Monday, November 30, 2009

How an angry uterus ruins Thanksgiving

Before we start with the angry uterus, I feel compelled to start the post with cuteness. Perhaps it will emphasize why dealing with an angry uterus is worth all the effort...

I am not supposed to "manage" Miles, but that is an impossible task. Luckily, Miles is obsessed with reading books right now and I can pull him up onto the couch and to read and in part satisfy some of his Mommy fix. This weekend he was just so upset I couldn't get down and play with him, so I pulled him on the couch, and this is what resulted within 5 minutes. I won't lie. I stayed with him like this for the next hour. Anyway, I am not supposed to lift him into the crib!
From November 2009

And Eric is doing a fantastic job at documenting the time the two of them spend outside of the house since I cannot enjoy much outside of the couch and bed. This particular picture means a lot because it looks so much like my Nana it is scary. And it also shows the crooked hat that Daddy put on that just makes me laugh.
From November 2009

And finally, my son does things that just make me laugh and break from the worry and anxiety I hold so close to my heart and consciousness all day. Apparently, if your sippy cup is too cold, empty your crayon holder (i.e. empty tea box), put the cup in the box, and drink. Here is the series:
From November 2009
From November 2009
From November 2009
From November 2009
From November 2009

Now, on to "How An Angry Uterus Ruins Thanksgiving." (The plot line has GOT to be better than the new Twilight movie.)

Scene: 5:30am Thanksgiving Morning. Ali is cuddling with Miles in his nursery chair, trying to keep him asleep for another hour before Eric needs to leave for his marathon.

Wait, what? Marathon? Oh yes. Let's part from the script for a minute. My husband has been secretly training for all of 4+ weeks for the Atlanta full marathon. Why? I have no idea--it certainly wasn't to run under 2:40, and it also wasn't to endorse a mere 4/5 week training plan. Maybe he was trying to replicate some endurance pain to connect to his pregnant wife. God I love that man...

Back to the dark nursery. Enter Ali's angry uterus: it starts seizing and doing its contraction dance. Or is it Kilo's bottom brushing the fundus? It's hard to tell with a 23 lb toddler asleep on your chest. (And by chest, I mean entire frontal of my body).

6:30am, Eric slips in and says we need to go. Ali gets up, realizing it is not Kilo's butt, but some regular contractions, and she heads into the bedroom to change while Miles has a "turbo breakfast" and gets dropped into a 2nd layer of PJs, hat, gloves and coat. Ali mentions to Eric about her ctx, but everyone sort of tries to pretend they aren't happening.

6:50am, Eric is driving to the start while Ali is feeding more breakfast to her toddler when she says, "Eric, I need to call the Dr."

And so it began. My Dr was away, so his partner picked up, clearly still in bed, and told me to go to the hospital immediately. We turned around, Miles on perfect cue starts screaming and our family got to see what happens in the maternity ward on Thanksgiving. Let's make a long story short:

-I got 3 shots of terbutaline over the course of the day for the ctx that I was "banging out" (as the Dr so plainly put it)
-I got a new prescription of a drug called Procardia (used for hypertension), which due to some insurance glitch, somehow cost me $80 to fill.
-I got to eat my first bite of Thanksgiving food close to 2pm, which consisted of a hospital McDonald's burger, undercooked fries, apple dippers and a bite of a snickers bar.
-I witnessed my usually hard to handle toddler manage to function in the tiny urgent care room for over 6 hours in his PJs, without a nap, without a book or any more distraction than an inflated medical glove with a face drawn on it (thanks to the nurses who loved on him and in addition to the make-shift puppet, fed him a steady diet of trans fatty graham crackers and apple juice).
-I witnessed my husband's goal of running the Atlanta marathon be overtaken by my angry uterus and a day of watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade (that is really a series of B-list celebs trying to lip sync to mediocre Broadway numbers) and some national Dog show.

But wait--what is Thanksgiving about? Being THANKFUL! And I am. I left without delivering, and our closest friends transplanted our planned T-day meal to our house later that night. The food was amazing, especially in contrast to my hospital fare. It's amazing how thankful I felt that night--perhaps that is what the day is really about? AND I splurged on my first little glass of wine since becoming pregnant...and it was GOOD red wine (that made a 2 sip appearance for the next 2 nights). And with these two crawling around, how can you not be happy?
From November 2009
From November 2009

And so, I sit here on full bed rest--struggling to keep my emotions in check and accept an incredibly dirty and disorganized house. I am not sure how it is harder to keep up with e-mail and corresponding with people while on bed rest, but there is some strange force that makes one completely unproductive.

Tonight I head into the hospital for 26 hours to receive 2 steroid shots to accelerate Kilo's lung development. They are administered before 34 weeks if there is a concern for delivery. And, well, there is. My cervix has shortened quite a bit and is soft and anterior. (Ew, stop the pornographic talk, Ali!) But I am not yet dilating, which means that I shouldn't have to stay in the hospital and face the dreaded mag sulfate drip.

I'm not going to lie--this is all hard, made harder by having a toddler who does not understand why Mommy cannot get up and play ring-around-the-rosey, or bounce him on a pillow and sing "Ride-a Ride-A Gawly." And it is hard asking for help. And it is hard feeling utterly betrayed by your body...slowly realizing the prospect for every having additional children may be taken away from you. And it is hard watching your husband work his tail off to run a house, raise a toddler and care for a wife without asking for a thing in return. And it is hard not having any family even remotely close. And it is hard staying positive every day. And it is hard not having human contact when you thrive off of company. And it is hard being brought back emotionally to Miles's unexpected birth...fearing for a part II with Kilo. And it is hard feeling like I complain all day and cannot just be 100% grateful every waking moment.

BUT. I remain thankful. I remain thankful for the amazing community that surrounds us who are providing us with 3+ meals a week and taking Miles from time to time to relieve my husband. And I am especially thankful for my best friend CD and family who have been the cornerstone of support for Eric, Miles, Kilo and me. And for JoAnn who like CD et al, is part of our Atlanta family and is as close as a mom/grandmother as one can get. Finally, I am thankful for my husband who is the constant in my life. He has endured all of this insanity with clarity, a sense of calm and optimism that I am positive has kept me from psychiatric evaluation and medication.

I love you, Eric.

And one more for additional humor. In the spirit of Daddy dressing Miles, please notice my son's fly in the following picture. I will say that Eric did a great job with the outfit choice...
From November 2009

Full November 2009 pics: click HERE

Friday, November 20, 2009

Don't let it go to your head...

From Couch surfing 11/2009
Miles's childcare director JoAnn is just the best. She sends e-mails throughout the day giving me Miles updates and sends pictures and videos to the parents often (she also treats us to homemade dinners every Tuesday since I started this modified bed rest gig). I truly cannot express in words how much she means to our family. One of the more recent e-mails I received this week follows (names have been changed to protect the privacy of his fellow classmates. Mayora is one of the oldest girls. I call her Mayora as I would consider her to be the female Mayor of the ELC. Precocious and incredibly smart at a little over 2 years old. I am pretty certain JoAnn has talked to the administration about bringing her on as a paid ELC employee):

"Subject: Casanova

Hi Alison,

I hope Eric has told you the stories of "Miles, the Latin Lover"! He is turning into quite the ladies' man.

Yesterday was so cute. He put his hands around Mayora's waist and leaned over and put his cheek on hers. He then began to stroke her head and talk to her with his face close to his. I wanted to run for the video, but knew I would spoil the moment.

Then today one of the student volunteers was in the room. She started to leave and while she was saying good bye Miles went over to her, put one arm around her leg and put his cheek on her. It was so adorable every female in the place melted! You had better watch out, you'll have girls knocking at your door before you know it!"

And the most recent correspondances have focused on the likeness of our son to a mountain goat. Apparently he climbs on everything at school...he has even been on the table, standing up! When I recently was leaving the ELC after my turn to bake with the older kids, I turned and saw my son on top of the high chair tray. Eek! I don't know where he gets it--where was this kid when he was so resistant to crawling and walking? All of his excitement has left us with 2 "pate injuries:" a goose egg on his forehead and a serious bruise under his chin--all done while at home. Let's hope the ELC doesn't call DFACS.

Perhaps all this flirting is going straight to his head as we found out at Miles's 18 month appointment that his head circumference is still sky high on the charts--90th percentile people! And to think that at one point, his head was no bigger than a tennis ball (or so it seemed). The only real concern is that his anterior fontanelle has not closed, so we'll check on that at his 2 year appointment. (Oh, and we do have to get some blood drawn to test his lead levels again...I don't even want to go there.) Besides that, Miles is your typical toddler. Not getting any high marks on his concrete expressive language, but passed all his tests with flying colors--and he even blew Dr L a kiss on his way out after all the poking and prodding. (Note to self--kids don't get better with the otoscope as they age.) We probably won't have a b-ball player on our hands. We fell to the 7th percentile on height, and slightly rose to the 15th percentile on weight--23 lbs of pure flirt...and goat???

Miles has learned to scale furniture at home, too. Before I knew it as I was cleaning up from b-fast this weekend, he was not only up on the couch looking out the picture window, but on TOP of the couch, banging to acknowledge the "Ta Daaas" (oh, you don't speak Miles? That's truck).
From Couch surfing 11/2009
Don't get me started on the circus act he performs in the tub...(remember a post way back circa early 2008 when Eric finally felt Miles kick in my belly at the Circus? It truly was foreshadowing).

Maybe I should call The Birdcage Factory...or the Ringling Bros. I hear trapeze artists make good money.

Until then, it's all about child labor.
From Couch surfing 11/2009
From Couch surfing 11/2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vertex babies aren't photogenic

28 WEEKS!!!!!!
From 28 weeks with Kilo
Let's start with the admission that not only has the substance of my blogging gone down dramatically, but so has the volume. You would think with this whole bedrest thing I would have ample time to craft amazing entries. Well, after 40+ hours a week coach surfacing while working, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of the computer and type some more. Today I even found myself raking (oops) while Miles and Eric went for a jog. Before you know it, I will be volunteering to do dishes and take out the compost. Here's the truth--bedrest is lonely and exceptionally painful for extroverts. Seriously, I am almost at the point of feeling like this pregnancy rivals Miles's in terms of struggle...but not quite. Despite my ear being attached to my phone for conference call after conference call, I feel like I have no human contact during the day--and I am over it. Loneliness can really decay one's spirit, and I realize that for me, loneliness is not overcome with television, Internet surfing or even phone calls. People's first response to to hearing I am on bedrest: "Oh, go eat bon bons and catch up on Oprah." First, I would catch up on Ellen far before Oprah, and second, even bon bons, Ovaltine, and melted peanut butter and banana get old REALLY fast. In an attempt not to through a pity party for myself, I am done talking about this now, but needed to acknowledge the struggles of bedrest and how it--perhaps counter intuitively--results in vapid, exiguous posts.

At most, a little less than 10 weeks! Okay. That's scary--especially b/c if Kilo arrives when Miles did, we are talking only 5 weeks. 28 weeks down, though, and we are starting official preparations as we had our hospital tour. Eric summed it up nicely: it's a hotel with stirrups. The facility is not as new as the last hospital, but it pretty much offers the same amenities (with the addition of baths in each L&D suite). We have our one day intensive birthing class next weekend, and then I am meeting with the Doula for our in depth planning meeting.

Shouldn't this seem more real?

28 week appointment went GREAT. And by great, I mean everything is status quo--and that is what I am aiming for. Although, Kilo did some sort of acrobatic maneuver and is completely vertex, resting comfortable on my cervix. I mean, we are talking this kid is currently living in prime real estate for a vaginal delivery. I got the luxury of getting both an internal and abdominal ultrasound. Cervix, still above 3 (whoo hoo!) and no funneling. Enough about my privates--on to Kilo! Kilo weighs, well, a little over a KILO! 2 lbs 10 oz (rough estimate). (I can only blame 2 lbs of the 17 lbs I've gained on this's to hoping I am carrying a 15lb placenta--because I have potentially another 10 lbs of weight gain if I go to 40 weeks). His femur length, which somehow translates into his height statistics, puts him in the 80th percentile, while his abdomen is measuring in the 10th percentile. But combined, he is a delightfully average 50th percentile overall. Ah, how I have DREAMED of being average in pregnancy and with my babies. Oh, and another good thing--his testicles have descended. Oh yes, I went there. If you have ever had a boy, you know this is actually a legit concern--my OB was telling me his twin boy had to get surgery b/c one of his didn't descend. Not the end of the world, but one of those "nice to know" things that you can find out with an ultrasound (right behind cleft palate, and having a 4 chamber heart).
From 28 weeks with Kilo

We did get a 3D/4D ultrasound, but as the good Doctor noted, vertex babies don't take good pictures; breech babies have the best face shots. Well, I'll take a cruddy photo over breech in a heartbeat--especially b/c at this point, the Dr said it is highly unlikely he'll go breech--hooray vag delivery! (Seriously, this is the kind of stuff you parade around saying when you are pregnant). Kilo's face was seriously in my groin, so this was the best we could do.
From 28 weeks with Kilo

So, the waiting continues...and the serious preparations probably need to start. First, I need to drag out my pumping equipment (shudder!). Luckily, we are equipped with almost everything we need. This bodes well for our wallet, but also b/c with additional babies you usually don't (and I kinda think shouldn't) get overwhelmed with gifts and parties. The one thing we would ask for is just the presence of family and friends to love on this baby--and not forget about Miles...and the truth is, if I did start a registry for this child, it would be filled with things I need like new breast pump accessories, nursing tanks, and new underwear. Ha ha! We did experience an extremely unexpected "mobile shower" at Eric's XC banquet and were overwhelmed by the 40 some odd gifts we received.
From 28 weeks with Kilo
Completely unnecessary, but incredibly thoughtful. And what is actually kind of nice is that we got a ton of books that we don't have, and some warmer one piece outfits. Someone in our lives better have a boy in the next few years because we are STOCKED with items to pass along! What I found to be amusing is that the gifts that were from the female athletes were, well, from the female athletes...but the gifts that were from the male athletes were from the male athlete's families. Classic. I don't blame the boys not wanting to hit up baby gap to buy little outfits pastel bunnies.

And so, life continues...and every night I try to absorb the love and support from all those who have been reaching out in interest and concern. And I am also trying to appreciate each moment, no matter how dreadfully sedentary, knowing that this is probably the last few weeks of "kicks," herniated belly buttons and itchy belly skin I'll ever have.

I love all of my boys...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More Ovaltine, please!

I am not one for cravings with this pregnancy, but with my almost all day couch surfing I am trying to be more mindful of what I put in my body. I am also just starting the phase of when you eat multiple small meals because you become full immediately upon any first bite. I have drank more organic pregnancy tea than I ever wanted and needed a change of pace.

Enter: trans fat laden hot chocolate given to us by some kind parents of one of Eric's runners (we seriously are the recipient of such thoughtful gifts!). I know what you are thinking--Ali, you totally pitched it upon reading the ingredient label, right? Nope. Not only was I enticed by the Peanuts characters on the container (a SURE sign that there is absolutely NO way this cocoa came from a health food store), but it was also holiday spice blend. Yum. Well, the container is gone--and not because it was thrown away full, half full or even a quarter full. I consumed all of it but 1 drink. And that's when the addiction started--liquid chocolate. What didn't help was Eric and I spent Halloween night eating the candy that not one trick-or-treater came to take from us while watching our first every Red Box Movie (read: we had to go to Walmart). We got a flick called "I Love You Man" with Paul Rudd. Verdict? We stayed awake. That's about all I can say. Given the options in the Red Box vending machine, it was the best--and hey, only $1. Throughout the movie there are a few mentions to the movie Choclat with Johnny Depp. Just the mention sent my salivary glands into over drive.

So, after I escaped home jail last night while Eric put Miles to bed, I ventured to the grocery store and decided I would just browse the coffee/tea aisle. And you know why I did it...I didn't need more tea, I wanted to puruse the hot chocolate situation. Well, the situation was full of trans fat/hydrogenated oil. I could't bring myself to buy any of it--and had already bypassed the 10/$10 grocery carts of leftover Halloween candy positioned right when you walk in; how could I buckle under pressure now?. I thought: chocolate pudding? Nah chocolate milk? Reminds me too much of my pregnancy with Miles...and then I saw the Ovaltine. (You were wondering when we would get to it, no?). I picked up the RICH chocolate version (no malt) and went along getting the rest of the groceries.

What's my assessment? It's not your hydrogenated Peanuts spiced hot chocolate, but it is definitely fulfilling my need for some chocolate. And let's be honest--even though it tauts all sorts of vitamins and minerals, it is NOT healthy. Hello, we now have boxes of sugar cereal that are claiming to be immune boosting during the flu season! Nutty.

Let's hope my oral glucose test doesn't come back positive, or I may just be giving up my Ovaltine...

We have crested the 27 week mark, folks...holy belly. Documentation forthcoming. Still trying to find an angle that doesn't make me cringe at the largeness of it all (but let me tell you--it feels SO cool identifying Kilo's limbs punching my belly all day!)