Apr 23 2007

She’s a Girl He’s a Boy!

Today’s ultrasound revealed, plain as day, that my little “girl” has a wee wee. Looks like Rosaura is a Robert after all. I got a whole strip of totally awesome 3D pictures from the ultrasound (you could see his little nose!), but they blew out of my grocery bag on the way home. I’m really really bummed about that, probably way more bummed than such a minor tragedy deserves.

The cyst hasn’t shrunk but it hasn’t gotten any bigger, either. On the other hand the ultrasound tech, looking at my placenta, said doubtfully “They told you it was low lying? This is a partial previa.” That is actually worse, meaning the placenta is about half covering the cervix. I’m going to have to wait until I talk to my doctor to get the full details, but from what I understand the most likely course of action will still be a “wait and see” approach. The ultrasound tech (who was extremely nice) told me that the doctor would almost certainly have me schedule yet another follow up ultrasound to check on the placenta position at 32 weeks.

In the meantime, you will have to take my word for it that the baby is looking extremely cute, even though I am a little disappointed that I won’t be buying all those lacy pink rosette-covered baby things after all.

Apr 19 2007

Day of Many Updates

So it turns out that Homestyle Midwifery has a waiting list, and in addition to that, they are actually leaving St. Luke’s Hospital and spinning off into a private practice. They’re sending me more information, but I’m afraid it may mean they’ll no longer offer the services I was most interested in (i.e. the combination of anesthesia & on-site neonatal care with the option of water birthing). We’re on the waiting list regardless, but things no longer look as promising on that front.

In addition, the doctor phoned me back this afternoon, saying he’d found the report from the ultrasound I had done a month ago, and he has “a couple of concerns”. The baby looks fine, but apparently I have a low-lying placenta and a fairly large ovarian cyst. He wants to do another ultrasound ASAP to see whether either of those issues seems to be resolving itself. He mentioned that in ninety percent of cases, an anterior low-lying placenta will move itself to a better position without any intervention, and similarly the cyst may just go away, so neither issue is a major freak-out thing. I am freaking out to a minor degree. Sam is not freaking out at all.

They’re sending me the ultrasound requisition form in the mail, and I’ll have to call the hospital to schedule an appointment sometime after that, so I may not have any updates on this front for a week or so.

My parents should skip the next paragraph as it has to do with S-E-X, and I’m not sure you’re old enough to be hearing about these things.

The doctor told me three times to refrain from “vigorous intercourse”. I didn’t ask him what the difference between vigorous and sedate intercourse is, but of course now I’m wondering. Don’t be getting into any fancy slings? No cowgirl style? What does that even mean?

UPDATED TO ADD: So I’ve done some quick Internet research, and I’m no longer worried at all about the low-lying placenta. Apparently it’s plenty common in the second trimester, and almost always it’s no longer an issue by the time the baby’s actually born. I haven’t had any bleeding or any other indication that it might be a real problem.

The cyst will only be trouble if it ruptures. The doctor specifically told me that the cyst was fluid-filled, with thin walls; at the time that meant nothing to me so I didn’t include it in the post. However some Internet reading on ovarian cysts quickly revealed to me why he’d been so specific about that — it means my cyst is not cancerous. I didn’t even know I should be worrying about that, so I don’t really get to feel relieved, but hey, it’s good news anyway I guess.

If the thing ruptures it really would be bad (that’s apparently very painful, and can trigger preterm labor) but I found plenty of stories online from women who had cysts all through their pregnancies and were fine. It’s odd, but one thing that actually makes me feel better is that I tripped and fell flat on my face on my way home from getting that ultrasound last month. And if that didn’t make the cyst rupture, then probably it’s not gonna rupture! This is my thinking, anyway.

And, who knows, it may have already been reabsorbed into my body by now. But even if it’s gotten bigger, fed by the pregnancy super-growth hormones, there’s no reason I can’t have a normal pregnancy and delivery. I read a post from one woman who had a cyst the size of a grapefruit by the time she gave birth, and it didn’t cause her any complications. They just took it out afterwards with a relatively minor surgical procedure. Apparently if you get a c-section they can even grab the cyst at the same time.

Apr 19 2007

Oh Wow

At my prenatal yoga class this week I was complaining about not being able to do water birth in a hospital setting, and one of the other moms suggested I check out Homestyle Midwifery, a midwives’ practice that operates in conjunction with a local hospital. It looks perfect. You go to the hospital, so you have access to anesthesia, and all the doctors and the neonatal unit are right there in case of complications, but they create a “birthing center” type environment for your labor, complete with an Aqua Doula tub.

I’m super excited about this group! We’ll go to their next open house, and if they turn out to be as great as they look, I’ll transfer over to them as quick as possible. This looks like exactly what I was hoping for from a birth environment!

Apr 19 2007

Back from the Doctor

Sam and I had an entirely uneventful doctor’s visit this morning.  Blood pressure, weight gain, tummy size all normal.  I got forms for the gestational diabetes test, which I should take sometime in early May.

I asked the doctor about The Crazy, mentioning that I’d read mood swings are supposed to come in the first trimester, and he shook his head, saying firmly “It’s common throughout pregnancy.  And after.”  I think he also shot a sympathetic glance at Sam, but I may be imagining that part.  Nothing for it but good diet and exercise, he says.  Regarding which, I’m now going to a prenatal yoga class on Tuesday mornings.  I like the cat and cow stretches, but my squatting crow pose is gonna need a lot of work.

Apr 18 2007

Still Life #2

Not baby related, but it continues the flower series.

Apr 18 2007

Here Comes the Crazy

So the pregnancy books say that mood swings are common in the first trimester, but usually level off in the second. I didn’t have any trouble with The Crazy in the first few months, but in the last week it has been coming thick and fast.

The latest issue of Harper’s magazine made me cry for hours. Similarly a dream I had the other night, where Sam fell from the top of a skyscraper. (It was, like, the future? And we were sunbathing on some kind of floating air mattress? And talking about what we wanted for dinner, but then we docked the mattress, and I got off onto the roof, and I held out a hand to help Sam onto the roof, but I wasn’t really close enough and, reaching for me, he plummeted to his death. Oh my god, I’m crying again just thinking about it.)

The other night Sam came home and mentioned that there was “a cute French girl” moving into our apartment building. My crazy brain heard: “You are an ugly whale, and not French.” More tears.

Today I was cleaning the house and ended in a blind rage, striking the medicine cabinet again and again with the handle of my hairbrush, because some stuff fell on me when I opened it. Also, more crying.

I know this is hormonal, and that helps: there’s a reason for it, and it’s not really my fault, and it’s not grounded in anything that’s actually wrong with my life. And it will pass. As long as I can hold on to that understanding, I think I’ll be fine. The problem with being crazy is when you forget that you’re crazy.

Note to Future Shannon: Honey, you crazy. Go make Sam give you a hug.

Apr 11 2007

Nina Says I Need a Ticker

I think this little gizmo should automatically update, so bookmark this entry if you want to see how many weeks along I am, and how many days left till my due date:

Apr 5 2007

Still Life With Little Shoes

little shoes

Everybody look at these awesome baby shoes that Madeline sent us! Aren’t they adorable?

Apr 2 2007


So Sam is not experiencing any “sympathetic” pregnancy symptoms, but I nonetheless find that whole phenomenon fascinating. My baby book has this to say on the subject:

Studies show that as many as 50 percent of all fathers-to-be experience physical symptoms of pregnancy when their partner is pregnant. Couvade, a French term meaning ‘to hatch,’ is used to describe the condition in a man. Symptoms for an expectant father may include nausea, weight gain and cravings for certain foods.

Wikipedia adds that “Currently, scientists are at a loss to whether or not Couvade’s syndrome should be considered psychosomatic, as the syndrome is brought on by a psychological effect (i.e.) the pregnancy of the wife, but is often considered a form of Munchausen syndrome,” which seems very harsh, especially considering that “More recent studies have shown that the male partner cohabitating with a pregnant female will experience hormonal shifts in his prolactin, cortisol, estrogen and testoterone levels; typically starting at the end of the first trimester and continuing through several weeks post-partum.” Some men even experience labor pains.

My uneducated medical opinion is that obviously couvade is caused by the partner being affected by the pregnant woman’s hormones: 50 percent of fathers aren’t succumbing to Munchausen syndrome. Someone should do a study of pregnant women with female partners, as it would seem likely that another woman would be even more strongly affected by the hormonal “rub-off” or whatever it is that’s going on.

What’s really interesting is the various cultural patterns that have arisen to accomodate couvade. Our culture seems incredibly dismissive of the phenomenon, blaming it on “somatized anxiety, pseudo-sibling rivalry, identification with the fetus, ambivalence about fatherhood, a statement of paternity, or parturition envy,” but apparently in other times and places it’s been more socially acceptable for an expectant father to admit to experiencing pregnancy symptoms. Intriguingly, Wikipedia notes that “couvade is more common where sex roles are flexible and female power and status high.” Dunno what that says about us.

In fact, some cultures ensured that the father would endure his share of suffering. This is The Internet, so let’s resort to poorly sourced but intriguingly colorful psuedo-anthropology. This one gal who has a blog, summarizing something she read in a magazine one time, reports:


In French Guiana, the father feels his wife’s pain somewhat belatedly; he’s kept in bed, in seclusion, for about 6 weeks after his wife gives birth, after which time family members cut openings in his skin and rub his body with a ground pepper plant.

The Huichol Indian tribe of Mexico had by far the best method of making sure that men shared the pain of childbirth; a woman in labor would be laying down in a hut, and her husband would sit in the rafters above her with a rope tied around his testicles… and, when the woman had a contraction, she’d pull on the rope. If you do a search for ‘Huichol’ on the website of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, you’ll find this artwork depicting the process.

Totally great! Sam contributes that he has maybe been feeling an inclination towards balancing some eggs on his toes, but I suspect he’s just making that up to avoid the rope around the testicles.