Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

We are heading out before more snow falls, trying to make it to my in-laws, about an hour north. We have a Je.ep and my husband's confidence that we can make it! That, and I believe my MIL is willing us there with her grandma-psychic-ability.

Before we depart, I just have to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I know some of you are on the "other side" and some of you are still very much battling with infertility. Having lived through some pretty rough holidays before this one, I know that it's not always so "merry." If you are a commentor here, if I follow your blog, or even if you're a lurker that I have never "met," my thoughts and prayers are with you. I know it's a hard road and I wish you peace at this time of year and always. Each of our stories is so different and there is no magic "bullet" to bring you your own Real Live Baby, but I really and truly hope that Will provides some small beacon of hope to those of you still struggling.

I consider so many of you friends in the truest sense of the word. It's funny how something will happen and my first thought is, "I can't wait to tell my Blog Friends." Or how my day isn't complete until I have checked in with all of you to make sure you are doing all right. Although we have never met, we have walked with each other on some of life's loneliest, hardest roads, and we have celebrated with each other on the ups and consoled each other on the downs. I am so thankful for each and every one of you that have walked with me and continue to do so.

I will leave you with a few pictures of our f
avorite Santa Baby. . .

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

With Love,

Katie and Will

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

First Snow

We don't get a lot of snow here in the Seattle-metro area. And the snow we usually get is wet and icky, and sticks around for a slushy day or two before the next rainfall washes it away.

So, it's very neat that we've had snow on the ground for over a week. After our most recent storm, we have a total of about a foot in our yard. I was telling Will that it's sad he is way too young to play in what might be the very best snow he'll ever see in his own neighborhood (it's probably the most that I've ever seen short of going to the mountains).

Before the day of the heaviest snowfall, when we just had a layer of ice with a couple of inches on top of it, I took Will out so that he could enjoy the weather. It was quite a production, especially since I wanted to take no chances that he would be cold!

I bundled him up in a snow suit and he was pretty happy about it.

I then piled the blankets up and around him in his jogging stroller (which worked great in the snow, by the way!). You can barely see him, but he's there!

I must have done a good job getting him warm and toasty, because within about five minutes, he was fast asleep!

I can't believe that Christmas Eve is tomorrow. Because of the Will's cold and then the bad weather, we still have to fight the crowds for Christmas shopping today. We are supposed to leave for my in-laws tomorrow morning, but with the weather forecast calling for more snow, we might end up spending his first Christmas here at home.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Memorial Monday

This week's Memorial Monday is for J and her angels. As always, the stories of recurrent pregnancy loss strike a special chord in me, as I know firsthand the heartbreak of loss with no answers or resolution in sight. My thoughts and prayers are with J and her husband. She sent me this first entry on November 24. . .

I met my husband in 2002 and we were married this past year. We had suffered one miscarriage when we were first dating and it was a very early loss. I had found out I was pregnant and a few days later I started bleeding. I never got any answers on what happened or why. I was young and had never experienced this

In 2007, 6 months before we were to get married, I got pregnant again. It was quite a surprise! We had to change EVERYTHING for the wedding, from the date to the church. I would have been 7 months when we got married so we moved the date up because I wanted to still be able to fit in my dress. At 8 weeks, my husband and I went in for the first ultrasound and everything looked good. The doctor said the babies' sac wasn't fully round, almost like a kidney shaped but it was nothing to worry about. We told our families and I even got a "Mommy to be" shirt from my sister. My husband was so excited and telling anyone and everyone. I, like most women, had that worry in the back of my head because of the last miscarriage. But, I thought that everything just HAS to be ok. I was very nauseated and bloated. My pants starting feeling tighter but I knew it was all bloat/baby because I could barely eat anything! My jerk of a doctor never really did any tests or anything and we just had some routine blood tests.

After I had hit 3 months, I woke up one day and just didn't feel right. I went to the bathroom and there was a little blood. I called the doctor and they said to come in. I started getting ready but felt some pressure. I went to the bathroom again and was bleeding everywhere. Then the clots started coming. I woke up my husband and we rushed to the dr. They did an exam and my cervix was indeed open so they scheduled a D & C. We went to the hospital and huge gushes of blood were coming out. (Sorry for the TMI). I was screaming at the people who admit you and bleeding all over the floor. They finally got me into my room and I then we were off to the operating room. I said bye to my husband. When he left I kept thinking, what if something goes wrong and I die? I know it's a horrible thought but I was in a bad state of mind. The anesthesiologist came in and I started freaking out and asking for them not to knock me out yet. I asked if they could do another ultrasound to make sure, but they knew. Anyway, the dr. kind of tricked me and said they were just going to put in an IV but he put in the medicine to make you sleep. I woke up and it was over. I forgot where I was for a minute. I had to sit in the recovery room for the longest thirty minutes of my life. I just wanted my husband. I was told later by the nurses that he was in the waiting room just pacing back and forth and would stop every once in awhile and sit down and cry. That broke my heart. I was more worried about him more then anything. We both wanted this baby so bad.

I got on the pill right after because we had then moved our wedding date back to the original date and I was scared to get pregnant again. I was on the pill for about 6 months and my husband wanted to try again right away. We just found out we are pregnant again. I am still really early but I am hopeful. We have a new, wonderful doctor who is doing everything he can to help us. I will always have that worry and fear deep down but it will always be there. My husband is over the moon excited and can't wait to be a daddy. I have our next ultrasound next week and can't wait. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I am not sure if my husband, nor I, could take another loss. I pray that everything will be ok.

And then this e-mail came on December 7 . . .

Well, we have unfortunately suffered our third loss. Last week at out 9 week appointment we found out that the baby had stopped developing. We were going to let the miscarriage happen naturally but the dr. called on Friday morning again and said they were worried it wouldn't happen naturally and would cause me more problems. So we had a D & C Friday night. I am doing ok, but I have my sad moments. My husband is taking it really hard. He doesn't understand and neither do I, since we were doing everything right. My dr. is going to run some more tests and wants to do a whole work up on me since he thinks it has something to do with clots. i am just glad that finally they are doing something to figure out what the problem is. (this is a new dr.) We are going to take a TTC break until Spring 2009.

To be featured in upcoming Memorial Mondays, please contact me by clicking on my profile link and then by clicking on my e-mail link. You can either write your story yourself or provide me with the details and I will do it for you. You may include pictures, poetry, whatever feels right. This is your memorial for your loss.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

From Liz

To Katie and Her Readers:

Thank you very much for posting my story and for the comments. It helps to know good wishes are being sent.

There were some questions as to our future plans and I guess the best way to sum it up is that right now we don't know what we are doing. We are still signed up with our agency, but have put our profile "On Hold," which means that we are asking not to be shown to birth moms for the time being. When our profile is active, we get at least one or two calls per week to meet with moms, and then we usually do an actual face-to-face meeting two or three times a month. This is higher than usual, but remember, we've been with the agency for a while and they are trying to get us matched, so they are pushing our profile to the top of the pile. Anyway, as I said, we are often the second choice, and it's very hard to face that rejection right now on top of everything else. The case worker that manages our file has promised to only call us if a perfect situation (for example, an already surrendered infant) comes up, and so far, the phone hasn't rang.

Todd and I are trying to come to terms with the fact that we might remain childless. We are not getting any younger, which makes us less-than-ideal candidates for domestic adoption and takes us out of the running for most international adoptions. We are not sure that we can continue living our life "On Hold" for much longer, so we might just decide to move on, as difficult as that is to imagine.

Thanks again.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Sniffle, Sniffle

Will is doing much better today. Thanks to those who offered get-well wishes and advice. I do have to vouch for those that suggested putting the Vi.cks baby rub on his feet. My mom had suggested that very thing the first night he was sick and, strangely enough, it seemed to work!

His little nose is still stuffy, but he is either getting used to it, or it is better enough that it doesn't both him anymore. His fever is gone and his eyes aren't as red-rimmed as they were. He had a rough time going to bed last night . . . didn't get him settled until well after ten, but once he was down, he slept a miraculous nine hours straight! I went to bed immediately after he did and slept eight hours straight myself! Although the poor breasts, which were just starting to get the message that they needn't produce milk at night, have now gotten confused after three nights of straight feeding. I woke up with painfully full breasts and was really ready for him to wake up and eat! But I'll take breasts filled with milk and a good night's sleep any day!

I think it's almost safe to say that we survived our first cold. I know that it's a good sign that all is working well with his immune system, but I sure hope we get to go a little while before the next one hits! Will might be fine, but I need some time to recover!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

And inside isn't exactly what I'd call delightful, either.

Little Man has his first cold.

It started with a pathetic little dry cough on Tuesday afternoon. He then proceeded to throw up his evening bottle all over Daddy (good choice on the target). He is a baby that rarely spits up, even a little, so that was my first real clue that something was amiss, more than the cough. As I was cleaning him up, I noticed that he seemed warm, so I took his temperature and it was 101.4.

By a few hours later, his poor little nose was stuffed and he was choking on the mucus. He didn't sleep that well that night, waking up too many to even count.

It didn't help matters that we are in the middle of record-low temperatures and that it's snowing here in the Pacific Northwest. I had a humidifier, infant Ty.lenol and a nose aspirator from the hospital, but no Vi.cks baby rub or saline nasal spray. Finally, the roads cleared up enough for us to brave the elements and get him those things, which did seem to help.

The funny thing is that he seems almost normal during midday, but in the evening, he gets really clingy and will not go to bed. His cough seems worse and his nose seems more stuffed. And he will fall asleep and go down in his crib, only to wake up twenty minutes to an hour later. He can be rocked back to sleep, but then it just happens again. I finally took him to the guest room bed last night and we slept together, me worrying the whole time that now he'll never want to sleep in his crib again. But desperate times call for desperate measures and I just can't let him cry when he is obviously so miserable.

All I can say is that I finally understand why mothers get so upset and rush their babies to the pediatrician begging for something, anything to stop the pain and suffering of their little ones. This isn't a major illness, just a little head cold, and I can barely stand it. It's going to kill me the first time he gets really sick.

In the meantime, any home remedies or advice on helping a little guy with a big cold is very much appreciated!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Memorial Monday

This week's Memorial Monday is for Liz and her sweet baby Sarah. I was very touched by her story and so glad to feature a different type of loss on my blog. Please remember to comment and let these grieving parents know that they are not alone.

Hi, I'm Liz. I'm 39 and husband is Todd, he's 41. We have have been trying for a baby for nine long years.

For the first year, it wasn't that bad, but then I started worrying. So I went to the doctor and she ordered some tests. We found out that there were a lot of reasons why I wasn't getting pregnant: PCOS, fibroids, or even some fallopian tube scarring that they couldn't explain. Of course, there were surgical procedures to correct each of these problems, but then another cropped up. Life kept getting in the way, too, with job losses for both my Todd and me, at different times, so switching insurance and not being able to do everything all at once seemed to drag the process out even longer.

We were finally referred to an official RE. It had been almost three years since we started trying at that point. I was relieved when the RE reviewed our charts and said that he really didn't think that it was worth our time wasting our money and emotions on any more drugs or IUIs. It was time to move to IVF.

I remember after that first appointment, I thought we would have our baby within the year.

I was so wrong.

We went through four fresh and two frozen IVF cycles. We never saw a positive.

We went through two donor egg cycles, both fresh. No positive.

Two years ago, I was done with the treatments. Todd agreed.

We talked about it and decided that we wanted to adopt. We got in touch with two agencies and hired an adoption attorney.

I actually had fun when we first signed with the agency. It was kind of like being pregnant, I imagine, since I never had one single BFP. We registered, got our nursery ready, and bought a minivan. I wanted to be ready when a birthmom picked us. Every time the phone would ring, one of us would leap at it.

But eventually, the novelty wore off. You can only jump at the phone for so long. You can only lovingly fold gender-neutral onesies so many times.

We met with a lot of birthmoms along the way. For some reason, we were very often the runner up, but never first choice.

Until six months ago.

Six months ago, we met A. She was 22, already a mom to one little boy, and knew that she was in over her head. She was five months pregnant and wanted to choose adoptive parents soon so that they could be part of the pregnancy.

We met a coffee shop and after she left, we lingered over our drinks. We hadn't even left the table when our agency called us. A wanted us to parent her child.

At first, it was so surreal. We were finally going to have a baby.

We were there for every doctor's appointment for the rest of the pregnancy. We were there for the gender ultrasound just a few days after A picked us. We were going to have a little girl. We named her Sarah after my mother, who passed away from breast cancer five years ago. We painted over the gender-neutral sage green walls with pinks of all shades. We added frilly little girls clothes to the yellow and green clothes that had been waiting.

It became real to us. We were going to have our baby.

We were at the hospital when Sarah was born. We got to hold her before A did (A's choice). We got to room in with her that night. I held her, I rocked her, I fed her, I changed her diaper. I was holding her when the social worker came in with a very serious look on her face.

We did not get to take Sarah home.

A changed her mind.

I still can't believe that this happened to us. It just doesn't seem fair. I know this is technically not for babies that are still alive, but in my heart, I feel that this was like a death. We have been seeing a counselor who said that it is like a death. Sarah does not exist for us anymore. She isn't even named Sarah now. I don't know what her real name is. My little girl, the one that I held and fed and rocked, is not here.

To be featured in upcoming Memorial Mondays, please contact me by clicking on my profile link and then by clicking on my e-mail link. You can either write your story yourself or provide me with the details and I will do it for you. You may include pictures, poetry, whatever feels right. This is your memorial for your loss.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Few Of MY Favorite Things

It's been awhile since I posted on some of the things that I have found to be invaluable as I continue to adjust to mommyhood.

For the breastfeeding mother, I highly recommend. . .

Target nursing tanks
. Yes, I am a little unhappy with the red circle right now, since I also ordered a carseat and was disappointed when they refused to honor the price. But these nursing tanks are still worth it. They are so comfortable and a decent price. I wear them all of the time under these types of sweatshirts. The lower, cross-style neck line allows for you to pull back one flap at a time and the tank underneath requires no bra. And for breast pads, I find these to be the most absorbent and also comfortable. The best thing is that in each box, they always put a little "freebie." I told my husband it's like the Jacks prize . . . my latest box had a free microwaveable sanitizing bag (for breast pump parts), the last box had a free mini tube of lansinoh gel, which was perfect for the diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or bottle feeding. . .

I really love the bottle warmer than I received as a shower gift. I would not have purchased this on my own, but it's so much better than boiling a bottle and it especially works great for thawing out frozen milk if I have forgotten to take out a bottle ahead of time or need a few ounces to supplement. Although Will doesn't like pacifiers now, I used it in the beginning to make sure they were sanitized. And it also warms food, future use.

For baby, I have loved . . .

These specific no scratch mittens. Yes, there are many of them out there. We have about six different brands. But THESE, my friends, will actually stay on Will's little hands, which really makes them far more effective than the ones that don't! They come in a two-pack at BRU and Tar.get.

He loves. . . no, wait, let me me phrase this properly. . . he is in love with this mobile. Every single person that I know that has this mobile raves about it and I have to join the chorus. It's kind of spendy, I won't lie. I saw it multiple places for around $40.00. So, I got mine off of Crai.g's List for $15 and I've seen in many times on e.bay for around $30. But you know what, I would have paid full price for it had I known its miracle, soothing properties. The music plays for a full 2o minutes, which is enough time for something like, oh, say a shower! He loves it so much that I sometimes get jealous. Some reviews that I read on-line mentioned that the volume is too low. I do have to admit that I have it on the higher level of volume, but that is plenty loud enough. Also, unlike other mobiles, this one will fit on thicker top rail cribs like ours - even on a curved edge!

Finally, this bath lounger is one of my "Best Buys." I couldn't find the right link, but I found one very similar (with Frogs on it instead of pink flowers - and mine looks sturdier with a foam padded headrest) at Wal.mart for $6. I was using one of these bath sponges, but it took forever to wring out and I couldn't take it places. This lounger dries in about twenty minutes - no more wringing and it folds for easy packing. Will loves it, it keeps his head out of the water. The only thing is that I wouldn't buy it for an older baby. I think Will is actually getting close to done with it. One of my fellow mom friends lent me this interesting gadget, which I have yet to use as they say that babies have to be able to sit unassisted in it. I'll have to let you know what I think of it when we get to that stage.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Memorial Monday

This Memorial Monday post is dedicated to our Gummy Bear. In some ways, it seems so very long ago that we lost our sweet baby. In other ways, it doesn't seem possible that two years have passed. So much has changed and yet my love for our precious angel remains the same. Gummy Bear, Mommy loves you very, very much.

It was December 8, 2006 and my eleven week OB appointment. I was giddy with the anticipation of seeing our baby as part of the routine visit. My husband came along to get another peek.

We were not strangers to this ultrasound business - this being our fourth look at our developing little one. After discussing my complicated pregnancy history and doing an internal exam, it was time for the show.

The ultrasound screen was fuzzy, complete with diagonal lines running through the black screen. We had been spoiled by the far more high-tech equipment at our RE's, so the first thought was slight annoyance that the picture wasn't going to be as clear. In fact, when the baby first came on the screen, it was such a faint image that I had to strain.

The doctor did the measurements and I felt my breath catch. They were off by almost two weeks. My husband didn't see the dismal numbers, so he didn't know why I started to cry.

But I saw those numbers and I saw the doctor's face. And what I didn't see was the very worst of all. I didn't see the flash of a beating heart.

Our sweet little Gummy Bear had no heartbeat.

My heart broke into a thousand pieces that day. I am still picking a few of them up. Time and Little Man have healed many of my wounds. But nothing can ever replace a lost child and completely take away the pain.

When people ask if Will is our first baby, I don't hesitate to answer yes, because to reply otherwise would just cause hurt and confusion. And he is our only living child, so it is not a lie. But deep in my heart, he is not our first. He is simply the first that we have gotten to hold in our arms as well as our hearts.

To be featured in upcoming Memorial Mondays, please contact me by clicking on my profile link and then by clicking on my e-mail link. You can either write your story yourself or provide me with the details and I will do it for you. You may include pictures, poetry, whatever feels right. This is your memorial for your loss.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

To Pump or Not To Pump

That is the question.

Now that Will is fairly consistently sleeping through the night (knock on wood, throw salt over shoulder, etc.), I have a problem.

Well, it's not problem, per se. It's more of an uncomfortable feeling that is also slightly responsible for keeping me up at night.

My breasts are full of milk. They still haven't gotten the message that the milk machine is no longer needed during the wee hours. And just when they start to get the idea, Will decides to wake up at 1:00 AM and confuse my poor girls.

I have a great breast pump, but to be honest, I hate pumping. I just don't like the bovine-esque feeling I get when I attach myself to the suction cups. I almost want to wear a bell around my neck and chew my cud as I sit there, pumping away. And the only time that my nipples have ever truly been sore (after the first few weeks, anyway), was when I have used the pump.

Plus, eventually, I would like to stop producing milk at night, and if I pump, wouldn't I just be putting of the inevitable?

But I am still very sore by morning and have pretty much soaked through my breast pads. I rush in at 7 if Will hasn't woken himself up by then, ready and raring to nurse.

My question to your nursing veterans out there is: how long does it usually take for the milk supply to readjust and do you think that I should pump during the night to relieve them - or would that, as I suspect, cause my supply to stay steady? And is there anything that I can do to relieve the nighttime fullness besides pumping?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's Keeping Me Up At Night

And no, it's not Will.

In fact, Little Man has become quite the sleeper. We had a full 7 - 7 night on Sunday and 8 - 7 last night. Before that, it had consistently been 9 - 7 for over two weeks.

So, why am I not sleeping now that Will is?

You see, M and I are in the middle of trying to make a life-altering decision. I am staring at a fork in the road and I am not sure which path to take. Each path has its ups and downs, its twists and turns. I know that no matter which way I choose to go, I will look back with a serious case of "what ifs."

We've listed the pros and cons. We've discussed fully the merits of each.

And we've made a decision. Kind of, anyway. It's not final yet and won't be for a couple of months more. Which means that I have plenty of time to second-guess what we've decided and wrestle with the consequences in the dark.

I wish I could say more, but this is a public forum and I can't just yet. Which probably means that it's not fair to blog about it here.

But I've always turned to my blog in times of turmoil. So, here I am.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thankful for A Good Weekend

For those of you that keep up with me regularly, you might recall this post about some issues that I have been having with my mother.

Given our recent history, to say that I was a little nervous about the holiday weekend would have been an understatement. As we drove the three hours south last Thursday morning, I had butterflies in my stomach. My mom is my mom and always will be, and therefore, I am able to forgive (and even mostly forget) some of her less than stellar moments. My husband does not have that same convenient memory when it comes to her antics. I knew that if she was anything like the last time, our visit would be dramatically shortened and there might be no going back.

However, gone was the Evil Grandmother of the past couple of visits, replaced by the grandmother that I always had hoped she would be. She was eager to hold Will, cuddling him, feeding him a bottle, reading him stories. My dad was great with him as usual. My sister was also thrilled to see her nephew and made a huge fuss over him. My little brother, who has also had some adjustments to make with Will's arrival (a lot more understandable in a 15-year-old), also seemed more interested in Little Man. He still has never held the baby, but he got down on the floor and played with him and his activity mat. It was nice to see my family so happily interacting with my son. I have to say, it's about time!

Speaking of activity mats, I gotta give a shout out to my favorite mat. We got this mat for our baby shower and it's all right. Will plays in it, but never with the glee that he plays in with this one. The freakin' star is like Baby Crack. It's on sale at right now for $19.99 and if you don't have it, I highly recommend it. Even if you have one already, get this one to use for traveling or just something different. Here is proof of its wonder. . .

Anyway, all in all, it was a very pleasant holiday weekend. I am not even that nervous to return to celebrate Christmas in a few weeks.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. I can't believe that it's the start of a another holiday season already!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Memorial Monday

This week's Memorial Monday is in honor of Stacy and her lost angels. In her own words. . .

I too have lost six babies. I've watched nearly all of my friends and relatives move into the next stages of life. I've attended their baby showers, given tons of gifts, visited their newborns in the hospital, and watched them grow up and start school in the past 7 years. I was 21 years old when I got married, and I thought that I would be done having kids by the time I reached 30. I'm about to turn 32 and am still at square one. There have been many tests and surgeries along the way and with each attempt at a pregnancy we have had some hope of success. Each time we have been disappointed. We've never named any of our babies, I think mainly because we've been in a form of shock or denial for 7 whole years, but also because we thought it would be too painful. Maybe it seems cold or informal to think of them in numbers, but each of those lives holds such a special place in our hearts. Each one captured our hearts and carried our hopes and dreams for the short time that we knew of them.
Baby #1 July 6, 2002
Baby #2 March 28, 2003
Baby #3 October 7, 2004
Baby #4 July 22, 2005
Baby #5 August 8, 2006
Baby #6 January 22, 2007
Those are my miscarriage dates. None of our babies made it past 12 weeks; some didn't make it to 6 weeks. It terrifies me to think of that list growing longer, but we have no idea what the future holds. Every day I wake up with a mixture of pain and sadness, joy and hope. Although there are extremely hard days, I trust the Lord and His perfect will for my life and my future!

To continue to follow Stacy's story and to further offer support, you can find her at Stacy's Thoughts On Infertility.

To be featured in upcoming Memorial Mondays, please contact me by clicking on my profile link and then by clicking on my e-mail link. You can either write your story yourself or provide me with the details and I will do it for you. You may include pictures, poetry, whatever feels right. This is your memorial for your loss.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

We have so much to be thankful for this year.

So. Very. Much.

Happy Thanksgiving, dearest friends. I hope your holiday is filled with love, laughter, and hope for the future.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Will Update

It's been awhile since I posted on what we are up to with sweet Will.

Well, this weekend, we went to see Santa Claus! It was a fun family outing which resulted in one highly overpriced but still worth every penny picture of Little Man. . .

Will also has discovered his laugh. It is still rare, but when it happens. . .
A typical first-time mom, I am stressing over milestones that he hasn't yet reached, such as lifting his head or rolling over. To be quite honest, I have been really bad about tummy time, so it's no wonder that he is not even close to doing these things. Any suggestions to make tummy time more fun would be appreciated!

His naps are getting more predictable and he goes down really easily, usually with little to no fussing - in his crib. Our challenge remains getting him to sleep longer than an hour. I still have to take him to bed sometimes and finish his nap together as he is still really grumpy and obviously tired when he wakes. I love it and it's a good excuse for me to get a nap in, but I worry that he'll always be dependent on me for a nap, which might not always work if we were to have another child or (gasp) I didn't have time to lay down for an hour in the morning and afternoon.

Nighttime sleep has made some drastic improvements over the past few weeks. We even had one night were he slept from 9 to 7! I went to bed at 10, so I even got a lot of sleep, though I still woke up a couple of times to check him on the monitor and change my breast pads. He still has a rough night here and there, with multiple wake ups, but those are becoming more rare. Our challenge with nighttime sleep remains getting him down at a decent time. He just won't stay down before 9 PM, no matter what I do. Again, advice appreciated.

Although I wouldn't say we are anywhere close to a schedule or routine, but life is still more enjoyable. I feel as if we are working towards more predictability, but I don't want to lose ourselves in trying to get this too strictly regimented. Really, I am loving every minute, even if I sometimes worry that I am not doing the right thing. Then again, would someone please give me the definitive answer on what the "right" thing is?!?

I will leave you with one of my all-time favorite pictures . . .

Monday, November 24, 2008

Memorial Monday

This e-mail broke my heart, for so many reasons. Here it is in it's entirety.

Dear Katie,

When I first saw that you were doing memorials for babies, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Thank you for doing this. I would like to write my story myself, if you don't mind, because I don't think I have ever written it down all at once and it might help. You can check it for spelling and grammar and change anything that you want.

My husband and I got married in December 2002. We started trying for a baby the following October. I was so naive and hoped to have a positive pregnancy test by Christmas so that we could surprise our families with the news that we were expecting.

Not only did we not have that positive test by Christmas, but we didn't have one by the next Christmas, which is when I went to my OB/GYN. She didn't seem that concerned, but wrote me a prescription for clomid and told me to just start taking it and that it couldn't hurt.

But by the two year mark, even she had to admit that something wasn't right. I just knew that it was me that was the problem. We went to our first RE appointment in January 2005.

I had the full work up and nothing really seemed wrong besides a slightly elevated FSH, and even that was still in the normal range, just high-normal. So, the next obvious thing was to test my husband. Imagine our complete suprise to find that he was making no sperm.

It took another six months of extensive testing and visiting specialists to discover that due to a genetic abnormality, we will never have our own biological child - well, at least my husband's biological child. After some soul-searching and time off, we decided to move forward with donor sperm.

We had our first donor sperm/iui cycle in February 2007. It failed. We did our second cycle in March 2007. We got a positive pregnancy test, but the betas were low and never doubled, a chemical pregnancy. We did a couple more IUIs and nothing happened. Because we were using donor sperm, our insurance wouldn't pay for a lot of the procedures, so we were going through our savings pretty quickly. Because of that, and because I was starting to suffer emotionally, our RE agreed to move us to IVF.

I started reading your blog last November when we were both starting our IVF cycles. I was searching for information on self-injections and that is how I found you. From the beginning, I almost felt a strange sisterhood towards you, even though we never met, I felt that we thought about things the same way and that if we did know each other in real life, I knew we would be friends.

It seemed more than coincidence that we ended up having our egg retrievals and embryo transfers done on the same day. I remember being drugged up with my valium and repeatedly refreshing your page for an update on your transfer. I thought how cool it would be if we were both pregnant and due on the same day!

My ultrasound was the week before yours and I remember being glad that I didn't have to wait so long. We had transferred three embryos and were so pleased to see two beautifully beating hearts. Finally, at long last, we were pregnant! With twins!

I remember completely understanding your sadness when you found out that you had just one baby and not twins. I felt sad that the third embryo had not made it, too, even though I was also a little relieved because triplets scared me to death. I have been haunted by that feeling of relief more than you can know.

It was nice to follow along with your blog. All of my friends and sisters had babies already, so I felt as if I was sharing my pregnancy with you. I loved comparing symptoms.

At seven weeks, we were released from our RE after another ultrasound showed all was well with the twins. I started spotting a day after that. It was a Saturday, so we went into the ER and an ultrasound showed that one of the twins had died. We were sad, but everything looked so great with the remaining baby that we decided to remain hopeful.

After that, everything seemed good. At thirteen weeks, we heard the heartbeat of our baby and that's when I started to really believe that we were finally having a baby. At 19 weeks, we had our high-level ultrasond and found out that we were having a little boy. The ultrasound tech laughed and told us that she had never seen such an active baby! He was flipping and turning during the whole exam. I had been feeling little "fish bubbles" for the past week, and now I knew that I was really feeling him kick.

We named our little boy Benjamin Tyler - Ben. We painted the nursery in red with a firetruck theme - my husband is a fire fighter. We ordered our crib and changing table. My sister-in-law asked to host a shower in my husband's hometown, my best friend offered to throw one where we live now.

Ben continued to be a really active baby, which was really comforting. I loved feeling him move so much, even though sometimes, I wished that he would sleep better at night - his kicks kept me awake!

I continued to read your journey, feeling so many of the same hopes, fears, and dreams for our futures as mothers. I felt as if fate had brought us to the same place at the same time. We were both finally pregnant with healthy baby boys after losing so much.

On August 19, two weeks before my due date, I woke up and felt strange. I couldn't figure out what was wrong until after I had breakfast and realized that I couldn't remember the last time Ben had moved. His movements had definitely been slowing down for the past couple of weeks, but my OB had told me that was due to his cramped quarters. I remember reading your blog entry where you had the same fears and then had a non-stress test and all was okay. I tried to calm myself down as I waited for 9 AM and my doctor's office to open so that I could call in.

The nurse that I talked to was very nice and said that I should come in right away. I went directly to the triage area of L&D. My husband was working a 48-hour shift, so I didn't want to call and worry him for nothing. I figured that I would soon see that everything was okay and be sent home.

At triage, they hooked me up to the monitors. The nurse kept adjusting and readjusting the second belt to get Ben's heartbeat. I was holding my breath, waiting to hear the familiar sound. Finally, she got out a doppler wand like they use at every appointment. She smiled as she ran the doppler over my belly as we both heard a racing heartbeat of 130 BPM. Tears of relief slid down my face as she put the doppler down and got the belts out again.

But again, she couldn't find a heartbeat with the belt. She assured me not to worry and told me that she would be right back with an ultrasound machine. A few minutes passed - it seemed like hours, but I was watching the clock and knew it wasn't more than five minutes - a doctor came in with the machine. He introduced himself and cheerfully said, "Let's take a peek at this baby."

He kept the screen turned away, so I could only watch his face. But that said everything. He kept moving the paddle over my stomach again and again, in slower and slower circles. He looked so sad and I knew what he was going to say before he even said it.

He told me that Ben had no heartbeat (the heartbeat we had heard on the doppler was my own racing pulse) and that my fluid was really low. He asked me if there was anyone that they could call for me and that is when the horror really sunk in. I had to tell my husband. Luckily, he was also not far from the hospital and was able to get there pretty quickly. We had a few choices to make. Since I wasn't in labor, we could go home for awhile and rest before coming back to be induced. Or, I could be admitted right then for an induction.

I did not want to go home to where we had a stroller in the front hall, a swing in the living room, and a nursery filled with firetrucks. We decided that I should be admitted right away and they started cervadil and then pitocin. Nothing happened. Even breaking my water didn't seem to help, my body would not dilate. Finally, my OB said that it was time to do a c-section. I honestly didn't care at that point and we signed the consent forms.

At 7:35 PM on Wednesday, August 20th, Benjamin Tyler was born still into this world. It was at once the most beautiful and horrible moment of my life.

Ben was perfect in every way. When they placed him in my arms, it was hard to believe that he wasn't just sleeping. My husband and I were able to spend several hours with him before we finally had to say goodbye. Two days later, we left the hospital. Without our baby.

It was a few weeks later when I finally had the strength to check your blog. It was early September and I was pretty sure that Little Man had been born. I gasped out loud when I saw that he had been born 1 minute after Will. It seemed fitting somehow and I was very happy for you and your husband.

People say horrible things after a baby dies. They tell you that you should move on and that you can have another baby. Well, it isn't that easy. Even if I could just snap my fingers and get pregnant again, that wouldn't replace what we lost when we lost Ben. And getting pregnant for us is no easy thing. We are not sure when, if ever, we will be ready to try again.

We have talked about adoption, about making the decision to live child-free. Nothing feels right yet. All I know is that I am a mother, but no one really recognizes that. Even my husband seems to have moved on and I feel stuck in place. I don't want to get back to real life, but everyone expects me to. No one asks me about Ben, no one wants to see the pictures or go through his memory box with me. They are afraid to say his name, afraid to make me cry, afraid to say the wrong thing, but they hurt me the most by not saying anything.

That's why this is such a good idea. It will mean the world to me to know my son is remembered by someone other than me.



To be featured in upcoming Memorial Mondays, please contact me by clicking on my profile link and then by clicking on my e-mail link. You can either write your story yourself or provide me with the details and I will do it for you. You may include pictures, poetry, whatever feels right. This is your memorial for your loss.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why I Am Here

On January 30, 2006, the phone rang in my otherwise silent house. It was 11:07 AM.

Just the night before, at six weeks pregnant, I had started bleeding.

Bright. Red. Blood.

The pregnancy hadn't been planned. Not yet, anyway. I was on the pill. But we were thrilled regardless and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first baby. We had named our little one "Piglet," at least until we knew what sex the baby was. We were planning for this baby, loving this baby, and then, our world turned upside down.

After the bleeding started, we had called my OB. As the pregnancy was so very early, we hadn't even met the doctor yet. He matter-of-factly told me that I was most likely miscarrying, but had asked me to come in for a beta blood test anyway. I had gone that morning, crying so hard that the phlebotomist hadn't been able to take my blood, she was so rattled. Her supervisor had to come and do it for her.

So, when the phone rang, I answered, with tears in my eyes and a dying hope in my heart.

The nurse on the other end of the line told me that my beta was a dismal 26. I was miscarrying. There would be no baby on October 2, 2006.

When I asked for help, for resources to assist parents that had lost babies, the nurse told me that I "hadn't really even been pregnant" and that those resources were for women that had lost pregnancies much farther along.

I hung up, confused. What did she mean, "Not really pregnant"? The five positive HPTs sitting in our bathroom couldn't have been wrong, could they? Could I want a baby so much that I could make a test turn positive? It was only later that I would learn what a chemical pregnancy was and I would only learn that information from doing my own research.

I was sad. I was alone. I was confused. I didn't know what to do, or where to turn next.

Over the course of the next year, my husband and I would lose five more angels. I did run into very sympathetic medical professionals along the way, but a lot of the time, I was on my own. And sometimes, the utter lack of respect for what we were going through was stunning.

After my fourth miscarriage, before the D&C, I told my husband that there should be people to help those like me. There should be a brochure to hand someone, with resources like The Stirrup Queen's Blogroll, a link to local support groups, etc. There should be someone to tell you that a heating pad would really help those miscarriage cramps, that you would feel the passing of your seven-week-old embryo, and, most importantly, that you are not alone. Others have travelled this sad, lonely path. And survived.

No one should have to hear that their baby has died and then walk out of their doctor's office feeling so alone. No one.

And yet. So very many women do. Whether it comes after a phone call like mine, or following an ultrasound where there is no heartbeat, thousands of mothers and fathers have to go home to a silent house. They have to pack away ultrasound pictures, tiny onesies, and all of their hopes and dreams, because there is no baby coming. Not anymore. Perhaps not ever.

There might be a prescription to take, or a D&C to scrape away, what is left of the hopes and dreams of what will never be. But other than those sterile pills or cold operating rooms, there is little guidance from the medical beings.

That's why I am here. That's why I keep blogging. Because I remember how much it hurts. I know that pain. And I want to help.

And I will.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Update on Joy

For those of you following Joy's story, I am afraid it was not good news at today's ultrasound. The embryo has passed away and she has already started bleeding.

She has posted the details from the appointment here, so please click over to her blog and leave her some love.

Just the Beginning

First of all, lots of bloggy love to all of you that left comments for Joy. I know the beta hell that she is living right now is not an easy place to be, and I hope that the support from our community offers her a tiny bit of comfort as she waits.

I have already had many requests for future Memorial Mondays. To that end, I am organizing them right now. Some people have special dates coming up (birthdays, due dates, etc.), so I am trying my best to honor those and might not necessarily go in the order that I receive them. As long as you received a reply from me, rest assured that I did receive your request and will post it as soon as possible.

I am working on a Memorial Monday Logo to post here and also, for those willing to do so, post on others' blogs so that we can spread the word around. I'll post more on that when I have finished the logo.

I also have added a new link to the left. The SHARE Link has been up for awhile now, but I also found the Healing Hearts website and thought it would be helpful to those that are grieving or would like to help someone who is. I will continue to look for similar resource sites so that if people cannot find what they are looking for here, they can have an idea of where to look next. If you know of good websites for dealing with infertility/loss, please e-mail me so that I can add it in the future.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Memorial Monday is just the first of several ideas that have been brewing for awhile. After my third loss, I vowed that my angel babies would not die in vain. I truly feel a calling to help others navigate the rough waters of loss. I was fortunate to have a loving husband, supportive friends, and the financial resources to get the help that I needed. I know that not all grieving parents are so fortunate. I truly believe that by being a resource to others, I can create a living tribute to my lost little angels.

So, stay tuned.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Inaugural Memorial Monday

For those of you who missed this post explaining what will be happening here on Mondays, here is the brief rundown: Each week, I will feature someone who has experienced loss through infertility. This is a way to recognize loss in a more tangible way and provide support to those to need it most.

My one request: please comment in some way. The whole point is to provide recognition of loss, for the grieving to know that they are not alone. I allow anonymous comments, so you do not have to have a blog or be registered with blogger to comment.

Today's Memorial is in honor of Joy. For those of you that do not currently follow either of her blogs, Joy is one of those people who has the perfect name. She is always filled with happiness for others and joy in her own life. Always one of the first to comment or pass along a blog award, Joy is someone that I wish that I could meet in real life. Her original blog doesn't talk about her miscarriage, so I had no idea that Joy had lost a pregnancy in 2006. Not only has Joy already suffered a loss, but she is also currently pregnant with falling progesterone and HCG numbers.

Here is her story in her own words:

I got pregnant with my first daughter in the fall of 2004. Getting pregnant was not a problem (two months is all it took), staying pregnant was not a problem, and the pregnancy was pure perfection including labor and delivery. So I was thinking, "I like this baby-making business! It's easy!!!" Well... keep reading.

My second pregnancy came as a surprise but we were elated. Elaina was 9 months old and I made her a "BIG SISTER 2006" t-shirt to wear to her grandparents' house. We bought a mini-van, we went house shopping, then I miscarried. I was broken-hearted. I screamed, ranted, raved, shook my fist at God, blamed myself.

We started trying again immediately. We continued house shopping but without as much vigor. Then I found the perfect house (didn't even have a FOR SALE sign up but we called our realtor to look it up). I got my first cycle after the miscarriage (it took EIGHT weeks) while we were packing and moving. I conceived our second daughter our first morning in our new house.

Thinking that we were just baby-making machines we started trying again recently. I noticed things were different with my body. I went to see my doctor and they found cysts on my ovaries and crazy hormone levels. I got the diagnosis of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). We tried and tried and got negative after negative.

For 13 months I felt the devastation of not getting pregnant. Two rounds of Clomid before I said, "ENOUGH!" I finally decided to move on with my life. To continue to take medication and exercise and hopefully reverse this diagnosis. On Halloween of this year, just a couple of weeks ago, I got my positive.

But that pregnancy is being threatened. Possibly because of the Clomid I had only taken just the month before (it thins out the lining of the uterus). My progesterone started to drop. I began to bleed in the evening. The on-call doctor was so sweet and gave me a prescription as I hyperventilated over the phone. I TRIED TOO HARD to just give up.

Now that my progesterone shot up to 175 my HCG has dropped from almost 7000 to 3000 last we checked. I'm going in for a blood test today to see if the levels are rising or declining. Depending on those results we have a scheduled ultrasound for Wednesday afternoon.

I'm a Christian and I believe in my Miracle Maker (great song, by the way) and I know that he can make this little heart beat and cause those HCG levels to rise. If you are also a believer, please add me to your prayer list! I am very desperate for this little one to live, especially for the sake of their big sisters who will be crushed. If you're not a believer, send me some sticky dust and your good thoughts! I want to see and hear a heartbeat on Wednesday. I want good news!

To continue to follow Joy's story and to further offer support, you can find her at Sunny Side Up.

To be featured in upcoming Memorial Mondays, please contact me by clicking on my profile link and then by clicking on my e-mail link. You can either write your story yourself or provide me with the details and I will do it for you. You may include pictures, poetry, whatever feels right. This is your memorial for your loss.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Memorial Monday

Okay, so this is my first attempt at making this blog a little more about infertility, loss, and support.

Allow me to sound really conceited for a minute. . . bear with me, the good is coming.

A lot of people follow my blog. Not a gazillion or anything crazy like some of the more famous bloggers get, but I have a decent audience. And you, my dear readers, are the best cheerleaders a girl can ask for! From the darkest days of my IVF cycle to the joyous day that Little Man entered the world, I had you all along for the ride.

An example of the support that I received is this anonymous comment posted when Will was born:

"Congratulations! I have followed your journey for so long now, and as I sit here with tear streaming down my cheeks, I am so happy for you, as I have waited so long to read and enjoy this amazing occasion with you! I am so happy for you all. God Bless your new family."

Can I just tell you how much it means to me that a complete and utter stranger cared so much about my struggles that they had tears? For me? For my lost angels? For our new beginning?

Sure, now that Will is here and healthy, I get a lot of nice comments in real life, even from strangers on the street. But where was all that when I really needed it - when I was miscarrying or going through a bad cycle?

When my angels died, the very hardest thing for me to suffer was the lack of recognition from society in general. In my case, with such early losses, there was no funeral, no memorial service, no obituary. But even having those things doesn't guarantee support. So many people avoid talking about loss. Even close friends and family can fail you. This post from Kathy talks about just this very thing, so I know that it's not just me that has felt it.

What I would like to do is use my blog as a memorial to the lost angels, babies, and dreams that are out there. Even if you have your own blog, this is a way for me to direct traffic your way. And it's not just for those that have lost a baby. Having gone through just a few ART cycles that didn't work and only one IVF cycle that did, I can't imagine how hard it must be for those that have multiple cycles fail. That's a loss, too. Every negative cycle is a loss, in my not-so-humble-opinion.

So, here is where you come in. My e-mail is linked through my profile. Send me your story. You can include whatever you'd like - pictures even! You can write your own entry, or just send me the bare bones and I will write it for you. Or it can even just be a poem, a couple of sentences, a flicker slide, whatever you would like to do to honor your story. If you want people to e-mail you directly, let me know to post your e-mail with the story.

Every Monday, Memorial Monday, I will post one persons' story. This will hopefully help give some tribute to the loss(es) that you have suffered. Even if you already have your own blog, this should help direct more traffice (and more support) to your site. If you are a lurker without your own blog, then this will allow you to get the support that you need without having to set up a site.

And for the rest of you - comment, comment, comment! Let the person know, the same way that you always let me know, that you are there for them! Give them as*vice, give them hope, give them what you gave me - your unfailing love and support!

It might be a total flop, or it might just work. So, starting tomorrow, look for my Memorial Monday post. This is just the first of some ideas that I have brewing. But don't worry, there will still be plenty of updates about Will and mommyhood after recurrent loss!

And don't forget to comment!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Giving Back

First, let me reassure those of you that left comments or sent e-mails. I am not going away - not entirely! First of all, there are too many of you that have seen me through my pregnancy and I want to see you through yours as well! And for those of you still waiting for your miracle, I am here to celebrate with you when those double lines appear or the adoption goes through!

I just want to return a bit to the original intention of this blog - to find others suffering from infertility and to help them, and also as a way of healing myself. Although I have come a long, long way in my healing now that Will is in our lives, there is still no replacing all of the angels that we lost along the way. I once vowed that I would do something to honor my sweet babies and I think using this site would be a good way to do that.

I am playing around with a few ideas on what to do and how to do it, so stay tuned for further information on that! And if you have any ideas that you aren't going to use on your own blog, or need help with, just let me know!

And of course, in my own not-so-humble-opinion, it would be downright cruel to never update you on this sweet little boy and all of his cuteness. So you definitely haven't heard the last of me!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Blog That's Too Small . . . A Blog At All?

First off, thanks to Chili for hosting me on her blog and by honoring me with her post here.

Actually, I found it kind of freeing to be on someone else's blog. I have found mine feeling rather strange lately, almost as if it's a piece of clothing that doesn't quite fit - like so many of my prepregnancy clothes, it's seems snug in some places and loose in others.

You see, I started writing here for a reason. And that reason, for the time being, isn't a reason anymore. Not that I don't still have faint rumblings of infertility that echo in my mind, but it's a quiet thump in the back of my head, rather than the constant roar that it once was.

I started this blog for a dual purpose. The first was, at my therapist's suggestion, so that I would have a non-judgmental outlet, a place where I could pour my heart out and possibly even get affirmation from others. Boy, oh boy, did I get that and more! You, my dear readers, my commentators, my friends, got me through some of my darkest days and celebrated with me when I had my happiest days, too.

The second purpose, however, was truly so that I could find others and possibly help them. I remember reading so many stories of recurrent loss on the internet, but so few had happy endings. It seemed that after a certain number of losses, especially unexplained losses, most women either gave up and decided to remain child free, or adopted. While adoption was definitely an option for us, I really wanted the experience of carrying a baby to term, a chance for my body to "redeem" itself for all of the failures. Once I got pregnant and it seemed to be our RLB after all, I felt that possibly my success story could show others that there are happy endings out there after so many losses.

However, I wonder how many of those that stumble across the site see all the pictures of Will and think (as I once did about former-infertiles-now-with-babies), "Well, she couldn't possibly understand how I feel now."

And it's true. Because you do start to forget a bit, how awful it all really was. Or maybe forget is the wrong word. I never forget. But I shove those darkest of days back to the deepest recesses of my mind, because they truly were so awful.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a good friend, a fellow former-infertile-now-with-baby (someone really needs to think up a better term for it than that), who also has a miracle IVF baby. We were laughing as we relived some of our experiences, but after I got off the phone with her, I started to cry. Those days aren't far enough behind me now to laugh . . . not yet, and possibly not ever. The feelings of infertility aren't as far below the surface as I try to push them. You barely scratch me, and I still bleed.

All of this to say that I am not sure what direction to take this little blog anymore. I can't see walking away from it altogether, but I am not sure what purpose, what shape it should have. So, if you don't hear from me as often, that is the reason.

That, and a certain Little Man. . . Who is the purpose of everything.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Guest Post Brought To You By the Great Cross Pollination

The following is a guest post brought to you by the Second Annual Blog Cross Pollination. If you didn't want to click the link to find out what it's all about, basically, I have the great honor of having an amazing guest blogger posting today. Your mission is to: Read the post. Guess the author and post your guess in the comments section. Then, click the link at the end of the post to see if you are right. Even if you weren't right, you are still a winner, because you'll have stumbled upon a great new blog to read - Oh, and MY post for the day! Thanks for playing!

Losing My Mind: Life after Secondary Infertility

Parenting after infertility is more intense than I could possibly have imagined.

With First I was often worried, but never terrified. First's place in the world seemed certain, while Second's feels much more precarious. When First did new things, I was excited, but never so happy I cried. First's milestones I had waited months for, Second's I've waited years for.

And then there's the guilt...

With First, when I felt tired or overwhelmed, I just took a nap or asked for help. With Second, I feel guilty for not enjoying every solitary second of his day.

With First, I didn't enjoy going back to work because I wished I could spend more time at home with her, but it was just what I had to do and I was at peace with that. With Second, I feel guilty that we worked so very hard to get him here and now I'm going to give him to someone else to care for on a daily basis.

We're already talking about trying again in a couple of years, and that brings guilt as well. When we decided to try for Second, we felt like we would be adding to First's life by giving her a sibling. In retrospect, the time we spent trying to conceive Second was hard on First even though she was blissfully unaware of what was going on. I was so consumed in our infertility that I'm sure there were times that I wasn't there for her enough. Times that I didn't listen enough. Times that I didn't talk enough. In the end, I think she's better off for having a sibling, but I wonder if having a Third is worth risking putting Second through that, and putting First through it again.

My challenge now is to find a way to turn these feelings into something positive. Use them to become a better person and a better parent, instead of becoming crippled by them. If you have any thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them. Thoughts, suggestions, commiseration, and even (constructive) criticism if that's what comes to mind. And feel free to tell me to relax. Relax was a dirty word in this house before we conceived Second, but I think it's about time to bring it back into daily use!

Did you guess? Did you post your guess in the comments section . . . no cheating! Now, click here to see if you were right!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Too Much of A Good Thing!

When I had my c-section, the doctor had to do a pretty heavy-duty spinal, as I could still feel my stomach even after he turned up the juice on my epidural. Then, the initial spinal didn't take, and he had to add even more drugs to the mix.

That's why I wasn't too surprised when my lower back/upper buttock area remained numb after the rest of me regained feeling. Even a few weeks later, I still wasn't that worried about it. I figured that it was a small price to pay for not feeling someone cut through the layers of my stomach fat and uterus!

At my six week check, I asked my OB if it was normal, and he said it wasn't and that he would have the anesthesiologist call me for a follow up. I never heard anything and, as the numbness wasn't keeping me from my regular activities, and was only mildly annoying, I kind of just let it go.

Over the past two weeks, however, I have had these little shooting/electrical little pains radiating from the numb area in my back down to my left leg. It kind of reminds me of the feeling right after they administered the initial epidural, that little flash of electrical current that didn't hurt more than startle. But it seems strange that it would be getting worse instead of staying the same or getting better. I have noticed that the shooting pains only happen when I am sitting down, or especially when I am driving. Sometimes, when I get out of the car, even after a short drive, my left leg feels numb until I walk around for a few minutes.

So, I called the OB office today, to see if there was anything else that I needed to do for a follow up. The anesthesiologist called me back and I have an appointment for next week. I don't think that it's anything too serious, and kind of wonder if the shooting little pains are the nerves coming back alive?

If anyone has had anything similar happen to them, I'd love to hear your experience.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nap Time

Right now, Will is taking his third consecutive nap in his crib. We have a little "nap routine" now, which includes a diaper change, brief massage with lotion, two books, and then a few minutes of quiet rocking. Then, I am able to put him down awake, and he goes to sleep in the crib. Yesterday, there was a bit of fussing/crying involved as he settled down to sleep, but I went back in after about five minutes and patted his tummy and he drifted off.

This morning, there was some cooing and then about two pathetic little waahs and he was off to dreamland. He did partially wake up ten minutes later, but with a few more half-hearted cries, he was back to sleep.

Of course, now the key is getting his naps to stay longer. He only sleeps about forty-five minutes to maybe an hour. And he wakes up crying, so I am pretty sure he is still tired. Usually, when he is well-rested, the crying stops when I pick him up and I can put him down on the changing table and he is all smiles. If his nap has been too short, the crying starts again when I set him down.

As I started typing this, he woke up. I went in, patted his tummy for a few minutes. When that didn't work, I picked him up and patted his back, and he fell asleep on my shoulder. When I put him back down, he instantly started crying again. These cries are more insistent and not the "I'm just fussing" variety, more of the "I mean business" kind. I am not ready to do "crying it out" yet, so when the cries go beyond the fussy to the really upset, I go in. As recommended by our pediatrician, we are waiting until the four to five month mark to even think about letting him cry it out. Even then, I have a hard time imagining it. We will see when the time comes.

Right now, Will has started sleeping better at night. We had a few really good nights last week, with seven hour stretches. But we usually get at least one five hour stretch now, which is wonderful for everyone.

So, any suggestions on how to lengthen naps without crying it out would be appreciated. Also, Will has not moved to an earlier bedtime and still is staying up until about 10 PM. We do a longer version of the naptime routine at 8 PM, but he won't stay down. Any ideas for moving bedtime a bit earlier would also be welcome!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Of COURSE we had to take Will to the Pumpkin Patch in honor of his first Halloween. I have been going to pumpkin patches without kids since my husband and I were married, so it only makes sense that I would drag my 10-week old along for the fun.

The only problem was that Will didn't seem to think it was so much fun. He was asleep for most of it (I think his costume was too warm).

And he didn't want to be a pumpkin!

But when we dressed him in his Pirate suit this morning, he was much happier.

Or maybe just humoring Mommy, since I was so very excited.

We went to Daddy's work party and got to participate in a costume contest. And he even won a prize . . . for the scariest costume?

Life with Will is so much fun . . . and filled with so much love.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mama Drama

I haven't really written about my trip to my parents last week. There is a reason. I didn't know what to say. I still don't. But it is troubling me so much that I know this is a good place to get it out in words.

For those of you that have been reading for a little while, you might remember this post, where I explained about my sister's engagement and how it was hard for me to get excited because she was going to have a destination wedding - to which our family was not invited. My sister and my mother have a decidedly complicated relationship. Until recently, I would have described my relationship with my mother as excellent. But in the past few years, there have been a few events that have shaken that strong foundation. She was not really a fan of my husband (for unfounded and illogical reasons) and was not pleased when we married. The day of my wedding, she refused to watch me put on my wedding dress. She went around telling people that the marriage wouldn't last three years.

She was less than supportive about our miscarriage problems and quest for a baby. But she said that a lot of that had to do with her concern for my health and well-being. I tried to understand that, as a mother, it was hard for her to watch me go through the emotional and physical hardships.

You might remember this post, where my mother's reaction to Will being a boy was decidedly less than enthusiastic. When I called her on it, she said that after the baby was born, she would "get over" her disappointment at his gender.

I have kind of learned to accept that my mom's personality is what it is. And as much as she has hurt me with some of her recent actions, she is still my mother. I feel as if I had a wonderful childhood and I am grateful to her for the large role she played in that. She was a stay-at-home mom and sacrificed a lot for her children. Yes, sometimes she hurts me, but I have felt as if she is ultimately there for me when I need her and that despite her outspoken nature, she loves me very much.

What I haven't written about is that after Will was born, my mom had what I can only call a nervous breakdown. It's really too much to write about here that won't bore you, but to sum it up, she didn't want to see Will after he was born and was so depressed and agitated that my father considered admitting her to a pyschiatric hospital. This was all on the same day that we got home from the hospital, and it was so upsetting to me that I think I kind of blocked it out. I was on so many painkillers and the natural adrenalin of having a new baby, that it was kind of easy to pretend that it hadn't happened.

She did eventually get her act together and my family came to visit, but then she seemed to have precious little interest in holding the baby. She was acting more herself, but still seemed a bit "off." I had so much going on that I couldn't focus on her problems and, after talking with my Dad, he promised that he would handle it. Over the course of the next few weeks, she seemed to be more her old self on the phone, asking about Will and offering parenting tips.

This was one of the reasons why I wanted to make my trip home last week. I didn't feel as if my mom had a chance to bond with Will and I thought it was time to reintroduce him to his Grandma. I thought if she had a chance, things would be different.

Remember, this is a woman who sends e-mails to my dogs - and calls them her granddogs and her house Camp Grandma. She cooks for my dogs, makes them Christmas stockings, talks to them like they are people. She loves babies and I was really looking forward to watching her be a wonderful, doting grandmother to a non-furbaby.

When we got to my parents' house, I was surprised to see that she seemed ill-at-ease with Will. She has raised three babies and yet, didn't seem to know how to hold him, diaper him, or comfort him. When he cried, she would stare helplessly at him, and make no effort to calm him. At one point, she was holding him while he cried and started crying loudly back at him (not really crying, just making a crying noise right in his face). At first, it startled him out of his cries, but then she kept doing it and it scared him into a horrific wail. I grabbed him away and he immediately burrowed into my should and shuddered.

It was hard for me to watch this, but I wanted to encourage their interaction. I thought that if she held him a bit more, she would start to respond differently.

Until, on the second day of my visit, my mom told me that she feels no bond to Will, and certainly not the love she had been expecting to feel for him. This broke my heart.

She justified it by saying that she is still parenting (my little brother is 15) and not as emotionally ready to be a grandparent as others might be. She said that since he looks nothing like me (he is the spitting image of my husband as a baby), she feels no instant attachment to him.

I was angry and told her that she had better be very careful because she had just had her third strike. I told her that as much as I love her and do believe that she was a good mother to me as a child, this wasn't about her and me anymore, this is about Will. I cannot allow him to be exposed to someone who doesn't treat him well. And I am concerned that if she would say and do these things in front of him now, will she change her ways when he is older?

I am obviously very sad about this. It makes me feel that I cannot trust my mother around my son if I am not there. I don't believe that she would intentionally hurt him, but her lack of physical care for him makes me fear that her inattention could inadvertently cause him harm. My father was wonderful with Will, and her behavior seemed to improve when she was around my dad, but my dad works and isn't always around.

I don't know what to do, my heart aches. I do hope that the future will bring a better relationship between my mother and Will, but I never imagined that I would be facing something like this. I don't know how much of it is my normal mom, with her normal outspoken ways, just throwing a bit of a hissy fit because I had a baby with a man that she still doesn't like much. Or how much of it is truly a psychological problem that I really believe the has.

I think my mother needs help, but when I suggested that, she flatly refused. She doesn't think talking to someone will help and hates the very idea of taking medicine (she won't even take Tyle.nol for a headache). My dad also seems to be burying his head in the sand about this, saying that she isn't as bad off as I am making it and has lots of times when she is "normal." While I agree with him that there are times when she is the same old mom, the times when she isn't right are alarming.

I just don't know what to do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sleep Evades Us Once Again

So, for awhile, the sleep situation got better. For a week straight, we had a great routine of 10 PM bedtime, 2 AM feed, then 6 AM wakeup. It was heaven to get four hours of consecutive sleep.

When we went to my parents, he even did at 10 - 4 stretch. I wanted to do a victory lap around the neighborhood when I realized that he had technically "slept through the night" (although who defines a night as six hours, I want to know!).

But he has been back to his old habits again these past few days. First off, he was always asleep by 10. And last week, he started falling asleep by 7 PM. Now, he is fighting bedtime and didn't go to sleep until after 11 last night.

Then, he was up at 2, 5, and 7. That's a lot of waking up for a nearly 10 week old baby. And a twelve pounder at that!

I also haven't noticed any real organization to his daytime sleep. I keep hoping for the change that most moms seem to notice around the 3 month time frame, where sleep patterns tend to even out.

He has seemed to locate one important sleep tool this past week - his right hand! He loves to stick his hand in and slobber all over it. It is the cutest thing!