Sunday, December 31, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. Lotsa wonderful pictures of our time together can be found here and here!


~Anne, Doug and Anton

Saturday, December 09, 2006

~:M A R L I S • A N D • M O L L Y:~

It's not often that you meet the perfect person for a healthy friendship. And it's even more unlikely that you meet two at once. So I feel pretty blessed to have these 2 women as very good friends. Marlis and Molly. I actually met Marlis while we were both Portfolio Center students - she as an Illustration major, me as a Design major. But I really didn't get to know her well until we met again at a Callenwolde calligraphy class. That's where we met Molly, too. The three of us had great fun together and became fast friends. We started meeting up every Friday morning at Java Monkey (the Minkee) for breafast and lonnnng long talks. When I first quit my job to start my own gig, they were both incredibly supportive and always fun.

We've just found out that Molly is moving. While I am excited for their family to evolve and grow, I am sad and will miss her. Molly and Marlis planned to throw a shower for me, which had to be rescheduled because of my hospitalization. But because of this crazy time of year, we ended up cancelling the event and had an intimate gathering of our own. Very sweet and yummy and rejuvenative. So here are some sweet picturess of our fun time together. God bless Marlis and Molly!

Friday, December 08, 2006

I should be in bed by now but I need to share with you all what it feels like to watch your baby learn how to smile. Smiling expresses pleasure and it's the most wonderful gift to give another person. Smile at them. My friend Tina says that when your baby smiles - it's pay day for you. Last night at 3AM, I woke up to feed Anton and he smiled at me BIG time. A full-faced smile with his mouth and eyes. He's an angel. There's nothing like the feeling you get when you know your child is content enough to smile and be sociable.

Taking care of Anton is getting way more fun these days. He's becoming more interactive - looks deeply into my eyes. Searches for me from across the room. Responds to my voice. Coos with pleasure.

What else is nice about Anton? He can sleep 8-9 hours straight at night, so we're all getting more sleep these days. This means my headaches are getting better and I continue to feel more grounded. I had another day with no headache this week. I will be so happy to have more of them.

I fit into my old "skinny" jeans this week. Boy, are they TIGHT, but I managed to squeeze into them. This is another happy milestone!

I am beginning to feel more like a mother. More capable. Less detached from people and my previous life. My worlds are meeting and I am beginning to believe that I can do this.

I AM doing it.

There is nothing like picking up your baby and resting his head on your neck. Feeling his hot breath whisper in your ear. Tiny little panting noises. He smells like vanilla. Sweet and warm and pudgy. Perfect little creature.

My Anton. My sweet boy. My life. My joy. My child. My boy.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Anton is dressed here in a "Pee Pee TeePee" - a baby gift from my friend Rita. These little thingies work like a charm - preventing the mark of Zoro on my shirt and face during the dangerous work of diaper changes. For a split second there I was thinking, "Too bad they only come in blue for boys - they'd be really cute in pink" And then the thought hit me that girls are made differently. I have placenta brain and can't think any more.

Some good news other than Anton, is that I've had two days in a row now without a bad headache. I also took a walk on Monday and felt grounded for the first time, like I wasn't going to float away and faint. I'm getting my strength back in my core - like I can stand on my feet and stretch my muslces and get out of breath and have it feel good. I just want to feel normal, you know?

Sat at my desk for the first time in months yesterday, printed out a calendar and started writing things down. It's a bit overwhelming to look at your life again and wonder how you're going to juggle the old and new. Hmmmph.

Bjorn pooped in four places and peed in two in Anton's room today. I am going to kill him. Grrrrrr.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

We celebrated Anton's first Holiday this weekend starting with Thanksgiving Dinner in Atlanta and the rest of the weekend in Clayton. Above is a beautiful picture of Gloria and Mia holding Anton. They all got to meet for the first time.

Packing a car with a new baby is very tricky. We brought Bjorn, too, which only added to our load. Life's wonderfully complicated, though. The drive up was very happy. Doug and I used to make this trip wishing we had a baby in the back seat. This year our wish came true.

Introducing Anton to my brother Peter was a real thrill. Another dream come true. I am still battling headaches. I wish they would go away. I think the constant looking down and handling the baby is hard on my neck and shoulders. Being an older mother I'm sure makes it harder, too. I so want to feel normal. When I don't have a headache, it's so liberating. THIS is what I'm supposed to feel like! It's what normal should be.
I'll continue to be patient.

We took more pictures of the weekend. Check them out!

Thanksgiving in Atlanta

Thanksgiving in Clayton

Oh, and I miss you all. I miss being able to blog, having the energy to float around and visit other blogs. I miss knitting every day. I miss sleep. I miss feeling well. But when you see the pictures we're taking of Anton, you'll see the logic of why our race thrives. There's no denying him. His job is to sleep and eat and thrive. And mine is to make sure he does.

Love to you all,


Sunday, November 05, 2006

~: S I X • W E E K S • O L D:~

Good morning Friends of Anton,

Things are going well here at the Elser house. I have been recovering very well and finally feel like myself again. Here's why:

1. Headaches are getting better. In addition to meds from the neurologist, I am seeing my chiropractor again, who suspected a pinched nerve might be part of my head pain. He was correct and I've got my life back again.

2. I can take walks again. And am strong enough to push Anton's carriage. This is very freeing, feeling the cool fall breeze and pushing my baby while he sleeps.

3. I can drive again. I'm off the meds that make me too sleepy to drive. So now I've got my independence back and can go out whenever I wish, as long as someone can watch Anton.

4. I can carry Anton in his carrier. I'm strong enough to lift him in and out of the car without doing damage to my surgery site or my neck and shoulders. This means we can go out TOGETHER whenever we wish! Even more independence.

5. Anton can sleep a 6 hour stretch at night! So we often get enough sleep at night, which is wonderful feeling.

6. Bjorn is back home! And is a different dog, after having lived with the pack for over a month. He follows directions much better now, is not a fussy eater any longer and is respectful of Anton and "shows" Anton to newcomers who enter the house. He's eager and well adjusted and not a bit jealous. God bless Vida Ellis, who kept him safe and entertained while I was so sick.

7. I went to church last Sunday and received prayer for my continued healing. The person praying with me got the sense that I had attached shame to my difficulties with the pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. She was right. So we prayed about that specifically. There's a part of me that thinks brought this experience on myself and that I deserved the pain and difficulty. As if! I am so mean to myself. Right after prayer, I had an opportunity to reject the shame in response to a mildly shaming remark made by someone who came to see Anton. Though it might have been well intended, this person attempted to minimize my discomfort by explaining that it was my duty as a woman to suffer through the pregnancy and that my experience was no more or less painful than any other woman's. "Oh, no" I said. "This was no normal pregnancy or birth. I had three rare pregnancy complications, two of which were life-threatening and one of which could have been prevented, were it not for the neglect of the nurse the day I had the seizure." So I was able to defend myself without returning the favor of shame. Way to go Anne!

I can't imagine how much stronger I will feel once I begin working again. Being able to balance Anton with my previous life before pregnancy will feel wonderful, I am sure. I want all my worlds to meet.

I love having Mom and Dad so close. It's like Christmas every day, having them here to play with and love Anton. Giving your parents a grandchild is the best way to say thank you for al the years of love and sacrifice they gave to you. I am so in love and man, oh man. do I understand my mother more now. More than ever before. Being a mother myself, even at this early stage, has done a lot to broaden my understanding of her perspective. The bond between mother and child is based on emotion purely. Without the emotion, the physical link doesn't work. Breast milk comes only when you think about and love your baby. Milk production is powered by your need for your baby and his for you. It's an amazing process. And I am humbled by it.

I have new pictures for you all to see here: Anton: Week 6

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

~:C O N T R O L:~

Though I'm madly in love with Anton, I've said goodbye to the notion of control. At least for the time being. This is the largest reality shift I've ever made. I've been brought to my knees by this beautiful creature. We're both new to everything. All of this.

Having decided my life had space for a new being - to enlarge our family, I've got to make room for new things and say goodbye to others. Control being the first. I am a schedule freak. A list maker. An organizer. The person who does it best. The person who thinks of things first. A fixer. A doer. A person who finishes tasks. Who makes everything.

Today I am a person who is new at this huge life shift and is struggling to just keep my balance. Mom says you just get better at it and your confidence grows as you do. She says I sound better than I think I do. And that I'm doing fine. I have no reference other than to think SHE, my own mother, has more experience and could do it better.

So today I just felt overwhelmed. I cried. Anton just looked up at me with the sweetest look on his face. I sang the Skye Boat Song to him and just rocked him. Both of us actually. I woke him up from his nap and whispered in his ear that God was with us. Oh boy, do I need God now. Now more than ever.

So, yes. He is beautiful and I love him. And yes, I am scared to death. Not missing my old life so much. Just unsure about the new one. I have to remind myself of all the previous new hard big things I've accomplished so far. And that I did them well, after letting the boat rock me into a new schedule. Once I find it, I'll be just fine. It's how I've done things in the past. Find the footing.

Maybe Anton's my footing and I just don't know it yet.

Hey guess what? I walked to the mailbox and back today! For the first time in over 3 months. What joy! I also ran the dishwasher. And we're moving the cat box back inside so I can clean it again. And BjornMouse comes home tomorrow night. So we'll be a family again.

Oh, and my tits are on fire. Gotta go. Time to wake up Anton!

I love you all,


Saturday, October 14, 2006

~:F O U R • Y E A R • A N N I V E R S A R Y:~

Doug and I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary yesterday. Anton's the real gift. A neighbor brought us pot roast for dinner and we went to bed early - exhausted and deliriously happy.

My head's feeling much less sore, though now I'm experiencing tension headaches at night. I wish I could snap my fingers and get rid of them. I am impatient about the time it's taking for my body to heal. I should be better to myself. I think these new headaches are about the huge responsibility before me now. I am in charge of someone's life. It's crazy. Me? Take charge and make sure things are in place for Anton to thrive? Like I know what I'm doing?
Nanny and I took Anton to his 2nd check up at the pediatrician on Wednesday. Gaining an ounce a day and doing very well. Though I kept thinking the nurse and Dr. were scrutinizing me. "Who put HER in charge? SHE'S a mother?" I know it's all in my head and is all about my own insecurities. I kept thinking, "What if he gets sick?" And then I'd say to myself, "Um, you'd take him to his doctor and then he'd get better."

Enough about me...

Anton's a real trip. We are all pretty dern sure he's got Doug's legs. He loves to stretch them out whenever possible, especially when you put him in a pair of pants. It's hysterical to watch. I think the first thing he'll want instead of a Tonka Truck, would be his own ottoman.

We let the cats back in the house this weekend. I missed them. They're curious about Anton - but shoot out of the room if he cries. There's an awful lot of sniffing going on. I'm sure there's more to come when Bjorn gets back.

I remember there being a TV in the family delivery recovery room they gave me after the c-section. And I remember thinking, WHO would ever want to stop looking at their newborn baby and turn to the TV for entertainment?

Still getting the hang of all this new baby stuff. Major lifestyle change - for the better. I don't see imperfections in the house anymore. I don't see dust bunnies on the floor. I don't pick apart unfinished projects I've got around the house anymore. I don't see weeds. All I see is Doug and Anton. And that's beautiful.

To see new pictures of Anton with his Daddy, Baba, Nanny and more go here: Anton: Week 3


~Anne, Doug & Anton

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

~:S L E E P • H U N G E R • L O V E:~Oh joy, this is fun. Such, such fun. Anton and I had our first full day alone together yesterday. We did it! So I'm happy and feeling more confident. I have so many thoughts to share with you all and am too tired at the moment to list them all, but wanted to give you a quick update to let you know we are home and I am doing very well - slowly recovering, slowly saying goodbye to those headaches and moving around more easily around the house.

People have been incredibly generous with food. I've never eaten more healthily before in my life. Nor have I ever had such an appetite. I feel pretty chipper during the day. Mornings feel best. But by 6:00, I am more tired than I can describe in words. The best I can manage is to raise a fork to my face and shovel food into my own mouth. Sounds ridiculous, but it's true.

We feed Anton again around midnight and then try to stretch those night time feedings further and further apart. Though it's tricky - as we all get to know each other. Life's all about who is hungry and who is tired. It's fun, though. Feeding Anton is the most satisfyingly simple thing I've ever done. He really is an easy baby - though he had a meltdown yesterday. I took his cue and had one of my own seconds later. So we all sat in the nursery last night and Doug comforted us both. So sweet.

It must be hard to be a new person, I think. Everything's new. It must be scary to be hungry, to cry... to trust that you'll feel better in a second or two. Trying to see the world through Anton's eyes really is enlightening for me. I feel so much like him. If I were to pick him out of a room of babies, I'd pick him. He feels so mine. Even Doug feels more mine. I love him more and more each day. Having this baby has expanded my heart. My capacity for kindness, humility, grace. I feel like an entirely different person. I feel more of everything.

I am so glad to be home and feeling better. Saturday morning I made toast and coffee and OH it was glorious to be standing in my own kitchen again and NOT be afraid of losing this pregnancy. Missed this house so much. I missed color. I missed sunlight. I missed the sound of crickets. Running water. The feel of a breeze. My bed. Dogs barking. And now Doug and I have Anton to share it with. To hold and stand by a window and point to our front yard and tell him that's all his.

I feel so transformed.

Thank you again to everyone for your gifts, your prayers, your support, your food.

Check out our new round pictures: Anton: Week 2


~Anne, Doug & Anton

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dear Friends and family,

This is a very wordy e-mai you may wish to glaze over if you don't' have a lazy afternoon or evening to spare for its digestion. Otherwise, enjoy.

First of all, Anton is doing fabulously well. I, however, am not - though on the mend. The very next day after discharge, I was readmitted to the hospital for pregnancy induced hyper tension. Then cluster migraines. And to top it off, experienced a seizure for the first time in my life, was rushed down to the ICU and remained there over night for closer observation. I was readmitted back to my old room here up on HRP and have been slowly weaned off medications like something for bruising that happens to your brain when you get hit with migraines, magnesium sulfate, high blood pressure medication, pain meds, etc. . They will send me home with medication to control this postpartum pregnancy induced hypertension. It has been horrible. The migraine pain on a scale from 1-10 was a twenty. We hope the worst is far behind us and we can go home - and STAY home as a well family at last. Right now we are looking at a date of later this week to go home at last. Something like Weds, Thursday or Friday. Keep your fingers crossed!

Doug, Mom and Dad have been a tremendous help. They have been able to bond with Anton in a way that I have not quite yet had the energy or health to do so. I am told that Anton will remember me once we are close again and in the quite peacefulness of our cozy home. After all, I have a lifetime of memories to build with him, don't I?

The complications of this pregnancy have been such a tremendous test of character for me. I am confident that Doug has passed, Anton has passed and Mom and Dad have as well. All with flying colors. Today I am looking for the faith needed to give myself the same passing grade. There is a voice in my head that pipes up in times in great stress - and I am looking deeply for that voice today. I will have a lot of time for myself to dwell and ponder, pray, meditate and relax.

I pray or peace. I pray to find a new rhythm of this new life of mine quickly. I pray for confidence. Reassurance. Faith. Openness. Love. Grace.

I have to tell you about what an easy-going baby Anton is. He NEVER fusses, unless you change his diaper - end even then, it's ever so temporary. He just goes with the flow. Is easy to tote around. Once swaddled, he looks like a little burrito. He just never fusses. Dad and Doug took him to his first pediatrician appt. yesterday and he passed with flying colors. My sweet baby boy. His story has been the least complicated of everyones. Mine the most. I'd rather it be that way, as painful as it is. Life never stops throwing you curve balls and I pray for peace throughout this big shift. If I can survive what's hard about this, just think of all the new knowledge I'd be able to share with others - just think of how much stronger it will make me. A better person, mother, wife, teacher, daughter, friend.

One thing I need to keep reminding myself is that the seizure I had was BECAUSE of the pregnancy and that once my body is convinced it's no longer pregnant, I'm out of the woods. And as far as living with migraines goes, I now have a new Dr. to guide me through coping with that disease. There are millions of people who cope with it daily and the treatments available just keep getting better and better. So there is hope and I can do this. I will be taking something for anxiety, depression and migraines. It's supposed to be a wonder drug for all three. And I pray it works.

I think what I am facing more now is fear. I have never in my life felt more dependent upon people for compassion and tenderness before. I resisted it with a passion when first being admitted here at Northside Hospital, and even while on modified bed rest at home while teaching. It's hard to be vulnerable and ask for help. But once things got really scary, I begged for it and graciously go it. Not since I was five years old, I was once again cradled in the arms of my mother and husband for naps upon naps. I cannot describe the feeling. Resting your head on the chest of people who love you, as your knees are drawn up under your chin, your arms wrapped around their neck, their arms stroking your back...feels like nothing else. It is a primal return to childhood. An its effects miraculous. During this healing process, I have felt an even deeper connection to Anton in that I understand more fully the depth of his neediness. We are the same, Anton and I. Both creatures of the same body, both familiar with the same heartbeat. Both dependent upon the same loving group of support people. When I close my eyes, I picture his sweet face. When I look in the mirror, I see his face. His neediness, his innocence, his openness. It's a connection hard to put into words.

Please. please say prayers for us. I so want normal life as a mommy to begin. I so want to find and discover that new life. After being here in limbo for so long, walking on eggshells and facing the frightening unknown, it is a wonder I'm still here. But I've got so much to live for. I have family. Friends, A perfect baby boy. And I hope a more active prayer life to guide me through it all.

Thank you so much for your love and support. If there's anything you feel you'd like to do to help us at this time, I would say meals tot he house would be very helpful. My job for the next few weeks will be to eat and feed my baby only. Stairs only twice a day and to sleep whenever I can. Mom and Dad will be with me at the house taking shifts while Doug's at work.

Oh! One more good piece of news is that I am moving around much more comfortably with the c-section scar. It's healing well and I can sit up in bed without too much pulling, can slowly walk around - better and better every day.

I thank you all for your lovely cards and gifts, your thoughts and prayers, your kindness and generosity of spirit. The meaning of community has been strengthened for me - of which you play a tremendous part. Please forgive my lack of gratitude in letters and e-mails. I've got strength for only so much these days and it seems my mantra will be to take it as easy as possible for a while. It'll just be Anton and me - peace and quiet and a whole lot of grace. Please know how very grateful I am for all you've done for us.

Oh! And another thing - Anton, we think, favors Doug's features. His disposition is mine though. So it's a perfect combination. The nurses here at HRP have named Doug "Barbie Dream Husband" because he's so incredibly attentive to me and makes all the nurses laugh with his jokes and antics. I have fallen in love with him all over again - something I've heard from other new parents. Having a baby changes the way you look at your spouse. In every wonderful way possible.

To view more pictures of our precious boy, follow these these links:
here and here
God bless you all.

~Anne, Doug and Anton.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Good morning, everyone. I'm Doug Elser, a guest columnist on the ever-popular annepages. Just wanted to give everyone an update on both Anne and our new arrival, Anton.

Anne was readmitted to Northside on Thursday with problems stemming from postpartum preeclampsia, also known as Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. In an earlier post, she spoke of the horrific headache she had right after delivery. Well, it never really went away...and after being discharged on Wednesday -- without the aid of the good hospital drugs -- the headache came back with a vengeance on Thursday morning.

Anne is such a strong woman, but 37 days in the hospital, plus a c-section, plus a headache that she rated (without hyperbole) as a 20 on a scale of 1 to 10...Well, damn, I can't help but feel that she's had quite enough "character-testing."

when they finally figured out that Anne's 160/105 blood pressure was nearly TWICE her own normal pressure, coupled with the headache, and some bloodwork...they got the diagnosis of PIH correct. and gratefully, it is mild. Her pressures are coming down, and after many many ct-scans and mri's, they have ruled out any serious brain problems. Last night, a headache/migraine specialist came to see us, gave her a cocktail, and now her pain is down from 20 to 3, maybe less (I'll let you know when she wakes up!).

Anne would love to hear from all of you wonderful friends out there via email and your usual wonderful posts here. Signs point toward being released back home on Sunday. and then finally the chance to enjoy our beautiful boy.

grandma Nancy came by with Anton yesterday afternoon, and he got some QT with mommy and daddy. He is too wonderful for words. He's also eating like a little pig, trying to catch up in the weight department so he can start wearing pants that won't make him look like MC Hammer ala 1989.

love to all,

Doug, Anne, and Anton

Saturday, September 23, 2006

dear all.

i am in love

with my new baby, my husband, my parents and EVERYTHING.

surgery went super well in spite of being delayed FIVE agonizing hours. i literally cried the whole time and it was just as frightening as i had imagines. while staring at the blue screen, i listed all the things i missed about home: bjorn, my kitchen, baking the cake in clayton, my red chair, the kidney shaped flower bed in our front yard, my flower boxes, the japanese maple, our cozy bedroom, the cradle, the new nursery, doug's mother, my brother, and then i listed bjorn a couple times more...

but nothing prepared me for the little squeek i heard coming from the other side of the screen. it was our little boy, loud and clear. I've added him to my list of most favorite things. i think that is an understatement.

it's a bit of a blur and i can't remember exactly what time he was born. i'd ask doug, but he's fast asleep right now. so I'll post more later and fill you in on the details. I think, THINK he was born at around 3:00. It took me longer to recover - i had the worst headache of my life - very scary, but it went away thanks to a good dose of pain killers and doug's palm on my forehead and the most beautiful prayers I've ever hear come from any one person's mouth. he was masterful.

we are finally parents.

His name is Anton Dusenberry Elser.

more later. night for now.

Friday, September 22, 2006

~:B I M P • I S • R E A D Y:~

After such a long trip, we are cleared for take off! Bimp's lung maturity results came back loud and clear - he is ready.

I will be prepped tomorrow morning here in my room at 6:00 and will be downstairs in the anywhere from 7:00 - 8:00. Surgery is scheduled for 9:00. After living in this four-walled room for a month, they will cut a little window out for Bimp and I to leave - together - to meet you all on the other side.

Next time you get an e-mail from Doug or me, we'll be parents. Oh joy. I cannot explain in words how I feel. Bimp and I enjoyed our last meal together tonight, connected by a physical cord. Mom, Dad and Doug brought a yummy dinner and we chinked our styrofoam cups together in a toast to honor this long journey's end of waiting. It's a little sad, saying goodbye to this pregnancy, though I'm so looking forward to the next stage.

The next time I see Bimp, we'll be breathing the same air. I imagine we'll both be crying.

Sweet dreams,


~P I E C E • O F • C A K E:~ Good morning! The amnio was easy cheesey - over really quickly and boy was it smooth. I was more relaxed than I thought I would be. Dr. Eller was amazing. Masterfully calm and confident. I was picturing scrubs and monitors and a flurry of nervous people. This experience has done a lot to boost my confidence in the staff here. My first real procedure having gone so well makes me think the c-section will, too.

Bimp measured at 6 pounds, 2 ounces this morning. He is looking just fine and has a little bit of short hair already. The needle draw felt just like a shot and I was aware of a little cramping, but nothing bad at all. Just a sensation of something being there. I breathed and repeated the word reeeeelaaaaax to myself a couple of times, which really helped. I think I'll try the same technique when they prep me for surgery.

I am to take it easy today. We should know by this afternoon or evening what the results are of the amnio. Dr. Eller said the fluid looked nice and cloudy - which means there was plenty of stuff in there to get a reading. A good sign.

I'll post later with results. Thanks everyone for your prayers and positive thoughts. We are excited!!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Today was a good day.

I went to group again and this time did NOT break down in front of everyone. But instead had good things to share. I told everyone about the amnio tomorrow morning and the possible delivery on Saturday. They all cheered for me! I also told the group about the two very positive dreams I had of Bimp. The chaplin mouthed the words THANK YOU to me after sharing. It seems every little bit of happy news and hope helps on this floor. I was happy to be able to give something today.

Some interesting news. I have a nurse tonight that recognized me from a month ago. "Ahhh, yes. You were the one who we couldn't discharge because your heart rate was up so high - like you were really anxious and upset about something." I told her that was the night I had Nurse Marva. And she said, "Ah yes. Marva can do that to people." So I'm not crazy.

Did I tell you that Doug's seen her twice and nodded a polite hello - she refuses to make eye contact with him. We're not sure if she's been instructed to do so, or if she's nervous or mad or what. Anyway. I think she knows we've got a nerf dart with her name on it in our room. He he.

I finished another hat for the Bimpster. This one reminds me of the little looney tunes martian guy who pointed his little lazer gun at Buggs Bunny. "You have made me verrry angry." I love the little helmet flaps.

I also got a pedicure today and actually managed not to squirm. I'm super ticklish, so it's a treat when I can relax enough and let someone massage my feet to the point of comfort. I think your prayers are working people.

Oh - and just so you guys know and don't worry about me: Yes, I've had a bowel movement today.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

~:A L M O S T • T H E R E:~I drew these little pictures of Bimp this morning from a couple of ultrasounds we had done of him when we first arrived here at Northside.

It has officially been a month since arriving.

And since then, I've had two things wear out:
1) My ID arm band (the adhesive actually wore OFF)
2) My signature. Seems the papers they had me sign upon being admitted expire after a month. So I spent a little time this morning adding my initials to all my signatures and re-dating everything. Kinda depressing.

Remember nurse Shawna who was obsessed with my turds? Well, we finally got to her. She was my night nurse THREE times in a row. The second night and after your stellar suggestion, Sarah, of describing my turds in detail, I think Doug and I won. Er, at least I stopped being embarrassed by the question. Probably a little of both.

Sure enough, Shawna walks in to say hi and asks the all the same questions in the exact same order, then pauses after a deep breath and asks if I've had a bowel movement today. This time I smiled instead of frowned.

"Actually, Shawna. I'm kind of a rock star in that department. I've been taking extra fiber since becoming pregnant for every good reason you can think of."

Then Doug chimes in, "Yeah, she's shitting book ends these days, let me TELL you!" And he went on to explain what a good pooper I've been. "Up to two pound turds, even!!" And I just smiled at him and she smiled at us and it was actually quite funny.

I have learned an important lesson here. When in doubt, TALK IN GREAT DETAIL ABOUT YOUR POOP. That always eases any tension in the room and the nurses seem to LOVE it. They even seem to stop asking personal questions.

Shawna turned away then, from our discussion of poop to pictures of Bjorn on the wall. We ended up talking about her puppy, BjornMouse, the picture of me baking the cake, the little hat and sweater I was knitting Bimp, how much she liked the way I dressed and all things not related to my poop. So it was actually a nice evening.

And then I took my Ambien and did some other stuff I have no memory of.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

~:G E T T I N G • T H E R E:~

Last night's dream...
Doug and I were traveling in the city and we had to swim through floods and roadblocks to get where we wanted.

We stopped and hung out at an antique shop that was temporarily closed because of heavy rains and flooding. I was looking around in the store as the lights were dimmed and I recognized some pots and cute containers that I had sold to the shop months ago. I had started little plants in them from cuttings and sold these immature plants in teeny tiny darling little vintage containers to the shop owner. They had remained on the shelves all this time and had grown into beautiful, mature plants.

This made me happy and I planned on returning to the store as soon as the flooding was over to buy back the containers that I had sold. The shop owner had kept them all this while and let them thrive. So the idea of paying for something that I had intended to sell and make a profit for, didn't bother me. I'd just paid him to tend to my plants and was grateful no one else had purchased them.

This is interesting because last night a little round vintage salt shaker container that a lacey plant was growing in got knocked off our windowsill by accident. It was sitting on my kitchen sink windowsill at home for a long time and Doug brought it here to stay by my bedside window at the hospital. It broke into many little pieces. We felt terrible about it. The plant is fine, though, and I'll just transplant it into something else cute.

So back to my dream. Doug and Bimp were waiting for me at a restaurant. I had to walk up the back way of the entrance, climbing rocks and big AC equipment, dodging under wires. But I could do it. I was still big around the middle because of the pregnancy, but I had the strength to climb to meet them. And no one was reaching to help because I didn't need any. Doug was standing on top of that hill, holding Bimp in a carrier. And they just smiled and waited patiently for me to get up there.

In both instances, I had to get to my destination either with Doug or by myself. First, while dodging floods and swimming through them. Then by getting there the back way, not at the front entrance. Both circumstances were less than ideal, but I did it and didn't panic.

The prize in the end was glorious.
Doug smiling and holding our baby in a carrier, both waiting for me at the top of a hill, of which I am climbing successfully.

How's THAT for a nice dream ! ? !

Monday, September 18, 2006

Thanks to Steven Uhles, Doug and I have a new outlet for frustration. The Nerf gun. Steven came to visit me the other day, bearing gifts and a very patient ear. He was masterful. Though I am sad I don't have a photo of his visit, I do have these. In with the videos and nerf gun, he brought markers to label each bullet appropriately. I have done so.

But we are running out of bullets. Doug just stormed in with an empty, growling stomach. There's a community fridge in the pantry for us long term patients to use. They give you these little stickers to put on the food you want to store there with your name, date and room number. The storage limit is 72 hours max.

"They took my fucking pizza!!!" Some asshole threw it out after only 24 hours. Probably another loopy night nurse. ARRRG. Poor DougieFresh is dinnerless. He needs a blank dart.

I have a new night nurse - overzealous with rules and and doing things right. Her name is Shawna and her bedside manner is nauseating. "And have we had a bowel movement today?" This is the second night I've had her. You don't know how hard it was for me NOT to respond, "Yes, have YOU?" I almost did. It's the last of all her questions before she puts me on the monitor or leaves the room. I think she saves it to humiliate me.

I need another dart.

So tell me, kind readers. Other than drawing nurse Shawna a picture of my lovely turds, how ELSE could I rub it in, um, so to speak? Any suggestions?

Friday, September 15, 2006

~:3 5 W E E K S & 4 D A Y S:~

I'll explain my latest post in a minute. First, let me tell you how dark it's been here.
Like you guys don't already know that. Up and down up and down. I have never felt so unstable. So unpredictable. So wretched and unlovable. I wept so hard at group yesterday, that I was afraid of going into labor. Everyone was so sweet. No one pitied me or tried to change what was happening. They just encouraged me to cry more. I feel as if the ugliest side of myself has surfaced and I am amazed that people still want to be with me. I have never been here before. My one hope, other than of going home with my baby as a prize, is that I know that there will be some grand kind of growth in store for me. A person can't go through something as intense as this without growth. It just isn't logical to think that I won't be a better person for having endured this. Ya know? Every time I've hung in there and done something hard, an epiphany shows up soon after. And I'm not talking about Ambien. I'm talking about real spiritual experiences that change your life. Guess I'm talking about God.

I have considered that maybe that epiphany will show up in the OR as they reach for Bimp and pull him out of me. Or maybe that comes with the territory of simply being a parent, and especially since I've wanted to be one for so long.

Today I am able to cry more and ask for help. Doug stayed with me longer this morning for another ultrasound (see picture above) and then took me outside next to the fountain out front. It is a beautiful day. Cooler in the shade as the sun shines brightly. I missed the sun. I missed just plain wanting to go outside. That is how ridiculous bed rest and depression is. It robs you of yourself. Your life. Your natural desire for improvement, for peace and the energy needed to just to REACH for sunlight. Is that not INSANE? It sounds insane to me as I type it. It sounds like someone else. Someone else's life. Someone I do not wish to be.

I've interviewed 2 doctors here so far about the "passion" thing. The effect was somewhat soothing for me, but not as much as I had hoped. I still felt out of control and disconnected from any kind of power or ability to sooth myself. Not that people's stories were not interesting. It's just that the joy of listening and absorbing someone's story other than my own runs parallel with my own pain. I experience them together and one doesn't negate the other. Same old story. I want a band aid and there is none. I am simply stuck here and am forced to go through the stuckness.

But something has helped today. I hope it lasts and I hope I feel the same way tomorrow and the next. We got a visit from one of the maternal fetal specialists this morning who has helped us form a plan for Bimp's arrival. A real PLAN. And I'm beginning to think that the long 3 and a half weeks so far of "we don't know and we'll have to wait and see" has been a major contributor to my depression. It makes sense that it would.

So here's the plan:

Next Friday the 22nd, anywhere from 7:30 - 9:00 in the morning, they will do an amnio right here in my room. Dr. Eller will do it and Doug will be here to hold my hand. And I promise not to look. And I think it will be OK, though this IS one of the medical procedures that I am afraid of. I have had countless women tell me it was no big deal, that the fear was larger than the real event and that there is no pain, just a bit of pressure.

Later that night they will call with the results. If Bimp's lungs have developed enough for him to breathe on his own once born, then they will move to step two, which is the planned c-section the very next day on Saturday the 23rd at 9:30 in the morning by Dr. Carrol. If the lungs are NOT developed enough, then they give Bimp another week to mature and plan the c-section the following week.

So by the end of this month, Bimp will definitely be here. And we've got a real birth date planned here, which makes me feel far more at ease. Of course, all bets are off if I don't remain stable. If I had another major bleed or went into labor, they'd do an emergency c-section and have Bimp out in less than 5 minutes. Amazing. They'd put me out while on the way to the OR in the fucking hallway and cut Bimp out (once inSIDE the OR) before he got any of the general anesthesia. This is pretty amazing stuff.

One of Doug's coworkers said to him this morning, "this could be your last weekend of not being parents! " which is quite a neat thought. We hope to celebrate this weekend and I hope I don't get too nervous as the dates draw nearer.

Pray that I remain stable and that some larger, more mature side of myself takes over no matter what kind of procedures we end up doing to get Bimp here. I want peace and calm and hopefulness.

Back to the explanation of the last dreamy post. I had a dream the other night:
Doug bought a horse. The stable was in our bedroom closet. I was amazed at how he managed to get a horse to fit in our house. This was a big beautiful shiny brown horse. It was magnificent.

"Let's go for a ride" says Doug.

"OK" I reply.

And we get on the horse together and ride down the street of our neighborhood in Dunwoody. I can't remember if it was me or Doug leading, but we were hugging closely and it was amazing. Then the horse transitions from trotting to galloping, then jumping. I'm uneasy until I get the hang of it and realize I'm not gonna fall when we take the big jumps. Up and down, up and down, up and down, each time up is higher and higher.

Just as I'm getting the hang of it, both Doug and the horse disappear and it's just me flying in mid air, up and down, up and down, higher and higher up. I fear for my safety again, believing I can't possibly keep this up, going higher and higher without falling and crashing. But I gain confidence and get the hang of it.

Then I have this really smooth stand-up landing and land on my feet. This woman approaches - a brainless Dunwoody housewife with puffy hair and highlights, long salon nails and some stupid outfit on. She offers me a really tacky trinket, and I decline.

"I can't really use this gift, but thank you."

She is miffed, "Hrrrmmmph" and walks away.

I approach her with an alternative idea of selling the trinket on ebay instead of giving it to me.

"That way you'll make a little money on the side and will make some ebay buyer really happy."

She shrugs her shoulders and continues to ignore me. She walks to another group of women who look just like her and they all turn to scowl at me. For some reason, I'm not upset by suddenly doing the unpopular thing or offending her. I am able to say no and let her have her petty feelings.

And then the most amazing part of my dream comes:

I'm laying in my hospital bed. I'm sleeping. And I open my eyes and see my little boy's hands grasping the edge of the mattress. I can't see his face or body, but he is tall enough to stand up and hang on to the same thing that's supporting me. He walks his way around the mattress on three sides, inching his little fingers from side to side. All I see are his chubby little fingers and all I hear is his laughing and giggling. He's just so happy to be here and doesn't give a flip about being in this stinky room. He's just happy to be here to play with me. Once he makes it to the other side of my bed, he reaches one hand up and lays it on mine.

It was amazing. And I had forgotten for a little while why I'm here. Not just for me, but for the birth of this person. My little Bimp. It seems so obvious. But after a while you just start to feel like an anonymous pregnant patient who is high risk.

So that's my dream. I think it speaks volumes. When I told it to the psychologist, she actually sighed with relief. I am not as low as I could possibly be and recognize the promise of the very, very near future. Of course, when you're feeling your lowest, even a dream like this can't fix it for you. I think, though, that it was designed to be put in place alongside all the emotions and truths I'm juggling. My experience is just this much broader and more dimensional.

Bimp is almost here and I have almost made it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Might we fantasize about some things to do with Bimp when he comes?

I'd like to bring him to the school and set him up on Hanks desk. Have Bimp dance to something wild.

I want to play all kinds of music GOOD music to him and help him move to the beat - make little videos of
him dancing. I want to make a PC vest for him so he and Bjorn match.

I want to make him a new costume every month. Outrageous ones tha are one of a kind and that no other kid has.
I want to do murals with him. Make candy with him. Teach me how to throw the ball.

I'd like to start focusing on the near future of sharing him with the world very soon - cause that makes this waiting a little more bearble. It;s not so bad once you plan events and parties and stuff.

OK YES, I just took an Ambien but STILL, I can fantazise can't I???

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hospitals are places devoid of joy. There is no hysterical laughter, no abundance of any kind of emotion - no effort to evoke any kind of feeling. At least on this high risk pregnancy floor - things are kept as quiet as possible. Mothers and their unborn babies are at risk. So be careful when you walk our halls, or all of hell might break loose. And if you're a Dr. making rounds, you especially don't want to become entangled in any one person's pregnancy hormones, so make your visits as brief as possible. Make sure you never fully enter a room. That you stand with one foot near the patient and the other as close to the exit as possible, as to make it known through your body language that you are not here to really listen, but to just make sure nothing's wrong.

I am not Anne here. I am Ms. Elser. And that's not the name I was born with. Why don't they put first names on the doors? What's with that crap? I mean, NO one calls me Ms. Elser. Or Ms. anything, for that matter. I am being absorbed by this place. I am patient #1714790 on a four sided mattress in a four walled room down a skinny hallway that I haven't seen since last Friday. Not that I'd want to see it anyway. It's just so fucking dreary.

There is not logic here. Especially in my own head. You can't reason depression away. It just IS. And it stems from being told to wait. WAIT.

Dante's first level of hell, called Limbo, is the best description of what's going on in my head I could find: Sorrow without torment. Peaceful, yet sad.

Level 1 - Limbo

Charon ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the brink of grief's abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Last night Doug came over with a card table, table cloth and 4 folding chairs. I thought it was a crazy idea, but once he set it up, it made sense. We were able to sit eye to eye at a table and eat dinner together. Rather than me in a bed and him in a chair on the other side of the room. He put a vase of flowers at the center and we spent a good half hour sitting there and chatting like we used to at the dinner table. It was delightful. One of the techs named Chystal came in and saw us and just about fainted. She brought in another tech named Corliss just to see our set up. They're very impressed with Doug. Makes me so proud of him. I wish I had a picture of it. I'll try again tomorrow night. He's bringing a puzzle tomorrow so I should be set for the week.

One bad thing about the past few days has been that each time I get into this bed, I've gotten joint pain that keeps getting worse. It started with one knee and is now in both. Today I discovered that if I spend part of my day OUT of bed and in a chair, it's more doable - the pain comes and goes. It's the lack of movement that's hurting my knees. The mere thought of a foot rub is excruciating.

Dr. Diamond will send me a physical therapist and has given me some safe pain meds to help in the mean time. They have done wonders so far. I actually feel like my real self again. Which serves to remind me that I really am depressed. The psychological effects of this lack of movement makes you feel more self destructive, loathing and volitle. I really hope once Bimp comes, these feelings ofworthlessness will go away and the only soothing I'll need will be from myself, which I miss. I miss myself. Because I have a history of depression in my family, I am a high risk for postpartum depression, too.

I hope it will all disappear once I am mobile again and can establish a new routine once again for Bimp and his Daddy. I hope the moving around, although at a much slower pace, will do me good - give me more energy, enable me to build my life around me again. I hope to pick up where I left off.

This feels more like imprisonment every day. Remember Andy Duphrane from The Shawshank Redemption? That's what it fees like. Sure, I may have a window in my room with a view, flowers and even help from others. But my life's work has been removed, my joy, my system of work and reward is gone. I cannot value myself any longer. Temporary or not, this is the hardest thing I've ever done. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. To remind me of the person I was in the past, and that this will be over soon and that I'll have an even busier life when Bimp arrives does nothing to soothe what I'm feeling now.

This powerful article caught my eye. The illustration says it all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

About my last post: Good GOD was I HIGH.

Am I entertaining the masses with these drug influenced posts? It's ridiculous. Sangria? Where'd THAT come from?

Some of the comments I write and then read later, I have no recollection of. Seriously. I read this shit and think to myself, "whose figured out my password and signed on as me?" Whose trying to make me look bad? These days, it's easy to look bad.

I have been stiflingly bored the past few days. Really depressed. Every question depresses me. Every comment, anyone who walks in my room, anything on TV. Everything hurts. I've never been so angry before. Never been so tired. Never felt such a lack of joy. Every nurse, every patient, every morsel of food. It's all bad. I'm all bad.

I'm not a fun person to visit.
I don't make a very good patient.

Being told to lay still and do nothing is... well, I can't describe it. I can't be cheered up. I've used up all the little distractions I have available to me. Nothing's appealing any more. And if it is, the duration of its usefulness gets shorter and shorter. I'm just running out of gas? What does a person DO with that? Where do I go from here?

What can I do to survive this pregnancy?
Lay still, be quiet. Do nothing.

What can I do to improve Bimp's health?
Lay still, be quiet. Do nothing.

What choices do I have?

Whose in charge here?
Certainly not me.

Here's the really freaky thing: I am so bored, I actually find some small amount of pleasure at the thought of an amnio. Where they put a needle in your belly and draw out some fluid to assess the baby's lung maturity. This is one of the procedures they're planning on that's put me in panic mode. The mere thought of it makes me nauseous. And now I'm so incredibly bored and ANGRY that I find the thought of looking at the needle and watching the ultrasound mildly entertaining. Is this part of what's supposed to happen?

Last night when they gave me a shot of "no contracto" after contracting all day, I was able to focus on something. An event. Though it was unpleasant, I tolerated it.

Dr. Feng came to see me this morning. Said they'd schedule the c-section around 37 weeks. Not 35. Not 36. Week 37 begins on Tuesday, September 26th - the last week in September. Bimp won't be an October baby. And all along, I was thinking maybe 35 or 36. So I'm slightly put off.

I arrived on August 21st. I've been here for 3 weeks. And I'll be here for 3 or more weeks. And I am going crazy and don't know how I'll survive. My favorite time of day is at night after they give me an Ambien and I lay down to sleep. I get to check out for 6 hours.

On a more positive note, Happy Tails came today and 2 of the doggies jumped up on my bed and snuggled with me. It was momentarily blissful to think a creature could love me enough to lay his head in my lap, As toxic as I feel right now. Maybe it's not love. Maybe it's just instinct. And maybe mine will kick in and I'll be a good mother. Everyone keeps saying when El Bimpo arrives, I'll forget about how hard this all was.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

~)THIS WEEK ITS ANGER:~ Great thing about Bimp is that he's SUCH an olympic performer, his movements can cause my uterus to contract. He did this ALL day today and gave me enough contractions to send me to group on a bed with wheels, (what do you call those things?) and with the Bimp induced contractions, came spotting, which was managed by the most lovely mesh underpants (one size fits all) sporting a glorified incontinence pad which is always fun to wear when you're pregnant. I was one of three on a bed - two had walking privileges and the rest were in wheel chairs.

Last week at our meeting, the most common emotion expressed was fear and anxiety. This week was ANGER. Surprised? I sure wasn/t, 0 (I think the Ambien they just gavem me to send me to bed esrlier i is kicking in cause I asked for an earlier bedtime from such an eventful day. We were monitored for over an hour and after giving me a shot of of "no contracto" -I think they call it breathine or something, and while it settles tihhings dwn in your uterous, it makes the rest of you shake 0 your arms and legs ad they make your amrs a legs tremble.

This nurse said iit isn't every day tha she sees a baby who moves arunf as muv a bimp does. She ewas cracking up trying to keep up with him and hs shify movements. This baby is a movemt rockstar. He crcks all the nrses up!

An amnio would be difficult though whit him moving around so much. I want iit to go fast and I am NOT looking at the needle or he monitir - i will only hold doug's hand.
Nad sing soemthing from the sound of music.

we moved my bed around in the room today and its looking more better. little moe human. I can see trees and buildings, not just condtruction.

I do not wnat to be afraid. I hpe during all of it, people talk to me cofmroting with smiling eyes so i can relax enough to trust them and let them take over. I want a peacful expereicne without pain.

please pray for me. I am so afraid. i would like to not be afraid but more curious about thie c ool new exocerience , i want more curious sense of wonder than one of fear and dread.

I need to trust people more.

The most beautiful thingd in this room are all in the family of red and pinka nd orance. Flowers and fruit that turn color at night against the sparkly lighte outside. A nice contrast. Hospitals don't have a lit of red things in view, do they? I think they've used warm teal as a mane color. Beige, tan, woodgrain. Hmmph. They need dsome pink and reds and salmon colors in there - yellw ochres and bright crisp whites for contrast. Some sangria would be really nice,

I love my husband, guys and am doing all this nonsense for him. He is such a good man. So open to change a nd working through stuff and making sacrifices. he has an awareness of himslef thhat helps him keep growing.

I think I am going to sleep in tomorrow on this new mattrsss. and will letl you know if it settles bimop down and myself, as well.

no more contracto bimp! uyou stay put!

~:3 4 • W E E K S & 2 D A Y S:~

Tuesday was a milestone folks! Making it to 34 weeks with a previa is huge. SO I'll take a bow. ((bowing))

The psychologist reminded me how important 34 weeks was, and how hard it's been to make it here. Though it feels like I am doing absolutely nothing but wait, I'm actually keeping things stable for Bimp. She told me to pat myself on the back. I have to admit, it feels a little better than complaining. And a little more constructive.

I have group today at 2-ish. Should be interesting as I might get to meet some new women today.

Below is the latest Ambien-influenced observation as Doug was tucking me in for the night:

your face looks like a plate of spaghetti with moustache

it's like a really nice diner in here. a really nice dining room. with a big chandelier

i like this place. this is a much nicer place than it was just a minute ago. it was like, poof, and it changed.

what's with all the crystal?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

~:M I S S I N G • B J O R N:~

So as many of you know, Doug brought Bjorn by the hospital the other day after fully recovering from his bladder surgery to say goodbye to me. Yes, I cried and yes, it was SO good to see him and YES, now that he's not in any pain, he's a different dog. He had gotten snappy and whiney and bossy and I thought it was just an attitude thing. He had even lost weight, which was another sign of the stress he was under. No wonder why he didn't want to be picked up anymore or cuddled. He was in pain! I'm very relieved to have this chapter in his little life over.

The way they do introductions at Camp Tallis (where he was Bjorn and raised, (har har) is by scent. They brought the little monkey in the play room and kept him in his crate for all to sniff and meet him - each dog at his own pace.

This little video shows part of that event - lots of little doggies and puppies. They're too cute for words.

A bit more good news today: they're putting in an order for an air mattress for me to make my stay here more comfortable. I have developed knee pain since being here and they say this new mattress will help with that - mold to my body more. This makes me feel special.

We had a bit of a scare last night, but it turned out to be nuthin. I had this fabulous new charge nurse with a low and comforting voice. She was so calm and non-patronizing and low key. I hope I have her again tonight.

And although I had nurse Kim again today, we got a long much better. I did not feel like crawling out of my skin, which I cannot explain. Maybe someone out there was praying for me or I ate the right thing for lunch. I dunno. But overall, today was better. I hope for a repeat performance tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

~:N O • S M O K I N G:~

Doug has brought many trinkets, etc. from home to my hospital room in an effort to make my imprisonment feel less restrictive and cozier. Things like plants from my kitchen windowsill, pictures of my family, my favorite Aveda hand creme, etc.

One of the objects I get the most use out of is a vintage red tin ashtray that was Mom's for years, then mine. I keep it by the sink with a pretty bar of soap nestled inside and I'd rather use it than the liquid stuff mounted on the wall. So I do.

I am told by the nurses that my room is ever so distinctive and cozy compared to other patient's rooms. This does not surprise me. I am a genius, ya know. Eh hem.

So! This morning I get a new sonographer to take those fun snapshots of Bimp you've seen me post. She comes in and sees the ashtray.

"What's that ashtray doing in here?"

"Excuse me?"

"The ashtray. Do I need to yell at you for smoking in here?"

"Um. There's a bar of SOAP in it."

"So I don't need to yell at you for smoking."

"No. I quit years ago."

"Oh. OK."


OK people. How stupid does one have to be to:

1. Smoke while pregnant.
2. Try to light on up in a hospital.
3. Smoke as a PATIENT in a hospital.
4. Smoke in open view of the millions of nurses and techs who come to my room every day to asses me on a fucking HIGH RISK PREGNANCY floor.

and my favorite...

5. Be so dense as to ignore all of the above and the fact that the ashtray is being used as a container for soap.

ON top of this, I have a new highly annoying nurse names Kim who is one of those "talkers" you can't seem to get rid of. Honestly, I spend more of my energy placating these nervous chatters than I do growing this baby. Kim comes in after the smoking police to assess how my sonogram went. They always check for the same stuff like movement, heart rate, how much amniotic fluid is there, and cord blood flow. It's pretty standard for me and non-threatening. Plus, for holding still, you get more pictures of your baby, which is more than fun!

So Kim comes in and says,

"So you had the sonogram."

"Yes. I had the sonogram."

"And it went well."

"Piece of cake, Kim."

"That's great!."


"And everything looked good."


"And your placenta wasn't torn or ripping from the wall of your uterus or anything. And you didn't see any pockets of blood or anything."

"WHAT? It can DO that? They were looking for that? I thought they were just looking at the baby???!!"

"Well, you have a previa and that's one of the things they look for."

Sheese. Yeah I know I've got a previa and I've been here for 2 weeks and I don't want any more alarming info that I don't know what to do with. I was clearly relaxed when you entered the room Kim and now you've just ruined it. Thanks.

I really hope I don't bleed today cause I don't want you touching me again, especially when I'm nervous and thanks, by the way, for leaving me on the monitor too long this morning and starting at 11:00 when you said you'd start at 9:00 and thanks so much for REMINDING me that I have a previa AND for interrupting my monitoring that was going so well to "let me know" that I could be having contractions, but wasn't and that I had a little uterine irritability, but not to worry about it, which I already know. Like I don't know what that looks like by now after being monitored twice a day, every day, for the past 2 weeks, which you already know.

If everything is fine and all looks good, just SAY SO and don't give me more information about what COULD go wrong if it obviously isn't already happening.

Tired of my complaining?

Something that HAS gone well today, though, and for which I am grateful, is my meeting with the psychologist. I mentioned to her my moments of panic and terror at the thought of an emergency, a flurry of nurses, that big blue screen during a c-section, the sensation of pulling they describe, IVs, having my arms strapped down while awake.... It's terrifying. She said it's like I'm playing this movie in my head over and over of what it might be like. It's the facing of the unknown that terrifies me, that no matter how many times it's described to me, my questions really can't be answered.

The fear of the unknown is killing me. The not knowing how this event will go down is killing me. I've got at least 2 more weeks to wonder about this. Me and my thoughts in this room together. It's maddening. Little distractions like food, TV and the internet can only do so much. It's unnerving.

I've had medical procedures done to me in the past. I have always found them less painful and scary than I had imagined them. I work myself up into this frenzy every time. But I've found that when in the moment, it's not nearly as scary as I had thought it would be. It happening to me now, and right now I've got something tangible I can react to and deal with and face.

More importantly, I can make PEACE with this experience because we're finally together. And I'm not alone any more. It's me and the sensation. It's me and the experience. I have something to work with and to reframe in real time.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of the event. Those fears go away when I'm there, when the UNknown becomes a known. A glorious, blessed, this-is-what-life-is, KNOWN.

Because the people around me are not perfect, like I am, I am having trouble trusting them. Most of them, I don't respect. Most of them are sucky communicators. Most of them can't even BEGIN to listen. How can you trust someone you don't respect?

I am starting to think that as cathartic as all this whining is for me, I am here to learn something. Like that I am not the center of the universe and that I bring issues with me wherever I go. But then I also think that a lot IS being asked of me, so why WOULD this be easy? Why wouldn't I complain? I've got more time than ever to be critical, to judge, to asses. Maybe the worst is just being brought out in me.

Maybe when you put a person in a room for a month and tell them to prepare for the worst, but that not to worry, because you're in the best place possible for the worst to happen, they can go a little nutso.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dear Placenta,

I am sorry for cursing you out the other day. I know you're still able to do your job, transferring food and oxygen to Bimp, even though you're in the WRONG place. Was that a left-handed compliment? Sorry.

Dear Cervix,

Thank you for doing your job perfectly. For staying firm and tightly closed, like any good girl should. I hope I have not shamed you into performing well.

Dear Visitors,

I hope my temper tantrum did not hurt your feelings. I am very grateful for your visits. Just be aware that I am new at this whole helpless patient thing and am not used to being in bed 24 hours a day.

Dear Bimp,

Thank you for performing PERFECTLY during your test strips. You're a trooper. Thanks for not caring what's going on with my body. For moving around as much as you do, putting on a lively show for the docs and nurses. For making ME look good.

Dear loopy high-strung night nurses,

Fuck you. And fuck your power trips. Fuck your own sick need to "serve (control)" your patients, and your own neediness, which you just end up transferring to your patients via horror stories and and detailed descriptions of how needles work.

Dear Ovaries,

I am putting you two on the pill RIGHT after Bimpie is out. THANK you for giving me Bimp but oh my god, I don't think I can do all this again.

Dear nurses who are calm and easy-going and emotionally independent/mature,

God bless you. Have you been watching the Dog Whisperer? Cause I swear you and Ceasar have the same philosophy. Thank you for listening and really keying in on what I need to hear and what I do NOT need to hear.

Dear Blog readers,

Thank YOU for not freaking out on my freaking my shit way out about my freaking out about all this freaking my shit so far out there.

Dear Students,

Thank you for being OK with my not answering all your e-mails. I just don't have the energy to think about work/design/art or anyone BUT myself. I'm as selfish now as I've ever been - I am just too scared to look beyond my own navel right now.

Dear Eggshells,

Can you just move out of the way already? I'm sick of trying to walk on or around you.

Dear food service cafeteria people,

Good god, please stop asking me what I want for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I really don't care anymore. And I'm sorry, but as nice as you guys are, the mere sight of you makes me nauseous. And whatthefuckisthis? A snack? Are you serious? Soft bread on a plastic plate wrapped in saran? You guys get texture thing all wrong. In fact, you have no concept of texture. Not everything has to be mushy and vegetables don't like it when you cook the dickens out of them - unless they're mashed potatoes, which WANT to be mashed. It's bad enough not being able to use my abdominal muscles, but thanks to you and your shenannigans, my jaw muscles are beginning to atrophy, too.

Dear Bladder,

I know it's a lot to ask, but just because I still have bathroom privileges does NOT mean I want them every 30 minutes. And when you DO decide to empty, can you do a little more than a teaspoon? Come ON now, put on a good show, will 'ya?

Dear Docs,

Thank you for staying way far away from my vagina. See top illustration and visit this fantastic blog entry for another take on the pleasure of all things fertility and a very witty placenta previa primer.

Dear Clitoris,

Sorry for the lack of attention. I miss you. So does Doug. Porn doesn't help any longer now, does it? What's the fun in watching some naughty girl get some if we can't have any?

And I think that's about it for now. I got to see Bjorn yesterday and will write a more upliftting and less toxic post about that later.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

~:W H A T 'S • F O R • D I N N E R:~

Dear placenta. Fuck you. Thanks a whole lot for ruining this pregnancy. And whoever it was who took my first baby, fuck you, too. Fuck you, Nurse Ratchett. Fuck you, nightmares. Fuck you to cavalier doctors who do nothing but smile. Fuck you to my nerves. Fuck you, me. You're pathetic to think that you'll be the only previa patient who won't ever bleed again. I've just talked to a nurse, who I like, who answered more of my questions about bleeding, the c-section, etc. Fuck being brave. I am sick of being brave. I am sick of being polite. Of making the best of this, of being cheery and cracking jokes with the nurses. I am sick of writing funny posts. I am tired of anticipatory dread. I am tired, tired, tired. But I can't sleep. I'm too anxious. I don't ever want to be pregnant again. This is crazy. Hospitals are crazy. Every time I close my eyes, I expect to wake up bleeding again. What do you do with that fear?

Hi! My name is Anne and any second now, I'm going to bleed on you.
Hey sport! Mind if I bleed for a while?
Oops! I'm bleeding!
Did you see that!?? She's bleeding! Gross!

I have no choice. I am sick of not having choices. I am sick of being asked what color my pee is. "And how are we this morning?" Fuck you. That's how I am this morning. I am a 38 year old mother - stop patronizing me. I am not fucking five years old. And if I cry, just leave me the fuck alone. I am sick of trying to be clever. The techs push these little carts down the hallway ALL DAY LONG that make this maddening squeeky noise. They come around to take your pulse and temp - part of their undying customer service, I guess. Something I'm paying for, I guess. Honestly, I just want to go home now.

I am sick of people who pray BADLY. You know, there's a right way to do it. And most people really suck at it. "Dear God, we know we're all sinners and that we deserve to be punished. Thank you so much for giving Anne (the bleeder) these challenges. You are just so big an awesome and cool, God. You're just swell. The shiznit."

I am sick of well wishers. Visitors. The woman (who is just doing her job, I know, but fuck her, too anyway) who comes around from the kitchen to take my meal order for the next 3 meals. This picture is what arrived for lunch yesterday and was the trigger for an evening of nausea. Thanks a bunch. What IS that thing? A breaded organ? A hand? A foot? A nose? Whatever it is, I don't want it on my plate. Not even in my room. This is how helpless I feel. I eat and stay in bed. every hour, there's a knock on my door. I'm a fucking INTROVERT, people! That means I don't wanna see you! Nope. Not even you! Or you! You, neither. And especially not you.

If this is life, I don't want it. If this is what's on my plate, I don't want it. I don't want "whatever's best" because that's just another phrase for, "look at it THIS way, suckkah. You're screwed! Smile anyway! Chin up! Yer fucked!"

After feeling like a rock star in "group" yesterday, (yes, I was in a wheelchair, but I was the smartest dressed person there, the only one wearing lipstick, showing any kind of cleavage and was the farthest along out of all 10 of us) I was on a high. These other women had sad stories like I did - but they were all slightly different. I was just grateful to have survived my own version thus far. And thought very highly of myself for having done so and for still getting to shower every day, walk to the bathroom, shave my legs, dry my hair, put on something cute, and sit up in bed. Noble flash of mature character, I know. Like what really counts makes me happy. NOT.

One of my favorite nurses answered some questions I had today for her. I asked her to be frank: They expect me to bleed. Again and badly. Worse each time. They're getting ready to do this thing called "type and screen" where they take my blood AGAIN and make sure there's enough of its match in their bank here IN CASE I have another bleed that would warrant a transfusion. They expect this. They fucking expect this. The closer I get to term, the bigger bimp grows, the more my uterus stretches, the more likely my placenta will bleed again. And more. Once I get the type and screen, I'll wear a little red arm band that says so and I'll have this lovely looking IV plugged into me that gives them easy access to me for blood, fluids, whatever. The ONLY reason why they removed my initial IV was because I didn't have another big bleed since arriving here and because asked to have it removed. It fucking hurt and ached and they put it on my right fucking hand right at my wrist. Nice huh? Every time I tried to hold something it ached. To think that they want to put in another one "just in case" and have it in me for the next 3 weeks is infuriating. Here's the truth - it makes their job all that easier. Creating an IV tap would be one less thing they'd have to do should I bleed badly again. Fuck them. I am so mad I could scream. I want to fly down the hallway and drive myself home.







Friday, September 01, 2006

~:B R O U G H T • T O • Y O U • B Y • T H E • M A K E R S • O F • A M B I E N:~

A: Your hands look like a bunch of castles.

D: Really.

A: Yes. It's like a puppett show.
One man Is grey and the other is pink.

D: (chuckles)

A: Listen here, Mr. Six Mouths.


Mr., Mr. Twelve Eyes.

Check out the latest of our Northside Hospital HRP stay photos and what Bimp sounds like when riding a horse!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

~:I • B L A M E • H I M:~

January, 2006. A new year. After a two years of trying to create, let alone maintain a pregnancy, we are successful on a cold January morning. Doug's on his way out da doh for his day, having just ran and showered. I've just come upstairs from a peaceful morning of knitting with Bjorn and the cats. I'm due to meet Marlis and Molly for our weekly coffee gig at Java Monkey. The sun is out and pouring into the bedroom. It's a little chilly. It's Friday and am relishing in the joy of working for myself, rather than the big man. Life is good.

So you wanna try real quick? I had been charting my temps for a while and thought this moment was perfect.
Sure. I gotta be at work soon though.
Yeah, and I'm meeting the girls for brunch.
OK .
Hold on a sec.
And poof, we laugh, get dressed and go on about our day.

My advice to infertile couples? Do it on a sunny Friday morning before you go to work. Don't even think about it. And make sure you do a lot of laughing.

Next thing I know, I'm peeing on a stick on a mid-morning Saturday thinking, "This is stupid that I'm even looking at this thing." Yeah right. Like I could actually BE pregnant.

I see 2 faint lines.
Two this time.
And I know.
And I put my hand over my open mouth. And I am happy.
And petrified.

I stand up and walk over to the window where I will find Doug in his work clothes setting up a ladder in the driveway right below our bedroom window. I crack open the window wide open and shout out to him, " Catch!" And throw him the stick. He catches it, looks down, covers his mouth, looks up at me again and falls to the ground, clutching his heart. Within 10 seconds he's back in the house we are crying in each other's arms. And the saga of a second pregnancy begins. It's a miracle.

Bimp is here. We hang on this time and decide to wait until after the 1st trimester to share our news. Nausea has the best of me for 2.5 months. But I am beaming inside. I even have a couple of students ask what's up with me? How come you're glowing? And friends who could just "tell" whose response to the eventual news was, "I KNEW it." or "You were pregnant in my dream last night."

Now we come to the present.
And I have just returned from a group meeting on this floor where I met other HRP mothers in much the same situation as I. It was touching to hear other stories and feel strength from other people. It felt really good to cry and to watch other women struggle with the same emotions. Many, many of them had had previous miscarriages. I wish I had known them 2 years ago when we had ours. I would have felt less alone. And there's nothing like the support you get from common experiences.

Tonight there were 2 other women lying on their sides on stretchers. Everyone else was in a wheelchair like me. Nearly everyone mentioned some kind of faith based strength, which I thought was nice. Half of us couldn't make it through the whole meeting without leaving to pee at least once. We laughed and we cried. Mostly, I listened. There was a lot of love in that room. And a whole lot of patience.

I am amazed at the process of motherhood. I am humbled by it. My dear friend Gray came to visit me yesterday and he actually complimented my hormones for doing their job. Hormones not only effect you emotionally - preparing you for a lifetime of sacrifice and work and joy, but they're the things that tell your uterus to get ready, your brain to start thinking differently, your ligaments to loosen up. It's all connected. This involuntary network of things that need to be done to create a life - a new person.

Another thing I talked with Gray about was the new kind of love and admiration I have for Doug. It's like falling in love all over again. This love is NOTHING compared to the initial infatuation I felt when we first met and were dating. This love is something altogether different. I want to see him as a father more than anything else. Seriously - more than my need for motherhood. Just to be a part of providing him with the fatherhood role is really amazing. I feel incredible blessed. It's more of a turn on than anything else I can think of. I've always known I wanted to have children, but never in my life did I think it would be this much fun to give a child to a man. Makes me wonder if children should come first before marriage. I know it sounds crazy. I feel crazy saying it. But oh my God, the wedding, the meeting, the dating - all that feels so trivial compared to this baby. This is where the real fun begins. And I can't believe I'm saying FUN while here in the hospital.

Dougie Fresh - just LOOK at the mess you got me into. Knocked up in the hospital - my freedom, my job, my home, my pets - all taken away from me and replaced with an army of nurses whose job it is to ask you the most embarrassing personal questions, ALL DAY LONG. All dignity lost. I cry in front of everyone.

Yes. I blame this man.

And I thank this man.

For sticking with me.

For making me a mother.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

~:33 • W E E K S:~

Latest update: Bimp scored 8 out of 8 again on his ultrasound this morning. He's doing very well. I took a shower and am wearing a new pink bathrobe and nightgown Mom bought for me. Bonnie is coming for a visit today. Sharon is coming tonight. I fixed my hair today. Doug bought me some fancy Aveda bar soap for my shower. The ultra wax Minus Five bought me is kicking major ass here in room 220. That shit don't play. I love it! I have my fave nurse today named Kristin. Bimp has turned once again. I still have contractions now and again - they stop them if they get too much. I pooped twice this morning. Peed a million times since then, too. You should all be proud of me. :-)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

~A L L • A B O U T • A M B I E N:~

Conversations with Doug under the influence of Ambien.

A: Can I give you a kiss?

{Doug bends to kiss me}

A: Now you're pink and red and close.

D: Whose the President of the United States?

A: G. W. Bush

D: Whose the Vice President?

A: Dick Cheney

D: Good. Very good.

A: Now you're an "eye face", you have one nose, four eyes and two mouths.

{Pressing this control panel of buttons on my bed that adjust angles, call nurses, control lighting and sound in the room - all at the end of my fingertips.} I wonder if I'm hurting anyone when I press these buttons? This looks like an alien abduction mothership control panel. This button above the figure like beams him up. This one below him is like the one for the anal probes.

{Doug smiles as he records my observations.}

A: Your hair looks like a heavy duty stapler - the top part. You should be punishing me like a principal. With a switch or a birch or a paddle.

{Doug raises an eyebrow.}

A: Now you're black and pale peach,

Doug: Now whose the prez?

A: George Wuuuu... George Bush

D: You're spacey.

A: I'm not spacey. You're LOOKING very spacey.

A: You know, my uterus is pretty mad.
{By the time I begin to express anger and sarcasm, Doug keeps an eye on the monitor they're using to measure Bimp's heartbeat any my contractions - which are effected by the intensity of whatever emotions I'm feeling. A nurse the other day told me that the uterus is the most finicky and sensitive muscle in a woman's body. It reacted instantly to whatever I said. Amazing. Now we know why relaxation is so important - why patient care really makes a difference. }

Uterus: What's so bad about contractions? All you fuckers are taking my job away from me! I'm supposed to have 9 months to practice and build muscle strength.

A: Wull, yeah. It'd be nice, huh? You're not the only one whose natural born job and bodily functions have been monitored and then taken away. Talk to the placenta.

Talking to the placenta: You, my friend, have fucked up. Thanks for ruining this whole experience for me.

Uterus: I gotta fight this bitch who owns this body. She's going to fight against what I'm trying to do. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to get everyone down and out like I'm supposed to. I MIGHT could do my job if it weren't for those two motherfuckers - the placenta and um, YOU, Anne.

Uterus talking to the doctors: Oh, you gonna cut me? Look here you ass wipe. Make sure you take your time stitching her up. You think twice before you cut me and fuck it up and do a c-section.

{Using Tony Soprano's toughest voice after an unpleasant conversation with nurse Marva, who tricked me by waiting for me to swallow the 2 Ambien before telling me she wanted to give me a shot of fucking morphine, to stop my contractions, the majority of which were caused by her own nervousness and patronizing bedside manner}.

Placenta: Now you wanna give me morphine to emasculate me?


This is when we fired Nurse Marva.

Friday, August 25, 2006

~:H E R E • T O • S T A Y:~


I'll be here for a while. I actually (can't believe I'm saying this) am a little relieved. After having been an unwilling participant in recreating the set of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in our bedroom Monday night (I shit you not), I am a bit relieved to be in an environment of trained professionals poised for such an emergency. In short, I am in good hands here at the Hospital.

So no more classes until well after Bimp is born and I am back at school. I'll be taking the rest of this quarter off (but please continue to e-mail me work if you need a second opinion on your pieces or um, if you just miss me). I already miss you guys. Hmmmph. We had a ladies brunch shower for Bimp planned later in September that will have to be postponed until after Sir Bimp's arrived.

But Bimp is fine. He's REALLY fine in fact. Scores very well on all his tests. I'm fine, too. Just kind of walking on eggshells. This dern placenta is such a pain in the ass. I"m not in any pain, I'm just nervous. The thing about previas is that they're so unpredictable. The best we can do is be prepared for another bleed. Which is why I'm here. They are not necessarily linked to bleeding because of a direct response to my movement. But in general, the less I move, the better. Walking and stair stepping irritate the cervix, which is this thing that thins out and stretches in preparation for birth. Normally, the placenta is well behaved. It implants up high in the wall of your uterus and provides food and oxygen from your body to the baby. When it decides to implant lower, it can be completely covering the cervix or even if it's next to it, it can cause problems. The very edge of mine is covering the cervix. So it's a problem. It bleeds unpredictably, which can cause contractions that lead to premature delivery or I could bleed to death. Not pretty.

So I am here on this bed. The doc told me this morning he'd feel safer if I were here. I should be supervised 24 hours a day. He said we could schedule a c-section delivery as soon as 26/27 weeks. That's the end of September! That's so close! But so far away. Since I'll be here for a while, they have put me on the list for a larger room. This is an exciting development.

A bit about my scehdule: Every Friday, Happy Tails comes for a visit (well-behaved therapy doggies with their owners. Every Thursday, I have the option of being wheeled to a support group somewhere on this floor and would get to meet the other patients here. I am really looking forward to that. Adult visiting hours are from the morning til around 9PM. I would welcome any visits from any of you. I'm in room 133, when that changes, I'll let you know. The room phone is 404.459.1133. Just call and let me know when you're coming. And if you can - do what sweet Tania says and bring chocolate, cheetos, milkshakes (fresh cut fruit and veggies are great, too) - whatever! I have a mini fridge in my room. :-)

Today I was visited by two dogs and their owners from Happy Tails. A nice diversion. Mom and Dad came by, too. I got a shot of steroids. That was fun. I've had more fun with Ambien. Expect a list of interesting phrases Doug recorded during one of my hallucinations soon. I get to have two every night. Boy, do I sleep well. I can also have this stuff called Ativan. That one's fun, too. Not as strong but really takes the edge off reality. So very handy.

Another thing I am learning to do is to be more assertive about my well being. There's something about being in a bed that inhibits my ability to look out for myself. I just assume that everyone around me knows more than I do and that I am not to question anything. Makes me feel like a child. In my last post, I mentioned a nurse from hell. Her name is Marva. Feel free to send a condescending curse or two her way. I got up the guts to complain about her and as it turns out, I am not the only patient who was upset by her. She got me SO upset, that when she monitored me, I had contractions which were exaggerated by her tom foolery - a bad idea. I'll post the whole story for you guys soon. It will be a fun one to tell. Long story short is that I was able to request not to be seen by her ever again. I am very happy about that.

Oh! One more thing is that I am seen by a handful of doctors (depends on whose on call, etc) but they're all from the same group. My head doc is named Dr. Feng. He's cool. AND a MAC user. He advised me this morning that Apple put out a recall of batteries (there were a few that have overheated)- mine qualifies. "Just don't rest it on your belly" he said.

I'm quite moody these days. I guess that's natural. My toilet backed up this morning and I just about jumped out the window when they said, "Don't worry - we'll bring you a bed pan if you need it." FUCK THEM. I kept calling until someone came to fix it (within an hour). That was great. But it took another hour for them to get out here to mop the floor. Hmmph.

I CAN say that the majority of nurses and staff have been tremendously supportive. But because I am so limited, even the tiniest inconvenience is very upsetting. Sometimes I feel like listening to me must be like watching an episode of Deadwood. COCKSUCKKURS!

Above is a new picture of Bimp. I get to hear him twice a day. So far have had 3 ultrasounds since we arrived Monday night.

I think that's about it for now. I miss everyone. I can't wait to be a Mommy. I can't believe I'll be out and about in 2 months with a baby in my arms, a cooler breeze in the air, maybe a sweater over my shoulders, a husband by my side, Bjorn at the end of a leash, ON my feet and not walking on eggshells. Glorious, glorious vision, I must say.