Thursday Truth.

23 Oct

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This is dinner time.

Some times I think “if I didn’t have to work all day, my house would be so much cleaner!” Then, this reality check hits me. This is what happens when we’ve been home for 20 minutes. If I were home 8 hours a day, how much worse would it be??? Ok, the dishes in the sink, the laundry piles in the washroom, all that hoopla was there before we got home, but whatevs. You get it. If I didn’t have to spend so much time cleaning up after reheating leftovers cooking dinner, maybe I’d have the energy time to focus on the laundry. I know you could say “he made the mess, let him pick it up!” But I do. And normally, he’s great for about 3 items. He says “pick up” and puts 3 items away, then everything derails and he finds something in the drawer he’s putting things away in, to take back out. It’s our cycle.

So without fail, I spend post bedtime cleaning the one room in the house I can control (the kitchen) and then I think about folding more laundry, but rarely get to it.

Speaking of airing my dirty laundry, look at this pile of awesome:

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I walked away for 3 minutes… I swear, sometimes having two pugs and a toddler, really means I just have 3 toddlers.

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Miscarriage; Loss, Recovery & Hope

13 Oct

WARNING: Very intimate and personal topic to follow. Please proceed with kindness and refrain from any negative comments. Feel free to share your story in the comments. The best way to heal at times, is just knowing that you’re not alone.

From the moment you see those double lines, or any positive symbol on a pregnancy test, you have two options; either have a baby, or lose a baby. Your options are permanent. You don’t simply become “un-pregnant.”

If you google “miscarriage and loss” you will find that the topic is way more common online than anything else you’ve never really talked about in real life, but have often heard about. In fact, it’s so popular a topic, you’d think miscarriages are somewhat normal. Well, unfortunately, they are way more normal than you might think, and everyone who writes about them does so from personal experience.

I’m no exception.

However, instead of taking your valuable time to mourn with me in the loss of our second miscarried baby, I want to share the things no one talks about, when it comes to miscarriages, like how they feel, what happens during one (both natural and medical), and after one (recovery and hospital bills).

These aren’t pleasant things, and I totally understand that, but my hope is that there is a hopeful mom out there wondering what’s next, after going to her OB and not hearing the heartbeat she so desperately wanted to hear. You see, many, many of us have been there and the value in understanding this particular trial is important. I understand that every instance can vary, but this is my story and how it was for me.

Miscarriage #1: February 8, 2012

Our fist miscarriage came barely 3 months after we were married. I was on the pill for what seemed like 1,000 years prior to the year we were engaged. We knew we wanted a family and because I’m older than the average first-time-bride, we wanted to be ready to conceive as soon as possible. I was off of the pill for almost a full year prior to our wedding. We conceived within a couple of months (which was pretty hard to do, being that we lived 2,000 miles apart). Grant came to visit me (I was still living in Arkansas), and it happened to be on a day when I should have been on my period, but was not. On our way home from the airport, we went to CVS and picked up a test. It was positive and we were elated! I’d never had any “accidents” before, and at 36, I wondered if I was actually fertile. Those little pink lines said I was. We bought/took about 40 more tests, just to be sure. The next day, appointments were set for a new OBGYN in AR, and we were on our way to being parents. The first OB appointment we had confirmed that a baby was in fact in my body, in the correct place.

The day after my husband flew back to La, I started spotting. Everything online said it was normal. Everything said that spotting could start at 6 weeks, as the baby started to nestle itself into the womb.

“Don’t worry. Don’t panic. You’re going to be ok. Just call the OB to make sure.”

I went in and they said “We can’t hear a heartbeat, but you’re only 6.5 weeks along, so that’s kind of normal.”

They ran my labs and found that I had the right amount of HCG in my blood for a 6 week pregnancy, so they wanted to re-test in 48 hours.

I just felt weird. In my heart, I think I knew the baby wasn’t going to make it, but I wanted it to, SO BADLY, I pressed on. The spotting wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it stopped. I called my brother to come for a visit with his wife, just in case I needed them, because my husband just couldn’t be in AR again so soon without losing his job, and my brother and his wife lived a short 90 minute drive away in Oklahoma.

The labs came back after 48 hours and were inconclusive. My levels went up, but not as much as they’d wanted them to… “Hold on, just be patient and don’t stress out. You could still be in the clear.”

Cue my mom flying out from CA to be with me.

My mom was with me in Arkansas for one week. We continued with doctor appointments, lying to my boss about why I was in and out so much, eating ice cream and spending time together, until it looked like the baby and I were in the clear. No more spotting, levels on the incline… 2 weeks of chaos, and things seemed to be settling down.

My mom flew back home to La.

The day after she left, I was sitting in a 4:00PM meeting (seriously, who schedules those anyway?), I felt something I didn’t like. There was a slight gush and I knew I was no longer in the clear. I went home.

That night was one of the worst in my life. After 2 weeks on the “possible miscarriage roller coaster of emotions”, I was at the top of the ride, starting my quick decent downhill. My husband was still in La, I was still alone in Arkansas, and I had a bad feeling. Everyone said “just relax, be still, don’t do anything stressful, hopefully it will pass.” It didn’t. At 11:30PM, I was in pain. The cramps were unlike anything I’d every experienced. I went to the bathroom and there I passed a very small round bag. It was my baby. My heart. The product of my new marriage. I couldn’t flush the toilet. I just couldn’t do it.

My husband was in band practice, so he didn’t hear me calling until about 11:30PM in CA (1:30AM in AR). When he finally checked his phone, the call back was panicked. We cried together, sobbed, didn’t speak, couldn’t speak, mourned. With him on the phone, we flushed the little baby together. There was no going back.

The next day I went to work, for an 8:30AM meeting (again, who schedules those???), but I couldn’t tell my boss (she wouldn’t understand!), so I went anyway. As I sat in the conference room, waiting for everyone to come in, my friend Kyle said “you don’t look so good” and I lost it. He was only maybe 26 and didn’t really know what to do, but he opened his arms and I caved into them. He helped me tell HR and I went home. My 3 closest Arkansan friends kept me alive (figuratively) for the next several days.

And just like that, it was over… kind of.

See, with a natural miscarriage, the healing is very different than when a pregnancy is medically removed. I bled for 6 weeks, and immediately started my period, which was weird, and landed me back at the hospital (because of course, I thought I was dying), it was so painful. It was a terrible and very long-winded recovery, but I made it and got my ass back to California to be with my husband, where I belonged. Because after all, you’re supposed to live with your husband/wife, when you’re newly married… ok, always.

We ended up pregnant again, just a few months later, and as you can probably tell by literally every thing I ever post online, I’m obsessed with my healthy, amazing, smart, beautiful and funny, baby boy.

Miscarriage #2: August 19, 2014

On our trip to Hawaii back in July, we realized that once again, I wasn’t on my period when I thought I would be, so we bought 300 pregnancy tests. Once again, those little pink lines were in a pair and that meant we were having another baby!! Hooray!! But if it’s such a happy moment, why was I bawling my eyes out like a baby?! (I’ll save that for another time.)

As soon as we realized we were pregnant, we called our GP. I had been SICK. I’d been on antibiotics, Tylenol Cold and Sinus (the Severe formula), eye drops for pink eye, nasal spray, and pina coladas (cuz duh, Hawaii). I stopped everything immediately. People do FAR WORSE things than taking cold medication when pregnant, right? We weren’t going to chance it.

We also set up an OB appointment right away, for the 6 week mark. I needed to hear a heartbeat before getting too excited. Plus, the first miscarriage was an egg from my “damaged” ovary (where I have a small benign tumor) and Remy came from an egg on my “healthy” ovary on my left (technology!!!), so I wanted to know where this one came from before painting our guest room pink. Our 5w5d appointment said “healthy ovary, pregnant in the uterus (not ectopic), no heartbeat YET”. We were still so early, it’s normal not to find a heartbeat yet, so we would come back in 2 weeks.

Two weeks later, still no heartbeat, and what was visible in the 6w appointment, was no longer visible in my 8w appointment. The baby was gone. But I was still pregnant, complete with morning sickness, light headedness, exhaustion and a bursting-out-of-my-pants-must-wear-maternity-jeans new belly. How could there be no baby growing with all of my pregnancy symptoms? I guess it just happens. The worst, was that I didn’t know if my body would jump in and complete what it started on it’s own, or if I would have to have surgery to have it removed. Why didn’t my body warn me??? Why didn’t I have any symptoms of loss, before the ultrasound tech just couldn’t find a heartbeat, or even a baby?

My OB couldn’t get me in for the D&C for 5 days. FFIIIIVVVEEEE DAAAAAYYS. For 5 days, I knew I was pregnant-not-pregnant. No baby, no relief. Just sad. The only thing that could make me feel better (besides wine), was my living, breathing, 18 month old. He made me smile. He got me through it… He was my distraction. My magical “get through it” button.

On Tuesday, August 19th at 2:00PM, I was scheduled for surgery.

When you have a D&C for a miscarriage, it’s not what you expect.

You are having surgery. It’s a big deal. You have to fast for 12 hours prior to the procedure, you go in to the hospital, you see your OB and a bunch of nurses, and you have an anesthesiologist. This is real life surgery. Operating table. Bright lights. Grief. Doubt. “Am I doing this to myself? Am I killing my baby? Is this real?” I had to ask my OB prior to the procedure, if he was 100% SURE that my baby wasn’t alive. He looked at me and said, “Not a chance kiddo. I’m sorry, but there’s not a chance it’s alive, or we wouldn’t be here.” I’ll never forget that. I’ll also never forget the way he held my hand as I drifted off to sleep, while humming a song. I asked him to sing until it was over, and he did. There’s payoff in having the same doctor for 19 years, I guess.

I woke up some time later in a different room with a nurse by my side. The same nurse that helped my husband though a hernia repair surgery just 2 weeks prior. She remembered us and remembered that we loved music. Shortly thereafter, my husband came into my recovery room, they made sure I could walk, hold down liquids, and sent me home.

The recovery time for the D&C was only a week. After a week, I felt like myself again, bleeding had stopped and 14 days after the surgery, ovulation was back again. It was so different than the first one. So incredibly different.

Another difference came today in the mail, which is what made me decide to open the door to this whole topic tonight. My bill.

$2,166.86

I HAVE INSURANCE, AND I STILL HAVE TO PAY THIS?!

Yes.

My out of pocket maximum has not been reached, and thanks to my body shutting down on my baby, I have to pay an incredible amount of money to the hospital, doctors, surgeon, nurses, anesthesiologists, and valet (because in LA, hospitals have valet, duh). All of those things that made the experience less painful, found a way to be painful in the end, just in a different way. We have to finance this miscarriage to avoid collections.

This is the truth about miscarriage.

You will hurt, you will mourn, you will get through it, but you will never forget it. It will change you, it may even charge you, and in the end, you will be one of “us”. One of the many, many women who know how you feel, even though you are convinced that you are 100%  alone in the world.

You have support. You have love. You will be ok, but you will be changed.

Loving and losing is brutal no matter what your circumstance. And, for any 1st time mamas who lose their very first pregnancy, I know you’ll hear “natural selection you know” or “just be glad you didn’t have a genetically mutated baby” or “it just wasn’t supposed to be” or “don’t worry, it will happen” and I know it will not feel good to hear from people who just don’t get it. Know this though; This is just the beginning of your story. You know what it feels like to love something in an instant, and you know what it means to want to protect that little growing creature inside of you, so you are a mom too, and nothing will ever change that. Don’t be afraid to go forward. Be strong when other people seem insensitive. They don’t mean it, they just don’t know what else to say. You are allowed to hurt. You are allowed to mourn. You are allowed to feel every emotion in your body and take as long as you need to recover, but know that you will recover physically and mentally as well. It will just take time.

For any mamas going through this unfortunate part of life, please know that you can email me for support, love, friendship, guidance, anything. I get it. And hopefully, you’ll be able to turn the tables one day and look into your healthy and wonderful baby, while being there for someone else, who’s still in the process of finding future hope.

Every living baby is a miracle and I hope everyone who wants their own miracle finds a way to get it.

NOTE: After pouring this all out, I realized that Pregnancy and Infant Loss day for 2014 is on Wednesday of this week (October 15th). That means that thousands and thousands of people who’ve lost either a pregnancy or an infant to any cause, will be lighting candles at 7:00PM in memory of the little ones they never got to hold, or only held briefly. This is an event I find solace in… I hope you join in and light a candle for any little baby that was too here for too little time, as well.

Fighting the Working Mom Blues

23 Sep
Of course, this picture is fuzzy because I didn't take it. Daycare took it and sent me my son's first real life encounter with his beloved "Turler".

Of course this picture is fuzzy, because I didn’t take it. Daycare took it and sent me my son’s first real life encounter with his beloved and most favorite animal, the “Turler”.

Some days are just blue. You think about what your kid is doing, while sitting at your desk miles away from them, then when you do see them, they have learned a new skill, or set of words, or trick, that you weren’t there to experience with them. Or, you get a fuzzy picture from the daycare’s owner, of his first time touching a turtle, and you weren’t there. BLUE, I tell ya. Just blue… or grey.

All of the “I’m being a good example to him by working to support our family” condolences are sweet, but some days, I just wish I could sit on the couch with him all day, with no outside responsibilities. Or, go to the park, or throw him in the stroller and go for a late morning walk (like all the moms I see on my route between daycare and the office), go to the beach when it’s not packed, go to a toddler gym class, music class or swim class at 11:00AM on a Tuesday (you get the idea), but that is just not the case. Four to five days a week, he’s in “school” from 9-5 while I work, giving us a mere 2-3 days a week to spend time together. That is a hard pill to swallow. I’m not one of those moms who just “can’t give up their career”, or “wouldn’t be happy being at home all day”… I work to keep our family fed.

I’m not delusional either. I don’t think that staying at home is easier, and somehow that makes spending time with my kid/at home more enticing. That’s exactly opposite of what I think. There’s nothing about mothering that’s easier than being in my office all day. When I’m at work, I’m able to drink what I want, eat what I want, sit down to lunch like a human and actually eat my food while carrying on an uninterrupted conversation, pee by myself… there are a lot of perks to having the ability to go to work, but not one of those perks can replace the joy of witnessing my son smile so big at something new he’s discovered, or attempt to say new words (we’re currently working on making sentences I can understand. Today he said “more jelly” and I about burst). And yet, it’s a necessity. A necessity that comes with enormous sacrifices, and sometimes, those sacrifices leave me blue.

I’ve often said the words “I hate that someone else is raising my child, while I’m at work” and continued down the big blue hole.

While researching some mom blogs about how to make dinner prep time easier when you get home late and still want to salvage those precious 2 hours between getting off of work and bedtime, I found the encouragement I needed to continue on as a working mom, reset my understanding of my position in life, and leave some of the blue behind me.

You see, until now, I’ve been a huge part of the perspective problem. I’ve convinced myself that I’m doing something wrong by being gone all day, and letting someone else “raise my baby”, but that’s just not true!

NO ONE ELSE IS RAISING MY KID FOR ME. I AM. 

Our daycare teachers are not raising Remy for us. Not even when we had an in-home nanny, was someone else “raising” my kid for me. My husband and I raise our child. Together. Everyone else is paid to care for him in our absence while we’re at work, but like hell is anyone else actually raising our son for us. Last I checked, it was me he nursed from (still, at 19 months old), me who wakes up with him every morning and holds him as he goes to sleep at night. It’s my husband and I who feed him and wake up with him in the middle of the night. It was my husband and my bodies that made him, and my body that carried him for 38 weeks. We are the ones planning and scheduling and loving and caring for and holding and everything… except for a few hours a day, when our bodies are further away, but our minds… our minds and hearts are never absent. We rely on our amazing daycare for daily help, but that’s it.

We are the ones who determine how he will be raised and the ones whose hands, arms, minds, and hearts do all the work to accomplish that.

So, here I am… I initially started this post as a sad post about missing my son all day, and though I still am sad about missing him, and not getting to spend the time with him that I wish I could, I’m NOT sad because I feel like someone else is “raising him”, and I am not.

Thank you Kerry and Kristina for your words of wisdom and understanding, while also helping to remove some of my massive mom guilt. Thank you for helping me understand that I’m the mom, and that the absence of being at work, doesn’t replace me or trump me as a parent. Thank you for going the road before me and for helping me through… Thank you for helping me see a positive and honest perspective on our situation. Thank you.

Weaning and Heartache

12 Sep

Long before my son had a relationship with me, he had a relationship with a part of me that he still is obsessed with and will seemingly never want to breakup with; my boobs. Before he could recognize me with his eyes, before he could ask for them by name, they were his first love, his first familiar place, his first connection point with life as an “outside baby”. His everything.

It’s not rare that in any public place, strangers can hear him say “Booh, booh?” or “Dis? Dis?” while simultaneously watching as he shoves a hand down (or up) my shirt in the hunt for his true best friends. He doesn’t like a blanky, or lovey, or anything else… just mama and her “nursies”.

This is going to make weaning him hard.

The other night, I was researching weaning and learned about this first relationship, in a more detailed way. I learned that this will be his first true loss… His first “breakup” and that the crying involved in the weaning process isn’t so much that he’ll be pissed off that I won’t be offering him to nurse anymore, it’s that he’ll be literally mourning the loss of this relationship; the nursing relationship, and all the type of intimate bonding that has/goes with it.

That broke my heart.

My boy is already a sensitive soul. He’s in tune with his mama and doesn’t much care for independence from me (yet). Am I really ready to throw that dependence for comfort away, in the name of weaning???

What are the benefits? What are the side effects? Someone please share their weaning stories with me. I need encouragement and to know that I can do this and he won’t be scarred as a result. I mean, I know one day he’ll likely vomit if he finds this post, but for now, nursing is both of our down time, bonding time and way to be attuned to each other. After a long day at work and daycare, nursing is where we share intimate reconnection time together, holding each other and staring at each other. I take my time with him seriously, so it’s not a “sit and pay attention to something else, while taking advantage of his quietness” time, but true bonding time.

He’s 18 months old, so I know that he’s not getting his food from my body anymore, and often times, there’s no way he’s actually getting any milk, but he won’t stop anyway. Even if it’s a drop, it seems to be enough for him, and if it’s less than a drop, he’s angry about it, sad, and will beg and beg, until I can produce just one more drop to make him happy again.

Unlike most of our friend’s babies, he only recently started sleeping through the night (most nights anyway), and still wakes up incredibly early (3:00-5:00AM) just to nurse and snuggle. I’m not sure if his sleep patterns are a result of really, truly, hating being alone in his crib, or if it is because we spend so much time apart during the day, that he needs to connect as often as possible at night? Like I said, he’s a sensitive child. Not a bruiser, or a bully. He wants to be near me, even if it’s just to fake nurse… and I don’t mind.

So, if I don’t mind… why wean? Is it a “must do” before baby #2, or is it a “if you want to” thing? It is something he will decide on his own, or are there kids who don’t decide that (i.e. the annoying little prince from GOT???)?

Please share stories! I’d love to know your thoughts on the issue.

Digital Moms Can Be Mean

9 Sep

WARNING: Personal Rant to Follow.

If you’re a mom, it’s likely that you belong to a Facebook group (or 2… or 12) as a community, parenting, and life resource. It’s also likely that you’ve experienced (or at least witnessed) “mom wars” between group members.

Last night, I was on the wrong side of the war… not fun.

While I was driving back to my office after lunch yesterday, I saw something I was really upset by. It was a woman (I’m assuming was the nanny) and two small children running to cross a very busy intersection. They were running, so they wouldn’t miss the walk signal (problem #1… it’s a cross walk. I’m pretty sure it will say “walk” again in 2 minutes). The reason this was concerning, was that the smaller of the two kids (he was MAYBE 2) was sitting on top of the stroller, straddling the handlebars, with nothing under his butt to support his weight (problem #2, but bigger than #1). He was hunched over awkwardly, and if he were smiling, and they were all having a good time, I may have not been as concerned, but the poor little guy looked terrified (problem #3). In addition, they made it across the street and went across the other cross walk, getting closer to where I was waiting to make a left-hand turn, then continued on their walk like this as I made my turn and went back to work. It was not a temporary fix. It was a travel choice (problem #4). We don’t live in a country where families of 6 ride on a single scooter, but we do live in one of the most heavily trafficked locations in the country, so this isn’t something I’ve seen before and I’m just not ok with it.

I snapped a picture from the turn lane.

I contemplated wether or not to post the picture, but being that I’m a mom in the neighborhood where it happened, I would hope someone would alert me to a situation like that, if my son were in danger, and I clearly felt that these kids were.

Strollers aren’t made to hold weight on their handles. A bag sure, but a child? I’ve had my bags at the Famer’s Market give my stroller a run for it’s money, and they weren’t that heavy. This is how law suits happen. People misuse a product, a child is hurt and angry parents take it out on the company who produced said product. It happens all the time. I also wouldn’t trust a 2 year old to keep their legs wrapped around the stroller tightly enough, to RUN with them through a dangerous intersection in the middle of the city. Again, maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, as concerned as I was, I posted the picture to a couple of my normal Facebook group pages, along with a concerned message, to help alert the parents, or anyone who knows the parents. I posted in LA Mommies, Mommy2Mommy and Hollywood Mamas. Boy, can you tell the overall personality of the group members by how they respond to a post!

LA Mommies was diplomatic (for the most part), Hollywood Mamas were inquisitive and cautious, but overall caring (I know many of the members personally, so no one was hostile) and Mommy2Mommy SHREDDED me, my character, some people even called me a racist, annoying, and told me that I was a bad person.

Wow. Those of you who know me (and my multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religion and non-religious family) know that “racist” is something I’ve never been accused of, ever in my life! Additionally, calling someone a “nanny” when that’s exactly what they are, doesn’t warrant verbal abuse from other moms. I mean, come on! Aren’t we in this together? Shouldn’t we be helping and supporting one another, while we struggle to keep our kids safe in a pool full of sharks? The world is bad enough, mean enough and ugly enough on it’s own, but name calling and slandering someone for trying to be informative and protective seems contradictory to how we as parents should act, when we’re trying to raise children to be good people, who speak kindly to others and do the right thing… right?? We don’t live in a village here… but don’t we still need the support of one?

I live in a “neighborhood” with 4 million other people, and believe it or not, I don’t know everyone in my “community”. If I knew these kids, I’d have walked to the home of the kids and talked to the parents directly. Since I don’t, I tried the means I knew best to alert someone to this situation, in effort to help change it. But, this is a digital world and no one cares for the person on the other side of the computer/iPad/iPhone/Android/tablet/whatever. People are given the freedom to hide from real relationships behind glowing screens, while they belittle whomever they please, because they can, and when it comes down to it, a lot of people are mean.

There’s a dichotomy in digital mommy-hood though; you’ve got your perfects, your imperfects, and your piranhas. The “perfects” are the people who post beautiful pictures of their lovely lives all day long… kids in the gorgeous backyard pool on a Wednesday morning with their dad, while mom lounges on a chair (all of this, including freshly manicured feet, fit into one Instagram pic, somehow…. even more perfect), and they’re not even on vacation. This is just their perfect and normal life! The “imperfects” post their reality pictures of messy faces covered in mud or food, while another toddler tantrums in the background and amidst the chaos, the mom posts a picture and is super witty about her life (these are my favorite). Lastly, the piranhas; generally, people who aren’t creative enough to blog/post for themselves, and must have time to be bored, so they sit on Facebook waiting for someone to say/post something that they can tear at like a piranha, until the post is removed by a moderator, or the original poster jumps off a cliff. They feast on other moms.

“Mom wars”. They suck.

I’m not posting this because I need anyone to feel bad for me. I stand by my decision to post the picture, even though I’ve since removed the post for my sanity (and so I don’t jump off a cliff), but here’s one of nicer comments I was actually able to take a picture of, before deleting.

IMG_8289

Hooray for nice people in the world! BTW – You’re not one of them.

 

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