Monday, July 23, 2007

So it WAS nothing, but…

He is fine. He is perfectly fine. He is perfect. He has two lips and a nose and all those other facial features that we were missing in the last scan. He was very cooperative for the scan and was constantly opening and closing his mouth. It was awesome, and I could not believe how much clearer everything was—compared to a month ago.

But… There is one minor, tiny, completely insignificant to the big picture “but.” He is measuring roughly two weeks ahead of schedule and weighing in at 2 ½ lbs. The significance of the weight did not hit me until I remembered that my most recent weekly e-mail from babycenter said that the baby should be measuring at roughly 1 ¼ lbs. at 24 weeks. Yowza. The lil dude is twice the size of a normal baby at this stage!

And that’s where having a point of comparison becomes both reassuring and somewhat unnerving. It is reassuring because four years ago, Child’s development during this scan measured roughly a week ahead of time and his legs were measuring two weeks ahead, so obviously growing bigger babies is what my body does. It is, however, somewhat unnerving because Child did end up greeting the outside world at 9 ½ lbs., and this makes me wonder just how big this baby is going to be if he is already a week ahead of his older brother.

Husband and I are not small people: he is 6’3”, I am 5’8”, but our weight is in the normal range (though I have been a bit frumpy from lack of regular exercise over the last few yeas). My weight gain in the second trimester has been above average, but I blame a week of glorious food in Vegas for that.

So being a normal, reasonable woman who is not at all prone to overreacting, I have now successfully self-diagnosed myself with gestational diabetes and sentenced myself to a c-section. OK, I am exaggerating a bit, but those thoughts have crossed my mind. Neither of those two issues would be a huge deal, but I would prefer to avoid both.

I have my glucose screen in less than three weeks, so I will have at least one of the answers then. In the meantime, I feel so blessed and so lucky to be where I am. Just look at him, isn’t he gorgeous?

Friday, July 20, 2007

It is probably nothing, but…

These really aren’t the words you want to hear in relation to your unborn child. Sure, there are much, much worse things to hear, and all of us have played out those scenarios in our heads, so I am not going to go there.

During my last appointment, the OB mentioned that the results of my level 2 scan were not in my file (the ultrasound practice operates independently of my OB/GYN practice and sends the results to the doctor’s office a few days after the u/s is completed). She said she would find my results and give me a call only if there was a problem. That evening, the phone rang, and as soon as I saw the caller ID, my heart started pounding. I did not expect the call; I was so certain that everything looked good—that’s what the radiologist said during the scan. When I picked up the phone, the conversation started with those five words: “It is probably nothing but…” I had to sit down, just in case. The OB did not like what she saw on the pictures of the baby’s face. The pictures of the lips and mouth were either not clear enough or nonexistent (I was panicking, so I can’t remember for sure). She asked if we had any family history of cleft lip or cleft palate. I said that I did not think so, but there is a lot in my family history that I don’t know about. “Would you like to go in for another scan?” Of course, I said yes.

To be completely honest, I am not that worried, which is evident by the fact that I have not googled the condition at all—and that is pretty rare for me. I do actually believe her that it is probably nothing. If it is, indeed, a cleft problem, we’ll deal with it. There are far, far worse things that can happen. I even hesitated to write this post, especially after what Bumble, Watson, Faith and Julia have been going through these last couple of weeks with their babies. But as today’s scan approaches, I am getting more nervous. The baby is a month older now—what if they see something else that wasn’t quite obvious before? What if?

I had lots of worries when I was pregnant with Child, but probably not more than any “regular” first-time mom (meaning, one who did not experience IF or pregnancy loss). He gave us quite a few scares in the first trimester with lots of cramps and bleeding, but even after that, I worried. I worried about what I ate and drank, I worried about accidentally waking up on my back, I worried about water being too hot when getting my pedicure, I worried about not doing enough Kegels, I worried A LOT about labor. (It is amazing how much I do not worry about any those things this time around.) Back then, I could not wait to finally have him out of my body just so I wouldn’t have to worry so much. And then he was born, and I realized that the real worry had only just begun.

You never stop worrying about the “what if.”

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Trip

Or: When years of good luck come back to bite me in the ass

So as I bitched about previously, the last few months of my work life have been preoccupied with preparing for our company’s annual conference. It is always a busy time for me, but this year, the word busy did even come close to describing it.

But despite multiple snafus, the world continued to turn, and we departed from our lovely East Coast city on a long journey to the West. The trip involved making a two-day stop smack in the middle of the country to drop off Child who was to spend eight days with Husband’s parents while Husband and I (we both work for the same company—and no, that’s not where we met) headed out to work in C.ity. Don’t ask me why I did this, but of the four flights I booked, three departed roughly at 6 a.m. The only flight that didn’t depart before the sun was up actually left when the sun was going down—around 7:45 p.m. It was our first flight of the trip. And it was 3 and a half hours late departing. I went to the airport straight from work (read: uncomfortable clothes and even more uncomfortable shoes). Child was so excited to get on the airplane he woke up an hour early and refused to nap during the day (read: an overtired three-year-old who waited ALL DAY—and that is a LONG time for a three-year-old—just to get on the plane). And there we were, still waiting to board the plane at 11 p.m. When it became clear that we will be able to leave the city after all, I called the car rental company to tell them that we will be arriving to pick up the car around 12:30 a.m. (not 9 p.m., as we expected). To this, the national headquarters told me that all local desks close at midnight, so we will have to wait until 5 a.m. next morning to pick up the car. I negotiated, I pleaded, I begged. “No, ma’am, the desks close at midnight. Our employees need sleep, after all.” Let me just say that this mo-fo probably did not get a good night of sleep after hearing what came out of my mouth next. That’s all I am going to say about that. After hanging up on him, I called the local desk. “Oh, no, ma’am, we don’t close until all flights have landed. And by the way, we are all out of Che.vy Av.eo economy cars that you requested—would it be OK for you to take a Toyo.ta Highl.ander instead, at no extra charge?” There is a special place in heaven for people like Crystal from Omaha airport.

We finally arrived at Husband’s parents around 3 a.m. Exactly 48 hours later, Husband and I kissed our sweet sleeping boy good-bye and drove back to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight to Las Vegas. I got all my crying out of the way the night before, so I was able to say my quiet good-bye without any tears shed. Child handled the separation as well as I could have hoped for. He was lonesome for us, he asked about us, but he enjoyed his time with the grandparents, aunt, uncle and 18-month old cousin. Let me state for the record that everything you hear about grandparents spoiling their grandchildren rotten is true. 100% true. We are still dealing with the fallout from that, after being back for two weeks now.

So at this point, you say, “Oh well, Kate, delayed flight. Not that big of a deal.” And I say, wait, there is more.

We arrived in Vegas roughly as exhausted as we were in week 2 of Child’s life. And that’s before the Conference even began. (For the fear of making this post so ridiculously long that even I won’t have the patience to read through it to self-edit, I will share my thoughts on Vegas in another installment.) Eight days later, after getting three hours of sleep, we headed to the airport for our flight back to pick up Child. I was almost shaking with anticipation of seeing him. I literally teared up every time I thought about seeing his face. During our layover in Denver, we checked the information board and discovered that there was an earlier flight to Omaha, making our layover only 30 minutes instead of two hours. But the grumpy gate attendant told us we could not get on that flight because our bags were already checked on the later flight. We were a bit disappointed, but we patiently waited two hours for our scheduled flight. When we got to the gate to board, we discovered that our plane was downsized from a 130-passenger jet to a 60-passenger one. And all flights to Omaha for the remainder of the day were full (it was 10 a.m. at this point). Panic ensued. People were yelling. People were shoving. People were crying. Someone was going to miss a sister’s wedding. Someone was going to miss an important business meeting. Someone was going to be picked up by an elderly brother who lives four hours from the airport and there was no way to contact him to tell him to go back. It was madness.

We have seen the Amazing Race, so instead of joining the chaos, Husband pulled out the cell phone and called a travel agent. There were three seats on a flight to Omaha at 10 p.m. that night. “Hold them,” said Husband. And it was at this point that I realized that I was not going to see my boy that day. No matter what—whether we took the evening flight, drove 10 hours to get to Omaha or stayed in Denver overnight, I was not going to see him (at least not see him awake) on that day. And I lost it. I sat down in the corner and completely broke down. I tell you this because I don’t think I could ever understand this reaction if I saw someone else breaking down like this. I would have thought, “that seems like overreacting.” And maybe it was. Maybe it was the fatigue, the hormones, whatever, but I could not stop crying. So if you were at the Denver airport in late June and saw a pregnant woman in a purple shirt sitting in a corner and weeping, don’t think less of her. She just wanted to see her baby.

We spent another three hours at the airport: first one, trying to make sure our bags were staying in Denver, and the other two—in line at Customer Service to figure out what the airline will reimburse us for. By that time, it was too late to drive. We opted not to take the evening flight to Omaha because it would have made for a long day at the airport, another really late night and an inconvenience for Husband’s parents who would have had to drive 90 minutes to the airport in the middle of the night to pick us up. We decided to stay in Denver and take a 6:30 flight (yes, I am not kidding, another 6 o'clock flight) the next morning. The airline gave us vouchers for food and hotel. We grabbed lunch at a Mexican chain restaurant at the airport, where Husband ordered soft tacos. Instead, he got hard-shelled tacos. And that was the end of the rope for him. All he wanted was for SOMETHING to go right. At least something as simple as tacos. If he only knew what was to come next.

At the baggage claim our bags were not there, despite the fact that we spent an hour making sure and being completely assured that our bags did not go to Omaha on the original flight but instead stayed in Denver. So we were left to spend the night in Denver with only my purse, Husband’s laptop and “Build Your Own Monster” gift for Child. The hotel the airline put us in was 40 minutes away, and when we finally checked in and entered our room, ready to collapse from exhaustion and frustration, we discovered that someone already had that idea: there was a half-naked man sleeping on the bed in our room. At that point, there was nothing else to do but laugh. We exchanged the key in hopes of getting a room without existing occupants, and that’s when we got a call (…cue the angels singing…) from our lovely, amazing friend who lives north of Denver, telling us that he just got our message and is on his way to come rescue us from this place, treat us to as many drinks as necessary (oh, how I needed one!) and supply us with toothpaste, toothbrushes, a hot shower and a comfy bed in his gorgeous house in the mountains, not to mention a chance to catch up with his fabulous family and two adorable Golden Retrievers.

And that (...cue triumphant music...) was the end of our misfortune. Seeing Child’s smiling face and excited “Mommy, Daddy!” the next morning as soon as he spotted us standing at the curb at Omaha airport was the sweetest sight of all, and I could barely hold in the tears. And he didn't mind me hugging the heck out of him.

The moral of the story is… Who am I kidding, there is no moral. It is just a huge brain dump of complaining. I know that shit happens when you travel. But this shit doesn’t happen to me—hence the sub-title of this post. We travel a lot—for work and for pleasure. But in the 10+ years that Husband and I have been together, we’ve had fewer delayed/missed flights than I can count on two hands. The bad luck finally caught up with us on this one. I just hope that now we are delay-free for another 10 years.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Due Date

Dear baby not to be,

Today would have been your due date. 7-11. The OB at my first appointment joked that with this due date, I should get a free slurpy. It wasn’t funny then, and it isn’t now.

They were right, time does dull the pain. But I still think of you every day. I am still sad that I never got to meet you. I am still heartbroken that my body failed you. Other than a digital picture of the positive pregnancy test, there is no proof that you ever existed. And yet I miss you so much.

I wish I had you in my arms today. Instead, I wipe my tears and stare at the little angel figurine holding a child. I hope the angel is taking good care of you, my baby. I miss you.