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…

Perfect (NOT) timing…

The Friday before we were going home to Sweden for the holidays I have my last doctor’s appointment. This appointment is very important since everything needs to look great (baby and I) for them to let me go on this long trip (and back).
I need a letter from my specialists explaining the syringes and meds I need to bring and another letter explaining that I AM allowed to travel pregnant (being high risk and all…but probably more me being 30-31 weeks but looking like at least 36!). There is rules about traveling internationally after 36 weeks after all…
Of course (and cruelly so) I wake up that Friday feeling more nauseous than ever (and here I thought I was past the worst nausea).
An hour before I have to leave for my appointment I empty out the entire content of my stomach violently, including what I just “tried” to eat, (my mandatory a.m. “grande, decaf java chip frappe” make a come back -yuck!) in the guest bathroom by the kitchen (I didn’t get any further).
My mom and I debate the reason for my sudden “sickness” in a panicky FaceTime call wondering if it could be “baby related” or not…?
As a “curtesy” (more out of fear to be honest because as we know…you never know…), I call my doctor’s office letting them know how I feel, explaining that I must have ate something or it might be a stomach bug (great timing huh!?), could they (pretty please) see me on Monday (the day before we are supposed to leave?) but all they hear is the possibility of pre-eclampsia…
Of course they tell me to “come in right away” …
I dread my appointment while I wait in the waiting room (had to call my husband to come home sooner and cancel his last appointment to rush home to stay with the kids). I really really want to go home for Christmas! It’s all I have been looking forward to for months!! All that kept me going at my sickest most uncomfortable moments (not really bad moments more like weeks-months)…
I feel extremely nauseous but trusting that my stomach is good and empty already (but locating the nearest bathroom OUTSIDE of the office just in case).
I really want to get the “go ahead” (and the letters to show at the airport/s) to go home to Sweden on Tuesday morning, that is after all why I’m here today (I was here just days ago after all).
The nurse takes one look at me before taking a giant step back (do I really look that bad?) asking “How are we feeling today”
I hesitate, do I tell her the truth? That I’m miserable….Could this be something other than “something I ate” or a stomach bug?
Could this somehow affect the baby or have anything to do with my pregnancy? (How are WE feeling might actually refer to me AND baby boy).
Obviously I can’t risk anything.
Here goes nothing… “I AM miserable (disgusting details) but I’m suuure it’s a bug”
The nurse leaves to tell the PA (Our stern German  friend Eva) what is going on …
Eva checks me and my baby- ultrasound, “in and out” she even checks my cervix for dilation (which is NOT recommended so close to a long far away trip…)…
All good, baby nice and cozy in there, exit route rock solid. I keep my fingers crossed and say a little prayer..
And then she checks my urine for protein via the nurse, I get my progesterone shot and then she checks my temperature….

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!

 

Freakishly Fertile…?

We don’t “try” again as much as we decide “to see what happens”. There are no ovulation calendars or planned intimacy sessions. There are no counting days or keeping track of cycles. There is no rush to run out and get pregnancy tests or religiously check my “body temperature”. We also don’t “get it on” more often…

BUT we don’t use protection and I’m trying not to feel terrified…

We don’t expect it and we certainly don’t count on it. I’ve heard the stories how you are most fertile after a loss, but that means right after, right? Not after a couple of months?

“What is meant to be will be…”

Do I believe that?

Me-the planner and organizer, thinker and over-analyzer!?

I thought we had more time…

Did we really, REALLY decide, DECIDE to try again or did we leave it up to chance and was that a “smart”‘decision (if it really wasn’t a decision at all…)

Are we just freakishly fertile? I mean since we just stumbled upon getting pregnant without even trying at all last time (quite the opposite actually) when some people try unsuccessfully for years…
Are we just “lucky” or could you even call it that knowing the end result…?

But what about this time? Was it Luck? A blessing? A choice, a chance, a decision, random happening, fate…
What?

I tell myself to not even check until my period is more than a week late and not even stress about my third cycle after our loss…

Because it IS coming, right?

Except it is NOT…

It is the end of June and I have to face that I’m already six weeks along-fear and excitement and all…

When I try to get an appointment to confirm, they can’t fit me in for another three weeks.

There is no way, I’m a nervous wreck, fragile, vulnerable and obsessed with the fear of blood and yet another loss. I can NOT wait this long.

I don’t want to go through this again..
I’m just not ready!
Why didn’t we wait longer, plan more, DECIDE?

I debate disturbing my very busy doctor (I’m sure) just to tell her the “news” and see if she can squeeze me in sooner.

I have to (I just HAVE to) do it for my own sanity (those around me agree).
My husband tells me that my doctor is human and why don’t I just try to reach out so that I will stop obsessing and feel better.

Except my fear is that she won’t answer…

I don’t want to tell anybody until I’m at least 12 weeks along…and then until my genetic tests come back…

I wish I didn’t have to tell myself, I wish I didn’t have to know.

I text my doctor’s private cell phone (hoping she won’t be upset) and pray for an answer…

My doctor DOES answer and she is completely awesome and can fit me in in a few days. These are the best news in like forever.

I can’t wait…

At the same time I’m dreading the appointment- even entertaining the idea of skipping it all together…

Something I would of course never do…

I’m crossing off days on our fridge calendar.

The hardest part is not telling my mom. She already knows something is up (of course she does).

Even before my appointment I start feeling sick. There is no denying this crippling nausea-something is definitely going on…

But will it continue “to go on this time”??

 

 

No more perfect destination…

 

Only a couple of days before the safety of the second trimester I’m rushed to the hospital, it’s also the day that we are supposed to go on our vacation (bags packed, dog at grandma and grandpa’s).

At my last ultrasound they discovered-not only the lack of a heartbeat but-several centimeters of blood in my uterus. It’s an internal hemorrhage.

This could have been a disaster if I had gone on the trip apparently…
Think bleeding out on a plane unable to land, or anything happening on a location where the healthcare wouldn’t have been like it is here..

I spent the night in the ER. The nurses and doctor are extremely nice. The eerie thing is that the fetus is still there (whole and there…) but with this much bleeding they can’t send me home until morning. They take every precaution necessary and I’m very thankful.

My discharge papers still don’t say that I miscarried. I stare at the “pregnancy weeks” on the release notes. The diagnosis is internal bleeding/uterus hemorrhage.

I talk to my Obgyn specialty doctor, who is amazing, from my ER bed. She shares that she herself suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks that shook her so much she won’t consider going through pregnancy again (she has a healthy daughter). She describes her experience in detail and tells me what I can expect (even if every case and woman are different). I’m beyond grateful that she is so open and honest (brutally so…this WILL suck!).

I will loose this baby-because that is the “BEST” case scenario…

Since there is no longer a heartbeat, she most have stopped growing along the way (even if this started as a normal pregnancy…as the others…with no signs…no bleeding…nothing “abnormal” at all).
She says to come in on Monday and if nothing happened before then to schedule the surgery…to remove the fetus (my baby who I now have to think about as just one of nature’s mistakes and hope that my body will take care if it naturally…).

I’m a very level headed, logical and grounded person and I must admit I can understand the whole “logical reasoning” that “it’s not a baby yet”, “it’s for the best”, “it’s natural for nature to get rid of the unhealthy” but somehow it’s extremely difficult to wrap your head around all of that so far along when you were so excited about the actual real live baby ahead…

My insides are playing Darwinism at its finest…this one is damaged and won’t survive…

It seems cruel…

So the waiting game begins..

Might I point out that I could have been at a white sandy beach right now…sipping a pina colada (fine; virgin colada…wrestling three kids in the white sand…)

I know I’m lucky though, even if I planned and hoped and dreamed and thought I reached the safety zone-I’m not THAT far along…

I’m so much luckier than many others, I’ve yet to have a noticeable baby bump (even though the bump IS already there and WE can totally already tell…) or felt our baby girl kick yet…

The day before my appointment to schedule my surgery it happens and after googling AND talking in depth with my doctor, I’m prepared!

Or sort of…can you ever be prepared for something like this?

 

The “safe zone” of pregnancy…

It’s a girl…or was a girl I guess…

They think she just stopped growing. But she was there, actually she still is there-everything that is “supposed” to be there is there- I have the picture as “proof”. The grainy baby shaped white “blob” against the black background. She looked just like the other ones. Just like the other “pictures” I saved (to some day make the kids each a baby book-like the one for my firstborn…).

Everything was perfect…but then it wasn’t. All the tests show positive right away (the pink plus signs, the two parallel lines, the word “yes” and the actual word “pregnant”) with the first drop… and continue to do so…even after…

There were no tell tale signs or bleeding and everything looked completely normal…until it didn’t.

I just never expected this…everything started like it did with my other beautiful healthy children. I have lost pregnancies before-when we were trying and then succeed…but then I ended up with a heavy bleed… but I have never been to a doctor’s appointment before where the baby had no heartbeat.

How could it be fine and all there and progressing and then not?

How could you go weeks and weeks expecting, hoping, planning- happy, excited, involved. And then the nothingness…

Lots of women go through this everyday-most before the “safe zone” of 12 weeks (1 in 4 they say), but many even further along, and then there are the few who have to suffer through the unimaginable devastation of stillborns and infant loss.

We went weeks, months actually still hoping, praying for a detectable heartbeat and growth-it was there-and then it wasn’t…

We planned room arrangements, a new car, we found out the gender…

Perhaps everything was planned prematurely but we were so close to the safety zone…

I ordered a “gender reveal” princess cake…
A cake we never picked up…

I had lots of hopes and dreams for this child…a child that will now never be…

You can argue that it was still a fetus, that there had been signs (for example there was no severe nausea in the first trimester like with the others). That there was no “baby” yet. That nature got rid of a “defected” fetus…

But try telling a pregnant momma that-a momma who has known about the pregnancy from week 5…

Then the bleeding started…so close to the second trimester and the safe week. The doctor even said light bleeding does not necessarily mean…

But I knew…

But hope is a funny thing…

I had borrowed a heart monitor from a friend…it was pink and promised that you should be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat from week 10 (but you could try from week 8). I felt pathetic trying to locate my baby girl’s heart on my own-when professionals hadn’t been able to at our last appointment…

The dread when you feel the ultrasound technician’s fear, worry and sympathy is excruciating. I like being prepared, and even though you can never prepare for something like this, I was in complete and utter shock and disbelief.

Anything but that…I just wasn’t expecting it – at all…

We were supposed to go on vacation. We had been excitingly packing…now this.

My doctor said not to loose hope-that it was still “50/50”. We planned to still go on the tropical “all inclusive” vacation. We needed it. I needed it.

We hadn’t told the kids yet (but I think our oldest might have been suspicious). We were going to tell them that weekend…before this happened.

There was no blood the day before our trip, we hadn’t told anybody…

A baby for Halloween THIS year. A baby coming with us home for Christmas-everyone who knew were excited…

I told my hairdresser the baby had stopped growing…that there was no heartbeat…

I might be walking around with something dead inside me…

I felt uncomfortable, down, awkward, sick, like a failure…

This is how being in “limbo” feels”.

She encouraged me to go, to get away, to think about something else (even though the thought of “her” were all consuming).

Everybody encouraged us to go…
The white, sandy beaches, the sun, the food the service- it would be good for me-for us.

The kids were excited, they packed their own little backpacks-everything was done and ready to go…

Then my body started to betray me- the beginning of the end of this journey started…

 

Crushed Expectations

IMG_0561At first you might be mildly suspicious, but you are busy and life happens and more pressing things are on your mind…. (besides it is truly unimaginable…)

But then those sneaking suspicions resurface and you decide to finally just check, counting the tiny squares on your smartphone (because that is usually how we check our schedules nowadays).

And of course it doesn’t add up, of course not, but we have excuses- so many excuses (do breastfeeding on demand and having -just a couple- irregular periods since baby count…?) and besides it is IMPOSSIBLE, so there is that (protection WAS involved).

So the days go by until you finally just need to face the inevitable, because you just NEED to know, even though it’s impossible (well at least not very likely….). And so you grab the bull by its horns and take that stupid test- the same test that has terrified you, worried you, exhilarated you and excited (actually even empowered) you before.

The last few times you were happy, giddy- anxious but excited-willing it to show a plus sign, this time you are just not sure. And even if you are tired and weary (so darn tired) that same familiar excitement starts bubbling up from somewhere deep inside even if that is not the way you thought you would feel, that is not the way you should feel or at least it is unexpected because this is wrong and huge and overwhelming….

Let alone the timing…
The timing is so very, very wrong.

You have a baby, in fact you have more than one baby…but one that actually still IS a baby (nurses-check! Cries-check! Wears diapers-check! Crawls-check! Babbles without real words-check! Take naps-check! Is teething-check! Won’t sleep through the night-check! Needs you for everything-check!).
He needs you-that baby that you already have and the others in your family-they NEED you- and you are only ONE person (no matter how you try to split yourself up into two, three or even four….)

All this is true and yet…

Yet you know if that damn stick is negative, you would feel the slight sting of (of WHAT you crazy, insane woman you???) …
Disappointment…

The shock is real and all consuming. Even if all that you felt (and didn’t want to allow yourself to feel but felt anyways) is true, you are still in shock. The room is literally spinning so you sit down again (even if you have taken way too much time to yourself already, even if someone probably needs you right this second, even if…).

This will change a lot…

When you are a planner and an organizer the smallest things you didn’t plan (and can’t control-just face it-throw “controlling” in the mix) throw you off more or less (less or more?) and you have to regain your balance (your control) and make it right!

First you freak out (because that is who you are and that is what you do) … but then you calm down and you think, and analyze and absorb (and this doesn’t take long to be honest) and then you RE-PLAN and RE-ORGANIZE and re-structure and slowly, slowly you re-gain some CONTROL (needed some input from your mom because who doesn’t need their mom when big things happen?!)

A baby for Christmas, well actually for Halloween (or weeks before). But I would bring another one home for the holidays…another child, another baby…

This IS happening, as in THIS year, this same very year that we are currently in. Will I be able to deal with this?

A mom AGAIN …

I thought we only made babies in the summer. Beautiful spring babies!

Last time it was very different. Yes we endearingly called him a “surprise blessing” and our “bonus baby” but even though he wasn’t planned, we went for it and we knew (of course we knew) the chance and the possibility, and he couldn’t have been more welcomed and longed for and perfect.

This was one tiny (huge) mishap.

Even if different, I don’t mean this is not welcomed or imperfect in any way, shape or form (of course not, never) it just wasn’t on our minds at all-we didn’t know (of course we didn’t) the chance- risk? (because we didn’t exactly “go for it”) and there didn’t seem to be any possibilities.

I went to the obgyn the other week to get on birth control. With my daughter the regular birth control pill made my (her) milk disappear. This time I read that if you take the “mini” pill (progesterone only) it won’t.

I tell her my story and she laughs.

She actually laughs out loud (for more than a few seconds too), it’s actually quite rude…

Not the story about the milk of course…

The story about the mishap.

The celebrating New Years, the making the most of children sleeping- and not on top of us (a miracle in and of itself), the planned protection…and the…mishap.

She laughs…

She calls me OLD (can you believe it…? The audacity)

And the breastfeeding (at night still too and on demand). It’s suppose to make it IMPOSSIBLE…

It’s less than 2% “risks” she says, you have absolutely nothing to worry about…

But here we are…

I’m starting to get happy, starting to feel calm and “right” and perfect! I can do this!! I truly am super mom!

And we plan, and we talk, and we organize and we think, and we are EXCITED!

We are not telling anyone, we are waiting.

After the initial shock and blame (let’s face it who WOULDN’T blame their husband in this situation??) I have landed,  and it is nice and I feel strong, actually (thanks hormones??) I feel on top of the world…

We can do one more, we are supposed to have one more, this is good, this is right, this is US…

Am I nervous? Of course!
Am I anxious and overwhelmed? Naturally!

Am I happy?
Yes incredibly happy despite it all, because how can you not be?

You go around for weeks with this incredible secret that nobody knows (but you, your man and your mama) and you kind of glow (from within only) and you are kind of smug (because you are in on this huge, amazing secret).

When people say “you have your hands full” and you just smile and your insides don’t freak out anymore but they turn warm and your heart grows just a little…

Because that is the thing about hearts..they grow and they expand and they make room!

This could have been a funny, charming and beautiful story…

When you are expecting, you are just that “expecting”. Expecting so very much, you expect, you dream, you plan.

You take things for granted…

Really, you should never ever take things for granted in life…

EVER-how is that for a life lesson…?

Because when it all comes crashing down..

You don’t EXPECT it…

 

 

 

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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