Life After the Second Line

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pictures, as promised!

I can't figure out how to type anything above these pics, but anyway. There you go!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eleven Months Later . . .

And I'm back! Somehow, life got in the way. Who knows if this will be my last post for another eleven months -- it's quite possible -- but I thought it would be a good time for a little update, anyway.

First things first. None of my babies are really "babies" anymore. P & E are 3, and L turned 1 last month. Impossible to believe! They keep things pretty busy around here. L isn't completely walking quite yet, but he's well on his way, and I doubt it matters much anyway. He crawls at the speed of light, so how much more trouble can he possible get into upright? (I know, I know. Famous last words). He has a full head of blond curls, and the most gorgeous blue eyes you've ever seen. People comment on them everywhere we go. He says Mama, Dada, dog, and, most plainly "uh oh." And he's the happiest little boy you'll ever meet. Thank God for that -- what would it be like trying to handle the three of them if he was crabby?

P & E? Well, they're just hilarious. P has been potty trained for about six months, but E is just now starting to catch on. His daddy has taught him to pee standing up, and P is beside herself with envy. She recently asked me if we could ask God for "a girl p*nis. A pink one. Please?" She makes me laugh every day, and she makes herself laugh every day, too. If a chipmunk could giggle, she is what it would sound like, I think. E, too, is a crackup, though it's not usually on purpose. He is developing a flair for the dramatic, and when he really, really wants to catch someone's attention, he will make some big statement like, "I want to throw all my toys AWAY!" Or, "I want to give my cars away to somebody who wants them!" But when you try to actually do any of those things, he bursts into tears. No matter what, the two of them are best friends, and I feel sorry for poor L sometimes. He will always be outnumbered.

What else in 11 months? Oh! We moved across town. It was very spur of the moment, but we found a house we fell in love with that has more than enough room for the five of us. G & I's starter home wasn't really ideal for a family of five. Anyway, I rediscovered how much I HATE moving, and I plan to drop dead somewhere within these walls 60 years from now.

Right, that's the other thing -- I turned 30. Ouch. It still hurts to type that.

Hey, what do you know? Somebody's crying. I'll post pics if I get a chance, soon. Sooner than 11 months, anyway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Birth Story -- Finally!

In honor of little Luke's two month birthday(!), here is his birth story:

My C-section, as I mentioned previously, was scheduled for noon on Thursday, May 24. It was very surreal knowing the exact date and time that I would become a mom again. G and I took P & E out for dinner the night before, for our last outing as a family of four. That night, when we came home, we took out our rarely used video camera to capture that last night before everything changed. I have to say, I was feeling kind of sad. Don't get me wrong, I was very eager to finish being pregnant and to meet my new little boy. It was just weird knowing it would never be G and I alone with the twins again, and that they would never even remember those two years. The most beautiful and special two years of my life, up to that point.

I didn't sleep at all that night. G did, deeply, and he snored so hard that I doubt I could have slept even if I'd wanted to! Finally, at about 5:50, I gave up and got out of bed. I had about three hours until I needed to leave for the hospital, but we still ended up running late. By the time G's grandma got here to stay with the twins, I was pissy. I hate being late, and yet I nearly always am. Anyway, we kissed them goodbye and told them we'd see them the next day when grandma and grandpa would bring them to the hospital. Then we were off.

It's bizarre to check into the hospital when you're feeling perfectly fine. As I stood at the elevator, waiting to head up to the labor and delivery floor, a woman noticed my massive stomach. She said, "Whoa -- you're not in labor, are you? Shouldn't they get you a wheelchair?" I assured her I was fine. When we got upstairs and checked in, it turned out all of the usual C-section prep rooms were already filled, so they put me in a big recovery room with another newly delivered mom and a visitor. As I waddled in the visitor said, "Oh my goodness, look at that belly! Walk over here so she [the other new mom] can see. You've got to have a ten pound baby in there. And it's a boy, I can tell."

Next, I changed into a hospital gown and got hooked up to a fetal monitor. By this time I was feeling pretty scared and was wondering why I'd wanted to schedule the C-section in the first place. I could've been home watching The View! My mind kept racing with thoughts of how, when I finally got to go home in three days, I'd be a mom of three.

G was with me right up until it was time to go into the operating room, but then he had to wait outside until the spinal had been administered. I hated going in without him! I'd been warned it would be cold in there, and it definitely was. When I asked why it had to be so chilly, the anesthesiologist replied that the doctors get hot while they're working, and that when they get hot, they get bitchy. That made me laugh. Then he gave me the spinal, which felt just like it did when they started on my tattoo back in the day, and laid me back on the table. Before long, I couldn't feel anything and couldn't move my legs or feet. I swear, that is such a creepy feeling. Luckily, there was a radio playing in there the entire time, and at about that time "Little Wonders" by Matchbox Twenty came on. I like that song anyway, but I figured it was a good omen to hear it in the OR so near to when my baby was going to be born.

Right after that, Greg showed up, and the doctors got down to business. It was different than my C-section with the twins. During that one, they could've been operating on somebody in the next room for all I could feel. Not so much, this time. It didn't hurt, but there was all kinds of pressure and tugging. At one point, I remembered a line from the C-section information in "What to Expect." It said, "You may have the sensation of being unzipped." Yes. And I did not enjoy it one bit. I also had a burning sensation way up in my rib cage, near my chest, which I didn't remember at all from last time, but the doctors said it was normal. Meanwhile, they had both of my arms stretched out to my sides. My left hand fell asleep, and I decided to focus on that.

The surgery seemed to go on for a long time, much longer than I remembered with the twins. That's probably partly because my memory has faded, but also because I seriously couldn't feel anything the last time. It was much better that way. Greg kept trying to distract me by talking about what the baby would look like. Maybe he'll be a redhead, he speculated, since he does have a handful of cousins with flaming red hair. Anyway, while I laid there concentrating on my sleeping hand and trying to make idle chitchat with, the doctors and nurses started discussing American Idol. The finale had been on just a couple weeks earlier, and there was much controversy in the OR over whether Jordin had really deserved to win over Blake. Being an avid AI fan, I decided to jump into the conversation from my spot behind the blue sheet. I told everyone that I'd heard that first round auditions would be coming to a city near here in the fall, and that that figured, since this is the first year I am too old to try out. My doctor asked if I could sing, and I said no, but that I would've tried out anyway, just to say I did it. Who knows, maybe I could've made one of the bad audition shows?

Finally, when I thought all the tugging might never end, my doctor said, "Who said he was going to have red hair? Wrong!" I felt my stomach cartwheel. "You can see him? Does he have hair at all?" "Oh yeah, but it's not red. It's dark," she replied. And then Greg went down to check out the action, apparently getting there just in time to see Luke's head emerge from the incision. Yikes! He came back quickly and said, "I saw him. He looks good." Then, right after that, I heard the sound I'd waited so long for -- a strong, short, angry yell. "Waa! Waa! Waa!" It was nothing like the tiny cries P and E had managed to make. She held the baby up for me to see, and he looked HUGE. I guessed he probably was a ten pounder. His color was not very good; he looked pretty gray to me, but since nobody else seemed worried about it, I chose not to, either. I was shocked by all of his hair, because we'd seen almost none on ultrasound. Shortly afterward, they wrapped him in a hat and a blanket and set him up by my head so I could look into his eyes for the first time. I never got to do that with P & E since they were whisked away to the NICU so quickly. It was an amazing moment that I will never, ever forget. We'd done it. He was here and he was healthy. I couldn't speak, except to say, "Wow."

They did have to take him to the nursery for weighing and measuring and all that good stuff, but it wasn't long before they brought him to me in recovery. That was when I really believed that he was fine. Until that moment, there'd been a voice in the back of my mind telling me to brace myself for a NICU stay. But when he came in the room, wrapped in just his hat and blanket with not a monitor in sight, I felt a huge weight I hadn't even known I was still carrying lift off my shoulders. The nurse handed him to me, and I stared into his sleeping face, and I welcomed him into the world. Greg, who had gone with L to the nursery and then to give all the details to our parents waiting outside, arrived a few minutes later. As we looked at each other and then down at our new son, it was as if we were the only people on earth.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Introducing . . .

Lucas Gregory H., born Thursday, May 24 at 12:24 p.m. He weighed in at a monstrous (for us, anyway) 6 lbs., 4 oz. and was 18 inches long. At today's doctor appointment he had already managed to shoot up to 6 lbs., 14 oz., so apparently breastfeeding is going better than I thought it was.

We are completely in love.

Edited to add: Apparently the lack of sleep is already catching up with me: Luke was born Thursday May 24, not May 22! Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Go Time! (Almost)

Yesterday I had my nearly 38 week appointment. The little guy looked fine, passed his NST with a little help from the buzzer and did all the appropriate things as we watched him on ultrasound. My amniotic fluid level was, however, still a bit low, despite me drinking oh, I don't know, maybe 500 gallons of water since last Tuesday.

My doctor was unconcerned. "We can hardly call this 'low'," she said. "'Normal' is anything 9 or above, and you've been at 8.8 and 8.9 the past two weeks."

But she was forgetting two very important points. First, I am a lawyer by training, and second, I am very, very tired of being pregnant. I spent the next few minutes pleading my case. Then I spent the next few minutes after that throwing myself on her mercy. Ok, fine. I was begging. A little.

"Well," she said, "I suppose an argument COULD be made for bumping up the delivery based on the amniotic fluid. But it's a pretty weak argument . . . are you sure you don't want to be pregnant for another week and a half?"

Needless to say, I was sure. So in the end, we compromised. She suggested this coming Thursday, May 24, IF there was an opening available. If not, we'd stay on for June 1. She called scheduling. I held my breath. And yes -- there was an opening! So, THIS THURSDAY morning I will report to the hospital at 9:30 a.m. with the C-section scheduled for 12:00. Baby boy will be 38w1d old, which is 5 full weeks older than the twins were at birth, so we are hopeful (and prayerful!) that he will be just fine.

Now, of course, I am scared shitless and doubting my decision. Am I really ready for this? How on earth am I going to take care of three kids age 25 mos. and younger? What happens when G goes back to work? (He has two weeks off). I'd counted on his grandma (who is very young and spry, seriously!) being available, but she and her husband have a camping trip planned for the second week of June. That should've been fine, as G would've still been off then, but now his vacation is starting a full week early, so that's the week he will be going back. That didn't even cross my mind yesterday as I was in my get-this-baby-out-asap frenzy, but it's too late to do anything about it now. I mean, will I be physically able to do this alone by then? Last time, my C-section recovery was very fast and very smooth, but I didn't have any kids or any babies at home for the first four weeks afterward. Oh my. I think I may be starting to hyperventilate.

And I keep staring at P & E, tearing up, thinking about how these are the very last days of our life as a foursome. They've been such special, amazing years for me, yet P & E aren't even going to remember them. At just over two years old now, they won't ever recall a life with no baby brother tagging along behind them. It's just weird to think about.

I'm just so overwhelmed right now. So full of love and fear and excitement and worry and nostalgia and hope. And all that in with the crazy pg hormones at max capacity and, well, I'm a little bit of a basket case. A happy one, don't get me wrong. But a basket case all the same.

Monday, May 14, 2007

18 Days

Yup. 18 days until our newest little man is scheduled to make his appearance. On one hand, it's hard to believe, but on the other, I feel like I've been pregnant forever. I am so ready to have my boy in my arms instead of headbutting my bladder.

I had my nearly 37 week appointment today, and everything looked pretty good. In fact, for the first time, the nurse did not use that obnoxious buzzing noisemaker pressed against my belly in order to wake the young man enough to pass his NST. Only problem was my amniotic fluid was a tad low. Of course that freaked me out, but the NP assured me it was only "borderline", not horrible, and that I probably just needed to drink more. I was holding a water bottle at the time. She looked at it and said, "Four of those a day should do it." Four? That is 80 freaking ounces of water a day! Does she not realize that I am already peeing 24 times a day??? Argh. Then she added, "Try to get some milk and juice in on top of that." Good Lord. But, all for a good cause. I am now on my third bottle of the day.

I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect that, when I go for my next appointment a week from today, if the fluid is still running low they might go ahead and deliver him. I'll be nearly 38 weeks by then, and my doctor will be back in the office. (She is on vacation this week). I'm definitely going to take my husband and my suitcase to the appointment, just in case.

So for now it's just a waiting game. Luckily I have P & E to keep me more than occupied. Mother's Day with them yesterday was just incredible, and I couldn't stop thinking about how blessed I was. I really get to keep both of them, and now I get another one on top of it? Try telling THAT to the Heather of three years ago whose first IVF cycle had just been cancelled. She'd never, ever have believed it. She still doesn't, sometimes.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Uncharted Territory

35 weeks today. Can you believe it? Tomorrow I will be two full weeks more pregnant than I ever was with Peyton and Ethan. One more week until the high risk OB says I can stop taking my baby aspirin, because if my blood pressure creeps up after that point, delivering the baby should be perfectly safe and require no NICU stay. Did you hear that? NO NICU STAY!

I can hardly believe I've made it this far. I won't lie -- it's been a very long haul. After I had P & E, I used to daydream about maybe having another baby someday. It would be a singleton, I figured, and I would have a smooth and simple pregnancy along with a full term delivery. I would be all glowy and rosy, enjoying my status as a "regular," not high risk, mommy-to-be every single day. I would make sure the baby's carseat was installed before I went to the hospital to deliver him, confident that he would be coming home with me when I was released in two or three days time.

Well. It hasn't exactly gone that way. I mean, in part it has -- this pregnancy has been completely uneventful. Other than some trace blood in my urine at a couple appointments (which had disappeared by yesterday's) absolutely nothing out of the ordinary has occurred. My blood pressure has been fine, sometimes even good. The baby has consistently measured somewhere around the 50th percentile, and I've never had any reason to worry about his well being, as he has been very active since the first day I felt him move sometime around 17 weeks. And yet, I still sort of feel like I've blown it. I have NOT enjoyed this pregnancy and only partly because of all the vomiting and achiness and blah blah blah. No, for the most part, I haven't enjoyed the pregnancy because I've been freaking out the entire time. Rather than enjoying this wonderful surprise and the gift of a normal, routine pregnancy, I've spent pretty much every day waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now it's almost over, and I'm so relieved, but I also wish I could go back and give myself a swift kick in the ass. All this time spent worrying, and for what? Even if all the terrible things I obsessed about had happened, would the worrying have done any good? Of course not.

But I still think maybe it's not too late. I still have 4 weeks and 2 days to go until the little guy's scheduled appearance. We're putting the finishing touches on the nursery, and I did get all his clothes washed and hung because hey -- it looks like he should be able to come right home and wear them! The carseat is not installed yet, but it will be soon. Definitely before I leave for the hospital on the 1st. Because finally, with 30 days to go, I'm starting to believe that this might all work out.