Category Archives: Photos

A World of Difference

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Life can be good.  Things can change. Nothing is static and thank God for that.  It’s been nearly 2 years since my last post and I’m so glad to be writing again. What kept me away?

Ziggy is doing so well.  She is beautiful, healthy, strong. Inquisitive and curious.  I love her dearly.  I can’t believe she is nearly 4 years old and about to be a big sister.

I am  37 weeks pregnant today with a baby boy that I will likely name Xavier Lucas.  There aren’t words for how I am feeling.  The old fears are not too far off but they don’t grip me or hold me hostage. I can dream and be happy and have hope.

Beefcake is doing very well with a new promotion and studying profusely for his licensing exam. He has kept our home together during what has been a challenging pregnancy that has left me fatigued in a way that I have never experienced with any of my others.  I am very proud of him and joke (?) that we are nearly killing him.

And I, well I have found a terrific job and am about to make a year.  I love my boss, she is amazing and supportive and there are not enough words for her.  I am 2 weeks away from a planned c-section and emotionally far better than I have been in years.  My girls are never to far off but I have an incredible capacity to be happy and truly glad and present like I have not in years.

With our bankruptcy nearly a year old now we are rebuilding with prospect of buying a home within a year.

I am blessed.

 

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Awesome Autumn

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This has been the most delightful autumn ever.  My husband and I have celebrated a wonderful anniversary, his birthday and Halloween with our little one.  She truly makes my life worthwhile, purposeful and so meaningful.  I am experiencing the world all over again through her and it is just so wonderful to do so. 

I was able to take out an interest free loan to help my mother with saving her house and my step-dad got a wonderful new gig and will be making a lot more money.  So they should have no problem with paying me back and securing their home in the long term.

We are now preparing to head south to visit my mom and family for the Thanksgiving holiday and Bigsexy’s family will be joining mine.  I’m looking forward to what should be a roughly 14 hour drive. 

Work is looking way up for me.  My boss just put me in charge of filling an executive position for one of our more critical business channels.  I’m truly happy now.  Really.

Here are some pictures from the last few months:

4 Month Old Pirate w/Teddy

Pirate Love

Happy Thanksgiving!

Milestone: 32 Weeks & Lots Going On…

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So what’s going on?

I had a heart-to-heart with my boss today about still being the receptionist and a few other things that are going on and just not cool.  I could give you the ‘fluff’ she offered or I could give you the real deal which is that right now giving me a solid HR role is not a priority.  She has a more important generalist position to fill.  Nevemind that when I took the position she told me that as soon as she could she would segway me into an official position.  I asked her for an offer letter when I accepted the position and she said that I had her word.  Her word?  It doesn’t mean much now.  Should teach me to know better than to accept a ‘hand-shake’ deal in the future again.  They have me and the customer service department supporting the receptionist function when I am training, interviewing or otherwise unavailable.  We are saving the company a boatload of money by sharing this responsibility and therefore she and the company have no incentive to honor her ‘word’.  I’m really sick of the bullshit and glad I finally reminded her about her promise and told her that I want a future.  Yes – she could argue that I am compensated fairly, but what I really want is a future and I just don’t know how that ‘future’ fits in with this company any longer…

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BigSexxxy’s ‘star’ is really taking off and I am a happy bystander.  Last week Beefcake and I got to join her and Mr.  Diplomat for a dinner out that was filmed and should/may appear on television – – in the US!!!  I’m cringing because I am one of those people that can hardly stand to hear her own voice recording, let alone seeing myself on television…AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I don’t know how much about this and her plans I will be able to discuss on my blog for 2 reasons – first, not everyone will agree with her lifestyle and second, some will….and I don’t want that kind of attention here…so if you start seeing more password protected posts it’s likely for that reason.  I don’t know…we shall see.

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We made 32 weeks last Sunday!!!!! Yay!  Until I get a voicemail from my little 9 year old brother. 

“Hey J, it’s your brother.  How are you?  How is the baby?  I hope she’s ok, I hope she’s not dead or anything like that…ok call me back…oh, and my mami says hi.” 

Sobering, right?  Talk about being grounded…just when I start to get confident and feel good about this pregnancy…geez.  But who can blame him?  Look at the stupendous failure of an obsterical track record i’ve had before this pregnancy.  He has heard this in the last 3 years: Guess what?…your sister is pregnant….your going be an uncle….nevermind…guess what?  your sister is pregnant (again)…you are going to be an uncle….nevermind…guess what?  your sister is pregnant (again)…you are going to be uncle.  By this point he must equate my pregnancies with the equivalent of my acquiring and losing a very beloved pet goldfish.

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Here is a picture we took last week to comiserate 32 weeks…obviously it was before I heard my brother’s voicemail.

Milestone – The (ELUSIVE) Third Trimester!

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Today is a good day…Ziggy and I hit the 28 week mark.  We are finally in the 3rd trimester and  viability is at 90-95% – this an amazing milestone.  After my losses I was asked when I would feel safe in a subsequent pregnancy.  I would always say when the baby is safely in my arms; they thought I was being cute and prodded for a ‘real’ answer.  Needless to say these were not deadbaby folk.  Due to my lack of success with a vaginal cerclage, I would offer 28 weeks as the earliest in-pregnancy date that would help me breathe easier (and the baby too…).  28 weeeks was a fucking awesome perspective pre-TAC.  But who the hell embarks on a TAC looking only for 28 weeks?  I’m in it for the long haul.

On another note – anxiety is rearing her very ugly fucked up head.  I was visiting with BigSexy and Mr. Diplomat today and told them about how i’ve been feeling.  Worried, anxious, fearful…and hopeful.  I’ve been so ‘viability-focused’ and now that it’s been attained, my focus has now shifted to getting her here safely.  Truth be told, I want her out the moment she can be out safely.   This is not for my sake in ANY way…it’s for hers…I just want her safe and sound.  The last thing I want to hear a doctor begin to say is “If only…”

In a very assertive, yet understanding way Mr. Diplomat told me I had to fight my anxiety for Ziggy.  I have to remember that stress, tension and fear based hormones can affect her.  I have to choose to be calm.  His words had a very positive effect on me.  BigSexy reminded me about the bio-physical profiles and non-stress tests that I have booked.  She assured me that if anything looks off my doctors will be proactive.

I am so fortunate to have fabulous friends like them.  I am going to give it my all to be calm in this final trimester.   I just can’t beleive that the finish line is actually within sight.

24 Weeks Today – A Bittersweet Milestone

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Time slowed down between the 22 week period and today.  I had major stress at work, a visit to the ER, and was watching a lot shows on television featuring problem pregnancies – including one where the baby dies. (Don’t ask me why i’ve been watching shows like this on t.v.)   I’ve also been off the zo.loft for a week now, so i’ve been ‘going it alone’ in a sense.  It’s been hard and difficult but this is new territory today.  Finally. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about Emi and Daniella during this period, but mostly Daniella.  I lost Daniella at 23 weeks, 2 days;  her wake took place on the very day that I would have turned 24 weeks pregnant with her.  I remember desperately wanting to make it to that point and beyond.  But it was not to be.   I’ve been going back in time and wondering if I could have made different choices for both of them, if somehow the outcome could have been different.  I keep coming back to the same conclusion – no.  There is peace in my heart because we did our very best with the options at hand and in every moment our motivations were nothing but the most unconditional love.  Getting to this point has brought a lot of closure that I didn’t realize I needed.  Now I can breathe in and expand my lungs with the knowledge that this pregnancy is truly different.

I did not take any photos in my former pregnancies and so I will with this one.  I understand completely if anyone can’t look at them.  But I really need to do this for me.  So anytime you see ‘milestone’ in the post title you’ll know that a photo awaits, ok? 

Photos below…

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Fragments

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A few things…

I still don’t know Zygote’s sex.  My husband, grandmother and I all showed up for the sonogram and there was a big issue with paperwork.  I was told I needed a script, the same stupid script I asked my doctor for earlier and she said I did NOT need.  Well guess what?  I needed it.  By the time it was faxed over they could no longer see me because the tech was leaving in a half hour and the exam is an hour long.  GRRRRRRRR.  The sonogram is booked for this Wednesday. Again.

Grandma is back home in Georgia.  Breaking an ankle will make anyone cranky – granted.  But add old age, no independence and arthritis to the mix and you’ve got anything but a good time.  I love grandma, but things were getting a little strained and frustrating.  Beefcake and I drove her out to Philadelphia to catch her flight (it was much cheaper than flying out of Newark airport) so we made a day of it.  We rode the trolley, caught some sights, visited the Afri.can Amer.ican Museum and checked out Terminal Market.

On the Trolley

Terminal Market

Biggest sandwiches i've ever seen!

The market rocks – my husband picked up some wine bottles, we had awesome phil.ly chee.sesteak sandwiches and I suppressed the urge to gorge on all the sweets available because

…I do have gestational diabetes.  F.uck.  Of 4 blood tests, I failed 2, not by much, but failing is failing.  I am trying to book an appointment with a doctor that will develop a plan for me.  I’ll have to prick myself and take other steps for management.  If you’ve read this blog for 2 minutes you know i’ve dealth with worse.  I can do this.  I’d appreciate the tips that have already been offered – that would be great.

A colleague gave her resignation on Friday; her husband landed a great opportunity elsewhere so they will be moving.  We had our stressed moments, but in the end she really was a good person, and was a wonderful resource.  I’m glad we are getting along better and that she will leave on this positive note.

Val.entine’s Day rocked.  My husband gave me a netbook intended for said holiday, but I had no internet so I got it ealier – hence the blogging.  I got a digital camera, flowers and a charming card.  He got a smile from me and my gratitude – hey i’m paying back the bloodsucking credit cards.

I’ve read that Zo.loft is not a good idea in the 3rd trimester; i’ve also read that it’s just fine.  I don’t have a clue, so I want to ask when I see my doctor this Wednesday.

I’m suffering from MAJOR hip pain, well truth to be told it’s right smack in my behind.  I’m pretty sure it’s sciatic nerve pain.  Call it what you want, but it’s literally a pain in the ASS.  If I walk too much or stand too long it’s starts to kick in.   Not fun.  Worthwhile, but no fun.

So that’s my deal.  What’s yours?

Transabdominal Cerclage Surgery

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Of all the posts i’ve written, this is one of the most vital ones.   It is very lenghthy and chockful of detail on purpose.  There are increasingly a lot of people finding me due to goo.gle searches for information on on the TAC, and I want to offer all the information I can.  This does not take the place of medical advice, but it is my experience and I want it to help you.  If you have lost your baby(s) due to cervical incompetence I am so deeply sorry.  I hope you continue to pursue your dream and to gain knowledge.  Additionaly,  I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have,  just email me as follows: jaded_me0223(at)yahoo(dot)(com)!
 
The Background

Following the loss of Daniella, I left the hospital empty-handed, but also with the knowledge that I would need a Transabdominal Cerclage or TAC to bring a future baby home.   Dr. Goo.gle dissapointed me; the internet offered very little info on the TAC.  Thankfully, I found a group called AbbyLoopers on yah.oo and through this group several doctors that were well recommended by members including Dr. George Davis.  Beefcake and I met Dr. Davis and came up with a plan that I would have a post-pregnancy cerclage placed at 14 weeks (pre-pregnancy is another option).  I continued to read the experiences of AbbyLoopers members and after a self-imposed break from TTC we were ready to try last fall.  We conceived shortly after and when my first trimester screen revealed a healthy pregnancy I got in contact with Dr.  Davis.  He and his staff had great follow up in scheduling and getting paperwork in order.  I knew I was dealing with a special doctor when he called me one night just after 10pm.  He apologized profusely for calling so late but he wanted me to know that he finally had my operating room booked and that surgery was all set for December 28th, 2009.

Surgery Prep

As planned my husband and I arrived at the hospital where I was registered and prepped for surgery.  Beefcake and I chatted and watched t.v. while we waited for Dr. Davis.  He came by rolling over the sonogram machine, which caused his diet co.ke to fall on the floor andd spill, and then he could not find towels and then he couldn’t get the machine to work.  He wasn’t smiling and it was all Beefcake and I could do not to laugh out loud.  Finally, he did a quick sonogram to check on baby and all was well.

Dr. Davis:  How old are you, again?

Jaded: 27

Dr. Davis: A teenager…Do you have any questions before surgery?

Due to nerves, I completely missed the question.

Beefcake:  Babe, do you have any questions?

Jaded:  Huh?  Oh!  Sorry Dr. Davis, I’m just so suddenly nervous. 

Dr. Davis: I’m not.

Jaded: If anyone should be nervous, I’d rather it be me.

Dr. Davis left to prep while the anestesiologist and his assistant came by to talk to us.  The plan was to give me a spinal, so that I would be conscious and just slightly whoozy.  I asked if I could bring my ip.od into surgery and they were fine with that.  I set up a playlist of Mich.ael Jack.son’s greatest hits, kissed and hugged my husband goodbye and was wheeled into surgery.

The Surgery

Upon entering the operating room the flood gates gave way.  I mean I was BAWLING – the bright lights and the cold sterility of the room with the surgical tools out brought back memories of my daughters.  Tears just kept coming without ceasing.  I reasoned with myself: I was now in a position of knowledge, power and preparation.   This was not a reactive attempt to save this baby, but a proactive one – BIG difference.  Compassionate hands cradled mine as compassionate words soothed my spirit.   I was then given more paperwork stipulating that I understood that I was about to undergo abdominal cerclage sugery and that I was agreeing to in-surgery ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s heartbeat.   I signed the paperwork and thought to myself: Wow, after all the research, blood, sweat and tears I am here and this is really about to happen.  The spinal was administered, and we waited for its effect as more lights were switcched on,  doctors strolled in including Dr. Davis and nurses and the anestisiologist monitored my vitals.  So i’m there, spread-eagle, legs strapped, arms strapped and naked from the waist down.  At this point I hear the familiar sound of an electrical razor as Dr. Davis shaves off about an inch of my pubic hair just below my abdomen,  I cringe as he places this sticky material over the shaved area and prepares to pull it off (i’m thinking a salon wax here) –  luckily I did not feel a thing.  Whew. Vulnerable does not capture how i’m feeling.  By now, the spinal should have taken effect, so they decided to put me to sleep.  A mask is placed over my mouth and nose as i’m instructed to breathe in deeply.  I remember my first breath…my second…and my third when I suddenly get this funny taste in my mouth. 

Hospital Recovery

The next thing I remember was waking up in the operating room and being told the surgery was over and that I was headed to a recovery area.  I’m very whoozy and so I’m ‘in’ and ‘out’ and don’t remember being wheeled over.  Once in recovery, I ask how my surgery went and the nurse smiles and says very well.  Dr.  Davis strolls over and I ask if surgery went well.  (I think I asked anything that blinked how it went).  He patted my leg and said very well.   My husband is soon by my side and he gave me this loving gaze and told me he almost cried when he saw the doctor heading his way immediately after surgery.   “Dr. Davis said you and the baby did very well and that he’s happy with surgery – there were no complications and everything went as planned, the surgery was over  in under an hour.  Thank God for that, because I could hardly stand waiting to know if my baby and wife were ok.”   Some time later I was wheeled to a private ‘mother-baby’ room.  My vitals continued to be monitored the rest of that day and through the next day.  On day 2 the strong meds were discontinued and I was told that I needed to start walking later that day.  Say what?  The meds had already started to wear off and the pain was creeping in.  The nurse laughed when she saw my face and said it helps with gas.  Huh?  What’s wrong with some gas?, I thought.  Ha!  Who knew gas could be so evil and so painful?  So I took my first step with her assistance and let me tell you  warn you – the pain WILL take your breath away.  I’ll fast-forward through the rest of my time there: I was there 3 nights in total, my husband helped give me a sponge bath and I progressed to taking showers on my own with him standing by.  The nurses were wonderful and I walked every day, despite the pain to encourage healing and help with gas as recommended.  On my last day there, the doctor performed one last sonogram to look over the baby, the TAC and to take my now-improved cervical length measurement.  The doctor was happy with how my incision healed and so he removed the bandage and staples and placed steri-st.rips over the incision.  As he filled out paperwork, I realized he was wearing a Cowbo.ys football team tie.  My husband and I are all about the NY Gi.ants, but I smiled and said that it seemed we were all Cowbo.ys fans that day.  Before leaving, I gave Dr. Davis another of many hugs during my stay and a very teary-eyed, heartfelt thank you.

At-home Recovery

We left the hospital on strict orders to drink water as if it were ‘going out of style’, move a little every day, take it easy, and to have s.ex when ready but on the condition of using condoms until after delivery.  Beefcake tried to drive home slowly, but every bump in the road was agony for me.  Once home, he took care of all meals, assisted with bathing and drying me when neeeded, he took care of Peaches, ran my errands, faxed paperwork to my job, helped with my grandmother who is still with us and at the time was still healing a broken ankle and much more.  We ran him ragged.  I returned to work 3 weeks post surgery.  I was still slightly sore for about a week after.  Now at 20+ weeks I feel fine, although the baby is now kicking me and occasionally making me feel soar above the incision.  However, every kick is like a breath of fresh air.

What is the TAC?

Again, it is always best to talk with a doctor, preferably a perinatologist but… There are 2 approaches to dealing with cervical incompetence.  A vaginal cerclage entails a stitching of the cervix at the site of the external os (the lower part of the cervix that a gynecologist views/’handles’ during a pelvic exam).  It is removed shortly before delivery and is therefore not permanent.  It has a good success rate, but does not compare with that of the TAC.  The vagina naturally has more bacteria than the abdomen, therefore the risk of infection is much higher when done vaginally.  For most women a vaginal cerclage will do the trick – but it can fail and some women are just not good candidates due to factors such as cervical trauma due to a previous birth, cervical surgeries, a congenitaly short cervix and i’m sure a host of other issues.   Ideally you want to get the stitch as high up on the cervix as possible to prevent funneling and the progress of pre-term labor.  This is where the transabdominal cerclage comes in.  To get it higher you have to go through the abdomen and the ideal placement is where the lower uterine segment and the internal os meet.  In other words, you want to get the cerclage at the exact juncture of where the uterus ends and the cervix begins.  Additionally, to my knowledge, abdominal cerclages are not stitched into the cervix, but rather very strong thread is wrapped around said juncture.   Make no mistake about it – this is major surgery and is a painful recovery especially when done post pregnancy, as I did.  In addition, due to the nature and placement you are FULLY committed to cesarean sections for all future deliveries.

However, the physical pain pales in comparison to the agony of losing a very beloved and desired child.

Unfortunately, some O/B’s are ignorant of this procedure or not even aware of it, and they do discourage many patiens from pursuing TAC’s when they are clearly indicated.  This is why I always suggest that you also consult with a perinatologist as difficult and complicated pregnancies are an everyday occurence for them and they are usualy up to date on new procedures and technologies.  I was lucky, in the sense that the peri that placed my ill-fated vaginal cerclage was the first one to tell me about the abdominal approach and give me hope.

Sometimes the situation is not black and white and you might be a good candidate for either approach.  What do you do?  In your shoes, I would take the more agressive approach – but that’s easy for me to conclude.  I don’t know your circumstances and i’m certain that there are many variables that you will thoughtfully consider.

Good luck to you if you are considering the TAC or another approach, I hope more than anything that you get your baby.  Remember knowledge is power, please make a well-informed decision.

A smile before surgery

With Dr. Davis before surgery - I look like a dork b/c my eyes are closed.

After surgery & whoozy

Last day in hospital - we are all Cowboys fans!

Ready to go home!