[Edit: I just saw that I had already written the story of Cameron’s ER visit below, but I’m going to keep this post as-is anyway. Consider it a recap.]

I never actually wrote on social media about Cameron’s upcoming hernia surgery. It wasn’t intentional, but after the moment passed, mentioning an ER visit seemed a little too attention-grabbing, even with the cute pictures of Cameron in his hospital gown, watching Curious George.

Cameron had been sick, a bad cold, which is ultimately unrelated but the way the story goes relates them in my head. You know he’s for-real sick when Cameron wants to sleep, and after napping through the afternoon on Shannon’s couch, he continued to sleep on my lap at home. But getting him to bed turned into a screaming match while we tried to wrestle his pants off to get his nighttime diaper on. When we got his pants off something was obviously wrong – his testicles were completely lopsided with one looking outright deflated. (And I apologize to future-Cameron for talking about his testicles on the internet, but present-Cameron still has no issue with public nudity.)

We fought his pants back on and packed up to go to Urgent Care. Andrew had looked up the wait time ahead of time and we were prepared for a wait but it turns out testicle issues are the way to get fast-tracked to the front of the line. (Don’t try this at home.) Someone was ready to take us back before we had even finished the intake questions.

We ended up being referred to the ER for an ultrasound, also fast-tracked to the front. On the way out the nurse wished us good luck and “Hopefully it’s just a hernia.” ‘A hernia is the good result?’ I thought. Turns out the true emergency situation they were concerned out is testicular torsion, and Cameron does in fact have a hernia, just like his dad at the same age.

The funny thing is I’d been so concerned about all of the issues he might inherit from me (and reassured myself with the thought that it’s unlikely for him to get *everything* wrong with me), while Andrew has a practically clean bill of health, and this is what happens.

Thankfully this non-emergency situation meant I could delay his surgery until Spring Break so he won’t have to miss any preschool.

I was hoping that writing all of my anxieties about the surgery will get them out of my head, but when I try they retreat and feel too silly. The rest of the time they are bombarding me with ‘what if’s.
What if…

He sneaks a Cheerio off the floor without us knowing, aspirates during surgery. He doesn’t die, but he’s without oxygen for too long and has brain damage. The Cameron we bring home isn’t the same Cameron we went to the hospital with. There’s a giant purple Easter egg I’m hiding in the closet but he’s still caught sight of and I’ve told him “That’s a surprise, pretend you didn’t see it.” Now he doesn’t remember it at all and Easter surprises are meaningless.

What if…

The unthinkable happens and our baby dies. One in a million chance but someone has to be that ‘one’.

What if…

I go to work to make up the day I’m going to miss and instead and miss my last chance to be with him.

What if…

He misses out on dying Easter eggs because I kept putting it off and decided to save it as an after-surgery sit-down activity.

What if…

Would we keep trying to have another baby if we lost our first?

What if…

If we had another boy, could we just name him Cameron II?

(Sorry, dark humor helps me cope…)

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The bleeding started today. Late last night, I suppose.

My doctor had referred me to a specialist a few months ago to look into my spotting issues as well as my approaching-the-six-month-point-of-trying-to-get-pregnant-over-35 issues. My appointment was November 1st and I got the positive pregnancy test on October 31. So I went to my appointment and never had a good opportunity to mention, “Oh by the way I’m already pregnant,” so I didn’t, because I’m awkward like that. On the plus side, this did get me someone to send me for the blood tests I wanted.

With my ambiguous HCG levels, she sent me for an ultrasound today. This time I told the technician up front that I knew I wasn’t pregnant anymore, and wanted to apologize for bleeding on the sheets. I had to wonder how normal it is to go through a transvaginal ultrasound while planning out what to have for lunch when it’s all done.

Panera, I decided.

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And Trump won this thing. I have no words, and I have too many words.

My pregnancy limbo continues but it’s not looking promising. My 48 hour HCG levels have been 37, 55, and 66. I don’t have today’s results back yet but my line hasn’t gotten any darker.

When I start bleeding I really want to collect it all and send it to our future vice president so he can make sure it gets a proper funeral.

Cameron is fine. Well not fine fine, but fine enough, not the kind of not-fine that an ER visit implies. (Hello semantic satiation…)

He got sick a week ago, and I know this kid is really sick when he wants to sleep. After spending the evening sleeping on the couch, and sleeping in my arms, we tried to put him to bed for real. He was fighting us like crazy and as we finally got his pants off something looked horribly wrong. One testicle was swollen and the other looked completely deflated. We fought his pants back on and drove to urgent care.

I’ve mentally allocated one urgent care visit per age so we’re right on schedule.

It also turns out that testicle issues get you pushed to the front of the line. Someone was ready to take us back before we even finished registering. We got sent to the ER for an ultrasound, again with a room waiting for us when we got there. “Hopefully it’s a hernia,” we were told as we left urgent care and I had to ask Andrew, “A hernia’s the good result?”

Cameron watched Curious George from his hospital bed until he told us to turn it off, slept in my arms, put up with an ultrasound, and eventually got discharged with instructions to follow up with his doctor. A hernia at three, just like his dad, with surgery in his future.

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Pregnancy limbo is the… well it’s not the worst because I can think if many worse things, like a confirmed loss or a Trump win.

Or spending the evening in the ER with your current child. That’s a thing that happened too.

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When Andrew said it would be funny if we conceived Second Baby on Cameron’s birthday, I stopped myself from explaining how sex and conception aren’t actually the same thing. Since the sperm need to be there hanging out for the egg’s arrival, actual conception happens at some mundane time like in the middle of grocery shopping. Well three days later FertilityFriend gave me my cross hairs on my chart showing that I in fact ovulated on Cameron’s birthday.

I know from reading the forums that women who are trying to conceive get kind of crazy (and since you have to be a VIP (paid) member of FertilityFriend to have access to those forums, extra crazy) and start reading symptoms into everything. I also know that the hormone levels are not high enough so early to actually cause symptoms, *or* they are identical to PMS symptoms which is extra frustrating. That said, here are things that have made me think I might be pregnant this cycle:

– Spotting starting at 4DPO (normally it starts a week before my period, never this early.)

– A very sore nipple, despite knowing that it’s a direct result of Cameron accidentally ‘rolling’ it while playing on the bed.

– An oh-so-slight tenderness in my breasts.

– One day at work where I just couldn’t feel satisfied even after eating all the snacks I had on hand.

– My temperatures rising consistently (until they fell a bit again.)

– When checking to see if my milk is finally gone, I got nothing from one side and a drop of what looked more like colostrum than milk from the other. (By the way, the ‘nothing’ side was the one Cameron hurt so obviously it’s scared now.)

– A sudden inability to figure out how to open a package of plastic wrap, which could only be justified as pregnancy brain.

– This pregnancy test:

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‘Wait, I’m not ready for this yet’ was the thought that went through my head as I was falling asleep last night. I mean I’ve been ready in a hypothetical, near-future kind of way, but not in an it’s-already-April-and-actually-time-to-break-out-the-candles kind of way.

It all started with the month of dental hell, last June. A hurty tooth prompted me to finally schedule my next cleaning/checkup. They offered me an appointment that same week, suggesting it be best to get it out of the way without too much anticipation, but I wasn’t falling for that trick and scheduled a week out. The next day the worsening pain convinced me to call back and claim that Friday appointment after all. I suffered trough the next couple days and the word ‘excruciating’ comes to mind as I learned that Tylenol can’t be taken around the clock and soon stopped even lasting the whole six hours between doses.

After my cleaning, the dentist came to talk about my tooth and told me they were sending me to a specialist downtown. I drove downtown, tooth still throbbing, where the specialist explained that I had a “missed canal” in my previous root canal (and also learned that it’s possible to have had a root canal and not know it, but since I have to have my dental-work done sedated, who knows what’s gone on in my mouth.) I was sent off with prescriptions for Vicodin, antibiotics, and an appointment in a week for the root canal redo.

A week later I survived my re-canal and found out it was only part one. Two weeks later I had to go back to have it finished.

In the meantime the antibiotics gave me a yeast infection which I home-treated but thankfully no UC flare which had been my big fear. (Antibiotics are known for causing flares.)

Oh and to top it off the specialist place lost my x-rays in a computer crash and called me to have them retaken, on my birthday.

So when my period was late, I can’t say I was particularly surprised. In fact when it ultimately skipped a month, I looked back at the calendar and thought ‘no wonder!’, my ovaries just said “nope, not this time.”

But in that time in between, as unlikely as it was, we both realized we were a little excited by the idea that I could be pregnant. And that led to The Conversation, a “how crazy would it be…?”

We’ve always intended two so that isn’t really news itself. However I had a few requirements in mind before trying for Second Baby:

1. First Baby (AKA Cameron) had to be at least a year old, so my body wouldn’t have to fully support two dependents (pregnancy and nutritive nursing).

2. Cameron had to be sleeping decently well, so that I could even entertain the thought of being pregnant again.

3. We had to be financially stable enough to support another child.

And that’s where things get tricky…

Andrew insisted that it was in fact not crazy but my requirement meant getting by with more than the barest of minimums. I’ve feared adding more stress to our lives while subtracting luxuries and imagine being trapped at home with a new baby while not being able to justify so much as a trip to Starbucks, let alone an occasional babysitter, and the foot massages that are not quite a *necessity* during pregnancy, but pretty close to it.
Then I went back to work.

To make a long story short, I’m working part time, in office, for my old job that I have failed to quit multiple times. The amazing Shannon (and this is such a good deal for me that I can’t talk about it without using the prefix ‘amazing’) is watching Cameron for free/in exchange for baked goods. Not paying for childcare has made the difference between working for the sake of getting out of the house and being an adult, and actually contributing to the family financially (while still getting out of the house and being an adult.) My credit card is going slowly down instead of slowly up while Andrew focuses on getting his own paid off. I’m also putting extra money aside as my pregnancy fund, to be able to afford those massages and babysitter time.

When nosy people ask, “So when are you having a second?” I always wonder if they realizing what they’re actually asking. I’d always respond with this half laugh that’s trying to project, “Are you crazy? I can barely handle the one!” with a hint of ‘Well actually we’ve been discussing the proper timeline as to when to resume having unprotected, procreative sex but the answer to that is still none of your business.’

So consider this my announcement of resuming unprotected, procreative sex. You know, if the candles didn’t give it away.

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For those following along, today is worse than Monday. Why is there no drop-your-child-off-for-a-couple-hours-so-you-can-get-away-before-you-go-crazy-and-do-something-you-regret childcare out there? Not ongoing daycare. Not a babysitter I don’t have on call anymore and wouldn’t be available on such short notice. Not one of those date-night events that only happen once a month, in the evening, and are only for 5+ year-olds.

I’m not going to call Andrew at work and tell him to come home early, because I’d just feel dumb as soon as he answered the phone.

I’m not going to beg any mom friends to take him because I haven’t had any opportunities to repay/pay ahead the favor and I don’t want to be in karmic debt.

We’re just going to walk to the grocery store and pretend everything is okay, when it’s not.

Full disclosure: We’re on hour 7 of not going back to sleep/napping after a 5:40am wake-up. When he woke up AGAIN after (I lost count of how many attempts we were at) I nursed him to sleep and tried to transfer him to the crib, I threw him back down in the crib and screamed at him to lay down and go to sleep.

I don’t have words right to properly describe physically throwing my baby, even onto a soft surface, or how he screamed hard in response and then got completely quiet. Words are too gentle. His quietness scared me more than his screaming and when I went back he was just sitting there, looking back at me. I took him back to the bed and cried and he laughed at me crying, having no idea his mom is going crazy.

He still hasn’t slept.

I still haven’t gotten that night off I was promised a year ago when he was allowed to have a bottle and Andrew could have night duty once in a while.

My appointment with the psychiatrist is next Wednesday.

I guess I finally went and got interesting.

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I see the phrase “worst mom ever” a lot around the baby forum, usually in relation to a baby falling off something and hurting themselves. It’s prevalence comes off as obligatory, a strange kind of almost humble-brag in my opinion, broadcasting the necessary amount of mommy-guilt to keep from being jumped on by the internet as a whole. It makes me feel a little weird that I don’t feel that way because there’s a mental list in my head of ways Cameron will hurt himself throughout his childhood.

Checked off crawling off the bed and doing a face plant off the couch in the same week.

He didn’t fall off any furniture this week but I’ve become the worst mom ever.

I yelled at my one year-old when he wouldn’t stop grabbing my hair while I was practicing back-carry in the Ergo in front of the mirror, and finally had to put him down in a huff and walk out. (As much of a huff as having to untangle him from the carrier straps first would allow.) Luckily he just saw that as playtime, and when I went back to check on him he had found the new box of Kleenix and pulled the entire thing out all the floor.

After two failed attempts to transfer him to the crib for a nap, going from completely asleep in my arms to standing up screaming each time I lay him down and he screamed some more when I gave up and brought him to the living room, I put him back in the crib and left him standing there screaming while I walked away.

I told him repeatedly to go play with his toys while I was trying to load the dishwasher, getting more annoyed each time I had to physically move him away, until he grabbed a knife out of the silverware basket. I grabbed it back from his hands, grabbed him by the arms and carried him that way to the living room, where I tried to lock him in with the baby gate except that the posts were tightened too tight for me to loosen and adjust into a cage (making that reaction fall as flat as my earlier huff.)

I held him down more forcefully than I am comfortable with during a diaper change when he wanted to lunge at the sink and turn on the water, again and again and again…

I was getting him ready for bed early because I didn’t know what else to do with him after all of this, and that also felt like a punishment even though I didn’t mean it to be.

I scared myself with how quickly my reactions escalated that day. If I yell at my one year-old for being a one year-old what happens when my future two year-old starts acting like a two year-old? How far is a forceful holding down or dragging away from actually hitting my child in anger?

I made a post on Facebook about being ready for toddlerhood to be over, and then regretted it. I tend to post things humorously in a ‘be amused at my misery with me’ kind of way, and I don’t know how to change that to read, ‘No really, I’m completely falling apart over here…’

The next day I felt the calm after the storm which tends to happen after my breakdowns.

I also decided very rationally that it’s time to go back on my meds.

It’s the day after that and I’m not sure where I stand right now.

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I must have a thing for badly drawn internet comics. I adore Hyperbole and a Half and I love Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, the latter being more relevant to my life now. In fact, after a long, unintentional break she perfectly described how that kind of thing happens:

“I didn’t intend to take four months off. It just sort of happened. The sun would go down and the sun would rise and then the sun would go down and then you’ll never guess what happened next. The same thing! It just kept happening!”

I’ve been a victim to this same sun! I’ve realized that since having a baby I have a lot less time to procrastinate since I’m legitimately busy. The end result is the same – I don’t write – but the ratio of how my time is spent not writing has changed. However in my head things still have to be written in order, starting with the birth story which is now nearly a year – my new deadline – overdue. And then something goes and happens that says ‘we interrupt your usual programming…’

(With a few suns rising and setting since I set out to tell this story…)

When I was pregnant it was getting rear-ended by another car. Terrifying at the time, but it ultimately led to being able to get my Mini when it totaled my old car. The best case from a bad situation. This time it was Cameron’s stroller getting hit by a car.

We were crossing the street by the 7-11. Green light. Walk signal. A woman in a minivan started turning left towards us while looking the other way the entire time.

When you walk enough you encounter a lot of near-misses with people who aren’t paying attention, the kind that make you angry and want to yell at the driver to pay more attention. Or at the least they get a dirty look when they have to stop suddenly. It was just like that, except suddenly there was a shift and in an instant it turned into the realization that we were actually going to get hit. I let go of the stroller right before the impact and then a second later I was running it back to the sidewalk with Cameron screaming his head off, someone asking if we were okay, the minivan pulling over, the driver asking if we were okay, me repeating “I don’t know, I don’t know,” and all of this was just background noise to me until I could get him out of the stroller and into my arms.

There was another woman who was leaving the daycare on the corner with her own baby who stopped to help. A few minutes later Cameron was laughing with the other baby like nothing had happened, while I was still shaking. She helped me get the insurance and contact information from the minivan driver. A police officer stopped when they noticed the van parked on the side, but after confirming that it wasn’t a hit and run said that everything was taken care of.

There wasn’t any visible damage to the stroller, so using that as a gauge, it was minor. Cameron had a red spot on his head where I assume he hit the metal bar. We were about to walk home when an ambulance and another police car showed up which turned out to be for us. Someone commented that when a baby is involved the whole world shows up. I was offered a ride to the hospital but they agreed he didn’t seem to need it and I just had to keep an eye on him that night.

The worst part for me was feeling like I wasn’t allowed to fulfill my roll as a mother and put myself in his place. Letting go of the stroller made me feel like I had even abandoned him, but on replaying it in my mind (over and over and over) I realized that my only options were to hold on or let go and letting go seemed like the better choice so that he could be pushed away instead of held against the force.

People have told me I should report the incident but since two different police officers saw the scene (after she had left) and didn’t seem to think anything needed to be done, I don’t know what to report. I don’t want to get the woman in trouble necessarily (seems like everyone else is mad enough on my behalf that I don’t need to expend the energy on that feeling) but I don’t like that she gets off without any consequences. The last accident got me a new car. I think she owes me a new stroller, and therapy for Cameron who might have been a little traumatized by the stroller.

Or maybe that’s a new stroller for Cameron and therapy for me…

I’m still nervous crossing the street now. A car turned left at us today and I got tense and panicked.

It’s been one week today since my baby got hit by a car, a ‘first’ that never should have happened.

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