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.....

Friday, April 25, 2008

Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

The very evening of my last post, right in the middle of the matza ball soup, I went into labor. And by 8:46 the morning of April 20th, we became parents again! We have a little girl. Let's call her baby O for now (I am struggling, as Q gets older and more recognizable with how anonymous I want to be on this blog. Part of me wants the whole world to know it all, part of me wants to keep it less identifiable. But this is a post for another time; right now I have as story to tell)

On the way to Seder dinner with the grandparents, my in-laws, I started having some contractions. I noted to the husband that these were a bit more intense than usual and "this could be it! Pease, God, make it be it."

We arrived and met up with my brother and sister-in-law and the grandparents. Funny, it was a Passover dinner filled with more gentiles than Jews, and you could tell. It was the most pathetic Seder rendering I’ve seen, and at this point, I’ve seen a few. Husband's family is quite funny. They are of the NYC Jew variety. They're obviously very Jewish, but they are not at all religious. For example, most Jewish holiday celebrations in their house involve conversations on whether Zabar’s is better than Tall Bagel for supplies. It’s always about the food. At our Passover dinner, Husband’s father waved his hand over the plate with all the stuff on it sort of said something about tears and the desert and "blah blah blah, let's eat."

By this time, I had told everyone that I was having some pretty intense contractions, but we had nothing regular going on, so there was nothing to do but eat. I did feel irritation as everyone would stare at me and say "was that a bad one?" with a look of gleeful hope on their face as I grimaced in pain.

Finally, by the time we got to dessert, they were coming regularly. About 10 minutes apart. It was time to go. We decided to leave Q where he was and go home, get the hospital bag, call the dogwalker to pick up Faithful Lab and make sure all was in order before jetting to the hospital.

I had a few tears as I said good-bye to my little man. I told him next time we met he'd have to make room for me to love another. He responded by pointing to his "Brown Bear" book, which I read for him through my tears. I finally decided I had to go lest I begin to freak him out. I was feeling very emotional.

By the time we got home things had slowed down. I must complain about all the waiting around of labor. We had to wait until 11pm before anything was regular enough to justify going in, but during that time, I was still contracting and in massive pain and getting tired. My first "hello!" contraction started on my way to dinner at 4pm. By the time 11pm came and it was time to leave, they never were more than 20 minutes apart, but I knew enough to know we’d be sent home if I arrived any earlier. As it was, they only admitted me because my labor with Q had gone so quickly. Otherwise, they might have made us go away.

I was about 4 cm dilated when arrived and the contractions had grown closer, more like 5 minutes apart. They agreed to admit us and put us in a labor room. The contractions started getting very intense. Last time, when I had Quinn, I had vaguely bought into all the natural childbirth holistic fanatics of San Francisco and was all "I'll try to do it naturally." Things had gone fast and I had a baby a mere few hours later. As the contractions got worse this time, my memories of natural childbirth came flooding back, as well as a distinct feeling of realizing I have nothing to prove this time. I’ve been there and done that with the natural childbirth thing and it wasn’t all so fabulous. It wasn’t horrible, it just didn’t feel necessary to do again. I asked for my epidural.

I have my weird blood pressure issues. My blood pressure runs very low, and when they give me anesthesia is seems to get lower. As a result, the anesthesiologist decided that I needed a very low dose of whatever they give in order to keep my blood pressure stable. While the epi certainly helped matters, I was still in a lot of pain despite its presence. And it seems that getting it did slow things down. I do wonder if I could have just dealt with the pain if it would have been a quicker evening. But who cares. There were no major complications and by morning I had a beautiful daughter.

We waited all night for things to get moving faster. Finally the overeager resident gave me some Petossin. Then she broke my water bag (Guru would be horrified I allowed all this “intervention”. But honestly, I just wanted this part of having the baby over with. I wanted the actual baby! Anything to speed it up was ok with me.) Finally our extremely awesome experienced nurse informed the resident that I was pushing and told the resident, who was trying to leave the room, that she probably shouldn’t leave the room and actually, she should check me again. I was groaning and making guttural pushing noises as I involuntarily started pushing baby O out.

When it was officially time to push (again, thank god for awesome nurse who called for an attending and another nurse to help) I was determined to get her out. I think it was less than 10 minutes of actual pushing before I heard her cry. It is the best sound to hear when you’ve just delivered a child. It is seriously the best sound.

There was much crying and holding baby O and husband and I gazing adoringly at her and then at each other. Q visited later in the day and all appeared to go well. I wasn’t holding the baby when he came in, we had a present for him from the baby to him. We gave the baby a present from him that he had picked out earlier in the week. I don’t think he got any of it, but he did enjoy playing with all the hospital stuff.

Since our arrival home, the husband has primarily taken over the care of Quinn while I have grappled with the familiar feeling of sore nipples, boobs and midnight feedings. I still find it complicated to understand how I love and want to love baby O with all my heart, and still feel a pang of loss for little Q, who will now share me forever. Overall, the joy of having a sibling far outweighs how hard it is, but there are times when he’s been calling for me and I can’t go to him because I am breastfeeding or something and my heart does break a little for him. Still, he is doing fantastic overall and I can’t say that I’ve ever heard anyone say that having a sibling ended up the biggest trauma of their life.

The husband, Q and Loyal Lab are at the park. It is beautiful out. Baby O and I are enjoying some coffee on the back porch as I finish this post. Life is good.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Seriously. Seriously, the Longest Week

Still here, a family of 3 (plus the lab). They stripped my membranes yesterday. My fluid looked fine.I am close to 3 centimeters dilated. All that and here I am.

Here's the silver lining.I assumed I'd have a new kid by now, in fact, I assumed I would have a new kid a few weeks ago. As a result my schedule is completely clear. Even the husband has little to do as we wait.

The last few days with Q have been the most wonderful gifts. That is a nice reframe, right? They're gifts, you can really look at that way. We've spent the days together. I feel like I've had time with him that I haven't truly had these last pregnant months when there was the no lifting and the working and the stress of not being home.

I guess I get at least one more precious day with him today.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Due Date

Hiya! It's my due date! Where's my new baby?? Not here yet. I was up for a few hours early this morning with some very strong lower back pain and a few contractions, but here it is 8:23am west coast time and there's nothing doing.

There still is a chance that I could be induced today since my fluid was a little low at antenatal testing earlier this week. Did I tell you about that? I probably avoided it because the only reason I go in every week is because I am so OLD.

Anyway, they saw me Wednesday and my amniotic fluid had gone down to just this side of normal. They want to see me today.

We are bringing the hospital bag and the infant car seat. Wishful thinking, I suspect.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Moment of Zen

No new baby yet.

HOWEVER, I feel like I have settled down the crazy the last few days. Maybe it's the amazing quality time with Quinn, which feels so wonderful. He is so fantastic right now--so verbal, so funny and so unaware that he is so funny. I smile so much when I'm with him. It's hard to even write about. I read back what I wrote and it seems so hollow compared to my experience. Ew. Gush.

Then there is the fact that we are back home, the licensing exam is done, work is done, the old baby clothes are unearthed (yes, I will have a baby girl in blue onesies) the new diapers purchased. Even I am having trouble finding new nesting habits. Between the in-laws, the nanny (who we still have full-time until the end of this month) and myself, everyone is chomping at the bit to spend time with Quinn, so I get to rest when I need rest and spend time with him when I feel like I can. This new space of not having 1,000 things to do while waiting for the arrival if little girl actually is sort of nice and has forced me to relax. I don't have that much to do, so now I actually pick up a book or take a bath.

Yesterday, at my yoga class, I was meditating with my hands on the belly. I realized that here I am 40 freaking weeks pregnant(!!) with a healthy happy child and a lovely home. Why am I am complaining? During this short period of enlightenment, I sent some yummy thought waves to the little girl and actually, for one whole moment, felt very content.

When I got home I noticed all the dust that is still in the house from construction, realized that we have no place for the dog (poor, poor dog--such an afterthought) when I go into the hospital and found a few other tidbits to obsess on. But really, overall that moment of zen in yoga has continued--in it's way. Maybe I have to get here for my body to get there.

Friday is 40 weeks officially.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm Still Cooking

I woke up yesterday morning with some nice contractions. It was 4am. I was so psyched. I thought the time had come, it echoed my experience with Quinn so nicely. But no. They didn't last.

We went to a movie last night. Same deal. I had some good activity beforehand and while they weren't regular, I had about 5 good and somewhat painful contractions. None of them were more than 25 minutes apart. They stopped, too.

I woke up today with no apparent activity in my uterus (not including the movement of little baby girl).


OK, how much of a baby can I be? Did I just write "poop"?

I'm going upstairs to clean out the changing table.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Longest Week For Real

I think that at a certain point in pregnancy, every week must feel like it lasts forever. I blamed last week on the exam. But here I am still pregnant and feeling like time is going by so slowly. On Monday I thought it was Thursday, on Tuesday I thought it was Wednesday, today I mentioned something about someone dropping by who isn't coming until tomorrow. It must be wishful thinking because time has apparently stopped.

Throughout the pregnancy I questioned how I would handle having two under 2. I don't question that anymore. I don't care. Anything sounds better than being pregnant. Even the husband, usually extremely patient with my pregnancy emotions, broke down and yelled at my belly, "Give me back my wife!!" I think I was in the middle of one of my recent outbursts

People with two warned me the last month is the worst. I didn't believe them because I figured that with the whole pre-term labor issue, I would just be so happy to make it to term that I couldn't feel badly at the end. It’s true that I am happy and grateful to be here. And the other is true, too. In some ways it IS the hardest month. Why? My moodiness, the exhaustion, the hips, oh the hips, the back, the apparent brain damage (I know that one doesn’t actually go away, my inability to form coherent sentences is just beginning) and the lack of sleep are all aspects of month 9 that I can no longer abide.

If I make it to Friday, it will be 39 weeks. Q was born at 39 weeks and 4 days. Despite my efforts at trying to encourage labor--like lifting Q a hundred times a day, a practice I suspect is giving me permanent back damage while not seemingly increasing contractions--I think this little girl may give him a run for his money and try to make it to her due date, a week from Friday.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Longest Week

So this week was the longest of my whole pregnancy. Not because anything happened regarding the pregnancy or Quinn or anything, but because, just for fun, just to make things more interesting than they already are, today I took my licensing exam! And this week of anticipating the exam ended up taking for-ev-er. That’s right. I’m nuts to have done this. With every thing else, I don’t know why I added this anxiety of studying for a major exam while parenting a toddler, remodeling our house and enduring high-risk pregnancy. It wasn’t fun. Just ask the husband; he’s the one who dealt with my emotional responses to this pickle I’ve created.

Here’s the deal. When you have a MSW (Masters in Social Work) and practice in the state of California, you jump many hoops to become an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Ooh! Aaaah!). You need about 3,000 or so hours of direct supervised service, you have to take classes and then, when all those hours and classes are finally signed off on and approved, you have to take not one but two big exams. You do all that work just to change the three letters after your name into 4 letters after your name. There are other advantages, but this post is already probably boring.

It usually takes about 2-3 years after graduate school to get licensed. I graduated in 2002, then I worked for a few years, then I moved out of state, worked there, came back and lazily started the process of getting all my hours accounted for and signed off on in 2005. Then I got pregnant for the first time. I dropped the ball. Since then I’ve been busy with other stuff.

But this last year, I started noticing this awful phenomenon of people getting licensed who appeared to be so spankin’ fresh out of graduate school. It started to bug me. How come they got to become LCSW’s when I have so much more experience? At work there is a “LCSW Study Group” for people in the process of preparing for their exam. I expressed interest in attending. The leader, and extremely experienced colleague, innocently said, “You’re not licensed yet? I always think of you as licensed.” Gee, that might be because I have been out of graduate school for 6 freakin’ years!

Anyway, I decided to get my ass in gear. I finally dealt with getting all the paperwork together and was eventually approved by the powers that be to take my exam. I scheduled it for today. The day I turned 38 weeks pregnant.

I had about 5 weeks to prepare. I studied in a half-assed way and told myself that if I failed, who could really blame me? I am barely studying and mucho pregnant. But I thought, if I pass, how great would that be? One major step towards licensure finished, never to be redone. I couldn’t imagine trying to get this done with a new baby….It would mean putting it off until I started work again, at the very least.

This last week I took practice exams every day, and mostly did dismally. The week went so slowly, especially as I have become more and more uncomfortable. Sitting in café’s for 4 hour stretches….it’s not good for the hips/back/psyche. Plus there was that nagging fear that whatever preparation I did would be for nothing if I went into labor before taking the test.

I didn’t blog about this process because I would have been too ashamed to admit to my failure (even though I kept on telling myself it was no biggy) and I didn’t want to jinx anything.

Which, if you are Sherlock Holmes-ey enough to notice that I decided to write this fascinating post about the process of social work licensing in the state of CA , you have probably already guessed that I passed!! I am so relieved.

One more exam in the next year, and you can call me KMW, LCSW. Actually, on second thought, maybe I should just stick with “Master KMW” and focus on my family. Put that way, it has a nice ring for now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Babysitter Blues

Yesterday was my last day of work! Yay! It couldn't have happened a moment sooner since walking from the parking lot to my building felt like hiking up Everest.

I managed to put myself in a tizzy of guilt (yes, a familiar theme with me) about the fact that we still have our babysitter for little Q. We needed to guarantee her a certain amount of hours when I required her full time, and nothing has changed yet in terms of our contract. We are trying to figure out our summer plans and what to do to keep her happy since we'll need her again when I go back to work in the fall. She is so great we don’t want to lose her. But obviously, I am home now, and will be home all summer. So, long story short, nothing has changed yet. We're still paying her for a lot of childcare.

My plan, until I deliver, at least, is to give little Q his time with his pals and main squeeze, D (the nanny), and to also make his day much shorter with her and have several hours with his real main squeeze, ME. The mommy.

My guilt is that now that I am able to be with him all the time, I feel like I should be with him all day. Especially when things happen like at the 2 year old birthday party on Sunday where a few moms mentioned that they see Quinn at the playground. The playground that they go to with their children while my child arrives with Nanny D.

Everything is about to change for him, I really feel like some QT, one on one with me, is important. After all, he will never have me in this way again. What he will have will be great in it’s own way, it just won’t be Quinn! The center of the Universe!

The reasons I am not taking him back fulltime are a) we are paying D anyway, might as well take advantage b) he’s got a good thing going with his friends and I don’t actually think taking that away from him to be with grumpy tired me all day is necessarily better for him, and c) I am so freakin’ tired. As the husband said, “You’re not working now because theoretically you can’t. You are too pregnant. You should not feel bad because taking care of him is hard. You need to take care of yourself, too” Right.

This morning, I decided to drop him off nice and late. We were at the grocery store getting some food together for his lunch after a great morning of playing (we still don’t have a kitchen, but we should have one by Friday, thank god). My back was hurting. I had a big cramp going down my leg from some nerve in my lower back. Whatever. It’s par for course at this stage, right? Quinn started to melt down in the store. Eventually, I knew he was going to need to be picked up. With my groceries in one hand, I scooped him up in the other arm (“Ouch!” said my lower back). He took his toy train and walloped me in the head. “Ouch!” I said “That hurt!”

I finally got him, with me panting and with a shooting pain down my leg, to the car. I finagled his arching tantruming body into the car seat while he tried to pull my hair and pinch my face. The joy of toddlerhood never ceases to amaze. I hoisted myself into the driver seat. I looked at him pointedly in the rearview mirror, “Time to go see D, little man.”

I called husband up after dropping him off and confessed that I couldn’t manage a few hours on my own with him. What is wrong with me? He assured me that it is because I am 9 months pregnant and told me to go home and take a nap.

I am picking Quinn up early this afternoon. Here’s hoping it goes better.