Wednesday, November 30, 2005

10 Weeks To Go and All Is Well...

I went for a 30-week ultrasound yesterday, and everything seemed really good. The doctor did a 3-d ultrasound (we got a picture, but she looks like a claymation blob), and told me everything seems to be in a very normal range. She weighs 3 pounds, 10 ounces. Wow! Almost four pounds. So at least I can say that of the 30 pounds I've gained, less than 26 of them are fat. He asked me about changing doctors (he knows the doctor I am going with) and I explained that I was going to do a VBAC. He said, "good for you," and we had a conversation about it. He told me there is nothing in my pregnancy that isn't healthy, and by all appearances, I should be able to labor vaginally.

It's funny, because as soon as I made my decision to do a VBAC, I have found nothing but support from professionals: doctors, nurses, doulas. It's all my friends who are opting for a repeat C-section who keep trying to tell me that I should know the risks. I do know the risks, and my doctor already told me that she will not put me or my baby at risk. Also, the baby's head is down, so that is a good thing. I have been feeling the Braxton-Hicks contractions every day, intermittently, but sometimes I'm not sure if it's those or the baby is just stretching my stomach muscles out. I'm really not that big in the stomach yet, for being ten weeks away. But I was like this with Owen. I didn't really pop with him until the end, and then he was early, too. So I think things are fine. The doctor told me that the baby is in the 50 percentile for weight, and measurements. I'll take average, boy, will I take average and normal this time around!

So, the next two months I just have to concentrate on readying myself for the birth. I know this sounds strange, but I'm actually looking forward to trying a vaginal birth, which is totally different from how I was when I had Owen. With Owen, I was so scared and nervous, and didn't know what to expect, that I preferred to go into a C-section; I mean, after all, everbody else has C-sections, how bad can it be? But this time, I'm thinking of it more as a challenge, as a rite of passage, something I will try my best to do. I have been walking an hour every other day, to keep my body in shape, and I have to say, I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. Sometimes, I forget I'm pregnant and start to run through the house to get the phone, only to realize I can't quite run like I used to. I will sometimes start running after Owen, and have to stop myself, because, after all, I am 7 months pregnant. But it's good. I'm happy to be where I am at in my life, and excited about the future.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What is Good Enough?

I'm a little confused. I've been reading the Internet everywhere, all kinds of blogs, articles, books, everything I can get my hands on. And what I find most disconcerting is people who have had trouble getting pregnant and/or carrying a child to term, and yet they still take into consideration when they can get a CVS or an amnio. Isn't the point of having a child to have a child? Not to decide, well, I'll go ahead with it only if the child is perfect? I mean, what is so bad about having a child with Down Syndrome? I really don't understand it. I mean, if you get pregnant and continue that baby to term, weren't they meant to be? Wasn't there a reason you were blessed with that particular child? It is still pretty rare to have a child with Down Syndrome. One out of 800 babies. That's a lot of babies. But time and again, I read about women who are so determined to get pregnant, only to prepare to test for something they don't think they can handle. Well, guess what? If you had asked me, I don't think I could have handled a child with Down Syndrome, and yet, I couldn't imagine how lonely my life would have been without him here these past two and a half years. He has brought so much joy and wonder to my life, and fulfilled me in more ways that I can say.

Just last night, my husband and I took our son to a party with several friends of ours, many of whom have children about Owen's age. Guess who everyone wanted to say hello to and play with? Yup, Owen. Guess who smiled and laughed and kicked the ball around? Yup, our Owen. He was the life of the party, while the other kids hung back with their parents, or cried and threw temper tantrums.

It's funny because right after we had Owen, we swore next time we got pregnant we would take the amnio, just to be prepared. But when we finally did get pregnant again (after a miscarriage and nine months of no pregnancy), it didn't matter. We were just thrilled to be pregnant again and we both agreed that we weren't going to have a CVS test or an amio. We just put our faith in God. And who knows what God has got in store for us? We will find that out after our baby is born. Of course we hope she's healthy and chromosomally perfect (and not autistic, as long as I'm asking), but we set out to be parents and we are going to do the best we can to raise whatever child we are given.

By the way, Roxanne had her baby, Gideon! A beautiful baby boy with red hair...I'm so happy things have worked out for her. She truly sounds happy, and she deserves it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Okay, so I really like my friends, and I'm really happy that we are all pregnant again, but I just hate getting in conversations with people who think they know it all, based on the one-sided opinions of their doctors.

They have tried to convince me that an amnio is the only way to be sure your child will be fine (oh really? Since when does an amnio detect for stillbirth? Or autism? Or cerebral palsey? or the myriad other things that can go wrong...just say it, to test for DOWN SYNDROME).

And now, as we get closer to our due dates, when I tell these same people that I am going to do a VBAC, I get a pause, and then they tell me that I really should make sure I know what I'm doing because in the end it's all about having a healthy baby. Yes, I understand that, but I have done enough research and met with enough doctors and midwives to know that this is what is right for me and my child at this time. If I need a C-section, fine, I'll have another one, I don't need to be a hero. But, I also think it's only fair to give this child the best opportunity for a vaginal birth, since in the end, that is what is better for the baby. It's funny, because I can just hear the words coming from their doctor, who has had lots of practice at gently swaying them into a repeat C-section. My regular OB-GYN, who delivered my son by C-section, was very supportive at my decision to change doctors and hospitals in order to have a VBAC. He told me that in Europe (where he studied) there would be no question that I would attempt a VBAC, but here in the states, the rules are different. I am happy with my decision, but I hate when others try to foist their opinions on me, because it undermines the mental attitude I need to have in order to prepare myself for the birth of my daughter.

I really wish people would just mind their own business.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'm Turning Pro-Life...Thanks Ayelet

I read an article yesterday that just irritated me so much that I couldn't get it out of my head. And, after thinking and thinking about it, I now feel as if I am more pro-life now than I was before. If I continue to think this way, I may even vote pro-life, and I do believe each person's vote counts. Yes, I have a child with Down Syndrome. Many people probably assume I am pro-life, but I have always been pro-choice, it just has never been MY thought to ever think of terminating a pregnancy. But I have always appreciated that women have choices, until now. Until I read that article that made me feel sick to my stomach.

Here's why. The article I am referring to is by Ayelet Waldman and is called "Looking Abortion in the Face." (sorry, I don't know how to link it, but you can find it on She talks about how she terminated her child after finding out he had a genetic abnormality (which, since she mentions Down Syndrome in the article, I'm sure it was Down Syndrome, based on her amnio test results). What irritates me so much about it is that she talks about how she still made the decision to kill her fetus even after seeing him move, seeing his "tiny feet, perfect pearl toes, footprint arches, round heels" and she has no regrets. Her decision is based on her family's needs and limitations. Well, how does she know what her families limitations are? How can you know that when you don't even know what your child will be like? You haven't even given him a chance. And if you can't give him that chance, then have the child and adopt him out. There are waiting lists for adopting children with Down Syndrome. But, that means she might actually want to keep her child when she saw him, and that would screw it all up, wouldn't it? Screw up her carefully calculated choice to kill her child. And she's the one who used the word "kill."

Upon further research, I found her blog and discovered that she is Jewish. Hmmm....Let's see. Her ancestors were killed by Hitler because they weren't the perfect race. A horrible, horrible genocide. Yet, here she is doing exactly what Hitler did: deciding that her child isn't perfect enough to be born and live. It's her own personal form of genocide, but because she has made a decision for her family's sake, it's okay. Someone please explain this to me: it was wrong for Hitler to gas people to death, but it's not wrong for a mother to have her child "dismembered" and killed before they pull him out of her, at five months gestation. I can understand when a child will not live beyond birth, or is so severely deformed that there is a slim chance the child will make it, but that is not the case with Down Syndrome babies, and I know that because I have one, and I know a lot of parents with very healthy, wonderful, amazing, smart children with Down Syndrome.

I don't get it, and maybe I don't get it because she then went on to get pregnant again six months later, as if she could just wipe the slate clean and pick up where she left off. She mentions that this baby she killed was a "much-wanted child." Really! Let's rephrase that: a "much-wanted child only if he is genetically perfect," because that's exactly what her actions said. Clearly, this is a woman who has never struggled with infertility, probably never had a miscarriage, and so deems having a child like a commodity, something that can be thrown away if it's not what she wanted.

I really feel as if she wrote this article so she could justify her guilt, a catharsis of some sorts. May the karma gods be keeping notes...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Out of Sorts

Today, for some reason, I'm really out of sorts with myself. Could it be that I hate all the maternity clothes in my closet? Could it be that I feel guilty buying more clothes that I will only wear for a few more months when we are trying to cover two mortgages while we build our dream home (which we can't really afford)? Could it be that I am just sick of going to work, even thought I only work part-time? Could it be that I feel like I will never finish any writing project because I write and I think it's terrible so I abandon the project?

I just hate these days when nothing seems to be right. I can't decide what to eat for lunch, so I wait until I am absolutely famished and then eat junk. I can't decide what project to attack at work, so I randomly go through magazines and try to concentrate. I think about this baby and wonder if she really is okay, or am I just being cocky again and something terrible is going to happen. I have to admit it, as much as I want to try to enjoy this pregnancy and be like everyone else, I can't. I look around me at all the babies being born, and all the articles stupid parents write about their cute/funny/beautiful/normal/typical kid, and it makes me so mad. Why can't they experience what I have gone through? Why can't someone else know what it's like to have tasted the bittersweet concoction of life? Why does it seem as if EVERYBODY is having a child who is just fine, fine, fine. I gathered together a group of six women for a support group night, and I looked around me and thought, "it's taken me two years to find these women, and there are only six of us?"

It's not that I don't love my adorable, amazing, potty-trained, sleeps-in-a-toddler-bed-already child, but I just have these fears and anxieties about him even having a normal life and not being treated like crap by all these other typical kids. We all know how cruel kids can be: now mix in a child who maybe doesn't learn things as fast, maybe has a few different facial features, and what do you get? Children who will tease him mercilessly. I know that all kids get teased, it's just that I have to worry a little more than other parents.

Okay, I'm just going off about insane things. I can't worry about the future, there's no point. We're not there yet. If I can just get through three more months of pregnancy and then the birth, maybe everything will turn out okay. I'm actually not stressed out right now, while I'm pregnant, because I know she's inside me and I'm taking care of her. It's when she leaves my womb and becomes her own single person that scares me. For now, I can protect her, and nourish her, and keep her safe. But after she's born? What then?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Things I Love About Being Pregnant

First of all, I never thought I would admit that I like being pregnant, especially since the first time around, all I could think about was being done with it. I think part of it was that I didn't know what to expect, so it was very unnerving. This time around, I really am enjoying. Maybe that's why people have gobs of children. My mom had nine, and I know that they are Catholic, and that's what you do, but I think if she really hated it, she would have figured out a way to time things, if you know what I mean. It's funny, because the other day I was talking with someone I used to work with, and she is pregnant with her fourth child, and is due a few weeks after me. Now, her last child she had when my son Owen was a year old, which means that she is barely taking a breath between pregnancies. I made a comment to one of my friends about how she's just pumping kids out, and then I thought, you know, every time I say that as if it's a bad thing, I am totally putting down my mom and my family. And if my mom didn't have any kids after five, then I wouldn't be here. So, even though I exist in a different world, I have to consider that some people are very fruitful, and have never had problems with their pregnancies.

So, here it is: things I love about being pregnant:

1.) Not having to be on a diet, or even think about dieting

2.) My oh-so-clear skin

3.) The fact that the bigger my stomach gets, the smaller my butt looks!

4.) Pancakes for dinner

5.) People who give up seats for me, or offer to carry something for me

6.) My urge to read constantly, and not feeling bad about it

7.) Feeling the baby kick, and knowing that I am participating in a miracle

8.) Being able to use pregnancy as an excuse not to have to do something

9.) Knowing that I am blessed to be pregnant again

10.) Not having to take my temperature every morning

And of course, things I hate about being pregnant:

1.) Cork that wine bottle, before I can't help myself!

2.) Pregnancy mask

3.) Sleeping, or lack thereof

4.) Constant potty breaks

5.) Buying clothes that I will only use for a few months

6.) No more early-morning jogs

7.) Constant cravings

8.) Hemmorhoids

9.) Overwhelming tiredness

10.) Costant fear of something going wrong

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

27 weeks today!

I really didn't think I would get this far, and things seem to be going well. I just had an appointment with my doctor today, and my little girl seems to be pretty active, with a good, steady heartbeat. The doctor said her head seems to be down, but I'm sure she'll still move around.

I've been so intent on enjoying these days with my family and being pregnant, feeling the baby kick, that I've almost been lazy. I haven't wanted to pursue anything that I don't have to, and a nap in the afternoon sounds infinitely more inviting than gathering paperwork or paying bills. But, as with anything, this time will come to an end. I remember when I was pregnant with Owen, I felt as if I had to go to every last event I could, so I wouldn't miss out on anything. Now, my priorities are so different. I would rather spend the evening home with my family than pursue boring events where people are out to make contacts and act pretentious (life in LA...). I think how silly it all seems, when I am at home with Owen, delighted that he is learning new words, that he's potty trained at 2, that he can do what other kids he age can do (maybe not as good as they can, but pretty darn close!); it's those times that I wonder why I was so hot to pursue my career, putting my plans to have children on hold. For what? What has my career ever given me that children hasn't? I feel more joy out of watching my son learn things that aren't a struggle for other kids, and knowing that he can do them because we are there, urging him, encouraging him. That is fulfillment. Perhaps I am in the wrong line of work??

I now know about 13 people who are all due with babies from January to May. It's definitely baby season. And, out of all of them, everyone seems to be turning pink! My husband thinks it's going to be a clean sweep of girls, but I think there will be a few boys mixed in. I just can't believe I'm only 13 weeks away from being 40 weeks! That's if the baby doesn't come early. I'm hoping she's a little early. I wouldn't mind a January baby. We'll see...