Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lines that make my heart break into pieces

This morning, Seren woke up late (6:45!) and was in a really cheerful mood. We all were! She bounced into my bed and snuggled underneath the sheets. She was her full on 2 year old self- energetic and requiring no coffee whatsoever.

I love her so much.

She turns to me and says, "Mom, do you have to lay down again today? Are you still a little sick?"


I had to pick my heart off the floor before saying yes.

Lord, give me strength for the days ahead!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Holding on to the toddler years

Sometimes in my frustration with Seren, I think to myself, "I can't wait until she is 3 or 4. She'll have rationale thought by then." The fights over pjs and if she wants her diaper on now or later (Not NOW, Mom) can drive me batty.

However, I now spend my days looking out the window to my neighbors' home. They have three teenagers; two girls and one son.

It is fascinating to watch this family come and go. They have 5 people and 4 cars. The cars are constantly going in and out of the driveway. Don't the parents work? Don't the kids go to school? So strange! They are good people and very friendly- we like them a lot.

However, let me just say that if the yelling, door slamming and loud music playing is ANY indication of what is to come, I'll take fighting over pjs, refusing to sit in the booster chair, and only wanting Elmo soap for her bath any day.

As someone said to me about having a daughter, "Little girl? Little problems. Big girl? Big problems."

It gives me the willies to think about!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Things Overheard

Two weeks ago, when I spent two nights in the hospital at 28 weeks pregnant, I continued to hear comments from the support staff that were meant to be supportive but ended up sounding ridiculous and in some cases, insensitive. My response depended on how much magnesium sulfate I was on. Here are some of my favorites:

** On being wheeled in to L and D, "Wow! How exciting! Good luck!"

** After being admitted, "You are hardly showing, it must be your height. You carry really well."

** From a lab tech, "You are the only one on this whole wing who doesn't have a baby in her arms. Where is your baby?" (uhh...inside!?)

** After calling the nurse to tell her I thought I had spiked a fever. "Do you think YOU have a fever, or does your baby?"

**From a sweet hospital volunteer, age 15, "Congratulations!!"

**The second morning, when breakfast arrived, the food attendant asked, "Are you sure you can eat? You are in labor, aren't you?" (as I tried desperately not to be in labor)

And Sam and I just burst into hysterical laughter after this last one. One of the techs who takes vitals came in to take my blood pressure. I explained, pointing to the blood pressure cuff still on my arm, that I just had them taken by another nurse. She said, "Oh well, I'll just take it again. I see the blood pressure reading on the monitor there. Is that YOUR blood pressure or the baby's?" I responded, calmly that it was mine.

When she left, Sam turned to me and said, "We should have said, "You wouldn't believe how small the blood pressure cuff is for a baby in utero! And the procedure to get the cuff in and then out? Painful!"

Overall, the nurses were great and the doctors were supportive. And all of these comments were well natured. It just struck me as kinda funny. I almost wanted to post a sign on the door that said, "Actively working to keep baby IN".

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yahoo! Back on the couch!

We just got back. Everything is status quo! The cervix hasn't opened! The doctor did a very in depth examine and all looks good! Yeah God! I am slightly anemic which is not too surprising. It could also explain my exhaustion these days. I have gained a total of 27 lbs which is good news to me.

It all was blissfully uneventful! And I got to go outside and see trees! And moving cars! And people! They did another fNT test so I'll get those results Monday. Otherwise, I'm going to try to "buy" two weeks at a time.

November 5th sounds nice to me. After the election. We'll have a new leader. That sounds like a good time to bring a fresh soul into the world. Doesn't it?

Happy Friday!

Hoping for Status Quo

This past week has given us the chance to settle into a routine. My parents have been awesome. My husband has managed to make his schedule work and I too have fallen into some nice routines. And while tedious, I'd like to keep it just like this for at least another 5 weeks.

Today I leave the house! Can't believe it! I have seen a total of 7 people in the last 2 weeks, have been out to my backyard twice (for 30 minutes) and haven't driven, etc. It is so odd- this feeling like you are falling off the face of the earth. But, as I have said before, I get to be home with Seren. She is both a source of tremendous sadness in me (in that I can't play the way I want to) but also a source of such joy. Toddlers are just hysterical.

Today the doctor will examine me and determine if anything has changed. I'm hoping and praying for zero dialation and remaining at the status quo of 50% effaced. I'm really hoping that I don't have to be admitted due to dialation. Most likely, by 11:30, I"ll be right here on my couch with my laptop. Let's hope that is the case!

In terms of Seren news, her whole life is a spoken play by play action report of what she is doing. "First, I get my stickers. And then I go upstairs and play with Dadda. Then we just play." Or "I go in the new car with Dad to play at Heather's house. Then Grammy pick me up." Part of this is us- telling her what will happen and when. We do this because, like so many toddlers, she needs this sense of order. This sense of what will happen next.

Hell, I do too.

In other news, she has peed in her potty twice. We have to do it as soon as she wakes up, otherwise we are too late. SHe loves it and is VERY proud of herself. She also is amazing at getting completely dressed and undressed. Where did this grown up KID come from?

I really hope that my next post is as boring as this one. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Horizontal Parenting: Ineffective at Best

I have been laying down for one week and have 11 to go! Yahoo! Lets here it for week 29. My moods change by the minute. I get sad, frustrated, depressed. Then I"m grateful for another day and glad my baby is still inside. Then I feel lonely. Then I crave alone time. So it is a guessing game with me these days.

I am learning how to parent laying down.

Since May of 2006, I have put Seren to bed. There are a few exceptions, my parents put her to bed and Dad has too on occasion as I have been out with the "girls" or at yoga. But by and large, I "do the bed routine". Since twenty four of the last twenty seven months Sam has been home with her during the day, it has been really important to me to do dinner, bath and bed routine. It is snuggle time and I wouldn't change a thing. Since bending over the tub, picking her up, running down the hall and lifting her up and down into the diaper changing station, etc isn't doctor approved, we have had to think of something else. Now Dad does all of that (plus all of the cooking, most of the pick ups and drop offs at child care, all of the dishes, most of the cleaning and all of the grocery shopping). I read one story to Seren and make sure she has her hair brushed. Sam and my parents split the rest (depending on the day). Poor dude is just going to wear himself out.

Anyway, horizontal parenting is pretty darn ineffective. Here is a conversation from this morning. I am on the couch. Seren is standing in her bare feet.

"Hey, Seren, please come over here and sit on the couch so I can put your socks on."
"NO! I don't want to!"
"Seren, I have to ask you again to come over here please so I can help with socks and shoes."
"No! I sit over HERE!" (across the room)
"Momma can't sit over there."
"Mom! Sit HERE!"

All of the tricks that I normally use...sitting with her, getting her outside and then putting on her shoes, tickling her so she gets in a better mood...none of that works. I can only reach things within an arms' reach. It is so frustrating. I feel like a big, stuck whale.

As for how to explain why I can't pick her up, why I am not going to the farm, why I am not playing soccer in the backyard? I'm at a loss of words. If I say, "Well, I'm growing baby brother", that may cause resentment. I'm started to say that I am a "little bit sick". That seems to make sense to her. She is very sweet- handing me my phone, caring for me, etc. One afternoon, I was in tears over the whole thing and she was very concerned about my tears. She even wiped them off my face. "You ok, mom. You ok."

Oddly, my thoughts aren't necessarily on the unborn baby all of the time- they are what I'm missing now, adventures I was planning on taking with both Sam and Seren. But I guess that is only natural because well, they are HERE. But I'm here too. I'm not in the hospital (knock on wood) and can be outside for lunch with Sam and Seren. So life is good.

And for the first time in nearly two and a half years, I don't feel guilty when I'm sleeping or napping. Amazingly refreshing!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sitting in the morning sun...I'll be sitting when the day is done

Thanks for all of your good wishes and comments following last week's post. The good news is that we are still pregnant AND the fNt test is negative! Yahoo! The more challenging news is that I'm on bedrest until this child comes out or week 36.

Saturday night, after a day of sleeping and resting, we went out to celebrate Sam's 35 birthday. I had a feeling that it would be the last of my public days for a while. During dinner, my back started aching. Just like it did with Seren. I knew something wasn't right. We put her to bed and by 9, I was having some contractions. They were getting stronger. I had about 6 in an hour. I called my doctor who told me to leave for the hospital.

Leaving was sad and scary. Sad because I worried that I'd be there for a long time or that I'd give birth at 28 weeks. I snuck into Seren's room, kissed her and cried big tears. But we had to leave.

I continued to have contractions all the way to the hospital. Due to insurance reasons, I can't deliver in my state of PA, we had to get to NJ. It was a long 30 minutes. All the way there, I kept saying, "We are NOT having this baby tonight. We are NOT having this baby tonight."

I was hoooked up to the non stress test and felt better at the hospital. I felt much safer there then at home. The contractions didn't stop so I was placed on 12 hours of magnesium sulfate. I reacted better to this dose then I did with Seren. (Laura S can attest to my state of mind last time) It slows down all of your muscles -including your uterus. So you feel really tired, groggy and almost drunk. I did start humming some hymns kinda loudly. Thank Goodness, the contractions stopped. It was a long night of monitoring and poking, blood being drawn, etc. And the whole time, I can hear women laboring in the rooms next door. Excited husbands were pacing on cell phones sending updates to friends and family. It was odd trying so hard to keep our son IN when everyone else wanted the babies OUT.

I had a few more painful contractions while there but they would stop. I am now at home. Sitting and taking anti-contraction medication every 6 hours. I am grateful for every day. And I'm grateful to be with my family at home. So much better than at the hospital. And I can shower and go up and down stairs two times a day. As my doctor said, "You aren't walking on eggshells...but you shouldn't be walking."

The most challenging part, right now, is explaining to Seren what is going on. The biggest blessing was the fact that my in-laws were visiting from MI this past weekend. They were able to care for Seren (and me) when we were in the hospital. But it was still scary to wake up- mom and dad weren't there! And they didn't say goodbye! The poor thing became a bit unglued. Where were we? Why was mom in the hospital? She looked very nervous when she arrived at the hospital. "Do you have boo-boos, Mom? What is wrong? Are you upset, Mom?"

So for now, I have to get used to staying pregnant laying down and not really being able to be an active Mom. But the longer I can sit here, the better the outcome for our son.

I am working from home and we are all juggling and managing. But man, we need a NAME, quick! And what the heck do we do about circumcision? And where did we put those blue clothes?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Twas the Night Before Potential Bed rest..."

The ultrasound on Thursday left me on a total high. The boy is doing great- strong muscle tone, long legs and right on target in terms of growth. Sam and Seren joined me for this ultrasound and we enjoyed it immensely. Seren, however, has started to insist that there is a baby SISTER in her belly. Where to start on that one? And when we asked her who was in Daddy's belly, her response was classic. "Hmm. A banana."

The ultrasound tech laughed. I smiled all the way back to the office. We are going to be fine! This is going to work! The shots are working! Go us!

Friday I visited my OBGYN. He read the report and wasn't convinced, given my history, that all was well. He did an internal exam and stated that I am 50% effaced which means I'm thinning. You have to thin to 100% and then dilate to 10 before a baby came come out. But 50% at 28 weeks? Not so good.

I was professional in the office- asking the right questions. Nodding appropriately. But in the car on the way home, I completely lost it. The whole thing is just way too familiar. I was hoping to make it further along without stress and bedrest. I even let myself think I'd go all the way! Yesterday's news pretty much convinced me that 40 weeks is a pipedream. I even dusted off my "Preemie" book last night.

I'm stealing myself for Monday's news. The doctor ran a test and if it comes back positive on Monday, I'll be put on bedrest. Hopefully this doesn't mean hospitalization but the baby will get his steroid shots for his lungs. I'm simultaneously dreading the weeks to come and hoping for them at the same time. Each day counts! Each day! I am going to go through a lot of emotions the longer I stay on bed rest so I better get ready for the ride!

A million and one thoughts have raced through my mind since Friday. I woke up at 5:30 am in a complete panic. Health worries. Financial worries. To do lists! But I have already written some positive affirmations and we CAN do this!

I am doing a good job of sitting today. That's good, right? I'm tempted to just have my toes painted- one last thing for "me" that is pampering. But even that is making me a bit nervous. Not worth any possible complications. Then again, once I AM on bedrest, I won't be able to...And I think I'll take a nap. My inlaws are visiting so they all went to an aquarium. So for the first time since way before Seren was born, I'm completely alone on a sunny Saturday.

Not too bad, right?

Monday, September 8, 2008

My very own Carole King

Seren is "into" singing. Now mind you she doesn't necessarily need accompaniment but it is MUCH better (according to Seren) if a parent bangs along on the keyboard.

She has come up with such ditties as "I am not thirsty" and "Blueberries and Strawberries Everywhere!"

I feel like I'm on some toddler version of "Whose line is it anyway?"

Last Saturday morning, as I dared to sleep in until 7 am, Seren (and Sam) busted into my room. Sam carried the electronic keyboard and Seren stood at the foot of the bed and serenaded me. Her choice of song was appropriate, "I sing to you the 'Mommy Wake Up Song.'"

I love this! Her version of singing is very funny. She throws in some details about her life, adds a whole lot of "ya-ya-yas" and dances the entire time. And it isn't as if these songs are one time favorites. They come back. She'll invent "Blueberries and Strawberries" one week and the next week, she'll be in her carseat singing this song to us.

(FYI, That one is hard to sing along to. The chorus is the same but the verses..wow, tough to follow and remember.)

It is awesome. I hope she has inherited some of my uncles' musical talent. While Sam and I are both musical, the odds of this working out for her as a career isn't very likely. But just in case it does, I can say "I knew her when..."

Friday, September 5, 2008

27 weeks

Well, today marks the end of 27 weeks. I am in my third and final trimester! We can't believe it. We are celebrating a bit more today knowing that we are in the final stretch.

This past week has brought back the nausea that I thought I had kicked. And the fatigue that I was holding at bay seems to be right at my heels. So my first thought this morning as I opened my eyes was "27!" But shortly thereafter, on my drive to work, I realized I am scared to death. I am so incredibly scared of everything- of the changes, of the work that needs to get done both at our house and at the office, of the chance of pre-term labor, of the new little life and who he will be. I don't want to sound ungrateful but I am feeling both the need to just go into a hole and sleep and the need to be around people for comfort.

It is hard not to approach the end of the pregnancy and not think about our experiences last time. Both the good memories and the hard memories. Most likely I'll make it to 36 or 37 weeks without a problem but gosh, the challenges of preterm labor at 31 weeks and the emotional challenges that we faced following it are hard to shake. I guess that despite my best efforts to "process" all that happened nearly two and a half years ago, I still have some work to do. It is only natural that as we get closer to December, I'll be thinking about all of it again. (I realize as I type this that other women have experienced MUCH worse with far worse outcomes. My heart goes out to those women and I feel shallow mentioning my experiences.)

This week also marks the half way point of getting my progesterone shots. The past few have continued to hurt. And now I have a patch of skin on my rear where multiple injections have incurred. It is itchy and a bit bruised. So, 10 shots down, 10 to go!

This weekend, we have no firm plans. That should be good. The rest of September is pretty much booked with out of town visitors so I'm looking forward to a little unstructured time. Happy Friday!

The picture below is from week 24. I've grown a lot since!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"You say tomatoe, I say tomatto"

Seren has always called her bib that she wears for every meal, her "boob".

I have no idea why.

She knows what "boobs" are and talks about them too. "Does Daddy have boobs? Where are your boobs, mom?" And on and on and on. (Just wait until I start breastfeeding). But every meal, she climbs into her booster seat, clicks herself up, requests that the feeding tray be brought to her and then says, "Boob, please". We then attach the velcro bib behind her neck.

I have given up correcting her. Whatever.

The problem is that we were shopping in Toys R Us for a new, less ratty looking bib. I offered her a choice between two bibs. "Seren, do you want the pink one or the blue one?"

"Mom! I want TWO BOOBS!"

There you have it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blogging Friends, CA friends, Gardens and More

We had a great weekend! I will overlook the fact that I was sick this morning due to the pregnancy (hello? 26 weeks!?) and focus on the fact that we had a great time.

First off, I have to say a bit about Seren's big girl bed. Sam and I made SUCH a big deal out of the transition that she was SO excited to go to bed! It was awesome! The first night, she lay there really still and was asleep by 8 and up by 6. I couldn't believe it! I'm sure once she figures out (a matter of time) that she can get OUT of the bed, she will but so far, so good. I'll post a pic of her big girl bed- she is thrilled and so are we.

Saturday, we got to meet Laura and Jon! It was as if the Internet pictures came alive in our front room! Despite the humidity and heat, we all sat around, relaxed and chatted as if we had known each other for a long time. Laura was everything I thought she would be: warm, funny, witty, generous and intelligent. She is also quick to laughter and giggles: my kind of person! And Jon, who I only know through Laura's posts, was (true to her description) very tall, kind and very open. I can see how they complement each other extremely well. We talked about families, travels, jobs and life choices. And the strangest thing was that our most common bond, our children, weren't there! They were traveling without the adorable Nate and Alex and Seren was down for the count. I so wanted to wake her up just so they could meet her but thought that was silly considering how tired Seren had been that day.

I haven't checked Laura's blog but I loved meeting the two of them and hope they felt welcomed in our home. BUT we forgot to take a picture! As Laura and Jon were driving away in their rental car, I remembered and ran out to see if I could catch 'em! Dang. Thanks so much for coming, Laura and Jon!Thanks too for always extending yourselves to complete "strangers" on the internet. Glad we aren't strangers anymore!

We also hosted our good friend Nancy this weekend! Nancy was traveling from California for some time with her family in NY and extended her vacation to spend time in Levittown, baby! We took her to Longwood Gardens, a beautiful garden estate about an hour away. Seren loved Nancy,"Ansy" and liked exploring the great tree houses.

I love seeing my dear friends and this weekend was so special. Nancy, you are such a blessing to our family! Come again!

Seren also had some great one-liners this weekend. I just about melted twice this weekend. Seren was very dressed up for our time at the gardens and I got a bit snazzy too. She said to me, "Mom, you look so pretty. Momma is pretty, mom." It made me think of this post. And I got a bit weepy.

The second sap moment was on Monday. Sam, Seren and I took a little walk in a local nature center. It felt so good to just be out. And it was such a leisurely walk. At one point, I sat down on a bench. Sam did too. Seren hopped and said, "Sit with my family." We asked her who was in her family and she listed, "Momma, Dadda, Seren and baby brother!" Oh! The hormones! I could just eat her up.

This picture was from our trip to the Jersey shore last weekend in honor of the last few days of summer.