Sunday, December 26, 2010

Moving on...

  So this is the second installment, and it's not the middle of the night so maybe it'll make more sense. I left off at the Uh-Oh that changed my world. Remember, my first child had been a breeze, slept through the night early on, good eater, easy baby. My second child, not so much. We took him home at 3 days old, with very little idea how to feed him, but he couldn't get enough suction to latch on to breastfeed so that was a no go. They gave us these horrible nipple like things that had a tube at the end designed to feed extremely premature infants that can't handle the suck/swallow/breathe issue. They call them a "ross nipple". I have no idea how they work for preemie babies...but MY baby? HELL NO.

   He refused to eat. By the time he was 5 days old he had gone from being his birth weight of 6 pounds 7 ounces to 5 pounds 10 ounces. He was starving. Thankfully we had his first of many visits to Children's Hospital. I remember the case nurse well. Her name was Noreen. She took one look at him, said "well, he's hungry!" and walked over to a cabinet, pulled out a regular preemie nipple which is just softer rubber, and cut an x in the end. She twisted it onto a pre-made bottle of formula and handed it to me. He ate the whole thing in 10 minutes, the most he'd eaten in his whole little life.

  Then came the next stage in my motherhood evolution. Now that he was eating regularly, he was also spitting up regularly. Another thing I'd had very little experience with, as my oldest was breastfed and rarely spit up. He would lose almost as much as he ate and it became this horrible cycle. Eat, spit up, cry, eat again and so on. He was eating so fast that he was getting too much air and as it turned out, the kid was lactose intolerant as well.

  Soy formula smells horrible and didn't help him much really, but he soon got to be old enough for regular milk with some lactaid drops in it. He was a scrawny little thing when he was very little, but he's since outgrown that. After the difficult first few years with him, I decided I was done. No more kids for me, two was enough. When he was 3 years old, I started bleeding heavily, my monthly cycles going crazy. I was working 50 hours or more a week, and my body was revolting. My fertility was in jeopardy and I ended up having an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit and a fibroid that although was small, would need to be removed.

   In November of 1999 I had a Thermachoice endometrial ablation and a hysteroscopy to remove the fibroid and cyst. It should have been the complete end of my fertility. Period. I should never have gotten pregnant again according to the Doctor and the research I did. Fast forward a few years and I moved back across country from Ohio to California. We were having hard times, financially, emotionally, everything was just out of whack. We were living in a tiny little apartment with not even enough room to breathe. It was not fun. I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and had been in near constant pain for almost a year. 

  They'd also found some bone spurs on a vertebrae in my neck and I'd been getting steroid shots. I had no idea I needed to worry about preventing a pregnancy too. In September of 2002 my extremely regular period did not come. I got a test, I peed on it and there were 2 lines. I was in shock. Complete and utter shock. I have no other way to describe it. At 6 weeks I had some spotting. I went to the emergency room and had an ultrasound done. The found the baby with a heartbeat. I had follow up blood work the next day and everything seemed ok. I went about my life expecting to welcome a new baby into my family. I had very little morning sickness after that spotting and I thought I was just lucky. My breasts weren't very tender, and I thought that my lack of symptoms was a godsend because I was dealing with my older kids.

   At 11 weeks, I started bleeding. Not spotting, bleeding. I went back to the emergency room and when they did the scan I knew something was wrong. The tech didn't talk. No friendly banter, no chit chat, just all business. When the Doctor came in I knew something was terribly wrong. She told us that the embryo had passed away shortly after the last scan. I had what was called a "missed miscarriage". They gave me some meds to help the progression so I would pass the products of conception but it didn't happen. The bleeding stopped as quick as it started.

  I ended up having a D&C done a week later and with a heavy heart I moved on and went back to my little family that I was no longer sure was complete. That was then, and this is now though and I'm going to have to break in the story again.
Happy Boxing Day ;)

The beginning

  Let me go back to the beginning for you. When I was a kid, I wasn't one of those girls that played mommy and had a zillion dolls. I had never really wanted children, in fact, I didn't like them much. The older I got the more I realized that kids were not on my agenda at all. I had babysat for a few families, I had seen some family friends babies, I decided I just didn't like children enough to go through the hassle. Obviously somewhere along the lines I changed my mind! Through high school, I had a string of boyfriends. Like most teenage girls I "flirted" with the idea of being someone's wife. In the few years I dated high school boys I decided that was not a route I wanted to take either.

   When I was 19 years old (barely) I had some gallstones and had to have my gallbladder removed. At the same time, they decided to do an appendectomy since they were already in there. Unfortunately, they severed one of my fallopian tubes on the way. When I woke up from surgery, they told me very plainly that they'd removed my gallbladder, appendix and "accidentally" severed one of my tubes and went on their merry way.

  I didn't really think about it at the time since it wouldn't affect me much anyway, remember, kids were not in my plans. Moving on...the boyfriend I had at the time was a complete asshole and broke up with me days after the surgery citing the disgusting laparoscopy scars as his reason, they were just too gross for him to be with me anymore.

   In retrospect, this next part makes me look bad and I admit I made some poor choices in my younger years, but here goes. I slept with the complete asshole's brother. Not to get back at him or anything, just because I was staying in the apartment that we'd all shared prior to the break up and it just kind of happened. Again, I admit, I've made some poor choices on this journey. None the less, my several trysts with the brother resulted in a VERY unexpected pregnancy. I had been under the impression that the chances of me conceiving naturally would be very slim due to the severed tube and the adhesions on the other side from years of ovarian cysts. Neither one of us were in the least bit ready and I ran for cover, leaving the apartment that we'd shared and moving in where my brother was staying.

  Bear with me, I know this is getting long here but I promise I have a point! My brother and his then fiance were staying with her mother and her mother's boyfriend. The boyfriend was family with the next door neighbor...the husband and wife duo, and an extra brother living in a guest room. I had met them all and thought they were all pretty cool people, all the brothers worked together and were hanging out most evenings together as well. I got to know that spare brother and it turned out he was the pick of the litter.

  This girl who never wanted kids and never wanted to get married at this point in the story is now pregnant, and has met her future husband. I've been married to the man for damn near 16 years now. And that almost 17. And they are both amazing people. The pregnancy was remarkably smooth, and she arrived promptly on her due date with my hospital stay being a grand total of 14 whole hours long. She was a terribly healthy little girl as a baby, breast fed well and slept through the night by 5 weeks old. I married that man when she was 10 months old, and he remains to this day the love of my life. She was such an easy baby, I was lulled into the belief that I could perhaps deal with TWO babies and by the time she was 16 months old, I was pregnant again.

  This time, things didn't go quite as easily. I found out rather early on, only a day after I'd missed my period. I took my prenatals from day one, I ate well, drank lots of water and had lots of rest. On April fool's day of 1996 I went pee to find a huge clumpy glob of mucus when I wiped. (TMI I know, but this fits into the story here) I called the Dr's office and the nurse said ya know it's probably nothing but just to be safe go to the L&D and have them check you. I was 27 weeks and 2 days.

  They hooked me up to the monitor and sure enough, I was in a regular contraction pattern. My high pain tolerance was preventing me from realizing it was premature labor and not just braxton hicks contractions. Fortunately they stopped the labor that night. Nine trips to the labor and delivery department later, and what seemed like too many drugs to stop contractions, my little man decides to be stubborn and hang on tight. At 38 weeks, with an augmented labor and a terribly ineffective epidural, my oldest son, who's head was the biggest of my kids to date, was born screaming into this world. The Dr delivers him, says "Uh-Oh", hands him to a nurse who rushes him away and leaves the room. I'm left freaking clear out while my husband goes to check on our baby. After way too long of a wait, a pediatrician comes in to inform us that our little man has a stage 4 bilateral cleft lip and palate.

   I had NO CLUE what to do, how to react or what it would entail. All these years later, and trust me, I will backtrack with his stories later on, he's a healthy 14 year old boy with an incredible gift for empathy and plays better guitar hero than anyone in the house.

I think for this post, I'll leave at this break in the story. There is much more to come. Until next time~~