Blue Christmas: Part 2 “The point of no return”


As I check in at the hospital’s main admittance desk, my tears well up. I know it’s so stupid but I can’t help it. I call my beyond shocked husband telling him that I’m being admitted (feels like I’ve “been here, done that” a “few” times before). I text my mother in law, who has been such a great help through out this pregnancy, as well.

With only a few weeks before Christmas, who knows what will happen…

As I sit and wait for my hospital room to get ready, I know logically that I have to stay put, for a healthy pregnancy, a healthy me and a healthy baby! I’m still starting to entertain the thought that maybe I’ll be released in a day or two (since I’m pretty sure by now my symptoms are NOT pregnancy related) and we can STILL fly “home” to Sweden. But I heard what the PA said, I really did, and I try to turn my thoughts around (being a slight control freak and maniac planer makes that extra hard).

It wouldn’t be the worst to stay home and take it easy over Christmas. I wish I could just snap my fingers and be transferred right to my parents house though, so I can relax there, (wouldn’t that be awesome!) but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. I know the long flight would take a toll on me and my now enormous body and obviously I don’t want to jeopardize anything. The PA is right what IF something goes wrong during the flight! What IF my cyst burst with not only extreme pain following but bleeding- I would think something is wrong with the baby-and so would everyone else. And what IF it wasn’t the cyst at all and something WAS wrong with the baby…

No, definitely better not to take any chances, better safe than sorry and all that…

Not what I was hoping and planned for but…

I have been known to dislike change buuut after a shift in thought process and a clear headed analysis of the situation I have also been know to change my mind, my plans and eventually able to “roll with the punches”.

And I’m also known popularly to make the best of any given situation. This is safe and good and we will just spend a wonderful Christmas here (hopefully not in this hospital) and spend NEXT Christmas in Sweden!!

My room seems oddly familiar, it’s private and behind the nurses station, around the corner from a fridge (which I know hosts yoghurts, cranberry juice, jello and stale peanut butter crackers), a large scale and a storage room for wheelchairs. The room is rather large but the window faces a brick wall and a little bit of black roof…
Even though I’m sure (in fact I know…for a fact) that these rooms pretty much all look the same-I feel like I’ve been here before…
I feel like I “lived” here before- as in the 36 days of hospital bedrest before my daughter was born…

When the nurse comes in I immediately recognize her as well. She doesn’t seem to recognize me but as I glance at her “staff” card hanging around her neck stating her name and her credentials I greet her with a “nice to see you again Eva” in Swedish…

It’s the swedish nurse who took care of me on and off after my water broke only 29 weeks pregnant with my daughter!

I completely bombard her with questions in Swedish and by the time her shift is over we both agree that I have a nasty stomach bug (as evident by the hours of nonstop vomiting and my kid Ss beng just as sick at home) but that it’s NOT pregnancy related, (but since my condition affects the pregnancy and the baby’s condition), I should stay 24 hours for observation, (but be released to be able to re-plan the holidays with my family).

As she checks my temperature and my vitals we chat about everything from family to pregnancy to travel, to various illnesses (she is a nurse and we are in a hospital after all). Of course I see the opportunity to pick apart every part of my four pregnancies (as well as miscarriages) and my different complications (poor woman), seeking out honest, down to earth responses in my first language!
We are really bonding and she is quite interesting. She makes me “promise” not to come back before I’m at least 39 weeks, saying babies actually NEED to stay in that long to be “fully cooked”.

The night nurse seems to resent our closeness and as she is taking over AND is about to set an IV I try to connect with her as well (but no such luck).

It takes five nurses to try to set the IV (my poor arms and hands are bleeding and black and blue by the time they are done-and they still don’t succeed). They fear I’m dehydrated but as they can’t give me fluids and I’m not allowed to eat yet (unable to keep even small sips of water down) they call for the expert!

For him, I have to wait, it’s after midnight when he comes in my room. “Him” being the anesthesiologist, sets the IV like it’s nothing and tells me to call him “Doctor Hurt Less”
“Be sure to ask for ME when this baby is ready to come out, around 39 weeks” (why does everyone keep saying that!?)

I have to spend an agonizing 3 days in the hospital without my family, until my fever is down, I’m no longer dehydrated and until the baby “behaves” on the monitor (being hooked up to the machines yet again checking the baby’s heart rate, fetal kicks and movement and mama’s contractions). After 24 hours I have contractions big enough to suggest preterm labor (probably caused by dehydration) which earns me another 24 hours.

After 48 hours my blood test results come back suggesting “a severe” iron deficiency.

When I finally get release it is with stern orders not to travel, ESPECIALLY out of the country…
They set me up with iron infusions straight through an IV at the “hospital main” twice a week until my iron levels stabilize. With those appointments plus my stress tests at the doctor’s office three times a week – I’m going to need a lot of help watching my other little ones at home!

When I get back to my family and all the packed suitcases, I get sad (and spend a weepy hour Skyping my mom, even entertaining the thought that the family could go to Sweden without me) but we all regroup, talking about the summer and next Christmas.

My family and I take a short vacation to “Knott’s Berry Farm” and spend an amazing Christmas with the family we have here. Not according to plan but definitely cozy, fun, warm and memorable!

It might not be white but it still is wonderful!!

Blue Christmas (part 1)

I know I shouldn’t be upset. This is in MY best interest after all and more importantly the baby’s, but when the PA says I have to be admitted to the HOSPITAL all I feel is dread…

 

A flood of memories wash over me, are they really saying my huge bump and I could be spending the Christmas holidays in a hospital?? and what’s even worse, do they really think the baby could be at risk???
I can’t believe it, as I try to laugh it off when asking if I can still go to Sweden (I can right? Maybe they just want to keep us for a 24 hour observation) the PA (my “friend” Eva, remember her!?) gives me a stern look telling me that this isn’t funny at all but quite serious…
I’m at a loss for words, what is wrong then? I exclaim!
Baby looked great on the ultrasound. The huge doses of pregnancy hormones have wired me shut down there (with no exit in sight for our little guy) and there are no abnormal doses of protein in my urine.
This is the answer I’m given…
“You have a fever, you show signs of pre-e, you are 30 weeks pregnant with a high risk pregnancy…”
Eva hands me the thick orange envelope, sending me on my way to the hospital entrance and admittance window…
I cannot believe it as I stare at the paperwork the words “acute febrile illness”, “cyst on left ovary”, “history of pre-eclampsia”, “history of preterm labor” and “geriatric pregnancy” become blurry.
I know I’m acting like a child, I need to suck it up and take care of myself and ultimately this little innocent life inside of me but…
This pregnancy has been so bad, straight from our miscarriage, I have been feeling so ill from the very first moment, I’m so huge and so hormonal and so alone and right now so sick…
I can’t help it, even if I’m totally “geriatric” (being in my late 30s and all) and already a mother of 3, my tears spill over as I’m asking (more like pleading and begging) the PA Eva one last time…
“If this turns out to be something I ate or a stomach bug instead of pre-e and the baby and I both look good in a few days do I get to go with my family to Sweden?”.
“Honestly, NO”
what??
“You have a blood filled cyst that can rupture any moment and even if it’s unlikely you don’t want that to be on a plane”.
“You could develop pre-eclampsia especially since you had it before or your water can break despite the barrier due to your big baby and this being your fourth- you don’t want any of those or other seriously life threatening scenarios to happen thousands of miles from your doctors or thousands of miles up in the air-trust me!”
“You know, you are not flying to LA BUT Europe, being from Germany, I know just how far and what that trip entails”
Wow, how come nobody had explained it to me like that before?
I was here today under the assumption that I was “allowed” to travel to Sweden, just needing the letter to give to the airline (and my meds, syringes and letter for those).
It feels like me getting sick blew every change of me (and us) going away…
The pouty child in me gets mad at her but after my tearful FaceTime call to my mom as I walk over to the big hospital around the corner I realize that I’m under excellent care, that I should listen to the professionals and that my plans (and dreams for the holidays) and my will means nothing when all that matters is this baby’s health! (And my own since I’m the one cooking him until he is completely [hopefully] done).
Before I even reach the hospital doors, I get the text that the kids at home are throwing up…

Nauseating Bliss..

It does go on…
At my doctor’s appointment they are VERY nice (as in more so than usual). I feel like they are expecting something to be wrong again just like I am…

But nothing is (at least not yet..it’s very EARLY).

The black and white blob is there, just like last time though…very visible…

But this time (weeks before) there is a heartbeat (but I know that doesn’t mean that we are safe yet, definitely NOT, at the next appointment there might not be a heartbeat at all).

But there IS…

The summer is awful. This sounds bad, I know. BUT; there is just no other way to explain it. I KNOW this is just plain wrong to say and admit out loud (especially after what just happened) but I have never felt this bad (read:sick) in my whole entire life. I am so beyond grateful that baby is continuing to grow-I really truly am (and growing it does by the time I am eight week, I look like at least 18… which also make this harder to hide)…

During my latest pregnancy I unfortunately packed on the pounds and continued to eat a lot more (and a lot more unhealthy-let’s be honest) after I lost the baby, which is not an ideal start for another pregnancy.

I have never been this big or felt so sick. I’m dissatisfied and disappointed in myself and then I’m disgusted by the way I’m feeling, realizing I should be happy that I’m growing, a so far, healthy baby inside!

Everything we do is interrupted by to completely gross- vomiting!

I put my oldest kids in swim school where I frequent the ladies room emptying my insides with a variation of my offspring watching me do so!

I once throw up in the diaper bag (yup!) while my little crazy “walker” runs in between the huge pools like a toddler on a suicide mission!

It’s hard to forget the extreme nausea and vomiting no matter how happy I am (we really, really wanted a second chance for a fourth didn’t we…?). I can seriously barely function. This debilitating state has never been the case in previous pregnancies (yes I threw up on occasion and felt sick in the first trimester but never like this). It’s difficult to ignore the little voice whispering “ha ha, you got what you wanted” – mocking me. AND “You are still never ever safe”…

But the louder voice wins more and more as every doctor’s appointment (every single week), seem more and more routine and everything continues to look good.

Except of course the giant blood filled cyst on my left ovary (that I don’t even want to discuss) complicating things…

In September we travel to my sister and I am huge. I love seeing my sister and spending quality time with her! BUT: our youngest is going through some subtle (not so subtle) changes from sweet little baby boy to evil monster villain (I swear), complete with the loudest screaming fits, scheming plots, flailing arms and legs, scary (mean really) laughs, head banging, some serious biting, hitting and scratching. He brings his bag of tricks on the plane.

People feel seriously bad for us (me) but some change their mind as they see my big tummy. I can literally “hear them think” it our own damn fault and “really?? One more?”

Experiencing this trip where our youngest forget that sleep is essential-not only for himself-but others, and especially the flights (filled with fun layovers, missed flights and delayed ones because of storms) we seriously second guess our decision to have another baby.
Especially since we now know it’s another BOY!!!

The nurse asks if I wanted a daughter…well…
She laughs and says-“that is something we as moms don’t get to admit right!?”
“I bet you already have a boy?”

“Well, I have…TWO”!!

But of course you can’t regret a thing, it’s a life, a wish, a blessing-all we want is healthy OF COURSE  and we really don’t regret a thing…but just saying, (and nobody has ever said it is-I know) it’s NOT easy!

 

Try and try again…?

The doctor advices us that IF we are going to try again, we have to wait at least two menstrual cycles but no more than three (two due to the thinning lining of the uterus-this might happen again- and three due to my old age!…). I can’t even think, my head is spinning ( I wanted THIS one!) but my husband starts talking about having another one right away in the car. He claims this was a sign that we definitely should have another one- a FOURTH!!!
Was it? Or was this a hint that we definitely should NOT have another one?

I struggle with this…

I always knew I wanted a big family, I love having kids and being a mother (I truly do, despite its challenges). I however haven’t had the easiest deliveries or newborns and I already have THREE kids. Three wonderful, happy, healthy blessings! I always wanted three, I can handle three and yes I’m completely happy and satisfied with three! But I can’t deny that I wanted this fourth one so badly that I was aching for her. This experience completely sold me on having yet one more, I can handle it I thought, I go to specialty doctor (a team that will do anything to prevent preterm labor and/or any complications), I’m in constant and excellent care, everything went great with my youngest and wouldn’t it be amazing to give my daughter a sister!?

I also knew that we had to “strike while the iron was hot”. If we were going to do this-we were going to do it now (well in 2-3 months). To say I had mixed feeling was an understatement…

We continue with life like nothing ever happened  (I embrace the busyness of having three children with all their needs and activities). But of course something DID happen.

I continue to get reminder letters in the mail for weeks-reminders for ultrasounds (even the big 20 week autonomy scan reminder is already in our mailbox). When they call to ask to schedule my six week check-up after delivery I finally had enough. I yell at the poor, clueless receptionist that the delivery happened alright but the fetus was smaller than the palm of my hand and I don’t need a six week check-up darn it!!!

At least my outburst seemed to work, no more letters or phone calls and as soon as the doctor cleared me for physical activities, I stopped bleeding and stopped taking (positive) pregnancy tests (pathetic I know), I start waiting for my “real” period instead- debating our decision back and forth.

My husband is so pro trying again that he surprises me. I don’t remember him being so adamant about number three…

My period lags behind which the doctor warned me about and I enjoy irregular bleeding for my first month after the loss instead! (Fun times…)

Spring is over in a haze-I’m really not much for socializing, I feel weary, weepy and weak. Besides-it is way to hot! I really have to pull myself together for the kid’s birthdays. I can’t muster up much joy- the only highlight being my brother and his family coming to stay with us for a few weeks, coinciding with my little one’s first birthday!!

The summer is fast approaching. I can’t believe my oldest is graduating kindergarten. I feel old yet panicky about how fast time flies and how precious life really is.

If we want another baby, shouldn’t we just go for it?

I know that deep down I really want to go for it- but I’m scared. It’s hard to stop thinking about our “failed attempt” and to start thinking about pros and cons- what happened, my age, my history of preeclampsia, preterm labor and the Down syndrome scare- first of all. Something could go wrong, something unexpected this time-that is clearly and constantly on my mind.

Secondly there is the pregnancy, delivery and actual newborn phase to think about. Am I willing to go through it all again (because this is in ME-nobody else). The aches and pains, the sleepless nights, the exhaustion. I also constantly think about my three kids and their need for attention love, time and devotion.

All of these are worth it I know- the aches and pains. Who am I kidding, I don’t mind being pregnant and even though the delivery is excruciating everything disappears in an instance once the baby is in your arms and even the lack of sleep (clearly the worse part) is worth it. I know I might be spread thin as a mom, but I love my kids tremendously and I know we can make it work.

My husband seem almost desperate (even offering to take more time off and work less…) at times to sway me to agree to just try for another baby (we even put a time limit-if we don’t “make it” this year, he will have his surgery and we will stay happy with the kids we have and never talk about this again). He knows deep inside that I do want to try. He listens to me patiently night after night argue against it, all the fears are being brought up time and time again. It feels like this loss but also the conception just “happened” to us- there was zero planning before…

It’s a big decision and I feel like I’m drowning in it. All I know is that I don’t want to go through this ever again or worse-that’s the fear-that “next time”, we won’t be as lucky…

By June, I’ve had two consecutive “real” periods…

 

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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An Adventurous Week: Day 1

Well this week started off like all weeks after a NOT so perfect Sunday; (and nothing at all like I had planned and imagined it) the dreaded Monday came (Sunday’s are usually fine but I always dread Mondays because I think it’s somehow ingrained in me- even if I don’t have school anymore or a job in that sense- I still have to get up in the morning and I do have to parent-alone).

This morning started like most others with the added loaded promise that it was just the first of many without a break. It was the unwelcoming wake-up call, the too enthusiastic 5 year old, the complete opposite whiny three year old, the hysterically crying, hungry baby, the missing shoe, the toilet paper issue, the refusing to go potty, (and brush teeth and dress), the tantrum over the lack of favorite cereal, wrong yoghurt, dress, color of underwear (and you know my face…) the too long nursing session, the lack of wipes available by the changing table, the dog stealing the last waffle, the project due NOT in the backpack…and the list goes on and on..

We are out the door (two in pjs, one still hungry, one still in pull-ups missing a shoe) only slightly late and a new day has officially started and it’s bound to be interesting because with kids it always, always is.

Picking up my oldest after school, I have already taken care of the mishaps of the morning, both little kids have “proper” clothing on (who cares if the dress and leggings don’t match and are of different sizes, if the princess crown is crocked or if she is wearing “Sofia the first” play shoes since we never did find the other shoe…thank goodness the baby still lets me dress him…well maybe boys are just always easier in that regard), the kitchen is cleaned, a “better” breakfast has been consumed, teeth brushed, underwear and sufficiently wiped butt have been taken care of. We also managed to run to the store (out of organic, no added sugar apple juice…it’s still bad for them I knooow), taken a nap (well…) and had lunch (drive thru Starbucks-my best friend as of late).

We are here and on time. Little sister having trouble walking in her too big, plastic Sofia shoes. We listen to the list of things big brother didn’t do well today and then we walk back to the car, nurse baby brother, change his disgusting diaper (seriously it is stinking up the whole car) and strap everyone in, the three year old being the biggest battle. Then we wait for all the cars to disappear so that we can get out of our parking spot and leave the school (a good 20 minutes later…I am paying major overages charges on my phone data for sitting there enjoying, gasp, the freedom of my kids unable to go anywhere, checking e-mail and social media).

Starbucks drive thru AGAIN but this time they accidentally give us cream cheese instead of butter with the plain bagels- oh the horror (you could only imagine). After school program brings its own drama where the parents have to meet to discuss something crucial and alarming and oh so important while baby boy is screaming (probably hungry again, he is always hungry…even when he just ate).

I just have this awful feeling that while big brother is learning and the little kids are playing, they will get hurt somehow (I’m telling you it felt like I just knew) so I keep waiting for it. I don’t know if it’s mom’s intuition or what but it’s certainly freaky as first my daughter falls and skins both knees (always extra alarming with her blood condition) and then…

So I put the baby boy on one of those animal swings, knowing he is too little and knowing before I do it that I shouldn’t (not sure why I still do it but I am being extra careful). I am feeling like ridiculously crazy mommy and maybe that is why I am ignoring that little voice in my head. I put his tiny hands securely on the metal bar, thinking I have things under control…when all of a sudden his little body slides away as I’m still holding his hands and fall forward and under…

And that’s it, there is blood…

His mouth is bleeding and he is crying that real “I got really hurt cry”. First I’m examining his teeth, already jumping to extremes of fallen baby teeth but after I feel better that they all seem intact, I feel embarrassed by parental stares “yes I was watching (even holding) my baby and he is STILL bleeding…”

Since I am certain his little mouth didn’t hit anything I’m confused at first about the blood, but then realized he got scared when his body lunched forward and bit his own lip…hard (as evident by the tiny tooth marks) poor little guy!

(Semi-) surviving this evening we finally get in the car, only to discover that we are out of gas…

So we get home, calling dad to go pick up dinner (he does that on Mondays  because we always get home so late and close to bed time), only he is not answering.

An hour later, still nothing. The kids all ate and are in pjs with brushed teeth as I start to worry…

Christmas Magic

img_2766c1c91bc2-f84e-4545-ae8a-bdecc345a55c51db7a3d-a599-48be-bafd-f1b9ec9a0044img_2808img_2814img_2751img_2759img_2764img_2733img_27359da97ede-a66e-49f9-88e0-fdabc70f9a42img_2772img_2792img_2797img_2767img_2768So it’s Christmas and my oldest is really, really sick, poor guy. He has no energy and is burning up with an especially nasty fever (which is worrisome because we don’t know exactly what is the matter with him).

To top it off, our daughter has morphed into the spawn of… someone eh hm, NOT nice. In my silly naive mind I thought that the random displays of (what I now see was mild) tantruming behavior was IT for her terrible twos (I really thought it wouldn’t get worse). I considering myself lucky but also DUE for an easier two year old this second time around.

I clearly forgot that the worst year is NOT 2-3 but two and a half to three and a half and that the “treenager” (seriously) is way worse than the “terrible-two:er” and that it gets worse and worse (way worse before it get better). 2.5-3.5 is really a year of unnecessary parental exhaustion (read: mental breakdown) dealing with little kid-devils with their main mission being messing with your mind! They are so manipulative, calculated, smart yet evil at the same times as not making any sense…at all. They go from sweet and nice (still being “baby cute” and adorable) to needing an exorcist in a heartbeat.

The baby boy is still NOT sleeping through the night and seem to have been going back to the newborn stage of nursing around the clock and confusing day and night…

You know by now what no sleep DOES to this mama, I’m running on fumes, I need (need, need) my sleep!!!

This is the year that I of course have chosen (completely my own brilliant idea) to host Christmas! And don’t get me wrong I am excited, of course I am…

I want to show my in laws more of my traditions and customs and what I am used to celebrating Christmas growing up and I want to give that to my children as well merging my husband’s family traditions and the “American way” with mine and the Swedish!

To start it all off the stove top stops working and even if I prepped a lot of the food days before Christmas  (lots and lots of meatballs of course), I  still obviously need my STOVE and nobody can come out to fix it because, you know, it’s Christmas Eve…
And then there is a roof leak…in the kitchen. (Hi, welcome; don’t mind the precipitation…inside)…
We are late for church, unable to sit together with family and all three kids fall asleep during the ceremony.

Oh and I almost forgot, not because I’m a selfish, mean b*tch but because I literally have a million…at least a thousand…several hundred things to do (and mouths to feed, or so it seems) but my husband got into a little accident…

Well more of a “fender bender really” (yes the fender; is that what it’s called?? Got really really bent). I guess he had to urgently go get a really important (hmm, yes!) gift last minute (ya think!!??). Because you know he has so many gifts to take care of, so many names on that list, and so little time (read:me) and I just have EVERYONE ELSE (now there is a LIST). But all good, hubby is fine-the car not so much (we also just bought his car off of the lease…) but it didn’t exactly take away from the stress and chaos or add to the Christmas spirit!!!

It all turns out pretty great in the end with tons of Christmas magic with the help of family, Tylenol, many gifts, lots of hands to hold cranky babies and toddlers, an amazing Santa, a Croc Pot (full of meatballs, “prince sausage” and briskets) and a handy grandpa and tons of actually delicious food including great cold items (yes!) like smoked salmon, breads, crackers and cheeses and items that could go IN the oven like glazed ham and Jansson’s temptation (my very own favorite potato dish with breadcrumbs, cream and anchovies…minus the anchovies for me), lots of “glogg” (spiced wine) and yummy and decadent desserts curtesy of grandma!

After Christmas it’s hard not to feel slightly sad and kind of empty even as an adult. Christmas is truly a magical time of year especially for kids. But as a parent I think that you try to recreate that magic you felt yourself as a child. My parents sure bent over backwards to make sure all our Christmases were truly that, amazing, traditional and simply; Magical!!!

As a child I always felt low after holidays (vacations and summer breaks) and now I understand the anticlimax that follows Christmas for my own children. As a mom though you simply don’t have time sitting around feeling blue and as soon as school starts it’s go go go again!

This semester is way more serious than the last one – that becomes apparent right away! No more sweet, cuddly and forgiving teachers, no more “practice homework”, no more “volunteering is optional”. Spring semester in kindergarten here we come! Who is ready to dive in with us!?

Drop off Disaster

I prep my oldest son even before we reach the school parking lot. He knows by now how to buckle and unbuckle himself and how to stand ready (hunched over) by the back “lift-gate” (we have been practicing). Okay, so maybe that needs some further explanation…
As you all know, I have three kids and we TRIED to put them all next to each other in the backseat of our new (oversized) SUV. Heck noo, did NOT work…
The oldest two were fighting like crazy, which made me frustrated and scream way too much. I was also worried about the tiny (okay not so tiny) baby back there.
After weeks best described as catastrophic, we had the brilliant idea to put the oldest in the third row!
It was a bit tricky with the big stroller and all the other baby stuff (car seat adapters, extra toddler seat and what not) but we made it work. We also had to teach our oldest to buckle himself. The problem is, I didn’t WANT him to be able to open the back liftgate on his own (way too dangerous). So every time he (we) went out of the car, I had to open it for him.

So back to the dreaded school car line…

As soon as we are on school property I yell for my son to unbuckle himself and to prepare with his backpack and such, for me to come open the back for him.

We have arrived early enough so that there won’t be a lot of cars…there still IS, but we are amongst the first in line (pat on back).

As we approach the green “drop off zone” I slow way down and then come to a complete stop in front of the school, I put the car in park (and apply the parking brake for good measure) and open the door…

As soon as I do this, cars (people of course but you know what I mean…) start honking (these are moms and nannys and the occasional dad, mind you) and by the time I’m in the back of my car there is also yelling (I’m not kidding).

When my big handsome boy jumps out with his backpack, I feel so proud of him but of course the moment is completely ruined by even more severe honks and yelling ( “hurry up”, “come on”, “unbelievable”, “must be a new mom”, “she will make me LATE”)…

As I rush over to the driver seat, a school “representative” runs after me screaming “this is NOT how we do things”.

Yet as I see my son struggle with his huge backpack I feel an urge to go help him out, to go steer him in the right direction, to show him the gate and his classroom. I swollow hard and manage a wave to the car behind me as I speed off away from the school parking lot.

Theoretically I know he knows where to go and that he won’t be lost (or gasp “stolen”) but I can’t help the moment of “mommy panic”.

As I drive off I feel sad and disappointed. Well that didn’t go according to plan! I almost want to call the school to make sure he made it to his classroom safely. I feel worried and stressed. I have to call my husband to relay the fiasco…
Well, that’s it!!! I will NEVER ever expose myself or my son to that car line EVER again!!!

The frazzled, slightly lost and confused new mom…

As I slowly walk away from my brand new kindergartener’s school, feeling empty and a little lost, baby boy starts crying on cue!

Nothing like a gut wrenching hunger scream to take you back to reality. I quickly realize that all three of us (it does feel like I’m missing one) have to go all the way back to the car so I can feed the baby before the “coffee with the school moms”. So we start walking…

The restaurant across the street is beyond full of mingling mommas. My little daughter is trying to hold on to me for dear life as I try to maneuver her and the baby in the carrier .

There is hot coffee, giggling mamas and their legs everywhere- my two year old daughter is basically being swallowed by the crowd. I don’t think this is the place for me and my young to be right now. There are no other kids here and I come to the understanding that these moms are older (not that I am exactly young) and so are their kids. I challenge myself to talk to at least three different moms. They all seem nice but very different from myself and not quite what I’m used to. I try to introduce myself, give a compliment and ask a question. The planner in me feels like I’m checking off a check list not being genuine or trying to make friends. But I do want to be genuine and I do want to make new friends. I try to get out of my comfort zone and not think “I have all the friends I need”. This is not only for me but for my kids-my oldest and the other two following him! It just feels like this crowd has a secret I’m not in on … but I should make an effort to find out what it is. Some of them are very cold and stand off-ish but I must say, most of them do seem warm and approachable.

I make my rounds and manage to talk to three different woman- all of them with older kids, their youngest being in kindergarten. Not a lot of babies or toddlers beings seen or talk about diaper brands (organic, cloth or *gasp* plastic) or potty trading tips being heard. It makes sense now that they all seem to know each other since they have other kids in the same school. I feel like a lot of new information is being thrown at me and I feel totally unprepared, unpolished, and frankly like I’m left out of some “perfect manicured mom’s club”. I am that frazzled new mom who makes the mistake of bringing her smelly, whiny little kids to a classy event. Except my littlests are totally behaved (AND they smell delicious…at least I think so but I might be biased…then I remember the leggings) and I thought this was a “come as you are, casual coffee after drop off thing”…

I’m officially exhausted after discussions school safety and security as well as the kids cafeteria menus and meal plans with mom number 3 and have to excuse myself (who am I kidding? She is so bored by my input-or lack thereof she is already seeking a more gluten/dairy free, pro huge fenced in/gated school mom after a couple of sentences from me even if I’m totally pro healthy eating and school safety!)

Trying to avoid my little girl getting trampled, our little gang (feeling totally misplaced) head for the door.

For the first couple of weeks, we are supposed to walk our brand new school kids to their classroom and drop them off and walk to their classroom to pick them up. More seasoned moms with older kids get to pick their kids up by car-stopping (more like a rolling stop) by the side walk.

I oblige and walk my son back and forth with his little sister and little brother for weeks. I park at the church the first two weeks but get by week three that if I’m early enough I can snag a parking spot at the actual school, and I won’t get stuck in the line of cars dropping off and picking up (that lines up around the school’s back parking lot-sounds confusing? That is because it is!!! The school itself call drop off and pick up “an organized chaos”…)

After the initial weeks of a lot of walking a baby who just wants to eat and sleep and hates the in an out of his car seat and a hysterically grumpy (worst little morning person ever…gets it from me…very proud) toddler who is forced to walk in a rush several times a day…my oldest son and I decide to be brave…

We decide this on the same day as our very first kindergarten play date and we are both very excited…until we are actually stuck in that school line of cars at drop off…

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