Monday, October 29, 2012

Living Out of Boxes

Our lives are mostly in boxes and the internet hasn't yet joined us in our new hood, so I'm going to do a quick update from a coffee shop between finishing up a homework assignment and heading home to crash.

Sidenote: Yes, I said homework. The course requirements to make my licensure in Minnesota full has been an experience that warrants a separate post. Someday when I'm not blogging about the incoming infant or our spirited toddler, I'll write about it.

The move has gone as smoothly as expected. We love our new place and know that once we're settled, it will be wonderful. Lyds loves her new purple bedroom.

In the meantime, we've been taking little jaunts--today for the purpose of getting our lone set of keys from Robin at his office downtown. In an effort to kill time, we landed at the Minneapolis Central Library, which I love. A Dunn Bros. in the library? You had me at hello. Lyds loved the Children's section and made a new friend named Breya.

I enjoyed a weekend with my college roommates, Anna and Elise. Past weekends have been held in Chicago, Austin, and New York, but this one found us on Bonner Lake in Wisconsin at Anna's family's cabin. A weekend of conversation, good food, and one really bad movie was exactly what we needed. I'm so thankful that over a decade after meeting in Middlebrook Hall, these lovely ladies are such a staple in my life!

Baby G2 hits the 24 week mark tomorrow. Where has the time gone? Our list of to-dos and to-buys is slowly growing, and I'm eager to get going on the nursery. Pinterest wasn't a thing when Lydia was born, and I'm pretty excited to put this room together with some Pinspiration. I'll put up the obligatory belly photo. I've been diligent about taking them on the 4-week mark, something I didn't do with Lyds.

This weekend brings Mike, Brittany, and Harrison to Minneapolis for the first time since Lydia's baptism. We're excited to see them! The following weekend will bring Robin to LaCrosse for a Mancation. Good things ahead!

Monday, October 22, 2012

On the Move--Again

We are moving. Again. Today, my coworker told me, "You're always moving!" Yes. Yes, I am. Last July we packed up in Austin and headed north to stay with my parents for two months. Then in September we moved into a temporary apartment due to a lease snafoo. Last October, we moved into the two bedroom apartment where we have lived for the past year. We quickly decided this was NOT where we wanted to reside for more than one year, and we were thrilled to find the an adorable duplex in the East Harriet neighborhood that was for rent. It has three bedrooms, a fireplace, and it is in a location that works a little better for us. It also has a basement for storage, a small yard, and a washer and dryer that belongs JUST TO US! Ah, luxury...

Despite our excitement, Lydia was NOT thrilled about the idea of packing her things up. When Robin told her we were moving, she wailed. Yesterday while riding in the car, she told us, "Moving is hard for kids. It's hard for us to understand." Right on, Lyds. I think she'll acclimate quickly, but her anxiety was yet another reminder that she's getting older and sees the world through her own little lens.

I'll document a we make the spot our own, but for now, I am proud that at 10:15 the night before the movers come, we are ready to go! This is totally a personal record.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Top Ten Summer Moments - 2012

It makes me sad that the past year has gone undocumented on this blog, and as much as I'd love to say I'll go back, I know the odds of that are slim. As time allows, I'll fill in, but mostly, I'm hoping to move forward and keep blogging. Considering I've posted more in the past week than in the past six months, I'm going to give myself a pat on the back.

And with that, the Top Ten Summer Moments of 2012, in no particular order!

1.) Meeting Cousin Gloria, the beautiful baby of my cousin Becky and her husband Danny!

2.) Our trip to Boston and Maine. Getting to know the city of Boston, including a game at Fenway, Boston Commons, and the infamous Duckboat Tour!

 The trip included our "quaint" stay in Deer Isle, Maine to celebrate the wedding of Robin's cousin Daniel and his lovely wife Beth. This hostel was so unique, it might warrant its own backpost.

 3.) Lydia's first PRIDE parade! I have waited her whole life to take Lyds to a Minneapolis Pride. We strolled through Loring Park and visited Gallery Co afterwards.

 4.) Cabin time! We especially loved introducing Minnesota cabin life to Texas visitors and dear friends Jenny and Nathan (not pictured--he hates the camera).

 5.) Lydia's first Battle Lake Turtle Race. She wasn't so happy with her turtle's performance. It seems once he hit the shade, he got pretty comfy and wouldn't move. She was upset he didn't get to finish.

 6.) Playtime at home. As a working mom, this is a treat.
 7.) Celebrating (7!) years of marriage by eating handfuls of wild blueberries found in a field in Maine.
 8.) Getting to know the Minneapolis food scene. Yay, Farmers' Markets!
 9.) Taking advantage of the parks and lakes here. Lyds loves the wading pool!

 10.) Meeting Fousin Harrison, the adorable son of our friends-pretty-much-family, Mike and Britt. I was proud because I succeeded in getting him to sleep on me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Panic City: An Update

First of all, the amazing support I received after my last post was humbling. I feel so grateful to have an amazing network of people in my life: family members, coworkers, high school classmates (Laura and Andrea!), and friends from college and beyond contacted me to affirm my feelings, to say they'd been in similar situations, and shared what they did to address the fear that comes with a pregnancy that isn't textbook. For me, one big take-away was that trying to deal with my pregnancy-related anxiety on my own is not productive and not necessary. Thank you for helping me feel supported, understood, and for sharing resources.

Yesterday, I went in to see my midwife. I shared with her my anxiety and what's been going on inside my head. I asked her, again, to tell me about her experiences with single umbilical arteries (SUA). She said, "I see them all the time." I asked her how frequently they're a problem. She said, "I've never seen one become a problem." I heard the exact same thing from a friend who's a sonographer (Susan!), so my up-til-now irrational mind is beginning to actually process and trust this information, which feels like progress. I've committed to NOT going online about SUA anymore; I know what there is to be learned online, and it doesn't help my fears.

We then talked about plans to manage anxiety from here on out. I shared with her the ideas that had been shared with me, and we determined that the biggest first step for me will be increasing my circle of support, especially in regards to pregnancy. I'm going to begin my search for a doula this week and will begin going to prenatal yoga. I'm also going to invest in the Hypnobabies materials to simultaneously prepare for the drug-free delivery I'm hoping for and reframe my thoughts on pregnancy. If these things don't seem to help, the next step would be a counselor who specializes in medical anxiety, and finally, anti-anxiety meds. In general, the conversation was wonderful because 1.) my care-takers now know that I'm struggling with this, 2.) I know they take my feelings seriously, and 3.) I have their help in finding resources.

In talking with coworkers at conferences tonight, I was reaffirmed in the value of sharing my feelings; upon receiving the very first Facebook messages and texts in response to my last post, I instantly began feeling less frantic. Thank you to all who read, responded, and listened. I know that I will probably deal with this anxiety for the remainder of this pregnancy, but I already feel more equipped to move forward without the panicked spinning that I've been doing for the past few weeks.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bundle of...

a.) joy
b.) nerves
c.) both

C would be most accurate.

Baby #2 is due in February--February 19, to be exact. Unlike with Lydia, we kept this news quiet, not announcing to our parents until the first trimester was nearly over. We wanted Lydia to be the one to share, and we didn't want to share with her until we had passed the window when miscarriages are most common. She did indeed share the news, announcing to both sets of grandparents, "Mommy has a baby in her tummy and I'm going to be a big sister!"

As I've blogged before, my biggest fear with Lydia was whether or not I would love her--would love being a mom. That fear quickly vanished, and Lydia is definitely loved, not just by me but by many. This round, I am in a different place, am a few years older. This time, my constant fear has been that something would go physically wrong. I waited on pins and needles to hear a heartbeat, to receive clear first trimester and quad screens, and when all of that happened, I told myself it was time to relax and just be excited about the baby that will join us in February. I knew my anxiety hadn't been normal.

And then...

...a lot happened. A huge bleed at 18 weeks, a diagnosis of placenta previa, a hospital stay due to bleeding and tightening of the belly that presented as possible preterm labor, and an ultrasound that showed three soft markers for chromosomal disorders. Two weeks followed, and as we waited on amniocentesis results, a Level II ultrasound, and I spent a week on bedrest followed by a week of minimal activity at work and home, every step forward I had made with pregnancy-related anxiety vanished. At the ultrasound the morning of the bleed, the tech asked if we wanted to know the sex of the baby, and because Robin wasn't there, I asked her to print the photos and put them in an envelope to be opened with Robin later. This happened before news of things not "normal" beyond the placenta previa, and the envelope stayed sealed in my purse for two weeks as we waited on ultrasounds and test results. So much felt in question that I didn't feel like that envelope could be opened with excitement, and so it stayed closed until we had several questions answered. I felt like all of my anxiety and fear had been some sort of premonition--that my feeling that something would go wrong had been confirmed.

Those with whom I spent time during that week will attest to the train wreck of emotions that I was. Emails were sent out with vague information, and we were on the receiving end of an amazing amount of kindness and goodwill, not to mention prayers and positive thoughts. The babysitting, food deliveries, and kind words went miles.

Preliminary amnio results came back "great," followed by a totally normal complete report, received the morning of a Level II ultrasound that showed a healthy baby. Even more exciting (and surprising) was the placenta that, two weeks previous, had completely covered my cervix had now cleared the cervical opening by 3 cm. I no longer have placenta previa! The one remaining anomaly--the one that we knew would most likely not be rediagnosed--is a single umbilical artery. (Most umbilical cords have two arteries; this baby has one. This condition can be associated with poor growth in utero and requires extra monitoring to insure that the baby is receiving adequate nutrition, though our baby is currently measuring right on track.) In happy disbelief, we made calls to our parents and headed to lunch where we finally opened the envelope that told us this baby was a boy. We made the obligatory penis jokes, celebrated that so much of the fear of the past two weeks was over, and went on with our day.

Now, I can't seem to kick the fear. Everything triggers panic: the news that the umbilical cord anomaly will require weekly monitoring after 32 weeks and the perinatalogist had suggested extensive monitoring when in labor (despite assurance from nearly EVERYONE I know in the medical community that this is rarely an issue), the words "high risk" coming out of my midwife's mouth (even though I know that anything not completely normal in a pregnancy can throw someone into the "high risk" category), little twinges and back pain (that come with most pregnancies), any other sign that something might possibly be wrong (even though everything "wrong" is either no longer an issue or in most cases, doesn't pose a problem).

This baby is so wanted. Since Lydia was born, we wanted a second, 3-4 years after her. This baby is due exactly three weeks before her 4th birthday. His name was picked out before he was a bundle of cells. We have a nursery color scheme, and a plan for Robin to build his crib is in place. If I wasn't so invested in this child, I don't think I would be emotionally capable of such panic. We have always planned on stopping at two children, so this pregnancy will be the last one, and here I am, so nervous I'm having a hard time enjoying myself.

I do intend to talk to my midwives about this. This anxiety has reached a level that does not feel like me, does not feel rational, and does not feel healthy--for me, Baby G, Robin, or Lydia.

So here's my request: if you're the praying type, please pray for peace for me and health for our little one-artery-cord baby. If you're the positive energy/thoughts type, send it our way. If, like me, you've struggled with anxiety associated with pregnancy or medical situations, let me know. I feel like a crazy person, and I'd love to hear 1.) that I'm not alone and 2.) what you've done to address your medicine-related anxiety. We have 18 weeks to go, and as currently, my anxiety frequently overrides my excitement, something's gotta shift.

Lydia's Big News