Monday, 22 December 2014

#Microblog Monday- A Good Year?

I did one of those facebook things where they do a photo wrap up of your year. You can edit the wording and photos but the default says something about 2014 being a great year.

I did edit a few of the photos but it never occurred to me to edit the actual wording. You know, the part about 2014 being a good year. Let me repeat,,, it never occurred to me to change the wording that I had a great year. This hasn't happened to me since before we lost our son, way back in 2010.

There have been so many terrible years recently. In those years I would never have imagined that there would be any more good ones. But this one was good,,, and that seems strange to me.

Deep in my grief, a grief I never thought would end, I couldn't have seen this day coming. And yet somehow it has. I am happy, and I had a good year.

I haven't forgotten of course. Forgotten how quickly life can take a turn into a very dark place. I think perhaps I am more appreciative of the good times because I have lived through the absolute worst life has to offer.

So thank you 2014 for not being another terrible year. I think after all I've been through I deserve it. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Life I Never Thought I Would Have

"How was your day?" My husband asks me on the phone. He is away on business for a few days so he calls to check in when he can.

"Great," I tell him, and I proceed to run down a few highlights of the day. Frostina, (who is being potty trained) had an accident free day. I tell him about our play date and how the host slept through the whole thing so it was pretty much a lunch for me and his mother while Frostina played with all his toys.

I go on to tell him about how Olea is still going through her 4 month sleep regression and is needing to be resettled every 2 hours. I tell him how tired I am and how I hope this phase passes quickly. Then I put him on speaker so he can talk to Frostina for a minute.

I am living the typical life of an American suburban housewife. My days are filled with stroller strides, play dates, and dance class. I worry about nap times, sterilizing bottles, and how many weight watchers points are in a glass (bottle) of wine. I try and keep up with the bills and the housework and taking care of my husband. Sometimes I even find the time to take some time for myself. Life is crazy, and hectic, and messy.

This is not the life I ever thought I would have.

Even before I knew I would have trouble conceiving, before I knew all the troubles that lay ahead, I never once thought I would be a stay at home Mom. After all, I had a college education and a career. I was a modern woman who didn't want to have to depend 100% financially on anyone. I would have my kids, take my maternity leave, and then go back to work.

They say life is what happens while you're busy making plans.

Life happened to me. Boy did it ever happen to me. First it was unexplained infertility; then it was our miracle pregnancy that ended in tragedy; then I was told my eggs were crappy and we had to use an egg donor.

I went from thinking I would just have my kids and send them to daycare, to wondering if I would ever have a living child at all. The idea that I would one day have two beautiful girls to stay at home and take care of didn't seem possible.

Once I had Frostina I knew I wanted to be with her full time, and when Olea was born I was even more sure that this is what I wanted.

I'm not saying it isn't hard, because it is VERY VERY hard. There are days when I want to lock myself in the bathroom and hide from all the demands and crying. There are days when The Hubby gets home and I just want to toss the kids at him, jump in my car, and go someplace where I can have a few moments to myself.

But there are other moments, when the baby is sleeping and Frostina crawls in my lap and asks me to read her a book. Or when Olea is laying on her playmat and Frostina lays next to her and gives her a kiss when I am reminded just how blessed I am.

It's my life, and I've embraced it.... but it's certainly not the life I thought I would have.

Monday, 6 October 2014

#Microblog Monday- No AC

Our air conditioner is broken.

We live in South Florida.

It is hot in here.

I have two small children who are having trouble sleeping.

I can't wait for the repairman to get here.

It is very hot in here.

Monday, 29 September 2014

#MicroblogMonday- It's Really Hard

It's all I ever wanted, but it's really hard.

I have two living children,,,, two living children.

Two Living Children

That's something that for a very long time I thought I would never be able to say.

But it's hard,,,,, really hard.

In my desperation and longing for children, I never imagined it would be this hard. I feel overwhelmed sometimes and then I feel guilty.

Because I wanted them so badly.
Because I love them so much.
Because I'm so very grateful to have them.
Because I miss the one who isn't here so very much.

My house is a mess. There are three days worth of dishes in the sink. I made us order take out last night so as not to add to the pile. I am behind on paying some hospital bills and a few others I'm sure. I keep forgetting to take my daily medicine.

I am incapable of getting the three of us anywhere on time.

I am happy, I am tired, I am grateful, and I am overwhelmed.

Right now, by some miracle they are both sleeping.

I'm pretty sure the baby has just pooped,,,, but I'm not going to wake her up to check. Because she's sleeping and I really need the break.

Monday, 22 September 2014

#Microblog Monday- Get Those Out Of Your Mouth

Olea is 2 months old now and starting to interact with her world. So I unpacked all the infant toys I had in the closet and carefully washed them in hot water and soap.

I wouldn't want her to touch any toys that were dirty or not sterile.

What I didn't count on is that Frostina was absolutely fascinated at seeing her old toys again. And by fascinated, I mean obsessed.

She couldn't wait until they dried. She kept going back into the bathroom asking if they were clean yet.

Finally they were. And I carefully laid them on Olea's play mat.

Seconds later I witnessed Frostina putting each of them in her mouth.

One by one, side by side, each toy, each angle, everything became covered in her slobber and her germs.


Monday, 15 September 2014

#Microblog Mondays- Making Friends

I am starting to make friends here in my new hometown.

Friends who didn't know me before my loss.
Friends who meet me and see a Mother of  two little girls.
Friends who don't know about my struggles with infertility.
Friends who want to spend time with me even after they know my story.

I know it will be a long time before I have the kind of network I had back in London, but it feels good to run into a familiar face every now and again.

It makes me feel a bit less lonely.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

A Better New Normal

I'm still here. I know it's been a while since I've written anything here. But I'm still here.

Parenting two living children is overwhelming and I am still adjusting to My New Normal.

This new normal is so much better than the new normal I was adjusting to when I first started this blog. Back then, I was trying to process a tragic loss. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to manage life with two living  children. A struggle that all parents with more than one child deal with.

For once, I'm normal. Not just a BLM, but a normal Mom with normal Mom problems and issues. 

I love it, but it takes up all my time.

I want to share this new life with all of you, but I haven't been able to figure out how to find the time. When I do have the time I'm usually trying to clean up the mess that is my house these days or I'm trying to take a nap.

I promise to get better at updating soon.

Until then, just know that I am happy. My kids (love being able to say that in plural) are happy. And that life is good.

Very hectic and busy.... but good.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Happy 4th Birthday In Heaven

I'm a day late on this and even though I have the best excuse in the world,,,,, new baby and house guests,,, I feel guilty.

Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you every day. Your sisters don't really understand you yet, but we talk about you all the time. Thank you for looking out for them and keeping them safe.

We bought you a balloon but your sister Frostina wants to play with it, so we will probably send it to you this weekend.

We wish you were here with us.

Mommy, Daddy, Frostina, and Olea

Monday, 4 August 2014


Apologies for the silence but life has been a bit crazy since Baby Olea's arrival. I have my parents here to help which is wonderful, but it leaves very little alone time and therefore very little time to update this space.

Life with two living children is surreal. There is always someone who needs attention and very little downtime for anyone. And that's with 3 adults around. I can only imagine what it will be like when it's just The Hubby and me. I won't even allow myself to think about those days when The Hubby travels and it's just me and the girls. My first time is coming up sooner than I want to think about so I'll push that aside for now.

I feel like a whole phase in my life is over now. For the past 11 years I have either been trying to conceive, pregnant, grieving, doing fertility treatments, or recovering from a pregnancy. So knowing that we are done with all of that feels like an end of an era.... and it is.

It's strange to be able to say, "My girls." That's right,,, I have two living girls. Something I never thought I would have.

When we first lost my son, The Hubby said we were done having children. His wounded heart figured the only way to escape the pain was to never try for another child ever again. So there was a moment in time where I thought we would never parent living children.

Now, our family is complete, and yet incomplete. I feel a joy I never thought I'd feel and still there is a sorrow. A sorrow for the little boy we will never see grow up with his sisters.

Complete and yet very incomplete. And yet somehow I feel so very blessed and happy and sad all at the same time.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Baby Olea Is Here

My doctors were sure I would make it until my scheduled c-section date at 39 weeks but Baby Olea had other plans. My water broke on Monday morning and she was born that afternoon.

I am overjoyed and super tired and now she's crying so I will have to post more later. But she is here and she is healthy. Same birth weight as Frostina so I guess I just make small babies.

Hooray for rainbow baby number two!

Monday, 7 July 2014

4th Of July Fun- First ER Trip As A Parent

It was bound to happen. In a lot of ways I'm amazed it took 2 years, but we finally hit a milestone in parenting with Frostina,,, a trip to the emergency room.

What is it with my family? Every time I'm in my third trimester, someone decides they aren't getting enough attention and ends up in the ER? If you've been a long time reader you may remember The Hubby and "The heart attack that turned out not to be a heart attack." Well this time Frostina decided it was her turn.

It all started with an innocent trip to the furniture store. The Hubby wants to buy some outdoor furniture so off we went to take advantage of the holiday sales. Frostina has always been easy to shop with. She sticks close to me and never runs away while we're in a store. So I wasn't worried about her behavior at all,,, big mistake on my part.

You see, this very clever toddler can smell that Mommy is too big and tired to give a good chase. She also knows that Daddy is a very soft touch. Combine the two of these things and you have typical 2 year old chaos in the store. My normally well behaved angel was wild. She was dashing around climbing up on every couch and chair she could find and then jumping around on each one.

It was super fun, I know this because you could hear her laughing from across the store. I know this because of course preggo had to pee the moment we walked in and I had no problem finding them once I was done. I tried telling her to stop but she was completely ignoring me. Running around, hiding behind things and generally mocking me. So I told her she had to hold Mommy's hand.

This was fine for about a minute but then she wanted her freedom. She did what I like to call the toddler drop and roll to try and free herself from my grasp. But I was ready for her and didn't let go. I let her lay on the ground for a minute and then scooped her up and announced that we were leaving the store since she couldn't behave.

She started crying loudly which I figured was because she could no longer run around like a wild beast. I carried her to the car feeling quite proud of myself for setting limits and sticking to them. Go me for having discipline and not letting her act up in a store.

Once we got to the car and I tried putting her into her car seat I knew something wasn't right. As I was moving her arms to strap her in she got this really funny look on her face and started whimpering. Then the whimper turned into a cry and she was holding her wrist. I convince myself that I've broken her wrist by holding on too hard and start to feel like the worst Mommy in the world.

We drove home and I gave her some Baby Advil and tried to feed her lunch. She refused to move the hand and would only eat with the other one. We debated what to do but since it was nap time we let her sleep a bit to see if she would feel better afterwards. An hour later she woke up crying and still refusing to move her arm.

So off we went to the children's ER,, on the 4th of July. Hooray!

Luckily the place was almost deserted and we were seen within 5 minutes. I get quizzed on what happened and I am convinced they will listen to my story and notify social services that I've abused my child. I notice she has a few bruises on her forehead and chin and figure it's just a matter of time before the nice smiley lady comes in to take my child away. I try to stay calm and The Hubby does too.

A few minutes later the doctor comes in and says she wants to take a look. She has Frostina sit on The Hubby's lap facing her. We tried this on mine but there's not much room left these days with the huge bump. Next thing I know she is massaging and then pulling on Frostina's arm. I freak out and start crying! Frostina freaks out and starts crying. The Hubby freaks out and starts crying.

Then it's done and the doctor hands Frostina a Popsicle which she reaches for and grabs with the injured hand. The same hand she has refused to move for hours. The doctor says she had nursemaid's elbow which apparently is very common in under 4's. She says it's popped back in now but to hang out for a little while just to make sure. She also hands Frostina a cute white stuffed bear with a T-shirt that has the name of the hospital on it.

Very cute, but hopefully this will be the only one we get.

Frostina is now a happy camper. She's eating her Popsicle and saying, "I love Popsicle." She is also feeding her new bear Popsicle. The transformation was amazing. One minute she's crying hysterically, clinging to me and refusing to move her arm. The next minute she is asking to sit on the hospital bed and, "Sleep pillow."

Needless to say, The Hubby and were still shell shocked. But Frostina was as happy as could be.

We were in and out of there in an hour and 15 minutes which has to be some kind of emergency room record. But it's not exactly how I wanted to spend my first 4th of July back in America.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Flash.... Backs

2010- The world stops. She can hear her husband sobbing inconsolably. He is screaming, "No, no. Do something. Can't you save him?" She can hear his wails but is completely numb. She feels nothing.


2014- I am driving to my 36 (almost) week scan. Frostina is with a sitter and The Hubby is out of town. I am blasting the radio and singing along.


2010- She and her husband are sitting in the room waiting for the doctor to come in and do her ultrasound. While they are grateful that they have a doctor to do all their scans, it's annoying when he runs late as he is prone to do. They have already waited over 30 minutes just to get in the room and now they are waiting again. She is annoyed because she worries that the smoothie she drank to wake the baby up will "wear off" before the scan finally starts.


2014- It's my 36 week scan. A huge milestone for me. In my first pregnancy it's where things all fell apart. A fact that I am doing my best to repress. After all, I decided to try and focus on the good things and not the fear this time around. I turn the radio up and sing a little louder.


2010- She is 36 weeks pregnant with her miracle baby. There were lots of worries along the way but once they got the good results at their 20 week scan she has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of their much wanted baby boy. They are all clear.

The day is hectic. Her Hubby has invited a group of his employees over for dinner because they are all in town for a meeting. He has escaped this meeting for the scan but has to rush back once it's over. The plan is to have the scan; meet with her OB to discuss the results; and then he goes back to work and she goes home to finish cooking the chili and tidying up the house before everyone arrives. So this delay for the scan is quite annoying.

Finally he goes out to see what the delay is. After all, they both have a very busy day and they have waited long enough. The doctor comes in a few minutes later full of apologies and excuses for his tardiness. He readies the machine and begins the scan.

The two of them look to the screen to see their little boy.

He begins to focus on the head and starts to take measurements, just like normal. But then there is a hesitation. She notices but brushes it off. He backs up the scan and starts again. This time looking at the head from a different angle, and then another. Then he quickly switches views to one she isn't familiar with. His tone changes and he starts asking her questions.


2014- She knows what's coming next. This memory has been creeping up on her for weeks. You can repress these things but somehow they have a way of catching up to you. She can feel the tears well up in her eyes as she drives down the Florida Turnpike.


2010- When was the last time you felt the baby move? The answer was an hour ago, just after the smoothie. She finds out later that this couldn't possibly be true. He goes on to ask if there has been a decrease in movement lately. The answer was, "Of course because we all know they run out of room at the end."


2014- The tears are now flowing. Turning up the radio and singing loudly doesn't deter them.


2010- She can't figure out why he is asking these questions while flicking the ultrasound machine from one body part to another. He wants to know exactly when she noticed a decrease in movement. He asks several ways before she finally becomes alarmed. "Why do you want to know this?" she finally asks.



2014- Stop thinking about this. Think about something else.


2010- "Why do you want to know this?" she asks. It's at this point that she feels her hubby gripping her hand very tightly... though she takes no notice.


"Why are you asking me this?" she asks again. This time she is starting to sense that all is not well.

"I'm so sorry, there's no heartbeat."


2014- Seriously, why are you going there? You need to stop. You are driving. You promised yourself that you wouldn't do this to yourself this pregnancy. Things are going so much better this time. You have a diagnosis, you have medication, and this baby is doing much better than your son or Frostina. You need to snap out of it. NOW!


2010- The world stops. She can hear her husband sobbing inconsolably. He is screaming, "No, no. Do something. Can't you save him?" She can hear his wails but is completely numb. She feels nothing.

It's pandemonium at this point. The girl assisting the scan leaves the room. Shortly after that, their OB enters the room to confirm the devastating news. There are no signs of life, their baby is dead. Based on what they can see, he has been gone for at least a week.


2014- To this day I still can't belive I didn't know. I still can't believe that I thought I could feel him moving... even after I knew he was gone.

It's raining outside now, a reflection of my inner mood. But again it's time to snap out of it. I promised myself I would.


2010- Phone calls have to be made. She calls her parents in California and wakes them up. She has lost track of time and has no idea what time it is for them. Her Hubby has to call his employees to tell them he won't be back for the rest of the day, and that the BBQ and chili dinner are off. They want to know why and of course he has to tell them. 

More sobs and wails from her Husband, but she is still completely numb. The truth won't hit her for hours, but when it does it will feel like a building falling on her.


2014- Ok, enough already. I'm serious... it's time to snap out of it. You have to drive in the rain and you don't want to get into an accident now do you?

So I wipe my tears and pull myself together. It's been a very long time since I've had any flashbacks and I can't say I miss them.

This whole episode happened to me last week and it's taken this long for me to be able to write about it. I swear, just about the time I think I've got my grief under control it comes back to let me know I don't. I read a post earlier this week that Brooke wrote about grief coming to visit when you least expect it. Well I'm here to testify that grief is truly it's own entity and it comes to visit on it's schedule, not yours. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, it's always just around the corner.

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Longest Move Ever

We are officially in our new home.

It's been a long and painful process.

One international move followed by 2 months living in a temp apartment. Then a second move into this beautiful house. It really is a beautiful house, though at the moment it's a total wreck.

The move had it's hitches of course. There were the painters who took longer than promised so they were there on move in day,,,, that's always fun. There were the world's laziest movers who didn't want to have to put our beds together. They even went to far as to complain they didn't have tools.... so after hubby went off on them they drove to Home Depot to get some. Beds got put together but I'm still turning around all the knobs and have a small TV stand to assemble. All this with a full service move?

There was the satellite TV installer who came just before the rainstorm on Friday afternoon so we have no TV. Not a huge problem since we have so much unpacking to do but still a hitch. Oh, and the internet isn't working either. No idea why because usually self-install is a breeze. This time though I had to call repair and they couldn't set it up remotely either so a tech should be on the way today to fix it. Ah, the joys of moving.

Oh, and there's the whole, "I'm 34 weeks pregnant" thing which means I'm pretty much useless when it comes to helping like I want to. Though that didn't stop me from putting the drawers and shelves back into the huge Ikea wardrobes that the movers refused to do. The Hubby was  not pleased with me for doing that one, but he's not exactly handy so if I didn't do it it wouldn't' get done.

I am doing my best to help unpack boxes but it's not easy when bending down to the ground and getting back up again is such a struggle. I'm sore and tired and have to work in short bursts before stopping to take breaks. As a result, the  majority of the work falls to The Hubby and I am feeling very very guilty. He is tired and sore and there is still lots left to do.

Have I mentioned that we are not done with this move just yet? Oh no.

You see, once upon a time we lived in California in a house. That house had lots of stuff in it. Too much stuff to take to London with us. That stuff has been sitting in storage for the past 8 and a half years. That stuff is on it's way to Florida and will arrive on Wednesday. So we get to do this whole lovely process all over again. Lovely.

Frostina is in heaven though. It's like Christmas morning for her. Every box I unpack that has her stuff is greeted with oohs and aahhs. She was so happy when she saw her bed she wanted to get in it immediately. In fact, this was the first time ever that she spent the night in a new place in her own bed. Normally it takes a couple of days sleeping with us for her to adjust to a new room.

I am so ready to be settled in, this move feels like it's taking forever..... and I have a baby due in a few weeks. Yikes!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Heartbreaking Choice- What If It Were You?

I read an amazing post over at Still Standing today. It was written by Tova Gold a fellow Baby Loss Mom. The subject is one that for some reason isn't talked about as much in the loss community; the termination of a pregnancy for medical reasons. It was a moving insight into the experience of hearing that your baby has a condition that won't be compatible with life and the choices you are forced to make in the aftermath.

What touched me the most was that there were photos and names of 80 women (and their babies) who have found themselves in the same situation as Tova. This piece was written from the heart and is so well done that I won't try and recap it here. You can click the link above to read it for yourself.

When I finished the article I was moved almost to tears. Then I started reading the comments and my blood began to boil. What I saw mixed in with the words of condolence and support was so ugly I couldn't believe it. Were people actually attacking these women for the situation they found themselves in? Were people actually going to criticize and judge women who have lost their children? Much to my dismay they were and I found the whole thing very unsettling.

In my mind, the only difference between what these women went through and what I did was that they had advanced notice. I didn't know anything was wrong until it was too late. They knew in advance that their baby would die and were faced with an impossible decision. Do you terminate now? Or do you carry to term knowing that your baby will either not make it or will die at or shortly after birth? That's not a choice I would want to have to make.

But these women found themselves faced with this very dilemma. A heartbreaking choice needed to be made. To go about something like this you may rely on your faith or you may go based purely on your emotions. There are many layers and dimensions to either choice. I would imagine that many hours of reflection and tears have been poured into each and every decision. Neither path leads to a happy ending.

I liken it to that game where you choose between two horrible things and say which one you would want. Like would you want to chop your arm off or let it fall of by itself? Is there really a good option? Of course not. Either way you lose your arm and neither way sounds particularly pleasant.

Somehow, not unsurprisingly, matters like this get tied to the pro-choice/pro-life debate. I am not here to debate that issue but I will say this; there is no life at the end of this decision. In the end you get a dead baby, period! It's just a matter of how it happens.

So to read comments where people are condemning women for choosing to terminate a pregnancy where there is no chance of a living baby makes me sick to my stomach. Who are these people to tell someone that they should carry a pregnancy to term that they know is doomed? For that matter, who are these people to tell women who choose to carry to term that they are being foolish or causing their babies undue suffering?

Who are these people to not offer these women the same sympathy that people who suffer a stillbirth or neonatal death get? Just because we didn't know ahead of time doesn't make our loss any more worthy of condolence. Just because these women did know doesn't mean they deserve to be judged on the decision they made. It's not like they wanted to have to make it.

So for all of you who sit in judgement I challenge you. Put yourself in their shoes. I mean it. Really allow yourselves to go there. To go to that horrible place where you have just been told that your unborn child has no chance of viability outside the womb. Put yourself in that mindset and then tell me what you would do. Then tell me how it would feel to have people judge you for it.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Hospital Tour, Frostina Style

The Hubby and I went on a tour of the new hospital where we will be having Baby Olea. It was quite surreal. This huge hospital is such a contrast to the small, private, Women and Children's Hospital in London where we had our son and Frostina. It's absolutely massive. The good thing (and one of the reasons I picked it) is that it is attached to one of the top Children's Hospitals in the state and has a level 4 NICU. It's definitely the place to be if you have a high risk pregnancy so I feel very secure.

It's also very American which still feels foreign to me. I know, I know, I'm American,,, but I've had 2 babies in England and 0 babies here and it's a different experience. Not bad, just different. Overall I am happy with the hospital and it's facilities. Though I'm not sure how I feel about their policy to encourage rooming in. After a c-section I know I will really need my sleep at night. So I think I will still request they take Baby Olea to the nursery at night. Hopefully I won't get too many dirty looks from the nurses about that.

Did you know they don't swaddle babies anymore? When did that happen? At the tour they said to only swaddle babies that are diagnosed with colic. We didn't swaddle Frostina for long with a normal swaddling blanket because The Hubby was a rubbish swaddler. But we did buy these zip up swaddling blankets that we used instead. Without it, Frostina used to swing her arms around and wake herself up. So I think I will still use those with Baby Olea (see how I'm assuming she will come home with us alive and healthy?)

We brought Frostina with us and that was quite an experience. First of all, she insisted on bringing Winnie the Pooh. Unfortunately, this particular Pooh Bear is huge and too big for her to carry for long. He ended up getting dropped on the ground in the parking garage and on the hospital floor. I immediately start thinking about all the germs that are now all over Mr Pooh. So who ends up carrying him, me of course.When we got home it was straight into the washer and a hot water cycle.

She ran around the auditorium during the information session making sure everyone knew she was there. She climbed in and out of every empty chair she could find. She found both clocks in the room and shouted, "Clock, clock, tick tock, tick tock," in front of each of them. She spotted all the lights which she also announced to the room. I won't even get into the balloon that she saw way up high in the ceiling which caused quite a dialogue of, "Da boon flying, da boon flying." Poor Hubby barely got to hear what the woman was talking about because he was so busy chasing her around.

When the tour started she began her own narration about various things she saw along the way like doors, lights, balloons (in the gift shop), and of course all the clocks. She also wanted to know what every noise was, and you know there are lots of noises in a hospital.

One fun game she played was getting behind and then running back to us saying, "Too fast, too fast." The hubby and I joked at one point that this was what everyone was in for in 2 years time. Everyone on the tour seemed quite entertained by her. The woman from the hospital told me I will definitely have my hands full when the new baby comes.

If she had been British I would have immediately interpreted this as a judgement on Frostina's behaviour, but since she was American I didn't take it badly. Of course there were two other older siblings on the tour who were quiet and stayed with their parents. You wouldn't even have known they were there. But not my Frostina. She made sure her presence was known by all.

Because that's how Frostina rolls!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Shields Up

This pregnancy I have become a master at defense mechanisms. Not by choice really, but it seems to be my standard operating mode- Full Shields Up.

I spent the entire pregnancy with Frostina being scared. Petrified would be a better word. I was sure that at any moment it would all go wrong again. I fretted and cried and fretted some more. I made myself miserable with stress and fear and worry. I'm not upset at myself about it because it was the only way I knew how to be pregnant after a loss. It was my standard operating mode.

This time around things are very different. For one thing, I have Frostina to chase around. Plus there's the international move, trying to find a new house, and getting my new life sorted here in Florida. I am busy and have much less time to sit around being scared.

But it's more than that I think. I think this time around I just can't be fearful the entire time. I can't be worried all the time that this baby will die. I barely survived a fear-filled pregnancy and I think I just can't do it again. So my smart little brain has figured out how to put the walls up and help me to focus on the rest of my life, not just the pregnancy. I have no idea how it happened or how long it will last. I may wake up tomorrow and feel completely different,,, and that's ok,,, but for now this is how I feel and what seems to be working for me.

A bit of the old me has crept back in. The old me that stayed away from sad and scary stories. The old me that truly believed that ignorance in some cases is bliss. The old me that actually allows myself to believe that being pregnant means you will be coming home with a living baby in the end. I'm not as foolish as the old me though. I do know that avoiding bad thoughts and stories doesn't protect you from having them happen. This time I am choosing to focus on the positive as opposed to hiding from the negative.

I have found myself shying away from many of my old haunts here in the internet. I am no longer drawn to every sad story of women who like me have lost children. Not because I don't care about them or don't relate anymore,,,, because I still do. But more because I don't need to connect to the pain of others the way I used to. There was a time when I craved that kind of affirmation, to know I wasn't alone. But now it all feels a bit too much, a bit too indulgent, a bit like I need to spend my time focusing on my life as it is now.

Trust me, this is not a happy, I'm over it now post. I'm so not over it. But I can't dwell on it like I used to. I can't let it consume me day in and day out. I have to do things like paint Baby Olea's room in the new house and go through Frostina's old clothes to see how many are suitable for the sunny Florida climate.

I have to move forward and live my life. And for now that means not dwelling so much on the past. Never forgetting my beloved son of course, but perhaps filing things away. Away behind the defensive walls, behind the shields. The way you put important things away in a very safe place you know you can revisit when you need to. Put away for safe keeping as opposed to being put in a frame sitting in your front room.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Just One Of Those Days

Today was not a great day. It wasn't awful, but it pretty much typifies my life these days. By this I mean hectic and filled with all the not so fun things that proper grown ups have to deal with.

I should probably back up a bit before I go any further to help you get caught up. A few posts back I mentioned that my perinatologist tested me for various auto immune antibodies and what do you know, I came up positive for one of them. His solution was for me to start taking blood thinners to reduce the risk to Baby Olea. Sounds good, right?

Welcome back to America! The land of health insurance companies who think more about money than about patient health (in my humble opinion). My insurance doesn't cover that particular medication, or any blood thinner for a person of my age. After two appeals by my doctor the official answer is, "No because it's not on the list of approved medications."

Yes, I'm serious.

To pay out of pocket for a 30 day supply, my local pharmacy wanted to charge me $1000. WHAT??? I know, that's just crazy talk. Thankfully my amazing doctor's office staff were able to find another pharmacy who are only going to charge me $300. Such a huge price difference for the same medication is shocking, but it shows you it pays to shop around. *Side note- I owe that nurse a thank you card.

In addition to this, I failed my 1 hour glucose tolerance test by 5 points. Major bummer. So today I had to go back to take the 3 hour one. When I got the call that I failed they also advised me that I would need to come pick up a special pre-test diet that I would need to stick to for 3 days prior to the test. Surprisingly, it seemed to me to be very high in carbs and even required me to eat dessert after lunch and dinner (which being the good rule follower that I am, I obeyed).

Of course I have no family in Florida so I have to pay a sitter for this joyful experience. So in addition to it being a not so fun way to spend a Tuesday, I also have to pay money for the privilege. In the end it was 6 hours of babysitting time I had to pay up for.

The test was set for 8:30 this am which is good since it's a fasting blood test. I had the sitter booked to come at 7:15 to give me plenty of time to transition out and get to the office on time. 7:15 arrives and no sitter, 7:30 and no sitter. I called the sitter and the phone went to voicemail.

Now I'm panicking. This sitter is great and Frostina loves her. I found her through an agency since I knew I would need reliable childcare for all our house hunting excursions and my doctor's appointments. She is a responsible woman in her 50's so how can she be a no show? My mind is racing and I don't know what to do. I now have visions of bringing Frostina with me on this 3 hour blood test adventure. What a nightmare that would be, but needs must.

As I was getting her dressed to go the sitter called back. She had her days mixed up but said she could be there in 15 minutes. Not ideal, but at least I didn't have to drag Frostina long to a marathon doctor visit. I tried calling my doctor to tell them I would be late but kept getting the fax machine. Turns out I have the wrong number programmed into my phone, silly me.

The sitter finally arrives and I fly out to my appointment, except that my tank is empty so I need to get gas first. It's been a long time since I've had a car so I forget to check the tank,,, lesson learned. I finally arrive 45 minutes late but thankfully they don't give me a hard time.

It was during the 3 hour boring human pincushion torture session that I get the call about my blood thinners and the final verdict from the insurance company. I agree to stop by the new, cheaper pharmacy on the way home to pick up the medication. Keep in mind that I am fasting and am 1 hour behind the schedule I should have been on.

Test is over and I won't know the results for a few days but I don't care. I scarf down the banana I packed and head to the pharmacy. I finally get there and they don't have anything for me. Ugh!

Luckily the pharmacist remembers them calling to ask about prices so he calls them back and gets the prescription. All of this takes about 35 minutes while I wait, starving in front of the shelf of candy bars they have sitting under the counter. By this time I am starving and have a headache.

Then I get a text from my sitter asking how much longer I will be because her kitchen is being re-done and the granite guy has arrived early. I feel no guilt about this because it's her fault I'm an hour behind so I tell her I will be back as soon as I can. She gets a neighbor to let the guy in so that crisis was averted.

I finally get my meds (well half of them because they don't have all 30 days worth in stock) and now I need to get something to eat. My original plan was to take the test and then enjoy a leisurely Mexican lunch at this restaurant I've just discovered. But now there's no time for that. Instead I settle for a slice of pizza and an iced tea at the pizza place in the same strip center as the pharmacy.

I head home and pay the sitter a small fortune for my not so great day. Between the blood thinners and what I had to pay the sitter, it was a pretty expensive day. I swear, one of these days I would like to pay a sitter and get to do something besides sit in a doctor's office.

Did you make it all the way to the end of this rant? Congratulations and thanks for sticking it out with me. I hope your day was better than mine was.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Happy Easter + A 3 Weeks In Florida Catch Up

So I put this egg in the basket?

I'll put it right here, now I gotta go find some more.
Frostina absolutely LOVED hunting for Easter Eggs. She walks around the house saying "egg, egg" whenever she spots an empty plastic egg lying around somewhere. I got her a book where Peppa Pig hunts for eggs and she loves to read it and spot the eggs. I have a feeling we will be talking about the eggs for months to come.

I should confess though that we did not do an egg hunt today. Mother of the Year that I am, I skipped the hunt today because we have done 3 this season and I was just too tired to do another one today. She did one in London before we moved, she did this one here in Florida with a local Meet Up group I have joined, and she did one at the Mommy and Me class I took her to on Friday. So she has gotten her fill of plastic eggs and candy.

There is so much going on with our move and our house hunting and I have run out of energy. These past three weeks have been a blur. We have moved into our temporary apartment. I was able to get Frostina into a local pediatrician who came recommended by a friend. It turns out we were only behind by 2 immunisations which is pretty good they tell me. My doctor back in London did her best to keep us up on the UK and US schedules and it paid off.

I have found and been seen by an Obstetrician, a Perinatologist, and have even had my first fight with my insurance company about which drugs they will and won't pay for. *The medicine in question being the blood thinners that the doctor wants me to take. This fight is still in progress. Sigh, I do miss good old England and it's national health service. This would never happen on the NHS.

We have been working with a realtor to try and find a house and I think our efforts have paid off. We just finished putting together our offer letter for a house we like. So now we wait and see. Fingers crossed people, I really want to be in a house before Baby Olea is born.

To say we have been busy is an understatement! So when it came to today I just had nothing left. I did make pancakes for Frostina which she loves and I did cook a ham for The Hubby which he said he loved (bless him). But I just couldn't manage to play Easter Bunny too.

I figured this is the last year I will be able to get away with it since by next year she will know all about Easter and the Easter Bunny. Plus I have these photos and I can always tell her they were taken on Easter Sunday, right?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Diagnosis, After All This Time

When my son died and was born they performed an autopsy. When the report came back the results were somewhat inconclusive, you can read about all that here if you want. It's painful for me to click back there and read just how broken I was back then, but I digress.

Anyway, the report basically said that the placenta failed. It was attacked by an infection or virus of unknown origin. My son was tested and I was tested and no infection or virus was ever found. The conclusion at the time was that it was a fluke and not something that could happen again.

I entered my pregnancy with Frostina with LOTS of fear and trepidation. I was worried that something would go wrong again, because that was all I knew. But I didn't worry that the exact same thing could happen, because I had been told specifically that it wouldn't.

So you will imagine my surprise when the exact same thing did happen, only this time the outcome wasn't fatal. You can read all the details here if you like. In a nutshell, Frostina's placenta had degraded as well and her fluid level was very very low on delivery day. My doctor surmised that the "infection or virus" was in fact an auto immune response by my body to the pregnancy. In essence, my body attacks pregnancies like they are an unwanted foreign body.

It was quite a bitter pill to swallow, to know that my body killed my son and was trying to kill my daughter. But at least the mystery was finally solved. At least I knew it wasn't just a fluke. It was a real thing that I could watch out for and hopefully prevent in future pregnancies.

I relayed all of this "history" to my new and super awesome perinatologist who I met with last week. If you're scratching your head at this point, I apologize for not writing about all of this before but life has been super crazy around here. Anyway, when I mentioned the auto immune part to him he ordered a bunch of tests to see if we could identify what it was. Some pretty scary test names were rattled off including lupus which really freaked me out.

Yesterday I got a call from the doctor himself, so I knew it wasn't an "all clear" call because those are normally made by the nurses in the office. It turns out that I don't have any of the super scary auto immune disorders like lupus which is a huge relief. But I did have one test that came back positive. I won't put the name of it here because it has a super medical name and even when you try to google it you don't get a good definition. Plus I try to steer away from all the medical lingo here on the blog because I'm no doctor and I don't want people looking for real medical advice to be directed here.

The way the doctor explained it to me, this particular antibody that I have can cause increased clotting. My levels aren't super high so it hasn't caused any clotting for me, but the blood vessels that feed the placenta are very small. He explained that it's possible that these antibodies could have caused tiny clots in the placenta that would have impeded blood flow and may very well be the cause of the death of my son and the issues with Frostina's last week in-utero. Of course he says he can't be 100% sure, but he thinks it's more likely than not.

So starting today I have to take a small dose of heparin (which is a blood thinner) each day. It's an injection which I had really hoped I was all done with, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure Baby Olea arrives alive and healthy. As the doctor was telling me about the injections I could tell he was worried that I was afraid of doing them. I reminded him that I had done all of my own IVF injections and if I can do a progesterone in oil jab with a 1 inch needle into my thigh each day, I can certainly do a tiny one in my belly. He laughed and joked that I'm an expert which sadly I am.

So later on this morning I'm off to my new pharmacy to pick up my new set of needles and medication. That's what I get for bragging that I was finally all done injecting myself this pregnancy. I am happy that we have a plan to help keep Baby Olea safe, and I am very impressed with my perinatologist.

After all this time I have an official diagnosis for what caused my son to die. It feels strange. On the one hand it's nice to know finally what happened. But on the other hand it's sad to have confirmation that it's my fault. That for some reason, my body contains antibodies that attack pregnancies. But in the end, it's good to know. It's good to have a diagnosis.

It's too bad a diagnosis can't go back and re-write history.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Moving Is Chaotic

I know you're probably thinking, "Duh, how obvious," after reading the title of this post. But I really mean it, moving is chaos. Especially when you're moving countries. There are accounts to close and early termination fees to pay. There are so many things to do it's mind numbing. The only saving grace is that we are in a corporate apartment at the moment so at least I don't have to deal with the whole hooking up all new utilities thing.

Frostina got a horrible cold just before the move. I am now regretting taking her to "just one more" Gymboree class before we left because you know that's where she picked up this particular germ. So for the last two nights in the hotel before we flew to the US she was sleeping between us coughing and choking on her own phlegm.

Then there was the over 9 hour flight to Miami where her ears started bothering her on take-off. After the tears dried she did an amazing job on the plane, a sure sign that we have already taken her on way too many international flights. Thankfully her ears were fine for landing.

Once we landed we were off to our new apartment. Except that no one bothered to tell us that the leasing office closed at 6pm. So picture us rolling up at 9pm and having no access to the complex or the apartment. Seriously people, it sucked. After a few calls to a few people it was determined that we were going to have to find a hotel for the night. Did I mention it's spring break in South Florida? So of course it took a few hotels before we finally found one with a room. It was a total nightmare.

Anyway, that drama over, we are now in our apartment (I almost typed flat here, I think it will take some time to eliminate all the British lingo from my vocabulary). It's nice and safe and clean an Frostina seems to like it now. The first day she paced around crying which was heartbreaking. She is such a trooper but this was just too much for her.

My solution? A trip to Super Target (oh how I have missed that place) for a few new toys and she seems to be doing much better. She is very clingy and cuddly at the moment which is nice but can be a challenge when you're trying to cook dinner and you have a toddler attached to your leg.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my new OB and I am very happy with her. I meet the Perinatologist next week and I am feeling like my care for this pregnancy is on track. Now I have to hope I like the hospital after I set up the tour, because I'm pretty much stuck giving birth there now. I did my research though and based on the recommendation of a local doctor (who is a friend of a friend) I chose this hospital. Then I worked backwards and found my doctor. So based on hospital reputation I should like it,,,, right?

This weekend we start our house hunt. I found a babysitting agency so we don't have to drag Frostina along. I talked to the sitter on the phone and she is coming by in a few days to meet us. My first impression is that she seems good, so hopefully Frostina will agree when she meets her. I am nervous about leaving her in a new place with a new person so soon, but I think dragging her along looking at houses would be much worse.

There is so much more but I fear this post is long enough already. I will update you lovely readers on all the chaos sometime soon.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Fresh Start

In preparation for our big move back to the USA we have been de-cluttering. Going through drawers and dark cupboards throwing away all the things we saved thinking we would want someday. I am amazed at how much clutter a family of 3 can manage to collect.

It can be very freeing to get rid of old stuff. I think we tend to collect it because it feels comfortable and sometimes a clean sweep is just what we need. I love the look of a newly cleaned shelf (with lots of space to buy new stuff to shove there someday). It somehow feels like a fresh start.

All was going well until I stumbled across my trusty Bag O Meds. If you've even done any kind of fertility treatment you will be familiar with this, in fact you may have one of your own. Its the bag you put all your various medications and needles in when you're in the middle of treatment.

I don't consider myself a superstitious person, but getting rid of this bag before I have another healthy baby in the house is hard for me. It almost feels arrogant to assume that just because I'm 22 weeks pregnant that all will be well and I will never need to inject myself with another vial of progesterone in oil again. Obviously that is the dream, but I know all too well that pregnancy can go wrong at any time.

So what to do with the bag and it's contents? US customs and immigration rules are very strict these days. You can't even bring food into the country in your shipment due to new bio-terrorism laws. I'm sure they would make exceptions for medicine, but do I really want to take a chance that our whole shipment will be held up in customs just for a superstition? I could carry it on the plane with me as I have done so many times before when I was in treatment, but with all the other luggage we will have it seems impractical.

When I asked The Hubby for advice he shrugged and said to dump it. He seemed confused at my hesitation. I then reminded him that I didn't get rid of the lupron left over from Frostina's IVF cycle until after she was home from the hospital. In fact, when I dug Bag O Meds out from the garage to stuff it full of medication for the cycle we just did with Baby Olea it still had progesterone and del estrogen bottles in it, expired of course.

So getting rid of it all; the needles, and the alcohol swabs, and the cotton balls, and the bandaids, and the vials of medication, and the injection schedule I got from the clinic; getting rid of it all before Baby Olea is with us is a tough one for me. Because I would rather hold onto it (just in case she says in a whisper).

But holding onto this particular bag in this particular set of circumstances just isn't practical. So I took a deep breath, grabbed a trash bag, and got to work emptying the bag. It was easy and it was hard.

I'd like to say that when it was done I felt more free. That I was happy to have a clean sweep and a fresh start. In reality I have anxiety about it. It's silly I know. If the retention of specific objects could keep babies alive then none of would ever find ourselves in the Baby Loss Mom's Club in the first place. But I found comfort in the ritual.

So now I've just got to move on and try to enjoy my fresh start.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Coming Up For Air

I am deep in moving hell but I wanted to come up for air to give a quick update on what's going on. There are immigration forms to fill out, insurance forms to fill out, customs forms to fill out. I think you get the idea here. Lots and lots of forms. Plus there's the whole, "Nothing electrical will work back in the US so you have to sell it all or give it away before you move," thing. Will someone please buy my tumble dryer???

In the midst of all this, I had my anomaly scan yesterday. I hardly had time to be worried about it with everything else going on. Thankfully, all is well with Baby Olea. There she was, moving and kicking around while the doctor tried to capture all the important data via ultrasound. She was of course shy about showing her face so we didn't get great photos, but really all that matters is that she is ok.

We took Frostina with us and she kept wanting to be up on the table with Mommy. The Hubby tried bribing her with food which worked for a while but she got bored staring at her little sister on the TV screen. I forgot that these scans take longer and I think she did a pretty good job overall.

The big move happens next week. By next Friday we will be in Florida in our temporary apartment. It's surreal to think about. I still haven't had time to properly process this. I'm too busy trying to find a new OB and pediatrician for Frostina. This is tricky since we don't really know where we will be living permanently. But I've got to find someone for both of us pretty quickly.

A few friends have offered to throw leaving parties for us. Or, "Leaving Do," as they call them here in England. I'm sure that's when it will hit me that we are actually leaving.

Wow, we are actually leaving.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

My "Moving Wife"

Moving is never fun, that's for sure. Moving countries is even more difficult. The nice thing about a corporate move is that there is a whole team dedicated to helping it run smoothly. Once the company flips the switch a hoard of people come out of the woodwork. We have a single point of contact who is at the center of this massive operation. She is like having a wife who specializes in moving. *Side note- I think I would like a wife all the time, it's pretty great.

My "Moving Wife" has really gotten the ball rolling. She has already arranged for the movers and for the relocation agent in Florida. She has contacted and arranged for our temporary housing which is a furnished corporate apartment. She has gotten in touch with the mortgage company we will be working with. She has even arranged for us to have help with disconnecting all our utilities and organizing the final move out cleaning.

My phone has been ringing with all these people contacting me. Dates have been set up and appointments have been made. We now have our move out date (the end of March... Yikes!) and a move in date (well to our temporary house anyway). Our relocation agent has been emailing us properties in the towns we think we want to move to. We have had a call with our mortgage company and are working on getting pre-approved.

All this has been done by my "Moving Wife" in the past 5 days. Amazing!!

Now if only she would come and clear out the clutter that overflows in our house. Then she would be perfect. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

No Shoveling Snow For Me

I was sure I had cursed myself in my last post when I said I didn't want to live anywhere I had to shovel snow. Thankfully I was wrong. I was very, very wrong.

Where will our new home be?


That's right. The Hubby's new office will be in Ft. Lauderdale so we will be looking to move somewhere nearby. So no snow for us! Though we will have to deal with humidity and frizzy hair which is never nice.

It's a huge change for this California native who has just spent almost 10 years in London. After all this time in England I have almost forgotten what a warm summer feels like. So I'm sure the first summer of humidity and bugs (yuck) will be a rude awakening. On the bright side, (see what I did there?) we won't have to take our vitamin D supplements anymore.

So now I'm scouring the good schools website to try and figure out where we should live. I haven't even begun to think about doctors and hospitals yet, but that's next on the list.

We don't have a time line just yet but things will happen quickly so it looks like I'm in for a wild ride.

Anyone familiar with the Ft. Lauderdale area? Any advice on schools and neighbourhoods and doctors and hospitals would be greatly appreciated. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Life Is Never Boring

Just when you get all settled and comfortable, BANG, something else happens. At least that's how things seem to go for me.

The hubby and I have been living in London for quite a long time now. We have done the travelling in Europe thing and have very much enjoyed the opportunity to live in a different country and appreciate a different culture and way of life. London is very much our home. We have built a life here, had two children here, and have another one on the way.

We have been talking for the past 6 months or so about being ready to move back to the USA. Since having Frostina, and the death of The Hubby's Dad, we are really feeling the pull back home. Our parents aren't getting any younger and we want Frostina to grow up being at least a bit closer to her family. The Hubby had a conversation with his HR department sharing our wish to go home a while back and left it at that.

We were then asked if we would agree to stay here at least one more year due to staffing issues and them not having a back up for him. We said yes which I figured worked out well with Baby Olea on the way. So I got pregnant and have been back with my doctor who I respect and trust. All was on schedule to have Baby Olea here in London and then we would plan to move back sometime in 2015.


That's what you get when you make plans.

A few weeks ago The Hubby started hearing rumours that things were happening in the US division of his company. Rumours that included the fact that phone calls had been made asking about our availability to move sooner. Then he got a call asking very specifically about my pregnancy and when my due date was. We were also asked if there was a time line in which we would not be able to move. Our reply was that obviously there would be a few months immediately before my due date and afterwards when we would need to stay put here. Basically we told them that we could move now, or sometime in the Fall.

The Hubby is at a meeting this week for the whole company. I have now received two phone calls from him telling me that things are indeed going on with the US division and that it's looking very likely that he will be getting some kind of job offer. His company moves quickly once they make decisions like this so I'm expecting we will know more by the end of the week. But it looks like we will be making a move back to the USA.

Where exactly in the US is a different question. America is a pretty large country and at the moment we have no clue where the openings will be. Nor do we know if it would be a lateral move or a promotion. So needless to say I'm freaking out.

Yes, I am ready to be back on American soil. But there are definitely parts of the US that I would rather not live. I fear listing any of them here because then I know I will be sealing my fate and end up moving there. So I'll just say that I would prefer to be in a part of the country that is filled with open-minded people who have not allowed doctrine and scare mongering to rule their lives and decisions.

I would also prefer to live somewhere with decent weather. This California girl has been spoiled for most of her life as far as weather goes and the idea of shovelling snow in minus 10 wind chill doesn't really appeal. **There I go, cursing myself to a life somewhere in America where it snows. Sadly, the chances of us returning to California are slim so I'm certainly not getting my hopes up about that.

I'm left here wondering where life will take us next. It's stressful and sort of exciting, but sort of not because I hate having decisions made for me. Unless where they want us to move is absolutely awful, saying no may or may not be an option.

I am freaking out!

I can truthfully say that my life is never boring.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Frostina At 20 Months

Frostina is 20 months old now and is growing leaps and bounds. Her vocabulary is amazing, it seems she learns a new word every day.

She is also growing more independent which is a good thing,,,, and a not so good thing. I am also noticing that the terrible two's are a-coming. Or maybe they are already here.

Here are some tidbits about what life with Frostina is like these days.

She likes to bring me things when I'm sitting on the toilet. She doesn't seem to grasp the concept that I don't really want them.

She randomly says "fuck." The first time she said it was in context (after bumping her head). Now she just spouts it off from time to time. She's even saying it for the babysitter. I swear I heard her say it at Gymboree today. Makes me so proud.

Speaking of Gymboree. Frostina has decided that she no longer needs to do what the rest of class is doing. She would much rather go rogue and do whatever she feels like. She's even missing bubble time which used to be her favourite. When it's time to leave she throws a huge tantrum,,,, nice.

She is still addicted to her binky. I have considered trying to limit binky time but then she started teething again (canines) so I'm leaving it for now.

She cried last week when the babysitter left but doesn't seem to cry when I leave.

She likes to bring me bits of fluff and crumbs off the the floor and say, "yuck." Though if the treasures she finds happen to be food then she eats them and says, "num num." Depending on how old the food is (don't judge me on my lack of vacuuming) it makes me say, "yuck."

She loves to feed herself which is super messy. She is proud of the fact that she can eat yogurt all by herself, holding the container and everything. She likes to take huge spoonfuls which overflow out of her mouth making a yogurt goatee. It's a very pretty sight.

She likes to crawl up on me while I'm sitting on the couch. Sometimes it's because she wants a cuddle, other times it's just a ploy to grab my phone off the table beside me. I'm just waiting for her to dial 999 (that's the UK equivalent of 911) when I'm not looking and then try to explain to the police that it's not a real emergency, just a toddler playing with the phone.

She alternates between giving her baby cuddles and throwing her baby on the floor. Note to self: do not let Frostina hold Baby Olea until she grows out of this.

We have explained that Mommy has a baby in her tummy. Sometimes she will point to my belly button and say, "baby." I can't figure out if she really understands or if she thinks that the word for belly button is baby.

She calls every small child, "baby." If she sees herself in a mirror or a photo of herself she also says, "baby." It's pretty funny when she calls children older than she is babies.

She is obsessed with balls, cars, birds, and dogs and will shout loudly the appropriate word whenever she sees one.

I think she has figured out that I am too tired to chase her around most of the time. Her response is to run around even more whenever I'm trying to get her to eat, sleep, change nappy, put shoes on, put coat on, etc. She finds this chasing game quite hilarious.

There are often tantrums during transitions. Even if she is hungry, she will protest going into her high chair. We also have issues with getting into the buggy (stroller) even though she loves to go outside.

I am obviously saying, "sit down" and "stop" too often because she is now saying both of those things to me. This morning when I was trying to get her dressed she said, "stop Mama." I've also caught her telling Pooh Bear to, "sit down" when she was trying to put him into the dolly's buggy.

She loves cuddles and kisses.

She likes to wear her mittens in the house, but when we're outside in the cold she refuses to keep them on.

She is adorable and amazing and exhausting all at the same time. I love her with all my heart.

Monday, 17 February 2014

17 Weeks And In Denial

I had my 16 week check up last week and all is well with little Baby Olea. My doctor has a small portable ultrasound machine so even on non-scan appointments I get to see her. It's always nice to have a peek to see how she is doing. Especially since I have an anterior placenta this time around so I hardly ever feel her moving around.

Does anyone have experience with anterior placentas? Will I feel less movement the entire pregnancy? Or just in the beginning?

On the way home from the appointment I realised just how much I am still in denial about being pregnant. When I was pregnant with Frostina I could barely sleep the night before any doctors appointment because I was absolutely sure I was going to be told bad news. I would stress for days before each scan.

This time, not so much.

Denial is a funny thing I guess.

It's easy to be in denial at this point. I'm in the just showing/could be getting fatter phase of pregnancy. I'm still wearing lots of my pre-pregnancy baggy sweaters so most days if you didn't know you would be afraid to guess. It's only on days when I'm wearing my maternity tops that it's more obvious.

Not really being able to feel Olea yet contributes as well. As does the fact that I have Frostina to chase around and keep my mind occupied.

I do have a few reminders that snap me out of my denial. The no-booze thing for one, and then there's the list of foods I can't eat. At least I'm remembering about them.

Oh, and I'm obsessing about baby names. I'm hoping that once we decide on her name that this baby will feel more real.

Perhaps this denial is a defense mechanism. I was so incredibly fearful during my pregnancy with Frostina that maybe my brain can't do it again. So instead it pretends to "forget" I'm pregnant so that I won't be so terrified this time. Either that or I'm just too tired chasing Frostina around to obsess like I did last time.

It's quite a strange phenomenon though. Though if experience serves me well, I'm sure it's one that will pass soon and the panic and fear will set in. So maybe I need to enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Frostina's Favourite Person

I would like to introduce you to Frostina's favourite person, her Daddy. Yes I know she still loves me too, but the way she lights up when he enters a room just makes my heart melt. I love that he is such a good Daddy to her, and I especially love watching them together.

I sure married well.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

When The Shoe Is On The Other Foot

As most of you know, The Hubby and I struggled with infertility for YEARS before finally giving birth to Frostina. As most of my friends were having their first babies, I was struggling with infertility. As these same friends went on to have second and even third babies, I was struggling with infertility.

I still vividly remember buying new baby gifts and bursting into tears in the mall afterwards. I can remember having a panic attack on the way to meet a new friend's baby. I can even remember crying so hard on the way to a party at a newly pregnant friend's house that we had to turn around and go home.

I had my "brave face" down pat. I knew just how to smile and say congrats even when my heart was breaking. I knew just the right gift to bring to the baby shower even though my heart ached to be able to be shopping for my own baby. I don't think most people had any idea that I was suffering so badly.

Then I got pregnant with my son, and he died, and it all got much worse. Though now people knew I was suffering so I wasn't expected to have my "brave face" on as much. I was able to bow out of baby showers without even making an excuse, so I suppose that was a bit of an improvement (insert sarcasm here).

I've always been the one who didn't have children. I've always been the one who couldn't get pregnant. Then I turned into the lady whose baby died. The person who everyone tiptoed around, worried they would say the wrong thing. Bad things always happened to me while everyone around me had easy pregnancies with living babies in the end.

Lately though, things have turned around a bit and I am finding myself in uncharted territory. As I mentioned here before, two close friends have had miscarriages. They happened within a few weeks of each other and I didn't even know they were pregnant at the time. They didn't know I was pregnant either as it turns out because we were all in the early weeks of our first trimester.

So when it came time to announce my pregnancy to everyone I was not sure how to handle things. I can't even count how many times I've been the one to receive this kind of news after a failed fertility cycle or after a loss. But I've never been the person with the happy news trying to be sensitive to the person suffering a loss. It is a very unfamiliar place to be, and I want to make sure I handle it well.

I decided to email each of them personally before I posted the news on facebook. In each email I shared my sadness about their loss and explained that I didn't want them to be blindsided by my announcement. They both know my history, so when I said that I know where they are and how it feels I think they knew I was coming from a good place.

I got great response from them both. I think they were surprised that I reached out, but they both seemed very grateful that I had. They have both been very positive and supportive towards me. It seems that I am not the only one who is good at the "brave face."

Now I've just got to be sensitive in navigating through this pregnancy. They are both in Frostina's playgroup so I see them often. I want to be sure that it never seems like I'm bragging or flaunting my pregnancy. I will try to temper the new baby talk when they are around so as not to be insensitive.

Basically, I am now doing all the things people did around me. It feels so strange to have the shoe on the other foot. It's not a place I ever thought I would be.

*It goes without saying that as a BLM, I know that this pregnancy is not guaranteed. I know that things could change in a flash and I could be right back where I started. I know full well that thisshoe could pop itself back on it's more familiar foot. So please don't take this as cavalier or assuming that now that I'm pregnant it's all roses and butterflies.

Friday, 31 January 2014

The One Where I Reveal The Gender

We got our Harmony test results back and all is well with Baby Oleo, no genetic abnormalities.

Woo Hoo, what a relief. You gotta love 24 year old eggs!! Thank you anonymous 24 year old egg donor!

We also found out that Baby Oleo is a....... GIRL!

That's right, a girl. I was absolutely 100% positive she was a boy so that shows you how much I know. The Hubby has resigned himself to a house full of women.

I told Frostina she was going to have a baby sister and she replied by laughing and running away from me. She really has no idea what's going on and what's to come.

So now I figure we can't call her Baby Oleo here since Oleo sounds like a boys name. So I guess we'll go with Baby Olea. I considered Olina but it sounds too much like Olean which is that stuff in fat free food that makes you poop if you eat too much of it. So that's out.

Now we have to figure out what to call her in real life. I can't find our baby name book so I guess I'll have to get another one. Wow, we're picking names for another baby. There were so many days when I never thought we would be here again. 

Come on Baby Olea, please be born alive and healthy.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Pregnancy **After** The Pregnancy After Loss

A lot is written about pregnancy loss and almost as much is written about pregnancy after a loss. I've done quite a bit of writing about it here and on various other pregnancy loss blogs, grief blogs, and on BlogHer about this very subject and I've done a bunch of reading on the topic as well. I suppose you could say I've become a bit of an expert on the subject. Not that this a subject that anyone wants to know intimately, but sadly that's how things have happened for me.

We hear about the shock and horror of the initial loss and the complete and utter devastation it leaves in it wake. We cheer for these women as they struggle to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and put the pieces back together.

We read about their subsequent pregnancies with trepidation. We leave encouraging comments for them and wish them all the best. We wait with anticipation for them to be blessed with their rainbow babies. Those amazing and precious babies that come after a loss. We are so relieved for them when we know that they have finally had their "happy ending."

But what about the pregnancy after that?

I've just begun to navigate my way through the pregnancy after the pregnancy after loss. I wasn't expecting it to feel any different than my previous pregnancy, but it does. Last time around my experience was that every time I get pregnant, my baby dies at 36 weeks. I had no other alternative in my head. My only experience of pregnancy was of tragedy and loss.

I now know what it feels like to have experienced both sides of the coin. One pregnancy where my baby died and my life was shattered. Another pregnancy where my baby was born alive and healthy. One ride home from hospital with empty arms crying into my husbands chest. And another pregnancy where I rode home with my beautiful daughter and struggled to figure out how to get the car seat to latch into the car.

Last pregnancy I was "sure" that things would go wrong. This time I'm more hopeful. I'm less fearful. I'm able to think ahead and start looking for double buggies (strollers). Not to buy one of course, because that would be tempting fate. But at least I've allowed myself to do the research. You have no idea what a big step that is. If you've been around for a while you will remember that I didn't allow anything in my house for Frostina until after she was born.

It's not all goodness and light though. I certainly haven't reverted back to the person I was during my first pregnancy. The person who just knew that once I had my 12 week scan and all was well that I was for sure going to be bringing home a healthy baby in the end. I know all too well that there are no guarantees in life.

I know full well that even if you are a Baby Loss Mom, you don't get a free pass for all future pregnancies. One of my fellow BLM's just had her baby after her rainbow baby and it was not all smooth sailing. She had some complications right near the end that nearly resulted in another terrible loss. If it weren't for her absolute insistence that something wasn't right, and her brilliant doctor who followed her gut, things may have ended badly. Thankfully, all is well and she was able to take her beautiful daughter home with her.

I have a 50/50 history with pregnancies, which is much better than the 100% fail rate I had last time. I know those odds still look pretty grim to those of you who don't live in a world where babies die. But from where I'm sitting they offer hope. I have now lived the happy ending, and I want it again. More importantly, I believe I can have it again. That's a huge mind set change from last time around.

I have no idea if I will feel this way throughout this pregnancy. It's entirely possible that as Baby Oleo's due date approaches, all the old fears and paranoia will return. All I know is that this pregnancy is different than the last one, and I feel differently about it. It will be interesting to reflect on just how different it is as time goes on.

Have any of you been through this? If so, how did you feel during your pregnancy and how was it different than the one before? Oh, and what do you call the baby after your rainbow baby? Are they a rainbow baby as well?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Baby Oleo

I know I have been a bit more lax about writing these days. Not just in frequency, but in depth. I am so distracted with Frostina that I don't have as much time in the day to really sit down and write. By the time she goes to bed I'm so tired that all I want to do is eat dinner and veg in front of the TV.

I feel bad because I really love this space. It was my lifeline in the early days of grief and became a huge support during my pregnancy with Frostina. It's weird how something that was so important to me has become something that I have cast aside. I don't know exactly how it happened, but I don't seem to need it as much.

But I still want it, so I'm going to try harder.

I'm going to begin with a confession. I feel awful that I haven't given this new baby a blog name. Frostina had her name before conception and this poor little one is still nameless. They do say that your second (living) baby doesn't get as much attention as your first (living) baby. I wonder if this is the beginning of that? Who knew that second (living) baby syndrome could start so early???

Naming Frostina was easy. She was my frozen embryo who we called Frosty until we figured out she was a girl. That's when we started calling her Frostina. This baby was from a fresh cycle and somehow "Freshie" doesn't have the same ring as "Frosty." I'd love to come up with something clever but alas, my clever gene seems to be in remission at the moment.

So I'm going to use the name we have been using at home, "Baby-Oleo." Why Baby-Oleo you ask? Well you see, when Frostina gets really excited about something we are going to give her (mostly food) she says ole-ole-oh a bunch of times. It's really cute and we like to copy her.

So when we found out I was pregnant I joked by saying "ole-ole-oh." Then I figured out that oleo rhymes with embryo (well sort of). So we started calling him/her Embry-oleo. That got shortened to oleo at some point and at the moment we're mostly using the name "Baby-Oleo."

I suppose that if Baby Oleo ends up being a girl that we will have to find a girly modification. But for now I'm sticking with Baby Oleo. Not as cute and clever as Frostina I suppose. But there you have it.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Happy Day

Today I had my 12 week scan and it was great news. Baby is alive and kicking! He or she is also just the right size for gestational age and my doctor says everything looks great. I can't begin to express how happy this makes me. I was so worried that we would be told something was wrong today. I made the mistake of reading up on missed miscarriages and had somehow convinced me that it would happen to me. It didn't help that two close friends both had miscarriages in the past month which helped fuel my paranoia.

I had a bit of a surprise today when he told me that he would be doing a Harmony test instead of an NT test. In my previous two pregnancies I had an NT test at 12 weeks to test for genetic abnormalities such as Downs Syndrome. Basically they take measurement of your babies neck and also look for a nasal bone. Then they do a blood test and combine the results to give you your chances. The results are in ratio form. So for example you have a 1 in 1000 chance and so on. They can be very confusing and often you need a CVS or Amnio to know for sure.

But this new Harmony test can tell you all of this in a basically non-invasive way. They take a blood sample from  me and somehow they can access my babies DNA from it. So not only can they tell me for sure if there are any genetic abnormalities, but they can tell me the sex of the baby. Cool huh?

Medical science is truly amazing.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Wait And Worry

I finally heard back from my doctor's office and my ultrasound has been moved to next week. On the one hand this is good news because The Hubby really wants to be there, and I don't really want to go by myself. On the other hand this isn't good news because it means I have to wait another week to find out if everything is OK with our little baby-to-be.

As I mentioned before, I'm not as terrified this time around as I was when I was pregnant with Frostina. But once a BLM (that's Baby Loss Mom for those of you who are new to this blog) always a BLM. I think I could be pregnant 10 more times and still never feel completely safe and at ease. This delay is causing me to worry just a bit more.

I know logically that it doesn't matter if my scan is tomorrow or next week. I know that the date of scan won't influence if things are fine (or not fine) with baby-to-be. If things are going to go wrong, they will. My history tells me that they can go wrong when you least expect it. Things can go wrong even when you're not worried. So the worrying and wanting a scan every week won't change anything. And yet as I type this I am worried.

So for now I will wait and worry. Sigh.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Feeling Rough

I am officially 11 weeks pregnant today. I apologise for the lack of posts but I have been feeling ROUGH. The nausea and extreme exhaustion seem to be worse this time around. Either that or I have just forgotten how horrible the first trimester can be. I suspect it may be a bit of both. I think Mother Nature makes you forget about some of this stuff so you will have more kids.

I'm off all my medications now.


Up until last week I was still doing estrogen injections every third day and progesterone suppositories (yuck) twice a day. I am so glad to not have to inject myself with needles or stuff something up my butt everyday. If you haven't been through this you probably can't relate, but if you have then you know what a huge milestone this is. 

It's so much harder to manage early pregnancy when you have a toddler to chase around. Frostina has no empathy for poor Mommy. I actually feel pretty bad for her. The poor kid has been trapped inside with me for way too long.

There was a stretch where we didn't leave the house for almost a week. The poor kid kept bringing me my shoes and her shoes (a sign that she wanted to go out). When that didn't work she started bringing me her coat and my coat... that she somehow managed to wrangle off the coat rack.

So luckily on babysitter day (my one day a week where I have childcare) we had good weather and she could go out. I've never seen her so happy to put her shoes on and leave Mommy in the dust. No separation anxiety, no clinging to my leg. It was "See you later Mommy,,,, I'm going out!"

Next week we have our next scan. I'm still negotiating the dates because of course The Hubby is going to be out of town on the day I originally scheduled. The office has been mostly closed over the holidays so I haven't been able to confirm the date change yet. Here in the UK pretty much everything shuts down from December 24th until January 4th or 5th which is sooooo frustrating.

I'm impatient. I just want to take another peek to make sure everything is OK with this little one. I probably won't get a call from the doctor until Monday which sucks.

Please let everything be ok.