Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Fun

I love Thanksgiving (you get to eat so much good food! What's not to love?) We had a so much fun this year!  It's crazy to see how much Liam has grown and changed since last year.  We thought it was funny that it worked out that he was Mommy's little turkey last year and Daddy's this year.

It has been years since the hubby and I have had such a long weekend off together.  We spent Wednesday night through Sunday morning with my parents. It was a much needed break filled with family time.  I think Liam's favorite part was our trip to Starbucks (crazy I know, but he LOVES coffee).  Nagyi and Nagypapi spoiled him and got him his very own decaf Pumpkin spice latte. They spelled his name completely wrong (Lea). I guess this is understandable since I ordered it and I don't think they picked up on the fact that it was for my toddler (I can't imagine why not ;P). But Liam did not mind at all! That boy was in heaven! (Don't worry...we aren't bad parents.  This was his first coffee and definitely a special Thanksgiving treat not an every day thing.  Plus, we figured it was better than him having sips of ours with the full caffeine load and boy can he beg and gulp!)

The hubby's favorite part was feeding the ducks and playing on the playground with Liam.  This is the first time we've done either as a family and it was a blast!  I can tell he is excited as Liam grows and changes into toddlerhood.  So much to look forward to!

My favorite part (other than the food and family time) was putting up our tree once we got home.  We have a tradition of getting the tree from Home Depot and carrying it home on foot (we aren't super strong or crazy or anything. We just live really close to Home Depot and drive small sedans and happened upon this tradition by accident one year when we had walked to Home Depot "just to look" at trees and of course found "the perfect one").  It was cold this year though so we broke tradition and strapped the tree to my car and drove it home.  We are both hoping to start a new tradition next year in which we go to a tree farm and pick a tree ("chop one down" in my husband's imagination). We got a beautiful tree this year, though.  One of the employees asked me what I was looking for and I said "fluffy".  He sure found one to fit the bill!

I loved watching Liam "help" with decorating.  He surprised me and wasn't really interested in the lights.  He loved the little plastic ornament balls though. (It would be my child that wants to eat ornaments instead of staring cutely at pretty lights ;).

I love our tree!  Full and fluffy with lots of lights and full of personality and memories! I  love looking through our ornaments and reminiscing every year.  I try to make my mother and mother-in-law an ornament most years and I usually make us one too. We've also gotten presents of first Christmases for our wedding and for Liam's first Christmas last year too.  I'll have to do a post about these sometime because there is too much to share here.

Liam loves the tree too but he seems to disagree with my decorating ;).  He LOVES pulling ornaments off of the tree.  We're still working on learning how to hang them back up.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

You're Doing Better Than You Think, Mama

I'm not patient enough.  I don't take enough time away from things that need to be done to play with my son.  I get annoyed by his whining when I'm tired.  I don't read him enough books.  I choose sleep over spending time with him sometimes.  I have to ignore him and do school work.  I've even told him to "shut up" once: I was on night shift and slept less than 4 hours a night and would get up with him the next morning.  I said it because he would NOT stop whining and screaming and I had no energy to be patient.  I sent him to daycare after giving him Tylenol when I wasn't sure he was completely over his cold because I couldn't miss another day at the hospital.  I've gone back to sleep after muting my son's monitor when he was crying because I just could not will my body out of bed.

I struggle with these guilty thoughts and others.  I feel like a failure as a Mom some days, sometimes many days.  I look on Facebook and other blogs and see other mothers who make homemade Halloween costumes, decorate their houses for each season, have spotless homes, home school, are constantly crafting, and have beautiful smiling children clinging to them and I don't feel like I measure up.

But then there are videos like this.  I realize other Moms often struggle with feelings of inadequacy too.  That it's natural to not feel like you measure up, because this job we are entrusted with is BIG.  It's a precious life that we are raising.  It's ok to feel like this because we love our children so much that we want perfection for them and we are far from perfection.  We are human and can only give so much. 

But perfection is NOT what our children need.  This video reminded me of that.  They need us.  Our best.  Our love.  Our example of how an imperfect person can be used to do wonderful things. They see our efforts.  The struggles.  The love. 
This video made me cry.  Hard.

My son can't talk yet like the kids in the video but I hear him.  He's telling me I must be doing something right.  He knows how much I love him.  He remembers all the long nights that I've spent rocking him and nursing him.  How that usually I'm the first to come to him when he needs someone.  How I can't put him down after he falls asleep in my arms because he is just too beautiful and I love holding him so much that my own sleep is not so important as a few more minutes snuggling with my sleeping angel.  How I'll put his needs above mine each and every day.  How holding him and kissing him is one of my favorite things in the world.  How I'll do silly things to make him giggle...over and over again.  How I crawl around on the floor playing with him when I get home after work.  He sees how he is my world and that I would do anything for him.
My son is a Momma's boy.  Just now, his daddy was saying he'd show me a cool trick.  As Daddy held him and spun around with my son in his arms, my son's gaze stayed fixed on me.  He would turn his head toward me no matter which way his daddy turned him.  He squeals when he sees me.  He cries when someone else takes him from my arms.  He gives me big wet kisses and sweet hugs when I come home and randomly throughout the day even when I've been home with him all day.  His first word was "Mama."  I can dry his tears by just picking him up and cuddling him.  And sometimes, no one else but Mommy will do.
He is well taken care of and so so loved.  So what if I'm not perfect?!  I'm his Mommy.  And I'll keep trying to be the best Mommy I can be. And that is the best gift I could ever give him.
So how about some confidence Mamas?  You're doing better than you think!  Grab a Kleenex and watch this video.  It's a great reminder.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chemical Pregnancies are Losses Too

Chemical pregnancies are losses too. I say this because until I had a chemical pregnancy I didn't understand this. To me, it seemed not much different than the disappointment of many negative pregnancy tests followed by the arrival of your unwanted cycle. No baby. Disappointment. Same thing right?

But, it's different. This I can say for certain now.

My husband and I have been trying to have a second baby for 3 months now. Last month, I got pregnant. I know this because I felt pregnant: slight nausea, uterine cramping, lack of energy, ovary pain...and I just felt pregnant. I've been pregnant before so I don't think that's too presumptuous to say. Then we got a positive pregnancy test. We were ecstatic!

This pregnancy was a little different than the last. There was no implantation bleeding or nipple soreness like last time (which not everyone has either of those). I've heard that every pregnancy is completely different and I was looking forward to experiencing this truth.

We waited until I'd gone to the OB at 8 weeks to tell our families last time. I was planning on the same thing this time. But we were so excited! We couldn't wait. Especially my husband was excited to tell. And I was excited that he was so excited. We had decided to tell the family over FaceTime since the in-laws live in California and, while my parents are only 2 hours away, it would have been a few weeks before we'd see them. We wanted to get a big brother shirt for my son and have them notice it during our FaceTime conversation. So, after my 9-5 shift at the ER, I picked up my son, and rushed to the baby store. They didn't have one exactly his size but I figured he'd grow into it and it would do the trick. I couldn't wait to get home. I'd already told my mom we would be calling her that night. I was so excited!

I'm a paranoid person with a lot of medical training. So I took another pregnancy test to be sure before we called our families. I was now over 5 weeks so the positive would be strong, based on what had happened in my first pregnancy. So no need for  the whole first morning urine jig. I'd test, see the positive, then we'd call the parentals.

But it was negative. One line and stark white where the second was supposed to be. I was so confused.

I had heard of false negatives. Was this it? Should I have used the first morning urine after all? No, I knew, it should be a strong positive by now. The hormone doubles every 48 hours. My heart sank. I didn't want to accept it yet but that meant...I was going to miscarry. It was a chemical pregnancy. But I still held on (because logic and pregnancy hormones aren't often friends). Maybe it was a false negative? A friend advised me to send the hubby out for another test. That sounded good. No way I could sleep without knowing for sure anyway and two false negatives would be unheard of. I was already a sobbing mess.

I went to the bathroom and got my answer before I ever asked the hubby to go. Blood.  I still have 6 months left until I'm an MD but I know what that means. "Inevitable abortion" is the medical term. Or a "chemical pregnancy" or "early miscarriage" colloquially. But to me, the mother, it was a loss.

That's all I felt. Loss.

Then the cramping started. It hurt. Emotionally and physically. I wanted nothing but to curl up into a ball and cry. My husband is wonderful but he didn't get it. He was disappointed too. He kept saying that. But I wasn't just disappointed. Even though that would've been the "normal" response, I guess. Disappointment, after all, was what I imagined I would feel if I ever went through this. I was wrong. It was more than disappointment. I grieved.

My son crawling all over me is usually a joy, one of my greatest joys. I love his hugs, kisses, smiles. I love how he's a momma's boy and prefers me over everyone else. But I felt fuzzy, numb, angry. I didn't want him. I wanted to be alone. To wallow. To cry. My husband was loading firewood. I was angry because he left the baby with me. He didn't understand because I NEVER mind being left to take care of my son. But I wanted to stop being crawled all over. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted to curl up and cry. And sleep.

My husband could understand the physical pain. He's always so much better at making me take something before I let pain get horrible. He gave me something strong I had left over from my son's birth. I took it. I cried, nursed my son in bed next to me, cried some more then slept, while the he
put our son to bed (I almost always put him to bed).

Then came morning. I had to live with myself. I had accepted the loss. I was ok. "It happened for a reason." "Mother nature knows best." The most likely medical explanation was a gross chromosomal abnormality incompatible with life based on how early it was. I was grateful it happened so early. The later, the greater the loss I assume. All these things my husband had told me the night before but I wasn't ready to hear them then. Now, I accepted it all. I was more rational. Less blinded by emotion.

But I also began feeling a lot of guilt (another stage of grieving, I guess). Guilt for being angry the night before at the two people I love most. For ignoring my son when he was trying to play with me. For being so emotional instead of rationally disappointed like my husband. Also, I felt guilty for the loss. Was it my fault somehow? I felt guilty for taking melatonin to try to adjust from night shift to day shift the week before. For getting an MRI 2 weeks before when I didn't know I was pregnant. For drinking a diet coke one night to survive a 16 hour shift when I was deliriously tired. Could I have somehow harmed my unborn child?

Today (2 days later), this guilt has subsided. I know that my role in this was minimal to none. Chemical pregnancies are common. All I can do is next month avoid all these things I fear may have harmed my unborn child. And try again. I am ready to try again. And, from what I have read, that is ok to do. 

I share this not so glamorous moment of my life because I think it's important for us women to be real with each other. To share our struggles so that the standard of motherhood is not so ridiculously high that we all feel like failures. Because there are many moments where that is exactly what I feel. Overly emotional and a failure. 

But it's ok to be emotional. It's ok to grieve differently than a man. I wish I had someone telling me this while I was going through this. Telling me that it was ok. That this was what I needed to do to move forward. So, this is my message: Grieve.  Cry.  It's ok to feel loss in whatever way you need to.