Friday, June 27, 2008

The Ute Drama Continues..... (pg ment)

It has been a rough week. I have spent most of the last three days on the phone with various nurse practitioners, schedulers and other generally rude staff. WARNING - THIS IS A BORING AND SOMEWHAT INCOMPREHENSIBLE RANT ABOUT HOW I HATE THE MEDICAL SYSTEM. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

See, I had my cervical check last week. The Peri told me all was good and to have it checked again at my 20 week scan (4 weeks later.) After consulting with the wise ladies on the MA boards, it was advised that I push for a check every two weeks - that 4 weeks was too much time for dramatic shortening or funneling to occur. So I called the Peri and made the request. They said, call your OB and get another referral. OB said, "we talked to the Peri and the Peri says no" - NO MORE CHECKS FOR YOU!

By now I am hysterical. I talk with the nurse practitioner at the OB. She is kind, reassuring and tells me if it will give me piece of mind then I can have the check. She talks to the referral coordinator. The referral coordinator goes back to the Peri and the Peri says - NO MORE CHECKS FOR YOU! The kind nurse practitioner calls me back with her tail between her legs to relay the message. She says my last option is to talk to the Peri myself.

So I call Maternal Fetal Medicine and leave a message with their nurse practitioner. She calls me back and tells me the the Peri is not in the office (ummm, so who is telling a fib? Cuz my OB claims to have "spoken" to him). Perhaps by speaking to him they mean they read the report. This nurse practitioner, as kind as the first, tells me to go ahead and call the scheduler and make the appointment. She wants me to feel comfortable. I am finally, after two days, somewhat relieved. I call the scheduler. The only appointment she can give me is a mere 4 DAYS prior to my anatomy scan??? What is the use? I went through all of that to get in there 4 days sooner? AAAAHHHHHH!

In the midst of all this I am frantically calling all over for recommendations for a new practice - both OB and Peri. If this is how they treat their patients, then I am not so sure I want them near my cooch when that kid comes flying out. With each phone call to a new OB I am met with a variety of disappointing results. First issue is that all roads lead back to this same Peri. Seems no matter what OB I go to they all send you to this douche-bag. So that leads me to believe I need to go to a different hospital system. I thought I was at the best in the city? The other problem is that there either a 6 week wait for an appointment pretty much everywhere, or, practices are not accepting patients at all.

In the end I find a GREAT new practice in a suburban hospital. Yes, it is a 30 minute drive, but it is only 10 minutes from my work - so not entirely inconvenient. The staff was hell-a-awesome - spending time with me on the phone, listening to my concerns and squeezing me in in 2 weeks even though they are booked 6 weeks in advance too! I think what sealed the deal was that I asked, "What is going on, why is everyone so booked - like, everywhere." Seems the glorious state of Pennsylvania (or Pennsyltucky if you prefer) is in the midst of an OB crisis. Doctors are leaving the state at an alarming rate because the malpractice insurance here is so high. So basically, they are being forced out. Practices are closing, even whole maternity wards are shutting down. As a result, every damn pregnant women in the state is trying to jam into the same shortened list of practices - over-stretching their time and resource. No wonder why that douche-bag Peri told me to buzz off. He doesn't have the time or staff to manage the onslaught of knocked-up-ed-ness.

Health care in this country is in a deplorable state. I guess what I learned is if you live in Philly, plan to have your kid on the other side of the bridge. New Jersey. The obstetrical land of promise. Besides, all of the doctors who used to practice here just moved over there...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some writing about "nature" and fertility/pregnancy/birth - and the loss of friendships

It has been difficult for me to write for some time. Well, I can write, I just don't feel like my writing is compelling, or interesting, or well thought out. I am not sure if it ever was, but I would like to think so. So instead of trying to stumble through actually "thinking" through a post, I thought I would instead point to a few recent posts by others that do a great job summing up much of what I have been feeling.

G at Makes us Stronger seems to get right to what I am thinking, at the very moment I am thinking it. I think we share a somewhat "salty" look on life, with a vein of skepticism hidden just under the surface of our thick skins. To me, this outlook is not gloomy, just realistic.

G wrote this week:
"I need my husband, but I am shutting out a lot of other people. I was just beginning to let them back in, but now in anger and resentment, I push them away again. I keep thinking, it's ok G, do what you have to to get through this... when you get pregnant, you can let them all back in."
The problem for me is I am pregnant and I still don't want to let anyone back in. Nearly all of the friends the I have placed on involuntary hiatus have had babies in the interim. I am uncomfortable meeting their children, in most cases because their babies are the same age mine should be - it just takes me back to the land of loss. I need to be past that pain, but it always creeps back in. So I stay away. I isolate.

The other reason I have yet to reopen my former friendships is because now that they have all had babies, they want to slather me with advise. But the thing is, my pregnancy will never resemble anything close to theirs. My experience getting pregnant and staying pregnant is so vastly different that their advise feel useless to me. In some ways I even resent their attempts to assimilate. I know it is a cocky attitude, But I just want to be left alone. I am quite capable of finding a doctor, a midwife, a doula, on my own. And when I am in need of advise I have the support of bloggers and MA forum posters who know exactly how I am feeling. I have friends online who know all about the anxiety of an ultrasound, how long a cervix should be and how to prepare me for a cerclage. I know women who can advise me about the statistics and risks specific to my kind of pregnancy. I don't really want advise from someone with a "run-of-the-mill" uterus. Cuz that ain't me.

So in the end, I wonder if my friendships will ever recover, if I will ever let anyone back in. For now, I am keeping up the walls.

The other post I wanted to highlight is by a woman who is a new member to the Mullerian Anomalies Yahoo group that I belong. She shared this post with the group in a moment of thanks for the groups very existence - that she might find support and like minds there. Having once been a new member of the MA group, I know what a relief it is to find out that there are other women just like you.

Anomalies aside, she writes eloquently about her experience of birthing her son, and her earlier preconceptions about "natural" conception, pregnancy and birth. To set up the post, a midwife in training was participating in the discussion with women who all have uterine anomalies. Here is a tidbit, but go over and read it for yourself (the post is titled "Mullerian Anomalies and Me"): (or cut and paste this - )
"So this midwife-in-training believed that many of the women in the group had fallen sway to the politics of fear, and given their power over to surgeons as they cut their bellies instead of pushing harder for vaginal births. She spoke in the way I might have once, as a young woman with strong beliefs but not enough experience to know that every choice comes with far more gray than black or white.

Her words opened a crevasse of feelings stuffed beneath the glacial terrain of conception, pregnancy and childbirth--and my fellow group members wrote and wrote and wrote about our realities as women whose dreams for natural childbirth were shattered by the inability to conceive, multiple miscarriages, months in the NICU, and the burial of babies, as the rest of the world goes on as if it wasn’t just turned upside down. As if our hearts weren’t ripped from our chests. As if anything is still natural.

Why are women so quick to judge other women when it comes to conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting? Why do we fall into different camps, pointing fingers, shoving statistics at each other, when it’s obvious there is no right way for a baby to arrive."
So freaking right on! I am not going to be bullied by anyone into a homebirth, or even the use of a midwife over an OB. My uterus is not normal. That I know. Yes, I long for an un-medicated, vaginal birth. And I will do everything in my power to have that experience. But I am not foolish enough to think that I don't need the guidance of western medicine. I won't risk the health of my unborn baby for some foolish idea of what childbirth is "supposed" to be. If there is one thing I learned real fast, it's that everything you thought you knew about pregnancy and childbirth is a load of mythical shit. Some people will have that picture perfect pregnancy and that picture perfect birth. The rest of us will get burned repeatedly and learn to trust that western medicine is not the evil beast we were told.

Everything in moderation.
Everything in moderation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cervix, Check!

First off, big news. I have a cervix. I also seem to have a cervix, that unlike my uterus, is behaving itself. 36.7 was the measurement (or was it 3.6?). All I know was it needed to be above 2.5 and it was (or was it 25). I think it is a cm to mm thing that I am lost on here... So I won't have to go back for another check till my big anatomy scan on July 16.

Also got to have a look at the little yumper. Bugger was dancing around like a crazy spaz. Even did a little flip for me (show-off). You could see all of the bones and the spine! Crazy! The tech was really awesome, talkative and reassuring. I also saw a new Doctor (MFM - Specialist) - he was also really cool. Very direct, matter of fact, but also kind.

I was assured that pregnancy will produce a whole host of strange cramping that I should not worry too much about unless it is severe, sustained and/or accompanied by blood. I forgot to ask about the evening backaches. I think I will have to start writing questions across my forehead if I actually want them answered. But I feel better for today.

I did have a little bit of the "other" me appear in the office. There was a woman who came in with her husband for their big scan. She was just gushing with excitement to find out the gender, and telling anyone in the waiting room who would listen. Thing is, that office is an OB office, but it is also an office for patients at high risk. The majority of the patients who are seen there are seen under somewhat stressful conditions. There I sat, once again nervous at what the ultrasound would see, and I have to tolerate this woman, who is just oozing all over the place. I am a big fan of being reserved. And doctors offices are serious places, where not every visit is full of joy. My road to pregnancy has been relatively easy compared to many, and I am still so effected by this.

I also joined a local "mommy-like" forum yesterday at the recommendation of my boss, who I finally had to tell I was pg because she was preparing the fall contracts. I signed up for the forum and headed to the "pregnancy" boards. I was shocked - although I should not have been - by these women who were freaking out because they had been trying to get pregnant for three months and were not successful yet. My biggest irritation was that they had not done any research, were not charting, were not using OPK's, were not doing anything. Yes, it is normal to worry, especially when you have been told you'll catch pregnancy like the common cold. But these people need to do their homework! Don't go getting your panties in a bunch if you have not even been properly monitoring your cycles! Ugh. I am not too sure I will be going back to that site. There is just something about the way that fertile folks write about their experiences that really rubs me the wrong way. I can not blame people entirely for their ignorance - we all avoid subjects that make us uncomfortable. But there is a certain inevitability in their tone that I just can not stomach.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

As old feeling creep back in.

We saw some old friends this weekend. One couple have a four month old - having gotten pregnant just weeks after my first miscarriage. I sobbed (I mean sobbed) for hours after their announcement at a mere 6 weeks. I was surprised at how well I handled meeting the new baby. It was their baby, not mine. But I did have a few little flashbacks - remembering how we were in the midst of skim-coating the front room on a hot July day when their call came in to tell us about the "peanut." I remembered running up to the bathroom and hovering over the toilet, about to puke. I remembered crying so hard that I could not catch my breath. I remembered how much it hurts to hear others good news. I realized that my own good fortune brings others pain - and I hate that.

But we also had to go through the awkward moment of breaking the news. We have been timidly telling people in a kind of scattered way. We announce to those we feel comfortable with and keep in the closet with the rest. I told DH, because these friends are really his, not mine, that it was his job to tell all. I was nervous, I blushed, after he spilled it. Then I shakily shared the remainder of the saga consisting of miscarriages and surgeries. People don't really want to hear that part of the story, nor do they know how to react, but it is important for me that people know. I want them to be prepared if something goes wrong, I want them to know if they ever encounter similar problems that they can call us - that we will understand.

Everyone seemed excited, except for me - sitting in the corner feeling like a freak under a microscope. The one couple, who does not have children, made me the most nervous. The man-part of said couple REALLY is ready for procreation. I don't know if they are trying, but if they are and are having trouble, then I worry that our news might hurt them. Even if they are not trying, I know D. so desperately wants kids that our news is probably met with a tinge of sadness. It tears me to shreds to think that our situation would ever hit someone in the same way that the onslaught of announcements has hurt us. But it just is what it is.

The other "old feeling" I am getting reacquainted with is paranoia. On Sunday night my belly was busting out. For the first time I looked a little pregnant - not just like I had been soaking myself in beer for the last 3 months. But yesterday, my belly seemed to shrink a bit. It also feels a tinge softer. I had a hard time sleeping, waking up periodically to worry and wondering if anyone I know owns a doppler. I guess it is normal to be bloated or not. I guess the position of the fetus also effects the appearance of the belly. Either way, I am one paranoid biatch. I keep asking DH, "Are you sure it doesn't look smaller?" Time will tell. I have a cervical check on Thursday in which I will bring a fresh $20 bill to slip the tech for a peek at the roomie. I am not sure if they are all business and will only check the cervix, but it seems like if you are down there already you could at least give me a peek. Been a long time since I seen my old friend the dild0-cam. Good times.

Sunday, the same day I was also looking big, I had a few hours worth of sporadic and worrisome twinges. I am getting used to recognizing the round ligament pains, but these pains were more central - radiating from the bellybutton down with a shooting feeling. I also has some pains low down in my groin. Again - totally paranoid. I am assuming this is the nature of an organ that must stretch - but every little thing has me worried this week. I was on a kind of worry honeymoon after the NT scan results. But now I am developing a whole new set of things to obsess over.

We are off to my folks for 2 days and a night. DH has volunteered to help my dad replace the deck surrounding the pool (what a guy!!!) We'll be sleeping in the motor-home in the backyard. Unfortunately it is the closest thing to a "vacation" we will be getting this summer.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The fruit of my loins and the fruit of my backyard

I never posted any of the most recent pictures of the roomie. After a very active scan (bouncing around like a jumping bean) the roomie has accumulated yet another name - "the little yumper" (think "jumper" with a spanish accent.)

I have also posted pictures of some of my plants. My garden is going crazy this year! The bulk of my lily's are currently in bloom and it is so exciting to go outside to water every morning and see what else is bursting out with color. I am realizing now that I have too much yellow and orange though. I am not a big fan of purple but I think it would add a nice contrast... Oh, and my window boxes are thriving too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We are in the clear..... I think (weather-wise and pregnancy-wise)

It has been a really long time since I posted. It may be easiest to sum up my absence in a list or reasons why:

1. The dreadful heat wave that pounded the east coast this week sent me into exile at my mother's house in the country. I hate the sun and the heat more than anything - and our house is impossible to keep cool in a bad heat wave like this one. So off to the farm with me to get home cooked meals, to lounge in the AC and to laze by the pool with my sisters rugrats.

2. I was waiting, for what seemed like forever, for the results from my NT scan. I guess my blood work came back looking good because the roomie is a low risk for all genetic and neural tube defects. (Phew) I was too scared to post, scared I work myself up into some neurotic frenzy.

3. Did I mention it was hot as HELL here! Can't do anything in the heat. No moving, no typing, no thinking. Just seeking out AC and eating cold things.

So at 14 weeks and 5 days, it is finally getting a little hard to disguise my growing tummy. I am living in the same 5 dresses all the time - to stay cool, but also because I seem to HATE having anything binding my belly at all. The striped dress in this weeks picture is one I made while living in Berlin about three years ago (when I used to be cool and travel instead of constantly spending money on our pathetic house.) In the end, I think I still look more like I have a beer gut, but I don't care. My body will be what it will be and people can look at it any way they want. I am pretty ok with a beer gut. Kinda funny really.

My mother took me shopping for fabric for a few more dresses she is making me. These two are actual maternity dresses, so I may not really need them for a while yet. The women at the fabric store wanted to grill me with lots of pregnancy questions: How far along are you? Are you excited? etc. I am afraid, having had issues with pregnancy or not, I am not very good at all of this. I have never been very girly, have never felt comfortable "sharing" with strangers, and even more so now, I am still scared to be joyous about my condition. So when an inquiry was made into my "excitement" I just kind of stammered... "um, yes, excited, um, yes." If I would have been honest I would have said, "Well I am relieved everyday that I am still pregnant, because I have had miscarriages before and they scared the hell out of me. And yes, some days I might even verge on excitement. But mostly I am still timid and scared. But I am an trying to enjoy it. Because for now, everything seems to be ok."

But do people really want you to answer honestly? I don't think so.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Meme (tagged)

Jenn was kind enough to tag me with a really cool meme to distract me from my worries. thanks... Here goes.

My six word memoir:
Salty Punkt: scattered master of none
Punkt - German for point
and yes, I have a tattoo of the Morton's Salt Girl on my back.

So I am tagging Meg, Mrs. X, and Freyja (I cut my blog reading teeth on her blog - I think she is salty too:), G (who I give permission to "write" her memoir as an image), and of course Sara (hopefully something to occupy you while you couch surf)!!!

The meme originated over an idea that was prompted by the book written by Larry Smith & Rachel Fershleiser, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. It's a compilation based on the story that Hemingway once bet ten dollars that he could sum up his life in six words. His words were, "For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn."
1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogsphere
4. Tag 5 more blogs with links
5. Don't forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play

Monday, June 2, 2008

At this very moment + NT scan

DH is edging the garden in brick. I am sitting under the shade of our 1950's awning with laptop in hand - searching the web for some idea of what my NT scan means. (image is mirrored)

About a week ago I started feeling nervous about the scan, wondering if it would just cause more worry. But I have been having enough trouble that I wanted another look at the roomie. Today, the little squirrel was wiggling all over like crazy. We even saw him/her putting his/her hand up to her mouth. It felt good.

Then the doc came in and dropped the "in the normal range but on the high side" on me. I have to wait for the blood work to process and all factors to be taken into consideration - but I am already a little antsy. I am also concerned that no one ever really dated my pregnancy with any accuracy - and I wonder if that effects the results. Anyhow, I should hear from the genetics counselor later in the week.

If anyone knows any good online resources (other than those easily g00gled) for understanding results - that would be helpful. I am 13w2d and the NT measurement was 2.1mm. I have read that 2.5 and below is normal and in another article, 3.0. Well see.

Greedy babymama. I just had to have another look. Arg.


This seems to be the most pointed estimate I can find. "An NT measurement of up to 2.0mm is normal at about 11 weeks, and up to about 2.8mm by 13 weeks and 6 days." Meaning the Doc was right. I am within normal, but on the high end. The other thing I learned is that the NT fold increases with gestational age. I had my scan 4 days before the cut off. That means my due date needs to be accurate. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that my bloodwork looks super and swings my risk in the right direction...

Pink Rose thriple whammy!

About two weeks ago Sara and Scarred Bellybutton bestowed upon me the Pink Rose Award. I had been out of town, then busy, then out of town again and just couldn't get to my nominations. I have been thinking about it and decided to give Jenn the Pink Rose X three. She gets all my votes! That's right. I am putting all my eggs in one basket.


Well, first off, Jenn and I share a city and there is something about the geography of knowing she is near that makes me love to read her words. But more than anything, it is for her strength, even if she sometimes can not see it herself. She manages to to stay sane under insane circumstances, she picks herself up every month and finds the strength to persist. She is also super cool - and artist/designer like myself.

The team is behind you Jenn. Fall back when ever you need.


Here’s what to do:
1. On your blog, copy and paste the award, these rules, a link back to the person who selected you, and a link to this post: You will find the story behind the Pink Rose Award and other graphics to choose from there.
2. Select as many award recipients as you would like, link to their blogs (if they have one), and explain why you have chosen them.
3. Let them know that you have selected them for an award by commenting on one of their posts.
4. If you are selected, pass it on by giving the Pink Rose Award to others.
5. If you find that someone you want to nominate has already been selected by someone else, you can still honor them by posting a comment on their award post stating your reasons for wishing to grant them the award.
6. You do not have to wait until someone nominates you to nominate someone else.