After rain comes sunshine!!!

After the appointment, I am completely drained. Driving home after an entire day at the hospital with our young daughter yet again in a bed hooked up to IVs, is like a fog. The baby boy sure hated the experience as well. But with no childcare available I had to bring him. What an absolutely exhausting experience. Entering the freeway I’m pretty sure I hit an innocent squirrel- just pile it on right (I really really hope I didn’t but am afraid I did).

This whole winter/early spring has really not been the best, as far as springs go. I have had better starts of years…
I know I’m an incredible lucky and blessed person so I try to look at the positives, and look forward. I really am!

My brother comes to visit in late spring with his family and his brand new baby boy (first time auntie over here holla!!!) and makes it to my littlest’s first Birthday party. We have a ton of fun, I haven’t seen my brother in so long and to see him as a dad is truly special. I have a busy schedule during the weekdays with my kids but we manage to meet up with my brother and sister in law for dinner everyday. We also grab the occasional coffe or lunch and make a couple impromptu shopping trips. We cook together, drink wine on the patio, share stories, splash in the pool and enjoy the kids-the sweetest little cousins!

Since my three kids all have birthdays in a row-the spring pretty much disappeared in some semi-chaotic (but totally fun) party planning and execution!

Our baby boy gets a big jungle celebration (just like his brother did when he turned one) with jungle music, decorations, cakes, cupcakes and fun gift bags! We have a bouncy castle, yummy sandwiches and tons of snacks…and bubbles…plenty of bubbles. Our baby loves himself some bubbles after all (second to food only). I can’t believe he is one, how did this happen? Stop robbing me of precious baby time already (why do the years get shorter not only the older you get but apparently the more kiddos you have?).

Our princess just wanted her birthday with family, a low key day playing with her new toys (first barbie and first lipgloss-did I mention the years are rolling by way too rapidly) and then dinner, ice cream and balloon animals (flower) at her favorite restaurant. Only three years ago, I was terrified that she would be okay and just look at her now! A smarter, more charismatic, pretty, little decisive three-nager you may never see!! The following day is a Minnie Mouse theme day, spent with grandparents and a BBQ and princess cake very fitting for our very special sassy girl!

Our big boy is turning 6 (did I mentioned somebody messed with the time..turning the dial onto rapid…I know I did and I know it’s cliche BUT how IS he six?). He has requested a “creepy crawler” party and the NAT (Natural History) museum gets to host us and 12 of his classmates plus six other friends and a handful of siblings. All these kinder kids were so great for about 30 of the 45 minutes planned lecture about lizards and snakes but then they decided (apparently telepathically) to hit the dessert table, run into the projector screen, and draw on the white board-all at the same time. No worries though, after a dessert break (having dessert before sandwiches) we got to pet some live (gasp) animals, play some games (competed crawling in snakeskin anyone!?). Then we sang for and had cake/s with the lucky six year old. Excitedly he told us after the party that he made “a new awesome best friend”. Thinking it was a classmate we asked him whom this might be as he proudly announced that it was the museum employee that had helped with the party!

Summer is fast approaching (what happened to spring? But as I said the winter months leading up to spring were arguably sucky…I will share but am just not quite there yet…) so moving on feels now kinda great!

We have some graduations coming up after all our birthdays! And then our summer can officially start!!

An adventurous week; difficult news

IMG_7161IMG_7160IMG_7162I can’t believe that we are back here…to the hematology department at Children’s Hospital. The flashbacks are acute and many.

I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. I ache for them-these parents. I feel embarrassed to be here somehow and yet…I know I have to, we have to. Something IS wrong for real-just not as wrong, or as real as for most of these people here. The reality of what is going on on the third floor of this hospital for kids is devastating. I AM embarrassed to even feel sad because it seems I don’t have the right to somehow, and they don’t need my pity, and there is literally nothing I can do to help.

I praise these doctors for doing what they do, for pushing forward, for trying their very best, for smiling…
But the real heartbreak are these strong, brave little people who are just getting the toughest childhood imaginable…and their poor parents.

I have been dreading this appointment since my daughter was 18 months old. We found out when she was 11 weeks old, (just shy of 3 months) and cut her “tied tongue” to be able to breastfeed, that she had some kind of bleeding issue. She would not stop bleeding no matter what the tongue specialist, her pediatrician and the ER doctor did. She was loosing so much blood she had to have emergency surgery right away…

This tiny little preemie baby girl who had already been through so much in her very short life…
It was one of the worst days of my life. Seeing her bleed uncontrollably in the backseat when I rushed her to the ER is an image imprinted in my brain forever…

My baby girl was in surgery for hours, her little pale body and all that blood. Afterwards she was groggy and swollen in my arms. I felt awful. She wanted to eat so bad but was too hurt to feed. Seeing her in so much pain was agony.

We spent 3 days at Children’s Hospital before the 4th of July weekend and she still refused to eat. I didn’t sleep at all and was a wreck. Grandma and auntie were home with big brother because dad had to continue working (even though I’m sure that was extremely hard on him).

I remember the nurses trying to help squirting my pumped breastmilk into baby’s mouth with a syringe- it finally worked enough to get her off the IV. She was this little girl in a huge bed surrounded by rolled up baby blankets with wires and monitors…
It was utterly terrifying.

On day two we saw a couple of doctors from the hematology department. They drew a lot of blood to test our baby girl for a bleeding disorder. Since she was so tiny yet-still on the preemie scale, they couldn’t take too much blood from her little body-so we had to come back for a follow up.

The follow up was on the third floor of Children’s Hospital a week later. Baby girl had gotten her color back and she had finally started to nurse again. My mom was thankfully able to accompany us this time, having flown in on the 4th of July withstanding delays and cancelled flights. It was such a support to be able to lean on her as we entered what must be one of the most depressing places-full of sick-really, really sick kids.

My daughter had lost too much weight to be able to draw the required blood panel for the full spectrum of blood disorders so the doctor sent her home with a liquid that makes blood clot in the event of blood trauma.

The tests came back negative for any of the more severe blood disorders…and for leukemia. I have never prayed harder for these results..

Then again the unfairness of it all, seeing all the other kids and their parents. How do they do it? how do they live and breathe when their insides must be breaking.
These caregivers are incredibly strong that goes without saying but…these kids…I don’t have words, little superheroes who just deserve way better lives.

Hoping for them as I’m standing here at the hospital with my two (big brother is in school) happy, healthy (for the most part) children, is the same for them, that they will beat this, they will get better and this will all be a distant memory…

The reality though is a punch to the stomach and the embarrassment of even feeling like this when I’m fine and my kids are fine is raw and present.

This is the 4th time here seeing her hematology doctor. When we saw him when baby girl was 18 months old we still didn’t get to do all of her testing, because of her low weight. I was informed that in order to complete everything we needed to admit her to the hospital for a few days to monitor her while drawing the required amount of blood for the full panel of blood disorders. I declined these tests knowing that she didn’t have the more serious ones and signing papers that I declined treatment was really difficult-was I doing the right thing?

I promised (myself and her doctor) to keep a close eye on her, knowing full well that you can’t bubble wrap your kids (no matter how much you want to).

Fast forward until now, there is no more denial. Every time she bleeds from simple cuts and scrapes it is way too much- abnormally so. Her new pediatrician ordered more labs at her 3 year check up and testing confirmed without a doubt that our daughter does have a bleeding disorder. He sent us straight back here again…so here we are.

This has truly not been the best week..

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Dream House!!

They never test my water because I fear they will hospitalize me if the test comes out positive for amniotic fluid. I know the fear of getting an infection but since I now have doctor’s appointment every single day they sure are keeping a close eye on me and I’m also carefully monitoring myself. I do feel like I know my body and of course I’m not stupid and would never put myself and baby at risk. Besides they check fluid levels three times a week (it’s really low but still okay enough not to be admitted to the hospital) I do non stress tests for baby every other day, I do weekly three dimensional ultrasounds and I get triple the dose of hormones (deeming it next to impossible to have this baby early). To get some perspective 2% of women in my situation get the single weekly dose of progesterone, me, twice as much!

The baby us not stressed (doing fine in there) but I sure am! Even if this new house is gorgeous, it’s not only fun and games moving into a bigger property, especially since parts of it is old (and has not been upgraded or maintained) and haven’t been lived in for at least a year and a half (and another year and a half before that). This house might not have the best karma either (if you believe in such thing) because several people have been forced to sell or have even gone bankrupts living here. These things are hard not to think about as everything seems to be going wrong right about now (even things that passed inspection or were fixed prior to us moving in). The four starred handyman that we picked on Yelp was such a disaster that not only did he NOT fix what was wrong he also messed up the stuff he was supposed to fix. This guy must have written his own reviews because he was late, he was loud, he was a sweaty mess and on top of that, he was expensive! Did I mention he didn’t fix a thing? I told family that the only thing he fixed of my list of stuff (things that should not have been complicated for a handyman by the way) was the dishwasher, but he had to come back twice since he ordered the wrong part. The part was a tiny spring helping the dishwasher’s door open smoothly which seems to be working now but fixing it, this joker cut himself on something leaving a blood trail in the kitchen, without cleaning it up! (Which I later put my hand in…wasn’t enough with the dog bleeding all over our new floors??)

I’m not done, even if you won’t believe me, the next day the entire dishwasher completely stopped working and the whole kitchen smelt like burned rubber…
Oh yes, the whole interior basically had to be replaced at our dime. Not even our brand new home warranty will cover it because they don’t even accept claims the first thirty days (which is stupid because this is when you discover everything that is wrong)
I’m glad we payed this handy guy top dollar. We are way too nice and naive and can’t help feeling defeated thinking we chewed off more then we can handle…

This week also included a horrible dental appointment for our son (let me just point out that I didn’t have my first cavity until after 30…and in Sweden you don’t even go to the dentist until age 7, because you know eh…before then…those are your baby teeth…). I tried to stay firm but you know they know how to convince you that your kids needs the most expensive (of course) treatment because otherwise he will be in pain (obviously) AND unless we do this it WILL affect his grown up teeth (naturally)…
So what is a mom supposed to do?
Anyways, more ants…even though we sprayed, and spiders! With our luck they’re probably all black widows and their cousins…
So more spraying, this time inside! Yes, okay the “green harmless stuff” won’t work? Go ahead a spray our house with deadly chemicals, it’s not like I’m pregnant or have two little ones and a dog or anything…
The requirement to be gone for at least six hours feels very safe!

Luckily we have great friends that we can hang with until we get to go back to our “dream house”.

Which feels good until someone mentions rodents in the yard…

A lesser issue but big none the less is this family’s sleeping arrangements. As the birth of our third is looming and getting more real by the week, (wait who is having a baby?) we really don’t have a plan yet. Hubby still sleeps with sonny and princess refuses to sleep with anyone (alone? Ha ha ha, forget it!!) but me (can you say; I’m turning 2 soon and I get my way or I’ll scream until I do…?).
This little lady can scream herself till a freaking frenzy, snot and crocodile tears, head banging, shortness of breath, blue faced mess all included! She won’t give up either, oh no mam! She will rather hurt herself (seriously) or violently throw up to prove her point, than just give up and fall asleep in her brand new pink princess room right next to her parent’s bedroom. I even ordered her a really nice, super comfy bed (of course to no avail).
She is even particular about how we sleep… I have to put my arm around her just right…or she complains…loudly…until I just give in…

Anyways, it’s on my list…
Sleeping arrangements…
(And don’t give in)

On a positive note, I made it to 32 weeks, actually feel okay and am home with my family where I belong and not in a hospital. Social media keeps sending me pictures from two years ago of me in a hospital bed which makes me sad but also feel so lucky and blessed for my daughter, proud of what she has accomplished and beyond appreciative for the outcome and the fact that with this pregnancy baby is still hanging in there (literally).

I know that even though my baby girl made it with me on constant supervision in the hospital barely able to move and under close monitoring until 34 weeks, our issues started at 29 weeks when my water broke. We were lucky that they were able to stop labor not one, but three times and that we had time for the steroid shots and magnesium drop and that we bet all odds after the water started breaking BUT certain organs like the kidneys hadn’t developed fully at birth and baby did suffer because of the lack of water and the difficulty of “practice breathing” and immaturity of lungs and underdeveloped brain function in there. We are truly blessed that she is now such an amazing, charming (stubborn), smart and thriving (right on target) almost two year old!

Hello, week 33, I’m ready for you!!

 

 

No life guard on “doodie”

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So my son has started swim lessons (“swim” is a very relative word if describing what he is learning). We have signed up for four Fridays with his little girlfriend (at least that is how he thinks of her, their relationship is very up and down, if it would be on Facebook it would be deemed “complicated”)

Even if our boy actually did great in his first lessons (blowing bubbles, got his hair wet, his hands turned into big “ice cream scopes”) he has (dare I say it) gone down hill from there.

Their first lesson, his friend announced when being asked to do something (nothing unreasonable mind you but all related to “fun in the water”) that “I don’t do that” while my son announced that “I have poop in my pants”. Oh, the joy of teaching four year olds how to swim!

The swim coach, miss J is a very fit (major body envy) late teen/early twenties girl with long blond hair and a ton of patience (must be a prerequisite). Her patience is tested over and over (let me tell you) and seems to be a requirement with my son especially (“lots and lots of poopy”)

After their lesson (when all adults involved feel slightly frustrated and very tired) we get to have some “relaxed” pool time. Please don’t ever confuse this with the relaxed pool time you had pre-kids (maybe this is what miss Jen now gets to enjoy, hence her patience with our kids), you know the laying by the pool for hours with your magazine or your summery romance novel, cell phone and water bottle (or maybe even a “real” drink), your only worries being “when do I have to flip over/re-apply sun tan lotion/take a dip in the pool/go for a leisurely stroll to look for hotties or flirt with the life guard and maybe when is lunch?”

Gossiping with your bestie while inhaling the latest drama waiting for the random clouds to pass is nothing in comparison to trying to get a word of conversation in to your fellow mama while  your simultaneously try to keep your children from killing each other, or themselves by drowning/keeping your baby from flashing your mom boobs (btw not sexy) to the life guard, the teenage boys in the big pool and your elderly neighbor “well, hello there”.

Relaxed pool time post kids means keeping them alive at all costs (no, you don’t just continue walking straight into the deep hot tub without floaters on, run like a maniac by the big pool or push your friend off the pool stairs). There are also snacks involved, and water and juice and breast milk (limited) and pool toys and pool rules and ice cream (“may I have some pleeeeaaase!) and sticky, thick suntan lotion (reapply every hour or after being in the water…), paying attention to sun and shade and hats and floaters and “don”t fall”, “don’t splash”, “don’t run”, and “don’t pee in the pool”.
And the dos “do be nice to your friend, sister, friend’s mom, walk, share your toys, practice swimming and shower after pool”.
And the constant reminders of everything above in a never ending cycle like a broken record featuring “b*tich mom” or your most annoying CD set on repeat, adding “you CANNOT swim….yet”

When us moms do get a word in to each other, sweat dripping down our foreheads (not just from the sun mind you) and our minds in constant “hyper alert fight/flight mode” we talk about our kids (especially mine) and their fondness for potty words. I mean at a time in their life where they are being so good for finally learning how to go potty “good job” (hold the fireworks) and they are being praised endlessly for “doing” the words we then frown upon, does that even make sense? “Do you need to poop or pee?” “Good job peeing/pooping”, “wow lots of poo, great job, high five”, “you went poop at the mall, yaaaay!!” But then we turn around saying “do not say “potty words”, poop is bad, very bad and not funny, bad bad. Hmm, isn’t that slightly confusing?

Today was our last day together at the pool, we celebrated (like always) with ice cream, the kids were mostly friends and “in love” with their “bestest girl/boy” (ganging up against some “outside threats” instead) my boy did better than last time “swimming” and no law suits were being discussed over the swim coach “hickey”. All kids running around in the grass pretending to “turn their mothers into ice, fire and rocks” and only minor melt downs over the low milk supply provided (baby not boy) and not getting to have lunch with his bestest girl (definitely boy).

A great day over all and tomorrow is the 4th of July, and there is still lots of summer left! Can life be better!?

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Not having the “bestest” day here…

So, I had kind of a crappy Friday-you know the kind of day where everything is going wrong, and by everything, I mean absolutely everything. It’s all relative I know and these were all minor things but since my mood didn’t work in my favor (with my monthly friend coming for a visit any day) it was all “hello temper and hi there tears…”

It’s started bright and early (not when I want to start the day by the way) with my babies fighting, me yelling, them laughing and then of course as predicted someone crying (besides me).

I could feel how high my frustration was and any attempt to tame my hormonal ups and downs didn’t seem to work this particular day. Even our dog didn’t behave (poor dog… well she did chew up a beloved dinosaur as well as threw up in the guest room). I got chewed out (now I know how the defenseless dinosaur must have felt) by everyone from my 4 year old to perfect strangers. The summer hired teenager at our pool and racquet club gave me attitude saying we couldn’t put the cost of ice cream on our membership tab and that we had to pay for guests despite our guest passes-that apparently needed to be updated (and a lot of other headaches including more paperwork, fees and the registration of our baby’s birth documented in order to get added to our membership…wait what??) and then she was hesitant to give her name to me (well, yeah), “why do you need to know?” was her exact response (heavens!)

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When we went to return an item at the store (since I can no longer try ANYTHING on with these kids in tow and have been physically banned from most fitting rooms around town- long story, I have to buy and try on everything at home- hence all the returns). I was stressing (in hindsight I shouldn’t have stopped by the mall) because I had an appointment at my old school. We barely had time for a snack before I needed to rush both kids across town to sign the paperwork which means I’m officially a University professor (hep!) and get the books for my classes. My little boy wants subway, there is a line, naturally the guy helping us questions every “instruction” I give him, “yes, just cheese” “JUST cheese”, “plain, yes, yep”, “that’s right no meat”, “correct no veggies”, “yes I’m sure he does not want it toasted”, “positive”…
And when what does my son do, eats it which results in applause and a little mommy “happy dance”. But then…

He throws it all up, over his newly showered (after the pool) body and clean dinosaur shirt as well as my purse (Louis) and skirt! Perfect!!! Of course we have absolutely no time to go home and change before my appointment. We barely make it to the restroom (for a quick clean up), we still smell and we are late.

Baby is screaming her head off for milk I don’t have and refuses to go in her stroller while my boy wants another sandwich…well you get the picture… (If not you are either incredibly lucky or very very childless).

There is absolutely zero parking by the school (per usual) and when we finally get a spot we have to hike up a hill and an additional five blocks to reach it. With baby in the carrier (not a happy camper, trying desperately to pull my shirt down as I’m walking, and sweating…did anyone say cardio?) and a curious 4-year old in hand pretending he is a dinosaur (noises and all-they were apparently VERY loud, at least this particularly one).

You are not going to believe this; when we finally arrive (only a few minutes late I might add), the person I’m supposed to be meeting with is in another meeting. A meeting as in “the whole University’s staff meeting”. They are in a big conference room, we can see them through the glass doors. The guy at the front desk confuses me with a student (nothing wrong with that since I was one only a few years ago) but he is insisting that I pay for the books as I’m insisting I’m the professor trying to check the books out.

When he finally “believes” me (hey, do I not look like a University professor?!?) we are on to the next issue of it being 3:45 and I have two hungry and aggressive kiddo’s with me in the very small waiting room. Nop, nothing he can do sometimes these meetings go on forever…

After I clarify that my meeting was at 3:30 (and I have e-mails to prove it) he clarified that they close at exactly 4:00 pm and then they need everybody out!

We step outside, mainly so I can breathe and call my husband “where ARE you?” These kids need to not be with me right now (the feeling is mutual, I promise) and we are all in a bad mood as well as in a bad need of a shower/bath. Just as I’m starting to loose hope, my husband shows! Man, am I lucky to see him! But before he takes the baby she has time to (in a rebellious protesting move) squirt the entire content of a baby food pouch out all over the front side of my shirt (what a nice compliment to my vomit stained skirt).

I feel slightly “naked” and suddenly vulnerable without the baby carrier and my two kids. I run to the restroom to at least get some paper towels before I turn to run back into the school waiting room…

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