Monday, January 2, 2012

22 weeks, a new year and shame

Today equals 22 weeks. Yay! And also, nail-biting. It is good to be beyond the point I lost Gabriel. And it's scary to think that if anything goes wrong in the next two weeks then I will face the same thing, hear the same words and cradle a body for far too little time. My friend T has been faithfully emailing me each week with a countdown to viability. I admit, hearing 2 more weeks! is lovely, but I just need it to be here already so that I can relax more.

But as little one is very squirmy, I feel some relief. I just hope what I continue to refer to as copious amounts of discharge is really just that and not a slow fluid leak. Er, not that I'm paranoid or anything.

Let's see. A new year started. We celebrated with sparkling grape juice. It was tasty, but not quite the same as champagne. There really isn't much to add. Returning to work was not fun, but at least I'm feeling like there is a possibility that I may not be behind forever. We'll see if that changes tomorrow. I wish things were easier, but it's better not to dwell too much on work, lest I have another breakdown.

Beyond that, if I've made any half-hearted revolution, it's to write more. I've been fairly shut down this pregnancy - between the pregnancy and work, I just don't feel like expressing a lot. I certainly feel a lot, I turn over posts in my mind, start crafting them. I wish to find the right words but when I re-read it later, everything feels repetitive and difficult. Likewise, I have not updated my stories in months. I've re-read them, started working on new chapters and then . . . nothing. I just do not wish to work much on them, and the bit I write feels shallow, rings false. It's frustrating. I know I can do better, but it's not flowing right now and I don't want to post crap for the sake of posting something.

Switching tacks with no warning, we went to BRU (it was hard not to hyperventilate - will these reactions ever stop?), and finished the registry I started. Well, probably still needs some work, but really, for all intents and purposes, it's fine. While there, we bought a teddy bear for the baby. We've bought clothes, but those don't really feel like they are for her, per se. But the teddy - I didn't realize why I was so drawn to it until we got home, but the ribbon around the teddy's neck was the same color that I'm using for the border on the name-letters. It was meant to be, I guess. We spent some time Saturday night going over all the clothes, organizing them by size, taking stock of what we need yet (3-6 month is the short answer - with spring/summer stuff coming out shortly, it should be easy to add in). It felt like a game, more than anything. But it's been several days with nothing bad happening, so it's likely to continue that way. I hope.

I am sleepy now. Being sick last week took a lot of me, and I have to get up early because I have to go talk with the parking department at work. Apparently, the state-issued temporary parking tag is not sufficient to park in handicap parking on my campus. I have to further register with parking and get a secondary decal. Annoying.

Actually the whole disabled parking tag has been a fiasco. It was recommended back in November, and I was told in mid-November that my OB would in fact support the request by signing the forms if I completed them and brought them in. Since I didn't see her until mid-December, I didn't get the necessary paperwork until then. Which was fine, I didn't yet feel I really needed it. Once the paperwork, including a prescription from my doctor, was complete, I had to take it to the county tax office in order to get the state-issued permit. There is a branch near us which is supposedly less busy than our downtown/central branch. It's attached to where we got our marriage license, and where we recently went to get the car registration corrected. I thought then that it was busy because of the near hour-long wait in line the day before Thanksgiving. I was wrong. Early morning on a Friday was worse. The line was wrapped through the building.

I miserably told one person why I was there ("To get a temporary handicap placard" - that will be important later), and was directed through the building, with sympathy, to the back of the line. About an hour later, I was in the main room I needed to be, where another employee was directing traffic between three sets of windows (to give credit to the branch office, they had at least 9 windows open and seemed to move as quickly as possible). To properly assess which line was the correct one for me, she asked my business and I repeated what I said earlier - "I'm here to get a temporary handicap permit." - and was summarily sent into another line.

About twenty minutes later, I remark to Dh that I've been standing for about an hour longer than I should. It starts taking a toll on me. I was getting warm and uncomfortable, and shifting a good deal, and started feeling as if I might faint. I began muttering to DH that I needed this to hurry up and I needed to get out of there. About twenty more minutes elapsed before we finally got to a service window. I lean against the counter with some relief, slide my paperwork through to the lady, who is coincidentally the same one who helped with our car registration. She asks if I am the disabled person seeking the permit, and I confirm that I am. Incidentally, the paperwork didn't indicate whether or not it could be submitted by someone else, which is why I stood in line the whole time; if I had to be there, we didn't want to waste a trip. The nice lady looks up, blinks, and then asks why I went through the entire line.

Apparently, I could have skipped the line and requested special assistance because of my disability. I could have cried. There were no signs posted or instructions; apparently, the little blue universal handicap sign hidden by the front door ought to have been clear enough by itself. The woman sent me to sit down, and said my husband could take care of the rest. They chatted as she confirmed the paperwork was in order, the prescription was valid and the doctor was licensed in Texas. DH told me she got very irate when she found out that two employees had been told my purpose there and didn't bother to ask if I were the disabled, probably because I was ambulatory (at this point she shook her finger at DH and said, "And that is why you have to ask, because you just never know!"), and she was really irate when the license number for my physician confirmed she was an OB/GYN. Apparently, she got her supervisor involved, and they were both horrified. Lovely, but too late. I didn't care though, because sitting down was such a relief.

I did get the permit, and I have guiltily used it a couple of times now. I make it a point not to use it if there is equally decent parking available, and I don't use it if I am not getting out of the car, because that's cheating. But all my scruples are in vain, because I did use it Saturday at the grocery store. Keep in mind, I rarely go into the grocery store, because I am a terrible impulse buyer and we wasted food and money when I did a lot of the shopping. DH by himself is faster and easily $50-100 cheaper than I am, and if we have less variety, we likewise have less waste. Anyway, Saturday isn't a great time for the store anyway, and being NYE afternoon, it was insane. There was little parking available, and I felt no hesitation in taking a handicap spot, since I was planning to go in with DH for at least 15 minutes. Because I have a temporary permit and not tags, it's easy not to see the permit if you are behind the car. Between that, and the fact that I look more elephantine than pregnant if you don't know me, and I am clearly not elderly, we got a lot of nasty, nasty looks when we got out and walked into the store. It was wildly uncomfortable. I wished very much for a sandwich board or a card that said "Hey! High-risk pregnancy here! No really!" and the flip side would say something like, "Dead baby in my history, trying to keep this one alive." Perhaps I'd feel less guilty then?

I know I need this, which is why it was suggested and why my doctor signed off. It's getting harder to walk and the heavier the baby gets, the more pressure that is on my cervix. The longer we can keep pressure off, the better off we are and the more likely we are to a) avoid modified to full bed rest and b) stay pregnant longer. But the restrictions weigh on me. I hate feeling useless or as if I am just being lazy or promoting terrible stereotypes. Logically, I know that's not true, and yet. . .

and yet, baby is well. Moving a good deal. Lots of squirms and stronger thumps when they come. That is where I need to focus, I think.

Bonus for you for sticking through this all (in the most vain possibly way to mean bonus), here is me and baby at 22 weeks:


Aoife said...

I have 3 weeks + 1 day to go til viability - and I know that means little in terms of survival, but at least it gives us a chance... My mind seems to have hooked onto that 'magical' 24 week mark... I'll give myself permission to start preparing for a baby at that point I think... I don't know, it's all a bit complicated!

Glad you'll be writing more - will look forward to reading it all xx

Mrs.Joe said...

You look fabulous! Not elephantine at all!! These next two weeks will be past before you know it.

Meegs said...

Love the belly. Don't feel guilty, people judge without knowing the full story... but that's their problem. Crossing my fingers for a fast and uneventful two weeks.

Michelle Claire said...

Love the belly pic!! Now I need another update. :) I've followed your blog for a long time and am so excited that you're expecting another child.

Hunter's Mom said...

Because I've been reading regularly and know you're trying to hide the gender, you DO know that you used a non-gender neutral pronoun in this post, right? Just letting you know, in case you'd like to remove it. :)