Please Stay Home!

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!!!!

4th Anniversary of Motherhood

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!

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.

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…

147D5A0E-80AD-4753-8A71-C01B575BB0F0776BBD71-9708-466A-84C6-A84B378523A3As 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.

 

 

39 Going on 40

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??

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.

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

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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.

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!

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!

Self-care and turning __0!!!

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!!!

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!

 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.

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.

 

 

To IUD or Not to IUD…That is the Question

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.


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.


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.

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…

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Rose all day

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.

 

 

God’s Plans

Trigger warning: Miscarriage, Long story

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.

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A glimmer of hope for something positive

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.

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My loves
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My happy smiley cutie pie

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Have you ever experienced a pregnancy loss? My heart goes out to you if it does. 

 

 

When your own child is sick

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.

IMG_2359My 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.

IMG_2412I 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.

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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.

JIMG_2606.jpgacob 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!?

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.

IMG_2777.PNGWednesday 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.