Saturday, July 10, 2010

THIS is why it's not a baby until it comes out:

Because you can have a biophysical profile at 39 weeks that shows everything is going just the way it should, that you have a happy, healthy fetus, and then two days later -- with no warning, with no indications, with no reason -- you have a stillborn.

Because of my abnormal AFP screen in the first trimester, my OB has warned us that we are at a higher risk for something going wrong (read: stillbirth). This is why I'm getting a sonogram at every appointment, to make sure the fetus is moving the way he should, his heart is beating the way it should, that he's drink-breathing his amniotic fluid (and his pee) the way he should, etc. If he starts to get lazy, lethargic, or his little fetus organs don't look as active as they should, she'll want to induce labor (or go for a C-section) to get the fetus out and fix him.

Just what every pregnant mom wants to hear, right? "Hey, by the way... that baby you thought you were having? Yeah, he's likely to die, for no reason at all, before he's even born. No, we don't know what causes it. No, we don't know how to prevent it. We just know to tell you about it so you can spend the next three four months freaking out."

At our appointment Tuesday, our OB shared the above story. It happened to one of her partner's clients, just the week before.

I'm feeling better now (our appointment was Tuesday morning -- and, of course, this was the first appointment where I only took a half-day off work, same for Freddy. I really needed time to sit with him, talk about all this... but no. Had to rush to work from the doctor's office, without even time for a quick lunch); have had time to process all this and accept it. Sort of.

It's beyond infuriating that I have absolutely no control over this. I do everything I'm supposed to do. I eat good things, have severely limited my intake of processed crap, eat organic fruits and vegetables, don't eat fried crap. I rest, don't exert myself physically (picking up heavy items, etc.), listen to my body when it's tired. I've modified my lifestyle to accommodate this fetus. And now he's going to quit on me for no reason? Make me go through all this, just to wait until the last minute to die for no reason? WTF, fetus??

Now, statistically, the most likely possibility is that everything turns out fine and all this worrying is for nothing. But there's no way of knowing that. There are ways of knowing it's NOT going to be fine (if the biophysical profile comes back with poor results), but even as "good" BPP can't say that everything will be hunky-dory.

Freddy and I both had to go back to work after this appointment (the first time neither one of us took the whole day off -- I had to rush to work from the doctor's office, didn't even have time to eat lunch. Of course, this was also the day we'd done the glucose test, so I'd had nothing to eat all morning except for two hard-boiled eggs and a super-charged artificial-sugar drink), so we had no time to sit and talk about the news.

(It wasn't truly news-news, since we'd already talked at our last appointment about the need for monthly screens until 32 weeks, then weekly screens, to make sure everything was "okay." But when you throw the word "stillborn" in there, especially right after "perfectly normal screen," it changes things a little.)

Freddy and I had started calling Troy Emmitt by his real name, Blanky McBlank, when it was just the two of us. We used his real name when talking about him inside my belly, when talking about his nursery, when talking about what he'd be like when he grew up. We'd started talking about him as if he were a 100% guaranteed, real baby.

I know there's never a guarantee. Even if he's born, he could die of SIDS in the first few weeks after birth. He could catch some easily-preventable disease at the doctor's office, from some kid who's parents believe Jenny McCarthy's crap and decided not to vaccinate their kids. We could get in a car wreck on the way home from the hospital, or on the way to the grocery store, or on the way to daycare. He could get leukemia. There's a bazillion things that could happen.

But in each and every one of those scenarios, before that death happens, I have a baby to have and to hold. I can see his face, look into his eyes, hold him, hug him, SEE HIM before he's gone. I have something before he dies.

When we got home from work that day, I told Freddy, "I want to go back to calling him Troy Emmitt."

Freddy paused for a second, then said, "Okay."

I was going to explain -- I had my speech all rehearsed. But I didn't need to.

"No, I know," he said. "You know it's going to be okay, right?"

"Yes, I know."

Except we don't. But that's okay.

I can deal with losing Troy Emmitt. I know he's going to go away, eventually -- when he becomes Blanky McBlank. But I can't deal with losing Blanky McBlank before I even get a chance to meet him.

This is why it's not "a baby" until it comes out. Because too many things can happen before the fetus finishes doing it's thing. Too many -- wanted -- fetuses never become babies.

This doesn't mean the loss of a wanted fetus is not a terrible, horrible loss -- please don't be that naive or ignorant.

This means that there is a significant difference between a fetus developing inside a woman's uterus, and a baby living outside of it.

Monday, July 05, 2010

How is your pregnancy going?

It's going really well. Most of the time.

(Like, the other day, when I was driving home from work and stopped at the green light because my #preggo brain thought it was a four-way stop . Because on my way TO work the first intersection after I exit the freeway has a four-way stop sign, so of course the first intersection after I exit the freeway on my way home FROM work would be the same, right? Clearly.)

I have resigned myself to the fact that I need to write everything down, because if I don't, it didn't happen. Kind of like the dude in Memento (but I use Post-Its instead of tattoos. Can't find a decent tattoo artist at work).

I have had an extremely easy pregnancy (so far). My 24-hour sickness in the first trimester was mild; I was very picky about what I wanted to eat, but I could eat, and as long as I was munching on something throughout the day I was fine.

Freddy works at a health-food grocery store, so I have access to all sorts of healthy, organic goodies daily. He texts me before he leaves work asking me what I want to eat. And he does all the cooking (and all the cleaning, and all the laundry, and all the cat-duties...) because he is, pretty much, the Bestest Hubby And Dad-To-Be In The World.

(Seriously: I come home from work, sit on the couch, get waited on hand-and-foot, and after I pass out around 9:30 he gently wakes me up and takes me to bed. Once I get home from work, I do NOTHING.)

Troy Emmitt has been kicking healthily, but he likes to give me a few good kicks, so I make Freddy stop what he's doing to come over and feel them, and then Troy Emmitt stops. But Freddy has gotten to feel a few of them... and you should see how his face lights up when he feels those little kicks.

I also have an extremely accommodating job where I sit most of the day, so I don't have to worry about overdoing it physically or straining myself. I cannot imagine how miserable I'd be (and how stressed and unhealthy Troy Emmitt and I would be) if I were still in the classroom, teaching full-time, dealing with parents and administrators and grades and all that blah-blah...

Tomorrow we have our 24-week appointment, where I get to drink the glucose stuff to test for gestational diabetes. I'm either going to ace the test or fail it miserably... but I've been really good about getting my sugar from natural sources, so I should do well. My body's so used to processing massive amounts of sugar, I'm probably going to metabolize (or whatever you do with it) all that glucose in half the alloted time. (How does that glucose mixture compare to a bag of cotton candy, washed down with regular Coke? Anybody have stats on that?)

Last week Freddy and I started our Bradley childbirth classes, so I've been doing my exercises and counting my protein intake. I thought I was doing really well nutrition-wise, eating 65-75 grams of protein a day. Well, according to Dr. Bradley, I should be getting 80-100 grams of protein a day. EIGHTY to ONE HUNDRED grams of protein A DAY.

They give you this little chart to fill out, and though it looks a little intimidating at first, I've actually done well so far. I just have to make sure I eat, the right things, pretty much all day long.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to eat some hard-boiled eggs and get back to reading NATURAL CHILDBIRTH THE BRADLEY WAY.

Ask, and Criss shall answer.

It [was] my birthday! Wanna give me some water? @mycharitywater

I'm really bad at this... this is the second mycharity: water campaign I've started and then forgotten to advertise...

So, belated, but here it is! I turned 33 on Saturday. I have lots of stuff, including a PUR water filter attached to our kitchen faucet, so I can have extra-clean purified drinking water whenever I want. Talk about privileged.

I whine about having to walk down the hall and around the corner to get to the water fountain at work, to fill up my water bottle. There are people who have to walk miles to get to any water, and it's not even clean or fit for drinking.

So, instead of asking for stuff for me this year, I want to ask for water for those people. Because they need drinking water way more than I need another Hello Kitty trinket (trust me, I have plenty).

How about you skip that frappuchino or ice mocha this week, and give the $5 to me mycharity:water?