Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week 5

This week, things got interesting. Because it wasn't interesting enough envisioning our family of 6 in a 2-bedroom apartment, explaining our complicated Medicaid situation to the social worker well enough to be deemed eligible, hiding from all our regular babysitters the reason that I had SO MANY DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENTS, and spying on the large families in the parish to see which ones would soon be getting rid of their beat-up minivan so we could pretty please beg them for a cheap sale!

Well, I at least had that doctor's appointment bit planned out: just don't go. What are they going to do? Tell me to drink water and take some vitamins and do my best to keep my blood sugars in range? Check. My pregnancies have been pretty uneventful during the first trimester, so I wasn't too worried about it. Not even Rosie's third-trimester discovery that she was having twins was enough to scare me into scheduling an appointment.

But then, on Tuesday, I started to have some crampiness. Enough to keep me awake from 5a to 6a in the morning (or was that the Statesman coughing or the pregnancy insomnia?). Enough for me to put my husband on alert that I might miscarry. However, I didn't start bleeding, and I didn't feel any more cramping the rest of the day.

Then, the next day, Wednesday, the cramp came back. This time, it was sharp, painful, and located on one side. It lasted about 10 minutes. My mind immediately flew to ectopic pregnancy, of which I have a great fear. I have never had this kind of pain in early pregnancy. What do I do? Clearly, avoid calling the doctor (because the appointments! And the keeping of the secret!). So I e-mailed a friend who had an ectopic pregnancy once. She told me about her experience, and told me to call my doctor right away. And I...continued to avoid it.

Later that evening, however, the pain returned after dinner. Again, it was sharp, painful, located on one side, and lasted about 10 minutes. We were cleaning up and getting ready to put the kids to bed. I just about hyperventilated and passed out because I was so scared that my Fallopian tube was about to burst its contents and a whole bunch of blood into my insides. And, of course, they say that faintness is a symptom of rupture, which didn't help...

Long story short, we had to break the news to my mom (who not-so-subtly implied that I was probably just being a big pansy about some gas), so that we could ask her to watch the children. We drove to the ER, I had a transvaginal ultrasound and some bloodwork taken, and they discovered a healthy, 5w4d intrauterine pregnancy. No heartbeat because it's too early, and they wouldn't have been able to find twins, either, because it's too itty bitty. In any case, this was both a great relief and a great embarrassment to me. It was actually also a point of pride, because the ultrasound measurements exactly matched my estimated date of ovulation. I am SO GOOD AT NFP.

NB: My doctor suggested that the pain I felt may have been a ruptured ovarian cyst. For those of you who have suffered this pain regularly all of your childbearing life, kudos for not freaking out and going to the ER every time it happens.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Merry Christmas to You and Yours

While I was sitting at midnight mass on Christmas, it struck me that there is something special about sons. Mary is prophesied as "the virgin who will give birth to a son." Somehow, the fact that the child was male was important enough to include in the prophesy. In a way, it's just another detail of life...but in another way, it's a special detail.

Now of course I'm no Mary, but I have been abundantly blessed with sons. This year, I'm thinking about how special they are. Not because they are simply my children, but because they are my sons. Not in spite of their sex, but because of it. Not because they are simply human, but because they are a special kind of human called "boy."

My reflections haven't gotten much deeper than that yet, but I'm working on it. I'm trying to appreciate the special thing which is maleness, since most often, I myself and others with whom I discuss the subject very often associate it with a) mess, b) destruction, and c) violence.

And, lest you think I have no appreciation for the category of humanity "woman," I leave you with some Christmas meditations from Saint Augustine (courtesy of my husband, who insisted on reading one of his Christmas sermons to me):

"Let men and women alike rejoice, for Christ, the Man, was born and He was born of a woman; thus, each sex was honored. Now let the honor accorded to the first man before his condemnation pass over to this second Man. A woman brought death upon us; a woman has now brought forth life." 

"The heavens cannot contain him, a woman carried him in her bosom.
"She was ruling our ruler, carrying the one in whom we are, suckling our bread..."Omnipotence was ruling the mother on whom infancy was depending..."

(St. Augustine, Sermon 184)

Anyone else have a significant parenting revelation over Christmas? May these days be a cause for rejoicing, whatever your faith!

Week 4

I don't remember much about this week, but my blood sugars continued to spike over night. I needed about 5-6 units to cover them, which I would give at bedtime. Talk about taking a risk, and right before you go into the nightly, low-blood-sugar-inducing sleep! But I remember this happened during my last pregnancy, too, so I felt pretty confident in the pattern.

We have not told my parents, in whose house we live. We think it's a good idea to have a game plan in case they are feeling overwhelmed and want us to move out. Said game plan is beginning to feel more like a hopeful-wishing-that-someone-might-let-us-live-in-their-house-rent-free-and-someone-else-will-pay-my-husband-to-write-his-dissertation-for-two-years.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 3 1/2

I found out that I was pregnant ridiculously early this time around. I ovulated (and conceived) on September 28. I began to feel a bit fatigued, nauseated, and had to visit the ladies' room more frequently within a week. My blood sugars had also begun to spike over night.

So I was quite certain of pregnancy by October 6, but a pregnancy test that day came up negative. October 9: two lines.

For me, time always seems to drag those first few days after a positive pregnancy test. All mental energy suddenly shifts to the new baby, and all the plans for accommodating said baby. It is so absorbing. And yet, you hardly feel like you can tell anyone because it's too soon between the risk of miscarriage and all the questions about your plans to which you do not yet have an answer (where will the baby sleep? I don't know, do you have any good suggestions?). You are completely turned inward upon yourself and your thoughts (now we REALLY need a minivan. Where will we get the money to buy a minivan?). You are probably pretty crabby, and you can't even tell anyone why. I think it's pretty miserable! It's been a half a week in real time, but feels like I've been pregnant forever...and I can't even complain to every friend, family member, and random stranger I meet.

Friday, December 20, 2013

There's Something About This Time of Year

I love fall. The air is so fresh and cool. I love it when so many leaves are falling all at once that it looks like it's snowing. I love the "crunch" sound as I walk through the yard. I love wearing fleece jackets and pulling out my jeans again after the sticky summer which made jeans-wearing impossible. I love it when sun on my skin feels good again. I love going outside with the boys. I love pumpkins, and pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin bread, and mums, and apple picking, and straw, and Oktoberfest beer.

Unfortunately, the one thing that often seems to be true of fall is that there are significant obstacles between me and the full enjoyment of beer and pumpkins. My parents are too busy to babysit so we can grab a drink or two, I'm too tired to have a second, I'm too tired and it's too late to go out, I don't get to finish the first because I have to get up from the dinner table to change a diaper.

But do you know what most often keeps me from enjoying beer and pumpkins in October? Pregnancy. Because I don't like to drink in the first trimester, to avoid unnecessary risk to the baby, and because morning sickness makes pumpkin detestable to me.

Can you guess where this is going?

I'm pregnant!

This is the third time I have been early-pregnant during October. This means that four of our six family members will likely have birthdays within one month of each other (EDD June 23). It also means we really actually need a minivan now, because we can't all fit in our current vehicle (let us know if you have one to sell). It also means the the familiar yuck-factor I've experienced at the site of pumpkin soup, along with a prohibition on beer, are back. It probably seems trivial, but these were some of the first things on my mind...

I actually found out I was pregnant before I had even missed my period. Because we had, with full knowledge, "taken a risk" in September, I was especially alert for the signs and symptoms. One day in early October, I noticed a little twinge, but not really a cramp, in my lower abdomen. I thought it might be related to implantation. Around the same time, I noticed several days in a row that my blood sugar was spiking after dinner/before bed, as it had done early in my last pregnancy. Not more than a few days after that, I noticed that I had been unusually tired, and had taken a few bites of breakfast that I thought might come back up again. Negative PT on October 6, positive PT on October 9.

I'm certain that the date of ovulation was between September 29 and October 1. I'll be interested to see how close I am to delivering on my due date, and whether the ultrasound estimate matches the ovulation estimate.

So how did this happen, especially given the "plans" I mentioned back in JulyNatural family planning is flexible. So flexible, in fact, that your plans can change pretty dramatically, pretty quickly. Like when you say one month that you think you'll wait a while, and then it turns out that what you meant by a little while was actually rather short. The term in the scientific literature for it is "pregnancy ambivalence," or, more popularly among NFP users, "TTW." I haven't publicly updated the blog with my feelings on pregnancy in a little while because, well, it's complicated. But isn't it always? That's part of the reason we don't always go with our feelings and we just do what we know to be good anyway.

So here's a little preview of my soul resulting from this pregnancy: anxiety, enthusiasm, fear, gratitude, determination, hope, desperation. I've learned not to talk about these things too much, for fear of putting my foot in my mouth, offending a woman who has had many miscarriages or been unable to conceive, or saying something that might make my child cry when he reads it 15 years from now.

I'll just say this to my little one: I love you dearly, and we will do whatever it takes to make this work!