Monday, January 30, 2006

14 weeks - I made it!

I finally made it to the second trimester! I thought I'd never get here. The other night, I had a dream that I woke up to learn that I had miscarried the day before I reached the second trimester. I was obviously upset over the unfairness of the whole thing, considering that statistically, most miscarriages occur in the first trimester. Anyway, the point is that I'm here now, and as Martha would say, that's a good thing.

P.S. Can I just say for the record that I think this baby is a girl? I could be wrong, but I'm basing it partially on the amount of stress she's already caused me! We should be able to find out four weeks from now, but I want to put it in writing in order to prove that I knew all along. Bets, anyone?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

TurboTax and Uncle Sam

Last year, we were able to proudly declare Julian on our federal tax return, since he was born alive within the calendar year. (As if mothers of stillborn babies don't feel cheated enough, the federal government acknowledges parents whose baby lived long enough to breathe at least one breath, but not those who carried a baby to term and lost him or her prior to, or even during childbirth). I obviously knew that we wouldn't be able to claim him again this year, but I didn't expect filing my taxes to be the emotional chore that it was.

I was filing our joint taxes using TurboTax last night in the kitchen while DH was cooking dinner, and one of the first questions that came up on the screen was something like "You claimed Julian as a dependent last year. Is this information accurate for this year?" I knew I would have to say no, but my only option was to click the "Delete" button to erase the entry from this year's return. DH was reading over my shoulder and asked if I was okay--he saw this coming. I thought I would be okay, but having to physically click the "Delete" button on my son's life was momentarily traumatic. I know DH was affected by it, too. A small part of me expected there to be a pop up window asking me to explain my action. But the system didn't ask, "What happened?" or "Did your child die?" or offer "I'm sorry for your loss." It just deleted Julian from its memory. Computers (and the IRS) can be downright cruel.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The verdict

I decided to go ahead and rent a doppler. I went with the Legacy display model from, based on the many recommendations I got from others. It was $123 for 3 months--a small price to pay for my peace of mind. Strangely, I feel better already, just from being able to make a decision and feeling like I have some control over something. I think three months is a sensible, not-too-OCD choice, since by that time, the baby will be big enough that I should be able to feel him or her move. (Then I will have the option to drive myself crazy with kick counts.) It should arrive on Monday or Tuesday. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

To doppler or not to doppler

I never thought I'd say this, but after this past week's episode, I am seriously considering renting a doppler. I am nervous about mentioning this to my doctor, as I have a feeling she might discourage it for fear that it will drive me crazier than I already am. (I swear I will talk to her about it, mom, don't worry!)

In the meantime, I polled the women of SPALS and received the following recommendations that may be helpful to someone else out there. If you have other recommendations, please let me know!

-9 out of 10 rent vs. own

-1 owner recommended a product by Nicolet Vascular, which can be rented from (physician Rx required)

-The following companies were recommended for rental:

-Rental fees range from $22-$49 per month. Multi-month pre-paid rentals andmonth-to-month rentals available. Most companies will apply rental feestoward the purchase of the doppler if you end up wanting to keep it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

(Not so) random acts of kindness

My husband's lovely co-worker, J, who is a regular reader of my blog, sent him home with a gift of delicious Jacques Torres chocolates to give to me, because she knew I had a trying week (thanks, J!). Of course, I was moved to tears over this simple act of kindness, generosity, and compassion, and it got me thinking about how conflicted I am at times about what kind of support I need to get through this pregnancy.

I typically don't enjoy discussing this pregnancy with most people (exceptions include my husband, my mother, my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, my doctor, my therapist, my friends who are therapists, other grieving mothers, and of course, anyone reading this), for fear that any memory of Julian will be lost in others' excitement about the new baby. On the other hand, I do appreciate emotional support, and respect for the fact that I am simultaneously grieving my first baby while looking ahead to my hopes for the next one. I'm not usually a very needy person, but hugs, chocolates, flowers, cards, and baked goods are always appreciated! :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Emotional breakdown #1

After my fun Sunday at home, peeing into a jug, I got up early and headed to the hospital for a drop-off and to get my BP checked. I was seen by a nurse rather quickly, and was very surprised to learn that my blood pressure had shot up to 140/80 since Friday when it was 120/80. However, my urine tested negative for protein, although it had tested positive on Friday. There's always something.

The nurse practitioner, who I really like, came in to talk to me and reassure me that everything was still fine, and at that point I asked if she could check the baby's heartbeat because I was getting a little freaked out, and over the weekend had worried that my symptoms were disappearing. She was so kind and could tell that I was getting worried, and said she'd check my blood pressure again, too. She spent what seemed like an eternity trying to find the baby's heartbeat. All the while, I was staring at the ceiling, thinking about how I'd have to take this week off work to schedule a D&C.

Eventually, she called in a nurse, who seemed to have a special technique, and found the heartbeat very very low on my left side after a few minutes (good thing I waxed yesterday!). They both seemed very relieved and reached to comfort me, at which point I had my first major emotional breakdown of this pregnancy. I had my blood pressure taken again a few minutes later and it had gone down to 128/80.

The nurse practitioner rubbed my back and reassured me again that things were okay, and confirmed that yes, this pregnancy is going to be full of these ups and downs, that every test is going to cause my level of anxiety to go up, and that it will basically feel like the longest 9 months of my life.

UPDATE, 12:30pm

Just got a call from the nurse practitioner with the official results of my early risk assessement for Down's and Trisomies 13 and 18. And the results are: 1/10,000--as good as it gets.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


After a protein-in-my-urine scare at my 12 week check-up on Friday, I got sent home with a huge jug labeled "24 Hour Urine Collection Kit" and "Biohazard" to fill over the weekend. That was fun to bring home on the bus. Because I had pre-eclampsia (pregnancy induced hypertension) during the last few days of my pregnancy with Julian, probably related to polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid), my doctor is being extra cautious. Protein in the urine this early is likely a fluke, thus the need for a 24 hour sample to rule out anything scary. Even knowing that she is just being cautious, and this is why I am seeing a high risk OB, it is still scary. Tomorrow will be my third visit to the hospital in a week and I am only 13 weeks. Maybe I should love the attention, and it will all hopefully be worth it in the end, but its tough to have this pregnancy treated like a serious medical condition, compared with my blissfully ignorant pregnancy with Julian. On a positive note, I did get to hear the baby's heartbeat on the Doppler on Friday, which was surprisingly easy to find and was in the 150s. I'm going to ask the nurse to listen again tomorrow when I drop off my jug-o-pee.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Something else to check off the list

The screening went well today, despite the typical 1 hour long wait, followed by 45 minutes of being poked and prodded, then finally a blood draw. Nuchal fold measurements of my uncooperative, Mexican jumping bean of a baby were taken via abdominal ultrasound by a technician, who then decided that she needed to do a vaginal ultrasound to get a better picture since I am "thick" (thankfully, she did not use the word, "fat"). Eventually she called in a doctor (never a comforting sign), who was a little more confident in his poking and prodding, and concurred with her measurements. It's good that he was there, actually, because he was able to assure me that the measurement was normal, and not indicative of Down's, which the technician wouldn't have been able to speak to, either way. Luckily, I didn't feel the need to vomit until I was on my way out of the hospital. Success!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

12 week update

Well, I'm feeling a little better since my last post, probably due to a combination of the following:

  1. extra 25mg of crazy pills
  2. acupuncture treatment for anxiety and morning sickness
  3. bigger belly = evidence of a growing baby + passage of time (can you tell I am impatient?)
  4. no more holidays or anniversaries for a while, no more 2005 ever
  5. attempts to focus on the supports I do have, rather than those who have disappointed me
  6. realization that I have the choice not to tell anyone about this pregnancy until they absolutely need to know, which will probably have the bonus effect of making the pregnancy seem shorter since I will have less time to worry about potentially idiotic/unhelpful/hurtful comments/questions/advice

I have my FASTER (First and Second Trimester Evaluation of Risk) screening for Down's Syndrome and other aneuploidies tomorrow (also known as a nuchal translucency test). Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Like a Calgon commercial

I have been feeling very stressed and grouchy since returning from vacation last week. I'm sure a lot of it is hormonal, but I also have this strong desire to go into hibernation for the next 7 months, to avoid everyone and everything until I wake up with a baby in my arms. What's keeping me sane is knowing that I get to start seeing Janine, my acupuncturist, again next week. She and the treatments really help take the edge off. I got a message from her during the holidays, checking in to see how I was doing and how my appointment with my new OB went (the new doc is great, by the way). I spoke to Janine today, and she was genuinely excited to hear from me and to know that things are going well so far. She is so kind to me that it makes me cry. When I was seeing her when I was trying to get pregnant, I completely fell in love with her and truly felt that she was the only person on the face of the earth who was making any attempt to help me whatsoever. (That's not really true, but I was feeling dramatic.) The fact that her magic needles and calming presence actually worked make me love her all the more.