...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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Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallows' Eve

Let me go on record as saying quite officially that I do not like Halloween. I don't. There - I said it. In this household, that makes me the bad guy. So be it. I'll wear it well. I loved Halloween as a child - what kid doesn't? And I have great memories of several years where The Big Sis and I dressed up and went trick or treating. I was a teenager by then and she was shorter than I, so we got away with it when people assumed I was along to keep my lil' sister safe. Of course we usually ingested a fair amount of a certain appetite altering substance before we hit the free candy streets, so it was the perfect activity! Right up until the laziness set in and we just wanted to sit down. Anywhere. These were the days before cell phones were everywhere, so we generally had to approach a house and I'd explain that my sister had eaten too much candy and was sick, could they please call our dad. Then our 'dad' (my youngest older brother) would come and get us. But I digress. I'm a Mom now and not supposed to have any knowledge of such things. Then there was the year, having long abandoned my 'substance' days, that I went to the Fall Festival at our church as Mary. You know, the mother of Jesus? I'd already started dating The Beloved, but he was not the churchy type and was working that night anyway. So, my ex-pseudo-boyfriend (long boring story) still feeling the sting that I was dating someone else and dared to be happy, felt perfectly justified hauling me before our pastor so I could explain my costume. "I think this is inappropriate! I think it's blasphemous!" The pastor scratched his head while they gawked at my midsection and said the words over which I will forever giggle, "I don't know %&$#@. This is October. According to the Christian calender, Mary would have been about that big!" If that hadn't been bad enough, he then patted the e-p-b's belly, much bigger than my hidden pillow, and said, "You could have dressed up as Mary! Where's your costume?" I nearly wet myself with not laughing while the e-p-b stood there nearly choking on his own gall! Good memories. But back to now...

Halloween at our house starts early in the month with The Beloved announcing at various times, "Only ten more days!" "Only six more days!" "Only..." you get it. The Littles also get it. Only x number of days until we all trek out one frosty night to go to The Halloween Store. That's what it's called, and he loves to tease them until it's time to actually go. Sometimes we buy costumes, and sometimes we just get things to complete costumes. And they always come home with a skull. Or a bag of bones. Or a complete skeleton. Or plastic spiders and rubber rats. Yuck! These are not my kids! They aren't. This time of year, they are soley and completely The Beloved's kids. I had more times that I dressed up as witches and mummies that not as a kid, but I never found any interest, much less fun, in playing with skulls, bones and rubber rats. Like I said, this time of year, these are not my kids. They're his!

I have long thought that women who are pregnant at Halloween are really lucky to be able to paint their bellies into a pumpkin. I'd never had that luck until now. The Oldest was barely rounding in October and The Middle was 6 weeks old for his first Halloween. But this year I have Jack! A Jack-o'-lantern! So...Miss Susie found the big box of water color paints and hauled it out of it's hidey hole. We picked out colors and found brushes. I had an idea of how I wanted Jack's o' lantern to look. I thought I'd paint the basic outline myself and fill it in and let the kids paint in the eyes, nose and mouth. And then I had a good look at my belly. It was nice and round and stuck out there...but there was also a five pound bag of fluid hanging below it. Pretty! Not! Jack's pumpkin would look more like a giant upside down orange pear. Okay...new plan. I will stay down most of today and first thing in the morning tomorrow, when I've been flat all night and I'm less likely to have the under-belly-bag-o'-jelly, we will paint Jack's pumpkin!

It never happened. I woke up that morning with a giant bag of jiggle hanging mostly to the left because that's the side I'd spent most of the late morning on. The Beloved suggested that I wear the belly shorts with the wide band and keep it tucked under Jack so that the fluid would disperse. So I tried it. Bless him, he was truly trying to be helpful with this ridiculous thing I wanted to do...but all it got me was deep ugly grooves on the lower third of my belly and a fluid shift to an undesirable location. The fluid did to disperse to 'there.' You know, there! And further up my belly. It was awful. My mid-section looked like a giant white plucked turkey, complete with the pock marks where the feathers were pulled out. And it was all over my belly. In medical jargon it's described as "orange peel skin" but it looked more like a plucked turkey. And my 'there' region, what you can see with closed thighs, looked just like the back end of the plucked turkey that you tuck under the legs before you truss the turkey up to hold in the stuffing. Only my stuffing was on the outside. At this rate, my Jack-o'-lantern was going to look more like an ugly orange warted gourd. Crap! I kept the paints out just in case the swelling went down, but it never happened. I'd thought that if we couldn't paint me for Halloween, maybe for Thanksgiving then. Jack would be even bigger then and maybe he'd stick out farther than the bag-o-bleck!

Miss Susie helped the kids scoop out their pumpkins, since I was officially too weak to even carve them. I helped them draw the faces before carving and then took up my dutiful position as camera man and journalist for the event! The Kiddles even picked out and carved a little pumpkin for Jack!

Halloween night saw The Middle dressed up as Bumblebee of the Transformers and The Oldest as Hannah Montana of, well, Hannah Montana. The Beloved took them out looting and pillaging while I kept the home fires burning and handing out candy to trick or treaters. The Kidlets pooped out fairly early and were back home before I knew it. And when I saw the bags of loot they had, I understood why. The were loaded! The Beloved reported that there were very few houses giving out candy and that there were very few kids out this year. On a Saturday. Weird. I'd had only perhaps five groups of kids ring our doorbell. Consequently, folks weren't giving one or two pieces of candy...they were dumping handfuls into their bags. I'd done that too!

Friday, October 30, 2009

34 Weeks, NST & Dr Skeevy

This will be a long post. As I write this I am closing out my 34th week. And I've had yet another trip to the hopspittle. I went for my NST on Tuesday and it all went very much as usual. I waited. I peed in a cup. I got my BP checked, weight checked, pee checked. No new news. BP was still high. My blood sugar was fine. My weight was holding at 55 pounds. Shudder! Roughly 20 more pounds and I'd be back to my heaviest weight ever. My pee continued to show a very mild protein spill, no sugar spill. Then I went out to wait my turn in the big comfy recliner with the pink and blue straps wrapped around Jack and I.

Finally they call me in and as I waddle down the hall to the chair, I see a sight that sends chills through me. It was Dr SF. When I'd first found out that this pig was one of the doctors who practiced at the PHC, I'd asked specifically that I not be seen by him. I'd said at the time, all those weeks ago, that I'd sooner stick my hand into a running garbage disposal rather than be seen by him. I actually said that. I'd been assured that Dr ER and then later Dr RF would be my only physicians. But he was here this particular day. Dr RF has the day off, so Dr SF was filling in.

Back up to when I was 5-6 weeks pregnant with Hannah. I'd gone to see Dr SF for a one time visit because he could take me that very day. At 11:00 am. And his office didn't open until 11:45 when someone finally showed up to let us all in. His waiting room was filthy, and actually had mismatched office furniture stacked along one wall. The remaining walls were lined with big sagging couches that I'm sure had all been found on the side of the road or by someones garbage cans. Or were rejects from a crack house. The carpet was badly stained but none of the teenage girls with their bellies under their chins and their cell phones to their ears seemed to notice. My friend Bits and I were the only adults! We waited until 12:45 when the gal behind the desk said the good doctor was finally on his way in. Then we waited for another hour. It went down hill from there.

Bits and I were shown into a hot bathroom with two folding chairs and a TV set up on the sink vanity and a VCR sitting precariously on the toilet. The faucet behind the TV was dripping and Bits kindly offered to let me sit closest to the door, "Just in case that thing shorts out and catches fire." Really? Yes, really. We exchanged glances and sat in the chairs, shuffling for space in the tiny room with the gal who was not going to wait for us to either move or sit down to shove a cassette into the VCR. She pressed play and then stomped on both of our feet making her exit without saying a word. What followed was a grainy image of the pig that I have forever renamed Dr Skeevy. The recording was Dr Skeevy's way of introducing himself to new patients. It went on for an hour while this hubric ass described his talents and expertise. Who does this? Who? He even had a portion dedicated to describing in detail how discreetly everything would be handled for those opting to abort. I don't know why we didn't leave right then. It must have been like when you come upon a scene of a horrible accident. You know there's going to be blood and gore, but you look anyway. We kept watching. And yes, I know the word is hubris, but that would require sentence restructuring, so I am making up my own words again. I can. It's my blog! Eventually Bits did have to leave but I promised I'd call her as soon as I got out.

I was shown to a tiny exam room where I was told to undress completely and was given a sheet. Not a gown. A sheet. I asked why I had to disrobe completely and I was told that Dr Skeevy would do a complete exam. I said I'd specifically told the gal who gave me my appointment that I was only here for a one time visit to determine if the baby had a heart beat; there was no need for a full exam. She said, "Your choice" and walked out without pulling the curtain across the doorless entry. I guess this is what you get for $350.00 cash and being in too big a hurry to wait for the doctor your insurance will cover to have an appointment sometime after next summer. Then I waited some more. I woke up to see Dr Skeevy smiling down at me. Make that leering. He was pissy but said that he understood I was just there for a trans-vag ultra sound and not interested in the full exam. And he got right to it. He found Hannah's heart beating. He said there had been a twin and that it had died. He showed me a large bubble with nothing in it. And he said Hannah would die. Her heart rate was in the 70's. Too low. Probably today or tomorrow. Certainly by the end of the week. And he sat there smiling up at me saying that I should schedule a D&C with the gal at the desk. For tomorrow.

I went down to the van and called my beloved Dr S. I hadn't seen him since my pregnancy with The Middle. I told him what Dr Skeevy had said and done. Including suggesting that I schedule an abortion. His first words were, "My dear. I am so sorry you even considered going to Dr F. We have had many, many disagreements about his practices. Come here tomorrow and I will see you." Okay now, I have been an ICU nurse for my entire career. To date I can count on maybe 3 fingers the times that a doctor has even hinted at maligning another doctor. It's a boys club of the highest order. It's just not done. At my appointment with the Beloved Dr S the next day, he also did a trans-vag ultra sound. "Tell me what you see," he said. I described the little bubble with the baby's heart beat and said I'd judge it to be about 150. "161" he said, letting me hear her. "What else do you see?" he pressed. I described a yolk sac and a broken bubble that I thought might be the corpus something or other that is left behind when the ball of cells that will become the baby burrows into the endometrium. "Correct," he said. "Exactly correct. You can come to work for me if you decide to become a tech," he joked. He patted my leg and said that the broken bubble was likely Dr Skeevy's dead twin, either that or he was unable to recognize a yolk sac. He also said that Dr Skeevy's low heart rate of 72 was my own uterine thrill. "Do not go back to see him my dear. Come back to me in four weeks and I will follow you again." My beloved Dr S!

Okay, so fast forward to now. The tech was checking Jack's reactivity and as always said it looked just fine. At the end of 30 minutes, she tore of the strip and took it to the doctor to check. She came back and slipped it into a brown envelope and slid it into the back of my chart, just like always. Then she said the NST was fine, but the doctor wanted to adjust my BP meds. And in walked Dr Skeevy. He sat on a stool and started looking through my chart. Without even looking at me he stuck out his hand and said, "I'm Dr F." I didn't shake his hand. He said my BP was still high and that he wanted to add another agent. Then he asked my age and allergies. "You are too old to have a baby" he said, "This is no good. Lets add another agent. That's a med-i-cine to bring down your blood pressure" he said, finally looking at me. Really? And here I'd confused it with a med-i-ca-tion. Stupid me. So he writes out a script and reviews what meds I'm already taking. Then he gets to the lab section. Reviews those. Notes out loud that none of my slightly abnormal labs have become any more abnormal over the course of my pregnancy. "This is amazing. You are really old and yet you are doing relatively well." He's a charming man. But it's about to get really good! He handed me the script, stood up and turned to walk away, but then he turned back and asked if I'd had prenatal testing. "You know, tests to see if the baby's genes are okay?" Oh, I'd thought it was to check the baby's jeans for proper fit. I felt almost smug when I said "Yes. I had an am-ni-o-cen-te-sis at 16 weeks which shows trisomy 21." I wasn't prepared for what followed next.

This giant incredible filthy no good ass of an excuse for a human being actually slapped his hands to his face, pulling his cheeks down enough to distort his face and said, "Oh. My. God." Damn him to hell, he does not worship my God. "This is no good!" he said, taking the script out of my hand and sitting down. "You need to go over to the hospital right away! You need to be delivered! Your blood pressure is dangerous! You need to be delivered by tonight if not this afternoon!" I took a deep sigh. I said that I was only 34 weeks, my blood pressure and labs had not changed, and asked quite frankly, "Why is this an emergency now?" He said I was "e-clamptic" and that I had to be delivered "to-day." I said that the labs I'd had drawn two days ago didn't indicate pre-eclampsia, much less had I had any seizures, spots, hyper-reflexia, protein spills or headaches to indicate that I was suddenly eclamptic now that he knew my baby has Down syndrome. "How do you know this terminology?" he asks. I tell him I've been an ICU nurse for 15 years and that I've done my fair share of high risk pregnancies. "Well all the same, you could still have a stroke. You are going to the hospital to get that out," pointing at Jack. Bastard. I looked Dr Skeevy in the face, something he was incapable of doing for me. I said I was not going to deliver my baby at 34 weeks, that I was going home to take a nap and then meet my children's buses and spend the evening with them. But the guy wouldn't give up. "Call someone to get your kids. Ask a neighbor or something." This went on for another 15 minutes, while he dictated orders for my admission to the nurse.

I went out to the van to call Dr S. I explained the situation with Dr Skeevy. I explained what I remembered of my labs, that the baby's reactivity on the NST was just fine, That Dr Skeevy had already signed off on it, and that he'd been perfectly content to send me home with a script until he found out the baby has Down syndrome. "I believe you my dear." Then Dr S excused himself and put me on hold. When he came back on the line he said Dr Skeevy had just called him and that he'd said my labs were all severely abnormal and that the NST was grossly non-reactive. "Do not worry my dear. I would believe anything you said before I would believe him that the sky is blue. I have more faith in your knowledge than his. But I want you to go over to the hospital overnight to get your blood pressure better controlled. I disagree that you should deliver this early, but please, my dear, go get your blood pressure a little better controlled. Will you promise me that?" Okay, so I promised that I'd go as soon as I could arrange care for the Kidlets, as The Beloved was working out of town, and he promised me he'd see me at the hospital tonight. Eeesh.

I made a zillion phone calls on the way home and checked into the hopspittle by noon. I had orders in hand for IV solution, lab draws and another 24 hour pee test. That was it. The admitting nurse called Dr Skeevy four times but he never called back to give further orders. I'd had no lunch and it was past dinner time by the time Dr RF was on call, so he gave orders for the night nurse. Dr S arrived just before 8 pm. Good thing too! Dr RF, having listened to what Dr Skeevy said, ordered a Magnesium Sulfate drip and the nurse was explaining all the side effects I was likely to have. Dr S said not to start the drip. The nurse was a little peeved now that she had conflicting orders. "Well she's set to deliver either tonight or tomorrow, are you planning to do an amnio to see if the lungs are good?" Dr S said that he'd spoken to Dr RF, and that he'd been given inaccurate information. He said that he'd reviewed my current labs and that I would not be delivering any time soon, that I was just here for my blood pressure. He wrote orders for several other agents to try before starting a Mag drip. He also said that she should remove the fetal monitor and just check every 4 hours. He took my hand and said that he was deeply sorry for what I'd been put through and assured me that my labs had not changed, they were just as I'd reported to him, and that Jack would be staying put!

I went home the next day, once the 24 hour pee test was completed, with a script for Labetolol 300 mg three times daily. It was increased the next day to four times daily. And Dr RF said that when I return on Tuesday, we will look at the dates and decide when to schedule my delivery!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sausage Toes and Ham Hocks


Notice the unopened enticingly salty, crunchy and delicious Tostitos bag at my feet. My Middle brought them to me to open for him as I was snapping the picture. He will have to eat them in his room, far, far away from me, or I will dive into that bag of heavenly sodium face first!

Saw the doc today...results of my 24 hour urine are still bad but really no more so...still hovering around renal insufficiency, but not failure. A1C (Measure of glucose stuck to hemoglobin) is just fine! I'd been down for 18 hours before I went to the doc, so my legs were closer to normal, but the nurse was super grossed out by the "bowl" of water sitting under the "Snake-bump!" It's not pretty. There will NOT be a photo of that! She kept staring at it and poking it! Its okay though...she was Dr S's tech during The Middle's pregnancy and we actually had a lot of fun and giggles over it! And it was all laid out bare for an hour long NST - Snake was very busy and kept moving his heartbeat away so it took FOREVER!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Costco

We went to Costco today...one stop shopping. I'm not supposed to be out, but someone has to buy groceries and the kids do all the fetching and lifting. A cart boy loads the van and the kids unload at home. It's good to have indentured servants! We were just about to leave when I spotted a woman with a stroller and a lot of extra stuff attached to a sleeping baby. A little girl. Who clearly had Down syndrome. I approached her and asked her if I could show my kids the sleeping baby. She said yes,
so I pointed out the pink feeding tube taped to her little cheek and entering her nose. I said "Jack may well have one of these," and I patted my tummy. The woman smiled. Next I pointed out the nasal cannula in her bitsy little nose, and the
portable O2 condenser. Again, I said, "Jack may have one of these too." I thanked the woman profusely and as she moved on I explained to the kids more thoroughly what those tubes were for. I didn't want to hold the woman up from her shopping, but I could have kicked myself for not asking if I could contact her. Is this nuts? Am I losing my marbles? Maybe she didn't want to be in touch with me. She was very gracious, but after all, I did practically assault her and her child! (I didn't touch her or the baby, and I told the kids not to wake up the sleeping baby, but now that I'm home I think it was extremely bad behavior on my part!) Have I lost my humanity for the chance to prepare my kids for something Jack may not even need? I didn't even ask the woman the baby's name or age or anything remotely sensitive to the baby! I'm feeling like an animal right about now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Sad, Sad Loss

Last week I received an email from the only other pregnant woman at the DSALA New Families Barbecue. She delivered their tiny son stillborn at 28 weeks. They tried for days to stop her labor to no avail. When it was clear that the baby had indeed died in utero, the doctor was dedicated to getting him born whole and intact so that they could hold him and say goodbye.

I was stunned for days. And I was afraid it would happen to Jack. And every time I started to really worry about it, Jack would start doing flips. It's like he knows when I worry about him. Then again, he is right under my heart.

When I was talking with The Beloved about this family I was tearful and sad, but he knew there was something else too. "What is it? What's bothering you besides their baby dying?" I very quietly said that as bad as I felt having the thought, at least they had another chance now. To have another baby without Down syndrome. I felt like crap on a cracker for admitting it. But My Love said, slowly and gently, "They might be thinking that way too. I'm sure they're really sad. You know what it did to us. But they might be thinking the same way." And he folded me in his arms and said, "And don't be thinking that our baby is going to die because you had that thought." He knows me too well. I don't want Jack to die. I don't. It would kill me. Just like I'm sure it's killing them. But like them, I still wish Jack wasn't going to have Down syndrome. It just hurts so much still, but the idea we could lose him hurts too much to even think about.

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Weirdness

A few nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night with a wicked compulsion to pack my bag and the baby's bag. So I did. So far, it turns out to have meant nothing.

Last night I dreamed that I was anxiously waiting for some big event at a very elaborate theater with a huge stage all draped in burgundy velvet curtains. The inside of the building was extremely ornate with tons of carved rich wood. The curtain went and something very special began. I have no idea what, but the feeling was there. The orchestra was set up on the stage and some youngish people with Ds were performing a beautiful wind and string ensemble. They were there to honor members of the audience, all of them children with Ds, but my "group" of youngsters had not yet arrived. Finally, midway through the first performance, a few women were leading a large group of well behaved, Sunday-best dressed, spit shined, sparkling toddlers to their seats. To their parents! And one woman was carrying an infant carrier. He was finally here in he building with me! I ran to see him. And yes, I SAW HIS FACE! He was beautiful. He was also about 6 months old! I had a million questions, but his guardian up until this point had suddenly disappeared. Where was she? I had questions! He was olive skinned like My Girlie, not peaches and cream like The Middle. He had chubby pink cheeks and an oval face, with some wispy soft brown baby hair. His eyes were olive green like The Oldest's were at birth. He was my baby. My son. Finally here. So what does it mean? I'm chalking it up to the unknown on the as yet mystery date of his arrival and the anticipation of waiting. Of course, the elaborate setting would be the birth event. And along side my lust for head banging rock music, I have a passion for classical as well, especially winds and strings. As I saw him finally, everything else faded away...just the music and my beautiful boy remained. In this dream the musicians on stage were others who came before, to herald this new little life into being. Angels? Maybe. A celebration?
Certainly! The happy ending...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Misery

I've tried not to complain too much, but I have been MISERABLE! For about the last month, my misery has steadily worsened. I'm sure I could feel worse, but I'm miserable all the same. The Beloved sees it. And the other day I blubbered all over him about it. He said, "It's never been like this before. You weren't like this with The Littles." And it's true. My feet and legs no longer even come close to even remembering their normal size when I lay down. It feels like a bruise from my toes to my hips. My undies leave deep grooves all the way around my body from the fluid. My toes feel like they're squished into a size 5 shoe even when I'm barefoot. They feel like fat sausages and I think they will rupture if they get any bigger. I am constantly nauseated now. Not a day goes by that I don't spend at least half of the day gagging. Last week I felt something trickle down the outside of my right calf. As I realized it was fluid leaking from my skin, the left inside calf started Leaking too. My abdomen is so big that the only tolerable position is propped up semi-recumbent on one side or the other with a pillow to support my girth. And don't even get me started on the joint tingling and numbness. Between the cervical stitch and a large fibroid where Snake's head usually is, every movement takes my breath away. It's good to feel him move, and I mentally encourage him to keep it up, but it's gotten rather painful! And again with the damned hemorrhoids! I've been DILIGENT about the stool softeners and I am not constipated...it's all the danged fluid. I dread going pee because there's no support while sitting on the toity and unless I keep my legs and butt muscles flexed and tensed, the 'rhoids just push right out. How the hell do you relax enough to pee that way? The Beloved finally insisted that I explain my weird contortions every time I rise from any position. It's a little embarrassing telling the one you are intimate with that you have New Jersey hanging out of your ass. It hurts to adjust any position and when I have to stand up from any position it feels like a cheese grater scraping against my hiney. I've had fantasies about holding a pop sickle between my buttocks! Gross, huh? And I broke a fingernail! Although, gratefully, not while I was tending to my rear end! Suffice to say, I am ready for him to be born. Every day that he stays in there is good. But I can't wait for mid-November to get here. And while I was pouring all of my physical complaints out to him in a blubbering mess, I actually said words that make me feel like crap on a cracker. I sobbed into his chest, "And after all of this, after all this pain and misery and suffering, we won't even have a happy ending!" And I wailed louder and harder so he held me and rocked me.

I don't know how people who are chronically ill cope. I have relief in site and they do not. And yet, I've seen people who remain pleasant and chipper in the face of it all. I think they must be saints.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Decorating the Nursery, 32 Weeks, and a Blank Little Boy

Today The Littles and I decorated the nursery. We hung the Cow Jumping Over the Moon and some sweet stars that were hand painted by the Incredible Miss S for The Middle's nursery. He was happy to donate it to Jack's nursery. I'd also saved some small shelves and knick knack cubes from The Middle's nursery.



Decorating Jack's nursery took me back to when I'd decorated nurseries in our first home. First for My Girlie, and then the new Big Girl Room across the hall for her while I redecorated the nursery for The Middle. I never in a million years thought I'd be decorating another nursery.


This is a picture of my Mother's rocking chair. It was in each of The Little's nurseries, and it is draped with a blanket I'd cross stitched years before we were expecting The Girlie. That blanket has also been in each of their nurseries.

The beautiful loaner crib from Auntie Bits!

While we measured and marked and hammered I described for The Littles how much fun it had been decorating each of their nurseries.


Note the teddy bears The Girlie has placed in the bouncer and the car seat!

When we were finished they each brought some of the treasures from their babyhood to share with Jack. Beloved books, dog eared bunnies and bears, and even a few baby toys I had no idea they'd pilfered from the donation pile. It was a fun time and when we were finished, the shelves and cubes were filled with treasures from The Littles to their New Little Brother.


This particular view is of Jack's mirrored closet doors and in it's reflection is the changing table and a picture of "Fireworks Tonight" that I won at the NRA banquet when The Middle was just tiny.

I am 32 weeks along today. So I started actually packing the diaper bag and putting things I'd need into a small suitcase loaned to us by Grandma Emmie. The invitations for our baby shower will go out tomorrow. The Incredible Miss S will be out of town and Grandma Emmie will have to work that day, so that has me sad.

At my NST this past Friday I saw a little boy with his mother, also pregnant and waiting to be seen. The little boy was in his stroller looking very dull and uninterested in any thing. He looked to be about two years old. He had no toys. He didn't look around. He showed no interest in the television on a cartoon channel. He didn't wiggle or squirm to get out in all the time I'd sat there watching him. Occasionally he looked at his mother. Once he made a loud grunting cry and the mother produced a small bag of cheerios. He cried louder and the mother produced a bottle, and popped it into his mouth. So she sat there holding a bottle in his mouth while he sat in his stroller. He stared off at nothing in the empty air and sucked his bottle, never once attempting to hold it for himself. I'd seen him move when he cried, putting his fists to his eyes, and kicking his feet, so clearly he could move. But he had no interest in holding his bottle. His face was dirty, as were his hands. And his facial features were quite clearly those of a child with Down syndrome. Except for the time he cried for his bottle, his mother gave him no notice. None. Even a mother who's holding a sleeping child will look down at her little one now and then, maybe stroke a brow or swipe away a wayward lock of hair. Not this mother.

I've spent hours thinking about this. I'd first noticed the little boy when his mother was in line in front of me waiting to check in, then saw them again minutes later in the waiting room. Same dull blank look. I recalled that every medical site I'd gone to said that all children with Down syndrome have mental retardation. Every site said it ranged from severe to mild/moderate. Very few sites even suggested that it could be, upon very rare occasions, if you closed one eye and squinted with the other one, when the moon is 3/4s full, minimal. Nope. No hope there. After worrying about this for hours I finally decided that this little boy was dull because he'd had no stimulation. I'd already looked into the Regional Center for Our Baby. Maybe that mother had not. Maybe that mother expected nothing from him. Maybe that mother had not been offered services for him. Or maybe he was severely retarded. Or maybe she was too deflated to engage him. Or maybe there was something else besides Down syndrome. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I'd never know. I did know that no matter how mentally retarded Our Baby may be, I would still cuddle him, still look at him while he sits in his stroller, still touch his cheek, still wash his face, and still give him some baby toys in case he wanted to at least look at them. I don't know the circumstances of that little boys life, but I know that I can't shake this deep sadness for his blank stare life.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Progress

For the last 2 weeks I've been having an NST every Tuesday and Friday. Baby Boy's heart looks good. I had to do yet another 24 hour pee test too. My butt hurts, my legs are like tree stumps and I have zero energy. My tailbone hurts so bad that I've taken to hoisting myself to standing with my arms and have made the dread mistake of sitting in the the armless chairs at the dining room table. To sit I reverse the process, much like a harbor crane gently settling a 40 ton cargo container onto a barge at the docks. I don't know if I'm the cargo container or the barge.

I have completely given up The Battles of the Underwear War and have settled yet again for the next larger size of panties. They still leave dents in my belly from all the fluid, and they still cut off circulation to my legs, especially the right leg, but they are at least tolerable. For now. I picked up some last minute things for the diaper bag and bought a small fridge for our bedroom. I'll ask Miss Susie to move our spare microwave in there tomorrow. When I was nursing The Middle I was starving all the time. And since The Middle ate every two hours, The Beloved took to sleeping in the living room until I'd stopped nursing The Middle.

The purpose of his sojourn to the living room was supposed to be getting some sleep without getting disturbed by The Middle every two hours. The real result was that he'd still gotten disturbed by his wailing. Not only was our first home poorly insulated, but it was small. Sound travelled. You would have to leave our house and enter the neighbors house across the street in order to not hear everything in our house. The Middle always awoke just knowing he was in the process of starving and always issued a suitably shrill and loud wail of alarm with his first waking breath. Waaaa-aaa-aa! The Beloved was just about getting back to sleep when The Middle expressed his displeasure at being burped, along with more shrill wailing and sounding of alarms. And then sleep at last...only to be once again awakened by The Milk Cow trying to quietly sneak past his not sleeping form to get into to the kitchen to forage for something to eat. Anything. I was starving all the time while I nursed The Middle. I clearly remember watching the microwave count down so I could shut it off before it dinged. I also remember eating less than hot whatever just so I didn't have to take the chance on the microwave dinging again. And I'd still have to sneak back through the living room before The Middle made any noise. So...this time I will have my own neatly contained survival chamber in our bedroom...TV, fridge, microwave, food, telephone, bathroom...down the hall, across the living room, and down the long hall away from The Beloved who will be sleeping soundly in the front room. We hope!

And speaking of the front room, it only needs to have a table moved out of the way and it will finally be finished. Ready for a Christmas tree. All the clutter cleared away and a space once again large enough to hold a fully decorated tree and the two Littles in a mad frenzy of torn wrapping! The only thing in there now are several bags of The Littles outgrown clothes. I finally shopped for the kids winter clothes and got all of their too small clothes out of their closets and drawers this past week. I'll call the donation center tomorrow to have them picked up. I'd thought about saving The Middles clothes for The Newest, but then I reconsidered. There was the 7 year gap for one, and the now entirely depleted storage space in the garage for another. No, I'll just buy new.

So all of our big tasks are completed. All we have to do now is stay pregnant a little longer until The Ducky can be born safely.