Tuesday, April 30, 2013

names - blurgh


I needed a bowl of cereal thirty or so minutes ago, but I hopped onto a baby name website and now I am in a panic. J will not discuss baby names until we know the gender, so I have to turn to you for whining purposes.

When I was pregnant with Charlotte we were leaning heavily towards Madison, but Charlotte was high on the list and once we called her by that for a few days it stuck. I knew our boy would be named Bennett, so when we found out baby number two was a boy naming him was easy peasy. And it was made all the better by its meaning (blessed / blessed boy from heaven).

I am driving myself crazy trying to find the perfect meaning for this little one's name. Right now I'm only looking at girl names because I've got the feeling and the feeling has been 100% accurate so far. I'm focusing on meaning more than the actual name, which is silly, but I can't seem to stop myself.

Every now and I again I find myself wandering down a strange name path - Willow Piper?? - but when I think about the meaning - basically, a tree who plays the pipes - I can't bring myself to write it down. Also: J would not go for it.

Then there's the idea of including Charlotte's name - or Ava, her middle name - somehow, which I've blogged about before, but honestly I don't think that's right for us.

This evening I've found a few names I love the meaning of, but they are African or Irish or Greek in origin and I think knowing how to pronounce your child's name is important. I LOVE the name Genevieve, but everyone I know has shot that one down, so I'm moving on from it.

What a wonderful problem to have, yes?

I best eat my cereal before 9:30 hits. Baby does not like food after 9:30, although, that 10:00 Taco Bell run the other night was a wonderful exception to that rule. (I haven't had Taco Bell in years, please, please don't tell me what's in the meat.)

Is it hard for you to choose names? How about if you've had a loss? Does that make it more difficult? Do you fret about the meaning, or just go for something you like? Does your spouse shoot down every suggestion you make?


Sunday, April 28, 2013

tell me how it ends


Just when I think I'm nearing the end of morning sickness, I throw up. Just when I have a day of energy with little nausea, I spend the next day feeling like I've been run over by a truck. I've been told by many that the third pregnancy is always the hardest. Why is that?! I think pregnancies should get easier.

B is going through a very defiant boundary pushing phase, which makes life even more interesting/frustrating. He is a busy, adventuresome little boy who wants to go, go, go while mama wants to sleep, sleep, sleep. The laughter and joy he brings to our house is worth every frustrating moment, but there are days when I need to take a time out.

J has been so helpful. I think he's more than ready for me to feel better. I think he's also ready to stop running to the store every day to buy whatever I MUST have. I don't remember having this many cravings come and go so quickly with my other pregnancies. This morning it's not even 10, we're readying ourselves for church, and all I can think about is pizza. By this afternoon I'll want tacos. Do you ever think about how weird and wonderful pregnancy is? I'm just sitting here growing a human and thinking about eating food I would normally never eat before noon.

I'm having a hard time attaching to this pregnancy. I think a large part of that is my certainty that it's a girl, which makes me feel like I need to protect body and soul from potential pain. I feel guilty and ungrateful, like I don't deserve this pregnancy. I should be over the moon about it all, but I feel rather meh and ready to know how it's going to end. Yeah, people say it will all be fine, but you know I don't find much solace in those words. Once I have a breathing baby in my arms we can throw around the word fine. I just don't have my feet under me right now. I don't know if it's the pregnancy, or Charlotte's birthday, or trying to parent B through a difficult phase, or a combination of all three.

I'm just so anxious for early fall, a not complete but still wonderful family of four and all of the adjustments that will bring.

Friday, April 26, 2013

what can change in a year?


EVERYTHING

Tulip Farm: April 30 '12 / April 26 '13


Thursday, April 25, 2013

some days ... (confessions-ish)



B wakes up early for the third day in a row.


I go to Target at 8:30 in the morning just to get out of the house.

I stop at a park on the way home from Target because it's warm and B needs exercise.


I park three miles from the playground, which results in a long walk and wet feet.


I don't worry about not having sunscreen or water or a sun hat.

When B dumps his snack on the playground I let him eat off the ground for a minute before cleaning up.


The playground is empty and I sit to the side answering emails instead of engaging with B.

As long as I have B in sight, I don't worry.


I wonder where B gets his sense of adventure and complete lack of fear.



B only wants to eat bananas.


I don't even try to nap B because I don't feel up to the battle.

I'm not as patient as I should be.

I have to give myself a little grace.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the rage, THE RAGE!


Every time I feel certain this growing babe is a girl something inane happens that makes me want to punch a complete stranger in the face and I think, Oh, hey, maybe it's a boy. I was emotional with Charlotte, angry with Bennett, and this go round - well, I seem to be aiming for straight up crazy.

I cannot get a handle on my emotions. I cannot get a handle on LIFE. I'm a darn mess all. the. time. This evening in one of my private facebook groups (I belong to too many of these. I love ya, stop inviting me) there was a discussion about ultrasounds and even though it didn't really have anything to do with me I stepped on into that discussion because I NEED my ultrasounds and the whole thing just irked the tar out of me. Usually I let those things go, but this pregnancy, man, I'm just like, "You wanna fight? Huh? Huh?!"

Sheesh.

I don't know if it's the time of year, or the hormones, or planets misaligning (is that even a word?) but I am three seconds away from Hulk status far too often.

I should probably start yoga or do some deep breathing or get my act together and go to my counselor, but I can't seem to find the energy to do any of that. Heck, I can't work on deep breathing, I can barely breathe shallowly.

Now I feel like I need to reiterate how grateful I am for this pregnancy. You know I don't take it for granted, right? I know how lucky I am to say, "Let's try for a baby in January," and - boom - pregnant. I get that. I really, really do. I'm just saying, these hormones are making me crazy. And angry.

I'm crangry.


Monday, April 22, 2013

maternal fetal medicine appointment #1




Baby looks good!! And my thyroid is within normal range as well. I just don't feel well this pregnancy, but I'm okay with that since baby is healthy. My chief complaint is shortness of breath, and if that continues I need to schedule an echo to make sure my heart is okay. Lucky me, J can do that.

I was a little nervous for the appointment, but it went really well. Everyone is so wonderful at that office. I had the same tech as I did during B's pregnancy. She talked me through the ultrasound and gave me a couple 3D pictures. Baby was moving and dancing like mad throughout the ultrasound. Baby was practicing swallowing as well, which I've never seen so early on.

I need a nickname for this little one ... baby is so blah. By the time I think one up we'll know the gender and then we can just call the baby by its name. IF we can decide on a name ... this one is proving difficult.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I remember


Oh, spring. I love you and your warmer weather, but there are dark, rainy days too. And in those dark rainy days, the flashbacks.

I remember waking up at 3 in the morning the day after we came home. I thought she was alive. My brain recalled Charlotte's birth, but conveniently forgot her death. I slipped out of bed, belly cramping with after birth pains and wandered around the house, looking for Charlotte.

J found me in the nursery, rocking and crying.

This evening, in a different room of the house, in a blue nursery, not a yellow one, I watched my little boy clamber up into the rocking chair for a wild ride before bed. And I remembered that night: the empty nursery, the tears that burned my raw face, the heating pad pressed against my bereft belly. J finding me and helping me shuffle down the hall to bed, then holding me as I wailed for my little lost girl.

25 days.

Almost here, then gone again, until the next one. This lifetime of missed days is so, so heavy sometimes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

twelve weeks


Oh my, I'm exhausted. The last week - well, two, really - has been so difficult. There's been a lot of issues with the doctor who managed my thyroid care during B's pregnancy, and as of this afternoon I decided to discontinue care. It's hard. It's uncomfortable. The people pleaser in me feels like apologizing and over explaining.

I made the very difficult decision to end care with someone who walked me through the most difficult time of my life. It sucks. I've been having hyperthyroid symptoms for weeks and trying to receive help has been one battle after another. At my prenatal appointment today it was decided I would go to the high risk doctor (the clinic I went to for B's pregnancy) on Monday for an appointment so they can help me manage my symptoms. 

The past few days have been a mess of phone calls with the insurance, area naturopaths and my prior caregiver as I tried to find someone who could a) help me and b) not break the bank while doing so. I am praying with all my might that the maternal fetal medicine doctors can manage my thyroid care this pregnancy. That is by far the best case scenario right now.

After a very long day in a series of long days I took a hot shower, ate a few peanut butter cups (yes, in the shower, allergy mama) and decided to move forward and focus on the baby. I don't need additional stress right now, and let me tell you, I have cried way too many tears over this darn doctor situation.

By Monday's end I should have a health term plan I am comfortable with, and the reassurance that when I say I need to see a doctor because I am having symptoms that are worrisome I get to see a doctor.

BUT, BUT - the bright spot in all of this is the baby:



Little one is doing well. At my appointment today there was a brief ultrasound to check in (no heartbeat via doppler, of course) and baby was waving and the little heart was beating away.

On my way home after my appointment I was a little frustrated to already be going to the maternal fetal medicine doctor, but then I reminded myself they are there for a reason and this is a perfectly appropriate time to take advantage of their care. My number one priority is this baby's health, and while making sure all is well is requiring some change and a lot of tears it is worth it.

One more picture from today and then I'm calling it a night. This is what happens when you take a walk after your appointment, stop to take a quick selfie and then realize your child is running as quickly as possible for the water:



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

parenting her / parenting him


This afternoon was my fifth time speaking to a grief and loss class at a local college.

People say, "I don't know how you do it, how you talk about her in front of people."

Thing is, I have selfish reasons for speaking about Charlotte.

It makes me feel close to her.

It reminds me she mattered.

And that she lived.

For a short space in time I get to talk about her. Do you know how wonderful that is? How great it is to bring my daughter and her special spirit into a room? I get to talk about her short life and how much she changed mine. I talk about B all the time, but Charlotte is the child I silently parent. I have to find creative ways - like speaking and writing - to show my love for her.

And at the end of the day, I walk into the spring sunshine, take a deep breath - nerves gone, emotions all over the place, tears rising - and drive home, to this beautiful blessing



In a few short months (hopefully) I'll have to find a way to balance parenting three babies. It's hard to explain how much time goes into nurturing Charlotte, even though she isn't alive. I don't know if anyone else can understand what it's like to feel like you're raising a shadow child, one whose presence is felt via their absence, which vibrates in hidden drawers full of bittersweet memories and well loved picture frames. Unless you're walking this road. Then, yeah, you understand, and I'm sorry for that.

My heart hurts. It isn't easy to talk for thirty minutes - give or take a few - about what happened. It requires control, forethought and preparation to stand in front of a classroom and break apart a beautiful spring day with loss and sadness. But as long as I am asked I will share our story. And sometimes I share it even when I'm not asked.

Because I'm selfish.

Because I think people need to know how many mothers and fathers are hurting.

Because I miss her.

Because I have so few ways to parent her.

Because I love her.

Charlotte broke my heart wide open when she was born, and I want her to break yours a little too.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

you'll be busy


This morning I ran into Motherhood to buy a pair of workout pants. When asked for my phone number I rattled it off without thinking. The clerk said, "What's your new due date so I can put it in here?" As she typed it in she stopped and peered at the screen. "Wow, you'll have a 3 year old, a 2 year old and a newborn! You'll be busy." I nodded, swiped my card, thanked her and quickly left. I didn't realize the stupid computer system would have all of my information stored, including all three of my due dates.

I decided to complete our errands later and take B to the park instead. And of course I cried as I drove to the park. It's a month until Charlotte's birthday, I'm pregnant, my thyroid is haywire and I am making little headway with the doctor who manages it. I am so worried I'm going to lose this baby, or there will be complications, because I don't feel well, but apparently firmly asking a medical assistant, "Do you know how upset I will be if I miscarry because of this?" doesn't even warrant a call from the doctor.

This time of year is just so hard.

She should be here.

If the world made any sense at all, she would be here.


Monday, April 15, 2013

um ... hi?


Has it really been five days since my last post?? Life is a blur of nausea and the craziest little boy who loves the word, "no" so much right now I think I am going to lose my mind. Coming up on 12 weeks in a couple days here. I have an appointment later this week, hopefully there will be a sweet little heartbeat heard via doppler.

I asked my midwife from Charlotte and Bennett's pregnancy if she would come to this birth, if at all possible. She said she will try, which makes me SO happy. I know I might not have a water birth, and I know my midwife may not be there, but I like the potential this birth has.

This pregnancy is tough. I blame Mr. B for that. I have a lot of soreness and cramping and I'm tired all the time. Part of the issue is my thyroid, of course. It does not like to behave during pregnancy. Hopefully we can sort it out soon. I am not pleased with how that aspect of my care is being handled, but I am not having luck finding another doctor so for now I'm doing as much as I can to take care of myself.

I'm trying to type this quickly while B throws books in my face and asks me to read. Apparently today is a no nap day, which means bed time will be easy (fingers crossed) but my afternoon nap has been compromised.

I have some thoughts on a second pregnancy after loss, but haven't been able to form coherent words from those thoughts. Hopefully soon I'll have a post about that, and maybe some other posts will come to mind. Sorry about the silence of late. I'm slowly crawling out of the first trimester here, and things should improve soon. Unless I'm nauseated the entire pregnancy like I was with Miss C.

It's sunny here today. I suppose I should find the energy to chase B around the block and encourage him to climb the church steps down the street three thousand times.


Talk soon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

old hat


Last night at loss support group I realized something: I'm no longer a rookie.

It's almost been three years and when I talk about Charlotte I don't cry.

In fact, I haven't cried in a long, long time for my little lost girl.

My tiny 5 lb. 7 oz. first baby who barely drew breath.

The soft mew of a kitten can still send me spinning back to the sun drenched room where she was born.

Those heart stopping moments when she tried to cry.

Three years.

It's knocking me sideways, people.

Upside down too.

I guess it's time to make the cookie dough.

Because eating a spoonful of cookie dough every time I felt sad last spring was really therapeutic.

Three years.

Somehow I've become someone who has walked the road long enough to have a little grief wisdom.

I'll leave you with a picture of me and my girl.

You've seen it before.

Of course you have.

But this is all I have. I can't give you a new picture because our time to capture her narrowed from a lifetime to an hour in seconds.

Charlotte - forever missed.



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

19 months!



Sweet B is 19 months! He is clicking right along, meeting all of the expected milestones, a little ahead in his language skills, but otherwise exactly where he should be.

I think watching him learn how to communicate is my favorite thing. He has so many words - somewhere around 60, I stopped counting - and is picking up harder sounds. B learned hawk and cow this week, but doesn't have the most difficult sounds - like 'l.'


There is definitely some toddler attitude developing as well. If anyone can tell me how to make B stop throwing food on the ground I would really appreciate it. I feel like we've tried everything, but he still does it! He's at that age where provoking mama and daddy is funny, even when it lands him in time out.



I can't believe I'm going to have another baby since B still seems so much like a baby. He is active and busy, but he loves cuddle time. He is very affectionate, loves to hug, kiss and snuggle. We spend at least an hour every day sitting on the couch and reading. And B is still small enough for me to carry around a lot of the time though he prefers running.

B is starting to get more into physical play. He tries to wrestle with J because he's seen older boys wrestle with their daddies. B's attempts are ineffective right now, but it's sweet to watch.

Napping is going better (although today he is whining/fussing/refusing to rest) and sleep is okay. Last night he slept in his crib until 4am, but he was a bear to put to sleep. My daily goal is to find a way to wear him out so he will nap and sleep well.

I am so grateful for every moment with this little one.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

the great jeans hunt: a review of sorts



This is it, people. The last pregnancy, the last hurrah, the last time I have to wear maternity clothes. It's strange, it doesn't feel final, and I think J may have a different opinion on the matter, but I'm calling this the last one. (Let's not mention my firm belief that I wouldn't have more children after B, mmmkay?)

My first two pregnancies I wore mostly Motherhood Maternity, even though the clothes didn't fit all that well. This pregnancy I wanted comfortable pants that actually fit, so yesterday J (who has a horrible toothache) little man B and I went on a hunt for maternity pants. Did you know selling maternity pants in store is rare these days? I didn't either until we drove to a mall an hour from our house.

I wanted to go to H&M because I believed it would come through for me. I had tried going to a different H&M a few weeks ago, but they don't have a maternity section. This H&M had two pairs of jeans, size 16. They had tons of leopard print skinnies lying around, but almost no jeans. Can you see me in leopard print skinny jeans? Yeah. didn't think so. I was so disappointed. After trying Gap (online only, or a different location a few miles away) and Nordstrom (online only) I gave up.

We went to our next destination (Columbia Sportswear Employee Store, hospital employee benefit) then on to lunch. At lunch I realized we were less than a mile from the other Gap. J was so kind to agree to another stop even though his tooth really, really hurt (most likely needs a root canal).

And there, in the back of Baby Gap, was a little room with a wall of maternity jeans! It was a beautiful, expensive sight. I found a pair on the clearance rack as well as a full price pair. Both demi panel, which I didn't think I wanted, but these are so comfortable. I think it will be nice to have the demi panel because the full panel was pretty warm during those last months of my second pregnancy.



The entire store was 30% off, but the full price jeans were still super expensive ($50.00). The clearance jeans were $25.00, which I felt really good about. The jeans are true to size and come in ankle, short or regular length, which is SO nice. I bought a size 6 ankle, which fit perfectly right now and size 8 short which fit, but have a little room for growth.

So, here's a quick sum up of my thoughts on maternity pants:

Motherhood Maternity: Uncomfortable, unflattering, don't fit very well.

Gap: Comfortable, not too roomy around the thighs and hips, well worth the extra money spent.

It felt so good to put on pants this morning that a) fit and b) don't make me look like a frumpy mom (even though I so am a frumpy mom).

It feels a little early to be buying maternity clothes, but I can't get anything else over my hips which are spreading at an alarming rate this time. I need to buy a pair of pants I can work out in and then I can stop looking for maternity clothes. Forever. I hope. 

* This might be the most boring post I've ever written. Sorry!

Friday, April 5, 2013

ten weeks



I thought this pregnancy would fly by since I have B to tend to, but it's moving verrrry slowly. Getting bumped back a week threw me off, of course, but more than that I feel like I've been stuck in the first trimester for years. Getting sick immediately doesn't help matters.

This morning when I walked out of the bathroom after showering B ran up, reached up to my belly and said, "Baby!" I bent down a little and he enthusiastically patted my belly while saying, "Mama! That! Baby!" So, I guess I'm showing a little, and I guess pointing to my belly a few times and saying "Mama has a baby in there" was enough for him to semi-understand.


The morning sickness seems to be easing a little. I've never had it let up this early on so I'm hesitant to say we're nearing the end, but maybe? My appetite is definitely back. I refuse to weigh myself between appointments this time around. The numbers are going up way too fast. I think I'm also adding a little bit on because B weaned and I'm eating all the things I couldn't have while he was breastfeeding.

A few more weeks and I'll be past this icky first trimester, and in 8 weeks or so we'll know the gender! I'm still thinking girl ...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

this is not my best


Today was ... rough. I can't believe I haven't cried. B had four vaccines yesterday, I had a whopper of a blood draw today (7 vials, sheesh), both of us were out of sorts. He didn't nap until 3 (and he slept until 5:45) which means he is going to be up late tonight. J is really, really, really swamped at work this week because the only other employee who can do his job is on vacation. Last week was busy, this week is insane. J is squeezing in patients left and right then coming home to a tired, hormonal wife and a messy house.

When B finally napped I crashed on the couch and thought about how frustrated I was with him. I think it's okay for him to see me frustrated, and I think it's good for him to see a range of emotions, but I still feel bad when I don't parent as well as I know I can. When I don't stop for a deep breath or moment of prayer before dealing with the fact that he's thrown his entire lunch on the ground for the five thousandth time. When I don't stop to remember that he doesn't know how light headed I feel, or how badly I need to sleep for a little while.

Today I had to tell B, "This is not my best. I am not being the best mama today. I'm sorry. I'll try harder tomorrow. I love you." And he was all, "Change my diaper, I've been napping for three hours." But even now when he doesn't understand exactly what I'm saying I think it's important to get in the habit of saying, "I messed up," so he develops a habit of admitting when he's wrong and asking for forgiveness. 

Parenting is so difficult, and the foundation of my parenting is built on some seriously shaky ground. Charlotte's short life was my first mothering experience, having it end so abruptly has shaped and molded how I parent B. The entire time he was napping this afternoon I worried he wouldn't wake up and I wouldn't have the chance to apologize to him. I've managed to curb my anxiety and worry most of the time, but there is a fear deeply rooted within me that I can't excavate. And that fear that any child at any time can simply stop breathing exists because I've witnessed it.

Parenting is the hardest thing many of us will do, but what about those of us who are trying to parent from behind the fog of loss? I value the struggles all parents encounter, but I think what baby loss parents are up against is a subject to itself. Losing a baby adds complex psychological and emotional issues to an already weighty subject. All parents think about and fear the worst case scenario, but loss mothers and fathers have lived it.

What do we do with the aftermath? How do we cope? How do we manage?

How are you coping? How are you managing? Do you feel isolated? Do you feel like there's no one who understands?

I have real life friends who have lost, which helps a lot, as do the connections I've made online. There are moments though, when my heart slams in my chest and I think, "this is it, no, no, no this is it." and in those seconds when time seems to suspend itself momentarily so I can follow the thread of fear to its awful end I am completely alone. And I think that's one of the most difficult things about parenting nowadays: most of the time, we are alone. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

confessions


I cannot get enough black iced tea this pregnancy. My first pregnancy: super, duper careful, no caffeine. My second pregnancy: a little lot angry, not quite as careful, but felt guilty if I wasn't mindful of my diet. Third pregnancy: Eh, I'm going to have a little caffeine. It settles my stomach and gives me a little more hydration (water is my enemy this pregnancy).


B's night time sleep is still rough. He is finally napping well, but nights are still hard, even though he's weaned. Right now J is sleeping upstairs while I crash in the guest room. Halfway through the night (hopefully) B wakes and comes in with me. This solution is working well for now since I tend to have dry heaves in the middle of the night and being close to the bathroom is necessary, and J is sleeping better without B, but come second trimester when I feel less awful (fingers crossed) that kid is sleeping all night in his room. We HAVE to sort this before the next one comes.

Last week I opened the dishwasher, pulled out a plate and served B breakfast. After breakfast I opened the dishwasher to finish unloading only to realize it was half full and dirty. Oops.

If I want it, I eat it. That plus weaning may equal one heck of a large number at the end of this pregnancy. I refuse to weigh myself. I'm afraid I've already gained 10 lbs.

I'm still afraid this pregnancy will end at any moment, and I'm not sure I have it in me to try again if it does. I would love to add two or three more kids to our family, but I don't have the emotional ability to handle it.

Easter made me a little glad B has so many allergies because he's never had candy and I haven't had to figure out how to moderate his sugar intake. I thought about giving him a jelly bean, but I was afraid he would react to the food dyes.

B has started leaning on the gate in front of the fire place and staring at Charlotte's picture. I wish I knew what he was thinking.


I can't believe Charlotte's third birthday is next month. How is that possible? How have I lived so long without her?

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