Friday, March 26, 2010

The beginning of beginnings and the beginning of the End






It's hard for me to even start this post...and I'm not even sure I'll be able to make sense to someone else reading it... My beloved dog, best friend, and 3rd member of the "My Boys blog", Buddy, is dying. I used to joke that he was going to have to live forever, because I didn't want to imagine my life without him, but now I'm having to prepare for just that. Buddy hasn't been well lately- he has barely eaten and is very lethargic. I took him to the vet and did not get good news. Unfortunately, the vet doesn't seem to think he has long to live and that it's most likely cancer. The only way we would know for sure is to run more tests and do surgery- which I don't want to put my sweet dog through. He is almost 13 years old, and he has been too good to me to put him through all of that. I think of all of the years that he has been by my side, through good and bad, and it breaks my heart to think about not getting to share life with him. He has been the kindest, most gentle dog to Christian and all little babies and kids that have come through the house. I never had to worry about him hurting anyone...only them possibly hurting him. Even as I write this now, Buddy chooses to sit in the same room with me. When I look over at him, he looks up at me..still adoringly...despite everything. I am crushed to think that Peanut may never get a chance to meet the gentle soul that Buddy is. How am I going to do this without him? Do you know that when I was in labor with Christian, Charles filmed some footage of Buddy running around joyfully in the backyard, put it on a loop and played it for me in the hospital? It brought me comfort every time I had a contraction or needed peace. Sigh. I have the most beautiful memories of this dog and I know that I'll always have that, but I am sad that I won't always have him...to kiss the tips of his super-soft ears, to rub my thumb across the little noggin on his head, to see the jowls which always seemed to be smiling and the tender looks whenever I needed a good cry...He is the essence of unconditional love.




Despite the heart wrenching news about Buddy, I had a weekend that was all about Peanut, and it was beautiful! I needed this weekend to refuel and motivate me. It started on Saturday with my family baby shower. It was held at my good friend Karen's house...and house is probably an understatement. She has a gorgeous home- more an estate, really, that despite it's size is warm and feels well lived in. She, my Mom, and my friend Larissa (who always brings the BEST food, thanks to her talent for running a tasty restaurant) put together an absolutely beautiful day filled with people I love, great food, flowers, favors, my favorite cupcakes, and a literal shower of gifts to help bring Peanut comfortably into the world. All I can say is thank you...and WOW. As if that wasn't enough...Sunday, was also a treat. My friends from Stroller Strides, (who have been an amazing support to me through all child-raising experiences thus far and especially through absorbing the news about Peanut's diagnosis), threw a pre-baby brunch at John O'Groats. The food was fabulous (shout out here for the Huevos O'Groats!!), the company fun, and the gifts generous...not to forget to mention that my favorite cupcakes made another appearance- Woo hoo! I am honestly humbled by all of the outpouring of love and support.


So the last 3 days seemed to be big markers for me: the beginning of the End for my beloved dog, and the beginning of the beginning for my beloved Peanut (who will now probably always be known as Peanut, even after we choose an actual name!) It is sweet...and bittersweet at the same time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

I'm doing a little jig right now...at least mentally! After a really awful week last week, I'm finally getting a break! I saw Dr. Ballet today, who had nothing but good news for me today! Peanut's enlarged spleen and liver that he saw last week, don't seem to be an issue now. He said that the spleen looks normal and not engorged, as it did last week, and that he didn't appreciate the amount of fat around the belly, which means that there is less liver and more fat- this is good. (We may just have a little fatty on our hands, and I'm ALL good with that!):) Plus, when he was looking at the ultrasound today, he said that if he didn't already know our baby has Down syndrome, he probably wouldn't have picked it up at all... Peanut apparently has less of a dip in the nasal bone than you commonly see in Down syndrome. And, just for a bonus...Peanut SMILED during the ultrasound!! I even have a picture of it!

I was also prepared to have to convince Dr. Ballet that the twice weekly testing was too much for me. All I did was mention that the schedule was a little tough on me, and he said, "Ok, how about we cut out both BPP tests, and only do 1 NST a week?" Fabulous!!! So, even though I do need to see him and my OB once a week, I might be able to do the NST during my OB visit and that reduces my visits from 4 times a week to 2 times a week! Woo hoo! And I didn't even have to "put my foot down about it." Yay!

After getting such great news, I picked up Christian from drop-in daycare and he was in a great mood (despite no nap!) He had made the most adorable bumblebee craft, with googly eyes, his hand prints as the wings and pipe cleaners for antenna. He was so proud of it! We met up with my Mom at the mall and got a little shopping in for some necessities that I'll need in those early days of newborn life. Then, the day finished off with Charles bringing me home some orchids for no real reason (just to celebrate a good Dr appointment) and he even handled the bedtime routine with Christian. So, it was a VERY good day and I am a very happy girl!

So, I'm off to try and kick the rest of this cold out of my system and get some sleep. I love ending today on a high note!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Ride

I was pushed around in a wheelchair today. It couldn't have been more ironic. I worked out this morning (teaching my Stroller Strides class,) and then went to the hospital for my regularly scheduled Monday Non-Stress Test (NST) and Bio Physical Profile (BPP). There was a screw up, once again, with my scheduling and I almost wasn't able to get the BPP done without having to leave and come back a few hours later. Luckily, the ultra sound tech made it happen and I had to go from the 3rd floor Labor and Delivery to the 1st floor Ultra Sound Room to complete my testing. Apparently, this requires a wheelchair. I imagined what Christian feels like being pushed around in his stroller: simultaneously relaxed, yet frustrated knowing that he's perfectly capable of walking! All of the testing on little Peanut went great- again. He got another A+ on his BPP and the NST looked good also. But, since it's hospital policy, I was wheeled to do the BPP and then wheeled out of the hospital. The cutie ultra sound tech (from last week), wheeled me out...and it wasn't just to the entrance of the hospital...he wheeled me all the way across the parking lot to my car...where I got out and proceeded to drive myself home. I laugh even thinking about it now. So silly. I see Dr. Ballet on Wednesday and I really need to insist that we back off of some of this precautionary stuff- it's too much and I NEED to be able to adequately wrap up my event clients and do my teaching jobs and take care of Christian. Plus, I really don't want to be robbed of the joy of preparing for a new baby...the organizing, the dreaming, the decorating...if I'm at doctor appointments all of the time, there's no time for that and there really needs to be time for that.

I had an amazing afternoon with Christian. He took a long nap, allowing me to get caught up on some work, and then woke up and was playing quietly in his room. I needed to take him with me shopping to pick up supplies for some of my events and he went happily, commenting on all of the things we were seeing, with lots of questions, "What's that Mama?" It was really an afternoon that I needed!!! A tantrum free afternoon...I was beginning to think that was a thing of the past entirely.

My other "boy", Buddy, is our Golden Retriever. He is 12 years old and he has been with me through so much in my life: growing up & figuring out "who I am", a marriage, a divorce, another marriage, Christian's birth...This dog is like a little piece of my soul. He truly is "The World's Best Dog". He is so gentle with Christian and even listens to Christian's bossy little commands. When I got Buddy as a puppy, only 12 weeks old, he was an exuberant, delicious little ball of fur. I imagined having this golden retriever that you see sitting outside of Starbucks, waiting for his "person", undeterred by strangers' attention and affections. Hee hee...well, that was not quite what I got. He was a rambunctious endless ball of energy, but he was also a good student as long as he was on a leash or there was a treat in hand or a positive reinforcement to be had. As a retriever, he's always been a little delinquent. He would hardly retrieve a ball. ...He would start out chasing a ball & bringing it back, maybe one or two times, and then mid-return would suddenly decide that it was going to be better to leave the ball alone and sniff a new patch of grass instead. And his appetite has always been hearty. There was no bowl of food left around- he would immediately consume the food the second he heard it hit the bottom of his bowl (Well, actually he "sat" on command and waited for his "okay" to start eating...drooling the whole time.) He has endless energy when it comes to getting people's food- a veritable thief of foods. One year, while staying at my parents' house for Thanksgiving, he pulled the raw turkey off the table and had consumed a small chunk of it before being discovered. Needless to say, my parents were not happy, and were forced to buy a new turkey. Buddy's persistence with sneakily getting the "people food" is part of why Christian shouts daily, bossy commands...it's like he can read Buddy's mind, and if he walks away from his breakfast or his snack, he knows Buddy is going to make a move. Christian shouts, "No Buddy! You stay!! You lay down! All the way down! Put your head down! 1...2...3!!!!" (I'm pretty sure Christian gets the 1...2...3 part from how I occasionally discipline him!) :) I share these stories about Buddy, because I'm worried about him. He's not eating. I know there must really be something wrong for this dog to not eat, and it breaks my heart. On one hand, I really need him to be around for ME right now, but on the other hand, he is too old to be rushed into the vet and put through distressing tests...I don't think I could let him go through a surgery at his age if he ended up needing one... I'm not sure what to do yet. I'm hoping that this is temporary, but I'm worried because of his age. I've always said he needs to live forever, and I feel like I need him more now than ever before. I'll warn you all now...if this dog goes before Peanut gets here, I will not be okay. I will need to be scraped off the floor. Seriously.

I'm putting my worries on the shelf now...about Peanut, about Buddy, about anything that starts to overwhelm me. Because one of the things I've learned in life, is that worry doesn't change anything- except for how you feel. So, I'll let God sort out the details and I'll focus on what I need to do right now. ...And right now, I need to get ready for bed, take care of myself and try out this saline rinse thingy I picked up at the drugstore to try to clear my cold out quicker (Nights have still been a nightmare.) I anticipate an interesting scenario with this saline thingy. I've never used one before, so it might have aspects of hilarity to it. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Little Precious Moment

This was just one of "those" weeks, and today was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. A really tough day. But, something really precious did happen & I wanted to get it down in writing while I remembered this. Tonight, Christian and I sat in the backyard while he was eating dinner and he asked to "see baby brother" (which means that he wants to see my belly, free of clothing.) So, I pulled up my shirt to reveal the belly. He said, "You stay here, Mommy. I go get something. I be right back, okay? Don't close the door." (Which means don't put my shirt over the belly!) He looked back a few times repeating, "I be right back. Don't close the door on baby brother." He came back seconds later with his favorite blanket and put it on top of my belly, saying, "It's cozy. It's a cozy blanket." So sweet! Despite all of the tantrums and clinginess and everything, I think he'll be a GREAT big brother...even though he will always be my baby too. His blanket is his prize possession and it touched me to see him want to share that with "baby brother"...even though I don't think he really has a clue that there is an actual baby in my belly! :) So, in between it all I do still get the glimpses of my sweet baby boy...just a little clouded by adjusting-to-life and almost-being-three syndrome... :)

UNCLE!!!!

(33 weeks pregnant)

I. woke. up. with. pink. eye.

I should probably laugh... And it's a small thing, but it means more isolation and trying to balance taking care of myself and a clingy toddler. I'm not even fully recovered from this cold I have (which, luckily did not turn out to be Strep Throat.) Speaking of clingy toddlers... I am really feeling the parent guilt about Christian these days. He is clearly going through something. Maybe it's some sense that things in his world are about to change with a new baby on the horizon. Maybe he's sensitive to the roller coaster of emotions that are taking place in our home- it's probably a little of both. But, it worries me. When I dropped him off at drop-in daycare the other day, the teacher asked Christian, "Are going to be a big brother soon?" and he said, "No! I'm little!" She responded perfectly by saying, yes you are, and no matter how much you grow you will always be your Mommy's baby. (Which is exactly what I say to him.)Then, apparently after I left, he hit a younger kid in the head with a wooden block. And he's been hitting me a lot when he's frustrated. This is not something we were seeing much of even a month ago. I think I'm being pretty consistent with the discipline, but it's distressing to see him being so frustrated, clingy and aggressive. When he gets upset, he only wants "Mama"- which has been really tough since I'm sick and trying not to spread my germs to him.

I'm about to head off to yet another doctor appointment. Today I'm seeing my OB. It turns out that these twice weekly hospital visits are supposed to include a Non Stress Test (which lasts anywhere from 20 min-1 hour) and then a Bio Physical Profile (Ultrasound) which lasts another 30 minutes at least. On Monday, when I did these tests and had wait time in between, I was at the hospital for 3 hours. I can't do it!! I can't be at the hospital 6 hours a week, plus the 30 min each way commute AND see my OB and Perinatolgist each week AND work 2 jobs AND run my business AND be a Mom to Christian, a wife to Charles and somehow take care of myself in all of this. It's really too much...and it gets even harder to be supportive of all of this precautionary testing when Peanut seems to be happy as a clam...outside of the fact that he has Down syndrome, this really does not feel like a high risk pregnancy! I'm going to talk to Dr. Ballet about it next week when I see him again. (He's the one ordering all of this testing.) Once I conclude my client contracts for my business in the middle of April, I'll be able to take on the additional part-time job of attending unending doctor visits and precautionary testing. Until then, I just can't do it. I thought I already cried Uncle. So, just in case, "UNCLE!!!! UNCLE!!!!"

Okay. Now I've vented, my eye is slightly less red and goopy and swollen and I've got about 30 minutes free before I have to leave for my doctor appointment, so I'm going to take a nap (Christian is at daycare again, where I'm praying he doesn't hit anyone, make snotty faces or throw tantrums the whole time. What happened to my sweet, sweet little guy??!!)

Next post, I promise, will be more uplifting!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vulnerable

I am a weeping mess. It is 4:31am. My throat is so sore that it feels like it is on fire and it actually seems to be getting worse with each passing day. It has woken me up in the middle of the night for the last two nights. Last night, I woke up just in time to get freaked out by the mild earthquake we had. I immediately found my flashlight and slept with it the rest of the night.

Only my family really knows this: I am a sleeper. I don't have issues with sleep. Ever. If I have 20 minutes for a nap, I can power down for 15-19 minutes of it. So, when I'm not sleeping, it distresses me. Charles does have issues with sleep, so he was up when I woke up. He kept asking if he could do anything for me. I replied, "Do you have a magic wand?" Much to my amusement, he pulled out some scepter prop he'd made for a play and waved it around. We swung it around a few extra times for good measure...Tonight, I woke up with pain so bad that I just couldn't settle myself. I'm crying "Uncle" and going in to the doctor first thing in the morning. So, for now, I'm waiting for the one Tylenol I took to kick in and I'm drinking Chamomile tea. What I wouldn't give for 4 Advil and some sore throat spray, though...

So, it's 4:36am and I'm blogging and Googling and perusing other blog links. And weeping. Because I feel vulnerable. Because I can't do anything about it. Because I worry for Peanut. There it is...the unknowns of raising a baby with Down syndrome, the challenges, the delays...I'm mostly pretty centered about it, but it is impossible to deny my Mothering nature completely. So, I weep a little. But, not too much or for too long, because that makes my throat hurt more. I'm fine as long as I don't swallow. I'll let you know how that goes...(You'll notice that this tactic is not going to be listed under "Things that will improve a sore throat.") Sigh.

Well, my one Tylenol and chamomile tea seem to be sort of kicking in (or maybe it was the magic scepter)- at least enough for me to start feeling sleepy again. Hopefully by the next time I post, I'll be rid of this sore throat and back to feelin' good! Nighty (rest of the) night!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The chaos begins...

I had the first of my twice weekly, scheduled, hospital visits this morning. (No concerns, just part of the precautionary schedule they have me on due to Peanut's diagnosis.) Dr. Ballet wants me to get a Non Stress Test twice a week to check the baby's heart rate and reaction to his movements. I also had to have a Biophysical Ultrasound today. This ultrasound measures the baby's muscle tone, body movements, breathing movements and amniotic fluid. The ultrasound technician said that the test results in a maximum score of 8, and our baby scored an 8 out of 8. Yay Peanut- your first A+!!!!

The hospital has been redone since my stay while having Christian. Dr. Kim jokingly refers to it as "The Hyatt". Decor-wise, it is very nice and it does almost have a Hyatt-like quality to it. However, since my appointment took over 3 hours, I got hungry and the nurse ordered me some "food". I put "food" in quotations on purpose. WOW. I was served a brown mush of beef and egg noodles (I think, as I couldn't bring myself to touch it), some white rice, an overcooked mixture of lima beans, zucchini and carrots, a "salad" of iceberg lettuce and a shredded piece of carrot with Ranch dressing, a brownie, a cup of coffee (??Hello??) and a cup of 100% Orange juice. I was starving, so I ate the overcooked veggie mix, the iceberg salad and the white rice. I'm not sure there was a single vitamin in that lunch...oh yeah, I drank the Orange juice, which despite a high fructose level might have been the most nutritious item on the tray. Note to self: Have family bring food to the "Hyatt". The combination of hospital food, narcotics and 36 hours without a meal was exactly the reason I ended up with such horrible constipation after I had Christian almost 3 years ago. (There is a coordinating, desperate, although hilarious, story to go with this experience. But, despite my commitment to a fully honest blog, I think that story requires a few glasses of wine and close girlfriends only. I'm not even fully sure I've shared the details with Charles. The reality is, that I would like to continue a sex life with him and this story takes all of the SEXY, right out of me!)

INSERT REAL LIFE HERE: Christian is splashing in his water table, while yelling "Oh no!", as if he can't stop himself. It is truly funny. I imagine Christian's inner monologue to go something like this: "Oh no, this water is getting me all wet." (splash, splash, splash) "Now I'm cold and there's almost no water left." (splash, splash, splash) Don't you wish you could just do something irrational in normal life and claim, "Oh no!" as if you had no control over it? No serious consequences, just a chance to remark on the ridiculousness of your situation? Here comes Christian.........."Mommy, I spilled." (As the water is drips from his eyelashes.) "Yes, baby, you did. You sure did." :)

Back to my hospital visit...It wasn't stressful or scary at all. In fact, it was kind of nice to be taken care of. Because the truth is, I am stupidly independent. I spend so much time trying to be organized and competent that I don't ever put out that she-needs-some-help vibe. Thus, Charles has never really gone through those crazy pregnant lady craving requests, and has never really tripped over himself to open a door or lift something for me. (Mind you, he does these things- mostly jovially, when asked but not on basic impulse alone.) So, it was nice to have someone say, "Put your feet up, relax. Do you need anything? Oh you're hungry? I'll bring you some "food"... well, the impulse was very nice. The ultrasound tech was also very nice, and kinda cute, so it wasn't bad eye candy to enjoy while waiting for test results. He almost seemed to be hitting on me... I got the, "How many weeks pregnant are you?? 32? Wow. You look great!", "You're 38 years old. Wow- I would never have guessed it.", "You know women who are smaller and haven't gained as much weight are easier to get a good ultrasound read on." Now, stop. You're making me blush. Obviously, this is his job to make us preggers feel good- so, he is very good at his job. It wasn't the most exciting or stimulating 3 hours of my life, but as a pregnant, busy Mom, teacher, trainer and event business owner, I might have to just acknowledge the silver lining.

The only damper on the appointment was that no one could understand why a youngish- looking, fit, pregnant woman at 32 weeks of pregnancy would be at the hospital for these tests. I had to explain about 5 times: The baby has Down syndrome, so my doctor wants the testing as a precautionary measure. The good news is that it wasn't all that hard to say anymore. And nurses have seen it all, so there were no super shocked faces, no I'm Sorry's, just an understanding. More silver lining, because what this meant to me is that I really am coming to acceptance. I'm sure I'll get waves of emotions to sort through once our little Peanut is born, but for now, I think I'm in a place of acceptance. At least for today, I am.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Little Time to Think

I needed some loveliness today. So, I am sitting outside in our new backyard (Living in L.A. FINALLY paid off as we were chosen for a free backyard makeover. Now our backyard is not the junky work-in-constant-progress that we had going before. It's actually peaceful and beautiful. As quoted by one of Christian's toddler friends: "Christian lives at the park." That makes me smile. Charles is at work, and Christian actually went down for a nap without too much of a fight, so I have a cherished bit of "me" time...and today I need it.

I found the most beautiful blog last night. It makes mine look lame and uninteresting, but that's okay, because it is THAT beautiful. It is written by a Mom, who is a photographer, and her entire site is peppered with these amazing, real images from her life. The photographs look like the pages of a magazine, with photo shoots that have gone just right. She has a daughter around Christian's age and just had a newborn on Jan 22ND. Upon looking into her newborn daughter's eyes, she realized that she has Down syndrome. No prenatal diagnosis. No warning of what was to come. She speaks of the shock, the tears, the love, the "BEFORE"... and I can relate, even before our own birth experience with Peanut. I thought that I was so blessed to find out ahead of time that Peanut has an extra chromosome, because it gives us time to adjust to the news and to get back to being excited for his arrival. But, in a way, this Mom (named Kelle) got to look deep into her daughter's eyes and feel her love along with the fear and shock of the diagnosis. And I wonder if getting to hold your baby takes away a little bit of the sting, a little bit of the fear, a little bit of the anxiety out of it?... Kelle is 31. If I had been 31, or even 35, I wouldn't have known. We did no prenatal testing when I was pregnant with Christian. I almost didn't do any this time, and I can only explain it as a small nudge from God to "just do the blood test." Overall, I am glad we know about Peanut's diagnosis. However, it's the doctor appointments that have become an active practice in patience and level-headedness (HA! Patience & level-headedness in a pregnant woman?? Isn't that some sort of oxymoron? So, you can see my struggle.)

I had an appointment with my OB today (Dr. Kim). Have I mentioned how much I adore her? Have I mentioned how she has given me words of wisdom and love that are well beyond the patient-doctor experience? We went over the notes that Dr. Ballet submitted to her. She actually called and spoke to him this week. As of my last appointment, he wanted me to deliver at Los Robles Hospital, even though I was originally scheduled to deliver at Simi Valley. (When he made this recommendation, I thought, "Of course! NOW that the brand new, beautiful maternity wing is open at Simi Valley, I still don't get to deliver there!") However, after Dr. Kim's call, he agreed to okay the Simi Valley delivery, since the Neonatologist he recommends is already scheduled to attend Peanut's birth. A small victory. Dr. Kim also said that Dr. Ballet thinks that Peanut's enlarged liver and spleen may just be transient, but that we're watching it to make sure it's not something more serious, and we should know more at my next appointment. Funny, I didn't quite get that from him, but feel even more optimistically fuelled and faithful about this issue resolving itself. This is the roller coaster, and now I'm being launched into endless back to back appointments. I have to go to the hospital twice a week for them to monitor the baby, plus I have to see Dr. Kim once a week now, and I'll see Dr. Ballet in 2 weeks...So, I'm trying to gather the strength to steel myself against all of the medical jargon and scary 'what ifs'... This is where I'm gonna need my family and friends to give me mental breaks (even just a good chat on the phone) and keep me laughing at life. I know I can count on them for this- I just need to reach out.

So, a woman I've never met before is on my mind. But, she seems a lot like me- Kelle loves the Beauty found in life, has amazing friends and family who are there for support without question, she has a toddler-aged child, and now she has a newborn, who happens to have Down syndrome. So, I feel a connection to her. You've got to check out her blog, called "Enjoying the Small Things." I hope my link works. If not, it's worth searching for. And try not to compare my blog...I'm new at this, technologically challenged and not a photographer...:)
http://www.kellehampton.com

Now, for a nap...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Remembering my Blessings

Why is it that one piece of concerning news has a way of darkening so many good things? So, instead I'm going to try to focus on the things that have been blessings. First and foremost, I saw my Perinatologist, Dr. Ballet, yesterday and he discovered that the concerns we had with Peanut's trachea and esophagus have completely resolved!! The stomach bubble, which was smaller than it should be, now looks perfect. My "generous" amniotic fluid is now normal (probably one of the only times you DON'T want something to be generous)! This is very good. Can I get a Hallelujah? Quite honestly it's hard to celebrate this, because there is a new possible development. Peanut's liver and spleen are enlarged, which could point to a Preleukemic condition. Dr. Ballet was quick to warn that this does not mean the baby will have Leukemia or develop Leukemia. It means that the baby would be born with an abnormally high white blood cell count (not enough red blood cells). Here is a definition I found online: PreLeukemia- A condition in which the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells. This condition may progress to become acute Leukemia. Preleukemia is also called myelodysplastic syndrome or smoldering Leukemia. ..........................Great........................................ And to drop a further bomb, if the enlarged state of the liver and spleen continue, I will have to have a c-section. I know that millions of women have c-sections, and that there are even women who opt for, prefer and schedule their c-sections. I am not one of them. I don't really want to have major surgery. Call me crazy, but I hate the idea of being cut open, having my uterus taken out of my body, then later put back in and sewn shut. (I am shuddering and closing my eyes.) I want my baby Peanut to have the best possible chances at everything, given that because of his Down syndrome, he will be at greater risk for everything also. I also hate the idea of not being able to hold my baby right away, or to start trying to nurse right away. Okay...moving on to a new subject, because just writing this down is starting to make me panic.

So, back to the blessings...one possible medical condition has already resolved itself, so why can't this one resolve itself too? I invite anyone who believes in the power of prayer to add Peanut's new possible condition to your prayer lists. Secondly, my pregnancy continues to be an easy one- no major issues, no major weight gain, basically life "as usual" for the most part. Which is great- I need some things to be "as usual" right now. I was also thrown a baby shower by the dance studio that I teach ballet for. A large group of my ballet students (aged 6-18) and their Moms, got together with the owner and threw a super-sweet shower for me on Sunday. I only welled up a couple of times, which was really good considering how blessed I feel and...well, also how hormonal I feel! I really didn't think I should have a second baby shower since I was having another boy. But the truth is, we definitely need some things and the showers make a huge difference! (We're already worried enough as it is about finances, more medical bills, additional therapies and me being out of work for a couple of months recovering from giving birth...NATURALLY...(I'm practicing 'putting it out there' now.)

So, ultimately the blessings stack up higher than the "possible" negatives. I am going to need to remind myself of this daily, because the negatives are throwing around some pretty scary, powerful words (Leukemia, C-section). I keep trying to focus on Dr. Ballet, who looked me dead in the eyes and told me that I should not worry about this yet, and that he wanted to be clear in what he's telling me. He plans to have some articles or explanation of this stuff for me at my next visit. He is amazing. He is clearly talented at his work, and as my nickname for him indicates, he used to be a dancer. My brilliant, dancing perinatologist. You gotta be able to trust that, right??!!

Well, Peanut is nudging me in the ribs...probably because it's way past bedtime. And my body has a baby's liver and spleen to normalize, so I better get some more sleep.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Aches and pains

(31 weeks pregnant)

I had a scare yesterday. I woke up in the morning and felt as though I was having mild menstrual cramps. This is one of the signs of pre-term labor that Dr. Ballet told me to watch out for. It was so mild that my body was saying "no big deal", but my brain was running every "what if" scenario and ticking through the over abundance of information that has rendered my intuition unusable. It is so frustrating- I used to know immediately when something wasn't right with my body. Now, I can't tell what's coming from my brain and what's coming from my intuition. I called my OB who immediately got on the phone with me and the first question she asked was, "Are you drinking enough water?" Hmmm...Probably no, actually. She told me to stop whatever I was doing, go home, put my feet up and drink a lot of water. I didn't immediately go home, but only because almost as soon as I started chugging water, the cramps went away. I've been drinking water like a fish ever since and haven't had that crampy sensation. When I Googled 'dehydration during pregnancy', it came up as one of the reasons a woman's body could go into pre-term labor. Scary. I see Dr. Ballet on Monday, and the appointment couldn't come soon enough. I got all freaked out about my dream from the other night...even though it seemed to be a strange and ridiculous dream, my baby in the dream came 9 weeks early, and yesterday marked 31 weeks (9 weeks early).

Today started out with a major side stitch pain that lasted about 45 minutes. Not fun. It was either gas or round ligament pain- it definitely didn't strike me as anything outside of the pregnancy norm. Dealing with that and trying to get Christian ready and out the door to go teach Stroller Strides (the Mom and baby fitness program I teach for) was really tough. The pain was gone before I got to the park to teach, thank goodness, or else I would've had to cancel the class. But after the worry from yesterday, the side stitch today and the Toddler-Mommy battles, I feel completely wiped out.

I think Christian is tuned in to me unlike any other human being ever has been. He seems to sense when there is trouble and he seems to be going through something right now...maybe that uncanny knowledge that he is about to have to share his life with another little guy. I don't exactly know what it is. Yesterday, I had taken him to daycare while I went to a client meeting, and then called to ask my Mom to pick him up so that I could get a rest before work. Apparently, he threw a big fit about wanting to see me when she went to pick him up. He's NEVER done that- he's usually happy to ditch me for his 'Nana'. He's also gone back to calling me 'Mama', which is sweet, but seems like some regression (He had only been calling me 'Mommy' or sometimes 'Mom'.) It's a weird thing to have this little person so in tune with my emotions- and apparently my former acting training is not hiding anything from him.

I hope I've had my share of scares and pains for awhile- I have a really fun weekend lined up and I want to enjoy it!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dreams and Music

(30 weeks pregnant)

So, I had the weirdest dreams last night... I dreamt that I gave birth 9 weeks early, to a GIRL, named Lauren, who was much bigger than a newborn- maybe more like a 4 month old (Despite being 9 weeks early!! Can you imagine if that child-from-my-dream had made it full term?? We'd be looking at "Freakishly Large Baby Born to Northridge Woman" on the cover of the LA Times!) Then, in my dream, I went to my baby shower where I had a really ugly, generic cake that tasted terrible, had a picture of a naked baby on top of it and read, "Can you believe it?" :) WHAT??!! Down Syndrome didn't play a role in the dream and the name Lauren would not have been on my list of names if we had been expecting a girl. Chalk it up to these crazy pregnancy dreams! (I won't go into detail about the weird X rated dreams I was having in my first trimester...or the one where I was a legitimate Victoria Secret model...hee hee..it makes me laugh out loud thinking about it now!!)

In addition to crazy dreaming, I'm also on a daily organizing impulse. Everything seems out of order in my house and everywhere I turn, I have the impulse to tear it all apart and start over. I'm sure it's my control issues...as I get closer to Peanut's birth, I am realizing how little control I have over everything, over anything. And the best I can do is to try and organize my house, I guess. I've also started researching natural childbirth. It looks like I may be too late to take up any type of actual "method", and I really doubt we'll be able to afford a Doula, but I'm feeling that it's going to be especially important for me to do this birth without drugs...if I ever even get that chance, that is. If our little Peanut has odds stacked against him, then it feels more important for me to do whatever little I can do to improve his odds- even if it's just a fraction of an odd. I guess I just feel even more protective this time around. I'm also worried about the doctors having to take Peanut away from me right away to do extensive testing because they know about his diagnosis. I'm praying that things go smoothly and that I can be strong and insistent when I need to be. There are so many interventions and contraptions at hospitals, and the nurses have a good way of scaring you into making decisions you'd rather not. In hindsight of my birth experience with Christian, I was induced with Pitocin and given an epidural prematurely and really didn't need them. Plus, I felt like I was giving birth up-hill. What IS that??!! They try to convince you that these beds decline, but then they put your feet into stirrups that feel like they're at chin level and tell you to push. We need birthing beds like the oil changing stations they have at Jiffy Lube. We can put the doctor on a lower level, like in a hole in the floor, and then the women's beds can be aimed over the doctor. Maybe I'll suggest this in the comment card box after the hospital tour... But, seriously, how am I going to prepare for this?? I wanted to blast "All These Things That I've Done" (I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier)by The Killers while I was giving birth to Christian because it makes me feel a little bad ass. But, hospitals aren't exactly accustomed to blasting music in the labor and delivery rooms and the soft, tin computer version that was playing on Charles' laptop was hardly inspiring the first time around. Maybe a blasting ipod with earphones? Music gives me a lot of determination, which probably goes back to my dancer background. Hmmm...anyone have any good, inspiring recommendations (Think "We are the Champions", The Rocky theme song, "Stronger" by Kanye West, etc.)? Maybe this will be MY method... It probably goes against all of the famous relaxation techniques, but let's face it- there is nothing "relaxing" about labor.

Well, it's late and Christian seems to be waking up with some sort of a cough, so I'm back on Mommy duty.
P.S. We seem to be making headway with the swearing and I've also discovered that regular household and yard chores are extremely fun, fulfilling, and confidence boosting to our 2 and a half year old. Hey... it works for me!
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