Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just wondering...

Is it me, or is this really weird?

This past weekend we had some family over to celebrate someone's 65th birthday. It was very nice; we barbecued for dinner and then had a really amazingly rich flourless chocolate cake for dessert. But what happened afterward struck me as just, well, weird.

The person of honor opened his/her birthday cards and, rather than read them quietly to him/herself, s/he read them aloud. Including the personalized messages. Maybe it's just me, and maybe my family of origin is the bunch of weirdos, but I found this really strange. I mean, who does this? And what struck me as equally strange was how friggin' HILARIOUS some other attendees found this. As in repeating the messages while cackling. Um, yeah, I not only heard it the first time, but I read the message because the writer asked me to check the card before sealing the envelope to make sure I didn't want to add a message of my own (thank goodness I passed on that... yeesh).

Whatever. I'm just extra cranky these days. Shocker...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's My Birthday!

Well, not any more. My birthday was Friday. April 11th for those of you playing along at home. I had a great birthday.

Friday night my mother in law invited me and my mother to see Martha Beck speak about her newest book, Steering by Starlight. She's an amazing author and incredible speaker. I didn't plan on it, but I bought a copy of the book to have signed. I can't wait to read it. I told her that Expecting Adam, her memoir of her pregnancy with her son, was a tremendous help to me when I had my miscarriage. I told her that it (the miscarriage) was "a very peaceful experience for me, and normally I'm a stress puppy." She said that I should be a good student of the new book. I am flattered.

Saturday night John and I went to dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant in Westport. We got our usuals, Chicken Tikka Masala for me and Something Rhogen Josh for John. Although the restaurant was crowded and service wasn't as exceptional as it usually is (mostly because of the family behind us who found fault in anything and everything that touched their table... ), the food was wonderful as always. We even got dessert, something we don't usually do there, and it too was very good. I have to be honest here; I can't say it was amazing because the dessert was three balls of fried dough (which were very yummy) soaked in sweet syrup, and I know how you all know I have issues with wet bread. That said, the dessert was still really good. Afterwards we went to Barnes and Noble where John found two books and I got completely frustrated looking at kitchen and remodeling magazines.

Today we hung out with my parents (who came up Friday to help out IMMENSELY by watching the boys while we went out). We tried to take them to lunch to thank them for babysitting, but my dad got all sneaky and managed to treat us instead. Afterwards, while I went grocery shopping, Mom and Dad bought a baby ice cream cake that we all had when I got home.

All in all, a great birthday. Thanks, everybody. I loved it!

Thank You, Martha Beck

I saw you speak at the Madison, CT Library on April 11th (my birthday - yay!) and while you were signing my copy of Expecting Adam I mentioned that that book was incredibly helpful to me during my recent miscarriage. I'd like to explain...

One morning I thought I was getting my first period since weaning my second son (he's now 16 months old). When it didn't last longer than a few hours, I called my doctor to see if this was normal. She wanted me to come in and see her colleague that afternoon (her schedule was booked), because while it was possible that what I experienced was my period, but they wanted to see me to be sure.

Well, it turns out that I had a positive pregnancy test and an ultrasound showed a gestational sac. Since my last period was in March of 2006, and the sac was so small, the doctor had no way of dating the pregnancy. She sent me for bloodwork to get a better idea of how far along I was. So that afternoon and the following Saturday I had my blood drawn to measure my progesterone and HCG levels to determine (a) how far along I was, and (b) whether the pregnancy was viable.

My next appointment was Monday. I return to the doctor's office and she tells me that not only do my progesterone levels look great and my HCG levels are increasing appropriately, but their high level are indicative of twins. Mind you, nobody in my family has had twins. Well, one second cousin once or twice removed, but that was because her sister donated two eggs that were fertilized, implanted, and took, so that doesn't count. No twins by blood on my side, and none on hubby's side, either.

My head was spinning just a little bit. I went into this whole thing thinking I had passed a chemical pregnancy and here I sat, being told that I might be having twins. TWINS. I already have two sons, and now I'm going to go from two kids to FOUR KINDS in NINE MONTHS. Holy you-know-what. I think hubby's reaction sums it up perfectly: "Oh my God."

I had another ultrasound on Monday and the sac looked larger, a good sign, but we still couldn't see a heartbeat or signs of a baby. The doctor wasn't too worried because the office's ultrasound machine was circa 1973, and it was still early in my pregnancy (I figured I must have ovulated somewhere between Christmas and New Year's Eve, making me about five weeks along at this point). She wanted to see me in another week.

Another week, another ultrasound, still no conclusive evidence either way. Lather, rinse, repeat. Did this again for a second week, and the doctor decided I needed to go to the hospital to get an ultrasound done by the Seriously High Resolution Machine. Then we could get to the bottom of this mystery. My appointment was set for Friday morning.

During this whole time, I felt very "zen." Sure I was a little freaked about the prospect of twins, but if God thought I could handle it, then how bad could it be? It might be fun - and I just knew it was boy/girl twins. My cravings were completely different from when I was pregnant with the boys. Instead of pasta, bagels, and chocolate milk, all I wanted was McDonald's cheeseburgers and lemonade. I felt horrible all day long. I was breaking out. Hey, as long as there was at least one girl in there, it was all good.

As if I wasn't feeling "zen" enough, I happened to pick up a copy of Expecting Adam from my local library that Wednesday. I started reading it before bed and, as I am wont to do, started to devour it. I understood that feeling of being connected with the Divine, because during these two weeks, I felt it. I knew with every cell of my body that there was nothing I could do to change the outcome - pregnancy, miscarriage, boy, girl, twins, whatever - because it was all written by someone other than me. And no matter how much I want to believe I do (believe me, I did lots and lots of online research about how to "sway" your pregnancy attempts to favor conceiving a girl - diet, douche, sperm bath, supplements, you name it, I probably read about it), I have absolutely no control over any of it.

And then came the day before the Big Ultrasound. I didn't start freaking out until about 4pm, and then full-on panic mode set in. In hindsight, I think it was because I knew what was going to happen the next day, and my primitive reptile brain just didn't know how to let go.

Friday, the babysitter comes and I head to the hospital. I try to stay calm and positive while I waited my turn, smiling at the very pregnant women whose appointments were before mine. I found the sounds of fetal dopplers soothing, and hoped that I'd be back soon to deliver my bundles of joy. Yeah right, come on. I knew what was going on, but I thought I'd spend just a few more minutes in Denial. Besides, I didn't want to freak out any pregnant women by having a meltdown in the waiting area.

The maternal fetal specialist and the sonographer both remembered me from when I was in to deliver my second son, which was very flattering. They're wonderful, compassionate people and I was glad to see them again. Even when M and Dr. C could clearly see that the gestational sac was empty, I was glad it was they who broke the news. Dr. C simply said, "Well, that just sucks!" And M told me she was going to get me some water. Even though on some level I knew what I was going to see, it still was a punch in the gut. I still collapsed into tears. I cried for a few minutes and then, when I felt I had sufficiently composed myself, headed for the elevator.

On my way to the elevator, I ran into the doctor I spoke to originally, who asked how everything was going. I guess I hadn't fully composed myself because I just burst into tears. Dr. D gave me a hug and sat me down to talk for a few minutes. Like M and Dr. C, she was wonderful. She lost a son at eight weeks, so I know she spoke from a place of knowledge. She reminded me that a miscarriage - even one with no fetal matter - is still a loss, and needs to be mourned like any other loss. And she also reminded me that I am fortunate that already I know I can get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby, unlike so many women with fertility issues. Some people might be offended that she would say that, but she's absolutely right.

I had a D&C the following Tuesday, and it was blessedly uneventful. Well, except that I almost fainted when they inserted my IV. You know those medical types, you have to keep them on their toes!

It's funny. When I mention that I had a miscarriage, the first reaction from most people is an apology, and sometimes pity. I don't want to seem unappreciative or ungrateful for people's concern, but I really feel that I understand why this happened. Thankfully this was not the worst thing that has ever befallen me. We weren't trying to get pregnant, and I didn't see a heartbeat before I found out that I had miscarried. And, most important, I was delivered an important lesson from the Divine that has reaffirmed my faith.

Thank you, Martha Beck. You helped me integrate that Divine lesson into my being. I can't wait to see what you help me and my Stargazer find!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Always a Catch

About a month ago I rambled on about joining a gym, but wasn't sure which one to join. Well, after much debating and gnashing of teeth, I finally decided to join the local non-YMCA gym. It was only $30/month, I could cancel at any time with only thirty days' notice, and they offered child care at no additional charge.

I should have known better than to sign a contract that began on April Fool's Day.

Three days after joining, on my second visit, my friend M came out of a spinning class to tell me that the owners had announced to the class that another local gym franchise was taking over the gym THE NEXT DAY and that the new owners would not offer child care. Coincidentally, the day they announced this was also the day AFTER members' EFT accounts were hit for April's fees. Nice, huh?

So M and I went back to the drawing board. Actually, M did - she did an amazing job calling every gym in the area to get rates and details.

So here's my latest dilemma. A large franchise is opening another location very close to the gym to which I briefly belonged, but they're not scheduled to open until August at the earliest. The closest open site is 15 minutes away, which isn't bad. However, while they offer $20/month memberships, child care is an extra $30/month. Since I don't have a babysitter anymore (that should really be the topic of a post for another time), I need to pay that extra fee if I want to work out. The other catch is that it's a twelve month committment. I can live with that, but hubster and I are planning on getting pregnant within the next twelve months. Insert monkey wrench here...

Gah! More debating and gnashing of teeth...