Genetics

I’ve read several articles (I am not linking them because they site no actual scientific evidence and are not totally 100% trustworthy sources) that say that babies look more like their dads at birth because evolutionarily speaking, mom’s know the baby is theirs because they gave birth to the baby, but the dad could in theory be anyone.  By looking more strongly like their dad, a baby is ensuring that they get taken care of.  Makes sense to me.

Buggy is the spitting image of my husband.   From the day she was born she has been his little mini-me.  She has his dimples, his big beautiful brown eyes, long curly eyelashes (that I am insanely jealous of), and her skin tone is much darker then other biracial children we know.  Buggy’s brother, however, doesn’t really look like my husband.  He has my more oval eye shape, thinner lips, and is more fair then his sister and dad.  Not only does he look less like my husband then his sister, but my little man has a different blood type then the rest of the family.  Buggy and her dad are A+ and I am A-, so when our little man was O+ we were all a little bit confused.  I asked the nurse how that was possible and she looked mortified when my husband adds “Are we about to go on Maury?”  He was joking, of course.  He knew his son was his, but neither of us knew how he got O blood type.  We soon learned that both of our dad’s are type O, so we are carriers.

Looking at my son makes me wonder how true those articles I’d read about babies looking more like their dad really are.  In the past 2 months, our son has begun to look a little more like his dad.  He has a wide, flat nose and his skin has darkened a bit.  His black curly hair looks just like Buggy’s did at that age, and he’s a night owl just like my husband.  Kid’s looks change over time, and I believe that all children have at least a few features from each parent.  After having two kids, I’ve decided that genetics is a crazy and complicated thing.  The fact that two (or more) children who share the same two parents can look so different just proves my point.

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Buggy and her brother both love doing tummy time!

Do your children look more like one parent or the other?  If you have more then one do they look like each other?

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Before Buggy

Buggy is my rainbow baby.  A rainbow baby is a baby born after the storm that is a miscarriage, still birth, or infant death.  Before Buggy, I had a miscarriage.  After learning that three women near and dear to my heart have suffered miscarriages in recent weeks, I have decided it is time to share my story.

In November of 2012 my husband returned from a year long deployment in Afghanistan.  We knew we wanted children soon, so we started trying and I got pregnant in December of 2012.  In late January, at about 7 weeks pregnant, I woke up like usual to go to work and went to the bathroom.  I was bleeding.  A lot.  The panic set in immediately.  I sat on the bathroom floor crying hysterically and wondering that to do.  My husband was already at work on the base, and I was due to leave for work myself in about 30 minutes.  I couldn’t stop crying and convulsing.

I tried to calm myself down, and finally I was able to call and leave a message for my boss that I would be out sick that day.  Then I called my best friend in hysterics asking for a ride to the hospital.  She showed up within minutes, not knowing that I was pregnant let alone having a miscarriage.  Because I had insurance through my husband and had already been seen to confirm the pregnancy on Post, I asked my friend to drive me there instead of the local ER.  It was 6am.  I knew she had to work, but I also knew she would do anything for me, as I would for her.   I got my husband on the phone and told him to meet us at the gate ASAP, that I thought I was having a miscarriage and that my friend was bringing me to him.

As we drove, I explained to her that I thought I was having a miscarriage.  I cried and cried.  Through my tears and shaking hysterics she comforted me, made me smile a little, and was there for me through one of the scariest moments of my life.  I will forever be grateful for her friendship and for her words of comfort that morning. 

When we got to the base I hopped out of the car and into my husband’s and we made our way to the hospital.  We went directly to the OB office, and when they opened at 7am we were the first ones in.  I explained to the receptionist that I thought I was going through a miscarriage and she immediately got me in to see a doctor, who was the kindest most patient soldier I had ever met.  She checked me out, confirmed what I already knew in my heart was true, and explained what would happen next. 

I would likely bleed for a few more days, and would be more emotional then normal as my body adjusted to the change in hormones I was going through as well as the emotional pain of dealing with a loss.  She scheduled me a follow-up appointment for the next week and told me not to blame myself.  She said 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening.  She also said most women go on to have healthy pregnancies following a miscarriage, but if it happened a second time they would run some tests to rule out certain conditions that may affect my ability to carry a child. 

Since we were on an Army Base, the doctor wrote a note for my husband to miss 3 days of work “to support his wife, who suffered a miscarriage”.  They don’t write notes for civilians, so I called in sick to work the rest of the week, and my husband and I spent time together grieving.  I was a wreck.  I cried, slept a little bit, cried some more, tried to eat the casserole my friend’s husband made us, and would not leave my husband for even a few minutes.  I was afraid to be alone, because I had been by myself when it happened. I didn’t want to relive the pain, both physical and emotional, of being all alone in my bathroom losing my child.  It was too much, and I needed to be held as I processed what happened to me.  The days were long, the nights longer.  I was in a dark spot, but I had support from my husband and best friend, and I knew my life would go on.  With support, I was able to crawl my way out of a devastating situation and find the strength to try for another baby.

I was worried.  Would I miscarry again?  What if something happened?  What would I do?  I didn’t think I could handle another loss, but I also couldn’t imagine a life without children, so we started trying again.  Within the month, I was pregnant with Buggy.  Fear set in fast, and those first 7 weeks I hardly breathed.  I was terrified of losing another child.  But as the weeks progressed I started bonding with the life growing within me, and became more and more confident in my own body and ability to carry a child.

In December of 2013 Buggy was born.  She is my pride and joy, and will forever be my rainbow baby.  To all the women out there who have suffered the loss of a child, I hope that you get your rainbow baby one day.  Know that you are not alone, and that you are stronger then you realize.  When the days are dark and long think about your future with hope and joy. I am dedicating this post to my first baby, my three friends, and to all women who have suffered the loss of a child.  May you find peace and happiness after you grieve.

The Nanny

I have been mistaken for a nanny of my own children several times, so when I see a woman (or man) with a child I just automatically assume that the child is theirs.  If they don’t look alike, I think perhaps, like in my situation, the other parent has the more dominant genes.  Or maybe the child is adopted, or it’s a step-child situation.  I never assume someone is a nanny.  I guess it’s my own experience being hurt by people thinking I am not the parent of my own kids that gives me this bias.

I took Buggy and her brother to the park a few weeks ago and a woman was pushing who I assumed was her child on the swings.  Buggy loves swinging, so we went over and started swinging.  I struck up a conversation with the woman and she asked how old my kids were.  I answered, then asked “How old is your daughter?”  “Oh no!  I’m not her mom!  I’m the nanny!”  She said.  The she laughed.  A really long awkward laugh that made me so uncomfortable I nearly packed up the kids and left.  But then she said she was flattered I would think she was young enough to have a toddler.  Apparently she was in her 40’s and her daughter is in college. 

I felt bad that I had jumped to a wrong conclusion about her relationship with the child she was caring for.  But, a moment later I realized she didn’t care, so why should I?  People make mistakes all the time, and this was a very minor mistake that clearly didn’t make a difference in the life of this stranger.  We continued to talk while the girls played together on the slide, and found out we had a lot in common.  Buggy and her new friend had fun, and we made plans to return to the park the next week and meet up again.

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Playing at the park!

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This girl loves to swing!

I am working on forgiving people who assume I am the nanny, and not jumping to any conclusions myself.  Next time I think I’ll just ask  “How old is he/she?” to avoid all the awkwardness!

Buggy’s Brother is Born!

Buggy’s little brother was born the day after I posted Due Dates and Birthdays!  Since I never got a chance to document Buggy’s birth story, I’ve decided to write her brother’s birth story now while it’s fresh in my mind, and write down what I can remember of her birth in a future post.

On Saturday, August 22, 2015 at about 9pm I started feeling a little bit sick and crampy.  I decided to drink some water and try to sleep a little bit to see if I would feel better.  At about 11pm I was having contractions, but they were not consistent.  They would be 5 mins apart for 30 mins and then 10 mins apart for an hour.  I wasn’t sure what labor was really like because I was induced with Buggy.  About 11:30 I took a shower, ate a snack and told my husband I wasn’t sure if I was in true labor or not.  Then I called the nurse hotline.  They asked me a few questions and then said “Has your water broken?”  I said “I don’t think so… wait a minute….”  And I stood up and saw a puddle where I had been sitting.  Water started trickling down my legs.  “Yes, it did.  I’ll go to the hospital”  I told the nurse over the phone.  We grabbed Buggy and our bags and called a friend to drop her off on our way to the hospital.

We got to the hospital about 2am.  I was definitely in labor!  Although my contractions weren’t 3-5 mins apart like they say they should be to get admitted to the hospital, I was in a considerable amount of pain and my water had indeed broken so I got admitted to the triage room.  After struggling to get into a hospital gown (Why do they tie in the back?  At 40+ weeks it is impossible to reach behind yourself to tie and I didn’t want the random people in triage seeing my behind.  It took me so long to get into it that my husband was knocking on the bathroom door several times to make sure I was ok!) I saw the doctor in the triage room I was then transferred to the labor and delivery room.

I immediately asked for an epidural.  The pain was already too much for me, and I knew from Buggy’s birth that an epidural helped me to relax.  As I was waiting for it, I remember asking how people gave birth before pain meds existed and the nurse told me they didn’t have a choice!  I also remember squeezing my husbands hand so hard through every contraction that I got a cramp in my hand.  And at one point I said I didn’t think I could do it.

Once the epidural kicked in I texted my family and friends and watched a little tv.  It was about 4am at that point, and I was tired but too excited to sleep.  At 7am the nurses changed shifts and my new nurse said my son would probably be born within a few hours!!  More excitement and a little nervousness kept me from napping, but I did doze off a little bit and was able to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet.

A little after 9 am my midwife came in to check on my and said I would start pushing in a few minutes.  I was preparing for a marathon since I was pushing Buggy out for 4 hours, but after only 15 minutes, at 9:34am on August 23, 2015 my beautiful little boy was in my arms.  I was surprised when the midwife said he was born sunny side up, because I didn’t tear and he came out so quickly and without much effort (in comparison to Buggy), but he did have a considerable cone head and some bruising on his forehead.

As I reflect on my son’s birth I am happy with the way it happened.  I was relaxed and calm the whole time, and I was confident in every decision I made.  He’s perfect in every way and a wonderful addition to my family!

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Buggy loves doing tummy time with her brother!