...And in the air, the fireflies, our only light in paradise. We'll show the world that they were wrong, and teach them all to sing along; singing Amen I, I'm alive. Amen I, I'm alive...

- Nickelback, If Everyone Cared

For All The Right Reasons Album



And I'm singing Aaa-ayyy-men, I'm alive!







William Leonidas November 12th, 2009
My only regret is that I cried so many tears while I waited for you.


"...I'll try ~ but it's so hard to believe. I'll try ~ but I can't see what you see. I'll try and try to understand the distance between the love I feel ~ the thing I fear ~ and every single dream. I can finally see it. Now I have to believe all those precious stories. All the world is made of faith ~ and trust ~ and pixie dust. So I'll try ~ because I finally believe. I'll try ~ because I can see what you see. I'll try, I'll try ~ to fly..."

Jonatha Brooke "I'll try"


Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10




Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." Jeremiah 1:4-5




For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. Psalms 139:13-14



Monday March 5th, 2010

So Why Stinkerie?



It's simple, really. It's the first thing I whispered against my newborn little Dumpling's temple as I held him alone for that very first time. "There's my Little Stinkerie." And all was right with the world as I brushed my lips across his delicate dewy soft newborn-pink skin and sniffed at his sparse smattering of downy soft hair. Corny and sappy, huh? I can't help it when describing my new Little Puppy. But don't get used to it - I have been told I am "irreverent."



Anyway, it just came out and he's been Stinkerie ever since. As well as Stink Pie, Stink Pot, Stinkey Pete, Little Stinks, Stinks, Puppy, Ducky, Baby, Baby Head, Baby Head Jenkins, Jack, Jack-Jack, Jackie Boy, Jax, Snork, Snorkis, Snorkle, Billy Boy, Billy Bob, Bobby Sue, Billy-Joe-Jim-Bob, Will, Willie, Willister, and the name given by my mentor turned friend Beth - Snake. When I write to her I call him either The Snakester or Slither! And of course, Dumpling, because he is my Little Dumpling - warm and soft and comforting. It's alright to combine comfort food with baby names, right? Have you ever watched the movie Where the Heart Is? If you have, you'll know why I mention this in my defense!



Long story short, you're likely to encounter any one or more of these names in a single post. Because I can. It's my blog!





Something to Consider

Bad decisions make good stories.

Something to Think About

With any pregnancy, there are concerns. With any child, there are worries. When you have a diagnosis of Down syndrome, you know what to worry about. You know what to look for. You have a plan of action. With your typical child, there is no limit to the things that can 'go wrong' or 'happen.' There's no place to focus your worry and concerns. 'IT' will always be out there, waiting. You'll always be on guard. Even when the child is 55 and has grandchildren. With Down syndrome we have a battle plan. With Down syndrome, there is a finite number of things that can go awry. With a typical child, there's isn't. It's a crap shoot. I'm sticking with the Ds and taking the other two back to the hospital for a refund.

Head Above Water


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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Proclamations and Maternity Clothes

Today the Youngest announced to my belly "I know you're in there baby and soon you will be able to come out! I love you, Baby!" Then he kissed and hugged my belly. For all his wildness and willfulness, he is a sweet boy.

I wore maternity clothes today. I can't say that I look pregnant, but I am certainly showing if you'd seen me just 2 months ago. Maternity clothes are certainly more comfortable than regular clothes. Meanwhile the Maternity Underwear War rages on. I've still had no luck!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Telling The Youngest, Soon-To-Be-Middle

Well, we told The Youngest this afternoon. The Oldest and I were side by side and he'd been over hearing things we'd said to each other. He suspected and said as much, so I said, "Yes it's true. Mommy is going to have a baby!" He jumped up and down and clapped his hands. Later he kissed my tummy and said, "I love you baby!"

I finally decided to take the tags of the maternity clothes and get them washed. It's a bold step, but I am 13 weeks along tomorrow, so I've decided to stop walking on eggshells and commit emotionally to this pregnancy. I keep saying to myself, "I'll breath easier when..." I'm still afraid of the pain of loss, but tomorow marks the last week of my first trimester.

The Oldest has vowed to lift or move anything too heavy for me. She keeps saying she can hardly believe this is happening. She continues to say she is happy about it. Today I could finally hear the baby's heartbeat clearly enough with the Doppler to pass the ear pieces to The Oldest. It was nice that she finally got to hear it and really fun for me when her eyes lit up! The Youngest, with all of his "isms" was too creeped out by the whole idea of hearing the baby from the inside to have a go at listening.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Maternity Clothes and the Beloved Dr S

I bought a few pieces of maternity clothing today. A few pair of shorts and some belly shirts. I haven't taken the tags off yet. That's too big of a step so far. I have yet to locate affordable belly undies so I've had to content myself with buying my usual panties in the next size up. At least it doesn't cut off my circulation at the groin. At this early stage I am already so swollen that sitting on the toity for more than a minute has my right leg going numb. Then the shooting pains and tingles start. It's really rather difficult to pee when you have to balance on a narrow seat with one leg stuck straight out in front!

I took The Youngest over to visit The Other Mommy and then set out with The Oldest for Dr S's office. I'd been telling her for a week that she and I were going on a special field trip, just she and I. She was thinking Magic Mountain or Lego Land and I kept telling her that it wasn't anything wildly fun like that, and that it was right here in town, so not to get her hopes up. It was going to be special, just not a wildly fun and exciting thing.

I pulled into the medical complex and she asked "This is where we're going? But you don't work here anymore." I say yes, we're going in to that building over there, and no I don't work here anymore. We get all the way into the doctors office waiting room and sit down. There are baby related magazines everywhere, but she still hasn't caught on. She asks a few more questions. Are you dying? No. Are you sick? No. Why are we here? You'll see in a little while.

Then a lady comes out with a long strip of ultra-sound prints. The Oldest looks at the prints and recognition sets in. She's seen these fuzzy black and white photo strips before. She turns to me all squinty eyed and proclaims, "You are sneaky! You are very, very sneaky!" But there's a smile trying to break through that accusing look!

The gal calls us in before there are any more questions from The Oldest. I drop my drawers and hop onto the table and the tech gets right to work smearing my belly with goo and sliding the probe around. I show The Oldest what to look for on the big LCD screen above the exam table, describing body parts of her newly discovered baby brother or sister. The tech puts audio up so she can hear the heartbeat with the jumping yellow line. She's looking at the screen and I am looking at her. I think she's going to cry. Her eyes are all watery and about to spill over. Instead, she lays her cheek next to mine and says simply, "Oh Mommy!"

Then Dr S comes in and he tries very hard to see the nuchal fold behind the baby's neck. He can't get it because the baby is active but will not turn to show the space. We discuss the test and I opt not to have it because the accuracy isn't that good. I'd planned on having an amnio anyway, so why wait weeks in fear for false results. I should have been alarmed that he was so intent on getting the baby to move. He repeatedly bounced the probe on my belly trying to get him to move. Then he'd go on to something else, describe what he was looking at for the The Oldest, and then go back to try to see that nuchal space again. I think my beloved Dr S already suspected that there was a secret Our Newest was hiding. He said the heart rate was just fine and that there was no immediate concern for the baby's well being. I've had only a minor weight gain. He says he wants the stitch placed within two weeks and the amnio done in four weeks. It's sooner rather than later, but he said we want to proceed with the utmost caution and he feels sooner is best. I'll be 14 1/2 weeks for the stitch, 16 1/2 weeks for the amnio.

We left with pictures of the baby and drove through McDonald's for ice cream cones. She has more questions. Does Daddy know about this? Who else knows? Are you excited? I can't believe you're pregnant Mom! I knew it! I just knew it. You lied to me! So I pull over into a parking spot and explain about losing Hannah. I tell her quite honestly that we didn't want her to know about this baby in case he or she didn't make it. She's satisfied with the answer and goes on to say several more times, "I just can't believe you're pregnant!" We went to pick up The Youngest and got home right as The Dear Daddy was getting home. Of course she was anxious to show The Dear Daddy the pictures, but she also wanted to keep our little secret from the Youngest for a little while. She was just about to bust before she got to show them to him!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

The Littles and I are in full swing preparing a barbecue by the time The Dear Daddy gets home. We have hot dogs and burgers on the grill, and chips and dip and baked beans and all the fixin's for a Memorial Day feast.

The Littles are in the house playing and The Dear Daddy joins me at the grill. He's ready to talk. He doesn't know if this pregnancy is a good idea. And for good reasons. There's my age for one. And we already have two high needs kids, and how will a new baby take away from meeting their needs. There's a financial concern. How are we going to manage the expense of another baby? What if this one also has autism? And retirement? If the Littles stay home while they go to college we were looking at a retirement age in our early 60's. If the new one goes to college we were looking at the 70's at the earliest. And what about The Other? Could we really stand to lose this one after we'd been through the hell of losing The Other? And my health. I'd had a stroke less than 6 months ago. The Dear Daddy says he can't stand the thought of losing me. And what about The Littles? They need their Mom. How will he know how to raise them if I die? And what if I die in childbirth and leave a new baby? What then? I was glad he was finally talking, but it did little to reassure me. Still, it was really good that he was finally willing to talk.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

12 weeks

Wow, 12 weeks! I'm still feeling pretty well. Some of the fatigue has dissipated. The Titty Fairy has definitely been a visiting! They are quite tender but I've had extremely little nausea. My appetite is intense. I wake up hungry. I first noticed my appetite about a month ago. I'm eating 3 nutritious meals a day, plus having a high protein snack several times a day. And orange juice is my new favorite drink of all time! I'm still listening by Doppler twice a day, sometimes more. Sometimes I hear it immediately, a reassuring sound, and other times I have to really hunt for it. I can usually hear movement, and now and then I can feel distinct movement while I'm listening to the baby moving! This baby is really active, more so than The Oldest or The Youngest. Sometimes it seems that I can see the Doppler rise a little when Newest kicks against it. And the spotting has not resumed. Maybe we'll make it. I'm still fighting against embracing a surge of hope. I still pray many times a day to God that He will keep my baby safe. I have a nagging fear of chromosomal abnormalities, given my age. That was the reason for "Well..." upon learning that we were having another baby. That is the most likely cause for Hannah's early loss. So when I think about the baby I also send a prayer up. I beg God to keep the baby safe and free from abnormalities. I tell Him that I will still love the baby no matter what, but I cannot say the words or even think them...so I beg God to make the baby healthy. This goes on about a million times a day.

I've glanced at baby furniture a few times and I am strictly avoiding baby clothing. Returning the stuff I'd bought for Hannah was just too much to experience again if things don't go well. But still, I am 12 weeks along today, and that is a good thing. I've still had no luck finding maternity undies. I may have to resort to those huge pairs of Granny Panties that you find in large bins in the ladies department. They never come in cotton though, it seems like I've only even seen them in nylon. My right leg is actually getting numb from the undies being too tight at the groin. I'm puffed up like a blow fish from the waste down and the Underwear War is starting to have alarming implications.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lab work and The Underwear Wars

First thing after the Kidlets are off to school I go out early to get my labs drawn and to drop off the first of many 24 hour urine tests in two huge, heavy, ugly orange containers. I'd been expecting to have to do a 24 hour urine test with this pregnancy. I'd had to do two of them with The Youngest. Funny story...I was pregnant with The Youngest and The Oldest was curious about the big ugly container sitting in ice in a bucket in the bathroom. She was fascinated with the process of watching me pee in a cup - no potty privacy with toddlers - and then pour it into the big ugly container. Little did I know that she was really paying close attention. Later when she went to use the bathroom I went to check on her because she was taking just a little too long and she was being just a little too quiet. I rounded the corner just in time to see her pour her pee-pee from the cup into the big orange container. She looked up proudly and grinned. "I'm helping!" she announced!

After I dropped off the pee containers and got stuck with needles I hit the local stores to try to engage the enemy in The Underwear Wars. My underwear are driving me nuts. I'd finally thrown out the comfy maternity underwear when The Youngest was about 5 years old. I had a bunch of them and they were in good shape and comfy. As long as The Dear Daddy didn't see me in them, there was no point in tossing them out. But after my first 30 pounds fell off, they were no longer comfy. Just bunchy and wrinkly under my clothing. So I bought undies that actually fit and still covered my caboose and tossed the old friendly maternity undies. Dang I regret that day! They were like old friends, those undies. They'd been brand spanking new and a funny joke through my pregnancy with the Oldest and I'd kept them to wear with the Youngest. Seriously, I had a million pair of maternity undies so they really were in great shape. But if I hadn't tossed them with the first 30 pounds, surely I would have tossed them with the final 40 pounds. Now I was on a quest to replace them.

Only no body carries maternity underwear any more. No body. Not Wal-Mart, not K-Mart, not Target. JC Penney had them via catalogue only and they were available in packages of 3 pair for $18.00! Plus shipping and handling! At this rate I could afford to buy 3 pair and wear them throughout the pregnancy and hope I never lost a pair. This wouldn't do. Anyone who's ever even thought about being pregnant knows you change undies about 20 times a day. No, this would not do! I started scouring discount places like Big Lots! and Burlington Coat Factory, Ross and the like. No luck. Did you know that you can buy intimate apparel like underwear at Goodwill? I didn't either. Neither was I willing to place onto my body any clothing article that had already been that close to someone else's 'parts.' I had to find a solution. I trolled the online specialty maternity stores looking for belly undies. Oh now really? $34.00 for ONE pair of maternity underwear? Are you serious? Yes, they were serious. Crap!

A bit of good news is that I haven't spotted for the last few days. I've done at least four pee tests since I first found out. I guess I will stop with that madness finally.

Friday, May 15, 2009

FHT's!

I finally was able to hear Fetal Heart Tones today! It was a wonderful sound alone in my bed in a dark room so I could really concentrate. I've felt really isolated since I've told so few people about this baby, and I'm not out in the workplace with other adults to be around. The Dear Daddy refuses to discuss anything right now. He says it's too soon. He reminds me how devastated we were before. And I am still spotting.

The Doppler

I have in my possession a Doppler. A good one. I won't say how it came to be in my possession, only that it was given to me by someone who also should not have had access to that good of a quality Doppler. And now that I know where to listen, I listened. Twenty frustrating minutes later, all I've been able to locate are my own uterine thrill and a high pitched high speed oscillating sound at about 170 OPM. Dang.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Second visit to the PNC

I go to the PNC and first thing I do is a glucose tolerance test. It's awful. It's orange flavored and burns the back of my throat. By the time I sit there for an hour to have my blood drawn, the awful orange goop has given me a raging headache. Then I go out to wait with every one else in the waiting room. I sit there for about another hour this time. Not too bad. I'd sat for much longer waiting to see the very popular doctor who delivered The Oldest. Then they call me in. I pee in a cup. They say my BP is too high. I again show them the pitting edema up to my mid-thigh. I hop on the scale and the gal weighs me. I can't believe what I'm looking at. I step off the scale to be sure I am seeing correctly. I move the weights back to zero myself. It's level. I get back on and start moving the weights and get the same number I had before. I've gained 9 pounds over night. OVERNIGHT! I tell the nurse taking the vitals that I've gained 9 pounds over night. She says that cannot be. She looks for my previous days' weight. She says that maybe the previous days' weight was wrong. She has Dr JF's report with my weight clearly stated. Even if yesterdays weight was wrong, that's still an 18 pound weight gain in 2 weeks. Crap! I'm sent out to the waiting room again until they call me in to see the NP.

Next I see the NP who takes a full and thorough history, again with the whole drawn out explanation of my BP, then a thorough exam. Then I see Dr ER and instantly like him. This whole PHC thing isn't too bad. He finds the baby's' heartbeat and lets me listen, even though the NP already did that. It's 170. He says that if Dr S couldn't find the source of the spotting I'm still having, he doubted that he'd be able to locate it. He goes over my history and really listens to me about my concerns. I really like him. We decide I should have another cervical stitch, just like my other pregnancies, and that he will do the procedure. He has Dr S's report and agrees with the baby aspirin every day and recommends an amniocentesis. He also tells me that the NP heard bilateral carotid bruits, and agrees that I should be on bed rest, if not for that, then the spotting. Then I'm sent out to wait again.

And again I get called in and walked down the hall to see the gal who goes over Dr ER's findings. She gives me a bottle of prenatal vitamins and several lab orders. Dr ER increased my Methyldopa to 500 mg twice a day. I tell her that Dr ER says he'll do my cervical stitch at 16 weeks. She tells me that he hasn't renewed his contract with the PHC so she doubts that he will be the one doing it. Crap!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First PNC Visit at the PHC

So today I go for my first PNC visit. It takes forever of course. I pee in a cup. I fill out papers. I get weighed. I weigh 9 pounds more than I did at Dr F's just 13 days ago. They say my blood pressure is too high. I show them that I have pitting edema up to my mid-thigh and tell them it started right after I started taking the Methyldopa. Was I hypertensive before? I explain to no less than 3 people that I was hypertensive but have lost 70 pounds over the last three years and the wonderful Dr JF stopped my BP meds two years previously because I didn't need them any longer. The gal taking my history says that the first available doctor's visit isn't until early June. Then she takes my history. Then she decides that I'd better come back tomorrow morning to see the doctor. Okay then!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Grandparents

My 'adoptive' parents are visiting from their new home in Idaho. They've been Mom and Dad since shortly after The Oldest was born, in a comfortable progression that went from Aunt L and Uncle J to Grammy and Grandpa. It wasn't long before they were including me in their batch of kids and my daughter in their batch of grand kids. And I really want to tell them the news but I don't. For one thing, the kids are at the table and I can't think of a discreet way to say it that the kids won't understand. We're in a crowded noisy restaurant for another. And it's a whole group people there besides Mom and Dad. And I'm still bleeding. Why tell them this news if I'm only going to have to tell them different news later? To the inquiries as to why I am not working, I have replied in an almost truth. I am off work right now until I can get my blood pressure under control. That is the truth, but it is not the whole truth. There is that matter of a small stroke I had the previous November. Coupled with that and my giant calves and thighs and the lie is plausible. I just can't put myself through that awful experience again of telling everyone that our baby has died. And since I am still bleeding, it is just better to wait. The pregnancy can be my secret for a little longer. At least until I am more sure about the pregnancy surviving to become The Newest.

Not telling the whole truth is sometimes different than outright lying. Like I did with the kids recently. The Littles came into my bedroom. The Oldest says in a very mature fashion, "Are you having another child?" I divert my glance and continue dusting my room. And I lie. "Honey, Mommy and Daddy are too old to be having babies." And it's true. We are too old! The Youngest is no longer interested and goes off to play with his toys. The Oldest is still not convinced. She says that the bottle of vitamins I take every day has the word PREGNANT on it.

Okay...think fast. Send a silent plea to all the pathological liars that my bloodline has been graced with. I go get the bottle of vitamins and the bottle of Methyldopa. I explain that the BP medicine depletes a vital element that women need, and that vital element can only be found in prenatal vitamins. I even show her the tiny print that says how much folate is in the prenatal vitamins. And I lie through my teeth again. "Honey, Mommy is 44 years old. That's too old to be having babies." She is satisfied with this answer and I send a silent vow to eat something chocolate and decadent in homage and thanks to The Pathological Liars. The oldest leaves to go play and I breath easier. Dodged the bullet for now.

I really did want to tell The Littles. I wanted them to be excited and to feel their excitement. I wanted their excitement to infect me and replace this awful feeling of dread, of always holding my breath. I wanted to feel happy. With The Dear Daddy still not willing to talk about anything, I really don't want The Littles bombarding him with talk of another baby. A baby who might not live. There was a very good reason we hadn't told The Littles about Hannah. Yes, better to wait.