Death by 1000 papercuts

23 Aug


I am trying to remain relatively positive since every thing that has thus far happened has been,  while somewhat inconveinent,  not actually a disaster but…  Man things keep piling up.  Dodging bullets right and left over here.    The surprise pregnancy,  the potential (and mercifully non-existent) exposure to Zika virus,  the potential complications from my Sjogren’s Syndrome which have included a long trek for fetal echocardiograms every other week (though thankfully so far he has been fine),  and now I most likely have gestational diabetes.  At the very least I have pregnancy caused carbohydrate intolerance, which is basically what GD is- thanks placental hormones.  I did not pass the one hour glucose tolerance test and i refused to take the three hour version because 1. The one hour,  50 gram test made me feel awful so three hours and even more glucose would be torture and 2. If you fail the three hour test,  the treatment is to test your blood sugar at home and change your diet accordingly,  which I opted to do right away.

It is normal to have some insulin resistance in late pregnancy,  but I was rather dismayed when I started checking my blood sugar after meals how little carbohydrate I can get away with and still keep my blood sugar under control.  I am pretty much limited to about 25 grams of non starchy veggies and a little fruit.  More than that and my blood sugar goes too high.  No bread,  minimal starch.  No fun! I will admit I wasn’t doing my best with food, mostly because up until very recently a lot of things still really grossed me out.  So being forced into eating better isn’t the worst thing ever.  Hopefully I can keep things managed with diet and exercise and not need insulin.  I went for a walk this evening with my friend who lives up the road and is also pregnant.  It was good for me to get out and walk more, though now my legs are aching- time to waddle myself to bed.

Waddling Along

12 Aug

I noticed I have several old posts drafted I meant to add pictures to and finish posting later but never did.  I will have to go back and fix those soon.

Yesterday pregnancy anxiety raised up and grabbed hold for several hours. Max had a field trip with an usual drop off– instead of at school I was dropping him off at the water taxi, a small local ferry that goes across the Sound to downtown, where his class would be going to the aquarium.  I was also feeling emotional because it was the last day of his teacher, who is moving on to another job.  She has been a truly amazing gift to our family– she gets kids, gets MY kid, in a way that is rare and special and she really helped a lot with helping him adapt and grow at preschool.  We will miss her a lot.  On top of that, there was no where to park at the taxi place, which shares a tiny parking lot with a restaurant.  I parked in a loading zone, leaving Mars in the car, and went to walk Max maybe 30 feet to his teacher, when a staff person at the restaurant started yelling at me that I couldn’t park there.  It was loud and hectic and I decided to let Max run the last ten feet down the sidewalk to his teacher and classmates and go back to the car.  As I was pulling out I realized I should have walked him all the way to his teacher so I could sign the sign-in sheet.  For the rest of the morning I had this horrible and irrational feeling that somehow he might be lost or unsafe because I didn’t sign that sheet, which I logically knew was silly since I had seen him arrive safely with his group, but pregnancy hormones do not care about logic.  Was very relieved when I picked up him later, of course safe and sound, a few hours later.


While Max was on his field trip, Mars and I went to the beach for a bit before it got hot, where he gamely and adorably posed while I took pictures, and then went home for a snack before his dentist appointment (where I unwisely let him eat a chocolate protein bar, and then he arrived at the dentist with chocolate covered teeth.  Note to self: this is why your own mom always made you brush your teeth before going to the dentist).  He did ok, better than last time when he wouldn’t even open his  mouth, but was still too scared of the tools to let them actually do much.

People keep (well meaning, but rudely) telling me I look very pregnant.  I also FEEL very pregnant, and am feeling overwhelmed by another 15+ weeks of discomfort and pain.  I know some people who just loooooove being pregnant but I am not one.  My back hurts, I have indigestion, even as I have finally shaken most of my nausea most food doesn’t sound appealing.

I also feel vaguely sad most of the time.  Not a deep depression generally just a general discontent I can’t shake.  On the one hand, it is a lot- a pregnancy I didn’t expect, loss of control of my body, my life, my energy.  Then I feel guilty for not feeling more grateful– I have a lot to be thankful for.  I was listening to a podcast about refugees trapped in Greece and was especially struck by a story about a woman who has a heart condition, was advised not to get pregnant for at least two years, but accidentally did and now is trapped in a country with spotty access to medical care where she doesn’t speak the language.  So yeah, could be a heck of a lot worse.

I’ve had my own drama though– due to an autoimmune condition I was diagnosed with last Fall, I have had to have a lot of extra monitoring of my pregnancy.  While each of my boys had the standard two (maybe three?) ultrasounds, this baby has already had seven and I will have at least two more.  Fortunately everything has been normal and healthy thus far.  All of my appointments are North of Seattle and I live South– I seem to spend at least one day a week sitting in traffic for quite awhile going to and from.  Last night I unfortunately finished with one at 4pm putting me into the heart of rush hour to get home, though at least M was home with the kids.  I often schedule appointments for when they are at school and then find myself worried I won’t get back in time for pick up.

We have had an unusually cool Summer (though this weekend is back to a more normal upper 80s) and I can’t say I have been sad about it.  After the past two years of extra hot weather that lasted extra long I am not sorry to have a reprieve while pregnant.   My I facebook reminder tells me that when I was pregnant with Max we had a similarly cool Summer.  I love early Fall– it is my favorite, so having extra Fall like weather is a treat.

 

 

No rest for the wicked

20 Jul

I am slowly getting used to the idea we are having a baby.  There are some theoretical things I am looking forward to,  but when I think of the practical logistics it scares me.  The attempting to function on no sleep,  the fact he will be born right at the peak of cold and flu season,  all the fears and anxieties that come with having a delicate newborn.  And my inability to get a break.  Right this minute I am laying in bed at 6pm. After dinner but before bedtime is when usually the boys play with daddy and I get some quiet time.  When you have a new baby for which you are the (sometimes hourly)  food source, there are few breaks. On days like today when both kids were over tired and melted down leaving preschool I wonder how I will survive adding one more person’s emotional breakdowns to my life.

I am in that window where pregnancy isn’t too awful- beyond the worst of the first trimester (though i still have attacks of terrible nausea),  but not yet enormous and unwieldy.  I sort of like it privately,  feeling him swimming around in there,  but not strongly enough for anyone to feel from the outside,  feels like a special secret.  I still sort of am i  denial,  or maybe not so much denial as not wanting to talk about it.  I still try to dress to down play my bump (though it is hard to deny now at 18.5 weeks).  I can’t exactly explain why,  but I just don’t really want strangers asking me the litany of questions that comes,  and I especially hate when people offer un-needed sympathy for my lack of girl children.  I like my boys,  I don’t feel like I need a girl but other people seem to think I do.

I also mostly have been avoiding thinking much about childbirth.  It’s not the funnest.  Best to put it off for a few more weeks.

Sing Something Good

6 Jun

075I have been in a community women’s choir since January of 2015. In high school and early college I was very into music, both in band and singing but hadn’t done anything in 15 years and missed music. I have enjoyed being in choir and set myself a new challenge this season of singing a duet in the concert instead of just blending into the group. I chose “For Good” from Wicked and roped another woman whom I get along with well and whose voice and mine blend very well together, into singing it with me. We really struggled at first and I was scared it would be a disaster. I spent hours and hours working on it, alone and with my singing partner. The accompanist suggested we change the key, because part of the struggle was that a lot of it was a bit too low for us, especially me. That made a huge difference. We also had to practice in front of members of the choir several times and then had dress rehearsals at retirement communities. With each practice I gained confidence and I felt nervous but not debilitating so by the time our concert rolled around yesterday. It was not perfect—our best performance was probably our first retirement community concert, but I was so pleased with myself for my progress. The accompanist told me he thought I had made the best progress of anyone. The concert was a little rough since it was 90 degrees yesterday, we were in a church with no air conditioning and we are required to wear ¾ sleeves and black pants. Towards the middle of the concert my glasses started to steam up because I was so warm.
I feel a vague sense of accomplishment for being 16 weeks pregnant. I guess because I feel like I am firmly in the second trimester and it is not a secret (it is pretty obvious to look at me, though more or less so depending on what I wear). My friend is 7 months pregnant with her first baby and posted a picture on facebook and I swear I look almost as big as she does. (She appears fairly small– my babies are always right out front and big). I’m still tired and still have bouts with nausea and gagging, though a combination of medication and avoiding certain trigger foods has helped things calm down.
My parents are visiting and I almost had the kids skip daycare today to hang out with them—my mom wanted to do that, but Max has been pretty defiant lately and Mars and his propensity for sprinting off made me worry they would have a rough day so I decided to send them to daycare instead.
I’m sure in a month or two I will be completely over the heat, but I’m enjoying the prospect of Summer—especially when I went to Costco yesterday and found Salmon, peaches and raspberries!

First day of preschool

1 Jun

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Today is Marshall’s first day of preschool. I signed up him at the earliest possible point (the first month after he turned 2.5) because I really need a break to rest and to get some stuff done. He’s been there an hour so far and I really miss him! He has been my constant companion on non-work days his whole life. When Max is at school he goes with me to the store, to the doctor, the chiropractor, even physical therapy. He has gotten squirmy lately (and twice taken off running requiring someone to chase him down) and thus is hard to take places. Still, I miss my buddy. We still have one day together, since he is only going two days and Max goes three. Mars was not so sure he liked the idea either, and clung to me this morning, but he is a very resilient and friendly kid so I have no doubt he will rebound quickly and have a great time. It probably would have been less scary if he had been in Max’s class, and I love Max’s teacher so much I considered it, but they usually separate siblings and I think it is good for those two to have a break from each other.

I am 15 weeks pregnant. I am getting used to the idea of another baby, though still suffering through the process of growing him. Still having a lot of nausea (I threw up my decaf this morning after my body decided the new vanilla creamer was gross), and I’m tired. It is the concert season for the choir I am in and we have had two dress rehearsal concerts at nursing homes, and standing for an hour is exhausting. Our final concert is this weekend and then we will be done for the season, which is also sad since I love choir and will have to miss at least all of next year, and possibly some of the following year, while I care for new baby.

M has been hard at work on the basement which is almost finished. Carpet and trim and a couple furniture pieces are all that is needed. It will be awesome for the kids to have a playroom to bounce around in, especially in the Fall when we will be trapped inside with bad weather and a newborn.

14 weeks

23 May

I am 14 weeks today. I had a conversation via email a few weeks ago with a dear friend who lives out of state and who has one child. I was trying to decide when to tell my boss about my pregnancy and she said, well at least you have a few weeks until you start showing. I laughed out loud and told her what every mom of more than one knows—the more pregnancies you have, the faster you look pregnant. My jeans got tight at 8 weeks. (I told my boss at 10 weeks for a bunch of reasons but including because I was worried she would think her dietitian was getting fat!) Now it’s only maternity or elastic waist pants for me. I have favored looser, longer tops since Marshall was born (more flattering to my never completely flat again tummy) so I am still able to avoid being completely in maternity wear, but not for much longer. This phase is amusing—if I wear something fitted or with an empire waist, there is no mistaking the baby bump. But a looser button down and lots of layers and it almost disappears. I mostly choose to the latter for now—I know I have months and months of answering question after question about my pregnancy from strangers and acquaintances so for now the less obvious option is more appealing. A far cry from my first pregnancy, where I couldn’t wait to show, and bought a bunch of maternity clothes well before I needed them, only to have them all be far too small by the third trimester. Lessons learned! I have plenty of maternity stuff now, and I know I will be in those clothes for a long time so I’m not in a big hurry to wear them this time. The few things I’ve bought (with the exception of a new pair of jeans since I completely wore out my favorite maternity jeans last time) have been non-maternity clothes that are a bit oversized. I don’t intend to do this again, so I don’t want any more maternity stuff thank you very much.
Having this more deliberate bump is kind of sweet though. I felt him moving very early on, and I am looking forward to the bigger kicks as he gets stronger. I am hoping the second trimester “feeling better” thing kicks in soon. My energy was starting to recover to some degree until on Sunday I participated in a walking 5K as part of a work wellness initiative. I have gotten basically zero exercise for the past few weeks because I’ve been so tired. Then between the 5K itself, parking far away and helping set up take down etc., I walked 6 miles yesterday. I was so wiped out I had to go home and take a nap and I’m sore today! Terrible. The attacks of nausea are not any better yet and in fact I had to up my dose of medication because I’m so tired of gagging all over the place.
We fought for months over Marshall’s name before I basically gave in. This time we actually came to an agreement peacefully over baby’s name, though we don’t agree about the nickname we will just each call him what we want. You, dear reader, will just have to wait to find out what it is, but you will not be surprised to find out it starts with M in keeping our family tradition.
As with my other two pregnancies, I am having vivid and often disturbing dreams. A few weeks ago I had a very realistic dream about sitting in class and realizing I was VERY far behind and feeling very stressed. When I woke up I was incredibly relieved to discover it wasn’t true. Last night I had a very disturbing dream that was a combination of my actual work place and The Office, which M and I have been re-watching lately. It wasn’t as fun as it sounds.
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Mars turned 2.5 this weekend. He is just the sweetest and the most fun right now. He has tons to say, he almost always cheerful (if strong-willed like most two year olds) and so cuddly and snuggly. He starts preschool next week and I’m excited for him, and thrilled to get some time to myself, I am also going to miss our one on one time together in the mornings.
Yesterday, upon learning I intended to walk the 5K instead of run, Max was rather disgusted with me and told me if I wasn’t going to run and try to win that I shouldn’t even participate. Later he said, “Mom, you have to run. I think it’s a rule!” Sorry kid, Mom barely made it through walking.

Processing it all

17 May

I’ve been trying to even label my feelings about this pregnancy which are complicated.   I am not always good at pinning down exactly my emotions, and add to this the roller coaster of pregnancy hormones and sometimes I find myself sobbing on the floor, not entirely sure why I am crying.   I am actually not upset about having a baby.  There is a part of me that still wanted one more and I always thought that once we survive the baby/toddler phase three kids will be fun.

But I did not want to go through pregnancy again.  I had made a choice (so I thought) not to do this again because it is really hard.  It was hard when it was the first time and I didn’t have to take care of anyone but myself.  It was extra hard last time with a toddler.  And now with both four and a two-year-olds, it is debilitating.  I have no energy, I have no patience, I have terrible aversions to smells and certain foods and occasional attacks of extreme nausea, which is made worse by thinking about it so I will leave that discussion alone.  I feel terrible that I, normally the more patient parent in our household who can normally ride the waves of tiny people’s drama and remain calm, now find myself losing my temper repeatedly.  I don’t want to go to the park, drive on field trips or do involved craft projects. I just want to lie down.  So my kids eat too much processed stuff and watch way too much TV, and my house gets messier and messier and I both feel terrible and like a terrible mom.

I think what is hardest about it is I did not have time to mentally or physically prepare myself, like I did the last two times when pregnancy was planned and plotted and desired.  Instead my body has been taken over, quite against my will, and it feels shocking and invasive not to have had a say in a matter that is entirely all-consuming and life changing—weirdly almost like someone getting a disease, except instead of illness I’m growing a person that I’m excited to meet.

My children also fight over me a lot and adding to the mix a needy newborn is going to be rough on all involved.   Mars in particular is and always has been very territorial with me.  He doesn’t like anyone else getting my attention and if Max is upset about something and being comforted by me, Mars will start (fake) crying as well and insist that he too needs a hug.

And my sweet Mars, whom I still call “Baby” though at just days away from being 2.5 is certainly not a baby anymore, he is still my baby.  I’m sad for him that he will get pushed to the dreaded “middle child” position—I already see how he gets overlooked at family gatherings, where Max by being the oldest, and his cousin A, who is both the youngest and the only girl get all the attention.  Max has a special bond with his dad and Mars is much more mine.   When another little person comes along I do not want him to feel left out and my heart breaks thinking about it.

Lest you think it is all bad, I am very grateful for the timing: I had IUDs before, between and after each of the kids.  If I had had a “failure” during graduate school, or when Mars was a tiny baby it would have been a disaster.   The baby and his middle brother will be 3 years apart, and Max will be nearly 5.  Surely that will be easier than when Mars was born and Max was not even quite two, really still a baby himself.   Mars is also starting preschool soon, two mornings a week, so at least I will have both kids occupied for a few hours a week, unlike when I had them both at home all day all the time.

It’s an adjustment and I will get there.  Eventually.

Shocking News

16 May

I can’t remember when exactly we decided we were done with having more kids.  I think it was last Summer after we had spent all Winter being sick and we were exhausted.  It took me awhile to come to terms with that decision but in early March I started giving away some of the baby stuff and started working on really getting in shape.

On Saint Patrick’s day while Max was at school I stopped at the drugstore and bought the cheapest pregnancy test they had.  I was sure that my period was late due to a new thyroid medication I was on but I just wanted to confirm that was the case before emailing my doctor.   I came home, took the test, got Mars a snack and wandered back into the bathroom to see, to my shock, a sort of muddled plus sign on the test.  Sure it couldn’t possibly be right I went back to the drugstore where I bought the most expensive test—the one with the digital words on it.  Three minutes later I had a clear answer.  “Pregnant.”   I felt around and determined my IUD was still firmly where it belonged.   I texted M and told him to call me ASAP and then paced the living room until he called me back.  There may have been some expletives (from me).  Poor M was at Home Depot on his lunch break and really should have been sitting down but was not.   Then I called my primary care doctor, who wanted to refer me to an OB, but I instead called the midwives that delivered my two boys and the flustered receptionist, after I told her “well, I have a positive pregnancy test AND an IUD” found me an appointment time later that day.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get in touch with M in the short window before I had to drive to my appointment so I had to take both boys with me.

So imagine: waiting quite awhile for the on call midwife with two rowdy boys, myself still in massive shock.  When we finally got in to see her the kids were fighting over toys, wanting to climb up on the table with me and generally being crazy.  I looked at the midwife with tears in my eyes and she said, I can see you already have your hands full!  She did an exam, ordered blood work, and ordered an ultrasound for the next day, wanting to make sure the IUD wasn’t lodged anywhere weird before she took it out and that it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy.  So the next day I took off work and wandered the mall in a daze until it was time for my appointment.    On the ultrasound I clearly saw the IUD and right next to it a tiny bud of a person.  I wanted to shake my fist at the IUD and say—it’s right there! Aren’t you supposed to be doing something?  But clearly God or the Universe wants this baby to be born.   I headed to the midwives and was told that once the IUD was removed there was a 50% chance of miscarriage.  She very tactfully asked me if I did not miscarry if I wanted to keep the pregnancy.   I burst into tears and said if this baby can survive those incredible odds it deserves to be born.

There was more drama as I had to have a blood test which took 4 weeks for results to see if I had been exposed to Zika virus when we went to Mexico (thankfully I was not).  Early genetic testing revealed the baby is healthy and that we are having our third boy.

Some of the shock has worn off, making way instead for nausea and exhaustion.  I admit some days I barely make it through.  My house is a mess, my kids are watching too much tv and we have had scrambled eggs and frozen waffles for dinner far too many times.    I think it will take me until I meet this little boy to fully wrap my head around being a mom of three.

March Madness

28 Mar

Suddenly so behind on blogging!  Why is it the longer I go without writing the less I know what to say?
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The first week in March M and I escaped to Cabo San Lucas for a few days while the kids stayed home with my mom. It was wonderful to get some rest and some sun—it was the laziest vacation we have ever had, since prior to kids we would typically go and see and do ALL the things and arrive home exhausted.  We stayed at a resort, laid by the pool, drank margaritas and ate delicious tacos.  That’s about it.  I got a nasty sunburn that is still peeling to show for it, but it was wonderful to get away together and have some uninterrupted time to ourselves.
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The kids got to hunt for eggs several times.  Last week we attended the preschool egg hunt (planned and executed by two of my mom friends) which was fun other than it kinda rained.  They also got to hunt for eggs at daycare.   We had a lovely Easter yesterday.  We went to my sister in law’s house and the boys enjoyed hunting for eggs with their little cousin A.  They had a few bites of candy, plus carrot cake and ice cream, and Mars missed his nap and WOW they were a handful in the afternoon.  Mars cried almost the whole way home.  I put him to bed and he slept for an hour and then woke up in a terrible mood and proceeded to have a 45 minute tantrum.  Did not want to be held, did not want to be put down, said he was hungry but wouldn’t eat, just furious.  I eventually convinced him to lay on the couch and watch his current favorite show (Stick Man) and he mostly calmed down after that, but it was an unenjoyable hour or so.  Max wasn’t upset, he was just kind of hyper and wanting my attention but I had zero patience left after dealing with Mars’ craziness.  M was out weeding in the rain so I was handling the nuttiness on my own, but he made up for it by putting Max to bed (it was my turn) and doing the dishes for me.

We also strangely had a man steal a couple of the kids toy trucks off our porch while we were gone!  We caught him on our security camera and circulated his picture to our neighbors and on social media.  Such a weird and random thing to do.

Speaking of our porch, the stroller sat outside for awhile and I have discovered some kind of creature (rats?) chewed holes in several places, most likely trying to get at the cracker crumbs.  VERY annoying.

Max has been tormenting his brother again after a few months of being very nice.  We got called back in to the gym daycare because he kept pushing and hitting his brother.  Early to bed with no tv was the punishment.  He seemed mostly remorseful, and was likely tired because he fell asleep fast.

Happy Birthday Max

23 Jan

 
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Dear Max,

Four feels like a milestone.  You are solidly a kid now, a little kid (though if I told you that you were little you would be deeply offended.  You are also horrified if anyone dares to call you cute).  You are such a funny kid.  While at three you were going through a phase of not wanting me to kiss you, now at four you can never seem to get enough hugs.  Sometimes you will wander into my room at 3am and tell me you need a hug.  I went back to work part-time a few months ago after being home for almost a year and it’s been rough for you.  You get upset when I go anywhere now, not wanting us to be apart.  You tell me you “hate” daycare, because the teachers speak Spanish and you don’t know what’s going on, and I imagine that is very rough for you, though you do seem to have fun there despite your claimed hatred of the place.  I suspect anywhere I left you would be “hated” because you would rather be home with me.

You are still all about super heroes or anything similar.  Power Rangers, Star Wars, Ninjago and Superheroes are all in that same relm of good guys who fight bad guys are you are all about it.  You run through the house fighting invisible bad guys (always with Mars following close behind growling “bad guy!”).  You insist on my pretending to be one of the characters in whatever game you are playing (“Mom, can you be the pink power ranger?”) and I sometimes insist on being a boy character just to teach you that girls can do whatever boys can do, though I think you find this annoying.

After years of you only ever wanting to play if someone played with you, you now will play very nicely by yourself, building elaborate space ships with legos or playing games with your superheroes (though often your brother will come get in the way and take your toys and ruin the game which makes you upset).  You have been playing nicely with Mars more often lately which makes me happy too, though you also are very good at driving each other crazy!

You are so smart, and sweet and sensitive and so very into being near Mom lately.  I love your sweet heart and your thoughtful worries about the world.

I love you sweet boy,  Happy Birthday.

Love,

Mom

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