Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Saturday Mornings

I love Saturday mornings.  For about a year now we have had pretty much the same routine in our house and I am perfectly fine with it.  It never gets old (at least not yet) and I look forward to it all the time.

Baby Girl wakes up between 6:15 and 6:45.  I groan at how early it is and then I get up to go to the bathroom while BJ goes in and collects the baby.  He brings her into our bed and holds her until I come out of the bathroom.  I climb back in bed and she just about breaks her neck to come over and snuggle with me.  The first few times we did this she fell back to sleep for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.  That was awesome but didn’t last too long.

We lay there for 15 to 30 minutes…just snuggling and hugging and talking.  She’ll point to things and I’ll tell her what they are, she’ll spring up and laugh and then fall down on me again.  I have to practically beg her to give daddy some snuggles, too.  She has turned into quite the mama’s girl in the mornings.

We eventually get up and I change her diaper and we head downstairs.  I grab her milk out of the fridge and we turn on the TV and snuggle up and watch one 30-minute cartoon.  Then I pass her off to BJ and go in the kitchen to make her breakfast.  She is wise to this and has started coming in the kitchen and getting under my feet.  Stinker.

While she’s eating, I clean the kitchen from the night before (I go on cleaning strike Friday nights because I’m tired and lazy and just want to do nothing) and grab a quick bite to eat.

After she eats I leave her in the living room to play with BJ while I get dressed and ready for the day.  She usually fills her diaper at this point so one of us will change her and then I’ll get her dressed.  By this time I’m about to start running around like a chicken with my head cut off because somehow time always FLIES by when I think I’m doing a good job of staying on track.

I pack up the diaper bag and load it and my purse and phone into the car, get her shoes on and rush out the door…late as usual.  Where are we going in such a rush, you ask?  We go to story time at the library on Saturday mornings.  It’s awesome.  We usually show up right as it’s starting but I’ve actually gotten a little bit better at getting us out of the house on time.  We only live about 7 or 8 minutes from the library so you would think I could get us there on time.

I love story time because it is something we can do together for years to come.  She loves going.  She dances and plays and acts silly and cuddles with me.  She used to be the youngest in attendance but more toddlers and babies have started coming.  I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest mother there but I don’t really care about that.  What matters is that we do this together and that she learns to love books and reading and singing and dancing as much as I do.

Story time is one of the few activities that occur on weekends for toddlers.  It’s almost impossible to find something for us to do on Saturday.  Almost everything that our county offers takes place during the week and during the day.  Just about everything is geared toward the stay at home mom.  This is great because I know that stay at home moms need activities to keep their kids busy and themselves sane.  The problem with that is that we working moms struggle to find things to do on the weekends.  Baby Girl would be just as happy to stay home and play all day and take TV breaks but I can’t do that.  I’m a mover and a shaker on Saturdays so I need to get out of the house.  Sunday is a different story.  I’m perfectly happy to lounge around and not do anything on Sunday.  But Saturday mornings…those mornings are the highlight of my weekend.  I’m sure I’m more excited to go to the library than Baby Girl is right now.  I think I'm more enthusiastic about these things because I never thought I'd get to do them.  I never thought I'd be a mom at the library so I'm sure I go overboard with the dancing and singing and such.  That's ok...she's too young to realize that I'm probably embarrassing her.  LOL

So yeah, I went from sleeping in on Saturday mornings to being woken up before the sun comes up and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I love our Saturday morning routine and I hope it’s something that we can continue for years to come.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sibling Rivalry - Sort Of

We have a problem.  The first step to getting help is admitting that there is a problem, right?  This problem is not one I was prepared for.  It’s one of those things that you don’t really want to talk about for fear of what others may think.  We have kept it pretty quiet thus far.  We elude to the problem very vaguely and with humor while trying to cover up the problem.  It sounds a little like infertility, doesn’t it?  It’s definitely not that.  Not anymore, anyway.

The problem is the relationship between our Baby Girl (BG) and the Little Guy (LG).  When people ask us what he thinks of her we are very honest with our answers.  He loves her to pieces.  He adores her.  He’s great with her.  When people ask us what she thinks of him we cringe and stammer out a less than truthful answer.  She loves him.  They play well together.  It’s hit or miss…you know how toddlers are.


The truth is that she doesn’t really like him.  She doesn’t like it when he tries to pick her up.  She doesn’t like it when he touches her or holds her toy or even lays on one of her blankets on the floor.  If I ask him to put her in her high chair she takes off running and tries to hide from him.  Sometimes she will come into the kitchen and try to hide behind my legs…all the while whining and trying to get away from him.  She has hit him on several occasions.  She refuses to tell him “night, night”.  She acts like it’s the end of the world if we ask her to give him a goodnight hug.

He’s never been mean to her.  He’s never alone with her.  He “picks” on her sometimes like a big brother does but it’s nothing that should make her behave this way.  It’s very upsetting to me.  It’s upsetting because I want to tell him to just leave her alone.  Stop trying to get a hug.  Stop trying to pick her up.  And then the other side of it is that I’m upset because I don’t know how to fix this.  She’s 20 months old (how did THAT happen?) and I feel like I can’t leave her with him for fear that she will have a complete meltdown.  He’s 13 so I know he could handle watching her for short amounts of time but the anxiety I would feel while away is just not worth it.

We are always inclusive when we are playing with her.  We include him in everything and try to make playing with him fun.  We hug him to show her that hugging him is ok.  Nothing is working.

There are times that she completely surprises us and sits with him on the couch while they watch cartoons.  And there’s times that she sits on his lap while he reads her a story.  When we are playing on the floor we can sometimes get her to happily include him in our activity.  When we are eating dinner she will be silly with him across the table.  He will take her outside and they will color with chalk or walk around in the driveway by themselves.  Those times are the rarity, though.  It breaks my heart because I know how upset he gets when she pushes him away and wants nothing to do with him.  He loves her so much and she acts like he’s the enemy.  It’s awful.  BJ gets annoyed with her and tells her to “stop acting like that” and “why are treating your brother this way?”  “Quit being mean to your brother”.  I hate that he tells her she’s mean.  It’s not untrue but I don’t like it.

It started when she was about 13 or 14 months, I guess.  It’s getting worse as she gets older.  I just don’t know how to handle it.  He’s with us 50% of the time meaning every other day and every other weekend so it’s not like she doesn’t see him enough to grow attached to him.  I really thought that by now she’d be excited to see him and sad when he leaves.  Instead, she refuses his hugs and couldn’t care less when he’s gone.  Well, that’s not true.  She does ask about him when he’s not there but not in an “I miss my brother” sort of way.  It’s more of a “where is he?” and that’s it.

Anyway, I’m at a loss here folks.  I do not like talking about this with people because they get a look on their face that makes me want to crawl into a hole.  I’ve had one person ask me if the LG has done something to her.  Ugh…I know he hasn’t.  He’s never alone with her.  I feel ashamed and I don’t even know where to turn for help.  I don’t know people with children this far apart in age.  The only reference I have is myself.  I’m 8.5 years older than my brother.  The thing is, he wanted to be with me all the time while we were growing up so I can’t understand why BG wants nothing to do with her big brother.  Any advice out there?  I’m feeling rather defeated right now.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ahem...It's Me...Again

I know, I know.  I keep saying that I’m coming back on a regular basis because I have so much to say and then I disappear for months again.  I’ve been doing some thinking and I have come to realize why I haven’t been back here.

It’s just too hard.

It’s too hard to revisit the pain, depression, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, uncertainness, fear and exhaustion.  Every time I start to write a post I stop.  I get overwhelmed with emotions.  The ones I just listed and others as well.  See, there’s this thing called Survivor’s Guilt and I have a hefty amount of it.  I know I shouldn’t, but I do.  Those are the reasons it’s so hard to come here.

The problem is that I need to come here.  I need to tell my story.  Ever since I started telling my story I’ve found this space to be my safe haven.  I can share my craziest of crazies and my saddest of saddest and yes, my happiest moments too.  I want to come back here.  I need the outlet and I need your guidance and your support and your advice.

I’m sure I’ve lost most of my readers and that is to be expected.  With my absences why would anyone stick around?  If there is anyone left out there that can help me navigate my feelings of parenting after infertility I would welcome them with open arms.  And as any of my regular readers know, I’m a step-mother, too.  Oh my goodness, the trials and tribulations of helping to raise a 13-year-old boy are numerous to say the least.  I need help.  I need to voice my concerns and my feelings and have people give me another point of view.  I like it when people give me another way of looking at a situation because sometimes I can be so caught up in it that I can’t see straight.

I think I will start in the here and now and fill in the blanks as I go.  I don’t need to post novels, I just need to post.  I have to work through my feelings and this is the best way I can think of to do it.  I don’t want to see a professional so I do what so many other people do:  I post my inner most feelings and thoughts on the internet and let readers have at it.  LOL

I hope there are still a few people out there but if not, that’s ok too.  I need to do this for me and my well-being more than anything else.  And this time, I mean it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The First Few Days of Motherhood - Part 3

Ok, so I think I want to at least get through our hospital stay before I start reliving my ppd/ppa/ptsd issues.  Bear with me, if you will.

The Lactation Consultant was off on the Friday that we were in the hospital, of course.  She also does not work weekends, of course.  I had really hoped to see her again and get more help and advice because it was pretty obvious by that time that we were going to have BF’ing issues.

BG’s nursery visits were getting shorter and shorter, which was good because that meant that she was able to regulate her temperature.  I was beginning to worry about her bowel movements, though.  We had the handy-dandy sheet to keep track of her wet and dirty diapers and she was a peeing machine but she hadn’t had a “recordable” BM in about 7 hours.  I asked the nurses about it and they didn’t seem concerned and just told me to keep an eye on her.  Um, ok.

Spending that time with her was magical.  I felt like I was getting the hang of things as far as her care was concerned.  (HA!!)  Two nurses actually complimented me on my swaddling abilities which I let go to my head.  There was an instance when BG was crying and I was trying to get her to sleep but I wasn’t having much luck.  I was about to pee my pants so I set her in the bassinet and before I even finished my business she was sound asleep.  I thought that maybe I had one of those babies that just wanted to be put down.  (HA!!)  She would do this funny heavy breathing thing before she started crying and that became my cue to go to her.  One of the nurses was in the room when she did this and laughed and called her a drama queen.  Another nurse told me how quiet and content she was when she was in the nursery.  She commented on how BG would just lay there and look around and “watch” everything that was going on.  I thought that maybe I had one of those babies that would just be content and observant.  (HA!!)

On our last night in the hospital BJ and I got into a tiff regarding how to soothe the baby.  He had planned on going home anyway because he had to work but he left in a bit of a huff and I have never felt so abandoned in my life.  We were talking to a nurse about pacifiers vs letting the baby suck on our finger to help her fall asleep.  We were trying to avoid any nipple confusion and I was becoming petrified that if she sucked on anything other than me she would not want ME.  Those were irrational thoughts but that’s where I was and that was the first sign of anxiety but of course I was way too emotional to recognize it.  BJ and I made up via text messages but I still felt like I was going to have a breakdown at any moment.  The nurse even apologized to me for HIS behavior.  She could obviously see the pain I was in at the time.

The day we went home I was able to pump about 1 drop from my right breast.  The nurse looked at it and was obviously disappointed at what she saw.  I had been pumping after almost every feeding for about 10 minutes each time.  I had been putting the baby to my breast every 2 to 3 hours.  I had done everything I could to keep her awake at the breast.  I was not having much luck.  She just wanted to sleep on me…but she was sucking and I knew that was important.  The nurse we had that day examined my incision and noticed that my pubic area was swollen and bruised.  I had noticed but figured it was just retaining fluid like the rest of my body was from the Pitocin.  She was concerned and asked me how my belly wrap was fitting.  Apparently, I had been wearing it wrong for 2 days.  The edge of it was digging into my pubic area and was causing me harm.  How I didn’t notice this is beyond me.  I was really swollen and quite bruised.  She said that it was supposed to be worn like a mini-skirt, not like a belt.  I wonder why no one told me that.  She also said that the one I had was too small.  Lovely.  So she got me a new one and oh how grateful I was to her.  She examined my breasts and said that she felt my mammary glands and that my milk should be in shortly.  Yay!  It was discharge time!

I was packing the room up and waiting for BJ to arrive with the car seat when the pediatrician came in with instructions for me.  This is another doctor at the practice where I would be taking BG.  She came in without a smile and was very business-like and stone faced.  She said:

“You are going to need to finger feed her X amount of formula after every feeding until Monday.  You need to make an appointment with our office to have the baby seen on Monday (today was Saturday).  She’s slightly jaundiced and she’s lost just under 10% of her weight, ok?”

 I was totally thrown for another loop.  Now we have a weight issue, too?  AND jaundice?  What will be next?  Not to mention that I was just about to cry when the doctor left the room.  She was so cold and so blunt and just so matter of fact with the news she just delivered.  She left a bad taste in my mouth.  I made a decision that day that I would see ANY other doctor in the practice but not her.

BJ showed up and I told him what the problem was and he just shook his head.  Can’t anything go right?  Why can’t we be a “normal” couple that has a baby and just goes home?  Why do we have to have all these issues?  Ugh 

I had the nurse show me how to use the syringe to finger feed my baby.  I was so upset but I was just going through the motions and trying really hard to concentrate on what she was saying.  We were finally discharged in the afternoon.  Baby Girl was so tiny in her car seat.  Dressing her in her going home outfit was challenging.  J  She had only worn t-shirts and socks up until that point.  Her overalls said “together at last” and that could not have been more appropriate considering what we went through to get her.

We loaded everything into the car and I took a ride in the wheelchair…still feeling detached from the whole experience.  We were taking a baby home…to our house…to keep.  I still find it hard to fathom at times.  We stopped at the pharmacy for my pain meds.  It was cold and damp and windy so I stayed in the car.  When we pulled up to our house it had been decorated by my friend/neighbor.  There were balloons and cut outs and a banner welcoming our baby by name.  It was so wonderful to see.  The friend came over just as we were bringing everything inside.  BJ had cleaned the house from top to bottom and it was great to walk in to a sparkling clean house.  I had cleaned it before we left but since we have 2 cats and the boys had been home while I was away I guess it got a bit messy in my absence.  I let my friend hold the baby while I prepared to feed her.

Once my friend left and we were alone with the baby I could not stop staring at her.  I actually laid her down long enough to take her picture in her bassinet but for the most part she was either in my or BJ’s arms.  We were home with our baby.  I almost started crying when I realized that I had not taken a picture of me holding the baby on her first night in the house.  We quickly took a few pictures and BJ headed off to bed.  I was stuck on the couch.  When he left to go to bed I cried.  I was alone, again.  I didn’t know how much sleeping on separate floors would affect me until several days later.

That first night was rough.  I was exhausted but I kept setting my alarm for every 2 hours so I could nurse the baby and then give her the formula.  It was extremely difficult finger feeding a newborn by myself but I managed to do it twice over night.  I woke up with every little noise she made and I must have checked her breathing at least 10 times.  I almost felt guilty for sleeping when I was actually able to sleep.  It’s crazy to think about now because I honestly don’t know how I was able to accomplish anything with the lack of sleep I had been getting since she arrived.

Wow, this post has gotten really long.  I’ll stop babbling now.  Once I get going it’s hard to stop because all of these details come flying back to me and I’m reliving them each time I post.  Some of the feelings are great to experience again but others, not so much.  I’m trying to condense things but apparently I’m not so good at condensing.  J

Monday, April 28, 2014

The First Few Days of Motherhood - Part 2

Staying in the hospital was like a dream.  And I don’t mean like a fantasy…I mean like a dream that I experienced but that didn’t really happen.  There’s so many things about the early days of motherhood that seemed unreal to me.  I found myself not asking questions when I should and listening hollowly as medical professionals spoke to me.  I don’t know if it was just the sheer shock of having an actual baby or if it was the result of the chaos that ensued around us.  When I say “chaos” I don’t mean that things got really crazy and out of hand but in my world and my mind things were definitely not going the way I thought they would so it felt very chaotic to me.

I was anxious for the nurse to come and get Baby Girl and take her to the nursery so that she could be checked out by her pediatrician.  I ate breakfast and kept attempting to nurse my little bundle.  The nurses had been in throughout the night giving me pain meds and taking both of our vitals.  Those visits on top of trying to feed the baby did not provide me with much sleep.  Thank goodness for adrenaline.

They took the baby and we waited.  While we were waiting they FINALLY brought me a pump and showed me how to use it.  They said that they could take whatever little amounts I got out with a syringe and feed it to the baby.  I was happy since it was now 24 hours after I had given birth and we still could not get a good latch on my left side.  The Lactation Consultant (I’m calling her Betty) came in and we chatted for a few minutes and then she said she’d come back once the baby was in the room again so we could practice latching and holding techniques.

We were informed that Baby Girl was still having temperature issues so they kept her even longer.  I pumped and waited…and waited…and waited.  Finally the pediatrician came in and started talking to us.  It was the same guy I went to see when we thought there was a problem with BG’s head.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to trust him.  He started out the conversation like this:

Doctor – “We are thinking that she has a hemangioma on her neck.  We’ll want to take a closer look at it maybe with an ultra sound in the coming weeks.  It doesn’t seem to be causing any breathing or swallowing issues right now.  The one on her head, though, might be a cyst of some sort…”

Me – “What?  What’s on her head?  We didn’t see anything on her head.”

Doctor – “We’ll want to take a better look at it to make sure it’s not attached to any brain tissue.  The tech on site might not want to perform a scan on a newborn so you may need to get a specialist.  We’ll also want to check her out to make sure there aren’t any others internally that we can’t see with our naked eyes.  When there’s more than one we get a little concerned that we might have a bigger problem on our hands.”

I don’t remember much more about that conversation because I was again overcome with such worry that I could barely see straight.  I kept thinking things like:  We did DE because I have bad eggs and now my poor baby STILL has some sort of health issue.  How is this happening?  We were so happy when her skull got the all clear from the other doctor.  What are we going to do?  Is she going to have to have skull surgery and/or surgery on her tiny little neck?  Will these things grow and prohibit her from a “normal” life?  I didn’t say any of this out loud at that time.  I was silenced with worry.  The doctor left and BJ and I just sat in silence.

They finally brought BG back to us once she was at a proper temperature.  I pulled her hat off that she had been wearing for over 24 hours (except for the time I took a picture of all her hair) and rubbed my fingers lightly over the top of her head.  Sure enough, there was a big lump on her head.  Her hair was so thick that we couldn’t see it.  We could only feel it.  I was so upset.  Her head was so tiny and this huge lump felt like the end of the world.  Now we had to wait for the u/s to tell us more.
Betty came in and helped me latch BG right away on each side.  I was thrilled.  I was determined to get this child to eat and to succeed at SOMETHING that my body was meant to do.  We nursed and visited and cuddled and it was great.  All the while in the back of my mind I was wondering if something was seriously wrong with my little girl.  I kept asking myself if I was being punished in some way for the method in which we brought her into this world.  I dismissed those thoughts as much as I could because I just wanted her to be ok.  Nothing else mattered to me.

I have already written about my physical trials after the birth so I won’t rehash everything here.  I will say that having the catheter was the BEST part of the birth.  Before the surgery I had to pee what felt like every 10 minutes.  With the catheter in I didn’t have to pee at all.  I just laid around and enjoyed being lazy.

I had a voracious appetite in the hospital and they would bring me 3 meals a day along with a couple of snacks.  I ate like a crazy woman.  I also did not have any more nausea or heartburn.  It was awesome.  I started taking notes when we checked in but as soon as all the bad news started coming our way I quit writing things down.  I had hoped to have a full record of everything that went on but that is not to be.   Coming here and spilling everything that I can remember is going to have to be good enough.

Next post will be more about my emotions and feelings during our time in the hospital and the weeks following discharge.  It is only recently after reading another blog that I realize that I not only went through one hell of a bout of PPD but also PPA (post-partum anxiety).  It wasn’t pretty…and it lingers.  One of my readers suggested that maybe I also have a bit of PTSD and I would not be surprised about that, either.  These feelings and emotions were much more than I ever expected or could have anticipated.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The First Few Days of Motherhood - Part 1

The first few days of motherhood were like a dream and a blur and a whirlwind of emotions.  If you remember, we were told there was something wrong with Baby Girl’s head.  They said it was too small and that it “fused” prematurely.  Hmph.  There were so many emotions during and immediately following her birth that I was completely overwhelmed…so much so that I think I sort of shut down in many ways and totally overreacted in other ways.  It’s hard to put into words but I’m going to try.

In the recovery room I was nauseated and tired.  I had been up most of the night with contractions and stress and then had the emotional let down of having to have a c-section and then the elation of giving birth.  I was all over the place.  BJ and the on call pediatrician came in to see me to talk about what they found while examining the baby.  They found nothing wrong with her.  Not only was her head not too small but it also was not fused.  Everything was as it should be and I could not have been more relieved.  My anger at those technicians has not subsided.  I blame them for the worry and the stress and for basically ruining the last week of my pregnancy.  I also blame them for the urgency my doctor felt to get the baby out instead of giving me a few more days to see if I would go into labor on my own.  I know there is no sense in carrying this anger but right now I just can’t let it go completely.

BJ brought BG to me and I cried but I didn’t cry.  There were no tears.  I was too emotional to cry.  I held her close and looked at her little face in awe.  She had the Vaseline on her eyes and she was a little discolored but she was perfect and her warm little body felt so good in my arms.  I did a little skin to skin and tried to get her to latch and eat but we didn’t have much success on that front at that time.  There is much more on breastfeeding ahead.  I just held her and kissed her.  My sister in law came in and we ooh’ed and ahh’ed over our little bundle.  BJ was starving so he headed down to the cafeteria to get something to eat.  Just after he left the nurse came to take the baby to get her first bath.  I was upset because BJ was going to miss it.  My sister in law said she would take some pictures for us.  I also learned that the Little Guy and his mother had arrived and would be watching as well.

I drifted in and out of sleep until it was time to go to my room.  Everyone converged in our room shortly thereafter and they brought BG to me.  We tried latching again and had a brief moment of success on the right side but the left side was not really working.  I asked if I should use a pump but they said I didn’t need one at that time (early afternoon) and that we would try again later.  Hindsight is 20/20 here ladies.

I was holding the baby in my left arm and there was a nurse standing on my right side.  She said, “oh, does she have a bruise from the birth?” and pointed at a spot on her neck just under her chin.  I saw it and was immediately worried that the stress of the birth had been too much and she was somehow bruised while being taken out of me.  I touched the spot and was horrified to feel a huge lump under her skin.  The nurses touched it and so did BJ.  I was so upset at this new development that I could barely speak.  After all the worrying over her head that we did now we have this new condition to contend with.  The staff told me that BG’s pediatrician would look it over in the morning during his usual rounds and that we’d have some answers then.  Great…more worrying and stressing over the health of my child that was only a few hours old.

Everyone left and BJ and the Little Guy stayed with me for a while.  The Little Guy’s grandfather came for a visit and to take the Little Guy back to his house for the night.  I convinced BJ to go home and get some sleep in our own bed.  He didn’t want to leave but I knew how tired he was and that he’d never sleep in the chairs in the room.  I promised that I would call the nurses if I needed help getting the baby out of the bassinet (I was still confined to my bed).  Just as we were talking the nurse that was checking BG’s vitals told us that her temperature was too low and that she needed to go under the lights in the nursery.  What?  So they took her from me.  I sent BJ to look after her.  She was gone for so long that they had to finger feed her some formula…and I still did not have a pump.  We had 3 semi-failed nursing sessions by now.

She finally came back to me and we tried nursing again with little success.  The nurses promised me that the LC (lactation consultant) would come see me in the morning.  We’ll call her Betty.  BJ went home and I cried…big crocodile tears.  I was afraid to be alone with the baby.  I had never spent the night alone in a hospital.  It had been years since BJ and I slept apart.  I was a mess to say the least.  I made the best of it.  I laid her in the bed with me on her boppy and we dozed and nursed every 2-3 hours.  I was exhausted but running on adrenaline.  It was awesome.  She was so adorable in her little hat that I kept taking pictures of all her cute little faces she was making.  She had the hat on most of the time since she had been born.  I took it off and admired her full head of thick black hair.  No wonder I had heartburn so bad.  J  I put the hat back on to make sure she stayed warm and I went to sleep.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Welcome to ICLW!

Hi there, and welcome!  I haven’t participated in this event in quite a while.  I’m trying to get back into a regular groove of blogging but it’s been a struggle because I’ve been away for so long.  I have MUCH to say and I’m starting to get my butt in gear but it is very slow going.

You can see my journey over on the side bar but in case you don’t want to trudge through all of that here’s the short(er) version.

It took me over 10 years, 2 husbands, several IVF’s, lots and lots of tears and money but I FINALLY have my miracle Baby Girl.  She is the light of my life and my reason for getting out of bed in the morning.  I’m not exaggerating, either.

This blog is about my life, my daily struggles, my family, step-parenting and basically a place where I come to vent, cry, laugh and appreciate.  I’m contemplating some changes but never seem to have enough brain power to really decide what I want to do with this space.  For now it will remain and I will keep coming here to tell our story.  There is a lot to say.

I have noticed that the blogroll for ICLW is really short now.  I think that may have something to do with Reader going bye-bye last summer.  I know it affected me and how I read and follow blogs so I’m sure it affected many others as well.  If you have a resource to recommend for organizing/storing/reading blogs these days…please share.  I’d love to figure out a better way to stay connected to folks again…on my desktop and my phone.

Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Physical Recovery - Part 2

Thank you for the kind (and understanding) words on my last post.  It’s nice to know that maybe I’m not such a wimp after all.  J  I can imagine that having more c-sections would “toughen” someone up…especially if there were another baby/toddler to chase after and care for.  There wouldn’t be time to sit around and feel everything because you’d be too busy…you wouldn’t have time for the pain.  That makes total sense.  There was more to my physical recovery than just my surgery and so I’m going to share that with you now.

I’ve mentioned my wrist pain…I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it.  It started while I was pregnant and I figured it was just tendonitis.  I wore a brace, had a cortisone shot, iced it…nothing worked.  Then while I was in the hospital my other wrist began hurting.  It actually was worse than my left wrist.  I dealt with it because I had no choice but to do so.  It really made handling the baby difficult and painful.  Bath time was the worst.  I had to hold her so tightly because she was wet and wiggly but my wrists would scream with pain.  It was like someone was taking an ice pick and digging around in each hand.  It was really difficult to say the least.  And forget trying to take her infant seat in and out of the car.  Holy Hell…that caused such a burning sensation.

BJ told me that I needed to see the doctor again.  I was extremely hesitant because I knew the next step would be surgery.  How on earth would I care for an infant while recovering from wrist surgery?  Not to mention that I didn’t want to be away from her for more than 10 minutes.  I bucked at the idea of seeing the doctor and just suffered.

This went on for about 4 months, maybe a little more.  One day I happened to notice that my wrists were not hurting as much.  I could pick the baby up, move my thumbs and even grip things again.  Miraculously, I was getting better.  Each day and week that would pass after that I got better and better.  My only theory is that most of my pain was caused from pregnancy hormones.  I’d read that being pregnant makes you more susceptible to carpal tunnel but that is not what I had.  However, once the hormones fully got out of my system, I was better.  My right wrist/thumb still gives me problems from time to time but it’s definitely something I can live with after the pain I had been feeling.

I had been told to expect my thick, lush pregnancy hair to fall out “after giving birth”.  What I did not expect was the timeline for this to occur.  My hair was awesome during pregnancy.  Between the hormones and the pre-natal vitamins I had a great head of hair for the first time in my life.  It was awesome.  I waited a few weeks and then a month and then two months and my hair was not falling out any faster than it had before so I thought I was good to go and maybe I’d be lucky enough to keep this great mane.  Not so much.  What no one bothered telling me was the hair loss actually begins more than 3 months post-partum.  Say what?

BG and I actually started losing our hair at the same time.  I would say she was about 3 ½ to 4 months old when her little baby hairs started shedding like crazy.  I also started shedding like crazy at that time.  I had never seen so much hair fall out of one person’s head in my life.  It was like a horror show, for real.  We have a stand up shower so our drain is on the bigger side.  I clogged it, night after night.  My hair was EVERYWHERE.  I would empty my brush before blow drying/brushing my hair and then have to do it again when I was finished.  I was stunned and also a little afraid that something was really wrong with me.  I visited my due date buddies on a message board and I was not alone, thank goodness.  This hair loss thing was scary but normal.  It just kept getting worse, too.  Once I came back to work I started to actually “do” my hair.  My bangs were getting thinner and thinner and I hardly had any to style.  The sides of my hair would fall in my face and I couldn’t understand why so I looked really closely at myself in the mirror.  I was horrified at what I saw.  I had a receding hairline that rivaled any man’s and almost all of my bangs had fallen out and started to regrow.  It was the strangest looking thing I had ever seen in the mirror.

The good news is that the hair was starting to grow back.  The bad news was that the new hair was really dark (seemed darker than my natural color) so it clashed really badly with my highlighted dark blonde hair.  Since my bangs were almost non-existent it looked like someone had taken shears to my hair and only left me with about an inch of bangs.  It was quite a sight.  I went to get highlights and explained my plight to my stylist.  She had the same thing happen to her.  She did her best to highlight the little dark bangs so that they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb under my very thin bangs.  Once I got the highlights done it wasn’t so bad.  That happened in October and we had some family pictures taken in November.  I love our pictures but I really hate my hair.  If you pay attention to my hair you can see that I hardly have any bangs.  It’s strange looking to say the least.

Thankfully, I’m getting my hair back.  It’s growing at what seems to be a snail’s pace but at least it’s finally growing.  And it’s falling out at a regular pace, like before the pregnancy.  I know it must sound strange to hear me talk about this but I was not expecting the loss to happen so late after birth and I definitely was not expecting it to be so fast and furious.  I think it’s completely normal but no one told me the timeline so I was taken by surprise.  Hopefully anyone reading this that hasn’t been through it can be a little more prepared than I was.  It’s only hair but it’s a big part of what people see when they look at you.  Not to mention that for a lot of people (me included) post-baby self image can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.  The last thing I needed was to feel self-conscious about another aspect of my outward appearance.

My body is shaped differently now.  I heard that would happen, too, so I expected it.  I have lost all but about 7 pounds of my “baby” weight.  My old clothes do not fit, though.  I’m still wearing maternity pants most of the time.  With an extra 7 pounds you would think I could squeeze into my old pants but my weight is distributed differently so that’s not possible for me at this time.  I didn’t like my shape before and I don’t like it now.  I need to change it and I will…I’m just having a hard time finding the discipline to do so.  I was about 10 pounds heavier than I wanted to be before getting pregnant so I have a lot to lose before I’m comfortable with myself again.  I know it takes time but BG is almost 14 months old (WHAT?!) so I’ve had the time.  I just need to get my butt in gear and control myself a little more.  One thing that has really changed are my arms and shoulders.  Yes, I have more weight on me overall so my arms are bigger but I now have bigger muscles, too!  And my shoulders are a little bit wider because they are stronger, too.  That comes from carrying around my sweet baby girl and she weighs about 21-22 pounds right now so she can be quite a work out.  But that is another reason my clothes are not fitting like they used to.  I’m in desperate need for some new clothes but I’m hoping to drop a few pounds first.  We’ll see.  I’m getting sick of the maternity pants so I might need to splurge on a few things pretty soon.

I think that just about covers my physical recovery from pregnancy and birth.  I will be tackling my emotional recovery next.  It’s going to be hard to revisit my feelings from a year ago but I need to do it.  For myself, mostly, but if I can help anyone else I really want to.  I’m actually glad I’m going to write about it now instead of when I was going through it.  Some of you may have wanted to commit me if I had written everything out back then.  J

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Physical Recovery - Part 1

I think I must be pretty wimpy and I must also have a low tolerance for pain and discomfort.  Recovering from my c-section was harder than I thought it would be.

While I was in the hospital I was taking a big Motrin every 6 hours and a perc every 4 hours.  I decided to only take one perc because I’m pretty sensitive to medications like that and did not want to be loopy while trying to care for my new baby.

One of the days (our second full day) in the hospital I had a nurse that came to see me in the morning and the early afternoon and then no one showed up until after 7:00 that night.  I had visitors come and go, food come and go the baby came and went (more on that later) but no nurse and no pain medications.  The nurse that visited me early in the afternoon told me to make sure I got up and walked around to make sure I healed properly.  She showed me how to clean my incision and helped me put my binder back on after my shower.  So I took the baby for a couple of walks and tried to stay out of bed (something else she told me to do) as much as I could.  Then more visitors came and went and before I knew it, it was just after 7:00, which was shift change time.

 I had been sitting in the nursing chair while we had guests and when I stood up I almost collapsed.  My incision felt like it was on fire.  I was in so much pain I could barely move.  BJ went to find a nurse to bring me medication.  He was pissed when I told him how long it had been since I had seen a nurse.  I just didn’t think about it…I was busy with the baby and visitors and walking.  I completely over did it and had gone over 7 hours without any pain medication.  Holy hell…I could not believe how much this hurt.  The nurse that came in asked me why I hadn’t called sooner and I told her that I had never had to call before…the nurses had just been coming in to give me meds and check on my temperature and my blood pressure.  I wasn’t paying attention to how many hours it had been since my last doses.  It was hard enough to tell day from night and keep the baby’s feeding schedule straight.  So I got my meds and all was well.  Needless to say we complained about the nurse that I had and come to find out she was a substitute from another floor.  I also did not do any more walking, I enjoyed my hospital bed to the fullest.  There was no need to try and rush anything at that point.

My wrist was still hurting me and that really sucked.  I had to maneuver the baby, the boppy and everything else when I could barely move my hand.  It was awful.  And then my right wrist started hurting.  This was all I needed, right?  BJ helped when he could but he didn’t spend much time in the hospital with us.  He had to work because he had used 2 days needlessly right before she was born for our cancelled induction and then our health scare.  There’s more on that, too.  I’m trying to keep things organized in my head.  J

We went home and I made sure to keep up on my medications.  It was nice because we went home on Saturday afternoon so BJ was able to spend lots of time with us.  He stayed home Monday and Tuesday, too.  I really missed the hospital bed because putting my feet up was so easy on my belly.  Laying on the couch was not nearly as comfortable.  I was told to avoid steps so I had to have BJ get a list of items from upstairs for us on a daily basis.  I did go up 3 times before I was released because I had to shower for crying out loud.  I moved slowly but deliberately and still did not understand why I was hurting so much.  There was pulling and tugging and it really was uncomfortable.  BJ suggested I call my OB so I did.  She asked me to come in.  I went in and she looked everything over and said I was healing really nicely.  The incision looked great but I was really sore.  My body had been through major surgery and I couldn’t understand why I was hurting so much.

My SIL, meaning no harm, told me how she was up and moving and felt fine after her 3rd c-section so of course I felt very inferior (do those feelings ever go away?) to her and became very down on myself.  There were times that I would stand up because I had to go to the bathroom but I didn’t realize how badly I had to go until I stood up.  Oh, the pain that seared through my incision on those few occasions.   I could barely stand upright while walking to the bathroom it hurt so much.  I told myself that I would not wait to pee any more.  It was crazy.  Like I said, I think I must have a low tolerance for pain because everyone else told me their stories and I just sunk deeper and deeper.

 There came a point where I started to feel better.  I guess it was about 3 weeks post-partum.  I was able to move around better and the stairs didn’t bother me anymore and I was able to lay on my back with my legs straight without too much pain.  My wrists were still killing me, though.  There were times when I was bathing BG (baby girl) that I just wanted to cry.  I was so afraid I was going to mishandle her because of the pain and my limitations on movement with my hands.  Thankfully, I never did.

It took about 4 months or so until I was able to lay on the floor on my stomach and prop myself up on my elbows without too much pain.  I tried it several times a week before that but there was so much pulling and strain that I could only last a minute or 2.

 I’m much more mobile now, thank goodness.  It took a long time to get here but I kept telling myself that it would get better and I didn’t push it.  I still feel my incision when I lift something heavy or walk uphill, it’s crazy.  I never thought that I’d still be feeling things 13 months after the surgery.  One of my coworkers told me that she still sometimes feels pulling and tugging sensations and it’s been just over 20 years since her surgery.  Yikes.  I guess this is just something I’m going to have to live with.

I’ve been able to start doing Pilates.  And by “doing” I mean I did them once last week.  Ha!  I was so sore after that I wasn’t able to tackle it again (I was going to on Friday but  left work early and then we had a snow day on Monday and I had a lunch meeting today…so maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to it).  It’s been almost 2 years since I did a core work out so I wasn’t surprised at how much my muscles were screaming afterward.  My incision didn’t bother me so that’s good news.  I just need to get back in the gym and work the muscles again.

There’s a few more aspects of my physical recovery that I’d like to share.  Mostly to just get it out of my head but maybe there are women out there that also had a hard time and can make me feel better about being a “wimp”.  J

Friday, February 21, 2014

Baby Girl's Birthstory - part two

Nurse Bernie said that the OR would be cold.  She wasn't exagerating.  Oh my gosh...the room was a walk in freezer.  I started shaking from the cold and from my nerves.  There were several people wearing scrubs and masks walking around and talking.  I looked around the room and saw the table with all the surgical instruments and sort of zoned out.  I was doing everything I was told - walk over here, get on the table, pull your gown to the side - none of it seemed real.  Several people introduced themselves to me but I couldn't tell them apart with their masks on.

I was on the table and nurse Bernie wrapped me up in two warm blankets and the anesthesiologist went to work.  The pain this man caused me was almost more than I could bear.  I was already emotional and just knowing I was about to get stuck in my spine brought me to tears.  Nurse Bernie was great.  She told me I was doing a great job and to just breath and try to go limp.  This was not an easy task because I was shaking uncontrollably.  Getting the epidural was horrible.  I was supposed to relax while being hunched over and freezing and getting poked with a needle.  It hurt so bad.  It was like a sting and a burn all rolled into one.  He was telling me to communicate but at times it hurt so bad I couldn't even speak.  I think I must be a wimp.  At one point, I told him it was stinging really bad and he asked me if it was just pressure or pain.  My words were caught in my throat and Bernie answered for me...PAIN.  And then finally it didn't hurt anymore.

I laid down on the table and the rest of the machines were hooked pulse ox and my blood pressure cuff.  The nurses were doing an instrument count and trying to figure out what music to listen to during the procedure.  I was lying there listening to them and would ocassionaly tell them that I was getting more and more numb.  One of the ladies started cleaning my stomach with a very scratchy sponge.  She was singing Moves Like Jagger while doing so.  I will never forget that moment.  The curtain went up as more preparations took place.  I was still shaking although I wasn't cold anymore.  I was begging God to let my little girl be ok.  I came to the realization that so much of my fear was the fear of not taking her home with us.  We had been through so much to get pregnant and now it was all coming to a head and I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was about to have a real live baby.  It still wasn't real to me.  I was so afraid she wouldn't cry upon birth or that the suspected problems with her head would prevent her from coming home with us.  It was a very scary place to be.

BJ entered the room and came to sit by me.  I was so happy to see him.  He sat there like a cat on a hot roof.  He was jittery and looking around.  The nurse asked me if we had a name and I told her the name.  It was amazing to be able to tell it to someone.  We had kept it a secret for so long.  BJ was so nervous.  I have never seen him like that.  I was talking way too much and saying things like:

she's going to be ok, right?
God is going to let her be ok, right?
We are going to be able to take her home, right?

BJ just kept saying yes and I hope so.  He wasn't looking at me...he was looking everywhere else.  He was holding my hand and hunching over.  I couldn't believe what was about to happen.

My doctor came in and made some small talk with us and the team and then it was time to get started.  At that point, my whole body went still and I felt like I could breathe again.  I took a deep breath and in my head I said to myself, "she's going to be fine, this is all going to work out".  I don't know what came over me at that moment but I sort of just disconnected from everything and relaxed for about 30 seconds.  It was an amazing feeling that I can't even put into words.

They told me that I would feel pressure and tugging and pulling and then I would feel a very hard push just below my sternum when it was time to get the baby out.  They made sure I couldn't feel anything and started going in.  They were chatting about someone they all knew and I blocked most of it out.  I tried to focus on BJ but he was a wreck.  His eyes were filled with tears and he was so far away.  I wanted nothing more than to hold him and tell him that all would be ok.  I kept saying the same things over and over again because when I'm nervous I make idle chatter and can't seem to shut up.  :-)  BJ didn't seem to mind, he was in his own world and I don't think he heard anything I was saying anyway.

My doctor announced that they were about to pull her out and then she said the most magical words I had ever heard up to that moment...."TeeJay, her head looks fine..."  I asked her if she was sure and she repeated that yes, her head looks perfectly fine.  And then BJ relaxed a bit and I could hear him breathing again.  I was so elated that I didn't even care that they were pulling and tugging on me so hard that I thought I was going to be yanked off the table.  Apparently, Baby Girl's head was still very far away from the birth canal.  And then came the HUGE push they were talking about.  It actually took 3 pushes on my stomach to get her out.  I thought I was going to hurl.

And then we listened.  We waited for any sign of life.  I was whispering to BJ, "do you hear her?  was that her?  did you hear that?  I think that was her"  And then she cried.  And then I cried.  And then BJ cried.  I said, "oh my gosh, that's HER!  That's our BABY!  She's here and she's you hear her?"  It was the sweetest little cry I had ever heard in my life.  They were sucking her out and massaging her and she was not liking it one bit.  Nurse Bernie had been put on picture duty so she was snapping pictures while we waited.  BJ kept trying to sneak a peak but he was too afraid of seeing my surgery to really get up and look at her.  Nurse Bernie brought the camera over and showed us a few pictures.  I couldn't believe it...there was a LIVE BABY on the table that came out of ME...and she was MINE.  I commented on how big she was.  I couldn't believe how big she looked.  And then they finally brought my bundle over to me.  I was able to put one arm up to sort of hold her.  My first words were, "oh my gosh, she's so TINY!"  The pictures made her look huge but her little face was so tiny and was amazing to see her.  And then I said, "she looks just like the Little Guy", because she did.  We took some more pictures and BJ talked to her and then it was time for him to take her away to the nursery.  I laid there in awe as they finished me up.  The phone rang and it was the nursery telling us how much she weighed and how long she was...6lbs, 15.5oz and 19.5in.  If you remember, 2 weeks before that, she was estimated at being over 7 pounds.  Those techs can kiss my ass for making me worry and making me think I was going to have a big baby.  They obviously do NOT know what they are doing.

As they were finishing up they gave me a shot of Pitocin to help my uterus go back down and it apparently did not agree with me.  I felt sick and faint and started to see spots.  I told the anesthesiologist this and he checked my blood pressure.  I was crashing.  He asked my doctor what was going on and she said that she was just about finished.  He gave me something else (I can't remember what) and I immediately felt better.  For about 45 seconds I was worried that I would never see my baby girl again.  It was a pretty scary minute.  Before they wheeled me out of the OR I asked what her apgars were and was told that she scored a 9/9.  Way to go, Baby Girl, way to go.

I have so much to write about and I never wanted to be that woman that stopped writing once the baby came.  So, I'm going to come back here and share our story.  There is much more to tell and if any of what I have to say can help someone else then it needs to be said.  It has not been an easy year but it has been absolutely amazing.  I may start a new blog about parenting after IF or I may just stay here since this is my home.  I do know that I need to write this stuff out so that I can work it out in my own head and heart.  If you are still out there reading, thank you...I miss you.