Guilt

It’s something I have plenty of.  And something I’ve been really struggling with over the past few days.  If anyone is in need of an extra dose, I’d be happy to share.

I’ve always been a guilty-feeling person.  I guess it’s part of my nature.  It’s also a sign of a lack of confidence, but that’s a different topic.  I don’t struggle as much with guilt as I once did, but it’s still there.  The guilt I deal with now seems more important than earlier in my life.  I feel guilty about my lack of attention to my role as a wife.  I feel guilty about my lack of attention to my role as a house wife/mom.  I really kind of suck at it.  It’s a lot of work maintaining this house with 2 adults, 1 toddler and 3 out-of-control dogs.  We don’t live in squalor, but I’m just not real good about the day to day stuff…and I regularly feel guilty about it.  I feel most guilty about my parenting.  Most days I go to bed feeling as though A didn’t get my 100% all day and I feel bad about it.  I hate the nights when I watch the clock and just wait for bedtime.  I know it happens to everyone, and it doesn’t make me a bad mom per say, but to spend your evenings reflecting upon your day and not liking the conclusion is a tough pill to swallow.

I’m struggling most with my feelings of guilt about this new baby.  My head understands that I cannot expect the same kind of attention, conversation and thoughts be given to this baby since we have another child to care for.  However, it seems like Baby C is only real to me and the Hubs.  And if I’m being honest, I think sometimes she’s not really real to us either.  We were in College Station last week and had stopped to pick up some new Aggie Swag where A selected a small stuffed Revielle.  We, of course, bought it for her and she carried it around all weekend.  It wasn’t expensive at all ($10) and we had extra money set aside for exactly that.  That was Wednesday.  It took me until Sunday night for a light bulb to go off that it never even occurred to me to pick one up for Baby C.  I’ve been feeling guilty and bummed-out ever since.  I’m still beating myself up about it.  It makes me sad and I can’t help but wonder if there’s some deeper meaning behind the whole scenario.  In addition to the realization, it got me thinking about the behavior of our families.  I was pregnant with A the exact same time of year, which means that I was shocked when A was gifted several things on Christmas of 2008; before she was even born.  Now, I find myself fretting that Baby C will get nothing.  Mostly because our families don’t talk about her at all.  No one asks about her, no one really brings her up.  It’s like she doesn’t exist.  I was talking with a girlfriend the other day and she assures me it’s simply the dreaded second-child syndrome.  That it was the same way with her 2nd daughter.  But I don’t know, when I mentioned it to Hubs he reminded me that I/we don’t really talk about her to other people.  He also reminded me that for 20 weeks, she was pretty much a secret to everyone except our closest friends and immediate family and the whole topic was somewhat taboo amongst them, too.  Also, we aren’t sharing her name and we did so with A as soon as we picked it.  Maybe we should change our decision and share her name…but I’m not convinced that would change anything.  So now I feel like I’ve done this to myself and to her.  It’s my fault no one seems to think she’s real, it’s my fault no one is particularly attached to her.  It’s my fault our families don’t seem at all excited about her.  I don’t know how to fix this either.  Hubs suggested ordering her the stuffed Revielle online, but’s it’s just not the same.  He also suggested we talk about her more…but what is there to say?  We haven’t even really begun to prepare for her at all here at home and I have no idea how to go about “discussing” her.  The whole thing just makes me sad.  And the saddest part of all is that I’m concerned our families view Baby C as “sloppy-seconds” after losing the twins.  She’s soooooo much more than that to us.  She’s our little girl.  She’s another person for us to cuddle, for me to nurse, for us to mold and shape and help grow.  She’ll have her own personality and will cement herself into our lives in her own special way.  She’s the sister to our little girl and I know she’s a missing piece to our puzzle.  She was very much wanted even before she was conceived; I yearned to be pregnant with her without knowing anything about her.  Now I know a lot about her.  She’s a thumb-sucker (I was a thumb-sucker) and has big feet, based on my last sono.  She doesn’t like loud noises or loud music in the car.  She’s quiet and still when I get stressed-out or upset.  She’ll start kicking around the most once I have a glass of ice water…sugar and caffeine don’t seem to do much for her.  She moves the most late at night and into the early mornings and tends to be asleep when I wake up around 7.  She wouldn’t exist at all if it hadn’t been for the tragedy of the twins and that right there makes her very, very special.  Like I said before, I don’t know how to fix it and I’m not even sure how to deal with the whole thing.  I realize I may be pleasantly surprised on Christmas, but I doubt it.  It just doesn’t feel the same as it did with A, and it’s a real bummer.

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24 Weeks

Ahhh, home sweet home.  There really just isn’t anything quite like coming home.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling.  To nice places.  With my husband…sometimes my kiddo.  Traveling to someplace that caters to me, makes my bed every day, picks up my messes and basically demands I do nothing but relax and enjoy.  I think we all know holiday travel meets none of the former criteria.

We’ve made it home safe and sound after a whirl-wind trip to College Station for Thanksgiving and for the football game.  We had a fine time, I especially enjoyed Wednesday.  Hubs was nice enough to run me by the local camera shop and I was able to purchase a brand new 50mm/f1.8 lens to use while we were gone.  I had originally intended to purchase the 50mm/f1.4 but I HADN’T originally intended to drop my camera forcing me into replacing my kit lens.  So, I opted for the lens that was still a major improvement but about $300 cheaper than my original intention.  My next purchase will be made soon, I just don’t know when.  Also, I’ll be replacing my camera body when (WARNING:  Following words may be offensive to some) I can budget (AHHHH!) and save-up (GASP!) for the pricey piece of equipment.  Anyways, we finally headed out-of-town around noon (our goal was 10ish…eye roll) and once we made it into town, had a ball.  Purchased some new Aggie swag (because we can never have enough), took a little tour around campus, watched little A run and have the time of her life around said campus and she was a trooper and even stuck it out for Yell Practice.  She even got to pet Reveille.  I got it on video; she doesn’t realize it now, but that’s a very special thing.  I ended up sleeping with A while Hubs slept in the twin bed in another room.  I hate, hate, hate finally being in the same city as my husband and not sharing a bed with him.  BUT, I felt awful asking A to spend the night alone in a strange place.  I knew she’d be scared.  I slept ok until about 4am when she started squirming around.  Thanksgiving Day proved to be the chaotic and frantic day I predicted it would be…lots of stories I will share with you shortly.  I’m sure you all have stories of your own.  Thursday night was a late one for Hubs and I and when the 2 of us finally crawled into bed with A, we were absolutely beat.  Needless to say, 3 people in a double bed didn’t work very well.  I finally kicked Hubs out around 3am so at least he could get some zzzzzz’s.  I don’t think it happened thanks to his grandmother that insists on rising at 4am and the neighbors roosters, but I digress…Around 3am my child woke up crying and BEGGING to go home.  Cue heartbreak.  She was awake, and so was I, for a few hours.  We hauled butt out of there as soon as we could this morning.  Pulled into our driveway about 1pm, had A in bed for a nap around 1:30 and Hubs and I also crashed for a few hours.  I actually JUST NOW took that shower I’ve been needing since last night.  The Christmas decorations we were going to get started on today are waiting until tomorrow.  I’m absolutely beat, and my body aches thanks to the massive amounts of walking I’ve done over the past few days.  Also, I wanted to take A to a parade tonight but I just couldn’t muster the energy…and the other 2 members of my family seemed more than ok with it but I’m still slightly bummed to have missed it.  So, all in all, a good time was had, but I am so very thankful to be home.  The dogs are happy to be home too.  They stayed with the vet and all 3 of them are absolutely passed out right now.  In fact, I don’t even know where Maggie is, I haven’t seen her since she got home.  They always come home tired…I don’t think they sleep well away from home either.

In other news, today is 24 weeks, which means that if Earl(ette) had to be delivered, she has a chance of survival outside the womb.  Things look much more promising in terms of her survival each week that passes, but there is a slight, and I mean very slight comfort in knowing that she has a chance.  24 weeks also means I have a self-imposed ban on travel until after her safe arrival.  We’re lucky enough to live in an area with several Level 3 NICU’s and I don’t plan to be more than about 10 minutes away from one until after she’s born.  I’m sure that gets me a few eye rolls but, eh, I don’t really care.

So, I promise to be back to play out the hilarious and unbelievable details of our Thanksgiving holiday.  In the meantime, I’m going to plant myself on the couch and watch some mindless tv.  A good night’s sleep is in order for all the decorating that has to take place tomorrow and Sunday.  I’ll leave you with my 24-week self-portrait taken yesterday.  I’m not actually as large as I appear in this photo, but I thought it was cute none-the-less.

24 week belly shot

Results

It’s been a challenging 24 hours.  I almost wrote about it yesterday, but I was getting kind of tired of myself so, I didn’t.  I didn’t sleep well last night.  First, I was up late.  Damn ball game.  Then it was cold.  And once I woke up this morning around 6:30, there was no going back to sleep.  I couldn’t stop shaking, my stomach was in knots and no matter how much I told myself to calm the eff down, it didn’t work.  My defense mechanisms have been working overtime to prepare me for the worst possible news; I’ve been there…it does happen.

My appointment was at 8:30.  First one of the day.  Of course, the tech was late.  Blah.  And while very nice, proceeded to inform me she wouldn’t be able to give me any results…I would have to wait for my doctor to review the scans.  Thankfully I was already scheduled to visit my doc right after the ultrasound.  She was aware of my history, I made sure to tell her first thing that I was totally freaked out.  That all I cared to hear was that my baby was healthy…

I’ve been crying since I left the doctor’s office, I can’t seem to get the tears to stop.  Surprisingly, I haven’t done a ton of crying during this pregnancy so far, I guess I’ve been saving it up.

It’s a girl.

And y’all…she’s perfectly healthy.

It's a Girl!

19 Week Belly Shot

Here is the long-awaited, much-anticipated and almost half-way belly shot. Okay, most of that wasn’t actually true. We took these yesterday so to be completely honest, these are 19 weeks and 2 days belly shots. Friday is the big scan. I’m trying to stay positive and build up some excitement, but truthfully I’m really scared. I’m feeling a lot of movement, especially most of this morning and if I’m ever worried, I can still easily pick up the heartbeat with my Doppler (except yesterday when Earl decided to lay really low and all I could find for several minutes was the increasing pounding of my own heart). The heartbeat seems to have slowed slightly.  I used to find it in the mid to upper 150’s and lately it’s been in the 140’s. I know the heartbeat slows some as the baby grows…but interesting (and slightly nerve-wracking) none-the-less.

I’m finding much more humor in this pregnancy. The first time around you’re so totally horrified by the things that happen to your body the last thing you think about doing is laughing. The second (well, third for me) time around…you find them funny. I want to start writing about it but I’m saving the light-hearted stuff until after this weekend.

And who knows, maybe someday I’ll be brave and post a picture of my whole face on here…however, today is not that day!

19 week belly 1

19 week belly 2

19 weeks

19 weeks. I’m 19 weeks today, people. This is a big deal…I’m officially to/past the point I was with the twins. Do I feel better? Not really, but the tons of movement I felt when I woke up this morning did put a smile on my face. I’m pretty sure it was hiccups too. A had them constantly when I was pregnant with her. My big anatomy scan is 1 week away and I’m crossing all my crossables that all looks 100% healthy. Maybe I can relax after thar, but probably not.

I have it in my head to take some belly shots during all my free time this weekend (snort) so we can all admire my halfway-point belly. In other news, I’d been feeling fine but I’m feeling slightly nauseous today…probably thanks to those late night skittles. A and I are going to attempt the Halloween event at our zoo once she gets up from her nap and then I’m getting a much needed girls night out with my sister-in-law that includes a massage and dinner and whatever other antics we can come up with.

This baby is addicted to Skittles

He is. I swear. It’s the only thing I would actually say I have craved so far in this pregnancy. He makes me eat them. Demands it really. He makes me think about them all of the time then convinces me it’s totally fine to eat 4-5 of those little mini bags I’m supposed to be saving for trick-or-treaters. In fact, he likes them so much, I don’t think the second bag (of little individual bags) is going to make it into the donation container at church. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be emptied into our large candy bowl because Earl will need the Skittles much more than the kids at the church’s Halloween event. And I doubt any of our trick-or-treaters will get Skittles because I’m pretty sure Earl will insist I hoard them into some hiding spot only the two of us are privy to. Of course, after he demands obscene amounts of Skittles he proceeds to dance about wildly in my belly so I’m not really complaining too much. I really hope I pass my Glucose test because the thought of not being able to eat Skittles is just traumatizing. Now…about that 2nd bag of Skittles….

15W 3D

I was scheduled for a normal OB check-up yesterday at 15 weeks and 3 days.  It was exactly 4 weeks from my last appointment.  I was expecting the typical weight, pee in a cup, blood pressure, listen to the heartbeat, measure your uterus, any questions? check-up so I was surprised when Monica directed me to room #9.  Let’s back up.  I prefer to schedule my appointment for first thing in the morning.  8:30 is perfect.  I’m one of the first patients so there’s virtually no wait.  Sadly, I’m not the only smart one and those appointment disappear.  Quickly.  So yesterday I was scheduled at 12:10.  I also like morning appointments because then I can take A with me and don’t have to arrange childcare.  My appointment yesterday fell right around nap time so I had to take her to my mother-in-laws.  I was called back about 10 minutes after my scheduled time, and Monica came to get me.  This made me slightly nervous since she’s more the head nurse/nurse manager and not one of the normal girls.  My first thought was that they had bad news for me.  Turns out she’s just “attached” to me (my docs words).  Makes me happy and relieved that I’m being taken care of. 🙂

Anyways, I was surprised to be in room #9.  That’s where the ultrasound machine is and I wasn’t scheduled for an u/s yesterday.  Once I entered the room I peeked at the screen and sure enough, there was my name and social security number.  “I’m getting a sono today?” I asked Monica.  “Well, sure, why not?”  she replied.  At this point I was actually really glad the Hubs had tagged along even though I told him he didn’t need to come.  Monica asked me if I still didn’t want to know the sex of Earl.  I’ve lost this battle in my house.  Hubs wants to know and A is convinced it’s a boy.  Since there’s really no compromising on this issue I said sure, we can find out today.  “Well, we already know what it is,” she laughingly said.  She was in the room last time when Dr. A said she spotted the gender and gave us the option of finding out before 12 weeks.  Fast forward, Dr. A comes in, listens to the heartbeat on the doppler and feels my uterus.  I asked her to show me where the top was…no real reason, I’m just curious.  Start the u/s part and baby looks good.  Getting much bigger and we could see the legs all crossed up.  It’s pretty amazing to see how much larger the baby is now after just 4 weeks and to see how little room s/he has to move around.  Sadly, we got no clear look at the gender.  They thought it was a boy at my last appointment (which I know is WAY early to be determining gender…part of the reason I didn’t want to know last time) but this time they said, maybe girl?  Baby was upside down, so to speak, so we were looking from the butt down and the umbilical cord was in the way.  No biggie, I’m scheduled for my anatomy scan in 4 weeks so we’ll hopefully get a much clearer look then.  Either way, I’m happy.  I’m happy today that the baby is healthy and ALIVE.  I told both Dr. A and Monica that the next several weeks were going to be very hard for me.  They both knew and Monica even commented, “we’ll get through it.”  Dr. A encouraged me to come in just to have the heartbeat checked every week from now until my next appointment.  I’m so glad they’re giving me the extra care and attention right now. I’m trying really hard not to be a head-case…especially in front of them…but I really appreciate that out of the hundreds of patients they see, they know me, know my story and are willing to give me some personal, individualized care.  My normally over-confident doctor even admitted that she listened to the heartbeat of her little girl (remember, she’s pregnant too) every day until she started moving consistently.  She also said her baby had a really slow day movement-wise yesterday and it scared the crap out of her.  It’s nice to discover your doctor is also human.

So where we stand right now is everything looks good and is progressing normally.  I’m just crossing my fingers, toes, legs, arms and anything else I can think of that we get through the next few weeks without another tragedy.  Once we get past 19-20 weeks I’ll find something else to obsess about.

We have several pictures, but again, I have NO CLUE what I’m looking at.  This one’s pretty obvious though. 🙂

PG3 US4 Scan 1

Confidence? What’s that?

My confidence levels regarding this pregnancy have been less than stellar lately.  I think I know why.  Part of it is mental and physical exhaustion.  I had been feeling slightly better and then Earl, up to his usual tricks, decided that wasn’t good enough.  The past several days have left me feeling constantly queasy, headachey, crampy and generally crappy about myself.  Brushing my teeth is a constant challenge as I seem to find myself gagging on my toothbrush, dry-heaving or hurling into the bathroom sink.  Sigh.  I’m thinking I may start taking 1 Benadryl at bedtime.  When I was taking one a few weeks ago for some sinus stuff, I seemed to feel better in the mornings.  I’m just so hesitant to take too much medicine.  I take a lot of Tylenol.  The headaches are excruciating.  I know what I’m taking is deemed “safe” but I’m just not convinced, especially since we don’t know exactly what killed the twins.  I mean, we’re about 95% sure, but that 5% leaves my mind making up a lot of other possibilities.  The other problem as of late is the point I’m at in this pregnancy.  I’m almost 14 1/2 weeks.  Twice recently I’ve had trouble locating Earl’s heartbeat.  Cue panic.  The first time he was LOW…like down below my pelvic bone.  The second time he was way off to the left-hand side.  Let’s talk about my last pregnancy for a moment.  At the u/s for the twins at 14 1/2 weeks, everything was fine.  Exactly 4 weeks later, at 18 1/2 weeks, they were gone.  The doc said they only measured about 16 1/2 weeks and I delivered them at exactly 19 weeks.  So, the next 6 weeks or so of this pregnancy will mostly be a mental game.  I have no reason to believe anything will go wrong with this pregnancy at this point.  My doc has assured me over and over again that what happened to the twins was BECAUSE THEY WERE TWINS THAT SHARED A PLACENTA.  Still…….We still haven’t told very many people about this baby.  Hubs brought it up yesterday and I told him I’m still not ready.  Honestly, the longer I go hiding it, the more I want to just start showing up to events with an infant.  That obviously won’t work.  At least not on everyone.  I think I need to get past the 20 week anatomy scan.  It gets me past the point I was with the twins and it’s a very detailed look at Earl and can determine if everything looks ok.  I did feel slightly bad this weekend.  We went to a birthday party for one of A’s friends and then I attended a party for a friend.  I was surrounded by people who would have been happy for me and supportive no matter the outcome of this pregnancy, but I’m still not ready yet.  Hubs tells me I don’t owe anyone an explanation, and he’s probably right.

On the other hand, I find myself preparing for the birth of this baby.  I’ll be thinking about things in my head and all of a sudden realize, “Stop it!  What if something happens!  You’ll feel ridiculous for making these plans!”  Hubs said yesterday that what would be really irresponsible would be to get to 35 weeks and have no plans at all.  Again, he’s probably right.  I’m thinking of hiring a doula for this birth.  A’s birth was fine, but I can’t help but think that maybe I would have had a better first year if the very beginning wasn’t so freakin’ traumatic.  At my 37 week appointment, I was dilated to a 3.  I had no idea.  No contractions, nothing.  I was both thrilled and scared.  My mom had been telling me constantly that my labor would be lightning fast because that’s how she was with both me and my sister.  Hubs was out of town…LA to be exact.  My doc said I’d be fine, there was no reason for him to rush home.  Then she asked again when he’d be coming home.  She wasn’t 100% confident either it seemed.  At 38 weeks I started having regular, timeable contractions.  They lasted all day.  They were timeable all day long.  At 9pm we called L&D to tell them I was contracting, but they weren’t particularly painful and didn’t seem to be gaining in intensity.  They advised me to come in and get checked.  The ended up admitting me due to the fact I had tested positive for Group B Strep and would need several bags of Penicillin through my IV before I delivered.  I contracted on and off all night and was basically induced the next morning.  She was born at 4:46pm that day after 2 1/2 hours of pushing.  She was face-up and it took my doctor coming in (no one bothered to tell her I had been pushing for so long and she was rather pissed when she found out), spending 15 minutes with me, manually rotating her and out she came.  The truth is, I had been hooked up to an IV for almost 24 hours at that point, been given Stadol to help me sleep and had an epidural that slipped out at one point.  I was exhausted, over-whelmed, emotional and we had nursing issues from the beginning.  She was jaundiced…which made her sleepy and uninterested in nursing…and I think the jaundice was partly from the distress of being stuck in my pelvis for 2 1/2 hours.  I didn’t know what I was doing.  Hubs didn’t know what he was doing.  He did all the work after she was born since I was basically immobile.  He changed all the diapers, brought her to me to feed, swaddled her, undressed and redressed her.  Ugh…it wasn’t terrible, but it’s just not an experience I wish to have again if I can help it.  I don’t want an induction.  This time around, I’d like to stay home as long as possible.  I really don’t want the pitocin, I don’t see why it would be necessary if you go into labor on your own.  I’m MUCH less scared of the pain this time around.  I’m not against an epidural, but I don’t want one right away like last time.  I’ve been reading up on doulas and I like the idea of someone catering to ME.  Someone supporting me and Hubs.  Someone there to help ease the transition once the baby is born.  Someone who is dedicated to me for several hours after the birth to help with nursing.  (Sidebar: I ended up nursing A for a year, but it was HARD, so HARD in the beginning because of the jaundice.)  Someone who is dedicated to making sure I’m ok, that my needs are met, before, during and after delivery.  Someone who is level-headed, unemotional, and is able to take control emotionally and point us in the right direction.  Also, my last encounter with L&D at that hospital was with the twins.  I suspect there will be some deep-seated emotions that rear their ugly heads and I’d rather tell the story to my doula once and not have to tell every nurse that I meet.  I dunno, I ran it by Hubs the other day and he seems receptive, we just need to talk about it a little bit more.  I think both of us recognize we’d like a different experience this time around and this may be a way to achieve that.  I also found myself looking at bedding sets yesterday.  I’m starting to panic slightly since we have to completely re-do the guest room for A, get her moved and then re-do the nursery for Earl.  We’ve done nothing.  Nothing.  And I’m starting to feel that time is getting away from us.  Especially since the holidays are right around the corner.

I’ve been feeling really blah about myself lately.  I know it’s because I don’t feel good.  But, I also think it’s time for me to put some pampering on the agenda.  I’m so far overdue for a pedicure it’s almost humorous.  I could also use a manicure.  I usually get them every 6-8 weeks, just to keep my cuticles trimmed.  Other than that, I keep my nails short.  In addition though, a spa day sounds so lovely.  A nice facial and massage…ahhh.  And a bikini wax.  Not so much of an “ahhh” experience but a necessary one.  I’m going to work on this and see what I can come up with.