I made it through October: 21 weeks, 3 days

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 thisย 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.

§ 21 Responses to I made it through October: 21 weeks, 3 days

  • Steph Mignon says:

    So exciting! I’m glad you made it through your anatomy scan safe and sound (mine’s tomorrow. gulp) and that you’re feeling the babies regularly. I’m also glad you made it through your academic stuff in one piece. How exciting to learn where you’ll be interning! Looking forward to the gender reveal and all else you have to share my dear. ๐Ÿ™‚ Always.

  • notpregnantandpissed says:

    So glad everything is going so well! I’m sure its such a relief to have your dissertation over and done. Congrats on that as well smarty pants! I can’t believe you aren’t ripping that envelope to shreds to find out!

  • J o s e y says:

    Ahhhh!! I don’t know how you’re resisting temptation to open that envelope. ๐Ÿ™‚ We waited until Stella was born to find out boy/girl, but if I had an envelope with a piece of paper in it — there is no way I could have waited! LOL I can’t wait to hear what you’re having!

    I’m so glad both babes are giving you some reassurance with their movements. The kicks and pops will keep getting stronger now!

    Congrats on making it through October!

  • julieb79 says:

    This makes me so happy! Can’t wait to find out the genders – I like the idea of waiting to open in a more private, nonclinical setting when you don’t have to rush back to work after. That’s sweet. I hope your blood pressure troubles improve though… those are some crazy numbers!

    Isn’t the movement awesome? The more it happens and the stronger and more varied it gets, the more bonding you will feel. At least that’s how it has worked for me. I also recommend talking and singing to them. It will feel stupid and silly at first but it really helps forge that connection – especially when they start to react to it. I even have a secret “knock” – a unique pattern I’ve been tapping on my belly most every day to say hi and he says hi back now. So cool and it gives you a little thrill when they respond – those are little people in there and you’re going to get to meet them one day soon!

  • I love the suspense of the envelope. It’s so cliche to just see your son’s dong on the screen and know right away. Boring.
    SO JEALOUS that you’re done proposing. That will be me in January hopefully. Glad you made it through your month. And glad th twinsies are doing well!! You are going to rock motherhood!

  • knalani says:

    I totally feel the same way about having a hard time connecting. I couldn’t even enjoy the ultrasound this morning, because I was so convinced something would be wrong. Damn infertility! Ruining our pregnancies for us!

    Happy belated birthday, btw. I’m glad babies did their best to reassure you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Meredith says:

    Dear God, girl, you have WILLPOWER. I would have torn that envelope open by now out of sheer impatience and ruined the specialness you are trying to create. I’m 14 weeks and dying to know! But congrats! I’m happy you made it through October and you’re doing so well. Have an awesome Thanksgiving finding out the genders and enjoy every minute!

  • Emz says:

    wow your strong. I’m impressed your coped sowell with all your struggles and also that the envelope is just sitting there an you have restraint enough touch it!!

  • Kimberly says:

    Great update! So glad things are going well, you had a great scan, the babies threw you a bday party and you can feel them move!! All good news! Cannot believe your self control at not reading the sexes yet!!!!

  • 1. You are a rockstar. Way to get all of your stuff done and nurture two human lives!
    2. I think anxiety on your birthday sounds totally normal, but glad you’re feeling better!
    3. Can’t freaking wait to hear what you’re having. Have fun at the big reveals!

  • Emily says:

    Yay! Love this!!!

  • Aramis says:

    Happy belated birthday! Even though that particular day was stressful, I’m glad that so much has been going right for you and that the babies put on a birthday show. I can’t believe you haven’t opened that envelope yet! I would have done it about 10 seconds after I got it. No patience, me.

  • Thank you for this update, and happy birthday to you! How awesome that you can feel them move. That’s freaking awesome.

    And can I just say how much willpower you have to not peek in that envelope? Wow. I also want to do a gender reveal gathering with a cake and stuff but I can’t imagine lasting more than a few days without knowing.

  • Daryl says:

    My husband was dying to know the sex of the baby, and he was so thrilled to find out it was a girl. I think that’s made bonding for him a little easier. The movement also helps! Congrats on getting everything done, and have a fabulous Thanksgiving sharing your gender reveal!

  • nickeecoco says:

    Congrats on your dissertation proposal and applications! And of course your healthy babies! I myself suffer from hypertension and take medication for it. A lot of times I experience dizzy spells from my blood pressure dropping too low. One thing you might want to be careful of is drinking too much water. It can deplete your electrolytes and cause your blood pressure to drop. I find sometimes that Gatorade or coconut water helps if my blood pressure seems to dip too low. Sorry for the unsolicited medical advice, I just know way too much about blood pressure!

  • K&A says:

    So proud of all your accomplishments. I don’t know how you would focus on that with IF as such a distraction. Truly, truly amazing. I think that what you are doing with the envelope is awesome. I would like to think that I harness some nice will power and would like to file this idea away for the future ๐Ÿ™‚ There is so much to enjoy in this stage. So happy for you!

  • Amber says:

    I am so freaking impressed by all that you manage to accomplish. Congrats on making it through October, and now most of November too! You really are a rock star! And so are those babies! My Baby A is way more active right now as well, at least what I can feel anyway. However, whenever we have an u/s, it is always baby B moving. Apparently he sits a little further back, so I can’t feel him as much. I can’t wait to hear about how you and AE decide to open those envelopes and find out.

  • nonsequiturchica says:

    Oh boy I can’t believe that you have the envelope and you haven’t peeked!!

    Happy belated birthday!

  • JenS says:

    My Baby A was also the more active one and that’s continued now that they are here. At some point, I was able to see them move just by looking at my belly. It was weird and very cool.
    I love the idea of you finding out the sexes on your own terms and am impressed with your willpower. I found out with a phone call and I was at work so my husband wasn’t even with me. I never wanted a birth surprise, but that was very anti-climactic.

  • missymakes says:

    So glad the babies and momma are doing well! You’re a much more patient woman than I. I’d have torn into that envelope within three steps from the doctor’s office!

  • Jane Allen says:

    Happy Birthday, I’m so happy you made it past that milestone day and congrats on your dissertation progress!

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