Monday, September 16, 2013


Oh, my poor little blog.  Once, this place was my lifeline.  I couldn't imagine visiting and writing here every single day.  I couldn't imagine what my life would be like without my postings here.

And now. . . it sounds trite to say that I am too busy to post, but it is simply the truth.  With a full time career and three children five and under. . . my life is busy, busy, busy.

It is a good busy, a happy busy, a crazy-hectic-filled-with-love-laughter-and-more-busy.

It has been two months since I posted, and a lot has changed here.  Most importantly, I quit my job and started a new one.  As you can imagine, a lot of chaos has ensued with that.  And. . . I leave for training. . . next week. . . and. . . it is three weeks away.

Three.  Weeks.  Away.

All that I have to do, professionally and personally, before embarking on such a trip, is overwhelming to say the least.  Somehow, someway, I will get through it, but it is gonna be dicey.

I return on Andrew's first birthday.

Another topic that throws me for a loop, if you must know.  My third and FINAL (because the good ol' tubes were tied) baby is not a baby for much longer.  He is practically walking, already talking, and eating like an eighteen year old. 

Add to this that Emma recently had her very first day of preschool (which, she was so ready for) and that Will recently turned five. . . and, wow.  Just unbelievable how fast time flies.  Again, so cliché, and yet so very true.  It all goes so fast.

My infertility days seem far behind me in some ways, and yet, I can still remember the dark desperation and sadness of that time.  Which is why I still check in here and keep up with all of you.  I remember. Each and every day, I do remember.

So, this blog might not get as many updates as it once did, but I am still here, still chugging.  And updating when I can.  I hope you are all well.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Amazing Adventure

When your children are little, those whose children have grown are fond of telling you that these are the best days of your life and to enjoy them, because they go so fast.  You are aware that they are correct, but as the old adage goes (and is so often quoted by those same well-meaning strangers in the grocery store as your four year old throws a tantrum because he wanted to get Sponge Bob mac & cheese and you opted for the 3/$1 store brand with plain noodles), "The days are long, but the years are short."

As a mom to three children under five who also has a full-time career, I feel as if I spend most of my time just barely keeping up.  It isn't that I don't enjoy these moments; I do.  I can feel them slipping through my fingers at a pace that increases by the day and I know that soon these days will be in the past, a distant, sleep-deprived memory.  Try as I might to hold on to the little things that make each day count, I find myself slipping into a groove, and days go by without me really getting to stop and take note of the passage of time.

Then there are days like today.  My sweetest little Project As If, Emma Grace, turns three years old today.  When I woke up this morning, the realization that three whole years have passed since she was placed in my arms made me stop and think about what that truly means.  In what has seemingly been the blink of an eye, she has gone from that tiny, helpless newborn to a walking, talking, full of spirit pre-schooler.  She is so vibrant, my little girl, so happy, so playful, so funny, so engaging, so. . . perfect.

Her sense of humor and comedic timing is beyond her years.  She has these faces she makes, she mimics people, she has this deep belly laugh that you can't help but join in with.  She is constantly entertaining us.  She is also so incredibly sweet and compassionate.  She is such a good and tender big sister to Andrew, sharing toys and food with him whenever possible.  She loves it when I put him in her crib in the morning or after nap. She will draw him close, sing to him, cuddle him, hand him one of her beloved stuffy.

Speaking of the stuffies. . . oh, my land.  She has never met a stuffy that she didn't want to take home with her.  We have hundreds already.  And she has about a half dozen at each time that she has to take everywhere with her.  This group rotates, although she always has to have her original stuffy, Ellie (a pink and green elephant blanket she has had since she was six months old) as part of the crowd.  Other than that, you can usually find her toting some sort of pony, kitty, and, lately, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (yep, my sweet precious baby loves her some "gingas").

She loves to play veterinarian and you walk into her room to find a makeshift animal hospital.  Tiny Alvin and his chipmunk buddies wrapped lovingly in blankets as Dr. Emma makes her rounds, giving them "shots" and taking their temperatures.  She will look very seriously at me and say, "Mommy, these stuffies are very sick.  I need to take very good care of them."

She calls with "Brova" and, even though they fight a lot, they are also often best friends, united against the world.  Often, when they are arguing over a toy, I will step in on her behalf, and she will then turn around and defend Will, even though he was usually the aggressor.  When he gets hurt, she is the first to come running with a hug and kiss. 

From day one, Emma has been the definition of easy.  Had she been my only child, I would have been an insufferable mom, who thought she had it all figured out.  She is pure sunshine and brings such joy to our lives.  I truly cannot imagine my world without Emma in it.

And yet, on days like today, celebrating her third year in our family, it makes me realize how truly quickly it has all gone and continues to go.  I am reminded that I do not have forever with her like this, where I am her world and she is mine.  I have great hopes for our future, that we will have a good relationship, that we will always have this ease between us.  I am also realistic enough to know that if I do a good job parenting her, eventually she will not need me, and I will shrink from being the center of her life to a marginal bit player. 

This is a bit melancholy of a birthday entry, and I don't mean it to be that way, truly.  I am so happy to be Emma's mommy that it makes my heart feel as if it might burst.  I am so happy to dedicate a day to celebrating her amazingly little self.  My children's birthdays have always induced this feeling in me, this realization that they are growing up and away, and that I will never have these moments back.  While I am glad to see them growing, thriving, and maturing into amazing little people, there is a tiny (admittedly selfish) part of me that wishes I could just have them like this, here with me, forever.

Then, as another day draws to a close, I have to admit that I am also excited to see who she continues to grow into.  She is such a spectacular and amazing person now, I can't even begin to imagine the force she will continue to be as she grows older.  It will certainly be an amazing adventure.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

For Rebecca

Her 13 week NST ultrasound (after four ultrasounds showing two babies with perfect measurements and perfect heartbeats) showed one perfect baby and one baby that died.

She is devastated.  I am at a loss.  It is beyond the scope of my understanding why some people suffer so terribly much in their journey to become parents.  Honestly, with her life-threatening issues thrown in, she has suffered more than most I know.  I just don't  get it.  I suppose it isn't up to me to "get".

Please keep Rebecca, her husband, and their remaining baby in your prayers.  They need it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Another Long Overdue Update

Seems that once a month is about all I can handle with posting these days.  I think about all of you often, and check on all of my sweet bloggy friends as often as I can.  Again, most of the time that is from my phone and I cannot comment, but know that you are all in my heart and prayers.

Gosh. . .  where to begin? 

Well, let's start with a Rebecca update.  This is such fun!!  Rebecca is back at work!  She can't wear high heeled shoes and often has to take a break to regain equilibrium, but considering where she was a year ago?  The fact that she is even alive is a big miracle.  Oh. . . and?  She is 13 weeks pregnant. . . WITH TWINS after IVF!!!!  Oh, the joy!  I am throwing her baby shower in July and feel so blessed to do so!  She deserves all of this and more!  And I cannot WAIT to hold those babies in my arms!

Now. . . let's start with Drew, since third baby shouldn't always be last.  He is amazing.  At seven months, he tops the charts at 21 pounds.  He is rolls and upon rolls of delectable chub.  His smile is the sweetest thing you have ever seen.  He can sit up, roll, and he gets up on his hands and knees and rock back and forth.  I see crawling in his immediate future.  He is sleeping 10-12 hours each night, with a rare night of wakeups thrown in to keep me guessing.  Napping is still a bit of kilter, but I honestly think that is the result of lack of schedule during the day, and he is cheerful enough without the naps, so it works okay.  I am still nursing him most mornings and evenings (twice a day).  We have switched to solids and formula for the rest.  I am learning to be okay with that.

Emma next!  Sweet, beautiful, spunky Emma Drace.  As she is nearly three, I am a bit dreading the coming birthday.  You see, that is when the switch was flipped on Will, and I do worry that she might give us a real run for our money at three.  So far, she has been almost angelic.  She is a spitfire, but she is also very sensitive.  I don't need to employ a lot of heavy handed discipline with her to get the point across.  She is STILL not potty trained (again, I fear it is a lack of consistency) and still has her beloved binky at night, but she is very grown up in most other ways.  She is so sweet and kind and I love that girl to absolute pieces.

And my not-so-Little Man?  He is nearing five (how on earth did that happen. . . ) and he has settled a bit.  Six months ago, I would have said it was military school or bust with him.  He is doing much better, thank goodness.  We are still doing some testing for sensory processing issues and just making sure everything is a-okay, but so far, so good.  He graduates from pre-K this coming week and I just cannot believe how fast this has all come to pass.  His heart is still SO big.  For example, Emma sprained her ankle tonight, and he came running with all of her favorite stuffies (and the aforementioned Illicit Binky).  He can just be so sweet and those are the moments where I know, despite my parening fallibles, he will be okay.

Me?  I have some new changes to face.  I will update when I can, but just know, I am chugging along.  Being a working mom takes a lot of balance and I am striving for that balance each and every day.  I do find things that help here and there and some day, I will have to write that post.

But not today.  Today, I thank you for still reading and commenting here and while I cannot promise to post more, I will do my best.  Love to you all!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Time Flies

Wow.  It has been so long since my last update.  As has become my habit as of late, I have very good intentions of sitting down to blog.  But once all three kiddos are finally down for the night, laundry, dishes in the sink, or a million other household duties to see to call my name.  If I miraculously have no chores (or, more likely, choose to ignore the fact that I have them to do), then a bath might entice me.  More often than not, however, it is the lure of my bed that I can't ignore. 

So that explains my absence.  Sleep is truly the holy grail of parenthood.  Now that Drew has settled into a schedule that includes roughly ten to twelve hours of precious sleep each night (knock. firmly. on. wood.), I am making the most of it and blogging has fallen woefully to the wayside.

But we are still here, chugging along.  We all had a ROUGH respiratory virus in March that resulted in pneumonia for M and Will.  Fortunately, Drew was the least affected, and I didn't get it until about two weeks after everyone had recovered.  Will still has a lingering cough from it, but other than that, we all recovered.

Drew is SIX MONTHS (?!?!?!) old already.  This is truly insane.  I cannot believe how fast he is growing.  He is doing fantastic with eating his solids (no surprise).  He can turn from back to front and front to back, and is thiiiiiis close to sitting up independently.  In fact, he can sit alone, but you can't leave him or he slumps over.  He can skooch himself around a bit, but is nowhere near to crawling.  He has the. best. baby laugh ever.  His voice is deep and kind of scratchy and it just makes the cutest, deep bellied laugh.  He is far more active than either of his older siblings, and actually will put himself to sleep by kicking his legs on the mattress as hard as he can.  We are all head over heals in love with our "Thumper" and I cannot imagine our family without him in it.

Emma is two.  She remains pretty much the easiest child to ever grace this planet.  She has her moments, of course, but she just kind of goes with the flow.  She is so much fun and has a really big personality.  She is funny, smart. sweet, and I just enjoy spending time with her.  The only thing that is hard with her is that because she is SO easy, I sometimes think she gets a bit lost in the shuffle.  It is true that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and she just doesn't squeak.  I try to keep this in mind during the daily hustle and bustle, and right now, I think it is fine, just something that we need to be aware of in the future.

Will is growing up so fast that I can hardly recognize him.  He is obsessed with anything castle.  He loves to draw them or build them.  His creations are beyond amazing.  I know I am his mom and hardly biased, but he seems to be advanced when it comes to drawing.  He has learned a lot in school this year and I am always surprised by things he seems to know out of nowhere.  We have decided to delay his start in kindergarten for another year, so he'll do a second year of pre-K this coming fall.  We went back and forth on this a bit, but he won't turn five until August 20. The cutoff is August 31, so it is our decision.  Academically, he is ready, but socially. . . I just think an extra year won't hurt and his teacher agrees.  He will be REALLY ready in 2014 and I think it will be good have him super prepared.

I am enjoying my job.  I am really very fortunate to be able to do something I love and still have a lot of time for my children.  I am well-paid and extremely spoiled with benefits and perks.  I'll be traveling to Denmark this August which will be my first time to Europe. 

I have all but given up pumping, only nursing Drew in the morning and then the evening when I get home.  I am a little sad that my nursing careeer is dwindling, but pumping was extremely stressful for me.  Trying to find the time for it was one challenge.  I work out of my car all day, so finding a private place to pump was another.  I would strive to find both and then. . . pump only a measly ounce or two.  Meanwhile, Drew was chugging down six and eight ounce bottles two or three times while I was gone.  I felt constantly behind and this stressed me out which dwindled my supple which. . . catch 22.  I am trying to be okay with it and let it go, but it still bothers me a bit just even typing about it here, so I clearly have some processing to do still.

I am having my first post-partum period as a result in this drastic nursing drop.  Ew.  I haven't missed it and the first one is always a little rough.  My periods are usually pretty uneventful with minimal cramping, but I had some killer cramps this time and felt pretty emotional yesterday (right before it started).  Ah, the joys of being a woman! ;)

Well, I think that is the major stuff for now.  I hope all of you are doing well.  I am still checking up on you, though I mostly do it from my phone, which means I can't comment.  But if you ever need me, my e-mail is available through my profile and I am just a few clicks away.  Thanks for reading and checking up on me and my precious little ones. 

Until next time. . .

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I Promise, I Do Remember I Have A Blog

Time seems to speed up each and every day.

When I think about the fact that Drew will be FIVE months old next week, it truly boggles my mind.

Three kids is every bit as wonderful and insane as I imagined it would be.

There are days that come together nicely, where I fall into bed at night with a deep sense of accomplishment and contentment.

There are days where nothing seems to come out right and I collapse in bed, usually on the verge of tears, or just so darn exhausted that I don't have the energy to cry.

Fortunately, the older Drew gets and the longer I have been back at work, the former days are starting to greatly outnumber the latter.  And, even more encouraging, is that even the days that aren't so great aren't bringing me to my knees in quite the same way anymore.

Going back to work was TOUGH.  I could write volumes on how hard it was.  The first day, I stood in the shower and cried.  The first week, I didn't bother putting on makeup before leaving the house, I just brought my cosmetic bag with me and put it on after I had stopped crying.  Each day, the tears got less and less, and I just kind of put my head down and soldiered through it.  Now that I have been back at work for two months, including one week-long business trip, I can say that it has become much easier.  And though it was tough on me, the kids were fine.   

I don't know how I would do it without a nanny.  Though there are some hiccups with having a nanny, and we went through a bit of a rough patch with Mary Poppins, things have evened out lately.  The benefits of having someone come to us every day and be on our schedule clearly outweighs any slight negatives.  I simply cannot imagine having to herd up three children and get them to daycare in the morning and look any sort of put together or decent myself.  And it is also nice that since I don't have to get them up and ready, I still often have time to make them breakfast and sit and talk with them before having to leave. 

Will is four and a half, which means that he is so mature in some ways.  He can get himself a drink and a snack.  He can let the dog out.  He can sweep the floor.  He can dress himself head to toe.  He can clear this place.  There are times that I look at him and cannot believe what a great big boy he his.  He is an AMAZING big brother to Drew.  I can't have asked for more from him in that department.  He is so helpful, bringing a toy, bouncing his chair, making him laugh, shushing him gently when he cries.  This morning, he fed him some bananas and even did the whole "here comes the airplane" bit. 

He has also developed more than a bit of an attitude.  Maybe a bit isn't an apt descriptor.  He can be. . . well, very challenging.  His angry outbursts and constant whining had me concerned, as it seemed so much MORE than I saw in other kids his age.  This winter, our pediatrician referred us to a behavioralist (at my request).  The consensus (from our pediatrician, the counselor, his preschool teacher, and my parents) is that he is a perfectly NORMAL little boy that is on the sensitive, smart, and stubborn side.  So we have been working with how to parent him more effectively.

Emma Grace.  Oh, sweet, incredible, amazing Emma Grace.  From the moment that girl came out, she has been EASY.  I have always worried that I will jinx it by saying so, but so far, she just makes parenting look simple.  If she had been by only child, I'm afraid I would have been an insufferable mom, thinking, "What's so hard about parenthood?"  Of course, she hasn't hit the teen years yet.  I have a feeling that shall be my waterloo with her.

In the meantime, she is sweet, funny, smart, and just plain fun to be with.  She had a bit of an adjustment to being a big sister, but even that was relatively mild. She mostly just wanted me to do everything, but she was always very sweet with Drew.  As I type this, she is in the bath with him, and is shaking a rattle and holding his hand, and talking to him.  I wish I had a camera.  She loves stuffed animals and would have a thousand if we'd let her.  She has quite a few as it is.  She adores ponies, Hello Kitty ("Kitty Herro"), and. . . her binky.

Well, so that is the only thing about Emma that hasn't been easy, and even that is probably more my fault than hers. We should have taken it away at a year, or 18 months, but she just loved it so much, and was sleeping so well, and . . . now here we are.  She is two and a half and shows NO signs of wanting to give it up.  We have talked with her about giving it up and the reaction has NOT been pleasant.  If I have to be honest, there is a huge part of me that doesn't want to force the issue.  First of all, because she IS such a good little girl, I hate taking away something she loves so very much.  Secondly (and selfishly), there just hasn't seemed like a good time to rock the boat.  I anticapate a rough Binky Breakup and a shortered night and nap sleep, and I just haven't had the energy to face that.  Both Will and Emma have been sleeping so well and Drew was a bit of a rough start.  And now he is sleeping better, but his naps are still a bit of a mess, and even the sleep thing isn't a guarantee from night to night. 

Ah, my cuddle-bug Drewbie.  Otherwise known as Drewbalicious, Drewster, the Big D, and Drewbles.  There has never been a little brother so doted on.  He is the biggest flirt you will ever meet and his smile and laugh are incredible.  He weighs in at eighteen pounds, ladies and gentlemen, and has rolls upon rolls of delicious baby chub.  He loves to eat, take tubbies, eat, lay around naked, eat, stand in his exersaucer, eat some more, and did I mention EAT.  He makes my heart swell with happiness, our family complete, and I cannot imagine our lives without him.

The sleeping thing has been rough.  When he was about three weeks old, he did a few nights of seven hours, making me think I had hit the sleep jackpot again.  It turns out that was kind of a cruel teaser.  From weeks four through twelve, he refused to sleep until at least eleven or midnight.  And then it was up every hour to hour and a half all night.  A two hour stretch was a luxury.  I was exhausted, especially after I returned to work when he was eleven weeks old.

Week 13 was when he started sleeping better and there wasn't a darn thing I did differently.  But he still has a very late bedtime.  It is unusual to get him down before ten, and eleven is far more common, and sometimes, it is still midnight before he is settled.  Both Will and Emma had a 7:30/8 bedtime by this point, so this night owl behavior is a bit of a shock to my system.  After he goes down for the night, we are usually blessed with at least a six hour stretch, and there have been some eight and ten hour stretches in there.  But the late bedtime is still a challenge.  We did CIO with Will, and I think we'll do that again in a month or so if his bedtime is still this late, but I keep hoping it will resolve on its own.  He is taking a morning nap on his own, in his crib, going down drowsy but away.  He will fall asleep for his afternoon nap in his crib, but still has to be transferred to his swing to finish the nap off.  So naps are actually going pretty well, and he is getting (for the most part) an eight hour stretch, so I don't really know if I can expect much more from him at this point.  I have been fortunate with my first two and their sleep habits, so it was really my turn to get a true non-sleeper, so I can't complain too much.

We started solids with him right at four months and he took to it like a champ.  This is not really surprising, as all of my kiddos have been READY for their solids.  We chose pears as his first solid (since our pediatrician had recommended a bit of rice cereal in his bottle at three months to see if that would help with sleep) and he ate one and one half containers at his first attempt.  That must set some sort of record.  Thank goodness I make my own baby food, or I'd have to get a second job to keep us in Gerber. 

He still hasn't rolled over in either direction and his tongue still sticks out more often that I think is normal, but his head control seems on par with normal.  He stands up in his exersaucer without issue and can reach for toys and tries to hold his own bottle.  For the time being, we are waiting to see what happens with his muscle tone.  No serious cause was identified, and some babies outgrow it, so we are just hoping that is what it is.  We'll follow up at six months to make sure there isn't anything we need to be doing.  He still has his heart murmur, but it hasn't given us any issues.  I am glad we know that it is benign, as we took him in to the walk in clinic the other day with a virus, and the doctor seemed a bit alarmed by how loud it was.  It was comforting to be able to tell him that we know about it and have been seen by a pediatric cardiologist and all is well.

Besides going back to work, I am feeling okay.  I am not happy with my body.  I gained forty pounds with Drew and started the pregnancy ten pounds heavier than with my previous pregnancies.  The result was  that the scale almost hit a very scary number I'd rather not think about.  And even after losing thirty of my pregnancy pounds, I still am only five pounds lighter right now than I was when I gave birth to Will and Emma.  I really need to lose about twenty five pounds to be happy, though I'd take a solid fifteen right now.  I haven't figured out how to fit in exercising into my daily schedule quite yet.  When I am done with work, I want to be home with the kidlets, not at the gym, and it hasn't really been warm enough to take long walks with them.  Plus, I can't expect Will to walk at the pace and length I need to bust off some of these pounds and shape up, so again, it's time with them or time for work out and I choose them.  I am hoping that when the weather gets nicer, we  can get out more, and when Drew starts going to bed earlier, I can go the gym after everyone is in bed.  I also need to work on cutting some calories, but when I did that ealier, it really impacted my milk supply.  Now that I am pumping so much, I can see how much and what I eat impacts my milk. 

Speaking of pumping. . . UGH.  I have gotten used to it, I suppose, and definitely learned some tricks along the way.  But I still don't like it.  I had to let go of the very real fact that I am not going to be able to pump enough to meet his needs.  I have to live with the fact that he gets between one to two bottles of formula a day.  It was hard at first, but the stress of trying to keep up with him actually made my supply go down.  I found that when I just let it go, I actually pumped more. 

So, that's where we are right now.  As you can see, updating my blog has fallen way down on the priority list, but I am still here and checking in on all of you when I can find the time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Andrew's Birth Story

Well, here it is, better late than never!  I have been writing this in bits and pieces in stolen moments over the course of the last four months.  There are a lot of details here and it is probably a rather boring read for pretty much anyone other than me!  But I love having all of these tiny little moments captured in print for the days when all of this has faded into the foggy recesses of my mind.  I treasure each moment of their birthdays and hope someday they will love hearing about every moment of the best days of my life.

The morning of Andrew's birth, I was up at 5:20 AM to shower and get dressed.  I was really nervous; anticipating the surgery, of course, but also not really knowing what to expect as far as my platelet counts and what that would mean as far as the anesthesia method that would be used.  I knew it would all depend on what the counts were that morning and whether or not the anesthesiologist would be willing to go against the hospital's rule of not doing a spinal if the count had been under 100k in the past month.

We were supposed to leave for the hospital at 6:30 AM, as I was to report to the lab at 7:00 AM.  Dr. S felt that if I had my labs drawn at the hospital lab, they would get the results back faster than having me go through admissions at 7:30 AM and not probably get my blood drawn until 8:00 AM.  This would have been great, but for various and sundry reasons, we ended up leaving later than expected and then getting stuck in traffic.  It is less than fifteen minutes to the hospital, so the 6:30 time I had planned would have had us there early, even with traffic.  But we left too late to account for traffic and I didn't get to the lab until 7:15 AM and there was a long wait. 

So, I was pretty stressed out, wondering if I should just bag it and head over to get checked in, or follow Dr. S's original advice.  I had sent M over to let L&D know where we were and all of a sudden, two nurses appeared in the lab waiting room to escort me over to L&D.  They didn't want to wait for the lab and just wanted to get me started in L&D, so we headed back over that direction.

A memory that stands out starkly from the day of Andrew's birth is taking that walk from the lab to LD for check in.  It was less than a five minute walk, with two nurses as my escort, but it seemed far more momentous that a simple stroll.  Me, nine months HEAVILY pregnant, M, the nurses, all on a "final walk", if you will.  I remember, as each foot went in front of the other, feeling so nervous, so scared, and so excited to meet my newest kiddo.  I tried to commit those last moments to my memory and it worked.  It was "a walk to remember", pun so intended.

We arrived in L&D and were introduced to our nurse, who happened to have a student with her that day.  He was really nice and expecting his own first baby in January.  Dr. S came in while I was getting my blood drawn and he also had a student with him.   They were putting in my IV and also taking blood from the same port.  It burned a lot, but I was just worried about the results and whether or not I would be awake for my upcoming surgery.

Our anesthesiologist (Dr. Wonderful) came in after that.  I have to be completely honest when I tell you:  I fell in LOVE with that man.  He introduced himself and reviewed my history.  In addition to my platelet issues, he also raised concerns about my previous history notes, where I had vomited during both sections.  I thought, as my last anesthesiologist had told me, that it was simply par for the course and couldn't be avoided, but he said that it COULD.  I was skeptical, but when he said he would do a spinal if my counts were above 90k, I didn't care what he said, he was my new BFF.  If he could also keep me from throwing up, well, I would have to seriously consider naming Andrew after him.

We had to wait about a (nervous) half hour for the platelet results.  M took some pictures, we listened to the gentle beat of our son's heart, and chatted with the nursing student.  Eventually, our nurse came back in with a huge smile on her face.  My platelets were at 90k EXACTLY.  I told everyone that I had willed them to be that level and they all laughed.

Dr. Wonderful stuck his head in a few minutes later and flashed us the thumb's up sign.  "See you in the OR!" he said.

Dr. S came in shortly after that.  He also had a student doctor with him.  He reviewed my history and the student asked some questions about thrombocytopenia.  And then. . . it was time to go.

I hugged M and then it was time for another walk; this one to the OR.  This is another stark memory.  I remember the same feeling walking into the room when I had Emma.  The air is cold, the lights are bright, everyone is bustling around.  It's just another day "in the office" for them, and yet your life is about to change so drastically, it is anything but just another day for you.  As I walked through the door into that operating room, I started to cry. 

"Please tell me I am not the only one who cries when they walk in here!"  I said to my nurse in a shaky voice.  She smiled and said, "No, pretty much everyone cries.  It's a big moment for you."

I was grateful for her compassion.  And as I climbed up on the table, I started to feel like I was going to throw up, and was grateful that she was right there with a bed pan.  I didn't throw up, but I felt close.  Dr. Wonderful came over and noticed my watery eyes and asked if I was okay.  I told him that I was, but I joked that they should start the morphine in the pre-op room so moms weren't so nervous when they came in.  He smiled and handed a syringe over to the nurse, "That's your morphine, right there.  You'll get it in just a few minutes!"  Then he noticed the bed pan and said, "Put that away, we aren't going to need it!"  I was still skeptical, but eager to see him prove his boast.

Getting the epidural was a bit tricky.  It was by far the longest epidural I have had inserted.  I began to lose confidence in Dr. Wonderful.  I was hunched over for quite some time while he poked around looking for a good spot.  He found one, but seemed to have trouble with it, and then I got a weird, painful shocking feeling in my left leg.  I asked if that was normal and he said an abrupt no before pulling out of the insertion and having me reposition.  After I was positioned correctly, it didn't take long and soon I felt the familiar pins and needles feeling down both legs.  I was quickly rolled onto my back and the prep work began.

It was then that I realized how FULL the room was.  In addition to the normal team, there was the student nurse and the student doctor, and also a big GROUP of very official looking people in suits at  the back of the room.  A woman wearing scrubs came to my head on the table and introduced herself.  She explained that she was with the "visitors" in the back, which included the hospital's CEO, medical director, CFO, and the risk management director.  They were there to observe my c-section for process and procedure standardization.  I was a bit overwhelmed by this, as I was. . . well, spread-eagled on an operating table and about to have a baby and there were going to be about a dozen EXTRA people watching.  In suits.  While I was NAKED.  I mean, in one sense, it was comforting, because you just know everyone in there was on their best behavior and I wasn't likely to have a random piece of surgical equipment left in me with that many people observing.  In another sense. . . have I mentioned how NAKED I was?  I just felt really vulnerable. 

And here is where Dr. Wonderful earned his name.  That man was my guardian angel.  He asked if I wanted them to leave.  I said it was okay if they stayed and he leaned down and said, "If you change your mind, let me know.  I'll kick 'em out."  I got the sense that he was only half joking and if I had said the word, he would have asked them to leave.  I felt as if I had a protector, which was a very nice feeling.

He watched my blood pressure like a hawk.  He told me that low blood pressure was usually the culprit when someone gets very nauseous with a spinal (this makes sense, because when I was having my iron infusions, my blood pressure dropped dramatically and I ended up vomiting).  So anytime my blood pressure started to drop, he gave me some wonder drug through the IV.  He also watched the color of my face and he could tell instantly when I was getting nauseous and he was right there.  He held small alcohol pads under my nose and talked to me in a gentle tone.  He made eye contact with me and didn't look away.  He took my pinned down hand and rubbed my thumb and forefinger. 

They finally brought M in and it was Baby Time.  Even with M there, however, Dr. Wonderful was 100% focused on me.  I truly felt like the only person in the world.  In my past two c-sections, the anesthesiologists were just kind of "there".  They were fine and did their jobs, but this man?  IN-FREAKING-CREDIBLE.  He kept me posted on what they were doing (without getting too graphic) and talked to me about my stats.  He kept me very grounded and also distracted from what was going on behind the curtain.  This time, I felt the same tugging and pulling as last time, but it seemed a bit more abstract, almost like it was happening to someone else. 

And before I even knew it, I felt a POP and this release of pressure and Dr. Wonderful said, "Here comes your baby, guys!"

Dr. S shouted out, "We've got a ten pounder here, M!"  And Andrew came out peeing, just like his older brother had.

There was a lot of exclamations about his size.  As with our other two babies, M got up immediately to go to the warmer.  This is where Dr. Wonderful stepped up even more.  He continued to watch my vitals, held the alcohol wipes under my nose, and told me how enormous and gorgeous the baby was.  I kept asking if he was okay (he wasn't crying very much) and Dr. Wonderful assured me he was just perfect, with an APGAR of 8/9. 

M was standing between where I was and the warmer where they had Andrew, so Dr. Wonderful politely asked him to move so I could see him.  And I could finally see his chubby legs and arms (oh, the chub!).  Then he started crying and I started crying.  M cut the cord and I laid there, watching and drinking in the glimpses of my boy.

Andrew was swaddled and M brought him over for my first up close look.  I touched his soft cheek the best I could with my shaking fingers and whispered, "Hello, sweet boy.  Happy birthday." 

The rest of the surgery was a blur and soon.  Dr. Wonderful continued to give me status updates ("Just putting your uterus back in.") along the way and soon I heard the ca-chunk of the staple gun.  Dr. S came to take another look at Andrew, declaring him "perfect".

They had a new device for lifting me from the OR table to a gurney to transport me to my post-op room.  It was this blow up inflatable mattress and it was pretty neat.  It did feel a bit scary, almost like I might fall off of it while it was blown up, but the nurses assured me I wouldn't and kept their hands on me.  They then slid the mattress over to the gurney.  Andrew was placed in my waiting arms.  Dr. Wonderful congratulated us and then had to brag a bit, "You didn't throw up, did you?"

I realized that I hadn't.  If we hadn't already named the baby Andrew, I might have changed it right then and there to Dr. Wonderful's first name.  Seriously, that man was wonderful at his job and made this c-section the best experience of all of them.  (I sent a long letter to his medical group and to the hospital director singing his praises.  I hope he gets the recognition he deserves.)

We were then brought to post-op, where I definitely started feeling the effects of the surgery and medications I had been given.  The room was spinning and I felt very tired.  The nurse took my vitals and Dr. S came in with some specific things he wanted to be watching for in my immediate post-op phase as well as labwork while I was at the hospital.  He then told me he would check in with me later on during the day.

The nurse asked if I was feeling well enough to attempt to nurse Andrew.  I honestly wasn't feeling that great, but I wanted that post-op nursing session, so I nodded yes.  He was brought to me, my gown was pulled down, and that little boy latched on like it was his job.  There was no hesitation; he was a nursing champ from moment one! 

It was in post-op that we first noticed his rapid respirations.  Actually, the student nurse noted it first.  He pointed it out to our actual nurse, who then double checked it and raised her eyebrows at how fast it was.  I asked what they do with rapid breathing and she said they would just monitor it.  She mentioned that larger babies sometimes have a harder time acclimating to life outside of the womb.  One of the major concerns is a baby's ability to regulate their blood sugars, so we had to do a pre and post glucose reading to make sure he was processing them adequately. 

I also noticed that he seemed to be shuddering a bit here and there.  Our nurse called this the "sugar shakes" and said it was completely normal.  His little feet and hands kept turning blue off and on. I pointed this out to M and he reminded me that Emma had done the same thing when she was a newborn.  I noticed the blue crept up to his knees and elbows and mentioned it to the nurse who also declared it normal.  They did place him on the warmer to observe him a bit, but other than his rapid respirations, everything seemed A-okay.  He LOVED the warmer, making us all laugh at how he lay there, with his arms spread out over his head, perfectly content.

We were in post-op for a little over two hours.  It was truly a wonderful and special time.  I knew that this was truly it; my final time experiencing this miracle.  I soaked up every second of it, reveling in his perfection and the sweet gift we had been blessed with.  He nursed for quite a bit of that time, snuggled up perfectly next to me, his fingers splayed out across my breast.  His little shudders the only thing that kept concerning me as I could not remember either Will or Emma making those noises before. 

His post meal glucose number came back in the normal range and my vitals were stable, so it was time to head to our official hospital room.  Andrew was reswaddled, given to me for the ride to our room, and we were on our way.

We got to our room and I was transferred to my bed.  I was in a lot of pain by this point, as the nurse in post-op had meant to give me another dose of morphine before I left, but got distracted with checking Andrew's sugars.  The trip to my room and shifting around had me more than a bit uncomfortable.  My new nurse was getting aquainted with me and the first words out of my mouth were, "When can I have something for the pain."  She seemed a little taken aback by this, as they usually have pain pretty well controlled before discharging you from post-op, so she had to figure out what I was due to have.  Since I hadn't had anything in post-op, I was eligible for a lovely shot of morphine and two precious pain pills.  She went to get those and I got down to the business of examining my beautiful son.

I unwrapped him and both of legs were entirely blue, from toe to diaper.  I showed M who again wasn't concerned.  I shifted his position and the legs pinked up a bit, so I decided I was just overreacting.  I put Andrew on my left breast and he latched eagerly.  He was making that strange noise again, though, and I watched him nurse with mild concern.

Then the nurse came back into the room and started chatting with us.  She took the two pain pills out of their wrapped and I was reaching up for them when Andrew made a funny cry, almost a choking sound.  I looked down and, to my great horror, he was so blue he was purple.

"Purple!" I screamed. "Really, really PURPLE!"

Andrew was dark purple from head to toe. And he wasn't breathing.

The nurse looked down and dropped the pain pills she was holding.  I can still see those little white pills falling from her cupped hand, how big her eyes got, and how her mouth stretched into a grimace.  She grabbed the baby from me and tilted him on his side.  I could see his face and it was still black-purple and he wasn't making any noise, despite having just been ripped out of my arms.  She rubbed and pounded at his back and still no change of color or noise.

She ripped off his blanket and put him on the isolette.  "Call a code!" she shouted to the student nurse who was just standing there, his mouth open.  He awkwardly picked up the phone and just stood there, holding it with one hand.  "I don't know how to do that!"

She grabbed the phone from his hand and yelled CODE BLUE into the receiver.  My heart stopped beating at that moment.  I forgot that I was literally paralyzed from the chest down and struggled to sit up and get out of bed.  Realizing that was impossible, I urged M to go to our baby.

By this point, the room had quickly filled with the resusciation team.  They shoved M back as they started to work on our son.  Bodies were in the way, and I couldn't see everything they were doing (which is probably a good thing as what I did see haunts me to this day).  I saw tubes and wires being attached to him.  I could also see that he was no longer blue and was returing to a pink color. Even so, I was gasping for air, unable to get a breath myself, and I was so scared.  Even typing this bring back that choking, desperate, terrified feeling.  M was at my side, trying to get me to calm down.  He asked if someone could give me something because I think he really thought I was going to lose it.

Another nurse entered the room and came to my side.  She stroked my arm and said, "It's okay, go ahead and cry all you want, Momma."  I wasn't even crying, really.  I was more or less hyperventilating. Again, M asked if I could get something, and I said, "Don't worry about me, I'm fine if he is fine."  The nurse patted my hand and said, "You'll be okay, he'll be okay" over and over again.

Shortly after that, he was taken to the NICU.  My parents arrived and sat with me while M was in the NICU with Andrew.  I cried and cried, longing to hold my precious boy.  I prayed and prayed for him to be okay.  I guiltily remembered my panic when I found out I was pregnant with him, how the timing had been less than ideal, how overwhelmed I had been at the thought of three.  I whispered my apologies to God for ever being anything less than 150% grateful (I was always grateful, just surpised and worried how we would handle it all.). I called our pediatrician who assured me that he was in the best possible place. They did tests and more tests, ruling out anything serious. M kept me updated via text as one cause after another was eliminated. His heart seemed fine; lungs clear; blood infection unlikely.  The only troubling thing was that as each cause was ruled out, the question loomed: What caused it to happen?  Will it happen again?

(Fifteen weeks later, I can tell you that we never found out what happened that day.  Thankfully, it never happened again.  The cardiologist we saw at Children's does not believe it was related to his heart murmur.)

In any case, my desperate prayers were answered and Andrew was returned to our room.  I eagerly reached for him and started to sob as he was placed in my arms.  I held him so tightly and spilled hot tears onto his sweet head, raining kisses all over his beautiful face.  I rocked him as best as I could from my semi-reclined state, thanking God over and over again for this second miracle.  I vowed to never again take this amazing boy for granted.

I was afraid to nurse him, for fear it would happen again.  I put it off for as long as I could and then rang for the nurse when it was time.  She understood completely and stood guard while he latched on and nursed.  She stayed the whole time, watching for any signs of something going wrong.  Nothing did.  He nursed like a champ and then went to sleep in my arms.  I was then afraid to put him down.  I told the nurse that I would not be able to sleep that night, for fear it would happen again.

She understood, but urged me to get some sleep.  I still couldn't.  One of the nurses finally offered to take him to the nurses station with her for a couple of hours so I could rest.  It was only then, twelve hours after my surgery, that I was finally able to sleep.  Even then, my dreams were filled with images of my blue baby.  I was relieved when the nurse brought him back to be fed.  I made a nest out of pillows and sat up after I was done nursing him, just watching his chest rise up and down. 

Finally, Andrew's birth day drew to a close.  It had been a rollercoaster of a day and one that I will never forget.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Oh, You Guys

Oh, you guys.

Baby number three?  It threw me for a LOOP.

Andrew is amazing.  Simply and wonderfully amazing.  He makes my life feel complete.  He is a chunk of happiness and love and just holding him in my arms makes me feel a happiness I never knew was possible.  I can't imagine my life, our family, the world as a whole without him and his perfection in it.

Oh, BUT.

He didn't sleep.  For thirteen weeks, HE DID NOT SLEEP.  I felt like an idiot.  How could I, veteran mom of three, not know how to get my wee baby to sleep?  What kind of failure/idiot/gross negligant parent was I?

WHY do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we as parents take on so much GUILT when our children refuse to bend to our ideal?  When they are just themselves, WHY do we assume that we are the culprit or cause?

In any case, I bounced, shushed, cried, bounced some more, prayed, shushed some more, prayed some more through his first thirteen weeks.  I googled, I craigslisted (looking for miracle sleep aids), I called mom friends, I cried, I prayed, I did EVERYthing I knew to do.  And still?  He. Would. Not. Sleep.

I don't tell you this to garner sympathy.  I tell you this because if someone, anyone, somewhere at 2 AM googles "my baby will NOT sleep" and finds this blog entry, it may give them some hope.  I put this out there because I am not afraid to admit my tender underbelly, my parenting foilables, make me feel inadaquate and panicky.  Because I firmly believe that most of us are out there, stumbling blindly from parenting moment to moment, feeling alone.  We look at pinterest and think, "Well, that mom has time to bake homemade bread from scratch and decoupage pictures of her precious babies on a plank of wood, and I cannot make my baby do something as simple as SLEEP.  What on earth is wrong with me??"

We were awake until midnight most nights.  Me, bouncing, shushing, patting, hoping, and praying.  A night that I got him down before midnight was a cause for celebration.  I remember once talking to some friends and saying (like it was some sort of major accomplishment), "And he went to bed at 11:50!"  They laughed at my excitement, but I was okay with their laughter; they'd been there.

So, one day, Andrew just. . . slept.  There wasn't anything magical done on my part.  He'd been refusing to sleep before midnight and then waking every two hours and then. . . he went to bed at 9 PM, slept til 5 AM.  Nothing different.  He just. . . did it.

And since then, he has been going down between 8:30 and 9:30 PM, just depending on the night and either waking once around 1 AM - 2 AM, again, depending on the night, and then waking at around 6 - 6:30 AM, just depending.  And sometimes?  On extra-special nights?  He skips that 1- 2 AM feeding and sleeps through the night.  And I didn't do anything different, HE just figured it out.

So, for all of you out there, wondering WHAT to do. . . I firmly believe that you cannot do anything.  You can drive yourself crazy.  You can spend money on whozits and whatzits.  You can google until your fingers bleed at the keyboard.

Or?  You can learn the lesson that somehow three children hadn't taught me yet.  That each child is just so different and will learn to sleep on their own time; when they are ready.  And just because that child needs extra soothing/cuddling/nurturing does not make them a "bad" baby, just one that needs their mama (or daddy) a bit more.  And they are babies, so it is okay.

And I only write this as a mom who did NOT think it was okay, only a few short weeks ago.  I am writing this as a beacon of hope. . . it is okay, they will sleep (eventually), and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

E-mail me if you need some support.  It's in my profile.  I am happy to help (though I can't really help much) and commiserate.  You. Can. Do. THIS.