February 28, 2007

Ready or not.... here she comes.... maybe?

Be ready.

Ever since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes over two months ago, my doctor has been trying to prepare me for the possible medical interventions that Rasbaby and I might need.

Be ready for a lot of medical tests. Be ready for an amniocentisis. Be ready for a C-section.

The semi-weekly non-stress tests haven't been so bad. Leaving work early every Monday and Thursday so that I can spend half an hour in an overstuffed recliner listening to Rasbaby's heartbeat and counting her kicks... hell, I'd pay for that experience even if my health insurance didn't.

As for the other warnings, I had tucked most of them into a remote mental archive. As long as Rasbaby did well on her NSTs, I saw no reason to fixate on any of the scary scenarios that my doctor had warned me to prepare for.

This Monday, I went in for my usual checkup. Rasbaby continued her stellar performance, eliciting the customary "Wow, that's an active baby!" response from my doctor and her staff, filling me with simultaneous pride and a twinge of fear that, once born, she'll never settle down.

Then came the curve ball. My blood pressure was 140/90, the textbook definition of high, and extremely high compared to my normal levels.

"Are you still working?" my doctor asked. I answered that I was, and that I had scheduled my maternity leave to begin March 19th.

"Can you stop working after this week?"

It was kind of her to phrase it as a question, but I got the feeling that there was only one acceptable answer.

She explained that high blood pressure was a warning sign for pre-eclampsia, a serious condition that could only be resolved by delivering the baby.

She didn't want to jump to conclusions based on one borderline-high reading, but she warned me, as always, to be ready. Depending on the results of my next checkup (i.e. Thursday, i.e. tomorrow), I should prepare for the following outcomes:

Be ready to stop working immediately.

Be ready to remain on bed rest until the risks of pre-eclampsia outweigh the risks of inducing labor early.

Be ready to be a mother in a matter of days, not weeks.

I left the doctor's office in a daze. I took on the easiest task first: telling everyone at work that I might be leaving two weeks earlier than originally planned.

I wrote up a scorecard for my projects and some instructions for my teammates, realizing with mild disappointment that substituting for me doesn't sound like a very difficult or time-consuming job.

Yesterday, I used a recent dusting of snow as an excuse to work from home, testing the laptop-bed paradigm that I hoped would rescue me from the loneliness of my possible future bed rest.

I learned that there is no way to negotiate a laptop, a pregnant belly, and an affectionate cat for more than 20 minutes at a time without sacrificing comfort, ergonomics, and/or blood circulation.

I learned that my boss is eager to support me in reassigning every bit of my work without making me feel the tiniest bit guilty. Which, ironically, makes me feel a little bit guilty.

I learned that once I had the easy part of the preparations out of the way, only the hard parts remained.

What does it mean to be ready for Rasbaby's arrival?

I hope it doesn't require having a nursery that looks like a Babies-R-Us ad. Ours has lovely pastel yellow and green walls with splotches of the same paint on the carpet (curse Home Depot and their canvas drop cloths). We have a dresser that's the perfect height for changing diapers, but the slick surface and lack of a changing pad make it even more useful as a base for launching the baby across the room. We do have plenty of baby wipes and we have diapers in every size... except for newborn.

I hope it doesn't require having the car ready. Our baby transport system sits happily in the spare bedroom, while the back seat of my car is filled with tax training manuals and wrappers for low-carb protein bars. The hatch of my hatchback contains not a stroller, but a collection of buckets leftover from the Valentine's Day flower sale I helped organize at work.

I hope it doesn't require having a clean living room, a freezer stocked with lasagnas, or a professionally disinfected bathroom, as all the baby books suggest.

If being ready for Rasbaby is an emotional condition, then I'm afraid I fall short in that regard too. As much as I'm excited to see the face of my little organ-puncher, to call her by her proper name, and to be finished with the sleep interruptions and waddling and diabetes, I was counting on a few more weeks to feel "ready."

I can't predict how tomorrow's visit will go. Maybe my blood pressure will have gone down and I can resume my routine of work and NST tests for a couple more weeks.

But since so many of you have been with me throughout this journey, I thought it only fair to warn you.

Be ready for me to be blogging a lot from the not-quite-comfort of bed rest.

Be ready for my next blog to be a birth announcement (I've confirmed that the hospital does have wireless Internet, so the laptop is coming along).

Be ready for anything.

It's just easier that way.

No comments: