Monday, August 31, 2009

This is not your momma's nursery!

I can remember spending hours pouring over my mom's JC Penny's and Sears catalogs, dreaming of being lucky enough to have one of the beautiful four poster twin beds, with a frou frou canopy. I knew that it was never going to happen, but it was still very fun to dream. My sister and I were very much on our own when it came to decorating our bedrooms, which has it's pros and cons. We were pretty much free to hang up whatever posters we liked, but under no circumstance was our bedroom furniture ever going to match, and it certainly would never look like it came from a catalog.

My girls, whether you want to consider it lucky or unlucky, will not have that much freedom anytime soon. I love decorate, and while I am not great at it, I try pretty hard. Maybe it's my version of living vicariously thru them, but hey in the grand scheme of things, having control of the bedroom decor might not be that bad. It's not like they are on TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras, right? Well at least not yet, lol.

Anyway, this weekend we finally put the finishing touches on the nursery that Tessa and Mia will share. It's frou frou, over the top, disgustingly pink, and I LOVE it. Hell, if they don't like it, I would gladly move in.

A HUGE thank you to everyone that helped. Lou for generously making all of the crib bedding. Ray and Anne for helping with the painting and wallpapering. And most of all my darling husband Greg, for putting up with all of my complaints about the craftsmanship, for walking thru endless shops looking for decorations and accessories, for dealing with all of the random Craigslist customers who bought the old furniture, and for picking up and assembling all of the new furniture that I just had to have.

I think it turned out great, and if these little girls know any better, so will they. I think that Tess is already sold, she loves the chandelier, and like her momma, is a huge fan of shoes. So far, so good.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dear Miss Mia....or Audrey or Daphne? Oh hell.

Hello little one! Can you believe that exactly 8 weeks from tomorrow, if you behave, that you will make your debut into this crazy, crazy world? It blows my mind, and I know for certain that it blows your daddy's mind as well. Your big sister Bella however, is dying for that big day, and can barely handle all the excitement.
You have been really quiet today, which you know makes me a little crazy. A little kick now and then would be just fine, you know how neurotic I am, as soon as a few hours go by that I don't feel you move, I instantly think that something is wrong, like that cord is wrapped around your neck, and that you are slowing perishing! So quit being so peaceful and give me a little nudge or something would you? Maybe you are saving your energy for tomorrow's stress test, I know that you hate it when they buzz you if you are not moving enough. So maybe you are smarter than I am giving you credit for, and are just holding back until tomorrow am? That would be great. It scares the bejesus out of me that if you don't move enough or if your heart rate doesn't accelerate enough during those tests that the Dr. could just decide right then and there that it's time for you to come out! Obviously they know what is best, but I am not ready!
The nursery is almost done, I hope you love it as much as I do. Tessa, your other big sister seems to like it, which is good since you two have to share. But I will warn you, Tess just turned one and she has been quite a little drama queen lately. She has been shreiking, throwing fits, hitting and kicking, just generally being a pill. Hopefully she grows out of it soon, because she is tough to deal with lately!
I have most your clothes washed and reorganized. I hope you don't mind hand me downs, because with a sister just 14 months older, there is a ton of them! But don't worry, I will always make sure you look adorable!
I have a brand spanking new car seat for you, still in the box in the garage, now we just have to figure out where in the car to put it. But don't worry, you will be riding not only safely, but in style as well.
I am having a shower, which is crazy, since technically you are my 3rd girl, but every baby, especially you, is a reason to celebrate. In just 15 days your Auntie Crystal will be here, she is helping throw the shower, and she and her hubby are flying in from Las Vegas to help plan and celebrate. When you first hear her voice, don't be alarmed. While it might be a little high pitched and squealy, don't worry, it is just the sound of pure joy that comes out when she and I finally get to visit eachother. I feel like between Facebook, email and texting I get to communicate with her all the time, but I sure do miss getting to see her on a regular basis. In just 19 days, we will be able to celebrate your impending arrival with our family and friends. Another good friend, Jay has gone above and beyond to put this celebration together for you, which is amazing considering that she is moving the weekend before the shower. Both she and Crystal have absolutely enjoyed giving me zero flipping details about the event, which makes me a little insane. Once you are here, you will quickly realize how much mommy loves to plan a party, or any event for that matter (Don't panic, but I am already pondering what types of cute costume themes and options we have with three little girls for this Halloween). But neither of them have relinquished any party planning duties, or given me any details at all, which is really just plain mean. Of course, I am just joking. They are wonderful and delightful ladies, and we are truly blessed to have them in our lives.
That is one thing that I really, really hope to be able to teach not only you, but all three of my girls. Be yourself, and surround yourself with people you love and who love you. If you do that, no matter how hard things are, you will always find a reason to laugh, and always have someone to share your pain and happiness with. Honestly, I can say hands down, I would rather spend an evening with either of the above ladies talking about a crisis in my life instead of merely passing pleasant time with a casual aquaintance. I know that I won't have to pound this into your heads, all three of you will be strong, smart women and will quickly learn what I mean. When people tell you who they are, believe them. Spend your time with people you want to be around. It's too precious to waste on people who you don't enjoy, who frustrate you or exhaust you. Unless of course, it's your Mommy!
Love you,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A few things you might not know about me, and a few you probably do.

Let me open by say that I am feeling quite hormonal and easily irritated today ~ however I plan on making ZERO apologies for my feelings ;-)

I often wonder what people think of me when they have seen me in the super market using the WIC coupons that the girls get, or when I have a child of a different race calling me mom. I am currently too swollen to wear to my wedding ring, so I am sure that doesn't help much. But between the cashiers who comment "what a nice wallet/handbag you have" when I am getting my free milk and cheese, to the moms who I meet and assume things about myself and my family, I invite you to get to me just a little better before you jump to conclusions.

Here goes nothing.....

1. I have been married twice, once for 6 months, and currently for almost 7 years.

2. I moved out of my house when I was 15.

3. I dropped out of high school when I was 17.

4. Although I am currenlty pregnant with my 3rd child, my first two are adopted.

5. As of August, my husband and I will have been active foster parents for 5 years.

6. Both my husband and I have been laid off in the past 12 months.

7. I have never been the recipient of any public assistance.

8. I have always been able to obtain decent, well paying jobs considering my lack of education.

9. I own a home.

10. I was a member of the Young Republicans.

11. While I have never even held a gun, if you were to come into my house in the middle of the
night, I would shoot you.

12. Even though I am pro-life, if any of my girls were to get pregnant, I would have no problem
making them an appointment at the abortion clinic.

13. My sister left her 3 daughters and her husband to serve in Iraq.

14. My brother is currently serving in Iraq.

15. My eldest daughter was addicted to methamphetimines when she was born.

16. If I came across a child that was in need, I would most definitely help.

17. I give change to homeless people (much to my husband's dismay).

I guess my whole point is this; while I have pretty conservative beliefs, I am a compassionate woman, a mother who understands how difficult it is to juggle a career and child rearing. Several times I have left my child in the arms of a daycare provider, screaming for me, in order to go to work. And tortured myself all day over it. But I do it. Not because I want to, but because I have to. I am by no means well off, but I have enough, not because it came easily, but because I have fought and worked my butt off for it. I pay my taxes, I help my community, and overall I feel like I do my part. I would help someone if they needed it. But I will be damned if I will sit back and quietly allow our current administration to overspend my tax dollars in order to push thru a public health care agenda that in my opinion is not necessary. Does everyone deserve basic rights? Of course. Should all children have access to health care? Of course. Does everyone fall on hard times and need assistance then? Of course, and that should be available. But for the most part, all of the above circumstances are available to those in need. I have had to be agressive when asking for my foster kids to receive the same level of care that I receive when I pay with my cash and insurance. But I get it done. If my kids needed to eat, I would work. I don't care where. My husband took a job that he doesn't like because that is what you do. In this economy, you take whatever job you can because your family needs it, not because it is the job you always dreamed of. You figure it out.

So while I am currently sitting back and watching all of the people who thought that this new president and administration were going to come in and "save" all of us, I am secretly hoping you were right. I don't believe it for a second, but I would love for it to happen. It won't. Not until the population of Americans who believe that the people who have more then enough should share with those who don't decide to get off their asses and help themselves will anything change. I am a perfect example of the average "under priviledged" american. I am a female, I dropped out of high school, I will soon have 3 kids under the age of 5, and I am currently working only 2 days a week. But somehow my kids are fed, clean and happy. While it's not the best time of my life, it certainly isn't that bad. I figured it out, why can't they? And no, I am not living off of my credit cards.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Sometimes I could kill my husband....

Sometimes Greg really makes me crazy. Like this Saturday night, while we were camping, and at 7 months pregnant I was really trying to be a good sport and not whine too much, and he thought it would be a good idea to "warm me up" in our 8X10 cabin by pushing his sweaty, hairy butt up to me and letting one rip. I could have gotten over it rather quickly, if I didn't have to feel his body giggling next to me for the next three minutes while he chuckled himself to sleep. ugh.

The other thing that he does that makes me a little nutso is teaching the girls things that he finds funny, but are not appropriate for the little ladies that I am trying so hard to raise. I find absolutely ZERO humor in my four yr old coming out of the bathroom to tell me "mommy, I just dropped a deuce." But for some reason he thinks it's hilarious. I don't get boys and their endless bathroom humor.

But most days, I really, really love my husband. And really appreciate him. I am sure that I don't tell him enough. In fact, I have been complaining lately that I am feeling so very pregnant and I have never received a foot rub or a massage. But on the other hand, most nights after he has helped put the girls to bed, and done his own laundry, he is the one in the kitchen trying to figure out what we will have for dinner, and he is the one who usually ends up making me a sandwich. And he almost always brings something for me to drink when he comes upstairs. And he takes care of my dog, Petunia, even though he hates caring for pets. Everyday he feeds her, takes her out to go the bathroom, and every night he puts her to bed. He even does the pooper scooper duty in the backyard.

But yesterday, my honey won the darling husband of the year award. We left our weekend camping trip/family reunion right on time, after Greg had loaded everything, and even mopped the cabin floor because the bucket was too heavy for me to carry. We were about 15 minutes down the road when Tessa decided to gag herself and hurl all over the backseat of Greg's beloved truck. Granted, Greg used to laugh and think it was cute when Tessa gagged herself for no reason, but I think he is past that now. But like a champ, he cleaned up the entire truck while I changed the baby. He even cleaned out her car seat and filtered the smell as much as possible.

Three hours later, when we finally made it home, he unloaded all of the items and put most of them away so that Bella and I could take a much needed bath to remove all of the camping residue that we brought home with us. When it was time to pick up Petunia from the kennel, he went and got her. And even though it was 5:30pm, and he was tired and sweaty and just ready to sit on the couch and enjoy his trusty Discovery channel, he went and picked up the nursery furniture that I had ordered from the store. And even though he was frustrated at the store personnel for taking so long, he came home and assembled all of it, while Bella and I oohed and aahed about how cute it was, and while Tessa sat on top of each and every box "assisting." All in a tiny 10x10 room, while he was dripping sweat.

The nursery is just about done, I have a chandelier that still needs to be installed, and need to hang some wall art, but I have custom bedding in process (thank you Lou, you are awesome, and btw are you looking to adopt another daughter?) and overall I am really pleased about how it is coming together.

The new changing table, still working on finding baskets.

The new glider is so far my favorite item, well besides the wallpaper, of course.

So honey, even though sometimes you really, really make me crazy, you are my champ, and I do realize how very good I have it. And while I will not be encouraging any of the girls to "go drop a deuce" anytime soon, I will make sure that they appreciate how much their daddy does for them ;-)


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tessa is turning 1!

I can hardly believe it! All this time I have been so wrapped up about becoming the mother of three, and my "baby" has been plugging right along, quickly approaching that 1 yr mark. I am stunned. In all fairness, at 11 months, she is much more "baby" like then Bella was, Tess isn't quite ready to walk, has just recently learned to navigate the stairs, and would surely prefer a bottle over a sippy cup. And that has been just fine with me. It seems like with your first, you are so anxious to get them to crawl, walk and talk that by the time your 2nd comes along, you are perfectly content to go with the flow, enjoy it and not rush anything.
However, with Tess being so infant like, part of me (the cheap, lazy part) is wondering if she truly needs that big, over the top 1st birthday party, or would she really be content with a cupcake and a large cup of milk (served in a bottle, of course)? Of course she would, she is turning one. But on the other hand; and in all honestly, the other side of my brain, which works non-stop, driving me mad with all of these non pressing issues; this is soon to be my middle child. The one who will most definitely be sure to compare how many pictures there are of her versus my eldest and youngest, and hold it against me. Truth be told, there aren't that many. Bella is a photo hound, and with all the ultrasounds I have had, at 26 weeks gestation, Mia likely has more prints then Tessa has accumulated over the last 11 months. I feel horrible, it's not that I don't try to take pics, I do, I really do! It's just that as soon as the camera comes out, there is the 4 yr old, jumping in front of it. And even though I know I should, for some reason I don't have the pressing urge to make sure we have her photo professionally taken every three months like I did with Annabelle. Maybe it's because she is such an easy going baby that I have become easy going about it? I am praying that her easy going attitude will follow her until adulthood and she won't sweat all of the large gaps of her childhood that her mommy has failed to document?
So with that being said, the party planning for the "Tessa is turning 1" is in full steam ahead mode! Saturday, July 25th is the big day, the facility is booked, we are having the celebration at Bedrock Farms, complete with pony rides, a small petting zoo, and according to Bella, the most important part, a Pinata.

There will be crafts for the kids.

Pony rides, and a chicken and a bunny to pet.

The cake has been ordered, I hope it comes out as cute as it looks in the picture! I went with super yummy flavors, coconut lime, dreamsicle and chocolate fudge.

The food has been ordered, as well as beer and non alcoholic drinks. Weather wise we will be fine either way, since the seating area is in a pole barn. So all I need to do now is get people to come, figure out favors, and so on and so forth. Oh, and remember that damn camera!

Wish me luck ~ Christine

Monday, June 29, 2009

I really should be better about blogging, once I start, I enjoy it, and I was hoping to use this blog as some sort of half hearted attempt at a pregnancy journal, seeing that there is little chance that I will be scrapbooking anything. Ever.
But for some reason I just can't get myself to commit on a regular basis. I am tired, I can't take a deep breath, my feet hurt and so on. I could think of a bunch of things to whine about. But the bottom line is that I am still in denial.
Why? What more will it take to convince me? I can feel the baby move all the time. I know that she gets angry when I lay on my back or get mad at Greg, she gets very active when the radio is on too loud, or when we are at the movie theater, and that she isn't all that happy when I have McDonalds for lunch.
I have been working away on my "here comes baby" to do list (honestly, Greg has been working away on my to do list, but I am a really good manager).
Nursery furniture: Half a check - Got the cribs and closet up and put together, still need changing table, maybe rocking chair, decor and bedding.
Nursery design: Check! Walls are painted, wallpaper is up, and window coverings are purchased and just need to be installed.
Baby name: Check! Mia Grace Mongrain. It's settled, there is no going back. It's the only thing Greg and I can agree on. Unless of course she looks like a Daphne. Or an Audrey.
Car Seat: Check! Hilariously, the car seat combo that we have has actually expired. My grandma bought it for me the first time we were expecting. Kind of ironic. My desire to have more children probably expired right about the same time, last December, when Tessa was 6 mo old. I was so happy, content and satisified.
Registering for classes: Check! Bella will take the hospital sibling tour in August, Greg and I have to attend a "Preparing for Csection" class in July, and we are scheduled for our hospital tour and preregistration in July as well. I even bravely signed up for a breast feeding class.
Proper prenatal care and monitoring: Check! Starting the first week of July, in addition to all of the regular prenatal care, I begin my weekly "monitoring" where they monitor Miss Mia and myself for any signs of stress (really, you need to monitor for that? I could save us all the time and $$ and just tell them that I need a permanent Margarita IV and a full time nanny) or preterm labor.
So, as of Wednesday I will be 26 weeks along (3rd trimester, yahoo!), and have been shopping, decorating and scheduling my little heart out. But as much as I love to spend money, I am still not sold. I keep telling myself it's because I still don't look obviously pregnant, just like I have been spending too much time at the dessert table. But there is a good chance that I will never have that cute little baby bump. So then what? I know that I am neurotic. And I know that I over think things. But as much as I over think it, I don't get it. How can I finally get something that I wanted so desperately, for so long, and not be excited? Am I just that ungrateful? I tell myself that it's because I already got so lucky with my two girls, that a person really shouldn't expect any more. But who am I kidding?
I think that my biggest hurdle is wondering if I will fail. Or not really fail, but not be good enough, or grateful enough. If you don't really have the desire to be a stay at home mom, will you ever be a good one? If you think that play dough and stickers are the devil's toys, will you be able to substitute those with trips to Build a Bear? Is it wrong that Bella thinks that Nordstrom is better then Walmart? Or is it just proof that she is my daughter? Should my 4 yr old really know when one of her friends' mommy is prettier then another friends' mommy? How can I expect to be a good mom for 3 kids when I am barely doing it for 2?
Maybe down the road when I finally accept the fact that therapy is a necessity, I will be able to blame my issues on my own parents. They never had kids because they wanted to, they just had them because they happened, and then reminded us regularly of that fact. Will I be guilty of letting history repeat itself? I hope not. And if all else fails, even if I am not the greatest mom, at least all three of my girls will be the best dressed, right?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A "Fascinating" Study.

"Tater Tot - May 5, 2009"

A quick lesson in science.

Science and math were never my strong areas. English and writing floated my boat way more, which makes sense since I love to talk. Scratch that. I don’t love just to talk, I love to run my mouth. I don’t really need a willing partner. I talk to myself all the time. It’s getting worse as I get older, I find myself not only talking to myself, but complain and bitching about other people, to myself. Out loud. I am not sure how many times my poor husband has walked into the room to find me muttering, “Did he take the trash out? No, of course not, that would be way too easy, and way too much to ask, now wouldn’t it?” Smart guy that he is, he usually just turns around and walks back out. But anyway, I am getting off subject.

The current alarming issue with this “blessing” of a pregnancy is that my blood test for the Alpha Feta protein test came back “elevated”. What is Alpha Feta-Protein you ask? I don’t know. But yesterday I found out that it is in the baby, all babies have it, and they secrete it thru the urine (which is amniotic fluid) and then drink it again. A little icky, but sterile all the same. My problem is that my blood levels are showing a higher then normal amount. To give you an idea, an average level is 1, at 2.5 the doctors become concerned, and mine is 3.38.

There are two reasons that it can be higher then normal. One is that somewhere on the baby there is an opening, or a lesion, that is allowing more of it to “leak” out and enter my blood stream. Typically if a baby has a lesion, it will be on the spine, due to Spina Bifida, or at the base of the skull or brain, which could also be Spina Bifida, or a variety of other defects. Another typical cause of a lesion is if there are additional openings near the umbilical cord, which could mean the intestines are outside of the body, or other issues. But the most common thing the physicians see when there are defects of this sort is Spina Bifida. The effects of this defect can range from mild; incontinence, club feet, possibly being wheel chair bound, to lethal. The higher on the spinal cord the lesion is found, the more severe the defect.

The other issue that could cause my blood levels to be elevated is that the placenta is not doing its job properly, not filtering out the protein before it enters my blood stream. Unfortunately there isn’t any way to test for this. The doctors just “monitor” everything carefully, because while it could be that there isn’t anything wrong, it often causes 3rd trimester issues such as preeclampsia, preterm labor, slow growth and so on. Thrilling!

The point of the ultra sound yesterday was to examine the baby, mainly the spinal cord and brain, to see if there were any signs of lesions or abnormal skull development. We met with the genetic counselor first, which is always required, and always helpful. One of the more enjoyable things for me is that the gal mentioned that my case is “fascinating” because of my switched chromosomes, and since the baby has the same translocation. Apparently even though I am healthy, and the baby appears to have the exact same make up as me, anytime there is a chromosomal “switch” there is some cause for concern, because everything didn’t go as perfectly as they would like to see. Greg thought this was hilarious. I just want to make it thru my day, and he thinks I am going to end up on the Discovery Channel, as Case Study A.

As we walked into our appointment for the counseling and ultrasound, I mentioned to the Counselor that this would be my 11th ultrasound, and today I am 18 weeks along. That fact alone made me realize that it wasn’t all in my head; this has been a stressful few months. As I thought about it more, I realized that I had walked into every single one of those appointments prepared to see that the baby’s heart was no longer beating. Every time I see that little flutter in the middle, I have been breathing a sigh of relief, and mentally prepare myself to be disappointed next time. I hope that that feeling goes away soon, but I am not sure that it will.

Once again, I was relieved to see the heart beat, little miss tater tot was swimming around quite a bit, and so far is a busy little girl. Maybe mommy should lighten up on the caffeine a little bit? I was excited to see more of the baby at this ultrasound, in the past she has been pretty small and alien like, but unfortunately I think we missed that window. She is now big enough that you only get to see portions of her at once, a leg bone, a face profile, etc. The whole exam took about half an hour. The tech was not able to see everything she needed, the tater tot started to relax and curled up. The tech asked me to lie on my left side for a moment, while she went to see if the doctor was available. Apparently she went to lunch, because about 40 minutes later the doctor came in. Good news and bad news, depending on your perspective. From everything he could see, baby looks fine. But they can’t really see everything. They try to look as early as possible, but sometimes it’s too early. So I go back in 4 weeks for another ultrasound. It’s frustrating to have a conversation with a doctor about it, because it seems like they talk in circles. They will say things like “it looks good for now, but you can never be 100% sure, so let’s check again in a little bit.” It seems like they are so concerned about being sued or liable for something that they will never commit to anything. So they will continue to “monitor”. He made a joking comment that “with your chromosomal issues and current issues, I am confident that we will be seeing you at least once a month.” This is from the doctor at maternal-fetal medicine. Delightful! I cannot imagine anything better then being a fascinating case for you guys, and writing a check for your time. The other side of this being the twice weekly monitoring my ob-gyn mentioned, in addition to your regular check ups. Are you shitting me? I am all for erring on the side of caution, but if I am comprehending this correctly, you are telling me that for my entire 3rd trimester I am going to be at Legacy’s maternal-fetal medicine dept monthly, at my ob-gyn monthly for my regular checkups, and also at the ob-gyn twice a week for monitoring? Oh the strides modern medicine has made, and how grateful I am for it. Just kidding. I am grateful, and maybe after the ultrasound (#12) we will have in 4 weeks, if everything looks fine, I will be able to relax. I would love to be able to feel the baby move. I don’t look pregnant, my boobs are just humungous (thank you Chris G for pointing that out, you try toting these babies around) and I just look fatter. But by then I will be 22 weeks along, and hopefully the tater tot will be letting me know she is there, and not to count her out just yet.

As I think about it more and more, and trust me, I think about it a lot, I haven’t slept in days, it really is quite ironic, and it makes sense. Of course this tater tot is going to kick my ass with this pregnancy. And of course she isn’t going to let me breathe easy for quite some time, if ever. She is going to be demanding, exhausting, somewhat high maintenance, and of course worth dealing with all the above. Just like her mama, right?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Game Over

It's a funny thing how the human mind works. Or at least how my mind works. The last time I was feeling stressed the last thing I wanted to do was blog about it. But today was a rough day, and I almost could have begged Greg to go pick up the girls by himself so that I could be alone with the laptop. Why this time? For attention? I doubt it, I don't think that I am that kind of person. It's not to avoid crying, I have done that several times today, mostly randomly, when trying to finish a sentence, which is really annoying.

So, how stressed am I? Lately life has been pretty stressful. I would say that on a daily basis I am quite tempted to crack open a bottle of wine, and go to town, glass or no glass. Both Greg and I are technically unemployed; besides making huge strides with our financial security, it always seems like it is one step forward and two steps back; my brother is in Iraq, everytime I hear a news story about a soldier with local ties being wounded or killed my heart sinks, and then I feel guilty for being relieved it wasn't him; the girls' mom is in jail for 2 felony counts of Rape of a Child, we will find out what the sentencing is for her plea agreement in May, and I am still having a really hard time accepting that essentially I am going to be putting my career on the back burner to be a stay at home mom.

Well this morning ratcheted my stress level right over the top. I am no longer rational. If I was ready to polish off a bottle of wine before (pregnant or not) right now I am considering hopping on the next flight for a weekend away in Cancun, swine flu be damned. I don't care that Tessa's social worker is coming over tonight for a health and safety visit. I don't care that Greg has a job interview tomorrow, and I don't care that Bella has a T-ball game on Saturday morning. Game over. Who ever is pulling the strings, you win. I give up.

I spent most of last Friday morning being irritated with Greg for opening his big fat mouth and telling my ob-gyn that his mom is close to having to inject herself with insulin to treat diabetes. Especially after I had assured her (falsely) that there was absolutely no history of gestational diabetes on my side of the family. I have drank that nasty ass stuff twice before and "obese" or not, I was not signing up to do it again. The day of the test I woke up mad, and hungry, and went down stairs to drink the foul, but chilled, version of sprite necessary for the test. I made it to the doctor's in time, they were taking blood for the gestational diabetes test, and for an alpha fetoprotein test screen that they offer all moms. Apparently the CVS test I took doesn't screen for neural tube defects as this one does. Whatever, take the blood. My blood is not easy to draw. Most of the time I go straight to the lab @ the hospital, because as sweet as the nurses are at my obgyn's office, I often end up walking out with multiple poke sights, and bruised up to high heaven. This time only took two pokes, one in the arm that failed, and one on the top of my hand that worked. Wahoo!

Today started out like any normal day that both Greg and I are home on a weekday. He woke up, panicked that it was 7:30 and we hadn't delivered the girls to daycare yet. I told him to shut up, we had nothing pressing to do anyway, and rolled back over. He continued to cuss and thrash about and, in my opinion, hurry for no reason at all. While I was in the shower, he came up to tell me he was leaving to take Tessa, and would be back in a bit. Bella was set up downstairs with a tivo'd Imagination Movers, pop tart and milk. Whatever.

Greg came back and we both took Bella to daycare, then headed over to Carol's for breakfast. Probably a waste of $$ for me, as I haven't been feeling great lately, but I was hoping eating would make me feel better. I had skipped dinner the night before because my stomach hurt and I was busy researching all the different types of cloth diapers. Exciting times.

While at breakfast, Greg got a call about a job interview for tomorrow. Yay! He so needs to find something, if nothing else to boost his self confidence, and to get him the hell out of the house while I am home. Hopefully I will be able to get him to finish all the projects I have in mind before he has to start something.

I don't quite remember how the next couple of hours went, Greg researched the company he was interviewing with, probably spent some time bsing on the phone with his boyfriend Ken, and I laid on the couch catching up on episodes of The Real Housewives of New York, along with the sneak peak of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. That looks like it will be a good one!

A little after noon, I was toying with the idea of doing some housework, or even better, going shopping. The house phone rang, which is unusual, we really should cancel the land line, we never use it. Cascadia Women's Clinic. This time it was the Doctor calling, which is also unusual. Good news! Gestational Diabetes is negative. Damn you Greg Mongrain, I told you so. She kept talking, about how there was something that did come back alarming, and my ears started ringing. I was trying to get Greg's attention so that he could listen too. The alpha fetoprotein test came back positive. They are going to schedule an emergency ultrasound to see if they can see any birth defects in a Level II ultrasound, and then probably do an amnio right afterwards. The doctor asked about my schedule, and told me that she was going to have her assistant call maternal fetal medicine at Legacy and schedule everything and then call me back. I was not to worry, even though the test is postive, all it means is that there is a 1 in 100 chance that the baby has a birth defect.

Of course I was too stunned and mush mouthed to ask the millions of questions floating around my head, so I "uh-huh"ed and hung up. And then I did the most logical thing one can do. I googled neural tube defects. That was not a good idea. Even if you are in a competent state of mind, the pictures are not pretty. Even though I didn't think I felt like crying, I sobbed while scrolling thru all the WebMD and wikipedia pages. It's not good news. Spina Bifida, anencephaly, duodenal atresia, and so on. The pictures are graphic. I guess some moms believe ignorance is bliss, and decide to deliver their babies and let "nature take it's course". To me, that is selfish. But I am really starting to believe the ignorance is bliss part.

But most of all, I am really angry at myself. I have been feeling guilty for not enjoying this baby, and having my guard up. Over the last week, I began to let myself relax and finally started to plan the nursery, and argue with Greg about names. I should have known better. What was I thinking? Greg is mad at me for thinking the worst. Maybe he is right, maybe more positive thinking will make all of these issues and possible issues go away. I call bullshit. I feel stupid for getting excited about a baby I wasn't sure that I wanted. I feel like an awful mother for letting Bella get excited about a baby sister and letting her do cute things like talk to my tummy the week said that my baby could hear us talking. I feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself, convinced that next week after finding out what I am already certain is the case, that I will have to pick what day to kill my baby. That's how they do it. You either go in and find out that your baby has no heartbeat and the doctor schedules the surgery to have it removed because the baby is too big to go away naturally, and I imagine that this time I will go there and see that my daughter has an awful birth defect, spina bifida, or anencephaly, and I will have to pick a day to have an abortion. I am trying to stay positive, my life is filled with blessings, right? At least since I only work 2 days a week, I won't have to worry about taking any time off of work. And the worst part? I am so fried, cooked, done, whatever, that I don't even feel like fighting with myself about thinking good things. I guess am lazy. But like I said, I am done. I give it up. I can't handle it. Maybe I am weak, but this is really too much for one person to have to deal with.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Crying ~ It's not for me.

I have only seen my husband Greg cry twice in the 9 years that we have been together. Several times he has come close, like when I have come home from shopping, or when I have been driving, but seriously only "for real" twice, both times when we found out that the baby we were expecting no longer had a heartbeat. I think that Greg deals with grief in a way that most people do, mood changes, tears, and taking each day one day at a time until the shock and pain of the event eventually fades away.
I am not sure why I deal with grief the way I do. Maybe it was because my childhood was so volatile and erratic? All of us kids had to deal with my parents' issues, and so far we are all functioning somewhat well. In 31 yrs, I am not sure that I have had to deal with any more serious issues then most people, the death of a grandparent, a failed marriage, the loss of two babies, "losing" foster babies that I very much wanted to stay forever to other homes, and so on. I guess when you spell it all out, it seems lengthy, but really I consider myself quite blessed. I have a great husband, two beautiful daughters, a decent career considering my lack of education, great friends, and a happy home. At the end of the day I cannot wait to come home to my family and I think that for the most part they all feel the same.
When I am grieving, I am usually not a cryer. Typically the only time I cry is out of frustration, not because I am sad, but mainly because if I don't cry, someone will end up dead. I am very impatient with women who cry in public, or at work, to me it makes women look weak and incapable of controlling their emotions. It makes whatever awkward situation you are already in even more awkward.
I usually end up dealing with grief by focusing on the next thing/project, even if it is heart wrenching. No time to dwell on the bad event, there are things that need to be done, and no one else is going to do them.
With my first pregnancy, I remember coming back from house hunting in Vancouver and Battle Ground to Las Vegas and excitedly getting ready for my obgyn appointment. I was about 19 weeks along and there was a good chance that the doctor would be able to tell me the sex of the baby. Greg wasn't able to be there because he had to work. I was laying on the exam table, and the doctor wasn't able to find the baby's heart beat with the doppler, so he decided to do a vaginal ultrasound. I was even more excited, with a vaginal ultrasound, there was an even better chance that we would be able to see the sex. The picture of the baby came up on the screen almost immediately. But the first sight that struck me was not whether it was a boy or a girl, but that the area where the heart beat should be was blank and empty. I starred at the screen until the doctor turned it off. The doctor put his hand on my shoulder and said "I will call your husband and have him come get you." The most eerie thing was sitting in the waiting room waiting for Greg while the office was closed. Even though I knew that my husband was coming, I felt like the loneliest person in the world.
I had a D & C surgery the next day. The doctor was kind, but told me that he would not be able to see me for my next pregnancy because I was now considered "high risk". Honestly, that was the farthest thing from my mind.
My sister was pregnant at the time, her baby girl was due in September, and my baby wasn't supposed to be due until December. The weekend following my D & C, I threw a baby shower for her.
With my 2nd pregnancy, Greg and I were living in Battle Ground. We had begun participating in the foster care system, and had been placed with our first placement, a little boy named Schuyler. We were very excited, and had no reason to think anything would go wrong. It was a fun but busy time for us, we had our hands full with a toddler, Nautilus was keeping Greg quite busy, and I was working evenings and nights in La Center. A little after the end of my first trimester, I had a strange feeling that something was wrong, I went to the doctor, and again no heart beat. The doctor was convinced that I was just nervous, and scheduled an appt for me at radiology the next morning so I could have and ultrasound that all was well. I had never had an ultrasound at the radiology clinic, and it was high tech. Flat screen tvs on each corner of the room so that you could see everything. Pretty cool. Except that again, there was no heart beat. The icing of going to radiology for an ultrasound, is that even though it is obvious that your baby has died, the tech has to complete the exam that the doctor ordered, measuring the baby, I remember sitting there, numb, thinking how ridiculous and cruel it was. The other thing I remember was that while I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for Greg, I couldn't believe how sunny it was in Vancouver while I felt so grey.
The week after I had my 2nd D & C surgery, I called the placement coordinator at the DSHS, and increased our placement capacity to 2 kids. Greg thought I was insane, but I was moving on and I knew that they were going to call me about a baby. My scheduled due date had been early March, and Bella came home in January.
Greg and I have been fostering for 5 years this July, and we have had a variety of children placed with us. Some we have been very anxious to find other families for, and a few we have wanted to stay with us very, very much. Every time we have had a placement move to another home, my reaction has been to call the placement coordinator, often on a daily basis, to receive another placement. There are always more kids out there who need a home, right?
After being placed with Bella, I was content with my position in motherhood. I had come to terms with my two failed pregnancies. Having Tessa come home filled in any remaining blanks in that area. Two beautiful daughters, sisters at that. Both came home when they were three days old. We had essentially hit the foster care jackpot, and weren't foolish enough to not realize it.
Maybe because I never really allowed myself to completely deal with the losses that I have experienced, maybe because I am just neurotic, but I am having a really hard time believing that this baby is for real. We have completed all the necessary testing. We know the sex, we know that her chromosomes are the exact same as mine (besides being slightly ocd and bitchy, she will function just fine) I am almost 16 weeks pregnant, still feel like crap, and every doctor's appointment is going fine. I am even down to only the occasional blood draw. So why on earth can I not relax and enjoy this pregnancy? I have even been able to hear the heartbeat on the doppler, something that I have never experienced before. I am not excited to argue about names, decorate the nursery, and so on. I guess part of me just believes that the next time I go to the doctor, her little heart beat will be gone, and it will be back to life as usual. How crappy of a mother am I? When will I stop worrying about protecting my own emotional state and start being happy about my baby?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome to the land of the Queasy.

The other day Annabelle was telling me her tummy hurt. She said "Mommy, I am going to throw up on you and then you are going to throw up on me." Greg chuckled, but mainly because the statement was irritatingly true. I am that kid, the one where if someone else got sick on the school bus, I quickly hurled right afterwards, mostly due to the odor alone. It is a bit of an unwritten rule in our house that Mommy doesn't clean up vomit of any kind, and no pet poop either, otherwise it just becomes a bigger mess for Daddy to clean up. I will admit, it is a bit ridiculous and annoying as well. Honestly, it's no fun to start gagging just because someone has blown their nose really loudly or something else just as disgusting.

With my first pg, I had a feeling that I might be pregnant when we were out with Greg's folks while they were visiting us in Las Vegas. We had taken them to see the Knight's of the Round Table show at the Excalibur. Not really top notch entertainment, but fun nonetheless. At these particular shows, you get the joy of eating like a Knight, without any utensils. On the menu for this particular evening was Cornish Game Hens, and tomato soup as an appetizer. I hate tomato soup. I hate tomato juice as well. As the soup was brought out in tureens for everyone to enjoy, I quickly passed mine over to Greg. Usually this is just fine. Well, little did I know but that simply was not going to be sufficient. My throat started to swell. My eyes started to water. I tried to to breath thru my mouth. Nothing worked. It was ugly, and gross. Greg's folks left for the airport the next morning and I was too sick to even go along for the ride. The only time after that that I recall being nauseous at all was while dining on the delightful Ruffles & Reser's Clam Dip combo, which I should have known better.

One thing that stands out in my mind about my first pg was that I had a ridiculous craving for Izzy's pizza buffet. Unfortunately we lived in Las Vegas, and there are no Izzy's there. I thought about it all of the time. The pizza, the delicious cinnamon rolls, the potato rounds. In reality, Izzy's is pretty gross. Now that we are back in the NW, one of my least favorites. But I dreamt about it daily for at least a month. I even went as far to visit their website and see if they might have a CA location that we could just drive to. No such luck.

With my 2nd pg I do not recall having any morning sickness at all. I was exhausted as I am now, but that was probably my most significant symptom.

Now on my 3rd (and hopefully successful) pg, I have been experiencing just about each and every symptom. And I foolishly thought that I would be so busy with the girls that I wouldn't even have time to notice that I wasn't feeling great. Ha! The exhaustion is hilarious. Each night I find myself asking Bella if she wouldn't mind eating dinner and then coming upstairs and watching a movie from Mommy's bed just so I can go to bed early. My poor boobs are so swollen and huge, they now start under my armpits and look more like weapons than decorations. Just sad. Don't get me started on the gas and bloating. But so far, nausea wise, it has just been generally mild. I thought that a lot of it was related to the stress of everything. I feel ok as long as I keep snacking and don't eat anything too extreme or greasy.
Until Saturday night. I had won tickets to the Nicolle Shops Portland 3rd Annual Shopping Event. Woohoo! We had a babysitter, free tickets and a night out with an open bar. Good news for Greg at least. Well the shopping event was a bust to say the least. After standing in line outside in the freezing wind, they finally opened the doors 10 minutes late. Everyone was so excited to be there. But there wasn't hardly anything to buy :-( A hat vendor, Mia Donna Diamonds, Chocolates, and a small clothing section. Needless to say, Greg downed his free drink and we hit the road to get some dinner. After arguing about where to go, we ended up at Izzy's Pizza, which while still not high on my list, is one of Greg's favorites, and it's close to the house. We sat and enjoyed our child free dining and then hit the road. I was feeling a bit queasy, but nothing horrible. Mainly the smells were offensive since my nose has been on high alert lately.

I ran outside to the car and as I was getting in, I heard it. "RRRRRIIIIIPPP"
"Did you just fart?" I asked him. "It was outside, what more do you want?" he replied. I had an answer, but all of a sudden it was all I could do to keep my mouth closed. Which was bad news, because that meant I continued to breathe in that awful odor through my nose. My stomach started to spasm, I swallowed hard, convinced I could avoid the inevitable. "Really?" Greg asked, "You need to be that dramatic?" As soon as I opened my mouth the most powerful wave of vomit came over me. I reached for the baby blankets in the back and did the best I could to contain the mess. "Do you want me to pull over?" he asked. "Just shut up will you?" was all I could muster. About 5 minutes, a bunch of tears and a huge mess later, I was done. It was awful. Not only did I have an ass whooping case of morning sickness (at 9:30pm mind you) I was the first one to throw up in the new car. A minivan if you must know.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Could this really be happening?

So I guess it is really for real. I got the call from the nurse, and after blood tests on Monday, and more testing on Wednesday, it looks like not only am I indeed preggers, but so far everything is growing and progessing normally. Not that I should be suprised, if there were ever going to be a time when everything goes fine, this would be the time right? When I have a 4 yr old who thinks she is the center of the universe (as she should) a 6 mo old who is honestly the easiest baby ever, and I just got laid off. Of course I would get pregnant now. Greg and I have not been "safe" for about 5 years, so now would be a perfect time, right? ugh.
But honestly, as ironic and hilarious and frustrating as it is, I am really, really, really excited. Granted, trying to figure what kind of vehicle I am going to buy (and trying to figure out how to finance it while unemployed) that will hold three car seats and not be a mini van sucks, and the fact that I am going to Las Vegas in two weeks for a raging girls weekend that was originally supposed to be 3 days of drinking, hot tubbing and dancing and will now likely be eating, sleeping and complaining about my sore boobs is kind of a bummer; but overall I am really stoked. I thought that this could never happened. I thought that my body had betrayed me. I made peace with the fact that people would never come visit me in the hospital to see the new baby. I was ok that not once would I ever be able to say "No, I am not just fat, I am pregnant." But now I am! I feel absolutely blissful. Well yucky and blissful. But thrilled nonetheless. I suppose after two miscarriages I should be more conservative. After all, there is still the risk of something going wrong. But I cannot think that way. I have to be positive, and let my mind run 90 miles a minute. What name will we use? How can I decorate the nursery (hilarious since Tessa still doesn't even have curtains)? Will I be one of those giant pregnant women who can only wear Birks after 7 months?
So, as many times as I have cussed at God in the last week, wondering why He finds it so amusing to mess with MY LIFE over and over again, now that it has been confirmed, and looks like everything is going well, I find myself, as nonreligious as I am, thanking Him, and praying, praying, praying for a healthy baby. Even if it does mean driving a mini van.