Thursday, June 30, 2011

Round Three?

I've repeatedly read that when you're done having kids, you just know.  Is the opposite case as clear?  If you're not done, is it obvious?  Or is feeling that you are definitely not done just a sign of some other psychological condition?

Oddly, I didn't feel complete after Trajan was born, but I also didn't feel this strong imperative to have more either.  I just kind of was.  We actually started discussing one more pregnancy before Chiron was born, before I even went into the hospital and whenever I'm near that overpass, it always runs across my mind.

Paul has gone from yes to no during the length of Chiron's life.  I've gone from yes to I can't contemplate it to I want to, but I think the best thing to do right now is say that I don't need an answer for now.  And we don't.  We do not have to decide.  If we were going to, I imagine we'd want to wait another two years from now anyway. 

I feel comfortable enough that I got a Mirena implanted when the mini-pill caused my body to go horror movie on me.  It's good for five years, but they can pull it before.

If Paul stays at his current no, it won't matter.  Even if it breaks me or leaves a hole that I can't even explain, I know I wouldn't be comfortable talking him into it.  The problem for him with another baby is that means another preschooler.  The problem for me is that means another lump-a-baby.  Lets see how we do with this one first, I guess.

Also, I know intellectually I can't predict where we will be in two years as to whether we can expand our homes, our hearts and our minds for another.  Right now, I know we could, but I have to see what happens in the next couple years.

And now for confessions:

One reason I think of for another is something one of my friend's husbands told me about what it was like going through the death of a sibling by himself and how much he wished there had been another sibling.  I know babies and children can die.  Three gives you more of a support system for their loss and also the possible loss of parents/grandparents.

I love families with three and four kids.  However, maybe they have a competency that led them to having more.  I love the dynamics of multiple siblings.  My dad and his brothers are now in the 50-60 range and I still love the relationship that is between the three of them. 

I know one reason I have for considering another pregnancy is to leave a different taste of pregnancy in my mouth.  I'm good with babies, but I have some anger towards pregnant women.  It's selfish to want to change this, to experience birth based on something other than avoiding negatives.  I know that, but I wonder if it's selfish to want to change my mentality because of how it will impact relationships.  The boys have a reasonable chance to have kids someday and I want myself to be as positive and healthy about that as possible (and yes, I'm worrying about a 3-year-old and a six-month-old).

I worry that a third would make us make decisions based on there being three rather than what is best (like public versus private school). 

I know that there are no guarantees.  There's no guarantee against a miscarriage, a stillbirth, a neonatal death, a death from old age ;-).  I know there's no guarantees that I won't find a new problem this time, gestational diabetes or one of those liver conditions or something. 

I do know that there are great positives about either a boy or a girl, so we wouldn't have to deal with that anxiety.  I do know we have the love.  I do know Trajan would do well with another sibling.  I don't know whether Chiron's birth will require a c-section (the OB has said it is likely it wouldn't).  I do know that both the perinatologist and the OB have said that I would be very unlikely to have problems with preterm labor and that I have a fantastic cervix for how well it stood up.

I know that while I don't need an answer right now and honestly can't even generate one, I still think about it every day.

I know I don't like the term rainbow baby.  Maybe it's because I had a loss with a live birth, but I don't think so.  I think I don't like the term for the same reason I don't like calling Chiron a miracle, it debases all the effort that went into him (see 160 Medical Professsionals) and I think somehow casts those babies who weren't as lucky in a negative light.  If we do have another, it will be for him or her as his or her own self.

2013, we will look at it with you.

Adding one last thought: in case anyone reading this is debating a pregnancy after a loss or a NICU stay, here's a fantastic article: I just tried to add that using safari on the phone since blockades kept catching, so hopefully the link works. Otherwise, I'll fix it tomorrow. It's written by my OB, whom I think is wonderful, and published by a fantastic group in Austin called Hand to Hold.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Pumping as guilt.

Pumping to prove something.

Pumping as a karmic payment to the universe.

So many reasons, but it comes down to I pump. And pump.
I wrote down this quick thought as a note the other day and while it's short, I'm impressed with the "trueness" of it.  I pump to assuage guilt for an early birth, I pumped to prove that I produce enough for two babies and could have fed them (in progress, I've let go of feeling the need to do this), I pump as some sort of payment in my mind for Chiron being so lucky in the NICU.  Who would have thought that one action could be rooted in so many different psychological explanations.

I've now logged over 64 gallons of milk (8199 ounces and 242482 mL) with the first week and a half of my pumping missing from my log.  I've got 1137 recorded puming sessions and since I was pumping 10-12 times a day those first days, I have definitely pumped over 1200 times.

I haven't gotten an update from the milk bank recently of how much I've donated, but it was right around 3000 ounces the last time they called me.


I honestly have considered stopping some in the last few days, but I don't think that I'm there yet.  Chiron has issues with reflux (Zegerid and Bethanochol improve it though) and the gastroenterologist said that it's likely to be best with breast milk.  He doesn't seem to require that I do the diet elimination that his brother did, so I think it's best that I keep on carrying on. 

To help motivate myself, a list of reasons to keep it up:
1. best for X-man's stomach
2. address all those psychological explanations
3. the excess really can mean the difference between life and death for preemies
4. can't really start up again if I change my mind and while the pumping exists only in the now, the decision is forever
5. I think he may be supposed to take special caloric formula if we move him to formula and that looks expensive
6. don't have to deal with formula diapers!

Anybody else have any other items I can add to my list when I feel whiney/when I'm up in the middle of the night/when I'm figuring out where to pump at a conference/when I'm exploding because I got caught up in meetings/when I'm working out a plugged duct/when my work shirts don't fit because of said lactation?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


I have a tendency to not want to do things or make plans that are just fun for me, thinking it's selfish, but whenever I do I'm amazed. By things as little as how good laughter makes me feel. By how much I really do value these days in my existence which really are paradise, even if they're not beautiful.

So, my recommendation is go ahead and do some things just because you like them.

Plus, a bonus picture of Chiron because he fell asleep on the way to daycare dropoff and so I left him in his bucket instead of carrying him and I thought he was cute.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bittersweet sentiments

Death mingled with life. Nursery mingled with morgue. Carseat mingled with urn.  Death in multiples definitely creates some bittersweet moments.

Yesterday was Chiron's half-year mark.  Woot.  But while I thought about it at least a half-dozen times, I somehow couldn't bring myself to write anything, not even a quick picture (I cheated with Facebook and did it the day before).

When I think of things that should be happy as events in Chiron's existence I get this tightness in my jaws. It's like the muscles at the hinges of my jaws contract all at once. Why? I think I feel guilt at my bittersweet sentiments.

So, intellectually I think Chiron earns his own six month post, but I just couldn't bring myself to write one, so instead I'll lump in stats here.

Big news is with the exception of showing signs of readiness for food, he hit all of the unadjusted six-month milestones.  Woot!  Big woot!  Also, his length is now on the chart for unadjusted age at the 5% mark at 24.25 inches.  His head continues to be huge at 46 centimeters (75% for unadjusted).  Actually, it's so huge that we are doing an extra measurement appointment in six weeks.  My head is huge and Trajan's is pretty big, so it's probably fine, but just to be sure.  His weight is up to 12 pounds, 12 ounces of 5.755 kilograms and while this isn't on the chart, it's good progress for him and over 4 times his birth weight!

I'm resolving to do better for your birthday, little man.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Random Tidbits

I feared for his life near constantly while he was inside, but I really think I only feared for his existence once after he was out and in the NICU

I may have answered what's behind space with "space, the final frontier"

There's this link going around of 10 things not to say to preemie parents and I've got to say, these generally don't bother me.  I guess I credit most people with good intentions.  When you congratulate us on our savings that he can stay in small clothes longer, you don't mean anything bad by this, just commenting.  And recognizing that he's just a part of existence.

I love Chiron's face when his brother cries:

Luckily, Trajan doesn't cry often, but this is consistently Chiron's response to it, great concern.  This particular night, Paul actually had to just take him outside until Trajan was calmed down.

Trajan is a goober and I love him immensely:

Including his fashion sense and his energy:

And Chiron has giant eyes:

And in celebration of being about to hit 6 months now fits in 3-6 month clothes!

And I just realized that it will be a blink of an eye until he goes from that Bumbo to the Learning Tower in the edge of the picture.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dead Baby Blogs II

Why does this phrase stick with me so much? It's still true that " I can not do anything more for Aurelia. Period."

My other thought from reviewing this post was that I never wrote down what my real fear was.  My real fear was that Chiron would be dead too.  That they would go for fetal heart tones or a non-stress test and there would be nothing.  I honestly think it was over three weeks before I stopped thinking he was dead everytime they hooked the monitors up (which was several times a day).

I love that he was " galloping like a good centaur".

So, is there such a thing as a normal day-to-day experience type blog with a minor side of dead baby?  Is that a field?  Or just something to disturb the other dead baby seekers (because of the everyday banalities of the rest of my life) and the normal blog readers (because of said dead baby). 

We shall see.

See the Flipside

I said it once, but I need to remind myself, Attitude Matters.

I got stuck in meetings and discussions yesterday afternoon at work and so had to leave to pick up the boys having not pumped since noon or one or so.  So, I told Trajan that we would need to pump when we got to the house and then get on with our normal stuff.  He followed this up with a question of why.  I without much thought said something to the effect of "because Chiron likes milk." His response was "yes, but we need to pump more because of the hospital babies, right?  The sick babies need milk and so we pump extra to help them."

Stopped me in my tracks.  I've been whining about pumping, because it's a hassle.  But it took my three-year-old to drive home how important it is.  Not only am I providing Chiron with the food that is supposed to be best for his reflux, but I am also helping multiple preemies and sick infants.  Donor milk can be the difference between life and death due to NEC.  So, thanks Trajan.

Similarly, I've had this odd funk about the fact that Trajan will never have the luxury of just assuming that a pregnancy will be fine.  (Yes, I have been bothered about something my three-year-old might experience whenever he becomes a father.  I never said I wasn't crazy).  Well, I didn't see the flipside of all he has learned from this experience.  That life is precious.  That amazing things can be done.  That science and study are all important. 

My three-year-old declared the other day that there are some things that doctors can not fix.  Not a sentiment that you normally hear from a three-year-old, but it's true.  And I think his awareness of this is good because he also coupled with a statement that showed an understanding of personal responsibility.

So, time to see the good.  To see the magic.  To see what has been learned and achieved and conquered.  It doesn't mean I will not be aware of the sad and the bad, but I want to make a conscious effort to see the flipside.

Monday, June 20, 2011


aWhy our labels so challenging? Miscarriage versus stillborn? I know with almost every definition she was a stillborn, but I feel like a cheater in the stillborn club. She died at 24,0 or 24,1 which is the very edge of viability.

And then wasn't born for another six weeks.

And we also got a live baby when she was born.

Would I really feel better if there was a perfect label? No, but that doesn't stop it from bothering me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cheers, Trajan Style

While we were in Dallas, we spent some time with my pseudo-aunt and her family.  Pseudo-aunt means she was one of my grandparents' exchange students during high school, but I've known her my whole life.  They came into the states from various European locations to drive Route 66 in RVs.

We went out to eat with her and Trajan asked to sit next to my cousin Matthew.  Now, Matthew is a pretty cool guy, but definitely from a preschoolers perspective.  He played professional baseball, is in great shape, smart and just all-around a good guy.  See:

Now my favorite memory of the two of them together was when the food arrived.  Trajan picked up his cheeseburger, looked at Matthew who also got a cheeseburger and said, "Cheers!"  Matt looked confused for a half-second then picked up his cheeseburger and bumped burgers with Trajan saying, "Cheers!"  He followed this up with the statement, "Cheers, not just for drinks anymore." 

This really amused the heck out of me.

I sadly didn't get a shot or video of the actual event, but you can see from Trajan's face how much fan Matt is for him.  Just wish we got to see him more often!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teaser - Chiron

Ok, so there is a slighter possibility that I might actually document the start of Chiron's life as I got pictures onto a computer the other day.  Here's a teaser:

Driving Duo

Last week, Trajan went to Dallas and Oklahoma for the week.  I dropped him off and then headed back to Austin (about 200 miles) for the week.  He had a roaring good time.  Paul had to work, but Chiron and I headed up Friday to see some family/friends, for me to go to a board meeting and to pick Trajan up.  The drive up there was completely uneventful.  Stopped once for about fifteen minutes to feed him.

The drive back, not so much.  I'm sad because I took some moments to stick some notes in blogpress, but apparently didn't save it or publish as a draft, so my little notes are done.  Oh well, you mainly miss out on some quotes.

Headed out and made it about ten minutes before Chiron started crying.  I found an exit, got him out, changed an identified poopy diaper and determined that he wasn't hungry.  Put him back in and within a couple minutes he was crying again.  Pulled off the highway again and this time could find nothing I could address.  Started driving again, crying started again.  Decided to wait five minutes and then pulled off again. 

At this point I decided to try a modified cry-it-out procedure.  After that five minute period, I next drove for ten minutes with the crying, then fifteen and then twenty.  At the break after the twenty minute period I decided to try giving him a dose of one of his acid reflux medicines even though it wasn't due for another five hours.  Could have been coincidence, but there was silence for almost twelve minutes after that.  Then the wailing came back with a vengeance. 

Being the quick thinker that I am, I searched in maps for "elementary school" and found one less than four miles from our location at that point, so I proceeded there thinking that Trajan could play and Chiron could at least have some more substantial time out of the car and perhaps he was hungry at this point.

Note: google for shade.

We were in Lorena, Texas and let it be known that the Lorena Elementary School playground has no shade.  However, there was a nice treed area near the front entrance, so I decided we would go over there and Trajan could run around while I changed Chiron again and fed him.  He did for a while and dug in the dirt, but then said he wanted to go see if the playground was too hot.  It was 102 degrees.  But, I didn't see any real reason to not let him go see for himself that it was too hot and there was a shaded walkway from the school to the playground that Chiron and I could sit under, so we went over.

He had a ball.  Declared it was not too hot at all.  Slid, climbed, spun, laddered and more.  I didn't want to take Chiron into the direct sun, so I didn't go touch it, but it sure did look hot.

I shot some video of him because he was just carrying on so impressively with playing and singing, but between my being off under the walkway and some serious wind, not really worth showing.
Then back into the car where the screaming began again.  Trajan fell asleep and Chiron was still screaming.  Finally, during the 35 minute period he fell asleep and slept all the way to the house.  Phew.

Apparently Chiron wasn't traumatized for life, as he looked quite happy when we got home and he was playing a game with Daddy for game night:

Known Issue - Blogger Comments

So, apparently some of us are special:  So it's been a known issue since May 24. Apparently they have fixed it for some people, but I've logged out of all google sites, emptied cache and cookies, unclicked remember me, danced the voodoo dance recommended in the blogger help forums and still no luck. I've experimented with logging in as all kind of other things now, but I really want to just be able to login with my normal google account.

I know I'm whining about my free service, but I'm agitated.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Anniversaries and Birthdays

I recently read a blog post about the anniversay of the stillbirth of the author's child and it hit me like a ton of bricks that this is different with stillbirth in multiple birth.  The day Aurelia was born still is Chiron's birthday.  That seems like a pretty shitty thing to have to have on your birthday.  Am I right?

So, while I fully anticipate that I'll be a bit conflicted on his birthday (above and beyond the conflicted emotions that come from giving birth to any child ten weeks early), I don't want to intentionally be setting out to remember her "anniversary".  I started thinking that perhaps I should instead think of her "anniversary" as the day she died. 

While we don't know for sure when she died, she was labeled perfect and viable late morning on November 10 and was found to have no heartbeat early morning of November 12, so in my mind her date of death is November 11. 

At the time, I actually made a conscious effort to get a little confused on the date so that I wouldn't have a certain date to get myself all worked up except while this succeeded in my not knowing the dates (I just looked them up), it really was a complete failure because the day that she most likely died was Veteran's Day.  And unlike those polite holidays that move around so that you can't know their exact date, this one happens on the same date every year.

So, even without setting out to have an anniversary, I imagine I will never be a big fan of Veteran's Day.  So maybe Veteran's Day is just what I should take as her day?

But then I wonder if I really want to think of her, who really does just exist in my mind, on the day that she died?  The day that we lost her?  This is the argument for her being a part of December 23, it is the day that I met her.  The day that I held her in my arms.  The day I touched her skin, felt her hair, dressed and undressed her.  The day I knew her. 

Final thought: screw it all, she is a part of every day.  Yes, including Veteran's Day and December 23.

[This whole thought process is what produced my revelation on balance.  Obviously I haven't mastered it yet!]

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blogger - Ye Smite Me

Ok, it's worse.  Now not only can I not comment on my own blog, it won't let me comment on ANY blog logged in as google account.  This is a calamity, because while I may very seldom write blogs of my own, I comment all the time.

The world needs to hear my thoughts.  My feedback is integral to many people's continued competent existence! 

Seriously folks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blogger/Blogspot help

Ok, someone help me out here.  What am I doing wrong that I can't comment on my own posts?  It has the pulldown with select google account like normal, but then it leads me to sign in again.  After I sign in it goes back to what I've written, but in the preview shows "anonymous says" and then won't let me post...

Wrapped Baby


I've spent a fair bit of time in the last few weeks/months trying to think of what is the appropriate amount to think about/write about Aurelia.  Too much and I worry that I'm harping and not moving on, too little and it's like I'm trying to make her never have existed.  I've finally come to a big old revelation:

There is no right balance.

She is going to play into my thoughts.  She is going to likely take more of a written presence because she does not exist as a concrete presence.  Writing about her less will not mean that I'm wanting to just make Chiron into a singleton and be done with it.  Writing about her more will not mean that I am not healthy or not present in my relationships with others.  Accepting her and her death as a part of reality and dealing with it as it is is my best course of action.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Social Networking

So, I am still considering writing out Chiron's (and thus our whole family's) story, but just haven't really made strides in that direction.  The one thing I did do a couple months ago was to download my Facebook data so I could look through what I wrote there to help give me context and information.  I found this status:

has realized one thing she realy values about facebook: recognizing that in the good and the bad of life, you're not alone.  Others do and are experiencing similar things.  And more than that, people care.  Thank you all for existing.
I wrote this on April 19, 2010.  Before I was even pregnant.  While I believed it at the time, I did not know the degree to which it was true yet.  Another status I found was written on November 12, 2010 at 23:44:
is processing.  Sometime between Wednesday morning and before this morning, the girl twin died.  No abnormalies or infections to give an idea of why, so focusing now on giving the boy twin as long as possible to grow and develop.  This was just past 24 weeks.  No guarantees obviously, but hopeful thoughts.
The response to this showed the absolute truth of the first status.  So, thanks for existing social network. I knew I needed to update through Facebook and so I did and both the act of doing so and the responses I received really helped me through the following weeks/months.  Had it not been for Facebook, I know I wouldn't have reached out to tell people who reached out to help me since they knew through Facebook. 

And that's a convoluted enough sentence to justify stopping here.