Thursday, August 10, 2017

48 hours, Part 1

The last 48 hours have been mildly out of whack.

It started when I got home from work on Monday night and started puking my guts out.  And then some.  And then some more.  About 18 hours later, I hadn't kept down any water, let alone food, and called my doctor.  Food poisoning?  Stomach bug?  Didn't matter, the on call doctor told me to head straight to L&D.

"Isn't this a bit extreme?" I thought out loud.

Not so.  A urine test showed some pretty wicked dehyrdation.  Two bags of IV fluids later with a drip of zofran for good measure, and I felt better than I could have ever imagined.

You guys, I lost 4 pounds! 

Yes, it seemed a tad extreme to head to a hospital for a run of the mill bout of gastroenteritis.  And yes, I was completely panicked while waiting for the nurse to find the baby's heartbeat.  And yes, I had to answer a million questions about my "special" history when I was examined by a midwife in the unit.  But here's the deal: when they offer the IV fluids, they are offering a weakling a dose of AWESOME.

The next day, feeling slightly like a new person - oh, about ten hours of sleep also did wonders - I had to head into DC for some meetings, that included toxic boss.

So, I'll cut to the chase.  I had to tell her.  Here's how it went:

We were in this one meeting together where she had me present some info.  She was beaming as usual, when I was done, because I am something of the in-house "think tank" for my organization.  They like to trot me out to meetings to show off all the smarty-pants things I am paid to think about.

I don't drive in Washington, I like to use commuter trains and the metro to get there and around.  The meeting location was far far far from public transportation, I had actually cabbed from an earlier meeting in another part of the city to get there.  Boss offered me a ride back to my car at the train station about 90 minutes away, and I was definitely taking it.

I should state at the outset, we actually get along.  She loves me, I am probably the only person on the plant more sarcastic than her.  I have just been trying to avoid her like the plague.

Well, here's the thing about her offer of a ride, it came with strings:

"So, you know I have to smoke."

"Oh, wow, that really won't be possible."

"You know this, you've ridden with me before, I can't handle the long ride through this traffic without a smoke."

"Wow.  Ok, so you're making me divulge this about three weeks earlier than I planned, but here goes. You can't smoke in front of me.  I'm 17 weeks pregnant."

Mic drop.

to be contined

Monday, August 7, 2017

In today's news...

1.  I am starting to show. Niblet, amazingly, commented that I look to have lost weight this morning.  Not so, little Nibble, I'm approaching 17 weeks and up 7 lbs.  I had to change outfits four times this morning.  Skirts with waists, y'all, skirts with waists are key.  I have to be in a meetings with toxic boss tomorrow and Wednesday.  Wardrobe choices are critical to my sanity.

2. I'm anxiously awaiting the results from my AFP test.  Yes, it's just a screening for neural tube defects, no, it isn't diagnostic.  But I won't even consider telling Niblet before we leave for the beach without a low-risk result in hand.

3.  Today I cried watching a video of.... wait for it.... of a husky puppy getting a bath.  Pregnancy is fucking ridiculous.

Friday, August 4, 2017


Viking and I asked - begged really - the tech to go beyond the cervical scan that was ordered by the doctor.

Me: "I understand you are not able to provide me with a detailed anatomy scan, and I know I am scheduled for one in three weeks.  I totally get that things are way too small to clearly see any potential abnormalities.  But can't we just quickly see whether things look normal for 16 weeks?"

V: "You see," he started, "we're going on vacation next week.  It would make such a difference to go to the beach with a little less worry."

T: "What are you worried about, exactly?"

"Well, I've had eight consecutive losses.  One was to a severe abdominal wall defect."

T: "Gastroschisis?"

"No, a Giant Omphalocele.  And I am just concerned about Neural tube defects, spina bfida.  I have a folate deficiency, even though I take lots of extra supplements."

The tech's face softened with understanding and she relented.  We saw our baby, and unless it's testes were being pushed in by the umbilical cord (there's like, a 2% margin of error), there was a decided lack of boy parts.

She looked healthy, her spine looked normal, her abdominal wall looked normal and her brain looked normal. Her heartbeat was a normal 160bpm.  At once she pumped her fist into the air, my punk rock baby who wants to fight the power.  If she makes it, I bet she won't listen to me any better than the Niblet does.

And then to my cervix, which they wanted to see above 2cm - I was measuring 4.

"I can still be active at the beach!" I exclaimed.

"She's probably gonna do cartwheels on the beach now," the Viking said smiling to the tech, "no really, she's a dancer."

Later I called my mom:

Wow.  I can't even process this.  We haven't had good news for so long.  Years.  I don't recognize what it feels like.  Your dad still seems to think you're too early to get excited, but I was telling him "NO, I'm pretty sure she's passed the parts where she lost the others."  He doesn't know what he's talking about.  Right now I'm just going to be happy and live in this moment and love the fact that we have good news. 

We are still waiting on telling Niblet.  I am waiting for my AFP test results (which test for risk factors for Neural Tube Defects) to come back, early next week.  I am on the cusp of showing.  My Mom, who is incredibly superstitious, wants me to wait until after the Anatomy Scan (in three weeks).  I am skeptical that I won't already pop by then.  And part of me longs to tell her, but I also want to protect her.  Viking is following my lead, he hasn't told his parents yet.

We just don't know.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Crazy town (or, keep yo head down)

Earlier today I'm sitting at a table eating lunch with my work friend L, and another colleague, T, walks over to us to say hi.  Just then, the cleaning lady at our office comes out of the bathroom, and has the following crazy-sauce exchange with T:

CL: Congratulations, when are you due?

T:  (looking down at her protruding belly) Um, I'm not pregnant.  I'm just eating a lot of food lately.

CL:  Oh, Okay... (long pause)... but really, you can be honest.

T: No, REALLY, I'm not pregnant.  I just get a large stomach when I eat a lot.... I'M NOT PREGNANT.

L and I are watching this thirty-second exchange with our jaws dropping to the ground.  We are stunned and only too late do we make feeble attempts to jump into the fray to help T.

"Yeah, everyone gains weight differently right?  Me, I get the jiggly arms and my thighs don't fit into my pants," I say, a little too wide-eyed and eagerly.

"I gain weight here," my friend says, flourishing her hands from her shoulders down her torso.

The cleaning lady walks away, and I look down at my yogurt.  And grab a peek at my still relatively flat stomach.  Any week now, I could well be the focus of a conversation of such fuckery.

The crazy of my office is a top to bottom experience.  My toxic boss recently stated to a lucky few of us in a meeting that we needed to make sure we didn't hire any "breeders" for an upcoming campaign we're staffing.  Yes, you read that right. Breeders go on maternity leave and we've had a recent flux of staff turnover when people don't ever return to work from their leave. I wonder why?

Of course, she also noted she didn't want us to hire any older, sicker people, and OF COURSE I had to be the asshole to note that if you went with young and healthy on the hiring front, the risk was higher that they might breed. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Like Batman, without the crime fighting

So, I was talking with Viking about G, my researcher.  To call him that doesn't quite do our work relationship justice, being honest, he's my work husband.  He started working with me when I came to my organization over five years ago, we were both new, but he was brand-spanking new, a junior researcher out of college.  I trained him with everything I've got, because dudes like this don't grow on trees, just trust me.  I could write sonnets about how impressed I am with him as a colleague and how trusted he is as a friend.  Our dynamic in the office - we finish each others' sentences kind of thing, and can easily swap out for one another in meetings - has long been noticed by the higher-ups.

And while I'm still his boss, I've trained him to do everything last thing that I do, and even to think the way I think, analytically speaking.  He's approaching thirty, and I like to think in some small way I raised him, I've certainly tried to live up to the definition of mentor.

Well, a few days ago, I shared with Viking how I revealed a little bit of this life with my Director, J.  I also expressed some concern to Viking that G will have work-related insanity thrown at him regardless of how this pregnancy goes down.  If I lose this baby, he will certainly be stepping in my shoes sooner rather than later, while we're swamped as fuck.  And if I am on a six month maternity leave come January (yes, I know, I'm crazy lucky to have that time, a post for another day), he's gonna be running this shit-show.

Yesterday G was walking out for coffee, asked if I wanted any.  "I'll come with you!"

We started walking and when we got half a block from the office I jumped off with my new favorite line: This may be more awkward for you than it will be for me...

So, I'm really trying to get our work-plan solidified, we have so much on our plate next year, and well, there's a possibility I will be on an extended leave, starting in January.  You see.... well, I'm about 15 weeks pregnant.

Here's what was shocking:  He honestly had no idea.  About any of it.  NONE of the miscarriages (even the one I thought was sort of public knowledge).  Not this pregnancy. (I guess I'm really not showing). This particular go-around of doctor's appointments, he's thought I was anemic or something.  My secret life, like Batman, was revealed.  More than anything his mind was blown.  How did you even function?  I can't even imagine doing what you've been doing in this place all these years while going through that.  And he started connecting dots (as strategic thinkers do) about things I had stated in the past, about times when I had requested leave, about all kinds of things that were said and unsaid.  One of the more hilarious moments of realization came when his mind went back to a specific conversation we had about three weeks ago:

Me: So, G, we are launching this new campaign, and I think that we should try to request another researcher for help from NYC to get on our team.  Maybe even someone who only works half-time on our project, but someone we can oversee to take the edge off of all the work you'll have.

G:  Wow, this feels like when Mom and Dad tell you that they want another baby.  "We're not replacing you, we love you very much, but we want another."

Me:  G, I love you very much but I think we need another baby.

I'll say, for a conversation essentially centered around dead babies, it had its share of guffaws.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ten Days

I have just about ten days until my 16 week scan.  It's supposed to be a cervical measurement check, but I'm gonna cross my fingers that we take a peek at anatomy as well.

Ten days of hiding.

Ten days of still not being able to be anywhere near a clove of garlic.

Ten days of emotional outbursts when there are dishes in the sink.

Ten days of trying to stay in my current wardrobe and playing off my thick waist and sweet Baby Jesus, this rack on my chest, I can't even see my feet, like I simply fell off my diet and exercise wagon.

I've been put in an awkward position at work the past few weeks. A few more resignations have been submitted as a result of the toxic atmosphere, and my team is overworked and stressed.  Ordinarily the summer would be slow and easy.  Instead we're swamped. And we are heading into a gubernatorial primary season next year... I'm realizing that I need to start working on next year's work plan in the next few weeks, and maybe put in a bid for some extra help.

So, last week I was having a conversation with my Research Director in New York, and we are talking about the office politics we're both mired in.  And this guy is something of an ally, he's a dad with two kids, funny as hell, and deeply cynical about our organization.  And I realize during the course of the check-in that I have an ally....

So, J, I have something to share that will probably be a lot more awkward for me than for you....


Well, you know how we want to be doing x, y, and z in January?  Well, there's a possibility, depending on news I get in the next few weeks that I will be out of the office for a few six months to be precise....

I left out most of the ugly details, but did share my current state of expectancy... and with it, the general reason why it was just too early to offer me congratulations when he tried ("Awkward for you J, I'm sorry, because in all these years we've worked together in this nut house, I've been pregnant for like 53 weeks - eight pregnancies in all not counting this one.")

It actually felt sorta good, like a ripping off a band-aid that's been submerged too long in the pool and is sticking to a bit of hair on your arm and flopping around, and not doing too much about the wound, which is ok, because the bleeding has stopped.

Ten days though.  J is being great and not asking any questions, as I instructed. As I left it, either he will get some cheerful phone call from me in a few weeks, or, he will get a request for medical leave earlier than anticipated.

Monday, July 17, 2017

looooong three weeks

Today I'm 13 weeks + 3 days pregnant.

My 16 week cervical scan is in a little under three weeks. I'm hoping to make a successful pitch for an early anatomy scan that same appointment. 

These will be some long fucking weeks.

According to the one close confidante at work who is aware of my condition (I broke down and had to share with someone), my waistline isn't currently giving anything away.... but the same can't be said for my bra and the spillage that I am not paying close enough attention to, it seems.  On my 5'2 usually athletic frame, this rack is huge. 

Here's something the Viking told me a few nights ago: he had a dream shortly after my FET.  He dreamed we were taking care of a baby girl.  After watching the ultrasound he's "convinced the little bugger is a boy" (his words).  I am convinced it's an alien.  A really stereotypical, boring alien that demands mint chocolate chip ice-cream and pickles.  Could you just be a little more creative, alien baby?