My baby boy just turned ONE 🥰👶🏼💙😭

About a year ago, I was all alone in a hospital bed yet again (looking back on the premature birth of my sweet daughter and her NICU stay). This time around my baby was “only” four weeks early, but unfortunately he inhaled his first poo and it clogged his tiny lungs. On top of that I had pneumonia and tested positive for influenza so all the nurses and doctors in masks debated whether I should even hold and nurse my brand new child.

It is a very lonely and unnatural feeling to have your baby whisked away from you right after birth. You just accomplished a miracle and your (priceless) price is taken away from you shortly after receiving it (him). You are left achy and sore after excruciating pain followed by the highest of highs and then left to process the experience all alone. I know all moms of preemies having been taken away can relate to this devastating feeling of emptiness.

Once in the recovery room someone was acutely missing…

I couldn’t even get some well deserved rest, knowing that baby boy wouldn’t be able to rest at all- that he would have tubes down his throat and his little body would be worked on. I kept worrying about him and wondering if he was uncomfortable or (worse) in pain…

It was decided that I could give my new son formula or donor milk (real breast milk) but I wasn’t allowed to try to nurse him just yet. I have read that a mother’s breastmilk have powerful antibiotic qualities and is always best for the baby no matter how ill the mother is, so I was slightly taken aback by this. It also felt slightly strange and somehow sad to be giving him someone else’s breastmilk (as his first milk) and not my own…

After having thought about it, I could see the tremendous benefit of giving him breastmilk right from the start and how lucky we were that this was even an option at our hospital.

Since the epidural never worked, the aftermath of childbirth was quite different. There was no period afterwards of feeling sluggish or being unable to walk on your own. No headache or backache or tingly legs as the feelings in them returned. I didn’t feel nauseous and as I went to the bathroom I needed no assistance and I could get out of bed and move around right after birth how I pleased, except for the pain and the bleeding I felt myself being more awake and alert and more in charge of my own body!

As they gave him back to me to be feed the donor milk, my baby boy was also awake and alert and sweet as can be.

No matter how many babies you have, the feeling that hits you as you get to hold your brand new baby in your arms and really soak him in for the first time after the stress and trauma of the birth and delivery room, is nothing short of extraordinarily.

I smelled him (his tiny newborn body that had been through so much already) and cuddled him (mask on) and as I tried to feed him (someone else’s milk) I didn’t see the obstacles, only the opportunities of the future. I promised right then and there to love and take care of him forever!

And now my baby boy, it’s been a whole year and you are still the sweetest, happiest, cuddliest boy!

Happy first Birthday to my youngest baby boy! My very last baby…

I can’t wait to see you grow and thrive and try to keep up with your siblings!

2 day check up…

48BC405E-5BD5-45AB-9169-5B6072AC8135C999B737-76CC-4610-B5B1-6F74E6DC15A369AB32C3-7D50-4B1B-9648-E895644238DA7846AE1D-485D-476E-9CA0-C3914E22EC2FE74B9281-B07B-495D-BB53-50CD00A19C27FD430D31-8991-46B9-BA8C-2040DAE0D3EDD4B5C53C-A471-4571-9A09-0BE80CA777612328C433-4F20-4516-A683-0E796D9023E8On the phone trying to schedule (a non urgent) appointment with the kid’s pediatrician (while Dad is still at home w oldest) 

Me- Hi, I need an appointment for a check-up for two of my kids

– okay, I can help you with that, what is your doctor’s name?

Me- THEIR doctor’s name is doctor R

– I can’t find him anywhere-is he maybe listed under another name?

Me- No, it’s doctor R

– hmm (seconds go by)

Me- hello? 

– yes?

Me- Did you find him?

– No

Me – Dr. David R

– oh, dr. R- here he is!!

Me- okaaay, great. This week if possible 

– for what?

Me- a check-up

– hmm, I see here he only does internal medicine 

Me- well, he has been the kids’ pediatrician for over three years now

– I’m sorry mam- He is in internal med

Me – could you please check if he is ALSO in pediatrics? (Seconds go by) 

– Oh, Doctor R, well yes, apparently he IS, would you look at that!!

Me- good! Now could I possibly schedule two appointments for two of my kids

– certainly mam, I’m on it- first kid’s name?

Me- tell her name and birthdate and YEAR

-so you are scheduling his 2 day check up?

Me- no, he was born 2018

– okay, so not a 2 day check? 

Me- no, because it is now 2019, so… 

– so not a 2 day check up?

Me- ehm, no

– if he is sick, it’s still a 2 day check up!

Me – but he is just turning one, he was born last year!! (Seconds go by…)

– oh, now I get you- it’s 2019

– yes it is!

– gotcha! 

– let’s just get your second child’s information and I’ll look to see if I can set the appointments together

Me – great! this is for my daughter 

– is it William or Filip Alexander? 

– no….it’s Madeleine 

(Seconds pass) 

– I’m sorry doc R is all booked up for the rest of the week…but you have a beautiful day now

– (sigh) … you too

– why, thank you!!

🙄😒😣😳🤦🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️#AtLeastSheWasNice 

Where were they taking my tiny, perfect, little human?

718a69df-18da-4f3b-9d72-59874afc3210cd1ab598-7f7c-4803-a702-1afda6b9a3102b26adc4-5d2c-4240-904d-d4e6c2bb3b99

Last years New Years I was still reeling over the disappointment that we weren’t able to go to Sweden for Christmas.

The days leading up to the holidays were spent in a hospital bed instead of an airplane to Europe. I was also hugely uncomfortable and even if I knew the baby needed to “cook longer”, I just wanted him out!!
As a mama of a preemie I obviously didn’t mean that, and I  regretted feeling that way immensely when (at my breaking point- the water broke) he showed up almost a whole four weeks early!

I remember feeling soo over my pregnancy once the “hoopla” of the holidays were over and January said hello! The month dragged out like a nightmare full of “whale-like” insomnia, heartburn, vomiting (hello again), backache, leg craps, Braxton Hicks, itchy skin (driving me absolutely nuts, especially at night) and shortness of breath (scaring me to tears and having me sleep upright in bed). My thyroids were out of whack and I was a swollen, peeing hippo of a mess!

Come February, I remember talking to my mom about being so over (and done) with it, knowing I probably had to wait until the end of the month for my 39 week induction at least…

I proceeded to take a nap and then my (nasty greenish) water broke  all over the place…

Thinking back now I never wanted my baby to be early or to be in distress (obviously) but I can also remember being so extremely uncomfortable and huge -and luckily baby boy ended up being okay after all the worry and drama!

Our baby had inhaled the meconium in the amniotic fluid which means he had swallowed his own poo. The NICU team was on stand by but it was a good sign that our baby cried as he came out! He did however have a  blue complexion and his Apgar score was low (only a 6 out of 10)…

I think I was too exhausted to get what was happening but the nurse told me that they would have to rush him out to check his lungs and probably do a procedure where they clear his lungs so that he can breathe better. I didn’t have the energy to freak out (wait, “procedure” does that mean surgery on a 10 minutes-if that-old newborn?).

There was a lot going on in that labor and delivery room. They were concerned about my flu and pneumonia possibly transferring it to baby, the meconium he inhaled and his blue coloring, slightly labored breathing and low Apgar score…

I remember vividly how they fiercely (almost violently) rubbed him warm, they even slapped him on the behind (I’m not kidding), wrapped him in warm blankets and while under the heat lamp they gave him a sugar solution in a dropper….

The two nurses were able to get his Apgar score up to an eight and I could finally let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding. I knew enough from previous births (and from my daughters Apgar score being low as well being born six weeks early) that an 8 is okay and he would hopefully be just fine!

The NICU team unfortunately had to take him anyways but everyone assured me that he would be okay, that they would check in and that my husband could go home to the other kids-there was nothing we could do anyways.

I didn’t get any food (sorry, it should be the last thing on my mind but since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was ten o’clock at night I was starving) because the kitchen had closed and there would be no food service until breakfast…

The night nurse coming to escort me back to my new room told me they might have some yoghurts, crackers and other snacks available on the 3rd floor.

A NICU doctor came to have me sign some documents for baby boy. She explained that he was under some stress when inhaling the meconium and that they had to clear his lungs but they would give him to me right after the procedure, and I could try to nurse him.

A male nurse came to help the night nurse move me from my labor and delivery bed to the one on wheels to “push” me to the next floor and my new after delivery (perinatal) room. He was going to help lift my legs because of the epidural but since it never worked I had full mobility and feelings in my legs and could easily swing them over to the moveable bed. He was shocked asking me how come I could move around and put pressure on my legs if I had an epidural (that just does not happen if the epidural works)  I could even go the bathroom (after the catheter was out)  completely on my own. This feeling (literally) was completely new right after childbirth!

I kept asking for my baby once I reached my new destination and all the nurses, wearing face masks and protective gear because of my flu, told me he would have to stay in the NICU for awhile after his procedure and because he came “a little early” and since I was sick.

I felt so lonely and empty and my arms were acing for him…where was this tiny, perfect humans I had just given birth to? And why wasn’t he with me?

A freaking Rockstar🤰🤱💙👶🏼❤️

03DD3105-EC42-4F29-A37B-093D083AB201BC86DB19-69DD-4B98-BD3C-486A76735E32ACA94CB3-5E3A-4CB2-BD1A-A3B9AD4E8831948FCE95-C8AF-4AA8-82A8-31FA970A16169B32E735-8374-4BE6-8D6A-13E26B0D9D2BAnd man is it go time- I feel literally NO (zero) relief from the epidural. Where is the numbness? Where is the warm, tingly feeling? Where is the dull pressure and mild cramps taking the PLACE of the hellish pain that I’m am now experiencing? Because THAT is all I can fell-pure, earth shattering PAIN!

Aha-this is what mamas WITHOUT epidurals we’re talking about “being split in two” and the worst pain on planet earth. And through this fog of pain they actually expect me to DO something?

I can’t even concentrate enough to form a sentence, let alone ask for more pain medicine (I know it’s way past “too late” for another epidural but hello give me something).

Im 10 centimeters (well of course I am) and I’m coughing, gasping for air and wittering in pain as on contractions replaces the next with literally no down time in between.

It IS go time!!!

The pressure is so intense my whole body is shaking like it is possessed…

The nurses tell me to push. Now there are several nurses, not that I really notice, I just want to disappear, dissolve-or for them to-or the whole situation (which strikes me as absurd) anything to stop this excruciating pain. While they (now) yell for me to take a deep breath in and puuuush some maniac is yelling that I’m a rock star (that would be doctor D).

I shake, I cry, I throw up (and apparently split wide open but we’ll save that little “detail” for now). I just want this baby out of me but it hurts (waaay) too much to push!!

They give me oxygen because I find it hard to breathe maybe because my flu/pneumonia combo you know!?

I’m sweating, I’m screaming annnd I’m pushing…all to the soundtrack of …

“You are a freaking rockstar” (he even sings)

The pressure is unbearable…

”Rockstar is what you are”

It reminds me of when my daughter was born and I couldn’t have an epidural until the very last moment because it wasn’t safe, but soo much worse- is that even possible??

Doc McCharmy over here is telling everybody that women are all freaking rockstars and that men could never ever do this – “man” is he right..
And I push again as I’m having a complete out of body experience…

It’s almost like it’s not me in that bed, delirious in pain-that I’m part of something greater…and as I push I try “the eye on the price” method…tunnel vision…tuning everyone-and everything out but my body.

My body and it’s sole purpose right now-to push this tiny human out of it.

If I concentrate, I will achieve…

As a smart, independent, intellectual woman I hate to think of my body as a vessel, a vehicle, a tool for child birth. But here it is my body “failing” my theories-working like a machine with one purpose, one end goal..

Pressure rises (“freaking rockstar”) and I push, concentrating all my energy on the task, the motion the area in between …

I drool, I sweat, I swear (never) and scream (I don’t recognize myself and my husband has never seen me like this).

I feel like I’m actually splitting in two (I never really truly got that analogy before) -the burning sensation is extreme. The intensity something I’ve never experienced before. The “ring of fire” quadrupled from the times before…

He better come- my price-my love-my son

They are worried about MY breathing AND the baby’s lungs after he swallowed meconin (his own poop). One big breath in and puuuush!!!!!

and he slides out…

McCharmy is outdoing himself cheering and clapping “she is a rockstar better than all the other rockstars” before he turns serious as the NICU team on stand by crowds us.

But baby boy cries and it is the sweetest sound. And you know what? we are rockstars-all women are and right now I feel like I deserve this title!!

I’m a freaking Rockstar!!!

It’s GO time… 💙👶🏼

Since it is (major) flu season and I have a temperature, the hospital is required to test for influenza. I tell them I was vaccinated this year (because of my pregnancy) and I was already diagnosed with pneumonia (and despite my temp, runny nose and nagging cough, I AM feeling better).
Nop, I still had to do the dreaded nose swab. I knew how painful it could be (having survived it TWICE before) so I ask if I can perform the test myself (very hopeful- but I didn’t actually think they would go for it…but they did). They seem almost relieved letting me do the test (to) myself. None of their explanations are necessary (I got this), I know how far you have to go (up the nose) to get real results (ouch!).
Up the nose I went…
Annnd- POSITIVE, I’m testing positive for influenza A…
All the nurses all of a sudden wear masks and full on “uniform scrubs” (come on really?). My main nurse even has a little sticker stating “my patient has the flu” …(or something like that) seriously???
But I feel fine(ish) – (huge coughing spell).
With the poopy water leaking out of me and the positive flu results, we are suddenly getting full on (white) glove service (literally-they all wear gloves…but they are blue or purple not white!)
Little man can’t wait to come, I can feel the pressure building, however, this time I’m not letting my husband go back home.
He just came back after dropping off the kiddos with grandma and is now fiddling with the remote for the TV. Since he missed the birth of my third after I went from 2 cm to 10 in less than 2 hours (believe me or not..) we are not taking any chances and I can feel the enormous pressure which is this one trying to rush as well…
I tell the sweet nurse in our delivery room (“after changing into yet another “sexy” green gown, after soiling the other one…not me, promise-this is all baby’s doing) that I’m more than likely to go fast and history is more than likely to repeat itself…
I know it’s highly UNLIKELY to go that fast and I can see that she doesn’t quite believe me as she sits by the computer typing in my stats BUT if Nr 3 came that fast, I can only imagine what’s going to happen with Nr 4…
When the sweet nurse checks me again, I’m 4 cm, and I tell her it might be time for the epidural!
Yes I’m having one, this is my fourth baby and I’m not in the mood for extreme and excruciating pain- thank you very much!!!
But fate has very different plans for me…
My husband is “channel surfing” while I get my catheter put in (highly uncomfortable, but I’ll take it if it means the epidural will be here soon).
The sweet nurse asks me if I’m sure I want the epidural “so soon”. I almost “choke on my words” as they come rushing out “YES I’m sure”!!! ( I have never been more sure about anything!!!)
Although sweet, this nurse has no idea what she is talking about or what’s about to happen…
Even my husband chimes in for the first time, telling her that the epidural better come soon..
The contractions aren’t that bad but they are building and the pressure is starting to really bother me…
When Dr. D comes to check on me with his charm and wit I actually beg him to believe me “This baby is coming any moment”. But of course when he checks, I’m still “only” 4 centimeters and the baby is high up.
He gives me pitocin to speed things along (as if that is needed) and it actually takes two nurses to sit on my belly to get little baby boy to slip further down (I am NOT kidding-they actually physically sit on my belly because their hands alone couldn’t move baby further down).
Dr. D leaves the room but promises to stay close, and to bring the team with him next time he checks in on us.
He means the NICU team since our baby has swallowed his first poo and is only 36 weeks, he might need special attention.
I’m actually full on crying now. I never cried during labor before-the intense pressure is killing me. My husband, who has settled on a “flipping houses show”, startles and looks over at me-this is not like me at all. He looks slightly scared (terrified let’s tell it like it is)…
I can tell baby is coming-this freaking hurts! The enormous pressure, the pulling, tugging, aching PAIN..
My nurse takes one look at me and springs into action. She calls the doc and the team, but before they reach the door the anesthesiologist does…
It’s a student (buuut of course-no offense to students here, but come on-NOW is not the time)…
The nurse okays the epidural even though I’m 9 cm and you are not supposed to receive one after 8… (but come on I was just 4 cm minutes ago-I’m actually serious…).
Dr. McCharming and his NICU team in full on scrubs and masks arrive before the anesthesiologist is finished abusing my back with shaky hands (perhaps my imagination since my whole body is shaking and rocking with the most nightmarish contractions in the history-at least mine-of contractions).
As soon as the needle is in and the plastic sticky thing is covering it-the nurses barely have time to get me situated before Dr. D the charmer announces “its GO time!!!”

Be Careful what you wish for: Part 2

D4AA3B48-AFEF-42DA-B129-E4CBD66AFFE5So I actually need to back up a little bit in order to tell the full story. A week or so before my iron infusion I got sick (like really sick, 104 fever, chills, aches, sore throat, ears etc. “doubly” fun when you are hugely pregnant) a couple of nights before my infusion and stress test I felt like I couldn’t breathe (literally), my fever was at its highest and I was hot and cold and shaking. Not being able to breathe actually got to me as I was struggling sitting up in bed propped up by pillows.

I even (embarrassingly enough) recoded my own shallow breathing on my phone (mostly to share with my mom but potentially the doctor. I felt a little like I was overreacting (being Swedish and all) but I was actually scared. I ended up pacing the house for hours that night not being able to even sit up in bed because of the shortened of breath and pressure on my chest.

I called my mom a little “panic-y” in the early morning (afternoon in Sweden). She wasn’t concerned until I told her exactly how freaked out I really was. She diagnosed..heart attack or pneumonia and voted for a doctor’s visit.

Luckily I got an appointment the very same day (they probably considered my pregnancy as well) and luckily it wasn’t my heart (but since my mom is always right) it WAS pneumonia. I had to do an x-ray which is always scary while pregnant but they completely covered my huge bump with that heavy protector blanket and let me know baby would be fine (actually the illness is way more worrisome for the baby than the x-ray procedure). I was so sick that I even had to cancel two stress tests for baby and I .

When I went to my iron infusion that rainy winter morning, I was still  sick. I had to disclose my pneumonia diagnosis to the receptionist as I checked in, despite having been on antibiotics (3 days in and feeling  better). They immediately gave me a mask (making me feel self conscious and like a giant threat amongst all the moms-to-be in the waiting room area).

Fast forward to the week later. I had just been released after my 48 hour stay in the hospital STILL feeling feverish, achy and under the weather, complaining to my mom that my antibiotics must not be working (5+ days and I felt like after some progress I had gone backwards to feeling worse again. I have this issue with antibiotics too-might be since I’ve had a “few” doses in my life, where they sometimes don’t work or I’ll have to switch to a stronger kind, stay in them longer or double the dose). My mother wisely told me that the antibiotics only works for bacterial infection not viral ones…

Anyways, back to what happened after our Skype call. I hang up with my mom and feel instantly better after all the venting (as always) and put our 21 months old down for his nap.

Something wakes me up and it all happens EXACTLY like like last time, a huge fish of water streams down my legs and into the carpet (sorry TMI and about to get worse) as I run towards the tiled bathroom. I yank down my maternity pants and underwear and proceed towards the toilet but something is different…

Something is not “exactly like last time”, something is off and I have feeling that something is not good…

Not good at all…

Be careful what you wish for…

At 35 weeks after an iron infusions at the hospital I walk straight over to my doctor’s office for my regular stress test (third THIS week-3 times a week every week after 30 week gestation).

During the test, baby doesn’t cooperate at all. His hear rate is all over the place (I have to turn around, walk around, sip cold water then orange juice) and towards the end I start getting contractions so strong they are (literally) off the chart. They feel just like labor contractions and my heart is racing (just like my baby’s) as the doctor on call enters the stress test area.

This baby is not ready yet, I was hoping for at least 38 weeks (and I so wish I was 38 weeks pregnant right now), even though I know babies aren’t really ready until 39 weeks (and not fully cooked until 40 weeks).

I find myself yet again with the big orange envelope, back at the admittance desk at the main hospital. They fear preterm labor once again and have no other choice but sending me back to the hospital.

Things go much quicker this time (probably due to my recent visit-and updated information). It’s not like I like spending all my time in this place but I keep finding myself back here…

As I’m waddling towards the familiar elevator I try to breathe “IN; last pregnancy, OUT; last baby” and as not to seem ungrateful I pray that the baby IS and WILL be okay! I love this little one and can’t wait for this last pregnancy to be over and to be able to hold and cuddle our baby boy!

Buut not until it’s safe obviously!

Stay in there a little longer I tell him as I hold my ginormous tummy, waiting for the nurse to put me in a wheelchair and wheel me over to yet another hospital room (at least they are all private). If I can hold on for at least another month or so, so can he…?

And so the process start yet again as they prep the IV, draw the blood, give me the steroid shots for baby’s lungs (ouch!) and give me (with huge difficulty because of my “impossible veins”) the anti-contractions medicine (brown and burning and slow moving) more known under the name “puke” .

Trapped in the big bed in the regular (very sexy-not) green hospital gown under straps leading to monitors I feel like I spend waaay too much time like this!

They want to monitor me and baby for preterm labor for at least 24 hours.

My contractions subside, baby is looking great on the monitors, steady heartbeat, great movement. No leaking, blood or pain!

As I’m about to get released the contractions pick up again, earning me another 24 hours away from my kids, my family, my dog, my house, and my life.

Luckily the contractions subside yet again and I’m finally being released under stern promises that I will come back the very next day to see my doctor and EVERY day until I give birth, which (hopefully) could (should) be several weeks. I promise to come back if I show ANY signs of preterm labor (including leaking, bleeding, strong contractions and/or lack of fetal movement).

It has been such a tough pregnancy so far and I’m so ready to be over and done with this but I know I need to hang in there. I know this baby depends on me, I know he is not ready and if I (we) have made it this far…

It has been tough at home as well with two kids transitioning into a brand new School and with one kid approaching the age of two.

Back home it’s hard not to stress. The kids are feeling my stress as well as their own with all the changes happening around (and to) us and I’m fearful the baby in my tummy will be affected as well.

After a tear-filled School drop off and a mid morning tantrum, I decide to call my mom to vent. In the midst of all the chaos I complain to my mom through the computer; “I’m sooo huge”, “I have soo many aches and pains”, “I’m terrified my cyst might burst”, “I’m scared I will have to have a c-section”, “All I want is to know for SURE baby is okay and healthy”,  “I’m worried my kids won’t settle in to their new school”, “I’m anxious my third child will regress even more when the baby comes”…

My mom is calm, realistic and reasonable as always (with just the right amount of “mom”, “support”, “strength” and “push”).

Most of all I’m telling her that I am just so ready to get this baby out of me like RIGHT now…

But I know I have to hang in there for at least a few more weeks…or will I??

Be careful what you wish for…

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….

Second Chances…

We make it to 12 weeks and beyond and I become acutely aware of our loss yet again (not that a single day go by when I don’t think of her).
Having my parents here help me feel better and we invite the in-laws over for cheesecake and champagne, finally feeling safe enough to tell them the good news (their 20th grandchild!!)

I am grateful- of course I am but it also feels confusing and somehow surreal (despite having been through multiple pregnancies including two losses).
It’s like the constant state of illness makes it extra hard to feel joy and the joy I (we) have is still overshadowed by doubt and fear. It’s almost like I’m ashamed of this fourth pregnancy- like it’s too much somehow, that I don’t deserve it- that something WILL go wrong…

I never felt as ill as I do this summer. It rubs away memories, sunny pool days, playdates and quality time with my kids- it really does and I’m sad about that. Every day is a battle – and listen I know I’m not sick (thinking about moms with chronic illnesses and unthinkable terminal diseases I should really count my blessings)
I feel like a spoiled brat or just like a very ungrateful human being. Maybe I should just embrace this constant nausea, belly aches and pains, heartburn, fatigue and general feeling of yuck! I do try- thinking about not feeling ill in my previous pregnancy, prior to our loss-and how wrong that went. That this little boy might be trying to remind me that he is still in there-thriving! But come on-it’s so difficult-is it possible to hint in a more subtle way?
My mom and I joke that “someone up there” might be telling me something. Like God is giving me this last pregnancy but making certain it IS my very last one!!

My one and a half year old and his daddy are getting closer during the fall, this is exactly what happened when my oldest son was his little brother’s age. But this time I feel like the little one knows something is up-and it’s almost like he is punishing me for it. He is pushing me away both physically (hard) and emotionally (harder). He cries for his daddy when he is gone, talks about him (dada dada dada) all day, and they are inseparable when they are together (giving his big brother some competition for dad’s attention that he is not used to). With our daughter, I would describe her as unpredictable and up and down in her parental favoritism! I told my husband that he now has both boys, loyal to him like puppies and I have no one. He suggests darling daughter but agrees that her gifts of attention are like rare gems (and therefore very precious and extremely special). “If our boys are loyal dogs, our daughter is more like a cat” he exclaims!

The holidays are coming up and my pregnancy progresses very slowly it seems. My nausea goes beyond the typical 12-14 weeks like it never has before and I find myself complaining at every doctors’ appointment. I hate doing that (and I still keep it on the down low because of course there is little they can do about it AND I’m not a complainer by nature). The “real” nausea meds help once I’m off of the B6 and B12 (did nothing for me) and the sleep medicine I could never take (because hello drowsiness and driving kids around- eh NO!!!).

Our oldest has started first grade (I can’t believe how old he is getting) and upon seeing the mommies at school again I feel so huge, I feel like they can guess my “condition”. Nobody does but I feel like I’m at least ten weeks further along than I really am (of course I’m not and we are well aware of the exact date of conception).

As our daughter’s due date (the daughter we will never have) approaches frighteningly fast- I’m not ready for those depressing feelings to wash over me yet again. I’m definitely not ready for pumpkin patches and costumes. I remember thinking that I would “cheat” my kids out of Halloween this year by having a newborn and not have time for all the celebrations around the holiday. This makes me of course feel double the guilt since I’m without a baby but STILL don’t feel up to celebrations, organizing, planning and “doing it all” for my kids. I sure still try in a fog of sickness and sadness.

My arthritis is acting up again, I’m suffering of pelvic pain, I pee constantly, I can’t sleep, I still throw up most mornings and some afternoons and heavy, spicy and fat foods give me crazy heartburn (isn’t one of the benefits of being pregnant that you can EAT said things…??). Despite having to watch what I eat, I gain like an overweight hippo with unlimited food supply…

We survive Halloween- way beyond telling everyone the reason for my giant frame and people probably think my due date is around the corner. Telling them “February” seems like a joke!

Around the corner are the rest of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and especially Christmas!! My only light at the end of the tunnel is that we are spending Christmas in Sweden with my family!
I cannot wait (we have planned this forever, it’s my family’s year and even if I’m not looking forward to the extremely long flights-I am looking forwards to my mom’s food and care and to just being “home”).
My doctor’s are on board so far and just knowing I will land surrounded by Christmas and love and that once we get back we can really start focusing on our forth baby coming-I feel good! I feel great! I can do this people! I can do this!!!

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