Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Five years ago

Wow. It's almost been five years since Benjamin was born. This time of year is always hard, understandably I think. It starts around Halloween when the poppies start coming out for Remembrance Day. The sight of those little red flowers fills me with a strange mix of happiness and despair. I'm happy because it makes me think of him, and I'm at the point now where I can think of him happily more than I think of him with tears. But also despair because soon it's another anniversary of the day we had to say goodbye.

November 8th, 2008 was my last day of naive excitement. The last day of my life that I believed I was meant to birth happy healthy babies. Jackson's pregnancy and birth were amazing. My doctor told me I was meant to birth babies. I believed her. I believed that my body was capable of wonderful, amazing things. Then November 9th, 2008 happened. Suddenly I was slapped with the realization that things can go terribly wrong in the blink of an eye. A baby that is wanted, loved and anticipated with such joy can just die. No warning, no premonition, no tiny sniggly little doubt that it would all turn out well. I would go from worrying about how much I could love this baby and Jackson all at the same time, to wondering how I would ever feel joy again. How I would ever believe in the good of the future.

Then November 11th, 2008 happened. It was time to give birth to this little being that had given me such joy and hope and that had instantly changed my life forever. To this day I remember the utter panic and disbelief that this was about to occur. I remember begging my doctor, the nurses, Brian, to make this not real. Don't let him come out. Because once he came out then it was true. As long as he was nestled in my womb I could believe it wasn't true. I didn't want to give him up. I wanted to hold him with me forever.

Then he was born. And Oh my God he was beautiful. I wasn't prepared for how perfect he would look. He was a full fledged baby. He looked like Jackson. And I think my heart might have exploded a little bit. It was so painful. The mixture of heart wrenching despair and profound joy. Here he was. Here was our Benjamin! I wanted more than anything in the world to hear his cry, feel him nursing, see his arms startle up, smell his perfect baby smell. I wanted him to live. I would have given anything to have that happen. Seeing your baby lying there motionless is the worst sight in the world. I tried to look past that and just marvel in the fact that he was out, that we could see him, that we knew he was a boy now. Naturally that was hard, but at the same time you cannot ignore that mother's love. I really was able to see past all of that and just be in awe of this other little being we had created. And he was perfect.

Because it was Remembrance Day, and because he was born before 11am, we were alone in the room with him when the moment of silence came on the intercom. It was the hardest moment. Harder than the moment of his birth. I was laying in that bed watching the man I love holding our still baby. My heart broke again. Remembrance Day is forever changed for me.

So as his fifth birthday comes I am asking people to do a Random Act of Kindness again in his honour. I want surprise smiles to light up the world since his smile never got to. Jackson and Lexi understand who Benjamin is and I want to be able to tell them throughout the day that his life mattered, that he changed the world, that people are celebrating his birthday. As we eat his birthday cake without any forks that night I want them to know that their brother was thought of by many people. I want it to be a happy day for them. I don't want them to think of him with tears. I know I'm going to try not to. So please comment on here, send me a text, send me an email, facebook message, or whatever. But please let me know what you have done so I can let them know. They are excited for his birthday and I want it to be special for them. Thank you.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Four years ago

Four years ago today was the worst day of my life.
Four years ago today we found out Benjamin had died.
Four years ago today was all about his death and the heartbreaking loss.
Four years ago today my life changed forever.
Four years ago today I found out I would have to birth my dead baby.
Four years ago today I found out what true despair felt like.
Four years ago today.
Four.
How in the hell did that happen?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peanut is out!!


Peanut was born on Friday, October 12th at 12:19pm. We only had 4 requests during the c-section.
1. Leave the cord long so that Brian could trim it (he cut the cord for Jackson and Benjamin and trimmed it for Lexi).
2. Lower the drape when they pull the baby out so that we could both see him/her be born (the c-section took place in the main OR so there was no mirror available).
3. Don't announce the gender, let us see and announce it ourselves.
4. Make the baby cry right away. Even if they had to poke it and annoy the bejeepers out of it, we had to hear a cry immediately. When Lexi was born she was far too quiet and it kinda scared me.

So at 12:18 they lowered the drape. At 12:19 we got to see those perfect little boy bits and announce that we had another SON!! A loud, screaming, glorious son. He was 8 pounds 2 ounces and 20" of perfect baby.

The c-section went well with absolutely no complications. We were taken to recovery and then our room in the mother babe unit. Jackson, Lexi and Aunt Sarah were able to come and visit that afternoon. It was wonderful seeing all the kids together. I think everyone was surprised that Peanut was a boy (except me, my mom and Brian's mom, we all thought he would be a boy). We debated over his name for the rest of that day and most of Saturday. His name is Thomas Ross. His nickname is still Peanut (I have to admit Lexi and I mostly call him Peanut, lol). I'm having a hard time remembering that his name is Thomas. It does not come naturally to me.


The amazing part? Peanut did not have jaundice. Yep, you read that right. OUR baby did not have jaundice! Did not need phototherapy. Did not need to visit the NICU. We got to go home TWO days later!! We honestly felt like it was all too good to be true and we had to speed away from the hospital before they realized their mistake and admitted him back to the NICU.

But now, 12 days later and he is still perfect. Still not yellow. Still healthy and loud. It still seems surreal.

So we have another son. When they lowered the drape and I got to see that he was a boy I bawled. I think it alarmed Brian and he asked me if it was happy or sad tears. I'm still not sure. If I think about it too much I start to well up again. I'm happy that he is a boy, but at the same time it's hard. When I try to think of his name the first name that pops into my mind is Benjamin. Then William (Benjamin's middle name). I know it's not him (obviously) but those are the names that come to mind.

It's kind of bittersweet that he is a boy. I'm happy because I love having boys. There is no bond like that between a mother and her son. I love Lexi to pieces but she is totally a Daddy's girl and Jackson is a Momma's boy. It works for us. Now we have another little boy to love. Hopefully I'll get another Momma's boy. I'm sad that he's a boy because I know I'll compare him to how I imagine Benjamin to have been. I didn't do that with Lexi because the comparison was hard since she was a girl. I never imagined Benjamin wearing all her frilly pink clothes. I did imagine him wearing Jackson's hand me downs. I imagined him playing with Jackson's trucks and trains (Lexi did too, but not as much). I imagined the brother bond between Jackson and Benjamin and Jackson teaching Benjamin how to do all the crazy boy stuff. Obviously it's been similar to the brother/sister bond that I've seen develop between Jackson and Lexi, but it's still not the same. Now I'll see all of that come to life. I'll see Thomas be our son, grow up with Jackson's hand me downs, develop a brother bond with him. I'll see Lexi with two brothers protecting her, in person not just in spirit. It is just bittersweet and hard to accurately explain.

But he will NOT be the child in the shadows. He will not be the replacement. The last chance for the son we lost. He is Thomas (or Peanut). He is our forth child. Our third son. He is loved and adored for the splendid little boy that he is. For being himself. And at that, he is perfect.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Update on Peanut

Yeah, I know, I know. An update every few months is not good enough! I'm finding it hard to keep things updated lately. Between the two kids, kindergarten now, a new city, pregnancy issues (quite bad carpal tunnel among other things) I just don't make the time. But, here goes!

I am now 38 weeks and 2 days. The pregnancy is going well. Peanut is doing well, growing along beautifully. We still don't know if Peanut is a boy or a girl. It's been hard not finding out since I've been going for weekly ultrasounds since 33 weeks! Why, you ask? Well because pregnancy cannot be straight forward for me. At my 22 week ultrasound they found out that Peanut has a Velamentous Cord Insertion. I had no idea what that was as I had never heard of it before (duh, because it's fairly rare). Geesh!! Basically, it means that the umbilical cord does not attach to the placenta properly, instead of the three vessels of the cord entering the middle of the placenta together they enter kind of separately and not in the middle. This means they are exposed in a way they shouldn't be. It's a riskier pregnancy and riskier delivery. The cord can rupture, the baby can bleed out. All sorts of scary things. But, I've had months to stress about it and many many ultrasounds and high-risk OB appointments and perinatologist appointments. Everyone keeps assuring me things are good. I am having a scheduled c-section just to avoid risks (Lexi was also a c-section). After Benjamin I just cannot take any unnecessary risks.

So this time next week I will be preparing to meet my baby. Peanut will be born on October 12th just after 12:30pm. Assuming s/he doesn't have plans of her/his own and come before that (which I am not-so-secretly hoping for).

I am surprisingly calm about this. I don't have the big fears that Peanut will die. Of course it's in the back of my mind, and I even went to L&D on Monday night convinced something was wrong (everything was perfect tho). But all in all, I feel things will turn out well. Maybe because the pregnancy has been slightly horrible I feel that the birth has to go well? I don't know. All I know is I cannot do this again. Peanut will be our last baby. I never thought I would feel that way; feel that I know when I am done being pregnant and birthing babies. But let me tell you, this has been a LONG nine months and I know I cannot do it again. I love feeling Peanut moving around in there and love having babies, but four is my limit.

I promise to let you all know when Peanut is here!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

oh yeah...

By the way... I'm pregnant again. Geesh!! I wrote a post forever ago saying this but never finished it or published it, lol! And we moved from BC to Alberta... Lots of changes!

I am 22 weeks (tomorrow). I'm due October 17th and we will be waiting until then to find out if we will have another son or daughter. I'm excited but nervous.

Just thought I should explain that last post a little bit...

Jackson and Peanut

Jackson is excited for Peanut to be born. He asks me often when that is going to happen. He doesn't understand the concept of months yet. So when I tell him Peanut will be born in 4 months he thinks I mean 4 days and excitedly remarks "that's not very long at all!". Then I have to burst his bubble and tell him it's about 120 days. Poor kid, lol!

Last night we were lying in his bed chatting. He asked me if I was going to die. I told him I had no plans of dying any time soon and he didn't need to worry about that. Then he asked me if Peanut was going to die. I told him that I hoped not and we had no reason to think he would. He said he was worried about Peanut dying because Benjamin died. Do you hear that sound? That's the sound of my heart breaking a little bit. We chatted a bit about how I hoped that wouldn't happen and that he didn't need to worry about that, that likely Peanut would be born fine and healthy. All the things I know should be true but have a hard time believing myself. How do you adequately reassure a kid when you have doubts yourself?

Last night Brian felt Peanut move for the first time (I'm 22 weeks tomorrow). I am feeling consistent movement now but it's still somewhat light so I was surprised that he was able to feel it so well. I love this part of pregnancy. I go for another ultrasound today and just booked my first maternity doctor appointment here in our new city for next week. So far things are going well. No reason to think there is any cause for concern. That's not reassuring to me though.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Statistics can kiss my ass

I am so sick of statistics. Once you've been on the losing side of statistics they really don't mean much. People that have never (or hardly ever) been on the losing side take comfort in statistics. "The chances of x happening are only 0.1%" Oh phawoo, we don't have to worry then! But once you've been that slim chance, you just have this dreadful feeling deep down that that slim chance will most likely happen to you. Why wouldn't it? Bad things happen to good people.

It's getting a bit ridiculous now tho. For the most part I am lucky. My two kids are healthy (for the most part) and happy. We have made changes in our lives that will allow us to live more comfortably and with less stress. We have great family and friends that love and support us. Our lives are good.

But really? Seriously? For a while I'd like to just be on the good side. The side that doesn't involve dread and sick feelings when you hear the word "percentage" or "chance" or "don't worry". I want to hear a doctor say that it's most likely not x, and actually believe them. Not think "Ha, we'll prove them wrong now won't we?" I want the good luck. I'm sick of being rare, unlikely, 'the special case', the slim chance. I just want normal.

I was recently reading over the medical records I received for myself and the three kids. Recent health news caused me to pull them out again, searching for numbers, facts, notes. It all just made me mad. Well, maybe not mad (some stuff definitely made me mad) but more annoyed or frustrated. Every kid we have had has had at least one 'slim chance' happen to them. At least one. At least. And the oldest kid is only four! In four years we've had countless numbers of slim chances, special cases, unlikeliness. BAH!!!

I won't get into all the past rare-case, slim-chance, unlikely things we've had the misfortune to prove the doctors wrong on. I'm not complaining. I don't mean this as a whoa is me type of post. I know we're lucky. We are lucky to have two bundles of energy and joy in our lives. We are lucky to have money coming in, love in our lives, a roof over our heads. Even tho we've had all these misfortunes I wouldn't change much. It makes us who we are, who our kids are. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and all that. (although I do sort of hate that cliche right now, since one of the rare-cases did actually kill a little bean I love very much). I am merely venting since we've recently had yet another rare-case diagnosis.

This time it's Lexi. Or rather, this time it is Lexi again. As a baby she had silent reflux (like normal reflux only she never spat up, instead she swallowed it back down, burned on the way up and burned on the way down). Silent reflux is fairly rare; none of our regular doctors even knew what it was. We got a referral to our pediatrician who immediately recognized it as a milk-protein allergy (reflux+eczema+irritability+diarrhea). She outgrew this by the time she was about 15 months (whoo hoo!). Statistics say that 2-3% of babies in developed countries will have a milk-protein allergy. So she outgrew that around January 2011, becoming 'normal'; not one of the 2-3% of kids with a medical diagnosis. Phawoo. Then in the beginning of March she became constipated. A few medical professionals told us it may be a milk allergy or sensitivity (to which I replied "you bite your tongue!"). Nothing worked with the constipation. She's been on laxatives, in one dose or another, for the last 7 months, before that we tried dietary changes. Nothing has been working. Every couple of days she would be in immense pain as she tried to do one of the most basic bodily functions. It just was not right. Then lately we were slightly concerned about her size since she is very big for her age and has drastically moved up on the growth charts, not even staying on any sort of curve. Add to that the fact that she often will just lay down on the floor with her blankie. At first I thought she was just taking a break to snuggle with her most loved possession. Then I started thinking it may be a little odd. So off we went to the pediatrician.

Turns out the constipation, paired with the growth, paired with the fatigue triggered some red flags with our doctor and she sent Lexi for some blood work. After 3 vials of blood were taken and analyzed we have found out that Lexi has Acquired Hypothyroidism. So we're back to the rare case. Hypothyroidism affects about 3% of the general population. And of that the majority are older adults, it is fairly uncommon in children. So what does this mean for Lexi? It means daily medication. It means routine blood work to check her hormone levels. It means a very real possibility of a lifetime of medication and blood work. There is a chance that she could outgrow it in the next few years. It's unlikely, but there is a chance. Please let this be our rare, unlikely, slim chance. So far she's outgrown her silent reflux and her milk-protein allergy. Let's hope she does it again. Let's be on the winning side of the statistics. Please?