Tuesday, June 26, 2012

wild-haired little man

Grayson says,

Hey, mama, I'm up from my nap. Why are you laughing at me?

My hair is crazy, isn't it?

I need to distract you from the crazy. Look, what's up there??

That worked, right?

Sniff, sniff. Why must you make fun of my hair, mama?

Oh, how I long to be able to retain my toddler dignity.

Just get me out of this crib already. Stop taking pictures!

Aw, crud. Looking down just let you get a great angle of my hair, didn't it?

How about you put down the camera if I say "cheese" for the first time?


One more time for some extra cuteness? I'll try the "ch" sound a bit more.


Um, mama. Enough with the hugs 'n' kisses. You're gonna make me say "cheese" for the rest of the day, aren't you? Okay, but only if it doesn't involve the camera!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

this is why I can't watch Disney movies right now

This afternoon, we put on Finding Nemo for G to watch as he's fighting off this week's sickness. The poor kid's toes are still peeling from the remnants of hand, foot, mouth disease and now he's been running a fever for three days. G formed a rash on his neck just before the fever started, and he's showing signs of a sore throat, so I hope it's just a cold. If the fever hasn't gone away by middle of the week, I guess we'll have to take him in. Boy, he'll love that torture. Especially because they'll probably shove a strep test down his throat.

I stepped out of the room during the beginning of the movie. I couldn't stand watching Marlin lose both his wife (mate? partner? girl?) and all of his children except one. Because Nemo lost his mother and siblings, he'll always be an only child. Marlin suffers from post traumatic anxiety and can't let Nemo out of his sight without freaking out that his son will get hurt.

Sound familiar? I saw a lot of myself in Marlin. After my first miscarriage, I went through a period of a couple of months when I thought something might happen to G at any moment. I would wake up and think he had died in this sleep. I couldn't spend more than ten minutes at a park because I would have images of him falling and getting hurt flash through my mind. I would see him fall down the stairs or break a leg while trying to go down a slide.

It didn't help that he had already gotten hurt going down a slide (with me). It also didn't help that we had a trip to the emergency room less than 24 hours before we found out that baby #2 had died because G had busted his eyelid open on the coffee table. Being a toddler, he was a ticking time bomb for bruises, cuts, and trips to the ER. I couldn't take it.

Marlin in Finding Nemo can't bear to see his only son go off on his own. He can't let him play like the other kids because his son was born with a deformed fin and also because Marlin himself is always afraid Nemo will get hurt. Only once he sees how strong and resilient Nemo actually is does he finally begin to relax. Once Marlin realizes his son isn't going to randomly die on him, he can put his family's tragic deaths behind him and move on.

Almost exactly two months after we found out about my first miscarriage, we were in Alabama visiting my parents. We went to a park and G wanted to go down a slide. My heart was pounding but I let him do it by himself. Not only is it so much safer for him to go down the slide by himself to begin with - I found myself relaxing the more he did it without getting injured. Those knots inside of me loosened and began to let go.

We went to more and more parks after that, and I encouraged him to go down slides. The more slides he went down, loving every moment, the more I relaxed. A little over a month after this moment, I began to even stay on the ground while he explored by himself, only helping when he asked or walked down stairs without a rail. And it felt awesome.

Then, of course, miscarriage #2 happened.

I know it's only been a week since the actual miscarriage started, though we found out two and a half weeks ago. My hormones took a huge dip a couple of days ago, which took a toil on me emotionally, but otherwise I've managed to stay upbeat. My post postpartum anxiety that happened after baby #2 hasn't happened after baby #3. At least, not yet. I know more about what to look for and avoid, and I'm trying my best to stay hopeful.

However, I do wonder if my kiddo will stay an only child like Nemo. Will I have to tell him, when he's older, about all those babies I tried to have and lost? About the siblings that might have been? I know lots of only children who were perfectly happy growing up that way, so I try not to assume that he'll be lonely. But my child won't have a ton of cousins running around with him like I did. He'll always be the oldest by at least a couple of years, and I yearn to give him a life-long playmate to share his ups and downs.

Maybe those losses will be something I can share with my two kids when they ask about all of those extra ultrasound photos we kept or the picture of the lion with angel wings on the wall. Eventually, we'll have to say enough is enough and give up on trying to have a second baby. But not right now.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

three days post miscarriage

It's difficult for me to peg down the exact day of my miscarriage. We knew the baby wasn't viable a week and a half before I started bleeding. While I started miscarrying Sunday evening, I was still passing tissue as late as Tuesday morning even though most of the cramps had ceased.

Anyway, so I'm about three or four days post the majority of the miscarriage. Yesterday was the first day that the bleeding seemed to be slowing, and I've only passed tiny clots in two days. Now, it's mostly like a period. I'm still very tired throughout the day, but I'm sure I'll be that way until my iron levels recover.

I can tell my hormone levels are dropping. My boobs are smaller and no longer as sore, and my skin is breaking out like crazy. I'm no longer nauseous nor as hungry as I was only days ago. I'm also breathing easier - I get that pregnancy symptom where your nasal passages swell and your allergies worsen; this is usually one of my first signs of pregnancy and the first signal that my hormones have shifted.

Emotionally, I'm actually pretty good. I'm not crying all of the time, though I'm finding it difficult to get up and do anything. I'm giving myself a few more days and then it's time to get back to normal. I want to get back to running again and get my body back in shape before we try to conceive baby #4. I'm trying to be more sociable, but right now it's a fight against the introverted side of me that just wants to hide and stay bottled up for a while longer.

I've got G to focus on now, too. He has his big EI testing today, and we're crossing our fingers that he qualifies for speech therapy. If he doesn't, we have to wait six months before he can be tested again. That will give him six months to fall behind even more, and I will not be happy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the story of miscarriage

This post has graphic descriptions of miscarriage. Read at your own discretion. ~Alicia

I started bleeding for my second miscarriage on the four month anniversary of the D&C for my first. I don't know what to say about my body except that it has timing.

I knew it was likely coming. On Saturday, I started spotting brown discharge. By the end of that day, we had decided to call my OB's office and cancel the D&C scheduled for early Monday morning in the hopes that I would miscarry on my own. Late Sunday morning, I wiped and saw small red streaks mixed in with the brown. My cramps were becoming more like cramps than a persistent aching.

By the end of that day, I asked my mom to come up. I hated asking her to drive the two and a half hours to Nashville from Alabama, especially because she had already been traveling that weekend. But when you need your mama, you do your best to kick your pride and guilt to the curb.

My mama arrived at 6:40pm. At 7:00pm, as I hugged G goodnight, I felt a sudden wetness between my legs. I rushed upstairs to the bathroom and sat on the toilet in time to pass a large clot and a few gushes of bright red blood. The miscarriage was definitely happening.

I called my OB's office and spoke with the on-call doc from the group (who happened to be the one who had delivered G!). I told her what was happening and just asked her to give my OB a message for in the morning. My OB had asked me to call before taking my Cytotec, a drug to induce cervical contractions that she wanted me to talk as soon as I had bright red bleeding. The on-call doc said my OB's nurse would give me a call in the morning to check on me, but I shouldn't hesitate to call back if I had any problems. I know I've said it before, but I love my doctor's office.

By the time I hung up the phone, the contractions and cramps were coming stronger. I put three Cytotec pills in my cheeks; I would take another three after those dissolved. My mom, Dave, and I all gathered upstairs to play a game and distract me. I sat with my heating pad, alternating it between my tummy and my lower back. Every 15 to 30 minutes, I would feel a little wetness and taking off quickly to the bathroom. Usually, I would pass a mass of clots and blood on the toilet before joining the others back in the room.

By 9:30 or 10pm, the contractions/cramps were strong. I was on hydromorphone and strong Ibuprofen pills, and I was still in a lot of pain. After a while, I couldn't concentrate on playing games anymore. My mom and the hubs distracted me by sitting with me on the floor and chatting for the next few hours. I spent most of it rocking back and forth, a motion that really helped, and heading to the bathroom to pass some more clots. Nothing during this time was as big as that first clot.

Around 11:30, I noticed that my cramps had lessened. I was worried about this because I didn't feel like I had passed anything that looked like the gestational sac - it all had looked like clotting. Mom and Dave argued about who would stay up with me; finally, my mom won and Dave headed off to try to sleep for a few hours.

At midnight, I decided that the cramps weren't strong enough to keep me from sleep. I sent Mom off to bed and crawled in next to a passed out hubs. I laid there until 1:30am, dozing, waking with cramps, dozing again, until the cramps/contractions became bad enough to send me to the bathroom again. I passed my biggest clot then, though it still didn't look like anything but blood.

I stayed up by myself until about 2:30 before deciding to try to sleep again.

My mom and the hubs got up when G did, around 6:30, and I stayed in bed a little later, closer to 7:30. At 7:55am, my OB's nurse called to check on me. I told her what happened overnight and answered her questions. They decided to have me come in for an ultrasound to see if I'd passed the fetal tissue. We went in for one at 10am, and the ultrasound technician found only blood clots. It looked as though I had passed all of the sac already. This was great news, and we were all very relieved.

This morning, I did end up passing a large piece of gray tissue that had a large clot attached to it. I'm guessing it was hidden on the ultrasound or something because it was definitely different than only blood. Today's bleeding, after that tissue, has been much more period like with almost no clotting, so I hope that means I'm in the clear now.

All in all, the experience was more positive than my D&C. I hated having to go to the hospital and spent a lot of time there by myself, whereas miscarrying naturally at home meant I could be surrounded by those who love me. I'm so happy my mom made it in time to help me out. The worst of the miscarriage only lasted a few hours, but having her as a distraction made things so much easier. It was also wonderful that the miscarriage happened right after G went to bed, so everyone was able to focus on helping me through it.

I did get emotional at the beginning, but overall, it was less traumatic than my D&C. I'll definitely choose a natural miscarriage over a D&C if I have to in the future, at least for early miscarriages. This miscarriage has sucked so hard because it was my second in a row, but this baby likely never even had a heartbeat. The fetus never looked very baby-like on the screen, likely from severe defects. And maybe after losing baby #2, I'm too jaded to feel like I could be pregnant with my take-home baby.

I'm still mourning baby #2, the one we lost at 14 weeks, so comprehending the loss of a second baby has been very difficult for me. How can someone hold that much grief? How can you mourn two babies when you never got past mourning one? When I think about baby #2, my heart clenches tight. When I think about baby #3, I just feel numb. Maybe I can't deal with even more loss so I'm shutting myself down to keep from feeling the pain. I can talk about this miscarriage easily with my husband and my mom, but when I try to talk to anyone else about it, my throat tightens, my jaw clenches, and tears rush into my eyes.

Does it get easier, the more losses you have? Or do you just utilize your well-worn coping skills?

We get to start trying for baby #4 after I have a regular period. I don't know if I'll be conceiving my second living child or my third angel baby.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

grayson says, i can has cake?

Grayson says,

For my birthday, my parents got me this chocolate cupcake.

Hey parents, you expect this cupcake to break itself apart into bite-sized pieces?

... Okay, seriously.

That's better.

Okay, let's just try a tentative little bite.

And another.

And another.

 This chocolate is acceptable. Now, who's washing my hands?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

goodbye, baby

Because of hand, foot, mouth going around in my house (but I'm immune, so that's great), and because of our last miscarriage at 14 weeks, my OB decided to bump up my first ultrasound to yesterday.

We left G with my mother-in-law while he napped, and both of us headed to my OB's office.

As I was checking in, my OB came over and gave me a big hug, happy to see us again. She crossed her fingers, hoping for good vibes before we went into the ultrasound.

A part of me thought, hey, I already had a miscarriage. A horrific later one. I paid my dues, right?

A part of me thought, it can't happen again, right?

A part of me knew it immediately, as soon as the technician slid the ultrasound wand inside. She measured the ovary that didn't ovulate. She went to the other side, sliding over the baby to my other ovary, a large black circle. I saw the baby for a brief moment. I took a deep breath, let it out. Took another one, let it out. Waited.

As soon as I saw the baby, I knew. There was no movement, no tiny heart pumping away. The technician measured and measured - I saw the baby measured right on target. She checked blood flow and saw none in the baby. She went into menus and out of menus, checked again and again, zoomed in and out. That terrible, awful screen came up, the one that measures the heartbeat, a line going across the screen left to right with flat lines.


So we've lost this baby. Honestly, I just feel numb inside. I don't think an early miscarriage would hurt as much as our 14 week one if it wasn't for the fact that it's now two in a row. I don't feel safe at all anymore. My OB wants to do testing to see if there's some condition that's causing these losses. I keep looking at G and thinking, were you just a fluke? A one-time miracle?

A part of me just wants to stop trying. But the more I'm denied my second take-home baby, the more I want it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

hey g-man, it's your birthday!

Dear G,

You turned TWO today!

Two! OMG, two!

I still can't believe you're old enough to be two yet. Sometimes you still seem like a baby to me. And sometimes I stare at you thinking, you look big enough to be a three year old. You have your two-year check-up on Wednesday, so we'll see just how tall you are, my big beautiful boy.

You were such a sweetheart today. You loved all of your gifts. You kept hugging your flamingo from the zoo like it was your new best friend.

 I don't have them edited and uploaded yet, but I took pictures of you chowing down half of a chocolate cupcake, which is half more than I thought you'd eat. You'd look at that cupcake, look at me, and say, "yum yum!" ha.

We went to the mall today and got you your first Build-a-Bear teddy. You like your stuffed animals, but I was surprised at how much you held on that bear for the rest of the day.

You've been signing like crazy lately and today was no different. As soon as one of us steps out of sight, there you go tapping your forehead or chin for whoever is missing. You ask for milk all day long, but I think you like using that sign to ask for any kind of food. I'm trying to get you to use the signs for please and thank you, but toddler politeness is a slow process.

You're still sleeping in a crib and you love it. You ask to be put into it to play several times a day. You use a fork when you feel like it, and you use a spoon too but you suck at it. You love to use my makeup brush to apply "blush" to your cheeks and mine. You're as obsessed with reading as ever and you ask to read many times a day. Right now, you're stuck on reading the same handful of books five times in a row (after which we distract you with something shiny so we don't go crazy). You kiss your stuff animals and then throw them on the ground. You love to tuck yourself against my side as we play with toys on the couch. You know almost all the letters of the alphabet and can point to them when asked; you're especially obsessed with "w" and will find it in any book we read. One of your favorite things to do is run around in circles. You can go down slides by yourself and often you'll climb back up them.

Tonight, when I asked for a goodnight hug, you opened your arms wide and put them around my shoulders for the first time. My heart melted.

I love you so much, G. I hope your second birthday was as grand as we could make it with your sick daddy and preggo mama. Your birthday party is on Saturday so we'll get to celebrate all over again.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

the many faces of g

Oh G, you turn two tomorrow. You are such a sweetheart and you're growing so much day by day. You make me laugh all of the time and I'm so proud to be your mama.

I promise not to cry tomorrow... much.

ups and downs at the zoo

This zoo day from yesterday did not end well.

But before I get to that, lemme share some cute photos of my kid.

He loves this pond. He almost didn't want to leave this spot.

I'm afraid I'm gonna have to cut his hair soon. sob. It's a mop though and I can't tame it anymore.

This is also one of his favorite places in the zoo. This kid is hesitant to get into water but boy does he love looking at it.

After I took the above photos, I glanced over at Dave who was sitting on the rock near the stroller. His head was in his hands. I walked over to him and his face was so pale, his lips bloodless. Soon, he started to shiver all over. He didn't feel hot yet but I just knew he would start running a fever any moment. He said he felt like throwing up, but when we tried to walk out of the zoo, he started to lose his vision and hearing, signs that he was about to faint.

I told him to sit down near the bathrooms in the sun while I went with G to find a zoo attendant for help. Eventually, a cart pulled with with a stretcher attached to it - I guess what they use to drive out anyone who gets injured in the park. It had a seat too. They strapped Dave into it and cranked him onto the back of the truck.

Don't think I'm heartless, okay, for taking this pic. Dave told me too! He's all huddled like that because he was in the shade and shivering like crazy.

There are all these back ways of getting out of the zoo, so they shuttled us out a secret exit and I drove us home. Soon after that, Dave started running a high fever and it stayed 102-103 well into the night. We were afraid at one point that we'd have to go to the hospital but a lukewarm bath helped bring it down. His fever broke sometime during the night and his temperature has been steady at 98.6-99.6 today, thank goodness.

We took a good look at his throat and sure enough, there were the tell-tale lesions. Dave has caught Grayson's hand, foot, mouth disease. I was exposed to HFM when I was a kid because my brother got it from daycare, but apparently Dave has never been. Sigh.

I've spent the past two days holding down the fort while Dave sleeps it off and praying I'm actually immune. I won't get my test results back until Wednesday, so I'm nervously feeling my head every five minutes and checking my throat for bumps. I'm not worried about the bumps and sore throat and the aches, but the fever terrifies me. I know a fever, especially in the first trimester, can be fatal for a developing fetus or cause terrible birth defects.

G is almost back to normal with just some leftover red spots on his toes. I'm sure Dave will sprout spots on his hands and feet soon but he would be back to normal by the end of the week in time for G's second birthday party. My baby turns two tomorrow!

Anyway, it was cool to see behind the scenes at the zoo. But getting sick to receive the VIP treatment wasn't worth it!

Friday, June 1, 2012

toddler face-plant

G just can't catch a break this week. Here's a pic of his cheeky bruise after face-planting into the kitchen cabinet yesterday.

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