Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy second birthday baby girl

My little one turned 2 today. 2 years since she entered our life. And boy what an entry that was. Its easier to think back about her birth now. Not as many tears. I just try to focus on the joy she has bought into our lives. Her surgery scars seem such an integral part of her now - another ECMO mom calls it angel kisses. Yup, that's where the angels touched her, so she could continue to brighten this world. 2 years and I never got around to writing my birth story. Talk about procrastination.

We have a small birthday party planned for her. I started with really small, and now my small has turned into more than 20 people (kids and adults). We'll see how that goes.

I am 28 weeks along now. I wrote in my last post that I feel perfectly normal. And karma did come back to bite me! Third trimester has hit me like a ton of bricks. I feel so so tired all the time. Like I want to sleep all day. Which is impossible when you have a toddler. Its like I am dragging myself around just trying to get by. I don't remember feeling this tired with my first. Maybe I am older? Maybe its because running after a toddler adds to the work. I also feel like this baby is so much lower. I can literally feel hiccups in my crotch. I can almost feel her sitting on my rectum!! I know, TMI. There's time I stand up mid-pee 'cause it feels like she may fall out.

Last, but not the least, I just bought the home study course of Hypnobabies. Once I receive it, hopefully I will put enough effort into it to reap its benefits at the time of labor. Somehow I have a feeling another pitocin delivery is on the cards, and I want to be prepared for those contractions from hell.

Hypnobabies plus a doula = hopefully an uncomplicated unmedicated birth. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Its a....

Let me rephrase. Its another girl!! I realized its been crazy long since I checked my blog feed. And what do I see, but two other bloggers also just announced that they are having girls!! 'Tis the season for pretty frocks, lots of sparkle and pink bows.

With our first, I had convinced myself it was a boy, just because I wanted to be prepared to handle the disappointment, just in case it was indeed a boy. I was super excited to learn it was a girl, since that is how I always pictured my life - married with two girls. Its probably because I have a sister and I am so close to her.

This time around, I was somewhat neutral about the gender. Yes, still slightly biased towards a girl, but a boy was absolutely ok too (not that it wouldn't have been ok the first time, of course it would have been fine!). I was more concerned about the anatomy part of the scan - is the heart ok? Does he/she have 10 fingers and toes? Then the tech told us it was a girl, and hubby and I looked at each other smiling. Great, we don't have to invest in a whole new wardrobe. Deep down though, I had this teeny been itsy bitsy niggle - a boy would have been nice too. Maybe its because we don't plan to have any more kids, so I know its two girls and we are done. So I will never know what it feels like to be the mother of a boy. Does that make sense? It was a strange feeling, especially because I had never pictured myself ever as a mother of a boy. No wonder Gautam Buddha calls desire the cause of suffering.

I am once again loving the squirms, kicks, hiccups and all things baby inside of me. I can't believe I have only 15 more weeks or so of experiencing this lovely miracle of what will probably be my last ever pregnancy. Its hard letting go...knowing that I may never experience these feelings ever again.

Meanwhile, I am research and reading up as much as I can about natural child birth. No I am not a crunchy mama. I dare not take an epidural because I am so scared it will bring on all the complications it did for my last pregnancy, so I am trying to be prepared for pain-relief free labor.

If anyone has any insights on hypnobabies, do let me know.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The doula hunt

We are finally back home after a long forced vacation. Vacations are supposed to be fun, but this was no fun vacation, what with Ava falling ill every week or so including a bout of viral fever accompanied by severe vomiting that almost got us in the hospital.

Its good to be back. And now I can finally focus on my current pregnancy. As you all know, I had a really traumatic labor and delivery with my first. I have never posted the complete labor story here, some day I hope I will. Even if I did end up with a vaginal delivery, I do blame the OB and hospital for decisions that I believe got my baby girl into the hospital NICU, fighting to live.

This time around, we decided we wanted nothing to do with that hospital, or the OB practice. We had our first OB appointment in the States with a new doc at 14 weeks. We will be delivering at a different hospital. So far so good...but I'll never trust any doctor ever again. Everything here onwards will be taken with a grain of salt.

After the experience I had with my first birth, where we felt so lost, lonely and helpless, I felt that I really needed a doula. I had never heard of doulas till my first pregnancy. But even then, it was just a passing glance. I thought, if I had so many nurses and doctors at a hospital, why would I need one more person, who is not even medically qualified to add to the mayhem. I now wish I did have a doula during my first delivery. The more I read about doulas, the more I feel that a doula would have helped us take the right decisions, supported us emotionally, and helped me get through the worst of the pain. It may or may not have changed the outcome of baby girl going into distress, but one can only wonder.

Doulas are expensive, anywhere from 500 - 1200 $ (less or more depending on training, number of births attended etc). Its hard to convince oneself to part with so much money, especially when one doesn't know how well spent the money will turn out. Still, it seems a fair amount for some peace of mind and support during labor. The other reason I would really like a doula is because this time, I am hoping for as unmedicated a birth as possible. Last time, the epidural was a big reason things went from bad to worse. As much as I would love another epidural, I am all too aware of its side effects and complications, especially on me. So I hope to labor with minimal pain relief. But I feel like I can only get through that pain if I have a labor coach, someone who will help me through those killer contractions.

So far, I have picked 3 doulas to interview (one person charges 500, one 800 and one person 900). I have met with one person so far. She is also an instructor for childbirth classes, so I am sure she has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. I like her. I don't know if I love her. She tends to push "all natural" a lot, whereas I am of the opinion that interventions happen for a reason. I still wonder if a C-section would have actually helped baby girl as opposed to the stress of the vaginal delivery. I am not sold on her yet. We are meeting with the other two doulas soon, so we'll see how that goes.

I have heard some negative stories about doulas as well, but then again, everything has a positive and negative angle to it. I hope I can trust my instinct and pick the right person to help me through labor this time.

As far as pregnancy goes, its been similar to the last time. I rarely if ever feel pregnant. I guess I am lucky that way. I've always loved being pregnant, and I feel the same way this time. This time I had mild nausea, but nothing to complain about. 3 weeks of feeling nauseous on and off and minimal interest in food is nothing compared to horror stories I have heard. Just today I was talking to a friend who said she was so sick of throwing up, she almost wished this would end (she didn't really mean it, but you can't blame someone who is head down in the toilet most of the day).

A few things different this time is I started to show much sooner. I had a small belly from week 13 and I actually look pregnant, not just fat, at 17 weeks. Last time, even at 20 plus weeks, I was barely showing. I also started feeling flutters from week 14, and I can feel some movement on and off, though not very consistent.

Last, but not the least, I keep thanking my stars that this time around, we were saved all the heart ache of trying to conceive.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Missing home

I am currently stuck in my native country due to visa issues. My visa back is currently stuck at the embassy and no one has any clue how long it will take. They said 5 to 8 weeks. So far its been 5 weeks. But I keep reading that applications get lost in bureaucratic red tape and a lot of people have been waiting for 6 months or more.

My daughter and I are currently staying with hubby's parents. It took a while for Ava to adjust to the weather here. She was sick a lot in the first 3 weeks or so. Bacterial diarrhea, cold, more diarrhea, and some form of UTI (did not show up in urine cultures) or fungal infection (the only other possibility), that was making her scream in pain while passing urine. Finally, after 3 weeks or so we settled in. We therefore did not want to travel to my parent's place, which has a totally different kind of climate, and more opportunities for falling sick.

Living with in laws is - well - interesting. Ok, its hard, really hard. They are absolutely sweet people who try their best to keep us comfortable. BUT. There is absolutely no form of discipline for Ava. The slightest peep and everyone comes running to her rescue. She can shout, destroy, go on a rampage, throw food on the floor, hit, and its all okay. Wow, I make her sound like a monster, which she is not. She is just a stubborn independent toddler who will try to get away with everything if you let her. Which is where discipline comes in. My FIL actually reprimanded me when I told Ava sternly not to bang my tablet on the floor.

Eating is another big drama. She can eat when she wants, what she wants, where she wants. I am told to give her cake, because cake is so full of goodness. Can we please add some sugar to her food so she will like it better? Err, no. Plus, my MIL loves to follow her around trying to feed her, when she has always been used to eating on her high chair. It feels like everything good we have tried to instill in her is being undone.
The hardest part is hubby had to return because his leave expired. Leaving me alone to face the drama. So here I am, battling to look after my child, while being looked at as a bad mother who scolds her daughter and deprives her of sugar. I try to avoid conflict, but sometimes its inevitable. Oh my God I can go on and on.

The worst is that I have no idea how long this will last. Hubby and I have decided that we will wait another 2 months, then he will seriously think about packing up and returning to India for good. We can't do this being in two different continents, waiting for federal agencies to look at my case for who knows how long.

Ahh feels so good to have let off some steam.

In pregnancy news, I had an U/S today. Baby is measuring 9 weeks and 5 days, right on track (thank you Lord). This pregnancy seems like the only silver lining in our seemingly uncertain and miserable life. I had some nausea from about 5 weeks or so, but nothing major - just food aversions, and throwing up a few times after a few bumpy car rides (thanks to the great Indian roads). Nausea seems to have subsided and I feel ok. I am scared to say I feel good, because I used to say this during my last pregnancy, and look where Ava ended up. So I am going to try and tell people I feel crappy, so they feel sorry for me and don't cast the "evil eye". In fact, its an old saying in India that pregnant women and new borns are the most vulnerable to the "evil eye". But thats a story for another day.

Please pray that hubby and the two (ok three) of us can be reunited soon, either in India, or back in the US, wherever God has planned for us. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Surprise surprise

I can't believe I am writing this post. I am currently in India, blogging at 5 in the morning because I just can't go back to sleep.

I was due for AF last week. I was late. I waited for a couple of days because I figured all the time change and travel must have messed up my cycle. But 4 days is really late for me. Yup, BFP. I am in awe. You know the stories you hear about "we did it once and it just happened"?  Well, here I am. I must be around 5 weeks now. We haven't told anyone, because I am nervous everyone will try to talk us out of taking the transatlantic flight back. Its super early to say anything. We haven't even seen the heart beat.

This time around, everything is so so different. I was nervous just telling hubby about the positive, because I didn't know how he would react. Of course he would be happy, and he was, but he is too practical to enjoy such moments without bringing up some practical aspect. I am so so scared of the thought that if all goes well, I will be handling a toddler and a newborn in a few months. I worry that Ava will miss out on all the attention she deserves once baby # 2 arrives. After all, she is still a baby.

I am also so so thankful that this happened. That we are witnesses to another miracle. That I have a "sesame seed" growing in my belly. That we can give Ava the gift of a sibling.

For those of you with two little ones under 2, how do you handle it?

Last but not the least, never ever travel a long haul flight with a squirmy toddler in your lap. Always always get a seat for the toddler. Even if it means spending another 1500 $.

Monday, April 29, 2013

What is NTNP?

Yes, I know what NTNP stands for - "not trying not preventing". But I have never really understood what it means. When you are preventing (using protection), you are not trying. I even understand natural family planning methods, where you avoid your fertile days. But if you are not preventing, then you are trying, correct?

This usage drives me nuts. I have been on forums, where everyone on the NTNP board is also obsessing over symptoms like the regular TTC boards. Do they say they are NTNP because they want to tell everyone that they were not really trying (but we had relaxed sex every other day for the entire month) and magically got pregnant?

Ava is almost 18 months. We have never used any form of protection so far. We just try to avoid the "fertile" days. So far no "oops" pregnancies. Even then, every month right before I get my period, I have that familiar ache. That hope that maybe, just maybe I will miraculously get pregnant. Even though I know we never DTD before ovulation. Even though I know my egg is not going to hang around for a week waiting for a super sperm that stayed back from the previous cycle. But you just never know, right?

I wish I could put the thoughts of having another baby out of my mind. I hate that it still consumes me so much. No I don't burst into tears when I get my period, because I know the chances are close to nil. But I still wish and hope and pray that maybe this time it will be easier, and we will "just" get pregnant.

In a few months, we may start thinking about baby # 2 seriously (I already do, every day, but hubby needs to give the green signal). Some days with Ava are so rough, I think I am crazy for even thinking about another baby. But that feeling comes and goes, and I am back to stalking my pregnant friends on facebook, or wondering if they got pregnant on their first month trying.

When will I ever get rid of these feelings? Why can't I just be blissfully unaware of my cervical mucus consistency, know the exact day I am ovulating from the nagging tugging on one of my ovaries, or the exact day and sometimes time of day AF will show up? I wish I could just go on with life without always harboring thoughts and hopes of a possible pregnancy.

In other news, things are better with hubby. We did have some long talks that ended up in tears (no surprise there), but both of us are trying to make an effort at our relationship. Meanwhile, I am just glad summer is finally here and I can spend some of Ava's pent up energy at the park.

Finally, does anyone still read this poor neglected blog?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What happened to us?

Hubby and I have known each other for 27 plus years. We are old family friends. Our families kept in touch and we used to meet once in a few years (we lived in different cities). We became good friends again when the internet and email and chat became our helpers and messengers. Friendship turned into love...and the rest, as they say is history!

All marriages have their ups and downs. I always felt like the first year of our marriage was the hardest. Understanding each other, getting used to living with each other, adjusting with each others families. By year 2, we had settled in. There was a period of almost 2 years when we lived in different cities when hubby found a job and I was still in school. That was really really tough. We missed each other so much.

After I graduated, I moved in again and all was well. Till we had trouble conceiving. I was miserable through that year and a half. I was sad, angry, jealous and probably acted like a crazed woman. But hubby was my rock all through. He held me when I cried after another cycle went bust. He told me that we would be fine, just the two of us. He supported me through my decision to seek help.

Once we conceived baby girl, I began to act sane again. Then the storm hit. Our little one was born so so sick, we didn't know what had hit us. Days of crying, praying, hoping, being scared, trying to prepare for the worst. All I remember about those days is praying like I have never prayed before, all the while holding hubby's hands. But I knew something had changed between us. It was hard to explain. Hubby felt miserable that he hadn't been able to protect his little girl. He felt angry that he was unable to take care of me while I was recovering from delivery. For the first time, he felt helpless.

I am convinced he had some sort of post traumatic stress issues. It was hard on both of us, but as our little one began to get better, I had hope. I knew I had a big responsibility of taking care of her and nurturing her back to health. But hubby was so so paranoid all the time. He kept expecting everything to get worse again. I had to hold the fort, so to speak.

Even today, when baby girl gives the slightest cough, or sneezes, hubby looks at questioningly, almost like he's asking "is that pneumonia, should we get her to the hospital"? It makes me angry that he is not able to enjoy the good moments because he is so scared to be happy, lest everything good disappears again.I have told him outright that I think he is depressed to some degree. He agrees, but says he cannot change how he feels.

Ever since baby girl came home, our relationship feels strained. I know kids can change your relationship. But I thought our relationship was built to weather any storm.

These days I feel like everything I do is perceived as wrong. Hubby has always been so calm. But now, I can't say anything without us ending up with an argument. Just today, this is the third time I have walked out of a conversation angry and in tears.

I hope "this too shall pass". Maybe I need to get back to work. Maybe being at home gives me too much time to over think everything. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe I need reassurance that I am still loved.

Right now, I am sad. If we didn't have to go through all that we did with our little one, maybe we would still have been that loving couple with a healthy happy child. Some days I look at hubby and think I don't even recognize him. Where is that man that I loved? I hope with time things will get better. Maybe I'll learn to love this changed man again. Maybe he will see me more again as his wife, and not just his daughter's mother.

I had to write this. Its been on my mind for so long. Right now, my head hurts and my heart is heavy. What happened to us? Why did we have to change?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No more TV

No more television/cable in our home. We didn't take the decision. Our dear daughter did.

Baby girl is now climbing everything. I mean everything that she possibly can. She doesn't care about how stable the item is. She can't really get off anything, so we are always right there acting like a safety net. Things ranging from an overturned ottoman to a very unstable fisher price musical table. Sometimes she climbs into her toy box and sits there playing with things. So far we have had one major fall, where I couldn't catch her fast enough, and she got a big goose egg on the back of her head. It is so scary watching her. But its also funny, because she knows she shouldn't be doing it. So she climbs, stands atop and then points a finger and babbles a long lecture (almost like she is justifying why she climbed it).

The last few days she has been obsessed with our TV stand. It is a very unstable piece of furniture. We have a small 27 inch LCD TV sitting on it. I must have removed her from the stand a hundred times combined with a lot of "no"s and instructions not to climb. Yesterday she climbed the stand AGAIN. This time she lost her balance and caught the TV as she started to fall. Of course I was right there and caught her before she fell. But I couldn't save the TV. It fell on its face. Later when I turned it on, I realized the LCD screen inside had cracked. From the outside it looks only mildly scratched. But its done for and is currently in the trash.

I am of course glad baby girl didn't get hurt. I read later online that lots of toddlers get badly hurt (or worse) due to falling furniture, half of which are because of falling TVs.

I am feeling so guilty about the whole thing. I should have prevented her from climbing up there. I should have caught the TV on time. Plus its such an unnecessary new expense, especially now that we are a single income family.

For the time being we have decided to go with no TV and cable for a while. We removed the stand (and the glass top coffee tables) from our living room. Atleast till she is a little older.

So for those of you with climbers, please anchor the TV and any other furniture that could possibly fall. However careful you are, it could happen to you.