On the drive to work this morning, I told Mr. W that I had spoken to Rebecca last night. I told him I asked her “What happened to my embryos?”, and that she’d seen a whole bunch of eggs/embryos, saw embryos being discarded as they would or did lose viability, saw embryos being frozen, saw 2 women receiving embryos, one resulting in pregnancy and the other maybe not. I was about to launch into how my fertility doc lied to me, but before I could, Mr. W interrupted my story with, “The woman who got pregnant was you.”


When I’d asked Rebecca my question, I had wanted to know what happened to my three donated embryos, but that was not what I’d asked. The Universe is pretty literal, and I had asked what happened to my embryos. That’s why she was shown what happened to the bunch of eggs that were initially harvested, as well. So the two women who received an embryo or embryos. One WAS me. The other was promised anonymity, as I knew she would be, when she agreed to receive my donated embryos.

“I don’t think it’s ethical for Dr. R to not tell you,” Mr. W said. “I think he HAS to tell you [if your donated embryos result in a birth].”

A common and frequent admonishment my judge tells witnesses as they prepare to testify is, “Listen carefully to the question(s) being asked, and answer THAT question. The questions are not an invitation to go rambling off and talk about what YOU want to talk about.” The universe listened to the question, and answered THAT question. I did not listen to my own question.

Dear Riley,

I asked Rebecca today simply, “What happened to my embryos?” No explanation nor background. She said it didn’t make any sense to her, but she saw that a bunch of them were either discarded or will be discarded because they can’t be kept viable longer than an x amount of time, like 3 years. (It didn’t make sense to me, either, until I later realized what she saw was the other 8 or so fertilized eggs that were indeed discarded by the fertility lab, when the most promising one was implanted to make Allie, and the other 3 best ones were frozen.) She said embryos were frozen. She said that embryos had gone to 2 women (which is the scenario I had originally expected), and that one resulted in a pregnancy and she may have given birth already, and Rebecca was getting a big question mark on the other woman, doesn’t think the other became a pregnancy. I was thrown because, you know, what the fertility doctor emailed me last month. I didn’t tell Rebecca anything, just asked her if there was any reason the fertility doc would lie to me about this, and she said that the parents asked for anonymity.

I was so, so angry. I felt violated that the fertility doctor lied to me. I felt that as the donor of the embryos, I had a right to know since he had offered me the DOBs if I wanted them. I felt like the recipient parents violated my embryo/child, because if they’re planning on carrying on with no one in the world but them knowing where the DNA came from, the child has a right to know a medical history in case he or a medical care provider needed family history info. I felt like Allie was being violated, because the reason for the DOB was to prevent accidental sibling inbreeding, since as patients of the same clinic, we’re very likely local to each other. Who do these recipient parents think they are? Don’t they owe me at least the courtesy of truth and/or a DOB, if I wanted it, for my giving them my CHILD?

After some time spent breaking down my thoughts and disturbing feelings of selfishness, it boiled down to this:

I really, really hope that in situations like this, and in this situation specifically, that it is my vehicle, their driver. I hope that the soul born into that family is the soul that was always meant for that family, but I just provided the vehicle because they needed a little help with the human form. I need it to be their son who came into their family, and not you. Because you are my Riley. MY Riley. I couldn’t get over it if I had accidentally given you away and displaced you into the wrong family. You let your sister through instead of coming through yourself this time; I’m fine with your (your and Allie’s) choice(s), I’m not okay with my accidental giving away of your choice.

To that, Rebecca said, “It’s all okay. I read a quote from Amma today that said ‘You are the Self, not the mind.’ In other words, be…don’t think…trust God. Riley is still floating around deciding where he will end up. At least that’s my visual.”

And suddenly, I was SO relieved. I don’t know why, because it’s the same effect. You’ll be born elsewhere to someone else if you decide to come down to this plane during my lifetime here. I guess I feel better knowing you’re not the donated embryo, because by not being that embryo, that means wherever you come out, it would be YOUR choice; I didn’t accidentally give you away.

And Rebecca said, “Nope…you didn’t.”

I feel an attachment to you, maybe from past lives shared. I know you. I feel you. I did in my early pregnancy, as well. You and Allie are so different; you’re peaceful, compassionate and a caretaker. Allie is spunky, fierce and independent. You patiently watch where she experimentally does. You provide help by sacrificing what you can; she takes but turns it into a (positive) payback contribution. You’re both good, but so yin and yang. She’ll give me a good run, some sharp challenges, some rebellions. You would’ve smiled and held me and said with confidence it’s all okay, and you would’ve been right. I still see you as the big brother, 3 years older than Allie, and I guess that was the original picture but that’s changed now, partly with your help. Again, a quiet sacrifice of sorts, stepping aside to let an eager soul come through in your place. “Plans change,” you are telling me now. “It’s okay. Nothing wrong with that. It’s not a sacrifice, just another way to get to the same place.”

I had wondered if the doctor was lying to me, because I had felt a kid out there. That was why I emailed last month. Rebecca told me to trust my instincts. I’m just relieved that’s not you, whatever that says about me. Dr. R likely didn’t like having to lie to me, and the email was curt. He for whatever reason “had” to defer to the recipient parents’ wishes over mine. He probably told himself he didn’t lie that MUCH, since one recipient really didn’t result in a pregnancy. Had he said simply that my embryos were donated to another couple and that it didn’t result in a pregnancy, it wouldn’t have been a lie but an omission about the other set of parents; but he said all 3 embryos were donated to 1 couple and didn’t result in a pregnancy.

I will miss you, as I already do, in this life. Unless…”Riley will be with you in some way if it’s meant to be. Trust the universe; it knows what it’s doing.” One of the last things Rebecca told me tonight. If I don’t see you Here, I’ll see you when I get back Home. Mama loves you, baby boy. Thanks for listening to me.

I’ve had my little donated embryos on my mind, the two “A” quality ones, the one “C” quality that may not survive the freezing/thawing process. When I’d first donated them, I’d asked our clairvoyant friend Rebecca if she feels anything about them. She said she was getting nothing, but that they’d be healthy. When I’ve thought about them, they’ve felt like “my boys.” My two boys are out there somewhere, I was thinking. (Donation was final last summer.)

In mid-January I had emailed my fertility doctor, to whom I’d donated the embryos, to let him know that yes, we’d like to take him up on his previous offer of knowing the date(s) of birth if/when the embryos find their way to their new parents. I’d also included a photo of him with Allie and a professional studio pic of Allie from December, 2012, and a description about her growth and interests, in case the embryos’ new parents wanted some interesting factoids (such as don’t be alarmed if the kids don’t grow hair until well after age 1). Apparently he didn’t get that email, and we went back and forth after I’d sent a followup email this month. The backs-and-forths got offensive for a second there last week and I’d considered posting about that here to vent, but decided to wait. Basically he kind of yelled at me over email, saying that he doesn’t have a date of birth yet and that I need to email him in a year to check because now is too soon. Like I was jumping the gun. I figured he was mistaken because in a previous email in the string, he’d written that all the paperwork for the donation was finalized “months ago”, when I know it was actually 15 months ago, so he probably thought he read March of 2013 instead of the correct date of March of 2012. Besides, I wasn’t asking for a DOB immediately, just that when/if it occurs, I’d like to know. I wrote him a polite email setting him straight, and his response seemed to concede a bit in tone. He ended that email with “talk to you soon,” to which I didn’t respond because, why would I talk to him?

After the request for DOBs was (finally) communicated, I was confused and conflicted about how I feel. I think motherhood has made me feel a little more possessive and protective over my child and potential children. The detached clarity I had before I was pregnant, making me very comfortable about the donation of any unused embryos, had blurred a bit when I actually donated the embryos when Allie was a few months old, and now that Allie is my little spunky tyke, I wanted so much for her “brothers” and I had no way of ensuring that their new parents would make sure “my” baby/ies will be given proper nutrition, allowed sufficient rest, be provided with everything I try to give Allie. I couldn’t even ensure that the mother was properly educated on pregnancy and would eat/not eat, do/not do the best thing as her body built the kids’ organs, bones, brain neurons, etc. All that was hard to think about. Would these parents treat them well and not consider in their parenting that the child(ren) are genetically not their own? I really, really hoped so. And would they tell their kid(s), as they got older, the origin of their genetics, and if so, would the boy(s) look for us? Would I maybe meet them one day since they may be local to access the same fertility clinic, and would I know it? I wondered if maybe not knowing anything would be better. Not knowing if they’re out there, so I don’t wonder how they’re doing, what they’re doing. I imagined Allie one day knowing that she has full-blood brothers out there “somewhere.” How she would feel about being a big sister, sort of.

This morning, I saw that I got another email from the fertility doctor. I wasn’t expecting to hear from him again, and my hands felt slow and unsteady and clumsy as I clicked through the encrypted mail site, entered my password, and read. I was not expecting these words…

Your three (3) embryos were donated to another couple but they unfortunately did not conceive. Thank you very much for your generous gift. We all regret that the results are what they were.
Dr. R

His tone did not invite further questions, and had lost the original warmth they’d had in our initial email string (before it got offensive for me). The words on the screen blurred. A couple had hopes of conceiving children dashed again and again, and now this. The beautiful little boys I saw in my head who had Allie’s smile would never be running around out there somewhere playing in the grass. Confused by my profound sense of loss, I wrote back a curt response that did not begin to hint at the depth of what I was actually feeling.

Dr. R,
Thank you for the information. My heart goes out to the couple. I wish I could have done more. I’ll embrace them in prayer tonight, now that I know.

I did not realize how much I wanted these boys to exist until that moment. I quickly went into the restroom and cried it out. I didn’t know whether it was my loss I was feeling, or empathically the loss of the parents. This would be a couple who has tried everything to conceive naturally, to conceive through IVF, and now to conceive with someone else’s embryos. I didn’t understand. It made no sense. Those kids were supposed to be healthy. They were 2 “A” quality embryos. This is a very good, experienced fertility clinic whose doctors literally wrote the book on IVF fertility (really, you can buy this book and other doctors reference it) and their stats of success are well, well above national average. How? Could it be that the universe knew I couldn’t handle it well so it took the option/hardship away from me? Could it be that those embryos would have energetically only existed for me? I had zero problems with the fertility process or pregnancy, success with no complications the first time. How could my other top-notch embryos not make it, also? I wanted to give a family and a soul or two the opportunity and vehicle to incarnate and be together here in this life. What happened?

I may need to talk to Rebecca about this. Had they conceived, they would’ve been healthy, but she got nothing on conception itself. She’d also always said the souls waiting to cross to be our children were just waiting for me to make the decision. Could it be that once the decision was made to not have another embryo implanted, that the embryos were only dog-eared for us so they lost viability? That can’t be, or other people’s embryo donations would have failed, too. I don’t get it. I wonder what Riley’s doing right now. I realize I sound crazy.

The gardeners came yesterday while I was breastfeeding Allie, so that’s good; they didn’t wake her up. The cleaning people came late at 3:15p, and I’d just put her down for a nap at 3p. When I opened the door, they must’ve seen something in my face when I told them I’d just put the baby down 15 mins ago and I didn’t know what to do, because they said simply that they’d come back in an hour and 20 minutes. I gratefully closed the door. Allie ended up taking that nap all the way until they came back at 5p, and I went in and opened the door and she woke up in a great mood. Mr. W was home by then, so we went to pick up the prescription low-protein cat food from the vet, had some Italian at the restaurant next door to the vet, then went to the local drugstore to buy some diapers. Allie was very well-behaved in public, altho she started crying in the car on the way back, struggling against the carseat. I put her to bed with no problem as she was very tired and ready to go down at about 7:30p when we started her bedtime feeding. Dodo took to the new food seemingly also without a problem, and was a perfect gentleman all night.

Allie, however, decided to have 2 middle-of-the-night feedings for the 2nd night in a row. The first one was very early, 10:30p. The next one was also very early, albeit in the morning, 4:50a. I comforted myself saying it was 3:50a to her. One of my now biggest fears regarding her nights happened at her 10:30p feeding. Altho she was falling asleep eating and did fall asleep after on the Boppy, and I let her sleep for a minute or so in hopes she’d be really tired when I moved her back to her crib, the moment she hit the crib she was wide awake and upset. I walked out when I heard her suckle her fingers in a self-soothe attempt. As soon as I entered the bedroom, she was all-out wailing and flailing. I went back in, trying to get her thumb back in her mouth. Nope. Patted her comfortingly. Nope. I had to pick her up as she screamed and cried and struggled against me. I patiently held her and walked her a little bit in her room, the way I put her to nap. She tried to get into the sleepy position and suck her thumb, but seconds later she’d pull her thumb out, stiffen up against me pulling away from my body, thrash her legs, and scream and cry again. This happened over and over. I considered maybe she had her nose stuffed from the crying and couldn’t breathe well with her thumb in her mouth, but then she started settling for multiple seconds at a time so that I could hear breath come in and out, so I knew she was fine. After 15-20 minutes of this, Mr. W poked in and asked if I wanted him to bring the swing upstairs into her room. I shook my head vehemently, still trying to keep things very calm, quiet, dark, and as commotion-less as possible so she doesn’t get used to hyper-interaction in the middle of the night. Mr. W couldn’t see me in the dark and assumed I didn’t answer, so he went downstairs and lugged the big electric swing up. I whisper-hissed at him, as he came in the room, “No, no no! Too much commotion!” I think I offended him as he went back out. She finally settled into the sleepy position, sucked her thumb, and fell asleep on me. When I put her in her crib, she sighed and moved, curling onto her side putting her thumb back in her mouth, and as I snuck out, I heard her suckle. By the time I was back in our bedroom apologizing to Mr. W, she was asleep. Looking back at the app where I’d recorded her feeding and her sleeping, the time between the end of her feed and the beginning of her sleep was about 30 minutes, but it felt like hours of screaming, struggling, sweating.

I was still exhausted by the time she cried again at 4:50a. Mr. W was already up, having gotten ready downstairs for the gym to allow me some time to sleep, but the cat was also up and moving around, meowing here and there (not yowling), and could be convinced to come to me to be petted and quieted. I was watching the baby flail around on the monitor and then yup, she started crying. I went to her room as Mr. W was getting ready to leave and I started feeding her, terrified that she’d refuse to go back to sleep like earlier. When I heard the garage door open then close, I suddenly felt very, very alone in the dark with the baby who now felt more like something I feared than something I confidently nurtured. Please, please, please, go right back to sleep afterwards, I prayed in my head. I was terrified, and so, so worn.
She went back to bed in her crib without much protest beyond the initial whimpering.

I went back to bed, also, and did not sleep well. I continue to have what feels like auditory hallucinations of the baby crying as my brain drifts thru the gap between wake and sleep. I would wake up with my heart pounding, reach for the phone to do a camera check while praying that I’m having an auditory hallucation. Most of the time this morning, I was. She slept well and I again had to debate whether I ought to start moving her wake time incrementally earlier. I finally gave up trying to sleep and I got up to get myself ready for the day, and went in her room at 7:50a, 10 mins earlier than yesterday. She was wide-eyed, so I don’t know if I woke her by opening the door, or if she was already awake. She smiled sweetly at me with her gummy mouth open. I did my usual, “Good MORning, sweetheart!” as I opened her blinds, and we started our day.

Things always seem less desperate in daylight, but I am hanging on day-by-day, very very close to total burnout. I feel a slight nausea, I feel very close to tears. I find myself spacing in the middle of playing with Allie, or in the middle of feeding her. It’s hard to plan ahead, and I don’t know what to do a lot of the time, but I still try. Yesterday, as her nap reached the point of her next feeding and she was still asleep, I started pumping with the handpump. I was so stressed I got no more than drops out of the side that normally produces a lot, and I switched sides and had just gotten out 2 ounces when she woke up. I had to stop mid-pumping, get her, prepare and bottle-feed her, then I tried to finish pumping while she was in the walker/activity center. Got nothing out of the other side still. I gave up and put that bottle in the fridge, washing the pump parts with her cooperation upstairs as she hung out in the Boppy and watched me a few minutes. The day before, I pumped while she was playing in her high chair and she lost patience just minutes in and started wailing. But I have to pump to replace the feeding I’m giving her by bottle in order to keep my supply up; and I have to feed her a bottle a day to keep her bottle-trained. It’s just hard on my own. I don’t know how people do it with multiple young kids.

Mr. W has been eager for us to go to the fertility clinic and sign the release papers so that they can stop storing our remaining 3 embryos. It costs $50/month for the storage, and if we choose to not pay it anymore, we can tell them whether to discard, donate, or use the embryos for research. The fertility doctor we’d worked the most with wanted to meet Allie, and I found out he’s in next Wednesday, so I guess I’ll take Allie down there and see what our options about the embryos are. I think it’d be nice if a mixed-race couple trying to conceive could use our “A” quality embryo(s), but I’m not sure if it works that way. Plus, I don’t want some kid in the future to have some identity crisis knowing genetic mom and dad are out there somewhere. I believe the soul that comes thru is just borrowing the vehicle of a body to do what it needs to in this lifetime, so the soul that goes to the parents was meant to be there with those parents, regardless of what the genetic makeup of the soul’s body is. But that doesn’t change the fact that a donated embryo situation could still cause a very normal human reaction of wanting to know where he/she came from in terms of genetics. Plus, I’d wonder about Allie’s full genetic brother or sister out there. I think I’m now undecided what to do. Which is why I need to talk to the doctor. Maybe donating the entire embryo to a couple isn’t even an option.

I’m just rambling now because I’m scared to let this connection go. This blog post. This cyber-touching of the outside, to other living adults, even though you guys don’t touch back at the same time I reach out.

I can’t wait until Susanne becomes available. I don’t think being a stay-at-home mom is an option for me mentally at this point, even tho that’s still the preferred situation in Mr. W’s opinion. Work is going thru major layoffs and moving people around, so it may be barely recognizable when I get back there. I think I’m losing my reporter, as the County is eliminating all court reporters from Civil trial courtrooms. 🙁 My reporter Louise has been a big sister to me for the last 10+ years, full of encouragement, level-headedness, advice, empathy, and education on life/nutrition/exercise. It doesn’t mean she’ll vanish from my life, but it sure makes returning to work less something to look forward to. Rebecca had said last November that work isn’t going to lay me off, but I’ll be working maybe 2-3 courtrooms. I’d thought that was rather impossible at the time; how can one judge’s clerk work for multiple judges in fully-functioning courtrooms? It’d be impossible. But after receiving a budget memo from the courts, and after hearing from coworkers what the budget meetings have been, it looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Never would’ve expected that, even with Rebecca saying such.

I’ve had multiple friends (all female) ask me for my birthing story. I used to be all queasy about birthing stories, but ever since we decided to get pregnant, I had been very interested. It may have been from an educational standpoint. Anyway, here is mine, written in pieces over the course of the past few days (I didn’t have much time available in productive blocks). A timeline:
* Wednesday, 11/23, contractions started (~3am), entered hospital (~8:30 a.m.) and had baby (4:57 p.m.) (I was pretty happy I started in the wee hours of the morning, labored through the day with sunlight streaming through the windows and we weren’t feeling like we were up when we weren’t supposed to be, and I was done by the end of a regular workhour day. It was perfect. Oh! And I didn’t cuss, didn’t fly into verbal or physical attacks on Mr. W. I pretty much felt in rational control the entire time. [I just asked Mr. W if he was glad I didn’t cuss him out or scratch him to death and he said, “Mm-hmm! You were very pleasant to be with, as aggravating as it may have been to have me keep telling you to do stuff like breathe and count…”])
* Thursday, 11/24, stayed in hospital (we opted to stay overnight Thursday night cuz the nurses and staff were so helpful; otherwise they would’ve discharged us after 24 hours, since everyone checked out as healthy)
* Friday, 11/25, discharged early afternoon (~2pm) and came home for the first time with Allie

WARNING: This is long AND graphic; if you’re one of those queasy-about-birthing-story people, don’t click “more.” Otherwise, welcome to my last Wednesday.

Did you guys notice I was gone for awhile? No? Well, it’s my fault; I haven’t been blogging consistently. Only this time, I have an excuse! I’d like you to meet Allie Cat:

Friday 11/25, our first day back at home!

Born the day before Thanksgiving, 11/23, at 4:57 p.m.
8 lbs, 2 oz (I know! not my genes)
21 inches (again, not my genes)

Birthing dream scenario goals met:
* no epidural
* no episiotomy
* no IV pain relief (or any pain relief)
* mom healthy, baby healthy
* dad stayed by mom’s head the entire time coaching, and took no photo or video of objectionable stuff. 🙂
* no drama; only dad and medical team in birthing room with me through labor. 🙂 🙂

My cousin Jennifer texted me today to ask how my appointment went. “Any progress?”
“Negligible,” I told her.

Since last week’s checkup, I’ve been having cramps and back pain and sensations that the doctor AND experienced friends have told me are mild contractions, so I was hoping I’d be much farther along now. Turned out, I’m now 90% effaced (I thought I was almost completely effaced last time, so after a week I’m only at 90%?), and my dilation has gone from 1cm last week to…*drumroll*…1.5 cm. AUGH! All those cramps for HALF a centimeter? That means I’m STILL too small for him to sweep the membranes. Also, the baby’s head lowered MAYBE half a station, from 0 to “between 0 and +1.” ALLIE! You little procrastinator! This is a day PAST your due date!

The OB did say, tho, that once I’m fully effaced, the dilation will happen more quickly. “You’re really paper-thin right now already,” he said. “And didn’t you have a LEEP?” I sure did. “You might have a little bit of scar tissue from the LEEP that keeps you from dilating quickly right now, but that’s not going to stop labor. Once it gets going that scar tissue isn’t going to be a factor.” Interesting. “You’re definitely in the count-down now,” he said, trying to be reassuring. “I still think you’re going to be in labor sometime this week, but just in case, I’ve reserved a spot for you for induction next week at the hospital.” So the plan is, I go in to get looked at one last time next Monday if I haven’t given birth, cuz that would be my 41st week of pregnancy. If I’ve progressed enough for Pitocin to be effective (3 cm or so), then I go to the doctor’s appointment at the main hospital that I’d be birthing at for the induction. I asked about possibly waiting till Monday’s appointment to decide whether to do an induction, cuz I don’t want to spend my ENTIRE labor strapped to a bed in the hospital. I’d still like to be as natural as possible. He said the issue is that if he didn’t reserve me a spot already, it may be hard to get a spot in time, and by “in time,” he’s talking about within the 42nd week of labor because the placenta starts becoming less able to do its job to provide enough oxygen and nutrients to a baby that needs more. By that time it becomes a “balancing game” between timing an induction and letting it go naturally if possible.

Something else progressed VERY slowly, too, but this one I’m happy about. I was afraid she’d put on a pound a week at this point (from stuff I’d read) and that I’d have to birth a 12-pounder or something. But between the last appointment and this one, I’d only put on 0.2 lbs. “You’re doing really good on that,” my OB praised. (What a change from 2nd trimester!) He still thinks her weight will be fine (in the 7s) and said that I don’t have a small pelvis so there shouldn’t be a problem getting her out naturally. People with flatter pelvic openings and heart-shaped pelvic cavities have a harder time. I asked how I could tell what my pelvis is like, and he said he could feel it when he checked my cervix, and I have an oval/round pelvic opening and will be fine. Whew.

I never thought I’d be one of those women who would be delivering AFTER her baby’s due date, altho statistically, it’s not surprising. It might be surprising how surprised I am.

The OB did one of those uncomfortable/painful cervical checks again, and said there’s definitely progress. Allie’s head is straight on against my bladder, and engaged at 0 station. I’m dilated to 1 cm. Effacement is almost complete. (I think the LEEP helped.) He updated her expected arrival date from “due date” to “the week after her due date,” which is what gave me the clue that I didn’t progress as far as he’d expected me to by now. He later confirmed that (without knowing) by telling me he can’t do a membrane sweep this week because 1cm is too small for him to fit his finger in, but that by my appointment next week (the day AFTER my due date, wah!), he could do it if I want. He said there’s no reason to induce at this point, Allie’s measuring a perfectly normal size and doing well, but if she doesn’t come at 41 weeks, then we can schedule something. He noted that recently, he’d scheduled 4 patients for induction after they passed 41 weeks, and by the 42nd week, 3 of them naturally went into labor before the scheduled induction date. I guess the threats helped the kids decide to come on their own. =P

I explained that my concern would be that I wanted to deliver a smaller baby to avoid complications, and I’m afraid that the longer I wait, the more there is a chance that Allie pops out a 8.5 lb baby. He was very unconcerned about that. “Her size is already pre-determined. Remember how in the 2nd trimester, we had talked a lot about your weight gain and nutrition?” OH yeah. “That’s to prevent the baby from being oversized. Women who birth a very large baby were already making their babies large early on. There’s nothing you can do at this point that would suddenly make your baby gain 3 pounds before you deliver, while it’s true that babies do gain weight toward the end.” I felt just a teeny bit better about the odds and ends of Halloween candy I’d had a couple of weeks ago. Darned lazy neighborhood kids didn’t feel like ringing our bell much this year. “Do you have any other questions or concerns?”

We certainly did. Mr. W brought out his FMLA forms for the second time to this doctor, and explained all the stress this was causing us and showed him the rejection letter from the Kaiser Disability Department. The OB already had his pen out before Mr. W even finished talking. We explained that all Mr. W’s work needed was a signature from my doctor certifying that yes, I really am pregnant. My OB had originally thought we needed to start the FMLA process with him, which meant that he had to do write-ups and diagnoses which he didn’t have time to do, but when he realized it was only a signature on Mr. W’s work form (which Mr. W had already filled out except for the physician signature section) and he didn’t have to do a separate FMLA packet, he readily wrote “wife is pregnant, EDC 11/21/11” and signed off on it. And then he apologized for all the stress we’d been undergoing while we were running in circles and hitting walls on this requirement in order for Mr. W to get FMLA. On the way to the appointment, I was visualizing the OB taking the paperwork and signing it, no conflict, and he did. 🙂 One huge hurdle…uh…hurdled. Good thing, too, cuz when Mr. W emailed his superior the rejection letter from Disability, the response he got back was to the effect of “Yeah, that sucks, but we still need our form signed to give you FMLA; what you’d turned in before from her doctor still isn’t good enough.”

I had lower abdominal cramps on and off all day and night after my appointment. The doctor had asked me about symptoms, and I told him periodic cramps that felt like menstrual cramps, with lower back soreness. He thought those may have been mild contractions. So hopefully, I’ll have gradual, relatively painless contractions until I hit the transition part of labor, and then I’ll deliver.

I’ve had pretty heavy munchies for the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to get myself to reach for healthier alternatives to chocolate, cookies, etc., so when I stood in front of the open refrigerator, I’d reach for an apple daily. Mr. W has been buying Fujis and recently, a new crop called “Honeycrisps” from Costco, so I’ve been eating those. It wasn’t until the other day when I was crunching into one and looked down to see the mostly-green skin that I had a small start. At a private reading at least 6 months ago, Rebecca had asked me if I liked “green apples.” I think Granny Smith apples when I think “green apples,” so I said no. She said she could see me eating green apples late in my pregnancy. I thought that was unlikely. I don’t like sour stuff or hard chewy stuff and Granny Smiths were both. But these Fujis and Honeycrisps are 2/3 to 3/4 green-colored, and depending how I’m holding them, they look as she described: green apples. Mr. W noted how she’d been wrong about every delivery date she’d foreseen for Allie. I said that the doctor said over and over again that we now know the baby decides when it’s going to come out by releasing labor hormones when its ready, and that Rebecca can’t see clearly things that haven’t been decided yet. It’s possible that her “as early as the 7th to as late as the 23rd” is the range of days that Allie would be fine coming out, but Allie had decided she wasn’t quite ready, yet, when those dates came and went. Nevertheless, Rebecca saw this as my delivery scenario:

Rebecca: Cindy, I think Allie will make you think nothing is happening. Then, bingo, everything will be hard and fast and it will be over before you know it.
Me: uh-oh…that sounds like Pitocin usage. =/
Rebecca: Nope, I don’t think so. I think you may be one of those lucky women whose contractions aren’t that painful until you are in transition. And transition goes pretty quickly.
Me: I would be SO grateful if that happened! Louise has been sending early prayers and putting me in bubbles of pain-free light.
Rebecca: And Louise does good work with those bubbles 🙂
Louise: Sweet prayers to you with all the warmth and comfort the Universe has to offer. You’re so strong. Just breathe and focus. 🙂

So I was SO comfortable…that yesterday, Mr. W and I went to see the newest release of the Twilight Series, “Breaking Dawn, Part I.” It was the most well-done of all the Twilight movies so far, and very well adapted from the book, but I still wish that Kristen Stewart had the acting capacity to truly capture Bella’s character. Bella has a very cute, quirky and funny side, and Stewart plays her one-dimensionally. All angst, kinda annoying. As usual, Taylor Lautner did awesomely. He was just like the character of Jacob at this point in the books, and created the same feelings of irritation (for his constant running-off tantrums) and grudging compassion (cuz I’ve been thru that unrequited love frustration) from me that I had for Jacob in reading the book. And after the movie, I was tricked/dragged to going for a walk and early dinner at Dana Point harbor. Hubby is so restless.

Okay, so I’m still pregnant. I get occasional lower abdominal cramps and occasional lower back pain, but that’s about it. The discomfort level is mild at its worst, and I’m still having the finger joint pains upon waking in the morning or after long periods of inactivity with my hands. My feet will bloat a little when I’m on them all day, but the bloating goes away once I elevate the feet for a few minutes. Generally, I’d still classify my pregnancy condition as comfortable. TOO comfortable. Yesterday morning I took a side-belly pic of me on the cell phone and sent it to neonatal nurse Jordan (who’d been asking me for such a pic) along with the text message “Why is she still in here?!”
Jordan texted back, “Because it’s comfy and warm and she loves you!” Then I felt all bad.
I knew I shouldn’t have had those cookies. Now Allie’s like, “Hmm, yummy cookies…or just milk if I come out? I think I’ll stay in longer.”

I’m calling today Strip Thursday. My OB had offered last week to strip my membranes at today’s appointment (4pm!) if I haven’t delivered. I’m leaning toward taking him up on that. I honestly had never expected to keep this appointment. I’m as surprised as anybody that Allie’s still contentedly bopping around inside right now.

It’s been a learning experience with the Family Leave Act…we’ve learned that bureaucracy practically nullifies the law. Work basically says, “Sure, you can take time off under FMLA, but you’ll have to jump through THESE hoops we’ve designed first! Muahahaha!” and the hoops are impossible. I’m pretty sure on my end, things have been figured out, and I just have to call our human resources dept to let someone know the actual date of birth so they know how to account for my time off. Apparently I’m not allowed to be on FMLA until the birth, because they calculate how many days I get (6 weeks if vaginal, 8 weeks if Caesarian) commencing from the date of delivery. So I’m not sure what kind of time I’m using now, sitting around waiting for Her Majesty to decide when to grace us with her presence. Hopefully plain ol’ “sick” days, because I’ve got plenty of those. Mr. W is a different story. His work wants him to fill out THEIR special form and have the treating physician sign off on THEIR form to prove I’m pregnant and they refused to accept a standard work status note that our OB printed and gave us (which my work accepted without question). Due to Kaiser’s own bureaucracy, my OB won’t sign off on Mr. W’s work form (foreign form, and Mr. W is not his patient) and could only forward it to Kaiser’s Disability Department to process. So Mr. W and I drove down to Kaiser’s Disability Dept near Disneyland to speed the process up. After 2 weeks, we just got the forms back in the mail with a letter of rejection saying they can’t process Mr. W’s forms without a written order from my doctor saying it is necessary to my care to have Mr. W care for me. Well, if we could GET a written anything from my OB for Mr. W, we wouldn’t BE in this run-around. I’ve never heard such a long stream of dollar-value profanity from Mr. W as the other day when he opened this rejection letter, even when he banged his head on cabinets and stuff. So right now, he’s off work (he already was under the presumption that the hoops would be jumped thru during his leave), but without FMLA granted now. He’s gonna try to just join all his available vacation and sick personal days together to stick around home with me (his work won’t let him use regular “sick” days even on FMLA, which he has plenty of, because he’s not the one pregnant). So since he’s burning an already-limited number of days for nothing right now, he’s very eager for Allie to debut.

Yesterday morning, Mr. W patted my distended stomach and said, “Nothing, huh?” Nope, nothing. He pouted, putting his ear against my stomach to hear what Allie’s up to. Allie’s response was to immediately smack him on his face. “Don’t RUSH me, dad!”

On the mom front, my mom’s still calling and/or emailing every day to accuse me of having given birth behind her back, even tho I keep telling her Allie’s due date is next Monday. Yesterday’s email, with the subject line of “Well?,” was “How’s going? Feel cramps? Water broke?”
Irritably, I wrote back to her, “It’s safe to say that if you didn’t get a phone call, it’s because nothing happened.”
She responded by emailing me a YouTube clip of babies making faces while eating lemons.

Hooray! I made it through all my scheduled days of work without incident, and am starting maternity leave after today! With a due date of 11/21 (11 days away) and a clairvoyantly-predicted delivery date of 11/13ish (3 days away, eek!), I know I really pushed it. But I had wanted as many days home as I could after Allie comes out, not sitting around watching TV while she incubates in here. I figured early on in my pregnancy, since I wasn’t very affected by all the pregnancy symptoms people complain about (my hair texture/thickness didn’t even change, altho I think my skin actually got clearer thanks to a lack of PMS the past 10 months), that I could work until as close to the end of my pregnancy as I dared. Looking back, the worst of it all was just the nausea that my occasional not eating well induced in the first trimester (not that I ever threw up), and the current finger joint pain and upper abdominal pain (caused by Allie’s recent favorite places to lodge her foot while I was sleeping) I’d wake up with.

Until last nite. I’d been having random minor lower abdominal cramps, feeling like menstrual cramps. I would give it a 2 on the pain scale — annoying and distracting but not rising to any caliber where I’d even be concerned with it. But last nite as I tried to sleep, these cramps were persistent, strong, and joined by lower back pain. Half-awake, I thought to myself that if this continued, I wasn’t sure if I could make it to my last scheduled day of work in the morning. At some point, everything subsided and I fell easily into sleep until the morning. I did dream that I had these awful sensations at work and had to leave early. (I still think that if I have to deal with the stresses of work in my dreams, I oughta get overtime.) I remember saying to Mr. W in the midst of these cramps, “I think she’s coming this weekend, if not tomorrow.”

Yesterday at work, I was in the restroom and studied my engorged-looking tummy in the mirror. That old Ambrosia song popped into my head and I thought, looking at the giant bump, “…she IS the ‘Biggest Part of Me.’ ” I googled the lyrics, and yup, looks appropriate when you think about it being applied to my baby girl. I think this’ll be our song.


Sunrise, there’s a new sun arisin’
In your eyes, I can see a new horizon
Realize, that will keep me realizin’
You’re the biggest part of me

Stay the night, Need your lovin’ here beside me
Shine the light, Need you close enough to guide me
For all my life, I’ve been hopin’ you would find me
You’re the biggest part of me

Well, make a wish, baby
Well and I will make it come true
Make a list, baby
Of the things I’ll do for you
Ain’t no risk now
In lettin’ my love rain down on you
So we could wash away the past
So that we may start anew

Rainbow, risin’ over my shoulder
Love flows, gettin’ better as we’re older
All I know, all I want to do is hold her
She’s the life that breathes in me
Forever, got a feelin’ that forever
Together, we are gonna stay together
For better, for me there’s nothin’ better
You’re the biggest part of me


More than an easy feelin’
She brings joy to me
How can I tell you what it means to me
Flow like a lazy river
For an eternity
I’ve finally found someone who believes in me
And I’ll never leave

Oh, not to doubt now
Mmmm, make life grand


Beside me, need your lovin’ here beside me
To guide me, keep it close enough to guide me
Inside of me, from the fears that are inside of me
You’re the biggest part of me

Forever, got a feelin’ that forever
Together, we are gonna stay together
Forever, from now until forever
You’re the biggest part of me
You’re the life that breathes in me
You’re the biggest part of me

You changed my life
You made it right
And I’ll be a servant to you
For the rest of my life
You’re the biggest part of me

(she IS the life that breathes and hiccups in me, and I’m sure she’ll make me her servant for long to come. 🙂 )

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