Monday, August 28, 2017

My Happy Place

This is my morning coffee view today. It doesn't suck, huh. I'm in my happy place. I felt out of sorts all Summer long. Adjusting to a newborn, life with two, the fun that is the postpartum body... those things I can do. But this was missing. I didn't feel complete. This wasn't my summer. We normally go down to the Island the beginning of July, but with the arrival of our sweet angel baby, we needed to make some adjustments. It's weird being here in August. The weather is different. Gorgeous, but not quite beach weather. I think I need to come down a week in July and another in August. Maybe some weekends in May and September. 

Every year I find myself craving this place more. It's a little funny because it has only become harder to get here.mWe have to pack more things, work around more schedules, pay more money. The harder it is the more I want it. This place is my home. 

It's Addy's first trip here, obviously, but I honestly feel like this is John's first trip here. He's old enough that I really thinks he gets it. He was pumped to come, waking up at 4 AM on Saturday asking if it was time to go on "vacation" yet. He wanted to see the boat and the "lotion birds" (ocean birds- he's already starting to say the word right and it makes me sad). It took him a little to get used to being somewhere else and to realize that we weren't going home, but he loves it here. The beach, e constant outside time, having Mom AND Dad home 24/7, plus my mother is here. My father and brother will be here later. 24/7 with the John fan club is pretty much his tiny life's dream. 

My sweet Addy girl though, she is HOME. We keep catching her just looking around smiling. She smiles with every single inch of her face. This huge, all encompassing smile. She caught her first experience of the ocean breeze and she loved it. She has no idea he deep her roots run here. That her namesake is written on the house. That she is a 4th generation Gilmour girl and the island blood runs in her veins. I've been excited to show my kids the island life that I grew up with, to revisit my childhood with all of the special places that we visited, but there's something different with her. I'm not sure what it is. 

Funny enough, I never saw myself with her. When I envisioned my life, there was the possibility of a girl, but I more felt suited for boys. I felt it in my bones. I'm not sure of my hesitancy for a girl. Maybe I remember how hard it to grow up being a girl. Or how hard I imagine it to be raising a girl. The deck is already stacked against her. We can talk about equality and girl power all we want, but this is a man's world and we're just living in it. But, now that she's here, I can't imagine my life without her.

It's funny to think of being here last year and the fact that she didn't even exist yet. We were trying, but it was new and we hadn't started to face our heartbreak yet. We were still terrified of the unknown, but hoping it was all a fluke before and we were worried for nothing. We had no idea. And now here she is.

I read a story written by a woman once, who had two miscarriages. She had a girl, two miscarriages, and then her little boy. Her son at some point found out about them and as his brain started to process it, he started noticing families with four children. He kept pointing them out to his mothered saying that could have been their family. The mother tried to find a way to tell him that if she didn't have the miscarriages, that he wouldn't be here. That there never would have been four children, there would only ever have been two. Still grieving over the loss of her two babies, the other found it even harder to imagine her life without him. Her son. She knew he had been meant for their family all along. She imagined that those two babies were him, he just fought hard to come back until he could stay. 

I read that shortly after John was born. When Alex and a I were still trying to process everything. We knew he was a fighter and it gave us peace to know that. Like he had some sort of super powers. When we lost the two babies before Addalyn, I just knew this baby had to be something special. When I found out she was a girl, it took some time to process, but when I thought about her fighting to come back three months in a row I relaxed a little. This girl was going to be a force to be reckoned with. 

As a mother, you always worry about your babies, forever. Not to say that Dads don't, just that they are a part of you and then all of a sudden you have to get used to them being on the outside and trusting other other with them. My mom describes it as your heart walking around outside your body. Now you have to worry about the outside world and what is going to happen to them. I know my kids are fighters though. Strong willed. Stubborn. Smart as hell. They'll be ok. This world won't break them. I just know they will be something great. That they will be a little bit of light in this dark world. 

And so, while I sit here, admiring my view. In my happy place. Listening to John run around crazy and Addy asleep in her swing. I want to remember this moment. When they were so little and I can still ponder the absurdity that I ever existed without them, these tiny pieces of my soul. When we get back to crazy life, where I have to worry about schedules and chores, all of those responsibilities that get in the way of me spending this time with my children, I want to remember this. These moments. My happy place, with my tiny sweet hearts running around. Safe in my happy place bubble. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Welcome, Our Sweet Addalyn

Oh's been awhile since I posted. I don't even think that anyone reads this anymore. BUT, I wanted to get this one down before I forgot any of it. Although, I'm not sure that I could forget any of it. Not for a second.

Last time we "talked", I was pregnant. I had a pre-conception appointment booked with my new doctor, but of course I showed up pregnant. She was amazing. Completely sympathetic to my situation, but honest and determined to figure out what was going on. She sent me in for blood work so that I could monitor my hcg levels and booked me for early ultrasounds. Amazing.

Things were looking good with my levels. The initial one wasn't huge, so I was antsy to see what the follow-up level was. Unfortunately, since I got it done on a Friday, they weren't releasing the results until the following Monday. Which was unacceptable. That Saturday, we took our sweet boy Felix to the vet because he wasn't acting normal. He seemed to be very slugglish, he'd been in a lot of pain, and he was barely able to walk. The vet told us what we had feared every single time that we had taken him in. That it was time to let him go. I couldn't believe it. Every time I prepared myself for this, and every time he was put on medication and he bounced back. She said that she thought that something had finally burst and that he was bleeding internally. I asked if she thought that he could go on his own and she said he could, but she didn't know how long it would take and that it would likely be painful.

We were heartbroken. (This is a whole long story of it's own that I'm not quite ready to talk about. Plus, he deserves an entire post of his own, so I'm going to stick to what I was originally posting about)

Needless to say, it continued our shit luck. So when they told me I had to wait until Monday, I freaked out. I needed something. Anything. Finally, after 12,000 phone calls, someone read me my results as long as I promised to not look into it too much until I talked to my doctor.

My levels doubled, so I waited for follow-up instructions. The nurse called me on Monday and told me that everything looked good, that they wanted me to come back in for more blood work. They set up an ultrasound date as well based on when they thought the levels would be high enough.

Unfortunately, as it turns out that the doctors at that particular office did NOT deliver at the hospital I thought they did. They delivered at another one that I was NOT interested in. So I had to switch, again. Luckily, I found a midwife that I loved and she was amazing.

Long story short, everything progressed beautifully. Soon enough our sweet little cherub was taking over my body and making me sick as a dog. To be honest, it took awhile to be completely connected for fear that this one would be taken away as well. It honestly took until after the gender reveal for me to really breathe a little. I think once I found out who she was, it really made it more real. That's right. SHE. We were having a baby girl. Of course, everyone else in the world (including John) guessed that, but me.

Soon enough it was July and I was huge. I thought she might come early, but alas she did not. My due date came and went. I had contractions on and off, nothing major. Then Sunday, two days after my due date I was feeling a lot of "something", but it didn't go anywhere and my family came over for dinner as usual. I grumbled about still being pregnant and talked about how I probably would be forever.

However, our girl had other plans. Monday morning, I woke up at about 12:30 because I had to pee. I had only been asleep for a couple hours, so it was surprising that I already had to pee, but I was as big as a house, so I guess it was normal. I felt a little strange, but otherwise fine so I got back into bed and just like with John a contraction hit. And then about 10 minutes later another one. I went downstairs, opened the contraction app, and started timing them. They were kind of all over the place in time between and duration, but they were real. Knowing how quick John was (well... quick for a first birth) and how my midwife said it would be quicker, I waited the hour, called the hospital and the midwife on call agreed that I should come in.

I called my mom. Went upstairs, straightened my hair, told Alex to get ready, and started packing John for school. He wasn't supposed to go on Monday, so I had nothing ready. Naturally. I was doing OK during the contractions, but they quickly became unmanageable. I was anxious to get to the hospital because I wanted my epidural, STAT. My mom came, we packed the car, and got on the road. It was now about 2ish in the morning.

We drove the hellish 15 minutes to the hospital (much better than the 40ish that we had to do with John) and I was NOT doing well. Alex dropped me off at the emergency room entrance and parked the car. At the suggestion of a nice lady who said she worked at the hospital, I went in and started to check in. It was empty, which was nice because I was struggling, and I got through the process in time for Alex to come in. We sat for about 5 of the longest minutes ever, waiting for someone to come get us. Finally the woman came and she had a wheelchair. She said it was optional, but I took it.

They brought me down to my delivery room. I was a little surprised because with John, they had me in a triage room first to see if they should admit me, but this was different. I'm not sure if it was standard procedure, or if it was because I was a mess. They struggled through my IVs (just like with John) and started getting me admitted. It was around 3:30 maybe?

I asked for my epidural stat, they took some blood (I think?), the midwife came in to check me, said I was at a 5, I asked for my epidural. I struggled and moaned through my contractions, asked for my epidural, again. They told me that they had to wait for my test results first. I was having a really hard time though, so I asked for them to hurry. They said they were trying to get him to come down anyway because I was struggling. I told Alex that these were worse than I ever felt with John. His labor started hot and heavy, contractions 1-3 minutes apart from the get-go. Which is how this was, but I was at least able to breathe through those. They were terrible, but manageable. With these, I was writhing in pain, I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I moaned, I couldn't sit still. It was bad.

I asked about the epidural again and I felt like a wimp. I tried to get over myself and my feelings of inadequacy and just try to advocate for myself. I didn't want to keep my mouth shut just because I was worried about what other people thought of me, I couldn't handle this any longer and I needed relief.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Though they promised me that "John" was on his way with the good drugs (which I thought was a sign), all of a sudden shit it the fan. A HUGE contraction hit and I screamed that an Amazonian woman. Alex jumped out of his chair, everyone came running in my room, and I couldn't talk to tell anyone what was going on. I just screamed. I felt something strange, that I didn't really know what was going on, but it turns out it was my water breaking. Alex kept asking what was wrong and I kept screaming.

The midwife rushed in and checked me. My heart sank a little when I heard her say, "OK, she's a 10". She very sweetly, but very urgently told me, "Kayleigh, honey, I know this wasn't part of your plan, but she's coming now". (Please remember that less than an hour before I was a 5, and that I had only been in labor for a little over 3 1/2 hours).

I sat there for a second, trying to think of any other options that I could think of. Any type of pain medication that they could give me. How much it would hurt. Wondering whether or not I could do this. And then she told me to push.

I pushed twice, and she told me to stop, the cord was around her neck. Then she told me to keep going. It was like riding a bike, only this time I could FEEL that I needed to push. With John, it was an instinct, but I didn't really have anything to go off of, I just did it. With the third push, she was out. And I just remember thinking she was so tiny and she had so much hair. She was beautiful. At 4:12 AM, our sweet Addalyn was finally here.

She wasn't as tiny as she seemed, though she was tinier than John. At 8 lbs 1 oz, she was over a full pound lighter than his 9 lb 3 oz self. They were both 20 inches though. And her body seems just so much tinier than his. He was/is SOLID, and she's a peanut. Our Peanut.

We are slowly adjusting to life as a family of four. We are all madly in love with her, but it's been a lot. We wouldn't change it for the world though. She's a lot different than John, which I always thought she would be. She was crazy when I was pregnant and of course her entrance didn't surprise us. It had something to the consideration list for Baby # 3 because I'm pretty sure that since she was born in less than 4 hours, our next would be born on the kitchen floor. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

At least for today...

I wrote this blog post months ago. I just haven't had the heart to share it. But, I think it's finally been long enough to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can't spend all of this time worried about the "what ifs". So, we'll let the cat out of the bag and hope and pray together.

October 25th, 2016

Third times a charm, right?

At least that's what we are hoping.

So here's the thing. I quit my doctor and found a new one. I can't remember if I wrote about that or not. I wasn't happy with the practice, things are still left unresolved with my doctor, test results are still not back yet (over a month later), I'm just all done with it.

So, I set out to find a new one. I looked at all of the hospitals around and saw who was near me and was taking new patients. I also reached out to my primary care doctor and asked her who she would recommend. She is always pretty honest with me, and brutally honest with me (like when she found out I followed my doctor to her new practice she was happy because she didn't like the hospital that the doctors in her practice were delivering at) so I knew she would let me know.

Except, I'm used to no one getting back to me, so I just went about my research. I found a doctor in the next town over (which is the town that Alex works in), at my old practice, and I loved her. I read her bio and she immediately felt like someone I would be comfortable with. They changed hospitals, so that's not an issue either, and the new one is closer to our house (the one I delivered John at is about 45 minutes away. Luckily, he was born on a Saturday, but if it was ever rush hour traffic it would probably take closer to 2 hours to get thank you). I called to explain my situation and make my appointment and I already love everyone there.

The nurse that I talked to was so nice and sympathetic. They found me someone to talk to immediately and gave me suggestions on what I should do appointment wise. They even just called yesterday to say that my appointment was in a week and that they hadn't received my medical records yet. Saying that they just wanted to make sure that they had all of the information they needed from my old doctor. (The other practice didn't even tell me what to do with my file, so I showed up with it and my doctor was annoyed I hadn't submitted it earlier... what did I know... I've had the same doctors since I was 16 and my mom was still making my decisions!!!)

I'm really looking forward to meeting her. I'm still waiting to hear back from our new insurance to see if they cover a pre-conception meeting because they didn't really know what else to book it under. I just wanted to meet with her to talk about my history so that when I became pregnant again she would know me and I would know her and it would be less weird.

Alex and I just decided to take this month at least and take a step back. I didn't want to go crazy with temping, tracking, etc. We were just going to do our thing. I kept an eye on things just to know what was going on with my body, but since I was gone for most of the time things should have happened I wasn't too worried about it. I was actually pretty OK with giving my body a month or so to relax from the stress of two back to back miscarriages. It seemed like a lot less stress to get a negative pregnancy test than to get a positive one and then lost it again.

Except, as usual, God had other plans.

So, here I am. Pregnant. For the 3rd month in a row. It's REALLY early. Like REALLY early. I'm not 4 weeks until Friday the 28th. I found out last night. I already "knew" though. I'm pretty in tune with my body, so I called it a few days ago. The line is pretty dark for this early though, so I'm considering that a sign. I'm also feeling very calm about it all. I'm trying to decipher if it is calm or numb, but I'm thinking more calm.

I also have to kind of laugh. You know when they say, "You plan, God laughs" or something like that. Well the due date will be the beginning of July, which was the one month I didn't want. We go to Martha's Vineyard every July, so I knew that depending on the due date we might have to skip our trip, which I hate doing. It's hard to go in August because we rent it out, September could work but it wouldn't be much "beach" weather (I know, first world problems". But, here we are. The 4th of July is always SUPER busy for us, so being 11 months pregnant or having a newborn is far from ideal.

BUT...oh my goodness... I don't even care. I just want to be able to take this one home. Boy or girl. Martha's Vineyard trip be damned. Happy, healthy, in my arms. That's all I want.

I'm learning so much of what parts of life that I need to let go of control of. That I need to just go with the flow for my own sanity. I can plan and plan and plan, but I need to learn to be OK with Plan B (or C, or D, or even X). It's a humbling experience knowing that you have absolutely no control over something so important to you. You just need to learn to have faith.

So who knows if we get to keep this one. Or how long we'll have it. But, today I'm pregnant. So, today I'll enjoy it!

Today I'm pregnant.