Archive for May, 2010

MIL addendum

May 30, 2010

I did finally kind of snap this afternoon – but not directly to her face.  It’s just been building up for a while.  This morning she called me and said “Now have you been lying down the way you’re supposed to?”

I said, very coldly, “Yes.”

“Because every time I come over there you’re sitting up.  Just let me know what I can do to help you so you can stay on your back and not on your bottom.”

Yeah, that’s steam coming out of my ears.  I’d spend a lot less time sitting up if you spent less time coming over!!!  Good god.

So then tonight we were all invited over to their house for dinner, and I’d just spent the previous 7 hours on the couch with my knitting and B.uffy Season 3 (yay Ne.tflix!), except for 20 minutes when I got up to eat the lunch my mom made.  We were headed out the door and I said “I’ll drive.”  It’s literally four minutes of quiet neighborhood to their house, and less trouble in some ways for me to drive than to sit and give directions to one of my parents.  Just then the phone rang and I thought “oh, it’s MIL, checking to see if we’re on our way yet” (we were running a little late and when that happens she always calls).  But it was T. calling from Albania, so I was talking with him in the driveway when my dad’s cell phone rang, and listening with one ear I could tell MIL had called him when I didn’t pick up my call waiting, and I could hear him apologizing for being late, and then I heard him say “Oh, I didn’t know she wasn’t allowed to drive,” and I just got so furious at MIL  – why is it any of her business to inquire who is going to do the driving from our house to their house, and it’s not like I’m not ALLOWED to drive, it’s more that I should avoid it when possible, but I’d been resting all dang day and it’s not like driving four minutes of a familiar route was going to drive my blood pressure through the roof, and I just got so ANGRY.  And T. is in my ear admonishing me (for the GAZILLIONTH time) that if my parents are stressing me out, they should stay at my in-laws’ house instead of my house, and that just made me even more angry because he so misunderstood the situation, so I went back inside and gave him an earful about how his mom is driving me nuts.

Yeah, that’s exactly what I want to talk about on an international phone call with my husband.

So she sent my FIL over in the minivan to pick us all up and drive us over there (I should mention that my parents are here from Peru, my dad’s US driver’s license has expired, and my mom’s still getting used to driving in the US).  It was so ridiculous.  But by the time he showed up I had calmed down at least.  I came out of the house to find my folks pulling weeds in the front yard.  (And my mom spent all day cleaning and organizing our basement…).

Anyway, dinner went fine, MIL was so focused on serving the food that she didn’t have time to micromanage me.

I feel like I need to do something to defuse the situation – but I hate confrontations – and I’m really just not sure what to say.  I got an e-mail from T. saying “I think the meta-message is something like ‘I want to help’ and ‘you are important,'” which is probably true, but the meta-message I get is “you are a child that can’t be trusted to care for yourself, make an independent decision, or know what is in your own best interest and you need to be told what to do every minute of the day.”

She micro-manages everybody, it’s just what she does.  When my FIL drove us home, my dad asked if we could stop by the pharmacy so he could pick up an item or two.  It took longer than we all expected and just when we got to our house my FIL’s phone rang, of course it was MIL asking what had happened to him and why he wasn’t back home yet.  People, I’m not making this stuff up.  This is what she is like.  It’s just exacerbated right now I think because of my “delicate condition.”

I could go on and on with crazy stories but I’ll stop now.  Just needed to get it out of my system.  And if you have any suggestions… I welcome them.


just a little venting

May 29, 2010

What, after all, is the point of an anonymous blog, if not to complain about one’s in-laws?

My MIL is driving me crazy.  Apparently my current husband-less, house-bound state (while carrying her first and likely only grandson) gives her license to get involved in every nook and cranny of my life, and I’m beginning to chafe a bit.  She lives exactly four minutes away and watches V. for typically about 10 hours a week, for free.  We have each other on speed dial.  And normally we get along really well.  Normally, my husband is here to act as a buffer whenever she begins to get on my nerves.  But he’s presently on another continent and she has taken it as her personal mission to make sure that I am OK.

Particulars: she drove my to my NST yesterday, which was fine, and I thought she’d get a kick out of hearing the heartbeat so it seemed like a nice gesture to include her in everything.  But I sensed that baby boy was falling asleep, so I pulled a chocolate bar out of my purse and ate a square hoping this would wake him up a little.

“Ohhhh, are you supposed to be eating chocolate?” she asked, in that “tsk-tsk” sort of voice.  Somehow she has it in her mind that my SELF-IMPOSED chocolate ban (lately it seems to give me headaches) was a medical directive.  I replied, “nobody has said anything to me about chocolate.  I’m supposed to avoid caffeine but a little bit should help get the baby moving which is what they want to see.”  I felt myself getting twitchy.

And then there’s her witch doctor.  I say this tongue in cheek only because I don’t really know what it is that this woman does… even though I went to see her a dozen times or so 2 summers ago.  My MIL swears by this woman and the cure-all and heal-all for any kind of ailment you might have, and has been BUGGING ME incessantly to go to her again.  When I went in ’08, I thought I felt marginally better after seeing her 2 or 3 times, but after that… no difference at all.  She has you lie down on a massage table, and touches you gently, taps on the side of your head, has you stick out your tongue and do random strange things.  It’s supposed to align your electrical field or something like that.  It’s supposed to regulate all your body’s functions – lower blood pressure (ah- HA!), clear your allergies, help you sleep soundly at night.  My husband has been a few times and finds it relaxing.  By the time I concluded my sessions with her, I just found it… irritating.

I find HER irritating.  She’s very very nice, but just kind of… strange.  She has bad teeth and dresses sloppily.  I shouldn’t judge someone by these measures, but I have to say – it doesn’t inspire confidence.  When I told her my field of study, she had not the foggiest clue what I was talking about.  Maybe I over-value intellectuality… but again, it just didn’t inspire confidence.

By the end of the summer, I couldn’t WAIT to go back to school, just so I wouldn’t have to see her again.  I kept going simply because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings… I was too chicken to just tell her I didn’t think it was helping or making any difference.  I kept going in order to be polite.  And I started to feel really resentful of both the time and the money – $60/hour is too much to spend just to avoid hurting someone’s feelings…

I haven’t told my MIL all this, mostly because, well, I guess because I didn’t want to be impolite to her, either – she swears by this woman, and to say I think this woman is a crackpot kind of casts aspersions on MIL’s judgment. But every time she brings it up now I feel the skin on my scalp prickle and tingle and I know that I’m angry.  I just need to tell her that this “treatment” didn’t work for me and I’m not going to go back.

I also asked MIL if she could do a little personal shopping for me – pick up a new shower curtain, a new diaper bag, things like that – I know it makes her happy to be able to do things for us, and she’s a much better shopper than I am – but at the same time, I’ve definitely reached my limit for the amount of time I can graciously spend on the phone with her going over the pros and cons of every little thing and trying to weigh the options to find the best possible item – it’s a personality difference.  I’m a “meh, good enough, we’ll make it work” person when it comes to buying stuff, and she’s a “MUST FIND THE ABSOLUTE BEST POSSIBLE OPTION AVAILABLE” person which exhausts me.

The shopping thing I should just get over, because after all I did ask her to do it for me.  But I do wish she’d stop bugging me to go see her witch doctor, and I do wish I didn’ t have to discuss every little thing on the phone with her (V’s sleep habits, our household arrangements with my parents here – did I mention my parents arrived Weds? – what to have for dinner on Saturday at her place, and on and on).  I need a little break.


May 25, 2010

I honestly didn’t expect that I would get pre-eclampsia again.  Maybe this was naive.  Yes, it was probably very naive.  The thing is, I’d read that pre-eclampsia is most common in first pregnancies, in very young moms, and for women over 40.  So, I reasoned, I’m not 40 yet, and this is my SECOND pregnancy, so it will be less likely to develop this time around. And less likely means probably not, right?

What I hadn’t read, until I looked at the Preeclampsia Foundation website last week, is that the single biggest predictor of developing preeclampsia is having had it in a previous pregnancy.


None of the OBs I went to – the ones who delivered V., the ones I went to here when I found out I was pregnant, the one I switched to later – made this clear to me. Or maybe this understanding was somehow embedded in the statistics they rattled off, in the cautious assurances that I would probably not have problems the second time around, and I just didn’t hear it.

I feel…. dumb.  I feel, irrationally, that people are going to judge me for having gotten pregnant again given what happened the first time, especially given my age… and I especially worry that people at church are going to judge me.  I’ve reached out to the church for help and support – especially prayer (my conflicted feelings about which merit a separate post) – while at the same time feeling undeserving of anyone’s generosity, especially because we drew on it already 2 years ago.

Yesterday afternoon T. left for Albania, planning to stay as long as he can – that is, he won’t cut his trip short unless I take a turn for the worse and delivery is imminent.  I encouraged him to go, feeling optimistic about how well I’ve been doing with consistent bedrest and hydration.  It felt like a choice to approach life with optimism and confidence instead of with fear and anxiety.  But I can’t help wondering, am I just in denial?

Home bedrest

May 24, 2010

When we were in limbo, waiting for the proteinuria results, my husband said “well now you can imbue every moment at home with pathos.”  Indeed, I’m good at that!  I kept thinking “this could be my last shower at home… my last dinner at home… the last time I put my daughter to bed…” before hospitalization.

Now that I know I have some time – and blood pressures have been decent over the weekend, thankfully – there’s not as much pathos per se, but certainly I’m wringing all the pleasure I can from being at home and enjoying the company of my toddler.  Sure it’s not ideal that I have to lie on the couch or in bed, and I can’t play chase, or take her places, or even do the “Barnyard Dance” she keeps asking me for, but it’s such a pleasure to watch her play in the evenings after supper, before bed.  To eat breakfast with her in the mornings, looking at her books, talking about the day to come.

Over the next few days I may even be able to do a little work.  But right now I think I’m going to lie down again for a little bit before we go see the doctor again.  NST, ultrasound, BP check.  Here we go!

Great news!!!

May 22, 2010

My proteinuria is down to 284!!!  That is so much better than I had dared to hope for… I get to stay home!  I’m still to be on bedrest, drink fluids, monitor blood pressure, but I get to stay at home.  So happy right now.

oh my god (updated)

May 20, 2010

I just called my therapist’s office to cancel my appointment for Monday, and got the news that SHE PASSED AWAY.  The last time I saw her, three weeks ago, we actually had to cut our session short because she had a terrible migraine.  Apparently it was symptomatic of a cerebral hemorrhage, which caused her death then three days later.  I’m in shock, it doesn’t seem real.  She has a 7 year old daughter.  I can’t believe she’s gone, that I’ll never have a chance to talk to her again and tell her how much she has helped me.


And then there’s the little intermittent achy discomfort I’m getting just under my right-side ribs.  They said that if I should feel pain there, in the “upper right quadrant,” to call them right away.  (*Pain in this area is a classic symptom of HELLP syndrome)  I wanted to wait and see how it might evolve… because it doesn’t really feel like *pain* per se, but T. wants me to call them now.  So I guess I will.  I don’t want to, because I think they’ll send me to the hospital right away and I won’t come out again until the baby is born… and what about V.?  My little one, how will she be ok?  I can’t even begin to describe in words how desperately I don’t want to leave her.


Update: I just called, and the nurse said that since it’s not a sharp pain, and it’s intermittent, to just rest and wait.  She will let the doctor know that I called, however.  In any case, I’m going to go ahead and pack my bag for the hospital.  Because, really and truly, I don’t want to, you know, die.


May 20, 2010

I messed up my urine test.  After collecting a huge jugful of pee for 24 hours, I forgot to put the lid on the jug (it was in a cooler with ice, so I didn’t see it for some reason…) and just as I was walking into the lab I heard a slosh… opened the cooler and realized I’d spilled like a cupful of pee.

So I have to do it over again.

The main reason this is so frustrating is that T. is scheduled to leave Monday for Albania, and the outcome of this test, and subsequent decision tree that follows (like, say, if they decide the baby has to come out RIGHT NOW), he might have to cancel the trip.  If they think I can hang on for another week or two, he could come back early and be here for the birth.  It’s just really hard to know what to do.  And now, we won’t know the results until Friday at the earliest.

I feel like such an IDIOT.

blogging in bed

May 19, 2010

because I can’t sleep. I’ve been awake since 3:30, thinking, planning, worrying, crying a little bit.  T. is looking into the possibility of changing/cancelling his upcoming travel plans.  Last night I went to the hospital for the first of 2 steroid injections for the baby’s lungs.  I had to go in through the emergency room, and I had to ride in a wheelchair up to L&D for the shot.  I get to do it again tomorrow night.  Then I came home and sent off several e-mails cancelling plans for next week.  Sheesh.  Why can’t I have a normal pregnancy and delivery?  I guess it’s just not my lot in life.


May 19, 2010

Everything depends on tomorrow’s urine test.  Today we went to the big fancy hospital for a second opinion, and learned that the baby is “great” and “perfect” and doing really, really well.  But having my proteinuria as high as it is?  Well, if it stays that high, I have to go on hospital bedrest.  And because we’re only just at 31 weeks, the recommendation is that we go straight to the big fancy hospital with the NICU.  An hour away from home. 

It absolutely tears me up inside to think about being that far away from V.  I cried and cried in the car coming home just thinking about it.  I want to be here to feed her breakfast, to see her playing and laughing and reading her books, to see her adorable smile every day.  I don’t want her to have to deal with the confusion and disruption of only seeing Mommy in a hospital bed once a day.  And if she has to ride in a car an hour each way?  Oh lord.  As V. herself would put it, “NONONONONONONONONONO!”

Please, I just want to stay home.  I’ll lie on the couch all day, I’ll do whatever they tell me to, I just want to stay home.  If I can make it to 36 weeks I can have the baby here at the local hospital.  That’s my fervent hope and desire and prayer right now.

Contingency plans

May 18, 2010

The thing with pre-eclampsia, it seems, is that it is apparently so damn unpredictable.  The doctor said “I can’t tell you what will happen next,” but he was able to outline a series of scenarios that could all be equally likely.  There’s the chance that I could develop a severe headache, blurred vision, and a pain below the sternum that would send me straight to the ER, magnesium sulfate, and immediate c-section delivery of the baby, tomorrow.  At 31 weeks.

Or, my symptoms might remain stable – or even improve somewhat – over the course of the next 7 weeks or so and I’d go into active labor and have the baby vaginally.

Or, something in between.  Which would be that my condition would stay more or less as it is now (blood pressure elevated but not unduly alarming, some protein in the urine, minimal swelling) for a few weeks, then take a turn for the worse, and they’d deliver the baby by c-section.

It’s hard impossible to know.

This morning we went in for a biophysical profile and non-stress test; both of these showed the baby doing really well.  All the measurements are on track and they estimate his weight at about 4 lbs.  My blood pressure (I’m on now) was 114/88.  I’m to do another 24-hour urine test, and this time I plan to drink a LOT more water than last time.  My proteinuria, for those who want to know, was 1500 of whatever units/volume they measure.  Anything over 300 is cause for alarm.

Tomorrow afternoon I have an appointment at the fancy hospital about an hour away where I would deliver the baby should my condition get worse before 36 weeks.  They have a NICU there.  I guess I’m going to meet the perinatologist and find out if I need to get a dose of whatever that medication is that strengthens the baby’s lungs in preparation for premature birth.  Should be interesting.

So I’m discouraged.  But hopeful.  I so wished that this pregnancy would be uncomplicated.  I guess that’s not what my body does.  I feel old.