Partner’s Post: Idealism, Realism, and The Breech Baby in Between

Let us begin here: At 36 weeks and five days, the baby is otherwise healthy, but the hoped for mid-November no-risk birth? That has escalated to a late-October or early-November high-risk birth. Well-meaning comments about the potential for flipping the baby are appreciated; Bingo, though, is not going to flip via low-level intervention. Nor do we want at this point for Bingo to flip independent of professional monitoring.

The thing is, PartnerA is an idealist and I am a realist. We’re perfect for and we balance each other in this way. How those traits manifested themselves during the last midwife appointment with DietCoke (D.C.), however, was astounding. I was worried and disappointed; PartnerA was shocked and devastated. I began devising a plan of action; PartnerA pulled inward and wept.

The truth of it is that Bingo is not just breech. The midwife, D.C., referred to Bingo’s position as being wedged in a doorway. Head up, bum down, one leg fully extended up with a foot near the ear, the other leg partially extended down with a knee slightly bent. It’s physically impossible for a baby to be born in the position that this baby is in. We were warned about the risk of Bingo wrapping him/herself in the umbilical cord. We were warned about the risk of a prolapsed umbilical cord too. This is our gentle, hippy-inspired, natural-birth-advocating midwife pushing for medical intervention in our case, which makes me all the more ready and willing to accept it. We are to hightail it to the hospital at the first contraction yelling ‘BREECH!’ at everyone we encounter, instructed D.C., and if PartnerA feels anything at all there, call 911. That’s the reality of the situation.

The consultation appointment with the OB/GYN who specializes in breech pregnancies is scheduled on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, at 12:30 PM. D.C. refers to his hands as “magic”. Apparently, this OB/GYN is one of the best of the best in the area at external cephalic version.

On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, the OB/GYN will do an ultrasound. Based on his assessment of Bingo’s current position, he will say yay or nay to ECV. If he says nay to ECV, the only option is a scheduled C-section in late October or early November.

If the OB/GYN is willing to attempt ECV, the procedure will most likely occur on a scheduled date between 38.5 and 39.5 weeks (October 31, 2013 – November 7, 2013). The procedure takes place in a hospital with staff and equipment present to perform an immediate induction or emergency C-section as necessary. PartnerA is given an preemptive epidural and both she and Bingo are monitored for signs of distress.

1. If Bingo can be turned head-down during ECV and doesn’t show any sign of distress, immediate induction. Bingo will be born that day or the day after.

2. If Bingo shows any sign of distress during ECV, turned or not turned, immediate C-section. Bingo will be born that day.

3. If Bingo doesn’t turn and doesn’t show any sign of distress, a C-section will be scheduled for a later date.

So barring an unexpected turn of events (har har har), Bingo will be born between October 31st and November 7th.

This morning (36 weeks, five days), PartnerA got to practice paging the midwife when she stepped out of the shower and onto the scale and discovered that she’s lost six pounds in the past four days. “Don’t worry, man,” chuckled the ever-nonchalant D.C. to the anxious first-time we-don’t-know-anything parents. Apparently wild weight fluctuations are normal toward the end of pregnancy? It’s the body’s preparation for labor? Bingo is still moving as much as ever, PartnerA feels fine, and there’s no sign of fluid loss. So for now, we keep on keeping on, thankful that despite the contortionist positioning, Bingo is healthy.

Yesterday, Friday, October 18, 2013, was exactly eight months since Monday, February 18, 2013. Bingo was conceived exactly eight months ago yesterday (to Carly Jepson’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ no less!). Monday, October 21, 2013, is 37 weeks exactly — term. Almost there.

Partner’s Post: And The Green Grass Grew All Around

Neighbor, who knows we’re expecting a baby in the fall: Taking out the trash

Me, long-haired and girly-looking: Mowing the lawn and minding my own business

Neighbor: “A woman in your condition shouldn’t be mowing the lawn!”

Me: “Um-” (This is uber-awkward.) “-I’m not pregnant. PartnerA is.”

Neighbor: “Oh, uh, oh, um, oh…”

Me: “Don’t worry! Lots of people make that mistake-” (Because they equate hair length with fertility.) “-but nope, it’s PartnerA who’s pregnant!”

Neighbor: “Oh! Well, neither of you are showing!”

Me: I should hope I’m not showing! I’m saving immaculate conception for another day, thanks. Now may I and my ‘condition’ return to mowing the lawn?

Partner’s Post: Diet Coke and Herbal Tea – A Tale of Two Midwives

If Clinic One is the Costco of fertility clinics, then the midwife clinic to which we transferred after is the small town general store. A general store of the sort that sit, chipped red paint fading, at the fork of two dirt roads cut through a thick wall of evergreens 30 minutes from the nearest sign of modern civilization. The sort of place that offers everything from fishing bait and firewood to quarts of milk and Band Aids, with a rusted, mud-splattered pickup parked outside, and its interior wood paneled walls adorned with kitschy metal roosters and retired license plates. Continue reading

Partner’s Post: It’s A…

…fetus!

C’mon, you didn’t really think that I was going to say, did you? 😉

The big 20-week ultrasound happened on Friday, June 21, 2013. At 3:00 PM, it was a sunny afternoon on the first day of summer, a perfect day to be a 20-week-old fetus. Bingo was technically only chronologically 17 weeks and four days at that point, but gestational age is measured on its own special scale that races Bingo ahead to 19 weeks and four days. And 19 weeks and four days is apparently plenty old enough for a 20-week ultrasound. It lacks logical sense, but that’s just the way it goes in Fetus Land. Roll with it! Continue reading

Partner’s Post: Sea has been a busy bee in bedroom three.

Our house is 90 years old. The place has character. It also has the telltale signs of old homes. PartnerA and I have been fixing the place up room by room since we moved in three years ago. So far, one of the by-and-large untouched rooms has been the third bedroom, which we jokingly refer to as “The Cat Room”. After all, it’s little more than a play room for our brood of mismatched felines and some office furniture left over from our college days.

With Bingo on the way, though, I decided to make Bingo’s bedroom my big project. So as PartnerA has been working at creating a mini-human, I’ve been working at creating a livable space of the third bedroom. Like Bingo, now at 19 weeks and one day gestation, Bingo’s room is coming along slowly but surely! Continue reading

Partner’s Post: Baby Steps

The idea originated in the narrow aisle between the racks of men’s long sleeve knits and children’s clothing. I’d been Pinteresting creative pregnancy announcement ideas for months and the ones toward which I always gravitated were the various incarnations of the shoe lineup. If you’re half as obsessive as I am about all things baby, you’ve seen the straight version: dad’s loafers, mom’s heels, and a gender-appropriate pair of pastel baby booties. I couldn’t exactly justify spending $22 on genuine baby Chucks for a fetus, but nonetheless I eagerly imagined staging a queer take on the aforementioned announcement with a lineup of Converse.

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Partner’s Post: Bingo

Tonight, PartnerA and I Skyped PartnerA’s parents. The script that we had practiced in advance of this call included the words ‘we’ and ‘our’ in every sentence to tacitly reinforce to PartnerA’s already-skeptical mother that regardless of its genetic makeup, PartnerA’s and my child is PartnerA’s and my child. Our embryo and someday-child has two parents and two parents only — and PartnerA’s mother, contrary to some opinions, is not one.

The rehearsed plan was to catch both of her parents mid-conversation at the point when they exchanged seats in front of the webcam. But that didn’t quite work out so well because upon completing a lengthy conversation with PartnerA’s mother (during which PartnerA’s mother referred to PartnerA as “child” twice), she announced that PartnerA’s father was in the midst of making dinner and was too busy to chat. PartnerA insisted, so PartnerA’s mother disappeared to the kitchen. Moments later, she returned, sans Daddy. Again, PartnerA’s mother reiterated that PartnerA’s father was too busy making dinner to talk. Again, PartnerA insisted and again, PartnerA’s mother disappeared to the kitchen. Moments later, PartnerA’s father appeared in front of the computer, sans Mummy. Dude! Getting those two into the same room is impossible.

That’s when PartnerA made the spontaneous decision to ditch the plan and launch into our script. She caught me off guard, but I squeezed her hand out of view of the webcam and rolled with it.

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Partner’s Post: Poppyseed

When a person becomes pregnant without the intervention of a fertility clinic, the medicalization of conception is largely absent through the first trimester. My therapist dismisses my obsession with signs and symptoms that fluctuate by the minute and charts of numbers that are never even measured, let alone documented, when pregnancy is achieved “the usual way” (her words, not mine). Back when she had children, she says, HCG numbers were not a thing.

I understand that a great deal of the world has far more life experience in this regard, but it was everyone’s first time once, and I highly doubt that even my all-knowing therapist was as blasé about her first pregnancy as she seems to expect me to be about A’s. Is that condescension I detect? Or am I just painfully self-conscious and projecting?

Part of me wishes that we hadn’t shared the news with anyone on day 14. As the internet continually reminds me, the first three months are defined by uncertainty. Miscarriage rates are astronomical. I dread the humiliation of having to renounce the announcement. “Oh, sorry, I’m just a naive idiot who believed that a blood test at 13 days actually meant something.”

I feel as though I’m perceived as a naive idiot. I feel as though I’m being watched and judged by everyone who knows. I feel as though out of earshot, I’m being mocked and PartnerA and the poppyseed are being pitied.

I’m incredibly insecure. There are good reasons for that. But I’m not here to write about myself. I’m here to write about the poppyseed.

The first and second HCG blood test numbers were higher than average — 155 (13 days) and 536 (15 days). The nurse half-joked (and half not-joked) about the possibility of two poppyseeds, given the high 13-day number and the notable 15-day leap. That’s a good sign.

A less good sign: spotting. Day 15, blood. Intermittently, days 15 through 18. At this point, it (whatever ‘it’ is) is the size of a poppyseed. Which is to say, a poppyseed that could have easily been passed without detection.

I went with PartnerA to the fertility clinic this morning for her third HCG blood test. I didn’t have to. I could have slept in on this chilly Saturday morning. In fact, PartnerA encouraged me to stay in bed. But I know that presence demonstrates support and support is important, right? It felt important that I be there with PartnerA this morning.

We spoke to DrText for all of two minutes as he dashed between patients. I’m not sure what I expected, but he was more pessimistic than I’ve ever seen him. The Google and many a blog reader reassure that spotting is common. The Google asserts that first trimester blood occurs in 30% of pregnancies and 15% of those go on to avoid miscarriage. The Google would have one believe that first trimester spotting is relatively shrug-worthy. After all, what can you do? Nothing.

This morning, DrText offered PartnerA no such Google-like reassurances, though. Instead, he gently explained that a miscarriage is the result of a poorly developed sperm or egg or both, and that should miscarriage be the result of this cycle, know that it was nothing that PartnerA did or did not do that caused it.

Hm. All of this before 9:00 AM. Also, perhaps a tad premature to prepare oneself for the end before it’s even begun. Should we not at least await the results of the third HCG blood test?

In my non-official assessment, only today’s HCG number (day 19) will tell us if the poppyseed is even still present. If the number goes up from 536, that’s good news. If it goes down, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Truth be told, for all of my hesitation and anxiety (borne of my own tumultuous childhood), I would be very disappointed. Honestly, I’m rather excited about that potential poppyseed.

Partner’s Post: Call Me Maybe (The Fourth IUI)

If the day of the fourth insemination was a sitcom, it would be titled Two and a Half (Strange) Men. The episode would feature our half-stranger fertility doc Dr. Text, our brand new donor Lefty, and a man named Tom who PartnerA and I came upon outside as we made our way to our appointment at Clinic One that morning, face-down on the icy pavement bleeding from his head.

Oh yes indeed, the day of the fourth insemination was a doozy.  Continue reading