Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bits and bobbles

Today is 21 weeks and 3 days gestation.

In other words, we made it through The Day. Christmas Eve was busy, I barely noticed. It was a nice holiday though, with my brother and SIL and my mom. We had an unexpected Christmas Day guest though, when my mother left to return home and had a blow-out about fifteen minutes away from our house. Bless her heart, she was so upset because they told her she couldn't make it all the way home on her spare tire. She was afraid of inconveniencing us and upset because my brother and SIL were supposed to stay at her house that evening, which wasn't possible if she were in Houston. It all worked out though, and I was selfishly glad we got more time with her.

Unfortunately, I've not felt up to updating because I finally succumbed to sickness. Since November, I've been cooped up in my ridiculous office with at least once sick coworker. I think they all went out at least twice between November and December, and I managed to avoid illness . . . until I go on vacation. Started as congestion, then became a head cold complete with wicked sore throat, and then worse congestion and then a light cough, followed by a worse cough. I spent most of Monday in bed, Tuesday on the couch, Wednesday moping on the couch because I felt like shit and had planned to go into work and get some stuff caught up, but felt too bad to do it. Then I had a breakdown about 5 am where I cried and cried (and coughed a lot) and told DH I am terrible at my job, I feel like I'm one forgetful day away from total crisis and losing my job, and I can't continue doing this. How much of that was fatigue and how much was finally admitting that I don't want to keep trying anymore, I can't say. I am dreading a return though. I really do loathe my job at this point and I don't know how to fix it or make it better.

Baby seems to be fine, though I've definitely lost weight. I've had no appetite all week long, and haven't eaten enough. Little one seems oblivious - just keeps twisting and turning and kicking in there. I had a moment yesterday where I thought I hadn't felt movement in awhile, and needed a doppler check - literally put the probe down right on top of the heartbeat, which was reassuring. Passing The Day was a relief (though the moments of reflection made me miss Gabriel so intensely I can't put it into words), but I won't really feel better until we are past viability. Of course, that is not a magic cure, but at least there is a chance then, when there isn't yet, even if we are past Gabriel's birth point. I know I just won't completely relax until the living, breathing little one is in my arms, and then it's just a whole new set of worries.

I am beginning to believe that we will see this baby, though. It's disconcerting and not a little frightening. I've bought clothes and baby gear just for this baby and it still seemed like a game. Practical matters like finding daycare if my mom can't move out here (another panic attack related to work when I considered that), finding a pediatrician, etc. . . that all needs to be started and I am utterly uninterested. It's still so hard to believe, that I just don't yet.

I have more to add on so many things, but this headache is getting worse. Ugh. I'm so pissed off about being sick!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Twenty Weeks

That is today.

According to various online experts (parroting stuff taken from various printed book experts), the baby is about 10.5" inches long and weighs about 13 oz. Baby is gaining weight steadily, adding insulation for birth. Baby is swallowing several ounces of amniotic fluid per day, kidneys are processing it, the digestive system is beginning to produce meconium, and taste buds are forming. The uterus is now level with the belly button (or just above, in my case) and baby should be moving a fair amount, though how much one feels the movement depends on the location of the placenta and where the baby is located.

Many people think of this as the half-way point in pregnancy, and celebrate being half-baked.

I look at this and realize it's the week I've been dreading all along.

Hand me a paper bag?

I'm torn between wanting to be at work, where the avalanche of back-log threatens to topple, and only the business staff are present. There is plenty to choose from, plenty that needs to be done before we go on break for a week. And there are plenty of people with less to do who wish they were on vacation and therefore plenty of conversations to be had. So - distraction aplenty.

But I'd also rather be in the waiting room at my doctor's office, you know, just in case. No, I won't disturb anyone, I'll just watch the fishes and gaze out the window, if that's all right. Maybe go down to the hospital cafeteria for lunch, since it's only three floors from the antepartum unit. Nice and close by, if it's needed.

Half of me is busy trying to finish up Christmas things - all of DH's family's gifts must be wrapped to go with BIL on Wednesday night (which means we need to make a pit-stop for some chocolate and gift-cards for the sisters-in-law). All of my family's gifts need to be wrapped and cards sent to my grandmother and my sister. I haven't purchased one single item for my husband, for his stocking or his gifts, though I've been informed that he's perfectly happy to wait until after Christmas, if it's easier. The house still needs massive cleaning and I've promised to bake banana bread and make fudge for the office, and we've got a happy hour Wednesday night, and did I mention we're hosting my brother and SIL and mother for Christmas Eve, so there is a menu to be fleshed out, shopping to be done and preparations for Christmas dinner to be started?

And all of it leading up to Christmas Eve - which is, incidentally, 20w5d. In case that isn't wholly clear, 20w5d is the gestational day at which I went into labor and delivered Gabriel.

I have never wanted so much for a week to be over.

And this is just one more milestone - granted, it's a big one. The biggest yet. But it's only of small relief to pass it, because we are still four weeks (as of today) from viability. We need more time yet, and I feel wild for it to be here already. The thoughts swirl darkly in the back of my mind that we will pass this weekend - after all, why shouldn't we? - and get to 21 or 22 or 23 weeks only to have something go wrong before that salvation of a day at 24 weeks. And won't that taste be bitter in my mouth?

There is no relaxing, no relief, no lowering of the guard, not yet. No matter how often I repeat the mantra "This is a different pregnancy, this is a different baby. We've done everything we can do to keep baby safe." It rings hollowly. They are only words until this baby is safely in my arms, breathing and alive and with the promise of coming in that same state.

And the knowledge that 24 weeks isn't a magical marker at which all problems vanish is there. I cling to that date, but I am aware of the real statistics. I know the outcomes, and I know that babies still die, that there are still very real and present risks, and longterm complications, and so I am not content with that date either. But at the least, that gives us a chance.

But to get there, we have to first get through here, through this week.

It's going to be a long week, particularly when it's so hard to breathe evenly and not let my heart race away in panic.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And suddenly two weeks passed . . .

So the anatomy scan went well, but I sort of needed some time to process it. The scan itself went so quickly and with so little explanation as it went that I wasn't convinced for awhile that things really were ok. The perinatalogist said the baby looked good, the cervix looked good and he was quite pleased. But since the scan took about 20 minutes, I asked DH several times whether or not the peri had actually measured everything and whether or not DH thought we needed to be worried about anything.

The answer was consistently yes, and no.

The sex was confirmed, by the way, unmistakably. Since we've suspected it all along, and since it concurred with the bloodwork that was done, it wasn't as climactic or exciting as it was with Gabe. Rather just a sigh of relief that we'd not been calling baby by the wrong name all along. I did cave and tell a few people what we are expecting, but on the whole, I'm keeping it to myself. Only one person at work knows, though it's possible others have guessed by overhearing snippets of our conversation. Our families don't know and I'm not sure whether I'll tell or not. DH leans towards yes, but I enjoy having a secret. My mom really wants to know though, and it seems to have become a game to see if she can get me to slip up and tell. Given that I've purchased some new gender-specific things, it may be hard to hide when she visits for Christmas. I certainly did slip up on a pronoun once and she was all over it, so she at least suspects.

Things seem to be well, but Christmas Eve looms. That is the gestational date at which I went into labor with Gabriel. Everything is different this time and I logically know that. But logic has little to do with fear. I'm trying to be calm and sometimes it works. Other times, I just want it to hurry up and move along.

The 17p is happening each week. The injection isn't bad, but the throbbing/soreness at the injection site is not fun, nor are the killer headaches that follow for two days after. But if it helps, worth it I suppose. I'm just hoping everything goes smoothly tomorrow, which is supposed to be my first visit with the home health nurse for injection. The meds are supposed to arrive earlier in the day via FedEx - the last thing that was supposed to arrive via FedEx was delayed a week when the driver claimed he had no access to the delivery address. I suppose our remote control gate that every other driver can access with ease was just mystifying. But given that we are discussing meds that I have to receive tomorrow, let's cross fingers, shall we?

Work continues on apace, though this hasn't been the best week. I was feeling more optimistic for awhile, but now I'm drowning in what needs to be done before the holiday vacation and concerned it's not going to work out properly. It's obnoxious to share an office with three other full time staff and a rotation of 4 interns. At least we're all getting along now, which was not the case for awhile. Even pleasant, at times, but not a good work environment for me. I've worked an extra eight hours this week in the evenings just to have some peace and quiet to get something done. Of course, it's beneficial when I have to take half a day off to go home and wait for medication to be delivered (ha, in multiple ways). I just wish I felt more settled or more hopeful that things would get better. On the bright side, my doctor signed off on a temporary handicap permit, which will eliminate much of the walking I do.

I don't do much anymore these days. I follow all the restrictions, which is how it should be. It gets tiresome though. I was actually depressed over the weekend when I couldn't do anything to help with Christmas decorations - it was either over 10 lbs or involved step-stools or too much bending and twisting. I can't do much of the housework, and my pubic bones starts aching if I stand too long or walk too much (worse at the end of the week) which makes trips outside the house oh so fun. In short, I feel like an invalid and a burden, and while there are good reasons for these restrictions, it frustrates me to feel that I can't do much. A good motivator for getting into better shape whenever this is over; I can't tell you how much I've taken for granted the ability to move and not get winded walking from the car to the office.

But overall, things are well with us all. The animals are good, and largely sweet. All have been more cuddly than usual. DH spoils me and could not be a better partner in the face of all my restrictions and fears. He remains upbeat and positive, and has done so much to clean the house and decorate for Christmas (things he loathes) and tries hard to make me laugh and keep me going.

I will end here with a picture. The baby and I at 19.5 weeks. God knows I didn't do this enough with Gabriel, to my regret, but I was self-conscious and thought we had time. I have some earlier photos, but they are mostly icky. The quality of this isn't stunning, but it was taken with my iPod, so we'll just blame that.