Monthly Archives: September 2007

Well certainly don’t get too comfortable

I learned yesterday that my health insurance now requires that all women less than 34 weeks pregnant with symptoms of labor go to the other hospital. As in, the hospital where I delivered Natan (old hospital) and not the hospital affiliated with my current doctors (new hospital). I knew that after January 1, my insurance would no longer be covering deliveries at new hospital, and was very glad to know my due date falls on the right side of the cut off. But I didn’t know this additional immediate detail. I’m not happy about it. At all.

How’d I learn that? By having contractions. Lots of ’em. (I’m okay – skip to the last 2 paragraphs if you just want the details of my condition) Off we went to the old hospital, which I know is also good, so I perhaps just ought to be grateful. But I’m not so fond of it. Starting with the worst memory that isn’t their fault. But beyond that, there’s a lot wrong with that place. First of all, it’s a freaking labyrinth. As I walked from the parking lot to L&D, I remembered the same frantic walk so many months ago when I knew I should not be walking so far but had no choice. I wondered why, when new hospital manages to have nice old men with wheelchairs to take you the 10 steps from the entrance to the elevator and then 10 more steps from the elevator to the check in desk if you need it, old hospital can’t manage the same for a walk about 50 times as long and vastly more convoluted.

Upon getting into the waiting room, I compared the dinginess of the old to the fresh cleanness of the new hospital. When another pregnant woman and her male companion arrived reeking of fresh cigarette smoke, I lamented the tiny size of the room with stained and faded carpeting. I couldn’t escape from them.

After what seemed like a very long time we were taken back to a room for the examination. A midwife examined me, which is fine. Except she called me “sweetie,” and said “I know, I know, it’s so hard” as I tried to explain my history and physical condition. Oh, and she told me my cervix was measuring around 1 cm and she could feel the baby’s head was very low. I sort of panicked but not completely because my rational side was asking, “How can that be possible? Where the hell is the stitch?” Lo and behold when a doctor performed the ultrasound it revealed my cervix was still over 3.12cm and the baby’s head was not low. When the midwife later performed her examination again, with that knowledge, she found that my cervix had returned to a long state and the baby’s head was no longer low! She said that could be because I was now resting. I’d been resting all day. I know these things are variable, but the 1cm seems ridiculous. The distance between the bottom of my cervix and my stitch has been twice that since the start. And I could feel the baby’s butt in my lungs anyway.

But the monitors were catching the contractions, more than they liked. So I stayed overnight. Of course, since I arrived there at 3:30pm and by the time that decision was made it was 7:30pm, I was hungry. I asked if I could eat. Nurse said no. Doctor said yes. Nurse said a different doctor told her no. A different doctor came in and said no. Nurse came in again and said doctor said yes. I said but the doctor just said no. Nurse went out and came back with the word from the attending physician, Yes. Of course by then it was 9pm and the cafeteria was closed. There were other options and a little hunger is no tragedy. When it’s food, it’s humorous.

When it’s a tocolytics regime, however, it’s not. Imagine the above story, only it’s last December and food is replaced by indo.methacin. And I’m supposed to have it every 3 hours and my last dose was at 3pm. And the problem is not that I’ve just arrived but I’ve switched wards. And instead of laughing at the doctors’ inconsistency, the nurse responds with “indo-methacin isn’t a tocolytic and there’s nothing in your chart about you getting those anyway.” And behaves as if she’s just discovered that I’m a drug seeker. Of course she’d be forced to apologize later, through her gritted teeth, and wouldn’t be treating me anymore. The next nurse would be extra compassionate and infer that the previous one is a known b*tch. But really, how does that help resolve a 6-hour lapse in treatment?

Thus the food flap was small but not confidence inducing. I remembered I’d promised myself at the beginning of this pregnancy that I’d bring a notebook to each encounter with a doctor and would write down everything so at least we wouldn’t get confused. But my current doctors and new hospital have been so freaking consistent and have presented such a unified plan for care that I’d forgotten that vow. Many opinions are good, certainly, but it’s probably not the best approach to fight them out in front of the frightened patient and her husband.

Finally, I’ll get to the point. I’m fine. Quite good actually. My hips and back and butt are sore from the night in the hospital bed. My other parts are kind of sore from all the prodding. But the great news is that the contractions didn’t change my cervix any over night. And the fetal fibronectin results came back negative, which means I’m very unlikely to deliver in the next two weeks. The nurse midwife said it has an accuracy rate of 85%. But then a doctor said 95%. And yet another doctor said 98%. For whatever all that is worth. It’s a good test. I seem to have a urinary tract infection, however, and that may have caused the contractions. My uterus got very calm after they filled me 4 bags of IV fluids and an antibiotic. That makes me concerned about dehydration. I will talk to my doctor about it next week when I go back. I know it’s important that pregnant women drink a lot of water. And I do. I drink way way more than the recommended 8 glasses a day – 4 times that at least. I wake up thirsty in the night and drink at least 3 tall glasses of water over the course of my 8 hours in bed. Seriously. I keep getting reminded to drink lots of fluids, and I try to explain how much I really do do that. I think we need to look into this further. I’m getting sick of insisting that I am drinking lots of water only to be told to drink more water. Especially if I’m contracting because of dehydration.

The most exciting news though, perhaps, was that the baby’s actually measuring as big as the average 30-weeker! As in he weighs over 3 pounds! Considering my fears that this will happen early, that’s fabulous news (although I realize the measurements are not always precise). Because of the fetal fibronectin results and because my cervix seems to be holding up, the doctors decided not to do steroids. They want to hold onto that option in case I do go into labor early because it’s apparently best to administer the shots as close to delivery as possible, but they can’t be done more than once. Can I write again though that he’s measuring big! That’s an incredibly comforting thought. Off to rest and drink even more water. We’re spending record amounts on toilet paper, I tell you. And I’m still pissed that I can’t go to the new hospital again until I’m at term.

My situation

I’m okay. Thanks so much for the sweet and concerned messages.

My cervix is still long. We’re now 3.12 to 3.37, which Dr. K says is fine. Before we wanted above 3, but now the magic number is 2.5. She offered to let me make my next appointment for whenever I wanted – I assumed this morning would be pushing it a bit and said I thought we’d try two weeks again for the next measurement. We’ll see if I can handle waiting that long. She also gave us the number of someone who could do couple’s childbirth classes because I don’t want to be in a class with lots of people (thanks for that advice – I think it came from Aurelia?). I figure I’ll hold onto that too scared to call for at least the next month.

And of course we’re on the watch for contractions.

One of my advisers was extremely supportive about my putting off the job market decision, the other, not so much. Not opposed to my decision. But somewhat condescending.


An echo of a familiar feeling as I woke up this morning. I was completely worn out, more tired than when I’d gone to bed. It took the walk from my bed to my couch to bring back the tears. I must have had some faith left in righteousness, because as scared as I am for us, I simply did not believe, could not think, that Meg and D would lose their daughter.

I want so desperately for it not to be true, but my desires are futile, ridiculous even.

I had no idea that your lives, the lives of the bloggers I read and my commenters, had become so real. I’ve become friends with one of you in person, corresponded directly via email and instant chatted with others. I knew that you’ve all been among my greatest supports since I began blogging. I knew I rely on you, your kind words and encouragement almost every day. I knew that I try, sometimes clumsily, to return the favor. I didn’t think you weren’t “real,” whatever that means. Yet I did feel a little sheepish talking to non-bloggers about my online friends. Saying to a camp-crazy friend in offline life, “You won’t believe what happened to a friend of mine who sent her son to this camp her husband was so excited about….” and then relating a story I’d read online. Another online friend brought us reassuring news about someone we’d known in real life, but lost touch because he was in a part of the world or was just of an age where communication technologies aren’t so reliable. Fun stuff. Who’d have thought my day-to-day life and my screen life could become so enmeshed?

But I didn’t know, didn’t realize just how much I care about all of you until grief struck again. Or maybe that’s wrong. I think I did know. I certainly felt the parallels for Meg and I – the cerclage, the waiting, the horrible early 20s weeks of pregnancy. I also felt the differences – I lost Natan and had a miscarriage. She’d lost baby girl twins and another baby girl before that. Along with early losses. But everything was looking so good for her this time. I couldn’t even think this baby girl wouldn’t come home to them. It seemed more possible that my baby boy wouldn’t, because my G-d, how could her losses keep compounding? They could because there is no fairness, there is no righteousness as I want to understand it. I wanted to think that together we could get past our losses, and finally end up on the other side. That maybe someday our baby boy and baby girl would meet, and play together while we sat and watched, relieved that fortune had finally smiled upon us.

If our baby boy comes home with us, I will feel more than ever the randomness. I’ll be grateful and happy, and thank the arbitrary statistical models because I can’t discern any divine order to this.

I will miss Meg and D’s baby girl, their survivorgirl and para-trooper, forever.


I’m speechless.

My darling blog friend Meg and her husband have lost their daughter at 22 weeks.

Meg, I will be thinking of you all every moment. As Aurelia said, you are loved. Even through the faceless internet.

I have nothing more to say, except that this makes Niobe’s words from yesterday, even more poignant.

Look what I did


8-12 weeks to go and I already finished it (the blanket). The baby has to come home now, right?

I’d like to thank my lovely model, Running Bear. He has been my friend and companion for 25 years. Sadly his nose was lost in an encounter with a certain dog 12 years ago. He and the dog had lived in peace for over a decade before the attack, which the victim swears was unprovoked. Said dog chose never explain her motive.


Warning: the next paragraph is gross.

Josh just left to go to the grocery store, and as if on demand, Midnight threw up in the hallway. I don’t know what it is, but probably 2 out of every 3 times he leaves the house, one of the cats vomits. And of course I cannot really handle cleaning up cat puke. Because first of all it”s on the floor and I can’t get down on all fours so easily, second, I’ll probably get sick myself, third, I never asked the doctor whether the prohibition on cleaning cat waste while pregnant includes their regurgitated tuna. Un/fortunately, in case you don’t know, if you don’t immediately rush to clean it up yourself, the other cat will surely do (eat) it for you. That’s also pleasant for the easily nauseated bystander.

My big question is though: why? What is it about his leaving the house lately that upsets them so deeply? Do they have some sort of memory of how he was gone, and we were alone, when the bad thing started last time? Are they so upset about the lack of a lap to rest on they make themselves sick? Are they jealous of his ability to traverse the public world? Or worried that he won’t be coming back.

Anyway, actually, I’m sure it’s nothing. They do it while he’s home as well. So the real question is just a more general one, why are our cats getting sick so often lately? Good thing it’s almost time for their annual.

I am tired. But fairly content and at ease. While no one was looking last week, I entered the third trimester. Yikes. We’ll see how that goes.

The holidays were tough. When I checked out Niobe’s blog just now, I learned she’d asked the same question I have been thinking at times these past 10 days: “when and how does G-d atone for his sins against us?” Sacrilegious of me? I don’t know. Maybe. But these are the thoughts grief brings, and there really are no answers.

Short break

Today’s earlier post came off as rather more of a tragic relation than I meant. I mostly intended to make the point I ended with, about feeling happy that all the good and the bad led me to Josh. But I guess I surrounded it with a bit too much drama for that to come across clearly.

I’m exhausted but I can’t sleep. Perhaps this is a pregnancy thing? I’ve read others complaints about insomnia.

I made a decision today, and we’ll see where it ends up. I decided that I don’t want to go on the job market yet. I want to put it off a year because the amount of work facing me in the next 9 months seems rather unbearable with that added commitment. I think I could do it, but that I’ll be even more of a loony stress case. I wrote an email to sane adviser to test the waters before telling the other one. We shall see what she says. This of course raises the question of what I’ll do next year for money. Don’t ask me that now – worrying about it will be entirely counterproductive to my decision to be a little easier on myself for awhile.

In any case, with Yom Kippur Friday-Saturday, and me feeling the need to get some serious work done in the next few days, I’m going to take a blog break until Monday or Tuesday.

If you sense a seriously grumpy tone in this post, don’t worry. I’m perfectly fine. It’s just that I’m usually asleep two hours ago.  And actually I think I’ve reached the point where I will be sleeping about 10 minutes from now.

This child

He is trying to push me over the edge, I swear. The freaking placenta is still preventing me from feeling much. Today at my weekly progesterone appointment I asked for the doppler because I barely felt him at all Sun & Mon. He’s fine, kicking away too from the sound of it. I’m doing the big glasses of cold juice. I’m doing the lie on the side with the hands on my belly. The nurse suggested putting music next to my belly to try to coax him to move to where I can feel him.

Any other thoughts? A doppler’s rather an expensive thing for us to consider & a possible stressor for me if it doesn’t work well – which it doesn’t because he goes crazy when you put in on my belly and so you know he’s alive but have a nearly impossible time getting a HB (we’re under a serious budget constraint – although I might talk to Dr. K about it next Tuesday if he’s still driving me nuts.)  If anyone else has experienced this, I’d love to know what worked to calm your nerves.

A Dream, A Do Over

A week or so ago, I had a strange dream. In the dream, I went into labor. I then woke up in the dream, not having been aware of having gone to sleep or been anesthetized, and someone brought me a fat baby to hold. I was confused, because I didn’t remember having given birth to him and he looked odd to me. Odd because he seemed very big and very fat – full term, in other words. I understood he was my son, and felt very happy yet at the same time detached. I kept wanting to ask someone where my other one was – the other son. I knew though that they wouldn’t understand the question. So I began to breast feed and felt much love for the baby, tinged though by a feeling of emptiness.

The issues in the dream are obvious. The sense that a new birth – one with a happy ending – while something I very much want on its own terms, will also be something of a do over. Not everyone, I know, shares the latter feeling. It’s not a very admirable one, either. And of course it’s impossible. I will never shed the pain and emptiness left by Natan’s death. Yet I have to admit that I want to know that I can give birth safely. That I can have a healthy birth.

The other night I actually managed to go out with friends. One friend, who I’ve called Beecher before, mentioned that he has a friend who’s pregnant and will be having her baby “at home in a tub.” Another friend responded, “That’s so cool.” But the third friend said in shock, “Ew. How can that be safe?” Quickly though, Beecher and friend three looked at me rather horrified.* I just said, “It can be safe as long as everything goes well.” That’s stating the obvious, I suppose. I know this, practically. Most births are normal & interventions requiring the presence of oh, a perinatologist, are rarely needed.

Back to the at-home water birth. I’m sure if it all goes well for the family, it will be a “cool” experience. It’s my issue that it makes me feel inadequate to not even have the option of rejecting it. It would be immeasurably awesome to go into pregnancy, labor, and childbirth with the idea that it’s an experience to be designed according to personal preference. And to feel like I have a place at all in the narrative.**

If I go to term, I will be a “normal” birther in the technical sense. The doctors and anesthesiologists can handle the “red flag” on my file re: extreme reactions to medication, under calm birthing conditions. There’s absolutely no reason to think that without the extreme stress of preterm labor and a reaction to a tocolytic, the situation will be anything but that. Yet I don’t know that birth will ever be anything I can enjoy discussing.

I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something horribly wrong with me. I don’t want anymore fear, anymore pain, anymore panicky calls to doctors or drives to the hospital. More than anything, I just want November/December to get here and for this to be over, happily.


*No need to ream any of them for insensitivity. There were many beers gone between them and children/family life are still very outside their experience. Beecher finds all things womanly sort of incomprehensible and yucky (good thing he’s gay). I remember him pointing sort of speechlessly and mortified when a tampon fell out of my bag a few years ago – you’d have thought it was used.

**If anyone takes this as an opportunity to chime in on a “home” v. hospital birth debate, I’ll delete it instantly. I have no problem with being Orwellian. Take it elsewhere.


Here I am, 27 weeks pregnant. While most people we see regularly know, I still have not told a number of other people. I continue to fear that the moment I confess it all will turn bad. Out of the groups of 7 college and 5 high school friends who were so supportive after Natan’s death I have only told 4 of the former and 2 of the latter that I’m pregnant again. An elderly relative who I haven’t seen since I’m not sure when wrote the kindest letter expressing deep sympathy and hopes for the future after Natan died. I especially appreciated that she referred to hopes for a “next child” in her note – acknowledging that we’d lost a child, not “just” a pregnancy as some others of her generation seemed to imply. I haven’t written to her personally either, although she’s probably heard through my mom or others. I’m not sure.

Deep breath – because I’m having trouble with positive thinking again today – but will I be unfairly and unnecessarily alienating people who cared enough to reach out if they next hear from us via a birth announcement?