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!!

Perfect (NOT) timing…

The Friday before we were going home to Sweden for the holidays I have my last doctor’s appointment. This appointment is very important since everything needs to look great (baby and I) for them to let me go on this long trip (and back).
I need a letter from my specialists explaining the syringes and meds I need to bring and another letter explaining that I AM allowed to travel pregnant (being high risk and all…but probably more me being 30-31 weeks but looking like at least 36!). There is rules about traveling internationally after 36 weeks after all…
Of course (and cruelly so) I wake up that Friday feeling more nauseous than ever (and here I thought I was past the worst nausea).
An hour before I have to leave for my appointment I empty out the entire content of my stomach violently, including what I just “tried” to eat, (my mandatory a.m. “grande, decaf java chip frappe” make a come back -yuck!) in the guest bathroom by the kitchen (I didn’t get any further).
My mom and I debate the reason for my sudden “sickness” in a panicky FaceTime call wondering if it could be “baby related” or not…?
As a “curtesy” (more out of fear to be honest because as we know…you never know…), I call my doctor’s office letting them know how I feel, explaining that I must have ate something or it might be a stomach bug (great timing huh!?), could they (pretty please) see me on Monday (the day before we are supposed to leave?) but all they hear is the possibility of pre-eclampsia…
Of course they tell me to “come in right away” …
I dread my appointment while I wait in the waiting room (had to call my husband to come home sooner and cancel his last appointment to rush home to stay with the kids). I really really want to go home for Christmas! It’s all I have been looking forward to for months!! All that kept me going at my sickest most uncomfortable moments (not really bad moments more like weeks-months)…
I feel extremely nauseous but trusting that my stomach is good and empty already (but locating the nearest bathroom OUTSIDE of the office just in case).
I really want to get the “go ahead” (and the letters to show at the airport/s) to go home to Sweden on Tuesday morning, that is after all why I’m here today (I was here just days ago after all).
The nurse takes one look at me before taking a giant step back (do I really look that bad?) asking “How are we feeling today”
I hesitate, do I tell her the truth? That I’m miserable….Could this be something other than “something I ate” or a stomach bug?
Could this somehow affect the baby or have anything to do with my pregnancy? (How are WE feeling might actually refer to me AND baby boy).
Obviously I can’t risk anything.
Here goes nothing… “I AM miserable (disgusting details) but I’m suuure it’s a bug”
The nurse leaves to tell the PA (Our stern German  friend Eva) what is going on …
Eva checks me and my baby- ultrasound, “in and out” she even checks my cervix for dilation (which is NOT recommended so close to a long far away trip…)…
All good, baby nice and cozy in there, exit route rock solid. I keep my fingers crossed and say a little prayer..
And then she checks my urine for protein via the nurse, I get my progesterone shot and then she checks my temperature….

Second Chances…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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”??

 

 

The pleasure and the PAIN…

I haven’t talked or singed to you yet, I haven’t felt you kick or gotten huge (but I did pick out a name-of course I did-that is like one of my favorite parts, and I did picture you and planned for you…and I longed for you – we all did).

Again my heart breaks for women who are further along, who might have experienced all of these things. A miscarriage happens if the loss happens before 20 weeks of pregnancy but a loss after 12 weeks is very rare…

I research (mostly by fanatically googling) miscarriage at week ten, eleven…and twelve. Surprisingly and I would say shockingly there is not much information. Especially not from healthcare providers and medical professionals. There are a mostly anecdotal stories from some brave women (that frankly scare the s*it out of me). Had I not talked to my very candid doctor I would not have known what to expect at all…

I have had losses before, very early losses that were more like super heavy periods-somehow I thought this would be the same (especially since I already experienced my heavy bleed because of the internal hemorrhage-preventing us from taking that much needed family vacation…). Women usually experiences the loss early one, right after the positive pregnancy test or even before-not even knowing about the pregnancy OR the loss. In these cases it IS usually like a very heavy period and even if that is also incredibly sad-especially of course if they knew about the pregnancy-these cases are the most common of the “1 in 4” . I still feel at a loss for the lack of documentation of miscarriages in the later weeks of the first trimester.

The personal stories are sometimes horrific and they are all so so sad.

Again, I know I’m lucky in so many ways. Number one of course being having three incredible, amazing, wonderful and healthy children already. My mind goes to women who are trying for their first child, and women who are experiencing this over and over again…
How absolutely devastating…

This is not my first baby (or my second…) I am not further along…
I have amazing doctors and amazing support. I have knowledge and help and healthcare and resources.
I know in my gut that this is absolutely for the best, that something is wrong with the baby and that she wouldn’t have survived anyways (but my heart…)

When the bleeding starts up again, I do exactly as my doctor advices me to. I dump the kids on my husband and lock myself in our bedroom.

I read stories online and cry (okay maybe not the best plan but I tell myself it is “for information only”). I read these terrible stories, especially remembering one about a woman who miscarriages in the shower at 11 weeks describing the pain as unbearable and delivering what actually looked exactly like a tiny baby.

Here is the thing, I did not know miscarriage would look or feel anything like this…

My doctor explains that it feels just like the beginning stages of giving birth. To miscarry at this week in “the game” means contraction-like beginning to mid-stage contractions-and they will hurt. You just have to “power through”. She suggests curling up in bed, trying to get as “comfortable” as possible, riding through and breathing through the pain.

The other thing I was clueless about was what actually comes out of you. It is seriously awful and there is no way to prepare…

The blood I could deal with and even explain away. I mean as women, we bleed every month, and then when we give birth, and don’t get me started about afterwards…

Talking about afterwards (disgusting TMI- do not say I didn’t warn you..) you know the chunks that come out of you…yes, this happens during this stage of miscarriage as well…only this time it will be bigger chunks and clots and eventually the fetus and all that comes with it.

Best idea is not to focus on that and take a “nature gets rid of what is not meant to be” approach. There is not much that you can do other than hoping that God has a better plan in store (or whatever you believe).

I start bleeding heavily in bed, curled up with one of my favorite movies on TV. When I stand up the blood is trickling down my legs.
I cramp exactly like a contraction and limp crunched over to the bathroom. What comes out of me is truly crazy and huge compared to the clots. And then something smaller but very different. I really think that is the worst part and that it is the fetus and that I’m pretty much done.
Please stop reading now if you had enough!!!

I was asked to take pictures by the doctor (please don’t throw up…or think less of me), so I now know that was the placenta…and the sac…

The “fetus”, still tiny of course a not yet a “baby” of course (nature, nature, nature), looks completely different-feels different, is of different consistency and color (think grey…). It has the shape…you can totally see it-it is beyond heartbreaking…
I know I shouldn’t have looked…but it’s pretty much unavoidable…besides I was asked too…

The after clots and chunks keep coming for the next hours, then getting smaller and smaller over the last three days but the bleeding lasts for another two weeks…
There; TMI finished!

I make it back to bed with one of those giant diapers for old people inserted in my mesh underwear (I knew I would somehow need them again…) and catch the end part of the movie…

“My best friend’s wedding” will never be the same…
There, I ruined one of my favorite movies…
Julia Roberts is so beautiful in this one too and Cameron Diaz so young a fresh faced…
And who doesn’t love the music…

My husband texts me for updates…and I send him the pics (come on doesn’t he deserve to be part of this experience…he is saying he can never unsee that and is actually extremely emotional…in a way that I have never seen him before).

The next day he takes off of work as well and drives me to the hospital where they confirm for the first time that the fetus is gone, I am no longer pregnant and everything including the placenta has passed. This is apparently great news…and I did it all on my own and should be very “grateful”…

Now; see it’s like I was never pregnant in the first place…

A follow up with the option of couple’s counseling is scheduled in two weeks…

 

No more perfect destination…

 

Only a couple of days before the safety of the second trimester I’m rushed to the hospital, it’s also the day that we are supposed to go on our vacation (bags packed, dog at grandma and grandpa’s).

At my last ultrasound they discovered-not only the lack of a heartbeat but-several centimeters of blood in my uterus. It’s an internal hemorrhage.

This could have been a disaster if I had gone on the trip apparently…
Think bleeding out on a plane unable to land, or anything happening on a location where the healthcare wouldn’t have been like it is here..

I spent the night in the ER. The nurses and doctor are extremely nice. The eerie thing is that the fetus is still there (whole and there…) but with this much bleeding they can’t send me home until morning. They take every precaution necessary and I’m very thankful.

My discharge papers still don’t say that I miscarried. I stare at the “pregnancy weeks” on the release notes. The diagnosis is internal bleeding/uterus hemorrhage.

I talk to my Obgyn specialty doctor, who is amazing, from my ER bed. She shares that she herself suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks that shook her so much she won’t consider going through pregnancy again (she has a healthy daughter). She describes her experience in detail and tells me what I can expect (even if every case and woman are different). I’m beyond grateful that she is so open and honest (brutally so…this WILL suck!).

I will loose this baby-because that is the “BEST” case scenario…

Since there is no longer a heartbeat, she most have stopped growing along the way (even if this started as a normal pregnancy…as the others…with no signs…no bleeding…nothing “abnormal” at all).
She says to come in on Monday and if nothing happened before then to schedule the surgery…to remove the fetus (my baby who I now have to think about as just one of nature’s mistakes and hope that my body will take care if it naturally…).

I’m a very level headed, logical and grounded person and I must admit I can understand the whole “logical reasoning” that “it’s not a baby yet”, “it’s for the best”, “it’s natural for nature to get rid of the unhealthy” but somehow it’s extremely difficult to wrap your head around all of that so far along when you were so excited about the actual real live baby ahead…

My insides are playing Darwinism at its finest…this one is damaged and won’t survive…

It seems cruel…

So the waiting game begins..

Might I point out that I could have been at a white sandy beach right now…sipping a pina colada (fine; virgin colada…wrestling three kids in the white sand…)

I know I’m lucky though, even if I planned and hoped and dreamed and thought I reached the safety zone-I’m not THAT far along…

I’m so much luckier than many others, I’ve yet to have a noticeable baby bump (even though the bump IS already there and WE can totally already tell…) or felt our baby girl kick yet…

The day before my appointment to schedule my surgery it happens and after googling AND talking in depth with my doctor, I’m prepared!

Or sort of…can you ever be prepared for something like this?

 

An adventurous week; difficult news

IMG_7161IMG_7160IMG_7162I can’t believe that we are back here…to the hematology department at Children’s Hospital. The flashbacks are acute and many.

I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. I ache for them-these parents. I feel embarrassed to be here somehow and yet…I know I have to, we have to. Something IS wrong for real-just not as wrong, or as real as for most of these people here. The reality of what is going on on the third floor of this hospital for kids is devastating. I AM embarrassed to even feel sad because it seems I don’t have the right to somehow, and they don’t need my pity, and there is literally nothing I can do to help.

I praise these doctors for doing what they do, for pushing forward, for trying their very best, for smiling…
But the real heartbreak are these strong, brave little people who are just getting the toughest childhood imaginable…and their poor parents.

I have been dreading this appointment since my daughter was 18 months old. We found out when she was 11 weeks old, (just shy of 3 months) and cut her “tied tongue” to be able to breastfeed, that she had some kind of bleeding issue. She would not stop bleeding no matter what the tongue specialist, her pediatrician and the ER doctor did. She was loosing so much blood she had to have emergency surgery right away…

This tiny little preemie baby girl who had already been through so much in her very short life…
It was one of the worst days of my life. Seeing her bleed uncontrollably in the backseat when I rushed her to the ER is an image imprinted in my brain forever…

My baby girl was in surgery for hours, her little pale body and all that blood. Afterwards she was groggy and swollen in my arms. I felt awful. She wanted to eat so bad but was too hurt to feed. Seeing her in so much pain was agony.

We spent 3 days at Children’s Hospital before the 4th of July weekend and she still refused to eat. I didn’t sleep at all and was a wreck. Grandma and auntie were home with big brother because dad had to continue working (even though I’m sure that was extremely hard on him).

I remember the nurses trying to help squirting my pumped breastmilk into baby’s mouth with a syringe- it finally worked enough to get her off the IV. She was this little girl in a huge bed surrounded by rolled up baby blankets with wires and monitors…
It was utterly terrifying.

On day two we saw a couple of doctors from the hematology department. They drew a lot of blood to test our baby girl for a bleeding disorder. Since she was so tiny yet-still on the preemie scale, they couldn’t take too much blood from her little body-so we had to come back for a follow up.

The follow up was on the third floor of Children’s Hospital a week later. Baby girl had gotten her color back and she had finally started to nurse again. My mom was thankfully able to accompany us this time, having flown in on the 4th of July withstanding delays and cancelled flights. It was such a support to be able to lean on her as we entered what must be one of the most depressing places-full of sick-really, really sick kids.

My daughter had lost too much weight to be able to draw the required blood panel for the full spectrum of blood disorders so the doctor sent her home with a liquid that makes blood clot in the event of blood trauma.

The tests came back negative for any of the more severe blood disorders…and for leukemia. I have never prayed harder for these results..

Then again the unfairness of it all, seeing all the other kids and their parents. How do they do it? how do they live and breathe when their insides must be breaking.
These caregivers are incredibly strong that goes without saying but…these kids…I don’t have words, little superheroes who just deserve way better lives.

Hoping for them as I’m standing here at the hospital with my two (big brother is in school) happy, healthy (for the most part) children, is the same for them, that they will beat this, they will get better and this will all be a distant memory…

The reality though is a punch to the stomach and the embarrassment of even feeling like this when I’m fine and my kids are fine is raw and present.

This is the 4th time here seeing her hematology doctor. When we saw him when baby girl was 18 months old we still didn’t get to do all of her testing, because of her low weight. I was informed that in order to complete everything we needed to admit her to the hospital for a few days to monitor her while drawing the required amount of blood for the full panel of blood disorders. I declined these tests knowing that she didn’t have the more serious ones and signing papers that I declined treatment was really difficult-was I doing the right thing?

I promised (myself and her doctor) to keep a close eye on her, knowing full well that you can’t bubble wrap your kids (no matter how much you want to).

Fast forward until now, there is no more denial. Every time she bleeds from simple cuts and scrapes it is way too much- abnormally so. Her new pediatrician ordered more labs at her 3 year check up and testing confirmed without a doubt that our daughter does have a bleeding disorder. He sent us straight back here again…so here we are.

This has truly not been the best week..

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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…

The magical month of July!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Happy friggin 4th!!!

Hubby is scheduled to fly out early morning on the Fourth of July and I’m not going to lie- it sucks!

But we are not going to let that keep us from the fun-oh no!

We have a full day of celebration planned this year. We are going to a parade (have never seen a real live American parade before and am really excited!!) in our neighborhood and fireworks by the beach (love fireworks) and we are bringing grandma and grandpa (and hopefully uncle, aunt and cousins as well) along! I have bought food for a family BBQ and festive paper plates, cups and utensils as well as quite a few Independence Day decorations! I have also laid out matching flag colored outfits for myself and all the three kids! The weather promises to be warm and sunny but not too hot. Maybe we can swim in the pool and grandparents can take the littlest baby so that I actually get to cool down and splash around as well. I can’t wait to spend some much needed quality play time with my kids!

I’m in high spirits; baby’s first fourth- lets do this!!!

And then darling daughter wakes up with a fever and then an extremely runny (smelly, leaky) diaper….
Which after breakfast leads to another…and another…with the mood to follow!
Can you say; complete toddler meltdown!

So yeah, we wave bye bye to daddy dearest (oh yeah; thanks for leaving me Hun!) as I rapidly begin to understand that nobody is going to want to hang out with us on this very special day…

Holiday or not, kids get sick and there is nothing you can do about it. I cancel all our plans with friends as well as family. It’s all good, we will make it work, it is just the crankiness and the overwhelming loneliness I feel when kid number two starts throwing up…

I order in food, but right now I only have one kid willing to eat and that would be the one without any teeth!

Its not like I have time to eat anything anyways, I’m running around like a mad woman, and strangely enough the idea of eating while people around me (and on me) are vomiting (and dry heaving) does not seem that appetizing…

I stream YouTube videos on the tv and keep changing diapers, smearing diaper rash cream, wiping butts as well as tears and pushing fluids.

I desperately stage some photos in memory of this “special” day of all my little kiddos in their outfits (good thing my “fancy” camera snaps dozens of photos in seconds because there are no willing participants and especially my daughter will not stand for it) on the patio- which turn out more sad than funny (keeping up the facade right…or not).

I change them out of their celebratory clothes right after our private little (disastrous) photo shoot scared any nasty fluids will make the nice outfits filthy (the washer and dryer already working overtime).
Of course my toddler throws another tantrum wanting to keep her red, white and blue Tommy Hilfiger dress on…

Let’s just say I’m in for a long night…

The kind of night where in between nightly nursing session (and they are plenty) I have to change sheets twice (we are now out of sheets that fit our bed), wrestle as well as share said bed with not one, not two, but three sweaty, germy kids (good thing I love them). I also have one of them throw up as I brush their teeth-after having thrown up…Hate when that happens!

I’m laying awake in our big bed (that suddenly feels small and cramped) when all the kiddos are finally asleep listening to each of their individual breathing patterns, (one arm around my beautiful daughter and another around my littlest man, while my big helper sleeps by my feet…for some reason) listening to their little whimpers and snores and my heart fills with so my love that I can hardly stand it…

Yes, they are a handful, and messy and smelly and oh so loud but at the end of the day I am just so so grateful to have them! Grateful that they are here with me, healthy and happy and whole (even with a nasty stomach bug) . They are my biggest accomplishments; who would have knows after my degrees and my diplomas that being a mommy would make me feel so important, so proud and so extraordinary!

Hope you had a great 4th of July this year everyone-I did despite it all (I have to admit it was pretty bad…and sad). I had a holiday I didn’t expect, one that I didn’t see coming and I was all alone to handle it all. But I think maybe that we have all been there one time or another and anyways; isn’t that what us mothers do…? We care and we fix…and we handle!

Too late I realize there in the pitch black room (while my five year old is mumbling something about Star Wars and transformers in his sleep) that I forgot to cancel the swim instructor-scheduled to come first thing in the morning…

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