Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pregnancy Round 3

I've had so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions surrounding this third pregnancy I'm not quite sure how eloquently I will be able to put them into words.

Flashback to 2011-2013, what I would like to define as our most "emotionally challenging years" as a young couple.  We were in the thick of trying to finish school, amidst a rigorous nursing program with clinical rotations and working full time as a CNA.  Lance was busy waking up with the sun to mow lawns, grow his pest control business, work as a teachers assistant, finish his bachelors degree, and coach basketball.  Not to mention we were in the process of building what we thought was going to be our "dream 'forever' home."  In hindsight I see how having a baby probably wasn't the best "timing," but tell that to someone struggling with infertility and they might slap you in the face.   We spent thousands of dollars, had dozens of tests and ultrasounds done, performed seven intrauterine inseminations, and shed hundreds of tears when it was all for not.  Then our miracle happened and Bennett entered our lives.

You see, when you struggle with infertility it basically classically conditions you to be disappointed every time your period shows up, or a pregnancy test is negative, even when you aren't "trying" to get pregnant.  You have overwhelming emotions of fear, anxiety, and frustration at even the thought of having to endure the struggle yet again.

Of course you know that just 4 short months after Bennett was born we got pregnant with Jillian and have been CRAZY busy with two kids just thirteen months apart.
We knew we wanted to space out a third child because physically, emotionally, and financially we just weren't quite ready to have 3 kids under 2 years old (as most people aren't).

As Jillian turned 1 year we made the plan that the fall/winter that Bennett would be turning 4 and Jillian would be turning 3 would be the "soonest ideal time" to have our 3rd baby.  It would allow for me to be on maternity leave through basketball season (which was a life saver for scheduling with my work and basketball games my previous two maternity leaves).

So the time came where we were going to "start trying" and I became excited, anxious, nervous, and impatient.  I took 4 pregnancy tests across a 2 week span with three of the 4 coming back as negative.   I was extremely frustrated as I sat in disbelief.  A 35 day cycle?  This is what happened as we entered the 2 years of infertility with Bennett.  Was I about to go through this all over again? More infertility?  More stress and frustrations?  I was literally emotionally crippled at the thought of not being able to get pregnant.

I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to either 1. be pregnant or 2. start my period so I could move out of this limbo stage I was sitting in.

I had made this video college for Lance as part of his Christmas present in hopes that I could tell him at the end that we were expecting, but as timing would have it I didn't get the BFP until after New Years.

Yay! We are pregnant!!

The news was exciting for just a few weeks before the morning sickness took all the fun out of being pregnant.  I had gone from a very active, fun mom taking my kids to the gym 5 times a week and going on "fun trips" to the park, museum, aquarium, ect. to a blob on the couch that could barely get up to fix my kids breakfast.  Some may say that is typical for the first trimester, but it was NOT typical for me.  I had worked full time as a nurse through my other two pregnancies and had occasional moments of nausea, but never full blown, all day, "morning" sickness in addition to 4 weeks of serious neck pain.  I went through almost $300 in pillows and a few chiropractors visits before it was finally resolved.  The only days I could really pull myself were basketball game days medicated with Zofran.

Just as my first trimester ended and I started to feel like myself again it was short lived as my gestational hypertension started to reveal itself.   With gestational hypertension the headaches also became more severe, like they are each others evil twin.  Can't have one without the other.  Starting at just 20 weeks gestation my diastolic (the bottom #) was consistently hitting in the 90's and occasionally hitting in the upper 90's to low 100's.  I contacted my MD who advised anything >105 would require me to be on an antihypertensive medication (anything >110 is considered severe range).  I had dealt with gestational hypertension with the end of Bennett's pregnancy and for half of Jillian's pregnancy so it wasn't new to me, but for some reason this time, this pregnancy, felt so different.  My body from as early as 7 weeks was going on a roller coaster ride of anxiety and what some days felt like depression.  I was irritable and quick to scream and yell at my kids and husband.  I was easily frazzled by things that pre-pregnancy wouldn't have phased me.  I was living mentally in a very lonely place, but just as I felt out of control I would see a light pull me up to the surface for a few days of normalcy, then dunk me back under.  I failed to mention it to my MD because those times when I felt normal were the weeks I had an appointment, and I thought I have conquered the beast myself.  As a L&D nurse I had my fair share of patients on anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications and the outcome was usually a very calm and almost sedative like newborn who had no respiratory drive to breath on their own.  Combine that with a 37 week (or earlier) baby and I just felt total mom guilt for even thinking about getting on any medication to help me cope.

Finally at my 24 week appointment I vocalized my anxiety and was given a few options: medication, meditation, and me time.  I decided to try some meditation, and be more vocal about needing me time and or date nights and the dark clouds were slowly dissipating.  Then one Friday night as we were celebrating our friends birthday I got a severe headache.  Once we got home I saw my pressures consistently in the 100's and took two headache pills (the type we give when you come into L&D for a headache) and monitored by blood pressure all night to make sure it was trending down.  My stubbornness had gotten the best of me and I instead was triaging myself (playing nurse and patient) because I did not want to be at the hospital all night monitored.  I did not want for them to tell me I would need hospital bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy.  I certainly didn't want them to tell me I would need to deliver a 24 1/2 week old baby (which was unlikely...).  I just wanted to be ignorant, strong, and smart (I'm not sure how those things fit together... but thats what I wanted).
I felt better the next could of days only to go into a full blown panic attack the following Tuesday.  My blood pressures were high 100's, even as high as 146/112.  My head was throbbing, hands shaking, and uncontrollably sobbing.    I knew my symptoms were anxiety related.  I knew if I could just CALM DOWN my blood pressures would stabilize and I would be fine, but then my mind turned to this tiny 25 week old baby inside.  Was it tolerating my anxiety?  Was it getting enough oxygen from my "crappy" placenta?

I quickly packed up my kids, threw them in the car and made the journey to the hospital.  The 30 minute drive there calmed me a little, but as soon as I walked in the doors and saw my former co-worked the water works started again.  I moved into a triage room and waited for 20+ minutes before my nurse came in (of course I'd show up when they are drowning in patients).  My first pressure was 120's/98 and from there trended down to normal blood pressures.  My baby was active and had a beautiful tracing, and my headache subsided with an ice pack and some Fiorcet (the headache medicine).

Of course when you show up to labor and delivery with high-severe range blood pressures and your doctor finds out she brilliantly categorizes you as high risk and increases your monitoring tenfold.  The next day I got a call from the nurse saying I would now need twice weekly non-stress tests, ever 1-2 week(s) lab draws, every 2 week dr. appointments, and monthly growth ultrasounds.  That's a LOT of driving to the hospital, and all of the non-stress tests and ultrasounds are restricted to kids.

Bless my sweet ward/neighbors for stepping up and being willing to watch my kids as I go in for monitoring.

In addition, I've found a new love for yoga as its calmed my spirit and given me a sense of peace I have been missing this entire pregnancy.  I've spent more time poolside with my kids and the vitamin D has helped immensely to drain their energy so they nap (haha) and overall made me feel a lot better.

I keep thinking about these next 9 weeks.  To try and enjoy every minute I have with just Bennett and Jillian.  To let them know they are loved and to soak up their spirits instead of being quick to anger.  After all, they are only 2 1/2 and 3 1/2.  I am preparing these next 9 week to taking care of myself, body, mind, and spirit.  To know my limitations, to ask for help, to having a strong body capable of carrying this babe.  I am striving to be more in tune with my health, responsible as a patient (those dang nurses are the most stubborn patients), and enjoying my two days a week where I get to listen to the sweet beating of this babes heartbeat and leave with the reassurance that it is safe and all is well.  I'm excited for the day (hopefully 9 weeks from now and not sooner) that this sweet babe will be here.  A little frightened by being outnumbered 3 to 2 with kids to parents, but so freaking excited to see Bennett and Jillian in a "big brother" "big sister" role to a new infant.

Here's to making it to a 37 week induction day!

Disneyland Memorial Trip 2016

I have definitely been struggling in the blog department... since Jillian was a baby (whoops).  Life has been crazy and so many other things have consumed my attention.  Back in July Lance's mom, Ronalyn, passed away in her sleep as the result of a blood clot.  She was the definition of a vacation mom.  She would plan a vacation out of the minute and while you were on the vacation with her, she would start planning the next family vacation.  She was extremely passionate about Disneyland and her family (not in any particular order).  As we have continued this life without her as the ring leader for family dinners, family trips, and all things vacation we decided the best way to honor her birthday would be to go exactly where she would want to go with exactly who she'd want to be with, Disneyland with the grandkids!

Timing seemed to workout for our little family and the Anglin's to allow us to drive to Cedar City to celebrate the baby blessing of grandkid number 5 and continue on the road all the way to Anaheim.  It was a long drive for both cars carrying 5 kids 3 years old and under, but somehow we survived the drive and got to Anaheim before midnight on Sunday.  We settled into our VRBO with Lance's cousin Chad's family of five.  The home was a quaint little home walking distance from the park with a pool and hot tub.  Each morning we scrambled to get the kids breakfast, get dressed, and be on our way walking towards the park entrance just as they were opening the gates.  

We spent two days in Disneyland and two days in California Adventure and as always it was busier the first day that I had anticipated for early May.  Day one was by far the busiest, and I wonder if its just because its Monday and thats an easier day for people to take off of work or for traveling.  We started with Bennett, Hudson, Gage, and the dads going on Star Tours.  All of them passed the required 40" until Hudson was at the front of the line and the worker told him he was too short and kicked him out (after waiting in line for 20+ minutes!).   Landon was pissed so he folded Hudson's socks, went back in line, and had the initial worker walk him to the front of the ride to allow Hudson and him on without issue.  This multiple measuring of Hudson happened multiple times throughout the week that Hudson got so used to just running over to the measuring board and standing his neck tall.  

Per Kelsey's instructions we entered the park on day one and got each of the 4 kids their bubble wands.  These became great entertainment and also a huge pain in the butt as they used them to make bubble mounds that made each other wet.  Those bubbles lasted for what felt like eternity and even a month later Jillian and Bennett go into the backyard and use their bubble wands.  
Jillian has continued to find so much joy on the carousels its simply heart warming.  She could literally go on it over and over again and never get tired of the ride.  

Jillian, Bennett, and I went to Disneyland back in January (mid basketball season) to get some use our of our annual passes while I was in my first trimester.  It was on our last day that she finally built up the courage to meet Minnie Mouse and it was simply magical.  She kept saying "Minnie Mouse nice, she gave me a hug."  Since January I've tried to encourage the love of Disney characters (and princesses) and it worked!!  This trip was packed FULL of character meeting for Jillian and the other girls (who weren't tall enough to go on the big rides with their brothers).   Every time we'd take the boys on a big ride the girls would find a character meeting spot (or a kiddie ride) and had a blast.  
Disneyland with 6 adults, 7 toddlers, and 1 infant looked with we were herding children every time we were in line.  The kids did surprisingly well being patient and staying in line.  A few times their attention spans got the best of them, but luckily we had Lindsey with us (Mrs. Fun Mom) who would whip out a song, simon says, dance game, or something else to captivate the attention of our kidlets which allowed us to stay sane.  

[Bennett looks like he is posing for GQ but in reality he had a super itchy bum he was scratching]

As I mentioned, we have been talking with Jillian for the last few months about meeting Disney princesses.  We even started watching Beauty and the Beast and Tangled in addition to her other favorites, The Little Mermaid and Frozen which had her simply smitten to meet these princesses.   She's taken full advantage of all her princess dresses and plays dress up 80% of the day.  She has even skipped naps and changed in and out of princess dresses in her room for hours as well as missed some bathroom cues leading to pee accidents because she didn't want to take off her princess dresses.   For weeks leading up to our trip she kept asking when we go to Disneyland so she could dance with Belle.  Boy oh boy did we luck out.  We were able to meet Ana on day 2 and that was just the beginning.  Day 3 we waited in line at the Royal Palace (i think that's what its called) and met Snow White, Cinderella and Ariel.  Day 4 we ate at Ariels Grotto and the experience of meeting Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Ariel, and Tiana was priceless.

Ariel's Grotto was really an event.  You walk in and prior to being seated you get to a meet and greet with Ariel.  As soon as everyone is seated at their table a Jester announces and presents a new princess every 5 minutes until all 4 of them are out meeting and greeting the tables.  Each princess comes up to your table and interacts with your family, takes pictures, and chats with the little ones.  Belle even tried to dance will Jillian just as she wanted.  Seriously heart melting.   The food was also pretty good (pricey of course) but now my kids are obsessed with their hotdogs looking like an octopus. 

Just as we suspected Bennett (and Hudson) simply LOVED going on all the big kid rides.  I planned to get Bennett a poncho, but somehow never got around to it.  He went on Splash mountain 3 times.  The first time with Lance his shorts got a little wet and he was a little frustrated.  The second time he rode with me and he literally cheered and shouted for joy at the end of the ride, "yahoo!!!! I didn't even get wet! My shorts are dry!"   Time number 3 however, the very first "dip" the water came up over the front and drenched Bennett from head to toe.  He spent the rest of the ride crying because he was wet.  Lance carried him over to me after the ride with the saddest look on his face.  Luckily I had brought a change of shorts and a hoodie for him to change into. 
By the end of day 3 my pregnant feet were swollen and exhausted from our 8-11 mile walks each day... 30 miles of pregnant walking!! I decided I had no shame and rented an electric scooter to buzz around the park for our last day.  It.  Was.  Legit.   Not only was it SO HOT on our final day, but the kids loved the change from riding in the stroller and enjoyed scootering around with me on the Jazzi. $50 investment WELL SPENT!

The walk back to the house each afternoon left our toddlers exhausted.  Most of the time they would pass out in the stroller during the 20 minute walk.  At one point Hudson was standing on the glider board trying to rest his head in 5 different positions so he could fall asleep standing up.  One day we decided to take the glider and Jillian got too tired to stand so we found her a little "seat" next to Bennett.

After 4 long and exhausting days at Disneyland we packed our things and headed towards the beach.  We enjoyed a fantastic meal at Ruby's and definitely overwhelmed them with our table for 14..... 8 of those being under 5 years of age.  The kids watched as fishermen caught some fish off the end of the pier and were fascinated and disgusted as the fish flopped around in their "buckets."
The drive home was probably the most torturous we've had to endure in a long while.  Friday early afternoon.... It literally took us nearly 7 1/2 hours to get to Las Vegas when it should have only taken 4.  We were stuck in traffic while Jillian decided to forgo her daily nap.  
Thus we had to get creative with keeping these kids occupied on our 13 hour drive (spread across 3 days) back to Salt Lake.  
All in all the trip was fabulous.  Our kids did great waiting in line and being (for the most part) patient.  They were excited, happy, and passionate about all that we experienced while at Disney.
We spent the final night in California Adventure watching the World of Color and let me tell you, that was the absolute perfect way for us to end our Disney trip.  I sat holding Bennett as he dosed in and out with the beautiful music and captivating lights to only feel Rona's spirit so strongly with us.  There are so many times I am still in disbelief that she is no longer on this earth with us, but how grateful I am for her life, for her legacy, and for all that she has taught me.