Friday, April 23, 2010

The Wrong Reason

There are good, healthy, normal reasons to want to deliver your baby. Things like going into labor. That would be a perfectly rational reason to say, "Gosh I hope the baby comes soon."

Then there is me. My other children have birthdays that are, for lack of a better phrase, mathematically beautiful. The numbers all line up with numerical harmony oozing out of them. They almost bring a tear to my eye.

I was hoping this baby would come on 04/14/10 because it has a beautiful rhythm to it when you say the numbers in procession. No luck (and all for the best.) With time running out, I am trying to find more dates filled with mathematical poetry. 04/26 would be acceptable. I'm sure you know where I'm going with this because you're all as OCD about numbers as I am, right? Of course right. 0+4+2=6. Voila! Not too bad. We can make an equation out of it. Just disregard the year.

On the same note, 04/31 would also be acceptable since 4=3+1. 04/28 is acceptable since 4x2=8. I wonder if 427 or 429 are prime? It wouldn't be much, but it would be okay.

05/05 would make me cry geeky tears of joy since we could add the year into the equation: 5+5=10. How marvelous!

But there is one number that is inescapably beautiful: 04/24/10. It just sounds nice with the repeating four. Zero-four-two-four. Nice! But this birth date can also be an equation (including the year!) because 0+4+2+4=10! Doesn't it make you want to just stare at those numbers all day? (If you're not sensing a large dose of self-mockery, please ... please ... please readjust your expectations of this blog.)

However, that's only a day away and the chances are that my numerically poetic day won't be The Day. But I can still wish and hope. It's completely the wrong reason to wish myself into labor, but I challenge any of you to sit around on bed rest for nearly 10 weeks without your brain doing funny things to you. Perhaps this proof of mental boredom alone is a good reason to wish this baby here sooner rather than later.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I think I forgot a lot of things this week. I am grateful to be pregnant, but I think I forgot exactly how miraculous it is for me. It happened naturally and exactly when I wanted it to happen. That's never happened before. I was incredulous and excited and nervous and shocked when I saw that positive result. I was sure that it wasn't real. I was certain I was going to miscarry. It was too good to be true.

But it was true. It's still sinking in because it is so surreal.

And then there's the whole issue of gender. I mean, I really wanted a girl. I said it didn't matter... but it did. I have always known #4 was the end of the pregnancy road for me and I really, really hoped I'd finally have a girl. It was my last chance. The first time the ultrasound tech said it was a girl, I was ecstatic ... but wary. When I had an ultrasound a few weeks later, I asked, "Is it still a girl?" I still couldn't believe it.

This whole process has been a gift from heaven. Like manna... a miracle.

And then I got miserable. And ungrateful. And took it all for granted. And just wanted to be done with pregnancy so I could see this child and hold her in my arms instead of my abdomen. I spent an emotional week cursing everybody in sight for how miserable I felt.

Then four things happened that eventually, slowly, progressively broke down my ingratitude and helped me find my happy place again.

(1) My husband reminded me that things happen for a reason. He reminded me that maybe the obstetrician wasn't trying to ruin my life but may actually be inspired to let my pregnancy last a little longer. (I cringe to actually talk about religion on my blog because I don't want to open this space up to anti-religious sentiment in the comment section, but that's a fear I need to get over. My religion is an integral part of who I am and I hope people can respect that.)

When he said that, I was still feeling hurt and angry about how my OB had treated me earlier in the day but it resonated true and I admitted that to myself ... if not to my husband.

(2) My nurse, who is coincidentally a neighbor and co-religionist and somebody I now consider a friend, sympathized with how miserable I was and told me she'd experienced some similar feelings. Then she said quietly, "I just needed to remember who was in control and let Him handle it." I cried because I clearly wasn't feeling all faithful and close to God and willing to let Him be in control.

I WANTED CONTROL. And I was in tears because my OB had just taken it away from me.

Again, her words resonated true, not only on a religious level but on a "Hey, Juliana--remember how you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and worry too much about everything? Why not be all c'est la vie and Qué será, será and Let it Be?" I needed to just let go and find trust.

(3) I started to think about what my obstetrician had said to me (cruelly and insensitively as it seemed to be phrased.) "You're just driving yourself crazy and you need to be ecstatic about going to 39 weeks." I was so mad. I am not choosing anxiety attacks and unhappiness.


Well, yes and no. I can't control my anxiety level right now very well. It's a physical thing for me that is a part of my genetic makeup. I can keep it well reigned-in when I'm not pregnant with exercise or, if it gets bad, medication. Both are out of the picture right now so my coping strategies are very limited.

But on the other hand, yes. I'm a grown adult and I can take deep breaths and at least cope better than I have been coping. I can't make it go away, but I can at least limit how much it influences me.

That's one thing I do have control over.

(4) Most importantly, fate gave me the spiritual guidance I needed in the form of this week's Gospel Doctrine lesson. Since I haven't been to church in two months, I've been trying to stay current on our Old Testament study from home. This was the perfect lesson for me this week.

After being freed from slavery (not a minor blessing--a major one), the Israelites were starving. So they were sent manna--a gift straight from heaven. Again, not a minor blessing. A major one. (You know, not starving.) After eating this nonstop, however, the people grew tired of it. They wanted something more. They started lusting after a change of meal plans. I can't blame them. Honestly. I think I'd probably go a little crazy, too. I probably relate well since I haven't cooked my own meal in two months and I am lusting for my own style of food a little bit, too.

The Lord was displeased. It reminds me of a scripture in the LDS Doctrine & Covenants: "And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments." The Israelites had lost sight of the fact that they were eating MANNA FROM HEAVEN after being FREED FROM SLAVERY.


You know, not a minor blessing. A major one.

And as much as I hate to imagine the wrath of God kindled against me... I had to admit, He was probably displeased with me under the circumstances. For a good reason. My attitude started to change. I stopped worrying about when things would happen. I stopped feeling sorry for myself. My Braxton-Hicks contractions started getting stronger and I realized I might get to experience some parts of the Female Experience that I'd never experienced before. Like real contractions. Or my water breaking. Or actually going into labor. Or feeling my baby settle down lower into my abdomen. Or a dozen other little things that are not usually considered "blessings" unless you're a woman who has always wondered what those last few weeks of pregnancy are like and never known. Or a woman who has actually been a little sad not to know what a real contraction feels like. (Just one or two would be fine... and THEN we can do the c-section, a'ight?)

The coming weeks are no longer this crazy, unhappy thing to be endured. They are a time of wonder and excitement, not knowing what will happen next because anything is possible. I might get pre-eclampsia and deliver tomorrow. Or I might go all the way to end without experiencing any labor pains. Or my water might break or I might actually go into labor on my own. Wouldn't THAT be strange?

And now that I've had time to process everything and digest and get a little more perspective, I'm thrilled to go to 39 weeks because it'll be a time of endless possibilities. And I'm grateful (again) for my gift from heaven.

Monday, April 12, 2010


It should be illegal for an OB to tell a patient, "I won't make you go past 38 weeks" and then tell her two weeks later, "Oh, we can do an amnio before that if you want to deliver sooner" and then tell her "It'll be a real victory to get one more week out of you" and then after the week from Hades tell her, "No, no... you are going to 39 weeks unless you become toxemic." [Toxemic read as "deathly ill."]

I was up in the middle of the night with such a severe anxiety attack from my elevated blood pressure that I told my husband in tears, "I just can't do this anymore. I can't make it another week. I don't know how I can make it to tomorrow..." When I lay in bed, the room is silent except for the sound of my blood rushing in my ears. I can feel my entire body move with every thump-thump-thump. I know it is melodramatic (sorry, see previous wording about anxiety attack) but I just feel like I'm going to have a heart attack and die any moment.

I feel sick. I'm scared. The baby has the cord around the neck--but only once, so I am not supposed to worry about it. My amniotic fluid level has gone from 19 to 15 to 8 in the last few weeks. But I'm not supposed to worry about it. My blood pressure is really unstable, but instead of giving me a prescription for a BP medication, I've been told that I now have to spend most of my time in bed. Doing what? Other than having constant anxiety attacks? For weeks?

Last week, he told me I'd have an ultrasound [edit: oops, I mean amniocentesis] this week and now he says the specialist I see tomorrow "might be talked into it."

People keep telling me there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but this tunnel is evil and magical and keeps growing longer the farther I walk into it. Don't tell me "it'll be worth it" or "hang in there, it's almost over." I know that. I've done this before and it was worth it. That's why I am doing it again even though I'm pretty sure I'm going insane.

After my appointment, I decided to give in to those feelings of depression that started building, because, as I told my husband, "Depression is far preferable to anxiety at this point." Unfortunately, I've become too **** emotionally resilient in the last few years and the depression started to lift almost immediately.

I wonder if anybody has invented depressant medication. Not anti-depressant .... I need stuff that'll make me depressed because when I'm depressed, I don't care about anything. When I'm anxious, I care about everything. EVERYTHING. Last night in the middle of the night, I told my husband I was tempted to have him go find a large rock and just knock me unconscious because it was unbearable. Today the doctor told me I'm "driving myself crazy" and I need to stop it. Yeah.... I'm TRYING to have constant anxiety attacks because they're so ****** fun. He told me I need to be "ecstatic about going to 39 weeks."

What do you think? Is this blog entry ecstatic enough?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.