How dare they. Shame on the Texas Legislature. Again.

The Texas Legislature has done a number of despicable things under the direction of Greg Abbott, but this is their current atrocity.

I’d like to give a little background on myself: I miscarried a planned pregnancy in December, 2008. Before losing the pregnancy I spent 10.5 weeks throwing up around the clock. I spent 10.5 weeks in misery, even pulling a muscle while violently vomiting uncontrollably. I had a terrible hospital stay and wound up poking myself multiple times a day to try and control the hyperemesis gravidarum. It didn’t work. I lost weight. My throat was raw. I had a perpetual headache. I couldn’t keep down food or even water. I felt it would be worth it in the end because in another 30 weeks or so I would have my baby.

While in the hospital at 7 weeks, 4 days for dehydration and all that comes with HG,  I saw the heartbeat. I was happy and hopeful. Having a high-risk pregnancy due to the HG and epilepsy meant at 10.5 weeks I had another ultrasound. I was looking forward to seeing how much bigger this little creature I was becoming to attached to was. This time my doctor looked concerned. She kept checking the measurements. I didn’t see a heartbeat this time. She pulled my records from my last ultrasound to check the measurements from the previous ultrasound.

I knew before she said anything. She broke the news to me as gently as the could. There was no change in size. The fetus had not developed since my last ultrasound. The heart had stopped beating. The pregnancy was not viable. My husband was there with me. Our hearts were both broken.

I was so confused. Why was I still so sick? What happened? Did I do something wrong? Was it my fault?

It was clear that I was not going to miscarry naturally. A D&C was scheduled for my doctor’s next surgery day, which was two days later. I spent that time researching everything I could about miscarriages. The psychological trauma of a difficult pregnancy followed by the trauma of losing a much wanted pregnancy was more than I can get into now. It still haunts me despite having two successful (though difficult) pregnancies and loving my two boys more than I thought possible.

At the surgery center I had to fill out paperwork. On the paper was information about the procedure.

Reason for the D&C: missed miscarriage

Procedure: abortion

I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

I turned to the Internet and a group of pregnant women who were due at the same time I would have been. Most were supportive, but one woman sent me a message telling me that if I had just turned to prayer things would have been different and I could have “saved the baby.” I was horrified at first, then I was confused about why she would have said that to me. Plus, wouldn’t that be resurrection?

Like that horrible woman, Greg Abbott and his cronies in the Texas Legislature are trying to punish women. They want to prolong their agony. They want to make a terrible situation much worse.

How can we stand for this? How do we let them get away with this? What can we do?

Vote. Vote these jerks out of office. I don’t have the names of the scum who are in favor of this, but I most certainly will as soon as my tears have dried and I can think straight again.

Pro-choice and Pro-life Texans need to make it clear that requiring the burial or cremation of fetuses is not acceptable. We need to send a message that we will not tolerate extending the misery of anyone who has a pregnancy ended either by choice or by miscarriage. Common decency says you should not rub salt into someone’s wound. How is it that they have forgotten the Golden Rule, or do they just think it doesn’t apply to them?

Posted in I've got OPINIONS, It ain't easy being queasy, miscarriage, politics, Random stream of consciousness, WTF were you thinking? | 1 Comment

On loss

I feel like this is possibly a topic I shouldn’t write about, but I need to get this out and this is the best way to somewhat organize my thoughts.

It has been almost a month since my friend, Jessica, died by suicide. I was in Oslo when I got the news and stayed up most of the night unable to wrap my head around it. Even after attending her funeral and going to her gravesite today it’s still hard to believe.

I received a text from her the night before that just said “I’m sorry.” I replied with “For what?” and got no reply, though it wasn’t uncommon with Jessica to not receive a reply until the next day. I honestly thought she had meant to send it to someone else. Never did it cross my mind that it was her way of saying goodbye.

Jessica was such a caring person but she never seemed to see her own self worth. She had so many trials in her life, but still cared so much for others. The children she taught adored her. She was Ari’s first teacher and he thought she was incredible. Even when he was no longer in her class he made a point to stop by and talk to her every day.

I found out that she had MS about halfway through his semester with her. Jessica was terrified about the possible progression of her MS. She was worried that she would end up alone. She was worried that she would’t be able to take care of herself. Her chronic pain made life difficult for her.

Last school year I got a call from her. She was sobbing and her speech was slurred. She was having a flare up and was in the hospital. She needed me to fill in for her for a day until she could get a real substitute teacher in her class. Even with everything going on she took the time to tell me about the students in her class. She wanted to make sure they were taken care of and wouldn’t lack anything with her out of the class.

Jessica told me that she suffered depression, but being busy made her feel better. She wasn’t one to say no to anything. She was involved in the Jewish community and simply by the sheer number of people at her funeral you can tell she was loved by so many.

My last conversation was about someone who hurt her by telling her that someone else had said she would be dependent for care in 10 years. This person was urged to sever contact with Jessica. She was so disheartened by this. She felt like this was confirming her worst fear. I told her not to listen to them and that anyone who didn’t see how great she was wasn’t worth her time. We’d made plans to get together once I got back from Europe, but obviously that didn’t happen.

I’m sure that her depression worsened after a painful break up, but I won’t put the blame totally  on that. The suicide rate with MS patients is almost double that of the general population. I was told recently that the suicide rate of MS patients on the medication she took to control her symptoms is almost triple that of the general population.

I hate that she was so depressed and so desperate that she saw this as her only option. I hate it when I think of something I want to tell her and can’t call or text her about it. I’m devastated that I’ll never see her again. It’s hard even walking down the hall at the school past her office. I spent so much time in there talking to her that it seems surreal that I’ll never do that again.

It is my sincere hope that a cure is found for MS. I’m doing the MS Walk here in Houston to honor Jessica. I know it’s not much, but I had to do something for her. I also hope that the pain of losing Jessica speaks to people and encourages them to get help fighting depression.


Sunrise over Oslo

Posted in Random stream of consciousness | Leave a comment

Witch hunt of the moment

This article is from 2012, but it’s very relevant considering recent events.

At times it’s really hard trying to raise a child to be responsible/independent while fostering and embracing their curiosity and keeping them from hurting themselves. Their impulses control them and they really have no sense of self preservation.

They think nothing of running into the street after a ball or taking off of something catches their interest. They’re learning but don’t completely understand consequences. You can tell them not to do something (as I’ve read this mom did) but it doesn’t mean they’re going to listen.

Parenting is often described as trial by fire and I cannot think of a more appropriate description. It’s terrifying when your child gets away from you, but inevitable unless you tether them to you, which teaches them nothing about what is appropriate behavior. (No, I’m not saying children will end up in zoo exhibits.)

I’m hoping that the condemnation of this mom lessens soon. No doubt this will fade and the interwebz will be dominated by something else that brings outrage and pitchforks out in no time.


Posted in I've got OPINIONS, Random stream of consciousness | Leave a comment

Difficult pregnancies and becoming a mother or: How I became more pro-choice

To say that I have difficult pregnancies is a gross understatement. I’ve been pregnant three times, twice with planned pregnancies, and once a total surprise. Through all three pregnancies I suffered a debilitating condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

Some people dismiss this as “morning sickness” or “all day sickness” and some women have mild cases and can remain fully functional through their pregnancies. I was not that lucky.

My first pregnancy, as most people reading this know, resulted in a missed miscarriage diagnosed at just over 10 weeks. The fetus stopped developing at a little over 7 weeks, just after I was hospitalized for malnutrition and dehydration. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had happen to me.

My second pregnancy, which had a much happier outcome, was just as hard. After 14 months of trying to get pregnant I was absolutely thrilled to see two lines on the test, but worried that I would go through the same trauma as before.

My second pregnancy can only be described as disastrous  I literally would go days without being able to eat or keep down food (or even water) when I attempted to eat or drink. I was constantly worried about the potential damage being done to Avi both from the HG and the medications I had to take just to be somewhat functional. I would spend most of my days in bed or curled up by the toilet with my dogs worriedly hovering nearby.

But, I consider myself lucky. Not only did I have semi-descent insurance, which covered my Zofran, but I did not have to work. It was very apparent from day 1 that working would not be possible. I attempted to, but spent most of my shift hiding around the corner or in the bathroom throwing up.

I bled throughout my entire pregnancy. Not brown old blood, but both spotting and somewhat heavier bleeding of red, or new blood. I pulled muscles from violently throwing up and both my OB and my perinatologist/high-risk OB agreed that I needed to be induced both for my physical and mental wellbeing.

I came home from the hospital 33 lbs lighter than when I started my pregnancy. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

I’m hesitant to put this next part in writing because I don’t want Ari to possibly read this when he is older and ever feel unloved or unwanted, but it’s important for understanding why I strongly support a woman’s right to choose.

Misha and I decided that it wasn’t worth risking HG again to have any more children. We were happy to have Avi and felt fortunate that he was healthy. I’d planned on getting an IUD as soon as I was done breastfeeding. That never happened.

When Avi was roughly 8 months old I started feeling sick. I spent 3 days randomly throwing up and decided to do a pregnancy test just for my own peace of mind. I was on birth control and breastfeeding, so it was unlikely that I would get pregnant, but due to a ruptured ovarian cyst I did. I was in disbelief.

I didn’t experience the joy of seeing two lines this time, instead I felt dread, which I still feel guilty about today. How on earth could I take care of Avi if I had HG again? Could I even handle going through it again? It was so early in the pregnancy and I already felt so sick. I didn’t know what to do.

I cried when I told Misha that I was pregnant. I cried when I told my mom. I cried when I told my friend, who had just had a baby herself, I cried when I was in the doctor’s office waiting to speak with my OB. I was so torn. And scared. What would this mean for Avi, the baby I had wanted so much, who was still a baby? What would this mean for me when I could barely handle my last two pregnancies?

Again, I consider myself lucky. I decided that despite not having family near me to help I had the resources to have another baby. I chose to have another baby. The hyperemesis came back, but it was slightly better than before. An additional medicine seemed to help, but it still wasn’t easy by any means.

Avi & I spent a lot of time in his room. Me sitting in a chair with a wastebasket nearby while he played. We also spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Him playing with toys and me with my head in the toilet. Luckily, Misha was able to work from home sometimes when I couldn’t pick myself up off the floor.

I knew if things got worse I could afford hire a nanny to help with Avi, but I felt so guilty. I felt like he was missing out on things like playing outside and trips to the zoo because I just couldn’t do it.

I had the same worries as before and many of the same complications. I cannot imagine what it would have been like if I weren’t so lucky. If we didn’t have the money that allows me to stay home. If I had to work. If I didn’t have the insurance plan I have. As it is, I spent thousands on my pregnancies. Between the dozens of ultrasounds, the frequent doctor visits, the medications (which in the last two months of my pregnancy with Ari weren’t covered for the full dose I required,) and the delivery it was literally thousands.

I love my kids with all my heart and I don’t regret having either of them, but not everyone is as lucky as I am and they should be given the choice to continue or not continue their pregnancy. They shouldn’t be shamed or have it be made unnecessarily complicated to have an abortion.

The Texas House of Representatives claims that HB2 will make women safer. They claim that most clinics will stay open. They claim that they are doing this for women, yet they were not open to a single amendment that would actually do that. Sadly, I expect that the Senate will do the same.

Rep Jodie Laubenberg is a disgrace to the position she holds. She mindlessly tabled every amendment with the support of the majority of the Representatives. This. Does. Not. Help. Women. Despite what the vile David Dewhurst wants (please look at the link to see his tweet and the map,) this will not stop abortion in Texas. Abortions are going to happen. It’s just a matter of when and how safe the women who chose to have one are. (If you say the women get what is coming to them when there are complications with abortion you can just bugger off right now.)

If a single clinic closes that’s one too many. As of now I believe a woman in Texas has access to 42 clinics around the state, but it still takes 4 days for her to have an abortion. She first must have the mandated ultrasound (I cannot find the report, but I read that abortions are only down 5% since that was passed) then wait 24 hours before taking her first dose of misoprostol, which will start the process. (I had to take this after the d&c I had for my miscarriage and it was a terrible experience.) She then comes back 48 hours later for her second dose. That means this is a 4 day process. Under these regulations even these medical abortions (as opposed to surgical abortions) must take place in an ambulatory surgical center.

Let’s say there is a woman living in west Texas, who has to travel hundreds of miles for an abortion. Do we really think she’s going to be able to not only afford the increased price (estimated at $1200) but afford to take time off from work? This is going to cause abortions later in pregnancies, or possibly mothers in need of government assistance once the babies are born. If you were wondering, the House shot down any increases in assistance as well. Oh, and don’t get me started on tabling an amendment about sex education.

I’m not naïve. I do not expect that my story (or any of the others heard during the sessions) will make people change their position. I don’t expect anyone reading this to suddenly become pro-choice. I do however, hope that people will realize that they shouldn’t judge others for their choices.

Please understand that not everyone had the same opportunities you do. Not everyone has the same beliefs you do. And I cannot imagine anyone making this decision lightly or why anyone would try to take this choice away from them.

Posted in Adventures in pregnancy, Boy1 & Boy2, It ain't easy being queasy, It's a puke story, baby just say blech, mom jeans | 2 Comments

4 years later

It’s been 4 years since my miscarriage. I never know which date to track it by. Is it the 8th when we found out the pregnancy was no longer viable? Or is it the 10th when I had the d&c, which physically ended it? Does it matter? Not really. Though I think having a definitive date makes it a little easier for some reason.

It’s not as hard as it was even a year after it happened. We have two kids now, and at that time I was beginning to wonder if we would have any. I don’t think about it everyday, or even every week now. It just randomly pops into my mind.

I do wonder sometimes what that kid would have been like. Would he/she have been as funny or high maintenance as Avi? Or as calm and laid back as Ari? Maybe somewhere in the middle? Avi and Ari look so different. Would he/she have looked like more like Avi or Ari? Would we have Avi? Quite possibly no, and we definitely wouldn’t have Ari.

At the time people kept saying a number of things to make me feel better including “everything happens for a reason.” I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I don’t think I miscarried because I was supposed to have Avi & Ari or so, I don’t know… I would value them more or something. I think it was just a shitty thing that you sometimes have to live through before things get better.

I feel lucky to have made it through with my marriage even stronger than it was & I feel extremely lucky to have the two kids we do have. It’s exhausting at times, but they’re pretty amazing.


Posted in Boy1 & Boy2, miscarriage | 2 Comments

impatient little thing

Boy2 is determined to make his debut early. At my OB visit yesterday I was 4cm dilated & Dr. F said she anticipates hearing from me Sunday night when she’s on call. I have an appointment Thursday, but she said she’d be surprised if I go that long.

I’m vacillating between excitement about meeting him (and the nausea ending) and pure terror. We’re not at all ready. The house is a construction site at the moment and will be for probably the next couple of weeks. Our awesome contractor is working his butt off trying to get things done as quickly as possible. I seriously cannot say enough good things about him.

The nursery furniture is not assembled & Carter’s is taking their sweet time getting the missing hardware kit to me, but at least Boy2’s room is ready otherwise. He’ll be in the co-sleeper in our room for a while anyway, so that’s not urgent.

I’d like him to stay put until at least the end of next week so he has more time to develop. From what Dr. F said yesterday, Dr. H (our perinatologist/high risk OB) seems to think he’s ready and would transition well, but I don’t hit 37 weeks until Tuesday.

I think both doctors are worried about my mental stress after the strain of vomiting constantly & losing weight while taking care of the bossiest toddler in the world. I was having a bad day when I last saw Dr. H & was in a lot of pain, but things have been much better since Misha got home from San Francisco.

I’m worried about Avi freaking out when we disappear to the hospital. He’s only ever stayed with my mom and she won’t be here in time. There’s no point in changing her flight because we don’t know for sure that he’s coming. The dilation & increase in contractions points to him being here soon, but there is always a chance that I’ll stall at 4cm for a while.

Jaeden has school & of course mom has to work. It would be really difficult for her to change her schedule on such short notice. Plus, we don’t want her here too early where she leaves before he arrives & if I’m in labor before she comes she won’t make it in time anyway. Dr. F isn’t expecting me to be in labor for more than 4 hours. I’m knocking on every piece of wood that I can find that she’s correct!

Some great friends are going to help us with Avi if his brother does indeed arrive before the 23rd. I figure Misha can come home a few hours after Boy2 is born since if he’s anything like his brother all he’ll be doing is sleeping & nursing. Of course Avi slept all afternoon & the next day, but didn’t sleep more than an hour that first night. There’s not much Misha can do with a newborn since the nursing part is up to me. I’d rather he be here with Avi & hopefully he won’t have as hard of a time adjusting. (He being Avi, not Misha!)

We’re closer to a name finally though! Misha has decided he likes Elan as the first name, but is rejecting all suggestions for a middle name. As of last night it looks likely that he’ll be Elan Ari. I’m not sure that I’m thrilled with the flow, but I like that we’re using both of our top names.

That’s where we’re at right now. Please cross your fingers, knock on wood or whatever it is you do for luck that Boy2 listens to his mommy and stays where he is a little while longer. We’re fortunate that he didn’t decide to come a few weeks ago, but not quite ready for him just yet!

Carrying little brother's elephant around his room.

Posted in Adventures in pregnancy, Boy1 & Boy2 | 4 Comments

no more room at the inn

Same picture as last post - 35 weeks pregnant with Avi


35 weeks, 4 days with Boy2

My skin feels like it’s about to burst.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The not so bad news

Misha’s still in San Francisco, so today Avi & I went to see Dr. H. He (Avi) was very good and was flirting with every woman there. He had one small meltdown when I wouldn’t let him go in the admin’s office, but got over it once I gave him his snack & water.

For the second ultrasound in a row Boy2 refused to show his face. Last time he was facing the wrong direction & this time he covered his face with his arm. Today Dr. H poked him & he put both arms up. I think he’s a little camera shy.

She said that he’s perfect developmentally. He’s really healthy & exactly where he should be. She is mildly concerned though because I have a lot of fluid & wants to recheck in two weeks… “If and I mean if you’re still pregnant then.”

So both Dr. F & Dr. H seem to think he’s coming early. He’s 13 days away from being full term, but since I was breastfeeding, on birth control & didn’t have a regular cycle that’s just our best guess based on his size at the first few ultrasounds. He might be slightly ahead or slightly behind that.

Dr. H thinks the increased contractions are possibly just because of the extra fluid. She said the baby is perfect & not to be overly concerned as long as they don’t get worse or I start to show signs of labor. I’m to relax as much as possible & immediately sit down when I have them.

The main concern at this point would be his lungs. If he were to be born now he would be spending some time in the NICU. Hopefully not too much time, but usually the earlier they come, the longer the stay. My beautiful niece Morgan was born on February 10th at 36 weeks but didn’t have to spend anytime in the NICU & got to go home on schedule.

Ideally, Boy2 would stay put until at least 3/23 so my mom is already here to take care of big brother Avi. I’d like him to stay put until the 26th so my mom will be here & I can make sure it’s my OB delivering.

I will say that it is nice knowing that at most I only have 4 weeks of nausea left. The end of 24 hour/day nausea is definitely  something to look forward to!

Avi says: "Excuse you, I was reading. Take your pictures later."

Posted in Adventures in pregnancy, Boy1 & Boy2, It ain't easy being queasy | 1 Comment

The name game & why we need to hurry up and pick one

I seriously hate naming things. We had a hard enough time with naming Zoë then it came time to name Avi. Luckily, Avi was the name I liked most on Misha’s list & Daniel just seemed to flow with it. We didn’t even start looking at names until we found out he was a boy & it took a month or so, but it wasn’t as hard as it is this time.

Naming Boy2 is proving far more difficult than naming Avi or Zoë was. Ari was my second choice for Avi & it has made the short list this time around. The problem I have with Ari is that it might be a bit too cutesy to have Avi & Ari. People keep saying it will be too confusing & they’ll claim not to know who we were calling for. Brock & I did that when we were younger though & our names sound nothing alike.

The other name on the short list is Elan. I’m worried that he’ll spend the rest of his life spelling it out for people & telling them how to pronounce it. We’ve had enough trouble with Avi’s name being pronounced A-V. I’ve always heard Elan pronounced Ee-lahn, but on different baby name sites it’s shown as Ee-lun and Eh-lahn. I’ve even seen it as El-ahn, which to me sounds like Ellen. How have you heard it or what was your first thought when seeing it?

Middle names have proven even more difficult to narrow down… as in we couldn’t come up with any. Most likely if we go with Ari he’ll be named Ari Elan. I like Elan Isaiah, but Misha hates it. My second choice is Elan Alexander, which Misha thinks is okay but isn’t completely sold on.

Now on to why we need to figure this out. I went in for my OB appointment Friday & found out that at just over 34 weeks I’m already at 2 cm dilated. (Full term is 37 weeks & pregnancy is calculated as 40 weeks from last cycle to due date.) There’s a chance that I could stall or even go up to 4 cm without an issue, but my OB (Dr. F) is worried that I may progress too quickly & Boy2 may come early.

She said we’re not at the point where we need to start medication, but that may be a possibility in the future. My next appointment with the high-risk OB (Dr. H) is Wednesday, so I don’t have to go back to Dr. F until 3/9. I’m going to ask Dr. H if I can call her to deliver if I’m in labor & Dr. F isn’t on call. I’d really rather have someone who knows my history deliver Boy2 since the seizures can cause complications.

Dr. F would like me to get to at least 37 weeks, but says ideally I’d get to 38 & go into labor on my own. As much as I’d love the hyperemesis to end that’s not quite the ideal situation for me. My mom & Jaeden are due to arrive 3/22 since I was supposed to be induced 3/27.

The earliest I’d like to deliver would be 3/23 so my mom would be here to take care of Avi & we wouldn’t have to scramble & inconvenience our friends. Our 9 year anniversary is 3/22 & I was looking forward to going to dinner with Misha the next night, but I’d be okay with Boy2 making an appearance as early as that day.

I’m not on bedrest, but Dr. F wants me to limit my activity. That’s not terribly easy with the most active toddler in the world running around the house. He’s so busy!

So that’s where we are at this point. Hopefully Boy2 will stay put until I serve him an eviction notice & hopefully he’ll have a name by then. Good, bad or indifferent please leave a comment telling me what you think of our name options & how you think Elan is pronounced. I’m so tired of the name game I could cry.

Posted in Adventures in pregnancy, Boy1 & Boy2 | 1 Comment

and then there was one…

It’s done. Baby is gone. It was heartbreaking, but I’m glad it’s over for her. I love my vet office; they made a bad situation as nice as they could. All of the techs came in to say goodbye to her, which meant a lot to me.

Just like with Isabell, I don’t want to get into the details of her death. I want to remember what an amazing dog she was. I’ll remember how patient she was with Avi and his sometimes overzealous displays of affection. I’ll remember her doggie smile and how much she loved car rides. I’ll remember how she loved everyone she met and accepted every new person as her best friend.

We had a long time with her and I think we gave her the best life we possibly could. I sincerely hope that she felt as much love from us as we did from her and that we made her happy.

This is an old post I wrote about Baby and Maggie, who we had to put to sleep last fall.

Happy on her last car ride

Posted in my girls | 2 Comments