I purposely took a break from my blog until now, but I intended to be back after a few weeks not six! I wanted to give myself some time to focus on my kids and enjoy my time while Chad took three weeks off. I feel like my now six week old daughter has been around forever but at the same time it feels like she was born yesterday. I wrote often during my “downtime” and I missed this space.

Plus, writing about that time a new human came out of my lower region needed a lot of editing. I found myself being even more graphic than usual depending on the day. See, I can censor myself! The graphic stuff will be shared at a later time.

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His hair is fabio fabulous hehehe

I don’t think there are many people who think “That was fun” when it comes to their labor experience. But, it really was. I keep saying I feel like I cheated somehow because it was super easy. There was pain but it wasn’t terrible and it was pretty fast… she didn’t just fall right out of me like I had hoped.

After months of bed rest, lots of complications, weeks of non progressing contractions before the big day and I was ready to finally hold my baby ninja princess. I was scheduled to induce at 39 weeks on June 5th. June 5th was supposed to be the day so I procrastinated on getting things together.

To recap – my sweetie and I have four kids in our blended family and our newborn princess makes kiddo five. Yes, we are crazy.

The day before my scheduled baby evacuation day my OB called me while I stared into my fridge wondering what I was going to make for lunch…

“Want to have that baby today instead of tomorrow?”

To which I responded with, “Hell fucking yes!!” I was ready to evacuate her.

I sent my hubby a text asking “Want to meet our daughter today instead of tomorrow?” and he thought I was joking. The week before I sent him a text making him think my water broke (because I’m hilarious) so I can understand why he doesn’t always take me serious.

After multiple trips to the hospital for monitoring, injections and more monitoring we knew a lot of the nurses and had a bit of a reputation for being the “funny/entertaining couple”. My OB said that nurses had told her they really hoped to be our labor nurses because we were so much fun. Our personalities are very sarcastic, we like to keep things light and after some tough times in our relationship we are at such a good place of just loving life together… with a lot of smack talking.

Okay, I do most of the smack talking and he lovingly takes it because he rocks like that. I’m also much better at smack talking than he is. I was shocked we hadn’t offended anyone at the hospital with our word-fu and affectionate verbal smackdowns.

A nurse told me that one of her favorite lines came from me, “Please, sweetie… run your face into my fist.”

My previous two labors were basically the same process – I never went into labor on my own. I was induced with pitocin. I welcomed my epidurals and still felt horrible contractions of doom after. It’s been said by many that pitocin contractions are the worst pain you can ever feel and I would have to agree, though I had nothing to compare it to. Some people recall their labors as being these beautiful struggles of human birthing poetry.

I am not one of those people. Labor hurts. A lot. I’m not a fan of labor pain. There was a time before my oldest was born that I thought I would love to experience a pain medication free process of bringing my child into the world. I’m so over that. Give me the quickest, healthiest and most painless way possible. I don’t subscribe to the Mommy wars of who is better/tougher than who. I just want my baby out and in my arms by whatever method is best for her (and me)… and bring on the drugs.

By 2pm I was ready to get labor going and instead of starting me on pitocin I was given cytotec which helps thin the cervix and get things started.

After an hour my labor nurse came in and asked, “Are you feeling those?? You are having great contractions.”

Uh. What? I felt crampy but that was it. Weird.

Around 4pm my water was broken. My labor nurses and OB commented on my great contractions that felt like minor annoyances.

It didn’t feel like I was in labor. We watched TV, talked and joked around just like we do every night after the kids went to bed. Except I was hooked up to monitors, I was leaking fluids and the hospital bed wasn’t as comfy as my bedrest recliner.

Our kids were with my Dad and that is always an adventure in itself. My Dad likes to make jokes like “Oh, am I supposed to feed them?” or “I think one of the kids went missing”. We kept him updated with my progress as he kept us updated with his jokes about the kids. He is wonderful.

I began texting, tweeting, instagramming and Facebooking – Yeah, I did. A friend of mine commented how she couldn’t believe I was updating Facebook.

We started watching the Stanley Cup at 5pm. Yes, we watched Hockey. I was born and raised a Kings fan while my husband is a New York Rangers fan… this was serious business.

Contractions started to pick up and the amount of curse words I used increased as well.

At some point during the first period my labor nurse called in to get my epidural and we would start pitocin shortly after. I was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t even close to horrible yet. At that point I was around 4-5cm.

I updated Facebook between contractions. Because… again, what else are you going to do?

I got amazing back rubs from my sweetie while we talked smack about the game.

Every time a nurse came in to ask how I was HE would reply with something like, “I’m okay. I’m feeling a little uncomfortable and ignored. This is rough…” – I love him. I really do.

The anesthesiologist arrived and he was a Kings fan. Our labor nurse at that time was from Jersey. There was a lot of West Coast vs East Coast smack talking going on. Now that I think about it you probably don’t want to be laughing so much when you are about to get a giant needle in your back. When you get an epidural the anesthesiologist will insert the needle during a contraction. Because we were all so into the game he missed a few contractions – I didn’t mind in the slightest – it was hilarious.

After my epidural I let the world know how much I fucking love labor drugs. It wasn’t a strong amount since I could still move my legs but it was glorious.

They gave me oxygen and it made me feel strange. I do not remember taking this pic…

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My contractions picked up and we kept watching the game. The only discomfort I felt was on the left side of my body but after some repositioning I was good to go.

My Dad joined in on the smack talking and we were all texting about the game. I said whoever wins determines who my daughter would be a fan of…

Kings won. Chad cursed a lot. My labor continued and it felt like I wasn’t progressing. I started to worry that if they didn’t start the pitocin soon I would meet my daughter at 4am.

I sat up to stretch, I grabbed my phone to see what was going on and… I felt pressure. I felt that pressure that only a woman who has had a vaginal delivery understands… or the feeling you have after a lot of food and you really gotta poop.

I thought I was going crazy and mistaken. I thought I had hours to go and hadn’t even had pitocin. It had been 7 years since my son was born so maybe I just forgot what it felt like. My nurse checked me just in case.

“Oh yeah… you are ready. Her head is right there. We are going to do some practice pushes and then call your doctor.”

I was stunned. It was honestly too easy.

It went smoothly from there. Another nurse walked in and said, “You either have a very high pain tolerance or the best epidural that’s ever been given because you do not seem like you are ready to push!”

Yeah, I didn’t feel like I was ready to push either.

After a short time of pushing at 9:35pm on June 4th we met our daughter.

Labor Story

I cannot exactly put into words the feeling of love, relief and happiness I felt when I heard her first cry and saw her.

I was so overwhelmed I was shivering uncontrollably… Actually, I was shivering from the drugs but I didn’t realize that at first.

She was 8lbs 8oz – We all expected a 6lb baby – We were wrong!

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What was said after she was born:

“Wow! She’s chunky!”

“She is covered in goo!”

“Why does she look like an angry tomato?”

“She has really asian eyes…”

“HA! This one looks like me!”

“I’m kind of sad you didn’t pass out. I wanted to have more ammo to make fun of you.”

“She is so beautiful”

“Why does her umbilical cord look like a penis”

“That was easy… Wanna have another?”

We fell in love with her immediately. By the time all the post birth stuff and baby bonding time was done it was pretty late. We told my Dad to bring the kids by to see her in the morning. We assumed they were sleeping by that time.

He texted “I think I did something wrong. They are all still awake”

Oh he’s so funny. They stayed up until 1am and were cranky kids he had to deal with the next day.

Instagram, Facebook, e-mail and texts blew up after she was born. I haven’t been able to fully thank everyone for the rad support and congrats we received when we all met her. I’m grateful for the awesomeness. It was a difficult road and one I am relieved to be off of.

As I lay next to her finishing this up and listening to her giggle in her sleep I still can’t wrap my head around how wonderful things ended up being. Our kids love her and the adjustment has been easier than expected. I’m proud of our family and how everyone has transitioned to having a newborn around.

Several friends had wished for me to have a smooth labor after the emotionally draining and physically painful pregnancy I had. I’m stoked it ended up being so easy. But, even if it was the worst labor ever I wouldn’t care. At the end of that difficult journey it’s all just done and over. The pain, the difficult days and the hard times are simply behind us.

The new chapter begins and it all ends up being worth it… especially when I have this face to stare at like a creepy baby stalker.

creepy baby stalker

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The Final Countdown - No More Bed Rest

It’s the final countdown and I still can’t believe she’s made it this far. I just had my last check up, had yet another membrane sweep and one way or another I will be holding my daughter this week. YAY!

Let’s recap this insanity…

First I announced my pregnancy via illustrator ninjas in a casual way on Facebook and Instagram. I immediately received a LOT of shit from friends and family about keeping the secret so long. I’m not the best at breaking news to people and my Dad has learned this over the years… he wasn’t shocked at all when I e-mailed him the news.

Then I found out I was having a girl – What I didn’t announce at that time was that some things had come up but I had to wait to find out the details.

Vasa previa and placenta previa issues – BOOM – Bed rest. It took me awhile to announce it, but when I started obsessively making baby hats friends started to wonder what was up. My bed rest changed depending on the week – I started out modified with the basics of no lifting, driving and taking it easy. I had weeks where I had to stay off my feet, don’t sit upright and only get up to use the restroom. It all depended on my symptoms.

With the complications I was having we were anticipating a mandatory early c-section. I made peace with a c-section. I honestly started to look forward to it and how efficient it would be. I always try to focus on the positives to find my “om”.

Life was turned upside down, but we made the most of it. It was one of the hardest times of my life. The daily stress of not knowing if my unborn daughter would make it, the stress it created at home and how much I had to let go of wasn’t how I thought this year would play out. I can look back on it all and just appreciate how much it’s brought our family together. There is a different sense of appreciation for one another despite how difficult it was some days.

Then things got better. As my uterus grew my placenta moved on up. Signs of vasa previa were gone and my blood loss issues cleared up along with it. My abdomen pain wasn’t as bad and my placenta abruption seemed to have stopped. We hit a remarkable milestone and things changed for the better.

Bed rest can make you feel crazy… You have to learn to laugh. A lot.  Especially when my preggo belly vanished one morning.

Just before I reached 36 weeks I started having regular contractions. They were far apart but kept coming. I then lost my mucus plug. I felt like I was ready to go. I felt like labor was coming. I was seeing my OB in the morning and felt excited over the possibility that I was going to hold my baby girl. I went to sleep with anticipation…

I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt odd. My abdomen hurt. I had massive heartburn. Suddenly, I felt like I was getting stabbed in my lower parts. I realized my contractions stopped. I drank a bunch of ice water and counted fetal kicks… she was fine. I went back to sleep.

At my appointment it was confirmed that she freaking flipped! She went breech at 36 weeks. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me” were the only words to sum up the moment followed by a lot of jokes and laughter. My OB could not believe it.

I had just been taken off of super crazy bed rest talking about a vaginal birth and planning to induce as I did with my other labors to possibly having to do a c-section… again.

Of course this little ninja continued to keep us on our toes.

I went back on bed rest, we scheduled a follow up appointment and hoped for the best. A 36 week breech baby was painful. I lost 3lbs that week and felt sick in ways that made me long for the pukey days of the first trimester.

Then it went away. I woke up Tuesday morning before my appointment and felt… okay. I wasn’t holding my breath. This freaking baby likes to mess with me and I’m convinced she knows it!

“So, let’s take bets! What do you think?? Did she flip back around again or is she going to keep making us crazy?” I looked at my OB and said “I feel like I can breathe again but I have NO idea anymore!”

We confirmed it… she moved… she turned head down and assumed the labor position. Yay! For now. “This is the most difficult and unpredictable baby I’ve ever had!!” – Words from my OB… not me ;)

She’s flipped breech and then back again once since then. After the last time I was finally taken off of bed rest. My OB was sure I would deliver her right away as soon as I was able to return to most normal activities. Nope. I have had regular contractions that do not progress for weeks. I’ve had to go into the hospital twice for monitoring for different reasons and still no progress.

Tomorrow I am 39 weeks. I am full freaking term now. We’ve spent months – since February – trying to keep her cooking and now she doesn’t want to come out. There were times when no one thought it was possible to even reach my third trimester and every day was a milestone. I counted days in the beginning because every day was better for her. I didn’t expect to even reach the point where I would still be pregnant and taken off of bed rest.

The past few weeks I’ve been quiet online since being off of bed rest. I’ve enjoyed feeling (somewhat) normal again. I spent the first weekend cooking up a ton of food and enjoying time with my family. I was able to attend some school functions. I can drive a limited amount. I watched my 7 year old son take his first ice hockey lessons. I enjoyed shopping. I still have to take it easy but I’m making the most of what I can do.

I’ve had so many Braveheart moments where I just want to scream FREEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOM!

It’s been awesome.

And this little ninja actually listened to me and is still cooking. Unless she changes her mind on staying put we are inducing on Thursday. She will be born, full freaking term this week. I still can’t wrap my head around that.

I cannot wait to hold her.

My sweetie has been telling me all these months that I just need to have faith, think positively and everything would work out. It’s the first (and only) time I’ll be thankful that he can tell me “I told you so”.

Thank you all for being a part of this crazy journey – the support and awesomeness helped so much. During it all I felt like it would never end and now it all feels like a blur. After this insane journey all I can focus on is having the moment of her in my arms and knowing we finally made it.

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#LoveWhoYouAre

When my daughter was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when she was in the second grade, it was jolting. We had been managing her life threatening food allergies since she was an infant so adding something else on top of that ignited concern over how hard this would get for her.

We managed it and the life adjustments we had to make just became part of our everyday routine. No matter how hard life gets you figure out a way to make it work. It becomes second nature and you accept it. The waves of chronic pain come and go – we appreciate the times where her body isn’t attacking itself and we do the best we can to get through the hard times. Honestly, it becomes such a part of the process that we don’t even think of it anymore. It’s not a negative, it’s our way of life.

She has had an exceptional past year of minimal flare ups. We truly appreciate those times since we know they are temporary. I was especially thankful for the lack of major flare ups since she just started middle school.

She had hives and red splotches all over her face and arms when she got home from school last Wednesday. As I asked her about them they multiplied before my eyes. Initially we thought it was an allergic reaction. The hives turned into oozing blisters that she has never had before – this was something different. This was something new. We haven’t had anything new come up for many years.

My daughter is twelve years old and has this genuinely amazing ability to shine despite how hard it gets. She is full of awesomeness and isn’t a complainer. She is truly a sweet, kind and happy kid. She isn’t naturally selfish and because of that I think she lacks a personality trait that makes her obsess over herself or her looks. She would rather act a little crazy, silly and not take things seriously than be the girl who is checking herself out in the bathroom every passing period.

I don’t know how I got so lucky – she inspires me and has honestly helped me get through bed rest with her constant optimism. Sure, she has her moments of damaging my calm, trying to push limits and epic freaking eye rolls over chores – she is still a normal tween in most ways.

But, she is my shining ball of hope in this world and I hope her health hurdles won’t change her. With such a visible disability that has the ability to cause her so much pain she doesn’t even want to get out of bed I can understand if she became angry, resentful or bitter.

She embraces the fact that everyone is different in their own way, but I wasn’t sure how she would react this time. Being different is difficult at any age, but especially in middle school. Adding in social platforms like Instagram for teens and some of the potential drama that can come from it I wasn’t sure what she would do.

We always take pictures of her flare ups so we can document them. That may sound strange, but when you have a special needs child who has chronic illness record keeping is important. After I took a photo of her arm she asked if she could share it on Instagram. She said she didn’t want to hide what she really goes through and she wanted people to understand. She wasn’t looking for pity or sympathy… she just wanted to be real. I was so proud of her.

Love Who You Are

After a major flare up we usually spend many hours with her immunologist (and often other doctors) running blood work, xrays and trying to figure out what is happening. This was not easy with my modified bed rest limitations and my husband having to juggle his work from the lobby on his laptop – but, we made it happen. It isn’t an easy process and she get’s a lot of blood drawn at one time. I’ve always tried to make our long days at the hospital fun – as fun as it can be considering the circumstances. She shared some of it with her friends on Instagram and had a very upbeat personality about it. Again, I was very proud.

#LoveWhoYouAre

The night before Mother’s Day she insisted on baking me some goodies. No matter how terrible she feels she is still this thoughtful little human being who muscles through it and thinks of others. She was emotionally in a really good place – but there was something weighing on her. She was dealing with moments of sadness with how her face and skin looked. She was frustrated at how her body reacts. We talked about all of that and it was heart wrenching.

She decided to take a selfie and share it with her friends. My daughter doesn’t want to hide what she goes through and she doesn’t want to be ashamed of how she looks. She doesn’t see anything wrong with it and she knows she cannot control how others may see her and doesn’t care to. Proud doesn’t begin to explain how I felt in that moment.

She wrote -

Life is a struggle every day but nothing can keep me down. Despite my health I can still be happy with who I am and that’s just how I think the world should work.#carefree #beyourself #lovewhoyouare

#LoveWhoYouAre

I’m sure she will have many low moments with this. I’m sure I will be there to dry her tears over the years when she can’t focus on the positive. I’m sure she will go through phases of anger, bitterness or resentment…

But, right now I can take comfort knowing that she can have this perspective at such a young age. Right now I can know that she will be okay. Right now is what matters most and we will face those battles together in the future.

Right now, I hope each and every one of you can #lovewhoyouare and if not…

Live, laugh and ninja kick those obstacles out of the way until you do.

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Vanishing Preggo Belly

The picture on the left was taken TWO WEEKS AFTER the one on the right… Weird, right?

I’m going to start this out by saying – Pregnancy is freaking weird. 

A few weeks ago I came down with a horrible cold that turned into bronchitis. I can’t remember the last time I was that sick. I’m not even going to try to pretend it was easy or that I was maintaining well during those weeks. I was miserable. I couldn’t keep food down. My throat was on fire. I was coughing constantly with an ear ache of doom and pressure in my sinuses that made me want to go into a coma. It was gnarly.

During that time all I could think about was keeping my prenatals down, drinking protein/vitamin shakes and staying hydrated. I couldn’t take any real medicine, so I suffered through it.

My pregnancy complications have left me with a very sensitive abdomen that hurts with slight pressure. It hurts when I cough, sneeze and blow my nose. I had to learn to do all three of those with my ribs or down below my uterus and use every muscle I could except my abdomen. Do you realize how freaking weird and difficult that is?! I started to refer to my low cough technique as my “crotch cough”. At one point I had sneezed and coughed so much that my ribs felt like they broke.

We were also having a lovely heat wave in Southern California. Superfantastic fun times!

I’ve never worried about peeing myself like many pregnant women experience. I always took comfort in that. But, I was wearing a pad dealing with pee-leakage from my crotch coughing technique. To say I was a hot mess is an understatement. Why am I sharing this TMI-ness? One, because it’s funny (now) and I also have a point…

Earlier this week, when I reached 34 weeks to the day, and my belly bump went missing one morning. I’m not even shitting you… it was gone. In my groggy morning confusion I glanced around the bed as if my daughter crawled out of me during the night. I immediately panicked, got a glass of ice water and did fetal kicks. She was moving fine but it HURT. She was in there, obviously, but all I felt was baby and not much else. I’m not a pee-leaker. I know a lot of women pee-leak during pregnancy but I don’t. I was like a pee-leaky faucet all morning… or was it pee-leak?

With both of my previous births I had a slow and high leak. I had to have my water broken after I was induced. I wondered if my water broke? Well, I had some crazy watery discharge and I was leaking.

I know… TMI… but, with pregnancy, labor and birth there is no way to filter out the grossness properly!

34 weeks on the dot – the big final stretch milestone before she is considered full-term, after months of bed rest and I may have a high leak? Crapsticks.

A friend of mine stopped by and echoed my concern over my vanishing abdomen. I think her being concerned made me go from, “Isn’t this freaking weird?!” to “Oh shit!”.

I went in to the hospital to be monitored. I hate the hospital. I don’t know how most people feel about hospitals, but I have always had an unhealthy dislike for them. There are few things I use the word hate for. I avoid it as much as possible and only go in if absolutely necessary. This was one of those times.

My growing ninja girl checked out well. I wasn’t leaking when I went in and there were no signs of amniotic fluids or infection. The thing with a high and slow leak is if they can’t find the leakage when they test it there is no way to know. I had a slow high leak with my oldest and it took three visits for them to get a positive swab. At this point it’s a concern about infection and the membranes releasing the big waterfall of labor fluids.

The nurses commented on how healthy my daughter is and that she is VERY active. I know how active she is… she is constantly having a dance party up in there! We joked around about how feisty she is and it was all reassuring. I was able to go home.

But, what the crap happened to my belly bump?

I saw my OB the next day and the first thing she said was, “Oh this amazing feisty little problem child is continuing to keep us on our toes!” – I asked her if she thought all of this was super weird and she said, “For everyone else I would say yes but EVERYTHING is weird with you!”

I love that I can joke around with my doctor while dealing with all these weird situations. She is very professional and absolutely amazing, but she has the sense of humor I need.

We did an ultrasound and my daughter is more than fine. She’s continuing to measure larger than expected – There was concern that she had stopped growing and that is why my abdomen appeared to be smaller. She really hadn’t moved much at all since the last ultrasound just two weeks prior so she didn’t “drop” significantly. All the amniotic fluids levels were fine. Everything was fine. But, I was visibly smaller.

Basically, she’s trouble.

Conclusion? Who the hell knows! The important thing is that my daughter is healthy and so am I.

Was I peeing myself? Who the hell knows! Since I have no signs of infection and I haven’t continued to leak I can wait it out.

Am I going crazy?! Probably! But, dammit look at the picture and see the difference.

Could my baby ninja be taking that nickname a little too far and started vanishing training early?! Yes! See above comment about me going crazy.

I’m starting all of the lovely prelabor bodily weirdness. Yes, I know the process of bringing a baby into the world is natural, lovely, beautiful and all of those warm fuzzy awesomeness feelings – but, let’s be real… It’s also really gross!

I went from being diagnosed with some really frightening pregnancy complications and accepting a mandatory early c-section – getting stuck on bed rest – having things resolve themselves and being able to consider a vaginal birth – her being breeched and no more vaginal birth – then everything looked fan-freaking-tastic because she flipped and my abruption stopped – to … where the crap did my abdomen go and am I going to go into early preterm labor?

Tomorrow I will be 35 weeks. All I can think about is how I want to reach that 36 mark! I’m getting greedy but dammit this has been a long road and things are looking amazing. I want her to hold on a little longer before we welcome her into the world…

And maybe… just maaaaaybe… if she holds on for one more week I will find my freaking abdomen.

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Bed Rest Can Make You Crazy

by Leila on May 5, 2014

Bed Rest Makes You Crazy

These are things that I’ve learned while on bed rest so far…

When you are laying down and balancing objects in the air with your feet – because you may get so bored you do that – make sure you don’t use anything heavy just in case they accidentally fall on your face.

Everything on the ground that you can’t pick up bugs the shit out of you.

Dropping food on the floor can feel like the end of the world… and it is.

Your children may figure out if they all hide in another room, away from you, they can try to get away with things they aren’t supposed to be doing – like watching movies on their iPads or playing online games when they are supposed to be doing homework.

When you don’t text friends back (because you took a nap) for a long time after texting them something like, “I’m feeling really horrible today.” they may freak out a little and/or just show up at your house to make sure you are okay.

Said friends won’t think it’s as funny as you do when you laugh about it.

You aren’t as intimidating as a parent when you can’t get up from your bed rest position. Threatening to throw pillows just makes kids laugh. They will keep all heavy objects away from you… just in case.

Your internal dialog isn’t as internal as it once was. You start to have a deeper understanding of the relationship Tom Hanks had with “Wilson” in Castaway. Bed rest makes your bed, recliner, couch or hospital bed feel like your own secluded island.

Stacking small objects and balancing them on your forehead is really entertaining.

You may find yourself daydreaming about when you used to be able to drive and listen to music. Traffic seems like a welcome vacation from bed rest.

When/If you are able to leave your house for a short amount of time you totally understand why dogs stick their heads out the window. Also, people will look at you crazy when you imitate a happy dog in the passenger seat… and you do not care.

Pregnancy hormones and bed rest can create completely irrational angry reactions to simple things.

The silence of an empty house makes you crazy. The noise your amazing family creates in your house makes you crazy. Most days you are crazy.

When you are nesting and cannot physically do the things your hormonal body wants you to then you will make everyone in the house crazy.

Laying on your back and throwing objects in the air may, or may not, have the same results as balancing objects on your feet.

Some days are more difficult than others but, some days are still so awesome you forget you are on bedrest and why. Focusing on that makes you less stabby.

You may develop and allergy to people’s bullshit and drama.

For every really freaking mind boggling annoying thing your family does you find dozens of amazing things that they do to prevent you from plotting their doom.

Every milestone is a huge sigh of relief. Every week you get further along the easier it gets. Each and every damn day is cause of celebration… and no matter where you are on the timeline of bed rest you are further than you started.

If you are reading this because you are on bed rest just remember – You are doing the most important job you can right now… You are incubating your baby. Everything else doesn’t matter and don’t let any amount of frustration, annoyance, drama or negativity take away from that. There will be many low moments, and that is expected. It will be over before you know it…

Just don’t make a habit of balancing things on your feet and accidentally dropping them on your face.

It hurts.

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WTF Did You Say?! About Boobie Pillows

by Leila on May 4, 2014

WTF Did You Say?!

One night, my son said to me …

“I love snuggling with you, Mommy. Your heartbeat makes me happy and I like to listen to it. Its the best music. And your chest is soft and snugly like a fluffy pillow… Made of… boobies. Are there boobie pillows??? Those would be the best ever! Can I ask santa for boobie pillows!?”

And I almost died laughing.

Kids are funny.

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Funny Pregnancy Pics

Life is so unpredictable.

I’m the type of person that likes everything laid out. I like understanding all the possibilities so I can plan accordingly. Living in a constant state of unknowns is not easy for me. This has been the reality of my existence for the past few months.

My appointment this morning went better than expected, especially after the terrifying dog attack yesterday, my unexpected fetal monitoring in the hospital last week, and all the unknowns I’ve been dealing with. I was still with a lot of what ifs but even more relief.

Before we began the ultrasound I told my doctor that I was suspecting that she was now breech. She paused and said “I pretty much expect every possible worst case scenario to pop up with this pregnancy so I bet you are right! This one is going to be your troublemaker… she’s already keeping us on our toes…” she grinned at me and I told her if I was a betting woman I could have made some money on this. As soon as she touched the ultrasound probe toward my cervix we both saw feet and laughed. We seriously laughed a lot. I probably shouldn’t have laughed because it’s very serious stuff if she doesn’t turn. She was shaking her head and thanked me for having such a great sense of humor.

What else can I do? Honestly, the breech at 31 weeks is the least of my concern with everything else.

The biggest concern of vasa previa that was going to cause a mandatory early c-section between 34 – 36 weeks has been ruled out. It’s. Been. Ruled. OUT. The membranes that were exposed are not visible anymore. The blood flow in the umbilical cord is healthy. My placenta moving up which also caused no more membranes and/or umbilical cord to block my cervix. Oh and the placenta itself isn’t blocking my cervix either! I’m honestly not used to the small statistic of BEST case scenario working in my favor… it’s usually the opposite. I will freaking take this change, gladly!

At around twenty three weeks we thought I was going to deliver a micro preemie because of vasa previa and placenta previa. I was bleeding, contracting and showing all the signs. I was stuck on bed rest and dealing with all the scary possibilities. My cervix was completely covered with the placenta and umbilical cord and membranes. We looked at the scans and the progression was amazing to see… like the evolution of my pregnancy. It was truly the best possible scenario.

My doctor said “Normally, these two things being resolved naturally would mean life can go back to normal… but…”

Always a but…

I also have had a placental abruption (we don’t know how bad of one it is) and with my daughter being breeched, after my “she-hulk” moment, I have to continue to stay on modified bed rest. DOH.

However, the risk of a stillbirth have dropped significantly. The risk of my health has also dropped… though, with an abruption there is still a lot of concern but the vasa previa had a much higher mortality rate. It’s trading the lesser of two evils but I’m relieved.

What we do know right now is that she is very healthy. I’m losing weight but she is gaining again. She is measuring at approximately 4lbs and “seems very long”. She is a little bit bigger than expected at this point and that is a good thing compared to the last scan when she was showing to be very small.

It is also possible I may not have to get a c-section. It is also possible I may carry to full term without risks. Neither of these things were a possibility just a couple weeks ago. A couple weeks ago I was having to prepare with the possibility of having a premature daughter and hospital bed rest. Now, these things are not ruled out completely just yet but they aren’t mandatory. 

This has been the hardest few months of my life. Right now I’m so relieved I want to dance around like a happy drunken monkey. I can’t. But, I want to. 

For months I’ve been telling myself, “I’ve got this…” but now I’m really feeling it… and I have many amazing supportive people to thank through all of this.

I’m due on June 11th and have two months left. I’m hoping the final stretch of this pregnancy is smooth sailing. I was in a lot of pain today and still not feeling like my usual self, but I slept most of the day and woke up feeling like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

It’s a damn good change of pace. I’m thankful for it.

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I’m an animal lover, but I am also very cautious of them. I’ve always taught my kids what to do if a dog attacks them or how to behave around dogs. It is a constant lesson that I try to reiterate to them. When we are hiking and camping they are all quizzed about the predatory animals in the area and how to avoid problems. As much as you prepare for a worst case scenario you don’t ever really expect it to happen with your kids… at least I didn’t.

Yesterday the kids had their normal routine of playing out front with friends and neighborhood kids. I got a recliner chair for the porch so I can sit outside with them while on bed rest. My friend and I were talking when my neighbor drove by and I saw he had a new dog. I noticed the dog right away because it started to bark at the kids and even tried to get out of the van by jumping out of the window. It kept its eyes on the kids, barking the whole time and my instincts told me this was going to be bad.

Everything happened fast…

I stood up and kept my eye on the van. As soon as my neighbor opened the door the dog bolted for the kids. I was running towards the kids at the same time and yelling at the top of my lungs before anyone really knew what was going on. The dog’s fur was standing up, it started biting at the kids who were trying to run away and it knocked my son off of his wiggle bike. I was only a couple steps away when he started to bite my son’s back. The dog backed away as soon as I got close but it was biting at me, barking and I was expecting it to attack me. I made noise. I grabbed my terrified six year old son in one arm to hold him up as high as I could and had his wiggle bike in the other hand. My daughter said it looked like I was going to start hitting the dog with the bike. The dog backed off when my neighbor finally got close but the dog never stopped his aggressive stance. My son was crying and I was still screaming at my neighbor. I don’t even know what was said but all I knew was that I was truly terrified and it was a feeling almost unknown to me.

It was all honestly a blur.

Thankfully my son’s injuries weren’t bad. He has scratches, bruising and a few puncture marks where you can see the dog bit him. I was grateful that I go there in time. I was relieved the dog didn’t go after the 17 month old toddler who was outside. I was happy no real harm had come to any of the kids. I cannot imagine how bad it could have been had I not reacted so quickly.

Instincts and adrenaline are a funny thing… I reacted before I even really knew what I was reacting to. My body has been in a lot of pain with this pregnancy and I usually can’t even get up off of the couch without wincing. I felt nothing during all of this.

When the adrenaline subsided and I stopped shaking that’s when my body started to let me know how bad of shape I felt I was in. My son was okay but I became aware of what this could have done to my unborn daughter because of all my complications. I thought I felt terror when I saw a dog going after my son… this was a different level of fear.

The more time that went on the more pain I felt. I had a check up in the morning and we had planned on doing an ultrasound. If any of the big scary signs came up I knew I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I did fetal kick counts. I changed positions every time I started to have contractions. I tried to hide it from the kids how bad I felt and I waited for any signs of distress. Besides all of the pain everything seemed to be mostly okay. My abdomen felt completely different. She had been transverse for a couple weeks and after the incident she was sitting really low. It was painful. I felt like I was being stabbed from the inside of my lower girly parts. I spent the night tossing and turning and worried that I was going to go into early labor or that the membranes from the vasa previa would rupture or that the placenta abruption was going to become worse. Every worst case scenario was running through my head.

When I’m in a moment of real vulnerability I usually withdraw. I usually just kind of hide out and wait for the smoke to clear. I was really shaken up and put it out there what happened. I’m thankful for all the friends and family who were thinking about us, giving support and offered help.

It helped. A lot.

I read a lot of the comments from my Facebook and texts to my son and it comforted him. I often have a lot of apprehension about sharing difficult things with my rad people online because it’s not attention driven. I was well into my pregnancy complications diagnosis and bed rest before I shared it with anyone outside of a small group of friends and family. What I share I usually try to have some kind of meaning – humor, inspiration, awareness or uh mostly humor. One thing that I have learned with my pregnancy complications that the great world of the interwebs is more than we often give it credit for… it is a place of amazing support and awesomeness. And to be totally cheesy – love. Sure, there is a lot of hate bashing and parent shaming that goes around but I try to tune out all that noise and focus on the things that don’t suck.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that you all rock and I’m thankful for it.

Though, I would really like a totally uneventful, uninteresting and BORING life until my baby ninja arrives! 

My son snuggled with me all night, he woke up a few times crying about dogs and I took comfort in knowing he was okay until my appointment in the morning…

Thankfully, everything with my baby and pregnancy was okay. (Continued on another post)

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Making the Most Out of Bed Rest

by Leila on March 20, 2014

Bonding Moments on Bed Rest

He insists on snuggling with his baby sister daily.

One of the biggest hurdles during bed rest has been not being able to bond with my family the way I am used to. It’s really hard at times, but we try our best to get through it.

I’m the type of Mom that would love to drop everything and go camping for the weekend.

I’m the Mom that will say, “Let’s go to an amusement park for dinner!”…

I’m the Mom that will gladly invite all of the kid’s friends over and have play dates, pool parties or let them run amok like wee little lunatics.

I’m temporarily the Mom on bed rest that can’t do any of the things that I am used to and I am thankful that our family has mostly adjusted well. 

The priority, of course, is keeping my daughter cooking as long as possible, but I need to also consider my other kids. I’ve learned to accept that things are different right now and look forward to when we can go back to our usual crazy life after she is born. I’ve researched and planned about three dozen camping trips already!

We bought a double recliner last week so I could be comfortable while having snuggle time with the kids or to be able to sit with them and help them with homework. It’s been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made and it’s helped bed rest significantly.

Bonding on Bed Rest

We read together more. We make origami. We draw, paint and make crafts. My six year old loves making journal books that we put together. We find ways to bond while taking life one day at a time in a more mellow setting. We talk about the summer often, I think it helps everyone look ahead.

I get drawings like these that make my heart melt – Does anyone else notice how terrified my son looks in his own drawing?

Bonding on Bed Rest

When I am on my feet and trying to take a prego belly selfie I get photobombed by my daughter… because she can’t help her hilarious self.

Prego belly selfie photobombed

For now, I’ve realized I’m the Mom that finds different ways to bond with my kids while not physically doing much on bed rest. That rocks just as much as us going on an adventure. Life, as always, is what you make of it… and I refuse to allow it to suck just because I can’t go out and do what I want with my family.

Live, laugh and ninja kick – and invest into a super comfy chair if you are able to while on bed rest.

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A Huge Pregnancy Bed Rest Milestone…

by Leila on March 19, 2014

Pregnancy Bed Rest Milestones

This pic was taken a few days ago after a really tough day.

My son always knows how to make things better.

We made it to the third freaking trimester!!!!

In early January I casually announced my pregnancy with an illustration of a big family with a baby ninja. In late January I found out I was having a girl and I was told to take it very easy until I had my follow up with my doctor. I was put on modified bed rest days later.

I started out with “just take it easy” modified bed rest to “don’t do much of anything” bed rest. I may end up on hospital bed rest if my symptoms don’t improve and each day my body is reminding me to do less and less. It’s frustrating but I am staying positive, keeping busy and taking it one day at a time.

When I started down this bed rest and pregnancy complications road I was 20 weeks. The statistics were scary at that time… if my daughter had been born at that point she would have had a less than 40% survival. I was losing blood, contracting and had all sorts of bad things going on. Bed rest has helped tame my angry uterus to keep my lil baby ninja cooking.

The first big goal was to make it to the third trimester. That seemed like a lifetime away and at times seemed impossible.

Today I said goodbye to my second trimester and welcomed the third. We are in the home stretch now. We are at a point where my daughter’s chances of survival are greater if she had to arrive today.

If I could dance right now I would be doing a super happy monkey dance while singing “Just keep cooking”.

I have no idea where the last 8 weeks have gone and I hope the next 8 fly by as smoothly. I’m so grateful to be where we are right now and surrounded by amazing and supportive people. Our world is full of awesomeness.

We got this, my baby girl… just keep cooking and Mommy and Daddy will see you soon. Don’t rush it, keep incubating and stop trying to play the congos on my cervix, please.

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