Monday, October 27, 2014

PTL PTSD

So we took Dylan to the ER last weekend. It was all kinds of stupid. He was crying when walking all of a sudden and grabbing at his knee. We tested him over an hour or so, then I called nurses connection which takes forever and they said to go in. We checked a couple more times to see if it was still happening and it was, so then went in on a Saturday night.  (By the time we got back into the actual treatment area, Dylan was completely fine.)

This was our first time at the ER. Every other time we'd gone to after-hours peds which is a normal pediatrician in a normal office. 

Of course primarily I was terrified of all of the extremely sick people in the ER. Like the teenager who had a 103 fever and looked like death. Or the 4 sorority girls who were getting checked after after a girl at our local University had just DIED of meningitis. 

So Dylan and I kept to ourselves in a quiet area while Mr. GG went to get us dinner. I didn't let Dylan out of the ergo.

But then suddenly I was crying. With real tears. (Not like sobbing, but it was real.) And I was a little surprised. My brain couldn't stop replaying the night I went into pre-term labor over and over in my head and the emotions of that night: fear, panic, disorientation, all came rushing back.

My friend had dropped me off at the entrance to the ER, but there are 3 entrances to the hospital, just one of which is the ER. I went to the ER door, but there were so many people. And I was crying. And bleeding. And it just didn't feel like the right place. Do you go to the front of the line? Wait? I'm not the kind of person to just go in and be all hysterical. It may sound really stupid that I didn't go in, but no one had prepared me for what to do in that situation. So I went in a different entrance instead and I think I went up to the L&D floor, but I can't even actually remember. After wandering around crying, finally a pregnant lady helped me to the triage. 

So I was in the ER, with Dylan, and kept seeing myself hesitate at the entrance and imagining what would have happened if I had walked in. I truly felt the same helplessness and fear.

I'm great in general, but I doubt certain parts of my experience will ever leave me. Luckily, I have very few triggers, but revisiting the "scene" was pretty intense. I just wish I had known what to do that night.

If 1 out of every 8 babies are born pre-term? Why don't we talk about it? And what to do if it happens to you? I understand it's scary and pregnancy is already a time of worry, but actually going into to pre-term labor is much scarier than worry. Why don't we take hospital tours earlier? Or talk to everyone about the NICU? 

What I went through was terrifying and traumatic, but I also think the system let me down. 

November is prematurity awareness month. Go to the March of Dimes and show your support.

#MicroblogMondays - Halloween

I've always been the person who stresses out over what to dress up as for Halloween for a month, then throws something together at the last minute. I'm a high school teacher and it's fun to make the students do a double take. But this year, my costume is basically already done - a whole five days early!

And it's because of Dylan. Halloween is so much more fun with a little one! He and his cousin are going to be Batman and Robin and although it probably cost more than a costume from China (or maybe it was my sister and my inexperience buying fabric), it turned out perfectly. I did all of the pattern cutting and felt work, my sister and mom did the sewing.

We took Dylan to an event on Saturday night and he was obsessed with the dance floor. I can't believe that he's already a little person...who can dance!


Monday, October 20, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Cousins

I captured this sweet shot of Dylan and his cousin playing the piano together the other evening.



Since Dylan will not have a sibling, I am so thankful that he has his cousin and he's just 3 months older (actual age) and 7 months(adjusted). They are just starting to really play together and it's so cool to watch.

I know that Dylan wouldn't have this cousin if I didn't have a sister (who I am also very thankful for). But maybe D and B will be even closer than brothers? Maybe B will have a sister in the future which is special, but just not quite the same.

No matter what happens, they have each other and it makes my heart happy :).

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Little Bit of Snuggling Goes a Long Way

This would probably be part 3 in my marriage chronicles if you were really keeping track.

For the past week or so, DH has been snuggling with me in the morning. (I get up around 6, he gets up after I leave.) It so simple and so small, but it follows me into my day and I catch myself thinking happy husband thoughts.

Marriage is not the easiest thing in the world and ours has its ups and down, but snuggling...that is pretty easy. Go try it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Hot Diggity Dog!


Otherwise titled: "Just a little DIY."

We had Dylan's second birthday this weekend. I love arts and crafts, but I don't do them because I don't have the time, and I love me some Pinterest, but I don't like to stress myself out beyond reason. So I added just a few simple touches to Dylan's party: a Clubhouse sign and a Clubhouse picture with Dylan's name on it. They are just made from construction paper and exactly follow the pins, but I had fun making them (about 2-3 hours total). My mom made the gift bags and putting Oreos into the cupcakes for Mickey Ears (crushed Oreos on top) took just 10 minutes. I bought a cupcake stand, piñata, plates, and happy birthday sign.


Dylan loves the hot dog dance which DH had playing throughout so he danced the party away!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Two Years Later

Some days I will look at my Blogger Stats to see which posts people are currently reading. And when it's been awhile, I'll click on that post too. Earlier this week, I clicked on my IVF posts and kept reading through the pregnancy posts.

You know, like when we found out that our two transferred embryos had turned into four babies.

I don't really need to look back at the controversy aspect of it anymore. I'm completely over it I think. And I get it. But I don't for a second wish that I had done anything differently (past the decision to transfer two embryos). And I have this amazing son to show for it all.

So instead, I have been looking at it in a personal way. It's sad to see how such an exciting time (the first 6 weeks) turned into the opposite. Yes, I was incredibly thankful that I was pregnant, but all of the excitement was replaced by physical sickness and fear. I was incredibly scared of having a higher order multiple pregnancy (only 3 of the babies continued to progress normally). I was scared of reduction. I was scared about losing the entire pregnancy.

After the reduction I felt a great sense of relief. And I enjoyed the following 10 weeks. But the scar of the preceding months was still there. So I don't think it was the same unadulterated joy that many other women feel.

And then I went into labor at 23 weeks and time basically stopped. I definitely didn't enjoy the 17 Magnesium Sulfate and painful contraction-filled days of hoping that I wouldn't go into labor.

I never had a chance to even consider a birth plan, so I wasn't fazed by the actual birth which surprisingly was able to be vaginal (but in the OR just in case). I definitely can't call it a beautiful or amazing experience. I was just happy that the 20+ doctors in the room (maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much) delivered Dylan safely and took care of me well and especially happy that I heard him cry and got to touch him before he was taken to the NICU bed that was already waiting for him.

Is it a coincidence that all of this is coming up on the 2nd anniversary of his birth? Probably not. I think for the past two years I've focused on how thankful I was that everything turned out so well when the odds were not in our favor. And I think now I'm feeling more anger at what was lost in the process.

What we went through was amazing in so many ways and in a weird way, I appreciate it. It was very special to watch and help Dylan develop through such tough odds. But I still marvel every day at the people who have perfect term babies and hold them after birth and breastfeed and bring them home a day or two later. Many of them don't get how lucky they are. I don't want anyone to have to go through what we did, but it's just a weird feeling watching how it is supposed to go. And I don't for a minute pretend to think that many people don't have traumatic birth experiences or severe medical issues that have nothing to do with prematurity.

And that brings me to an article I saw on Facebook yesterday about a couple pregnant with quads after trying for a baby for 7 years and transferring 2 embryos. They are excited (and shocked) and are planning to have their four babies. And I hope beyond hope that everything goes perfectly. There were quads born during our NICU stay and they were released after like 2 weeks in perfect health. Amazing! But I worry for this couple. I just hope everything turns out okay. And I wonder how often this happens? How many other people out there had quads (or triplets) after transferring 2 embryos? One couple per year? More? Do we not hear about because it's rare? Or common? Or because many of the couples reduce the pregnancy? I think there needs to be more data collected so that people undergoing fertility treatments have as many facts as possible.

I didn't have a third trimester. I barely felt Dylan kick and I definitely was not able to bond with him before he was born. I was a zombie during weeks 6-13 of my pregnancy and hooked to machines and IVs for weeks 23-25. I spent what would have been weeks 25-27 staring at my tiny 1lb 15oz baby and touching his head to comfort him. During week 27, I finally got to hold him, but not again for quite awhile. During week 28, I waited through his heart surgery (PDA ligation). That was on Halloween. I cried through Thanksgiving, but smiled as the head Neonatologist dressed up as Santa a few weeks before Christmas. That would have been week 32. By his due date, I knew he was still not ready to come home and that's when the bitterness got worse. It was all borrowed time before then. He finally came home 5 weeks after his due date, two weeks after our 5th holiday in the NICU, Valentine's Day.

I am angry about what I went through and I think about it often.

But now I have a two year old. He walks and talks and eats and laughs and smiles and dances. He dances! I can't say that I wouldn't change parts of our journey if I could. But I sure wouldn't change my little Angel.

Happy Second Birthday Dylan!




Monday, October 6, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Sunday Morning Date

I took Dylan to eat breakfast at Einstein's bagels yesterday. One, because I needed to get out and two, because it's in the same parking lot as Home Goods.



But Home Goods is actually a fantastic spot for a toddler! There is so much to see, animals, shapes, colors, you name it.

We turned one corner and Dylan yells "clock," or actually "cock," and then we find all of the other clocks in that section.

I let him feel the texture of all of the different pumpkin art from smooth glass to rough twigs.

And I couldn't leave without seeing if they had any good children's books. I got I Love You Through and Through (for my nephew); Good Night, I Love You; Raffi's The Wheels on the Bus; and the real score, The Day the Crayons Quit. 

Very successful and fun-filled morning for mama and son.