Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What the....?????

So that fab doula who I was raving about in my last post just dumped us. She made up some bullshit excuse about being overbooked (which means she never should have taken a meeting with us to begin with), then alluded to "other reasons" she felt it would not be best to go forward with us, but saw no reason to "make things complicated" by explaining what those reasons are. She sucks. (I know. I am being very mature). And if anyone ever asks me if I know anything about her, I'll tell them all about this. I have half a mind to slam her all over the local pregnancy message boards, but I'm going to try to control myself.

I did some digging among my online network and it turns out a lot of people have had her do similar things to them. The prevailing theory is that she is in such high demand (which she is) that if you don't sign her when you meet her she loses interest in you and takes other clients without having the courtesy to check in with you first. Given the fact that we agreed that Henry and I would let her know our answer a week after our interview, she should have had more thoughtfulness than that. Instead she told us that she just hoped that we would have picked someone else, and then we wouldn't have to deal with this at all.

And of course now we are up a creek without a doula. We'll probably call the one we didn't hire and see if she would still be willing to work with us, but that will be an awkward conversation at best....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

22 Weeks

So, at 22 weeks and 3 days pregnant, I finally felt ready for a so-called "belly shot". Things are really taking off in there, with lots of movement and "pops" around the clock, and the occasional Braxton Hicks contraction. I'm definitely in the second half of pregnancy, and trying to remind myself daily (sometimes hourly) that I am over halfway through this marathon.

The acupuncture I wrote about last week really did seem to help -- for about three days. I felt truly fantastic, and then things got really bad again. I didn't have another appointment until Thursday and in the meantime, I just had to get through my days. I got really upset -- it is horrible to feel horrible again after feeling so good. I had been warned that because acupuncture's effects are cumulative that I would probably have some bad days again, but I wasn't prepared for how awful it would be. I was so relieved to go to my appointment for another treatment come Thursday. I've felt pretty good again since then, with a few bad moments thrown in, but all in all I do think the acupuncture is still working. We've got a prenatal appointment this week, though, and I'll be glad to review all this with my doctor, as she's been out of the loop for the last few weeks. And its in the last few weeks that this has gotten really bad.

For fun, Henry let me take his belly shot too. He does this thing where he pooches his belly way out and manages to look more pregnant that I do!

The greatest part of feeling good has been noticing things that I had forgotten about when feeling sick -- things like the fact that it is summer and the farmers' markets are busting out with amazing fruit. We went down to the farmers' market at Jack London Square this morning and picked up a bag of gorgeous nectarines, a quart of blueberries and a few others yummy things that just screamed SUMMER. We took everything home and whipped the nectarines and blueberries up into a pie, that we then took to enjoy with our friends Marco and Christine and their twin girls. Yumm, yummm...

Another great benefit to feeling better is being able to realize that in 17 weeks (or so) I'll be giving birth and actually being able to start planning for that. We have wanted all along to hire a doula to assist during the birth. She'll provide labor support for me and for Henry, and help us both through the experience, and also act as out advocate with hospital staff. She'll help me avoid medication if I don't want it, and hopefully avoid an "emergency" cesarean. We interviewed two candidates this week and it was really hard to pick one, because we liked them both so much. They each had incredible experience and credentials. In the end we went with the one who exudes this incredible confidence, because I feel that if my own confidence starts to fail during labor, she'll be able to pump me right back up and help me finish the job.

Henry's 5K

Henry ran a 5k this morning, and got a great time! This was a foray back into running and racing for him, and it was really exciting to cheer him on. He felt great afterwards, and is not too sore yet. Now he's looking forward to next month's Tri For Fun.

Shake Rattle and Roll!

I had the strangest dream on thursday night. I dreamed we had a teeny weeny pet bear with a long tail, sort of like a raccoon. I dreamed that the bear was running around our bedroom chasing a yellow plastic ball full of bells across our hardwood floors. Riley and Munchie got in on the action and they were all chasing the ball, making quite a racket. Then they all jumped up on our bed, shaking me awake. I did wake up, and the next thing I knew at 4.2 earthquake was, in fact, shaking its way across our neighborhood! It was terrifying! Riley hid under the bed and wouldn't com out for several minutes. I found Munchie hiding under Henry's desk in his office, whimpering. We comforted the cats, and checked around the apartment for damage. A few things had tumbled from the shelves, but thankfully nothing broke and we were all OK. Our neighbor came knocking to see if we were OK. Lights had come on all over the block. We switched on the TV to see if there was any news, and went to USGS.com to report in on their "Did You Feel It?" survey, and found we were the first to report in. It was still quite early in the morning, about 5a.m., so we decided to go back to bed and get a bit more sleep, but it sure did make for an exciting evening.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The 'Joy' of Pregnancy

So obviously I am happy about being pregnant. But everyone who knows me or spends any time at all with me knows that I've had a very difficult time with morning sickness. I've tried all the home remedies I can think of -- ginger, lemon drops, ice, protein, small meals, frequent snacks, extra vitamin B6, sea bands -- and nothing has worked. I've been really resistant to trying any medical intervention because there are no class "A" drugs that are approved for battling nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Things clearly have not been getting better, in fact this week there were moments where it was clear to me that is was just getting worse.

I had been hearing great things about using acupuncture to treat morning sickness for weeks, but had been hesitant to try it. Not only am I a needle-phobe, I've had some ridiculous notion that I just need to struggle through the sickness no matter how long it lasts. Maybe it was when I was projectile vomiting at work this week that I realized I don't have to be a martyr about this -- my health had become compromised, and I was starting to feel downright depressed and sad that the only memory I would have of my pregnancy would be of being sick, tired, and just trying to make it through.

Thanks to a lovely woman in my prenatal yoga class I found an acupuncturist in Berkeley whose entire practice is devoted to fertility and pregnancy support. I called her for an appointment, told her what was going on for me, and she wanted me to come in immediately. I found just in talking with her that I trusted her, and truly believed that she would be able to help me.

At the appointment, the practitioner did a really thorough background with and we talked about how this pregnancy has been going for me. It was clear that she really understood the exhaustion I was feeling, and how badly I need to stop throwing up. She explained that what she wanted to do with me was take a fairly aggressive stand, as she was worried that I am not as hydrated as I think I am and was also worried that I may be anemic (and told me to have my doctor check that at my next prenatal).

As part of the aggressive treatment, she did this thing gua sho (I think). This involved scraping the back of my neck and between my shoulder blades with a ceramic spoon until the area was all bruised up (intentionally!). She explained to me that that area is largely associated with the pressure points that correlate to the digestive system and the process would stimulate those organs. When she got the level of bruising she was looking for she lanced an area on my neck 8 times and bled it a bit. I felt as though all the extra heat in my body went to that area and began to escape -- I started to feel normal body temperature for the first time in weeks. I know the procedure sounds pretty brutal, but it actually felt terrific. Next, she had me lie on my back and she placed a needle in my forehead, in each wrist, and in each shin. She left me to rest with the needles in for 25 minutes. When she came to remove them I felt as though I had had a two hour nap.

I'll see her twice a week for the next two weeks and then we will scale it back to once a week or every ten days, depending on how I am responding. She did say that improvement would likely be gradual. We'll do the scraping at least two more times, and the next time we do it it will be all up and down my back. She also gave me some herbs that I'm to take daily, told me to try the B6 again, and changed my prenatal vitamin. She also counselled me to eat protein at each and every meal (and that it is ok if the only protein source I can deal with is cheese), to eat every 1-2 hours, and to stay away from food and drink that is straight out of the fridge.

I can't say that I won't end up taking zofran in the end, but for now I am feeling well enough to just wait and see how the acupuncture plays out between now and my next prenatal appointment. I'm a bit surprised just how much better I do actually feel. I'm writing this about 24 hours after the appointment and I actually think I can say that for the first time since getting pregnant I don't feel sick at all. I'm very happy I went.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


We had our 20 Week ultrasound a few days ago, and ever since, I've been calling the stowaway Skeletor, as these pictures may illustrate. It was quite peaceful to see that things are progressing as they should be. No one has called us yet to give us any alarming news, so I think all is OK. The baby was breech and backwards, so it was hard for the tech to get really clear pictures, but she assured us she saw everything she needed to see. I'm not too worried at this point about the breech positioning -- from what I understand we've got about 10 weeks still before we need to worry about that. Nevertheless, I'll be asking my yoga teacher for some advice on opening up in the abdomen, making more space in there, and helping the baby get turned the right way. I really don't want to have to have a C.

Here you can see nose and nostrils, a lip, and the chin.


More of the same.

I'm not sure what that is on the left, but on the right, there is a foot!

Here's that foot again.

Lobstah! Or, a few photos from Maine

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back from Maine

We made it back late late late last Saturday night and I've hardly had the energy to stop and mention anything about the trip. We arrived not bright eyed nor bushy tailed in Boston where Henry's family was waiting with open arms and an SUV stuffed with supplies and topped with two canoes. Sad to say my red eye survival kit did not work, and I slept most of the way on our drive north. We wound our way up through Massachusetts and New Hampshire and when we hit Maine we dropped on to the rural routes for the rest of our journey. Eventually we reached our destination, the Olde Forte Cabins (or as I began to call them part way through our stay the Old Fart Cabins thanks to a graffitied road sign down the way) and checked in.

We were right on the coast. I was surprised that in this area the sea doesn't look like the sea that I am used to. There aren't crashing waves or waide beaches. If I hadn't known we were on the sea I would have thought it was a lake or a really wide river. But in fact it was the Atlantic. It was dotted with colorful bouys marking lobster (or lobstah) traps and lots of small boats. It was really quite beautiful and calm. A very peaceful place.

We spent the rest of our week cruising up and down the penninsulas to visit teeny hamlets, canoeing, napping. I managed to break out my watercolors a couple of times. Henry and his brother tackled a 1500 piece puzzle. We ate lots of blueberry items. The weather was pretty much perfect the entire time. The 4th of July we went to the teeny town of Wiscasset to watch the very down home parade and enjoy the fireworks that night. The whole town was out for a dance. As people started to make their ways home, the skies broke loose with a thunder storm that lasted into the following morning. It was so New England.

I really like toodling around in New England. I'm sure my fondness for the topography and architecture grew while I was at Smith, and I still just like it so much. The small towns fuel my lust for going to live in a small town one day, and I find myself wishing Oakland was the type of place where decisions were made through Town Meeting and everyone knew everyone else. Obviously this could get a bit claustrophobic depending on the people, but I like to think I would get along with most of them. I guess I crave community.

A good time was had by all, but I was ready to head home when we did. It was nice to get back, see our kitties, and consider getting unpacked. Yes, the suitcases remain mostly full and on the living room floor. We'll get around to it!

I'll add some pictures with my next post.