19w

Thursday, February 28, 2013

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Well, we are officially over the halfway point and the countdown to delivery is shorter than the countdown up.  It's like a race.  Every step now is a step homeward bound; 18w6d until (if all goes to plan) we are meeting Michael for the first time on the outside!

I'm tired.  Last night was a tough one, sleep wise, for me, and the one thing that hasnt changed is a need (as well as a desire) for 10-12 hours of sleep a day (which, for me, is close to double what I'm okay with usually... 6 hours isnt bad even though I prefer 7-8, but these days?  Ugh... And last night, was about 4, so I feel VERY tired.)  But, outside of the I-need-sleep tiredness, I feel great.  Like, really, GREAT!  Run a marathon (okay, maybe not, but definitely run a half-marathon) awesome.

With Peter away, I've tried to be more active with the kids and, while I find that I tire easily and need to stop and put my feet up for a few minutes, I can do it.  And I can keep up with the housework even with no day alone to do it (it's not up to par for 'cleaning day' but it's not a pig stye and it's not such that I wouldnt entertain people).  And I can still run, and snuggle preschoolers (and carry them around).  I just really feel good.  I can't believe how good I feel actually.  It's amazing.  If all my pregnancies had been like this, I'd want to do it over and over again.

My cravings have been interesting.  Still love the PB&J from time to time, but there hasnt been anything that has been a must-have-very-often, as in my other pregnancies.  Fried chicken is something I tend to have a taste for more often than other things (we're having it Saturday!) but maybe it's my menu making that is leading me to less acknowledgement of cravings?  I dont know...  I love crunchy salads with Russian dressing recently.  I've been having one late morning or early afternoon for the last 2 weeks.  That's a new thing; I mean, I love salads, but the 'craving' for one.  Oh, and tomato juice.  Love that... and cottage cheese and grapefruit (which I dont like in general)...  So, there are things, just nothing that is all the time.

In cute news, Bobby and Maya gave Michael his first brother/sister gift. :)  They loved their Sleep Sheep stuffed animals, and they picked out a Sleep Giraffe.  And, since their Tiddliwinks Bears have been CONSTANT companions since they came home from the NICU,  they wanted him to have a 'bear' too.  Of course, their bears have been discontinued, so they picked out a lion.  Very adorable.  And you should have seen their faces... Priceless.  They love their baby brother already.  Bobby has taken to touching my belly and saying "Michael" and Maya likes to lay on my stomach and say "I love you, Michael."  It's so stinking cute.

5dpP

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Well, it's finally here!  Our last full day without Peter!  He should be home sometime tomorrow afternoon, around 3:30-4:30.    Around 2am (Eastern Time), say a prayer that his flight home is a safe one! 

Last night... well, it started out okay.  And then, I had to go and screw it up.  Maya is almost OCD in her love of routine and I mixed up 2 things... and the waterworks began.  I think a lot of it is the anxiety and missing of Peter; she had a crying spell in class today and when they asked her why, she said she missed him.  Her teacher (who knew he was away) smiled and said that he'd be home tomorrow, and she said Maya perked right up.  In the car, I asked her how her day was and she told me she cried because she missed Daddy.  So sad.  So, I think last night may have just been the start of where-the-heck-is-dad for her and when I screwed up the routine, it just added insult to injury.  They were in bed around 8:50 but, between then and 10pm, I was back in twice- for her.  Bobby was fine and fell asleep with relative ease, but Maya was crying quietly and just really upset.  I'd get her calm and stroke her hair and leave, and then a few minutes later, hear her sobbing into her pillow.  The last time I went in, I just stayed there until I was sure she was asleep.

At 2:35am, I heard Bobby wake up and I went to check him and, sure enough, he was wet.  I changed him and snuggled him and, within 10 minutes was back in bed, listening on the monitor as he sang.  And sang. And sang.  This, punctuated by chants of "Dad, Dad, Dad," over and over again.  He wasnt unhappy or crying (so, we normally wouldnt intervene and would just let him work himself to sleep).  There would be 10-15 minutes of this and then 10-15 minutes of silence.  Just as I'd get ready to doze, it would start again.  For 2 hours.  Maya woke up at one point and, no joke, told Bobby to go to sleep.  It was kind of funny.  Although, once he fell asleep and I heard his even breathing on the monitor and I was drifting off, Maya started crying and saying "Mama".  I went in, and she had had a nightmare.  I got her bear for her (it had moved out of reach and, in the dark, she couldn't find it), and rubbed her back until she fell asleep, then I went back to bed. Between 4:30am and 6:30am, when I finally gave up and took a shower, I was in their room 8 times.  I dont know if they were awake for every crying fit or if they were crying in their sleep, and each intervention only took 2-3 minutes, but to say I was tired... Well, as Sarah says, it's good training for a newborn!

Sarah's been a dear, putting her own life on hold to stay here, but poor Bobby is done with being hospitable.  Usually, he begs her not to leave and practically holds her here when she's getting her stuff to go (she visits once-twice a week); for the last 2 nights, he's been trying to get her out the door!  I think he's finally put two and two together that if Aunt Sarah is spending the night, then that means that Daddy isn't here.  If he can get rid of her, then Dad will come home! :) 

Tonight, we're going to our favorite gourmet pizzaria to say "thanks" to Sarah; I figure it's a nice way to end our week without Peter and the kids know (and keep telling me) how Daddy will be home tomorrow!!!!  So, this will be the real 'last' day without him, even though he wont get home until the day is mostly over tomorrow.  Maya has already planned Saturday, telling me that it is going to be a "Daddy Day".  That man is definitely loved!

Having him gone was worse in some ways and easier in some ways; it really was a huge eye opening experience for me, and I think I've grown as a mom- in good ways.  That being said, I cant wait to wrap my arms around him and tell him, face to face, how much I love him.

4dpP

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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Because I'm updating in the morning, I'm sure something will go haywire, LOL!

Last night was our closest night to normal yet.  After I put the kids in bed and turned out the light, Bobby screamed and sobbed (this isn't normal), so instead of giving him 3-4 minutes, I just went back in right away, kissed him and told him I was there, and held his hand.  I manuevered to get my palm on top of his hand, and then, as he would move (breathing or moving to get more comfortable) slowly took my hand away.  Then I sat on the floor for a bit to see how that would work out.  15 minutes after the light went out, I was in my bedroom.  And I didnt have to go back.  Awesome!  15 minutes longer than Peter, but 15 minutes is WAY better than the 45min of night 2 or the god-only-knows-how-long of night 1.  He and Maya sang back and forth with each other, then chatted with their bears, then fell asleep.  Late early-morning (3:35ish) Bobby woke and I went in right away, changed him, snuggled him, and put him to bed.  10 minutes after rolling over, I was back in bed.  So, total? 25 minutes- slightly more than half of the going-to-bed routine of last night.  SWEET!  I'll take this one in the win column!

I drempt of Peter last night.  In the dream, Bobby called for me.  I looked at the clock, 3:45am, and got up, going to him, but he'd already gotten out of bed and was playing in the living room, in the dark.  As I explained that it was still night-night time, Maya joined us and said she had to potty, so she went to the bathroom and turned on the light.  Just then, in the playroom, a toy (which we dont own and have never owned) started playing on its own and I thought, "Oh, the older kids are here... That's strange, I thought they were with Peter on his trip..."  I stood in 0the door of the bathroom watching both kids, and then, I heard "Hello" and it was Peter.  He was in boxer shorts (explained because he had to walk through snow???) and a shirt, no shoes.  He had come home early because of the weather.  When I asked how he got home (because the local rail stops by midnight) he said that he'd called his Aunt J, who had been partying in the city (REALLY????) and she'd brought him, but they had to walk through the snow to keep their drinks.  (Okay....)  In the dream, I reached out to touch him, to make sure he was real, and could feel the scruff of his face.  On our way to bed, I looked at the kitchen clock and it read, 3:45am, the time the clock in our bedroom read when I 'woke' in the dream.

What is funny about this, other than the message that I really REALLY miss Peter, is the time.  3:45am was Alexander's birth time.  Both of us often find ourselves waking at that time.  But the bigger thing is that our bedroom clock is about 10 mintues ahead (the kids like to play with the buttons and until it tops 10min ahead, I dont bother changing it).  So, when I woke up last night, it read 3:45am.  But when I went back to bed (via the far bathroom for a pitstop, which requires me to walk through the kitchen), the kitchen clock (which is correct) read 3:45.  The dream was before I woke up, so it was just kind of funny.  And, first thing this morning, Maya had to GO to the bathroom, another not normal routine.

Today will probably be one of the more 'off' days I think.  Sarah has been coming over right after work, but tonight she has plans and wont be here til 7:15 (I start bedtime at 8), but bigger than that, it is Wednesday and the kids wont be seeing their grandparents today, a Wednesday staple for 2+years.  I've scheduled a Wednesday playgroup to try and ease the Wednesday transition away from Grandpa and Uita's until my MIL is recovered enough to see them, which will take us to late morning.  After lunch and nap, I have some things I can pick up from Target and, assuming the rain goes away, I thought we might go to the local dairy farm for ice cream and visiting the animals, which will take us up to 5:30 or so.  While the kids will wonder where Sarah is (since she's usually here by then), we'll just play and start our evening movie, and go from there.  I'm hoping that they will sail through not seeing Uita and Grandpa, which they've been begging for, in spite of both Peter and I explaining since the week before her surgery (which was the 18th) that they wouldnt be able to visit for a while.  We shall see!

But, all in all, feeling good about day 4.  And we are over the hump!  2 more nights away and Peter should be home Friday afternoon!!!!

18w6d

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In exactly 19 weeks, the plan is to be sitting at the hospital, prepping for Michael's delivery.  Wow... 19w pregnant tomorrow, and 19 short weeks away today.  Insanity.

I'm doing well.  Other than pressure/pulling when I roughhouse too much with the kids (which is normal from what I hear), I'm good!  A little tumtum pooch, rocking the maternity wear happily at this point, and my running clothes are a tad tighter than I'd like, but I refuse to buy larger cold weather gear when a) that stuff is expensive and b) spring is almost here.  Still doing anything and everything, and feeling well, like me, other than the crazy exhaustion that is still lingering.  Moving towards the hallway mark of this pregnancy and the first third of the second trimester is done.  It's flying by.

But, all in, doing really well!  My next appt is the big 20 week ultrasound with MFM on March 7th when I'll be 20w even!

3dpP

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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Well, we have survived another day without Peter at home!  While we definitely aren't where we are when he is home, last night was a better night.  We got through bath and bed, and Maya (as usual) went to bed without issue.  Bobby whined and then started crying when I was gone from the room.  Maya was so cute, trying to placate him, telling him it was going to be okay and to go to sleep.  After 5 minutes, and once the whines became actual cries, I went back in.  He kept saying, "Mama, hug?" so I leaned over and gave him a big hug and a smooch, then I tucked him in the way he likes and held his hand.  First, I tried sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall (I was just so tired) but the angle on my arm was hurting and I ended up having to stand up and lean against the wall (his bed is close to the corner).  I could tell he was on the verge of sleep and about that time I realized that I really REALLY had to go to the bathroom, so I gently slipped my hand away and snuck out.  I went to the bathroom on the other side of the kitchen to avoid making any extra noise, but I heard the whine start.  :(  The good news was that it didnt progress into a cry.  By the time I got to bed, I could hear him saying, almost like a mantra, "Mama... Mama... Mama... Dad... Dad... Dad..."  He'd alternate between them, and eventually time became longer and his voice faded until I had to have the monitor very high in order to hear anything.  Then, it was silent.  Sleep... It only took 45 minutes, which was huge considering the night before had been a disaster.

Bobby woke up at 1am, saying, "Mama, help," in a small little voice.  He repeated it twice, and so I got up and went to him.  He was wet, so I changed his pull-up and snuggled him a little bit, just holding him and cuddling him for a few minutes before giving him a kiss and putting him back to bed, tucking him in.  I held his hand for a few minutes and then rubbed his back.  He was still awake when I left and he whined for a few moments, but then just started talking to his bear quietly.  I figured, that if he began to cry, I'd go back but eventually his voice faded off.  By 2am, it was a very sporadic conversation with his bear and then, his mantra, tihs time, "Dad... Dad... Dad..." and then sleep.  Until 7:10am!  Amen!!!

I was up off and on, just with the whole go-to-the-bathroom-every-few-minutes, and got to text with Peter via Skype around 6am our time (it was close to lunch his time). 

I grabbed a shower before the kids were up, then they watched Sprout while I made waffles.  We headed off to school and all was well until we got there, when Bobby whined and didnt want out of the car.  His teacher is out sick today but his favorite aide met us at the car.  She assured me he'd be fine and they disappeared into the building.  An hour ago, his teacher emailed me.  She'd texted the aide for an update, and wanted to let me know all the kids, Bobby included, were very happy and all was well.  How lovely these women are...  Just so sweet...

Today is our halfway mark through Peter's journey abroad.  It has been hard but not nearly as hard as I'd suspected.  And I know, in many ways, I bring the hard times on myself by my outlook.  I'm not, by nature, a patient person and I know that my lack of patience makes things appear more than they can be.  It's something that became apparent to me last Saturday (that's another post for another day) and I'm trying very hard to turn over a new leaf with regards to my patience (or lack thereof) and make it an act of maternal love to try and just keep my cool, no matter what goes down.  It's a struggle, but I am trying to take each day as its own journey and trying to be the best mom I can be- whether Peter is here or not.  With him away, it definitely makes it easier to realize my faults and to want to work on them even harder.

2dpP

Monday, February 25, 2013

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I thought it would be cute to do a play on dpo (days post ovulation) with my dpP (days post Peter).  Okay... maybe it's only funny to me...

Yesterday, after church and breakfast, the kids and I dropped Peter at the local train station, and he began his journey to Amsterdam.  He's traveling in both the Netherlands and Belgium this week and will be home by dinner time on Friday.  We've been preparing the kids for his absence, but honestly, there's no preparing my heart.  Being away from him (even when I've done races or had my surgery at UC) is tough; 15 years hasn't changed a moment of that.   I still love the way it feels to hear him breathing next to me at night or the way our hands fit effortlessly together.  (And, I love the way he handles bath and bedtime because those aren't my strong suits... I mean, just being honest!).

I've not looked forward to this trip, namely because I'm in my 19th week of pregnancy (18w4d today) and the fear of going into labor is high, even though I know that the TAC is the best thing for me and I've been assured labor isn't going to happen for quite some time.  But the nerves... The thoughts... They are still there.  I'm staying pretty zen about the pregnancy but in the back of my mind- and what could be worse than Peter not being here for Michael's birth, especially if our little boy wouldn't survive.  But, things on that front are good, so I'm not contemplating those thoughts.

The kids were actually really good about the whole thing yesterday.  Sarah came and they LOVED that; after dinner and finishing their movie choice, we did the bath and bedtime routine and I was feeling pretty good about myself.  8:40 and everyone was in bed!  Woo Hoo!

And then, Bobby didn't go to bed.  By 9:20, I was in with him, trying to help placate him to sleep but he wanted Daddy and, honestly, when either of them wants either of us, the other just doesnt fit the bill.  I eventually had to go pee (a constant issue these days) and he freaked; it started as a whine that became a cry that became a scream.  Long night short, I didnt get out of their room until 10:40.  I finally fell asleep around 11:15, only to wake up twice to pee and to be up solid at 4am- when Bobby joined me and decided to not sleep again until 6:30am.  Dear God, I know I'm not Daddy but come on!  How could he not be tired????  By 7, I stole a shower in peace and the kids were up and ready to go by 7:40.  Day 1 complete...  Day 2 already in progress.

It was a normal Monday: playgroup in the morning, then lunch.  And then naptime, which I have down to a 5-10 minute science that lasted 30 freaking minutes.  They are asleep now, but it took 30 minutes to make nap happen!  That is crazy!  It never takes that long.  Now my big fear is that they will decide today will be a 1 hour day; and, truly, I will cry.  I am so tired I don't know what to do with myself.  I normally sleep about 10 hours a day right now (this pregnancy is the most tired one I think... I'm always tired and dozing off); Having less than 5 hours of sleep yesterday... I barely know my name.  I am praying for a good nap and then, fingers crossed, a good night tonight.

My MIL is recovering from her double knee surgery and we took the kids on Saturday to visit with her, before Peter left.  Not doing that again!   They loved seeing her but seeing her when she wasnt herself was tough for them.  Maya became reserved and Bobby cried and cried for her when she had to go to therapy :(  It was heartbreaking.  She should be home within 7-10 days and then, once she's up for visiting, they will be over the moon to be with her again.  It will be a while before she's up to playing with them, but I know they'll feel better seeing her at home.

My FIL is coming for dinner tonight.  The kids are super excited!  They've been talking about it all day  Bobby isn't having speech tonight, so it will pretty much be a fun Grandpa and Aunt Sarah filled evening.  Maybe I'll try to steal a run while Aunt Sarah is here, if the weather is decent, to decompress... we shall see...

I have to miss my Bible study tomorrow morning.  I need to stay close to home in case the school calls; Bobby's teacher is out sick and, just in case he doesnt adapt to the sub or if his aide cant make it, I need to be way more local than my study (which is 20 minutes away).  I'm sad about it but at least my house will get somewhat clean.  Making lemonade out of the lemons!

I tried to download Skype and the Google version so that I could videochat with Peter but alas... the security he put on my computer wont allow the downloads.  Bummer...  At this point, we havent even done a regular chat.  I'm assuming he crashed.  His flight left NJ at 5:20pm and he landed at like 1:20am our time (7:20am local time) and went straight to work.  He probably got to his hotel tonight (his time) and passed out... It's no wonder he didnt respond to my email asking if he was up for a chat after I put the kids to nap.  I'm sad, but I'm glad he's safe.

This post is disjointed.... Sorry, it's the sleep depravation. Day 2 without Peter is still hard on my heart, but the kids are doing well.  Whenever they ask, I say that Daddy is working and will be home on Friday.  I am so grateful that they are handling it without too much issue.  Hopefully, after last night's snafoo with Bobby, tonight will be better and he'll be able to go to sleep, they will both get a good night's sleep, and then have a good day at school tomorrow.

Dear Sweet Lord... I just heard kids up from nap.  It's been an hour and ten minutes.  It's time to cry. WAAA!!!!!!!!

18w

Thursday, February 21, 2013

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Well, today little Michael is now gestationally older than his oldest sister, Sophia.  18 weeks... And things look great.  At my appointment with Dr. B. yesterday, my blood pressure is great, my bloodwork has all come back and is 100% normal, the baby is growing and measuring ahead of schedule (19w!), and.... wait for it... my cervix, with TAU, was 4+!!!  He decided he didnt need to get a different view or better measurement because even without really trying, he could see a long, closed cervix.  He even applied fundal pressure and no change- nothing.  Didn't shrink, didn't funnel.  Perfect.  Michael was doing a dance and all over the place, and smiling- boy does this kid love to smile!  He looked great, his heart sounded great, and all in all, it was just a bang up great job of an appointment.  In funny news, since he's more than happy to show off his mentionables, Dr. B. and I agree that if things don't work out for him, there will be a career in film for him... ;) 

I can keep on the every 3 week plan until 32 weeks!  That was music to my ears!!!  I can't believe it!  And then I'll just take it every two weeks until right before the c-section, when we'll talk about weekly.  But still... WOO HOO!!!  I scheduled my appointments through May which was kind of a big deal since I couldn't even think about scheduling beyond 18 weeks before, and now I"m scheduled up to when I'll go every two weeks.... EEK!

But, good stuff.  And I can keep running up to 4 miles at a pop, keep lifting the kiddos for snuggles, and keep up with my housework.  So, other than being utterly exhausted (and eating!!! I have got to reign that in- I'm up 12 pounds so far!), I'm doing really well.

Now, looking forward to my Level II 20 week ultrasound on March 7th with MFM (which is really the last milestone to pass before the third trimester at Bobby and Maya's gestational delivery, since the 20w u/s is when I went into the hospital with them), and trying to survive Peter's trip to Holland and Belgium next week!

17w6d... and yes, I'm still a boy and am VERY proud to show it... Mom doesn't post those pics, thankfully...

I Want To Run Away

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

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Normally, I wouldn't leave the kids to their own devices and blog, but today... today I need to blog more than I need to know what is going on play by play.  I can hear them, and they are happily watching a PBS cartoon, and I need a break... man, do I need a break.

Maya is having diarrhea as a side effect of her antibiotic.  For a kiddo who just mastered wet and dry during waking and asleep periods, this is a hit to her self esteem, which makes me sad just on its face.  But, let's face it: diarrhea is nasty stuff.  The first few times, she was in panties and man... that was pretty awful.  So, we convinced her to do pull ups because of the "sick stinky"; she's having a very hard time knowing she has to go/is going, and by the time she realizes it, it is too late.  So, pull ups it is.  Which make the mess more contained, but still a mess (that's been requiring a shower over her lower half to make sure she's clean) nonetheless.  I emailed her teacher to let them know, and sent her into school with additional clothes and pull ups, just in case.  When we get in the car from school, we have been on the road no more than 20 seconds when she tells me, she's had an accident.  In trying to ascertain whether this was at school or in the car, she is vague.  I finally get out of her that it was at the end of the day (right before pick up) in school.  Why didnt she tell her teacher?  She was embarrassed.  (And, in their defense, it didnt smell; I wouldnt have known if she hadn't told me.)  I'm sad that she was embarrassed and ashamed, because this is truly not her fault, and she was upset when I was cleaning her up, just saying over and over again that she's a big girl, who wears panties, and uses the potty.  It's really heartbreaking.

Of course, then there's nap.  I have time to clean up that bathroom, straighten up the kitchen from the chaos that was lunch, and start some laundry.  And then, just as I sit down, after feeling a bit of pressure and just an all around tired/crampy/exausted feeling, Bobby wakes up.  And he is READY TO GO.  It's what I like to call full on crazy because he was all over the place, into everything, and there wasnt a chance in hell that he was just going to snuggle (which he normally does) or let me read to him or let me do anything with him that didnt require chasing him all over the free world and trying to stop him from hurting himself or destorying something else- all the while trying to keep Maya asleep.

Then, Maya wakes up (after a good nap, no worries there) and when I'm going to get her, all shit breaks loose (and I mean that in a literal sense).  Bobby is quiet and when I find him...  Oh the crap.  What did this kid eat today!!!  The activity must have sped up his digestion and man, it was NASTY.  And everywhere.  Including the half bath (did I mention we have family coming today, who should arrive anytime now, and the idea of scrubbing down a bathroom just wasnt part of my agenda?  Nor was doing another load of laundry because of said disaster?)  So, I get him cleaned up, which means another trip to the shower, all while he is fighting me because he doesnt want a shower.  And his favorite pants are messed up, so this is another tragedy (especially since his other faves are in the dryer, wet from their recent journey through the wash).  I finally get him cleaned up and then... his favorite green underwear? In the wash... His favorite red and white shorts and/or pants?  All in the dryer...  Can someone shoot me now??????  I have a bathroom that is a disaster, and a naked child who is so strong I really cant deal with the outburst of flailing in my present state, and I'm on the verge of tears.  I finally get him dressed (black underwear, red shorts- the last pair) and go to clean the bathroom.  He comes into the bathroom, shorts less.  I chase him down.  Try to get him to put his shorts on (the reason he took them off- he knew they were the last red bottoms he has- becomes clear.)  While I'm grabbing his shorts, he pees... in the hallway... right across the hall from, you guessed it, the bathroom.

I lost it.  I actually fell to the floor and started to cry.  I got the rags and started cleaning up the pee, just crying.

What happened next would make anyone blow their lid, but I have to say the one thought I had suprises even me.

While I'm laying on the floor, scrubbing, he gets on the floor with me.  While I'm telling him we pee in the potty and NOT on the floor-EVER, he's repeating my words verbatim.  When I start to cry because, at this point, I've lost it and the dam breaks free, he begins to mimic crying with me.

With a typical child, I'd go nuts at this point.  I'd probably need to step outside so that DHS wouldnt need to be called.  With Bobby?  I was like "Damn, he's mimicing me.  This is progress."  I didnt say that, of course, but in my head, that thought came, and I stopped crying, got up, and went back to cleaning the poopy bathroom.

I texted Peter that sometimes (like RIGHT NOW) I just want to run away.  And it's true.  Five minutes (well, five miles of running... that would be nice...).  Just five minutes where I'm not saying "No thank you", "Dont do that please", or trying to run interference, would be a blessing.  And the idea of this kind of day PLUS a newborn scares the ever living goodness out of me.

But in all of this, there are moments of clarity that sometimes makes my life, for all it is and isnt, make sense.

I always thought I wanted to adopt special needs children.  I also thought I didnt have the patience for it, but I have the love to give and I wanted to.  It just never worked out.  (And I still dont have the patience.)  But had I never gone through loss- loss of the idea of fertility, loss of pregnancies, loss of babies after birth, loss of a normal pregnancy- I dont think I could take this in moments like these.  I dont know that I'd see the silver lining or find the strength to hug my son and smile and walk away.  Had my life not included the worst case a parent ever finds- losing multiple children- I dont know that I would be able to see the enormous blessing that both Maya and Bobby (and especially Bobby in his worse moments) give to me.

It doesnt always erase the tears or the desire to get away for a moment, but it makes me grateful that I can, in the worst of these days, see rays of sunlight shining down and know that, for whatever it is worth, we're going to make it through.

Rest of February Menu

Sunday, February 17, 2013

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17th- pork tenderolin, risotto, asparagus
18th- crab cakes, garlic mashed potatoes, snap peas
19th- burgers and fries
20th- empanadas, spanish rice, brocolli
21st- tomato soup and tuna sandwiches
22nd- lasagna, salad, garlic bread
23rd- breakfast for dinner

(*Peter is in Holland through the end of the month, so I'm making meals that I know he isn't as huge a fan of)
24th- spagetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad*
25th- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread
26th- veggie fajitas*
27th- ravioli, salad, Italian bread*
28th-pizza

Happy 5th Birthday, Sophia

Saturday, February 16, 2013

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There's supposed to be snow...  Maybe there already is; I havent looked outside.  But it snowed the day Sophia was born, so it seems fitting that, even now, even five years later, there is a blanket on the ground.

My fridge has homemade pierogi and kielbasa from the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which I'll make for dinner tonight (along with some brocolli and garlic english muffins... and cake, of course).  I like to think of the Shrine as Sophie's place.  Even though she never went in her short life, I think that, had she lived, she would have enjoyed it, and not just for the Shrine...  The food, oh the food.  Kielbasa, pierogi, halumki... That would have been our girl's thing.  Whenever we go and, especially when we eat at the cafeteria after Mass, I always think of her in a special way.

Her Mass is at 8am today.  I'm sad because I won't be there, and yet, I feel like that's okay.  Peter is planning to take the kids; his mom will be there too.  We talked about it, but decided that an alternate plan was the right one.  The race?  The 5 miler that Sarah ran the day that Sophia was born?  She and I planned to volunteer as course marshalls (since she is injured and cant run it, and I'm not supposed to top 3-4 miles anymore).  But, time wise, we have to be there from 7am-11am, which means I cant make an 8am Mass and do the marshalling.  When Peter and I spoke, he smiled and said, "Look at it this way; I think she'd like to know that you were there, cheering people on and saying "You can do it" on her birthday."  And, with that, the decision was made.  I dont love that I'm missing her Mass and I wont sign up to do something like this in the future because their Masses are important to me (it's like missing their birthday party, if that make sense), but this year... This year, it feels right.

Last night, after dinner, I baked her birthday cake; I'll make buttercream later today.  It's red velvet cake, in the shape of a heart.  She has that... she always has... My special girl, my oldest daughter.  My wisdome of the world.  Maya has told me that she thinks the cake is "perfect" and that she wants to help me frost it.  I can't wait. :)

***

My dearest Sophia,

Five years ago, you came into the world, my first and oldest daughter.  Perhaps because of the rough last 2 weeks of your pregnancy or just because, your labor was the most difficult of all my labors; I like to think it was your Irish temper coming out and that you wanted to give me a bit of grief :).  You were a back labor and I thought my spine was going to split into.  For months afterwards, I wish it had; instead it was my heart that broke into a million pieces, with only your fingers and those of your twin brother holding me together.  You were born 'sunny side up' with your face facing the heavens, fitting since you were such a ray of sunlight in our lives.  That hasn't changed... It never will.

I can close my eyes and remember the four hours that passed between my water breaking and your birth, just like they were yesterday.  The fear, the pain, the knowing.  I can see the kind doctor's eyes.  I can see your dad, baptizing you in a tiny sink.  I remember your little fingers, resting against your heart and the smile on your face.  Was it because the first face you saw and the first hands you felt on the outside were your dad's? That would have made me smile, too.

I look at your photographs and I can see the beautiful baby you were and the beautiful woman you would have become.  None more beautiful that than the spirit you have now, I know, but I can still see.  I'll always be able to see that, I think.

This song has always reminded me of your little brother, Alexander (you were more of a hard rock girl, my little Evanescence fan), but your dad shared with me a remake that the band did with an alternative lead singer and, for whatever reason, this version resonated with me for you... That perhaps, this year at least, Return to Me is your song.

You rise like a wave in the ocean and you fall gently back to the sea.  Now I want to know how to hold you- return to me...  You shine like the moon over water and you darken the sky when you leave.  Now I want to know how to keep you. Return to me...  Everything I tell you has been spoken, and everything I say was said before, but everything I feel is for the first time, and everything I feel, I feel for you.  I am here calling the wind.  I am here calling your name. I am here calling you back-return to me... I know what it means to be lonely and I know what it means to be free.  Now I want to know how to love you- return to me...  I am here calling the wind. I am here calling your name. I am here calling you back-return to me...  I am here- return to me.

I'll always be here, waiting for your kiss in the rain and snow, for your hug in the breeze and wind, for your voice in the windchimes as they sway day after day.  I'll never stop looking and dreaming and hoping, and I'll never stop knowing that one day, I will feel you in my arms again.

Happy fifth birthday, my sweet girl.  May all the saints and angels in heaven rejoice because you are there with them.

We love you.

17w1d

Friday, February 15, 2013

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Started this morning off with a 2 mile run (okay, jog... I was slow) and it was great!  At first breath, I thought "Damn, it's cold out here", but by the time I got going, it was just awesome and I was SOOO glad to finally be able and out there.  Wow.... 17w1d and walking- running- around... Who'd have thought...

I'm also pretty much a cravings wuss.  I left the house before dinner last night to drive to ShopRite and buy a box of (yes, I'll admit it) Chicken in a Biscuit crackers.  I blame my mother... We used to eat those when we'd go grocery shopping.  Buy a box, and share a handful on the way home.  Reminds me of her every time I see them.  Apparently, reminds Michael too, because I just HAD to have those crackers.  Busted them open before I'd even left the parking lot. (Okay, before I'd even put my seat belt on...)

I had my second P17 shot today.  Virtually pain free. Seriously.  I felt the pinch but that was it.  After the run, I showered, then we had the shot.  Same deal as last week: ice, pinch, shot.  No pain.  No bleeding.  Was up, getting dressed, and in the breakfast routine a few minutes later.  Absoultely shocking at how different this round is going versus the shots with Nicholas and Sophia.

According to a school/XC mom I'm pals with, my belly has 'popped'. For sure.  If I look down, it sticks out quite a bit from the tatas, which is saying something in my case!  I can still see my toes, thank goodness, but I have quite a round belly at this point.  That kind of blows my mind too, to be honest.  Before I 'knew' I was pregnant and I saw movement later on with Bobby and Maya, but being so heavy (combined with the bedrest, I'm sure), there wasnt really a bump, more like wavy lumps.  This time just feels so... normal....

Well, my tea is getting cold, and Miss Maya (who is back to herself!) wants to go pick up PawPaw for his Friday visit, so I'd better go...

17w

Thursday, February 14, 2013

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I'm 17w today.  It still feels strange to actually be walking around and doing things.  Crazy, isnt it?  I may go for a run later, if Peter is feeling better and up to being the parent on duty with the peanuts, especially since Maya is back to herself!

As of 3:45am this morning, Michael became gestationally older than his 2 oldest brothers.  It feels insane to write that, insane to know it's true, and it's a relief all at the same time.  It's hard to pass these milestones, but it is a gift, and I treasure each and every second.

My sciatica is starting to be a pain in the ass (literally, of course), and there is some definite pressure/pulling at times, but all in all, this is a breeze and, honestly, way easier than bedrest.  Being able to carry the kids around does more to hurt my back these days than anything else, and it is one of the biggest blessings.  My fear was always that another pregnancy would make me less of a mother to them in the physical sense; to be able to, for the most part, do things with them, is so wonderful.  I'm still crazy tired and I cant get up and down with the ease I used to, but this is considerably better than it was.

While the cravings have died down for the present (except for rellenos... which my MIL makes and I dont like- not because she doesnt do a great job, she does, but because I dont like them in general... she's making me a batch, which I will have to hide from Peter because he LOVES them...), I do have to have a late night (11pm-midnight) and early morning (3-4am) food run or else I feel like I might both throw up and hurt someone.  So, if you are looking for me while the rest of my house is asleep?  I'm in the kitchen... or the pantry...

But, hey... 17 weeks... and going strong.  In another week, we hit the big 18 week milestone, and then 19 weeks- halfway through this journey with Michael in the womb!

Worse Than We Thought

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Poor Maya.... After keeping her out of school on Tuesday and having her lethargic and on me (although not coughing nearly as much) and her keeping her 102+ fever, I told myself that, if she were still feverish yesterday, I was calling the pediatrician.  Wednesday morning? 102.5.  So, Bobby went to visit his grandparents (much to Maya's dismay- the only thing she wanted to do was visit) and I called the doctor, who said to go ahead and bring her in. 

We love our doctor because they arent the overmedicating, come-in-and-be-seen-for-a-cold type practice.  They are 2 female pediatricians who tell it like it is and promote patient education.  Love them.  When we got there, we were seen right away, and a few minutes later, Dr. Dorothy (whom you may remember as the doctor who hounded the IU on our behalf and worked tirelessly to get Bobby the therapuetic help he needs), and the diagnosis was almost as quick: double ear infection and pneumonia.

Yeah...

Fun times...

So, she's on antibiotics as of yesterday, and thankfully has no fever.  And today?  Today, my monkey came back. :)  She's got her fiery Irish attitude back, has been eating and playing, and finally is only sleeping for her nap during the day (instead of the, I'd easily say 5-6 naps she was taking during her sick week).  She was disappointed she missed her preschool class's Valentine's Day party.  But, because Peter got sick too (great...), she was able to hang out with him at home while I visited Bobby's class for the party (and took in cupcakes). :)

***
I'm on the mend, Bobby is well (PLEASE STAY THAT WAY), Maya is getting better, and poor Peter has a nasty cold. :(  He stayed home from work.  Please pray to the gods of health and wellness that we get rid of the winter sick blues soon.  I am SO done with this!

***
A bit ago, the women who volunteer with my MIL at our old parish's Prayer Shawl Ministry decided to use their yarn ends to knit the smallest of hats, booties, and blankets, to donate to our hospital, for all the uber-preemies who are unable to survive outside the womb.  They made a variety of sizes, for those from around 15-16 weeks, up to the 22-23 weeks.  I've finally had the energy and emotional strength to put together the bereavement boxes and will be taking them on Wednesday.  So far, I have 18 boxes.  With Peter's input, the boxes have the blankets,etc, along with a small photo album and disposable camera, pen and paper to write down thoughts, and a note that includes resources as well as just the understanding that you are not alone.  The boxes are pink or blue, and I wish that there was more I could put in there that would be of comfort and help.  I treasure the boxes we have for Nicholas & Sophia and Alexander; I hope that this, made with so much love and in memory of those three special little saints, will help ease the ache of other parents too.

16w5d

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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Rapidly approaching 17w... seems insane.

On Saturday (16w2d), we tempted fate and bought our first 'big' purchase of this pregnancy: a second-hand BOB running stroller.  It's orange (love it!) and it came with the carseat adapter, so I'll be able to take this little guy out for a run in style this summer.  I always wanted a BOB with the twins, but couldnt afford it, especially when I was so new in running.  But on another positive, this stroller is taller, which makes it much nicer for Peter as well.

Still feeling some pain/stretching/belly aches from time to time... Trying to roll with it.  Trying not to worry.  I mean, really?  If the TAC cant hold this baby in place, then I'm out of options, so worrying about it wont help.  So, trying to stay zen and not worry...

It's strange, this land of pregnancy normal.  As I do laundry, play with the kids, and do my running around like a typical day, heck, as I put on maternity clothes and do this and that, I'm struck by how strange it is that I've never had this.  With 5 kids and 3 pregnancies between them, that I never saw after 16w3d on my feet and living the life of a normal pregnant woman.  It strikes me as insane because this feels so super early and yet insane because it feels like I've been pregnant forever. (I guess back to back to back pregnancies combined with back to back to back adoption attempts, even with time in between that and getting pregnant (almost a year?), will do that to you.

But so far, so good, I suppose...  I'll see Dr. B in a week+ a day, and then the next big appointment is the 20 week ultrasound.  Once that is over, I think I'll see the world in a way different light, since that is where the already-a-rough-pregnancy went downhill with Bobby and Maya, and I ended up in the hospital.  So, we'll see.  And we'll keep hoping for the best!

Call the Witch Doctor!

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Home with a sick Maya-Moo... Poor girl.  She started with a cough on Thursday night which progressed to a fever and constant cough by Friday.  Sick all weekend.  She seemed to be on the mend yesterday but after not eating her breakfast (waffles- her fave) this morning, her temp was back to 101 and so she's home with mama...

She's sleeping at present and, even sick, she's my sweet little angel.
Sick, but still gorgeous

So, I've got African Peanut and Yam Stew in the crockpot, laundry going, and the windows cracked (in the hopes that the sickness will leave this house once and for all!).  I'm so done with being sick.  And, of course, I'm missing class #2 of my Bible study, which I think is God's sense of humor at work, since I bothered to register for a class that is during the school day.  Of course!  Sick kid! ;)  (I'll write about the book we're reading later because it's actually a great read, regardless of your spiritual tradition.)

I was at my wits end yesterday.  Maya's cough was nonstop. No one has been sleeping well.  Bobby is the only non-sick one in the house (Peter has a runny nose now, and I am all stopped up/coughing/fever yesterday), so I was really D-O-N-E.  I put out a call for help, since the twins are too young for OTC cough medicines.  We arent normally the medicating type (I can actually count the number of times, together, the kids have had Tylenol or Advil for a fever, etc) and we dont take them to the pediatrician unless it looks like they are sick-beyond-riding-it-out-sick.  So I asked some fellow 'crunchy' moms if they had any home remedies for the littlest of sicklings.

Why I didn't call on Sarah (different, non- Aunt Sarah, Sarah), a close friend and our local herbalist, is beyond me.  Within seconds of my post in the FB group we are both members of, she had texted that she'd just made a horehound expectorant and suppressant and would I like her to bottle up some for Casa Haytko.  Sweet Sunshine in the Morning!!!  While Bobby and Peter were at speech last night, Maya (who seemed better) and I dropped by her house a half mile away and picked up a bottle of liquid gold I tell you.  She also tossed in some slippery elm lozenges in case sore throats got out of hand.  I gave Maya a quarter teaspoon of the elixer a few minutes later followed by some water (a note from the patient: she said it was "nasty" but that "it would make [her] feel better"... cute).  And an amazing thing happened... her cough quieted!  Hallelujiah!  She actually slept through the night (which is the first for a few nights) without coughing.  She's back to sleeping, relatively peacefully, now, which I'm grateful for.  Like her dad, she tends to mend best when she's sleeping it off.

As a back up this morning, I made some of what Maya calls (because of the smell/taste) "Grandpa's Special Orange Juice" (a home remedy Peter's dad used to make him when he was sick- equal parts gin, lemon juice, and honey) as a back-up and, hopefully, the sunshine and warm-for-February weather is going to help clean this house (with some bleach and vinegar- not mixed together!!!) of whatever home-from-preschool illness has us by the cajones!

(If you are local and want to consult with a WONDERFUL herbalist, Sarah does keep a limited schedule because she's a homeschooling, gardening, housewifing mama first, but she will accept new clients.  And she's awesome- not just because she's a dear pal, but because she is great at what she does.)

Menu for the week...

Monday, February 11, 2013

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I was suprised by how many people emailed me about menu items, so I thought I'd post for February, what we are doing.  So, for this week...
11th: falafel salad, rolls
12th: African peanut and yam soup, rolls
13th: (Ash Wednesday, this is our tradition): black bean soup with onions and rice
14th: spanokopita, Greek salad
15th: salmon on potato cakes (with spicy Gk yogurt sauce), zucchini, carrots
16th: (Sophia's birthday) pierogi and kielbasa (homemade from the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa!), brocolli, garlic english muffins, birthday cake :)

The New Normal

Sunday, February 10, 2013

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**NOTE: Pregnancy Mentioned"

Today marks 16w3d pregnant.  This was, for all my previous pregnancies combined, the last day of normal.

With Nicholas and Sophia, I was on bedrest and leaving the hospital after Nicholas had died, hoping that I'd carry Sophia long enough for her to have a chance.  With Bobby and Maya, I'd already been on bedrest for 5 weeks and was just hoping to hit 24 weeks and a chance...

With Alexander, this was the beginning of the end.  16w3d was a night I had prenatal yoga... a night that I slipped and landed, thankfully, on my yoga mat instead of the sidewalk... a night that I started spotting and ended up in L&D already 2cm dilated.  It was the last day of normal pregnancy in my entire life of prengnacy.

And now?  Now I'm still running and playing and doing all the things I did (albeit slower) that I did before Michael came on board.  It seems insane.  At times, I can't even believe it.  I have a wardrobe of maternity clothes- not just PJs and yoga pants- that I'm actually wearing.  I'm out in public.  I'm doing things.  And, for the most part, I'm not afraid.

There are times, no doubt, but for the most part, I'm sipping my pregnancy tea, writing in Michael's journal, and thinking positive thoughts.

I'm not sure where this all comes from?  This zen state, this ability to believe.  After our journey, I didnt think I'd ever be at a place where the belief in a spontaneous pregnancy and a full term pregnancy could be part of my story.  And yet... At least half of it is, with the other half on the road to being seen.

So for now, it seems like this place is the new normal.  I pray I'm right.

***

(On another note, can you believe Bobby and Maya are 3 years and 5 months old?  In just one more little month, my peanuts will be a full three and a half!)

16w1d

Friday, February 8, 2013

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First P17 shot of this pregnancy delivered smack in the behind this morning... 1 down, 19 to go.  With Bobby and Maya I got through (mostly) 3 bottles; I'm looking forward to using all 5 of the bottles (but not nearly half of the syringes... How many 3mm needles does a girl need- JEEZ!!!)

(On a funny note, our alcohol wipes are called BD Alcohol Wipes... How 5 year oldish is it of me to refer to them as "Boody" Alcohol Wipes.... Yeah, I know)

In all fairness, the shot didnt hurt nearly as much as they have in the past.  Maybe it's because the muscle-to-fat ratio is much less since I lost so much weight, maybe it was the pre-shot shower that loosened all my muscles up... I dont know.  It still burned like someone injecting fire into your butt, but the muscle pain, inability to walk, 'charlie-horse' sensation didn't happen (and we didnt use post-shot heat).  Ice to bum, shot, done.  I got up right afterwards, finished getting dressed, and promptly carried both kids from their bedroom to the living room.  And now? About an hour later?  All is well.  Still a slight tingling, burning feeling at the injection site, but no big deal.  What a difference!

From Hero to Zero...and Back

Thursday, February 7, 2013

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I've learned the fastest way to go from Super Mom to Sucky Mom in about 2.2 seconds... and then, back Cloud 9.  Never a dull moment, I tell you.  Never a dull moment.

I've been feeling kind of superhero-ish today.  After making pancakes (from scratch... always from scratch... not to brag (okay, I'm bragging) but the kids beg for my pancakes and waffles...) for breakfast, getting the kids squared away and kissed, and sending my husband off with a smile and smooch, I cleaned up, showered, and took stock of groceries for the rest of the week.  I can't remember which blogger I've stolen the idea from, but at the January, I wrote out a menu for the entire month of February, with the goal of, at least 90% of the time, working with that.  I wanted to save money by not buying ingredients I may already have and by also working within the same ingredient framework for the week, and reading her tales (I cant remember who, UGH!!!), I thought I'd give this a try.  So far, so good.  I mean, it's only the 7th, but hey!  So, I decided to take stock of the things needed for the 7th-10th, for the following meals:
Tonight: veggie wraps with veggie soup
Tomorrow: chili with cornbread
Saturday: chicken parm with pasta, garlic bread, and salad
Sunday: crabcakes benedict with asparagus

I scope out the freezer, cabinets, and pantry, and make the list of the items I'm still in need of.  I start making the vegetable soup before I even leave (since I have 90% of those ingredients on hand, and the other 10% can be added when I get back from the store), and off I go!  Full of energy, knowing I have time to get all this done and then some before I need to leave at 11:30 to pick up the kids from preschool.

Groceries, check (and, to the 70+ year old woman who was smoking in her car AND had parked in the "Expectant Mother" parking spot- not cool.  On so many counts) and back home, where everything is unloaded, put away, remaining ingredients added to crockpot, ingredients for brownies put on the counter, and done.  I still have time, so I even make the chicken parm (2 batches!) and still them in the back freezer, which I will be grateful for come Saturday (and the next time chicken parm is on the menu).

Got the kitchen cleaned and squared away, and off to get the kids, where I'm able to relax with a great book (more on that in another post) and even chat with our former priest, Fr. B., whom our family adores as he was leaving from a visit to the school (our school is a combination of our parish, along with our old parish and the parish in the next town).  We had a nice little chat, before I was able to talk with Bobby's BSC and PCA (a good day! yay!) and then I collected the peanuts for our 5 minute ride home and "how was school" conversation.

All good! Lunch- success!  Potty and clean up- perfection!  Nap prep...

Nap prep...

Nap prep... This is where it started to go downhill.  When I asked who wanted to pray, Bobby chimed in and began praying the Our Father, in the most adorable way that he does.  Which is great...

Except for Maya.  Who is demanding, no DEMANDING, that he pray the Hail Mary instead.  (Normally, the Hail Mary is the pre-nap prayer; at bedtime, the kids choose one of 2 icons, either Jesus or Mary, and the holder of the coordinating icon says an Our Father or Hail Mary).  He's just going about his business, praying, oblivious to her shaningans, but I can't take it and suddenly Zen Mama becomes SHUTTHEHELLUPMAMA and I tell her that a) if she doesnt knock it off she wont get a magnet for 'no whining' (something we're working on) and that b) being disprespectful during prayer time is worse than whining.  She stops, he finishes praying, and she's sobbing.  I wasn't mean to her, but she HATES being told no.  (And, honestly, I think she was crying because she thinks she's not getting a magnet...The joys of bribery).  So I ask what's wrong, and she says she's not whining and wants her magnet (see- told you), and that we HAVE to pray the Hail Mary before nap.  So, I ask if she wants to pray: no.  Does she want me to pray: yes.

I start praying and, midway through, BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And crying.

Bobby was (I can only guess, since my back was to him) climbing over the side of his loft bed, missed a step, and crashed to the floor.  I run over and he's on his back, arm twisted up (he saved his bear- almost broke his arm, but thank God that his lovey bear didnt hit the floor), crying.  I pick him up, soothe him, finish the prayer (Maya was looking at me, saying "Pray for us sinners?"), and start to sing.  After checking his arm (not broken, thank goodness), I snuggle him and continue singing, when he looks up: "I love you, Mama."

Okay, so maybe I'm not the biggest loser in the world because your sister sobbed during prayertime and then you nearly concuss yourself climbing from your bed... 

Of course, now they are both napping; my grocery list for Feb 11-15 is already vetted and ready to go; and I'm ready to go relax on the couch with my book.  Maybe I'm back to superhero status afterall...

16w

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Well... it is official... Baby Michael is now gestationally older than his oldest brother, Nicholas.  (I wrote about this yesterday).  16 weeks (4 months) down, and 22 weeks to go! Tomorrow, I'll start P17 shots (was supposed to start today but since Peter will be gone for work in a few weeks, we've opted to do them on the day after the start of each week, which is no big deal, so Friday mornings will be shot day...) for the next 20 weeks.  My butt will be sore, but hopefully this will keep any preterm labor at bay!

And, of course, here's the belly picture. :)

16w
I love how you can see the toothpaste marks on the bathroom glass... Classy!

All in all, doing well.  Symptoms have pretty much faded, save TIREDNESS and ITCHINESS.  (And yes, both of those deserve shouty caps because they are both pretty severe).  There is definitely a new weight to my belly, too, since sleeping either requires an extra pillow to buffer my legs and belly (if I'm in my bed) or sleeping on the couch.

Thankfully, I'm not keeping Chef Boyardee in business anymore (although I still get a taste from time to time) and I'm not spending my days making countless PB&Js.  But when a craving hits, it's kind of monsterish... Sort of like, if Maya could drive, I'd send her to the store (read, my Tuesday post-Bible study craving of a steak soft taco from Taco Bell... I know, I know- Don't say it.)

But, here we are.  42% of the way through this pregnancy, still feeling pretty good, still running and doing yoga and lifting (gulp, almost 65 combined pounds of kids).  So, 16 weeks feels pretty good.  Some days, when I've very active, I have some uncomfortable feelings in my lower belly, but no signs of preterm labor, spotting, or anything like that.  Still staying closely wrapped in prayer, since this is when my IC tends to rear its ugly head, and trying to keep the mindset that Dr. Haney preaches: my cervix will NOT fail this time.  So, here's to hoping that February ends and March starts with more milestones to come!

Next big things: 
18w appt with Dr B: 2/20
20w anatomy scan: 3/7
24w: viability: 4/3

The Last Day That Was

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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**NOTE: Pregnancy mentioned**

Today, I am 15w6d pregnant with Michael.  I can see what he looks like whenever I glance at the photos on the wall or my dresser, when I look at Nicholas.  Perhaps not the features of his face, since all of the children look fairly different from each other, but his size, the way his body is proportioned, those things.  This was the end... This was the last day that I held Nicholas on the inside, the last day that he lived in the womb and out of it, the day that life changed forever.

15w6d seems so early in this pregnancy yet when I look back on Nicholas and Sophia, it seemed like forever.  Was it the scewed time frame that years and years and years of infertility gave?  Was it because of the injections and the ultrasounds and the constant monitoring of the first two weeks of the cycle, when it wasn't just my body or even just Peter and I, but included a medical team?  Was it because the two week wait in between IUI and pregnancy blood test seemed like F-O-R-E-V-E-R?  I don't know, but back then 15w6d seems like my pregnancy was long and getting longer (in a good way).

I've wondered if it was the surprise factor in Michael's conception.  I was so busy leading up to the marathon that I knew when I was due to ovulate but it was just a day on the calendar and, frankly, Peter and I didn't plan to have (or not have) sex around O day, so it wasn't a notation in my mind.  We'd been intimate in the past around ovulation and, two weeks later, my period came.  What would make this one different?  But I knew earlier (or at least at the same time) as my other pregnancies.  I took a HPT the day before my period was due, with the blood test the day it was due.  So, time wise, I've known from the start, just as with everyone else, and yet... 15w6d seems so early.  So new.  So young in this journey.

I've blogged so much about the night Nicholas was born, including in his 5th birthday post, that I wont write the details out again.  Writing them doesnt numb them in my memory and I only need close my eyes to see it like a movie, playing out in my head in real time.  But was he really born this early?  This soon?  Was that part of normal/textbook pregnancy really gone in what amounts to a whisper of time?  I'll complete what's considered 4 months of pregnancy tomorrow and begin the 5th month- for a 38 week pregnancy timeline, that's 42%... Less than half.  Even if I thought I'd have a 36 ot 37 week pregnancy with Nicholas and Sophia, it's still not quite half.  And yet, back then... Back then, it wasn't so soon... It wasn't so early...

It wasn't too soon for Nicholas to try to breathe...  To try to reach out and try to cry... To have an APGAR score... To try to live.

And yet, it was.  It was far too early for his lungs to suck in air, for his body to even have the basic ability to cry.  To score more than a small little 2 on the APGAR scale... Far, far too early for him to survive.  Knowing that, especially now, brings it home all the more.  We look at 24 weeks as this great line in the sand and, from a medical point of view, that special viability day for those of us who struggle to hit that milestone, is a huge deal.  They can at least do something.  There is at least a 50/50 shot.  But who wants to be the 1 in 2 that doesn't bring their child home?  Who wants their child to be the 1 in 2 that doesn't make it?  And, if you're on the other side of the coin, who wants their child to suffer as they struggle for each breath in the mechanical womb of the NICU?  And, we all know... We know the 25 and 26 and 27 and 28 weekers who, even now, aren't able to survive.  Medical technology has bought us so much time and has given us so much hope, and so many chances, but it isn't perfect.  It can't save everyone.

But to know, in real time, in real memory, what life for Michael would be like, on the outside, today... I shudder.  Thinking of Nicholas's birth and life, while sad in its outcome, is still a happy memory... It's the moment my son entered the world, it's the culmination of our wants and love for him.  It's having him hold my finger and kick against my hand, of being able to kiss him and hold him and tell him how much I love him.  These are beautiful, wonderful memories.  I look at his image, forever stilled in the few photographs we have, and I can't help but smile.  He is my son: perfect and wonderful, a saint who was too brave for this world to bear.  But...

But...

But...

There's the dark side, the other side, the side that brings more pain than is physically imaginable.  The side that wonders how his body struggled and ached as he begged to breathe...  The side that wonders if each pulse of his hand was his tiny voice screaming out, "Mama, help me!!!"... The side that wonders if each kick of his legs was a struggle against the smothering, strangling presence of air crushing his immature lungs.  Those thoughts, that knowledge of what life could- would- be like for Michael if he were born today...  Those thoughts of how his life, if he lived at all outside the womb, would be so mercifully short and so painfully long for him...  I cringe.  I ache.  I beg and plead for a different outcome... For July... For his safety and his health and for a life of as good as can be, in this world, with his father and his big sister and his big brother and I... In this world, with his oldest brother and oldest sister, and older brother, watching over him.

As Sarah said in her letter to Nicholas, I don't mourn Nicholas's life.  Without it, there wouldn't be this life, there wouldnt be Bobby and Maya (at least not as they are) and there wouldnt be a baby Michael.  Life wouldnt be this.  Each of us has a time on earth and to mourn the life we had is, in my opinion, to diminish it... To try and make it our own...  I mourn not having him here with me- I always will ache to hold my children who have died and to watch them grow in this world- but I love who they were here, and who they are now, in an ethereal realm far beyond and yet so close.  Sometimes I mourn the innocence of not knowing; I'm grateful, mind you, for all that we've learned on the journey, for all we've met, for all we've been helped by and that we've helped... But, no mother should know what her not-quite-16 week old son feels like in her hands... Because he should still be growing inside. 

I know the next few weeks, especially in the time line of Nicholas and Sophia's pregnancy and with their birthdays, will be tough... I know the milestones for February- 15w6d, 17w, 18w- are going to be some of the harder days to come through.  Having a new baby become gestationally older than their older siblings is something in pregnancy that is a struggle, for me at least.  I remember when Alexander was "older" than Nicholas, and when Bobby and Maya surpassed all of them gestationally.  It was tough- happy, but tough.  When I see 20w5d (in March, which is when I went into the hospital with Bobby and Maya) and 27w5d (last day of April, when Bobby and Maya were born), I know those will be interesting, from an emotional standpoint.  And May through July?  I can't even imagine being pregnant then... I've never known the third trimester.

But today... Today is another day for remembering Nicholas and the joy... the pain is there, but the joy is stronger.  Remembering, and prayng that he will watch over little Michael as he crosses this threshold and grows stronger each day.

Nicholas's 5th Birthday Cake - Feb 1, 2013

15w5d

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

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This post has been written over several weeks.  I started writing it on 1/21, at 13w4d.  I finished it on 2/5 at 15w5d.

***

On Wednesday, January 16th, I had the first part of my sequential screen done, which included an ultrasound of our (almost) 13 week baby and some bloodwork that I had done at a local lab.  (This is a 2 part screen, where the bloodwork is done weeks apart).

On Monday, Jan 21st (MLK Day), I received a call from a genetic counselor.  After telling me that my risk for Trisomy 18 was 1 in 2100 (great for my age), she dropped the bomb.  For my age, an appropriate risk for Down Syndrome would be about 1 in 360 (about 1 in 700 babies have DS); my result was 1 in 25.  She recommended an amniocentisis (which I declined because of the risk to the baby) because I'm too far to schedule a CVS (which I also would have declined for the same reason; I dont do invasive prenatal testing).  She was quite suprised that we wouldnt do the tests; I explained that since abortion would never be an option, there was really no reason for me to have tests that would put my baby at risk.  Either the baby has DS or he/she doesnt.  Sort of like they have brown eyes or they dont.  I love him or her; the rest of it is already icing on my miraculous cake.  She then told me about a relatively new maternal blood test, which seeks out fetal DNA that is in the mother's blood and would have the markers for DS if they were present.  It's new so it isn't widely used, but it is considered 99% accurate and has no negative impact on the baby.  It is offered to women under 35 who have an elevated risk of DS and no previous history of a baby with DS.  Which is me.  She told me to call Dr. B. (whom she'd already spoken with) and that I'd most likely have to consent to genetic counseling before I'd be given the test.

I called Dr. B. and he had left word with his staff that I'd be calling.  (He knows me so well.)  The paperwork was already waiting for the noninvasive prenatal testing.  This test is 98.6%; the false positive rate is 0.2%.  So, having a 4% chance of the baby having Downs, this test, for us, is the best chance to find out if that 4% is really almost 99%.  (For comparison, the Sequential detects about 92% of babies with DS, with a 4% false positive rate.)

Monday, I spent the afternoon going between just praying that everything is as it should be (be that the baby has DS or is normal) and that we will be the best parents no matter what and researching Down Syndrome.  Because, while I have a basic understanding, I dont have a first person knowledge.  I was shocked to learn that approximately 92-95% of pregnanices where the child has DS are aborted.  Reading those numbers made me sick.  I love my baby already.  Do I want him or her to be healthy?  Of course; I want them to have a life without whatever struggles I can save them from. But would I kill them because they are different?  Because my life will be different from expectation?  I clicked out of the site because I just couldn't handle reading the rest.

Dr. B. is a dream, really.  Love the man.  He called me on Thursday morning, as I sat waiting for Bobby and Maya in the pick up line.  In his typical, laid back way, he told me not to worry.  Yes, 4%was statistically higher than expected for my age, but it wasn't terrible.  And, he'd reviewed the ultrasound images and said they looked great; while it's not exact, he would have expected to see something and he didn't.  So, have the additional blood test, and it will give us the best answer, and we'll go from there.  But to try not to worry.  And not to bother with the second part of the Sequential.

Friday afternoon, the 25th, my MIL came over and I left for the hospital, picking up Peter on the way.  Initially, I was a little ticked.  I walked into the testing center and they said they didn't have the prescription.  Since Dr. B's office closes at 2pm, I was really a bit irritated but they had the magic number (it was 2:30) and caught a nurse who was still there, getting another copy of the order.  Yay.  So then they give me a list of Quest labs... Um, yeah- Quest doesnt do this test.  (Quest is normally where I have bloodwork done).  But we're told to sit and someone would be with us.  Peter grumbled, and I agreed, that if I drove 45 minutes to pick up a lab slip to take to a lab near my house- when this could have been done online-, fire might shoot out our ears.

But things worked out.  The person who reviewed the slip with us(and had to rewrite it for the hosptial because Quest doesnt do it) knows me and our history.  And, prayers answered, offered to check the computer for the results earlier than we were told they'd be released.  When I saw Dr B for my 15w appointment, he too offered to bother the lab early.  Of course, as of Nicholas's birthday, the lab still didn't have the results...  I'm supposed to call in on the 5th and, if they still aren't back, then the best guess is that they'd be in by the 8th.  The waiting isn't agonizing.  I'm sure part of it is because the results don't change anything.  I'm still carrying a beautiful baby boy, whether the test says that special boy has Down's or doesn't.  (On a positive health note, the AFP screen (which I said yes too, since the part 2 of the sequential is pretty pointless) came back negative for open neural tube defects and my 15w sugars-after-eating (since I had gestational diabetes very early with Bobby and Maya, we opted to do a sugar test now and, if it was high, do a week of monitoring to determine if I needed to start intervention early) test came back great, so I'm done with sugar testing until 26w).

Today, the results were finally in the computer: completely normal.  Michael's DNA does not show the triple chromosome marker of Down syndrome.

I'm flooded with relief.  While I can say with honesty that, had the results been different, my love would not be changed and I would still be just as excited to welcome our son into the world, having just been further prepared for him by his in-the-womb diagnosis, there is still a relief that to know, for what the tests can show and predict, that he is a typical, growing baby.  A healthy baby.  I cant tell what the world will hold for him but, at least at this stage, it's all looking typical.

I'm about to snuggle Bobby some more (love these post-nap snuggles!) and light a candle in thanksgiving.  Praise God for all my kids, and for their health and well being.

15w4d

Monday, February 4, 2013

1 comments
Halfway through this week... approaching 15w6d when Nicholas was born.  Still feeling okay, for the most part.  There are emotional moments but, suprisingly, far fewer than I imagined when I first found out I was pregnant and when I first realized just how close this pregnancy would mimic Nicholas and Sophia's timeline (on Nick's birthday, I was 15w1d, so I'm 5 days "off" this time).

From a symptoms standpoint, I'm still tired (all the time), still waking up way too early and unable to go back to bed (think I'd better just start suiting up in my cold weather gear and going out since I'm not going back to bed anyway!), and still having interesting food cravings (yes, Chef Boyardee is still in the cupboards, as is crunchy PB and apricot preserves!).  But, I'm eating fine, weight gain is under good control, drinking water, and able, for the most part, to keep up with the monkeys during the day.  But once Peter comes home or, on Tuesdays, when Sarah visits, I am so wiped out that it is a struggle to just make dinner and eat.  I am just soooo tired.  That, I think, is the strangest sensation; I'm just tired ALL.THE.TIME.  Oh, and I'm itchy!  My back itches constantly!!!  You'd think a massive swarm of mosquitos bit me!  My belly (and the few new stretchmarks), I can understand, but my upper back?  What gives, Pregnancy Fairy?

I feel Michael move a bit each day; he tends to hang out on the right side, which is considerably more round than my left side (it's funny looking actually).  

Tomorrow, I begin a Bible study on Tuesday mornings until May, and in March, I'll start assistant coaching track and teaching prenatal yoga (for the school district) until May as well.  There's a part of me that feels so insane to be making plans.  I've also almost-bought (I'm buying it Saturday) our first baby purchase: a (secondhand) BOB running stroller with carseat adapter.  So, I suppose, I'm feeling confident... confident enough that I'll have a running buddy this summer! It was a little freaky agreeing to purchase it, but at the same time... It came across a listserv I'm on and the price was amazing; I just couldnt help it... 

From a testing standpoint: AFP came back negative for open neural tube defects and my post-food sugar test came back completely normal, so I dont have to consider additional sugar testing (1 hour glucose challenge) until my 26 week appointment.  Woo Hoo!!  So far, so great from a medical standpoint!  Next OB appointment: 2/20 (18 week appointment)

With Love, Aunt Sarah (year 5)

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Each year, Aunt Sarah (my best friend and, to Bobby and Maya- and all the kiddos- the bestest auntie ever) writes a birthday letter to the kids.  She sweetly allows me to share her words and thoughts here, for Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander's special days).  Previous letters can be found in the archives.


Dear Nicholas,

Five years!! How active you would be and how you would run me ragged chasing after you! I can never reconcile wanting you here with me while knowing that my blessed life with your siblings would not exist, so instead of trying to wrap my head around it, I just choose to be thankful that I am your Aunt. My hurt at you leaving us prematurely has changed to a dull ache. Because of that, I view things differently and try to live each day fully and not pass up on opportunities.

Last night at your birthday dinner, Uita said the Haytko family never ate pork chops with rice and beans until she was part of the family. Your special meal is very characteristic of your daddy's heritage and foods of his youth. It could be said that this year you decided to embrace your Irish heritage with your selection of green cake for dessert. Or maybe you just wanted me to stop complaining that there are no green foods in your meal. Either way, I smile about it, and I know you are smiling about it too. And that makes me happy.

Love you and miss you,
Aunt Sarah

Happy 5th Birthday, Nicholas

Friday, February 1, 2013

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It doesn't seem like five years have passed... Not to me.  Surely, it wasn't 5 years ago that I laid down for that final nap with my sweet twins bouncing around on the inside... that I succumbed to a craving and went to the local market to pick up pork chops... that I cooked dinner and then, while it was still on the stove, went to lay on the couch with strange stomach cramps.  There's no way that 5 years have gone by since my sweet, first born son came into this world, into my hands, with his little feet kicking and his tiny fingers grasping, with his head moving from side to side as if asking What is this place?.  5 years... 18,826 days... 43,824 hours... 2,629,440 minutes.  It seems like such a long time, and yet...  It's slightly more than a sixth of my life spent wondering and missing, hoping and loving, here and yet far.

If I close my eyes, I can see the night of February 1, 2008; I can hear the sounds and smell the smells from the kitchen.  I can tell you that Modern Marvels was on, and I can, even now, hear that tell tale theme.  I wore maternity jeans and a grey, Motherhood Maternity shirt.  They cut that shirt off of me; I wish that I still had it, still had that reminder of Nicholas against me, keeping warm.  I can close my eyes and see the vivid, lime green of the downstairs bathroom at our old house, the gentle blue eyes of the Chief of the EMTs as he promised he would keep my baby safe, wrapping him in a towel as he called out for a space blanket.  I can recall the look of horror, of sadness, of pain, and then of amazement when Nicholas grabbed his finger, of Peter; in our minds- in all our minds: us, the EMTs, the fire and police- we had to know that it was too soon, that this tiny baby wouldn't survive regardless of what we did.  But it didnt matter.  In that moment, Nicholas was the patient they all strove to save.  He was this sacred piece of all of us that we had to work, beyond time and space and reason, to keep here with us. I will be forever grateful for that...

The chaplain with sloping laugh lines around his kind eyes who prayed with me, who baptized a baby who fit in the palm of his hand... an EMT who used a tube no bigger that a straw to wave oxygen beneath the tiny nostrils that couldnt full open to breathe and lungs that had no idea how to process air, who kept that wee one warm in his strong arms, and talked to the little boy, telling him that he was really the strong one among us.

I remember the snow turning to rain... The young fireman with the even younger face who stood over my stretcher as they loaded me into the helicopter and tried to use his hat and his hands to shield me from the precipitation.  I'll remember his tears and the choked expression on his face.  Even now I wonder if he'd ever seen death-in-waiting before.  Did he know, when the rest of us couldnt see, that Nicholas wouldnt make it into the hospital alive?  Did he know and he just couldnt bear the thought?

And then, those last moments, as we touched down at the Children's Hospital, the final nod of the flight paramedic telling me that yes, Nicholas was still alive, as he raced from the open back of the chopper into the sanitary, white walled building... The nurses who tried to get me to the emergency room as soon as possible... The pediatricians who tried to stop my bleeding and labor to keep Sophia inside a few more moments...hours... days.  The noise and then, the silence.

The silence when that same flight paramedic stood over me and looked down; I saw him from upside down, but his tears were falling and I knew.  His shaking head... the kiss on my forehead... the blood rushing into my ears and the nothingness.  Did I scream?  Were my sobs loud enough that people outside could hear?

I still have the hospital blanket that they wrapped Nicholas in, the blanket that covered his tiny little body when Peter brought him over to me and I was able to kiss his sweet little head again.  I remember watching Peter sleep, holding Nicholas on his chest like an extension of himself.  I remember singing to him and telling him how sorry I was that I'd failed him, how he was such a brave big brother for leaving Sophia behind to gestate for a bit longer, how I'd never forget him and that I'd love him forever.  The three nights in the hospital were a blur but the saying goodbye... The last time I counted his fingers and toes, kissed the top of his bald little head, smelled the scent of boy and baby, hugged him close to me and never wanted to let go- was that five years ago?  Was it really that long since I last had him in my arms and physically near me? 

How has the sun risen and the moon circled the earth for almost 19,000 days?  How can it be that I havent seen him again but the pictures are as fresh in my mind as if I had snapshots of every second of our time together? 

This day, five years later, is much like that one in that it hasn't worked out as I'd expected.  This year was the first that we'd have the Masses for each of the children said at our new parish.  When I registered, the lady gave me a little slip of paper with the 3 dates on it and wrote "8:30" for the Mass time. I was busy last weekend and during the week, so I didnt bother to check the bulletin to confirm the time for Mass today. This morning, Peter and I were up early and spent some time together, then we got the kids up and showered, taking our time before, finally, we had nothing left to do and left early to make our 8:30 Mass, only to get to the chapel at the end of the Liturgy of the Eucharist... because Mass started at 8am.

I felt sick.  Literally, I wanted to puke.  I was heartbroken, on the verge of tears, and pissed off, all at the same time.  All I could think of was how this was the ONE BIG THING, the only sacred, real thing, that we could do for Nicholas (and for Sophia and Alexander on their days), and how it was ruined.  How dare the woman who registering for the Masses- and who clearly had been registering for a billion years- write the wrong time!!!!  How dare I not double check the times!!!!  Why didnt I bother to check the time in the bulletin I'd picked up after Sunday Mass!!! STUPID STUPID STUPID.  I was crying and upset to the point that I was practically dragging Maya down the stairs, which was getting her more upset since she was already upset that we weren't going into the chapel. Peter told me to wait, so he and Bobby could catch up, and together, still upset, we left the church. I was still upset when we went for breakfast (our tradition) and was only feeling slightly better when we headed out to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, to see the candle for N, S, and A, (and Robert), and pray. 

In the car, I was trying to stop my fuming and I checked my email on my phone.  There was one from a friend of mine, who also happens to go to our parish and her kids go to the parish school. 
I had to write but dont have the words.  I dropped off the kids today...and saw the 4 of you coming out of Mass.  I just wanted to jump out of the car and give you a big hug.  You have no idea how much you have had an impact on me as a mother...I hugged [son] a little tighter as he got out of the car.  I dont believe things happen by chance.  I believe God puts people in places and you were sent over to St. Stan's to remind us all of what is truly important.  Happy birthday to your sweet little boy.

And, in an instant, everything came into clear focus.  The Sacrifice of the Mass will go on, regardless of whether or not we are there.  Nicholas's memory was honored, he was the intention and on the minds of the packed chapel, and the prayers for the world were said.  The Liturgies of the Word and Eucharist were proclaimed.  Our presence in the building wasnt important in the grand scheme, but our presence was still in play.  Even months ago, when I was registering, the wheels were set in motion so that on this day, we would be free and running "early" to Mass... that we would be seen without knowing it by a friend... that all these things would come to pass, and the day would be as it should be.

For the last week, Bobby has told me over and over (and over) again that I had to make a green cake.  "Green Birthday Cake, Mama."  "Nick Birthday- Green Cake".  "Birthday Cake, Friday, Green."  I've heard this time and time again, and all I could think about was why a green cake???  How am I supposed to pull that off.  I finally went to the store and poured over cake pans before coming away with a shamrock.  A shamrock?  It's not St. Patrick's Day- it's February 1st!  But whatever.  I had food coloring, so I decided I'd dye my frosting and voila! Green cake.

After I baked and iced it, I was cleaning up and looking out the kitchen window over the sink.  Was it some sort of joke?  I always say the kids are mostly Irish- was this Nicholas's way of getting in on the fun?

And then it hit me.

Nicholas was born on Feb 1st.  The feast of St. Brigid, patroness of midwives, women in labor, babies being born, and newborns.  When he was born, we entrusted him to her, knowing that she would help carry him to see God face to face.  St. Brigid... patron saint of Ireland... a green cake.  Today is also Ordinary Time, and the vestments and altars would be in, you guessed it, green.  Perhaps it wasnt a joke at all, simply a boy older than time telling his mom in a simple way and through his younger brother as messenger, I'm okay. 

He's okay.  I know it.  My heart still aches, but I'm at peace because he is, in every way, okay.

***
Dear Sweet Nicholas,

It's your fifth birthday.  What a big boy you'd be.  In my mind, you look like your dad in so many ways and I bet you'd be tall.  Bobby is in a size bigger than his age, and I think you'd be the same, just a bit more lanky... Perhaps Uita would be doing a lot of inseam work on your pants so they'd fit in all the right places!  I wonder if you'd love Kindergarten, the way that Bobby and Maya love preschool... I bet you would.  I think, like your dad though you'd be, you'd have my mischevious streak :)  But you'd always want to set a good example, and you'd take special care to look after all your younger siblings.

Today was an interesting day, not at all how I'd planned or thought it would be, but I bet you're laughing with the angels and saints, shaking your head and thinking how Mama will never learn.  You're right. :)  I'm hardheaded.  Keep trying, though.  Knowing you're on my side up there and keeping busy helps me stay focused on the day we'll meet again.

I cant do my traditional 'miles for your birthday' running because of little Michael growing inside, but I'll make up for it once he's born, and with interest!  Maybe for Alexander's birthday, I'll do a half marathon.  5 for you plus 5 for Sophia and 5 (in late November) for him is 15 miles instead of 13.1 but I'll make sure to work in an extra 2 miles somewhere.  And since it's a race, I'll try to power it through. :)  We'll see.

I hope that you've enjoyed how we've spent the day, and all the folks who are holding you near their hearts.  I hope that I got your message right, and that the cake is exactly what you told Bobby to tell me, and that I heard your words correctly when you explained the why...  I know you're okay.  I do.  It hurts- it will always hurt- to know that okay doesnt mean here with me.  But we all have a destiny and a road in this life, and you walked yours here, and now, you have a new journey.  Being your mother isnt just a blip in my life here; it's a defining moment and a lifelong treasure, and I'll always be grateful that, of all the moms in the world, I was the one who had the extraordinary priviledge of carrying you for all those months and then bringing you into this world.  I'll always carry you inside of me... I'll carry you forever.  I'll love you even longer.

The first time ever I saw your face I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were gifts you gave to the dark and the endless skies.  The first time ever I kissed you, I felt the earth move in my hands, ;ike the trembling heart of a captive bird, that was then at my command, my love.  The first time ever I lay down with you, I felt your heart so close to mine, and I knew our joy would fill the earth and last til the end of time, my love.  The first time ever I saw your face.
http://youtu.be/Go9aks4aujM

I just didnt know the first time would be followed so soon by the last time.  But, thankfully, in my mind, you're there forever.

I love you, sweet Nicholas.  May you feel that love across the distance and time that keeps us apart, until the day we are reborn.

Until the day we are reborn.
Mama