the cute little parasite

My One School Friend had her baby on Saturday! She was due on May 17th, so her little guy showed up at 41 weeks. He’s absolutely freaking adorable! I haven’t talked to her yet, but from what her husband told me yesterday, it sounds like they had a relatively easy and uneventful labor. Which is awesome for them, and encouraging to me.

They’d been telling me for weeks that it just wouldn’t be fair if I had H. before they had their baby (since they were about 3 weeks ahead of us). So I now have the go-ahead to have H. anytime.

Now I just have to convince him that now’s as good a time as any.


(Yes, another super whiny post. You’ve been warned.)

So, for the past few days I have been Freaking. Out.

The anxiety and the panic attacks are back in full force, and after going 38 weeks without ever once calling my doctor’s after-hours line, I’ve called twice in the past two days and spent a couple hours at the hospital last night for monitoring.

Friday night I sat for a couple minutes with my foot pressed against my other shin, and when I moved my leg there was this gigantic indentation about 2 inches long and, seriously, almost an inch deep. It was insane. It looked like someone had whacked my shinbone with a hammer, and it took about 10-15 minutes to go away. Naturally, I freaked out. The on-call doctor (the one I like the most in the practice) said it probably wasn’t a big deal unless my blood pressure was weird.

So I try to calm down, and then the next day (Saturday) I went (of course) to check my blood pressure. Normally my bp is really low–normal for me is about 90/60. Yesterday afternoon it was 135/85, which is the highest I’ve ever seen it. So I freaked out for awhile. I was feeling really crappy all day yesterday anyway (probably about 95% anxiety/panic induced–I recognize this in retrospect), and GB and I sat down to try to watch more of The Wire and I was just not calming down. So I called the dr. again (the guy I’m not crazy about, this time) and he suggested I go to L&D for monitoring.

Things seemed fine there. My bp was in the 120s/70s or 80s, which they feel okay with (even though it’s high for me), and Hank looked good on the monitors, so they didn’t keep us long. But. Before we left they wanted to do an exam to check on my (lack of) progress, and Oh My Fucking God, friends, I’ve had these exams before–but this one made me cry. Seriously, I don’t know what this nurse’s deal was, but Holy Fucking Ow. And I’m all, Oh, I have a high pain tolerance. But holy shit. Made me cry, bleed, and cramp for hours afterward. Oh, and I learned that progress, I have made none.

So now I don’t know what to make of these cramps and contractions I’ve been having all day. GB went to work for a few hours, and I’m trying to figure out if they’re timeable or if they’re just kind of there–and it’s hard to tell, really. They’re definitely worse than any I’ve had yet, but I’m still thinking they’re not the Real Thing. So I’m trying ot chill out, overall, and not time them now, until they start demanding more of my attention.

But the biggest issue here is the fucking anxiety. It’s hit a pretty unbearable point. I’m constantly freaking out (and I mean ALL DAY LONG, every day, and every time I wake up at night) that my blood pressure is fucked up, that I have blood clots in my legs, that H. isn’t moving enough, that Something Terrible is going to happen to me, H., and/or GB. More than anything else that’s going on right now–the pain, the discomfort, the not sleeping–the anxiety is making me crazy. I am No Fun. I can’t concentrate, I can’t relax, and I can’t stop worrying. And that fucking exam was so painful that I am now having Serious Doubts about my ability to handle the whole childbirth thing, and I have lost any modicum of confidence I had in that department.

So there you have it. I’m a freaking mess. And I want to just get H. out here and get that part all over with, and I also want to just keep him in there forever at this point.

Can I have a handful of Klonopin and a martini now, please?

You know all those stay-put-H vibes that y’all have been sending for the past few weeks? They were greatly appreciated, and I’m thrilled that (with all y’all’s help, of course) we’ve gotten H. to full term.

But you can stop sending the stay-put-H vibes now. I’m ready for an outside baby.

Over the weekend I was pretty sure things were starting up. I was having contractions that were totally different than what I’d been having before, and I just felt…weird. But after a couple of hours the contractions stopped. We’re calling it prelabor, because “false labor” is just far too depressing.

I just got back from the doctor, where I learned that progress is being made on the effacement front, and H.’s head is “engaged,” which is good, I suppose. (Although it also explains why going from a sitting to standing position has become excruciatingly painful.) On the dilating front, though, not so much of the progress (like, none, really). Yes, I know i’m not quite 38 weeks, even, but all that prelabor crap really fucked with my expectations for when H. would be arriving. And I am feeling discouraged, and exhausted, and done.

I’m trying to remind myself that we *are* making progress, albeit slowly. And I want H. to stay in there as long as he needs to (within reason). But I’m officially over resting-while-I-can, and enjoying-this-time, and dreading-the-unknown.

So now I’m not quite sure what to hope for in the immediate future, but I think it’s getting close to something like bring-on-the-baby.

And the hormones are probably contributing to my increased sappiness lately. But this was awesome, and I’m going to share it.

I have this friend who I dated in college. Hanging out with him was my first attempt at an open relationship, and it was great–we never really did the girlfriend/boyfriend thing, but we hung out for a few years and had a great time. All kinds of Big Heavy Life-Changing things happened while we were hanging out, and we went through some intensely awful and intensely wonderful times together. He drove me out to SF when I moved there for grad school, and his first kid was born shortly after I got to SF–GB and I are his daughter’s goddess-parents (or, alternately, her Fairy Godparents). (I can’t believe my goddessdaughter is 14 already–that is just freaky.) We go through phases where we talk/email more or less often, but even when we go months (or years) without much contact, we always pick right up where we left off. He’s one of those people who really feels like a soulmate, in a weird, deep way.

Anyway. He emailed today to ask if H. was here yet, and I assured him that H’s arrival is imminent (I hope). He responded with this comment about H.:

“He’s just so damn improbable, he’s bound to have some significant impact in the world. Kudos on doing this, even though it goes against your long time ‘I’ll never have kids’ position.”

Okay, I’ll admit to the sappiness; it made me cry. And here’s to the old friends who remind me who I’ve been and still support the person I’m becoming.

By my count, I’m 37 weeks today–technically full term. (The doctors are counting it as 37 weeks on Friday…but I’m feeling like it’s close enough, either way.) I realize this means not-much, since H. will still show up whenever he damn well feels like it–and I had a moment of absolute certainty yesterday that we’re going to go to 41 weeks. We’ll see about that. But the best thing about hitting 37 weeks, of course, is that H. would officially not be preterm if he showed up (after Friday, let’s say, for safety’s sake). After 7 weeks of worrying about that, it’s a huge relief.

In honor of the occasion, an out of focus shot of me smuggling a watermelon:

And a rare (and probably ill-advised) belly shot:

And, because I just got them in the mail and they came out great, the wall letters of H.’s name:

(As I’ve mentioned, we don’t have a nursery per se; we only have two rooms to begin with, and H. will be sleeping with us. So the letters are just over the dresser next to our bed. The bunny was a random gift from GB to me a couple months ago, and the penguin is our Freaking Adorable Humidifier.)

Anyway. That’s good. I’m off for my weekly pho (and wondering, as always, if it’ll be my last solo-pho for quite a while…I think I should get the spring rolls, too, huh?)

For the most part, I’ve done really well not being on my anti-anxiety meds for the past eight months. Surprisingly well, actually. No major anxiety attacks, no panic attacks, and dealable levels of the OCD.*

In the past few days, though, the anxiety levels are completely out of control. I’m having anxiety attacks again and feeling like I’m constantly fighting off panic attacks–I’m generally shaky, feeling like my heart’s racing (though it’s really not), feeling kind of dissociative, lightheaded, and weird. Oh, and convinced I’m dying. That’s a nice one, huh? And obsessively worrying about GB’s health and safety. Like, to the point where I get myself all weepy, thinking about all the things that could happen to him. And me. And H.

This is no fun.

I don’t really know what to do about this. Meds are out right now.** I try to just do some deep breathing when the anxiety gets really bad, but it doesn’t seem to do much–maybe I’m not doing it right (see, I’m worrying about how I’m breathing–I am a freak).

Do any of you smart and well-adjusted people have tips for handling anxiety disorder/attacks and fending off panic attacks without drugs?

*My OCD is heavy on the O, light on the C. It mostly manifests as obsessive thinking, usually about terrible things happening to GB or random horrible images and thoughts. I have very few (if any) real compulsions, so I guess that’s something to be grateful for.

**GB is really hoping I can go back on something after H. is born–he’s worried that if I’m anxious now, I’ll be a complete freak when H. is here and I’m worrying about him in Real Life. I’ll talk to the doctors about that, but the research I’ve done about SSRIs and breastfeeding is not promising. I’ll keep looking into that, of course.

= good news, in this case.

I’m still hanging on here, and H. is still staying put like he should. Many thanks to everyone who’s called, texted, emailed, chatted, and Facebook-messaged me to make sure things are still going okay. You all rock. I appreciate the check-ins! (Though I hope we don’t have to keep up this level of anxiety and uncertainty for another 4 weeks…But we’ll see how things go.)

Thanks, too, to everyone who’s commented and sent good happy non-anxiety vibes on my anxiety posts lately. I really kind of feel like 8 months off my anxiety meds is starting to catch up with me…Guess it’s good it took this long, really. Anyway, thanks for all the good wishes and reassurances. They’re very much appreciated.

I’ll keep y’all posted, of course…

(Tonight the water filter snapped off the kitchen faucet, which is not an especially big deal, though at the rate I’m going through water I’m hoping there’s enough in the fridge to get me to tomorrow. Anyway. I wanted to put up a blog post titled “My water broke” to tell you about my faucet, but GB says that is just Not Right. Though the idea kind of cracked me up. It’s nice that I can entertain myself, I guess.)

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