Tuesday, December 20, 2011

bit by bit

It's getting better. Zoloft seems to be kicking in. Ativan took the edge off so I can sleep. Sleep enables me to be rational when I'm awake. Titus is sweet and snoozy.  Ive had a few girlfriends over to spoil me. Bring me lunch or baked goods. The darkness this time of year gets to me even when I'm not having a mental health crisis.  On the whole, much better now.

The foster girls came over for a gift exchange and some holiday fun Sunday evening. They met the baby for the first time. The girls are growing so fast. It was just over a year ago that they came to stay with us.

I am paranoid about Titus getting a cold or the flu so I keep him in unless I have to take him to the doctor. We have ventured out when its not raining for a few spins around the neighborhood. I splashed out a bit of cash for his Britax stroller/ car seat combo but it was so worth it. light weight.. even I can put the stroller in the car without much hassle. Hes been up to the children's hospital for a final consult with the pediatric cardiologist. Actually a different one than I saw while he was in utero. They did yet another echo cardiogram ( did 2 while he was in the NICU) and she said his heart looks great. She will not need to see him again until he is 3 years of age. That said, he still has to have a surgery! On his penis.. poor little guy. He has a birth defect of the penis called hypospadias. Basically his pee hole is in the wrong spot, and the penis bends in an odd manner. So in the interest of not making him sit when he pees and of him being able to have normal sexual function as an adult, the doc will need to do a repair. I don't know 100% whats involved but we have another consult when he is 4 months old and will learn more then. The surgery is to be done anytime after 6 months of age.

Still no news from Genetics.

Presently waiting for my mother to arrive so I may get a shower and fix dinner and she can have some baby snuggle time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Not quite happily ever after

I have been living with a pretty nasty case of postpartum depression/ anxiety. By anxiety I really mean terror and panic. I cry for hours every day, needless to say I am not enjoying my infant very much. I worry constantly . If he vomits, I freak out. If he poops too much. If he coughs, snorts, or grunts. My biggest fear is that he will slip away silently in his sleep, so I keep a vigil. Checking him often which cuts into my sleep. He is so precious an irreplaceable to me. If anything happened to him I wouldn't survive it.

 Today I saw the clinical social worker that works out of my OB's clinic. I had seen her about a dozen times a couple of years ago, right after the miscarriages. I like her very much but my feeling has always been that when it comes to real illness, she is slightly out of her depth. Back then I switched to a psychiatrist, insurance paid but shes out of network and to see her again would require paperwork and probably a wait. She is always booked solid. The clinical social worker asked my OB to prescribe zoloft which I had taken in the fall/ winter of 2009. I also asked for ativan to get me over the hump, but she said she would really rather not ask the doctor for that as its addictive. I almost laughed considering the amount and duration of narcotics they had me on  after my C section. A little ativan until the zoloft kicks in seems like small potatoes. I know I need to do the hard work of being positive, relaxation breathing and all of that. I just want a little help. I wrote the OB and asked her myself today. If she says no, then she will need to write me a new refferal to the prescriber.

I have not been able to nurse the baby. Long story short, I never got any milk in. Ive pumped 6-8 times per day for the past 3.5 weeks with very little to show for it each time. Titus wouldn't really properly latch and nurse until last week. now that he will there isnt any milk. I get anywhere from 10 to 30ml. per pump. Today I had to say enough is enough. Ive seen lactation consultants. While they have lots of great tips for getting the baby to latch and drink.. not so much for building a milk supply. Of course I had a rough start with the C section, the NICU time etc. Still gutted about the whole thing. I really dont want this baby to live on fortified cows milk. Formula even smells bad to me.  There are no opperational milk banks in my area.

I wanted to switch to my baby blog but to be honest I havnt had the energy to set it up yet, and until I dig my way out of this hole I dont feel like I am quite done here. I so much wanted to enjoy this early time with my baby. He is doing fantastic by the way. All the concern is all in my head. I know this. At the rate he has been going he should hit 7 lbs tomorrow.  I am healing up reasonably well from the C section. Brian returns to work tomorrow, after his 3 week paternity leave. My mom will be with me for the better part of a week.

If any of you have experience with post partum depression or anxiety please share.

Monday, November 14, 2011

and with a golden ticket its a golden day

Brian went with me to my fetal growth scan/ non stress test on the afternoon of Friday the 4th. Titus aced the non stress test, but the tech must have looked at the umbilical cord flow for a half hour. Finally she went and got the doctor who said that he didn't like the cord flow, and that growth had slowed down in general. My C section was set for Tuesday the 8th which would have put me at 39 weeks exactly. The peri said that there was no great reason to wait, just to get a number. Because 39 weeks sounds better than 38 weeks. He said the cord flow could have looked worse, but it certainly wasn't optimal. So He sent us home to gather our things including my Mom and had us check into the hospital at 4pm with a C section scheduled for 6:30. We arrived on time and were taken to a labor and delivery room. I was so very uncomfortable at that point. I couldnt lie on my back because of the pain and pressure. I had to for a short while for the fetal heart monitor. The time went fast as they prepped me, took blood, got an IV in, gave me a pubic hair shave. Anesthesia came in and informed me I would be having a spinal block. I wasnt sure if spinal blocks or epidurals were used for C sections. At about quarter to 6pm my on perinatologist surprised me by showing up in his scrubs accompanied by a couple of residents. He had decided that he wanted to do my surgery himself (not common with an HMO). Everything was delayed a bit by the anesthesia folks being in high demand for epidurals around that time. At around 7pm I was walked into the OR. Got a couple of shots of regional anesthetic in my spine before they did the block. that was the most painful part. Brian was waiting in his scrubs, outdoors and since he was the only family member allowed in for the procedure, my Mom took the opportunity to get herself some dinner.

After they did a couple of pain tests on me, they let Brian in. He sat right next to me behind the sterile drape. I couldn't see or feel much of anything. Felt much more relaxed when they gave me some oxygen and I started feeling the small amount of morphine they added to my spinal. Before long there were tugging sensations. I didn't mind them at all, I was so interested in what was going on and so eager to see my baby. Titus was born at 7:43 pm pink and screaming.  He scored 8 and 9 on his APGARS. In light of that, they decided he could room in with me and they let Brian carry him back to the labor room where the nurse cleaned him up a bit more while i got stitched up. Sewing everything up takes quite a bit longer than cutting it open. Apparently my Peri is quite the perfectionist. I have every confidence that he did a magnificent job. I asked for some mild sedation at this point and they were kind enough to give me something that they said worked like alchohol on the brain. I felt great but dont remember much of the next hour or two. When they took me back to the labor room I was allowed  to put Titus to breast right away.

Next we were taken to a recovery room where I would spend 4 days. At about 3 am I noticed through my drug fog that something wasn't quite right with Titus. I couldn't put my finger on it. I called for the nurse who had an NICU nurse come and check him out. She said she could tell that his blood sugar was low by the way he was shivering. She took him to the nursery and I didn't get him back that night, or any of the nights I stayed in the hospital. He needed formula right away for his blood sugar. The next day they put in a glucose drip. Sad to see an IV in a little tiny hand.  I was sore but got out of bed and had them wheel me to the NICU on Saturday morning. Brian went very early and was given some lessons in how to hold and feed him.  He was so confident and I was very impressed, considering that he had never been around any infants.

By Sunday Titus was looking rather orange. Sure enough, he had a pretty bad case of jaundice. They put him under lights in nothing but a diaper. He even had to be fed on the table. This pretty much demolished my chances of being able to nurse him with any regularity. One time they wrapped him in the portable light blanket which they then stuffed down my button up pajama top. I guess that was kangaroo care. The skin to skin contact felt wonderful to me. Probably felt good to Titus too. They brought a really nice Medela pump to my room and I was encouraged to pump 8 times per day. I got most of my colostrum out that way and they fed it to Titus or let me do it.

The pediatrician on staff said that Titus has a small deformity of his penis. I forget now what its called, she made a referral to pediatric urology. His platelet count is also pretty low. This means I have to take him for a blood draw twice a week until it goes up to acceptable levels. I despise hearing him cry. His poor little hamburger feet. It breaks a Mother's heart. All of these things combined with his heart defect and short limbs made them worry more about a possible genetic disorder. They took a lot of blood right before he was discharged to be sent to my genetics doctor. She is already busy researching what it might possibly be. The blood work should be helpful.

He LOOKS perfect though. Really. He is exactly what we wanted. You can get lost in his almond shaped eyes. Very alert for such a new baby. He hardly ever fusses. When hes awake, he likes to be held and to stare at me. He roots around for the breast but since I still don't have much milk in, he is usually disappointed when he latches on.  I saw a lactation consultant yesterday at our mother baby appointment and shes given me many fine tips. I'm not going to give up. I pump and pump with the pump that as given to me by my fertility friend buddy. I got another pump yesterday that I hope will be easier on my nipples. Its a rental but insurance paid for it.

Brian has another 2 full weeks off and I suppose we are "babymooning". Its a love fest at our house. We walk around looking happy and stupid and shocked. This baby seems special, having survived my hostile uterus. Having been conceived at all. And here he is so lovely and bright eyed. I'm Charlie Bucket with his Golden ticket.

My time spent trying to build a family and eventually getting lucky was the most profound and life altering thing hat has ever happened to me. I take nothing for granted. My heart is full.

I reckon that this is it for Don't Count your Chickens. Brian and I have been talking about a blog for Titus, to talk about his health and share how hes growing. Might or might not turn into a parenting blog but it should be fun with both of us contributing. Brian can write much better than I can. We will link when its up and running.

Before I go I would like to ask -- who are you? How did you come across my blog? Are you dealing with infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss? I would love to know your story and read your blog if you have one.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We are home



I plan to add what there is of Titus' birth story and my stay in the hospital / his stay in the NICU within the next couple of days.

Good news, his VSD shrank like magic. He wont need to see a pediatric cardiologist for several months. He had two echocardiograms and it looks really good.

Bad news, he has many small health problems. The genetics doctor wants to see him soon and they already took blood for some genetic testing. Shes expecting that the testing may come up with nothing but strongly suspects that he has some sort of genetic issue.

I will elaborate soon. Just enjoying my little man and recovering from my C section whilst attempting to get a milk supply. We were not able to breast feed at the hospital and are getting off to a late start. Titus is very willing though and we have lots of support.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

i went to the peri appointment on friday, doc mentioned groth restriction and didnt like his cord flow. He decided to to the section tgat evening. Brian and i got our bags from home and checked into the hospital by4 pm. Titus was born at 7:43 pm weighing 5lb 15 oz and was 17.5 inches long. Ha has some soft dark brown hair and is gorgeous!!

Im having a painful recovery. Titus got taken to NICU at 3:30 this morning for low blood sugar they are giving him formula in a bottle and glucosw in an IV to raise it. Funny that he should be there but not because of his heart . Im pumping colostrum.. There is a lot more to say and pictures to share. Im on my ipod at hospital and that will have to wait a day or two.

I love the peanut and cant wait to show him off here soon.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

parents and the hospital

My Mom and Dad divorced when I was 11. My dad was married again a year later and my stepmother wanted nothing to do with my Mom. Fair enough,  she managed to avoid being in the same room with my Mom until I got married at 28. They ignored each other and it worked out OK. It is just occurred to me that they will both be at the hospital on Tuesday. ugh. The last thing I want to worry about is whether or not they are getting along or if they are  awkward or uncomfortable. I suppose they are all adults but it does not feel like that. I am just hoping that I am so stoned on pain meds that I don't care.

I had asked my Dad if maybe they could wait a few days to let me recover a bit and to see if Titus will be in the NICU. He said they want to be there at the time of the birth. I need to remind myself that they have waited for this a long time too.

5 days! This is still surreal. I can not wrap my mind around a live infant in 5 days time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I am not really cool with having this C section. Feeling more and more robbed of a "normal" pregnancy. I suppose I should have given up on that after the bleeding episodes, or the discovery of the defects. Bah. Just grumpy today.

The trip to Eugene for baby shower # 2  was actually pleasant. My stepmother made a real effort. She and I have had a strained relationship for over 23 years.  Better since I got married 7 years ago. Speaking of that, Brian and I extended our anniversary celebration to the weekend, got a decent hotel room. Dinner out and a leisurely breakfast the next morning.

I have probably mentioned that my step mom almost certainly meets the clinical definition of a hoarder. She hoards clothing mostly, and household items in general.  Since my youngest brother was born nearly 20 years ago, shes been collecting baby stuff of both genders. When my niece came along 8 years ago it got worse. She kicked down lots of clothing for the foster girls. Too much. I felt like I was drowning in clothes while I got it all sorted. Our house is only 1000 square feet.  I finally got it all packed away with them or taken to the goodwill, and now I have a load of infant stuff. When we arrived at their place on Saturday her entire (large) living room was packed with boxes. It took me 5 hours to go through it all. I ended up with 3 small bins and a box or two. I could have just said no, but she is so focused on these things and its so important to her I didn't want to upset her. I did refuse the toys. I just said Im not OK with old plastic toys and BPA. I certainly feel like less is more when it comes to toys and I want high quality wooden ones for the most part.

My other mom came over yesterday to help launder, sort, and put everything away including the hoarded clothes and all the shower gifts. We cleaned as well. I was pretty wiped out by the time the 3 girls came over for a special Halloween treat and to show of their costumes. We had not seen them for a couple of weeks. They looked fantastic and seemed well. The eldest is slipping back into her old speech patterns. Baby talk. That was a little hard to hear after I spent so much time working with her over the summer. Nothing I can do about it now though.

There I am a couple of days ago at just under 38 weeks. I now have 7 days until delivery. Not sure what to do with this week,, I guess I can do my best to relax and be calm about the surgery. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Missing

I miss those girls terribly now. Im sorry to say, but its by order of age youngest to oldest. The little one was only 2 when she arrived. So hard not to feel as though I have abandoned them. I think I hear them in the night and get up, half asleep. I make too much dinner. Talking to them on the phone or seeing them in person makes it 100 times harder, but I have to keep doing it. I try to imagine how they feel.

For me its similar to the feeling you get when you split up with a long term boyfriend. Or perhaps when a dear friend moves very far away. Its grief. I know what grief feels like. Our foster certifier warned me about this. She said its normal and it means that you attached properly. Normal or not, it still smarts.

  I also think we will do it again. On a smaller scale, after we know more about Titus' heart condition, and after our trip to England this spring. I don't know if I said that Brian's Nana has given us 2000 pound to travel to England as soon as the baby is able. That's just over 3000 US dollars. Ive been looking at the Icelandic air website and hoping we will able to fly with them for the stopover. Plus its less expensive than British air which would be my second choice. I wont fly internationally with any of the US based airlines. The service is awful. The space is cramped. Its a 10 hour flight from Seattle to Heathrow and that's a lot of time to be uncomfortable.

Today Brian and I celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary. Maybe having a meal out. Usually we get a fancy hotel room but we are saving that for this weekend when we travel south a bit to see my parents and attend another baby shower.

Monday, October 24, 2011

hehe

Want to see a really goofy picture of my husband? Hes in the middle. I'm not sure I have ever seen that sort of syrupy face on him before. He was watching me open up baby stuff. The woman sitting next to him furtively eating a cupcake is my cousin. One who looks quite a bit like me. The woman next to her is my Mother. There are some of me opening gifts but I have to ask the woman who was sitting next to me if its OK that I post them here, as she reads the blog on occasion.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Date of birth

Should be 11-8-11

Unless he happens to flip, in which case we will proceed with a regular vaginal labor and delivery when the time comes.

Or unless I happen to go into labor early and he needs to be taken right then. He was still very much breech at my appointment today. OB palpated my belly and said she was nearly 100% sure but confirmed with ultrasound.  Everything at today's appointment was picture perfect. Except my weight.. I am gaining at what I think is an alarming rate. The doctor isn't worried. The non stress test was easy. My cervix is closed tight. Afterward my step mom took me to lunch then shopping for things to wear at the hospital. Nursing bras and pajamas. All told it was a good day. I have my 8 year old niece tonight and tomorrow for the baby shower.  She has been fed pizza and ice cream , watching a bbc production of Hansel and Gretel but soon to be put to bed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There are baby showers coming up. One this Saturday and the other on the 30th. I have to drive 2 hours to my Dad's place for that one, I suppose 100 miles isn't too far to travel at 38 weeks but I hate driving even when I'm not huge and breathless. I didn't start driving on a regular basis until I was nearly 30. The freeway still freaks me out. Oddly, I'm totally fine driving in heavy city traffic. Its just what you're used to. Brian does not drive at all, which is OK most of the time but will make the whole getting to the hospital and back a little awkward. I wont be able to drive for a while C section. I suppose my mom can take a taxi to the hospital and drive us home when we are discharged. They are very particular about car seats in this country.

Oh yes, baby showers. I feel like I don't deserve this. I'm not saying that to be dramatic. I have never had anything to mark a big milestone in life. No senior prom or pictures. No formal high school graduation. I got married on a Tuesday morning at 8 am at the courthouse. I had no bridal shower. So not only am I not used to these sorts of things, but I STILL feel like a big imposter. Like its not real or that everyone is going to be terribly disappointed when things suddenly take a turn for the awful and there is no baby to use these things. This is what recurrent loss does to your brain.

Jeffery is coming home! This weekend my dad is flying to Maryland to get him from the hospital. He still has a very long road to recovery. He will need to spend a lot of time here in Portland where we have the larger hospitals for additional skin grafts and monitoring. I presume he will stay here when he needs to, Brian willing. My step mom is dropping off my 8 year old niece friday morning and she will spend the night. The house feels empty without the girls so it will be good to have a child for company.

I slept for 4 hours today. Now its getting dark and I feel weird. I never even got dressed. Its not that Im feeling unwell, just not sleeping much at night. Maybe a shower then a short walk around the neighborhood will help.

Im very anxious for my OB appointment / non stress test on Friday. This is when I will likely get my C section date. Brian can start his leave whenever he needs to. Its getting so close.. Im afraid of major surgery but I want what is best for the baby.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Because Brian and I have decided that I wont have a version, we are now trying to figure out the logistics of a C section delivery and recovery. I'm still holding out some hope that Titus will turn on his own. It has been known to happen. I am not sure why the perinatologist stated that he feels that the baby wont move. Perhaps its because he has been breech since 15 weeks. I do know that hes running out of room. In Canada they are going back to allowing a lot of breech babies to be born vaginally. Not so here, they just wont do it.


Thanks to a generous friend from the Internet I now am the proud owner of a hospital grade Limerick brand breast pump. We met in person the other day. She also donated a few other fine items, a moses basket on a stand complete with a couple of sets of bedding, a dozen glass Born free glass bottles that look as if they have hardly been used and some sleepers, which we needed. Other small things pouring in from friends and I feel lucky and grateful. We splurged on a fairly high end stroller and car seat combo which arrived yesterday.

My neighbors were fighting all night.. or something. Lots of slamming of the front door, stomping on the porch, strange guttural whining and crying noises.  Finally hauled myself out of bed at 4 am with Brian up shortly after. We had tea and porridge. I am enjoying our last few weeks alone together. Our 7th wedding anniversary is on the 26th.  Brian arrived in the US on October 3rd 2004.



Tomorrow we take the girls to lunch.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

even though hes light

hes got way more chunk on him than he did 9 weeks ago.

Breech baby

Titus is Breech. While this didn't concern my providers a few weeks ago, they are now telling me what my options are. I don't like them!

1. if the baby is still breech at my OB appointment next week I can arrange to have a "version" with the perinatologist the following week (37).

2. if the baby is still breech at my OB appointment next week I may arrange to have a C section closer to my due date.

The perinatologist is not confident that he will turn on his own between now and then. He says it can happen but really not very often. I plan to try a few home tactics to encourage him to head south. Versions only work 50% of the time and can cause fetal distress and placental abruption. I say no thanks!

His limbs are measuring about the same amount of short as last time. Hes growing, everything else still measures fine. His head measured to the day. His limbs grow too but they are just so short. They did image his heart but didn't say anything about it. The only difference is that last time the peri said that they would call somebody in during the middle of the night should Titus be born at night. This time he said it could wait a day. So I sort of wonder if the hole appeared smaller but he didn't want to get my hopes up. The tech told me she couldn't see it at all. Who knows.. we got so busy talking about what to do about the Breech situation that it sort of took up the whole appointment. The doctor did mention that the baby's estimated weight is lighter than they would like to see at this point. They think hes 4 lbs 10 oz. Most babies would be close to 6 lbs by now, so this gets me weekly non stress tests at the OB's office. He did say that its probably because of his short limbs but he has to do these to cover his butt. The non stress monitoring takes 45 min and can be done during my weekly OB appointments. I see the Peri again at 38 weeks.

He did some tests yesterday to try to get to the bottom of all the upper abdominal pain Ive been having, including an ultrasound of my gall bladder and blood work for liver stuff. It all checked out ok so feels like the L&D lady did, that its digestive. Maybe an ulcer. Hes prescribed antacids. I'm still waking up every hour moaning and sometimes crying because of the pain and pressure. sigh. I will live but it would be nice to get some sleep. Lucky for me , I have nothing to do for the next 5 weeks except take care of myself and rest. I am considering this my maternity leave and well deserved.

New foster mom came and got the very last of the girl's things yesterday. I feel wicked admitting that I'm only missing them a little. I think that it just feels like vacation at the moment and that next week the missing will kick in big time. We take them to lunch this weekend.

Oddly, my rash is gone! PUPPP isn't supposed to go away until you deliver so either its a miracle, or it wasn't PUPPP. it looked like the real thing. started in my stretch marks and spread to all the usual places. I am thankful. One less thing to worry about.

I'm off for a healthy pregnant lady breakfast consisting of a piece of sprouted grain toast with tofu pate, a cup of strawberries, and a glass of organic whole milk.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jeffery had over 9 hours of skin grafting yesterday. No word yet on his condition but they said he would be in the ICU for a couple of days while recovering.

These little guys arrived a little over a year ago. We love you little muchachos, wherever you are.

Today is the girl's last full day in our home. Party starts at 1pm with friends and family coming round to say bon voyage. We will drive the ladies and their things out to the new family's place early tomorrow morning.

I guess the empty house will show the dirt. Ive not had a truly clean home for about a year. I will have some help getting things sorted in the next few weeks. The little girl's room smells faintly of urine although we cant figure out the source. I despise carpeting. We have it in only two rooms and Ive wanted to rip it out since we got here. Im putting the baby in the one bedroom that has no carpeting, if hes anything like me he wont tolerate dust and dust mites very well. The other room will become a sitting room, if there is the time and energy we will put in the walnut flooring that was leftover from one of my mom's projects.

I have a perinatology appointment on Tuesday afternoon and Im pretty nervous about it. I am afraid they will tell me his limbs have slowed down their growth even more since the last scan. The girl's social worker wants me to head directly to the children's hospital after my appointment to meet with the developmental pediatrician, and developmental psychologist along with the new foster mom to discuss whats been going on with the eldest girl. Im reserving the right to bow out if I get bad news.

The sun is shining and its time for me to start cooking and decorating for our party this afternoon. It should be fun with several of the girl's friends in attendance as well as my family.

Monday, October 3, 2011

my brother

My brother phoned me from the East coast tonight. He had 3.5 hours of surgery today. The people who will do his skin graffs watched the doctors work on his broken arm bones to get a better idea of what needs to be done in the coming days. Jeffery has a morphine drip and is hitting it often. He seemed tired, bored,  and slightly grumpy. He did say that hes happy to be alive, and was sure he was a dead man during and directly after the fall.

Jeffery is the biological child of my dad and his second wife. Born just a few weeks before my 16th birthday he has always been the apple of my eye. Sort of like a mix between a nephew and a brother. I dont know what I would have done if he would have been hurt even worse. It will be good to have him home for the holidays and to meet Titus. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

my rash has become rather debilitating. Its now spread to my arms, arm pits, hands, feet, bottoms of feet, legs, and butt. not to mention the top of my vagina.  My feet are on fire and I cant wear shoes. Gosh, I was looking forward to the 5 weeks after the girls left to go to the pool, maybe do some yoga, prepare the house for baby and try to prepare myself mentally for childbirth. Now all I can think of is scratching until I bleed. Prescription steroid cream is doing nothing, but the herbal salve a kind friend prepared for me can take the edge off, if only for a short time. Brian and my mom have offered to take some time off of work this week to help me out with the packing and girls transition. Sleep is mostly a thing of the past but I took an antihistamine last night and slept at least 6 hours from exhaustion. I feel mentally stable this morning. Last night I thought I was losing my marbles. Ive never been a person who functions well with sleep deprivation.

This picture isn't an under baked muffin,, but rather a close up shot of my rashy underbelly. This is where it all started, which is typical of PUPPP. I wouldn't wish this on anyone and if any of you have had this condition I would appreciate knowing your story and how you coped.

We did meet the new family yesterday for pizza and games. The girls are pissed off at us. They like the new parents well enough but are not shy about expressing their anger and hurt over the whole thing. I am confident that they will do well in this home and thrive. This family has a lot more space because they live in the suburbs and its much easier to afford a larger house out there. They are highly organized and tidy, these girls need a lot of structure.

My youngest brother who is 16 years younger than I am has been hopping trains for the past couple of years. He was disgruntled with school and society in general and wanted to live life on the road and be a Hobo for a while. His choice, although of course we didn't approve. He has a trust fund for University when he wants to go. Anyhow he was in an awful accident on Friday night. Hopping a train by himself somewhere in Maryland his clothing got snagged up on something. He fell off the moving train and very nearly tore his arm off in the process. Was taken to a local hospital but they couldn't treat a "degloving" wound so the flew him to a hospital in a neighboring state. He had his first surgery yesterday morning. He will need ongoing reconstructive surgery and skin graffs. He may or may not regain use of his arm. My dad and step mom are not flying to the East coast to be with him, which baffles me. I would go if I could. At least he will be coming home when he gets out of hospital in a few weeks. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

insomnia

I forgot to mention that I was in labor and delivery on Sunday night. I hadn't been able to sleep Friday or Saturday nights because of a searing upper abdominal pain/ pressure. near my sternum and focused around my right rib in the front.  The nurse didn't really know what to think so she transferred me to the charge nurse at the hospital who told me to come right in. She said that sort of pain is commonly associated with Pre eclampsia and hellp syndrome. She told me to bring a bag and made me go to the hospital that I will eventually deliver at, which frightened me.

I was pleasantly surprised at how nice this hospital is. The staff was wonderful and they got me in a room right away. Having pre registered a few weeks ago was a good idea as they had all my information and I didn't have to mess with any paperwork. The doctor took my blood pressure, palpated my chest and decided pretty quickly that the pain was from gas and just being huge. She prescribed some laxatives and sent me on my way. Not before showing some of the nursing staff my PUPPP rash  which I guess they don't see all that often. The problem is that my bowels are regular and I still have the pain. Ive been up most of the night. Same for last night. Today I will need to call the OB and see if I cant get a second opinion. I'm worried that its my gall bladder or pancreas. Liver? I know that women get uncomfortable around this time but this seems over the top.

On the plus side, we have had gorgeous warm autumn weather. I'm going to get an early morning walk before everyone wakes up and I will have time to take a nap while the girls are at school if I can get comfortable enough. My mom suggested that I buy myself a good quality reclining chair, so I might go furniture shopping this weekend.

Its been decided that we will take the girls to Chuck E cheese on Saturday for their first meeting with the new parents. Its an obnoxious place .. they serve something they call pizza(cardboard) and there are lots of games for the kids.  Parents hate it but kids love it, and the girls have been bugging me to go. No excuse as its within walking distance. At least when I was a kid in the 80's it had the slight redeeming quality of having giant , singing, animatronic mice and other creatures performing on a stage. They retired those in the late 90's.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Looks like

They found a home for the girls. An adoptive home if need be, and I'm sure it will come to that. I almost squealed when I got the call late this afternoon.  I am so excited for the girls. Not that they have to move again, and form new attachments that just sucks however you look at it, but because this situation looks so hopeful. These people are my age, been married for 14 years and have no children. The woman seemed so thrilled and frightened on the phone. Going from zero to three kids is a huge deal. I'm giving her as much stuff as I can and hopefully she will come to me for advice and support if they need it.

I will give more details as I get them.  I have to start packing, the transition will begin this weekend when we meet the family for a meal.  Much work to be done sorting out all their paper work and making sure the medication protocols are printed out, the schools are informed etc. The girls know that they are going to meet a nice family this weekend. The actual move is likely not going to take place for a week or so.

This seems to be exactly what I was hoping for and not a moment too soon. Brian told me not to count my chickens (I don't think he knows the name of my blog) because social services can move so slow and you never know what will happen, but I think they are trying to work with our deadline and I seriously doubt they would have given this adoptive mom our number if it wasn't going full speed ahead.

Brian and I feel a strange mixture of excitement , relief, and being totally gutted. Going to be strange getting used to an empty house, even if its only empty for another 5 or 6 weeks after they leave. I feel possessive of these children and the hardest part will be turning their care over to another family.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Not sure why the last post was so big and bold. The rash is unusual because it itches and burns through what feels like all the layers of skin. Down to the nerves.  Ive never experienced anything like it. I would post a picture if I didnt think I would disgust you. I thought I had some ingrown hairs that got infected.. the OB said its a textbook case of PUPP. Not much to be done for it. Cortisone cream not cutting it so she has prescribed some stronger steroid cream. I put a bandage on it the other night so I wouldnt scratch it in my sleep but ended up tearing it off while sleeping, so that didnt help much.

Today's OB appointment was uneventful. I'm piling on the pounds all of a sudden. At 20 weeks I had not gained anything. Now Im up 18 lbs. Will probably gain another 10.

The past few days have been tense. The girls disclosed some abuse to myself and their caseworker. Abuse that happened before they came to live with us. So reports have been made and now we wait to see what happens. I got a call from an adoption worker today, saying that she is looking for a family to take all 3 girls. I suppose this means they really truly are searching for an adoptive or potential adoptive home for them. I talked for a long time, I wanted her to know all about them. Fingers crossed for a fantastic family.

The youngest has taken to preschool like a duck to water. In only 2 days I see a difference in her. Increased confidence and speaking so much more.

The weather has been irregular. It was in the 90's then cooled down to the 60's for several days, now back close to 90. I cant tolerate any sort of heat so even though we had packed up the portable AC for the summer, its now back in commission.

 I am itching (no pun intended) to put up a nursery but there is no room. The girls need all the space they are occupying and more. A fisher price rock and play sleeper is on its way and the crib will stay in the box for now. I am far too big and akward to put anything together on my own so will require a lot of help when I have the space.  Im not going to go whole hog but I have really been looking forward to this bit for many years.

PUPP

Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy - PUPPP

I have this. Lucky me. 1 in 200 chance. started out on my stretch marks.  It itches and burns, OB suggested that it will spread and get worse. bah.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bone Thrown

The caseworker did phone me after court yesterday. She said the judge tried to get me on the phone but something was wrong with their phone set up. Whatever. The girl's dad approached her after court and wanted to know why I wouldn't let him see the girls yesterday. He honestly thought I was just being a bitch. She explained that I would have been in trouble for that, and that those things all need to be set up through her. I think birth parents imagine that foster parents have a lot more say in thing then we actually do.  Their mom just found out yesterday that the girls wont be staying here for the long term. The caseworker said had a major meltdown over that because it was her hope that we would adopt them. I never told her that we would be an adoptive resource but maybe DHS suggested that to her at some point.

Social services says they are working on it, but the caseworker is disappointed that they haven't worked harder on finding them a placement. She says she will now take it upon herself. I knew that she wouldn't make any real progress until after court on the 20th. I wrote a letter to my certified almost two weeks ago saying as much.

The judge has given each parent a 4 month extension during which time they are supposed to get their acts together. The caseworker says this might just be their moms "find Jesus" moment where she suddenly understands that nobody is going to take care of her kids except for her. hmm.  Shes STILL rooting for mom after 1.5 years of no progress. My own mother who works for the agency says this is naive at best and at worst she is enabling her. My mom has a whole different outlook on casework after 22 years though. Shes tough. A judge that she works with said that she gives parents who aren't doing well just enough rope to hang themselves with. That's a bit harsh.

To answer Faith's question the girls do have a therapist. Ive found her a bit..useless for lack of a nicer word. Shes nice, I can say that. She said she almost never appears in court. She was angry that they moved the girls from their last placement and into our home last winter. She even suggested I was lying when I told her that the girls arrived with bags of dirty clothes and no toys. Even after being in foster care for almost 7 months. I gave her a little time and she got over it. She just really liked the other foster mom and thought the family had been slighted by the agency. She works for an outside agency that contracts with DHS. Ive seen her in action and I'm pretty sure there is no real therapy going on. Caseworker agrees but shes not allowed to switch counselors once they have been assigned. I went behind her back and got the eldest girl a developmental assessment ordered through the children's hospital. Which includes a visit with a developmental pediatrician, a consult with a child psychologist, and some time with an occupational therapist. I'm hoping they will step in, as I think this girl is clinically depressed.

Speaking of the therapist, she got wind that the Dad was heading out of town and arranged an emergency "goodbye" visit with all 3 girls later this morning. This means the little ones have to miss their very first day of preschool. Headstart understood. I don't understand. He could have done this last week. He is a selfish man.

So on with the rest of my day which includes taking the kids to this visit. I don't even care to see the Dad today but I have little choice. Bonus.. I can go get myself a decaf mocha and a pastry while I wait. A blissful hour and a half all alone with my new Kindle.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

not best pleased

Ive been trying to get in touch with the girls caseworker for weeks to see if she is any closer to knowing what "the plan" is. Nothing. Today was court, I had asked the caseworker via email to arrange for me to appear by phone as we have done in the past. Since I didnt hear from her, I asked the lawyer to do it yesterday. Nobody did it. Court is over now and I have no idea what happened. I had to re sched. my much needed dental appointment.

I feel so torn over this. Part of me wants our limitations to be acknowledged and respected by social services. We told them we couldn't properly care for 3 special needs girls and 1 special needs baby. We gave them several months to find a suitable arrangement. Hopefully something long term. They have managed  nothing.  My ego tells me that they need to stay here because Im the only person that can properly care for them, and that we will just make it work because they have to. I already have little girl things taking up nearly every corner of the house. I dont know where we would put a baby. I dont know what I would do with the ladies if Brian and I had to spend time in the NICU with Titus.

I just want their social worker to throw me a bone and tell me that shes doing what she can. If you give an inch, they will take a mile.

Also, the girl's father phoned this afternoon told me that their great grandmother is in town, and wants to see the girls. I told him he would have needed to arrange that through the case worker. He was pissed.  He said he is leaving town in two days because everything "went to shit" here. I say good riddance. He was to have started his DHS supervised visits this Friday.

So thats the latest. Its me worrying about everyone getting their needs met. I suppose it will all fall into place but man.. I really dont like this feeling like its out of my hands. We tried to be so honest about what we are capable of.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Youre out of the woods



You're out of the woods, You're out of the dark, You're out of the night.
Step into the sun, Step into the light.
Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place
On the Face of the Earth or the sky.
Hold onto your breath, Hold onto your heart, Hold onto your hope.
March up to the gate and bid it open

You might be out of the woods but theres still a green witch with her creepy army of monkey men .. and they have it in for you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I saw the perinatologist this afternoon. My older brother watched the girls and I went alone. Brian had a meeting. Today's appointment stunk because

1.  I didnt even see his face, let alone get any of the fun pictures they gave me last time.
2. His arms and legs are growing, but not quite at the same rate they had been on the previous 2 scans. Most long bones measuring less than 5th percentile at this point.
3. They finally got a really good look at his heart. For the first time since seeing the cardiologist. His VSD is just as big. Not shrunk at all, and the peri said it could actually be bigger than they think so hard to get a good idea of the size when there is so much of my tissue in the way. When they get to do the echo on the actual baby instead of fetus in utero, they will know a lot more.
4. If hes not looking great directly after he is born, peri mentioned sending him right to OHSU. I suppose this is in light of the fact that the hole has not shrunk in the past 9 weeks. They had hoped that it would have already.

The good parts of my appointment

1. placenta looks good
2. everything else measuring spot on
3. amniotic fluid at a perfect level
4. blood pressure low
5. Peri very pleased about my glucose test

At this point its really wait and see what this baby looks like when hes born.

We got a package in the mail today. All the way from England.. these beautiful knitted items for the baby. I didnt even know my mother and law could knit. She also sent some stuffed animals for him and an activity book for each of the girls.

Still no word about a placement for the ladies. They are having a super hard time finding a family for them, either short term or long term. They have started looking out of county. Very sad and a little upset about how this is working out but that is a post for another day. Dog tired at the moment.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Neither here nor there

I wanted to keep a journal about recurrent pregnancy loss. I had no intention of sharing until my dear blog friend Panamahat invited me to do so. I'm now feeling in a bit of a no woman's land as far as blogging goes. I have not yet made it to the "other side" but have made it far enough to say that recurrent pregnancy loss is no longer my current problem. It seems to me that this pregnancy has been a fantastic fluke. Not at all sure that I would be willing to subject myself to the infertility and loss juggernaut again. 

I never thought making it out of a first trimester was the end goal. I still had fears of late pregnancy loss or still birth, unfounded.. but very real for me. I had the image of Lucy yanking away the football from Charlie Brown as my computer wallpaper for a long time. The fact that Titus may be born less than healthy feels a little like another missed kick. I bet that seems ungrateful. Maybe so. I felt like if I could make it through a pregnancy then of course things would be fine. I still don't know how this is going to play out. Happily ever after? Perhaps a version of it I couldn't have anticipated.

I have complained that infertility takes away your ability to plan for the future, outside of the next couple of cycles. Now that it looks like I will have a baby I can keep..  we will need to make up for lost time. Brian still wants to do a PHD. If he can get into a program with funding, this will be a lot more feasible. I will need to work full time, at least one job to support the family , which takes away my fantasy of being a stay at home mother. As for what sort of work I will do.. hmm. I hate the Oregon board of massage and this is the main reason I havnt sat for the state board exam in oregon. I passed the federal one with flying colors. If we move state I wont have to take another. So I could hang up a shingle and work for myself. I cant see clocking in and out at a chiropractor's office or a fancy spa. Too much work, not enough pay. I do like the idea of combining all of my training and doing theraputic massage for people in nursing homes and on hospice. More and more hospice programs are hiring for this. I guess this brings me to my final thought for this post.. if Im going to take care of other people .. Whether it be my own family or the folks I end up working with Im going to need to heal myself a bit first. To process some of my anger over how the last few years went. This may mean just trying to think of some of it as water under the bridge. Im probably going to have to discuss it in therapy and then let it go. At least as much as possible.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

EEEK a MOUSE- and OB appointment

As I was sitting down to blog a mouse sauntered through my open front door. He took a leisurely stroll across my living room and hid behind the stereo. Big fat mouse at that. I screamed twice and woke  the 4 year old from her nap who then she screamed because I was upset. I told her it was nothing and she went back to sleep, phoned my husband at work who was in a meeting but took the call because he worries about me. I could tell he was trying not to laugh when he said he would head home as soon as his meeting ended. I really dont care for rodents. I would rather have a snake in my house.

I finally had a glucose tolerance test yesterday. Yes, the first one was ordered back in April. Ive been putting it off. Yesterday was 28 weeks and I had an OB appointment today so I figured I had best get it over with. I passed with flying colors! Which is fortunate because they never would have been able to get all the blood out of my tiny veins for the 3 hour. The phlebotomist always remembers me, she was relieved. My iron is also fine, weight ok, blood pressure good. They want me to start doing kick counts, Im not quite sure what thats all about but I suppose I will read the material. OB stated that it is 100% certain that I have to deliver at the undesirable hosptial. bah.  I got a little upset about it one night and was crying to my husband " Those butchers are going to cut me open" etc etc.  This hospital has no tours for security reasons (?) and I guess I am anxious about this whole delivery thing. I emailed a friend of mine who is a midwife to see if she suggests any particular sort of birth preparation class. Might look into hiring a doula. Ever since I read that 40% of american women over the age of 35 end up with a C section, Ive been a little paranoid. I am not in the best shape of my life and while I know that my body knows what to do, Im not certain that I have provided it with the best tools to get the job done.

Most of the last week has been spent trying to get the girl's appointment, parental visit, school and transport sched. in order. Its a lot of negotiation. They are only here for 5 more weeks and as far as I know, their case worker hasnt made any move to find them a new placement. It cant be super easy to find a foster home with room for 3 siblings. I hope she gets a move on. She took her sweet time getting them here. I want to be able to do a proper transition with sleep overs and a slow introduction if possible.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

exhaustion hits

I am so so tired.  I don't know how people manage huge families. I feel like I'm totally done. Like I could sleep for the next 13 weeks. The little ladies will be here for another 6 weeks. Ive turned into a Walrus who cant tie her own shoes or get the clothes of the front loading washing machine.  It would be fine.. more than fine but I have so much work to do.


I think better nutrition and a little more time carved out for myself will help get me through the next month and a half. Sadly Brian will then have to pick up the slack. Maybe I can hire a sitter  5 hours a week. Somebody who wouldn't mind switching the laundry for me while I go float in a pool or get my hair cut. I desperately need to see a dentist for my bleeding pregnancy gums but there hasn't been time and I cant take the kids with me like I do when I have OB appointments.

Sorry for the whine. If any of you have tips for how to manage a busy kid schedule while feeling like you got hit by a cement mixer, I welcome them.


Monday, August 15, 2011

The girl's father has split up with his long term girlfriend. I'm not sure what will happen now. Their social worker was here last week and did mention that the girlfriend was a major deciding factor in whether or not they would reunify with the Dad. Shes not sure at all about his ability to care for all 3 of them himself.  This was before we learned about the break up.

I am disappointed for the girls. This was a sure enough thing that I had started to cue them about living with "daddy". Now it is totally up in the air. The current plan is to put them in another foster home. This plan sucks if you ask me. We wait and see what the social worker comes up with between now and late September when they have their next court date.

Brian and i had a lovely stay at the beach. Nearly 48 hours of no kids to mind. We had a swim in the hotel pool ( you dont swim in this part of the pacific its rough and COLD). Lots of meals out, I got my fill of Dungeness crab. Its a bit on the rich side but its so tasty. Our bed was positioned near the balcony which looked right out on the beach. We enjoyed visiting a local Pioneer museum.

My stepmother has offered to us a beautiful bassinet from the late 40's. a family heirloom. Sadly, I dont think its quite safe. Its lovely to look at though. I hate to tell her no.

Over the weekend we had discussed giving the social worker until the 1st of November to move the girls, hoping that would buy a little more time for the reunification efforts with the dad. In light of recent events Im not sure that is a great idea. I dont think they should move schools if we can avoid it.  I feel that if they cant make things with the parents work then they should switch right to finding an adoptive placement. The mom is signing the papers so the state does not have to terminate her rights. We will see what happens with their father. Brian intends to attend the next court date and speak his mind about a few things. I hope I can be there too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

perfectly short



We saw the perinatolgist today. Titus' limbs are still measuring short but they are growing. Still about 3 weeks behind and in the 5th percentile.  They said he would get another echo cardiogram today but the peri said he didnt feel the need to. So they just measured him and the doc messed around with the 4 D ultrasound for a while. That was a treat, I had never had one and wasnt about to pay for one at some private place.  This is still a bit early for good 4 D images. They fatten up quite a bit by 28 weeks but it was fun to see what he sort of looks like. I am 26 weeks today.

Its been decided by the peri that I will deliver at the hospital on the other side of town that is affiliated with my HMO. Because its in network and has an NICU. Titus will need an echo cardiogram as soon as he is born. I asked about the fancy medical school hospital where the pediatric cardiologist guy is but they said they thought it over and its not needed. Im a little disappointed because of my 3 possible places, this hospital is the worst. Its in a posh part of town but as I understand it, their birthing facilities are not as good as the hospital closer to my place or OHSU. At least baby will be well looked after. Its now time to pre register at this hospital and take a tour.

Other than all that, just loving these foster girls. I have the caseworker coming tomorrow afternoon for a home visit. Tomorrow morning I supervise a visit with the girls and their mother as the regular DHS visit assistant is out on medical leave and they cant find anyone to fill in for her. I dont want the ladies to miss out on seeing Mom. This weekend the girls will stay with my parents in Eugene while we head to the coast for a couple of days. Ahh. Car wants servicing and that will have to happen on Thursday, even if I have to cancel some appointments. I hardly ever have time to get my car fixed. I need it every day and its hard to bus around with 3 little ones in tow. My step mom is a child protective case worker for the state of Oregon. She had to sign a conflict of interest form to provide respite care for us. This form had to be signed by her supervisor, the branch manager and some head of the agency in the capital. CRAZY.

My sister in law gave birth to a beautiful baby girl early Friday morning. Jessica Emily H.  7 lb 8 oz.  I wish I could fly to England tomorrow to see them. I might have mentioned before that Brian's sister's husband left her when she was about 14 weeks pregnant. Im so proud of her for doing what she needed to do and being strong these past months. A trip to the UK is certainly in order, whenever Titus gets the OK to fly. Its a long past due trip.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Brian has told the girl's caseworker that they need a new placement by October the 1st. In theory this will give us 6ish weeks to prepare the house for baby. They are on track to be reunited with their bio dad but it can be a long process. This caseworker likes to take things nice and slow. She seems reluctant to commit to moving them in with dad this soon. At present they are still only doing weekly 1 hour visits in a therapy with him. Their non compliant mom is getting 4 hours a week total. It seems wise to me to cut her visits shorter and increase his, as there is limited time and funds for transport and supervision. I will likely start supervising some visits with him just because I want to speed things up a bit.  Anyhow we are really hoping that they can go right to his home, and not to another foster placement  before that happens. We simply cant care for an infant and the 3 special needs girls. Not without help, and we cant afford help. Social services has none to offer.. so there we are.  Ive met with dad and his partner several times now. All I can say is that they seem ok. I know I mentioned most of this before but I just wanted to update and say this is still how things stand. No solid plans for reunification and the clock is ticking. 2 months.

I took the little one to hospital to get tubes in her ears on Tuesday. I had to get her checked in by 5:30 am. Social worker and judge made such a stink about getting mom to these important medical appointments, but she was nowhere to be seen that morning. Fine by me.. stressful enough getting a 3 year old ready for sedation. I met some very nice mothers in the waiting room.. We spent about an hour in a play room while they were getting our paper work in order, so the little one got to play with another 3 year old . This little boy had down syndrome and was so sweet. When his mom asked about my pregnancy I mentioned the baby's markers and she poo pooed. Her son had no markers at all. She is almost 10 years older than I though. We talked about the county services for developmentally delayed children that she gets for her son and I get for the girls. It was nice to have the company and the camaraderie that morning.

Brian and I had lunch at the El Salvadorian place near our house this afternoon. Girls were at their friday visit so it felt like a date. I had chicken Mole and my fill of their fantastic and flavorful hot salsa. The owners brought house made coconut ice cream apon seeing my pregnant belly. It was soo good but now I must have more. Coconut ice cream is not easy to come by in this country. I am getting enough rest. Ive been taking a daily afternoon nap and putting all the girls down. Including the eldest who seems to need the nap almost as much as I do.

I wonder and worry about what we will do after the girls leave and we are reduced to a single income. I put their government check in the bank today and it sure pads things out. To put it bluntly it pays our mortgage and our car payment. Brian's salary takes care of everything else including their food, clothing, and activities. We have lived on his income alone in the past but we have more bills now. Everything that goes along with owning a car, plus its not cheap to have a baby. We will make it work but I really dont want to go back to work. The money I can earn simply does not justify paying for daycare and having somebody else look after my (long awaited) child. I may take in a couple of kids for daycare in my home. I wouldnt mind doing some light elder care if I could take him with me. Trying to put this on the back burner so I can focus on the girls and taking care of my physical and mental health.

The next perinatology appointment is on the 8th. I have my 25 week OB appointment on the 2nd and will have to finally submit to the glucose screening test this coming week. Just the one hour and Ive been putting it off. There may be no more coconut ice cream for me. Horrors. In other pregnancy news, my ribs hurt. Something awful. Ive gone from a 34 D to a 38 DD. I never knew how your ribs expand. Very weird. Other than that, feeling healthy. Hot.. but thank goodness its not super hot in this part of the country like it is elsewhere. I couldnt take it. I hope my friends in the states are keeping cool.

End Ramble, time to feed the children.

Friday, July 22, 2011

a little lighter

The quad screen results came in this afternoon. 

1 in 1000 for Down syndrome

1 in 3500 for trisomy 18

that sure as heck beats the 1 in 20 they had given me just judging by his heart defect alone. I did get measured today but they cant come up with anything really abnormal about me with those simple measurements. They tried to talk me into agreeing to extensive full body X rays after the baby is born, which they would send to some genetic bone specialist at Ceder Sinai. I'm not sure I see the point though. I guess if they figure it out .. it could save one of my cousins or future generations of people on my dad's side of the family from dealing with the same confusion.  The genetics doctor asked some questions about my fertility treatments and confessed that she had recently had an IVF. She is 13 weeks pregnant. I wanted to hug her for sharing that with me. I like her and her staff quite a bit but I don't really want to go there and see them again! I had to be there once a few years ago for my recurrent loss testing results. That was actually much less pleasant than this visit. Being told that they had no idea why I kept losing my babies.  The office is in a creepy basement of one of their smaller clinics. Original 1950's furniture and feels quite Orwellian.

I feel a little lighter in my heart this evening. I still worry about HIS heart. Of course I do. Genetics doc thinks its better for me to deliver at one of the local hospitals with an NICU...  to be on the super safe side. I will leave this up to them to figure out and hash out with the insurance people. Just so long as they don't leave it until too late.

Monday, July 18, 2011

tick tick tock

I went for the quad screen blood draw today. The lab tech was confused and had to call the out of state lab to confirm they would take a sample from somebody past 20 weeks. This lab does these tests until 24 weeks six days.

They only stabbed me 4 times to get one vial. Not bad. Genetics lady said results would be 3-4 days but my guess is that we wont have a result until next Monday. I know this is just a screening and isnt diagnostic. I know I will feel so much better if it comes back with something better than the current 1 in 20. But if its not better.. I wont know what to think. Oh how I wish I didnt have an anxiety disorder. I expect the worst by nature, by default.

But.. a baby is a baby, and hes coming. I mean it looks like I will deliver a live infant when the time comes. So I purchased a new crib, and am allowing people to bring over baby clothes, and a bassinet. Somebody gave my mom a new stroller and car seat combo still in the box. Not what I would have picked but Im not rich enough to turn my nose up at something new and functional. Im considering signing us up for birth classes and tours of the two hospitals that I can pick from.

My in laws hate the name Titus. Brian said "they are very simple people, Emily". I dont think that his name is that far out there.. but I grew up in a liberal hippy sort of small town. My friends born in the late 60's - mid 70's have names like  Elfina, Orpheous, Shine, Sundance and Rainbow. I knew an Arrow, Aura, and a Pheonix.

The little ladies are still keeping me busy. Time to get them up from their nap and get cracking on cleaning and cooking for out of state company that will arrive tomorrow. My uncle the "chicken doctor" and his OB nurse wife. They are retired now. Driving all the way from LA. My auntie has hand knitted baby items for me, I will post pictures after they arrive.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ms. Emily's wild pregnancy ride cont..

The genetics lady phoned around 4 pm yesterday. We spoke for an hour. She took a detailed family history and since each of my parents has 6 siblings and nearly all of those siblings have children, it took a while.  She was nice enough to phone the cardiologist and get the results of the echo, as they had only been sent to the peri and the OB. It was her feeling that with the heart defect alone, baby's chance of Downs is 5% and that the short arms and legs are curious but cant easily be factored in to the risk assessment. The reason for that is, most babies with Down syndrome have short femur and humerus bones. All of this baby's long extremity bones are short, including the tibia, fibula, radius and ulna. Her feeling is that this looks more like a mild skeletal disorder that runs on my Dad's side of the family. So.. shes having me "examined" by the medical genetics guy in her office. Brian couldn't help but laugh when I told him that I would be measured. We thought of Victorian scientists with an interesting ape skeleton with all their calipers and equipment. She told me to bring in as many of my dad's family members as possible but none of them live in town except for my older brother who seems to have normal limbs. He is coming along anyway in the interests of moral support and science. She went over the whole detailed anatomy scan from head to toe, telling me about all the soft markers that Titus does not have. That made me feel quite a bit better.

I asked about an amnio and she said that its not safe at this point in a pregnancy. Too great a risk of preterm labor and baby is too small to survive. She did ofter the second trimester blood screening. I thought it was a couple weeks too late for that but she knows of one lab out of state that will take samples as late as 24 weeks. Its pretty unusual to do one after 20 weeks but the need does arise every so often. She had a couple of questions for her supervisor about this but I will get the blood work done either today or Monday. I am 22 weeks 3 days. Her hope is that this will come back with a much lower risk of Downs than I currently have just based on the hole in his heart. If not, she suggested an amnio later in the 3rd trimester to know for sure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

The little area of concern that the peri had turned out to be fine BUT the cardiologist found a ventricular septal defect. A moderate sized hole in his little heart. Often these close up/ heal on their own, but not always. The larger they are, the less likely to close from what I understand. If  it does not close it will probably require surgery when the baby is 3-5 months of age.

The main reason they sent me to the pediatric cardiologist was to totally rule out a heart defect. Short arms and legs combined with a congenital heart defect points to Down syndrome. Baby boy has no other markers for Downs.. but I'm not sure if that means a lot. We are still unwilling to do an amnio. I intend to speak to the genetics lady in the next couple of days.

This particular heart defect does occur with Downs, but it isn't the kind most commonly associated with it. It is the most common sort of heart defect for all babies, otherwise healthy or not.

The pediatric cardiologist does not want to see me again while I'm pregnant. He said they will give the baby another echo shortly after birth and see where he is at. I am free to deliver at my regular hospital (on my HMO plan) or he said he could arrange it so that my insurance would pay for me to deliver there, at the world class hospital with all the specialists. I guess I will discuss that with the peri or the OB.

This brings up that age old question.. WHY ME? These defects might be common but its still only 1 in 500. Why the shit end of the stick for me, again? I guess one can always be thankful that it isnt worse but that only goes so far.

edit to add some good news

I came home to a new mattress set today. A simmons beauty rest firm pillow top. It feels like heaven. Im prepared to say goodbye to the sacro illiac joint pain thats been waking me in the night. Nice surprise from Brian. Bless him.

The baby has a name. Titus Sebastian Holt.  A strong manly name for a runty little guy with a bad heart!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

home

We made it back from California on Sunday morning. The drive was quite a bit longer than I had expected. The girls managed the road trip like champs.. me not so much. That much sitting hurts my back these days.  A pleasant time was had by all. The middle girl is a real dare devil in the water. Little one wanted nothing to do with that f^*king lake and made it very clear. The eldest was cautious but eventually enjoyed herself. Having my parents around was a nice break for me. Some weekend very soon Brian and I will drop off the girls at their house and head to the coast for a couple of days.

I am feeling fantastic. I nasty virus/ head cold had me pretty much wiped out for several days before the trip and several days into it. Now that its gone I have more energy than Ive had for months.  I want to eat everything in sight. Presently craving meatballs and mashed potato, gumbo, onion rings, watermelon, and any sort of fish stew. Lets not forget lamb kabobs.

The baby is active and has a lot of room to wriggle right now. One moment kicking the cervix and the next up near the belly button.

Tomorrow is pediatric cardiologist day. Cant say that I am looking forward to it in the slightest. My feeling is that his heart is fine. I just hate the scan and wait for specialist process. It can ruin the better part of your day and take forever.

just had to take a break to deal with the older girls' temper tantrum. Shes screaming and blubbering because I caught her lying and gave her a time out. DX emotionally disturbed, I think its getting worse instead of better. Her therapist is pretty much worthless. I do feel for her everything is a tragedy.  20 min later and she is still going strong.

I have family coming from out of town and out of state early next week so time to harness some of my new energy and get my house and yard looking decent.

Sorry for the dull post. This is about all that is going on. I will update after I see the cardiologist.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

vacation

I am making a last minute effort to pack up the 3 girls and myself for a 10 day camping trip at  Lake Almanor in Northern California
My dad has a pontoon boat.. but quite a bit larger than the one pictured. I will spend most of my time slathered in sun screen and in some sort of make shift body tent to cover my whiteness. The girls will swim with "Grandpa". I might have mentioned before that my parents have custody of my 7 year old niece (long story) and she will be along for the trip. We leave tomorrow morning for Eugene (about 100 miles south of here). Spend the night at Dad's then get up at 4 am to leave for California by 5. We will transfer all the crap including car seats from my 7 passenger van to my dad's gigantic 15 passenger van. Step mom and niece already at the camp ground saving the spot. I reckon it will be a 6 or 7 hour drive taking the back roads and towing the boat, not to mention all the bathroom breaks i need these days. Hopefully none of the girls are car pukers. My mother used to cut a Dramamine in half . One half for me, one half for the dog and let us both sleep.
Anyway about packing. I meant to do it last week, but then was so stressed about the crumby anatomy scan that I couldn't focus. I started coming down with a rotten cold this weekend which has progressed. I spent the better part of yesterday in bed. Brian had to come home from work to mind the girls. Slightly better today. I had thought about canceling the trip but the girls have been so keyed up about it the past couple of weeks. This is a huge deal to them. Their therapist said that I should do whatever I can by the way of vacations and activities. Their parents wont have the resources to do it up this big. I will mend in a couple of days and my Dad told me I can totally veg out and he will do the child care. Sounds good to me.

Here is a recent picture.

 My heart skips a beat every time I look at him. Still not real.

I will see the midwife tomorrow morning at 8 am. Not much to do at a 20 week appointment. She might comment on my weight. She didn't like it when I was losing it, and probably wont like it now that I'm packing it on. These things are supposed to be gradual. I am about 2 lbs over my prepregnancy weight. I can probably gain a maximum of 18 more as I started out a bit overweight and short. No lack of appetite anymore. No way. Last night I was dreaming of food.. Palak paneer,  gumbo, spicy chicken wings. Pastry. Trying to eat well. Today I made fresh vegetable soup for myself and the girls. I'm sure I enjoyed it more than they did.

So back to the packing. Just me and the 3 year old to finish up now. Between the 4 of us we are taking 48 pair of panties and that's just the start.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

bump

Yesterday afternoon the pernatologist's office phoned and asked if I wanted to bump up my appointment to this afternoon. It was to have taken place on Friday. I said sure, sooner the better so I hauled myself, Brian and all three girls up there. A highly skilled tech did the scan and the peri and geneticist joined us shortly after for a group discussion. They said that the heart looks fine. except they STILL cant get every image that they would have wanted because hes a stubborn fetus who likes to curl up in a ball, ass wedged against the bottom of the uterus , face down. We will see the pediatric cardiologist in 3 weeks time for an echo cardiogram, but everything should check out ok. They did say that the arms and legs are 10th percentile and arms 5th. Like I mentioned before mine were similar at birth and they made note of it on my birth record. Same for my youngest brother ( who is now 5'11). They said since Brian and I are short and there is a family history, not a huge concern but they will keep an eye on it.

I feel so much better. I will get lots more scans but that seems ok.

Oh, and my SCH was nowhere to be seen. Cervix looks good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anatomy scan.. not the best

To get to the point, the radiologist didn't like the images they got of the heart. He said it could have been due to lack of skill on the technicians part. Just couldn't quite see what he needed to see. Could be nothing, but is enough of a concern that I need to follow up with a perinatologist on Friday. They even had the peri cancel a less urgent appointment to fit me in. They also said that the arm and leg bones are too short. But this runs in my family and when the radiologist phoned the peri he said that wasn't a concern.. just wanted better images of the heart. I had a little cry already just because I so badly wanted to leave without any worry. To feel better instead of worse.

But without further delay I will tell you that its obviously a BOY.  I have to concentrate on that for the next few days. Will post pictures soon and sure to have some better ones from the peri.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Brian did it

He went ahead and told our certifier that we need an end date of October 1st. In theory this could be enough time to do a transition to Dad's place. They have the room, they have the money. The girls need to be with their family.. my step mom said now we just pray that he can keep his shit together.

The certifier said that she was frankly surprised that we made it this far with my bleeding and vomiting and all the appointments. She does not seem irritated and I doubt this will affect future placements. We will be flexible if they need an extra couple of weeks into October. The reunification process has started, but they may have to speed it up a little. I'm already transporting to extra visits, and have been given permission to supervise more visits if need be. Dad has a long term girlfriend who has a 6 year old daughter. She works full time but he has a disability and stays home, so they would have a SAHD for the four of them.

The 4 year old had her last day of preschool yesterday. I cried, as did most of the other mothers. I cry pretty easily these days. We have some play dates lined up this summer.

Six days until my anatomy scan. I feel what I'm pretty sure is occasional fetal movement, but of course wish it was more frequent to reassure. I still cant wrap my mind around a living baby at the end. The second trimester did not bring much relief on that front. Maybe a good anatomy scan will do.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

a bit of a pickle

I'm struggling keeping up with the foster girls and DHS demands. More appointments being piled on for summer, rather than less. Caseworker will not return my calls or emails regarding a possible vacation in July, or really any of my emails or calls. She phoned less than 24 hours before she wanted to do her monthly home visit but to be honest these only happen every two months. Often directly before or after a court date. I am tired. As urgently as I wanted them last fall I hate to say that now I'm struggling with whether or not they need to go this fall. Where will they go? They have switched the reunification efforts from Mom to Dad, but dad isn't ready yet. It seems that only Mom's clock was ticking and that now that dad has moved state and sort of settled in town he gets a clean slate. We are pretty sure this new effort could take between 6 months and a year.

A big part of me wants them to stay until they are 100% ready to be moved. We are making such progress on speech, and delving in deeper to emotional disturbances. The 3 year old seems like a different child, gone from having the emotional maturity of an 18 month old, to being more or less on target for 3. I have done a little fancy foot work and arranged to have the two younger girls in all day federally funded preschool (head start) even though they usually require that both parents work for this all day program. I made a lot of phone calls and arranged for them all to have private speech therapy through the summer so there wont be a lag. I want to see them grow, I want to celebrate Christmas with them again. My mother is urging me to keep them as long as possible. She says it will work out somehow. I'm afraid she will be hurt or disappointed if we send them away early. The biggest concern is how they will react or adjust to yet another foster placement. This isn't fair to them.

At the same time.. I am so tired. This pregnancy has already had a bit more than its fair share of scary and stressful. I don't know whats around the corner. I worry about everyone getting their needs met. including myself, my husband and our baby (knock on wood). There are practical issues to consider. How will the infant get on any sort of schedule if we are constantly in the car taking girls to specialist appointments and therapy? How can I navigate a crowded hospital parking lot in the slush and ice with an infant, and three little kids? A part time nanny might be able to help, but wouldn't be permitted to take girls to appointments. State makes it very clear that only the foster parents can do that sort of thing.  The girls already wake us up 2-4 times a night.. even more if somebody is sick and sick they are. A lot. Will I get any sleep at all? There are selfish things to take into consideration as well. This is likely to be the only baby I will ever have. I want to enjoy the month leading up to birth and prepare my house, and my mind for an infant. I want to decorate a nursery, which leads us to space consideration. There are already 5 of us in a 1000 square foot house.

I understand that I might have run into the same situation had I become pregnant via FET. That pregnancy would have happened later though, and I was under the impression during that planning time that the ladies would be back with their mother before the end of winter 2011/ 2012. This one took me by surprise.

I have already lost sleep over this and shed a few tears. My midwife thinks that they need to go in October. I know its not really her place to say but she worries about my anxiety levels. She knows that I was being treated for anxiety last year.

I want to do the right thing by everyone. I'm hoping for some clarity in the next few weeks before I have to decide for sure.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SCH follow up scan

I finally had an ultrasound to check on the status of my hematoma. The ultrasound tech wouldn't say anything (kaiser says they cant but some are chatty) but I later phoned the OB advice nurse and she read the report. It seems the SCH has about doubled in size to approx 2 cm. They took lots of measurements and I will get them from the midwife when I go in next week for my 16 week appointment. Im betting that this is the last scan before the anatomy ultrasound at 19 weeks.


Facing forward, and you can see his little skull and belly. I got to see a foot. The baby is still small but I am large


not to say I wasn't chubby before becoming pregnant but honestly... my belly is nearly the same size as my sister in law's and she is 30 weeks. Strange how our bodies can be so different.

Everything else seemed to be OK in there. I have now declined ALL genetic testing. I wonder if I'm playing with fire.. but I cant deal with the stress of waiting for results. Anxiety disorder + waiting for amnio results = bad news. I'm taking my chances like my grandmothers did before me.

Our weekend break at mcmenamins edgefield was wonderful. I got my prenatal massage, walked around the grounds, ate some decent if not perfect meals and had a quick dip in the fabulous salt water soaking pool. Didn't want to cook the baby so just enough to feel good for five or ten min then out. Mom was nice enough to stay at our house and look after the girls, who in turn got to bake brownies, get their nails done, and french braids. Worked out nicely for all of us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I think I'm comfortable leaving the blog public for the time being. I thought I had maybe 20 readers but people are coming out of the woodwork and it would be nice not to have anyone excluded.

Thanks to those of you who emailed.


I just want to say a quick word about cyber bullying. It sounds really silly, and dramatic. Childish, but Ive been doing a lot of reading on the subject. It happens a lot. In chat rooms, social networking sites, message boards and blogs. Adult bullying is common in the workplace. If it happens to you, the worst thing you can do is feed it by reacting strongly. This is what the bully is after. The best thing to do is to calmly tell the bully (or bullies) that its not acceptable report it to admin or moderators and then avoid them if at all possible.

I have an ultrasound next Tuesday to see what the old SCH ended up doing. They also scheduled the anatomy scan for June 21st (the summer solstice). This seems so jinxy to me. They make it seem like no big deal at the doctor's office.

Trying to decide what to do with those embryos on ice and my box full of meds. The meds need to be donated.. they will only last about a year and its not likely at this point that I will end up using them. As for the embryos, thats a bit more tricky. Do I keep them with hope of producing a sibling in a couple of years? Do I keep them in case things go terribly wrong with my current pregnancy? Do I donate them back to the clinic, or try to reach out to somebody who has been trying to find a good batch of embies and do it private? These embryos should be very high quality. Its a rare commodity and I feel guilty sitting on them. They are mine to do whatever I like with. hmm.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

its going to take a while

It might take me a week or so to set up shop elsewhere.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

cold turkey

I am a message board addict. Or at least I have been, these days I tend to binge. Ive had a particular online buddy group for several years and today I think its time to stop. Several of them are being weird about my pregnancy (only one is still trying to get pregnant) and i simply don't have the energy to deal with it. One is constantly questioning my medical care and telling me how unbelievable and odd it is that I only have 2 ultrasound pictures after all the scans I have had , I'm certain that she thinks Ive made the whole thing up.

I feel sad. Ive been in communication with these women on a nearly daily basis for years. I'm sure I can find better ways to fill my time and as far as support goes, I have the blogging community which actually saved my sanity at one time. Maybe more than once.