Friday, March 31, 2006

Woman as Science Project...

That is what I am. I am a walking (figuratively, of course) experiment, complete with test strips, needles, a lab book to record my findings and several variables to keep track of...and let me tell you, it ain't fun. I wasn't a huge fan of science in school (there's very little Shakespeare or extended metaphor in it), but this really bites.

I may have been a bit bold yesterday when I invited Dr. Dark-Cloud to suck on my fabulous blood glucose reading. I recall the words of my perinatologist after seeing a post-cerclage cervical reading of 3.1cm. She specifically warned me, "Don't get cocky." And in terms of the cervix, I did not. I stayed tucked in bed and followed my instructions. I would be hard-pressed to argue, however, that I wasn't a smidge on the supercilious side about yesterday's good glucose reading, what with my sas to the doctor here on the blog for all to see. Yes, I was cocky. 109 is an excellent number for a diabetic (well, it's a good number). what could humble me after my initial triumph, my beginner's luck, if you will? How about 3 finger pricks and 3 bad readings all in a row---that oughta do it.

Yes, I am a gestational diabetes disaster. Last night's & both of this morning's readings show I am just marinating in the sweet stuff. There was much pouting, I will tell you. I am very, very unused to failure. This pregnancy is starting to give me flashbacks of 10th grade geometry, what with all the failing I am doing...

So I started thinking---what different yesterday at 3pm from later testings?? Considering my very limited interaction with the world at this point, there were not a ton of variables to choose from. One stuck out in my head---the dreaded terbutaline. You remember--that anti-contraction medicine that makes you feel like you are withdrawing from heroin?

Terbutaline is a tricky little thing in my world. Some days I take it and some days I don't. At first, after being released from the hospital, I took it once a day for 7 days. Then the doctor (not Dark-Cloud; one of the lucky ones) recommended that I simply take it for a 24-hour period when I feel contractions. I liked that idea--less terb for me means fewer heart palpitations and I don't know about you, but I am a BIG fan of a regular heartbeat...

Yesterday, at 3pm--no terb in my system. Lovely 109 reading. After husband and I got home from my sitting up and walking around for 3 hours, I was a bit dehydrated and having some contractions. I took the terb...once at 7pm, once at 1am and once at 7am. I tested my blood at 9:30pm, 8:30am and 11am--all high. Hmmmm...

So I did some googling and was not at all surprised to see that terbutaline, wonder drug that it is, in study after study, RAISES blood glucose levels. FABULOUS!!!! So the medicine I am taking to keep the little man in my belly is going to turn him into the incredible hulk while he is there. Ahhhh, the irony of it all.

After the 3rd high reading, I called Dr. Dark-Cloud, expecting him to haul me in and stick me full of insulin or worse, drag me by the ear back to the hospital where they would monitor me with a delightful pregnancy cocktail of blood sugar, terb and insulin. To my surprise and relief, the response was, "keep monitoring and call on Monday if the readings stay high ," with an acknoweldgement that Terb will raise my blood sugar, so only take it when necessary.

Now, I love Dr. Dark-Cloud; despite him being the bearer of all the bad news about this pregnancy thus far, he is charming and kind. His voice is identical to the guy in the Citibank Commercials trying to reach a real customer service rep while on his way to work in the crowded train. It is everything in me when I see him not to ask him to say "Big Boy". I secretly hope he's attending the birth and when this little guy finally emerges, Dr. Dark-Cloud actually says, "It's a big boy!!" Who knows, in my epiduraled-out state, I might even ask him to say it.

But I am feeling a bit bitchy today (shocking). Why did no one tell me about the terb/blood sugar connection before I swigged down that syrupy sweet junk last Thursday, when I had a week's worth of terb swimming around in my system at the same time??? Does no one in the medical community realize how personally pregnant women take this kind of shit?? I spent 3 days sobbing over this, thinking I was going to hurt my baby because of the girl scout cookies and the chocolate cake when all along, it could very well have been drug interactions and entirely out of my control.

Even yesterday at "sugar school", it was my HUSBAND, and not the diabetes educator, who stressed to this class of scared, if somewhat annoying and moronic, pregnant women, that their gestational diabetes wasn't their fault. What a mensch. But, how was it that HE knew every woman there was beating herself up and the professionals don't know enough to make that clear? Yes, the video they showed clearly explains the medical reason for GD and none of it has to do with eating too much sugar when pregnant, but can't they spend a moment catering to our fragile little pregnant lady anxieties that we are already failures as mothers??? Is that too much to ask???

I am starting to think that every OB/GYN office should come equipped with a pregnancy therapist on-staff. I haven't met a pregnant lady yet who wasn't just a little insane from the whole experience.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Life is like a box of choco---um, sugar free jello....

This is me and my big old buddha belly on Sunday, one day before the big mean doctor called & told me my days of free-basing milk-shakes were over....look at how happy I was then. ahhh, the good old 'hopped up on sugar" days. That is the smile of a woman thinking about lasagna and chocolate cake. Oh yeah, and the miracle of her unborn child...

My practice consists of 9 doctors. Yet it is always this one who is the bearer of bad news. He was the "looks like an incompetent cervix" guy; he was the "looks like we need to do a cerclage" guy; he actually did the cerclage; he was the "looks like hospitalization for you" guy; and now, he is the "'your 1 hour glucose test was so horrible, we aren't going to bother with the 3-hour test. You have gestational diabetes'" guy.

I am starting to wonder if they drew straws the first day I walked in the door and he's the poor sap who got the shortest straw, so now he has to be my personal messenger of doom; OR if he decided he hated me when I walked through the door and specifically asked permission to be my little dark storm cloud. Either way, the man's got his work cut out for him.

Today husband and I attended "Sugar School" (thanks, Dad) and my "Gestational Diabetes & You:How Sweet it Is(n't)" class (not really what it's called--actually it had no name whatsoever. How dull.). It was long, the chairs were heinously uncomfortable compared to my pile of pillows and pillow-top mattress, and we were surrounded by hormonal and slightly dim-witted pregnant women. I spent some time lusting over the plastic bagel the dietician used as a prop and looking at paper pork chops and bowls of cereal thumb-tacked to a bulletin board. I was told I COULD have ice cream and then saw the portion size (way to tease, bitch!) and then came the fun part. I got to test my blood sugar level.

I was the first one in the class to just suck it up and push the little blue button that sent the needle into my fingertip. The woman behind me whined and complained about how "soft" her skin was and that she needed smaller lancets. Another woman asked if she could prick anywhere else on her body. Someone else couldn't figure out how to work the machine (pull the spring, press the, rocket science, apparently).

It was everything in me not to turn around and ask these women, two of them carting around twins in their uteruses, "DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT YOU WILL SHORTLY BE PUSHING PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR VAGINAS??!!! " These people need some freaking perspective. But I restrained myself--I am finding bedrest is doing NOTHING for my social skills, but I am trying to hang on to whatever shred of social appropriateness I can, and I think screaming at strangers probably falls somewhere outside of that range.

The good news is that my blood sugar was only 109---"SUCK ON THAT, DR. DARK-CLOUD!!! HA!!! My blood sugar level rocks!!!!" woo-hoo--pass me a cookie!!! No? Okay...

Now I only need 448 more readings that good or better. That doesn't sound hard. Does it?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Baby Digs the Atkins...

Damn it.
While I sit here, moping over yet more restrictions in my life and craving ice cream and cereal and a gigantic bowl of pasta, the little man in my belly is just dancing around, happy as can be, digesting his egg and peanut butter breakfast. Stupid protein.

Don't get me wrong; I ate plenty of protein and healthy food before my gestational diabetes diagnosis. Lunches were salads with chicken or a vegetarian sub. Dinners always included meat of some kind, a vegetable and a salad. I'm a big fan of the fruits and vegetables and yogurts.

Yes, I indulged in more cookies and ice cream than I did prior to being pregnant, but it's not like I sat around stuffing my face with oreos 24/7. I feel the need to clarify that so that people out there don't assume I am some slovenly, over-eating shut-in, surrounded by empty bags of pepperidge farm cookies and hersey's wrappers and an indelible ring of chocolate around my mouth. NOT true! I've not even gained weight beyond the expected increases in a normal pregnancy. And I've been in bed for almost 11 weeks...

And in my defense, I did have to give up shopping, going out to dinner, and EVERYthing else that involves being out of bed for more than 5 minutes at a time; a woman needs to have SOME vice in her life.

And now I notice that as I restrict my sugar intake to frighteningly low levels (at least by my amateur estimation), and turn into a cranky, scowly version of myself, my baby seems more active and bouncier. He apparently likes his chicken, eggs, salad, zucchini and sugar free popcicles...he is an Atkins man. His father's son.

Fine. I'll endure the sugar headache and the irrational shame of knowing my body has found yet another way to be bad at being pregnant. I'll deal with it and I'll do what I'm supposed to do, but I'm not going to pretend to like it.

During the past 11 weeks, I have had so many people tell me what a positive, optimistic attitude I've had and how it's amazing I've been able to keep my spirits up during the bedrest, the hospitalization, yadda, yadda, yadda...well, I've got news---IT WAS THE SUGAR, PEOPLE. We are now entering unchartered territory and I will say right now--I cannot be held accountable for my new, "improved" sugar-free attitude.

Monday, March 27, 2006

My body's incompetence knows no bounds...

Let's recap, shall we, the list of "issues" this pregnancy has brought to light in terms of my body's complete and utter lack of functionability (is that a word?)

1. high blood pressure--that was there before I got pregnant, but its such fun to contemplate the risk of pre-eclampsia that we'll throw it into the mix.

2. incompetent cervix--the initial inspiration for this blog; I remember the good old days when it was the ONLY thing wrong with my body (aside from my penchant for adult acne)

3. irritable uterus--which means I like to have random contractions for no reason except to necessitate a 2 week stay in the hospital for around-the-clock monitoring for pre-term labor.

4. and now....drumroll, please....GESTATIONAL DIABETES. Or to go along with the "describe my body's short-comings with adjectives" motif, "overworked and underachieving pancreas".

Yes, you might remember last Thursday that I drank the heinous dextrose mixture and let them take my blood. I believe I said I would bash my head against the wall repeatedly if I failed that test.

Well, let the head-banging commence. I apparently failed the test so badly that I don't even GET to take the 3-hour follow up test. Do not pass "go". Do not collect $200. Go directly to jail. Yes, my friends, I have pregnant-lady diabetes.

The doctor has assured me it is a result of the bedrest and not necessarily a sign of my eating habits (has he seen the Silver Diner's chocolate cake?). He said that most long-term bedrest patients end up with GD because they have no way to work off even the smallest amount of sugar. So here I sit, churning with excess sugar that I am apparently passing on to my baby, possibly turning him into the incredible baby hulk, with respiratory problems to boot.

Later this week, I get to go to the Diabetes Center associated with my hospital and learn all about my fabulous new lifestyle, which is going to include pricking my finger 4X daily to test my blood sugar level and eating such delightful treats as....celery, I guess. The condition should clear up upon delivery, but it will most likely recur with any future pregnancies and now I am at a higher risk for developing diabetes all on its own somewhere down the line in life.

I mean, truly---this pregnancy has been a campaign for only-childhood. How the hell am I ever going to do this again???!!!

Now I am just going to go smash my head into a wall repeatedly and wait for pre-eclampsia to rear it's ugly head--it IS the next complication in line, so it must be on its way to this Bermude Triangle of pregnancy that is my body....

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I'm a terrible mother...

I have no idea where baby's butt is as opposed to his head. So many women can point to a specific location on their stomach and say, "See here? That's his head." or "Feel that; it's a leg."

All I can do is point to my belly and declare, "There's a baby in there." I'm a failure.

I plan on spending all day tomorrow poking and pressing until I have created a definitive assessment of baby body parts and their spatial relationship to my belly.

The doctor announced this week that he (the baby, not the doctor) is lying sideways in there, which I pretty much knew. He (the doctor) seemed surprised by this, as he said that most first babies are either happy in breech or birthing positions; they tend not to be interested in being transverse. Already, he is unique and standing out from the crowd. Fast forward fifteen years....he will have a green mohawk and play bass in a speed metal band in our garage. The neighbors will hate us.

Anyway, I think the little transverse turkey has started his flipping, but I cant' be sure (see above). There has been a lot of frantic movement in there (which included kicking husband in the ear when he bent to try to hear the heartbeat). I have been feeling fingers (or toes) in places where I haven't before, and one minute the left side of my belly is hard; the next it is the right side. Possibly he is lost...

It was an eventful week, what with husband going away on business and both my mother and father coming to babysit me in husband's absence. My father won't touch my belly because it is wierd to him, but both he and my mother revel in completely grossing me out by discussing the miracle of my conception.

Apparently, I was "supposed" to be a boy, according to their timing and...god, help me...positioning. Mind you, they give no specifics (they know I don't have any time in my life for more therapy, thankfully), but they seem to take some joy in freaking me out with the knowledge that they "did it" at least once. I prefer the story of the stork, at least in terms of my own arrival, even though I have a very healthy attitude about sex. I know it's not icky; wasn't raised to be ashamed of it. Yet somehow, it would be comforting to know I was dropped down a chimney nine months after my mom thought to herself as she drank her morning coffee, "gee, I'd like a baby".

No such luck.

The other 'highlight' of the week, which ranks right up there with being subjected to stories of my parents' sex life, was the glucose tolerance test I had to take on Thursday. This consists of drinking a syrupy orange beverage an hour before they draw blood. It diagnoses gestational diabetes, just one more potential joy of pregnancy. I cannot begin to describe the metaphorical banging my head into a wall I will do if I fail this test and add one more complication to this pregnancy.

I woke up bright and early, very excited to be leaving the house (fresh air, etc.). I drank the goo from 8:15-8:20 and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't as bad as I've heard. It tasted a bit like flat generic orange soda that has been mixed with a bit too much syrup. I wouldn't order it on purpose at a restaurant, but it didn't taste as vile as most cough medicines I've had.

I figured I was in the clear. What harm could a little bit of dextrose do?

OH MY GOD. The nausea. The heartburn. It was like an army of ants eating away at my insides. From sugar??? My best food friend??? The sense of betrayal was overwhelming. It's still painful to talk about.

Tomorrow, husband's cousin JP is coming over with his camera to take some maternity pictures of me so we can "capture the magic". I will be 29 weeks pregnant tomorrow and who knows how much longer it will last or how much bigger this belly can get. I'd rather have the pictures done now and have to say in years to come, "Well, I did gain 12 more pounds of belly after that", then wait longer and miss the opportunity to have the pictures at all, if this little man decides to make his appearance early.

Of course, the true success of the pictures will be measured by JP's ability to camouflage the frightening image that is my double chin. If he can do that, while at the same time capturing the gloriousness of the gigantic belly, he will truly be a master at the art of photography. We shall see. I'm most excited about standing up for a few minutes to pose for the pictures...

As a final note for the day, thanks to husband and his tech-savvy ways for helping me create some links, change the background and add a is everything I can do to post these ramblings correctly, nevermind add "flair". thanks, honey.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kick Counts..

Ahhhh, this is the stuff that OCD is made of.

As if I don't have enough to stress out about with the cervix and the contractions, add another anxiety to the roster.

At about 28 weeks into pregnancy, doctors recommend keeping track of baby's movements with "kick counts". Apparently I am supposed to figure out when the little man's "active" time is, lay on my side (done!) for thirty minutes of that active time, and count the number of movements I feel. I SHOULD feel at least ten movements. If I don't, I should have a glass of OJ or ice water, lay back down and start over. And then???? Oh yeah, this sounds fun and not at all nerve-wracking.

I think this exercise is designed to give women late in pregnancy something new to worry about. We've gone past the stage of retching at the smell of...anything, and we no longer have to cope with the fear of miscarriage. We have had all of our tests to determine genetic and anatomical defects. Many of us have already decorated the nursery and we are just sitting around waiting for labor. And no one wants to fret about labor, the ultimate anxiety, because face it, there is nothing scarier in the world than the thought you might poop in front of your doctor and every nurse in Labor & Delivery. It's enough to make me beg for a C-section.

So we distract ourselves with the "kick count" and we feel very industrious and involved in our pregnancies. It is especially easy for me, considering how much time I spend lying around. As one of the nurses at Hotel High Risk liked to remind me, "You are a lady of leisure!" If his active time were all 24-hours, that would be fine by me--I'm lying down for all of them.

But what to do when the little man doesn't cooperate? How to stay calm and not rush into a complete "call the doctor" neurotic panic when you don't get the count you are waiting for? Usually it is easy--this guy generally will give me 10 kicks in fewer than 10 minutes (I'm exhausted already), but some days he is just downright lazy. I can drink ice cold water, poke my belly and talk 'til I'm blue in the face and husband thinks I've lost my mind from the bedrest, and the little one just refuses to budge. He has his own agenda and clearly no one informed him about the "kick count".

Many women say their baby is most active right after they eat. Not so with this one. I envision mine settling in to a cozy nook, grabbing hold of that cord and snoozing like Homer Simpson in the hammock while he takes in all the nutritious goodness of the breakfast, lunch, dinner and the multitude of "healthy" snacks (girl scout cookies are very rich in vitamins, yes?) I take in during the day. And then he goes into a food coma. It is only later, after digesting, that he comes alive and gets on the old uterine trampoline for a work out

So because I eat at such odd times during the day, it is hard to determine when I should embark upon the kick count. Time it right and all is well. Time it wrong and I am having heart palpitations and hyperventilating. It is not fun and honestly, I have enough to deal with.

Because of this, I have decided not to pick a certain time of the day. The baby and I have compromised and he will give me a good couple of kicks to let me know he's ready to start the game. Then I lay on my side and count away. This works well and usually only takes a few minutes.

Is it cheating? Maybe, but at least I won't have a nervous twitch and a blazing case of OCD by the time he's born.

Monday, March 20, 2006

To doula or not to doula...

That is the question.

Ten weeks of bedrest and the pregnancy shows I mentioned in a previous post have made me aware of at least one thing: I am completely unprepared to give birth.

Yes, yes, I've read plenty of books. Please, the only things apparently NOT incompetent about my body are my eyes and I'm taking full advantage. I know what my options are (or what they would be if I weren't experiencing "The Incredible Complicated Pregnancy"). I have read what all the "experts" say about medicated vs. "natural" birth and decided that I am big gigantic wimp who wants all the drugs they can pump through the IV. And chances are, because of my fabulous blood pressure (I'm very revved up) and the likelihood that they're going to induce me (unless the old IC decides to bust on open early), chances are excellent that I won't be one of those unfortunate saps who hear the dreaded, "Sorry, your window of opportunity has closed" when it comes to the old epidural.

So that decision is relatively easy...EVERYTHING else is a mystery. And, as I mentioned in my post about the childbirth TV shows, traditional birthing classes are pretty much out of the question for me, as I would run the risk of making it a very "hands-on" experience for the mommies-to-be who had the unfortunate luck to sign up for the same class as me and my shoddy cervix.

Enter the doula. For those who don't know, a doula is a woman who has no medical training per se, but has attended many births and undergone training as a certified birth instructor and coach. A doula comes to your home several times prior to your delivery to educate you on several aspects of the birthing experience (the stages of labor, breathing techniques and the like) and then is there with you for the entirety of your delivery to offer support and advice. They even give massages during labor! Many often come to the home some time after birth to check on how you and baby are doing in terms of breastfeeding, post-partum depression, sleeping, etc. They're kind of like your own personal pregnancy nanny and glutton for punishment.

This sounds phenomenal. I want one. Now. I need a massage. Really.

But do I really NEED one? It sounds like a great luxury. An amazing perk. And not just for me. What a great break for husband, if labor is long and if I get "difficult"; I'm far less likely to curse at a doula than I am at my husband (something about that just isn't right, but it's true). There's something very calming about the idea of having someone who has attended loads of births right there next to you while your husband and mother freak out because you've turned into some kind of unrecognizeable, red, sweating, swearing alien.

Not that I don't think husband and my mother will provide lots of comfort and support; I"m sure they will. But there are so many unknowns that make the presence of a 3rd, more highly trained person so welcome. What if husband hyperventilates, who's going to coach me with the breathing? What if mom steps out for a bite to eat, and husband faints under the pressure? Then that leaves me huffing and puffing on my own. What if I am ungodly mean to them both during a contraction and they decide they don't need the abuse because I'm not paying them to attend this birth? Mind you, I have intention of being mean, but I've never been in labor. I'm a pretty cranky PMS-er; I have no idea what labor holds for me in the way of personal conduct and behavior. seems I have answered my own question. For the sake of family harmony and mid-labor massages, I think the best option is "to doula"....

stationary spring cleaning...

Having never been restricted to bed during the change of seasons before, it has never occurred to me just how much of a clean-freak I can be. Please note that I said "can be", because no one will ever accuse me of being a neatnik on a regular, full-time basis.

But now as I sit in my bed (45 degree angle and all; I follow orders well), I am overcome with the urge to dust, scrub, mop and re-arrange. Unless I am going to bestow all of that cleaning impulse on my night stand (man, that sucker would SPARKLE!), it ain't going to happen. I know I can't get up and wash the bathroom door (so many fingerprints!!!) or clean out my closet. But thinking about these things makes my feet bounce with anxiety underneath the duvet.

How will I be able to hold still for the next 8 weeks while the weather turns and the house begs for a good wash-down? I have a tendency towards one big "this place better shine like the top of the Chrystler building" a la Mrs. Hannigan per year and this year I am going to miss it. That's it. I might develop a twitch over this.

Yes, yes, yes; we could get a house-cleaner (or a team might be more fitting), as everyone has been urging us, but that would not alleviate the urge I have to take matters into my own hands and scrub. It would just make me antsy as others scurried around me in a flurry of house-keeping energy. I might get nasty. Over cleaning. I know, it defies logic.

Top this off with the old wives tale of the "nesting urge"...that impulse that kicks in in the weeks before labor which is said to make even the most sedentary and slothful of women turn into whirling dirvishes of disinfecting ambition. My sincere hope is that this primal urge doesn't kick in until the fishing line is removed from my flimsy cervix, because even with all the swiffers and extended handles and fancy crap you can get now in the cleaning aisle at Target, they still haven't invented the perfect all-purpose cleaning device with a handle that extends the length of my house and can maneuver ten different corners at a time. If only they had, I might be able to clean my kitchen floor while still in the comfort and medical security of my own bed. That is the dream...
It is my fondest hope that my water breaks while I am bent over, on my hands and knees, scrubbing the baseboards of the nursery, preferably two weeks after the cerclage has been thrown into a bright red bio-hazard bag and forgotten.

Do I miss going to movies? yes. Hanging out with my friends more than one at a time and in my bedroom? yes. Do I long to push a cart through the aisles of a grocery store or Target? yes. But, in an admission that will make my mom well-up with pride and makes me cringe with how unromantic it is, what I am missing most right now is the freedom to spring clean at will....

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"Discovery" channel...

I have discovered that there is nothing you can't see on TV. Whether it is lawn-mower races or people trying to subsist on a diet of bugs and dirt on a deserted island and actually liking it, you can find it.

But child birth seems to be televisions latest fascination. Or at least it is mine. That's how it always seems. Whatever you are going through in your own life, you tend to find that niche being exploited somewhere on cable. When I was planning my wedding last year, I could not make one trip around the channels without finding "Who's Wedding is it, Anyway?", or "A Wedding Story" or "E's Hollywood Weddings" or "Bridezillas" (my personal favorite) or anything by Martha Stewart. Of course, I was immediately sucked in, as my entire identity seemed to be taken over by planning that one 24-hour period that would turn me from a Miss to a Mrs. (or a Ms., at the case may be).

Now that I am completely emersed in my role as incubator (and a captive audience to boot), I have found the same glut of cable shows dedicated to the joy (and messiness) of childbirth. You can watch, "Birthday", "A Baby Story", "Bringing Home Baby", "Runway Moms" (dedicated to models who get pregnant--ha ha), and "Yummy Mummy" (all about how to be a cool, hip, sexy mom).

I have become engrossed by these shows; I consider them to be, in part, my education, as I will most likely not be able to get my gigantic pregnant bed-ridden butt to a birthing class. Now I realize, before I am blitzed by comments, that how these shows are no substitute for a qualified birthing instructor and a class full of other panting, gestating women about to burst and their glassy-eyed husbands, but really---what options do I have?? Considering I run the risk of actually delivering AT the birthing class if I get up and move around, I will take my chances with what juicy tidbits I can glean from these shows.

But that brings me to today....Discovery Channel is showing "Birth Day--Live". Whose brain-child is this? Bring cameras into delivery rooms at 4 different hospitals across the country during the full moon. Wait for nature to take its course. Show vaginal births AND C-sections all their gory, I mean glory.

The vaginal births I can stand. I hold my breath a lot, make mental notes of what faces to try to avoid when pushing (because some are just so....scary) and I always cry when the blue-ish, slick creature emerges and wailingly protests its way to rosy pinkness.

But WHO thought it would be a good idea to show a live C-section??? I mean, really. The only people who truly ever need to see a C-section are the doctors performing it. It ain't pretty. That's why they put a big sheet between the mom's face and the mom's belly, people!!! Even she doesn't want to see her belly cut open!!!

I tried to watch one. I did. I got as far as the doctor reaching for a scalpel and then freaked out. I switched to the Food Network and watched Bobby Flay travel through Ireland in search of a the perfect Irish breakfast. When he mentioned "blood pudding", I decided watching a C-section might not be so bad. Six of one, half dozen of the other, right? Both are icky, but one ends in a baby...

I flipped back. Right in time for the close-up of....who knows what, but it was very red. And doctors were pulling and stretching it. I watched it through my fingers like I was watching a horror movie (its not so far off--lots of blood and knives).

I asked myself, "Why aren't you changing the station, you stupid, stupid girl?!!" as I watched doctors reach into one person and pull out another, much tinier person. I know full well that tonight I will have nightmares of my torso running around independent of my legs...I can only hope they are cartoon-y instead of chain-saw massacre-y.

And then the C-section was over. And I realized why I had continued watching. Because at the end of that birth, just like at the end of the others, a little baby comes out and indignantly scolds the world with its perfect little new baby cry. Suddenly, I cannot even remember all the icky goriness that led up to that sound because I am crying again...

I guess that's why they say you forget the pain.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Adios, Hotel High Risk...

As though I had never left, here I am back in my bed. This kicks the ass out of my private room. The TV is bigger and has more stations, the food rocks and the "nurse" is a hottie.

Driving home was like an amusement park ride--I haven't been in a car past sunset since sometime in January. I haven't breathed fresh air in two weeks. Everything except being in bed seems surreal.

The cats fell right back into their, "She's mine." "No, she's mine" routine as soon as I walked through the door and I had to juggle them for the rest of the night. Abby found her favorite spot as my third pillow for most of the night and Penny clawed her way up onto the bed a few times to wake us up.

It was fabulous to listen to husband snore and the humidifier "glug-glug-glug" through the night.

I believe the little man in my belly is content as well. He has been dancing pretty much since I got back into the house. I must be sending some happy-hormones his way.

Now I just have to get through another 8 weeks...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

My cervix is more incompetent than your cervix....

If there were a prize for the least competent cervix around--I would so win that sucker. Hands down. I mean this thing is USELESS!

So the wheelchair o' doom showed up at 2:45 (that's close to 9am, right?) and sped me down the hallway to the testing center. I have nothing nice to say about the woman who actually did my exam--she didn't warm the ultrasound goo and she basically diagnosed me into tears with her "oh, that's a short cervix. You're not going home today," crap. I just kept repeating to myself--"she's wearing Betty Boop scrubs--she's not your doctor". That brought me some relief, but I still ended up crying while I watched my teeny tiny cervix on the screen. I swear it was laughing at me.

Indeed, it is shorter. 1.2cm thickness as opposed to the whopping 1.7cm I had going for me two weeks ago. I own the incredible-shrinking cervix.

However, this does not seem to alarm the doctor (the one NOT wearing Betty Boop scrubs; she prefers the more subtle printless blue; go figure). After a fabulous internal exam (apparently of my throat), she announced that the cervix is still closed and the cerclage is holding very well, therefore there's no reason why I can't go lie around at home instead of lying around here.

I take comfort in Amy's blog (, as I seem to be freakishly following her story, almost to the cervical measurement. She spent 17 days in the hospital to my 14, but she was also sent home at about the same measurement and she managed to hold on until the cerclage removal at 36 weeks AND a couple of weeks after it to boot. Fingers crossed that my cervix is as much of a trooper. Let's all pray for some scar tissue, shall we?

But here I sit, waiting for husband to arrive. I am giddy about spending quality time at home with husband and kitties. However, I will miss the nurses and the 6am visits by random residents asking me if I am bleeding or gushing fluid (like I might wait until their 6am rounds to announce it, if I were....) And have I mentioned my deep admiration for the kitchen staff? They will be greatly missed. (snicker, snicker)

There will be changes, however, at home. Where once I felt free to climb the stairs 3-4 times a day when at home, that luxury is a thing of the past. I will now be restricted to the bed entirely, much as I am here. I will get to journey across the hall to the bathroom only when necessary.

Although, I have to say, I'm not sure it matters one way or the other. When I was taking the stairs a couple times a day, my cervix was measuring 3cm. Seems to me it enjoyed a good climb.
Maybe it just needs some exercise and fresh air.

The Hospital Diet...

Move over Dr. Atkins and Jenny Craig. If you've got a few pounds to lose, all you really need is a week or two in the hospital to shed those pesky pounds...

The "cuisine" available here at Hotel High Risk is perfect for weight loss. The meat is grey, the chicken is dry, the pasta sauce is crusty and the gravies are filmy. The swedish beatballs I tried to eat last night crunched. The bottoms of the whipped potato pile is cracked and dry, a la desert sand. The tomato soup is a bowl of water that has had a couple of tomatoes squeezed over it. I wouldn't testify to it in court, but the food. Even if you WANT to eat, you will find yourself hard-pressed to find anything edible. And being bed-ridden makes it all but impossible to go raid the fridge.

Meal times are also condusive to dropping the weight. 8am, 12noon and 5pm. At lunch, you're still full from breakfast (the only remotely palatable meal, so order one of everything and eat up!), and at 5pm, you're still sick to your stomach from whatever lunch you tried to eat. It makes life pretty unpleasant around 8-9pm, when you're actually experiencing hunger for the first time in the day, but that's what Girl Scout cookies are for.

Let me tell you about breakfast. We are usually so hungry when we wake up that I would probably chew on a pair of socks if I thought it would provide any nutrional value to the little man. That blinding hunger MAY have something to do with my current love affair with hospital breakfast. A typical breakfast for me these days consists of a cup of cereal, either belgan waffles or cinnamon swirl french toast, a vat of syrup, and whatever meat product they're peddling that day (except the canadian bacon--too salty), a bagel with cream cheese or a muffin, orange juice and the fruit of the day.

This is a ton of food and for the first week, I just picked a couple of the items from the menu, not wanting to seem like a big old pig of a pregnant lady. Now, I realize it is the only meal I will be able to enjoy, so when breakfast comes now, the lady is desperately trying to balance the tray, piled high with ALL of it.

In spite of the breakfast binges and the Girl Scout cookie snacks, I have managed to shed 4-5 of my pregnancy pounds in the past two weeks. Actually I shed them in the first week and maintained the loss the second week. Shocking. Husband assures me I am in no danger of wasting away (because boys say some really dumb things sometimes), and I guess that is reassuring in a way that it wouldn't be were I not growing the other human being and all...

So as I sit and wait for the magic wheel chair to arrive and wisk me to the ultrasound that will decide my immediate fate, I am taking comfort in the fact that if I am indeed sprung today or tomorrow from Hotel High Risk, I am leaving with the luxury of 5 fewer pounds to lose once the little man has joined us in the outside world.

That makes up for the crunchy meatballs.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

girl scout cookies and credit cards...

I spent some quality time with these two little companions today. It was mighty satisfying. Before you go judging me as an over-eating shopaholic (both of which might be true), let's assess the situation.

It is March 14th. I haven't been shopping since mid-January. That is two months of no malls, no shoe stores, no baby stores--nothing. This may not seem like a big thing to some of you, but for a woman who, up until she moved into her house last April, lived within walking distance of a 3-story mall--refraining from shopping is a colossal feat. Not that I would always buy--sometimes I just NEEDED to try on shoes, or smell the pretty candles before I decided I really didn't need another aroma to confuse my chakras...

So the "not-shopping rule" that is kind of inherent in the "not-getting-out-of-bed rule" has been kind of a drag. I have dreaded the only remedy--online shopping. For the past two months I have been perfecting my "online window shopping" skills, but have always stopped short of taking that plunge into the whole "add to my cart" world. I really like having an actual cart and throwing actual items into it. I have shopped online before, but I am always left feeling like I've just interacted with a used car salesman and I wait for days to see if the purchase was real or just some figment of the internet's imagination and maybe my money is floating around in cyber-space somewhere and whatever I ordered won't really materialize at all.

But today I could not resist. Perusing e-bay, I found a Red Sox onesie....I was powerless to stop myself. I didn't even bother with the stupid bidding--I went straight to "purchase now" and scooped it up. How could I not??? Even without Damon (damn you, Yankees!!!), they are still my team. I am giddy waiting for that thing to show up; I admit I spent a few minutes fantasizing about watching the games this summer with my little boy on my knee, spitting up on his Red Sox onesie as Manny rounds the bases. That is a shout-out to my grampy, if I ever heard one...

So that was a done deal. And the credit card wasn't even warm. It has been lying dormant for 60 days...we had a lovely reunion and I wasn't ready to tuck it back in the old wallet. So I clicked on my "favorites" button, where I have been stockpiling items for possible purchase should this day ever come.

I made one other purchase. From a shop on Ventura Blvd in Hollywood, California, I bought an obscenely expensive, ultra-hip (by my own fashion-challenged estimation) diaper bag. Yes, I bought a diaper bag that cost more than my cable and cell phone bills combined, but you know what?? I've been in bed for two months, so leave me alone.

Actually, its a very practical purchase--it has all the bells and whistles that a good diaper bag should have; it's washable; it has a changing pad, pockets for diapers and bottles, blah blah blah...and it's a baby blue and black argyle it. Would buy it as a purse if I weren't going to need to stuff it full of baby goods. And really, if I am going to be carrying this thing around AS a purse for the next few years, do I really want it to have Winnie-the-Pooh on it (even though it's everything in me not to buy a winnie-the-pooh one, too. Shhhhh, don't tell)?

So that was the shopping spree from room 625. I still feel a little like I need to take a shower (see used-car salesman reference above), but I am getting over it.

Oh, and the girl scout cookies....thin mints. I don't think I need to say anymore. I take comfort in the fact that at 27w2d into this pregnancy, my weight gain isn't astronomical, it's actually on the reasonably low side and the hospital food has helped keep me from ballooning up. So if I indulge in a thin mint...or ten....I don't feel the need to apologize (although clearly I feel the need to explain--but that's just the culture we live in--God forbid a woman eat a cookie.)

So now my over-spending, over-eating, baby-incubating self is going to hold tight and wait for Thursday, when, I have been told by my doctor that they are going to "assess the situation" and consider sending me home. There is an ultrasound scheduled to take a peek at the cervix and see if it's decided, in all its dynamic-ness, to lengthen back up or if it is still playing "chicken" with the birth canal. If all is well on the screen and I haven't had more contractions by then, they might let me do my shopping and eating at home, in my own bed from Friday on out...

And a word on the little man (aside from how well dressed he's going to be and what a fabulous bag his diapers are going to be carted around in), we found his heartbeat this morning above the belly button line (a sort of pregnancy equator, if you will), so I think that he has finally lost some of his previous fascination with the cervix and might actually go exploring the higher ground for the next few weeks. Hopefully that will bode well for my cervical length, as he won't be jumping up and down on it for the next couple of days. It's nice to know he's cooperating...

Monday, March 13, 2006

interaction with the outside world...

Perhaps I've been in bed too long. I attempted to make contact with the outside world today via Verizon and Golds Gym. Each experience left me thinking that perhaps I should plan on spending the rest of my life in bed. Or at least avoiding any unnecessary conversations with people.

I had to call Verizon because the bill is in my name and the caller ID has my last name on it. This poses a problem for husband, who uses our phone as his primary business phone. So when he calls business associates, they believe I am calling. They do not know me. I have suggested to husband that he simply change his last name to mine and alleviate this telephone identity crisis. He, in turn, suggested quite thoughtfully that I call Verizon and have them change the name on our caller That's another way to go, I guess.

So today I did call Verizon. First, I got to talk to this happy little computer voice. I felt like the poor pathetic credit card commercial guy saying, "Big boy" and "fluffy" into his cell phone while commuting to work...I told them my phone number, I said, "calling features" and "change calling features"....only that sounded like, "I don't know--change calling features??" and I was afraid that the happy little computer voice would come back with "I have no idea what you just said." But she didn't (smart happy little computer voice!) and she then sent me on my way to a real live person....

And that was pretty uneventful until I tried to spell husband's last name to the rocket scientist on the other side of the phone line. Now granted, its not, under most circumstances, considered an "easy" name by most. However, this woman, seeming to have a very limited understanding of the alphabet, had an even more challenging time of it. I'm still not 100% sure what is going to come up as our caller ID when we call friends or business associates, but at least I tried. Of course, now husband and I may BOTH have to change our names to match our caller ID. That seems like a fair compromise, because I'm not calling those people again...

Then, I had to call Golds Gym. This is the call that tickles me to no end and makes me think cutting off ties with all of civilization may be a reasonable idea. (Of course, I realize this means that I am equating golds gym with civilization--that's just wrong).

See, I haven't been to the gym since October of last year. The first trimester is notoriously exhausting and I basically spent October through December dragging myself home from work by my fingernails and crawling to the couch. There were nights that I didn't make it to 8 o'clock in the evening. I seriously considered rigging my desk at work up a la George Constanza, so I could take naps in the middle of the day. I got winded walking up the stairs too quickly. I certainly wasn't going to make it to a spinning or kick-boxing class. The thought makes me giggle.

Then enter the complications--by mid-December it was clear I might have the old incompetent cervix, so I was told to "take it easy", which I interpretted as "don't exercise and make sure you get lots of ice cream" (if ice-cream consumption could fix an incompetent cervix, mine would be made of steel; I know it's a long shot, but I'm hoping...)

So now finally, after 6 months of Golds getting $40 of my hard-earned money (or my "sitting around on my fat ass and still getting paid" money), I decided today to cancel the membership. I was told by Biff, or Buff, or whoever he was, "Hey, no problem, just come on down and fill out the cancellation form". So I explain the situation. I said "pregnant" and "bedrest" and you would have thought I had said, "leprosy" and "ebola".

"OH MY GOD; HOW AWFUL!" was Buff Biff's response. Yes, brainless, muscle-bound jock, it's awful....HUH???

Anyway, he pulls up my membership information and apparently I signed a year-long contract. Makes sense. Why wouldn't a 33 year old woman (hey, I was 33 when I signed up) in good health be able to sign a gym contract for a year?! So muscle-head tells me that they can only cancel my membership if I have proof of permanent relocation or of disability. Clearly, considering I am suffering from a rare case of leprosy-ebola, that will qualify as a 'disability'. But this is the kicker---

I have to get a note from my doctor. I cannot wait for my doctor's rounds tomorrow...

I am a 34 year old woman and I need a note to get out of gym class.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The hospital gods have smiled on me...

and granted me a private room...

As I sat yesterday afternoon, listening to my roommate yell into her telephone, "Grandma, turn your hearing aid UP!" and bitching at her husband to bring her two double cheeseburgers from McDonald's (yes, this is the woman whose elevated blood pressure is threatening her with seizure, coma and death, the pre-eclampsia trifecta---enjoy those fries, dumbass), an angelic faced nurse, wearing the same scented body lotion as my mother wears, appeared from the other side of my curtain and asked in a lilting voice, "Would you like a private room?"

Stunned silence. Private? No roommate? No yelling? No constant phone-dialing and incessant rambling? No listening to someone whose been on bedrest for 4 f*cking days complain about feeling like a "caged animal" and calling her doctors office three times an hour to get permission to go outside in a wheelchair? Could it be true???? Could the universe be so kind to me?

Indeed it was. It is. I am now in Hotel High Risk---my own private room; far, far away from the sodium-guzzling preeclamptic and her deaf granny. Sigh. Even the wheel-chair ride over to the room was pure joy. I had not been so far as the hallway in 9 days. The nurse pushed the chair fast enough that my hair even blew back a bit. I can't describe the rush. It's that great and that pathetic at the same time!

My room is fabulous, as hospital rooms go. It is a smaller version of the other room, which means it can't possibly make room for another guest--I am here alone, for the duration. It is unspeakably blissful.

My own private bathroom, which is a very big deal for a pregnant lady in a hospital. Yesterday, before learning of my new room, I had to text-message husband to bring Clorox bleach wipes with him when he came to visit because the roommate had been allowing all manner of visitors to use our shared bathroom--even though it clearly says, "PATIENT RESTROOM ONLY" on the door. Fortunately, I did not require the use of the newly-annointed public bathroom before being wisked away to my new home.

It did boggle my mind, though; do people not realize there is a reason why women running the risk of preterm labor are in the hospital??!!! To avoid infections, dumb-ass! That is why I endured 5 days of IV antibiotics in my "dainty" veins and now take a gigantic industrial-strength antibiotic pill daily--I'm not going to negate all that by sharing my bathroom with the general public and all their germs. This isn't Starbucks, people...I shouldn't have to cop a squat in my own bathroom. Ha, as if I could cop a squat anymore---I lost that ability at about 5 months into the pregnancy.

As if I needed the extra nod of approval from the powers that be, I was given my first dose of terbutaline in pill form last night with dinner and experienced a beautifully contraction-free night of silence and bee-sting shot in the arm, no phone ringing, no roommate snoring, no toilet flushing while I was sleeping, no nurse coming in to wake someone else up for vital signs.

And now, I can listen to television or music without headphones. I can sit and talk to my baby without anyone thinking I'm a loon--I was seriously fretting that the little man wouldn't recognize my voice considering how much of my day I spend silent---now I can chatter away like a crazy person in my private room and the baby will know who I am when he comes out. And that, of course, is what all of this is about....

Friday, March 10, 2006

talk-a-thon in room 636...

I miss my old roommate. She was nice with her contracting uterus and her short cervix. She was quiet and took naps in the afternoon. She stayed in bed, like she was supposed to. She told me funny stories of the previous eight roommates she had suffered through before me and she talked me down off my terbutaline "high". We got along really well. Ah, the good old days.

Not that the new roommate is a horrible person. She's a perfectly lovely lady who happens to be 9 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy (I'm not bitter) and has a touch of the pre-eclampsia. If I sound like I am taking her condition lightly, it is only because she flits around here on "bedrest" like a little protein in the urine and some elevated blood pressure readings are an annoying inconvenience. I've heard her say to people on the phone, "I guess I could have a seizure or something." Um. yeah, and that "or something" is "die". DUH.

She does not let this little matter of a potential seizure, coma and death trifecta slow her down much though. No, she has taken her showers and dried her hair each day. She has wandered the halls looking for 2% milk, she has been scolded by the nurses daily to get back into bed and she has bitched and moaned about how she wants to be able to go outside in a wheelchair and how is that going to hurt her? She has been on the phone with her doctors office three times this morning trying to get permission from her doctor for the wheelchair ride. As if the doctor is out there, trying to save the world and deliver babies. She is seriously getting indignant that he hasn't been to see her yet (it is 10am).

And the phone....where do I begin to explain how much this woman talks on the phone? She has a cell phone and her hospital phone and both must be hot to the touch. Sometimes she has them both going at the same time. Yesterday I timed it; she started on the phone at 9:30 and talked on one of the two available options until at least 4pm without letting up. Actually, she did let up, but only when her mother came to visit. Other than that 30 minute visit and the time it took her to eat and complain about lunch, the phone was either ringing, she was dialing or she was yacking...

At this point, I have heard the story of how she had to come to the hospital and how put out she is by the whole experience at least 30 times (generally I exaggerate, but this time I am not). It would be one thing if she'd shake it up and vary her word choice a bit (that's the English teacher in me talking), but she tells it the same, exact way every single about some consideration for the poor captive audience in the next bed over?!!! Throw some circus people into the mix somewhere.

I'm assuming that in the past few days she has spoken to everyone in this time zone and a few people in others. So perhaps the calls will slow down now and there will be snippets of peace and quiet. I have learned over the past several weeks to have tiny, little expectations so as to avoid disappointment.

Truly, she's not a bad person; she's quite nice and we do talk a little bit when she's not on the phone. I also realize that my judgmental snippiness is due to the fact that she is 35 weeks into her pregnancy, while that is a milestone I can only cross my fingers (and legs) and hope for at this point. While she is fretting aloud all day to anyone who will listen that she wants to make it to 36-37 weeks so that her baby doesnt' have to go to the NICU at all, I am praying simply that mine can get the care he's going to need in the NICU. It seems just one more slap in the face, although I realize it is unfair of me to hold her maternal concern against her. I'll chalk it up to the universe throwing one more curve ball at me....ahhhh, such fun.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Moving on Up....

So yesterday the first roommate went home. No contractions for a week and no change in her cervix. Lucky bitch.

The upside of that for me is that I get the window "seat" now. I have two huge windows which look out onto nothing more glorious bare tree tops and grey cloudy skies, but I was so excited when they rolled me over, I almost cried. I now have a rocking chair and a built-in cushioned bench, so these are what I have to consider to be the "luxury" accomodations in hospital land. I have a big window sill for my flowers and more room in which to think about moving around. It will be lovely for my visitors to have so many seating options.

I am also graduating from pin-cushion status to that of pill-popper. I apparently have "dainty" veins. Dainty. While the rest of me balloons up and clods around here like an elephant, my veins decide to go all delicate. I have had expert upon expert tying off my arm, smacking my hands and forearms, putting hot compresses on my skin to coax a vein or two up....and, let me count them, 4 failed attempts and two successes at IV insertions since last Thursday. I seriously look like a junkie; it is disconcerting...

Yesterday, when it came time to replace the existing IV (fancy IV-protocol here; only 3 days on any given vein), I tried, tried, tried to put on a brave face. But after the second blown vein, I threw all caution to the wind, gave in to my hormones and bawled like a baby in front of three of the nurses who had come in to pow-wow over my veins. I think there was babbling about how inadequate I felt as a body--first the cervix, then the contractions, now the I just incompetent overall??!!! Can't a girl get a freakin' break?

It's amazing how nurses kick into "mom" mode when faced with a crazy patient. Aside from the nurse who sat and held my hand after the first shot of terb (yes, I said "first"; there have been more); these three nurses started gushing about how much they hate IVs, too; I shouldn't feel badly for crying, let it out, yadda yadda yadda. And then one of them said the magic words: "I'm going to call the doctor and see if you can get these meds orally".

Ahhhhhhhhhh--it was the longest 15 minutes of my life waiting for the doctor to call back. And literally, one of the nurses had the needle poised at her next selected vein, hovering over my sorry-ass teeny vein and cautioning me to hold still when I heard the other nurse at the station saying, "We can give her the pill? Great." Tears of joy. I am sure that at the nurse's station I am now known as, "that girl who cries in 636-2", but honestly, I don't care. When I am back up on my feet, I will bake them some cookies or something grateful and domestic like that.

Enter my new roommate; out goes the short-cervixed, contracting girl and in comes the pre-eclamptic workaholic who has been up since 7am on the phone, wheeling and dealing. When she's not on the phone, she's wandering around the room, doing things like organizing her closet and blow-drying her hair. Ummmm...I can feel my blood-pressure going up just listening to her. Clearly the concept of "bedrest" has not been well-explained to this woman. Currently, she is enjoying "the price is right" at maximum volume...thank god she's already 35 weeks!

But I digress--I'm becoming a bedrest snob."I can do bedrest better than you can..." Oh my god, I need a life...

So last night husband was invited to the terbutaline party. Apparently my uterus is a "night person" and likes to shake things up when the sun goes down (I have visions of disco balls and the hustle). While we were watchingTV, my uterus decided to par-tay and we had to come at it with the giant needle o' terb. Poor husband; it can't be easy to watch. And what a trooper and sweetheart he is; as I lay there, shaking, he notices, "your skin has really cleared up in the past few days." Can I get a round of applause for the thoughtful husband, trying to take his wife's mind off her shaking body by drawing attention to her "glow". I still think through all of this that I have the easeier end of the deal in this whole thing. Of course, ask me how I feel about that a few hours into labor...

Now that I'm a two-night-in-a-row-er on the terb, the doctors might consider switching me to the oral version as opposed to the big needle. Aaaaah, more pills...I like the pills.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Holy Terbutaline, Batman...

So there's this medication they can give a woman if her uterus doesn't behave. Say if it decides to start contracting ten weeks before it really should, the medical community has this fabulous little "time out" for the uterus called "terbutaline". I believe, on the street, it is called "crystal meth".

Now, don't go forming opinions about me based on that comment; I wouldn't know crystal meth if it bit me--I'm a good girl who went to Catholic school and was afraid of beer until college. I have, however, watched LOTS of episodes of Oprah and Dr. Phil, so I've heard all about the stuff. And now, because my uterus didn't behave for a few moments last night, I feel like I have had experienced it.

It's interesting how something that "relaxes" the uterus can send the rest of your body into an adrenaline rush that would rival the sensation of jumping out of a plane. "Jittery" I think is the word the nurse used for it. Poor, poor, misguided nurse. Clearly her uterus never stepped out of line and needed to be beaten back into submission. I wouldn't use the word "jittery"; I would use the world "convulsive" (but I am a drama queen).

Moments after the shot in the arm (I am changing my middle name to 'pin cushion'), I felt as though I were on a rollercoaster, slowly trolling up the track, my heart rate gearing up in anticipation for the giant fall. It only took about 45 seconds for the cart to drop and then the medicine that was making my uterus calm made the rest of me race. Not pleasant. The nurse sat with me and held my hand (I fear that I am now known as the hallway sissy). I was embarrassed, but not enough to let go of her hand.

Fortunately, the miracle drug worked; my uterus realized who was boss and chilled the hell out.
I can't be all brave and pretend I wasn't terrified. At 26 weeks pregnant, a contraction is the least welcome of all feelings (not that I really even felt it). But I am surrounded by women who aren't as far along as me and who have to submit to the terb multiple times a day just to stave off labor for another few days or weeks. Luckily, we are all confined to bed, so we don't see eachother shaking like a bunch of addicts after each shot or pill.

I am hoping that my experience with the "terb" was a one-time event--perhaps it is part of the High Risk Pregnancy floor's hazing process.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Ain't life a steroid shot to the ass?

So it turns out that non-traditional doctor visit day, Thursday, is not really the optimal day to check on the cervix. As a matter of fact, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being a bad day and 10 being colossally craptacular, checking the cervix on a Thursday rates somewhere up around a 7 or an 8 (so pretty high on the official craptastic scale).

Whereas on previous Tuesdays, clearly the correct days to poking around in there, my cervix has been happy to measure at 3+ . However, yesterday my cervix was not so obliging. It is, indeed, the incredible shrinking cervix at this point. I knew it the second the tech inserted the wand-o-matic that there was a problem. I had been expecting to see the nice, long, tightly closed cervix that I had grown to love (hey, it is providing a valuable service), but to my shock and immediate dismay (a hormonal woman can cry at the drop of a hat), even i could see that this was not the same cervix it had been two weeks earlier. I'll spare you the details; i realize that most people are not as fascinated with the human cervix (or any cervix) as I am. But when an ultrasound tech says, "hmmmmm....." and nothing else, you know you're not winning any "tightly closed cervix of the year" award (or even in the running, that that point.)

So in yet another grand meeting of the minds (much as with the cerclage decision), the perinatologist called my regular OB and they agreed that my bed at home was clearly not as good of a nest for me as a bed in the hospital. Thus, the giant incubator I have come to see myself as was "invited" to meet my doctor in the Labor and Delivery triage at the hospital.

Triage, for the record, is not a fun place. It's the "office space" of the hospital. You get a tiny little cubicle, a tiny "nightie" and a fabric-challenged curtain, therefore no privacy. At one point I became aware of a breeze...on my butt. And yes, surely enough my bare ass was indeed welcoming patients and hospital professionals alike as they entered the triage area. That's a fine "how do you do"...

Good times. So they like to do all of their "dirty work" in triage. The insertion of the IV, "just in case"; the internal exam to see if my underachiever of a cervix is dilating from the outside (no, it is not, thank the powers that be for small mercies--or large ones, in the case); the speculum exam and "swabs" for infection (I love the word "swab"...sounds so gentle and yet feels like sandpaper across your eyeball)---these are the lovely tasks performed in triage. I think it's actually an act of kindness; they know you aren't going to be in there for long (I was for 4 hours, but apparently some stay for 24--ugh!), and that all the painful things that go on there are associated only with there...sort of a "What happens in Triage, stays in Triage" type of slogan.

All except for the steroid shot in the ass. That is a process which will continue today as well, in my regular room. One yesterday and one today. Good thing my baby isn't planning on competing in the Olympics or Major League Baseball anytime soon--they are giving me steroids as a way to pump up the little one's lungs. The general consesus at this point is they are going to be breathing air earlier than we had initially intended and the steroids will give him an immediate boost, should that "earlier" be in the next week (no, no NO), and it will speed along overall lung function so that were he born at 32-34 weeks, he would be, according to nurses, almost at full-term lung capacity.

Now I sit in my hospital room, strapped to a contraction monitor (none so far), and leaning waaayyyy back. Forty-five degrees is a distant luxury--ah to sit up half way. The baby is not happy with the monitor attached to my belly; at least that means he's stopped kicking on the front door, which by the way, the doctor says has no impact on my cervix--it is simply incompetent; plain and simple.

My room is fine; I'm close to the door, though and stewing in my jealousy over my roommate's window view, "pleather" bench, and florist shop that is her window sill. But I guess since I have been here less than 24 hours and she's been here for 2 weeks. I can't really complain. She also has to deal more with the helicopter landing pad that seems to be right outside our window.

But, in general, life is good. I got french toast for breakfast and my baby is still in my belly. What more could I ask for, really?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

dear baby...

Mommy loves you very much and she's very excited that you're growing and that you seem to be having a lot of fun in your warm, little abode. However, as mommy IS your warm, little abode, she has a small request...

Please stop kicking her cervix. There's a whole bunch of real estate in there for you to knock around; do you HAVE to use that spot for sparring practice? I mean, truly, I know you wouldn't know this yet, but generally, people don't knock on their own front door from the inside, which is basically what you're doing. It's a good idea to leave the front door alone (its hinges are apparently pretty weak) and wait for the nice doctor people to come knocking from the outside.

How about you turn around a bit and find someplace else to get some exercise--I've heard that there's a lot of kicking room up around the ribs. It probably won't be really pleasant for mommy, but she's willing to endure a few rib kicks to avoid the fear that you're going to kick the front door in and come on sliding out too early.

Oh, and by the way, tomorrow Mommy and Daddy are going to get the chance to take a peek at you on the big ultra sound machine. Do us a favor and be your adorable, bouncing self; you put on quite a show and we're always entertained. Just keep away from the cervix!