Monday, 18 September 2017

Here she is!

Beatrix Evelyn has finally arrived and we cannot actually believe how amazing she is!  

I had a planned caesarian section scheduled for September 8 and after the rocky pregnancy with HG, PUPPS and horrific heartburn, I was more than ready to meet the little miss.  

 Walking into the operating room was probably the scariest part of the whole ordeal.  When I had Emma, I had labored for 36 hours and then had an emergency caesarian.  I didn't have time to be nervous or take it all in because it happened so fast.  This time, there was a slow buildup.  I felt the spinal.  I could see the room and the people in it.  I waited anxiously for B to be allowed into the room.  I'm pretty sure my arm was tied down - that was frightening.  

The procedure itself went by quickly.  It's an aggressive surgery - if you've never had a section, that's one thing you don't really realize. There's a lot of pulling.  Nausea hits.  At one point, I thought my head was going to explode (and it was a good thing my arm was strapped down, as I wanted to grab the back of my head).  

The greatest moment?  When my doctor - who was amazing - told me to get ready and everyone shouted "Happy Birthday!" as this tiny little human was pulled out and held up for me to see. 


Beatrix Evelyn 
6 pounds 12 ounces
20 inches
Total perfection

I was so relieved.  I know you worry about whether or not baby will be ok, but when you're on those nausea meds, a little bit of anxiety creeps in and you hope you aren't hurting the baby by trying to keep yourself alive.  

The care I received at the hospital was nothing short of amazing.  Maternity ward nurses are truly amazing.  They know what to say to ease your worries and they certainly know how to help you maintain a little bit of dignity.  I was urged to stand on that first night and then helped to the bathroom the next day.  I had great breastfeeding support and Trixie had an amazing latch. 

Much like Emma, we had some feeding troubles.  Trixie was losing a bit more weight than we hoped and she was dehydrated.  We were given a SNS tube to give her a little top up for formula while she was breastfeeding.  After a few days, we had to use bottles to give her an extra ounce after feeds. She should be nearly back at birth weight....I'm hoping.

Emma has been an amazing big sister. She was so good for my parents and sister while we were in the hospital and even now as we are home, she is so helpful and careful around "her baby."  I'm surprised they sleep through each other - Emma doesn't wake up at night and Trixie doesn't seem bothered by Emma during the day.  She started dance lessons as a nice big girl treat.   We wanted her to have something of her own with all of the chaos of having a new baby in the house.  

So there's our little update!  We are ten days in and Trixie has proved to be an amazing sleeper and a champion eater!  I wouldn't have her any other way.  I cannot wait to be a bit more healed so that I can really enjoy time with my two girls.  

Fortunately, B is off for another three weeks so we can make the most of the time together as a family of four!  

I hope to keep you updated - I know I've not been very good with Blogging since our return to America. I hope to change that!  


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Baby McBerry #2!


It looks like our little Berry patch is growing by one more this coming September. We are super excited - Emma is pretty indifferent. If you ask her if she wants a brother or sister, she'll say "sister."  If you ask if she wants a baby, she'll say "No."

You win some, you lose some I guess!

It looks like the blog is back with DOUBLE the trouble!  Emma and Baby McBerry 2 are coming at you! 

Let's talk about pregnancy because - how could you forget - I had a tough time when pregnant with Emma. Unfortunately, I'm victim to HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) for a second time. Fortunately, I'm allowed a heck of a lot more medication to try and control it. I'm able to function - so I've managed to go to work and drive and shower - you know, those little life luxuries I couldn't do when pregnant with Emma. I've got an amazing support network - B, my mom, dad and sister have been amazing and look after Emma when I just need to lie down.  The nausea is horrific, but I'm vomiting far less and able to eat and drink far more. I am hoping and praying it stops soon, as it does make for a very sad and difficult existence. 

I usually keep this blog as positive as possible, but I think there's something that needs to be said about HG.  

There are really great support systems set up for women suffering with HG.  It's not a joke, it's not morning sickness, and all of the normal "remedies" don't come close to helping.  This time is a little better than last time in the respect that I can function, but it's not fixed or bettered - people find that really hard to understand.  Some days are harder than other, some days are ok.  If there's one thing I've learnt throughout this whole process:  it's OK to find it difficult.  It's OK to be upset.  Yes, it's a blessing, but it's OK to find the sickness too much.  

A friend posted this article about HG pregnancies the other day and it really hit home for me.  It's brutally honest and says many of the things I'm not brave enough to say myself. No- it's not as bad as last time as I don't need fluids and have kept out of the ER, but the effect on me is just as powerful and just as bad. 

How far along:  14 weeks!
Weight Gain: 2 pounds
Maternity Clothes:  Oh yea. Mama isn't playing. I've got a nursing bra, maternity leggings and tops. I want to be comfortable and I want no pressure ANYWHERE near that bump. 
Stretch Marks:  Some of those old lines that faded are coming back to life. I've started slathering on some coco butter....we will see. 
Belly Button: What the heck is up with belly buttons!  It's week 14 and it's vast! It never really went back to normal after last time. I claim a design fault! 
Queasy or Sick:  Heaven help me. I take medication three times a day and I'm pretty good from 10-3. After or before is pretty ropey. Most nights I'm in bed by 6. 
Sleep:  Wonderful. Part of my medication cocktail is Unisom which is effectively a sleeping pill. It does truly tire me out so I sleep like a baby. 
 Best Moment of the Week:  This week I completed my FINAL weekend of Yoga Teacher Training (more on that later). I was so proud of myself because after ten weeks I was able to actually do a yoga sequence!  I've felt too awful to do much of anything, let alone yoga, and I did it!  
Worst Moment of the Week:  I had a night on my own without B and Emma. I saw a commercial for Taco Bell seven layer burritos and I immediately wanted one. Like - I was obsessed. I was too ill to move so I just sat whimpering to myself and looking pathetic. That's the worst moment of the week because it was pretty pitiful. 
 Miss Anything:  I could really REALLY go for a nice glass of wine. REALLY. 
 Movement:   Nothing yet! 
 Cravings:  Usually it's a Panera Asiago Cheese bagel and lemonade. Fortunately, I pass Panera four times a day. 👍🏻
 Looking forward to:  I have another scan in about a week. Until you feel movements, it's nice to know baby is still healthy and doing well.  I like that little bit of reassurance. 

And *new* this year...

Sister Emma's thoughts:  
Me: Do you like the idea of our new baby?
Emma:  I like the idea of apple juice.  


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Remembering Aunt Maureen

Aunt Maureen’s Eulogy

How do you capture the color and life of a human being?  CAN you capture the life and love of Maureen Ellen Frances McManus?  She was caring and generous, friendly and all embracing.  Words can’t capture her and all that she has done or meant to so many of us here today.  I wish I could show you a picture - we all know she took beautiful pictures.  She always captured every celebration, and now it’s our turn to celebrate and remember her life.   So I’m going to try to paint a picture of the life of my Aunt Maureen and all that she was.

Firstly, Maureen didn’t hate many things. But she did hate Mondays...and early mornings.  So, we are sorry about meeting here this early on a Monday morning.

I knew Maureen McManus as Aunt Maureen.  She was so proud of being the “crazy Aunt,” the “wild Aunt.”  She loved being involved with us kids because she would be the one on the floor with us, reading us books, playing with our toys, playing make believe. It didn’t matter what book she read us, every story involved going to Wendy’s for a frosty and fries.  I’m not even sure she liked frosties and fries.  She wanted us to laugh - and it worked every time. She brought life to everything - our art, our toys, Indians games, whistling through her thumbs, and walks even through the cemetery. She was our biggest support system.

She was always the one nearest our birthday cake, urging us to go for the biggest icing flower - because everyone knew she loved Gartman Model Bakery icing.   The best thing about Christmas morning was Aunt Maureen. Not because of the gifts she brought, but because of the story behind each present.  Her generosity was vast and can be seen in every circle of life in which she belonged.

Outside of being my Aunt, she was also a dear friend to so many.  She never wanted to conform to any of the titles of the groups, so instead of being a member of the WOW (wild older women), she claimed to be a WOW - Wannabe.  Instead of a being called a YaYa - she preferred to be described as a YoYo.  Her friends in these circles all remember the same image - Aunt Maureen laughing and finding humor in every situation.  Whether it be a miscommunication over a “draft” beer... or was it a “giraffe” beer or joking about being nocturnal. She was never one to turn down an invitation for a visit to a very special place - as soon as she’d get the call asking  “whatcha doin??” she knew a trip to the casino was in her future. We all know she “enjoyed” making donations to the casinos.  Regardless of what it was, Maureen was always the first to arrive and the last to leave.  Whether it be for a party or a hospice visit.  That’s the beauty of Aunt Maureen: she made everyone feel as though they mattered, because to her, they truly did.  

Most of us here today remember Maureen as an Aunt and a friend.  But - being who she is - she had so many different interests and circles of life.   She was a social worker and she went into this field due to her love and care for her brother, Kevin; she specialized in working with those with developmental disabilities.  She always provided time, comfort and support to her friends when a family member was living their last moments leading her to volunteer with the Hospice of the Western Reserve.  No matter what stage of life someone was, she would provide caring and loving support.

She also spent nearly 50 years playing on countless softball teams.  Her teammates remembered her awesome pitching talent, line drives, diving catches, playing injured and her incredibly warm heart.    She was the queen of animals - from cats to hedgehogs, iguanas to opossums - because even if it wasn’t her own pet, she would make it her pet, and love it as her own.  She loved thunderstorms and wild weather, and would stay up late or make a special trip to photograph or record them. She found beauty in the simplicity and elegance of nature and many things which most people would overlook, she would photograph them and present them as something special, because to her they were.  She truly believed in the healing power of faith, having been healed herself and was fascinated by paranormal and supernatural phenomena. She knew that there is a God and greater forces that do help us throughout our lives.

Every time I spoke to Aunt Maureen, she would say “remember when…”  She was forever reminiscing.  She remembered and cataloged happy, positive memories, and recalled them often.  By sharing those memories, it would awaken that feeling of warmth and laughter.  We all need to remember.  Remember Aunt Maureen for the times she made us laugh and the times she stood by us.  Remember those playful moments, those colorful moments.  Remember her for her.  Hang on to those memories and talk about them often.   She is alive in our memories, her picture will always stay with us.