2:17 pm

I went to see grandpa this morning at 8 and when I arrived, the CNA, Judie, from his hospice care was there. She was washing his hair and giving him a shave, all without any acknowledgement from Grandpa. After she got Grandpa cleaned up, she called the nurse on the phone and said that she smelled a faint fruity smell on his breath and that gramps had a slight fever. When my parents arrived, she informed us that these were signs that Grandpa had started the active phase of dying. Her schedule was to be Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 am; however, she did not seem confident that there would be anyone to see come Monday morning.

At around 10, we headed to work where we stayed for about an hour and a half. Then, we returned to visit Grandpa. When we arrived, Grandpa was not resting as peacefully as he had been that morning. His breathing was laced with moans, which we interpreted as him being in pain. We called the resident nurse who administered morphine. After about 45 minutes, Grandpa stopped moaning, and his breath became very shallow and deep. Around this time, the hospice nurse arrived.

She told us a lot of what we had heard that morning. This time, he had a couple more symptoms (the shallow breathing, some molding – I think that’s what it’s called, and a bit of sleep apnea – which he had the day before). We all sat around and Grandpa’s apnea seemed to get worse. He would take one quick breath and then would stop breathing for 10 seconds. Then a breath and another 18 seconds. And so on. Dad ran out to the car and I could see my mom start to look concerned. The time between breaths was getting longer. She went out to get my dad, leaving me sitting next to Grandpa thinking, “please take another breath, please take another breath.” Finally, dad came back in just as Grandpa gasped. Grandpa took two more breaths after that and was pronounced dead at 2:17 this afternoon.

Grandpa left this world with family by his side and surrounded with love, prayers and well wishes. I hope we made your journey a little easier, Grampy. Always. xo

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My 36-Week Internal Exam & a Lot of Catch Up

Today was my 36-week appointment, which meant the drawers were dropped and I was assaulted. At this point, my cervix isn’t dilated a bit, but is thinning. Also, our sweet little girl is still very high. Obviously, I’m not over-the-moon about that part. What’s she doing way up there? It’s time to come down and “engage” as they say.

I’ve decided to help her make her way down, I will be adding in a few practices into my daily routine…

1) Walks – Maybe a quick, 30-minute walk will help. I feel like I could pretty easily add this into my morning or evening… or even a mid-day walk over lunch?

2) Sitting/Bouncing/Rocking/Squatting on my exercise/birthing ball. This is supposed to help loosen up the hips/pelvis and permit baby a bit more room to squeeze on down.

3) Squats – I feel like I do a lot of squats… at least on my workout days… but I think it’s time to maybe add in 20 in the am and 20 in the pm, just for good measure.

4) Pelvic Tilts – I do these sometimes… but not regularly and not enough. It’s simple, get on all fours and move the pelvis forward, into neutral, then back.

5) To my momma/momma-in-laws… please skip this one. That thing that got me pregnant in the first place. Supposedly this helps her get into position? Whatever. I won’t question it. I’m always happy to give love making some purpose other than the obvious.

Other than that, I had to get my Strep B test. That wasn’t too pleasant either. A nice swab to the Va-hoo-hoo and the butt. Lovely. I’m hoping and praying this comes back negative. I really do not want to be a) hooked to an IV during labor or b) on antibiotics.

In the weight department, I LOST .6 LBS! Such joy. I should also mention that last appointment, I had gained 5 lbs in 2 weeks. So a .6 lb loss was only fair.

In other news, here are some photos I’ve been hoarding.

This weekend, I went to my little friend Erica's Wine Bottling Party. How cute is she? Also, why is my face so puffy? I should probably make sure she gains 30 lbs before we take another photo together.

This weekend, I went to my little friend Erica’s Wine Bottling Party. How cute is she? Also, why is my face so puffy? I should probably make sure she gains 30 lbs before we take another photo together.

I officially took my rings off (just to be safe) and replaced them with this GAUDY (fake) rock. I'm already regretting buying such a huge ring. It kind of... attracts attention. It's created quite a few blushing/sweaty moments explaining that it's fake and my fingers are just a little fat for my real ring.

I officially took my rings off (just to be safe) and replaced them with this GAUDY (fake) rock. I’m already regretting buying such a huge ring. It kind of… attracts attention. It’s created quite a few blushing/sweaty moments explaining that it’s fake and my fingers are just a little fat for my real ring.

Thoughts on this diaper bag? I bought it at Nordstrom Rack and think I really like it. Decisions...

Thoughts on this diaper bag? I bought it at Nordstrom Rack and think I really like it. Decisions…

Baby/Puppy Baby/Mommy snuggles. Best thing ever.

Baby/Puppy Baby/Mommy snuggles. Best thing ever.

He's so cute.

He’s so cute.

Mom/Dad/Pup hammock snuggles. My favorite activity ever.

Mom/Dad/Pup hammock snuggles. My favorite activity ever.

My boys.

My boys.

Silly face.

Silly face.

The hubs setting up show in the dining room. Toby trying to make work a little less painful.

The hubs setting up shop in the dining room. Toby trying to make work a little less painful.

The boys snoozing.

The boys snoozing.

I've started filling the frames for the nursery gallery wall with DIY creations. Thought this turned out well. Just hearts cut out of scrap book paper.

I’ve started filling the frames for the nursery gallery wall with DIY creations. Thought this one turned out well. Just hearts cut out of scrap book paper.

Almond Butter, All-Natural Berry Fruit Spread & Banana Sandwich... the only thing I want to eat for the rest of my life. MMmmmmm!

Almond Butter, All-Natural Berry Fruit Spread & Banana Sandwich… the only thing I want to eat for the rest of my life. MMmmmmm!

 

 

My Grandpa is Dying

Oy. Lost blog post. For some reason, only my title was posted? I’m not sure I have it in me to start this one over again, but I’ll do my best.

This past weekend, my parents, aunt, and uncle went to Florida to tend to Grandpa’s stuff, as they brought him back here about a month ago so we could take care of him. When they left, Grandpa was in a rehab facility trying to build up strength.

While they were away, I was Grandpa’s contact and I visited him and checked in on him twice a day. On Saturday, Mark and I took Grandpa for a little stroll outside in his wheelchair. It was a beautiful day. By the time we got back inside, Grandpa was pooped, so we had the nurses lay him down for a rest.

Later that afternoon, I received a call from Grandpa. He was really confused. “Where are you? I don’t know where I am. Where’s your Grandpa? Where’s Jeff?” I told Grandpa I’d be over soon, but it would take me about an hour, as I was way out West for a friend’s party. I would also have Jeff, my dad, call him. “How will you find me? I don’t even know where I am! Where will he call me?” I assured him that he was safe and I knew where he was. I’d be there soon.

By the time I got there, Grandpa was doing much better. More relaxed and actually eating! It was a nice visit.

The next morning, Mark and I brought Toby the puppito to Gramps in hopes that he would help to cheer him up. However, when we got to his room, we couldn’t seem to wake him up for more than a few seconds. I called the nurse who took his vitals. She said everything looked good and he was probably just tired. They peeled Grandpa from his chair and brought him to lunch. Physically, he was there, but according to my cousin – who arrived right after we left – Grandpa refused to eat and just wanted to rest. When we returned for dinner, it was a lot of the same.

The next morning, I received a call from my aunt. Grandpa was on his way to the ER for a potential stroke/dehydration/something still isn’t right. When Mark, my cousin and I finally got in to see Gramps, he was sleeping and when he did come to, was pretty out of it. By around 3 pm, my parents arrived. Grandpa was really happy to see my dad.

After chatting for a couple minutes, dad left to grab some coffee and in that time, Grandpa woke up again. My cousin and I stood by his side and I explained what was going on (again). I told him everything was going to be okay. We’re all here to take care of you and you’re doing great. You look better already! Grandpa started to cry. “Thank you. Thank you for taking care of me. I love you. Thank you. I love you.”

That moment is what keeps replaying in my head. It was this moment of pure fear mixed with total gratitude. It completely shatters my heart and at the same time, makes me feel really happy that we could be there to give Grandpa a little comfort.

Grandpa has since been released from the hospital into hospice care. They removed his IV and are treating him for pain only. Grandpa slept for the bulk of our 2+ hour visit last night. But, we did manage to get a few of those smiles laced with that same gratitude we saw in the hospital. Those smiles are everything.

I haven’t been back yet today, but mom says that Grandpa is in his wheelchair and is even drinking Ensure! It’s great news. I mean, I know Grandpa is going to die. They think he has about a week or two. But still. Any improvement – even temporary – feels like a much needed breath. Plus, my brother is getting married this Sunday. For his sake and the sake of the family, I really hope Grandpa can hold on until then.

I don’t know what else to say, except that when it’s my time, I hope I’m as lucky to have the ones I love surrounding me. Giving me moments of peace as I end my journey.

35 Weeks (May 23, 2014)

35 Weeks (May 23, 2014). Another week has gone by and now there is literally only 5 left... that feels absolutely crazy. Baby is a giant, mommy is a giant... everything is big now. My belly button is working hard to stay an inny, but definitely pokes out... it's not on outy, but it looks like a volcano.

35 Weeks (May 23, 2014). Another week has gone by and now there is literally only 5 left… that feels absolutely crazy. Baby is a giant, mommy is a giant… everything is big now. My belly button is working hard to stay an inny, but definitely pokes out… it’s not on outy, but it looks like a volcano.

 

Symptoms

So, I didn’t post yesterday. I had a crabby day and didn’t feel like sharing my crabby. Pretty much the gist of it is that I had a crappy doctor’s appointment. Everything is good with baby and I, but I was just not happy with my doc. More on that later. For now, a few cute things to set the tone for a great (and long) weekend!

TINY bun bun that was hanging in the front yard. Hi bun bun!

TINY bun bun that was hanging in the front yard. Hi bun bun!

Toby, Baby and I crashing over lunch one of those rough days this week... can't remember which.

Toby, Baby and I crashing over lunch one of those rough days this week… can’t remember which.

Letting Go of the Physical & Mental Stress

As I mentioned (AKA: severely complained about) yesterday, my back has not been my friend lately. In my attempt to heal, I’ve decided I need to not only focus on the physical remedies (chiropractor, stretching, massage, crying, etc), but also, the mental stresses that might be causing physical tension.

With that said, I’ve been avoiding thinking about and/or talking about my gramps. Grandpa is 87 and has been living in Florida alone, with the memory of my grams who passed over 10 years ago. Grandpa has prostate cancer, which has been managed for years now. Recently, Grandpa’s been running into health issues… mainly dementia and his cancer metastasizing. About a month ago, Grandpa fell at his condo in FL and spent 6 hours on the floor, unable to get up. The next day, my dad and uncle were on a plane to bring grandpa here to Wisconsin where we could take care of him. Since he’s been back, it’s been one thing after the next.

We got him into assisted living and after three falls, he was finally hospitalized for dehydration. When he was released, he went to a rehab facility. After a few days there, he was sent back to the hospital for slurred speech. Everyone was thinking he had a stroke, but if he did, it was small enough that it didn’t show up on the MRI. Grandpa has since been released and has been sent to a different rehab facility, as the first one did not meet the family’s standards.

So now, poor Grandpa is in yet another new home for up to 90 days, with the next stop being unknown. Grandpa is severely confused due to his dementia, which causes him to experience moments of panic and fear daily. He calls my parents every day, freaking out because he doesn’t know where he is.

His cancer has spread to his liver and to his ribs. While no one really knows how long Grandpa has, it is clear that his mind and body are failing him. The doctor and my parents seem to think it will be a matter of months. Poor grandpa has lost over 14 lbs since he’s been here.

My grandma died very suddenly, so this whole watching someone go is very new to me. I’m trying to stay positive and appreciate the fact that he has today, but it’s hard to do… especially knowing he’s so miserable.

But, with our little girl only a month out, I can’t help but selfishly hope that Grandpa will stick around to meet her. My grandpa has said he’s ready to see my grandma, but I also know it would mean a lot to him to meet our little lady. He talks about how exciting it is to be here now as we get ready to welcome her.

I don’t know what happens to people when they die, but if Grandpa really does get to go see Grandma, I think she’d really love to know a little bit about our girl. My grandma and I were very close. She called me her “heart of hearts”… a term of endearment that means more to me than any. She was a tough, no bull-shit woman. I really hope Grandpa gets to bring a little bit of us with him wherever he goes.

After reading all this, it still feels like I’m holding onto my feelings about the whole thing and focusing on the facts. Let me say this, I am not ready to lose my grandpa. It suddenly feels like things are spiraling a bit and before I know it, all of my grandparents will be gone. I guess that is just another reminder to cherish the time we still have and carve out time to see them as often as possible.

My Back Took a Sick Day

Okay, my back has taken this whole painful and uncomfortable third trimester thing to a whole new level today. Last night I made it to the gym, but ended up taking a tylenol beforehand. I’m guessing that was stupid. I have been so good about not taking medicine, but I was so uncomfortable and really thought a workout would help. Anyway, when I got home, the hubs helped me do 1 minute ice, 1 minute hot on my back for 10 minutes or so. However, when I woke up this morning, I wasn’t feeling any better. And, by the time I got into work, I was seriously uncomfortable. My back pain has gotten to a point where it almost takes my breath away and today, was making me pretty nauseous. I literally sat at work staring blankly trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do. I had my hot and ice packs with me, but nothing was working.

Finally, at around noon, I decided to call it quits and try working from home. Unfortunately, the only position that seems to relieve the pain is of the horizontal nature… not a real powerful working position. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten anything done today, my back still feels terrible, and I’m not sure what to do.

I have an appointment with my chiropractor tomorrow at 5 pm and just got a referral for an acupuncturist. It’s time to get creative. This pain is definitely NOT sustainable for 5.5+ more weeks.

If anyone has other suggestions, please share… I’m struggling.

Pregnancy Meltdown & Birthday Celebrations

On Friday morning, I woke up with my right hand much more swollen than my left. I thought it was a little weird, but attributed it to the fact that I woke up on my side, meaning my hands were in different positions, bearing different amounts of pressure.

As the day went on, my back was progressively more achy, to the point where the pain seemed to wrap around to the front / top of my belly. At this point, I started to get a little worried about preeclampsia… not that I actually thought I had it, becuase my BP has been perfectly low, but my symptoms were starting to add up. Then, around 3:30, my vision became very weird. It was almost as if I was getting a migraine, with a line of flashing lights in my left eye. This sent me into a panic.

I was working at my parents’ company that afternoon, so I went in and asked my mom if she had a portable BP machine. She said no, but told me to run over to my general practitioner who is literally 2 minutes away. She said they would take my blood pressure for me, no problem. My brother – who was in town for wedding stuff – offered to take me, and so fighting back tears, I headed to the doc. Of course, my blood pressure was fine. My doctor was nice enough to see me for a few minutes and tell me there was nothing to worry about. She did, however, advise me to tell my doctor about the swelling AND suggested I stop wearing heels. Urgh. I don’t know if I’m ready for that… although, I think my back is.

Anyway, that night, my Milly took me on a birthday date to the Milwaukee Ballet to see Mirror, Mirror, a rendition of Snow White. The show was perfect! Beautiful dancing, compelling story… just a wonderful performance! AND, our seats were great. Couldn’t have asked for a better end to such a weird day.

mjs-mirror-mirror.-susan-ga

Saturday was my birthday celebration day with the hubs! But, before we got started, I met my mom and sis for manis. I decided to go outside my comfort zone for something a little crazy…

A HOT PINK kinda day...

A HOT PINK kinda day…

When I got home, the hubs and I jumped in the car to head to the first stop on our birthday celebration… Wellspring. Wellspring is the farm where we will get our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares. The farm was hosting tours and gardening classes, so Marky and I had a visit.

Gardening Class... Let me tell you, we were out of our league. These people were talking about food forests... Mark and I were looking for simple planting bed instructions. Regardless, it was interesting and enjoyable!

Gardening Class… Let me tell you, we were out of our league. These people were talking about food forests… Mark and I were looking for simple planting bed instructions. Regardless, it was interesting and enjoyable!

Checking out the seedlings and plant grafts.

Checking out the seedlings and plant grafts.

Silly rooster rolling in the dirt.

Silly rooster rolling in the dirt.

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE roosters? Such weird and beautiful little creatures.

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE roosters? Such weird and beautiful little creatures.

His name is Frank. Or at least it should be...

His name is Frank. Or at least it should be…

Tomato plants and other delicious things!

Tomato plants and other delicious things!

Our source for produce this summer! I think that's lettuce coming up! We get our first share in 2 weeks!

Our source for produce this summer! I think that’s lettuce coming up! We get our first share in 2 weeks!

After the farm, we went back to the house for a little rest. Thankfully my hubs recognizes that although I’d like to be on the go-go-go, my body can’t really handle that these days. So, we took a nap, loved on the puppy, and got ready for the next stop… PRENATAL MASSAGE!

This was like music to my ears. My back has been excruciating. I can’t even explain the pain, but it’s sharp and it’s constant and it creates this reaction in my body that leaves me constantly feeling like I’m fighting back tears. Anyway, I went to Massage Envy for a prenatal massage and let this guy literally abuse my back. There were moments where I was practicing my labor techniques for pain because the dude was pushing so hard on my back. But, no pain, no gain, right? I figured, attack the back and I’ll feel better later. Now, it wasn’t all painful, it was pretty enjoyable and I left feeling really good. I also felt justified in my complaining because Brian the massage man said my back was horrific.

Anyway, after dinner, my guy took me to a delicious and very nice dinner. We had soft-shelled crab, which was shockingly delicious, and fish and just yum. Then, we went to Baskin Robbins for dessert… After way too many samples, I decided on Cookies & Cream… the flavor I ALWAYS get.

Then Sunday, we had brunch with my sweet friend Marci and her hubs, Jesse. It was really fun to catch up and chitter chatter with them. Once we parted ways, Marky and I ran a few errands and went back to the house to do some chores. For me, that meant excessive amounts of laundry and folding. By the end of the night, we decided that I overdid it. My back was killing me. AND, due to my very hard-pressure massage, it hurts to the touch, so I’m not really able to receive more massages until it’s less sore. Oy. Third trimester problems for sure.

All-in-all, it was a REALLY great weekend. Too bad it’s Monday.

 

Symptoms

All I can think about is my back. It’s killing me. I’m starting to wonder how the heck I’m going to survive the next 5.5 weeks if this continues at this rate. I’m planning to go to the gym tonight in hopes that it will help stretch out my muscles and offer a little relief. We’ll see. If not, I’ll just continue icing/heating my back.

Toby keeping me company as I heated my back. He always climbs all over the baby...

Toby keeping me company as I heated my back. He always climbs all over the baby…

 

34 Weeks (May 16, 2014)

34 Weeks (May 16, 2014). Well, it's somehow been 8.5 months already, which just seems like SO long. This week I feel like my belly has really "popped" so to speak. I feel giant-sized. It's getting difficult to put shoes and socks on, my back is aching like crazy and I just feel VERY pregnant. With that said, I also feel like we're in the home stretch now. Only 6 more weeks... and 2 more weeks until I'm 9 months pregnant. It's just crazy. According to my phone app, she is weighing in at around 5 lbs (no wonder my back hurts) and measuring at nearly 18 inches. So crazy...

34 Weeks (May 16, 2014). Well, it’s somehow been 8.5 months already, which just seems like SO long. This week I feel like my belly has really “popped” so to speak. I feel giant-sized. It’s getting difficult to put shoes and socks on, my back is aching like crazy and I just feel VERY pregnant. With that said, I also feel like we’re in the home stretch now. Only 6 more weeks… and 2 more weeks until I’m 9 months pregnant. It’s just crazy. According to my phone app, she is weighing in at around 5 lbs (no wonder my back hurts) and measuring at nearly 18 inches. So crazy…

 

Symptoms

Besides it being hard to put my socks and shoes on and my back feeling pretty terrible, I’ve also been noticing some swelling (mostly in the morning or late at night) in my hands and feet… sometimes face, too. My wrists are also really sore, too. I read something on Babycenter I believe that said this was normal and to try to stop to do wrist and hand stretches throughout the day. Also, my doula advised eating lots of protein and drinking TONS of water. She said to factor how much water you need to drink, you take your weight, divide by 2 and that’s how many ounces you should drink. For example, let’s say that I weighed 130 lbs, then I should be drinking 65 oz of water per day. This includes water that goes into your tea/coffee/etc. I’m REALLY going to try to drink more. I can feel that I’m not getting enough water. It’s just such a pain. If I’m actually drinking enough water, I have to pee every 30-45 minutes instead of the normal 1-1.5 hours.

Wow. That was a very whiny post, huh? I’ve been feeling a little off this week. I have spurts of chipperness, but as a whole, I feel pretty worn out. I could really go for a mental health day to just sleep all day. In theory, I should do this on the weekend, but our weekends are SO packed with activity and events. Not that I don’t love that… again, I just feel a little drained mentally and physically.

To end on a more positive note, I am a very lucky gal. Our baby is growing like a little champ and my husband is amazing. Every night, after he reads our girl her bedtime story, he’s been reading The Birth Partner. He really is the best birth (and life) partner I could ever ask for.

Working on Your Birthday Should be Illegal

Today is my 29th birthday! Now, I should mention, I’m a total birthday person. I’m not sure why exactly, because as a child… or really, through being an adult (up until the time I started dating my husband), they were always a day that led to a lot of let down. But regardless, I still love birthdays. I love other peoples’ birthdays, I love my own birthday, and actually have been trying to get my husband to celebrate “Maylissa”… a month dedicated to me… for at least 3 years now. He’s still not convinced. Maybe one day…

Anyway, being that I’ve been at work for what feels like 12 hours (I’ve actually only been here about 5 hours… got a late start and took a long lunch), it hasn’t been anything spectacular, but I can’t complain. My poor hubs woke up at 3:30 this morning to go to work (woof!), which had me up for a short time, but nothing too crazy. I finally dragged my butt out of bed at around 6:30 and started my morning routine… but just a slower version. I was hoping to get out of the house early so I could pick up a little birthday treat to share with my coworkers, but somehow didn’t get out of the house until 8 (the time I’m supposed to start work).

I stopped at an Outpost Natural Foods that just opened up near our house. I’ve been looking for an excuse to go there. And I totally indulged. I got muffins and bagels to share and a decaf latte (I love their coffee – it’s Anodyne Coffee – THE BEST) AND a Green Juice. As I slowly strolled out of there and started making my way to work, I realized that the route I was taking was kind of close (only 15 ish minutes out of my way) to my husband’s office. So, I called him up to see if he needed a little pick-me-up. Seeing that he had eaten breakfast at 4 am, he was a bit hungry, so I stopped by and dropped off a few goodies for him and picked up some birthday kisses for me (the real reason I stopped by).

Then, it was on my way to work… only 45 minutes late. Thankfully, no one cared or noticed or something. From around 9-11, it was slow, but by 11:45, I was on my way to lunch with my ex-work wife (she recently switched jobs and left me). We had a great lunch catching up and I was able to return a few items to Macy’s afterwards. BUT, then I had to come back to work. I’ve been decently productive this afternoon, but literally am one big struggle fest. I don’t want to work today. Or tomorrow for that matter. But I REALLY don’t want to work today. A few jobs ago, it was company policy to have off on your birthday. I miss that.

Anyway, tonight my hubs and I will have dinner with my parents and then the celebration continues through the weekend… Friday night I’m going to the ballet with my Milly and then Saturday morning nails with my mom and sis and the rest of the day I’ll be celebrating (with a mystery date) with my amazing husband. Such fun!

By the way, this is the year I become a momma 🙂

 

Symptoms

I have had such discomfort in my middle back on the right side. I almost feel it in the front, too. Sometimes I kind of feel a touch of numbness on the top of my belly in that same spot. What a pain. Literally, but I meant that figuratively. Besides the soreness, everything is pretty much business as usual… although, I think my belly had a HUGE growth spurt this week. It seems REALLY big.

That's one hell of a belly!

That’s one hell of a belly!

On a more positive note, my sweet girl performed a cute little (45 minute) song and dance for me this afternoon. She had the belly bouncing around like crazy.

Toby, on the other hand, was not so peppy this morning.

Don't make me get outta bed!!

What’s a birthday? Don’t make me get outta bed!!