Monday, November 7, 2011

Boogers and Poop

Watching Joy poop makes me laugh. Especially when she's on all fours like right now and just kind stops what she's doing (crawling) and grunts. Also when Joe is home and gets to change the poopy diaper instead of me.

Also, cleaning Joy's nose makes me gag. Her dry snot and boogers aren't as gross to me as the slimy ones, but I still get grossed out either way. And yet, I also kind of silently cheer when I pick her nose and pull out a big booger. It's probably the weirdest combination of emotions I've ever felt.

Oh, how my life has changed in less than 9 months!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Maybe not all of us have felt this way at some point in time in our life, but I think many of us have. For several days I have found myself feeling this way. I'm not looking for pity. I hate attention I get from people when they feel sorry for me. And I know that I've done things to be proud of. I know I'm a good person inside. I know I have good intentions. I know I have done things that have touched others. But so what? There are so many people out there who have done the same things I have done. There are so many people out there who have done better things than I have. Does it mean I'm going to stop trying to be more, be better, try harder? Absolutely not. One day, I'd like to mean something more. I'd like not to be overlooked. I'd like not to be so easily forgotten. I'd like not to be so easily judged (erroneously, too). I'd like to feel appreciated and liked and accepted for who I am and not expected to be someone or something else. So I work and will continue to do so, even though I'm not sure if this is realistic.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I stopped pumping and breastfeeding. I'm 100% okay with my decision. In fact, I'm quite happy with it right now. My stress levels are much more manageable, and I feel like I can be a better mom for Joy. My hormones already are starting to feel like they're getting back to normal, and my appetite is back to normal. It's so great not feeling like I haven't eaten for at least a day when I wake up in the morning! It's great eating a meal and not being hungry almost immediately after. I feel like I have a lot more time to exercise and clean and play with Joy and sleep. It's fantastic!

Monday, August 8, 2011

So much for perky boobs

If my boobs were high school cheerleaders, they would be kicked off the team. They don't have any team spirit and instead are depressing me!

First, I have supply issues. They refuse to make enough milk to feed my baby. They always have. 'Fine, boobs. You win this round!' I conceded after many tears and ridiculous amounts of desperate measures and unsolicited and unhelpful advice. So life went on. But now it appears as though they've decided to fight me some more, drizzling out barely any milk. The past few days have been brutal. Do I really want to keep up with all this torturous extra work and frustration just to get a handful of ounces of milk for my growing girl? I'm *thisclose* to just throwing in the nursing pads, so to speak.

Which brings another thought to my mind. Why is it that my boobs, even though they've CLEARLY never held much milk, still leak? I can't pump from both sides at once, because pumping requires one hand to hold the pump forcefully to my boob (leaving lovely circle indents after the fact) while the other squeezes away, like trying to get water from a rock. And while I am emptying Tightey, Lucy leaks. So I recently tried starting with Lucy, which doesn't tend to make Tightey leak as much, but also seems to have led to Tightey producing less milk. Ugh! As it is, the constant squeezing has led to my discovering I apparently have arthritis in my hands. Thanks boobs! You are real... boobs! If my boobs were a person, I'd probably murder that person by strangulation with my own bare, arthritic hands.

In other news, Joy is becoming more mobile every day. We relocated our coffee table from the family room to the guest room. I want to get rid of it, actually, but it'll stay there for now, I guess. So now our family room is not only more open, but there's space for her to entertain herself on the floor and, as she just demonstrated her capability, move from the middle of a quilt on the floor all the way to the side of the couch, backwards. Honestly, I'm not quite sure how she arrived at her final destination, as I was pumping & checking email, so my laptop screen was in the way. But then all of a sudden, I felt her ribs touching the side of my foot and looked down to revel in her accomplishments. And cry. I am so not ready for this. Couldn't she continue to sleep for like 18 hours a day or something?

She recently started saying "mamamama" and "babababa" and sometimes even "mama" itself. Joe thinks it makes a good excuse to get out of holding her or something and pass her off to me because "she's calling for YOU." I told him she doesn't know what she's saying, but I do wonder if sometimes she actually does, the way she says it while whimpering or crying and looking at me. She's often staring at me. It's kind of creepy. This "mama" wishes she'd learn to say "dada" soon like a good girl. I'm working on trying to teach that to her, I assure you.

Joy doesn't laugh much. Most of the time she does, it's when she's getting her diaper changed. Yeah, I'm not really sure what to think of that one either. Maybe I'm partly to blame. I started singing to her when changing her diaper when she was a newborn because I didn't want her to scream or hate it when she had it changed. I can say that at least she doesn't hate it, but the removal of a pee-soaked or foul-smelling diaper isn't as funny as I am. Her farts are, but she only rarely chuckles at those. We need to work on that kid's sense of humor (or lack thereof).

How about instead of "mama" you stroke my ego a bit by laughing when I want you to? After all, I and my boobs sacrifice a LOT for you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sleepy photos

I remember when Joy was first born, and most of the pictures I took of her were when she was sleeping or fighting it and losing, since she seemed to spend her entire day eating or sleeping. I like to look at the photos and smile or laugh.

This is still one of my favorite pictures I have of her, sleeping on Daddy when she was 2 days old:

Sometimes, Joy simply surrenders to sleep:

Here she is as a baby burrito, swaddled and bibbed:

Nothing prepares her for a nap better than milk:

She enjoys passing out with Daddy (and the cats):

She falls alseep and slides herself into all sorts of weird positions:

She manages to get her bib twisted and looking like a cape:

And she does interesting things with her hands (some I wish I would've captured on camera) while sleeping:

She sleeps like a frog at times too:

And she even hides from the paparazzi in her sleep:

She cracks me up, sleeping or awake! I just wish she'd stay asleep after I move her off of me when she falls asleep that way and that she'd take longer naps during the day. And why is it that she can sleep through various noises yet the teeniest whimper from her wakes me from a dead sleep in the middle of the night when I'm running on fumes of sugar? At least she entertains me to help me get through the day since I'm always sleepy but unable to pass out whenever and wherever I'd like the way she does.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some of the joys of being a mom

Maybe it's just me, but I find that there are about a billion bits of information floating around in my head at all times. It's hard to keep things straight. It's hard to remember what's-her-face's-name or even finish a sentence because my normal vocabulary now consists primarily of a bunch of words I had no use for before and my audience doesn't have a clue what I'm saying and doesn't care as long as she gets my undivided attention.

I swear I almost went to church last week without actually putting on a skirt. Not that Joe would've purposely let me get out the front door with only nude-colored Spanks and a white half slip with slits in it hugging my ample butt and thighs, looking like a person would look hugging a big tub of Jell-o (is it weird that now I'm craving Jell-o, among every other unhealthy and delicious food item I've ever consumed in my lifetime thanks to writing that?). Still, I felt very proud of myself for noticing the almost-error before I was potentially seen by some unsuspecting poor soul driving or walking past our house at the exact WRONG moment.

And I feel bad for our neighbors. I really do. After all, nothing is sexier than seeing an overweight woman with a flabby baby gut who hasn't showered for at least a day (most likely) saunter past the window with a boob or two hanging out while she scrambles to soothe a crying child before she loses her sanity. Note to self: make sure blinds are closed and invest in blinds or at least curtains where there aren't any. And why might I be in this state of half-dress without being with the baby? Pumping breast milk.

Pumping is not fun. Not only do I feel like an actual cow while hooked up to the machine, but I'm just stuck there next to it until the torture is over. Some women rave about the hands-free bras. Seriously, those would make me feel MORE like a cow, and I don't think they'd get the job done for me. It's not like I have fountains of milk pouring out of me and only need to direct that milk into a container. And then there's the fact that I have to squeeze my one boob that is attached to the pump (I can't do both at the same time for this very reason) so I can get every drop possible of milk out or I feel like a cow failure. So I sit and pump while watching the TV or praying my child doesn't start screaming bloody murder or one-handed typing between unattractive squeezes of boob flesh and feeling like a complete moron.

And that's another thing. The whole TMI concept apparently doesn't exist for me anymore. I guess after being spit up on and race pooping to get back to a fussy baby and flashing neighbors and walking around half dressed because I can't justify the time it would take to find a shirt and pants that are actually clean and put them on while the baby's screams indicate she needs me NOW, I just don't care anymore. I gag when I have to yank the snot out of my daughter's nose or stick my finger in her ear to get a healthy amount of ear wax out or change a diaper full of oddly covered mounds of baby poop. But I still do it. So I figure if I have to suffer through those things, someone can read about how I have to do them and think, "Eww, TMI! TMI, lady!" Not that anyone mistakes me for a lady these days, but still.

I also have to plan outings around when I will need to pump or feed the baby or change her diaper or when she might nap or go to bed for the night. And if I don't and I'm not prepared to deal with the consequences, HELLO leaky boobs and the ever-stylish accompanying wet nipple look or screaming, demanding, headache-inducing child or yellowish-brown crap-covered baby clothes in the most inconvenient time and place EVER or panic attack about how the heck I'm going to deal with my oversight.

So my lack of posts these days aren't because I have nothing to write about. I know that no one really wants to READ about what I have to write about (but I did take a picture of a poopy diaper that literally looked like someone had squeezed a jar of mustard into it and sent it to Joe because I just HAD to share that with SOMEONE, even if he couldn't scratch & sniff the picture). And one-handed typing takes AGES and drives me crazy. So instead I post an occasional picture of my baby. I realize not everyone recognizes her as The Cutest Thing Alive and The Center of The Universe, but that's how my life has changed. And that's my biggest Joy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I find all sorts of ways to entertain myself while at home with the baby. Many of these ways would not be approved by the older version of Joy. Good thing she doesn't have a say!

But seriously, these were the smallest glasses we could find (there was one other pair with much smaller lenses, but they weren't as cute)... and she needs some sunglasses, so this is what we bought! Just call her our little Elvis or Elton John impersonator or our little Diva. Okay, please don't call her the last one. Just thinking of that made me throw up a little in my mouth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Before I was a mother...

I didn't realize what a luxury taking a hot shower and shaving my legs could be!

I didn't value getting outside for a minute as much, even if it is only to get the mail.

I didn't long for trips alone to the grocery store as a sort of mini-vacation.

I didn't think I would relish my alone time while pumping in the wee hours of the morning.

I didn't realize I could carry on conversations with someone who couldn't talk back and enjoy myself so much.

I didn't think I would be so grateful to get sleep at stretches of 6 hours at a time.

I didn't know how funny baby farts are.

I didn't understand how I could love someone else so unconditionally.
I didn't truly understand or appreciate my own mother.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Joy's Easter dress

It was a present from her Aunt Lori when she was in town and decided Joy needed a cute newborn dress. Unfortunately, the dress was way too large for Joy at the time (about 1 1/2 months ago), but it saved us from having to find an Easter dress.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Green light for sex

Today I saw my OB to see how my womanly parts are managing after the tears (rhymes with bears)and tears (rhymes with beers) of pregnancy and delivery. He said everything looks like it has healed well. I didn't get any suggestions for how to deal with the back spasms I am getting on occasion (I thought they were gone, but I had a small-ish one yesterday and another today). But we did have some other fun conversations, like discussing the state of my breasts and birth control options and how the next couple times my husband and I do the horizontal tango we should go nice and slow like Usher knows a woman wants to be pleasured and there may be some discomfort involved for me.

He also let me know that while I now officially have the go-ahead to have sex (several women I've talked to don't wait to get their doctor's approval or for anywhere close to the recommended period of time), it's okay if I don't feel quite ready to do it. You mean that having boobs that leak everywhere and get hard and sore, and a newborn who poops in her diaper minutes after I change it or wants to be fed shortly after I just finished feeding her, and being so sleep deprived that I fantasize about sleeping in or taking naps and then talk myself out of those fantasies at times because of the aforementioned leaky boobs might make getting naked and having relations something not only off my radar but the exact opposite of appealing? And that's normal? Gee, I never would have guessed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joy's one month check-up appointment

Today Joy went in to see the pediatrician for her one month check-up. Her previous appointment was when she was 2 weeks old, and she weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces. She'd been gaining one ounce a day. I'd supplemented her for a few days after her very first pediatrician's appointment, and then I stopped. I thought she was getting enough breast milk because the pediatrician was satisfied with her weight gain. So I didn't do anything different.

And then I got something in the mail from Similac earlier this week. It talked about how frequently and how much milk babies should eat at each feeding. That's when I got concerned. I thought it was weird that some of her newborn clothes are still too big, but other people were saying she was getting bigger, so I figured maybe I just didn't notice it as much because I was spending all day every day with her.

When I was asked today if I had any questions or concerns by the nurse at today's appointment, I brought up my concern about whether or not she was getting enough food, especially when I heard her weight... she is only at 7 pounds 4 ounces, meaning she only gained 6 ounces since her last appointment 2 weeks ago! The nurse didn't say anything. But when the doctor came in, I talked to him about my concern, and he said she is definitely not eating enough. He told me she's not "malnourished," but she is "undernourished." And he said I need to supplement. But it's not something he wants me to do just for a period of time but rather for good.

I have been doing several things to try to increase my milk supply since learning she lost 11% of her birth weight between her birth and when she met the pediatrician 2 days later. I will keep doing them. But they just aren't really working enough. And now I feel like a terrible mother and a failure since I can't provide enough milk to give my baby all the nourishment she needs and I didn't recognize there was a problem and contact the pediatrician earlier to correct it earlier.

My poor baby! I feel so guilty and terrible!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Joy's birth story

I finally took some time to get Joy's birth story written down, which I figured I should before I forget any more details. I wanted to do it earlier, but I just never had the opportunity. I know that what I’ve written all happened, but I may have the timing of a few details mixed up. I really didn’t have much of a concept of time as things were going on. Since giving birth, I have learned the truth to the statement that new moms can’t always find time to fit in a shower, and if a new mom gets one or two things accomplished during the early days of a baby’s life, that’s a lot.

I woke up sometime around 11:30 pm on the 21st to my first real contraction. There was no doubt in my mind that was what was going on. I had a lot of back pain with it too and was pretty sure that I was having back labor, despite not ever learning much about it or anything about how to deal with it. I had heard that first time moms were normally in labor close to twenty-four hours, so I figured if I was actually in labor and not just having contractions, it would last quite a while. Because of that, I didn’t bother timing my contractions, but the next one came about three to five minutes later, which surprised me. I also had to go to the bathroom and didn’t want to wake up Joe, so I used our upstairs bathroom outside the master bedroom.

I had another contraction while I was on the toilet, but noticed that in that position I got a little relief from the back pain. I went back to bed and noticed it was around 11:45 at that time. I had another contraction or two and then decided I was going to go back to the bathroom where I could be a little more comfortable anyway. It dawned on me while I sat there contracting that I was definitely in labor. And with the amount of pain I was already feeling, I wanted medication stronger than anything I had at home. So I was more than ready to get to the hospital to get pain relief and because things were progressing faster than I had been told they would.

I walked back to the bedroom, opened the door, turned on the light, and woke Joe up, telling him it was time to go to the hospital. It took him a little while to wake up and grasp what I was saying, as neither of us was expecting anything like this to happen that night. My contractions continued at regular intervals, and the back pain continued along with them. So I had to have Joe help me get
dressed and finish packing the hospital bag. We left the house around 12:30 and got to the hospital around 1:00.

Joe drove the car up to the emergency room entrance and went inside the ER to get a wheelchair.  A security guard came out with a wheelchair, helped me get from the car into the chair, and wheeled me in to the check-in desk while Joe parked the car. Joe met me inside, and we were taken to a room where I had to sign papers. Then we were sent to the hallway to wait for someone to come and get us from labor and delivery.  We waited and waited and waited.  The woman that helped us with the paperwork came out and apologized that it was taking so long (she said it’d been 30 minutes, but with all the contractions and pain, I didn’t really have any concept of time). She said she would call up there to see what was taking so long and if somebody didn’t come in a few minutes, she would have someone take us up to labor and delivery. More time and contractions passed, and so she grabbed somebody to take us up. When we were almost to the elevators we intercepted two women from labor and delivery who had brought a wheelchair for me, not realizing I was already in one. They tried to ask me questions on the way up to labor and delivery, and I had to wait until I was between contractions before I was able to answer them. All I could think of was how much I wanted pain medication.

I was taken to triage and measured and was told I was at four centimeters. While I was in the bed, I heard an anesthesiologist outside the room saying he’d heard there was an epidural. And I heard the nurse tell him that they were doing blood work first. I was given fluids via an IV and had blood drawn for testing. I told the nurse about my DVT, bilateral pulmonary embolisms, and my blood thinner medication. This information was passed to the anesthesiologist, who then came into the room to tell me I would NOT be getting an epidural or spinal. He said he was concerned about the Heparin I was on increasing the risk of me bleeding into my spine. And then he said that most people who bleed into their spines end up paralyzed. At this point in time, I said I just wanted SOMETHING and asked if that was possible. I was told that I could get something. Finally, I was given an injection into my hip that took the edge off, but it only lasted for about 1 ½ hours.

After triage, I was moved into the room where I would deliver. Joe was given two small mats so he could lie down and get some rest. Unfortunately for him, he really didn’t get the chance. I needed him to help me get through the contractions. He made sure I had water when I asked for it and gave me my iPod to listen to. He also put pressure on my lower back, which seemed to help alleviate the pain slightly. The nurse strapped a heating pad to my back once the injection wore off, so the combination of the heat and the pressure helped a teeny bit. I’d asked for more of the narcotic injection as soon as it wore off, but the nurse said it was too early to get more, so this was her solution for pain relief. She’d also suggested a bath, but I could barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom and give a urine sample as they’d requested, so taking a bath didn’t sound feasible at all.
After some time, I realized I had the urge to push, but I fought it, since it was only Joe and I in the room. Not only that, but I was in enough pain as it was, and I didn’t want to push until I was able to get more pain medication (which I was certain would happen any minute, especially if I kept bugging the nurse about it). Eventually I made Joe go get the nurse (even though he’d placed the call button right next to my head; I apparently refused to use it). I told her about my urges and she told me not to fight them and to go ahead and push. She had checked me a while before and I was at a 7. As the urges to push hit me, I went ahead and did it, despite the pain. Soon I was checked again and was told I was at a 9. I was also told my bag of waters was in the way, preventing me from being fully dilated, but I was told that when I pushed and it broke, that would fully dilate me. The on-call doctor was called into the room.
I pushed and my water broke. I heard them say there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, and I started to worry about what that would mean for Joy’s health. I was told not to push anymore and listened as people from the NICU were called into the room so they could suction off the baby before she breathed in anything she shouldn’t. Once they were in the room I was given the go-ahead. I pushed and the baby must’ve crowned. Joe said that the OB had to hurry and put her gloves on, like she thought that the baby wasn’t going to be coming that quickly.
I’m a verbal person and was in pain. While I pushed, I made some noises, and one of the nurses told me more than once not to make any noises. I wanted to punch her in the face! A nurse (not sure if it was the same one or a different nurse) also told me to hold my breath after I had already been pushing and holding my breath for several seconds while I was pushing, making me want to punch her. How long did they think I could or should be able to hold my breath anyway? Anyway, during one of the pushes, I felt some terrible pain. I saw the OB and thought she had given me an episiotomy and wanted to (and almost did) yell at her, “What did you just do?” But then the more rational part of me figured that I must have just torn. I continued pushing through the pain. As the baby’s head started to emerge, they asked me if I wanted to touch it. I was using my hands to push down on the bed and didn’t want to move them. I was shocked by the question and let out a surprised, “No!” But I pushed a few more times, and the baby’s head was eventually fully out.
Then everyone told me to stop pushing as a handful of people swarmed on the baby to suction her face off. I remember thinking that I had absolutely no control over my body at that time, and if it was determined to keep pushing, it probably would. But I apparently managed not to push until it was okay to do so, and getting the rest of her out was much easier. They didn’t ask Joe if he’d wanted to cut the umbilical cord, which he had said he'd like to do when I asked him about it in our birth planning. Instead, they just did it, right away. I’d wanted to delay the clamping and cutting of the cord, but with all the pain I’d been in, thinking about going over my birth plan with this group of
strangers never even entered my mind.

Basically NOTHING happened as I’d thought it would. Things progressed much more quickly. It was very stressful on my body to go through so much in such a short period of time. The tips I’d learned in my childbirth education class weren’t really helpful, and the things that everyone told me I’d experience didn’t happen. Regardless, Joy Alexis was born at 5:52 am weighing 6 pounds 15 ounces and measuring 19 ¾ inches long after approximately 6 hours of labor.
Joy was whisked away to be cleaned off, weighed, etc. Joe had the camera to take pictures. Meanwhile, I was stuck on the bed, in pain, while the OB stitched up my tears. I asked her what degree my tearing was, and she said it was second degree. I don’t know how many stitches she put in, but I do know that it seemed to take quite some time. I was told that in addition to my second degree tear, my labia tore. And I think that is where a lot of the pain came from. I also had to have a local anesthetic injection before the OB was able to stitch up that tear, and the pain from the injection was comparable to the pain of giving birth, even though it didn’t take all that long to inject the anesthetic.
Before too long, we were moved into our recovery room on a different floor. Joy stayed with us the whole time we were in there. Joe was able to eventually get some sleep on a cot in the room. I was also able to eventually get some sleep. The whole pregnancy and birth process was a big physical and emotional challenge for me, but I was so happy to welcome my beautiful, healthy baby girl!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Joy Alexis arrived!

I'll post full details soon (I have been trying to catch up with some other things first and feel like I should be caught up soon), but I wanted to share the news... Joy was born on the 22nd just before 6 am and after a labor that lasted just over 6 hours total. I'm in incredible pain but just so happy that she is finally here and healthy! We are totally in love with her!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My 40 week pregnant baby bump

I realized last night that I was wearing the same thing I was when Joe took my other belly shot at 30 weeks, so I figured I'd have him take another one for comparison and prosperity sake before we went to bed. I had an incredible headache (that I still have, actually) and was exhausted. But I did try to fake it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Full moon tonight and drop in barometric pressure

Does that mean the baby will decide to come tonight? I'm not holding my breath, but I wouldn't mind if she did!

I still don't have an induction scheduled, and I don't want one if there's no medical reason to have one. But my doctor said that if I don't have the baby by 41 weeks, we'll schedule one. In the meantime, I have my next appointment on Monday, which is my official due date.

So far she's been very compliant. I told her she was grounded and couldn't come before February. Then I told her she couldn't come until after Valentine's Day. Now I've let her know she can come any time she's ready.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Woo hoo! Finally!

I have been waiting for MONTHS to have the carpet cleaned in our house. I was tempted on more than one occasion to rent (or even buy) a carpet cleaner and go after it myself. However, hearing that someone had offered to do it for free kept me from giving in to that temptation. Unfortunately, we didn't end up getting it done for free, but we did finally get it done. It only cost $100 for the whole house (and they were done in less than an hour). Now when the carpet in the nursery is adequately dry, we can put that together.

Someone online today mentioned that due dates aren't calculated correctly... she said you're not really "due" at 40 weeks. She said it's more like 40 weeks plus 10 days for first time moms. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it made me realize that I could potentially have a March baby instead of a February baby. I guess I'm okay with that! She'll come when she wants. I'm hoping it's not before Valentine's Day, because I have a lot of things going on next week and then have to teach in church (assuming I'm able) on the 13th.

I'm now having an internal debate as to whether I should go back to Lovenox injections after she is here or go on Coumadin. My OB said I should be on the blood thinner medication for 6 months. With Lovenox, I wouldn't have to have my blood drawn as frequently to check the levels of it in my blood, and it won't pass to the baby through my breast milk. With Coumadin, I wouldn't have to do any injections, as it's a pill. However, it might be more tricky to get and keep my levels in the proper ranges, which means I could have my blood drawn 2 or more times a month. I do have offers to watch the baby while I get my blood drawn, which is nice. I'm still not sure which route I want to go!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My 37 week OB check

Today's appointment wasn't very long. I had to have the Heparin levels in my blood checked at 9:00 am. From there I went into the doctor's office to wait for my 10:00 appointment, hoping they'd squeeze me in early but prepared with a library book.

The appointment itself was fairly short and uneventful. The doctor gave me instructions as to when I should go into labor & delivery. That's when it really hit me that she could be coming any time!

So, do you have any guesses as to the date and time of her arrival? What do you think her measurements will be?

Monday, January 31, 2011


I have to increase my Heparin injection dose amount again. I'm not sure how different my blood levels would have come out if the lab would've actually drawn my blood in time (they were 30 minutes late drawing it), but oh well! I will get another blood draw on Wednesday. What a fun life I lead!

And here are my fur babies:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why I'm stressed & down

In July I developed a blood clot (DVT) in my calf. Part of it broke off and traveled to my lungs, resulting in large blood clots in both lungs (pulmonary embolisms). I have been on blood thinner medication (Lovenox injections, two times a day) since then.

My OB said I had 2 options: 1) stay on Lovenox until 39 weeks pregnant and schedule an induction, or 2) switch to Heparin injections at 36 weeks and take them until I go into labor on my own.

I decided to go with option #2 because I’d like to avoid an induction if at all possible. I had an OB appointment scheduled for 35 weeks. I called the OB about a week before I would run out of Lovenox injections (which would be a few days before 36 weeks) because I knew how difficult it was to get those injections, and I wanted enough time to get injections before I ran out. I was reassured that Heparin injections would be much easier to get than Lovenox, and I was told I’d get a prescription at my appointment.

I have had difficulties with Target pharmacy since I started switching prescriptions to them in 2010 (I kept getting coupons for $10 gift cards to Target when filling a new prescription or transferring a prescription to Target, which is why I still did it despite the difficulties.), and so I had been thinking I should get the Heparin prescription filled elsewhere. But I was at Target running errands anyway, so I took the prescription to the pharmacy and asked if it’d be difficult to get it filled there. I was falsely assured by the employee that it wouldn’t be a problem. She said I should be able to pick up the medications the next day, over a day before I would run out of the Lovenox.

The next day, instead of getting the 90 vials (3 vials a day- a 30 day supply), they called to tell me they had 3 vials in that I could pick up but should have the rest of the medication by the following day (Friday). I decided not to take an extra trip to Target and take Lovenox another day instead. Friday came, and Target said they’d only received one box of vials, giving me a total of 25 out of the 90 vials. Still, no more would come in until Monday, and I would run out of Lovenox on Saturday, so I had to pick up what they had.

When I went to pick up my partially filled prescription, they learned I didn’t have any syringes at home I would need to take the medication (Lovenox came pre-filled, so this was all new to me). The employee "helping" me was kind of rude and frustrated about it, but I figured they’d just call my OB and get the needed prescription. I waited while they sorted things out and finally left Target with the 25 vials and 25 syringes. They said the rest of the medication should be in on Monday.

I hadn’t heard anything on Monday, and I’d had to go in to the lab to check the level of the Heparin in my system. I kept calling the OB office for the results, thinking it might be easier to get my prescription changed if needed (the doctor said he’d anticipated my levels would probably be a little low) before I picked up the rest of the vials. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the results of the lab draw until Wednesday (the levels were indeed low). However, I hadn’t picked up the rest of the prescription yet (I'd gotten a call on Tuesday letting me know the rest of the vials and syringes were in the store and waiting). So I headed back to Target right after my appointment to see if they could adjust my prescription. I learned that they wouldn’t do it. They told me to simply take the new dose and then let them know when I was running out of the medication. Then they’d fill my new prescription, letting my insurance company know the early refill request was due to a dose change.

But I let them know that the syringes that were ready for me to pick up were too small for the new dose I needed to take, so I would need different syringes. And that started a bunch more drama and complications. The COMPLETELY unhelpful pharmacist sent me away from the store about an hour later with 5 syringes that she figured would be adequate enough to last me until they could order and get in a more appropriate size.

By the time I left Target, it was already past time when I should’ve taken my next dosage, so I decided to inject myself in my car. I pulled out one of the syringes Target sold me (yes, the pharmacist made me pay 25 cents a syringe, saying the rest of the syringes should be cheaper since I’d be buying them in bulk or through my insurance or something) and pulled out a couple vials. When I took the cap off the needle, I realized this had to be wrong.

My injections are supposed to be subcutaneous. The gauges are larger for subcutaneous needles (meaning the needle isn’t as wide around), and the needles themselves aren’t very long. This needle was very long and wide. I started crying out of frustration, since I'd been told by the pharmacist this was all they had. I knew I had to use it if I wanted my injection. So I started pulling up the medication into the syringe, which was challenging enough, and injected myself, only pushing the needle in about 1/3 of the way. The area continued to bleed for several minutes, even with applied pressure. And I realized that a fair amount of the medication was actually stuck in the syringe, meaning I didn't get the new dose anyway.

I called my OB office while I was still sitting in my car to see if they had any syringes I could use until Target could get the right syringes in. One of the nurses there put me on hold while she looked, eventually telling me that she found a box. I headed back to the office to pick them up. When I got there, Target pharmacy was on the phone with my OB office saying they needed a prescription for the syringes and trying to find out what the specifics were for the syringes I would need. I looked at the syringes the nurse gave me and was confused, because it didn’t seem possible that the syringes themselves were anywhere NEAR large enough to fit my entire dose (the old or new dose) in it. However, I accepted them gratefully anyway and left, when the nurse said they should work just fine, hearing her tell the pharmacist I wouldn’t need syringes through Target after all. I figured I’d know in another 8 hours whether or not the syringes would work, and I had 2 syringes that would accommodate my old dosage if all else failed.

Sure enough, the OB’s syringes were way too small. So instead of starting my new dosage, I had to take my old dose. And I saw all the bruises on my stomach and cried out of all the stress and frustration I’ve gone through this pregnancy in general and the past couple weeks more specifically. While crying, I started grieving, realizing that I don’t think I have it in me to go through an entire pregnancy’s worth of injections plus an additional 6 months post-pregnancy of blood thinners, blood draws, etc, and all the health risks again. I’m all but 100% certain this will be my only pregnancy, and I grieve for that loss. I want more kids, but I don’t think I can physically, mentally, and emotionally go through this again. I cried myself to sleep while my husband tried to comfort me.

Yesterday I started making some calls to find out what size syringes I needed (how the heck am I supposed to know?) and where I could get them. I had to drive about 30 minutes each way to get syringes, but I was glad to have them when all was said and done.

This picture shows a standard sized pen for comparison’s sake, followed next by the original syringes I got from Target (they hold 1 ml of Heparin, my old dose and have a ½ inch length needle and a 27 gauge), followed by one of the 5 syringes Target gave me for my new dose (they hold 3 ml of Heparin, much more than my new dose, and have a 1 ½ inch length needle and a 21 gauge), followed by the syringes from my OB (they only hold 3/10 of a ml, I realized, and they’re supposed to be for insulin, I guess), followed by the new syringes I picked up yesterday (they also hold 3 ml of Heparin, but the needle size is only 5/8 inch and the gauge is 25).

So I went back in to the lab today to check my Heparin levels again. The lab was short-staffed, and I ended up getting my blood drawn 4 ½ hours after my injection, instead of the 4 hours it was supposed to be. Grr! Hopefully that won’t affect my levels too much! And hopefully I don’t have to adjust my levels anymore before the baby comes. I do plan on going back to Target to get that prescription they haven’t filled so I can have it filled elsewhere and canceling all my auto-refill medications with Target and transferring them elsewhere too.

But I still grieve that this will be the only pregnancy I likely experience, and any more children we have will likely be adopted. I worry about my baby’s health, even though things look okay with her on ultrasounds. And if something is wrong with her, I will fully blame myself and hold myself accountable for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

35 week ultrasound and pictures

Last week I went in to have another growth ultrasound completed. The doctor wanted to make sure there weren't any medical reasons for me to start having NSTs as well as to check on the baby. Joe left work early so he could attend with me, and it was a really good appointment. I love how my doctor takes the time to sit down with us and answer any questions we have! He is so thorough I swear it's like he anticipates questions we may have and explains things more thoroughly than he needs to just so that we don't have any questions that pop up later!

The ultrasound tech measured the baby's head and some other bones. We were told she is in the 48th percentile weighing approx 5 pounds and 13 ounces right now. We were also told she is measuring 2 days ahead, which we don't quite understand. However, I think that may have to do with the size of her head, as I noticed from the measurements of her head that it was measuring 2 days larger (however they determine all that). I know ultrasound measurements aren't exact or anything, but I have been told the baby gains about an ounce a day now, and so it would appear that I most likely will not end up with a baby that weighs near as much as Joe did when he was born (over 9 pounds), thank goodness!

Here's her profile:

After all the measurements were taken, the tech switched from the regular ultrasound wand to another wand, and a 3D image popped up on the screen. It was so cool! And while I think Joy may have been annoyed at the pressure (she kept blocking one side of her face with her hand), this particular image that was captured turned out pretty neat!

I just love that little nose! I am so excited to meet her!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I have awesome friends

I am so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life! My friend Stacy threw a baby shower for me at her home on Saturday, with my friend Denise helping out with the organizing and decorating of the shower as well. And my friend Nancy helped out with the yummy food (I ate 3 freaking delicious cupcakes and more than my share of other heavenly food too!). I saw some extended family that I haven't seen for quite some time and learned that a couple of them didn't even know I was pregnant until they got the invitation to the shower! I guess we have to do a better job of spreading our news personally instead of expecting other family members to help us spread it!

Anyway, the decorations were lovely. Denise made an adorable diaper cake as a centerpiece as well. People showed up (which I was extremely grateful for!) and brought wonderful gifts. We ate and chatted and played some fun games. And now Joy has a sea of adorable baby girl clothes and lots of necessities like wipes and baby powder and diapers and so on. I am getting so excited to welcome my baby girl into our family, even though she already feels like a part of it!

I even have such thoughtful friends who live out of state or who couldn't make it to the shower give us gifts! It is such a blessing to know such wonderful, giving, loving, sweet people!

Here are a few pictures from the shower. I wish I would've given my camera to someone to take pictures while I was opening up all the presents, and I wish I would've gotten more pictures of the games and people just chatting and having a good time! Oh well! Thank you so much to my friends!

A cute mirror decoration:

My chair:

Vivian, Linda, and Laura:

Jennifer & Jennifer:

The table (the "cake" in the middle is the diaper cake):

Jodi, Jeani, and Nancy:

Everyone who attended (except Tammy, who had to leave early):

Thanks for the memories and for the celebration for Joy! I look so big! Guess that means she's almost here!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Christmas and New Years

Joe and I were fortunate enough to be invited to spend time at Christmas and New Years with my aunt & uncle (and my 2 cousins and their families). We went to my cousin Kristine's house for dinner on Christmas Eve. Her kids were all there, the two oldest with their new spouses, and we played games after dinner before heading home.

We slept in on Christmas morning and woke to a quiet house. We had a nice breakfast and a relaxing morning, our only agenda items to prepare rolls for Christmas dinner, head to my aunt & uncle's house to open presents, and have dinner at their house. In the early afternoon, we drove to their house and opened presents (we were so touched that they bought us gifts as they clearly didn't have to). Then we hung out for a while and chatted before we had to head home to get the rolls ready. In the later afternoon, we headed back over to their house with the rolls in tow for a yummy Christmas turkey dinner. Everyone who had been at the Christmas Eve dinner was there with the exception of my cousin Clay and his wife, who were spending Christmas Day with her parents. My uncle's old navy buddy and his wife were there (we have met them a couple previous times at their home), and we had a nice dinner. Then we played some games before calling it a night.

We weren't sure what we were going to do for New Year's Eve, but some friends from church invited us over to their home to play games and eat snacks. We took them up on this offer and had a nice time. I was actually surprised I was able to stay up until midnight this year (we failed miserably last year), and impressed that Joe was as well, since he'd been up well before the sun to work that day.

On the first, we were invited to a late lunch/early dinner at my aunt and uncle's home. In addition, Joe had spent a few hours in the morning helping someone from church move out of their home.

So while our holidays were relatively quiet and uneventful, we had a nice relaxing time and were able to get in some extra sleep and time together. I hope you enjoyed your holidays and are looking forward to a good 2011 (and I hope it is good to you!).