Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Interdimensional Holes in my Living Room

Since it's the season for creepy tales, I thought I'd share one about the time I experienced what I'm pretty certain was sleep paralysis. It happened when I lived in Alaska in the yurt and worked nights on the slope. I was sleep deprived, working nights and with the weird hours of sunlight and darkness messing with my sleep schedule even further. Apparantly that makes you more prone to it. I think it was set off that day because I was alone watching The Fourth Kind before I fell asleep on the couch in the loft. The Fourth Kind is a creepy movie about alien abductions in Alaska if you aren't familiar with it.

So I started to drift off. I felt that sleep heaviness where you can't lift your eyelids and you start to lose track of your body and you feel so relaxed. But then it changed. I started to feel tingly, sort of numb and dizzy almost. I could feel my whole body, I was aware of everything, how my hands felt and where my toes were, but I couldn't move anything. Then it felt like my head was this stationary point and everything else was orbiting around it. My head felt still but my body felt like it was continually spinning around and around, faster and faster, making sharp changes in direction and speed. My head was the pivot point. It wasn't scary yet, just disorienting and uncomfortable. Then that feeling slowed and I could feel where I was laying. It felt like my body floated back down to the couch. And I could see again. I knew my eyes were closed, but I also knew I could see my living room again, the real room, not a dream space.

Then this little pinprick of light started to appear to the left of the tv. Right above the corner. I can still picture it. It started to grow slowly. It was silver and shiny and as it started to grow, I could see it spinning, like a mini little galaxy. At first it didn't make me feel anything but curious. But then it started to make this noise I've never heard before or since. It sounded metallic. That's the only way I can describe it, it sounded like metal tastes. A completely foreign thing. And that's when I knew it wasn't benign.

And then something told me that there was a thing in there. A think that wanted out. I don't know if it was a thought I had or an actual voice, but I knew it was true. Something was trying to get through that little spinning metallic hole in the air. I started to try and move but I couldn't. I tried to roll, shake my head, twitch my fingers so I would wake myself up. I was aware I was sleeping. But also I felt like whatever was happening was real. That if I didn't wake up before whatever was in there got out, it would be out in the real world for real, not just a hallucination or whatever.

I just kept thinking to myself, "You can't see what's in there. You CAN'T." Not, "I don't want to see," but "I can't see. Can't, can't, CAN'T. " Just this feeling of dread that if I see it...the worst will happen. It was a sense of wrongness. Whatever was in there wasn't supposed to exist. The whole time this is running through my head, that metallic noise is still there. The spot is turning and turning and throbbing with this pulsing light. I'm starting to panic more and more. I've had some lucid dreams before, but this is different. In those dreams I can't feel my real body and I can control my dream body and fly around, do whatever I want and make anything scary disappear. This was the worst nightmare I've ever had, this wasn't in my control.

When trying to move my body didn't work, I tried to make noise. I started trying to say something. I started to say, "No, stop, help, wake up." But it wasn't working. So I gave up on words and started trying to scream. I could feel my body laying there and I was just watching that spot hoping nothing would crawl out before I could wake up. But I also know it's getting closer somehow. The noise is getting louder and louder, the spot is growing and the light is pulsing faster and brighter. It's right there, just out of sight. If I see it, I will never unsee it, and I know instinctively that it's something my mind can't handle looking at.

So I'm just screaming silently in my head when it finally works. I make the tiniest whimper, a real out loud, not in my head whimper that I meant to be a full on scream. All the feeling comes back to my body and the spot vanishes as I open my eyes. And that was it. It was so eerie that my surroundings, minus the mysterious hole in the air, had stayed the same the entire time. I know my eyes were closed, but nothing ever took on that dreamlike unreal quality.

I didn't go back to sleep that day. I've never seen anything as terrifying in my sleep since, but I still think about it. I'm waiting for it to happen again. For that hole in the air to come back. And dreading what happens if I can't wake up quick enough the next time. I don't want to see what's in there, I don't want to let it get out. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Decisions and Updates

I've tried to write an update post a few times and every time I'm unsatisfied and they sit in the post queue going no where. They just ended up sounding to depressing or annoyed or some other off feeling I can't quite put my finger on.

So the basic status update. I'm not pregnant this month, I'm not going to try this next month and I am 99% likely wait out the rest of the year before trying again. I have a whole post written about this paragraph right here. But I'm not sure I'm posting that. In summary, I feel very conflicted.

I want to be pregnant again but also I like having my body to myself again. I'm also really working on being less codependent and being more independent a baby would tie me up again in some ways. I wanted a small age gap between kids but it's already going to be larger than I wanted even if I get pregnant now, so what's a few more months. I wanted to be pregnant by my due dates. But there's no chance of feeling "safe" by either one. I won't be feeling the safe zone until halfway through when I start to feel the baby kicks. I don't want a miscarriage on one of my due dates, that would be an emotional disaster. Plus medical bills, I don't need more of those. But also I wanted to be hopeful and optimistic about it, I wanted to be fearless. But maybe that's the point. Maybe I still am. Admitting maybe the best thing for me is not what I wanted and the right thing to do sucks. So I'm going to wait.

It is 95% likely we won't do foster care but we are giving the last day of training class a shot first before calling it for sure. If nothing else it's a good free parenting class. And it brought up/let me work through some stuff from the days my family of origin did foster care. I won't get into that any further though, because too many other people's feelings and lives are tangled up in that. Foster care just isn't the way that seems right for everyone involved to expand this family.

The social worker running the class said two things that stuck with me, "you can set up your license to only accept certain ages and issues, but if I think you'd be really good at handling a certain situation, I will try and convince you," and "the best foster families know when to say no." Here's the problem. I want kids younger than Lyra. I'm not willing to take any older than her. I'm not willing to take any risks concerning Lyra's safety or well being, and I'm not ready for the lifestyle change that would be an older child or teenager.

What gets me, is that what I'm pretty certain I'd be good at, and what I'd have a hard time saying no to when presented with a specific circumstance or child, are the hard placement cases. The anorexic or bulimic kid, a kid who cuts, a transgender child, a pregnant teen, those kind of more intense situations. And I feel guilty about that. I have a lot of both personal exposure and experience with some hard things and I've managed to make it through and build up skills to survive that I think could be useful for a kid going through something tough. But that's not a good option right now. I think going into this with both eyes open and having had personal experience with it all, makes it a harder complex decision.

I feel like I'm at this odd crossroads where my life could go in any number of directions. Sometimes I think it could all be this big moment I look back at and point to and say, "Oh, right there, that's what led to everything important today." And other times I think it all could just be any other moment in life and say, "Why was I so worried about it all?" I think that's just kchildren for you, they have to throw any plan you ever had out the window for better or worse from before they ever arrive.

I've thought a lot about my conclusion here. That's my weak point in writing, especially in this case where I've been so conflicted about my decisions in the first place.  So I'm trying a new writing (and life) style where I say, "The heck with conclusions,  I'm not done living yet."

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Shitty Situation

I mean that literally. Actual Shit.

So Lyra is 2 and sleeping in her own room and somewhat potty trained. This means she wears pull ups to bed and usually comes wandering into my room to cuddle with me around 6 am. Usually 5 or 10 minutes of intensely wiggly cuddles later she'll hand my phone to me (she used to hand me my glasses too but now I keep them out of her reach after she handed me a pair she had ripped in half) and demand that I "git up" or state that she needs to "pee potty." 

On this particular morning I heard her usually loud stomping coming from the hall a little early at 5:40. She burst in through the door like the kool-aid man babbling, "pee potty pee potty pee potty," at top speed. I jumped up to comply with haste as she seemed more urgent than usual. I touched her side as we walked to the bathroom and thought to myself, "Hmm, her pull up must have leaked. She seems damp." I should have known then.

This is where I made my fatal mistake, though the situation would have been dire either way. I pulled her pajama bottoms and pull up down to her ankles before I hit the lights. Even in the darkness I could see something was amiss as soon as the pull up hit the floor. "Oh no," I gasped, "That's poop," as I switched on the bathroom light.

So much shit. Apparantly something didn't sit right with her and had led to explosive morning diarrhea. That was the first time anything like this has happened since she stopped having those not too terrible breastfed baby poops and starting having normal mini person poops. It makes a huge difference. It's so much worse when they take normal shits. Trust me on that one. "Oh my god, oh my god, oh noooooo," was my refrain for the next 20 minutes. At that point the only option was a shower for both of us, there was no saving the situation. And hand washing out clothes and starting laundry and wiping up the floor and the lightswitch. There was poop on the wall. The WALL. It was full scale decontamination before 7 am.  

Not the first poo mess, won't be the last either. The other day at dinner Lyra was sitting at her little table while I finished up cooking. At one point I glanced up and noticed some thing suspicious sitting next to her on the floor. Right next to the little baby potty, I might add. Sure enough, she'd dropped a big ole number 2 right there on the floor in between bites of her noodles. Sure glad we don't have carpet.

My other favorite potty training story was the day my friend without kids was texting me about how awesome my lifestyle was and how he was kind of jealous sometimes. I was explaining it's not all sunshine and flowers. Meanwhile, Lyra peed her pants. I set her on the toilet and went to start laundry. And promptly stepped into a puddle of pee. I think a dog is to blame for that one but I will never know for sure. I cleaned that puddle (and my feet) and checked on Lyra to find her shoving half a toilet paper roll into the toilet. I sent her on her way and cleaned that mess. Immediately afterwards, Lyra came up to me, clearly wet, and I pulled down her underwear only to have poop fall out onto the floor. As I was setting Lyra on the toilet again, planning to leave her there for at least 30 minutes, and contemplating using diapers until Lyra is 6, my friend called. I answered the phone with, "You remember how you were bitching about how great my life is? Let me tell you about the last 20 minutes of my life in excruciating detail."

Despite the mess, there are upsides to a potty training toddler. Besides the obvious, like not having to use diapers, I have my own personal cheering squad. Everytime I pee on the potty I get a round of applause and a "Yay! Mama pee potty!" Followed up with an announcement to whoever is around about my victory. Travis tries to high five me when Lyra tells him "Mama pee potty." I flip him off behind her back instead. This is my life now. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Names and Plans

I haven't said much here lately. I've been a like bit more in this quiet place where I want to talk to a few people and just stay off the radar other then that.  I keep thinking the last really hard day is behind me and then there always seems to be a new one in front of me.

We got out baby's remains back finally. I couldn't look at them but my midwife said that there really wasn't enough after the genetic testing to cremate. So that all sucked. But we were able to ship her to Michigan since we were going to be out there quickly anyway and we know Travis' family at least is staying put.

We buried her out in the woods, just Travis and me. It was the only thing, the last thing, we could really do for her, but it just sucked. Right now she doesn't have a marker other than rocks and wildflowers but Travis' parents are making her one. We picked the name Nova and a quote for her marker, "Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect."

I had a bit of a meltdown one evening about leaving her behind in the ground. Too much wine and a Facebook birth announcement hit me harder than I anticipated and set me off and it escalated from there. Oh well, it happens, I got through it.

I made Nova a playlist to say goodbye, oddly it's more comforting than hard to listen to for me. https://open.spotify.com/user/1225401903/playlist/1YUDJENDQrqU44K4xxwI0e

But I'm feeling more ready to just move on. We are going to get going on the foster care application and just give the pregnancy thing another go. I got my period back right when I predicted from my pee sticks. At least my body seems to be predictable and still sorting itself out quickly. I feel better, like I am starting off again with a good reset. So far, it hasn't been the painful horror story a lot of women seem to say is common for a first period post miscarriage. Especially since I haven't had one since March, I was braced for a brutal experience. But, it appears I lucked out again in the physical department or my pain tolerance really just is beastly. I think I'll just go with the "I'm just a badass" theory because I like that one better. My hip tattoo tickling was worse than the pain so there's more evidence for that theory. I can't lie though, I feel like I've been a bit cranky the last couple days though.

If I have another miscarriage, I think that's when we will have some serious thinking to do. And when more testing would make more sense. Especially after finding out how much that shit costs. Our genetic test before insurance is about $6,600. Did not see that one coming, to be honest. I mean, we got an answer, but that number is just....ughhhh. I'm not sure what insurance will cover yet. I would think they would decide the test was justified. Seeing as I was on miscarriage number 2. Travis thinks we probably will be fine and the bill won't actually be terrible. The same company does the common first trimester genetic blood test screening you hear about a lot. Out of pocket cost for that test is usually 100 to 200 and we will likely do that one for peace of mind the next pregnancy. Also, my ER bill makes me naseaous.  Take a look.

The total bill to insurance then for this miscarriage is over $11,000. Why is it that expensive?

I keep reminding myself that Nova was just a one time tragedy. 1 in 4,000 to 1 in 10,000 chance so I did the math. I got my first period when I was 12 and the average age for menopause is 51. Let's just call it 12 cycles a year for ease of calculating and because it's close enough for an estimate. Then take out 22 months for when I was pregnant and/or breastfeeding and not ovulating. That's roughly 446 months, or eggs, 446 chances of getting pregnant. Not even close to 4,000, let alone 10,000. So Turner syndrome won't happen to my babies again, statistically. That was my one month that could happen and it was just bad luck.

So that's just one random unexplained miscarriage I've had, that happens to a lot of people. Probably nothing is wrong and the next baby will be smooth sailing.

If we get pregnant right away, I'd be due June 9th. Right in the middle of summer, exactly when I didn't want to be super pregnant in the Nevada heat. Oh well, just details, I would still rather be pregnant than not. I'm trying not to take it for granted and assume I'll be pregnant again right away, because that's a possibility. But I have no reason to think it won't happen as fast as my last 3 pregnancies have. We shall see. I'm just really hoping I'm pregnant before that first December due date. Not that I will feel safe or that it's really happening until I can feel the baby kick regularly. Second trimester safe is gone for me now.

That note aside, I am planning on just relaxing as much as I can this next time. There's literally nothing I can control so why stress? I mean, I'm sure I'll stress more though, but I'll do my best. The one thing I clung to with Nova is that she was always loved and never felt my stress or worry or sadness. My goal is the next one will get that same experience.

I read a quote recently that stuck with me and is how I feel I am jumping back into life this month. "Living in fear won't stop us from losing what we love, it will just stop us from enjoying it." And I have my new tattoo to remind me of my general life philosophy and goals. Go fast, take chances, jump out of the plane, live boldly, love fearlessly.

The stars are for the 2 babies, the colors are the birthstone colors of the months I was due and the months I miscarried. I sure hope I never have to add any more. But if I do, I'll survive it regret free. It's all worth it for moments like this.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

More Than You Probably Care to Know About Pee Sticks PLUS Bonus Genetic Test Results

So I figured I might as well go all in with this whole trying to grow the next child business. Might as well share the details at this point, not like we will surprise anyone. Or maybe we will, you never know about me. But the current plan is to take this month off and let my body heal and reset since this last miscarriage was really physically rough for me. I haven't had a period since mid March. I had the last miscarriage and immediately got pregnant again.  So it's reset time. After this month we'll see how everything is and reevaluate. Emotionally I'm in a fairly solid place right now, considering. My freaking hormones are out of control which is helpful. A friend handed me the perfect metaphor for my emotional self. I'm emotional moss. I'm resilient but I cling to emotional rocks. Truth.

Since we don't want to get pregnant this month but don't need long term birth control, I invested yet again in some handy little pee stick cheapies. There's a method to this. Don't buy the expensive grocery store tests except for a confirmation when you're sure you're pregnant. They're like 10 bucks a pop. And are less sensitive and likely to say negative if you test early. On Amazon you can get them for like a dollar each. And I've always gotten the earliest positives on them.

My soon to be frequent morning routine. *sigh* Peeing into a shot glass is harder than you'd imagine.

The thing about pregnancy tests and ovulation tests is they are in fact difficult to read. Here are today's results.

The pregnancy test is the one that says hcg on it, thats the hormone it detects. A pregnancy test is positive if a second line exists at all, however faint. Ovulation tests (the one that says LH) on the other hand are positive if the second line is as dark or darker than the control.

I still have some pregnancy hormones in my system. Believe it or not, that's definitely a clear positive pregnancy test for me. See that second line? Its right where the second line on the ovulation test is. It's even harder to photograph than it is to see in person. I'm a pro at this faint second line at this point, it is really there, I promise. If I saw that at a different time I would feel sure enough to say I am pregnant without a doubt. This isn't even as faint as the faintest test I've ever had. The ovulation test I'm assuming is confused by the pregnancy hormones. Hcg in your system can make them show a false positive. It looks close to positive but I don't believe it, I'm not ovulating yet. So I'll give it a few more days, test again and see what happens.

Also, I'd like to take a minute to appreciate how costly it is to have a baby. My pee stick bulk order cost me $40. Probably won't last more than 2 or 3 months. That's not including what I spent on the last 2 pregnancies testing my pee. I've had 3 ultrasounds thus far, copays were $150 I believe. Though we got a refund for one for who knows why and I don't know if the emergency room ultrasound cost more yet. $15 for blood tests to rule out ectopic the first time and I may have to have some again if I don't get negative pee sticks soonish. Unknown amount for the genetic test. We weren't in a good place to rationally discuss that, we just did it. ER visit of unknown cost. Plus whatever we will spend on testing and interventions to stay pregnant in the future. Prenatals, iron pills, probably progesterone and baby aspirin the next go around. Little stuff that just adds up. And we haven't even had to do any big interventions yet. Plus beer cost because that's needed.

Still waiting on our genetic test results so that's a bit stressful. And I'm doing way too much speculation. My last ultrasound mentioned a possible bicornate uterus. That would be a problem. But we already had Lyra with no complications and no one has mentioned this before so I'm not sure what to think. And I even had the thought; what if it's autoimmune related? I had rheumatic fever when I was a teen, my body basically attacked itself. And there's some autoimmune disorders that contribute to miscarriage because your body doesn't recognize the baby. And the crappy thing with this would be, there's not research on that as far as I know. Rheumatic fever is on the rare side. So all the unknowns I can speculate about are bugging me.

I have to admit, I'm tired of announcing a pregnancy. It's like, I'm already on the 4th one this next time, it's losing it's newness and shine. So next time I'm just mass texting the family and besties like, "Hey look what I peed on today." And then posting here probably. Whatever though, not the biggest deal in the long run. It's just Facebook likes but it's fun to see everyone excited and its frustrating to do it over and over.

Foster care for little littles, Lyra's age or younger is probably something we will consider and get going on soonish. There's no better way to guarantee we get pregnant and stay pregnant (probably with twins or something) if we get fertility testing done and have a foster child placed with us. Also I said I would never do foster care. So we're for sure destined for that.

Update. Literally as I was writing this post my midwife texted me. We got the genetic test results back. We had a baby girl. That feels so much more real and concrete because I know what having a daughter is like. She had Turner syndrome. She only had one x chromosome. This is "good" news. This condition is not inherited, as in we won't keep passing it on, it was a fluke. It happens in 1 in 4000 to 1 in 10000 pregnancies. 99% of the babies who have this are miscarried or stillborn. While I'm never going to be glad this happened, I'm so glad this was a miscarriage and not a stillbirth. I could handle it if I had no choice. But thankfully, this time I do not have to handle that. The 1% of babies that survive can have plenty of complications in a range of not so serious to serious. Generally, it isn't a fatal condition though if the baby is in that tiny 1% that do survive. I honestly expected no answers with this test. I'm so grateful we did it though.

My mother's intuition is a bit off. Thought Lyra was a boy, thought this last baby was a boy. I was convinced this last one would be fine. Predictions out the window this next one. Who knows.

I don't know if we will name this baby. Or the last. I don't know what we will do once we get this baby's remains back if we have some sort of ceremony. Or when or where. We'll figure something out eventually. No rush really.  We won't ever know what happened with our first miscarriage. But this raises the chances that this two in a row miscarriage bullshit was a just bad luck. Shitty shitty fucking luck, but most likely random chance none the less.

This weekend is going to be bittersweet, celebrating Lyra's birth and saying goodbye to another daughter all at once. But Lyra is our little shining star in a month that always tries to bring me down. She's a good little lighthouse in the storm.

Going forward is scarier than it was after a single miscarriage regardless of this result. So I'll keep you posted. It's still just life, so it's all a shot in the dark really when you get right down to it, I can definitely take that leap just fine after a little time to get my self back together.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Love Fearlessly

Today I'm happy. I have decided I don't think I'm made for unhappiness. It doesn't suit me. I just can't do it for long before I have to find a way to laugh or I will lose my mind. My natural state tends towards smiles and laughter and joking. I have been allowing myself my sadness, but I'm also trying to allow myself my happiness and remember that that is a state I'm allowed too. I'm trying to just concentrate on all the love and caring that's been going on around here. Plus, I still have my 2 year old, Lyra, who forces me to laugh and be present and happy. She's pretty convinced I'm the island goddess from Moana, so I do have standards to live up to. My husband, Travis, says I am like the island demon from Moana, but hey, can't win them all. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately in this mood I've been in. If nothing else, through these miscarriages, I've learned some important lessons about myself and about what love means to me.

As I was in the process of adding another child to our family, I thought about what a lot of second go around parents think about; will I love this new child as much as my first baby? The first time I met Lyra, I was lucky enough to be one of those people, and have one of those births, where the immense love I felt for her was immediate and instant, it didn't take any time for that bond to develop in me. It was a weird thing to instantly have that love appear where it hadn't existed a second before. Not that I didn't care for Lyra during the pregnancy, only that meeting her added a new dimension and made it all the more concrete to me. I would say I love her with my whole heart, but that doesn't seem like the right description to me because then there would be no room for anyone else. And there is so much room. I also love Travis, my brother, my parents, my best friends. I guess what I'm getting at is all the reflection I've been doing lately has made me realize I don't have a finite amount of love in me. So it makes me unafraid to keep giving it out. Because love is one of those rare things that always comes back at you bigger and more intense than you sent it out.

I don't mean to sound all, "I'm so much more enlightened than you," or all woo woo "love is flawless and makes everything perfect." I've just been looking for a way to make peace with everything that's gone on in my life lately and a way to live comfortably with all the emotions in my head. It just helps me knowing I can come out of this intact and being able to explain to myself just why that is.

I have different types of love, sure, but none of it takes from another.  Loving my brother doesn't make me love Lyra any less. Just like my parents love my brother and I both, but of course they don't love us the same way or for the same reasons. It was an important lesson for me in sharing, having Lyra. It made me almost annoyed and territorial at first. I had this perfect pure little baby I grew and who was solely mine, physically, the first 9 months. Sharing with Travis came somewhat more naturally, but it was hard sometimes feeling like everyone else was laying claim to my baby just by loving her. I mean, I understood it logically, I always wanted her to love and be loved, but it's hard to let go of someone you never want to be hurt ever. It was like taking my heart from my body and sending it out into the world completely unprotected. I felt like if someone else loved her, it took away from the importance or value of my love for her. If that makes any sense, its so hard to put that feeling into words. And jealousy; I wanted to be the reason for every smile and always the person she wanted. But the reality of watching people love her and seeing her love them back has changed that for me. And being a person's everything is exhausting. I feel like I was only afraid because I didn't quite get the fact that she could love Travis as much as she does me, she just loves us for different reasons and in different ways. Or that she could love her grandparents and have fun with them and that didn't change the fact she'd still want her mom at the end of the day. I've learned to embrace the village as a bonus, not a threat. Because that village is full of the people who love and take care of your baby when you can't possibly manage, when you have another baby who needs everything you have.

Regarding that village too, I've gotten better at understanding how to spread my needs and finding the best way to be supported in those different needs. And I've learned a lot about my friends. I'd call Travis my best friend. But he's not the only one I'd give that title too. I talk to them all and lean on them for different things depending on the situation. Doesn't make any one of them any less dear to me. None of my friendships came about in the same way, so they're all unique now. Jeri and I bonded over school stress, break-ups, and timing (we were both hot messes in the same general time frame). That's a different bond than Emily and I, who bonded over embarrassing middle school moments and mean girls. So now I text Emily more often about parenting stuff. And I text Jeri almost anytime I'm annoyed at Travis and want to complain about him (sorry, Travis). I know who to text when I just need some distraction and goofiness. I know what friends I don't have to talk to everyday but are easy to pick up where we left off on the rare visit we get. I've also learned what friends are unhelpful in some situations and who I should just have realistic expectations for to not end up hurt. The newest thing I've started to really notice is the acquaintances and strangers who surprise me with kind words and gestures. I have heard it said that losing a baby shows you who your true friends are. It's been true for me. I have a lot of true friends. And I have more lifelong friends than I ever realized. The ones who are there for you, year after year, who you can go back to after fights or distance or just when plain old life busyness separates you temporarily.

So it's been surprisingly easy for me to love each new baby without holding back. I knew I could continue to give my heart away, as it were, because it just keeps growing back and then some. I did have a hard time for a bit, feeling like I'm grieving harder for this last baby than my first miscarried baby. But I'm trying to accept that it's OK that this is hitting me harder right now. It's something that's happened twice now, this was physically rougher, and hormones are playing with my head harder. I'm just trying to remember it doesn't mean I loved that other baby any less, just that now I'm grieving doubly. I just love them differently. Plus I had a lot more time to anticipate this recent baby, this one wasn't a surprise. Being sad for this last baby more than I'm sad about that first baby right in this minute is OK. I've also already had time to be sad for that first baby. And of course I love Lyra differently than these babies, I get to see her everyday and I get to know her as a person. I love her without sadness so it will always be different than how I love these babies as just memories.

I'm still struggling with some things. Our baby's remains will be sent back to us sometime this week. I have no idea when. I know that delivery will take me out when I least expect it because when else would it happen? So probably this weekend will be a visit to the funeral home and also Lyra's second birthday. And also the date my brother attempted suicide years ago. A grab bag of emotions right there. Then there's the little day to day reminders. A lady asked me recently if Lyra was my only. I didn't feel like explaining so I just said, "Yes." That sucked.

I keep thinking how true it is the saying, "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." For being so cliche, it is still so true. So for all of these thoughts lately, I'm getting a tattoo to remind myself. Love fearlessly. That's my new life mantra, it seems a worthy goal.

I've been listening to music constantly and it's really helping me cope. I'm gonna drop a few of the song that I keep in my head lately. A little playlist for happiness. And I'm gonna toss in my favorite literary tidbits.

The first couple quotes are from the golden compass.

"We feel cold, but we don't mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn't feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It's worth being cold for that."

"Every atom of me and every atom of you...we'll live in the flowers and the dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't be able to take just one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight."

"She wondered whether there would come an hour in her life when she didn't think of him-didn't speak to him in her head, didn't relive every moment they'd been together, didn't long for his voice and his hands and his love. She had never dreamed of what it would feel like to love someone so much; of all the things that had astonished her in her adventures, that was what astonished her the most. She thought the tenderness it left in her heart was like a bruise that would never go away, but she would cherish is forever."

And good old Dumbledore.

"Darkness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light."

"The ones who love us never truly leave us."

 As for the songs that have helped me pull it together. Here's just a list if you feel like listening.

No Such Thing As A Broken Heart by Old Dominion
The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti and Spearhead
Poet by Bastille
I Lived by One Republic
Life in Color by One Republic
Wash Away-reprise by Joe Purdy (the version from LOST)
Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson
Swim by Jacks Mannequin
Something Wild by Lindsey Stirling and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Aftermath

Well things are starting to stabilize around here. Not that it won't take a while to grieve and heal but it seems like we are leaving crisis mode behind. Travis has gone back to work, Lyra is back in my care. I'm feeling a bit better physically, the cramping and intense bleeding has tapered off to just low level bleeding. Most importantly my killer headache seems to finally be receding. I probably will be dropping the frequency of blog and socail media updates shortly. I'm just winging it here, though. 

Emotionally I'm still somewhat of a basket case. I have a few friends who are really helpful with distracting me. That will come in handy the next while. I still am processing and talking, but breaks and normallacy are totally underrated in my opinion. They are always the most helpful to get from crisis mode to normal life mode. I definitely have friends I have been and will be leaning on hard. I've been having some trouble sleeping, the quiet time when there's nothing else to think about is hard. But I'm trying to just work on getting my mind on other things or topics at night instead of dwelling. 

Lyra is officially weaned. I wanted one last nursing picture and to make it to technically 2 full years not about 2 weeks short of her 2nd birthday. But it was time for us, she was not unhappy about it for more that 5 cumulative minutes. And frankly, my milk supply was probably already plummeting with the pregnancy hormones and reduced nursing amount we already had going. The fluid and blood loss of the last days would have finished it off. And I really wasn't up to it the last couple days. But it is a hard thing at the same time, cutting the last baby ties to my toddler while simultaneously losing another baby. 

My mini little baby bump is virtually gone. Theres still some swelling, I think from my poor worn out overworked uterus and muscles, but that's it. That's a little hard for me to see but also it helps me move on. Once I feel better physically I'm going to do some getting back in shape and general being healthy stuff just to feel like me again. My body will be my own for the first time post concieving Lyra. I'm not naive, I know eating disorders are troublesome in times of stress so I need to watch that. But health and weight loss are two separate things so I think I'll be fine, really. For the record, I hate saying that all in here, I really do. These are probably the sentences I will read and overanalyze the most. And likely, the ones I will somewhat shamefully regret later, to be perfectly honest. But acknowledging it helps. And I try my hardest to just face things head on, I'm working on being and raising a fearless person. So fuck it, why not put it all out there and go all in. That's my current attitude right now...fuck it. 

The hardest moment I see in the next week or two is the actual physical logistics of dealing with this loss. We sent our baby and a blood sample of mine off for genetic testing. I asked our midwife what would happen to the remains because it just haunts me. We were told that the testing facility usually discards everything as medical waste but would return remains to us if requested. So I did that. I couldn't bear not to. I have spent the last 24 hours fixated but not speaking aloud about the fact that I needed to call funeral homes and trying (and failing) to mentally prepare myself to do so. This morning (I was going to make calls today during Lyra's afternoon naptime) I got a Facebook message from a local woman that I do not know. She had called around to feneral homes, found me a place who will cremate our baby at no cost, and provided me all the contact and legal infomation I need to do so. I cannot even begin to comprehend this fact. Once I get my head together I will be thanking her fully, and hopefully can find a way to meet and thank her in person. I'm just absolutely blown away. Lately, this last year even, has shaken my faith in humanity and life a little. Things have been so hard and having someone do something like this for me restores that faith. I can never communicate what this means to me.

This next month I'm going to try and focus on me. Not on being a wife for Travis, not on being Lyra's mom, not on being perfect for friends and family, not on more babies, not on keeping it all together. Not that I won't keep up on all those big things or that I will be a terrible mother and wife. I don't know that Travis and I have ever been in a better place relationship wise and I feel like Lyra is going to survive us as well as anyone ever does their childhood. I just mean I'm going to be a little healthily selfish. All those people who matter have loved me for years when I'm grumpy and whiny, they won't stop now. They can handle it. And I'm going to buy some new bras that aren't nursing bras and maybe get a job. I'm conflicted about that still though. Not about the bras. Maybe a little about the bras, nursing bras are so fucking comfortable but so hideous. Even the ones that are advertised as pretty. Mostly I miss engineering but I'm determined not to miss the next baby's first year especially after such a fight to get there. So who knows. Maybe I'll start a bra company. Or I might start working on that book to be published upon my death with all my secrets. 

I'm still getting new people and repeat offenders checking in on me. I appreciate every single message, you keep pulling me back up and keeping my head above water. Please keep it up, even if I barely reply. I assure you, I'm feeling the love.  Someday I hope to return it. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It Is Over. Serious Miscarriage Trigger Warning for This Post.

I'm blown away by all the support everyone has shown us this last day. It's been a really intense 48 hours or so. My last post has over 1700 views. In less than 24 hours. It is mind boggling to me. I don't even know that many people. More than anything I've ever written. And it's helping me process to just keep writing. I'm about to get more intense though, if you're squeamish or this triggers you then be warned. I wrote the first half of this this morning. The second half is bad, I am writing that tonight in the aftermath.

So it begins. Woke up with some cramping and bleeding today. Light so far but I'm sure it will pick up. My midwife offered a genetic test. So I'm going to do that. It's fairly gruesome, you have to collect the tissue and store it in your fridge. Anyone want to help me bleach my fridge next week? Seriously though, ugh.

My midwife sent me an email last night that I read at 3 in the morning when I couldn't sleep and was starting to feel crappy. The reason for the ultrasound was listed as threatened abortion. The ultrasound report said I actually measure 9 weeks and 5 days, the tech wasn't accurate. But still, not 12 weeks. No sign of fetal cardiac activity or movement; consistent with fetal demise. It all sounds so clinical. And I feel very betrayed by the math right now. At 9 weeks and 5 days, I only had a 2.8% chance of miscarriage. And like I said, somewhere between 2 to 5% chance that I'd have 2 miscarriages in a row. So naturally I'm wondering if something is wrong. Which factors into the question, when do we want to do this again? A question for another day but it feels like the elephant in the room.

I have a couple of options. Expectant management. Technical term for wait it out and see what happens. 1% chance of infection and could need a D&C later. D&C under general anesthesia. 2% chance of infection and possible scarring. Not my top choice. Anesthesia freaks me out. Also there is medical management. I can ask an OB for something to speed things up. Likely misoprostal. Though my midwife did mention this route was sometimes harder to get someone to prescribe for you which I don't understand. Plus I don't have an OB so this route could be harder. This was my plan but I am just going to wait now since I'm already cramping and starting to bleed.

I had to send Travis out for new Tupperware and a new sanitary baby potty this morning. Because I sure as hell am not using the toilet until this is over. No fucking way. I saw this baby's heartbeat, it is raspberry sized. It's another good reason for the genetic test in my mind, because what else are you supposed to do in this scenario? I don't think I could handle burying this baby in the yard or something. Plus I think that's illegal.

I can't lie, I have friends with similar due dates and it stings. I won't be very pregnant or maybe not even pregnant at all when my first due date passes. That helped the last time but not so much now.

I plan on getting a tattoo in a couple weeks. Probably on our Michigan visit. A Lyra constellation and 2 shooting stars is my thought. I just have to figure out the look of it. But it seems fitting for remembering all my littlest babies short little lives and my daughter's sure to be memorable one.

9 weeks, 5 days. I was driving from Lincoln back to Colorado that day. I'm going to imagine it happened in the quiet moments when I was driving alone, Jeri and Martin peacefully asleep. I wasn't really alone, but I was by myself. I was listening to my favorite music having some quality reflecting time to myself. It was peaceful at least.

This next part, this second part is going to be graphic because it just is what it is. You deserve a second warning though. My baby died inside me and I'm not worried about what anyone else is comfortable with me saying. It really freaking sucked and this is my therapy but you can choose whether or not you read it.

So. Let's get to it then. I started bleeding and cramping this morning and I went and hid in the bathroom. I wanted to be alone. Travis watched Lyra and I texted when I needed moral support or whatever. I planned on taking a shower but I started cramping more and realized that idea was out. I had this silly pink ladybug potty for 3 year olds that I camped out on. Not super comfortable to tell the truth. And my Tupperware dish to collect stuff. At one point I got up and I felt a pop. I knew at that point that it was about to get real really fast. It felt like a diluted version of when my waters broke with Lyra. That's exactly what it was. I started to pass big clotty masses is the best way to describe it. And watery blood. So much of it. It's really astounding. I pretty quickly gave up on keeping anything clean. The bathroom looked like a crime scene, blood on the floor, the toilet, me. Everywhere.

And then there was a baby. I knew the second it happened, it was so distinct. It's one of those moment you never want to remember again but you'll never forget. At that point my needing to be alone was over. I had Travis park Lyra in our bedroom with a tablet and we just sat and cried and I kept bleeding. I thought things were tapering off. I'd collected somewhere between a cup and a quarter and a cup and a half of blood and tissue and just everything. We were in touch with our midwife by text and she was making plans to come pick everything up for genetic testing. I had a friend on the way who picked Lyra up for us. Thank goodness for that timing.

I decided to move to the toilet at that point because we thought the worst was over and I had to pee. I'd just been too afraid to do that while in the intense part of the process. That's when shit got real, fast. The second I relaxed I started to pass an insane clot and so much blood. It was like softball sized and took a while. I was so panicked. Travis was right there luckily. I told him we needed to go to the hospital immediately. And then I got lightheaded and felt so hot and weak. While Travis called our midwife to find out what hospital to go to, I managed to put on a pair or those intense absorbent period underwear, a pad and a pair of black althletic pants. I can think in a crisis. I knew I'd likely bleed through it and I wanted something tight and dark. I managed to kind of collapse in a chair after that, Travis tried to keep me awake while he figured out where to go and what to do.

We threw things together to leave so fast after that. Again I managed to have some sense and grabbed a pair of underwear and shorts and pads. Short shorts but at least I had another pair of something. We made the 40 minute drive to Reno and got checked into the ER pretty fast. I had some pretty dark thoughts along the way. I wasn't feeling as bad as I initially had been but I wasn't feeling good and I was worried. The walk to my room was the most horrifying of my life, I could feel blood soaking through everything. I could tell from Travis reaction that my face and noises where telling him what was happening. I literally was expecting to see a trail behind me. I completely soaked through a heavy pad, underwear and pants in the minute or two long walk back. We got a bag to take those clothes home in.

The doctors acted pretty quickly for that first bit. They got IV fluids going and the ER doctor I saw said almost immediately that he was pretty sure I probably had a piece of placenta stuck in my cervix and that was the issue. He said he needed to do a pelvic exam with a speculum and he'd very likely be able to get it out with minimal pain and that would fix things. So that's exactly what happened. It was the worst moment of the whole process probably. At least physically. It's so embarrassing to be in stirrups like that, bleeding all over the place. I was freezing from the IV and stress and blood loss. And I was scared. The doctor was clearly not in a total life or death rush but he said a few things like, "Time is off the essense here." Someone asked if they should wait for the ultrasound and he said that was a bad call. So that was scary to hear. Not that I didn't know that deep down. I was trying not to acknowledge that panic though. But the ER staff was wonderful, I'll give them that. I think the nurse held my hand part of the time, I can't really remember. And the doctor worked quickly but he didn't lie either. I asked if it was almost over and he just said it was going to take some time, there was a lot to clear out and bleeding to control first before he could even see. And of course, not only was there placenta stuck in my cervix, it was retained. So he had to gently pull for a while until it detached. But he was able to lean over and sort of talk me through and pull me out of it while he was working. Other than that I mostly tried to stare at the ceiling, squeeze Travis hand and wait for it to be over. I finally just told myself I had to relax and told my body to stop holding on, that it was time to let go. And that was, fittingly enough, the moment the placenta finally finished detaching. That was the last I really cried for a while. Possibly for tonight. It's too much to cry about right now.

So much blood when that was over. So fucking brutal. I saw the trash can and the floor, it was gruesome. They changed all the sheets, put down some material on the floor and somewhat mopped me up. I had blood on my feet. On my freaking feet, it was everywhere.

At some point our midwife came by and took everything for genetic testing. She told us we made the right call going in when we did. And that if we hadn't we would have had to go in later under dicier circumstances. We have to go tomorrow for a blood draw and to retrieve the abandoned jeep. If it isn't already towed by now.

So then we just waited ages for an ultrasound and then ages again for results. The ultrasound was more painful than usual. I think my poor vagina was just fed up with the abuse today. They finally told us everything was looking good, nothing else retained they could see and we could go home. When the doctor came in for a last chat he said my bleeding had been "immense." And that should not happen again.

I bled a lot when I first got up. It took some doing to slow it enough to get my clothes on. And the first bathroom trip made me rethink leaving the ER. But after that initial bit, things slowed down to really heavy period type status. I have a killer headache. Its even worse any time I'm not laying flat. And I'm feeling generally weak and crappy. I actually am not joking when I tell Travis to come check on me if I've been in the bathroom for longer than five minutes. My ears feel fuzzy when I get up. And my vision went a little weird for a bit after leaving the ER. But Travis is taking tomorrow off and I have another friend to watch Lyra tomorrow. Thank goodness for help.

It was all so brutal and fast and intense it will take some time to really catch up. I'm just reeling a bit. I was pregnant with no sign a single thing was amiss this past Sunday morning. It's only Tuesday night and it's all so over. I just weaned Lyra, this is really just ensuring that happens, I'm too worn out. My midwife said it was unlikely that my milk will come back in but not impossible. I sure hope it doesn't because that would just be a big fuck you from the universe. I also am praying I don't get an infection with all the testing and intervention that had to happen today. That would also be a big fuck you from the good old universe. I would think I shouldn't be that unlucky, but so far I have been.

Now I am settling in for the night. I've had food and a shower to really wash the blood off my feet. My cramping has mostly fully let up. I have a high pain tolerance it would seem. Travis cleaned the horror scene that was the bathroom. I'm probably going to watch some violent or scary t.v. Somehow that's good therapy for me. I can tell myself, hey, at least I'm not a zombie or on the run from a serial killer. It's the small things. I've had a constant flow of messages of support and solidarity. From best friends, family, old friends, acquaintances, people I don't even know. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I'm sorry for sharing the gruesome and terrible reality, but honestly, I'm mostly just sorry it's happening to me. I loved this baby so much.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Miscarriage Number Two

Trigger warning, I'm having a miscarriage. Again. I'm not censoring. I need to talk, so read if you are ok with that. I understand if you aren't. Really, I do. The support I've felt has been the best. I have friends and family who love me and I'm so lucky for that.

Well, bad news. I'm in the lucky 2 to 5 percent of women who have 2 miscarriages in a row. Yaaaaay. Seriously though. What. The. Actual. FUCK. The miscarriage rate at 8 weeks (which is where my baby is measuring, not at 12 weeks like I should be) is like 5%, how am I that unlucky? Especially once you see a heartbeat you are supposed to be a lot safer, statistically. I haven't had a period since March. I have been pregnant and or actively miscarrying for 19 weeks, going on 20. That's half a freaking pregnancy, guys. I haven't even made it out of the first trimester.  IF, that's a big if, we decide to go for it right away again and manage to get pregnant right away again, I won't have a baby until late May. That's more than a year from the the first time we found out we were pregnant.

And also, I'm not miscarrying yet. Nope. Just spotting. I just have the luxury of knowing my baby is dead before my body has figured it out. So I get to sit and wait and anticipate the carnage this time. So glad I can have the full experience. Or better yet, I may have to decide to get surgery. Like, getting my wisdom teeth out was one of the most horrible experiences ever. So I expect this would be worse.  I can't even bring myself to research it. FUUUUUUCK. But yeah. Haven't miscarried yet. That may be brutal. I have no idea if and what testing we may do. I have an idea of what I may be in for in the next few days. I'm scared.

So Sunday afternoon (why the fuck is it always a Sunday?) I started spotting. My brother was still visiting so I told him and Travis because I couldn't hide it.  I had a Friday midwife appointment scheduled but I was able to move it up to Monday because I was panicked. Monday came, my brother went home, my spotting continued.

I somehow made it to the appointment only texting a few friends beforehand. I tell you what, this experience makes you know who your true friends are. The ones who let me know right away they were there for me, after this, after the last time, after the last blog post, you know who you are and I will work to keep you all besties for life. Hold me to that.

I took Lyra to Reno (Travis went to work, we were trying not to panic because spotting can be so normal and the odds were in our favor, they really were) and we killed an hour and went to see the midwife. She spent a good 10 or 15 minutes looking for a heartbeat with 2 separate dopplers. Nothing. I knew. I knew when I started spotting. But I hoped. Oh, did I hope.

It took less than 3 hours between leaving the midwife's office and getting an emergency ultrasound. In that time I sent about 47 emergency texts to my close friends and family and immediate support network. A friend dropped everything and came to Reno to take care of Lyra. I can't thank her enough, it was an unbelievable relief to send Lyra off and know she was safe, loved, and having fun to boot. I am forever grateful for that. I will remember it forever and I will try and pass that love on some way, some how, some when. Travis ended up ditching work and rushing to Reno because he was no use at work after all the stress and drama. I sobbed through the In-N-Out drive through because I knew I had to eat and not pass out or something. Super fun and only mildly embarrasing.

So the ultrasound. Brutal. Transvaginal ultrasounds....They are just as terrible as they sound in general. You are just half naked and humiliated, best case scenario. Worst case is just worse. I knew right away. I couldn't see a heartbeat, I could tell it didn't look like 12 weeks. Lyra was moving and non blobby by 10 weeks. Travis didn't make it in time. I couldn't watch the whole thing. I just sat alone and stared at the lights and cried. I'm honestly glad I'm the only one who had to witness that, nobody needs to see that. Travis came in about 4 minutes after it was over. We ditched the jeep at the ultrasound place and Travis drove me home. We have to figure out the logistics later.

I made some phone calls and sent a few awful texts on the drive home. We got some wine and some ice cream. I'm not sure if I'm semi dairy allergic or not. But I decided today, who gives a fuck. I'm going to be miserable anyway, might as well go all in.

Small blessings though, that's always what I look for. This was over 4 weeks ago. A month ago my baby died. There is no ambiguity in my head. There's no slow heartbeat, there's no 1 week of slow growth that we can maybe recover from. It's over. Even to my untrained eye. We can grieve and move on, not spend weeks in hope limbo. My baby only knew happiness and hope and most of all, love. Never a moment of doubt. I have no regrets being so happy the last 9 weeks that I knew about this little one. No regrets. It's the one thing I know I did so right this time. Clearly there are no guarantees.

And that's how we will move on. Hope and happiness and love. I have no idea when we will try again. I have all the feels right now. I want a baby. I want a break. I don't know that I can make it through all the holidays not pregnant. I don't know that I can handle them pregnant. Know that next time though, I don't think I'll wait to share even to the first ultrasound. Everyone can share in the first  ambiguous pee stick joy. Look forward to it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

11 weeks

How preggo I am: 11 weeks and 4 days

Baby size: I forgot to check for the first time this week. Already this poor baby is getting younger sibling treatment. Stormageddon is profiterole, brussel sprout, poker chip, bee hummingbird sized. About 1.5 inches long already. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a bump. Mostly I think it's my uterus growing and smashing everything else outwards more, but I'm still going to count it. I'm definitely feeling over the bloat at the very least.

Morning sickness: Not bad!! I've still only puked twice and my stomach isn't bugging me as much or as intensely as with Lyra. For perspective, twice a day with Lyra was pretty standard. On the drive down the mountain once this week I had to stop and dry heave on the side of the road by the dam store. And also once at a Mexican restaurant on the road trip home. I think my brother is getting a good dose of birth control from hanging out with me.  But still, I'll count this as a major win.

Food cravings/aversions: Mexican food. I think I made the mistake of talking about it too much. Now it's all I want to eat.

Other symptom: SO HUNGRY. I get full after like five bites and then want to eat again desperately in an hour or two.

Weight gain: Nothing so far.

Sleep: Lyra's been generally sleeping better, so I am as well. Other than I'm usually awake for the day by 5 or 5:30 which is mildly annoying.

Mood: Pretty happy lately, my road trip was fun and we didn't run into major issues.

Gender: Unknown still.

Lyra stats: She's got like four more teeth working there way out. She's a bit moody about it. She's been eating like crazy because I'm so over nursing and we are down to one bedtime session. At this point its like a sixty second max nursing session and two of the last four nights she hasn't really asked so we skipped it. It's a little bittersweet because it is the last of her newborn traits she still has. But at the same time, I'm so done, I really think it's the pregnancy hormones that caused the shift. I'm setting her 2nd birthday in two weeks as our hard end date.

What I miss: Wine. Seriously my desire for alcoholic adult drinks has not faltered this pregnancy. I can't really complain because it's so much better than being so sick that beer sounds disgusting. But still, I miss an evening glass of wine or brunch mimosas.

Movement: Every now and then I still feel like I might feel something questionable. But could still be all in my head. I also feel like I might already be able to feel where my uterus is. I'm hoping it isn't already starting with the braxton hicks action.

Best moment this week: Surviving the last of the road trip home with the mastiff! Also it was just awesome catching up with old friends this week, having some long chats with my brother and besties, and seeing some road trip sights.

Looking forward to: In-N-Out tomorrow with my brother. And also just getting back to normal life after all the adventuring lately. (Check out my Ode to Nebraska previous post if you want to hear about all those shenanigans). And also I'm excited to see my baby bump get more real in the next few weeks!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ode to Lincoln Nebraska: A Roadtrip Story

Parts one and two of my three part quest to collect the last member of my family (that 140 pound dog that's too big for planes) from the wilds of Michigan have been completed. Part one went better than I could have hoped and part two was absolutely, fabulously epic. It deserves three adjectives, I promise. Boy, do I have some great memories now.

Part one as a reminder, was a solo trek with my two year old, Lyra, from our home in Fernley, Nevada, to Drake, Colorado where my parents live. It was rather tame, all things considered. Lyra watched the car TV for two days straight, had McDonalds for most every meal, and ate entirely too much candy. She was happy as could be and didn't give me any trouble. I'm shocked, quite frankly. The first day we stopped three times and the second day we only stopped twice. That's it! We stopped in Salt Lake the first night and had a great dinner with friends that we will have to visit with more in the future. It felt like a vacation, not a quest. We made it to Colorado with very little fuss. I had minor car troubles, my transmission is testy, but as long as we go slow up the hills, I have some faith we will make it back to Nevada. 

The road trip part two was epic. I left Lyra with my parents overnight and took my brother, Martin, and friend, Jeri, along with me for company. We departed for Lincoln, Nebraska to meet up with my in-laws who were bringing the dog from Michigan, and one of my closest childhood pals, Jake, who happens to live in Lincoln and doesn't mind a spur of the moment visit. Only a little bit of a random assortment of people to see all at once. Especially considering I was bringing my current in-laws along to meet my first husband, I mean Jake here, I'll explain. Long story short, Jake and I were two of the most easily coerced/forced victims in a church camp theater act of the Jacob/Leah/Rachel bible story orchestrated by none other than my mother. We were bribed with baby bottle pops because that was a big deal when you're ten in the 90's. We never got officially divorced, I think that's just too much paperwork to deal with. Thanks again, Mom. I think I forgot to mention the whole first husband thing to my in-laws. Oops, in my defense, I simply forgot to mention it. 

So we set off on a Saturday, bright and early. Just kidding, we were like 15 minutes late because first, I knocked over a bowl of cereal on my shorts with Lyra's life size plastic shark (thanks for the consideration you show with your gift choices, Martin) and then Lyra wanted to nurse. And then as we were finally leaving, both Jeri and Martin had to stop to pee because they somehow didn't have time for that while I was nursing Lyra for 10 minutes. They were worse than the pregnant lady.

Our first stop of the trip was my hometown, good old Greeley, Colorado, for gas and food. And also to empty, yet again, two absurdly small bladders and my own pregnant one. I felt like a fool as we pulled into Starbucks and I realized my shirt was on backwards. After laughing at me, my supposed best friend said, "I thought your shirt looked funny." Thanks for the heads up, pal. After a second wardrobe readjustment we hit the road again with a fabulous eclectic and rapidly growing playlist. Interrupted only by YouTube video breaks. My Google search history is now full of everything from "Ludacris raps Llama Llama Red Pajama" to "Actual Cannibal Shia Lebouf" and "Flight of the Concords You Don't Have to be a Prostitute." Every one of those is worth watching, give it a go. You're welcome.

It looked a little stormy for about 5 minutes on the eastern edge of Colorado so we launched in to storm stories. And Martin (our driver at the time) made sure to tell us, "If you see a tornado make sure to holla at your girl." Which became road trip quote number one. We had to stop at the Nebraska sign and take pictures. Which is where this gem of a photo occurred. I just couldn't resist the opportunity to scare the shit out of my little brother. I mean, just zoom in and it gets better and better.

There are seriously too many good photos to include here. Go follow my Instagram (@miriamghoward) or Facebook if you want the rest of them. After laughing so hard we cried, we were on our way again, Martin at the wheel, myself with shotgun privileges because no one wants the pregnant lady to get carsick. We were casually chatting about the Kool-aid museum we wanted to stop at (a let down, trust me) when I felt something tickle behind me ear. I reached up, felt a bug or something, and as I pulled my hand away to see what it was, I realized it was a tick. Naturally, I jumped and screamed and reflexively threw it away from me. Unfortunately, I threw it in my brothers direction.  He was naturally a bit concerned and confused about what was occurring. He started screaming something along the lines of, "Oh my God! What the fuck? What the hell is wrong with you? What did you throw at me??" Meanwhile, I was writhing in terror in my seat screaming, "There's a tick! There was a tick on me!" So Martin started yelling back, "Why did you throw it at me?!? I'm driving, why would you do that?" After this back and forth, some hysterical laughter and intense searching mid drive for the missing tick we had to make a stop for lunch and gas. The story doesn't end here, not even close, but we will get to that in due time.

As we pull into the complex with the Q-doba we are aiming for, we all see it at roughly the same moment. The entire car let out this collective gasp as we spotted a giant Sinclair dinosaur statue complete with saddle. Immediately I'm all, "Pull over, pull over! We have to stop here!" So that's exactly what we did.

We grabbed burritos to go and were on our way again in short order. Jeri gave Martin a scare the first 17 times she burped, she really puts some power into them, if you know her, you'll know what I mean here. We are driving down the highway and I'm still shotgun at this point but Martin is in the backseat. I turned to him and said, "Ugh, I feel like I am getting phantom itches because of that damn tick." Martin let out a huge, dramatic gasp (bigger than our combined Sinclair dinosaur reaction), his eyes bugged out and he said very intensely, "Oh my God, don't move." I sensed the seriousness of the situation, froze, and started yelling, "Where is it, where is it? Get it off me!" Luckily, the tick wasn't on me, it was on the seat back behind me doing a stealth crawl up towards me. Martin grabbed it in a napkin and tried to squash it. Turns out ticks are hard to kill. So Jeri is just laughing and driving and trying to keep us from crashing. I'm screaming, "Kill it! KILL IT!" And Martin is shrieking, "It won't die! It won't fucking die!!" in a progressively higher pitched tone of voice. I finally calm down enough to say, "Throw it out the window," and Martin looks intensely pained before rolling down the window and saying, "I just hate to litter," quite sadly and tossing the tick, napkin and all, out onto the highway. Absolute insanity.

The rest of the drive was a little tamer. There was a lot of Martin dancing to 90's songs. We arrived in Lincoln and reunited with Schrodinger (aka big Mastiff dog for whom I go to ridiculous lengths) for a few minutes before locking him in the air conditioned back of the Jeep to calm down and nap. We all headed to dinner which was a good reunion, first husband, in-laws, and all. Afterwards, the in-laws headed off to rest from their journey while the rest of us headed to the souvenir shop because we had decided we desperately needed matching corn shirts to match our matching corn beanie hats we'd acquired at a gas station. And boy, did we find them. The checkout lady gave Jeri quite the talk about how rare these corn shirts were and how lucky we were to find three of them. They were real uniCORN shirts, haha. Nebraska, man, what a glorious place.

After that Jake and Martin spent some time reconnecting and reminiscing over their bromance. In addition to being my first husband, Jake was also my little brother's childhood church camp buddy. I convinced them to share a s'more, Lady and the Tramp style. That memory will live with me forever. My favorite moment might have been when Martin said to Jake, "Bro, your beard tickles." I did not appreciate these two properly as teenagers.

I was only allowed to use this photo after promising to specify there was a s'more there. There really was. #bromaceforlife

The evening and next morning were a now typical hilarity filled event. Jeri and I shared a bed and sometime during the night she moved and I thought she was Lyra. So I grabbed her arm and began patting her to try and get her to go back to sleep. At some point I was confused enough to sit up and look around and say, "Lyra? Where's Lyra? Lyra's not here....I don't think Lyra is here...." before giggling to myself and laying back down to sleep. Somehow everyone else slept through this.

When we woke up I texted the in-laws to meet before we all left. Unfortunately, I had to text back again that we were running late. Martin used body lotion instead of regular soap in the shower. Apparently, that can be a hard situation to remedy quickly. I wouldn't know. I can differentiate the word "soap" from "lotion." I did however have my karmic retribution for that mockery when I put on Martin's glasses instead of my own. I felt some legitimate panic that I was going blind or had ruined my glasses overnight somehow. That's how I learned my brother and I have similar taste in eyeglasses but vastly different prescriptions.

The kennel strapped to the Jeep set up that destroyed our milage.

Our trip home was remarkably uneventful considering the 140 pound cargo in the trunk. We stopped and took many more ridiculous photos. At the Colorado border decked out in our corn shirts and beanies, someone yelled at us to, "Go back!" Jokes on them, we were back.

So here we sit, in Colorado, waiting until Wednesday to head out. My brother is coming with me to drive back to Fernley and stay for a few days. More road trip adventures await! My plans changed this time due to my brothers new job schedule and Travis' upcoming surprise work trip to Bolivia.   And there you have it, that's how my roadtrip to Lincoln, Nebraska was one of the most epic roadtrip adventures thus far. Who woulda known. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Almost 10 weeks!

How preggo I am: 9 weeks and 5 day, slacked on the blog for a bit with all the craziness

Baby size: Baby is canapé sized. Or alternatively southern pecan sized. Obviously.

Morning sickness: I don't want to jinx it, but it's turning out to be easier than with Lyra so far. I've still only puked twice. With Lyra it was like....twice a day. Maybe this means we will get our chill baby!

Food cravings/aversions: Graham crackers in goats milk. That's my favorite right now. And my dad's Nicaraguan sweet bread. Those are both really easy to stomach right now.

Other symptom: Nothing really right now which is a really weird feeling for me.

Weight gain: Nothing so far as I can tell, still around 125, I just definitely am already looking pregnant. I mean my uterus is already grapefruit sized from being fist sized prepregnancy.

Sleep: I only have to wake up once at most with Lyra at night and also to pee. It's actually really nice to sleep so much.

Mood: Surprisingly normal actually.

Gender: I have decided I don't care and, therefore, I don't feel the need to bother finding out until they're born. I did some reflection and realized I buy Lyra what I want or what she prefers despite her being a girl. And I've listened to some really cool podcasts and read some interesting books about transgender children and realized, it doesn't really matter. Sex and gender are different too and gender is more of a developed trait if that makes sense. So finding out about what kinda gear our kid has is irrelevant except for cleanliness in diaper cleaning methods. I think if I and remembering correctly, a sense of gender develops somewhere around 3, where kids really notice the differences and develop their sense of, "I'm a boy," or "I'm a girl." The longer I'm a mom, the more annoyed I get when someone is shocked that Lyra likes trains or asks her if she wants a purple or pink balloon. Because when I ask, I try to say, what color balloon do you want? She's pretty likely to say blue or green. Because she's 2 and she's learning colors. And today she likes blue. I really want her to grow up seeing a person for their personality and seeing traits like gender and race as irrelevant to any decision about whether she should call them a friend or not.

Lyra stats: Drumroll please, she has begun sleeping through the night!! She now wakes up once around 1 or not all all. She wakes up around 4 to 5 and may or may not go to sleep again, but still, amazing improvement. So if your kid isn't sleeping through the night, have faith. Mine is just starting to, sometimes, at nearly 2. Also she can blow her own nose. I don't have to always use the snot sucker. Those are the milestones that matter.

Movement: Ok. So. I feel like a crazy person but I keep thinking I'm already occasionally feeling something. But my brain keeps saying no way, it's too early. But I don't know what to expect since I had an anterior placenta last time (where placenta is between the baby and the front of my stomach) and I didn't feel Lyra until 19 weeks and within a week could see her movements from the outside. This time I have a posterior placenta so there is nothing in the way. Plus they say you feel it sooner with later children. So I'm confused. Time will tell, I guess!

What I miss: My pants. I am already switching to maternity clothes. I can fit in the regular stuff, but it feels like I just ate thanksgiving dinner every day if I do that. Also beer. And wine. With Lyra I never wanted a drink because I felt so sick. So this tradeoff is only a bit bittersweet.

Best moment this week: this epic road trip  that deserves (and will get) it's own post. Also Lyra started saying "Zoey" (thats my brothers dog) really clearly. I've never heard her say something so crystal clear. In her tiny toddler voice, it is the cutest thing ever. She also got sooooo excited to see my brother, her uncle "teen-tee" (Stinky) which was pretty stinking adorable too.

Looking forward to: Visiting a lot with my family and Travis family in the upcoming weeks.
I mean.....How could I not make this my bump picture?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

On The Road Again

Every now and again I start thinking my life is pretty standard and boring. And then suddenly I'm planning a cross country road trip, while pregnant, with my nearly 2 year old. Now, I assume the universe threw this at me because I used the word "never." I will never drive across Canada in the middle of winter with 2 dogs while pregnant again. I assumed it was such a specific "never" scenario that surely I was safe. Plus Travis did have to drive Dinger (the mastiff) across Canada in the winter again. Surely that was close enough to lightning striking twice that if I said "never again" I was still safe from the universe having the last word. Alas, the universe wins again. This time I get to make a trip cross country to pick up Dinger. Once again, pregnant. No Roxi or Travis this time, but plus a nearly 2 year old. Should be easy enough, right? Now let me explain how this became my life.

So if you'll recall my earlier post about our move from Alaska to Nevada, we have a huge dog. In reality he's actually a tiny mastiff. Only 130 or 140 pounds depending on how spoiled he has been before being weighed. That's on the small side for a female mastiff, this is why his original name was Pipsqueak. But in any case, all airlines have put him in the snub nosed breed category (completely ridiculous as he is not a snub nosed breed but whatever, we can't win that arguement) and will not fly him cargo. Except United. The caveat is that they will fly him only to and from certain cities because his kennel is so big it can only fit on specific planes. This is why Travis had to drive him from Alaska to the lower 48 to ship him off to his parents' farm while we did the house buying thing. So now it was time to get him back, since all had settled after the move and miscarriage and whatnot, we booked him a flight to San Francisco. That is a 5 hour drive away. We picked the 4th of July because no one would have to take time off. We would do an overnight trip and have a good mini vacay. It went wrong on the evening of the 3rd, quite literally as we were walking out the door with Roxi and her kennel to leave her with a friend for a couple nights while we went to San Francisco.

Now I have to rant here. I HATE United with a burning passion. On the list of companies I hate, United is #1. Followed by United as #2. Then comes Comcast and #3, Priceline and #4 etc etc. Lost luggage, delayed and cancelled flights....things almost always go wrong with United. I fly them only when I have no choice. My Google news feed sends me nearly daily, "United Airlines messed up again today," stories.

So we have had this trip for Dinger booked for weeks. I have a toddler in one hand, a plate of brownies in the other and as I'm locking the door Travis says, "Hold on, I just got a message from my dad that the cargo drop off in Detroit it closed for the 4th." And did I mention, around this time the cell phone service went out because one of three wildfires around here burned down a cell phone tower. Long story short, after Travis spent a good hour on the phone with United reps who got annoyed with him (they are sooooo lucky they didn't have to chat with me) there was nothing they could do to reschedule the flight. Why were we not notified earlier? Because they had typos in Travis' contact email. We also learned that they would not actually fly him out of Detroit because they had also entered a typo in the kennel dimensions we provided. Sweet. So we went from getting our dog back in 24 hours with minimal fuss, to absolutely no one would fly our dog across the country. No one can take enough time off work to drive him from Michigan to Nevada. So I began making plans for a 5 day (that's only one way) trek to Michigan and back. I figured I would take breaks in Colorado at my family's place and again in Michigan at Travis' family's house. It worked out to be a 3 week trek with 10 days of driving. And I have to leave pronto, like, Monday. Because we want to have some time to settle Dinger in before we go on our vacation to Michigan. The one we have planned in August, the only time we can go before I'm too pregnant. The only time Travis and Lyra will get to see a good portion of family this year. I even thought about working my trip around that but we came up with something better.

After hours of planning and discussion and contacting friends and family, it has turned into a 2 week long vacation to Colorado/roadtrip with my brother. I am actually excited to go now. I mean, I don't think I would do this just for fun if I didn't have to right now, but still. So here's the rundown of the epic journey to come.

It takes 2 days of driving to get to Colorado. I will rot Lyra's brain with TV and bribe her with junk food along the way. I'm totally buying a car dvd player. We  even get to stop and see friends the one night we have on the road. I mean, I wasn't terrified to stay alone in a hotel with Lyra, but the extra security of staying in a friend's house is super awesome. Plus Lyra can meet a new buddy that evening to get some energy out.

Next step, we stay in Colorado for a few days to recover. That brings us to the weekend. I will leave Lyra for one overnight with my parents (my mom just proved she can handle Lyra overnight) while my brother and I drive to Nebraska. Travis' mom happens to have enough time off that she will drive 2 days to bring Dinger to Nebraska and then 2 days back to Michigan. Also, one of my good old school family friends happens to be in Nebraska, perfectly placed to meet for dinner. The kind of friend whose family calls and says, "Hey we are leaving tomorrow to come visit, is that cool?" Seriously that happened once. So par for the course to text this guy and say, "Hey so I'm coming through your town in like a week and half, can we chill?" And then text back an hour later and say, "Oh and my brother and mother and law and psycho dog are coming too. Just fyi."

So then with Dinger in tow, my brother and I will head back to Colorado, taking ridiculous pictures and video along the say. Then I'll spend some time visiting friends and family and keeping Lyra out of cars before driving the 2 days home. I will make a couple weeks of my first trimester fly by, Lyra will only have 4 days of car travel, and I won't have to be gone the better part of a month.  Our only other option was to set Dinger loose, homeward bound style. He'd probably end up in Alaska though.

Oh did I mention my morning sickness sometimes makes me carsick? Wish me luck, guys. Send me all the toddler appropriate audiobook and podcast recommendations.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

7 weeks

How preggo I am: 7 weeks 2 days, a week further along than with my miscarriage, progress.

Baby size: Blueberry sized, or comparable to a Brookesia Micra chameleon.

Morning sickness: Oh yeah. It has begun. I was trying to read Lyra a book about sharks when the overwhelming urge to toss my cookies. Super fun to have to go back to book reading immediately after vomiting. And it has happened on 2 separate occasions while reading that book. I made it six more days than I did with Lyra at least. But I may never read Hark! A Shark! again. It is clearly a cursed book.

Food cravings/aversions: Food in general is a bit hit or miss for me now. Bland crackery things are generally ok.

Other symptom: As my uterus has doubled in size, apparantly, my need to pee has grown proportionally.

Weight gain: Still haven't checked. But the bloat is considerably calmer and I look much less pregnant again. I'd include a picture but the blogger app is a piece of @#$&!% and really difficult to work with. I still have never found a good free blog platform that works well on a mobile device.

Sleep: Continuing to work on it, finally cut off night nursing Lyra for good. We were down to just morning sessions but I'm tired of it and it hurts.

Mood: Frankly, I feel quite pissed off lately. It's hard to describe how much constant nasuea can mess with your head and mood. I mean, yes, there is some research that suggests morning sickness is a good sign that a miscarriage is much less likely. But that's not a 100% sure deal and I'm not that selfless. It still is shitty. I have no reason to think it will go away after the first trimester (with Lyra it stuck around well over halfway) but I can hope. I think it's slightly better this time just because I've done it once before and I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Someday I will not be sick every single day, someday food will taste good again, someday the thought of vomiting will not be the primary thought in my head. But also it is worse because I know what is in my future. And I've been feeling sick every day for 2 weeks now already and it is already getting old. Also it's hot out and Lyra is very much in toddler mode, 95% of my day is saying some form of the word "No."

Gender: Nobody knows, my running survey tally is girl: 1, boy: 1.

Lyra stats: Oh my god. So much sass lately. She wants to be so independent and I'm so exhausted from chasing her. Sharing is her biggest challenge these days but she's always so excited to go see friends which is fun to see.

What I miss: Still beer, also enjoying food.

Best moment this week: Probably my winning parent moment of the week. Lyra took off down a hill at the park that she always runs down and I always tell her not too run down and that I always hate chasing her down. So this time I mostly caught up and just gave her a light shove to knock her over and end the chase. I felt kind of like an asshole after I realized I'd impulsively shoved my one year old. Down a hill. In my defense she's nearly two and she thought it was hilarious and cackled hysterically as I carried her back up the hill.

Looking forward to: Hopefully getting more sleep as Lyra adjusts to no night nursing.