Birth Story Part 2

…When we left off I was getting ready to get my epidural…

My contractions had gotten stronger and sitting upright on my pink exercise ball was causing more pressure and thusly, more pain–during contractions I’d say it was a strong 4 or 4.5 (on a scale of 1-10 with 5 being “I want drugs” and 10 being “I’m bloodcurdling screams and blacking out”). But I was enjoying bobbing lightly on my ball in between contractions. And my nurse, Jennifer, had wrapped me in warm blankets so I felt comfy and cared for. I actually don’t mind this part of labor, where the pain is intense but manageable, contractions are far enough apart that you can relax a bit in between them, and I naturally get into “the zone” and ride the contractions like waves. It’s actually really cool.

However, Jennifer suggested the epidural would allow her to push the pitocin and kick my labor into gear, or I could just sit there in pain bobbing on my ball for hours with mediocre results. So I took her up on the epidural. My sibling doula had cautioned me to request that the attending do my epidural (not a resident)–I didn’t ask her why. So when this perky young blonde came to see me about the epidural, I told her I’d like the attending to do it and she looked frustrated and asked if I’d had a bad experience. To which I replied with a smile, “No, I’ve had good experiences–and I want to keep it that way.” The attending came in (a mature woman) and asked me the same question–she looked amused and clearly didn’t GAF that the resident was butt-hurt. A couple pokes later and I was comfortably numb, but still able to move my lower limbs.

LS kept falling off the monitor and Jennifer plus a whole team of nurses had a helluva time finding her–she was faced toward my spine (they even brought in the ultrasound machine to find her). Every time they’d get her on the monitor and go to leave the room, she’d get lost again. If I was them I’d have lost my mind. But they patiently macgyvered my monitor over and over again until my belly was a ball of slime from all the gel. Finally LS stayed put and I tried to sleep–which totally was not happening–but I rested. I watched Mr. MLACS sleep and was slightly jealous, but glad because I worry about him so I wanted him to get some rest. I also had vintage black and white movies/musicals on tv–I never watch tv anymore (like it will be on but I tune it out) so that was kind of cool. And my L&D room was huge and had a wall of windows facing city lights, so I kept the shades open and enjoyed looking out at the cityscape.

I had to pee and empty my ostomy bag a couple times, which was difficult as I had an IV in my right arm and a pole holding my bags of saline and pitocin. But I got it done without any help. I had forewarned Jennifer that I puked exorcist-style during labor with BG, but naturally after I made a big deal about it I didn’t puke at all.

So I was in a daze during the twilight hours and didn’t realize how much time was passing as I drifted in-and-out of consciousness, but eventually it was time for shift change and I had to say goodbye to my buddy Nurse Jennifer and welcome her relief, Nurse Christy. Also the OBGYN from my practice who ordered my induction, Dr. H, had been with me overnight. But I had to say goodbye to her and welcome Dr. S–luckily I had met and liked Dr. S so I was fine with it.

I was close to 10cm dilated at this point, and I was having breakthrough pain–nothing terrible–but I took full advantage of *the button* I could push every 10min or so that gave me more epidural. Which may be why I was in a dream-like state and also why I began to feel very nauseous…

Before I knew it, Dr. S and two residents strode through the door, checked me, and decided the time was NOW. It felt surreal as I watched everyone scurry around the room, pulling lights down from the ceiling, putting on scrubsvand face masks, wheeling in trays of instruments and a “baby warmer”, and finally, placing my feet in the stirrups.

I had asked Nurse Christy to apply gentle countrr-pressure to my ostomy, in hopes of preventing a peristomal hernia. On my right was Christy. On my left was Mr. MLACS.

The docs told me to get ready to push…I told them to wait a minute because…

I was going to puke.

Mr. MLACS held a large beaker cup and I turned my head and vomited a cup of stomach bile into the beaker.

Then pushed.

Then puked.

Then pushed.

And without warning, this purple ball of screaming flesh was placed on my chest, as I was still heaving and wiping my mouth. I was in shock and disbelief, trying to process.

Mr. MLACS looked about as stunned as I was, but after what was probably 20 seconds that felt like 20 minutes, I placed my hands on our baby, looked at Mr. MLACS, and said “Well, we did it!”

Baby LS was 7lb 8oz, and 21 inches long. She was not as pristine as BG was when she was born, but it is now clear that she was bloated and now that a couple weeks have passed her features are sharper and resemble BG’s. She’s absolutely beautiful ❤

And of course, BG is very proud to be a big sister! She wants to help with everything–bringing me diapers/wipes/hand sanitizer, etc.

It has not been easy though.

BG is having a hard time adjusting. So are we. There have been bumps in the road, and I’ll write about those later.

For now, I want to say how grateful I am that LS is here and healthy. She is a dream come true! I am bedsharing with both my girls and it is pure bliss to wake up in between them ❤

XOXO,

MLACS

Advertisements

Birth Story Part I

So LS is here! Everybody loves a good birth story, right?!

It’s been a humbling month or so, starting with BG getting conjunctivitis and sharing it with myself and Mr. MLACS, then I had Flu A, then some other flu-like virus BG brought home, which culminated in a double ear infection for me and I lost most of my hearing in both ears.

I was practically deaf.

I went into urgent care a couple Saturdays ago because my right ear was causing agonizing pain, and walked out with Augmentin and ear drops, which helped me to feel better but did not help my hearing loss.

Mr. MLACS took me to see my OB on my due date, thinking maybe they could help me by giving me a referral to see an ENT (our insurance is PPO but a referral would expedite my appointment). They put me on the monitor and LS was good, but chillin’. So I drank some apple juice to wake her up. And she started hopping, but I noticed some decells–her baseline heartrate was about 150bpm, and she would hop up to 180bpm, but then fall to 110-120 bpm. I wondered if that was just her falling off the monitor, but I didn’t think so.

Sure enough, my OBGYN came in and said baby was not in distress but she didn’t like the decells and would rather play it safe and induce me, since I was officially 40 weeks. I wholeheartedly agreed.

It felt surreal, because I had resigned myself that I would probably carry to 41 weeks and that LS would be born on BG’s 4th birthday.

We called the sibling doula and the back-up sibling doula that we had hired to come stay with BG and the pets while Mr. MLACS and I went to the hospital to deliver LS. Our primary doula was available and set to be on her way. I had already written several emails with detailed instructions for the doulas. We nervously drove from the clinic to our house. My hospital bag still wasn’t fully packed, the house was a mess and I had cleaners coming the next day, and I needed a shower. I could hardly focus on the tasks at hand and BG was following me around asking 20 questions. I was relieved when the doula showed up and realized I needed some privacy to complete my tasks and process the overwhelming fact that I was going to have a baby–MY baby–in a matter of hours. BG adored her and they ran off to play.

Noteworthy items I packed in my hospital bag were:

1. SOMA intimates pajamas–the softest jersey material, like butter on your skin. Button down is a must for breastfeeding and they make you feel comfy and elegant in the hospital. Not cheap, but worth it.

2. An exercise ball for labor–I bought a pink one from amazon. A lot of hospitals say they have them but you never know if one will be available when you need it and also it’s a safe bet that A LOT of other peoples’ bodily fluids have christened the ones at the hospital.

3. Baby gowns instead of footie pajamas, because they have to wear an ankle bracelet and also for easy access to change diapers.

4. Swaddles–I prefer velcro swaddles in soft fabrics rather than wrapping baby up in hospital blankets.

5. I brought my own diapers. I use honest diapers and unscented wipes. The nurses were annoyed because my diapers dont have the pee strip, but oh well not their call. The diapers in the hospital are scented, and I want to smell my baby, not aromantic pampers.

6. A phone charger with a long cord (like solid 6ft) so you can plug it in the wall and still have it next to you in bed.

7. Obviously for me–ostomy supplies. I packed plenty of supplies–more than what I thought I might need, just to be safe.

8. My medications. Hospital is supposed to have a list of current meds and provide them for you, but just bring them anyway.

So I tidied the house (i.e. stuffed sh*t in closets), showered/did my hair, finished packing and off Mr. MLACS and I went. It was hard saying goodbye to BG, knowing everything was about to change.

It was a solid 40min drive to our hospital–a perk of being induced is that I didn’t have to do this drive while in active labor. We arrived and they had a L&D room waiting for me–another perk of being induced is I didn’t have to go through triage (while in active labor) before being admitted.

It was about 6:30pm–we got there right as they were changing shifts and there was a flurry of activity. Even still, I was quickly attended to.

Everybody in L&D speaks in hushed and soothing tones, like Bob Ross.

The moment they walked in the room and opened their mouths I had to stop them and say “I have a double ear infection and I can’t hear you unless you SPEAK UP.” This was not ideal, but everyone obliged so it could have been worse. My ear pain in my right ear rivaled the pain of my contractions, so that was fun. They gave me Tylenol and offered me Nubain, but I was not trying to be high on Nubain since I’d had Staydol during my (incredibly painful) labor with BG and it made me psychotic.

My induction started with the foley bulb (sp?) which involves the nurse threading a balloon attached to a catheter through my 1cm dilated cervix and then inflating the balloon with water so that it causes my cervix to dilate to 3-4cm, then the balloon falls out.

I also had an IV and pitocin drip started as well. My nurse Jennifer (whom I liked) started the pitocin “low and slow”, at like a 2 or 3. By the time the foley bulb fell out my pitocin was up to a 7. Jennifer offered me the epidural (which I knew I wanted) but at first I refused, with the idea in mind that it could slow my progression and cause me to need a c-section. But Jennifer said that actually the epidural would allow her to push my pitocin and that would help my labor progress more than anything. She asked if there was any other reason to delay the epidural and I said emphatically *No* because I had ALL the pain during my 37hr labor with BG and then also with my Crohn’s disease so I have nothing left to prove–bring on the epidural!

….to be continued…

XOXO,

MLACS

38 Weeks, Flu A virus, Brazillian Bikini Wax

Do I have your attention? Ok cool. Lets talk about…

1. Still pregnant–38 weeks! Saw the OBGYN yesterday and I’m dilated a whole half a centimeter (how they can even measure that small when they can’t even see anything is beyond me). The consensus is: no signs of delivering early but it *could* happen and just holler whenever.

2. But my last OBGYN appointment was this past Thursday. I had been feeling poorly and suspected I might have an infection. I don’t have a PCP in our new town yet and didn’t want to go to an urgent care so I waited to see the OBGYN, hoping he’d take a look at me. I was feeling very poorly–horrible body aches, winded walking 10 feet, just really run down. I also wanted the doc to check me for anemia. First thing I did was urinate in a cup, and noticed my pee was so dark it looked brown–no bueno. Then baby LS presented with tachycardia, which is a sign of distress. I talked to the doc and we agreed part of my issue is dehydration, and he sent me to go be looked over by maternity triage at the hospital. I had BG with me and had to call Mr. MLACS to come home from work to care for her–I intended to drive myself the 40min to the hospital. But as I was leaving the OBGYN I started to feel worse and worse. I got the chills so bad I could hardly drive. I slammed a cold gatorade and that made my chills worse. Got home and I could hardly get BG out of her carseat. I was in agony, shivering and every fiber of my body hurt–my groin felt like I pulled it and I could hardly walk. I started to feel panicked. I wrapped myself in 3 layers of blankets and a hat to try to warm up and laid down until Mr. MLACS got home. He wanted to go straight to the hospital but I made him feed BG lunch first and pack her snacks for the trip. I started to cry, feeling awful and overwhelmed–I woke up clueless  that my day was going to go to sh*t. So Mr. MLACS drives us to the hospital and I have to go through the ER then up to maternity triage–I actually needed a wheelchair. Unfortunately kids aren’t allowed in triage (probly a good idea) and Mr. MLACS had to entertain BG while I was assessed. I begged for warm blankets and socks. They hooked me up to monotor LS and see if I had contractions (I didn’t), took pee, took blood, swabbed me for the flu and hooked me up to an IV to receive fluids. The nurses were nice. And lo and behold, they returned wearing hazmat gear…I knew immediately and exclaimed “No f*cking way!” And they were like, “Yeah, you have Flu A”. I was flabberghasted because I NEVER GET THE FLU, at least not the “super bad bugs”. I rarely get the flu shot and ironically I HAD one this past October! I’ve been on all sorts of immunosuppressants–I was on 3–Humira, 6MP, and high-dose Prednisone AND I took a plane to California and I *still* didn’t get sick (my docs were way scared for me). So WTAF? Why NOW?! It just never occurred to me I could have a “super bug”. Luckily, the fluids helped, baby LS’s heartbeat slowed down and her strip looked great, and they sent me home with a script for tamiflu for me and one for Mr. MLACS and BG.

3. I came home from the hospital Thur. night and spent all of Friday in bed–I didn’t even go downstairs. I was repeating a cycle of having the chills, warming up, then sweating it out–repeat. I still hurt all over but it was better than Thursday. Mr. MLACS had to stay home from work to care for me and BG–which BG and our labrador LOVED having him home and made him play all day ❤ Saturday I got out of bed–my body aches had dulled considerably and my chills/sweating were abating. Then Sunday I woke up feeling somewhat “human” again. We actually went and looked at a house (we are planning to buy) and took a trip to Costco, mostly to order BG’s birthday cake for her party this coming weekend–fyi costco cakes are cheap and delicious–I just wish they were gluten-free so I could eat them! So yeah, I had “the plague” and I was freaked out and in a lot of pain but it was short-lived because the Tamiflu worked for me.

4. I had been mulling over getting waxed prior to giving birth, but was nervous. I’ve had brazillian waxes before, but not while pregnant, and according to the internet all the bloodflow to the pelvic area causes waxing to be more tender and waxing to be painful. I also worry about ingrown hairs, etc. And it feels like a frivolous thing to spend money on. Buuuut…then I think back to the quote “Do one thing a day that scares you” and decided “F*ck it, I’m doing this”. TMI, my pubic hair was so long I had to shave it with clippers prior to waxing–I made Mr. MLACS do this for me. While he’s doing it we’re giggling and he says “Things I never saw myself doing…” Lol. I actually felt much better after he trimmed me and considered skipping the waxing…but no–I was not chickening out. So last night I went and the girl was very nice–I was unsure about showing her my ostomy bag because I didn’t want an awkward moment, but she waved me off because she is actually a home health nurse. That really helped me relax. It wasn’t so bad! I’m very happy with the results and I feel like a champ for doing it–like I should get my name on a wall somewhere or a t-shirt or something.

5. BG’s birthday party at the bounce place is this Saturday. I have about everything I need, including a custom birthday shirt that’s arriving from etsy tomorrow. I need to put together goodie bags, wrap her presents, order her balloons and pick up her cake, but beyond that we are ready to rock ‘n roll! I’m expecting about 10 kids–could’ve invited more but we have been sick and I honestly didn’t feel like we needed to invite kids just for the sake of appearances. I’m excited for BG!

6. Other things I deal with are my rental properties–I’ve had several properties to turn over and repairs and renovations are adding up to $15k+. The ones that are occupied have basically financed the turnovers on the unoccupied units, but it’s still hard to watch money “flying out the window”. I have a good relationship with my property managers though, so luckily they deal with the headaches and I just write the checks. I have one last property that is co-owned with my sister/our trust. We are currently turning it over to sell it, pay some bills the trust owes and walk away with some cash. We also have a lawsuit pending against the VA for our father’s wrongful death–they really f*cked up. The one year anniversary of his death is approaching… I can’t say I’m particularly upset because I am living in the moment, looking forward to the birth of our new baby and not dwelling on the past. Plus he and I had a strained relationship–I fully appreciate all the ways Mr. MLACS is a better father and husband than my dad was. But no matter what, he was my dad. I knew I could always go to him if I needed help, even when we were on bad terms. And his death marked the day I lost the last of my parents, and my kids’ grandparents. When I mourn, I mourn what might have been if both of them were alive, because when my Mom was alive everything was ok.

Ok that’s enough for now.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

 

Ahhhhh I Lost My Mucus Plug!

Guys, I went to the OBGYN on Monday and my cervix was completely closed (not dilated) and LS was effaced 2-3. So, no action there.

The night before I projectile vomited so much and so hard that it washed like a tidal wave across the freaking *carpet* and splashed the wall. I can’t make this sh*t up. I had eaten brunch circa 2pm and it did not digest and I hurled it up about 9:30pm. I didn’t think much of it because that happened plenty of times with BG, but did mention it to the OB. I actually said “I don’t think it’s a blockage”.

But I was wrong–it was an intestinal blockage.

I figured this out because I hardly ate anything Monday (like 1/2 a GF cupcake) but I drank plenty. I took a nap with BG circa 1:30pm and woke up at 3pm, and realized *I had not emptied my ostomy bag since 5am that morning*. That’s bad, as I usually need to empty at least 2-3x by that point. I didn’t feel good, but I had no pain and other people say blockages are horribly painful (and I believe I’ve had partial blockages and they hurt) so I was perplexed. But the protocol is to go to the ER if you are having little-to-no output. I called my GI and my OBGYN, and both said I could skip the ER (because ER’s are dirty and dangerous) and go to maternity triage. I told them I would try to get things moving at home but if it didn’t work then I’d go in. I DID NOT want to go to the hospital–it’s 40+ minutes drive into the city and it was near rush hour, then it would be dark, and I’d have to drag Mr. MLACS and BG with me. F*ck that. And luckily, I started having some liquid output, but I knew it wasn’t over. I only managed a bowl of creamy tomato soup for dinner, and I was hungry. Tuesday I spent the day drinking carbonated drinks (sprite), hot liquids (mostly green tea with honey), putting heating pads on my belly, and walking (waddling) around the house while caring for BG. I felt awful mentally and physically–I was *hangry*.

Wednesday was a bit better, in that I found I could eat some solid low-residue food, like toast, and some creamy soup.

I helped with BG’s valentines day party at her preschool in the morning on Wednesday, but then left her there for lunch and “enrichment” while I went to go run errands. I had to go to the jewelers because I had ordered a white-gold band with LS’s name engraved inside, because my wedding rings are too tight now. I had ordered the same ring and had BG’s initials engraved inside at this same point in my pregnancy with her. Moreover, I took the opportunity to have my wedding rings re-dipped in platinum, and they came out *gorgeous*! Soooooo sparkly ❤ I wish I could wear them now! I highly recommend having your rings inspected, dipped, and cleaned periodically at the jewelers.

Then I treated myself to soup and a hazlenut coffee at Panera Bread. It was yummy! It took all my willpower not to eat the sourdough bread–it was so tempting–but good sense (not to eat gluten) prevailed. After I picked BG up from preschool, we came home to find two beautiful bouquets of flowers had been delivered, one for each of us, from Mr. MLACS ❤

Valentines day was a pretty chill day for me and BG, as it was not a preschool day. She also wasn’t feeling well. So we played, went to the grocery store, and came home and had a quiet afternoon. She was being very whiny and clingy, she felt a bit warm, and I could tell she was feeling poorly. She was awake at 5:00am and crying, so I gave her tylenol and figured I might need to keep her home from school.

She slept until almost 9:30am! I was awake by 8am and informed her teachers she’d be absent. I looked at her eyes and suspected pinkeye, and took her to the pediatrician. Indeed, BG has pinkeye and an ear infection in her left ear, poor kid! This is her first ear infection/first pinkeye and thusly her first time taking antibiotics. As a person with IBD who credits my disease in part due to frequent antibiotics as a kid, I’ve been very pleased she hasn’t had to take any for nearly 4 years. And I worry how it will affect her gut and what my best course of action is to re-balance her gut bacteria once she’s finished her course of antibiotics. And then of course she we also have to administer eye drops for her pinkeye, but her doc said it’s ok if she closes her eyes so that makes life much simpler.

The kicker though is that I felt a lot of wetness when I woke up and when I went to use the bathroom I discovered I had lost my mucus plug! Never would have expected that so soon, as it didn’t happen with BG until just before birth at 41w2d. I’m only 36w4d now. I’m not having contractions yet, so that’s good. But LS also noticeably dropped yesterday so…it appears I’ll give birth sooner than expected–I figured I’d be induced at 40 weeks. So naturally…

I planned BG’s 4th birthday party for March 2nd even though that is a couple weeks earlier than her actual bday. I should be 38w4d, so it seemed like a safe bet. I even found customizable invites on etsy and had them printed with the anticipated date. I started passing them out on Valentines day. I’ve ordered BG a themed shirt, decorations, balloons, gifts–the whole nine yards. And it’s sort of a “coming out” party for me with the moms of the kids we’re inviting. Mother nature is a b*tch for pulling this fast one, after all the time and money I’ve invested! And thusly I’ve decided the show must go on–even if me and LS cannot attend. But really I’m prepared to bring LS to the venue with me if we’re at all up for it, and just keep her away from people–is that a horrible idea? Bringing a less than 2 week old infant to a bounce place full of noisy kids and germs while I’m bleeding and trying to breastfeed? But I want to be there for BG! And I know plenty of other moms who would do it.

Today, my plan is to work on decluttering the house *and* a much anticipated trip to IKEA! There are no freaking Ikea’s in The South so I haven’t been to one in a couple years! I want to get BG a new table and chairs, and a storage unit for her art supplies in the playroom (currently in piles in boxes). And some throw pillows for her teepee. Can you tell I’m excited?!

XOXO,

MLACS

 

Happy New Year!

So Christmas was lovely but it seems like forever ago because SO much has happened between Christmas and New Years.

To rewind, Mr. MLACS flew into the  nearby city and we enjoyed a weekend of holiday fun there, including seeing The Nutcracker ballet (an annual tradition) and riding on The Polar Express train.

BG is at a *magical age* and she had started ballet/tap class in the fall. She LOVED The Nutcracker this year! I loved watching her watch the performance–she was riveted. We had balcony seats close to the stage and she loved being able to see the performance and the people in the audience below us. Mr. MLACS bought her a Clara dolly and a Rat King dolly and watching the two of them pretend to fight during intermission, hearing BG squeal and giggle, and feeling LS kicking in my belly is a moment I’ll never forget. BG looked so precious in her red and navy blue plaid dress, with her little pearl necklace–she looked like a real little lady. For the record, BG looooooves to dress up! Lives for dresses, bows, jewelry and “make ups” (which are lip balms). I wore a dress and make-up to The Nutcracker but I am generally a person who loves sweat pants, or for more formal occassions, jeans. I definitely did not spark her “extra-ness” because I am super low maintinence. But I do love to watch her shine ❤

The Polar Express train was really the best. BG was excited and bouncy! She was enthralled by the performances and the characters/actors invited her to participate several times. First, she got to help turn pages as a portion of The Polar Express book was read. Then, she got to be a reindeer–they placed an antler headband on her–and march down the aisle as we sang Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. But the most precious part, was when Santa stopped to say hello to her abd give her “the first bell of Christmas”. BG thought she was supposed to tell him her Christmas list, and she was so excited to see him she could barely get the words out, so I interpreted. She asked for “Toys for baby sister, toys for me, toys for Koa and Kitty, and toys for Mommy and Daddy”. She’s so sweet and thoughtful. And taking in her good intentions and her wide-eyed innocence, Santa turned to me and said “You’re very lucky”. And I know I don’t count my blessings on this blog very often because I mostly talk about the heavy stuff, but please know that I feel profoundly blessed/fortunate/lucky and that Santa didn’t have to remind me–but I was touched.

We returned home from our adventure on Christmas Eve and I was super sick with what seemed like the flu. I felt miserable. Luckily Mr. MLACS was feeling great and he got everything put together for Christmas morning–Santa brought BG a teepee playhouse and he got her a big-girl monogrammed chair and had a matching little-girl monogrammed chair for LS (since BG was adamant that baby sister needed gifts). Mr. MLACS and I each got each other one gift from ourselves + BG. It was sweet and funny because BG had watched a cartoon (Arthur?) and the kid was REALLY excited to buy his Mom a glass bird. So BG had decided I needed a glass bird, and Mr. MLACS went to great lengths to find and purchase a glass bird. I love it because it really shows how much we all love each other. BG and I gave Mr. MLACS cologne, which is what we always gave my Dad for Christmas when I was little, and it’s weird to be “the parent” now.

BG had some unwrapped presents and a stocking from Santa, and then 9 wrapped gifts under the tree, 4 of which were from my sister and the rest from us. I know she had a wonderful Christmas and that she got plenty of great gifts. But I cannot seem to shake feeling guilty that she isn’t showered by presents and attention from our extended family. I want Christmas to be special because we spend time together and make great memories, and not because of how many presents are under the tree. I genuinely feel that we–that our precious children–are better off without toxic family members in our lives (and that includes keeping my sister at arms length, although she does have a relationship with BG). But the holidays stir up my feelings and make me wish things were different–and I second guess myself. I miss my good old friends and wish we lived closer–it would be easier to accept the severed ties with our relatives if we had “framily” to spend holidays with. But all our friends are spread out and we move too much to really create a “village”.

I had a village though, in the town we just moved from. I didn’t fully realize how much some of my girlfriends cared for me until I had to say goodbye. And I felt sad to lose them, and bad for “abandoning” them since they were clearly more invested in our friendships than I thought.

The movers came to pack on Dec. 27th, they loaded on Dec. 28th, and on Dec. 29th we bid farewell to our dream home, and all the craziness of the past 2 years. Mr. MLACS and I shed some tears for what was and for what might have been. And then we journeyed for 3 days, and celebrated NYE in our new town.

Let me close by saying 2018 was a legit roller coaster of a year, with huge ups-and-downs. I worked hard to regain my health and fitness, while navigating life as a fledgling ostomate–I did it! I even put myself out there and became the leader of a fit moms club, got my friends involved, and met new people. I dealt with my Father’s death, my Maternal Grandmother’s death, and the absolutely maddening struggle with my sister over managing our trust. I started my own LLC and did grown-up stuff like creating my own will & trust and purchasing burial plots for myself and Mr. MLACS. I paid a lot of bills. We took a beautiful trip to Hawaii. I dealt with the constant fear of losing Mr. MLACS and dealing with his health scares. I did lots of stuff with BG and she started preschool and dance classes in the fall. We sold our house, and we moved a 17+hr drive North of where we lived. I’d say the most amazing and insane plot-twist of 2018 was we got pregnant quickly and without fertility treatments–now I’m 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl.

2018 was very trying, but I really feel like every bit of it was filled with purpose.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

XOXO,

MLACS

Wow…second trimester already!

Hey guys, today makes 15 weeks! I had an OB visit today and her heartbeat was spot-on at 160-170 bpm. My belly has been expanding, but not like it did with BG–even though I weigh less now than I did with BG, my tummy is soft/squishy instead of hard. I presume this is because I have loose skin and, moreover, because I don’t have my colon (which was impacted due to taking Zofran with BG).

I loved my body/my belly with BG, but between my squishiness, scars from surgery, and my ostomy bag, I don’t feel very cute. I think part of my lack of enthusiasm for my “bump” is also that it’s my 2nd pregnancy and I have A LOT more on my plate–with BG, Mr. MLACS was gone 50% of the time, we lived in an apartment (now we are homeowners) and I didn’t have a toddler, plus it was a hard-won pregnancy, so I reveled in my ‘pregnant-ness’ and had lots of time and money to buy cute maternity clothes and take bump photos. I can’t be the only one–has anyone else found that their first pregnancy was all pinterest-y, but subsequent pregnancies were less so? I don’t want baby sister to feel less important or celebrated, because she is my little miracle and just because I’m not into *myself* right now is no reflection on how much I’m into her. I hope little sister understands and doesn’t take it personally. Because once she’s here, I’ll give her everything I’ve got just like I did for BG. Oh, and henceforth little sister will be referred to as LS.

So maybe you are wondering…how is pregnancy different with an ostomy? Well, first off, my ostomy bag covers the right half of my belly. As my belly grows and changes, I’ve had more challenges…

1. I eat more–a lot more–so my stoma and ostomy bags are getting a “workout” from all the food I consume.

2. My stoma is changing size. It has increased 2-3mm in diameter (so currently 28-29mm) and is protruding more.

3. Because my belly isn’t flat anymore, my stoma is changing size, and I am eating more, I’m having more leaks. In fact, I’ve gone from changing my appliance once every 4 days to changing it almost every day. And when I have leaks it irritates my peristomal skin.

4. I’m going to try different bases/bags to see if I can prevent leaks, and also because my preferred base only goes up to 35mm and may become too small.

5. My bag is much harder to hide under clothes. I had an easy time concealing it, even under skin tight clothing, prior to pregnancy/my belly growing. But now I can see my bag through almost anything I wear, tight or not. I’m frustrated about that. And between wanting to prevent leaks and also wanting to be comfortable, wearing compression garments is basically out of the question at this point.

6. I need to buy some new maternity clothes that suit my new body, but because I’m not into myself right now and I’m busy, I just haven’t made the effort. I really need to. I really wish I had a good friend here who I felt comfortable asking to go shopping with me.

So to be honest, having an ostomy has made pregnancy less enjoyable for me in some ways, as much as I hate to admit that. But I’m grateful to be healthy and moreover I’m grateful that LS is healthy, and that’s what really matters. The rest is trivial.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

It’s Benign!!!

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! It was not melanoma, or any variety of skin cancer. It was a blood mole–I had never heard of such a thing and google is a b*tch for never suggesting it could be anything other than melanoma. In fact google took my paranoia to a whole new level by informing me that in men nodular melanoma is usually on the trunk of the body, but in women it’s on the legs! I almost had a brain anneurism.

Here’s how it played out…

I cried off/on all weekend and had visions of what treatment would be like, how my family suffer through the same painful process that *I* endured when my Mom was diagnosed with terminal breast/lung cancer. How awful it would be for BG to have to grow up without a Mom–would she remember me? Would any of the memories be good ones? Would Mr. MLACS die too and would my good friend and fellow blogger Steph Mignon have to raise my kid??? So. Many. Thoughts. I was overwhelmed by all these thoughts and feelings.

I had a hard time getting to sleep and when I woke up Monday morning I wasted no time–I was going to ambush my dermatologist and insist he cut this thing off/biopsy it, and let me know how screwed I was. TODAY. I didn’t even make my coffee (you KNOW it’s serious) I just got in my car, called the dermatology office, and by some miracle they had an appointment with my doctor in 30 minutes, which was precisely my commute time.

I sat on the edge of my seat as I waited, my body buzzing with anxiety. And when the nurse called me back and asked me why I was there, I tearfully told her I’m afraid I have melanoma on the back of my leg. She looked worried and gave me a gown to put on. I was in suspense as the doctor walked in and I quickly moved to show him the black growth on the back of my leg. And he said…it looks like a blood mole but we’ll take it off and biopsy it. A blood mole. He told me to call if I hadn’t heard from them by Thursday.

After rebounding from the fear of cancer and the revelation of a blood mole, I sheepishly asked him if he had time to do my botox. He did. So I left the office with a hole in my leg and a face full of botox–I haven’t had botox since before my wedding in 2012 but my 20 year highschool reunion is coming up, I’m 38 years old and I have the money, so don’t judge me, ok?? Thanks.

Anyways, I called Mr. MLACS to give him the good news, and decompressed on the way home.

But then as Thursday approached and I hadn’t heard from my doctor’s office, my anxiety started to build. What if…

I called early Thursday (yesterday) morning but no one called me back. I thought “This is a bad sign”… I cried. I rocked back and forth. And I called again…the nurse put me on hold and I thought “Oh God, maybe she’s getting the doctor so he can tell me the bad news…” But she returned on the line and said gingerly “It’s a benign mole”. BENIGN. As in NOT cancer. A wave of relief washed over me.

But lemme tell you, this experience made a profound impact on me. I am slathering BG with sunscreen, even on her ears, because *90% of sun damage occurs during childhood*. I mean I used sunscreen and hats on her before, but now that she’s a threenager it’s a chore, as we do lotion on the face/neck and spray on the body. But I make sure she’s covered because it doesn’t take long to get a sunburn and just 5 sunburns in childhood DOUBLES your kids’ risk of skin cancer. So fight the good fight with the sunscreen folks.

As for me, I diligently use sunscreen but I also cover up a lot with hats and rash guards (shirts made of SPF50 material), since I am somewhat allergic to the sun these days. But I used to blow off moles that looked suspicious–now I am on high alert.

I’m also writing a piece for a local moms blog cautioning them to be ready with the sunscreen and also to take care to have themselves looked over by a dermatologist annually and pay attention to their skin. I feel like this experience was my “call of duty”, and I’m on it.

XOXO,

MLACS