Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Sweetness.

I realized I haven't posted many pictures lately. Some of my readers are probably like, "Thank god you self-possessed psycho photo taker!" and others are like, "Shut up and let me see that baby!".

This post is for the latter group. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's time for a haircut.

And how do I know this?

I know this because, for about 3 weeks now, I keep getting headaches at work. And then I realized, it happens when I have my hair up. So, I take my hair down, and the headache goes away.

Yes, people, my hair has become so heavy that it gives me a headache. NOT cool.

I guess it's the end of the era of long hippie hair. Now the question is...what to do???

Friday, September 19, 2008

Now I can breathe.

I'm not supposed to admit this, I'm sure, but ever since our scan last week I've been in limbo. You see, the results of our ultrasound were less promising than we'd hoped for. Essentially, we were told a normal measurement for our baby's nuchal area (back of the neck) was up to 3.0, and our baby measured at 2.8. That measurement put him/her in the 'borderline high' range, which of course set off alarms in our heads. Basically, we had to wait for the bloodwork to come back in order to get a full picture of our baby's risk of having Downs or Trisomy. Both were scary, but Trisomy in particular can end in fetal death or death very shortly after birth. This was NOT an ourcome I was prepared for, and quite honestly it wasn't something I expected to HAVE to worry about. We're young enough we shouldn't have a high risk, and no one in either family has had Downs or Trisomy. And yet....there it was in black and white on a fax to my MW "Borderline High".

And so....I spent the past week feeling dazed and detached. I am sure this is where I am supposed to wax poetic about children being a gift from God and us not being given a challenge we can't handle, but the truth was I was petrified. Could we handle a kid with Downs? Trisomy? Did we want to continue a pregnancy if we knew there was a good chance our child had one of these chromosomal defects? Did we want to live with ourselves for having to make that kind of decision?

Luckily, we didn't have to decide. We got the word today that the bloodwork came back, and the results were so good they negated the questionable results from the ultrasound. The chance this baby has Downs is about 3 times less than average for women my age. And the chance of Trisomy is less than 1 in 10,000.

I feel like a weight has been lifted. Like I can let myself dream and imagine without worry or fear. That I can fall in love with this baby's movements in my belly, and imagine what its face will look like. That I'm not setting myself up for disappointment. I feel free. I can breathe.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why I Love My Midwife.

On Thursday, I was supposed to go straight from my ultrasound to my Midwife's office for a prenatal and some bloodwork. However, the ultrasound took much longer than anticipated, mostly because baby was not super cooperative, so by the time I got out I was already 15 minutes late and still 15 minutes away. I called MW and asked her what she wanted me to do and she asked me to come Friday instead. I agreed, and we set an appointment time for the afternoon. It was at 1:30, so Darrick wouldn't be able to be there, but that was no big deal.

Let me set up the scene for an appointment with my MW. Her office is in her home, in a back entrance. She lives about 15 minutes from us, in a pretty rural area where the norm is still to have horses and goats and other farm animals. To get to her house, you drive down a narrow gravel and dirt lane, and look for 'the house with the green roof'. It's a large ranch home with a huge backyard that houses 3 horses, 2 turkeys, some chickens, 3 (I think...maybe 4?) dogs, and an undetermined amount of cats. The cats all look exactly alike, so while I know there are at least 2, there could be JUST 2 or 14 for all I can tell.

Anyhow, when I pull up, I park in the dirt and walk to her office door. Next to the door is their oldest dog, a female who is blind and deaf and, MW reports, so sedate they often walk by and have to stop to make sure she's still breathing. Her office has dark wood floors, a comfy couch, a bathroom with a large tub (fun fact: her daughter's first child was born in that room, in the same bed in which her Grandmother was born), tons of books, and an exam table.

All these details are not the reason I love my midwife, but I will admit the feeling I get at her office helps my overall sense of calm when I'm with her. Luca and I got there early on Friday and she was with another patient, so we went out and looked at the horses and turkeys....who DOES that??? It's definitely NOT something I've ever done while waiting to see an OB.

After MW was done with her other patient, Luca and I went in and took a seat. Her apprentice was there, and we all talked for a bit about how things were going. As we were talking, the fax from the ultrasound place came through, so she grabbed it and sat next to me so I could read it as well. Most OBs wouldn't let you read the file, so that was pretty refreshing as well. The info was all stuff the Dr and genetic counselor at the ultrasound place had reviewed with me, but we talked about what it meant and what the next steps were. She then drew some blood for a regular panel, to be sure all my organs are functioning ok and I have no anemia. She let me refuse the HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia tests, since I've had them before and am in a monogomous relationship...who wants to pay for tests you don't really need? AND she was able to get my vein and get the blood in one shot, without having to stick me multiple times, dig around, and blow veins like most people do to me.

She also took my BP (normal) and had me get on the scale (2 pounds up, but this was after lunch so who counts that?). After that, we listened to the baby's heart beat. This was cool: she had me lie back a bit and she felt my belly for a few seconds, stopping and saying, "There's baby!". She grabbed the doppler, put it right where she'd felt baby, and got the HB right away. I was pretty amazed she was that accurate.

After all that was done, we sat for a bit and talked about random things: waterbirth (she loaned me a DVD to watch), dads and homebirth (a DVD on that, too), nutrition (I forgot my journal, so I'm bringing it next time), and what other tests she'll do in pregnancy. It's just so easy to talk to her, and her apprentice, and I adore them both. Keep in mind, while this is happening, Luca is running around the office playing with the toys, sitting in the kid chairs at the kid table, talking up a storm, etc....and no one bats an eye. They think it's important for kids to be there for these things, and the whole family to be involved as much as possible, which I also think is awesome.

When Luca and I left, both MW and Apprentice gave us hugs, and as we got in the car, I checked my clock. It had been over an hour. That's right: I'd spent over an hour with them, getting checked, talking, discussing my options for care (not what she insists I do, but what my choices are), and just generally discussing childbirth and kids and family. What's NOT to like about that?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"I bet you're having twins!"

Next to, "Are you hoping you get YOUR boy this time?", "I bet you're having twins!" (or some variation of this comment) is the second most common thing I've heard this pregnancy. Now, if I was showing already or had piled on the pounds I'd expect it, but neither has ocurred.

Fast forward, then, to today. Darrick and I decided to have a voluntary 1st trimester test done, called the Nuchal Translucency scan. It's an in-depth ultrasound, which you can read about here, as well as a complementary blood test. Neither the ultrasound nor the blood screening can tell you 100% for certain whether your child is going to have Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13, or Trisomy 18. They are simply screening tests which factor in several variables and give you a breakdown of what the chances are your baby harbors one of those diseases.

I've been told I'm not your typical homebirther, because most moms in my situation opt out of the test. Many cite its inconclusive nature, some the cost, others the fact it wouldn't change what they would do with the pregnancy (I can only assume they mean they would not terminate a pregnancy if the baby is determined to have high probability of one of these diseases). We, however, are believers in using the technology available to us in order to learn the most we can about this baby, and prepare ourselves in whatever way WE feel appropriate for the birth of this child. We knew we were not the 'typical' homebirthers in this sense, if for no other reason than our midwife has never had a client who asked for a referral for this testing. But who needs typical? I say...women and their partners should do what works for them!

All that said, today we went in for the ultrasound and accompanying bloodwork. And more than anything, all those 'twins' comments must have infected my psyche, because the first question I asked was not, "Does the baby look ok?" was, "There's only ONE in there, right???". And there was only one, so hooray for that!!

Anyhow, we have no real results for now, so I'll save that news for when we have some actual news to share. But we did get I'm going to share some here. I fully expect that the only people who will be able to decipher these are other parents, but that's ok with me!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer..."

'"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities"
Governor Sarah Palin, AK

Ok, it doesn't take a genius to know I am pretty fucking liberal. I make normal Democrats look kind of uptight in some cases. Since I know I'm pretty far left of the left, I have learned to have somewhat of a thick skin and a strong sense of humor. I can make fun of the Democrats with the best of them, and I try not to take things too seriously. I also love talking politics with other people, especially if their opinions differ from mine and they can have a dialogue without stooping to attacks or overgeneralizations.

All that said, I watched the entire DNC last week. I fell in love with Michelle Obama, and her speech moved me to tears more than once. Mind you, I AM pregnant, so take that for what it's worth. I also enjoyed the Kennedy tribute and laughed at what an old coot he is, and cringed just a little when Clinton (Mrs., not Mr., as I missed his speech since I was stuck in traffic) broke up the banshee voice. And, in the interest of fairness, I decided I was going to tune into the RNC this week, at least as much as possible. I've missed some of the speeches I wanted to hear (GW, for mocking purposes, and Cindy McCain because I wanted to see whether her Botox would hold up under ALL THOSE LIGHTS), mostly because I've been swamped at work. Speaking of work...I did NOT miss Gov. Palin's speech, which in an effort to dig at Obamam (about 8700 times) managed to dig at people just like me.

You see, what Ms. Palin failed to recognize is that Community Organizers actually DO have responsibilities. In my case, it's to provide outreach and education on a statewide basis for a program that serves almost 600,000 of Arizona's most vulnerable citizens every day. It's also to work with partners and communities to help those in need find the resources they need to stay on their feet, especially in this tough economy. My boss is a Community Organizer. My co-worker is a Community Organizer. Most of the people I went to school with...Community Organizers. Whether they work to protect the rights of minorities, prevent major corporations from taking advantage of low-income customers, advocate for policies that are fair and Consitutional, plan rallies and meetings...whatever they do, their heart and their lives are poured into finding ways to build upon the strengths of their communities by involving community members in finding the solutions and working with partners across the board...and across both sides of the political aisle. Last I checked, what these people do is not something to be mocked. It is not free of responsibility. Maybe Ms. Palin should take a moment to look into her own community and see who the Community Organizers are, and what they do to make things better for the people she professes to know so well and love so deeply. Maybe she should recognize that Community Organizers are people like the Alaskan Conservation Commission, Feminists for Life, Alaska Outdoor Council, Iditarod Parent/Teacher Association, and the Salvation Army...all organizations of which she claims to be a member. In her effort to castigate Obama and minimize his experience (an issue, if I were her, I would have left the fuck alone given her own lack of experience), she succeeded in insulting and alientating quite a few people. Granted, we're not people who likely matter to her...after all, for all her lip service about reaching across the aisle and working together, we all know her time lies in winning the favor of her own party...many of whom have no idea who she even is.

This is not the root of my issue with this selection of a VP candidate. But it is, to me, a glaring example of just what kind of person she is. Add it to her riding on the coat-tails of Senator Clinton (the 18 million cracks comment in her speech when she was introduced as the VP choice), having little real political experience to speak of, and selling herself as having accomplished many things when in truth a lot of her claims are a stretch of the truth, at best. I realize the VP candidate is the attack dog (comparing herself to a pit bull, but 'with lipstick', is an insult to my dogs) of the campaign so the P candidate can stay above the fray. I am not naive. But I also believe in integrity. I believe that Palin, given her relative unknown status to most of the U.S.A., is in a position where she needs to prove her merit and her belonging in the office of VP. And I do not believe that cutting down her opponent for some of the very same issues that plague her own sparse biography is the way to do this. I suppose there are some who will respond well to this sort of the attack mode mentality. But I like to think the rest of us, and most notably the women at whom I do believe the choice of a female VP was aimed, are much more complex than that, and expect much more from our leaders than that. I believe most women want a woman in the office of President or VP....but only if that woman DESERVES to be there. Nothing will set back the movement for equality....nothing will patch those '18 million cracks' faster...than a woman being placed into one of the highest offices in the land as an appeasement to the American public with two X chromosomes. I'd like to believe there's more to it than that, but Palin and the McCain campaign have yet to show me a reason to believe there is anything different going on.

I hope they prove me wrong. I would love a real race, where the opponents are there based on public will and merit...not to 'make history' or fill a perceived gap. Here's hoping Governor Palin has something more insightful to share with the world, asided from digs and juvenile insults, come VP candidate debate time. Although, quite honestly, I *am* looking just a wee bit forward to watching Biden eat her alive.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cruel and Unusual Pregnancy Punishment.

My workplace got 2 new interns last week, and today we decided to take them out to a 'Welcome Lunch'. Getting 6 people with varying tastes and food preferences/fickleness to agree on one place can be a challenge, so when everyone agreed on Oregano's, I was pretty thrilled. Not only is their pizza and pasta good, but they have this thing called a pizookie. It's not anything totally novel...a lot of places have them...but for the unfamiliar, it's a cookie baked almost all the way and served warm with heaps of vanilla ice cream on top. Sounds divine? is. So of course we all saved a little room and ordered one to split amongst the 6 of us.

I got my little plate of pizookie goodness and dove in. Two delicious bites down, I went in for another scoop. And that's when Cruel and Unusualy Pregnancy Punishment kicked my ass. My hand got kind of shaky and tingly, and my stomach flipped. I set down my spoon for a second, then picked it up to try again. No dice. This time, apparently, my reaction was so visceral there was no hiding it, as my boss asked me from across the table if I was ok. I almost lost my lunch, but I pulled it together and, with great sadness and a heavy heart, pushed the plate away.

Now, I ask you, how unfair is it that I can't eat a pizookie while pregnant?!?! The pregnancy gods are laughing at me for all those Snickers Blizzards I ate with abandon last pregnancy. Jerks.


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