One and Done

Five years ago, I was pregnant. It was our fourth pregnancy. Alexis was just about 18 months old. I was feeling yucky, as usual. I was standing in the family room of our first home in New Mexico, looking out toward the back yard.

I had a feeling that something wasn't right with the pregnancy. Something just felt "off." 

As I was contemplating this feeling, I had thought enter my mind. "Don't worry. This won't be your last. You'll have four." I was pretty sure we'd lose the pregnancy, but I felt peace about our future.

I've held onto the idea of four since that day. Each time we've considered adding to our family, we've prayerfully considered the option. We've both always felt that four was still our number. And so we pressed on. We've gone on to have Addison, Emily, and another miscarriage.

After our last miscarriage, Allen and I discussed our family plans. We've been pregnant eight times. When they don't make it here in the flesh, when we lose a baby, our lives are turned upside down. The kids' lives are turned upside down. 

And when we get them here, they have some challenges. We've had two NICU babies. All three have had severe reflux and allergies. We spend most of our first year in and out of the hospital, or with the specialist, or with the therapists. Getting our girls here has not been easy for us. Our relationship is always tested to what seems like the limits of our feeble abilities. 

We would consider trying for one more, but that was it. If it stuck, we had our four. If not, we were shutting down shop. My body would not be the vessel. We prayed about it and agreed: One and done. 

A month later, I was pregnant.

My standard cocktail of hormones and medication was immediately started. The anxiety level in our house went through the roof. The tension was thick in the room, and like a vice grip on our hearts.

Pregnancy is like the elephant in the room at our house. We never speak of "the baby" in the first trimester. We literally avoid the words. Of course, there's talk of appointments, how I feel, and what we found at the appointments. But we never utter the word "baby". We don't talk about the due date. We don't plan for the future. And while everything has changed, we try to just pretend nothing has changed at all. We've lost too many to get attached so early. 

Every day is a walk on eggshells waiting for the inevitable. I can say the only saving grace we have is the advent of modern medicine. At 6 weeks, we got an ultrasound. And saw the little heart beating it's rapid beat right away. 

6 weeks 4 days.

Now, we've lost one after seeing that heartbeat so while we felt some encouragement, we were still very hesitant to let it mean anything.

Then, we got another ultrasound at 8 weeks. And that little flicker of life lit the flame of hope in our hearts.

8 weeks 5 days. This one was done by the doctor. They are always the worst!
And yet another at 11 weeks. Again, we saw that little heart just-a-beatin'.  The idea that we might actually get our fourth here to Earth with us once and for all started to settle in our hearts and minds.

We mentioned the future. And started to consider "when the baby comes".

Wanna know the due date? March 2nd. That's Allen's birthday. You may or may not know that 3 of our 4 miscarriages have happened the week of his birthday. Let's just say that his birthday has sucked, a lot, those years. 

And now, a live baby. A life to celebrate along with his. It's a tender mercy that hasn't been lost on us. 

So, back to the baby. 

We're having a baby! 

I'm 16 weeks along. I feel the baby tumbling around in there every day. 

Getting people here is no small feat. You literally move Heaven and Earth. Our road has had some bumps. But I feel good knowing that despite the discouragement and confusion and sadness and anger, we stayed the course. No one will be left behind. 

This is it folks. 

One and done. 


Some Info to Chew On

I'm just going to come right out and say it: I'm not a fan of big government. The idea is nice, but the execution of said ideas is rarely successful, efficient, cost-effective, etc. In a nutshell, it seems like once the government gets its hands on an idea, it pretty much jacks it all up.

Even though the people complain against our government, they still want the government in charge of their safe keeping. They want the government to regulate against and protect against every possible mis-step for the "better" of the people.

One area we've turned to the government for advice is with our health. We have diabetes; give us new regulations! We see child hood obesity; add more legislation about school lunches! It goes on and on. I'm not quite sure why politicians should be charged with creating health standards, but they have been. And, we've gotten the food pyramid, the BMI index, school lunch regulations, etc.

And, we're still a nation of FAT PEOPLE!!!! There are many factors that go into the whys on that one, but one of them could be that we are working from a bad baseline.

What if the standard for caloric intake is wrong? What if the proportion recommendations are wrong? Considering that the tables we rely on to make judgements about our food are based on government recommendations, and we are all still fat and unhealthy, maybe (just maybe) the government hasn't created the perfect nutritional guideline for the people.

I've been chewing on the idea of sharing this for about a year. I hate to sound preachy, but this information was a game changer for me.

When I started thinking about my health, I also started educating myself. And boy, did I have a lot to learn. My ideas about what is really necessary to be healthy really changed. My thoughts on how much food a person really needs to be healthy were blown apart. I realized that what I'd been taught about nutrition (in school, on the labels in the grocery store, etc.) wasn't true for me.

I particularly liked a table I saw in a book (or manual, if you like) I'd purchased as part of the Medifast  program. The doctor who designed the program, Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson, had some new suggestions for maintaining healthy weight. The table compares the government's current recommendations to the his recommendations. In my (brief) experience, this updated set of data is way more likely to help a person maintain health than the government's current set of data. It's helped me, that's for sure.

Food Group Gov't rec.                    Dr. Anderson
Fat 30% of calories                           Less than 25%
Sat. Fat 10% of calories       Less than 5%
Carbs 60% of calories       45-60%
Protein (lean) 10% of calories       15-25%
Fiber 11.5 g/1000 kcal       20g/1000kcal

This isn't a plug for Medifast. I'm sure there are fitness folks and nutritionists out there who have been making these suggestions for years. But, it was the first time I'd seen it. It's made a difference for me. I can't eat 60% of my calories in carbs and maintain. I don't process carbs well. But, if I stick close to 45%, I easily keep the weight off. And, I feel better overall when I strive for the numbers on the Medifast side of this table. Instead of feeling frustrated because I wasn't successful following the labels of the foods I buy (as recommended by the FDA/government), I now feel empowered. I changed the parameters and have felt success. 

Who knows? Maybe someone else out there can apply this information and finally feel like the food world isn't conspiring against them anymore either. 


Holy Busy, Batman!

If you have more than one child and you're reading this, you may openly scoff at my weakness. You are also invited to knowingly nod your head or even shout out, "Amen sista" at any point.

This is my first year with more than one child involved in anything at all besides tv watching and tantrum throwing. I was planning on easing into the whole "over-scheduled-soccer-mom" routine, but it's come on like the flu and I can't shake it.

I think I've finally figured out why I went from feeling sort-of in control to totally overwhelmed in one week's time.

Lexi started school. Her day begins at 8 a.m. School ends at 2:00 p.m.

Addie started school. Her day begins, twice a week, at 8:30 a.m. And ends at 11:30 a.m.

Lexi also has soccer two nights a week. I'm the coach so that does involve a bit of planning and schlepping of a million things two nights a week. And games on Saturdays.

She is also starting piano this week.

And choir. After school. It's on the same day as Piano.

And riding lessons. I still do those once a week. I love it, yes, but it's also another task on the calendar that has to be managed.

But, really, that seems pretty reasonable, right?

Two kids in school (woot! woot!), and one involved in a seasonal sport while taking instrument lessons.

The wrench in my "slide-in-easy-to-the-cold-pool" on this crazy busy mom thing?


Suddenly, Emmy has therapy three days a week.

At various times. In various places. Sometimes, it's therapy twice a day. Once in Modesto (an hour's drive round trip) and once in our home later in the day.

So, when the note came home asking if I can help in Lexi's class, my lack of time became glaringly troublesome. I can't!!! (And that kills me. Fear not, we are rearranging the schedule as we type.)

I've gone from one kid in school part time to THREE kids who all have MULTIPLE extracurricular activities on MULTIPLE days at DIFFERENT times in DIFFERENT cities.

Lest we forget time to, I dunno, grocery shop, make and keep various doctors appointments, back to school nights, boy scouts for Allen, hair cuts, cleaning, yard work, laundry, cooking, bathing, and occasionally sleeping.

And naps? Fuhgettaboutit.

At this point, I'm not home for more than an hour at any given time. In the morning, it's school, preschool, drive to Modesto for therapy, pick up from preschool, suddenly it's afternoon, and I've got pick up from regular school, soccer, and finally home. Or therapy here. Or piano. Or we have an errand.

You all know the drill. I'm just sayin' that going from one kid who's mildly involved to three kids who are all too busy has my head spinning.

Raise your hand if you are in the same boat that's churning around in a whirlpool full of cheerios, sports gear, and redundant school forms!

(It's ok if you really raised your hand.)


Adenoids Out!

After a couple of years of trying to let her "grow out" of her adenoid issues, we finally just had them taken right out of there. 

We left at o'dark:30 to make our appointment for pre-op. Once there, we learned the doctor was behind schedule. This is the most dreadful news to a parent of a young child. Like a two year old wants to sit in a cold room for hours on end? Thankfully, we had PBS kids on the personal tv in our "stall". I also had my phone and plenty of Emily approved apps for her entertainment needs. We survived the three hour wait quite well, I'd say. 

Before surgery. Super excited!

In fact, Emily didn't seem at all bothered by the cold, sterile cubby where we had gone to "play". Until the anesthesiologist came in and proceeded to explain the procedure to her. He started telling her about masks and sleeping and waking up and everything being ok and not having any shots. She quickly decided everything was NOT ok. What guy comes in and tells a two year old anything? Really. Just let her watch Clifford in blissful ignorance. 
Still happy and content.

After the clueless anesthesiologist came to visit. NOT super excited.
We did get some cool "toys" to help pass the time.
This stuff is all sterile, right?
 It's a minor surgery that takes under 20 minutes to complete. Of course, with a little one, the most traumatic part is the prelude and recovery from anesthesia. Emily was no different. She fussed for about 20 minute whens she woke up. The nurse found an Elmo video and we rested for another hour. Then, they sent us on our merry way. 
On the way home after surgery. NOT excited and super out of it.
Emily did really well for the first three days. She was a little cranky, but for the most part, played well and slept well. She didn't eat much, refusing even ice cream and popsicles. We didn't push it and she was recovering nicely.

Then, day 4 came and she spiked a 103 fever in the night. We brought it down with medication and a luke warm bath. The next day it was still high so I called the doctor. He suggested some antibiotics as a precaution and told me to bring her in right away if she got worse. We weathered day 4, hoping it was the apex of our misery.

Poor Emmy. 
Unfortunately, day 5 was way worse. She was lethargic and burning up. She had the shakes and was drooling. And she had a very wet cough. I called the doctor to try and get an appointment, but 4 hours later, had heard nothing. I called again, got the nurse, and she tried to tell me I'd have to wait for a phone call back from the doctor. When said this to me, I simply asked, "Do you want me to see you or go to the ER. I'm bringing her today." I had an appointment within the hour. 

They did a chest x-ray and saw some streaks which can happen after anesthesia. Sedation can effect lung function enough that infection can set in and develop into pneumonia. She wasn't sick enough to be admitted, thank goodness. We already had our antibiotics and we were able to control the fever so they let us come home with instructions to keep a close watch on her. 

A few days later, she was all better. All in all, the surgery went really well. And, her ability to enunciate has improved 100% since the surgery. I'm not sure if it's because speech therapy is helping. Or if it's the surgery. Or a combination of both. Either way, when she says, "Hi Mom" in the morning, it sounds like "HI" instead of "HA".  She kind of sounds like a regular 2 year old when we do directive speech work.

Hopefully, the number of infections she suffers will be less as we approach cold and flu seasons here, too. Right now, it feels like having the surgery was the right thing to do for Emmy. 

About Me

My photo
What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.