February 27, 2011


This sucks. Already. It's here and I'm alone so I thought rather than eat or shop my way through today (mostly because I'd just throw up later...thank you yet again morning sickness), I'd try to answer or address many of the questions/comments that have been made thus far because although many of our friends and family are familiar with Army life in general they don't know the details and certainly not the Army Guard details of a deployment.

How long will Joshua be gone?
We aren't permitted to give exact dates...not that we even have any at this point but we don't expect him to be home in 2011.

Where is he?
That is a very good question. I don't know. Well, I'm not totally sure. Once he gets to where he'll be training (Army Guard guys leave their families for as much as a few months early to train for the deployment but since we "maybe" will get a 4 day leave to see each other during the training, and little other connection, it's not much different than if he were "in theater" now...Army jargon for the area of combat). As for Joshua's pre-combat training, it will be more than one location and I don't know where exactly he'll be each day and wouldn't be able to post it if I did.

Where will he be for the "deployment?"
Another good question. I don't know. I know the country but that's about it. You can probably guess the country. Even if I knew more, I wouldn't post it. This may become a theme, just fyi. 

Will he be home for the baby's birth?
In a nutshell, no. Some military families are able to work their R&R schedule out and make it home for the delivery. We don't expect Joshua to be able to for several reasons that aren't very important. It's something we've known for a while and we've accepted. We're hoping he'll be able to be with us via Skype but that will depend on how the delivery goes and the hospitals regulations.

Will he get an R&R?
We expect so but I most likely won't post about it until after it happens. We don't expect to stay home for it because it would be too hard on the boy to get used to Daddy being home and then gone again and easier if we just go away for a couple weeks on vacation.

If you have any other questions and I'm able to answer them, I will. Just ask.

February 26, 2011

Warning. I'm in a mood.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

We're down to just hours and the stupid Army is taking most of them up making sure Joshua and all the other guys have their gear in order. Between that and the fact that the closer we've come to this deployment, the more stupid people seem to be when they ask me questions, I've decided to post a list of questions/statements that drive me nuts (and maybe some suggestions at what else you could say or ask instead because I do understand most of the time, people just don't know what to say).

"I couldn't do it."
I get that this one is meant as a compliment but it's not. I don't have a choice. It wasn't something I ever expected in my life and I've had to learn to adapt. You would do the same if you had to.

"Aren't you worried he'll die?"
You know, that hadn't crossed my mind at all! Oh my. What would I do without you here to remind me of the dangers of war...dumbass.

"How much money will the Army give you if he dies?"
This has been asked twice now. Seriously people. This is just BEYOND tacky/classless/crude/cruel...etc.

"The boy's young, he'll recover eventually"
My hope is that we are able to maintain the familial connection and it isn't something he'll have to "recover" from but rather something that will bond us all closer together and will help him to become a more mature, compassionate, strong young man.

"At least the boy and the soon-to-be girl are young...you know, if something happens"
Really? Why? Why do people even go there?

"Well, you knew what you were signing up for"
How very considerate and compassionate of you...

"Won't you miss sex?"
No. Not at all. I'm a robot. I've heard this one three times and the next person to say it will get an equally inappropriate question about their sex life.

"My husband/boyfriend had to go to (insert safe, comfy, fun city) for two weeks last month, I totally understand."
No. Actually you don't. I don't compare my trials as a parent of one, soon-to-be two, to a parent of 6 or even a parent of one special needs child because it's not the same. You don't know what it's like and I swear if a certain young woman goes on another cruise with her parents and I have to read facebook posts every freaking day about how horrible it is to be separated from her boyfriend, I'm going to slap said young woman. Hard.

"If you need anything, just ask."
I feel a little bad about grouping this in with the others but the thing is so many times people really think it's pride that keeps military spouses from asking for help and maybe to an extent it is but the thing is that there's only a million things I could use some help with and my experience has been that when I ask for help with a specific thing, it's usually the one thing that person is unable to do...which is obviously fine but it does make me slow to reach out again. I LOVE when people specifically say "Can I do "xyz" for you?" Something specific. Something they're willing and able to do and I guarantee you that it's something I won't turn down.

February 24, 2011

Telling the boy

Tonight we had "the talk" with the boy about Joshua's deployment...talk about waiting until the last minute. I should qualify that we've said things here and there but tonight was the big night. Nothing like last minute. We're blessed to have a copy of the Sesame St Deployment dvd...if you haven't heard of it, I'm pretty sure you can go onto Military One Source and request one. We got our copy at the Yellow Ribbon Weekend. It's not Army Specific but it does only show Army and Air Force families. I've been sadly surprised how many other military families I've met that haven't heard of the dvd.

In the video, Elmo's dad has to go away "to help people" for a long time. It has clips of various military families discussing their own experience with deployment and shows the many ways Elmo was able to stay in touch with his daddy. They specifically mentioned letters, photos and talking over the computer (Skype without naming it) and before Elmo's daddy left, he and Elmo talked about how they could both still say goodnight to the moon. That one hit Joshua and the boy a bit hard (I had previewed it to make sure it was something that would work for us) because going outside and seeing the moon at night is something they do now. I probably should've warned Joshua about that part. That was when the boy started to get upset. He didn't cry at that point, he got angry. He sat on Joshua's lap with a scowl on his face for the rest of the video.

After the video ended, it's about 25 mins long, we asked the boy if he understood what happened with Elmo's dad. His response was more of the angry scowl so we continued and told him Joshua would also be gone for a long time but we'll be able to send pictures and talk on the computer. The boy just started bawling and clung to Joshua's leg.

It was rough. I really wasn't 100% sure that he'd understand at 2 and a half years old what it meant but I'm sure he does. As a treat, the three of us put tonight's DVR'd episode of The Big Bang Theory on...I know it sounds odd but the boy loves it. Mostly, I think, because in the opening credit he and Joshua dance together yell "BIG BANG" as the song ends. He doesn't really care about the show but we enjoy it and he likes to sit with us while we laugh.

It's going to be tough but I feel better knowing that at least on some level, the boy gets it.

February 21, 2011

Stroller Dilemna Solved

It seems like such a simple thing...either you need a stroller or you don't but it's really not that simple. I need one and I don't. Obviously with our little girl on her way, I'll need something to carry her but we have a single stroller that has been AWESOME. It's a Jeep Jogger with the swivel wheel and toy steering wheel for the boy. It's been great. It's survived two years of trips to the zoo, museum, mall and two family vacations to Disney World. It has more than paid for itself in usefulness. I love it and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a nice single stroller that is fun, smooth and not too expensive. That said, we bought it used and it's seen better days so we're ready to retire it to the local women's shelter and find something new. 

The question is do we go with a double or another single stroller...

My husband will be deployed for a LONG time during which I will need to have the ability to strap both my children down and contain them while in public. Although the boy is fully capable of walking along and not riding in a stroller, I'm not naive enough to think he actually will walk along every time. Sometimes it's just easier to have a double stroller. The big thing is that our son likes his stroller. He sleeps in it and when we're on vacation,  I'd much rather have the option of letting him sleep in his stroller rather than have to return to the hotel to nap. The boy will be 3 yrs old this summer and my due date for the girl is almost exactly one month later which means that although I want a double stroller, I won't need one for very long. So...do I pay the $$$$ and get a nice double stroller that I won't use very long, buy a cheap one that most likely breaks within the month or try to go with a single stroller...wearing the newborn in my moby wrap anytime the boy needs a break.

Now, I don't have to make the single vs double decision. I'm getting both. No, I'm not spending an insane amount of money buying two strollers. I've decided to buy a Britax B-ready stroller. It's sold as a single stroller, however you can buy attachment bars which enable you to attach either an infant car seat underneath or a second, smaller toddler seat. My theory is that we'll get  it and by the time our little girl is ready to outgrow the carseat, her big brother will be out of the top seat on the stroller and we can just remove the attachment bar/second seat.

(with the 2nd seat)
(the car seat instead of the 2nd toddler seat)

February 19, 2011

Where's the pen!s?

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that the crass title of this post is the very first thing I said yesterday when the ultrasound tech gave us our first peek between our new little one's legs. Apparently, there wasn't one. We're having a girl. I seem to have a filter problem when it comes to big moments with my children. Don't get me wrong, I already love this little girl like crazy just as I love our son but like I said, I have a filter problem. The first thing I said when the boy was born (after confirming he was healthy and had all ten fingers and ten toes) was to my husband..."baby, I'm not pregnant anymore!"

Once I got over the momentary shock of "it's a girl," I was able to focus on what the perinatologist had to say. Most of it was good but not great. She's alive and she's thriving. I don't have placenta previa which was a concern but she has what's called echogenic bowel. Basically, her kidneys were showing up brighter on the ultrasound than they should. The most likely reason  is that at some point I spotted and she swallowed the blood (kinda gross but that's actually what we're hoping for) and her kidneys should clear up with time. Unfortunately, echogenic bowel is also a "soft-marker" for a chromosomal condition like Down's Syndrom or Cystic Fibrosis. As a result, the chance that she has something like that, given my age and our ethnicity goes from about 1 in 800 to about 4%. Since the chance is still very small, we've decided against getting the more invasive amnio tests to know for sure. We'll continue to monitor her with ultrasounds and hope and pray that everything clears up with time. In the meantime, I'm having fun buying stuff. I don't think my husband fully appreciated my love of shopping until about two hours after we were told it's a girl...his exact words were "I need to make more money." In all fairness, I did warn him that girls are expensive and it's exponential as they age.

February 17, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow...

You're only a day away!

Ok, so it's a bit corny but it's how I feel today because tomorrow we'll go to my perinatologist and see our first 3D images of the baby. We've already had SEVERAL 2D ultrasounds (the only benefit of being labeled "high risk"). But tomorrow, we fully expect to walk away knowing the gender and it's so exciting. With our son the very first 3D image we saw was him "in all his glory." We moved on and got to see some amazing video  of him actually sucking his thumb...something he unfortunately still does. It's a work in progress.

I have a few friends who for various reasons have opted not to find out the gender and although I think that's awesome, I can't do it. At least not with this pregnancy because Joshua's deploying. He's going to miss the birth (I'm not quite ready to blog about that yet) and if it's a girl...oh the plans I have...much of which, Joshua will be required to do in the minuscule time he has before he leaves.

Back to more pleasant things: The first time I had to go to the perinatologist, I was so intimidated because he's that guy...the guy who takes care of the highest of high risks. I'm blessed that I expect to only see him a few times during my pregnancy and otherwise I'm able to see my "normal" OB. The office waiting room is different than any other I've been in. OB's are usually happy and bouncy rooms, my cardiologist's waiting rooms have generally been professional but sober but the perinatologist is some sort of weird mix of the two atmospheres. The wait times can exceed the appointment by hours because even with multiple doctors on hand, they have emergencies and you just wait. Nobody complains because everyone there is there for the same reason...something is wrong and they have to fight to have children. I'll never forget my first visit...although there's one aspect I wish I could. I wore a shirt which ended up making me feel worse than I have ever felt...like bottom of the barrel, scum of the Earth, bad just really, really bad. I wore a maternity shirt, surrounded by high risk pregnant women, many of whom have suffered multiple miscarriages and are at that office hoping desperately not to have another. The shirt read: I Can Grow People. It's a super cute maternity shirt from my favorite maternity boutique but it was the worst thing I could have possibly worn in that office. I spent the two hours waiting to be seen with my arms crossed high above my chest, hoping and praying that the wrong woman wouldn't read it and have her heart broken into a million pieces.

So, tomorrow, I will be wearing a much more boring, plain t-shirt and jeans and I'll get to see my little peanut. Eeek!

February 15, 2011

The Alien Within

Kid #2 is trying to kill me before he/she is even born.

That sounds fairly dramatic but I'm about 90% sure it's true. I don't have easy pregnancies. It's a fact but this one has taken the cake. I'm ready to be done but sadly I'm only 17 weeks along so I've got quite a ways to go. With the boy, the nausea wasn't fun and didn't end until around week 26 (yeah and it was worse in the 2nd trimester...I'm one of those special women). My heart was the big problem with the boy though. For those of you that don't know, I have what is essentially a very minor heart condition (as heart conditions go). It's called SVT for short. You may have heard of it because it's not terribly rare for pregnant women to develop SVT for a short time during their pregnancy. I've had it or had the diagnosis of it for just under 10 years. Long story short, it's an electrical problem and my heart beats irregularly. Mostly, it just causes a lot of pain and can lead to preterm labor if not properly monitored and controlled. So with the boy, I was placed on a couple different drugs...if you're really curious, it was digoxen and a beta blocker but most likely anyone reading this won't know or care what they are. They helped and the boy arrived right when we wanted him to arrive but it wasn't easy and it freaked out my husband more than I think I realized at the time.

Before I whine anymore, let me first clarify that I find pregnancy to be truly a gift from God and the most miraculous experience a woman can have. For me, it's just a gift that kicks my butt (hopefully) for 9 months before I can actually enjoy it.

As for this pregnancy, my heart has been great. That's about where to good times end though. The vomiting is worse...yeah. I didn't really think that was possible but for my first two OB appointments, I showed a fairly significant loss in weight instead of a gain which wasn't a surprise because I was essentially throwing up 5-7 times a day every day. Like with the boy, I tried everything to make the morning sickness go away. I started with the old school natural routes...real gingerale and crackers. Nada. In fact, real gingerale really burns coming back up. I've come to judge food and drinks by more than how they taste just going down but I won't gross you out further with that information. I quickly moved onto drugs. Finagrin was a waste of time and actually made me feel kinda loopy. My OB had me try it in EVERY form...oral pill, wrist gel (that stuff's weird) and the shot. Again, nada. Nothing helped until zofran. I love zofran. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a drug primarly used to treat nausea and vomiting for surgery and cancer patients. Zofran managed to cut the vomiting down to only a couple times a day, 3-4 days a week. Not fun but totally manageable. Until the day I apparently threw up one time too many. I tore my esophagus and began vomiting blood. NOT FUN. So we took a trip to the ER and thankfully for a tear in the esophagus, it "wasn't bad." Oh good.

There have been other complications which have caused me to get a few shots in the bum and random pelvic exams that really aren't much fun but right now the priority, no matter how un-fun, is to keep the kid in.

February 11, 2011

It's My Deployment and I'll Cry If I Want To...

...or eat junk food at an unbelievable rate
....or throw myself a mini-pity party when my husband's not watching
...or buy myself a totally indulgent overly priced "deployment gift"
...or return to blogging

...most-likely it'll be some sort of combination of all of the above.

I suppose an explanation of my absence would only be appropriate. Joshua...the hubs...returned from training and we spent a couple weeks pretty much ignoring the world and hanging out with the boy. Then, we went on vacation to our favorite spot, Walt Disney World and finally we visited some of our favorite friends in Georgia. Shortly thereafter, we found out that I am pregnant. Normally all these things would be great subjects to blog about and I probably should have blogged about everything but the pregnancy. The truth is all I wanted to blog about was the pregnancy but I couldn't...well, I could have technically but I couldn't go through posting "I'M PREGNANT" to the world just to have to post that I'm not a few weeks later which has been my history. This is my 5th pregnancy...but it will, hopefully be our 2nd child. Even after reaching the 2nd trimester, I was hesitant to announce the pregnancy publicly because recently two very dear friends lost their own babies well into the 2nd trimester. It really messed with my mind which is why I was so relieved that Joshua wasn't scheduled to deploy until well into my 3rd trimester.

Well...at least that was the plan until the Army decided to change Joshua's team assignment which has bumped up his deployment about 2 months earlier than initially expected.

Oh yay.

The only consolation I have is that because my pregnancy is "high risk" I'm scheduled to get my first 3D/4D ultrasound before Joshua leaves and we'll get to see the gender for the first time together.

For the record, I'm hoping for a boy because we're set for another boy. He'd sleep in our room until he'd be big enough to take the second bed in "the boy's" room. By the way, if it's another boy, I've decided that for blogging purposes instead of "the boy" and "the boy part deux," it'll be "the heir" and "the spare." It's just so much easier. The boy was born in June, we saved all his clothes and #2 is due in July so the only clothes I would need to buy would be fun little additions to the wardrobe. If it's a girl, we're in trouble...not just because I would MUCH rather deal with a broken bone than a broken heart but because I have grand plans for the 3rd bedroom...think Parisian. I picture white wainscoting, a giant mural of the Eiffel Tower, little white French Poodle accents and a chandelier. Joshua wisely didn't say anything when I told him of my grand plans. He just kind of got a glazed over "oh my" look in his eyes. My guess is that he was estimating all the labor and money he may be about to drop...especially since we will literally have a matter of days to do everything after finding out the gender.

So, there it is. I'm back to blogging and about to need it more than ever before.