The shakes are back…

As we drive to the hospital to feed our brand new baby girl (I can’t wait to see her, to feel that I have her, that she is real) I feel hot and cold at the same time, the dizziness and overall discomfort won’t go away.

I feel my forehead which is warm but not hot and compare with my husband’s. Like a child I ask my mom to feel it too and she agrees, definitely warm but not alarmingly hot.

Maybe a slight temperature, but like I said before, I gave birth only a couple of days ago and I get a fever for basically everything so I’m not that worried about feeling this icky.

Except when we reach the hospital, I feel worse…

I am hotter and suddenly the shakes are creeping up on me. As we wait for our turn to get a sticker, be allowed in and wash our hands (I sent my husband to Mc Donald’s with our son to get some fries) I tell my mom to hold on.

I have to sit down because the room starts to spin and here comes my friends (more like my enemies) the shakes from last night. They get worse and worse and my mom tells me to stop shaking, like she did when we were kids when we were coughing or had the hiccups (which might sound a little brutal but actually do work).

Like a good daughter I try to listen to my mommy but I just can’t stop shaking for the life of me.

I tell my mom that I need to go the bathroom, trying to tell myself that I can control this but at the same time starting to wonder what is wrong with me, something like this has never happened to me before.

Since the restrooms by the NICU are being cleaned my mom searches for another bathroom on the first floor since I am now shaking so bad, I don’t feel that I can walk. I suggest that we ride the elevator up to the third floor where I know that there is a bathroom for sure since I just spent 2 days in recovery there (on the third floor not in the bathroom).

I really want to get away from people, I feel like they are staring at me and I really need to get a hold of myself. The trip to the bathroom didn’t help, I have to concentrate hard on walking and then there is if possible even more blood in the toilet (but still not enough to soak my pad but I’m starting to think enough to be concerned?) and the shakes are getting worse not better.

We go back down to the NICU and I can’t even focus on seeing my baby (sleeping peacefully, clenching her tiny hands).

My favorite NICU nurse, Kate is there, telling us she needs to eat in about twenty minutes (the baby not Kate that is).

I am now starting to realize that I will not be able to feed my baby, the shakes have turned violent and I am now so so cold, freezing actually.

I don’t know what I tell my mom, something about going to the bathroom again but I know she looks really worried now…

I walk as fast as the shakes will allow me to the bathroom right outside of the NICU and luckily the cleaners are all done in there. I make it in to a stall before I sink to the ground, thinking something is really wrong here…

I try several times to get to my feet but I’m shaking so much I have to make attempt after attempt, clenching my teeth as I’m hugging my body, trying to zip up my sweater further than it can go and telling myself that I need to make it back into the NICU to tell my mom we need to go home.

All I want to do is crawl into to bed with about a hundred warm blankets, fall asleep and just forget about how cold and shaky I am and hopefully wake up feeling better.

I also attempt to call my husband to come pick us up but my phone keeps sliding out of my hands and forget dialing, it is a lost cause, this is starting to get ridiculous.  

As I walk back into the NICU, I believe even more people stop and stare at me but I have a one track mind, people fade out of my vision and I can see that my mom is now looking more than concerned.

I tell her that I don’t think I can feed the baby and that I need to go home but as she tells me to stop shaking and tell her what is wrong and my eyes well up with tears as I can’t, she takes matters into her own hands. She usually lets me (and my sister) do the talking here (in the US) as she is Swedish (but quite good at English I might add) but right now she goes to find the nurse.

I don’t even know what they are saying as I become less and less aware of my surroundings, all I know is, I WANT to stop shaking and get warm. Oh why, why is it so damn cold in here, could they maybe turn off the A/C, it’s ridiculously cold for these tiny poor infants!

Nurse Kate takes one look at me and I can hear her tell mom that I must be running a seriously high fever. No I protest, it’s just the shakes (whatever that means). She leaves just to come back seconds later with a wheel chair. I do think I can walk (besides where am I going in that? I have had enough of wheelchairs for I don’t know…about a life time) but when I stand I realize that I absolutely can’t walk and am actually grateful as I sink down in the rolling chair.

Kate asks if I can direct my mom to triage (isn’t it only extremely pregnant women and women with pregnancy complications that go there? I have time to think) but she takes another look at me and apparently determines that I am in no condition to direct anybody anywhere. And off we go to the elevators and triage, Kate wheeling the chair and my mom hurrying after us.

 

 

 

My baby boy just turned ONE 🥰👶🏼💙😭

About a year ago, I was all alone in a hospital bed yet again (looking back on the premature birth of my sweet daughter and her NICU stay). This time around my baby was “only” four weeks early, but unfortunately he inhaled his first poo and it clogged his tiny lungs. On top of that I had pneumonia and tested positive for influenza so all the nurses and doctors in masks debated whether I should even hold and nurse my brand new child.

It is a very lonely and unnatural feeling to have your baby whisked away from you right after birth. You just accomplished a miracle and your (priceless) price is taken away from you shortly after receiving it (him). You are left achy and sore after excruciating pain followed by the highest of highs and then left to process the experience all alone. I know all moms of preemies having been taken away can relate to this devastating feeling of emptiness.

Once in the recovery room someone was acutely missing…

I couldn’t even get some well deserved rest, knowing that baby boy wouldn’t be able to rest at all- that he would have tubes down his throat and his little body would be worked on. I kept worrying about him and wondering if he was uncomfortable or (worse) in pain…

It was decided that I could give my new son formula or donor milk (real breast milk) but I wasn’t allowed to try to nurse him just yet. I have read that a mother’s breastmilk have powerful antibiotic qualities and is always best for the baby no matter how ill the mother is, so I was slightly taken aback by this. It also felt slightly strange and somehow sad to be giving him someone else’s breastmilk (as his first milk) and not my own…

After having thought about it, I could see the tremendous benefit of giving him breastmilk right from the start and how lucky we were that this was even an option at our hospital.

Since the epidural never worked, the aftermath of childbirth was quite different. There was no period afterwards of feeling sluggish or being unable to walk on your own. No headache or backache or tingly legs as the feelings in them returned. I didn’t feel nauseous and as I went to the bathroom I needed no assistance and I could get out of bed and move around right after birth how I pleased, except for the pain and the bleeding I felt myself being more awake and alert and more in charge of my own body!

As they gave him back to me to be feed the donor milk, my baby boy was also awake and alert and sweet as can be.

No matter how many babies you have, the feeling that hits you as you get to hold your brand new baby in your arms and really soak him in for the first time after the stress and trauma of the birth and delivery room, is nothing short of extraordinarily.

I smelled him (his tiny newborn body that had been through so much already) and cuddled him (mask on) and as I tried to feed him (someone else’s milk) I didn’t see the obstacles, only the opportunities of the future. I promised right then and there to love and take care of him forever!

And now my baby boy, it’s been a whole year and you are still the sweetest, happiest, cuddliest boy!

Happy first Birthday to my youngest baby boy! My very last baby…

I can’t wait to see you grow and thrive and try to keep up with your siblings!

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…

 

 

 

A Surprise Blessing

Okay, okay this is happening- it is true… yet it can not be…

I’m in complete shock and in utter denial, not because I didn’t want this (of course that would never be the case- ever) but because it is so impossible. I don’t know why I’m surprised really (I mean I did throw up in a porta potty at a wedding…and an airplane bathroom…rental car place and retirement home…) or wait, I do know why I’m surprised! This wasn’t planned and I’m a world class planner (it’s true ask my husband , note pad and my google calendar).

For Pete’s sake, I had wine at my sister’s and lots of it. I had doctors appointments and dental appointment with x-Rays lined up for my Mom’s visit. I’m enjoying sushi, sandwich meats, exotic cheeses, fancy coffee drinks and tons of tea and of course both salmon and tuna.  I’m eating fenugreek for increased milk supply (super bad), I have a toddler who just learned how to sleep through the night and then suddenly stopped because of something named hell…I mean “toddler sleep regression” and I literally have my hands full with my two!

I always wanted a third. This is true! I even fantasized about names, room themes, analyzing sibling order and gender preferences. We were three growing up after all (seemed the ideal number for us). Before our daughter we (who am I kidding I) had “planned on” trying a third time if we had another boy only. Really thinking that we would have another boy it seemed like the perfect plan. I know I know, there is no such thing as the “perfect plan”. But with a daughter and everything we went through I was just relieved and happy (satisfied…no really) and blessed beyond measures! By the way, I would have been blessed and happy with another boy of course but I can’t deny the joy over my beloved daughter (that mother/daughter bond is after all something really special…and I am by no means discrediting the “specialness” of the mother/son bond- this is just my story, but I also see and recognize my husband’s incredible bond with our son- not to say that I don’t have a bond with my son.) Anyways, I’m rambling!

After the water breaking prematurely eleven weeks before my daughter was due, the long bed rest, the premature delivery, the breathing difficulties, the blood issues, the infections…I’m just glad that we are all okay! She is a happy, healthy toddler today and I couldn’t be more glad and proud of her and how far we all have come! I am really truly happy and satisfied (really!). The mere thought of doing it all over again and even the thought of something going wrong… And worse this time, it’s just not worth it!

We have everything we could ever want and more. We are (were) so lucky and ready to move on as a family of four! Yet (oh yet!) the seed had been planted years ago (decades ago really) that I always wanted three. I didn’t have twins like my mom (which seemed convenient when I was a kid, mostly because well, she had two at the same time, eliminating another pregnancy and one of each- what a bonus!- but now after having to take care of one newborn at the time, realizing the catastrophic effort it most have been taking care of TWO of them at the same time.)

Talking about the “perfect plan”; after all the “drama” with our daughter, once we had finally gotten into the beautiful phase of real baby hood (after NICU and readjustment at home, having gotten a hang of sleep schedules and breastfeeding…nah, not really), I briefly discussed the idea of having another one with my husband. With our judgment cloudy by the sweetness of our baby and how everything had turned out pretty great in the end we both agreed that: maybe YES! My mom has this theory that with your rose colored glasses after having endured the pain of child birth and on no sleep and the added love hormones and endorphins cursing through your mangled new mommy body (newness each and every time) you always think it’s a good idea to have “another one”- preferably right away!! Because if you can do THIS you can do ANYTHING over and over! She might have a point there! Anyways as the year went on (also as my mom predicted) the desire went away slowly with each illness, nursing struggle and stinky diaper! Not really, because of those… because secretly I see myself as a pretty awesome baby momma! A baby momma ninja really! I got this stage down!!! And I love it (the following stages however…not so much…and they do grow you know… and fast). But starting over? All over? Doing it all over again? The sleep deprivation, the sore nipples, the confused zombie stage, the WORRY, the germs, the fragile vulnerability, the emotions? At my age? Hmm.

When my husband announced while we were working out (almost back to my pre-pregnancy body by the way with added muscles- even wore short shorts the other day-MOI!!!) that he would actually want another one, he did surprise me but he also opened up that achy feeling of maybe just maybe, one more. Aren’t babies amazing after all? And what about my childhood want for three kids when I grew up (my Barbie alter ego always had three!) I love, love babies, their dependency on you, their sweet smell, sweetness, baby rolls, their smiles, their trust, their tiny toes and noses, their cuddles and giggles and FIRSTS! But since I had just been through all of that and still have a BABY after all. We decided to wait until our baby was at least two years old to bring the topic up again (we also have our- my- “advanced” age working against us- but nowadays anything seem possible- and not as much of an obstacle).

I worry too… so much (probably too much) about my kiddos on a daily (minute-ly basis) could I get one more in my mommy heart to worry about?

I also can’t have anything happen to me since I’m a mom to two little ones and it would break my heart if something went wrong again (I’m not sure my psyche could handle that) and what about the logistics of not being able to concentrate on taking care of myself and a new life because two lives already depend on me? Maybe these are all mom’s worries? I mean I worried about my son before my daughter was born.

On the other hand I feel like children are the meaning of life and the ultimate blessings. Creating and carrying new life is miraculous. I just couldn’t help feeling like we would be asking for TOO much wanting another one (Hybris and all that), so we (I) decided to wait- hold off on the planning- that was the plan!

Yes I planned and yes we planned…and
Here we are! Amongst nursing a toddler and taking every precaution, we are still here!

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And we seriously couldn’t be happier or more excited!!!

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