November 18, 2013 § 21 Comments
Guys, I made it through September and October.
I never doubted my ability to get everything done, but I expected that it would be pretty painful at times. And it was. But, it was not very acute pain. Let’s face it. All of us have been through acute pain during the last year or couple or several. Or more. But this was not that. I was busy and moderately anxious, operating on little sleep and with a husband/caretaker who was completely neglected. (Thank the stars for that man.)
But, I did it.
My dissertation proposal is passed. My internship applications are submitted. And, I managed to get everything done while remaining pretty positive and without falling behind (at least, to a degree noticeable to others) in any of my other responsibilities. I’m going to call that success.
I also turned 30 (which was pretty anticlimactic, given that my birthday was on a Friday and I sat at my desk staring at application materials until about 10:30PM). My birthday, itself, was actually pretty tough. Perhaps my toughest day in the last 6 weeks or so. My sister came in town for the weekend to help make it feel special. I knew I’d have to work a lot during the days, but I took the later evenings off (with the exception of my actual birthday, because she didn’t get in until late on that day anyway), and it was really nice to have her around to make my non-work time feel different from typical non-work time that just involves The Artsy Engineer and I.
My birthday was a little weird for me, though, and here’s why. I had a miscarriage ON my birthday last year. I noticed the bleeding when I used the porta potty at the urban farming nonprofit where I sometimes volunteer my time. I was in public, but also alone, as there was no one there I knew. I was cold. And dirty. And bleeding. It was a horrible horrible day. So, I spent all day this year feeling extremely anxious and on edge. I was crabby. I was tearful. It wasn’t very pretty at all. I ended up having to abandon work and take a long walk in the middle of the day just to try to relieve my body of the excessive energy. It did not help. I was buzzed on fear.
Thankfully, in the afternoon, the babies made it better. I’ve been feeling them move for about 6 weeks now. It started around 15-16 weeks with little tiny flutters and pops. BARELY THERE flutters and pops. But over the past few weeks, they’ve picked up significantly. And, on the afternoon of my birthday, when I was feeling desperate and worried and sad (perhaps because I was feeling desperate and worried and sad), they were the most active they had been to that point. They basically put on an internal birthday show for me, right there in my uterus. We’re good, mom! We’re here and we love you and your psychological discomfort and the cortisol it is creating is making is feel weird, so please stop that. But we’re good.
I’m 21 weeks today, and y’all, I am going to have at least one extremely active baby. Baby A, who is apparently situated on my right side, is a serious flipper and kicker. Baby B is much MUCH more chill. Anyway, I started feeling them from the outside around 18 weeks. Late afternoon on my birthday, I called The Artsy Engineer over like I was in some sort of an emergency. I grabbed his hand and placed in on my stomach right in time for him to receive a big kick on right in the middle of his palm. Since then, I’ve been able to feel them move from the outside many times a day. Baby A often and daily. Baby B only once every couple of days. It’s incredible.
Also, I’m huge. I suppose I’m not really huge. But I feel huge. Huge for 21 weeks, at least. I have grown immensely over the last several weeks. And, yes. I’ve had some aches and pains accompanying the growth spurt. Sleep was SUPER shitty for awhile there while I was adjusting to sleeping on my sides. It’s improved, but is still not within the normal range. I wake up every morning feeling like an 80 year old. I have to sit on the edge of the bed and stretch before I can get myself up. The only other complaint I have is my blood pressure. As in it being too low. This is notable, because I am typically borderline prehypertensive. But nope. Not right now. It first happened when I went in for my most recent OB follow/up. After the brief ultrasound my doc typically performs to check the heart rates, he put out his hand and pulled me up and I nearly keeled off the side of the exam table. The dizziness stuck around, and I ended up having to stay supine for about an hour and half for monitoring until it climbed back up to within normal limits. It was very odd. And a little scary. At one point it hit 60/40. Now, I’m no medical doctor, but I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to look like that. Normally, I fight to get the diastolic pressure in the 70s. And I’ve never seen the systolic pressure below 115. Yikes. And I couldn’t blame my water intake. My appointment was at 9 AM, and I’d already had at least 36 oz of water.
Also, we had the anatomy scan a few weeks ago!!! Babies looked good. There were some moments of worry when the ultrasound tech said she was concerned about the size of Baby A’s stomach. And, yeah, it looked too big. But when the MFM doctor came in a half hour later, she took another look and it looked completely normal. She brought us in for another check yesterday and everything was peachy. She said this happens fairly regularly but that it appeared as though Baby A had JUST taken a number of large gulps of amniotic fluid when the stomach was initially measured and it just hadn’t had time to make it’s way into the lower portions of the digestive tract yet. She repeated several times with a very nonchalant look on her face that she was not worried in the least and that, therefore, we should not be either. And shockingly, I’m not.
We do not know the sexes yet. However, we have an envelope in the glove box of my car with two tiny slips of folded paper inside. And on each piece of paper is the sex of one of the babes.
We asked the ultrasound tech write these down for us, because we’ve decided that we want to know but that we didn’t want to find out in a hospital. We wanted to do it on our own terms, when I was feeling good (apparently, laying on an exam table and having someone press a transducer on my stomach makes me feel both queasy and dizzy) and we didn’t have to go immediately to work afterward. I don’t need the surprise on the delivery day. Birthing children and meeting these two will be surprise enough. And, given the fact that I’ve had a hard time connecting to these babes (I’m guessing I can thank infertility and loss for that) and the fact that there are TWO of them, I think knowing the sexes will help both of us get a head start on the bonding process. It’s been much better since we were both able to start feeling movement, but it’s still been gradual. Baby steps.
We’ll decide we’re ready when we’re ready, I guess. But we’re planning on this readiness arriving sometime in the next week or so. We’re taking the whole week of Thanksgiving off and making the rounds to visit family. We’re going to visit my family first for a couple of days and then swing down to the DC area for the entire week of Thanksgiving to visit The Artsy Engineer’s family. And we want to be able to tell them all in person – when we can experience their reaction and be part of the joy and excitement. Because, holy shit. We only get one chance to do that.
And, we better be ready, because my husband’s sister and two of my closest friends are throwing us an “east coast shower” that weekend when I’ll be 23 weeks (because we won’t make it back out there before the babies are born), and we’ve agreed to make that a slash “gender” reveal party of sorts. It will only be The Artsy Engineer’s family and 5-10 of his closest childhood friends (who are now also some of my closest friends). I’ll write more about this because there is more to write about it, but I don’t want throw things at you all willy nilly. Reading back over this post, let me revise. I don’t want to throw things at you all willy nilly any more than I already have.
But. For now the envelope sits. And it waits.