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

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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?

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…

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….

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?

 

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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Lumber jacks,being outnumbered and best comment after pushing a human being out of your body..

imageimageSirens are wailing and I don’t know if I should start panicking or what? I’m pretty drowsy after you know a “little bit of childbirth” (besides, I’m starving) and the nurse looks around at the big guy who is maneuvering the enormous bed towards the elevator. He is actually laughing asking her “what, are you new here?”‘ I don’t get it? What in the world is he smirking about? What kind of alarm is that?

The nurse looks so ashamed as she quickly types something on a stationary computer near the delivery wing’s exit doors at the same time as she hurriedly whispers something in her walkie talkie phone. We back up, me and my brand new son get wheeled backwards through the exit door again in the giant bed. I don’t get it until I overhear her apologizing about it. Each newborn gets an alarm around their ankle (their very own ankle bracelet…not very fashionable by the way). My nurse has totally forgotten to disarm the “low jack” (not the lumber jack which I later call it, creating some confusion with my husband.)

We have a long night ahead. Baby is unusually “aware” for just being born, already refusing to sleep alone and crying a lot…
I couldn’t have made it without the nicest nurse (opposite from the old nag who I get the next day-trying to tell a mother of three -that’s right!-what to do with her baby)
This one lets me go to bathroom (because I really have to go and my catheter is out) even though my epidural hasn’t worn off completely yet (I swear I can feel everything-this is a piece of cake…) She half carries me to the toilet even if I insist I can walk. Then she lets me sit there for an hour (honestly) because the thought of my acid urine coming anywhere close too…well you get the point…terrifies me! She even gives my tiny boy a bath while I sit there squirting warm water with a plastic water bottle in my neather regions to make me pee “comfortably”.

The next day the two siblings can’t quite contain their excitement as they come tumbling into the hospital room. Their daddy tries and mostly fails to keep an eye on them as they both want to hold THEIR baby NOW! Big sister keeps screaming MINE. Grandma is there to help me keep them from pushing buttons, not sitting on me (ouch) or grabbing their quite defenseless little brother from his plastic see through crib (he won’t have it easy with these two as siblings).

We take tons of pictures (I look pretty darn awful in most-if not all of them) and the proud big brother (“mama, I tooold you it was a boy in there”) and the curly haired big sister with the huge innocent blue eyes (let me tell you:not so innocent that one) get plenty of cuddle time with our new addition!
When the newness wear off, it’s back to stealing my hospital food (I finally got some!), pushing buttons, trying to sit on me (not my lap!!!!) and the very funny curtains by the door (let’s see how fast we can open a shut them by running like maniacs!).
It’s about that time-goodbye time (now if they could only bring the baby too so mommy could get some sleep! Ha ha:kidding!!, sort off…eh…)
As they leave (and I hate to admit I’m relieved to get another night of alone time and care to recover some more- but I realize that it’s also good to have time to allow myself to get excited about starting life as a family of five- mommy being very outnumbered- TOMORROW!!!)
My big boy exclaims “eh, mama, if the baby is out, how come you are still FAT?
Best comment after pushing a human being out of your body-EVER!!

I forgot how much you bleed and how much having stitches hurt, how little you can do (lifting stroller out of car, carrying car seat, lifting toddler-sitting on a chair: all definite no nos) and how big the freaking pads have to be in your sexy see through mesh hospital “underpants”. The celebrity that recently said “I had no idea you have to leave the hospital in diapers just like your baby” (or something like that) was spot on – didn’t mean to be funny there-because none of this is fun really except of course the “getting to take home a real human baby as a price for your efforts” so that’s pretty worth it and you need to see it that way, and remember that, otherwise it’s easy to get extremely emotional (you will anyways-totally unavoidable btw) and a little swept away by the total messiness that is blood and mucus and clots (“as long as they are smaller than golf balls-trust us, you are completely fine- totally normal!”) and regurgitated sour milk and blow out yellow seedy poop and you know cracked, bleeding and sore nipples, leaking boobs (that if brushed against something like any piece of clothing for example will make you suicidal… As well as homicidal should someone come near you) and the fact that you cannot pee without crying…

I’m not sure I would have survived without my own mommy! She literally does everything and more!
She cooks and cleans and organizes and decorates and washes and soothes and wipes and …well you get it. She takes care of our house, and our dog and our kids AND me!

Baby boy is now already 4 weeks old, it’s insane- these weeks have flown by. The more kids you have, the faster they grow I guess because a month seems like days. So far he is a pretty easy going little guy, sweet and good natured (not at all like the other two) he has however inherited his siblings’ intensity and lack of patience, if he wants something, he wants it RIGHT AWAY! (That “something” is usually food!! Meaning ME)…
I know that the “honeymoon phase” with baby has also worn off,  and not sleeping at night is getting old (really old, I’m too old for this dang it)! It’s not as charming to be feeding this little (very lovable during the day) creature every single hour during the night and watch him sleep like a good little boy during the day (sometimes for hours at the time). My littlest one sure turns from human baby…to something else entirely during the night (I won’t get into how frustrated I can get but don’t worry he still gets plenty of attention, kisses and yes MILK-seriosly: don’t you worry) but somehow I manage to still keep him close and full-despite the three hour cry attacks at 2:14 am where nothing helps (not even food-gasp!)

At the end of mom’s stay I’m squeezing in a haircut (beyond necessary) and a much needed girls’ brunch! I’m so grateful to my mom I can’t describe it with words and now she is leaving in a week…however will I handle my life…?

 

 

VENTI decaf Java chip Frappucino!!!

“Is HE okay” I keep questioning as I can’t get a good look myself while they are working away in between my legs- there is quite a bit of blood and apparently some sewing and cleaning up going on. Catching my breath after the great delivery I silently pray that nothing is now wrong! Please God!

We have worried for months now (ever since that terrifying twenty week ultrasound) I just want to know at this point, please, please!!
I’m panicking slightly as my mom stalls with the answer…

I need to know!

“As far as I can tell…he is PERFECT!”
As sigh of relief!
His face?
“I think so…”
“Think?”
“Yes, most definitely yes!”
“The rest of him?”
He looks great, he really does, crying, red, BIG…
Perfect
The emergency people keep dropping off, leaving the room one by one.

A successful delivery if I ever saw (more like experienced) one! There are tears of joy in my eyes as I finally get to see him up close, holding him tight, cradled to my chest! He immediately stops crying his eyes big and dark, dark blue. Then he starts rooting, searching for milk. Such a good sign I just want to laugh with pure happiness. I just can’t believe how healthy he looks…and feels. Nobody has taken him yet, they haven’t even cleaned him, but he seems pretty clean, alert and yes big, I can’t believe how big he seems compared to my other two. They were both whisked away before I could hold them. This is my dream delivery, the one I wished and prayed for. The one I was “due” to have and deserved!
And my mother got to experience this all with me.

Instead of stealing him away they wrap him up in the standard stiff blanket with the little pink and blue baby footprints while he is still laying on me. My legs start to feel wobbly I can now completely feel my right one again. The doctor is finishing the stitches sewing away (my mom later tells me she ones drops the needle exclaiming “ops!”) and although I can feel some pain, the warm feeling of an amazing delivery of our beautiful baby boy overshadows everything else. My mom tells me “good job” smiling and beaming as we both laugh over this awesome shared miracle experience.

They haven’t even weighed or measured the baby’s height yer but this time I’m not nervous, not in the least because I can tell there is nothing to worry about. Baby boy is breathing fine, his color is great, he is the perfect size and so sweet, resting after being in such a hurry coming out and then getting to exercise those lungs (screaming: check!)

This is when his daddy decides to show up, opening the door and then the curtains to the baby already in my arms. Not a lot of things shocks or surprises my husband but his voice says it all, he really can’t believe it!!

“Wait what??” “You weren’t kidding…I thought you meant the baby is coming…as in its coming in the next couple of hours”. I smile serenely from the bed snuggling with our brand new family member and my mom giggles.
“Guess what it is” the nurse asks him
“Hm”, my husband steps close to my bed to get a good look at the baby and guesses loudly (and proudly) “a BOY!”

It is not even ten o’clock at night when baby has been toweled off, weighed and measures (biggest baby at 3 kilos), I am all cleaned up, the towels (rags) have been counted (so gross but necessary so that they don’t, gasp! Leave one behind; you know as INSIDE you) all the pictures have been taken of baby with mama, with daddy, with both (and without) and of course with grandma! and my food has been ordered when I tell my mom and hubby to leave. They will be able to go home and get a good nights sleep after all, and come to think of all of our discussions on who would be taking the night shift with me while I would (obviously right!?) still be in labor, who would stay over on the uncomfortable couch (sad excuse for a bed) thing and who would take over in the morning. What can I say; I like to get my boys out there fast (and they like to vacate in a hurry!), my daughter- not so fast but then again, she wanted to come eleven weeks early! Luckily settling on six!

How ever much I marvel at how it’s all over and how lucky I am to have another miracle baby in my arms…I am also starving (and shamefully hoping someone…anyone will please take this baby for just a couple of minutes so I can rest and eat something).

Unfortunately this (very sweet calm and really great under pressure, great gender guessing) nurse is about as good at calling for food as she is the anesthesiologist, meaning; not at all…

All I keep thinking about is that decaf frappucino I will be getting in the morning. And it better be a VENTI (extra chocolaty!!) I soo deserve it!
There will only be crackers and strawberry yoghurt for me tonight and hours later.

I flip on to the huge traveling bed with wheels like a pro (it really helps that I regained all of the feeling in my right leg and the left one is already tingling and responding to my directions (move!).

They do that pressing on the tummy thing so that the stomach will contract and blood and goo come out, sorry about that vivid disgustingness- before they roll me out towards recovery!

This is when an alarm sounds so loud it’s even startling my sleeping baby, shaking the entire hospital floor…

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