Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oh Hi, Morning Sickness. It's You, Again.

Remember when I said I was really sick with Kendall?  And then I made sure to highlight that I was SUPER sick?  And then I said I almost enjoyed it?  No?  Well, you can find all of that nonsense here.  Because that’s exactly what it is.  Nonsense.

This baby seems to not like me.  Not in a, “Hey, I don’t like you so I’m just going to ignore you,” way.  More in a, “Hey, I don’t like you so I am going to really torture you to make your life total hell,” kind of way.  I don’t think I really knew sickness until I got pregnant with Baby #2 (whom I affectionately call “Nugget,” at least in my prayers and when I talk to the baby).  Baby Nugget has made me sick from pretty much day one.  Again, like I said before when I was pregnant with Kendall, if being sick means a healthy baby then that’s awesome.  But if I could have a healthy baby without being so horrifically sick that would be even more awesome.

Someone told me, “Oh, that’s just what Princess Kate has!”  Whoopie boopie.  I truly don’t care.  Of course, I feel sorry for her that she has to deal with being sick as well, but at least she has a team of people to help her.  She’s a princess, for crying out loud!  I bet she has someone to spray her face with a cool mist while she hangs her head over the toilet to get sick for the twentieth time that day.  There is another person there who is combing the hair out of her eyes, despite the sweat making it cling to her forehead.  Then there are the other folks who are taking care of everything else like the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and oh yes, toddler raising.  I have none of that.  So really, how similar can our situations really be?  (Kendall did venture in the bathroom with me recently as I got sick, only to say “EW!” and then try to close the toilet lid on me.  Hey, at least I wasn’t alone).

Since I had some experience with such sickness, I knew immediately to ask for Zofran.  However, since I was super early in my pregnancy and I hadn’t seen my regular OB, my sweet Dr. Jean was the one to prescribe it.  She prescribed a lower dose, I think because I was so early.  It. Did. Nothing.  So I took more than the one that she told me to take.  Still nothing.  No worries.  I had the internet to supplement all that I should do.  The following is the list of morning sickness remedies that I tried and that failed.

Vitamin B supplements
Magnesium supplements
Magnesium oil spray
Epsom Salt soaks
Oil pulling
Sea Bands
Ginger ale
Ginger tea
Ginger ale mixed with ginger tea
Eating small, frequent meals
Eating before getting out of bed
Not eating at all
Coke syrup
Lavender oil

It seemed I would be doomed to endure the morning sickness.  However, despite struggling so mightily with feeling sick, taking care of a toddler, and starting back to school, I knew I had to remind myself that I was lucky.  These were wonderful symptoms of life (even if I felt like death).  How many women would love to experience these same symptoms and endure these reminders that they are creating life?  Always, when you look at it from that perspective, does it make it all worth it. 

I’m still struggling with feeling sick and getting sick.  I can go days without throwing up and then suddenly, I am sick again.  Yet it will pass, eventually.  And soon enough there will be a little baby to let me know it has all been so very, very worth it.  

*Since this was written oh so long ago, I will tell you that my sickness lasted far longer this pregnancy than it did last time.  Much, much, much longer.  And much, much, much worse.  Hoping for the healthiest little baby ever!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Life is Full of Surprises

We can plan things out to our heart’s content, but sometimes God has other ideas in store.  That is certainly true for many of us, and something I learned a few months ago.

My summer was filled with lots of family fun.  Strolls with Kendall in the park, playing in the backyard with the dog, running through the sprinkler, going out for ice cream, sitting by the fire pit… we laughed and smiled and just relished in the joy of being in each other’s company.  Yet it was also a time for Jonathan and I to get serious and have some very important discussions.  What were our plans for the next year or two?  Should we start talking about moving in to a bigger home?  Are we going to need a bigger car?  And most importantly, really the impetus for this conversation, when did we want to try to have another baby?

Fun in the sprinkler with Chloe

The day after Kendall was born I told Jonathan I knew why people had ten kids.  Giving birth and meeting my child was the greatest thing to ever happen to me.  Never had I imagined such a powerful love and I was hopeful that I would get to do it again one day.  Jonathan, on the other hand, didn’t seem so eager.  His love for Kendall was so great and so strong that he couldn’t ever imagine loving another child as much as he loved her.  And this feeling only grew as she got older.  Of course, I told him that he would change his mind, that his heart would grow to love another baby, and that I have always wanted more than one child.  Surely, we would have more children.  The question was, “When?”

There was a lot that we needed to think about in terms of another baby.  If we remained in our current home, would we have room?  The sad answer was, probably not.  Therefore, could we afford to move?  What were the benefits of waiting another year?  What were the drawbacks?  Clearly, I had had my share of reproductive issues.  Would it be better to try sooner, rather than later, in case there was the chance that the endometriosis came back?  These were all valid questions, not all of which we knew the answers.  It seemed, at least for the time, that waiting was optimal.  However, I still wanted to get a professional opinion.

So I made an appointment to head back up to Clinton, NJ to see Dr. Jean and the rest of the CrMS team at Morningstar Family Health.  I met with a new doctor at the practice, Dr. Eddie, and shared my concerns with him.  My cycle had just returned, after being absent for a total of twenty-three months!  I was curious how my hormone levels were looking and his take on future conception.  In my heart, I wanted him to affirm that it was better to try to conceive sooner, as the closer I spaced my children and the closer I stayed to that surgery date, the better my chances would be.  However, I was also concerned for my own health. 

I was still nursing at that point and knew what a toll it had taken on my body.  I wanted to ensure that I was healthy enough to even carry a pregnancy.  People do not lie when they say breastfeeding takes a lot out of you.  As odd as it sounds, I had never been skinnier in my life.  No matter how much I ate, all of my nutrients went straight to my baby through my breast milk.  I had a hard time fighting off colds and often felt very physically drained.  Trying to conceive would mean that I would need to get my health in order first.  Dr. Eddie agreed and said he would follow-up in a week to schedule labs and ultrasounds.  I was happy knowing that I was taking steps to at least getting my body on track, if not my family planning.

Despite these plans, more conversations with Jonathan steered us away from trying to conceive.  Perhaps now was not the best time.  We would wait another year, when we were able to make better decisions about our home and possibly moving.  I felt extremely disappointed, but also relieved in a sense that at least now we had an idea in mind of what we had in store for the next year.  Soon I would be finished nursing, I would be getting used to having regular cycles again, and my body, for the first time in two years would be my own.  Or so I thought.

The next week I waited for my next period.  It seemed like it was about to show.  Yet when it didn’t I decided to put my mind at ease.  There was truly no way that I was pregnant.

What?  How?  No!  This is definitely wrong!  I’m going to buy another test.  Two more tests confirmed what I knew to be a mistake.  I was pregnant.  And right after we decided we would wait…

Shortly after my positive tests I visited Dr. Jean.  She, along with Dr. Eddie and their ultrasound tech Amy looked at my chart, trying to determine when I conceived.  They all agreed: according to my chart, conception seemed so unlikely!  Yet there it was, on the screen reflected back at me, my tiny baby with a flickering heartbeat.  God wanted me to have this baby.

Life is full of surprises, indeed.  Our plans are not God’s plans.  And that is just how it should be.  So, together with much excitement, trepidation, and feeling abundantly blessed, Jonathan, Kendall, and I are thrilled to announce that we are expecting Baby #2!  Expected arrival is April 3, 2015.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Season of Sacrifice

Holy moly, it has been a long time since I have shared on my blog!  I can’t say that it has been a long time since I have written, since I write at least once a week.  I just haven’t posted anything in quite some time.  Hopefully, I will get to sharing some of those reflections this week. 

My thoughts for my Lenten sacrifice were incredibly well received last year, so I thought once again I would love to share.  Last year I explained here the importance of giving something up and taking something on and explained that for me, it was necessary that I focused on loving my husband.  It was a hard and sad realization that I do not always recognize my love for Jonathan, especially since having Kendall.  However, it was one that became so vital to the growth and maturation of our relationship, both as spouses and parents. 

This year, while I hope to continue to fall more in love with my husband every day and recognize his presence as a true gift in my life, I also know I want to do more.  Being pregnant this year limits my ability to give up certain treats (as wine has already been absent from my life for nearly eight months).  And something I would like to take on (becoming more active and getting Kendall involved) is inhibited not only by my growing belly, but also by the bitter cold we have been experiencing the last few weeks.  Therefore, my sacrifice is going to be one much more centered around my attitudes.  This year for Lent I am giving up negativity.

It is embarrassing, really.  The fact that I have so much negativity in my life.  Yet sometimes, it just seems so easy.  A long commute to work can be (and IS!) totally draining.  A toddler crying because you told her that she couldn’t eat an entire jar of pickles is frustrating.  Waking up four to five times a night to go to the bathroom disrupts my sleep and gets old fast.  Getting angry or feeling sorry for myself often seems like the only response.  However, when I think about it, what good is it really doing me?  I can’t change my commute.  I work far away.  Really far away.  Which means that I have to drive, a lot!  My toddler crying isn’t intended to drive me insane, although that seems like the intended goal.  And getting up to go to the bathroom is just how my body works these days.  So what can I do to change these negative attitudes?

Simple: see the good.  Along with giving up negativity, I am going to take on seeing the good in my life.  My long commute allows me time to call my Baba and catch up with her, listen to the podcast Serial and become totally hooked, and decompress from a long day teaching 115 teenage boys.  Kendall crying allows me to see that she still has trouble communicating her feelings and that it is my job to teach her how to express those feelings appropriately.  It also allows me to work on my own patience and relish in the times when she DOES share her feelings in a way that doesn’t make me want to pull my hair out.  Going to the bathroom every hour through the night reminds me of the miracle inside me, moving and squirming around. 

I know this is going to be a great challenge, one that I will probably falter with more than just a few times.  Even yesterday, I wanted to scream and feel so sorry for myself that my car was dead in my driveway.  But I had to remind myself that I was fine, my family was healthy, and that it wasn’t as though I had to walk the 30 miles to work in the cold.  Actually, it worked out nicely.  My dad drove me in and I got to spend some long overdue time with him.  He got to see his granddaughter after work, and I was able to get my car running again. 

Through the next forty days of Lent I am going to want to be pretty negative, as I am in my last forty-two days of pregnancy, when things get really uncomfortable and I become even more awkward than I had been pre-pregnancy.  Yet it will be an amazing opportunity to experience joy in the most unlikely of situations.  And for that I am extremely grateful.

Wishing you all a blessed Lenten season!