Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I asked her to stop mushing up her watermelon with her hands and use her fork. She put the fork down on the table and stared at me as if to challenge me. I then asked her if she has Mommy's defiant streak in her. This picture captures the response that I got. Yep, it really is all my fault.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I remember many a day of my childhood (ok, almost EVERY day of my childhood) being frustrated that my parents were always too tired to go out and do anything. Venturing out was rare and trips other than to see my grandparents were very few and far between. I decided that I wasn't going to be old and boring like them when I had kids. Nope. I wouldn't constantly use the "I'm too tired." excuse. Not me. And now I have a 2 year old and WATCHING her makes me tired. This evening I watched as she got horsey rides from Daddy, hopped around like a frog, jumped off the step into our sunken living room repeatedly, and then had so much energy left over that she just ran in circles around the room for a good 5 minutes. All this from a child who's practically been on a hunger strike for the past several weeks since we did away with her packaged toddler food and are only serving her what we eat. Where does she get all this energy from??? Man, if only I could bottle some of it. Until then I guess I'll just have to drink more coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I have at least another 16 years before I'm allowed to start being old and tired.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
It was a surprisingly nice weekend here in NOVA for mid-July, so we decided to play outside for a bit. Today's adventure was some time spent at the pool- our first trip there this summer. Eva had a blast in the baby pool. She had it all to herself for most of our time there, so she was even able to play around with her float. She was happy and content for almost a good hour until we decided to ruin it. That was when we got the grand idea to take her into the big pool. That lasted all of 15 seconds because Little Miss Independent does not want assistance of any kind in the big pool. She does not want to be in her float, and she most definitely does not want to be held. What she does want is to be let go and therefore free to swim where ever she pleases. While I love, love, love, love, love the fact that she can't wait to get swimming on her own (did I mention that I'm a former lifeguard/swimming instructor?), it's a little bit early for that yet. Hopefully next year when she's 3 she'll be strong enough to start learning how to swim. While I wouldn't push competitive swimming on her if she's not interested, swimming lessons are non-negotiable for safety reasons. So be it competitively or not, I can't wait to see my little water baby take off swimming, and maybe even love being in that glorious chlorinated water as much as I do.
Friday, July 17, 2009
As I mentioned in a previous post, I had a condition when I was pregnant with my daughter called Hyperemesis gravidarum. It's literal meaning is "constant vomiting in pregnancy." I don't know that I'll ever be able to accurately and definitively describe what it was like, other than to say that it was a living hell. It was by far the darkest, lowest point in my life- and I've been through a couple of pretty low points. The nausea and vomiting are there with you during every waking moment of every day. It is relentless. Forget eating. On a really good day I might have kept down a saltine or two, or maybe even a few bites of a plain baked potato. Fluids didn't stay down either- no, not even room temperature ginger ale. At its worst I weighed 93 pounds, had to crawl to the bathroom and back to throw up, and my resting heart rate was in the 120's due to severe dehydration and deconditioning. Fortunately I had already quit my job beforehand in preparation to be a stay at home mom, because otherwise I would have had to quit anyway when HG hit during week 5 of my pregnancy. Bed rest started at that point and lasted until around week 17. As I lost more and more weight I was terrified that I would also lose the baby. If I was wasting away, how could this child possibly be getting what she needed?
And those were just the physical effects. What makes this disease particularly devastating are the emotional effects that come with it. The anxiety over how your baby is developing. The depression. The deep, deep depression..... Not only does every day seem to last an eternity, but the isolation only compounds it. You are physically unable to leave your bed, and people stop coming around. The vast majority of people don't understand. They think you're exaggerating, or maybe even stupid. Seriously, do you really think a person with HG wouldn't have already tried saltines and ginger ale?! And for the love of God, had one more person suggested sea bands, they would have gotten explicit instructions on what THEY could do with them. Some even suggested that I was being selfish and were upset that I wasn't happy even though I "wasn't feeling well." Believe me, I would have given my left arm to simply not feel well. To be honest, I really just wanted to die and have it be over with. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that my husband and that baby needed me. That was it.
I was very lucky to have by my side the most understanding and supportive husband in the history of EVER. The guy should seriously write a book for friends and family of women with HG. My mother came down and stayed with us for a week on two separate occasions to help take care of me. My MIL did that once as well. I was also very, very lucky to have doctors who not only knew what HG was, but were willing to treat it. Sadly, many do not. There are still women (and their unborn children) who die from HG because their doctors provide inadequate treatment for it, if any at all. I was on Zofran (an antiemetic) from week 6 until a few days after I delivered and was also sent to the ER for saline IV's a couple of times. There was genuine excitement from everyone in my OB/GYN's office when I gradually started to look less and less green. I really don't know if I would have made it had it not been for the care and support from my husband, doctors, and family. They were great.
Now I find myself facing a major life decision because of the hyperemesis. Before all this began, I always wanted 2 kids. At first, after I had my daughter I assumed that one day I'd have the courage to go through it all again. The more time that goes by however, the less that looks like a possibility. The very idea of going through HG again has me absolutely terrified to get pregnant again. Don't get me wrong, I'd be happy about the baby. And every second of what I went through was worth it to have my little girl. But the notion of doing all of that over again, this time with a child to care for and no family in the area to help, imposes an all-consuming fear. I feel guilty for not giving Eva a sibling, but I just don't know if I could do it again. I never thought I'd be seriously considering having a tubal ligation at the age of 30, but sometimes all you can do is play the cards you're dealt.
Why am I droning on and on about HG? Because there might be something you can do. USC is currently doing a study on HG to try and determine what, if any, genetic factors might be associated with it. There isn't much that's known about it at this point, including what exactly causes it or even the totality of its effects. If you are also an HG survivor, please go to www.helpher.org and sign up to be included in the study. Also, if you have carried at least 2 pregnancies to at least 27 weeks and did not have HG, please, please, please, please sign up to serve as a control for the study. They are very much in need of control participants right now. All you have to do in either case is to fill out an online survey, and then they send you a kit to provide a saliva sample. That's it. It's that simple. All the HG survivors out there will thank you from the bottom of their hearts.
If you are an HG survivor, I am so sorry that you had to suffer through it. I know I couldn't wish it on my worst enemy. At least we know this: we're tough girls!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This is the third version I've written of this post so far. Originally it was going in a different direction, but it was so emotionally charged that I had to keep taking breaks from writing to cry a little. I didn't really want to keep on writing it, so I can't imagine why anyone would've wanted to actually read it. Suffice it to say that there's been a lot of drama going on in my family for the past week. I won't go into the details. I'm still reeling from the latest revelation, but I'm trying to use the knowledge as best I can to make myself a better mother to Eva. Since Eva will most likely remain an only child, it's doubtful that I'll ever have the opportunity to pit her against her siblings, but God help me if I ever do. Ok, now that I've gotten that out......
I never realized before I had Eva that she'd help me with a very important coping mechanism. As it turns out, devoting nearly all my energy and focus to my daughter and her needs does wonders for keeping everything else in perspective. My family will always be crazy. I know this. I'm already dreading the questions about why Grandma and Grandpa are so weird. But for now I have an amazing daughter, and she's my first priority. Watching her grow and learn every day is the best possible distraction from all the drama.
Having some truly wonderful friends helps with that, too. I would definitely be lost without you guys! And Steve, many thanks for sending me those wishes of rainbows, sparkles, sunshine, and smiles! Not only was it incredibly sweet, but the idea of you putting those words together still makes me laugh every time I think of it. Priceless. Oh, and you can't tell from the picture, but the rainbow on her shirt has sparkles on it. :)
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Eva's always been a little spirited. I was sure that the terrible 2's hit somewhere around 18 months. I'm guessing that there are varying degrees of it, as things seem to have intensified in the past 2 weeks. Yesterday she had a meltdown because she didn't want to walk herself down the last 3 steps to the main floor of the house after her nap. I've learned to take her fits in stride, and fortunately almost all of them happen in the comfort of our own home- unless of course her aunt is babysitting and trying to bring her back home after a trip to the playground. In that case she had a meltdown that was so epic, my sister was sure someone was going to call in an Amber Alert on her for trying to steal a screaming toddler.
But it's not all so bad. This age can also be fun because she looooves to help me in any way that I'll let her. Her most favorite thing is to help me unload the dishwasher, which can be a little dicey. She is very good at listening to me and leaving the more dangerous items alone, although that took some time. I'm pretty sure she now understands that's she's not to touch the knives or pick up the plates. Nobody can take out her silverware and sippy cups and deliver them to me to be put away like she can, though! She knows to put her bath toys away at the end of bath time, and we're working on putting away the toys in the living room before bed time. She even helps me "fold" the laundry. The smile on her face and the way she giggles while she's beside me helping out make the chores not SO much of a chore to do. I love that she love to help, and I definitely plan to enjoy it as long as it lasts!