Friday, December 21, 2007

The Christmas Letter

I have received a few Christmas letters from friends and family again this year. Before l@w school, I created handmade Christmas cards to send out in lieu of the dreaded letter. This was my way of escaping saying anything about my life. Now, I have no time for handmade Christmas cards and those letters just keep coming. The friends from college have started generating those same letters that we once mocked for their self congratulatory and boasting tones. They have babies and houses and property and careers to announce. Conspicuously absent from those letters are divorce, miscarriages, mental illness, crushing debt and rentals. So, this is the letter I have been trying to get Husband to write for us...

Dear Friends and Family,

It's been another banner year here in the land of gorges and waterfalls. January began with a scramble to get together money for Nicole's tuition and books. Even though she failed at her attempts to get a summer job at a lucrative law firm, she decided to keep going through school. Why stop at $75,000 in debt when you can go for platinum at $150,000? And you thought that new house you wrote to us about was expensive!

We managed to keep Nicole from jumping into one of those lovely gorges (photo enclosed), by focusing her efforts on conception. Scheduled romps in the hay may not be sexy, but they do keep you warm for 5-10 minutes. Given that the Gas and Electric Company now keep up correspondence using personal visits for bill collection, that warmth came in handy in the cold months of Winter.

By mid-February, we were doing the "I think I see two lines!" dance. We went through March alternating between bleeds and onesie shopping sprees. By the time April came around, we announced, "IT'S A D&C!!!" We were the proud parents of "the products of conception" named: Percocet, Chlamydia, and Ser0quel.

By Summer, Nicole was diagnosed with the same cholesterol numbers that came before the death of her father, so we quietly mourned the loss of our reason for living: Cheese. At the end of Summer, we realized that Nicole could no longer sit on her ass anymore and had to get a second job. Someone had to pay for mistakes made during our two divorces as well as for the medical bills from Nicole's bipolar fallouts. After a B.S., a Ph.D., and 2 years of law school, she proudly accepted a job selling wine at a retail shop and thoroughly enjoyed catering to former science colleagues and fellow law students freshly back from their $5000 per week summer firm jobs. She never tires of the question, "So what, exactly, are you doing with all your degrees?"

Just as she returned to her futile efforts at law school in the Fall, we discovered that she had managed to miscarry another one when the doctors compassionately wrote off another "product" as a chemical pregnancy. Good times were had by all. But by October, what do you know? It's time to do the "It's a two liner" dance again. After a few more weeks, we joined the misfit uterus club when Nicole discovered the words "bicornuate uterus" in her medical records.
So now we go into this grand new year wondering how we will feed, clothe and house the three of us once the school loans stop coming in June. With a June due date, taking the bar is out and so is lining up her first post-law school job. But, that's OK, because so far, there aren't any jobs for Nicole anyway. Good thing she just got a raise at that wine job. Oh, this maybe baby is in for a real treat at the rented house in the land of gorges and waterfalls.

Happy Holidays!!!
The Husband.

P.S. If you happen to see Nicole around any of those gorges or waterfalls, can you please ask her to wait until after June before she plans any high dives?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Reassuring words

We made the 40 minute drive to the doctor this morning only to discover that my doctor was stuck in a surgery that went long. And so I was rescheduled for 1:45pm. Husband and I drove back to our hometown. Then we drove out again at 1:00pm. The drives were made much less anxious by Husband's recordings of several This American Life episodes.

I talked to Liz the nurse and apologized for bugging them on a busy day. She was nothing but compassionate and reminded me that I was never bugging them. I really needed to hear that.

Then the doctor came in and I told him all my concerns which he took seriously. I apologized to him too, and his reaction was the same as the nurse's. All compassion. I needed to hear that too. He did a complete pelvic exam, checking my cervix and uterus height. He enthusiastically assured me that everything looked perfect! Then we heard the heartbeat at 150bpm. More reassurance and we were sent home feeling so relieved and quite honestly I didn't feel so stupid. I felt validated. As you all said, going to my doctor was absolutely the right thing to do. And, I also felt again that I had made the right choice in my practitioner. Now, it's nap time.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Aluminum

Have you ever seen a shiny polished metal surface and been impressed by its image of strength? I see them everywhere. On buildings that threaten to scratch the sky. On protective interior walls that show our reflections. On molded structures that illustrate the mind of an architect (anyone seen the Experience Music Project (EMP) Building in Seattle?). They are threatening, and solid, and invincible. In the same way, many cover their houses in metal siding that claims the same. The siding that you will never have to paint again. The siding that will last a lifetime. But as soon as Junior bumps it with her softball that siding gives way to show a large dent. Ah, aluminum siding lures us into a place of security only to reveal a malleable surface that can't tolerate the slightest rub.

I am the aluminum siding that tries so hard to look like the EMP or those threatening sky scrapers. I sell myself with claims of competence and resistance. That shiny surface wants to be impenetrable but it keeps denting. I am so filled with dents and yet I still try to reflect a sturdy shell that will last a lifetime.

My faux steel shell makes claims of toughness and abrasive talk. Aggression that can't be swayed and promises of bodily harm to those who refuse to give to my strength. But when aluminum siding is put up as a barrier, the only harm that comes is to the one who chose it...me.

I called my doctor, finally. It took me the better part of the day to muster up the strength to make the call. The receptionist was less than receptive. The doctor sounded like he could see my craziness right through the phone. I got an appointment for tomorrow morning at 9:30am and I am absolutely sick over it. I hate that I need someone else to tell me everything is OK. I want to just feel OK without confirmation from others. I am not tough or aggressive or confident. I am soft, unsure, and scared. I am ashamed that I need this appointment. I am ashamed that I called and revealed what a hypochondriac that I am.

I am aluminum siding.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Help! Assvice Requested.

"Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not watching you."

I have made this statement several times on this blog. And once again it fits what I need to say. For the last few days, I have had some strange pains including the occasional stabbing pain in my vagina, a lot of pressure in my lower abdomen and a persistent low back pain. It seems to be at its worst when I am up and walking around or busy working on my feet. For the first day or so, I wrote this off as just normal aches and pains from an expanding uterus. Yesterday, I started to panic and worry when I noticed that I needed to pee quite a bit and was running to the bathroom from the pressure only to pee a little bit.

So, I called the doctor. Doctor felt that I had a UTI and called in a script. At first, this sounded right given that I seem to be quite vulnerable to UTIs and experience them frequently. But for those of you who have been reading for awhile, another doctor once thought I had interstitial cystitis. So I thought, that could be the culpirt if the UTI wasn't.

But, this morning the paranoia is starting to overwhelm me. First, there is no burning during urination. Then there is that weird lower abdominal heaviness. Finally, there's the knowledge that I have a bicornuate uterus and that can sometimes cause an incompetent cervix. After way too much googling, it seems that an incompetent cervix can produce the same symptoms as a UTI. Sorry to gross everyone out, but I decided to try and feel my cervix myself. The cervix felt slightly open and not as tight as I expected, but then I have no idea what my cervix is supposed to feel like during pregnancy. Then it seemed like the anterior side was soft and the posterior side was firm. And so my efforts to calm myself only made matters worse. For the rest of the day, I am staying reclined on the couch. On Monday, I will call my doctor again and beg to be seen. Even if everything is fine, I think I would feel so much better to hear my doctor say so after a full exam. What do you all think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Risk versus Sacrifice

Finals are finally done. And while I still have 3 papers to write by the end of January, the end of exams for the semester still relieves a significant amount of stress. I made a fairly successful attempt to focus on studying for finals and not obsess over all things fetus related. So now with the completion of finals, I have totally resumed by previous obsession.

Firstly, at 15 weeks, I am neither "showing" nor do I feel any movement. I know this is perfectly normal for a "first" timer, but I worry nonetheless. Maybe the baby is already dead, maybe I am not growing on target and the baby is about to die, maybe there is something seriously wrong that means death will occur shortly after birth. I think you get the picture. When it comes to potential baby death scenarios, I can be pretty creative.

Then there's my meds. For the most part, I feel confident in my psychiatrist's decision to keep me on 100mg of Ser0que1 and 100mg of Z010ft during the pregnancy. Ser0que1 is a schedule C drug that is contraindicated for pregnant or nursing women, but we opted to take the risk. And when I say "we", I mean I opted that the baby take that risk. Right now, that sounds pretty fucking lame. Sometimes, the alternatives sound quite a bit less selfish. For instance, let's assume that without the Ser0que1, I launch into a full blown depressive episode where owing to the lack of Ser0que1 sleep is downright impossible for at least a month or so. The impending self injury and real live insanity would require hospitalization or simply tying my arms and legs down to our bed. Let's be honest, that's the kind a sacrifice a real mother would make. Not this pansy sacrifice claim that I am taking a risk by ingesting Ser0que1. Taking Ser0que1 is not a sacrifice made on the behalf of the baby, it's made on the behalf of me.

Perhaps this little discussion is driven by the fact that while I took my Ser0que1 last night, I was up by 3:30 this morning unable to sleep. That's just insult to injury, my friends.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Grumpy, Sleepy, and Dopey.

OK, so mainly I am grumpy with hints of sleepy and dopey to keep things interesting. As a disclaimer, especially for my husband who is sure to read this, this post is focused on my total and complete dislike for my sister-in-law (Husband's sister).

I started a private non-anonymous blog for my family (mom and 3 sisters) and Husband's family (mom and 1 sister). The sole purpose of that blog is to keep the family updated on my gestational progress or lack thereof, whatever the case may be. My hope is that someday I will have pictures to post on that blog of something slightly more interesting to the family than images of our dogs (screen size photos of my cooter perhaps?). Compared to this blog, they are getting the extremely edited version of how things are going "down there". But, on that blog, Husband is a contributor and writes the occasional post. The blog is only visible to the aforementioned family members by invitation. So far I have issued an invitation to all of them. After a few technical problems, the Moms were able to figure out how to sign up and make comments. My sisters, with the exception of the one with a painful drug problem and absolutely no ability in any sense to figure out how to get online, have all signed up and visited.

Then there's The Sister-In-Law. This woman lives on-line for the most part. In fact, she would out-online almost all my bloggie buddies by hours. She is fully technically competent on the computer and has absolutely no trouble using all of the web services available. In fact, she uses said services to send daily reminders to her brother, my husband, about his failure to visit her and his mom on a regular (read to mean ALL of the TIME) basis. She is famous for her comments that imply that he has effectively abandoned them in favor of his wife (me). SIL also revels in reminding Husband that he has only ONE family. Plus, she complains that we never communicate with them or update them on how we are doing. Nevertheless, the invitation to our blog has gone unanswered. It's been two weeks since I sent the invite. I am so angry that I would love to take a photo of my middle finger and send it to her, or stick a fork in her eye (you choose).

We have explored the idea that she isn't really all that happy that her brother's wife is pregnant, despite her outright assertions to the contrary. But, come on, if I can pretend to want her to be informed of our lives, then certainly she can maintain the illusion that she is interested in ours by at least accepting the invitation.