My Cerclage

In September 2005, I was pregnant with twin girls. I lost my pregnancy at 19 weeks apparently due to my "incompetent cervix." I became pregnant again and wrote all about it on this blog. I now have a wonderful son. Since bed rest, anxiety and cerclage were so much fun, I've decided to do it all again.....

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some Perspective Please!

Sorry for abandoning my blog! I have no excuse, other than I don't spend all day in front of the computer anymore, so I am not taking the time to carefully craft my blog entries as a way to kill the day.

I was reflecting on my last post, and I decided, actually soon after I wrote all that, that some perspective is greatly needed. The weather cooled, the chafing went away, and the fatigue...well, it's still there, but it is manageable. I noticed that things weren't so bad when I was attending Guru's pre-natal yoga class. Not the one where she comes to my house to help me stretch, but the one in the outside world where tons 'o' preggers go to soak up the vibes.

Guru, being her Guru self does something in class that a previous version of me would find worthy of a hearty eye-roll. But for some reason, I am totally cultified to Guru’s ways and love this part of class. She begins class after an Om or two with a birth story she recently witnessed, or some other experience involving strength or support or some such theme. After she tells her story she asks us to go around the room, introduce ourselves, tell how many weeks, what we want to work on AND tell something about our own experience of strength or support or whatever the theme is in her story. A few weeks ago, I think I might have felt distanced from my pregnant yoga friends--maybe that I am different, that my experience is not something others can relate too. But as time goes by, I am noticing a few reactions that don’t gel with feeling so very different from everyone else.

One is that I really appreciate where I am, and have stopped begrudging everyone else their pregnancies. I must be the only woman in the middle of her 36th week who feels better than 10 weeks earlier. These women are all complaining about how tired they are and how the last month is so hard and they wish the baby would just COME! I am sitting there thinking that my shoulders don't hurt anymore since I now can stretch them out. It’s nice to not feel like the one suffering, and for some reason that gives me this ability to feel empathy for their experience.

The other unexpected realization I have, listening to all these stories, is that I maybe am not so special. Turns out everyone has a story. As time has gone by I have learned of multiple miscarriages, desperate IVF attempts and met women who are pregnant, terrified and thrilled. In a word, they are as much a mess as I ever was. I understand now that assuming everyone is flying through pregnancy risk free while I have been chosen for my tragedy is simply not accurate. Pregnancy and birth is tricky—and that’s an understatement of a lifetime. If Guru saw this she would beam with approval as I say, in all sincerity, I am very grateful to be where I am.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Still Moaning and Groaning

I am fancy free and I am about to complain. That's right. I have spent this entire blog sounding off on the horrors of bed rest, and now I am totally free to do as I please. I can run, jump, and hide--whatever I want. During the darkest days of bed rest, I swore if I got to this point, I would feel so relieved, so happy and so grateful. After all, haven’t I posted about not taking the little pleasures in life for granted? Oh well. I am woman in the final weeks of pregnancy, and I have some things to bitch about.

Number one, I am too hot. SF is not known for hot summers. In fact, with the fog usually permeating the city, it is known for just the opposite. I am having a memory of corduroy’s and fleece from last summer and yes, you better believed I complained about it at that time, "What kind of summer IS this, anyway??” But that was then and this is now, and it is unseasonably hot right now. No one in this city has air conditioning since it never usually gets so hot. Guess what? It is very uncomfortable to be this pregnant and this hot. I didn’t know. People warned about heat and pregnancy, but I didn’t know. Now I do. I am too hot. Still, despite this complaint, I decided to persevere in doing some activity, because I really am hoping to build up some strength for the big delivery. And, I am trying to take advantage of life’s little pleasures, remember? This brings me to complaint number two: chafing.

One of the activities that I missed most on bed rest was going for walks with my dog and my husband. We are good walkers, we like living in the city and going on long walkabouts throughout town where we stop for various shopping, coffee’s and snacks. I figured a short walk to reconnect with something I love is great, and it has the added benefit of building some strength. I embarked on the longest walk of my pregnancy the other day, all excited to meet and greet the strangers, when I started to feel quite uncomfortable in various rubbing together areas of my body—which, previously, did not rub together. This might feel like too much information, but I don’t care. I was way too hot on this walk, and the moisture and the skin--ouch! In addition, my poor feet, having lived shoeless for months, also started to heat up, and then to blister. Still, I thought as I gimped along with my chafing thighs and my burning feet and the smoothie turning warm in my sweaty palm, who cares? I need to appreciate that I am on the walk at all. Yes. I was doing a good job with this positive thinking until I suddenly felt as if I could. Not. Take. Another. Step. Why not? Because of complaint number three: fatigue.

WTF?? One walk and I am down for the count? After getting home, attending to my injuries and changing into as little clothing as possible while still covering the privates, I found myself BACK ON MY COUCH, which I swore during the bed rest days to burn once I was finished with this business. But here I was, clinging to it for dear life. When the husband suggested an errand, my clinging turned to a white knuckled clutch.

Of course I have a conspiracy theory that Peri knew what she was doing when she set me free right at the precise time the physical realities of a body this pregnant prevent any real activity. She is so sneaky, that Peri.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cervix of Steel

I am having no trouble going out at all, despite how tired I am. I am so happy to go out for dinner and to see friends out of the living room. I feel like I owe everyone so much for all the effort they made to come to the house and hang out with me during the dark months of bed rest. It must have been depressing at times....

Monday I had my last ultrasound. I'm not sure I gave enough lip service to the other peri, who oversaw the ultrasounds. He was so great to us. I had ultrasound every week for several weeks, and he was always very reassuring and positive about my condition. Most of all, he never acted like any of our questions were unreasonable, or that we were too anxious or that we were taking up too much of his time. Peri, my peri, is wonderful, but I think she is anxious herself, so needless to say we never left a meeting with her feeling reassured. Ultrasound Peri's confidence was extremely helpful during the hard times. Yesterday was our last visit with him (he is actually moving to another state so it really was our last visit), and he was so nice he even gave me a hug--which is great because in my vulnerable state I am also half in love with him. Everyone, the secretary and all the techs who we know so well, were totally sweet to us. Cervix is still around 3.5 cm, and very little funneling. At the rate I am going, I will have be to induced—which is FINE by me!!

Here I am, 35 weeks pregnant and still have nothing that represents the fact that I am going to have a baby. No car seat, bassinet, no onesies, no nothing. We have done a lot of browsing. We have a list of must haves before baby arrives. We are willing to buy these things. It is simply the matter of actually taking these items to a cash register, buying them and bringing them home. Peri says that we need to have a bag packed when they remove the cerclage--just in case. Cerclage removal is a week from Monday. I have a feeling our first baby items will be purchased next Sunday.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bed Rest Be Gone!!

I am feeling obligated to blog so that no one thinks I am over here slitting my wrists. I am actually doing quite well, despite the natural thought process about my girls. The second week of baby classes was better--there was some useful information and I was able to keep the focus on the boy in my belly. And while I have been through a labor of sorts before, I really haven't been through labor and all it's glory and now I am sufficiently afraid. Maybe some day I will be brave enough to post my experience with our loss on here, but not today. No, not today, because today, I am off bedrest (imagine an 8 month pregnant woman in her thirties, with newly blonded hair dancing like an idiot singing, "I am off bedrest! I am off bedrest!).

It is not TOTALLY official, but it is official enough that I have gotten my hair done, gone to prenatal yoga, and experienced lunch in a restaurant. I am also planning on going to a friend’s for dinner. Am I pushing it? Unfortunately, I admit there is this horrible poetic justice where I do get unbelievably exhausted. I don't know if it is being 8 months pregnant, or the effect on my body of no activity for so long, but I find myself sometimes wanting to just hang on the couch, formerly my cell, even though I don't have too. I resist this. After all, I would like to get some strength back for what I now understand to be quite the grueling experience of labor. There are really no words to quite explain the bliss of hanging in the outside world.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Complicated Classes

My husband and I started baby classes. I decided that having no prep for labor (despite already having gone through labor, but insisting that the "normal" version must be wildly different from my experience) or parenting or breast feeding, and having done no research on these subjects since that would mean assuming that I was having a healthy baby, and that assumption would somehow mean that I would not have a healthy baby (not sure why), I decided to sign up for baby classes since I am a whopping 33 weeks along. Traumatized much?

I have to say, baby classes are turning out to be weird, and not because they don't give useful information, but because an unexpected side effect is coming up in all it's difficulty: twin grief. The first night of "Surviving the first Two Months," we were a little late. Our only seating option was next to the one couple having twins. They actually seemed like very nice people, and I wish I could have shown some more interest or acted friendlier, but instead, I was cringing during introductions where they smiled that smile that says "yes we're trying to be self deprecating, but we know we are unique and special." I may be projecting here because I remember feeling so special when I was pregnant with twins. It was a shock at first, but soon after it was great. By the time we lost the pregnancy, I couldn't have imagined being pregnant with just one baby. We were destined to have twins. We hadn't done fertility treatments, it just happened that way. It was meant to be….

Getting used to loosing our girls was devastating. Still, it is the layers of the loss that kill me. I still feeling pangs of sadness when I see twins on the street. We finally "browsed" for strollers yesterday, and I recalled being in the same store months earlier, pushing the boring singleton strollers aside as I examined all the double stroller options. The double strollers are still there, but this time it was those strollers I tried to ignore.

But why do the classes bring all this back? It's not just the obvious reason of the couple next to us. I noticed it the next night at our "Preparation for Labor” class (btw: I am completely freaked out by the birth videos we saw. Totally and completely FREAKED. But that's another story....) that I felt rumblings of complicated twin grief. We were all supposed to be “new” parents. During introductions, all the other couples spoke of their pregnancies as exciting, their biggest complaint being "feeling tired." We were the only ones who had to talk about bed rest, and the twins were not mentioned by either of us. I just felt so different from everyone else in the room, their experience so foreign to mine, and I couldn’t push away the sense (wish?) that we were supposed to be the twin parents. I hate having to answer that question, asked over and over again, "Is this your first?" I always say "um..yeah" because, who really wants to get into it, but also, who wants to deal with that reminder every time? It makes me sad, um yeah, it does.

Finally, I also think that the twins are coming up a lot more because last summer I was pregnant too. Every since the "overlap" I have memories of the same time last year, and how I felt, and how much being pregnant was part of everything I did. July 4th last year, that wedding where I barely fit into my bridesmaids dress this time last year, and on and on....

It is probably good that this is all surfacing as I prepare for my impending birth. I know enough about loss to know that giving birth to a new baby means grappling with my previous pregnancy and loss in some way. How could it not? But somehow I still manage to feel blindsided when the feelings come up. Maybe it's good to reconcile some of the grief as I prepare for this new life that, hopefully, will come safely into the world. And, despite this somewhat sad tone, I really truly am grateful to be where I am and so so looking forward to meeting my son, who, I am quite sure, I won’t ever be able to imagine not knowing.

Monday, July 03, 2006

32 and Counting....

I guess The Devil Wears Prada was a high stress movie for me because I had 5 contractions while viewing it. I am so irritated that I keep on having these damn things. The book, The Devil Wears Prada, was one of my junk reads while on bed rest. Maybe it was that I kept on saying, "Hey! That’s not how it is in the book!" I stressed myself out because the junky movie veers away from the junky book? That caused contractions? Even I know to acknowledge when a theory is grasping at straws. I came home and gave myself and stern talk about not blowing this high-risk pregnancy in the home stretch. I took it easy last night, and I am trying to take it easy today.

I had an OB appointment this morning. Without an ultrasound, it seemed so uneventful. Peri listened to the heartbeat, measured the belly and sent me on my way, no info on my cervix! I can’t believe “normal” preggos sometimes only have one ultrasound a pregnancy! Our appointment was even shorter because I spent no time negotiating bed rest. Why bother since I appear to hear things like “take it easy” as “go out everyday." Yes, no need to try to figure out what Peri means by "take it easy" when I know I am taking it easy by not walking on the outings, get it? I am clearly taking the bed rest reigns up myself, where they get filtered in my own mind. Next week we have no appointments. Weird. The week after, at 34 weeks, we have our last ultrasound of the pregnancy. If all is well, I will officially be off bed rest. And finally,a date is sheduled to take out the stitches. July 31st! I will be a little over 36 weeks.

I am feeling like I am entering this realm of "normal pregnancy" and I don't totally know how to manage it. I am so used to being high risk. I have one more OB appointment with Peri, and then she encouraged me to schedule some appointments with the midwives, or other providers since there is a high likelihood that someone else in the practice will be on call when I go into labor, "and you won't be high risk anymore." Huh? But I need special treatment!! Even though you are my jailer, I need YOU, Peri!! I can't have normal providers!! I am special.

I wonder if this means I should buy something for the baby. I hear about all these people whose nursery's are all completely done (I admit to engaging in some judgmental gossip as I heard about someone who hired a decorator for her baby's room) and I think that we'll be lucky if we buy what we need at minimum by the time I deliver. I don't know why I still have this aversion. It's like I have a fear that if I buy one thing for the little guy, something will go wrong. I did find a chapter about this phenomenon in my Pregnancy After a Loss book, so I know it happens. I really do intellectually understand that what I buy or don't buy for the baby will not actually have any bearing on what happens in terms of delivery, but the superstition will not go away. I am headed towards 33 weeks without even one baby sock. I keep telling myself that at 34 weeks I will start dealing with the basic needs. I am sure I will get there and think, "better make it 36." Let's hope I get that far.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater!

I am technically still on bed rest. I am totally on bed rest. The doctor gave me more freedom; she said I could go out "every other day." I said "that's so great" and neglected to tell her I had been out every day the 5 days prior. If I am being honest, I am such a cheater that maybe I already took myself off bed rest? I am, at least, not walking much. Just going outside and sitting elsewhere than my living room. But c’mon!! I have a long closed cervix, and I am over 32 weeks. I sneakily talked to the “other” peri who overseas our ultrasounds about activity. He seemed to think it is fine (Fine! He said) to be more active. It’s not like I am trying to run a marathon! There is a possibility I am wee bit defensive on this subject.

Even so, I think I will go to the movies this week. Devil. Prada. In the theatres. With the movie option and the Olympic swimmer in my belly, I really couldn’t be happier. My "happier" state is good for the baby, right? I am doing less bed rest for the good of the baby! Yes! You see?