Wednesday, July 23, 2014

...because a Band-Aid solution could have cost me my life...

NFP awareness week has rolled around again this year and much of the focus has come in response to a post that went viral a few weeks back where a group of women held up signs telling the world why they used the pill.

I hadn't had any big plans to write anything this week because I really didn't think I had anything to add on the subject, other than repeated the oft heard, how can something be whole someone else's responsibility while at the same time being none of their business?

So many good posts have already been written.  Nursing has caused each of our little ones to arrive exactly when we were ready to face the challenge of another newborn in the house, and so I don't find myself mulling over NFP much at all these days.

Yet I kept seeing pictures of women talking about how great the Pill is for their health and each time I wince.

Of course there's the obvious reason, that putting a substance that's called a class one carcinogen by the World Health Organization, right along side cigarettes and lead paint, into one's body each day and calling it "health care" is dangerous to say the least.

But my relationship with the Pill and the reasons that it is prescribed is a little more complicated than that.

Long time readers already know the story, but it's been a couple of years since the events of the fall of 2011 unfolded, and it seemed like an appropriate story for a month when so many are singing the praises of the pill for "health reasons."

I was exactly 12 weeks pregnant that day in late July and had breathed a not-in-the-first-trimester-any-longer sigh of relief, when I first saw a spot of blood on a piece of toilet paper that made my heart stop.  Paul was in a U-Haul, moving all of our belongings across the country to Florida where he was about to begin law school in Naples, and the girls, ages 3 and 1, would be following behind a few days later.
I arrived at the ER my heart pounding in my chest.  I didn't have an OB yet.  My OB didn't see patients until 12 weeks anyway, and since we were moving I'd thought I'd just find one the second we arrived in Florida. It had seemed like a good plan at the time.  Suddenly it wasn't anymore.

At the ER I was assured it was probably nothing, that spotting happens all the time during pregnancy.  At 12 weeks I was unlikely to be miscarrying.  I went back for a sonogram and lay staring at the screen while the silent tech took measurements.  I watched a heartbeat that was slower than my own flicker across the screen and waited.

Just before
I began
to miscarry.
The doctor came back in, his entire demeanor changed.  With a heart rate of 60 at 12 weeks it was unlikely the baby would survive.  Yes, I could still go to Florida.  It didn't really matter what I did.  Nothing was likely to change the inevitable course that this pregnancy would run.

And so I stormed heaven with prayers and did the only thing I could do, which was wait.  We moved to Florida.  The day that my parents left to return to California was Paul's birthday, the first day of law school and the Feast of the Assumption.  That night I sat in the ER losing blood too fast.

As I sat there, timing contractions, waiting for my name to be called a nurse came out and said "Kim."  I didn't move, since she hadn't said my name (I was waiting for the whole "Cammie" that I'd given them when I arrived and honestly didn't think it was me).  Apparently she was having a bad night, or thought that I intentionally didn't get up fast enough, and by the time the mix up was cleared up she was furious that I hadn't jumped up when she first said the wrong name.  She had me in tears with a lecture by the time triage was over.

Thus began one of the worst nights of my life.  It would have been bad no matter what... but I was completely alone.  They had me walk, from my little curtained cubicle to an exam room, still losing blood fast, to an exam room, with an argument between two nurses on the way about whether I should be walking.

Finally after calling for help and having those calls ignored for 5-10 minutes (and having my nurse actually stop another nurse from coming in to help me) I gave birth to our third child, Christian Athanasius, by myself in that little curtained cubicle.  I performed a conditional baptism and then began to argue over his body.  Yes, they would return it to me. No, I didn't care if it was against the rules.  I was Catholic and we would bury this child.  I got louder.  I said I was Catholic over and over again and finally they agreed that if I called early enough the next morning I would most likely be allowed to claim the little body I'd held in my hand.

At this point you may be wondering what this has to do with the Pill, but bear with me a little longer (if you've made it this far).

We were able to claim our son's body and have him cremated.  And I called doctors' offices and tried to make appointments for a follow up but no one wanted to take me on.  The doctor that I'd been referred to that was required by law to see me wouldn't return our calls  (I was later told was actually a concierge doctor and that it was odd that he was the one I was referred to) .  No one wanted to take on an new OB patient who was having problems.

I wasn't really worried at that point though.  What was happening was natural, I told myself.  It would be over soon.

Except that it wasn't.  The bleeding didn't stop.  For weeks and then months. I would return to the ER when it would get to be too much, dizzy and pale, and they would tell me that it was natural for the bleeding to last a while, I could take the pill.  No pill?  Well, it would probably stop soon enough.

In September, two months after the ordeal had begun, an ER doctor took an interest in helping us find follow up care that would return our calls and called a friend the head of obstetrics, who agreed to see me.

This was it, I was finally going to get answers, I was finally going to get better.  I would stop feeling sick and almost fainting every time I walked more than a few steps, and surely they'd find out why I was having debilitating cramps wrack my lower back as contraction after contraction continued, week after week.

Instead when I went into his office he told me he didn't need to do a sonogram.  He said that he'd made his diagnosis after talking on the phone with the ER doctor.  He said he thought that my uterus was still a little inflamed from the miscarriage, but that really I was fine and the only thing I needed was to get on the Pill to stop the bleeding.

When I voiced my objections to going on a medication that I in general did not find morally acceptable but that had also caused me to become seriously depressed every single time I'd taken it, not to mention exasperating my migraines to the point of being unbearable, he brushed it off and said it was the only solution.  The Pill was the only thing that could help me, he told me repeatedly.  It was the only solution and it was absolutely necessary for my health.

When I asked why my back still hurt, why I was throwing up all the time and fainting if nothing was wrong, he paused and said "I think it's probably psychological" and gave me a little speech about how he knew I wanted to be pregnant again but I would have to wait for at least three months.

I was astounded.  It wasn't that I wanted to be pregnant right then (although I would have given just about anything to have still been pregnant).  It was that I wanted to know what was wrong with my body.  I wanted to know why I was so sick.  I wanted to be well enough to go outside and play with my children without nearly fainting or hemorrhaging.

Instead I left with a prescription for estrogen and the feeling that absolutely no one was going to help me.

At that point I was honestly beginning to fear for my life.  Before he left the room I asked him what to do if the bleeding didn't stop.  He paused and said to come back in three months if that was the case (six months after I'd begun to miscarry).

I went home and began to take the pills.  Nothing happened.  It didn't stop the bleeding.  I was still sick.  I'd been calling a NaPro doctor, trying to get in for a couple of weeks, but I hadn't heard back yet (she didn't have secretary and returned her own calls).  Finally, I wrote a letter outlining the entire story and sent it to the NFP doctor with a friend who had an appointment.

She called me almost immediately and suddenly I had hope.  She would fit me in.

I arrived at the office building and winced as I saw a life size sticker of the doctor that had told me that it was all in my head plastered across the elevator.  I stood in front of it, wishing that I had a sharpie, as I waited for the doors to open.

I brought the pills with me and she shook her head as she looked at them.  "He gave you these?"  She said.  "These are such a low dose they never would have stopped the bleeding.  They wouldn't have done anything."

She brought up a sonogram image and gasped in horror.  "I see the problem. This uterus is still full of debris."

Neither of us understood how it could have been missed, over and over again by doctor after doctor at the ER, or by the OB I'd initially gone to (well, he missed it because he wouldn't do a sonogram...).

She prescribed Misoprostol and when that didn't work after a couple of days, scheduled my D & C.   It was October 28th.  I'd begun to miscarry in July.

There were 17 days of antibiotics by the time we were through and while everyone "hoped" we could have more children in the future, but no one really knew what damage had been done by months and months of "retained debris."

The effect of the surgery was almost instant.  Suddenly I was better and the emotional healing that had been stunted by the simple task of surviving each day could finally begin.

In February, a few weeks after what would have been my due date, we discovered that we were expecting again.  We were thrilled, and so was my new doctor, the one who had saved my life, by helping rip of the band-aid of "the Pill will solve all your problems" that the other doctor had attempted to place over a gaping wound.

That's the reason for the involuntary wince every time I hear someone say that the Pill saved their health.  The Pill is a band-aid that covers up underlying problems.  It doesn't address the root issue that lays beneath.  It may be the best tool that many doctor's out there have, but it isn't the only or even best tool that could be used much of the time and while the short term benefits might make it attractive the long term risks are horrifying.

And that is why there's no way I could be convinced to take the Pill at this point in my life... because if there's a problem I want it solved, not conveniently covered up by a hormone that kills women every single year.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Today


I just had to share some of the pictures I snapped on today's field trip.  And I'll throw in a few little stories from the last few days that are completely unrelated to the pictures.

Patch is definitely Daddy's Big Boy and he has been missing Paul quite a bit.  First he started to insist that his name was Paul... and then he showed me a little stuffed dog he's been hauling around the house.  It's a basset hound and he hasn't been able to sleep without it.  Yesterday he announced that the dog's name is Paul... I'm pretty sure that before Paul arrives in California (after the bar) to spend a few days with us Patch will have given every single toy in the house his name. 


This morning I was making oatmeal for Maggie on the stove top.  She kept trying to climb up next to me, with the goal of laying across the stove to watch what I was doing.  When I said "No, no, the stove is hot!  Hot stove!"  She took her hand, touched the very edge of the stove (at the corner furthest away from where I was cooking), looked me in the eye and said "Not hot!" in a perfectly clear little voice.  


Today Patch was whining and I asked him what it was that he wanted and he stopped, thought for a minute and said "brother."

He is impatiently waiting the arrival of another member of the family who does not think that mermaids and princesses are the ideal topics for constant conversation.


Patch's name for the new baby is Bubble.  He came up with the name after spending hours looking through the pregnancy books in the house.  After repeatedly pointing out that all the babies in the books are in "bubbles" he began referring to my bump as "Bubble" or "Brother" depending on his mood.  


Sadie thinks that we should honor Patch's wishes and officially use "Bubble" as the baby's name...

Although she still spends time wishing the baby were a) a girl and that we would b) use her name of choice which is Bibiana.  

Instead just about every doll that comes through the front door of our house gets that name.  


When Patch finishes a meal he shouts "Done!  Done!  All done!" 

And then I have to be quick enough to get the plate away from him because he'll start making grand sweeping gestures that inevitably cause his plate to clatter to the floor.

Accidentally of course.


Maggie still cannot be convinced that playing outside when it's over 100 degrees is a good idea, even if baby pools and popsicles are involved.  

In fact, I'm now convinced that the only reason she lobbies to go outside all day every day in the house in Michigan is because we don't have central air.  

Her love of the air conditioner in Nani and Grumpa's house is pretty much unmatched... however she was enthusiastic about riding in the air conditioned car to go to the museum today... and even agreed to play outside for a while.  


One of the first things Maggie needed to make clear to Nani and Grumpa upon arriving in California was that she in fact a mermaid.  She took her little hand, tapped her chest and said "Mermaid.  Mer-maid!" in a very serious little voice.

Mermaids are very, very serious business around here.  She wouldn't want anyone to think that she was just a princess like her big sister always insists that she herself in fact is.


For someone who is prone to have a meltdown of epic proportions if a single drop of water touches a non swim-suit shirt, Mae did admirably well today and didn't shed a single tear over being soaked after playing in the water portion of the museum.  

Maybe having a mermaid on her shirt helped:


Yes, the bump really is that big.  At 28 weeks.  Because this baby would really, really, really like to be the biggest baby we've welcomed so far.  And to do that he's going to have to clear around 9 and a half pounds. 


While having a transverse baby is an odd feeling, this little guy seems to prefer being breach most of the time at the moment and the feeling of a little head under my rib cage is just odd.  And not particularly comfortable.  I wouldn't mind being a teeny tiny bit taller.  5'5" just isn't cutting it right now.


Now to get some sleep!  My body hasn't quite been convinced to accept the fact that we're in the pacific time zone...  which may have something to do with the fact that Mae has yet to sleep in past 4:30!





Saturday, July 19, 2014

Patch and Mae and the Fear I Might Have Had

Since Mae was diagnosed last October I've often thought about how much more intimidating the idea of pregnancy and adding to our family would have been if she'd had a diagnosis before Patrick was born.  If we'd known then how little changes could be overwhelming, it would have seemed almost unthinkable to do something as life changing as adding another person to our family.

The first visit in the hospital to meet her brother
After all, a change of scenery can leave us all reeling (I was up at 4-something this morning dealing with someone having a very, very, very hard time), and doing something like coming home from the grocery store without a warning like "We're going home from the grocery store. Right now.  We're driving home to our house and getting out of the car and going inside." can cause an hour of tears, despite the fact that the grocery store is always the last thing on our to do list when we're out running errands so it's not exactly unexpected (in my mind at least).

Logically, if little changes can have such an impact, you'd think that fitting another baby into our not-so-big house would be earth shattering.

Except that it wasn't.  Maybe it helped that we weren't in a position for life to be all that different when Patch arrived. Since I'd been sick and in the hospital at 36 weeks, all our extra hands and extra help had been poured into that time (when it was very much needed) and I found myself, post c-section, at home by myself with a four year old, a two year old and a brand new baby the day after I got home from the hospital.  Paul was back at school day and night and my parents, who'd spent weeks helping out, really had to get back to California after an already longer-than-expected trip.

So we did the only thing we could do.  We hit the ground running.

Patch split his time between a bassinet I set up behind the baby gate in the kitchen and dozing in the Moby Wrap while we went about days that looked more or less like the days that had come before he arrived.

And honestly now I can't imagine it any other way.  Sometimes as I watch Patch and Mae playing together I can't imagine a more constant, consistent type of "therapy."

It started around the time that Patch learned to crawl.  At that point he decided that Maggie was pretty much the most spectacular person the planet.  He followed her around the house all day long.  For the first few months she evaded him.  She climbed up on top of the toy chest where he couldn't reach her... and he found that he had extra motivation to learn to stand.

Still, unconditional, unwavering love is hard to resist and Mae was no exception.


Once he learned to walk it was pretty much all over.  She'd given up on getting away from him at some point in the previous five months and they'd become partners in crime.  I'd come into the play room and discover that she'd handed him an apple sauce and was watching proudly while he smeared it on the windows.

Over the course of the last few days Mae has gradually been adjusting to being in California.  It hasn't been a horrible transition, but it hasn't been easy either.  She's waking up early, upset with the time change, and is absolutely adamant that she doesn't want to leave the house to go outside and play (which is where we spend most of our time here).

Mae peering over the baby gate at Patch in his
bassinet.
Yesterday I took her on a walk, which she was okay with, and then tried to ease into play time on the front porch by going straight up and trying to convince her that it was really super fun outside with the little pools and toys.  She headed off around the corner and sat down by herself.  And that was when Patch ran after her.  He found her in tears around the corner before anyone else could get to her and began to yell "uh-oh, uh-oh!" in a panicked voice, staying with her until she was happily back inside (after she grudgingly stayed out to eat a popsicle) before going off to play.

And that was only the beginning of Patch looking out for his big sister.  Later in the day we went to the store.  As I leaned over to reach the dairy free yogurt Patch started to sound the alarm.  "Uh-oh!  Uh-oh!  Uh-oh!"  I looked up to see him pointing at his sister (who was in my cart) and turned to see that she'd leaned as far as she could out of the cart and had managed to reach a display of gluten filled rolls and was frantically trying to open them before I noticed.  Patch had saved the day.

Later in the afternoon everyone was relaxing before dinner.  Mae had been coloring in the dining room, but Nani and I both heard when her little feet pitter pattered into the kitchen to pillage the refrigerator.  We both realized at the same time that the lock that Grumpa had made apparently wasn't on it at that moment.  Patch went charging into the kitchen yelling his little alarm and while Nani secured the fridge he ran across the room to a baby gate that wasn't up (the door was closed and Mae hadn't bothered it) and hauled it across the room to Nani to insist that she put it up immediately.  He then stood and watched while she went to work before returning to the living room, content.

Perhaps the best part, however, is that the concern is mutual.  If Patch starts to cry there's a good chance Mae will come over and touch his cheek.  If I can't get him to stop, tears are likely to start to roll down her own cheeks as she points at him, upset that he's upset, demonstrating that she very much does possess empathy, especially when it comes to her little brother.

A couple of weeks ago Mae was walking across the room when she stopped and stared at Patch. Then she walked over and threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly.  I watched, making sure she didn't squish him in her overzealous cuddle.  Then she turned and walked over to the wall, a funny look on her face.  She pulled a chair over and climbed up and stared at the picture, a small smile on her lips.  She sighed and stared at one particular picture before climbing back down and going play.  And the picture?  It was this one:

 
At the end of a follow up evaluation with the local university a few weeks ago I called Sadie and Patch into the room so the evaluator could see the three of them together.  Patch came charging over.  He immediately sat down as close to his sister as he could get and started coloring on the same piece of paper, right next to her.  She didn't bat an eye and we watched as they took turns with the crayons, side by side.

And so as we begin to think about preparing to welcome another baby boy, I find myself not all that worried about how this particular change will effect the rhythm of life within our four walls.  I'm sure we'll all have our moments, just as we would if things were staying exactly as they are... but I've also seen how our girl can rise to the challenge of major changes and how they've helped her grow in ways that I could never have imagined if I'd been looking at our situation through the lens of fear that can sometimes surround even the smallest changes in our routine.

After all, if there's one thing we've learned it's that the greatest joys I've witnessed for our little group have been the result of letting our hearts stretch to contain the challenges and happiness that this call to love brings... and it sometimes seems that the challenges and joy so often come hand in hand when they show up at our door!

Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: Northern California Edition




Let's get the weekly bump photo out of the way.  Here we are headed into the third trimester... I think.  It's amazing how my pregnancy books have "welcome to the third trimester" pages at different points. One book has it before the 25th week, another at the 26th week and while googling the consensus seems to be 28 weeks.  So maybe it's still two weeks off?  Either way in 13 weeks we'll be meeting this little guy and that really isn't that far off at this point!



Back in Michigan it's not unusual for our backyard to have a breeze and to feel cooler than the inside of the house.  And even when there's not a breeze there are the baby pools and the kids pretty much lobby to go out as soon as the temperature starts to climb.

At my parents' house it's definitely cooler inside than out (we hit triple digits again yesterday) and Maggie's response to every suggestion to go outside is to say "no, no, no" over and over again.  She is a huge fan of central air and apparently with air conditioning, the little pools outside aren't nearly as tempting.  She loves the bed that I sleep in upstairs and loves to lay in the window looking out at the horses... althoughI have convinced her a few times each day to go outside for a while!

Not tempting enough to get Mae outside...

I kind of felt like I jinxed myself when I wrote the post on the plane on the way out here.  Just as I was about to hit publish a member of our group got sick... really, really sick.  Seven trips to the restroom later I was getting the stink eye from quite a few people who apparently thought that the kid I was escorting to the bathroom was just making up excuses to get up, rather than being thankful that we were in the bathroom and not sharing the wonderfulness of being very sick on a plane with the entire cabin.

I was incredibly thankful to be on the ground when we touched down in California.

The kid that I was the most worried about ended up doing really, really well.

As you may have noticed from the last picture (or more likely not), Patch is sporting a new summer hair cut.

Usually I do hair cuts in our house, for everyone including myself, but when I started to cut his hair Patch started to get upset and so Paul took over... and Patch happily sat there while Paul used the clippers to give him a nice haircut that would be perfect in the hot weather.

He is so, so Daddy's boy.


For anyone who's curious I thought I'd post a few pictures of what are little corner of California looks like.  I lived in little towns in Northern California for most of my life.  Over the years I've met quite a few people who upon hearing the word California start mentioning palm trees and beaches and smog.  So I like to share the beauty of the far northern part of the state when I can.  And  I'll start a little further back, with some of the other parts of the north state we've lived in.

My first seven years were spent in Humboldt County near the Redwoods.

This is a visit one county north... but I don't have any pictures on the computer
from that first home so I'll share pictures of the area that I do have!

Then we moved inland to Siskiyou County for the next seven years where winters looked like this:


Then it was four hours south for college in Contra Costa County:


East to Marin County...


Before we headed north again, where we lived for five years until Paul started law school in Florida:



And that brings me to the pictures I snapped yesterday while taking Patch and Mae on a walk (and look at how brave I was being since this was about an hour post rattlesnake):

I just couldn't capture the sky and the hills at the same time on my point and click camera!  One was going to be too bright and the other just wouldn't show up at all!





In other news the girls have "kind of" adjusted to being back in the Pacific Time Zone... that is if waking up at 4:45 am counts.  But it's better than the 4:15 they woke up at yesterday so baby steps.  At this rate they might be waking up at an appropriate hour before we head back to Michigan!

Here they are eating veggies out of Nani's garden.


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Theme Thursday: Vacation!

I went to bed at 6 pm last night and slept until... well four-fifteen when the girls were pretty sure it was seven-fifteen and were ready to party.  But still.  I'm pretty sure it was the most restful sleep I've gotten in ages.  I wasn't stressing about work that needed to be done or doctor's appointments or anything at all.  

Yesterday, the first day of our vacation to visit Nani and Grumpa in California, looked like this:


It was right around triple digit hot (I think it was something like 97 at 6 pm according to the thermometer in the shade on my grandparent's porch), but the dry heat felt amazing after a couple months of 60 to ninety percent humidity inside the house and there's air conditioning here, which feels a little bit like heaven.

So we played on the porch and went on walks and the kids ate veggies right out of Nani's garden and played in the little pools she set up on their porch and got to visit with Neenee and G.G. (my grandparents) and there have been no sign of the three skunks that tried to move into my parents' yard last month, which means this is our little slice of vacation paradise!

For more Theme Thursday head over to Clan Donaldson!

Edited to Add...

About an hour after I posted the original post we had an unwanted visitor try to drop in on our vacation to Nani and Grumpa's.  He tried to strike at Nani as she was walking out to water her plants (he was in a vent opening). Fortunately he had a tough morning and will not be joining us on the rest of the trip.  And thankfully he wasn't found by any of the kids since he was about five feet from the place where Mae was playing yesterday on the porch:


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

From 38,000 Feet...

I've spent this week starting posts and deleting them.  Everything I wrote sounded to pessimistic and I decided that no one really needed to hear what my little rain cloud self was thinking... from my ranting after finding a bullet shell casing outside our front yard this last week to stressing about what we would be doing today and coming up with every single worst case scenarios for flying cross country with three small children.
After flying with Patch last summer (which felt like wrangling a small screaming octopus) I imagined that doing something like this


was just about the worst thing that I could imagine voluntarily doing.  Especially since we were starting out from Detroit and that meant loading everyone onto a plane, followed by a short flight and then getting off the plane and onto another plane and flying another four hours.

So I spent a lot of time fretting over how horrible it just might be.  Of course I told myself not to worry because that wasn't going to get me anywhere but... I failed horribly at not worrying.

I threw myself into getting out all the orders for my shop that still had to go out, making rosaries that still need to go out and making lists of anything that might help make the trip easier.  Snacks!  We've got them!  Crayons, paper, sippie cups, every entertaining device the kids have been given over the years?  Check, check and check.  If there was anything that I could do to avoid a mini disaster I was going to give it a try.

Then we got in line for security and I opened my wallet and almost had a nervous breakdown.  My driver's license was gone.  Cue panic.  I knew where it was.  There's been some drama with our van and the title and the state of Florida not having a record of the car existing (to replace the title that they apparently never sent us.... although somehow the registration bill made it to our house) and I'd taken my driver's license out earlier in the week because the local tax collectors office needed a photo of it and apparently hadn't replaced it.

Thankfully my clipped California drivers license was still in my wallet and even more fortunately they accepted it and we made our flight.

And our flights?  They've been pretty uneventful so far.  I really was worrying for nothing!  We're headed into some turbulence at the moment but right now Mae looks like this:


Patch has been laughing hysterically every time I look at him, and his only real outburst was when we were stuck on the runway with the plane's engines turned off after we landed in Chicago, while we waited for the plane in our gate to leave.  He took the plane being off about as well as he usually takes sitting in the car when it's off when we're doing something like... getting gas at a gas station.

And since I started typing we've flown all the way to Colorado!  And one kid has come down with/had a reaction to something so... not totally uneventful but still!  No meltdowns!  No screaming!  If this lasts for two more hours I'm calling today a success!

Friday, July 11, 2014

25 Weeks

Another week down... tomorrow will officially be 26 weeks and so I figured it was time to post the 25 week picture.  This is definitely the most photographed pregnancy I've had so far, mostly (okay, only) because of my pinterest goal to take a weekly picture.  

And so here we are.  25 weeks down. 15 (or something like that) to go:


7 Quick Takes: Oddities from this Week Edition


Oh what a week!  I had a few posts planned but in the roller coaster days that followed Mae eating a bagel, things have been a little too busy to sit down and type.  So today will be mini updates (I hope... I'm so bad at writing mini-anythings... too much rambling goes on when I start to type), to hopefully combine all those posts that I almost wrote, or that I started that are now half finished in my draft bin (posts rarely, rarely make it out of the draft bin around here!):


As we roll on into the third trimester this month I had my last second trimester doctor's appointment this last week.  It was a pretty average appointment, just checking in to make sure things are going along smoothly.  I told the doctor that I thought this baby felt bigger than Patch or Mae at the same stage (only because Patch and Mae never really felt crowded to me and Sadie did, and they were both slightly smaller at 9 lbs 1 oz and 8 lbs 12 oz, whereas this baby to me feels considerably bigger already).  He's told me in the past that studies show that mother's who have had more than one baby tend to be very accurate when predicting birth weight.

Baby is measuring big on the measuring tape, so I guess we'll see if he'll actually surpass his biggest sisters record as our heaviest baby, or if he's going to continue the pattern of each baby being just a little bit smaller than the previous one (or if he'll be somewhere in the middle).


Patch, the transverse baby.
I guess he could be feeling gigantic at this point because he seems to spend a good deal of his time transverse, occasionally flipping to the breach position before flipping back over.  While I was pregnant with Patch (who had something like 14 ultrasounds before he was born) I got pretty good at figuring out babies position before they would bring it up on the screen and this baby definitely likes to flip.  He seems to be stretching out sideways and then following his brother's footsteps by turning breach (that head under the ribs with little feet kicking straight down is a pretty distinct feeling) before flipping back into his favorite sideways position.

With the section it doesn't really matter what position he's in and transverse has yet to become the most annoying position I can think of since baby still has a lot of growing to do, but I do find myself wondering if baby is going to spent the majority of the next few months kicking me in the side just like his big brother (Patch was transverse when he was delivered).


Okay this might be a quick take to skip if your at all squemish about things like c-sections and scars and c-section scars doing things that make the doctor say "if that happens again go straight to labor and delivery."

So... a few weeks ago something happened and I didn't write about or even mention it to my mom when I called her that night on the phone because... well, it took my brain a while to process it and I really sort of pushed it out of my thoughts in a "well that was scary... let's not think about it again... maybe you're just being dramatic?" sort of way.

One Friday evening Paul and I were loading the kids in the car after finishing up an outing.  I'd just picked up someone (I think all 25 lbs of Patch) from where he was standing and stood him on the edge of the inside of the car so he could climb into his seat, when I felt the worst, worst feeling I could have imagined.  It was like the pain of oh... maybe transition?  I yelled.  Paul took the kids and I somehow made it into my seat.  I waited for it to pass.  And it hurt and hurt and hurt... a sort of stabby, sort of contraction-y, sort of being torn in two sort of pain that had Paul racing to get the kids into their seats to take me to the ER.

Now I've tended to have fairly painful contractions, on and off, through the last three pregnancies, and while this was considerably more painful than average, that fact made me slightly less panicked than I would have otherwise been.  Then it stopped.  Totally and completely.  After five minutes I felt normal.  I told Paul to drive us home.  I lay down for a while, while he got the kids into bed.  Baby kept on kicking and moving and I figured it was just some weird fluke and I went on with my day, folding laundry and cleaning and sewing once it passed.

Fast forward back to the doctor's appointment when, just as it was ending I remembered and said "oh, I forgot, something weird happened..." and related the story, noticing that my doctor did not seem to think it was quite as unimportant as I did when I was telling it.  After the telling and rechecking my bump he said that while it could have been a cyst rupturing he thinks that part of my c-section scar on the uterus had adhered to something else inside my body and it sounds like it tore away from whatever it was attached to... and if it happens again, especially with bleeding, just go straight to labor and delivery to get checked.

So... here's hoping it doesn't happen again, because I'm pretty sure if it does I will completely panic, knowing what the doctor thinks it could be (and also because, incisions tearing from anything just doesn't sound like something that should be happening).


I think Quick Take #3 is a classic example of how I can never make it through 7 Quick Takes without making one way, way too long.  Hopefully #4 makes up for it.  Here's a picture Maggie made in therapy by gluing together fish that she requested from her therapist (she's a big fan of gluing):



As some of you know from my plea for advice on the facebook page, Maggie ate 3/4 of a gluten filled bagel this week.  I pretty much freaked out and did everything I could to minimize the effects.  I gave her a double dose of digestive enzymes, along with magnesium and her prescription laxative.  I sent Paul to the store and gave her a dose of activiated charcoal.  Then I sat around feeling helpless and watching as she stopped using words and bounced off the walls for therapy that day.  It happened so fast.

In the afternoon, when she was a mix of not feeling well and still super hyper I gave her an antihistamine, hoping that maybe that would stop whatever was taking place, since we don't really know what exactly it is about wheat that makes her so sick (allergy?  celiacs?  gluteo-morphine reaction?).

The week that's followed has been a bit of a roller coaster.  It hasn't been as bad as it has in the past. I'm not sure if that's because she has gained tools for managing the pain and communicating what's going on, or because some part of the various supplements I threw together actually worked.

Mornings have bee good.  She didn't lose her words after the second day or grind her teeth nearly as much.  The afternoons have been harder.  She tends to get sick (and feel like she has a fever) in the afternoons.  One night was still spent sobbing and screaming (which is always the worst part of what happens post-gluten).

I'm hoping she's through the worst of it and relatively hopeful that it might not take as long to recover this time, since she definitely doesn't seem to have regressed in the same way she has in the past.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for us this week!  We definitely felt those prayers!


Sadie and I have been entering a "win a free trip to Disney World" photo contest.  She's pretty enthusiastic about it... so I thought I'd share the photo we entered this week here.  The theme had to do with Happy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and here are the poses she came up with:



If you're on facebook you may have already seen this but I had to share it here too.  Before the gluten incident Mae was sitting at the table coloring.  She told me "mermaid!  Mermaid!" while she drew, indicating that she was drawing a mermaid.  And she did.  I was ridiculously proud of her, since so far most of her drawings are shapes and lines and I just had to share it on the blog itself:


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!