Monday, July 30, 2012

Nine Months

Nine months? Whoah. It took 9 months to grow her. What have I been doing the past 18 months??

Squishy McDonut is now 22lbs! She is 28.5 inches long and her head is still in the 98th percentile. "Big baby" blah blah blah.

Everything is good, her finger prick test came back healthy, she sleeps well, is developmentally on track, is ahead of schedule for talking, and has two more teeth.

Yea - TWO MORE TEETH.

Squishy McFart Face now has 8 teeth - 4 on top, 4 on bottom. Yikes!

She loves crawling and trying to escape her baby cage so she can pet the cat or eat our food. She can pull herself up onto her knees but hasn't mastered getting to her feet. She still does an army crawl and I'm in no hurry to have her crawl quickly.

In the waiting room, Joanna quickly made friends with everyone and every thing. I met several mommies and their children - two of whom commented on Joanna's fluffy hair and/or big thighs. Kids say the darndest things. Joanna then tried to eat them. No really, she did. They put their hands in her face and she went after them. That'll teach your kid to call my kid fluffy.

Joanna discovered the wonderful world of doctor's office table liners. 

Mommy's little Beethoven, complete with big hair and growling disposition

I think this picture speaks for itself.

Nomming on a Game Boy


Friday, July 27, 2012

Some Days > Others

[WARNING: Post-pardom hormones. The feelings expressed in this post are now gone, but rather than hide the reality of hormones, I wanted to publish my thought process today. I don't want pity - I just want to make sure other women know they aren't the only ones.]


Facebook can be a blessing. Facebook can be awful.

I'm a member of several mommy groups on Facebook. Most of the groups are "crunchy", meaning the mamas are natural in as many ways as possible. (cloth diaper, breast feeding, drug-free and/or home births, amber teething necklaces, etc). I personally define myself as crunchy peanut butter - I'm only crunchy when it saves me money and/or time. But I digress.

I have zero regrets about my scheduled C-section. I have zero regrets about using cloth diapers. However, my inability to nurse still irks me. I love the extra time I gained when I stopped spending 75% of my days and nights with either a machine or an infant attached to my boob. Even though I stopped nursing nearly 7 months ago, I still get insanely jealous of women whose cups overfloweth.  I was lucky to get 2 ounces a day when pumping (most women can pump 2 ounces in 5 minutes). I was so blind by my desire to nurse exclusively that I couldn't see that Joanna was starving; she lost almost 2 pounds before her first month checkup. My babe's health was far more important than my pride so we started giving her formula in addition to whatever additional milk I could provide. Soon after, I got very sick and completely dried up. #bodyfail

I'm especially jealous of women who easily lost weight after giving birth. I haven't zipped a fly in a year and a half. The few times I've attempted to wear non maternity jeans, I end up in pain if I sit too long. I know I had a 10 pound baby, but I had that 10 pound baby 9 months ago. It took 9 months to get fat - I thought it would take 9 months to at least get back into non maternity clothes, even if they weren't my pre-prego clothes. My stomach protrudes the same it did at 2 months post-pardom even after completely changing my diet.  I try exercising whenever I can. I lost inches in my waist, hips, and arms but the stomach is still the same. As the picture states, I was 186lbs at 2 weeks post pardom. I now weigh 180lbs. Not cool, body.  wwtf = what's with the fat?

I'm tired of seeing other moms wearing normal clothes sooner than me. I hate that my body failed to feed my baby and is now failing to shrink. I'm fed up with feeling not good enough.


*sigh* I'm just feeling fat and unaccomplished. I'm realizing now that this is most likely post-pardom depression from Buddy and not the skinny hippies on Facebook bragging about the endless supply of milk in their freezer.

I just want to be a good mom and a hot wife to the two people I love most.


[end hormonal rant]

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to get your baby to poop

If you need your kid to poop, try these tips that always work for us:
  1. If you cloth diaper, put most of them into the washing machine. As soon as you start the load, a load will come. 
  2. If going to the pool, put a swim diaper on your baby and squeeze their sausage legs into a one piece suit. As you set them into the hot car, you'll smell their warm surprise. 
  3. Be sure to run late for church. As soon as you're ready to go, they just went. 
  4. Two words: white outfit
  5. Find the only gas station for miles and find that there is no changing table: Gassy lassie. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hospital Bill - Emergency Room Visit

After the popularity of my first Hospital Bill post, and the cautious curiosity of others, I decided to post the details of our visit to the emergency room on June 29th.

The ER Visit: $473.05
Laboratory: $276.75
Other Imaging Services: $233.55
Pharmacy: $4.57

Total Charges $987.92

Insurance Adjustments $ -595.57

Total Amount We Owe: $392.35

So how are we going to pay $400 on our already strapped budget? God. We're getting an unexpected security deposit back from our old house, so that will hopefully bring in $650. However, we may owe ADT about $535 to cancel our security system subscription 2 years early. It was going to be $800 but I talked them down to $535. After the deposit is added and ADT is subtracted, we'll only owe $272.

It's still a lot of money, but God keeps finding ways of providing for us: He won't stop providing now. Plus, payment plans are a beautiful thing.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sharing our Experience

Hello blog readers!

I wanted to properly communicate how thankful we are to have you in our lives. Your prayers, good vibrations, and well wishes are amazing. Thank you.

I am finding more things to be thankful for each day. The biggest thing I am thankful for is how our story is encouraging others. My desire in sharing our story is not to garner sympathy. We shared our story so that other women and men will know that they aren't alone in their loss.

If you enter a lull in a conversation and want to share some juicy tidbit about someone you know, please don't use our experience as a "Hey, did you hear that Laura had a miscarriage?" "Oh, bless her heart". But if you know of someone that has experienced a miscarriage and you think our story can be an encouragement to them, please share it. If they just want to sit in a room and cry with someone who went through it, let them know I'm really good at crying; professional even.

We're placed into communities for a reason: to be with each other. We're here to help, hug, humble, and have a good time with each other.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Goodbye Wilton


Ermagerd, I haven't updated in a week? What's wrong with me?

Oh wait, I remember: we moved [12 miles West] and never looked back.


I adored our little ghetto home (or "ghetthome" if you will). It was quaint with character. If I could transplant the house (and re-do the floors), I would bring it with me to Northern Virginia. But alas - 1920s homes don't travel well.

Although the list of things I won't miss is rather long, I will instead be a positive Polly and talk about what I will miss.

The door knobs - most are original to the house and thusly are gorgeous. They had a tendency to not function consistently but I still loved them.

The knob to the bathroom medicine cabinet - for some reason I really love that knob. I'm tempted to go back and steal it.

The columns in our living room - What? Your house doesn't have columns in the living room? You're missing out, my friend.

Creepy basement
The tiny bedrooms and large living room - because people in the 1920s actually lived in their living rooms and only used their bedrooms for sleeping, the size of said rooms followed suit. On a side note, the closets were atrociously small; the master bedroom closet was as wide as a chair.

The creepy basement slash interrogation room - I only went into the basement once - when we first looked at the house. I am thankful for this room because it was Jonathan's job as man of the house and father of my child was to venture into the dirt floor, dank, and musty cave to retrieve Christmas decorations or restart the fuses.

Sunset from our front porch

I am excited and relieved to leave this home. It gave us wonderful memories but it also unfortunately holds memories of my miscarriage. It was also in a neighborhood that was not ideal for taking walks or getting to know your neighbors. It was time for us to say goodbye.

I'm so thankful for God's timing in all of this. He has a tendency to prepare us for something over several months and then BOOM- several major events converge at once before a big change.

Farewell, Wilton House. You were good to us and I hope you feel we were good to you.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

1 tooth, 2 teeth, 3 teeth, Crawl!

My 2 toothed babe is now the proud owner of 5 sharp enamel razor blades in her gums. I can't imagine how frustrating it is for her to have bones jutting out of her face for no good reason. I keep telling her that teeth are great for eating ribs and corn on the cob, but she isn't the slightest bit amused. In fact, she expresses her lack of enthusiasm into a faster getaway because she is CRAWLING.

And did I mention we're packing up the house this week to move? Rather than wait for a job in Fredericksburg to move out of our old and horribly not-safe-for-kids home, we're moving into another house in town that our parents own. They're allowing us to pay a similar rent to what we are paying now even though their house is much nicer, bigger, and baby safe. I'll also be able to walk around in the neighborhood without feeling like I need to pack heat. Because the new house will be a "transition home", I'm labeling boxes with "FBurg" and "LBurg" so we can keep a majority of our things still packed for our next home in Fredericksburg.

Did I mention that Joanna is crawling? I should clarify - most of her body is crawling. One of her legs hasn't quite caught on to the method. When she gets frustrated with crawling, she easily rolls to her destination in seconds flat.


And now Joanna is sprawled out on daddy's belly watching Caillou. Usually we put her straight to bed but her teeth and the heat gave her (and us) a rough day. We're going to enjoy having her on our bellies before she crushes us beneath her fluff and wiggles.

One Week

It's been a hell of a week.

I'm not sure of the order one goes through with grief, but so far we've encountered denial, anger, and sadness. We're confident where Buddy is, but it still sucks.

Even though I'm sad, I'm thankful for many things. The power being out for a full week was a blessing because I don't have the visual memories of being in the house when I started bleeding. We didn't have the comforts of home so we were able to seek refuge in our parents' homes. The 11 cloth diapers I purchased from a friend 2 weeks ago [for Buddy] I was able to use so we could continue saving money, even on "vacation". The week of our loss, I was feeling crampy and nauseas so I didn't go grocery shopping - that means we didn't have to throw out much food during the power outage.  Our friends are making us mix CDs of amazing music. The CDs have been epic. For example, one CD the song list includes the The Legend of Zelda theme, Mama Said Knock You Out, and Praise You In The Storm. Epic. I'm most thankful that after posting about Buddy on my blog, several people have expressed their thanks and shared their own stories of loss. Community is a powerful thing.

One of the easier and harder things about the healing process is Joanna. She makes us laugh and smile everyday. She was on the cusp of crawling all week and yesterday was her big day - she crawled! Part of me was thrilled to have a distraction. Then part of me wondered what Buddy would have looked like crawling, what his laugh would sound like, what his head would smell like? How would Joanna have reacted to a new sibling?

"Praise You In The Storm" is a song of great healing for us. I always thought Casting Crowns were pretty cheesy, especially this song. Although I knew every word, listening after our week was the first time I really heard it. We are quite literally praising him in the storm. "Praise You In The Derecho" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Powerless / Goodbye

The following post takes place over 3 days. It tells the story of our miscarriage and the beginning of our healing process. It happened on the night of the derecho [major wind storm] that swept across the Atlantic Coast. We were powerless; physically, mentally, and emotionally, but not spiritually. God cradled us in His arms as we accepted His will for our lives. 


Frances Lukens looks at the tangle of boards and tree limbs piercing her living room
ceiling in Lynchburg, Va., on Saturday after a huge oak tree fell directly
on the house during a storm the previous night. - AP

The Storm

June 29th was weathered by the Eastern half of the country as our heatwave gave birth to a giant freak windstorm [derecho]. 90 mile per hour gusts swept through the narrow passages between our 1920s row houses as we quickly brainstormed the best place to cower. Our quaint home is one level with many windows – a wonderful trait when looking for a home, but not a strong quality when looking to hide from tornadic-like conditions.  Every room has 1- 2 large windows – even the bathroom. We chose the hallway because it boasted a narrow, windowless space for we three. Joanna was asleep before the storm hit but woke up when the power went out. Awesome.

A solid 40 minutes of strong winds and frequent lighting and thunder. The winds died down, the lightning danced over the mountain, and the power remained off. We pushed Joanna’s pack n play into our room and we slept at the foot of our bed – away from the gigantic window behind our headboard. I held my sweaty baby and sang show tunes to try and lull her back to sleep.  My back and stomach were cramping but my face kept smiling. After all efforts to sing failed, I made her 4oz of a midnight snack and she was eternally grateful. She conked out a few moments later. When I earned my freedom, I went into the living room to look at Facebook on my phone and see what happened. Then I went to the bathroom.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It is at this point that the story turns grim. 
Consider this a warning if you are not wearing waterproof mascara. 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Loss

There was blood.
I checked again.
More blood. Like a period. But more. “Your will be done. Your will be done..” I chant like a monk. It brings an eerie calm to know that all things work for the good of those who love Him, even if 'things' involve losing a pregnancy.

I quietly wake my sleeping beau and tell him that I’m bleeding heavily. I then return to the toilet to bleed more. Much more. I stayed there for 10 minutes, texting my mother-in-law asking for advice.  Jonathan rubs the little sleep he gained from his eyes and we start talking about options.

Do we go to the hospital? Do we wait it out? Who do we call? How do we even get phone numbers?

We have no internet to google "heavy bleeding during pregnancy". We have no internet to look up phone numbers of local doctors. We have limited light to find paperwork that may have a phone number of the hospital. We have no power to control our outcome.  10 minutes of using his mom as our Google leads us to prepare our journey for the ER. We called our dear friends Derek and Michelle to watch our sleeping babe. 10 minutes later, we’re out. The massive storm scattered branches, leaves, and trashcans along the road. Thankfully we’re only a mile from the Emergency Room. Our short trip pales in comparison to our long journey of sitting.

The city is in darkness. The hospital is running on auxiliary power and only the vital machines are running. No vending machines, bathroom lights, or television to distract from our thoughts.

12:30: We arrive, check-in, and they tell me they’ll get me back to triage as soon as possible.

1:00 Nurse Betty took my vitals and told us, “Usually you’d be back there by now, but tonight is kind of a disaster. The power outage caused a lot of car accidents and we don’t have any beds. Even the beds in the hall are filled. We’ll get you back there as soon as we can, sweetie.”

2:00 Guy with a tree branch between his toes comes in cussing. Sits near the overweight mother and daughter and adjacent to the homeless gentleman.

2:15 Bathroom

2:45 I’m taken in the back to have an ultrasound. The nurse first tries on my stomach but my bladder is too full and I have too much gas to get a clear picture. She also says I have a tilted uterus. Thanks. So I pee and we try a transvaginal ultrasound. She quietly wiggles the wand to get snapshots of all of my important innards. I can tell when she finds the baby. It’s not moving. She goes to the screen where it shows the heartbeat. It’s a straight line; no heartbeat. She says nothing as she goes to the next screen.

3:00 I’m wheeled back to the waiting room.

3:30 Bathroom

3:50 Bathroom

4:00 Nurse Betty comes up to me and asks how my pain and bleeding are. I say “the same”. She says “You poor thing. You are being so strong. Any other woman would be screaming by now.”

4:15 I’m wheeled into a hallway.

4:20 I’m asked if I can walk well enough to go to another room that is in another hallway.

4:30 Vitals are taken by another nice nurse who assures us that we will be seen soon.

4:50 Blood is drawn from my dehydrated arm.

5:00 We overhear conversations of the doctor and a woman next-door complaining about a rash on her leg.

5:10 Made comments to Jonathan about how a miscarriage is far more important than a rash.

5:13 Started hating the doctor and his stupid face.

5:15 "Where the hell is his stupid face."

5:20 Jonathan got me peanutbutter and crackers from the nurse. 

5:30 I get up to pee as the stupid face doctor comes in. He says he'll come back in a few minutes so I can go to the bathroom.

5:35 Doctor comes back in, asks the same questions as everybody else, wants to order an ultrasound and bloodwork so he can see how the baby is doing. I tell him we already had an ultrasound and he replies with, “Oh, I didn’t realize that. I’ll go take a look.”

5:45 He returns, confirming that there is no heartbeat. He gives two possible prognoses: A miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. He gives me drugs, sets up an appointment for another ultrasound, and says he wishes us luck in the future. His face isn't nearly as stupid as I presumed. 

6:00 The 3rd nice nurse returns with ginger ale and drugs. She seems to genuinely ask "How are you feeling". I love her. She sends us on our way.

We arrive home in the sunlight at around 6:30 after weaving around tree branches once more. Traffic lights are still out but the birds are chirping and the heat has not yet begun its terrible reign upon our powerless heads. It’s a gorgeous morning. We thank Michelle and Derek profusely for helping us in our emergency. I’m still in shock and can’t really accept their “I’m so sorry”’s. I’m still in the logical stages of the news; emotions haven't hit yet.

And now it’s 7:11 on the morning of June 30th. Goodnight. 


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Aftershock

[June 30] Jonathan moved Joanna’s pack n play to the living room to watch her from the couch with his eyes closed. She happily entertained herself until 11:00 when her hunger cries woke me from the next room while Jonathan snored.  I'm feeling more refreshed than expected. Still sore and fatigued but no sharp pains or nausea. I change her, feed her, sing to her, then wake Jonathan to see if he wants to get out of the house. We escape and go to several super-air conditioned locations.

Apparently 15% of Lynchburg is doing fine, with power, AC, water, and only a few leaves scattered across their lawns.  When the traffic lights get dark, you see lawns with debris, broken tree trunks, and smashed cars. Strange winds.

We come back home in the evening for only 30 minutes before we realize that there’s no way we can keep our baby safe in our 90 degree house overnight. Even when she was sleeping in just a diaper, her little body couldn’t cool her down. We call our brother-in-law and take him up on his offer to crash at his air conditioned home. Joanna’s cousin Micah is sleeping in the basement with his parents because they don’t have power or water.

Tonight I find myself thinking about the day’s events. 24 hours ago, I started bleeding. Here I am now on a blow up mattress in my nephew’s nursery next to a sleeping husband on the floor and a sleeping baby in a crib. In 12 more hours we are taking our cat and traveling to Manassas to spend a week with my parents. The strange winds are blowing us home to rest.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Buddy

[July 1] We leave our temporary home at 7:00 a.m. to return to the saun-ctuary and pack before the heat begins. We open the windows, throw out food and garbage, pack our things, coax the cat out from under the bed, then begin the next leg of our strange weekend. We filled our gas tank and belly tanks before getting on Hwy 29. The down trees were off of the road to the credit of the tirelessly working tree surgeons. We stop to clean up cat vomit. We stop to get coffee. We stop to change and feed Joanna.

My grandma-in-law called us while we were on the road. She said that God knew he wasn't well enough for this world so He took him to Heaven.  I started crying and she apologized for making me upset - I was crying at the beautiful image of God taking care of my sweet baby. 

We arrived at my childhood home and my mom watched Joanna while Jonathan and I had some quiet time to process. It was the first time we've been able to just sit in an air conditioned room with no 'next step' to plan. We sat and talked about what happened. We talked about that it may be God's will that Joanna be a role model and older sister to her sibling instead of an Irish twin. We talked about how we didn't want to push down the sadness but rather use it to remember him. We talked about the nice nurses. We talked about what movies we wanted to see. We just talked. It was so nice to just talk.

This was going to be our announcement picture on July 3rd
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
A Bud for Buddy

A few weeks ago, I talked to Jonathan about designing a tattoo to symbolize our family. I was going to do cherry blossoms for girls and dogwoods for boys. The child growing in my womb was a boy, I was certain of it. We were calling him Buddy because he was going to join us for Christmas. I created a design with him in mind. Now that he's gone, Jonathan suggested I have a bud drawn. A bud for Buddy. I cried with a big smile on my face. "That's going to look beautiful."

I know that Buddy is playing with his cousin Oliver in Heaven. I'm sure he'll meet up with other children that were born straight into God's arms. His will was done. 


It's beautiful and comforting to know that 
God is in control, 
especially when we are powerless

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Miscarriage

Today we had an appointment scheduled for a first sonogram for our second baby.  Due to circumstances beyond our control, I had to cancel that appointment yesterday.

On Friday June 29th, our unborn baby went to be with the Lord. We were just a few days away from seeing him on the ultrasound and hearing his heartbeat in the doctor's office. We instead saw him on an ER ultrasound with a flat line.

We were calling him Buddy because he would be arriving around Christmas. He's now with his cousin Oliver.


10-25% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage [according to the American Pregnancy Organization] yet few women talk about their experiences. I don't want to be silent about our loss. If anything I want those 10-25% to know they aren't alone. I'm not sure when we'll be ready to publish our story but I know it will happen. [ UPDATE : Here is our story ]

We are doing okay. As of today, my HCG (pregnancy hormones) levels are still high which means my body isn't done with the process. The doctor told us that the worst is over and now we just wait until it's done. She said it would be wise to wait until October to try again. In the mean time, I plan on losing at least 15 pounds so I can have a happy and healthy home for our baby to grow.