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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A freaking Rockstar🤰🤱💙👶🏼❤️

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

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

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

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

It IS go time!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The pressure is unbearable…

”Rockstar is what you are”

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

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

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

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

If I concentrate, I will achieve…

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

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

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

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

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

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

and he slides out…

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

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

I’m a freaking Rockstar!!!

It’s GO time… 💙👶🏼

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

Be Careful what you wish for: Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not good at all…

Be careful what you wish for…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buut not until it’s safe obviously!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be careful what you wish for…

Blue Christmas (part 1)

I know I shouldn’t be upset. This is in MY best interest after all and more importantly the baby’s, but when the PA says I have to be admitted to the HOSPITAL all I feel is dread…

 

A flood of memories wash over me, are they really saying my huge bump and I could be spending the Christmas holidays in a hospital?? and what’s even worse, do they really think the baby could be at risk???
I can’t believe it, as I try to laugh it off when asking if I can still go to Sweden (I can right? Maybe they just want to keep us for a 24 hour observation) the PA (my “friend” Eva, remember her!?) gives me a stern look telling me that this isn’t funny at all but quite serious…
I’m at a loss for words, what is wrong then? I exclaim!
Baby looked great on the ultrasound. The huge doses of pregnancy hormones have wired me shut down there (with no exit in sight for our little guy) and there are no abnormal doses of protein in my urine.
This is the answer I’m given…
“You have a fever, you show signs of pre-e, you are 30 weeks pregnant with a high risk pregnancy…”
Eva hands me the thick orange envelope, sending me on my way to the hospital entrance and admittance window…
I cannot believe it as I stare at the paperwork the words “acute febrile illness”, “cyst on left ovary”, “history of pre-eclampsia”, “history of preterm labor” and “geriatric pregnancy” become blurry.
I know I’m acting like a child, I need to suck it up and take care of myself and ultimately this little innocent life inside of me but…
This pregnancy has been so bad, straight from our miscarriage, I have been feeling so ill from the very first moment, I’m so huge and so hormonal and so alone and right now so sick…
I can’t help it, even if I’m totally “geriatric” (being in my late 30s and all) and already a mother of 3, my tears spill over as I’m asking (more like pleading and begging) the PA Eva one last time…
“If this turns out to be something I ate or a stomach bug instead of pre-e and the baby and I both look good in a few days do I get to go with my family to Sweden?”.
“Honestly, NO”
what??
“You have a blood filled cyst that can rupture any moment and even if it’s unlikely you don’t want that to be on a plane”.
“You could develop pre-eclampsia especially since you had it before or your water can break despite the barrier due to your big baby and this being your fourth- you don’t want any of those or other seriously life threatening scenarios to happen thousands of miles from your doctors or thousands of miles up in the air-trust me!”
“You know, you are not flying to LA BUT Europe, being from Germany, I know just how far and what that trip entails”
Wow, how come nobody had explained it to me like that before?
I was here today under the assumption that I was “allowed” to travel to Sweden, just needing the letter to give to the airline (and my meds, syringes and letter for those).
It feels like me getting sick blew every change of me (and us) going away…
The pouty child in me gets mad at her but after my tearful FaceTime call to my mom as I walk over to the big hospital around the corner I realize that I’m under excellent care, that I should listen to the professionals and that my plans (and dreams for the holidays) and my will means nothing when all that matters is this baby’s health! (And my own since I’m the one cooking him until he is completely [hopefully] done).
Before I even reach the hospital doors, I get the text that the kids at home are throwing up…

After rain comes sunshine!!!

After the appointment, I am completely drained. Driving home after an entire day at the hospital with our young daughter yet again in a bed hooked up to IVs, is like a fog. The baby boy sure hated the experience as well. But with no childcare available I had to bring him. What an absolutely exhausting experience. Entering the freeway I’m pretty sure I hit an innocent squirrel- just pile it on right (I really really hope I didn’t but am afraid I did).

This whole winter/early spring has really not been the best, as far as springs go. I have had better starts of years…
I know I’m an incredible lucky and blessed person so I try to look at the positives, and look forward. I really am!

My brother comes to visit in late spring with his family and his brand new baby boy (first time auntie over here holla!!!) and makes it to my littlest’s first Birthday party. We have a ton of fun, I haven’t seen my brother in so long and to see him as a dad is truly special. I have a busy schedule during the weekdays with my kids but we manage to meet up with my brother and sister in law for dinner everyday. We also grab the occasional coffe or lunch and make a couple impromptu shopping trips. We cook together, drink wine on the patio, share stories, splash in the pool and enjoy the kids-the sweetest little cousins!

Since my three kids all have birthdays in a row-the spring pretty much disappeared in some semi-chaotic (but totally fun) party planning and execution!

Our baby boy gets a big jungle celebration (just like his brother did when he turned one) with jungle music, decorations, cakes, cupcakes and fun gift bags! We have a bouncy castle, yummy sandwiches and tons of snacks…and bubbles…plenty of bubbles. Our baby loves himself some bubbles after all (second to food only). I can’t believe he is one, how did this happen? Stop robbing me of precious baby time already (why do the years get shorter not only the older you get but apparently the more kiddos you have?).

Our princess just wanted her birthday with family, a low key day playing with her new toys (first barbie and first lipgloss-did I mention the years are rolling by way too rapidly) and then dinner, ice cream and balloon animals (flower) at her favorite restaurant. Only three years ago, I was terrified that she would be okay and just look at her now! A smarter, more charismatic, pretty, little decisive three-nager you may never see!! The following day is a Minnie Mouse theme day, spent with grandparents and a BBQ and princess cake very fitting for our very special sassy girl!

Our big boy is turning 6 (did I mentioned somebody messed with the time..turning the dial onto rapid…I know I did and I know it’s cliche BUT how IS he six?). He has requested a “creepy crawler” party and the NAT (Natural History) museum gets to host us and 12 of his classmates plus six other friends and a handful of siblings. All these kinder kids were so great for about 30 of the 45 minutes planned lecture about lizards and snakes but then they decided (apparently telepathically) to hit the dessert table, run into the projector screen, and draw on the white board-all at the same time. No worries though, after a dessert break (having dessert before sandwiches) we got to pet some live (gasp) animals, play some games (competed crawling in snakeskin anyone!?). Then we sang for and had cake/s with the lucky six year old. Excitedly he told us after the party that he made “a new awesome best friend”. Thinking it was a classmate we asked him whom this might be as he proudly announced that it was the museum employee that had helped with the party!

Summer is fast approaching (what happened to spring? But as I said the winter months leading up to spring were arguably sucky…I will share but am just not quite there yet…) so moving on feels now kinda great!

We have some graduations coming up after all our birthdays! And then our summer can officially start!!

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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Christmas Magic

img_2766c1c91bc2-f84e-4545-ae8a-bdecc345a55c51db7a3d-a599-48be-bafd-f1b9ec9a0044img_2808img_2814img_2751img_2759img_2764img_2733img_27359da97ede-a66e-49f9-88e0-fdabc70f9a42img_2772img_2792img_2797img_2767img_2768So it’s Christmas and my oldest is really, really sick, poor guy. He has no energy and is burning up with an especially nasty fever (which is worrisome because we don’t know exactly what is the matter with him).

To top it off, our daughter has morphed into the spawn of… someone eh hm, NOT nice. In my silly naive mind I thought that the random displays of (what I now see was mild) tantruming behavior was IT for her terrible twos (I really thought it wouldn’t get worse). I considering myself lucky but also DUE for an easier two year old this second time around.

I clearly forgot that the worst year is NOT 2-3 but two and a half to three and a half and that the “treenager” (seriously) is way worse than the “terrible-two:er” and that it gets worse and worse (way worse before it get better). 2.5-3.5 is really a year of unnecessary parental exhaustion (read: mental breakdown) dealing with little kid-devils with their main mission being messing with your mind! They are so manipulative, calculated, smart yet evil at the same times as not making any sense…at all. They go from sweet and nice (still being “baby cute” and adorable) to needing an exorcist in a heartbeat.

The baby boy is still NOT sleeping through the night and seem to have been going back to the newborn stage of nursing around the clock and confusing day and night…

You know by now what no sleep DOES to this mama, I’m running on fumes, I need (need, need) my sleep!!!

This is the year that I of course have chosen (completely my own brilliant idea) to host Christmas! And don’t get me wrong I am excited, of course I am…

I want to show my in laws more of my traditions and customs and what I am used to celebrating Christmas growing up and I want to give that to my children as well merging my husband’s family traditions and the “American way” with mine and the Swedish!

To start it all off the stove top stops working and even if I prepped a lot of the food days before Christmas  (lots and lots of meatballs of course), I  still obviously need my STOVE and nobody can come out to fix it because, you know, it’s Christmas Eve…
And then there is a roof leak…in the kitchen. (Hi, welcome; don’t mind the precipitation…inside)…
We are late for church, unable to sit together with family and all three kids fall asleep during the ceremony.

Oh and I almost forgot, not because I’m a selfish, mean b*tch but because I literally have a million…at least a thousand…several hundred things to do (and mouths to feed, or so it seems) but my husband got into a little accident…

Well more of a “fender bender really” (yes the fender; is that what it’s called?? Got really really bent). I guess he had to urgently go get a really important (hmm, yes!) gift last minute (ya think!!??). Because you know he has so many gifts to take care of, so many names on that list, and so little time (read:me) and I just have EVERYONE ELSE (now there is a LIST). But all good, hubby is fine-the car not so much (we also just bought his car off of the lease…) but it didn’t exactly take away from the stress and chaos or add to the Christmas spirit!!!

It all turns out pretty great in the end with tons of Christmas magic with the help of family, Tylenol, many gifts, lots of hands to hold cranky babies and toddlers, an amazing Santa, a Croc Pot (full of meatballs, “prince sausage” and briskets) and a handy grandpa and tons of actually delicious food including great cold items (yes!) like smoked salmon, breads, crackers and cheeses and items that could go IN the oven like glazed ham and Jansson’s temptation (my very own favorite potato dish with breadcrumbs, cream and anchovies…minus the anchovies for me), lots of “glogg” (spiced wine) and yummy and decadent desserts curtesy of grandma!

After Christmas it’s hard not to feel slightly sad and kind of empty even as an adult. Christmas is truly a magical time of year especially for kids. But as a parent I think that you try to recreate that magic you felt yourself as a child. My parents sure bent over backwards to make sure all our Christmases were truly that, amazing, traditional and simply; Magical!!!

As a child I always felt low after holidays (vacations and summer breaks) and now I understand the anticlimax that follows Christmas for my own children. As a mom though you simply don’t have time sitting around feeling blue and as soon as school starts it’s go go go again!

This semester is way more serious than the last one – that becomes apparent right away! No more sweet, cuddly and forgiving teachers, no more “practice homework”, no more “volunteering is optional”. Spring semester in kindergarten here we come! Who is ready to dive in with us!?

First comes Halloween…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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