Saturday, December 1, 2012

A ROARING 3rd birthday party

It was a dinosaur themed party!

We had a hide and seek for Dinosaur figures.  It was competitive based on the amount of children running.  

And a PiƱata, of course.

taking our frustration out on the Dino.

Why isn't there candy falling out yet?

I will persevere!!!

If at first you don't succeed, send in your older brother.

And when all else fails -- send in the biggest boy.

The girls either really love cake or Spencer is a ladies man.

Happy Birthday to SPENCER!

Treat bags included dino masks.

Getting ready for the Dinosaur roaring contest.

This photo is OK since every one's face has been blocked out.


Playing in our new cardboard Train.

My birthday is over--Let the holidays begin.

And now I am 3!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My knights in shining armor

This year for Halloween the boys chose matching knight outfits.  They have been wearing them around the house all month, and for most of that time their swords have been in time out... they made a cameo appearance for this picture! 

Spencer, when asked what his costume would be, would tell everyone he was going to be Elmo.  We don't have an Elmo costume, and he declined the offer to try one on at Target. 

I am happy and shocked that they both decided to don the actual costumes we purchased for the occasion.  We went to a few neighborhood houses for candy, Spencer trick or treated around the block at preschool earlier that day, and Elliott's school had a costume parade.  The highlight for the kids however, like their Daddy, was handing out candy. 

They are already counting down the days until next Halloween. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

17 weeks pregnant

Today I am 17 weeks and 4 days pregnant.  My last post was when I was 11 weeks pregnant.  I thought that I was over the morning sickness at that point.  Little did I realize that it would hold on for another 4 weeks!!!

Somewhere around week 15 it finally subsided.  Shesh, that is longer than any of my other pregnancies!   I am grateful it is gone and for the most part I now only randomly get nauseous for seemingly no reason.  All in all, I am feeling very good.  Happy about being pregnant, mixed with the usual amount of anxiety.

I have my big diagnostic ultrasound next Thursday and I am thrilled to see our baby again, and ensure that s/he is healthy and growing normally.

I will admit that Jeff and I cheated and went to a fun ultrasound place 2 weeks ago to determine the gender of the baby.  And, while I know...I wont be telling until after I get final confirmation next week :)

Enjoy the suspense.  Oh, and this picture taken this morning.

Field Trip

I accompanied Elliott and his classroom on their first school field trip to the pumpkin patch.  This was taken on the school bus on the way there.  Can you see the joy and happiness on his face?

Sea World

With Elliott at school all day, I was afforded a opportunity to take Spencer to Sea World.  I was a wonderful day where he got to decide what we would do! 

He decided on a craft---making a polar bear mask and claw!  So proud!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spencer's first day of preschool

I am seriously delinquent in posting about Spencer, but I wanted to get this picture into the blog.

This was Spencer's first day of preschool (March 2012?), taken earlier this year.

My Kindergartner-Elliott

Elliott started kinder 3 weeks ago.  He was pretty nervous about it, and felt certain he wouldn't like it.  We attended an orientation that left me feeling more nervous than I was before the orientation, instead of less.  It was poorly organized, the information wasn't comforting, and the teachers seemed cold and slightly mean.

I stayed dry eyed the first day, and I think that helped Elliott remain brave and strong.  He decided after the first day, that he still didn't like it.  The next day was the same.  I was starting to worry, as Elliott had always loved learning.  I was even considering the idea of home schooling...maybe this forced structure wasn't for us after all.  

The third day we participated in run club.  The school hosts a running club that begins when the campus opens and goes until it is time to line up for classes.  The premise is simple--you have a card with your name on it, you run a lap, you receive a stamp on your card.  When you acquire 26 stamps, or approx. 5 miles, you get a plastic shoe charm on a string.  

On the 3rd day, he decided he loved school.  We have participated in run club every morning since.  He shows off his shoe charm to anyone who will pay attention.  Parents and siblings are encouraged to participate as well.  So, on the days I have Spencer, I walk with him.  He even has his own card!

Thankfully, I wont be homeschool this year.  

11 weeks pregnant

For the first time yesterday in over 5 weeks, I went an entire day without feeling terrible.  Beginning on day one of week 6, and continuing for 3 solid weeks I was sick day and night.  Then, it began to subside starting in the morning.  Over the next few weeks I would start getting sick later and later in the day.  I don't think the pregnancy sickness is gone for good, but i was relieved to have a day off.

On Monday, I have my Nuchal Translucency Screening Ultrasound.  Each time I go in for an appointment, I am super nervous.  SO much so, that I can't bring myself to look at the screen until she confirms that she sees the babe's heartbeat.  I have noticed that my blood pressure is higher than it normally is, each time I go in for an appointment.  Will this anxiety ever end?

My body is starting to kick into high gear also.  In perfect time with the pregnancy sickness respite, the constipation and heartburn started this morning.  My belly is starting to pop out, although it has been working its way out since week 9.  The first couple of weeks though, the protruding layer of belly pudge was all that was there.  It is starting to firm up, and feel more solid.

I took a leap of faith after my last doc appointment and allowed myself to unpack my maternity clothes.  I was desperate for maternity underwear.  One of the difficult parts from the miscarriage last year was packing up my maternity clothes (that I had just pulled out of the garage).  It is an odd thing to be pregnant one day, and not pregnant the next...with nothing to show for it.

I having also been paying keen attention to my body and being hyper critical of every symptom.  Every time my stomach hurts, probably from eating wheat, I look for spotting and worry that I am going to miscarry.  I analyze my stomach size and firmness daily.  I check to be certain my breast are still sore and tender.  I don't want to be blindsided again.  As if you can ever be prepared for a loss...

The boys are excited about the baby.  Elliott is especially so.  He will randomly look at my belly, and say "baby!"  Whenever he talks about the baby, he prefaces it with, "when the baby comes out of your vagina."    Spencer is more aloof about it.  He doesn't realize how it will change his life yet.

We have told most of our family.  And for whatever reason, be it our own calmness or their true feelings, they seem happier for us this time around.  Which is a welcome relief.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

8 weeks pregnant!

I am pretending that my appointment this past Monday was my first prenatal appointment.  The whole gang came with me to my doctors appointment.  We scheduled the next appointments, she wrote orders for my blood work, and she did an abdominal ultrasound.

The babe is measuring well.  By my count I was 8 weeks 2 days, and by CRL (crown to rump length) he was 8 weeks exactly.  The 2 day variance is normal (they consider up to 5 days normal) and could be explained by my short menstrual cycle.  The heart beat was strong, and we were able to hear it which was exciting.  

The kids didnt know what what going on, until I showed them on the screen and explained that Mommy was going to have a baby.  Elliott's eyes lit up, and he smiled a HUGE happy smile.  He insisted on having a copy of the US picture for his room.  Spencer was indifferent as a 2 1/2 year old would be :)

I will be 9 weeks on Friday, Aug 31st.  This week makes me feel a little nervous since last time our baby stopped growing at 8 weeks 6 days, although we didnt discover that until 11.5 weeks along.  And while I know in my logical mind that it is not reasonable to think a loss would happen again, and certainly not at the exact same time.  My emotional mind is taking the reigns these days...  

Regardless, we are moving along!  I requested another appointment for 2 weeks--just to put my mind at ease.  To line up with the blood work and next steps--I go back in 2.5 weeks.  It feels like forever!  But,  there is no reason to suspect anything will go wrong.  I still feel crappy with pregnancy sickness.  I havent had any spotting or cramps.  And the babe has a strong heartbeat and is growing according the US.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1st prenatal appt.

It seems that bad luck follows on birthdays.  I found out we lost our 3rd baby last year on Spencer's birthday.  And this year, 2 days before my birthday we almost suffered another loss.

I had my first prenatal appt. on Monday Aug 20th.  I went through all of the normal 1st appt. questions.  We got to the trans vaginal ultrasound and the nurse said she saw a large sac, but didn't see any of the normal fetal structures.  She didn't see a heartbeat and she couldn't really measure a fetal pole.    She suggested that I return in a week to look again, that perhaps it was too early.  In all of my pregnancies--I have always seen a heartbeat at 7 weeks.  So, needless to say, I was freaking out.  She also suggested I have some basic blood work done.  If the results yielded anything she would call me.

She did call me that evening, and said that after consulting with another doctor, she thinks I am having an abnormal pregnancy.  She indicated that my blood work combined with the ultrasound results indicated either a molar or an ectopic pregnancy.  Ok, this sucks.  She said I should go to radiology first thing in the morning for a detailed ultrasound.  Hubby and I were dumbstruck.  If it was a molar pregnancy, and all signs pointed that way, I would need another D&C.  I couldn't get an IUD, and I couldn't try for another pregnancy (not that I would!!!) for 6-12 months.  Not to mention the loss, and grief and recovery.

I went to radiology at 3pm Tuesday.  The tech did an abdominal US first.  He immediately saw my baby, the heartbeat, and that everything looked normal.  I was nervously relieved.  He also did a vaginal US to make sure the baby was in the correct place (and not ectopic).  All signs pointed to a normal pregnancy.

The nurse called that evening and confirmed the diagnosis--we have a normal pregnancy!  I agreed to keep my 1 week follow up appt with her, rather than go over all of the 'next steps' over the phone.

What a crazy 24 hours!  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My crazy pregnant brain

I have lost my rational mind.  I have convinced myself that this pregnancy is ectopic.

Let me explain.  When I was ovulating last month, I could feel (for the first time I could recollect), which side I was ovulating from (right).  Then, a few times this week, whenever I get up quickly, or move fast--the right side of my abdomen hurts.  It feels like a tearing or ripping feeling inside my body.  It feels like a round or broad ligament pain would, if I were farther along.  So, when I consulted Dr. Google, the first thing to return is Ectopic Pregnancy.

Apparently, somewhere between 1 in 40 to 1 in 100 pregnancies are Ectopic.  And, if you have had a D&C, you are more likely.  Most are discovered somewhere between 5 and 7 weeks-either via Ultrasound or because they rupture.

I have been holding off on making my Midwife appt. out of some sort of denial and/or fear of eminent loss.  But, it seems that I can hold off no longer.  I need to put my mind to rest.

After letting this consume me and ruin my weekend, I reached out to a logical friend.  She reassured me that everything was fine.  And that it was likely to be ligament pain.  Nonetheless, I made my first pre-nantal appointment for Aug 20th.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Once a Month Mom-Cooking in bulk

In light of my recent positive pregnancy test, I decided that I needed to plan for the next several months.      I start getting morning sickness around week 6.  With the last pregnancy, it began on day 1 of week 6.  Of course, in my head I have psyched myself into thinking all sorts of dramatic things.  But, we can save that for another post.

Having morning sickness is THE WORST feeling in the world to me.  I loathe being nauseous.  Everyone has their personal discomfort limits, and mine is the first months of being pregnant.  I am miserable and unpleasant to be around.

So, having done this early part 3 times already, I decided to try and help myself and my family out while I am still able.

When I was 8 month pregnant with Spencer, I tried something called Once a Month Cooking.  The idea is that you shop and chop the first day, then dedicate the entire next day to meal prep.  You freeze the meals and then over the course of a month, you defrost them and enjoy!

Since food is starting to smell odd to me already, I knew that I needed to plan ahead.  I ran across this website.  AMAZING!  I am wheat intolerant, and my younger son is allergic to dairy/milk.  So, I gave the Gluten free Dairy free menu a whirl.   It is a combo of breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And the food is delicious!  There were a couple of items I decided not to prepare since our families weren't keen on the main ingredients.  But, all in all--yummy!

The other great part is that they have a section on Baby food, Vegetarian cooking, and several others.  The very best part is that the site is free!  The site asks for sponsors, but it is optional at this point.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I must be extremely fertile.  I am pregnant.  My cycles are only 26 days, so from when the ovulation stick turned positive on July 15th, until today it is only 11 days (DPO).

It took one month for us to get pregnant with Elliott, pregnancy #3 and this one.  With Spencer it took 11 months, but for several of those months I was waiting to regain a regular cycle ofter having my IUD removed.

I don't feel the same level of anxiety or nervousness that I felt last year.  In fact, I feel serene and peaceful about the whole thing.  I took several tests yesterday that were positive (I know you can't be kinda pregnant).  But, I needed the certainly of the digital test to ease my mind and be certain my eyes weren't creating something that wasn't there.

I wonder if my nervousness is tempered by the idea that I could miscarry.  Perhaps it is an emotionally protective measure to prevent me from being too excited in the wake of loss?  I like to think that I have matured and that I am not as neurotic as I once was (yes, I took 5 pregnancy tests in 24 hours).  I also feel like we are more ready to welcome a 3rd child into our family.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Success or failure?

Since giving birth to Spencer (11-2009), I haven't been using a formal birth control method.  We have prevented pregnancy using condoms and other means.  And, then last year, we decided to try for another baby-it didn't take much trying.  We had sex once, and viola-I was pregnant.  In the months between Spencer's birth and now, I started to experience menstrual migraines.  The migraines did not occur every cycle, mostly every 3rd or 4th cycle.  But, when they occurred, it was always on the morning before my period.  I typically would wake with one.  They are debilitating.  I can not function.  I usually end up vomiting.  Hubby is forced to stay home from work.  

We decided that after the miscarriage that we were going to be done having kids.  2 adorable boys was enough for us.  I was trying my hardest to accept this.  I quit doing Stroller Strides, I started to give away all my baby gear and clothes.  I felt satisfied and happy.  I was doing my best to live each day and appreciate my family.  

The migraines coupled with my attempt to put my childbearing years behind me... I decided to get a Mirena IUD.  From memory, I never had migraines until I was unprotected by birth control. My logic was that the birth control hormones were helpful. I had an IUD after I had Elliott and loved it.  I had always had great luck with Depo Provera.  Though, all of the research indicates that birth control often causes the migraines--I read that to indicate birth control PILLS.  I was going to take my chances.

Man O'man the IUD insertion was painful.  She didn't need to do anything special to insert the IUD since it was the last day of my period.  Apparently, during your menstrual cycle, your cervix is open slightly making the IUD insertion easier.  My cervix DID NOT like the sneak attack.  I cramped for 6 solid weeks, and had a ton of spotting.  Having the IUD was wonderful. I felt balanced and happy for the first time in a LONG time.  I loved the hormones that it supplied.  I gave me exactly what I needed to feel normal again.

Then one day, around 8 weeks ago, I decided I was ready to start trying again.  I gently broached the topic with my hubby.  He was luke warm about the idea.  I explained more about how I was feeling--the 'incomplete' feeling, the longing for another child, the way I see our family in 10 years, etc..  And he agreed!  I got the IUD out the next day.  It was the most expensive experiment ever ($1300 for the IUD and insertion).  

This is our first month trying.  And, since I am not getting any younger (I will be 38 next month!), I have been going crazy neurotic with ovulation tests.  I have done all of the 'right' things this month.  We will see what happens--though it is not in my nature to be patient.  Somehow, when the pregnancy test is negative, it feels like I have failed in some way.  Let's hope we succeed.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

The void

I have, for the first time in 5 years, free time.  Both of my sons are sleeping soundly and consistently.  We are into a fun routine that includes pre-school, sports and swimming as well as play dates and downtime. 

They both are able to dress themselves (at their own speed), though they don't!  They can vocalize their needs and often times help themselves.  And at the least, they can help me serve and prepare meals as I have put all of their dishes and cups at a height they can reach.

My wee lad is potty trained, and has recently started taking control of when he needs to use the toilet.  Which means, I don't need to remind him as often.  He even takes his own pull-up off first thing in the morning! 

They can access all of their toys and games, some select art supplies and books and magazines.  The backyard is available to them.  They play together most of the time in harmony ( I should whisper this, lest I jinx it).

This has brought about some new feelings for me.  As a Mom, who doesn't work outside of the home, I am not as depended on as I once was.  My older son will be starting Kindergarten in a few weeks, further freeing up my time.

I will soon have 3 short mornings a week where my younger son will be in pre-school and 5 days a week where my older son will be in school.  This is something I have looked forward to, however, now that it is upon me I am floundering.

What the hell am I going to do with all of this free time; all 12 hours a week?!?!  I will most certainly want to volunteer at my sons school.  I still love to exercise and workout.  I love reading.  But, I need a hobby.  Or two.

I want to love gardening.  But, honestly, I hate bugs and getting my hands dirty.  I also want to be more crafty-but whenever I am presented with free time, I never feel like crafting.  I also own a sewing machine and all of the sewing essentials.  But, again...i never sew. 

I have been reading a book, Women, Food and God.  It keeps saying that once we give up our obsession with dieting and food, that we can focus on the real problems in our lives.  She claims that if we focus on ourselves, that we will solve the emptiness that we so often fill with food. 

Perhaps if I had some hobbies that I loved I wouldn't feel the need to fill my voids with food?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our New House

Pregnancy loss happens frequently.  There are tons of stats on-line that speak of 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage, often before you are even aware of begin pregnant.  And, while I am a very logical, rational person, nothing prepares you for the loss of your baby.

It is life altering.  It changed the way I thought in ways unimaginable.  It has affected my relationships with people and how they view their own pregnancies.  It changes the way I view myself and my reproductive capacity.  

When we discovered that we lost our baby, it was a sadness I had never in my life experienced.  It was a pain I had never known.  There was a pit in my stomach that was empty and vast.  It was a pain, that if left unattended, could sweep on into a dark abyss of depression.  

As time has worn on, I have healed.   I have allowed love and happiness back in and pushed the despair and sadness out.  I learned to appreciate my family with renewed intensity.  I felt lucky and grateful to have my boys, when so many families long to have just one healthy child.  

My husband felt like the miscarriage was the universes way of saying that we weren't meant to have this child.  I resented him for saying that.  I knew that science just didn't align.  But, I also felt a small sense of relief.  The pregnancy was wanted, the baby was very much wanted and loved.  But, the timing was all wrong.

We were living in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1000 sq foot, 102 year old house.  We didn't have heat or A/C, we didn't have a driveway or attached garage, and we were always on top of each other.  I know that families make due with much less  And I would've made it work--but, it was beyond stressful with 2 small kids and the possibility of a 3rd on the way.  

In many ways the loss is what motivated our family to buy a bigger house.  We moved into our new house at the end of March.  It is more than 2 and a 1/2 times bigger than our previous house and totally upgraded.  4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, a wonderful kitchen and yard, with a massive attached garage.  We loved living in a small space--it forced us to be cozy, uber organized, and very conscience of our purchases and possessions.  But, the kids are so much happier having their own space.  The boys still share a room, and I hope they always will.  But, they can play in different rooms and spaces and not be right on top of one another.   The boys ages or this new space has had a very positive effect for everyone: we are all finally sleeping better! 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Kidding Around-5th Birthday

Dino Love

Spencer loves the Cozy Coupe

Pizza, Juice and Cake?

Yes, Please!

The closest thing we got to a family picture.  At least the Dino and I are smiling.

King of the party.

Attempt 50,001 of a group picture

50,002...and done!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pregnancy Loss

June 15th would've been my due date with baby #3.  I had a 'missed miscarriage' in December.  

I knew I was pregnant on day one.  My morning sickness, in typical fashion, began on the first day of the 6th week.  I had my first prenatal appointment and ultrasound at 7 weeks and saw the babies heartbeat.    

For Thanksgiving weekend, we went to visit my hubby's BFF and his family in Santa Fe, NM.  The weekend was pleasant, and I was finally starting to feel better.  My morning sickness was not as bad as it was with my first two pregnancies.  I thought I was getting away with something.  I felt lucky, and thankful.

I had some very minor spotting, but not anything major.  I didn't fall.  I wasn't cramping and I didn't notice anything different.  Except that I was feeling better than I had with my other 2 pregnancies.

My doctors appointment was on my son's 2nd birthday, Monday November 28th.  It was an evening appointment, so the OB office was closed.  The midwife was nice, I had seen her once before.  She did another ultrasound since I was having some spotting.  She didn't find a heartbeat, and the baby stopped growing around 8 weeks 6 days.

I was so stunned.  I was alone.  Jeff called me on the cell to be sure everything was ok, as the appt. was taking a long time.  I could barely speak the words to him. 

We had a birthday dinner for Spencer and a cake.  

The next day, as the midwife instructed, I called to schedule a D&C.  If my body had expelled the 'contents of the pregnancy' on its own, I would have had a natural miscarriage.  But, since my body wasn't handling things on its own, I was encouraged to have surgical intervention.  I also could not bear the idea of having a dead baby inside of me.  There was a major miscommunication with the office staff and the surgical scheduler.  It took until Thursday for someone to call me back.  That was the longest 3 days E.V.E.R.  I spent the whole time crying and the most sad I have ever felt.  I was scheduled for pre-op Thursday afternoon, and surgery first things Friday morning.  

Since it was such short notice, we didn't have any coverage for the kids.  So, Jeff dropped me off for surgery and left with the kids.  The hospital staff and surgeon were amazing.  So sensitive and supportive.   I was under general anesthesia, so I don't have any memory of the procedure.  

It was a difficult recovery.  Both emotionally and physically.  There was a point where I knew that if didn't get off the couch RIGHT THEN, that I was going to slip into a major depression.  Having to put away the maternity clothes that I had just taken out of the garage and washed.  Having to cancel my baby center subscription.  Getting my period back.  Putting aside the idea that our little house was soon going to be welcoming a baby.  But mostly coming to terms with not being pregnant any more.  Once day I was happily expecting my 3rd baby, and the next day my baby was dead and I wasn't pregnant. Slowly, we shared the news with our friends and family.  I had to tell all of my Stroller Strides Mama's.  I even had to tell some people that I wasn't expecting (friends from the park, or playgroups).  

Sharing was an interesting experience.  I am not a private or secretive person.  But, sharing something so deeply personal was beyond difficult.  For some people it seemed harder for them to hear, than it was for me to talk about.  For a few people, I was a way to bond over shared experiences.  And for most they were very supportive.       

It has been 6 months, and I feel better, almost recovered.  I don't know if I can ever go through that again, but I am trying to move on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 1, third time around

I wrote this post on the day I discovered I was pregnant for the third time (approx. Aug 2011).  I was so nervous about the positive test result that I made myself sick.  I wanted to capture my feelings that day so that I could remember them.  Here they are:

Today is day 28.  For those who know about menstrual cycles and luteal phases and pregnancy tracking you will know what I mean.

I didn't get my period today.  I was bitchy and short according to my loving husband.

What I got instead is that gross taste in my mouth--the one that tastes like you have dry mouth combined with bad breath.  About a week ago I also got heartburn, and it hasn't let up.  I haven't had heartburn like this since I was pregnant.  Ouch!  I also woke up in the middle of the night last night, sat straight up in bed and walked to the kitchen for a drink of water and a snack.  Odd.

So, this morning, when I still didn't have any cramps or any period symptoms (discharge, purging of the digestive system, etc.), I took a pregnancy test.  

And it was positive.  Holy shit.  

Getting back on my bike

I am negligent.  I have been thinking of blogging.  Feeling guilty about it.  Writing down topics to discuss and share.  Yet, in the last 6 months so much has happened that I want to share.  Where do I begin?

I guess the first place to begin is the pregnancy.  And then the pregnancy loss.  The depression.  The weight gain.  The recovery.  And now the aftermath.

I will start there.