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…

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Rushed Delivery

Being 38 weeks pregnant is no walk in the park. I have never been this pregnant before and even though I logically know this is great and wonderful and “normal” and healthy and you know the biggest blessing ever, I feel absolutely awful. Apart from being (and feeling) huge I am crampy, leaky, moody, have terrible heartburn and indigestion, I feel sick to my stomach (literally) all the time and I’m also bleeding. I know that that triple dose of the hormone shot didn’t exactly help things since I’m basically in labor and have been for over a week now so I might experience slightly exaggerated symptom than the average 38 week pregnant woman. The ultrasound technician described it the best that one time (skip the next sentence or two if you are squeamish); the hormones create an extra layer (or several) of the mucus build up (creating that- let’s call it what it is shall we- disgusting mucus plug) creating a barrier between baby and the outside world! Baby (and the preceding contractions) have to work waaay harder in order to make its way out with that many (disgusting) layers blocking its exit way…
I do feel like I’m not allowed to complain however but I can’t help feeling miserable and heaven forbid like this baby should hurry up and make an appearance already, (hello miss or mr. Baby, time to vacate, it’s safe to come out now!!)

Anyways, it is Monday and I have just taken the big decision to schedule my c-section (no broken bones or babies preferred!!) when I get the phone call…

It’s my doctor calling me even though she is on vacation. She sounds very surprised about my scheduled surgery since that was never brought up with her and she had instead suggested a scheduled induction (since our little mystery baby decided to hang around in my belly until full term after all!). She asks how come her colleague (he might even be her superior since he started the clinic) has hijacked her patient and is now making decisions about my care? She sounds upset and rather animated.

I am shocked and confused that she is not onboard with the new plan and find it difficult to yet again switch my mind over to her going against the Cesarian. She is saying that it is major surgery and something she would never recommend for me, being a highly infection sensitive individual without the best immune system. She is mentioning the risks and highlights the part where they take out your inner organs before putting them back (neatly and in the right order I hope…). She focuses on the complications to the bowel and bladder I might be prone to (nice!) and almost scolds me for agreeing to another doctor’s advice (gee, thanks, I was only trying to do what I thought was best for me and baby with the threats of a lifetime in a wheelchair or way worse; hurting the baby or even the unimaginable happening…).
I explain the fear her male partner put in me and his comments about recommended the “C” if I was his wife or sister. She counters with mimicking his charm and coping his little “you are amazing and adorable and beautiful”. Okay, okay, I’m starting to get the picture-I think my doctor is legitimately upset here. I just went with another doctor and after seeing him one time (nor weekly for the last at least seven/eight months) I blindly trusted him and his advice (professional advice mind you paired with an impressive education, background, degree and okay I admit flawless bedside manners). She is saying that he does have a point and that she is agreeing with his red flags so IF (and she is not saying I should) I go with the c-section, she wants to be the one performing it (bumping it up to Friday night again). I’m trying to convey the fear I have of her colleague being right about my way to narrow pelvic bone…and what about my first delivery experience?
She understands completely but wants me to try a vaginal delivery with an expert team standing by in case ANYTHING goes wrong. She will be fully equipped and ready for the possibly that baby won’t fit through the birth canal and she will prep any other doctor too should I go early and her not being able to get there in time to deliver.

She tells me that she HAD to have a Caesarian and it wasn’t easy and the recovery was brutal and of course I rather have a vaginal delivery, like with the other two. She says I might need an emergency c-section anyways but at least we tried everything before having to go there. I promise to call her right back as I deliver the news of the change of plans to my mom. After the initial surprise, we both agree to go back to the original plan and what we both had hoped and planned for all along. I call MY doctor back and she schedules an induction for Friday night, urging me to “hold out” that long!

Less than two hours later my water breaks!!!

And when I say breaks, I don’t mean a little shy questionable trickle, I mean BREAKS!

Even if I have leaked and trickled before, there is definitely no denying this flood! My water is most certainly, all the way, completely broken!

It’s water everywhere (sorry TMI) as I call out for my mother who is always calm under pressure by the way, suggesting that I might want to call my husband! I do that stressing over the fact that he is 45 minutes away and there is traffic (but not before I text my friend “hey, water broke”, not entirely sure why I did that before anything else). Then I text my mother in law to come take the kids so that my mother can come to the hospital (I’m really hoping that she can experience this delivery with me! Last chance of that happening!!). I know MIL is at least an hour away so the plan is for hubby to pick me up, drop me off at triage and then head back to the house and get my mom since his mom will most likely be there to care for the kids by then.

I run around leaking, correction: gushing, like a mad woman but manage to put on my “pink or blue, either will do shirt” and to call my doctor back. In my manic confused state I tell her “thanks for asking instead of “answering” “(which makes her slightly confused, I’m sure), she laughs as she reminds me that she wanted me to wait until Friday and that there is no way that she will be able to get to the hospital until tomorrow. She promises however to call the hospital to let them know I’m on my way and to tell the doctor on call everything about my specific situation.

I roll the overnight bag to the front door with a four year old who can not wait to be a big brother again, a two year old attached to my leg and a huge, goofy golden retriever at my other side. I’m leaking through pads and two pairs of pants, agonizing over when my husband will get home.

He keeps texting “5 minutes” but is totally lying. Finally as my contractions are getting stronger, he shows up!

I feel a strange mix of anxiety, excitement and sadness as I see my mom taking the kids back inside, carrying my little one who is currently my baby, and talking to my little man who seems so grown up all of a sudden!

Even if there is traffic, hubby drives fast, swerving in and out of lanes, as I keep telling him to slow down and then speed up as I experience yet another contraction. We start to time them and they are now really close apart!

Then things go really, really fast…

Triple dose of hell…

Thursday night I feel exactly like I felt before my son was born, dizzy, nauseous and achy. My stomach is upset and I feel like I’m coming down with a stomach flu. I’m up all night, throwing up and feeling particularly clammy and sweaty and quite miserable. This is it I think, this most be it!!

No other signs follow however, no mucus plug or bloody show (gross I know, sorry), no big gushes of water or contractions. Since I know I have another doctors’ appointment in the morning to check both fluid and do the stress test I make it through the night. I know that they will take good care of me at the appointment and will take every precaution if something is truly “happening”.

By the time of the appointment I feel shaky and am having what can best be described as bad menstrual cramps. They check my water first and the ultrasound technician is asking again if I’m feeling like I’m leaking?
Next up is the stress test where my contractions start coming about ten minutes apart. The nurse eventually count six in twenty minutes and has to call the doctor, scared that it is the real deal.

My doctor comes to see me from her office on the first floor. She hasn’t been wanting to do an internal exam since the beginning of my pregnancy because of several reasons. I am strep B positive which can transfer to the baby, she doesn’t want the water to completely rupture or start labor in any way. Judging by my contractions however she says that she suspect the labor process might have already begun, so she carefully checks my dilation and cervix. I am at 3 cm!

Well, the doctor announces that I probably won’t make it through the weekend. The nurse rushes to get all my paperwork in order should I need to check into the hospital before Monday and my doc reminds me when to go in; big gush of rest of/whole bag of water breaking, bleeding or feeling sick dizzy etc. Oh, I know the drill by now!

Since I’m only 36 weeks and this baby is still not considered “term”, the doctor tells me to go have another progesterone shot. If we are lucky the shot will prolong labor or stall it for another week at least. She does suggest the steroids for the baby’s lungs as well as magnesium if the contractions pick up.  She adds that if the fluid goes ANY lower this baby will be forced to vacate following my appointment next week, while the nurse whispers “you’ll never make it that far” and my doc agrees, “it’s a miracle that baby is even inside you still!”

I go downstairs for the shot and the contractions start getting uncomfortable in the elevator. I really hope this doesn’t keep getting worse or I will have no other choice than checking myself into triage.

As I reach floor one’s doctors office they want to monitor the baby again while also checking my blood pressure, pulse and vitals. Luckily the numbers have all come down to just a “slightly elevated level”.

The registered nurse taking care of me decides that since I have more progesterone left and it is usually recommended to take these shots until at least week 37, sometimes 38, she will give me what is left in hopes that this will stop the labor process right away and carry us through to full term. At this point I agree since I don’t want another premature baby and I just want us both to be okay!

I get my triple shot and as I lay on my side sipping water, I start to feel better.

It is only on the car ride home that I have time to think; well if one single dose of the shot would win us another week, what would this much do? Will I go past due instead of delivering early? Will the shot not only stop labor but also all the symptoms with it? I certainly hope so!
It is important to know that progesterone is the pure female pregnancy hormone and getting a shot of this very thick, potent “liquid” will trick your body into thinking it is pregnant- even if your pregnancy would have ended otherwise (if you hadn’t taken the shot).this is kind of the whole idea…

It works all right, the injections! If I was “iffy” before that is no longer the case. The goal you see is to PROLONG your pregnancy. The longer, the better. To fool your body with the very hormone essential for and in pregnancy. Except I am still pregnant in week 36 and I almost made the goal, won the race, made it until term when I get this “over dose” of the pregnancy hormone directly into my butt muscle, straight into my system! Yes, my contractions subside, yes things slow down…but this is the start of a very prolonged, drawn out, miserable week of labor trying to start and my body’s natural signals trying to compete with this outside intervention of the triple dose injection…

I come home to two (incredibly cute, blond) siblings fighting. They are usually the best of friends…until they are NOT! The little one adores her big brother to no end but also annoys him until he snaps and he can get quite rough with her. As I tell their father to separate them (the only cure at this point), I also add “we might have a third one before the weekend is over!!!”

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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!!

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…

 

As the last trimester approaches…

When I got to take my son home from the hospital I felt like everybody was insane- they trusted that this brand new human being would be safe with me, ME?
Yes, yes, I had some experience and loved babies and in the back of my head I knew that you didn’t have to go school, get an advanced degree or a certificate in order to procreate or to take your offspring home but yet again, maybe there SHOULD be some requirements here!!!
And there was my instructional manual, shouldn’t they after all come with one? Wasn’t that my parental right? Where were the laws for this stuff?
And the mandatory classes?

I had a faint memory of some breastfeeding class that was optional (you heard me, optional) that I had slept through in my pain killer induced haze after he was born and therefore missed, like “okay, it’s optional to keep this tiny human alive with my body…or not”.

I looked down at my first born with wonder, did they really expect me to take care of him…you know FOREVER? It’s not that I didn’t want to, because even if I didn’t exactly felt that overwhelming unconditional, all consuming love the second he was born (im terribly ashamed to admit this) red faced and screaming- him (well, let’s be honest both of us) and with 18 brand new stitches in the worst place you can think of (me, definitely me) I did now already love him with all my heart. But it was because of that love I wasn’t ready to take him home yet, he was just born YESTERDAY after all (and he had already been poked and prodded so much I already felt like I had failed in the mother department). Why wouldn’t they let me stay for at least a week or two? (Or you know a year) in case something went wrong? I mean I hadn’t even gotten my real milk in nor had I mastered diapering his tiny behind…and oh horror, don’t get me started on the all essential “swaddle”.
At least keep us in this safe environment until you are sure we can make it in the outside environment (by the way what “car seat test- the nurse barely glanced at the thing, only checking that we had it- shouldn’t they at least arrange a “ride along”?)

I know many Moms have been talking (and indeed) writing about this very topic but you certainly don’t realize how real it becomes when they wheel you out after having delivered (such a fancy word for what it really entails) that (there is now way I will describe him as “tiny” here) human through what seems to be an impossibly narrow tunnel (breaking all sort of stuff in his way) and he is laying there in your arms. Wrapped up in blue and pink, naked and glorious and completely new and you feel such pride- like “I did this, I made him” (with some slight help but that couldn’t be further from your mind because YOU did this, no one else) and everyone around you smile and some congratulate you (as they should because you just popped out a human from your very body). It’s not special it happens everyday, every moment by most women but yet it is so very VERY special- life’s biggest miracle!!!
And even though it’s messy and ugly and long and hurts like HELL, you somehow want to it again and again! (And again- damn endorphins) and right afterwards (complications and all) you swear- with an angelic smile “it wasn’t that bad!!”.

Be careful what you wish for I guess…

Because you really don’t want to stay in the hospital and you really want to take your baby home with you when you leave.

Everything was different with my second born. Everything was different with my daughter! An even though everything turned out great in the end (and she is now the most precious, sweet, charming, funny, stubborn, determined almost 2 year old little princess), it somehow wasn’t fair. To leave the hospital in day two with a perfectly healthy (well minus a collar bone) baby is something every mother should be able to experience (worries and all). Because as soon as you become a mom, you step up to the plate and you become a MOM and you should be able to take responsibility for that life you created right away (multi-colored poopy diapers, sore nipples, no sleep and all). You should NOT have to be in the hospital for weeks and weeks without your loved ones (and air) for the last trimester of your pregnancy (without the ability to even go to the bathroom… or forget about a shower). You shouldn’t have to cry and worry that there is something majorly wrong with that tiny human inside you (or check her heartbeat with a huge band around you attached to beeping monitors) around the clock, or be wheeled the bi-weekly ultrasounds (scaring you more than informing you) or be forced to eat hospital food for a grand total of 39 days. You shouldn’t have to google diagnoses and conditions and treatments options for your baby before she is even born, or meet with social workers and psychiatrists and specialists or count the days she is kept in there with joy and hope but apprehension.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for catching the fluid around the baby being low in time, I’m thankful for our hospital stay, every shot for baby’s lungs, contraction stopping medicine and blood draw (well…) every nurse and Doctor and specialist and ultrasound but most of all I’m thankful for that little baby girl being able to hang on in there for as long as she did!

The relief when she was born alive and well (finally breathing) and perfect was naturally the best day of my life. Amazing!!!

What came after with the 16 days in the hospital for baby, the monitors, the trouble breathing and eating, the beeping machines and cables, the fear and the massive weight drop- to my life-threatening infection and added hospital stay were less than amazing but we MADE it!!!

We were amongst the lucky few- this I know! Looking around at the babies who were born much earlier and/or had it much much worse and their poor parents made my heart sink and my body ache. The NICU is not a fun place whether you stay days, weeks or months but some definitely have it better than others. We were lucky for sure and just thinking about what could have happened…

I’m almost to that dreaded week 29 in my current pregnancy and I’m hoping and praying that things will be great!
It is however bringing up a lot of feelings (how could it not). I know I might make it to 41 weeks this time, that every pregnancy is different, that I’m under the best possible care and that I’m taking all sorts of preventative measures. I will be fine and so will the baby! This I feel in my heart! – but that little, tiny doubt is devastatingly real…

I’m not writing this to be negative, to seem fearful or ungrateful or to throw myself a little pity party- I’m simply writing this to be real and to share with you what I am feeling as I’m approaching my last trimester with this baby…
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