Friday, September 18, 2009

back at work

Today we went to the yearly picnic for senior citizens and a photographer from our local newspaper took this photo. The little guy is teething and he fell asleep with my thumb in his mouth.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

happy birthday to me

It was a beautiful day. The little guy slept for (oh my gosh) ten hours, so I woke up very well rested. We went over to the folks' house for a bbq and I realized once I got there that they had organized a birthday party for me. My SIL decided that I was a pretty-pretty-princess and she got me a pink feather boa and a tiara to wear. Vincent was the star of the party, of course.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

our tough little guy

I'm glad that I haven't had a chance to post until now. If I had written on Friday night then anyone reading would have been scared right along with me. Instead I'm writing four days later--two CT scans and a very positive follow-up with our pediatrician later...

Friday after dinner I thought it would be nice to take Vincent over to his grandparent's house for a visit. Vincent fell asleep on the way over so I left him in his car seat in the kitchen while I picked raspberries in the backyard. After a few minutes he woke up crying so I went inside to get him. Mothership came inside as I did, she had set a table on the patio for us to enjoy some watermelon and she was excited to take Vincent outside to listen to the birds. I took him out of the car seat and she asked if she could carry him. The next bit happened really fast but felt like it was in slow motion. We stepped out of the house onto the patio, Mr. C and Pops were playing catch in the yard. Mr. C told his mom he thought we should stay inside--he was worried about having the baby outside while they were throwing the baseball. She kept walking, she had her mind set and he wasn't going to get her to change it. The dogs (our Gracie and her two pugs) ran in front of her and she tripped over Gracie's leash that we all had neglected to unlatch from her collar. She fell forward, clutching Vincent in her arms and managed to hold onto him until her elbow hit the cement--then the back of Vincent's head hit the cement as well. I scooped him up immediately and felt a giant goose egg on the back of his head. He was crying like I had never heard him cry before.

The drive to the hospital felt like it took forever. Waiting for the clueless woman in triage was infuriating. But once a nurse showed up things moved much faster. The next thing I knew we were getting a CT scan. The doctor finally came back with the results and I thought I was going to pass out when he said that there was a skull fracture and two small bleeds in the frontal lobes of the brain. He explained to us that Vincent would need to go to Spokane or to Seattle, since none of the hospitals in our area have a pediatric neurosurgeon on staff. He said that he didn't think that Vincent would need surgery, but that because he had both a fracture and bleeding that he needed a higher level of care than the local hospitals could provide.

I flew with him to Harborview Hospital (the region's trauma center) in Seattle. Mr. C, my mom, Mothership and Pops drove, so it was a few hours until they joined us there. By the time they arrived we were finally getting Vincent settled in a room--the time until then was spent primarily in the ER but also getting another CT scan and several x-rays. It took a few more hours before a doctor came by to tell us the findings from the scan and x-rays--that the bleeds had not gotten any worse and that there were no injuries to his neck or spine. He said that we needed to stay for at least 24 hours of observation but that we would most likely go home on Sunday. After getting this wonderful news the nurse was able to take Vincent out of the hard papoose carrier and I was able to give him a bottle. Words cannot express how it felt to hold him in my arms again.

Vincent charmed all of the nurses. The sweet little guy really was amazing through everything--he hardly cried or fussed at all. Poor Mothership landed on her face after she dropped him, her nose is in pretty bad shape. She was an emotional mess for quite a while, too. But she went with us to see the pediatrician yesterday and I'm glad she did, because he really helped us all to feel better. He had talked with the doctor from Harborview and based on the information he was given and his examination of Vincent he assured us that he is doing very well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

back on the happy pills

It has become more and more apparent with each passing day--first to my family and now to me--that I am in need of something more than a helping hand and a good night's sleep.

This really sucks. I hate feeling like I am weak and can't pull through on my own. But it is back to an antidepressant. It's been a year and a half since I went off of the cymbalta and I've done really well. I feel like my anxiety level during the pregnancy was pretty reasonable, especially considering it being a subsequent pregnancy after a loss and a high-risk one at that. The way I've been feeling lately, though, is not reasonable.

I have no appetite and have a hard time choking down food when I do eat. I have insomnia and my mind just won't quiet. Usually I am one of the most patient and low-key people you'll ever know, lately I am irritated and pissed off by the littlest annoyance. And I am weepy and crying a lot. My thoughts go rapidly into a catastrophic range. I often have this overwhelming feeling like I want to run away--yet I love my life, my family, Mr. C and little Vincent, my home, etc.--so I wish that I could split myself into two people, which makes no sense. Fleeting feelings and thoughts of this nature could be explained by sleep deprivation, but this is something more.

So it's back to the little green pills. I may have mentioned before that there are a couple of people in my family (not to mention close friends) who rely on medications to live a happy life. Somehow, though, while I see the benefit of medications for others and hold absolutely no negative judgement, when it comes to me using them I feel like a failure. Maybe it's because I got through my last episode of anxiety and depression through not only the use of antidepressants (6 months) but also through meditation, energy work, healthy eating/exercise/sleep, and a spiritual path. Through these methods I have felt good for well over a year--so why don't I feel good now? I think I also feel like a failure because so many (most) women have babies and don't fall apart like this. I did take to heart the kind words in the comments a couple of posts ago, and I get it, I really do. I also get that while all of the "complementary" methods I use to manage my tendency toward anxiety and depression are effective, that the way I am feeling now (as Mr. C has pointed out to me) is neurological and biochemical. He says that all of the talk therapy, meditation, fish oil, etc. in the world won't do the trick when your brain and body chemistry are out of balance. Maybe in a couple of weeks (when the drugs have kicked in) I'll feel better about things. But right now I am sad and angry that I am back here again, I really hoped that I never would be.

Vincent is doing well. Thank you Hennifer, the prune juice works like a charm. We are still experimenting with just how much is neither too much nor too little, but all in all he is much more regular and happy for it. I made a chart to keep track of his natural rhythms (sleeping and eating) so I can see if there are any patterns and also so I can make adaptations to my expectations and whatnot. He was 10 weeks old last Saturday but from everything I read he is more in line with a six week old, which pretty much holds with his adjusted age. Until he is at least three months adjusted, or he shows me otherwise that he is ready, I will continue to follow his lead when it comes to sleeping and eating and not push too hard to impose a schedule. That being said, I am doing what I can to reinforce what I feel works best (for both of us). He is no longer constantly fussing and needing to be held or walked around. Now when he fusses or cries I can figure out what he needs without too much confusion and he is back to being a happy baby again before too long. He is smiling, cooing and sometimes attaching vowels and consonants. My mom got him an activity gym and he kicks and hits it and gets really excited. He also loves to lay in his changing pad and have me kiss his face and tummy. We go for walks almost every day in the sling with his head out so he can see everything that is going on. He prefers this to the stroller because he loves to watch the world around him and listen to all of the sounds.

And here is the part of the post where I am tempted to try and wrap this all up with a neat little bow somehow. A look on the bright side, a silver lining, something positive among all of the muck. I don't have it in me. I'm pissed off that I have all of the things in life that I ever prayed for, yet I am miserable.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I heart my mom

I just put the boy in his crib and I'll go to bed soon, too.

It has been wonderful having my mom here. Mr. C keeps teasing her that we aren't going to let her go home. She is in heaven, though, and is in no hurry to leave.

Thanks so much to those of you who have commented. Your support means so much to me and it really helps to read about what others have been through, your ideas and advice, and just to know that you care.

I'm tired, so I won't write more right now. But here are some pictures...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

what a difference a day makes

It occurred to me yesterday that sometimes my blog (and, I suspect I am not alone in this) resembles those beautifully crafted scrapbooks that some women are so passionate about. I heard a piece on NPR a long time ago that very cleverly and a bit cynically described one mom's foray into scrapbooking. She essentially said that the history she'd recorded was the glossed over version of the truth--that sometimes the story told on the pages could better be described as fiction.

Mostly I've held back this time because it has been pretty much impossible to write. But it is also hard to share my difficulties because I don't want to be insensitive. Who am I to share my woes when just a few short months ago I wondered if I'd ever parent a living child? And I also have to admit that I am embarrassed that it is this hard for me. That is not to say that I thought it would be easy, but I am just feeling so inadequate.

I am once again typing with one hand because he won't let me put him down. Things were good for a couple of days. But on Thursday we visited the doctor and the little guy had to have shots. He ended up with a fever and was fussy for the next two days. The doctor also recommended changing formula again (Vincent was getting a bit constipated on the formula that has rice starch in it). At first I thought he wasn't eating because he wasn't feeling well due to the shots. Mr C sent me over to Mothership's house to sleep in peace Saturday and by Sunday (after a good night's sleep for me) I thought things were really looking up. I thought my baby was no longer fussy, and was sleeping again, and not only was I going to get some sleep as well but my house was going to be clean once more, too. Then Sunday night I slept a mere 4 hours total. Yesterday he was crying and fussy and spitting up/throwing up and I could no longer blame the shots for his not feeling well. He still was only eating an ounce or two at a time, and fussing through feedings. So I went out and got the rice starch formula that had been working (despite the constipation) and I also picked up a can of the formula that is supposed to be gentle on the tummy, in case that was the problem. I tried the gentle formula first and he hated it. He devoured the rice starch formula--ate more than 6 ounces, and once I was able to get him to go to sleep he slept for 5 1/2 hours (which is a long time for him).

So last night I slept for only 4 hours (all in one stretch, which I guess was an improvement over the night before). Sleep deprivation has a way of casting a dark shadow over everything. Life looks bleak, and the anxiety is creeping in. To add insult to injury, this morning I could have pieced together a few more hours of sleep if it weren't for my racing mind and tense body (insomnia, I guess). He has been kind of fussy today, but it feels 10 times worse than it probably is.

Mr C is stressed out--Mothership is away and he is running the business alone and (among other things) the state licensor showed up last week for an inspection that wasn't due for another year. So he isn't as supportive, emotionally or otherwise, as I would hope. In the state I'm in right now this all just feels overwhelming to me and I find myself worrying about him intensely.

My mom is on her way over to stay a few days so I can get some sleep. I wish my dad could come, too, but he can't get away right now. I'm hoping Vincent will start doing better and that some good sleep will help me to get into the swing of this mommy thing. If not, then it may be that I might be experiencing some PPD. I really don't want to go down the medication road if I can help it.

Ugh. I really needed to get that all out. Thank goodness Vincent finally let me put him in the pocket sling. I discovered that he apparently will go in it if I keep his head and outside shoulder out. This means that only one hand is free, since I still have to support his head, but he has slept most of the time while I've typed this.

edited to add:
Damn it! It took me an hour and a half to type this--I could have been sleeping!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

some random thoughts...

It is amazing how slowly eight weeks can pass when you are pregnant and how quickly it can pass when you are not.

Before I drifted off to sleep last night it occurred to me that June 7th was William's due date.

While driving in the car the other day my sister accidentally called Vincent William. She asked me if I had done the same. I haven't. She said when they visited last that Mr. C did once or twice, but she didn't call attention to it.

Many other DeadBaby Mommas have said that their subsequent child(ren) look "just like" the one they lost (a couple have even used the term "carbon copy"). Vincent doesn't look at all like William. It wasn't until after he was born that I realized that I had expected him to. One of the first questions I asked (after it was clear that he was healthy and well) while they cleaned him up and took measurements and whatnot was if he had a dimple in his chin. I have a dimple in my chin and so does my father. William had a dimple in his chin. Vincent does not. He has a beautiful, tiny chin that is entirely his own.

On Thursday Vincent was two months old and my sister and her husband and I took him to see his doctor. Mr. C wasn't able to make it because work was too busy. The doctor couldn't get over how big he is getting (10 1/2 pounds and 23 inches!) and how much he looks like Mr. C. He said that all Vincent needs is a little beard and he would look exactly like his daddy. So now Mr. C wants to find a little fake beard for the next doctor appointment.

Putting away clothes that he has grown out of makes me sad somehow.

He prefers to be cradled in my arms, rather than held up with his head on my shoulder. He is getting so big, though, that he is starting to spill out of my arms. I'm not sure how long we can keep it up.

I tasted formula and it is terrible. How can it taste so bad? I tasted my breast milk and it was sweet. Just one more reason to be sad that breast feeding didn't work out.

Does anyone know an effective way to get rid of ear worms? I keep getting annoying songs--or, rather, parts of songs--stuck in my head. I think it is due to the sleep deprivation. I should start keeping track of what gets lodged there because I'm sure some day I will find it to be funny.

Speaking of funny, today Mr. C and I watched "Tropic Thunder." Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic.

Monday, June 1, 2009

all is well

After so long without posting I feel like that title is a must.

I've tried to write, and even now it is one-handed, but have been glued to this boy.

So many things might have been written/shared/saved for posterity. But, alas, all thoughts, feelings, etc. over the last few weeks are now lost or a blur.

For the first 4 weeks or so this was due to the round-the-clock feedings every two hours.

Then, he stopped sleeping during most of the day. He went from hardly crying at all, to needing to be held and rocked while awake. He started spitting up and throwing up a lot. After a visit to his doctor to make sure it wasn't something serious I started adding rice cereal to his bottles*. Since this requires a faster flow nipple he started taking in too much air, which lead to a lot of gas. And the rice cereal also caused constipation. Heck, I would be fussy, too. So I decided that the doctor wasn't right. I switched him to a different formula. Now, a week or so later, it seems like he is deciding to sleep more during the day and fuss less. At least that is what he has done for the last two days, which is why I am able to write. I am praying that we have turned a corner.

Since I have never taken care of an infant this is all new to me and I've had no idea what to expect or what is "normal." I realize that there is a wide range of behaviors that are still considered normal, but really I have no clue. He is putting on the weight, though, so I know I am doing something right. He was 5 lbs at one week old and now, at eight weeks he is over ten pounds! And then there is the whole preemie thing. Even though he wasn't super early, a month still throws off all of the developmental expectations. The doctor told me that we do need to adjust for the time until he is two years old. At some point it won't be significant, but at 8 weeks that is half of his age.

Ugh. This is all sounding pretty negative. He is beautiful and I am still in awe of him. I am just very sleep deprived. I've called in reinforcements, though. My sister and her husband will come and stay for a few days so I can get some sleep. Next week my parents are planning to come. After that Mothership will be back from France. And maybe, just maybe, over the course of the next few weeks he may start sleeping for longer stretches at night and be a little less needy during the day time.

*I didn't give up on breast feeding easily. I kept at it for a long time and even saw the lactation consultant again after my six week check up. And while I was able to get my supply going OK and he was able to get over his difficulties pretty much, too--it just wasn't enough. He was needing more than my body could give him. I kept pumping, though. until just a couple of days ago. This was a very difficult process for me emotionally. I had a vision of what it would be like with him, and breast feeding was very much a part of that vision. I shed a lot of tears about it. But I have to keep things in perspective.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

An update and pictures

I knew I'd be busy but...WOW!

We saw the Pediatrician after having Vincent home with us for four days and found out that his weight had dropped down to five pounds. I was so worried, and crushed that breastfeeding wasn't enough to give him what he needs. It was due to several factors: him being born five weeks early (not so good at the suck-swallow-breathe thing), the time in the nursery (bottle feeds and the IV in addition to my breastfeeding), and my supply taking a big dive due to the lack of breastfeeding during the time he was in the hospital and the ineffective breastfeeding he was doing while at home. So we were given 24 hours to put some weight on him, otherwise the doctor wanted to readmit him into the hospital. We went home and started a schedule of feeding high-calorie formula every two hours. It worked, and we have continued this schedule for the past week. We see the doctor again on Thursday for a follow-up.

I rented a hospital-grade pump and started taking R@gl@n to get my milk supply back up. I am determined to breast feed. Since I started the medication I have been dumping out the milk, which makes me sad. Before that I was adding it to the formula and still breastfeeding him for comfort (for both of us). I tried using fennugreek first, but it just didn't seem to be doing the trick. Fortunately the stronger stuff seems to be working, so I think I can go off of it before too long.

I do plan to write about the birth and Vincent's early days. I will try to steal some time soon. Mr. C created a website for the little guy. He gave me permission to share it here. It can be found at: www dot v!nc3nt chr!stoph3r mcbr!d3 dot com It is a work in progress, and some things need to be fixed, but it's not too bad and he has posted a TON of pictures (some I'd rather he wouldn't, but he likes them). Here are some pictures that can only be found here:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A week later, and we're both at home

Little Mr. Vincent is a week old today and he got to spend the whole day at home with us.

Well, he was a week old yesterday, but I barely got that sentence typed!

Oh my goodness. But I did get a few stretches of sleep last night, thank goodness for a breast pump and a Daddy who is eager for some one-on-one time with his boy.

I will find time to share the details soon. And, yes, pictures. For right now I am going to use the bit of time I have before he wakes up again to get something to eat.

He is doing well and we are HAPPY beyond measure. Thank you so much for all of the kind words of congratulations and encouragement. They meant so much to me during the hospital stay when things seemed to be two steps forward, one step back--and helped me to maintain my optimism.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

thirty-five weeks, five days...

...and that is where we stop counting.

At 9:13 a.m. on Saturday, April 4, 2009 our son Vincent was born--a month early but strong and healthy. He is in an incubator but is breathing without assistance and while his first night was a bit rocky it looks like we have really turned a corner today so he may be able to come home with us (fingers crossed) Tuesday.

I will write more details later. I wish I had thought to ask Mr. C to bring the cable for the camera, so I could post pictures, but I will be going home tomorrow myself so I will do so then.

Seeing our Little Guy with leads and an IV has been hard, but I have (for the most part) been able to keep things in perspective (only one melt down, so far). He is well. He is alive. He is beautiful.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

so much baby stuff

The dresser and the crib were delivered on Tuesday morning and when I got home from work that day I started painting the tree. It is still a work in progress. I plan to add birds and other critters and who knows what else to it. I was inspired by a tree I saw in a PB catalogue a long time ago and through my travels online I found the same tree on a site that sells wall decals. I chose to paint it, though, since it allows me to make it fit exactly where I want it and to customize it. I don't know if it is evident in the photos, but the tree also goes up onto the ceiling.

Having these new additions to the house was just starting to sink in when, a mere four days later, I carried a car load of baby stuff into the house. Mothership threw me a baby shower. It was lovely. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about having a baby shower, but I am glad that we did it. Even though it was a bit overwhelming, it felt so good to be surrounded by so much love. I'm taking my time putting things away and don't really feel ready to start washing things and all that. A part of me thinks that I should just get it all done, though.

We had the shower at one of our Homes, and most of the pictures include at least one of our residents. For privacy reasons, I won't post them (I can crop them out, but don't want to do that right now). Here is one that only has me in it.

And here is a picture of the cake.

Monday, March 16, 2009

thirty-three weeks

Yes, we are at 33 weeks now and these photos were taken yesterday. I haven't kept up with my writing, though, so the following are some "highlights" of the past week:

Tuesday morning Mr. C woke up from a night of poor sleep, since the chest pain he had been experiencing off and on for a few days had plagued him during the night. He'd had his vitals taken both by one of our nurses and Mothership over the weekend and everything looked fine. But still, something was obviously not right. We both suspected that a call to his doctor might force him to go to the E.R. but what neither of us were expecting was that not only would that be the case, but so would admission to the hospital for 18 hours of "routine" observation. Ugh. Hospitals suck. However, he is (thank God) fine and his heart, blood pressure, cardiac enzymes, etc. all passed all of their tests with flying colors. He has a follow-up appointment with his doctor tomorrow. After he got home from the hospital he decided it might be a good idea to remove the memory foam topper from our bed, and reports that he has slept better since then and has no chest pain. Hmmmm...

My sweet, dear friend flew over from the other side of the state for a visit this weekend. It had been a long time since we'd had a visit, but she is one of those friends who you see after a long time and it feels like you were just together the day before. It was wonderful to spend time with her and I am so thankful for her :)

We started our childbirth class on Monday and it went well. There are four couples total, as another couple joined the class, so that feels like a good number of people. My impression after the first class is that two of the women are fairly naive about the whole thing. One of them kept talking about the movie "The busine$$ *f being b*rn." The teacher seems to have a very balanced perspective, though, and does a good job of redirecting the conversation as needed. She knows about my history and has encouraged me to share as much as Mr. C and I feel comfortable sharing. My feeling is that I will talk about things if they become relevant. After the class Mr. C did vent a bit to me about how he was feeling in response to some of the things that were said by the two women in class. Overall his sentiment was that the most important thing, the thing that will make this a "successful birthing experience," is to bring home a live/healthy baby. That's it. Sure, we may have to deal with some things that are annoying or a bother--a nurse may say something rude or insensitive (perhaps, but this hasn't been our experience in the past--quite the opposite, actually) or someone might push the epidural pretty hard (and we, gasp, might even say yes) or we may even get to a point where a c-section is advised (and yes, we trust our doctor and our advocates enough that if this is advised then we will trust that it is warranted) but when all is said and done what really matters is that this Little Guy will be on the outside, safe and sound. Maybe something along these lines will be shared at some point in class. Perhaps, but hopefully only if it can be said in a gentle, honest way that will actually be heard. We have our second class tonight.

Mothership sat next to my OB at one of her doctors/practitioners meetings at the hospital last week and they got a chance to talk. We had planned to discuss the hospital situation with him at my appointment tomorrow, but she brought it up with him then. Turns out that unless I go into labor before 37 weeks I will have to deliver at the hospital that is close to my house, where he delivers all but the preemies (the other hospital, the one I'd prefer, has the NICU). I have no desire to jump ship and find a new OB at this point, so I will deliver here. It will be OK. I'm glad that I have a few weeks to wrap my brain around it, though.

As I believe is evident in the photo above, the Little Guy is continuing to grow--and I, subsequently, am getting huge. I had to break down yesterday and buy several new maternity tops, since the tops I'd thought would last through the pregnancy just aren't covering the belly anymore. Fortunately, although when I look at my legs and my behind I find it hard to believe, my pants are still fitting me.

I believe that I may be experiencing what they call nesting. It may just be a response to being on modified activity for so long, and now being able to be more active, but I have been working on projects all over the house. It feels nice.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

catching up

This last week the countdown entered single digits, and as of tomorrow we are at the "eight weeks to go" point. It is strange to find myself, after months of being hyper vigilant about PTL, now starting to not only see the probability that we will make it those eight weeks, but perhaps even go beyond. I now find myself worrying about all of the other things that could go wrong. Since there is no evidence of any of those things I am usually able to assuage my fears fairly quickly.

I saw the Peri this week and all looked great. My cervix is still long (3.5 cm) and closed--no funneling. And based on how well things have gone and still appear to be going, he told me that I don't need to come back! So that felt like a huge milestone--knowing that we are at a point where the Little Guy would most likely be able to breathe on his own should things take an unexpected turn.

Yesterday we went shopping and came home with this:

Mothership is throwing me a shower at the end of the month and yesterday we also picked up invitations and other things for the shower, which are all in my car. Last night I found myself feeling really low, when lately I've been feeling really good. While it is exciting to get good news, move into a "safer" part of the pregnancy, buy things for the baby, plan a (gulp) is also very REAL, very scary.

Oh, and tomorrow we start a series of childbirth preparation classes. I found the teacher when I was looking for Hypnobirthing classes. She doesn't do Hypnobirthing, but teaches from the Birthing from Within philosophy. I've read the book and while I wouldn't place myself too far to that end of the spectrum (in regards to "natural" childbirth vs. "gimme everything you've got") I like the holistic approach to birthing that it espouses. Something that is really attractive to me is that it will give Mr. C and I an opportunity to honor this time leading up to the birth, to acknowledge our feelings and how our lives are changing. The class will be small, just three couples total, and will be held here at our home. Originally I looked into the classes that the hospitals in our area offer, but they just seemed too clinical to me. Besides, hospitals make Mr. C really uncomfortable and that is not what this should be about.

And speaking of Mr. C, he is still holding out on the name decision. Just when I thought we had come to an agreement, he has thrown another option (perhaps two) into the mix. That doesn't mean that we won't go back to the name we had pretty much agreed upon, but it does mean that it is still up in the air for a while. I think he might be doing this just because he finds the whole process to be fun. Whatever the reason, it does keep me honest when I tell people that we don't know. Since it seems that even if we decide "for sure" he may still change his mind, I won't be disclosing the Little Guy's name until after he is born.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

circa twenty-five weeks

The cable finally came for my camera!

Now I will be more inclined to take pictures. Of course I could have been taking them all along (as I had intended) but, well, I didn't. The Little Guy/my belly has grown a lot in the last six weeks or so since this picture was taken. That shirt doesn't even fit me any more.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

three hours

Last Friday I had to go to the lab for the three hour GTT. I was there for closer to four hours because there was some sort of mix up with their paperwork. Fortunately the woman was kind and thoughtful and went ahead and started the test before she had everything sorted out.

I did start to get pretty nauseated at some point into the second hour. Fortunately they had taken me back to a private waiting room with a sofa so I was able to lay down while the feeling passed. I got a lot of good reading done, so that was a plus. I'm reading a really good book right now.

And I passed the test, no GD. Yay. I wonder if I failed the one hour screening because I didn't really fast for it?


A woman I (used to) work with (she hasn't been working since December) had her baby yesterday. I went to the hospital to see them yesterday afternoon and held him for a long time. He is perfect, beautiful, and weighs almost 9 pounds. She told me her birth story. Maybe I'll write later about some of the things this has brought up for me. Nothing bad, really, but lots of thoughts. Oh, and last night I dreamt, for the first time I can recall, about the Little Guy being here.


I think we have a name. There are two that we really like and yesterday morning I thought I had come to a decision which one is right. Then the other name came up TWICE yesterday in random circumstances. It is a very uncommon name, so I am now wondering...
I guess there is still time to get it figured out. But I really liked feeling like he had a name, other than Little Guy or The Baby.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I just have to get this off my chest

I really hate THAT question. Ask me when I'm due. Ask me if it's a girl or a boy. Ask me what we plan to name him. But WHY ask if he is my first? You don't see me with another child in tow, so just leave it be--please!

I answer appropriately for the situation--if you are a stranger or someone I won't ever really get to know, then you get the lie. If not, then you get the truth and usually it isn't something you wanted to hear. Well that's too bad, isn't it?

Sorry. But I feel (a little) better now.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

where did the posts go?

Maybe it's just me, but after publishing my last post my blog now no longer shows any of the posts on the page. I can click on them, and they will show up, but the page looks blank.

I hope this corrects itself because it is really bugging me.

too close

I just stole a few minutes to visit some blogs (despite my long To Do list for today) and found Niobe's most recent post (sorry I still haven't gotten my act together to link properly...she is in my link's list, though). Since I haven't posted a picture in I-don't-know-how-long, her post has inspired me to post a picture that Mr. C took well over a year ago. He had given me a new camera as a gift, and proceeded to take a ton of pictures with it, one is this extreme close-up of my eye (it may be a bit too close for comfort, I'm afraid).

The other day I finally got online and ordered the darn cable for my camera, so it should come in the mail soon. I know that the one that came with the camera is around somewhere, but I'm tired of looking for it/hoping it will materialize.

What color are my eyes? Well, they are brown--I suppose that is obvious. But they have specks of gold in them and depending on the lighting (or, I like to claim, my mood) they take on a more greenish cast, so I have often referred to them as hazel brown. What color eyes will the Little Guy have? That is a question that I am so looking forward to finding out. According to what I learned in high school biology class, it is pretty much a 50% chance they will be brown and a 50% chance they will be blue. Mr. C has the most beautiful blue eyes, and his father and my mother both have blue eyes as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

twenty-nine weeks

I was at the Peri's office bright and early today and had what turned out to be a wonderful appointment. My favorite sonographer did the ultrasound and, as usual, she was kind and made sure we got a really good look at the Little Guy. It sucks that our scanner isn't set up, because she printed up several 4 D pictures and he looks so cute. I think he has Mr. C's nose, but Mothership says that they always look like they have big noses when they are really little like that. At any rate, I like Mr. C's nose and I don't think it is big. Besides being treated well and getting good pictures all of the data looks great. My cervix is still long and shows no sings of changes, if the story is the same when I go in in two weeks then that will be our last visit to the Peri! And the Little Guy is three pounds and is measuring well on all of the aspects that they measured for. The fluid, cord, and placenta all look just as they should as well.

When we met with the Peri in his office to go over all of the data I did address the billing issue. He was very cool about it all, but I could tell that he was pissed off at the woman who had talked with me on the phone. It is taken care of now, and I feel good to have it behind me and that I did it myself, too (Mothership was there to back me up, but I did most of the talking and managed to do so without getting even a little bit emotional).

Tomorrow I see my OB. It's been four weeks since I've seen him and I'm curious to see if he gives me a bad time again about the weight gain. I'm now almost at the top of the recommended 25-35 lb weight gain range, with about 11 weeks to go. All I can say is what I've said already--I am eating very healthfully and don't feel like this is an unreasonable amount. Sure, I would have loved it if I could have made it through this pregnancy with only a cute baby bump and nothing extra on my thighs and my bottom, but that's just not the way things have gone. And seeing those chubby cheeks on my three pound baby today just made my heart jump right out of my chest; every pound I will have to work off later will be worth it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

feeling down

I think I'm getting motion sickness from all of the emotional ups & downs I've been through lately. Nothing really bad has happened to warrant the downs, I've just been extremely sensitive. I find myself crying over something, then I get mad at myself for crying and it just makes it worse. Today I woke up just feeling sad and negative...down in the I hope I snap out of it soon.

Is this typical for this part of pregnancy? Is it because of the P17 shots? Or is it just me?

I had a really, really bad experience last week over the phone with the woman who does the billing for my Peri. I have been paying the bill--chipping away at it with pretty hefty payments, even--but still got a nasty note on my most recent statement. So I called them to have a chat about things and was completely blind-sided by the response I got. Despite the fact that I made two payments in December and one in January, she spoke to me as though I were delinquent on my account (she had the same records I had right in front of her, I checked) and was basically demanding a HUGE payment or I would be dropped from the practice. What? They are the only Maternal Fetal Medicine practice in my area, so where else would I go? I was offering to make a payment over the phone but it was only half of what she wanted that day (and, she added, another payment of that size when I see them next week for my appointment--followed by the balance of the account next month!). So I ended up saying bye-bye to her without even making a payment. Then I proceeded to have a complete meltdown right here in my living room. Not just tears and boo hoo, but all-out screaming. Yikes. I pulled myself together enough to call Mr. C and he talked me down. You see, while we have several other large medical bills right now (yes, we have insurance, but this all--as many of you I'm sure are more than well aware of--still costs a lot of money), we are doing pretty well financially. I feel like I should knock on something, given the current state of the economy. WE are doing well, but I make a fraction of what I used to make before we moved here. And I am used to taking care of things MYSELF. So I was so happy that I had figured out how I could manage all of the medical bills from my account. The bill will be payed in full when I go in on Tuesday, but Mothership is going with me and she is going to make sure that the doctor is aware of how this woman treated me. She is one heck of a bad ass when she wants to be, too, so we'll see how that goes.

But other than that experience things have been going well. We had a nice Valentine's Day. Still, I'm feeling pretty down.

Tomorrow will be a new day, though, and I plan to wake up feeling better.

Monday, February 9, 2009

twenty-eight weeks

I saw the Peri again last week and my cervix is still holding strong. Unfortunately I got the grumpy sonographer and on top of that she took me into the "little" room, so I couldn't even see the Little Guy since the room doesn't have the second monitor and she didn't turn her screen toward me. I was feeling passive so I didn't say anything. Mothership will be with me for my next appointment and she will most certainly speak up if a similar situation presents itself.

Getting to 28 weeks is a huge milestone, one that felt so far away and so unattainable for such a long time I could hardly let myself think much about it. My paper chain has only two links on it now, since I was only able to go as far as 30 weeks when I made it. 40 weeks was too daunting and I told myself that 30 was enough. At the first visit with the Peri he told me that he would love to see me make it to 30 weeks, so I guess that reinforced setting it as my "big" goal. At this last visit he told me that we are in much safer territory now, especially since I haven't shown any cervical changes. It is so nice to see him being so optimistic, because he sure was a downer during those early weeks.

I still have some difficult times, when I worry that something terrible is about to happen. Fortunately there always seems to be some logical reason for any troubling symptom I am experiencing. And the Little Guy cooperates with a kick or a jab (or what sometimes feels like jumping jacks) to let me know he is doing well in there. For the most part I am doing well emotionally, too, but every now and then I find that I just need to cry and get it out.

Tomorrow I will call about childbirth classes. I've done some research into the available offerings and feel like I know what direction I want to take. First I checked into the two hospitals where I may deliver, just to see what they have, but I wasn't impressed by either option. I am very interested in hypnobirthing, though, so I called one of two women in my area who were listed on the web as certified teachers. The first woman I called said she isn't currently teaching, but referred me to a woman who is a doula and also teaches childbirth classes using the Birthing from Within philosophy. I looked at her web site and really liked what I saw. So I think what I would like to do is take her 6 week course (hopefully she is offering one that fits into my timeframe) and do the hypnobirthing home study course.

Oh and the hospital situation is one that I will have to deal with sometime soon as well. I chose my OB because he has specialties in high-risk pregnancy as well as infertility. I feel that I chose very well, except for the fact that he delivers at the hospital where I'd rather not have the baby. The hospital I prefer happens to be the one with the state-of-the-art NICU, so I guess I figured that I'd end up delivering there anyway. Now that the possibility of a full-term pregnancy is looking more and more realistic, it seems that I am going to have to figure this out. My OB can deliver at both hospitals, but he is employed by the one I don't like (as are his nurses, etc.) so he only delivers at the other hospital when it is before 37 weeks. Any advice on how to deal with this would be much appreciated.

Mothership is coming home tomorrow from another trip to France. She allowed for a day or two in Paris at the start of her trip before going to stay with her parents, so she could do some shopping, and asked me if there was anything special she could get for me. I think she was hoping that I would ask her to look for things for the baby because when I did she became very animated. It made me feel good to see her so happy and excited. I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes back with.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

three years ago

I woke up early this morning and found that I couldn't go back to sleep. So I came downstairs and decided that I needed to write to William. The words were hard to come at first, but they did come. Then the tears followed, and along with them more words. After I felt done writing I went upstairs to the room that will become the nursery. In the closet is a box filled with most of the mementos of William. I took my time and allowed myself to cry as I lifted out each item, looked at the pictures, and read the notes and messages. I even read through the journal entries that I wrote shortly after we returned from the hospital.

Today won't include a trip to the cemetery or a cake or released balloons, but I am remembering my beautiful baby boy and am feeling the presence of his spirit.

Today is the third anniversary of your birth and death. I still miss you and I still think of you every day. Some days you are on my mind a lot, as memories come back to me when I see or hear things that trigger them. Other days it is how it has been for quite some time now--less of a specific memory or even a thought and more just the feeling of you and how much I love you. You have left an impression on me that will forever be felt. Your life has changed my life and it will never go back to how it once was. I used to curse the fact that you died because my life changed so significantly that day. I used to think that my life was better before and that if only you had lived that everything would be good and happy and right. Sometimes I still wonder how things would be different now if you hadn’t died, but I do not long for a now that doesn’t exist. You lived and you died, and as a result we will never be the same. That is a fact. But despite the pain that we went through and the loss that we still feel, and will always feel, I have come to accept that you are gone. Our lives are beautiful. And not because your death was “meant to be” and your reason for being here with us for such a short time was part of some big plan to teach us a big lesson. I believe that all of life’s experiences are opportunities to learn lessons—not just the big events that shake us to our very foundations. I believe that each day we are faced with lessons and it is up to us to see them or not, to learn from them or not, and even whether we experience them through joy or pain or not. So yes, your life and your death have been lessons that I continue to learn from. I choose, each day (though some days I am more successful than others) to embrace the life that is—rather than looking back at what once was or looking into a distorted pool of imagining what could have been, might have been, or—most dangerous and distorted—a notion of what should have been. This does not mean that my love for you is lessened, or that the impact of your spirit is dimmed in any way…those things are just not possible. In a way it seems, though I think I would have thought this impossible for quite some time, that accepting the fact that you died has opened up an even bigger space inside of me to feel the intensity of your love. For a long time I think I needed to hold onto my painful feelings because a part of me felt that if I let go of them that it somehow meant letting go of you. It seems now that it is only in the letting go of the pain that I can really “hold” you. Oh William, this makes so much sense to me now. You were never anything of pain, you were and are only love and joy…my beautiful baby.

Monday, January 26, 2009

ninety-nine days

I was reviewing my calendar before I left work today and, according to the note I put in it at some point, today marks the point in the pregnancy countdown where I have moved from triple to double digits.

After work I stopped off at one of those big discount shopping places to buy a big mirror for my studio/dining room. According to Feng Shui principles I need a mirror on the north facing wall of this room because the house notches in at that particular place and as a result makes that section, which happens to be the "wealth" section, missing. That is certainly not good Feng Shui. But I digress, because the reason I mentioned stopping off at the big store isn't because of Feng Shui or mirrors. While I was there I decided to cruise the aisles to see what else might catch my eye. I've never gone past the front section of this particular store before, so it was more out of curiosity than anything else. After passing through most of the store, well at the back, I came to an aisle full of baby items. I decided to buy some things: an organic wearable sleep blanket, a flannel waterproof crib pad, and a simple cotton receiving blanket. It didn't feel as scary to do this as I had anticipated.

The sun came out today and while it was bitingly cold it was still lovely. According to tomorrow will most likely bring clouds and rain/ice but in the days ahead the forecast features more little sunshine illustrations than it does clouds. Yay. People who have lived here for a long time tell me that winter is pretty much over by the middle of February. I usually take whatever weather comes along and don't mind one way or another. I lived the first 11 years of my life in a town that is only a few miles away from the Pacific Rain Forest where it rains what seems like 360 days of the year. People out there joke that the natives are born with webbed feet. For the rest of my life (until I moved to the east side of the state) I lived in various locations throughout Northwest Washington, so rain continued to be a big part of life. But lately I have been longing for the sun.

This poem by Emily Dickinson has been on my mind lately:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

always on my mind

Last night we had our friends and their two girls over to watch the fight (yes, we love boxing...who would have guessed it?). We've done this a couple of times before and I really enjoy it. The girls are 11 and 14 and we are in mutual admiration of each other. The older one told her mom after their first visit, "I wish BasilBean was my big sister" (I cried when my friend told me that). The little one bought and wrapped a gift for me for Christmas. It is a bib that looks like a ghost, a big white gumdrop ghost wearing green and white striped socks and brown shoes. Gracie tried to eat it, perhaps in her first show of rivalry with the baby, but I was able to rescue it before she did any damage.

After the fight we were all sitting around eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies when the topic of baby names came up. We don't plan to share the name with anyone until he is here and actually named. I realize that people differ on this topic but we feel like once he is named it is more likely that people will keep their opinions to themselves. When it is still theoretical, though, people seem to be more likely to think their opinions matter. Anyway, we haven't decided what we will name him so it isn't dishonest when we tell people that we don't know. That response yesterday prompted an onslaught of suggestions. As it went on for such a long time I began to wonder if the name William would come up. I vaguely wondered if my friend had told her girls about him, but I guess I assumed that they knew. Then it happened. In fact, it turns out that it is their dad's middle name. So I said that we wouldn't name him that because that is the name of our other baby. The expression on the little one's face told me that she clearly didn't know. I then explained in that way that I have become so adept at that he was born too early and was just too little to survive. She asked me when his birthday was and I told her that it was coming up on February 1st. She said she thought it should be celebrated and I told her that I do celebrate it, in my own quiet way. Her response to this was that it should be celebrated with a cake. Mr. C said that he thinks William's brother would like the cake. The room had a different energy through all of this, much more still, as her mom, dad, and older sister seemed to be just watching it all unfold. Somehow the room returned to its former lightness, though, and we all continued to share ideas about names and all of the different associations that we have with them.

William's day is on a Sunday this year, since last year was a leap year. It will be three years since we said goodbye to him. I haven't visited his grave since the one year anniversary. It is now almost five hours away, but even when it was only about 20 minutes away I went there only a total of three times: the day he was buried, the first Mother's Day--when the marker had just been placed, and then on the one year anniversary of his birth/death. It is a beautiful cemetery, but going there was very hard for me. I realize that for some people visiting the cemetery fills a need; I can imagine that this is the case for a variety of reasons. I'm not sure when I will go back there. Right now just writing about all of this is bringing up so much raw emotion that I don't think I could handle it, anyway. I am sometimes tempted to open up his box and look at all of his things, but, likewise, I am not sure what it would do to me. While I feel like each day is a little bit closer to a sense of security and confidence that this little guy will come home with us, I'm still not to that point yet. I wish I were. I remember reading on someone else's blog during her sub-pregnancy as she got to the point where she could write that she knew her baby would be coming home with her. It was so lovely to see it unfold, too, as she subtly became more and more optimistic over time. Others, I realize, are virtually holding their breath until their babies are safely in their arms--perhaps this is more often the case.

The room that will be the nursery is still the guest room. It is currently a nursery only in my mind's eye. That is, I should note, save the fact that last winter I painted it a lovely pale grayish blue. It is a very fashionable color, so it doesn't scream "nursery" or even "baby boy." Still, that is exactly why I painted it the color I chose--because a part of me was holding onto the hope that someday our little boy would live in that room. That I would rock him there, read him stories, put him down for naps...that he would crouch down on the floor there while he played with blocks or a little train. These wishes and dreams cannot be stifled, no matter how detached I have tried to be. My friend at work, the one who lost a daughter to anencephaly, told me a couple weeks ago that she thinks I need to start buying things for the baby. (She, by the way, had her 20 week ultrasound last week and her baby boy looks perfect.) She told me that she thinks that it would be good for us to start getting things because it will help us to feel more confident that he will be coming home with us. My response has been, and continues to be, that I will do it soon.

Just as it was important to get passed the loss date in terms of gestation, I think it may be significant that William's day is approaching. It was much easier last year than it was the first year. The actual day was hard last year, but the time leading up to it didn't seem to be even remotely as difficult. But that first year the pain was intense, the memories so vivid and uncontrollable. Three weeks ago I experienced something similar, but by comparison it was much less intense. Even still, I was a wreck for a few days. I guess this is another example of how non-linear and unpredictable grief can be. Throw into the mix the turbulence of a sub-pregnancy and the potentially mood altering effects of progesterone shots. Oh, and the lack of sunshine, could that be bringing me down as well?

Yes, this too shall pass. But sometimes I feel like I am on a roller coaster.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

this feels nice

It seems as though we are back online again. I almost feel like I shouldn't even write that--as it feels like I will jinx it if I do. For some reason it has been difficult to get things up and running properly, and to stay running at that, so I cross my fingers that I will continue to have my little laptop here, in the comfort of my own home, connecting me to the outside world.

I had two doctor visits this week and all continues to be well. My OB gave me a hard time about my weight gain, though. He said that it would be fine, if I were delivering next week. The thing is, I am a little person and have been a healthy weight my entire life, I'm eating healthy food, and while I do have a little extra on my rear parts I am still fitting comfortably into my size XS pants. So I told him that I am not concerned. There is a big baby boy growing in my giant belly and if that means that by the end of this pregnancy I have gained 35 lbs (or more) rather than the 25 that is apparently ideal, then I can handle it. I saw the Peri, too, and the cervix is still nice and long and showing no signs of opening or funneling.

I feel kind of like I did at mile 16 of my first marathon. I feel pretty good, like I can do this--I can even visualize the finish line and me crossing it with a giant grin on my face and tears of joy. But, at the same time, there are still a lot of miles to go. So, to continue the metaphor, I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I love him

This just crossed my mind and I want to get it down so I won't forget.

The other night Mr. C and I were sitting watching television and out of the blue he looked over at me and asked, "Where is the baby going to sit?"

Perhaps it isn't possible to convey the spirit of this moment...he was so filled with sincerity and an honest sense of wonder. It was a truly precious moment that I want to remember always.

twenty-four weeks

Here we are at another milestone. Getting passed twenty-three weeks did a lot for me mentally/emotionally, and life has felt a lot lighter this last week. It got very dark, though, for a few days and many tears were shed. There was one day where I pretty much didn't get off of the couch at all. But after last Monday I felt like I was stepping through a new doorway, out into a world that felt safer and more hopeful.

A bright spot was my visit to the Peri last week. Sure, I got the crappy Sonographer (she spent about a minute looking at my cervix with the abdominal probe before concluding that we needed to get a look from the inside; she didn't even look at the Little Guy, although I could see a foot or a hand moving around next to my cervix) but what I really cared about was that measurement. To my delight, and to the Peri's admitted suprise (in his words "better than I had anticipated") my cervix is still measuring 4.3 cm and shows no signs of funneling. With news like that I can make it another two weeks. I am also reassured by the fact that the Little Guy kicks, pokes, shutters and otherwise makes his presence known quite frequently. I do hope, though, that next time I will get the good Sonographer again, because I love getting a peek at him and am ready for some new pictures.

We should be back online at home in a week or so. Whatever the problem was, it was so severe that Mr. C decided that we needed to go with a different service, so we have to wait until they get it all installed. It has been a tough time to be without the internet connection.

Congratulations to Antigone, Becci, and Niobe! Two beautiful boys and one beautiful little girl. I cannot begin to express how uplifting it was to look at their blogs today and see these amazingly lovely babies!