
Oops I almost forget. Nugget measured at 8 weeks and 3 days, which means Fertility Friend was right the first time. This changes all my stats by 3 days (for those TTC it means my home test was really on 11dpo and not 8dpo like I originally thought). Due date is now March 7th. To me this is kind of exciting because that means nugget should arrive right before Andy goes on Spring Break. Not a great time for him since I am sure he’ll have a ton of work to do right before, but then he’ll have a week home with us. Some family time together. It will be great!
Have I said anything about how the “week” system annoys the crap out of me? Well it does and it always has. Like when I would walk up to a parent and ask ‘how old is your baby?’ and I would get the response ‘oh 64 1/7 weeks’. Okay that has never happened, but if it did, I would be annoyed. I like math, but like in a school nerd kind of way. As in, I like to work equations, physically with a pencil and paper and handy calculator. I don’t like having mental math sprung on me. It is like an assault on the senses. Like going to a Yankee Candle Store. I equally loathed the term “Trying to Conceive”, yet I quickly found myself at a loss for any other statement that described what we were doing. A few times I would say ‘we’re having lots of unprotected sex in an organized type manner’, but that was a lot to say/write. After a while the cute little acronym TTC just made life easier. So here I am in the midst of that annoying week system, but F-it I am fighting the man. Today is 2 months, not 8 weeks or 56 days, but 2 months. Hell months kind of annoy me too. Let’s call it 1/6th year. That sounds super nerdy and I love it.
Basically this whole nerdy illiteration is a means to distract myself (and you) during my lunch hour because in a couple of hours Andy is picking me up for my first ultrasound. Yes, the lovely vaginal ultrasound which I invited my mother-in-law to. Still don’t know what I was thinking, but I have a feeling it will cause lots of laughter, which let’s face it, makes it a fun process. Let’s not think about the fact that this is a fairly critical appointment. I’m not going to mention my fears and worries and all that business. Because I am denying all of them right now. I am going in there today to see nugget’s heartbeat and it will be there. So here’s the Baby Center update. Nugget is the size of a kidney bean. Does this seam like a backstep from last week? Last week nugget was a blueberry and that seems bigger than a kidney bean to me. It is probably because I was imagining a really huge blueberry. Anyhoo, this next week nugget starts growing webbed fingers and his tail almost completely disappears. Seems like he would be a more efficient swimmer if he kept the tail while his fingers were still webbed. As far as how I am feeling, it is about the same. Nausea and exhaustion are the norm for me. Oranges, Jolly Ranchers and string cheese are my staples. I have officially started counting down to my second trimester. I can’t wait to feel like eating again. I like food and I miss the things I used to eat. I have this hankering for a salmon avocado roll from Hapa Sushi. I don’t think I could handle it right now, but I am hoping in a few weeks I will be ready.
To continue with my distraction, let me tell you I have had some insane dreams lately. My favorite to date relates to my ultrasound appointment. So this seems like the time to share. In my dream it was the Zombie Apocolypse, you know that thing everyone is always preparing themselves for? What do you mean you’re not preparing for it? Well Andy and his friends are and apparently their conversations have poisoned my dreams. So yeah, Zombies everywhere and we were fighting our way to my appointment. We had to kill hundreds of Zombies and sneak through large dark and dank buildings to get there. We descend this creepy staircase, open a door and all of a sudden we’re in a pristine doctor’s office waiting room. This is when I realize we were on our way to the appointment. Then the ultrasound chick walks up and says ‘um I am just going to step out for a few minutes to run an errand, I will be right back’. I was like ‘f no, you’re not going anywhere, you will be eaten by zombies if you step out that door and you can’t be eaten by zombies until after I get my ultrasound’. Then I woke up. This dream definitely signifies that my brain is taking Andy too seriously and that I will most likely stop at nothing to get my ultrasound today. I am like the chick from Shaun of the Dead.
It has been an emotional few days. I never thought I would get to this point….this pregnant point, and feel anything but elation and excitement and be wanting to sing and dance around. What? I like musicals, don’t judge me. Right now I am experiencing something I never thought I would experience, I am mourning other women’s losses. I know in part it is because I am just crazy emotional in general right now. Example one: on Friday night I repeatedly asked Andy why he was fighting with me and being so mean. We had just finished watering the dirt that would soon become our lawn (post to come) and I was unloading the fertilizer from my trunk. He said ‘why don’t we get it in the morning?’. And I said ‘because there is going to be so much work tomorrow I am just trying to make it easier tonight’. Then he said ‘but what if it rains and it is sitting out in the back yard?’ then I said ‘why are you fighting with me? I am just trying to eliminate steps for tomorrow. Why are you being so mean?’. Okay so I see that he wasn’t actually being mean, he was just being him. But sometimes it comes off harsher in my head. So I realize I am extra sensitive these days. But it is more than just that. I am really connected to the women that I have met through this process. I didn’t really want to talk about my infertility issues on my blog and at first I really avoided it. But the more I found and read about other women’s struggles the more I realized that I wasn’t alone. I wanted them to know they weren’t alone. So I went ahead and let it out. Well kind of. I still didn’t really go into the painful parts. The struggle with month after month of disappointment. The constant feeling of not being a woman, of not working right, of wanting to crawl into a hole to die. I tried not to convey that here. I tried to keep a semi-up-beat perspective about what was going on, but some of it snuck through. Some of you saw the cracks and you supported me through them. And even when I couldn’t tell you what was going on, your blogs pulled me through. Your joy and hope, even your heartache and disappointment, showed me that I wasn’t the only one feeling these things. We were in it together. The moment I found out I was pregnant it seemed like so many of the other woman were on the upslope too. I was flying at the idea that all our dreams would come true at the same time. They just had to. We had all struggled for so long and been through so much that it would just be perfect for every one of us to get our dream at once. I actually thought that could happen. But then the clouds rolled in. One by one I found these women, MY women, at the beginning and facing the darkness. This wasn’t supposed to happen. We were supposed to get our dreams together. We were all supposed to forget our pain and heartache together and move into the happy new stages of pregnancy. We were suppose to swap stories about trying not to vomit on the table in front of our inlaws when the waitress brought out their dinner. We were supposed to laugh about saying the most ridiculous things imaginable and falling asleep during conference calls.
It isn’t that I am not happy, that I am not absolutely appreciative that it finally happened for us, but I genuinely feel like these woman should be here too. I don’t deserve it more than them. In fact, in some cases, I think they deserve it more than me. These are wonderful, beautiful women, who will be some of the best mothers on the planet. When I saw a woman on the train last week yell at her toddler, tell him he is stupid and curse at him for his book falling on the ground. I wanted to beat the crap out of her. I wanted to make her feel as small and insignificant as she was making her son feel. I wanted to tell her she was a horrible person and didn’t deserve the gift of this child. I thought of my women. The women who would do anything to be her right now. Who would just laugh and smile if their son dropped a book or got out of his seat to come sit next to her. They wouldn’t tell him ‘go sit the fuck down!’. Their hearts would swell if their child wanted to be closer to them because this is what we all want. We want to be mothers. Probably more than anything we’ve ever wanted in the whole world. It is just so heartbreaking to me that they aren’t here too. I am not giving up hope. In fact I will hope even harder for them from now on. Maybe I wasn’t really applying myself last time. I am going to be there for them just like they were here for me. But right now, at least for today, I am just in the mood to mourn for them. I want to crawl up into a ball, let the tears flow, and feel the loss these women are feeling.
For those of you at all interested here are some of the things I asked the midwife during our interview:
- Tell us about your education, background, and credentials
- Do you have a back-up? She does, he is a doctor in Brighton who’s wife had both their kids at home. So he is supportive of home birth and willing to back her up if needed. We will go to him if I develop any complications before I go into labor. Obviously if there are complications during or after labor we go to the emergency room.
- Do you work with a partner or apprentice? Our midwife will have an additional midwife to assist and an apprentice. My midwife will be in charge of me, the other one will be in charge of the baby and the apprentice will do whatever they need her to.
- What prenatal tests do you use?
- What is the plan if someone else is in labor when I am?
- Do you carry an oxygen tank to births? FYI the answer to this should be yes.
- Do you have certification in neonatal resuscitation? As if I need to say it, but this should be a yes too.
- What happens if transport to the hospital becomes necessary? This should be a complex question. There are many scenarios. If it isn’t an emergency and there is time, our midwife will take us to the birthing center at Boulder Health, if it is an emergency we will go to North Suburban which is 5 blocks from our house. There are scenarios where there is more time than others, so she might call an ambulence, or she might drive me there herself. Basically this question lets you know what all this woman can do to ensure that your baby and you will be alright no matter what happens.
- How long will you stay with us after the baby is born? The whole team will stay for about three hours. They will clean everything up, start the laundry, make us a meal, and tuck the three of us in bed. She said the only sign that they were ever there will be that there will be a kitchen trash bag of trash, a load of laundry in the washing machine, and of course there will be a baby there.
- How often will you make postpartum visits? She will come on day 1, day 3, day 7, 3 weeks, and 6 weeks. Basically I better make her a key.
- What will be done with the placenta? PLACENTA WATER! hahaha, had to sneak that one in there for Bret. See if she is paying attention. There is a lot you can do with a placenta. She said it is up to us. We can throw it away, we can plant it in the yard, or she can have it dried and put into capsuls which apparently helps you to recover from birth more quickly. Decisions decisions. I was happy to find out that she not only advocates delayed cord cutting, but she has an even better approach. She said the biggest reason babies are transferred to the NICU is that the cord was cut prematurely. Some doctors will let you wait until the cord stops pulsing, which is about 7 minutes, but studies show that nutrients and blood is still being transferred to the baby even after the cord stops pulsing. She will deliver the placenta, wrap it up and put it in a plastic bag (I am imagining a ziplock) then she will tuck it in with the baby. She said it will stay connected for about an hour. I have to be honest, it kind of grosses me out that my kid will spend an hour with the placenta attached, but I agree with her.
- How many babies have you delivered? How many were water births? How many have required to be transported to the hospital? I won’t go into everything she told me, but her transfer rate is 17%. Most of those were transfers before 36 weeks. The women developed complications and so they moved to her doctor friend. She has had very few emergency transfers. So that makes me feel good.
- Tell us what will happen during a typical prenatal appointment? First we will all get in a drum circle…just kidding. They are pretty normal, except that they are around 2 hour visits. We will go over everything from diet and exercise to how I am feeling, she’ll take urine samples, blood samples for tests if needed, etc.
- At what point in labor should we call you?
- Tell us about the birth kit and any other tools/equipment/medications that you will be bringing with you.
- What problems are you prepared to deal with at home and which ones require hospital transfer?
- Under what circumstances do you recommend inducing?
- How do you handle slowly progressing labors?
- Do you monitor the baby’s heart rate during labor?
- What are the disadvantages of homebirth?
- Can you accompany us to the hospital if we need to transfer?
- What prenatal tests do you order?
- What equipment do we need to provide?
- Do you check for tears (vaginal, urethral, rectal)? Are you trained to repair them?
- How do you prevent/treat excessive postpartum bleeding?
- What are your guidelines for a “normal” vs. “high-risk” pregnancy?
- What is her recommendation for the use of ultrasound? She advocates them and isn’t one of those midwives who thinks they have hidden dangers. She recommends using them and find the 20 week ultrasound very important.
- How is the filing of the birth certificate handled?
- What services are not included in your fee?
- When do you want the full fee paid?
- Are there some things we should be doing to our house now in preparation for the birth?
- What things should I avoid during pregnancy? Turns out there isn’t much that is off limits as many baby websites will make you believe. The reason pregnant women have an extremely sensitive sense of smell is because it is a safety indicator. If it smells okay to you and you can get it down, then it is probably okay to have it. When I said “I know sushi is off limits” she said that it wasn’t. She said with sushi and lunchmeat I should use my decretion. Obviously I should avoid the larger ocean fish that have shown to have higher levels of mercury, but if I am going to a high quality place there is no reason to avoid raw fish. Not that I have plans to go eat sushi now, considering I have a hard time getting anything down that isn’t an orange or string cheese, but I am excited at the possibility if I ever feel up for it again.
- What kinds of exercise are okay and which should I avoid? Swimming and Walking are the best. She is all for me continuing to cycle as long as I don’t fall. Turns out skiing is not something I have to avoid either. Even with ski season starting close to the end of my second trimester, she said if I am a good skiier and don’t hit trees, then it isn’t a problem. Hitting trees is generally something I avoid every ski season, but with changing center of gravity I will be sure to take it easier than normal. I think I will stick with downhill and hang up the telemarking skiis for a season, just to be extra cautious. I might be too tired to ski, but if I am up for it, I have the green light! She has had people skiing in their 36th week and longer. Basically after the last two questions, what I got from her is that I know my body better than anyone else. If I listen to what’s going on and take care not to push too hard, I can use my decretion. Oh but derby is still out. I can roller skate though!
- Should I continue with this OB-GYN for the ultrasounds? Again it is up to me, she can order them, or I can stay with this doctor through 20 weeks.
- Do you have any issues with me using hypnobirthing techniques? She doesn’t. She likes their methods, but recommends we also attend other “nuts and bolts” birthing classes if we would like.
- Do we need to arrange for a pool? For $35 I can get one with big thick sides and a fish on it. Score!
- I asked her about filing for short-term disability and if this will be something that has to go through a doctor.
- I asked her about flying for work. I am okay up to 30 weeks, maybe 34 depending on how things are going, but then I will need to stop flying because of the increased risks for clots, and added pressure from less oxygen, and all that business. Great soon it will be time to tell the boss about this stuff.
Okay I am pretty sure that is most of them. Some of them led into others which I didn’t have written down. But we spent over two hours with her asking her questions and getting to know her. Anyhoodles, now you know.
Well we found her. The woman who I will allow to see and touch parts of me that no one but my husband gets regular access to. I kind of cringe to think what this woman will know about me. I can count on one hand the amount of medical professionals who have had the elite priviledge of giving me my annuals and that is after living in three different states and 7 different cities over the past 10 years. I am a loyal customer, what can I say. I would and have driven over two hours round trip, for a 20 minute appointment with the doctor who has been my pediatrician since I can remember. She knows my parts, I trust her with them. Needless to say, pregnancy is going to be an interesting transition for me. I’ve had friends who have told me ‘when the time comes, you don’t care who is down there, as long as they get the baby out before the come back up’. I am sure I will feel the same. I am sure when that day(s) come where I am helpless and scared, I will turn to this woman and maybe say some things, which we all know are in my vocabulary, but that a lady wouldn’t say to another lady. But one of the reasons that she is the one is I know she can handle it.
On our way to interview this midwife, Andy and I both thought back to images of Ina May Gaskin with her salt and pepper hair in two long braids or up in Princess Leia buns. Andy asked “what if she smells like patchouli?….(then panic washed across his face) what if she wants to hug me?”. Oh Andy, how I love this man. When we entered the suburban neighborhood and made the few turns toward her house Andy said “look for the subaru in the driveway….she has to have a subaru” (he said as we pulled up in my subaru, your fault for not seeing the signs earlier buddy). Sure enough, when we parked in front of the non-descript house with beautiful landscaping, a subaru sat in the driveway. But it was a Baja so he just looked at it and said ‘hmm that’s cool it has quite a bit of capacity back there’. What a dork. We walked up to the house and braced ourselves for a thin elderly woman in a long silk skirt, maybe barefoot with an ankle bracelet with bells. But who comes to the door, a cute soccer-mom type with sassy blonde hair with red highlights. She welcomed us in and introduced us to her two boys who were playing a board game on the living room floor. I didn’t know children learned to play board games anymore. We followed her upstairs to her exam room where she motioned me into a glider and sat at her desk chair. The exam table looked just like a bed. Fluffy with a comforter and pillows. I could have crawled in and taken a nap right there. I pulled out my list of pertinant dates: when I got of BC, when I went to the OB and had hormone tests done, when I started acupuncture, when I think I ovulated. She wrote it all down and said ‘wow so you were basically anovulatory’. She worried over my progesterone levels and was glad I had them tested right away, she encouraged me to continue acupuncture because she has found it highly successful at hormone regulation. We went over the insurance procedures and about whether I should continue to see the OB in conjunction with her up until 20 weeks. She has left that up to me; I’m still undecided in case you were wondering, I’ll probably write about this later.
Then she opened the floor to my inquisitive ass. I pulled out my 1 inch thick stack of questions and had at her. Wouldn’t ya know I loved all her responses. Well except when she brought up two tidbits of factual evidence. When I asked her “Under what circumstances do you recommend inducing labor?” eventually our conversation meandered over to the fact that at 42 weeks she will take me to the doctor if I am showing no signs (FYI after 42 weeks the probability of serious badness happening goes up if they don’t get that sucker out of ya). Then she said this ‘but I will tell you, the average for first-time moms is to start labor at 41 weeks and 2 days’. Great I am going to be pregnant forever. But I guess the good thing is I can be prepared for it and not be too antsy when 40 weeks comes and goes. Believe me I will be waddling my ass up and down the street everyday and doing all the things people tell you to do to try to start labor. My midwife said sex three times a day seems to do the trick. I like this woman, she is saucy!
The next tidbit came out shortly after when I asked at what point I call her during labor and when she will come over. Answer to that is I call when labor starts, since I am a first time mom, it will probably be at the first signs of anything, and she said she will tell me ‘great, go to bed, or cook dinner, or take a walk. First-time mom’s usually labor around 24 hours’. She said that it isn’t intense for a long time, but that she will be telling me not to focus on it and continue my usual day. Once you start focusing on it, you will wear yourself down and 24 hours of labor will be very draining. So on the one hand, shit! That is a long time to labor, on the other hand, I feel that having her around and being armed with the knowledge of what to expect, when it is all said and done, I can do it. She did tell me ‘look I am going to be honest with you, you are probably going to feel a lot of pain, and it is probably going to be very hard for you, but I will also tell you that you can do it’. Shit yeah I can. I asked her a ton of questions and maybe I should write them out in a separate entry for anyone interested. But needless to say I feel insanely comfortable with this woman. There are a lot of unknowns between now and birth. There is a chance that I won’t be able to have a home birth, that I could develop preeclampsia or have an incompetent cervix (bitch better not be incompetent!) or one of another number of things. But I trust this woman to look out for me. She will know absolutely everything about me and my pregnancy and if we have to go to the hospital, she will be the best person to have there. Basically, the girl has my back. So I gave her a fist bump and handed over the keys to my vagina.