Tuesday, May 28, 2013

be you.

dear summer james, my perfect girl.

we're making progress on your room, honey. it's all coming together. it's pink. like really pink. but as your daddy says, "what better time to paint a room pink - we're having a baby girl!" he's right. and i love how different it is than your brother's room. it's girly. and bright, and you.

i've picked out a few really fun things for the walls, including a couple of fun things we'll frame, a cute little wall hangy thing for some of your headbands, a pillow cover with gold detailing and some baskets for your swaddled blankets and burp cloths. your closet is stuffed to the brim, thanks to auntie's hand me downs of ali du's and a few fun things i've been collecting along the way.

so far, one of my most favorite things in your room is something i came across during our roughest month together so far. the month where we waited for your chromosomal results. not an awesome month on the outside, but deep down it was a turning point month for us. we bonded. you were part of me. part of this family. the results really meant nothing, other than the path we'd travel on together moving forward. it would be a significant chapter in our story, but it wouldn't define our love for you. i knew then, just like i know now, you are perfect. you are ours. you are you.

your daddy found the frame this weekend and it suits both the print and your room perfectly. i see it and i think about that time, but most importantly i think about you - and who you already are to me.

we love you. no matter what. no matter your choices, who you love, who you want to be, who you become, what you do, what you don't do. we just want you to be happy. and bright.

and most of all - you.

love you always little chickadee,
your mama.

first day

we've been so lucky to have had ty's mama watch our sweet boy since we went back to work after he was born. i went back at his 4 month mark, and then ty spent that 4th month home with him. at 5 months, my mother in law, voni, started watching him 3 days a week while the other two he spent with us. it's been a real blessing. not only has it been wonderful to have him with family for his first 19 months, it's also been great on our budget. child care is spendy! wowza!!!

today marked another first for our sweet boy... and for our family. it was a big day. we decided to enroll wyatt into a great little curriculum based child care center, bright horizons. it was important that we started him before we brought another little bean into the mix because 1. i really wanted him to have his "own thing" to do a couple days a week and 2. i am really going to need those two days a week with sj, while not having to worry that my little munchkin boy was getting his development needs met. those first few months with her are going to be a little nutty. in addition, we're hoping voni is available in dec/jan to start watching our girl like she did with wyatt. wyatt is starting at 2 days a week at bright horizons, but will transition to the 3 when i go back to work after sj's maternity leave.

we went and visited the "school" back in early april and immediately got onto the waiting list. we found out a few weeks ago that "we got in" and have been gearing up for the big day ever since. we went and did a little visit last friday and he did totally fine. the first hour was a little shaky but by play time outside and lunch, he was a-ok. but that's when we left - right before nap time. that's been the biggest conversation piece for ty and i. nap time. how the hell is that going to look for our kiddo who knows nothing other than sleeping in his room, in a crib, in the dark, with a sound machine blasting? mats on floors, with kids all around, and a somewhat bright room was not something we could picture him sleeping in - at least for awhile. i am so glad we didn't spend a lot of time obsessing over today this weekend. it wasn't until last night that we realized what we were walking into. we have never, ever, just left him somewhere.  at least not for awhile. i can count on one hand the number of times we skipped out and left him with a grandparent. maybe twice. we've always been lucky enough to have people come to us... so the thought of just dropping him off and walking out was a lot harder than either of us prepared for. lucky for me, i didn't really have to.

ty had drop off duty. i am not really sure why i thought he'd be better at it then me. selfish reasons maybe. most likely. yes. i just couldn't imagine doing it. i'd probably end up leaving with him, getting my money back, and quitting my job if i had to do it. ty did great, but it was rough. he admitted it was one of the toughest things he's done. he said that wyatt was uneasy at drop off and that he watched him through the window leave and gave him this look like, "how can you actually be leaving without me right now?!" big eyed. worried. sad. i know ty cried. even if he doesn't admit it to me. i knew it was hard. i let him know that we could call any time we wanted to check in so i decided i'd do it - for ty. right. actually, i really didn't think i'd need to call but when i mentioned it to ty, he said that i should call so i did. i really expected to hear, "oh he's totally fine. as soon as ty left he was running around playing with the other kids." nope. not exactly. instead i heard, "he's doing ok. he's fine as long as one of us is holding him, so we're doing that now. he spent the first 45 min or so crying off and on. he doesn't want to eat his lunch..." he doesn't want to eat his lunch? he CRIED off and on for 45 minutes?! he only wants to be held?! i couldn't get off the phone fast enough. my sweet friend at work asked me how he was doing and i burst into tears (weird). i knew he was going to be fine. i knew it was only the first hour. but those are not words a mama wants to hear. i contemplated for a split second leaving right there to go get him. to rescue him. to scoop him up and never look back. but in another split second i realized that this was a change but it was going to be so good for him. so good for us. he needs to be with other kids, learning and growing and playing. i texted with ty an hour or so later and we agreed that he was going to be OK and that it was better we were introducing him to this now and not later. we just need to give him (and us) time to adapt.

about 45 minutes before i left to pick him up, i got a note and a picture that read:

Hey, Just wanted to let you know that after we got off the phone with you Wyatt ate some lunch, played on the climber with his new friends and is now sleeping. :) See you later this afternoon! -Ashley

music to this mama's ears. thank you baby jesus. he actually NAPPED. talk about a thrilling message. when i went to pick him up, i spied on him for a minute or so before walking into the room. he sat with the kids at the little half moon table and chairs, eating watermelon. his shirt front was sopping, and he was happily enjoying snack time with his new buddies. as i walked in, he saw me but stayed put in his little seat to eat. i sat next to him and caught up with miss andrea about his day. she said he had a "fantastic first day". good boy. we spent another 10 minutes there while he ate and ran around and i loved seeing him in no rush to leave. he was having fun. he liked it there. phew.

he was in the best mood tonight with ty and i. he ate a HUGE dinner, played with the pups, had a silly bath time, and practically put himself to bed before 7.

all in all, a fantastic first day. for all of us. might as well throw in some change now - because this mix is about to get all shook up in 8 or 9 weeks.

hanging on tight.

Friday, May 10, 2013

my truth about ultrasounds

i remember when i got pregnant with wyatt and doing a little bit of research on ultrasounds. (specifically that they really aren't all that necessary, there's still some questions about the impact they have on your unborn baby, and how that over the years, that the use/overuse of technolgy is a blessing and a curse.) we talked to our midwife about them and agreed that we really had no reason to be excessive when it came to seeing our babe in advance of his birth. we were confident about the conception date, so skipped a 9 weeker. then agreed that the 12 week wasn't necessary, because we felt that hearing the heart beat at 11 weeks was enough for us to feel confident that our little person, not knowing the gender, was doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing in there. we agreed that a half way point ultrasound was in the cards. so at 19 weeks, we went to washington imaging in bellevue and had a pretty amazing experience. seeing wyatt for the first time together was pretty awesome. he was healthy, happy, and growing. the tech was amazing and we had a full hour watching him. we saw as much of him as we possibly could and even today, it remains one of ty and i's most favorite memories together. at 24 weeks i ended up with kidney stones (totally awesome. not.) and had to get a couple of ultrasounds of my kidney stones, really seeing nothing of my kiddo. 13 or so weeks later he was here. and it was perfect.

when i got pregnant this time, i felt a little differently about the ultrasounds. i decided i wanted the 12 week ultrasound, really to simply put myself at ease. i realized looking back that it wasn't until that 19 week ultrasound with wyatt, that i felt calm and confident things were going to be a-ok. i thought to myself, hey - if i can feel that way at 12 weeks then even better. i'll have a calmer and less stressful pregnancy and all will be well.

we went to a different place this time - eastside maternal fetal medicine. i should have known that it was going to be a different experience the moment i walked into the place. they asked that i come 15 min early to my appointment, so i told ty to be there on time, but that i would go early, fill out any paperwork and wait for him to go back. that really wasn't an option. the tech called me back, and even though i said i wanted to wait for my husband, she said she needed to get me started. i obliged, and assumed she meant we'd get settled in the room, she'd ask me a few questions and we'd wait for ty before she lubed me up. not exactly. she laid me down, had me pull my shirt up, squeezed the gel on, and before i had time to slow her down, i was seeing my little babe on the screen. ty missed it. and she didn't care. i was dissapointed. ty did get there after a few minutes, and the tech continued doing her thing, silently. she was serious and unfriendly. we did the little neck measurement for downs, talked with a genetic counselor and felt pretty good that the chances of a chromosomal abnormality were pretty slim. that was that. we scheduled our 20 week ultrasound and we left.

i gave the feedback to my midwife, questioning why we were sent there and not washington imaging. i'm still not really sure the answer there, but i chalked it up to the tech and kept our appointment for the 20 week ultrasound.

i got a call the week before my 20 week ultrasound from eastside maternal fetal medicine, telling me that my chromosomal test was actually incomplete and that i needed to come in right away to do the blood test. they were supposed to do that before i left apparently, but never said anything to me about it. i asked if i could just do it when i came in for my 20 week and they said that it would be "too late" by then. ty and i chatted and agreed that we were ok with not going back in. the genetic counselor's feedback in the appointment was sufficient and at that point, we realized it wouldn't change anything. we'd be in the following week anyway for the ultrasound and that was good enough for us.

i was nervous the morning of our 2nd ultrasound. it was the half way point and i just wanted everything to go ok. i felt anxious. the morning was hectic and ty and i ended up having to drive separately. he was running late and when i got to the office, my nerves got the best of me. i had texted ty to see if he was on his way. no response. i waited and waited (probably one to three minutes max). i started imagining ty missing the start of this one too, and i immediately started sobbing in the lobby. i had to go the bathroom and when i came out, ty was there. phew. when we went back to the room, our tech introduced himself and we learned he was actually a physician. good news, we thought. perhaps our experience would be even more thorough. we immediately learned she was a little girl, and i was overwhelmingly happy. i'll never forget that feeling. it was intense, and perfect. i was right. she was a girl. as quickly as i was hit with this incredible amount of happiness, i was brought back to reality when he abruptly told me that she was measuring "pretty small" at 15 percentile. he spent the rest of his time on her brain and her heart. mine raced. he was pretty quiet, not giving much of an update on what he was seeing, or if everything was ok. we waited and hung on every word he was about to say. her heart looked perfect. music to my ears. her brain, amazingly healthy. even better. he measured her limbs quickly and told us that her leg was "measuring smaller", finishing his sentance with the words i'll never forget, "which can be a red flag for down syndrome". ok. if he didn't have my attention before, he most definitely had it now. we continued to listen to him and within seconds the ultrasound was over. it was 15 minutes long. he had us come to his office to talk through my dates a little bit more and mentioned that her size may have to do with my ovulation date because i was nursing when we conceived, which can throw off your ovulation. he told us to come back in 6 weeks to check her growth and sent us on our way.

i felt jipped. not only because that special moment of learning the sex of my baby was replaced by feelings of fear, but i didn't even see her. no profile shots, no feet above her head, no sucking the thumb or hands, nothing. i saw her brain and her heart apparently but it was fast and nerve wracking. i called later that afternoon to see if perhaps my appointment was squeezed in and not complete. was i supposed to meet with a tech first, then the physician? it just didn't feel right. and i was scared. and most importantly, i didn't connect with my baby at all. that ultrasound for wyatt was so special and i walked away feeling so close to him. my ultrasounds with my little girl were rushed, serious and anything but comforting. these were all the reasons i wanted to have the ultrasounds in the first place. perhaps that was the problem.

6 long weeks went by. i tried thinking positive and healthy thoughts for my girl. urging her to grow and do her thing. doing whatever i could to stay calm and focused not on what i could control and to just let it be. my midwife during this time was amazing. she was suppotive and reminded me that these ultrasound folks are wired to look for the problems. everything she said made sense. her words really got me through until we went back in. "they are holding a hammer and looking for nails."

on april 22, we went back in. same guy, same nerves. we had an awkward start as he asked me if there was anything he should know before he got started. so i told him how i felt after the last appointment. i kept it simple - i felt like it was really fast, and i didn't really leave feeling like i saw her. i asked if he could go a bit slower today and before i could even finish, he was defensive and abrupt - even saying that i could go with one of his partners instead. i mentioned that the DVD he burned last time didn't work. he argued that it was probably our computers (all 6 of the one's we tried). it was awkward, and the lump i had in my throat originally grew to the size of a goiter. wyatt was with us because the appointment was early and it was going to be easier. it was not. bad call on our part. he started the ultrasound, being sure to point out that the DVD was recording. she was still small. her leg was still shorter. and so was her arm. ty was in and out with wyatt, making it even harder for me to focus and understand what he was saying. you kind of go deaf in these moments. it's a little "teacher on charlie brown" -- wa wa wa wa... now what, i thought?

he recommended we do the down blood screen to just make sure. fine. anything to just give me some answers. if she had it, i decided we'd want to know now so we could start preparing. and if she doesn't, then i could confidently tell this guy to shove it up his ass. i cried the whole time the nurse drew my blood. i was overwhelmed. i was frustrated that i was letting this guy cause me to doubt that everything was ok. i was mad at myself for doing these ultrasounds in the first place. why did i feel the need to put myself, my husband, and my little girl through this? all to find out the sex? pretty much.

they told us that the results could take "up to 2 weeks". as i left to meet ty and wyatt in the lobby another nurse told me as i passed, "it's not as bad as it looks". thanks. and who are you?

after a couple of days, i had digested everything and accepted it. whatever it would be, but confident our girl was healthy, just a little on the small side. we waited 2 weeks and no call. i called at the end of the day on monday - guessing my voicemail was an "oh shit" moment in their office. i imagined the awkward genetic counselor in that moment, "oops. i totally forgot about her" as she pulled my negative results from the bottom of the pile. she called the next day and after about 3 rounds of phone tag, i heard the news i knew i'd hear. "negative".

i expected myself to feel a huge sense of relief. instead, i was relaxed and confident in that moment. i knew everything was fine. i've known all along.

trust your gut. lesson learned. again.

i've spent the better part of the last 8 weeks in a state of 'what if' - playing a back and forth game with confidence and doubtfulness.

it's one of those things - if i could tell myself then, what i know now... trust in nature, trust in yourself, trust in your body, and leverage technology when it's truly needed. my reason for leveraging it definitely wasn't worth the stress i've put on my body and on my baby the last 2 months, that's for sure.

i will say that i did find peace those few days following the april 22 blood draw. i had clarity and realized that even though it wasn't at all how i imagined, i've bonded with my sweet girl. i quickly realized the love i have for her and how incredibly protective of her i was - already. she is strong. she is teaching me lessons already. all of this was part of our story.

i will spend the remainder weeks of this pregnancy trusting God, trusting myself and trusting her.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

and she has a name

i guess all it takes is to write a post about how you can't figure out what your baby girl's name should be for it to finally come to you. literally, about 6 hours after i wrote this post, it came to us. finally.

we were talking in our room after wyatt went to bed. i told ty that i just wanted a name that was cool and different. i spouted off a few names that i wanted it to be like, but couldn't go with for one reason or another -- too popular, someone we know named their kid that, etc. he agreed with me - "i totally know what you mean. something like 'autumn'..." my response was fast, "yah but something more like 'summer'..."

before i could even finish saying it, we just looked at each other and knew. that was it. we even high fived afterwards. this was serious stuff.

we had been rattling off names for months. all along, i've pictured her as warm, and fun, easy and breezy. sweet, and happy. our girl is going to be all of those things. her name needed to reflect that. why in the world did it take us so long to come up with such a captain obvious name then?!

who really knows. but, the wait was worth it. (which seems to be the theme of this pregnancy already, in more ways than one. more on that later. i've got a lot more to say about this topic, now that's for sure.) our sweet girl has a name. and we love it so much, we have to share it. because, well, her name rocks.

summer james.

it's funny how naming your baby brings it all together. it brings it all a bit closer home. it makes it real. it makes HER more real. it gives this little life inside you a bit more personality. it gives this mama more to day dream about. and hope for. and feel grateful and lucky for. we can talk about her and use a name. ty will ask me how she's doing when i get home from work. "how's summer?" i love that. "she's good", i'll reply.

we're good. we're better than good.
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