Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quick Update

LOVE the above comic! And yes, I SO relate.

Quick update: Had the OB follow-up appointment today. My ovarian cyst is completely gone. Miscarriage with Peanut "cleared out" (UGH!) as anticipated from my hormone levels. We were given the "go ahead" to try getting pregnant again. If I'm not pregnant within 6 months, I'm to go back for a follow up appointment at which time we'll look into hormone levels, possible fertility issues, etc.

I'm comfortable with this scenario.

However, I still feel self-inflicted pressure due to my age (almost 34). And especially due to Emma's age, as I don't want her and Kid#2 to have a really large age gap between them.

So I'm praying foremost for patience. And secondly for a pregnancy that "sticks."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Look

The Blog: I LOVE scrapbooking, but haven't done many layouts since Emma was born (due to time and space constraints---I used to scrap in what is now Emma's bedroom.) Part of why I enjoy blogging is it provides an opportunity for me to journal and create an online "scrapbook" of sorts. I have been wanting to create a "scrapbooky" type layout for my blog for a while, but didn't have the time to devote to changing my layout. This weekend, I spent a few hours adding "embellishments" to my sidebar, changing my background and color scheme. Yes, I know I have a daughter (who favors pink and purple) whom is much of what I blog about, but as green and blue are MY favorite colors, and this is MY blog, I went with a layout/color scheme for ME. :)

The World: Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th president last week. Hooray! I am ecstatic about this and believe that with time he will lead our country through many positive changes.

School: My yearly observation by my principal is scheduled for this Wednesday. I am not nervous. I know I perform my job adequately. Though this is my first observation at this school and by this principal, I anticipate that I will do well. What I am feeling a little crumby about is that between my miscarriage and a horrible headcold, I am still not at 100%, which means I'm not giving 100% at school...I hate that. As a mother, I love knowing my daughter goes to school each day with a teacher who is fair, loving, and who challenges her. I hate that I am not back at that level for my students yet. I am getting there...and it's not like I'm slacking and doing nothing. I just know that my heart hasn't been "in it" the past few weeks, and I haven't been giving as much as I usually do. Sighs... I'm working on it

I'm still struggling as I try to decide whether or not I want to remain at my current school next year. Pros: 1. I like my principal and the faculty a lot 2. The students are MUCH better behaved than those at my prior school 3. Distance to/from home and to/from Em's school/daycare is a 20-min or less commute 4. I have access to much more supplies than I did at my prior school Cons: 1. I hate my classroom. It doesn't have windows and is a dreary blue/gray/green color. 2. I still hate that I am teaching reading AND language arts (and an elective.) Yes, I am certified as both a language arts and reading teacher. But I spent the past 3 years taking courses so that I could teach reading. Last year for the first time, I finally felt passionate about my subject matter (READING) instead of just being passionate about helping my students. Sighs. This year with my school combining language arts and reading...I am not happy. I do not feel I have adequate time to differentiate instruction for my low level readers. The time I used to spend on more specific instruction is now devoted to planning for language arts... So that's it. The pros outweigh the cons. But my main con is a biggie. So I am still contemplating.

Health: My OB's office left a message on Friday saying that my Beta levels were at 3 with the bloodwork I had drawn on Tuesday 1/20. This means I am not in any danger zone. Peanut miscarried fully and as anticipated, I will not have to have a D&C. This Tuesday I go for a follow up appointment during which time I should learn whether or not we have the go ahead to "try again," or if other recommendations will be made.

I'm starting to move on emotionally...though sometimes things still tug at my heartstrings. Our garage is full of baby items that we are storing for use with Kid#2...a highchair, baby swing, infant carseat, Rubbermaid containers filled with Emma's old baby and little girl clothes, etc. When I went out to the garage this week it was a sad reminder that Peanut is gone. But mostly, I have been able to keep my chin up and hope that things advance quickly and that I am given the go-ahead to try to become pregnant again.

And though optimistic, I hate that I know if I become pregnant again it won't be happy and blissful like my pregnancy with Emma. It will be a time of joy, but also of great worry. Miscarriage will always be at the back of my mind now. I pray that I don't second-guess myself and my decisions throughout my pregnancy if I become pregnant again. I know I need to wait to cross the bridge when I get there, but I am concerned about how I will feel...especially in those critical early weeks.

DH: DH got a promotion at work which will go into effect next month. He'll be in a supervisory role over a team of workers who does sales/support phone calls like he does now. He seems excited about it, and I'm happy for him.

Emma: My little sweetie continues to be a bundle of joy. Without knowing about Peanut, her smile, hugs, and "arts and craps" have helped me immensely in the past few weeks. Yesterday we went to a birthday party for one of her schoolmates. It was held at a local skating rink. It was the first time I have rollerskated...I think since high school. Emma and I were wobbling and holding hands. We had only made it halfway around the rink when they cleared the floor for a game of "Red Light-Green Light." Doh! We watched the game. Emma commented that we weren't able to skate as fast as the people playing the RLGL game. Then she took off her skates so she could play in the playyard area instead. We never skated again. Bummer. I was actually looking forward to it!

Emmaisms: I've been in a funk, so haven't been writing Emmaisms as I usually do. Here are a few that I did write down:

1/25/09: On urinating: "My pee just sounded like a shower! I went potty and there was a lot and it sounded like the shower was on!"

1/24/09: On adulthood: "Mommy, someday when you and Daddy move, can I live in this house until I have a baby and a husband?"

1/5/09: On Christmas Gifts for the Future: "Do you know what I want more than anything for Christmas next year? Perfume! Like a skunk!"

Found this oldie but goodie while tidying up our computer desk. 10/30/08 On happiness: While watching The Sound of Music, "Mommy, sometimes when people sing, my heart feels happy!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

4 Days

In the 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teenagers course I taught as an elective this past semester, we had a discussion day talking about time. How one day can make a difference to the family of someone who is terminally ill. How one minute can make the difference between someone who is or isn't in a car accident, etc.

This week I've been thinking about 4 days...I knew I was pregnant for 4 days before I started cramping and had the day of doctor's visits and ER time. Then it was another 4 days before I learned I was miscarrying the baby. 4 days of change.

I've re-thought many things...and have been fortunate, because I don't really have self blame. I was taking prenatal vitamins, exercising a fair amount, eating right, avoiding caffeine, etc.

I also don't really have anger. I'm not mad at myself for losing the baby...or angry at God for preventing the miscarriage. I'm just disappointed. Deeply disappointed. There is a quote in Vicki Iovine's Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy book that really hit home this week. In her section about miscarriage, she states, "...the idea of a baby, the dream of it and having it in your life forever, begins as soon as that baby makes its presence known." How true that is! I'm not just disappointed, I'm dealing with the loss of a dream. A dream for little Peanut. A dream with visions of Emma and Peanut playing together. A dream that I'd be a mother again. Sighs.

And part of me is actually grateful. Not that I lost the baby...but that if I had to have a miscarriage, I am grateful that it happened so early within my pregnancy. My last menstrual cycle began 11-29-08. I was 4-6 weeks pregnant. (Because they were never able to see the fetus via ultrasound, we never were given a gestational date.) I am grateful that I miscarried while the fetus was still so tiny...before I felt movement...before Emma knew about Peanut...before we did any major planning and preparations for a baby's arrival.

SPOILER ALERT: If you want to see and/or read "Marley and Me" and do not want to know the plot and ending, skip to the paragraph that begins with "One positive note..."

The day after my miscarriage began, I took the day off work. I went to see "Marley and Me," as I had heard it was a tearjerker, and figured I could use a good cry. The movie is about a couple John and Jen as they get married, get their first pet (a large dog, Marley,) and start a family. There is a scene during Jen's first pregnancy when they learn that the baby's heartbeat has stopped, and that Jen will be miscarrying the child. This made me cry! She goes on to have 3 healthy children. I cried again...especially at the sight of the 1st teeny tiny baby. Sighs. At the end of the movie, Marley has to be put to sleep in his old age. I was crying with the other 5 ladies in the theater (there were only 6 of us at the Wednesday matinee.) We were all sniffling and crying...it was really sad. And since Marley is a yellow/blonde version of my sweet mutt Viggo, it really hit home. I cried and cried to the point that my nose was red when I finally got into my car after the movie was over. Ahhh. I needed that. It really was the perfect movie to help me get through the week.


One positive note has been the outpouring of email and verbal responses from female friends, family, and co-workers who have also endured miscarriages. I feel that I am part of a club that no one wants to join, but that unites women regardless of age or race. In the 4 days after the miscarriage, I heard from friends/family: SKK, SKU, KJJ, KLW, MEB, EPL, AB, ARE, CMJ, CM, AF, and MM whom have all had miscarriages. Wow!

8 of these 12 women went on to have one or more children in a pregnancy after their miscarriage(s). 1 of these 12 women is pregnant with her 2nd child right now. 3 of these ladies are still hoping and praying to be blessed with their first child.

I'll be curious to find out in my OB appointment next week what category I fall into now. Am I in need of fertility aids, since I did not get pregnant for 3 years? Or, because I did get pregnant, am I not in need of help because we've shown that it is possible for us to conceive. I am anxious to learn what the next step is...where do we go from here?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No More Peanut

Sighs...I'm at school, so can't write much during what's left of my lunch break.

Had yesterday (Mon.) off work. Went for more bloodwork. Called OB for ER follow-up. They said they'd rather see me Tues so they could have the bloodwork results from Monday to compare with bloodwork from Friday.

Didn't really need to have the day off then. Oh well. Went coat shopping...bought a new jacket and had some "me" time. Was able to spend 2 hours of uninterrupted phone time with MaryAnn---a luxury for both of us!

This morning went to OB for follow up. Met with Sherry the nurse practitioner at OB's office. She attempted ultrasound. Again could see thickening of the uterine wall, but no fetus. Ironically---the cyst on my ovary burst on it's own. It's down already from Friday from 2.3 cm to 1.1.

Then I started bleeding. Dammit.

Sherry said I needed to prepare myself: this could be a miscarriage. Or it could be slight spotting. We needed the hormone levels to determine.

Sherry called the lab for my bloodwork results, which weren't in yet. I headed to work.

30 minutes ago she called to say that my hormone levels dropped from the 600's on Friday to the 100's today. I am having a miscarriage. Ouch. Even as I type the word, I feel a tug at my heartstrings.

She said the bleeding will increase over the next few days. And everything should "clear out" on it's own. How horrible!

Next Monday I need to go back for follow-up blood work. As long as my hormone levels are "back to normal," it will mean that Peanut has miscarried fully and my body is returning to normal. If not, we'll pursue D&C.

Sighs. No more waiting game... This sucks!

Need to wipe my tears....wash my face...and return to my 8th graders.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Little Peanut??

I've had a whirlwind of emotions this week...

On Monday 1/5 I took 2 home pregnancy tests and they were positive! This was very exciting! I've been off the pill for 3 years, and was beginning to wonder if I should ask my OB for help with fertility issues. Hooray! Now we had a little Peanut on the way! A sibling for Emma! :)

DH and I spent the evening talking and planning: talked about moving Em's room to our extra 3rd bedroom, moving baby things back in from the garage to Em's current room (which still has Suzy's Zoo baby wallpaper border), where should we pursue infant daycare centers, how long should we wait to share the news with Em, etc. DH and I decided not to share the news with our family until after my first OB appointment.

The next morning I scheduled an appointment for Monday 1/12 with my OB to "confirm the pregnancy" and check our status (health, duedate, etc.)

Tues and Weds were fun, as DH and I continued to plan...

Halfway through Thursday I started having abdominal cramping at work. The cramps felt like severe menstrual cramps...like my stomach was being pushed and twisted on the lower right and lower left sides. Fearing the worst, I prepared for a substitute teacher and planned to take the day off Friday. (Sorry for the TMI, but I was relieved when I ran to the restroom and there was NO spotting.) I tried to ease my anxiety by researching on the Internet. I found many websites that said cramping is common in the early weeks of pregnancy, as a woman's uterus starts to expand. I was a little bit relieved....but still anxious. I had NO cramping with Emma...and as this is my 2nd child, shouldn't my uterus still be somewhat stretched out? I was able to make an appointment with Lynn, the midwife at my OB's office for 10:30 Friday morning. I made it through the night, restless and not sleeping well...and cramping all night.

Friday morning I went to the appointment at 10:30. The urine test at the OB's office, also indicated that I am pregnant. The staff confirmed that cramping sometimes occurs in the early stages of pregnancy. Then Lynn, the midwife did a vaginal ultrasound and couldn't find anything. She told me not to worry, this could just mean that I am too early along for a fetus to be detected. (Fetus' are not usually visible via ultrasound until the mother is 4-5 or more weeks along.) Wow...I'm even earlier along than I thought.

Lynn called in the ultrasound tech, to have her try to view the Peanut. The technician said the same thing. She could see "thickening of the uterine lining," but no fetus. She assured me this was likely not cause for alarm, but rather just a very early pregnancy. Umm....yeah. At this point I'm starting to regret coming by myself and telling DH to go to work.

They gave me a RX for blood work to have blood drawn on both Friday and Monday. In the early stages of pregnancy, the mother's hormone levels nearly double on a daily basis. If the blood work next week shows that my levels are increasing appropriately, there will not be cause for alarm. (Next week? Yikes...long wait!) She also asked me to have a higher tech ultrasound at a local Imaging Center, to try to see the fetus.

So I left the OB's office and called to arrange a 2:30 appt at the imaging center. I went and had my blood work done, had some lunch, and then headed home. I had to drink 32 oz of water before my ultrasound, so drank, drank, drank and then headed off to my appointment.

At the imaging center the ultrasound hurt! The technician poked and prodded and apologized, but said she was trying to get "clear" pictures of my ovaries. After 20 minutes of ultrasound pics, she began typing notes I could see on the monitor. I remember snippets: "pregnant with abdominal pain, but no bleeding" and then "cystic mass on left ovary" As the technician left, she told me the doctor would be in to speak with me in a little while. She left. I barely held back tears as I waited.

After about 20 minutes, the ultrasound technician came in and said she had spoken with the Imaging Center doctor who was going to call my OB. I could get dressed and wait in the waiting room for further instructions.

5 more excruciating minutes...they called me back to an office where the midwife, Lynne from my OB's office was on the phone. Lynn said that the ultrasound indicated I have a cyst on my left ovary. The ultrasound also did not detect the fetus. She wanted me to go the emergency room at Memorial Hospital immediately for blood work. There was still a chance that I am pregnant and also have an ovarian cyst. However, there is also a chance that I have an ectopic pregnancy and that the fetus is part of the cystic mass...and ectopic pregnancies if left untreated can eventually kill the mother. Holy crap!

I made it out of the office. Started crying before I made it to my car. Texted DH at work that he needed to leave so he could be with me at ER. Called Papa to see if he could pick up Emma from school...and headed to the ER.

Met DH in front of the hospital. When we arrived at the ER there were at least 20 people already in the waiting room. Sighs. Fortunately, DH's Mom was seeing a patient of her own in the ER. (She's a Physician's Assistant.) She made a trade: helped the ER crew out with one of their patients, so that they would get me in sooner. We only waited about 30 minutes...

Then another urine specimen and more blood work...and an IV drip "just in case." The nurse said:
--I need to understand that if the pregnancy is ectopic the baby can NOT survive, and I will possibly have to have surgery to remove it so that it doesn't kill me.
--If it is a cyst and a normal pregnancy, it is possible that the baby is fine and I will have a healthy delivery. We'll have to monitor the cyst to see if it bursts on it's own or if it needs to eventually be surgically removed.

The nice doctor confirmed this when he came in. We waited about 2 1/2 hours for the blood work results to be returned. Doc said my hormone levels indicate a normal rather than ectopic pregnancy. Whew! He said his "gut feeling" tells him I have a normal pregnancy and a cyst...however, I do still need to do blood work follow-up as requested by OB's office next Monday to ensure that my hormone levels are increasing appropriately. Mother-in-law knew the ER doc and said she trusts his input...so I'm trying to have peace of mind.

So basically things are "most likely" safe. But it is still a waiting game. I still have my OB appointment next Friday. I'm taking Monday off work to get blood work done and see if OB wants to see me as well.

I didn't really realize how much I wanted the little Peanut until I thought I had lost it. I'm trying so hard to "let go, let God." I know it isn't ultimately up to me...and that I need to trust that whether or not there is a Peanut, it is all part of a larger plan. But sometimes letting go is so difficult. Grow, little Peanut, grow! Be visible in next week's ultrasound so that we know everything is o-kay.

Today I need to call my principal and ask if I can postpone my yearly observation which is scheduled for this Wednesday. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to give him all the details...I know I don't have to. But part of me wants to...if things work out, we'll need to start planning for next autumn and Peanut's arrival.

And so the waiting continues...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Emma's First Haircut

I don't usually double-up and post the same things on my blog as I send in email. However, the email I sent today with an update on Emma is an exception. The text is the same as an email message I sent to family and friends this afternoon. However, there are more pictures posted on the blog than were sent in email...

Hi Family & Friends,
Though she is 4 years and 3 months old, Emma had never had a haircut until today. You may recall that she did not have much hair until well after her 2nd birthday. I used to be very envious of my friends with little boys who had frequent haircuts so as to not look "too girly." We had the opposite problem: minimal hair, and the hair that Emma did have was so fair, it was difficult to see.

The past year, her hair has finally really grown and we've enjoyed ponytails and hair barrettes...

Today we took Em for her first haircut. I was really pleased with the results, and stunned at how much older Emma looks with her new "do."

Thanks to Shannon Kay for cluing me in to the "Cookie Cutters" salon for kids! Em was able to get her haircut in a miniature car, while watching "Oswald" on TV. She also loved that there was a play area inside while we waited for her appointment.

Our Christmas was super! As you can see below, we're off to a good start for 2009.

Love to all,
Alana (Aaron & Emma too)

This is a pic of the certificate Emma was given before we left Cookie Cutters. It says, "Cookie Cutters, Haircuts for Kids Presents this Certificate to Emma A. for bravely submitting to the scissors of our stylist and meeting all the requirements of a First Haircut. January 2, 2009." Beneath the text is a bag with a lock of Em's hair. The photo was taken by the Cookie Cutter employee who created the certificate for us. Awesome! The certificate definitely helped add to Emma's excitement! :)




My little girl is growing up. Sighs. And smiles.


Here's a glimpse at what kept us busy this holiday season...

Emma Lounging...

Note the red plaid dress, pink floral bloomers, and purple plaid rain boots. Do the words, "I picked this outfit out myself" come to mind?

Decorating the tree...

A visit to Bethlehem...
(A local church has acres of land on which they recreate a Bethlehem village complete with shops, animals, census takers, soldiers, people collecting alms, etc.)

Rug market

Jewelry market

Livestock market


Fish market (Real fish---way stinky!)

The family portraying the "reason for the season"

Em and her friend K.B. after touring Bethlehem

Cookie Baking...

Mommy's Example...and Emma's 1st try at peanut butter reindeer cookies

M&M and Oatmeal M&M Cookies

Em did ALL of the decorating on our sugar cookies.
Not pictured: Fudge. It was yummy!

We had a family dinner at Amie & Burke's house
on Christmas Eve...

On our way home, we stopped to see the store front of Kuhn's Flower Shop:
(Em was in PJs so she'd be ready to go right to bed for Santa's arrival.)

Em poses in front of the Caroler mannequins

And gets up close and personal with an elf

The singing Rudolph robot

Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and Santa all sing Christmas songs

Beautiful nativity scene

Christmas morning...

What's in my stocking?

Opening gifts

Barbie ballet studio

Christmas: Our holiday was busy, but nice. We were able to fit in relaxation and reflection time within the hub-bub. Emma woke us Christmas morning with, "Santa came! And he brought me Barbie stuff like I wanted!" I realized while posting the pics above that I don't have any photos of Em's favorite item... She received a Barbie house from Santa. Santa didn't gift wrap the house, though all of Em's other presents were wrapped. This was how she knew Santa brought her Barbie things as she had hoped for. :)

Barbie Girl: Emma's Barbie House is complete with bathroom/laundry, kitchen, living room, and bedroom. This matched nicely with the Barbie furniture I gave her on Christmas Eve that once belonged in MY 1980's Barbie Dream House. Emma has been looooving all of her Barbie items: Loves the Barbie convertible from Auntie Amie and Uncle Burke. Loves changing the Barbies in and out of outfits. Loves creating adventures for her Barbies. Other hot items are the Dora tights Auntie Laurel sent, Parent Trap movie from Auntie Michelle, Princess umbrella from her stocking ("I've been wanting my own umbrella for years!"), and the High School Musical movie. (She had HSM2, now she also has HSM1.)

This was the first Christmas that we've ever had with just the 3 of us. All 4 of Emma's previous Christmases, we were either in Ohio, or had Ohio relatives who were staying with us for the holiday. While I missed having my far away family here, it was also neat to have time with just the 3 of us. Christmas morning we had family time----stocking and gift opening, hanging out, having a light breakfast, spending time together using newly opened gifts, etc. Christmas afternoon we went to Craig and Cindy's house for lunch/dessert, and more present opening. It was nice. Another "hot gift item," is an art easel Nana and Papa got for Emma. It has a chalkboard on one side and dry erase board on the other. It also includes magnet letters and clips to hang paper. Em is an "arts and crafts" addict. Anything involving coloring/painting/stickers/construction paper, etc. is right up her alley.

A funny Emmaism: We introduced Em to the "A Christmas Story" movie this year. She's been walking around saying, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." It cracks me up every time!

A weird weather Christmas: This is the time of year I love Florida. As mentioned in many previous posts, I detest the cold. When I spoke to my Ohio family the week of Christmas and they had ice and cold dreary weather...and my Wisconsin cousin had 13 BELOW ZERO weather, I was SOOOOO grateful to live somewhere warm. With that being said, it was unusually warm here. In December it is usually in the 50s and 60s here. This year, we had weather in the 70s and 80s during much of winter break! The weekend before Christmas, we had a picnic on our deck and we were all wearing t-shirts and shorts. WOW! That has never happened before in the 10 years I've lived in Florida. But guess what?? I'll take it! It was awesome!!!! :)

Self-reflection: As planned, I was able to have 2 nights to myself for "reflection time" in front of the tree. I keep a scrapbook with the yearly Christmas letters that I send to friends and family. I was able to re-read all the letters from 1999 through this year. It is neat to reflect and see how things have changed within my life. I was also able to really think and ponder about the pros and cons of my job and what I can do to make things better.

On a final note: Aaron surprised me with the Wii game Dance, Dance Revolution. (He knew I love the aerobics on Wii Fit, but get tired of having the same routines over and over again.) I wasn't sure about Dance Revolution at first, but now I am loving it! It is a great aerobic workout. And I've lost 2 1/2 pounds in the past week...literally dancing my booty off. So my resolution for 2009: At least 5 days per week I will have a 45 minute workout. (This can be waking the dog, Wii Fit or Dance Revolution, etc.) I am especially hoping to start getting up early and exercising BEFORE work, as when I try to wait until after school I usually am tired or spending time with Emma so I don't work out. Oooh! Also, I nearly forgot to mention an awesome sweatshirt I received from DH's parents. It has an apple with a bite taken out of it on the front and says, "Bite me." On the back it says "Member of the Edward Cullen Fan Club. StephanieMeyer.com" Super cool! (Did you notice the 2 new tributes to the "Twilight" series I added to the left of my blog? :)

Here's to 2009. Wishing you and yours all the best...