Close calls and crying wolf…

So I’m at the ultrasound, by now more worried about any abnormalities than the sinking water, since by now I’m already over 35 weeks and at every check the fluid is low but always seems to be enough!
I go through the routine of telling the ultrasound tec that “no, thanks, we are not finding out the gender” even though I have seen her before (I know she sees so many patients and she might have forgotten however) because to find out so close to meeting our little one would of course be disappointing.
She doesn’t say anything about the amniotic fluid being TOO low but does ask if I have experience increased leakage lately?
I’m not going to answer that, I know I get to see a doctor later and if she questions the fluid, I will have to go from there!

At the non stress test my baby is sleepy, they give me cold water and then juice to try to wake it up but to no avail. Nobody seems too concerned but I do keep an eye on my clock as my mom has already texted that she boarded the plane in LA and I know I need to be out of here pretty soon…

They try to stir the baby with a buzzer which does worry me a bit- not that it will hurt baby but that it’s seems so unresponsive. After an hour, I’m released and thankfully baby has started kicking! I still need to see the doctor and I officially realize that I will be late to pick my mom up. How ironic since I promised her that I had plenty of time and would be there for sure. I’m thinking about the added time of her getting out of the plane and getting luggage, keeping my fingers crossed, I will get out of here very soon!

Nop….

So, the doctor explains that she is very sorry but she feels that she has to send me on another trip to triage because my fluid IS on the border of dangerously low and of course thinking about the added infection risk and risk to baby (still not ideal delivering the little one at only 35 weeks) I have to admit to the random leaking. She thinks I will be fine if the amniotic sac is still there and full enough but she isn’t willing to take any chances, especially given my history.

I make my way over to triage again feeling somewhat defeated, I made it this far. I text my mom what’s going on, hoping she won’t worry and knowing she will understand. Then I call hubby, explaining that, sorry he has to cancel his last appointments to go pick up his mother in law!

At triage they are busy and I keep feeling bad that there are women in there with way bigger problems (and frighteningly smaller tummies) than I, some in immediate danger of delivering unimaginably early. Of course me and my huge frame, feeling fine, are not prioritized, which prolongs things.

I hope my mom turns on her phone as soon as she lands and that my darling husband will be able to locate her and help her with her bags and to the car, not that she needs any help- a seasonal traveling pro by now!
She might get slightly disappointed I’m not picking her up, thinking about the Starbucks and some mother daughter conversation I promised her but I know she will be more worried about the fact that I was sent to triage, probably or at least hopefully for no reason…

Except, there is (almost) always a reason of course, but I keep feeling that this long emotional pregnancy has been full of close calls but miraculously baby and I have made it this far. Since I still have almost 2 weeks to the safe 37 week zone (and three to the ultimate goal of full-term surviving even that week) I do worry however that if they think I’m leaking to much, thinking about the baby not having enough and the infection risk that they will put me on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy or even (gasp!) decide to take baby out!

Not getting ahead of myself I try to calm down saving my phone battery to hear from mom and husband that she was picked up okay, hoping to be released in time to meet them both at home. I try to focus on how excited I am to be able to show mom our new house and to hopefully get a few stress free weeks of hanging out, a lot more help, yummy home cooked meals and a few outings before this baby comes!

After I have been seen by a register nurse, they monitor my contractions and baby’s heart beat while they wait on the fluid results . She checks me and tells me that, yes! My bag of water is definitely there and from what she can tell intact!
Only there is a slight problem with that…it would all be great, except I’m not like other pregnant women (what else is new…!?).
My water bag was completely intact as my water ruptured with BOTH my other pregnancies as well…

Let me explain! (If I can because it is kinda confusing). My bag was there and seemed intact both times, except it had a small (tiny) tear in the upper quadrant with sweet daughter. It also tore with a little trickle (no gush mind you OR the telltale sign of continuous leaking with darling son) but with me being 37 weeks then and things progressing naturally after a few hours, nobody worried about that. BOTH times I was certain my fluid was NOT broken. BOTH times I thought it was a case of some embarrassing urine leak (or gross; discharge). BOTH times, I didn’t want to be a bother or even mention my wet underwear, because it didn’t follow ANY rules of ruptured membranes found online (don’t even want to admit how many times I have googled this during THIS pregnancy!…talk about embarrassing!)
But I’m glad that my husband and mom urged me to mention the leaking in my previous pregnancies, especially with my daughter!

At 29 weeks, the positive results for amniotic fluid was a big deal and the seriousness of the situation of labor looming beyond real. She was and is truly a miracle, since most (over 80% go into spontaneous labor within 24-48 hours and something like 90 within three days, we were incredibly lucky). They were able to stop my labor back then with drugs (that horrid magnesium) and constant monitoring and every intervention imaginable and it DID work. She was so tiny and underdeveloped when my water broke (read; slowly, randomly trickled) I don’t even want to think about the alternatives to the amazing little girl we are so blessed with!

So as this (know-it-all…sorry I’m sure she deals with neurotic mamas all the time and is in fact very knowledgable) nurse tells me, I most likely came here for no reason, I try to tell her about the quadrants and the small tears and the trickles as well as my previous experience…

Well, that backfires and she snaps “are you trying to tell me how to do my job?”…

Okaaay….

It’s not like I WANT to be right, (actually quite the opposite) but I have so much experience with premature ruptures of membranes at this point, I could probably write a whole new dissertation on this very topic!
I know she doesn’t know this…or me…and feels offended as I ask to talk to the physician on call.
This guy is nice and at least knows what I’m talking about as I red-faced tell him about my soaked underwear and low fluid levels. He agrees about the probability of a tiny tear. I means doctor DID send me here, I’m NOT paranoid NOR crazy!
He turns serious then, since my baby is still considered a preemie he offers to do a more comprehensive test and even suggest the dreaded bed rest at the hospital if the test comes out positive. I try to deliberate with myself, knowing that I know every danger and will know if my water completely breaks, if I start developing an infection and obviously if I go into labor. I also know my mom is probably already at my house and I will be able to, with her help, relax and take it easy following all the doctor’s orders from now on and we are so so close to being okay and out of “preemie-hood”. So I deny further testing and am forced to signs consent form releasing myself from the hospital (against the doc’s recommendation of further testing) but I do (of course) agree to see my doctor the very next day- as well as every day this week to closely monitor baby and the fluid!

I can’t wait to see my mom and my family as I drive home in the darkness and we get a whole week of good days and the fluid levels as well as baby are cooperating before the next close call…

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Making it to 34 weeks and beyond!!!

I will be 34 weeks next week, what a milestone!!!
Most people with “regular pregnancies” would probably not understand. The truth is though that must Moms-to-be have their struggles and no pregnancy should probably be considered or thought of a “easy” or “regular”. Pregnancy for all women is a risky thing and it is probably the “biggest” thing you do in life (I know some women can’t get pregnant and some women choose not to, I’m just simply saying that it is a huge event in a mother’s life, carrying a human being inside your very body for months ending in delivery with the added risks to their own health and wellbeing as well as the baby’s).

As much as this pregnancy has not been easy (read: surprise, disbelief, extreme nausea, low fluid, step B, UTIs, low thyroid function, bed rest at home, mild to moderate preeclampsia with high blood pressure and hear palpitations, two overnights at the ER/hospital and the overhanging fear that something might go wrong at any moment or WORSE; something might be wrong with the baby), it has also taught me a lot and we made it this far, which is such a blessing. We cannot wait until this baby joins our family and as long as he or she is healthy that is all that matters.

I’m finally allowing myself to feel excited! 34 weeks feels like such a special accomplishment, somehow I never believed that I would make it. It is wrong however, somehow to see it like such a feat, like what I did (or didn’t do) last time wasn’t an accomplishment. I’ve heard preemie mom saying that they felt like failures, unable to keep their babies in long enough. Like they kind of didn’t succeed in the whole childbearing/pregnancy thing. Like they had a choice…
What a joke.

What is worse I have heard of OTHER people shaming preemie moms for delivering early! That is not only incredibly stupid but obviously ridiculous and cruel. The ignorance here is beyond words and discussion.

I have a couple of great appointments where my mother-in-law (luckily back from her trip) takes the kids. Baby is kicking and contractions are mild and irregular during my bi-weekly non-stress tests and the fluid is low but stable an manageable (I drink more water than seemingly humanly possible).

I sometimes share a room with the most neurotic of moms-to-be in the non-stress-test rooms, thinking they might go into labor any second like right then and there (I must say some of the nurses are quite amazing in dealing with these situations). But I most remember that I don’t know what these moms have been through before…

I know the drill by now, reading my book, catching up on e-mails and texts, writing or simply resting. If baby is doing excellent the test only takes about twenty minutes to get a good reading but sometimes you have to stay over an hour (not fun on your bladder let me tell you). Baby always does better than mommy, with my blood pressure issue, but luckily over the next few weeks we always get released, on step closer to our desired goal, closer to to full- term and our actual due date!

I joke with everyone that the more time goes by the more certain I become that this lil person inside me is determined to prove momma and her doctors wrong. He or she will stubbornly hang on forever and might decide to never come out. I will probably stay preggers forever!
With that many injected hormones in my body, I wouldn’t be surprised if I will give birth to a 42 week ten ponder!

I’m beyond happy that my mom is arriving in a few days. I’m starting to arrive myself soon in what I call the safe zone of pregnancy! As long as I make it another couple of weeks my baby will no longer be considered a preemie and won’t need the steroid shoots or added care (unless seething else is wrong of course) I have never made it further than 37 weeks and start to fantasize about those last weeks of pregnancy when you turn so huge that everyone says you look like you are “ready to pop”!!
I know, I know it sounds (and is) uncomfortable but as every preemie mommy knows, it is longed for, desirable and so so worth it.

Talking about preemie moms, the young couple with their babies in the NICU are staying with us and even though their little ones are doing better, I feel for them. This is such a tough time for them, full of uncertainties and I almost feel guilty for making it this far parading around with my big belly. I shouldn’t feel bad of course and I know this but it is…hard!
We decide to have a bbq with them and my mom for darling daughter’s second birthday coming up (it still blows my mind that she is almost two, TWO!!! And such an amazing little girl).

The week my mom comes I drive to more appointments than ever, having more ultrasounds in a week than I had in both my previous pregnancies.

I promise my mom to pick her up at the airport and half-jokingly to not have a baby while she is in the air or be in the hospital instead of picking her up!
She missed my son’s birth by a day, thinking she would have over two weeks with me before he was due, and she missed my daughter’s birth because she had to be home watching said son while I was giving birth! I will never be able to thank her enough for rushing to my side when I completely shocked went on hospital bed rest at week 29, two years ago (she took the next flight out…from Sweden!!!)

And now she is coming again, on a plane, ready to be there for me- for us, ready to takle anything for a with me and I am incredible thankful to have her!
Thankful also to my mother- in-law who watches the kids yet again while I head to the doctors office and my bi-weekly fluid check!
I will pick up my mom right after…

 

Dream House!!

They never test my water because I fear they will hospitalize me if the test comes out positive for amniotic fluid. I know the fear of getting an infection but since I now have doctor’s appointment every single day they sure are keeping a close eye on me and I’m also carefully monitoring myself. I do feel like I know my body and of course I’m not stupid and would never put myself and baby at risk. Besides they check fluid levels three times a week (it’s really low but still okay enough not to be admitted to the hospital) I do non stress tests for baby every other day, I do weekly three dimensional ultrasounds and I get triple the dose of hormones (deeming it next to impossible to have this baby early). To get some perspective 2% of women in my situation get the single weekly dose of progesterone, me, twice as much!

The baby us not stressed (doing fine in there) but I sure am! Even if this new house is gorgeous, it’s not only fun and games moving into a bigger property, especially since parts of it is old (and has not been upgraded or maintained) and haven’t been lived in for at least a year and a half (and another year and a half before that). This house might not have the best karma either (if you believe in such thing) because several people have been forced to sell or have even gone bankrupts living here. These things are hard not to think about as everything seems to be going wrong right about now (even things that passed inspection or were fixed prior to us moving in). The four starred handyman that we picked on Yelp was such a disaster that not only did he NOT fix what was wrong he also messed up the stuff he was supposed to fix. This guy must have written his own reviews because he was late, he was loud, he was a sweaty mess and on top of that, he was expensive! Did I mention he didn’t fix a thing? I told family that the only thing he fixed of my list of stuff (things that should not have been complicated for a handyman by the way) was the dishwasher, but he had to come back twice since he ordered the wrong part. The part was a tiny spring helping the dishwasher’s door open smoothly which seems to be working now but fixing it, this joker cut himself on something leaving a blood trail in the kitchen, without cleaning it up! (Which I later put my hand in…wasn’t enough with the dog bleeding all over our new floors??)

I’m not done, even if you won’t believe me, the next day the entire dishwasher completely stopped working and the whole kitchen smelt like burned rubber…
Oh yes, the whole interior basically had to be replaced at our dime. Not even our brand new home warranty will cover it because they don’t even accept claims the first thirty days (which is stupid because this is when you discover everything that is wrong)
I’m glad we payed this handy guy top dollar. We are way too nice and naive and can’t help feeling defeated thinking we chewed off more then we can handle…

This week also included a horrible dental appointment for our son (let me just point out that I didn’t have my first cavity until after 30…and in Sweden you don’t even go to the dentist until age 7, because you know eh…before then…those are your baby teeth…). I tried to stay firm but you know they know how to convince you that your kids needs the most expensive (of course) treatment because otherwise he will be in pain (obviously) AND unless we do this it WILL affect his grown up teeth (naturally)…
So what is a mom supposed to do?
Anyways, more ants…even though we sprayed, and spiders! With our luck they’re probably all black widows and their cousins…
So more spraying, this time inside! Yes, okay the “green harmless stuff” won’t work? Go ahead a spray our house with deadly chemicals, it’s not like I’m pregnant or have two little ones and a dog or anything…
The requirement to be gone for at least six hours feels very safe!

Luckily we have great friends that we can hang with until we get to go back to our “dream house”.

Which feels good until someone mentions rodents in the yard…

A lesser issue but big none the less is this family’s sleeping arrangements. As the birth of our third is looming and getting more real by the week, (wait who is having a baby?) we really don’t have a plan yet. Hubby still sleeps with sonny and princess refuses to sleep with anyone (alone? Ha ha ha, forget it!!) but me (can you say; I’m turning 2 soon and I get my way or I’ll scream until I do…?).
This little lady can scream herself till a freaking frenzy, snot and crocodile tears, head banging, shortness of breath, blue faced mess all included! She won’t give up either, oh no mam! She will rather hurt herself (seriously) or violently throw up to prove her point, than just give up and fall asleep in her brand new pink princess room right next to her parent’s bedroom. I even ordered her a really nice, super comfy bed (of course to no avail).
She is even particular about how we sleep… I have to put my arm around her just right…or she complains…loudly…until I just give in…

Anyways, it’s on my list…
Sleeping arrangements…
(And don’t give in)

On a positive note, I made it to 32 weeks, actually feel okay and am home with my family where I belong and not in a hospital. Social media keeps sending me pictures from two years ago of me in a hospital bed which makes me sad but also feel so lucky and blessed for my daughter, proud of what she has accomplished and beyond appreciative for the outcome and the fact that with this pregnancy baby is still hanging in there (literally).

I know that even though my baby girl made it with me on constant supervision in the hospital barely able to move and under close monitoring until 34 weeks, our issues started at 29 weeks when my water broke. We were lucky that they were able to stop labor not one, but three times and that we had time for the steroid shots and magnesium drop and that we bet all odds after the water started breaking BUT certain organs like the kidneys hadn’t developed fully at birth and baby did suffer because of the lack of water and the difficulty of “practice breathing” and immaturity of lungs and underdeveloped brain function in there. We are truly blessed that she is now such an amazing, charming (stubborn), smart and thriving (right on target) almost two year old!

Hello, week 33, I’m ready for you!!

 

 

Braxton Hicks and surviving week 29!!

Thank God my contractions got fewer and fewer- further and further apart (the meds added to my IV helped- what a scare) and I was finally, finally able to go home!

I promised to monitor any further contractions and my own heart rate and even got cautioned to just call 911 if something were to happen.

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It was so nice crawling in to bed with my family even if the sun is already up and I know that this day will be the longest ever. Even if I have been mostly hanging out in a hospital bed, I’m utterly exhausted.

Week 28 brings me somewhat back to normal. We are packing up the rest of the house with the fear of not finding another house to move into hanging over us. I’m just scared we might have to unpack again- what a nightmare that would be (but I’m keeping positive since at least my pregnancy seems to be progressing for now). The whole week is pretty uneventful. I’m of course supposed to be on bed rest at home and I do my best to rest (I really do- knowing how important it is and terrified to get admitted to the hospital), lining up the nanny and my mother in law to come help while I try to do as little as possible.
I drive my son to preschool everyday still since I was allowed to do that last week (but too scared to ask if I can this week). It’s important that he goes not just for fun but for his development, learning and social interaction (besides he loves it…and so does his mama!) especially now that they say that we are not allowed to hold him back but we have to put him in kindergarten in the fall!

I know it’s just way to unrealistic (without around the clock help) to stay in a bed with a preschooler (with unlimited energy) and a toddler (with attitude to spare) and a dog (who thinks she is a human).

I try to take it easy but the challenges of everyday life are far from that.

As I drive home from dropping off my son, I get my usual “grande decaf java chip frappe” (started off with a “tall”- promising myself it would never be worth the extra calories of a “grande”, usually hate to drink my calories- oh well grande will never-ever turn into a “venti”, promise!!) as the friendly baristas ask me what week I am now and put extra cream on top of my drink (thanks…I think…I will pay for this now AND later, I know).
Then I go home to try to force my almost two year old to nap with mixed results (leading to at least one of us bawling- if not both).
We have a late breakfast together since I’m not allowed to eat anything for one and a half hour after my AM thyroid medication. Yep! This week’s appointment doesn’t give me answers about my racing heart but the test results do come back with a very under active thyroid (which of course can lead to tons of issues including developmental delays for the baby- especially if not treated in time- best cause of action is always to start as soon as you get pregnant…jeez thanks again Google).
I’m also being send to a cardiologist to check on my heart (as soon as they have an appointment available).

As week 29 approaches so do the issues…memories…and fears.

This is now the second week I have to take double the dose of the female hormone progesterone than everyone else in order to keep this babe in (administered straight into my buttocks with a syringe that in and of itself is on steroids…meaning huge)…
The pregnancy hormone floating around in my body is supposed to fool it that I am very preggers and will continue to be for a long long time, (watch: this baby will NEVER come out). Needless to say I’m not feeling great! The feminist Swede in me would never ever blame this added hormone but dare I admit, I’m weepy one minute, pissed the next and laughing manically the third…just saying…

Unfortunately I’m the very definition of hormonal (notice I didn’t say “female” or anything prejudice here…).
I cry hysterically when my husband come home at 7 instead of 6 as promised one night (and forget about those sad puppy commercials and don’t even mention anything about sick kids…)
Talking about my husband- he is just not my favorite right now (except the times I feel an overwhelming love for him and I just want to nurture and take care of his every need…hmm- hopefully I didn’t just admit to that in writing) since I feel that he is gone too much putting a lot more than doable on my plate right now!

I mean I woke him up in the middle of the night one night to talk about what empathy means! (Not popular I might add- but he wasn’t allowed to go back to bed until hours later- none of us satisfied!)

Tuesday night, right before the 30 week mark, contractions hit strong and hard. Again they don’t hurt but are getting really uncomfortable and its in the wee hours so I avoid waking anybody up (worked so well the last time) or calling the OB hotline (paranoid mommy style). Instead I do everything that they usually advice (except going to the hospital). I drink tons of water with electrolytes, I of course rest and try to lay on my left side breathing and timing these Braxton hicks that are unlike anything that I have ever felt before…(there are definitely more than “6 in an hour”)..

Luckily by morning they have subsided and I have an OB appointment that same afternoon.

That ladies and gents mean I just survived week 29!!

Cat scans and flashbacks

imageI’m frantically googling if cat scans are safe while pregnant as I make my way over to the emergency room. No time to comfort another mommy in need, apparently I have to calm down and focus on myself and my unborn child. When my husband finally calls back I’m terribly out of breath and my heart is about to leave my body. I breathlessly explain that they have to rule out blood clots (as well as all the other scary stuff the doctor mentioned) and he seems a little shook up that this is how his wife’s regular check up turned out (but probably not entirely surprised). Once I reach the ER I casually mention that “my pulse is kinda raising”. Luckily there is almost nobody there (I had assumed it would be pretty crazy,busy and unpleasant but it’s empty, clean and calm). They ask me to sit down by a desk (all feels kinda standard) to take down my information.

It all changes when they check my pulse (with one of those white thingies on your finger looking kind of like a hair clip). I see the nurses exchanging looks as they see the numbers climbing. Before I know what’s happening (and I’m the middle of telling them my address) two guys bring out (a very serious looking) gurney and literally lift me from the chair and force me down on it telling me to breathe “normally”, (oh yeah, sure no problem!).

I get an IV right away and my blood drawn as they do an EKG and an ultrasound of my heart. Hours later (after texting my mom, mother in law and husband to make sure they know that; yes, I’m okay but I might have to stay awhile and are my kids okay?) the ER gets a little scary. I hear a man fighting the nurses so security has to be called in, another man having a heart attach and see a teenager rolling by with a gun shot wound. I want so badly to go home and crawl back into bed with my kids and I know for a fact that I would be devastated if they have to admit me (what would I do?). The baby has been looking great so far so I’m still hopeful but next up is the evaluation by the nurses from labor and delivery.

Another two hours go by and they still won’t release me until my heart rate goes under 120. I get to leave urine and more blood and then just wait again. I feel lonely and isolated and like none will tell me anything…

It’s in the middle of the night when the nurses come to check on baby. I’m stiff and uncomfortable in the ER bed and I really have to pee again. The main nurse is older, really stern and definitely not the nice nurturing type. Baby is luckily doing good after a brief scare (trying to match mommy’s heart rate) but then another set back…

Contractions hit and they hit hard. It’s actually uncomfortable and I am starting to worry.
Now there is talk about taking me up to labor and delivery “just in case”…
I am 27 weeks…

Be still my heart and triage terror…

I should really re-visit my old blogs from the beginning now that I almost reached the same week of pregnancy as I was admitted to the hospital last time (two years ago) ELEVEN weeks before my due date!

As I said last week’s appointment didn’t end well…
Actually the whole day through me for a loop (a depressive one).

The morning didn’t start on a high note, I found out that a relative was admitted to the same hospital I was on bed rest. Since I knew I would have my own check up and specialty ultrasound across the street I promised to stop by and asked if there was anything I could bring her. I knew to well the panic and hopelessness she would feel and the seriousness of the situation.

I felt out of sorts as I waited for my ultrasound. It did however turn out well even though I felt faint and extremely tired. The fluid around baby looked average, all the body parts and organs could be seen- the only bad news was that what could be very wrong with this baby still showed up.
The ultrasound technician was male, young, quiet and efficient. This was the shortest specialty ultrasound I had had so far in this pregnancy. I was told to wait out in the lobby for the doctor (my own) to review the ultrasound. I was also told that since there were still some bacteria in my urine as well as protein that she would have to “check me again”.

As I waited I felt worse (I actually felt like I might faint for real), my heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to jump out of my chest, I felt disoriented and out of breath. Forget checking up on e-mails and in with friends and family- I could barely keep my booty on the chair. I noticed the nurse looking at me funny as she called my name. I had a hard time just getting up to follow her into the examination room.

She asked me to lay down right away then asking me how I was feeling which I had to admit wasn’t great. She told me my blood pressure was way to high and my pulse was through the roof. I had to rest for thirty minutes alone in the room, closing my eyes because the room started spinning. After the half hour of rest my blood pressure was better but not my pulse. After another half hour wait my doctor came to see me. Forget about the regular check- up. She explained that I was having severe heart palpitations and that she had no other choice than to send me straight to triage (that dreaded place- just hearing the name sending chills down my spine) since they didn’t seem to resolve on their own.

On my way there I called my husband (who didn’t answer..hmm felt familiar), my mother in law to try to reach him in case I wouldn’t be able to for awhile and the nanny to make sure she could stay another couple of hours with the promise of updates. I also texted our relative that I will be in the same building and that if I have the opportunity- meaning if they DON’T admit myself into the hospital, that I would come check on her.

Everything felt extremely surreal.

The flashbacks as I took the elevator up to triage also knowing that the sweet young mommy to be (nephew’s wife) had been admitted only 29 weeks pregnant, this very morning, were real!

The triage is a scary place whether you are 29 weeks pregnant or 39- you are in for a lot of uncertainty and pain and that is a fact. The difference is the excitement for the outcome is much greater if that tiny human inside you is already fully cooked!
Triage is not only the place where they send you straight to labor and delivery or the perinatal intensive care unit but also the place we went when my body went into full blown sepsis after our daughter was born.

As I reached the triage my doctor calls. She is saying that she is sorry but I need to turn around and go straight to the emergency room to have a CAT scan to rule out a blood clot, also ruling out heart attack and stroke…
Well, that makes me feel a lot better…

Monster Trucks and Insomnia

Has anyone else been woken up in the middle of the night (especially during pregnancy when sleep is so hard to come by) of a monster voice (completely loud, scary and distorted)? Been forced to face your fears (toddler in tow) sneaking around the house (slightly terrified and not so slightly exhausted) just to find the source of this hellish sound? No? Doesn’t ring a bell? Hmm,
Well…
What if I tell you the source was a battery operated (freaking) toy!!! Maybe now you follow me??
I seriously looked everywhere- EVERYWHERE before I found it, tripping on boxes and random stuff (did I mention we are moving??) and stepped on my fair share of little Legos (ouch! Why will they be the last thing we pack?)
Guess where I found this Devils device?
In the completely natural, as well as logical, place for a black and orange toy truck…- in the shower!

That was my night last night, unable to fall back asleep, even if my princess (no way that was her nickname in the pitch black house where everyone else seemed to be sleeping just fine) eventually did. I laid their cursing my inability to relax my body enough to just slip away- and then- as usual the thoughts come. The scare that is pregnancy, the lack of control, the worry, the fear of history repeating itself- except this time way, way worse…

It had been kind of a weird week, it started with something really odd happening. I felt that I at least had to mention it to my nurse but like I told her the “story” was kinda hard to explain without the Lego cars and Duplo people (that is how I explained to mom over Skype and hubby after work).

I drove my kids to my son’s school as usual in the morning- kinda late- also as usual. When I park I see that someone is sitting in the car next to me, she appeared to be on her phone and without kids in the car- obviously she hadn’t been late. As I rush my 4 year old and his “why questions” out of the car armed with his latest art project, lunch boxes (snack AND lunch), going back to the front seat for the “lunch bunch ticket”, putting shoes back on (at least I didn’t forget them), I see in the corner of my eye that the mom in the next car puts her phone down and turns her car on. I am late so I attempt to catch her eye. Maintaining eye contact, assuming that we get each other I move my way into the tight space (remember I’m not exactly skinny mini nowadays…not that I ever was…but…just saying). She is in one of those ginormous SUVs (black and hard to distinguish from all the rest) sitting very high up. I judge that I can still get darling daughter out of her car seat (and in my arms) but I did NOT count on her starting to back out. I must say I have a split second to panic slightly- she sees us right? Again I think we are on the same page as I signal to her that I will move me and my son out of the way so that she can pull out. As I close the door on my girl I realize that the driver and I are not on the same page- AT ALL…

I push my (luckily very skinny) son flush against the car while I turn towards the huge car in the very tight space as she rapidly reverses-taking the corner- AND my stomach with some speed. I actually scream, flailing my arms for her stop as my big tummy pretty much gets smashed by the left front of her vehicle…

She does see my then- looking surprised and slightly confused…did she not see the whale with feet trying to safely get her kids to school on time?

She then tries to pull forward again, making it worse by squishing my baby bump yet again. I yell for her to stop and she comes to an abrupt halt- actually looking appropriately scared now.

I managed to squeeze myself (not easy people) as I push my son (who is completely fine by the way) back towards the back of my own car. As soon as my sore stomach, son and I have reached the back of our car she reversed again and speeds away…

I get my daughter and we speed away ourselves- by foot that is- towards class.

Hours later I can actually feel the pain. I google the heck out of what I had just experienced but I think google is even more confused than myself.

What the heck happened this morning??
I know however that baby is probably perfectly fine in her (his?)  cushiony cocoon- me- not so much.

Later on both my sister and my mom agree that baby should be okay but that I should ask the nurse just in case, that the mom driver probably sat up too high to see my huge belly…but why oh why did I not even take her license plate number…? (I guess that was the last thing on my mind…and anyways what would that help?!?)

The week continues with another urinary tract infection and I wouldn’t even be worried except during my last pregnancy  a UTI developed into a full blown kidney infection…which might have been what caused my water to break prematurely…so yeah- worried!
We had to stop by the pharmacy to pick up my prescription on the way back from my son’s school.

Both kids are in rare form. My daughter refuses the cart and decides to run around pushing everything off the shelves while my son is whiny and super loud- asking (yelling) for some cookies. I rather not hold my girl too much right now but the adorable toddler turned shoplifting maniac doesn’t give me much choice as she stuffs her clothes with chocolate and some random medication (wait are those…condoms?). Returning the stuff is challenging while holding the squirming animal, bending and lifting while simultaneously managing a preschooler who screams that I am leaving him and that I’m being a bad mama! (Pleasant isn’t he!?). As we stand in line (kind of- at least I am trying) to finally pick up the antibiotics I can both see and feel the stares. This man actually goes as far as asking the old guy in front of him “can you even stand these screaming kids?” I want to snap back but I’m all out of energy, besides they are both being REALLY annoying. Even the pharmacist promises several times that we are almost done with the transaction and that I absolutely don’t need a consultation on how to take these pills. Who is he trying to convince me or himself. As my son screams for me to stop pushing him when I simply try to steer him towards the automatic doors I see the mixed looks of pity, understanding and pure irritation. They are all probably looking at my huge belly, thinking I can’t even handle the two I already have!!

To round up my week- my big ultrasound followed by my regular obgyn check up imagedidn’t exactly go as expected…

 

what spells “real” more than a crispy snickers (limited edition)!??

Nobody said pregnancy was easy…but it is however kind of rose colored and “glammed” up in today’s media. Just look at all the celebrities making it look restful as well as beautiful…and I’m not even going to mention how fast they bounce back afterwards…
I love pregnancy and the fact that my own amazing body can create and grow life (miraculous isn’t it) but its definitely not all fun and games…
It is hard, really, really hard!
Not even your friends (or family) will tell you the truth about the messy, the nasty and the OUCHY!

Entering the third trimester, I know I’m lucky that baby is still doing good in there and that we made it so far (still week 29 is looming) but these upcoming weeks (no matter how exciting) are no cake walk (what else can you NOT call them, no dance on roses (Swedish saying!), no sunshine, no rainbows…).
These shots are getting more frequent and the added bonus of non-friendly side effects follow!
I don’t want to be graphic so I won’t but let’s just lightly mention the stomach cramps, the insomnia (not helped by my crazy bed sharing partner…I’m referring to my toddler, not my husband), huge achy boobs (not sexy) and my friends nausea and vomiting are back (well hello!). I’m also way more sensitive- physically and unfortunately also emotionally…

Yesterday I had the dreaded glucose test, but instead of having the standard 1-2 hours like everyone else I have to stay all day at the hospital, first the three hour test, plus two hours “rest” and then re-test (and when I say “test” I mean them stealing blood- a lot of blood) and did I mention the no eating? Oh yeah, this fasting feast started at 5 pm the day before (no “no food after midnight” like for everyone else), they do know that they are torturing a pregnant women here right? (oh excuse me a women with a “mature pregnancy” also called my “main symptom”…how’s that for uplifting!? don’t feel great about the wording there…).

I know they have to check for diabetes, that is is really important and if “found” you have to keep it in check so you- or baby- do not develop “real” diabetes after the birth- but is this really necessary?
Diabetes did “show up” when I was pregnant last time so I had to then go back for the three hour testing (not a fond memory by any means) and that is why they they need me to go through this now. But the whole putting me in a bed and poking me every hour and the five hour wait, seriously?
Well, when you factor in the “fainting” episode I had during the standard 1-2 hour glucose test while pregnant with my first- maybe I shouldn’t blame them…

The nurse taking care of me was so great, I just wanted to reward her somehow (she is an excellent example of what a nurse should be like). She was funny and thoughtful and apologetic at the same time. She also saw me as a real person (not just a patient or project) and engaged in “real” conversation.
I told her that I had bought a brand new book to read for this occasion and then realized that I had already read the book, they had just changed the cover. “Those mean spirited, money hungry maniacs” she said laughing!

I did get other stuff done besides feeling lonely and sorry for myself in my isolated, trapped state though. I got some work done, I signed my son up for summer camp and (obviously) got working on February’s “to-do list” (man will this be a long one with the move and all). I also realized that I am darn lucky to not have a major illness and to “just” be blessed (you heard me) with pregnancy- which (and do not quote me on this- I will deny, deny, deny) is incredibly amazing (symptoms, complications and all).

After I was finally done (worrying about my kiddos at home, transition from grandma to nanny- like I said loong day- and a window repair man who was supposed to come as part of this exhausting moving process to check and fix some windows) the nurse told me to go eat something right away! I got quite excited (hello- I was starving!!!) but then she added “but nothing with sugar”. I was ready to praise her high and low until she uttered this nonsense…
Good thing I had a chocolate bar hidden in my enormous purse (next to my progesterone shots, random toys, diapers and an assortment of lipgloss- am a bit obsessed).
I totally had to lie to this super (yes I use this word frequently and will continue doing so) sweet person- promising to eat some “real” food! Well I didn’t lie exactly, what spells “real” more than a crispy snickers (limited edition)!??

Next up time for my bi-weekly shot (yup they upped the dose- AND like I said the after math…)
I couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital so I raced over to the doctor’s office on the other side of the street chowing down on my chocolate. There the young nurse who had the pleasure of stabbing me called me “tiny” for entering the third trimester!!!
Ha ha, talk about lying because even though I’m not quite Shamu yet (killer whale sized; sorry Mrs. Kardashian West) I’m already huge and know I weigh more than I should (yes, I eat despite my unpleasant side effects…jeez!). She is joining two lovely ladies who expressed surprise this week that I am even pregnant (I am going to TRY to see this as a positive and completely see them a compliments NOT that I usually fluctuate in weight and can get quite big at times…there is no way they thought I gained almost 30 lbs by NOT being pregnant…RIGHT??)

Anyways, after my shot, I hesitated but decided to tell her about my very unusual blow to the stomach earlier this week…

Home for the Holidays

Hello, let me introduce myself; I’m …HUGE!

So we are back from our Christmas vacation in Sweden. Let’s just say that it was beyond nice to catch a break from reality and just be in the moment for a while. The moment of family, changed priorities and holiday spirit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always difficult traveling with little kids and the days away weren’t completely free from drama BUT the added grown ups to help and the amazing service of home cooked meals, laundered clothes and set plans were so welcomed and such a huge help I didn’t even want to fly back!

Even the one bedroom (my all pink, “old romance” style girl bedroom) felt like a relief from our house with different bedrooms, beds, bedtimes and major bedtime drama. On this holiday we pretty much went to bed and woke up at the same time- together. There is something said for bed sharing even if you get little feet in your face constantly and have to suffer through major jet lag as well as stuffed noses and lack of nighttime sleep (you see I’d pick that morning sleep over night anytime).

My parents had skillfully crafted fun plans outside the house (per my request not to have my rather wild kiddos destroy my parent’s beautifully and meticulously decorated house, and mine as well as everyone else’s sanity) and let me say they did great (both my parents AND my kids).

At our Glögg (there is that word again…remember the spiced, hot and sweet traditional wine!?) mingle with extended family, uncles and aunts and cousins etc, people actually were surprised how (get this) WELL behaved our kids were (making a lier out of me…boy, shouldn’t I just be satisfied!??)

We enjoyed a Christmas food buffet aka “a real Christmas Table” complete with the traditional glögg (mulled wine), Swedish meatballs (commonly just known as “meatballs”), all kinds of herring, “Jansson’s temptation” (basically potato gratin with anchovies), cheesecake (nothing like the American counter part) with cream and jam and of course ham, cheeses, homemade hard bread, eggs with mayo and shrimp and all kinds of chocolaty desserts!

We also went out in the middle of the pitch black woods (next time we’ll make sure to bring some flashlights) in our search of the real St Nicolas. It was the day before Christmas Eve (which is the day we celebrate Christmas in Sweden) cold, dark and crisp and impossible to even see the person walking in front of you. On our way to find Santa my darling husband thought my dad was joking as he told us he had no idea where we were going. Except it was the truth and all part of the mysterious adventure. There wasn’t any signs anywhere and we were truly in the middle of nowhere. We joked that if this would have been where we live there would have been giant neon signs, stroller ramps, (or why not elevators), huge parking lots, fees for everything, souvenirs for sale as well as restrooms (or toilets, let’s call them what they are shall we!?) around every corner!
But this was truly worth every fumbling and stumbling in the darkness due to the excitement of the collective mission to find Santa. The chilled air held anticipation and our 4 year old’s excitement was palpable when we trekked through the deep woods, slipping on ice patches, roots and rocks only accompanied by the wind and the trees (oh and all the other people on the same mission). Our 20 months old wasn’t as upbeat (being carried as not to fall…and not by mommy) until she discovered the cozy cabins, the elves workshops, Santa’s sleigh and all the pretty candles that is!
we found HIM!!!

The old man “playing” Santa Claus (I mean Santa himself) is after all doing this year after year out of the goodness of his heart, only getting paid in candles!
This is one adventure I wouldn’t mind making a permanent family holiday tradition!

Christmas Eve came and went without a hitch with our very own Santa, baby acting as his very own elf, handing everyone their gifts (after the initial fright…well he did have to loose his beard…and tummy) and little boy extremely joyful about all the gifts and attention. Even the “dreaded” wolf dog (seriously), the one my brother lovingly “tricked” my parents to take care of (gave them a task during retirement after all) …behaved (he did have to go stay in the car for awhile…the wrapping paper and Christmas goodies were way too tempting). Everyone was cheerful and the warmth radiated through the house. I mean with three generations of opinions and wishes, two rowdy kids and two even rowdier dogs it’s not the easiest task. But we succeeded brilliantly!

Christmas Day was spent with extended family out in the true “country” where our son got to dig with a real tractor and operate a real crane- oh the joy. Just hanging with all the other boys (you can see how mama wasn’t part of that equation) while the girls did “girl things” inside was probably enough to keep him happy! Little girl was happily playing Barbies and “my little ponies” with my second cousin’s daughter and the adults got to talk and laugh about old times!

Other well -thought out activities included (to my husband’s excitement) an ice hockey game, shopping (actually for his work clothes), a Bamse (swedish cartoon) exhibit and the traditional family turkey dinner of course!.

Just like he got to go to the hockey game with the boys, sonny got to accompany his mom and grandma to the theatre. Even if the first act of Peter Pan was rather “expressive and theatrical” aka terrifying, the second act more than made up for it (as did the front row seats and all the candy). Overall a great evening as the snow slowly started falling outside!

Talking about snow, the kids were beside themselves as they had been waiting since we had landed. My son even had a presentation about all the snow he would play in in Sweden at preschool the day we left. Global warming didn’t help our case and neither did us begging the weather Gods but finally, finally the white fluffy stuff was here and the heavens were cooperating. There was enough for snowballs and half a snowman and tons of fun for kids and dogs alike!

We ended our perfect holiday in my homeland in our beautiful capital of Stockholm. The deep white snow was the backdrop for more adventures of the downtown “zoo” of Swedish animals, (only complaints from the two American “men” were the freezing degrees, despite borrowed Down jackets and last minutes purchased gloves… and a quick trip to the doctor with baby girl’s ears), museums, restaurants, cafes and movie night in my brother’s apartment. Him and his wife had orchestrated some great plans to round up our trip and as we left in the middle of the night in the cold, we did so with a smile!

Two years ago I was pregnant (about the same gestation) with my little girl and home for the Christmas holiday as well (my family joking that I’m always pregnant at Christmas!) and flying back to the chaos that is our reality is now bittersweet. We might move, there might be something wrong going on with this pregnancy and last time it felt like I hadn’t been back long after Christmas before being admitted to the hospital with preterm labor. I worry about the special ultrasound happening Monday, about packing up the house and all our other plans up in the air…

Let’s just say this, I’m happy and grateful about this holiday break from reality and look forward to someday introducing my country and all its traditions to my third baby!

 

One of those weeks…

It’s been one of those weeks- you know the ones that push you closer and closer towards the metaphorical cliff of a complete mommy meltdown (psychotic break more like it). Full of blow out diapers AND toddler as well as preschool tantrums. Forgotten lunches and late mornings. Fighting siblings (“head butted” and bit lil battlers) and cancelled play dates. Runny noses and coughing kids, escaping dogs and extreme lack of sleep (for moi- what else is new?- I do try to make sure my kids get THEIR sleep). More shots as well as bad news at the doctors’ – which is really what is the worst about this week- about everything…

Our son keeps getting into trouble at school because of the elaborate “fart noises”, four teacher meetings, three different teachers just this week. We thought he was over the hilarity of the sound- until we figured out that he was copying the Gringe, who apparently was sticking his butt out making that very sound in the Christmas play we took him to (so much for culture, right!?).

And oh yes, almost forgot (not quite) I dropped my kid off at preschool without shoes- barefoot! It was 52 degrees (that is believe it or not actually VERY cold here…being from Sweden I cringe slightly at this) and drizzling (of course it was).
You would not believe the judgy eyes penetrating me as I walk him into the classroom. Well does anyone care that one of those blowout diapers happened at the same time as a preschooler’s tantrum, a forgotten lunch box (remembered at the last minute) AND being late (er than normal)…? No, probably not. So it happened and I do feel like I deserve that bad mommy award more than ever BUT I DID tell him to put shoes on- repeatedly- I swear AND I went right back home to get them (even IF my toddler slept both ways in the car forgoing her nap-and my sanity…).

Of course that very same morning I put my new cellphone (the one sent to me by the insurance company because my daughter very lovingly threw my old one on the tiled bathroom floor TWICE) on the hood of the car, in the midst of the leaky (through her clothes AND mine) diaper, the four year old tantrum, the forgotten lunch AND being late and drove off with it. Aha! Yes, sure did…

I’m way too embarrassed to disclose anything else…except my very last insurance claim allowed for the next TWO years sounded like…”cellular telephone thrown out of a fast moving vehicle”.

My son didn’t get to go to the playground that morning because his very very bad mommy had forgotten his shoes (even though said son is fully capable of putting his own shoes on- and does so every morning…excuse me, every morning EXCEPT this one), looking forlorn sitting inside on a chair waiting for me.

By the end of the school week he explains he is in so much trouble his “face” (meaning a picture of his face) is not only NOT on the board in the classroom, on its way of making it up on the “super kid” chart, but not even in the running anymore. He is actually upset about it and I’m hoping the inappropriate noises will go away (Gringe noises or not). As I pick him up on Friday there is another incident report saying another kid scratched and pinched him (it’s a scratch pinch mama!) because (get this) he wouldn’t stop his…DINOSAUR noises!!

My pregnancy is progressing and the baby looks so much like a baby even on that black and white screen now! I just wish with all my heart and soul that someone could tell me for sure that everything is okay with our baby. Hello (can you hear me?) I’m already half way there…still meaning I have to suffer the worry of another twenty weeks give or take (if this baby decides to be full term) if there is something…not right (I refuse to say- or think WRONG) with this baby kicking around inside my belly. Because if there IS something wrong it will be of the unavoidable, unfixable, permanent kind…

Honestly this week has been dragging along with the dull background pain of “not knowing”. The fog of uncertainty is getting to me more than anything. All I can do though is believe…and pray and hope…and stay strong and positive. This is another layer I didn’t want this time around (who does?) but somehow I thought this pregnancy would be the easy one, like third is the charm or something…
Going into it with the preconcisting conditions of preeclampsia and premature rupture of membranes as well as strep B and reoccurring UTIs I knew it wasn’t going to be easy per say (but not that I would have all the complications of BOTH previous pregnancies present in this one) but at least I thought the problems and fears would be related to these issues…

BUT the odds are certainly in our favor and the risks extremely low (just not as low as we would have thought/imagined/expected/wanted/wished).

I round this week up with a disastrous Christmas party,getting locked out of my own bedroom by two very short little troublemakers and the unmistaken sound of sirens as I “run” a YELLOW light…

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