Friday, December 31, 2010

Post 64...Goodbye 2010

2010...what a year. It certainly was not my favorite year, but it had it's great moments too. It was such a jumble of good and bad throughout this year. Twice this year I became pregnant. Twice this year I lost people I love. I was able to leave my crappy demeaning job and enjoy home life. But then I had to watch my brother and his son deal with the drama of my brother's divorce. But then things worked out just in time for my husband and I to get medical assistance for the pregnancy (yesterday I actually got a call from DSHS--we applied a few weeks back for medical help with the pregnancy--and they said it looked like we qualify for some assistance!).

In some ways it feels like I'm ending this year the same way I started it off: pregnant, excited, and nervous. There is a lot to look forward to in the year 2011: the cerclage, having the baby, my husband possibly getting a raise, and so much more. The new year always felt like a new chapter (I know, the cliche is making me cringe as I type it, but it's true) with so many new possibilities. This last year, 2010, felt like the chapter in the book where a major plot twist takes place. It was the kind of chapter that truly defined the characters and foreshadowed future events. In this chapter, weaknesses were revealed, great love was lost and found once more, meaning and purpose were defined, and even death took hold of important characters changing the course of the entire story forever. So what happens after a climax like that in a story? Well, that's what awaits in the new year of 2011. It's a new chapter full of twists, new characters, heartaches and triumphs. After last year, I'm a little weary of starting this new year. But what can I say; I love this book. What else can I do but turn to the next page.

Chapter 25: Welcome 2011

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Post 63...Two week wait...again

I can't wait to have medical insurance at the turn of the new year. I'm so tired of the ladies in the front office looking at me as if I've done something horribly offensive when I tell them I am currently uninsured. Their eyes widen and their voices warble as if they've just tasted something foul. Yes ma'am, I am one of the poor unemployed and uninsured souls...beware of the economy or you too shall catch the plague of financial distress! Oh brother!

Aside from the front office's lack of equal treatment and professionalism, the doctors are fantastic. Yesterday we visited Eastside Medical again to have a combined screening done to assess the risk of any chromosomal abnormalities as well as schedule out the date for the cerclage. The doctor said that the ultrasound looked great. My cervix is holding up perfectly and, from what they were measuring, the baby looked absolutely healthy and showed no obvious signs of birth defects. They took a sample of my blood and will give me the results next week, but otherwise, everything else looked 100% healthy. The doctor then went over the procedure for the cerclage again. On the plus side, my husband will be able to be in the room with me for the pre-op and will only have to step out for the operation itself (which will only take about 20 minutes). As far as aftercare is concerned, I will still be able to take showers and move about a little bit, meaning I can walk from the bed to the couch. But I cannot exercise, lift anything too heavy, or stay on my feet for long periods of time. So basically I'll do what I normally do...sit on my butt and watch Netflix or read. For the two weeks after the surgery, I'll be on medication to keep things "quiet" in the uterus, just to be sure the surgery doesn't stimulate any contractions. And other than all'll just be a lot of resting and waiting.

It was an emotional moment to see the baby kicking and wiggling around on the ultrasound. Both my husband and I began to cry as we watched our little baby move with life. I couldn't help but think how deeply in love I am with that little tiny life growing inside me. I don't even know Sunshine yet but I love everything about him/her. I cannot wait until I can feel those little kicks!

Anyway, we scheduled out a date for the cerclage: January 14th at 10am. I am both terrified and anxious for it. I've already been crying from time to time in fear of the surgery. I have never had surgery before, and considering it is a life or death procedure for my baby, it scares me to no end. But at the same time, I am anxious to have it done because it means all the more reassurance that the pregnancy will carry full term. It's just so hard to believe it's only a couple weeks away. The time for the cerclage has come up so fast. The closer it gets, the more nervous I feel. But I'm sure once the surgery is done, I will feel a little safer with the cerclage in place.

On another note, my husband and I are up in the air again about the gender of the baby. For a short time, we both felt so sure it is going to be a boy. But now...well, we're not so sure. There are no for sure signs so, until we have our 20 week ultrasound, it's any one's guess. As long as they carry full term, I'll be happy.

So here we go, another two week wait. The first one we were waiting to take a pregnancy test. This time, we're waiting for the surgery. With any luck, time will fly by and we'll be at home, resting from the surgery and all will be well.

Anything for a little more Sunshine in our lives.

Post 62...Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Oh thank God Christmas is over! Don't get me wrong; the holiday itself was really quite nice. It was all the fuss that led up to it (decorating, shopping, coordinating family plans...) that drove me nuts. The days and weeks that lead up to Christmas seem to be little more than one excuse after another to spend, spend, spend. A time for people to make demands and stress over how much food to buy for however many guests that are coming; calculating at what precise moment the roast needs to be in the oven in order to be ready when the potatoes are ready to be served. Is there enough eggnog? Do I have enough tape to wrap presents? Did I get everyone an equal amount of stocking stuffers? What should I wear to the church service?...No matter how much I try to just sit back and watch the madness, I can't help but feel the ever growing tension in everyone around me, both family and strangers alike, as the holiday creeps near.

Once we made it to the holiday, thankfully everything seemed to slow down. It was as if all the coffee-infused Hallmark headaches suddenly dissipated when a month's worth of work had finally come to fruition. We spent Christmas Eve at my parent's place. It's always so refreshing how casual it is at my parent's home during the holiday. Christmas Eve with them is nothing more than a delicious family dinner and an exchange of gifts. In fact, this year was even better than it has been in several years considering that it was the first Christmas without my ex-sister-in-law. Without her there to complain, fight, or cry over something, it felt so much more like the casual happy holidays we would have when I was a kid.

This year, my father also started a new tradition. Since his father passed away this year, he inherited my Grandpa's Santa Clause suit. Each year, my Grandpa used to dress up as Santa Clause for the church and all the neighborhood children. Well this year, my father carried on the tradition. On Christmas Eve night, after dinner, my dad dressed up in the Santa suit and delivered gifts to the children in the neighborhood. His last stop was our house to visit my nephew Isaiah. When my father came in, his eyes and nose barely visible under all the whiskers and red velvet, I nearly lost my breath. He looked so much like my Grandpa. His eyes, his nose, the padded frame (although my father was padded with pillows)...He came up to me and wished me and Sunshine a merry Christmas.

Later that night on our way home, I burst into tears. "What's wrong?" My husband asked.
"When I hugged my felt like I was hugging my Grandpa." I cried.

As we continued to talk, we got on the subject of Joey. It was hard to watch my nephew play with his new toys, thinking...our son should've been here. My husband confessed, as tears streaked his face; "when I looked down the hall at the light in your old room, the room your parents have now converted to be Isaiah's second bedroom, I couldn't help but feel like my son should've been in there. What if he had his own room there?...What if he was just down that hallway?..." We both cried, quietly in the car. Although the holiday had been great, the absence of our loved ones passed seemed greater.

On Christmas day, my husband and I celebrated the holiday with his brother and our new sister-in-law-to-be. It was wonderfully casual and relaxing. We opened gifts, drank peppermint hot chocolate, and sat talking and laughing for hours.

All in all, the holiday was quite beautiful. The madness that lead up to it nearly pushed me to my limit. But as I sat there on Christmas morning, my hand resting on my pregnant belly, looking up at the dancing flame of Joey's candle we had lit earlier that morning, and remembering the hug I had shared with my father and grandpa just the night before, I couldn't help but feel the true spirit of the holiday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Post 61...Fast Forward a Week

We went in today for our ultrasound at Eastside Medical. The doctor said, at this point, my cervix looks great. We'll be going back in two weeks to have a combine screening done to check for any chromosomal abnormalities and to start the paperwork for having the cerclage done. The doctor said we will be having the cerclage put in at 14 weeks since that will insure less risk to the baby, plus it will be put in early enough before things become too dangerous for surgery. At 14 weeks they'll have more cervix to work with before it starts to thin out from the baby growing bigger. The only down side is my husband won't be able to be in the room when they give me the cerclage, but the doctor said it's a quick procedure and should only take about 20 minutes to put in. It's hard to think that it's only a few weeks away! But I feel confident this will help us carry to term. Of course there are risks, but without it....well, there is no chance at all. So at least with this, our chances are better either way.

The surprising part was, we went in expecting the baby to be about 9weeks and 3days along. But after measuring out the baby, they said Sunshine is actually about 10weeks and 3days along! That's a whole week further along than we thought! So the cerclage that we have planned in our future just got a lot closer! It was amazing to see how much bigger Sunshine has gotten! He/she's already looking more human like. It's fun to think we'll get to see him/her again in another couple weeks! I wonder how much different he/she will look at that point.

By the way, my husband said he has a gut feeling that it will be another boy. I have to say....I feel the same!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Post 60...Pickle

Yesterday we decorated our Christmas tree. This year we added a new ornament; a little glass pickle. In memory of Joey, we wanted to add the little pickle to our tree to remind us that Joey is still here in spirit with us. My husband hung up the ornament and smiled. I turned to get more decorations but when I turned back, I found my husband standing by the tree with tears streaming down his face. Next to the pickle ornament he had hung up an ornament he made last year: a little round of wood that had the word "family" wood-burned into it. "I thought they should go next to each other." he cried. I hugged him tight and for a few minutes, we stood in front of our tree crying.

"I still miss him." I said.
"Me too." my husband whispered.

We both turned to look at the tree. It was beautiful. I could feel my husband's arms slip around me from behind as he placed his hands on my tummy. Our first family Christmas.

Post 59...Borrowing Troubles

My mother always told me not to borrow troubles from tomorrow, but today I'm going to entertain the freak-out...

We just found out today that my brother-in-law is now engaged. Of course we are very excited for them however, there is talk that they might be getting married in August. Why is this a problem? Well, I know that my husband will of course be in the wedding (it's his brother after all), so not only will we have to find a way to fund a bachelor party for this brother but a tux for my husband and travel expenses as well since they're talking about getting married out of state. And of course the big kicker: Sunshine is due mid July! So basically we'll have to travel with a one month old, exhausted, and with little money. Originally my husband and I agreed that we didn't want to have to take our baby to any big crowded event shortly after he/she is born primarily for health reasons. Nothing spreads illness faster than big crowds of people. Also, I do not like the idea of the baby being passed around from one person to the next. But if we're at a big family event with our newborn baby?!....There will be no avoiding people hovering around us, trying desperately to pry the baby from our hands. I especially thoroughly anticipate my mother-in-law trying to hold the baby the entire time, wandering around to show off her new grandchild. But after the loss of one child, I know that I am going to be extremely protective and selfish for time with my baby.

I'm not sure how everything will play out, but for now I am cautious of it. Of course the wedding itself will be beautiful I'm sure. And despite the fact that I will spend the majority of the time trying to make sure the baby is quiet while fighting off clinging relatives, I'm sure it will all work out okay. I just hope that my husband wont be too busy being the Best Man to help Sunshine and I hold our ground. I get this crazy image of me holding the baby close as I karate kick zombie-like crowds of family back, swarming us with their out-stretched hands.

One thing is for sure...this will be an interesting summer.

Baby vs Zombies, the new action-strategy game coming in the summer of 2011 to a store near you!

Post 58...What Midnight Brings

They helped me into the wheelchair, the affects of the epidural had made my left leg go soft under pressure. I sat there for a moment as I watched my husband gather up our things from around the room as the nurse stood beside me holding the small bundle of blankets that wrapped around my son. In my lap I clutched hard onto the small blue box the nurse had given me. Inside the box were pictures of him, some medical bracelets, a small blanket, and some cards. As they wheeled me through the halls, I watched through glazed eyes as we passed room after room of crying babies and smiling families. There they sat holding their babies and I held on to my box. I looked down ashamed. I was unable to carry to term like these mothers. I had failed my job as a carrier, as a protector, as a mother. For the next few hours my husband held me close as we lay together on the hospital bed in the recovery room, crying each time we heard the cries and coos of the newborns in the neighboring rooms.

I've always hated the nights where I cannot sleep. It's in the quiet hours of midnight when I can't seem to escape the memories. It has been a long time since I have thought so vividly of that day when we lost Joey, but now that we are pregnant again, I find the images seeping in when I am left to my own thoughts late at night. Even last night, as I stared out the window at the rain falling softly in the lamp light, I felt a surge of panic. Since the pregnancy has been progressing, of course cervical fluids increase too. But since it was the leaking of my amniotic fluid that told me something was wrong in the last pregnancy, I have been weary of any sort of moisture down there. Last night, I wasn't feeling anything even remotely like the leaking of the amniotic fluid which came as more of a gush, but for some reason I was fixated on that thought. I kept getting up to go to the bathroom and check. Of course everything was fine. But as I lay in the darkness of my own thoughts, I finally decided to turn to my husband. Being the ray of hope that he always is, even at 3am, he held me close and let me pour my worries out. And when all was said and done, he reassured me that everything was okay. Last time when we miscarried it was only days before our first appointment with Eastside Medical, where we were going to get the results of the gender. We never did make it to that appointment. Well tomorrow we will finally be going to Eastside Medical for the first time to check on the state of my cervix. I guess somewhere in my mind, I had made the connection and worried myself that we wouldn't make it again.

I'm happy to say that I have had no indication of miscarriage so I think we will finally make our appointment. The cerclage is only weeks away and, although it scares me to no end, I hope it will offer a little more reassurance in late hours of the night.

Post 57...A Heart of Hope

On Friday, we went in for our second check-up. We expected to have another ultrasound to make sure the baby was bigger and that everything was progressing well. What we didn't expect was that, rather than have another ultrasound, the doctor decided to check for the heartbeat instead. If the doctor could pick up a heartbeat outside of the tummy than that would mean the baby had already grown four times it's size from the last visit. It took the doctor no time at all to find the heartbeat. In one breath-taking moment, my husband quietly leaning towards me as the doctor adjusted the volume, we could hear Sunshine's heart beating strong. At a crazy rate of 170 beats (since he/she was still only 9 weeks along), the doctor said everything sounded great. In that brief moment as our baby's heartbeat filled the room, I was washed over with new hope. We ARE pregnant. Our baby is growing inside me. Two hearts are now beating inside me, one growing stronger every day. The realization hit me...for the first time, my fear was overcome by excitement.

Since then, I find myself feeling more hopeful. Thoughts of being further along in the pregnancy, my stomach huge and my husband able to feel the baby kick, have been passing through my mind. I have started to believe more firmly in the pregnancy going full term, thinking about when we will give birth in the summer.

Of course, this new found love and attachment to the pregnancy leaves me more vulnerable than ever. But I would be a fool if I thought that I could ever close my heart completely from the pain I would feel if this pregnancy didn't last. All I can do is love and care for this baby to the best of my ability for as long as I am able to have him/her in my life, praying each day that we will have him/her for a lifetime.

For now, as Sunshine continues to grow, so does my hope.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Post 56...The Observer

Nausea, nausea, and more nausea! I do not remember having this much nausea when I was pregnant with Joey! And unlike the last pregnancy when my morning sickness actually struck me in the morning, my stomach has been twisting up late in the evening, making dinner time a daily battle. Of course, let us not forget my boobs that randomly decided to throb from time to time as if to say; "by the way, we're still growing. Good luck trying to fit into your favorite shirts!" And my stomach that loves to puff up like a Macy's parade balloon when I go to put on my jeans, but then deflates just in time for me to look my pajamas when no one is going to see me.

Honestly I'm making it sound more dramatic than it really is, however, the nausea has been one of the biggest challenges. I never realized how many freak'n chicken nugget commercials there are until now when I can't stomach chicken at all! Whenever a chicken commercial comes on, my husband either changes the channel, or he casually slides his hand over my eyes until it is over. On the flip side, I have been craving anything with a tart vinegar taste! Salt and vinegar chips, mustard on EVERYTHING, sauerkraut, pickles...I told my husband last night that nothing sounded better than a hot dog with mass sauerkraut and extra mustard on it with a side of salt and vinegar chips. He looked at me like I had lost my mind. Even though everything tastes kinda wonky right now, it's fun having pregnancy cravings. Because once I get my hands on whatever it is I'm craving, at that moment it becomes the best meal I have ever had in my life! Forget the five star restaurant; give me a mound of sauerkraut!

My mother-in-law seems convinced that the differences between this pregnancy and the last means that we're having a girl this time. I told her it could just be a brother with different tastes, but she said she is set on it being a girl. Right now I have no clue if it's a boy or girl. I haven't really given it much thought. From time to time I recognize that I'm a bit guarded with this pregnancy. I haven't allowed myself to think much about the due date or what it will be like when the baby is here. Last time I was so excited, spending each day day-dreaming of the future, wondering who the baby was and what he would be like. But I just take it one day at a time. I look forward to the next appointment, and I'm curious about how the cerclage will go in January. I see it coming, the surgery, but with little emotion. I see it as an observer; curious if it'll help, hoping it can help keep the baby in full term, wondering how long I'll have with this baby. Of course I want this pregnancy to be the real deal, to be full term, for it to be a child we can raise and watch grow. So I guess, it's not so much that I don't feel any emotion about it, I'm just hesitant still to believe any of it is long term until I see results. I have great hope and confidence that everything will go well with this pregnancy, but last time I had the biggest shock of my life. Some things, you just can't see coming.

We decorated for Christmas this week and a part of me wanted to put up a little stocking for Joey. In some ways, I would love to make the gesture, but in others, I know that I really do have to let go. It would be all too easy to hoard things in his name. I of course will wear his necklace on Christmas and perhaps even light his candle, but as far as stockings go, I think I'll save that for his brothers and sisters. It's bitter sweet knowing that we've got Sunshine with us this Christmas, but if things had gone differently, it would have been Joey here with us. At this point in my life, I can't answer the question: would you change things if you could? Of course, if it were possible, I would love to have Joey here, nearly two months old at this point, with us for his first Christmas. But...if Joey was here, Sunshine wouldn't be. There is no way I would ever do anything to give up Sunshine. He/she may be a mystery to me right now, just a little blip on an ultrasound picture, but he/she is my child none the less! I need Sunshine to be here with us. It's so odd knowing that neither child could exist at the same time. The chain of events that I once wished desperately to change have led me to knew beginnings. Though my son cannot exist at the same time as this new baby in our family, Sunshine could not exist without the loss of Joey. Of course I will never be happy about losing Joey, but I will always be grateful that it brought us Sunshine. Who knows what the next Christmas will bring. But for this Christmas, only two stockings will hang by the fire: mine and my husband's.

Though they cannot exist together,
One cannot be without the other,
One remains here while the other beyond,
Their existence creates an unbreakable bond.