Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Fifth Birthday Booferdeedoo

June 30 2005 was a very long day.
We had checked in the night before at 7pm to start my induction. My body wasn't ready to be induced, but I was 40 weeks and at the end of what I could handle and Charlotte was expected to be still born, so it was time. Plus she was still alive, and I wondered if waiting anymore would take away our hope of having just one breath with her. One breath.
So I was started on cervadil, and hooked up to monitors, and a long night began. My back was killing me and I was very agitated. Our families came and sat around my bed and made small talk and laughed quietly and I was so anxious. After they left I asked for something to help me sleep and the nurse brought me 5 mg of ambien, and I was too embarrassed to tell her 10 mg, at home, when I'm not in labor, barely does the trick. So I tried arching my back on all fours, and that shoved my IV through the vein which had to be restarted. I had asked for a room with a jetted tub, hoping to spend a good part of the night and day in there, but didn't realize I would need to be hooked up to monitors all night and wouldn't be able to get out of bed.
Zar took a bath, ate his dinner (I got nothing) and tried to sleep in the chair next to my bed. At 4 am he remembered he had a camping mattress in the car and went out to get it. I just lay on my side and stared at the wall. I heard the nurse giving report outside my door--"it's a Downs baby" she said and I wanted to yell "I WISH!"
In the morning I was having painful contractions but was only dilated to....NOTHING. I was so frustrated. My wonderful OB, even though I was going nowhere, offered me an epidural. He figured I was going to go through enough. My family came again, and tried to turn on the TV which just about put me over the edge, so I got my drugs and finally slept. And peed the bed. Yes I should have had a catheter, but I didn't.
Suddenly three nurses ran in and rolled me to my side and instructed me to hold the hand rail. They stared at the monitors and one left to call my doctor. Charlotte's heart rate was slowing. I gripped the handrail with all my strength--I was paralyzed and HEAVY, and cried. I lay for what seemed like hours just holding white knuckled to the rail, and finally my doctor came in, and said if this was a "normal" pregnancy, I would've been rushed to C-section two hours ago. But it wasn't, and we had planned for a still birth, and it was looking like that was what was going to be. Weeks before I had said No C-section, there was no need and I didn't need to be recovering from major surgery while burying my baby. But now, when we were so close, and she was just hours from being in my arms, it seemed ridiculous to give up on that hope. One breath.
So I said I wanted the C-section. My doctor checked me, and I was a a ONE AND A HALF...and going nowhere fast. He recommended we break my water, turn off the monitors and prepare for what was going to be. I said no. I was too tired and miserable and hungry, I wanted that surgery, and I wanted it NOW.
However, I wasn't a priority case, and two ORs were full, the other had to be kept open for emergencies.
So for two hours I lay in bed with my family, with the monitors on, watching Charlotte's heart doing much better. They brought me a little grieving mommy kit, with a camera, a teeny little preemie dress, a journal and a picture frame. I ate cup fulls of ice and pushed my drug button every two minutes.
And finally, they began to prep me. Zar got in his scrubs and lay on the floor. I chewed my ice and waited. Just as they began to wheel me away, I saw the nurses look at the monitor and glance at each other. Her heart was slowing again.

In the OR they brought Zar a chair and told him not to stand up. (He was looking quite pale.) They asked if, when she was born, we wanted to see her immediately or should they take her away to work on her first? We said we wanted to see her right away. And moments later, she was here. It was 4:06 pm when I looked at the clock. There was no cry. They lifted her little curled body over the sheet and Zar and I both gasped and burst into tears. She was so, so perfect. We had been prepared for something much different, not for a nearly perfectly formed 6 lb 5 oz baby. They took her to the other side of the room, and Zar held my hand. I just kept saying "it's okay, it's okay!" and then, there was a little mew of a cry, and Zar jumped up and ran to be with her. I laughed and cried and heard little cries and then silence again. And then, I heard Zar blessing her, saying through sobs that she was too good for this earth and that we loved her. I closed my eyes and wished I had seen her crying. I thought it was over.
When they brought her to me, her eyes were wide open and she wasn't crying. I held her against my face and touched her face and smelled her and then yelled "take her!!"
"Look at your baby!" the nurse said, and I shook my head and she took her. And then I threw up in my hair.

When they wheeled me back to my room my family was in tears and I was grinning from ear to ear.
"Did you see her? She's beautiful!" I said and they all watched the door expectantly. And they brought her in all bundled and sweet, and put her in my arms. The nurses left and shut the door, and it was quiet. We passed her around for hours, just taking her in, thinking this was all we would get and being so grateful for it. Finally, two nurses came in wheeling a warming station and bath supplies, and she had her first bath right in the room, which she loved.
She had lots of visitors that evening, and lots of pictures were taken. When it got late and everyone left and Zar passed out in the chair next to my bed, I held her and could not believe I had a baby in my arms. It was an amazing birthday, the most amazing day of my life.
Happy Birthday Boofus. You changed everything and we will celebrate you forever.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Two slightly blurry shots of Ella and Ava sharing a cute quiet moment (rare) and of Ava's newly emerging 7 week old smile. Blurry because my camera is lousy and I had to rush to catch the moment before either erupted into screams.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

For awhile I had a real issue with falling asleep at night after Charlotte passed away. About a month after she left and I came down off of my other-worldly faith high, I started remembering all the bad times and the images that went with them. I'd get myself all worked up and couldn't relax.
I don't have that problem anymore.
The past few nights I've been remembering happy times, and the associated images, and it's been almost as bad. I shouldn't say that. It's good, it's good to remember and feel and grieve and heal but it's hard too. But it's an ongoing process, and that's where I am right now.
During the summer of 2007 before I was giant and pregnant with Ella and it was just Charlotte, I would take her on my days off up Millcreek canyon in the jogging stroller. I would park at a trail head and then push her up the road for about a mile and a half. I had long mourned the end of my hiking days, and this was my way of getting for myself, and giving her, a taste of that. Charlotte would be all coated with bug spray and sunscreen and I would soak her hat in water beforehand so she wouldn't overheat, and we would walk. She would sit back and look around and I would give her a leafy twig to hold and she would make bored clicking sounds with her tongue. When we got to our predetermined spot I would turn us around, loop the stroller leash around my wrist, and we would run. Well...we would jog, slowly, back down the canyon, but with enough speed that she would lean forward until she was resting against the safety bar and she would laugh the whole way down. That would make me go faster and I would laugh at her hilarious belly laughs, sometimes having to wipe my eyes and nearly veering into the canal to our left. Back at the car she would be smiley and content and we would both catch our breath. It was a good little work out for both of us. I'm so glad I had that time with her, that just us time before her siblings came. I really put an effort into her experiencing things, which I am so grateful for.
And that memory, last night, is what kept me up.
Luckily, my body knows, being pregnant and having a newborn and a toddler, that sleep is at a premium and nowadays, being "kept up" means 30 minutes and not all night. But it was a hard 30 minutes, half not wanting to remember her goofy smile because I just wanted sleep, and the other half just wallowing, happily, in the memory of her.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Quiet for a minute.
When I get up in the morning I always think as soon as Ella goes down for a nap I will take a nap myself. By the time it rolls around I am feeling less groggy and generally spend the quiet hour folding laundry or tidying, which is rather pointless. Zar asked why I don't bother to wrap up the vacuum cord and instead leave it in a tangled heap hanging on the handle. Well it's because I use it very nearly daily and as it isn't out as part of our decor I see no need to keep it looking neat. I also have been wondering why the coffee table suddenly needs dusting every day, but watching Ella pull herself up on it and dance last night with her bare sweaty summertime feet during Glee answered that question. I tried to spot clean our carpet last week which only served to point out how grubby the rest of it is. And today I decided to reduce the piles of useless crap on our kitchen counter from three to one, and found, sitting right there on our kitchen counter the following: 1) one long black extension cord belonging to some large appliance and two old cell phone cords 2) one cosmetic bag containing my long lost powder concealer and the rosebud balm I have longed blamed Ella for losing. 3) about forty packages of various varieties of cut flower food, some snipped open and then folded back over for later use. 4) 700 ARUP pens, most without ink. 5) 100 bobby pins, all of my stretchy headbands for dressing up pony tails, most of my necklaces and a ratting comb. 6) two banana quarters and half a pear (all from the last couple days but strange how my eyes just gloss over these things when cleaning.)
I managed to cut all three junk piles in half, and that's about as much as one can expect out of me today.
Sometime about the age of nine I heard a quote that went something like "Cleaning the house while your kids are still young is like shoveling the walk while it's still snowing." For some reason I filed that one away into my tiny tween brain for later use. It has been going through my head a lot these past few weeks. As if the addition of a newborn has greatly added to the mess around here. It's not like Ava's the one running off and hiding my rosebud balm.
We have started using Time-Outs for Ella. I must say I was surprised at how quickly she got the concept. I was especially shocked that she, for the most part, obeys me when I order her to sit back down when she rises from the corner by the front door prematurely, say, after 10 seconds instead of 30. Yes, she screams and wails and was very furious when I attempted to take her picture while in time-out this morning, but after I get her to sign "nice" and "sorry" and I receive my post time-out snotty hug, she is generally nicer afterwards for awhile, and just saying "Ella, do you need a time out?" is enough to persuade her not to break her crayons in half and throw them. Most of the time.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Our Family Photographer

I should have mentioned when I retooled my blog with our new pictures of Ava and Ella that they were taken by Katherine Wallin. I added her button to the side for easy access! She is wonderful and easy to work with and affordable! I So, SO wish we had pictures of Charlotte by her. What a treasure! Also, when we do family photos we try and always incorporate beads into them to represent Charlotte, as they were her favorite toy. In the header picture you can see Ella holding the little pearl bead bracelet to honor her sister.

Stuff on my mind today

Back to Work:
Well a month worth of days flew by (the nights were longer) and I'm going back to work tomorrow. The girls will be home with their dad tomorrow which always is nice, no crazy half hour drive to Grandmas and then back the opposite direction to work. I'm excited to hang out and talk with grown-ups and hope my scrubs fit...I should check into that before morning. Because there is a high probability that these will be my final four months of working before I become a SAHM with absolutely no disposable income, (Zar would argue we have none NOW, but I mean like, no more costco flowers on the front table) I should enjoy them. The flowers and the working days.

Ella is having them. When she gets frustrated or doesn't get what she wants she throws herself to the ground in hysterics, or worse, throws things. This morning she threw her cereal spoon across the kitchen and threatened to throw her bowl of cereal too. Technically it was my bowl of cereal, which she demanded for her own. She slapped her hands in the milk and then rubbed it in her hair while screaming. Hmmm. Is she too young at 19 months for time outs? A firm "no" just makes her more enraged. Any advice or tricks would be appreciated. She's a very passionate child. Sheesh. Also suddenly she won't eat anything.

Special Needs:
My attitude towards Lily and this pregnancy in general is changing. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry for my shallow complaining. Having a special needs kid is hard. It's hard to get out the door. It's hard to go to the grocery store. It's hard to go on vacation. It's hard to get a night of sleep. It's hard to be in a constant state of stress and worry and uncertainty. It's hard financially. It's hard to suddenly be living in the hospital for indeterminate periods of time, and that was hard when we didn't have two other kids. It's hard to watch someone you love desperately suffer, especially when they don't understand why they are suffering.
I've been remembering so many hard things; finding Charlotte unresponsive on the couch as an infant, getting frantic terrified phone calls from Grandparents or bus drivers, holding Charlotte down through 15 needle sticks for a routine blood test, waking to that "fever cry" in the night and knowing you are about to rush to the hospital, dealing with doctors who don't really think she's worth their time because she'll never discover the cure for cancer, endless daily bills, those horrible c-pap weeks, etc etc etc. I'm scared. But wow was Charlotte worth it. Ella, despite her tantrums, has been giving me un-begged for kisses these past couple days, and the words to the poem I read at Charlotte's funeral come to me--"I'll send a kiss through my sister, you'll know I am there." Life wasn't meant to be easy. But it's meant to be worth it, and there is nothing worth it like caring for a special needs child.

I had a prenatal massage two days ago. It was wonderful and I haven't had a headache since. I felt well enough to clean like crazy yesterday and to go to the grocery store AND to Costco AND get a bunch of thank yous written today. Zar says we can't afford it but it's feeling like a "need" to me.

Ava will be one month old tomorrow! She's getting fun now, I mean, c'mon, newborns aren't really the life of the party. She's making cute faces (smiling? maybe?!) and funny cute noises and staring at faces and calming when she sees me. She really is ridiculously beautiful. You just can't help but stare at her and touch her face. It's feeling a lot more natural now. I can hold her and make goofy faces and say "Oh! Where's dem burpens yittle beebee?"and not look over my shoulder to see if her mom just walked in. Oh yeah, cuz I'm here. Oooh snoogie.

Like Me:
I saw a woman at Costco today. She had two toddlers in her cart, a blondie girl and a little black boy who kept yelling "MAMAMA!" Oh yeah, and she was PREGNANT. I followed her around for awhile but didn't say hi.
"Oh Hi! What do you know!? We like....are the same...or you know...I see you are pregnant, and OH, you have child who doesn't look like you...and one who does...and man they are close together in you by chance have a trisomy child at home? Or did you?"
...I mean is this offensive?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Considering Lily

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Matthew 6:28-29

Zar and I went to our 20 week ultrasound today. We weren't really sure what to hope for. We just want to be as prepared as possible for what is to come. I kept thinking that maybe there would be some extreme malformation that would make it unlikely that Lily would live for more than a few minutes. Not that I would necessarily want that outcome, but it would make planning easy, and we would not plan on bringing home another newborn in October.
Lily, actually, looks quite healthy. There isn't evidence of trigoncephaly yet (Charlotte's pointed forehead that required surgery at 8 months) she has no cleft lip, she has a 3 vessel cord, she has a four chambered heart, she has two kidneys, her brain ventricles look normal, her spinal cord looks normal, her limbs and feet and hands look normal. She was sucking her thumb, (as you may be able to see in the photo) and swallowing and moving about.
She does have increased skin on the back of her neck, and the doctor thought he could see some edema on her forehead, which could point to serious cardiac issues. We are going back in six weeks to look at her vessels and see if anything is missing or blocked.
Am I happy about the results? this point they point to an increased probability of us bringing Lily home. Which of course will be a blessing, but also will be very difficult. I was happy to see all her cute little body parts, I loved seeing her open and close her mouth and suck her thumb, and I began to feel connected to her which I admit, is a change.