Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Diaphanous Overlay

I cried today over Aurelia's short life for the first time in literal years. 

I was very happy this morning. So happy that I sought out a happy playlist on Apple Music and was rocking and drumming on the steering wheel. 

Then my mind drifted through some mechanism that I can't understand to something Chiron said the other day. I refer to Trajan as "beloved firstborn" reasonably often and so on occasion I call the others the same with their number. So Chiron is "beloved thirdborn." The other night he asked couldn't I just call him "beloved secondborn that didn't die." 

I persuaded him that that was unnecessarily long and so we are sticking with thirdborn, but I just couldn't. Because he is my thirdborn. She was born at 08:15 CST to his 08:16 CST. And she was. She was not just some medical waste that was removed from my body to allow access to his fragile body, she was an entity. 

But I had another realization. While I did cry thinking about this this morning, they weren't tears of sadness exactly. They were more tears of truth if that makes any sense. And appreciating this opportunity that my brain decided to give me to remember her life and her existence. 

One last thought. I know that no one else really knew her as a distinct entity. She moved within me and I could tell her from Chiron. For everyone else she was either a part of my body or a corpse. But Chiron did know her. I saw enough ultrasounds of the two of them to know that they interacted. And thanks to science we know that she will continue to impact him for the rest of his life. He was subject to different hormones as a fetus because she was. 

This is actually one aspect of her life that I didn't think about until this morning. Epigenetics and environment mean that part of who Chiron is are because Aurelia was. She isn't just a figment of my imagination, she remains a gossamer filter shading my beloved thirdborn. 

A diaphanous overlay. ADO. Either fuss about something unimportant or adieu. Either way, I think the quality of my continued happiness the morning continues enhanced because she was. My beloved secondborn. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Everything's gonna be alright"

Three years ago, four days before Chiron was born, I blogged about how my iPhone was sentient.

While Broken will always be associated with that time, that pregnancy and Chiron and Aurelia, it is not "his song". All of my kids have a song that I associate with their infancy/late pregnancy. Chiron's is Lullaby by Shawn Mullins.

We are in Dallas for the holidays and the rental has actual iPod integration rather than just aux in, so I was playing them music from my phone. We had earlier discussed the girls songs, so when I heard the first chords of lullaby, I told them all that this was Chiron's song. I couldn't believe how completely I was taken back, and to two separate times:
1. Lying in the hospital between Aurelia's death and their birth
2. Standing beside him in the nicu.
The commonality between these was a desperate desire/conviction that everything would be alright when I had no way of knowing if it really would be. But I just had to believe.

I actually had tears falling down my face as I heard the repetition of "everything's gonna be alright... Rockabye."

It's something we all need to hear at times: "everything's gonna be alright... Rockabye."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day - Life and Death

Who am I kidding, while I’ve talked about other things and claimed this to be a general blog, this has always been more about Aurelia than anything else. And specifically about me and my dealing with her life and death. And thus I'm here, not trying to fill in a missing year, or even reflect on any greater aspect of life, but just to reflect on where I am in my relationship with her and her life and death.

At first when I reflected on her, I really only saw the death. And I was angry.

I still see the death at times, and don’t get me wrong, I’m still angry, I expect I will always be, but I realized this morning that I’m seeing her life now more often than I’m seeing her death.

I’m seeing that she impacted people. From her name to her loss, she has changed the course of the world. Not in the great ways that we write epics about or that fill our history books, but in the simple ways that flow into the exquisite banalities of everyday life. From extra hugs given to children, to moment of frustration able to be delayed just a couple minutes more, she has impacted people. And the gift of her milk benefited babies whom I will never know, but whose lives may have been saved from NEC through the donation of “her milk”. The gift of my being able to connect to another mother experiencing this all too frequent happening. Trajan will never take the birth of a child as a certainty, and while I mourned for this a bit when I realized it, this also is a gift from Aurelia’s existence.

I received a number of texts and messages this morning from people who remembered that today is her day and hers alone. The day of their birth will always be both of theirs as the day of his NICU discharge will always be his. And for some reason one touched me differently and I realized that I had tears in my eyes, but they were not of sorrow, they were of joy. Joy that we are not the only ones who remember her.

The greatest gift I can be offered in Aurelia’s honor is not forgetting her.

I think part of seeing her life more means that when I woke up today, while I was acutely aware of the day as I have been in the past, my desire was to do something positive and celebrate her existence rather than just reflect on my hating Veteran’s Day. And I did.

I reached out to an acquaintance who experienced the stillbirth of a twin a year or so ago, to pass on the importance of not feeling unique, alone, and isolated in the experience. I sent a flower arrangement to my amazing OB who has spent over a continuous week with me in the last three years, and who has given of herself as not just a doctor, but as a person and as a friend with just a simple note of thanks. Not because it was needed, as I’m pretty sure she knows my appreciation of her, but just as a simple thing to make me smile in remembering Aurelia and the first person who ever touched her and did so with not just care in her movements, but true depth of emotion.

Aurelia Diane, you were named for the strongest woman from ancient history that I could think of (that Paul would agree to, he vetoed Hatshepsut, for which we should all be thankful) who impacted the course of history. While your ripples in the universe will not be known by name millennia from now, they are no less significant. You matter, my first baby girl.

Aurelia Diane, you have two sisters who both bear a first name beginning with an A in your memory and a powerful middle name we bestowed upon them in your honor. You have an oldest brother who remembers you always and has been the force in this universe who has most unabashedly kept your memory alive. And you have a twin who does not know you now, but will know you, and know the gift of time that you gave him.

Aurelia Diane, I promise to try to see your life more instead of your death. I promise to try to continue living the lessons you taught me and to continue to share them.

Aurelia Diane, I’m not sure I ever actually told you this in words, but I love you. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Still Alive!

We are still alive, but much has changed!  We actually moved to Northern Virginia at the very end of February to allow me to take a job in the DC area.  And with the move, we moved to having a nanny instead of sending the little three to daycare and she runs our whole household, so we are all happier and more productive!  Let's see, Chiron is 2.5, the girls just turned one, and in August, Trajan will be six.

The reason for actually thinking to blog today was the Washington Post gave me an option to reference a picture in a blog and that seemed like fun!  Apparently when we go to a water park it is newsworthy!

The Washington Post
Jul 16 2013

Other thought is I'm a year behind in my blog reading and I'm vaguely aware that apparently google reader doesn't exist anymore?!?!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Veteran's Day

I doubt I'll ever be good at Veterans Day. It really kind of ticks me off irrationally that I intentionally avoided noting the exact days until it registered that Veterans Day is the same date each year.

I know it's bad and wrong to dislike Veterans Day, but I do.

Going to Trajan's Veterans Day assembly tomorrow though because I go each Friday. And it's important that I go each Friday. I will likely bring Chiron along in the ergo. How can it be that just two years ago I was 24 weeks pregnant with both him and Aurelia moving and grooving?

I have said it before, but I wouldn't undo her existence. I think it has made me a better person. But if you gave me the power to make an impossible wish, as Trajan dubbed it, come true? Yes, I would rather she had lived and we had known her alive and outside my body.

It's a bit more complicated process as I feel confident we wouldn't have Aletheia and Ari if Aurelia had lived as I wouldn't have stopped breastfeeding entirely when Chiron was moved to prescription formula, but my approach is the compartmentalization of each question. I want them all. Greedy soul.

So, I'm sorry I still have thus Veterans Day hangup. I'm really quite good over all and I'm betting the veterans will forgive me this quirk.

And have I mentioned, sometimes I'm completely floored by how completely and with my whole being I love these kids. I'm not sure I thought I'd be the best parent or whatever in advance, but I really think I've found one of my strengths and a great ability within myself as their mom. Like their firstborn sister, they've all made me a better person.

And the random ramble ends.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Who needs substance when you have three little pigs and a big bad wolf?
It's proof that I thought the whole costume idea was awesome that I'm putting this picture of myself on the internet ;-).
The first two were from a halloween costume we all went to.  This second one is from the day care Halloween party.  I'm partying despite mastitis as they are that much fun!
Cannibal pig!
That's it for today.  But I am going to write a followup to the transportation posts I wrote before the girls were born soon, because the solutions are grand!
And a couple random pictures:


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We are still alive!

I've been busy and mainly using phone as computer outside of the office, so I really haven't updated.  A couple of you who are commenters/readers have found me on Facebook or emailed me (see right bar) and had me find you on Facebook and that is actually probably the best bet for right now since I don't know when I'll get back to updating in a timely fashion...

I'm sure there are lots of cute pictures and interesting anecdotes in the last three months, but it seems likey I'll never really update them.

Brief updates:

Trajan started kindergarten at the end of August at our local neighorhood school.  He has a great teacher that it turned out we already know as her son was in Chiron's infant class.  He's had some behavioral issues and adjustments, but is doing really well academically.  He has been the most amazing brother that I can conceive of.  The devotion and love he shows his siblings is absolutely amazing.  It is definitely worth getting myself to take the time to come here and write a real post to document some of it so that I never forget how he has been with all of them. 

Poppins quit, by text, when the girls were a couple weeks old for reasons relating to her being pregnant, Medicare, WIC and other factors that aren't worth my time to bring up.  We were trying to find a quick nanny from an agency, but my mother volunteered to stay with the girls for August and September rather than have us leave newborns with someone that we wouldn't have the time to really vet.  That was great and really awesome for them.   Chiron started back at the daycare he was at before on August 1 and the girls joined him at the start of October.  Seems to be going pretty well.

Chiron is really blossoming into himself and starting to communicate with more words in the last few months.  His brother is still his favorite person in the world and it is really cool watching Chiron imitate Trajan (well, at least in most things).  Yesterday, I was running late and so I had Paul go pick up Trajan and I just went and got the littles.  Normally I pick up Trajan first and he helps me pick them up including rocking and kissing each sister as we put our shoes back on in the front room.  Chiron did this yesterday, I guess becuase Trajan wasn't there! 

The girls are doing well.  At the beginning of September, we got Ari in for a swallow study after the gastroenterologist agreed with me that something wasn't right about how she swallows and we found that she was aspirating with each swallow.  So she is on thickened expressed milk and should be in speech therapy, but getting all the ducks in a row with the hospital has been insane.  The GI nurse says that I should hear with her first appointment by Thursday at the latest, but since we have been working at this for a month, I'll believe it when I hear it.  Allie is following in the boys fine footsteps with extremely severe reflux, but so far no indicators of either milk soy protein intolerance or congenital lactase deficiency.

I was talking to a friend earlier today and realized how much has happened in such a short period of time.  Two years ago today, I was almost 20 weeks pregnant with Chiron and Aurelia with no idea of any problems on the horizon.  Since then, either Chiron or I has been in the hospital for six months and three children have been added to our family.

I still think of Aurelia often.  She is real to me even though she isn't to the rest of the world.  I held her in my arms, she was formed and perfect and complete.  She may have never breathed a breath, but she still was to me.  I don't know if it should matter when she died, but it does for some reason in my head.  She was very potentially viable had she been born instead of died on November 11, 2011.

That said, I think I've come much more to terms with her life and death.  I can mention her without sounding as awkward and don't avoid her when her inclusion makes an answer stronger or better.  I have had some odd thoughts relating to her and the girls.  They look so much alike that it leaves my wondering more of how she would have looked.  You may have noticed that all of their names start with an A.  Aletheia was actually the second name we had identified before we knew Chiron and Aurelia's genders and after a lot of discussion and research, I came back to it this time.  At that point Paul suggested that we make both of their names start with an A.  So all three girls are A's, and I like this.  I still mourn not getting to use and hear Aurelia's name though independently of mourning her, as odd as that may sound.

I've come to the conclusion that you should never make a comment on someone's gravid status, their children's spacing or their genders.  Because I can not count the number of times someone has volunteered that our family is perfect since we have two boys and two girls.

Paul is doing well.  He's always been good, but having the two littles has really resulted in him stepping up to amazing.  He gets the girls down each night while I put the boys down and actually takes and drops off all three littles at daycare on his own.  And he keeps us all fed in addition to all the normal household tasks of laundry, dishes and cleaning.  I've been overwhelmed a couple times by the situation in which I find myself that is my life, but he's plugged through like a pro this whole time.  I'm lucky and blessed and should probably remember to tell him that more often.  And to find the time to just sit and listen and talk instead of feeling like I always need to be running and doing.

Thank you all for caring about me and my whole family.  Here's a couple random shots:

Very random assortment, but I figure I'm unlikely to ever go fill in unless I get smart and use my Facebook to provide structure, so here's for now!

Oh, and I figure since so much of my life is filled with breastmilk that I should add something here.  Ari went up to the NICU for apnea which was probably related to her swallowing disorder, so she had a slower start to breast feeding, but I had both of them feeding pretty well as long as I tandemed at the time Ari was moved to the thickened milk.  Now all of her milk has to be expressed so it can be thickened.  And these girls drink a ton.  I was having to thaw some for a bit a couple weeks ago, but I think I'm back to keeping up with them.  Since Allie direct feeds in the evenings and nights, it's hard to know exactly how much they are going through, but it is dang close to two liters a day if it's not over. Part of my stress came because I gave away the vast majority of our freezer stash early on because until Ari stopped direct feeding I was staying well ahead of them.  But things are looking alright now.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Aletheia Wren and Ariadne Mia

Aletheia Wren and Ariadne Mia made their appearance a week early tonight at 18:51 and 18:53. Addie is getting released to us now about 4.5 hours later, but Allie looks like she is headed up for a little more monitoring due to breathing being hard!

Both are doing great though (I just have failed and mainly kept Facebook updated)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Still Trucking

Yesterday, we were actually on the verge of discharge.  Not as a vague hypothetical, but scheduled in a few hours after the completion of the normal testing for the day.  Part of that normal testing was an NST (nonstress test) which Lefty has been looking good on for about three weeks and Righty overall for a week.  You guessed it, BOTH had late decels (3 or 4) and then they BOTH had a thirty-plus minute episode of tachycardia.  One of the decels was interesting because they did it at the same time, but from different baselines, so perhaps they are already working on their synchronized swimming?

This was bad enough to get our discharge yesterday cancelled, but not bad enough to deliver right then (yeah!).

This morning the on-call OB came and actually made a plan clear.  Part 1 of the plan is we will stay inpatient.  Had we actually been discharged, they were going to have me come into the office Monday through Friday and up to L&D on Saturdays and Sundays, but the theory is it's easier to stay here than to have to get sent back, so might as well stay in.  It also facilitates them delivering unscheduled.

That leads us to Part 2.  There is a scheduled c-section at 37&1 (July 19) and they would prefer that date, but apparently the tolerance for decels will drop with each passing day and they will play it by ear, but very well may decide to section them ahead of that date based on a strip.  She apparently was very close to delivering them yesterday and let them know that she would have if they had been 34 weeks (they were 33&5), so the girls are definitely on notice.

My OB is back on Monday, July 2.  I think that's all the dates.

They had a growth scan today which also confirmed that my sensations are correct and instead of breech/breech, they are transverse/transverse.  So Lefty is now more bottomy and Righty is now more toppy, but I'm sticking with Lefty and Righty.  Lefty continues to be more petite than her sister, weighing in at 2077 grams (4lb, 9oz) while Righty is a hefty 2420 grams (5lb, 5oz).  These are obviously ultrasound weights and have a large range of error, but it is safe to draw from these that they are good-sized! 4497 grams total!

While 34 is obviously great and awesome, more is better and I'm starting to get greedy and want more and more gestational time.  I was playing with a prematurity risk calculator on and getting from 34 to 37 decreases the risk of respiratory distress syndrome from almost 20% to 3.5%!  And the risk of NEC drops from 1.57% to 0% and the sepsis risk from 4.69% to 0%.  The risk of grade III and IV IVHs already drops to 0% at 34 weeks, so I really feel comfortable and happy with any gestational age from here forward, but would LOVE them to make the July 19 date.

However, these girls will likely be leaving the hospital in diapers and the long-sleeve hospital white shirts if they do make it that long because the clothes are all organized and sorted in the garage rather than in the house or packed to bring to them or anything ;-).

Last thought is that it is really quite odd that I'm here on some level.  I feel great and am really symptomless.  If they'd let me, I'm still completely capable of walking, maneuvering and generally am still very mobile, flexible and all of that.  I sleep fine, I'm not in pain, I'm not grumpy, I'm not swollen.  I've got friends who are more like 20 weeks with singletons who seem much more uncomfortable and are having to waddle and dealing with pain and sleep issues and all that.  So, excepting the whole being stuck in the hospital, I'm in great shape!  We will see how well I handle going from two to three months of total bedrest to keeping up with four kids with an abdominal incision healing though...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Passive Superstition Be Gone

I think I have not been posting through a mix of passive superstition, by not typing things it is totally logical that I'm not tempting fate (right?), and honestly just not wanting to process some thoughts.  Neither of these was a conscious move, just kind of happened.  But I got forced to a few thoughts, including realizing that I wasn't writing anything for silly/nonexistent reasons, so here I am.

First thought: at some point in the last week or so, my expectation has changed from this could result in 0, 1 or 2 babies to there will be 2.  Yesterday morning, my OB was as usual sitting in the rocking chair beside my bed chatting and writing up my chart and when she finished she asked if I had anything else.  And then said that she thought there was something else and that I sometimes get a look where she knows I'm thinking something, but she just doesn't know what it was.  I felt oddly stressed, but couldn't identify what it was.  In thinking after, I think it really was just that I'd made the transition to expecting 2, and thus exposing myself.

That's my big thought.  Figure I should give a status update and summary now since I have been so non-communicative.  However, just like with Chiron/Aurelia, I've actually done a good job through Facebook and it's hard to keep straight what I've said where, so figure I'll just go general here.

Two new things were declared by the OBs this week: next baby who pulls a hijink is getting born at that time and bring her sister with her and we are staying through delivery.  Why, you ask?  Well, Monday when we actually were at the point of considering discharge in the next couple days, Righty aka baby A, started having late decels followed by tachycardia on our normal morning strip.  Initially responded with trying positional changes while a nurse got the oxygen setup in place.  Then she called the OB and had her look at the strip just to be sure she knew what was going on and the OB told the nurse that we were going to c-section them and to start an IV, get labs drawn and get me moving towards L&D.  Then in the thirty minutes all that was going on little miss behaved perfectly and so my OB backtracked and said we would do 24 hours of monitoring.  No more incidents occurred after that, so was shipped back to stable antepartum, but it was declared that these two were out of chances.

Background: at 25 weeks, I had a cold and my body started contracting/dilating in response to there is stress on the system, lets do something to simplify.  Stayed in-patient for ten days, things calmed down and was discharged to home bedrest at 26&2.  Then at 28&5 I was at the perinatologist for normal BPP and Lefty, aka baby B, was having variable decelerations and some moderate bradycardia on her NST.  He wasn't worried, but wanted to make sure that it stopped rather than continued and since it was 5 pm, sent me over to L&D for two hours of monitoring.  Instead of discharge after two hours, I instead got another 2 rounds of steroid shots and was admitted.  She continued having some of these events until the morning of 30&5 when there was some insane fetal motion and I again started having contractions.  Had dilated more and so went over to L&D.  By middle of the day, I was having beautiful, rhythmic contractions of mountains and values every 2.5 minutes and it looked like we were heading towards birth.  Then it just petered out.  Stayed in monitoring in L&D another day and a half and then back to stable antepartum.  Good news of that event was the huge motion was Lefty moving from transverse to breech and as a result seemed to have gotten her leg or whatever out of the cord loop and we haven't seen variables at all, much less bradycardia from her since.  Then on Monday, at 32&5 we had the late decels event with Righty.

So, now I'm back to hanging out in stable antepartum.  Looking pretty stable and while I have a couple rounds of regularish contractions a day, nothing significant.  Both babies are behaving on their strips and so we continue on.  The delivery date barring someone misbehaving ahead of then is July 19 at 37&1.  My OB, who you may remember is really amazing, competent and just a good human, just left my room and is heading out on vacation and will be out of town until July 2.  Of course, there will be other OBs on call and I know them all, but I am spoiled and really prefer MY OB, so think behaving thoughts through at least July 2. That would also get us to 34&5, which I would count as pretty awesome.

That's my ramble and now some random pictures because captions are fun.

Chiron playing around with one of the new strollers while hanging out at Trajan's swim lesson.
Trajan is by the rail waiting at swim.
Amusing nurses with hijinks and jocularity make the world better.
So do nurses drawing fun pictures.
And awesome coworkers who bring amusing things as well as folding zombies out of paper!
And grandparents who come into town and amuse boys and generally help.
As well as hold little boys with colds when the pass out.
Friends coming by, talking, bringing food, amusement and even making a five-foot tall kangaroo makes the world a lot better as well.
So do wonderful friends who I've actually never met in person who amuse me every single day on multiple occasions and have sent more surprises, notes and thoughts than I ever would have imagined.
Even being challenged to a massive hamburger eating contest is pretty cool.  And as a bonus, you see here the pictures that some amazing friends I work with thought to print and bring up (and some of the zombies!).
This little man loves wandering around the hospital on our 30-minute wheelchair privileges and is amazing us with all he's mastered.
This little man prefers to be silly and luckily there are some great nurses who go along with it!
These three are pretty awesome and photographic evidence that Trajan may come here to play iPad almost as much as to see me.
Happy, loving boys

I don't have an innie or an outie now, I have a flattie.  Also, tell the kids at home not to pierce their belly button because even if it's only for two days due to some impulsivity and fun with roommates, it will stretch to impressive size as a scar.  And my first two skin marks ever appear below on diagonals on each side.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

8 lb, 4.5 oz of baby

Assuming accuracy of ultrasound weights (yes, I can hear you laughing from here), the girls now outweigh Trajan's birth weight collectively.  I was not surprised by this as I also have a bit of stretch mark for the first time ever.  Right now it's just two little red marks, but I bet that's just a start.

Righty, our presenting baby, came in at a petite 1719 grams (3lb, 12.6oz).  Lefty is now our bruiser coming in at 2038 grams (4lb, 7.9oz), two kilos!  So together they are 3757 grams (8lb, 4.5oz).  Righty is at the 37th percentile while Lefty is at the 56th.

The margin of error at this age/size is about 300 grams for each of them, so their weights may not be as far apart as they look.  It' a 15.7% size discordance and they apparently don't start to pay closer attention until 18-25%, so golden on that front as well.  Today was 31 weeks, 6 days and those weights correspond with 31 weeks, 4 days and 32 weeks, 2 days, so the weight difference is only equivalent to 4 days growth of the fetus that is the perfect 50th percentile.

Both girls aced their BPPs as well which was reassuring as Lefty didn't get a reactive fetal strip in the appropriate amount of time this morning.  She eventually did, but not within the time parameters for it to count as reactive. 

Tomorrow is 32 weeks, so I think based on almost all measures, we have achieved big baby territory!  Also, while their going breech-breech is a bit of a downer as it equals c-section for sure, one nice feature is being able to find each of their heads REALLY helps me to be able to discern what motion belongs to which baby which is reassuring and happy.

As requested, belly pictures demonstrating the collapse down into beer belly:

And yes, my stomach is very oddly veiny!

And a couple of the boys just because I like them: