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”??

 

 

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…

 

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…

 

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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The Year’s First Play Date!!

IMG_4388IMG_4400IMG_4404IMG_4287IMG_4327IMG_4348IMG_4372IMG_4367IMG_4373So the first play date is off to a great start. Read lost shoe(s), wrong colored dress (too cold for a dress, pick your battles?), last minute “I all of a sudden have to poop for a very long long time…can I have the iPad” and yet another nursing session despite the previous one being less than twenty minutes ago.

And we’re off, only twenty minutes late- great job mama! Only three out of three crying (gold star)!!
I’m glad people are waiting for us, sigh! (These people are most likely super mamas-of course they are-with super well behaved kids- and they are never late to anything…)

Today is one of those random school holidays that nobody has ever heard of- at least I haven’t. I think the teachers just need a break-and I don’t blame them at all, quite the opposite in fact, but it makes it a little (a lot) difficult on the parents (mommies mostly, who are we kidding here…?).

I think maybe you are supposed to jump for joy on school holidays. “Yay, a whole day (days/week… I mean, seriously “ski week” is coming up…) to spend with my precious offspring-my greatest wish come true!!!!”

I know that I’m being unfair here, I should be thankful to spend more quality time with my oldest (at least I could pretend better, beaming gratefully and nod with the other moms agreeing that a free day off of school to spend with your “little one” is the greatest blessing ever). But it’s not about my son really, (he is pretty great MOST of the time), it’s that I have two more kids (in quite difficult ages) with different demands and schedules (and I’m not the best at changing plans and schedules- being inflexible and all…).

Like I said, I really try to embrace this (these) school holiday (hmm). My son is actually (dare I admit it) my best behaved child at the moment (no; really). The littlest one is mr. Whinny, crank monster lately, extremely demanding, loud and wants to nurse around the clock…and my daughter’s requests and tantrums when they are not being meet, are just getting more ridiculous by the minute. Soo, back to my oldest; at least you can TALK to him, and reason with him (well somewhat) and he is starting to understand consequences…

He is growing up, my little man-my first born (insert beaming, teary eyed, proud mommy moment here; but for real this time!!) Amongst his nonsense (as in makes no sense what…so…ever), he all of a sudden makes a lot of sense, like he knows things I never knew he did, he senses things, he listens (about 20% more than before-which probably means he NOW listens about 20% of the time) and he remembers everything (although he always has-I swear even as a baby I understood that this one was special (I know cliche it sounds- but it’s so true!). He is still as full of energy as ever, can never sit (not even stand) still, usually up to no good with that gleaming look of mischief in his eyes, so darn cute and I swear a heart of gold that one!

Anyways, I know I went on and on and ran away with that one…my point is that amongst my three adorable, lovely kids he might just right now win the spot of the loveliest…except…

When he uses his “school scissors” (bought especially for school projects and homework by his loving mother) to cut huge holes in his brand new “work out pants” (bought by his not so lovely- and hysterically un-athletic mother who forces him “to finish what he started” – meaning “hoops”- no idea at first that it was basketball, and tennis- which he despises most days-but to be fair to his poor parents who paid good money for these after school/extra curricular activities; loves other days). Maybe that is why the nice, brand new “work out pants” got sliced…

All I know is the same child who begged to get out of “hoops” is suddenly having a meltdown that he can’t play today.

This morning I had to load all three kids in the car in acceptable clothing (and it’s cold too) to take them to sister’s dance. She is of course extra grumpy and doesn’t want to wear her brand new long sleeved ballerina dress (short sleeved in the laundry…and did I mention how cold it is) and wants her mom to watch her dance but not her brothers…

Anyways, I call the mom who organized the play date and apologize profusely-luck has it they were late too, not as late of course (only “two kid late”-not “three kid late”) but still!

The play date starts out nice enough, a little chit chat, the boys seem to get along. But soon baby wants to eat and I hate leaving my oldest playing without me watching (but hate asking the other moms to, even more). I tell his in my stern mommy voice…to behave, and take the youngests to the restroom.

Of course the girl refuses to potty, in the middle of potty training and all, and only wants to use her pink princess potty at home…and baby has a disgusting, leaky diaper and there is nowhere to change him but the cold, hard, dirty stone floor.

When we are all done, all heck has broken loose since my oldest has proceeded to pour sand all over the heads of his friends (to be fair it wasn’t unprovoked or malicious and I’m pretty sure he thought it was part of the game)…

It’s just simply time to say good bye!

My daughter disagrees, she wants to swing…and lets the whole park know!!

Next up is Panera because this mama is starving and this restaurant is not only nearby but convenient and kid friendly and near the grocery store Trader Joe’s where I need to buy specific, approved snacks for the oldest’s snack and lunch for school.

Little girl barely makes it to the bathroom but sits down like a good kid but unfortunately soaks her “big girl underwear” AND pants with pee in the process (do you know how difficult it is to help a 2 year old potty with a big, unhappy 9 months old strapped to you in a baby carrier…?? Just checking).

I’m not sure what to do (while “mr. No school today” is screaming about a cookie- and being specifically starving for a cookie…) but then have the brilliant idea to put an “old” (as in “she is out of diapers, not used eww) diaper on her instead of the wet clothes she obviously can’t wear. I’m so lucky I found one of her old diapers in the diaper bag.

Not lucky…or brilliant…NOT at all…

She has a very short dress on, and I can barely take her to the car with her bare bottom hanging out, let alone the store for the snacks we desperately need (I’m being honest), but after all that talk about “no diapers”, “finally big girl undies” and “being a big girl” I get it, believe me I get it…

But she doesn’t get me…at all…

So the boys and I wait it out. Some ladies come in the restroom to offer “helpful” advice…but apart from making sure she doesn’t hurt herself…we let her be.

At one point I sit on the toilet to breastfeed baby boy because he starts wailing, apparently starving…AGAIN.

And then we eat, and go to the store- in a diaper (two counting baby’s) and minus a “no cookie meltdown”,  we are all smiles!!!

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!?

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…

The magical month of July!!

How come the magical and arguably the best month of summer July,no school; end OR start, no stress, (wait was the “no stress” part before having children!?) always go so fast?. It races away in a haze.

Our July doesn’t start great with illness and almost unbearable heat. We are trying to save by not turning on the AC as much in the house but with our many large windows framing the family and living room it creates a vacuum of heat and you can hardly breathe. The kids have swimming three days a week (and are making great advances-when they listen to the swim instructor that is) and no camps. I signed my daughter up for dance Friday mornings and have the nanny come entertain my oldest (or is it the other way around?!).

I’m keeping baby girl out of the pool the first week due to some “diaper issues” (those swim diapers are not really built for holding anything, now are they) and I’m trying to save our pool (and myself from a major clean up) and my daughter from embarrassment (she totally wouldn’t care) even though she is feeling better. She is very mad that brother gets to swim and very curious about the swim instructor. We (meaning my daughter) watch brother every lesson in full on swim gear even though only toes (and feet) can go in the pool. Every time my son needs to work towards a promise of a favorite thing in order to listen to instructions (since he doesn’t like most food the options are limited and pretty much narrowed down to “Subway” , frozen yoghurt (ice cream) or a cookie at Starbucks (don’t judge). I also promised him a small toy if he will swim by the end of the four weeks. His listening skills are improved by constant reminders but he tends to forget very frequently and has been known to do “his own thing”. The instructor who apparently used to be an elite swimmer gets very frustrated-seemingly much better at swimming than dealing with small kids.

All the lessons means less social time outside of the house, especially if you add soccer Mondays and dance Fridays but we are still able to steal some ice cream dates with close friends. By the end of that first week the kids are all feeling like themselves again and I am beyond relieved to be out of the bad diapers/added laundry (gross) trenches!

I finally think the leaking of various body fluids (I know major yuck! …oddly enough less so if you are a parent of little kids…or maybe not so odd considering the frequency of said fluids..) is over. I venture out to Target. With the oldest (still recovering somewhat) safely at home with daddy (watching football) , I bring the other two.

Since I am the youngest’s walking, talking food source (and since hubby is not quite comfortable with him yet) he is coming too!
He is all smiles so it clearly (almost…eh not fully) make up for the two year old’s whining.

I know she has been sick and all and that she is tired but come on…everything is “no”.
Are you hungry, tired, need diaper change, hug…new shoes? No, no, no!
She is in full on 2 year mode, and of course everything I do is wrong-and she complains about it-loudly!!

I’m barely hanging on as I scroll down my “iPhone reminder list” of stuff we really need (and you know a few… occasional extras) as my toddler is reduced to tears after not getting a new “Peppa Pig” toy! In my head I mentally repeat “avoid the toy aisle…always always avoid the toy aisle…even if it means getting creative with diversion strategies and round about ways to get to the things you want. Even if you need something in the aisle next to the toys- do not, I repeat, do NOT pass them!!”
No shortcuts parents-this is serious mental planning. Think I should suck it up and take the whining, crying, melt down, “tantruming”?
Let me tell you many of time-I have and let’s just say it’s so not worth it, but today she spied this toy and being in the mood she is in; its all over…

I briefly distract her with some new shiny shoes but let’s face it- they are no Peppa pig’s dream house substitute…
At least the full on drama tears have subsided into heavy sobs and violent hiccups, not (barely) facing this brave mama! But here we are back to full on tantrum tears (aren’t they the most fun “people are officially starring and judging” kind”). Wait, what the heck happened now???
Oh, I see who was the complete idiot putting “Doc McStuffin’s” Lego set amongst the shoes huh, huh??

It’s clearly time to escape this place before my perfect little angel of a baby boy wakes up too- not so perfect…and far from an angel.

It’s Sunday-therefore all lines are long. When we are up next and I think we made it, guess who wakes up…?

The not so sympathetic cashier ring up my items painfully slow as both my kiddos wail, scream, yell and cry in a potpourri of scorned, disappointed, ignored, hurtful (as well as hungry) emotions. They are clearly being unfairly treated (according to everyone but me. This is when the cashier holds up a pink and purple Peppa Pig set (well…you know…) with some suspicious brown stains on them. I match her disgusted look at first genuinely confused …until I look down at the cart…and the seat occupied by my daughter…

 

 

Between a rock and a hard [head] place!

I drive as fast as I dare, freaking myself out when I’m allowing myself to think at every stop sign and red light. After I park haphazardly across two parking spots, I grab the kiddos telling them that we have to hurry to make sure big brother is okay!

I run with my littlest bumping against my stomach (still that stubborn belly looks about four months pregnant, seriously…) in his carrier. Baby girl’s little legs can barely keep up with me and I keep squeezing her hand to follow along, but it’s like she knows this is serious so she is not whining or complaining.

When I reach the camp site I catch my breath and it’s like I can’t breathe again until I see him…

Playing …

He seems fine, running around with his friends. I stop to ask the camp leader what really happened. The story is scary really. The rock that another boy threw on my son’s head looks huge. I close my eyes for a second, thanking God that he is okay.
His leader tells me he was dizzy after the accident and had to lay down, they also iced his bump for a good half hour. At least the boy throwing the rock didn’t mean to. It was truly an accident and they were just playing (dragons apparently…). I do have time to think (which I realize is a little nuts…but I always kind of go there…) “I’m glad it wasn’t MY son throwing the rock”…

The camp director had told me to call my son’s doctor just in case, (hopefully out of genuine care and concern not only liability) because the rock was so big and it did make him fall to the ground and made him groggy afterwards.
As I collect my son (and all his stuff), my two other little ones are being really good. As we are walking with his friend and her mom (and my friend) towards the car his legs does look wobbly and he falls down when trying to play with her on the top of the hill by the parking lot. He tells me that “everything is still spinning”…
And that would be my cue to call the doctor…
Better safe than sorry for sure!

Unfortunately his doctor is out of town but another doctor will see him as soon as we are able to come, they take head injuries like that very seriously (even though his bump isn’t that big-it’s not about the bump on the outside…). We have to cancel ice cream with our friends and head straight for the doctors’ office.

The new female doctor is completely serious and has my son go through a series of tests where he has to walk in a straight line, move legs and arms certain ways and follow her fingers with his eyes. He is acting tired and tells her he feels faint so she has him laying down and we all get to wait until he feels better. I guess I make a face like “really it can’t be that bad”… Because she gives me a stern look and tells me that my son has a concussion and that I need to be very cautious as well as concerned and as long as he is feeling tired, faint and disoriented we will have to stay in the doctors’ office.
I assure her that I’m taking my son’s condition very seriously and that I AM in fact concerned…its just that it’s really hard to just “hang out” here with two other little ones…

My two years old is hungry and cranky and I’m trying to nurse the baby while she is yelling that she want to go home. My oldest is uncharacteristically quiet, laying down, which does worry me.

Two hours, a tantrum, three poopy diapers and some random spit up and clothes changing later the doctor is finally willing to let us go. Before she does so I have to sign some papers basically promising to take him straight to the ER if he starts acting funny, to keep him still (hmm) for the next week (yup; not a problem whatsoever…) and the dangers of a second blow to his head (brain bleed…ok time to get on board with the scariness of the situation). I listen to the doctor and I sign, collecting my three very, tired, hungry and whiny kids (I’m exhausted myself).

Everyone is gone for the day, the office and lobby empty, dark and quiet. I take my son “potty” (an older woman pointing out as she leaves that maybe he is old enough to go to the men’s restroom by himself…soo not the time lady…) and change the other two’s diapers before we leave the building (hoping that they will not lock us in here while we are in the bathroom). Luckily we make it out okay and head straight for Whole Foods (aka “whole paycheck” I know) buying the kids ridiculously expensive snacks and juices as well as really yummy pizza!
My son is chatting away, teasing his little sister and tickling his little brother at the table we struggled to get to outside, stroller, pizza, groceries, kids and all…
I’m just grateful he is okay!!

We are now gearing up for a quiet and really restful (!) week at home-heading for the 4th of July with tons of fun plans before daddy goes out of town for work for another week…

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Right after

 

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The day after

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