Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet Dreams: An Early Dose of Symptoms

I've heard that a lot of women feels symptoms much earlier during their second pregnancy because they've experienced them. They know how they felt and what to look for. Well, I was feeling symptoms in Pregnancy 2.0 before I was even certain we created a new monster. Here is what I'm currently enjoying:

-Early afternoon rolls around and it's all I can do to keep my eyes open (this repeats itself around 7:00 in the evening so I have a self-imposed old lady bedtime). I'm already a sleepy person so it's mind-numbing.

-Any time I go to get out of my work chair, my tailbone is screaming. I've been told this is because my uterus has already doubled in size. Horrific.

-Very early in the morning, my stomach feels a little swimmy. I never toss my cookies (I missed Morning Sickness the first time around so I'm hoping for a repeat), but I feel a little fishy until I get out the door.

-The nose knows! I'm smelling all kinds of things I don't like. Todd made some pork yesterday and the house smelled like dead bodies to me. Horrific. Again.

NEW (but also OLD) fun symptoms as of last night/today:

-My gums are bleeding. This didn't happen until much later in my preggoness with Spencer but they were a-gushing today. I learned that THIS happens because of the increase in blood volume during pregnancy (I think you gain 8 pounds of extra blood...blech). Bloody noses can't be far behind. Delicious

-I'm having craaaaaazy, way-too-realistic dreams...so my sleep is on its way to being super shabby and broken during the night.

Last night's pregnancy dream was interesting though. I don't remember a lot of the details but I DO remember that I was having an ultrasound and that we found out we were having twin boys. With Spencer, I may have been hoping "girl" and trying to convince myself that's what I thought...but I always talked to him like he was a boy. From square one, I pretty much knew he was a little dude. And while I THOUGHT I wanted a girl, I was PUMPED to find out it was a boy.

This time around, I don't feel either way. Maybe this dream was a sign that I'm destined to be surrounded by boys for the rest of my life! The Queen of the Castle! Anyway...

The twin thing was interesting but I'm not holding to much stock in it. Though twins do run in my family. And I mean REALLY run. My dad has a twin brother, and they have twin sisters (yep, my paternal grandmother had 2 sets of twins back-to-back, not to mention 3 other kids). My mom had a brother and sister that were twins but unfortunately they passed away after a few days, I believe. So it's not IMPOSSIBLE. I just don't think it will happen.

This pregnancy is very similar to the first, with the symptoms and when we found out and all, but something is just a litttttle off. Like I don't FEEL pregnant yet. I feel the symptoms but I don't...feel it. I don't know how to explain. When I found out I was pregnant with Spencer, I felt pregnant immediately but it just hasn't kicked in yet.

I'm PSYCHED about this baby, don't get me wrong. I LOVE being a mom. Maybe it's just too early. Maybe I don't feel pregnant yet because I'm still thinking of "big bump, lots of kicking" as feeling pregnant. Because it was only 5.5 months ago that things were like that. That's what I really remember about pregnancy. Or maybe it's because I'm so nervous about getting bad news. Maybe I won't let myself feel pregnant yet. I'm sure it'll all kick in that I've got a little monster bunking in my guts soon enough. I have been talking to him(let's just go with "him" since boys are what I know) so that's something. I just want that same OOMPH to kick in that did with Spence.

And I want to stay Morning Sickness FREE!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Appointment #1: It's Officially Official

Well, it's officially official. According to our new doctor, there is for SURE a bun in my oven.

Yesterday was our first appointment with our new OB/GYN. Typically, they don't want to see you until you're 8 weeks along but due to our special circumstance from my first pregnancy, we were squeezed in early. Very early. I'm only 5 weeks along and the little hoodlum is only the size of a poppy seed. Regardless, I gave a urine sample and my medical history, had some STD screenings which are required, and we got down to business.

I have to say that I immediately fell in love with my nurse and the feeling continued when I met my doctor. She is amazing and she took about 25% of the weight off my brain. Todd and I both felt extremely comfortable with her and she listened to us, to any nonsense question we had. There was a lot to discuss since the file from  Project Spencer was quite extensive! Pregnancy, delivery issues, and 10 days in the NICU. They were up to date on it all and here's what came from it:

          1. Yes, I am pregnant. 5 weeks along, due October 1st. I was asked it I thought I wanted another C-Section or did I want to try VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). C-Section (hence forth known as "C"), fo' sho! I was told that some doctors require you give vaginal birth a shot if you meet certain requirements. But since my deliveries will only be 14 months apart (!!!) it would probably be too dangerous for me. The uterus can rupture during a VBAC and often, even if you give good, ol' labor a try, you end up with a C.

So there you have it. I will have a scheduled C at Fairview the last week in September, unless baby decides to come earlier or there's a problem. Otherwise, we will effectively be selecting our baby's birthday. Pretty neat. And I think this will ease my mind a bit. He'll be delivered, examined, and we can go on our happy way. With all the trauma/drama of Spencer's birth, and how he wasn't going to tolerate labor, I really don't want to leave anything to chance. No surprises this time around.

And I'm excited about popping the lil' sucker out at Fairview. I heard their OB/GYN department blows minds. Baby will get to stay with me 24/7 (which is awesome since I chose to have Spencer sleep in the nursery and the next thing I knew...he was gone) and I will also be able to have visitors 24/7. I love it. Amazing new doctor and fantastic new hospital. Fresh start.

But one thing that did sort of make our heads spin is when we mentioned to our doc that my OLD doc said my chances of having another baby with Spencer's syndrome have increased to 1%, she was skeptical. It's a RANDOM thing. It happens RANDOMLY (unless you're a carrier). My age is the same as it was when I delivered Spencer. Nothing has changed. My odds should be EXACTLY the same as they were before. They shouldn't have increased. It's a little comforting. It seems HIGHLY unlikely that it would happen RANDOMLY again. At least, that's what I'm hoping for...

          2. ...and hopefully all of that can be confirmed in February. We have an appointment at the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine in a week (along with some blood work...didn't miss that). These are "high risk" doctors that work with our OB/GYN. They are going to give us all the information we need about testing that is available to us (Nuchal Translucancy Screening, Chorionic Villus Sampling, Amniocentesis, etc., which I'll describe in more detail after the appointment). We're going to hear all the facts about how the procedures are performed, what the risks are, how effective the tests are, and then we will make decisions about which procedure we'd like to have. These people are experts. I want to hear it all from THEM, and not from the interwebs. I want to be fully informed before I consider anything invasive. I think I'll feel even better than I do now after this appointment.

          3. Todd and I talked about everything at our post-appointment lunch. How did he feel? How do I feel? What will we do if we get bad news? Do we think we want an Amnio? Turns out we're on the same page. We feel a little relieved hearing that our odds are probably the same (although odds sort of went out the window with Spencer considering any screenings I DID have came up negative for any genetic disorders). We both weren't sure if we really wanted/could be parents to 2 special needs children. Just because Spencer's case is soooooo mild that even doctor's can't even tell, that doesn't mean we'd be so lucky the second time around if the diagnosis were the same. It could be much, much more difficult.

So we're basically going to wait until we see the high risk docs and go from there. I believe I might be having an early ultrasound at the appointment which is REALLY exciting. I just need my mind eased as much as it can be. And we're keeping the pregnancy under our hats for now. A few gal pals know because I really trust them and know they'll be the support system I need. And I also know they would never judge us. It would be hard enough to have to make that decision, let alone be made to feel bad about it. No one can really understand what it's like to be in our shoes. But I'm staying optimistic that it won't be something that even has to be considered. Things are going to go off without a hitch this time. It's our year.


Appointments are schedule until July and then I'll have to have weekly appointments and non-stress tests. I feel like we're being watched out for. I feel like our medical team has our backs. I wish we didn't have to jump through all these hoops. That there wasn't a reason that this pregnancy has to be high risk or that any extra measures need to be taken. But this is how it is and we're going to do everything we need to do. And in the end, there's going to be a new monster in our family.

Another 1st Halloween. Another 1st Thanksgiving. Another 1st Christmas.

And this guy is going to be a big brother!

I.CAN'T. WAIT. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oncology Clinic: Learning To Be Strong Like My Baby

Ready for me to say the "C" word? Here it goes...CANCER!!

That's the "C" word I'm most repulsed by these days.

Since birth, Spencer was battling a transitional type of Leukemia. What exactly does that mean? Well, first off, Leukemia is a type of cancer that floods the blood and bone marrow with immature white blood cells referred to so adorably as "blasts". Platelets, which cause blood to clot are low (hence why my fella isn't circumcised yet) as are red blood cells. It's a slow-growing cancer and I hate its guts. As for this Leukemia being transitional/transient, this means that in most cases, like Spencer's, the cancer goes into spontaneous remission by the time an infant is 12 weeks old. 

Remission is a beautiful word.

However, even though Spencer is in remission, he will always be at risk to be diagnosed with acute Leukemia which would need treatment. I HATE thinking about that but I'm trying to train myself NOT to worry about something that hasn't happened yet. I just have to take it day-by-day. Basically, since he was born in August, it's been a waiting game and a balancing act. All the numbers needed to add up in a certain way and sloooooooowly, they did. Eventually, platelets and hemoglobin were up, and "blasts" were gone. 

But this did not happen by 12 weeks, when it typically does. When the 12 weeks finish line came and went, I was in a panic thinking I was going to have to watch my baby go through Chemo or Radiation. Hadn't he been through ENOUGH? The answer was a face-punching YES, he had. And I had, too. After every appointment, I was using lunch or retail therapy to help me buck up. The baby was tuff. The mom was a wuss. But I've grown.

At first we were going to the Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Clinic at the Seidman Cancer Center every week from 16 days old. As the numbers went up, we went every other week...then every 3 weeks...and now that we're in the clear, and have been officially since November, we go once a month. Those pesky "blasts" were scared of us!  And by the way, if you want to see a horror show, watch people try and get blood from your small baby...they would run when they'd see him and his tiny veins coming, but it's getting better. As he grows, his veins grow. And thank GOD, because I once saw him get poked 6 times in one sitting. Vomit-inducing. Waiting for the phone to ring with the results doesn't sit so well in my guts either.

It's still hard to go every month knowing that they're going to take blood from my boy and that it's not going to be a piece of cake. But he's a trooper. If he can get through the visit, so can I. Plus, it's good to have the same team of nurses and doctors seeing him over and over again. They KNOW us. They've watched him grow and grow STRONG. If there's something to catch, they're going to catch it! Especially since he's participating in a case study about the disorder for the next 5 years. We figured if he has to be monitored, why not give a little extra blood so someone might learn something? Spencer could potential help someone else some day. Hero? I think so.

So now that you know the very BASICS about this Leukemia and why he goes and what he goes through at his clinic visits, I'm going to share some photos of my guy at the clinic today:

All snazzed up for his nurses. They are the most amazing people on the planet, as are his doctors. I know it doesn't matter what he wears but I feel like if he looks uber-cute, maybe he'll get a teeeeeeny bit more attention. It makes me feel better. I'm nuts.

It's a hard place to be. But the kids are TUFF.

Getting suspicious of what's going to go down with all these supplies. He punted an alcohol swab to the floor in protest.

Recovering in mommy's arms.

Trying to decide if he wants to pout or play. Like I've said, he bounces back. It takes me a little bit longer.

He chose his favorite links over any more tears *Bugs Bunny bandage on his foot...no luck getting the blood from his lucky arm vein this time*

"Yeah, I think I'll be OK. Now take me home, mama". 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Awesomeness: Another Gold Star For Spencer

Spencer has a lot of appointments and while they aren't very convenient and can be a little overwhelming, I do enjoy a few them (NOT his trips to the Hematology/Oncology clinic...those appointments always end in lunch or something to make mommy feel better cause they weaken me). They reinforce the fact that Spencer is doing fantastic in the development department. They serve as a reminder that everything is going swimmingly and we should be proud.

And we ARE proud. I'm a proud mama.

I've talked pretty openly about Spencer's Leukemia-related bulllllshit but have kept a lot of his developmental issues to myself. In all honesty, there's not TOO much to say because he's right in line with all the other 5 month olds out there. In fact, where expressive speech comes into play, he's slightly advanced! Right now, the only thing that can really be commented on is his weak muscle tone but even that hasn't put him behind his peers. Do babies have peers? I'm going with it. Anyway, I don't talk too much about it all because thinking about what struggles he MIGHT have one day causes me great anxiety. And I can't have anxiety about the unknown. But as I'm feeling better little by little, I'm trying to share more and more.

Spencer had one of his in-home, monthly visits yesterday. A nurse comes and checks-in to see if Spencer might benefit from any services as far as his development goes. So far, they only thing he's needed is some Physical Therapy and as I've said before, it's once a month and he's right on track. Preventative. Anyway, at his appointment yesterday, his nurse said that she's seen a lot of babies that share his (potential) struggles but not one with "so much desire to get on the move", to interact, to be entertained, to be physical. He stands out. Do you know HOW GOOD that made me feel? She sees several families a day, all week long, and MY BABY is the one making great strides? PROUD doesn't even describe it.

And I'm a little proud of myself for a change. His nurse said that she knows I read and do research and ask questions, but she said the progress he's made and the bond we have all came naturally. It feels good to be told you're doing well, especially when you question yourself constantly. Am I pushing him enough? Am I working hard enough? Am I slacking off? Is there more I can do? Am I doing too much? Why aren't I doing more? A person could go bananas in these circumstances, but I guess I must be doing alright. I have no choice but to just be an amazing mom for him. I don't plan on slacking in the other areas of my life but if I DID...at least I'm doing THIS right. THIS is what matters.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meeting Milestones: Kicking Ass and Taking Names

I just wanted to share that yesterday at Spencer's Physical Therapy, I was told that he has met all his developmental milestones on time up to this point. There really are no set in stone ages for when babies should be doing things as some kids talk early but walk late or skip crawling altogether, etc. They're just basic guidelines and Spencer is right on track!

And he's strong! I already knew this but it's nice to have his Physical Therapist confirm. Because OF COURSE I'm going to think the best about my child because, let's face it, he's awesome. It's good to have a professional confirm that I'm right in my thinking. He's right on track, strong, and kicking ass left and right. We're sticking to a once a month schedule and THAT is super comforting because a lot of kids that need physical therapy go several times a WEEK. I believe all of this is just preventative in Spencer's case. He had weak muscle tone at birth so we're helping him build it and therapy is in place IN CASE he struggles.

But so far...kicking ass.

On Sunday, he officially rolled over from his back to his belly. It's supposed to happen about now and I was worried that he was going to have a rough time. He had been trying and trying...but in the wrong way. He was trying to extend his neck back so the weight of his noggin would pull him over. That's a no-no and eventually, he gave up, it seemed. But in time, he figured it all out. And once he rock-n-rolled, he rested on his forearms with his head at 90 degrees. He looks like a proud lion. And mama was gusssssshing with pride.

That may have been boring. A lot of these little "Spencer did THIS" stories might be boring. But I know he's really going to show people what he's made of. He's been showing me how awesome he is since birth. So I need to document his awesomeness and accomplishments for posterity. He works SO HARD so it tugs at my heart strings. I'm not sure I've ever worked that hard at anything in my life.

He's doing GREAT.

We're ALL doing GREAT.

Next week we go back to the dreaded Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Don't get me wrong. I love his nurses and doctors. They treat him like he's a king without a crown. And there have been no abnormal cells for going on 2 months now (his transitional type of Leukemia can not come back) but there will always be a cloud of worry over my head. He's at risk to develop full-blown Leukemia. I know his Aunt Bizzle, dealing with her own post-cancer garbage, worries about the same thing...that one day it may come back. Will we both feel like this forever? Always worrying about something that may never happen? Probably. But I think we all went through enough in 2011 that we're owed a Cancer-Free remainder of not just THE YEAR, but our lives.

2012 is off to an awesome start.

Next up: sitting up with less assistance and hand-to-foot contact.

"It's when ordinary people rise above the expectations and seize the opportunity that milestones truly are reached" - Mike Huckabee

Monday, January 16, 2012

You Gotta Have Friends: More Than Just a Stupid Song Title

This blog remodel is making me NUTSO!

I despise the texture of my clipboard. If that's the only junk I have to deal with, an overly soft and somewhat woody clipboard, then today is going to be a good day. And as I've previously stated, I am determined to make the good outweigh the bad in 2012. So far, so good.

Spencer rolled over back-to-belly yesterday right on schedule = GOOD.

It really amazes me how good can come out of a rotten situation. A situation that you were positive fostered nothing but pain. I was reminded again recently just exactly how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do. Sometimes, when that annoying black raincloud comes butting into my life, I start reliving what we've been through, letting the hurt back in, questioning myself, over analyzing, getting stuck in my own head. But my friends and family always seem to know what to say to pull me out of the murk.

A friend did this for me recently buy reminding me that I've survived a lot and will keep on surviving. And no, that friend was not Beyonce, despite the sentiments closeness to Destiny's Child lyrics. Somewhere in there she said I've handle a lot of junk with grace. I didn't really think that word would ever fit into my life, being the awkward spazz that I am. But I appreciated the confidence boost. Sometimes you just need to let someone be your backbone for a minute so you don't completely crumble. I have to let the walls down and let people support me, even if it's for a quick second so I don't spontaneously combust and/or implode one day.

I'm using the wise words of friends as affirmations when the going gets tuff:

"Having answers doesn't always prepare you for what you may or may not experience, and life is full of surprises. Rather than base your decisions on what if's, go with fact. Fact is, you and Todd are awesome parents. You are strong, have survived many hardships, and are still in love. You don't need an amnio to tell you what you already know, that you can and will get through anything."

"I also think you and Todd are stronger than you know ...you both continue to live your lives with your heads up every day. You have not given up even when you thought you could not hear any more bad news...and that takes strength."

"and as painful as all of that experience has been, whether you see it or not (and i know a little something about not being able to see in yourself what others can see these days), you have been AMAZING. you've had grace. you've had strength. you've shown move love and more POWER than i've ever seen. you are remarkable, resilient people - and more than that you are remarkable, resilient PARENTS. and from where i am standing, there is no one on earth more suited to keep breeding. damn the odds. you are amazing. you can do anything. life is scary. but you've been kicking life's ass from the moment i met you and when it tries to fight back, you know how to knock it down and get your chin back up. i know you can do it if you want to. <3"

"You are so strong and so amazing. Don't ever forget that I am always going to be the one in your corner. No matter what."

The wisest woman I know said that it's hard to see (and to accept) what other people see in you. She couldn't be more right. You have an idea of who you are and what you can do but usually you're capable of so much more. I'm glad I have the friends and family on my side that I do to keep pushing me forward or to pull me up when i need a little extra support. I know EXACTLY how lucky I am and I am not now and will not ever take these people for granted. Todd and I wouldn't have made it out those hospital doors without everyone keeping us glued together. Reminding us to put one foot in front of the other.

And look at how far we've come? We were having lunch with Spencer yesterday just living and loving life. We talked about how awesome he's doing and how we truly believe he's going to surpass everyone's expectations...and expectations are HIGH. Todd mentioned that there may be a little excess pressure on us since Spencer is constantly being monitored by various teams but he's right on course if not ahead in certain areas. The fact that we could sit there, talk about it all in a positive matter, and not fall into "Why did this happen to us?" or "Poor Spencer, poor us" was awesome. Little by little, things are getting easier. Day by day, less of me is stuck back at the hospital.

But we'd still be there without Team Spencer. And I know I'll never be able to give back what was given to us. A dear friend, the wise woman previously mentioned, has gone through her own personal circus but I haven't been able to be as supportive as I wish I could've been because I was still under my raincloud more than I would have liked. But kind words she sent to me, in the midst of her own garbage, were the last boost I needed to get over myself, straighten up and fly right. So now I plan on giving back by being a support system to anyone who needs me, starting with her, Spencer's Aunt Bizzle.

I'd much rather make a POST-cancer care package anyway. More fun!

I know I'll still get the blues. It's bound to happen. But thanks to the great people on our team, I know I can get through it, and that confidence is pretty damn fantastic. And if it's a bluer than blue day, I can always been cheered up...

...at work...

...and at home.

Life is good. You heard it here first.

"Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over" - Gloria Naylor

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby: Today You Are 5 Months Old

Sometimes it feels like just yesterday and sometimes it feels like he's been here forever. It's a weird feelings to feel both ways at once. But the fact is that 5 months ago today, Spencer Lee was born. I was looking back at his past monthly birthday pictures and if you look month by month, it's hard to see. But if you compare when he was 3 months old to today...he's not such a baby anymore. I kept telling him that today, he looked like a man. Like he should have a pack of Camels in his pocket and be heading to the local townie bar after his shift at the mine. Someone else thought he looked like a truck driver.

When people say "time flies"...that's an understatement.

So What are some little tid-bits about Spencer Lee at 5 months?

-Reaching and grabbing and knocking stuff around is his new thing. His rad activity gym was worth every penny. He's also super into his hands and sometimes just holds his arms in the air and stares at his paws.

-He likes to reach up and touch your face when you're feeing him. He also really tries to hold his bottle and even his spoon when he's getting cereal...which is always a mess.

-If you walk out of the room, he follows you with his eyes. He is very focused and makes fantastic eye-contact, always has.

-"Twinkle, Twinkle" and "Dr. Worm" are his go-to lullabys. They work every time and I usually sing them once a day. They're the only songs I can remember all the words to on the spot.

-He loves his have his neck nuzzled. He laughs and laughs.

-He's recently learned to purposefully stick his tongue out. Todd didn't want him to learn that but it's so cute. He looks so much like I did when I was a baby that even his tongue looks like mine.

-We have a night time ritual: I take him upstairs in to the big bed and read  "The Going To Bed Book". Then I list off all the things he can dream about that night to ensure a peaceful sleep. Usually it's things like tasty milk, warm jammies, hanging with mommy and daddy, playing in his gym, nice naps, fun time with his BFF Owen (from the babysitter's), etc. Then Todd comes and puts him in his bed once he's fallen asleep. It's my favorite part of the day.

-He snores, always falls asleep in the car, and takes longer naps when held.

-Still loves books, music, his swing, having people around to play with...and of course, he's still mommy's man. Trying SO HARD to hold his head up for longer periods of time but more recently has become concerned with trying to sit up on his own. He's dying to do it! He has a world to see! At 5 months old, he's a curious little monster. He's also silly, funny, sweet, and overall, perfect.

Happy 5 months, Spencer Lee. I love you!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ouch: The Suckitude of Crying After NOT Crying For Awhile

You know what down right sucks sometimes? That you can't just live in a bubble, John Travolta-style. Living in the real world means you're going to see and hear things that illicit an emotional response. That's just how life goes. You can try and avoid things as much as possible but it's impossible, and it flat out sucks. And when you have something particular going on in your life, that "thing" seems to be EVERYWHERE. You can't avoid it. You never noticed it before but now you can't escape it.

Maybe I'm rambling. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am.

I saw something today, just a bit ago, that hurt my heart. It really shouldn't have. You would think about 5 months of being totally in love with your child, seeing something about their diagnoses or issues (though not directly about them) wouldn't hurt so much. Well, it kills, especially after trying so hard not to make it the main focus of your world. You just try to live and enjoy your kick-ass, sweet-faced baby and BOOM! You get punched in the brain by reality.

I haven't cried in several weeks and even my last tears were a fluke. I'm holding back a big, ol' cry right now but that makes my head and heart hurt worse. I'd sneak off to the bathroom and get it over with but that would be hard to hide. I wish I could make people understand why it hurts so badly from time to time. Why I don't want to be the poster-mom for certain things. But without expecting one thing, being blind-sided, and having your life DRASTICALLY change (yes, I know life changes when you have a child but you prepare for that and I did not prepare for this...I didn't know I had to), you can't understand. In a way, I'm very alone.

I've read a lot of things that say you have to take time to grieve for the child you lost...the child you were expecting. I have not and can not take time to grieve because it is not fair to the wonderful, amazing, kick-ass child I have that I wouldn't trade for anything. I refuse to grieve for what a THOUGHT he might be. He is who he is and he's 10,000 time better than anyone I know. I couldn't be as cool as him no matter what I did.

This may all be so random but you see things, they upset you, and you can either feel like garbage and bottle those bad feelings up or you can feel like garbage and get those feelings out of your system. I can't carry this home with me. I can't waste my Spencer time feeling blue. I won't.

I know that what I just saw (on Facebook, to be clear) was posted with the BEST intentions and I appreciate that. It wasn't even anything BAD, it was harmless and sweet. I've seen some things posted by acquaintances that lead them to be deleted by me. It's very possible that they don't know about our situation because I've kept a lot of it private. And everyone is entitled to their opinions and to make jokes about whatever they feel like. But I'm also entitled to choose what I want and don't want in my life. Some TV is off-limits now and my ears are like radar for certain words and topics. I wish I could just go off the grid but I can't. I have to do what I have to do to get through the days and go to bed as happy and satisfied as possible. I have to take care of ME, and most importantly, Spencer.

So I just needed to vent. And I definitely need to cry. Just for a minute.

"It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses" - Colette

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

To Breed or Not To Breed: Are My Womb and Brain In Cahoots?

It wouldn't be the new year if something heavy wasn't crushing my brain!

Maybe some other mothers out there can shed a little light on this subject because thinking about it is causing headaches and possibly some vertigo. And really, my mind takes enough of a beating on a daily basis without my self-imposed help.

I'm trying to decide if I want to have another baby.

I always thought that I would have a big family. Honestly, back in the day when getting hitched and making babies was just automatically on the agenda, I thought I wanted to have 5, yes FIVE, kids. You can thank me later, vagina. And then I didn't want any at all because, let's be honest, I dated some of the most miserable people on this planet and probably some of the closer planets as well. Not exactly "parent" material so the idea was sort of off the table.

Then lo and behold (a phrase Steve Martin is trying to use more in 2012), I met a fella, we got married, and that maternal nagging was right up in my face. So we bred. And from our breeding came Spencer Lee Fonzarelli, probably the sweetest, goofiest little dude you'll ever meet. You would think that with a kid this fantastic, I'd want as many as I could bake and/or afford before my reproductive junk turns to dust. And here are my throughs, concerns, ponderings on the whole idea of breeding again:

1. Spencer is AWESOME and I love him 110% but as most of you know, things weren't exactly how we expected them to be. Screenings and tests durning pregnancy only show so much and we opted out of an Amnio because the odds or miscarriage were too high. And we ended up with an issue that is rarely missed. But it WAS missed. Despite any issues, Spencer rules the school. It's a matter of "Spencer has these issues AND he's awesome" not "Spencer has these issues BUT he's awesome".

However, if I could choose for him to just be your average, run-of-the-mill fella, I would, to make things easier on him. So that leads us to...what if Baby #2 has the same issues?? Sure, we can have an Amnio and a few tests that weren't available to us before but are NOW because we've established a "family history". But even if we found something out, what would we do? Because if we knew about Spencer's issues, would he be here now? I HATE thinking about that. He is my best pal and thinking about him not being in my life makes my gag reflex go berserk.

But having an Amnio would give us all the information and having all the information gives you all the power, so says my uncle. If we had known about Spencer in advance, maybe we could have been better prepared, better informed, and not felt like our world totally imploded. Part of me really doesn't even want all of this ISSUE #1 stuff here because, like I've said, I'm tired of reliving it. Still a little too fresh. But it's all something to consider when considering cooking up a new Gansert some day.

But let's move on.

#2. I love Spencer SO MUCH. How could I possibly split my love with another baby? I know parents do it all the time, otherwise everyone would be "only" children. And that's the thing. I really don't want Spencer to be an "only" child. I know he has an older brother but let's be honest, they're 10 years apart. Eventually, he's not going to have time to be nagged by his younger brother, he's going to want to vacation with his girlfriend, not his father, he's going to want to be out and about being a teenager and growing up. I'm not saying they won't have a brotherly relationship. Spencer already loves him. But it's a wide gap and I think Spence needs someone to grow up with. A pal. And Todd and I won't be around forever. He needs extended family. Of course, I would NEVER have another baby just for Spencer to not be alone down the line. I love him in a way I never expected so I can only imagine how much I would love another goofball we cooked up.

But, and maybe it's just because Spencer is still so little, I can't comprehend splitting my love. Or loving anyone else as much I love Spencer. Or WORSE, what if I was one of those wackadoo mother's who loved one baby more than the other?? It would be horrible in either direction...if I loved Baby #2 more than Spencer OR if I brought another baby into this wacky world and loved Spencer more than it. And what if I'm somehow descended straight from a demon and I love Baby #2 more because he/she ends up being your typical, run-of-the-mill, issue-free kid?? I COULD NEVER LIVE WITH MYSELF!

3. What is something WORSE happens to Baby #2? Because there are worse things out there than what Spencer has and has gone through. He was TUFF. He fought through it all. I don't believe in a lot of things. Especially anything spiritual or hippie-ish. But when we had Spencer, a lady (who I believe practices Reiki??) told my aunt that Spencer was trying so hard to get better because he wanted to go home with me and Todd. And wanted so badly for us to be his parents. And as I've puked all over you already, I love him. He's my FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WORLD. I was meant to be his mom. He was meant to be mine.

But there ARE worse things out there. What is something WORSE happens to Baby #2? I can still feel where my heart was ripped apart and punched on August 9th. Could I handle something worse? I could I make it through that? Could I continue to be as strong as I think I've been? Or would I pretty much disappear after that? Because I would be responsible for bringing that baby into the world and therefore responsible for anythign and everything that happens to it, just like I'm responsible for everything that Spencer has gone through and will go through. Uuuuuuuggggghhhhh, there goes my brain pains.


So that's the type of stuff that's been running through my head recently, especially with a few chicks around me having buns in the their ovens. You may think it's not something I need to think about now, but I do. I don't want to get any closer to 35. Sure, there really isn't anything magic about the number 35, according to my doc. But NOW, at 32 (almost 33), I'm already at risk for some shtuff based on Spencer's diagnoses. Being 35 just piles on a mountain of more worries and concerns.

More massage parlors needs to offer to work on the brain.

Although, I think brain masseuses are called Therapists.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: New Year, New Blog.

After I got hitched, my mom said I had gone "from Bettie Page to Betty Crocker". I like to think I'm a little bit of both. And that mash up has lead us here. I'm kicking 2012 off with a brand new blog.


I've been blogging for the past 12 years about anything I felt like and was never really concerned if anyone read it or not, but they did. I had been blathering at my last blog since 2005 and spewing about everything and nothing with great enthusiasm. Great adventures, shenanigans, foolish behavior, and pure awesomeness glossed the pages. But when a bun made it's way into my oven, I decided to keep my preggo life and my rock-n-roll lifestyle, blog speaking, separate. Some people don't want to hear me puke "mommy" all over the place. I get that.

But here's what I realized after a year of duel blogging: I'm still me AND I'm a mom. Why am I trying to break my life into certain pieces just to appease people who may not be into domestic babbling? I'm a mom, to a totally awesome little dude I must say, but I'm still into all the things I was into before, I'm still me. I just cry at sappy commercials more often and I'm a little more on the defensive. I don't separate my day-to-day life into pieces/parts. I'm not going to do it in the Blogospehere.

So here we are. FROM BETTIE TO BETTY.

It feels good to get a fresh start. Don't get me wrong. 2011 was a decent year. It gave me a wonderful son, the love of my crazy life, Spencer Lee Fonzarelli. But it also gave me a lot of indescribable pain and heartache that I don't want to keep reliving. After Spencer was born, we learned that he's not your average bear (in my opinion, he's BETTER than your average bear, and we're not exactly your average parents) and had some medical struggles that took a toll. On us. Not him. He's T-U-F-F.

Bottom line, things weren't exactly what I expected when I became a 1st time parent. But we've shed our tears, picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and are ready to make 2012 OUR YEAR. This is a part of the reason I'm glad to close the book on my pregnancy blog. My heart took a beating and it's time for me to be a strong person and a strong mom, for Spencer, for my husband, and for myself. Despite the bumps and bruises, life IS good. It's time to move forward. I'm ready for this.

I'm ready for a lot of things. I've made some plans for this year:

1. I will kick ass left-n-right wherever Spencer is concerned. Top priority.
2. I will care less about what other people think. They won't upset me anymore.
3. I will enjoy every minute possible. The good WILL outweigh the bad.
4. I will start every day off on a good foot, with my head screwed on.
5. I will live like a frog. They can only move forward.

So here we are. Yeah, I'm a mom and a wife and a domestic goddess, so to speak. I'm a little Betty Crocker. But I'm still painting, reading, blogging, rocking out, screwing up, goofing off, making noise, making a mess. I'm a little Bettie Page. I'm exactly who I want to be and pardon my French, but I'm taking 2012 by the balls. Tony Danza was wrong. I'M the boss. And I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for me.

"I was never the girl next door" - Bettie Page