Saturday, May 29, 2010


Thank you to you and your amazing mother for saving me in the weeks after Charlotte left us. Thank you for traveling across the country and winding up in the hospital *just* so I could spend time with you and your mom. Or so it felt to me. What a blessing you are to me and to your family! To all who have known you. Give my little girl a hug when you see her. I'm sure she will thank you too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just Pedal!!

Someone posted this on the "Angels Among Us" blog, a blog for moms who have lost a child. As I was reading it I was smiling thinking "isn't that the truth?" So I'm posting it on my blog to save it. It was written by Tim Hansel.

"The Road of Life"

“At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited Heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president.

But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable….It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!”

I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord’s and mine.

And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He just smiles and says, “Pedal.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jammie day

Cloudy and a poor night of sleep=All Day Jammies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Those hospital binkies are ridiculous.

Thanks for letting me vent. I have felt much better since my last post; a blog sure is cheaper than therapy.
We went to the cabin this weekend, just us, and had time to just be together with really absolutely nothing else to do. Ella enjoyed playing outside even though it was cold and windy and Ava enjoyed being the youngest visitor ever to the cabin. Being there made me realize that the reason I always try and keep Ava completely silent at night is because I'm worried about the neighbors. This was keeping me up a lot more than I needed to be at night. So we moved her into Charlotte's that her room now? I don't know...anyway, she now sleeps in there, and I of course found out that if she does cry between feedings it is for a few seconds and she goes right back to sleep. I mean, babies cry. So tough neighbors, although I doubt they hear her. The last two nights have been more restful so that's lovely.
On the way home from the cabin I was whining about being pregnant again, and Zar said "you know, your life isn't so bad" and I of course jumped in with "OH you don't know! You don't know!" which is what I say whenever he tells me I'm not as tired as I feel and don't really need to go get a prenatal massage, and maybe I don't need an ice cream cone. Zar went ahead with "you have two beautiful daughters who love you...or will love you...and a husband who loves you and goes to work every day even though it sucks, and you've been asked to do something again you have done before well and was worth it." So I said "sorry" and we stopped for Burger King. And I felt better about stuff. I even went as far to call and make a prenatal appointment today, something I had been avoiding. And I even kinda sorta am looking forward to going back to work, just to get out of the house a few days a week, although I have a feeling that attitude will change. And thank goodness it's not raining again today, although Ella sounds like she's going to drown in snot, but it's always going to be something. Ava, thank goodness, is fine.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Inappropriate Complaining and pics of Ella with her Food

I don't like being pregnant. Sorry. I know there is a huge population of women who would love to be able to get pregnant, and they spend massive amounts of time, energy and money trying to do so. So it sounds selfish and cruel of me to complain about the inconveniences and discomforts of pregnancy. But I'm justified. Because being able to get pregnant incredibly easily does not match well with fatal genetic issues. So let's go ahead and give me a free pass to say whatever I would like about the subject. Thanks.
This is my third pregnancy. My first two were not enjoyed by any means, but they were worth it. So I can only expect this one will be the same no matter what happens. But pregnancy is so different than I anticipated, like so many things in life. When I was a way young teenager I was so sure pregnancy would be wonderful and glowy and I was all reverent towards it. I bought a journal and wrote something ridiculous in the cover like "I can't wait until I get to experience pregnancy! I hope to save this journal to record those special sacred nine months!" Urg.
Turns out pregnancy to me isn't full of shy smiles and foot rubs and rocking in a chair in a sunny window (where I picked up that image I am not sure.)
It is immediate weight gain and exhaustion. Obviously this is a fairly common experience. But I don't even get thrilled reactions when I announce a new pregnancy. The first was announced over the phone at 5 weeks while I was at the ER having an ultrasound because I was just so sure something was wrong and I assumed that meant an ectopic pregnancy. So that stunk. Of course it only got worse 10 weeks later when tests started coming back poorly. My second, I had this incredible and SURE feeling that everything was fine, like I had nothing to worry about, so we announced it to family with happiness and Charlotte in a "big sister" t-shirt. And even though everyone cheered and acted excited, I overheard plenty of comments in the coming days and weeks that let me know that wasn't the "true" reaction. And when my testing failed to work and I refused to re-do the test...well...then I got the real doozy comments. But Ella was fine, and my Quad screen was fine, and she was fine on ultrasound, but I still didn't enjoy pregnancy, and people were still scared there would be something wrong, and I was scared of what my pregnancy meant for Charlotte, and I ate and ate and ate and gained 50 lbs and could barely get up the stairs by the end. And then I didn't really bond with Ella til she was over a month old due to all my pregnancy issues.
This pregnancy...oh man. I dreaded telling people so much I didn't tell my husband for a couple weeks. I prayed for a miscarriage. There. I said it. I told friends in tears. I said I didn't feel so great about this one. Telling my family was hell. I was so angry that this had happened in spite of my best efforts to keep it from happening. I was angry it had the potential to mess up our adoption. I was angry when people suggested I back out of our adoption because it wasn't fair to Ava to have to share me with a special needs kid when she was so young. And of course my testing came back poor, which was no surprise to me, so much that the doctor who told me the results over the phone was sure I didn't really understand what he was telling me due to my lack of sobbing and questions such as "do you know the gender?" And then of course my husband's crisis of faith when things didn't work out as expected.
So yeah, I really have a poor attitude about this pregnancy. I am still angry. I don't want to discuss it. When people mention it I say I am pretending it's not happening right now and I clam up. I'm angry that I'm so much more tired than I would be getting up in the night with Ava and I am terrified about it getting worse and worse as I get bigger and more miserable. I am terrified about going back to work in a couple weeks and being too exhausted to function and turning into a weeping mess every time I have to go on call. And I'm angry that I feel fat and tired and unhealthy. And I'm angry I feel this way. And none of this is taking into account what may happen once this baby comes.
I've had trouble sleeping the past few nights just thinking about all of this and had to get it out. I know it sounds bad. But it's where I am right now and maybe now that I've said it all, I can stop being so angry and work on finding...I don't know what. I feel I've accepted this. I even feel like everything will be fine. Zar and I were walking in the cemetery the other day and I was noticing all these old headstones of families; moms and dads and their multiple young children buried between them. And I said to Zar, "sheesh, we might as well be pioneers. We will have lost half our children." And then, for some reason, it didn't seem like that big of a deal. In a few decades it will be Zar and I buried next to two of our four daughters and if that's what it means to have everything be okay in the end, well, then that's that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Today I was carrying Ava in a sling at Costco with Ella in the cart. I heard a couple talking about us:

Man: I'm telling you, it's a real baby.
Woman: No no, it's a doll.
Man: Why would she be carrying a doll around in a sling?
Woman: It's her daughters doll.
Ava: Wah!
Couple: Oh my goodness!

Then the couple came over and cooed over Ava in her sling, and Ella burst into wild tears over the lack of attention. A free sample of potato chips remedied her mood, and we arrived home with a giant box of Ella diapers, four tomato plants, a flat of strawberries, a big bag of frozen chicken, and a bagged salad. Oh, and a doll in a sling.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ava Day 2

Ava's hospital photos arrived today. I really love how they send in a professional to do the hospital pics now, instead of just laying baby on that fixed camera/incubator thing on a piece of patterned paper. Of course, it's obviously great for the photo company; I mean who isn't going to buy these?
Looking at this it's hilarious to see her hair; I had tried to wet it and make it curl minutes before the photographer came to the room and it's fluffy at best. Now, just a few days later, I'm not sure I could comb the curl out if I tried. Not that I would.
Ava went to the doctor today. At 8 days old she has gained 10 oz, now weighing in at a hefty 6 lbs 8 oz. Strong work Ava!
I'm missing Boof a lot. I think this diet coke fueled, tired but happy state is the one I was in for a few years with her. Multiple nighttime check ins and feedings, and the last time I was doing this Charlotte was here, snoozing away in the next room. There was a lot more stress when Boof was here, but the morning drunken stupor is familiar.
I know she is watching and aware of us. And due to last night's 1 am rejection of Kirkland brand formula and it's resulting writhing and retching, that's all I can think to say about that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Snuggle Nest Success!

Special thanks to Katie and Alex for lending us their Snuggle Nest, a little portable bed roll type thing with little walls for baby to sleep in between mom and dad to prevent baby smushing. And thank goodness for king sized beds.
Dad brought Ava up to bed last night at midnight, having just eaten (and spit up most of it on Dad's shirt.) He put her in her rocking cradle thing in Charlotte's room and came in to brush his teeth. Immediately she started crying. I got up and topped her off and snuggled her and put her back to bed. Within minutes she was crying again and I was up holding her binky in her mouth. So I brought her back to bed with me, and placed her in the Snuggle Nest. She fell right to sleep and slept like a rock WITHOUT her binky until FOUR AM. At which time I fed her and she went right back to sleep again, snoozing til 6 and then again until 8:30. Pretty sweet.
I woke up happy and rested although when Zar came to kiss me goodbye for the day he said "Ava didn't sleep that well...did she?" Oh dads. Goes to show how as long as she's in the next room he doesn't hear a peep. Oh well, he can deal.
He also doesn't want to start a habit of having her sleep with us, which I agree with, but these are very early days and we need to bond anyway, so need to have her in the next room for now.
I used "On Becoming Babywise" with Ella, a book my SIL loaned me when I was pregnant with Charlotte. It really worked well for us and Ella is an excellent sleeper who goes right to bed in her own crib without a fuss. I'm hoping it will work for Ava as well. The first week you just focus on getting full feedings each feed which we have done, and then starting tomorrow we will start the other rules as well, which aren't complicated, just trying to feed on a 2.5 to 3 hour schedule, full feeds, and having some wake time after eating (except in the middle of the night) so they don't get used to falling asleep with a baba. That's really it, although the book is long and over explains everything when it could totally be done in a pamphlet. I am still way impressed with Ella's sleeping skills so I recommend it. Charlotte didn't really need it. She was such a snooze-hound I had to set my alarm to make sure she got enough to eat in the night.
Sorry for the rambling post, I'm just happy to feel rested (more or less) and am really starting to feel like Ava is MY daughter and I'm not just babysitting. It's quite an adventure, best done on a decent nights sleep.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Eyes Open!

Noticed I had no pics posted of Ava with her darling eyes open. Had to remedy that.

Welcome Baby Ava Mahalet!
May 5th 2010
6:22 am
5 lbs 14 oz

I find I'm just too tired at the moment to express everything I would like to. I keep starting and deleting because I just sound too matter-of-fact or silly so for now I think I can handle a list of things I want to remember.

1. I'm so glad we opted for a scheduled c-section. I was so afraid of labor. Especially having never done it.

2. I am so grateful I got to be in the OR and watch Ava be born. It was awesome. My dad was there too and that was awesome.

3. Following Ava to the nursery, feeding her there, giving her a bath with Zar, all of this definitely beats laying paralyzed alone and nauseous downstairs, as was my
experience with Ella. Ava's birthmom did much better than I did.

4. Before she was born we took a weight poll; birthmom guessed 6 even, I guessed 6 lbs, 2 oz, and it went up from there, so birthmom won, with me a close second.

5. Everyone was so nuts over Ava's hair and general cuteness. She was the star of the nursery.

6. I'm so glad, after a crazy emotional long day that I went home the first night to get some sleep. I would've been a mess otherwise. Plus I had no bed. Well turns out I did but the nurses kept threatening to kick me out in the middle of the night so I chose not to risk it. When the room was still empty the next day I stopped asking if I could stay there and just took it over.

7. Despite having a room, Birthmom and I just hung out all day on day 2, watching movies and snoozing in her room. At that point she hadn't been ready to hold Ava yet but still wanted us there with her.

8. I spent night 2 in my claimed "bonding room" and Ava did so well, I was so encouraged. She woke up at 1 to eat and within 15 minutes she was changed and fed and burped and back to sleep. At four it was the same story and I set my alarm to wake us up at 6:30 for one more feeding before they took her to see her pediatrician. I kept thinking once I was home and not using a plastic flat pillow I would get such excellent sleep! No big thing! And I bragged about it, which was a mistake.

9. Birthmom and I both got a big ole kick out of the hospital photographer assuming we were a couple and calling us "so cute together". Only laughing hurt Birthmom's incision so she had to just chuckle holding a pillow.

10. Ava was discharged on day 3 after snoozing for three days straight. Birthmom had a chance to spend time with her alone and hold her before we left, only at one point Ava started crying and birthmom called my cell phone to come back. She let me get a picture of us holding her together and did so well. She is just so motivated to get her life back that it made things so much easier I think, the on-going recovery itself, the pain, both physical and emotional and then watching me walk out with her baby. Strong girl.

11. I was surprised at how many of the nurses remembered the night Charlotte was born, and remembered me and loved hearing how well Charlotte did after we went home. I showed them pictures which was fun. Then I told most of them I would be back in October in the same situation so be ready for that. And it was comforting for them to just say "okay, hope it goes as well as last time!" and not freak out and shake their heads and say "how awful! Poor you!" Because it's just my crazy life and it is what it is. It's normal to me and it was normal to them.

12. I missed Ella a lot while I was spending time at the hospital, but she just is at that age where she goes so nuts sometimes that she didn't get to spend much time in the hospital with us. Although she did know to give baby sister kisses on the head and expect applause. She also threw a few tantrums.

13. Ava went to grandmas once she was discharged and we hung out and took her on her first shopping trip up to Four and Twenty Sailors so grandma could pick out a very special blankie for her. Both Charlotte and Ella had blankets from Four and Twenty, and Charlotte's burial blanket and dress also came from there.

14. It was so fun and exciting to see our families just as excited over Ava (and maybe more) than they would be if I had just birthed her myself. And for my nephew Jaydon to now be asking everyone he meets "Do you know my cousin Ava?"

15. We are figuring out our nighttime routine. She is still doing her 2.5 to 3 hour schedule which is great. My plan is to go to bed at 9:30 along with Ella, and Zar, who stays up on couch for hours for his me time, should have Ava with him through her 11 pm feeding. Then she can stay in her downstairs cradle with him until he come to bed and places her in the self rocking cradle thing in Charlottes's room, and then if I'm lucky she sleeps til 2, and then until 5, and then until 8. So far she wakes up a lot missing her binky and I'm in and out of bed and she always ends up in the borrowed snuggle nest in our bed, where she seems to sleep much better than in the cradle, but I'm afraid of her getting addicted to sleeping with mom, but it's so much easier, so for these first few weeks, we are just going to do what it takes to make it through. My theory is after having Ella I was drugged up and so incredibly exhausted for the first while that I don't really remember her feeding situation, as my first memory of her sleeping habits was eating at 10 and waking up at 8. Which can't be right. But this time I'm pregnant and can't even use zip-fizz. So that's rough.

16. I am so amazed this has happened. I never would've guessed when I made my New Years resolution to some how "Have" a baby in 2010, that by May I would have my new daughter, Ella's little sister, and I am so grateful. It is a miracle and I am so grateful to birthmom, to Bonnie and Ruthie for introducing us, our families for being so supportive, Morgan for doing our social work and being so encouraging, my OB for taking us on and being so patient, and to God for making everything fall painlessly (for me) into place. I am just filled with gratitude and truly I stand all amazed.

17. I'm the luckiest mom ever. God knew we needed this little girl, Ella needs this little sister, and she is and will be so incredibly loved. When Charlotte was first diagnosed five years ago, I was so afraid and upset that we were going to be a "sad family". A tragic family. And now I know so much more, there are so few sad families, compared to what I thought. We aren't sad. Tragic families like mine see more miracles than you would ever believe. And Ava is one of them.
(and yes, during this post I have fed Ava, changed two diapers and an outfit and been so relieved that Ella finally fell asleep after a long no-nap stretch.)