Thursday, December 23, 2010

Caution: Live Animals

I'm supposed to be working on a grant application right now, but that's not gonna happen. Fuck you, Career. No one gives a shit about you. I know you thought that after Crushing Depression went away to college you'd be the center of attention, but guess what! Baby on the way! Count yourself lucky if you get your basic needs met and don't get abandoned in a grocery store parking lot.

Instead, I am producing a belly shot flip book for Mr. Bunny's stocking. (And you thought my efforts to make those shots look the same were purely aesthetic!) It's not going to be the most amazing flip book ever, but just wait for Part Two. Because I love multitasking, I'm simultaneously marveling at the fact that there's a live animal inside my body.

I seem to have entered the Phase of Reliable Movement. Monday was Bun Bun's first really wiggly day, where rather than a little bloop! here and a little flutter! there I got successive minutes of good, solid bumping. In the past few days he's even developed a bit of a schedule of kicking in the morning and evening. Holy shit. A schedule.

And I'm sorry if I'm pouring salt in your open wounds,'s the Most Amazing Thing Ever. It also brings home to me the fact that this experience is likely to be a succession of the most amazing things ever. That positive pregnancy test was the most amazing thing ever. Hearing a heartbeat was yet more amazing. Seeing a human-shaped fetus was more amazing still. You get the idea. I suspect it goes on like this until Bun Bun becomes a foul-tempered teenager.

I mean seriously, who could care about her career at such a time?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Some small consolation?

I recall how, back in the sad days before I was a glorious fetus-bearer, I used to revel in the massive asses of pregnant women. It was about all there WAS to revel in, since their whining and complaining made me want to stab them, and was thus not a good source of Schadenfreude. I can't promise that my ass is particularly huge yet, BUT I thought you might draw some comfort from the fact that I have become a person who drools.

I wish I could tell you that it's constant and I'm like a stroke victim, but it's only when I'm sleeping. And it's because I've got a particularly unrelenting case of rhinitis of pregnancy. Did you know that was a thing? It totally is. Its name should be Exploding Snot Head of Pregnancy, 'cause that's more accurate. After fifteen weeks of this shit, I'm amazed I haven't sneezed Bun Bun to death. Anyway, I'm now a mouth breather, and that means that when I'm asleep, I generate a big puddle of slobber. Yes, when I wake up, I have to wipe my face. I hope that makes you smile.

Meanwhile, I had another OB appointment this morning. I'm amazed at the extent to which I can generate serious anxiety in just a few days. I mean: fetus alive on Thursday. Probability that fetus will be alive on Monday = high. Probability that fetus will be alive = high in general. But I became convinced that the hot bath I'd taken on Saturday had killed my baby and the round ligament pain I was feeling was the precursor to a wonderful stillbirth experience. Probably not, as it turns out. I suppose this phase of feeling movement only every few days is a tough phase. (Maybe not quite as tough as experiencing six losses in a row or a failed donor egg cycle or an incompatible with life diagnosis or endless cycles of nothing at all, but who can say. Ha. That was me being funny. You can tell because you were laughing super hard.) I guess there's just something about the reality-check nature of these appointments that makes it impossible not to fear them. Anyway, four more weeks of, Deo volente, not being freaked out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fetus report

This whole live fetus in the uterus thing is the SHIT! You should get yourself one!

Little IF joke there. Too close to the bone to be funny? Sorry... I had my anatomy scan this morning and am recovering from the anxiety that attends these things, so I'm even more insensitive than usual.

Bun Bun is alive. Okay, this is what I was expecting. But the whole time we were waiting, Viking Rune Candle Lady's very vivid description of discovering (at 20 weeks, in a room somewhere in that imaging suite, perhaps even the same room) that her twins were dead kept running through my head on endless repeat. But my baby's not dead, and has all the right parts in all the right places, including sex organs that remain a secret. It was pretty incredible to watch him moving around and to feel nothing at all. (I've got ye olde anterior placenta so it will probably be a while yet before I can be certain anything I'm feeling is really him.) Beautiful spine, awesome little feet, kidneys...all the good stuff a baby needs. After the nice sonographer had finished, a mean doctor came in and told me about how ancient I am and made sure I knew I could have amniocentesis. Go away, mean doctor.

So that was pretty awesome. Then I dragged my almost-advanced-maternal-age carcass to work where I will spend my day dealing with angry students who want me to know that getting a B in my course will prevent them from getting into medical school and pretty much ruin their lives. And I'll be like FUCK YOU. RUINING LIVES IS MY FAVORITE THING.

Hot tip: Picture of my baby's mashed up face on Bun Bun's page.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeling low?

Perhaps these pictures from my students will cheer you you up. (These in response to a question on their final exam, which can be seen below.)

This one is awesome because it includes a sketch of ME! Now you know what I really look like!

I'm sorry to say she scored a 44/50. I feel pretty bad about dooming her to banishment, but oh well.
The male perspective...
My personal favorite. But then, I'm a sucker for talking unicorns.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The obligatory Roughly a Year Ago... post

Roughly a year ago, I'd just started writing this here internet web journaly thing. I'd been through four IUIs and was about to have the laparoscopy that would achieve...basically nothing. I'd recently asked my clinic whether there was any kind of support group I could join,  and had been told I wasn't infertile enough to join their group. I'd been lurking in this community for a month or so, but felt like I couldn't comment because I didn't have an identity. So I decided to write. Indeed, I wrote a post while sitting in my large lecture class, administering a final exam to a bunch of sweaty kids, like I'm doing right now.

I'm not going to write a so much has changed in a year post, one about the fact that I never ever EVER thought I'd be one of the lucky ones who escaped so easily (and who knows what might happen in the next few months--I was just thinking this morning, hey, two more weeks and I'll be officially in stillbirth [as opposed to miscarriage] territory!), or about how much having your support has meant to me or improved my ability to cope or made me feel connected (but re-reading my angsty first post sure makes that clear!), or about how long this sentence is. I've read a lot of brilliant posts like that and I just can't compete.

Instead, I'm going to write a little something for the Me that might be out there, wondering whether she should start her own internet web journaly thing. You totally should. Maybe you think you'll pour your heart out, and no one will hear you (except the spam bots). Hey, it's possible. It's possible you'll be the most unpopular person on the entiiiiiiiiiire internet. Maybe you think you'll be boring. Trust me, we're all boring. Maybe you feel self conscious, like nothing you could write would be worth reading, like you could never be as witty and poignant as me. And of course you can't, but I promise that there's someone waiting to hear what you, and you alone, have to say. Whatever other reservations you have, put them aside and get started. It's not that having a blog will get you pregnant. Though having a social support network is linked to better outcomes and better psychological recovery after unsuccessful treatments. And for true support, there needs to be reciprocity. (Just reading ain't enough.) I think the main reason I'd urge you to start has to do with a general principle I tell these very students (most of whom have now finished their exams). Labeling affect allows prefrontal cortex to downregulate activity in the amygdala. In English: putting your feelings into words gives you control over them, and reduces their negative impact. So even if no one ever reads a word you write, it's worth it.

Like last year, I've got a question on my final exam where students are asked to draw a picture representing their current state of mind. I promise to share any particularly brilliant ones.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


If you have read The Fir Tree, you might understand how I come to be completely unable to have a real Christmas tree. The story is pretty fucking intense. If you don't agree, you must have read some disneyfied version that skips the tree's loneliness and agony. I'd include some illustrative excerpts, but I don't want to drag you into my dark world. 

Perhaps because this story was read to me at a tender age and my mother never allowed us to have a Christmas tree because it was cruel to kill trees, and perhaps because I happen to be overburdened with empathy for living things, a Christmas tree has never been possible for me. I understand that in principle it's no different from picking a head of lettuce, but this is not about logic, it's about emotion.

Anyway, Mr. Bunny and I are staying home this Christmas all by ourselves, and we're working on generating our own traditions. After discussing my immobility on the question of real trees*, Mr. Bunny raised the possibility of a fake tree. I was ambivalent. I mean, fake plants? Yuck. But on the other hand, perhaps it would work. So we purchased Sidney (Mr. Bunny named him). We shelled out the big bucks for true needle technology. He's a "baby napa redwood". (Sure he is, people at fake trees dot com.) We decorated him yesterday, and while I miss the piney smell and the magic of having a tree in your house (a TREE! in your HOUSE! I've experienced it at other people's places), Sidney is a total success in terms of simulating Christmasness. Mr. Bunny is thrilled. More to the point, I got to make the tree skirt pictured below, which features trim with those little jiggley balls. I LOVE THAT SHIT! I'd decorate my FACE with it if I could.

(Why yes, that ornament IS a potato.)

*If you're like you should get a live tree, you must a) think I live on a farm where I can plant an endless succession of trees or b) want me to tell you some stories about the long-suffering live trees I've witnessed...weighed down by ornaments, clearly contemplating suicide... not for me, thanks.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Almost every day, Mr. Bunny asks me if THE QUICKENING has occurred yet. And of course I respond with THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! and make like lightening is crackling out of my belly. As has every pregnant woman since 1986.*

Like everything else associated with reproduction, this whole "feeling movement" thing is not what I imagined. That whole area is increasingly active (I hear tell it's because my intestines are being gradually shoved up to my chin), so I've established some guidelines to keep me reasonable. Like: if it makes a gurgling noise, it's not Bun Bun. Or: if it's followed by an unpleasant smell, it's not Bun Bun. All the same, friends, this weekend I had a moment where, all logic aside, I was viscerally (HA!) certain that I felt Bun Bun flourishing his little broadsword in there. It happened as I was pulling out of a Dunkin Donuts parking lot. Can you imagine a more beautiful setting? I can't. It was just a little bloop! but there was something about it...

There were two other fetus related firsts this weekend.
1. I bought new bras. When I brought them home, Mr. Bunny I and stood there marveling at how huge they are. Like TENTS. I mean, I don't appear particularly huge in the bosom, so it was odd to suddenly have these enormous bras in my house. That are ostensibly for me to wear. Which I did immediately, because YOWZA! The old ones don't fit no mo'.
2. I got my first surprise attack of the belly rub. We attended LP1's Chanuka party (the same party at which, last year, she announced that she was pregnant with her second and I spent the rest of the event wanting to die), and when I gave her a hug, she sneakily seized the opportunity rub me. WOAH! I'd always figured I could avoid the belly grope, but now I see that more craftiness and strategy will be required. Like, I should avoid hugging people. Or...people, full stop.

*In case you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A little ART mockery

Mr Bunny came home after a few days out of town last night. He gazed thoughtfully at me.

I think you might be...pregnant, he said.

Did we engaged in any unsafe activities about...four...months ago?

Like...maybe having a nurse practitioner inseminate you with my washed sperm?

You can get PREGNANT that way? I replied in horror.

I didn't THINK so, Mr. Bunny said, but...

We plan to visit local sex ed classes to spread the word: IUI is not the effective form of birth control we once believed it to be.

In other news, today is my last day of classes. Sure I've got a hideous pile of terrible papers to grade, and after my teaching assistant slaves finish grading the final exams for my big class, I've got the unpleasant fallout to deal with (E.g., e-mails reading: why did i get a F in yr class bc i never came or did my hws but i tried really hard on the final and i don't think its fair.), but the most energy consuming part of my semester will be over in a few hours. HOT DAMN. I aim to fucking celebrate by eating a burrito and going to bed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No shower for this Bunny

I spoke to BFB on the phone last night. I made horrible faces when she talked about her baby, and kept my responses to her queries about my fetus pretty minimal, so it wasn't bad. At the end of our conversation, she asked what I would like in the way of a baby shower. She was sweet about it, actually, saying she wanted to make sure I felt loved and supported. I'm coming down on the side of nothing at all, though. There are a few reasons, but it boils down to this. When I think about what I'd want, it's clear that I can't have it.

Here's what I really want. I want time to stop for me* for a few years. While I'm frozen, I want all of you who are not already pregnant to become so. I want you to have healthy and joyful pregnancies wherein you enjoy...almost...every moment of the experience. I want you to have trouble-free deliveries and rosy-cheeked, happy babies. I want you to go through early parenthood and learn all there is to know about raising infants. Then I'll rejoin you. I'll invite you to my house. Teleportation will have been invented so it won't be a pain to come. We'll eat cupcakes and you'll share your accumulated wisdom with me. We'll commiserate over our various journeys and talk smack about Fertile Whores. You'll get drunk and I'll be envious.

But I can't have that. 'Cause teleportation is a long way off.

In reality, I have a small group of non-local friends, most of whom could not come to Ohio. Even BFB herself would have a tough time flying from CA with a baby and a teaching schedule, and she's also on the job market so may have interviews and campus visits, but it will all be up in the air for a while. (She intimated that I could come to CA [where several of my friends live] and I was like FUCK YOU.) In addition, most of my friends don't want kids, so have no wisdom to offer on the subject of which stroller to buy.

I feel slightly sad about it, but only because the IDEA of being surrounded by loving, wise women is pleasant. However, that's not my reality. And I should keep in mind that if I did have a lot of women in my life with loads of experience with babies, I'd have spent the past two years hating them and wanting to stab them in the throats.

*Um, and I guess for Bun Bun, too, or that could be pretty problematic. And Mr. Bunny. And my tenure committee.