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 from the wilds of Michigan have been completed. They went better that I could have hoped and absolutely epically fabulous respectively. Boy, do I have some great memories now.

Part one was rather tame, all things considered. Lyra watched TV for two days straight, had McDonalds for most meals, and ate 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, 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 asortment of people. Especially considering I was bringing my current in-laws along to meet my first husband. 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. Thanks again, Mom. I think I forgot to mention the whole first husband thing to my in-laws. Oops, in my defense, I just 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 was good old Greeley for gas and food. And also to empty two absurdly small bladders and my own pregnant one. I felt minorly 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 to a fabulous eclectic and 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 googling, give it a go. You're welcome.

It looked a little stormy for about 5 minutes 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 epic gem of a photo occurred. 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 privledges 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 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 reflexitively 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, 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 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. We are driving down the highway and I'm still shotgun at this point and 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 the 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 seatback 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!!" 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," 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 90s songs. We arrived in Lincoln and reunited with Dinger 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 we a good reunion. Afterwards, the in laws headed off to rest and the rest of us headed to the souvineer 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 were and how lucky we were to find three of them. Nebraska, man, what a glorious place.



After that Jake and Martin spent some time reconnecting and reminiscing over their bromance. 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 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 mine. 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 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.