Monday, August 14, 2006

Finding my normal

Ornery had a really smart comment on my last post, about figuring out what's normal for you and your pregnancy and learning to live with it. And that is what I've been trying to do over this past week or so--coming to terms with my normal.

It has become clear to me that I am simply going to be one of those pregnant women who spots ALL THE DAMN TIME and there's nothing I can do about it. In fact, I have continued to spot every single day since my last post, 6 days ago, with no signs of stopping. However, since the spotting has remained scant in quantity and light brown in color, and since I had spotting the entire previous week with no apparent ill effects (other than on my sanity), I have decided not to panic unless it turns red again or increases dramatically in quantity, per Dr. Awesome's instructions. I went back to work on Thursday, and have even been taking the subway roundtrip, with no increase in spotting that I can tell. So for now, this is my normal.

(It helped that late last week, it finally occurred to me to go to the IVF C0nnecti0ns boards and do a search for "spotting," which turned up a vast number of reassuring posts from women who spotted throughout their first trimesters and sometimes well into the second, with live take-home babies at the end. Yes, I skipped the posts with not-so-happy endings.)

In the same spirit, I am trying out a new attitude, of assume-the-best (NBHH) instead of assume-the-worst-and-slide-into-endless-DBT-spiral. So when, sitting at my desk on Thursday, my first day back at work, I felt a sharp, stabbing sensation in my lower pelvis, I told myself that it was a sign of round ligament pain, not impending doom. (And guess what? The pain stopped, as quickly as it appeared, and I did not bleed or even have increased spotting afterward.) I tell myself that the improvement in my skin, increase in energy, and decrease in nausea are all NORMAL manifestations of my body adjusting to the pregnancy hormonal soup as I end the first trimester (13 weeks yesterday!), and do NOT signal a precipitous drop in progesterone and certain impending doom.

It is hard--pregnancy-related optimism does not come naturally--but I'm trying.


One of the hardest things for me to come to terms with over the course of the past couple months has been the knowledge that I am not going to be one of those women for whom pregnancy is easy and hassle-free. Perhaps I was snowed by Dr. SF's parting wish for me, at my last appointment with him: "It was so easy to get you pregnant," [easy from an RE's perpective, I suppose] "hopefully you'll have an easy pregnancy, too." I guess I just thought that once I actually got pregnant, I'd be like other women I know, continuing my rigorous power yoga routine right up to delivery, keeping as busy as before, traveling around as much as possible. And I was really upset that I wasn't.

But I don't know why I thought I would be. It's obvious, when you take a moment to think about it, that I am not built for birthing babies. Now, don't get all upset--I'm not saying that I don't deserve to be pregnant, or that old favorite troll comment, "maybe you weren't meant to have children." I'm just saying that if you were to create a woman perfectly designed for conception, pregnancy, and childbirth, you could probably do a lot better than irregularly-ovulating, one-fallopian-tubed, half-a-uterus-having, narrow-hipped, flat-chested me. That doesn't mean I shouldn't be pregnant, but it does mean that it's okay for me not to be one of those give-birth-in-the-fields-and-keep-on-truckin' types. It's okay to baby myself a little, and to be more careful and cautious than "normal" people. It really is okay.


We have taken to calling the baby "Bat Boy." Not because we think it's a boy (in fact, early on I was pretty convinced of the opposite), and not in homage to another famous fetus. In the ultrasound picture from last week where TheGoodDoc measured my cervix, you can just see the baby's head at the corner of the image. I think it's a view from above, but whatever the angle, the combination of head/ears/whatever appendages those are gives the outline more than a passing resemblance to Bat Boy.

In the real looking-at-baby images, it more closely resembles the half-alien lizard baby from "V" (remember, we got full-frontal shots, not those cute snub-nosed profiles), but "half-alien lizard baby from V" just isn't as catchy a nickname as "Bat Boy."


Thanks for all your input on the doppler. I still haven't made up my mind one way or the other, but I'll let you know.


Blogger velo girl said...

I spotted (brown, red) or bled (three instances of full on bleeding, with clots) every day from week 7 to about week 22, when it just stopped. They never did figure out exactly what was going on - just that I had a hematoma in my ute. One (of the many) perinatologists we've seen said (at about 14 weeks) I could probably expect spotting until the baby/sac got so big that it pressed against the wall of the uterus (around 22-23 weeks - which seemed an eternity at the time).

Anyway, here's hoping you'll stop before then, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel (ha ha).

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Kath said...

Dear Electriclady, you seem to have found the best possible attitude to take in your situation. Congratulations! And I smiled at Bat Boy...

5:28 PM  
Blogger Ornery said...

When I went to my RE at six weeks because of a spotting episode, she told me that during her pregnancy, she spotted continuously up to 13 weeks, and would have freaked out were it not for the fact that she had limitless access to her trusty ultrasound machine. Times like these (almost) make you wish you could pull a TomKat and buy your own nifty ultrasound machine, don't they?

I, too, had really hoped for a smooth, hassle-free pregnancy, figuring IF chicks deserved a little peace of mind after all the crap we had to endure to get here. Unfortunately, life usually doesn't work out that way for many of us. Fortunately, we are in the company of many strong, amazing women who understand what we're going through and are here to listen and provide lots of love and support.

8:20 PM  
Blogger sube said...

Glad you're settling in to your normal, even if it isn't what you had expected it to be. Lots of love to Bat Boy.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Rachel Inbar said...

Great approach :-) I still hope for you that the spotting disappears soon and that the next 27 weeks of your pregnancy are easy :-)

1:46 AM  
Blogger MoMo said...

I think you are doing the best you you said...take this as normal. Thinking of you and happy 13 weeks!!

9:45 AM  
Blogger Robber Barren said...

Finding your normal is always a good thing. I'm sorry you're (probably) going to have to deal with spotting for a significant portion of this pregnancy, but it's a big deal to realize that it's okay to have the spotting...and okay to be worried anyway.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Crystal said...

Lurker coming out to say that I understand completely. I found out during my first doomed pregnancy that I had a bicornuate uterus. It turned out that it was a mild deformity and that it probably had nothing to do with my miscarriage, but I still worried about it. I have a baby now and my pregnancy went pretty well, but I never lost my anxiety about every little thing. I didn't have morning sickness (worried me), I had RED bleeding at one point (turned out to be just an irritated cervix) and then baby took his sweet time to turn head down (we thought it might be due to the septum, but it turned out I just had a procrastinator baby). I also worried about preterm labor since that is a concern with uterine deformities. Anyway, it made for a very unenjoyable pregnancy even though my pregnancy was super easy compared to others'. We are scarred and it's difficult to go back to being a naive, excited mother-to-be. But if you can readjust your thinking, that is fantastic!

9:36 PM  
Blogger Alli said...

Glad you are feeling well - the spotting must be disconcerting, to say the least! What a good frame of mind you are in, though.

CONGRATULATIONS on passing out of your first trimester! :)

6:51 PM  

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