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Archive for February, 2014

Five on Friday

ONE: My latest ultrasound showed good news and bad news. Good news: my fluid levels have gone back up so I’m far from the danger zone at the moment. Bad news: This baby is huge. I’m technically 36w 5days and he’s already measuring 8lbs. My current c-section is scheduled for two weeks from yesterday, which means this baby will still be about 9lbs at delivery (and I’m delivering almost two weeks before my real due date)! Part of it is just that I make big babies, but part of it is also due to the gestational diabetes and the fact that even with the diet changes and insulin shots, shit just isn’t working. In just one month, this baby went from 60th percentile in size to 88th percentile. And his belly is bigger than that, which is a sure sign of a gestational diabetic baby. This is obviously very frustrating for me so please pray that this baby doesn’t end up in the NICU like D did.

TWO: The nursery is about 95% done. We still have one more piece of artwork to hang on the wall so as soon as that’s done, I’ll post photos. I posted a sneak peek on IG the other day and I’m really pleased with how it’s all coming together.

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THREE: Since we’ve essentially robbed D’s room of all things baby and moved them into the nursery, we’ve had to update his room to a big boy room. I’d say we’re about 50-60% done with the updates, but the hubs is actually DIYing a few things, so it’s taking a bit longer for his vision to come together. Two sneak peek pictures of the process include a lamp and some wall art of his name.

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FOUR: So the fear of having two under two is starting to settle in. For one, I’m nervous about breastfeeding. Since it didn’t work for me before and I ended up pumping for 7 months, I REALLY want nursing to work this time. Part of that will depend on if this baby ends up in the NICU for a few days and also when my milk comes in. Since I’m having a c-section a couple of weeks early, I have no idea if my body will cooperate or not, or if it’s going to take even longer for my milk to come in. (Last time, it didn’t come in until day 5.) I’m nervous about the actual c-section and my recovery. I’m hopeful that since I won’t be laboring for 15 hours before my c-section that my recovery will be easier, but I just don’t know. It’s still major abdominal surgery. And I’m nervous about how D will react to the new baby. He’s too young to understand us when we try to explain it to him that mommy has a baby in her belly and that he’s going to have a little baby brother soon. And while he CAN be super sweet and affectionate at times, he also has a mean streak and has shown zero interest in other kids/babies. I’m sure it’ll all work itself out and that one day they’ll be the best of friends, but right now I’m nervous.

FIVE: Speaking of fear, I was contacted earlier this week by a man named Cameron, husband of a Mesothelioma survivor. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos. Most people diagnosed with Mesothelioma die within two years, but fortunately for Cameron, his wife Heather, and their little girl Lily, Heather has been cancer-free for 8 years now after a successful surgery to remove her left lung. They now celebrate that day every February 2 and call it LungLeavin’ Day.

Here’s what Cameron has to say about LungLeavin’Day: “The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears!  Each year, we gather around a fire in our backyard with our friends and family, write our biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire.  We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life! This year, we asked bloggers to take part and spread the word about LungLeavin’ Day.  We created an interactive page mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday that tells the full story of our special day.”

Pretty cool, huh? What a great way to celebrate life and take back control from your fears. Please check out the site if you get a chance. And congrats to the Von St. James family!!

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36 Week Bumpdate

Oh I have so much to cover and so very little time (or energy) so I won’t be doing my typical Q&A format. Instead, I’ll just hit the highlights…and lowlights.

Last Monday, I started insulin shots twice a day. Despite a gradual increase in my medication and a mostly well-restricted diet, my blood sugar levels were teetering on the recommended limits. The decision was made to bring out the big guns needles and start taking this stuff seriously.

The only problem? It didn’t work. The first two days saw higher numbers than any of the previous days when I was on the medication. I started to freak out a little. Insulin dosage was increased, but it only helped slightly.

On Thursday, I went in for my weekly monitoring and ultrasound and that’s when things got really interesting.

To summarize why I get twice weekly monitoring, I’ll try to explain it simply. Having gestational diabetes means my body (specifically my pancreas) is not producing enough insulin to break down carbs and sugars, therefore during pregnancy, the baby’s pancreas tries to do the work of both his little body and my big adult body. That’s not good. What usually happens is that the baby gains a lot of weight and pees a lot because it’s being overworked, therefore resulting in a big baby at delivery, with a very large, round belly, and swimming in too much amniotic fluid (aka baby pee). So when I go in for ultrasounds, the techs are looking for those warning signs – large baby, large belly, lots of amniotic fluid. So far, the ultrasounds have shown a perfectly healthy and normal-sized baby with normal-to-lowish levels of amniotic fluid.

Until Thursday, when my amniotic fluid went from a 16 the week before to a 4. A sudden drop like that typically means the bag of waters has broken or is leaking. I knew my water hadn’t broken and I hadn’t noticed any substantial leaking. Still, anything below a 5 apparently lands you an overnight stay at the hospital for continued monitoring and an IV. So that’s what happened. I was wheeled upstairs to the maternity ward and checked into a room, hospital gown and all. After a couple of blow veins, the IV was finally inserted (OUCH!) and monitors were strapped to my belly. The rest was pretty uneventful. The hubs and D came up for a visit and brought me a few essentials. I enjoyed taking advantage of the room service and stocked up on mesh underwear. (Don’t laugh until you’ve had a baby. Mesh underwear are AWESOME post-delivery!) Caught up on some work emails and some blog reading, and just tried to make the best of my first overnight hospital stay alone. It really wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the IV and the crappy L&D bed that was made for L&D and NOT for comfortable pregnant lady sleeping.

The next morning, my fluid levels were measuring at 6.5. Not great, but not bad enough to keep me so I was discharged early afternoon and instructed to keep track of baby’s movements and do kick counts until my next check-up on Monday. Talk about stressful!

Oh, and the doc at the hospital gave me a heads up that I most likely wouldn’t be making it to my 39W and 4Day c-section. That if my fluid levels dropped again, I could expect to deliver this baby sometime around 37 weeks. EEEK!

The rest of the weekend was spent in baby-prep mode, just in case Monday came and my fluid levels had dropped back down again.

Well, it’s now Monday and the good news is, I’m not at the hospital. My fluid levels were 7.5, which is still on the low side, but nothing terribly concerning. We’re still not sure what caused it, but best guess is my placenta is starting to fizzle out, perhaps caused by my change in medication from Glyburide to Insulin or just another random effect of the diabetes. No one really knows. But given both issues – the diabetes that’s being a biotch to manage and the low fluid levels – my OB moved my c-section up by one week, so my new due date is now March 13!

While it was sort of exciting to think I could have a baby this week, I’d MUCH rather hold off as long as possible for the health of the baby. I’ve already experienced having a baby in the NICU and I’d like to do everything possible to keep from repeating that experience. So a 38-week delivery sounds just perfect to me.

And since I wasn’t sure if I’d be having a baby tonight or not, I went ahead and snapped a photo this morning, just in case.

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My Father’s Passing

Thursday afternoon, my phone screen lit up with my paternal grandmother’s phone number. She’s almost 92 and rarely calls me (I do all the calling in this family, apparently) so when I saw her name and number light up, I feared the worst. My aunt was on the other line (another bad sign) but she wasn’t crying (yet), so I waited anxiously for the shoe to drop. She asked how I was doing and other pleasantries, and then it came.

“I’ve got bad news honey.” She choked back tears. “Your daddy died last night.” Gut = kicked.

He suffered from Crohn’s disease since I was a little kid. And without health insurance, he suffered without medicine, which resulted in a few hospital stays, surgeries to remove large portions of his intestines, and blood transfusions. It’s a terribly painful and disgusting disease, so for the last 25 years or so, he’s been incredibly thin and malnourished, unable to work. My grandmother took care of him, providing a place for him to live just a few miles down the road from her. She checked on him every morning with a phone call, bought him new clothes when he needed them, paid his utilities and gave him gas money to visit her and make his monthly tripes to the grocery store to use his food stamps. Without her, he would’ve surely been homeless years ago.

My father and I were never close for a myriad of reasons. He took care of me when I was an infant, but my parents couldn’t get along and when my mom and I moved in with my maternal grandparents, he only came around for special occasions – Easter, my birthday, and sometime around Christmas. Once he was no longer able to work and started relying on my grandma full time, I saw him nearly every time I visited her, which was a couple of times a year. Sometimes he’d send birthday cards (that my grandmother bought) but the gift-giving was usually from me – for Christmas and his birthday. For the last several years, he’s been reclusive and would only speak when spoken to, which made phone calls pointless because they wouldn’t last longer than 30 seconds before he said he had to go. We mostly kept in touch via conversations with my grandmother. I saw him maybe twice last year – in March for my grandma’s birthday party and in June when we came to visit. We visited my grandma just last month, but he was battling a cold and my grandma told him not to come over for fear of getting me or the baby sick, so I didn’t see him. We spoke on the phone and he thanked me for his Christmas and birthday gifts but that was it. Like I said, 3o second phone calls were his max.

Still, it’s a bit surreal to have to tell someone, “My dad just died.” Of course I’m sad and I hate the way that he suffered, but I almost feel guilty accepting any sympathy because we weren’t close. Still, I suppose a parent is a parent. Our relationship wasn’t great, but I knew he had both mental and physical issues, so I never really resented him for it. I still had great relationships with my grandmother, grandfather, and my aunt and uncle (his sister) so in a way, that made up for it.

Saturday was the funeral and it was lovelier than I expected. I sent a standing spray of flowers and held my grandma’s hand through the service. I can’t imagine what she was going through, burying her youngest child – the baby of the family. There’s just something about parents having to bury their children that’s just unnatural and I hope I never have to be part of that club. Even when I’m 92.

D was a welcome bright spot in the day, for everyone. He was the only child there, running around just being his cute self. He barely made a peep during the service. People couldn’t believe how good he was. My husband and FIL were both pallbearers. The graveside service was kept short due to the bitter cold, and afterward, the family headed back to my grandma’s house for a nice lunch, and I’m so grateful to my aunt for handling the bulk of the arrangements. As far as funerals go (and I’ve been to my fair share in recent years) it was pretty perfect. I still worry about my grandma and how she’ll continue to cope with the loss. Worrying about him and taking care of him gave her purpose. I’m not sure what she’ll do now.

As sad as these last few days have been, I’m grateful. Grateful he didn’t suffer more than he already did. Grateful he went peacefully in his sleep and not in a hospital. Grateful he was at my grandmother’s house and not alone in his trailer for days, undiscovered. And grateful that so many people came out for the funeral. I do wish he could’ve lasted long enough to see photos or meet the new baby, but considering how sick he was and the pain he was in, I wouldn’t have wanted him to continue to suffer for another month or more.

I’m not really sure how to end a post like this so I’ll just stop right here.

 

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5 Weeks Left

As of today, I have exactly 5 weeks until baby #2 is here.  This means I’m about 8,567 years  35.5 weeks pregnant.

The Good:

We’re almost there!! My twice-weekly appointments are showing a healthy baby who is not too big or floating around in too much fluid. We’re also about 50% there on the nursery. Crib and changing table are put together and in place. Curtains will be hung this week. We still need to wipe everything down, find a rug, and clean out the closet to make room for all his clothes, but we’re close. I can envision it now and it makes me so excited to think there will be a BABY in that new little crib very soon. I’ll post pics as soon as it’s complete, but don’t go expecting something out of Apartment Therapy or HGTV. With such a small room, our primary focus was function rather than style.

The Bad: 

My gestational diabetes is becoming more resistant to the medication I’ve been taking. This means it’s getting worse, which is typical as the placenta grows and is exactly what I expected, but it still sucks. It also means I’ll likely be on insulin shots  before the end of next week. I REALLY wanted to avoid the shots. When the doc told me to prepare for them, and then told me I’d have to stick a needle in my stomach 4 times a day, I may have dropped the F-bomb – quite loudly – as my response. I was pretty bummed the rest of the day but knowing I have to do this for the health of my baby means I’ll just suck it up and do it.

Diabetes aside, things are getting more and more uncomfortable. I get winded more easily, my lower back hurts most of the time, and it’s getting difficult to do simple things like…put on a pair of underwear. I actually dread bedtime because it’s so hard for me to flip from one side to the other and my pelvic bone already feels like it’s being pulled apart. I get kicked/punched in the bladder and lady parts at least a hundred times a day. Then there are the baby hiccups. Cute, in theory, but holy moly do they drive me absolutely bonkers. I’ve also experienced a few contractions. Mostly just Braxton Hicks, but last night was something far more painful to the point where I needed to lie down and just go to sleep. Having been through real labor before, I was able to convince myself this wasn’t the same thing, but it sure wasn’t pleasant.

 

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20 Month Update

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Taken a few days late on Super Bowl Sunday, sporting Broncos colors. Poor Peyton.

Weight/Length: About 26lbs. Now that he’s walking running, I should get one of those height charts/sticks so I can start keeping track of his growth a bit better.

Sleep: Most nights aren’t bad. He typically wakes up once and tries to coax us to come get him. I usually send the hubs in to check to make sure he’s okay and that his diaper hasn’t leaked and if all is well, he gives him a quick pat and walks out of the room, which only makes him cry harder. We’ve found that if we close his door, he cries hard for about a minute before giving up and going back to sleep. He knows we mean business. If we leave it open, he’ll cry for 15 minutes or more or until we give in and bring him to bed with us.

He’s had a few nights this month of what I can only assume to be night terrors. His cries are different and he’s clearly terrified of something and on those nights, we rush in and scoop him up because we can just tell something is definitely wrong. He usually calms down after just a few minutes of hugs and rocking though. Poor little guy.

Still napping about once per day for an average of 2 hours.

Feeding: I swear he’s getting pickier and pickier by the day, and he’s the only kid I’ve ever met that hates mac & cheese. His favorite meal is breakfast. Typically a Nutrigrain bar, some pancakes, and sometimes fruit. He eats ALL of it. Lunch is hit or miss, and dinner is almost always a fight resulting in meals that consist of baby raviolis, yogurt, applesauce, and graham crackers because he refuses to eat the delicious things we put in front of him, with most of it ending up in his seat or on the floor. The dog has been eating better these days though.

Developments: This month we mastered primary colors. He can pick out red, green, blue and yellow pretty consistently. He’s also learned a couple more animal sounds, my favorites being elephant and lion. Even though he doesn’t watch Sesame Street, we have some books with Sesame Street characters and he knows all their names. And did I mention he’s basically RUNNING now? I noticed him practicing in the hallway with his walker earlier this month, just going back and forth and trying to pick up speed.

As for language though, he’s got his own and isn’t interested in speaking ours. He makes a certain sound whenever he wants something and will point to it. I’d try to type it out but it sounds a little obscene so I won’t, but he’s very consistent with it so we know that’s his sound for “I want that.”

Other than animal noises, the only word he really says with any regularity is “doggie.” Everything is a doggie. Cats, horses, rabbits…all doggies.

When we do his nightly reading to Goodnight Moon, he’s now a big fan of finding the tiny little mouse on each of the color pages. He’s really good at it too!

Firsts This Month: I’m drawing a blank here. Surely I’m just forgetting one or several things. Oh well.

Likes: Same stuff as always with his favorite things being books, bath, and his paci. The iPad is close behind. And hallelujah he’s finally taken a liking to his Jellycat bunny I got him for Easter last year! I was so upset when he wanted nothing to do with it but I pulled it out from the bottom of the toy box last week and he gave it the biggest hug. Now it sleeps with him in his crib, along with a Mickey Mouse and his musical monkey.

I have never in my life seen a child that loves to be chased as much as this one. It’s a little exhausting for this big old pregnant lady, but it’s so much fun. And if you build a fort around him of any kind – pillow, blanket, whatever – he will instantly go from crying to smiling and giggling.

Ketchup. I blame my FIL for this one as he introduced D to ketchup during our Costa Rican vacation, but then again, sometimes adding ketchup is the only way to get him to eat his nuggets so I guess it’s useful for something. And it’s so darn cute to watch him dip his nuggets in a little pile of ketchup. He’s so slow and methodical with it, and if he thinks there isn’t enough on there, he’ll keep dipping it JUST ENOUGH to meet his satisfaction. Hilarious to watch.

Favorite Songs: No new favorites this month, but he certainly loves music. And when I’m catching up on Ellen, he loves to dance when she starts dancing with her audience.

Favorite Toys: For Christmas, he got a GIANT stuffed Mickey Mouse and he loves to tackle it randomly and sit next to it when Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on.

He’s getting more into his cars and blocks, but they don’t hold his attention for super long periods of time. He still likes to play with his bead maze once or twice a day, as well as his VTech turtle. He loves to play basketball with daddy, and is a pro at putting together his chunky Melissa & Doug puzzles. And flash cards. This kid LOVES this random pack of Dr. Seuss flash cards we found in the dollar bin at Target awhile back.IMGP9995

After watching him play with random magnets on our fridge this last week, I went out and bought him some Melissa & Doug magnets from Target (Thanks for the tip, Sara!) and he LOVES them. I imagine these will be at the top of the list for his 21 month update.

Dislikes: Lately most of his dislikes have been in relation to food. Diaper changes are pretty challenging if he’s not in the mood as well. And getting this kid out of the bath, lotioned up, and into his jammies is a two-man job. And he hates, HATES, having his boogers cleared. But I have never seen a more booger-filled kid. It’s why I call him “booger” or “booger nose” most of the time. Ha!IMGP9999

What I’m Thankful For: That it’s finally February and we are slowly getting closer to spring. We had only ONE nice day in January where we could take D to the park, but otherwise we’re all suffering from a bit of cabin fever and I am not sorry to see January behind us. 

What I’m Looking Forward To: The end of February for the very same reasons.

How Mommy’s Doing: I’ve been better. I’m getting bigger, which means things are getting more uncomfortable with each passing week. I’m managing the gestational diabetes as best I can but it’s not fun and it’s not easy and I still have my bad days. I haven’t been able to exercise as much as I should because of this stupid winter weather, but all in all, I guess I should just be happy things have been going as well as they have been. It could always be worse. How’s that for a positive attitude?

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