Thursday, August 31, 2017

These diagonal stripes will fool everyone!

Twenty weeks, and I'm still not quite out at work.

Me: Hey, Viking, how does this outfit look?

V:  Back in WWI they used to camouflage ships with stripes.  I think they called it "dazzle camouflage" - kinda like that shirt.

Oh, well, Fuck you Viking.

Actual Dazzle Camouflage (See: Wikipedia)


Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Celine has been on my mind a lot.

I should say at the outset that I am growing more and more attached to this miraculous baby I am carrying.  We've all cooed at her ultrasound pictures, Viking, Nibble, even my mom.  She is already loved and adored, and Viking and I have a good idea of how we will broach her genetic origin story with her, and eventually, the Nibble.  I'm just excited to hopefully meet this little person and hopefully watch her grow with intense curiosity.

But my mind wanders to Celine.  I can't describe my feelings about her termination as regrets.  Her diagnosis was so awful, and yet, so gray, so wracked with unknowns. But it's not like I want to turn back time and change my decision.  I am at peace with my decision.

I guess what fills my brain in those dark moments when I can't sleep, is that I lost a piece of myself in the process. 

I've been reading about epigenteics forwards and backwards, and I completely understand that because I am lucky enough to carry this baby, I am influencing her genes.  But the loss of Celine is highlighted in this experience.  I said goodbye to a baby that might have come home to us.  And knowing now, in hindsight, that I was destined for three more miscarriages, that Celine was my last real hope to reproduce with my own DNA as building blocks,'s been a rough few nights.

Monday, August 28, 2017

As it sinks in

I cried during my anatomy scan last week.

The tech was looking at her heart, and identified the left ventricle.  And then she moved and the tech turned to a look at her spine.... and I spent a few minutes in a state of panic that perhaps there was still an unidentified heart issue.

Viking grabbed my toes, the tech asked if I need a tissue and I said no, and shut my eyes for a second.

Right now, she is healthy.  We are going to have a fetal echo next week (becoming standard practice for IVF patients), but the expectation is that we will be in the clear.

I was thinking of some women I know who have repeated donor egg ivf cycles fail.  Perhaps egg quality, perhaps immune responses, perhaps uterine issues, doctors don't know.

And I got to wondering why I got so lucky for this to work on the very first try.  Just one round of lupron, one round of progesterone injections.  Suddenly I am approaching 20 weeks, while women I know are bracing for their second or third cycle....

"How did this become so easy for us?" I said to Viking.

"Easy?  After everything you've been through?  I wouldn't call this easy."

Perspective gets skewed.  I can list five years of nightmares and traumas and rationally accept the difficulty to get to this point.  But now, as it sinks in, as I start wearing pants with stretchy waistlines and prepping for the months ahead, I still can't quite wrap my brain around it.

I am mostly calm.  But there's a sliver of me that is still gearing up for the bottom to fall out.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Telling Nibble


I never thought this would happen.  O-M-G I am sooooo happy!!!!!

How big is she now?  How big will she be when she is born?

Can I be the person who reads to her every night?  Maybe she'll like Sandra Boynton books! 

Can I help figure out where her furniture will go in the office?

Can I pick out the colors of her room and make her decorations?

Can I make her a mobile for her crib?

Can I tell my friends?!?!

I won't have to change her diapers, will I?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

48 hours, Part II

Man, those were longer weeks offline than I expected!

Where was I?

Oh yeah, right.  So, check it out, my boss surprised me.

She grinned and grudgingly agreed to not smoke in her car.  As we walked to the garage, she offered what I could only take as sincere congratulations.  There were no snarky remarks about my breeding.  No jabs at my age (though I suspect she thinks I'm a few years younger).

A few minutes into the walk, I could sense the real issue, and I cut to the chase:

"I want to make it clear, I fully intend to come back to work - with the full disclosure that I plan on taking the longest maternity leave possible."

Her smile got warmer, as she stated "Well, fuck, you better come back, we would hunt you down if you didn't."

For the next two hour drive home through wretched DC traffic I learned a bunch of things.  Her maternity leave was a full year ("they're always sick when they're infants, you might as well stay home if you can").  She never thought she would have her only child - also a daughter - until a psychic told her there was a spirit who was waiting on her.

I learned that she values my opinions to some extent.  She bounced all kinds of work ideas on me.  She shared a little too much in my opinion of what she thought of some of my colleagues. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

We actually didn't spend most the ride talking about babies and pregnancy.  But where it came up, she learned a few things too - although most of the story remains crouched in mystery.  Yes, I have had a million failed pregnancies.  I always believed there was a missing person in my home.  I've been feeling tired and wretched but I'm really good at compartmentalizing work and my personal life.  She truly believed I should burn some candles to tell this baby to stick around.

When I got home late that night, a bit of the weight of this pregnancy was lifted. 

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.