Welcome Emery!

Yet another weekly update … but what a special one! Emery arrived safely on Tuesday, June 28th 2016 @ 2:19PM (Belgian time), weighing a perfectly average 3kg and measuring an equally statistical average of 50cm. Not big, not small, just in between :-)

I thought I knew what to expect from getting induced, since it had already happened once with Sam after we found out he had passed away. But this second induction ended up being a completely different experience. Things went much faster and they didn’t let nature take its course as much, as there was a live baby to worry about this time. They kept an eye on him through the monitor from the minute I checked in on Monday evening. You have no idea how happy and relieved I was to walk in there and get settled in my room, waiting for Emery’s arrival. I couldn’t have handled another week at home. I would have gone nuts for sure.

The staff was so great and kind. I remembered a few of them from when Sam was stillborn and mentioned it to them. We started talking and had some long conversations during the night while labor was slowly building up. Then the biggest coincidence happened when the last midwife started her shift … the very same midwife who was by my side when Sam was born. My labor escalated so quickly a few hours later that she ended up being there when Emery was born too. What were the odds?

Labor itself was an absolute perfection. Fast, easy, no trouble at all. I was up on my feet a few hours later, and now – barely 6 days after he was born – I feel 100% healed already. Gert and I stole the hospital’s sanitary pads and postpartum mesh undies like nobody’s business, and now here I am with supplies I don’t even need. Haha!!! 😂 What a difference with the first time around. It took me about a month to feel somewhat okay back then. Granted, Sam was a BIG baby, which I guess made a huge difference in how my body coped. I thought for sure Emery would be bigger than he ended up being, so I had already prepared myself mentally for a month of postpartum physical struggles. But nope. I’m pretty sure that even my belly will be nice and flat again much faster than last time. I just need to be patient and wait for the doctor’s green light in 6 weeks before I can start working out. I wish I could start right now!

Emery is the sweetest, most gentle and calm little baby ever. He hardly cries at all. Only when he wants to let us know that it’s time for his feeding. We keep a close eye on him though, so we generally recognize the signs before it escalates to heavy screaming. What a dream! I couldn’t have wished for a better baby after everything we’ve been through. He was hyper active in my belly, so I was reassured most of the time that everything was okay. And now that he’s born, he doesn’t stress me out one bit with his easy going personality. It’s been so emotional. Even during my hospital stay, I couldn’t help but stare at him and recognize Sam in him. They look so much alike. The only difference is their size. Sam was a solid little guy with strong hands and large feet. He barely fit in newborn clothes and none of the little hats I had bought for him fitted, which broke my heart even more in the midst of our tragedy. Emery has a very similar face, same hair color, same extremely light blond eyebrows and lashes; almost white. The main physical difference is that he’s smaller. I wish I could see them interact together now. I would carry Sam on my lap and we’d look at Emery together chilling in his little lazy seat. It hurts.

Now of course I keep worrying that he will suddenly die on me and that one day I’ll find him dead in his crib. I’ve heard of people around us who have lost their baby to S.I.D.S. and it terrifies me. We tried out the breathing and movement monitor the other day and I’m sorry to report that it’s a pain in the butt. For some reason it keeps making this super annoying clicking noise every second or so. Emery’s room is right next to us, and that stupid clicking keeps us all three awake. I ended up turning the freaking thing off. I need to sit down today and read the manual more thoroughly. Maybe there’s a way to turn that feature off. At least I hope so.

We’ve been home for several days now and we’re still working on improving our new routine, but we’re getting there. Gert is hands down the best dad ever!

He organized everything here at home before Emery and I came back from the hospital. I don’t know how I would have survived those first few days without him. We’re both still quite exhausted at the moment. I’m figuring out how to reorganize my days around Emery’s schedule. I got a little slow ordering our birth announcement cards. I was finally able to mail them today, so hopefully most people will receive their card tomorrow. Even this blog post took me several days to put together, whereas before it took me a grand total of 30 to 40 minutes max. Haha! We’re getting there though :-)

So here we are … new life, new routine. Everything feels so different now. In a good way, of course! 💕

Pregnancy – Week 38

I know I said previously that last week’s post would be my last pregnancy related blog post. But this morning I thought: “You know what? Today marks the day that I DID make it to 38 weeks and it deserves to be said. Even though it will be cut short in less than 24 hours. Hah!”

I’m extremely relieved to say that they scheduled me to check in at the hospital this evening instead of tomorrow morning. Hopefully he’ll be born some time tomorrow and not any day later because my anxiety is running high at the moment. Gert’s mom didn’t understand how I could deal with the fact that I know the exact moment labor will be started and how it scares her to death and that she’d rather not know and let nature take its course. I was like “Um, okay?” Try losing a perfect full term baby first and then see how you feel about it then. If we let nature take its course, I could end up 42 weeks pregnant and still have no baby … That’s another whole month!!! It would practically be August. He’s been full term for a week now and he already weighs more than 3 kilos, which is the average birth weight. Add another month to that and we’d have a giant. I would have lost my sanity by then for sure and there’s no telling whether this pregnancy would have ended well at that point. I can’t be thankful enough for the fact that this pregnancy – and any other future pregnancy – will be induced at the 38 week mark. I had a clear countdown to focus on and that helped me a ton.

Baby has grown so much in such little time. I have to say, it’s an additional reason for me to be relieved that labor will be induced now. The lack of space this baby has and the way he painfully tries to move around reminds me so much of Sam’s behavior during his last 2 weeks. Poor thing was clearly getting frustrated at the lack of space, and so is this one. I’m so worried now each time he tries to stretch to the limit or moves a bit harshly, as I fear this would damage the placenta he’s in; just like with Sam when that stupid little vein ruptured silently.

Sam has been so much on my mind lately. I kept thinking yesterday evening about those last few days he was alive and kept replaying every detail in my head over and over again. And how there was no clear warning sign, and how yet I feel like I failed him and how sorry I am that I wasn’t able to get him out in time. I must have cried a thousand times “sorry” while standing in front of his grave. The guilt and the sadness are bound to show their ugly faces again once I step into that delivery room, which will look exactly the same as it did 2 years ago. It’s going to be a very strange mix of emotions and I expect it’s not going to be easy to process. I don’t think anyone will really think about it that way when they hear that this baby arrived safely. They’ll just be happy and not think too much of how intricate and sad it still is for Gert and I. *sigh*

lilypie pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 38 thirty eight weeks baby evolution fetus

thebump.com pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 38 thirty eight weeks baby evolution fetus

So that’s it as far as this pregnancy is concerned. Adios you shitty 9 months! I’m glad it’s over. And I can’t wait to meet our little guy. Fingers crossed that everything goes well!

A good sign perhaps?

Saw this beauty across the yard yesterday evening. We never get rainbows above that stupid yard.

rainbow dusk before the storm yellow purple sky trees outline shadows evening summer

Then of course the thunder came and it poured and poured all night … But let’s not talk about that part. 😝

Pregnancy – Week 37

Last weekly pregnancy update! Yay! I can feel the anxiety going up a notch though as D-day approaches. I even had a nightmare that Baby’s heart suddenly flatlined while hooked up to the monitor. I woke up with cold sweat and major anxiety. It took me a while to calm down. Thank God this hyperactive little firecracker moves ALL.THE.TIME. Not sure I’ll be thankful for it once he’s born, but as long as I’m pregnant, that’s exactly what keeps me calm.

We went to my very last prenatal appointment yesterday. I’m glad we are finally done with appointments! It was weird as hell though. The doctor we saw was a major creep. Gert and I kept it together during the appointment itself, but as soon as we walked out, we kind of paused and looked at each other and then burst out laughing! That guy was soooo weird! He also changed all our plans somewhat. We initially thought about going in for one last monitoring session on Sunday morning (just like last week) and then getting induced on Tuesday, June 28th. But now he was like: “Maybe we should check if there’s any sign that labor is already on the way. We’ll do that during your next monitoring session. If there’s nothing, then let’s schedule the induction for Monday instead of Tuesday, since we’ll have to start from zero. So maybe we should also bump up the monitor from Sunday to Saturday.” This totally messed with the clear plan I had prepared myself for. I wasn’t really thrilled but thought “Okay? Maybe it’s not such a bad thing if we can start it one day earlier as I had initially hoped.” But when we walked out and gave it some more thought; Gert and I both decided we’re not comfortable with that. It’s going to be a full physical checkup, and I thought they were only going to do that on my induction day, not any time sooner. The reason why I’m not too keen on this is because my very last prenatal appointment with Sam included a full physical checkup, and the doctor actually hurt me to the point where I briefly screamed and she apologized. There’s always been a doubt in my mind whether this could have been a factor in what happened to Sam the next day. Of course they swear high and low that it’s impossible. But still. I don’t want a full physical and then be sent back home for several days. I don’t see the point anyway. They can just check everything when I arrive to get induced and then take it from there. I don’t care if it takes an extra day for him to be born. It’s not like I have a preset date of birth in my mind or anything. I just want him to be born alive and well. And I basically don’t want anyone to touch me unless I’m there to stay.

So, I will request that we stick to our initial plan, as had been decided by the two professors who take care of me. I don’t like how this one doctor suddenly decided to butt in and make changes out of the blue.

lilypie pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 37 thirty seven weeks baby evolution fetus

thebump.com pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 37 thirty seven weeks baby evolution fetus

Anyway, Baby keeps growing at a fast pace, I can tell. Poor thing is running out of room and he’s kind of stuck in the same position now. He’s still moving well, so my little pregnancy agenda remains full of blue crosses that I mark after each kick. Although I guess at this point I can’t really call them kicks anymore, due to the lack of space. It feels more like little baby feet rolling around.

As for me: I’m tired, my hips hurt, my belly feels heavy. Blah! I can’t wait for this to be over. I know I’ve whined a ton about how I hate being pregnant. And I realize it makes me sound shallow and unappreciative. That’s not the case though. It’s just that it’s been such a long and frustrating road. This has already consumed 2.5 years of my life, with more grief and pain than some people could handle. It’s also taking its toll on my body, I can tell. And it all feels so unfair. I doubt I will ever enjoy being pregnant again. There’s just no way it could ever be “fun” and “exciting” again. I’m only focused on bringing this baby home alive and getting back into shape. The whole pregnancy phase can go screw itself.

Four more days if we stick to our initial plan. If it does get bumped up to Monday instead, then we’ve only got Friday, Saturday and Sunday left to go. Fingers crossed that all goes well!

Pregnancy – Week 36

Let’s get straight to the point: I feel like absolute shit right now. My hips have suddenly become soooo painful these past few days. All my joints and ligaments are loosening up in preparation for birth. Some women have this more than others … I guess I’m on the more extreme side of the spectrum. I can hardly walk anymore. I’m not even just wobbling around a little bit, I’m seriously limping and the pain shoots right through my right leg. It’s basically exactly the same as I had with Sam. Exact same timing and everything. Obviously, that makes me nervous. I don’t want the exact same scenario to repeat itself, so any similar symptoms right now tend to worry me.

I’m not planning to do anything anymore during the next two weeks. I’m lounging around the house, taking it easy. I can’t really physically do anything right now anyway. The belly is also getting huge and uncomfortable. Ehhhh. Almost there, Lisa. Almost there!

lilypie pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 36 thirty six weeks baby evolution fetus

thebump.com pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 36 thirty six weeks baby evolution fetus

We went to the hospital yesterday. I saw the lady professor who takes care of me now. Thank God I haven’t seen her male colleague in a while. Despite his good will and efforts, he always managed to annoy me and stress me out with his comments like “let’s not overanalyze things, everything’s fine.” Well, screw you. We will overanalyze as much as I feel like it. If things go wrong, he won’t be the one who has to bury his SECOND child. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t even lose any sleep over it. So anyway, I’m glad that his female colleague is much more proactive and doesn’t mess around with sappy speeches. No bullshit from her. She lays out the facts, offers a couple of options in terms of extra appointments, we make a decision together, and boom, done. No time wasted and no sugarcoating.

Yesterday’s appointment was insanely detailed. I definitely wasn’t expecting this. I’m so glad they are taking these last couple of weeks seriously now. We got hooked up to the baby monitor for half an hour, and then had a detailed ultrasound again. All those extras are going to cost us a fortune … we’re waiting for the bills to arrive. Oh well! She measured everything and also evaluated baby’s size and weight. It turns out that our little bitty average baby went through a growth spurt all of a sudden. I kind of had that impression since last weekend. I suddenly gained weight out of the blue, and I could just feel him taking up much more space all of a sudden. If the estimation is correct, he now already weighs 3 kilos. He’s gone up to the 57th percentile. Still two weeks to go, so I’m pretty sure he will at least equal Sam’s weight. I’m curious to see if he will end up even bigger than him.

I had already packed some super adorable newborn sized outfits for him since he was looking perfectly average at first. But after yesterday’s appointment, I decided not to take any chances and added a few bigger ones in my hospital bag, just in case.

They scheduled an extra monitoring in between this week’s appointment and next week’s. So we’ll be going in on Sunday morning to monitor baby’s heart and activity for an hour. I’m not exactly enjoying these frequent hospital trips. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right? I’m not sure if there will be one more monitoring session next week; basically a few days before I get induced. We’ll see.

I’m counting down the days like a maniac. We made one last trip to the baby store on Monday and bought that movement & breathing monitor I absolutely wanted to get before we bring our baby home. The last thing we need now is a case of sudden infant death syndrome in this house! We’ve had our fair share of tragedies these past few years, so I want to be as cautious as I can be. Now watch me become one of those crazy helicopter moms … Oy.

luvion baby movement and breathing monitor alarm safety sids sudden infant death syndrome

^^ I ended up not getting the cute Angelcare one that looked like a white winged angel. As adorable as it looked, the seller told us the Luvion brand is more sensitive and more accurate. It was the exact same price, so, we got the Luvion. It’s not as cute, but oh well!

We also finally got him his very own little blankie and another colorful soft toy. Both happen to be giraffes; which is a pure coincidence. He obviously won’t care about any of that in the beginning, but it will be nice to introduce them to him right away. There’s something sentimental about it I suppose. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to buying him any kind of cute toys or anything that wasn’t strictly “practical” up until now. Like I was going to bring us bad luck or something. It’s so stupid. I’m not even superstitious like that. I guess it was more an emotional matter than anything else.

giraffe label label stuffed soft plush toy infant baby colorful bright yellow gender neutral

giraffe print pattern baby blankie soft plush toy animal gender neutral

My hospital bag is finally ready. And I cooked a whole bunch of fresh meals these past few weeks and have stuffed our freezer with them, so that I won’t have to worry about cooking for a while now. I’m physically unable to go grocery shopping right now (that’s seriously how bad my hips are at the moment), so I’ve signed us up on our local grocery store’s website and will put an order in for next week. All Gert has to do is go pick it up. I’m worried that if I hand him a grocery list and have him look for it all through the entire store, he won’t find half of it. lol Plus, he’s got enough on his plate too right now. So this way it’s easier for us both. He’s also single handedly taking care of the daily dog walks now. Haha! Wolf wasn’t quite sure what to think of it at first, but it’s going alright :-)

Okay, a little more than 11 days left until I get to check in at the delivery ward. I’ve decided that as soon as I walk in there, I will leave all my worries at the door. They will keep an eye on the baby through a monitor during the entire time. So I know that if there’s any sign of distress, things will be handled accordingly and they won’t take any risk. So, my biggest concern right now is getting to June 28th safely and then I can let go and breathe. I’m not too concerned about labor itself. I’ve done it once, I can do it again. As long as he makes it out alive and well!