(1) Share my fun nuggets of adventure as an anesthesiologist by day and mom by 24/7 of my currently 2-year-old, Jacob, and newcomer, Cameron. I make it a point to take daily pictures. What better way to share?
(2) Reflect on the challenges of being a first-time mom (of 2) and doctor.
“It’s just one of those days… Don’t take it personal….”
Ironically, one of those days just happens to be today, the day after Mother’s Day. It’s been 8 weeks of pandemic shelter-in-place times. Today, of all days, and it’s been a while since I’ve felt this way, was a serious bust when it came to my firstborn.
The first bust was trying to do some homeschool. We haven’t done any serious homeschooling since school was cancelled 8 weeks ago. Jacob’s teachers have been emailing us weekly projects/assignments, letters, projects, riddles, yoga/youtube videos. We tried to do it in the beginning but it was so painful. It was hard to imagine my child not ever reading/writing and not jump down this negative pathway… So I decided (based on some research from other toddler moms) that the best thing for everyone was to have fun, learn by playing, prevent both of us from crying. But in light of school likely not resuming for the rest of the year and questionably even during the summer, I had to do something! So I decided to start with what the teachers recommended.
Lil bro learning the ropes
S lessons. Working hard…
S is for stars, sun, Saturn, solar system- all things my #1 likes. We have a book he can trace and write himself.He doesn’t seem to follow the directions or stay within the lines well but I let that go. A few Ss were normal and then he started to write them sideways… There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears… I vaguely remember having to learn to read, write and do math with my dad. There was resistance, fear, anger and frustration but I got through it and thanks to all that torture, I was able to excel at math and English growing up (now is a different story! Where’s my TI-85?!?).
I said to myself, Okay, this gentle approach is not working as well as I had hoped. It’s going to have be tough love. I’m not MOM, I’m the tutor/teacher/strict lady. He may hate me now but will thank me when he starts to enjoy reading and writing. And so onward we went.
Today’s assignment was ‘T’ – perfect! T is for train, turkey, turtle, Tyrannosaurus Rex, all things that Jacob likes.The first few Ts went as the book instructed-vertical line downward, then cross the T., all in 2 strokes. And then the whining/resistance began and suddenly the Ts could only be made with 3 strokes. While #2 is also trying to recolor the walls, table and himself with markers, I’m trying to remain serious. How do teachers do it? How can learning be fun? How in the world did my parents do it? And all these thoughts whirl round and round my head. Should I be satisfied that this T sort of resembles a T? I can’t give up now, I still have to keep trying. What can I bribe him with? Threaten to take toys away?? Maybe I should have a plan in place before starting this path.
Somehow he brudgingly wrote a few 2-stroke Ts and then we went outside to play, where he was gleefully making soap volcanos with this rocket stomper toy, making siphons, tube systems, playing with water… That is his passion. I’ll say, it’s science.
Stomp Rockets + Soap + Water
Making a water fountain
“I need more soap!”
I thought playing in the sun for hours would help him nap but it didn’t. Jacob’s been napping 40% of the time these days. Only after physical activity will he nap in the afternoon. So I was looking forward to feeding him dinner early and getting to bed early (when Cameron goes to sleep, around 7-7:30pm).
Well, MomFail #2 was with dinner time. Dinner is a struggle unless we’re eating pizza, mac and cheese, brats, steak, penne pasta. He does eat chicken sometimes but getting him to eat veggies requires bribery (dessert), he’s a slow eater (we’re all done and ready to clear the table and he’s only eaten a few bites) and only when we start to clear plates and say he’s going to miss milk/dessert does he start to eat faster. But most meals are a struggle.
In an effort to reduce waste and conserve paper products, we recently decided to try cloth napkins. We jokingly pretend we’re the waiter at a fine restaurant as we drape it across his lap, Here’s your napkin, kind sir. And we tell him to keep the napkin on his lap. Very soon after, he’s twirling it around his head, whipping it at me/Dad/Brother, wearing it like a scarf… and after consequences like ‘no dessert’ and one warning, we’ve had to whisk him off to bed (he hasn’t eaten more than a few bites and is goofing around).
The look on his face when we scoop him up to take him upstairs to his room is heartbreaking (had to do it a few nights ago). He looks so sad, devastated, and remorseful. But to be consistent with our warnings and to be taken seriously, I must do what I say I’m going to do. Does the punishment fit the crime here? I’ve heard that toddlers and mealtimes are a struggle until age 7 or so. But other than the possibility than he’s tired (hadn’t napped), hungry or not hungry, until what point do I just let things go and let him carry on?
Mom Guilt is real and it’s painful. I lay awake at night thinking of what I could’ve done differently, what research/book do I need to read next, what notes do I have to review. I’ve read How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen, No Bad Kids,No Drama Discipline, and listen to podcasts about Gentle Parenting, Respectful Parenting. And I have to mindfully think about things before I let my emotions/frustrations project onto Jacob.
Tonight, both kids in bed by 7:30pm… I’ll talk with Jacob tomorrow when he and I are in a calmer place and work on a way to make things better. Until then, I’m happy to hear any advice you have about toddler discipline, home school and mealtimes.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day- to all the moms, sisters, friends here on Earth and in Heaven, to all the Moms of babies in Heaven, I am thinking of you. There’s no other happiness and stress in the world. Cheers to another day of trying to be better.
Mother’s Day throughout the years. Snapchat filters is the only way I can get these two together to take a picture with me!
Brotherly Love ❤
Mother’s Day with my Moms in SD 2019. Love you, Mom!!!
Missing my Grandmother (Halmunee).
I wish she could’ve seen these troublemakers together.
Never have I ever imagined that in 2020, I’d be fearing for the lives of my parents, my children, husband, loved ones and myself. This Coronavirus pandemic is serious. It’s not like the flu. Look at Italy, South Korea, China- the statistics are right there. Somehow, America is slow to see, believe and internalize this and there are young and old, healthy and sick, patients dying rapidly. Our resources (personnel, doctors and nurses, hospital ventilators, staff) will be exhausted and the world will fall apart. People are already attacking Chinese/Asian individuals and children for this. Please, for the greater good of yourselves/family/children, LISTEN to the medical professionals, don’t be selfish and think you are invincible. Please thank those who are frontlines and behind the scene- the janitorial staff, kitchen chefs and servers, doctors, nurses, midlevels, security guards, etc. Please stay home, check on your loved ones, elderly neighbors, just stay home!!!!
I had a journal as a child that I received from Korea- it had pastel pages and smelled heavenly. For some reason, I started each entry with a description of my day- e.g., It was a fun day. So I’ll continue with that tradition here.
It’s been a fun few months. It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog for no particular reason other than that life has been ‘boring’ on my end. Although, I just realized the last blog I wrote was in September!??? After Cameron’s 1st birthday? We went to Jeff’s parents in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, Jeff’s brother in Montana for Christmas, a weeklong road trip to Mammoth for Jeff’s birthday, and here we are in February!
Cam’s MT 1.0 vs 2.0 trip (age 4 months vs 1.25years)
Jeff loves this photo (NOT)
Work, school, eat, sleep, repeat. The days go by quickly. I’ve been saying this for 4 years now because as of a few weeks, I am now a Mom of a 4-year-old boy/man. As much as I celebrated saying goodbye to his Terrible Twos and Threenager years, I mourned the days of his newborn/infant days and even his cutie tantrums. I know his brother’s tantrums are around the corner so I’ll have those moments to cherish… But I miss their younger days. This time has brought on a whole bunch of my usual cheesy self that I’ve been too ‘busy’ to deal with.
Where did this little man come from? When I look back at his newborn pictures, my first thought is, Yeesh, I thought he was the cutest baby in the whole world and sharing pictures of him and meanwhile, he was a funny-looking baby compared to his handsome older self. His head was big (thanks to the Korean side of the genepool), he had little hair… I’m also reminded of what a nervous nelly first-time mom I was and how thankful I was that my husband/parents/friends/nanny were so supportive and didn’t tell me how ridiculous I was, that it wouldn’t matter in a few years and that he was okay. There was a period of time I went to Target everyday returning and buying new diapers and ointments trying to heal Jacob’s diaper rash. This diaper rash elicits some PTSD in me- it was a time I was flailing and felt like I was failing as a mom. Going to music class, play dates, the right amount of milk, the right type of bottle, etc. didn’t matter- what mattered was keeping him fed and loved.
Almost 2 months old
How YOU doing?
And as I celebrated Jacob’s birthday, I was reminded by my Mama Village that it was also a bigger celebration of the reason I became a mom, kept this young man alive/fed for 4 years and how I managed to survive and grow. There is a unique perspective as a mom that I never could’ve dreamed of. As always, my mom was right. Whenever I’d aggravate her, she would tell me ‘Just wait till you’re a mom.’ And in my know-it-all teenage/20/early 30s (my whole life, I guess!) self, dismissed her and thought, whatever!
Before I had Jacob, I had a lot of close friends who became moms. But interacting with the family, seeing them, listening to their stress about sick kids/childcare/school didn’t prepare me for the actual experience. The constant worry and guilt, wishing I was with them while at work and yet savoring my ‘adult’ time at work. Is that what work-life balance is? I digress…
As Jacob gets older, I’m reminded also that my parents and I are getting older. I forget how old my parents are- when I see them, they are simply my parents- the same faces I’ve seen for the last 40 years of my life. But their age in numbers is soon-to-be 77 and 83. As I think of my grandmother daily, I am also acutely aware that this visit could be our last. I see the joy that the boys bring them and as much as we jansori (Korean word for nagging) to each other, I wish they could have the same experience with them as I did with my grandmother. My grandmother lived with us and raised us until I was 6 (then my baby cousins were born and she moved in with the other families). I owe her for everything and she is my favorite person (sorry to my husband, kids and parents). It’d be lovely for them to live closer to us and I could check on their health, they could see the boys more often and I could spend more time taking care of them like they took care of me. But I understand it’d be hard for them to leave their home in Chicago. Sigh.
I also mourn the loss of Cameron’s baby days as much as I welcome his bubbly laugh and fearless personality. And that gets me with an urgent need to clarify the difference between wanting Baby #3 versus missing the Baby phase of the boys. The logic and Pros/Cons list points to no Baby #3- I’m 40, my back/core/body is not recovered from the pregnancy, work life, child care, school, life, etc. But as my husband says, the heart wants what it wants. But what does this heart really want?
This past December 29, 2019, I was sad for the baby that could’ve been #3. At that time, as much as I was in shock and sadness, I knew it wasn’t the best/right time (not that there really is ever?) for Baby #3. And I didn’t really think of wanting #3 until recently. I started to feel sadness as I wondered if I’d regret not having #3, would I regret not having a girl, would I feel incomplete with 2 boys and our family of 4? Perhaps it was prayer and a little slap of ‘snap out of it, Frances! Look at what you have!’ moment that made me realize to focus on what I do have- 2 amazing healthy, growing boys, a loving husband, an awesome house, both sets of parents alive and healthy, awesome job/career… And then my mood was uplifted as I was reminded to focus on the positives!
I am going to focus on spending at least a day home with the boys to do stuff with them. Next year, Jacob will be back in school MWF and Cameron will likely start school as well. I’d like to be with them while they still enjoy spending time with their mom.
What’s the saying? The days are long but years are short? I don’t know… I’m reminded to cherish every moment and focus on the positives. I hope everyone is staying healthy amidst this flu/Coronavirus mania.
Summer flashed before my eyes and suddenly I am now 40 years old and my youngest is 1 years old!
We did our annual pilgrimage to Chicago and Pennsylvania. We went to Chicago to celebrate my grandmother’s memorial. It’s been 2 years since she passed and I still get emotional thinking about her. I haven’t been to Chicago since.. well, I can’t even remember. I wasn’t able to go to Chicago last year on her 1-year anniversary because I was so close to being due with Cameron. So that must’ve been almost 2 years since I’ve been to Chicago. How is that possible??
Say what, Ma? I have to stay close to you?
Little brother wants to help too!
Ahhhh, Sleeping Beauty. Mama can watch ‘Wine Country’ in peace
The travel itself wasn’t as awful as I thought it’d be. I packed Jacob, Cameron and my stuff the night before. We booked our Airbnb a while back that had a washer/dryer so theoretically I could’ve packed a whole lot less but we all know what a ‘just in case’ packer I am. Cameron slept the middle 2 of the 4-hour plane ride while Jacob enjoyed movies for the entire trip. He gets so excited about pushing his carry-on suitcase himself- it’s a riot. The airport patrons get a kick out of watching him push his suitcase around the airport.
Loved the flowers and pinwheels
Hello Great-Grandma! I wish you could play with me!
Having some fries with Great Grams
My grandma was/is the best!
Loved the flowers and pinwheels
Hello Great-Grandma! I wish you could play with me!
My grandma was/is the best!
Cameron finally got to meet his great-grandmother for the first time. Jacob didn’t remember her but he loved the flower patch and pinwheels at the cemetery. Visiting her always brings a rush of emotions and sadness. I wish she could’ve met Cameron and seen how much Jacob has grown up. I miss her so much everyday. She
loved Jacob so much and she would’ve loved Cameron as well. They all would’ve had so much fun together. My aunts and uncles met Cameron for the first time when we went to their house afterwards to pray and celebrate her.
Our AirBnB was in Old Town. We hadn’t stayed an AirBnB in a long time (I had fears about last-minute cancellations) but we needed an extra bedroom and space now that there were 2 kids. Although there were a few hiccups (no parking passes, no baby PacknPlay, no soap in the bathroom), the location was great and we were in the city! Walking around Old Town, Lincoln Park brought back a lot of memories for Jeff and me.
The following day was Cameron’s big (early) 1st Birthday Celebration. In Korean, it’s called a Dohl. It’s a big celebration in Korea because infants rarely survived to their 1st birthdays. It can be quite a production like a mini-wedding but I tried to keep it casual since we planned from San Diego. I literally copied and pasted my party planning file that I had from Jacob’s Dohl. It’s nutty to see how much I planned and how much I spent on things like flowers, cake, etc. This time around was a bit more economically friendly.
Setup only took an hour!
Loves the microphone
The food was delicious, the cake was yummy and it felt great to see our friends and their kids whom we hadn’t seen in a long time. I wish I could’ve eaten more and talked more with our friends. Cameron picked a microphone so there will be an entertainer in our midst. No tears (major tears, anyway) and no bloodshed is the sign of a successful party!
Our second leg of the trip was to Pennsylvania to visit Jeff’s parents. Their parents have an annual family reunion/party for their wedding anniversary. The timing didn’t work out for us to be there when Jeff’s brother and sister’s family were there, unfortunately. But we had a lot of fun relaxing in their giant pool and catching up with Grandma and Grandpa. Being in Pennsylvania felt like a vacation we all needed. Chicago was filled with car naps, driving to/from suburbs, and on top of all this, we found out we won the bid to buy a house!
After 12 days away, I was ready to come home and sleep in my own bed. We timed our flight back so we could celebrate my big 4-0 at home. I haven’t been in San Diego on my actual birth day for a while. Actually, last year we were in San Diego and had been moving into a temporary apartment a week before Cameron was due. Talk about a fun birthday!
As I was woken up on my birthday at 6:30am by my #2’s good morning cry/pinch, I started the day with a huge load of laundry, making breakfast for the kids and husband and unpacking suitcases from our trip. Later on that day, Jeff and I planned to go to a movie (at our fancy movie theater) and dinner. I did want to spend some time with the boys but I was also looking forward to some adult time! Of all the movies to choose from, the only option was a Fast & Furious spinoff, Hobbs and Shaw, starring The Rock and Jason Statham! Perfect! Then dinner was at a nearby Italian restaurant within the ‘mall’ complex. I fought Jeff on this because I wanted to go somewhere ‘fancier’ and/or use this gift certificate I had for another ‘fancier’ restaurant. But he reasoned with me that we don’t have to deal with traffic and also could make it back home in time for me to put the boys to bed. That made more sense so I went along with it.
As we’re walking to the restaurant, I see profiles of people who look like my own friends. But I thought, weird, why would that person be at this restaurant on a random Tuesday night? Then I saw a ‘40’ helium-filled balloon bouquet floating in the wind and thought, ‘Oh yay! Someone else is turning 40 today just like me!’ As I walk closer to the restaurant, it begins to register that these people’s faces are actually my friends’ faces and I’m wondering, what is going on? And then finally when I see all my friends’ faces and hear a ‘Surprise!’ does it finally sink in that they’re here for me‼?! Oh my goodness. As I burst into tears after seeing one of my OG friends from LA, I couldn’t believe what was happening? How? What? When? How in the world??? How did I have NO suspicion whatsover!? Especially when I was with Jeff 24/7 these last few weeks?
What a wonderful surprise and evening it was! #Roseallday except that I knew I had to work the next day! Had I known otherwise, I would’ve taken the day off! I felt so loved and celebrated and it sure was a way to greet the start of my 40s. At the end of the evening, I reminisced about this last decade and how the entrance of this decade was 180 degrees different than my 30s. I probably slept in, watched the news leisurely with a cup of coffee, had zero responsibility, enjoyed the quiet of just me in the house. I realize how much more meaningful and blessed this is now as I reflect upon the many blessings in my life- wonderful husband and 2 healthy amazing boys, best of friends, healthy and living parents and family, and we are about to embark on the next journey of our lives as we move to surburbia and become homeowners!
My big boy!!!
Look at that smile!
Loved this photo sash
Cameron also turned legit 1 years old. The year went by so quickly. Suddenly, he is this little man who loves his big brother. He is a happy and chill guy. I could not be more blessed than I am with all the Chisdak boys in my life. I’m excited for what the IDGAF 40s (I Don’t Give a F__k) has in store for me. Stay tuned as we embark upon this journey together! Before I end this long blog, I have some travel tips for my friends and future self:
TRAVEL TIPS when you have lots of stuff:
(1) Suitcase/luggage that you can push on 4-wheels. It saves your back!
(2) Pack lighter! Take away half of the things you think you’ll need.
(3) Wear a fanny pack- if you’re carrying a baby, diaper bag, etc. you’ll need something that has your essentials at your fingertips: cell phone, wallet, chapstick, hand sanitizer, hand wipes!
(4) Baby wear: Forget the onesies- when you’re in a stinky bathroom in an airplane or airport, you don’t have time to unsnap and resnap a onesie while your child
Thank you for walking this journey with me thus far!! If you have any advice about how to make the decade even more awesome, I’d appreciate your expertise. Cheers to what is next for all of us!
Where has the time gone? I seem to start a lot of my blogs/emails/texts with that saying…
It’s been almost a month since I wanted to write about my girls’ trip and being away from the family. A few months ago, a few friends and I decided we were overdue for a girls’ trip. One of our friends is pregnant with her first, our other friend has 2 toddler children, one another friend has no children (so envious! But she couldn’t make it) and me. We only had a short weekend (Fri-Sun) for our trip so we didn’t want to go somewhere far, expensive, labor-intensive, you get the idea.
What kind of vacation can you imagine for a mom or woman in general? Hm… let’s come up with a few ideal features, in no specific order:
Adults only- no children
Warm weather- lounge by the pool, etc.
No need to cook- all-inclusive, restaurants nearby, room service
No need to drive- all-inclusive, restaurants/activities nearby
Not too expensive-flights, hotels/housing, activities
Not too far- short car/plane/train ride
No concern of bugs/Zika/danger
One of our friends has been to an all-inclusive (except alcohol) spa/nature resort. I had no idea the States had all-inclusive resorts. We wanted to stay in the States because of the Zika and safety concerns. It was a little bit of a splurge, okay, a pretty big splurge. You get a $175 per night resort credit that you can use toward an activity or spa service. All meals and snacks were included in the price as well. Alcohol was the only thing that wasn’t included. So if you broke it down, it was just a little more than usual. BUT I rarely do anything like this for myself so my husband was able to be off-call to “babysit” and off we went!!!
Ahhh so relaxing
View from the deck
The days leading up to the trip were filled with guilt and doubt… Why did I say I’d go on this trip? I’m going to miss the kids so much! What if something happens to me and the boys are left without their mom? Intermixed with these thoughts were thoughts of wonder… I wonder what it’s like to sleep freely without kids. I wonder if I can sleep through the night. I wonder what it’ll be like to eat and drink in peace. I wonder what it’ll be like to pack for just myself!
My sleeping beauty
The packing process seemed ridiculously easy. Of course, I made my list a few days prior and my luggage and carryon seemed ridiculously light. I kept feeling like I was forgetting something. There was so much room in my little carryon and personal item!
Leaving the house on the day of was a little saddening, I’m not going to lie. #1 was still sleeping but #2 was awake and so cute, I couldn’t handle leaving him!!! But once we were at the airport, met up with my friends, got some breakfast and coffee, it got a little easier. I felt slightly guilty that I didn’t meal prep for the boys but the house was stocked with food/snack options and I thought they’d either eat out or eat mandoo and ramen all weekend.
What did us girls talk about while together? We talked about kids, childrearing, nanny issues, work stressors, finances, etc. we ate, slept, did some yoga, worked out and chilled really in the humid Texas heat. We face-timed with our kids, texted with husbands, checked in on the kiddos and slept/napped. It was heavenly!!!
The kids didn’t behave as well for Dad as they do for me. Part of me laughed but part of me felt guilty for leaving my husband with 2 cranky boys. I wondered if dads/husbands feel this kind of guilt or spend this much time worrying/thinking about life back home. I definitely cherished the time with my friends and time to myself to recharge and rejuvenate. This is some much needed me time!
What else has been going on? In a month, I turn the big FOUR-O! It doesn’t seem that big of a deal to me but I seem to be having some kind of mid-life crisis. I am not where I imagined I would be physically thanks to my herniated disc/back issues but otherwise I have no complaints about life! We are going to Chicago for my grandmother’s memorial and we’re also celebrating Cameron’s 1st birthday in Chicago. Then we head to Pennsylvania for Jeff’s parents’ wedding anniversary and family reunion. And when we get back, BAM! It’s my birthday!
A lot of people seem to be having big birthday bashes. I had a big one when I turned 30! Dirty thirty, LOL. I’d like to spend this birthday quietly with my family and then maybe dinner and a movie with hubster. Oh, how I sort of wish I was 30 again. What would I do differently? Make smarter choices, be/show more gratitude, take better care of my skin, and wear more sunblock are just a few major ones. But I love where my life has taken me. I promise to be cheesy on my next few blogs as I reflect on becoming and being 40!
The boys are doing well. Cameron is a happy, super chill little big guy. He still likes to wake up in the middle of the night (he’s in our room) and likes to cuddle. Jacob is a threenager learning to navigate the world and is in love with all things trains. They’ve been in twice-a-week swim lessons which is such a joy! He is a very ‘physical’ person with his friends and Cameron, which I will talk about also in a future blog. I look at him and wonder where my baby went.
Where did my baby go?
Someone is over the photo shoot
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and keeping cool.
How do you incorporate self-care into your routine? Please share your secrets how to survive and overcome the daily grind.
I dreaded my post-miscarriage OB visit. This appointment was initially supposed to be a 9 week follow-up ultrasound and prenatal visit. But because of the miscarriage, my OB wanted me to keep the appointment for a wellness check instead.
I was recovering okay… I wasn’t as tearful anymore randomly or at work. The bleeding stopped after a week ish. Heck, the heaviest bleeding was still lighter than my postpartum periods. I tried not to think about the miscarriage or any babies. To be completely honest, I didn’t want to go into the waiting room to see a handful of pregnant ladies knowing that that could’ve been me. But I also knew that it was time to be a big girl and face the music. My OB has always been awesome to me/us and I didn’t want to just blow things off. Why not talk about how I’m doing? Sure, what’s another couple hundred dollars for me to meet my deductible?
I brought both kids w me. I wanted my OB and OB team to see the kiddos and it’d be a distraction and reminder of how awesome/lucky I am to have these two amazing healthy kids.
Chillin like a villain…
He finally went into the shark mouth!
Cameron adores Jacob
These last few weeks had me focused on getting to a place of gratitude. I had two natural, easy, healthy pregnacies and two wonderful healthy, kicka$$ sons. I never had to experience a sadness like a miscarriage before my ripe age of 39. And also, how ‘lucky’ was I that the pregnancy was early enough that at least I didn’t have more time and a heartbeat to which I could become too attached (literally and figuratively).
So the questions arose: Do I (Jeff says he is ambivalent) want a third child? What would life be like with a third child? Professionally, physically, emotionally, financially… That was a decision only I could make.
My OB visit left me in a whirlwind of decisions. My OB is pretty conservative and he voiced his concerns for risk of chromosomal abnormalities in my geriatric age. I know the risks, I have friends who’ve had miscarriages for this, I provide anesthesia for women who need dilation and curettage or evacuation (abortions) because of abnormalities… My pregnancy was probably a chromosomal abnormality. I know I would not want to be in a position where I’d want to miscarry again or have to make any kind of decision of that nature …
So then the next question: What do we do for birth control? I respond, Abstinence. and the only one who’s laughing at my semi-joke is me. Deep down, I am wholeheartedly aware that 2 is wonderful for me and our life is full and crazy as it is. I was happy w NuvaRing since I’d used it for years so I figure I was going to use that again. My OB did mention there could be side effects from the estrogen. He said the IUD was a great option – the Mirena, w low progesterone, office procedure, no more periods, easy peasy. I know many friends who are happy w it. I said, I’ll stick with NuvaRing and if I end up deciding on an IUD, I’ll call. Also, if we do decide to get pregnant in the future, IUD can be removed and we can try. But, if I want a third kid, I need to take action if that is the case.
So while I’m still trying to get my heart to meet my head, we had a vacation week to Pennsylvania for our anniversary trip. Our in-laws were supposed to come for Easter to see the boys but we were all sick with fever, cough, and badness so we decided to try to keep everyone healthy and postponed their trip. They haven’t seen the boys since Christmas- Cameron was a smilier, more interactive and crawling baby; Jacob was a chattier cathy with a love of all things trains and planes.
A picnic on the plane
My sleeping angel
While preparing and packing for this trip, I wondered, OMG, what if I were still pregnant and what would it be like to travel with 3 kids? Packing for me alone takes days to prepare- lists on top of lists, last-minute ordering of things on Amazon and trips to Target, outlining the itinerary and timing when we need to leave, etc. As I prepared both kids’ clothes, snacks, etc. I knew that this was hard enough as it was. Traveling with children is a lot of work- germs, waiting to get on/off, I don’t know… So, I was not looking forward to the travel aspect.
2 of his favorites!
Eating out with 2 young kids makes me also realize how tough it is to take care of myself. I loooove food and I love to eat. Usually, Mom doesnt get to eat first/relaxed because she is taking care of the little ones. There’s potty breaks, trying to get them to sit at the table while everyone else eats, bedtimes around the corner, the clock is ticking!
After only the first travel leg where my #2 slept and #1 was delirious with excitement to be on a plane and then from lack of napping, I decided to call my OB first thing Tuesday morning to schedule an IUD.
This might be an asshole, non-Motherly, selfish thing to say. Being a Mom is not all about the fresh new baby smell, breastfeeding, milestones, etc. We/I am responsible for shaping their personalities, education, disposition so they are decent human beings!! Why/how am I just realizing this now?!? There is so much work and pressure! And as much as I love my two boys, I do miss some of the things I used to do freely when I was sans dependents- my previous prebaby body, time, exercise, and let’s not forget sleep. Being a mom of 2 is hard enough. I wish I could be an easygoing, carefree, helicopter, awesome Mom… but w my personality, work, life, I know 3 will push me. I can barely handle taking 2 kids out by myself… How would I survive w 3?!?! Sure, I could do it, but would I truly be able to enjoy it?? I’m not sure…
It’s okay to judge. It’s okay to say I’m a selfish asshole. But I know my limits. I want to enjoy my time as a Mom/wife/friend without always feeling guilty/pressured to do something related to being a Mom. I want to eat/pee/sleep/watch my TV shows someday. When I see couples/friends without kids, I can understand!
Am I the only mom who sometimes feels this way? I’d love to hear how you and other families can find that me time/work-life balance with however number of children you have.
I had vague symptoms of nausea (dry heaving) and fatigue (I needed 2 naps a day) that made me wonder if I was pregnant. I thought the chances were low since I had recently stopped nursing after a month or two of weaning from nursing down to 1 session a day. Oh yes, and the intercourse was not frequent- how can it be? With a little one in our room who kept waking up a few times during the night?
Thanks to Amazon., I bought a multi-pack of pregnancy tests from Amazon because let me tell you, a 1- or 2-pack brandname test from the grocery or local pharmacy will cost you a $20 or so. I checked a few weeks ago and it was negative. I was checking also because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t pregnant before I started the NuvaRing.
A few weeks ago, I went to a medspa for a skincare consultation. I was planning to start Retinol products so for shits and giggles, I took a pregnancy test, and was crazy shocked to see it was positive. My face was millimeters away from the test strip because I could not believe what I was seeing. I peed on another one and it lit up too. Jeff was still at work and was going to be there until 10pm at least. In the past, I have had him come home to look at the positive pregnancy tests at home but this time, it was too juicy to wait so I just texted him and talked to him.
My thoughts in the first 24 hours were the following:
(1) Holy shit, how did this happen?
(2) OMG, this can’t be real?
(3) OMG, Life is over
(4) OMG, we’ll have 2 under 2!
(5) OMG, maybe this will be a girl?!!!
(6) OMG, our family will be complete!
(7) OMG, we need an even bigger house and bigger car!
(8) OMG, how am I going to take 3 kids out at once?
(9) Poor Cam, he’s going to be the middle child and didn’t get a lot of time with Mommy!
(10) Poor Jacob, he’s going to hate me!
Can you see a theme in my stream of consciousness?
I knew the pregnancy must’ve been super early because of my serial urine pregnancy tests. The timing was uncertain because the last period I had was pre-Cameron which was November 2017. I called my OB who wanted to check my blood levels of HCG. The numbers looked good (supposed to double after 48 hours or so). So then we scheduled for an ultrasound to see how if we could see anything and get a better estimate of how far along I was.
I had to wait 1.5 weeks to get in for an ultrasound and appointment with my OB. It was an emotional 1.5 weeks. At first, I had a repeat of the above 10 thoughts over and over again… But then, I started to get excited that God had a plan for us to complete our family. Previously to this positive pregnancy test, I had hemmed and hawed about having a 3rd kid- I loved this baby age. ANd when it was time to find a new home for my maternity pillow and pump parts, I was saddened knowing this was going to be it.
Wednesday, I got an abdominal and transvaginal ultrasound. It showed a very small/little something that looked like a sac of some kind, estimated age of 5 weeks/3 days but too small/early to see anything really else. I went into the OB office to chat and I was in a good mood, telling him how surprised I was seeing apositive pregnancy test after I had just seen him the Friday before at the hospital. I also said that I knew it was early and that no matter what happens, we will be okay with it. The OB also reassured me that I had 2 previous uneventful/healthy pregnancies so there was no reason to believe this one would be different.
I hesitated to ask for a picture of the little sac and didn’t ask (also knew the images would be in my chart). When I went home, I was curious what the due date would be so I googled how to calculate it based on gestational age and saw that he/she would be due 12/29/2019 +/- 4 days. A Christmas baby!!
Thursday afternoon, I started to notice some red/brown tinge on the toilet paper. It was not constant and I took notes about what I saw. I called the OB office and emailed my OB to ask him if this was normal (also after consulting google). It was normal to spot after transvaginal ultrasounds (I did feel like the ultrasonographer was a little rough as I was uncomfortable (he got up to readjust his stool and took the ultrasound probe with him as he moved). OB said to call him if I noticed anything different, had cramps, etc.
Friday, the discharge started to become a little redder and I had a sinking feeling. Saturday, bleeding became more consistent and I had to change from a pantiliner to a regular pad. That night was Jacob’s school’s fundraiser gala- I was hesitant to wear a tampon in case there was any chance this nugget had a fighting chance. Luckily, the pad didn’t show through the dress so I wore a pad. I did also have a few drinks at the gala because (1) I had a feeling this wasn’t going to go in a positive direction, (2) I’ve had way more drinks with Jacob and Cameron before knowing I was pregnant with them and they turned out okay, (3) I needed a little relaxation.
Meanwhile over the course of the days, I’m hugging the little nugget and praying to God to please keep this nugget safe and in my belly. And I’m also praying to give me the strength in case He decides to have other plans for us.
Sunday, the bleeding is more red and like a period. In my head, I’m going through a cycle of emotions:
(1) Please keep this nugget safe in my belly,
(2) Maybe there is a teeny sliver of hope that this nugget is okay,
(3) I need to prepare myself for the very likely possibility that the nugget is not there
(4) God has a plan for us, Believe in Him, it’s already in the works
(5) One step a time.
(6) WHY did I have to take a pregnancy test at home? Had I not done anything, I would’ve thought this was my period
(7) WHY did I have to go in for an appointment so early to get a transvaginal ultrasound when I didnt’ with the last 2- maybe the TVUS did it!!
(8) I had two very healthy pregnancies and having 2 amazing healthy boys, I was lucky enough with the 2. I can’t have it all.
As I drove to work Monday AM, I saw a rainbow… I thought, wow, this is so beautiful. And a sign of somethin
g overall positive and hopeful. I called the OB office as soon as the office opened and I got a
phone call back to come in that day for another ultrasound and appointment with him.
I had to ask a colleague/friend for help with finishing my afternoon of cases. As I asked for help, I started to cry. I hadn’t said it outloud to anyone except Jeff and then it hit me that I was likely having an abortion, a spontaneous abortion.
Initially I thought I could handle going to the appointment by myself but then Jeff realized I probably wouldn’t be okay so he met me there. I called one of my girlfriends on the way there and her kind words and voice made me bawl bawl bawl. I had to try to gather myself before going into the office – I’m not a pretty crier and you could totally tell I had been crying based on the red and puffiness of my eyes.
The female ultrasonographer this time also started with the abdominal ultrasound. I wasnt’ sure what was what but I did know that it looked different than last week’s and I started to realize what was happening. Then she did the transvaginal ultrasound, I asked her where the uterus was, and then I realized again that it looked different and said outloud to Jeff, there’s nothing there, and then I started to cry.
After the TVUS, the chux I was sitting on was soaked with blood. And when went to pee afterwards, it was a bloodbath. We met with the OB afterwards and I cried in his office.He reminded me of all the medical things I knew- it wasn’t my fault; there was nothing I did or could’ve done; Usually with a serum HCG>1000, he can usually see something; this doesn’t mean I can’t/won’t have a normal pregnancy afterwards.
I left the office avoiding eye contact with the other pregnant ladies and the front desk receptionists who knew me and had congratulated me just a week ago…
I made the smart decision to stop by the bank on the way home to get money. I felt a strong urge to pee and thought, maybe I can hold it. But I said, I’m probably bleeding so let me assess the situation. AFter I peed, I felt a few clots come out. I looked into the toiletand saw something that looked like a BIG clot. I looked closer and saw something that looked like a ball with a long vascular cord attached to it. I thought, is that the baby (I call it baby but I know it as products of conception or something)? I thought, how sad I have to flush it down the toilet at a friggin bank. Should I try to scoop it out of the toilet? Do I want to do that to myself? I did take some pictures though the lighting was awful. It took me a little time to clean myself up as other clots had fallen into my underwear and pants too- typical Frances Kim hotmess style.
I went home hoping one of my kids would be awake so I could give him an extra hug. Cameron was awake. As the nanny was getting ready to leave, she asked me if I was okay because I looked really tired. I told her what happened and she gave me a big hug. She told me she had 3 miscarriages before having her first child.
A handful of close friends/women have struggled/survived miscarriage. I realize how blessed I am to have 2 healthy children and to have not had to deal with the pain and struggle of a miscarriage utnil now. There is so much to be grateful for- I have 2 healthy kids, a loving husband and family. I am ‘lucky’ that this was early enough where there was no heartbeat. If this happened later after a heartbeat, it would’ve hurt so much more.
Jeff was trying to be helpful but I felt like everything he was saying/doing was not what I needed/wanted to hear. What could anyone say/do in this kind of situation? I wanted to wallow in my own sadness and self-pity for a little bit mourning my little nugget and all the what ifs, could/should/wouldves, and the potential missed events of this nugget’s life. I apologized to Cameron for the missed opportunity to be a big brother but also congratulated him on remaining the baby of the family. I apologized to Jeff that we couldn’t get a 3rd baby this year. I felt like apologizing to myself for all the negative emotions/thoughts that came through my mind, however, fleeting they were.
I had to pray to God for strength and courage and to help me learn His lessons. I had/have to remind myself there was nothing I could’ve done differently. Or was there? that are my thoughts. Several weeks ago, I had chills at night and used an electric heating pad to keep myself warm. I was febrile, sweating, myalgic/malaise-ic, taking Tylenol and Advil for my symptoms- did that cause this? This was way before the test was positive though but my mind goes way back to what could’ve started this downward spiral.
Perhaps this was one of God’s many plans for me- to be able to really empathize with my patients (I work mainly in a women and newborns hospital these days) and friends who have had to survive miscarriages. There are no words to share with someone- to all the I’m sorry/my heart goes out to you- there is not enough anything to bring this baby back. I know it’s for the better (probably?) that this is happening and that everything happens for a reason but it doesn’t alleviate any of the heartache and pain.
Ignorance would’ve been bliss. Or would it have? The clot in the bathroom probably would’ve made me wonder what that was since it’d be hard to pass off as a regular clot. I wish I had not seen it. Or do I? I truly believe transvaginal ultrasounds are not good for me (this is not based on any medical evidence, obviously).
My heart, emotions and mind are exhausted. Well, I wanted answers and I got the answers. Sure, this was not the answer I was hoping for but I knew deep down that this was the path I was entering when I started to bleed more consistently.
I feel/felt alone although I know I am not alone- I have close friends and colleagues who have experienced much worse than I have. I know it will get better, I know I will be okay. I want to clear the house now of all the things we were keeping for #3 (baby bathtub, maternity pillow, Clothes too small for Cameron, maternity wear, pump parts). It just sucks. I want to lay down, stare at pics of my kiddos, hug them… I would not wish this kind of sadness on my worst enemy. Even though I was preparing myself for it, it felt a lot more painful when it was actually confirmed.
So, there is what has been happening these last few weeks. Thank you for sharing in this journey with me. I apologize for the detail but it is more of a catharsis for me. Who knows what the future will bring. I can’t help but wonder if I want to try for a third baby in the future. All I know is, Heaven gained a little angel nugget yesterday. I know my Grandmother will take good care of him/her.
It’s weird to ‘talk’ about. I don’t want to say it out loud but sometimes I want a big hug from any and everyone. My eyes are finally deswelling and I’m trying to give myself some love and give my kiddos some extra TLC as well.
My happy smiley cutie pie
Have you ever experienced a pregnancy loss? My heart goes out to you if it does.
People may assume, oh, you’re a doctor, so when your kid is sick, you know what to do… Let me tell you, maybe that works for some doctor parents, but not this one! Jacob woke up Thursday night at 11pm crying, screaming, and coughing. It sounded like a night terror the way he was crying and so upset. He also was coughing this awful-sounding cough, like nothing I have ever heard before. I was by myself since Jeff was still at work. While I’m trying to comfort Jacob, in the other room, #2 starts wailing too. As hot as Jacob felt and how he was acting, I knew he was febrile and sick.
My mind starts racing- where are all the thermometers? How high is his temp? What if it’s crazy high? When is Jeff coming home? Do I need to take him to the ER? Where is our Tylenol and Advil? Which do I give first? OMG, how am I going to take both kids to the ER by myself. ACK‼‼ The doctor component of my mom brain wasn’t turning on and was in slow motion. I knew I had to pretend to a logical medical professional.
His ear temperature was 102+. Trying to check a rectal temperature in a hysterical child and by myself was not in the cards for us that night. Okay, so what’s next? I went with Tylenol and working on soothing Jacob’s stressed self. I knew I was going to have to encourage fluids and get him back to sleep. We went to the living room and had him on my lap and watched TV while I waited for the Tylenol to kick in. It seemed to take FOREVER, longer than I remembered! Eventually (an hour or two later), he was calmer and acting closer to his normal self. We went back to his room and I slept in the bed with him while getting kicked in the eyeball, waking up with every cough/noise and checking that he wasn’t getting hotter.
I had to go to work Friday and Jeff was home with the kids and nanny. Jeff was supposed to leave Friday early afternoon to go skiing for weekend. But when Jacob woke up, he was still febrile and not acting his usual self. Thanks to more medications, he was better so Dad took him on a few errands to stock up the house and he seemed okay until a few hours later, when he got drowsy around 12pm and fell asleep on the car ride home. Hm, that’s not like Jacob to go to sleep voluntarily before 2pm.
He woke up with a fever so Jeff gave him meds and then took him to the Pediatrician’s office. Of course at the Peds office, Jacob seemed to be acting better other than a fast heart rate. She asked Jeff if we wanted to test him for the flu and luckily he was negative for the flu. She said to keep treating his viral illness with Tylenol/Advil and call on Monday if he’s still having fevers.
So, while at work all day, itching to get home ASAP to see my sick baby, Jeff feels reassured that it’s a common cold and leaves Friday early evening.
The weekend was rough by myself- I was in this time-standing-still constant state of stress/worry about Jacob- is he warm, what’s he going to eat, he needs to drink more, what meds should I give next, what do I do if I have to take him to the Emergency Department, what do I if Cameron gets sick, why are the meds taking so long to work?!? Just on and on. Luckily we have a pulse oximeter to tell me what his heart rate and oxygen saturation are. As you can imagine, it’s pure joy getting Jacob to sit still long enough for this monitor to tell me the numbers. Also what is even more joyful is getting Jacob his medicine.
This went on all weekend- fevers were being treated by Tylenol and Advil but it was pretty disconcerting to see that as the medicine started to wear off (near hour 5-6), he would start to look sleepy/eyes half closed, ears would turn red and he would get quieter and breathe faster. He was refusing most foods. He did have a little pizza and we would go for short walks to look for the ice cream trucks. But overall, he was only drinking juice boxes, Gatorade, coconut water, and milk. Miraculously he was pooping once a day though in his underwear. But I didn’t care because I was happy he was pooping!
I was able to find coverage for work on Monday so I could be home. Seven forty on Monday morning, I checked his oxygen saturation because he was lethargic, hot, breathing too fast and heartbeat racing. I was getting more concerned because he was refusing anything to drinks usually he jumps at the idea of Gatorade or milk but he was not interested. I got him a lollipop that he was simply holding in his hand rather than enjoying in his mouth. His oxygen level was 91-92% and he was breathing 50-60 breaths a minute (normal is about 20-30 for his age) and I heard some wheezing. I was contemplating getting my stethoscope to listen but I thought the important thing to do was to be a mom and lay there and comfort him. Luckily, our nanny was with Cameron so I could focus on Jacob. What do I do? Take him to the ER? The pediatrician’s office opens at 8am so should I call them first? First, I gave him some Advil and encouraged some juice. And I called the office and was able to get a sick visit appointment for at 9:50am. I thought, by then, I bet he’ll be back to his normal self and the pediatrician will think I’m nutty.
As predicted, the Tylenol kicked in by our appointment time and I was happy he was feeling better and his oxygen was 98% at the doctor’s office. She listened to his lungs for a long time and said she heard some wheezing and Right lower lobe crackles. She thought it was a pneumonia and wanted to know if I wanted a chest x-ray or a breathing treatment. Usually, I’m all for testing but in this case, would a CXR really change the treatment? And, also, did I want to trapse my kid all around town in his condition? I did want to see if a breathing treatment would help his breathing/lungs. She noticed some mild labored breathing (“retractions”) as well. She asked if I wanted to start antibiotics even though she still suspected a viral pneumonia. She said with fevers for 5 days, it would be okay to start antibiotics. I said, YES, we’ve got to do something different.
Jacob was a champ with the breathing treatment and at the doctor’s office. We left to go buy a muffin (he said he wanted to eat one!) but he didn’t eat any of that. We went to CVS to pick up our medications, then went to another CVS closeby to pick up the facemask to his albuterol inhaler contraption. At the second CVS, he said he wanted some strawberry milk. While we were waiting for our meds, I sat him down in the chair and gave him a sip of strawberry milk. And then his face did NOT look good and he started dry heaving. I got a garbage can in the nick of time and he puked into it. The super kind pharmacy manager brought over some napkins and water. He looked okay after his vomiting episode but he was beginning to feel warm so I wanted to get him home ASAP. I drove home as smooth/quickly as I could and I look back to see Jacob looking drowsier. Uh oh, please stay awake, buddy! I need to get some meds in you before you start to get sleepy. Maybe I should’ve bought some meds at CVS and given it there. Argh, why did I NOT do that? We got home quickly and I was able to get some meds in, put a diaper on, and he was in bed again by 12:30pm.
Monday and Tuesday’s schedule continued: check temp, pulse ox/heart rate, listen to lungs, give medications, bribe with honey/lollipops/ice cream, watch movies/TV, repeat. We added Vicks VapoRub humidifier to the mix as well and that seemed to help Jacob’s cough and breathing. Now on to making sure Cameron stays healthy. As for me, I’m beginning to feel malaise/stuffiness and have been shoving meds down my gullet as well.
Now… a few questions…
Why does being a doctor not come in that handy when your oqn child is sick? What happened to the rational, logical, non-emotional, health professional? Where’d she go when I needed her most!?
Brotherly love at its finest.
Cameron.. such a riot.
I wasn’t completely comfortable by myself for the weekend. It was a high-stress situation with little/no sleep or rest. It was a challenge to focus on the other kid while taking care of the sick one. Fortunately, Cameron was chill and played by himself. I wanted to keep the two of them somewhat separated to avoid Jacob coughing into Cameron’s face. But it was very guilt-provoking to not be able to play fully with Cameron while knowing that Jacob needed some extra TLC. At times, like this, I wish I had family closer to town.
And that’s another Catch 22 as well. Your friends and family want to help you but you don’t want to expose them to the Contagion of our household either! So, it was a very ‘lonely’ weekend at home. We watched a lot of Jacob’s favorite shows. There were some outdoors activities to try but I wanted Jacob to rest/hydrate and also didn’t want to expose our germs and vice versa.
If this happens again, I hope to have more confidence in myself to be able to face Jacob’s sickness without fear/anxiety- at least, not too much. So what if I have to take one of them to the hospital? I can do it. It’s going to be hard but oh well! That is life.
Wednesday morning, the fever cycle broke and he was back to his normal self. It took a few days to get his appetite back but I had had enough with 5 days of fever! All we had to do was complete a 10-day course of antibiotics. It didn’t take long for #2 (and Mom) to get what #1 had. Sigh!
This weekend made me me wonder, how in the world do single moms handle things? and how would things be if we added another kid to the mix??? ACK!!! I hope everyone stays healthy this season and hopefully flu season is long gone.
What kinds of things do you do when your child is sick? Do you feel overwhelmed or anxious when you’re home alone with kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts and words of wisdom to battle sickness.
I’m now a mom of a threenager! I have been emotional and nostalgic for Jacob’s baby days. As I looked through pictures from the day before he was born (induction thanks to post-dates) and the day he was born, I can’t help but wonder where all the time went and miss the good ole ‘easy’ baby days. He is a little man now- he has opinions, stories, nonstop energy and a neverending curiosity for all things nature and outdoors. Where is my baby?
We decided to go with experiences for Jacob’s birthday rather than have a birthday party this year. Last Friday, Jeff and I took him to Legoland. It was the first time for all of us and I was nervous. I had no idea what to expect but had heard it was a lot of fun. Jeff didn’t think we needed a stroller, hat or hoodie for him and Jacob. On our drive up there, I discovered he thought the park was indoors and didn’t realize it was a large, outdoors theme park. Luckily, I grabbed a jacket for Jacob and Jeff had a hat in the car.
Legoland was super fun despite not having a lot of rides that Jacob could ride yet. Jacob isn’t too into Legos right now but maybe we should try to introduce him to more. We have MegaBloks that he likes to build with but is more about playing with trains, cars and trucks. I have become my dad and easily dizzy-ed by any kind of ride. Legoland also confirmed what Jeff and I already knew about ourselves. We don’t like to wait in line for anything (food, rides) so we will avoid parks/activities on the weekend whenever possible. We did a lot of walking (2.6 miles) in a 3-hour span. Jacob was a trooper and walked most of the way as well. He passed out in the car on the drive home despite a morning full of ice cream and potato chips!
On Jacob’s birthday, my parents and I took Jacob to Sea World. The only time I went to Sea World was when I was 7 years old and in Orlando. I barely remember the Disney trip and vaguely remember seeing Shamu and wanting a killer whale stuffed animal. He loved the dolphins and bat rays and we rode a ride that made me crazy dizzy and wishing Jeff was there to ride with him. Jacob was more intrigued with a toy train that I bought for him and running to the Slushee stand whenever he saw one. As hard as it was for me to say no to him, his diet was already more sugar than nutrients that day so I had to say no.
My husband and I are a two-physician household and I am flabbergasted at how expensive entry into these parks are. Park entry for 3+ years old is about $100- for one visit!!! The parks then offer annual membership passes for a little bit more- like $150 or so. If there’s any chance you’d go to the park again, it makes sense to buy a membership. Not only do we have to consider entry, we have to purchase food and souvenirs. My very-frugal mom raaarely purchased any souvenirs for me – she called them trinkets and said they were a waste of money. She was right! As always! So when Jacob asks for toys, my heart wants to say yes but my mind says to be practical and say no.
It melted my heart to see the smile on Jacob’s face and his natural curiosity to explore and touch everything about the park. His potty-training success was good as I came prepared with Ziploc bags so he can pee right then/there. I don’t know why more parents don’t do that. At what age are children able to hold their pee/poop to make it to a bathroom? What if there’s a line? Jacob needs constant reminder and to be given options/plans (e.g., let’s pee first and then get some milk). We’ve had a few regression/accidents these last few weeks. We’ve gone to pull-ups at naps and nights but he’s been overflowing his pull-ups (even with fluid restriction and peeing right before sleeping) so we are trying diapers again. More on that later.
I would like to take this time to give myself a big pat on the back for keeping Jacob alive for 3 years. Most of the first few years was in a state of hotmess-ness. I had no idea what I was doing- finding my way amidst a sea of cluelessness, anxiety, fear, insecurity, emotions and OCDness. There were also many Liters of tears shed from joy, frustration, and guilt. I never imagined myself as having kids and being a Mom… And I look back and wish I had given myself a little more grace during this time of new phase of our lives. I will try to do that as I continue my motherhood journey. If you know me, you know how cheesy I can be so excuse the cheese. Being a mom and doctor mom is hard work. But somehow with the help of God, a village of family and friends, we have all survived!
Selfie with my #1 Baby!
We made it!!!
What emotions/thoughts go through your minds and hearts when it’s your child(ren)’s birthday(s)?
Thanks to John Mayer, anytime I hear the word ‘Wonderland’ I will start to hear the tunes of this song.
My Mom Bod has been kicking my butt this last month.
Let’s rewind to September 2016- I was 6 months postpartum with Jacob and feeling good in life. Jacob was a champ, work was going well, everything was peachy. I decided I felt a burning desire to go jogging again. I started very slowly, walk and jog for 5 minutes, 1 mile at a time. It was hard to get started but after the first mile, it felt great. I had been doing this for about a week or so.
I bent over to get Jacob out of his high chair when I felt some excruciating pain in my lower back, in the middle of my spine. And I knew right then something was not right. Luckily my parents were with us so I handed Jacob to them as I hobbled over to lie down. I felt like someone took a hammer to the lower middle back of my spine and had beat it to a pulp.
I could barely move without feeling excruciating pain- if I coughed/sneezed/moved it felt like my spine was combusting within my body. After a few days of rest and ibuprofen, it got better. Then a week later, as I sneezed, I felt the pain again and I couldn’t move again. When Jeff tried to help me up from a chair or bed, my spine hurts like a mofo. It made no sense how I could have so much pain without having ANY need to use a muscle?!?
Things got better and then tweaked things again after a sneeze. I got better and then tweaked things again after twisting and trying to get out of the car. It was awful. Our nanny had to bring Jacob to bed so I could nurse him, then she would come and get him after he was done and did any/all lifting until Jeff got home. There were meds that could have helped my muscles relax but I didn’t want to have to pump and dump. I was determined to continue nursing for a year!
After a week of steroids, a single dose of Flexeril (back brace left my body with a very obvious scoliosis), later an MRI revealed a herniated L4-L5 disc. How in the world? Looking back, I have had similar episodes in the past but that’s a story for a different day.
My back never fully recovered. The spine pain was gone but all the muscles around it were tight and my flexibility went down the tubes. I got a lumbar epidural steroid injection which made me feel great! I was determined to get back in shape in case we got pregnant with Baby #2. My exercise training plan went very slowly and then a few months later, I got pregnant. The pregnancy contributed to some more back pain thanks to the weight gain, hormones, increasing lordosis. I went to physical therapy and things got better again but I knew the recovery was limited because of the relaxin hormones and weight distribution.
After Cameron was born, the pelvic pain and back pain improved but things were tight. Then, after a long drive home from Mammoth, I leaned over to put something on a shelf, sneezed, and then felt the same (but a little less in quantity) central, localized low back pain that had debilitated me in 2016. Uh oh. I cannot go through this again….
I told myself as I was lying there feeling sorry for myself that I MUST get my back better and will have to do what it takes to get back to being functional. I haven’t surfed, snowboarded, jogged, golfed- haven’t done anything active that I wanted to do out of fear of reherniation. I have 3 boys (1 for Jeff) with whom I want to enjoy sports and activities with. I would like to get in shape, work out again, get my life back!!!!
To complicate the recovery even more, I have had a cough/cold some sort of respiratory infection since the initial injury 1/20. Trying to avoid sneezing and coughing has been nearly impossible and the fear is real! I have had some serious coughing and sneezing spells. I could’ve taken medicine which would have helped my cough and also helped the weaning process by decreasing supply but I didn’t want medications to force me to wean against my preferences.
Thanks to a consultation with a lactation consultant, she came up with an organized plan/schedule to help my weaning process. Part of this weaning process involved training Cameron to sleep through the night, like 10pm-5am. Our pediatrician said he was heavy enough where he didn’t necessarily wake up because he was hungry. And this was true as he was used to waking up around 10:30 pm (when I’d enter the bedroom and he could smell me), 1am and 3am where he’d cry, start to suckle and then fall asleep quickly but would like to sleep snuggled close to me- something we both enjoyed about the night despite my lack of sleep.
Luckily, I was away during the time to sleep train/wean these feedings. I went to Phoenix for a girls’ trip to celebrate our upcoming 40th birthdays. These are my home friends whom I’ve known since 3rd grade and junior high. More than half my luggage was my pump, parts and on the return, a cooler bag/ice filled with frozen milk. I was VERY proud of myself for keeping up with the schedule and luckily didn’t get a clogged duct. I had never exclusively pumped for so long.
The lactation pathway is amazing. I realize how fortunate I was that my milk came in (Day 4, a bit later than with Jacob but whew!) and Cameron ate and enjoyed eating with me. Somehow, the hormones regulate themselves with supply/demand and adjust in a few days so you’re not a milk-fall with breasts the size of bowling balls. I was an exact producer- 1 oz/hour. If I drank some coconut milk, almond milk or coconut water, maybe I’d get 0.5 oz more or so.
Cameron and I are down to two nursing sessions a day- upon wakeup in the morning and before bedtime. I no longer need to pump at work which saves me a lot of time and stress. I love how he looks for my breasts when I get him lateral in the morning or positioned on the Brest Friend at night. He likes to pat me on my arms or chest to make sure I’m there. It makes me sad to thing that this relationship is coming to an end. I know this will haunt me for a long time- anything that doesn’t work in our favor will lead to guilt and sadness and maybe the lack of breastfeeding/milk is the cause of this bad outcome.
I realize that there is no evidence-based medicine to support that stopping breastfeeding will reduce relaxin, heal my pain, or improve my recovery. There will likely be some more guilt/resentment associated toward myself if I don’t get better. But what I do know is that I have to try everything I can to get myself better. I have spoken with a few people who say it can take years of physical therapy, core strengthening, etc. It will not be a cheap process either. Sigh.
My mom bod truly is a wonderland. Thankfully, my back pain is better so I can function at home and work and I am not bedbound. I have started Physical therapy and am going to be diligent with my exercise homework. Hopefully, Cameron and I will still have the bond although we’ll have 6 months less of nursing time that Jacob and I had.
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend! We are approaching Jacob’s 3rd birthday and we are not having a birthday party this year for him. Instead we are doing experiences like Sea World and Legoland with him. Stay tuned for stories about these fun adventures.
Did you have any pregnancy/postpartum ailments? How did you overcome these obstacles? Did you feel a lot of pressure to start/continue to nurse/pump?