Archive for September, 2007

Last few days

Sunday: Wake up at 8 a.m. to gush of bright red blood, which then subsides to brown spotting. Promptly FREAK OUT. Call doctor. Listen to doctor’s reassurance. Spend rest of day in bed, knowing with logical mind that everything is okay, but FREAKING OUT quietly nonetheless.

Monday:
Still spotting. Arrive in doctor’s office 15 minutes before it opens. Struggle to hold shit together. Stare at ceiling, tears slipping treacherously from corners of eyes. Nearly break Husband’s hand by holding it too tightly. Get ultrasound. Watch babies practicing tai chi, clearly cheerful and oblivious to parents’ emotional upset. Listen to doctor’s reassurance. Spend rest of day in bed, knowing with logical mind that everything is okay, but still fretting.

Tuesday: Call part-time tutoring job and quit, on doctor’s orders. Spend day in bed, knowing with logical mind that everything is okay, but still fretting.

Wednesday: Back at desk. Know everything’s okay, but, surprise, still fretting. But! – and this is such an important But that I had to edit this post jut to fit it in – Today is my third wedding anniversary! I would like to thank Husband for being the best damn husband in the whole wide universe. I’m awfully fond of that man.

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Two posts in one!

1.

The particular genius of Laurie Perry, AKA Crazy Aunt Purl, is that she is able to convey complex emotional moments with quirky but exquisite illustrations and colloquial language. She doesn’t need elevated tones in order to be serious, and she doesn’t need jokes in order to be funny. (Usually.) When I read her writing, it’s as though she’s in the room, but in reality no one communicates that well in conversation. She has an ability to be naked on stage – metaphorically, people – that I envy deeply, as I am generally too afraid of judgment or confrontation to put my own crazy out for public consumption. That’s why I write fiction – because I’m not as brave as she is.

And now she has a book out! I bought it last night and read fifty pages before falling asleep with it on my chest. You all should read it too. You can get it at Amazon, but I would personally advise getting it at your local bookstore instead, because Amazon can’t seem to keep it in stock. That’s how great it is.
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2.

In honor of Laurie, and because she specifically requested it when I saw her last night, I will now post ultrasound photos taken this morning. When we saw the babies on the screen, they were bouncing all around. I watched each little hand and foot hit the edge of my uterus, and I tried to feel it as it happened, but alas, no success.

Baby 1

Baby 2

The doctor got better photos than these, which showed the babies measuring at 12 weeks 4 days and 12 weeks 6 days, but she kept them for herself. Pooh.

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Better now, mostly.

I just went back and re-read last year’s post about September 11th, and I’m struck by the contrast between my feelings then and my feelings now. The sadness is still there, but it’s not making me cry this year. The empty pit of anger and despair has been filled in with hope for the future. Isn’t that, fundamentally, what making babies is? A statement that you believe there might be a better future for your children to live in?

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Wonders of technology

Upon feeling yesterday’s ultrasonic waves washing over them*, one of the babies waved back slowly with a teensy-tiny little hand. The other was sucking its thumb, ignoring us completely. That, I suspect, is the smart one.

I was dazed for the rest of the day. “It waved!” I kept repeating. “It waved at us! And the other one sucked its thumb!” I know these aren’t the first babies to perform such tricks in utero, but seeing them wriggle on the black-and-white screen is a truly visceral (heh) confrontation with the fact that inside me right now are little creatures that will eventually be people. And if that isn’t a legitimate reason to feel a bit freaked out, I don’t know what is.

Watching those two little kinda-baby-shaped blobs grow week by week, reading in my Pregnancy Journal all of the changes these creatures are undergoing inside me (this week they’re growing fingernails, toenails, and hair follicles!) – it seems like I should be aware of all that activity in some definite, unmistakable way, instead of just having vague symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and a pot belly. There should be jackhammers and cranes; there should be flags up around my midsection, and tiny people in hardhats waving the traffic through.

I suspect this will all seem a lot more real when I start feeling them move. That should be . . . in about six to twelve weeks. Don’t worry; I’ll let you know when it happens.

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*We’re being followed so closely because of all the gadgetry and finagling it took to get us here. Otherwise, I would not be subjecting babies to so much poking.

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Twins! So you can schedule a C-Section!

When we first started trying to get pregnant, I optimistically scheduled a meeting with Diane West, a midwife, to talk about my desire for a homebirth. Husband was very, very apprehensive about the idea, but after talking extensively with Diane, became convinced that this was indeed the way he wanted to do things too.

Well, flash forward two years: We’ve been through several rounds of Clomid, one IUI, and a clinical study that gave us a free IVF cycle. And voilà! We’re pregnant! And holy crap, it’s twins!

Poof! There go my dreams of the perfect homebirth. In California, midwives are not licensed to attend twin homebirths, and birth centers are regulated by the same laws as homebirths. And while I certainly respect those who choose to birth unassisted, that path is not for me. So off to the hospital we go! I’m not happy about it, but there it is.

A fertility clinic is, by definition, a highly medicalized environment. So it probably shouldn’t have come as quite the shock it did when the first thing the (otherwise wonderful) doctor said to me after “You’re having twins!” was “So you can schedule a C-Section!” I can’t even tell you how far up her eyebrows went when I mentioned that I was still hoping for a natural, vaginal birth. Nor can I convey the skepticism in her voice as she insisted that I check to make sure my OB was on the clinic’s “approved” list, and encouraged me to keep an open mind regarding C-Section.

I have an open mind regarding C-Section. If I have an OB 1) who is supportive of my desire for a natural birth, 2) who has generally low c-section rates, and 3) for whom I have good references from midwives, doulas, and former patients who chose natural births, and that OB tells me that a C-Section is necessary for me and/or my babies, then I’m going to trust her or him and have the surgery. Frankly, even if I got stuck in a lousy situation without the above-described OB, and someone told me I had to have a C-Section, I’d probably have it, because I’d be too frightened not to.

But that coercive, bullying scenario is precisely what I intend to avoid through careful research, and by ensuring that the OB to whom I entrust my life and the lives of my babies has our best interest at heart – not just “hospital policy” or his or her malpractice insurance. Fortunately, I have a fantastic husband, a great midwife, and a wonderful friend who just happens to be a doula, all of whom will be there to support me through this adventure.

Yes, the most important thing is that the babies are healthy, but a C-Section is major surgery, and doesn’t automatically equal a healthy baby. Nor does it automatically equal a healthy mother. When it’s necessary, it’s necessary, and while of course I’m glad it’s an option available in those cases, the fact is that almost 30% of births in this country right now are C-Sections, and they’re not all necessary.

Reproductive freedom is not only about choosing whether to give birth: it’s also about choosing how to give birth. I support every woman’s right to make that decision for herself, and to be fully educated as she works through her decision-making process. This is my choice, and my opinion, and I reserve the right to change my mind at any time up to and including several years after the babies are born.

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