Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Uh, I need some information

Apparently, Dr. D's office called on 11/19 (for which I didn't get the message until this past weekend when I cleaned out the old messages - Hubby never deletes old messages off the machine!) regarding my PAP test from my mid-October.

The PAP was normal, thank goodness.

However, the nurse mentioned I tested positive for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Uh, how???

I mean, I know how HPV is transmitted. But, does anyone know how long this could lie dormant and undetected? It has never come up in a PAP before - and, well, the only other person I had "been with" was back in 1995 (and protection was used).

...And, Hubby and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage in October, KWIM??...

How is this possible NOW??

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Missing you, my second Angel Baby

Unfortunately, I am a day late on posting this, my baby Angel. I am sorry for that...but time for me is becoming less and less available these days.

However, what DID happen yesterday, in your honor, of sorts, was to have my new template uploaded for my blog.

My new template - thanks, Courtney! - includes my two angels I hold every day here, my three in heaven that I hope to hold someday..., and my Hubby in a setting that is the most peaceful to us. The beach.

I have a little moving around in the lists to do yet...but, overall, it is just perfect.

I miss you and miss all of my angels. But, I do carry you every day with me, as well as Christopher and Gabriel, on my charm bracelet. Whenever I hear that twinkle as the charms hit each other with the move of my hand...I remember.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm published in an article!!!

Wow! I was published!

I was approached in early October about an article on iParenting that was to be about couples who are experiencing infertility who seek professional counseling. I was sought out via Mel's Peer Infertility Counselor list - and was quite honored to be asked to assist with this article.

The article is now published...and I hope that everyone will give it a read and find some hope (and courage to dive into counseling, if you think you need it) in it:

Counseling Infertility:
Professional Help for the Emotional Side of Conception

Mel: Look how far your blog reaches! I am so glad to be a small part of it, even if, right now, my time is a little more limited. It is such a wonderful thing!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Missing you, my Angel Baby Girl

Today would have been my third angel's second birthday...

I miss you, my little Sarah. Thank you for spending your short time with us.... You are remembered always.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day: October 15th

It is a shame for all of us to have to post this year after year... But, for all of us who have lost our precious angels...

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May we find a little bit of peace today while we remembers our angels.

I will be lighting my candle tonight for:

Angel #1: Lost 9/19/04
Angel #2: Lost 11/22/05
Angel #3: Lost 3/21/06

You are always in my heart, for the rest of my life and forever.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A year of incredible changes

My Hubby pointed out a few nights ago how much things have changed in one little year. Let's start from October 1, 2007:
  • 10/07: We are working on evaluations, placements, therapy for Chris' PDD-NOS diagnosis
  • 10/1/07: I tell hubby I am pregnant, after Chris mentions something about a "baby sister" and I set up to donate Chris' baby stuff
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  • 10/1/07: Hubby is laid off from his job after only 3 months
  • 1/08: My IL's find out they are losing their house
  • 5/08: My IL's get their house back
  • 6/16/08: Gabriel is born
  • 9/08: Hubby is offered a new job, after a few other offers he declines from other firms
  • 9/29/08: We take Chris to a new pediatric neurologist and he tells us there is no way Chris is on the Autism spectrum (more on that to be posted this week)
  • 10/1/08: Hubby starts new job...and it is a year from finding out about my PG with Gabriel
It certainly has been a year of ups, downs, endings and beginnings.

And, I am pleased now...with all of it. I am grateful because without the downs, there could not have been the ups.

I guess this is what acceptance truly feels like. It is so good to be here, finally.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

...and what the future holds, take two

Hubby and I were talking about my desire to be a stay-at-home mom the other night. He mentioned that he wasn't so sure I could be happy being a stay-at-home mom...that I might get bored, or need something to help me "identify" myself other than being a mom.



Now, I don't totally agree with him. I LOVED being at home with the boys over the summer - and, I may be more inclined to organize more things around the house if I were home all of the time. I could be around more for school stuff. Make some of the extra efforts I have to cut because of time.

However, being home without a "full time" job outside of raising my boys would give me a chance to do some things that, up until now, I have not really been able to do:


I have always wanted time to volunteer time to some worthy cause(s) - to give back and help those who are going through the things I have gone through.

Long ago, I had thought of volunteering at a hospital in the pediatric/maternity area - if there is such a thing. Rocking the babies that need to be held. But, as idealistic as that sounds, I think my experiences through loss have refocused my thoughts on this...

...back to something I left behind about 13 years ago.

My psychology bachelors degree.

You see, I never was able to find a support group in my area to turn to for help when I needed it most. I was blessed to find Dr. P - from since I have "graduated" to not having to see anymore. He gave me that elusive male-perspective on my losses - and dug deeper into things that were not necessarily connected to the losses. However, what I lacked, save for the people I met though blogging and FF, was a connection to someone who had really been through what I had.

When Hubby and I were at the birth refresher class back in May, we had to go around and introduce ourselves to the class - explain our backgrounds, how many children we had, what complications we had.

There were a few with IF issues present.

...But, I was the only one who had been through recurrent miscarriage.

We kinda felt like the elephant in the room that evening.

I would really like to begin some kind of support group in my area - bring women together who need it through advertising in local ob/gyn offices and hospitals. Advertising in areas that are the most obvious for us who have been through a loss to look.

How to begin that? I am not sure. (Ideas are always welcome. *wink* *wink*)

I am going to start with calling the counselor who now has business cards in Dr. D's office (where was she three years ago???). And, calling Dr. P to see what he recommends (he is an Associate Professor at a local university).

I have not felt this strongly about something in a very long time.... I just hope that I will have the opportunity to be able to do it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Remembering...and what the future holds

I lost my first baby angel four years ago first inkling of what my future held, both good and bad.

I miss you, sweet one. Even though your time with me was the shortest of all, you are still remembered and held in my heart. You were a part of us - and that is something I will never forget.

I have learned so much in these past four years of joy and loss - not to take life for granted, to try not sweating the small stuff, to live in the moment and be grateful for what I have. To live my life again and let go of the hurts while remembering the impacts on my life.

As much as I miss all three of my angels and the anniversaries that surround you all still sadden me, I am thankful for the lessons you have taught me. Without those lessons, my family as it is now would not be here.

I have taken quite a hiatus from posting here...not sharing much from my three months off with the boys. I apologize for not sharing. And, I will get back to posting pictures and stories soon. However, I needed that time alone to reconnect with Chris and savor the new light in our lives, Gabriel. I wanted to horde my time with my boys for just me - rather old fashioned, I know. But, I wanted to be able to look back on those three months in my own way, like embracing an old photograph with the memories that are only yours. I worried for so long about going through another miscarriage, hardly enjoying the gift of this last pregnancy - I needed to have something for myself, that I could always treasure and enjoy and celebrate.

...Now, as I await the new template for my blog, I am trying to figure out where this blog will be going.

I don't want this blog to babble on about the "woes" of my life...especially about the difficulties of balancing two children while working. That would be a slap in the face to those who are going through their own journeys of of infertility and/or loss. And, it would be an even greater slap in the face to my own angels and experiences.

But, where is my blog going? I am not totally sure.

Now, there may be talk in the future of a third child - a big confession for me to be making right now, especially since Gabriel is still so young. And, especially because I didn't think I could put myself and my family through the uncertainty and nervousness of another 9 months. But, the thought is not our of our hears yet. We feel, right now, drawn to the thought of a third child - can't quite explain the draw, but it is there. And, surprisingly more on Hubby's part than mine. However, that "draw" depends a lot on finances and where we are emotionally. Whatever we decide, we will not "try" - it would be a more "let us live our lives and see what happens" thing. The one thing I cannot do is to put pressure on myself to TTC. If it is meant to be, it will be when the time is right - just like how Gabriel blessed our lives at the right time.

Other than that, I am trying to figure out where I am going...

The only thing I am sure of right now is of my #1 goal - to be a stay at home mommy sooner than later.

We have refinanced our mortgage - not an easy feat to do since we had soooo much paperwork to submit and sign. With that refi, we payed a lot of debts off, closed quite a few credit cards and paid off my Subaru. That leaves us now with our mortgage, one credit card and Hubby's big law school loan to pay off.

...And, Hubby starts a new job (finally!!!) on 10/1 with a big law firm in Roseland - higher pay, good health benefits, retirement plan, and eligibility for a pay raise already in January.

If we can save money now and Hubby can do well at this new job, then I hope to at least cut back on work to part-time sometime in the next 1-2 years.

From there, we will see where life - and my blog - takes us. I hope I can share that with all of you and still give those who are going through their journeys now some support.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

After all these years

Hubby and I met 21 years ago today...high school sweethearts all the way...through so many bumps and turns in the road as naive sweethearts and seasoned life-partners.

As we stare down 10 years of marriage in October - with the good, the not-so-good and the just plain bad - here's to you, honey.

...I could not have made it through all the sadness without you. May we show our boys what love is all about.

After All These Years
by Journey

A faded wedding photograph
You and me in our first dance
Our eyes are closed
We're lost in one sweet embrace
Since those days the world has changed
But our love remains the same
God knows we've had our share of saving grace

And I'm proud of all the blessings
You have given me
The mountains we have climbed to get this far
You've learned to take the laughter with the tears
After all these years

You make it feel brand new
After the fires that we walked through
Against the odds we never lost our faith

In our house we've made our home
Where our children all have grown
Precious moments time cannot erase

Make a living up and down the gypsy highways
Seasons that we've had to share apart
Somehow in my heart I always keep you near me
After all these years

After all these years
You stood by me
The days and nights that I was gone
After all these years
You sacrificed, believed in me
And you stood strong
Cause with our love there's nothing left to fear
After all these years

After all these years
You stood by me
The days and nights that I was gone
After all these years
You've sacrificed, believed in me
And you stood strong
Cause with our love there's nothing left to fear
After all these years

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Please be patient.... I am awaiting a new blog template to be designed. As you can tell, my old one is now removed since the designer went by-by - and it looks horrible right now.

I will begin posting again once my blog is up and running...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Watching over us for another year, our second angel

Besides it being my mom's should have been your second birthday as well, our second baby angel.

How my heart misses you... But, with the new set of eyes in our house and so much wonder and knowledge passed through them, I know you are here with us. Protecting our baby Gabriel and our family.

Happy birthday, little one. I love you...and I will never forget the time you were with us.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I truly believe in miracles...

...because my miracle is finally here.

I must apologize for the lag in posting the birth announcement... Time had been short with visitors, getting to know our new baby, and adjusting to life with two children. But, honestly and more importantly, I have been cherishing every second I can get with my boys and the idea of anything regarding the internet or anything else has been the furthest from my mind.

So, on to the news. :)

Gabriel John was born on Monday morning, June 16th at 7:34 am after a rather "rapid" response to the labor induction. He weighed in at 7 lbs, 14 oz and 21 inches long (very close to Christopher's stats at birth: 7 lbs, 13 oz and 21 1/2 inches long). And, he is just perfect.

Gabriel right after birth...poor thing scratched his face up because of his way longer than mommy's nails!

Chris meeting his baby brother for the first time (excuse my appearance! No make-up allowed for labor induction! And, man! Do I need a haircut!)

My boys...

Chris holding Gabriel at home for the first time. I think this will be forever my most cherished picture of my boys.

To document the wild ride...because, for me, it was... I am going to write out the entire birth story like I did for Christopher. So, I will always remember this very special day...

If you recall, I was told on June 9th that my induction, if labor did not start by June 16th, would take place the night of June 16th. I was to call on June 11th for the details since it had to be put in the L&D schedule at the hospital (they were trying to get me a private room for the induction so I could have Hubby there this time around - see Chris's birth story on my roommate for that part of the induction...). So, I called on June 11th and was told I would get a call back that day - L&D had not put me in to the schedule yet. Friday afternoon, just as I was about to call my doc's office to find out what was going on, I finally got the call back and was told to report to the PET unit on Sunday night, June 15th at 8 pm - one day earlier than we had planned. So, I had to make some phone calls Friday afternoon to change around babysitting duties for Chris.

We spent a quite weekend with Chris...and Hubby and my FIL putting up our fence for the back yard (only took them a year and several threats to do it!). I casually packed my bag...finished some last minute things. And, we were ready!

On Sunday, June 15th, we brought Chris around to my MIL's house at 7 pm for his "sleep over." He was a little upset with us leaving...for which I felt my heart ripping out (this would be the first time away from him for more than just an overnight). I called my MIL about 5 minutes later from the car to make sure he was okay -- he was playing with my FIL and having a snack. So, luckily, that episode was very short lived...and I could calm down with leaving my baby for several days.

We arrived at the hospital and I was admitted to the hospital at 8:00 pm to start the induction (of course, one of the Indiana Jones movies was on in the PET unit as we arrived...a clear sign of things to come for us!). Medical history was taken (which puzzled me a bit since I had figured my medical records would have been transferred from the MFM clinic in the hospital to the PET unit before I got there...and they were not)...and I was checked. Surprisingly, I was 1 cm dilated at, there was "some" progress made on my own. A fetal monitor was strapped to my stomach, the IV was started (to prepare for the Group B Strep antibiotics later in the night and the pitocin for the second stage of induction later in the morning) and I had a balloon catheter inserted laced with Cervidil at 10:00 pm. I was offered a sleeping pill so I could rest (which I was not offered in Chris' induction)... I wasn't going to take it, but then thought better of it. ;) Even though I did not sleep like a baby, I was able to rest and sleep during the earlier contractions from this stage.

Then, the wait began until the 6:00 am check to see how far along I was. Since I was not in active labor yet, I was not in Labor & Delivery - Dr. D did, however, swing the private room for induction and Hubby was able to stay. YEAH! We watched some TV, talked, breathed through some contractions, chastised Hubby for snoring, slept....much better than my last induction experience! Was able to rest up for, well, what was to come...

At 5 am, I woke up very quickly to some very, very strong contractions - all very low, around the intestinal area. As I started breathing through them, I noticed they were very, very close together: about 2-3 minutes apart and they were getting stronger. I woke Hubby and asked him to start helping me out...the contractions were getting way more intense than I had expected, more frequent, and were worse than what I could feel with Chris' induction.

I was examined at 6:15 am - at which time the balloon catheter fell right out and I had achieved, to the surprise of everyone, 6 cm! Orders to move me to L&D were given...and, after a half hour delay, I was finally moving to Labor and Delivery. However, transitioning from the bed to the wheelchair was not easy - the contractions were still getting stronger and closer together. But, I made it and was on my way.

When I got to L&D, well, things get a little hazy here:

...I kept asking for the epidural and kept getting promised it was coming.

...A doctor came to check me and break my water - what her name was, I have no idea. But, I told her to get lost because the contractions were about 1-2 minutes apart and extremely strong and I was NOT moving for her at that time!

...Another doctor came in (Dr. M) and started his "talk" and asking which I yelled at Hubby to answer them for me.

...I am still waiting for the epidural.

...I am laying on my left side, holding on to the bed rails for dear life as each contraction starts.

...I asked for one of those little pans because, well, I thought I was going to puke from the pain (and praying every second I wouldn't do it). Luckily, I didn't - puking is MUCH worse in my world than anything else!

...I begin to feel a WHOLE bunch of pressure, and realize, well, baby's head is coming out - and I freak and start yelling that, well, "something" is coming out!! Well, neeerrr! How about the baby's head???

Dr. M realizes what is happening and checks me real quick - and pages Dr. D, who is prepping another patient for a scheduled c-section at 8:00 am. He gets the page and can't figure out why it is coming up since I was not in the computer system as being at L&D. He calls in and is told to get down to L&D because I am about to, now!

Dr. D's arrival to my L&D room was basically put on the gloves, run over to reach me and deliver Gabriel's head. YIKES!

About all I remember with the pain of the contractions was Dr. D grabbing my hand, putting my left knee in it, and telling me to hold my leg and push...and Gabriel's shoulders and body was delivered. Placenta quickly followed with no pushing.

All happened so, so fast, I don't remember all that much.

Hubby did clue me in to the fact that the epidural showed up as I was delivering Gabriel's head...and the anesthesiologist just turned around and left the room. Lovely.... Did I mentioned my MIL is having an epidural Tuesday to block the pain she's had for 6+ months so she can start physical therapy? How fitting.

And, Gabe, baby... Thank you for being so kind to your mommy (was Chris whispering in your ear???). You forced your way out with no tear or episiotemy required. Thank you, thank you! You were very kind to your mommy. :)

In the end, however, pain aside.... When I saw Gabriel for the first time, I felt like I was in heaven. Those eyes felt like I knew him forever...that he was always meant to be here with us. I am in love, plain and simple. As I held him (all of the staff left us alone for a long time after his birth), Hubby and I pondered we thought of a name, we asked Gabriel if he liked it. We went through quite a few - most that were "in the running" - and he just looked at me. When we came to Gabriel, he gave me the most peaceful, blissful smile...and we knew we had his name.

Early Wednesday morning, after the few days in the hospital resting peacefully (except for the free-for-all in getting my IL's to be on board with the plans I had made for Chris and Gabriel coming home - soooo glad the nurse suggested the sleeping pill that night!), Dr. D came in to go his final check...and visit for a while. We chatted for about a half hour - about care for me, for Gabriel's circ, etc. But, more importantly, we chatted about how we got here in the first place (aside from, well, DTD)...and how he was so happy for us after the losses we had to go through.

Dr. D mentioned to me that his wife had two miscarriages in between their two sons - which is something he never mentioned to me before. I suppose he now felt comfortable telling me that...and it is sad yet comforting to know why I was treated with such respect and dignity while going through my own losses. He truly understands what we have been through, and how hard it must have been for me to trust that this pregnancy would result in Gabriel's arrival. He understands the apprehension at the thought of more children in the future - which is why he and his wife stopped at their two boys. He was so glad he could be there for us - through finding out I was PG by surprise, to all of Gabriel's development being right on course, and to his quick delivery. He wanted to make sure he would be there for Gabriel's delivery - for our special baby and for us. And, he was glad Gabriel decided to force his way out - if he decided to arrive during the scheduled c-section he had at 8 am, there would have been no way for him to get to us. He was aware that we were going to call TTC quits, and delivering this baby into the world made the troubles of the practice all worth it.

I am so grateful to Dr. D for all he has done for us...and the rest of the doctors involved in caring for me and for Gabriel.

I am very blessed.

Gabriel is a very special baby...he holds so much understanding in those little eyes. I am finally finding the peace I had longed for. He has not replaced the babies I have lost...but, he has helped heal the wounds that remained open for so long and has restored most of the faith I had lost for so long.

I am so very blessed.

Thank you to all who have stopped in at my blog. Your support through my losses and this pregnancy will forever be appreciated.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Only a little while longer...

...and E2 will be here.

I am 40 wks, 5 days today...and no sign of impending labor. So, I am heading in for an induction tonight...and E2 will be here sometime tomorrow.

Here is one last belly pic, taken this morning on the eve of his arrival:


I can't believe this time is here...and, as much as I would have liked to go into labor on my own, it is nice to be able to take my time in packing my things for the hospital, spending some last quality time with Chris as an only child, and thinking about how much things are going to change in this house in less than 24 hours.

I honestly never thought I would be here, waiting for another child to enter into our lives. Looking back across the almost three years we were TTC our second...and the babies we still feels unreal that E2 is almost here. He was so very wanted. So very needed. But, there is one thing I know in my heart now: His arrival was a lesson for me in patience, faith, letting go, yet always appreciating the time I did have with my angels.

Someone has posted on one of the FF boards how, after her loss, she longed to get PG again so she could replace the child she lost in her miscarriage. E2, as much as he is loved already, for me, is not a replacement for the angels that surround us. He can't be - My angels had their own souls, own time, own love to give, although their time with me was brief. E2 has come to us in the right time...when I was finally able to let go of the hurt I carried for so long and began to live my life again. I am not sure how possible another PG would have been without having truly dealt with my sadness, my anger, my loss of faith in everything. And, as months of worry and anxiety over whether I would make it this far come to a close, I am so thankful to those who helped me through it all (in my BG's, through the blogging community and those in "real life" who took the time to care). I could not have gone through this journey without you.

I will check in with pics and details as soon as I am able...I am hoping the hospital has internet access. ;)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Just like history repeating itself...

I have been sooooo bad at blogging lately...will catch up on the "why's" later this week while Chris is napping.

Apparently, the end of this PG is going to be like history repeating itself.

As of this morning's check-up at Dr. D's, looks like this baby will be induced just like Chris was. Actually, I was more dilated with Chris (1/2 cm) at this point than I am now! So, as of today, I am scheduled for induction Monday night (June 16th). I have to call Wednesday night for the details...and my doc is trying like hell to get me a private room to be induced in (unlike last time, when I had Ms. Hyperventilation next to me). Will have more details Wednesday...and he is going to haul me in Monday morning just to check to see if maybe, just maybe, I make some progress on my own...

Oh well, gives us a better chance to make sure Chris knows what is going on I suppose...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Missing you, my first Angel Baby

Today could have been your third birthday... But, instead, you became in 2004 our first Angel to watch over us.

I miss you...and love you. Happy Birthday, sweet Angel. You are gone...but certainly never forgotten.

Friday, May 16, 2008

So darned tired...

I can't believe I am due in under 30 days...and I am out of work for three months in 14 days...

The days are just whirling by - and there is so much to do still.

And, added to that now is my IL's are back in their house. Oh my! A real estate investor they know bought the house "as-is" and an agreement drawn up that they will pay him rent for 1-2 years, at which time when they can get financing, they will buy the house back from them. So, they are in a mad-rush to be in the house this weekend...

...And, I am left waving my flag, needing to get things done (like, ummm, pack my bag for the hospital?!?!?) and no one is paying attention to that.

Anyways, training here at work is going well...and I feel confident that my jobs will be done correctly while I am out. Phew!

I will try to post more over the weekend...if I have the energy. E2 is sucking out all of my energy... I think the last time I felt this exhausted was when I was dealing with the major insomnia that started after my March 2006 m/c....

But, I am going to miss that when he is here. :(

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My little guy doesn't want to be a big guy

Since Chris has been sleeping in his big-boy bed every night since Saturday night (and most naps on the days he is not at my Mom's house since she doesn't drive), his nighttime routine has changed a bit.

It used to be that Daddy would read him a story as I played Vanna White doing the page turning in our bed while he had a cup of milk...then, it was time to use the bathroom, brush teeth and Daddy would lay down with him until he fell asleep (and Mommy would retreat to the futon to sleep since I just can't sleep in our bed right now).

Now, Mommy reads the story (specifically, the "I'm a Big Brother" book) at the foot of his bed, while Daddy gives "his baby" (AKA, the doll he got from the sibling class) a bottle and Chris has his milk...then, it is time to use the bathroom and brush teeth. Now, Chris has asks me to sit with him while he falls asleep - so I grab some pillows, sit next to his bed while we talk a little bit and then he falls asleep.

We had a conversation last night about him getting to be a big boy...and how he doesn't want to be a big boy. It was probably one of the sweetest conversations we have ever had.

To preface, I have been very careful throughout this PG that 1) Chris understands where E2 is right now and that Chris was once there too, 2) there will be some changes coming and that I might not always be able to drop things immediately with baby to do things for him, 3) Chris, no matter what, will always be Mommy's baby too...even though he is growing up and doing more big boy things and 4) we will always make time for him...special time that will only be his.

Doing this seems to have made his understanding of what is happening clear to us - you can see that a bit with how he handles "his baby"...

...Although I am prepared for regression. ;)

Anyways, so we were talking again last night about how well he is handling "his baby" - with feeding him, burping him, holding him, checking his diaper (even though it is just a doll right now) and how proud of him I am that he is being such a big boy and a good big brother already.

That was when Chris said he didn't want to be a big boy yet.

...And my heart just melt...and I wanted to cry.

So, I told him that, although he is doing such big boy things like using the potty now, using regular cups and utensils, going to school, "helping" Mommy to vacuum and make the bed and such...he does not have to be a big boy all the way just yet. I told him that he still was a little guy - he would be still for a while. ...And, it was okay for Mommy and Daddy to still help him with things, or for him to cry when he has booboos or is frustrated that he can't do something. He didn't need to be a completely big guy yet. He had time to still be my baby...

When I was done, I noticed he was snoring...

My little guy had fallen asleep during my reassurances.

...Only proving that, yes, he still is a little guy. And, he doesn't need to be a big guy in every way just yet.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday (a day late), my little man!

Yesterday was Christopher's 4th birthday...and, oh my! How he has grown! From this:

(about 20 minutes after he was born on 5/4/04)

to this:

(this past Christmas, 12/07)

in 4 short years...

We spent the weekend moving Chris into his big-boy room...and I feel like he has grown into his own big person in less than 7 days. We are so pleased...but sad too because he is just not so little anymore. He is growing up so fast...and more so within the last 6 months or so.

The room is no where near finished...there is baby bedding to be bought for E2, organizing the crap that has accumulated, putting up the finishing touches (so, the "Big Reveal" won't happen on the blog until everything is complete). But, Chris has his new bed and his new dress - his own big-boy space. And, I think he is really pleased because, for the first time in a looooong time, he has slept in his bed all night long: No want to be with us overnight, his insistence that he be in his own space. He went to sleep in his bed Saturday night and never looked back...all the while, we checked in on him and were sad that he is no longer a baby.

I am so going to miss that.

Here is the progression of things:

How Chris used to sleep (this pic was from last summer....the binkie has been gone since at least October) our bed, a tornado in our midst.

Helping Daddy put together his new dresser last weekend (no, Hubby lost no fingers)

Chris and Daddy playing Indiana Jones before bedtime (one of the nightly rituals with his bedtime story)

Helping Papa put his bed together Saturday night

Testing out his new bed

How he woke up yesterday morning

When I talked to him yesterday morning, he mentioned that he rolled out of the bed that night (we did not put the bedrails on Saturday night because it was very late and he needed to get some sleep for his sibling class at 9 am Sunday morning - but, we did put pillows on the floor just in case he did roll out). Then, he told me that he climbed back up on the bed and went back to sleep... Poor thing! I felt terrible that he rolled out of the bed. So, I reminded him that he could always come and get one of us...and the bedrail went on before his nap Sunday afternoon.

Chris had his sibling class yesterday morning (I am just such a good mommy, that I scheduled him 9:00 am the morning of his 4th birthday to be back at the hospital he was born at to learn about being a big brother!)...and he really loved it! Best $40 we spent in a long time... The nurse showed the kids (ranging between 2 and 7 years old) how to hold the baby properly, how to help mommy and daddy change the baby, what the baby does at the beginning...and we took a tour of the nursery to see the babies who where there (including an impromptu elevator ride that he was not expecting...he doesn't like elevators, but handled it like a champ!).

Chris just LOVED IT! He carried "his baby" now named Otto (since Hubby refers to E2 as Otto all of the time) around the hospital the right way...showed his baby the other babies in the nursery...insisted his baby (which we got to keep as part of the $40 fee, among other goodies) go EVERYWHERE with us yesterday (a trip to Toys 'R Us, Wendy's for lunch, dinner, to grandma's this morning...). Actually he handled his baby better than most of the girls in the class, who dragged them around by the foot! He is really practicing being a good big brother with this baby...and it is adorable to see that.

Here is how Chris woke up with morning, bunking in with his baby:


He fell asleep, snuggled head-to-head, with his baby last night (notice his baby needed clothing too...this is a sleeper I received as part of an on-line shower gift on FF. It was supposed to be for E2!).

I am just so amazed by him... His progression with speech, his empathy towards others, his sense of humor, and, so, so much more.

I just wish he didn't ever have to grow up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

33 weeks...and the mayhem is in full swing!

Well, I am 33 weeks today...

I never imagined I would be sitting here posting this now. I just remember sitting in my living room, around December 2006, crying my eyes out and the midst of those nasty anxiety attacks...wondering if another child would ever come to us.

But now, the mayhem of getting ready for E2 at home is in full swing... Our soon-to-be former bedroom - the former crap-hole that you might be able to see a teeny-tiny glimpse of in these pics:

(behind the headboard...the old, orangish-paint. Couldn't tell you the original color as there were 3 smokers in the house years ago!)

(looking in from Chris' old room - our soon to be new room with new yellow paint. Note the joint compound on the left side of the window...that is how far we got with finishing off our bedroom before Chris arrived. We figured fixing the falling-down ceiling was a little more important.)

is coming along so, so nicely (thanks to the contractor that my FIL bailed out of making a bad business deal...otherwise, E2 would probably be 5 years old if I left this project to Hubby). Pics will be posted over the weekend...when we move Chris in there. Yeah! All I can say is, Chris is thrilled with the work so far...and keeps reminding us that it is his "big boy room" that he gets to share with E2.

Just too cute... Hoping they grow up being close. ;)

We are also trying to keep things "normal" for Chris...and are trying to prepare for his 4th Birthday party on May 10th. Say, what?!?!?! I am having a hard time adjusting to my baby being 4 years old. Sigh. He's going to really love us on his actual birthday (May 4th) when we take him to his sibling class at the hospital... We gotta make sure he gets his treat of McD's on that day (conveniently located in the hospital's lobby...).

Work is work is being split between 3 people here (who are all very competent...just going to be hard to remember who is working on what!) and I am trying to fit the time in to train them all on how things are done. And, of course, be ready to leave on May 30th.

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But, I am very grateful that my boss canceled the major advisory board meeting he was planning on May 12th... That alone has given me some time back on my calendar to get everything done.

The weather is getting warmer here...and I am back out walking (1 mile instead of 2...but it has slowed the weight gain down a bit, so at least I won't gain over 35 lbs with this PG!). But, I have no maternity capri's, no maternity shorts and only 4 short-sleeve shirts from my PG with Chris. Crap...guess I will be in air conditioning through my EDD. Refuse to buy anything more in maternity clothing!

Had my latest u/s done on Thursday... And, I am happy to report that all is well with E2 and his growth.

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And, I am also happy to report that he may actually be more ME than Hubby. Woot! Woot! Looks like he's got my nose...which is a start.



Just a few things came up at that thing I am waiting on b/w for and one I have to make some decisions on...

I got Dr. M this time at the MFM clinic - the actual Director of the MFM center. Very nice guy...actually, they have all been very nice. But, I think this particular doc was probably the most thorough of all of the 6 doctors there.

He asked me Dr. D's plans for delivery. Right now, Dr. D is going to let me go to 41 weeks at most - and, if I don't go into labor by then, I will be induced for June 17th. Dr. M, however, wants to modify that, depending upon what my current homocysteine levels are. Since I presented with elevated homocysteine levels with the MTHFR mutation, they have been checking them regularly since they do rise in PG. They have been level the entire time, just like my thyroid levels. However, if this last set comes back elevated, he wants me to deliver no later than my EDD of June 10th. So, now I am just waiting on the results of that b/w to see what the labor plan is...if I even need a plan. This PG has been so different, I am kinda hoping E2 will chose to make his own appearance.

The other issue...the one I need to make a decision about the Lexapro I started on March 17th.

He asked me if anyone had told me about the rare issues that can come up with the baby upon deliver if I was still taking Lexapro at that time... Up to this point, no one has - I was told that it was safe (and I didn't really find anything on my own to say otherwise either).

Dr. M told me that there is a 1 in 1000 chance that the baby could develop Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) and/or could suffer from withdrawal symptoms upon birth (irritability, difficulty feeding) for a few days afterwards. He thinks my chances of this happening are relatively low, especially since I am on the lowest dose possible (5 mg).

The 5 mg has really helped so much to refocus me and manage the stress better... But, I have spent this entire PG worrying that everything would be okay with E2...and it has been...and I don't want ANYTHING to happen to him now.

So, I am not sure what to do at this point... I am afraid to come off the Lexapro right now since it has helped me so much, especially with sleep. If I come off now, I am not sure how I am going to handle it all. And, I know the med is helping E2 to be buffered from the stress too.

But, if I don't come I really want to risk that 1 in 1000 chance of a problem??

I have a call in to my ped to talk to him about it....and I will be talking to Dr. D about it on Monday at my next check-up.

Anyone in my position who might have some guidance on this???

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Advice needed for a friend

Hubby has a very close friend M from grammar school whose wife, J, is going through a struggle with secondary IF. Technically, she would have been dealing with infertility earlier since it took her about 12 months to finally conceive their 3 year old DD - but, as she was prepping to meet her doctor about it, she finally ended up PG after about half her cycles being annovulatory.

J just turned 37 years old. She is not always ovulating, has tried a few rounds of clomid in which she is ovulating but not getting PG, just tried one round of Clomid/trigger/IUI (the IUI and meds out of pocket) which just resulted in a BFN.

When I talked to her last night, she was obviously upset that they have been trying for over a year now...and she didn't start the testing earlier (her HSG was all clear; b/w all normal). But, there were some very strange issues surrounding her sister that she had to deal with...and put TTC in full force off the plate.

Anyways, she is running out of options because both her insurance and her husband's insurance don't cover IF well - hers has no prescription plan (so all meds she has take up to this point have been paid for out of pocket) and does not cover IUI (it did cover the long as she was NOT given the title Infertile); his covers most things, but with at least a 20% co-pay; if she tried to get on his insurance with hers (co-insure), then she has to pay parts of two insurance premiums for an entire year.

So, in other words, any way she tries, she has to spend a lot of money and they can't afford that right now. They are on a tight budget after M having lost his job twice in two years (he works as a manager in retail - which is not always stable). There were some financial burdens with the issues with her sister. And, they have some major debts to still pay from M prior to them being married. So, there is not much available to pay for IF procedures and medications.

I suggested a whole slew of things to her (Femara since Clomid is causing CM issues, hence the need for the IUI), checking for other issues that could be causing annovulation (like thyroid disease and PCOS), using things like Green Tea or PreSeed for CM issues. But, she could use some advice on how to get an IUI cycle covered without too much out of pocket cost since they are on such a tight budget.

Any advice from ladies who have been there would be greatly appreciated. I can't really help her with the financial aspects of this because all I have ever had to pay were office visit co-pays for any visit or procedure done - I have a thorough prescription plan, excellent coverage and very minimal out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., all I have had to pay for were OPKs, HPTs, etc.). Just one reason I remain a slave to the State here...

Thanks a million for the help!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A message to Rachel in California

I am looking for Rachel in California, who left me the following comment yesterday on my post I finally have an answer for these losses...
"Hi, I was glad to find that you have Doctors that know what they are doing. I've had 4 miscarriages 3 had gone by before I was tested for MTHFR I have the double mutation c677t.

We got treatment with my 4th pregnancy I was injecting Heparin,taking 81mg of asprin,prometrium and Folgard which is high does folic acid and B vitamins. My pregnancy only lasted a week or two longer then the others. I planned to lose pre pregnancy weight before we tried again and taking folgard 3 months prior to ttc. But Surprise I am pregnant just took the test this weekend my Specialist is on vacation and I am stressing out on getting my meds started. I noticed on your blog that you were tested for your homocysteine level. My Doctor told me there was no need to test it since I was taking the folgard and heparin. Maybe I should stress this again can you recommend a way I should word it so that I am not at the losing end of an argument. Thank you so much for posting your story it is great inspiration and I know how much pain it cause to get you to where you are today. God bless you and your family. -Rachel in California"
I have no way of getting back to you on this since your comment did not leave me an e-mail address and I don't see a blog associated with your profile. So, I will go back and answer your questions here until I can get in touch with you.

First, I wanted to say I am so sorry for your losses. As you can see from what I have written here, learning to accept things as they were for me was not easy - and I am sure they have not been easy for you either. I am not surprised you are scared now with this surprise PG - and I hope I can help you a bit here to get this one to term.

With a homozygous MTHFR gene mutation, I must say that you SHOULD be on higher doses of Folic Acid/B vitamins AT ALL TIMES, not just when TTC or PG. As you age, this is going to set you up for heart disease, blood clotting, etc. and the Folic Acid/B vitamins will help to prevent this. You should also look to be on a low-dose baby aspirin regimen. I have been on my Fabb Tablets/baby aspirin since 8/06 and have not stopped (although the baby aspirin will be temporarily halted for labor/delivery around 37 weeks).

Homocysteine levels ABSOLUTELY should be checked, regardless of what medications you are on. My MFM clinic has checked my homocysteine levels throughout this PG because they can naturally rise during PG - and, since I presented with elevated levels when this condition was first caught, they want to watch it to make sure it doesn't go up into the dangerous elevated area again. Anyone that says it should not be checked is full of crap.

Heparin will not control homocysteine levels - it prevents the blood clotting. Folgard (or similar meds - I am on Fabb Tablets), or Folic Acid, is what actually brings down the homocysteine levels. You should start back on this as soon as possible.

Please e-mail me with any other questions... I am hoping to get in touch with you to make sure you get the right care!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

On autopilot...

I will post a meaningful post soon...eventually...

Kinda on autopilot right now. Chris gifted the entire family his latest cold over the weekend...and I spent all day Saturday with a temperature that kept going back up between 100.4 and 101.0 degrees. We actually had to break down and call the doctor because even with Tylenol, it kept going back up in three hours (never had a fever in PG before). So, I was okay'ed to take the Tylenol every three hours to keep it down...

Can I tell you how much I am coveting Hubby's motrin right now???

...And NyQuil?

...And, DayQuil?

I honestly can't remember anymore when the last night of good sleep I had was... Maybe Wednesday? Last week? Not sure.

The pregnancy-related aches and pains are getting to me now... Never had anything like this with Chris because he positioned himself so high up (sure missing those feet in the ribcage now!). But, this one has taken residence much lower...and the combo of not being able to sleep from being uncomfortable from the PG and from the cold is doing me in.

Nothing beats driving in the slow lane on the GSP to get into work...and then try to figure out what the hell I am supposed to be doing here.

Anyone have suggestions to keep my harbinger of germs germ-free??? Or, at least less susceptible to more illnesses? This is getting very old.

However, I did have a very good nurse over the weekend... Nothing beats your almost-four-year-old singing you Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, patting your face, and calling you "hot mommy" when the fever spikes when you are trying to rest. Better than any Tylenol you can take.

...Although, I would much rather be "hot mommy" for other reasons. ;)

Friday, March 21, 2008

I miss you, my sweet little girl

Today, I lost you two years ago...and I still miss you, every day, even with the joy coming into our lives in June.

I know that some of the doctors are not sure if you really were a little girl from the results of testing reports - but, I do believe you would have been my little girl. Dr. D believes it, and so do I.

I also know you have been visiting our house in the last week or so... Chris keeps mentioning that he sees an angel, a little girl named "Sarah," in the corner of our bedroom...his soon-to-be shared room with E2. And, I know he sees you...Chris has a way about him in which he senses things. He has demonstrated that several times in the past. Chris is happy when he sees "Sarah" and wants us to say hello as well, which we do. I do hope you will stay around and watch over your brothers, in their new room.

** ETA: Chris mentioned tonight that it is "Sarah's birthday" today while eating dinner. I am speechless...and, at the same time, comforted. **

I love you...and I miss you always,


Monday, March 17, 2008

Glad everyone's liked the belly pics...

...because my doc scolded me a little bit on the *weight* issue this morning.

Of course, I DID start this PG out much thinner than I had ever been (and about 10 lbs thinner than where I started when PG with Chris)...but, since at 28 weeks tomorrow I have already gained the 27 lbs I had gained across the entire PG with Chris, I have to try to slow that down a bit now.


So, start asking Mother Nature to behave where the weather is concerned from now until June! I gotta throw my sneakers on and get some walking in....and use those same sneakers to walk past the cookies, brownies, etc. that tend to be floating around work because of the various seminars, workshops and meetings.

...On a good note: I get to have my Lexapro back. Yeah! Dr. D agreed that, considering all that is going on (especially the indecisiveness of my IL's on what the hell they are doing with living arrangements...that saga will continue later), it would be better to have me on a low dose for my sanity (and sleep) than to let me continue with the way things have been going (i.e., the anxiety attacks I have been having since New Year's). So, I will take my first dose (5 mgs for now) tonight when I get home. Oh, sweet relief... I don't necessarily like the idea of taking additional meds right now... But, I need my head back a bit.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Finally....some long-awaited belly pics

After long wait (sorry, I've been too tired at night to do this!), here are some belly pics for all of you. I think I finally "look the part" this time around...which is a nice change since people realize now that I am not just overweight.

First, these are my "before's" for reference...since I have not taken any belly pics until now. These pics are from about 10/06, but I have remained that same weight for a while now (actually, I was slightly thinner than these pics before getting PG with E2):

St. Gerard Feast, October 2006

Halloween, 2006

And, this is me now, at 27 weeks, 2 days (yesterday):



For additional reference, this was me PG with Chris, on my EDD of 4/29/04 (Chris was born a week later on 5/4/04):


I think I am just about the same size now, entering into the 3rd trimester, as I was on Chris' EDD. I have the same pants on, but not the same shirt (although it is grey).

I promise to post more pics in the future. :) It would be nice to document the progression - something I didn't do with my PG with Chris.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How can we remember ALL of our babies?

Lately, there have been quite a few losses in the blog-o-sphere that have rocked our foundations... Scared us even more when we see those two pinks lines show on a PG test or see a heartbeat on u/s. Most recently:

Natalie's loss of Devin at 35 weeks, 5 days
Alexa's loss of Ames (his twin, Simone, still fighting)
MaryEllen's loss of her triplets
Also, Allison's twins: Lennox and Zoe

I can't even begin to express how reading about these losses scares the hell out of me. Just when you think you made it past the hurdles: viability u/s's, first heartbeats, NT Scans, Level II u/s's... A baby is taken way too precious to be with us. It is heartbreaking and well beyond understanding.

I can't even imagine the pain these moms (and dads) are going through. It just shouldn't be this way.

But, there has been something bothering me...because, I hate the idea of missing someone accidentally and I don't want anyone to be left out.

There have been a few memorial candles created for some of the mommies lately...which has been such a great way to support the families, honor the babies taken much too soon, always remember the loss to our community. However, as much as I want to list every single candle created in my sidebar...I know there are many other families mourning losses too for which no candle has been created yet. Those mournings range from early PG neonatal death. I don't want to see anyone who has gone through loss - either very recently or long in the past - to ever feel less than supported.

Even though each loss is so unfortunate and so unique, each precious baby should be remembered somehow...each family supported through a unified display of candles or memorials.

So, I have an idea...although I am not sure how to accomplish it since I am in no way a pro with Photoshop, etc. to create them (okay, I will confess I never used Photoshop!). And, would love the input from the community.

I would love to see a site - a blog? - created for all of the moms who have lost children in such a tragic way. Maybe list them in chronological order, with candles, under categories of miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, etc. - but have them all together? Include them all from our community and have a link we can all place on our blogs to honor all of the babies gone taken soon? I would hate to post a candle for one, and not for all - I feel it could potentially make someone feel their loss is not as important as another.

I would love feedback on we can all support each other like we have demonstrated we can do well.

Prayer requests for today

I have two prayer requests today to throw out to everyone....

First, Chris' Zia is having her retrieval today - this 4th IVF cycle is going very well, and very differently from the cycles in the past. Please pray this works...transfer should be Sunday. She and S deserve this...they have been waiting to be parents for way too long. My St. Gerard candle will be lit tonight for them...

Second, on a personal front, Hubby has two job interviews coming up - first is today at 11:30 am with a good law firm and the second is Monday with a recruiting firm (the position would be for a recruiter, which he would be sooooo good at - and he got scouted for). He really could use the job change as there is still no clue to what his current boss is doing for the long haul - except that he finally moved the office much closer to home, which allows Hubby to get home at a decent hour! I don't trust nor like his current maybe my opinion is tainted. But, Hubby could really use the new job...and the extra cash coming in!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Why do old habits die so hard?

I am totally exhausted today... Woke up around 4 am this morning after not sleeping soundly to begin with (again)...vacillating between freezing cold and sweating... nauseous... shaky... feeling like I was coming down with some sort of stomach bug...

...But, then I realized I was missing the prerequisite stomach pains and cramps that actually DO come with a stomach virus...and the pale skin tone...and I was hungry. So, I knew what was actually happening this morning.

I allowed myself to have an anxiety attack...which I haven't had since New Year's night...and a long time before that (before starting the Lexapro I had been on).

I forgot how they felt...until now, of course, in the post-attack, zombie-like state.

And, why did I allow this to happen? After having worked so hard with counseling and such since May 2006 to get past this self-inflicted state?

Well, the main thing is that I have been worried all weekend that I haven't been feeling E2 move that the point that I wasn't sure if I should call my doc and look like an ass for being completely off my rocker (not that Dr. D would think that - but, that is my line of thinking) or try to figure out why I am perceiving him not moving as much as he is.

Because, in the end, it really IS my perception - and not E2 not moving that much. This morning, as I allow myself to step back a little bit from rushing around to get everything done, I am currently getting the crap kicked out of me...for which I am extremely grateful. I spent this past weekend with a jam-packed schedule - food shopping, house cleaning, laundry, baking cookies for Chris' nursery school special church service Sunday morning, preparing food for Sunday's dinner at our house after the church service, blah, blah, blah.

Life has been much busier with this PG compared to my PG with I tended to notice more movement during the day back then. But, then again, these are things I know I can do normally and without any issues...and should not be affecting me now.

Although, now I realize that I need to slow down a little bit...and start asking for help, which I had learned to do in the past but have been reluctant to do recently. Who knows why.

I am doing too much and not allowing enough rest in between it all. I am trying to keep everything together, between work responsibilities (which have increased with trying to prepare for maternity leave and with the firing of the Witch, trying to get Chris' private therapy covered (more on that later...but I will say now we turned down the in-district school placement based on the private evaluation we had done), getting ready for the IL's to start the addition to our house (since, yes, they will be moving in with us and will be putting a full dormer on our third floor instead of just finishing the attic as-is), getting ready for E2's arrival which includes getting the room ready, trying to help Hubby in his job search (although, at least his current boss finally moved the office much, much closer to home! No more 1+ hour commute for Hubby!) and the every-day responsibilities of home stuff.

Add to that, I am still trying to get over this second cold (I have had two different colds now straight since 1/26 and the coughing with this cold has been horrible) and I am just not sleeping well (I have been way more physically uncomfortable with this PG than I was with Chris - Charlie horses almost every morning, Restless Leg issues if I try to sleep in my bed which is forcing me to sleep on the futon, hip soreness almost all of the time). I am trying not to complain about anything at this point...but, the lack of sleep is starting to make that task difficult.

I keep thinking that maybe, with everything that is going on right now, I should just break down and ask Dr. D to start me back on the lowest dose of Lexapro... I have been trying very hard to avoid that - although he has left the decision up to me with the caveat that is would be best not to be on anything since I am on other meds as it is. But, do I try to push on three more months this way and risk more anxiety issues coming up, or just bite the bullet and start taking the meds again to calm myself down?

Not sure what I should do here...although I know I need to really start doing something soon, before my house starts getting ripped apart. I want to do what is best for E2...and Chris...and me. But, I hate to consider meds I am hitting 27 weeks today and in the last trimester of this PG. Makes me feel like a failure...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Oh, dear...when will this fruit-loop finally go away?

Ah...Just when you think things are over, the fruit-loop (aka, the witch, aka the ex-Associate Director who was fired) sends this directly to me:
Dear --,

I am writing to let you know that I filed a grievance against XXX for things he did that were rather creepy and they have nothing whatsoever to do with you or for that matter anyone else at YYY. I always said and continue to say that you have been helpful to me especially after I made those specific requests on how you could help me. I thought I should let you know this as I would hate to cause you more stress than you already have. I wish you the best of health and good luck in everything. Bye

So, I know she filed a grievance with the university...and certainly not surprised she filed one against my Director, who is one of the SWEETEST men (think of grandfatherly boss) you could ever meet! But, sending me personal e-mails...considering I have not spoken to her since August 2007???

Why do I not believe I will not be named in any part of the grievances she has filed?

Because she is an unstable molecule... We'll have to see where this goes now.

In search of a new blog designer

So...I found out today that the designer of my current blog template is no longer going to be supporting the images of the designs she had done past June 2008.


So, I am looking at replacing my template now...which is okay, because I had been thinking it might be time for a change anyway. My life is moving in a new direction now - new baby arriving in June, Chris starting Pre-K (OH MY GOD!!!!!) in the fall, the formal end of TTC because I just don't think I could handle the stress and worry of trying for a third child.

So, any suggestions of a reputable custom template designer would be appreciated. :) I need a makeover...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How to do right by your child

It has been a long while since I posted any updates on the IEP process (err, fiasco) for Christopher... Mostly that has been because, well, as has been shown in the past, the CST has been less than stellar at keeping on top of things.

Par for the course with this group, right? Or a majority of CST's as I have learned rather quickly.

Anyways, we had a HUGE pow-wow with the CST and other in-district "professionals" a few weeks ago (after waiting for revisions we requested), received a new IEP draft, asked for yet another revision since there are things we wanted specifically written in there (like, how often would the ABA-trained specialist actually be working one-on-one with Chris - kinda important to have in the official document, no?), waited, finally got a new draft last week...

...THEN get hounded for a decision the next day after receiving the document in snail-mail by the SAME CST that has dragged their feet from the start!

So, I played bad-cop - again....because, well, I have yet another cold (with a lovely, husky cough to boot) and I feel like crap. I told them WE will take the time to review the IEP, yet again since their track record for putting things in writing as we want them is not good, and will give them a start date for school when we are good and ready.

Right now, we have an un-official start date of March 11th - to include Tuesday/Thursday/Friday half days in-district and Mondays/Wednesdays half days in his current nursery school for two weeks to get him accustomed to the new school; Tuesday/Thursday/Friday full days in-district and Mondays/Wednesdays half days in his current nursery school for two weeks to get him accustomed to the full days; then total transition to the Monday-Friday week at the new school...with extended school year through July (half days only from mid-June through July with full services).

Meanwhile, we had a private eval done last week through the Lovaas Institute (waiting for the report to come back) because, quite frankly, we are just no longer sure Chris NEEDS a school program anymore.

Let me explain...
  1. Chris' speech therapists told us that he is now way above his age level for speech...and that they are giving him assignments that are for kids older than him because he likes the challenge. He masters everything he is given fast - and applies it. Well, I can see what they mean since Chris now has an "opinion" on everything, as well as a crass sense of humor. And, we wanted him to come up to his age level on speech?? What were we thinking?? It is all good - and we are very proud of him.
  2. He is completely potty trained now...well, kinda 50-50 at night, but I am not worried about that now. He can go out to the store and restaurants and elsewhere in big-boy underwear with no accidents. He tells us when he has to go. He tells his teachers when he has to go at school. The potty-fest of 2008 (aka, Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend where it was potty training, all day and all night) was well worth the large pile of peed underwear I washed. This was a MAJOR issue in the IEP - and, well, it is gone now.
  3. All of the O/T and P/T issues that were outlined in his evaluations in...well, October 2007!...are no longer issues now. He was "technically" only 3 months behind on certain things (some because of proximity, like using scissors... Back in my youth, scissors were not a skill acquired until kindergarten!)...and now he is writing letters and numbers. The O/T and P/T was added to load the IEP to get the services in the first place. So, it is no longer necessary.
  4. He is playing along with other kids in school, at gatherings, telling us stories of what went on at school (like him going to the potty), etc. Starting conversations with people he doesn't know, like waiters/waitresses at restaurants who are serving us.
  5. Everything - and I mean, everything including when I try to vacuum (which is NOT a bad thing!) - is "I can do it!", "I wanna do it!", "Let me try!". He is becoming very independent...which makes me sad in a small way, but glad too.
The only issue...and really, it depends upon his level of tiredness the hand-flapping. His teacher at school mentioned he rarely does it now...and if he does, it's because of a very special snack or something very exciting going on that day. It's rare now - she used to correct him very often, now it is rather rare. For us, he hardly does it in the car anymore (one of his prime-spots for hand-flapping). The main time we see it is before bathtime, when he is at his most tired (not cranky-tired, just winding down after a busy day tired). But, even then, it is clear he is catching himself - and correcting it himself - which is what we want for him and an excellent sign of progress on his part.

Where does this leave us with a school program that we are just not thrilled with in the first place? I don't know. I have some major reservations about the in-district program (the only one that remotely fits his "needs"):
  1. We live in "the 'hood" in NJ - the area the school is in has had 2 shootings in the past year. Do I really want my MIL or myself driving Chris to an area like that? Sure, the school itself is secure - but, what happens when he steps outside?
  2. It is full day...from 9 am - 3 pm. Chris still naps from 1-3 pm. And, quite frankly, what is built into the schedule at that time just doesn't justify his being there...or any of the kids.
  3. ...And the district will not change it to include part-time.
  4. The amount of time an ABA trained therapist would be working with him would be 60 minutes a week one-on-one. Well, we can PAY for that on our own with a private therapist.
  5. I LOVE that Chris comes home with a sense of faith from a Lutheran nursery school...and it was our plan to send him to Catholic school (which Hubby picked up the application for today for Pre-K 4 for the fall - half days, 5 days a week!).
I want what is best for Chris in the long run...but, he does not fit at all into what his evaluations "showed" in the fall. He doesn't stand out from the crowd of kids.

His neurologist felt he would fall off "the spectrum" rather quickly as it was back in August (she is out on maternity leave now...which makes this decision even harder for us to make)...and it appears she is probably right. The impression we got from the evaluator last week is that she really didn't see much of a problem with Chris...

I am not sure what to do here... This is his future that we are making a decision on.

Monday, March 03, 2008

25 weeks, 6 days...

...and only 99 days to go.

Oh, my! When did THAT happen?? The countdown in double-digits is already about sneaking up on you.

Guess I better finally take a belly pic this week before this baby arrives. :)

Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29th: A Special Day to Remember

Calliope at Creating Motherhood came up with the idea a while ago to make today, February 29th, a very Special Day to Remember for the babies we have lost. Please go over and visit Calliope's blog, and the other blogs who are banding together today to remember the babies we have lost too soon.

It has not been until now that I have finally begun to enjoy this current, surprise PG. Every waking second, every appointment, every milestone in this PG has been overshadowed with what I have come to know all too well: Great betas (well, this one is directed to me specifically since I never got past the betas with any of my m/c's), first detection of heartbeats, great growth patterns, first kicks and punches does not mean a baby will come home with you at the end of those precious 40 weeks of pregnancy.

There has been so much loss lately....the reality of what can happen and what can go wrong is overwhelming. And, it is hard to ignore, even if the risks of something going wrong are "relatively low". I mean, recurrent miscarriage is supposed to only happen to a small percentage of women: about 4% of women to experience two losses; 0.16% of women to experience three losses.

How did I end up in that 0.16% anyhow? That wasn't supposed to happen.

I think that is what made enjoying this PG - one that seems to be progressing "normally," much like my PG with Chris did - hard to do up to this point. If I could be a part of that "elusive" club of recurrent miscarriers - that "elusive" 0.16% of women to experience three losses - who's to say this PG would result in a live sibling for Chris?

I dream of going to the jeweler and adding a new shoe charm in June for this little boy I am carrying to my bracelet I wear every day:


But, I push the dream aside sometimes because, well, will God allow me to bring another child home? The thought of adding another angel charm scares the hell out of me...and prevents me from partaking in the naive dreaming I once did during my pregnancy with Chris, when miscarriage was not yet a part of my vocabulary.

I guess what has been weighing on my mind lately is that the anniversary of my last m/c is coming up very 21 days. This loss was the hardest hit for me. The one that really knocked me down, heart and soul. I never imagined another miscarriage could ever happen. That I could be so sick with morning sickness and the baby could already be gone. That God could allow this to happen for a third time...and take another baby away from me.

I lost so much of myself on March 21, 2006... It has taken so long to find my way back - and it hurts me so much to see others losing themselves in this too.

Losing a baby is not supposed to happen. Not to me, not to anyone.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Latest updates on E2

We had another growth scan this 7:30 am. Can you say, WOW that's early! Even for me, who gets up at 5 am to primp! But, it is nice to go in to the appointment on time, get out ahead of time, and get into work before you expect to (not that I WANT to be here, but it is less time I have to make up somewhere else).

Anyways, E2 is measuring perfectly for 24 weeks - and is currently about 1 lb., 10 oz. with a heart rate of 140 bpm. I have no idea what Chris was estimated weight-wise at 24, I am not sure how that will predict (or as close to predict as possible) birth weight. That remains to be seen (or, felt, really).

E2 is currently breech - completely sideways across my abdomen and face down. It's no wonder why I get jabbed where I do right now if I move a certain way (he doesn't like it if I twist side to side)! Not really worried about it right now though... Little Angelina was breach at one point too. I am sure he will move eventually (although, I am spoiled since Chris was always face down at scans or appointments). But, I did tell DH that if E2 choses not to move and breech is still a possibility closer to delivery...I will opt for the c-section right away. I will not have an external cephalic version (ECV) done. Have you ever seen them on shows like Birth Day??? They are SCARY as hell when they show you how they do it on TV! And, its painful. And, it only works half the time.

...I think I'd rather have the incision scars.

E2 was being a little ornery today... Although the tech and the doc got good pics of the vital organs, he refused to move his hands away from his face. Figures. So, I am not even going to scan the pics today - none are clear, even though the tech tried to clear one or two of them. Next scan is not until April, hopefully he will be a little more agreeable then.

...I'm telling ya... I'm starting to get scared of his personality already. My mom better stop telling me that this one is going to have a completely different personality from Chris - I like Chris' funny, laid back nature. For example, E2 likes to kick when I am standing or walking around (especially when I am doing my make-up and hair in the morning) - Chris never, ever did that! I had to sit or lie down for his beatings. E2 likes to punch and kick low....I can feel it in my bladder and intestines like he's kicking a soccer ball. Chris liked to spar with the ribs - think karate (which he will be starting very soon). And, I mean ALL-THE-TIME.

Sure hoping this one is NOT like my older brother... Will be in major trouble if he is!

Alas, since I am not scanning any pics today (well, maybe I'll scan the best one and post it later tonight - depends upon the guilt laid on here for new pics)...I'll post one from his Level II in December where you can really see the features of his face:



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

24 weeks and...Ding Dong! The witch is dead!!

...and I don't mean the AF witch...or anything to do with pregnancy, TTC or miscarriage. I mean THIS witch!

So, the "situation" with the wing-nut Associate Director (which was dug much further than what I had posted back in August) is finally resolved as of today...after much red tape and hoopla (you know I work for a State get someone fired here requires much "i" dotting and "t" crossing). She is officially suspended without pay - starting 4:3o pm today through her "official" end of her appointment on May 30th. She was asked to clean out her office, which is done sometime before this morning (probably overnight with her DH...which was not uncommon to see things moved in her office in the matter of a few overnight hours). Her e-mail is being forwarded to our Assistant Director to review - that is, of course, if there is actually anything work-related in there, which is highly unlikely. She is being removed from every inch of our web site and mailing lists - the number of hits on our web site is more than cut in half already!

PHEW!!!! The drama is now over...and we can regroup and begin to work again in a cohesive manner. And, find a new Associate Director who actually wants to do the job hired for.

However, of course the matter may still not be "over." Depends upon if she gets the hair-brained idea of suing us for unlawful termination. She won't win that - there is too much documentation of the havoc she caused for the staff, the work she didn't do, the un-related, personal research she DID do on University/work time, and the bad-mouthing she chose to do with "colleagues" from the moment she started working here in June 2007. So, it would be pointless to sue us...but, then again, she is a totally unstable molecule and only time will tell if that will happen.

Luckily, my bosses will "shield" me from it if 1) it happens at all and 2) if I am named at all in it. They don't want the stress of the mess she made for me in August or thereafter affect this PG. I am grateful for that.

So, I am officially 24 weeks along today... Next growth scan will be Thursday. E2 is already turning out to have a different personality than Chris - he likes to kick me when I am standing up, which is something Chris never did. And, the nurse at my ob's appointment last week had to chase him around with the doppler because he didn't like it at all (took her a few shots to get him to lie still to get the heart rate). I will post pics and belly pics (well, belly pics as soon as they are taken anyway - have been really lax on that) later in the week.

I noticed today how bad I have been on posting here recently... I never even finished documenting the Vacation 2007 series, which I promise to do before E2 arrives in June. I don't want to forget the good time we had on vacation.

But, time has just been very short, between work, finally getting Chris' services in place (more on that later), the IL's house (which was officially boarded up on Valentine's Day - nice, huh?), preparing for maternity leave, having a cold that lasted for more than 2 weeks (which Chris now has and made himself puke Sunday night because of the coughing)...and so on and so on.

I am waiting for the slow-down...hopefully that will be soon so I can really get back to blogging.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A revelation on my faith

That church I pass on the way to work had another good saying this week...

"Faith makes things possible...
Not easy."

Well, if that isn't a reality check...

Not that I was ever expecting my faith to be easy - I wasn't. I never have, especially having chosen the faith I did. But, I could never allow myself to understand why the God I had faith in would take three precious lives away from me...and I think something has clicked.

Enjoying this pregnancy - and having faith this it would continue on this far - has not been easy. But, it is possible...and preparing for that possibility is starting to take form, happily.

I am at peace with that faith now.

I will post updates soon. I know I have been a little neglectful of my blog, but there just hasn't been a lot of time between work, potty training Chris (which was a challenge in the beginning, but we are doing very well!), and trying to figure out the IL's housing situation.

To that end, until I can get back for a real update, please keep my IL's in your prayers. They are moving out of their home of 35 years this weekend, moving in temporarily with Hubby's aunt and uncle across the street until they can decide what the next move will be: Move in with us and fix up the attic to accommodate them, or prepare for the possibility that they may be able to buy their house back as a "new buyer" instead of trying to salvage the mortgage that was foreclosed on. It is a strong possibility that they will be able to buy the house back...hence the temporary move in with Hubby's aunt and uncle. We would love for them to be back in that we ask for some prayers that might make that a possibility.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to celebrate your 35th Birthday in style....

So... I find myself at 20 weeks pregnant today...

Yeah, I can hardly believe it either! But, that is what my FF ticker says...and my doctor's chart. I promise to post a belly pic soon...probably this week. It is amazing how much bigger I am this time around. I LOOK like I am pregnant - never really did until the very end with Chris. So, this is turning into some fun now. :) I.E., I am finally enjoying this PG...especially with the inner-boxing sessions that put my mind at ease.

The "down" side, of course, is I turn 35 years old tomorrow...and officially receive the "Advanced Maternal Age" moniker at the doctors' offices now. Yeah me! I know, a number is a number. But, the new label - although not as bad as Habitual Aborter - is one I never really planned on having...

...But, God doesn't always like plans, now does He?

So, how does one celebrate one's 35 th birthday in style???

Having the in-law's move in, that's how!

Okay, to backtrack a little bit...

My FIL was a very, very sick man starting in 2002.

He is a Type II diabetic - and, for a very long time, chose to ignore it and not care for himself properly. His diabetes has led him to lose feeling in his feet - so, he did always take one precaution as to wear shoes or slippers all of the time.

...Except, of course, one fateful day in the early fall of 2002.

We had finally finished our post-Honeymoon "love nest" (aka, our new, hand-built apartment to save money instead of renting one) on my IL's home in early 2001 - Living room, kitchen, bathroom which added on above my IL's kitchen and bathroom. We kept DH's room growing up (one of the two only bedrooms in the house) as our bedroom (which was all we had for the first few years of our marriage - talk about me being accommodating!), which opened up to the kitchen. It was all we really needed at the time - having children was not really on the radar in the first few years of marriage.

The addition was done on our own - my FIL, DH, myself and anyone else who was handy with a nail gun and drywall helped with demolition and construction. It took a long, long time to get done, as you can probably tell: We married in 10/1998 - and the addition was started shortly before then. It was finally finished in early 2001...and we settled in. And, we thought everything was cleaned up from the construction - all scraps of wood, siding, nails, etc.

Except, we missed some construction staples.

My FIL walked out in the very early Fall of 2002 into the backyard with no shoes on to turn off the pool filter - and he stepped on a construction staple. But, since he had no feeling in his feet, he never felt it....and it remained there for 2-3 days until my MIL noticed it. And, of course, it was already infected - eventually spiraling him into a series of infections, including a massive MRSA infection, which caused him to lose the toes on his right foot. The wound, until just last year, refused to close... So, it has been years of doctors, surgeries, antibiotics, disability, unemployment for my IL's.

...And, years of doctor's bills, inability to pay the bills, and inability to pay the mortgage on the house they owned since 1973.

So, two years ago, a foreclosure notice was given...although never pressed. My FIL was employed by the town as a Lead Abatement Inspector for a federal governmental agency in the Summer of 2005 - and his ability to pay the bills and mortgage came back. So, we thought the house could be saved and the foreclosure lifted...

...But, that changed on January 7th, 2008 - when the mortgage company decided not to play nicey-nicey anymore...and an eviction notice was issued for them to be out by February 8th.

So, after 35 years of owning this home, they have to be out. Our early marriage memories will be gone will all of the memories they have invested in that house. And, there is nothing we can do about it.

Long, drawn-out story, isn't it?

So, the past two weeks has been spent helping them pack/move/store all of their belongings (they plan to be out completely this weekend) - and pack/move/store all of the things DH never cleaned out since we moved into our home around the corner in June 2003.

The past couple of weeks has also been trying to help them figure where to go - move into DH's aunt's house across the street from us for a little while, find an apartment, etc.

My MIL does not want to move into her sister's house - it is very loud and busy and cramped as it is, since DH's grandmother is also living there (she had moved into our old apartment when we bought her house in 2003). BUT, it would be the most economical move for them to do that - no rent, no utility bills - so they can save money and straighten themselves out financially. Since she doesn't want to do that, that forces them into renting an apartment for $1500 or more (NJ is expensive)...but, that would not allow them to save money, pay bills off. It would force them into renting for probably the rest of their lives.

So (and you can call me a SUCKER later), I got into a discussion with DH about it was a shame we didn't have our third floor (full attic) finished yet - it would be more than enough room for them to live in for 6-12 months, until they could get themselves on their feet again. Living with them again would be a hard adjustment for all, especially with a new baby coming - but, we have done it before with much less room...and we could probably do it again for a short period of time.

I guess, what I am having a hard time justifying is the $$$ they will have to spend on rent - and not be able to save anything.

Anyway, conversation was continued last night with my ILs over for dinner - since my FIL works for the town, he has access to many contractors. And, these contractors can discount the work for him...and get the attic done (insulate, sheet rock, wire, install a small bathroom above the only bathroom in the house, finish/paint) in a fairly quick amount of time.

...The only concession we would make is we would switch our bedroom with Chris' current room since the stairway to the third floor is from our bedroom and, well, do you want your IL's coming through late at night??? Changing the rooms is no big deal - the thought had been there anyway, and the rooms are relative the same size (just different shape).

So, that is how I will be celebrating my 35th Birthday...preparing for construction and the IL's to invade our house for 6-12 months until they can either be in a position to buy something on their own or we can find a real 2-family in a town we would like to settle in a year or so from now (which was a plan we had in mind anyway).

Sound fun?

My therapist is going to have a field day with this tonight at our first session of the New Year!