Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Blurry Kidney Bean



I haven't had time to scan the ultrasound pictures, so I tried the old "picture of a picture" with our digital camera. The results are pretty disappointing, but it's the best I can do without more technology. I also realize that the pictures are rather unimpressive for everyone but, say, Eric and me, but no matter how many times you tell yourself you are not going to be one of those couples who obsesses about "blobbish" ultrasound images, when you are handed the prints from the nurse midwife with the comment, "here is a picture of your baby," you want to go home and carry that photo around with you, "oohing" and "ahhing" at every little blur. (I am not sure if you can click on the photo and have it enlarged, but you can try!)

Gratitudes:

-I am grateful for the brief course of Zofran I was able to take, but panicked when my prescription ran out, and was told I would have to pay the full cost of the drug (hundreds of dollars) for a refill. My acupuncturist told me another of her pregnant clients takes 50mg of vitamin B-6 BID, and I have started with this regimen, finding slight respite from the nausea. Hooray! I'll take it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Fear is the great thief of time..."

And let me add, so are end of year grant submissions! But seriously, I really like this quote, and find rather apropos for my lingering struggles--which, for the record, aren't as bad as they have been in the past. Since last time, I have endured 2 house parties rife with food, one of which was Turkey Day. I have been slowly able to introduce additional liquids to my diet outside of gatorade, and am finding ways to slip in some protein now and then, too. But, I still admit that I feel sick to my stomach most of the day, every day. Whether it be a better ability to endure the feeling, or the fact that I really am getting better, who knows? (And does it matter?)

What I have realized is that my anxiety (i.e. "fear") can be so consuming, and that one of its tricks is to steal time away from your day. Now, that doesn't mean that they day flies by, because anyone who has been sick knows that minutes feel like hours, but the anxiety takes the time you would normally use for: conversing, exercising, relaxing, reading, etc. and captures it for its own use. Well, a few weeks back I decided to wage war against my anxiety as it was the least I could do given that I have little control over the nausea. I think I am winning.

I am going to post an around 8 week belly shot. The only time I look anything other than too skinny is after a meal, and my belly can really get taught. I'll take it! I did have a great appointment today, and they think I am about a week and a half or so behind my calendar due day. That now puts us in the first week of July for delivery. Eric got to go to this appointment, and it was funny--for both of us! His first comment upon walking into the exam room was, "I have never been in a room with more than 1 person naked." Well, I wasn't naked, but bare from the waist down. He also was surprised at how small the stirrups were (yes, I still have to get an internal u/s because my uterus is tilted back, and no one can get a thing from a transabdominal one). He said, "I thought they would be suspended from the ceiling or something." True, they aren't a medieval torture device, BUT...YOU TRY undressing, saddling up, and then having someone have to coax you to "scoot down," and "open your legs as wide as you can." Physically small or not, they certainly aren't comfortable. Anyway, we got a fun ultrasound! I will see if I can scan the images in the computer sometime. Instead of just a yolk sac, we finally saw a large head, "boxing glove" hands, and a heart beat. For anyone else, I am sure it looks like a blurry, bloated kidney bean, but as first time parents, Eric was already an "expert" u/s reader, and even identified what he determined to be an "Ali chin."

Now, I am going through the circus of changing health insurance companies, and am nervous about the continuity of my care. I am no longer going to see a psychologist (hey, those 2 times did wonders!), and am not completely sure about the new OB office. They are much more "intimate," but there are no midwives in the practice, and I cannot get my labs online, or use an e-mail system as I did with Kaiser. Still, I get to deliver at a new facility close to home, and the OB office is certainly a lot closer than driving all the way to Tucker to Kaiser!

Okay, picture time! This is me...just chillin; well, chillin' in my sports bra for the sake of a belly picture. (At least I am wearing my sports bra for something!) The second picture is Eric and my attempt at making the biggest belly possible (notice you cannot see how far my back is arched). It is hard to imagine there may be a time when I want to be smaller. Heck, it is still hard to imagine I have a 1 inch baby in my uterus!



Gratitudes:

-I am grateful that Eric got to go to the doctor with me today. We laughed a lot. (Especially at the "introductory video" we had to watch in the antenatal room. It must have been made circa 1996). I think we both realize that this is really happening...Linus is not a figment of our imaginations!

-I am grateful for not overwhelming myself with scary stories on the Internet anymore. Instead, I have been enjoying 2 completely different, but great books: A Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy and Ina May's Childbirth Stories. Although I don't see myself completely aligned with either "side," I think they both do their part (in completely different ways) of empowering women during pregnancy. It also helps me realize that it is such an incredibly unique and individual experience. I would like to go as natural as possible, but also have a greater sense of perspective regarding the potential need for intervention. Of course, talk to me in a few months...right now, I am just trying to get over this first trimester!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I am not the only Bozo on this bus!

I had another appointment with the counselor at the end of the week, which proved to be an hour of great conversation. Let's be honest, I was originally averse to the idea of seeing a counselor because 1) I used to think of it as a sign of weakness, and 2) there was a part of me that was ashamed that I "let" my pregnancy sickness take hold of me so completely. (If this doesn't have "control hog" written all over it...) What I have come to understand is that there are probably more newly pregnant women who end up talking to someone than I ever imagined. Each time the counselor would say, "I have talked to hundreds of pregnant women who..." Hundreds? Really? You mean I am not the first? Oh, how narcissistic my perspective was! Especially when you are keeping the pregnancy a secret from anyone and everyone during that first trimester, it is nothing short of a God send to have dedicated time to talk to someone about your struggles and concerns. And our sessions are honestly akin to two girlfriends talking about shared experiences and finding a safe space to emote. Of course, there are moments when she will provide some great techniques for enduring my undulating nausea and managing my anxiety. I doubt that if I wasn't dealing with such extreme morning sickness that I would be seeing a counselor, but I have to acknowledge that in the midst of such unbearable sickness, that I have been given the gift of self reflection.

One of the concepts that we chatted about that really stuck with me was the idea that our bodies can be fractured between wanting to be unique, but also just wanting to be another Bozo on the bus. There are parts of everyone that yearn to be different; that we stand out in a crowd and separate ourselves from the masses for some talent, idea, look, etc. We want to be the first, and the only. Yet, there are times that we want to be "just like everyone else." And it became clear to me that when it comes to sickness and illness, I want to be that unremarkable Bozo. Early on in the pregnancy when I was just starting to feel nauseated, I spent what felt like hours on the Internet, looking for confirmation in regards to my symptoms. The danger in the Internet, as I have said before, is that you can find confirmation for just about everything. Honestly, my symptoms were indicative of everything from cancer to hyperthyroidism. Now, this didn't help in my quest to want to "feel" pregnant, and with my experience and symptoms diluting into what felt like either nothing or everything, I didn't feel "just like everyone else." But, when I saw the midwife, she ran through a list of symptoms, and as I answered "yes" to each, her face would settle more and more into "saying," "yup! you're preggers!" Given that I am really the first of my friends, and the first in my family, to be pregnant, I don't have the ability to call those close to me and ask, "did you feel? did this happen?" My mother has been trying so hard to recall those first few months of her pregnancies, but I think the aches and pains have slowly decayed over time. (I also think that women strategically forget how awful things can be, or no one would have more than one baby!) Additionally, I don't think she suffered from as much nausea...and that is when I am frustrated that those genes didn't get passed down. Perhaps upon our "reveal" in December (barring another healthy 4 weeks), I will have a number of new ears eager to listen, and will be surrounded by a bunch of "counselors."

I may be the only Bozo on the pregnancy bus in regards to my family and close friends, but when the bus stops (and I hope sooner than later!), and one of those girls gets on, I am more than ready and eager to share in the experience (we'll just have to sit in the front; the bumps in the back aren't the best for nausea).

Gratitudes:

I am grateful for our dryer! For as long as I can remember, I have always made sure my pants make a b-line for a drying rack after the washer, even if it meant going to high school on occasion with crunchy jeans. There is something about tight pants that makes my skin crawl. That, and shoes that are too tight. It is almost a sense of "claustrophobia." Recently, with the advent of my rapid weight loss, I have realized that instead of buying new pants that I will never be able to fit into again after I get over this hump, I can just take my closet full of pants, and run them through the dryer. They don't get "claustrophobia" tight, and tend to loosen after a few hours, but when I first slip on a warm pair of almost fitting pants, I feel happy.

I am grateful that Eric is getting to spend the weekend in North Carolina with the ATC guys for a mini running vacation. Of course I miss him, but I think it is important that we both continue to engage in activities by ourselves that make us happy. Of course, I have already made plans to go shopping and take a few walks with friends.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Olfactory Overload

You know the old adage, "no news is good news?" I think that is pretty accurate. Not that I plan on posting every day, but the lapse in posts over the past few days has been a result of feeling pretty good, and wanting to "be" in that place of relative normalcy, knowing that that chances of me feeling cruddy, and being thrown into a position where instead of "being" in the comforting place is replaced on having the power only to reflect on it, would happen sooner than later. And so I sit here, feeling just icky.

Let's first start with the three or so good days! Sunday night's X-C banquet was fun, and I had a fair amount of food from the buffet. Monday morning wasn't great, but I have realized that mornings do tend to be cause more nausea. Tuesday also tended to be a positive day, although I was worried about the impending dinner with Carol and Marybeth prior to our going to an Ani concert. Believe it or not, it went fine (even when they gave me the wrong veggie burger, and my fountain sprite ended up being bottled root beer). Ani was great, and she was far less "angry" than I have seen her in the past. We all agreed that we were glad, because her transition nicely mimicked all of our own transitions. This is not to say that we didn't love her playing some of her angry "oldies," but I can at least say that her ode to her little baby hit me deeper than even the songs she played that seemed to vibrate every inch of muscle in my body.

Wednesday night I had big ambitions to have a great dinner, but it ended up being a bagel and bacon. Strange, but true. It is like my new fascination with wings--a delicacy I would never have enjoyed previously. After stripping away the skin, and pulling out those long, gray strings of lord knows what, I usually would pick of a sliver of chicken, and pass over to Eric to suck down. Now, I have found myself, in truly barbaric fashion, eating most parts of chicken wings, and asking to split the last piece of bacon with Eric. After the "dinner," the nausea crept throughout my body, and my anxiety decided it would be a dual to the death (or so it felt like). They fought and kept me up all night, and here I am now, Thursday AM, frustrated and keeping my fingers crossed that it will pass.

On to the subject of this post. If you haven't noticed, nausea is one of my least favorite past times, but the one "funny" part to nausea, at least at times, can be gagging. I know, this sounds bizarre, but what I mean is that I have been amazed to see what causes me to gag. You know when you are so startled at how you react to something that you sort of find it funny? Not "ha, ha" funny, but "did that really just come out of my body?" funny. Throwing away our slightly dying flowers from our table just sent me over the edge the other day, and the slight smell of dying flowers made me gag repeatedly until I put the trash outside. After removing the offending trash, I sort of stood there...stunned that the smell had that much control over me! Interestingly, I keep telling Eric that I can "smell" the flowers we have in our house (strategically placed for purposes of "staging" our condo), and that it is starting to bother me. Eric quizzically looks at me like I am crazy. I know that the enhanced sense of smell is thought to be an old wives' tale (much like extreme nausea means your having a girl), but there is no question that my olfactory system has become more acute, or at least discriminating. I think perhaps it is not that my sense of smell is better, but that smells bother me more. And then in a very Pavlovian fashion, I am starting to gag at the sight of something that I merely think would have a bothersome odor. For example, the amount of commercials and show segments focused on food as Thanksgiving approaches is alarming. The other day I saw a segment on a cooking show where an oyster dressing (basically, stuffing with oysters) was made. I don't even know if oysters smell, but the sight of the segment made me gag until I turned off the TV.

As I said before, I am not going to proofread my posts, but in thinking back to what I have just written, I realize that it has probably been more negative than not. In trying to put a positive spin on things, I do have to say that it continues to amaze me how our bodies adjust to pregnancy. It really is a miracle! And there is 1 new symptom I have been experiencing. You cannot even look at my chest without it hurting. It really is a very premenstrual feeling, and part of me is worried that I will get a "period" again this month. (Although, I am almost out of the woods with the first trimester.) Despite the pain, it will be fun to have a brief "natural" breast augmentation.

Gratitudes:

I am grateful for being able to work from home some of the week. It can, at times, induce slight "cabin fever," but it also gives me the luxury of feeling sick in an environment that no one will question "what is wrong?"

I am grateful for the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, it is one of those cult, "Oprah" book club books, but so worth all of the acclaim and attention. I bought it last spring for my mother, without any indication that it would become such a sensation. Honestly, I avoided reading it because it would be like buying Ugg boots this fall--you are WAY past the trend. Luckily, books never really go out of style. :) Anyway, her book has been a really wonderful distraction, and although her journey is remarkably different from the one I am on, I think that a lot of her wisdom translates quite seamlessly. Last night, while reading her 3rd section on Bali, I realized that the whole time I was using the following two, in conjunction, as my bookmarks: my first ultrasound, and a recipe for southwestern pizza. There is something slightly funny about that combination if you ask me...

I am grateful for pajamas. Not much to comment here; I think you are all with me on this one. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

After 2 years, and too many excuses, it was time to cut my hair. I had originally decided to join my best friend Rebecca, and bunch of other brave souls, and make the cut in December of 2007 for Locks of Love. Well, let's just say that I couldn't wait that long. Luckily, Rebecca was of the same mind set, and rather serendipitously, we both ended up cutting our hair the same weekend of November! I had over 13 inches to donate.



Similarly, Eric had been growing his annual "winter beard" since September, and finally shaved after the state X-C meet. This has been a tradition for the past couple of years that never ceases to amaze and entertain his runners. If only they had as much enthusiasm about their workouts as they do about his facial hair. Given that it is my new quest to find humor and positive energy in as many situations as possible, I decided that Eric needed to pose for his own "hair donation" picture. Granted, there isn't a soul who could use his beard hair, and we are obviously not going to donate it to any cause other than the "smooth kiss" fund, but it made is laugh. We shared the kind of belly laughs that makes your sides ache. What was great was that he left a rather interesting arrangement of hair that reminded us of the runner Brian Sell (Olympic marathon trials, anyone? Maura, you know...). We had a party the night of the big shave at one of the X-C runner's houses, and on our way out, Eric caught a glimpse of himself and laughed out loud. It was precious.




The next morning he sported a "Charlie Chaplin" stache, and then later in the afternoon, reverted back to the standard soul patch, and got all gussied up for the X-C banquet.



Gratitudes:

I am grateful for the recommendation from my friend, M.B.M.P.H.P.A. (Marybeth, MPH, PA), for the salon Fresche. I got a great cut, at a great price, and with 2 additional recommendations, MB can get a free haircut!

I am grateful for Eric's newly shaved face.

Picture Time!

After that long-winded beginning, let's let some pictures speak. First, the 4 home pregnancy tests I took over a week. "Are you positive?"


Next, the 5-6 week belly. We are still not sure of the week; the calendar would indicate 6, but the u/s indicated a little over 5.


6-7 week belly. Sadly, not much of a bump. Let's keep our fingers crossed I gain weight soon!



Gratitudes:

I am grateful for Dominos for suppling the 3 pieces of pizza I ate this afternoon, even if I didn't eat the crust.

I am grateful for the Blockbuster home delivery program; it has allowed me to spend some QT with Eric watching some great movies in the comfort of our condo, where the bathroom is really accessible to me. I highly recommend Stranger Than Fiction, and moderately recommend The Five Obstructions. Next, we will watch Babel.

A pre-natal prologue: The ups, downs and ultrasounds...

As tedious as it can be, it is only fair to start this blog off with the requisite "why I am starting this blog" and provide the reader with enough background to feel confident that s/he will return. It is also only fair to start this off admitting that I have a sneaky suspicion this prologue is going to be of epic proportions. Just stick with it, please...I promise to toy with brevity in the future.

I imagine the only way you have found your way to this blog is by invitation from either Eric or myself, therefore you also must know we are pregnant! It will be interesting to see how far along I get before there is another set of eyes on this blog. To date, I am between 6-7 weeks pregnant (although, for reasons to be elucidated below, feels more like an eternity). Our intention is not to widely advertise our pregnancy until Christmas, which puts us right at the end of the first trimester. Although, we would be lying if we said not a soul knows. Due to some extenuating circumstances, others have been taken into our confidence, and know that we are pregnant. Reasons to follow in a bit; have I built up enough anticipation? If not, let me bullet out some of the nuts and bolts of the past 6 weeks.

  • The pregnancy has been confirmed by 4 home pregnancy tests (qualitative measure, i.e. urine tests), 2 office tests (also qualitatively measured), 3 hCG blood draws (quantitative test), and an ultrasound (u/s). Why so many? I had some bizarre bleeding early on, which I could have mistaken for an abnormal episode of the dread that most women go through every month, but with the additional nausea and and overwhelming sense of "something is different," I knew in my gut I was either pregnant or miscarrying, and after confirmation of a pregnancy by the home tests, the doctor wanted to make sure things were going well through blood draws and an u/s.
  • Eric and I have no cute story to share about how I broke the news. I didn't pull an "Aunt Becky" from Full House and cook a meal with baby carrots, baby corn, etc. I had no "a-ha!" moment...it was more of a "what?" With a pale pink 2nd line of a pregnancy test, I wasn't sure I was actually pregnant. The moment I read the results the first time, a realtor came into the condo to show our place. I am totally serious. I threw the test under the sink, got in my car, and tried to track down Eric at a track meet. Charming, no?
  • The first u/s was also not like it is in the movies. I could not have a transabdominal one because nothing could be found so early on (5-6 weeks), so she went inside, and after a lot of searching (man my bladder looked huge!), found a walnut sized black hole that apparently is my uterus. We briefly saw the yolk sac, and some tissue on the side of the uterus that appeared to indicate a heart beat (99% sure of it was her quote). Eric couldn't go to the appointment, but my amazing friend Carol was there. Eric was upset, but after seeing the scan, said, "you can't see anything! I am not so upset."
Let's take breather...phew. Ready again? So, back to what prompted me to start this blog. It may appear that it started because we simply want to chronicle our first pregnancy. That is partly accurate, but what really prompted me to start this was more out of emotional necessity. Let's just say that I had a preconceived notion that my pregnancy would be amazing--I would run, eat healthily, be full of hormonal happiness. What I neglected to consider was that those same hormones could cause a coup on my emotional stability and ability to function normally. As my hCG levels doubled, my body developed an unwavering relationship with nausea. Oh, and we are not talking car sick for a few hours nausea, we are talking complete and utter distaste for anything labeled as "food." Morning sickness is a misnomer...it is every minute of your life nausea. Thankfully, I have experienced limited vomiting. What this meant was that for someone who is already admittedly on the border of too thin, losing weight during a time that you are supposed to be minimally maintaining weight, was scary. And not the type of scary associated with watching Cape Fear at an 8th grade slumber party, but utter terror, fueled by a history of anxiety and raging hormones. It is so difficult to explain what it feels like to gag when you open the refrigerator, but let's just say it is just miserable. I was assured by my doctor that it is okay for me to be losing weight, even being so tiny in the first place. Hold on--perhaps "assured" isn't the best word. Let's just say "told," because the truth is, I didn't believe her, and still have doubts. It's not worth it getting into numbers, but let's just say I decided to stop weighing myself when I was approaching a weight I haven't posted since high school.

I tried ginger ale, crackers in bed, prenatal vitamin at night, pressing in my ears, meditation, brisk walking, bland foods...to no avail. (Okay, so my "meditation" was more like me trying to calm my mind, only to find me fueling myself with self defeating thoughts in a mantra like fashion. I'm working on it...).

With each failure I experienced as I tried out all the "cures" for nausea, I started worrying more, judging myself, and setting myself up perfectly for more anxiety and failure. With Eric's consuming job and life as a X-C coach on the hunt for a state championship, and my mother thousands of miles away in MA, I was feeling a bit lonely (I did tell my mother...she was quite the champion for me when I would be driving to my blood tests after work for a week straight, crying for seemingly no reason!) This fun little "secret" was turning into a prison sentence. I lost sight of the pregnancy and focused on my inability to eat and nourish myself, and the baby. When I realized that I would be going to my first u/s by myself, I knew that I needed another woman who was physically near, to know. In walk Carol. Truly, she is a saint, and as difficult as it was to "spill the beans," I felt enormous relief in having her confidence. She cried with me at the doctor's when I came out with an ultrasound, and supported me in a way that I am forever indebted. I think sometimes we neglect to honor and respect the power of a loved one's presence. Just her physically sitting in the waiting room was a miracle.

The nausea continued, my running and healthy eating took a hiatus of indeterminate length, and I was having to dodge questions like, "are you sick?" "Where have you been?" The worst was when, usually in the presence of food, I would say that I couldn't eat. I knew I would deal with the following 2: 1) others thinking I have an eating disorder, 2) others thinking I am pregnant. I cannot count how many times people would come right out and ask, "Are you pregnant?" "That is totally how I felt when I was pregnant...talk to me in 9 months!" "Did Eric tell you the first thing I thought when he said you were sick?" I hate lying, so I would just do some awkward little verbal dance and just try to avoid the conversation. So, in my desperation, I called the doctor's office again, primarily worried about the nausea, anxiety and weight loss, and was prescribed Zofran for nausea (let's just say that it is great for reducing vomiting, but doesn't do much for nausea), and it was suggested I talk to a counselor about my anxiety. Eek! A counselor!?! I am a strong, independent woman who needs to see a counselor within 6 weeks of becoming pregnant? Well, I swallowed my ego, and asked for the first available appointment.

Enter Dr. B. A clinical psychologist in her early 30's with personality enough for a room of kindergarteners. She was warm, funny, and most importantly, validating. I was apparently not alone, and she worked with many women who had gotten to the point of hospitalization in their first trimesters (please not me!), and said that I'll get through it. Boy did I cry...for once, I had someone explicitly identifying each one of my fears and concerns. She acknowledged that my nausea was bad enough, but my anxiety just made it worse--and that I was simply not cutting myself a break. I was (and am) doing the best I could, with the cruddy circumstances dealt, but that I don't deserve such vicious self-judgment. She was right: I was angry at myself for not being able to eat the best, exercise regularly, and even more, not enjoy being pregnant. That it is hard when the only symptom you have is nausea, and with a decreasing waist line, it is hard to "feel" pregnant. Luckily, she said that she didn't think I was crazy, or depressed, and said that medication really shouldn't be considered at this point. (phew!), but here was her prescription:

  1. Prenatal Yoga. I had to laugh. The last time I tried this was with Amy and Carol at Post Brookhaven. Let's be honest. The only thing I could think about (beside the fact that I am not flexible), is that with all the straining and rears in the air, this could turn into a comedy real fast if there was someone with an intestinal orchestral piece to share. (I still laugh now at the thought. There is something about tooting that will make me laugh until the day I die!) But, I decided to look into a program called Pierce Yoga--prenatal yoga.
  2. Stop the negative self-talk. It is okay not to love being pregnant right now. It bears no indication of your desire to have a baby. Feeling sick is the pits. Accept that, accept that it is also an anxious time, and that "this too shall past."
  3. Introduce the idea that this is a spiritual opportunity. Dr. B said to me, "I don't usually say this, but I am actually really excited for you. I feel like something big is going to happen for your life in terms of spirituality and self discovery." She continued to share a personal story (not very counselor like!), and I kid you not, my stomach growled with hunger pains for the first time in 1 1/2 weeks (although, I still had no appetite). Much like Carol, she is a miracle.
  4. Journal. Journal without discrimination, editing or concern for artistic integrity. Write about this experience so you can share it with yourself at a time that is much better...and with Eric, and Linus (the baby...we'll get to that name a little later), and maybe even at some point your friends and family.
So, here I am. Journaling without regard for sentence structure or concern for quality. This is hard for an English major, but embracing this vulnerability is rather liberating. I will not proofread my posts, and am going to let the words spill out of me from a space of emotion rather than the organized files of intellect. I recognize that this may make it harder to read (no harder than James Joyce I hope!), but will not, and cannot make an apology for that.

In addition to dedicating efforts to regular posts (I will include fun pictures and stories, don't worry), I have committed to posting at least one thing I am "grateful for" at the conclusion of each post. (I know, I know...totally A La Oprah, but I think she was on to something). I will try not to repeat, too.

You still with me? Congrats! One more piece of business before I close. "Little Linus." Eric and I don't know if the baby is a boy or girl (but want to find out at the first possible moment. The element of surprise is not something I enjoy. I am the type to go to all sorts of lengths to find out a surprise, and then hate myself for finding it out!). Ever since Eric and I talked about having kids, he would use the name "Linus." Ali: "When we have kids, I am not going to be able to go to as many X-C meets, you know." Eric: "You'll just bring Linus with you!" When I found out I was pregnant, there was no question that s/he would be called Linus. Now, whether or not the name makes the cut if we have a boy is still up for discussion as I think past the age of 6, we could be dealing with teaching Linus how to field the barrage of teasing he will endure. So, as "unreal" as this pregnancy feels with my losing weight, using the name "Linus" has been really helpful in redirecting my pain and suffering to remember the source--a baby. I hope that this chronicle of the next months can eventually be shared with Linus, and that s/he knows how loved s/he is...even when I find myself dissolving in tears, wishing for this part to pass. What is strange is that I honestly love this baby already. I love the potential. And I love the fact that for the first time in my life, I am carrying around in 1 body, my body, 2 hearts...

Gratitudes:

I am grateful for the opportunity to keep a record of this experience. As jumbled, emotional, and conflicting as it may get at times, it is going to be an honest account of who I am, and who my family is becoming.

I am grateful for Carol, my mother, and the one other person (besides clinicians) who knows (who I prefer to remain nameless for right now). I am still searching for the right word--friends, angels, miracles...they all lack in truly articulating how I feel about you. I'll get back to you on that one...

I am grateful for having the most wonderful and amazing husband. Without judgment, he has been able to endure what has been a down right awful few weeks. In fact, he just came in to the room, gave me a great big kiss, and I can honestly say I still melt each time. I still cannot believe how lucky we are. Eric and I have a truly blessed life...and I cannot wait to count a new blessing in a matter of months.