Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

One of the things I have really been working on as a mother is relinquishing control and picking my battles. I really felt like my parents were so strict that it was smothering growing up. I would rebel just to feel like a little control. So when Jamie announced that he wanted to grow his hair like Zac Efron (see picture #1) I was not really thrilled, but I figured this was one of the battles that wasn't worth fighting over. So for months now he has been growing it out. He has a very thick head of hair so it was really beginning to get bushy and curly instead of straight like Zac Efron. It truly was beginning to look a mess. This weekend though he announced that he wanted it short like Dad's. I asked him why and he said he was tired of the babies pulling his hair all of the time. So here are some before and after photos. All I can say is thank goodness for hair pullers.

Zac Efron

Jamie "Before"

Jamie "After"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mason's Story-Aftermath part 3

After I returned to the funeral home I went back into the viewing room and saw Mason again. I thought I was all dried up from the first visit, but the minute I saw him I broke down again. I held his hand, stroked his cheek and just cried. After 20 minutes or so I was all cried out and exhausted. It had only been two days since I delivered him and I was still bleeding profusely. I also had not eaten in over three days. I had taken a pain pill to manage the pain, but I was still so weak and tired. I started feeling weak from everything and so I moved a high back chair next to his casket and just curled up in a little ball. After awhile my mother came up to the funeral home and tried to talk me into going home and resting. She promised to stay with him, but I just couldn't do it. If someone told you that you only had until eight o'clock with your child and then you would never see them again, would you be able to leave? I am by no means trying to say anything bad against my mother. She had a double pain. Not only was she seeing her grandchild lying there, but her own child pale, weak, weeping, broken-hearted and slowly sinking into themselves from grief. My mother has told me that it was the hardest thing she has ever had to witness. She just wanted me to rest.

When I wouldn't go home, my mom just pulled up another chair and sat with me. Occasionally she would get up and lay her hand on Mason lovingly and then sit back down. Word had began to spread that I was having a viewing. Friends, church members, and coworkers began to arrive. Most people were there just to support me. A lot of them were uncomfortable with the idea of a baby viewing, but I appreciated their support none-the-less. One co-worker's wife had made me a very nice picture that had a poem and Mason's name on it and I treasure it to this day. One church member walked up to Mason touched him gently and declared him beautiful. Just perfect. That meant so much to me. He did not look like your average newborn. He was tiny, his eyes were closed, he was bruised from his breech birth, and his skin was translucent. He was beautiful to me, but to have someone else declare that was so special.

The moment that touched me the most was when a dear family friend came. She was my daycare provider when I was little and is just a strong, kind woman. She came in, wrapped me in a hug, and then went to look at Mason. Her eyes grew damp and then she leaned over and very gently kissed him on his forehead. I was so touched by this outpouring of love that I broke down again.

The day seemed to go by way too quickly. As evening fell, my anxiety began to grow. By around seven I was an emotional mess. I had asked my mom to go home earlier in the evening so that I could just touch him and weep and have that time with him. My cousin had come to sit with me, but I asked for alone time again. I finally called Jake and begged him to reconsider and come see Mason. I was so worried he would regret it if he didn't. He reluctantly came. When he walked in the room he broke down just as I had, but then just reveled in the sight of his son, drinking in the image of his face. We sat there together and just silently spent time with him. Eight o'clock came and we had to leave. It was so hard. I felt like I was leaving a piece of my soul behind. I went home, drank some juice, turned down food, took a pain pill and blissfully let sleep numb me for awhile.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Slim in 2010 (well, slimmer)

So begins another year and new resolutions. The past couple of years I have been hesitant to start a big weight loss program because we were trying to get pregnant, or were pregnant. This year that is not an issue so here I go. I am not really on a diet, I am just trying to eat better and eat less. I am just trying to make healthy substitutes for the foods I love and exercise everyday. Jake and I have been working out together almost every night for three weeks. We have both lost about 5 lbs. so far. It is not coming off super fast, but it is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. After my knee injury I have learned to not try too much all in one day. My sister-in-law Dianne keeps me motivated and checks in with me everyday. My dear cousin Kimmie is also trying as well so we keep each other accountable. I am so proud of her, she has given up Coke which is her favorite drink and has stuck to it. So this blog will also turn into a weight loss blog now too. I am hesitant to do it in case I fail, but maybe it will help keep me on track.

In other news, Jamie and Linda had their second grade "Panda Palooza" last night. They sang, danced, and played instruments. Jamie had a big solo. It was adorable. They both did really well and we are so proud. The pictures are very blurry because I was holding Mina and trying to take photos at the same time. She would move everytime I tried to take one. But they are better than nothing. Here is their second grade program.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Funny Faces

The babies are growing so fast. Mina is walking like crazy and Noah is running. We are still having stranger danger pretty bad, but it is totally normal. They do great with people if Mommy and Daddy are there, but if we are not, like at church nursery, they get very scared and cannot be comforted until we come back for them. Noah only made it about 15 minutes on Sunday. Poor baby. However, it is kind of nice to feel wanted and needed.

Along with growing up comes all sorts of new foods to try. They are doing very good with new foods. They will eat most stuff and love what we are eating. They also enjoy hamming it up in their high chairs and give each other the giggles over the littlest things. What childhood would be complete without the messy, funny face pictures? Here are some we snapped the other day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Death of My Hard Drive

Sorry for the delay in blogging. My hard drive crashed and I had to get a new one. What a pain that is. I still have to pay to try and have a company retrieve the data off of the old one. I am slowly getting back up and running and should resume normal blogging soon!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mish Mash

There is nothing really big happening just yet (although something may be in the works!) so I am just going to give an update on the little things. Mina is getting much more confident in her walking. She is walking the length of the living room without being prompted now. Noah is talking much more and learning a little bit of sign language.

Bedtime has been a breeze lately. James and Linda go to bed around eight on school nights and the babies go to bed around nine. Here lately all I have to do is say "Night-night time!" and both babies head to their bedroom. Mina usually gets distracted by toys once she gets there, but Noah goes straight to his crib, reaches his hand between the bars and gets his blanket and stands there until I put him him. After prayers and kisses we turn off the light and that is that. Wow, I have the best babies ever.

They are down to around two bottles a day before nap and bed. They are doing great with big people food and sippy cups. I am amazed everyday at how much they learn and what they mimic.

Jake and I have been exercising almost everyday. So far so good. We are not really on a diet, just trying to make smarter choices everyday. It has been going really well so I hope we keep it up. Some of our close family members are doing the same thing so the support is really nice.

I am not sure what has gotten into Linda lately. She is slipping in school and is a pain to put it nicely at home. She has just been an absolute snot to Jamie and is chucking tantrums like crazy. The biggest battle is getting her to read her book for homework every night. She will drag it out and not get it done the whole night. She has even thrown it at the wall until she has broken the spine in a tantrum. All of the time she spends not doing it she could have done it ten times. I am at a loss. Hopefully she will snap out of it soon.

That's it for now. It really was a mish-mash of information but at least we are all caught up now.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Products We Love

I am stealing this idea from maria's blog, but every once in awhile I will posts products or things my family loves and uses a lot. The first on is....

Wii Fit Plus

We love this product. It enables you to have fun while exercising. There are obstacle courses, run, biking, yoga, weights, and tons of fun games that get you up and moving. It also keeps track of you weight, BMI, and calories burned and graphs them for you so you can see your progress. Jake and I have been doing it every day for two weeks and are seeing results.

V-Tech Dancing Tower

The babies love this one. It encourages them to move and the bear dances on top and they sing and kick and have a great time. It even has a working microphone. And it has two sides so both babies can play together.

Fisher Price Busy Ball Popper

The babies love this toy. It plays music and then the balls pop out of the top. They love to chase the balls and put them back in that eat the balls and throw the balls and make mom look for the balls....good times.

Kid Cuisine

I love these. They are cheaper than a happy meal and so nice when you are in a hurry. Jamie and Linda love picking them out and making their own dinner. So nice for mom.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

March for Babies-Share your Story

It is time once again to start organizing a team for the March of Dimes-March for Babies. The March of Dimes is devoted to the welfare of all babies, but is most currently known for their research which has helped saved the lives of millions of babies born too soon. Through their research Surfactant was developed which is one of the most instrumental tools in saving preemies. One of the biggest killers for premature babies is a lack of Surfactant which is what keeps your lungs from sticking together when you breathe in and out. By developing artificial Surfactant, babies rates of Respiratory Distress Syndrome and subsequent death from it has been greatly reduced. The MOD also back in the 1950's did critical research in the fight against polio and development of a vaccine. The MOD also provides financial assistance to parents to help pay NICU bills and were the one to call for Neo-natal Intensive Care Units to be developed in the first place.

I have directly benefited from the MOD research. Their research helped lead to the use of steroid shots given during pregnancy to help develop the babies lungs in the event they are likely to be premature. I was given the shots and I firmly believe that is part of why they only had to be in Special Care and not NICU. I also support them in Mason's memory because I hope that one day mothers will not have to experience that loss.

We are in the beginning phases of organizing our team. I hope it to be bigger and better than last year as I am continually meeting new people who share my passion. Speaking of, several people have shared their stories with me. I am asking you if you feel comfortable to share your stories of why the March of Dimes is dear to you on here. Just leave it as a comment and I will post it. I can't wait to hear your stories and I look forward to working with all of you as we team up to save babies together.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Alpha-hydroxyprogesterone Injections (17P)

During my pregnancy with the twins, I had weekly injections of Alpha-hydroxyprogesterone (17P). 17P injections are used to prevent preterm labor. They are most recommended in singleton pregnancies because there is not as much promising data to show that they are effective in twin pregnancies, however in my case we were operating under the better safe than sorry philosophy.

17P is a specialized for of progesterone. It has been show to lessen the chance of a woman having an irritable uterus. Irritable uterus's have a lot contractions that are just strong enough to change the cervix. The injections basically keep the uterus calm and happy.

It is usually started at 16-20 weeks. I started it around 13 weeks because of the twins. It has to be done by a medical professional because it is an intra-muscular shot. It is hard to find. Most women have to order through online services. I found one pharmacy in town who carried it. The problem is that it is a mixture of things and has to be compounded at the time of purchase. In my town there is only one pharmacy who makes it and it is quite a ways from my house. Because of my bedrest, Jake would have to make a trip monthly to the pharmacy to pick it up, and then I would deliver to my OB at my next appointment. The OB stored the vial there and would administer the injections to me weekly.

The shots were given to me in my hip alternating sides every week. It is a very thick medicine and takes a while for the nurse to push in, and it burns. However, my personal opinion is that it worked. In my case, the first few days after the injections saw much less contractions than the last day before receiving it again. It is expensive and most insurances will not cover it yet. It is about $70 a month. We had to pay that out of pocket. There were few side effects, mostly just my hip hurt for a day or two. Sometimes I would bruise, but I was also taking blood thinners as well. I would say it was worth it. Just google 17P and you will find other women's stories as well. If you are local to me and want the name of the pharmacy, just e-mail me and I will send it to you. If you are not, you should be able to find an online pharmacy through your peri.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Poor Tipsy

Poor Tipsy. He is my oldest cat. He was also my first cat. I have had him about 10 years. He was Jake and I's only cat for the first three years. Yesterday he started acting like his paw was bothering him. By today he wouldn't even walk at all, he just laid around and growled if anybody came near him. I took him to the vet and they said that he has no obvious break, but that he has a huge pocket of abscessed fluid where his elbow is. They gave him a pain pill shot and anti-inflammatory shot, but if it does not get better than he will need x-rays. If they show a fracture, than he may need surgery which would be very expensive, and he is so old he might not even survive. At that point we might have to consider putting him to sleep. We are very sad about it and we are hoping he gets better. He has been a great lap cat and companion and will be missed very much if it comes down to it. So for now he is resting and taking his medicine and we are just babying him as much as possible

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Before I start this post I this post I want to make a few points clear. I am not in the medical field. All of the information I post is based on my own experiences, information from my doctors, and my own private research. It is not intended to be medical advice, nor to replace your own research. It is simply just for the sake of knowledge.

After we lost Mason there was numerous opinions on what route would be best to proceed for us in the event of another pregnancy. My OB that I had at the time we lost Mason was very blunt and said that he felt that if I had a trans-vaginal cerclage I would just break through it and lose another pregnancy. Just as a refresher, the TVC (trans-vaginal cerclage) is a band or a stitch placed at the top of the cervix during the pregnancy through the vagina and is in most cases removed before labor begins. There are many studies on the TVC that show varying success rates from 75-85% for a singleton pregnancy. The rate is even less for twins. There are many possible complications from infection causing pre-term labor to the cervix dilating through the stitch tearing the cervix. This is what my OB was afraid of in my case. He referred me to the fertility clinic that we had used to concieve in for a consult on the TAC(trans-abdominal cerclage).

At the consultation, the Fertility specialist said that they don't usually do a TAC until a TVC has failed. In my case I was so dilated with Mason that a cerclage was not possible. He also stated that he did not feel that I needed to go as extreme as the TAC and referred me on to a perinatologist. The peri I saw happened to be the same specialist that was called in to consult when I was in the hospital with Mason. She is the woman who told me my cervix was too dilated to do an emergency cerclage and held my hand and cried with me when she told me there was nothing that could be done to save Mason.

I went to my appointment with her to gain more information. She is a very by the book person. She told me that she would not do a TAC without having a TVC first except in cases where part of the cervix had been removed for cancer. She went on to tell me that she was not even sure that I had IC, she was wondering if my clotting disorder caused the loss of Mason. I left feeling very frustrated and went home to do my own research.

In case you are wondering what the big deal is about the TAC I will explain it. Basically, it is major abdominal surgery with recovery compared to a c-section. In layman's terms they make an incision and then using a stitch or a band, they permanently attach the bottom of your uterus to your cervix. That way there is essentially no way for the cervix to dilate. For those of you wanting more medical explanation here is a copy of some of my research.

All procedures are performed with the type of abdominal incision decided based upon the size of the uterus and maternal body habitus. The uterus is usually pulled out of the mother's body and maintained moist with warmed saline. The procedure requires removing the bladder from the cervical area while tunnels are created near the uterine artery on each side. A mersilene band (a polyester suture) is placed around the upper portion of the cervix and tied in a square knot tightly enclosing the cervix which is not removed after the pregnancy. Because many fragile uterine veins are in this area, the most common complication is bleeding. Methods of stabilizing this bleeding depend on the situation and anatomy, while avoiding compromise of the supply of blood to the uterus. In recent years, perioperative treatment with indomethacin has been used for a total of 48 hours, as a uterine relaxant. Indomethacin is a drug that belongs to the family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Indomethacin reduces pain, fever, swelling, and redness.

Prenatal care following the procedure would also include cervical exams every two weeks, careful attention to signs and symptoms of preterm labor (with aggressive use of tocolysis if labor persists) and planned delivery by cesarean as soon after 37 weeks as fetal lung maturity can be documented. Because of the latter intervention tactic, 37 week delivery is considered “term” for the purpose of our follow-up information.

As you can see the TAC means an automatic c-section as the stitch is intended to permanently stay in place. It is usually done before pregnancy, but can be done early in the pregnancy as well. Doctors only like to do it as a last resort because it is such major surgery. It is very frustrating to the women involved because often times the woman has to have multiple losses before a doctor will go to this length.

I did go on to have a twin pregnancy with a TVC and I made it to 35 weeks. They are healthy now, but I also did full bedrest from 11 weeks on and I still was dilated to the stitch at 22 weeks. It almost went south and it has done so for many of my IC sisters.

If you want more information on the TAC here is a link to a yahoo group devoted to it. It is called Abby Loopers and it is a great place for information and support.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

That's one small step for giant leap for development (warning, baby constipation talk)

Mina finally started walking! I am so relieved, I was really starting to worry that there was a developmental delays. We knew that could happen due to their prematurity. A baby born at 35 weeks has only 75% of the brain development as a full term baby. Most babies will catch up by age two and they both were just fine on development at their last screen, but with Noah walking for months now I was starting to get worried. Yay Mina! I am so proud.

We are still really struggling with Mina's constipation though. Kimmie was watching them yesterday while I went to class (you are awesome Aunt Kimmie) and poor Mina was just grunting and then she was crying because it hurt so bad and was still making no progress. Jake came home and had to literally, manually help Mina poop. This involves taking a Q-Tip coated in vaseline and inserting it a little ways, then wiggling it to make her push. Then he has to push on her rectum while she pushes and sometimes try to use the Q-Tip to try and pull it out. This has to hurt her and we feel so awful when we have to do it. Usually we will only do it if she has stuggled on her own for most of the day, or if she has bleeding from struggling.

I called the doctor and he said that there will be an adjustment period on her system from switching to the milk. He put her back on the baby laxative daily and suggested we get her a type of yogurt called Yo-Baby to help. We also are to keep her on some of the lactose formula daily to help ease her into it.

Jamie and Linda are back in school and doing well. Linda thrives on a firm routine so I am glad to have her back on it. I just finished Employment Law and now I am on my very last class for my Master's-Corporate Law. I am so happy that the end is in sight. This is my last make up class from my bedrest and then I will officially have my degree in hand. I also have a big interview coming up. It will be my second interview for this position so I am really excited at the prospects. This is one of those great paying jobs with good benefits that would just really set up my family for financial success. In case you are wondering, Aunt Kimmie and Jordan will be at my house to stay with the kiddos. It works out great, she makes a little extra spending money, and I know they are safe and well loved. They love to spend time with her and Jordan and there is a special bond there. I would not go back to work if I had to leave them in daycare with strangers. If I get this job, once we pay off some more things than Jake is talking about going back to school for his Nursing degree. I know he will make a great nurse. I just paid off and closed both credit cards that we took out during the pregnancy. I lost my prescription coverage during the pregnancy and the prescriptions I needed to keep the babies and me healthy were almost $3000 a month. That all came out of pocket. After we cleaned out our savings, our retirement savings, and Mason's life insurance than we took out two credit cards to pay for them. I am so glad they are paid off and we are two steps closer to being out of debt. I have another $2000 or so in medical bills and then student loans, the house, and the car. I think we will take care of the medical bills and most of the car with taxes so I am eager to be debt free. We are going to try to have no debt except for the house in 5 years or less. The house is acceptable debt, plus it appraises for about $55,000 more than what we owe. I spoke to a realtor and she said that houses in Derby sell very close to their appraisal value so when we do sell that will give us a very nice down payment on a new place.

Whew, that is a lot to cover. I hope everybody elses New Year is starting off as well as our. Here's to more good news in 2010.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why I Can Never Get Laundry Done

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grief and Personality Changes

Everyone knows I started this blog as a way to tell Mason's story and my journey through grief. Many of my readers are parents who have experianced a similiar loss. That being said, I have to be in a specific mood to write about those experiances and sometimes it can be days in between that mood. On those days I will write about my family, or other day to day issues. However, when the mood strikes me, or I have a thought to share with others experiancing the loss of a child, then I post it on here. Sometimes it is extremely personal, but I have so many positive responses that I continue.

Last night I was on a support site for parents of infant loss. I often go on there to help other women whose loss has just occured. Often times they just want an ear to listen as they tell their story. That is one of the best things that you can do for a grieving parent. Let them talk about their child or experiance, mention their child by name. Many books on grief talk about the sense of abandonment that parents feel when family members and friends seem to avoid them. In fact, this is a time that will make or break relationships. The people that are there for the grieving parents will establish a permanent bond that will be hard to break. The ones that the parents thought would have been/should have been but are not will me damamged, maybe forever as the parent feels a sense of abandonment or betrayal. By being there, I mean the people who call or come over on their own. The people who sit and let you play music that reminds you of your child, or tell what is happening, or who look at sonogram pictures, or visit the child's headstone and tell you how nice it is. These people realize that you are not going to call them, you are too shell shocked to even think of that, but come over anyways just to let you know that they care. I know in my experiance, many friends that were just casual friendships, or in the early stages of friendship have been cemented as lifelong friends because of this.

Now one mother in paticular was talking about the personality changes her and her husband have experianced. I did some research and have found out that often times these changes are permanent. Some times they are for the better, sometimes not. I know I have had profound changes in personality. The most noticeable is a sort of I don't care attitude. I used to try and try with people and would often times get walked all over because of it. If someone was rude I would just let it go and let it go even though it was eating me up inside. I would put up with so much and never do anything about it except maybe complain to Jake. Now I am much more confrontational. If someone is being rude, I will call them on it. If someone has done something to me or mine, I will deal with it. I guess you could say fight fire with fire. The bad side of this is that I seem to have an on/off switch for people. I guess what I mean by that is that is someone has pushed me far enough I can seem to shut off all emotion or feelings for that person like someone switches off a light. Once it is off, it is very hard for me to trust that person and turn it back on. This is not normal I know, I just don't know how to fix it. In some ways it is nice because if I have shut off all feelings, then I don't get hurt. However, there are times and situations where it becomes necessary to deal with someone and for other's sake I need to find a way to turn it on and at least be civil. I think that when I used to try and try I was giving away little pieces of me only to have them trampled to dust. When we lost Mason, I lost such a huge piece of me that I feel like if I keep giving pieces away, there will be nothing left of what made me, well me. I have noticed similiar changes in Jake as well. I don't know how to fix it, and I am afraid it might be permanent. Truthfully I am not sure if I want to go back to the way I was.

I close with this qoute I have often thought of. For those of you going through the same thing, I hope this post helps you feel like you are not the only one who os going through these changes.

Parental grief is boundless. It touches every aspect of [a] parent's being...When a baby dies, parents grieve for the rest of their lives. Their grief becomes part of them...As time passes, parents come to appreciate that grief is [their] link to the child, [their] grief keeps [them] connected to the child. - ARNOLD AND GEMMA, IN CORR ET AL. 1996, 50-51

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A new Decade-Happy New Year

What a fun week it has been. We celebrated New Year's with family and friends at our house. We had great food, Wii time, and then watched a movie that scared the bejiminies out of us. Poor Kimmie had Brittany and Jordan sleeping in her bed that night. Jake has a three day weekend for the holiday so we have to spend a lot of time together as a family. New Years Day we played Wii and then Jake and Mike watched the movie 9. Jake's brother had said it was good, but I am thankful Dianne told me not to let the kiddos watch it. I was reading enjoying my Christmas present from Jake, a new Sony digital reader. It allows me to download books and carry up to 1500 with me wherever I go on a reader that is about the size of a paperback novel and as thin as a cell phone. It is awesome.

The babies rang in the New Year by figuring out how to climb up on things. Now they can climb the ottoman, the entertainment center, and the couch. I am afraid that nothing is safe now.

This is a short post, but I hope you all had a Happy New Year and that 2010 turns out to be the best year ever for all of us.