Miss W -->

   Friday, September 30, 2005  

Oh, isn't this fun?

I have had these strange feelings in my stomach one to two (sometimes three) times a day for the past few days. Finally last night I analyzed what it feels like and made a startling revelation. They're contractions.

Seriously...an odd feeling in my stomach that starts out feeling like a lot of fetal movement. Then if I touch my stomach? It's rock hard. It causes no pain whatsoever and lasts 30-60 seconds.

I looked it up and it sounded like Braxton Hicks contractions. I called the peri's office and the nurse told me exactly what I thought: Braxton Hicks. The only other possibility she said since it's localized areas and not my entire stomach is that sometimes it could be a tightening feeling caused strictly by the movements of the lowercase. The thing that gets me is that it is so localized. The hardest part of my stomach is a spot the size of my fist immediately to the right of my belly button. The nurse found that odd and that is the reason she suggests that it could in part be fetal movement, otherwise she thinks it sounds exactly like Braxton Hicks.

She informed me that this is extremely common in the third trimester which I am on the borderline of now (Depending on whether you consider full-term to be 37 or 40 weeks; by one I am in the 3rd tri, by the other I'm a bit shy of 2 weeks from it. My peri's office tends to look at the border between first and second tri based on 40 weeks but between second and third based on 37 as that would have the baby reach viability at week 24, the first week of the third trimester). Further she said that the only time I have to worry is if they are accompanied by pain, if there is bleeding with the contractions, or if I have more than four of these contractions in an hour.

Hoping that none of that happens and trying to stay optimistic in it all.

   [ posted  @ 3:49 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (2) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Oh, isn't this fun?":
I love braxton hicks. Mine felt exactly the same way. I especially get a kick out of the hard spot you so aptly described.
So glad that your getting far enough along to have these!
Anxiously holding my breath for you over here. You're doing such a great job.
Braxton-Hicks good. Extremely common good. Staying IN good.

Thinking of you all...

   Thursday, September 29, 2005  

In which I make myself a liar

Yesterday I said that I would post about secondary infertility, babies, etc.

And I intended to, I really did. Only one problem: THAT'S A DAMN HARD TOPIC!

I can't formulate a solid answer yet. I find myself vacillating between several opinions on much of that. I will write about that, but I don't think it will be today. Maybe it will be this weekend, maybe after Tuesday night's childbirth class. I just don't know yet. I don't want to post something like "Yes, but no, except when maybe and in that case then yes, but really mostly no because sometimes..." I want to actually have some form of an opinion and be able to word it in such a way that my opinion comes across without being hurtful or upsetting to those who are in a different point in this hellish journey. I won't write that post until I feel I can write it somewhat well.

Instead, today I will answer the questions of the lovely Jen.

First, the easy parts. Mr. W does all of our cooking now. And he's a brilliant cook. My only complaint is that he's so mesy in the kitchen and it drives me crazy seeing the mess as I walk by on my way to the bathroom. Still, he does get it cleaned up by bed time every night (or, you know, by the time he needs to cook dinner the next day). Thankfully we've had very little takeout food, but I won't deny the frequent frozen or hamburger helper (made with texturized vegetable protein as I am anti-real meats other than fish and the occasional uncontrollable chicken craving).

As to whether or not I will be a stay at home mom, I'm just not sure. I still have issues with picturing my lowercase coming home with us. Assuming that he does, I intend to stay home with him at least until he can verbalize well. Mr. W is adamantly opposed to sending a child to any form of child care before he can tell you if someone is doing something they shouldn't.

At one point, I thought I would wait to go back to work until after my children were in school. But I really miss teaching. A lot. So I might go back sooner.

Now for the fun part! The part where I go on and on about the wonders of public education!

I am an elementary teacher. I actually am certified in my home state in both general elementary and middle school science. I student taught third grade at an inner city public school (ranked lowest in my home state! In the worst neighborhood in the state capital! In a neighborhood where they filmed COPS! Where a woman was raped in the parking lot they pretend is a playground at the school! Where the boy scout troop leader was found to be a pedophile who preyed on little girls! And lived directly across the street from the parking lot/playground!). I fell in love. And then was placed in a private Christian middle school for the science portion of my student teaching. The inequalities sickened me. I couldn't get past it and it took me several weeks before I could start to see those kids for who they were and not see the $10,000 their parents paid to send them there.

When I moved to New York, I initially taught 7th grade life science. In the inner city. And I hated it more than I can express in words. So much so that I did not transfer my science certification over. I taught there only through December (leave replacement position) and decided I would go back to the elementary level. I subbed for quite a while and then took a maternity leave position teaching third grade (my favorite age!).

I think that's what I miss the most. I know, it sounds trite, but I really do miss the kids. They mean so much to me and are absolutely the reason for it all. In the inner city, it goes beyond just being their teacher. It's loving, mothering, protecting, and advocating. And then when they finally trust you to be there, it's the curriculum. They need so much more than just what is offered in the text books and I feel called by God to help give that to them. I spend (literally) 11 hours each day in the school when I'm working. I make visits to their homes if necessary. I plan walking field trips as often as possible to let them experience their own hometown in ways they would never have access to.

One trip was to the local newspaper about 10-12 blocks from the school. My parents were visiting me the week I took my kids there and I asked them to come along as chaperones. Maybe the conversations my parents had with those kids can show why I love these kids so much and how much they need.

My mom commented on how many of the kids were shocked to see people working as we walked by. "Hey, there's a mailman! Look at that guy -- he's working on that house! Check out those guys working on the telephone poles!" And then there were these comments.

"Miss W mom [yes, that is what they called my parents; Miss W mom and Miss W dad], did you know that used to be a crack house? They makin' it nice now so nobody gets drugs and dies there no more. I hope they get all the other ones gone too. Hey, you ever see a dead body? I saw one in that creek once."

But my favorite, little Tiffany had this conversation with my mom.

T: "Miss W mom, you know my mom lets me take a taxi by myself to school now. She said I'm old enough."

MWM: "I've never taken a taxi."

T: (laughing) "You serious? Mom says it cost too much, so sometimes I gotta take the bus. You take the bus? Cause the taxi's too expensive?"

MWM: "Um...I've never taken a bus that wasn't a school bus."

T: "Then how do you go somewhere?"

MWM: "I drive."

T: "What if your car gets broke?"

MWM: "Well, then I take the other car."

T: "You got more than one car??? Nobody got that."

MWM: "I have one that I drive, my husband has one that he drives."

T: "What if they both broken?"

MWM: "Well, they haven't both been broken at once, but if they were, I suppose we would ask someone to drive us or rent a car."

T: "Why not just call a taxi? Or take a bus?"

MWM: "There are no taxis in our town. Or buses. It's a small town. Either you drive or you can walk to something close by, but there aren't a lot of businesses in our town. Mostly just houses and churches."

T: "Walkin' can be scary though. With all the crack houses."

So...that's what I miss. Being able to expand what they know. I bring in pictures of other parts of the country. I talk about jobs with them. We talk about what it takes to get somewhere, ways that they can get through and get past where they are right now. And we talk about that regardless of how young the kids are because they need to know.

It breaks my heart that all they know are crack houses and dead bodies. Lockdowns at school that I can't give them an explanation for but really it's because of the gang members running through the neighborhood shooting at each other. Gang shootings at the park across the street from an apartment complex where many of my kids lived and finding out the next day that one of my most sensitive girls had watched it out her window and was still scared. A police standoff at a multi-family house directly across the street, officers in full riot gear with automatic weapons (and the school remained unlocked!) because bank robbers were holed up inside.

But then I get a picture of a former student with a note that says 'I love you and miss you so much, Miss W.'

And how can I walk away from that? So even though I'm in a new city now, I will teach in the inner city again. I can't do anything but that. Those kids need me...and I really need them.

   [ posted  @ 5:45 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (3) ]
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  Comments about my post, "In which I make myself a liar":
I assume you've read Educating Esme? If you haven't you should - but it also sounds like you've lived it. That book was breathtaking - and your post was very similar.

And they both make me feel like a schmuck for teaching in the privileged school in the privileged district that I do. But then I don't think I could do what either of you did.

Your kid is going to be very lucky and the kids you've taught and will teach are really lucky to have you. Maybe they don't have anything else going right in their lives, but they've got you.
Dang, you made me cry. You're such a caring woman. Teachers are special people.
Love your journal, I've been reading you for about a year or more now. I check in with you and the lowercase daily. Keep on keeping on. You're doing a great job.
Hi there. I've been reading your site for awhile now, but this is the first time I've *really* wanted to comment! Great, great post about public education. I'm in grad school right now to become a middle school language arts teacher. My husband is also a teacher and he has stories, but nothing compares to the inner city stories. He works in (and I'll probably work there too) a wealthy district. Of course, it has it's issues, but they are very different.
Every time I check your site I wait with my breath held...until I see a post that confirms you are doing okay. I have been so very fortunate in my pregnancy and motherhood and I sometimes feel guilty reading the blogs of women who struggle so much! But I decided to "delurk" to say that I'm happy you are doing so well and I know that your baby boy will come home with you healthy and happy.

   Wednesday, September 28, 2005  

You've got questions, I've got answers

From my last post, it seems that most of you are curious as to exactly how one spends nearly 8 weeeks in bed. It's something that I've asked my self quite frequently, "What the hell am I going to do all day???"

I've read a lot of books recently, most of which are total fluff that I'm ashamed to admit I've read. The sad part is, in order to list them, I'd have to find them all. I have Mr. W put them in a stack in another room so that I don't find myself forgetting what I've read, getting excited about a "new book" and then having a tantrum when I realize I've read it. Books that I know I've read and loved recently are The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (I know, it's for teen girls, but I like to have read everything that could potentially end up in my classroom) and Little Altars Everywhere. I also read the other YaYa Sisterhood book (Divine Secrets I read a year or two ago) but can't remember the title off the top of my head. I read the newest Harry Potter as well. I'm going to read East of Eden next, but have read so much fluff that I'm taking a break from books for a bit. Besides, Mr. W was getting tired of trying to pick new books for me every two days. (And no, I'm not kidding. I sent him to Barnes & Noble that frequently)

As a rule I am an avid reader. Over the years I've had love affairs with the works of Anne Rice, Grisham, L.M. Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder (I will re-read the Anne books and Little House books any day; In fact, a goal of mine is to bike across Prince Edward Island to see the inspiration for Anne of Green Gables). In college, I fell in love with Kafka and Dostoevsky. The summer after my sophomore year, I nannied on the Massachusetts coast and was the only person sitting on the beach every day reading The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment. Additionally, because I went to a Christian college, we were required to take four Bible/World religion courses. Basically, in it we contrasted different world views with each other and with Christianity to determine truth. During that time, I was the only one who didn't complain about reading several novels illustrating various world views. I loved reading Brave New World, The Stranger, Siddhartha, among others. In Lit classes, I actually loved reading The Baghavad Gita (even if I can't spell it!). In recent years, I've enjoyed the Left Behind series (about the Rapture and the prophecies of the book of Revelations), however I found the last book (Christ's final appearance to triumph over Satan and begin his reign) lacking. It seemed to me that the authors couldn't fully comprehend the prophecy in the same way they did for the rest of the books and were, therefore, unable to really give a picture of what that could be like.

I'd intended to watch a lot of movies and old series that I love and have on DVD. And this was going to be the time when I could watch all of the things that Mr. W never wants to watch. I have up to season 5 or 6 of Friends on DVD and would love to be watching my way through the series. I have several seasons of Sex & The City that I would re-watch (because somehow I'm offended by it being played on TBS and the WB). And one of my all-time favorite movies: Gone With the Wind. I got that for Christmas this past year, but Mr. W, who has never seen the movie, thinks it's horrible and will never watch it. His biggest complaint? It's just so long!

Now as to why I haven't watched them -- Mr. W doesn't remember where he put the box of DVDs when we moved them up here at the end of May when I moved up here full-time. It might be in his closet (we don't share a closet; I fill the walk-in closet in our bedroom, he's allowed the closet in the second bedroom which he will [knock on wood] share with the lowercase). It might be in the hall closet. It might be in the garage. I could watch some of the movies we had on VHS from college, but that box is under the bed and very heavy, so I'm not allowed to get it out myself.

I've spent a lot of time playing cards, coloring (yes, I am three, why do you ask?), doing crossword puzzles and the like. I tried to teach myself to knit, but had about 5 minutes worth of patience with that and when I couldn't figure out how to do that casting on thing...yeah, that was the end of that. Instead, I selected Christmas stockings for Mr. W and I and have been cross-stitching them. It's very tiny aida cloth and is extremely intense and time-consuming. I'm about 1/4 of the way through Mr. W's stocking and have yet to begin mine. (For those interested, this is the stocking I am making) Generally, we travel to my family for the holidays (in his family, only his mother and grandmother are not Jewish and as such Christmas is really not a big deal in their family. For us and for my family? HUGE) but this year will not be able to. As a result, I decided it would be nice for the two of us to have stockings at our house instead of just the ones my aunt made for us at my parents' house. The lowercase W still seemed so nebulous when I began this project that he doesn't have one. Likely we'll buy one for his first Christmas if it happens to be this year.

A lot of my time is spent curled up with my two Siamese cats. They are the most amazing cats. Wally and the Beaver are father and son (respectively) blue-point. Beaver is a little flighty and always has been, but we've grown to love that. Wally on the other hand is truly love-hungry and cuddly. Sadly, neither of these cats realize they are cats. We play fetch for hours. They come when called like dogs (finger snaps, the little kissy noise; none of that "here kitty kitty" around here!) and if we could find collars that weren't break-away cat collars to fit their necks, they'd happily walk on a leash. I may add a picture of them later when Mr. W is home as I never remember how exactly he told me to post them here.

In answer to the question about the extent of my bed rest, it has been loosened up a bit in the last week and a half. I'm allowed to be on my feet about 15 minutes at a time. I am allowed to sit at the table for meals and am even allowed to do so at a restaurant if that's all I do while out. I'm allowed to sit down at the book store if I follow the no more than 15 minutes standing time, but haven't yet done that. I am allowed to go to a movie if I don't stand in line for anything. Now, out of all that, I have yet to do more than sit on a chair at Babies'R'Us and Baby Depot while Mr. W brought me bedding to look at. I'm also required to start taking childbirth classes next Tuesday. With the addition of those every Tuesday night for 4 weeks, I'll be allowed out one other trip per week maximum. The rest of the time, the bed rest is pretty complete.

Tomorrow (or later tonight if I'm bored), I'll post an answer to Chris' question about secondary infertility, children at the RE's office and how my feelings have evolved throughout the course of the last two years.

   [ posted  @ 6:09 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (2) ]
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  Comments about my post, "You've got questions, I've got answers":
Yeah, nobody I know learned to cast on before they learned to knit. It seems you need to have someone cast on for you, then learn to knit on that piece. Then once you get hooked on knitting, you decide to buckle down and learn to cast on so you can actually start projects by yourself! LOL. Tough sequence when you're stuck at home by yourself, though.

(By the way, if you're into word and logic puzzles, I've killed many many hours with a Games magazine.)
It sounds like you've got a good thing going with the cross stitch, but I thought I'd let you and Kate know that my partner and I both taught ourselves to cast on and knit from the Klutz kit. It's meant for kids, but it has the best pictures and illustrations I've seen in any knitting book (and I'm a librarian so I've seen a lot!).

Definitely get Mr. W to find those DVDs and videos!!! Friends (we've now made our way from Seasons 1 to 9 over a couple of years and are ANXIOUSLY awaiting the release of 10 in November) has gotten us through all kinds of life & ttc stress.

I missed the questions part, so I'll throw in a couple. Do you plan to be a SAHM? What do you miss most about teaching? What was your favorite thing (subject, unit, whatever) to teach? Is Mr. W doing the cooking or are you mostly eating takeout/frozen?

Pick any or none to answer!

   Tuesday, September 27, 2005  

I'm tired of writing about my pregnancy angst. It seems that it is all that I have to think about or talk about. There is nothing else going on in my day to day life.

So, I turn to you. Is there something you want to know? Anything you want me to talk about specifically? Lets have a conversation, shall we?

   [ posted  @ 4:01 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (6) ]
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  Comments about my post, "":
Did you defend the thesis already, did I miss it? If so how did it go? Read any good books lately?
Since you are trapped in bed have you seen any good movies you'd like to recommend? Do you even have a TV set up in your room?
Please refresh my mind--do you and Mr. W have any "furry children?"

If so, how are they doing? And if not, well, heck, like cat asks--read any good books lately?
Not fair, lala stole my question about the books.
Are you crafty? Have you been knitting/cross stitching/scrap booking/journaling?
And, if you're a knitter, do you now have a scarf that's, oh, say 107 feet long now? :)

Forgive me if you've talked about this, but what's your bed rest like now? Are you still in bed 100% of the time except for bathroom breaks? Or can you sit up at the table for meals and stuff now?
One thing I've noticed, as a mom with secondary infertility, is how the blogosphere has changed since we've had so many pregnancies: Many bloggers who once saw secondary infertility as "less" of a burden (and I completely get that) and who were angry when moms brought their kids to the RE's seem more sensitive to the issue now that they've had kids.

As someone who will be a new mom soon, how have your views changed on the subject, if at all.

   Monday, September 26, 2005  

The Appointment

The lowercase is looking good. He's on target for size and he has plenty of room to move still. The brown (even with the two tiny red spots) is nothing to be concerned with. They went ahead and did a cervical length measurement today and it was 2.89 cm.

I mentioned that I had had more cramping over the weekend than usual and that he's been slightly less active than in the prior days. They told me the cramping was normal because of the rapid changes in his weight (he's getting some serious fat on those bones now!). Everything looked good.

I'm back home and in bed; my grandparents are making the drive back home (Grandma has the full results from the cardiologist tomorrow); Mr. W is about to head to work for the day. Life is back to normal.

   [ posted  @ 1:31 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (5) ]
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  Comments about my post, "The Appointment":
Three cheers for NORMAL!!! Whoo Hoo!
Congratulations. My sister-in-law and I check on you daily to monitor your progress. Keep the posts coming!
Hurrah and yah even. That's great. Now rest. :)
Good, good, good!
Wonderful news--thrilled to hear that the lower case w is growing like a weed and that your cervix continues to cooperate!



The brown spotting from Saturday night continues. Mr. W got home around 4 pm on Sunday. We were all glad as my grandparents are leaving today to drive back to the midwest, so it gave him a chance for a nice visit with them.

I had some sharper crampy pains on my right side (where the baby mostly is) last evening, but there were no other changes. Those pains were inconsistent, lasted only very briefly (more like the pain if you are poked -- initially very intense but goes away almost immediately), and never changed in intensity, duration, or frequency; in short, nothing regular about them. I am assuming that the boy is just growing and as such the uterus was stretching again.

My next appointment with the peri is scheduled for Friday, however Mr. W found out he will be in training classes at that time, so I am calling at 8:30 when the office opens to try to get it bumped up to either today or Wednesday. (Oddly, with all the peris in the office, they only have office hours Monday and Friday for regular patients and Wednesdays for "new patients" with the rest of the time used for emergency situations in the office and/or the doctors are ALL working out of the hospital with their patients there and consulting on patients who had not yet been classified as high-risk)

The brown spotting is mostly just cervical mucus, but there is the occasional tiny brown gooey looking clotty blob. The fun in my pants....it just keeps coming! I promise to post more if anything happens!

   [ posted  @ 8:22 AM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (3) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Update":
Remember, brown blood is old blood so it could very well be remnants from that bleed over a week ago.

Regardless, I'm hoping the peri can get you in sooner. In the meantime, hang in there. You're doing really great :-)
Rooting for you and little w. hope your appointment gets bumped up and everything continues to be ok.
I am so interested in someone elses cervical mucus, that is SO sick!

   Saturday, September 24, 2005  

Putting on my brave face

I am a panicker (we've established that already haven't we?).

Mr. W is about 4.5 hours away from me.

My grandparents are staying with me in case there is a problem.

I feel fine. I have no pain. I have no reason for anything.

I also had an instance of dark brown spotting right after dinner tonight. The only time that I have had anything in some time.

I am trying to convince myself that this is the result of the bleed that I had a week ago Thursday. I never had any spotting of any kind after the red blood that night. Nothing. For over a week. So...maybe that is all this is? Still, it scares me.

   [ posted  @ 8:01 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (1) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Putting on my brave face":
Ugh - no fun! I am sorry this is happening. I hope that no posts in the last 24 hours is a good sign... let us know what's up.

   Wednesday, September 21, 2005  

Titles? We don't need no stinking titles!

While I am still not in a "good" place, I am reaching some new heights in this journey to motherhood.

This weekend, Mr. W and I picked out bedding for the crib. We didn't purchase it, but we decided what we want. We did, however, purchase bedding for the cradle and oh, the beauty! At some point I'll take pictures and post them.

We also began a registry...or rather two registries (Babies'R'Us and Baby Depot). We don't have everything on it yet but we are getting there. It was hard for me to do even that much.

Yesterday I had a startling revelation: My son will be born.

Now I know that that isn't such a shocking thing for most people, but for me, it really is. I can honestly say he will be born. I don't know what the outcome will be, but no matter what, I will deliver him one way or another. I just pray it's later rather than sooner. I reach 24 weeks tomorrow, so...we wait.

I'm really trying to just relax and be alright with things. It's hard, but I'm doing it. I'm not doing it well, but I am doing it to the best of my ability. Maybe I'll feel better about it in two weeks.


Now comes the hard part. I'm trying to prepare myself for the very real likelihood of a premature baby. I know it's almost a given and I am terrified of it. I need to find a pediatrician. I don't know how. What, exactly, are you supposed to ask when you interview potential pediatricians??? And how do you do it when you're still afraid there won't be an actual patient for that doctor?

What do I need to do in advance? When do I need to do things? If you had a premature baby, is there anything you wish you had been prepared for sooner? Is there anything that I should do?

I'm contemplating buying...I don't know what it's called....similar to the lovies that Tertia's children have. I found one in a catalog that reccomends that the mother sleep with it against her skin for a few days before giving it to the baby so that it retains the scent of the mother. Is that something that would be allowed in the isolette in the NICU? Is it a good idea? Or no? I have *no* clue, but I definitely want my son to know me and feel comforted during a really scary time. I just don't know.

Any advice any of you may have would be great. We're hoping to get into November before we have to worry about this, but frankly, we just don't know.

   [ posted  @ 10:41 AM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (3) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Titles? We don't need no stinking titles!":
The NICU my daughter was in had volunteers that made little quilted hearts for mommies to wear in their bras to get the smell on them and to leave in the isolette with the baby. We were even allowed to decorate the isolette with pictures and a few stuffed animals.

I let the neonatologists and nurses who tended to my daughter in the NICU recommend potential pediatricians.
I have no ideas about preemies but I am thinking of a quick drive down to the S on the weekend. Email me if you're up for a visit.
Ask your OB if he knows of good pediatricians, esp. those that are used to caring for preemies?

Things to ask a pediatrician: Do they have walk-in sick-baby hours? Do they have Saturday hours? Do they have privileges at a nearby hospital? Who's on call at night? What's their policy on antibiotics/vaccines/flu shots/whatever? How many doctors in the practice?

I rejected a pediatric practice because the pediatrician we interviewed with had to ask someone else for a watch. A watch! That's standard medical equipment. We're very pleased with the practice we chose.

   Monday, September 19, 2005  

In agony today

Since the middle of last night I have had occasional sharp stabbing pains in my left side. Now I don't think this is anything related to the lowercase w. My reasons are quite simple.

- The pains are on my left side; my uterus is a right unicornuate uterus.
- The pains are far to the left.
- The pains are beneath a scar on the left side/front of my abdomen. I have read that if there are adhesions, you will have pain as they stretch.
- My little w is still moving around quite a bit and is kicking on the other side of my body.

I will likely call the doctor's office in a bit to see what I can take for it. It's just far too annoying. I felt the pain in my dreams last night -- literally, I dreamed I was standing in line outside my fourth grade classroom, but we were adults and not 10 year olds, I was pregnant and I told my friend I hurt. She started crying hysterically and then I had to try to hold her up because she was worried about my son. Interestingly, this is not a girl I have spoken to since high school (we had a falling out during senior year) and is not someone that I would talk to for more than a minute at the most if I were to bump into her in public somewhere. (Of course, none of that dream made sense -- Ellen Degeneres was the teacher and it was school picture day so she and I decided it would be really cool if we all held one of my two cats as a prop. We were also all sad to discover that the photographer was planning to crop the cat out of the photos.)

Hoping that the doctor's office tells me something I can take and isn't concerned about the pains. They aren't constant...sometimes 10 minutes between pains, sometimes more, sometimes less. And they last a total of about 30 seconds of pain. (Though sometimes it's multiple stabbing pains in a row)

   [ posted  @ 11:05 AM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (1) ]
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  Comments about my post, "In agony today":
I'm glad you're checking with the doctor. It's probably growing pains, but it never hurts to check!!

   Friday, September 16, 2005  

Happiness and Joy, but also some trepidation

My appointment this morning looked good. The little lowercase appears healthy, active and strong. He wouldn't stay still in positions that would allow them to get good measurements. For instance, when measuring his thigh bone, you could not see the full bone -- what measurements she got were showing only about 21 weeks. When he was measured at 21 weeks, he measured larger than that, so I know it was positional. She couldn't get an accurate head measurement because he was at such an awkward angle that she would have had to remove part of my hip bone to get a straight shot (he was sort of sideways, but diagonal).

The cervical measurements ranged from 2.3 cm to over 2.5 cm. Of course, these aren't as accurate as normal because my boy was literally bouncing his butt off the top of the cervix the entire three minutes of the vaginal ultrasound. Even with that kind of bouncing, the cervix didn't appear to be opening up, the amniotic sac was staying firmly in the uterus and not sliding down into the cervix.

I was on edge going in this morning, had little sleep the night before, and was just generally highly anxious. (I was convinced they were going to require me to have a cerclage today) My blood pressure was the highest I think it has ever been in my life: 128/90. High enough that the woman who takes weight and blood pressure commented that she's never seen me with blood pressure that wasn't 'low' let alone something that high.

When I went in for my appointment with the perinatologist, she told me that she felt the baby looked good and that in the 6 weeks in bed, she had seen no real change. She told me that as a former patient at the fertility clinic out of the university hospital that the perinatologist is out of, she understands what I'm going through (LOVE HER -- interestingly? Her husband is an RE at that fertility clinic -- what a couple! An RE and a peri. I want them to be my new best friends!) As a result, she said I can come in whenever I want to, but she doesn't think it's necessary to be every week anymore. She also said that I can do a bit more, like go out to dinner or to a movie. I can even make a short trip to one of the baby stores to pick out bedding for this boy.

As for the cerclage? I won't be getting one. I don't need one this week, and this is the last week they would be willing to do it. Because babies can live if born at 24 weeks (she did say that only about a quarter of them survive long term and only a quarter of those are normal), it is the opinion of most of the obstetrical community that the risks of a cerclage there are more damaging to the baby. She said that the potential for infection and bringing on pre-term labor could be dangerous in that it could cause my son to be born at less than his best chance at a time when he needs to be as healthy as possible for survival. If I were to get one, it had to be today. And I'm not. She went on to tell me that by 28 weeks 90-95% of babies born in their hospital from their practice survive and that 70% of those are completely normal. Further, they have the same results at 34 weeks as they do at full term.

She just really feels like things are heading in that way for me and that with the care that I am getting and the fact that I am not afraid to call them for anything, that my son and I are going to be OK. So, we scheduled an appointment for Sept. 30 when I am 25 weeks. I will have an ultrasound and doctor's appointment.

I'm happy that things look so good, but I am fearful. It's that feeling of having had so much attention and then suddenly, it feels like there is none. And I realize that two weeks is not a long time between appointments, but I have become accustomed to the weekly visits. My peri likened it to infertility treatments -- you go in daily for monitoring, ultrasounds and blood work all the time, and then if the treatment works and you don't have any reason to be considered a high-risk pregnancy, you have to be ready to be seen a month later. For me, I had a year of pregnancies, miscarriages, testing, monitoring, appointments, then came the clomid, the first trimester intense monitoring because of my previous losses, the bed rest, the weekly visits...and now...nothing for two weeks. I feel as though I have been pregnant since this whole roller coaster started when we began trying (or not trying to prevent) to get pregnant in September 2003. This has been one constant struggle with almost non-stop visits to or calls from the office of one doctor or another. I have had very little break time and when I did, I was crying and waiting the time out before I got to get back in the game such that it wasn't a 'break' from any of that.

The fear of being treated more like I'm normal when for so long I have been abnormal is great. Yet it also feels good to know that the perinatologists all feel that we are doing the right thing. They meet mid-week every week to discuss all of their patients; they go through the files and determine together the best course of action. They all decided together (about 10 of them) that if I were at the same place this week, I didn't need the constant monitoring. In part because what we're doing is working and there's no need to think it isn't, but also because even if it's not we're no longer at a point where it is beneficial to do anything.

I'm rambling. I can't quite make my words convey how I feel. I'm choosing to focus on the joyful portion of all of this. I am healthy. My son is healthy. And we're getting so close. So close to a time when he can and will be alright.

   [ posted  @ 4:20 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (2) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Happiness and Joy, but also some trepidation":
I am so happy for you to have reached this point and am thinking healthy, sticky thoughts for another 15 weeks.
Here's to being 'close'--it's coming.

And here's to a son who's growing wonderfully and a mama who's being treated like a 'normal' pregnant patient. Wonderful things, all of them.


No title for this early morning tale of freak-outitude

I thought I was going to meet my son last night. I was so scared. But I didn't cry. I just repeated a simple prayer, over and over again:

God, please let my son be alright. Please, please, don't let my body fail him now. Please. Just let whatever this is stop and let him get bigger and healthier and stronger. Please, save my son from my body. Please.

At around 12:30 am, I went into the bathroom for one last pee. Everything felt fine and seemed fine. Until I looked at the TP and it was soaked with bright red blood. The words "Oh my God" came out of my mouth (and not that loud) but immediately woke Mr. W who was half dressed in the 5 steps from his side of the bed to the bathroom door where he looked at the TP in my hand and hit the speed dial button for my doctor on the cordless phone in his hand. We told the service what was going on and said we were going in.

The verdict is that I was not in labor in any way, my cervix appeared closed (though it was not manually examined, by touch, for fear of causing more bleeding). Things looked good. All tests showed no evidence of an impending introduction to the little w. The bleeding was gone after that one instance. The irish L&D nurse kept me calm and I really hope that she's working when I go for real. The bleed is assumed to be the result of the way that I had to move around to have Mr. W shave my legs (I can't reach them well and can't really see them to know if I've managed to actually do the job, but after about 3 or 4 weeks of no shaving? I felt gross and wanted that hair GONE.)

And now I have to throw on clothing as my weekly appointment is at 9:30 and we have to leave. NOW.

   [ posted  @ 8:44 AM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (3) ]
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  Comments about my post, "No title for this early morning tale of freak-outitude":
What can really be said but my thoughts are with you always and may little w be fine and stay in there just a bit longer.

Hope the appointment goes alright today. Sending you and little w. support.
Geez, you scared me too there.
Glad to hear that everything looks OK. Thinking of you. Stay in there little one. Please. Hope everything still looks good at your appt.
Very scary! I am so glad it was not what it appeared.

Stay in there, little w!

   Thursday, September 15, 2005  

A quick post before I head to bed

I just wanted to thank those of you who commented or emailed me in regards to my last post.

After speaking to my grandparents last night, I called them a second time. They assured me that they would call Grandma's doctors right away and the second she began to feel any of the tightness, pressure or pain again that they would immediately go to the emergency room. I feel a bit better about this, though I am still worried.

You all have no idea how much I appreciate your concern and your support. For me, for my baby, my grandparents, the rest of my family. It doesn't seem enough, yet it is all I can say: Thank you.

   [ posted  @ 11:04 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (0) ]
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   Wednesday, September 14, 2005  

Ugh...just UGH!!!!

I am stressed beyond all possible words today. I tried not to think about it; kept saying to myself there was no problem. But there very well might be.

Next weekend, Mr. W has to drive to his parents house (about 4 1/2 hours south of here). He does networking for a real estate agency down there and they have opened a new office. Next weekend is move-in for them and he has to be there to set the network up. He's already had a good friend and colleague of his do the preliminary work (running of the network cabling according to Mr. W's diagram, etc.) but this part he simply has to be there for. He has let them know that this is the last time before the baby comes that he will be downstate. His family's accounting firm (for whom he is also the network designer and general computer guy) has already taken to phone or remote connection for all of their work.

Here is where the fun comes in. My grandparents (both 72) plan to drive the 8-10 hours from the midwest to stay with me that weekend as I will be 24 weeks and Mr. W is not comfortable with leaving me alone (I haven't driven since June, so it might be unwise for me to do so if I'm upset or scared for my son) for the three days, Fri-Sun, that he will be gone.

My grandmother had said two weeks ago that she was feeling tired a lot and had no energy. Her blood pressure had dropped quite low, though she was still taking her high blood pressure medication until after seeing the doctor and hearing from him to stop. Additionally, she is Type II Diabetic and her glucose levels were testing consistently low. Yet she wouldn't call and tell the doctor this because, "I have an appointment on Monday Sept. 12."

After that appointment we found out that she had also been having a tightness or pressure in the middle of her chest. Her regular doctor, of course, had his office schedule her with a cardiologist for testing. He wanted to give her a prescription for nitro, but said he'd first get the cardiologist's opinion in case he wanted to go a different way. Over an hour later the two offices were able to connect and in the end the nitro issue was forgotten. My grandparents decided that the cardiologist just must not want her to have it and left without asking about it specifically.

Today my mom had a car issue and called me crying on her way home from her mammogram. Of course I immediately am thinking my mom has cancer; really she was just upset because her car started breaking in the middle of an intersection and the steering went out causing her to panic as she tried to get the car off the road and the tears started when she couldn't reach my step father or the mechanic. My grandparents then came to pick my mom up to get her home. Grandma was having chest pains and argued with my mom that she didn't know what she was talking about when Mom tried to get them to go the local emergency room instead of just going home.

Of course, I spoke to Mom, she told me all of this and I fell apart. When Mr. W got home from work, I told him the whole story. He was upset because his grandfather had repeatedly said it was nothing until for him it was too late.

While dinner was cooking, we called my grandparents. I begged them to take Grandma to the doctor; Grandpa made her pick up an extension and when it became clear (about a minute and a half into the call) that they were giving me the runaround about how nothing was wrong, Mr. W picked up another phone and very emphatically let them know what he thought (ok, so he yelled a little!) while I fell apart crying hysterically.

I think that might have gotten to them. My Grandpa promised me that before next week they would call and get in early. I only hope they really do. I can't lose Grandma. And I can't let her go through a major medical ordeal and not go home.

I think I have a different relationship with my grandparents than most people do. My grandparents were very young when I was born (only 44 years old). They were always there for me. When I was in Kindergarten they moved to the Southwest. In Kindergarten and first grade, Mom took me, my brother and cousins to visit them for Spring break (my first time on a plane). Starting in second grade, I flew out the day after school let out for the summer and stayed until the week before school started back every year until the summer between junior and senior year of high school. The summer after my senior year, they moved back to our home town. I went to college in my home town, but lived in the dorm. When school wasn't in session, I had a bedroom in their house and stayed with them rather than with my parents. When grandpa broke his hip the summer after freshman year of college (falling off a ladder while painting his two story house), I slept on the couch downstairs to help him if he needed anything in the night until he was able to climb the stairs again. For me, my grandparents were not the typical grandparent. They were fully a second set of parents. They are as much a part of me as my own mother is. And I need for them to know my son and for my son to know them.

I called and asked a friend to stay with me next week so that Grandma can take care of her health. My friend isn't positive she can come, but she will try. She lives about 5 hours away in the city downstate we just moved from and I offered to buy her train ticket up here.

To say the least, it's been an extremely trying day and I am tired. Emotionally drained, and generally just wanting to go to sleep and wake up some time in February. All that and tomorrow night Mr. W's dad is coming for dinner. It's just far too much.

   [ posted  @ 8:23 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (4) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Ugh...just UGH!!!!":
I am so sorry. You were going through enough crap without this added stress. I hope your grandmother ends up okay. And I also hope she starts taking her health seriously.
Hoping that all will be ok with your gran. ((hugs))
We have been struggling with my grandfather to start taking those chest pains and trouble breathing seriously. I hope your grandmother is OK and that her doctors can get her what she needs.

I am so sorry you are dealing with all of this. I wish you love and a big ole plate of SteaknShake cheesy fries. ;0)
I had a similar relationship with my grandparents and I miss them dearly. I'm closer than your downstate friend. Call on me if you get stuck please.

   Monday, September 12, 2005  

Why do I bother to read the news?

This is devastating. Just another thing to reinforce all my fears for my little w.

I can't imagine what this family must be going through, what they must be feeling. There are just no words. None.

   [ posted  @ 8:43 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (0) ]
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Another L&D story (aren't these fun?)

Friday mid-morning I had my weekly appointment. I saw a different sonographer than usual, so her technique was a bit different. For instance, when doing the vaginal exam she rolled a condom onto the probe, coated it in lubricant then rolled on another...without lubricant. Now, having been on pelvic rest for the duration of this pregnancy and based on the fact that Mr. W and I lived apart during the two week wait....lubricant is a necessity!

Friday night Mr. W and I were watching a movie while eating pizza. My back, I realized was extremely tight, feeling under quite serious pressure down in the hip/pelvic region. I tried everything to get the tight/pressure feeling to ease. I laid in different positions, I sat, I walked around the living room, I applied a warm heating pad, Mr. W tried to massage it away. Nothing worked. I went to the bathroom and there was a bit of pink in the cervical mucus, so I called my peris' after-hours number. The peri on call asked me to go to L&D immediately, which we did.

I was monitored for just over two hours for contractions -- there were none. The doctor did a speculum exam and all the swabs came back clear and the cervix looked fine, so they didn't do the digital exam to feel it.

All told, the decision came down to the pressure/tightness caused by 5 full weeks in bed. I was told to take a tylenol and get some sleep. By that point, after being in the uncomfortable triage bed, the back issues had shifted to a different part of my back. We got home around 2 am, I took my tylenol and slept such a deep wonderful sleep.

Things were clear all weekend and most of today. As of about 20 minutes ago there was quite a lot of brown mucus, but, you know, some pink on Friday, the vaginal ultrasound followed that night by the speculum exam? Not completely unexpected. Still, I don't like it and I fear going to the bathroom to see more of it.

My boy is very active right now and is kicking me in my (rather full) bladder. Just a few more weeks until he's strong enough for me to lighten up on my fears. Really hoping that I can lighten up. I desperately love and want this boy...I just want him to be healthy and safe, no matter what it takes.

Trying really hard to just stay calm and know it's all still ok. But if it's ok...why am I so scared?

   [ posted  @ 6:07 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (2) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Another L&D story (aren't these fun?)":
Really glad that things continue to be ok. I know it's so scary and you have been through so much. Wish it was easier and that time would pass faster for you. *more hugs*

   Friday, September 09, 2005  

Second verse, same as the first

Or, more technically: 6th verse, same as the first.

Uterus measuring exactly right for dates, though it nearly reaches my ribs -- do you realize now how short my torso is??? I've mentioned being between 5' and 5'1" tall...with legs the length of someone about 5'5-5'7" tall. I am going to have a huge belly before it's all said and done!

Weight gain is still good as is the blood pressure (though the 130/70 was a bit high for where I am normally) with no cause for alarm.

The ultrasound showed my little w growing beautifully. We'll get weight/size estimates at next week's scan. The cervix is exactly where it has been with no changes whatsoever. We now enter week 6 in my bed.

On a (maybe) more fun but completely scary note, the nurse gave me the information today about childbirth classes and gave me the name of a good pediatrics practice. They told me to register for the childbirth classes and possibly breastfeeding and newborn care classes for October. Since all of those are sitting down classes, they think it's better that I go to them so that Mr. W and I can be prepared. But oh my! October! They really think I'll still be pregnant...and that I'll need to know about giving birth...because they think I will.

So...I'm going to call today and register and I'm going to try to take a nap and just not think about it after that. (But I will tell them when I register that I'm high risk and have been on bed rest and oh my god what if I don't make it??? And they will put a note in their file "potential mother is in-fucking-sane!!!!)

   [ posted  @ 2:22 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (2) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Second verse, same as the first":
You are always in my thoughts. I am wishing good wishes for you. And thinking happy October/November thoughts at you.
Hoping that you make it to every class. Yah on the good news about little w.

   Thursday, September 08, 2005  

Emotional basketcase

It's been a really rough day for me today. I can't convince myself that things are ok, yet I have no cause to suspect that they aren't. I'm just such a mess. Here I am, knowing that I'm 22 weeks and things have been (relatively) good.

Maybe it's the fact that when I had all my workups and tests done last summer, fall and this past winter several doctors gave me the same story. The peri, my reg. OB, and the RE all told me that with my unicornuate uterus, I could expect more losses. The peri actually told me that I had a high likelihood of second trimester fetal death -- specifically, she said between weeks 21 and 25.

The RE told me that he felt certain I could probably carry to 30 weeks. And yet I can't shake the feeling that something bad really could happen.

   [ posted  @ 9:28 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (2) ]
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My dear! That IS a heavy load to be worrying about. I don't think there's anyone of us out here who wouldn't be feeling the way you do in this circumstance. I'm thinking of you.
Agreed... this is so hard and emotional to begin with and having all that info we become so full of echoing in your head while you are confined can't help. Would your OB get you in for another ultrasound? It might help abate the fear a little.

Rooting for you and little w all the way.

   Tuesday, September 06, 2005  

An update from the bed

Today has been a rather rough day for me emotionally. After having my parents with me all weekend and Mr. W's three day weekend, it was hard to return to being alone again. I spent most of the day in bed because I just didn't have the gumption to move to the couch.

And then this afternoon the pain started. It seems that from laying in odd positions (shoulders flat on my pillow as if laying on my back but hips and legs on my side) while reading and using my laptop, I have some muscle pain in various areas of my stomach. This makes it especially fun when getting up to go to the bathroom -- something I've had to do non-stop today. I'm trying to be logical about this realizing that the pain feels entirely surface-y and not as though it's within me. My little w has been kicking consistently today and his heartbeat is still nice and strong (yes, I did freak out after Mr. W came home and we pulled out the doppler for a listen...and it took ten minutes to find his heartbeat as he kept moving).

I keep trying to remind myself that we are just a bit over 2 weeks away from him having a 50% survival rate and I really feel like I can make it there. And it's only 4 weeks to a >80% survival rate. I just keep hoping and praying. But I really hate the way I feel today. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

   [ posted  @ 9:57 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (2) ]
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  Comments about my post, "An update from the bed":
Its bizarre the small milestones we cling too. I am now over your 80% milestone and its truly wonderful to have that really stressful time behind me.

I am sure the aches are just growing pains. You very well behaved with the bedrest.
Continuing to hope for you that your days get easier and the time passes quickly.

   Friday, September 02, 2005  

21 weeks, 1 day

So far today has been such a great day. How great you ask? Well, let me just tell you.

My ultrasound went well today. My boy is so cute, sucking his thumb and generally wiggling all over the place. Measurements were taken and used to estimate his weight: a whopping 12 ounces. Now, according to the one pregnancy book I have, by the end of week 21 "your baby weighs almost 10 ounces." Obviously, we're a bit ahead of the curve that way and I couldn't be happier as the larger he is the better his chances if he comes early.

My cervical ultrasound was also good. The width of the opening at the uterus end has changed not one iota. The length however is different. It went from 2.4 to 2.5 cm last week to this week a range of over 3 cm down to 2.7 or 8 cm. So, I am still on bed rest, but there have been no significant changes. It is possible that the original readings were flawed. There is some evidence to suggest that measurements taken too early can show a cervix to be longer than it actually is. If that is the case, then this is just what my cervix is. Either way, I'm still in bed.

Other happy news: My boy has been giving me some very distinct kicks over the past week. I felt a kick with my hand a few days ago. I've been trying to get Mr. W to feel one ever since, but the boy would not cooperate and stopped kicking every time his daddy came near. Finally, last night around 11 or 11:30, Mr. W felt his son kick. I just can't believe how great things have been and pray that it continues to stay this way.

My parents, whom I have not seen since May 20 at the graduation ceremony for my Master's program, are leaving their home in the midwest some time in the next couple of hours to come spend the weekend with me. Hopefully they will get to feel their grandson's movements.

There may be pictures posted later today. Mr. W didn't have time to do it before going to work and with company arriving this evening, it might be later than that.

   [ posted  @ 11:28 AM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (2) ]
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  Comments about my post, "21 weeks, 1 day":
That's all great news go little w! Yah. Nice to see all the good news, may it continue indefinitely. Hope the weekend is good and you have fun with your folks.
I am sooooo glad that your fourth try is going as well as mine did. YAY!!!

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