Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rule #151: Good things come to those who wait

Let me start out by saying I am an extremely lucky woman. I have been blessed with the fertility of my mother and sisters and have not had to experience the pain and longing of being unable to get pregnant. I know how fortunate I am and don't want this post to sound ungrateful.

That being said, the planning of our third child did not happen as expected.

I knew that I wanted more children. Probably two more. But I couldn't bring myself to want to be pregnant. I don't enjoy the majority of my pregnancies, because I'm sick for so much of it. The last ten weeks are the best. I've finally stopped throwing up, I have a nice, cute belly, and I can feel my baby moving. It's the best. The rest of it....I struggle. I had finally come to terms with the fact that if I wanted more kids in the spacing I desired, it was time.

I went off my birth control and promptly got pregnant. Although I didn't know it. With both Evan and Graham I was sick the day after conception. Seriously. But not this time. I felt fine. I assumed that meant I wasn't pregnant...but after being a week late decided to take a test anyway. Alex and I were shocked that I was pregnant but not sick. Excited and a little wary. My Due Date was March 31st.

The first week in August I started spotting. Bummer. That explained why I wasn't sick, right? I was likely to miscarry. But I only had pains on one side. So I called up my OB, told them what was going on. We drew some blood work to check my HCG level. (Pregnancy hormone) For how far along in the pregnancy I was, my level should have been >1,200. It was 112. Sad, I really was going to miscarry. Now I just had to wait for my body to realize this baby wasn't going to last. (I hate waiting) But I still felt pangs just on the right side.

HCG levels were drawn every few days to see if it would start to rise, which they didn't. But they didn't go down significantly either. (I hate waiting)

A week after I started spotting I found myself in the most pain I had ever felt before. Sobbing on the bathroom floor in one sided labor. That's the only way to describe it.  But it felt like the contractions never stopped, it was constant, unbearable one sided pain! At this point I was pretty sure it was an ectopic pregnancy. I had been worried for the last week because of the mild pain, but this! Now I was positive.

I called my doctor, unsure of what to do. Ectopic pregnancies can result in the loss of a fallopian tube if not treated. She told me to go to the hospital because I could barely breathe let alone talk to her due to the pain.

Here's what I should have done. I should have had Alex drive the 25 minutes to the hospital that my doctor works at. What we did do? Went to the hospital two blocks from my house. It made sense at the time, that closer was better. But it's not really.

The ER got me in quickly and checked me out, gave me much appreciated pain medication and did an ultrasound. My HCG levels were so low that they couldn't "see" a pregnancy. But based on my symptoms, it looked like an ectopic pregnancy.

They wanted to keep me overnight. That hospital doesn't accept my insurance. I asked if Alex could drive me to a different hospital, they said no, for fear of my rupturing and bleeding. They offered an ambulance to another hospital. (that's not cheaper by any means!) to which I said no. In the mean time, my OB called me to see where I was. She had been expecting me at her hospital. I told her the situation, and that they were going to make me stay. She said she'd call me in the morning if she hadn't heard from me. (I really like my OB)

I agreed to stay when they explained that insurance will cover an ER admission for 24 hours. I've come to realize that I am a hospital snob. And this was an old hospital. Nice staff, just old building and equipment. They took me to their observation floor and Alex left for the night to take care of the boys.

Observation my foot. I wasn't connected to any monitors, no one came in to check on me unless I called them for pain meds, and they wanted me to collect my urine to look for blood clots, (which I did on my own) but no one ever looked! I could have ruptured and hemorrhaged in my sleep for all they would have known! I'm sure they were just trying to let me get some rest, but if they were worried enough not to let me go home, or drive to another hospital, I expected a little more....observation.

Morning arrives and I'm greeted by a new nurse informing me that I would be having surgery!

The heck I am! (which is exactly what I told her....I was still in pain and huffy about the whole affair) There are other forms of treatment I will be trying first before I go to surgery (which increases your already higher chances of having ANOTHER ectopic due to scar tissue). And, more to the point, I'm not having surgery in a hospital that doesn't accept my insurance in an old decrepit building! I'm a hospital snob, remember?

She seemed surprised by my response and just left. In come the OB covering their hospital. *groan. I've met this man before, 8-9 years ago when I was looking for a new OB because I was moving. He ignored me the entire visit until somehow he found out I was a nurse, and then we were best buds. No thank you. If you don't treat me well as a person, before you find out we are "colleagues", then you are not the doctor for me.

He discusses my options, doing things the "Pead way" or going back to see my regular doctor. I obviously chose my doctor. If this happens again, I don't care how much pain I'm in. The 25 min drive is SO worth it.

My OB and I decided to try an injection to absorb the still persistent pregnancy cells. At this point my level was still in the 90s. Not enough to make a baby, but enough that could still damage my tube if left untreated. The injection is a low dose Chemo drug...with no chemo side effects because the dose is so miniscule. But the drug absorbs rapidly growing cells, ie cancer and pregnancy cells.

I got two shots and then waited a week to watch my HCG levels go to zero. They barely moved. I seriously HATE waiting. We tried the shot one more time. Both of us REALLY wanted to avoid any type of surgery. I had more waiting time, finally saw some significant decrease in my levels, but had to wait until I was zero, and have a cycle before I could try to get pregnant again.

Finally, by the first of October, my levels were zero! I feel like it took forever, and was wasting my time! I had moments were I was sad, and mourned the loss of a baby, but my coping skills tend to get angry. So I was mostly annoyed and less sad until it was all over.

A few short weeks later, I was pregnant again! (I told you, I'm incredibly lucky!) I wasn't immediately sick, which had me concerned. Close to 6 weeks I got sick. Hooray! My gratitude for feeling sick only lasted for a day until I was just miserable and sick :)

Because of my (now) history of ectopic pregnancies, we needed to make sure this one was in the correct place. Levels were drawn, they were now 4600! I was able to get an ultrasound at 6 weeks, see my little diamond ring (amniotic sac and tiny little baby mound) and hear the heart beat! That's amazing! 6 weeks pregnant and we heard the heart beat!. Had the ultrasound been done a day before we might not have heard it. Amazing!

I am currently 16 weeks, my due date is now July 2nd. I'm really hoping for a June baby though. I didn't want to be pregnant in the summer, oh well. I'll take whatever I'm given. I'm still sick, though this pregnancy is different than my other two. I WANT to throw up all the time, but I don't, not as much as I want to anyway. Trust me, it's not any better that way. You still feel terrible. I had a few random days without medication. Far earlier than previous pregnancies! I was initially excited for the thought of not being sick the majority of my pregnancy, but now, I think it was just a fluke. I'm back to my regular, pregnant self. *sigh, it was nice while it lasted I guess.

Evan has been really aware of this future baby. He likes to look at pictures from my 11 week ultrasound, we talk about the new baby a lot. What month the baby will be born, I tell him June :) What month June comes after, how he came out of my belly in July. He says the baby will be a girl, and I wouldn't mind that one bit. It's been really fun to have him be more involved this time around. Graham on the other hand, has no idea.

We will find out if this new baby will be a boy or girl in a month and I look forward to sharing the news!

Rule # 150: Quality vs. Quantity

There are some people that just connect with kids. It just happens naturally. My step-brother Robbie is one of those people.

It helps that he's super cool, so all the kids want to be around him already. :)

Robbie works a lot, and therefore travels....a LOT. Yet it doesn't seem to matter how long it's been since he's seen my kids. Robbie finds a way to connect (with all the kids but I notice specifically with Evan) whenever we do get a chance to see him.

I hope you understand the significance of that statement. Evan connects with Robbie, someone he sees sporadically throughout the year. That's a big deal. Which means Robbie is a pretty special person.

I love this video. Evan was watching every move that Robbie made. When they were finished with the song, Evan beamed with pleasure. :) It was a wonderful Christmas.

Thank you, Robbie, for being the special person that can reach in and connect with my special son.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rule #149: Better WAY late then never

Let's backtrack a few months shall we? Graham turned two. Three months ago. I posted his birthday party but was waiting for his well child visit so I could document his stats.

But I was pregnant. 

Apparently I don't post during my first trimester. :)

So, without further ado, here is the belated information about my THEN two year old.

Weight: 24 lbs 13 oz - 15%
Height: 35 1/4 inches - 70%
OFC: 19.5 inches - 70%

Did you check out his head? It only grew 0.5 cm in a year! Well, really his body has grown into it for the last year ;)

The best way to describe my little toddler is loving, joyful (when he wants to be) and WILLFUL! Holy Cow. Talk about being completely different from your sibling. At this age we were still working with Evan to have any opinion at all, and to express that opinion. Graham does not have that struggle. :) He knows what he wants, and he knows when he wants it. We are finally starting to take back some control with this child. I will freely admit that I let him get away with a lot over the past year, let him run the house if you will. It's because I was so excited he even cared, at all. Well, it's started to get a little out of hand, so we are working on reigning him in. Luckily, he is teachable, so it gets better every day.

Ever since we got a trampoline Graham has been a jumping machine! He jumps on the floor, the couch (grr), on people. He jumps across the room. It is so adorable.

He loves to draw, or have someone draw for him depending on his mood. He is still obsessed with all things animal. Since our trip to San Diego he is now enamored with sea life as well. Whales bringing the biggest excitement.

He talks non stop. It's hard for me to remember how much he was talking three months ago. Which is why I wish I had written this post three months ago. Oh well. I have no idea how many words he says, there are way too many to count. And he speaks more clearly all the time.

He knows all of the alphabet, and most of the numbers 1-10. He knows most of his colors and a lot of shapes. He's a pretty smart kid. It blows me away that he won't be starting preschool in the fall because he won't be "old" enough! The kid will be ready for some type of school, he'll be bored at home for another year! We'll have to come up with something...

Right around the time I got pregnant Graham stopped being a mama's boy. He started wanted daddy, all the time! (It probably had something to do with me not being able to move much, or quickly. And not being able to talk because it made me to nauseous...but that's for another post) I was thrilled for this change in preference. It had been me and nothing but me for two years! Don't get me wrong, I love to be loved...but it was exhausting! His daddy phase lasted solidly for three months. Now it changes from day to day. For the majority, I think he still prefers Alex, but at least he requests me from time to time as well. :)

Graham loves his brother. Every morning when I go into his room he says. "Finda Daddy?" Followed closely by "Finda Evan?" I love to see their brotherly bond grow. And it is very strong. They play so well with each other and seek one another out throughout the day. When Graham stops napping, I think he will be disappointed to realize that Evan is GONE for three hours every day! It warms my heart to see how much they love one another. Every mothers dream.

Evan also had a four year old check up the same day as Graham's appointment. Yeah, I know...super late on this one!

Weight: 32 lbs - 10%
Height: 44.5 inches - 95% (I'm not sure that's correct, now that I'm looking at it. If it's true, he grew 6 inches last year...that's some growth spurt!)

Evan is my darling little boy. Yesterday he told me not to call him "baby" (term of endearment, not mocking) and to call him "kid" He's obviously not a baby anymore. :) Evan is starting to use pretend play, which is amazing! Imagination and pretend play were aspects of childhood he just didn't seem to understand. But he's slowly starting to get it, and it is wonderful to watch. Now, to clarify, when he turned four he still wasn't pretending. But the last month or so we've been seeing it more and more.

For example: Uncle Jeff gave Evan a stuffed dragon for Christmas. Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. I've never seen him get so attached to a toy before. He tells us that Toothless is his son, and tells us what food/drink toothless needs before bedtime. It's darling. Recently, due to a few power outages last month Evan has been into turning off all the lights, and he and Graham scream and run away from the monster/dragon/etc. I know that to most people who have children, that sounds commonplace. But for MY child, it is new and very exciting to see!

Evan has also become highly interested in clocks/time. He asks me "What number was it when I woke up?" And wants to see what time it is frequently. Last week Evan asked for a clock in his room. (Graham has one, why doesn't he?) So Alex took him to the store and let him pick out a clock. I had worked the night before, so when I woke up that afternoon Evan was very excited to show me his new clock. We had to look at his clock, then Graham's, then Mommy's clock. Then he wondered if his clock said the same time as mommy's clock and ran down stairs to check. We spent 15 minutes or more checking out all the clocks in the house. :)

There are still struggles in significant areas of his life. (dressing self/potty training/sleeping/social) But overall, Evan has made wonderful progress and I have high hopes that he will continue to do so.

My boys are the joy of my life. They make everyday special and exciting. I love to watch them grow and develop. I can't wait to see what remarkable men they become!