Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Men, She's Gone to Battle for You!

Mother's day is around the corner. Just like Valentine's Day I don't need a gift. My favorite gift is a nice beautiful day outside with my children. Even though yes this is typically a day for children to recognize their mothers I'd like to take a moment to remind men about recognizing the mother of their children.

Men, that woman has gone to battle for you! And she has the battle scars to prove it. You know those precious sometimes sweet children that you love more than anything most days. Well carrying them for nine months, hours of labor, the not so pretty mess of birthing a child, the aching breasts, the cracked nipples, the healing cuts of c sections or tears is no easy or pleasant task.

It's weeks sometimes months of hugging the porcelain throne, it's a literal pain in the ass like no other from that damn sciatica nerve, it's packing around a solid 25+ pounds around your midsection morning and night with no way of just unloading that extra weight at the end of a long day. It's hours upon hours of labor that feels like a cross between period hell or the worst case of diarrhea pains you've ever had. Then when she finally gets to relieve herself of that extra 25+ lbs pounds and those excruciating worst period ever pains it's to only have a 6-9 lb baby either ripped out of her midsection or shot out of her delicate lady parts that will probably never be the same now thanks to you. Then there's the after part and no I'm not talking about all that other stuff that comes out of there. I'm talking about the pain down there that first requires her to walk around with a giant ice pack in those wonderful hospital granny panties they supply but then there's the not so pleasant weeks of recovery from having herself sewed back together. The battle is possibly not over for her though if she decides to nurse your precious off spring. Now she will continue this parenthood battle with huge aching breasts that resemble water balloons that just won't ever pop and as if the stretch marks and stitched lady parts aren't enough battle wounds she'll now carry the wound of cracked and even sometimes bleeding nipples. She's a warrior!  Okay, maybe she did some of this for herself and those precious offspring that she'll claim as her own as well, but hey she did it for you somewhat too.

That mother of your children has gone to battle for you, man, sometimes not once but twice or even three or four times. As my husband says she gave you a damn good return on that deposit you made so you better make sure you thank her for it this Mother's Day.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Life with A Newborn

I am sleep deprived with probably no more than three hours of uninterrupted sleep in the past two weeks, my boobs fluctuate between painful latching by my baby piranha or feeling like they're going to explode from constantly filling with milk from my baby piranha that has to eat constantly, I'm still a good 20 lbs overweight and away from my goal I set way back two years ago when I set out to lose the 35 lbs I gained from my thyroid/depression state of three years ago, I have stretch marks that have permanently branded me as a mother of three, but yet even though the dark circles under my eyes, unfixed hair, extra weight and marks might shout that I've been through the wringer of motherhood I can honestly say I am possibly the happiest I've been in a long time.

I went from a year or so of moody depression to the year and a half of struggles and fears of getting baby Linc here with us that now all these little annoyances seem like nothing. When you get something you begin to fear you won't get to experience it alters your perception some. Not only that but as I said in a post before I'm a veteran different mom now. I know this will all pass in a blink. I know the sleepless nights, the aching breasts, the demanding infant completely dependent on us for everything phase will be over before we know it. Before long it will just be a distant memory.

I'm also a mom that has again what one of the young inspirational moms I follow (one of the two rockstar little girls I use to babysit when I was a teenager) calls momfidence. I definitely lost it there for awhile, but now I know that I can handle the balancing act that is ahead when I return to work, the balancing act of fitting in time for myself to maybe lose that last 20 lbs when I'm ready and to just give myself that mental break when I need it without feeling that awful mommy guilt. Motherhood is a neverending journey of learning, growing, and changing, so no, I don't have it all figured out, but I do have enough confidence to know that I somewhat know what I'm doing, that I'm raising well loved lovable, kind kids, and that I got this with the joys and the struggles that tend to coexist in the journey of motherhood.

The circles under the eyes from lack of sleep,  the sometimes rough appearance, the little extra weight doesn't own and define motherhood for me. I own and define what motherhood is in my life.  I've waited a long time for this moment-to meet and have my three babies here with me, to live this vision of my own love story complete with this family of my own since I was a little girl. We can easily drown in the challenges of motherhood and raising a family, but whether it's the little struggles like no sleep or the bigger ones like fear for your baby's health it's really all our choice on whether we let motherhood take us down or whether we conquer motherhood and own it. I got this.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Living Life in the Fast Lane

Wow the whirlwind of this week is over. It started at about 4 am Monday morning on April 11 with contractions that convinced me in a little over an hour that maybe it was go time for baby boy's arrival. I couldn't and still can't believe that he came on the 11th. I spontaneously went into labor with all three kids and all three of their birthdays hit on our numbers, 3 and 11. If you remember we met in 11/2003 but our first date anniversary is 3/11. Our oldest was born 03/01/09, second 11/03/11, and now third 04/11/16.

I was suppose to be to the hospital four hours before I delivered to receive antibiotics for him to help in preventing passing a bacteria infection I tested positive for back at 30 weeks when I was having signs of early labor. I only ended up getting one of the two doses though as we made it to Labor and Delivery only three hours before he was born. They didn't seem too concerned that we never had time for the second dose. Timing wise I couldn't have asked for better timing as we were able to drop the girls off at daycare/school just a half hour early like it was any other Monday and my mother in law then had all day to drive down to pick them up later in the day for us to keep them for us in the days ahead. The contractions got worse way faster than I expected. Third baby and all I guess I should have expected that, but I just kept saying we have plenty of time because my labors always seem to take forever. After much teasing with Braxton Hicks for so long when he decided to come he was ready to do it the fast and furious fashion. We had an hour drive down into Baltimore during morning rush hour in the rain. Nate tried to get around all the sometimes stand still traffic with flashers and driving on the shoulder, which we later resulted in a completely flat tire in the tires I just bought in December. By the time we made it there I was definitely in labor at a 5 and with contractions coming one after the other. I was a seven in about another hour before they could even get me the damn epidural (Hats off to all those ladies that do this the good ole natural way without pain meds. I'm not that tough!). I finally around an eight got my epidural and got to catch my breath for maybe 45 minutes before it was go time. They didn't break my water because they were hoping that would help make it to the four mark for the second dose of antibiotics, but he was coming. Because they didn't break my water because it provides that protective barrier for him we all got an amniotic fluid bath when he came out. Good thing I brought Nate a change of clothes because he was in the splash zone.

Then because of the tumors on his heart a whole NICU team was there to evaluate him, but upon initial evaluation he passed and was left with us. And then began what I knew would be a bit of an overwhelming process. Due to the tumors found on his heart at 20 weeks gestation over the course of those three days in the hospital he would undergo six tests and we would meet with numerous doctors. As overwhelming as it was at times I was quite impressed with the coordination that was put in place by Hopkins to evaluate him, consult with us, and put together the referrals for future follow ups. Some of what we learned was what I/we expected; however, there were some things clarified for us that I think we were hoping wouldn't be.

The tumors they were seeing and diagnosing as rhabdomyoma tumors were confirmed with birth; however, it was also confirmed that they are still not interfering with the function of his heart. These tumors usually quit growing after birth and over time will more than likely shrink to the point they won't even be seen on an echo anymore. However, we knew the concern was for more than his heart if it was indeed this type of tumor. With it being a rhabdomyoma tumor it is more than likely he has something called tuberous sclerosis, which causes these tumors to grow in various organs. All the tests he underwent was to see if any other tumors were present on his other organs at this time. The tumors will show up on their heart in utero, but later in their life they can develop on their brain, eyes, skin, kidneys, and lungs for girls only though. Even though at this time no current tumors are growing anywhere else because the likelihood of him having TS due to the heart tumors being present we will follow up with testing and doctor consultations over the course of the next few years. If it never manifests itself in any other way I don't know if after five years they say he doesn't have it, but it doesn't sound like it as some people never learn they have it until they're an adult when tumors start showing up for the first time so he will have echos, MRIs, and ultrasounds probably at least once a year for his whole childhood.  I knew all the tests he underwent could only confirm he has it; it wouldn't be able to rule out that he doesn't. However, we had hoped a genetics could rule it out. I guess this is where our disappointment comes in because they can't 100% rule it out. They could either confirm it earlier for us or give us a probable no, but they can't guarantee that that no is 100% as his gene mutation could be a result of a gene they don't know about yet.

So at this point we continue to monitor the heart tumors and hope that we are past the scariest part of those, which in most all cases is utero when they could cause sudden problems with no time for intervention. And we watch for seizures for any sign of tumor growth on his little brain, and we will repeat most of the testing in a couple of months. One of my friends asked me, "How will I ever sleep again?" When all of this was first brought to me back in December I'm pretty sure it was the reason for my sleepless nights and those weird panic attacks I experienced. I know some may think I'm crazy, but I've had such strong intuition and dreams with this kid and I have continued to put my faith in God in whatever his plan has been with all of this since we started this journey to meeting this little boy a year and a half ago. I just know we're going to be okay. Even if it manifests itself again later, it's going to be manageable and we'll be able to handle it and Baby Lincoln will be okay. Do I hate to have to see him go through all these tests over and over again and possible whatever other medical interventions he may have to face to resolve any issues these tumors may cause? Yes! But I think this kid is going to surprise us with who he is and what he can handle and do.

He's my last baby. I'm not going to let fear and worry steal these precious moments from me. We'll take it as it comes but I have faith that God will see us through just like He has to this point. It's going to be okay. We were picked for him for a reason and he was picked for us for a reason. We're going to love on each other, and just like anything else in life we'll cross what hurdles we have to when we get there. Life is an uncertain road anyway; so we have something to be on the lookout for now that we didn't before, but the fears of the what ifs can't steal the joy of the right nows.

On top of all that this week Nate received a call late last Friday afternoon for a long awaited opportunity to interview for our school district's principal pool. It's the second to last step in a long process to getting an assistant principal position. Once accepted into the pool he will finally be considered and placed in the various principal openings that our school system is anticipating over the next two years. So we had a baby on Monday, then he had to prepare a three page narrative backed with data to submit in by 3:00 pm Tuesday so because he didn't know this until the weekend and we were a little busy having a baby on Monday he had to spend all day Tuesday at work getting all that prepared while Lincoln and I were at the hospital tackling all these tests and specialist consultations. Then Wed morning he had his interview at 9 so finally by noon on Wed he was able to rejoin us without interruption. Then this Friday afternoon he got another call that he has been accepted into the hiring pool for assistant principal! Even though he has one more step to go; getting placed in a school this was a huge step in the right direction of getting there. He has worked really hard for this opportunity, and I'm so excited and proud of him. He's going to be a great administrator and I'm so thankful he's worked for a boss this year  that has really supported him in his goals and ambitions in educational leadership.

We were finally released from the hospital at 7pm Wed night and jumped right back into our life with softball game for our oldest on Thursday night, fire with the neighbors and grandma Friday night, daddy/daughters movie date on Saturday, and lunch date with our Baltimore friends on Sunday. 

It's been a memorable week. I know our families worry about us at times out here by ourselves without any family within six hours with now three kids, busy careers, and just everything else in life that gets thrown at all of us at different times. But we got this. I know parents want to "fix" things or "take care" of things for their kids, and our families are just being parents that worry about us. I also like to think at this point though they know what we're capable of and believe that we can handle the road ahead.   Not only that but we have a wonderful support system. Whether it's our daycare providers, neighbors, or friends we've made in Baltimore and now in the last few years in this little town we chose to raise our family we have amazing people in our lives. But not only is it the people here that have stepped in like family at times, but this past week has shown us also how strong our support systems from back home is for us too. Whether it's our childhood and college friends or the adults that use to cheer us on the sidelines of our youth games so many supported and encouraged us on in this marathon week of life we just lived.

We are so incredibly blessed on so many different levels. Thanks to all our family and friends for loving us and supporting us not just this week but on this neverending journey that is our Glenn family story.


Monday, April 4, 2016

The Wait

Last April was an April I probably won't forget for a long time. It represented the loss of both our pregnancies in different ways. It was the due date of the first lost pregnancy and it would have been the gender reveal month of the second one we lost. Now in a twist of irony it is the month we are expecting our baby boy to arrive any day. Just as I was unfamiliar with the true emotions that follow lost pregnancies, I am unfamiliar with how my thoughts and feelings will change from here. In all honesty before my own experiences my thinking was as long as  you get a viable pregnancy that results in a baby shortly after those lost ones will seem insignificant. Is that really the way it is? It sounds so callous now, but for now I know it has marked my journey to here at the end of this pregnancy.  I know my perception of when a baby is a baby and when a mother becomes a mother is now much different than it was even two to three years ago when I had already experienced motherhood.

I feel like I've spent so much of this pregnancy afraid I'm going to lose him too. First it was getting through the first trimester without another miscarriage. I had to talk myself into the emotional risk of giving it one more shot at baby #3 as it was, and if we lost a pregnancy a third time I was mentally preparing myself to let the dream go. Then just as we made it through the first trimester and we found out he was a boy, we also found out there's a tumor on his heart. At first it was the concern that it could grow, block the function of his heart, and stop it. I never experienced anxiety that jolted me awake at night, left me sleepless, made me feel like I couldn't breathe and was having something like a panic attack like the weeks that surrounded that news and the first few follow up appointments. As the weeks turned into months and we followed up with routine cardiologist appointments even though the tumor did grow it was only growing in proximity to his heart and his heart continued to function as if nothing was there so the cardiologist has become more convinced it's a type of heart tumor that goes away after birth, which is great. However, they cannot confirm that until he's here and unfortunately that diagnosis is not that simple either as 50% of the time those tumors are associated with a genetic disorder in which tumors will grow on his other major organs like his brain, kidneys, and skin and can cause a variety of other minor to possible major problems but like most disorders it has a whole spectrum of how severely it can manifest. They will of course give him testing for this when he's born to try to determine if this is something he/we will have to face or can rule out. As much as that scares me I try to see some positive. One, is that there are way worse debilitating genetic disorders than this. With having such an early diagnosis much earlier than some who don't show signs until childhood he will get early proactive treatment which should keep the severity and problems any tumor growths could cause to a minimum, giving him the chance to really just be like any other kid (with a few extra doctor visits and tests than normal).

Just as my anxiety tapered down with his uncertain diagnosis I went to labor and delivery at 30 weeks with cramping that turned out to be due to a positive bacterial infection that even though they treated me for it with antibiotics I need to make sure I'm administered antibiotics 4 hours before delivery to avoid passing the harmful bacteria onto him. It's harmless to me and common in about 30% of pregnancies and as long as he has the antibiotic he should be fine, but of course if he's exposed to it there are several different serious complications that can result. They also weren't sure if the infection was causing preterm labor so they put me on bedrest for around two weeks to get us a little further along. Even though I wasn't released back to work until 34 weeks when the cramping went away around 33 weeks I was feeling pretty confident we were going to get through March without having a baby.

We did and April came. And here we are a year later in April again in the final month of pregnancy. My usual Braxton hicks contractions appeared to have changed in intensity that first day of April. However, I called April Fool's on him and decided to go to bed rather than check to see if it was the start of real labor. Good call on my part because they tapered back down the rest of the weekend. Then Sunday though there were other changes happening that are associated with early labor but early labor that can still be days to even as far as two weeks away, but then I thought I had possibly ruptured membranes about 10:00 on Sunday night. So at my sister's advice we made a practice run to the hospital that ended with a return trip home at 3 am with a false alarm.

I know technically we could still have a good three weeks as I'm just now 37 weeks this week, but I came home and kind of hit a wall of frustration. Maybe it's just because I'm nine months pregnant with fake contractions on a daily basis so I hurt from about mid section to the top of my legs whenever I'm up and moving around now, and it's just really uncomfortable to sleep now. As much as I complain about the physical aspect though I think it was more the mental aspect that dragged me down. I'm tired of waiting, worrying, wondering.  I just want to see him, hold him, know he's okay. I'm sure I'm still going to worry once he's here. Don't we worry about something and everything with any and all kids we have? But there's no moving forward until he's here.

I keep telling myself I've waited so long, over a year and a half since we started this journey to baby #3 and a family of 5. It's almost here. I can wait a little longer. That day when we will finally meet is oh so close.

                           I've rocked and nursed all my babies in this rocker and it's been empty for too long.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Waiting for the Moment

One minute it seems like it's been such a long road to the moment when you and I will finally meet. Then in other moments I can't believe in three short weeks or less we will finally meet. I look at your sisters lately and can't help but wonder what you will be like. In what ways will you be like them? In what ways will you be different than them. If there's anything I've learned from them it's that you will completely be your own person, different from them in small ways and in big ways. I've also learned from them that I'll love you for you.

Lately whether it's when we're all in the car on one of our trips or in the evenings when we're all sitting around the dinner table I wonder what our life will be like when we add you in the middle of the laughter and moments.

I don't know what the future holds for us or what challenges await us when you get here but we will figure it out. Sometimes I'm scared and worried and sometimes I'm confident and self assured it's all going to be okay. But I am so ready to meet you, baby boy. I've been waiting a long time. It's been a bit of a tough road to get this point, and even though we don't know for sure what we face when you do finally get here we're ready to do what we need to do to get you the best care possible and move forward into this new life that will now include you in it.

I don't know if it's the dream I had of you, that you're my last baby and a boy, or that I just get the opportunity to bond with you sooner because I can feel you moving around on a daily basis but I feel that I already know you and can't wait for the others to finally meet you too. Even with the medical challenges ahead and having to deal with two big sisters at home I get the sense that you're a bit of a feisty one yourself and will hold your own quite well. But I sense a bit of your oldest sister and dad in you too, which in having to deal with two probably older bossy sisters it will be a good thing if you're a little more go with the flow and don't let things bother you as easily. I guarantee you in the beginning they'll be all about doing everything and anything for you. They are so excited to be big sisters to a little brother.

We are so excited for you, little boy, and can't wait to welcome you into our world and our life. With the end of this week we're ready and we're now just waiting on you to say when!

                                            Big sisters excitedly awaiting your arrival!