A Very Long Picture-less Pregnancy Update and The Return of Pregnancy Kidney Stone(s)

I haven't really posted much about this pregnancy so far, mostly for lack of sheer desire to actually blog, but also because it's been so normal so far, different than the others but the same. Until this week, well until last month really, but for the sake of my own record keeping and maybe someone else experiencing similar pains, we shall write for the greater good! Ha! First an update...
This pregnancy so far has been pretty text book, first trimester sporadic puke-fest and tired, second trimester belly expansion and tired (actually SUPER tired?), third trimester energy- I think my 2nd and 3rd trimesters are confused but I'll take energy through the last leg of this pregnancy, that works better for my kiddos. So far at week 25 I'm not swelling like crazy and I can take off my engagement ring with more ease than when I'm not pregnant? In fact at this point with Brynlee I couldn't even get it on/off so I battled it off one day and it stayed off until a few months post delivery, that was super sad. I find myself staying up way too late and waking up around 4 to use the bathroom and then it takes forever to get back to sleep because that seems to be baby's early morning dance party time. So far I have found this one far less active than my others, unless it's a super inconvenient time for me, like those early morning hours. If I go out I'm still able to throw on my normal person jeans with the top button done up using a small hair elastic- ghetto version of a belly band I guess. I'm trying to hold off on regularly wearing my maternity stuff until the spring weather comes. Mostly because my maternity stuff that fits best is more capris and shorts, and I have this weird theory that maybe if I force my body to stay in normal clothes longer, it'll keep my hips from expanding so much this time around? BAHAHAHA I am so funny! I will be a whale by the end of all this I am sure. So far I feel like I'm carrying this kid soooooooo differently from the other two, it makes me think that maybe the ultrasound was wrong and this kid might be a boy- that could just be wishful thinking too though. I feel much smaller this time around "which is weird for a 3rd baby"- exactly the words EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG use when they find out I'm on #3. I'm amazed by it too, but I think people forget that my first two were only 14mths apart, so my body just relaxed back into baby mode and got big fast with the second. This time my body has had 3+ years to get back to normal and in that time I've found workout programs that work with the female body and changed some eating habits up, so I'm just being smarter about pregnancy in general this time and chasing two kids around all day helps too. I am pretty sure this pregnancy is more like the first since we are heading down the same road again...
It started around week 19/20, this familiar aching back business, in my mind I thought, oh geeze here we go again, but thankfully I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for that week. Ahem, this is my GP or "family doctor" who seems to be lacking some form of bedside manner that makes a doctor LISTEN to a patient. By this point in pregnancy #1 I had already been referred to my baby doctor, so GP has no real knowledge of my history with stones, the visit went like this. I lie down, he feels my belly, listens to baby's heartbeat, gets mad at me for sitting up without rolling onto my side first and then tells me there's some protein in my urine, nothing to be worried about though and asks if anything is bothering me? Which is when I say, hmmm interesting that there's protein in my urine, and I've had this weird back pain starting up again, in my first pregnancy I had two very large kidney stones and these are the same things that presented but that baby doc and I couldn't figure out until near the end. GP says of course very knowledgeably "well the protein has nothing to do with kidney stones, describe this pain to me and I'll tell you if it's stones or not" INSERT MY GIANT ROLLING EYES RIGHT ABOUT THEN BECAUSE NO MAN WILL EVER KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HAVE KIDNEY STONES AND BE PREGNANT but friends with doctor husbands, let it be known at least for me, this is what it feels like at the first onset, "The pain wraps around the ribcage right under where your bra sits, your back aches almost like you need it cracked, but that kind of squeezing only intensifies the pain, I can manage it fairly well with a couple extra strength tylenol and a soak in the tub, it happens for 2 nights in a row between 10:30 and 11:30 and then the pain disappears" GP says does the pain radiate into your groin? and I respond "No, but it never did with my other stones either because they got stuck in the ureter on the way to my bladder because baby had squished the tube, etc..." and he says to me "No, it's not stones, when you're pregnant your organs get squished up into your ribcage and you get pressure and expansion in there and it causes discomfort, kidney stones cause this type of pain"(which is the same as what I described only doesn't go past the kid) so I respond with, "I know what kidney stones feel like in pregnancy I had them with my first baby and this is exactly the same" GP "well we'll monitor it but it's not kidney stones" monitor as in he plans to do nothing about it and in my mind I'm thinking YOU ARE SO DUMB and other colorful words but what came out was "Have you sent my referral to my baby doctor yet, because she'll be wanting to send me for a bunch of tests right away" GP "I'm sending it right now". K now here is what the rest of the pain feels like in a subsequent stone attack, the back pain has started so you take a bath, then you get out and your boobs ache like they're going to explode and no amount of support helps them feel better. Then on top of the intense backache you want to curl up into the fetal position but you can't because it feels like a few inches below your breastbone, contractions are starting, but not labor-like contractions, because they don't radiate all the way down into your pelvis, just the top of your "fundus" (which in labor is how they start and help push the baby down and out) But no these waves of contractions are different in the sense that they roll in and out in a completely unpredictable pattern, not 5mins apart but more like seconds and then you could get a break for a long stretch while you deal with the back hurting again, and then when that subsides the front starts again. They squeeze they don't really roll in like contractions do. Then you find yourself simultaneously heaving the entire contents of your stomach into the bathtub and needing to use the toilet, and you might feel slightly feverish in that particular moment, but not really any other time. Did I mention that the pain is PRIMAL? Like, you want to tear your clothes off and your mind is completely consumed with swirling thoughts of how to make the pain go away. You wonder how your body isn't shaking like when you go into labor and then you try to use labor positions to ease your pain, but they don't help at all. This is the kind of pain where you find yourself writhing around in a bathtub of lukewarm water telling your husband in no uncertain terms that you are 100% sure you are going to die but with a stone cold look on your face that actually makes him believe you. In labor you sweat and you heave and you might cry and talk crazy, but it's all screamy talking and more innocent, and then there's this element of joyful anticipation mixed into it. The kidney stone pain is not sweaty pain, it literally dehydrates you and makes your body feel like a ton of bricks, it's hard to talk or breath or make any sound, so for the most part it's a lot of very quiet pain management. For example, I came into the bedroom where Steve was sleeping and dumped my body on the bed and literally flopped my arm near his face to get his attention and said "I need you awake" and when he asked why all I could say was "my back" in a loud whisper. This is the kind of pain that doesn't shoot endorphins into your body and make you loopy to help you cope, in fact during the pain I'm half wondering why the heck my body isn't helping me deal with the pain. This second "attack" lasted at least 5hrs, it was probably longer but I stopped checking the clock at around 3:30, it started at 10ish. In all of the medical research I've read regarding kidney stones, doctors say normally an attack will last a few minutes to an hour, but most last about 20 minutes and then there might be a stretch of relief from the pain.
If I have one more stupid man or ra-ra natural birth person tell me that it's not stone pain, or how would I know if it's worse than labor since I've had epidurals, I will punch them in the face. I can comfortably labor to 8cms and be talking and laughing with nurses, in fact with Kalea I almost didn't get the epidural because they were stuck in a c-section and the only reason I was adamant to have it was because I knew I had a stone that could possibly end up causing me pain in delivery too, no thanks. With Brynlee I only asked for it because they were right across the hall, but I was comfortable and probably could've done it without. Even with an epidural, they cut you off so that you can push effectively so you miss the "transition pain" but you feel the pain of pushing a living thing out of your lady parts. That kind of hurt and a kidney stone kind of hurt are two VERY DIFFERENT HURTS. I would rather deliver 100 babies than deal with the pain of kidney stones, I bet I would rather feel transition 100 times over kidney stones. I think nobody with kidney stones would opt to have that kind of pain instead of labor pain, or any other pain, seriously. I can't imagine what it feels like to actually pass a stone, but I'm certainly not even a little curious about it just knowing how bad it is when it's stuck. Shudder.
Now for the awesome divine intervention parts of the story. First my Dad and Steve were able to give me a blessing during the attack that helped calm my mind and realize that I was not in fact going to die, that made me feel better. I was finally able to get rest and even woke up before Steve did to tend the kids. The morning after the attack I called the baby doctor office and they sent me to the hospital where I normally deliver because the doctors rotate between the hospital and the low risk maternity clinic, so off I went. They listened to everything and were beyond nice, the nurses were great and the doctor was so interested in every detail. They all agreed that my GP needs to be smacked upside the head, so therefore I love them. They booked my ultrasound for me, and luckily I got one of the last 2 available appts left, the next wasn't until Feb.15. Huge blessing since they did find at least one stone at the ultrasound and my baby doc will have the report at my appt on Friday, so we can get moving with a treatment plan quickly now. In the meantime, they prescribed me things that can help me if I have an attack again and my file is started at the hospital already. Super grateful for all the blessings of this week so far, it's hard not to acknowledge how fortunate I am to live where I do with quick access to facilities that can help and close to family who can take care of my kids and me too. In all of this I'm grateful for the modern medicines that exist that can help me and I'll be taking them, I'm not trying to prove how tough I am, even though at this point I'd say I'm pretty much Hercules, I just don't want to feel that pain if I don't have to, I think nobody should ever have to feel that pain.
Over the past few days I've been processing quite a lot, and I find myself completely baffled. I don't know how Jesus did the atonement, I really cannot fathom not only feeling and processing the physical pains of every person who has ever existed but also feeling and processing the emotional pains simultaneously, in one night. I feel fortunate that I have a small glimpse into what He physically suffered just for me though, I am so grateful that He did that. Grateful to have some idea of just how deeply He must love all of us, and I'm hopeful that through these painful experiences I can learn to have more compassion for people in their pains and love a little more like Him.


Christmas 2012 or A Really Long Catch Up Post

I am super far behind on any type of blogging so I figured I should probably get updating, at least a little bit. In my defense, we have spent much of the last 3 weeks rotating sickness and are just now finally recovering enough to do more than lie in bed and watch Netflix. PS I'm so thankful for Netflix, yes I am.
Anyways, we didn't get around to doing as much as we would've liked to but we still made time for most of our favorite traditions. We were able to attend our ward Christmas party which was so well done, I didn't see my kids that whole morning! We made our gingerbread houses. I was smart this year and shopped the Canadian Black Friday deals and wound up scoring a gingerbread kit with 4 mini-houses, so the girls could really join in with Steve and my "decorating challenge". It worked out that our Elf, Sparkles brought the kit for us one day, so the kids were pretty excited to help us with them. I do think next year I'll get the normal sized houses, the mini ones presented quite a challenge for Steve and I, but they were perfect for the girls this year.
From left mine, Brynlee's, Kalea's, Steve's. I got the "modern cottage" which Steve thought looked like an outhouse, but I tried to make it the most attractive looking outhouse ever, and I think I succeeded. I was surprised by how much the girls actually enjoyed this activity this year, I really didn't think we'd end up spending as much time as we did, but it was great and it's nice to know that we are establishing traditions that they love just as much as we do.
This year we did Christmas with Steve's family on the 23rd. It was awesome and the kids had so much fun with their cousins, there was pretty much zero whining this year?? I guess they're growing up, yay! That made it a lot more fun for us too! It's so fun for our kids to have so many cousins so close in age, we love seeing them altogether. Kalea has developed the "cousin crush" and has been talking non-stop about Jaxen since Christmas, "Jaxen is so handsome, he's a prince, I want to marry him" etc etc... Of course we do the whole, "you can't marry your cousin" schpiel about a hundred times a day now, but it's cute that she loves her cousin so much. I did neglect to get any pix of the two of them together, but this one is when Serena's kids were singing Christmas songs and Brynlee decided to join in and sing along, pretty funny.
We also managed to get out and drive through the lights at Spruce Meadows a few times this year. The first time we went I hadn't brought my camera or cell phone and I was kicking myself for it because I knew the combination of frost/snow that we had wouldn't last. It was so beautiful. It still was when we went the second time, Kalea loved it both times, Brynlee slept through it both times but got woken up for a picture in the cold the second time around, heehee!

I didn't get tons of pix this night because it was so cold, but they have a huge amount of lights strung all through the grounds, enclosed display areas that you can go into to warm up and take pictures in. Skating rinks, Santa's reindeer hang out there, an awesome Christmas market in November, etc... We love hearing girls high-pitched squeals from the backseat too, it's amazing how much kids love Christmas lights, they actually squeal just as much driving around our neighborhood at Christmas time as they do when we go see displays like Spruce Meadows.

We spent Christmas Eve with our McMurray family and ate way too much and had fun watching the girls dance to our stellar Christmas carol singing. The girls had probably way too much Christmas punch and were pretty hyper all night, they did lay down to listen to Papa read from Luke II, but it seems like he read it a little faster this year, that or they just bounced right up after. The girls were also very excited about presents this year and so we had them give Stephen and Michelle and Nana and Papa their gifts to open so that they could see their reactions, it was really fun for them. Once we got everyone home and into bed, Steve and I got busy doing what parents do on Christmas Eve....
I wrapped presents and arranged them under the Christmas tree like a good Elf and Steve...
Built this masterpiece! We were thrilled as we unwrapped each piece and realized that we did REALLY well with buying a very high quality gift at an extremely reasonable price. Our girls are pretty hard on things, so we were more than happy to find a sturdy wood alternative to what would inevitably end up a broken plastic heap of a dollhouse. So far so good, all the pieces are still in tact!

*This is where Christmas takes a turn...*
At around 2:30a.m. Steve started feeling pretty sick, I'd been feeling kinda icky earlier but thought I probably just stuffed myself with too much sweet & savory food. I was wrong. Steve and I basically alternated using the bathroom all night long, it was an awful night. On the bright side, the kids slept in?! Unheard of in this house! It gave us just a little extra time to try to gather some energy for the Christmas morning festivities. We do think we know what we had now, apparently there was a large outbreak of the Norwalk virus in Calgary over the Christmas holidays, and wouldn't you know it, we had basically every symptom of that! Lucky us!

So back to Christmas morning... It was really difficult to get a decent stair picture of these two this year, they were so excited and couldn't both keep still at the same time, story of my life. Oh well, the out-takes are cute too! It took forever to get them past their stockings this year and I can't figure out why, I literally put socks, a toothbrush & toothpaste, a couple small dolls and a hairbrush each in their stockings this year and you would've thought they had hit the jackpot. If I had known I wouldn't have bought anything else besides the dollhouse! Anyways, Steve was so sick that I think he was only really aware of what was happening, not really involved, so this year I got to hand out presents! That never happens! It was awesome, I had enough time to snap some pictures and the kids were actually able to get the wrapping off their gifts before having another gift tossed at them! Not that Steve would EVER try to rush the opening gifts part of Christmas morning...
There were some really fun reactions on Christmas morning. Our neighbor has two cats and so as gifts for the girls she found two stuffed cats that look like hers and got them each little collars and had them engraved with the cats names. I think besides the dollhouse those cats are their favorite gifts, we can't go to bed without Mia and Lucy, we can't color without them and we can't eat without them, it's really cute, we love our neighbor. Nothing really beats the reaction to the dollhouse though, Kalea and Brynlee were SO excited and so were Steve and I. The best part was hearing "Daddy, you built that for me?! Oh thank you!" it was the sweetest thing. I was smart and caught everything on video and on the still camera, someday I'll figure out how to put video's on the blog, until then, you can imagine how cute this morning was. That's pretty much our Christmas, we were pretty spoiled and are very grateful for the awesome gifts and food and fun we were able to enjoy this Christmas. The girls spent the rest of Christmas day and the following few days playing with their new toys while Steve and I basically took turns sleeping. It was super special. Then the kids got sick and I got this nasty head/chest cold and we've been passing that around ever since. We did get out sporadically but really we've just been spending a lot of time at home, together, resting and trying to get better.
We did have a great Christmas we just wish we could've been a little bit healthier to enjoy it a bit more, we have high hopes for next year's fun lasting a little longer!