Been A While

It has been a while since I have posted anything. After what TW and I went through with her second pregnancy things were tense with the third. All of that added tension, and all the fun and excitement of pregnancy in general, had my focus elsewhere.

I am happy to say that, aside from a couple months dealing with gestational diabetes, my wife’s pregnancy went well and at the end of February she gave birth to a baby boy! For the purpose of this blog he had been dubbed #2.

The day before he was born we had a check up, just a quick NST and a quicker discussion with the baby doc. At this point we were less than a week away from TW’a due date and the doc was planning on inducing her 5 days from this visit. During the NST #2’s heart rate dropped, this was the first time anything like that happened during a visit for him. The doctor reassured us that everything was ok and did a quick ultrasound just to make sure. Everything looked good and the doc told us not to worry and the everything was fine.

Naturally TW was still concerned but eventually calmed down a bit. I tend to trust the doctors a bit more, if he days not to worry, I don’t worry.

The next day started like all of the others, TW got up and headed to work, TK and I got up and ready, then TK headed off to preschool and I got to enjoy a couple of hours of quiet while doing laundry and some other household responsibilities. Around noon TW called, I was a bit concerned at first mostly because she usually just texts. She said that she got a call from the baby doc, he wanted her to come in for another NST that afternoon, he just wanted to make sure that nothing was wrong.

TW also told me that she was pretty sure that she was having contractions. She thought they might be false alarms because they were irregular and had a bunch of stuff she needed to finish up at work since her induction was planned for the next week. She told me when the appointment was and I told her that TK and I would meet her at the office.

We get to the baby doc’s and TW says that the contractions are coming a little more regularly now. We go in for the NST and she tells the nurse that she thinks she’s having contractions, the nurse says ok and we start the NST. 15 minutes later she comes in to check on things and sure enough the sheet shows the contractions are coming pretty regularly. We go in and see the baby doc and he looks at everything and does a quick check under the hood and tells us that #2 is ready to arrive and that he’ll meet us at the hospital.

We make some quick arrangement for my sister to come and grab TK and TW’s car and head over to the hospital.

We get there and into the room. TW just wants her epidural and to have the baby but we have to wait for her to get an IV bag of fluids into her first. The first nurse can’t get the IV in so we have to wait for another nurse to arrive, that one got the IV on the second try. Once the fluids are in they call for the anesthesiologist. The same one that gave TW her epidural for TK arrives and I get sent to the waiting room while they give TW the epidural.

In the waiting room I call my folks and let them know how things are going, I text my sister and thank her for the assist, I call my other sister and let her know what’s happening and right before I make a cup of coffee and call my brother a nurse comes into the lounge area. I’m the only one there so she says, “it’s time, you need to get to the room.” I get up and head to the door, when I get to the door the nurse that came to get me starts running down the hallway.

I take off after her, not realizing yet that when she said, “it’s time” that she means the baby is coming right now, not like, “it’s time.” meaning they are done giving the epidural and I can head to the room now.

I open the door and I see 9 nurses in the room, one of them is putting the gown on the baby doc, two are standing near the warming cradle, one is manning the computer, two are unwrapping the supplies, and one is standing next to TW rubbing her back telling everything is fine.

On the bed, just below where TW is sitting, is #2.

The baby doc, now in his gown and gloves calls me over to cut the cord then hands #2 off to the nurses to do their thing. I hand the scissors off to a nurse and post up out of the way next to the warmer and just take it all in. TW asked me three of four times if he is ok, I tell her yes. I do a quick count of fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes, and ears, everything is where it’s supposed to be. TW is crying now saying over and over that I missed it and asking if he’s ok, enough of the nurses have left allowing me to move a bit easier in the room so I replace the nurse rubbing her back.

A half an hour later, when things have calmed down and it’s just the three of us left in the room, TW tells me what she remembers happening.

The anesthesiologist sat her up to give her the epidural, he gave her an injection of something and right after that TW’s water broke, the nurses checked on things and saw that things were too far along for an epidural and called for the baby doc. She remembers the doc and a couple of nurses coming in, she remembers a nurse telling her not to push yet, and she remembers telling that nurse that she needs to push, then she pushed and #2 was here. It all happened so fast.

I told her what happened on my end. She got a good laugh envisioning me and the nurse running down the hallway.

TK got to come to the hospital the next day to meet her new brother. She was so happy, the smile didn’t leave her face even after I dropped her off at my parent’s house and headed back to the hospital.

Here we are almost 4 months later, TK is adjusting well to being a big sister, TW is back at work, and I am working on getting #2 to hit all of the milestones he’s supposed to hit.

The Specialist and Results

Due to TW’s age, weight, blood pressure during her first pregnancy, how small TK was at birth and what happened with the last pregnancy, the Baby Doc had us consult with a high-risk specialist. We had the first appointment with them yesterday.

The HRS did an ultrasound before we actually sat down to discuss anything. Things are progressing nicely, the HRS said that she size, heartbeat, and other developments are looking good.

TW’s blood pressure was a little high during the pregnancy with TK. We had weekly checks on her blood pressure and TK’s heartbeat. The HRS said that she thinks that we should definitely be checking the baby’s size along with TW’s blood pressure this time.

TK was small at birth, she weighed in at 5 lbs, 13oz when she was delivered and, I think she was only 5lbs 8-9oz when we checked out. She was born 5 days early so her size wasn’t due to her being premature. I did need to run out and find some preemie clothes, all we had were newborn sized and those were very big on her. Today TK is in the 99th percentile in height and weight, she is the tallest kid in her preschool.

The HRS said that everything looked good so far. We didn’t have the results of the genetic screening yet but she did some reassuring. She said that there is a 3% chance of a genetic problem in a normal pregnancy in someone under 35, TW is 40 so the HRS added one percent for age bringing us up to a 4% chance of a problem. She also said that that add 1% more if there was a previous instance, bringing us up to a 5% chance for a genetic problem. Those are pretty good odds in my book, 95% chance of a “normal” baby. TW was still worried because we had a 4% chance with the last pregnancy and ended up with a problem. I am staying cautiously optimistic until we get the results.

In the time it took me to write the bulk of this story we had some good news arrive. We were sitting on the couch watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with TK when TW got a call from and unknown number. Now I don’t know about you, but TW and I don’t answer the phone for numbers we don’t know. If it is important to the caller they will leave a message and if there is no message then it must not have been important. A few minutes after the phone rang her voicemail notification pinged.

The call was from the Baby Doc, the results of the screening came in today and……….

Everything is ok, the screening came back negative for any genetic problems. We have a healthy baby. We have an appointment with the Baby Doc on Tuesday and will be finding out the sex of the baby then, unless the suspense gets to TW and she calls the Doc back sooner.

I feel great right now. This was a major hurdle to get past. Not knowing the results of this screening was preventing me from really getting into “Baby Mode” but now that we have the results I can feel it coming on. I can’t wait to find out the sex so I can start looking for names and clothes and toys and all the other things that are gonna come along with becoming a dad again. I might even celebrate this with a beer or two after TK and TW go to sleep tonight!

One Week

Yesterday marked the second doctors visit and came with a side of ultrasound! The ultrasound went well, it confirmed the due date, we’re looking at mid February if everything goes well.

We heard the heartbeat, the tech said that it sounds good and the rate was normal. I’m really trying not to get too attached yet. Yes, we’re 9 weeks into this, yes the tech didn’t see anything abnormal, yes the doctor said everything looks good so far. But, everything looked good with the last one, until it things stopped looking good.

The doc said that TW could get the genetic screening done during week 10. We have one week to wait until the blood gets drawn for the test. Then we have about two more weeks for the results. This is the big hurtle. If the screening results come back clean then I can stop worrying and start getting attached. I can start planning, and start hoping again.

If the screening comes back showing a problem, we’ll have to start dealing with things. A whole new set of decisions need to be made, a whole different mindset adopted.

I’m really trying not to let the “If’s” and “What If’s” take over my thinking. I mean, the first pregnancy went well, TK was a little small at birth, but she is in the 99th percentile for height and weight now at age 4.

I think that your first time going through this process makes you worry, it’s a new and unique experience. You naturally worry, “Am I ready for this?” “What if …” “How will I …” “Can we handle …”. The second one finds you in a different place, “I am ready for this.” “If ____ happens then we’ll do ____.” “I know how to handle …”.

But for us week 12 was the week that we were handed something we weren’t prepared for. The results of the screening showed a problem and it wasn’t a good one. But TW and I got through it, we dealt with it and took our bumps and bruises and learned that not all pregnancies will be good ones.

So here we are, pregnancy #3, getting screening #3, and waiting for the results. If everything is ok, we know how to proceed. If something is wrong, we know that we will get through it.

On a lighter note, we told TK about her possibly getting a sibling. TW and I discussed it and decided that she needs to know, and if something goes wrong she should know about that too. This way if she see’s me or her mom sad we don’t have to make up a reason and she will understand why we are emotional.

I asked TK last week if she wanted a little brother or a little sister. She thought about it for a second and said that she wants a sister. She thinks it’ll be fun to have a sister to play with and teach and talk to. I asked her how she would feel if we found out she was going to get a little brother. She thought for a second and the scrunched her face up a little and said that she would be disappointed. I asked her if she would be happy or sad if it was a little brother, she said that she would be happy but disappointed.

I’m just hoping that she gets a sibling. We can quibble over everything else later.

First Baby Doc Visit

We had the first visit last night. The doctor said things are looking ok, as far as he can tell at 6 weeks.

We are going for the first ultrasound in three weeks. He went over the usual info, breaking down how often we’ll be visiting, reminding TW about what she can and can eat and do.

The doc joined a different network of doctors since we were last there, he recommended that TW see a high risk specialist due to her age, her last pregnancy, and the fact that TW’s blood pressure got a bit high with TK and how small TK was when she was born.

I sometimes forget how small she was. She was born 5, or so, days early and was 19 inches long and 5lbs 13oz. I remember running out before we took her home and trying to find preemie sized clothes for her. After being out in the world for a few months she gained weight and length (height?) and went from the 10 percentile in size and weight to where she is now in the 95th percentile for height and weight.

The genetic screening had to wait until the 9th week so the doc said that he would discuss and order that when he sees us for the ultrasound.

TW and I are both hoping for better news than last time.

Two Pints of Ice Cream and a Six Pack of Beer

If you were a cashier in a grocery store and a youngish man placed those items on the belt, what would your first thought be? My guess is the answer depends on your age and/or life experience.

For example, if you are an unmarried person with no kids your answer might be, “what an odd combination of items, what would you need with two pints of ice cream and a sixer of beer? Maybe the guy has a weird party he’s heading to, on a Wednesday night.”

Now if you are married or a parent you reaction might be similar to the cashier that I had yesterday when I placed those exact items on the belt. The 50+ year old woman with graying hair looked me right in my tired eyes and said, “Congratulations, is this your first or second child?” To which I politely replied that this was the third pregnancy but will be the second child of everything goes well.

I have written in the past about the problems TW and I faced with the second pregnancy and what ended up happening, you can read that post here. The short version is, we had the genetic testing done and a problem was found, after multiple tests confirming the results of the test, my wife lost the baby.

Now, I know there is all sorts of protocol about that needs to be followed regarding the announcement of a pregnancy, and I know I’m breaking that protocol by saying that TW is pregnant and that she is only about 5 weeks along, but there is a lot of baggage that comes with the first pregnancy after an unsuccessful one and I need to unpack a bit of it. I mean, we haven’t even had the first Baby Doc visit yet, though that will be occurring in a couple of days.

We are both scared. That is the big cloud hanging over us right now, all of the “what if’s” that come with a “normal” pregnancy situation, but with so much more emotion behind them since we have had one successful and one unsuccessful pregnancy. What if they find a problem again? What if it’s worse than the last one (I don’t think it could be, but you never know)? What if there isn’t something wrong and we’re worrying for nothing? What if this pain is the sign of something bad and not psychosomatic? What if the reason TW feels “off” isn’t just normal pregnancy stuff and it’s the sign of something bad? What if the reason TW feels “off” is just normal pregnancy stuff? Is the stress that TW is feeling from work affecting the pregnancy? If the pregnancy the reason she feels more stressed about work? Experience had shown us that anything can happen, that these worries are all justified, these questions are all valid.

A successful pregnancy, the one resulting in the awesomeness that is TK, taught us to roll with the changes and that things will be just fine. A pregnancy has its ups and downs and in a few months they will all be part of the story you tell friends and family when the subject comes up. None of that is gonna matter anyway since you’ll be too busy with the newborn to have a coherent thought for a few months after he/she arrives.

The unsuccessful one taught us this is all out of our hands. It’s like waking into a casino, the odds say you can win or lose, and in reality a casino’s odds are skewed towards the house, but with a pregnancy there is a lot that goes into the odds and depending on those factors the odds can fall either way. We rolled the dice once and won, our daughter is awesome, right now she’s chasing Muttley and Droopy around the house because it’s raining and there is nothing better to do. We rolled the dice a second time and lost. That loss sucked worse that anything else I have ever been through. It is something I, and TW, think of often and still hurts.

Here we are now, the dice have been thrown and we’re waiting to see where they fall.

I’m trying my best not to let the “what if’s” take over. There is a lot of waiting that still needs to happen. Our first step is getting to the Baby Doc, after that we will do the genetic screening again. Then we wait for the results, the results will either be good or bad. If they are good then great we move on to the next steps. If they aren’t good then we move on to the next steps.

We just gotta hurry up and wait.

Heartbreak

There have been many points in my life where I looked at some part of myself and wished it was different. I think this is true of most people, some deal with it better than others. The earliest one I can remember is around junior high, as puberty hit I started to get dark hair on my legs, and it seemed to start at my ankles and work it’s way up. I tried to hide it by pulling my socks up but that drew more attention to my legs and that made me more self conscious. Eventually I accepted that this was me now and it stopped bothering me.

I know that compared to other problems this is insignificant, and that in the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal. At the time though, it was the most difficult thing I had to deal with. And there have been many other instances where I have looked at myself and decided that I needed to change or accept that this is who I am, but this is the first one i remember.

I never, in all of my life, thought that my 4 year old would look at herself and be sad about who she was. I mean, she’s 4, how could she possibly even come close to feeling like that. I had never considered that self image would be something she would even be thinking about yet. I felt that those feelings would come but that it would be later in life when TW and I could help her through it and she would have the ability to understand how to deal with those feelings.

Realizing that I was wrong and hearing the sadness in TK’s voice broke my heart in a way I never thought it could break.

TK and I were driving to the vet to pick Droopy up after getting neutered (don’t even get me started on how hard it was to explain neutering to a 4 year old) and listening to the Moana soundtrack. TK has recently become obsessed with Moana and I added a couple of songs to her playlist on my phone. In the middle of “How Far I’ll Go” TK stops singing and asks me to turn down the radio.

After I turn down the music she says, “Daddy, I don’t like my voice, I don’t wanna sound like this any more. Can I change my voice to sound better?” Cue the heart ache, no parenting book or advice column can prepare you for a question like that. A hundred different reactions fly through my head in the next second as I try to figure out how to respond to this.

Finally I say to her, ” TK, your voice is your own and will change as you get older. You might like how it sounds or you might not, just know that I love the way it sounds, I love the way it sounds when you sing and when you talk, I love all of the different sounds you make and wouldn’t want you to change it at all.” She said, “Ok daddy, I won’t change it. Even though I wanna sound like Moana.” Another shot to the heart. “TK, I think you sound just as good as Moana does, and I love hearing you sing her songs with your own voice.”

That got another ok daddy, and then she asked if I’d turn the music back up. I did and we both kept belting out the songs together. We even continued the car concert after we picked Droopy up from the vet, he even joined in with a few howls of his own.

Lots Of New Stuff

A while back, when we were first starting the potty training process, TW promised TK that she could get a puppy when she starts going #2 in the potty. After many (I mean MEAAAAAAAAAAAANY) weeks and many more accidents including two bathtub accidents and one middle of the bathroom floor accident TK finally went #2 in the potty and the first thing she said was, “yay, now I get a puppy!”

Now when my wife initially made the puppy offer, my jaw hit the floor. I have no problem offering rewards for achievements, we had a prize bucket for TK to choose stuff out of to get her to use the potty initially. She would have to pee, she would tell me, we’d go to the bathroom, she would pee, clean up, wash up, and go and get a potty prize. It was a good system, but she would not do a #2 no matter what the prize was. But a puppy?!?! I thought a puppy was a bit too large of a prize. I was sooo happy when she finally did, I mean, I haven’t been that happy about poop before and probably won’t ever be again. But then we had to make good on the puppy promise.

Muttley’s patience would be tested even further with the addition of another dog into our pack. My patience would be tested training this new addition to our pack. TK would be happy either way. TW would have her patience tested too. When we got Muttley TW was just TGF (The Girlfriend) at the time and only saw Muttley on weekends when we were able to stay at each others places. By the time we moved in together Muttley was the well trained/behaved dog he still is today.  She has had dogs before and knows what it is like house breaking them and moulding them into “good boys” but it has been a few years since she’s had to.

We spent the next few months stalking the Facebook page of the shelter where we got Muttley and finally found one that TW and TK agreed was good. We loaded everyone, including Muttley into the car and headed to the shelter. Once we got there TW started having second thoughts. We left that day without a puppy and with a very angry toddler, TW tried consoling TK but she wasn’t happy at all with the decision not to get the puppy the four of us played with for almost an hour.

A month later TW saw another puppy she liked at the same shelter. Quick side note about this place, they are small and their turnover rate is amazing, they will have a transport come in with 30 dogs on it on a Saturday afternoon and by the time they close 20-25 of those dogs will have been adopted. They post pictures on Friday night of what dogs they are receiving Saturday and people will be in the building an hour before the transport shows taking numbers for the animals they want to see. TW noticed the dog she liked on Saturday afternoon, right around the time the transport showed up, so there wouldn’t be time to run out there and see him before the shelter closed for the day. TW said, “If he is still there on Tuesday, then he was meant to be ours. You ,TK, and Muttley can go ther after TK gets done with school and if he gets along with TK and Muttley and you think he’ll be a good fit we can get him.”

That’s how it happened too, I loaded Muttley into the car when I went to pick TK up from school, we went to she shelter, all three played well together, TW watched via FaceTime, and an hour later we took Droopy home with us.

Droopy has been a ball of crazy energy but is fitting in well. The first week was rough getting him on a potty schedule and there have been many instances and accidents since then but I can say that this is the first accident free week we’ve had since bringing him home. He’ll be getting neutered next month, and microchipped shortly after that. Muttley originally had some territory issues inside the house but since the end first week they have done nothing but play and even ocasionally nap on or next to each other.

We stil have a ways to go to get Droopy to full-time “good boy” status but he’ll get there.