Saturday, October 5, 2013

Eilí's Birth Versus Mairéad's

Mairéad was a totally different pregnancy and birth than Eilí was. With Mairéad the whole pregnancy I was researching fetal progress and was totally consumed with her. I loved her the minute I knew I was pregnant, I thought about here several times a day and I loved every second (even the painful third trimester). I even knew without a doubt she had to be a girl, even before we were far enough along to get the ultrasound to confirm. I fell in love with who I thought she’d be and I was heartbroken that she had to be born and be separated from me. I cried often thinking about not being pregnant when she was born, I was very desolate. Then when she was born I felt like I didn’t know her, it was a total disconnect from the little girl I loved in the womb. I didn’t love her instantly like everyone says you will, I felt empty. It took me weeks to adjust and to fall in love with her completely. I’m being honest here, and I am sure I’m not the only mom in history to have to fall in love with their child after they were born and not have it come naturally.

With Eilí I didn’t have time to fantasize about her. We didn’t know her gender, and that actually made me have a horrible time bonding with this gender-less fetus I was carrying. I didn’t want to know (and more precisely, I liked keeping everyone else in the dark. It had been my experience that not knowing my friends’ babies’ genders pre-birth was much more exciting. I loved the surprise and suspense!) but how can you bond if you can’t picture how they’ll be with their big sister? I felt in my gut that she *had* to be another girl, but I couldn’t be certain because I felt it was my fervent desire to have a second girl that was making me feel that way. Honestly, all my dreams involved sisters who were close as best friends, and if it had been a boy I know I would have taken it much harder than is rational. It caused a great conflict in my heart, I couldn’t bond with a baby who I wasn’t sure was a girl… I know I am a horrible person, but that was how it was.
Both times I had a Cesarean Section. I elected to with Mairéad, and was super adamant about it. I had no real legitimate reason to have one with her, but I talked the doctor into it and he let me schedule one. It turns out she was 9 lbs 1 oz, 21 inches long with a round head that was in the 100th percentile! The medical professionals said that those factors would have more than likely made me have to have a C-Section if I’d labored before hand, and the recovery would have been harder! With Eilí, I was pretty terrified about the C-Section. I was stupid enough to look into all the things that could go wrong the weeks preceding the scheduled C-Section. I cried all afternoon the day before she was born because I was so scared (even though I’d done it before!).

On Mairéad’s birthday everything was a blur, we spent a few days in the hospital and I felt “rushed” out. I was scared to go home, especially with the pain I was having (which was not as bad as I anticipated from the incision, since I had nerve damage and couldn’t feel much of it. It was 90% back pain from the spinal block. I had a huge grapefruit sized bruise on my back from it!). With Eilí my pain was easier to deal with, and I didn’t get the horrible back bruise and pain (but I did mention how bad my first back pain had been to the anesthesiologist. I didn’t know it could have been better, but man, it can be sooooo much better!). I couldn’t tell you all the things I felt and thought with Mairéad after birth and in the hospital. I was tired and I put off making a journal entry about it until it was too late and all the details had faded away. Now I am two weeks post-partum with Eilí and already I’m forgetting things about her birth!

On Eilí’s birthday we had to be at the hospital at 5:00 AM. I woke up at 3:30 AM to get ready (yes I insisted on wearing makeup and doing my hair). Mike and I arrived at 5:05 AM at the ER and were told to go on to labor & delivery where quote “They have been waiting for you”… as if 5 minutes is a huge deal (and they didn’t even take me back into surgery until an hour later than scheduled, at 8:00 AM versus 7:00 AM)! We had 3 hours to wait and to worry. We watched “That 70’s Show” and “Golden Girls” while we waited. The IV was the most horrible experience of the entire procedure (for Mairéad’s birth and Eilí’s as well). I asked an anesthesiologist to do my IV since I have a bad track record with IVs. Apparently I should have had an understanding nurse do it because he still blew one of my veins and ended up using a bigger needle (which I felt for the 2.5 days I had to have it). I am hyper aware of IVs, I feel them even when I don’t move, and they freak me out and make me dizzy/nauseous. I have a preferred insertion point, but the anesthesiologist wouldn’t listen and put it in a vein on the inside of my wrist, so moving my wrist at all made it move (which made me ill). 

So then more waiting, and then I was lead back to the OR with two nurses. I had a new anesthesiologist there (maybe I ticked off the first one with my crying over the IV?), and he did great. The spinal block wasn’t horrible, (in fact, nearly no bruising or back pain since!) and it was fairly fast. I could still “sense” my legs, but no feeling (which was so weird!). Mike was let into the OR shortly after I was on the table and he didn’t sit like he did with Mairéad… which worried me, since he could accidentally glance over the curtain in front of me and see the operation (he says he saw Eilí come out, but nothing more graphic). I’m so glad they didn’t tell me what was going on, I was trying desperately not to think about the incision, etc. In no time Eilí was out, we heard her cry (which was so different than Mairéad’s, which was loud and ear-splitting whereas Eilí’s was normal and kind of cute). Mike’s eyes were glued to Eilí the minute she was out. I kept asking him questions, but he barely noticed, ha ha! He was enamored with our second little girl. They brought her to us and we asked her weight. They said they wouldn’t know until they took her to the nursery (that was different than Mairéad, we knew her birth time and weight all in the OR). I had to wait another hour (or two?) in recovery to find out her weight! It was 8 lbs 9 ounces by the way  (Mairéad’s was 9 lbs 1 ounce). She was 21 ¼ inches long (a quarter inch taller than Mairéad, but half a pound lighter!)

Mike and Eilí left shortly after and then I was readied to go to “recovery”. This time I was hot, like sweating like a pig, super uncomfortably hot. With Mairéad I was fine, but I shivered convulsively as if I was freezing. It is so weird how two C-Sections can be so entirely different, and done by the same doctor! Even the recovery was so different! With Mairéad my back pain post-partum was horrendous, and it never entirely went away (it would flare up when I did too much). Two weeks out, and my back feels no worse than before Eilí (and somewhat better than in my pregnancy with Eilí). My incision barely was noticeable after 2 weeks with Mairéad (which I attribute to nerve damage) and my back was tolerable too. This time my incision feels pretty good right now, but I’m still careful. I had issues with the staples this time (I had to have 2 staples removed before we left the hospital on day 4, and when I had all the others removed a week after the surgery one nurse was so concerned with the crookedness of the staples that she called in backup… who then called in Dr. Moore to make sure I could have them all removed!). 

We stayed maybe 3 days with Mairéad, and 4 days with Eilí (who had jaundice, and they kept her under the lights for a day and a half). I had a horrible time breastfeeding Mairéad, (looking back, she must have had a bad latch, but I didn’t know the importance of latching then) but with Eilí it was pretty natural. She has a huge little mouth, and a fantastic latch 80% of the time. I feel disappointed and like I should have done more research or tried harder with Mairéad since it was no one’s fault but mine that I succumbed to the pressures of the nurses (they said things like “She isn’t getting enough since she is so big” and “If it hurts so much why not supplement?”). It was the easy way out, and it sucks. Mairéad is perfect and super smart, but still. I’m much more determined this time (and I was adamant in the hospital about breastfeeding, even when they made it sound like that was what was causing the jaundice) even with only 2 weeks off work to figure it out, and me having to pump at work. I’m hoping for 6 months at least. 

Now that I’m done being pregnant, I can tell you that Eilí was a harder pregnancy (I had mild morning sickness the first trimester, my lower back ache started in the second trimester instead of the third, but my swelling began later and was maintainable instead of out of control), even though from what I’ve heard from other moms it was still a relative breeze. I loved being pregnant both times (but took the end harder with Mairéad, where I was borderline depressed). With Eilí I was more excited to meet her (especially considering the lack-of-bonding I felt while in utero) and so thrilled for Mairéad to meet her new sibling. We’d been trying to get pregnant for 22 months, so she was a blessing I’d prayed for every day. I never intended Mairéad to be an only child, and in all my dreams she had a little sister (who ws much closer in age, but we couldn’t arrange that no matter how hard we tried). I only feel a little sad that she has to adjust to having a sister, because I’ve envisioned the benefits all of my own life. My own sister and I are 7 years apart, and it is much too big of a gap. We could have been so much closer if our gap wasn’t nearly a generation. I always wanted a twin sister growing up, and then as an adult I wanted to have twin girls. I feel it is making a built in best friend (and with me having such a hard time making friends, this is can prevent that with my children I hope). 

One thing that is completely awesome is that so far Mairéad adores her. She calls Eilí "her" baby. She talks about how cute/adorable/sweet, etc Eilí is at least once an hour. She is totally enamored with her and doesn't seem to mind that we have to feed her constantly and change her diaper often. She seems to understand that we still love her totally, but we also have to take care of her sister too. She hasn't shown any jealousy, and she loves to hold Eilí when we let her. I look forward to seeing how they interact as they grow up together. They are 3 years and 2 months apart, but they'll be 4 school years apart. I definitely hope Mairéad and Eilí are able to have things in common and understand one another with such a gap. 


Daddy and Eilí

Eilí held by her aunt Samantha

My first time to hold Eilí

Mairéad and aunt Samantha holding Eilí

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring Update

We moved into our new apartment the first of April (and therefore, have lived there approximately 1 month now). It is really great to have our own space, with our own things, together as a family at last! Mike and I were married an entire year (and 2 weeks) when we finally got the news we could move in. Mairéad has her own room, which she loves, and says she won’t mind sharing with the new baby (which, funnily enough, she has not gender preference on, unlike her mother J , she simply wants a “baby”, with whom to read to and teach things to, isn’t that too cute?!)

I, on the other hand, am so conflicted about finding out the baby’s gender at the end of the month (May 31st,  when I’ll be 24 weeks along), because I know one way I’ll be very disappointed and all my dreams and hopes will be dashed. On the other hand, if we found out then maybe that would give me time to adjust to the news? Maybe, maybe not. My feeling is that I’ll love the baby when I meet them and the gender will matter less (at least I hope it would) after they are born. I’ve been trying to get Mike to agree with me to not find out the gender (since for one thing, we’ll get better, more useful gifts if clothing is off the table. And because by 24 weeks, we’ll only have 15 weeks left (at the most) before the baby arrives).

I am sure some people think I’m being silly about the gender thing, but it may break my heart if Mairéad doesn’t have a sister close to her age. If not this time, she’ll never have a sister to be friends with, they will be far too far apart in age to be friends***. This is the only chance to have two little girls who are close enough in age to perhaps be friends and have things in common. I speak from experience, it was hard praying for years and years as a child myself for a sister. I anticipated someone to play with, someone who would talk to me and have games, etc. Well by the time I got a sister I was almost 7.5 years old, and by the time Samantha was the age to play with, I was the age that didn’t play like she did anymore. Now at 25 and 18 we are starting to get along an have more interests in common, but we could have been so much closer so much sooner if we’d been born closer in age. A son would be fine next time, as long as this one is a girl. I don’t know how to parent a boy, but after two kids I’m sure I could handle all the boy energy, ha ha! I know sisters and brothers can have a bond, but it wouldn’t be like having a sister. I guess I’m projecting all my childhood hopes of having a twin sister on Mairéad, and she’ll probably be happy either way, but this irrational desire for another daughter will not cease. I’ve dreamed of two daughters (close in age as I could manage), for my whole  life. I hope you can sympathize and understand where my hopes and fears in this respect come from at least.

***(Considering it took us 21 months to get pregnant this time, and it won’t be easier the next time, plus the 9 months gestation, that means of we tried to have another baby right after this one, and we were blessed to have the same time-line, the next one would be here in 2.5 years, and Mairéad would be at least 5 and a half years old before the next one came along, and even then, it may not be a girl).

Pregnancy So Far.. At 20 weeks 

I love being pregnant, it is so much better now that I can feel the baby move sometimes. (The nerve damage from the Caesarean Section inhibits me from feeling some movement, but I’m sure once the baby is bigger, I’ll feel them all the time!) This pregnancy has been different from the last one with Mairéad in a number of ways; this time I wasn’t certain of feeling movement until 18 weeks, whereas with Mairéad I was certain at 13 weeks.

With Mairéad I was so bonded the instant I knew I was pregnant, and this one seems surreal and disconnected. It may be because I haven’t felt as much movement, I hope I bond with this baby as much as when I was pregnant with Mairéad. It might also be that I don’t have the time this time to think about this baby like I did with Mairéad (I spent hours a day thinking of her).

With Mairéad I knew she was a girl from conception, and somehow Mike knew too. We just knew she was a girl, and in my mind, there was no other option, she *had* to be a girl, ha ha! This baby we do not know, and we couldn’t even guess it! My first pregnancy was easy, and the only drawbacks were in the third trimester, my back hurt and my legs swelled (a lot). This time by the second trimester I’ve been hurting, and it isn’t getting better. So much pressure! But I am happy, I know I prayed fervently for years for this baby, so I have no right to complain at all.

With Mairéad I dreaded her birth, not because of the typical reasons, I wasn’t afraid of the pain I was so sad that she wouldn’t be with me constantly anymore. I knew I’d miss her little kicks and punches, I’d miss her hiccups and I knew she’d never be with me like that ever again. It depressed the heck out of me to have her separate from me and that is why I dreaded her birth. This time I know a little more of what to expect. I will hate that part of the birth, but I’ll probably like meeting this one more than I liked it with Mairéad. With her it was like meeting someone I’d never met and losing the child I’d bonded with for 9 months. It was hard for me to love her at first, it took me a little while to re-bond with her. She wasn’t what I expected (whatever that may have been). This time I sort of am maybe distancing myself from bonding with this baby, maybe subconsciously, because it would be sad to have to fall in love with this one after they were born because they were different than I expected and had learned to love in the womb. I am betting it won’t happen like that twice though, because I know more what to expect this time around. Pluse I look forward so much to Mairéad meeting this sibling and watching them love each other and interact. I look forward to their bonding, and that only will truly come after the baby arrives. So I guess I don’t “dread” this birth (yet, lol), I actually look forward to it in its own due time J

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our Second Conception Story


We had our first child, Mairéad, in 2010. She was conceived at the end of 2009 and was a surprise. We had not been "trying" but we hadn't used any protection for about a year and a half. She was a healthy baby, full term, 9lbs 1oz!

The second time around we started trying to conceive when Mairéad  was around 9 months old (that was April 2011). I got off birth control, and didn't know what else I needed to do. By October I went to the doctor for my annual but also to get advice about our apparent infertility and she suggested that I chart my basal body temperature.

I had done that for a YEAR (I didn't have the money or insurance that would cover our fertility testing) and then went in for my annual and talked more about my still not getting pregnant. She offered to put me on Clomid because my charts were not showing regular ovulation monthly. Now here we are 4 round of Clomid in and voila! Finally, after nearly two years (21 months) of trying we have succeeded!

Trying-to-Conceive Experience
Every month I wasn't pregnant I felt worse. I felt like a failure, and I was very upset. Especially the months where I was a day or two "late", the hopes would build and be crushed. I was about at the point of giving up, it felt hopeless to hope, and depressing to dream about having more children. I felt really alone too, my friends never had problems (at least the vast majority never did). It was agony seeing my friends have children with ease, with barely a year gap. It has been my dream to have children close (less than a year to under 2 years apart) in age and the longer our unexplained infertility stretched the worse and I would be so upset and jealous. It really made me angry when my pregnant friends would complain about being pregnant. I was sitting there thinking how much I wanted to be pregnant, and how much I would love to be experiencing morning sickness if only we could achieve another pregnancy! Mike would just say "It'll happen when it is supposed to happen" which wasn't what I wanted to hear. I wanted him to be sad too, maybe he was, but he hid it if that was so.

Charting Experience
I charted 17 cycles, and it has helped me a lot knowing my average cycle length. I disciplined myself to not take pregnancy tests until after I was certain it was at least 2 days longer than average, which saved me money and heartbreak from negative pregnancy tests. Once I started Clomid I did have to use a pregnancy test every month before I took my pills, and finally after my fourth round of taking Clomid my pregnancy test was positive! It showed up immediately even though I had only been 5 days “late”. I went to the doctor’s office on that Friday (the 18th of January) for a clinical test and they agreed I was finally pregnant!
Although I charted all that time, I am not sure my charts were always accurate, which is my fault for not taking my temperature at the same time every day, and sometimes forgetting altogether (but no more than once a week did I forget). It made it very hard to find when I ovulated with any accuracy, and when I finally conceived, it showed that I'd ovulated much earlier than I had been thinking it normally was.

Telling the Husband
I took my last pregnancy test on January 18, 2013 in the morning, it was a Wednesday. I took the test then because I was a few days late and my mom wanted to know if I was pregnant before she went into surgery the next morning. It came up positive within 20 seconds, so I didn’t have to even wait the two minutes it says to wait! It was agony to have to wait until Friday to tell Mike, but I didn’t want to tell him between work and class, or at some other point where it wouldn’t have time to really sink in. I wanted to be alone and have hours together to talk about it. So I was waiting until after Mike’s show on Friday night. Let me tell you, those few days were the longest of my life! And the last few hours dragged on to days! I couldn’t wait to tell him, but the closer it got to our alone time, the more nervous and less excited I became. What if he wasn’t happy? What if he reacted in a negative way?

Well we went to get food after his show, and I was too nervous to get anything. My stomach was tied in knots and I felt nauseous. Back at his house (we still don’t have a place together, we live with our respective mothers until we can afford to live together) I waited for him to finish eating. And it seemed to take an unusually long time! After Mike was finished eating, I got a small package out of my purse. I’d used an old jewelry box to put the pregnancy test in and I’d made a “coupon” that was redeemable for one infant at the end of September. Mike opened it, and sat there in silence.  He must have reread that coupon dozens of times, eventually he awakened from his utter disbelief and asked me if I was serious. I told him I was, and that I had gone to the Women’s Medical Center that morning and confirmed it. He sat in silence some more and asked me when we would know for sure. I laughed and told him we already did know!

He insisted that we wait to tell anyone until I was at least 12 or 13 weeks along, so in the case of a miscarriage we wouldn’t have to tell everyone about it. So as I am writing this now, I’m only 4 weeks and 6 days, so we have 7 or 8 weeks to go before I post this publicly.

I know it is impossibly difficult to see all of your healthy friends get pregnant with one baby after the other when you are struggling so hard to get pregnant. It was hard to see them complain about being pregnant when all I wanted to do was *be* pregnant! They took it for granted when I would have loved to have morning sickness!

If you have tried and tried to get pregnant and have felt the heartbreak I have I want you to know you aren't the only one who has had trouble, and with luck and faith, you will get pregnant too! I have a friend who was 45 when she got pregnant with her son, she and her husband had given up all hope, and she was blessed with her son after years and years of trying and heartbreak. It can happen, just try to relax (and I know I never could) and keep trying!


One of the major things I was concerned about before I began publicly announcing this baby was my friends who I knew were actively trying to conceive (some their first child and others their second). I felt I had to tell them first, before even some of my family knew, because I knew how I would feel considering how long we had been trying to conceive. (By the way 2 of my friends that I felt needed to know first had both miscarried at least once, and I felt it would be cruel and unthoughtful to announce my pregnancy without them being notified first)  So the opportunity to tell my friend Dana came one day at church, we were just talking and I told her how much I liked her skirt, which she then told me was "roomy" and told me she was 7 weeks along. I told her, "Me too! I am 7 weeks also!" so that was incredibly awesome and perfect! We both were getting the baby we had hoped for, and better yet only days apart!

The next friend I needed to tell I was saved from telling because she announced it on Facebook before I could see her in person. She'd had at least one miscarriage I knew of, and I had felt it was important to tell her so she wouldn't feel blind-sided.

The third friend I told (Candace) we had tried and tried to take to lunch or dinner, but we both were so busy it never worked out! Finally when I was 10 weeks along she called me and told me she was expecting over the phone, and that she wanted to let me know before she went public with it for the same reasons I wanted to tell her too! And it turned out, she too was 10 weeks along and we are due within days of each other! That makes 2 of my friends that will be having mid/later month September babies! How awesome is that?!

God really has awesome timing, and it will be incredibly fun to have friends who are at the same stages (exactly) as I am throughout our entire pregnancies! 


We had our first ultrasound and it was great! Baby has a heart rate of 165 and was exactly 11 weeks along (which moved my due date three days, but according to my BBT charts, exactly 11 weeks was precisely when I ovulated anyway, I could have told them, lol!) Here is a picture of the ultrasound:


We had our first family pictures of just me, Mairéad and Mike last Friday morning, courtesy of my friend Heather. I had told here that we were intending to surprise Mairéad the news and try to capture the reaction she had that she was going to be a big sister. She'd been talking about babies, and even had told me how she would take care of one (smelling its diaper, singing to them, teaching them how to run, lol) and she had mentioned a few times how she wanted a baby. So I was hoping for a big reaction (like I'd seen with kids' pictures on Pinterest). Well she kind of just stood there, ha ha! We took a video of it though, so we do have her actual reaction documented. She did eventually ask us what the picture (ultrasound) was of. And where the baby's eyes were ;) And finally we asked her if she wanted a brother or a sister, and she replied, "Just a baby!", which we laughed and assured her she would be getting! And since then I had asked her what she wants for her birthday, and she told me, "A baby!" and I told her the baby would come after her birthday and after the fair.