—Simone turned FOUR yesterday, you may have noticed. We are having a big party this weekend, and you can expect quantities of pictures and maybe some weepy maternal sands-through-the-hourglass-of-time talk to follow. FOUR! FOUR?
—This pregnancy is taking place almost exactly four years after my last one, only behind by a month and a half, and it is odd to be pregnant during another presidential election year. I now firmly associate watching primary coverage with pregnancy, and suspect I’ll come over all nostalgic in 2016. Maybe I’ll feel phantom kicks every time I see an electoral map?
—Speaking of, I am finally starting to feel the baby move daily. Not a lot, or consistently, but it is helping my anxiety to become more a whirr than a roar.
—I have had more energy and been in a much improved mood ever since Chinese New Year on the 23rd, so I am giving all the credit to The Year of The Dragon. It is said to be particularly lucky. After last year, The Year of The Crying Woman, I am fully prepared to enjoy the spit out of it.
(I don’t actually believe in such things, but this would be such a happy, convenient belief that I am trying to will it into existence.)
—My actual delivery date will depend upon a lot of things, but it will definitely be before the end of June. Now that it is February, June does not sound nearly as far away as it used to. I can’t make up my mind whether this relative closeness is a relief or a cause for panic. Both?
—Gestationally speaking, Simone was born about six weeks from now. HOLY HOLY, you guys.
—With the twins, I had pelvic bone separation, a painful condition that makes walking, putting on pants, or attempting any movement that requires the lifting of one leg without the other excruciating. To my surprise and extreme annoyance, it started much earlier this pregnancy, and I wince and waddle everywhere I go. I am now in physical therapy as a result, and actually quite enjoy it, mostly because this therapy takes place in a warm pool. The one problem is that exercising in water is misleading. It feels as though you aren’t doing much of anything at all, but your muscles beg to differ later on. Worst of all is that upon getting out of the water you rediscover gravity, and are transformed into a you-sized quantity of Ununoctium. Usually I can barely hoist my way up the stairs and out of the pool, where I find everything that had stopped hurting when weightless has taken up bothering me again with redoubled effort.
—Last time after my session I was in so much pain that traversing the parking garage to my car took geological time, and brought me nearly to tears. I had to pick up a prescription before going home, and I’d been counting on also picking up some of my new favorite thing in the whole world, namely Haagen-Daz Pineapple Coconut ice cream. Alas, when I’d finally shuffled my way to the ice cream aisle, I discovered they didn’t have any. That, I am ashamed to say, brought me the rest of the way to tears.
—If you haven’t had Haagen-Daz Pineapple Coconut ice cream, you should just skip the rest of this post and go find some. Here is the flavor’s official page, with a place at the bottom to punch in your zip code and locate the nearest store stocking it. Go there now.
—I’ve had a cold, which did disgusting things to my throat, thus acting as a trigger to my gag reflex, and the night before last, Scott and I were stricken with a dramatic and cleansing bout of food poisoning.
HOWEVER, aside from these temporary setbacks, I have been spending much less time on the bathroom floor in the last weeks. I’m not yet able to wean my Zofran dose, but I am feeling leagues better, in sharp contrast to my last pregnancy, when I actually got worse around this time—possibly because I was already gigantic and consuming anything at all presented an organizational challenge (I was measuring full term when I delivered, and that was in the second trimester). So far this pregnancy I’ve had terrible nausea with very little vomiting, followed by improved nausea with lots more vomiting, and now, at last, rare(!) vomiting with nausea that sometimes disappears altogether, as long as I take my meds. I can enjoy food now, provided it is the perfectly right food consumed at the exactly right time in the precisely correct quantity. Those conditions are demanding, yes, but when they align, it is GLORIOUS. At my last appointment I had finally moved the scale a pound over my pre-pregnancy weight! (Though I’ll bet the vomitous fiesta of the past few days has undone all my good work.)
—Given my lack of weight gain so far, I would like very much to know where my body is getting the extra materials to construct new edifices: I have a belly in the strangers-feel-free-to-comment category, and what’s more, my bosom has developed a horrifying case of gigantism. As I recall, my 19 week bra size was as nothing compared to my postpartum size last time, and I have now progressed to an F/G, as in FFS, what am I Going to do when my milk comes in? I mean honestly. Will upright locomotion even be possible?
—I’ve been having contractions since about 16 weeks, and after a week of this they checked my cervix, which was still appropriately long and closed. (Of course it was also curvy and oddly situated enough to inspire interested murmurs, as per usual.) Long cervix or no, the contractions rather terrify me, if you want to know the truth, and all the uterine irritability has earned me weekly 17P shots for the duration. I think the contractions have lessened quite a bit since I started the injections, but it is possible I am imagining things, as it has only been two weeks.
My doctor had originally decided I wasn’t a candidate for the 17P, and I was on my way out when another doctor, who’d seen my chart, decided to amend the plan. Her thinking was as follows: When I came in at 22w2d last pregnancy, I was having contractions and my cervix was soft. That was when we found out Ames had died, and the contractions and such were attributed to that. You know the rest of the story—contractions continued, cervix shortened, water broke at 24 weeks, labor at 25 and 5. While there is no reason to think that Ames wasn’t the reason for everything, the fact is that I still presented with contractions and a soft cervix at 22 weeks and progressing preterm labor with cervical changes afterwards, and here I was this time at 17 weeks with contractions, so better safe than sorry.
Funnily enough, they won’t let you give the injections yourself, even though it is essentially a once-a-week version of PIO. I discovered this because my insurance won’t pay for a nurse to come and give me the shot, as is usually done, so I have to go into the clinic once a week—which is fine! But attempting to make things easier I offered to just do the shots myself, and the nurse looked at me like I was crazy.
“You can’t!” she said, “It’s not like Lovenox—these have to be given with a bigger needle, in your backside.” I assured her that I was well aware of that, that in fact I’d given myself eight weeks of daily intramuscular progesterone post-IVF, but she only looked more horrified and unconvinced, so I dropped it. I’m pretty sure I came across as some sort of deviant sharps enthusiast.
—I’d just like to point out, again, how truly inept my body is at pregnancy. It regurgitates its nutrients and thickens its blood, and then its joints slip apart and its child-bearing organ nervously contracts at the slightest provocation. With a bit of help from medical technology and/or pharmacology (and this time the help was only secondary, the result of chemical prodding for an apathetic thyroid), my body makes perfectly lovely, healthy babies…and then immediately sets about trying to kill them. It seems vexingly contrary. I hope the 12 weeks of progesterone suppositories, 20 weeks of 17P, daily Lovenox injections, baby aspirin, etc. etc. MY GOD etc. will be enough to appease it this time.
—If you follow me on Twitter you know this already, but at an ultrasound a week or so ago we found out that the baby is really and truly a girl. We are pretty excited, over here. Another thing you may have seen on Twitter is an ultrasound photo—a very alarming and ghostly-looking ultrasound photo that I assure you was an extremely charming and adorable ultrasound MOMENT, during which my newest daughter yawned widely:
I know. A little chilling at this time of night, but if you check again in the daylight I think you’ll find she’s pretty cute.