Friday, September 30, 2011

Pregnant and jobless!

Dear Readers,
I kind of hate to do this, but I am in a really tough spot.

Yesterday I lost my job suddenly and unexpectedly, after four+ years of glowing reviews. My position was simply 'eliminated' days after my pregnancy was officially announced. I can't go into much more detail, but that is essentially what went down.

I'm shocked and scared and am really not sure what we're going to do. I can't remember if I ever mentioned it here or not, but Andy (my husband) was also laid off (that's what we get for both going into nonprofit careers I guess, right?!) a few months ago. Thankfully, he was able to find a couple part-time jobs working for bicycle programs he really likes, but he is making much less and he lost his insurance coverage. It wasn't ideal, but we were doing alright, mainly because at least I still had my decent-paying, secure job with benefits.

Well, now my benefits are ending at the end of next month. That's right, the benefits that are absolutely essential right now during this high-risk, high-stress pregnancy. It looks like I'll be able to get Cobra insurance, but its super ridiculously expensive. I know, I don't really have a choice. We'll make it, we always do, but this is just really, really horrible timing.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I really need to find some work. I am not looking for another fulltime 9-5 office-type job right now. That just seems silly, given that I'll be leaving in a few months when Baby E (hopefully) comes, and I don't plan on working fulltime once he/she is here. But I do hope that I can get some part-time, temporary, or freelance/consulting work as soon as possible. I hate to toot my own horn, but I have some pretty strong skills in the areas of writing (grants, web, nonprofit marketing, etc), fundraising, online community-building/social media (think the work I've done with Faces of Loss), event planning (specifically nonprofit volunteer and fundraising events--this was what my job was before I was 'let go'), and photography.

I feel super annoying and lame doing this, but this is the online portfolio I have started, which includes my resume and lots of samples of my work. I am sharing it in hopes that maybe, just maybe, there is someone out there who is looking to hire a totally awesome pregnant girl for the next five months (or knows of someone who is!). Please please please consider passing the link along if you have any contacts who might be interested in my services.

I am trying really hard to view this sucky situation as a potential blessing in disguise. All along my plan has been to try to find something I can do part-time from home once E is here, I just didn't think I'd be looking so soon. I am pretty pissed off about the way I was let go from my job, but I'm choosing to see it as a good thing: see, when I get pissed off, that's when I get things done. This is a challenge. But it's also an opportunity. My dream has always been to be able to be at home with my children while they are young. If I can find a way to actually work from home, that dream of mine just might become a reality.

Anyway, thank you! And thank you, too, for all the supportive comments on my last post. I love that I can be completely honest here and no one judges me for it. I have the best followers ever! :)

Okay, I'm off to look for jobs! Fingers crosses the perfect opportunity falls into my lap one of these days.

Have a great weekend,

PS. 14 weeks today! I had an OB appointment this morning and everything continues to look great with little E. Strong heartbeat, and guess what? I've finally gained a couple pounds! I'm so ready to make up for lost time and start packin' 'em on!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Dear Stevie,
So it's no secret that I've struggled a lot with the concept of "faith" since losing you. In the last year or so, I've gone from a place of being really angry at God for letting you die, to a place where I guess I just took God out of the equation altogether; decided that it was just bad luck, that sometimes bad things just happen, that I just happened to draw the short stick that time. God had and has nothing to do with it. Honestly, it's much easier for me to believe in a God that never steps in and saves babies than a God that chooses to miraculously step in for some, but not for others.

Anyway, I had gotten pretty comfortable with my theory of this hands-off God.

But now that I'm pregnant again, the questions keep coming back to me.

I have been absolutely terrified this pregnancy. There are times when I am absolutely certain I am going to lose your little brother or sister, just like I lost you. So certain that I'll actually say things like, "I wouldn't mind doing these injections every night if I really believed it was going to be worth it this time." I know this sounds totally messed up, and it is. People are always telling me I need to have faith. Faith in God that things are going to work out this time around.

But that's my problem--I don't. How can I have faith in a God that let me down so badly the last time I was in this position? I'm sure it's the wrong way of looking at it, but I have faith (or lack of faith) in things, or people, because of my past experiences with them. For example, I have faith in my parents. I have faith that they are always going to be there for me when I need them. But that faith, that trust, is there because of their actions. If they had abandoned me in the past or something, of course I wouldn't have the faith I have in them today. It's the same thing with friends. I have faith in some, and not in others. Same with nature. I have faith that if I hold up a rock and let it go, it's going to fall to the ground. I trust that it's going to fall because I've seen it happen many times. If someone told me I needed to have faith that the rock was going to levitate in the air when I let go, I'd think they were crazy.

That's kind of how I feel about the whole concept of "faith" right now. The only outcome of pregnancy that I've personally experienced is loss. So trying to believe without a doubt that the outcome will be different this time is like trying to believe that if I pick up a rock and let it go, that's it's not going to fall to the ground.

I honestly, truly want to have faith. I want to believe in my heart of hearts that little E is going to come home with us in March. I am incredibly envious of the people I know who are able to find the peace that comes with giving it all up to God, of those that have that kind of faith.

How do I get there? How does one force themselves to have faith in someone or something they really feel abandoned by?

I had all the faith in the world when I was pregnant with you, Stevie. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that I'd take you home, watch you grow; that you'd be mine forever. But when you died, my faith died too. I guess I am scared to lay it all out there again. To believe in a happy ending, only to look like an idiot again when it doesn't work out that way.

I'm trying, Baby, I really am. It's just so hard sometimes.

I miss you so much,

PS. Thank you to the kind stranger who posted this on Post Secret yesterday. Someone who follows my blog emailed me the link and it totally and completely made my day, like happy tears and all :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Dear E,
On Friday we made it to 13 weeks! I know there's confusion out there as to when the second trimester officially begins (12 weeks? 13 weeks? 14 weeks?), but whatever. I reread my blog posts from back in January/February of 2010, when I was pregnant with Stevie, and discovered it was right around 13 weeks that I started feeling a lot better. So making it to 13 weeks has been a big goal of mine ever since finding out about you. I remember being six weeks along and thinking another seven weeks sounded like a million years away. And here we are.

This weekend I made a huge effort to relax and really celebrate the fact that we've made it past the 13-week mark. To push the scary thoughts and the anxiety to the back of my mind, if only for a couple days. To just revel in the fact that today, right now, I am pregnant.

I'd have to say the best part about hitting the 13-week mark is that once again, I'm starting to feel much, much better. I wouldn't say I'm back to 'normal' quite yet, but the puking has subsided, I have some of my old energy back, and best of all, I am starting to get my appetite back! I seriously haven't actually enjoyed the act of eating in like two solid months, so just being able to eat a full meal, without it feeling like a horrible chore, feels amazing. I was so excited about my new appetite that I made Dad document the occasion while eating at Panera yesterday afternoon:

There it is, Baby. Your first official meal. Hope you liked it!

In addition to being able to eat again, I've also finally had the urge to re-enter the world again. I decided it was time to start acting like a human being. Time to move the bed out of the living room and back up to the bedroom (yep, it was down there for like a month!). Time to get out of the house (wearing something other than sweat pants). Time to vacuum the carpets, dust the bookshelves and the TV stand, and go through that huge pile of mail that now took up literally half the dining room table. 

I even decided it was time to actually blow dry and straighten my hair (instead of just leaving the house with it wet) for the first time since the end of July. I even thought about putting on some makeup, but decided I had to leave something exciting for week 14, right? Ha.

Here are a few pics of the bump and the straight hair:

This shirt actually kinda hides the belly. And please ignore the ugly maternity jeans...I hate those things!

Wait a that an actual smile I see??

Had to include this one because I think it's funny. Your dad was being super annoying with the pictures :)

Having these little, short-term goals has been really helpful in making it through this pregnancy so far. And I love each and every time I make it past one of them. Get pregnant: check. See heartbeat: check. Make it to 10 weeks (end of the progesterone suppositories): check. Have a good 12-week scan: check. Hear the heartbeat with the doppler: check. Make it to 13 weeks: check.

The next goal is to make it to 16 weeks (and hopefully find out the gender!). Less than three weeks away! Then it's to feel movement. Then to have a good 20-week level 2 anatomy scan...and then I really can't even think past that point quite yet. Making it to March is just so overwhelming, but it really does help to break it up into manageable little chunks.

Alright, little E. Thank you for sticking with us for the last 13 weeks. I just know we'll get through this crazy ride, together.

I love you so much,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You are my first.

Dear Stevie,
Now that I am starting to look more obviously "with child," I've been faced with the question I have been dreading since the day I found out I was pregnant with little E: "is this your first?"

I usually deal with this question in one of two ways.

1) I simply smile and nod. This is my response when the question is coming from someone I do not know at all, and will likely never see again. Take, for example, the 17-year old girl ringing up my toothpaste, goldfish crackers, and toilet paper at Target. I mean, what's the point of explaining the whole sad story to some girl I have no connection to whatsoever? All that's going to do is make things really awkward and quite possibly ruin her day. I always feel a little bit like I'm lying in these situations, but I don't really feel guilty about it. It's kind of like when a stranger says, "how are you doing?" and you say, "fine, thanks," even though you're having a really crappy day.

2) I say "no, we actually lost our first baby late in the second trimester." This is how I answer the question when its coming from someone I do have at least some sort of relationship with. Coworkers, friends of friends, those sorts of people (and sometimes, depending on how chatty they are and how much I think they are going to pry for details, people like hair stylists make it into this category as well). Of course, when I tell people that I lost a baby, it always turns into a longer conversation. People want to know why, how, when. They usually react with shock and pity, but 99% of the time, they end up being really, really nice and understanding. More often than not, they go onto to tell me about their daughter/cousin/sister/great aunt who had a stillbirth and then later had a healthy baby (or two or three or four). I actually enjoy telling people about you, my first little girl. I like having the opportunity to say your name and tell your story.

So when straight-up asked the question, I have no problem figuring out what to say (or what not to say). My problem comes when people just assume 'E' is my first without even asking.

Because I'm young (and am obviously never seen out and about with living children in tow!), most everyone that doesn't know me very well assumes this is my first pregnancy, my first child. For example, it came up in a meeting with a bunch of work people that I don't interact with on a very regular basis (they work from a different office), that I was pregnant. Everyone started saying "oh my gosh! Congrats! You must be so excited! How are you feeling?" When I said, "oh, I've been feeling pretty sick," one of the ladies was like, "don't worry, it will get better once you're in the second trimester." How do I respond? What I want to say is, "I know, I've been pregnant before!" But at the same time, I almost feel bad ruining their fun and excitement by bringing up my history (especially in the middle of a meeting). It's just so awkward. It's easy to respond when people ask me, but I never know how to bring it up when they don't.

And then the worst is when people do know all about you and pretty much choose to pretend you never happened; like I was never pregnant. It's like because my baby didn't end up coming home with me, I was never six months pregnant, like I'm not qualified to share my experiences, like it didn't count.

This whole thing is just so complicated. Do you know how badly I wish my answer to the "is this your first" question could be "nope, I have a beautiful 15-month old little girl at home"? Man, I would give anything to be able to say that.

No matter how I respond on the outside, the way I feel inside never changes: you are my first. Always and forever.

I miss you so much,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This is love...

Dear E,
I thought I was getting really good at giving myself my Lovenox injections. Apparently, I'm not, because check out the nasty bruise I gave myself last night (warning: the following picture is not pretty!).

And it just keeps getting bigger and darker today! I swear I didn't post this just for sympathy. I'm actually a bit concerned. Is there anyone out there who has done/is doing the Lovenox shots that can tell me whether or not this is normal? Dr. Google assures me it's fine, but I can't help but be a bit freaked out. Most of the bruises I've been getting are the size of that little dot to the left (right under my ring), to put things into perspective.

The last 24 hours have pretty much sucked. In addition to acquiring this lovely painful welt on my stomach, I also discovered someone found our check card (which I didn't even realize was missing yet), and proceeded to go on a little shopping spree, to the tune of almost $400, at gas stations across Minneapolis. Then, this morning I puked all over my shoes, in my garage, as I was getting ready to leave for work. So, here's to hoping today can only get better from here! :)

I love you, Little E. I'll gladly take all the massive tummy bruises, thieves, and puking in the world if it means I get to have you, too!


Monday, September 19, 2011


Dear E,
I feel am feeling huge this week! I guess it's true that you show sooner with baby #2.

Here's me at 12 weeks with your big sister:

And here I am at 12 weeks, 3 days with you:

Quite a difference, don't you think?

Oh how I love both of my precious little babes. With all my heart.

Keep growing, little E.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Names...and a contest!

Dear Readers,
My 16-week ultrasound is on October 14th. Hopefully we'll be finding out if Baby E is a boy or a girl that day. I am so excited! I thought it would be fun to do a little guessing game contest, because hey, who doesn't like the chance at winning free crap?! I'm thinking the prize will be some pumpkin-scented candles because they just sound amazing right now. enter, just leave a comment with your guess! Is Baby E an Elliot or an Eleanor?

A bit on the names:

Elliot is after one of Andy's very best friends (since 1st grade) who recently passed away after a battle with colon cancer. The day we got the news of his death, Andy said, "if we ever have a son, I want to name him Elliot," to which I replied, "I'd be totally cool with that." The very next day, I found out I was pregnant. I didn't know Elliot nearly as well as Andy did, but he was an amazing guy and any child of ours would be lucky to be named after him.

For the girl name, I decided right after Stevie died that if we ever had another little girl, I wanted her name to mean "light." I know I talk about my favorite song, Let it Be all the time, but the line "and when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me," was something that really got me through some dark moments--the thought that there would be light in my world again someday. I've always loved the name Eleanor and so when I saw that it meant "light," I knew it was just meant to be. We'd probably mainly call her Elle, for short.

I'm thinking E is an Eleanor, but with Stevie I was absolutely convinced she was a boy, so I wouldn't trust my instincts if I were you :)

Make sure to leave your name if you leave an anonymous comment. I'll randomly draw a winner from the people who guess correctly and announce it as soon as we have an answer!

Thanks guys!!


Friday, September 16, 2011

12 week ultrasound

Dear E,
I just got back from your 12-week appointment and am incredibly happy (and relieved!) to report that things continue to look great! You are looking so much more like an actual baby. I love it.

Yesterday, the day before the appointment, my nerves once again got the best of me and I was feeling really, really anxious. I kept crying for no real reason, other than I was just so scared. So worried that I was going to have to go through the whole "there is no heartbeat" experience again.

I ended up going out to dinner (well, happy hour) with one of my best friends, Lisa, and it was really nice to get my mind off of things for at least a couple hours. Then when it was time for bed, I couldn't sleep I was so nervous.

I have been putting off trying to find your heartbeat with my at-home doppler, because I was afraid it was too early and if I couldn't find it, I'd just freak out (even more than I already am all the time). But the nerves got to be so bad this morning that I decided "screw it." If there was even a chance I might get some peace of mind before my appointment, I'd give it a shot. To my surprise, I was able to find your heartbeat right away. Baby, it was music to my ears. And it really did provide just the right amount of peace to get me through my day.

After sitting through a four-hour training on nonprofit finance (you're all jealous, I know), it was finally time to pick up Dad from work and head to the doctor. The scariest part about getting ultrasounds for me is the first few seconds, before I can figure out what it is I'm looking at and whether or you're okay, whether or not you're alive in there. You must have been looking out for your mom this afternoon because I swear to God, the second that wand hit my belly, there you were--literally jumping around.

And that's pretty much what you did the entire ultrasound. I couldn't stop smiling, watching my cute little babe propelling itself off the walls of my uterus. And your nubs have grown into real legs! And arms! Complete with these teeny tiny little hands, with teeny tiny little fingers! I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's truly incredible watching you grow from week to week. I don't think I'll ever be able to wrap my head around the whole thing.

Here you are, three months old:

After the ultrasound, I had an appointment with my doctor. Not much new to report from that. We got to listen to your heartbeat again, on the doppler. We could hear you kicking the thing the whole time. My doctor even said, "this kid is moving around a lot in there!"

It was kind of funny. I told my doctor that I was so happy that I haven't had a real puke in almost a week. Then literally two minutes after getting home, some nasty smell in the kitchen had me running to the bathroom and throwing up the pineapple orange juice and chocolate chip cookie I'd just eaten. Oops--guess I spoke too soon!

Alright, Little E, you keep growing, jumping, and doing your thing in there. I'll see you again in 4 weeks!

Love you,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When life gives you bruises...make a smiley face out of them

Dear E,
I started the Lovenox injections last Thursday. It took me a couple days to get over the creepiness factor (seriously, it's just really, really strange to stick yourself with a needle for some reason), but they really aren't that bad. The shots sting for about 15 minutes or so, but nothing too painful. I like to imagine I'm injecting myself with some sort of magical baby-growing serum; sounds more exciting than blood thinners, anyway.

With each shot, I've been getting a little purple bruise at the injection site. I was complaining to Dad about how nasty my belly is going to look, and about how I won't be able to take any cute bare-belly shots, and he was like, "you should make the bruises into a smiley face!" I love it! So that's the plan, Baby. I'm currently working on the smile, which will go below my belly button ring nose. I might just get some fun(ny) naked belly pictures out of this after all!

In this dark and crappy cell phone picture, below, you can kind of make out the start of it:

I have my next ultrasound and OB appointment on Friday. Now's about the time where I start to get SUPER nervous and scared. Hoping and praying with all my might for more good news.

Love you, little E. See you soon!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

What? Good news from an insurance company?

Dear E,
I have seriously spent hours on the phone this week, trying to get my Lovenox prescription approved and filled. I've talked to multiple people at multiple pharmacies, multiple people at my OB's office, and multiple people at my insurance company, trying to convince them all that I do not want to give myself daily injections in the stomach for fun, that this medication is, in fact, "medically necessary." I will spare you the whole drawn-out story, because I'm pretty sure reading it will only make you want to gouge your own eyes out, but let me tell you, it was a mess! The whole process for getting things "pre-approved" is in serious need of some streamlining, if you ask me.

Anyway, I have been incredibly stressed out all week because I need to start these shots, and until they were "pre-approved" by my insurance company, I couldn't get them. My insurance likes to try to deny covering anything, so I was also really afraid that my co-pay was going to be ridiculously high. Well, I am relieved to report that in the end I only have to pay $15/month out of pocket! This is a miracle, seriously. In my mind, I was already thinking of things I could sell to pay for these shots (without coverage they are like over $1,500 a month!) I never thought I'd say this, but YAY for my insurance company!

Here they are, the drugs I've been so desperate to get my hands on:

I am both nervous and strangely excited to give myself my first injection tonight. I'll let you know how it goes!

One more thing. I can't believe how pregnant I look today! I had to do a double-take the first time I saw my side-view in the mirror in the bathroom at work. Then I went back to office, grabbed my phone, and took a picture to show you what I mean:

I guess it's time to stop wearing the form-fitting clothes! I haven't told many people at work about you yet, but I hope people are starting to assume I'm pregnant...otherwise they must think I really need to cut down on the beers, ha.

I am 11 weeks tomorrow, and have felt slightly better the last two days or so. I should be thanking my lucky stars, but of course it just has me scared out of my mind. Can someone please assure me it's normal  to be starting to feel less sick at 11 weeks??

Okay, time for a nap. Love you sweet babe!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First peri appointment

Dear Stevie,
I had my first appointment with the Perinatalogist yesterday. I'm not sure why, but I was really nervous about it beforehand. Maybe because I was worried I wouldn't ask the right questions, or would leave and forget everything they told me. I feel such a responsibility to make sure everything that can be done, is done to keep your new little sibling safe. I know I am his/her only voice, his/her only advocate, and I just want to get it right this time around.

As soon as I met the new doctor, I liked her right away. She started things off by saying how sorry she was that you died. When going over the pathology/autopsy report from last year, she always referred to you as "your daughter," which I really appreciated. She said she is pretty confident that the blood clots in your umbilical cord were in fact what caused your death. I had never heard this before, but she also said there was a large clot underneath the placenta, which she believes may have actually caused the cord clots. She said this could have been just a random occurrence, or could have been caused by the blood clotting disorders I have. Since there is no way to tell that for sure, they are moving forward as if it was the blood clotting disorders were the cause.

So all this time, she's only mentioned the MTHFR clotting disorder, not the PAI-1 thing I knew I also had. So I said, "I think I also have another one of those disorders. PAI-1 or something. I'm not sure what it stands for." The doctor paused and looked through my chart and lab work before asking, "are you sure? I'm only seeing information about the MTHFR mutation." I was like, "I am 100% sure my doctor told me I have this other blood disorder too." So the doctor was really confused and stepped out to call my regular OB's office. She came back a few minutes later and said, "your doctor's office said they sent over all your labs. Are you sure you had a full blood clotting panel done?" I said I don't know exactly what tests they ran, but that they took 10 vials of my blood in June, 2010, and shortly after I was informed of the MTHFR and PAI-1 thingys. So again the doctor leaves to call my OB's office one more time. I could hear her outside the room, saying, "well my patient here is pretty certain she had more labs run than what's in her chart here..."

Finally, she said my OB's office did find the additional lab results that were not sent over with the rest of my information (who knows why??), and would fax everything over right away. At this point, I was obviously annoyed, but mostly just glad that a) I spoke up when I felt like they didn't have all the information they needed and b) that this new doctor believed me and kept bugging my OB's office until they sent everything over.

Once the tests were faxed over, the doctor returned with like 30 pages of lab results. Ironically, according to her, the particular type of MTHFR mutation I have (apparently there are many different kinds...) is not even associated with clotting. BUT the PAI-1 mutation that wasn't even in my chart IS a clotting concern. So it's a really good thing the doctor saw that, otherwise she would not have recommended as much treatment/monitoring as she ended up doing.

So what's the treatment plan? I am supposed to start 40mg Lovenox shots this week (side rant: we'll see if I actually can, since my insurance still hasn't approved them 9 days after trying to fill the prescription, and without coverage they will cost $1,600/month, which I simply can't afford right now...don't even get me started on how pissed off about this I am!) I was also advised to stay on the baby aspirin as well. I'll be seeing my regular OB every 2 weeks for ultrasounds until 19-10 weeks, when I'll go back to the Peri for a level 2 ultrasound. Then another one of those at 24 weeks, and then starting at 26-28 weeks, I'll be going in for weekly growth ultrasounds and doppler flow studies (monitoring the placental/cord blood flow). During this time, I'll also still be seeing my regular OB for normal check-ups and all of that.

After I hit the 20-week mark (assuming I get that far!), it's going to get very busy around here!

During the appointment, I think the doctor could sense that I am really struggling with anxiety with this pregnancy. I kept referring to myself as a "ticking time bomb," meaning I worry all day, every day, that this baby is going to die, without warning, just like you did. The doctor suggested that I get some "support" from a professional, and recommended a therapist who specializes in pregnancy complications and pregnancy after loss. I think I am going to give her a call because I am getting to the point where the worry and stress is making it hard for me to function, and that's obviously not good, or healthy. Part of me feels weird about seeing a therapist because I don't like thinking of myself as 'crazy.' But I know that while what I'm feeling is normal, there is no shame in seeking help to get those feelings under control.

I was also able to tell the doctor all about Faces of Loss, and she was really impressed and interested in getting information about it to pass along to patients. She also mentioned that because I am so involved in the organization, and am so surrounded by loss because of it, it's no wonder I am so worried all the time. I am just way too aware of everything that can possibly go wrong in a pregnancy. Not only am I concerned about what happened to you happening again, I'm scared of the millions of other complications I now know about, too. The doctor said in a way, she can relate, since her entire career she's only dealt with 'difficult' pregnancies. It's hard to remember that 90% of the time, pregnancy is a wonderful, beautiful thing that results in a happy, healthy baby. I have no intentions of stopping my work with Faces, but I have had to stop reading the stories, at least for right now.

Okay, so this is like the longest, most boring post ever. I guess I will wrap things up by saying overall I feel good about how the appointment went, and the treatment plan going forward. Although part of me wishes I could just be knocked out and strapped to monitors 24/7 until March, I really feel like my doctors are taking my concerns very seriously and doing everything they can to ensure a happy ending this time.

I love you, Stevie. I hope you know I would have done all this and more for you, too, had I any idea you were in danger. I miss you so much.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Double digits, baby!

Dear E,
Last Friday we hit the double digits. As promised, I finally allowed myself to be photographed yesterday afternoon, at 10w3d along:

It's sort of a weird angle, but that's what happens when the guy taking your picture is a giant (6'10!)

And how scary is this view I have? I don't know what's going on in there...

I don't have much to update from this long weekend, so here are the lows and highs of week 10 so far:

The lows:
1. Puking chocolate malt ice cream out of my nose. Seriously, this might be one of the most painful experiences of my entire life. We're talking blowing a mixture of snot and ice cream out of my nose for like HOURS after the initial incident. There were many tears.
2. Using body lotion instead of conditioner on my hair...for two days before realizing my mistake. I thought my greasy hair was just another fun pregnancy symptom!
3. Crying tears of joy at Beyonce's pregnancy announcement...on more than one occasion.
4. Bringing the mattress down to the living room floor so I can watch TV in bed all the time.
5. Catching a super awful head cold that makes it impossible to breath while laying down.

The highs:
1. Bringing the mattress down to the living room floor so I can watch TV in bed all the time. It's like a slumber party every night! 
2. Discovering (well, my mom discovering for me) the awesomeness of lemon juice mixed with water. 
3. Getting seasons 2 and 3 of Six Feet Under on DVD from my little brother (a belated birthday gift). When the DVDs arrived in the mail at my parents' house (they ordered them off Amazon), my dad texted me, "your death DVDs are here. They should cheer you up." Haha...
4. Eating an (almost) entire bowl of spaghetti on Saturday night without puking it back up!
5. The fact that I'm still pregnant!!

I had my first appointment with the Peri today. It all went really well. I'll update more on that soon!

Love you, Baby E. Keep growing!


Monday, September 5, 2011

August 29th: 9(ish) weeks

Written 8/29/11: 9.5 weeks pregnant

Dear E,
I haven’t taken any belly shots yet this week, because a) there is never a moment where I don’t look like complete crap and b) I’ve been too busy puking, and trying not to puke, to remember such things! I promise to suck it up and take one sometime soon. Despite the fact that I’ve actually lost weight since becoming pregnant, the belly continues to grow and expand at a somewhat alarming rate!
Anyway, I had an appointment on Friday (my first “official” prenatal appointment with the Midwife at my doctor’s office), and an ultrasound and meeting with my doctor this morning.
Friday’s appointment was pretty boring. It was basically to go over all the do’s and don’ts (mainly dont’s!) during pregnancy, take even more of my blood, and as an extra fun surprise, I also got a pap smear! It was funny–during the exam “down there,” the Midwife said, “your uterus feels very full.” Since I freak out about everything these days, I said with alarm, “is that okay??” She laughed and said, “yes, it’s full…of baby!”
I also had to fill out all sorts of paperwork and go over my medical history and all of that. This might sound strange, but I really loved the fact that I got to include Stevie’s birth information on so many different forms. Writing down that I birthed a baby who weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces, who was 13.5 inches long, made me feel like a mom. Like she was really real. That she’s a part of my history. That she matters.
After Friday’s appointment, I spent most of the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa’s house while Dad was working. It was really nice to be babied by my mom (she went as far as removing the skins from french fry wedges when I wanted a baked potato and those were the closest she had!), and watching stupid crap on TV like “The Millionaire Matchmaker.”
Then it was time for today’s ultrasound appointment. Of course I was nervous as hell beforehand. I mean, I seriously go into these things with dread, not excitement. But thankfully, everything looked great once again! You are looking so much more like an actual baby. It’s really mind-blowingly amazing to watch you grow and develop from week to week. The only word I can think of to describe it is miraculous. Simply unreal.
Your big head is much more defined now, and your cute little arm and leg bus were jerking and twitching all over the place.
Here are a few pictures:
I can't get over those cute little foot nubs!
Your little heart was going crazy fast at 188bpm (up from 158 2 weeks ago!)
After the ultrasound, I met with my doctor to sort of finalize our “game plan” moving forward. She is having me finish up my last package of progesterone suppositories (I think I have about 10 days left), and then I will be starting once-a-day Lovenox injections immediately after. She doesn’t want me on both the suppositories and Lovenox at the same time since both can cause spotting and she knows that will only cause me to panic (and she’s so right!)
She is also referring me to a Perinatologist (high risk OB) who I will meet with in 4-5 weeks. The Peri will come up with a plan for doppler blood flow studies (basically, monitoring the blood flow in the cord) and some level 2 ultrasounds going forward. It sounds like I’ll be working with both the Peri and my regular doctor quite regularly. The nice thing is that the Peri’s office is in the same building as my regular OB’s office, so I won’t be driving all over the place for all these different appointments.
My next ultrasound and appointment is scheduled for September 16th, when I’ll be right around 12 weeks.
Can’t wait to see you again, Baby!
Love you more and more each day,

August 24th: 8(ish) weeks

Written 8/24/11: 8.5 weeks pregnant

Dear E,
I hit 8 weeks last Friday, so once again I’m running a bit late with the updating.
Not much new this week, as far as symptoms go. I did have my first ever experience with what I believe is called “projectile vomiting” yesterday though. I’ll spare you all the nasty details, but let’s just say I will never attempt to eat Leann Chin again for as long as I am alive. Gross!
I’ve basically just been in a state of sickness and worry for the last month or so, and I am so ready to move past this lame first trimester business. Your poor grandmother. I call her pretty much every night in tears, whining and complaining about how awful I feel, and how scared I am. I know I’ve said this like a million times already, but this is seriously so much harder than I thought it would be. With Stevie, I felt physically sick, but my spirits were so high. I was so excited and blissfully naive, and I think that really helped balance out the physical yuckiness I was dealing with. Now, I’m super sick AND super worried. I’m hoping I can get to the point where I can add in some excitement and bliss at some point, but I’m just not there yet, unfortunately.
Anyway, here’s the most recent “belly shot” at 8 weeks, 3 days:
Please excuse the gross air-dried hair and the half-assed smile. The photo was taken about an hour after the aforementioned projectile vomiting incident.
One thing I am getting super excited about is the fact that I am almost done with the stupid progesterone suppositories I’ve been taking. When I’m done with this pack, I’ll be done forever:
And in the following picture, you can see why I refer to these annoying little suckers as bullets. I’m always yelling downstairs at Dad to “bring me one of my bullets!!” Ha.
So yesterday was my birthday. 26. I feel so old! We went to dinner with Dad’s family at Ruby Tuesday, where I was able to successful keep down some lettuce with cheese and ranch dressing, and a few grapes. I was given a free red velvet cupcake for my birthday, and I couldn’t even touch it. Baby, you just don’t know what you’re missing!
At dinner, you received your first present: a pack of totally adorable onesies and a couple super cute toys from your Grandma and Grandpa Cook. We have so much baby stuff that you’ll probably end up inheriting from your big sister, but these are the first things that were picked out especially for you. I really, really hope you’ll get to use them someday:
Well, I am ready for a nap. Love you, Baby. See you soon.

August 18th: Another freak out...

Written 8/18/11: 7.5 weeks pregnant

Dear E,
I am generally a very relaxed person. Some people (like my mom) might even say I’m too relaxed when it comes to certain things.
Well, I am certainly not relaxed when it comes to this pregnancy. In fact, I’m the opposite of the word. I have never been so anxious, stressed out, and physically ill with worry about anything before in my life. Even with Stevie, the experience of losing her was obviously horrible, but it wasn’t really stressful. I didn’t spend hours, days, weeks, or months worrying she was going to die. She just did. It all happened so quickly, so suddenly, that I didn’t have any time beforehand to be stressed out about it.
So this is all very new, and very scary to me. Okay, make that terrifying.
Anyway, this is all an attempt to justify the crazy freak out I had Tuesday night/yesterday morning.
Remember that brown spotting that had me convinced I was about to miscarry about a week ago? Well, it went away for almost a week, then it came back at about 4PM Tuesday. There was more of it this time, and the color was a bit different.  As soon I noticed it, I went into complete panic mode. I started shaking, felt dizzy, and called my doctor’s office immediately. The triage nurse who I spoke to got me in for an ultrasound the next day, and told me to just try to relax and take it easy until then. That if the spotting turned into period-like bleeding, to go to the ER.
I called my mom, convinced her that I was miscarrying, and went to lie down in bed. I texted Dad, told him it was an emergency and to leave work as soon as possible. Of course he was worried, but I think he secretly just thought I was being irrational and a little crazy.
I spent that evening and night in a state of terror. I wouldn’t get out of bed, afraid that if I stood up, I was going to start bleeding more. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I just kept repeating, “I can’t believe this is happening to me,” over and over and over again.
Finally, morning came. I stayed in bed until it was time to leave for the ultrasound. I made Dad call into work so I wouldn’t be alone “when we got the bad news.”
We were silent the entire drive to the doctor’s office. I can’t put into words how scared and preemptively sad I was.
Thankfully, we only had to wait about five minutes after arriving before the ultrasound tech called us back. I was so relieved it was the same woman who did my first ultrasound last week. She is unbelievably nice and totally sympathetic to my fears and concerns.
As soon as she started getting prepped to do the ultrasound, I started shaking again.
Then, I saw you. You looked so different already. So much more like a baby.
“There’s the heartbeat,” the tech said, zooming in on your tiny chest. She turned the volume up so we could hear it. “It’s up to 158bpm, which is perfect.”
I asked if you were measuring on track. She said you were, to the exact day.
You can see the umbilical cord now, and the outline of the sack really clearly
I really couldn’t believe it.
She looked for a long time for any reasons for the spotting, and once again found nothing. No tears, a long and closed cervix, everything as it should be. I was again told that it must be from the progesterone suppositories. Those damn suppositories are going to be the death of me, I swear.
While I am so relieved that you’re okay, I am still incredibly scared. I don’t know how to relax and enjoy this. I actually think I am going to look into seeing a counselor. I really need to learn some ways to cope with this stress because I know it’s not healthy for me, or for you, for me to be so anxious all the time.
People warned me that pregnancy after loss was difficult. But I think I thought I was somehow going to avoid the fear or something. I thought since it’s been over a year since Stevie died, I’d be able to handle this. That I’d be strong enough to do this on my own. I’m quickly realizing I’m not as strong as I thought I was.
Please continue to grow and thrive, little one. I love you so much already.

August 15th: 7(ish) weeks

Written 8/15/11: 7.5 weeks pregnant

Dear E,
So this is a bit late, but on Friday we hit the 7 week mark! This weekend, my ‘morning sickness’ (all day sickness is what it should be called) was in full swing. And then I whacked my back all out of alignment, so that was extra fun. I pretty much spent the entire weekend in bed or on the couch. The dogs are loving all this extra cuddle time!
When I was pregnant with your sister, I didn’t start showing at all until like 16-18 weeks. I guess it’s true that you pop out much sooner with each subsequent pregnancy, because I feel HUGE. I swear, this isn’t all fat, because really, I’ve been eating mainly plain rice and crackers, and throwing up a couple times a day. And I realize you are like the size of a blueberry, so it’s not all you either. But whatever it is, there is definitely a bump that begs to be seen!
If I’m already struggling to disguise the bump at just 7.5 weeks along, I am kind of afraid of what I’m gonna look like by the time March rolls around! Yikes!
I just realized that today is August 15th–Stevie’s due date. I should have a one year old’s party to plan this week. Instead, I have a one baby in my heart, and one baby in my belly. Bittersweet for sure.
Keep growing, little E! T-minus 14 days until I get to see you again!
I love you,

August 11th: deal

Written 8/11/11: 6.5 weeks pregnant

Dear E,
So, my babies have very strange appetites. Just like  your big sister, all you’re allowing me to eat is spicy (we’re talking hot sauce like straight outta the bottle) and smoothies. Mainly banana smoothies. And I hate bananas.
Since about Monday, I’ve been on the verge of throwing up like 90% of the day. You know that yucky, almost tingly feeling you get in your mouth right before it happens? Yeah, I have that constantly. Last night it got so bad that I lay in bed crying because I just couldn’t make myself feel better. I know, I know. I shouldn’t be complaining, and I’m not really. Just sayin’, I feel like crap.
Let’s make a deal. I’ll stop complaining about this nausea business if you promise to keep growing for me. Deal?
I love you,
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