So the D&C went... well. In that it's over. It was not the 10-minute special that all reports led me to expect. I nearly didn't have R. come in with me, in fact, he just sort of blew in with me without me noticing (they had me take a valium 30 minutes before we got started), but I was immeasurably glad he was there.

Turns out none of the previous interventions had done anything to get things started, and when my OB got in there, the sac was resolutely stuck to my uterus, with no visible plans to vacate. It took about 35 minutes, I was totally conscious, it was uncomfortable and sometimes painful, and unlike labor, there was nothing particularly productive about the pain at all.

But the body has no ability to recall physical pain, while getting over full anesthesia would be a day+ endeavor, so in spite of everything, I'd do it this way again.

The harder part is to figure out how I'm handling the actual loss. There's so much stuff tied up in this, it's hard to know if I've let myself mourn. This was a little person, a wanted little person who for whatever reason couldn't make it out to us. And for that I'm sad.


One year by the numbers

MZ is officially one year old. And she's clearly been to the doctor too often in the last month, with noggin bumps and flu shots, because she started sobbbing the moment we walked into the exam room. However, even through her sobs she managed to show off a little, when her ped started clapping with her, she ran through her bag of tricks, throwing her hands in the air, announcing Cat and clapping again.

So, our MZ is now 19 pounds, a 2-lb. gain since her last appointment. She's finally caught up to Yudi -- they're tied at third among the beings in Casa Robmaliam -- and weighing in at 20% among her peers. She's 29" tall, though, and those 2" give her a first-ever jump to the 50th percentile, with a head measurement at a respectable 75th percentile. The whomping head size measurement at her last appointment has been a background worry for three months, I'm finally reassured on that count.

She's also picking up words like a demon, much to our surprise and delight. She imitates with abandon, but has mastered the meanings of Up, Down and what sounds like Done. She regularly says Okay, but we still think she's repeating after us rather than saying it in context. And to my relief, she still hasn't learned No.
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The Little Miscarriage that Couldn't, or, The Waiting is the Hardest Part

No, my miscarriage didn't just come and go as if it were nothing, quick cry and on to the next thing. Truth is, there's a technicality that has our life on pause: it hasn't actually happened yet.

It offically started one month ago today, and since then, very little has changed. See spot run. Or not. I've tried acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and TWO doses of Cytotec, which has resulted in 40 hours of intense cramps, little bruised pinpricks across my midriff, nasty powdered herb burps for days, a return to the dreaded pump to dump my poisoned breastmilk, and nada lot else.

So, the waiting: Over. My hoohoo doc, who has been enormously supportive and creative, called a time out to discuss The Risk of Infection, and I have a D&C scheduled for tomorrow. And in my first real Mother Martyr act, I am willingly having this procedure with local anesthesia only. You see, MZ's not weaned quite yet (she just turned one for heaven's sake, and I've been a little busy, you know, waiting). So in spite of the horror stories friends have told me about THAT SOUND of the VACUUM, and in spite of the relative ease of my previous D&C when the anesthesiologist said, "Visualize your favorite cocktail on your favorite beach" and I was raising my glass and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room, I am opting for the Cat in the Hat method.

I have doubts and fears about this, but the last two 24-hour experiments with instant weaning have not been great, and really, at this point, this whole thing is starting to feel like a cosmic joke. No, we can't just have a miscarriage and a cry and move on. It's gotta be a 30-day special. It's got to linger both physically and emotionally, and the emotional part has to seem like it might be a huge ocean of denial, perhaps since I can't get it started yet, not being physically DONE yet, not knowing what's in store for me once I'm not actually carrying this little person around with me.

So there's my pity party. My life is great, even blessed: amazing partner, amazing baby, filled with wonderful family and friends in a city I would choose any day. But this one little thing, it really, really sucks. And it feels good to get it out.


Twelve Months: That's One in Weasel Years

Dear Miriam,

One year old! We are amazed; we don't know how we all got here, but we know this has been the shortest year of our lives.

A few days before your birthday, your Dad began singing the Happy Birthday song to you, and by the second or third occurrence, it made you smile and clap your hands. When we sang it to you yesterday, you wore an ear-to-ear grin, and the same today (it's your birthday weekend, after all). You'll hear it once more tomorrow at your City College play class, and then I guess you'll wonder where it's gone.

Your party was a wonderful gathering of family and a few close friends -- yours and ours. Your grandmas knocked themselves out with brioche and aram sandwiches, your auntie and tante rounded out the table with salads, and your Aunt S. made the most gorgeous chocolate cake. Turns out you take after your Dad: you went after the frosting with gusto and picked at the cake itself. It was your first dose of real sugar, and when we pulled it away wondering if you'd ever sleep again, you combed your tray for the remaining crumbs and frosting smears.

This month has dragged, for a number of reasons, but the time with you has been stellar. You are regularly imitating words now, you have little or no recall and your struggle to consistently form words makes it plain that you don't yet have the motor skills to talk, but you give it a good shot, repeating Hi, okay, up, down, car and even birthday. Cat is still the one word you initiate and you have complete command of: you recognize cats, pictures of cats, drawings of cats and even rather abstract cartoons. You can spot a cat drawing from across the room, and announce Yudi's appearance on the landing at every meal.

You also call dogs cats, which Robert encourages while I repeat Dog, dog, dog over and over (unless, it's a small dog, in which case I feel you're entitled to your opinion).

Speaking of dogs, I've been working on signing with you. We finally purchased a DVD, because I am hopeless at remembering the signs from the book, and can't seem to use them consistently in context. The DVD starts with cat, and it's clear you don't see the point. But you perk up for dog. The sign involves patting your hip, like you're calling a dog, and the first time you watched it on the DVD, then watched me do it, you leaned over and patted my hip, very satisfied.

The DVD has demonstrated that you are a kid on the go. We rarely put you in front of the TV, and it turns out you have about 10 minutes of patience for it before you'd rather wander the room or manipulate the remote. I am simultaneously proud of you and afraid.

You have lots of patience for other things, though. You play on your own quite well, letting us know when you want some interaction by crawling up to us with an object to share or hurling yourself against your baby gate, Attica-style. You love your play tables, your tambourine, and almost anything that makes noise. Your eyes lit up excitedly when we opened a gift that contained two egg-shaped maraca-like toys.

Turns out you recognized them from your music class, which you started this week. You continue to love music, you bounce to the beat, and sometimes rock and clap. The moment the music comes on in the morning, you're dancing, and if you hear music when we're out and about you respond.

Food, on the other hand, has become less exciting. This month brought your first chaat, dim sum, papaya salad and dill pickle, all of which you enjoyed, but as your fondness for self-feeding grows, so shrinks the variety in your diet. You are all about tangerines, peas and the recently discovered cheese toast. At the end of a meal, you will often try what we're eating, but not until you've exhausted your patience for picking at the foods on your tray. I resist the impulse to prepare seventeen different things for you, in the hope you'll like and enjoy variety. I try to keep in mind your ped's advice: it's not about the meal, or the day, concentrate on the week. And over the week you seem to balance out your food groups, even though there's less variety than I'd like.

You're also experimenting with cruising. No, not boys, silly, walking. You are extremely careful and deliberate, you take no chances. You are most successful on round structures like a friend's coffee table and a go-round at the park, and for one insane moment I thought about getting you a round coffee table. You'll walk when you're ready, until then you're a terror on the stairs, both up and down, and when we remind you to turn around on the descent, you do so! My heart brimmed with pride and recognition when you turned yourself around on the edge of our bed -- right concept, but not quite the right setting.

Being able to climb stairs has opened up the park for you. Yesterday we visited with a true posse: Aunt Ellie was in town for your birthday, and we traipsed in with Gma S and Auntie D in tow. You giggled wildly on the swing, then your Dad put you on the stairs on the climbing structure. You were slow and careful the first time, but then you raced up and around and down the slide enthusiastically. You reached for the slide again and again, so that we had to be mindful of the other kids' turns. We are learning park etiquette.

Miriam, I could go on and on, you surprise us every day and we go to sleep thinking about your latest conquest, discovery or expression. You make us laugh and kvell, and when we thought about what could have happened when you took a fall at the library, even cry. You continue to change our life, wonderfully.

All my love,


A little boredom might be nice

This is not the post I set out to write on Thursday morning. I was formulating another miscarriage rant as I prepared to jump in a long, hot shower. MZ was on her way to story time. And then the phone rang. There'd been a fall. Something about stairs, and heads, and I could hear her screaming in the background. I considered leaving the house in just a towel, and found myself pulling my shirt on as I raced down the stairs, to the dismay of the construction crew two doors down.

I was not calm. I was not grace under pressure. My heart was racing and I snarled into the phone as I tried to determine what to tell her pediatrician while I drove to the library, buttoning my shirt.

I got there and her cries guided me downstairs. She calmed a little when she saw me, but as I learned more about the fall, I did not calm. Down a stair onto a linoleum floor, on the back of her head. Still crying after 20 minutes. A big goose egg on her head, but already signs that she'd prefer to go right to sleep. An unwillingness to make eye contact, no visible awareness of what was going on around her. Constricted pupils.

It took three calls to her pediatrician for us to agree that we needed to go the the ER. I would have been happy just to take her to her doctor, but she didn't want us to have to drive back across town if a CT scan was required. A CT scan. I hadn't gone that far.

She cried all the way to the hospital. The emergency desk had our information when we arrived, and we were admitted to triage fairly quickly. In the meantime, MZ stopped crying and began to pay attention to what was going on around her. When she cried when they attached a pulse monitor to her foot, I began to breathe again. She was well enough to be pissed, that's always a good sign.

From triage, it took 2.5 hours to see a doctor, and in that time she flirted with people in the waiting room, got fussy, and fell asleep in my arms. The doctor explained brain bleeding and CT scans and why he thought she was doing well. And then he looked at her eyes, which were still constricted while she slept, and said, "You're going up for a scan."

Here I'd told R, stuck over 45 minutes away at his office, that everything looked good, and now we were talking about subdural hematomas and how to evaluate for signs of coma in a sleeping child. And a CT scan! Should I have told him to come here as soon as we were on our way? Did I over-manage this emergency?

The pediatric nurse walked us upstairs and got us settled. MZ was fast asleep in my arms, but woke just as I laid her down on the CT scan bed -- right on her bump, of course. She began to cry and I began to talk to her, calmly, playfully, as everyone else left the room. I zorbitted her and she laughed, so I did it again, and then made all her favorite animal noises, while waving the nurse's stethascope at her, hoping she wouldn't sense my fear and begin to fight her way out.

She didn't, and the tech told us we did really well, he had everything he needed. The nurse walked us back down, explaining that she liked to walk babies up because the techs "aren't patient, and if the babies fuss, they want to sedate them." Sedate a baby I'm supposed to be observing for signs of coma?!

Long and the short: The scans came back fine, and after 48 hours of monitoring, including checking her every two hours at night to make sure she responded to stimuli (we had an escalating list from rubbing her back to picking her up), we think she's okay. She still has a painful bump on her head, which we remember every time we need to change her, but she's seems to be her old self.

Thirty-six hours past and done with the monitoring for *brain bleeding*, I'm acutely aware of how much worse it could have been, and supremely grateful that she is back to being our happy, healthy MZ. And I realize I learned a ton about how to deal with a bonk on the head, because this won't be her last. And something you might want to know, too: how to observe a baby when the pediatric nurse says "Don't let them sleep too hard" (like there's any other way):

Here's an escalating list of stimuli to try on a sleeping baby or child. If you get a response from any of these, you can stop, but keep going till you get a response:

1) Pat back or chest
2) Touch cheek or forehead
3) Touch eyelid or place finger at entrance to ear
4) Pick up the baby or child
5) Attempt to wake
6) Call your doctor immediately

After hearing those instructions just after her fall, wondering wildly how I'd be able to tell, I was grateful to a very calm, very cool ER doc for passing this on.


On the up side

Life is not total shite. MZ remains hilarious and a phenomenal distraction. She started cruising yesterday! Gingerly, she moved around a round coffee table, while I actually considered going out and getting one for her. Today she realized the office chairs rotate, and spun them around while she remained in place. Can moving with them be far behind?

She is currently interested only in finger foods. Fortunately this includes dal-dipped parotha and homemade turkey meatballs, so she's still getting some flavor in her diet. One cannot live by frozen peas alone, although she appears to be willing to give it a go. She loves tangerines! LOVES them, recognizes them whole and unpeeled and screeches for them with hands outstretched, so that we have to hide them from her in fear that she'll develop a citrus intolerance like her Grandma S. And wants whatever we eat, so that it's no longer safe to open a box of candy around her.

Her Grandpa asked the other day when she could have a piece of candy. Never? Well, then, when she can actually ask for it? I have not yet resolved this one to my satisfaction.

She is also OBSESSED with the dishwasher, which is funny for a kid who is currently rejecting food that involves dishes. It started with standing at it when the door was open, but now she wants to climb in whenever she can. We understand that this is something to discourage but that doesn't mean we could resist taking a photo.

In general, she wants to know how things work. She spent 10 minutes at the new foot pedal-operated trash can in our bathroom, going from lid to pedal to see if she could get it open. And opening and closing doors is a fabulous passtime, till she closes one all the way and looks at me to open it up again.

Overall, she keeps life very, very interesting.Posted by Picasa

I quit work because... ?

First I accidentally dumped water on Moki's head as I was trying to clean/fill the bowl, while he was eating his kibble, as I watched to make sure MZ didn't eat the kibble, since she was sitting right next to me because she wouldn't let me walk away from her. MZ got wet, too.

Fine, it's just water, so I cleaned it up, wiped him off and tried to let him know the water was an accident. Then I put MZ in the gated area while I prepared breakfast, which involved spilling milk all over the kitchen floor while I tried to get my coffee together while managing the microwaving of her food. Cleaned that up, got her started on finger foods while I got my breakfast on, when Moki jumped up on the kitchen island to let me know he wanted his wet food, dumping a bag of limes and falling off the island in suprise.

Got the limes picked up (tripping hazard), the rest of MZ's food to her and the cats fed. Sat down with MZ to finish breakfast, gulp coffee.

Cut up persimmon for MZ, which she liked so much she smeared in her hair. Gave her some raspberries, which she forgot she likes. Caught myself caring a little too much about whether she likes them, so stepped away to get a wash cloth for her persimmon-covered face/hands/hair.

Returned to find the raspberries gone, thought: she remembered! Then followed her gaze to the floor where all the raspberries lay in blobs on the carpet. Picked them up and hurled them at the sliding glass door.

Picked up MZ, carried her to the sofa in the living room to hold her while I had a good cry. Fortunately she thought that was funny. The body shakes, you know.

Pulled myself together in time to hear Yudi vomitting throughout the downstairs.

Put MZ behind the gates, went upstairs, pulled Yudi out from under the bed, marched downstairs and pushed him out the back door. Closed the door, checked the gates, cleaned up the vomit. Threw away the rags, that's one load of laundry I'm not doing.

Picked up my coffee before I realized I hadn't washed my hands. Did so, then cleaned up raspberries (they stain). Washed hands again, then coffee, MZ and I came upstairs to type this.

MZ napped this morning, but I still haven't cleaned the kitchen... and a shower is nowhere in sight.
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This is not a love song

This post has nothing to do with the 80s song lyrics referenced above, but I am quite conscious that this blog is roses and rainbows and the warm summer rains of Mommy Blogs. I am unabashadly happy to have MZ, and acutely aware that lack of sleep, or obsession with finger foods or emergence of a strong will are but speedbumps in the positiveness that is parenthood. After a miscarriage and a stillbirth, I daily acknowledge that we are blessed to have MZ, and that's a word that didn't exist in my vocabulary until we met. So, rage and frustration and a sense of "oh, no, not again," are rare entrants in these pages.

But I am so damned pissed. I just canceled my subscription to the Babycenter Your Pregnancy This Week newsletter. Again. We've been down this path before, so you think it would get easier, and in a way it is. I've gone straight to fury and that must be worth something.

Another almost-completed first trimester. My fourth! I'm getting so good at managing my morning sickness that it was a few days before I realized that the prophylaxis morning crackers didn't seem necessary. That was the day I started spotting, and two days before my breastmilk came flooding back. In my heart of hearts, I knew the show was over, but damned if I'm not having THE LONGEST FLIPPIN' MISCARRIAGE on record. A week of spotting, a week of "maybe this is just a new thing for me, other people spot." A week of bargaining for happy and healthy. A week of resolutely ignoring what I know about me and morning sickness: if it stops before Week 13, no good can come of this. Lucky 13, indeed.

And I am angry to be here again. After losing our twins, I became comfortable with the notion that you can't choose your tragedy, that it visits everyone and this is ours and that which doesn't kill you, yadda yadda yadda. I even began to cherish the learnings that grew out of our pain. There's no "silver lining" to losing twin boys to premature birth, to holding them and loving them and then letting them go. But there are transformational changes that occur, and one might as well embrace them.

I am even resigned to the fact that for us, reproduction involves drama.

But christ on a cracker, I am sick of bleeding. Of bleeding and then waiting. Of bleeding and then waiting and then trying and then waiting and then all of a sudden you're in the hell of the 28-day cycle. 14 days to get psyched up, 14 days to manage disappointment and get psyched up again. The mobius loop of fertility isn't just our story, but it IS a story and for me, in my world, I WANT TO KNOW HOW THE STORY ENDS.

And that makes me mad. Beyond the grief and mourning and conviction that miscarriage is often an unavoidable step towards happy and healthy when you're nearing 40, having to bleed and wait and try to find out how it ends again makes me really flippin' mad.