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A Loss

Long story short, I’m miscarrying.

Monday night I had bleeding and cramping, and when I woke up the next morning I was fine.  Out of confusion, I went to Dr. DuTreil, a very charming and knowledgeable doctor.  The examinations told me that the development of the pregnancy was at least a week behind our calculated dates- dates that there was really no way around.  After this news and scheduling an appointment for next week for a follow-up, the bleeding started heavier.

Even as most signs confirm the miscarriage, pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and light nausea are still hanging around.  Even getting a little more defined.  I’m told this is normal as well, as the body hasn’t completely registered the loss.  Insult to injury, to have the symptoms but no baby.

The process has yet to reach the level of physical discomfort I know it will have, and sometimes these things take way more time than they should be allowed.  I guess that’s why doctors do D&Cs.  Dr. DuTreil talked about options with me, and his tone was most hopeful when he mentioned “just do nothing.”  As I was beginning to plan a homebirth, I can certainly appreciate the idea of letting my body do its own thing.

My first miscarriage happened before I knew there were other options.  It was very early, and even then, the physical aspect of the experience was unforgiving.  This also happened at a time when my entire life was in a state of turmoil- sick family, a breakup, a move.  I think the hormones that were present allowed me to feel the emotions of grief that would have otherwise been too overwhelming in that situation.

Since then, I’ve become much better at avoiding feelings.  So much so that when I am given condolences, I have to adjust to the level of emotion apparent in the giver’s message.  Strange to think that even the doctor is hurting more than I am.  But that’s just the surface of things- it’s not the reality.  This realization prompted me to consider…

Just a few days ago, I was speaking to my daughter’s nanny, explaining that both of my daughters were very specific people who “happened” at a very specific time, and we’d be at such a loss if they hadn’t happened just then, and been just who they are.  Of course this is true for all children.  Who would this baby have been?  The little one would have been very close to Clover in age.  So close that they wouldn’t be able to help their bond.  Irish twins.  This baby was going to surprise us at the birth with whether it was a boy or a girl.  A girl, I think.  As Clover was different from Gwenna in so many ways, even from the very beginning, I imagine this girl as the sleeper we haven’t yet had- the one who sleeps from the night practically from day one.  Maybe she’s slower in reaching her milestones because her sisters spent so much time awake, working on these things, that she is not as intensely interested in.  She is a wind whisper in a hurricane house, and balances our family.  As the baby, she looks up to her sisters and when they cry, maybe because I said we couldn’t go to the zoo immediately, she brings them pretend tea.  Hugs and kisses.

This baby will not ever be that person, or any other.  What the baby is, though, is a reminder that we have two lovely miracles.  A chance for me to cry, and reconsider all the things I do to “get ahead” instead of getting dirty playing.  A chance to look at how distant I’ve been with everyone I love, and compare that person with the one with all these emotions right now… and strive to be this person when my two year old is too tired to do anything but whine in a pitch so high it’s unregistered to all but dog ears, when my husband is distracted by the TV and I need to repeat myself 3 times, when Clover is teething and needs to be held all day.

It seems impossible… but you will be missed.

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WOW.

Hokay, so, here’s the news:

Baby #3 is on the way.

Clover is only 6 months and nursing around the clock, so it was a bit of a surprise.  The more the merrier!  Except after 3- 3 is my limit. 

I’ve been MIA for about 6 months now, so I would apologize here, but it’s against some sort of rule to apologize for not blogging while you’re blogging.  So just “hi again”, I guess.

Quick update for this week’s post:

-Gwenna is turning 3 at the end of the summer.  The madness of birthday party planning is about to begin.

-Clover is 6 months- nearly 7- and pulling up on things and walking with her walker and being an all around badass.  She heard that rumor that younger siblings could be slower reaching milestones than their older siblings, and smashed that whole notion. 

-Baby #3 is going to move us in the winter to a bigger home and to get a bigger car and that means

-My business must GROW FASTER THAN THIS BELLY.

-And oh yeah, thyroid stuff.  I’ll have to dedicate an entire post to that one.

Talk at ya next week!

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A Brighter Day

Yesterday, I was pretty pathetic.  I was in pain and in the mind set of, “My body is broken,” and I let myself have that day to be upset and selfish.  But today, I am Almighty Mommy yet again!

I know that my body is working on things.  I know that Clover will eventually move into the right position to be born, even if that happens to be right before she is born.  I know that I only have about 2 weeks, max, to suffer additional weight gain and the discomforts of being huge.  I also know that when I meet sweet little Clover, I will forget all about this time, and I will be the happiest fat girl in the world.

So excited to meet you sweet baby!

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Family photo shoot!

So a while back, I met Rob Fanguy at a photo shoot.  The head shot to the right is his work.  He’s great with lighting and has a real NOLA feel to his photos.  Not only do the pictures turn out great, but he’s super polite and personable.  I never had any issues feeling comfortable at either session, and I say “either” because this past weekend was our second time working together, and he wound up photographing my whole family!

I will say that I’m a little angry with my face.  However, I’ve been taking super good care to get good nutrition and exercise, so I know it can’t be helped.  Photos taken at this point in my last pregnancy have a similarly doughy face.  I guess that’s just pregnancy, my version.

On to the goodies!  Check out what an awesome job Rob did.

Super cute idea Rob had with scrabble letters:

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“Half of my face is numb?”

I swore to my husband that I would not be going to the ER or L&D for this pregnancy if I wasn’t about to have a baby, and I am therefore a dirty liar.

I was interviewing a nanny on Sunday in a coffee shop on Magazine Street.  Lovely afternoon, sweet lady, and a yogurt parfait.  Nearly all the way though the interview, I had to stop talking several times, because I was… out of breath?  Out of energy?  All of the above, plus losing vision.  I blacked out for a very uncomfortable moment in which I thought I might vomit on the spot, and decided to wrap the interview up with the now very concerned nanny.  I gathered my things as I was not yet alarmed, having experienced these episodes through most of the pregnancy, even though they usually weren’t so dramatic and the effects not nearly so long-lasting.  I tried to sip some milk and realized the left side of my face did not have feeling.

I nearly sobbed on the spot.

I dialed my husband, no answer.  He was probably putting the baby down for a nap.  I waited a few minutes, dialed again, same thing.  By now I was decided on going to the ER- thankfully just a few blocks away- and also decided on driving myself, which I was certain was a bad idea because I was obviously having a stroke.  One thing I knew to do was move, move, move, and get my tush over to the ER.

Made it there fine, went to registration, went to triage, got escorted to L&D.  One of the midwives I see was already at the hospital for a birth, so my lonely stay was a bit shorter than it might have been.  They checked me out, put me on monitors.  Luckily, neurological problems were ruled out pretty quickly.  I was baffled as to what was going on.  Baby looked great, I was having zero contractions, zero dilation.  The last thing to get checked was my blood, and it came back that I am anemic.

Simple, right?  Apparently it was pretty bad.  Bad enough to not only have me blacking out while sitting down, but also sleeping for half the day and the night.  After 2 and a half days of iron supplements twice a day, my iron levels are now borderline.  I can’t express how much better I feel!  I had no idea that anemia could feel so miserable, and that it could be so serious.

I saw my chiropractor on Monday, and he adjusted my neck, and the numbness went away.

Way to freak me out, weird stressed nerve in my neck.

When I got home from the ER, Zack was so relieved.  It sucks to think your 24-year-old wife, pregnant with your second child, might be dealing with a stroke.  Add to that my phone had died a short time into my visit… Poor guy.

In a nutshell, you could say that I overreacted… but seriously?  A blackout episode accompanied by facial numbness on one side?  What the heck, body.  What the heck.

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Clover’s Story

Other than a few small acknowledgments to the womb-crawler, I haven’t said much about little expected one.

So here’s a baby story!

Gwenna’s father and I got married in October of last year.  At the wedding, Gwenna was walking and dancing around.  She was beginning to talk.  She was growing out of her baby face.  After the wedding, that made me sad.  Now our family had no baby.  Good thing I now had a husband, I thought.

We talked about another little one… our first was simply awesome, and since that was the case, we would be doing the world a huge injustice by not making more.  We weren’t financially solid, so that was a negative. I still needed to finish school, so that might get in the way.  We hadn’t bought a house yet… there were several things that could have held us back.

However, my mother and her mother had both had all their children before their late twenties, due to reproductive issues.  I’d been diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17 (one reason our darling Gwenna was such a nice surprise) and had always been concerned about how long I could reasonably take advantage of my fertility.  At some point before Gwenna, I pulled out a special diet, started charting and taking my basal body temperature every morning, and found that I was probably not ovulating.  A few months of that, and it seemed I’d regulated- so I went back on birth control.  I somehow got pregnant in that (serious, long-term) relationship, and it quickly terminated on its own.  The nurse told me I shouldn’t expect to get pregnant on my own and keep it with the condition I was diagnosed with.

WELL!  We showed her.  Gwenna not only stuck around, but she stuck around for 41 weeks.  And even then, she didn’t want to come out!  That’s a different story all together, though.

Concerns about fertility coupled with the fact that I was suffering from some serious baby fever, Zack gave in, and we decided we would start trying in March, for a possible December baby.  That was still up in the air, though, as I had a nanny job that I wanted to remain committed to for as long as I was needed.

In January, I went off of birth control so I could start charting and see where my body was- if I was ovulating, or what.  I started loosely observing my cycle and following natural family planning, or the Rhythm Method.  I wasn’t sure yet if I was ovulating, but I noticed when I could possibly be ovulating.  I will spare you the details, here, but I do want to say that our experience with the Rhythm Method was not a failure- I knew when I was ovulating.

Fast forward to the first week of February.  My period isn’t due for another week, probably, but Zack keeps making jokes that I’m pregnant.  I tell him there’s no way I’d be exhibiting symptoms so early, even if I was, and I wasn’t.  We were watching How I Met Your Mother, one of the episodes about Lily having a baby, when I decided that geeze, the world sure does seem to insisting I’m pregnant.  I quietly excused myself to the bathroom and pulled out a pee-stick.

I proceeded to watch the second pink line appear.

I guess I wasn’t having any fertility issues.  And yes, I remember that I said our Rhythm Method experience was not a failure- it wasn’t.  There is a huge book on charting and the Rhythm Method, and you should read it if you want to understand more.  Basically, there are requirements for using it effectively, and you have to do ALL of them.  We understood this, but thought it didn’t apply to us for a few reasons.  Oh well!

So I spent the first half of the pregnancy vomiting/being ill.  We were pretty sure little lady was a boy (well, Zack was).  We surprised our family at a gender reveal party (we did the gender reveal for ourselves with Gwenna, and this time we found out at the ultrasound and made the surprise more for our family).

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I’ve been teaching Zumba 1-3 times per week, walking like crazy, watching calorie intake.  I’m up about 10 pounds in week 29.  That may jump up a bit more since it’s August and hot as Hades outside- no park walking for us for a while.  I’m trying to keep up with the Hypnobabies program, have a student doula, see my midwives regularly.  We’re planning another hospital birth, but this time we will hopefully be able to avoid interventions and use the tub we’ve reserved.

If someone asks me if I’m excited, heck yes I am.  However, I try not to think about it much.  I try to keep myself preoccupied with activities for Gwenna, work, house stuff, cooking… I don’t want that insane anxiety at 37 weeks that insists on eating your soul with the teeth of anticipation.  Seriously, no one warns you about how uncomfortable and crazy-making those last couple of weeks are.  You start to lose your ability to reason that waiting maybe one more week is surely better than a labor with interventions and high risks.

So I’m telling myself I have way too long to go, even though this pregnancy has flown by and I know that the fall, with all the work, school, and football I will have to enjoy will fly by as well.  Just humor me- I have 3 more years to go.

That is the story of sweet Clover Jean thus far.  I will now go back to ignoring my huge belly.

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The Dangers of Exercising While Pregnant

So far I’ve found only one: a slightly higher chance of doing dumb things in reaction to normal muscle aches.

Let me tell you yesterday’s story!

I have been having tightening sensations in my lower abdomen for days- since Thursday.  I’ve been resting as much as anyone could expect of a stay-at-home mom with a toddler, and drinking fluids, apart from teaching Zumba classes on Thursday and yesterday morning (even though I had some bleeding yesterday morning- the midwife and I agreed it was probably nothing, made some minor adjustments to how I should be going about my weekend, and then basically forgot about it).

Yesterday afternoon, the tightening got worse.  My husband, daughter, and I were doing our weekly grocery shopping run when I began to feel like my tummy was just… fatigued.  The muscles needed to rest, and to my knowledge, they weren’t doing anything.  This wasn’t ligament pain, this wasn’t labor contractions, this wasn’t gas… this was God-knows-what, and it alarmed me a bit because I just knew that squatting down (common reaction to labor) would provide some relief.  So I found myself randomly squatting down in the grocery store, pretending to be scanning the bottom shelves.  I knew this wasn’t me in labor, but something was going on, and it was getting worse.

We dropped our darling daughter off at her grandparents’ house and went back home for dinner, a ton of fluids, and some rest.  Then we decided to go to an arena football game Zack had won tickets to, and at the football game, things got worse again.

I called the midwife, and we decided to go to L&D to get checked out.  Commence endless eye rolls from my husband and I, because, while necessary, the trip was sure to produce nothing.  We knew what was going to happen: they would hook me up to monitors, I wouldn’t have a single contraction, they might check for dilation, and I’d be sent home.

That is what happened.  Not a single contraction (thank goodness!)

However, while there, I asked the nurse a bunch of questions, and one that occurred to me was about muscle fatigue: is it common for people to confuse pain from working out with contractions?  She said it was a definite possibility.

Face in palm.

The sensations began on Thursday, after teaching a class, and got worse Saturday, after teaching a class.  I had been sure I was not working any muscles in my lower abdomen, mostly since it feels impossible and a little because I consciously focus on upper abs when we work out those muscles in class.  I am a little ashamed to report that muscle soreness/the tightening of a muscle group after working it out fairly well during pregnancy feels exactly the same as that sensation outside of pregnancy.  It’s a little more uncomfortable because of the pressure on all of that fluid inside that baby balloon you’re carrying, but really, it’s the same thing.

Leave it to a Zumba instructor to not realize that she’s sore from working out.

Apart from the above story, working out during pregnancy has been an amazing experience.  Even when I was down with the first trimester sickness, I taught once a week and went for as many walks as possible, and these activities offered me some distractions and some endorphins- good stuff.  Now that I am teaching 3 times a week, it’s even better.  It’s slowing the pregnancy weight gain, I’m conserving muscle mass (which wasn’t the case with the first pregnancy- I had a slight case of chicken legs after that one), I’m less hungry on days I work out than on days I don’t.  Working out is keeping me in shape for all of the squats I know I’ll be doing during labor.  It helps me feel like a human being when I’m actually two.

I think the real dangers of exercise in pregnancy happen when you’re out of shape and you suddenly feel that nesting urge and clean the whole house, exhausting yourself.  This definitely happened to me the first time.  I also ended up tired from just about everything during the third trimester, and this wrought major havoc on my inner peace (“I can’t take another day of pregnancy!” Is not productive thinking when you have about 50 left).  This time, I barely notice a difference between 20 weeks and 28 weeks.

All I’m saying is… Zumba!