Friday, February 27, 2009

Ultrasound Update

So I went to the clinic today. The first thing they did was a pregnancy test, which was (obviously) positive. Then they asked me a lot of questions and then brought me back into the ultrasound room.
They did the abdominal ultrasound first, and you could see something in there, but it was hard to see. So then they did the transvaginal one, and it was a lot clearer.

The baby looks like a little shrimp, and it has a yolk sac. It looks like maybe it has arms too, and you could tell that it came from an egg in my left ovary. They measured it, and I can't remember how big it was, but it measured smaller than I thought - 6 weeks 4 days. Which means it still looks like a shrimp, and I have twelve extra days to deal with morning sickness.

My new due date is October 19. I am excited for only one reason - I will finally be pregnant at the right time to paint my belly to look like a pumpkin.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ultrasound Scheduled.

So tomorrow I need to go in for an ultrasound. Well I don't really need to, but since I'm breastfeeding, my cycles could be off and I might not really be eight weeks along. I might be six. Or ten. I don't know, because we didn't have any slip-ups with the birth control, so I don't know when I conceived.

The ultrasound is at 10:15 tomorrow morning and it's at the clinic. You know, the one for like pregnant teenagers? I felt so dumb when the lady was taking my information over the phone. I gave her my name and address and all, and then she needed my birthdate. I will be 27 in a little over a week, and when I told her my age she kind of paused. Then I laughed and said "I know, I know. Too old for something like this to happen." She was very nice after that. She said they actually get a lot of "older women." Yeah, cause, you know. Twenty-seven is so old.

Anyway I am not looking forward to this, because I feel like it will make the whole thing "real." And I don't know if I'm ready for it to be real.

Oh and if anyone is interested, I have a whole big box of condoms available. I just bought them, the same day I bought the pregnancy test. But hey, they don't work. Just so you know.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Meeting the Midwife

I met the midwife today. So I guess that seals the deal, a new baby. The midwife was awesome. She understood my ambivalence at being pregnant again and seemed to really care about us all and the outcome. She is a licensed midwife, but not a nurse-midwife. She's what you might call a traditional midwife, and I am excited to see her throughout pregnancy.

So that means this baby will be born at home. All four of mine were born in the hospital (more birth stories to come,) but I know I can do it at home. I know its no big deal for me to have a baby. I've done it four times, and the last three were unbelievably easy, physically. So there is no reason for me, as a healthy woman in my mid (okay late) twenties to be in the hospital for a birth.

Of course, things can change. There might be complications that require a doctor's care or even a hospital's care. There might be two in there (please God don't let there be two.) Anything could happen, but they probably won't.

I liked the midwife because she looked like The Hub's aunt, who I adore. And also because she smelled like essential oils and her office smelled like an herb shop, and in her office she had primitive statues of mothers giving birth and lots of candles and stuff. Her office is in a big old building, and even though there is carpet and nice paint, you can still tell you are in an old place. And I love old places.

On a completely unrelated note, I think I am going to paint my bathroom blue.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Birth Story Number One

All four of my children were born in the hospital with varying degrees of intervention. I had probably the least interventions with EJ, my first.

I was 19 when EJ was born. Unmarried (not even a boyfriend,) and still clinging to the strong-will that is adolescence. I didn't get prenatal care till the sixth month because I didn't know you were supposed to - I thought you went to the hospital when it was time for the baby to be born. I didn't know that ultrasounds existed,or that disposable diapers existed. I didn't know anything.

When my mom found out I was pregnant, she brought me right into the doctor, where they did an extensive ultrasound, I guess to make sure I hadn't severely harmed my child by not having my weight checked for five months. The ultrasound was shocking to me - I had no idea you could see the baby inside, or that you could tell it's gender. The tech was not a kind woman and made me feel really stupid for being in awe of the little baby growing inside me. At the end she said, brusquely, "Look at that. It's a girl." I couldn't believe you could tell that, and even though I prepared for a girl, I was also preparing myself, mentally, for a boy, because I really didn't think anyone could tell whether it was a boy or girl.

EJ decided to be born eleven days late, but I still thought the contractions were diarrhea pains. I spent the first four or five hours of labor on the toilet, trying to figure out what I could have eaten to put me in such agony. Then I took a bath and lost my mucus plug, and that was when I realized that I was in labor. I completely and totally freaked out. I had no clue what to expect and I got really, really scared and started crying.

My mom took me to the hospital and I yelled the whole time, panicked. A male doctor said to me, "Well I guess we won't play with boys after this, now we will, hmmm?" I yelled at him. "Shut the fuck up, you don't know me!" He laughed and left the room. My mom was mortified. I screamed at her too. "Don't you let them talk to me like that!" I told her. "They don't know!" But she was just embarrassed by all the screaming and swearing, and told me to hush.

Finally my mom convinced the doctor to give me narcotics against my will, and I got quiet for awhile. It hurt so bad, but I couldn't react. It felt terrible. I was still determined not to have an epidural, because having a needle inserted into my spinal column just didn't sound safe. I thought it was probably riskier than anyone had told me.
I spent all day in labor and was finally at 9 centimeters. The doctor came in a little later and checked me. "Oh," he said. "You've swelled to 6 or 7 centimeters. You need an epidural to relax you so you can dilate." Then they all held me down and gave me an epidural.

I screamed and cried, but they said to calm down, because if I moved the needle could go in wrong and I would be paralyzed. So I laid there quietly on my side, with my wrists and ankles bound, silently sobbing. They got the epidural in and untied the bands. I was surprised at the pain relief - I felt much better. I wondered why i hadn't gotten the epidural in the first place.

Within an hour or two, it was time for EJ to be born. There was a stupid automatic blood pressure machine on my arm and IVs everywhere and I couldn't move. I moved my arm to get into a better position and the cuff got tighter and tighter and wouldn't release. I screamed because I wanted it off, but the IV in my other hand was so sore that I couldn't get it off. Finally I just ripped it off and the nurses freaked and put it back on. I took it off, they put it on. I took it off, they put it on. Finally I was told that if I didn't keep it on they would stop treating me and the baby would be born without any help. (I now know this was a lie.) So I left it on and started the pushing.

It only took four or five pushes before she was out, but for some reason the doctor decided to cut me. A huge third degree episiotomy, requiring twelve stitches. But EJ was here and she was perfect! She weighed seven pounds, fourteen ounces and had a fuzzy halo of orange hair. She was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

At this point the doctor reminded me that i had herpes. "What!?" I said. "I don't have herpes!!" he glared at me. How could I be protesting my "herpes status" just moments after giving birth? "Yes, you do," he said sternly. "We need to get this baby on anti-virals stat," he said over his shoulder to the nurse behind him.

So they immediately took my baby and started her on IVs. I was completely freaking out. "Bring her back!!" I screamed, but they wouldn't.

Finally a day later they brought her back and I breastfed her. She had an IV in the back of her hand, pumping her full of anti-viral medications. I buzzed the nurse. "I want this out of her now," I told her, but she said she couldn't do that. "Then I need a pediatrician in here immediately."

The pediatrician came in and said the OB was right, the baby needed drugs because I had herpes. I told him I didn't have herpes and he looked in my chart. He didn't say anything, but a few minutes later a nurse came and took the IV out of my daughter's hand.

The next day we went home, and I didn't feel robbed or anything, I just thought that was how birth was supposed to go. I did know, however, that I was not going to have another baby any time soon.

That was almost eight years ago.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Three Choices

Choice One: Abortion

I am a huge supporter of choice. I would never judge a woman based on her decision to terminate a pregnancy, but after looking at all the information, I don't feel like abortion is an option for me. First of all, I am past the point of pregnancy where I personally feel comfortable with termination - I am already about 7-8 weeks along, which is the latest I've ever discovered a pregnancy. Then too I also think about the fact that if I were to terminate, I would think about it every day, and would probably feel grief and guilt. I would think about how old the child would be at yearly intervals, just like I do with babies that I miscarried. I know that I am not going to have an abortion.

Choice Two: Adoption

I don't think I could give a baby up for adoption. It would be worse than death, to give that child that I carried and held and loved to another family. I know I could make no guarantees about the type of family I chose, and, most importantly, to give a child up for adoption would absolutely kill my children. My seven year old, EJ, would be devastated. She is an observant, introspective child, and I know she would hurt deeply to lose her brother or sister. Again, I would think about how old that child would be. What if my life situation changes in four or five years, and it becomes easier for me to parent five children? Then I know I would want my baby back. I have a deep respect for mothers who give their children up for adoption. To me, it would be easier, emotionally, to abort my baby than to give it up. So adoption is out of the question.

Choice Three: Parenting

I have serious doubts that I can parent another child. As it is, I have trouble with every day things, like bedtime and bathtime. Since my husband works second shift, I feel like I do everything all by myself. When he is home, our older two are in school, so its not so hard to take care of the babies. But when he's gone, I have all the kids and no help. No one in my family is supportive of our large family as it is - they are always making comments about us having too many children. I don't know why they say those things- we don't ask for money or anything. We are doing fine, so I don't know why it's anyone else's business.
I can't go to school functions with EJ, because they're always in the evening, when my hubby's at work. I can't handle the babies alone. It will only get infinitely worse with another baby added to the mix.
We live in a small, two bedroom house. I don't have anywhere to put another dresser and bassinet.
I have an older Grand Caravan. I can fit four car seats in it. I cannot fit a fifth. Right now I have two in boosters and two rear facing in convertible seats. There is no place to put an infant seat, but no one will be big enough to move out of a booster by October. I can't afford another vehicle.

On top of that, I don't want my milk to dry up. I am nursing the fattest happiest baby you've ever seen. I can't imagine weaning him. I will bawl my eyes out if I can't continue to nurse him.

So there's the three choices. I think they all totally suck.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I am twenty six years old (for a few more weeks, anyway) and I have four children - a girl age 7, a girl age 4, a girl age 18 months, and a boy age 5 months. My youngest two children are just thirteen months apart in age.

When my youngest child was conceived, my husband and I were not using birth control. I was breastfeeding my daughter, which had worked as birth control for us in the past. I had never used artificial birth control of any sort, and our children were naturally three years apart.

So it came as a huge surprise to learn I was expecting again. I wasn't thrilled, but I wasn't devastated. I figured it was our own fault, since we hadn't used anything to prevent it from happening. And when my baby boy was born nine months later, I was more than happy with my choice. I can't imagine not having him. He is a sweet, fat, happy little man, always laughing and giggling and snuggling. He is an angel.

After my son was born, we knew that another pregnancy was a possibility. So we were careful. I mean, we were unbelievably careful. I charted my temperature and cervical position, and abstained when I thought I was fertile, but we still used a condom every.single.time. My husband made an appointment for a vasectomy, which will take place in late March, and in the meantime we did everything in our power to prevent pregnancy.

My last period was December 31, 2008. When a month rolled around and no period, I wasn't worried. We'd been so careful, so there was no way I was pregnant. I thought I was late because I am still breastfeeding, and that can really throw your cycles off.

Last weekend I felt very nauseous. But I was out of town, and I thought I felt ill from all that fast food and travel. I always get sick when I travel. Pregnancy did not cross my mind, because we had been so careful.

I don't know why, but I bought a pregnancy test on Wednesday. It was on sale, and my husband had been bothering me about maybe being pregnant - joking around, like it was funny. So I bought the test, and I came home and stuck it in the cupboard. A little later, I told The Hub that I had bought it, and he told me to take it.

"Why?" I asked. "It's just going to be negative." He raised his eyebrows at me. "What? There's no way I'm pregnant. No way."

I took the test.

I saw two lines.

I nearly threw up.

So now here we are. I am thinking about abortion, adoption, and parenting. What is the right choice for me? What is the right choice for my family? My mind is racing, and I can't think straight, and I need to figure this out now. I need to figure everything out and make the right choice, and it's a choice that can't be undone. Once the decision is made, that's that. No going back. And I don't know what to do.