Tag Archives: pregnancy

Spoiled Brat

Wow, did I get hit by a nasty stomach bug. Charlie got it too. But luckily, she was only sick for about a day. We did have to cancel weekend plans I had been looking forward to. But, such is life.

This recent stomach bug required several trips to my doctor for things like anti nausea medicine, IV fluids, a different anti nausea medicine, and so forth. After I had beaten the bug and was at my follow up visit, I asked my doctor a bunch of questions about preeclampsia.

My 36 birthday is this week. In my husband and my storybook version of life, we are supposed to have two kids by now. I know I decided a while ago that we were stopping at one. But, in the back of my mind, I’ve kind of clung to a little hope that there would be some way that I could safely have a full term pregnancy. I hadn’t fully let the hope go.

My doctor was kind of my last hope. He’s knowledgeable and I trust his judgement fully. He’s also a little more open to my unconventional ideas than most. He helps me problem solve. If anyone was going to give a thumbs up to pregnancy, it would be him.

I asked him for his thoughts on the matter. He told me what I already knew: Another pregnancy is not a good idea for me.

He continued on to say something like “Adoption is a beautiful option…” My response was to check out. I started babbling incessantly and nonsensically just to cover up the heart break that had just happened. I was barely able to concentrate to discuss the refills I needed. After the appointment, I headed straight to my car still reeling from the blow.

Now, I know absolutely, for sure… that’s it for me. We are done having kids. End of story. Hope extinguished.

I’m not dealing with it well.

I want to cry. I want to scream that it’s not fair. I’m angry at the world for drawing the short straw.

Then, there is the guilt. I know how fortunate I am. I know how much I have. So, I feel guilty for feeling sad, angry, and pretty much anything other than joy.

Plus, I find myself bitter with envy and jealousy of the strangest things. A KeepEmCookin tweet popped up in my feed and my thought was “At least, they made it to bed rest!” How terrible is that? I am ashamed of myself.

Finally, there is the confusion. Why does it hurt so much? Honestly, having my own biological child is not that important to me. I could adopt and be as equally fulfilled. But, being done stings to the core for some reason.

Emotionally, I’m very much like a spoiled brat right now.

Life is not fair and we don’t always get what we want. By now, I’m well aware of that. Currently, I’m trying to figure out what’s next for my family. How do I make this OK for me?

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Arizona

Very late last night, I returned from a trip to Arizona. You may wonder why I went to Arizona. I attended my second Share Union.

So now, you may want to know what the heck is ShareUnion. Words do not do ShareUnion justice but I will do my best to try and explain. It’s an amazing opportunity many of you may be missing out on.

Some parents (myself included), feel that while in the hospital or NICU there is a lot of support from social workers and staff. However, once you journey beyond the institutional setting that support is often difficult to find. That is where Share Your Story steps in.

One of many March of Dimes programs is the website Share Your Story. It is a website for NICU parents, special needs parents, parents who have lost a baby, parents of babies with birth defects, parents who have lost a pregnancy, people struggling with infertility, parents to be with high risk pregnancies, parents of babies born sleeping, and pretty much anyone else dealing with a birth related issue.

The site offers several features. There are forums where topics are discussed and questions are asked. Additionally, users can start a blog. Worried that you aren’t a good writer or fret because you don’t know how to write a blog? Don’t. The blogs on the site are different than other blogs. No one on the site focuses on things like style or grammar. The interface is not complicated. Your message and what you have to say are the important things. You can help other parents just by participating in the blogs or forums.

Plus, there is a photo gallery to post pictures. I’m sure I’ve forgotten many other features. I encourage you to visit the site and peruse it. You are bound to find something useful.

Back to ShareUnion:

In simple terms, ShareUnion is the annual gathering of the Share Your Story site’s users, lurkers, and want to be users. However, it is so much more than that.

Everyone gets something different out of it, this is what I get:

Since Charlie’s birth, I have lost my connection with the world around me. I don’t share in the common experience of those around me in my everyday life. I feel like I don’t belong and hardly anyone truly understands my world. That is not the case at ShareUnion. Most of the attendees are walking or have walked in my shoes or similar shoes.

Also, I have lost my sense of safety since Charlie’s birth. I have anxiety daily over things I would not have given a second thought prior to when all this began. Each time I attend ShareUnion, I feel it is a step further in getting my feeling of safety back.

Finally, the moms who have lost babies can talk about their babies or the NICU parents can talk about their experiences openly. There is no social awkwardness or having to pretend that everything is OK. It is what it is and we help each other survive it. We celebrate our children’s lives.

The attendees have become like family to me. I don’t want anyone interested in attending to miss out because they did not know about it.

The ShareUnion gathering is free and includes sessions, speakers, and (delicious) meals. However, each attendee is responsible for transportation and lodging (having roomates cuts the cost significantly).

If you are interested in attending next year’s ShareUnion (sometime next summerish), get started on the site now. The more the merrier. I hate that all of us met this way but I’m so glad we did.

 


One Of The Many Reasons Parenting Magazines Are Not Relatable To Me

Maybe it was because last night I had one of those nightmares in which I was pregnant again. Or, it may be because I know too many women who have lost their babies. Whatever it is, I was turned off to find an article titled “How Social Media Is Giving My Pregnancy Anxiety” in my Twitter feed.

I’ve written before how I don’t relate to the articles in parenting magazines. I’ve had a distaste for them ever since a particular one repeatedly arrived unsolicited in my mail box to explain the exciting things occuring during my pregnancy long past the time my pregnancy was cut short.

I suppose I don’t find the cloth diaper or breast feeding debates interesting because I didn’t really have a choice in either (and I couldn’t care less what other people do). Despite Charlie doing well, I can’t pretend that I fret over what kind of preschool she should attend or the latest (and trendiest) toddler activity.

I wanted to give the author and the title the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the author was concerned for her pregnancy because of all the awareness posts regarding  premature birth and pregnancy complications. I clicked on the link hoping to find some mention of all that.

Nope. It was concern over whether her baby shower would be Pinterest worthy and the appearance of Facebook photos. Once again, another parenting article that I found to be not relatable in the very least.

I don’t understand the whole parenting magazine or website thing. Most of the articles I come across are of no interest to me. However, I do wonder if they would be more appealing had I had a healthy pregnancy and carried Charlie to term.

I simply want to enjoy the time I have with Charlie. One day, I will look back on this time as the best years of my life. I don’t need validation of my parenting ability or do I desire to be the best parent. Secretly, I think we are all messing it up in some way and that’s OK. But, you know what? To Charlie, I’m the best mommy there is and that’s what matters to me.

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Now You Are Two

Day of BirthTwo years ago, a nurse directed me to call your daddy. “Are we having the baby today?” I asked. She answered, “If I were you, I would want my husband here.”

We found out later, she chose her words carefully because they weren’t sure you were going to survive.

Two years ago, you were delivered at twenty six weeks. You weighed only 790 grams.

I was told how, with your eyes still fused shut, you surprised everyone with a mighty cry.

NICU Preemie Card_editedTwo years ago, I saw your picture for the very first time. Later in the day, the NICU nurses sent a card of your prints with a note that said “For my mommy”.

I cried when I first saw it.

Two years ago, I held the print card while propped up in my hospital bed and thought “Holy crap! I’m someone’s mom.”

I couldn’t wait to meet you… the baby that amazed everyone.

Two years ago, everything changed. Although the ride has been bumpy with many twists and blind turns, we figured out how to see past our challenges, learned to let go of what should be, and discovered how to love what is.

I’d do everything all over again, and more, to get to you.

Happy Birthday Charlie, today you are two.

 

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Charlie’s Birthday Weekend

We celebrated Charlie’s birthday this weekend and spent the long weekend at Breaks Interstate Park (number twenty four if you are counting). The park is located on the border of Virginia and Kentucky along a break in the mountains. The weather and scenery were a spectacular setting for the big second birthday.

Charlie enjoyed the weekend spent mostly outside. We participated in many activities and adventures which kept us entertained and laughing. Over the course of the weekend, I let go of the sadness that was tainting an otherwise joyous occasion.

It’s true, two is not the end of the preemie journey for us as promised. So what? I’ll chalk it up as another thing that didn’t play out for us and move on. It doesn’t matter anymore.

On the car ride back from the park, I kept thinking about Memorial Day two years ago.

I remember how the OB/GYN pulled a chair up to my bedside.

I noticed during my ten day stay on the high risk perinatal unit his body language told me everything before he spoke. If there was no news, he fluttered around my hospital room, fidgeted with the lid on his coffee, and glanced occasionally out the window. If it was bad news, he slid a chair up to my bedside to deliver it.

After he was seated in the chair on Memorial Day, he gently explained he was no longer comfortable continuing my pregnancy.

A couple hours later, the perinatologist entered my room and told me that I would not deliver that day.

Charlie was born via emergency c-section at 10:29 AM the next morning. A twenty six weeker by ten hours.

A few of the pictures from our weekend. 

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Finding The Something Good

I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. However, I do believe that something good can come from the circumstances of Charlie’s early birth (other than Charlie, obviously). It wasn’t until recently that I figured out what it was.

I managed to hold it together while I was hospitalized at twenty four weeks with severe preeclampsia. But, Charlie’s birth at 26 weeks shattered me into a million pieces. Afterwards, I laid motionless in recovery devastated by sadness, raging with anger, and envious of all the women around me with crying newborns. For the first few weeks, I could hardly breathe and sobbed uncontrollably.

March of Dimes NICU Family Support helped me begin to piece myself back together again. I became empowered, stronger, braver, and began healing.

The journey is not over for us. However, I am far enough along in my journey that I can begin to give back. I say “I’m listening and I care.”  to other mothers affected by premature birth, birth defects, or loss. I support and cheer for fellow NICU mothers. I speak at events when asked to give a face to prematurity. I share our story.

While I’m honored to do all of these things, I am further privileged for my family to be this year’s March of Dimes Ambassador Family for the Northern Shenandoah Valley. Our walk is on May 31 (two days after Charlie’s second birthday). The button link to our fundraising page will be in the tool bar on the right until the walk.

I would like to reach our goal but I’m just as happy with people giving to any team. The important part is to give (every little bit matters) to March of Dimes and support all babies.  In case you missed it, I have written a post about the many ways MOD has helped us specifically.

In my healing process, I have the need to turn something so devastating in to something good. If reaching out to others, sharing our experience, and helping where I can is that something good, then so be it. I have been given so much love and kindness to pass on.

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This year’s Northern Shenandoah Valley March of Dimes Ambassador


How Charlie Got Her Name

It is not unusual for couples to waste a vast amount of time finding the perfect baby name. My husband and I were one of those couples. Frequently, I am asked questions about Charlie’s name. Is Charlie short for Charlotte? How did I decide to name a girl Charlie? This is the tale of how Charlie’s name came to be.

I approached finding the right baby name as if it were a research project. Countless baby name websites were perused, friends were used as sounding boards, books were searched for inspiration, and important naming considerations were noted from various articles.

My husband and I made an agreement. If the baby were a boy, he could name the baby while I possessed veto power. If it were a girl, vice versa. We were tipped off at our fourteen week ultrasound that we were having a girl. That hint was the starting gun for our great baby search.

Our favorite name (at the time) had been used for our sweet dog, Kaia. We needed another name.

One afternoon, I drew up a list of baby names that I liked from my research. I liked Piper (it had the bonus of being a Phish song), Kasey, Kali, Adrianne, and Ryan.

As quickly as I rattled my list off to my husband, he vetoed them. That was our routine for a few weeks. I would get excited over a new name idea and my husband would shoot it down. We were deadlocked.

One night, I started listing the names of people I knew. I recalled all the Charles that I have known. I have crossed paths with a number of Charles who have positively impacted my life. I sighed and thought to myself, “If only it were a boy, we could name him Charles.”

A light went off as I let out the last of the sigh. Charlie. A girl could be named Charlie!

Franticly, I scribbled down spellings… Charli, Charleigh, Charlea, and Charlee. Afterwards, I hesitantly presented the list to my husband. I suspected that he was going to hate it. A quick veto could extinguish my excitement and send me back to the drawing board. I had grown weary of the whole process.

He was silent while he scanned the list and considered my offering. I held my breath as he started to speak. When he said no, I turned to walk away. My back was to him when he continued, “But, I do like C-H-A-R-L-I-E”.

This was a surprise. I had not included “Charlie” on the list because I was confident it would have been vetoed.

We had done it! We had agreed on a name that we both liked. While it was easy to pronounce and spell, the name had meaning and honored some very dear people.

Now that it has been in use for over a year, we are finding that the name is quite memorable. However, I do not know if I can really attribute that to the name or the remarkable baby who bears it.

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Another Anniversary or How Charlie Lost Her PEEP

Today is Charlie’s CPAP removal anniversary. Last year, Charlie was taken off of CPAP and put on a high flow nasal cannula. There are so many things I remember about that day.  Mostly, I remember the emotions of excitement, joy, and even a little anger.

The day before she was removed from CPAP, I had spoken with a neonatalogist. He provided a time estimate for Charlie’s progress. He said that it would be about a week before an attempt was made to move Charlie to a nasal cannula. He wanted to be sure that she continued to gain weight and not waste calories on breathing. I left that evening with a plan to return late the next night for a short visit.

My husband and I avoided the other babies’ weekend visitors by visiting at odd hours. We had more privacy and the nurses were more available when we visited during off times. That Saturday, we arrived late in the evening to a nearly empty NICU.

After performing the scrubbing and sanitizing ritual, I marched up to Charlie’s isolette and threw back the blanket covering it. Her CPAPless face was peering back at me. Surprised, I jumped back. “They must have moved around the babies again”, I muttered to my husband. On a few past occasions, they had shuffled the babies around and did not mention it until I could not find my baby.

I looked around for a nurse to guide me to my baby’s new location. No one came hurrying over to show me where my baby was. Confused, I looked at the name plate on the wall and the charts. It was our name. However, I was sure this was not our baby. Our baby wore a CPAP mask and hat. I started to panic.

My husband placed his hand on my shoulder and quietly said, “I think she got her CPAP mask off today.” Finally, I realized that the mystery baby laying in front of me WAS Charlie. I put my head in my hands and started sobbing.

Up until then, it was too much to hope that she would make any forward progress. For two months, I had become accustomed to the simple wish for minimal backsliding. I was so used to complications that I had not dared to dream of the possibility of Charlie improving.

That evening was the first time that I felt there could be an end to Charlie’s NICU stay. It was the moment that it occurred to me that “this too will end”.  I felt a mix of relief and happiness. I was overwhelmed.

The float nurse made her way over to us. I asked her why nothing was mentioned to us concerning the cannula. She explained that often parents are not told that they are going to try such measures. Sometimes it is done to spare parents disappointment if the attempt fails and other times it is just an oversight.

Hearing the explanation made me angry. Who are these people who determine that I need to be treated like a child? Why do they get to decide what I can and can not handle? If the doctor forgets to mention something this big, what else are they not telling me? I did not feel as if I was a participant in Charlie’s care (something that NICU parents are constantly reminded to be). I felt like I was being pandered to or pacified.

Although the anger affected my future trust with some of Charlie’s health care team, I did not let it ruin our evening. We held Charlie, doted over her, and took pictures. That night was the beginning of the end. Ten days later, Charlie was transfered to a different NICU as a feeder-grower.

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One of the nurses put the bow in Charlie’s hair. This is how I found her in the isolette.


By The Book: The Story of Charlie

So far, I have been rather vague when referring to Charlie’s birth story. Recently, I have received many questions about it. I think now is a good time to tell the story of Charlie.

My husband and I decided early in our marriage that we were not baby people. We were content being animal people. I provided a long list of reasons why we were not baby people whenever someone broached the subject.

A few years into our marriage, my husband started a new job. It seemed like everyone at his office was having a baby. That was how he caught baby fever.

One evening, he asked me about wanting a baby. I took a deep breath as I prepared to rattle down my standard list of reasons why I did not think I should be a parent. However, things had changed over the past few years. I had grown quite a bit.  I no longer had a  list of anti baby reasons. In fact, I could not think of one good reason. We considered maybe babies were in our future afterall. We decided to try.

I had written off having babies as something for other people. I never really paid attention to the topic of pregnancy. It was completely off of my radar.  When ever a pregnancy show came on TV, I’d change the channel. I had not read anything about pregnancy or child birth. At that point, the only thing I knew about babies was how not to have one.

To educate myself, I bought the Mayo Clinic book on pregnancy. It became my instruction manual. I followed all the advice and suggestions within its pages. I took prenatal vitamins with folic acid, had a physical exam, visited the dentist, and talked to a doctor before I attempted to get pregnant.

After all of that, it took about six months for me to get pregnant. There were plenty of negative pregnancy tests. From the beginning, things were complicated. I discovered I was a few weeks pregnant  the day after I had herniated a disc. We thought my back issues were going to be our biggest obstacle.

My husband and I followed my pregnancy in the book week by week. We liked to learn how much our baby had grown and developed. I remember the week that we read our baby was the size of a grape. I very distinctly remember reading the line, “Preeclampsia occurs in about 6-8% of pregnancies.” I flipped past that section. I thought there was no way it could happen to me. I was sure things would be fine because we followed all the rules and instructions.

I kept up with the prenatal appointments religiously. The nurses at the office thought it was sweet my husband attended each one with me. I followed all of the doctor’s suggestions. However, there was always something “not quite right” with my pregnancy. There were a few odd vitals or lab results. As a precaution, I was tested for pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes.

At twenty weeks, I started seeing spots occasionally and my blood pressure started to climb. My OB/GYN was slightly concerned.  However, my symptoms were ambiguous. There are many changes in the body during pregnancy. Those symptoms could have been just one of those changes. To be safe, I started having more frequent appointments.

That same week, I had my 20 week ultrasound. Everything appeared normal. But, Charlie was breech and the tech could not see her spine. I was reassured that everything was normal and instructed to return in two weeks so that her spine could be documented.

At twenty two weeks, my husband and I returned for the follow up ultrasound. Charlie remained in the breech position and would not turn. We laughed about how stubborn she was and made jokes. To make her point, she kicked back when a doctor tried to get her to turn. We were scheduled to return in two weeks.

I was at twenty four weeks during my last prenatal appointment. It was early May. I was out of breath and sweating profusely. I felt miserable. My blood pressure had climbed even higher. After the exam, my doctor called my husband and me back into his office. He mentioned preeclampsia as a possibility.

My husband and I kind of shrugged it off. We thought that there was no way that could happen to us. We told ourselves that it was just another scare. We did everything by the book and were convinced everything was going to be fine. We hurried off from that appointment to the third ultrasound.

As we sat in the waiting room before the ultrasound, we joked about whether our stubborn baby had turned. We were excited about getting to see her again. We may have even been a bit cocky as we giggled in the waiting room.

The ultrasound was supposed to take a couple of minutes. They just needed to see her spine. My husband joked with me about our baby while I lay on the table  as the tech worked. We waited to hear that everything was fine and I could get dressed. Instead, the tech asked if I had been losing fluid. She started taking measurements.

A short ultrasound turned into a lengthy ordeal. Our jovial demeanor quickly changed. I became more nervous with each question she asked. She left the room several times to consult with the doctor. I was confused. What was going on?

As the ultrasound concluded, the tech instructed me to get dressed and wait for the perinatalogist. It was the first time that we had formally met the perinatalogist (she had tried to turn Charlie at the previous ultrasound). She explained asymetrical IUGR (growth restriction) and oligohydraminos (low amniotic fluid). I knew that it was not good news. However, I was not sure exactly what it meant. She sent us home with directions to have pretty extensive lab work performed over the next couple days.

That evening we had live jazz dinner plans with some friends. My husband wanted to cancel. I insisted that we go. I wanted one last fun night with my baby. Something in me knew that it was my last free night of pregnancy. I wanted to have a special night with Charlie. I fed her a good meal, surrounded her with the love of good friends, and let her hear live jazz. It was the only thing that I knew to do for her.

After we returned home from our night out, I started getting a headache. I assumed it was from stress and worry. It intensified over the course of the next day. There was nothing that helped it. In addition to the headache, I had horrible indigestion that did not respond to treatment. The day after the last ultrasound, I was supposed to have finished up my blood work and turned in my 24 hour sample. Instead, I found myself in the emergency room.

The doctor on call explained that I had preeclampsia. He continued on to say that I may have to deliver that day if my blood work indicated it. I sobbed. I had never heard of babies being born at 24 weeks. How could this have spiraled out of control so quickly?

Fortunately, I did not have to deliver that day. I was admitted to the high risk perinatal unit. I received a series of beta methasone injections to help develop Charlie’s lungs. The perinatalogist explained that the goal was to keep me pregnant until thirty two weeks. I was ordered strict bed rest in the hospital in order to reach that goal. I was not going home until I had my baby.

Every other day, a blood sample was taken. On the days that blood was not taken, an ultrasound was performed. The medical team watched as the preeclampsia increased in severity. During which, there was a battle with my insurance. My insurance held the opinion that  I should be monitored on an out patient basis (an impossible task). The battle ended when my kidneys started to fail very quickly.

It was on Memorial Day that my OB/GYN walked into my room and announced, “If it is up to me, we deliver today. I still have to consult with the perinatalogist. I am no longer comfortable continuing this pregnancy.” The perinatalogist decided it would be best to wait one more day. Charlie would reach 26 weeks gestation. Her survival odds increased quite a bit that day.

The morning that Charlie turned 26 weeks, the ultrasound had indicated reversed end diastolic flow in the umbilical cord (more was coming out of Charlie than was going in). Similarly as threatening, I had developed HELLP.

Due to preexisting conditions with my spine, the anesthesiologist was unable to successfully start an epidural. She tried five or six excruciating times. The lidocaine was ineffective and I felt each attempt.  I was scared for my baby, felt like I failed  because the epidural would not work, and swore that I was being tortured. There was not enough time to continue trying. It was decided that general anesthesia had to be used.

I missed Charlie’s birth. She weighed 790 g (a little under one pound twelve ounces). My husband got to walk with her isolette as she was transported down to the NICU. He said, to everyone’s surprise, she screamed the entire way.

Afterwards, I was under observation as I received magnesium sulfate. I was confused and delirious. My husband took a picture of Charlie shortly after her birth and showed it to me. That was how I saw Charlie for the first time.

The one thing I do remember is from the evening of her birth. My husband and I discussed Charlie’s birth announcement. We were unsure what to do. We were afraid how we would feel if she did not survive and worried about how painful it would be to answer questions.

We came to the conclusion that Charlie deserved to be loved and celebrated no matter how long she was here with us. Her arrival was announced the same way as it would have been if she would have made it to her full term.

I was not well enough to visit her in the NICU until two days later. That is a story for another time.

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This is the first picture my husband took of Charlie on the day she was born.


Another?

Last night, I nursed a migraine. I listened to a movie as I was lying down in the dark. Similarly to most movies targeted towards my age group, the plot involved pregnancy and babies. My mind tuned in and out to the movie as I rested. Mostly, I thought about the question that many people ask. Will we have another baby?

During the time that Charlie was in the NICU, I had many resources available to help me decide. Strangely enough, it was one of the things my husband and I thought about. I wanted to know if I had to have another c section, what were my chances of developing preeclampsia again, and what was the probability of having a second preemie. I read numerous medical text books, scoured the scientific journals, and  questioned various doctors and nurses in search of  answers.

Using the available information, my husband and I had a series of discussions. Eventually, we reached the conclusion that we are officially off the baby train.

For us, there are several reasons. First, we can not repeat the NICU experience. Second, I do not want to risk Charlie losing her mama. Preeclampsia and HELLP are scary. I am afraid to roll the dice again. Third, I know we were lucky that Charlie survived. I can not take a similar chance. Finally, there is a part of me that feels it would be greedy. All I wanted was for Charlie to live. I got what I wanted. I feel it is greedy for me to ask for more.

Other couples may have differing thoughts and opinions. That is OK. It is a very personal decision for which there really are no wrong answers.

While I listened to the movie, I was reminded of our plans prior to having a micropreemie. We planned to try for a second baby around this time. I wanted Charlie to have a brother or sister. I must admit, part of me is a little sad those plans did not come to fruition. I am comforted by the thought that maybe we were meant for something else. Adoption is a possibility in our future.

As much thought as we have put into our decision, people will frequently argue against it. I have modified my answer to avoid that. Whenever people ask if we are going to have another baby, I simply reply, “We got it right the first time.”

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Taking Care of Mama

When I discovered that I was pregnant with Charlie, my husband I had been trying to have a baby for several months. Each month, I would take a pregnancy test and the results were negative. Around Christmas that year, I herniated another disc (I have a history of extensive spine issues). We were in the midst of planning surgery to correct the issue when I decided it would be prudent to test for pregnancy. We were shocked when the results were positive. The surgery had to be delayed.

I did not think it was possible but things quickly became further complicated. Due to preeclampsia, it was not long before I found myself the mother of a micro preemie. From my admission to the high risk unit and on, I have been so wrapped up in her care that I have not had the chance to revisit a surgery plan. I know that surgery is impending but I continue to procrastinate. I have a few concerns that fall into a similar catagory.

Today was a day where I could not put off one of those things. Charlie was well behaved while the doctor examined me and the lab took samples. Secretly, I think she was glad that she was not the one being poked and prodded. When the doctor returned with my lab results, she started her statement with, “The lab work has shown that you…”. I panicked during that pause. She finished by explaining that she suspects a kidney stone. I breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Is that all? For a moment, I was afraid you were going to say that I was pregnant.” The doctor laughed. Little did she know that it was only recently that my nightmares about being pregnant have ceased.

On the drive home, I decided that it was time that I start addressing the neglected health issues. This afternoon, I made the appointments that have been on my “to do” list for a while. It will take time (maybe even a year) to finish everything. However, I feel like I accomplished something today merely by deciding to get started. My best motivation is the realization that taking care of myself is an important part to taking care of Charlie.

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