Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Prepping For Battle

I don't know about other women, but ten weeks is when I start to think The Embryo may just stick around for awhile.  Actually it's almost a fetus now...maybe that's the landmark I unconsciously wait for before taking the pregnancy too seriously.  As in, I haven't rushed out to buy a car seat just yet. 

At any rate, it is now time to begin the barrage of doctor's appointments and to decide how my medical care is to be juggled during hopefully the next 28-30 weeks.  

A little history:  With Matthew, I wandered into a regular OB at the end of my first trimester.  Why?  Because I was caught unprepared to face pregnancy, and I felt fine.  Obviously that changed later on.  With Kiddo, I was hyper-monitored.  HCG levels, trans-vaginal ultrasounds, progesterone levels, monitoring for incompetent cervix, weekly appointments and ultrasounds throughout.  You name it, I had it done.  While I found all the second trimester and beyond medical interference to be reassuring (since my problems, after all, occur in second-third trimester), the first trimester stuff really freaked me out and made me worry.  And as you must know, dear Internet, worry doesn't get you anywhere in the first trimester.  You can't count kicks.  Until the end of the trimester you can't use a doppler.  There just aren't many medical interventions to prevent a train wreck at 6 weeks along, and there just isn't a lot of reassurance that anyone can give.  It's sad, but it's true.

So after Kiddo, I decided that next time I wanted a few weeks of pregnancy where no one messes with me.  Or with The Embryo.  And so it has been ten weeks of silence from the medical field.  Just me in my bubble.  It's not that pleasant in here, but I've been hunkering down anyway.  Preparing myself for battle if you will.  I quit drinking caffeine, I take my vitamin, I stay away from lunch meat, and I joined Baby.Center.

Now?  It's go time.

Although I am currently covered by my own health insurance policy, I'm worried that it might be a bit flimsy.  Jerry and I decided it would be best if I get on his and maintain my own as well in order to have the best coverage possible.  Both policies will cover my pregnancy, and his group policy cannot count my pregnancy as a preexisting condition (Because HIPAA says so).  I researched this right when I got a positive test, so I think we are as covered as we are going to get.

The next problem to overcome is our new location (well, my soon-to-be new location) in The Middle of Nowhere.  Allow me to elaborate.  

The Middle of Nowhere is located approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes from Small-Town Hospital.  Small-Town Hospital is capable of performing prenatal care for low-risk women and delivery for low to moderate risk women.  Small-Town Hospital is also the hospital Matthew was born at.  And let's just suffice it to say they took a ridiculously long time to decide that hemorrhaging really IS an adverse event and a 27 week newborn really SHOULD be sent to another hospital with a large NICU.  So I would really like to avoid any sort of future situations where my life and/or my baby's life are in their hands. 


The closest hospital that employs a perinatologist is two hours down the road from Small-Town Hospital.  That's 3 hours and 20 minutes from The Middle of Nowhere.  I don't think it's too far to drive to get prenatal care, but it is too great a distance to try to make if an emergency situation were to arise.  It is also the hospital that houses the NICU where Matthew spent his little life.  I am mostly satisfied with the care they provided so if I/We have to spend time there again I can live with that.  As long as I leave with my baby this time.  Otherwise I might kill them all.  

This is the best plan we've been able to come up with so far:

1. Be seen for weekly or biweekly appointments at Small-Town Hospital so that OB can get familiar with my history in case I show up fully dilated at 3 am.  Again. 

2.  Small-Town Hospital is affiliated with Large, Appropriate Hospital and can, therefore, refer me to the appropriate perinatologist that I have in mind.

3.  Large, Appropriate Hospital with perinatologist will monitor monthly and plan on delivering infant if all goes as planned.

4.  To minimize my risk of being in labor in Small-Town Hospital, I will be parking it in the city for approximately the last trimester of the pregnancy.  In the hopes that proximity to Large, Appropriate Hospital will prevent any and all issues. 

Friday, September 7th will be my first appointment at Small-Town Hospital.  It was pretty harrowing even making the appointment.  The receptionist cheerily asked me what doctor I wanted to see.  I said I needed to see an OBGYN.  She says, "And what for?"  "I'm.....pregnant.  Last menstrual period June 18th, 2012."  Yep, I even said the year.  "Oh, Congratulations!!" she squealed into the phone.  I did not respond.  

Then there was some transferring and I was all, "Hey, remember me?  Allow me to spell my name for you so you can say, 'Oh.....' when my name pops up and then put me on hold to figure out what the heck to do with me. "

And after all this, I realize that the perinatologist I want is out-of-network.  Forehead slap. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

9 Weeks (+5 Days)

Still plodding along over here.  No new symptoms, no worsening of symptoms.  No more pairs of pants outgrown this week.  Pregnancy really lasts forever.  We still have such a long way to go.  It's just stretching out in front of me like an eternity right now. 

My major accomplishment of the last week was loading 2 cats, 2 dogs, a 5 year old, and my pregnant self into a sedan-sized car and driving 650 miles in one day.  That's nothing to sneer at.

Will post a lengthier update at 10 weeks--I'm having a hard time thinking of what to write today.

Monday, August 13, 2012

8 Weeks

I know it's not really a baby belly, but the other day I went to put on a pair of my favorite old jeans and they would.not.button.  They were admittedly my snuggest pair, but still.  I am putting the picture up to demonstrate that my stomach has already nearly outgrown my chest.  I didn't expect to outgrow my clothes quite yet, and it's not common for me to do so.  So I figure it is unwise to realistically expect to fit my regular clothes into the first month or so of my second trimester and am cautiously trying to add some new maternity items here and there.  I don't want to have a big crisis the day I wake up and nothing fits and I don't have pants to wear to the maternity store to buy maternity clothes.  Weight gain is so low on my list of priorities that it's barely worth mentioning, but I am surprised by how quickly I am gaining and wondering if there's something to it. 

I am really kind of afraid there is more than one in there.  Looking forward to my first ultrasound in a couple weeks to rule out the possibility and take a peak around.

This pregnancy also remains unparalleled in the hormone department.  I have seriously never experienced hormones like this before.  My emotions are all over the place and out of all the pregnancy symptoms I was prepared for, this is not it.  I asked Jerry if I was like this the other times and he answered with a firm no.  Some of the literature claims that I may begin to feel a bit more balanced in a few weeks.  Here's hoping.

I threw up for the first time this morning.  I wish I could do it more often.  I had forgotten that there is a few hours of relief afterwards, whereas when I don't throw up the nauseous/dizzy feeling often lasts all day.  In the interest of counting my blessings I am actually pretty relieved that I don't have to keep it together at a job at 0700 these days because I feel like crap and am so exhausted. And I don't like when there aren't symptoms.  Symptoms are the only reassurance I have right now that things are progressing as planned.

One last thing.  The Kiddo?  She knows.  I don't know how.  We were certainly not going to tell for a very very long time.  I assumed it was safe for us to refer to things like "the pregnancy" or for Jerry and I to joke around about "the embryo," but apparently not.  She keeps saying things like, "When we have our new baby..."  She always jabbers about babies but not with such an awareness.  I've asked her several questions on the matter and then I say something like, "There's not going to be a baby for a really long time.  Babies take a long time to grow so there's no baby coming right now."  I think it's amusing that we underestimated her thinking abilities, but I need to keep her sheltered from anything that may happen to this pregnancy for as long as I possibly can.  So it's deny, deny, deny over here for now. 

Looking forward to:  next doctor's appointment--we need a plan of action
                              ordering my doppler at 10 weeks
                              getting moved--hopefully in the next 6-8 weeks

Sunday, August 12, 2012

An Exercise in Optimism

If I were to find myself in a place where I could be completely honest, I would never call myself a positive person.  I wouldn't even say cautiously optimistic.  Or...I don't know,  another word for a happy, positive person.  You know those people.  The ones that just seem to radiate happiness whenever they walk into a room.

It's not that I desire to be that shiny.  I really don't.  I think a bit of sarcasm/pessimism is refreshing when doled out in the right amount at the right time.  And a big helping, please.  It's just that I find myself feeling incapable of being positive or optimistic or hopeful.  And rather than improving my life it seems to be taking over and making things a bit worse.  

I know I've spoken here about feeling like the merry-go-round just never stops spinning.  Right now I am feeling like my sudden change in career goals, the pregnancy and the impending move to Nowhereville are all contributing to the spinning feeling.  I was 22 and then there was Matthew and then the Kiddo and then the roller coaster of school and now all this, with a smattering of many things in between--mothers who have heart attacks, parents who divorce and quickly remarry strangers, father in laws that get cancer and die.  

I know life never promises to slow down so we can catch our breath. 

But I don't like myself much these days and I'm sure there are those around me that don't appreciate it either.  

So something is going to have to give.  I've decided that from now until March 2013, I am going to force myself to find a place that is still and peaceful and tranquil.  I know I can't control everything, but I want to have a grip on how I respond to the daily stresses.  Call it an exercise in optimism, if you will.  I want to consciously change the way I process issues in my life.  I'm going to consciously take some big, deep breaths.  I want to look into the future without fear (well, less fear would be nice anyway). 

I need to stop telling myself that I'll be more of an optimist when school is over, when Jerry has a better job, when I don't have to face living in Nowhereville, etc.... and start learning to embrace where I am today. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

7 Weeks

I am really missing having an adequate supply of energy to get through the day.  I'm just so exhausted by it all.  Not having enough energy was one of my common complaints throughout nursing school, so it's a bit depressing to have even less than the reserve that I previously found inadequate.  I don't remember very clearly exactly when I started to feel a bit better in my other pregnancies but I believe the second trimester is the earliest I can hope for right now.  My caffeine detox over the last few weeks also makes me feel more depressed about feeling fatigued.  I can't drink my usual sugar-free Red Bull that I love so much.  I was long overdue for a Red Bull detox before I found out about The Embryo so I am okay with abstaining in the big picture.  The little picture kinda sucks though. 

I've also never been pregnant while having a five year old who doesn't understand that Mommy is tired.  So that's interesting.  I feel sorry for her.  I pretty much beg her to watch movies and take naps.  Poor kid.  She also seems to have a real knack lately for bouncing/bumping/banging into my sore chest.

What else?  Nocturia has come to stay this week.  I am up at least two times a night for bathroom breaks.  I was naively thinking I had escaped this phenomenon this time around, since it wasn't a problem last week.  It's not exactly motivation for good hydration, is it?

Still no true morning sickness, just stepping very carefully around what my stomach feels a good dietary choice is.  I love spicy food, but have had to tone it down a bit related to heartburn.  If I take a bite of something and it sort of slithers down, I know to stop eating it right away.  I don't force myself to eat anything; that does not work when pregnant.  And I start slowly in the mornings to prevent feeling nauseous.  I actually feel like I have it pretty darn good in this area.  

I have mostly stopped using EPTs to reassure myself of my ongoing gestational status.  Mostly.  Haven't stopped wearing a panty liner. 

I am planning on ordering my doppler when I am at 10 weeks.  I think I will rent again as I really want a hospital-grade one.  I didn't use one this early in my pregnancy with the Kiddo so I don't want to freak myself out when I can't find the heartbeat.  I did get to practice finding the FHTs on several pregnant women who were around 12 weeks along in nursing school and was pretty good at it.  So I figure I will start messing with it a bit after the doctor finds it in the office for the first time.  At least that way I can assume the heartbeat is there and that the malfunction is mine when I have problems finding it at home.  

I am really excited about the doppler.  I hope it helps relieve some of the pregnancy anxiety I am feeling.  I do think I have a better grip on my hormones this week, but the anxiety is definitely there.   It makes me feel really anxious whenever someone (usually my mother who is terrible about this) says something along the lines of "when the baby gets here..." etc.  I know people are excited and they mean well, but that is precisely the reason I can't tell many people.  We are definitely on board with hiding it for as long as we can again.  I just feel so vulnerable to people's reactions and hopeful exclamations.  And questions.   Some people are just FULL of questions when you tell them.  I can't decide which is worse, the ones with questions or the "oh, there's going to be a baby!" ones.  With my mom I am at least comfortable correcting her ("It's an embryo, Mom.  It still has a tail.") and making her take it down a notch, but with others I am often unsure how to get my point across without being rude or seeming like I'm not into the pregnancy. 

When I was pregnant with the Kiddo, we waited until 20 weeks to tell most of our extended families.  I distinctly remember calling one of my aunts and noting a strange tone to her voice.  I chalked it up to the fact that Jerry and I were still unmarried and had chosen to get pregnant again.  Much of my family is extremely religious and she is sometimes one of them.  I was a little hurt to be honest, but I moved on.  

A few weeks later she announced her third pregnancy.  She was due about 4 months after me.  She has always been one of those women who tells the world as soon as she tests positive (because what could ever go wrong?).  She must've just found out that she was pregnant when I called and was probably planning to announce it.  I think she felt like my announcement of my much further along pregnancy sort of forced her to wait a bit before announcing hers. I also knew at that time that I was having a girl and she had two boys and was hoping for a girl (which she didn't get--she now has 4 little boys).  When you have perfect, healthy pregnancies you have the luxury of being jealous/irritated when you don't get the sex of infant you desire--for any of you who don't know what that's like. For me, the optimism/naivety of telling so early is something that I am alternately repulsed by and jealous of.  

In spite of that bit of awkwardness, I think 20 weeks is a good goal to aim for this time as well.  I honestly think I would just announce the child's birth instead of the pregnancy if I could pull it off.  But I can't.  And some people even get offended when I tell at 20 weeks, feeling as though we don't find them important enough to tell earlier or something.

This post is getting a bit rambly, but I suppose my point is that I am very much thinking about the timeline of events in this pregnancy:  doppler around 12 weeks, announcing around 20 weeks, etc.  I'm stopping now. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Have I Committed Career Suicide?

I don't want this post to come off as whiny or complainy. I am grateful to be in the position I am in today (pregnant and having made it through nursing school)It's just...I really hope I haven't severely damaged my career--the career I've worked my ass off to get the chance to have at great personal cost to myself and my family--by getting pregnant right out of nursing school.  

I'm pretty sure I was letting my Mommy-Hormones do the thinking for me/us when we decided to proceed with Project Baby.  And I'm thrilled that Project Baby is moving along.  But I was 99% sure something was wrong and thought I'd just make a vague effort at TTC before my August appointment where I was going to demand a barrage of tests to diagnose the problem.  Followed by Clomid.  So I was a bit surprised when my vague effort and mommy-hormones turned into two pink lines on the stick. After 15 months of vague effort and mommy-hormones.   I haven't seen two pink lines on the stick in 6 years.  Even more conveniently, Jerry and I had just had a big talk about how waiting 6 months would probably  be wise in order to get moved and settled into a job.  

So here we are.  The mommy part of me that gets all squishy inside whenever I see so much as a baby sock is really excited.  As excited as I can get at 6 weeks 4 days anyway.  The mommy part of me cannot stop pinning adorable baby crap on pinterest and daydreaming. The mommy part of me is exaggeratedly excited to buy a bucket car seat again. 

But the career-oriented part of me is freaking out.  I almost had it made.  Kiddo is old enough to go to kindergarten (though we may wait another year still--kind of undecided on that too at the moment) and that would make it so. much. easier to work.  An infant will bring both infant challenges and the challenge of juggling more than one child's schedule so that I can work.  I just got licensed a week ago.  My friends are applying for jobs like crazy and here I sit.  Not knowing what to do.  

Here's the big thing.  I get bedrested.  All the damn time.  FMLA only protects mothers who have been at their jobs for a year.  Obviously I will not hit a year before the end of this pregnancy, no matter how quickly I get employed.  If you were an employer, would you be thrilled with a new-grad nurse who was pregnant at time of hire, didn't mention it, then gets bedrested before she's worked for you six months?  I think not.  It's just not much time to leave a favorable impression on your employer, an impression that you are worth the wait.  And when you have every legal right in the world to replace her while she's gone?  I think most employers would. 

The area that we are moving to is excessively small (I know I've brought this up before because I am a city girl and I don't want to move) so I just can't afford to have one of the hospitals not consider me employable after this pregnancy is over and I am ready to work full time again and really get my feet wet in the nursing field.  

If all goes as planned in this pregnancy, I am due March 25, 2013.  I really hate due dates.  They add so much anxiety and pressure, don't they?  I estimate I may be ready/willing to return to work about the end of June 2013.  That means I'll have had my nursing degree for a year and NOT USED IT.  I'm extremely worried about how that will look on an application.  And I really don't like thinking about all the knowledge and experience I'll be losing out on during that time.  I didn't expect to feel this way.  Not at all.  I was really just focused on the baby part. 

I spoke to several of my instructors about the situation and they have all reassured me that an employer likely won't hold a gap between licensure and employment against me.  And I'm planning on working on Bachelor's classes in the meantime so that the blank on my resume won't be a complete blank.  I just don't feel very reassured. One of my friends already has an interview, another is already employed at a hospital she worked at during nursing school.  I am going to be sad while they all rack up nursing experience and on bedrest with no guarantee of a take-home baby.  

I guess, in a nutshell, I am wondering if I will ever get to have both my complete little family and the work life I've been pushing for for such a long time?  Is it selfish and greedy of me to even dare to try having both?  I feel really blessed by this pregnancy, but I am just dying to get some experience.  I want my take-home baby and my first nursing job.  Now, please.  Every time I think about it right now I just feel frantic.  About the whole thing.  I really wish someone could give me a guarantee that I'll get this baby (in March, not sooner) and a good job that I love (when the time is right).  Just writing it down feels like I'm asking for a lot.  I really don't even feel right saying this stuff at all.  I feel like I'll cause a miscarriage because I'm coming off as ungrateful or something.  I just figured, better to brain dump it all here than blab loudly about it in real life.  Probably just being quiet would be preferable to either of these options, but I'm not that great at quiet.  I'll practice. 

And before you ask, yes I know it's the damn hormones.  In my defense I haven't had a true hormone surge of this nature in 6 years and I don't know what the heck to do.  On a happier note,  I don't think I dislike Jerry or the general population as much today as I did a few days ago.