Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Here are some of our pumpkin carving photos from the other weekend. Ariana had fun playing with the guts as did Phoenix. He decided to try pumpkin seeds pre-baked, but found out they didn't taste too well that way.
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The finished product (we went easy this year)
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And here are trick or treat photos from this evening...

The ballerina princess does her own makeup--yikes!
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The only family photo where everyone is mostly smiling
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Trick or Treat!
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All Hallow's Eve

Happy Halloween!

Why is it every year brings us crappy weather on trick or treat day? Ugh. At least it's not supposed to rain, just be on the chilly side. Ariana is chomping at the bit to put her special make-up on and when I tell her she needs to wait, responds with "But I don't know how to wait." Phoenix had a rough night and is running a temp. I'm sure he's got the damn virus Ariana had the other weekend. (Does it ever end?) So, I'm crossing my fingers he's well enough this evening to treat a bit. The fever that Ariana had was pretty fast moving, so let's hope.

Wishing you all lots of treats and little tricks today!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Simply Wonderful

Saving Grace: A Night of Hope was held this weekend in Boston. This event benefits the Preeclampsia Foundation and is held annually. Jason and I were lucky enough to attend the first SG in 2005 held in Minneapolis. The event is growing by leaps and bounds which is just amazing to see. This year, the event brought in a net profit of over $175,000!!! Which is outstanding for it's 3rd year.

Bravo to all those who organized and worked hard with the event. Thank you for your dedication.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Phoenix's Birth Adventure

*Note--This post will quite possibly be the longest post in blog history. Bear with me, and just skip it if you don't care to read the fun part of having a baby.

Wed. May 17th
I present to the birthing center having had high blood pressure all afternoon and evening. (I had a BPP the day before with a 8/8 score and my blood work from that Mon had been within okay levels yet. I had asked for a weight check during the BPP (what a pain in the ass that was) and our Bun in the Oven was approximated to be 5lb 10oz. It was apparent to me that his growth was starting to slow and I saw on the radiology paperwork months after he was born that he was measuring almost 2 weeks behind, which is not a surprise with bp issues.)

So, I show up at the birthing center and the nurse I have is wonderful. She's understanding and empathetic to my fear and anxiety. Then came the nurse from hell. After laying on my side while being monitored for an hour, my blood pressure was normal. Um, of course, I just laid on my left side for 45 minutes. What the hell do you expect? She hadn't hooked me up to the bp machine for the duration, and she only took my bp once in the last 30 minutes of my resting. I got the "you're fine, go home and rest. Call your doc with any concerns, keep your appointment for tomorrow" schpeel. I was used to that as I had experienced it before. This night was different however. I was literally scared out of my mind that something bad was going to happen and soon. When I expressed my fear to nurse Bee-otch, stating that women and their babies died from preeclampsia....she replied with "But you don't have that condition." Um, do you know that PIH is on the preeclampsia spectrum? I knew at that point, all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there. I attempted to hold myself to gether as I received my discharge instructions and was able to change back into my clothing. She offered to have a support nurse contact me to help ease my worry. Fuck you lady is what I wanted to say. As we walked out the doors of the hospital, I angrily told Jason that I would not be stepping foot into that place again until I was literally having a baby. I couldn't make myself feel like that again. At this point, I was 36 week and 3 day pregnant. 3 days passed the goal that was given to me months ago. Now my OB wanted me to reach 37 weeks and quite honestly, I felt betrayed by him this week. I dearly love and respect that man, but this week I hated him. I had been falling apart at my appointments after he'd leave the room for weeks. I just wanted to have this baby before I got sick again.

Thurs. May 18th
I show up for my OB appointment and the lovely nurse T takes one look at me and I immediately begin to tear up. I was a mess emotionally. That's hard for some to understand, and it's one of those unless you've been there you cannot fathom the fear I was feeling. My OB walked in and said he thought it was baby time. I was scheduled to be induced that Monday. I would be 37 weeks on the nose. If I had any issues over the weekend, I was to call and we'd probably have baby that weekend.

Over the previous weeks, I had been having escalating blood pressures, increased proteinuria (but not enough to warrant an official PE diagnosis), and marked edema in my extremities. After having twice weekly OB appointments, labs every 3-4 days, and weekly BPP's & NST's, the time had come. My hospital bag had been packed for months.

Mon. May 22nd -- Birth Day!
We checked in at 5:00am and got started on paperwork. My blood pressure upon arrival was 149/97. The nurse placed the cytotec at 5:30am and I had to remain lying down for an hour. I had a fetal monitor put on as well. At 7:30am, I was able to get up and walk the halls. This was something of a miracle for me as I was on strict bedrest with Ariana, and I felt quite awkward. We took one turn about the hall and went back to the room. One hour of free-time quickly sped by. At 8:30am I was back on monitors. By 9am, I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes.

At 9:50am I was dilated to 2cm and the OB broke my water to hopefully have me progress more. However, I had bloody fluid coming out. I was out of it a bit, but noticed the concerned look on the OB's face. I heard him tell the nurse to "run abruption labs stat." Shit. I knew what a placental abruption was and it scared the crap out of me. I knew I had to remain calm as Jason had no clue what was truly going on. I kept thinking how freaking ironic that I missed severe preeclampsia only to be plagued by an abruption. I was pissed and scared. What if they couldn't stop the bleeding? What if they didn't get the baby out in time? Ah, fuck. I wouldn't trade my knowledge of preeclampsia and other complications of pregnancy for anything, but at that exact moment I was hating that knowledge. I was recounting the women on the forums who had lost their babies to placental abruption and all I knew was that I didn't want to know their pain.

I continued to have bloody fluid leaking out and I was prepped for an emergency cesarean section. Scrubs were brought in for Jason, although I knew that since I didn't have an epidural yet I would most likely end up completely under and Jason wouldn't be allowed in the OR. My makeup and nail polish was removed, and I was even shaved in preparation. We were almost ready to go when the labs came back with okay levels and the blood started to decrease.

During this time, my contractions were picking up however baby was still having decelerations. I was put on oxygen and my positions were varied to see if that would help. The OB placed an internal scalp monitor on the baby to better monitor his status. With the continuing fetal heart rate decelerations I was unable to have an epidural. After an hour of trying different positions, we finally found one that baby on my hands and knees. Great for him, awful for me. This position left my belly unsupported and the contractions were very strong. I was struggling to breathe through them. But over that hour, I had progressed from 2cm to 7cm. And with the baby doing better, the epidural was ordered. YAY!!!

Within 15 minutes, the anesthesiologist was attempting to insert the catheter. Due to the edema in my back, insertion was difficult and he finally was able to place it on the third attempt. By 11:30am I was hardly feeling any pain and was able to take a short half an hour nap. With all that had gone on that morning, I had a nurse with me at all times and would until delivery. My OB was just down the hall and was monitoring me via his computer in his office. During this time, my blood pressure was running 140-150s/90-100s.

I woke up just before 12:30 and was feeling pain on the left side of my body. Damn it, the epidural was wearing off on the one side! My OB came in to check me and I was still at 7cm so he ordered pitocin. The nurses got the pit started at 12:40 and by 1pm I was fully dilated and +1 station. It was baby time. My blood pressure now was 150-170s/90s.

I started pushing and 12 minutes later, Phoenix was born. I remember telling the OB while pushing that I didn't know how women did this for hours or with big babies. See, I didn't get to push with Ariana. She basically just slid out with the first push, so this was a totally new experience. The pressure to push is so intense and it feels so good to push. It's really remarkable.

Upon delivery, we discovered the cause of the decelerations. The nuchal chord was wrapped around his neck twice. Phoenix cried and the sound was so beautiful. He was placed on my chest and I got to snuggle a bit. I was in shock that he was finally here and we were both safe and healthy. The nurses cleaned him up, weighed, and measured him in my room. His apgars were 8 + 9. 5lbs 6oz 18 1/2 inches long. My blood pressure came down immediately after birth to 137/76. The OB said it was definitely time to deliver and that if we hadn't today, that my body was making it's way to having a baby soon. He thought the bleeding was from my cervix.

I couldn't believe that this little creature was ours, and here to stay. The nurses left the room and we were stunned. What do we do with him? Panic set in for a brief moment. Sure, we were parents before, but we never experienced the whole "keep your baby with you after birth" thing. It was amazingly wonderful. He looked so much like his sister. It was a long road, but he was finally here.

Looking back
While the memories of the labor pain fade somewhat (yeah right), I can still vividly remember the fear. I was cautiously optimistic, but also realistic with my history. The outcome was successful, I had a healthy baby. But I can tell you that the emotional damage is there. The decision to not have another child was difficult and painful. But the pain of possible losing a child or my children losing their mom is so overwhelming, we simply cannot chance it again. And it's a heartbreaking choice.

I love my children dearly, and would do anything for them. We've experienced things that other parents haven't and I believe that has made us appreciate our kids in a way we couldn't have otherwise. While I hate that I had preeclampsia, I try to remember that it has made me into who I am today. I have passion for a cause that I hadn't had before. I have these two beautiful children, and a wonderfully supportive partner. I am more knowledgeable about my body and concerned with the possible long-term affects of preeclampsia. I have met some wonderful people who can share and understand my complex feelings on pregnancy, preeclampsia, and babies.


I finished Phoenix's birth story the other night. Now I just have to type it up. I cried upon completion. To go back to that fearful & joyful time, but I'm glad I'm finally finished writing it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sleeping In

If you have children, particularly young children, you'll understand the pure joy of sleeping in in the morning. Our lovely kiddo's spent the night at my parents house last evening and Jason & I were able to sleep in until 8am! Bowza! We pawned off our children so we can clean uninterrupted. Carpets are all shampooed, the basement is actually looking nice. It's so nice!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Guilty *language warning*

A man was found guilty this afternoon of first-degree intentional homicide. Last spring he beat her and shoved a candy dish down his wife's throat, killing her. He says she came after him with a paring knife, and he shoved the dish down to shut her up. Funny how in the days before she died, he was asking about life insurance money. The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes.

Another fucker off the streets. Hoo-ray!


We took the kids out to the woods last weekend. They had a blast picking leaves and scrambling around.

Makes Me Sad

I'm a bit sad at an email forward that I got this afternoon. It's entitled "Welfare Poem." I admit that I usually delete some of the emails like this without even opening them. Well, this one I had to open. And I wish I didn't. I received this from two people I know and used to work with. The poem speaks of the free money you get when you're poor and how you can buy big houses and trucks. It's coming from an immigrants point of view, but it still bothered me. As someone who benefited from "welfare" I take offense to it. My mom worked her ass off to provide a good home, but we just couldn't do it by ourselves. The poem also talks of how welfare families rent houses to trash, and that they breed to get more money.

It just makes me sad that people trash others who are coming to this country to seek a better life. Are there scammers out there who maximize the system, sure. But not everyone is like that. I guess what bothered me the most was that in the lost list of email addresses, one of the first ones was from a woman who worked in an OB setting at a major clinic in town. It makes me wonder how she, or others, treat patients who come in and have medical assistance. I hope it's the same as someone with a PPO or HMO, but unfortunately I know it's not. I recall trying to share some experiences and information to fellow coworkers when they would badmouth patients on MA.

Why can't we just respect one another?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I started it. Back in May, I had shared that I hadn't written Phoenix's birth story yet. Well, I started it this evening. It's so hard to go back to the fear and anxiety of that time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mt Everest

When I say this kid will scale Mount Everest, I'm not kidding.

Domestic Violence

Currently, there are about 500 open cases through our county's District Attorney office. In 2006, the local agency, that assists and supports victims of violence, served a total of 3307 clients. The Domestic Abuse Program specifically helped 2368 women, 147 children, and 209 men. The staff took 13,000 crisis calls and had 222 residents in shelter. Over the last year there were three domestic violence related homicides in this county.

Nationally, every 3 minutes a woman is murdered by an intimate partner. Battering is the leading cause of injury to women 15-44. Women are statistically safer on the street than their own homes. 3-4 million women are abused every year in the US.


What does this say about our society? Why do we continue to wonder why women just don't leave? Why do people turn their backs to this violence? Why isn't the outcry loud and unforgiving? Why do some men continue to believe they can treat their partners and children with so horribly? It must stop. There is no excuse for abuse.

Why do women stay in an abusive situation?
Number one, Fear. The retalitaion from the abuse can be horrible. Rather than put their life or their children's lives at risk, they stay. Another reason is Isolation. Most abusers isolate their partner from friends & family so they have no one to turn to for help. Thus, the woman stays. Quite often, the abuser is the primary money maker, leaving the victim without a means of financial dependence. When you have no money to escape, the only option is to stay. Many times, a victim of abuse knows that showing signs that they may leave will trigger an attack by the abuser.
If the victim was raised in an abusive environment, they are more likely to stay than someone who wasn't. They learn that violence is a means of resolution in general.

What can I do?
Be supportive. Listen and don't judge. Help your loved one get help from agencies/services that can offer assistance. Remember that the the survivor did not cause this to happen, place the blame and anger where it belongs...on the abuser. Remember that your loved one is a "person" who has been abused; they are not damaged, but given the opportunity can thrive and be independent. Please do not tell the survivor what & what not to do. Decisions to report, etc are solely theirs. Do not tell anyone else about the abuse unless they tell you it's okay. Don't ask for specific details, they may not be ready to share.

The abuser
Don't not believe that the abuser simply lost control and did not realize what they were doing. Why are the bruises and other signs of abuse in less noticeable places, such as the stomach or the lower back? If losing control were the issue, there would be more DV related homicides if he was unaware of his actions.

Male victims
Yes, there are women out there who abuse their male partners. It does happen. Think of how difficult it is for a woman to leave the abusive relationship. And now think of a man in an abusive relationship. Many laugh at the idea of a man being abused by a woman, so what is he supposed to do? Fear of ridicule from others is powerful. Just because the overwhelming majority of abuse victims are female, does not mean that some males do not suffer as well.

If you are a victim of abuse, know that you are not alone. There are people there to help you.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Neon Tree

I just love this tree in the backyard. With the storms rolling through last evening, this tree was positively electric.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I see that I've made 200 posts in 2007. Didn't realize I had that much to talk about. ;)

Disney Moms Panel

So, Disney held this open "contest" where 10,000 moms applied to be a panelist for their new online community. I, of course, applied. Well, I see on Passporter that some members who also applied have received emails this evening letting them know that they were not chosen. One member was chosen! I haven't gotten anything yet? Is my AOL email acting funky? What the hell?


My brother-in-law is on his way to Iraq. He sent an email this morning that he was in Germany awaiting his plane. Please keep him and his wife in your thoughts over the next 6 months of his deployment.

We miss ya Nate!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oct 15th

Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Celebration of Women

Last evening, an event called Celebration of Women was held to raise awareness and money for a local organization that offers support to vicitims of domestic and sexual violence. The 2nd annual Celebration of Women is a treat as you are entertained by belly dancers from our region. Tribes from Minneapolis and Milwaukee made the trip, as well as more local tribes. For me, the highlight was seeing Trillium, a Milwaukee troupe, who were simply fantastic.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It must end

Domestic violence is a relationship between intimate partners in which one individual seeks to assert power and control over the other. Recently, more same-sex partners and male victims of violence perpetrated by women are reporting their victimization. The abuser may use many different types of abuse to assert this power. Domestic abuse involves physical, psychological, economic, and sexual abuse, as well as attempts to manipulate the victim through the use of his or her children. The abuser may also seek to isolate the victim from other people who may provide assistance.

In Wisconsin, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. You, or someone you know, is either a victim of abuse, has been, or will be. That is staggering. Where is the public outcry?

Some national statistics:
*5.3 million women are abused each year.
*85-95% of all domestic violence victims are female.
*Over 500,00 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year.
*1,232 women are killed each year by an intimate partner.
*Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.
*Women are more likely to be attacked by someone they know rather than by a stranger.

State statistics:
*In 2005, there were 26,323 reported cases of domestic violence.
*In 2005, 34 incidents of homicides were a result of domestic violence in WI.

Information taken from: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence American Institue on Domestic Violence

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Much better today

Today is much better, thank you. But, I'm hankering for vacation, so here is my favorite Walt Disney World icon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Warmth on my face

I just want to feel the sun shine down on my face. I can close my eyes and feel the warmth of the golden rays.

Me today

Do you ever have a day where you just feel lost and like a failure?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Leaf Pile

How Much?

Ariana is really into weather and in one of her books they discuss rain gauges. So, here is our new rain gauge!

It's Haunting Time


These are some pics of the neighbors tree. I just love the colors.

Made Daddy Proud

Ariana has taken to writing new words daily, so when she asked how to spell Packers...she made her daddy so proud.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for more information.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Women of Worth

L'Oréal Paris runs an annual National Women of Worth nomination. One of my heros has been nominated. Anne Garrett Addison has been selected as a 2007 Women of Worth nominee. Please vote for her here.

Anne's story can be found on the link above. Without her efforts, thousands of women would not have the resources for support and information that the Preeclampsia Foundation provides. I thank her for her tireless efforts, courage, and strength.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy October

Where on earth did Sept go? Time travels faster as you age.