Saturday, April 30, 2011


I'm posting a little late this time, but it's all still good here.  Thursday we hit 25 weeks and Mei-mei's blood flow is still looking good on ultrasound.  They don't check her growth as often as I'd like - the next growth scan is scheduled for early June!  I'm a bit paranoid about growth since my first son had IUGR (growth restriction).

It's been strange being "out" as pregnant now.  I kind of miss being able to keep it secret and control who knew and who didn't.  Sometimes I'm not quite sure how to respond to some of the commentary from friends and acquaintances.  The one comment that bothers me most and really chips away at my sanity is this:  "Oh, you look so small!"   Is it supposed to be a compliment?  I heard this one a lot years ago when I was pregnant with my older kids and it really bugged me then.  I was too small because they were too small!  And now after multiple losses this comment bugs me even MORE!!

Then last night I got this one - "Poor thing!  You'll have to be pregnant most of the summer!"  I just wanted to laugh.  First of all this is Minnesota, not the equator!  Being warm will be nice for a change. I would love nothing more than to be pregnant for most of the summer.  Bring on the heat - I'm thrilled to have this opportunity!  No matter how hot it gets, you'll never hear a whisper of complaint from me.

I often get asked if I'm feeling sick or having other complications.  I usually say "No, but it's a lot of stress since I'm high-risk."  Then I get the old, "Don't worry.  Just think positive and everything will be fine!"  Soooo annoying and also not true.  I was much less worried with my previous pregnancies and those babies still died.  I'm much more worried this time, but everything is looking much better!  How could anyone go through what I've been through and NOT worry?  Of course it's been hard to "be positive" about this pregnancy (though it gets easier with each week) but I resent any implication that I must see only sunshine. I feel lectured and looked down upon because my level of optimism doesn't meet expectations, when the very fact that I dared try again after so much loss AND infertility shows tremendous optimism and tenacity. I mean, give me a little credit!

Even just hearing "Congratulations!" is weird for me.  How do I respond to that?  Congratulations feel so premature.  I just say "thank you" of course, but it doesn't feel right.  Most people see a pregnant belly and just automatically assume a happy ending.  I know all too well that it doesn't always happen that way.  I can never just assume that again - not for myself or anyone else.  When people comment that I'm "expecting", I usually correct them: "Not expecting.  Hoping."

Never expect!  Only hope!  That's not wrong, to hope.  -The Joy Luck Club

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who's That Girl?

Mei-mei is now 24 weeks along.  Supposedly viable, but hopefully she'll keep baking until at least July.  Today's appointment was short and sweet.  The doctor used my favorite word: normal.  Everything is looking normal!!

Also this week I finally quit procrastinating and went to the dentist for a checkup.  Alas, one small cavity but it can wait a few more months.  I've been naughty, waiting almost a full year between checkups.  It's just that it's been so nice for a change not having any medical-type person messing with any of my orifices.

And finally, Q and I have gotten more serious about thinking of a proper name for Mei-mei  - her nickname for now means "little sister" in Chinese.  We are having trouble and could use suggestions!  I named our first daughter after my sister, so now it is Q's turn to pick a name and I am scared.  He doesn't have any he's really passionate about, but tends to like names that were popular in the 70's among our age group and I hate them all. My own name is a 70's Top Ten and I have never liked it.  My parents, who'd been sure I was a boy,  picked it last-minute after I was born.  There is no cool story or special meaning behind it and I think that is so lame.

Mei-mei has quite a story behind her existence and she needs a great name.  Here are our criteria:

* Uncommon but not weird
* At least two syllables because our last name is one syllable
* Preference for names reflecting our ancestry (Britain, Germany, Denmark) or places we've lived (Greece, Russia, China)
* In case she hates the name we choose, I want it to be something versatile that gives her several other options to choose from - short forms, nicknames, or a good middle name
* I really want Mei-mei to have a name that has special meaning reflecting the situation.  It's been a long hard fight to get here.  I can't find any names that mean "against all odds" or "from the petri dish", so maybe something meaning "joy out of sorrow", "miracle", or something similar.  Q doesn't care as much about the meaning of the name.

So far we don't have much to work with.  Here are a few names we came up with years ago, pre-losses and infertility:

Larissa - cheerful (Greek)
Lydia - from Lydia (Greek)  but this name has gotten too common for my tastes

Q's list so far:
Lorraine - from Lorraine (French)
Jana - Slavic variant of Jane, God is gracious

A's list so far:
Anastasia - resurrection (Greek)  I like this name especially for the meaning.  After much tragedy and sudden death in the family (our two baby boys and my brother) having this new life feels like a resurrection.  It can be shortened to Anya or Stacia.  It has several other diminutive forms I like less (such as Annie!) but the point is that there are lots of options for a girl with this name.

Any thoughts on our short list so far?  Other suggestions welcome!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Winner

It's my two year blogoversary and time for a giveaway! I used a random number generator to pick a winner for the pysanky, but I can't figure out how to put the graphic of the results up here like some people do for their contests.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

The winner is ... Emily, who is in need of a much BIGGER win than pysanky right now. She is remembering her son Aidan, who was born too soon one year ago (April 21).  Also she is on bed rest with ruptured membranes hoping her new baby can pull through despite a recurrence of the same perilous situation she had with Aidan.    Please make sure to stop by her blog and send her some love.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Little Sigh of Relief

Thankfully today's scan left me more reassured than last week's.  Mei-mei's measurements are right on, which is a relief.  It had been four weeks since the last measurement scan and I do worry about that.  I worry about everything!  I thought maybe I'd calm down a little bit once I got past the points where I lost the boys.  Nope.  Maybe this next week will be better since today's doctor (another new one) told us emphatically that everything is looking great with the cord.

A sidenote in response to some comments on last week's post regarding the doctor's "upper end of normal cord coiling" comment:  A cord that doesn't have coiling is very dangerous for a baby and so is a cord that has too many coils (hypercoiling).   This site has interesting ultrasound pictures and information about both extremes - look about halfway down the page.  What you want is to be in the middle on coiling.

Last week's Wisconsin getaway was fun and we had a great time with my sister and little niece.  Last year when my sister was pregnant, I gave her all my maternity clothes and baby girl clothes.  Now I am borrowing them back.  My stash was lacking in summer maternity clothes and the seasonality of my first daughter's baby clothes is off for Mei-mei.  BUT since my sister's due date last year was August 10 and mine this year is August 11, she has filled in those gaps and I don't have to buy a single thing!  How perfect is that?!

At this time last year things were looking pretty grim and they got much worse before they finally got better, but against all odds here I am 23 weeks pregnant and things are looking good!  Who'd have thunk it?  Not me, that's for sure.  Since this week is my second blogoversary and it also happens to be near Easter, I am doing a giveaway of a pysanky (Ukrainian Easter egg).  Just leave a comment and a winner will be chosen at random.  If you win, I will design and make a pysanky especially for you!  Winner will be announced on Monday, the 18th.

Here are this year's additions (others are here and here).  I find that making these is
quite calming and that's a very good thing right now!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's Amazing How Exotic Wisconsin Isn't

Mei-mei has made it to 22 weeks now.  Today's ultrasound was OK, but we didn't get any pictures because the clinic's printer is broken.  The blood flow through the cord looks good, but the doctor (one I haven't seen before) said the coiling is at "the upper end of normal".  Well, it sure doesn't take much to send me into panic mode.  To me, "upper end of normal" sounds like a very tiny step away from "your baby is going to die".  Up to now the other doctors had all just used the word "normal", some very enthusiastically.  What a difference a few words can make!  Now my stress level is up a bit higher.  Just in time for vacation, too!
No, I will not be going on any of those slides!

Tomorrow our little family is going on a quick overnight trip to a water park in exotic Wisconsin Dells to meet up with my sister and baby niece.  I shall endeavor to have fun and "just relax", even though relaxation is as unattainable during a high-risk pregnancy as it is when battling infertility.  There's just no such thing as a vacation when you're worried for your child's life, but someday I hope to go on a real vacation again.  All this death and infertility and high-risk pregnancy stress has taken a huge toll.  I really need a vacation from my problems, but there's still a long way to go before I get there.  Baby steps.  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Great Expectations

Well we did it.  We told the kids and they are excited, especially my daughter.  Since we'll never get to make an announcement like this again, I wanted it to be fun.  

I liked the scavenger hunt and T-shirt ideas, but ended up doing something different.  I'd done the T-shirt thing before and the scavenger hunt would require a trip to the baby aisle at the store.  Not quite up for it.  So ... I decided to put Mei-mei's most recent ultrasound picture in a box and wrap it up.  The kids opened it together but couldn't quite figure out what the picture was (a blender?) so I had to help them out.  "A baby!"  "What?  What baby?"  "OUR baby!"  "You're having a baby?!"

Next I brought out a tiny cake I'd made.  It had white frosting with a pink and blue question mark on top.  I told them that if the cake was blue inside then the baby is a boy and if it was pink then the baby is a girl.  My son cut into it and my daughter screamed, "It's a GIRL!!"  She is ecstatic and has been giving my belly hugs and kisses frequently ever since.  I was afraid my son would be disappointed that it's not a boy, but he is excited and plans to train his sister to be a Jedi.  He is obsessed with Star Wars right now.  He also suggested that we share our news on Facebook.  Um, NO.  I don't need to worry about announcing this pregnancy to anyone else.  The kids will see to it that everyone knows!

The kids have both been able to feel the baby kick.  My daughter was thrilled that Mei-mei started dancing when "Thriller" was played at an event we attended.  It's been nice to see some unrestrained enthusiasm about this baby, especially since I'm still only very cautiously optimistic myself.  Of course I've had to explain to the kids again why Jeremiah and Miles died and that we hope this baby will be OK.  My daughter has said a few times, "I'm so excited about my new baby sister!  I hope she doesn't die."  So sad.  I wish she didn't even have to think about that.  I wish none of us did.  Hopefully everything will continue to go well with this pregnancy so the kids' great expectations can be fulfilled.