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


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

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

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

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

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

Not what I was hoping and planned for but…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Change of plans

Sorry readers,
I know it’s been months and months again, but as it turns out having FOUR little kids (six and under when the last one joined us) IS hard (course you know-it’s one more and he is a newborn and you still have an almost two year old “tantruming” toddler, an almost 4 year old stubborn little miss sassy pants and a very loud, wild, talkative, demanding almost seven year old).
The newborn stage is difficult with all the sleepless nights and the sore nipples, the bleeding and the crying and what not… BUT it is especially difficult when you have to keep up with three more kids. Their endless activities and school assignments, projects and schedules take on a life of its own.  ESPECIALLY when you angelic baby (the one w/o a school schedule) turns on you (to the opposite of angelic) right before you give birth to the next baby!
Rewind to December, I was 30 weeks pregnant and despite my huge (literally) discomfort I was super excited about going to my home country of Sweden for Christmas. All the plans were made, present bought and wrapped, kiddos pumped on both sides of the world! We had packed all our brand new winter clothes, (for three kids, their daddy and their very pregnant mama) hoping for snow! I was slightly nervous about the flight though, having a high risk pregnancy and my babies’ tendency to become extra difficult in the end and then show up way too soon. I also had a rather large cyst crowding the baby on my left ovary to worry about. (And the tiny detail of traveling with three crazy kids by air across the Atlantic).
I talked to my mom daily leading up to our travels. The Christmas plan was in full swing with tons of amazing (and yummy) plans for our family and with both my siblings and their families coming together as well!
My doctors were on board (not the plane but with the plan)! My cyst seemed to have shrunk, baby looked great on all ultrasounds, no signs of pre-eclampsia as of yet, I mustered up some extra energy for my prenatal appointments and all was well.
Until it wasn’t…

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”??

 

 

An Adventurous Week: Day 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s it, there is blood…

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

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

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

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

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

First comes Halloween…

But of course I do- expose myself and my son to that “school drop off car line” again…but not for a very, very long time.

At first drop offs are back to finding an extremely limited spot insanely early in the school’s back parking lot. Sit and wait for what seems like an eternity while at least two out of three kids are screaming their little heads off, while trying to read e-mails and leave important voicemails (no one is answering their phone at this hour and honestly I wouldn’t have been able to hear them if they did), and let’s “face” it; checking Facebook!
Then march in (usually) extreme heat (always worse at pick up) or pouring rain (by the end of the year) with a very specific and demanding kindergartener in one hand, a hungry (always) baby bouncing (getting heavier and heavier) in the carrier and a tantruming (more often than not) two year old in the other hand. Following the exact same procedure at pick up (except then we are also stuck and kept from leaving the school until all the cars in the car line disappear…a good 30-40 minutes later…(not kidding, wish I was).

This has now become our daily routine and even though we don’t have much of a Fall per say here, the leaves do change colors and it slowly gets a little colder-at least at night.

Halloween creeps up on us way too fast and I can’t believe my son has been in school this long already. This is his absolute favorite holiday and as soon as October is here, he starts talking pumpkins, bouncy houses, candy and ghosts. The highlight is of course the dressing up in costume part! Since his school won’t let you do that, it’s up to me to figure out what to do for Halloween and where to take the kids trick or treating!

I offered to take pictures at my son’s kindergarten class school party! Like mentioned, they are not allowed to dress up or have candy but it is surprisingly festive anyways. The kids are so darn cute (hate people under 65 who say that, or even worse; “they are so daaarling”) but they are. Trusting and sweet and so excited to do their little poses for the camera and show off their art work and their classroom. You just get the feeling that these genuine traits disappear more and more the oldest they get and it’s almost like you can’t think too much about it, or you’ll get really, really sad.

We go to a neighborhood Halloween party at the clubhouse (which surprises me as well with how great it is-nothing like the summer BBQ fiasco where a bunch of old people ate really bad food and nobody was dancing to the poor live band, which was actually quite good). This even had a ghost house, a picture kiosk, a bouncy house, a costume contest (as well as a golf cart contest) and lots of treats and goodies! We were just excited to be able to go as the “Disney Family” and entered the contest as such!

I was just really excited to provide my oldest with some real Halloween fun IN costume but of course all he wanted to do was going door to door actually trick or treating. Something our neighborhood apparently does NOT do…

Thankfully we could rely on good friends living in an awesome trick or treat friendly neighborhood!

While my son got his fun, running ahead with his little friends, our little ones were both scared and exhausted, neither wanting to be in the stroller. It was worth it in the end though with all the candy we got (soo stealing the peanut M&Ms).
We did donate most of it to the troops a day later even if our son just tried to give away the candy he didn’t like-and you know the candy that wasn’t candy… like fruit, gold fish and Rice Krispie treats… (so proud).

The highlight of our Halloween however was this grand party that I randomly got invited to. Thank mommy, family- except that is not exactly true. It’s baby boy that we all should thank!!! He totally got us all invited!!

This sweet mom from our oldest’s school invited us to the best costume party ever, solely based on loving our youngest! His smiles and his flirting got us a really fun night! Everyone from Donald Duck, to Goofy, to the two Minnies and the littlest Mickey Mouse had an amazing time. The family hosting the party’s house was seriously a massive mansion you only see in the movies and from the valet parking, to the hired magician, to the craft table, the good food (OMG the food), to the dance floor and DJ, it’s fair to say we never wanted to leave. Even our little (ice) princess had a lovely time dancing and giggling dressed up as her favorite character! Overall a great first Halloween at our new location with all our babies!

Once Halloween is here, it’s like you blink and then it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas- seriously the Fall disappears in a fog of holidays and I’m always left wanting time to stop, or at least slow down enough so we can enjoy it more…

I wish Christmas would go as well as Halloween, our oldest wakes up with 104 fever on Christmas Eve (the day we celebrate), our daughter wakes up in the foulest mood ever, the baby will not stop nursing and the stove top stops working-and we’re (I’m) hosting Christmas this year (for the first year ever) for the entire extended family…

 

 

Drop off Disaster

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

So back to the dreaded school car line…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next stop Kindergarten- Part II

img_8223img_8221img_8220img_8226img_8237img_8228The first day of real school comes sooner than we expected (its probably like that for everyone). All of a sudden it’s the morning of THE FIRST DAY of kindergarten. We have plenty of time to get ready (when does that ever happen?!) and my son carefully puts the clothes on that we laid out for him the night before. He lets me brush his teeth and his hair (this is not normal mind you). He goes potty without complaining (I know…odd), he even has some breakfast (who is this dude?).

Now even though we woke up super early (and I promise myself that we will keep this routine…all the while knowing we probably won’t make a week…) it is hard to plan for the needs of the toddler and the baby as I’m trying to help my oldest for his very first day of school. The joy over the 4 months old sleeping through breakfast is short lived as he freaks out for milk as we are about to leave. Good thing we are early…not as early after my two year old decides to poop the second I back out of the driveway though…

Knowing that we will have to park and walk, greet the teacher, other parents and have coffees with the moms (a school arranged “activity”) afterwards, I know I have no other choice than to leave the two boys (one of them crying, worrying that we are going to be late, the other one bawling over more milk…or needing to burp…or some left over colic or I don’t know…just to be difficult) to unlock the door, go back inside (without letting the dog out) to take off (well half of it) her carefully picked out outfits to change this diaper!

Poop on the leggings! Oh well, sniff on some in the nearby laundry basket (or you know, bathroom floor…close enough) and on they go! Okay! Grateful that we still have minutes to spare!

Back in the “cry car”, we manage to get the whole crew towards the school.

Now the new school has an odd parking system. They do have a parking lot so that you can park and walk your kiddos to school, but it’s really small and a first come, first serve kinda deal…
If you do park and walk (considering you do get a spot) you can’t leave though because you are stuck with the line of cars blocking your exit, driven by parents who are trying to drop off their kids curbside (we are not allowed to do this with our precious, tiny kindergarteners just yet). My plan is to park across the street at a nearby church and walk to school (only problem being crossing the busy street, with the only cross walk located on the furthest end of the block).

Now we are officially running late, I can’t really justify jay walking with a baby in a carrier, a toddler in one hand and a kindergartener (gulp) in the other, so of course we walk the long way towards the “legal” crosswalk. Except the two year does NOT want to walk (like at all), its tears and snot and “carry me mama”, dangerously close to “tantrum town”. But mommy can’t carry her two year old-because she also has a 4 MONTHS old…and a 5 year old who wants all attention on him…because today is his very first day of “real” school…

So even though we make it across the street, which is slightly hazardous because I’m letting the oldest hold on to the carrier with the little baby while I basically drag the toddler after us with both hands. Calm down-she is fine…

But unfortunately she is not exactly fine. As we finally reach the gates of the school. I know where the classroom is and where to enter and drop off (I even timed it “perfectly” because of course I did…except you can NEVER time anything perfectly with 3 kids in tow) and we made it-with exactly 1 minute to spare mind you. This is when it happens, everyone is already there (because hello most important Milestone ever- first day of kindergarten people!!!) and my little girl trips and falls.

It happens right in front of everyone and when she had finally stopped crying and walked like a human…you know like actually walking (not being dragged against her will…oh that will). I mean seriously I had not much to do with this fall, except maybe I should have paid better attention to her…but like I said, oldest’s first day of school happening as we speak.

The fall is not that bad and she doesn’t even cry…until she sees the blood that is. As you may know, our daughter is a preemie (my water broke eleven weeks early so I was put on hospital bedrest before they had to take her out six weeks prematurely due to the risk of infection) and it may not be related but when she bleeds, she bleeds a lot. All the big blood disorders have been ruled out thankfully but unfortunately her blood does not clot properly and we will have to evaluate her further to find out more.

As we enter the school gates, blood is gushing from our little girl’s knee soaking through her dirty leggings. Of course we get some “gasps”, and “oh my Gods” and “is she OKAYs”. My son is freaking out about his sister one second and the fact that it is, you guessed it, his very first day of school the next.

I promise not to cry…

About the whole situation in general but about it being my tiny firstborn baby boy’s first day of school in particular. It’s not like I haven’t left him in school before…but that was three hour preschool…THIS is different…

Of course I’m not going to cry, I know I won’t, who does that? (apparently these women…) but not me, no never…

I’m in shock and beyond surprised, because as my oldest lets go of my hand to go join his brand new classmates, at his brand new school in front of his brand new classroom…

I cry…

 

 

 

A Back-Firing Baptism…

The sun is blazing on the outside patio where we have set up chairs, tables, decorations and balloons. Way too hot for comfort (especially considering some of the guests are young babies and others 80 year old plus) It’s probably to late to change all the stuff around outside now however, we are already running around in a frenzy. At least the food is set up inside with the perishables and cake within reach in the fridge. We are still getting ready and struggling with nap schedules (or lack thereof) when the first guests arrive and we haven’t even poured the welcome drinks. My hair is wet and then the baby has a blow out diaper all over his special outfit (just thankful it wasn’t his baptism gown passed down by generations).

The Godmother is late due to an oven fire (yes, I’m serious, she sent me pictures of the fire truck and everything). I have no other choice than asking the guests for help (obviously my parents are already helping and my husband is trying to juggle the two older kids). Unfortunately my mom has hurt her arm badly and can’t use it properly, but mind you, is still running around helping and setting up, but hurting and unable to do so with her usual speed and precision (pretty dang close though considering her arm won’t even extend past the elbow).

As I change little man, finding him a brand new outfit, more guests arrive. I have to ask our niece to pour the welcome drinks and mix my special mango/peach mimosas without me. Our daughter has what we call “a no nap” meltdown and runs around screaming in her diaper, refusing her pretty purple dress and even though almost all guest have arrived we are missing two very special guests…

We have invited my Dad’s cousin-whom I haven’t seen for probably more than fourteen years. When I first came here, I stayed with him and his wife and they helped me settle in to my University. My parents have seen them a couple of times through the years at family gatherings in Sweden and have gotten updated about each other through other cousins but with me being so busy and life just getting in the way we haven’t been able to see each other. He did help me with a few things I needed as a newbie in this country (including chasing down somebody trying to steal my bright yellow suitcase and co-signing my first apartment contract) and has been nothing but nice.

I just recently decided that I really should re-connect with him. I wanted my dad’s cousin (my dad is an only child so cousins became closer to him growing up-some more like siblings) to see me now-sixteen plus years after he dropped off a young, anxious girl at a school campus far, far from home! I wanted to introduce him and his wife to my husband and my three children- but even though he had confirmed that they were coming they were starting to get seriously late and everyone else had already arrived. The godmother/one of my best friends had even arrived leaving her husband and two sons to deal with their oven being on fire. She even managed to get here without a speeding ticket this time! (Inside joke).

I have known this girl for fifteen years and we have been through a lot, she is really the perfect and obvious choice as my little baby boy’s sponsor and Godmother! While we wait for our (elderly) guests (increasingly worried they have mixed up the dates…or worse) she wants to go over a little speech I asked her to hold for the baby (just s few words of wisdom really or a piece of advice for the future). She tells me she has picked a poem and I’m thinking perfect, what can go wrong?!

It’s a beautiful old poem of encouragement and strength and she did a great job researching and finding this…except…

it’s also the speech held at every 12 step program meeting…

Thanks to my parents, my hubby’s parents (his mom helping with the food and guests and his father performing the ceremony which he has been able to do for all our kids, which is so so special), our chosen Godparents and all our wonderful guests we are finally starting to get close to what resembles a baptism (despite some food order mishaps-almost poising said “wonderful guests”).

In the end the lost guests arrive- better late than never (and it’s great to see them after all these years and introduce them to my new family) the sun is excruciatingly hot (but most guests are able to eat inside -and the food is a hit) and the ceremony is just beautiful (the Godmother is talking straight from her heart instead) and actually everything is close to perfect!

There is really no time for devastation after my parents leave (the trip was way too short) because my first born is starting kindergarten…

Clean bill of health, missed calls and appointments …

I have already missed a couple of phone calls and a handful of texts from my husband by the time I stroll baby and myself into waiting room number two on the fourth level. He is obviously worried that he will miss his next appointment and frankly at this point, so am I. I get called about fifteen minutes after my appointment time and sure if this takes less than ten minutes he could still make it…but somehow I doubt it. As I’m waiting in the room (slightly nervousness to see the “stupid” nurse, or rather the nurse I called stupid…several times…not knowing that she overheard, walking just a few feet behind me, again). I quickly text my husband to get to the fourth level parking and park his car next to mine to make the transition easier once I’m done (it will be worth the parking fee if he makes it back to work on time).

I hear the nurse getting my chart and telling the other nurse that she is ready to see me next. Great! Maybe we are in luck today and I will get cleared, and fast! I can’t wait to get back to “regular” life (well, you know as regular it can get with three kids five and under…) and for this to be an easy check-up without any drama, health issues or complications. It is about now my baby starts crying, well excuse me, wailing would be the more accurate term. The first nurse pops her head in the room to tell me that I am up next and to marvel over how huge my baby is! Since they are a speciality clinic for high risk pregnancies only, they are usually used to premature babies (meaning tiny, and he is definitely not that). Even though he is average in size they see him as ginormous being used to babies not fully cooked yet and I hear her telling the other staff how big he is, but also how cute! He would be even cuter if he stopped killing my ear drums, what do I do here? It’s kind of hard to feed him while you are laying basically naked on a “bed” legs  wide spread high up in the air…
This is precisely why I feed him BEFORE we left the car for this appointment.

I’m sure the next knock means nurse Stupid is ready for me…

But no, there she is again, the first nurse, telling me I have to pick the poor baby up, they can hear him all the way out in the waiting room. I try to tell her that he is fine, he has been feed and I’m really in a hurry, without sounding like the worst mom ever, but to no avail…
I can’t believe she is giving me the “always pick your infant up when he is crying speech” ESPECIALLY if he is under three months old…
“I’ll just be back after you have nursed him”…
“No wait, wait, wait, this will only literally take two minutes” (because my kiddos are fast eaters and you know, he HAS been fed)…

Two minutes obviously turn into twenty, I even go looking for the nurse (or anybody that can help me really) with my now perfectly happy , smiling baby! No one is willing to take a peak between my legs (hm, that is truly their job here and nothing odd mind you) to just give me a quick bill of health so I can get out of here and tend to my kiddos and release my poor (not so much) husband from his daddy duties. My hubby is naturally freaking out and have left another five-ten slightly hysterical messages on my phone. I quickly call him (under the huge “no cell phone zone” sign) in the little room to let him know that I haven’t even been seen yet!!
Well, now that was popular! He needs to call someone to cover his appointment but is still hopeful that he can make it for the end of it since he really apparently needs to make an appearance for this one!

I tell him to take both kids out of the car, to take the older one potty and change the younger one’s diaper while they wait for me to get done and then stay out in the hall- nobody want the two (three) of them in the waiting room!

Nurse “close your eyes or you’ll see it” finally shows up (she obviously saw another patient before me) and can you believe that the other nurse is telling her that I had a boy “you know she didn’t know what she would have, she didn’t find out until he was born!!…everybody was able to keep it a secret…” Really rubbing it in. I totally avoid eye contact and she is with me, ignoring the blabbering nurse who is no addressing how big my baby BOY is!

Since the examination room is so tiny we have an issue with the stroller. If I lay down on the bed with it extended we really can’t fit, two nurses, stroller and all and I’m not too excited about leaving my baby with another nurse. The two nurses in the room with us start rearranging the room as they apologize that they at so busy so that this is the only room available. I lay there completely naked under a sheet made out of tissue paper (that crinkles every time I move slightly) my legs pulled up to fit in the bed while they move stroller, chairs and the bed with me on it. They end up moving the desk and the chair out in the waiting room (I’m serious! …a couple of new missed calls from that husband of mine…and a text; they are apparently out in the hallways-kids running amok!)

When nurse “IT” is finally positioned in between my legs, the lamp she needs to see better doesn’t work. While the other nurse scrambles for a flashlight (you heard me), I tell her about the painful torn stitch and the excessive bleeding as well as having the bleeding come back after it completely stopped. She tells me she will look to see if everything healed, do a Pap smear and that it is absolutely not my period coming back since I just gave birth and I’m exclusively breastfeeding. She also gives me a heads up that if I get cleared, to not do anything (you know) without protection- since I’m refusing the pill due to the possibility of my milk going away. Because even if nursing makes it pretty safe (very safe actually) it is NOT a 100% and we are not ready for number four just yet…are we?

Here she is with a flashlight at the same time as my husband officially has missed his work appointment!

While I’m doing some pretty impressive yoga moves in the tiny room and finally gets a clear bill of health, baby starts crying again and as I meet up with the rest of my family, my husband seem close to tears as well…

It seems to be less about his missed appointment and more about having to take care of some pretty crazy kids…

Move in Chaos and low Fluid Fears

Week 30 started with the news that I’m already 2 centimeters open (even if that is fine for weeks- this is very early) and my cervix is already thinning. The doctors discuss a procedure that is usually considered too late after 24 weeks but these specialist are willing to find a way to keep my baby in a while longer. The window is closing rapidly though and with all the extra hormones baby and I “should” be okay…
It is really up to me if I want to do something “rather drastic” or wait and continue to see them under heavy monitoring.

Continued bed rest at home is strongly emphasized but easier said than done. This is the week I choose to move in to a new bigger house with the following, not exactly recommended, workload. Escrow closes on Friday (of my 29th week of pregnancy) and we move in on Saturday the following day (living on the edge here people!)
We love our new home and are so happy it all worked out but moving a family of four and a dog is not exactly easy…(especially not during a complicated pregnancy)
Even if family helps it’s impossible not to stress and I can feel my poor heart working overtime.

I also have the under active thyroid to deal with and will continue to eat meds for that (messing with my system as I get used to them), there is still protein in my urine suggesting preeclampsia and I now have to see the cardiologist once a week to try to figure out my heart palpitations. This week they will do an ultrasound on my heart and suggest a monitor that I will have to wear for the next three weeks.

After our niece was forced to deliver twins way too early via emergency c-section last week her and the twins are all I can think about. We go and visit the tiny miracles, walking by where our daughter had her bed, getting major flashbacks. I feel all sorts of emotions and really try to offer my support without imposing on the young couple who I know have a long road ahead. The babies will have ups and downs but are in excellent hands and will get to stay in one of the best NICUs until they are ready to come home with their loving, brand new parents who have already grown up with the responsibility and are facing this unexpected challenge like pros. The twins will be okay and we are all so very proud of both babies and parents!

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Other week 30 highlights include stepping on a wasp (my foot did not need the extra swelling, trust me) when we are already late for my son’s preschool, taking care of our large goofy dog who gets stuck (head) in our new gate and hurts her paws dragging in blood all over our new floors (poor sweetie) and being forced to see my doctors every single day while figuring out childcare when my husband as well as mother in law are out of town.

The house obviously needs unpacking and we are trying to live in the midst of chaos. My son’s school is suddenly far away, I have no idea where the closest grocery store is (and hello Starbucks drive thru?) I even have to google map the hospital and doctors’ offices. Luckily I had expert help unpacking the kitchen and bedroom but it’s still difficult to get into a daily routine. Hubby’s family has been awesome but I still miss my own mom and her expert, calming advice and great organizational and “decoration-al” skills.
Even though this house and yard (loving the pool and palms) is a definite upgrade and I don’t miss our old house at all (except the memories), there are a million things to get done.
I’m starting to feel sick and tired of all the things we need to fix around here and it still feels like unfamiliar territory.

Husband leaving only days after moving in is not ideal and it feels like since I should NOT be lifting, unpacking or even walking stairs I can’t do much to make any progress in the house. I get annoyed by all the driving to school and everyday doctors appointments and while in the house all I do is directing handymen, gardeners, electricians, TV and Internet experts, pool guys and pest control people. To be honest I’m overwhelmed and worried about both my pregnancy and this move working out for the best. I know hubby stresses about all the hidden fees and payments and having him work this much to alleviate that, is not exactly easy on me.

Our dog spends her first nights whining and sad and even if the kiddos love the house, they seem frightened at night and I feel like there are hidden dangers for little kids everywhere. I drive myself crazy with all the lists I am writing of things that need to get done and am hating all the boxes everywhere. This is definitely unfamiliar territory for all of us!

I’m so glad we got this house and I know it will be our dream house after a few cleanings, fixings, screwing-s, tweaking-s changes, upgrades, (as well as getting plenty of unwelcome species to move out) but right now we are in the thick of things.

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After declining the invasive procedure and resting in the fact that I made it another week and that baby looks good and my body is staying the same I feel calmer!
As week 31 progresses and we get more stuff done, unpacking the kid’s rooms and getting accustomed to our yard, the house, the gate and the neighborhood and surrounding areas I feel better and my love and certainty of this house is getting stronger. I get to take an awesome break celebrating this new baby with amazing friends at a fancy afternoon tea at the end of the week which I love!

But the next day I feel the familiar leaking sensation and freak myself out yet again…what if my water just broke…?

What if this time the baby comes right away?
It is still way too early…

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