Monday, September 30, 2013

Sock Monkey Drawings

Brad wanted to make Baby Monkey something special for his room, too. Brad is a very talented artist and I'm hoping Monkey gets his skills! I may be able to make a fleece blanket but drawing anything is a struggle! Anyway Brad made his sock monkey pictures to go with the pictures that were drawn by Brad's grandmother. Here they are: 

A sock monkey relaxing at Cannon Beach! 

A skier, of course! 
Aren't they fabulous? 

"You need to run some laps"

I've been busy subbing the last few weeks and have really enjoyed it. Last week I subbed at Sunnycrest for the first time, in my friend Brittany's room. It was really fun to visit with friends and see former students and siblings. My favorite part of the day was when I walked Britt's kids to PE. One of her students is well known through out the school for telling it like it is. She looked at me and said "I think you should stay and run laps with us. You've gotten fat since last year!" Hahaha! I nearly fell over with laughter. The sweet girl had no idea I am pregnant! Just over one month to go! 

Baby shower at the Sky Bar

My friends Amanda, Rose, Cheryl and Jessica surprised me with a baby shower on Friday night of girl's weekend. For the last several years we've gotten together each August in Skykomish for an overnight get away. It's been one of my favorite parts of every summer because we laugh so hard and have such an amazing time. Part of our tradition is to go to the Whistling Post tavern aka the sky bar to share a pitcher of beer and listen to the juke box.

My friends knew I didn't want a big baby shower since I don't enjoy being the center of attention. They threw me a shower at the Sky bar and it was wonderful. Amanda had a cake from the erotic bakery for us to enjoy. At first we were told no cake after dark because a few years ago there had been a huge cake fight and the carpet had been ruined. Luckily we looked like "respectable" young women so the owner let us have the cake and the girls put up decorations. 

The girls spoiled me with lots of gifts for baby Monkey. It was a wonderful and very meaningful way to celebrate Monkey's arrival with my oldest friends. I loved that they incorporated such a great tradition filled with favorite memories into my future.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I found out at the beginning of March, 2013, that I was pregnant. A second grade student of mine looked at me one day and said "Mrs. Hamilton, when is your baby girl due?" I said to him "I don't have a baby." He said "yes, there's a baby in your tummy." Of course I thought it was just a little boy wishing his teacher would have a baby, but it turned out there was a baby in my tummy! However, we would find out months later, it wasn't a little girl.

Being pregnant was a big challenge this time. I had previously miscarried in September and was terrified that I would have to break my husband's heart and tell him I'd lost another baby. I knew that the miscarriage wasn't my fault, but knowing that in your head is very different than how you feel in your heart.  Even telling him the second time around was hard as I felt both excitement and fear. I thought about waiting until the end of my first trimester, but realized that was not only unfair but it wouldn't be possible for me to keep something from Brad.

On March 8th we went in for our 8 week ultrasound. We heard our baby's heart beat and saw a little blip on the screen flashing in time with the beats. I was reassured that he was alive and developing. However, the following week everything changed.

I had my first obgyn appointment with other new moms to learn the dos and don'ts of being pregnant. I woke up March 14th to get ready for the class and knew it wasn't going to be a good day. By the time I had driven the 15 minutes to the hospital, I had already thrown up six times. Yes, in a plastic bag, in the car. I felt dizzy, nauseated, and disgusting. I sat through the class hoping the feeling would go away, but it didn't, for months, that's right for months I felt this way. And it only got worse.

After the class I met with the doctor and explained what was happening. I was immediately given promethizine to help with the nausea and vomiting. I went to work and taught all afternoon, while throwing up in the garbage can. Days passed and I threw up each morning, felt sick all day and often threw up several times while attempting to teach my sweet second graders. I would go home from work and throw up more. My mom volunteered in my class and helped support me.

My 32nd birthday came and I was too sick to leave the couch. I was supposed to have dinner at my favorite restaurant, Scuttlebutt. Instead I spent the evening on the couch throwing up with Brad, while my friends enjoyed fish and chips without us.  Parent teacher conferences were that week and I knew I just had to make of through conferences and then it would be spring break. I could rest and I'd feel better. I knew in my heart I could do it.

At this point, I'd lost a few pounds, was in frequent contact with my doctor and given Zofran and Raglan to help with the nausea and vomiting. I'd also been to the urgent care clinic twice to get injected to stop the vomiting. I was diagnosed with hyperemesis, but it was just a "mild" case at this point, as I only threw up 6 or seven times per day and my weight loss wasn't serious yet.  It wasn't pleasant, but at this point it wasn't too bad and I was able to work a few days a week, having my mom or a dear friend that would sub for me and keep things on track.

I managed to attend every parent conference, but would throw up in between each one. Several friends and all of my family figured out what was going on. As stupid as it sounds I was disappointed that instead of announcing our baby with excitement and joy, I was carrying around an old yellow puke tub.

Finally spring break had arrived and I had plans to travel to my Nana Hope's home in Arizona to relax with my parents for the week. Brad hoped, as did I, that a week relaxing by the pool was exactly what I needed to make it through the remaining weeks of the first trimester when I hoped this would all be over. 

I managed to make it through the first two days in Arizona with minimal barfing and even enjoyed the pool. The third day however, marked my descent into a puke fest that lasted for another two months. After spending the remained of my days in Arizona either laying in front of the toilet or on top of the air conditioner I went home to Brad, knowing I wouldn't be able to return to work the coming week. Brad's birthday came and and went and I managed to sit up long enough to go to my parent's house for a small party. 

During this week the vomiting increased to about 10 times a day and I was only keeping down liquids. I was no longer able to to bathe without throwing up on myself and would crawl between the couch and the toilet, sliding my fatithful companion the yellow puke bucket in front of me. After a visit to the ER for dehydration and another visit to urgent care for infections I began to feel a little bit better... For about 12 hours. 

I had now lost about 10-15 pounds and missed 10 days of school. I hadn't eaten a meal since the beginning of March and it was now the middle of April. It was no longer a mild case of hyperemesis. My arch enemy had arrived in full force and was here to stay.  I sat on the couch day after day trying to eat or drink something and crying that I was hurting the life trying to grow inside me. I would take small sips of water or eat a Popsicle only to have it come up less than a minute later.

 This is the true evil of hyperemesis. Even though I has been reassured by several doctors and online forums that the baby was fine, how could he be fine when I wasn't able to eat? What the head knows and the heart decides are often two very different things, so I would cry, throw up, cry, throw up and cry. I ordered groceries online so Brad could eat. I sat in the house unable to watch tv or read knowing the noise or movement would cause me to vomit more. I wanted to die. I was now throwing up 20 times a day. I wanted to die, did I mention that? I prayed to God for it to just end. My throat was raw and bloody, I had no energy, I could hardly sit up and just wanted it to be over. The fact that I was pregnant was so far from my mind that all I could think about was just making it stop. I was given suppositories to help, and every single kind of anti nausea pill one can think of. Nothing stopped the vomiting, nothing. 

It had now been over a month since I had been to work. The worst part was the children missed me. They would write me cards and letters and I would cry and throw up. Next I was told to drink flat coke,  a myth my doctor claimed would cure me, since the elusive first trimester had finally passed and things were only worse. I tried, I drank flat coke as if our lives depended on it. Then I barfed up flat coke, for days. 

Brad would come home from work and offer me food. I would throw up. He would eat his cold dinner upstairs and I would throw up. He would try to hold me on the couch and talk about the baby and I would throw up and then I would cry. He wanted to do things on the weekends. I would throw up. It was a terrible time in our lives, when it was supposed to be filled with such joy, so I would cry and throw up more. 

Amanda called one day to tell me there was a man in my neighborhood with a gun and police were hunting him. For an hour I laid on the couch and contemplated crawling to the door to unlock it, leave it open and let the man come in to kill me. However the guilt of killing an unborn innocent child, and the fact that I couldn't physically make it up the stairs prevented me from opening the door. Instead I sat on the couch and puked. 

I had now missed nearly two months of work, part of March, all of April and the beginning of May. No one knew exactly how sick I was as I managed to keep everyone out of our house, except Brad. He went to work everyday and I even managed to hide from him how frequently I was truly sick during the day.

 Friends and acquaintances would email, call or tell Brad to say "have you tried saltines?" Seriosuly people! I wanted to scream! Do you think I'm that dumb that I haven't tried saltines or ginger, or 7 up or whatever other remedy you can possibly think of? I told Brad I'm going to punch the next person who saltines me or tells me every woman has morning sickness.  I did not have morning sickness, I had HG. I would have loved to have morning sickness. People would also call and email to tell me I had the "Princess Kate disease" and she "got over it." All I could think was that poor woman, going through this in front of the whole world and everyone thinks she's being a whiner.

Finally I had another ultrasound in May to check how baby was growing. Brad loaded me into the car with my trusty yellow puke bucket and we drove puking and burping to the hospital. I laid still for the ultrasound praying everything was ok, and that I would not barf all over the ultrasound tech.

 After the ultrasound we met with the nurse who happened to be a former parent of mine. She could tell immediately that I wasn't right, and noted the weight loss. I forgot to mention that I also have a history of DVT and factor 5 Leiden so I was seeing the maternal fetal medicine doctor that day for the ultrasound follow up, instead of the regular ob gyn. My nurse, Margaret, looked at me and told me I wouldn't be able to leave the hospital. I was admitted for severe dehydration and malnutrition caused by hyperemesis. I stayed 4 days in the hospital and slowly started to feel better after a course of steroids. I was told my second day in the hospital that had I not stayed the day before I would have lost the baby and possibly my own life as I was too dehydrated. Had it not been for Margaret I'm not sure I would have been admitted to the hospital. I had no idea how sick I truly was at this point. God had sent me a guardian angel. 

Sandi brought the girls to visit.  Andria sat on my lap and told me all she wanted for her third birthday was for me to be at her party. Amanda and Ava came to visit and Ava wanted to take out the IV so my arm would feel better. My parents came by each day and even Todd came to see me. Brad stayed each night and would get up early to head to work. I finally had some hope that maybe this was coming to an end. I was told that most women get over hyperemesis by week 20 and I could see week 20 on the calendar. I could make it.  

On my last night in the hospital Brad and I were talking. He looked at my left leg and said your calf is swollen. The nurse came in to check followed quickly by a doctor and it was determined that I potentially had a clot (again) in my left calf. Of course It was about 11 pm when this was noticed and the Doppler tech had gone home for the day. At midnight I was transported by aid car to the other hospital to be checked for clots. Thankfully I was clot free and returned to my hospital bed at 2 am. I was so proud of myself for not throwing up while riding backwrds to the hospital across town. 

We left the hospital the following afternoon and I went home and ate a bowl of cereal. Yes, a whole bowl of cereal. I didn't cry all day. I was able to watch tv and sit up. I showered. I walked outside in our backyard for 5 minutes. I didn't pray to God to kill me that day, it was glorious, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

I still didn't return to work as I was still very weak and nauseous all the time. The puking had decreased to 5 times a day. As the first week out of the hospital went by, I wasn't too miserable. I had some good days and some bad days. I finally returned to work for one day right before Memorial Day. The kids were over joyed to see me even though I spent the majority of the day puking in my yellow bucket. 

Brad traveled to a family reunion without me over Memorial Day. I stayed at my parents. I was able to sit outside. I ate some gingerbread that weekend and only puked about 4 times a day. The following week I went to work two days and spent the other three days throwing up 10 times a day from the exhaustion of working. 

Coworkers asked me if I was excited to be pregnant. I could barely smile in response. How would you feel, I wanted to say, if you had spent the last couple of months watching as the child growing inside of you stole all of your nutrients from your body, causing you to vomit incessantly for days on end, nearly ending both of your lives?  However this isn't what a good mom to be says, so I would just attempt to smile and shake my head yes, thinking you just don't get it! I was so tired of people telling me about their morning sickness and how crappy they felt. I would have killed to have morning sickness. It would have been a blessing compared to the hell I went through. 

At this point I'd like to remind many of you who are reading this thinking I should just be thankful to be pregnant, that I had experienced the devestation of miscarriage and in fact with factor 5, I'm lucky to ever carry a baby at all, as factor 5 is a direct link to miscarriage. Again the head knows to be true what the heart can't. 

June finally rolled around and I had another course of steroids as the vomiting had increased again. I managed to work almost every day in June, (only 12 school days)  toting my yellow puke bucket with me. I would drive to work and sit in the car and throw up over and over from the motion of driving. Then I would go in and teach all day occasionally running to my desk to throw up. The kids were loving and supportive to me, but wrote me notes like "I hate your baby" and "I wish your evil baby would go away." I would drive home after work, throw up in the driveway, throw up most of the evening and cry that part of me had felt this way too, about the baby that I was supposed to love unconditionally. 

At last school ended and the pressure of struggling each day to decide if I could make it to work ended. I was now only throwing up about three times per day and I was so grateful to occasionally eat a meal. As each week passed I managed to gain back the weight I had lost. We found out the baby was a little boy and I started to gain strength. 

I'm now 8 and a half months pregnant. It took nearly 7 months to gain weight. I still throw up weekly and I fight the nausea each morning. There are still some days that I don't want to get out of bed because I don't feel good. I didn't go back to teaching this fall as I was scared I'd be sick and that when he finally arrives I wouldn't be able to have enough time and energy for him. 

I wouldn't wish this illness on my worst enemy. It was the darkest and hardest part of my life, not only because of the physical act of throwing up 20 or more times per day, but because of the terrible guilt that I was hurting my baby, and could do nothing to stop it. 

Most people don't understand and probably never will understand what some women go through in order to have a baby. Honestly I hope they never have to experience this severe, debilitating illness that sucks the joy out of what should be one of greatest and most joyful times in your life. The next time you hear a woman talking abouther struggles with morning sickness, have a little compassion. Know that HG could strike a woman that you love during her pregnancy, too.

I guess the big question now is was it worth it? I'll know when he finally arrives. 

My sweet kitty Bo sitting in my yellow puke tub :) 

Fun date night

I forgot to mention that last Thursday Brad invited me to Seahawks stadium for the punt, pass and kick competition. I was really excited to get to walk on the field and eat hamburgers for dinner. I had spent the day with Amanda and Ava and went home to get ready. I anticipated traffic might be bad, so I went to the bathroom right before I left at 3:30. I was right about traffic; it was horrendous. About 5:15 I realized I needed to go to the bathroom. I could see the exit for the stadium and knew I could make it there. I hadn't anticipated that my little buddy was going to choose right then to try kicking me as hard as he could in the bladder over and over for the first time. I had to go so badly that I had tears running down my face from the strain of holding it in! 
Finally I made it to the stadium and raced up the stairs to the bathroom. The gate was locked! I started to run down the stairs (in actuality I was just waddling faster than normal) when the flood gates opened. Not a little trickle mind you, but a whole flood. A lady asked me if my water broke, and I burst into tears. I raced (again waddled quickly) across the street to Sluggers where I attempted to clean myself. I snuck out the back door and stood in the alley with a homeless man who also smelled like pee attempting to air dry myself.
Brad called wondering where I was and I had to tell I'd wet my pants and couldn't come in! Instead of having a fun event at the stadium I sat in the car with my kindle and wet underwear! 

The great name debate

I'm now 34 weeks along. Six short, or maybe long, weeks to go. I'm subbing a few days a week for friends and trying to keep my feet from swelling too much. Baby boy is strong and active! 

Our latest challenge, as I'm sure most new parents face, is the great name debate. We've read several baby books with thousands of names in them. Yesterday I went to the library and picked up three more books. We read them last night laughing about names like Mordycat and Id. After reading thousands of names we aren't any closer. We know what we don't like, but can't decide on what we love. Most names are fine, we just don't know! Maybe we will wait until we see his face, or maybe inspiration will strike one day soon. Either way I guess he will have a name in six weeks.