Friday, November 4, 2011

What? You’re on Bed rest? I hadn’t heard…

Where to even begin? I'm not even sure if I'm finishing week two or week three of bed rest. The days blend together into one endless day. Every time I think that I really don't need to be in my house (a short trip to Barnes and Noble, an overly long trip to the carpet store, a stroll around TJ MAXX between doctor's appointments, and my son's poetry reading), I end up feeling like the baby is going to fall out on the floor and my contractions start up again. Back in bed I go. While I've been pretty good about not reading pregnancy books or websites (not including my new pregnancy/mommy blog obsession), I couldn't help looking up bed rest. All these studies say it doesn't work. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe I could just walk around in pain for the next seven weeks. However, I'd rather be comfy. Even if I am bored and sick of my bed AND feel a massive amount of guilt about all this help I'm getting…

Speaking of help:

When I was on bed rest with my son, I had very few people to rely on. One person came from the Giant Gentile's work while he was away at a conference in South Carolina (for some reason, the universe likes to send him to the South when I'm put on bed rest. This time, it was Texas). She brought me pizza and let out my Chow Chow. My best friend from college came over and helped me organize myself. Other than that, my Chow Chow was my only companion during the day. But once GG got home, we sat on the bed, watched movies and ate apples with peanut butter and fluff.

Now, almost seven years later, I also have a dog companion on the bed. Unlike my cat-like Chow Chow, my American Bulldog takes bed rest very seriously—making sure that he too stays in bed for as much of the day as possible taking up as much room as possible. The much bigger difference, of course, is that my husband is no longer my sole helper and company keeper. I actually have an entire community of people helping. (wait, I have to pause for a moment. I'm getting Hallmark commercial chocked up). It's funny because I actually get paid to write about community—this community, in fact. I'm always writing or editing pieces about its closeness and its kindness. It's love of each other…blah blah blah. However, these past couple of weeks having proven my writing to be true. My synagogue has sent out the caring committee to bring me food and offer me rides to the doctor. Fellow board members have brought me food and Starbucks. And then, of course, there are my friends: friends that I did not have the first time around. My partner-in-crime, set up a helping hands website where people can sign up to pick my son up for school or bring meals. It's not empty. People sign up. We get meals and my son has something to do afterschool or at least someone to pick him up. Other friends stop by with meals or lunch or groceries! Or just to chat. Two of my friends have packed HJ's lunch, so I don't have to worry about it. One of my friends is even taking my carpet up for me. I can't even express how humbled I've been by this experience. In all my wordiness, I don't know if I could ever thank people enough. (the girl who left home the second she graduated from high school because she never fit and never found her place socially in college is shocked by all of this…but that is for another post…)


The big VBAC…

If conversations about birth make you think TMI TMI! I suggest you stop reading now. As you all know, this pregnancy has made me increasingly frustrated with my doctors. Most of my complaints have revolved around my zavtigness…however, that isn't really the big issue. The big issue is my desire for a VBAC. (that's vaginal birth after c-section). People have many reasons for wanting VBACs. Mine is completely personal. I don't care what anyone else does. If a c-section makes you happy, great! I, however, don't want another c-section. I'm doing everything in my power to have a VBAC. Of course, this experience has brought to me a road I never thought I'd head down: natural drug-free child-birth. I've already forced any friend that talks to me to listen to my adoration of Hypnobirthing classes. Basically, it teaches guided relaxation techniques to get past the fear of childbirth. It also emphasizes birth affirmations: I am strong. My body can birth without pain… It's taken me a long time to get with the affirmations. At first, all I could hear was Stuart Smalley's SNL affirmations I'm good enough... I couldn't help finding them ridiculous. But then, something shifted…my fight to be heard. I've tried my best to surround myself with people who support my VBAC desires: my hypnobirthing instructor (who, by the way, is not some crazy hippie lady, she's a labor a delivery nurse), my doula, my cardiologist and my husband. I've given speech after speech to my parents, who seem to at least be telling me they support my decision. However, as we all know, I make doctors very nervous with my previous c-section, pre-term labor, and repaired heart defect (oh and the whole chubby thing). Thankfully, I do not make my cardiologist nervous. He told me that not only do I NOT have to run to the hospital at the moment I feel real labor, but if they give me any trouble at the hospital, he'll come right over. My OB practice, even the midwife, is clearly skeptical. They are the reason women get defensive at the hospital. The answer is always, "I mean, you can always try…" Mostly, I try not to have a conversation with them about it.

But, two days ago, the ob told me that they had a schedule me for a c-section. "No," I said. She looked at me, shocked. "You can't say no." I sighed and told her I knew that I couldn't say no, but…then I took a deep breath and the tears came.

"I just feel like no one at this practice is very supportive of a VBAC. Why do we have to walk into this birth assuming I have to have a c-section?"

She sits down next to me and sighs. It wasn't one of those empathetic-- I know where you're coming from sighs. It was one of those, here-comes-the-speech-from-the-psycho-pregnant lady- who- thinks- she- knows- everything- because- she- read- a- couple- of- websites- sighs.

I protest the sigh. "I'm not some crazy hippie who thinks the medical establishment is out to get me." (coulda fooled you) "If I'm in a situation that is an emergency or the baby is breech and will not move then fine, but you have to give me a chance. More than a chance. I want to walk into this with the assumption then I'm having a VBAC. Why is that so hard?"

She sighs again, " I don't know any doctor in this practice that wouldn't do a VBAC, you just have to understand your circumstances."

"I know my circumstances." I say back." I was induced at 37 weeks and nothing happened, so I had a c-section."

"Well," she answers, "We'll schedule you for 41 weeks." And then she leaves…

So, when they call me the next morning with my c-section date, I find myself crying again. December 30th. That's 40 weeks and 5 days. Not 41 weeks. I know to them it doesn't seem like a big deal. I know 41 weeks exactly is January 1st and they aren't going to schedule one then…but It means something to me. I want to be given 41 weeks like I was promised. What's wrong with January 2, 3, 4… I want as much time as possible to do this on my own! Was I not clear? When I called to complain the schedule lady said that notes said: Strongly wants a VBAC (thank you for that) schedule after 40 weeks as close to 41 as possible.

Ugh, almost 41 is not 41. The scheduler told me to talk to the doc when I have my next appointment. GG told me not to freak out unless they won't change it at my next appointment. I just feel so unheard, so I've decided to embrace the birth affirmations. Maybe if I can embrace them, the doctors can get with my program…


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hope that belly didn’t cost too much

I keep needing some sort of push to write on my own. I really thought that I'd post more. However, I spend so much time fixing other people's writing that it's been really hard to get to my own…but HOLY Good G-d!

I finally figured out how to use the wireless option on the Giant Gentile's camera. I needed a photo for my column to send to my designer. Of course, I got a bit carried away taking self-portraits (what else is n

ew?). Usually, I take pictures of myself, so I look super skinny, my eyes

look super big…you get the picture. In those shots, my belly simply doesn't look that big. See, little belly…hot girl. Very exciting.

But today, I piled a bunch of books on top of my banister and put on the camera's timer. Holy Good G-d is right:

Normally, I don't even allow such pictures to be shown in public (my face looks wide; I have 78 chins…), but where did that belly come from? No wonder I'm freaking all the doctors out…

Oh yes, the doctors simply do not know what to do with me. "Why?" you ask. Well, let's start out with doctor freak out number one…


At 18 weeks, I went for my level-two ultrasound. I brought my favorite partner-in-crime for moral support. I intended to bring my six-year-old, but decided against it. One never knows. The ultrasound was long, but everything seemed to be going well. Until, the Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctor came rushing in.

" It says here that you refused genetic testing!!!"

Maybe it was my pregnancy brain, but he actually looked a little crazed. "Yes," I answered. "I do not want genetic testing."

"Well, you need it! You have to at least see the genetic counselor."

Blach, I'd seen the genetic counselor with baby number one; I didn't see the need to see her again. The baby-daddy has not changed. I opted out of genetic testing from the beginning for a reason: I simply was never going to have THAT conversation. If something was wrong, it wasn't going to change how I preceded with my pregnancy, so I saw no reason to ruin things. Now, I was born with a congenital heart defect, so they watch the baby's heart closely. That's fine. That's fixable. If they saw spina bifida, I'd have it fixed. I can't do anything about Down's Syndrome or other genetic disorders, and I'm not getting rid of my baby. It's not negotionable. However, Dr. Spazzy, didn't see it that way. Apparently he had seen (and this is the first time since then that I'm looking this up online):

"The Choroid Plexus and Choroid Plexus Cysts "The choroid plexus is an area of the brain that makes cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid is the substance that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The choroid plexus is not an area of the brain involved in thinking. Choroid plexus cysts are fluid-filled spaces in the choroid plexus kind of like blisters or bubbles. Choroid plexus cysts are not tumors or cancer, and they will disappear on their own usually between 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. Choroid plexus cysts, in and of themselves, are NOT a problem and do not interfere with brain function."

The baby had small cysts in her brain. However,


"Regardless of their number, shape or size, choroid plexus cysts are not harmful to the baby. "I am not aware of a single instance where a CPC caused damage to a fetus," …"If CPCs are found during an ultrasound, the radiologist will scrutinize every organ and body part to look for other abnormalities, such as a malformed heart, head, hands or feet, and stunted growth of the baby. When no other abnormalities are found, the diagnosis is called an "isolated CPC."

"If CPCs do not cause any damage, why does anyone worry about them? The problem is really one of association—being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Wrong or right, CPCs have become associated with a severe genetic disease called Trisomy 18. It is well documented that about half of babies with Trisomy 18 show a CPC on ultrasound. But Dr. Bronsteen from the Division of Fetal Imaging at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan points out, "Nearly all babies with Trisomy 18 who have a CPC have other abnormalities on the ultrasound, especially in the heart, hand, and foot." The real question arises when a baby has a CPC with nothing else wrong: the "isolated CPC."

So, despite the fact that no other abnormalities were found, no problems in the heart, hand or foot, and the baby was sucking her thumb, something she could not do with these abnormalities, he insisted I rush to the genetic counselor down the hall to rule out Trisomy 18. I agreed to go to the counselor. Of course, there is nothing in my family history that points to the disease. And the likelihood of having a child with Trisomy 18 when CPC is present without any other risk factors: 0.0033%. And of course, the only way to see if she has Trisomy 18 is amniocentesis. However, the risk of having an miscarriage from an amnio is 0.004% . In other words, while it is very small, the risk of a miscarriage from an amnio is much higher than the risk of my daughter having Trisomy 18. Thus, when the counselor offered the amnio, I declined. Besides the risks, as I said before, I'm not going to do anything about it anyways: what would be the point?

This made Dr. Spazzy very unhappy. But, I don't really give a damn. AND, when I went back for my recheck a month later, (because of course, I have to keep going back because I had preterm labor with the first one…oy), EVERYTHING WAS FINE! NO CYSTS. And no, I don't believe in better safe than sorry.


Despite my zavtik appearance, pregnancy does not make me fatter. In fact, I've lost weight while pregnant. Before you go around giving me pats on the back, let me tell you:

1) It basically makes me feel like a horrendous fat cow when you do that (which, my father reminds me, "then don't tell people.")

2) I don't really think it's that great to lose weight while pregnant.

Eating has become a chore. I get full easily and most of the time, I simply don't want to do it. Yes, I had a week that all I wanted to do was eat candy, but it only lasted a week. And yes, sometimes I'm starving, but most of the time, I'm like one of those annoying skinny chicks who actually forgets to eat. Not really awesome for a pregnant lady. Not only have I lost weight (and this next part, I'm actually happy about), my blood pressure has stayed low (like 106/65 low) Despite feeling faint sometimes, I'm pretty in awe of the fact that my blood pressure hasn't risen.

At ultrasound appointment number 23, less spazzy Doctor kindly said that because I've lost weight, because of my congenital heart defect and because she is slightly on the small side, he'd like to keep measuring the baby until I give birth. He wasn't scary about it. He didn't freak out. He was matter-of-fact. That I can deal with…

However, the next day, after spending most of my OB appointments seeing the midwife, I saw my actual OB. Oy vey. They weigh me (3 lbs down). They take my blood pressure (112/70). She looks at my million ultrasounds. Asks me If I'm having any…no…no… then says: "We HAVE to get you your second gestational diabetes test ASAP! I really want it before 28 weeks. It's beyond important."

"Um, okay. Why?"

"Well, when I had you take one at 12 weeks, you failed the hour glucose test."

"But I passed the three hour…"

"Doesn't matter. Remember, you're starting off with a bit extra on you."

Fine, whatever. Then she has me get on the table, so she can measure my stomach. "Wow, you're measuring really big."

I look at her strangely and sort of laugh. "That's funny because the Maternal-Fetal medicine doctor says the baby is measuring rather small."

"Well," She looks at me pointedly, "You're not…Remember, you're"

"already big to begin with.." I interrupt. I get it.

I would like to say at this point that I'm also very very short. I'm only 5'1". The baby doesn't really have anywhere to go…

When I left the room and went to the desk to make my appointment for next month I asked, "Do you have anyone.." my voice going down to a whisper, "nicer?"


I'd report on the results of glucose test number THREE, but I haven't had it yet. No, I'm not protesting, I just ran into another medical problem that caused me to see Spazy Doctor number 3…

I have some sort of weird skin infection. I won't disgust you with the boring details, but my delightful repaired heart is more easily prone to infection, so I went to the doctor. My normally sane and kind family doctor had no appointments; consequently, I went to urgent care. I know, I know, mistake number 59…The doctor took one look at me, told me I had an infection (duh) and said I needed to get on antibiotics NOW. Then, he starts to hesitate. "How many weeks pregnant are you?" He asks.

"Almost 27."

"Well, I'm not sure what I should give you. You're allergic to penicillin. I can't give you what I'd normally give you for a possible drug resistant infection…I just don't know what's safe. I just don't know what you should do."

"I've had antibiotics while pregnant," I tell him. "In fact, because of my heart, I've had them a lot."

He starts pacing and hemming and hawing. He walks out of the room and then back in and then out again. Then he pops his head back in the room, "How many times have you been pregnant?" He asks.

"Three, including this one," I answer.

"How many kids do you have?"


"How old is your child?"


"So, they'd be what? Almost seven years apart?


He pauses, looks at me, takes a breath and says, "Well, I hope you didn't spend a lot of money conceiving this one."

Then, he walks out of the room.

What was that? He wants to make sure I didn't waste any money having a baby in case he damages it with antibiotics? Who says that?

He ended up walking out with a prescription for Clindamycin, which according to the pharmacist, my ob and many doctor friends, is not only perfectly safe for me to take, but is usually given for MRSA.

When will these doctors calm down? I can't wait until I have to start fighting for my VBAC…

Friday, July 8, 2011

What to Expect when you’re Fat

While I avoid pregnancy books at all costs, for some reason I signed up for the What to Expect app on my I-Phone. The only good reason to use it is to keep track of how pregnant I actually am; otherwise, it's awful. I'm glad that I've been pregnant before and that I'm not married to the author's husband because clearly he is an idiot. The advice she gives either focuses on the importance of eating or the importance of telling your stupid husband how stupid he is. Yesterday's post is the perfect example:

"For Dad: What Fat?

Say it again: it's not fat, it's not fat, it's not fat. Right now, FAT is a four letter word, and she spends every minute of every day wondering if her body will ever return to its original shape. If you know what's good for you, you will banish the word "fat" from your vocabulary starting now. If you absolutely need to reference your wife's size, memorize this scientifically correct synonym: maternal storage tissue."

How about this for a synonym: baby in my belly? Intestines in weird places? Really? We have to tell our husbands not to call us fat when we're pregnant? Or, quite frankly, in general? Who are these men? Despite my own zavtikness, the Giant Gentile would never ever look at me and say, "God, you're so fat." Do you really want to be married to the kind of dude that would say that in the first place? And, who is this dude? He must be the sitcom dad—the loveable idiot who simply just doesn't know how to think. (Don't get my husband started on the ridiculousness of the sitcom dad…). It's not that I don't believe people like this exist…I'm just pretty sure that the same guy that is telling his pregnant wife is fat is probably the same guy telling his secretary how hot she is and then closing his office door…


Her other posts involve eating or not eating. She reminds me not to skip meals in this really condescending way as if I'm trying to me sneaky by not eating. Even when she's talking about workouts—she's reminding me to eat workout snacks. Isn't there anything important she has about actually being pregnant? Or about what's it's going to be like to have a baby? Something helpful to all those first time mothers out there who actually take her little app seriously? Like it's okay to spend all morning crying? Forgetting where your shoes are is totally normal. How about quick come-backs for people who ask you if you're having twins? Now that's helpful.

Of course, the real answer is to delete the app, but I can't! I don't know why. Maybe because it's easier to be annoyed with her then for me to be annoyed with the million other people my pregnancy hormones can't stand…



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pregnant in Over-priced Flip Flops

While yesterday seemed to go well--I had my appointment with the midwife. I heard the baby's heartbeat, I've gained no weight, and my blood pressure is awesome. I've had a two week break from morning sickness. I still couldn't really eat normally (clearly one of those girls who writes those skinny bitch cookbooks is trapped inside my stomach), but at least I didn't want to hide in the covers or have to carry a bag in the car. However, yesterday, my "morning sickness" came back with avengence. To make matters worse, to my child's horror, I got sick in the car on the way to camp. THEN, I found a tick in my hair during my lame attempt at teaching this morning. (It's a little hard to teach when only four students show up) Of course, most woman would be running to the internet to look up TICKS and Pregnancy. I, on the other hand, do not need to look it up. Instead, I am firmly convinced that the tick came from my Lush hair products. I've pulled full-fledged flowers from my shampoo before. Instead of putting, "Inspected by 23453," they put the picture of the person who packaged your product. I swear those people are up to no good. It's freaky to have all those people smiling at you in the shower...

Tory Burch is not getting a cent from me

At my grandmother's request (for while she cannot see me, she can sense all the way from Arizona that I'm starting to look terrible in my normal clothes), I went shopping for a few maternity clothes. Motherhood Maternity is out. Mostly because their clothes are ugly. So, I went to A Pea in the Pod. I'm not exactly sure why I went there. They don't sell clothes larger than, well, a large. However, when I walked in, the lanky, yet cute, bubbly sales girl convinced me that I'd "totally be able to fit in the clothes." I should have known she was insane when she smacked me lightly on the arm and said, "Oh, don't be sillly. You're not big at all. We'll find tons of stuff." I think, I'd rather be called a fat cow that be told that I'm not big at all. Well, that bubbly, skinny, salesgirl with the good intentions, pulled every piece of clothing she could find from the racks and NOTHING...nothing fit. Apparently, my boobs are bigger than skinny pregnant ladies' bellies. Despite my annoyance at trying everything in the store on, I felt rather smug in proving my point.

I don't understand. Why is it so hard to find cute pregnancy clothes? I refuse to believe that every other woman in the world fits into those tiny little tops. Woman are always telling me how they gained 40, 50, 70 pounds during pregnancy. (at which point, I get to be smug...). They can't possibly still fit into things..can they?

Oddly, I'm finding much better luck with regular clothes in regular stores: Old Navy summer dresses still work and Lilly Pulitzer. Somehow, normal xl Lilly Pulitzer fit my ever expanding belly perfectly and maternity Lilly that they sell at Pea in the Pod, I can't fit my head in.

When I was finished not finding much, I thought I'd take a peak at the flip flops my friends all wear. Tory Burch flip flops. I went into the Tory Burch store and they didn't have the flip flops my friends wear. All they had were the hot pink jelly flip flops. $125! $125! Are you out of your mind? They are flip flops! To be fair to my friends, whom I adore, and who I wish I could share clothes with, most of them wear the regular Tory Burch flip flops, which don't cost anything close to $125. However, despite the heavy-price tag and despite my horror, I still really really wanted over-priced flip flops. So, the next weekend, I went to Franklin Mills north of Philly, and bought Diane von Furstenberg over-priced flip flops..on SALE.

So while I can't fit into A Pea in the Pod clothes or wear Tory Burch, I am pregnant in Lilly Pulitzer dresses and Diane von Furstenberg flip flops.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gabriel--did I hear you correctly?

Yesterday, I forgot to mention the most amusing part of all: the due date. I realize that in the scheme of things, it's simply a guessing game and really, it means nothing. However, this has to mean something. My Jewish baby is due on December 25. I knew there was a reason I like to write about Jews and Jesus!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Morning Sickness Meet Sweet Orange Drink

I'd like to think that despite my on and off boo-hooing over my less than perfect figure, I'm a rather self-assured, confidant girl. Of course, what I'd like to think and what I really think don't always match...

Apparently, these past ten years of being less than perfect were really just a small bump in the road to the ultimate test: The Glucose Test. Most women experience this test after their 24th week of pregnancy. In other words, most women drink the disgusting, sickly sweet orange goo when they are at the height of the glowing 2nd trimester. They are no longer sick; no one has yet asked them if they are having twins. It's just a little break in their day where they get to sit on a comfy lounge chair and watch Rachael Ray with other pregnant women. Of course, as webmd states, " The test is generally given between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. If you have had gestational diabetes before, or if your health care provider is concerned about your risk of developing gestational diabetes, the test may be performed before the 13th week of pregnancy."

Who are these lovely ladies that must take the test before the 13th? Either woman that already had gestational diabetes 9 weeks pregnant and sick as a sorority girl after a frat party there I was drinking the disgusting orange Glocola. If that wasn't bad enough, I managed to fail test number one (where the Glocola has 50 g of glucose and you have to sit for one hour), and I had to take the dreaded test two: the THREE HOUR TEST where the Glucola has 100 g of glucose. There is nothing worse than drinking sugar when your morning sickness lasts morning, noon, and night. There is nothing worse than the nurse asking you over and over again if you are alright. And there is nothing worse than wasting three hours of your day in the doctors waiting room and then the rest of the day in bed, and then finding passed the Test! I can tolerate glucose.

Did I ever have gestational diabetes? No. However, I'm, as my mother says, fluffy, so clearly, I must have diabetes.

When I called my doctors office to make my first appointment, I was informed that my doctor, whom I loved, was no longer delivering babies. Stupid medical malpractice suits...The secretary started listing other doctors that I might want to use. After a few moments, I interrupted her. "Um, I'm a bit, uh, chubby, and I need a doctor that will know how to handle it and will be NICE to me." The secretary pauses, takes a breath, and gives the name of a completely different doctor. Apparently, the 12 other doctors she listed can handle only skinny women with small chests and no butts. My new doctor is a very tall African American woman who tells me to chill out, and then shrugs her shoulders and says, "I guess you shouldn't really gain more than 10 to 15 pounds." I think I love her. Although, when I ran into my old doctor the other day, I had to sit and cry in the car for fifteen minutes because I missed her. (it may have been the progesterone pills crying)

Ugh. It doesn't help that at 12 weeks, I look more like 24 weeks. As Nordstrom pointed about at the pool the other day while she waved her hand at my stomach, " I think it's getting pretty obvious." She's right, it is.