Tuesday, August 27, 2013

of dogs and babies, 23 weeks, 4 days

I’ve felt a little absent from the blogging world lately – things been have, umm, a bit frenetic here. While I try to relish the waning days of summer – baking berry crumbles, eating tomatoes like apples, biking and kayaking – amidst frantically preparing to teach my first law school class, going to court and handling all manner of client needs. I’ve been distracted and a bit scattered. And in the meantime, I’ve grown a bump big enough to get me a seat on public transportation and made it (almost!) to 24 weeks. SIX holy-hell-can-you-believe-it-my-math-must-be-wrong MONTHS. It all feels a little (a lot) surreal.

And in my harried chaos, I missed something – and it had nothing to do with Miley I-am-the-worst-nightmare-of-what-your-daughter-could-become Cyrus. Although it may not have made it to the front page of CNN – such is the apparent appeal of twerking – it was serious. You guys: I missed National Dog Day. I know what you’re thinking: COLOSSAL[1].

If you’ve been here before, you know that C and I have a dog – a black lab named Luna. Of course, many of us in the infertile set have pets, lest we go lacking in a substitute for our unfulfilled parental affections. We anthropomorphize our dogs and our cats[2], showering them in the helicopter parenting that will – if everything works out – soon enough smother our human infants.

And then, when we get pregnant, we begin to imagine how our future child will interact with the bundle of barking fur that has only recently been evicted from the foot of the bed. We read up on ways to introduce these two creatures – give the dog access to the nursery/don’t give the dog access to the nursery, let her smell the new furniture, bring home a baby blanket from the hospital with the newborn’s scent, put them in a crib together and let them work out their issues, seriously-Cesar-Millan-you-are-confusing-me. We (or is it just me?) imagine how they’ll interact with one another – all the extra food the dog will get as the baby shoves it’s dinner onto the floor, how one day we’ll catch the baby gnawing on a Kong, or the dog, sleeping soundly in the crib. It all sounds magical – and, you know, terribly unsanitary. Basically ALL OF THIS TIMES ONE THOUSAND[3].

When I was born, my parents had a golden retriever – a heck of a dog who tolerated as much tail pulling, ear tugging and attempts to ride her like a pony that toddler Sarah attempted. Of course, she had her revenge, too – routinely hiding every one of my toys under the couch. Sisterly love, etc.

And it was these memories – and C’s of his own childhood golden retriever – that we keep returning to. Because – I swear I’m winding up to something, this is just surprisingly emotional so, <pulls it together> bare with me – we’re not sure whether Luna will get to grow up with the baby.

A couple years ago, we found out that Luna – our spunky, stubborn, stuffed animal loving five year old pup – had a congenital kidney defect. So we paid for special food, cursed ourselves for not buying “doggie health insurance” (I can still hear how hard we laughed when the prospect was floated by our vet – so young! so naïve!), and dropped her off for a doggie ultrasound.[4] The truth is that she was doing remarkably well – until last month.

Last month, when we found out that her numbers were up, that we would need to give her IV fluids subcutaneously every other day[5], along with a cocktail of gel caps and pills[6]. We declined the gentle offer of a kidney transplant – because apparently yes, that’s a thing[7] – and we spent many nights snuggling with her, a bit lot teary[8].

And so here we are, hoping just that Luna gets to meet our baby boy. That they have a couple Kodak moments, a little romp, a little affection. We know that might be all we get, but we’d still be pretty psyched.

In the meantime, Luna has already established her impending jealousy and baby dominance[9].

(yes, those are what you think they are)

[1] Except of course, not. Because, you know, real news like Syria, Miley Cyrus, Egypt, Miley Cyrus, affordable higher education, Miley Cyrus, March on Washington anniversary, Miley Cyrus, etc.
[2] Please don’t make me write the words “fur babies.” It makes me cringe and picture a human baby to whom a bunch of bear fur has been glued. (And yes, I did do a google image search in a valiant effort to regale you with an illustration but no, the interwebs does not share my very warped brain. Bad internet!)
[3] Seriously, you should watch that. A giant dog licks a baby’s nose clean after it sneezes. Another baby gnaws on the face of a docile golden retriever, because, you know, kisses!
[4] Which was unsurprisingly distinct from the many wandings her mama had. She did return with a shaved belly though. So she had that going for her.
[5] Going to just go ahead and admit that jamming a needle into the scruff of my stoic dog was less fun than I imagined.
[6] Which C will not let me touch because Pregnant! Toxic! BACK AWAY.
[8] I blame the hormones. C has no excuse.
[9] Yes, I know, I’m totally double dipping with this photo for those of you PAILreaders. Forgive me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

APB, One Pregnant Female, 22 weeks, 3 days

Hey party people. Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Today we’re doubling up – check out Fallopian Groove over at PAIL in their Monday Snapshot (thanks, Josey!) and also here with a Scintillating! Riveting! post about riding in a cop car while pregnant.

Sometimes, being pregnant means that you get shingles, and you feel nauseated, and the thought of limes and garlic make you dry heave, and you endure terrible anxiety about life threatening complications and spend too much time on Yahoo! answers and your pants no longer button and oh-my-goodness-get-over-it-already-because-this-all-means-you get a baby!.

And then, there are other days. And on those days, being pregnant means just one thing: you get to ride in a cop car.

<dramatic pause>.

I took a quick jaunt home for the weekend to celebrate my oldest, dearest friend who recently got her PhD. The plane ride back had made me uncharacteristically nauseated – dry heaving, cold sweats, the whole deal. And the thought of venturing home from the airport on public transportation with heavy luggage in tow, in humid August weather was, surprisingly, daunting. So, after a complicated series of rationalizations and justifications and consolations, like somersaults in my head, I decided that yes I could spend 30 bucks on a cab instead of less than 3 on public transportation – that’s a colossal TEN TIMES as much, for those math geniuses! who are playing at home – because, you know, I’m worth it! And I’m pregnant! And I’m hot!

And, at first, things were going swimmingly. We – me and the rather ornery cab driver whose grisliness I was trying to embrace (metaphorically speaking) – cruised down the highway with the windows down and I was relieved in the (oh-so-naïve!) correctness of my decision, practically patting myself on the back for squandering what little savings we have on an indulgent cab ride. But then, less than 5 miles from my home, DISASTER STRUCK! (as did hyperbole, apparently).

All of a sudden, we came to an abrupt halt. We had encountered the annual Dominican Parade, in full force, shutting down literally every street between the exact position of the cab and my cool, air conditioned bedroom where I would promptly be face planting myself awkwardly lying in some kind of convoluted, starfish like, where-is-that-giant-vagina-pillow-when-I-need-it![1] position, in a winning mix of exhaustion/nausea/pregnancy-ness.

After a series of complicated turns, detours, one-way streets and a dozen blue police barriers, the cab driver had had enough. And I had too. Now close to 40 dollars in fare and I was still several miles from home. Naturally, I decided to cut my losses, get out and walk – which I did in only the most overdramatic way possible, likening my couple mile trek stroll to some kind of Odyssean journey not for the faint of heart. Dragging my suitcase from the trunk, I huffed and puffed my way down major city roads now closed to traffic, darting in and out of a very raucous parade, feeling like some kind of traveling, pregnant freak show. Sweating bullets now, I decided to approach three idle looking cops – sitting ducks! – to register my grievances. I’m still not sure what my angle was – what, exactly, was I expecting to get out of them? Yeah, sure pathetic white lady, let me just shut down this joyful parade enjoyed by hundreds of people FOR YOU AND YOUR FETUS. Please, go right ahead, ruin the celebration! What can I say, I was hormonal (and subsequently kind of disgusted with myself. But alas.)

And then, it happened. As sickeningly paternalistic and generous as they could be, they offered me a ride. A ride. In a cop car. Through closed down streets. To get me home. I initially refused – you know, in the way you refuse something you desperately want, in an effort not to seem, well, desperate. But my protests fell on deaf ears – probably because they weren’t very forceful – and into the car I went. But not until I asked whether I should sit in the front or the back[2]. A question which, naturally, they found HILARIOUS.

And then, once in the car, after the officer cleared out empty plastic water bottles and snickers wrappers from the passenger seat, he turned on his radio.

Calling out his identification number across the airwaves, he announced, for all city officers to hear: ONE PREGNANT FEMALE, TO 101 MAPLE STREET. I REPEAT, ONE. PREGNANT. FEMALE. TO 101 MAPLE STREET[3].

It was pretty amazing[4].

[1] Truth be told, our bed is definitely not big enough for this kind of threesome. That’s why I’ve asked C to sleep on the couch. Kidding! I’ve yet to purchase one of these novelties and instead just sleep awkwardly with my shoulders practically dislocated from their sockets. It seems to be, umm, working? <looks quizzically at numb hands>
[2] In my defense, this was neither my first, nor my second time in (the back of) a cop car. Sitting in the front was quite the privilege. But that’s a story for a different day.
[3] No, I don’t actually live on Maple Street but broadcasting my home address to the deep dark corners of the interwebs – and not just to all the police officers in my city – seems, well, reckless? Unless of course it means that you guys would send care packages. Because if that’s a thing, then I will totally edit this.

  1. [4] And the entire time, all I could hear was Chief Wiggum from the Simpsons: This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a...car of some sort, heading in the direction of...you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless.   

Thursday, August 15, 2013

of anniversaries, 21 weeks, 6 days

Yesterday was our three-year wedding anniversary. Three years since we got married, outside in the August sun, danced our pants off to bluegrass music in a barn, and ate strawberry rhubarb pie until our bellies ached. Eleven years since we started dating, after sharing a Hi-C at a concert for a terrible collegiate band and smoking pot in my dorm room.

Inexplicably, we spent our last two anniversaries on a secluded beach and in a leper colony, respectively. Incidentally, both of these locales happened to be in beautiful Hawaii.

With a new job for her, medical residency for him, and a gaggle of cells beginning to resemble a baby boy on the way, Hawaii was, you know, not in the cards this year (your pity is palpable).

So here we are. Having a low-key dinner at our favorite neighborhood restaurant. Singing along to old records. And rearranging our furniture to make room for the baby who, with each passing day, reminds us with frenetic kicks and starts, that he might just arrive sometime in December.

But to prove we’re still young! hip! and very, very adventurous!, C got us a Vitamix blender as an anniversary gift. Because if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: nothing says romance like a well-blended smoothie.

I guess this is what the French call “le nesting”? (whatever it is, I'm digging it).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

the most vanilla kind of infertility, 21 weeks, 4 days

I’m quick to admit – and shortly thereafter feel guilty about the fact – that my particular flavor of infertility was rather vanilla (as long as we’re keeping with this convoluted ice cream metaphor). What I mean is (just kidding, new metaphor), my infertility was very junior league. A mere 14 months. Nothing some Clomid, Ovidrel, IUI and rigidly scheduled sex can’t sort out <she says, appearing casual, shuddering at the memories>.

And it’s true. And I do feel guilty. But being nearly 22 weeks pregnant, there’s still some of that infertility-ness kicking around. Having dealt with infertility – in whatever form – has left me a slightly different kind of pregnant lady.

Infertility means that now, five months along, I still carry an emergency supply of tampons and a strangely comprehensive array of pads – in varying thicknesses! – everywhere I go[1], certain that at any moment, this fairytale will end, and, you know, <insert reasonable alternative> catastrophic, bloody calamity will ensue!

It means that when I’m told that I’m measuring 6 days ahead, I tear into the deepest vortexes of the interwebs, not content with the reassurance of my exceedingly competent, medically licensed obstetrician, and instead happy to rely on the “wisdom” of anonymous trolls and moms-to-be, peddling their wares on Yahoo answers and various pregnancy forums.

It means that my long suffering husband, who only wants to put his hands on my now-growing-rounder belly and utter whale sounds to our blossoming babe (something about sonar?), was shooed away for approximately the first 14 weeks, my eyes aflame with the terror of elementary school jinx.

Infertility means that when a dear friend says she is sure that she will get pregnant immediately, because she just knows, I can only nod my head longingly; meanwhile the resonating cognitive dissonance threatens to explode my fragile skull[2]. Of course, I hope she’s right, but, unfortunately, <whispered quietly, eyes darting back and forth> I KNOW TOO MUCH!

Infertility – or, let’s be honest, just being a female citizen of planet earth[3] – means that when my 40 year old neighbor is pregnant with twins, I’m quick to assume that she received some kind of, ahem, assistance (breaking: I was right! <curtsy>).

It also means that, unfortunately for my loving peers, I’m the pregnant lady who, owing mostly to more than a year of unexpected terror inconvenience, is relatively quick to offer up details of what my fallopian tubes look like lit up with radioactive dye and just how my husband’s sperm made its way into my lady parts, in all of it’s deliberateness.

What I’m trying to say, dear world, dear world that has endured my flagrant candor and unceasing uterus related drivel, is this: I am so very sorry YOU’RE WELCOME.

In unrelated but incredibly intriguing news, when you write a blog, you can see how other unknowing dolts stumbled upon your written word. Apparently, I do not look at this frequently enough. Here are some actual searches that led to my blog just this week:

·      Deceitful ways to get pregnant[4]

·      i want to quit meth but i’m [sic] petrofied[5]

·      fallopian terrible[6]

Updated to add: after re-reading this post like the narcissist that i am, i realize it may have come across as a little tone deaf. i hope it didn't. i'm tremendously grateful to be pregnant and i do feel lucky - and i also feel different and changed by my experience. but, really, more than anything, i hope that others who are on the roller coaster of infertility find success sooner rather than later.

[1] Even though this wild assortment and it’s related zip carrying pouch takes up PRECIOUS real estate in my purse which could be used for like, you know, snacks and, also, other snacks.
[2] It’s fragile because it now appears to be teetering on the growing-larger body of a now waddling pregnant lady. Ahem, <points to self>.
[3] I don’t know what it is, but every time I write the words “planet earth” (which is, apparently, frequently?), Herman Cain’s voice rings through my brain, CITIZENS OF EARTH! *pausing while you digest the fact that I have now discussed my uterus and Herman Cain in the same post* Ready, now? If you haven’t watched this, please, TURN UP THE VOLUME and cross your fingers that he runs again in 2016!
[4] What! Please tell me what teenager is trying to “keep” her boyfriend around with this afterschool-special-tested strategy? No, seriously, who are you? I’m dying to know. I need to tell your boyfriend that you poked holes in all the condoms.
[5] Me too, anonymous internet sleuth, me too. (Also, maybe they were just trying to find the new episodes of breaking bad?)
[6] I feel like this should be a catchphrase. Man, that shit was fallopian terrible! Like you know, “fallopian” qualifies the type of terrible. That could be a thing, right?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

week in review, 20 weeks, 5 days

Week in review. It's like the New York Times but with more fetus. 
Without further adieu, here is the last week[1] in my very own, narcissistic, pregnancy related news[2]:

Thursday, 8/1
As if I haven’t suffered enough pregnancy related indignities[3] – (I barely told you about the DIAPER RASH[4] that enveloped my boobs basically forever) – on this day I had to endure another atrocity: hemorrhoids that-which-shall-not-be-named. Now. I try to be real on this blog. Like, real real[5]. But a long time ago, when I was young and naïve and thought of when I would have kids and never if, after reading a particularly “compelling” and “eye opening” and “utterly disgusting” first person account of pregnancy article in that venerable, hard hitting journalistic masterpiece, SELF magazine, I made a profound and steadfast decision: when I got pregnant, I would do so without getting hemorrhoids that-which-shall-not-be-named. Because, honestly, who needs that? NOT THIS GIRL. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in my body and it’s impaired decision making stick-to-it-tive-ness. Yes, friends, Thursday was a rough day.

But instead of perseverating, I spent the next several hours determined to blow my entire paycheck on all-the-pretty-baby-clothes (like these hipster threads and these, some of which C says are too gender-neutralizing-burlap-sack but which i say are gimme-those-overalls!).

Friday, 8/2
Oh, Friday. You were a good day. We had dinner (smitten kitchen charred corn crepes with grilled veggies, some fish that C caught, fresh guacamole and mango salsa, none of which I took pictures of because HUNGRY) with friends (only one of whom affectionately inquired about the alien growing in my belly). The weather was perfect, the food was fresh and for the first time in a long time, I really just wanted a beer. *rubs beer belly baby belly*

Saturday, 8/3
With C on call at the hospital, I visited a friend and her 3 month old son. While pleasantly mesmerized by his baby fingernails and dissipating male pattern baldness, I was woken from my reverie and spontaneously reminded by my dear friend that – wait for it – baby boys have "huge balls." *Duly noted*. Also, both our sons will probably go into therapy because their mothers had such a conversation.

Moving right along. I spent the afternoon determined to find not-ill-fitting professional maternity pants and to consume frozen yogurt – but not in that order and the latter was really just as a vehicle for unrestrained candy consumption. BECAUSE I CAN.

Sunday, 8/4
C and I venture forth into baby-store-landia where we encounter various breeds of expectant parents. Brutish dads (“SHE (referring to his wife) WILL BE WALKING EVERYWHERE. SHE WILL NEED THIS STROLLER!”), aggressive moms (one friendly mother-to-be literally yanked a stroller out of my hands and shoved me aside, such was her passion for parenthood), the parents weighed down by incomprehensible data they aggregated from consumer reports magazine (seriously, how is that even still a thing that anyone but my father uses?). We didn’t buy anything but we did amuse ourselves by placing stuffed alligators in Ergo carriers and throwing around faux baby sacks from stroller to stroller. Because, you know, MATURE ADULTS TOTALLY READY TO PARENT.

Monday, 8/5
It’s Monday morning and the fetus-child is unhappy to be in court by 8 am. I know because while I wait for my client’s case to be called, he (baby, not client) is pummeling me from the inside. At which point I have this moment like um, hey, can everyone see what’s happening here? Or is that just me? MMMkay.

Late in the day – when I’m looking especially round and glowing with pregnancy bloated-ness – a grizzly middle aged man at a furniture store greeted me with thickly accented eastern European English, "a blessing is coming!" (Mark this as the first time a stranger has pointed out that I am pregnant. So, umm…everybody wins?).

Tuesday, 8/6
Ohhai, Tuesday. What the hell is that? OH RIGHT. NAUSEA. Because, you know, I was getting used to not keeping a Ziploc of cheerios on my bedside table to ward off the early morning queasiness.

Today I think serious thoughts about work life balance and my role as lawyer-mother (which is not to be confused with earth-mother). Being a walking uterus, there’s no downplaying that like, you know, other shit is going on in my life. I have some really deep thoughts that are presently escaping me. Mostly I read this and the take away is something like, this would be more compelling if the author wasn’t a professor at Harvard and also, balance! (Okay, truthfully, I have a lot of feelings on this. But I’ll save them for not-a-week-in-review-shortcut-of-a-post, pleaseandthankyou).

Wednesday, 8/7
Oh Wednesday, I thought you’d never come. Wednesday is when I prove to you guys that I actually do have a bump (see below). And that I put it under a black dress pretty much on the regular.

Also: YOGA! Which was especially super tonight because (1) the woman to my right was “41 week and a few days pregnant”; (2) someone always offers Tums; and (3) my teacher instructed us to “allow the flower to open at the base of your pelvic floor[6]!”
(Keeping it classy by replacing my face with my iPhone.)

So there you have it. What about you guys, how was your week? 

(Has anyone else noticed that I waffled violently between using the past and present tense throughout this post? I know, my grammar is appalling. As is my decision-making ability, apparently.)

<End rant>.

[1] I know what you’re thinking. But its just Wednesday. Just go with it, okay?
[2] By which I mean that I swear my entire life isn’t consumed by baby. For example, this exciting tour through my uterus does not include such storied events as the many episodes of Orange is the New Black which I have consumed in the last week or the totally-working! record player that our neighbors threw away and we now have on display in our living room and many other REALLY EXCITING PURSUITS.
[3] And by that I mean basically the same ones all pregnant ladies suffer – heartburn, having to pee all the time, hormones!, nausea, having to pee all the time, erratic sleeping habits, mostly related to having to pee all the time, etc. – except that mine included shingles so I win. (Also, on a related note, I actually really don’t mind all this <motions to aforementioned symptoms but mostly to the peeing, oh the everloving peeing!>. Being pregnant feels… good, even?)
[4] Because that is the official diagnosis. And the cure? More cow bell! Wear cotton bras, or better yet no bras (because, you know, nothing screams working, professional like that…), apply anti-fungal cream, rinse and repeat. I could not make this stuff up. Clearly the universe is PREPARING ME. It’s all so meta.
[5] Seriously, someone please filter me. I cannot help myself.
[6] I did not do this as instructed because I was pretty sure that I would just pee myself. Also, I don’t listen to direction very well.