Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Remembering The Baby Who Wasn't

If you're looking for a more cheerful post, you may want to visit me at 0 to Mom or Breakfast at Tiffany's...today's post here at How to Have a Baby is a bit more somber than my typical fare.

Two years ago, today, I was in the midst of miscarrying a baby I'd only known about for a short time but was already very much attached to. (We later found out that it was likely I'd lost two prior pregnancies as well, but so early on that I hadn't been aware. Read more about that here and here.)

I had a lot of different emotions going on in my head that weekend. I was confused - what was causing this to happen? I was numb - how could I have gone from so happy to so devastated so fast? I was angry - why were so many women able to have babies without any issues, but not me? And above all else, I was sad...so very, very sad.

Sitting here typing this, I'm looking at my little miracle - my Baby Bunny. She's rubbing her eyes right now - it's bedtime - and she's fussing for me to pick her up and start our night time rituals like one last feeding, a little rocking, and maybe some singing or a story. When I make faces for her, she smiles or giggles.

As happy as I am to have this wondrous baby in my life, I'm still sad over the baby who wasn't...who I never got to see, never got to hold, never got to really feel.

But there's Baby Bunny smiling at me again. And I'm struck by the thought that but for our miscarriage two years ago, we might never have our beautiful daughter to hold and hug and love and treasure.

You can't play either/or games with human lives. But I can definitely say that the broken pieces of my heart experienced a tremendous amount of healing because of my Baby Bunny.

To all of you moms with earth angels, hug them tight!

To all who have suffered losses or are still on the journey to having a baby in your arms, you're always in my prayers. I pray, especially, for you to experience the same healing that I have been able to have in my life.


Mama Bunny

Friday, March 20, 2009

Baby Bunny Birth Story

At long last, dear readers, the story of Baby Bunny's Birth! You can find more letters to Bunny over at 0 to Mom, detailing the first weeks and months of her life!

Dear Bunny,

In a sense, your birth story began in September 2008, when the doctor discovered that instead of having plenty of time left, you was already beginning to work your way out. But after I (semi-) followed doctor's orders to stay (mostly) off my feet and take it easy (I still worked, albeit from home several days each week instead of going to the office), you settled back in to stay for awhile.

Papa Bunny was gone to south Texas to aid in Hurricane Ike relief and I desperately didn't want you to come while he was gone. But once he was home...let the games begin!

The day before my 37 week checkup, I started experiencing sporadic contractions...that gradually increased in intensity even as the time between contractions decreased. When we headed to the doctor for my scheduled appointment, we were pretty sure that we'd end up staying and bringing you into the world.

We were wrong. I'd progressed, a bit, but not yet the real deal. Instead, it would be just over a week until you actually would arrive.

On your Mama Bunny's birthday, October 8th, some of her coworkers took her out to a nice, spicy Mexican lunch. Yum! At around the same time - noon - I began experiencing fairly mild contractions. I went back to work after lunch, and stayed until later afternoon. Luckily, I already had started wrapping work up in anticipation of your arrival!

By the time I got home, at around 5 PM, the contractions had become noticeably stronger. I started logging them in an Excel file so that I had good information to give to the doctor if and when I called. My contractions came at about 5 minute intervals and lasted around a minute. As the intensity grew, I became more and more certain that you were coming - in fact, I thought you might get here in time to share my birthday! I charted 65 total contractions.

At 8, I called the doctor to ask if we should head to the hospital. Her on-call partner called me back and said to come on in. I called Papa Bunny, who made the 30 mile drive home from work in 20 minutes flat. (I'm not kidding. I timed him.) I wasn't going to be rushed in packing for the hospital, however. I wanted to eat another meal, first, since I knew they wouldn't let me eat once we got there. And I wanted to double and triple check all of my hospital bags to really make sure I was ready. Finally, we headed out the door, and made the 30 mile drive to the hospital in 20 minutes. I was continuing to chart contractions on the laptop in the car while Papa Bunny drove like a maniac.

When we got to the hospital at around 10:15, we went to L&D triage, where we would spend the next two hours being monitored. You see, Bunny, they had to make sure Mama Bunny was actually progressing, or they would have sent us home. But we made progress! Shortly after midnight, we got settled into Labor and Delivery room 8 - I took that as a great sign, since that is my lucky number! We had a fabulous nurse and the doctor came several times to check on us.

Your Mama was doing pretty good with pain - no drugs yet - until about 5 AM. You see, I was continuing to dilate fabulously - but my water never broke on it's own. So the on-call doctor decided to do me a "favor" and break it for me. Not a favor. Let the pain begin! I went about 90 minutes before the dear, kind, wonderful anesthesiologist came to start a light epidural for me.

Time went fairly quickly overnight, but then started to drag a bit as morning rolled around. So what's a Mama Bunny to do but boot up her laptop and get some work done as she awaited your arrival! She even posted to this blog to let everyone know you were coming! In the meantime, we moved closer and closer to your birth, because having my water broken definitely sent things into fast forward.

Papa Bunny got suited up so he could stay in the room while you were being born, and when 9:30 rolled around, it was time to start pushing! Luckily, shifts had changed, and my actually doctor was now available to deliver you. She came to check on me at 8:30 and stayed until almost 9, asking the nurse to let her know when I was ready to start pushing. Well...it was only a few minutes later!

I was lucky, in that a lighter epidural than normal was used. This meant that I had the benefit of much of the pain being blocked, but the even greater benefit of having near-full control over my legs, so I could also be in control of pushing. (And we all know that Mama Bunny doesn't easily give up control!) I called the shots on pushing, and every time the nurse told me that I could stop and rest, I always went a push or two more. That's how anxious I was to meet you, Baby Bunny!

Finally, at exactly 11:00 AM, the doctor untucked your stuck ears and you came crying into this world. Because a bit of meconium had come out when my water broke, you were immediately whisked away to get suctioned out. But I could hear you perfectly and could even see you fairly well. And Papa Bunny was by your side, snapping your first few pictures. You measured in at 19.5 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 7.3 ounces. We called you our numbers baby: born at 11 AM on 10/09/08 at 7 pounds!

After what seemed like an obscenely long length of time but was in reality only 10 minutes, you were brought over and laid in my arms. Baby Bunny, I have never had a happier moment in my life. And Papa Bunny tells me that I was crying my eyes out. The doctor and the hospital staff gave us about an hour and a half to cuddle you and take in what a beautiful baby you were before they came to move us upstairs to a private room. During that time, Papa Bunny called family and friends to let them know you were here, while Mama Bunny sent text messages to coworkers and other friends.

After we got upstairs, we let the nursery come to take you away for your first bath, so Mama Bunny could get a little bit of rest and Papa Bunny could get bags brought in from the car. It had been a very long night - your Mama was away for 30 hours by that time - and needed to close her eyes for a little while so she could devote all of her time to you later on! When the nurse from the nursery brought you back to my room, since you were rooming-in, she couldn't stop gushing over your long and beautiful hair and what a pretty baby you were. Mama and Papa completely agreed!

You had quite a few visitors at the hospital. Even though your grandparents all lived far away and couldn't be around when you were born, your Mama and Papa have some great friends who are going to be just like family to you. For instance, your Aunt Danielle came to see you on your very first day of life, when you were only 6 hours old. She loved holding you - and who wouldn't? On the next day, October 10th, you had a ton of visitors. First was Cheryl, one of Mama Bunny's coworkers. Next, Aunt Kelly and Uncle Steve came to spend a few minutes with you and welcome you to the world.

Mama Bunny's two Goddaughters, Gracie and Abby, couldn't wait to come see you, either, and they came on the night of the 10th. Gracie was thrilled to be allowed to have you propped on her lap while Abby sat by your side. And Mama Bunny was thrilled to have her daughter and Goddaughters all together! I just know that the three of you are going to be thicker than thieves as you grow up together - there are 2.5 years between Gracie and Abby and 2.5 years between Abby and you, Baby Bunny, and those are great intervals to make you perfect playmates!

Although the hospital staff was great to us during our stay, we couldn't wait to go home. Baby Bunny, make note: a hospital is a horrible place to recover. Between people coming in and out of the room at all hours of the day, loud noise and bright lights, it was like trying to take a vacation at a circus. Plus, Papa Bunny had to sleep on a little folding cot that wasn't exactly...comfy! And so on the morning of October 11th, we got you dressed and ready to go in your cuter-than-cute going-home outfit and waited (im-)patiently for the hospital to check us out. You weren't too sure about your car seat, but once you were snugged into there for a few minutes, you were happy as a clam and we headed home to start our new life as a family.

We love you, Baby Bunny!

Papa & Mama Bunny

Keep reading as Baby Bunny grows over at 0 to Mom, where I'll be posting a series of letters to tell the baby all about her first weeks and months. And please continue to visit me here as I continue to blog about the trials and triumphs of How to Have a Baby.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Post Baby TTC Thoughts

Now that the baby is here, I've spent a lot of time reflecting back on my TTC journey. That definitely wasn't the most pleasant time in my life. From the insane highs on the months that I thought we might be successful, to the lowest of lows when we experienced a loss, it was a roller coaster all the way around. It's sometimes hard for me to wrap my head around all that happened and all of the effort that went into starting our family.

These days, I sometimes stare at the baby for hours on end. She's perfect, of course. And watching her grow and learn and really develop her personality is the absolute best part of life. We are so incredibly lucky to have our Bunny.

We've fielded the question, a lot, on when we'll have more children. It's a question that troubles me. I very much don't want our Bunny to be an only child. I grew up as an only child...and I thought it was awful. Still do, in fact. But I'm almost afraid to even start trying for another child. I have so many "what ifs." What if we have more losses? What if we have many, many more months of zero success, like before?

Don't get me wrong - we're not yet at the point of even trying. Bunny's only 5 months old - we want to enjoy the heck out of her for awhile longer before adding to our family. But, as you know, dear readers, my mind doesn't shut off easily, so I'm already spending time thinking about this.

Mamas who have been on the arduous TTC journey for multiple kids: how did you pep yourself up to start another trip on the TTC train? What was your experience like the 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th, or...) time around versus the first?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's in a Name?

My persona at "How to Have a Baby" has been semi-anonymous. I've revealed my name and even linked back to my other blogs, but (up until now) I still post and comment as "Future Mommy."

But since Bunny is already here...I feel the need to undergo a transformation.

Therefore...Future Mommy is now Mama Bunny.

Future Daddy is now Papa Bunny.

And Future Baby is simply BUNNY!

I'll be changing the way my "name" displays as well as the intro piece over in the sidebar.

A great big thank you to the ladies who have been following this blog for nearly two years now...I look forward to continuing conversations with you in the future.

And a big thank you, as well, to the constant stream of visitors who find their way to How to Have a Baby from all over the internet. I hope that you are able to find useful information when you visit here, and plan to come back often in the future!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Did You Miss Me?

Howdy, dear readers!

I've missed you all terribly, but once I decided that my work maternity leave needed to extend to my blogs, I was determined to stick it through.

So why did I go cold turkey on blogging for 3.5 months? That's easy. Because I needed and wanted to spend as much attention on baby girl as I could, both while I was still away from my full-time job on maternity leave, and also during the first few weeks that I learned to balance my new schedule once I returned to work.

And let me tell ya...it's been tough! The kiddo definitely keeps me on my toes. That...and she doesn't sleep. Seriously. Her limit is 3 hours. She slept for 5 hours once, about a month ago, and I actually woke her up because I was frightened that something was wrong...since she'd never slept so long before! She's doing absolutely wonderfully well. Growing like a weed! And, of course, is the most beautiful/smart/sweet/lovable child ever born.

Balancing work and baby is definitely a challenge. I am going to start referring to myself as a semi-single parent. The great news about my husband and I working opposite shifts is that the baby doesn't have to go to daycare. The bad news about my husband and I working opposite shifts is that when we're home with the baby, we're almost always home alone with the baby...as in, no back up if I'm trying to work on writing and the kiddo starts fussing...and keeps fussing for the rest of the night. And then during the one day a week that we're actually home together, I feel guilty wanting to work on writing...since it's our only day when the 3 of us have significant time together. So I'm still learning to balance. More on that later, over at 0 to Mom.

I read a ton of books while on maternity leave - about the only thing I could really accomplish during the kiddo's 10 minute naps. (No, I'm not kidding. During the day, her naps typically only last 10-20 minutes.) The book blog, unfortunately, is behind by 30 books right now. ACK! So, until I get up-to-date, mosey on over to Read and Release and check out my old reviews (there's a ton of them!) and I'll let you know when the new ones are up.

We've been asked about a million times so far when we'll be having more kids...and although the answer to that is "not yet," I will be continuing to writing about the TTC journey over at How to Have a Baby. Even after 3 months on hiatus, that blog has enormous search engine popularity for phrasing related to family planning and so I will be continuing to post both on my own experience as well as general factoid-ish articles. And speaking of family planning, please tell me that while I've been on hiatus, some stupid unemployed and unmarried woman didn't actually have in vitro and add 8 babies to her family that already had 6 kids. I guess I'll save that rant for another post.

On the "keeping my sanity" front, I have finally begun the process of truly dealing with my father's death. I simply couldn't begin dealing with it in the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy. And then once the baby was here and wasn't well...and when I got sick (learn all about my mastitis in a post later this week at HTHAB)...and then when my in-laws were here for 3 weeks...and then when I was down after having all 4 wisdom teeth out...and then when more family was here throughout Christmas...and then when I first went back to work...

Basically, I completely comparmentalized my life for about 6 months just to keep my head glued on. On an interesting note, one of the ways that I've chosen to deal with Dad's death is to make him the focus of the speech I've recently used to win club and area level competitions in Toastmasters. It's not a sob-story speech - don't worry, I don't do that. But it deals with the topic of sharing memories - learning more about your friends and family through their special memories, and sharing your own remembrances with others. I only briefly mention his Alzheimer's-related memory loss, but instead choose to honor him by sharing one of my favorite memories in the speech. I've submitted a volunteer profile to get more involved in the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association this year, as a part of their speaker's bureau as well as in helping to plan the DFW area's 6 memory walks later in 2009. I also successfully nominated the Alzheimer's Association to be the recipient of donations during one of 12 monthly dress-down days at my company. Miss you, Daddy.

And...that's the update in a nutshell from my world! I look forward to catching back up with all of you, my dear readers, over the next few weeks as I ramp back up on blogging both at Breakfast at Tiffany's as well as my other blogs! In addition...I'll be announcing two new blogs where you can check me out shortly! One is a cookbook blog that I'm working on with my husband and his aunt, and another is the long-awaited Obama blog! Stay tuned!


(simultaneously posted to 0toMom, Breakfast at Tiffany's and How to Have a Baby.)