Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I don't think I can do it anymore.

Work, mostly, I mean. I've spent nearly every day for the past week and a half (which does include the 14 hours I worked this weekend) feeling like I'm being beaten up, run over, and am utterly incapable of doing anything correctly or on time or effectively. Even after finishing the massive report with a scootch of time to spare, there was no sense of accomplishment or relief, only dread about what I'd had to push off and what we'd discovered wasn't done yet or correctly.

The stress is unbelievable. There are things going on that make a lot of things feel less stable. A colleague may be leaving. Two months ago, I'd have jumped at her job and I think I'd have been hired for it. If she does leave now, I'd still apply but I have no confidence that they'd actually hire me.

Full stop. I have no confidence anymore. I feel like every thing I do is a struggle or wrong. I leave every day feeling like a failure.

I don't want to do this anymore. I don't think I can.

I have no choice. The situation may change in the future, but it's not going to change in the short-term, unless my colleague leaves. Or something happens way, way above me.

I'm not seeking advice, there is none to give. I just need to say somewhere that I feel utterly defeated. That I'm tired. That I'm terrified I will continue to feel like this every single day and the thought makes me want to crawl into bed and never leave again. Demoralized. Exhausted. Wiped out. Like a burden.

I'm so tired of it. I used to be good at my job. I miss that feeling.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Update on today's perinatalogist appt

So I'm at 25w3d today, and this was just a regular follow-up to check growth, to check the cervix and the cerclage and generally to check in with the peri.

In brief: Everything is great! He's very pleased! Very pleased indeed!

(also, pretty bouncy. He reminded me of Tigger today)

He started by saying, with great enthusiasm, that I was the most pregnant I'd been and it was wonderful! And onwards from there. . .


- Baby looks good. He got clear views of all chambers of the heart, the face, feet, hands, stomach, spine, etc. Measurements range from on track to a little ahead. Peri was very pleased by the overall measurements and size.

- Which leads to . . . baby weighs in at 2 lbs, 1 oz. Of course, this is not an exact science, but the peri was pretty assured s/he is hovering around the 2 lb mark, give or take a few ounces. And he was very happy, because a good birthweight is a contributing factor in success in early birth, should that happen. S/he is above average, but not worrisomely so.

- Cervix is at 3.3 cm, which is down from the last check at the OB's office, but well within good/normal standards. The peri complimented himself on the lovely stitch, but then said seriously that it was creating the stable platform for the internal os that we wanted.

- AFI (amniotic fluid index)is over 15, which is good. The numerous worries over whether or not the ridiculously copious amounts of discharge are too copious or too watery are laid to rest. Amniotic fluid levels are fine (and consequently, so is baby's digestive system).

- Baby remains the same sex baby has been. Not that it matters tremendously, but after all the weeks of calling baby 'Oliver' or 'Vivienne' it would be a shock if that changed.

- Baby was breech today, but that doesn't mean anything, since baby was definitely head-down earlier this week. S/He is moving around with no problem - I feel more distinct kicks/thumps when baby is head down - once or twice s/he has moved transverse and it feels weird and baby doesn't seem to care for it much either. I anticipate more flip-flopping over the next few weeks. It's such a cool/weird/stomach-dropping on a roller coaster ride feeling.

So, all in all, peri is quite pleased with the normalcy of the progress. I'm quite pleased that things are well. I stopped in the ridiculous overpriced baby boutique in the building (which houses all manner of women and children's health specialists, a baby boutique and maternity store in addition to a couple of other prenatal things) - I managed to avoid the ridiculous frilly dresses and complicated sailor suits (ha! you thought I'd spill here?) and the overpriced practical clothing (seriously, I don't pay that much for my own clothes and I don't vomit or poop on them regularly), but I was suckered in by the softest (duck or chicken down soft) yellow blankie. I could have bought a bouncer for what I paid for it, but since I will not be making one, I couldn't resist. I love it.

And, for the record, kiddo is pretty good looking. I admit this isn't the best shot ever, as I took it of the picture with my iPod, but still. We love baby - I keep staring at this in both awe and a vague feeling of 'creepy' because these are sort of creepy, really. Also because there is an echo in the picture where you can see what looks like another face and DH is taking great pleasure in pretending it's an evil mirror twin giving baby evil instructions (like 'Kick the bladder harder! hahahahaha!'). But still, seeing baby and tracing baby's features and comparing to Gabriel (I can't get over how different they look - a result, surely, of both Gabriel's gestational age at birth and the fact that he had DH's long, narrow face with higher cheekbones, while baby has inherited my rounder face and chubby cheeks).

Really, in the midst of an awful, shitty week that has had me feeling beaten down and trampled over, this was a good day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weird dream

I frequently have weird dreams and pregnancy has made that worse. Usually I lose part of the plot so they make no sense when I try to share them, but this one was worth sharing, especially when I finally remembered why I wasn't totally freaked out.

I dreamed baby came early, like this week. Which you would think would be scary and awful, but instead everyone was really relieved. I remember telling DH that it was much better this way because now I could go to work without worrying about the stress levels or blood pressure or anything. And I remember DH and I were excited that we got to watch baby develop.

But then I figured out why we weren't upset - we would put the baby back. So it was sort of like daycare - we'd take the baby out and put the baby in NICU for a day or two and then put the baby back inside me for awhile so the baby got the best of both worlds.

So freaking bizarre.

Friday, January 20, 2012

BDSM is really more my thing, plus updates

Right - over 24 weeks! Yay! Viability! Yay! I meant to update Monday with a new bump picture and yeah, it didn't happen. And then all sorts of shit happened at work and I've had about three meltdowns in which I cried, declared myself a failure, cried some more, wondered what the fuck I'm going to do, etc.

The answer - no fucking clue but persevere, and something will work out or something will break and so long as it isn't my sanity and I continue to have a job, then I'm sort of 'whatever' about it at this point.

As for what the hell the title means, well. The gist of it is this: I write fanfiction, of the Harry Potter variety. I know I've said this before, and it's no secret. I have also explained before that I generally prefer a pairing of Hermione with a twin and really don't dig Ron and Hermione. Frankly, I think it was lazy of JK Rowling, but whatever. She's the author, she's got the money, she doesn't care what I think and I've got fanfiction to correct what I find amiss. But I recently began publishing a story (a canon compliant Ron/Hermione story) that dealt with pregnancy loss and infertility and it was really personal and holy fuck.

Because my profile said I prefer twin/Hermione pairings, and because my teaser hinted George might have a solution to Ron and Hermione's infertility problems, you'd have thought I personally insulted the mother of some of these people. It got significantly worse when I posted chapter 2 and there was a two sentence exchange after George shows Hermione a copy of an ancient ritual he's found that might help them get pregnant, and Hermione realizes a third person has to be present to cast an incantation while the couple are intimate. That's all I said. I didn't say they'd do it - she and Ron agree to consider it. It's very dangerous, potentially illegal, etc. And it was two sentences out of 6500+ words - but it's what people latched onto. I got some really negative responses (reviews and PMs) and it honestly really started to upset me. Like in a bad way. I feel stupid because, dude, there is no universal approval and it's fucking fanfic. But it really was bothering me, especially when I was called perverted. I mean, I write smutty stuff, I write some kink, and not only has it been well received, but this particular piece is one of the least smutty/explicit adult fictions I've written, ever.

So let me state here for the record, set it straight - Incestuous voyeurism is not my preferred kink. As I said above, BDSM is really more my style.


Baby seems to be enjoying the music I'm playing right now, and is dancing inside me. Sort of nice, as baby had managed to turn in such a way that I wasn't feeling nearly as much movement. Dance away, little one!

I'm still receiving the shots, things seem good. Baby is definitely growing, and lord do I get sore during these growth spurts as my uterus grows and my abdomen separates to make room. Those are the times I'm glad I'm restricted, because if I were doing this while maintaining a normal activity level, I think I'd want to die. Pregnancy is painful.

I stumbled onto this song on my iPod today, and given the way work has been going, given the way I've been feeling about my writing overall, given a lot of things, but especially the confusing feelings that swirl about my babies - the one inside my belly and the one inside my heart - that I really am not ready to write down and analyze, but hover between joy and fear and pain and love - this song seems appropriate. I've played it several times today, and I think it's my song for my kids. Do you have songs that represent things? I have tons of theme songs, if you will.

This one is (of course) by Noel Gallagher - The Masterplan. I dunno that I believe in a masterplan. I railed against the idea of such a thing after Gabriel died, but sometimes. . . I don't know. I just love this song.

Take the time to make some sense
Of what you want to say
And cast your words away upon the waves
Bring them back with Acquiesce
On a ship of hope today
And as they fall upon the shore
Tell them not to fear no more
Say it loud and sing it proud
And they...

Will dance if they want to dance
Please brother take a chance
You know they're gonna go
Which way they want to go
All we know is that we don't know
What is gonna be
Please brother let it be
Life on the other hand won't let you understand
Why we're all part of the masterplan

I'm not saying right is wrong
It's up to us to make
The best of all things that come our way
And all the things that have been have past
The answer's in the looking glass
There's four and twenty million doors
Down life's endless corridor
Say it loud and sing it proud
And they...

Will dance if they want to dance
Please brother take a chance
You know they're gonna go
Which way they want to go
All we know is that we don't know
What is gonna be
Please brother let it be
Life on the other hand won't let you understand
Why we're all part of the masterplan

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: