Friday, September 23, 2005

Life Is So Fragile

Yesterday, I arrived in Palm Springs for the International Festival of Short Films (my company is a sponsor), and was able to screen five short films. The last film had such an unusual story attached to it. The filmmaker, Alexis Echavarria, was only 15 when he made his film, "18 Minutes," and was a remarkable filmmaker. But, sadly, he passed away just before his film made it into the film festival. Apparently, he had gone to Thailand for four weeks to help the tsunami victims with recovery, and when he got back, he contracted a virus from which he died.

I couldn't stop thinking about this boy, who had done so much in his life already, at the age of 16, more than I have even attempted to do. He had already written and directed a film, and he had selflessly gone to help those less fortunate than him. But I also thought about how fragile life is. No matter how brilliant you are in your chosen work, no matter how selfless you are, no matter what your beliefs are, we are all susceptible to death and disease.

It's what I think about more and more, as we watch our country run from natural disasters, which can only be followed by human disasters, including disease. I wonder if I am protecting my son and my future child as best I can, knowing that there are people who carelessly transmitting diseases. I watch in horror as the news reports on this avian flu, what they are saying could be a pandemic this winter, and it's a flu you die from. There is no flu shot that can help you ovecome it, at least not yet. We are never exempt. It could hit us as much as the next family. There is nothing we can do about it, either, except try to protect our family as best we can.

But, as I said in my last post, I am not going to dwell on what I can't fix right now. I certainly don't trust our government to help us out anymore, though. I think, unfortunately, because of who is running our government, we must all think of ourselves and our families first. Let's face it, when disaster hits, all those politicians aren't going to care about you. They are going to be more concerned with their own friends and family. They are going to have their own personal helicopters and airplanes to get them out of the disaster area, with plenty of food and supplies. It's the general citizen who should be worrying right now. And to think we have another three years of watching this idiot run our country into the ground.

I think it's time for a woman president. Let's shake things up a little.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Halfway there!

Finally, I made it to 20 weeks. I know there is still a long way to go, but I guess I just never thought I would make it to 12 weeks, let alone 20 weeks. It's amazing how confident I was with my pregnancy with Owen, never doubting for one minute that I would carry the baby to term and have a healthy child. Then, I had a miscarriage, and the confidence was gone. Not a day goes by that I don't think something might not be right, which is a pretty awful way to feel, except that I'm not allowing myself to dwell on it. Doesn't it annoy you when you talk to those people who say that there is nothing you can do, a baby will survive or it won't, and it doesn't do any good to have those kind of thoughts? Usually, it's someone who has never been in your position and can't identify with you. So they should just keep their mouth shut, but that's my humble opinion.

I have felt the baby move, but not all that often, and it's strange how this would never have occurred to me as something to worry about before, but once you know someone it has happened to, it's as if you internalize all the different scenarios that could go wrong with your baby. No longer do I feel exempt, from anything. When we first had Owen and he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, my first thought was, "well, I don't have to worry about it happening again, since this usually doesn't happen twice." But for every person I talk to, there is always someone who wants to scare you with some story of how they know a family who had two children with Down Syndrome (and they usually don't know if it was a translocation Down Syndrome, which menas the male is a passive gene carrier, or if they adopted a second), but they always get me. Then I start thinking, well, it happened once, what's to say it won't happen again? Or, maybe it will be something different, or worse, this time.

It's funny how this pregnancy has pushed me in a whole different direction. And maybe it's not this pregnancy, maybe it's the birth of my son, and the miscarriage and now this pregnancy. But, I am learning that I have to rely on my gut feeling, my instinct, and block out everyone else, their advice, their stories, their concern. I have to rely on my own intuition instead of piecing together my knowledge from other people. I think we have forgotten that being pregnant and having a baby is a primal thing, not a learned thing. It is an instinctual part of nature. If I can keep that awareness in my mind, communicated from my body, things may be okay.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Think Pink

The other day, when we met with Anna, this woman who is a doula that we were meeting for the first time, she kept saying 'she' for the baby. My husband asked her why she referred to it as a she. "I feel a feminine presence," Anna said. "Of course, it could be a feminine boy," and we all laughed. Then, Vilma, Owen's babysitter, who has six children (four girls and two boys), asked me if I had felt the baby move yet. I told her no, and that it bothered me a little bit, because I'm already nineteen weeks, and this is my second pregnancy. She said, "I think it's a girl. My boys, they move early, my girls, they don't move very much until later."

At our ultrasound yesterday (the big one), I decided I wanted to know, but Erik was still unsure, so I sent him out of the room. The technician said to us both, "you have a boy, right?" so Erik thought she was going to say it was a boy. He left the room and she told me it was a girl. I was in shock, so much so that I just couldn't think about anything for a moment or two except that God had finally answered one of my prayers. I am carrying a little girl! When Erik came back in the room, he said, I know it's a boy. I can feel it. Finally, he asked me what it was. I told him a girl, and he got teary-eyed. He squeezed my hand, and then kissed it. I think we both wanted a girl, but thought we would have another boy, which we weren't sure how that would go over with Owen. He loves girls, but is often bulllied by other boys. He's not a big, tough, boy and it makes me nervous about him surviving in the world, because we all know a bully or two.

I couldn't believe how happy I was that we were having a girl. We decided to keep it to ourselves for a while (and since nobody really reads this blog it doesn't matter that I print it here), but I felt myself lying to everyone around me. It seems as if now is the time everyone keeps asking what we are having, and maybe I'm not convincing enough. I just have to keep it from his mom long enough to get close to having the baby, or she will try to manipulate any way she can to choose the name for the baby and then use it with all the other kids around so they begin calling the baby by that name. I feel like I could tell everyone else but not her, but then if she found out that everybody else knew, she'd be pissed. Oh well, it's only five more months. Let's see if I can keep my mouth shut.

The measurements of the baby were perfect, all the organs, the heart, everything. The doctor said it not likely that a heart problem will develop at this point, except a small hole that will close up. He said the brain is what will continue to develop and has the biggest growth spurt coming up. I was so happy to hear him say that everything looked excellent. Excellent, what a great way to describe it. I think God is giving me a break on this child since I probably couldn't handle a lot of worry at this point.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Changing Gears

Okay, so when I had Owen, I was completely on board for a C-section if I needed to have one, but I didn't think I would. And I did. So this time around, providing all goes well, I am actually thinking of doing a VBAC, provided I can find a doctor who will support that. I met with a woman the other day who counseled me and my husband on what our options were in this city. My doctor had said that it would be impossible to find someone to support a VBAC, and if I was going to go to a birthing center, it's true. They won't do VBACs. I also don't think I could do a home birth either, because I would be considered high risk. But, I just want the chance to try, even if it means I go into a C-section again. I would hate to think I didn't give myself the chance. And it's not really all about me, I have done research and there is a lot that a baby misses out on by not coming through the birth canal.

I think I may have an option or two, though. One place is Good Samaritan in downtown LA, where the doctors are both supportive of VBACs, and the woman doctor has gone through a successful VBAC. The other place is UCLA, with their midwife program. I'm not sure which, but I think I will at least interview the two places. I know that my husband's family will not be very supportive of my choice, especially since they know my OB-GYN. And he won't be very happy that I'm changing either, if, in fact, I do. But I know that he wants me to do a C-section, and that is that. I can't fault him, it seems to be the trend for doctors to protect themselves, and sometimes I think it would be easier to do the C-section because I could schedule it, but I think I would regret it if I didn't at least explore my options.

In the meantime, I'm trying to walk at least an hour a day, or do some light weightlifting (a fraction of what I did before), to keep myself in shape. After all, last time I had my C-section, I was walking a mile a day again after two weeks. And it was nice to be able to do that. But if I'm not in shape, my body will not react as well.

We just bought a new (well, that's a relative term) house. It's a tear-down (or fixer, as the flyer said), in a great neighborhood with a great school. So at least we won't have to fight to get Owen into an English speaking school (the #1 language spoken in schools in Hollywood, Ca, is Russian, #2 is Spanish). I have nothing against foreign languages, I just don't think my child needs any other road blocks in his way when he begins to go to school.

Changes are definitely happening.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Summer Drop Out

Okay, now that I've lost even the few readers that actually read this blog, I think I'll continue on. For some reason, summer interrupted, and I just needed to be free of any kind of commitments (except all those endless children's birthday parties). So here it is, September, and I have decided to revisit this blog.

I am now 17 weeks pregnant, and much calmer about the whole thing. We did the quad screening, and all the tests came back negative and my chances for Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 (or 13, not sure which one tests in the second trimester), and spina bifada came back really low. Of course, I do know women who also had very good odds with their quad screening and ended up having a child with one of those. But, I am not focusing on the fears anymore. I am really enjoying this pregnancy and having fun with all the stages. It may be the last time I am pregnant, so I want to enjoy it. (Although, I did have a dream last night that I was pregnant again and I was over 40).

I am trying to be really positive with this pregnancy, but here's what has happened, again. Last time I was pregnant, seven of my friends or family were also pregnant and we were all due within a two-month time span. Everyone's child was fine but mine. This time, I have now found out about five other women (one family member and four friends) who are pregnant and due within a two-month time span. I am fighting the thoughts that everyone's baby will be fine, except mine. I'm hoping God has turned his attention away from me and will let this baby be a typical, run-of-the-mill child just like everyone else's.

To top it all off, some of the women are really keen on finding out what they are having, because they have a specific idea of what they want, and I know this sounds bad, but I kind of hope they don't get what they want. If they want a boy, I hope they get a girl. Is it bad to think that way? I guess because I would like to have a girl, but I know my husband's family breeds boys, and I have a feeling this will be a boy. Of course, at the end of the day, why wouldn't I want to have a white male, don't they have every advantage??

I hope everyone out there blogging had a good summer. I am so ready for this heat to be over, and to move on to our California winter.