Disbelief 

Last week we took a 10 hour (each way) overnight road trip to see my sister in Calgary. She was having a very serious surgery and I wanted to be there.

There has been a lot of drama. Lots of stress and blah blah blah

The outcome is that my quirky, weird and lovely 28 year old twin sister has brain cancer. 

Her word is upside down and I’m too far away to do anything meaningful. 

– Cade 

Velamentous cord insertion

Because of course this shit show of a pregnancy has another curve ball. 
We had our anatomy scan yesterday and the tech scanned the crap out of the cord and placenta and I said to myself this seems excessive. Cade was just excited that he saw it was a girl because in our lovely province they aren’t allowed to tell you the sex. The report contains the sex and your care provider is the one to disclose it. Anyhow. We left the appointment and I said gee I have a feeling there’s something funky going down with the cord and Cade said I’m sure everything is fine. 

Turns out I have a velementous cord insertion ie the cord has attached not to the placenta but to the sac and the layer of chorion. Chorion you say? That sounds familiar. Perhaps that’s because I had several significant bleeds attributed to a subCHORIONIC hemorrhage. Anyway the two are linked because the cord finds a weird place to attach when it doesn’t like the more regular options when they’re all bloody and stuff. 

Thankfully they are sure it’s not Vasa previa

So now I have to have extra monitoring and ultrasounds. The section is a for sure. And the three babies. FOR SURE. 

Updates!

Dropped off the face of the earth. Thought I’d write an update but it’s probably not terribly thrilling. 

Pregnancy:

I’m 18 weeks on Friday. This pregnancy…Well it’s been a weird one. The subchorionic hemorrhage really fucked me up. I didn’t want to bond because I was so sure I was losing the baby. My nausea was on the level of Evs pregnancy (read completely debilitating). And honestly I was super depressed. Bad. I felt like we’d made a huge mistake. My life was starting to settle into the swing of two. Our marriage was back in that good place post newborn stage. I started doing lots of selfish things for me. The good kind of selfish.

But everything got turned upside down. I was sooooo sick I can’t even explain the feeling it’s just scary. I couldn’t move or eat. I was stressed about the financial implications of needing to buy all the food I was eating because I literally couldn’t eat anything prepared in our house. I was completely detached from my kids and resentful of the attention they needed from me while I was basically dying thanks to the life sucking fetus growing in me. We stopped going to play groups. I got in that lovely pregnancy funk I always do where I feel just hideous and as a result I stopped going to the moms night outs and get togethers that had previously brought me joy. I was being awful to Cade because I was just so miserable. 

We had many talks and actually decided this would be our last pregnancy because the fall out was just not worth it anymore. 

And then I hit 15 weeks and by fucking golly everything started coming up Millhouse. My nausea is definitely still there but it’s manageable. As a result I’ve been able to cut my diclectin from 8 a day to 2 and so the dragging exhaustion of taking a ridiculously high dose of antihistamines is gone. We’ve been back into our old routine with play groups and play dates and walks and parks. The sun is shining, literally, which always helps my mood. I’m off pelvic rest and able to have sex again. I’m still down on my appearance but I’ve forced myself to start going back out and once I’m out I’ve enjoyed myself everytime. 

Really things are just much better and I feel like a fog of depression has been lifted. I’m not naiive and I know the third trimester will bring some of its own misery but for now I’m enjoying life again. And I’m actually really excited for this baby now. 

Now. Because I’m feeling better we’ve taken up the conversation once again of whether we will have three or four kids. Honestly we’re so so so so torn. Both sides feel equally valid. Neither of us feels strongly enough about one option. We like the idea of life picking up and moving on again if we stop now. One more newborn stage. One more chunk of truly awful sleep. One more first six weeks of hell. One more baby. I’m ready to have my body back for me. I’m ready to have my life back with Cade. I’m ready to start doing bigger family trips without the worry of taking a baby. I’m ready to stop impacting the life of my kids Everytime I get pregnant and become useless. I’m ready to get to our next season of life. But neither of us is ready to say goodbye forever to the idea of four! Every argument for stopping can be countered with “but it’s just one more year. One more pregnancy”. I don’t know. I’m hoping to find some more clarity here. 

Onto the more shocking decisions I’ve made for this pregnancy. Really I don’t even recognize myself from my first pregnancy hehe. Get ready to judge!

First, tomorrow is my consult with an OB (in our province you get a midwife or a family Dr. Obs are only seen on a referral basis). On the docket for discussion is whether they will be honouring my request for a maternal request c section 😮 I know! Who am I!? Well I’m a mom of two crazy children with no family help or reliable childcare with two fucked up previous labors that are causing me a shit ton of stress. My mom has offered to fly out here from South Africa but only has two weeks and obviously has to book her ticket months in advance. A scheduled section means I can have her fly out and take care of my huge stress of finding reliable childcare for labor who can be here at any time of day within minutes. I can also guarantee then that I will have all the help I need postpartum without risking my mom flying out too early or late to be of use. I can take back some control by knowing exactly what to expect. It will also eliminate my stress surrounding another dysfunctional labor. 

Secondly. And just as shocking. We’ve decided this newest baby will be exclusively formula fed. This is going back to my need to have my body back and honestly I feel so good about this decision. 

I have my anatomy scan on April 10 and I’ve once again convinced Cade we should find out the sex!

Abe:

Abe is nine months in a few days. He is massive. 22lbs and has dinner plate sized hands. It’s alarming. He is a sweetheart with a super pesty streak. He has four teeth and is working on five and six. He started sitting at three months crawling at six and is about a minute away from walking much to my horror. He is truly best friends with ev. It’s come on over night. One minute they couldn’t have cared less about each other and the next they were getting along better than I could have imagined. 

His older sisters influence is obvious when I watch him play. He never plays with the baby toys and he plays with things in a way that is toddler like because he mostly imitates everything ev does. For example ev didn’t really start drawing until a few months ago though we frequently offered pencils and crayons to her as a baby. She just had no interest and didn’t understand. But one of Abe’s favorite activities is to stand beside ev and scribble on paper. We loves cars and trains and anything with wheels. He’s also extremely studious. He sits with his little people turning them over and over studying every detail. He doesn’t really like to read. One thing I’ve been surprised by is that he doesn’t like to share. Shocking I know but from a very young age ev always shared her toys and made an effort to disperse toys to everyone so I didn’t realize it was something that would need to be taught. He likes to grab things from other babies I suspect mostly because it’s his go to strategy for getting things from his sister. He also smacks as ev did but because he’s the size of a small killer whale he can do actual damage and I have to watch him closely to make sure he isn’t slushing everyone in his path. One of my favorite things he’s learnt recently is to wrestle. Ev frequently wrestles with him and I didn’t know how much he understood what was happening. But lately he goes up to her and sort of rolls his head then body onto the ground initiating wrestling. It’s so sweet and she’s tickled pink to fight back. Their favorite games are to imitate her so for instance one will scream and then the other matches pitch. That game is super fun for my ears. Or in the bath they take turns splashing the water and laughing. 

He still doesn’t eat a massive variety of foods but he’s at least picked up the quantity he eats a lot. He has never taken more than 4 oz of formula every three to four hours which is less than amazing but we make do. We night weaned him at seven months and he still sleeps in his crib. He’s down to one nap a day usually 2-2.5 hrs. 

He’s going through an incredibly intense seperation anxiety phase that is amplified by his constant colds and the like. He’s basically permanently attached to me and cries if I go pee. The one nice thing is he is equally attached to Cade thanks to being bottle fed not nursed and so he gravitates to us equally. 

He is a sneaky guy. He smiles a big smile and the second you turn away does something he knows he shouldn’t. He has the cutest little crawl run thing he does to get away from me when I say bedtime and he’s pretty fast!

I love him so much and he really is the perfect fit for our family. 

Everly:

Is currently screaming bloody murder as Cade tries to put her down for bed. Where to start with her….

Well first of all she’s a horrible sleeper. She always has been and always will be I suspect. While most nights are fairly easy to put her down to bed she never makes it through the night in her bed. She always comes to ours. Eff you co sleeping. Some nights it’s as late as five in the morning but other times it can be as early as nine pm! She kicks and is awful to sleep beside and recently has started an awful habit of screaming in her sleep. Such fun. She hasnt napped since fourteen months so night time sleep is crucial and the nights where she tosses and turns the most are absolutely brutal the next day when it comes to mood. 

That is honestly our biggest challenge with her.  

Eating wise she eats everything and anything. She helps to make all her meals now and always says please and thank you. She has a true love for helping and will clean her room or our house of her own volition and frequently asks for chores she can do. She can unpack and load the dishwasher and load the washer easily. She can also organize and repack the shoe rack after her brother tornadoes it. She can organize her toys based on which bin they go in. The most helpful thing is she can follow fairly complex instructions which is really a God send this pregnancy. Lifting bending and twisting are no fun but she can get my shoes for me or diapers and wipes for Abe and so on making my life so much easier. She can put on her own boots and take off her sweater or coat but I’m trying to find a way to teach her the Montessori method of putting on her own coat as she’s having troubling mastering that. 

She is ridiculously empathetic. We’ve worked hard on feelings and nothing makes me feel more proud than when she says mama me sad because…. Or mama baba happy because…. If I’m crying or sad she gives me a hug and brings tissues. She checks up on me when I have morning sickness. She has an amazing heart. She plays with others very well and is great at sharing. She usually will back down and walk away if another kid is being a bully or not sharing. I’m working on getting her to tell me if she feels unsafe because we had an awful incident last week where a boy at a playdate bit her four times and drew blood while the mom did nothing and shrugged it off and something he did. She was scared and had nightmares for many nights after and kept saying Mama no wobbie bite baba (mama don’t let Robbie (the boy) bite Abe).

Of course she’s not perfect and she is a toddler. She’s stubborn as anything and man the days where she’s off are CHALLENGING! When she’s her usual self I find having two babies easy but the days where she fights everything make me want to cry. If she decides to not do something it’s not happening. This means that while she’s potty trained I dread the “no!” days because she will spend the day regressing and refusing to potty and will not share or play with her brother. She’s also super sassy. She loves to clean by choice but 90% of the time if it’s Cade asking her shell reply “no me tean mama tean” (no me clean mama clean) She’s also developed my phobias and has many things that make her exclaim “Yu!” (Yuck). Mainly her brothers perma snotty nose or beingn fluffs on the floor. 

Her speech has improved and everyday she impresses me with new words and bigger more complex sentences but she’s still a bit behind of her peers. We’ve been working on letter phonics and it’s slow going but she has several down. The leap frog letter factory has really helped it click. She knows her shapes and can sort her colors but still says blue or red for every color when asked to verbally name the colors. She counts 1-3 and then 6-11 but doesn’t know the numbers in-between. She still loves to read and has started memorizing books and repeating them to herself when reading solo. More recently she’s been singing actual songs which is enough to melt me. 1 2 buckle my shoe is the best thing I’ve ever heard especially as her rendition includes things like knock knock door not knock on the door. 

She’s extremely physical and has me thinking about putting her into soccer. I just kind of accepted my kids would be as dismissal as me in the sports department. She climbs rock walls and play structures. Just last week I had to stop myself from mauling several moms at the playground who were unimpressed by my non helicopter method of parenting and chose to put their actual hands on my child while saying careful you’re too little for this and pulling her off the rock walls. 

Cade and i:

Cade has started an awesome new job with a union and a substantial pay raise. He’s still an amazing dad and husband. I’ve been writing this while in a rocking chair and I suddenly feel super queasy so I need to stop writing but I just wanted to put this out there…..Friday is the one year anniversary of my little sister taking her life. Please put lots of good vibes and feelings out there as I have a feeling it’ll be a hard day for me. I’ve recently seen a counsellor and am starting to be in a better place around the whole situation but it’s still not a fun anniversary. 
Lots of love!

8w3d

I haven’t seen the actual ultrasound report but from the measurements on the screen it looked like the hematoma was about 3.7cm x 3.6cm. You can sort of see it in the image although it’s much bigger than it looks in that. It’s to the left of the baby in the picture. 

The baby was starting to move around and had a HB of 176

  

So I finally got confirmation that I have a subchoronic hematoma when I had my ultrasound on friday. Great. No need to know the size I’m told. These are always beign and don’t mean anything. 

Except that my midwife said I should carry on as usual so we decided to have sex for the first time on Sunday since my last bleed and sure enough a huge fucking bleed. 

Great I talk to midwife who assures me it was a coincidence and theres no need for any restrictions. 

Okay sweet I’ll take the kids to a giant indoor playground. It’s been three days and my bleeding is just minimal brown spotting I’m golden. 

Picking ev up for the twelfth time while holding Abe in my other arm and hoisting her up on a giant slide I feel like I’ve peed myself. Perfect. 

Go to bathroom. So much blood I literally look like I’m dying. Try to gather ev and her shoes while holding Abe and walking with my legs squeezed tight as the blood is fucking pouring out. Totally just look like I’ve peed my pants because I’m wearing black. 

Call the midwife. Oh it’s probably just a miscarriage nothing you can do. If it is the hematoma there’s nothing you can do to help it either so next time no need to page. 

😐 My life

PS I found the baby with the Doppler on Monday and have heard it every day since including after this bleed. So I’m not worried that I’m currently miscarrying. Just that I will in the future because apparently quality care is impossible to receive when you have free health care

7w2d and other things

Now that I’m ready to acknowledge I’m pregnant I’m already ready to whine about it. Morning sickness, holy crap it’s bad this time. I have so many food aversions I can barely eat and I am barely taking the edge off the nausea with 8 diclectin a day at this point. The 8 diclectin are also compounding the fact that I’m beyond exhausted. Le sigh.

The novelty of pregnancy has definitely worn off at this point and now I’m ready to be done! But we do want at least our family of 4 so I figured out I am currently approximately 53.5% through my lifetime of pregnancy. I feel so evil saying it but I’m really not quiet about the fact that I don’t like newborns or small babies all that much and am ready to be past that point in our lives. Every new milestone the kids reach I love and I want to be squarely in the toddler and beyond stage asap! This pregnancy puts me at 25 still by the time we have our 3rd so we can still manage to squeeze the 4 in before I turn 27 and that leaves us young and spry still.

I’m not all whingey. I am excited for some new baby purchases and for seeing the kids with another sibling. Ev maybe? understands what’s going on and lifts my shirt and puts her eye to my belly button to “see?” the baby. I’m 98% convinced its another girl partly due to the ramzi theory and partly because of this morning sickness. That’s very exciting to me! But I did promise Cade I won’t officially find out this time. I don’t need to if I believe it’s a fact already right?

Ev is doing so well. Her language is improving as she puts more and more two and three word sentences together. She always says please and were at about 15% on the thank yous. Potty training is going well although I feel it’s more elimination communication at this point as the number of times she’s pulled her own pants down and sat is less than five and the rest of the time is me prompting and taking her although she does pull her own pants up. She know only poops in private. You MUST wait ow-si (outside) and she will tell at you till you do until she yells all done when you must go retrieve her. She also savours the alone time and takes a book where it often stretches to a half hour event. She is imaginative in her play now although she is very different from her brother preferring big actions and games to small ones like trains and cars. Surprisingly she really enjoys reading by herself still which is odd considering it’s pretty much the only sedentary activity she engages in. She loves to help and frequently brings her mini broom to help me sweep. She can load and unload the dishwasher place clothes in the laundry and will automatically grab a receiving blanket to clean up any spills or accidents she has.  She also takes off and places her shoes on the shoe rack and were working on hanging up her coat. We are struggling with her continued obsession with biting chewing and destroying. None of her books look new. Every single one has been ripped and chewed and every toy goes in her mouth. It’s kind of odd and not what her peers are still doing. We can’t really do arts and crafts or play doh because it all ends up on her mouth instantly. She continues to eat anything and everything except when it comes to her brothers favourite foods. He loves bananas she hates them. He loves eggs and she does not. She’s still getting used to him. I won’t artificially inflate their relationship and say they are inseparable but they really do love each other. She asks to see him every morning and frequently ruffles his hair and brings him toys. We are working on taking turns as when it comes to her brother she’s pretty stingy. 

Abe is great. He is his sister’s opposite. Content to sit for hours and play with cars or small toys he has recently found little people and enjoys turning them over and over to watch their changing shapes. He is a little pickier than Ev. He doesn’t like many meats or veggies but really likes eggs sausage and bananas. We are going through my second most hated stage behind newborn with him being six months. Teething constantly and standing but not cruising, spinning but not crawling he’s at a very frustrated point with his mobility. He desperately wants to follow ev around and frequently is very unsettled as he doesn’t want to remain stationary. His sleep is a absolute shit show. Naps are decent but night time often includes wake up’s every fifteen to thirty minutes from midnight until he wakes up for the day at 5am. We’re not looking to sleep train and know the culprit is his pacifier but at this point we aren’t willing to take it away so we hope he quickly reaches the point where he can put back his own soother. He has SO MUCH HAIR!!! it’s the best thing ever. It sticks straight up and it’s much lighter than I anticipated. He’s a super sweet boy and very friendly with everyone. Although he’s starting to get more separation anxiety he still doesn’t mind other people holding or watching him. He still hates cuddling or being held really but I’ve learnt to connect with him in other ways. He loves to sing so he sometimes tolerates being held if I sing his favourite song (five little monkeys). He is massive. His hands are much bigger a than EVs are and he’s quickly outgrowing his 12 month clothes at 6 months here. We will probably have to size up within the next two weeks to 18 months. We are still learning what Abe needs from us as for me it’s not as intuitive as I found infancy with ev. Learning what makes him feel happy and safe and cozy has taken some time but we’re making progress. Ever since he started sitting we’ve been able to back carry him which has helped a ton as he always hated being front carried. 

A couple of days ago my friend and her son who is very close with Abe were in a very traumatic accident. They were crossing the street when a utility truck hit them. It could have been really really bad but they got away with just some broken bones. It’s been very weird as I’ve walked through that crosswalk with her and our kids so many times so I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I feel really awful for her and I’m not sure how to help. She’s not willing to get counselling and I really wish she would because I feel like it would be something that would be very beneficial.

Cade and I are doing well. Trying to find the time to connect in-between the insanity of our lives now. 
Abe is crying so that’s it for now!