Archive for Navel gazing

Hiccups at midnight

So I’m not even sure what my last update was but since it appears to have been back in May (?! Where has the time gone?) I’m guessing it is very out of date now.  

Allow me to catch you up in a nutshell: had a bunch of wonky test results that led to more and more tests, culminating with a renal angiogram that ultimately revealed no blockage and then my creatinine suddenly started falling back to normal levels on its own around that time.  My doctors (every last one of them) continues to make the “I’m baffled” face at me everytime we meet.  Fun stuff. 

But anyway the medical folks seem sufficiently happy with my current state of health and we’ve received the customary blessing from to go forth and try to procreate if we want.  Ah hah, finally I am sort of on equal footing to the “normal” population that doesn’t need medical sign off when it comes to family planning.  Of course, now that the decision is finally in our hands and only our hands, we seem to be a bit lost as to how to proceed.  

We are comfortable in our lives, sometimes stretched a bit too thin, the house gets messy, we’re always late and rushing….our favorite thing is to laze around the house all day together watching tv and taking naps.  Selfishly I think Pau and I are worried about us how another small human to care for would impact our day to day life.  How it affects our finances, schedules, everything.  

It just seems like a lot.  Children are a blessing of course but it might also just be selfish to bring another child into our lives knowing that it could significantly decrease the quality of life that T and we currently have.  

So it’s weird because we can try now and we’re not not trying but we are clearly incredibly ambivalent about this whole thing for now.  I’m sure if I actually do get pregnant I will be over the moon but until then…I guess I’m just kind of worried.  

It’s late and I have to get up extra early tomorrow.  But I can’t sleep and perhaps I just need to write this all down before the details start to slip from my less and less reliable memory. 

Where to begin.  So I suppose it all started months ago with some wonky serum creatinine levels that I thought were just a weird fluke that would go away.  All my other labs were great, just this one stubborn number, so my doctor kind of thought the same but he asked me to humor him while he ran some tests.  The renal ultrasound came back unimpressive.  But the creatinine which had been falling went back up again so he decided lets just try this other non-invasive test.  He said he didn’t expect anything to come of it but let’s just check it off the list.  

Well that’s not exactly how things went.  The test showed that my left kidney is behaving completely normal but the right one?  The right one is, shall we say, special.  And decidedly abnormal.  

So that all led up to today when I went to the office of a doctor I knew nothing about (not even really what kind of doctor he was) or exactly what test was being done on me there.  It turned out to be a blood flow ultrasound thing and it confirmed that there is something wrong with part of the artery in my right kidney.  What doesn’t make sense though is why is my blood pressure well controlled with meds, why aren’t I leaking any protein but why is my serum creatinine high?? People who have only one kidney can have normal creatinine numbers so if my left kidney is behaving like a healthy kidney then why would I have high creatinine levels just based off of one messed up kidney?  The doctor said he was wondering that too so he will take a picture of my left kidney as well just to make sure it really is looking as nice and normal as the other reports have claimed.  

 Anyway this all means I have to have a semi unpleasant follow up procedure that involves cameras in my arteries.  Which sounds scary as fuck.  And Paul has gone to bed and I am definitely having a panic moment over the shittiness that has just shitted on my life.  

I’m just so emotionally and mentally tired.  So.  Tired.  This. Health. Stuff. Just. Ugh. Blargh.

I just want to pretend to be a normal person with a normal life and normal worries for a little bit.  Not worry about medical procedures, mysterious kidney lab results and all the medical bills and figuring out how to plan my appointments while not getting fired.  

I hope that this is it, if this could somehow “fix” me for now then I would be okay with it.  But for some reason the lingering questions and the symptoms or lack thereof that don’t quite fit, make me worry that there is something else that everyone is missing and that this won’t be a fix at all.  


Some rambling (just like old times)

I feel like I’ve been hiding in a shell lately.  I don’t really want to talk to people about how I’m doing or what’s going on in my life because I don’t really feel like I know.

I finally forced myself into making an appointment with my new MFM yesterday.  The only memory I really have of her is from the visit when my NST/BPPs started taking a bad turn.  I don’t like knowing that I won’t have my old MFM with me going through a second pregnancy if it happens.  I hope at least the nurses are the same since they were very sweet last time and held my hands when I cried and was waiting for Paul to get to the hospital.  

For some reason I started letting myself read stillbirth blogs again, which I stopped doing for a long time.  I don’t know why I do these things, it’s not as if I don’t already know pretty much every Bad Thing that can happen during pregnancy.  I’ve also come to the conclusion that you can’t really emotionally prepare yourself for something that awful either so it’s not like reading all this and crying over other people’s stories is going to somehow dull the heartache if Something Bad does happen.  

I figured out part of why I am so much more scared this time around.  It feels like I am testing fate, like I’ve gotten too big for my britches and the universe is going to be like, you think you can have THAT much happiness?  OH NO YOU DON’T.  Maybe I felt like the universe owed me T, this time feels like I’m being greedy.   But that’s not fair right?  Why does having two babies feel greedy to me when other people in my life can tell everyone they want four (after having just popped out #2) and not feel like greedy testers of fate?  

Stupid body.

So I changed meds over the weekend.  I don’t feel right.  I don’t know if it’s because of PMS or the med change or the weather or what.  I feel like my feet are retaining water but they aren’t, at least not visually or from touch.  My blood pressure has been up…I think…my cuff kind of sucks even though I just bought a new one and the readings never match what I get in the doctor’s office when I bring it in….so there’s that.  I should probably try to buy one that works before we start TTC right?  I just feel off.  And I feel bad because apparently even T has noticed it, Paul said he asked this morning as he was getting ready to go to daycare, “What’s wrong with mommy?”

That sound you just heard is my heart shattering for being such a crappy mommy to such a wonderful little person who deserves better.  Ugh.  Maybe I am greedy.

I don’t know.  I think I’m just really tired.  The idea of TTC#2 is exhausting.  The doctors, the lab work, the ultrasounds, the worrying, the NSTs, the BPPs….The way I see this working out if we are able to get pregnant again is me white knuckling it through the entire pregnancy…first worrying about a miscarriage, which oh by the way I found I’m homozygous or whatever for some MTHFR mutation so yay, gotta talk to the MFM about that now, where was I?  Oh yeah, being terrified the entire first trimester of miscarriage, spending the entire second trimester worried about preterm labor, and the entire third trimester worrying about stillbirth because of how shitty my placenta might be.  Oh and worrying about pre-e and IUGR.  And the NICU.  And if my baby is going to be okay.  I know that if we can get a healthy munchkin out of it, it won’t matter at all.  I don’t think back on my pregnancy with T and remember all that stuff for the most part, I just remember how cool it was to feel him kicking and hiccuping in me, how much I loved my pregnant belly, all the good stuff.  I really loved being pregnant, I did. 

But it feels like I climbed this huge mountain and it was so beautiful at the top and here I am again at the base of an even bigger mountain and I’m staring up at it and I just can’t even see the top.  I just wonder how I even make it, how I even get myself to start.  And I worry about whether or not I will make it to that beautiful summit or not and what I will lose along the way trying to get there. 

I think these are the moments that remind me why I need God in my life.  This is just all too big for me.  I’m not enough.  This is when I need Him to carry me.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around all of this, to somehow figure it out on my own terms and it just occurred to me that that isn’t how I’ve made it through any of the other hard times.  Thinking about all of this has made me realize, I have to stop.  I can’t keep spinning this shit around in my head this way.  It’s not helping, it’s making me a crazy person, it’s probably hurting my health.  

I don’t know why it’s still so hard for me to remember I can lean on the Lord a  bit (or a lot) at times like these.  But let’s save discussion of that personal failing for another day, shall we? 

Don’t cry for me Argentina

So yeah, as a family we’ve come to the conclusion that Disney’s Aulani in Oahu is prrrrretty much as good as life gets.  We’ve spent the week here hiding from the SuperBowl 50 madness that has taken over San Francisco and it was an excellent decision if I do say so myself.  

But enough patting myself on the back, that’s not what I’m here for.  I’m just here for the reason I’m always here.  Whine, whine, fret, overthink.  Been doing it in my head for awhile now so I figure I may as well get some use out of this blog and use it for the outlet it was meant to be.  This way my friends don’t have to hear it (and the ones who want to know where to find me – here).  

Anyway, I saw my nephrologist again last week post kidney ultrasound and fresh labs (which were better but still above my baseline…again).  He was still mystified and confused, which is exactly how you want your medical specialist in practice for several decades to feel about you right?  No?  Okay, yeah no.  I told him I was at a loss, which is weird since I know how to read my labs pretty well by now, and he was all, “Wish I knew what to tell you but, me too.”  So that wasn’t very helpful but it was kind of reassuring I guess because he was just like, well hopefully it’s a weird flukey thing, and told me just to get my labs repeated again (for the fifth time now).  Exact words, “If it goes down to 1.2 then we’ll just chalk it up to a weird blip and move on.” 

So the day before we hopped on a plane headed for heaven on earth (aka Hawaii) I got my labs repeated and then I tried to just sort of forget it all.  It actually wasn’t that hard to do given the view (see above).  I did end up calling on Tuesday just to see if they had my results and guess what?  It went down to 1.2.  So….

I see my rheumatologist next week (why am I leaving paradise?  Whyyyyyy??) and basically this means we have the all clear to start changing my meds and *gulp* TTC.  

Here is where things get weird.  I should be all “yippee!!!” right?  Growing up I always imagined having two kids, P and I always talked about two, more if it weren’t for my stupid crappy body.  

But see…here’s the thing…I think with all we went through to have T, the whole NICU thing, almost losing him, and then watching my best friend live that entire nightmare without the happy ending, part of me just let go of the idea of having more.  Part of me decided that T was the one I had to have.  Before T, I had this feeling like I would fight through anything to get my baby.  And I feel like one some level, I’ve lost that fighting spirit.  More than before, there is fear instead of fight.  

My life is so good.  It really is.  I feel like the most blessed person in the entire world.  I have my wonderful husband, I have my perfect little boy, a supportive family, still employed, I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, heck, I have vacations in paradise.  The world can be such an ugly, ugly place, I can’t even stand to watch the news most days anymore (I stick to reading articles about how awesome my Dubs are because yes even my NBA team is just ridiculously, unbelievably good right now – life is THAT good!), I just feel so lucky.  And I’m scared that in reaching for more, somehow I could screw up the whole rhythm and balance I feel like I have right now.  

Obviously, if we do end up having another healthy baby (God willing), I would never admit this to that baby, but I don’t feel like I need another one.  And if I don’t need another one the way I needed T, then is it fair/right/whatever to have another one?  I mean, wait, don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE another baby.  We are here in this place surrounded by ridiculously adorable, chunky little ones and there is definitely a part of me that kinda wants to steal them and snuggle their chub rolls until security comes for me.  And there is this huge tug on my heart when I watch all these siblings playing together while T is just playing in the sand by himself all lonely and sad-like (but not really cause he’s a happy kid).  So it’s not that I wouldn’t like to have another kid, it’s just not the same visceral, animal-like need that I felt before we had T.  

I just…know too much…I know what can go wrong, I know what’s at stake.  Also, I’m more afraid for myself this time because I know T needs his mommy so I can’t even just be like “fuck it” like last time where I was like well if I die trying to do this then so be it.  I’m not being morbid, just realistic, you know?  

And then on a less dark, more normal level, I’m also worried about just the practical stuff.  How do we actually raise two kids?  I don’t think we can afford the preschool we’re trying to get T into if we have two kids.  But the public schools in SF are literally shit, like so shitty that a public school product like me who always thought I’d send my kids to public school just won’t do it (and I know SO many other people who feel this way).  So do we move?  Do I keep working?  I’m not really built to be a SAHM so I assume yes, but if we move out of the city how do I physically deal with the commute, how does it all affect my health?  What if another kid doesn’t love sleep as much as T does (and as much as I do!)?  What if the stress of it all affects my relationship with P?  What if I really suck at being a mom of two kids?  Sometimes I feel like I suck at just one, so am I being selfish bringing another human into the world to be raised by ME?  I mean, is it even fair to do that to T and the as of yet unconcieved other potential baby?  

I mean, I literally yelled at T and called him a chicken two days ago because he wouldn’t go down the water slide with me again.  Shall I remind you?  He is three and the poor kid just needed a nap.  What kind of mom does that?  Me, apparently.  (Don’t worry, I apologized to him after I went down the slide alone and thought about what a mean horrible mommy I am, luckily he didn’t seem to remember because his dad had gotten him shaved ice, so at least the poor kid has one good parent).  

So this is all the stuff I worry about.  I worry and worry and worry more.  And then my husband is all just like “meh, why worry about this?  If we have another one, we’ll figure it out.”  And I KNOW he’s right.  But my stupid brain just can’t stop with all the worrying.  So stupid.  This is why I can’t tell people what goes on in my head.  

At the end of the day my kid makes me a better person (except when I’m yelling at him for not going down waterslides with me).  I’m sure that if I can survive another pregnancy and come out of it with a healthy baby, I’ll be better for that baby too.

Where’s the positive thinking fairy when you need her?  

Another day goes by

Ups and downs, that’s how life go
What’s high, if you don’t know low?
So I try not to complain
Appreciate life and I keep sayin
Another day goes by
Another day goes by
And I thank God that I’m alive


I don’t really know how to say this…but…here goes.

I think…I’m content. My life is far from perfect but in so many ways it is the life I’ve always dreamt of. And it is a weird feeling. Good. But weird.

I’m so used to chasing the next thing, always reaching for what felt unattainable. Except it has now been…attained? Being in a really good relationship, finding my better half. A career that while dosen’t give meaning to my life, gives me the means and the time for what does really matter. My son. My precious, beautiful, amazing, miracle.


A couple months ago now, I saw my MFM. The one who a year prior essentially warned us that he was very uncomfortable with the idea of me carrying anymore pregnancies. I wasn’t really okay with that at the time. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting it.

This year, things were different. And just as unexpected. The entire tone of the visit was different. The vibes were positive, we came out feeling encouraged, I remember turning to Paul and saying, “Didn’t that sound like, ‘We can do this'”? He agreed, we were cautiously optimistic.

We decided that at my December rheumy visit if all my labs were still looking good we would start changing my meds so that maybe we could just “see what happens.”

Of course, my body, like it always does, had a different idea. Neither my rheumy or I can make heads or tails of what came back. Most everything is unchanged to better. Except for one important number which is an indicator of kidney function. That number looks ugly as all hell. But it makes no sense because my blood pressure is good, my urine is clear, and all the other results look good. I feel good. So what the wha?

I moved up my nephrology appt by two days because I’m hoping my nephrologist will have some sort of obvious (to him, the specialist) answer to all this.

And coming full circle to what I started this post off with, about being content. I am. That’s the thing. If T is our one miracle and this is our life, holy hell, what a blessed life I’m living. I am so, so lucky.

I honestly feel like I’m at a point emotionally where I can let go of the second child dream. I can look at all the positives of being a complete family of three.

I just want to know, is this it? Are we done? Because if we are, I am okay with it now. I just want to know so that I can stop living in maybe.

I posted

I actually tried to post somethig just now and then wordpress ate it and I’m not prepared to attempt reconstruction so…til next time. 

i am a bad blogger

Seriously, the worst right?  I’m not going to blame it on being busy, I just haven’t really had the itch to write.  Shrug.

So why am I here today?

Because I have stuff on my mind and no one to really talk to about it since it is a touchy subject…

Ever since the “Planned Parenthood sells baby parts” videos started coming out it seems like abortion has been, rightfully so, in the news a lot more.  This has made me think about it a lot more, and trust me it is not something I like to think about.

For someone as opinionated as me, I am frightfully unsure of how I feel about abortion.  I have a really hard time articulating my position, and c’mon that is just not normal for me!!

I guess the problem is that I can see both sides.  I really can.  There are certainly legitimate arguments and good intentions on both sides.  At the end of the day, though, it’s just tough, really, really tough to think of all the tiny, precious, human life being snuffed out in alarming numbers every single day.  I don’t care if your prolife or prochoice, that is just a really brutal thought.

You may never hear me say this again, but I agree with Bill Clinton that abortions should be safe, legal and rare.

Clearly, we’re missing out on the “rare” leg of that triangle since according to some 2011 numbers I found, more than 1 in 5 pregnancies in America (excluding miscarriages) ended in an abortion (40% of all unintended pregnancies ended in abortion).

Anyway, I’m not here to share my opinion on abortion since I’m still not even really sure I know what my opinion is yet…I’m here because all this thinking about abortion got me thinking about how abortion has affected my life.

No, I’ve luckily (and I do mean luckily) never had one, and I hope that I never am in a position where I have to make that decision.  (Please, God, I’m not sure I could handle it).

But my life has certainly been affected by one.

I am the oldest of two daughters, but I should have been the oldest of three.  I’m missing my youngest sibling and it wasn’t until recently that, that thought really hit me.  For some reason I imagine it was a boy, maybe because we were a family with two girls and I always wondered what it would be like to have a brother when I was growing up.

Now that I am an adult with my own child, it’s strange but yes, I actually feel a tangible loss.  I wonder how it would be to have another uncle or aunt to dote on T.  I wonder what our childhood together would have been like, the memories we could have made, the adventures we could have had.  I wonder what it would have been like to have a sibling so many years younger.  I wonder if he would have gone to UCLA and followed in my sister and my footsteps. I wonder, and I honestly miss him.  I miss the little brother I never got to meet but that I know existed.  It’s really sad.  And I see how abortion doesn’t just affect the mother’s life, there is a ripple effect sent through the entire family for generations.

Sometimes I want to ask my mom how she feels about it now.  Does she ever regret it?  Does she ever wonder what he would be like?  Does she imagine he was a boy too?  Does she imagine him at all?  But even though my mom and I are close and talk about almost anything, I can’t bring myself to bring it up.  I’m afraid it will be too hurtful a subject to dredge up.

So anyway, that’s why I’m here.  Thinking about my baby brother who never had the chance to grow up to be the man he was going to become and feeling pretty bummed about it.

ten years on

An anniversary passed early this year, quietly, unnoticed.  Perhaps not one I was ready to think about at the time.

In early 2005 I was diagnosed with lupus nephritis.  For me the moment of my diagnosis is one of those that is seared into my mind, just as clear as the first moment I laid eyes on my son.

I remember the compassion in my doctor’s voice.  The reassurance to me that this was not a death sentence.  The alarm I felt at hearing the word “death” at all, since I knew literally nothing about lupus nephritis.  It was only later as I perused Google that I realized why he had said that.  Thirty years earlier, probably around the time my doctor had begun his practice, lupus nephritis would have been a death sentence.  The ten year mortality rate in the 1970’s and 1980’s was abysmal, below 50%.

Lucky for me, by the time of my diagnosis modern medicine had progressed to the point that here I am ten years later.  Not only alive, but married to a wonderful, supportive man, and with a beautiful young son I had the privilege of carrying inside my womb.  I have a thriving career, a lovely home in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and so many plans for my future.

I am incredibly grateful for each and every day.  Beyond thankful for my miracle baby.  And oh so aware, that had I been born just a few decades earlier I would most likely not have had any of these things.  I would be dead, close to it, or at the very least, really, really sick.  The fact that I am none of these things, is a gift.

Hold on, is this really the life I’m living?
Cause I don’t feel like I deserve it
Every day that I wake, every breath that I take, You’ve given

So right here, right now, while the sun is shining down
I want to live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give You
A life well lived, to say “thank you”

– Good to be Alive by Jason Gray


And yet…

How can it be that I still want more?  I’m alive.  This is a miracle.  I have a son.  This is even more of a miracle.  But somehow something inside me still aches when I see the young mother holding her toddler’s hand as she rubs her large pregnant belly.  When I see siblings laughing and playing together.

How can it be that T is more than enough, more than I even had a right to hope for, but yet still I long for another baby.  It isn’t rationale.  But then, is a mother’s love ever rational?  The love a mother feels for her child is probably best described as primale, instinctive, all-encompassing and completely irrational at times.

So this is why I’ve come to the point where I’m torn between amazement and gratitude I feel at the privilege of being alive, of being a mother at all, and the impulse to gamble my health, possibly my life, for the chance to give my son a sibling.

It doesn’t feel fair.

But then I remember, it’s been ten years.  And here I am.  Alive.

Life’s not always fair, but God is always good.

So I’m trying my best to really leave this in His hands.  To pray.  But to also not let this consume me the way I know it could.

I feel strongly that God has led me through every step of my life.  He has carried me when I was too weak to walk on my own.  And I think maybe I’m there again, in a place where I need to let Him lead me.  Maybe I won’t like the answer, but I hope he can bring me to a place where I can accept the answer whatever it is.

And I hope that I can always remember, no matter the circumstances, to live a life well lived.

trying to try

I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I last wrote here.  It’s cliche, I know, but so much has happened and really nothing at all has happened.

I saw Dr. Kidney again and it only served to reinforce the idea that we will probaby not be having anymore biological children.  It isn’t something I have entirely accepted yet.  I continue to pray that somehow there will be miraculous healing.  

I’m grasping at straws I know.  I’m looking into various diets and exercise regimens to try and “take control” of this disease – when let’s just face it – how does that work?  Can this fucking disease even be controlled?  Nonetheless, I know something needs to change in my life.  I’ve been feeling progressively more run down as the months past and all I know is that I want to remember what it feels like to feel *good* again.  I’m not even sure what that means.  

Looking into Paleo but have decided I need a dietitian involved so that I don’t fall down into some crazy woo hole so I’m working on that right now.  

I’m just tired.  I just want to be easy.  And it’s so not easy.  And I’m thankful for my TT but it doesn’t take the pain away of wainting just one more pregnancy, one more miracle.  


I have been struggling lately. It’s been a slow descent into madness, but I can feel it like a snowball that’s picking up steam as it rolls downhill. It’s weird though, it isn’t like any bout of depression I’ve ever experienced before, at least not that I can remember.

I don’t even know if I could call it depression. I don’t know what it is exactly.

There are moments where I’m gripped by this crippling anxiety. Others when I feel like I need to break down and cry for no reason at all. But it’s not the same as in the past when there was this deep, abiding sadness inside that felt completely insurmountable.

To be honest, whatever this is feels much more like I’m going crazy than actual depression. I feel like I know depression, but this? This I don’t know.

We went to Maui a few weeks back and I actually ended up in the ER because of some leg pain that an urgent care doctor told me to “just” (I put just in quotes because apparently in Maui there is no such thing as a simple ER visit – seriously avoid at all costs, they are TERRIBLE) go get scanned, just in case. The scan turned out fine but I had a horrible anxiety attack that shot my blood pressure up to previously unseen levels.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful but since then I’ve been finding new things to ruminate on. Mostly all centered around me dying of cancer. Yesterday I had a mole biopsied that grew at some point in the last two years. The derm I saw said she would be surprised if it turned out to be anything but I’m still having a lot of difficulty convincing myself to stop googling everything I can about melanoma and completely freaking myself out.

On a rational level I’m completely on board with the fact that I’ve done all I can at this point and can only wait now. I get that my anxiety now that I’ve gone to the doctor, gotten the biopsy, is not productive anxiety. I get it. But I can’t stop it. And I can’t stop worrying about every other little ache or pain that I feel. I rubbed this lump (that two doctors have now told me is just a lipoma) until it turned red and started to hurt. Then I started freaking out that it was red and hurting.

Yeah. Crazy. I know.

I made an appointment to see my obgyn because I feel the need to have a breast check and a papsmear all of the sudden.

I think like most people I’ve had my share of Google induced health freak outs, but nothing to this degree before. I seriously wonder if I’ve become a diagnosable hypochondriac at this point.

Make me broken
So I can be healed
Cause I’m so callous
And now I can’t feel
I wanna run to You
With heart wide open
Make me broken

The one good thing that has come out of this intensely anxious state of mind is the realization that I need God. And I’ve been in this place where He hasn’t been a priority or even an after thought a lot of the times, and that’s really sad. I don’t know how I keep ending up here in the same place. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to prioritize Him in my life. But I have to take actual steps towards fixing that. So that’s what I’m trying to do.

In the meantime, if you pray, please pray for my mental state. Because although I sound reasonably not-crazy in this post (or maybe I sound REALLY crazy and just don’t know it because I’m that far over the edge), something is definitely really wrong with me right now.