Crushed Expectations

IMG_0561At first you might be mildly suspicious, but you are busy and life happens and more pressing things are on your mind…. (besides it is truly unimaginable…)

But then those sneaking suspicions resurface and you decide to finally just check, counting the tiny squares on your smartphone (because that is usually how we check our schedules nowadays).

And of course it doesn’t add up, of course not, but we have excuses- so many excuses (do breastfeeding on demand and having -just a couple- irregular periods since baby count…?) and besides it is IMPOSSIBLE, so there is that (protection WAS involved).

So the days go by until you finally just need to face the inevitable, because you just NEED to know, even though it’s impossible (well at least not very likely….). And so you grab the bull by its horns and take that stupid test- the same test that has terrified you, worried you, exhilarated you and excited (actually even empowered) you before.

The last few times you were happy, giddy- anxious but excited-willing it to show a plus sign, this time you are just not sure. And even if you are tired and weary (so darn tired) that same familiar excitement starts bubbling up from somewhere deep inside even if that is not the way you thought you would feel, that is not the way you should feel or at least it is unexpected because this is wrong and huge and overwhelming….

Let alone the timing…
The timing is so very, very wrong.

You have a baby, in fact you have more than one baby…but one that actually still IS a baby (nurses-check! Cries-check! Wears diapers-check! Crawls-check! Babbles without real words-check! Take naps-check! Is teething-check! Won’t sleep through the night-check! Needs you for everything-check!).
He needs you-that baby that you already have and the others in your family-they NEED you- and you are only ONE person (no matter how you try to split yourself up into two, three or even four….)

All this is true and yet…

Yet you know if that damn stick is negative, you would feel the slight sting of (of WHAT you crazy, insane woman you???) …
Disappointment…

The shock is real and all consuming. Even if all that you felt (and didn’t want to allow yourself to feel but felt anyways) is true, you are still in shock. The room is literally spinning so you sit down again (even if you have taken way too much time to yourself already, even if someone probably needs you right this second, even if…).

This will change a lot…

When you are a planner and an organizer the smallest things you didn’t plan (and can’t control-just face it-throw “controlling” in the mix) throw you off more or less (less or more?) and you have to regain your balance (your control) and make it right!

First you freak out (because that is who you are and that is what you do) … but then you calm down and you think, and analyze and absorb (and this doesn’t take long to be honest) and then you RE-PLAN and RE-ORGANIZE and re-structure and slowly, slowly you re-gain some CONTROL (needed some input from your mom because who doesn’t need their mom when big things happen?!)

A baby for Christmas, well actually for Halloween (or weeks before). But I would bring another one home for the holidays…another child, another baby…

This IS happening, as in THIS year, this same very year that we are currently in. Will I be able to deal with this?

A mom AGAIN …

I thought we only made babies in the summer. Beautiful spring babies!

Last time it was very different. Yes we endearingly called him a “surprise blessing” and our “bonus baby” but even though he wasn’t planned, we went for it and we knew (of course we knew) the chance and the possibility, and he couldn’t have been more welcomed and longed for and perfect.

This was one tiny (huge) mishap.

Even if different, I don’t mean this is not welcomed or imperfect in any way, shape or form (of course not, never) it just wasn’t on our minds at all-we didn’t know (of course we didn’t) the chance- risk? (because we didn’t exactly “go for it”) and there didn’t seem to be any possibilities.

I went to the obgyn the other week to get on birth control. With my daughter the regular birth control pill made my (her) milk disappear. This time I read that if you take the “mini” pill (progesterone only) it won’t.

I tell her my story and she laughs.

She actually laughs out loud (for more than a few seconds too), it’s actually quite rude…

Not the story about the milk of course…

The story about the mishap.

The celebrating New Years, the making the most of children sleeping- and not on top of us (a miracle in and of itself), the planned protection…and the…mishap.

She laughs…

She calls me OLD (can you believe it…? The audacity)

And the breastfeeding (at night still too and on demand). It’s suppose to make it IMPOSSIBLE…

It’s less than 2% “risks” she says, you have absolutely nothing to worry about…

But here we are…

I’m starting to get happy, starting to feel calm and “right” and perfect! I can do this!! I truly am super mom!

And we plan, and we talk, and we organize and we think, and we are EXCITED!

We are not telling anyone, we are waiting.

After the initial shock and blame (let’s face it who WOULDN’T blame their husband in this situation??) I have landed,  and it is nice and I feel strong, actually (thanks hormones??) I feel on top of the world…

We can do one more, we are supposed to have one more, this is good, this is right, this is US…

Am I nervous? Of course!
Am I anxious and overwhelmed? Naturally!

Am I happy?
Yes incredibly happy despite it all, because how can you not be?

You go around for weeks with this incredible secret that nobody knows (but you, your man and your mama) and you kind of glow (from within only) and you are kind of smug (because you are in on this huge, amazing secret).

When people say “you have your hands full” and you just smile and your insides don’t freak out anymore but they turn warm and your heart grows just a little…

Because that is the thing about hearts..they grow and they expand and they make room!

This could have been a funny, charming and beautiful story…

When you are expecting, you are just that “expecting”. Expecting so very much, you expect, you dream, you plan.

You take things for granted…

Really, you should never ever take things for granted in life…

EVER-how is that for a life lesson…?

Because when it all comes crashing down..

You don’t EXPECT it…

 

 

 

Clean bill of health, missed calls and appointments …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six week check-oops!!


So picture this, I’m now alone with three kids, a needy newborn, a terrible two-er and an attention seeking and picky preschooler. I need to get them in and out of the car, in and out of the bath, in and out of their clothes (and diapers for two of them), in and out of the house…grocery store, preschool, camp, pool, play dates…well, you get it! And it’s NOT easy. It’s hard to do anything before someone poops (or has to poop) or eats or naps or throws a tantrum.

Talking about tantrum, my sweet angelic daughter seemed to just wake up one day-not sweet AT ALL. It’s seems so cliche but “no” is now her favorite word and she is using it like no other. That, maybe I could handle, but the high pitch screams (accompanied by tears…lots of tears and oh yeah, snot…tons of snot) that go with the nos… Not so much. They wake up the baby, they scare the dog, they annoy her big brother and the headache they give me…
I’m confused because she was truly “the easy one”, what the heck happened? She doesn’t want to do anything I say, even if I’m trying to be tricky mommy and use reverse psychology, nothing seem to work. Add a first born demanding five year old and a colicky six week old to the mix, and there you have it! A piece of cake!

Getting ready in the morning is a bit of a nightmare. With all the wants and needs and opinions we are lucky we even make it out the door, let alone anywhere we are trying to be. On time? Forget about it. There should be an extra twenty-forty minute grace period given to mothers, because hello! Car seats and diaper bags, strollers and snacks, change of clothes and change of attitudes…
And then we have the poop and drool, pee and spit up, dirt and grease and mess and spills. All of this would be fine without the blood chilling screams (even the baby can escalate to a level ten in less than five seconds), the ferocious fights, the strong wills, the mind games, lies and manipulations. Yes I’m talking about little people here- 5 and under, because let me tell you, they are smart. They can outsmart you in a minute, playing on your heartstrings like little experts!

The Thursday after my mom leaves (how could you leave me like this!?) I have my six week check-up at my OBGYN doctors office. I’m meeting with the same registered nurse telling me to “close my eyes or I’d see IT”, the same one I called stupid repeatedly (not to her face…I didn’t know she was walking behind me…same results though). I’m nervous (what if I haven’t healed, what if I can’t get back to normal, what if she hates me?) yet excited (I know I’ve healed even if I had a set back with the ripped stitch-yup-totally painful! I’m telling you don’t bend to unlock that stroller before you are ready!! I know I can get back to normal and even if she hates me just a little bit she can’t deny me that!)

I had no one to watch the kids so we are trying to fit this check-up in during my husband’s lunch break (shouldn’t take that long, right!?). We plan to meet at a gas station down the street from the hospital so we don’t have to pay for parking twice and so we don’t have to haul three kids into a hospital (still not an ideal hanging place for small kids, one of them a newborn). I thought they had a “subway” (sandwich place) inside the gas station but it was a “sub marina” (five year old had a minor meltdown) which was closed anyways, so “mini mart” food it is. I’m desperately looking for something semi-healthy looking at the brown bananas and sad looking apples up front, settling for some cheese cubes and chocolate milk (what? At least it’s calcium) and they each get a treat (well the littlest one will have to settle for mama’s milk) in the form of puffs for sissy and a slurpy for big brother. It’s a hot day and I feel sweaty and stressed as I’m trying to maneuver a feisty toddler who wants puffs AND ice cream, her brother who is in full blown “helping mode” wanting to hold all our items AND pour his own “slurpee” drink, while I’m holding the littlest one who wants his own special “mama cocktail” full on fish lips searching, bumping his head into me while grunting increasingly loudly (crazy mommy and her kids already causing some stares).

As we sit outside next to an extremely greasy Mexican food place right next to the actual gas pumps I’m starting to worry that this is really not the scenery for three little kids-daddy better hurry. My oldest slurps his slurpy, steals some of his sisters puffs and some of my pretzels then announces loudly that daddy doesn’t like when I give him fast food…wait, what? That is not what this is, right!?

…hmm?!

Dad shows up taking the two oldest in his car, figuring he can drive around for awhile while I get the a-okay! And then I will return back to him in plenty of time for his next appointment, as good as new. I quickly realize that I shouldn’t have brought my large stroller to this particular appointment, the waiting rooms are small and I remember that the actual examination rooms are even smaller. I can’t even opens doors while swiftly (usually) getting the stroller inside without help and the waiting area is overflowing with “third trimesters” and their loved ones…
Once I’m in the office on the first floor there is a wait and when it’s finally my turn, I get sent upstairs because they are crazy busy! I take the stroller into the elevator on my way to the forth floor. Uh-uh this will be a long one…

“Big” trouble ending with a splash!!!

I do NOT have a third one over the weekend and the nurses are quite surprised as I show up waddling my big belly over to the ultrasound room and then stress test area on Tuesday morning. I’m about to be 37 weeks pregnant and today I get to see one of the senior partners (one of the doctors that started this clinic) who I saw once before when he was telling me about the horrifying “marker” my baby had. Just seeing him brings back that uneasy feeling that usually lingers in the back of my mind, what if something is really wrong with our baby?
Something that can’t be fixed.
Something that would alter all of our lives forever…

After he performs his own ultrasound I get other things to think about however …

He asks whether my doctor has performed an internal exam and if so ever addressed my pelvic bone structure?
Hm, not really…

As previously mentioned, my doctor hasn’t been wanting to do any internal exams lately in order to leave me alone and not stir things up! I’m also strep B positive which could easily transfer to my baby. Even if she checked me on Friday she was really careful not to break the water (or make any possible rip or tear worse) or in any other way rush my labor. In her mind I could already be in labor and the shots were the only thing prolonging it.

I told the doctor in front of me all of this but he seemed to brush it all off. He certainly has both charm and bedside (literally) manners this one (unlike his very rude colleague, do you remember the other partner I had the joy of seeing after another major ultrasound? yes the one with zero manners whatsoever…). This one keeps telling me I’m awesome and beautiful and amazing, but in between all of those positives he tells me that he suspects that I have a very narrow pelvic.

Wait a minute, I have certainly heard that I am narrow before, but thought it had to do with my “tilted uterus” (I know, I’m a complete mess!). As I was giving birth to my first born and unable to push him out, the nurse kept telling me (or the whole room in general) that I was way too narrow (gee thanks…?)

The doctor assisting my first delivery (who also was quite rude…but quite possibly saved mine and baby’s life I’m right now finding out) gave me three pushes to get the baby out. I couldn’t do it, as a first time mom after three hours of pushing, I was beyond exhausted, I just couldn’t do it. I remember thinking sadly “I suck at this labor thing”.
They ended up vacuuming him out…and breaking his collarbone…

Now this doctor right here is saying that all of that was a GOOD thing…that that doctor did the RIGHT thing, simply because my pelvic bone was (is) too narrow to get baby (ies) out. He now fears with a full time baby bigger (possibly way bigger) than the other two I might be in “big” trouble (baby is already measuring over 7 lbs).

In the midst of all his “you are amazing and beautiful” he turns very serious saying that delivering a baby this much bigger vaginally might have devastating outcomes. My pelvic bone might break putting me in a wheelchair unable to walk (or take care of my kids…and everything else) for a very long time, possibly life! The baby might be deformed, have what is called shoulder dystocia, having a shoulder permanently dislocated or worse…
Or you know baby might die…

Okay, this is so NOT what I expected at this appointment. Bring on low fluids or even labor but a “forced” Cesarian?

I feel overwhelmed, disoriented and slightly dizzy. In this pregnancy it feels like if it’s not one thing, it’s another. I thought I had to deal with the high blood pressure, racing pulse and leaking water and then the terribly frightening marker…but major surgery? Not so much!
It was never even discussed.

I call my husband from the car. “It is a surgery where they take out your inner organs (and then hopefully putting them back…in the right place) for crying out loud! What do I do here?”

My mom is in shock as I come home with the news. Obviously we don’t want to pick surgery this late in the game and change all our delivery plans because of the advice of a doctor who isn’t even mine. BUT we don’t want to risk the complications that now all of a sudden seem plausible either. It sounds like this doctor has some very valid points and concerns. I tell my mom about the red flags that he mentioned; me pushing for over three hours with my first (still unable to get him out), the need to use the “vacuum” and the baby’s broken clavicle (collarbone). We discuss everything and decide together that we are not willing to take the risk of a vaginal delivery. I don’t want to break…and more importantly, I don’t want to break my baby!
Most of my friends with kids have actually had c-sections and made it out okay, despite the longer recovery time.
My last OBGYN considered the risks of me being too narrow during my last pregnancy. My daughter was after all a scheduled c-section before everything changed…

I call the doctor back since my own doctor is on vacation. I tell him that I talked everything over with my husband and with my mom and some close friends as well. We want to play it “safe: er” and schedule the surgery!

He says he has revised the notes from my first delivery and he can’t “ethically” or “medically” recommend a Caesarian because the risks are always higher BUT he adds “if it was my sister or wife I would advice the c-section”

Well then…its scheduled for the very day I turn 39 weeks. Let the worry and the wait begin…

But then I get a phone call…which ends with a splash!!!

 

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…

 

Braxton Hicks and surviving week 29!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cat scans and flashbacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…

 

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