Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our calendar

Every year, Mr. Bunny and I produce a letterpress calendar. It's a nice Christmas gift that doesn't take up much space during the year, and can be recycled at the end of it. Designing and producing the calendar is a pleasant part of our December, too. I do drawings (which are then turned into letterpress plates via..uh...magic, by the people at Box.ca.r P.ress) and Mr. Bunny does the layout of the dates and stuff and all the printing, on a five thousand ton proof press that lives in our third-floor studio. It requires a lot of collaboration (so it's always like going to marriage camp--can we get through this without fighting?), but is very satisfying. Last year the calendar featured pop-ups (pop up animals and stuff). This year, it features little doors, advent calendar style. One is opened each month, and behind each door will be found a recipe for a seasonally appropriate cocktail. (Because I want a fucking drink.) It's always a bit crude and funky, but that's part of the charm, we think. And while we do it mainly for the fun of it, I regularly get e-mails from people when they turn to the next page, so it provides this sweet link to loved ones over the course of the year. ANYWAY, during the design phase, we were talking about what to do with May, the month that Bun Bun will theoretically arrive. Did we want to do something baby-related? For example, some balloons or flowers at the door to signify the new arrival? A baby in a basket? We stroked our chins. HELL NO, we decided. Because if something goes wrong, that would be extremely fucking sad. We'd have to send everyone a big black X to paste over that month. But in the end, I couldn't let the opportunity pass entirely, because I can't think of May without thinking of Bun Bun. So here's the May door, modeled after my very own front door.

No-one but us will think anything of it: May is, after all, a season when one starts to see tons of bunnies if one lives in an area with bunnies. Or they'll be like, Bunnies, whatever, and rip it open to get at the liquor. But for us...hopeful anticipation.

Monday, November 29, 2010

No AIDS or syphilis here!

My fetus is still alive (shoop shoop shoop!) and kicking (sploosh! sploosh!). My OB went over the results of my genetic screening and other blood tests and I was pleased to learn that I am still AIDS/syphilis free that that my blood type hasn't changed. Anatomy scan in three weeks.

When I have an appointment, I always think about my OB practice relative to others in town. As I've said before, I LOVE the fact that my RE's office is across the hall, that I had my surgery and recovered in a room three floors above, and that, God willing, I'll deliver and recover two floors above. I love the continuity of the experience, the way that I am always reminded both of how lucky I am and also of what I had to do to get here. And of course I love the fact that it's a mile from my house and across the street from my office. But there's another interesting feature to the practice. This is not a practice where people from my socio-economic bracket come. Not to put too fine a point on it, the middle-class white folk all go to offices in the suburbs. Even fellow faculty members, for whom this office is obviously convenient. As I sit there surrounded by 15 year old African American girls, I often wonder: Is this avoidance of a perfectly nice practice just classism, or am I missing out on a better experience? I think the service I receive might be a little slower (in the sense of waiting times) and more harried. (E.g., today I sat in the exam room for quite a while. When my OB came in she said she'd just come from the ER. I couldn't help but feel a chill, and found myself inspecting her coat for blood spatters.) The flow of information might be a little less clear (e.g., I had no idea how to get my NT scan results). There are no cashmere exam robes or lavender-scented organic doppler jelly or whatever. And the fancy pants OBs don't practice here, so if I wanted someone with fancy pants, I'd be out of luck.

But you know what? Regular pants are just fine with me. And I guess, as a formerly poor person, I'm more comfortable with my old bracket than my new one. What's more, Bun Bun needs to learn early about the real world, even if that means being probed through a layer of low-rent jelly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The book *I* need

My mother sent me a couple of pregnancy books. I don't think I could ever have bought one myself, so I guess I should be appreciative. And I am--I feel incredibly lucky to be able to look through them, like any other one of the extremely naive women who appear to be their target audience. Having flipped through them, I have a few observations.

First, no matter what color your skin is, it seems that your baby will be white as the driven snow. There are plenty of pictures of Asian, African American, Latina/Mexicana women during pregnancy, but the babies are all white, white, white. I guess you need to specify in your birth plan that you'd like your baby to be of a particular race/ethnicity, and a lot of women forget in the heat of the moment? I don't know.

Second, the chapters on preparing for fatherhood are all about financial planning. PATERNALISTIC BASTARDS.

Third, these books are no fun for a woman who has no choice about her cesarean. The first few chapters are pretty much pointless (Here's how reproduction works! Oh yeah? FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCKERS. Here are some positions for comfortable intercourse during pregnancy! Ain't gonna need 'em. Here's a chapter on things that can go horribly wrong! I am SO not reading that.) and then it's all about childbirth. I've learned that childbirth is a miraculous process involving a beautiful ballet between myself and my baby, that there are many important ways my partner can be part of the process (which will be an amazing source of tender bonding between us), that I'll be astonished at what my body can do, that I'll be able to look back on the experience as one in which I was tested and triumphed... I've also learned that c-sections are evil. That my baby won't breastfeed, will have asthma and other respiratory problems, and will pretty much grow up to be a serial killer. Okay, I get why they feel the need to get all scoldy about c-sections. But I have to say, it feels pretty shitty to read. Every chapter seems to insinuate that I am unworthy of this experience in some way.

So here's the book I need:
You are going to have a healthy, happy, baby and kick some fucking ass at this mothering biznass. Let's take a look inside.

Chapter 1: Getting pregnant the hard way: You are a bad ass.

Chapter 2: Survivor's guilt: Yes, you're less of a bad ass than your infertile internet friends who have been through so much more. But you can't do shit to help them get/stay pregnant except show your love. Their journeys are their journeys.

Chapter 3: A hundred thousand reasons why you will NOT lose this baby and why it's okay to want sleep more than sex. And yes, you can eat that fucking snicker's bar. Have two.

Chapter 4: Having a c-section: It won't turn your baby into a murdering cannibal who stabs kittens in the eyes, and your husband will love you despite your inability to do any of this like normal women. And yes, you won't be able to compare labor stories with other women, but fuck them anyway.

Chapter 5: Breastfeeding will be fine.
Chapter 6: Why formerly infertile couples make better parents.

My next OB appointment is on Monday, and I've pretty much run out of faith that everything's okay, so I could really use Chapter 3 right now.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Back when I first started trying to conceive, I made sure to plan ahead and request an afternoon teaching schedule. So that morning sickness wouldn't interfere with teaching, see? Let's all just take a moment to point and laugh at my stupid former self.

Luckily, the internal woes I've suffered have interacted fairly well with needing to teach. There have been a few times I thought I was gonna spew in the middle of my lecture, but I had my air sickness bag, a quick exit route planned, and I was just going to hope I'd remember to turn off the microphone I have to wear in my larger class. So far, so good, on that end. But Thursday, in my smaller class, the other end of my digestive tract reared its ugly head. The students were working on their papers, and I was chatting with one guy about his outline, when suddenly...ATTACK OF THE SUPER-INTENSE INTESTINAL CRAMPS. I knew what was coming. My jammed up bowels were finally ready to evacuate, and when they did, they were going to evacuate with a vengeance. My eyes glazed over. I  felt faint. Cold sweat sprang from my brow. I thought maybe I could play through the pain. But...no. With a trembling hand, I passed the student's outline back and said, I have to step out for a moment. THANK GOD I knew where the nearest restroom was. THANK GOD it was empty, because, oh lord, no one deserved to be exposed to what ensured thereafter.

Anyway, my intestines are now totally ready to start packing it in again! So that maybe we can repeat the experience this week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

P-A-I vs. F-F: Battle to the Death?

Lately I've been thinking about the relationship between the Pregnant-After-Infertility woman and her Fertile Friend. This thinking was inspired mainly by my own relationship with the only fertile friend I've got, BFB. (Most of my very few friends don't want kids or are men, so may technically be fertile, but don't count.) But also by Trinity's Baby Shower Series. The issues she was grappling with are very different from mine, but there are some common threads. Because issues have threads. Love me, love my mixed metaphors. And by a post of Sienna's about a friend who is due shortly after S. and is so excited to share the experience. But I don't want to make any assumptions about their thinking, so we'll just focus on me.

I've been struggling with the fact that I still resent my best friend for getting pregnant so instantly, for the pain I endured while watching her be pregnant, and for the pain I endured while watching her be a mother. I don't want to tell her about my pregnancy, I don't want to hear about her baby. And because those are the major things going on in our lives, we have nothing to talk about. We've been making a good effort via e-mail, but she wants to talk on the phone and I'm thinking...what's the point?

On the surface, there's nothing much to ruminate about here. IF = baggage, friends with babies = hard to navigate, pregnancy ≠ magic cure. But then there's the part of me that thinks I need to get over myself already. I mean, am I seriously never going to open my heart to her? Am I trying to punish her by holding back on the details and keeping her out? Am I trying to make sure she remains "other" so I can shore up my identity as someone who has Been Through Something? Is it just that I don't know if I'm going to have a baby for reals, so I'm protecting myself? I know if Anonymous were here (not the nice Anonymous who just happens not to have or want to share her internet identity, but the Anonymous who is CRAZEEEE) she'd say u shud get over ursel you stupid inferil cow you don't diserve a frend at all b/c u r 2 self involved and unable to see beyond your own petty, artificially magnified sense of your own suffering. Or something like that. And she ain't entirely wrong.

When I last posted about this intensely fascinating relationship, y'all mainly advised me to give it time and accept that relationships change. Excellent advice. But...what do I do while I'm giving it time?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Necrotic" + "your uterus" = not in the same sentence, please

Normal Glumness is back in effect. I'm particularly glum for Roccie, not that my glumness will do her one bit of good. Fuck.

Anyway, I wanted to mention something that might be of interest to other Sisters of the Fibroid. At my very first pregnant ultrasound (lo, these many weeks ago) my RE noted that there's a new meatball a'growin' away in my poor pelvic cavity. When we discussed the surgery he'd mentioned that should I ever become pregnant, any existing fibriods would grow more rapidly than usual because they like yummy estrogen. So this was not a big shocker. At my first meeting with my new OB she commented on the new meatball. She said she might do more ultrasounds than normal to keep an eye on it. She explained that "the pregnancy" (you mean my fetus? What's up with referring to it as THE PREGNANCY?) would draw blood supply away from the meatball. As a result, she said, it might become...she looked at me. I looked at her. Necrotic we said in unison. It was a cute little bonding moment. There's no particular cause for concern at the moment, but...fucking fibroids. They just don't quit.

I also finally got the results of the NT scan. Normal. I had to call--they don't tell you anything unless there's a problem. I'm not sure that's my favorite approach, but that's the price I pay for going to a hospital office rather than some cushy suburban OB with an aromatherapy doppler or whatever. I'll get the more specific details at my next appointment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm not THAT happy

(Today's title change is for you, Egghunt.)

For heaven's sake, can't a girl express a little gratitude without everyone thinking she's HAPPY? I have a reputation for pessimism and snarkiness to protect. In fact, Friday I had a department meeting that left me fuming with rage (my colleagues are such jackasses, and when I try to divert their jack-assery, I just end up being a jackass too) and hating my job, and I felt like shit all weekend and snarled at my husband and didn't get the ironing done. SO THERE! (But I suppose you guys will see through this pathetic pretense, because it's true that, globally, I am happier than I've been in a super long time. It's just that there's a heavy layer of real life on top of that happiness.)

Anyway, I wanted to share an awesome dream I had last night in which some stupid, insipid woman showed me her positive pregnancy test (it was a new-fangled design with a huge happy face and like pink and blue balloons on it) and I hurled it across the room in horror and disgust. Just so you know I am still  a hater.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This job ain't so bad

Yesterday I met with my Department Chair to reveal the existence of ye old fetus. He stared at my belly, with an expression of obvious astonishment that there could be anything in there. (Yeah, I'm not showing. But I swear it's not an elaborate ruse to get a reduced workload.) The meeting was totally fine. One of the glorious things about academia is that there are clear policies about all this shit, and, because a university is supposed to be a sensitive, family friendly place, they pretty much have to be nice to me. But there is bureaucracy. I got to draft a little letter to go up to the Dean. Here's how it reads.

 In accordance with Section II.E of the faculty handbook, I am requesting workload release from teaching and service duties for the Fall semester of 2011. I expect to give birth in May of 2011. I will be the primary care-giving parent of this child.

Isn't that romantic? Nothing says bundle of joy like quoting Section II.E of the faculty handbook. But I have been experiencing a renewed sense of gratitude for my job. Partly because one of my students recently asked me when I decided I wanted to be a professor. I was fifteen. And I made it happen. If you know anything about academia, you know that's not easy. I'm very lucky. And partly because I've been doing real work this week (as per my resolution), which has begun to remind me ever so vaguely of a time when I loved my research. And partly because I've been experiencing a renewed sense of gratitude for EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD. Okay, except poverty, and hunger, and oatmeal (blech!), but all the other stuff.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Caution: Wheat-related post

So if you're not up for reading about hot, delicious, buttery rolls, click away.

Mr. Bunny has been doing a lot of baking lately. Last night he made rolls. You see, an important part of my Thanksgiving tradition is those nasty brown-and-serve rolls you get from the supermarket. But much as I love their amazing softness, I'm a little horrified by the 5,000 word ingredient list. So this was our first effort to make our own, a sort of test run for Thanksgiving. And they were perfect. Little bites of heaven, slathered with oodles butter. We had them with my delicious cream of spinach soup, and I probably ate about three hundred. Okay, wheat part over, the rest will be about babies.

I'm 14 weeks today. No matter how you count, this is definitely the second trimester. Morning sickness is OVAH! And I do have slightly more energy, but it's hard to say whether this is biological or psychological. It takes a lot of cognitive effort to worry about miscarrying. And sure, I still spend some of my time on that each day, but...less. And I'm more willing to do things that presuppose this will work and might seem hubristic and invite the Fates to punish me. For example, tomorrow I am giving a lecture on cognitive development. I begin with brain development in utero. And how could I not include a picture of my very own fetus's brain? I mean, I'm not going to be like HEY CLASS THIS BRAIN IS CURRENTLY RIGHT HERE IN MY UTE! LET'S TALK ABOUT MY VAGINA NEXT! but I can't resist casually pointing to a picture of "a thirteen week old fetus" and noting the lumpen little brain. Because every time I've given that lecture over the past five years, I've dreamed of getting to use video of my own child to illustrate certain things, like object permanence and conservation. So instead of feeling sad this year, I plan to have a little nugget of joy all up in there. God willing, this is where Bun Bun's exploitation in the name of education all starts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Daylight Saving Time Resolution!

I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to make resolutions about how I'm going to get my shit together in some area or become a better person, and hey! Daylight Saving Time ended this week. The perfect opportunity for a resolution. Of course my resolutions all fail. Expect...I do floss my teeth now. But that's about a 1/1,000,000,000 success rate. And yet if one does not persevere, how can one ever succeed? So this latest resolution was as follows: I resolved to do some actual fucking work pretty much every day so that I can save my floundering career. I'm coming up for tenure, and my file has to be ready by August. Before August, I need to get a couple of grant proposals out, and I should really have at least four papers in the pipeline. I currently have zero grants applications planned, and one paper in the pipeline. So...work to be done! Today I succeeded in my resolution. I probably do not deserve any medals just yet, but thank you.

Stuff about my fetus. (1) A bit ago I had some mild but scary cramps. The scariness comes from the fact that they were entirely new and different. Damn, this shit is precarious.  (2) This weekend was the big reveal to the family. Mr. Bunny told his mother. She was gratifyingly excited, and when I spoke to her, said (among many other things) that she was so grateful to me for getting pregnant so she can become a grandmother. This would be an awful thing to say, except for the fact that she has never ever said a word to me about being impatient or wanting to know what the hold-up was. Mr. Bunny told his father. He was apparently not very excited. Whatever--he's a bit odd. I told my mother. She only said one horrible thing that made me want to hang up the phone. I told my older brother. He was excited, but cautious. His wife had a miscarriage, and so he said things like, that would be so cool. I get the caution. I FEEL the caution. But I also think that would be so cool is slightly more hypothetical than is really necessary. I imagined telling my dead father and cried. I told my little brother. He was like whatevs, I'm 24! What do I care! But in a nice way. So that's done. *Dusts hands* (3) Finally, we went to Crate and Barrel to buy some article of cookware, and while I was there, I looked at their selection of gliders/rockers. I sat down in one to test its comfyness, and tears immediately started flowing. Please let Bun Bun make it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fetus A-Okay, and...Viking Rune Candle Lady Baby

This is the kind of post that used to make me bawl with sorrow and desperation, just a few months ago. I'd read it because I cared about the person, but I'd know I'd better close my office door and get out the tissues. I'd sob and sob, and then I'd recover. Now it's my turn to break your little hearts! Sweeeeet! No, for serious, you don't have to read this. I'll never know.

This morning was my NT scan, or ultrascreen, as the kids say. That shit was pretty mind blowing. First, we got to go to the classy ultrasound room, the one with a big screen and a vastly less clinical feeling. Second, the tech told me to sit down on the table. I was like, with my CLOTHES ON? I mean, dude, I didn't even have to take my SHOES off! It felt a lot like walking into the living room of someone who selected all white carpeting. Then I had an ultrasound FROM THE OUTSIDE. Like in the movies. And then I got to see my fetus. There's one little picture on Bun Bun's page, but I wish I could keep the memory of the experience crystal clear. All these little bits of amazing anatomy flashing by... Spine! Hands! Feet! Cerebellum! Heart! Little beating heart! I have to say the part that really got me was an axial view of Bun Bun's brain. TWO hemispheres, people. And plenty of room for the frontal lobes to expand. I really wish I'd gotten a keepsake picture of that, but I'll just have to treasure the memory. Anyway, all extremities present, heart beating away at a great rate, measurements perfect. I won't know for a week or more what the test results are, but my plan is to not worry. And we all know plans work flawlessly.

But on to part two. The Viking Rune Candle Family is in town this week and came over for dinner last night. I got to meet Viking Rune Candle Lady Baby. (I know, he'll get no end of shit at school for THAT name.) Because I have so few friends with babies (one), it was awfully nice to just fucking talk about babies with someone with whom I have ZERO baggage. She also told me that her life has pretty much transformed from sad to happy. How she used to just drag herself through the days, and now every day is a fucking treasure. Yeah, I puked a little, too, but if anyone is in a place where she'd be able to draw comfort from an RPL success story, there you have it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thrilling tidbits! Getcher hot, thrilling tidbits right here!

Most important item first: I busted out the BIG COAT this morning. It's an ankle length down coat, and keeps me warm and snugly all winter long, as I wade through waist-deep snow. Some might mock me for  wearing such an extreme coat so early in the year, but while they're mocking, I'll be cozy. Suck it, mockers.

I have a due date now. May 11th. That should work out nicely in terms of getting my grades in before having my uterus cut open. I know. I talked about having a baby as if it's actually going to happen. I'm practicing.

My new OB was totally fine, and who really cares as long as she's not overtly freaky. I don't seem to need a whole lotta hand holding, perhaps because I'm so fucking sick of doctors. But she said one thing that earned her a place in my heart: Brisk walking is the perfect exercise for pregnant ladies. HOT DAMN! Music to my ears. Now don't you pregnant exercise buffs get all up in arms about this. She also gave me the speech about how other kinds of exercise are totally safe, etc. But we're focusing on the part where she said that the thing I do every day as part of my routine, and enjoy doing, is perfect. Aaaaah!

I've scheduled a meeting next week with my Department Chair. The purpose of which is to tell him about this fetus. Gulp!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Heart still a'beatin'!

That's right, y'all, my fetus is still alive. I had my first OB appointment, and it was pretty pointless. Except for the 30 seconds of doppler, when we got to hear that magic shoop shoop shoop! There were also some delightful noises that apparently indicate movement, a sort of pinging sound. Wow. Then Mr. Bunny had to rush off to catch a plane and I got to do super sexy stuff like PAP SMEAR! FLU SHOT! LISTEN TO A BUNCH OF STUFF I ALREADY KNOW! RECEIVE AN INFO PACKET I'VE ALREADY RECEIVED, and that consists mainly of little "magazines" that are 99% advertisement and 1% inane bullshit. I ditched those in the exam room. Fuck you, beatifically smiling pregnant ladies advising me to buy pampers.

Uh, anyway, I was initially heartbroken to not get an ultrasound. I mean, why would they not give me a damn ultrasound? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!?! But I scheduled one this Friday for the NT test, and, for once, I won't even be (too terribly) worried. I mean, what's the probability that Bun Bun will die between now and Friday? Low.

On my way out, I happened to look down a hallway where I could see into one of the IF clinic exam rooms. Through the half-open door I saw the big poster titled INFERTILITY, the one with all the reproductive organs. I know that poster well. I've been in that exam room many times. It was a nice bit of symbolism--the hallway, the distant, half-open door... My old world is right there, but I have entered a new one.