Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Quick update for now-

Saturday I found myself in the L&D ward at the hospital. Everything is "fine" right now, before I get started with the story.

It turns out that I have had a partial placental abruption that is now stabilized, and I am on hospital bedrest for the duration of the pregnancy, which will be one more week maximum. Baby's heartrate and movements are good, so all the experts agree that the best thing is to keep him in a little bit longer. The ultrasounds show him at a good weight, and I had a full course of steroids to help with his lung development, so the outlook is good. I have read and heard so many stories of women who lost thier precious babies this way, so I feel extremely blessed to be sitting here listening to the swooshing heartbeat on the monitor and feeling his familiar acrobatics in my belly.

Thanks for all the encouragement sent my way!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Passing the Torch

Sorry - I'll add the photos in later....

This year marked the 10th Thanksgiving that I have spent visiting my husband’s extended family for the holiday dinner. They live all around town, and for holidays, they traditionally gather at one aunt’s house. I remember Thanksgivings with 50 people crowded into the impromptu dining room/hall, with the heads of the families seated at the formal dining table and the rest of us happily squeezed into tables and chairs borrowed from the funeral home where one of the uncles worked. I remember when there was only one “great grandchild” and several great grandparents, and I remember the last year that my husband’s grandad, the true family patriarch, was there. That year all the grandkids (our generation) got to sit at the formal table with him.
For me, this year marked the passage of time more than any of the past years have. This year there were 8 great grandkids plus 3 more from one of the many adopted family branches that have merged in. It was the first year that the last of the great grandparents was not in good enough health to come. It was the second year since the first of our parents’ generation has passed away, but the first that his wife decided not to come alone. The past 12 months were much harder on my generation than any that I can remember, and it showed in the gathering. It was quieter, calmer, and smaller than any holiday I remember celebrating there.
When we were younger, we, the grandkids, would collect around the pool table upstairs after dinner while the older women sat in the hall or around the kitchen and the older men sat in the living room around football or car racing or whatever was on. This year, a few of the guys still found the spirit for pool…
but mostly our generation found ourselves amongst our parents, sharing in the chatter and pie. As though they heard the unspoken call that they were now the grandkids and we were the parents, some of our kids collected around the new game table that “Uncle Sean” put up for them earlier in the afternoon.
Remarkably, all of this did not make me feel old or depressed - it just made me feel right somehow. I am an adult. I have a house, a car, a job, a beautiful family, peace with God. I’ve got my own set of problems and my own ways to handle them. It felt good to know that we are all marching along with time and not being left behind or getting stuck in the past. It was a comfort to witness the unavoidable changes that come in life cast against the backdrop of familiarity- to know that we are charting our own course through life, but there are harbors to return to where we can mark our progress, find security, and know that the tethers of history and family still anchor us together.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby Updates - 6 Weeks to Go

I went to the doc today and got all checked out. My feet are officially too puffy for any normal work-type shoes, but thank goodness for crocs. Especially these, which I am in love with. They are like puffy clouds for my feet to travel around in. Natalie even has a pair to match. My doctor thought it was downright hilarious that I was wearing the same shoes as him, although his were the regular not fuzzy kind. So…I am as easily distractible in print as I am in real life. What the heck was I trying to say here? Diastolic blood pressure was higher than it has been but still in the range of normal, and everything else was on track. They hooked me up to the maternal-fetal monitor for a mini-NST in the office, and baby was cooperative, kicking all over the place so they could get a good reading. Again, everything looks good. We are still on track for a Dec 31 delivery. My doctor scheduled his vacation for the 21-26, so he will be back in time for my day.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Belly Talk

ALL from yesterday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

“Wow, look at your ankles”

“Haven’t you had that baby yet?”

“You are never going to make it until December.”

“Boy, you really are sticking out there.”

“Haven’t you figured out how that happens?”

And my personal favorite: “At least we don’t look like her” [after passing two ladies talking about how they were going to eat too much when they try to quit smoking for the Great American Smoke-out today]

And to be fair, as I was walking to my car in the garage, my new best friend whose name I don’t know told me: “You look so cute, you really handle your pregnancies well.”

Everyone, take note – that is what you are supposed to say to a big giant pregnant lady that you don’t know when you bump into her in the garage. Either that or just run away before she steals your purse looking for food.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is this like the Pink Elephants on Parade?

This is too much for me. I need to share. I am still trying to process the humor.


The Natural Way

I just finished reading a highly-recommended (although somewhat out-dated) book called Birth After Cesarean that I expected to convey the medical facts about repeat cesarean vs. VBAC risks and benefits. Although the summary of the book was up-front in revealing that the author had reached a strong pro-VBAC conclusion, I was surprised to find just how heavily-laced with bias the book really was. Basically, it compared the risks of infection and surgical complications to the risk of uterine rupture and came to the conclusion that the risk of uterine rupture in VBAC is statistically comparable to the risks associated with cesarean... so it’s not reasonable to consider the risks significant because VBAC is just fundamentally "better."

My thoughts on this book are probably affected by my own emotional bias against VBAC in general after feeling like the unrepresented minority that is run over by this whole debate. I can’t even begin to list the times I have been criticized not only for my decision to have a repeat c-section, but for having the first one – mostly by people who had no idea what they were talking about. Since the extremely high c-section rate is decried in headline after headline, most people understand that VBAC is safe for most mothers and I guess they think they are helping me out by telling me about it.

I didn’t have a choice about my fist cesarean. It didn’t happen because my labor stalled, because my doctors were too impatient to let nature take its course. Yes, I was induced. Yes, I labored on pitocin for the better part of a whole day. Yes, the decision to operate was based on the fact that I was no closer to having a baby at the end of this process than at the beginning. Unlike the scenarios that are always detailed in these pro-VBAC articles and books, I didn’t have a choice – or at least not what I considered a rational choice. I had to have the baby then and there or risk my blood pressure going even farther into the zone of life-threatening to me and my child. There was simply no more time to give. The induction was my doctor’s best effort at giving me a chance to avoid a c-section, not his desire for a more convenient schedule. It didn’t work, so the c-section was the next-best choice we had.

There are plenty of women out there just like me. For us, the benefits of “the birthing experience” and the chance to be “an active participant” in labor are not realistic concerns compared to the reality of knowing that our own bodies just didn’t hold up to the demands of pregnancy and labor for reasons beyond our control. I agree that any surgery should be avoided if possible, and I’m happy for the moms who can weigh these factors and make the decision to go for it. I’m just not one of them.

The bottom line – I am choosing an “elective repeat cesarean” for Baby #2 at the recommendation of a doctor that I trust very much, not at the whim of a broken medical system. I am choosing this because:

1 – 1% risk is too much for me. Other sources say the risk of rupture is 4/1000. Either way, I am the person who will spend an hour making sure the carseat is properly installed before driving 3 blocks in the neighborhood. I am not the person who looks at a 1/250 risk and believes it won’t happen to me. Also, I remember childbirth and I remember how rarely anyone came to check on me, even though I was high-risk. I have no illusions that my VBAC would be “closely monitored” for signs of uterine rupture or any other complication.

2 – I believe, based on what I have studied and what I know about this pregnancy, that a scheduled c-section gives me the best chance of avoiding a repeat of the somewhat traumatic birth and recovery that I experienced last time. I have been fearful my entire pregnancy because of the complications of baby #1. With #1, my blood pressure was so high after delivery that I had to be put on magnesium sulfate, and as a result, I don’t remember the first 24 hours or so after the delivery. There aren’t any statistics that can change how I feel about having no memory of the first time I held my child.

I know that cesarean is not 100% safe. I’m not going into this without an element of fear at undergoing major surgery. I know the recovery is more difficult. I am informed. Sometimes I think I am overly informed, but I can’t shake the feeling that the whole story – the part of it that I fit into - is still not being told.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Oh just play with your food then

...at least it's not trying to kill you. Or maybe it is, but that's for another day.

I’m crazy busy and it’s going to stay that way for at least another week. I do think that we will get one step closer to having a nursery for baby this weekend, and I’m excited about that. Still- I did have time to run across this:


Someone should be in prison for a long time for this. In fact, if Martha Stewart has to go to prison for talking about stocks or whatever – admittedly, I don’t understand the market well enough to even talk about this – I think at least 3 or 4 people should be in jail a LONG TIME for selling a toy that contains the date rape drug.

And another topic –

Christina Aguilera is having a baby, possibly the same day as I am having Isaac. I just hope she doesn’t name it Zolten or Princess Tiami, because then the play-dates will just be akward.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Party Time

Natalie’s birthday party was on Saturday, and it was a blast – I think. I managed to get myself stung by a wasp about an hour before the big event. I’ve never been stung by anything flying before, and my mom has the “rush her to the hospital” level of reaction, so I didn’t know what to expect. I did get stung by a poisonous caterpillar once, and the white part of my eyes puffed up over the colored part…

...So I decided to take the biggest recommended dose of benadryl and hope for the best. I figured that me being a groggy medicine head at the party was better than me missing the party for a trip to the urgent care place. I ended up with just a little red blotch where the bite was and nothing more, but I was pretty much out of it for the party. No problem though – there was plenty of fun had by all.

There was jumping:

There was swinging:

There was deeply contemplative regard for the cake:

The grown-ups even got in on the fun:

There were a couple of un-authorized photos that included giant preggie mom that surely would not have been allowed if I had been in possession of my full mental capacity:

Natalie’s evaluation of the day – “I had a party at the gymnastics and I went on the mountain. I was three but now I’m two again and I’m going to have another party at the gymnastics and then I’ll be three.” I think that means she liked it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I am so disappointed by Halloween. I don't really enjoy the ghouls and spooks, but I love the community feeling of the day and the fun of getting to dress up and pretend to be something extra fun. I also love that people stop pretending they don't like to eat candy and instead go door to door begging for it - not to mention shamelessly shoveling pounds of it into their shopping carts at the stores to get ready.

Yesterday was just no fun. Natalie was already hopped up when I picked her up from school from the cupcakes, cookies, and popsicles that they apparently ate continuously from 11:00 on. As much as I want to have fun on Halloween, I just couldn't bring myself to put any more sugar into my child who was literally smiling at me through clenched teeth while her eyes bugged out of her vibrating head. I had to be the mean mom that put the candy up until after dinner.

Natalie is afraid of the Halloween aisle at CVS, so trick or treating was out this year. I had a commitment with some ladies who have lost children at my church, so I left Nat in the care of hubby, who went with her to Mimi and Poppy's house for dinner and to greet the trick or treaters. Apparently none of them noticed that Natalie was about to blow up, because they gave her some whoppers - which promptly resulted in her vomiting all over herself, her costume, and the dinner she wasn't eating. To hear my husband tell the story, she was still trying to get more whoppers into her mouth as they hauled her off to the bathtub.

By the time I got home, around 7:45, the teenagers had taken over. I had to drive through a mass of teens dressed in costumes that covered as little of their bodies as possible, all standing in the middle of the road taking pictures of themselves kissing or climbing on each other. Then I had to pass the "Scream" guy riding in the back of a convertible, cruising the neighborhood at 10 miles an hour, presumably making sure that any kids who wanted to do any actual trick-or-treating were too intimidated to come out.

All of this to come home and find that in our absence, someone had smashed our jack-o-lantern to bits and left the top on our doorstep like some kind of mob threat.

Last year we went through 5 bags of candy before having to turn off our light and go to bed. We saw all the cute little ones, all the grade-schoolers who were blooming with pride in their cosutumes and filled with the excitement of the night. I even enjoyed the teens who dressed up and came to the door for candy. What happened? I sure miss the old Halloween.