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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Order Up: Ham and Pea Salad with a side of Anxiety

I think it might have been just as well that none of you had to live through the first four months of this pregnancy.  Not unless you like to read an endless trail of whining, complaining, groaning, and “why-me-ing” online.  The other reason I was unable to bring myself to write on this blog during the first trimester of my pregnancy was because I was alternately nauseous and certifiably insane.

The nausea.  Ahh, those, lazy, crazy, heady days of stomach-churning nausea.  Not being able to throw up, and yet not being able to stomach the sight, smell, or taste of anything meant for human consumption.  I stopped cooking altogether.  My husband began to lose weight.  You hear about the partners of pregnant women gaining sympathy pounds.   Well, my husband lost inches off his waistline.  He should thank me.

I also happened to go on a vacation to Texas during my first trimester.  There was a plethora of items which nearly incited projectile vomiting.  Texas BBQ?  Normally, I would have been a huge fan, gorging on tender, juicy meats. ribs, you name it.  The smell instead translated into the most primitive of roasting decaying flesh, often accompanied by acrid, vinegary sauces, and sides that made me dry-heave behind my napkin while sitting at diners: imagine ham and pea salad laden with globs of mayonnaise and celery salt and you have an idea of what sort of culinary torture I was enduring.  

Or, it could have been the continuous site of signs for the George W. Bush Turnpike.

I felt so guilty for not wanting to eat anything, and fearful that I was depriving the zygote nutrition, that when I got back home, I compensated by force-feeding myself cheeseburgers.  I must have had five, six, burgers a week.  As far as my pregnancy logic went, cheeseburgers had all of the components essential to healthy fetal growth and development.   Think about the components of a cheeseburger and tell me you don’t agree. The truth is, even cheeseburgers made me want to hurl, but I swallowed them because I was sacrificing myself for my unborn child.  It better appreciate this someday, I thought.  Like when it thanked me for winning an Olympic gold medal, or practiced the piano without complaint.  

Truth is, the only “food” I could stomach was lemonade.  Anything liquid, cold, and lemon-flavored.  I didn’t care what it was, as long as it was made up of those three components.  It’s a wonder I haven’t developed an ulcer.

When I wasn’t on a rampage to find lemonade, I was trying to keep from having a nervous breakdown.  I could not keep it together.  The crying jags were taking a toll on my relationship.

“You have GOT to get it together” my husband would tell me.

But I was too worried.  Too worried that something was horribly wrong with the fetus.  Understand that I wasn’t just worried that it would die.  I was just as worried that it wouldn’t.  If something was wrong with it, I wanted something else to make the decision for me.  I have always been grateful that if the other two pregnancies I had “resolved” themselves --- if indeed they were not viable and that was the reason – though I will never know the reason why.  That’s part of the cruelty of miscarriages, you have no idea if it was something you did,or didn’t, do, or if there was just something horribly wrong with the chromosomes that made up those bundles of cells.  As the pregnancy advanced, I worried about all of the things that it could possibly have, but survive in the womb.  I was worried I was being tricked into being happy about being pregnant.

My fears ranged from spina bifida to Down’s Syndrome to open-heart to it missing part of its brain to – this is a good one, wait for it: I was really afraid that maybe it would be a hermaphrodite.  I was trying to figure out what I would do if it was born with two kinds of genitals.  Would I raise it as an asexual person, naming it ‘Pat” or “Chris” until it decided what it wanted to be?  Or maybe I would  just have the doctor snip something off, in the hopes that it would become whatever I had arbitrarily determined.

If it sounds like I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about this last issue, it’s because I did, I really did.  Imagine my surprise when a friend recently revealed to me her own fears for her baby when she was pregnant, only to mention that SHE had been wondering what to do if the baby was double-sexed too!  I was ecstatic to share my morbid fascination/fear with someone, which I had indulged in privately.  We had a nice, long conversation about all of the possibilities and choices regarding this issue.  Oddly enough, it was sort of freeing, and oddly fun, to finally be able to talk about it.

But I still had to decide what to do: risk the pregnancy with an amnio, just to assuage my worst fears? Or trust that things were going to turn out all right, given that the non-invasive scans and blood tests so far, had determined that the statistics pointed in my favor?

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Freebie

During one of our regular walks, my husband announced that now that this every-other-ovulation-day Clomid sex was done with, if I got pregnant now, we would just have to chalk it up it to the mortgage-blowing acupuncture and the hippie energy work.  

We did it exactly ONCE during my next ovulation that month. Talk about putting the hippie practices to the test.   

But, maybe there’s something in them needles. Because I got pregnant.  Really. I’m currently in my 22nd week. 

I didn’t know if I should even mention it to my blog “family” when it first happened.  I had conflicting feelings about turning my Clomid Diary into a pregnancy blog.  After all, I hate most pregnancy blogs that I come across out there; the miracle of life and all that happy feel-good crap. Not me, so much at this point.

But my husband kept asking me when I was going to tell my blog. 

“Have you announced it on your blog yet?” he would ask every morning.  

“No, I haven’t.” I felt like a fraud: I had shared so much about my miscarriages, and Clomid-taking. But here I was, being so cautious about sharing my pregnancy secret with the world - I had turned into one of those pregnancy-hiders.  After all, this was good news.  But I just couldn’t bring myself to write the words.

I refused to tell most friends, or if I did, it was with so much sworn secrecy, qualifiers, and doom-and-gloom scenarios, that when I did get around to saying the words”..and I’m pregnant”  that the face of the person I told was a strange mash-up of reactions: hopefulness, joy, maybe a little pity.  It was a little, sad, really.  I could not be happy for myself or allow anyone else to be happy for me.  Not this time.  Not again.  I was going to protect myself, dammit.

A week or two, then six, went by, and I was nearing my first visit to the doctor.  I had the usual: weight check, lab orders for a full blood work up, uterus pressing, the whole shibang. But, no heart beat check, not yet, it was too early. Damn. I was frustrated.

But the clincher, the real cherry on top, was placed by my undoubtedly well-meaning, if not slightly, absent-minded, and obviously very busy OB.

“So remind me,” she said, as she slammed shut my two-inch thick chart, ”is this a Clomid pregnancy?”

You would think she would have some clue if I was currently taking the Clomid.  Like, if I was floating face down in the San Francisco Bay.

‘Um, NO...” I replied. 

“Oh, great!  We have a freebie!” She said. “See you in four weeks.”

Freebie indeed.  I’ll give her a freebie.

1st millennium B.C., Near Eastern fertility goddess