The “safe zone” of pregnancy…

It’s a girl…or was a girl I guess…

They think she just stopped growing. But she was there, actually she still is there-everything that is “supposed” to be there is there- I have the picture as “proof”. The grainy baby shaped white “blob” against the black background. She looked just like the other ones. Just like the other “pictures” I saved (to some day make the kids each a baby book-like the one for my firstborn…).

Everything was perfect…but then it wasn’t. All the tests show positive right away (the pink plus signs, the two parallel lines, the word “yes” and the actual word “pregnant”) with the first drop… and continue to do so…even after…

There were no tell tale signs or bleeding and everything looked completely normal…until it didn’t.

I just never expected this…everything started like it did with my other beautiful healthy children. I have lost pregnancies before-when we were trying and then succeed…but then I ended up with a heavy bleed… but I have never been to a doctor’s appointment before where the baby had no heartbeat.

How could it be fine and all there and progressing and then not?

How could you go weeks and weeks expecting, hoping, planning- happy, excited, involved. And then the nothingness…

Lots of women go through this everyday-most before the “safe zone” of 12 weeks (1 in 4 they say), but many even further along, and then there are the few who have to suffer through the unimaginable devastation of stillborns and infant loss.

We went weeks, months actually still hoping, praying for a detectable heartbeat and growth-it was there-and then it wasn’t…

We planned room arrangements, a new car, we found out the gender…

Perhaps everything was planned prematurely but we were so close to the safety zone…

I ordered a “gender reveal” princess cake…
A cake we never picked up…

I had lots of hopes and dreams for this child…a child that will now never be…

You can argue that it was still a fetus, that there had been signs (for example there was no severe nausea in the first trimester like with the others). That there was no “baby” yet. That nature got rid of a “defected” fetus…

But try telling a pregnant momma that-a momma who has known about the pregnancy from week 5…

Then the bleeding started…so close to the second trimester and the safe week. The doctor even said light bleeding does not necessarily mean…

But I knew…

But hope is a funny thing…

I had borrowed a heart monitor from a friend…it was pink and promised that you should be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat from week 10 (but you could try from week 8). I felt pathetic trying to locate my baby girl’s heart on my own-when professionals hadn’t been able to at our last appointment…

The dread when you feel the ultrasound technician’s fear, worry and sympathy is excruciating. I like being prepared, and even though you can never prepare for something like this, I was in complete and utter shock and disbelief.

Anything but that…I just wasn’t expecting it – at all…

We were supposed to go on vacation. We had been excitingly packing…now this.

My doctor said not to loose hope-that it was still “50/50”. We planned to still go on the tropical “all inclusive” vacation. We needed it. I needed it.

We hadn’t told the kids yet (but I think our oldest might have been suspicious). We were going to tell them that weekend…before this happened.

There was no blood the day before our trip, we hadn’t told anybody…

A baby for Halloween THIS year. A baby coming with us home for Christmas-everyone who knew were excited…

I told my hairdresser the baby had stopped growing…that there was no heartbeat…

I might be walking around with something dead inside me…

I felt uncomfortable, down, awkward, sick, like a failure…

This is how being in “limbo” feels”.

She encouraged me to go, to get away, to think about something else (even though the thought of “her” were all consuming).

Everybody encouraged us to go…
The white, sandy beaches, the sun, the food the service- it would be good for me-for us.

The kids were excited, they packed their own little backpacks-everything was done and ready to go…

Then my body started to betray me- the beginning of the end of this journey started…

 

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…

 

 

 

Sisterly Love and Adulthood

Last week we made (the long overdue) trip to see my little sister (in my eyes she is still 15…or more like 5…but she is not anymore..). So much has happened in her life lately and is seems like I’m missing so much. Actually we are missing so much in each other’s lives and I can’t help feeling sad about it. I mean I know that is what happens and that its natural and even a normal, healthy progression of life but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

We were once so close and I now treasure those years that we both took for granted, looking back we seemed to have it all but of course we were then too young and dumb to realize that. We grew up close but with 4 and a half years between us, she was always so much younger. In our twenties however the gap wasn’t so big and we started enjoying the same things.

The moment my sister decided to extend her summer trip in the sun visiting me to actually starting school here and moving in with me was one of my luckiest! We had years of fun, bonding time that neither one of us will ever forget. Sure it was the heartaches and the lack of money and the exams and some hardcore studying (partying) and numerous disappointments but overall it was our years in paradise. Basically no responsibilities, we were in our prime, pretty, blonde, smart, tanned, carefree and overall happy. Our biggest problems included “when will that cute guy call?” “where should we go out tonight?” “how to ace the next test”, “what movie should we watch?” “this dress or that one?” and “what to eat for dinner?”

It’s not like we just fluttered around supported and without ambition and goals, we were both in school full time and we both worked having rent and bills and “hobbies” to pay for (with tremendous help from our parents of course). How lucky were we to have each other? Sisters who didn’t only love each other because we were family, but honestly best friends! We seriously were almost always on the same page and got along better than anyone could or would have expected. We made new friends, bought and sold cars, saved up for special shopping trips, spent holidays in a foreign country away from the rest of our family, lived on little, cooked for each other and helped each other out with everything from school work to nannying to being the “designated driver”.

I went from completing my Masters program to starting my journey towards becoming a doctor of psychology while my sister worked on completing her bachelor degree in business by both working at the school and nannying. I went from nannying to internships to actually small but legit psychology jobs. We shared everything from food to jobs to laughs and most importantly friendship (and in some cases boys… kidding…sort of…).

Now we have been a part for well over five years first surviving her moving back to Sweden for a while and then to a completely different state- very far away while I met my man (had to stay for this one…) here and put down roots-becoming an American myself and everything!

My sister has been here of course but when you work and is a horse and dog mommy (read that right: my sister is not a horse…) you have REAL responsibilities you all of a sudden can’t ignore, it gets more difficult to leave your life for constant trips back and forth. When you get married, get a house, a dog and kid(s) – forget about it. We haven’t missed the huge stuff like her moving into a new house, my firstborn’s homecoming, my bed rest as well as random celebrations of Christmas and birthdays but it’s not the same as seeing each other and being there for each other every single day!

I get sad when I know I’m about to miss some crucial milestones in her life (me being older I know I pretty much have the big ones out of the way!) I was devastated that it took us a year to introduce my sister to my baby daughter… but I know that is life. As an adult you have to work and be responsible and you can’t just drop everything at the drop of a hat. I appreciate my adult life, I really do(wouldn’t change it for the world) and as a big sister, I’m immensely proud of hers!

I’ve always felt some responsibility in being the older sister and before I had kids (and even now I must admit) I worry about my little sister a lot, and I think about her and I naturally only want what is best for her! I can’t believe she made herself into the strong, ambitious and beautiful woman that she is today. Quite the careers lady with a horse and a dog to take care of, a house and a huge white truck!

She had planned an amazing stay for us in one of  the coziest and most charming little village part of her big city, where she now lives. With boat and bus tours for the kids downtown, amazing restaurants, yummy ice cream and treats and endless entertainment. We really, truly had a wonderful time (even the kids “semi” behaved. Me and my husband joked that a couple of days are plenty and very much enough with our kids- maybe you will even still like them at the end of the stay!).
The constant diaper changes (and blow-outs), car seats and strollers, wants and needs, potty breaks (and potty humor), picky eating, toys and tantrums wear you down after a while (but it’s good practice guys!)

Asking my little sister if she was ready for babies (and don’t you just love mine!!? – as they were running like crazy at a rather fancy restaurant) she looked at me with a (very) hesitant look, taking her time to answer…
– well maybe, I think….it’s different when you have your own!

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I just hope I can be there for her now as she embarks on the journey of “real” adulthood and all the huge and great milestones that lay ahead!

Love you Sis!

Apparently when you are a mom you just FIX IT…

After dinner, on our way to the car there is an unfortunate round, artsy fountain looking thing with water basically shooting out from the ground…

Yes, you guessed it, I told my son “we are not playing in the water, we are going straight to the car” several times before walking by it. His little friend was allowed to play near the water and run for a little bit (it is then so difficult to deny your son to do the same but the other boy’s behavior at dinner was definitely better than my boy’s, so he had earned some run and play time). That is exactly what he did; he ran and he played. I stood firm in my decision however, that we were saying bye and going to the car.

My son had other plans (what else is new?). He let go of my hand as I struggled to hold on to the squirming baby (you know how babies get) and he went straight for the water!

He was soaked and laughing by the time I got ahold of him. I wasn’t…

Laughing that is, I was more like…boiling…

What now? It’s not like I wanted to be “that mom” yelling and screaming at my son in a public place (in front of my friend and her kid) while juggling the baby and also trying to hold on to his slippery body to keep him from running right back to the water. I felt it though, the anger…oh how I felt it. The cones, the dinner, the obvious disobedience! But I swallowed it trying to remember that he is just a little boy wanting to have fun and not understanding why the rules are there… for a reason. In my head I frantically yell, no TV, no iPad, no Legos, no freaking dinosaurs…no fun!! EVER again!

I look at the reason I said “no water” though right now.  There was obviously no way he could just innocently play NEAR the water, casually watching it like his friend. Nop, of course not (that would be so out of character!) Now he is blue lipped and shivering, “mommy, I’m cold…Shirt and pants please”…

Back to the bad mama title…I did not have a change of clothes with me for him (baby yes! Four year old, no!)

This was quite the dilemma for multiple reasons; he was literally wet all the way through his clothes and I didn’t even have a towel that he could sit on in his car seat. He hates getting his clothes wet and wants to change out of them immediately (I know so ironic, right?!…I certainly didn’t get him into this situation but apparently when you are a mom it doesn’t matter…you are still suppose to make it right- you still have to be there to FIX IT, and I have a sneaking suspicion that will not end any time soon). The other issue was that we had to pick up some groceries on the way back home (in desperate need of some yoghurt, water and wipes…I know, bad mama planning…but to be fair to, well me…their dad forgot some stuff at his last grocery trip, and baby now drinks these drinkable yoghurts too… bottom line being, we now have to buy more).

I’m pretty sure they won’t allow a wet and NAKED boy at the grocery store (in one of the fancy neighborhoods too…not that that matters, but you know…), even if he is four!

Luckily my ever so resourceful friend had an old change of clothes (size 3 t) for her son that she lets us borrow!

What would I have done without these clothes? Probably driven home with a naked little guy strapped into his car seat, no yoghurt at nighttime for my littlest and no wipes for baby’s next poopy diaper…

What happens at the store is not even funny and I’m don’t want your pity anyways…

Well, okay maybe I do…a little.

Just so you do get an understanding of why I finally snapped I will give you a sneak peak into my Thursday night (turning way later than I planned and ended up way passed bedtime). Let’s just say it involved a tower of apples getting knocked down with what seemed like hundreds of bright red apples rolling frantically in all different directions of the store (you don’t have to tell me, I KNOW this has happened before), someone chocked on a bread roll and managed to throw up, someone got bit, someone got pinched (in retaliation), someone stole (don’t worry the item was returned…along with my sanity)

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and someone had a nervous breakdown!

Well there you have it! That’s all folks!

First one to arrive, doggy poo and relocated party platters…

So, okay, she is here, the mom who barely knows anyone, who comes to your house for the very first time and still somehow feels entitled to complain…and to tell me how to do things differently. She even pulls me aside, giving me ideas on how to “organize” the platters of food and snacks in a different way, letting me know that the ice is melting in the outside ice chest “ALREADY” and informing me that my son is not listening to her son’s stories about a recent trip they took…(apparently our boy is being rude and he should absolutely stop and listen). It is also “too bad about the weather being so cold”, “what an absolute shame…”.

She is the first one to arrive (and last one to leave, naturally), she doesn’t like the potty in the bathroom (eh, que?), she wants to start snacking right away (even from the “weirdly” placed platters), rooming around our pantry and fridge in search for…? Giving her precious son cookies as she put her enormous handbag and light cardigan on the kitchen island amongst our “artful” display of toy dinosaurs, decorations and goodies.

Then all of a sudden she wants to “steal me away” to organize play dates over the summer as more and more guests arrive.

Guest I actually want there, whom I want to talk to – my friends and supportive people who appreciate my efforts with the party and are there to celebrate my son!

I was pretty excited to see our little boy so happy about his party and frankly I worked my “you know what” off to plan it and pull it off so…not exactly thrilled about this loud mouthed lady coming into our house “sharing” her opinions.

We had told the gardener to (for a small fortune) make the yard look nice for the party the day before, which included picking up are dog’s poop! Since she is a dog (you know how they work, right!?) she probably went once or twice between then and now so right before the party I ask my husband to do a “sweep” over the lawn. He said he found one small pile which he did (not happily but still) pick up! Problem solved, right?

Wrong!

Okay, so I know, nobody wants to step in dog poo at a party (or ever) and I agree the lawn should not be full of it…But will you believe it this woman who is a mom (to some kid my kid apparently plays with) from preschool searched high and low to find some. Yelling and screaming how it’s “unsanitary” and “the poor, poor kids”! Announcing it loudly to the world.

Of course I’m embarrassed, I asked my husband to specifically search the whole yard for it but as he picks it up, it’s on the other side of the house by the garage and the air conditioning units (basically not in any place any kid should be anyways) and nowhere near where the party is. Okaaay! I almost feel sorry for our large gentle yet clumsy and goofy dog currently trapped in the garage; she probably innocently did her “business” before being banned to the garaged” when all she wanted was to join the party (a real party animal that one).

Not even minutes later we hear a frantic cry (of the bad kind). I instantly turn stiff and nervously worried, realizing someone must have gotten seriously hurt…

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