Remember the diminishing breast tenderness we absolutely were not going to discuss yesterday? This morning it's decreased even more.
I called and moved my scan up a day. Will update when I can.
All is well. We saw and heard the heartbeat. Everything is as it should be, exactly.
Why, I knew it all along!
[Running away very fast.]
Thank you all for your unbelievably generous good wishes and expressions of concern. I am honored to furnish your daily jolt of adrenaline.
BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK.
am a nerd care about sharing this experience with my friends, I will try to show you what the heartbeat looked like today.
We also heard it. Alas, I did not think to take a digital recorder with me to the appointment a clear indication of poor planning and a lack of dedication, no doubt so you'll just have to make do with this onomatopoetic representation: BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. BUNK. Ad infinitum, I hope to God.
At 6w2d you expect the heart rate to be somewhere between 103 and 150 beats per minute, with ideal being about 127. We clocked in at 119. Surprisingly, I am refusing to be concerned about not hitting the mark exactly. It seems that there is a limit to the amount of worrying that even I can do.
Paul's head, my ass
Today's scan revealed that at eight weeks exactly, the embryo has Paul's head a capacious brainpan suitable for thinking deep thoughts about fascinating topics like Jersey barriers and plastic grocery bags and my rump narrow, bony, and singularly unimpressive, suitable only for sitting.
It also has a strong heartbeat and attenuated limb buds. It measured either 7w6d or 8w1d depending on the angle, and it moved while we were watching on the ultrasound. I am pretty sure it is plotting a hostile takeover, just as soon as it manages to grow opposable thumbs. It just has that look about it.
I have been instructed to stop the progesterone injections and released into the great unknown, left to scramble to find an obstetrician. I thought of stopping visibly pregnant women on the street here and asking for recommendations, but it is only too likely they'd say brightly, "Oh! I don't know. I'm planning to give birth squatting over a trench in the woods, presided over by a shaman." And then offer me a really good recipe for placenta helper.
That would be telling
Last summer, I let my grandparents know that Paul and I were having trouble conceiving. Although they haven't been privy to the details of our treatments, they know we've been trying hard, and that we've sought medical help.
When I told my grandfather about this pregnancy, he thought for a minute, cocked his head, and said, in a deadpan voice, "Practice, practice, practice."
I have lost control. Now that a few family members know, they'll feel quite free to tell all the others. I didn't anticipate how vulnerable this would make me feel. My grandfather told my uncle, who then called my cousin, who claimed he'd already known, that he was "in the loop." My sister-in-law told my brother before I had a chance to tell him myself. The children will probably be told before I feel entirely comfortable with the idea of them knowing. It's out of my hands entirely.
I told family members one by one. I didn't want to make any kind of announcement; at any rate, there was no opportune time to do so since the kids were always around. I told my grandmother when she and I were alone. She teared up, hugged me several times, and wished us well.
I told my grandfather quietly when the room was filled with boisterous activity, leaning close to speak into his ear.
I did not tell my sister-in-law. I didn't have to. I didn't get the opportunity to. As soon as I'd told my grandfather, she rushed over to hug me. How did she know?
She had read my lips from across the noisy room.
Some of you have asked for a picture from yesterday's scan. Incredibly, I left the office without one. My memory is imperfect, but because I am eager to share this experience with you all, I have tried to recreate what we saw.
I think it's pretty accurate, though I suspect I may have left out a minor detail or two, like a racing stripe or some fender flames or something.
Note to Paul: Warm the speculum.
I have spent some time considering the question of selecting an obstetrician more time than the situation strictly warrants, given how few choices I truly have. Here are my options:
- OB/GYN practice affiliated with local hospital. I have something of a history with this practice, since it was they who initially referred me for fertility treatment. They have performed upon me a grand total of two Pap smears, one excruciatingly painful IUI, and one excruciatingly painfuller HSG.
My doctor of record at this practice is, well, a prick. My last encounter with him was before this last cycle, when I needed some cervical cultures done. He asked a few questions about my treatment thus far; apparently my answers annoyed him because he finally sighed dismissively, rolled his eyes, and said, "You know what? I'm just going to shut up and do the swabs." Do, thought I, bracing myself for the onslaught.
I object to being treated by him. There are other doctors in the practice and a whole mess of midwives, so I probably shouldn't rule out the entire practice, but since my every encounter with the office staff has been, oh, infuriating, I am not inclined to give them further consideration. They have lost my test results, then failed to send them to other doctors when asked, then refused to give them to me without an immense amount of static. ("No, in fact, the doctor does not have to give his consent for me to have them. They are my property, so go eat a bag of dicks and get me my records.")
I have, uh, problems with this practice.
Unfortunately, they seem to be the only game in town. The hospital itself, with which they are affiliated, is approximately ten minutes away from my house. This is an enormous advantage when we consider that I'll be delivering in February in New England. So I mastered my revulsion and called for an appointment.
They can see me in three weeks. "I wish you'd called earlier," the receptionist said in a regretful but censorious tone as I politely (no, really) marveled about the wait. "I couldn't," I told her calmly (I swear). "I had to make sure another baby hadn't died on me before being released by my RE, you callous whore." (Okay, I exaggerate, but only a little.)
- OB/GYN practice affiliated with hospital 40 miles away. This practice is the home of a doctor who comes highly recommended and who is, I have been given to believe, downright promiscuous with the ultrasound wand. The distance is a concern. Although I am sure Paul is perfectly capable of driving safely at 3 AM in the middle of a blizzard when the road is sheathed in black ice and I am keening hideously next to him
However, given the unsatisfying exchange with the local practice, I called for an appointment anyway. "How about tomorrow?" the receptionist asked brightly. "That'll be great," I said happily (no, really).
- Prenatal care and homebirth presided over by Paul. "Maybe you could hurry up and go to med school," I suggested. "No need," he answered enthusiastically. "For prenatal care, how's this? Take your vitamin and put down the vodka bottle." He paused. "And how hard could amnio really be?"
I've been dreading the start of obstetrical care. I am not ready to ask many of the questions that a patient customarily asks delivery policies, C-section rate, position on inducing labor, et cetera because I'm still not convinced I'll get that far. It feels like daring the universe, a prideful challenge it won't be able to resist.
Nevertheless, I'll go. I'll pee in a cup, I'll allow myself to be weighed, and, if I'm lucky, I'll see a heartbeat. For all his good intentions, Paul has not yet been able to engineer a homemade ultrasound machine that satisfies my exacting requirements, so I'll have to make do with a board-certified physician.
We'll just see about that.
Last week I met the midwives at the practice 40 miles away. They are a lovely bunch, kind and warm, supportive and reassuring.
I don't think they know what hit them.
Every time one of them would say something like, "You're going to have a baby!" I would feel an irresistible urge (which I did not, therefore, resist) to say something hideously pessimistic in response, like, "We'll just see about that."
"And then in February..." one would start, and I would add, "...If we get that far..."
"By then your baby will be..." one said. "...Not dead, I hope," I finished.
(Okay, I only thought that last one.)
There's no reason to believe that my pregnancy is currently at risk. There's no reason at the moment to think it will be anything but routine. But by the time I left, the nice ladies were tight-lipped and rattled-looking. I think my lousy attitude convinced them that I'm so impossibly broken that I was about to miscarry on the floor right in front of them. I think one of them even called pre-emptively for a bucket and a mop.
On the one hand, I feel awful, alarming them when they were so kind to me. On the other hand, since my obvious mental disturbance convinced them to order an ultrasound earlier than usual, the end may justify the means. Score one for the power of negative thinking.
How'm I doing?
I have a hard time talking about how I'm feeling these days, especially since I know that many of my friends would give anything to be in my situation: pregnant and nearing the end of the first trimester. You'd be happy. You'd be hopeful. You'd trust. Wouldn't you?
I'm not, and I don't.
The feelings alone are hard to contend with. What's almost as hard is the knowledge that it reveals a failure to appreciate my own good fortune, an utter lack of grace. Because I want to be liked, I sometimes try to conceal that. But because I want to be honest, I occasionally come clean.
If you can't stand to hear a pregnant woman complain and, really, who could blame you? please read no further.
I'm fine. And I'm not.
Physically, I feel great. I have no nausea, no aches or pains, not even a hint of breast tenderness.
Emotionally, I'm a wreck. How can I be 9w3d pregnant, how can everything still be going well, without any of the above? I have no indication that anything bad has happened. Nor do I have any indication that everything is okay.
The situation is complicated by the fact that I had no physical sign that my last pregnancy was ending; I can't simply assume that no news is good news. The situation is complicated further by the fact that my last pregnancy ended sometime between 8w0d and 8w5d. With a promising scan at 8w0d, but nothing since, how can I know it hasn't happened again?
I'm not much fun to be around these days. I don't daydream. I don't think of names, I don't visit "your pregnancy minute by minute" sites, and I don't even slow down when I near the maternity shops in the mall. Instead I'm consumed by morbid thoughts, bitter memories, and contingency plans for the direst of circumstances.
I cannot visualize myself eventually holding a baby.
I don't think there's much that could make me feel better. I could prevail upon my local RE's office for yet another scan. And it might reassure me, but the relief would be short-lived; I've heard too many stories that end, "...and we'd just seen the heartbeat the day before." At any rate, I'm pretty sure any temporary consolation would be outweighed by my embarrassment at having capitulated to my seething neuroses once again. And a girl has her pride, after all.
I don't know when this ends. Once I pass the first trimester? Once I feel movement? Once the baby is born, if it's to happen as I don't quite dare to hope?
It has to end sometime, right?
Just like Julia, I had a scan yesterday. In case you're not keeping track, she and I share a due date; at the very moment I was enduring some unpleasant medical procedure, she was getting it on with her husband.
That's okay. I had Valium.
The pictures from her scan are much, much better than mine. (The file is large; it may take some time to download.) I assume her doctor has a more advanced ultrasound machine, allowing sharper resolution for a clearer picture. Either that, or my fetus actually is fuzzy and will be born with a snowy pelt of lush white fur.
This would not be entirely surprising, since in this scan the fetus bears a marked resemblance to a hamster.
An active hamster, too as we watched, it gamboled about in its fluid-filled bubble. Probably rooting around for some fresh cedar chips, worrying at its water bottle, wondering when the hell I'm going to get around to installing an exercise wheel.