Sunday, 23 December 2012

Teething??? Or Just Playing???

Frostina is doing really well these days. Now that her colic has gone, she has revealed herself to be a happy, sweet, and very content baby. She's a joy to be around and I feel very blessed to have her in my life.

A few weeks back we started weaning her onto solids. I've jumped into this with two feet and am making my own baby foods. I've got this super cool steamer/blender combo machine and have been making lots and lots of baby purees. So far she's been a great eater and will happily try anything we give to her. Her favourite so far is mango.

As a result of adding solids, she has started sleeping through the night without needing to get up for a bottle. Not every night just yet, but quite a few so far. You would think this would have me jumping for joy,,,, right? It would if she was actually sleeping all night. But she's not quite there yet. As a result, I'm getting up more often with her than before,,,, and Mama is tired!

She wakes up at the time she would want a bottle (2 or 3 am) and I go into her room and pop the dummy/pacifier back into her mouth. If she's not hungry then she will go back to sleep, sometimes on the first try, other times it takes 2 or 3 tries.

On the nights that doesn't work I get up and feed her a very small bottle. Some nights she doesn't even finish that which reassures me that she doesn't need to eat in the middle of the night anymore. It's just a habit to get up and want to eat.

Regardless of whether she eats or not, we now have a new habit. Frostina will then wake up and start making noises every hour after that until it's time to get up. So if she first gets up at 2 then I will have to go back in and give her the dummy/pacifier at 3, 4, and then several times from 5-6am. That last hour is awful but I refuse to get her out of bed until 6am which I think is still pretty early.

It's driving me crazy and obviously affecting my sleep. I can't figure out what's going on. She might be teething, but she doesn't wake up unhappy or crying. I don't want to give her pain medicine every night "just in case" either. I want to only use medicine if she actually needs it.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe she just enjoys my company in the middle of the night?? Perhaps she's figured out that Mommy will come rushing in whenever she squawks and she's making a game out of it?

I am considering doing some sleep training, but they say not to try and sleep train when babies are teething. So since she's 6 and a half months old and no teeth yet, it's likely that she is teething.

But how do I know?

Monday, 17 December 2012

Crying For Newtown

I've been crying a lot these past few days.

Crying for those innocent children who lost their lives and for the devastated families they leave behind.

Crying because all they did was go to school that day. Something they should have been able to do without being put in danger.

Crying because I cannot fathom the kind of person who wakes up and decides to enter a school and open fire on innocent children.

Crying because unlike many who will say, "I can't even imagine what their parents are going through," I do know what it feels like to lose a child.

Crying because I feel like my wound has been ripped back open. That pain, the kind of pain that paralyzes you, is back again. Not that the wound was fully healed, but it had a pretty good scab over it. But not anymore.

I feel raw and vulnerable in a way I haven't felt for quite some time. I have spent the weekend hugging my baby girl and crying. Reminding myself just how lucky I am to have her.

Knowing just how lucky I am to have her.
Knowing just how empty it feels when a child is there and then is not.
Knowing just how much it hurts to long for a child, to miss a child, to mourn a child.

My heart breaks for the families in Newtown, CT. A place I've never been filled with people I've never met. And yet I cry for them.

Real tears, real emotions, real sorrow. Their story has moved me in a way that no other news story ever has. Maybe because it hits closer to home than I would like it to.

Or maybe because it's just that terrible.

Friday, 14 December 2012

There's No Crying In Santa's Grotto

Yesterday I took Frostina to have her picture taken with Santa. It's a huge milestone in my parenting book. Her first photo with Santa, followed by her first Christmas, followed by a bunch of other firsts that I can photograph and share with family and friends.

So many firsts that she will have that her brother will not.

There are many options when it comes to Santa's Grotto's here in London. Some are just basic, and some (like Harrods) are quite fancy and require advance booking. Since Frostina is only 6 months old and is not always happy to be held by strangers, I opted for the closest option. That way if she freaked out and cried I would not be terribly inconvenienced.

As it turns out, she was not the one I should have been worried about.

We got to our local shopping centre and even though I had booked an appointment, it turns out it wasn't necessary. There was only one other child in front of us so I didn't have to worry about waiting too long. In addition, the napping and eating gods had shined down on us and Frostina was both well fed and well rested. Optimum conditions for a happy baby.

As I began the process of unwrapping her from her jacket/blankets/hat combo (it is freezing here in London) and getting her out of her buggy I felt it.

You know that feeling when you just know you're going to cry???

I felt it rising up in my throat. Tears welling up in my eyes. What on earth was happening?? Why was I crying? Why was I the one about to cry in Santa's Grotto??

Of course that's when it hit me. This was one of those moments that I get to share with Frostina but will never be able to share with my son. I get so busy taking care of her day to day that I sometimes forget that many of her firsts will be both exhilarating and crushingly sad.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't have my sunglasses with me. It's been a while since I've been caught out like this. So I did what I've learned how to do when the tears creep in. I dig my fingernails into my palms and try to think about something else. I also had Frostina to joke with and smile at which helped as well.

So no meltdown this time. Well, not until I got home..... but that's progress and I'll take it.

Frostina on the other hand did not cry at all. She sat on Santa's lap and let the Elf helper take her photo. No smile, but she still looked cute. I made sure to buy one photo for me and a couple for the Grandparents. I just know they will love them.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Catching Up

Wow, has it really been over a month since my last post?

I don't know how I got out of the habit, but I'm hoping to get better at fitting this space into my week. I do miss the writing and the reading. I have been going through my reader and I feel so out of touch with everyone.

So apologies for not writing and not reading or commenting either. The adjustment to Motherhood is still a huge one for me and it's clear that I haven't quite found my balancing point just yet.

So here's a bit of a catch up. The visit home was amazing. Frostina did so well on the flight which was a huge relief! It's an 11 hour flight from London to Los Angeles and I had visions of walking a crying baby up and down the aisles the entire time. But we got lucky and she was a trooper. Much to the relief of myself as well as all the other passengers.

She adjusted to the time difference in one day!! That part was also amazing!!!

She was so cute and adorable with all the family. As I've written about here before, she's very particular about who she will smile at. So I was worried that she would be timid around our family.

Turns out I worried for nothing. She took one look at my Mom and flashed her a huge smile...... soooooo cute! She was great with everyone and let everyone hold her. She smiled and made all her cute faces and noises for everyone. She was the belle of the ball and everyone loved her.

It was a wonderful visit but at the end of the two weeks we were ready to come home. I'd love to say that Frostina adjusted back to UK time as quickly as she did to California time. However, her adjustment back was not as easy. It's taken her almost two weeks to be back to normal.

I think part of the issue may be due to teething. We don't have any teeth just yet but she's been waking up crying in the night and won't go back to sleep until I give her some Calpol (baby tylenol for my US friends). Her cheeks also get really red sometimes, red like an apple. And I won't even go into the drool that is coming out of this kid,,, let's just say it's flowing freely. So I expect to see some teeth very soon.

Some other fun things.

  • We started solid foods this week.
  • She no longer hates tummy time.
  • She can sit up for short periods of time before she finally tips over.
  • She has discovered her laugh.
Oh, and she loves ceiling fans.....
We don't have any of these at home but she discovered this one at a hotel while we were back in the US and was absolutely fascinated.
Other than that we're just getting ready for Christmas. Our first with Frostina and our third without our son. It's bittersweet for sure and not something I want to get into today. Today is just a day to catch up.

So what have you been up to?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Finally Packing For 3 - Part 2

We leave tomorrow at 8am to fly back to the US to see the family for the first time since Frostina was born.

I'm completely overwhelmed. Of course I'm super excited to finally get to introduce a living baby of mine to to the family.... but boy do babies need a lot of stuff. I have no idea how we're going to get all this stuff on the plane.

Yikes! Mama needs a glass of wine!

And I need to get packing too!

Monday, 5 November 2012

It's Just A Building,,, It's Just A Buidling

It's been just over two years since my son died and was born.

In the beginning of my grief journey I was plagued by flashbacks. Sometimes the smallest thing would trigger a memory in me. A memory of something that would then flood back into my head, playing behind my eyes like a film at a cinema. The smallest thing would transport me right back to that time and place. Transport me right back to that pain, as if it was happening again in the present.

I hated the flashbacks. They had a way of ruining what could have been a pretty good day. Or ruining what I was hoping would be a really good day. They ruined a lot of days. Some days they ruined me too.

One of the more vivid flashbacks I had was back in February of 2011. I wrote about it here. It was triggered by a building. Not just any building of course. It was the building where I had to go to register the stillbirth of my son. It was a horrible day and I think I did a pretty good job of explaining my feelings in the post I linked to so I won't go back into detail here.

I've been back to that building. As you've probably guessed, I had to go back to register the live birth of Frostina. I didn't write about it at the time because I was in my new baby haze and lots of things slipped through my mind. But it was quite a surreal experience.

It is so different walking in to register the birth of your living baby. Of course, most people have nothing to compare it to,,,, but I do.

I braced myself for the occasion. Preparing for the flood of emotions that I was sure would come. In kindness to any potential dead baby parents, I opted to leave Frostina home with The Hubby. I wouldn't want to put anyone through what I went through. Plus, I didn't really want to have to drag her down there and be around people who could have colds or the flu or some other "icky" germs.

I also wanted to brave it on my own because I had gone the first time on my own. I think I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

And I did.

I went down, registered her birth, and made it home in one piece. I held it together (pretty much) and was very proud of myself. This time I didn't cry in the lobby, or in the room, or in the taxi on the way home. I went down, faced my demons, and headed back home to my beautiful baby girl.

That was that... or so I thought.

Just this past week I had to take Frostina to the doctor for a check up. I've been playing around with the best way to get her there. I tried taxis but they get expensive. The tube is out of the question because it's not at all baby buggy friendly. So that leaves the bus. It's not a direct route and it's taken me a couple of times to figure out the easiest way. The most direct way.

The way that makes me walk past "That Building."

I didn't even realize it at first. I was so lost in thought and trying to find the bus stop that I didn't notice where I was. Until I was standing right in front of it.

Cue flashback. Well to be more specific, cue flashback of a flashback.

I was transported back to that day when I was trying desperately to keep myself together. To try and get from the tube station to the restaurant to meet my friends without crying. My unsuccessful attempts to cry and not have everyone who walked past me notice. The strength it took for me to pull myself together so that none of my friends would know I had been sobbing minutes before.

I thought my flashbacks were a thing of the past. I guess I was wrong.

This time I did not cry though. I just kept reminding myself, it's just a building,,, it's just a building.

I hope at some point I am able to walk past this building and believe it. But for now, it's always a painful reminder of days gone by.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Stupid Time Change

Whoever dreamt up changing clocks back and forth for "Daylight Savings Time" or "British Summer Time" clearly did not have a small baby. Especially a small baby who they had just barely gotten on a sleeping schedule. If I ever meet the genius who invented this sleep-routine-ruiner I will be sure to give them a piece of my mind.... although I suspect they may have died a long time ago.

Here in the UK we changed our clocks back one hour and it is wreaking havoc in our house. It took me ages to get Frostina on a sleeping schedule. It started with bed time which we have been doing for quite a while now. Bath time at 6, bottle right after that, and in bed sleeping by 6:30. She would wake up once in the night to eat, usually around 2 and then back to sleep until around 6:30 or so. I would have liked her to sleep until 7 but I found that trying to put her to be any later than that just resulted in her waking up earlier.

Naps have been a bit more of a struggle. Frostina has never been a big fan of napping. But I was finally making some progress. A 45 min to 1 hr nap around 8:30am and then another nap around 12'ish. This second one sometimes went longer than an hour. Then I usually could get her to take another around 3. Then she was awake until the bedtime routine started.

I'm not saying things were perfect. She would sometimes want to be up at 5am (ugh) and sometimes wouldn't want to nap at our agreed upon time (well I agreed but obviously she didn't). But overall it was looking promising. I have given up a few daytime activities in order to try and get this sleeping schedule going and it was nice to see that it was worth it.

Until this weekend,,,,,,,,, and that stupid time change.

Now it's all out the window.

I know you're thinking, "Well it's only an hour, what's the big deal?" Here's what the big deal is. Last night I had to put her to bed at 5pm because she was too tired and cranky for me to try and push her to the "new" 6pm. As a result, she was up at 12:30 for her night feed and then a bright and shiny 4:30am in the morning.

Baby waking up at 4:30 and wanting to start her day is completely unacceptable to me! So I did what every good mother does. I shut off the baby monitor, shoved her dummy/pacifier back in her mouth, shut her bedroom door, and prayed for sleep.... mine and hers.

This worked ok. I did have to get up several times yesterday morning and this morning to re-insert dummy/pacifier and plod back into my own bed. But each morning I refused to get her up and out of her bed until after 6am.

But since she was actually awake earlier than the time I let her out of her bed, she needed to nap earlier. So now her morning nap was at 7:30 and that threw off the rest of the day. I ended up trying to put her down 5 separate times for naps. I got about 30-45 minutes on 4 of those attempts. So it's just a mess. She no longer knows when she should be sleeping and neither do I.

Why do we have to do this again???

Anyway, tonight I'm going to try and push her bedtime back by 15 minutes and see how that goes. If that works then I'll try pushing it later and later until we get back to the "new" 6pm.

That should probably take a couple of weeks to get sorted and then we will be off for our trip home to California where the time difference will be 8 hours...... good times!!!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

She's No One's Show Pony

Frostina is a beautiful little girl with a smile that can melt your heart. She coos and babbles and has even laughed a few times. I love those moments with her. Those magical moments when we smile back and forth and "talk" about our day. Just the two of us gazing into each others eyes, feeling the love that flows between the two of us.

She's even cuter with The Hubby. She loves her Daddy!! In fact, the first time she laughed properly was with him. I love watching them interact. The way her eyes light up when he talks to her. The way she smiles at him and the way he smiles back. It's amazing to watch.

I wish everyone else could see just how cute she looks when she's sporting her toothless little grin. Unfortunately the second I whip out a camera she stops smiling.

Here's how it goes in our house.
  • Put the camera away, smile. 
  • Take the camera back out, no smile. 
  • Put the camera away, smile. 
  • Take the camera back out, no smile.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat.
In addition to her "no smiling for cameras" rule, Frostina seems to save her smiles for only a chosen few. You know how you see those babies who smile at everyone who even remotely glance in their direction?? Well Frostina is definitely not one of those babies. At the moment she will only smile for me, The Hubby, and the woman who comes once a week to clean our house.

Anyone else is out of luck. It's not like we never go anywhere. We're out and about all the time. Especially since we live in a city where people walk everywhere and we don't have a car. Everywhere we go there are people to interact with. So it's not like being around new people is something strange to her.

No matter how hard people try, and boy do people try... she just won't budge.

  • The nice old lady in the grocery store- no smile.
  • The other Mothers in our baby group- no smile.
  • My friends who we meet up with for lunch or coffee- no smile.
  • The nurse who does her immunizations- no smile.... although I with her on that one.
There have been a few exceptions to this but generally she only smiles at people on her terms,,, when she feels like it. So as a result I find myself bearing witness to grown adults trying their best tricks to get a smile out of this baby. You wouldn't believe how far people will go,,,, it's pretty comical.

When I warn them that she's not a huge smiler (is that a word?) they seem to take the information as a challenge. This information seems to spur them on even further. They now want to be one of the "chosen few" who get a smile. Mostly they fail.

I was expressing my frustration about this to a friend of mine this week. I want everyone who meets her to see just how amazing and happy she is. I want her to smile at them the way she smiles at us. So they can see just how cute she can be.

My friend just smiled and said, "Well she's no one's show pony... good for her."

I've always said to The Hubby that I can't wait for her to start showing us her personality. And she is... she's showing us that she's no one's show pony. She has a mind of her own and does what she wants, when she wants.

I suppose that in life, that trait will serve her well but for now I just wish she would smile for people..... or at least for the camera so I can prove to people that she actually can do it.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I'm Finally Packing For Three

It feels like my blogging life has come full circle.

Or it's about to.

Where it all started,,, it's about to return,,, but with a much happier result this time.

It's surreal on many levels.

I almost can't believe it's actually happening.

If you would have told the me of 2 years ago that this day would come I'm not sure I would have believed you.

And yet here it is.

We are planning a trip home to see the family. We leave in a couple of weeks and I've got so much planning and packing to do.

A trip we do and prepare for every year.

But this year we are actually bringing a living, breathing baby with us.

No ashes in an urn.

A real living baby.

A real living baby!!!

We get to do all the things we had planned before....

A christening.

Family photos.

Sharing our joy with our loved ones.

Such a different place from where this whole blogging journey began.

That day, almost two years ago, when I wrote this post and Finding My New Normal was born.

Friday, 5 November 2010

I should be packing right now.

I really should be packing. We are flying home to see the family for the first time since losing our son in August. This was going to be the first visit home for him to meet his grandparents and extended family. But instead of bringing home a happy baby, we are bringing home his ashes in a tiny plastic urn. Instead of being held by his loving parents, his ashes will be scattered in a beautiful place that we both love. It is not fair and I do not want to have to be doing any of this. So this is why I am not packing yet. Because once I start packing I have to face the reality that I am only packing for 2 and not for 3.

A post about packing for a trip home is where it all began.

And today I once again write about packing for a trip home.

But today things are very different than they were that dark and sad day in November of 2010.

This time around I'm finally packing for three!!!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Just Me And My Frosty (1 Year Later)

A year ago today I went in for a frozen embryo transfer. I had given our little frozen embryo the nickname Frosty because after years of infertility treatments you have to find ways to make things fun. Once we knew Frosty was a girl we changed her nickname to Frostina and that's still her name here on the blog.

I wrote all about that day and my feelings in this post. I was on my own and nervous, but very hopeful that day.

Fast forward to today, 1 year after that transfer and I am sitting here with our little girl in my arms. Well actually, at this very moment she's sleeping in her Daddy's arms,,,, but the point I'm making is that it worked!! I have a real life baby as a result of that frozen embryo transfer.

Somehow, that little embryo we nicknamed Frosty turned into a real life living baby.

1 year ago today I was sent back to my hotel room with a photo of a little embryo.

Today I have this amazing photo to look at.

We did these at Gymboree this week,,,, aren't they the cutest???

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Two 4 Month Milestones, Oh How Different They Are

I can't believe that in a couple of days my little Frostina will be 4 months old. I'd like to say that the time has flown by but that would be a lie. Life with a colicky baby moves at a snails pace. You find yourself counting down the days until the crying passes. Everyone tells you that 12 weeks is when that happens. So you wait and you wait and you wait.

Then at 12 weeks it happens! The colic passes just like everyone tells you it will. It's like magic. And it's wonderful.

She is like a different baby now. She's happy and playful and mostly only cries when she needs something. We've been getting out more now and doing fun things like baby groups and gymboree. She loves gymboree, especially the bubbles. She opens her mouth like she wants to eat them,,,, it's so cute.

She has just barely started to grab things and I'm still amazed each time I see her do something new. She has almost outgrown her moses basket so we've been putting her in her crib (cot bed) now. I was quite nervous about that, but with the video monitor with it's night vision I can actually see her better now in the dark than I could before. So if the need strikes (which it still does) I can watch her breathing in the middle of the night.

Back in December of 2010 I was experiencing a different 4 month milestone. It was 4 months since my son was born still. I wrote about it here. The two experiences couldn't be more different. 4 months out from the death and birth of my son vs 4 months out from the live birth of my daughter. The same amount of time.... yet completely different emotions.

I still think about him all the time. What he would be like. What he would look like. What kind of big brother he would have been to Frostina.

I saw a woman walking yesterday with a little boy who was about the age my son would have been. She was also pushing a buggy with a little girl who looked the same age as Frostina.

I started to cry when I saw them walking in front of me. They were a picture of what could have been. What should have been. What will never be.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Her First Cold

When you have a new baby you look forward to so many firsts. Her first smile, her first coo, her first steps. What you don't look forward to is the first time your little baby gets sick.

Well that's what happened this week. Our little Frostina got her first cold.

I know it's totally normal. I know all babies get sick. I know that I should expect between 8 and 10 colds a year. But it was still quite traumatic for me.

Of course it had to happen when The Hubby was away on business. Of course it had to happen at 11:30 on a Saturday night. Because it would have been way too convenient for it to start on  Tuesday afternoon when all the doctors offices are open and The Hubby was in town.

It started with a loud COUGH. I immediately rushed in thinking she was choking on something. That's when I noticed the snot,,,, and I knew exactly what it was.

The first night was rough. She wasn't sure what all this snot and coughing was all about. She was desperately tired and yet every time she was almost back asleep she would wake herself up with a cough. Then she would cry because she couldn't breathe or sleep.

My poor baby. Oh, and poor me who had to rock her in the chair from 3-5am until she was finally so exhausted that she was able to sleep through the coughs.

She's on the mend now. Still snotty and coughing, but sleeping much better. She still isn't eating as much because I'm sure it's hard to suck down a bottle when your nose is full of snot. But she's going to be OK.

Now if only I can recover in time for the next one!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

She Looks Just Like Her Daddy

That's what everyone tells me.

And they're right, she does look exactly like him. Like him in a way I didn't think was possible. I say this because I've always been one of those people who think too much is put into who the baby looks like. I've always said that babies look like babies. They look like each other. Or that they look like whoever is holding them.

Then my daughter arrived looking exactly like her father. So there goes my theory out the window.

I don't mind the comments, really I don't. People who tell me she looks just like him. Because she does.

There's just this one small thing..... she doesn't look at all like me.... and she won't... because we used an egg donor.

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it during my normal day. After all, I carried her for 37 weeks and gave birth to her just like every other mother. She is my daughter. I know this in my heart and in my soul.

But when someone says to me, "I hate to say this but I don't see any of you in her, I only see her Daddy," or, "That's not your face I see, it's got to be her Father's," it feels like a tiny stab in my heart. These people with their innocent comments. Well meaning, and quite accurate in their assessment that she looks nothing like me.

They are right, and for some reason that bothers me.

I guess I was hoping that by some twist of fate she would look more like me. A physical manifestation of the love and intense connection I feel for her. Not because it changes how I feel about her,,,, it doesn't. But I was just hoping that she would and when people would tell me she looked like me I could smile and thank them with a knowing twinkle in my eye.

It bothers me that this bothers me. After all, she's my miracle rainbow baby and I'm so blessed to have her. I guess this is just something I'm going to have to get over.

linking up with Shell

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger. It's not because I have nothing to say, it's just because I'm having trouble finding the time to write. The Hubby travels a lot for work so I'm on my own with Frostina a lot. When she finally does go to bed I'm so tired it's hard to string my thoughts together. So I apologize for not writing and for not commenting on your blogs. I am reading them and following your stories.

Here's a few quick updates on me.
  • I haven't seen my therapist again yet because she's been away, but I'm feeling much better and much less anxious.
  • Frostina's colic seems to be going away,,, slowly,, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • In addition to colic it appears she has reflux. We have just started treating this with a new dairy free formula (which is SUPER expensive) and baby antacid. Just made the switch yesterday so we will see how it goes.
  • Frostina still hates to nap, but I'm hoping the reflux meds will help with that.
Lots more to say, but no time for now. Again, I apologize and hope to be able to get better at writing here once I can get Frostina on some sort of schedule.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

It Could Have Happened Again

As I was writing about my struggles with anxiety and moodiness since Frostina was born I mentioned something in passing that I realized I haven't shared here on the blog. I don't know why I haven't talked about this before. It's actually a huge revelation and something that will affect any future pregnancies I may have. I'm going to blame baby brain and sleep deprivation because it's the only thing I can think of as to why this wasn't something I shared right away.

After Frostina was born, my doctor made the statement, "Well it's a good thing she was born today." When I asked why he explained that based on the very low fluid levels and the fact that my placenta looked quite degraded, it looked to him like the same thing that happened during my first pregnancy with my son had happened again. He also said that the cord was wrapped around her neck twice so it's a good thing we had planned for a C-section.

As you can imagine, this news came as quite a shock to me. Keeping in mind that I was laying in the recovery room with my much wanted rainbow baby in my arms when I received this news, I didn't ask too many questions. This bombshell of information was a bit lost in my new baby euphoria mixed with what I'm assuming was some pretty good pain meds. So I did little but acknowledge the information and then go back to staring at the beautiful baby girl who was laying on my chest.

When my doctor came to see me the next day I had many more questions. We talked in length about it then and also at my 6 week follow up appointment. Basically it turns out that the "infection or virus of unknown origin" that the pathologist thought was the cause of my immune system attacking the placenta was in fact not a virus or infection at all.

It was my own immune system rejecting the pregnancy like a person might reject an organ that is donated.

For whatever reason, the pregnancy triggered an autoimmune response that resulted in my son's tragic death. Apparently this kind of reaction is the strongest the first time you are pregnant and he suspects that the trouble started around 31 weeks or so (based on his review of my scans). Each subsequent pregnancy will still trigger a reaction, but each time it will be less aggressive and happen later.

With Frostina all was looking completely normal at my 36 week scan. We had already planned the C-section for 37 weeks which was on a Friday. I went in on the Wednesday before (1 week after a perfectly normal scan) for some last minute checks and to sign all the consent forms. At that appointment we did a mini-scan with his small laptop and I remember him mentioning that fluid levels were a bit low but not to worry because we were already scheduled for delivery in 2 days. So I didnt' worry.

Well as it turns out, the fluid levels were even lower by Friday. This is why my doctor said that it's a good thing she was born when she was. As it turns out, she didn't grow at all that last week. She was born at 5 pounds and 6 ounces which is smaller than he was expecting. But at 37 weeks she was full term and as we all know, things turned out fine. But it's so scary to think that if I didn't have such a good doctor and receive such vigilant care, things may have turned out much differently.

If I'd had a doctor who wasn't willing to scan me as often. If I'd had a doctor who didn't agree to schedule a C-section at 37 weeks exactly. If I'd had a doctor who wanted me to go full term, or try for a VBAC, or wasn't as educated in high risk pregnancies..... I shudder to think about that.

It could have happened again,,,,,,,

I'm so grateful that it didn't. I am truly grateful for the amazing medical care I received this pregnancy. And I'd also like to think that our angel in heaven did his bit to make sure his little sister was born safe and sound.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday In Heaven

I'm a day late on this because yesterday was crazy busy and very emotional. 

Two years my sweet boy.
Two years since you were born silently into this world.
Two years we have been learning to live without you.
Two years.

We miss you terribly. I wish you were here with us. I wish you could be here to meet your little sister. I wish we could have been a family of 4.

Two years and I miss you just like it was yesterday.

Happy Birthday in heaven my sweet baby boy.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Reality Of This Baby

As I've written about in my previous posts, I've really been all over the place emotionally since Frostina was born. At first I thought it was just normal baby blues and it would pass. Then as time went by and my feelings of overwhelming anxiety continued, I realized that maybe this wasn't something I could take care of on my own.

My first attempt to reach out didn't achieve the results I had hoped. I asked my OB (consultant) who told me that this was completely normal for someone in my situation with my history. I knew this didn't seem right so I didn't stop there. I reached out and was connected with a lovely therapist who not only has an office near me, but is willing to make house visits. Considering that Frostina is only 2 months old, a counsellor who is willing to come to me is amazingly convenient.

I had my first session with her this week and got a lot out of it. It was really nice to have someone to talk to about the jumbled up mess that is going on in my head right now. I realized that I really need to be in therapy right now. We had grief counselling after our son died and I found it amazingly helpful. We had a session with a therapist as part of our egg donation program. But since then we haven't had any kind of therapy.

In hindsight I'm not sure this was the greatest idea. We endured our entire pregnancy after a loss with no professional help. The time when you would think we would need the most support, we decided to go it on our own. I did consider it a few times, but just never got around to setting anything up. So all those fears and anxieties just built up inside me.

The result? A new Mommy who really needs therapy.

I've only had one session so far but here's what I know. I don't have post natal depression, but I do have lots of anxiety left over from my traumatic past that I need to work through. The birth of Frostina has brought back so many feelings surrounding the birth of my son. The comparisons between the pregnancies, the comparisons of the births, and the glaringly different outcomes.

Even though I have grieved my son, those feelings are still there, and having Frostina here with me just highlights how much I missed out on with him. The sleepless nights are real now, not imaginary. She has become the center of our household in a tangible way, while he was always only the center of our thoughts and dreams. He was and always will be the fantasy of a baby, his life unfulfilled, while she is the reality of a baby.

The reality of a baby. A baby who cries, and has colic, and cries some more. A baby who doesn't adapt to my idea of a schedule and won't go to sleep on demand. The reality of a baby after 2 years of dreaming about my fantasy of a baby. A fantasy baby who probably would have been very much like his sister if he had lived.

I have learned that I need to set aside my fantasies and deal with the reality of this baby. I have to allow myself to enjoy her and live in the moment. To stop trying to control everything and keep on top of all things. To not be so hard on myself. To relax more and to stress a bit less. Because she is her own little person who will exert her own will. Who will eat and sleep on her own schedule, and that's OK.

So that's what we're going to be working on in our sessions. The reality of this baby. This baby who is alive and here with us. The reality of this baby and everything that goes along with it. The fun parts and the challenging parts. The reality of this baby who we have wanted more than anything, who we love more than anything, and who has brought an amazing amount of joy and happiness to our family.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Someone With "My History"

I'm still waiting for answers as to what's going on with my moodiness. I did ask my doctor at my 6 week check up but he was very dismissive. He told me that if I was clinically depressed then I'd be frozen and wouldn't be able to even hold or feed my baby. He said that the mood swings I'm experiencing are completely normal for someone with "my history."

My History: Years of infertility... Finally getting pregnant... A full term stillbirth... Another pregnancy filled with fear and anxiety... The birth of my rainbow baby.

Apparently someone with my history should expect to feel like an emotional wreck? I'm not so sure all of this is normal. My doctor is an amazing doctor and I truly believe that without his vigilance and expertise this pregnancy would likely have ended like my first one. **I have good reason to think this. Have I written about that yet??? I don't think I have but I will soon.

Anyway, while his expertise in all things high risk pregnancy and placentas is amazing, I don't think that emotional issues are his strong suit. So I have a call into a therapist who specializes in pregnancy related issues. I am hoping that a sit down with her will help give me the answers I need.

Maybe the way I'm feeling is totally normal for someone with my history? Maybe it's not? Maybe I just need someone to talk to about it, especially as the two year anniversary of my son's birth creeps up on me?

I'm just wanting some answers so I can figure the best way to snap out of this. Because I really want to be able to enjoy Frostina and be the Mother she deserves without all the self doubt and anxiety.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Fighting Sleep & Asking For Help

Lately Frostina has been fighting sleep. She's clearly tired and will fall asleep if someone is holding her. But the moment we set her down she's up again. Up and fussy. It can take some time to calm her down again and then she will sleep for a bit and then it all starts over. Lots and lots of crying. Lots and lots of time with a fussy, unhappy baby. A fussy tired baby who just won't go to sleep.

Just keep holding her? Well that would be fine if we didn't have to eat or sleep or pee, but it's not always possible to do that. Plus sometimes she will wake herself back up even when we do hold her. Everyone says that this is normal behaviour for a 7 week old baby. Everyone says it gets better. I want to believe everyone when they tell me this, but for now I'm pulling my hair out.

I have tried medicine for gas/wind which did nothing so I'm trying something new. My new strategy is two fold. First, I switched to these new bottles which are supposed to help them swallow less air, this resulting in less wind. These Dr Brown bottles promise miracles, I'll wait and see how they work.

In addition to the new bottles, I've started with a bedtime routine. We have a bath followed by a massage. Then we eat and get swaddled and put into bed. The first night this bath time routine worked like a charm. The second two nights,,, not so much. She went to bed each time looking sleepy, calm, and peaceful. This peace lasted about 10 minutes before she was back up and screaming again. But I will persevere because I'm hoping that with repetition she will figure out that bath + food = sleep.

She is the light of my life and the joy in my heart, but at this moment she is one fussy baby. I am at my wits end. I just want to make her happy. I just want her to be content and not cry all the time when she's awake. I want her to sleep well so that when she does have awake time it can be happy and fun. It may or may not be related to the colic. She may or may not actually have colic. She may just be going through a fussy phase.

Either way it's distressing and frustrating. Last night I had another meltdown about it all. When she's unhappy like this I feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. I feel like I'm not a good mother to be feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. Then the guilt starts again because after all, she's alive. Alive and well and living at home with us. I can hold her in my arms and not just in my heart. And yet I find myself wanting to escape from the crying. To let The Hubby handle it while I curl up and cry.

I've got my 6 week post c-section appointment today. It's a bit late because my doctor has been away. I think I need to ask him about all the stress and anxiety I'm feeling. I think perhaps it's more than just having colic. I think maybe I may be dealing with some post partum depression. It's a scary thought because I've always seen myself as a stable, have my stuff together kind of person.

Accepting that I may be suffering from some kind of depression is difficult for me. Maybe this is normal? Maybe every new mother feels like this? At this point I have no idea. All I know is that The Hubby is worried about me, and I'm worried about me too. So I owe it to myself, The Hubby, and most importantly,,, to Frostina to figure it out. And to get help if that's what I need.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Maybe I Have Colic Too?

Frostina has colic.

It's not the worst case of colic I've ever heard of, trust me I've heard some stories. But it's distressing nontheless. She cries and screams and just won't settle. Usually it happens around 7 or 8 at night and can continue until midnight. It's not every day, although we have been on a 3 day streak.

I've read all the books and tried a bunch of different things to help calm her. Nothing seems to work except holding her close, walking around, and waiting until she finally wear herself out and falls asleep. By this time, The Hubby and I are also exhausted and we all fall asleep. After an episode of colic she sleeps very well and wakes up the next morning in a great mood. As if the events of the night before never happened.

It's strange watching your happy baby suddenly transform into a unhappy fussy little person. It's frustrating when there's nothing you can really do to fix it for her. We don't know the cause and we really can't fix it until she gets a bit older and grows out of it. Until then we just have to learn how to cope with an unpredictable baby.

I can relate to Frostina's mood swings because I am having them myself.

I'm not sure exactly what is going on with me. Is it normal baby blues? Is it post natal depression? Is my period getting ready to start again and I have PMS? Whatever it is, my hormones are still not settled and as a result I swing from feeling totally happy and in love with my baby to totally exhausted and feeling like I can't handle another night of crying.

I have noticed that my moods have a timetable of their own. I wake up each morning happy and fresh. I feed Frostina with enthusiasm and we enjoy our time in the activity center and swing. We go out for walks and sometimes meet up with friends. The two of us are a happy pair.

As evening comes, something changes. I find myelf feeling tired and riddled with fatigue. Not just physical fatigue, but emotional fatigue. It is at this point where my doubts and insecurities start to kick in. My mind fills with questions and doubts.

Did I do everything right today?
Did I give her enough tummy time?
Did I give her enough stimulation via music and the activity center?
Did I cuddle her enough?
Why didn't I manage to give her a bath today?
Is it ok to let her sleep in her daytime clothes or should I be switching her to pajamas?
Is it bad that I haven't figured out a bedtime routine yet?
Should I be reading books to her?
Am I a good mother?
Am I doing a good job?
Am I doing everything right? - I seem to be obsessed with doing everything right.

Exhausted with this list yet? I know I am.

This list of questions and doubts (and lots more) starts floating around in my head. Am I a good mother? Does the fact that I doubt myself make me a bad mother? Does the fact that sometimes I wish there was someone else who could swoop in when she's crying and make it all better make me a bad mother? Don't get me wrong, The Hubby is amazing and a huge help, but sometimes (especially during her fussy colicky moments) all she wants is me.

As the evening turns into night and these doubts and worries have had a chance to stew in my head I start to get anxious. Anxious that she will be colicky again tonight. Anxious that it's my fault that she's so fussy and won't settle. Worried that she will cry until late in the night and I won't be able to get enough sleep to make it through the next day.

This anxiety and worry exhaust me and I get to the point where all I want to do is go to bed and sleep. Of course, this isn't possible during a night of colic because no one could sleep through the crying. So I often find myself crying right along with her.

The worst part of it all is that I get mad at myself for feeling this way. After all, she is my rainbow baby. When we lost our son I longed for sleepless nights and dirty diapers. I always swore that if I was ever lucky enough to have a rainbow baby I would embrace it all. I swore I would never complain, because a fussy baby is always better than a dead one.

So I beat myself up for being ungrateful. How can I have a moment of unhappiness about Frostina when she alive and here with us?

She's my take home baby. The one I prayed for. The one I wanted more than anything in life. So how can I reconcile the fact that sometimes I just wish I could escape from all the crying? Not ever to escape from her of course, but sometimes I just wish the crying fairy would come in and calm her down and get her to sleep.

Last night I had a talk with The Hubby about my moods. He's a bit worried as well. Neither of us can figure out exactly what it is or how to deal with it. So for now we're taking it day by day and hope that in time it will go away.

That's when I realized that my moods flux just like Frostina's. We both wake up each morning happy as can be and get fussy at night. So that's when it hit me. Maybe I have colic too?

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Just Bin It

Having lived in England for 6 and a half years I've picked up some of the lingo. One of the terms I love is to bin it which means to throw something away. I'm not sure why I like this one so much, but I do. 

Back in January I was cleaning out my fridge and came across a bottle or Lupron left over from our IVF cycles. I wrote about how I was unable to throw it away "just in case" something went wrong and I needed to use it again. I was so worried that things wouldn't go to plan and I would be back at step one again.

Today I was doing a bit of fridge cleanup again. Side note... this makes my life sound soooo exciting doesn't it?? I found the bottle hiding in the same spot. I suddenly remembered exactly how I felt back in January.

Back in January when I was filled with so much fear. Filled with so much worry. Filled with so many what ifs. I was worried that by throwing away the bottle I was somehow testing fate. That getting rid of it would seem smug and way too confident. So I kept the bottle, even though my logical mind knew that simply keeping or not keeping medicine in your fridge has no influence on the outcome of a pregnancy.

But today is different. Today I am holding my precious rainbow baby in my arms. Today I know the outcome, and I have no need to hold onto fertility medications in my fridge. Especially since the bottle expired in April.

So what did I do??

I tossed it into the bin, and I smiled while I was doing it.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

I'm Finally One Of Them

I live in a part of London that is very family friendly. If you walk around town you will see a million baby buggies and pregnant women. You will also see a bunch of children on their way to and from school as there are a bunch of schools around. There are babies everywhere and because it's London, most people walk as opposed to driving so they are impossible to miss.

After losing our son in 2010 walking around town was painful. Each happy Mother with her sleeping baby that I passed was a dagger in the heart. I used to wear my sunglasses everywhere to hide the tears that would spring into my eyes when I saw them. Tears about my loss and also a longing to be one of "them." A longing to have a living baby of my own that I could walk through town with.

Each baby I saw brought the same thought to my mind, "Well her baby didn't die." I would torture myself with this sentence. All these women whose babies didn't die, so why did mine have to?

I know it's morbid, but I often wondered how she would be if our situations were reversed. If she was the teary woman hiding behind her sunglasses and I was the happy new Mom walking through town with her new baby. I wondered if people could tell that the mere sight of their babies was causing me so much pain. If people could tell that I was damaged. Based on the comments I got about how well I was doing I gather that I did a good job at hiding my despair.

Earlier this week I turned a corner. I ventured out of the house to meet a few friends for lunch. It took some doing, but I finally got Frostina and myself ready for the occasion. I walked up to the restaurant to meet my friends who were eager to meet Frostina for the first time. We had a lovely time and Frostina miraculously slept the entire time. It was lovely to be out of the house. As nervous as I was to take her out, it really broke up the day and it's something I will try to do more often.

When I got home, I had an email from one of my friends who was at the lunch. Attached to the email was this photo. I didn't even realize she had taken it but she said I looked so happy she couldn't resist.

I took one look at the photo and an amazing thought hit me.

I'm finally one of "them."

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Peeking Into The Moses Basket

Having a newborn baby around is a lot of work. People tell you this all the time, but until you've got your own at home you don't actually realize the impact of those words. The constant vigilance, the lack of sleep, and the general worries of new mothers are all consuming. They run through your mind even when the baby is sleeping soundly.

Each day is much like the last.
Change the baby.
Feed the baby.
Burp the baby.
Hear a loud rumble and realize you need to change the baby again.
Get the baby to sleep.
Have that internal debate with yourself while baby is sleeping. Do I sleep too? Wait, I've got to wash the dishes, or send birth announcements, or shower, or eat, or go to the bathroom,,,, this list goes on and on.

Finally you make a decision on what to do. Whatever your choice, you do it in a rush while constantly watching your baby to make sure she's still alive.

That's right, I said still alive.

Because at the moment that's my main worry with Frostina. Will she still be alive when I next peek in on her? I creep up to her moses basket a hundred times a day. Each time hoping that she will still be with us on this earth. Just as I'm about to take a peek these thoughts rush through my mind. Will she be breathing? Will she be blue? Will she be white? Or will she look a healthy shade of pink?

Will she look dead like her brother did when I saw him? 

Will she be dead like her brother was when I saw him? 

Unless you've seen a lifeless baby you probably can't imagine what I'm talking about. But if you have,,,, like I have,,, then your greatest fear is that you will have to see that again. That vision of your beloved baby, lying still with no life in him is something that never leaves you. It's a vision that I try to push out of my mind, and yet every time I peek into the moses basket I worry that it's exactly what I will find. I know every new mother worries about her baby, but when you've lost one that worry increases by a million percent.

So I'm hyper vigilant. I'm on constant alert. Watching, listening, worrying, and then doing it all over again. I've been getting these headaches on a daily basis. Headaches brought on by tension. I've been noticing that I'm never fully relaxed. I seem to have constant tension in my shoulders and in my jaw. Even when I'm doing mundane things like washing bottles I notice that I have to remind myself to relax my body. Remind myself to relax my mind and try to quiet the thoughts that are racing around in it. Such a feat to calm the mind and the body, a feat I'm not always successful at.

So I'm working on trying to live in the moment, and enjoy what I have, and not worry so much. I hope that in time I will be able to peek into the moses basket without fear. Or that like my grief, I will get better at living with the fear as time goes on.

But for now I will continue to peek into the moses basket, and wish for the best.

Joining in with Shell today over at

Friday, 6 July 2012

Breastfeeding Woes

I will warn you now, this post is going to be all about breastfeeding and my struggles with it. If you're not in the same place in life as I am you may find this post immensely boring so I'm giving you permission to skip it now.

Still here? OK here goes.

I am no longer breastfeeding Frostina. Yes I know she's only a month old (almost) and that I should try harder and longer and all that stuff. But it just didn't work for me, or for her, so I'm not doing it anymore.

I won't go into all the specifics of my failings but here's a brief summary of the issues.
  1. I have what the lactation consultants call "flat nipples." This was news to me but apparently The Hubby already knew this because it's what he first suggested when she wouldn't latch on. Since women don't go around comparing nipples I had no idea mine weren't as "perky" as the norm. 
  2. As a result of said flat nipples, it's hard for Frostina to latch on. This resulted in crying and pushing away and lots of anger on her part about not being able to eat.
  3. It was also hard for Frostina to latch on because she was so small at birth. The doctors said that at 37 weeks she was considered full term, but at 5 lbs 6 oz she was just tiny and tiny babies sometimes have trouble latching on. 
  4. As a result of no latching, my milk supply didn't even begin to come in until about day 6 or 7.
  5.  I started doing a bunch of pumping to try and get the milk to come in which worked a bit but I still have a limited supply. 
  6. This created a triple threat of issues. Small baby + crappy nipples + low milk supply = big issues with breastfeeding. 
  7. We have been feeding her a combination of formula and whatever breast mild I could manage to pump into a bottle. She has no issues eating from bottles but definitely seems to prefer the breast milk. This gave me hope that eventually she would latch on and eat away.
  8. At the suggestion of the lactation consultant I started using breast shields.
  9. The breast shields worked like a charm,,,,,,, at first. We were breastfeeding! I was super happy to be rid of the pump and be feeding my baby as I had imagined I would be able to do.
  10. After about a week on the breast shields Frostina decided that she hated them and the whole breastfeeding thing. She started refusing the breast, with or without the shield. The result was a bunch of kicking and crying and pushing away. Not fun for either of us. 
  11. So I finally threw in the towel and have figured out that my baby will be bottle fed. I'll still pump (ugh) so she can have the benefits of breast milk and supplement with formula since I can't seem to make enough of the stuff.
This was not the way I saw things going. I really wanted to exclusively breastfeed. However, Frostina didn't see things the same way. So it's bottles for us. I will still pump and hopefully my supply won't dry up for a while. So Frostina will be a combination fed baby and hopefully she will be as healthy and happy as a baby who's mother was able to breastfeed her.

I feel like a failure... but at least she's happy which I suppose is the most important thing at the end of the day.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Apologies For The Silence

Things are hectic around here right now. In addition to our new baby I've also got my parents visiting from the US. So in my "downtime" I'm either sleeping or entertaining family. That leaves no time to write unfortunately. I have lots of things floating around in my head but no time to write them down. So apologies for the silence. It's not because I've run out of things to say, I just can't seem to find the time.

Family leaves at the end of this week so hopefully I'll have more time to write then. I miss this space.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Cards- Sort Of Silent Sunday

It is so much nicer to receive congratulations on your new baby cards than to receive condolence cards. 
It's a stark contrast to 2010. 
We are truly blessed.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

It is me...........the Hubby

My wife has asked me many times over the last year+ if I wanted to "guest post". I always said NO, this was her space. I still believe it is, and I am pretty sure this will be my one and only post. After this I will go back to being a fan........

June 8th, 2012 was the happiest day of my life. At 8:49am when I heard that wonderful sound.....the sound of my baby girl........our Frostina crying as she entered this world. I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT MOMENT!  In a instant, overwhelming joy..and yes RELIEF swept through my body. SHE MADE IT!

In order to get to this moment, I want to express my thoughts about 3 "people".

The 1st is someone I will never know. There are many people like her...........women who for some reason have chosen to give a gift. A gift that can never be repaid. Why these women choose to do this, what inspires them, what motivates them, I will never understand. But for the lady who donated her that my wife and I could be make Frostina a possibility....THANK YOU. I hope somehow you "know"......I am forever GRATEFUL!

The 2nd "person" I want to recognise is......YOU. Yes you. the loyal followers to my wife's blog. When she started this, it was her way to go somewhere private, to write what she was one to judge her. No family, no friends....and yes at first no hubby. Just her "place".

What this blog has turned into, truly amazes me. The community of support. Women with similar stories and loss and struggle. Whether you know it or not, you have been something for her no one else could be. But without you, I'm not sure if she could have made this journey. You have motivated, inspired and supported my wife so wonderfully from her 1st blog about losing our son, through some funny moments ( top 10 infertility list) to the joy of Frostina's arrival. THANK YOU!

The 3rd..of course is my wife. I know you say you do not feel like it at times. But you are truly the strongest person I know. If not for your strength, determination and most of all your LOVE...........Frostina would not be here today. I could write a book on everything you have put yourself through.........all the doctors appointments, all the flights, all the shots, all the medications.

NO ONE deserves to be called MOMMY more than you. The joy and smile on your face holding our so truly beautiful.

We will never forgot our son...........he lives in our hearts everyday. I know he would be such a great big brother to Frostina...........

I Love you with all my heart...........

Frostina's Daddy

Thursday, 21 June 2012

First Week Home

Well we have been home for just over a week and life is hectic. I am slowly learning to adjust to a life that is dictated by feeding schedules. Frostina is doing great. She eats every 3-4 hours and does a bit of crying and sleeping in between. She is an absolute doll and I love her more each time I look at her.

She has also been spending a bit of time in her activity center,,, which she loves. It's amazing to me that she can already focus a bit on the brightly colored stuffed toys hanging from it. She also tracks our faces when we talk which gives us a chance to stare into her beautiful blue eyes. They make us melt. I want so badly to put her into her baby bouncer and the baby bjorn carrier but she's still too small for them, so for now it's just the activity center and tummy time and her moses basket.

She is already Daddy's little girl. They spend lots of skin to skin time which is sooooo cute. I can't decide who enjoys the time more, Daddy, Frostina, or me. All I know is that The Hubby is a great Dad and we're both lucky to have him.

I am struggling a bit with the lack of sleep. Part of the problem is that I'm also struggling with breastfeeding. I don't have enough milk and Frostina isn't good at latching on. So it's a continual cycle. As a result I've been pumping to get more milk. I hate the pump!

Because Frostina is still a tiny little thing (just over 5 lbs) we have to worry about her losing too much weight. So at the moment she's getting two bottles. One of expressed breast milk (which I have to pump at every feed), and one of formula. It's a lot of work because basically I'm breastfeeding (well, trying to) and bottle feeding. That's two bottles for every feed plus a pumping session afterwards.

The result is one tired Mommy!! Sleeping in 1-2 hour bursts is not something I'm good at.

Yesterday I had a major meltdown spewing my hatred for the breast pump. I was ready to throw in the towel on the whole breastfeeding thing. I am just frustrated that I've failed so miserably at it so far. I really want to breastfeed but had no idea just how difficult it would be for me. Something needed to change, and fast.

So we came up with a new strategy. I do all of the above for every feed except for the first night feed which is usually around 11pm. That feed The Hubby and my Mom will do without me. So I get almost 6 hours of sleep if all goes well.

We tried this for the first time last night and I already feel like a new woman!! 

I'm sure there's a ton more to update but my brain is mush and I need to hurry up and eat and shower before she wakes up and I'm back on Mommy duty!

*Oh, and The Hubby has expressed an interest in doing a guest post here on the blog so watch out for that.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Frostina's Homecoming

Wow what a week! It still seems surreal. I have an actual living baby in my home. She cries, and poops, and keeps me awake at night. She's very good at that bit by the way. It's wonderful and overwhelming at the same time.

My Mother is over from the US to help out, without her I'm not sure what we would do. She did not subscribe to my "don't buy anything until the baby is born" philosophy. As a result, I was greeted home with a sea of pink. There were tons of cute clothes and a quilt she made herself.

I was overwhelmed with emotion when I entered the house. When I left for the hospital there was barely any sign that a baby was on it's way. When I returned with Frostina in my arms, my house was overflowing with baby gear. So I responded the way any new Mom would, with floods of tears. Overwhelmed by my hormones and feeling of relief for Frostina's safe arrival I surrendered to them and let the tears flow freely.

As I sat on my couch crying I had a flashback to August 2010. I had sat on that very same couch back then crying a million tears. Mourning my loss with empty arms and a broken heart. From the outside it looked the same, but it couldn't be more different. This time I was crying tears of joy. My heart and my house was full. Filled of love and joy, but more importantly filled with a living baby and lots of baby stuff.

Frostina sleeping in her new bed in her new home.

Monday, 11 June 2012


I am overjoyed.

I know I've already told you this, but I think that's the best word to describe how amazing it feels to finally have Frostina in my arms. I can't think of any other way to describe it. So I won't, I'll stick to overjoyed.

The Hubby and I are overjoyed. This little girl has brought back a feeling of happiness and contentment that I think we both thought we had lost forever. When she was born she came out screaming,,, a beautiful sound,,, and The Hubby and I instantly burst out into tears too. So there we were, the three of us in a chorus of crying. We were surrounded by doctors and midwives and nurses and yet were were alone together in that room. In that special moment it was just the three of us.

The song we were singing was one of pain and loss and relief and joy all at the same time. It's amazing how much tears can communicate. Our tears on that day were a release of two years of grief plus eight years of the pain of infertility. That's ten years of struggling before we have finally been blessed with a living baby. So as you can imagine, there were lots of tears to be shed.

I'm overflowing with love for this little girl. Every morning when I wake up I have this strong need to hold her. To ensure myself she's real. Once I get her in my arms the tears flow. I cry one of those ugly snotty cries. Not because I'm sad, but because I'm so desperately relieved and happy she's here. If she were awake during this time I'm sure she would be wondering what her crazy Mommy is doing. But thankfully she sleeps through my sobs and my tears falling onto her face.

When I look at her little face I feel at peace. I think for the first time since we lost our son I can honestly say that I am able to feel joy again. Real joy and a fresh hope for the future. Please don't think I've forgotten my son who looks down on us from heaven. I haven't and never will. But I think he would want me to be able to feel happiness again. And for the first time in a long time, I think I'm going to be able to.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Welcome To The World Frostina

Today is a wonderful day. Our little Frostina was born healthy and alive!!!!

She came out crying and it was the best sound I've ever heard. I don't know who cried more, Frostina, The Hubby, or Me.

She is doing great and I am overjoyed.

I will post more later but for now I'm just drinking her in.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Countdown To Baby... 2 Days

I am starting to believe.

We met with my consultant (doctor) today for our final appointment. We got to see Frostina on his tiny little machine and she's still doing great. Head down finally after spending most of this pregnancy transverse. Not that it matters since I'm having a C-section, but the consultant said her position will make it easier to get to her which is good. In addition we got to hear her heartbeat which is always music to my ears.

We went over the procedure and schedule for Friday. We have to be at the hospital pretty early in the morning but that's just as well because I'm sure we won't get much sleep on Thursday night. I asked all my questions and signed the necessary consent forms.

And that's it. We're done. The only thing left to do is get through the next 2 days and then deliver this baby!


Monday, 4 June 2012

Countdown to baby... 4 days

That's right, 4 days until we're set to meet Frostina. We have been living in countdown mode for the past week and are pretty much driving ourselves crazy. I haven't wanted to post about this any earlier because it still feels like we're tempting fate. That somehow by writing it down we might become just a bit too smug, a bit too sure of our happy ending.

Now for most people, being smug and sure of your happy ending is just fine. That's because most people get their happy endings. They manage to go through life on the right side of the odds, skirting tragedy at every turn. They can complain about their pregnancies and say things like, "I'm so done with this pregnancy," and, "I can't wait to get this baby out of me," without fear or worry that anything real will go wrong. They can interview and hire their night nanny before their 20 week anomaly scan and consider themselves good planners and well prepared.

I am not most people though. I am the kind of person that bad things happen to. I am the 1 in 1000. I am that total fluke. I am the person that doctors say things like, "It's very rare, but it does happen," to. I am the person who really should buy lottery tickets because I seem to beat all the odds.

So even though I know that it is highly likely that Frostina will be born healthy and alive, I still cannot seem to wrap my mind around it all. Even though she kicks all the time and all her scans have been glowing, I still cannot allow myself to fully embrace the idea that we will be taking her home with us. I cannot allow myself to believe it fully, not just yet.

Which should make for an interesting first few weeks at home since we are completely unprepared for an actual baby!

I think the word to describe how I am feeling today is disbelief.

4 days to go.

Friday, 1 June 2012

What On The Hubby's Mind

Today my amazing and fabulous husband posted his feelings about our daughter's upcoming birth on his facebook page. I am 36 weeks pregnant and we are one week away from her delivery date. Frostina has officially outlived her brother now, a fact that is both joyful and bittersweet. We're thrilled for her and yet so desperately sad that things didn't work out for him.

Reading his words today touched me so much for so many reasons. I am removing the names and sharing it with all of you because I think it's such an important reminder that husbands lose babies too. So much focus is on the women and how we're doing. People want to know how we're coping and often the men are pushed aside and forgotten.

We should never forget that men grieve as much as we do. They feel the loss just as much as we do. There is a club of Baby Loss Dads out there who deserve as much support and love as we Baby Loss Moms get. So without any further chatter from me. Here's what was on The Hubby's mind today.

What's on my mind.....1 thing....1 WEEK TO GO!!! After more than 10 years trying, disappointments, medical opinions from LA to SF to London and Washington, to the ultimate joy of my wife getting pregnant on xmas eve 2009 and then the ultimate loss of our son, through this 2 year journey of grief followed by new hope........we are down to 1 meet and hold our little girl.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Still Good News

Well look at me, two posts in two days. I'm just glad it's because there is more good news to report.

We had another scan yesterday and all is still going well with Frostina. I would have loved some more photos to go with the great news but alas, when babies get this big they just don't photograph well via ultrasound. So no photos, just happy news.

She is still growing like a champ. Estimated weight is now 5 lbs 13 oz. I'm not sure exactly how accurate the doctor's estimates are but it's definitely up from last time. The doctor also checked her fluid levels and the blood flow through the umbilical cord, both of which are great. Reading that back makes her sound like a car being taken in for an oil change. Fluid levels- check, blood flow- check, heartbeat- check. Whatever it sounds like, she passed her baby jiffy lube ultrasound update with flying colors!

I mentioned the call to the labor ward the night before. He asked about the contractions and said they sounded like either braxton hicks or maybe I ate something that didn't agree with me. I think he said this because the pain was so high up. Either way, he double checked my cervix and verified that it is still intact and shut tight. So whatever it was, it didn't get anything going as far as labor is concerned.

He also said that if there is a next time I should emphasize my history to the midwives on the phone and insist on coming in for 30 minutes of monitoring. He didn't seem too happy that based on my history that they let me off the phone so easily. So now I know to push harder, but I do hope I don't have a repeat of those braxton hicks or whatever they were. One of the biggest benefits of having a scheduled c-section is no labor pains so I'll pass on them if I can. I am not one of those women who feel like I'm missing out on the birthing experience because I don't have to feel actual contractions. So screw them and get me straight to the drugs please!

I was very nervous this scan because it's the one where I got the horrible news the last time. So seeing that all is well was a huge relief. I even said these words, OUT LOUD AND EVERYTHING, "I guess we're really going to have this baby."

It's as if it's finally dawning on me that things may actually work out this time. That we may actually end up with a living, breathing, take-home baby. A baby that we have bought nothing for because I'm so paranoid that things may go wrong. Yikes!

Looks like we will be bringing our rainbow baby home after all!
*I hope I haven't tempted fate by writing this*

I need June 8th to hurry up and get here!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Silly Braxton Hicks

We had a bit of fun at Casa de New Normal last night. If your idea of fun is having contractions and calling the labor ward at 1am. Before I go any further let me assure you that I am not in labor. But I did think I was for a little bit last night.

I had a night out with the girls at a local pub last night. I got home around 10:30 and was in bed by 11. I had been feeling good all day, just a bit stiff after having to sit in a booth at the pub for so long. I laid down to relax and Frostina had a good stretch and kick session. We were both relieved to be laying down I think.

I was almost asleep when I felt the tightening in my stomach. Braxton Hicks contractions I assumed. I have been getting them from time to time, almost always when I'm in bed. But these were different. For one, they made me have to use the toilet (sorry TMI but it wasn't pee). They also didn't go away in 2 or 3 minutes like they usually do. I had pain in my upper back and my whole belly was contracting.

I got out of bed and tried walking around to get them to stop. That usually works with my BH contractions. This time it didn't work. By this time I was feeling the contractions in my upper belly and they were making me feel nauseous. I started to wonder if maybe it was my dinner. Was the fish in my fish and chips bad? Was I in actual labor???

That thought stopped me in my tracks. Was I in actual labor? I never had BH contractions in my last pregnancy and since I delivered via C-section I never had any contractions. Maybe this was what they felt like. Why didn't I pack my hospital bag this weekend like I promised The Hubby I would do? At this point I decided I should probably wake up The Hubby,,,, you know in case we had to head down to the hospital or something.

I went into the bedroom and woke him up. He was actually pretty calm considering I woke him up to tell him I was having some sort of contractions and we might be having a baby tonight. His first response was to scold me for not packing my hospital bag. I knew that was coming and I deserved it. But I hate when he gets to be the one to say "I told you so." It goes against the natural order of husband and wife things. "I told you so" is sooooo my line. But I digress.

I dug out the number for the labor ward that I got when I met with the midwives a few weeks ago. I called and explained all my symptoms. She asked all the important questions including if my waters had broken (no), if I had a show (no), and if the baby was still moving (yes). The very nice and very calm midwife said it sounded like braxton hicks and apparently it's not uncommon for them to make you nauseous. She advised me to take some paracetamol (Tylenol) and try to sleep. If they didn't get better than to call back.

So I took the pain relief and got back in bed. The contractions eased almost immediately. Not from the pills I'm guessing but because I felt much more calm after talking to the midwife. I wonder how many calls they get a night from people like me? I was able to fall asleep within a half an hour. So obviously not real labor, because we all know that taking two paracetamols (Tylenol) wouldn't touch real labor pain.

I have an appointment with my doctor today so I can discuss this whole incident with him. Plus it's a scan so I get to see Frostina again!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Right Where I Am: One Year, Nine Months, & Two Weeks

For the second year I am participating in a special project for Baby Loss Moms. Angie over at Still Life With Circles has established a link up where we can talk about where we are in our grief right now. I haven't read any of the entries yet because I wanted my thoughts to be unclouded, but when I'm done with this I plan to head on over and read them all. I encourage you to do the same.

I participated last year and when I'm done writing this post I will go back and see where I was a year ago. But I want to get this out first before I take that stroll down memory lane.

Right Where I Am: One Year, Nine Months, &  Two Weeks

I'd like to be able to say that I'm all better now. That once you get past the first year that things somehow get easier, but that's not really the case. In lots of ways I still can't believe I made it through the first year. All the anniversaries and milestones, each one more difficult than the last. But somehow, The Hubby and I managed our way through.

We managed our way through what is probably one of the most difficult and painful things a couple can go through with our marriage intact. In fact, I'd say that our marriage is stronger than it ever was, something that I am eternally grateful for. We have learned to communicate in a way that we probably didn't before. We didn't need to know how to share our greatest fears and deepest sorrow before, because our life had not been touched by tragedy. But now it has, and we have figured out a way to come together and ride the storm as one.

This past year has been a busy one. I am currently 35 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby. This pregnancy has not been easy emotionally. Being pregnant again has brought some of the memories of our son back into my mind. I'm constantly living with flashbacks to when I was pregnant with him, comparisons between this pregnancy and the last, and all the what ifs.

What if I had been more vigilant with him?
What if I had been more closely monitored?
What if they had noticed he wasn't growing properly?
Could we have saved him?
Would he have been OK?
How would I have managed being pregnant with a toddler?
Would he have been a good big brother?

All this and more. All questions that I will never have answers to.

I'm having a very difficult time managing my fear during this pregnancy. Especially now since I am at the point where we lost him. I am constantly afraid that she will die too. That she will stop moving. That something horrible will happen and we won't make it to the hospital in time. That somehow she will be ripped from us just like he was. Every scan and every doctor appointment I am prepared for the worst.

It's not how I wanted to be pregnant. I wanted to be blissfully happy like I was last time. I want to feel that innocence again. That unspoiled joy. A joy that hasn't been touched by tragedy and pain. But that isn't my story anymore. I am a baby loss mom who is lucky enough to be pregnant again. I know firsthand just how horribly things can go wrong. I know this and somehow I need to manage the strength and faith to get through the next few weeks.

If I survive with my sanity intact and my baby still alive then that will be one huge accomplishment.

So where am I now? I'd say overall I'm better. The pain is still there of course, but it lets me have more good days than bad. It comes back every so often to remind me it's still there, but then it lets me get on with my life. I know I will never be over this, that I am forever changed.

I am forever changed and it is up to me where I go from here.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lather, Rinse, Repeat



Lather, rinse, repeat

This my friends is my life these days. A constant swinging of emotions. I go from hopeful to anxious and back again. I haven't figured out how to balance it all just yet. We are so close to meeting our little lady, and yet so far away. I'm being seen weekly by the doctor now which is helpful and reassuring. But the days in between visits are a form of torture. Is she OK? Will she live? Will the next Dr visit bring bad news? Where is that fast forward button?

I'm 34 weeks pregnant. 34 weeks is the last time I know for sure that my son was still alive. He died sometime between 34 and 36 weeks. He died at this exact stage of pregnancy.

How on earth am I going to be able to make it through this exact stage of pregnancy again without completely losing my sanity? What if it happens again? How will I cope? How will The Hubby cope?

Everything is different this time. She is much bigger; much more active; and according to the doctor, thriving in a way he never did. She is doing well. She is going to be born healthy and alive.

When she's moving around I feel love and joy and happiness. When she's not I feel panic.

I know babies don't move around 24 hours a day. I know they do actually sleep. I know she's much more active than he ever was. But my heart is unable to hear reason. It loves so hard and it doesn't know how to overcome the fear. So it panics. Even when my brain tells it it's being silly. It doesn't listen. The heart feels what it feels. Then I feel her moving again and all is right with the world.


Lather, rinse, repeat

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Your Husband Has Had A Minor Heart Attack- Would You Like A Cup Of Tea?

Because we need just a bit more drama in our lives right now!

Let me start off by saying that The Hubby is fine. He's home and a bit shaken and tired, but he's fine. Apologies in advance for such a long post but so much happened and I just want to get it out there in one go.

We have had a crazy couple of days here at Casa de My New Normal. A couple of days that I would like to never have to go through again. It all started on Thursday night when The Hubby got back from a work trip. He had been travelling for a few days and had been on several short hop flights. All with a carry-on that was too heavy because he was worried about the airlines losing his bag.

When he got home he immediately started complaining that his back and neck were very sore from carrying his bag. He was really tired and just wanted to eat dinner and relax. Because I'm 34 weeks pregnant and in the running for wife of the year, I had nothing prepared. So he settled for a can of chili which as usual he added lots of extra spicy chilies and onions.

Shortly after dinner he asked me for some of my heartburn medication. He said the chili was making his chest hurt. I gave him some but it didn't help. He was making these funny faces and grabbing at the left side of his chest. He said that he was having really sharp chest pains and that they were getting worse.

Trying not to panic, I quickly consulted with Dr Google about the symptoms of a heart attack. I started quizzing him, chest pains-yes, neck pain-yes, back pain-yes, tingling in the hands or arms-yes. Holy crap, he's got the symptoms of a heart attack. We both got really scared and I decided to call 999 (that's the UK version of 911). They answered quickly and we had a paramedic at the house within 5 minutes.

The paramedic hooked him up to her portable heart monitor machine and said that the read out looked normal. His blood pressure was a bit high but that was probably due to the stress of everything. While this was sort of a relief, he continued to have chest pains even as she said things looked OK. She recommended we let the ambulance take us to the emergency room to do further tests. She came before the ambulance so we would have to wait for it to arrive.

During this wait, The Hubby started feeling better. His chest pains stopped and he started grumbling that he didn't want to waste his night sitting in the emergency room with "all the drunks." He said that he didn't want to add any stress to me since I was pregnant and that a night in A&E was not the best place for either of us.

I was having none of this. I insisted that the only way I would feel any less stress would be to have him checked out thoroughly by a doctor. I was worried that the pain might come back in the middle of the night and then what would we do. He was not happy, but begrudgingly agreed to let them take him.

So off we went in the back of the ambulance. I've never ridden in one before so that's one more thing to cross off the list. It's not nearly as fun as you imagine when you're a child. Anyway, we get to the hospital and then we have to wait a bit, but not too long. Although long enough for The Hubby to sigh and make it clear that he thought we didn't really need to be there.

Once they called his name and got him hooked up to their machine things changed quickly.

After his reading, the tech went and got the doctor in charge who quickly rushed into his little cubicle. He started fussing at the tech for making us wait so long and asked The Hubby a bunch of questions. He wanted to know if he had ever had an ECG at the hospital before. As it turns out he has so the doctor sent the tech to get a print out for comparison.

It was at this point that I knew we weren't being silly for coming in. I knew that maybe my instinct to never ignore chest pain was spot on. That this was going to end up being something more serious. And boy was I right.

After a quick comparison of the readings we were taken to a different part of the A&E. A room with a big heart monitor machine. They hooked him up to take some more readings and the room started to fill with people. The cardiologist arrived and so did his nurse. The doctor in charge of the emergency room filled him in and the cardiologist asked The Hubby a bunch of questions.

That's when we both heard some very scary words. "You have had a minor heart attack and we're going to prep you for an angiogram to assess the damage." That's when The Hubby stopped looking annoyed and started looking scared. He went a bit white and started shaking. I was so numb I wasn't sure what do do. So I went over and hugged him. Well not a real hug because the bump is too big to reach over the railing of the bed and he was hooked up to the machine. But the best kind of hug I could manage.

At this point some of the attention turned to me. I think they were worried about what the stress of being told your husband has had a heart attack would do to a 34 week pregnant lady. The doctor in charge of the emergency room told me that it was absolutely the right thing to insist that The Hubby come in to the hospital. He told me that I probably saved his life. Then he offered me a cup of tea.

I swear I am not making this part up. He told me my husband had a heart attack and that my actions may have saved his life and then offered me a cup of tea. How very English of him.

In a matter of minutes they had a team prepped, the room ready, and we were on our way. Through the halls of the deserted hospital (it was almost midnight at this point). Into the elevator, and up to the floor where the operating theatres are.

On the way they explained to us both about the angiogram. That it would be done through his wrist and that he would be awake the whole time. They would be looking to see if there were any blockages or clots and would be fixing anything they found. They mentioned a few things they would do including stents, but I have to say it was all a bit of a blur at this point.

My mind was racing. My husband had had a heart attack. I am pregnant and due to deliver in three weeks. We lost our first son less than two years ago. Seriously??? Now we get to deal with a heart attack?? Can't we ever get away from the drama??

I forced myself to snap out of it. I had to listen, I had to focus, I had to keep calm so I didn't miss anything. This was important stuff they were telling me and I needed a clear head.

Once we got to the floor where they would do the operation they wheeled him straight in, only stopping long enough for me to give him a kiss and another sort of hug. Then I was left alone in an empty ward. A scary empty hospital ward.

Thankfully after a few minutes the nurse came back and told me I could wait in what would be his room. So we went to the CCU which was also pretty dark and empty, but at least I was in his room and there was a bathroom I could use. Yep, this preggo really had to pee by this point.

At this point I finally had time to reach out to let a few family members know what was going on. It wasn't easy though because as you may know, hospitals aren't exactly mobile phone friendly and even when you find a spot with a signal, it keeps dropping off. So I only got through a couple of calls before the nurse came back to get me. She said they were done and that the doctor wanted to talk to me.

So back through the abandoned halls we went, into the empty elevators and down to where The Hubby was. The doctor came out and said something amazing.

He didn't have a heart attack after all.

I couldn't believe it. Not a heart attack?? No damage at all? The doctor said that even though the ECG indicated a heart attack, his heart was perfectly healthy. No blockages, no clots, no damage at all. Apparently it is an anomaly that is rare but happens sometimes (now where have I heard that before?) and that they always err on the side of caution.

I can't even describe the wave of relief I felt at that moment. I was still a bit in shock, but so relieved as well. They let me go into the room to see him and he looked so much better. Not scared anymore and very relived. He kept apologizing for putting me through this for which I told him to stop apologizing. I would go through this a million times with him if I had to. Although I'd prefer not to of course.

I followed him as they wheeled him to his room. They kept him overnight for observation and sent me home to get some sleep. It was about 1:30am at this point. I got home and did my best to sleep.

The next morning he emailed me to say they were releasing him. I rushed over with clean clothes and they finally sent him home in the afternoon. We were both super tired and quite shaken up by the whole experience. It's not something either of us want to have to go through again. But it's also a reminder that you should never ignore chest pain,,, never.

So what was it then? The doctor's think that his chest pain was severe indigestion caused by the can of chili he ate. Perhaps made worse by some muscle strain. But it wasn't a heart attack.

It wasn't a heart attack.

I swear sometimes I feel like my life is a soap opera. The kind that if I was watching I'd think that the writers were taking it a bit far. That no one's life is really that dramatic. That they needed to give this character a break.

Oh, and we're throwing all the rest of the cans of chili away!