Category Archives: Pregnancy

Why Did I Wait?

When I was pregnant in 2007, I remember a day when I came back from a walk (or maybe a trip to the grocery store) when my left knee ached. (There were several trips to Safeway when my foot stepped in something on the floor and I slipped. The management has improved maintenance since then.) I chalked up the pain to pregnancy hormones and hoped it would go away.

It didn’t. Then I assumed it was just my “advanced” age — you know, the fact that a mid-40s body has aches and pains that a mid-20s body doesn’t. I also figured that a visit to the doctor would result in my concern being dismissed with a recommendation to just put some ice on it.

When my sister E visited in December, she urged me to look into it. I did, and I had an MRI this morning. The result: I have a complex tear of the medial meniscus. I was referred to a surgeon and have an appointment for February 23 in the afternoon to review the problem and the options.

So, it is validating to know that my pain is real. I feel chagrined that I didn’t pursue this sooner. I could have been pain free at least a year ago! I also feel a little daunted at the thought of being laid up with a toddler and having to navigate our 27 steps in the townhome. Maybe the surgery will be less invasive and intense than my imagination manufactures.

First Lines From 2007

From the first post I authored each month this year.

January: Itโ€™s a new year and weโ€™re off running, trying to find a place to live.

February: The movers from Hansen-Smylie arrived at 8:30 a.m. on Monday the 29th, and they finished unloading the truck at 5:00 p.m.

March: I’m pretty darn happy these days.

April: I’m not a huge fan of dichotomous thinking or generalizations, but this quote suits me at the moment; I choose the miracle.

May: Before I deal with the main topic, I’ll share what I saw on the side of a Goodwill truck: Giving people a chance to hate Monday mornings.

June: Husband and I attended the standard appointment with the OB yesterday.

July: This post is purely about ego.

August: Today was the first of my weekly OB visits.

September: I have been richly nurtured.

October: I’m doing better but am still challenged.

November: Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t post photos of my daughter on the blog.

December: For Christmahanakwanzayule, I want: to be freed of fear; to be freed of limitation; to be freed of doubt; to be freed of denial; to be freed of loneliness; to be freed of anger; to be freed of pain; to be freed of suffering; in other words, not to be bound by my ego anymore.

A Christmas Gift Like No Other

Update: New photos of Claire on Flickr!

One year ago today I learned I was pregnant. For those who haven’t been reading my blog long (or who might have forgotten), here’s the back story. After two miscarriages in 2005, we tried in 2006. I became nervous about the lack of progress, and Husband and I decided to see a fertility specialist. (My husband is ten years younger and had not the sense of urgency I felt about the waning opportunity.) On November 13 we met with the doctor, who advised that because of my “advanced maternal age,” the likelihood of successful in vitro conception with my own eggs was less than 10% per attempt. In other words, my eggs were old, tired, dried up, and probably rife with genetic misinformation. Those were bad odds, so I made peace with the idea of using egg donation. We agreed to have testing done (for both of us) and begin in January.

A week later I had another FSH hormone test done which showed the levels to be normal (the previous one had been a “tad” high at 11). The specialist wanted another, more invasive test done to check the health of my uterus, but my HMO insurance would not cover it because the specialist was out of network. No problem; we switched to a more expensive PPO for 2007 and would wait to do the test then.

Then we proceeded to just live. My period came and went at the end of November. I relaxed knowing we would be doing something constructive in the near future and focused on preparing for my favorite holiday.

On this day last year, I was having tea with Eileen. I had not been feeling my best the previous week. I felt bloated, tired, a little green around the edges sometimes, and had to pee every five minutes (at least, it felt that often). During tea I confided to Eileen and wistfully said, “I really wish I were pregnant. These are the same signs from past pregnancies. I would prefer not to go through the torment that is in vitro.” She agreed that this would be a preferable, happier outcome.

After tea I came home to a letter from our landlords asking us to vacate the house by mid-February. This was completely unexpected. We knew the house was intended for their son someday, but we had the impression that “someday” was years off. Yet we’d also been talking about moving, because the house was one room shy of enough space for a child. Well, this was a fortuitous kick in the pants to get started, because…

I still had one pregnancy test left from the last package. That night on a whim I took it. My attitude was: Well, I may as well use this up. I’m not pregnant, I’m sure, but what the heck. Then I saw. TWO LINES!!! Holy macaroni! Oh, the confirmation line wasn’t strong, but it was there. I was stunned. I ran into the other room waving the wand in Husband’s face. He was tentatively thrilled. We agreed, though, that we’d act like this wasn’t a big deal and say nothing until after we’d passed eight weeks (the latest I’d miscarried). But my oh my, look what a present I ended up with!

Later in the week I took two more home pregnancy tests, each with a stronger result. Then one day I had cramping and spotting. I resigned myself to the probability of miscarriage. It turned out that was implantation bleeding, and this was a good thing. We departed for Syracuse to spend holiday with family, and upon arriving home December 30th, morning sickness arrived full-blown and all day long. (We house-hunted throughout that time. You don’t think Pixie will be hearing about that in later years, do you?) It wasn’t until we saw the OB in my 11th week that we fully relaxed into the reality of this, but we didn’t share the news with family officially until after week 12 (some from my side guessed during the holidays at week 6, but we did not discuss it), and with the rest of the world until after week 18. It was very difficult to remain mum about this, but I’m glad we did; it made the sharing quite enjoyable.

So this year, I’ve decided I want a million dollars. Just one million will do. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Not really. I wrote about what I want for Christmahanakwanzayule.)

In closing, how fitting, then, that this evening I’ll attend the baby shower for my friend Nathania, who knew about my pregnancy losses, my fear, my hope and my joy, and who in her second trimester assisted my labor and the arrival of Claire.

Three Dozen Reasons

(This post is more for myself and may be of zero interest to you.)

I Am Grateful For/That:

  1. I have a washer and dryer inside my home and don’t have to lug laundry to a laundromat.
  2. Ditto for the dishwasher to save us from hand washing dishes constantly.
  3. The invention of the baby bottle dishwasher basket.
  4. I’ve got good quality ground coffee on hand (and it’s even fair trade coffee).
  5. Claire is growing and is over her cold.
  6. Slipping into deep, sweet sleep with the occasional help of Dr. Ambien.
  7. It doesn’t matter that the house hasn’t been vacuumed in a month, because I have a newborn, and that’s a reasonable excuse.
  8. Managing to put clean sheets on the bed and clean towels in the bathroom last night.
  9. Husband and I got long hot showers last night.
  10. Tivo. Costco.
  11. The 30 minutes I had yesterday to finish my pregnancy journal entries, complete with photos.
  12. The white noise CD Husband made (he found the sound files free on the web); when Claire is swaddled, rocked, and the volume is turned up sufficiently, it calms her immediately and helps her fall and stay asleep.
  13. Learning that noise comes in different colors.
  14. Other free stuff on the web, such as black and white shapes to print and show to baby.
  15. My sister-in-law is planning to visit from Austin sometime in the next month.
  16. Getting myself and Claire out for a short walk yesterday by myself (meaning I was able to lift the stroller and carrier and get us up and down the front stairs).
  17. Blogs such as: Cheerio Road, Antique Mommy, Cute Overload, I Can Has Cheezburger?
  18. Husband being such a collaborative and patient co-parent who is capable of seeing humor in many situations.
  19. Heating pads (and electricity) for my sore back.
  20. The magic of the baby swing. And D batteries.
  21. The look of recognition that I see glimmering in Claire’s eyes when I pick her up.
  22. Swaddling.
  23. Friends who come over on short notice to take a walk with me and Claire.
  24. Friends who bring us meals (home-made, deli, take-out, restaurant gift cards).
  25. The ten zillion old cloth diapers my mother sent us to use as burp cloths.
  26. Eucerin Aquafor healing ointment (great diaper rash preventive and general baby moisturizer).
  27. Adjusting to Claire’s crying (still challenged by that, though).
  28. Claire’s fascination when I read aloud to her; she turns her face toward me if she’s in the swing and looks intently in my direction, although I know she doesn’t see clearly.
  29. Generous family leave benefits from Husband’s employer.
  30. No more itching of my C-section scar.
  31. Stella the cat and her equanimous personality.
  32. The many gifts, cards, and flowers we (including Claire) received celebrating Claire’s birth.
  33. I’ve lost all of the baby weight and now weigh less than I did at conception last December. It’s good to wear my old clothes again.
  34. The pain in my left knee has gone, as has the hip joint pain, thanks to the Relaxin being out of my system.
  35. The pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome is abating; I still can’t knit, but my hands don’t go numb holding a pen or the phone anymore, and there aren’t shooting pains up my forearms anymore.
  36. Claire smiles!! Real smiles in response to ours. She also coos and vocalizes more.

At Last!

We joyfully announce the birth of our daughter!

Claire Georgia Harper
Date: September 8, 2007
Time: 12:49 a.m. PDT
Weight: 7 lb, 1 oz.
Length: 20 in

At this time I don’t intend to publish photos of my child on the blog for the whole world. However, I will upload photos to my Flickr account, which is (It may take a day or two to get them uploaded.) Photos of my babe will be given a designation so that only friends and family can see them. This means you need to:

  1. create a free account on Flickr if you haven’t already;
  2. designate me as a contact by going to my profile and in the upper right corner, clicking “add Mindful One as a contact”;
  3. which triggers an email notifying me, and then I’ll make you a contact with the correct status. It might take me a couple days to get to the email, so please be patient.

This most amazing event transcends words…

(note: This is being published by her friend Mark. Just wanted to note that Baby, Mother and Father are tired, but healthy and headed to sleep after a long day. We wish them a quick recovery and sweet dreams!)


As is the way of life, the hospital doesn’t have room for us to come in at 6 p.m. as scheduled for the gel. A bunch of women in labor recently came in. The nurse said she’d call us in a few hours when a room opens up.

I don’t know if this means that we’ll go in and have to return at midnight or six hours after the dose, which could be 3 a.m. And of course there’s no guarantee they’ll take me at any scheduled hour if the rooms are occupied.

What is so frustrating about this is that I’ve been trying to rest and nap, as has Husband, so that we have some energy when all this begins. It got to 91F today here, so it was uncomfortable and we were unsuccessful with napping. The other frustration is that we are mentally focused on this event, on action, and now we’re stalled.

Husband is more jovial about this schedule set-back. I’m tempted to rant and cry. That’s really adult behavior, very mature and enlightened, I know.

Instead, I’ll close this post by noting that:

  • the roofers did not work on our roof today, so it was blissfully quiet (I don’t know if they’re finished and don’t care anymore).
  • Little One was active a lot today; I had cramps and backache, and she feels lower in my pelvis.
  • I’m reading a book of interesting essays.
  • there will be an end to this limbo in the near future.

Kick Me, Please

This post is updated; see below.

Yesterday we took a walk to let gravity help get things going. Little One responded with much activity, squirming and positioning herself further in the pelvis. She was active late last night, too, and in the wee hours. I also had backache/cramps in the wee hours.

Then it subsided. Today I’ve spent mostly laying about, napping. The roofers finally got to our roof around 1 p.m., and I’ve enjoyed a symphony of nail-gun pounding harmonized with blaring Hispanic radio. By resting, I may have lulled Little One as well.

At 12:30 p.m., I had not felt much movement at all from Little One in many hours. I drank water and lay down to do a kick count; I felt faint movements and dozed off. I awoke at 3:30 and drank cold grape juice, then ice water (12 ounces of each), and felt a faint poke. Usually an infusion of that much cold, sugary fluid stirs her into break dancing. I took a shower, which also jostles her into activity, then walked to our mailbox and back. Nothing.

Husband is on his way home. I’m going to call the doctor and see what she says. Probably all is fine and well. I’d rather be safe than sorry.

I hate to leave a post like this. The good thing is, El Camino Hospital has wireless Internet access throughout, so geeks like me can bring their laptops. I can update this post quickly. (And won’t I feel silly if we get there and she’s just dandy!)

Say it with me: All is well. All is well.

Update: Husband got home and I lost composure. He asked me if I’d done a proper kick count, and I said I thought I had, I’d lost track. We called the OB office and were told to head to labor and delivery at the hospital. Before going, though, Husband said, “Let’s do a proper kick count.” I had another glass of cold grape juice, and we lay down together on the bed. The result: 13 movements in 31 minutes (probably more, we gave half credit to some moves that weren’t especially strong), which is great. We called the hospital and told them the situation; they were pleased to hear it and grateful we let them know not to expect us.

Little One’s moving as I type this. We’ll do periodic counts throughout the evening and tomorrow. Tomorrow at 6 p.m., providing the hospital has available beds, I’ll go in for the prostaglandin insert. Then we go home and wait for the hormones to do their job of softening and effacing my cervix; at midnight (again, providing they have beds) we go in for the Pitocin induction. (If they don’t have beds, they’ll tell us to keep calling every couple of hours until they do.) If I end up going into labor on my own, we’ll simply go in when we’re in the active labor stage and be admitted. So I admit: I’m Crazy Pregnant Lady. I feel a bit silly for having gotten all astir, but I suppose I’m not the first. And we were right! All is well.

Non-Labor Day

Well, I wish I had news to share.

But as of this moment, Little One continues to hang out. Early this morning I awoke to a dull low backache that lasted for a few moments, but otherwise all is quiet.

Believe me, when the action starts in earnest, I’ll definitely post the news. ๐Ÿ™‚

Any Day Now…

I started the day with more vigor than I have in the past five, though I’m fading now and am fighting the desire to sleep.

Day three of the roofing. Yesterday I felt too unwell to go anywhere. I stayed home and bathed in my own sweat while the mercury rose to 93F and the closed windows made the the house feel like a sarcophagus. The roofers did not leave until 7:00 p.m. To cope, I took a couple of cold showers, though the relief was temporary.

Last night Husband and I made a foray to Whole Foods (a rare visit) to purchase eucalyptus oil to dab on my temples and neck for congestion relief. We also bought red raspberry leaf tea, which is reputed to help “tone the uterus” — it doesn’t start labor, but supposedly it makes the Braxton Hicks contractions more efficient. According to what I’ve read, it can act as an abortifacent if taken too much and too early in pregnancy, but after 37 weeks it’s considered helpful. Will it work? Who knows? But it’s not a teratogen, and so there’s no harm in it.

I did manage to get five hours of straight sleep last night by propping myself on pillows in bed. It’s the only comfortable position for my belly anymore, and it allows me to breathe.

When the roofers came today, I felt well enough to push myself out the door. I filled the gas tank and got the car washed. I made a deposit and withdrawal at the bank. I bought stamps at the post office. Each of these places had air conditioning, and I blasted it in my car. I went to Unamas! for lunch (guess what? they have air conditioning!); I have to remind myself to eat since I can smell and taste nothing. I only know I’m hungry when I get lightheaded and my stomach growls vigorously. The symptoms do seem to be lessening, finally.

I stopped by Purlescence to visit Sandi and Nathania. Nathania, who will assist my labor, invited me to her home (air conditioned living room!) for a massage this afternoon. So right now I’m ensconced in the library pushing myself to stay alert so I can meet her at 5:00. I can’t go home; the heat is at its peak, and the roofers certainly aren’t done. (They only started putting on shingles today.) I don’t expect them to completely finish until next Tuesday; meanwhile we have three lovely days of quiet and open windows ahead.

Nathania mentioned that Lowe’s has a sale on air conditioning units. Typically, September is one of the hottest months here, and it can even be warm into mid-October. So finally, finally, I am giving in and asking Husband to see if we can get one. He’s been suggesting it for months. Friends, family, and readers have been suggesting this. I’ve resisted because of the expense, and because we rent, and because our windows don’t open vertically (which would hold a normal window unit). I’ve resisted because pregnancy is temporary, and the hot season isn’t long; only a handful of days are near intolerable, and open windows do help. But now I say “Uncle!” and hope that we can find one. So often we have the “California shopping experience,” which is a fruitless scavenger hunt for an item that whatever stores you visit don’t have in stock.

I keep telling myself, any day now…

The End of the Day

At nearly 9:00 p.m. it’s still 81F. I spent the afternoon at my friends’ home just sitting. I couldn’t sleep for the heat, but at least the windows were open and it was quiet.

So, the doctor visit… I am one centimeter dilated but not effaced at all, and baby still sits high. My induction was scheduled.

Next Wednesday, September 5, I will go to the hospital at 6:00 p.m. to have prostaglandin inserted. This will begin to ripen the cervix (cause it to soften and start effacing). Just after midnight on September 6, we’ll return to the hospital to begin an IV delivery of Pitocin to start my labor. Let’s hope it works. The doctor said there’s a good chance and it’s worth trying. I’m trying to get square with the idea that I may end up having a C-section if the labor doesn’t progress.

Maybe Little One will come on her own before then.

I’m headed for a cool shower and if I’m lucky, some sleep.

Thems The Breaks

Forecast for today: Sunny, high at 93F.

Last night at 10 p.m. we had a false alarm. I thought my water broke. Turns out it did not, but this required an exam at the hospital to be sure. (Something leaked, and I know for sure it was not urine, dammit.) The staff were lovely to us; I’m sure they get lots of first-timers with false alarms.

We got home around midnight and I went to bed exhausted. But I couldn’t sleep, so I read until 4:30 a.m. I dozed off lightly but woke at 5:30, 6:00, and 7:00 a.m. Then I slept until 8:30, when the roofers came. It sounded like the aliens on the roof from the movie Signs.

I’ve developed a hearty cough that emanates from my chest and leaves a metallic taste in my mouth. My head is full of cotton. I’ve sneezed through a box of Kleenex.

We have an OB appointment at 11:50; I don’t feel alert enough to drive. Husband stayed home from work to drive us there.

As I type, the roofers are ripping off our shingles. Husband will drop me off at a friend’s home after the appointment, where I will dally the afternoon away eating bonbons and reading sleeping (I hope). He’ll retrieve me this evening sometime around 7:00 and we’ll go home, open the windows, and turn on all the fans. Then we’ll finish watching Flushed Away, and maybe get a good night’s sleep.


It is 88F outside and the windows are closed.

Today the roofers began tearing off the roof of the building next door, and they have not only blocked me in my garage, they have made it impossible to walk out my front door because the ladders and supplies are on the porch we share with the neighbor. By this evening it will be all cleared out, but for now this is the way it is. They are also very loud with the banging and clanking and air compressor for the nail gun.

Tomorrow they will begin the demolition of our building roof. We’ll leave for a doctor appointment in the morning, and I’ll try to spend the day out of the house.

Not that I feel much like going anywhere. I feel worse every day with this head thing — I think I’ve caught a cold. I can’t hear well, taste much, or breathe easily. My head aches. I developed a cough. I sneeze. I have zero energy. I hope it is a cold because that means it will go away, whereas if it truly is an allergy to what’s in bloom right now, it will hang on until whenever the pollen abates, and that could be weeks.

I slept until 1 p.m., and I want to sleep some more.

I live in a haze of waiting right now. I’m lethargic. I force myself to eat and to move. My upper right back muscles have hurt for several weeks; coughing, sneezing, or certain movements send a shooting pain that grips the area. Wonder what that will feel like when contractions start? My left knee also complains; I’ve just stopped mentioning that or caring much.

It’s odd how difficult and bleak life can seem when one’s health isn’t perfect. I know life is good, but I don’t feel that way. I feel flat, gray, and inert. I am distracted from the curiosity of when labor might start and actually feel disinterested. Baby is in there. We coexist. She’ll come when she comes. Until then she’s part of my life like my lungs, heart, bladder. She is not a separate entity but instead is something that drains my body of energy and requires whatever resources I have that aren’t directed to fighting off the allergy/cold.

Tonight’s prescription will be to watch Flushed Away and stay horizontal. Tomorrow will be another day; maybe I’ll feel better and write a cheerier post.

Happy Due Date To Me

Well, this is the due date for Little One. The majority of babies do not debut on their due date, but I thought it worth noting here.

I have allergies to something in bloom — chenopods, I believe — so my ears are clogged, my nose stuffy and runny, my throat is sore, and I sneeze. It’s gotten worse since last week. I occasionally pop a Benadryl (which actually does make the sore throat better); since I don’t really have much to do, spending my days feeling drowsy doesn’t much matter. But these symptoms on top of the final whale stage of pregnancy reinforce my desire to stay home.

Yesterday I felt enervated, occasionally queasy, slight cramps, and the usual “practice” contractions. I lost my mucous plug, too. (That’s probably more than you wanted to know.) This event sometimes precedes labor by a few days, but it’s also possible to lose the plug and go for a couple more weeks before starting labor. Husband and I lay about on the sofa and then took a very long nap in the afternoon.

Today’s to do list:
Laundry (small load)
Pet the cat
Run dishwasher
Watch a stupid movie (Snakes On a Plane)

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.

–Joseph Addison

It’s On Flickr, But Do I Dare Put This On the Blog?

I took my last pregnancy photo last night (actually Husband snapped it). I am in my full glory, having donned a bathing suit to take a cooling dip in the pool. I feel a bit shy, because I am a big, big girl. I wasn’t always, but I started the pregnancy big, and this is what I am now — the Venus of Willendorf, almost. Mika wrote his song Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) for women like me. Click below to see the photo.
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It has been warm here, and humid. Today the temperature hit 88F. I’ve noticed that Little One, when it is hot out, tends to move less. That’s interesting, because even though I feel hot, I’m sure my body temperature is stable. Sleep (if it can be called that) is unpredictable. I’m up every single hour to pee and, since the past nights have not cooled quickly, the quality of my unconsciousness is poor. I walk with puffy feet and type with sausage fingers. It’s a time of waiting and being quiet.

My brother has been visiting since last Friday, and we’ve enjoyed each other. He’s attending a conference at Stanford, so most days he’s been gone, but we have evenings.

My OB appointment was moved from Thursday to Friday. We’ll see whether she has dropped (it doesn’t feel as though she has) and what we might decide to do.