Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Can See the Grass!

One morning I heard a big commotion coming from the living room.  It was my kids running around and shouting joyfully "I can see the grass!  I can see the grass!!".  It's a BIG deal here when the ground is finally visible again after five or six months under ice and snow.  We started seeing the grass a couple of weeks ago, but then we got another big snow storm.  Now that snow is melting and we can see the grass again.   There's hope that spring may finally come, bringing new life and sunshine

It's been a long dark winter for me since losing Jeremiah more than four years ago.  Every time I dared hope the storms would stop and spring would come, another storm came and buried me.  But today, with Mei-mei still alive and kicking at 21 weeks, I can see a little grass peeking through the snow.  She has now lived longer than both Miles and Jeremiah.  Maybe there really is hope for new life and an end to this long dark winter.  Of course I remain very fearful of getting snowed under again.  It will be awhile yet before I dare believe that this seemingly interminable winter really will end, but today I have a little hope because I can see the grass!

Next up:  Telling the kids about their little sister.  They are 6 and almost 8.  They will be thrilled, but I'm just petrified that something will go wrong again and that I won't be able to deliver what we're all hoping for so much.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mere Insanity

Twenty weeks today!  The ultrasound looked good and the doctor was quite enthusiastic about how the cord is looking.  With each passing week there is more hope that this will be a cord that giveth and not a cord that taketh away.

Still, there are scary moments, especially in the mornings.  According to Dr. Collins, when babies die it more often occurs at night, perhaps because of changes in maternal blood pressure.  Just one more thing to worry about.  I go to bed quite late and then wake up too early in a cold sweat, though sometimes I can get back to sleep after confirming that Mei-mei is still alive.  Will I actually end up sleeping better if I have a demanding nocturnal newborn?  I hope to find out!

March has been very hard and there's still another week to go.  Thus far I have managed to avoid going insane.  This is largely thanks to my Doppler, the weekly peeks at Mei-mei, and reassurance from my doctors that the cord is looking fine so far.

It also helps that I'm taking a break from dealing with my mother.  Back in February I told her that I won't speak to her again until April at the soonest because I just don't need the extra stress.  It's horrible to say, but letting go of that deeply shallow relationship has been a joy and I don't relish the thought of discussing the weather with her again come April.  Just hearing updates from my siblings about the goings-on and insanity back at the homestead is all I can handle.  This week's episode:

Mom's hoarding reaches a new low when she rescues 17 pounds of long-expired and partially liquified cheddar cheese from the dumpster after a brave family member threw it out.  Brother tries to perform an exorcism on the cat, not realizing that demons cannot be cast out of cats because cats are demons.

Some of THE cheese.  Yes, really.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walk the Line

I'm still very much in the Danger Zone with this pregnancy as I've noticed my losses and other women's similar losses tend to cluster right around the 19-20 week mark.  Today's ultrasound was very thorough.  Mei-mei's measurements are right on and the cord is looking good.  We confirmed that she is indeed a girl, which is good because I already gave all my boy clothes to my new twin nephews!  :)   Also we learned that Mei-mei has none of the markers that would indicate Down Syndrome or other chromosomal defects.

With each ultrasound that looks OK, it gets harder and harder to maintain the necessary balance between optimism and pessimism.  It's difficult to walk that line and not fall off painfully on either side of it when I'd love nothing more than to be over-the-moon happy about my baby girl.  But I just don't dare and probably won't dare until the day when (hopefully) she's in my arms alive.

Have you ever played that game "Baby If You Love Me, Smile"?  One person says that to another person and tries to get them to smile.  If they do smile or laugh then they are out.  That pretty much sums up how I feel about this pregnancy - like the moment I dare to just be outright joyful about it she will be snatched away from me.  So I'm doing my best to stick with a straight line for now.  Besides, people will get suspicious if I go around with a big grin on my face after being depressed for years.

It's been a good week overall and I'm glad to be past the 18w5d mark where Miles was born still.  Next big milestone: Jeremiah's 21 week mark.  My daughter's birthday party last weekend went very well.  On Sunday I even made her the big birthday dinner that she wanted - cream cheese wontons, lemon chicken, ham-fried rice, stir-fried veggies, AND chocolate cake made from scratch.  I really am amazingly functional sometimes!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Delightfully Dull

I just love boring doctor visits. Eighteen weeks today and the ultrasound looked good.  I'm feeling movement more often now, which is very encouraging.  She's kicking me right now and I love it!  I don't remember Miles moving so much.  He was born still at 18w5d and I think he actually died at either 18w0d or 18w1d.  Of course it's a very anxious time right now, but it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be.  I was fearing worse at this point - heart palpitations, chest pain, and paralyzing terror like I've had in the past.  So far, nothing like that :)  Still, it's plenty stressful, especially in the mornings.  I can barely function until I feel some serious movement or check with the doppler to make sure she's still alive. Please keep those prayers coming - our little Mei-mei just has to make it.

I am praying that this little girl is born nowhere near March!  My first daughter was born in March, so despite my plan to do nothing extra this month, we are having a party at our house this Saturday with all her school friends.  She was promised a party long before I got pregnant and realized March would be a scary month.  So I'll have lots of six-year-old girls here doing makeovers on each other, making flower arrangements, and loading up on sugar.  Hopefully it will all go off beautifully.  I wish I were a few weeks further along so I could tell Tania our good news for her birthday, but I'm still hoping for three more weeks of consistently good appointments before breaking the news.  If we can make it to that day we'll have another great reason to have a party!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Concealed Carry

Another week, another ultrasound.  This time it was quick. We got lots of cord pics and even remembered to get one of the baby this time!  According to the ultrasound tech, the perinatologist, and Dr. Collins, the cord is looking okay thus far.  This does not make my anxiety level go down (I have to make it through March for that to happen!) but it does prevent it from going further up, which is really the best I can hope for right now.

So far I've been quite happy with the clinic I go to.  The nurses are really nice, the sonographer has actually gone to Dr. Collin's website to learn more about cord issues, and the doctors take my concerns seriously, so I haven't had to visit Doctor Dammit.

Now at 17 weeks it's getting harder to hide my bump.  And I hate hiding it after fighting so hard to get it, but it seems necessary for the kids' sake.  I'm just hoping and praying to make it to April and beyond.  I looked at a few websites for ideas on how to pull off a concealed carry.  Several suggest showing a little leg or some cleavage to draw attention away from the thick waistline.  Conceal being knocked up by drawing attention to the knockers?  I don't think so.  Sure they're real and they're spectacular, but that's not my style.  Here are a few of my strategies:

Coats, jackets, and bulky sweaters - good thing I live in a cold place and it's winter!

Button-up shirts, preferably with vertical patterns:

Props - For example, at church I use a songbook or bag to cover my belly from view:

For reference, here's what I'm hiding:

A few months back I put a "Labels" section in my sidebar, but hadn't looked at it in awhile.  Now "pregnancy" has moved from the bottom of the list up to the second row!  Keep growing "pregnancy" - come out on top of infertility and IVF!!  I regret that "amusing pictures" and "attempts at humor" haven't been appearing much lately.  All this stress has made me completely lose my sense of humor. A painful loss.  Hopefully it'll come back soon.  Until then, thanks for sticking with me through a very tough time!