A Catch-All Post

Just a few quick words to bring all our faithful readers up to date…

On Friday, Liam had his 18 month checkup and immunizations. Yes, nearly a month late, but surely you didn’t expect me to get him the dreaded chicken pox vaccine right before we went on vacation. And it’s a good thing we waited, as he had quite a reaction to it. All day Saturday the poor boy was miserable. He had a temperature of 102-104 most of the day. The only thing that even made him mildly happy was to lay on my lap and watch TV or be read to. I tried getting him to sit next to me, as pressing up against another body wasn’t helping his fever. But the few times I tried that he just dissolved into sobs. A couple times I tried standing him up (bathroom breaks, getting him a drink, etc.) and he’d just wail and clutch at his legs and stand there. Refused to eat, would only sip at his drink. He was so sick his eyes looked feverish, you know? By evening it seemed as though he had taken a turn for the better, and at our 2AM scheduled Tylenol-dosing his temp was normal. And Sunday he was a perfectly happy, rambunctious toddler again. Thank God.

Doc announced him healthy and normal, although she seemed a little concerned about his weight — thinks he’s a little too thin. True, he’s under the 50th percentile in the OMNISCIENT OMNIPOTENT GROWTH CHART that all doctors revere, but not far under. Actually, I find that kind of funny, as I’ve had people tell me (based on pictures) that he looks a little chubby. I guess the camera really does add ten pounds! We’re not at all concerned about it. Liam eats well and drinks plenty of milk. We think healthy is a range, not a specific number he should meet at a specific age.

This weekend I received a letter from my college, confirming that I did indeed fulfill all my obligations for my degree. I will receive my BA in English this December. Yay, me! That degree was fifteen years in the making, so you can imagine how pleased I am to finally get it. In addition, Jesse said I can have “anything I want” as a graduation gift. The choices just boggle the mind, don’t they? Suggestions?

In other, and slightly less upbeat news, we finally have the results of the testing they did on Isaiah. The results, however, don’t offer much in the line of closure. We learned that he had no physical abnormalities or deformities that were to blame for his death or that hinted at other problems. Unfortunately, the time between his death and his actual miscarriage was too great and they were unable to determine if there were any chromosomal problems. So we’re left with no answers, simply having to accept his death and hope and pray for the best next time. Which is pretty much what we’d have to do even if we had a clear answer.

Closure… of a sort

A few days ago I started really watching what I’m eating and working out daily. I’d like to get rid of the fluffiness from 16 weeks of pregnancy and 6 weeks of inactivity due to apathy and the mopes. I’ve been doing really well; today, however, hasn’t gone so well.

1. We spent the entire day at a friend’s house while my husband fixed her computer. She fed us lunch, but only one small meal in about 8 hours (snacks were offered, but I thought allowing myself to have shortbread was going a little overboard) resulted in me being absolutely ravenous.
2. My knee hurts from running yesterday, so I’ve opted out of doing my workout tonight. I’ll pick it up tomorrow night when I’m feeling better.
3. Said friend gave me a bottle of wine that looked pretty alluring.
4. When we got home there was a message on our machine from my OB about the testing they did on our son. Briefly, they could identify no physical abnormalities or deformities; however, the baby had been dead too long for them to be able to do any chromosomal testing. That answer kind of threw me. I don’t know what I expected to hear, but it wasn’t that.

So now I’m ravenous, in pain, and renewedly sad about my son, the pointlessness of his death, and the knowledge that he was in such a state when he left my body that they couldn’t even test for problems, that I think I’m going to crack open that bottle of wine. Anyone blame me?

We pretty much figured that the results of testing would be inconclusive, but I guess my brain had never put together why that would be. And since the doctor told us he’d died about two weeks before, and she suggested the testing, I figured they’d be able to do it. I wonder if Isaiah had actually died even earlier than they thought. At my twelve week appointment he was measuring nearly a week ahead. Perhaps the doctor didn’t take that into account when measuring his head at my 16 week ultrasound to determine when he’d died. So maybe he actually died right around 13 weeks, but because he was already measuring ahead she got 14 week measurements. Does that make any sense to anyone but me?

Anyway, dh and I are sad and… bereft I guess is the best word for it. But we have decided that we will definitely try again. And I will do my best not to live my next pregnancy in fear. I think instead I will do my best to treasure every minute ot it, come what may. If I had known I’d have so few weeks with Isaiah, I would have revelled in every little twinge. I’d have patted my belly more often. And I’d have let myself get completely wrapped up in the miracle of making a baby.

Time to Sleep

For this week’s photo essay, here’s a look back over the last year and a half. This is Liam at his most peaceful, and most adorable — bedtime!


2 weeks — A year and a half on, it’s difficult to believe he was ever this tiny! Or this red! He used to sleep on a pillow between the two of us. Sigh…those days are gone. If we make the mistake of bringing him into bed with us when we hear him wake, it means we’re up-and-at-em too.


2 months — This pic was taken at about six weeks, just when he was really starting to smile. No, that is definitely NOT gas. I was standing next to Jesse making googly-eyed faces et al to get this big smile.


3 months — Taken while visiting my family in NNY. You can tell he was absolutely exhausted! Note: I am lying next to him, asleep as well, but that is definitely NOT for internet display, as I look decidedly… well, stupid.


5 months — Lounging on Mama’s lap, just before going up to bed. His tummy is full, he’s being cuddled and loved, and he has his favorite stuffed animal with him. Could he be any more content?


6 months — How many kids get to celebrate their half-year birthday in Paris? But Liam is a world traveller, a jet-setter, one might say. You can see the “been there, done that, time to go home to my own bed” expression on his sleeping face.


8 months — What do you do with old cardboard boxes? You turn them into toys, of course! It’s a car, it’s a boat, it’s a toybox! Doesn’t he look like he’s lounging back on the seat of his car, saying, “hey, pretty mama?!”


18 months — This photo was taken just tonight. Note the toothbrush clutched in his right hand. Awww, isn’t that cute that he’s so concerned about dental hygeine at such a young age? No, actually that’s a defense mechanism. See, as long as he has the toothbrush in a death grip, we can’t actually be using it. You know, to brush his teeth.

Yes, I know there’s a huge gap in the cute pictures of Liam sleeping/ready for bed. 8 to 18 months. Why is that, you ponder? Because he is now mobile. And every hard-fought photo you see of him now involves either two parents, or one of us running backward to keep him in the frame AND to keep the camera out of his hands, yet doing out best to keep the camera steady. Gotta love the auto-stabilizer on our new camera, eh?

CD 1 for me, so I’m definitely not pregnant. Surprisingly, I find that to be a bit of a relief. Although I want to become pregnant again, sooner rather than later, I’d rather avoid the *slightly* higher chance of miscarriage the first cycle after one. We’ve fallen on the wrong side of the odds too many times as of late.

In other news, I called my OB today, hoping to find the results of the testing they did after my D&C. She still doesn’t have the results. Apparently she wrote to the doctor that performed the surgery. Once he receives her letter, it should take about a week for him to mail back the results. Who *writes* any more, for crying out loud?! What about e-mail, or a phone call, and faxing the results? Hell, it’s a twenty minute drive between the two hospitals. Why not talk to him in person.

I realize doctor’s are busy, and as a non-pregnant woman I’m pretty low priority, but it’s been six weeks. Am I wrong to expect them to give me some information by this time? Any information, even if it’s, “sorry, Mrs. O. We couldn’t find any reason for the miscarriage.” I kind of feel like nobody cares about this but me.

Maybe I’m not recovering as quickly as I ought to be. Actually, I thought I was doing well, but now I wonder.

Attacked by a Piece of Concrete


This is the cutest boy in the world.


This is the face of the cutest boy in the world.


This is the bruise that mars the face of the cutest boy in the world.


This is the step that made the bruise that mars the face of the cutest boy in the world.

Liam took a hard fall yesterday while we were outside playing. He fell like a plank, his head cracking right onto the corner of the step. It actually looked much worse in the first hour after the fall than it does now. No, we didn’t take him to the hospital. Yes, we thought about it. No, we didn’t think it was necessary. Yes, we checked on him periodically throughout the night. No, he isn’t acting funny. Yes, his eyes/balance/coordination seem normal. No, social services aren’t knocking on our door yet. Yes, I will be eternally sorry that it occurred on my watch. Whereas I may be permanently scarred by the experience, as you can see, Liam is okay.

Little Victories

In the first few weeks after we lost Isaiah, I started having what I would call panic attacks. I couldn’t catch my breath, I couldn’t stop crying. I was incapable of making a decision, I just stood there in a wrecked state.

That actually makes it sound worse than it was. This wasn’t a constant condition, it happened maybe three or four times. When Liam choked on a piece of apple, when I read a particularly sad and gripping account of someone else’s miscarriage (stillbirth, actually) etc.

Yesterday, Liam took a hard fall. He actually had a crease on his head and, oh my God, I was so worried. And alone, as Jesse was at work. But I didn’t collapse. I calmed my son, got a good look at the damage, consulted the DR. Sears *bible*, administered the Tylenol, and called my husband. I’m very proud of myself that I didn’t fall apart. Not even AFTER the event. I handled it like a normal, in control mom. Which is what I am.

Back into the Swing of Things

Todays was the first Moms-n-Tots (playgroup) that I’ve taken Liam to this year. The group disbanded over the summer, and I’ve only seen two of the moms to let them know what happened. Many of the moms there were new, so luckily there was no need to make a public announcement. The three moms there I did know from before I spoke to and all were nice and sympathetic. I’m glad none of them tried to offer suggestions or the trite phrases well-meaning people say when they don’t know what to say. I expected it to be a difficult morning for me; instead, it was quite a relief to be around other moms and other kids again. There were also a couple new babies, and I’m so glad that seeing them didn’t upset me.

A couple of posts ago I said I would wait til early October to test. Pfffft! As if a woman who wants a baby could possibly hold off testing for that long. Right now I’m praying for at least a 12 day luteal phase — enough to actually sustain a pregnancy. That way I’ll know that, at least hormonally, things are okay. Luteal phase was never a problem for me, but who knows what has changed inside my body since the miscarriage. THEN I’ll become obsessed, I know, with the idea of testing.

Part of me would prefer to remain ignorant. That way, if I miscarried in the first couple of weeks, I’d be oblivious to it and just suspect a late period. Thanks to Toni Weschler, however, I know better than that. If I have 18 high temps, I’m pregnant. End of story. And since I know I have historically low progesterone, I think the most responsible thing I can do as a *mom* is to test at 14 dpo and see my doctor asap to get a prescription.

On a side note, it’s funny to me to think that other people out there are reading my blog. I started this just trying to work through my own grief, feeling so completely alone and at odds with the world. And now I find a lot of great women out there that have gone through the exact same thing, some situations even more heartbreaking than mine. I find I’m not alone in this, nor am I at odds with the entire world. Never did I imagine that I’d be part of this select group, never did I want to be, but I’m truly glad to have found it when I needed it.

Need the Info

rlstevenson
This photo was taken on the main road through the town of Braemar. It was in this house in 1881 that Robert Louis Stevenson, in an effort to entertain his stepson, doodled a map that led to the novel “Treasure Island.” The house is now a private residence.

Thought I’d include this explanation, just in case you were wondering why we were taking a picture of someone’s house.

20 Reasons It's All My Fault

It’s my fault. How can it not be my fault?? It absolutely, 100% positively must be my fault. Yes, I know that’s asinine, but the recriminations that are constantly popping into my head defy rational thought and affirm that it is, indeed, my fault.

1. I drank when he was just a fledgling blastocyst, before I knew he existed but knew the potential was there.
2. I didn’t fight hard enough with the a$$hole doctor I had to see at the MTF for progesterone supplements to counter my early bleeding.
3. I fought too hard with said doctor and the stress caused more bleeding and other problems.
4. I allowed Dr. W (the good dr) to do an ultrasound at every exam. Perhaps too much exposure to sonar?
5. I ate soft cheese in weeks 6 and 8.
6. After my 12 week appointment I got too sure of myself and this pregnancy.
7. I was too judgmental of women who head for the hospital for every little ache and pain.
8. I quoted ALL the statistics. It was like begging to be in the losing percentages. in. every. instance.
9. I complained too much about my aches and pains. Maybe I’ve been punished.
10. I carried Liam around, putting one child’s needs before the other’s.
11. I lifted weights in early pregnancy.
12. I didn’t eat as well/drink as much water/exercise as much as I did with Liam.
13. I worried over how I was going to keep up with the needs and demands of two children. Maybe he knew and thought he wasn’t wanted.
14. I wasn’t as excited and *into* this pregnancy as I was with the first.
15. I didn’t pay enough attention to all the little aches and pains.
16. I drank a cup of caffeinated tea every day.
17. I forgot to take my prenatals on two separate occasions.
18. I spent too much time contemplating the baby’s sex and name choice, and not enough time hoping he’d just be healthy.
19. I didn’t pray enough.
20. I prayed for the wrong things.

**NOTE: this post is laced with sarcasm. No, I don’t actually think it is my fault. So please, no posts telling me not to be foolish.

Scotland

There is no possible way to describe how magically wonderful our trip to Scotland was. It came at a time when we truly needed a break from it all. I’d love to give you all the details, but were I to do that I’d be typing for the next week. Instead we will present you with a brief travelog summarizing the trip. Feel free to browse the PHOTOS from the trip. Over the next few weeks (who am I kidding? the next few months!) I’ll post many of the pictures here with commentary. But for now the bare bones version will have to do.

31 August & 1 September
The ferry from Zeebrugge in the north of Belgium to Rosyth, Scotland, was fantastic! It was a floating five star hotel, with small bedrooms. Liam didn’t sleep well, didn’t care for the wind out on the deck, and wasn’t pleased that he wasn’t allowed to roam free, but overall he enjoyed the trip. We arrived in Scotland around 11AM, well-rested and ready to get moving. The drive from Rosyth to Braemar took about two and a half hours. This had to be some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. The road twisted and turned through beautiful heather-covered hills, that gradually grew into the highlands. And twisted and turned. And twisted and turned… I felt horribly car sick, so we stopped for some fresh air. That’s where the photos of Liam in the heather were taken. We arrived in Braemar late in the day and found The Braemar Lodge, our home for the next five days. We walked around town and found a place to eat for the night. Much to Liam’s delight, the town had a large children’s park, completely empty of other people. See how happy he is!
having a great time

2 September
Jesse has been to Scotland a couple times before. This was my first trip. So what is his first reccommendation? A trip to the Lochnagar Distillery, of course. Children under eight weren’t allowed on the tour, so Jesse watched Liam while I learned the fine art of whiskey-making. I also had my first dram. Personally, I’m more of a wino, but I have learned to appreciate a good whiskey. Now Jesse has to share with me. Lucky for him, I received a coupon for taking the tour, and the gentleman behind the counter gave us a deal on an entire case. I won’t even tell you what that cost. Here’s Liam getting his own private lesson in distilling.
Liam gets a lisson in distilling

3 September
The first Saturday in September is when the Highland Games are held in Braemar. Imagine a quaint little town (about the size of Croghan, for my family; a little smaller than Hurley, for Jesse’s family) suddenly being inundated with 18-20,000 people. It was crowded, to say the least. In the morning we went to the games and got to see men throwing hammers, stones, and cabers. There were girls doing tradtional Highland dances, and bands of bagpipes. It was very impressive when all 12 bands circled the fields, playing together. The music was hauntingly beautiful. In the afternoon the queen came to the games, and the crowds really started packing in. Liam and I couldn’t see a thing, so we abandoned the games for the children’s park. You could still here the bands, echoing over the hills. When we left, we received a real treat. The mass bands paraded through town, finishing about two feet from us. Liam loved it!

4& 5 September
Liam was a little cranky, so we decided a car ride and a change of scenery would do him good. We hopped in the car and headed for Inverness. The drive took over two hours, through God’s country. We wound through little roads up into the hills, practically to the peaks. On the way to Inverness we stopped to see Culloden Moor, the site of the final battle for Scottish independence. What a somber site — the haunting feel of it reminded us of the Somme. We left the battlefield and continued on to Inverness. On an impulse, we decided to drive down the western side of Loch Ness and visit the town of Fort Augustus. The loch is over twenty miles long, incredibly deep, and so still. The entire drive was like a postcard. We stopped for a break and Liam is sure he spotted Nessie.
spotting Nessie

Jesse chanced upon his friend, Mac, when we arrived in Fort Augustus. We met up with him and *the boys* for a beer at a local pub. It soon became apparent that an hour or two wouldn’t be nearly enough time to spend with them, Liam and I crossed the street and booked a room at the Lovat Arms Hotel. Gorgeous room, lots of space, and a wonderful view — we could see Loch Ness and the abbey from our window. Liam slept (eventually), I caught up on some reading and relaxing, and Jesse got to catch up with some very good friends.

Our second day in Fort Augustus was perfect. We wandered the souvenir shops and the picturesque streets while waiting for the fog to burn off the loch. A visit to a rare-breeds farm pacified our own beast. Liam got to see Shetland ponies, Highland cows, mountain sheep and goats, etc. We walked along the Caledonian Canal and the shores of Loch Ness. Initially, we planned on taking a cruise of the loch, but decided to leave that for another year when Liam (and therefore we) could enjoy it more. A light lunch and coffee with Mac and we were on our way. The drive back, along the east side of the loch, gave of stunning views of Loch Ness, as well as a multitude of smaller lochs.

6&7 September
We left Braemar and headed back to the coast to catch the ferry back to Belgium. Both of us were slightly melancholy to be leaving Scotland behind. A week wasn’t nearly enough time. We are already making plans to return. However, it is also good to be home. Liam especially is loving being back. His own bed, his own toys, his own big back yard that he can roam at will.