Denial, Part II

So I’m going about this business of pregnancy, just doing what normal pregnant people do: Complaining about my weight, waddling to the diner for black and white milkshakes, scanning baby name books (and still not landing on anything…grrrrr), powdering the underside of my enormoboobs, and then, this morning, going through the utterly humiliating process of attempting to shave my bikini line in the shower–which, trust me, you want to know nothing about.

And of course, going to the OB.

“Just so you know,” she said, after a perfectly, delightfully routine visit,”after you give birth, I’m going to have to take a blood sample from the baby. You know…because of the toxo.”


Oh right. The toxo.

“Not that I think there will be an issue. But still, we have to test.”

You know…because of the toxo.

“I could probably just get it from the cord blood come to think of it. And I’ll have to send a sample of the placenta to the lab.”

“That’s cool,” I said, trying not to let on that my carefully constructed fantasy world of fetal health and perfection had just crashed around the examining table in a dusty black heap. “It’s not like I’m going to cook it for breakfast or anything.”

“Or bury it in the backyard.”

She laughed. I laughed.

Then she told me she wanted me to start going for non-stress tests once a week. You know…because of the toxo.

And then I left the office.

And freaked.

I forgot about the damn virus. Really forgot about it. Especially after the good amnio results back in December which indicate that pretty much all signs point to pfffft, don’t even give it another thought. But still, there’s always that teeny, tiny, minute little chance that…


Nearly four months of blissful denial, gone, in one fell swoop.

And now I can’t help but overanalyze my entire thought process since then. Have I avoided naming the baby because I’m scared something will go wrong? Have I not given her a cute little fetal nickname or washed her hand-me-down newborn clothes or avoided illegal cheeses as much as I probably should all because of this lurking anxiety–one that I refuse to articulate with much more clarity than what you’re seeing here.

I really want to go back to denial again. In fact, I am doing my best. And I’m getting fairly good at it, if I don’t say so myself. Too bad I can’t put “great denier” on my resume somewhere because I’m convinced that after this whole thing is over, I could teach classes in it. Maybe the 92nd Street Y.

I deny it by eating the bad cheese, by climbing up stepladders, by stealing sips of wine, by complaining about relatively insignificant pregnancy maladies, and especially by being terrible at taking my toxo medicine as regularly as I should.

What I can’t deny, I justify.

When I count the eight bazillion kicks that the squirmy girl makes during the non-stress test I think, good sign. Good sign. When people tell me I look small for eight months I try hard to accept it as a compliment and not an indicator that the baby’s not growing. When perfectly normal fears arise about loving that second child, I tell myself that all this drama will only make me love her more.

Thursday I have a comprehensive fetal anatomy scan that my doctor scheduled for some just-in-case 36 week measurements. If all is well, I know I can re-stamp my tourist visa for Happy Denial Land once again.

Until then I’ll be keeping busy visualizing all good things. Like a newborn who won’t stop crying. Bags under my eyes. Sore, cracked nipples. Twice the laundry. And three times the diapers.

All good things.


52 thoughts on “Denial, Part II”

  1. Oy vey. I hope your psyche just lands itself back in the right place, even before the scan. It’s more fun to worry about the trivial and superficial aspects of having the baby, isn’t it? Or go back to the big picture denial that there’s even a baby coming next month. Good luck. I’ll be checking your blog on Thursday for results.

  2. Just think about the first time Thalia makes her baby sister laugh! And think about the first time they come to you holding hands to show you something they have done together! It’s gonna be great, truly.

  3. Oh, Liz. Normal. Normal, normal, normal. Also? Hormones are tricky beasties. Hormones like denial! And then hormones like overreaction! Not that any of that makes it any easier while you’re in the middle of it. You’re gonna be holding that little darling soon enough, and then the rest of this will fade back. Pinky swear.

  4. Denial is how many of us make it through the day. Oh, there’s not *that* much work to do . . . yeah, I have enough free time to take that on too . . . oh I’m sure there’s still enough time to get on the preschool wait list . . .Baby 2 will be beautiful and here soon!

  5. I think little Clintonia Portia is sending you don’t worry, be happy vibes from the womb.(Also, she is telling me I was right, and her name is Asha, but she’ll accept Clinton Portis as a nickname.) In all seriousness, I’ll be thinking of you both. Best of luck with your scan. (Bet she gives the doctor the finger for waking her up from a nap).

  6. I started to write a comment with too much information that might possibly freak you out more than you already are, so all I will say is I’m hoping you get that passport stamped quickly and you can hop on the first plane to Happy Denial Land. 🙂 Hang in there, Liz. Keep chanting “Good Amnio!” and breathe deeply.

  7. Those really are good things. And I am keeping everything I own crossed that the doctor will punch your ticket back to Happy Pink Cloud Denial Land; which kind of sucks because how am I supposed to pee if my legs are crossed for the next week…?(Um. Melanie? Is a GREAT little baby girl name. Just, you know, getting it out there. Now it’s said, and I can rest.)On a more serious note: (((you)))I’m still around, still reading, still pulling for you, Liz. I hope for nothing but the very best for you and Thalia and Nate and Little Baby Girl.

  8. Shit. I forgot right along with you. It seems like a whole other pregnancy ago!But I choose to believe the overwhelming signs that all is normal and good. I’ve got everything crossed for the 36 week sonogram.But just as a side note… denial is how most of us make it through the whole parenting experience anyway, isn’t it?

  9. Hang in there. If you haven’t been thinking about it, then it’s not an issue. Pick a name! Pick a name! Or go with one of Thalia’s suggestions.

  10. Girl, it’s gonna be OK. I just know it. Hang tight (this being a particularly apt phrase for a 3rd-trimester lady like yourself, no?).

  11. Good vibes coming at you… deep down a mom always knows, you weren’t in denial, you just KNOW it’s ok.

  12. Wow! Is “Toxo” beginning to sound like a beautiful name to anyone else? No? That’s just me?I’m really hoping that you are able to return to the land of blissful denial soon and that your stinking doctor doesn’t ruin it. Again.

  13. This totally resonated with me, because while I am not pregnant, I feel like I spend a ton of time visiting Happy Denial Land myself. Ever since I had my daughter, who’s now 2 and a half, I get way more freaked out by the state of the world than I did before. I try to stay in Happy Denial Land to avoid thinking about George Bush and global warming…Meanwhile, I’m sending positive thoughts/prayers your way. And I have a name suggestion, for what it’s worth. I always thought if I had another girl, I would name her Charlotte. I just think it has such a nice ring to it.

  14. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with denial.That’s why I’m still a size 10 and my kids are perfectly behaved little angels. I live there, baby!

  15. Bossy thinks all of this is more difficult than any lab-induced stress test. You’ll be fine, hang in there kiddo.

  16. I wish I could give you happy, sweet advice but I can’t. And it’s the last thing you want to hear right now anyway. You’re a mother. Mother’s worry. I can only say that I’m thinking postively — the baby is fine. But yeah, the ob sure made me feel nervous for you, too!

  17. Baby’s gonna be fine. Remember those statistics in the previous post. On the other hand I am wondering, did you opt for the “You Fucked Me” or the “Don’t do this to anyone again” letters for the vet? And are you rethinking you choice right now?

  18. At this point with #2, most of us are just in denial about pushing out the little critter. This is no fun for you. Sending you all sorts of happy thoughts, earnest prayers and good luck…(Still haven’t landed on a name either. Jamie watches sports to try on all sorts of names like Dawaine, Plaxico and Boof. Hmm.)

  19. Ah, Liz,Sorry that the return ticket from Denialville was on the express train. Best to keep thinking about the positive things anyway, as the added stress of thinking ‘what if?’ is just that: added stress.Keeping everything crossed that the way-screwed-up bikini line will be the worst of it for you.🙂

  20. Just think of the hemmorhoids, Liz.If you are lucky, they will be so big, you can name them.Just use the names Nate likes.Snicker.Good luck. Baby#2 has good thoughts and best wishes coming her way. (As well as you and the rest of the fam…)

  21. I’m so sorry. Think good thoughts to the extent that you can and try to remember to breathe. Our thoughts are with you — Denialville is just a day away.

  22. Sending Healthy Happy Vibes your way, Your chances of a Healthy baby far out way the other options. Try and think positive, you’re almost there.Sending a prayer your way.Don’t worry about the names…. even after she’s born if you don’t have a name, as soon as she comes you’ll know what to call her.

  23. Well, you’re not alone. Rest assured if it wasn’t this, it would be something else. I tested positive for group B strep at 37 weeks pregnant and was terrified my baby would get it during delivery, even though the chances were very slim.I think we all find something to worry about, no matter what our tests say. Try to relax- You’ll have a healthy baby in your arms soon. 🙂

  24. Sorry you’re going through all that stress. If it wasn’t the toxo, it would probably be something else stressing you just as much.We can make a deal – I’ll deny your toxo risk for you, if you’ll deny my little girl might be breech. Then we can stop worrying, because someone else will be telling us it isn’t so. And names are still hard to come by here, too.

  25. Damn toxo. I’m sorry, it’s such a crappy thing to have to deal with. But I have confidence all will go smoothly.I’m very good at denial too. I’ve only just recently acknowledged that I walk around in denial A LOT. I realize it’s worlds apart from this issue, but years ago I once skydived and I think the only way I was able to do so (since it is so far from my personality to take any kind of risk) is that I was literally in denial that it was going to happen until I was about to jump out of the plane. But maybe it’s a good thing? Saves some unnecessary stress/worry? I know I can worry myself sick if I let myself.Keeping my fingers crossed for you. And yes, those are good things, aren’t they? Funny how perspective can do that for you. When my daughter was in the NICU and I was at home with no baby to wake me up at night, I could not wait until it was her waking me up for feedings, not the damn alarm clock signalling “time to pump.”

  26. Ack! Because just what you need during pregnancy is more stress, right? I know it’s impossible to do, but you have to try not to think about it too much or you’ll become a basket case. Trust me.I’m diabetic and have gone through 2 high risk pregnancies now. The first time those weekly NSTs probably saved my little guy’s life. So the second time, EGADS! The constant worry. It was horrific and I developed stress related high blood pressure. But he was fine. Perfect in every way with all of that worrying for nothing. So, denial is a nice place to be. Try to stay there if you can.

  27. This:When perfectly normal fears arise about loving that second child, I tell myself that all this drama will only make me love her more.really hit home with me. After all of the NICU drama, this very line sums up all of my feelings about D. I mean, I knew I’d love her, yes, but…after all of the worry and anxiety, my feelings are amplified (if that’s possible).But regardless of whether or not you’re in denial, I’ve no doubt that you’ll love her just as much as you love T. Now go get that tourist visa restamped for Happy Denial Land. May all of the coming weeks just be gravy on the yummy that is your life.

  28. You know, like a just-out-of-the-pack pair of pantyhose being a good denier is no bad thing, hun. It’ll keep you saner in the long run if you can scamper back from the scarier parts of your imagination to denial-home-base.I don’t mean to be flippant. I’m sorry this has popped up to mess with your mind again, but think on this: the doctor’s still pretty relaxed, isn’t she? Nobody is talking in hushed voices around you or saying words like “emergency” or “problem.” Context and proportion are everything but are the first to go when the hormones are out to play. You’re a great mother; you’re doing everything right; and you have professionals around you on top of the whole thing – <>scream<> that at yourself in the mirror if you have to at times, but try to keep telling yourself that. All best wishes to you, m’darling. Hang in there ’til Thursday when the doctor will tell you all is well with the wee one. Pregnancy is terrifying and, if it not as straightforward as we’d hoped for, is doubly so. I’ll be thinking of you.

  29. I hate it when the medical types have to pull you out of denial. Denial is a nice place to be in a time like this.The odds are in your favour just keep pushing the “what ifs” back.I agree with the others who have said all this stress will just make you love her more.

  30. I’ve said it before. “It’s NOT denial.* You owe it to yourself and your perfectly fine, perfectly kicking, perfectly big baby to remain calm, positive, relatively unstressed. (not to mention for Thalia). Nothing to worry about lady–now eat a slab of brie, knock back a slug of pinot, and get someone else to powder your underboobs as a special treat.

  31. My father-in-law once told me (an avid worrier and taker of Zoloft for anxiety) to try to wait until I have all the facts before I worry. It’s very hard for me to do this, because I prefer to worry about the unknown. You seem much more level-headed than me, and therefore, I think “denial” is the wrong phrase, maybe “realistic” is better. You don’t know yet. And when you do, then you can make better decisions. And! Everything is most likely fine. Thinking of you.

  32. Jesus Christ, and here I thought the amnio meant all clear, out of the woods, F*&K IT ALL. I’m sorry. That’s not helping, is it? Gosh, I’m sure everything is fine…but as the niece of an uncle who died from Downs related complications, and who worried throughout my pregnancy that my (perfectly healthy, WHEW) daughter would have Downs, I completely understand what you’re going through. And you know what? It BLOWS.

  33. Liz–Nothing any of us say is going to allay your fears. We all know that. But you’re not alone… in more ways than you know. I had preclampsia, diabetes type 2 and high blood pressure all through my pregnancy to deal with. I had miscarried 3 times prior to that pregnancy. I was terrified. Non-Stress tests were done every other day and ultrasounds were done on the other days for the last month of my pregnancy. You aren’t alone. My prayers are with you guys. You aren’t alone.Tessa

  34. Baby 202 will be healthy, lovely, and absolutely fine…and how lucky to have you as a mom!! 🙂You know, I look forward to the days that my boobs actually have an under….but I can do without the cracked nips.

  35. Crap, I’d forgotten about the toxo! I’m looking forward to the day when you have this perfect little girl and you no longer have to worry about it.

  36. Sending good thoughts, good thoughts good thoughts. The waiting does BLOW, though, j is right.

  37. Thinking about you today… really hope all goes well. I will be wishing you the worst cracked nipples, the flabbiest postpartum belly, the nastiest nurses — and all of the other things that go with a normal, uneventful delivery.

  38. Hey, we’re due on the same day. I’m in denial, too. Haven’t dug out the baby clothes…didn’t buy diapers. eh. We’ve got a few weeks.

  39. Oh, friend, I didn’t realize that the toxo hen came home to roost, sort of, this week (badly mangling metaphors is how I deal with anxiety.)Yuck. And, ack. And, fierce hugs. I know.

  40. I had forgotten about this too. When all was well, I assumed all was well forevah. Sending happy, good vibes your way. But all of those normal pregnancy things have GOT to be a sign of a normal pregnancy!

  41. It’s a constant state of denial, even after the child exits and obtains stellar APGAR scores. In fact, the denial is just beginning.Because all of those scary, sad, terribly tragic events cannot ever possibly befall our own families. Playing what-if does no good. Only when the evidence smacks you in the face should you let go of that survival strategy called denial.

  42. I’m so glad everything is fine, sorry I missed your post last week. I was having a mini freak out myself over the non stress tests that I have been recommended to do due to my “advanced maternal age”. In the end, I decided to do them and use them as a time to bond with the boy. Had my first one on Thursday and it was more fine than my hormonal brain built it up to be. We’re in the home stretch. We have healthy babies and everything is going to be fine. Hang in there and I’ll be thinking about you on Thursday when I’m hooked up to the fetal monitor, eating a candy bar to wake my son up.

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