Category Archives: My Journey to Motherhood

Nothing Happening Here…Tweedle Deedle Dee ;)

Oh, wait, were some of you waiting for an update of some sort? Like, I don’t know, something about an ultrasound?

Yep, that’s right. The big twenty-week ultrasound was this morning. I always laugh when the techs ask me if I want to know the gender if they can see it. Only once have I said that I had no intention of getting off of the table until they told me—but I’ve thought it every time. No freakin’ way I’m going anywhere until I know what to plan for.

Which is why I was a bit concerned when the tech went to look and announced, all too cheerily, that the baby had its hand between its legs.

Grrrr…

Fortunately, she wasn’t going to leave it at that, either. Another minute and a few angles later, she told me what she didn’t see…

Of course, that didn’t have me entirely convinced. Another minute or two, a better angle, and we were able to see for certain…

 

It’s a Girl!!!

 

Yeah, I’m a little excited. Luckily for the tech, I don’t react quite how Noah did when I delivered the news to him. Jumping. Screaming. Hugging. Sheer jubilation. That boy has wanted a little sister for quite a while now.

I wasn’t able to leave the ultrasound quite as jubilant as I would have preferred, though. The tech saw a couple of things that got us an additional looky-loo  by a doctor, and then a consultation in her office.

Basically, the baby has an echogenic bowel and an echogenic spot in her heart. Each, by itself, wouldn’t be considered a big deal. Except they can both be considered “soft” markers for Down Syndrome. In addition, the nuchal fold thickness, while within normal range, was just barely there. Same for the length of the bone in the nose. Again, possible markers for Down’s.

She recommended some possible testing. I am going to do the blood tests (to rule out other causes for the echogenic bowel) and another ultrasound in a month, but not the amnio. I am not comfortable with taking the risk involved when I wouldn’t consider terminating the pregnancy, anyhow.

Thankfully, I had an appointment with my OB right after the ultrasound. We talked about what they saw, what they recommended, and what I was comfortable with. He stressed to me the fact that they saw soft markers—all of the things that would be considered hard markers were absolutely normal. Basically, based on what they saw, my risk for her having Down Syndrome has gone from 1 in 500 to about 1%. Now, I’m no mathematician, but if my government school education serves me well, that means there is a 99% chance that my daughter is just fine. And that is the stance that my OB is taking, too. He said that, as far as he is concerned, we are treating this like a normal pregnancy, except for doing an additional ultrasound. He anticipates a positive outcome.

Still, prayers are appreciated.

And that is the only reason I even mention it. Honestly, Sean is a very private person and would prefer that it not be “out there.” He agreed to let me put it here after I told him what a comfort it was to me to know that so many people were praying for us after the car crash. But, for those who know us in real life, please leave all questions, comments, or discussion about it here. For heaven’s sake, don’t talk to him about it. I promise that I’ll put stuff here when we have anymore information.

And, really, I expect to have positive news.

In the meantime, I’m having a daughter! I’m still wrapping my head around that.

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Filed under Kids, My Journey to Motherhood, pregnancy, Scary Bits of Life

Seventeen Weeks

While I’m posting this a few days late, the picture in this update really was taken at seventeen weeks (or, at least, what I think is the seventeen week mark). Between the raging crud my kids and I have been sharing, and the massive computer issues that I will discuss in a different post, this is the first chance I have gotten to do an update.

Folks, I look pregnant.

Last Wednesday, at the end of our youth activity, I was talking with one of the girls about when I was due and the fact that I’m only a couple of weeks off from the ultrasound. Another girl, overhearing (well, actually, overSEEing since the girl I was discussing it with is Deaf) said, “You’re pregnant again?” When I confirmed that I was, she told me, “Yeah, I kind of wondered, but I didn’t want to ask and have you think I was saying that you look fat.” Smart girl.

The other day, I was sitting with Wyatt and said something about the baby in my tummy.

“I believe you that there is a baby in your tummy,” he told me, “because it is starting to get round.”

Oh, just wait, it gets better.

Yesterday, Caleb was sitting behind me on a chair. He wrapped his arms as far around my waist as he could and started patting the sides of my stomach.

“I like your big tummy,” he told me with a smile.

That’s nothing.

Earlier in the week, Caleb was standing in front of me patting my “big tummy.”

“There is a baby in there,” I told him.

Standing on his tiptoes, he moved his hands a little further north.

“Are there babies in these?” he asked.

Um, no. At least Sean got a good laugh and a chance to make some comments under his breath. I’m so glad that I can provide a little comic relief.

IMG_1932 

Earlier today, I was reading a post by another pregnant blogger, Heather at Dooce, and was shocked by her description of a recent dream. I guess it is that collective subconscious thing, but I had basically the exact same dream a week or so ago.

In my dream, I woke up in the hospital with no recollection of having given birth. Despite my apparent unconscious-for-days state, we were preparing to leave with our new baby. I had given birth to a little girl with dark hair.

“They needed a name for the birth certificate, so I told them to use the name Aniah,” Sean told me.

I became furious. There is someone else with a significant role in our lives named Aniah. Because of the relationship, I would never EVER give one of my children that name. Just like (much to my husband’s dismay) I would never give a child the name his brother’s stillborn daughter was given. There are some names you just don’t use. In the dream, Sean kept assuring me that the hospital had told him that we could always change the name later if we decided that it wasn’t right. Um, right.

Two more weeks and I will know the gender of this little person. Then I can break my self-imposed ban on baby name books and ensure that my kid will have a name I approve of—even if I’m unconscious when it goes on the birth certificate.

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Filed under Baby naming, Kids, My Journey to Motherhood, pregnancy

Mother’s Days

My first Mother’s Day as a married woman was memorable. And not in a warm and fuzzy sort of way. I had been trying to get pregnant for about eight months. About a month or so earlier, we had gone through preliminary fertility testing and had been told that our chances of conceiving a child without major intervention were basically non-existent.

I sat through sacrament meeting teary, but holding it together. The closing prayer was said. Everyone was told to remain seated while the kids passed out treats (flowers? chocolate?) to all of the adult women. I probably freaked out the kid that handed me mine. I was sobbing uncontrollably. The pain of my childlessness was magnified to unbelievable proportions. I hadn’t gotten past the irrational shame associated with not being able to have kids, so most people didn’t even know that we had been trying. Which means that most people wouldn’t have a clue why I was blubbering in such an extreme way. I just wanted to leave–to go home, curl up in a ball, and sob. But I didn’t feel like I could because I had responsibilities. I had to go teach Primary. Yep. There I was, a drippy mess because of my sadness at not being able to have children, and I had to stay at church so I could go teach other people’s adorable little 4- and 5-year-olds. It was, to put it mildly, a difficult day.

I went through two more childless Mother’s Days, but at least I was prepared for the emotions that they would bring out in me.

My first Mother’s Day as a mom was a mixture of emotions. N~ was just a bit over three weeks old. My friends and family had gathered the day before to throw me a baby shower. I truly was a *new* mother. It should have been one of the most joyful days imaginable. That day, however, was overshadowed by family grief. You see, a couple of hours before my baby shower began, my grandmother (my mom’s mother) passed away after a prolonged illness. Five years later Mother’s Day, while a celebration, is also a reminder of great loss. So that day–my first Mother’s Day–was not the celebration that it might have been.

Yesterday was a wonderful celebration of motherhood in our family (well, except for a couple of my brother’s kids, whose mother decided she didn’t want to deal with them and basically kicked them out–some people just don’t deserve the title of mother). We headed up to Radiator Springs to Elaine’s new house (about 2/3 of the way there, Sean commented that he had thought that Elaine was just being snarky when she complained about living in the middle of nowhere, but that it seemed we were actually heading to the outskirts of nowhere).

We had crab legs, shrimp kabobs, hamburgers, hotdogs, corn, and asparagus. The kids caught tadpoles (there are now three more in our bowl at home) and shrieked over enormous spiders. And the day ended with tractor rides. It was childhood Mecca. We didn’t leave until it was bedtime for the boys, hoping to have a quiet two-hour ride home (yeah, right). It was a good day, and the boys look forward to visiting again soon.

Next time, we’ll bring clean clothes (no matter how cold it is!)

boys with buckets

N~, Tank Boy, and W~ doing the little boy thing

 

finding tadpoles

L~, A~, N~, and Tank Boy looking for tadpoles

 

C takes a dip

C~ took an unauthorized swim when we turned our backs for a second (shallow water, folks, no worries!)

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Filed under Daily Life, Kids, My Journey to Motherhood

Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, I woke up, showered, got ready and went to work like any other day.

But it wasn’t.

Five years ago today, I sat at my desk and stared at my computer screen, unable to focus my mind and work. I thought about the young woman I had met just a few days earlier. The young woman who was being induced with her first child. The young woman who was giving birth to my son.

Five years ago today, I got a call shortly after lunchtime. He had been born–just a little thing at 7 pounds 1 oz; the smallest child either she or I would have. Despite my agency’s policy to keep the adoptive parents away for the first couple of days so the biological mother has a chance to be with her child and feel sure of her choice, we were told to come. She was asking for us. She didn’t want us to wait. She wanted us to meet our son. She wanted to see us with him.

Five years ago today, I packed as fast as I could and drove the three hours to her hospital. There was a light, but persistent rain. The red bud trees were blooming, making a fiery path for us to follow. (Seeing those trees this time of year still takes me back to that drive.)

Five years ago today, I entered a hospital late at night and held my son for the very first time. Pictures were taken of all of us together. She and her family watched as I changed his first meconium diaper and felt like I had passed a test, had met their approval.

Five years ago today, she told me she had changed her mind. Not about the adoption, but about the terms. She embraced my offer to keep in touch. She wanted to know who he was, how he was, that everything was ok. “You will let me know he’s ok?” she asked over and over. And the answer never changed, and still hasn’t.

Five years ago today, I became a mother. I welcomed an amazing little boy into my life.

I believe that there is a plan to life. I may not know why things happened how they did, but I am so grateful now for the years of infertility that I suffered through. I would never have thought, back then, that I would ever find myself saying that–that time in my life was hell on earth. But, if I hadn’t experienced it, I would never have become N’s mom.

If not for my trials, five years ago today would have been just another day.

 

Happy Birthday, N~. I love you.

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My Body Amazes Me

…And not always in a good sort of way

The last you heard from me, I was heading to the hospital in the middle of the night with contractions that were already getting down around 2-3 minutes apart.

I was feeling pretty good about things.

We got to the hospital and I was taken to the triage room and hooked up to the monitors. They left me on them for a long time. The longer I sat there, the more my contractions slowed down. They checked me and said that I was only dilated to one centimeter.

Crap.

Because of my overdue status, my midwife had no intention of sending me home. I was admitted, then I was cut free to walk the halls. My only instruction was to come back for monitoring twenty minutes out of every hour. I did my first walking stint, still having fairly regular contractions, then headed back for my monitoring. Laying down was a mistake. At this point, I had been awake all night long and I was TIRED. I started to doze between contractions. And I had no motivation to get back up and walk when my monitoring was over. The more I relaxed, the farther apart my contractions got. My midwife came in to check me and informed me that I was up to four centimeters (she suspects that they may not have gotten it right in triage since I am, apparently, a difficult person to check), and told me to take advantage of the slow-down to nap and get my strength. So I did.

I woke back up late morning and decided it was time to get things going again. Back to the halls. During the hour that I walked I had two or three contractions. After more monitoring and another check that showed I had *maybe* progressed another inch, the decision was made to start me on a low dose of pitocin.

Things did pick back up somewhat. The contractions still weren’t as close together as they had been the night before, but they were becoming intense again. Between the lack of sleep and how slow things were moving along, I decided to go ahead and get an epidural around 2:00 Saturday afternoon (twelve hours after when I was having those contractions 2-3 minutes apart).

The rest of the day just crept by. At least I was mostly comfortable. The epidural took much more on the right side than the left, but I wasn’t really feeling pain on either side. The decision was made to up the pitocin after awhile. It felt like the day would never end. On the plus side, I got through the first 100 pages of the novel I brought with me.

Around the time that I got to eight centimeters, my epidural was starting to wear off a bit. I was still fine for the most part, but I had a couple of sections on my left side that were getting pretty intense. I asked the nurses about trying to change positions to see if it would help get the baby down quicker (my midwife had mentioned doing this earlier). The nurse suggested I try a “sit up” (I think?) dose in my epidural. I asked her if it would mess with my pushing, since I had an issue with that on my last labor. She told me it was just a little dose and would help things along as much as changing positions would, but would help with the pain, too. It sounded pretty good, so I listened to her.

I wish I hadn’t.

Within a few minutes of the new dose in my epidural, I couldn’t feel anything. On either side. I was more numb than I had been at any point before that. And I stayed that way. When the time came to push, I couldn’t feel what I was doing at all. It was bad enough that the midwife had them turn my epidural off (she said she almost never does that) so that I could get some feeling back.

Despite being completely numb, pushing went a lot better this time around than last time. He came down pretty quickly. I did have them bring out the mirror this time when someone suggested. One look and I was good. I don’t think I will ever need to see that again. Seriously, I just really don’t get people who videotape the whole thing then want to show everyone–I would NOT want other people seeing that. Oh, which brings up another one for the idiot files. As I was pushing, some (obviously confused) man WALKED IN. Now, most people would discretely make some indication of apology to anyone who actually noticed them, then back out QUIETLY. Oh no, not him. He, rather loudly, said something to the effect of, “Ooops! I guess I have the wrong room!” before turning to leave. For the rest of my life, I will now have to live with the knowledge that some random idiot that can’t remember a room number saw WAY more of me than he should have. *Shudder*

OK, so you know how I have been talking about the fact that my midwives kept telling me that I didn’t seem to have a big baby this time around? Well, shortly before I started to push, the midwife asked me how big the last one was. I told her he was nine pounds and she said, “Well, I think we may end up with a bigger one this time.” What??? That’s just what you want to hear when you’re getting ready to push a kid out.

As it turns out, my midwife was wrong. Baby E~ was born at 8:47 pm Saturday night (almost 22 hours after my labor started), weighing  exactly nine pounds (just like C~ before him). He was 22 1/4 inches long. Yes, I have big babies. Apparently, I just pack them in there. I pushed less than an hour this time, which is a huge improvement for me.

E~ is a handsome little guy (of course!). He seems to favor my husband as far as his features go, but I think that he may be more of a mix of us than the others are. He is the first one to have blond hair. Oh, and the first to not have Sean’s ears. He is already quite certain that he wants to be held. All.the.time. Which is making it hard for me to get a lot else accomplished, including sleeping, since he will only sleep if being snuggled in some way.

I am discovering that there is a lot of truth to the warnings that afterbirth pains get worse with each pregnancy. Here it is, three days after he was born, and I am still getting some pretty intense cramps. It is getting old, but I have definitely been able to see their results. I don’t look pregnant anymore (I definitely still did yesterday).

I’m also recovering physically a lot faster this time, which is great since I’m still so tired. It wouldn’t surprise me if I feel pretty normal again by the end of the week. So now, I just have to figure out how to make life with four kids under the age of five work.

Easy enough, right? (Suggestions are always welcome…)

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The Second Pregnancy

As I never did finish my “Journey to Motherhood” series, and I want to keep all of my children in order, I am now going to share with you the story behind my third son, C~. To read everything up to this point, click here.

After W’s birth, we were curious if something had changed with our fertility status. After all, if the problem had improved, we wanted to be aware of it and plan accordingly. So, we had the appropriate tests done. A few days later, I received a call from one of the nurses at my OB’s office. She told me that the results were in, and that the diagnosis was still grim. The problem still existed, and it was still very severe.

“Basically,” she told me, “we aren’t going to say that it could never happen again since it did happen once, but don’t hold your breath. This pregnancy was truly a miracle and it shouldn’t happen again.”

OK, simple enough. Between that and the fact that I was nursing W, we really didn’t worry about being careful. Really, you feel pretty stupid worrying about birth control when you’ve been told you can’t have kids.

Time went on, and W~ started eating more real food and nursing less frequently. I figured that I was getting to the point that all of the lovely “girly” stuff would start going back to normal. Honestly, I was surprised that I had gone so long already. When W~ was about nine months old, I started feeling kind of dizzy and queasy on a regular basis. At one point, right around when it first started, I had a moment of concern and bought a pregnancy test, which came back negative. But the queasiness didn’t go away. I remember asking several other women who had nursed if they had felt “off” when their hormones were starting to shift back to normal. I mean, I had never heard of any type of “return-to-menstruation morning sickness,” but, well, if hormones could make you sick heading in one direction, maybe they could do it in the other direction, too. The answer I received (from each and every one) was “no.”

After a month or so of feeling increasingly sick, Sean and I decided it was time to take another pregnancy test. I remember getting two tests since the store I was at had a “buy one, get one free” deal going. I woke up the next morning and gave it a shot.

Nothing.

Literally, nothing happened. The stupid test was defective. It was a Saturday, so I went about with different activities–cleaning, working out, making something for a BBQ my friend was having that day. I finally decided to take a shower. Before jumping in, I went for the second test.

This time, the results were instant. Positive. Despite all we had been told, I managed to get pregnant, literally, the first time I possibly could have.

I came out and told Sean. He responded by sitting on our couch and stonily staring out our bay window (which overlooks our wooded back yard). After several minutes, he said, “Well, I guess you can call the family and tell everyone.” In a nutshell, he just wasn’t excited, pleased, or feeling remotely positive about this pregnancy. (When I confirmed that fact with him, he told me that he knew he would be excited by the time the baby was born, but it would just take him a bit to adjust to the idea. And he was right.)

The pregnancy itself was pretty uneventful. I had already been through it all once (recently), so it wasn’t a huge deal. I did have some issues with high blood pressure near the end (it amazes me, since I am getting BP readings around 110/65 right now), but even that didn’t end up being a major issue. We knew it was another boy, settled on a name (ironically, Sean suggested C’s name, which had been the name that I wanted to use for W~, but Sean had vetoed as a “trouble maker’s name”), and waited.

Right around my due date, I woke up in the middle of the night with contractions. I didn’t want to wake Sean up until I knew it was the real thing, so I put on my headphones and zoned out to U2’s Joshua Tree. Throughout the night, I dozed and woke to uncomfortable contractions. When morning came, we skipped church and I went walking around the neighborhood, trying to get the contractions to pick up. Instead, they petered out.

That night, I repeated the same scenario. And the night after that.

I was pretty tired and frustrated by the time I went in for my weekly appointment. My midwife checked me, declared me two centimeters dilated (I was ecstatic since I didn’t start dilating at all before the pitocin with W~), and sent me home with instructions to have sex (you know, what got the baby in gets the baby out). I took a nap that afternoon. The midwife’s instructions must have been on my mind because, well, let’s just say I had a pleasant dream. A dream that was rudely interrupted by my water breaking in real life. It may not have been exactly what the midwife had meant but, well, it worked.

I was told to head straight to the hospital (even though I wasn’t having regular contractions) since my water had broken and I was Strep B positive. I was lucky to have a doctor on duty who would allow the midwives to “augment” my labor with pitocin since I had been having contractions for the past few days (technically speaking, you aren’t supposed to be induced once you have had a c-section). They gave me the lowest dose of pitocin, and things took off. They never increased the amount (actually, I think they may have even taken me off of it).

The contractions this time around were definitely different than what I had experienced with W~. From the very beginning, I felt a lot of pressure. Honestly, the contractions themselves didn’t bother me all that much, but the pressure was something else. Between the difference in contractions and the fact that I started the pitocin around 5:30 pm (the same time as with W~) and was afraid that I would end up repeating my last labor and be too tired to enjoy my new baby, I got scared and went for the epidural. If I had only known.

It only took me about four hours or so to be completely dilated. I tried pushing, but was so numb from the epidural that I asked them to turn it off and leave me alone for a little while so I could  get some sensation. I don’t remember how long I ended up pushing, but it was a decent while. I remember getting discouraged and thinking that I wouldn’t make it. The midwife had me doing tug-of-war with one of the nurses using a bed sheet to try and help push him out (I still remember being amused at the fact that the nurse, at one point, said she might need help because I was a lot stronger than she anticipated and she was afraid that I would succeed in fulfilling my instructions to pull her on top of me). C~ was born shortly after 12:30 am on Sean’s father’s birthday. From the start of pitocin to birth was just around seven hours. I had literally shaved just about an entire day off of my last labor time (thank heavens!).

After the labor, I remember telling Sean that I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t get out a mirror for me to see the birth. “Don’t you remember?” he asked me. “They offered to get a mirror so you could see and you told them, ‘I don’t need to see that!'” Um, yeah. I have no recollection AT ALL.

Without going into graphic detail, getting C~ out was not the easiest thing. He weighed in at nine pounds, even, and was about 22 inches long. The really funny thing is that I looked at him and thought, “This can’t be our kid–he looks like me!” Seriously, it took me about a whole day to adjust to the fact that he didn’t look like Sean. W~ is almost an exact replica of Sean, so I just assumed my genes didn’t have a shot. C~ has my eyes and my father’s expressions. The only thing on him that is really identifiable as his father’s are his ears (especially the lobes).

I did the standard two-day stay in the hospital, then returned home. This time, I was greeted by the joys and challenges of being the mother of three.

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