Monday, August 30, 2010

Cry Baby

So as of today I am 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant. A full week more pregnant than I have ever been. I have always loved being pregnant and have sung the praises of pregnancy to anyone who would listen! However, I have always inserted the disclaimer that much of that opinion can be attributed to the fact that I have never made it to the last few weeks of pregnancy. The really uncomfortable part. Well wasn't I lucky to insert that disclaimer into my exhalations of pregnancies!? Otherwise I'd be hearing a lot of "I told you so's" right about now!

I am sore. My hips feel like they are splintering, my herniated disks are being challenged daily, and I continually feel like someone has taken a baseball bat to my pubic bone. Awesome. I am not sure how much of this is attributed to the last few weeks of pregnancy or if it is a direct result of not really carrying the baby for 36 weeks since I was on bed rest. And I am EXHAUSTED! I sleep in 30-90 minute increments each night. So after a busy day it is of no relief to crawl into bed at night. And I cry. Yes. I cry. I am not sure if this is hormones or exhaustion. Probably a decent mix of both. And since being switch to modified bed rest at 32 weeks, I have had daily contractions. They are not painful but they are exhausting none the less. I am a hot mess all around. It's glamorous to say the least.

And it doesn't physically help that the baby is a linebacker. At our OB appointment last week we had an ultrasound to determine his size (since I have been measuring a few weeks ahead) and we found out that our little man isn't so little. My back, hips, and pubic bones have all been crying and suffering due to an 8lb 8 oz baby hanging out in my pelvis! That explains so much! but I have to say that his cute little chubby cheeks on the ultrasound made me want to meet him even more!

I also struggle with the mind games that still being pregnant has presented me. I know I should be so super grateful that he is still growing and getting healthier every day but the selfish, tired, uncomfortable part of me wants him out NOW! I feel guilt for still being pregnant when I know so many women (personally or through the bed rest forum I am on) who didn't make it this long. Why do I still get to be pregnant? It's just been a lot to deal with that I didn't expect. The whole time I was on bed rest I dreamed of making it to 36 weeks and being overjoyed with the success and the freedom. I wasn't prepared for the guilt and confusion that being full term would present. I feel like a cry baby but I can't control it. I will be better once he comes and is home. I know this.

But we have an end in sight. If he hasn't come naturally by September 7th, we will be induced. Again, due to his size, this will help increase my chances of delivering him vaginally. I just want my little man home, my body back, my sanity in tact (well- as much as it ever has been!) and a little bit of predictability in my life. Then I will stop being a cry baby.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I. Am. Ready.

So here I am at 37 weeks. Today I am 37 weeks and 3 days. I am just about as pregnant as I have ever been since my 1st baby was born at 37 weeks and my 2nd was born at 37 1/2 weeks. And I feel it! I know I've been absent from my posts but I have been out and a about and enjoying life outside my house for the first time in months! I have been soaking in the compliments and comments about my belly. Answering the question "When are you due?" and waddling to as many places as my body will allow me. Additionally, my sister and her family moved around the corner from us just as I hit 36 weeks and came off full bed rest! So for the first time in months my days have been full, busy, and wonderful!

I have to admit that for the last 2 weeks (since 35 1/2 weeks which is when full lung development starts to occur) I have had mixed emotions about belly baby arriving. There is obvious relief that for the first time since finding out we were pregnant he is safe and can come when he chooses. But then after so many months of bed rest and trying to keep him in until he is safe, you kinda don't want him to come out yet. You kinda need him to stay in so you can enjoy being pregnant the way you are supposed to. It's a tough gear to shift to.

But I do have to say that after 2 weeks of relief and being able to get up and move about for the first time..... I AM READY NOW! There is a gradual physical adjustment to your pregnancy that you experience while pregnant over the course of 40 weeks. This is an adjustment I didn't get to experience since I was sitting or laying down for the bulk of my pregnancy. Therefore as I move about and do all the things I dreamed of for months, there is an incredible amount of discomfort which is only amplified at night when I am forced to sleep on my side. My hip joints feel like they are splintering into a million pieces. Sometimes when I get up to pee I can barely walk. This is all new to me! I didn't have this issue with my last two. And while at first I simply wrote it off and told my husband I can't complain because we are so lucky that we are still pregnant, I no longer feel that gracious! I'm tired and want sleep! Even if it's an hour or two between feedings! And since coming off of strict bed rest I have had contractions every day as my body adjusts to carrying this heavy load. It's exhausting! I keep telling my husband that I feel like I'm balancing a boulder on 2 sticks! And because he is a big baby when he stretches and moves, it can be downright painful!

And this isn't all in my head either. This is a big baby. I make big babies. At my 30 week ultrasound he measured 1lb. 4oz. ahead of schedule. That was almost 2 full months ago. So if he was 4lbs. 4oz. almost 8 weeks ago he has to be a bruiser by now! And I can feel it! I have an OB appointment this week and we will do another ultrasound to try and determine his size. Once we know his size we will schedule me to be induced. If he grows too large then a C-Section will be required which is not what I want. It just seems crazy to me to plan his birth. For months we didn't know when he'd come. The goal was to NOT deliver him. And my last 2 pregnancies resulted in early delivery so I was still working up until the days I went into labor! I've never felt "ready". I've never had hospital bags packed. I've never sat and wished my water would just break so I can have this kid already! All new to me.

Here is the good thing about all the trouble with this pregnancy. My husband and I had determined that we were done having children before we got pregnant this time. But to me it didn't seem right and a piece of me mourned the fact that I would be closing the door on my child baring years. But this pregnancy has been just the closure I needed for that chapter of my life! I can safely say I am all done and I am satisfied with the the idea of never being pregnant again! I have always LOVED being pregnant and I still loved this pregnancy and feeling our little sweetie grow inside me. It's a miracle you can't explain to people. With that said... I am ready to be done. I am ready to raise our children and send them off into the world! Next stop- grandma! In about 10-20 years!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

That Day

I've been contemplating for a while over reliving the day our world changed. March 2, 2010 was when our bed rest roller coaster ride started. It was a horrifying day which resulted in a complete upheaval of our lives. I wasn't sure if I wanted to lay it all out in writing but after a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that it would be cathartic. Additionally, I felt I needed to do this before our baby was born. Any mom knows that once that baby is in your arms, any pain of pregnancy or delivery is greatly minimized if not entirely erased. What happened that day may be considered a little graphic to some. Fair warning.

To say this all began on March 2nd wouldn't be fair. It all actually started in December. My husband and I had always dreamed of having 4 children. But after having our 2nd child our minds changed. Our oldest hit his 13th year the same year that our youngest hit his 2nd year. Tough years for both and a tough year for mom and dad. We had several discussions and came to the conclusion that we were happy with the 2 boys we had. We wanted to raise them well and see them off then enjoy our remaining years staring at each other lovingly. Yes. This plan sounded divine to us!

But at the dinner table one night I opened a door. I said to my husband, "Honey, I really don't want any more kids."
He says, "I know. Me neither."
"But it doesn't seem right to me to stop at 2 when our plan was to have 4".
"Did you want to try for more?!"
"NO! But.... it just doesn't feel like we're finished."
Picture husband's confused face here. We discussed for a while and talked to the kids about how they felt about another baby. They were fine with it but my husband and I still weren't 100% on board. So by the end of the conversation we agreed to leave it in God's hands. After all, when we tried to conceive our youngest we tried for over 2 years, endured multiple tests, suffered a few miscarriages, were on the verge of IVF when we conceived, and then I had to take progesterone supplements 3 times a day for the first trimester just to keep him in. It's not like it was going to be easy so why not leave it up to God? Famous last words. Sometime in the next 1-2 weeks I was pregnant.

So off to the OB we went where I was, again, put on the Progesterone supplements to keep baby in. It was all so hard to process as it happened so quickly. Since we had a history of miscarriage we decided to hide the pregnancy from everyone for the first trimester. No easy feat since I show very early. But thankfully God whispered in our ear and advised us to inform our immediate family. They were all ecstatic. it was great to hear the excitement in their voices! I found out I was pregnant January 16, 2010 and on January 23rd, my husband's father died tragically and unexpectedly.

Our lives started spinning while we grasped everything that was happening. And to be honest, between my father in law's death and the fact that we didn't really plan to get pregnant, I hadn't bonded with the fact that I was even carrying our baby. There were days I would forget. I would still take my Progesterone out of habit but mentally I wasn't connected. Every once and a while I would get a reminder that I was pregnant as my little bulging belly would bump into something. And I felt bad about it. I felt like a bad mommy. But our lives were so full of funerals and mourning. I had been sick with a terrible cold for over a month and I was also under an immense amount of pressure at work. My mind just wouldn't go there.

So the morning of March 2nd I went into work as usual. I had just stopped taking my Progesterone supplements as I was now 2 days into my second trimester. I had also just told my employees about my pregnancy the week before as I was having a hard time hiding it and I felt we were in a safe place. That morning at work was like any other. I felt fine and went about my business as usual. At one point I stood up from my desk and felt the urge to go pee so I headed down to the bathroom. When I sat on the toilette I felt this large gush and heard a lot of plopping. I looked down and saw blood and clots falling out of me. Oddly, the first thing I thought of was my sister. Our family suffers what I refer to as "Teflon uteruses" and while I had always been lucky to suffer miscarriages very early, she had them later on (as did my mother as well) and they were much more traumatic. So when I saw all this blood the first thing I thought was that this is what it was like for her and that I, too, was losing my baby. I panicked and reached into the toilette thinking my baby was in there. There was so much blood and muck that I couldn't find anything. So I cleaned up, washed my hands and headed upstairs.

I told my leasing associate that I think I was having a miscarriage and that I needed her to call my husband to take me to the ER and to call my supervisor to let her know why I was leaving. I sat at my desk breathing in and out and trying to remain calm. I kept thinking that whenever you watch TV and some pregnant lady is possibly losing her baby, the doctors always tell her to remain calm because that's what's best for the baby. So I sat and breathed but I could still feel the gushing. My husband arrived quickly and we headed to the ER.

We went to admitting and the 20 something nurse behind the desk took all my information while talking hospital office politics with an orderly. I was 13 weeks so she also assumed I was "just" miscarrying. She told me that if I am miscarrying that there's really nothing they can do but make me comfortable. She asked if I needed a pad to which I replied "Yes! I am gushing blood!". At this point my husband was called away to hand over the kids to our friends who had just showed up at the ER to watch them. Nurse No-sense wheeled me over to a bathroom in the hall and handed me a few pads and wipes to get cleaned up. When I came out of the bathroom she was no where to be found. She left me in a hallway with my wheelchair hemorrhaging. Did I mention that the wheelchair wasn't the kind you can wheel yourself? After waiting a few minutes my husband found me and wheeled me back over to the desk. Nurse No-Sense was still chatting up the same orderly and informed me that we'd have to sit in the waiting room. So that we did. For 2 hours. I cried the whole time. I was still hemorrhaging and I could feel each gush. I sat and questioned everything I had done the last 13 weeks and how this could be my fault. Was it the medication they gave me for my cold? Or the medicine I was prescribed for my migraines? Was it the stress from work and losing my father in law? Or was it simply because I wasn't connected to the baby and was somehow deemed ungrateful and unworthy. So many things went through my mind and my husband tried to calm my fears but in that moment the guilt was immense. At one point another family saw my belly (I told you I show early) and wished me luck with my baby. I feel bad now but my response to them was "There probably won't be one!" and I broke down again.

Finally at the 2 hour mark I told my husband to tell the front desk that we are going home because I'd rather loose my baby at home in my bed than in the ER waiting room. When he told them this, they suddenly had an open bed. They took me and my husband back and put me in a hallway bed while they looked for a room. Once we were back our new nurse was very sweet and sympathetic. She got me a warm blanket as I had lost a lot of blood and offered me more clean pads as I was still bleeding and passing clots. She also offered me pain meds to make it easier and I declined. Thankfully. An ultrasound was ordered so they could see what was happening and much to my dismay my husband was not allowed to accompany me. I understood the policy but it was hard to leave him. This man just lost his father and now he's possibly losing his child. I didn't want him to be alone.

When I got to the ultrasound room the tech offered me a gown and told me to strip down. It was at this point that I noticed my underwear were completely soaked all the way up to the waist band. She offered me a bag to take them home and I told her I don't want them. It was just so much blood. I got on the table and she began the ultrasound. It was complete silence as she didn't turn the sound on on her machine. Understandable in situations like this. I laid on the table as she moved the wand all over my belly. I stared at the ceiling tile and prayed. I prayed to God and to my husband's dad. I wanted this baby that I didn't know I wanted. Then she apologized for taking so long and stated that the baby was just so small and she's trying to get a good heartbeat. Shock! I thought she wasn't finding anything! Tears welled up. "He's still in there?!" YES! I started bawling and telling her she was my favorite person of the day and that I loved her! I wanted my husband there. I wanted him to know his baby was okay.

She stated she had to leave me for a bit to show the images to the doctor. She said it looked like I had several blood clots. I laid on the table for what seemed like forever! I thanked God and thanked my father in law who I was now designating official angel for my baby! She returned shortly and stated that the doctor saw something else and wanted me to do a trans vaginal ultrasound to get a better look. Upon doing the second ultrasound they discovered that I also had Placenta Previa. Instead of the baby attaching to the side or top of the uterus, it had attached on top of the cervix. Not good.

They finally put me in a wheel chair and headed me back to my husband. I was so excited to tell him we hadn't lost our baby! As they wheeled me to our room, he was heading to the bathroom. I smiled so big with tears in my eyes and told him the baby was okay! But his face was blank and he said "Okay" and that he was headed to the bathroom. Not what I was expecting. When he got back to the room you could see the change. In the 45 minutes that they had me in ultrasound, my husband had shut down. He was on emotional overload between his father's death and this. The ER Doctor didn't comfort him much either when he arrived. The doctor was great and my spirits were much higher. But the doctor informed us that I had a subchrionic hemorrhage which lead to the clots and bleeding and that I do have Placenta Previa. He stated that the hemorrhaging was serious and that if it continued or happened again it could be fatal for the baby, myself, or both of us. He stated there was nothing we could do but strict bed rest, monitor the bleeding and wait while my body tried to heal. While I heard good news (my baby was alive no matter what was happening to me)my husband heard only that he could lose his wife and baby. It was agonizing to see his face as all this information struggled to implant itself in his head. We tried to decide what was going to be best for our family. We had 2 beautiful boys that needed their mommy. Do we keep the baby and trust in God or do we take our family's fate into our own hands to ensure our children have a mother. These are agonizing conversations to have as a husband and wife. It was all too much and we decided to make that decision later. We were drained. After several hours we were released home to strict bed rest (laying down with feet up. NO getting up unless I needed to use the bathroom) and advised to follow up with our OB the next day.

That night was restless. Each time I changed position in bed my husband would jump up and ask if I was okay. The bleeeding slowly tapered off and the next day we headed to our OB. More bed rest was prescribed. Over the next week or so we decided to let it ride and trust God with the baby. For the next few months everything was week to week with us. OB appointments weekly, high tech ultrasounds with the perinatologist to monitor everything internally, and the agonizing isolation of bed rest. Our diagnosis changed almost every time we went in for an ultrasound. More issues such as blood pooling in the lining of my uterus which can cause your water to break prematurely. Bed rest was literally all I could do about any of it. I fought the bed rest mentally. I had lost all control of my life. Nothing was in my hands. My job was on the line, I couldn't be a mother to my children or a wife to my husband. I was immensely depressed and cried almost daily. Finally it hit me that God can handle it if I can't. It's the old saying that God won't bring you to it if he can't bring you through it. Once I released my fate to God things got better. I found a online forum for moms on bed rest ( which has been a life saver! Our friends and family gathered around us in amazing ways! Our church supplied meals and prayer. While I lost my job, the Lord continued to provide. My husband became the most amazing man on the planet to me! I have loved him for 12 years and just when you think you can't love someone more, they amaze you!

This has been what I call a "God year". I can't control everything or anything in my life this year. That was all changed on March 2nd. But by allowing God to take over and redirect our lives I am learning so many lessons- from bed none the less! And despite the agony, drama, pain, and fear that March 2nd threw at us, we are now 35 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Our baby will be born healthy and any day! I suffer a little guilt for ever questioning if he should be here. But he is on purpose. He is supposed to join our family. He is our pot of gold at the end of the storm!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

And Mommy is BACK!

Okay, so you've read all I've written about bed rest and so many of the emotions it stirs. One that I don't think I really elaborated on was jealousy. I'll admit it. I was just plain jealous. Of who? My own husband. I wasn't jealous that he had to do all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, fetching, shopping, worrying, bread winning, etc.(okay... maybe a little- I AM a control freak after all!). No, no. I was jealous that all of the sudden, he was the best thing in the world to our 3yr old and I simply had nothing to offer that kid!

Our 3yr old was patient at first with the situation. He'd sit in bed with me and watch movies and we found little creative ways to play. But he slowly learned that mom was out of the equation when it came to anything he needed. So dad fast became his favorite. Dad read books. Dad took him to the park. Dad read to him at bedtime and got him to brush. Dad made him dinner and put on his favorite movie. Dad. DAD. DAD! The term "No! Dad do it!" was a regular occurrence in our house for months. And he began to utilize my bed rest to his advantage. I'd ask him to do something and he'd yell "NO!" and run down the hall because he was aware I could not chase him. Damn.

But then I was released to modified bed rest a few weeks ago. That meant that a few times a week I can leave the house for a "sit down" trip. Like a movie, dinner out, the park, etc. I can stand for a short period of time and can do minimal walking. The rest of the time I am sitting with my feet up still. But things could be a little more normal. This little bit of freedom did wonders for my attitude and well being. That much was to be expected. But what I didn't expect was how much of a relief these little freedoms would mean to my 3yr old!

I remember the first time we left the house together to go somewhere. As we drove past a local strip mall, my little boy pointed out each store to see if I remembered it. "Mom! That's the store with the Thomas the Tank Engine! Mom! There's the pet store!". He was so excited to reintroduce me to the outside world! And then little by little he relied on me more. Ahhhh.. heart melting. But this past week or so has been the bees knees for mom! I am actually outranking dad! I get called in the middle of the night. I get to read his bedtime stories. I get to give him baths. And the other day he switched the seating arrangements at the dinner table so that he sits next to ME! Mommy is back!

I have tried not to gloat to my husband... but I'm really bad at it because the truth is that I am ecstatic! My 14yr old has a much better grasp of our situation so he resented my husband and I equally (LOL! But not really....). But the 3yr old was tough. So now it feels amazing to be mommy again and not that lump of baby maker stuck in bed all day! I'm back! I'm back! I'm back!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Place We Never Thought We'd Be

Today we reached a milestone we never thought we'd see. We turned 35 weeks pregnant! Additionally, last week the baby dropped. Therefore he is getting ready for delivery. One more week and this little baby, who has had to work so hard to be here, will have full lung development! That means that if he comes after 36 weeks, even though it would still be 4 weeks early, we would be able to bring him home. Home. I know I've tried to explain it but it's surreal to imagine this part of the process. The whole past week or two as we take the little steps to get ready for baby we have done so with such mixed emotions. As healthy as he becomes every day and as close as we are to the finish line, there is still hesitancy to let ourselves go and enjoy this. It's like my husband says, we spent so much time trying to keep baby in that now it's hard to plan for him to come out. It just seems like a foreign idea or that by getting ready we are jinxing it.

I'm having an easier time enjoying these last few weeks of pregnancy. I can feel his movements and can tell which is an elbow, foot, baby bum. I can feel that he's healthy and strong. And therefore I can let go a bit and enjoy being pregnant a bit more. My husband, on the other hand, carries more of the hesitancy and can't quite relax. Since the January death of his father and then our pregnancy roller coaster, loss has been the theme of his year. So he feels he can't really fully enjoy this until his little boy is home, healthy, and in his arms. It's so hard to see him blocked off like that. But it's probably been just as hard for him to see me go through everything I have endured to get this far. This is what marriage is about. the good and the bad. We will love each other through both.

The boys are ready for baby! Our 3yr old asks every day if the baby is moving and loves feeling him roll around. He's fascinated with boobies now as we have been attempting to prep him for mommy breastfeeding! And he wants to share room with the baby right away. Cute. He'll learn. Our 14yr old, on the other hand, is a little grossed out as the baby's movements get bigger but he's excited none the less! He still hasn't decided if he wants to be in the room when the baby is born this time. I think the last time was an eye opening experience ;0)

I have to say I am so grateful to everyone who prayed for us, brought meals, cleaned our house, visited, or just kept us in mind over the past months. We have really come to truly realize what an amazing group of people we have in our lives! This whole experience has been one of the hardest things I have ever endured but it has also been one of the greatest. I really believe that you find your strength in tough times. And we will come out of this stronger and with a beautiful new addition to our family. A reason to celebrate. Which we need this year as we process the loss of my husband's father and now the upcoming passing of my grandfather (who has been fighting cancer and other various issues for almost a year and is an amazing display of strength and stobbornness!). God works in mysterious ways. We don't always agree with His timing and reasons, but I am grateful for His guidance and love. He is the reason I know we will all be okay and the reason we have made it this far.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Naughty Stories

Before I begin...let me clarify that I'm not talking about THOSE stories you dirty birdies! I'm talking about the collection of stories that every parent has. EVERY parent! Regardless of race, religion, marital status, gender, etc. each parent collects these amazing stories over the life of their child. Unavoidably and even unaware that what they are experiencing will someday turn into the best stories in memory!

I was talking to my best friend this morning. She was at her wits end. The kids (ages 3 & 4)had eaten dog & cat food, dumped water on the floor, smeared toothpaste into the carpet, and broken into the stash of goodies mommy keeps to reward them for being good (ironic right?). My friend had already taken all the toys out of each of their rooms (a tactic I have used several times with my oldest! Toys are priveleges not rights.) and both kids were on time out in their rooms- not that it mattered to them as they continued to run to and from each others rooms whenever mom wasn't watching. What's wrong with these kids? What's wrong with this mom? Nothing. Really, there isn't even anything unusual about this scenario. This is parenthood. These are the stories. Every parent has them and if you are a parent and reading this, there are most likely many flashbacks to your own children playing in your head!

It's hard for first time parents (and my best friend's children are 17 months apart so they are double trouble!) to understand these things are normal. Parents are on a learning curve too. My oldest is 14 and the things we have gone through would make the hairs on your neck stand up- right before you laughed hysterically because after all, they didn't happen to you! I mean, I remember a specific instance where I sat on our bed crying and telling my husband we can't have any more children because we messed this one up so bad! But now that we have the 3yr old, I don't stress as much. I know we'll get through and he'll be fine. So I can collect the little stories and enjoy them.

When I talk about the stories here's what I mean. Have you ever heard a parent, whose child has grown up, say "I remember when she was little. Remember that day she did everything we told her to? It was so great!". Be real. IF someone said that you wouldn't believe it! Here's what real parents sound like, "UGH! When mine was that age she got into my make up and drew all over our freshly painted walls! The red lipstick would not come off the wall and we had to repaint all over again! I thought I was going to kill her!". And yet she still breathes. And that story will be told over and over again. Let's face it. We like to recount all the naughty little things our kids- and even our teens- do! Those stories are relatable and memorable!

The pictures above are the perfect example. This is our 3yr old (I think he was still 2 at the time) who thought it would be neat to get into his diaper powder.... in our bed. BUSTED! And you can tell by the look on his face! Here's the difference between child #1 and child #2. I don't have any pictures to accompany the stories with child #1 because every thing he did felt like the end of my parenting world! But by the time child #2 rolls around you can pause and preserve the memory. The kid will turn out fine. Even if he or she eats dog food! My husband and his borther were big fans of milk bones when they were little. They both made it out alive!

So to mommies and daddies the world over- and to my bestest friend who WILL survive this (the kids on the other hand....) I say take heart! You are in good company the world over for millions of years! You are good parents regardless of what your children do or say. Think of them as Ikea models. They don't come ready made, delivered to your door. Hell! They hardly come with directions at all and it seems like the ones they do have are in another language! You build them over the years and in the end, you sit back and enjoy your work. So collect those stories! And enjoy the fact that you have your sweet angel/demon babies to entertain you!