Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bedridden and Sad (and a lot of talk about lady parts)

She's tickled by breakfast in bed . . .

Mama's heart is oh-so-heavy (but her smiles help).

Over the weekend, I was feeling a bit of pressure in my lower abdomen. I (of course) hoped beyond hope that it was nothing, that I was just being paranoid because of my history of pre-term birth with Sammie B, but I did remember that feeling of "pressure" as one of the first signs I had of pre-term labor with Sammie B. And, I was worried, even though I told myself *not* to worry, even though B told me *not* to worry.

So, Monday morning, I called my perinatologist and went in. I generally love him, but I think he'd woken up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. . . and I fell a little out of love. Every time I've seen him thus far, I've asked about activity, I've asked about lifting Sam (and he's said "women were putting their kids on their backs and working in fields for generations, so while it may not be ideal that you lift her, it is reality, so try not to worry too much,"). So, his optimism has comforted me up until now and I have been living my life as normal.

I told him that I had a busy weekend, and that I had this slight, occasional pressure in my lower abdomen and he started lecturing me about how I need to slow down, B needs to help more, and that I *need* to remember I'm a high-risk pregnancy. I was sort of blindsided by that, since he's never acted worried before. Anyway, so then he had a look at my cervix. And, for those-in-the-know on cervixes, you know that funneling/shortening means you are *maybe* having signs of pre-term labor (the predictability is difficult, many women might have shorter cervixes in the beginning and go to term, but since it is hard to predict, short cervix = precautionary measures). Anyway, my cervix was "intermittently" shortening and funneling. Bad news. Doctor went into super-cautious mode, told me he wanted me on bed rest for 10 weeks, talked about how if I went into labor now, the baby wouldn't make it, etc. etc. Me = sobbing mess. I texted B "bed rest. can't talk, sobbing."

I just felt, in that moment, the weight of the world. The same weight I felt the day I got put on bed rest for Sammie B. Like this other little person is counting on me, and my body is failing us. Just like it failed Sammie B. Only now, I feel like it is failing this new life AND failing Sammie B all over again. Because she needs a mama that can be fun, that can play in the floor, pick her up, go swimming. And, I can't be that mama if I'm stuck in bed for 10 weeks. It also hurts because everyone keeps telling me that I HAVE to, just for now, put the new baby first. Before me, before Brian, before Sammie B. And, to be honest, in the last nearly three years, Sammie B has been our number 1, she just has. And, right now, putting anything as a higher priority than her just kills me. Guilt that I can't mom up for Sammie B. Guilt that I guess my body isn't meant for gestating. Fear that we'll be on that same familiar NICU roller coaster again. Fear that we won't even make it that far. Guilt, fear, worry. And, just a general longing to pick up my girl and do the things with her that we do.

So, after destroying me emotionally (or maybe just doing his job and putting the fear of God into me), my peri sent me to my regular OB. She'd already talked to him. She said she needed to see my cervix for herself. (Again, for those in-the-know, when the peri had measured, it had intermittently shortened to as short as 1.7 cm, but then lengthened again to over 3. Apparently, 1.7 is bad bad bad (1.5 = hospital bed rest); 3.3 is good good good (above 2.5 is normal)). She measured it at 4 cm, and said she'd swear on her life his measurements were wrong. The thing is though, he showed me the shortening/funneling, so I know he wasn't just making it up. Anyway, the OB mentioned a cerclage as a precautionary measure, but she'd talked to the peri about it and he disagreed. So, she wanted me to see another peri and I went to him immediately. He got the same great measurements she'd gotten, and he took several . . . all above normal. So, he explained that the cervix is dynamic and can literally change in hours or days or weeks, particularly when "maternal stress" is lessened or increased. Because he got normal measurements, he just wanted me home on bed rest for a week, and then to re-evaluate in a week. So, that's where we are. Home. Bed. Sad. Worried. Guilty. And trying not to stress. I'm working from bed this week, our nanny and B are doing all the Sammie B lifting, and well, that's that. It stinks. Pure and simple. But we are optimistic that when I see my peri again Tuesday, things will look better.

And, all my amazing mama friends have already rallied around me, reminding me that Sammie B doesn't care if we are playing in bed, playing on the floor, or playing at the pool. That, "working with her" on her PT *can* (and for now, has to) be left to dada and our nanny, and that this is my chance to spend time cuddling and giggling and playing in bed. That lessens the guilt, though it is still there. Ever so slight.

I know that even if I do end up on long-term bed rest, this will just be little blip in our family's history. I know that. Yet, I feel like all I want to do is hold my girl, and apologize to her little 2.5 year old self, and tell her that mama is so very very sorry if she's not being the mama that she needs me to be.

To my Sweet girl - my first - the magic little girl that made me "mama," I can promise you this . . . every single day I wake up with the number one goal to be the best mama to you that I can be. To be the mama that you need me to be. And, even if the ways in which I can do that (or the location from which I can do it from) is a little limited for this short time because I have to also figure out how to be the mama that your little sister needs me to be, it is still my goal. To be the mama you need. I love you with all my heart, and your magic and your smile comfort me and soothe my soul in a way that nothing else can. I love you.

This is hard.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Her Dada (In Honor of Daddy's Day)!

Ellen, over at Love That Max, recently did a post on the topic of Why Dads of Special Needs Kids Rock . . .

I read the post and while many of the comments resonated with me (Ellen had dads themselves write in with their reasons why they rocked), I thought this one summed up my B the best (and I hope its author doesn't mind me pasting here - I'm linking up!)

"Mothers are nurturing, healing, comforting and when needed, can be a ferocious mother bear. Fathers are the rock. The source for strength and leadership. The father's role is to lead by example. To instill values, morals, determination and will without having to speak a word about them. When our children are diagnosed with a special need, that strength is greatly challenged. It's in these times that the father either falters or shows his greatest strength stands up to the challenge. When that happens, you know, without a doubt, that his child will turn out just fine. That father has taken the hardest, biggest and most important step to being the rock, source of strength and leader that the child will grow up to learn from. That's a comforting thought." —Stuart Duncan, Autism From A Father's Point of View

B doesn't just rock -- B IS my rock. Our rock. He's the wind in my sails when life sucks it out of me. He's the calm to my storm. He's the one who can look at me and say "I'm not worried," and somehow, my own worry melts away.

But, here's the thing . . . B doesn't rock (and isn't just my rock) because our kiddo has some different needs. He rocks because it is who he is. "Dada" just fits him. And oh how our girl loves him. (She said this morning he's her best friend . . . I didn't cry toooo much because I know that on another day, she might answer "mama," but really? Their relationship is pretty magical, like her.).

I've said it here before, I'm often amazed and envious at B's ability to roll with the punches, to put worry aside and just play and have fun and live in the moment. I'm lucky to be traveling this road beside him, because he's the one that continually reminds me to do the same. And for that, and for him, my rock, I'm oh-so-grateful. Sammie B is lucky to call this man "dada," just as we are lucky (beyond lucky!) to call her "ours."

To B - there's no one else I'd rather walk this journey with. And to our sweet Sammie B - your dada and I are so very blessed to walk YOUR journey with you. To hold your hand when you need it, to giggle with you, to hold you, to love you. To be YOURS.

To my rock, and my bee - you both rock. And I love you both with all my heart.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our Right Now

So I admit, the first few months of this pregnancy were hard for me. I was tired. Like falling over tired. All.the.time. I was nauseous. All.the.time. The nausea medication I took with Sam that proved MIRACULOUS then did nothing to stop the nausea this go-round. I was (to be frank) a little surprised to find myself pregnant and truthfully, a little overwhelmed by it. I had to immediately go off of my anxiety medication, which on top of the nausea, exhaustion, etc., was sort of recipe for a me that was just barely functioning. I worried non-stop about how we'd make it all work. How we'd fit this extra little person into our insanely busy lives. I wondered how on earth I could possibly love any other little creature as much as I love our Sammie B. Overwhelmed.

But now, at almost 20 weeks pregnant, that fog of yuck has (thankfully) lifted. I feel JOY about being pregnant. I love talking to Sammie B about how she's going to be a big sister (to a little sister!) and all the things she'll teach the baby (right now, "eating" and "playing" are her top agenda items). While I'm not necessarily eager to meet this new little one anytime super soon (we'll take full-term please!), the thought of introducing MY girl to our new girl is pretty freaking exciting. Sisters.

When I think about our right now, there are, of course, some things that weigh on my mind. Upcoming doctor's appointments (seems there's always someone to follow up with . . . ), the transition in September from the Early Intervention program to the school district for Sam's services, changes in therapists, the 'what ifs' about the future, etc. The thing is, though, those things sort of "flutter" through my mind occasionally throughout my days. I feel a moment of worry, and I move on. The "what-ifs" that I feel like used to knock me over are just "flutters" these days. And that's good.

As I was driving Sam to her little school the other day and we were happily singing and dancing along with our radio, I felt so incredibly happy. And then I had a moment. One of the fluttery worrying kind of moments. But then, just as soon as it came, it left, and I was back to singing. To happy.

Our days are not always easy. Particularly in weeks like this -- where for the first time in awhile, I'm ridiculously slammed at work (15 hour day yesterday) . . . but then, there are evenings like tonight, where I left work at a decent time, met Sammie B and B for dinner, we laughed and talked over dinner (and B and I finally had the opportunity to chat about our weeks!); we came home and giggled and played together, just the three of us; then I laid with Sammie B until she fell asleep. And, as I laid there with her, watching her little eyelids get heavier and heavier and heavier until she finally gave into sleep and let out her little "I'm asleep" sigh, I thought about our "right now."

And this is what I realized . . . I have my flutters. I have worries. But mostly . . .

Mostly, our right now is amazing. We have this amazing little girl who shows us love and magic and wonder on a daily basis. We have good jobs that allow us to provide for that magic little girl. We have each other. We will soon welcome another little someone to our world. And, we're happy. So, yeah, tonight, my "right now" feels amazing.

And, coincidentally, after that fabulous, "my right now is amazing" moment, I tried to slip out of Sammie B's bed (as we do each night) and I accidentally rolled onto her Dora doll and made her talk . . . and the second Dora started talking, Sam giggled, in her sleep, and said, "Hola Dora!" With that, I smiled. A really big smile, and slipped out of her room to get back on the computer and do more work. Feeling oh-so-grateful for my life, my right now.