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Life, PART TWO…

I can’t believe I skipped a year. A whole year without writing! How is that even possible? Life as I knew it in my 30’s, 20’s and childhood is gone. I feel as if I’m entering Part Two of my story. Part One was exciting and all… but I’m really looking forward to this next segment.  I feel it has much to offer.

I’ve used this blog to write about my dogs, my journey of trying to have more kids, an outlet… Somewhere along the line I struggled with writers block. I love writing. Despite my occasional grammar errors or misspelled word, I have written because it was something I found much joy in.  So here I am, recognizing my dry spell and thinking it’s time I put an end to it. I am not sure what “direction” I want to take my blog, but it’s going to be reorganized.

 

Me and Miss J

Me and Miss J

This is my life now:  I no longer have my chocolate labs. Sadly Lola passed from cancer and Lulu went back to live with my ex, where she is spoiled and receives all the attention and room to roam that she deserves.

I am no longer an office worker who longs to roam free… I now roam free daily. Well, as free as my two toddlers will let me! I am now a full time mom, who dabbles in social media management on the side.

My partner in crime, Scott, works from home as well. Though he is more nocturnal and spends his time working through the night and sleeping through the day.

I now have all my kids at home.  My oldest, an adult, and my youngest, TODDLERS!

To show respect for Scott’s veganism, we have a meatless household.  Though I am not a vegan, when you live with one it sort of takes on a life of its own and because it affects my life, I’ve been getting educated on the topics of food – nutrition, where it comes from, and how to make it tasty!

And speaking of eating, I’m still on a mission to lose my baby weight from my last pregnancy.

These are just a few of the things that I spend my days thinking about.  These are the things that have meaning to me. So, these are the things I will be writing about—what it’s like being this “older” mom of toddlers, all the interesting things I’m finding out about food and recipes, what it’s like to live as a cougar-ish woman, and pretty much anything that is going on in life.

So this is to be the ice breaker.  And now….  PART TWO of my blog!!

 

Two under two…

My two under two.

I’m no stranger to being a parent, having been one for 20 (almost 21) years. I’ve been a married parent, a single parent, a step parent, a surrogate parent… yeah, I know parenting.  Or, so I thought!

When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy my partner in crime, Scott, kept telling me, “You’re going to need help… Seriously, Sandy, you’re going to need help.” In my hormonal state, every  time he spouted that sentence at me, I wanted to slap him. I am an independent, fully capable, woman… help?! *SNORT*

I had a plan. A well laid plan. In my head, not on paper, because everyone knows everything looks easier on paper.  ANYway, about the plan: I would continue breastfeeding Dublin and perfect tandem nursing, thus achieving my goal of breastfeeding each of my kids until they turn two. I was going to get up every morning by eight. I was going to have a clean house.  My days would be filled with productivity… from playing structured games with my almost two year old, Dublin, all the while I would be baby wearing my newest addition, Juniper, in one of the many baby carrying devices I recently acquired.  We would go to the park, we would play on our patio, we would walk to get Starbucks… oh the fun we would have, the three musketeers!  And why shouldn’t I be able to achieve this, after all I’d been able to do it two times before!

Here is where the universe has a hearty laugh at my expense; as well as all the other moms who have more than one child under a certain age. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. And they laugh and laugh and laugh! This is where they say, “Sandy… it doesn’t really count when one child is 20 years old and the other is 20 months. That’s sorta like cheating.”

Two under two… it’s a new game, with new rules.

I know that there are wonder-moms out there; I’ve seen them in pictures. I’m pretty sure they exist. I, however, am not one of them….

On a good day I get up around 8. But on a bad day, it could be 4 a.m., 2 a.m., noon, 3pm, or any other random number that resides on a clock.  My new translation of a good day is when I get 4 hours of consecutive sleep, I don’t have many of those kind of good days.  A good day is when the family room floor is toy free for 2 hours (that usually happens during nap time). A good day is when the dishes are done and the laundry has made it out of the dryer and as far as a laundry basket. My bedroom floor currently has about 5 filled baskets. I think it’s time to buy more baskets.

Most days I feel like a cow… no, not in the traditional “I feel fat” sort of way, I’m too tired to care about THAT right now. No, I mean literally… I feel like a milk supply outlet. If I’m not feeding Juniper, I’m feeding Dublin. And sometimes, when I’m feeling adventurous and ambidextrous, I’ll feed both at the same time. Maybe I should say when I’m feeling adventurous and amBOOBextrous! Haha. ANYway,  I seem to constantly have a boob out. Don’t get me wrong… I’m a happy cow; I come from California after all! I’m a thrilled and happy cow, except when Dublin bites me. Then I’m not so happy. Or when he drags his teeth… oh my friggon lord, that HURTS!

**On  a side note: I’ve lost ALL of my Juniper weight!! Just don’t get me started about how much Dublin weight I still have to lose! Ugh! **

So, after all my firm and unequivocal “NO, I WILL NOT NEED HELP!!!” it is with a enormous relief that I hand off Dublin to Scotts mom when she arrives several mornings during the week to watch him while I run back to bed and try to catch a couple of hours more sleep, Juniper willing. Or, while I clean the bathroom… Or, while I try and catch up on any number of things I’m currently behind in!!

I have a new found respect for all women who have performed this juggling act before me, those who can do it with grace and style. I’m 5.5 weeks into this parenting two under two and have not found my groove yet, but when I do… I hope to join the ranks of those other fabulous mommy’s out there that actually make it beyond their front door with spawn in tow. (I have ventured out by myself for walks in the double stroller, but the thought of going to Target BY MYSELF accompanied by both kids has me breaking out in a cold sweat.) While I’ve not found my groove yet, I have to say this new chapter in life is a challenge that I am feeling so blessed to be venturing in to. Bring on the spit up, the poop, the crying, the tantrums… because at the end of the day, when I get a toddler hug or a newborn smile… my heart melts with joy.  Yup, I’m feeling very blessed to have the opportunity to do this two under two thing.

Pregnant at 42…

No, Im not psycho... just like to be sure. (7 tests)

Yes, you counted right-- that's SEVEN tests. I wanted to be sure!

If luck be a lady and I be that lady, then I am so knocked up right now! Despite the fact that we were on the look out for a double lined pregnancy test, it was still a shock to get one. Then to get another one and the one after that one… and 7 tests later, still seeing all the positive results lined up in a row, I’m in a state of disbelief. I feel so very lucky and oh-so-very scared at the same time.

Though I’m obviously beating out the statistics for a woman my age in the conception department, it’s still very scary- all those statistics running around in my head. I know it’s possible to beat the odds, I just did it with the fabulously healthy little one-year-old running around my house. But will I beat the odds again?? I truly hope so.

I’m 7 weeks along, or at least I think. Being me, things were not cut and dry. First off, I got an “inconclusive” blood test. Never even knew that “maybe pregnant” was an option for pregnancy blood tests! It did, after a few days and a retest, give me the positive I was hoping for. Our first ultrasound appointment, where we were supposed to see a heartbeat, showed that we were earlier than THEY thought. I’d have been freaking out, but I suspected with a certainty that I’d ovulated late. So now we’re waiting for our next ultrasound, which will be in a week.

Meanwhile, I hold my breath, look at my son and repeat, “Yes… I CAN do this!”

Riding a bike in traffic…

Week before the layoff...

Week before the layoff...

I started this entry a billion years ago, or so it seems. I had it open on my laptop, vowing to finish it THAT day, then the NEXT day, then the next… but there it sat.

Eventually, it became a bit obsolete.

What I planned on writing was: “Having a baby again after so many years has been just like riding a bike… except this time around it’s like riding a bike in traffic.”

And that was to start a colorful bit about how I was doing great as a mom, but had a bunch of extras going on at the same time. And that’s true… I did pile on the extras. And on and on and on.

Not only did I have my 2nd child after 19 years… but I decided to change my job of 15 years and my town of 25+ years. Yup, we up and moved, so I could start a brand new exciting position of an assistant to the president of a winery in Sonoma county.

I was very nervous… what if things didn’t work out? How would I feel leaving Dublin behind, when I left for work every day? How was I going to find the time to move… to pack… to unpack… to nurse…. to sleep??

And that’s when you just sort of jump, both feet, into the deep end and go for it.

Alas, yadda yadda yadda… the job didn’t work out. A month and a half in, no notice, I was let go. I worked my arse off for my boss and BOOM… one morning I have a job and that evening I didn’t.

I got a real taste of the rat race. The 110mph kind. And I didn’t like it and it showed. It’s not that I have an aversion to work… absolutely I do not. However, 110 mph is where crash and burn happens… I’m more into going the speed limit!

So here we are, having moved to Sonoma county for a new job that is no longer.

All of a sudden, I’m a full time mom, by no choice of my own. But here’s the thing: I’ve WANTED to be a full-time mom…. it’s just that financially it wasn’t an option. Now that it’s forced to be an option, I’m really conflicted. I’m excited to be at home, but at the same time I feel horrible that I’m not going to be able to financially contribute more than unemployment. I don’t even know how much that will be, never having been on unemployment before.

To review: new mom, new town, new job, new termination, new unemployment…. new challenges.

My brain is still whirling from being let go from a job that I was trying so hard to master. I’m depressed, I’m happy, I’m anxious. I don’t know if I’ll try and jump into another job full-time, or just go part-time. I don’t know if we’re going to move out of this area, since we were only here for the job. I don’t know how I’ll live without my weekly Starbucks (costly) treats. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself…

Don’t expect me to become an extreme couponer anytime soon… but I do need to figure somethings out. Meanwhile, I’m going to try and write more.

B is for Baby…

Meet Dublin!

Meet Dublin!

I’ve been trying to write this blog for the last 9 weeks…but I’m finding it hard to write with just one hand! Why one hand?? Because the other arm is busy holding my new little man!

Yes, my beautiful bundle of joy has arrived. Packaged in a 7 pounds, 8 ounce, package. I’m too tired from every two hour feedings to process that I am now a parent again! No time to think, only time to do!!

My little bundle is taking a nap and I’m going to test the bounds of how fast I can type, in order to fill in the gaps of the past 9 weeks:

After hearing the statistics regarding “maternal advanced aged” placenta’s falling short on the job past the 40 week mark, I was going to take no chances and agreed to the advantages of being induced at 39 weeks. I set the date for October 28th, because it was a Friday and would be convenient for grand parents to visit. Though, I truly believed he’d show up before the scheduled date. He didn’t, I was induced.

October 27th I went to work, as usual, came home… and packed for the hospital. I went to bed early, but sleep eluded me. I couldn’t believe my journey was finally coming to the finale, that the finish line had arrived.

To recap the crazy journey that lead up to this date: I’m a sorta cougar. I met and fell in love with a man who is a decade younger than I. On our first date we discussed the fact that he wanted kids in his future and I had my tubes tied. After celebrating a year together, we decided to pursue starting a family together. We met with a doctor to discuss our options… IVF was touted as the best option, but a tubal reversal was also brought up. Tubal reversal was the cheapest option (though, by no means cheap!!) and though the statistics said that having a tubal at my age didn’t put the cards in our favor, we decided to roll the dice and go for it. I had the surgery and month after month we tested negative for a pregnancy. We heard about a study that offered “free” IVF (though it really was to cost around $4000, which compared to the normal $20,000 of IVF makes it feel sorta free) and decided to try for it. After having to go through several testing procedures, we were accepted into the program. I made arrangements with my work to take off the necessary time off and we were at the start line, just waiting for my cycle to start, when I ended up with a positive pregnancy test.

Every bit of the 9 months I was pregnant I didn’t take for granted the fragility of it all. Every day I worried that we wouldn’t make it to the finish line. And even once that wonderful day arrived, I was still nervous and feeling anxious.

It had been 19 years since the last time I was in the maternity ward. The last visit, I woke up in labor, my water broke at home and once I arrived at the hospital it was only about 3 hour before my daughter arrived. This go around I knew it wouldn’t be so fast. I arrived on schedule at 8 a.m. By 9:30 they gave me the little pill that was supposed to get things started. My doctor arrived at some point in the morning to let me know what to expect for the day. I was told that I was probably going to start feeling things in a few hours and could hopefully expect the arrival of my son sometime that night.

My daughter, Scott, his mom and his dad were my visitors for the day. I forbid food to be eaten in the room, because I wasn’t allowed to eat any solids (in case of C-secion). I spent my time walking in circles around the halls of the maternity ward and peeing (he was resting on my bladder until the very end).

Sometime around 6pm-ish my doctor walks into my room and after I smiled and said, “Hi”, he replied, “Tis isn’t what I wanted to see… “

I guess I didn’t seem like I was in pain. But I was, I just hide it well. In fact, the nurses didn’t believe that I was really in pain either. They said that even though my external monitors showed my levels being really high, the contractions were probably measuring less severe. They said they’d put an internal monitor to more accurately monitor my contraction levels. Once the internal monitor was put into place, they found that my contraction levels were actually measuring more intense than the external.

Ha-ha! Boo-YA!

After that… all hell broke loose! My contractions intensified and next thing I knew, they were scrambling saying that they didn’t know if the doctor would make it on time. He did. Though, in all the excitement, the room hadn’t been prepared.

All the while, I am busying myself with pushing. Pushing. Pushing.

While pushing. Pushing. Pushing. I felt EVERYTHING. The song “Ring of Fire” (Jonny Cash) played in my brain. And the thought “I’m NEVER doing this AGAIN” occurred to me more than once.

I pushed and pushed and pushed. Believing the doctor when he said, “you’re almost there… “ And he wasn’t lying, because I was almost there.

At 7:25p, on October 28th…. our son, Dublin, arrived. He weighed in at 7 lbs, 8oz, and was 20 inches long.

He’s wonderful and beautiful… and healthy. I feel like I have won the lottery. I’ve never been so tired in my entire life… but I’m also over the moon in love with him.

Life is a crazy journey. Who woulda thought I would try to have a baby at 40. Who woulda thought I would succeed!! YAY ME!

That was then. This is now….

I’m officially two weeks away from being full term. My doctor even said so, thus making it law. I’m so excited and petrified! I can’t help but think how they’re so much easier to take care of when they’re still neatly packaged within the womb! Soon there will be crying (or, let’s be more accurate, screaming!) accompanying his wiggles. Soon there will be feedings that don’t’ just involve me helping myself to a seconds at dinner. And soon there will be poopy diapers, in all their stinking glory, helping to bring the reality home….. We are not longer pregnant; we are zombie-tired parents at the beck and call of our little boy.

I feel like I’m in a state of limbo. I feel that I’ve read myself out. I can no longer read ahead in the “What to Expect While You’re Expecting” book, because I’m near the end stretch. I HAVE read it all, so much so that I can practically recite what I should be feeling during this week, as well as the next 5 weeks, or tell you that, “YES, peeing every 10 minutes is normal behavior at this stage of the game.” So instead of reading, now I just mainly stare at a calendar. I’m so ready to get to the finish line and exhale. …

I never worried while pregnant with Sonora. Probably it was because I was 21 and had that feeling of invincibility, not so in touch with the fragility of life. It never even occurred to me that I had anything to worry about. This time around …. GAH! I’ve been holding my breath the whole time. I would get to some milestone, like 12 weeks, only to hear of someone else sadly having a miscarriage. Then I would get to 20 weeks and again, hear of another of tragic loss. I would go online and read statistics of survival rates of micro-preemies, just to give myself some sort of comfort that my baby WAS viable if the worst case scenario would have happened. Someone should have seriously taken my internet access away!! I have been pretty masochistic in my surfing behavior.

Epiphany! The internet hadn’t been a household item when I was pregnant with Sonora, otherwise… I probably would have been holding my breath back then too!!



While the internet has been feeding into my worry-wart-ways, it has also been a blessing. Back when I was pregnant with Sonora, if I wanted to shop for baby items, I had to *gasp* go to the store! The only super highway I was traveling on, was the one leading south to a bigger city. And that highway was anything but super, seeing how it only had two lanes…



Yup, things have changed a lot in the past 19 years. When I gave my daughter her first bath, I pulled out the “What to Expect the First Year” book and propped it open by the sink. This go around, it will be my laptop with a Youtube video sitting just out of splashing distance from the sink.

The Big Exhale….

Hello?? Hello?? Anybody here??


I feel like I should be going to some writers confessional: Forgive me, for I have sinned… it’s been four months since my last blog entry….


My only explanation for my lack of writing is that I’m still holding my breath. I’m still so in awe of being pregnant, that a part of me still views it as fragile. It’s like I don’t want to move, for fear of jinxing it.


So far, everything is going great. My biggest pregnancy complaint? That would be regarding my emotional state of mind having been a bit volatile. You just don’t mess with a pregnant woman. Her hormones will smack you up and down!! I think there have been moments where Scott has been scared of me, very-VERY scared! I’m surprised he hasn’t got a stash of holy water to pull out and toss in my face when my hormones take possession of me…

I have 11 or 12 more weeks left, depending on who you believe. My level-2 ultrasound dated the pregnancy as being a week farther along, but my doctor’s sticking with his original due date and is convinced that I “just have big babies”. That’s not something a pregnant woman wants to hear… that I’m destined to have a big baby! AWK! I want to have a nice 8 pound baby boy… and a FAST delivery! Oh, and as long as I’m putting in an order, it’d be nice to walk out of the hospital in pre-pregnancy sized jeans! Hahahah….

Did I mention I’m having a boy?? Yup, it’s a boy!! :)


To be continued (I promise)…..

Does this pregnancy make me look phat??

Today I’m 10 weeks pregnant. I’m still holding my breath. A week from today is our next doctors appointment and we’ll get to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. There is a fear inside me that when we go, the doctor won’t hear anything and we’ll be told that the baby stopped growing. I will have momentary rushes of peace and a feeling that everything is going to be alright…. but then my neurotic side takes over and become the nay-sayer of “what if’s”. I wish I could bitch slap my neurotic side, I really do.

Meanwhile, my energy returned somewhere near the end of week 8. I had a very brief period where I flirted with nausea, but it really never turned into anything. At this 10 week mark, the most obvious “symptom” I have is extreme mood swings. Everything irritates me or makes me want to cry. For example:

HIM: Are you irritable today?

ME: Are you going to ask me that every day?!?

HIM: Well….are… you…??

ME: WELL, I am now!!

My clothes are beginning to scream at me. From an expanding bosom, to a waist that is pushing the limits of my jeans…. I am seeing CHANGES. My closet is now full of clothes that no longer look appropriate on me, unless I’m trying to pull off the stripper-tight look. I have dabbled in maternity clothes shopping, but I’m still too scared to commit. What if this pregnancy doesn’t take?? I can’t stand the thought of being stuck with a bunch of maternity clothes. So instead of full out shopping, I have bought a few items on the cheap off the internet, at a consignment shop and from ROSS.

Physically I feel great at the moment, which is really freaking me out…. which doesn’t help my irritability! I am counting down the minutes until next Thursday and hoping hoping HOPING that we hear a thump-thump-thump-thump thump. Until then, WATCH OUT…. don’t look at me wrong…. because I’m in a mood.

Seeing Double….

A funny thing happened on the way to IVF….. I wound up pregnant. I know, that was such an incredibly cliché thing to do!

So here I am 8 weeks, 5 days, pregnant. I am still living in disbelief and a bit of terror. One of my first thoughts was, “What. Have. I. Done.” It’s almost like I got so transfixed with the trying aspect of getting pregnant, that I really didn’t see beyond that. I mean I DID… but I didn’t. It was the dream that seemed a bit unattainable. Seriously think about it, I can’t even mend a garden hose and yet a doctor was able to sew up my fallopian tubes, after having had them lie around twiddling their thumbs for over 10 years, and on top of that, to have them…. WORK!?!?! And at my age. With my numbers. Disbelief.
Soooo…. Here I am, pregnant. Wow.

I didn’t NOT write about being pregnant because I was trying to follow some first trimester announcement protocol, no… it is simply because I’ve still not exhaled. I’m still holding my breath, though with this blog I hope to exhale a little bit.

We were literally waiting to start the IVF cycle when I found out I was pregnant. I don’t even know what possessed me to take a pregnancy test, perhaps it has just become such a habit and it built itself into my cycle routine. Whatever the reason, there I was taking a pregnancy test in the middle of the afternoon. I was ready to toss it with disgust at another single line staring back at me, when I realized that I was being greeted by two lines. TWO LINES!!??!! I was shocked. Sonora, who was heading out that weekend for Florida, had JUST said to me, “I bet you end up pregnant and don’t need IVF…” That girl was eerily correct!! That night Scott, Sonora and I go out for a “goodbye” dinner for Sonora and afterwards stop and buy another pregnancy test, this time a digital one. I say that I’m going to take it in the morning, but of course I don’t wait and take it immediately when we get home. The next day there are four tests all lined up in a row…. All saying the same thing: Pregnant.

3.5 weeks and Scott and I are at the doctor’s office. The doctor is shocked that I even took a test. He even asked me why I took a test so soon and I just sort of shrugged and laughed, which was much better than having to admit that I buy them in bulk and take them like they had become my new hobby.

Since 3.5 weeks was too soon to see anything on an ultrasound, the doctor sent me for blood work. My HCG levels came back and yup… pregnant! Feb 22nd they were 323 and on the 25th they jumped to 1453! (They’re supposed to double every couple of days.)

5 weeks in I developed a HUGE cold. Obviously I didn’t take anything for it, just spent the weekend in bed blowing my nose and feeling miserable. 5 and a half weeks in I am feeling better, but decided to stay home from work and get a little bit more rest. I was walking to the kitchen when I realize that something wasn’t right. I was bleeding. I called my doctors office and they told me they could get me in later that afternoon. I just knew that I’d lost the baby. I sat down on my sofa and cried….

Later that day in my doctor’s office, the doctor dimmed the lights and performed an ultrasound. And we got to see that the baby was located in the right spot and after magnifying the image, the doctor said that he could see what looked like heart activity. He said this made him “Cautiously optimistic” and things were probably fine and the baby was ok.

I spotted for a week and a half. Each day that I spotted I was miserable. Scott was patient with me as I had several emotional ups and downs. We didn’t want to lose the baby… though I knew that if we did, it was probably some genetic issue and it “would be for the best.”

7.5 weeks in and we have another doctor’s appointment. This time there is no doubt about seeing a heart beat! The baby is the appropriate size and has a heartbeat. The doctor tells us that after seeing a heartbeat, the risk of miscarriage goes down…. However, because of my age- there is still a higher risk for me. But, again, he’s optimistic.

Today I’m 8 weeks and 5 days. I’m still scared, daily. We’ve already announced it to friends and family, already posted a picture of the ultrasound on Facebook…. And have already received the cautionary warnings that we’re announcing it too soon. But here’s the deal: We’re celebrating the life that is inside me RIGHT NOW. Because as of the last doctors visit, this baby was alive. What if things don’t work out?? Well, then they don’t work out. But we’ll know that we did get to enjoy the little time I had being pregnant with this baby. Not for everybody, but this is how we roll. And that makes me happy. Because it’s too easy to rest in that familiar space of fear, at least for me.

I know my risk for miscarriage is higher than the average under 35 year old. And I don’t think I’m above complications. But when do you say when?? I can list off several examples of women who have sadly experienced miscarriages from 5 week to 8 months. And I find it easy to dwell on these, with pure terror… but, at some point I need to give my neurotic self a break and say, “whatever will be will be…. “ And instead of being on some morbid death watch…. I’m going to try and be optimistic that it IS going to work out. And instead I want to focus my terror on things to come, like childbirth (OUCH!) and terrible two’s (AWK!) and having a teen in my 50’s (AHHHHHHH!!!!).

7.5 Weeks

7.5 Weeks

Waiting. Hoping. Waiting.

On Tuesday, when I had still not heard from the clinic, I called about the test results and was told that it turns out that the only one who is able to access those test results is the woman who runs the research program, since they were sent to the research programs special lab. Unfortunately, she is out of town and won’t be back until Monday. MONDAY! The two days I expected to wait until we knew if we were in the program is now going to turn into two weeks…. TWO WEEKS! AWK!


This has left me feeling anxious, crabby and impatient. I’m like the old Mervyns commercial, where the woman is standing outside the door chanting, “Open. Open. Open…”


Since I refuse to think about things like the statistical averages of IVF at my age actually succeeding… I think about other things, like: if the only one who can access my test results is the fertility clinic research coordinator, who happens to be out of town at the moment, then the Estridiol test results I saw last week can’t be my most recent…. Which means that the number I saw must be a typo from a previous test…. Which means that I worried over nothing. Maybe. I hope.


Curious and curiouser.


Meanwhile, I’m still waiting. Hoping. Waiting….


To be continued….