I've been informed that I am a terrible correspondent (true) and that it's now been officially over a month since I updates (er, also true). Um. Sorry?
I am officially 17 weeks today, and the baby is somewhere between an onion and a mango in length, if you can believe that. I can, in that holy shit am I big and does this kiddo move around and stretch luxuriously. I can't, in that, whaaaaa? How'd that happen?
Slowly, with a lot of trepidation and freakouts and worry, is the answer. The cerclage is still in place (to my knowledge. Not that it would, like, just fall out or anything, but since I can't see it or feel it usually, I have to assume a bit here), and so far as I am able to ascertain (despite numerous frights), my water has not broken. Baby moves around a lot, nearly everyday now. I'm bigger than I was when I delivered Gabriel, with an honest-to-goodness visible bump amongst all the fat. There was a two week period in which an anterior placenta dulled the bits of movement I'd been feeling and wildly interfered with picking up any sort of reliable heart rate on doppler, but it seems those dark days are behind us. I am trying very hard to use the doppler only twice a week as needed, and so far it's going ok. (Tip: Go out of town for five days and leave it behind. That helps with the not using it part, but does tend to ratchet up the anxiety. Six of one, half a dozen of the other)
I should have updated sooner. I intended to, but then I wanted to wait for news. And then I was having freakouts, and God, if I'm tired of living them, not only do I not want to relive them in prose, but I assume everyone else is pretty tired as well. Oh, right, and work. Which . . . is probably best left alone. I can be concise (for once) and say that I do not love my job right now. I can be accurate and say I loathe it, and dread most work days because of whatever the fuck else is possibly going to happen. I dream of winning the lottery, or some windfall in the division that allows us to hire new people so someone could take one of my departments. My boss is great though, encouraging and kind and very sensitive to the difficulties (work and pregnancy) and the restrictions I'm facing, which is great. So, onwards. I guess. Not like there is any other option, anyway.
So yes, things are ok. Thanksgiving was nice, but it was nerve-wracking as well. So much talk about baby and buying of baby things and no doppler (only movement) to reassure and there were some scary times. But all is well. Really, apart from the crippling anxiety and the cerclage and high-risk monitoring, it's been a remarkably easy/textbook sort of pregnancy so far. I mean, I still have a lot of food issues and I'm only now over a week without vomiting, but overall things are ok. No crazy bleeding, no reasonably scary weirdness - just aches and pains and the crippling terror that necessarily attends this fiasco.
DH chooses to be positive, and I've started tentatively talking about what life will be like with baby. It feels a bit like a game, like our lottery game (how will we spend the money? what trips will we take? how many bedrooms in our new house? etc), as I ask whether we'll do arts and crafts with baby, whether we'll take baby to the zoo, whether or not we should register for two car seats or one. It's fun, but there is nothing in it but idle chatter, and a bit of hope or longing. I still cannot wholly shake the countdown in my head that has observed less than four weeks before the point at which Gabriel was born. It feels portentious, heavy on me. I can talk about April, but not with the fervent tones of a believer. More like one who makes plans for Rapture Day (If I'm still here, I suppose I'd be free for dinner. But you know there's a chance I won't be here, right? I'm not like the rest of you people). I think I honestly fear stillbirth more than anything. It's like - we've addressed the obvious problems and concerns (I start 17p this Friday, more on that in a moment), so those things are much less likely to go wrong. That only leaves things outside my control. More than once while at my mom's, I stopped, took a deep breath and reminded myself that this baby seems to be developmentally on track, as Gabriel was, and that given that history, I'm back to the 1-2% chance of things not going well, which are decent odds, altogether. Wish I believed it.
Occasionally, I get a bit lightheaded or dizzy, but I can generally link it back to too much time on my feet or not eating recently enough. I'm trying, but I struggle at work to eat regularly (let alone healthfully) and it's a habit I need to break. I didn't have nearly enough today, but I'm full from the soup I ate, and it's hard to make myself eat more now.
The restrictions are ok at times, necessary at other times, and well, restrictive, at still other times. It's hard because of course, I want to do whatever I can, but I am so invalided and when I feel strong or capable of walking or standing or bending or lifting, I want to do it. There are times it's nice to tease DH about what I can't do, but ultimately, it's terribly humbling to have to ask for assistance with things that should be easy, or to sit down after being on my feet for ten minutes, or to be completely winded at the top of my stairs, because I am losing what teeny bit of fitness I had. . .
But whatever it takes, I guess, and it's not so bad. I try to see it less as restrictive and more as a proactive approach to keeping me off bedrest. I'll let you know when that start working.
Friday is the first detailed anatomy/anomaly scan. It's a bit early at 17 and a half weeks, but that's standard for my perinatologist, apparently (he did schedule it quite specifically). So far I'm not anxious, but I expect I will be later. I feel a bit more strongly (today) that baby is healthy. So far, so good anyhow. My NT test results were fantastic, so I'm hoping for further confirmation things look ok. Also curious to see what the infamous Jack or Jill gender determination test has to say - rather, whether it is correct in its prediction or no. The actual sex doesn't matter. There are reasons I want both sexes and reasons I don't want either sex. But I want to know, to have some more time to spend knowing who this LO is, I guess. Those few days with Gabriel were wonderful - magical. I guess I want a bit of that again, but I'm not yet holding my breath for it all.
Days flow into each other, into nights, and I sleep, often fitfully. I awaken between three and four and have to pee and then run over the list (of all the things left undone and all the ways I suck at my job) until my mind wrests itself away from the negative feelings and I sleep again. Mornings are never long enough, sadness. I love the weekends, when I can sleep in. I dread the weekends when they draw to a close, and I have to go back to work again. I worry over the status of my vaginal discharge, perpetually wondering what watery means. I catch myself holding one-sided conversations in my head with baby, and I smile sometimes.
I rub my hands over my bump, knowing it's not really baby so much as everything baby has pushed aside as my uterus swells (it's nearly up to my belly button), but I rub all the same, perhaps hoping for some luck from the buddha, vaguely guessing I've got it mixed up somehow, but for a moment content all the same. These moments are fewer than I might like, but they do exist. Just in case though, I think I'll start reading aloud soon. I never got to read to Gabriel about what happened to that unfortunate storm cloud that flew near the honeybees. I'd like to imagine him there, listening to me read to his little sibling, approving of the story; flight of fancy or spirit of my son matters not in the imagining - as is true of all great stories, I think.