From the Mommy Files…

Archive for October 2010

Well, I guess I’ve got no one to blame but myself.

I was born on Halloween; so obviously, I’m crazy about the holiday.

You could say it’s one of my favorite days of the year! 😉

It’s a great day to have a birthday – everyone is ready to party!

My girls are now equally passionate about Halloween.

They’re so into it.

I’m just glad the monsters and skeletons don’t scare them.

As we walk or drive down a street, either one will yell out:

“Mommy, look! Halloween!”

Mind you, walks take extra long, because we have to stop at look at every decorated house.

I’m not exaggerating. We have to stop and check out every house.

“Pumpkins!! Look – pumpkins!”

We drive in the car and they see decorations, and they yell out for me to stop and look. We’d never get anywhere if I stopped every time!

There is a local contest for homes with the best decorations. Many of our neighbors have gotten into the act this year, so there’s a lot to see around here.

Unfortunately, with everything that’s been going on, our display is not so exciting, but we do have stuff out there. There’s always next year. Just think all the decorations will be discounted come Monday! 😉

Our neighbors across the street have erected an 8-foot inflatable black cat. The eyes and mouth light up and the head moves. It’s pretty cool. 

My daughters are enamored with this thing.

Some of the neighborhood dogs are not so happy about our new “neighbor,” but that’s a whole other story.

The cat is usually inflated when the people get home from work, is up all night, and by morning, it’s deflated.

The girls monitor the kitty’s day.

In the morning, Bebs will say, “Kitty’s sleeping.”

That’s right, because it’s not inflated. He was up all night, after all. Now he has to rest.

In the afternoons, they check periodically to see if the feline has awakened from his slumber.

I’ll hear, “Kitty’s still sleeping,” or “Kitty’s awake! Come see!”

They even have to say good night to the kitty. It’s crazy!

The girls tell us that a big kitty like that makes a very big MEOW!

This happens every day.

This weekend, the kitty took an extra long sojourn.

The girls were so upset. No kitty. He was physically removed from the yard.

I told them he was really tired, so he went away for the weekend.

On Monday morning – in the morning no less – kitty returned.

Guess he was pretty well-rested.

The girls were very elated.

Now, the girls want to go to every Halloween outing.

Boo wants to wear her costume at every possible chance. She asked if we could have another Halloween after this one.

Sure – next year.

She means the following week.

When I was a kid, we had Halloween on one day only. That day.

Last weekend, there was a Halloween parade and trick-or-treating in a nearby neighborhood.

Boo will have a party at school on Friday.

On Saturday, our neighborhood association will have a costume contest and local businesses will have trick-or-treating.

That’s three outings before the actual date.

COOL!

I always dressed up for Halloween. So why not continue?

Boo insists that Daddy and Mommy dress up too. She picks themes and costumes too.

Last year we were from the Wizard of Oz.

This year, we’re princesses, and Daddy is a prince.

I can’t wait for Halloween.

Look! Halloween!

Bebs is now telling everyone, “Happy HalloWEEEEEEEN!”

Trick or Treat?!

“What? You have a molar what? Molars are in your mouth, silly!”

I imagine my Boo saying something like that. But of course I didn’t tell her any of this.

I had a complete molar pregnancy.

It’s something that’s pretty rare. In fact, I understand that many OB/GYN’s never ever encounter one in all their years of practice. The ones that do, experience only a few. It happens like 1 in 1000.

Complete molar pregnancy.

It gets stuck in my mouth when I try to say it.

Maybe because molars are supposed to be in your mouth and not in your womb.

An unfortunate term, but I guess remnants of the pregnancy can act like a mole, as in a cancerous mole.

Yup. This isn’t your typical miscarriage.

You lost a baby, but also, your health is on the line.

I don’t think anyone can totally process all the info. The best way I can describe it, is that a tornado came to consume me. I’m in a bad dream. Will someone wake me up?

So you’re wondering, what on earth is a molar pregnancy?

There are two kinds of molar pregnancies: complete and partial.

Both happen in what is basically referred to as a genetic accident.

In both cases , there is fertilization/conception, implantation; you begin developing pregnancy hormones and have morning sickness. The pregnancy test is positive. You get excited and you start dreaming about and planning for your new addition.

In a complete molar, an empty egg is released – devoid of any genetic material. You plan to go to the doctor at the 8th week. Some have bleeding and very extreme morning sickness. Then you go to the doctor and when you have the ultrasound, it hits you like a ton of bricks – there’s no baby. There are sacs of fluid, a placenta. Sometimes clusters of things, but no baby. Since half the necessary genetic material is missing, it can never grow into anything. So the fertilized egg is basically absorbed by the body. You’re body still thinks you’re pregnant, and your hormone levels are through the roof.

In a partial molar, two sperm fertilize the same egg. Now with an extra set of chromosomes, the embryo basically does itself in, because it can’t survive that way. In some cases, it gets absorbed right away. In other cases, couples see the baby and the heartbeat on ultrasound, and then the heart stops beating shortly thereafter, because there was no way it could survive.

Either way, it’s devastating.

I had a complete molar pregnancy.

It was suspected, so I was sent immediately to a gynecologic oncologist.

A what?

I tried hard not to freak out as I walked into the CANCER CENTER.

This can’t be my life.

I had surgery the next day.

For an indefinite period – at least 6 months – I’ll be under the oncologist’s care.

Every two weeks I will have my blood drawn, to be sure my hormone levels go down to zero and stay that way.

With complete molars, there is a 12-17% chance of complications.

That’s 3 times higher than with a partial.

Complications = chemotherapy.

You read correctly.

So if my hormone levels plateau or begin to rise again, I’ll have to have chemotherapy.

Yes, it does seem like a bad dream.

And this is just the beginning.

It’s a long road from here.

One step at a time.

FAITH.

That’s how I’ll get through.

There’s not much information out there on the subject.

I found one book that look’s interesting.

Online forums have been incredible.

People share their stories, and you feel you aren’t alone.

It’s been very comforting.

So that’s why I decided to share my story.

If I can provide comfort to someone, then I’ve done a good deed.

Not to worry. I’ll continue telling stories about my daughters – they are very amusing. 😉

(At this moment, Boo is singing a rousing rendition of “It Only Takes a Moment,” from “Hello, Dolly!” and is putting extra emphasis on the high notes. Gotta love her!)

Sometimes I’ll update you on my progress.

Who knows, this may spin off into a blog of its own.

I can see it now…

ADVENTURES IN MOLAR PREGNANCY!

Do I get to wear a cape and pretend to be a super hero?

I know. I know.

But I have to keep my sense of humor!

I pray that I am the last one to ever go through this.

Oh, and anytime you want to wake me up from this nightmare, please do so.

Another good resource: http://www.mymolarpregnancy.com/


How much do you tell your children? Do you tend to explain things in great detail or keep things simple?

When there is a loss or an illness in the family, what do you do? Do you try to pretend everything is normal or do you tell them?

These are tough questions.


Much depends on the age, maturity and temperament of your child.

Back in June, my uncle was very ill and subsequently passed away. We took the girls to see him a couple of times at the hospital. When he passed, we told them that Uncle went to Heaven and wouldn’t be sick anymore.

Boo had questions:

How do you get to Heaven? I told her the angels come to take you.

Are you still sick when you get to Heaven? I told her that in Heaven you are never sick again.

These simple explanations seemed to satisfy her curiosity.

Recently, tragedy has struck right here in our home.

Everything happened so fast, and honestly, I’m still struggling with how much to tell the girls.


Bebs is easy – she’s so busy with all her new discoveries to ask questions. Besides, she’s 19 months old.

Boo, on the other hand, at 3.75 years old, is very inquisitive, and she’s a very perceptive, yet sensitive child.

There are many resources available on the subject. One article has some good tips on speaking to children about illnesses.

They suggest:

Keep things simple.

Explain that these things are not contagious.

Let them help you.


They also have a handy chart broken down by age, on how to explain things, and what kids can process.

It’s pretty straightforward, though I don’t think I can do it. I don’t know what my own response will be to talking about it, and I know Boo will come up with questions that I don’t want to answer. I don’t want to scare her.


I go back and forth. To tell or not to tell?


Boo has had a rough few weeks with everything that transpired. She cried at school and said she missed her mommy. At home, she cries for every little thing and sobs uncontrollably – over nothing. She asks me repeatedly if I’m OK.

I was pregnant.

I hadn’t told the girls yet. I’m glad I waited. It makes this simpler.

I wanted to wait because I knew Boo would tell everyone.

We told some family members and a few close friends.

I decided after my 8-week prenatal visit, I’d share the news. I’d have an ultrasound picture in hand to show the girls. I couldn’t wait to tell them. I was very excited to be expecting again, and I knew they would be too.

I was feeling really good – a bit tired, an occasional bout of nausea to remind me I was pregnant.

My cousin came to watch the girls, and I was off.

I went to my doctor appointment, and my world was shattered.

You hear people speak about life-altering experiences. You’re changed forever. This was it.


We lost the baby.


Not only did we lose the baby, but there were concerns for my health.

WHAT?


I had to return the next day to have another ultrasound.

I went home and was like a zombie. The girls were happy to see me, but knew something was wrong. I tried to shrug it off. It was time to eat, then baths and bedtime. I got them settled and just kind of sat in a stunned silence.

The next day, Boo went to school and Bebs to the babysitter – where she got stuck an extra three hours – as the tornado came to consume me.

The results were confirmed. I had to see the doctor, then a specialist. It all happened so fast. Questions. Questions. More questions. I was shell-shocked.

A chest x-ray to be sure nothing got into my lungs (huh?), a blood draw so they could cross-match blood in the event of a hemorrhage (are you kidding me?) and the next thing I knew I was having surgery first thing the next morning.

I could barely get the words out to tell my husband.

How would I explain this to my kids?


I told them I was sick, but the doctor was going to make me better.

When they were asleep, I cried my eyes out. How in the world could this happen?

My aunt came to stay with them. I tried really hard that morning to act like I was just going to a meeting.

She drove me to the hospital and picked me up, with the girls in tow. I think these trips to the hospital scared Boo. Perhaps it reminded her of going to see Uncle at the hospital. I don’t think she knew what to expect.

Surgery went well and I was home by 2:30 pm.

Boo continues to ask if I’m OK, and she’s had theses total breakdowns – like major tantrums. I haven’t seen her like this in a long time.

After a fit the other day over not wanting to sit in her chair to eat, we sent her to her room to calm down. She carried on for at least 20 more minutes.

It was time to talk to her.


To tell or not to tell?


I said a quick prayer and climbed the stairs to her room.

I sat on her bed, and hugged her. She began to calm down.

I asked her what was wrong. She kept saying she didn’t know.

Then I asked if she was scared. She said, “You left me alone.”

“When did I leave you alone?”


“You went to the doctor a lot and left me alone. I don’t want to be alone. Then you left me alone here in my room,” she replied.

“Mommy had a problem, Honey. And you weren’t alone.”


“Did the doctor take the bad stuff out of your belly?” she asked.

I didn’t remember telling her that, but I went with it.

“It’s all gone, Sweetie. Everything’s OK.”


“Will you be sick again?”

I don’t think so. But I have to rest a lot, so I’m OK.”


“OK. Do you still have to go to the doctor?”

“I have to go a few more times, so she can make sure that I stay OK.”


“You should go only while I’m in school.”

“OK.”


I decided against telling her about the baby. It would be too confusing. There would be too many questions.

Someday I’ll tell her about her angel sibling. Not now.


We’ve had more episodes. Another time she told me again that she didn’t want to be left alone. She was scared. I told her she’s not alone, ever. We’re a team and we stick together. And we take care of each other. That seemed to put her mind at ease, at least for the moment.

As I seek out information and support groups online, tears sometimes come to my eyes. I try hard not to let her see me.

I have to work through my grief, but unfortunately, I have to do it after hours, when she’s not around. It’s not worth upsetting her further.

Some may not agree with my approach, but knowing Boo, I think it is better this way.

But somehow, I still question myself…

To tell or not to tell?


How much is too much information?


How do I keep my emotions in check, when this is bigger than all of us?


FAITH.


That’s the only answer I can come up with.

So I will just hold tight to my faith.

We’re all going to be OK.

Wherever we go, Bebs draws a crowd.

People hear her talk and they are stunned.

“Isn’t she a little small to speak like that?”


“Is that a midget?”

These are some of the things we hear.

Bebs just started walking on her own about 6 weeks ago.

She was clearly concentrating her energies on speaking.

And singing.

She had to do something since she didn’t want to walk on her own until she was almost 18 months-old.

The doctor even commented that with her good verbal skills, someday she might be a writer. 😉

When you hear her speak, you can’t believe this is a 19 month-old.

She’s been speaking 4-5 word sentences for a couple of months now.

She’ll say things like, “Where did Grandpa go?” “Peek-a-boo, I see you!” “Look, here I am!”

I couldn’t believe it the other day when I sneezed. She said, “Bless you Mommy!”

Last week she told me, “Mommy, Boo is my sister.” She sure is.

The other day, of course, it was “Georgie is my friend!” Uh-huh.

Last night we were driving and she asked me “Where is the moon?” I couldn’t find it either. I told her I didn’t see it. She began a little sing-songy speak. “Where are you moon?” She said. “I want to see you!”Then she announced, “Mommy, the moon is hiding.”


Since she was a baby, I counted the stairs as we’d climb them – sometimes in Greek and sometimes in English. I did this with Boo too. She could count to 10 in Greek and in English from a young age, and Bebs is right there too.

She’s not a midget!

We’re all short – hey, we don’t make ‘em that tall in my village. 😉

Bebs will hold a conversation with you too.

And sometimes, she’ll sing to you.

It’s really cute, especially when she holds her arms out and starts singing, “Dolly you’ll never go away again!” from “Hello! Dolly!”, with the biggest grin on her face.

She’s been entertaining us a lot with the ABC song lately, though she does miss a few letters.

As of late, we’ve been hearing “Twinkle, Twinkle” a lot too.

It’s particularly funny to hear her sing Elli Kokkinou’s song, “Erota Mou.” She requests it every morning in the car, by name. Boo likes her songs too, so I have to have them take turns requesting a song that we’ll listen too. Bebs now says, “Hey! I want my turn!”

Never a dull moment around here.

Boo has been playing teacher, and has been showing her letters, and Bebs repeats what she says. Boo shows her pictures and Bebs will tell you what they are. She’s getting really good.

My favorite is her telling of “The Grouchy Lady Bug” story.

“Hey you, fight? You insist. Oh no, not big enough, so flew off!”

Then she’ll show you the animals. “Yellow jacket! Mommy, sparrow! Mommy snake s-s-s-s! Mommy rhino! Look elephant!” And she’s very pleased with herself as she tells the story.

She even remembers the pictures on the backpacks of the kids at Boo’s school. When she sees them, she shouts out the name of the character on the child’s backpack. Away from school, she’ll tell me something like, “Stella has Ariel.” Huh?

These kids are pretty amazing.

So it seems I have two precocious little lovelies.


Or two Chatty Cathies. However you want to look at it.

They’re fun!

It sure keeps things interesting.

Yes. You read correctly.

My 19 month-old has a boyfriend.

And he’s younger!

I volunteer a lot at Boo’s school and there is another mom there who frankly, without her, nothing would get done. She has a little boy who is 14 months old, and just like Bebs, he tags along.

Last year, this mom and I made lunch for the kids every Friday. So Bebs and the little boy Georgie hung out together a lot, communicating from their strollers, sharing snacks, making their baby noises.

This year, they both walk and talk. There’s a lot of giggling going on, too.

Every morning when we get ready for school, Bebs says, “Go see Georgie!”

Lately she gets upset if she doesn’t see him.

The entire way home, she’ll say, “Where’s Georgie? Why Georgie no come?”

Yesterday, after her nap, I was getting her ready so we could go pick up Boo from school.

“Will we see Georgie?” she asked, with this goofy grin on her face.

“Do you like Georgie?” I asked.

“Georgie’s my friend!” she replied, coyly. She had the biggest smile on her face.

It was like watching a teenager gush about her latest crush.

We didn’t get to see Georgie.

She was very disappointed.

As I was buckling her into her car seat, she said, “Wait for Georgie!”

I told her we had to get home. Evidently, she’d seen his mom’s van pull up.

“Mommy, wait for Georgie!” she said. I told her we had to leave, and so I got Boo in the car and we left.

When we arrived home, she said, “Mommy, Georgie is my friend!”

I can’t believe I had this conversation with a 19 month-old!

I hope this doesn’t mean she will want to date early. I already told her there will be no dating.

When the time comes, an old-fashioned proxenio – Greek for arranged marriage – is the way this will go. 😉

Hmmm…I could be in trouble here. Boy crazy at 19  months? Or just Georgie Crazy?

This will be a great story to share with her when she’s older.

Wouldn’t it be hysterical if these two did end up together someday?

Well, he is a nice Greek boy from a good family…

For now, we’ll just go with it at face value. It IS super cute.

Don’t get nervous, Daddy. They’re only toddlers.

‘A toddler with a boyfriend’ does sound pretty crazy.

OK. We’re off to go see Georgie.


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