Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Letter to Periwinkle at 5 Years Old

Happy birthday, baby girl!

You are five going on fifteen, with all the attitude that entails. I'm not entirely sure where that is coming from. Even Grandma says I was never this feisty. I try to see it as you being strong-willed, smart, and confident. But often I want to tear my hair out, or throw you in your room, or just walk away. And this is only the beginning. Lord help us once you are a real teenager.

At the same time, you can still be incredibly sweet and caring, especially with your little brother, Cyan. In fact, sometimes the attitude comes out when you don't think I am responding to his cries fast enough. Hands on hips, head tilted, look of exasperation: "Mom, he's crying. Help him, will you?"

You are also a little mama to your "big" brother, Indigo. If you guys are fighting over something, and you see he is genuinely upset (like who got their face painted first at the fall festival), you will let him get his way. You know what he needs and you make it happen. I love that about you.

This year has been one of BIG changes: ending daycare, new baby brother, starting kindergarten, me working from home... and you are rolling with it pretty well. I think the increased attitude is probably the result, and the quick temper, but we are working through it.

This year has also seen you turn into quite the soccer player. You are faster than pretty much every body else, and usually score several goals a game. We are very proud of you, and also proud of how you make sure to pass the ball to your teammates a few times to give them a chance, too. I think you have found "your" sport, but let me know what else you want to try. You might be an awesome volleyball player too! And we haven't even gotten started with musical instruments yet... Daddy can't wait to get you guys learning piano or something else.

You also started Irish Step dance class. I'm not sure you will ever be called a natural, but you are working hard at it, and you love going every week. Maybe next year we will try something that allows a little more freedom of movement, but thank you for indulging my Irish soul this year at least.

In Kindergarten you are doing great. Your teacher has told me that you know so much already and are such a joy to work with. She is working to find ways to challenge you, and you are learning sight words like crazy. I expect you'll be reading everything in sight by the end of the school year. You are so smart (which we knew) and it's exciting to see you discover new things to learn about (math! science! music! gym!).

You are growing up faster than I'd like, but remember: you will always be my baby.


A Letter to Indigo at 5 Years Old

Happy birthday, little (big) man!

My, how time flies. It seems like just yesterday that you were a tiny screaming thing, and now here you are... a big screaming thing (when you get mad). Perhaps I'm feeling even more nostalgic as your baby brother Cyan cycles through all your old clothes. As I dress him in this or that I can picture so clearly you wearing it, what we did that day, what you were doing development-wise. It doesn't help that he looks quite a bit like you!

You've been doing so great at being a big brother. Sometimes, I think maybe you hardly care. But then I will be making dinner and he will be crying, and I hear your sweet voice singing a silly song you made up, and it calms him, and I know that you love him, and he loves you.

Sometimes, though, I think your renewed interest in biting when you get frustrated has something to do with Cyan, and with starting Kindergarten. But that's to be understood, somewhat, given what a year of changes it has been. But dude, stop. Time to work on those coping strategies again, kiddo. But we love you all the same.

You've been doing great in Kindergarten. Your handwriting has improved so much, and you are quick as a flash with the sight words every week. It's so exciting seeing you soak it all up. I hope you are as proud of yourself as I am of you.

You've also improved a lot in soccer, though I still want you to try baseball in the spring. You've got a nice arm, and a pretty sweet swing. Maybe that is more "your" sport. You've also started going to open tumbling sessions at a gymnastics place. You are slowly learning cartwheels, roundoffs, and other fun (and heart-attack inducing) things. I think it's really helping your confidence that you have something that is yours, that you don't share with Periwinkle.

I can't wait to see what this next year brings, how tall you will grow, what new topic will ignite your passion (we know so much about sea life thanks to Octonauts now). Keep asking questions, keep telling your silly stories, keep making up those songs. With an imagination like yours, there are no limits.


Friday, May 26, 2017

A Letter to Cyan at 10 Days Old

Dear Cyan,

I want you home. I want you snuggled in my arms, not for a half hour or an hour at a time, but for an afternoon, cozy on the couch, watching you breathe. Watching you make silly faces and cute noises. Not watching you with a tube down your throat, with leads attached to you to monitor heart rate, respiratory rate, pulse-ox, getting your day-glo-colored nutrition through an IV. Not watching them take more blood, do another ultrasound, take you away for a lumbar puncture. I have to just let them do it, because no one knows what's wrong with you. And all I want to do is grab you and run away with you and bring you home.

You've never been here, but I feel your absence. Your bottles are washed and ready. The stroller sits in the corner, Your car seat is in the car, ready for your first ride. Your crib is set up, filled with stuffed animals and special blankets. Periwinkle put one of hers in there for you. Every day, pretty much, she cries, "I want my baby. I want him home." And after she and Indigo are in bed, I cry too, many days. I have never felt so helpless in my life. In the middle of the night I am tempted to go back to the hospital, because you shouldn't be alone. You should have your mommy and your daddy with you. And it kills me that you are in that room without us so many hours of the day and night.

And as much as I feel your absence, sometimes it feels like none of the past nine months ever happened. Like I didn't do hundreds of blood thinner injections to get you here safely. Like I didn't spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter blissfully happy that you were coming. Like you aren't real.

And I know this isn't our first rodeo with the NICU. But somehow it's different. Last time we had one baby home, and a hurricane raging, and definitive goals for Periwinkle to meet. This time it's "We don't know"; "He looks so healthy"; "The tests aren't showing anything wrong." This time it's "Wait and see," and all I picture is you never getting better.

Everyone reassures me you will. And I know there are babies in that NICU worse off than  you are. But it feels like life is on pause until you are home. Everyone wants to hear how you are getting better, and I feel even more helpless, and hopeless, every time I have to respond that nothing has changed, or that that one step forward has become two steps back. I want to hole up somewhere and just hold you and love you until you are better. And I can't. And I'm sorry.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

27 Weeks!

How did that happen? I'm definitely looking preggo these days, that's for sure.

In other news, Cyan is just over two pounds and 14 inches. That's a legit baby, folks. And he is strong, making his presence known despite the anterior placenta blocking him. And, he's adorable.

We set up the crib. Brought the changing table out of retirement, and bought a small dresser.

My mom helped wash a bunch of clothes, and I bought a few things. Periwinkle's dolls are all wearing her baby clothes, becuse she was upset Cyan wouldn't need them.

So, we are getting there! Lots left to do, though, and I'm just tired. I've gained back maybe 3 of the 15 pounds I lost, but the doctor isn't worried.

Time to sign up for a hospital tour and the sibling class! Eek!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mama Bear Is Ready to Rumble

As you may recall, I am at a high risk of getting ICP, aka cholestasis, again, since I got it last time (leading to early delivery for the safety of all 3 of us). At my last appointment I insisted on testing as a baseline.

Well, surprise! My bile acid level (sexy) came back at 11.3. By all reputable sources (Mayo Clinic, Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, etc.), anything over a 10 should be treated. Anything over 40 is a SEVERE case.

My nurse practitioner was concerned and immediately referred me to the high risk guy. Who I really liked last time I was there. I'm now not so happy with him.

He wants to wait until I'm at 40. And not retest for another month.

ICP literally popped up overnight last time. I'm not waiting a month. I'm not waiting until 40. I will find another doctor who understands how serious ICP can be (hello, life of my baby). Hell, I'll even drive the hour to my old high risk doctor if I have to.

I'm beyond pissed I have to educate my own doctor on what safe levels are and how often I should be retested. He won't even see me? Bullshit.

Mama Bear just woke up and she is not happy.

Visit icpcare.org for more info.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

20 Weeks!

My, how time doth fly. 20 weeks today, and finally looking preggo instead of just extra squishy. Maybe I'll brave a bump picture next time.

This is the week we go from measuring crown to rump to crown to toes, so don't let the fact that he's ten inches this week and was six inches last week freak you out. Cyan weighs about 10.5 ounces. He's the size of a paper airplane.

I think we can all agree that I am desperately out of practice making paper airplanes. We shall pretend this never happened.

Four weeks until he could be viable outside the womb, God forbid.

I've gained 2-3 pounds, so the backwards slide seems over. Thank you, avocado and Greek yogurt! No signs of cholestasis yet, so yay! Doctor did test me last week to get baseline numbers, but I don't have those results yet.

And, for fun, here's the size of his hand compared to a full term baby.

Meanwhile, it seems all anyone (women... men are still treating me the same, except my boss, who seems to think I'm going to have this kid earlier and earlier and is now planning on my handing over projects two months before my due date, but I digress) is capable of saying to me at work now is, "How are you feeling?" I'm all of a sudden"Mama" or "Sweetie." It's driving me bonkers. And I'm getting a little short in my replies, or answering with something completely unrelated to being pregnant, or outright avoiding people I once thought were the "safe" ones to talk to. 

Am I a horrible person? Can we talk about the weekend, or my other kids, or your upcoming vacation? Do you really need a daily update on my well being? "Well, my boobs hurt and I have major gas. How about you?"

I'd much rather get into a debate over the Oxford comma or the use if that vs. which.... really.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

19 Weeks!

Time is flying! Baby Cyan is roughly 6 inches long (head to rump) and 8.7 ounces. I have my anatomy scan tomorrow where they measure everything and look for any developmental issues. Hoping everything checks out okay.

I'm still waiting for kicks, though I've had a few "was that him?" moments. Soon!!

And I am completely addicted to salt. It doesn't even need to be on anything...

And now I'm going to go eat some Greek yogurt despite not being hungry, because I still haven't gained back anything I lost.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Some Pictures

I've had three ultrasounds so far. Or is it four? In any case, here's what the little bugger looks like, or looked like at 16 weeks. Cutie pie.

I think there's a similarity to Indigo's ultrasound from the same week. What do you think?

Hard to tell, I know. But he doesn't really resemble Periwinkle, right?

I'm 18 weeks now, so probably halfway done, assuming cholestasis gets me again  (90% chance, joy). To refresh your memory, I got crazy itchy at 35 weeks, was tested, and it was found that my liver wasn't working right, and babies were born soon thereafter. It sucked, so I hope I'm in the 10% that gets nothing the second time. Go look up ICP to find out more.

Next week is the big ultrasound where they measure everything, so I'm hoping for some great photos!

As for what color to call him here, I am torn between Garnet, Russet, Cyan, and Saffron. Help!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

We're Having Another Fish!

Yup! Because having twins doesn't make life crazy enough, Blue and I decided to go for a third. And almost as soon as deciding that, I got a massive migraine and just KNEW I was growing a baby again.

I must admit, I'd begun to wonder if I was too old, too tired, too past this point in life to go through pregnancy again (which is pretty ridiculous considering I'm newly 33). And while I am still fertile Myrtle, it seems, being preggo is MUCH harder this go around.

Part of that is having two four year olds at home who want mommy to play and craft and be with them. No mid-Sunday naps this time! And part of that is that I am older, and still have various autoimmune issues that are being less forgiving this time.

And part of that is that even before I got that positive test, I had a funny pain in my left leg, below the knee. Which I of course ignored for two weeks. Then I mentioned it to a friend, and did some research, and realized that, holy hell, it's a blood clot!

My friend recommended a fantastic doctor who has taken excellent care of me ever since. And for the past 13 weeks I have given myself twice daily injections of blood thinners. This is not the blissful, easy pregnancy of 2012, my friends. This sucks. This complicates things around delivery (have to switch meds at 35 weeks so I don't, you know, bleed out). This complicates dentist visits. And paper cuts. But I'm dealing with it as best I can, and if it gets me a healthy baby* then so be it.

The fun part is we aren't sure if the pregnancy caused the clot (the timing seems to indicate it did) or if my lupus stuff did.  If the latter, I might be on blood thinners for life. Not cool. Fingers crossed it's just the hormones.

Also worse this time are the headaches (iron seems to be helping), the acne  (nothing is helping), and general lack of interest in food (I lost about 15 pounds, but I seem to be gaining finally).

What makes this go around better than last time is seeing how excited the kids are to have a little sibling, although Periwinkle is still pretty ticked that it's a boy. I'll have more on her and Indigo when I finally write their 4 year old letters. Blogging is harder on your phone...but it seems that it is the only way, what with work's draconian lockdown/stalking of Internet usage, and having no brain power left in the evenings...

Now, to come up with a color for the little guy...

*Yes, it's just one this time.

Adorable feature of my app

Jasper is not his name. Just something that popped in my head when the app asked for a nickname.