Sunday, December 26, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

Part of the bargain in getting to take Liam home is that we give him subcutaneous Lovenox (blood thinner) shots twice a day. In the (nonexistent) fat of his thigh.

I've given myself thousands of shots. They sting, sometimes they hurt. When you are a baby, however, they make you cry. Not long, 30 seconds or so, but as a parent, as a mother, I know Liam's pain cry, as opposed to his "I'm mad" cry or his "I'm tired, hold me," cry. I can do the shot, but after I'm pretty much crying with Liam. Well, I feel like crying.

Jeremy HATES giving the shots. He curses the hematologist every time, questions his training and medical opinions, and if I don't remind him to do it with me, he won't initiate the shot-giving.

I've figured out a way to give Liam the shots myself. I still hate it though. I've contemplated not doing the shots, but then I think about the clot, and I do the shot.

Brody is fascinated with the process. He wants to be there every time, wants to watch the shot go in.

Tonight he asked, "Does Liam need a shot?"

Me, sighing. "Yes, we should go do it. I hate giving him the shot."

"Does he need it?"

"Yes, but he cries. He doesn't like it."

"He doesn't like da shots? But, mommy, does he NEED da shot?"

"Yes, he does."

"If he needs da shot, den we have to give it to him. Come on."

I know it doesn't seem like much, but Brody somehow validated my sadness and gave me strength to do more shots.

Or I'm sleep deprived and grasping at straws.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

40 before 40

What a strange year. I was so obsessed with my 40 before 40 list. I was planning my own birthday party.

Instead, I am sleeping with two, sometimes 3, different boys. And I'm celebrating my 40th without any planning or lists whatsoever. 2010 has been quite miraculous so far regardless of my best predictions, so I'll let it ride out the same way.

Except for 1. I've had this one thing on my secret 40 before 40 list since about June:

1. Give birth to a healthy baby.
Status: complete.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

And then there were two...

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Close the shades

Too much. Too much. Too much.

Liam's here. I have anxiety dreams that I didn't really give birth, that I was never pregnant. But he's here and I love him love him more than I thought I could.

He was born and fine then had meconium, then fluid on his lungs. But then he recovered. We were supposed to go home December 6.

But we didn't. Well, I did. Liam stayed in the NICU. Because during a renal ultrasound - which he got because his brother has renal abnormalities- they found a blood clot. On his aorta. From the feeding tube in his umbilical line. They also found his kidneys work well, but they have reflux like Brody did.

So today is his 2 week birthday and he's still in the NICU.

At first I was terrified. The doc told me when I was by myself and it was out of the blue and I started crying and when he left I curled up in the fetal position and sobbed in my hospital room. Not again. Not again. Not again.

Then for a few days I got it together and was grateful they found the clot and hopeful and positive and oh how the universe works because if Brody had healthy kidneys we never would have found the clot, etc etc.

Then I lost my hold on perspective and just wanted my baby home. The NICU staff wasn't communicating accurate or timely information and I just crumpled into myself. Jeremy went there one night and the next day everyone was overly, like Stepford wife level, ingratiating to me. But I prefer that. And suddenly we started hearing of home.

And the last two days have been a flurry of the NICU changing Liam's IV heparin into injectable Lovenox that I will inject at home- cause the clot isn't gone yet- and us waiting for labs and ultrasounds and discharge paperwork. The Lovenox needs to be in such a dose that it has to be compounded. Which means a special pharmacy that doesn't take insurance because "most" insurance doesn't cover compounding.

Today I watched them stick Liam repeatedly trying to get blood for the labs- 3 separate sessions of screaming pain- but I hung in and was stoic & comforted him without breaking down because, hell, I'm a mother who has lived through watching her first born deal with 14 surgeries and countless sticks & blood draws & pain & casts & blood & stitches & scars....

Then they told me they didn't get enough blood either time for the labs so we couldn't go home tonight.

And I still held it together because it is tomorrow, only 24 more hours, and we will be home. I can keep it together. Right? Right?

Then the compounding pharmacy called me. The cost of a 3 week supply of Lovenox for a 6 lb baby? $410.

And that, dear readers, is the straw that broke the camel's back.

Have you ever tried not to cry while talking to a pharmacist? It's quite lowering.

And I have officially left the land of gratitude and entered the land of angry-I hate the world-the NICU is hell-why us-why MY babies-why right before Christmas-why can't anything EVER be easy-why can't we EVER get ahead-self pity is my middle name.

And I feel like I'm going to stay here a bit. Extend my tourist visa. Maybe I'll stay here illegally. I googled how not to feel sorry for oneself. "Be grateful" "get some perspective" blah blah blah.

I'm done. I want my son home. NOW. I want meds covered by insurance that we pay for. I want a happy birth experience. I want to hold my child whenever I want. I want privacy when I care for my child. I want to breastfeed my son without leads and alarms going off. I want to feel like it's Christmas. I want to take my son home when I get discharged. I want to be ignorant of pulse ox monitors and medical expense tax deductions. I want two nurses who have 50 years experience between them to be able to draw .9 ml of blood without torturing my child with repeated, bruising, excruciating needle insertions. Save your fucking apologies and do it right. I want my sons to MEET EACH OTHER for chrissakes. I want to not have my 4 year old catch me crying in the fucking laundry room. I want to scream, and rage, and hug my boys at the same time and not have to worry about their life expectancy and how we pay for all of the medical bills and how we make our sons happy and healthy and secure. I want a longer maternity leave.

I've become a sociopath. I have no ability to feel sympathy or empathy for anyone but me. And I have a great amount of rage. Directed at .... What? Everyone? Everything? Nothing at all?

It's just too much too much too much.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

The first 3 days

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Location:E 14th Ave,Denver,United States

Friday, December 3, 2010

Early Christmas gift

Today was rough. Liam is still in the NICU, and Brody is completely scared that I'm in the hospital. He won't climb on the bed with me, but he doesn't want to leave me either. This is added to the disappointment that Brody hasn't yet met Liam because Liam is in the NICU, and kids aren't allowed in cold and flu season.

And we havent held Liam yet because he had the CPAP headgear on.

So it was very upsetting to me tonight when Brody broke down tonight. Jeremy was taking him home and J told him they'd have a "boys night" and Brody crumbled. "No! I don't want to have a boys night! I want us all to be together! I don't wanna leave!" and then, sobbing, he crawled under the chair in my hospital room and closed his eyes.

Then I started crying, and when we hugged he cried those body shaking sobs and I had absolutely no words of consolation for him. He doesn't understand and I miss him too.

Then they left, J carrying a wet-faced, sniffling, bereft Brody, and then I was alone. One son needs me to cuddle him and play with him but I can't and a new son needs me to feed him and cuddle him and I can't.

After crying some more, I went to the NICU and sat with Liam, holding his hand through the window of the crib.

Then the nurse asked if I wanted to hold him. She took off the CPAP gear, and I got to hold my Liam.

And all the months of worry and fear and hidden love came out and I started crying all over again and told him all the things I'd wanted to tell him for forever and he looked at me and squeezed my fingers and his hair feels like velvet and I can't even tell when I'm touching his skin he's so soft and he fell asleep in my arms and I fell asleep in his and for those two hours, all was right in the world.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010


5lbs, 9oz, 19 1/2 inches, loved and loved and loved and loved

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Location:Forest St,Denver,United States

Monday, November 29, 2010

THIS week?!?

Just over 48 hours. Getting extremely nervous. Having twinges of dark thoughts reminiscent of Brody's terrifying entry into this world.

If I don't immediately answer my phone, I get repeat calls until I do to make sure I haven't given birth. (Trust me, when little man arrives, I'm going to put the royal engagement announcement to shame).

Brody is SO excited. J and I.... are excited? Ok, we are .... deer in headlights? In denial? Feeling overwhelmed already? Looking forward to the percoset I get? In disbelief still? I mean, I've been in disbelief for months. But for a few days it seemed like we had caught up with reality. But reality has lapped us once again.

Christmas tree up, 3 stockings up, car seat installed, batteries for swing in place. J asked me which hospital I am giving birth at, and I knew the answer.

So, you know, we are completely on top of it.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010


On the carousel today, he hadn't been on one for a few months, he was squealing and giggling with pure kid glee. Then he said, still laughing, "I can't keep my mowf closed!"

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Hello. My name is Christine. I'm 39 years old. I've been pregnant 7 times in my life. I've given birth to one son, at 33 weeks. He had 14 surgeries before he turned 3 because of Vacterl association. But now he is healthy and very, very happy. I never thought I could carry another baby to viability, let alone term. Today, I'm 39 weeks pregnant with my second son. It does not seem like he has Vacterl or any other anomalies.

I just wrote that because I never thought I would.

Today was my last day at work.

I cleaned out my office, organized my files. Found my obgyn appointment card. You know, the one with the entire pregnancy's list of appointments? I did it. I made all of the appointments.

Had my final appointment Wednesdsay. All is well.

Watched Toy Story 3 with Brody. Became complete sobbing mess at the end. I'm not allowed to watch it anymore.

Started to mourn the loss of just the two of us, Brody and me, and the three of us, Brody, Jeremy and me. Brody sandwiches, with Brody between me and J on our bed watching tv.

Then there is the utter incomprehensibility of meeting the little one inside of me right now. In.6.days. At the latest.

C-section is December 2, at 7am mst. We are at the hospital at 5am, checking in to labor and delivery.

Had some contractions Tuesday night. Nothing much though. They went away and have not returned.

We're putting up the Christmas tree this weekend. I have 4 stockings. Not putting them up until .... next weekend?

I find myself either giggling spontaneously or crying uncontrollably.

What an unfathomable, mystifying week this will be. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


I am huge. I shock people when they haven't seen me in a week or two. I didn't think I was a vain person as far as my appearance, but WOW am I ever these days. Which is so pathetic.

I can barely see the book in front of me when I read to Brody each night. I've given up bending over. I have really sharp pains just trying to move around. I waddle, and people stare at me in public. As in, holy hell, she's still pregnant??

Anyway, two nights ago I was reading to Brody, and I couldn't even stomach (ha!) sitting up to read to him. When we finished the book, I fell back against the sofa, and said more to myeslf than Brody, "One day mommy will be pretty again. And I won't be stinky anymore."
And he replied, "You're pretty even if you ARE stinky."

Shamelessly fishing for more compliments, I said "I am?"

"Yeah," he said, "even when you're stinky you're pretty."
Brody: Will my bruzza be my friend?

Me: Yes, he will. He's going to love you and you're going be his best friend.

Brody: Good.

I love that kid. This little one has some big shoes to fill. Even if he is his own miracle.

Ten days.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

38. Thirty eight!!! Weeks, that is.

14 days.

Two weeks from this moment, I will have a new son to hold (December 2, 2010)

38 week appointment stats: no change in weight from last week.

I have fat face though. And my wedding ring is a smidge tight. No edema elsewhere though.

Blood pressure: 112/72
Non stress test: excellent. Baby doing really well. Having some contractions, the kind I can't feel, but show up on the monitor. But my other parts aren't dilated.

Doc said I do NOT have to be on magnesium sulfate if I never develop pre-eclampsia. That would be lovely. I remember - sort of - mag sulfate. I couldn't sit up (kept tipping over in the bed), I couldn't cool down (had the room down to 50 and was still flushed and sweating), I had no muscle control, I didn't want to move, talk or keep my eyes open. People would talk to me and I'd just pass out in the middle of their sentence. For 24 hours after delivery. Complete blob. But, you know, I lived through pre-eclampsia with no seizures, so win-win.

One more doctor visit before the c-section - next Wednesday. Then I work the day after Thanksgiving, then..... FIVE DAYS OFF before the c-section! Don't tell my husband, but I might act like I'm on mag sulfate for some of those days.

This weekend I have a baby shower to attend - and it's mine! I'm very lucky some friends at work insisted on throwing it for me. I am much more excited about it than I thought I would be.
Baby room. Well, the stuff is in there. Except for the dresser. That's in the garage. Bit of a problem. Baby's clothes are all washed. Sheets are on the crib and changing pad. It's just that my clothes, Brody's clothes, guest bed comforter, and our comforters all need to be washed. And put away. God I hate putting laundry away. What is this nesting thing? I don't have that gene.
Winding down at work. Male coworkers are being really sweet. One coworker, a single man in his 50s with no kids, remarked how much better this pregnancy was going than the other one, and how happy he was about that. It was very sweet not just because of what he said, but because *he* said it. sigh. The HR lady volunteered to calculate how much leave I have and will need (I have enough time for one week of paid leave!) and advised me to apply for the leave bank. More love. The rest of my coworkers are surprised every day when I walk in the door. If I'm late a little bit, they start to worry and I get texts and calls (so far, I'm only late because it takes longer to waddle from the parking lot than to walk).

Then my husband. Sometimes I just catch him looking at my stomach. It's huge, really. He still hasn't felt the bubba moving, but he's felt a stationery head and/or bottom and freaked out over it. I love making him feel the baby's body parts.

Then Brody, sweet Brody. In the freezer aisle at the grocery store, he asked me for a hug, and while I was crouched down to give him one, he said, "The 3 of us are hugging each ozzer."
And every night he asks me to sing the "Brody Love Song," as we call it, this silly little song I made up when he was a little baby and crying and I wanted to soothe him. I've added in the name we think his brother will have:
Daddy loves mommy,
Daddy loves Brody,
Daddy loves [probable name of brother]
Daddy loves the doggies.

We are one big family,
Everybody loves.
We are one big family,
And we like to hug.

Then the next verse switches the names around (and so on) so every one of us is mentioned: Mommy loves daddy, mommy loves Brody, etc etc. Sometimes I have to sing just the parts when he and his brother are the subjects of the sentence (or objects?)


14 days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brody's choice

I gave the letter talking about Brody's arms to the parents a couple of weeks ago. A few of the moms complimented me on it, and thanked me for it too. Since then, Brody hasnt brought up his arms. Until tonight.

Tonight, just as I was tucking Brody into his bed, he said, out of the blue, "So no one asks me about my arms anymore."

"How do you feel about that?"

"No one know 'bout my arms."

"And how do you feel about that?"

"How long does it take for a checkup?"

"We don't need a checkup, honey. But if you want your arm straight, we can go to the doctor and put a cast on it, and make it straight. If you want."

"Hmmm.... Let me think about dat..." (putting his finger up to his chin like he's contemplating).

"I like your arm just the way it is. But if you want it straight, we can make it straight."

"No, I don't want it straight cause I can still hold stuff wis it."

"Ok, then we don't need a checkup. If you ever want it straight, you just tell mommy or daddy and we can get the cast on. Ok?"


Then we had this "photo shoot" with him hanging off the side of his bed.

I love this person.

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When are you above it all?

I have learned of something recently that I will not get into detail about here. But this bit of information - about someone talking about me in a negative way - bothers me.

I don't know why it bothers me so much. Can I blame the hormones?

But here is my question. When do you rise above personal conflict and "let it go"? And when is the right time to address an issue? Which is which?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I never, ever, EVER thought I'd say this.......

Having been through 5 miscarriages, and then having a baby at 33 weeks, I have, at times, not been.... sympathetic to women's complaints in their last weeks of pregnancy. As in, how dare they complain about the insomnia, discomfort, etc. I *wish* I could be that pregnant. Etc.

So when I say this, this is really something I never, ever, EVER thought I would feel, let alone say: I want the baby to come out now. Safely and healthfully, but my patience is at an end.

I'm not even that uncomfortable, but I just want to meet him already and hold him and kiss him and love on him. What does he look like and sound like and smell like? Plus, I'm a waddling walrus. Also, I want to make our Christmas cards.

Had my 37 week appointment today. BP was 102/78, non stress test was awesome (I think he was actually kicking or punching the monitor on my stomach for a bit), and I do not have gestational diabetes. The nurse informed me when she showed my obgyn the non stress test results that the doc "has huge smiles on her face." I got the DTaP vaccine. Cervix is closed. No contractions whatsoever.
It's like the farther this pregnancy goes, the better I get at being pregnant. Which, if you had told me 8 months ago, I would have laughed at you. I mean, I turn 40 in a month. Look at my history. And yet.... It's strange to learn something about yourself that you thought was so elemental and instrinsic, and turns out, you were wrong. The story in my head was that I was bad at being pregnant, that my body wasn't good at it, didn't like it, and frankly, didn't want it.

But I'm here. And not likely to go anywhere anytime soon.

My coworkers are throwing me a shower on November 21 at one of their houses. Not only do I get better at being pregnant, but good fortune is being thrown at us in waves. . . .

I packed my hospital bag. Turns out, when you're doing a c-section, the majority of things they list in a hospital bag are unnecessary. I have going home clothes and toiletries. I thought about bringing a novel to read, but then I thought someone would laugh at me.

Brody. My sweetness. It seems like we are getting daily deliveries of presents for the baby, left on our front porch or brought over by people. And he gets SO excited about them, thinking they are for him. But when we tell him not ("No, honey, it's a car seat base for your brother") his smile dims for a millisecond and then brightens again and he says "Oh yay! Let's put it togezzer!" We definitely need to give him some quality time in the next couple of weeks. I didn't think I could love him more, but then he does this....

I asked B if he could tell his brother anything right now, what would it be? I was thinking he would start talking about Spiderman, or Buzz Lightyear, or the dogs. But you know what he said? "I'd say I love him." Then he said, "I'm gonna tell him right now," and spoke into my bellybutton, "I love you." And then he kissed my belly.

This is how he looks brushing off my car in the morning.

How does your heart not break from being filled up with this much love?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our village

We moved the futon/couch out of the “guest” room and into Brody’s room. My mom - who I am happy to report insisted on coming as early as possible - is coming on December 7, and she is sleeping on it – with Brody – in his room. (Brody says he and Oma are sleeping on it, and I can sleep in the race car bed).

Now the “guest” room has been transformed back into a baby’s room (it was Brody’s baby room when he was a bubba). I saved the bedding from Brody because I couldn’t stand the thought of giving it up (It's puppy-themed). The crib, changing table, glider, diaper champ, lamp, bouncy seat, boppy,and toys are all in that room. Jeremy and I stood in there on Sunday once we had figured the configuration of the furniture and …. soaked in the surreal moment of silence. How can the same things look so different?

I’m 36 weeks. The doctor said if I go into labor, they won’t stop it. The baby measured 5 lbs, 1 oz two weeks ago. I keep thinking of the phrase, “It takes a village…” Not only have friends completely stepped up and given us 90% of the baby gear we need (stroller, bumbo, boppy, swing, crib, hundreds of pieces of clothes and toys), but I feel the remnants of Brody’s birth experience, too.
For example, a few weeks ago at work a tragedy occurred. The kind of thing that resulted in grief counselors coming to see us. One day in the midst of the aftermath, it was quiet. I mean, eerily quiet, in the normally loud and bustling office. My coworker said, “It hasn’t been this quiet since Brody was born.” I asked her to explain, thinking she meant that I was out on leave. She relayed to me that my coworkers were terrified and heartbroken when he was born because no one knew if he would live or not. (We didn’t know until he was born about his medical issues). For example, a male coworker who is in his late 40s, single, with no kids, apparently was crying, saying "What happened?" And no one talked except in hushed tones to hear the latest test results, silent in their worry for us. I had no idea.

Then there’s our neighborhood. We live on a close knit cul de sac. Half the people are original owners who moved into their houses in the 1960’s, and are now grandparents with children our age, and half the people are our age and younger having children. We wave to each other coming and going, and collect each others’ mail when we’re out of town. I only realized recently the impact of Brody's birth, and his brother's, because so many of them are asking, with sweet and serious upturned brows, “How are you doing? How’s the little one?” And the smiles I get when I say I’m doing well are so oddly genuine..... We’ve had many offers that if we go into labor in the middle of the night, please knock on their door, they’ll come over and watch Brody.…It makes my heart flip flop.
Then there are the doctors. My obgyn’s first name is Honey, and I think she is younger than me, but she is exactly her name. She is lovely and sweet. My non stress test is good, my blood pressure is good, and the labs they run on my blood show that my liver and kidneys are still functioning (symptom of preeclampsia). She grins wider and wider each time she sees me. It's infectious. I still can't wrap my head around our good fortune, and the doctor is beaming at me.

And then there are the moments when Brody spontaneously comes over to me, and wraps his arms around my stomach and says, "I'm hugging my brudder, mommy."

I feel blessed beyond words and beyond measure. Not only do we get to fill that crib once, but twice, and we get to experience the saturation of love from all the parts of our life: family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and doctors.

This weekend I also dug out the red Christmas stocking, the 40 year old stocking that I came home in, the one he’ll come home in.

And it dawned on me that this might be the happiest December of my life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Magic? Miracle?

“Out of difficulties grow miracles.”
~Jean de la Bruyere

The quote above is the quote used by the Vacterl Association. I’ve always loved it. It summarizes perfectly my miscarriages, and Brody, and so many other things I’ve experienced. Like winning a free trip to France. Like the generous angel who has regularly been sending us money to pay for the meds for this pregnancy. Like the fact that this baby is still here, growing, inside my body, my body that at one time was almost a professional miscarriager, despite not doing any kind of immune treatments beforehand.

This latest thing….I do not know how to describe this feeling. Joy. Relief. Humbled.

“That's the thing with magic. You've got to know it's still here, all around us,
or it just stays invisible for you.”
~ Charles de Lint
As you know, we love our daycare: A Child’s View Preschool. Brody has attended for 2 years. They are the ones who insisted that they would pick up Brody from his preschool every day – even though they don’t travel to schools that far away from the daycare for anyone else - instead of letting him go to another daycare.

We informed them that our new son would be attending too. And then did the math. For two full-time tuition, one infant, one pre-K, it’s tight on our budget. Razor thin margin of error. Not unlike many families.

But it was not such an expense that would justify J or me quitting our jobs to go full-time at home (we checked).

Then, yesterday, Tracy, the assistant director, informed me that she and Kim, the executive director, were talking about us (?) and they thought that they could help us out, seeing as how we’d been through so much with Brody. Now, we’re never late on payments, we’ve never discussed finances with the daycare, although they do know that little man is a big surprise.

Nevertheless, Tracy said that once the baby starts going to daycare there (in February) ($205/week including formula), that they will not charge us for Brody’s care. ($170/week).

I made her repeat it a couple of times to make sure I heard her right. This is a business. With employees and people to pay and rent.

But I heard her right.

After drying my eyes and hugging her, I rushed home to tell Jeremy. He questioned me too: Really? Seriously? No way. That’s crazy. Who does that?

Who does that? Not half off, but free. Until he starts kindergarten in late August.

“The universe is full of magical things,
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
~Eden Phillpotts

What do you say when "thank you" could never be enough?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

That's enough of that

Brody sleeps in a twin size race car bed, meaning it’s lower to the floor than a regular bed, and one has to pull oneself up to get over the sides of the “car” before exiting.

It is rather difficult to elevate myself into and out of the thing lately. Think of a beetle stuck on its back.

I’m having round ligament pain, which feels like my sides are being ripped apart when I try to use my “ab muscles” for such things like twisting and bending, rising or sneezing. All of this is an excuse for what happens next.

Usually, Brody and I read books in bed, then I turn out the light, and I lay with him. It’s getting almost impossible for me to lever myself out of that bed.

The last couple of nights, we’ve been changing the routine: we read books in the chair, then he climbs into bed, and I stay in the chair and sing to him until he falls asleep.

Reading in the chair really wasn’t working last night. My stomach protrudes, and he is almost falling off my lap, and neither of us is very comfortable.

So after we read the books, he climbs into bed and I turn off the lights. “Stay in da chair and rock, mommy.”


“And sing. Sing twinkle twinkle, itsy bitsy spider, den rock a bye baby.”

“Ok.” So I do. Then I notice that he’s watching me from the bed.

“What are you doing?” I ask with a smile.

“I like watching you rock” he says. Aw hell.

I keep singing. I finish the songs. He’s still watching me, curled up with his hands under his cheek, just watching.
“I like hugging you mommy,” he says, very quietly. Come ON.

I get up to give him a hug. Then climb into bed with him, ligament pain be damned.

I’m having a moment. You know, those parenting/mommy moments where you sort of exhale and think all is Right with our world? We’re cuddled up and reasonably comfortable, despite the beach ball between us. I’m stroking his hair with my hand, watching him fall asleep, relishing these last moments of just me and him.

Right up until he grabs my hand - the one that is stroking his hair - and says “Ok, mommy. Dats enough of dat.”

Moment over.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Here's how I am

My sis sent me a care package (as have her 2 daughters) and I get teary eyed. Clothes for the boys (boys!!!) from my alma mater, teensy weensy monkey shoes, a wall stencil that says “every day holds the possibility of miracles” for the baby’s room, presents for Brody, presents to take care of me, presents to pay for the baby. They made me feel like I was swaddled.

On the other hand, we’re working on finances. You can imagine how that is. I called to cancel HBO and Showtime, and instead Directv knocked down our cost for those two by 66%, gave us a $50 credit, a free HD DVR, and free installation of the DVR. I wish our mortgage company or day care would do that.

I’m 34 weeks. I’ve never been this pregnant. I waddle, and I can feel his head (or butt) and his kicks and hiccups all the time. Most shirts and pants ride up, or down, respectively. My last blood pressure at the doctor’s was 110/68. Yes, I’m on meds for it, but ….. that's fairly outstanding. No other signs of pre-eclampsia. I do start stress tests next week.

I’ve been concentrating so hard on making it this far, and I somehow feel surprised that I did. I really didn’t think I would. It highlights for me how bad my prenatal care was with Brody, because I had pre-eclampsia that essentially went un-treated for weeks, I see now.

Here I am at 34 weeks, with nothing to do. Oh, we still have to do the baby's room; it is still the guest bedroom. Know why? Because I figure that “when” I get admitted to the hospital for pre-eclampsia, Jeremy can do the room without me. I figure “when” baby is in the NICU for a while, we can finish up his room at home. I was actually looking forward to a day or two in [hospital] bed before giving birth, time for the lung maturation shot to take effect. Watch TV and read books all day. I’m prepared for the unexpected!

How the universe must enjoy my lessons. Just when I thought I had accepted that I had no control over this process, the universe sends me for a loop. December 1 is looking more and more likely. We scheduled the c-section for that date. (Although I dreamt I gave birth November 23)

I'm full of distraction, procrastination, a desire to bake lemon bread, envy for those who can drink stiff drinks (I salivated at the sight of a martini the other night), interest in things pagan, setting boundaries, increased difficulty in twisting and rising from bed, adoration for Brody as always, and putting up with my husband when I can stand it. Hubs did wash the walls behind the sofa this weekend and deep cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen. But he made me help him, so he’s not that great.

Right after this photo was taken from my office this morning, all hell broke lose with a wicked rainstorm, and most of the leaves on these trees disappeared:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


A few nights ago, in the living room, Brody was playing with parts of an erector set. He had two sticks, and he said they were his baby.

He went to Jeremy and imitated, with disturbing accuracy, the incessant "Wah wah wah" of a newborn. Then Brody said in a soothing, lilting voice, "Its okay, baby. It's okay." And the "baby" stopped crying.

Jeremy muttered under his breath, "So, basically, you're more ready for this baby than I am."

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I just found this blog and am in love with that little boy. He is SO cute. Not to mention that this is a spectacular list of books for me to read at B's school. The rest of the blog has lots of pictures, and is very interesting to read about their adventures.

I talked some more to B about the questions. He's pretty secure - we say "Nothing's wrong with my arm, it's not a big deal, I was just born like that," etc.

I asked him which friend asked him about his arm. He said, "a lot of dem do." :-( I think I know it was daycare, not preschool. So that's where I'm volunteering first.

He still likes going to school. But he has been sleeping with us every night. Still scared of the dark.

So I'm going to his school at some point, not sure when, to read some books about differences. And I'm re-drafting and re-deciminating the letter to parents (and teachers) because, well, everyone needs to be educated.

I also got in trouble from MY mom for not telling her I was contracting. Sorry mutti. I didn't want to worry her, but then she read it HERE.

My contractions stopped by the time I went to sleep Friday night. They haven't returned. I think I was very dehydrated. I'm off bedrest - didn't even need to go see doctor. Have been at work and feeling very good. In a walrus sort of waddling way.

Here's a question for those moms with partners: when I go play with Brody, I rarely ask J to join in. I view it as Mommy/B time, and as Daddy rest time. When J goes off to play with B, though, the most 'break' I get is 3 minutes, then it's screaming for me to come and join them in the fun. But I just wanted to watched My Fair Wedding or The Office episode I missed or read Us Weekly. It's so annoying. I love playing with B, but sometimes, it's nice to have some me time, especially since I'm about to lose ME time for a long time in a few weeks. Anyway, do other partners do this? Or is it just me and my one friend's, to whom I've already complained? :-)

Finally, we decided not to do the 3D/4D ultrasound. $159 is just too much - it's pretty much the budget for furnishing the rest of bubba's room. I'm hoping this means bubba will stay put long enough to make it to the scheduled December 1 c-section.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I thought about 2 hours ago that I'd be blogging about my contractions. But now, I have this thing to write. Because I feel so inadequte to deal with it. Oh, the contractions have slowed. I'm on bedrest.

I was laying with Brody after we read our books for the night. We talked about letters and sounds they make. And then he said, "My friends ask me what's wrong wis my arm." And he held up his right arm.

I asked him what he said to them. He said, "I tell dem I'm getting a checkup."

I asked him how he felt when they asked that question. I said, "Do you feel happy? Or sad? Or strange?"

He was silent and he wouldn't look at me. He said finally, "I feel strange. I feeled ..... embarrassed."

And then I hugged him so hard and I told him he had nothing, nothing to be embarrassed about and that his arms were perfect and beautiful just the way they are and I love him and his arms and his nose and when someone asks him what's wrong with his arm he should say "Nothing" and then I told him he was just born that way and he can do everything he wants to and it's cool to be different and have a hand that looks different because it's boring to be the same. And he was hugging me like I was hugging him and my tears were falling into his hair and I just kept telling him over and over how much I loved him and how wonderful and beautiful he is.....

And then I said, "what do we say when your friends ask what's wrong with your arm?" and he said, "Nothing!" and I said "And it's cool to be different," and he said "Yeah! Cool," and he started playing with a toy that he'd been holding and because of how his wrist is bent he can fit it into a part of the toy so I said how cool it was that he could do that with his hand and how his friends couldn't do that....I couldn't do that.

Then he was quiet again and I asked him what he was thinking about and he said what to be for Halloween and now he wants to be Superman. And I made him laugh and giggle, and held him until he fell asleep.

But what the hell?

Already? He feels shame, and that's on us, isn't it? We missed it, and our boy felt ashamed of himself. And I never want him to feel embarrassed again.

So what do I do? We tell him we love his arms but he hears us talking to OTs and surgeons about straightening it. Is that how he learned it? How do I make whatever he learned that made him feel bad go away?

My beautiful, sweet, smart, strong son.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010


Copied from B's carepages:

I'm really writing this update as a call for information, if any of you have experience with bilateral radial hypoplasia (club hands).

First, some background: Brody was born without thumbs and without radius bones in his forearms. When one does not have radius bones, the hands grow inward - at around 90 degrees (or more). The first surgical step is to centralize (ie, straighten) the wrist, so that it comes off the arm at 180 degrees, not 90 (increasing reach and functionality).

We've done that on both of Brody's arms. One arm - the left, dominant hand - is doing a great job at staying straight. The other arm has a mind of its own, and has come back to almost 90 degrees, despite the surgery.

We've consulted with Shriners and with the occupational therapists at Children's Hospital in Denver. Here is the gist of what they say: this happens. Sometimes the surgery doesn't work as well as we would hope. It's a constant tension/battle between surgical procedure vs. an arm that naturally grows its own way, ie, 90 degrees. When Brody reaches skeletal maturity, at 16 or 17 or 18, we can - if Brody wants - surgically fuse the hand onto the end of the wrist, so this issue does not reappear in adulthood.

The options we are faced with now are:

1. Re-do the surgery. Risks? Affecting the growth plate on that arm, stunting that arm's growth (his arms are already around 60% of average arm length).

2. Serial casting. Putting Brody in an arm cast to hold his hand at 180 degrees, for 3 weeks, to stretch the tendons out. Then creating a night splint that Brody sleeps in.

3. Night splint only.

4. Nothing.

We've told Brody repeatedly - since he is now at the age that he can understand what we're tlaking about at doctors' appointments - that we love his arms and think his hands are marvelous. In fact, the OT said his right thumb was stronger than his left, and he uses it more. Nevertheless, Brody says he wants the right hand to get straight. Why? Two reasons: 1. He wants it "to match" his other arm; and 2. He wants to be able to shoot webs (a la Spiderman) from his right arm.

I'm in the less-is-more camp. Maybe try night splinting to see if we get any stretch and see how it goes. The good news is that, according to all OT's, while Brody has fine motor "delays" he can do everything he wants to do with the hands as they are right now.

We're waiting to get another opinion from a hand surgeon in Denver. In the meantime, if anyone has any experience with this, we'd love to hear your thoughts!

Other than that, all is well. I had an ultrasound on Brody's little brother today - 32 weeks! He is growing right on track, with a due date of December 3. My blood pressure is still nicely controlled, and I saw the baby blink on the ultrasound, and he has hair! We scheduled the c-section for December 1, in case I make it that far. The bubba weighs as much as Brody did when he was born: 3 lbs, 12 oz. Now all we need to do is firm up a name (Brody and I have a favorite, but Jeremy is still on the fence).

Thank you for checking in!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brodyisms, and gossip from daycare

Brody is starting to tell me the news from daycare. We always ask how his day was (then he asks how ours were). It's very cute.

Lately, he's told me the following:

Zach called the teacher "stupid" and then he ran under the grey table and the teacher was maaaaad. And he said, "Miss Susan, you are stupid" and then he ran.

Cadence cries a lot because she takes toys that aren't hers and puts them in her cubby.

Noah pooped on the floor of the bathroom, and Mr. David had to clean it up and he wasn't happy at Noah. (Brody laughed and laughed and laughed)


Also, I took Brody to work one day, and as we were driving home, we passed by the State capitol. I said, "Look Brody, that's where the people make the laws!"

He said, "Day make da laws?"

I said, "Yes! That's where they make laws!"

And then he said, "And where day eat squirrels?"


Also, he received a transformer Bumblebee for his birthday. It's one of the ones that actually transforms from yellow car to yellow robot. Last night at dinner, he was examining underneath the car, and proclaimed, "Dere's Bumblebee's arms, and feet, and penis." Because, really, why wouldn't a transformer robot have one?


The boys went to Shriners last week - a post for a different day - to have an exam done on Brody's right hand. The right hand is back to 90 degrees off the wrist, and the fingers are very stiff and not moveable. For example, when Brody shoots webs while playing Spiderman, he only uses his left hand (this becomes important in a second). The issue up for discussion is whether to do another surgery on that hand to get it straighter (and increase his reach by 3 inches). I talked to Brody about whether he wanted the surgery. I told him I really like his right hand just the way it is. He thought about it, and then said, "No I want da doctor to make my hand straight. So I can shoot webs wis it."

And that's why Brody is not quite in charge of his medical care.

Thursday, September 23, 2010



No longer with Christmas.

But definitely with baby.

What did I think about before?

I’ve had birth dreams two nights in a row – all goes well. Mostly. In one story, the OR where I will have my c-section is attached to the mall, and I get lost in the mall – hospital gown and IV pole attached – and can’t find my way back to the OR part. Even when I’m rollerskating around the mall. In the other dream, after he is born, J and I have to attend a “political” rally with the baby, who just sort of slid out of me painlessly (turns out the rally is really more of a religious cult, looking back but I don’t think that’s the point of the dream).

But the baby is fine and healthy in these dreams. And very cute.

I watched NICU while home with a cold this week. I look for pictures of newborns. They are so squishy and wee. I look for baby announcements and silly, adorable hats for him to wear.

I registered at Target, for goodness sakes. After telling Jeremy it was inappropriate because it’s our second baby.

Brody heard us talking about whether we will have a shower (I did state firmly that that was inappropriate). Then later that day, Brody said, "If we put my brudder in da shower, den he will grow."

We have a name, I think. Brody sort of picked it. We had a few and this name is the one he liked. It was strange how opinionated Brody was about the name. No to this one, no to that one. Firmly and without hesitation. Brody listens every day to his brother, lifting my shirt up wherever we are, and putting his ear to my stomach. I’ll ask him what his brother is doing, and he’ll say “Babies don’t talk” and then explain that his brother is farting or drinking milk.

My friend Stacy dropped off a truckload of baby toys and, naturally, Brody loves to play with them. But when Mocha, the dog, started sniffing one, Brody said, “No, Mocha! Dat’s fer my brudder!”

We have a changing table in our living room because the “baby’s” room is still a guest room because we have nowhere to put the bed at the moment. I think if we actually put the baby’s room together right now, I might never leave it.

I want him here now, but not now really but closer to Thanksgiving but I wish it was mid-November right about now.

I want to see what he looks like, who he looks like and whether he has black hair like Brody did ...

My birthday is December 23, and the legend goes that I came home in a giant red and white Christmas stocking on Christmas day.

Years ago, my mom gave me that same Christmas stocking.

I want to bring him home in it.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Lately, the last several weeks, I've been obsessed with a holiday.

Christmas, in fact.

Yes, I'm born right before Christmas, yes, it's my favorite time of year. But really, since July I would say, when I bought a Christmas tree or two, (since cancelled) I have been bewitched by Christmas.


I have figured it out.

I am fixated by Christmas because I want the bubba to be here, safe and sound.

And by Christmas, he will be.

And that is when I can rest easy.

I'm torn this whole time, still. After viability, after entering the third trimester, after feeling him kick every day. I’m still unable to be completely believe it will be okay. It’s so improbable, it’s so fantastical and miraculous and unexpected and incredible, how can it come to actually happen?

I feel better knowing why I was obsessed with Christmas. It makes it feel less urgent to happen.

And I have forgiven myself for not ever fully embracing pregnancy. It's like, for me, embracing open heart surgery. Yes, it is miraculous when it works, but I've seen it fail too often.

But I do know that I am grateful for pregnancy. Even when I look forward to its successful conclusion with a compulsive bent.

And as for the why, as in, why do I get so lucky twice, this quote came into my head this weekend:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

I don't have to know the why. At least, not yet.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's the word I'm looking for?

Remember my dispute with my health insurance company and how they wouldn't cover the generic form of my Lovenox even though it was 1/4 the price of name brand? (aka, $50 copay every 6 days vs $10 copay every 6 days) (United Healthcare said my plan only authorized 6 days supply at a time)

Well, the next time - after my latest 6 day supply ran out - that I went to fill my prescription for Lovenox, Target told me I had to call my insurance company.


But not really.

Because now somehow I got mail order meds.

Will they send only 6 days supply at a time? And only name brand?

Let's examine the evidence that was delivered at 9am today.

Answers to the above questions: No. And no.

I just paid $10 for 60 doses of GENERIC Lovenox. (aka 30 days supply). Somehow generic IS covered by my plan. And they CAN fill more than 6 days at a time. What a miracle!!!


Question: what's the word for what my insurance company has been doing to me this whole time? Fleecing? Tricking? Lying?

Something stronger?

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Trying to get to Chapter 5

I'm borrowing this from Jacque. And I have determined that learning to move from chapters 1 through 4 to chapter 5 is painful.

Autobiography in 5 Simple Chapters

By Portia Nelson

Chapter One

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost .... I am helpless.

It isn't my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend that I don't see it.

I fall in again.

I can't believe I am in this same place.

But, it isn't my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

Chapter Five

I walk down another street.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Give me strength

I had such high hopes on Friday. I had a very very good weekend. Three days.

Then Tuesday came. I know it's whiny, but here you go.

Locked myself and Brody out of the house.

While trying to access another door, drove a (probably lead based) paint chip half way undernearth my thumbnail.

Didn't settle a case. Going to trial September 20.

Daycare forgot to pick up B at preschool, so I got a million calls during court from work and preschool.

Tried the pretzel M&M's to console myself. Meh. B-. More like malt balls than pretzels and chocolate.

OH and one more thing. The geniuses who cleaned out the fridge at work on Friday (we all rotate) for some dumb reason turned OFF the fridge while cleaning it (WTF?) and then FORGOT to turn it back on. So my popsicles and my lunches for the week are kaput.
And...let's talk healthcare.
Name brand meds for the month cost my insurance company: $1600+
Generic meds for the month cost my insurance company: $366
You'd think that my insurance company,United Healthcare, would love to pay for the generic. But no. It's not on the plan.
I have to appeal to them to get them to save them over 75% a month on the prescription.
Give me strength.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My life got made

Four years ago today, my life got made.



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Saturday, August 28, 2010

My blessings

Friends. I don't understand women (or men) who can live without dear friends.

In 1997, I moved to Denver. I knew my sister, and her husband, and that was it. Through my first job, I met 3 incredible friends. At the time, we were all single, all new to Denver, all new to our careers, all in our mid-20s, and full of endless energy. Since then, we've fallen in love, gotten married, and experienced the unspeakable love of being mothers; since then we've endured illnesses, loss of loved ones, fertility issues, financial hardship, family trauma, career triumphs and disasters, and things that, had we known about in 1997, we would have run away from many times over.

One of us moved out of state. Two of us work in the same building, and still never see each other. I thought maybe we had drifted apart, the 4 of us. But I've since decided that I was wrong.

This week, the one who moved out of state returned for a visit. We're in touch, on facebook and email and phone. But I hadn't seen her since .... I was pregnant with Brody. Four years ago. The four of us hadn't all been together since then.

We went to lunch. The opening line from Charlie's Angels, of all things, kept running through my head, slightly altered: Once upon a time there were four little girls who moved to Denver.....

We still think of each other as girls, and I force myself to say women, with a smile. We sat around a table, with two sons of ours in attendance, and I don't think we could stop smiling, any of us. And while everything about each of us had changed, nothing had really changed at all. We celebrate each other, support each other, encourage each other, and love each other. Regardless of distance, regardless of how often we see each other, regardless of the passage of time. The friendship is unconditional.

I think about these friends I am so blessed to have. Friends I've known since kindergarten, friends I met at the office, friends I happen to be related to, friends I've never met face-to-face but with whom I have shared the best and the worst of me. I don't know what I did to get all of these friends, but I hope I keep doing it. And the gratitude wells up in me and I cannot even express what my heart feels.

If someone forced me to count these blessings, I don't think I'd ever stop.

Friday, August 20, 2010


J & B left today for a 5 day vacation to visit family. I was weepy last night but today I said goodbye without crying. They left. And then I vomited.

I didn't go to Oregon because I have no vacation time left at work (which is awesome before taking maternity leave) and also, work has ratcheted up. Three notches.

I don't know if it's because I'm hormonal or distracted or if work really is crazy but .... this week was more than busy. Frantic? No, frenetic. I feel so disorganized and like I'm just triaging work and behind the 8 ball and this week I had to travel for work and at times in court I wanted to just not be there and it was awful and then the boys left and don't get back until Wednesday and there's SO much to do (at work) until the end of September and and and

And now, I made it through the week (pretty significant) and B leaving and I'm in the house, with the dogs, and it's.... quiet. It's more quiet than it is when they are gone for a couple of hours. Like a deep saturation of silence.

And it's ..... weird.

I didn't know what i wanted to do after work or what I wanted to eat for dinner. What the hell? So I ate brie and French bread. And eggrolls. (I am pregnant, after all). And I watched Monk.

I think I'm going to try to embrace the silence and quiet the frantic and not do anything except ....


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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Natural killer cell test results

No spike.


I feel like I did the after Brody's skull surgery when they said he was out and safe in recovery. Like a load is literally lifted from my shoulders and I get tingles running up and down my arms.

I meant to do this last time - here's a link to NK cells and what they are (scroll down). Here's a discussion of pretty much all of my immune issues related to pregnancy.

Next test is in a month. Then, after 28 weeks, the placenta and baby should be strong enough that any spikes in NK activity will not harm him.

I'm 23 weeks tomorrow.

I cried when I read the comments to the last post. And when two friends emailed me their own comments, I smiled and wanted to hug everyone.

What I really wanted to write after the last post, and reading that quote, and remembering the fierce confidence of my little-girl, grinning, pig-tailed self, was this: Fuck it. I'm having this baby.

Monday, August 2, 2010


When I was young, I’d go with my mom on Saturdays, to the grocery store, and then the fruit market.

At the fruit market, I’d always beg for coconuts. Why? They were exotic and hairy and different. I promised her each time that I’d eat it. I swore I’d eat the coconut, just please please please buy me one!

She did.

I never ate one. Not once. Coconuts are gross. Even now, I only like coconut if it’s part of a curry.

For some reason, that memory is in my head.

What else is in my head is anxiety.

Now it’s not about Brody’s health, but his brother.

And nerves about this baby.

I’m waiting for results. I swear, this whole pregnancy I’m just waiting. I hate waiting. I’m resolving to stop waiting.

The results I’m waiting for are the immune testing results. Did my natural killer cells spike yet? Are they going to spike?

If they rise, the pregnancy is at risk. The treatment is IVIg. Which isn’t covered by insurance. Why? Because it’s experimental. Unless you live in any other industrialized country.
And it costs a lot. Like one dose is $2500.

My NK cells spiked with Brody at week 30. I did an IVIg treatment. They went back down.

I’m 22 weeks.

Two more weeks until the baby reaches viability too.

Also? I can’t get life insurance. Why? Recurrent miscarriages and pregnancy and history of preeclampsia.

I have some life insurance through work. But the thing that gets to me about the denial is that it feels proof that this is risky. And I worry for Brody. What if something – God forbid – happens to me? He’ll be left without me and I cry almost every day over something but this. . . I can't even begin to process that spectre.

I hate victimhood. I abhor people who are victims. And I feel like I am starting to become one. I have to start to be strong.

I’m doing everything I can.

Oh, the docs still can't tell whether the baby's heart is perfect. We need to return to the high risk place and check to see the cardiac outflow tracts. The obgyn says she is 95% sure it's fine, but the thing is, they just can't see it to confirm either way.

I have to stop worrying about what might be and start embracing what is. He's here, he's kicking, and he's survived in the toxicity of my body for 22 weeks so far.

I thought I loved Brody before I was pregnant but now that I am hormonal, I could cry looking at him I love him so much. I just want to be with him all the time. I lay with him until he's asleep most nights. I spoon him, and hold my stomach with my other hand. I could lay with him all night and all day.

The other day we were eating dinner and he said, out of the blue, “I can’t wait to meet my bruzza.” My heart broke and melted and built up three times its size.

Which is another worry. What if the pregnancy…. is not successful? How do I explain that to Brody?
A friend of mine just asked me – a someone who dealt with miscarriage and health issues of a child - what I thought about her having another child. She has serious health issues and if she gets pregnant, it’s an equal chance her health could get worse, get better or stay the same. I told her “if there is something that 5 miscarriages and Vacterl association have taught me, anything can happen, regardless of how we plan or worry. But as this pregnancy has taught me, that anything can be good, too, and not just the bad stuff that we've encountered.”

Where the hell is the part of me who wrote that right now? I need her. I need the little girl who shamelessly begged for coconuts knowing she'd never eat them to be with me. I need to throw off the bowlines. What’s that Mark Twain quote?

Ahh…. Here it is….
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

So this is me, sailing away from safe harbor.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Las Cruces & Oma

Pics from Las Cruces...

Climbing yet another mountain....

Batman and Brody and Jacques, oh my!

Practicing standing on one leg....

Silly faces

Climbing again....

Relaxing while learning letters (except HE asks ME, like he's the teacher)

At La Posta, best restaurant in town..

Buzz Lightyear stance

Just a bit bright with Oma and Brody in the pool.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Less drama, more mama. Final amnio results.

Normal. 46xy.

Weight off my shoulders.

All clear for any and all genetic problems, and open neural tube defects (I didn't even look it up) were clear, and still, most definitely, a boy.

And with my new fiscal year, comes new insurance through my job. And for once, it's better coverage. As in, instead of $362 a month for Lovenox, it's $100. This new insurer will only issue me 6 days worth at a time, but at that cost, it's worth it.

And this weekend, Brody and I are visiting my mom and stepdad in Las Cruces. They live 100 feet from the pool. We are very excited for our 5 day respite.

Just when home and personal life is seemingly lovely, work implodes.

And explodes.

Too busy to think, getting deadlines wrong, incredible, unearthly workload, feeling frantic on a day to day basis.

Literally overwhelmed.

In a way I have never been.

It is sucking me dry.

Looking forward to 5 days with my mama and my boy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One hell of a week

Tuesday, 12:30pm: Got the call, from the actual obgyn. Note to future self: When the doctor herself calls with test results, it is never a good sign.

Quad screen results. All fine, except for Trisomy 18, which is essentially a fatal diagnosis. The babies who manage to be born alive do not live longer than a few days. My risk for Trisomy 18 just based on my age: 1 in 350. My risk for Trisomy 18 based on the quad screen results: 1 in 13.

As if to underline the gravity, the doctor said she already had an appointment for me the next morning at a perinatalogist, to do a Level II ultrasound and, if we wanted, amniocentesis.

I hung up and was calm enough at first. Then I went to google. I wasn't sure which Trisomy that 18 was. It is also never good when you can find no pictures of living children with the disease you think your child might have.

I left work early, shaking, crying, in utter and complete panic. No.... more like terror. I called Jeremy; I texted a couple of close friends and my sisters.

When Jeremy got home that night, he wanted to know what stuff the blood test measured and how exactly it went from 1 in 350 to 1 in 13. I, of course, got defensive; Brody was with my mother in law, so we took the opportunity to yell a bit. Who cares how we got to 1 in 13; the fact is we are there. But as a wise friend told me that night, J has to understand how to build a watch before he can tell time. So. True.

But Tuesday? Not a good day.

Wednesday, 9am:  Antepartum Testing, LLC. Probably the kindest, gentlest doctor's office I've ever experienced; I think kinder and gentler than the NICU. Soft words, reassuring when they could be, gentle touches, joking about my Lovenox bruising, not condescending, but smiling and kind. 

First, the ultrasound. It took an hour. It was the regular 2D ultrasound. She started from the head and worked her way down.

Thanks to Google, J and I had achieved mini-masters' degrees in Trisomy 18 overnight. He knew about mosaic Trisomy 18. I knew that physical markers of Trisomy 18 that they see on the ultrasound include strawberry shaped head, clenched fists, rocker bottom feet, and a baby that is not growing, and is very much behind where he or she should be.

When the tech measured something I instantly paid attention to the automatic calculating on the screen and each time it registered within a week of my due date, I took a breath. The head size: ahead of schedule and awesomely round.


Brain: perfect. All the things there and no structural anamolies.


We asked her whether she saw radius bones and thumbs (since Brody had neither). She said, "I can't tell about the thumbs right now, because I'm looking at the hands opening and closing. They aren't clenched. See? Opening and closing. That is a very good sign."


"Yes, there are radius bones in both arms. And I think that's a thumb, but I can't be sure."

I saw that the hands came off the wrists at 180 degrees, not 90 degrees. After that, I didn't care if the baby had thumbs or not; we can get thumbs. But if the wrist is straight, that's half the battle right there.


She measured the upper arm bone. I watched the measurement calculator. On target.


We saw the mouth opening and closing, and the tongue moving and the lungs taking practice breaths. Jeremy squeezed my hand. The tech smiled a lot. She called the baby stinker when she couldn't get a good measurement.


Heart: beating. I saw 4 chambers. But the doc and the tech said it's too early to confirm all is well, just because of the size. At 22 weeks, they can confirm. They didn't see anything that gave them cause for concern.

Kidneys? We think so. Two, even. They are tiny, but she took a picture of the "renals."


And it's a boy. Jeremy laughed out loud. I'm still in shock. A boy? My sugarplum is a boy? I really thought it was a girl. So much for my and everyone else's theories. I didn't want a girl, per se. But I thought he was a girl. Strange.

Feet: Not rocker bottom.


After the ultrasound, the doctor put our risk for Trisomy 18 at 1 in 100.

We did the amnio.

It stung, it didn't hurt. After my abdomen was very tight, kind of crampy but not. No bleeding though.

They said there was a 75% chance that the preliminary results - to check for Trisomy 13, 18, 21 and gender - would be in Thursday. The doc said if we hadn't heard from them by 3:30, to call the office.

I rested the rest of the day.

Thursday: Apparently, both Jeremy and I interpret "75%" as being 100%. He called me, had I heard? No. A few friends texted - news? No. (As an aside, I have the best friends and sisters a girl could ever hope to have).

10 am, 11am. . . Seriously? Every time the phone rang, I picked up on the first ring. Not the doctor's office.

1pm, 2pm, 3pm. . .3:40pm. I call. They put me on hold.

I get a work phone call. I hang up on the doctor's office.

I finish the work call, call the doctor's office back, apologize for hanging up.

"That's okay; actually, your husband is on hold on the other line. Do you want to wait on hold too?"

I start laughing. "No, I'll let him get the news."

3:50, 3:51, 3:52.....

I have to go meet with my boss and my boss's boss for a quick little thing. I bring the phone.

Of course, it rings and finally it is the doctor's office number. I look at my boss, who knows everything that's going on. She nods, and I step out of the deputy's office.

It's good news. "You can breathe a sigh of relief. We couldn't be more pleased with the results. Everything is negative, and you are having a boy. The rest of the results will come in about 10 days." (The FISH result only measures the 4 I mentioned; the other 42 pairs of chromosomes are being tested right now, as well as the official version of the first 4).

I hang up and immediately Jeremy calls. I thought he knew the news. "Did you get the results?" he asks. "Yup. It's a girl! That's crazy!" I say.

"What? No, did you get the results?"

"Yes. Didn't you?"

"No, I got disconnected."

My poor husband. I quickly told him it was all negative, and that we are having a boy.

My braw and brave little sugarplum.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

News? Hoping not.

Quad screen results came back for trisomy 18. Based on my age alone, chances are 1 in 350. Based on my blood tests, 1 in 13 chance the baby has trisomy 18. Amniocentesis and in depth ultrasound tomorrow morning 9am.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

July 10

I'm just putting this all out there.

I scheduled a gender check ultrasound at a private ultrasound place. For July 10 at 10am. Brody, Jeremy and me.

I can't wait until July 27, which is the next obgyn ultrasound.

Now that I've done that, I'm a mess of nerves. This week- immune testing, and I get the quad screen results back. I keep thinking that at the ultrasound, the tech will find something horribly wrong, like no kidneys or half a spine or a massive hole in the heart. And then Brody would be there and I'd break down and he'd be scarred and and and....

I almost just went by myself, without telling the boys.

It was like that in the beginning. J didn't come to an appt until just after the first trimester. I just was fine, less nervous by myself. Like I can handle devastation better if I can process it by myself first.

What the hell, right? That seems malfunctioning.

For my third miscarriage, my sister and 6 year old nephew were at the appointment. Routine appointment; we'd already seen the heartbeat once. But no heartbeat.

For every bad thought, I force myself to think of a positive. Thursday I heard her heartbeat. 150 bpm. I think about that.

18 weeks. 18 weeks. 18 weeks.

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Friday, July 2, 2010


If we all grow up reading fairy tales, and believing in them for a time, why is it so difficult for us to fathom that we get to live in one?

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

What the French do well, and not so well

Jeremy and I made this list on the last day of our trip to France.

What the French do well, in no particular order:

1. Safe sex. In tourist shops, it is commonplace that condoms emblazoned with "I ♥ Paris" were for sale. Also, in the Metro stations, next to the automatic ticket dispensers, were condom machines. Not quite as large as candy vending machines, but right out there, conveniently located and priced.

2. Health care. Of the seven or so prescription medications I had to bring, I forgot one: progesterone. The dosage was such that, in the US, with my insurance, it cost $60 a month. In Paris, and the cities we visited in the south, there were pharmacies on almost every block. Panicked about not having the progesterone with me, I went into one. I ended up getting, without a prescription, the same dosage, with no insurance. Cost? 5.60 euro.

3. No chain stores. We were surprised by how pleasant that felt. No chain restaurants, no chain supermarkets. . . everything was unique. It was refreshing.

4. Body confidence. I'm talking about the beach. Topless is acceptable. I expected the 20 year old women to have body confidence. But was surprised, again, at the 80 year old, and 70 year old  women we saw, a few of whom changed from street clothes into bathing suits just two feet away from us. They didn't care that there bodies weren't perfect. Nor did the quite overweight 20 year old woman wearing a bikini with her hot, cute, fit boyfriend at the beach. No shame. When we say in the US someone has no shame, it's an insult. I mean this as a statement of fact, and a positive quality. You know what I loved best about the older women? That when they were sunbathing on their stomachs, they'd hike up their swimsuit bottoms to thong status. Tan lines are ugly, I guess, even at 80.

5. Cafe life. I now know what that means. It means no to-go cups of coffee. Can you imagine not seeing a Starbucks coffee cup for 2 weeks? If you wanted coffee, you sat down, and shared one with a friend. Not on your mobile, doing 10 other things, but sitting, sipping and contemplating. It was almost meditative.

6. Coffee. Oh my god.

7. Wine. Yes. I had a few glasses. And also, oh my god.

8. Public transportation. Paris Metro, the TGV train to the south, and the trains running along the French Riviera. All accessible to people with limited or no French skills, always on time, and cheap.

9. Outdoor living. Most apartments have balconies of some sort, and if they did not, the windows opened. And there were no screens. A little thing, but an uninterrupted by a screen flow of air is markedly more refreshing. And in the cafes, even in cold and rainy weather, people were outside.

10. Food. Obviously the food. Jeremy: They have perfected the art of the omelet. We were silent every time we ate for the first few bites, with our eyes closed, savoring. Our palettes were not used to the. . . . delight.

11. Food part II. Jeremy and I disagreed on this part. Jeremy likes a lot of stuff in his salads and sandwiches. "Stuff" is what Brody calls anything that is not the pure thing he wants to eat. For example, a pizza with everything has "stuff" on it. For me, I like "stuff" except for sandwiches and salads. In France, the sandwiches you buy don't typically have lettuce and tomato, let alone onions and artichokes etc. Just meat and cheese, and butter. Same with salads. Salade verte, green salad, is literally, just lettuce with exquisite dressing. My idea of heaven.

12. Food part III. When people buy those sandwiches, they are always on baguettes. And instead of wrapping them in paper, a la Quizno's or Subway, they put them in long brown paper bags, like homeless alcoholics drink their liquor in the US. It's delightful.

13. Carousels. I counted six, SIX, carousels inside Paris. And not ones we were looking for, just that we happened to come across. Right outside our metro station, a carousel. TWO-tiered, thankyouverymuch. Usually pretty full regardless of date and time. I wish you could just turn a corner in Denver and there was a carousel. Two blocks later, another one.

14. People. The French have a reputation for rudeness. We did not encounter this at all. AND we had a 3 year old with us.

Example (a): I was struggling to understand how to work the automatic metro ticket dispenser. A Frenchwoman came over, spoke English, and helped me purchase our tickets. And if that wasn't enough, she said, "Don't worry. It's hard even for French people to do with zese macheens."

Example (b): Outside the Louvre, we stopped at a touristy shop for souvenirs. I saw a Christmas ornament of Santa climbing the Eiffel tower. Showed it to Brody for approval; he loved it. I let him hold it. I know I know. Stupid. Well, to prove it, Brody swung it, lost his grip, and it broke after hitting the floor. I told the cashier, who spoke perfect English, "thank goodness for glue" so he wouldn't think we wouldn't pay for it. His co-worker handed me another one and said, "No, here is a new one. We tell za vendor zis one is defective."

Example (c): Went to an upscale restaurant in Villefranche-sur-mer. Like any parents of small children, we bring toys for Brody to occupy him while we wait. Of course, Brody drops things, including one of his "guys", on the floor. Our very handsome, and very French waiter retrieved it when he saw it and, handing it to Brody with a smile, said, "Is zis yours, monsieur?"

15. No tipping. Awe.some. We still did, if the service was good (or our waiter was cute).

What the French do not do well:

1. Clean up after their dogs. In our hood, if you don't pick up your dog's poop, it's akin to a crime against humanity. Having seen so many dogs in France, I'm sure some people are picking up. But a LOT of people aren't. It's just there, on the sidewalk, probably already stepped in a little bit. (gag).

2. Coke is more expensive than wine. We adapted.

3. No free refills. Ah, we are so entitled in America.

4. Skimpy on coffee condiments like sugar and cream. Jeremy and I will clear out a creamer thingie at IHOP on the weekends just  between the two of us.

5. Driving. I could say that the French actually drive well, because most French people have driven and have not died. However, I'm going to conclude otherwise. Jesus CHRIST. That's what we kept saying in the cab ride from the airport to our apartment. I think there are traffic laws, but I don't think they are followed by anyone, or enforced by anyone. It's a free-for-all: drive as fast as you can, do whatever you want, and hope for the best. I mean, cab rides in every city are harrowing. But our cab drivers were no less crazed than the rest of the drivers in France. Motorcycles, for example, regularly went between speeding cars and trucks, not in their own lane, but literally between them, at high rates of speed. The French made New York drivers look civilized. When I started to count how many near-crashes we had by the number of inches by which we missed the other cars, I began to hope that I never had to drive anywhere in France. (It's just as bad in the south of France as in Paris).

That's our take on France. One of these days, now that our monitor at home is working, I hope to get the pictures up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brodyism: Grandpa Ed.

My dad died when I was 18.

I think all the time about how he would be with Brody. What they would talk about, I envision my dad hugging Brody, or having Brody sit on his lap.

And how extraordinarily happy he would be with this pregnancy.

I have a picture of my dad on the bookshelf in our bedroom. I put it on the next to the bottom shelf, so Brody can see it.

It's a photograph from World War II, my dad in his dress army uniform, smiling. He's very handsome. In the picture, he's around 26 (I think). He had written "Love, Ed" on the bottom of the photograph.

Sometimes we talk about my dad. Brody knows I have a mom (Oma) and that Oma is always with Jacques (her husband who we love).

Last night, I was in the room and Brody walked in, right up to the picture.

Brody: Is dis yer daddy?
Me: Yeah, that's my daddy.
Brody: I would like to meet him.
Me: He would like to meet you too. He would love you.
Brody: Would he be nice to me?
Me: Of course he would.
Brody: Den I will be nice to him..... He's a police man.
Me: Well, he was actually a soldier.
Brody: But he's got a police man hat on.
Me: I guess he does.
Brody: Where is he?
Me: He's in heaven.
Brody: But I wanna see him!
Me: I know. .... Me, too.

And then I didn't know what else to say.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Still here

Sort of quiet. Not much to report.

Waiting waiting waiting.

For July 1. Next appointment. I'll be 18 weeks, but it's not "the" ultrasound.

Missed the first trimester screening because I didn't realize I was farther along than I thought.

Dr. Beer's office. They are lovely. Working with us on billing. As of July 1, I get new flex spending account (new fiscal year/insurance year at my work).

They can send me the lab requisitions - completely willing to do anything they can to help us get this done.

It's nice they are so willing to accomodate. Such a different approach for a doctor.

That's all. I'm 16 weeks. Somehow, I'm a little down. Not sure why. I should be overjoyed. I am. I really am. I love feeling movement. I feel it almost every day. At least what I think is movement. I talk to her (although it might be a him I think) and Brody is learning he can't just climb all over my considerable belly. He says he will help take care of the baby and feed him/her and play with her/him. It's so cute how he gets this shy little smile on his face when talks about that.

But you know what?

I'm overwhelmed. Now, if anything goes wrong, it's not a miscarriage. It would be something worse.

And yes, something immunologically can still go wrong, something could just be wrong because I'm 39 and have old eggs.

I need a margarita, and I can't have one.

Have one for me, and I'll lighten up. Also, I'm sort of sick of intermittent blogging and only blogging pregnancy.

Monday, June 7, 2010


B: (from the other room) Mommy?

Me: Yes?

B: I wanna give you someting.

Me: (walking over to him) What is it?

He just leaned over and hugged me. A long hug. He started this routine on Saturday. He's done it approximately 8 times. I adore it.


I inject Lovenox twice daily into my stomach. I look like a junkie in that area. Huge, ugly, awful bruises. The kind of bruises that when people see them - my mom, sister, husband and obgyn - they cringe. (The bruising doesn't hurt)

Brody sees my stomach a lot, mostly because he accompanies me to the bathroom every chance he gets. I saw him looking at the bruises. I asked him if he had any questions about my bruises. He didn't. I told them they aren't owie. I said mommy didn't have owies. Still he didn't say anything. I said "they are kinda yucky bruises, aren't they?" He finally spoke. "No.....they're pretty, mommy. Look at all da colors..... (pointing) red and purple and blue and green and lellow...."


We were at the Farmers market Sunday. Brody wore his Spiderman shirt and Spiderman baseball cap. A very kind woman my age said to him, as he walked by, "Look! There's Spiderman!" Brody stopped, looked at her and said, "No, I'm Buzz Lightyear,"
turned around, and kept walking.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

What if this works? Like, really works?

The sugarplum wrote back.

I was driving to work yesterday, and I started gagging. Then dry heaving. Then all out vomiting.

Since it was 8am, I had on dress clothes, and full application of bare minerals. You know when you throw up, your eyes water? I looked in the rear view mirror - after I had pulled over to vomit in peace - and there were streaks of white going down my face. A couple of women saw me- I looked like a horror movie.

And I was nauseous the rest of the day.

So this afternoon, I was most happy when we saw the heartbeat again. It was the portable ultrasound, so we saw a giant head, two legs, two arms, and one determined beating heart. Jeremy was there too. It hit him, and now it's hitting me.

What if this works?

Jeremy has started planning. But, "We just sold all our baby stuff, didn't we?" he asked. Yes, yes we did. I just laughed.

I have no worries about baby equipment. I have worries about being given a life that I long ago thought was lost to me. How do I reconcile that? It's like the world I love is being eclipsed by a world I always wanted and never thought I'd be able to have and I wonder, why me? But for once, it's not this self-pitying why me, but a genuinely curious, really, universe?, befuddled.... why me?Why do •I• get the rainbow?

I asked Brody if the baby is a boy or a girl. He's pretty sure it's a boy. And he wants to name him Castle.

Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts and wishes. xoxox

Also, we have about 500 pics from France, but we can't download them and our monitor is dead. J and I also created a list of things the French do well, and don't do well. I'm hoping to post them for posterity.

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