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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Damn. Dammit. Shit.

10 weeks, 1 day.

That's how long I carried this last little one.


We had the positive pregnancy test in the beginning of December and I felt really good about it.
I got those immediate, dark confirmation lines a few days before I was even due to miss my period.
I have the inability to ignore those pregnancy tests sitting under our sink and that was the last one.
I didn't even feel compelled to buy more, I already knew because of the total and complete exhaustion I felt that I was absolutely pregnant.

I put a Big Brother shirt on Peanut the next day and waited for daddy to notice what it said.  We celebrated with more reserve then we would have before the first miscarriage.  We'd feel better when we saw that little beating heart on the monitor during the first ultrasound.  Still we were excited, despite my aversion to meat and my waves of nausea.

A day before the 8 week mark we sat in the doctors office.  I shifted with a crunch, crunch as I sat on the paper-covered examining chair.   I tried to cover my freezing legs with a sheet and ignore the nervousness I was suddenly feeling.

The midwife and trainee came in and chatted through the preliminary questions.  They knew that after the last miscarriage I would be eager to get through this and tried their best to hurry.  She commented on how fast my heart was beating and I gave a nervous laugh.

When the ultrasound started we all looked at it in silence.  I couldn't see anything inside the yolk sack.  
My mind flitted back to the first appointment with Peanut where at 6 1/2 weeks we saw the little flicker of his beating heart.  I held my breath.  Then we saw the little blip of the baby as they tried to maneuver the ultrasound wand to get a better view.  The sack was measuring 7 only weeks and there wasn't a heartbeat yet.  We were told that at this stage in development the heartbeat could show up any day.  There was still a chance.

We walked out of the office in a silent daze.  This was not how I had envisioned the visit going.  B left for work and I headed to the lab to get my blood drawn.  Over the next week we kept track of my steadily climbing HCG levels with great hope.  The levels looked so good they bumped up the next appointment for an ultrasound.

A little over a week later we sat in the waiting room for far too long.  It was the first time they had run late like this and B had to leave for work as I sat waiting in the examination room.   As soon as the ultrasound started I knew it wasn't good.  Although the baby looked a little bigger she still couldn't find a heartbeat. They sent me down for more blood work and an ultrasound in radiology where the machines are more sensitive.  I spent the rest of the afternoon waiting for results from various tests and reading the same few pages of my book.  The midwife cried with me when she told me that the baby didn't make it.  There was no heartbeat, the yolk sack was an abnormal shape and despite the rising HCG levels the pregnancy had failed.  She told me I had gone through too much in my young life and gave me my options.

I sobbed in the parking lot as I called B at work.  Again.  Here I am again, sitting in the parking lot, calling B at work to tell him that we lost the baby.  Again.  I sent a message to my mom to tell her and let her know that I would pick up Peanut later.  I needed to go home and sleep, I was so tired all of a sudden.  A little Taco Bell therapy and a nap.  B came home early from work and we talked about moving forward.  I felt better by the evening.  I'd known for a week this was a possibility.

A week later at 10 weeks my body wasn't showing any signs of a natural miscarriage and I had decided not to wait on it.  I looked at the prescription I had picked up and read the direction on how to take the medication.  Insert both pills into your vagina 3 hours before surgery.  I read the directions again.  You see, the pills were the same ones I took during the last miscarriage only I had taken them ORALLY.  These weren't suppositories, these were just plain ole pills and there was no applicator.  I sent the doctor a message and called the nurse.  "Are you sure?  I stick these, up there, with my finger?", I asked.  She assured me that the pills can be taken orally or vaginally.  This is still odd to me.  I mean, they couldn't make the same pill a little more vagina friendly?   Who's with me?  I assumed I could then ignore the part of the instructions that said the medicine should be taken with food.  I hope.


The next day, after "taking my medicine" my mom took me to the surgery center after she came to pick up Peanut.  B was heading in from work to pick me up.  I sat in pre-op by myself and thought about how I could handle anything.  I felt calm as I read my book and listened to the woman behind the curtain next to me.  She was a nervous wreck and I felt bad for her.  I sat calmly as the doctor asked 100 questions regarding my breast cancer diagnosis and then what vein I prefer he use for the IV.  Doctors are always interested in my breast cancer history, it's seems like a fun learning case.  I was impressed with the lidocaine numbing shot before the IV (wrist and hand IV's always hurt a bit) and the awesome heating contraption they hooked to my gown.  I sat comfortably waiting for my turn in the OR.  I reclined in my bed and slipped into the world described in my book.

2 hours later I realized the lidocaine had worn off when I could feel how uncomfortable the IV was.  I had picked my favorite chemo spot, a nice vein in my wrist that usually didn't give me any trouble.  Apparently the vein was tired and he had to go in a little higher.  I sat with my hand hanging over the railing in hopes of relieving some of the pressure.  I tried to pull the IV back slightly but the tape did it's job and made it impossible.  I could feel the bruise forming.  It makes me laugh that I feel I can do things like adjust my own IV because that just can't be a good idea.

That cool contraption that was heating my gown was starting to feel like a personal torture device.  I tried to look around and follow the hose pumping in the hot air to it's source.  There was no luck.  I kept up a never-ending round of texts to my parents and B as I started to sweat.  I sent pictures of my stocking feet as I waited in bed.  I suspect that this is not normal behavior for a person but I blame blogging on my impulse to document everything.  I kept eyeing the red button that calls the nurse.

Does sweating in your dressing down give you cause to push the red button hanging next to the bed?  If I push the button are people going to come rushing in to save me?  How long can I stand the heat?  Is this for emergencies only?  It was at this point specifically that I wished desperately that B was with me.  Not because of the actual surgery or because of the emotional difficulty but because of the heat induced panic I was nearly in.

I envisioned them putting me on the operating table and talking about how they would need to wipe the sweat off my body before starting.  Nobody wants to deal with a sweaty hoo hoo and so I quickly pushed the button and looked around anxiously.  I'm sure I looked a lot like Peanut just after he's done something he knows he shouldn't.  The nurse came in and pointed out a dial that would have apparently controlled the heat.  This would have been good to know during the hour I sat in my own little piece of hell.  

It was close to 2 pm and I hadn't had anything to eat since the night before.  I tried to fan the sweat off my body.  A few minutes later a nurse came in to take me to the OR.  What is my name, when is my birthday, etc, etc.  She asked me to confirm name of the procedure I was waiting on.  Suddenly I couldn't remember what it was called.  In my mind I recalled my mom calling it a "dusting and cleaning" and I laughed at the thought of repeating that to her.  I'm here for a D&C and my voice sounded calm and easy.  Everyone looked at me as if I might break down into tears but there is something very familiar to me about being at the doctor.  I felt completely comfortable, even more so after the calming cocktail.  A few minutes later, under the bright lights I took a few deep breaths and that was it.

When I woke up I saw the nurse pull out the mesh panties.  I laughed at seeing them again before remembered the baby I was holding the last time I had to wear them.  It was something about the damn mesh panties.  We chit chatted and I found out that she had 4 boys, the youngest is 3 and I couldn't believe her energy.  I'm always compelled to talk to my nurses and doctors and find out more about them.  It might be habit from managing restaurants, that same social tendency to get to know people and make them feel comfortable.  It might be a way for me to focus on things other than my nerves.  Maybe I'm just nosey.  My doctor is 36 and grew up in HB, he seemed slightly socially uncomfortable and I tried to give him encouraging smiles when he made eye contact.  The anesthesiologist is also a comedian, the nurse prefers tea over coffee, these are things I remember.

B came in as they got me ready to head home.  I hobbled inside our house and sat staring at the TV, clicking, clicking, clicking without seeing the pictures.  I wondered why my doctor needed to give me 100 pills with a refill.  I wondered how bad the pain would be.  600 mg ibuprofen and I still have Vicodin from the last miscarriage and I started thinking about the prescription drug problem in America.  I'm pretty sure I came up with a few ways to save the world but I can't remember any of them anymore.  I cried into B's chest before bed as I had a few days prior and went to sleep feeling closer to him then ever before.

The next day I felt a million times better.  I had taken 2 pills.  I cleaned house, organizing things that made life feel more in control.  I thought about what the doctor had told us.  

She reminded me that after rounds and rounds of chemo it affected my body in more permanent ways.  At 33 years old my eggs were really in their 40's.  I had thought the difficulty would be in getting pregnant but I suppose that for me the difficulty is in staying pregnant.  2 miscarriages in 6 months, almost to the day.


That was when I realized how lucky we are.  We always new Peanut was a gift but I never appreciated him so much.  We got pregnant with him so quickly that it seemed the threat of having chemo-fied eggs was over. Now we were reminded the truth and I felt a new rush of gratitude for having Peanut.  If all else fails, if we never make it through another pregnancy, we have each other and we have Peanut and we have friends and family who love us and we will always be grateful for this world that we have.

Sometimes I'm sad.  Sometimes I think about that pink-cheeked baby I thought I would be holding in August or the one I so briefly thought about holding in March and my arms twitch momentarily and I swallow the lump in my throat.  But at this point, 5 days later, I mostly feel positive.  I look forward to getting healthy, getting my body back in shape, getting my mind back in shape and spending some time with my family.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

David Marano Photography


Last year I really regretted not having family pictures done and swore that no matter what, 
I would build it into the budget, carve out some time and make sure that I have photos that actually include all three of us at the same time.

I came across David Marano Photography when he offered a Living Social deal in March and redeemed it the day before Thanksgiving.  
I know, can I possibly run any closer to the holiday card deadline?


This one picture made the entire shoot worthwhile.

I have so few pictures of the Peanut and I together and the look on his face and the sparkle in his eyes make me just melt.

I love the warmth in these pictures and would have loved to take more in the house but in order to get Peanut to cooperate I promised some play at the lake.


We walked down to the lake and tried to get Peanut to sit or stand still, next to mommy and daddy for a great deal of time.

It was quite exhausting by David didn't bat an eye.  
He just snapped away.


Peanut really liked him and so there are quite a few interesting expressions caught on camera.


He was also able to snap a few pictures of us while making sure Peanut didn't take a running leap into the lake.


Falling leaves and piles to jump in make a very happy boy.


The smirk and the mischievous grin.


I can't even put into words how happy this shot makes me.


Tickles and giggles.


and sweetness.


David was mellow and so easy going that it was so much easier to be comfortable in front of the camera.

Despite all the photo sessions we've had, this always remains the hardest part for me.
However, when you are chasing after a 2 year old, I find it's hard to think about the camera or whether or not I have multiple chins and fat rolls showing.


In the end we have tons of perfect, real, family photos to remember the year by.


Instead of the little blurs that I've been getting, 
I can actually look at these moments of love and laughter caught in perfect clarity.

We can't wait to use David again.


Oh and the personality and weirdness are all there.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Favorite Reads of 2012

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
-Author Unknown

I'm going to just into this post and try not to turn this post into a novel of it's own.
Here are my favorite reads of 2012:


Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
This lovely and haunting book is about a family grieving.  They are grieving over the loss of an uncle, a brother and a lover but mostly over the loss of connection and of dreams.  It's a tale of jealousy and love and what the results of both can be.

I don't want to say too much for fear of ruining it for you but I'm not sure that I could put my thoughts into the right words anyway.
Read this book.


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
This children's story, told by Ivan the gorilla would be a great family read.

Inspired by a real life gorilla named Ivan,
 this touching story is about friends and family and what it means to help, love and protect each other.

This story will break your heart and then swiftly fill it again.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
This is the second book in the Divergent Trilogy and I'm hesitant to say to much if you haven't read the first which I believe made my list last year.

We learn more about the characters in this book as they learn more about themselves and each other.  The exploration of each faction is interesting and engaging as were the individuals that were so completely representative of their factions.
If you haven't read Divergent yet you'll need to start there.
(or apparently you can wait for the movie to come out as they just started casting for it)


The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
I found this book at the bottom of a bag of clothes being passed to Peanut.  It no doubt came from my sister-in-law who is a mother of 3 and an elementary school teacher.

This book is a fantastic resource for parents, teachers and librarians.
It discusses the importance of reading aloud to children (even past the age they start to read themselves) and the positive effects it has.
The book dives into silent reading, TV watching (and it's not all negative) and other reading-related issues as well.
The second half of the book is a reading treasury- a suggestion of books that are good to read aloud (as opposed to some that are better read silently).  They are marked with grade level and descriptions.

This is probably the best parenting book I've read so far.  It feels universal in that you don't have to be on board with a specific parenting style to appreciate it.  Although, that could be because it's not actually a parenting book but an educational book.
Whatever it is, I'm glad I read it.


A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie
I wandered by this book in the library and picked it up, thinking it might have some good prompts for my blog.  Instead I found so much more.
A day later I decided I wanted to be a writer and started to actually write.

The author and writing teacher creates the perfect balance of inspirational quotes, writing prompts, funny anecdotes, occasional coddling and a few good shoves that all equal the sudden urge or unavoidable deep need to write.

I just ordered this book because I need to have a copy at home.

And last but definitely not least:


Room by Emma Donoghue
This sat on my shelf for several months as I debated whether or not I was in the mood to read this story.
What I didn't understand, given the premise, was that this story could be sweet and loving and hopeful.

All told from the perspective and in the language of 5 year-old Jack, Room is his whole world.
He has spent every moment of his life in Room with his Ma.
What is a prison to her is just the world as he knows it.
I was in awe of these characters, the depth of a mother's love, the innocence of youth and the reality of living life outside of the box.

This book is stunning, haunting, innocent, tragic, full of love and so completely unique.
This may have been my favorite read of the year, perhaps because it was so unexpected but mostly because the story is still with me.



The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I can't remember the last time I read a book so rich in imagery.
Dreamy, romantic, surreal.
I read this last April and am about to start the audiobook narrated by the great Jim Dale.
More on this book to come.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Just thinking about this book, the discussions about this book and the way people feel so vehemently about the characters and especially the ending.
This book made my skin crawl, it made me frustrated and nearly drove me crazy but I loved it.
I though the end was perfect.  Everything about this book was toxic.
Toxic and wonderful.

If my dear mother-in-law is reading this.... you absolutely CANNOT read the end of this book ahead of time!  Do not skip around!  Do you hear me?!

The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
I read the first book in 2011 and finished the series in 2012 although I've found there have been a few stories added as companions.
I enjoyed The Scorch Trials even more then The Maze Runner.
I found the environment much more intriguing and the story kept me on my toes.
 Mostly though, it just brought an onslaught of unanswered questions.
The Death Cure wraps up the story with even more twists and turns.
I still have questions and see the opportunity for so many more stories but it didn't feel like a cliffhanger at all.  I'd definitely read more from Dashner.


The Friday Harbor Series by Lisa Kleypas
I won the second book off Goodreads and ended up reading the entire series, with the exception of Crystal Cove which is released next month.
The first book is a simple and sweet introduction to this chick lit/romance series.
It was predictable but I didn't care at all because
I needed that sort of giggle-squeal-sigh sort of romance.

Although I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the subsequent novels even more.
Rainshadow Road and Dream Lake pick up a little bit of magical surrealism that fans of Sarah Addison Allen might enjoy.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book.

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Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
Eek!  I don't want to spoil the book but I was totally wrapped up in this story.
Is it fantasy?  Is it fiction?  Is it mystery?
Will all this have a rational explanation or is this really a dark fairy story?
It kept me guessing until the very end.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
What an interesting and somewhat haunting book.  A tale of a boy whose mother is fighting cancer as he fights some monsters of his own.
A unique point of view and an interesting way of illustrating how different people cope with the illness of a loved one.

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Update:  I forgot to add these in my original post!
but I'm too short on time right now to expand on these.
More on these titles in the future,

What were your favorite reads of 2012?
Did you read any of the books I mentioned?
Are the any books I must read in 2013?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 Reading Challenge, 2013 Goals

I can hardly believe it's a new year.  This year was full of fun events both big and small and I'm proud to say that despite all the action I managed to meet and exceed my reading goal of 52 books.

As usual, I'd go weeks tearing through book after book and weeks where I didn't even pick one up.

The grand total for 2012.....*drumroll please*
63 books read!

According to Goodreads that is 21,817 pages.

And before you ask, I did not include the books I read to Peanut this year.

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The Harry Potter books aren't included in my 6 books because I actually just listened to the audiobooks.
That is a post unto itself.
Let me just say that I ADORE Jim Dale.

The breakdown on the books this year:
Adult Fiction/Fantasy/Mystery:  13
YA:  15
Younger teen or Children's:  8
Historical Fiction:  3
Nonfiction:  5
Chick Lit/Romance:  15
Parenting:  3

I'm not opposed to reading any kind of genre and I feel very strongly about being comfortable with your book choices or preferences.

All reading is good reading.
I'm sure that plenty will disagree with me on that.
I'm just glad to read and glad other do as well.

Personally, I tend to go through phases where all I want is a little fluff.
Hence the Debbie Macomber marathon during Christmas.
I'd never even heard of her before, despite the fact she has published 327 books.

I'm also not embarassed to say I tore through the Fifty Shades series.
Although I must say that I hesitated to categorize it under "Romance" but I just didn't have a category for BDSM fantasy-fiction with an emphasis on terrible writing and high entertainment.

I've signed into Goodreads again and hope for another 52 books this year.
My goals are to broaden my reading horizons,
catch up on all of the books I haven't read for The Bibliophile Support Group
and perhaps accept another book challenge through that group.

Coming soon.... my favorite picks of 2012.

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