Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

It's been three months since I posted anything!  In blogger time, that seems like an eternity.  In my real life, it seems like three days.

I could not allow Thanksgiving to pass without public acknowledgment of the things for which I give thanks.  This year, especially, I am thankful.  Gone are the Thanksgivings of dread. 

This sweet, happy boy has renewed and restored my soul.  No, I have not forgotten Olivia.  Yes, I still miss her every single day.  Now, that is not all I feel.  I am thrilled to feel happy again!  I love mothering.  I love everything about it.  I'm sleep deprived.  I need a mani/pedi.  My house isn't company clean.  I'm poor.  Not a single one of those things matters.  Every day, I thank God for the gift of motherhood and for another day spent with Emory. 

I am more thankful for my husband as well.  Seeing him as a father is like cleaning a dirty pair of eyeglasses.  I see him differently.  I see parts of him that I haven't seen before. 

As we go into this holiday season, I hope each of you finds things that make you happy and thankful.  I hope that you find peace, happiness and pie!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Midnight Train

That's where my thoughts start, stop, get derailed, and eventually crash. It's been two months plus some days since I posted last. I think about it, usually around midnight as I'm trying to drift off to sleep. At that point, there's usually a wee one attached to me and typing isn't a possibility. This happens night after night and I think, "I haven't _____ in a long time." The blank might be: written, read, clipped my nails or any other number of things I don't have much time to do. More often than not, I just don't have two free hands. I know people who only have one hand must be able to do things, but being used to having two, I can't figure it out.
I sat down to write this earlier. I had starts and stops and finally, just ate a handful of Cheerios and went with it. There are probably multiple Cheerios on the floor now…
There have been a lot of things in the news this summer that I have thoughts on. Summer itself is a head scratcher. Exactly when, in North Carolina, have there been consecutive nights in August where air conditioning isn't needed because it's so cool outside? I don't remember a time. When I was a kid, we didn't have a/c until I was in about 7th grade, though. We used to roll those windows open and let the hot dust fly in. Yes, North Carolina in the heat of summer on a dirt road…I don't miss those days at all. I digress.
The things I've paid most attention to are the egregious actions of my home state's governor and legislature. Education has been slashed like Edward Scissorhands' most recent shrub. Wet-behind-the-ears youngsters who supported our guvna have received pay raises over $25k, though. Voting rights have been targeted. Women's rights have been targeted. It's as if I'm living in the state in the decades before I was even born. I read a quote the other day; I don't remember the source, which sums up the war on women's rights. "Roe v Wade was not the beginning of abortions. It was the end to women dying from abortions." I think it's atrocious that our officials want to put us back at least 40 years.
I used to love residing in NC. I liked being southern. I don't anymore. I'm embarrassed. I'm concerned for the children of this state who aren't wealthy enough for private education, including my own. I'm concerned for women who find themselves in the horrific situation of an unwanted pregnancy. By the way, adoption is not an alternative to pregnancy. It's an alternative to parenting. I struggled to have a living, healthy child. I still don't think anyone should have the right to tell me what to do with my uterus. Nevertheless, I am stuck here for the foreseeable future thanks to the economy. I can't just pick up and move to a more progressive, education-appreciating state.
For now, I'll watch the news with hopes of Moral Mondays growing and showing these officials that they do NOT speak for all of us, or even the majority of us. Polls are showing that. I will love, nurture and raise this beautiful baby boy by whom my husband and I have been so richly blessed. I will continue to work. I will continue to chip away at Mt. Clothesmore on my days off and I will continue to have my random thoughts aboard the midnight train to dreamland.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Time Keeps On Slipping...

As Steve Miller crooned, time is slipping by at alarming rate.  I find my days almost melting together.  Particularly my days off work when I'm home with Emory seem to be time lapsed.  It can seem like it's been only an hour since we got out of bed, but it's been twelve.

I don't write anymore.  I haven't posted here in more than a month.  It isn't that the desire isn't there.  My hands are almost always occupied with my boy if I'm not at work.  It's hard to type with a wiggly 12 lbs. in the lap!
There is always at least one blurry limb.

I am so blessed with this baby boy.  He's as perfect as a baby can be.  I don't mean physical beauty, but he definitely is beautiful.  He's happy, snuggly, and loving.  He's a great eater.  He sleeps pretty well.  He amazes me every day with the new things he learns.  I can sit and watch him for hours just so I can catch a glimpse of the awe in his eyes when he discovers something new.

I don't recall it feeling like this with Olivia.  I think that's probably because we spent so much of her early life in doctor's offices and hospitals.  I was so stressed out and exhausted with her that the moments of sheer joy were fleeting.  I am learning to deal with my guilty feelings about comparing the two existences.  I am trying to just embrace and love every moment with him and be thankful that I had the time with her that I did.  I can't change the past.  I can't make her be here.  Que sera sera...

The clock is ticking quickly toward morning when I have to work again.  Sweet dreams, friends.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Made It

Yesterday, I made it through my first day back at work after maternity leave.  It took some horrendous mental prep, a great group of work people, and my husband being Super Dad, but I survived with minimal tears.

Without meaning for it to be so, my blog has many times been all about my status as a bereaved mother.  If you're new to me, you can read a good example of that here.  It is truly a huge part of my soul.

As I gathered clothes after my shower yesterday morning, I sat down on the edge of my bed.  I cried and told my husband I didn't know how I would make it through the day.  What he didn't know was the thought stream that proceeded through my head.  "At least I get to see him at the end of the day."  "I get to come home and hold him."  "It's been over 5 years since I held Olivia." " I should be grateful."  This devolved into bleak territory when I started playing the what if game....What if something happened to Emory?  What if he gets sick?  What if he died?  

Normal people don't think this way.  People who have children and see them healthy and living don't think this way.  At least, I've never heard of anyone mentioning it.  I realized how dark it seemed and quickly pushed those thoughts back into the deep recesses of my brain.

I got to work and felt so loved and missed as several of my friends welcomed me back with big smiles and hugs.  I tried to figure out the ins and outs of pumping at work and scheduling that.  There weren't a lot of needy families for most of the day.  Luckily, Kelly kept sending me text and photo updates of his and Emory's day.  That got me through until he brought sweet boy for a dinner date.  

Before the night ended, a new admission reminded me of how incredibly blessed we are with this precious baby.  It also reminded me why my thoughts drift to those dark places.  I came home and couldn't get my boy in my arms fast enough.  

I'm home with him today enjoying each blissful minute.  Peace and love to all of you.  I made it.

I know that's a song...I'm hearing it faintly in my head.  Ah, yes, with Lil Wayne...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Procrastination of the Worst Kind

I am a procrastinator.  I believe I could do it professionally if there were such a thing.

Over the past eight weeks, I have procrastinated to extremes that even impress me.  Tomorrow, I return to work after doing very little other than loving my baby for two months.

There are all of these things I had planned to do while on leave.  I wanted to organize closets, finish decorating the nursery, deep clean my house and car, etc.  I think you get the picture.  It isn't necessarily that Emory wouldn't let me do things because he's so needy.  It's much more that all I wanted to do was hold and kiss him.  I kept thinking I had plenty of time to do the other things.  Alas, the time is up and I did mostly none of them.  He'd be in my arms right now if he hadn't fallen asleep in his swing.

I have already shed tears today just thinking about tomorrow.  I am afraid I will be utterly useless to the families I'm there to support.  Emory and I talked about my going back to work.  I told him his daddy loves him very much and they are going to have a great time together.  I told him I will miss him.  I told him it will be ok.  I think I need to hear that much more than he does.

I am trying to put a smile on my face and fake it.  I'm trying to think that I'm simply blessed to be able to go to work because he's healthy enough that I can.  Can I keep that thought in my head for a 10-hr shift tomorrow?  I wouldn't make any bets on it if I were you.

Who'd want to be away from him???

Now, I'll go back to thinking of nothing but him until 9 am tomorrow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Disappearing Parent

I can be very judgmental.  Ask my husband.  He'll agree.  The thing I think I'm most judgey about is parenting.  No, I do not think I know everything or that I am superior.  There are simply some things I've come across over the past five years that can't seem to escape that black-robed mouth in my head and her finger wagging.

When we have a child, we take on a huge responsibility.  It isn't just about feeding, clothing, and safety.  We take on the responsibility to love and nurture that has no expiration date.  We bring this child into our family by choice.  A pregnancy isn't planned?  Tough.  You have the baby, you've made a choice.   If you aren't sure you can handle the responsibility, there's adoption.

I no longer have the option to hold and care for my daughter.  For a good while after she died, my arms physically (perhaps that came from mental roots) ached for her.  No, in her short eight years she did not commit crimes or injustices in this world.  She never disappointed me either.  Yes, I was angry with her from time to time.  There was this one instance when she learned to bite.  She pretended to try to kiss me on the cheek but bit me instead.  She smiled, hugely proud of herself.  After my anger diffused, I admit I was even proud of her since she was two and biting is kind of typical for a two-year-old.  She didn't have a long list of developmental milestones she met on time, ya know?  I digress.

I know of so many parents who have adult children whom they choose to dismiss from their lives.  I call them disappearing parents.  They all have their reasons.  I think there is very, very little a person could do that would truly justify a parent's absence from the life they purposefully brought into their world.  You know what?  Adults make decisions other adults don't like.  I feel absolutely certain that this precious, innocent baby boy who has me wrapped around his tiny finger will do something at some point that I will not like.  I may even hate it or be embarrassed by it.  I will never cut him out of my life.  You may say, "Oh, you just wait...".  No.  You wait.  You wait until a child you love with every fiber of your being is yanked from your arms forever.  You wait until you cry yourself to sleep at night because you miss your child and there is nothing in this life that seems worthwhile because that hurt is so deep.  Your adult child has done something you disapprove of?  Ask any one of us who has lived this grief if it is bad enough to cut them out of your life.  I wager none of us would say 'yes'.  

If you have children who are alive, they deserve you.  You don't have to like what they do with their lives.  I'll wager they don't approve of you wholly either.  You know what?  It doesn't matter.  Be thankful you have them and do whatever it takes to keep in contact.  One day, the choice won't be yours anymore.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

An Ironic Life

I don't have much time to write these last weeks.  I spend most of my time nursing or holding Emory.  It is not a complaint.  It's actually a blissful statement.

However, during all of this quiet time, I can't help but to reflect on those early times at home with Olivia and make comparisons.  Sometimes, those thoughts bring smiles.  Often, they bring tears.  There is very little about Emory's life that is similar to his sister's.  It make me sad for what she and I missed out on.

Emory is an easy baby.  He loves to eat and I'm thankful I'm able to breastfeed him.  He is a great sleeper.  This is the biggest difference between my two babies.  Olivia never slept.  We had a prescription for sleep meds by the time she was 6 months old.  With Emory, I have to wake him to eat!  He's peaceful in general and is already showing peeks at his personality.

This morning, before 11 am, both Emory and I had been bathed and dressed.  I was sitting on the sofa reading a magazine.  That scenario was foreign in Olivia's early days.  She cried.  She was miserable so much of the time and no one knew why at that time.  I have always felt cheated about her.  She suffered as no child should.  Now that I see how it can be different, that hurt is intensified at the same time I am so happy with my boy.

For now, I try to push those thoughts aside and concentrate on these good ones.  I am blissful at home with Emory.  My weeks before going back to work are passing much too quickly.

Happy Easter to all.  For those of you who celebrate, this is the holiest of holidays.  For others, simply hunt the eggs and make sure you get a Reester Bunny!  OMG, my sister brought us one yesterday.  It's Reece's Cup heaven to the Nth degree.

He's always so expressive, even asleep!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New beginnings

Our baby boy has arrived!  Emory was born last Monday, March 4.

I have identified myself as a bereaved mother for the past five years.   Now, I can just identify myself as a mother again.  The past week has been full of mixed emotions.  By far, the overwhelming ones are joy, happiness and gratefulness.  Sorrow and grief have crept in a few times.  Missing Olivia has been enhanced by the love for her brother.

I wondered all throughout my pregnancy if I'd be able to love another child as much or as intensely as I loved her from birth.  They are very different and the feelings aren't the same, but YES, I am able.  I am so in love with this little face.  I find myself just staring at him with tears streaming down my face.  How did I get so lucky?  So blessed?

My heart is full to bursting.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Taking Breaths and Playing Games

I think this is probably the longest gap in posts since I started this blog.  It's not that I haven't had things I wanted to get out of my head.  It's more that they seemed like just singular thoughts here and there.  There wasn't enough to make a whole paragraph let alone three or four.

I'm very near the end of my pregnancy.  I'm breathing a little easier thanks to a few days off work before being induced on Monday.  That's just 4 days!  I'm having a baby in 4 days!  Well, if his highness would like to grace us with his arrival prior to that, it would certainly be most welcome.  The problem is that he seems to love his woom and figures he'll stay there until kindergarten.  He isn't overdue yet; he's just over big.

I am doing things around the house in short spurts.  I don't have enough energy to do a lot for an extended period of time.  So, with the down time, I'm obsessing with online games.  I'm not a big 'gamer'.  I love the little simple ones.  My current addiction is Candy Crush Saga on   I play it on mobile and Facebook.  It is like visual crack.  When I get started, I just can't seem to stop.

I'm also reading more.  I recently started the Anita Blake vampire hunter series.  They are short, easy reads. I'm on book 6 in less than 3 weeks.

I continue to watch VH1 every morning in hopes of seeing my favorite video.  There are actually a couple of really good songs on pop radio right now, in my opinion.  Many times, seeing the vids for the songs makes me hear them in a whole new way.  FUN. is a great example for that.  I really like their music and the videos add a whole other dimension.  My current absolute fave is Thrift Shop.  It is completely silly and makes me laugh.  In case you need a laugh to start your day, here ya go.  *The VH1 version is cleaned up.  This one is NOT.*

Monday, February 4, 2013

It's That Time of Year

Where were you 13 years ago?  I was in a similar circumstance.  I was 39 weeks pregnant and about 4 hours into labor with the baby who would be known as the world's most beautiful girl.  You may scoff at that.  If so, it's because you never saw her.

I never dreamed I'd be pregnant at this age when I was giving birth to Olivia.  I never dreamed what the next 8 years after that night would bring either.  I dreamed of everything every young pregnant woman does.  I dreamed of snuggles, kisses, diapers, preschool, kindergarten, bikes and dolls.  I never dreamed I was entering a world of hospitals, doctors, and death.

I remember that night vividly.  It isn't only the pain I remember.  I also remember the tears that exploded from my eyes when I saw her for the first time.  I remember the feeling that my heart, the literal center of my chest, would explode at the love I felt at that moment.  

I can't remember Olivia's birthday without remembering her angelversary.  They come only five days apart.  That seems such a cruel twist of fate.  I don't know if the pregnancy hormones make it worse this year or if it would be the same regardless.  I have been sad for several days.  I have had a shorter temper.  I have had horrific nightmares and sleepless nights.  Will it change after Sunday?  The grief never goes away, but its sharpness dulls over time.  At these special dates, the edge of grief's sword is dangerously sharp.

On the way home from work tonight, I heard one of our two songs.  I Knew I Loved You doesn't really play on radio stations anymore, but I'd like to think it was a gift to me.

The tears began to flow as soon as I heard the first notes.  I fear the next 24 hours or five days may be the same.  I'm a few hours early, but, I didn't want to count on waking up at 4:58 am to publish this.  Happy birthday in heaven, my angel.  There is nothing I wouldn't give to kiss your sweet face again.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It Would Suck To Be a Homeless Person With a Food Allergy

Tonight, after our last childbirth class, we stopped at Arby's for a late, cheap supper.  We'd had a really good night and were joking about lots of things.  I then saw this man, the only other person in the place.  I immediately thought he looked homeless.  It made me sad, then Karen-brain took over.

There's a nurse I work with who once asked the Facebook local world where all the panhandlers in the city stood.  She wanted to make them a bag lunch or something like that. 

I put the nurse thought together with the man sitting across Arby's.  What if you're that homeless person on the street corner?  What if some generous soul brings you a PB & J on whole wheat as a selfless act of giving?  What if you have a severe peanut allergy? 

I mean, it's not like you have the time to write on your cardboard sign, "Will work for food...*only foods accepted are tomato, peanut, onion, and shellfish free.*  This wouldn't work for many reasons.  One, no one reads the whole sign.  I mean seriously, I see "Mother of 3" and I stop reading.   Two, if I happened to be going through the drive-through at Mickey D's and I grab a sack full of extra hamburgers to hand out, I'm not going to read that and tell the woman, "I'm sorry.  You'd be allergic to my donation" and drive off.  If I were her, I'd be so pissed off. 

Although, as the average commuter driving by, this could be the conscious-easing way to get out of giving a handout.  You could be the person saying your food only has those ingredients and you'd hate to send them into anaphylactic shock, so maybe next time.

I just see this is a bad all the way around.  Maybe there's a universal or divine intervention that prevents the homeless from having food allergies.  I haven't ever actually seen a news story about a homeless vet on the corner of Cloverdale and Medical Center Blvd who ate a freebie and ended up in the ED half dead.

Then, we got up to leave.  The man did not have food.  He had a couple of used plastic grocery bags and he looked very unkempt.  I felt bad again.  I'd have offered him something, but I didn't want to kill him.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Audacity of a Title *explicit language*

I am furious.  I don't know what else to call it. 

Today, I had my regular follow-up OB appointment.  Recall that I go to a High Risk OB group.  I have seen the midwife most of my visits, but as I'm nearing delivery and she doesn't deliver, I thought I should branch out and see more of the physicians.  The one I was scheduled to see today, let's call her Incompetent, I had only seen once before.  That particular visit, I waited an hour and 40 minutes and she blamed it on the new computer system.

Today, I waited for 2 hours.  No one warned me upon check-in that there was such a delay or any delay at all.  When I humorously asked at 1 hour 15 minutes if they'd forgotten me, I was just told they were running behind.  Oh, I'm sorry.  You're running behind?  What about the roomful of patients waiting to see you?  We are now running behind as well and are stuck. 

When Incompetent finally managed to see me, she blamed the wait on her being the only physician there today.  She definitely wasn't taking extra time with anyone based on her, "Let me listen to the baby and measure you, then you can get out of here" statement.  I had concerns today that I wanted addressed.  I was completely bullshitted.

As lamented in my previous post, I have severe Restless Leg Syndrome.  I have it always.  It is not a pregnancy condition.  It is a neurological diagnosis.  I told her I was completely exhausted because I can't sleep.  I told her why.  I told her the OTC recommendations weren't working.  I was almost in tears.  This was my response...

Incompetent suggested I see their new counselor about getting an anti-depressant.  (I certainly would if I were depressed.  That's not what's being discussed here.)  Next, she suggested I wear ankle weights to bed.  That's right.  I'm supposed to put 2-5lb weights on each ankle and let them hang off the edge of the bed.  Weighing my legs down might stop the jerking.  Are you fucking kidding me? 

I can handle someone telling me they don't know an answer.  I can handle that there just may not be anything I can do right now.  I cannot handle patronizing virtual head petting telling me I'm "almost there" and this complete horses' assery of medical advice.  That fancy M.D. behind your name does not mean you can spew forth complete bullshit and it be accepted.

In addition to all of this, she didn't even bother to check my cervix after the weekend visit at the hospital due to contractions.  I have a call into the Service Excellence department over their office.  I thought about it for a couple of hours before I called.  I didn't want to overreact.  I have come to the conclusion that I am not. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Collection

Before you get all excited about Jersey cows or miniature pigs, no, it's not that kind of collection.

I haven't written often in a few months.  I didn't want to bore people with my tales of pregnancy and baby.  I actually pay attention and love that I have readers all over the world.  If you're so inclined, please shoot me a  message and tell me if you have a topic you'd like to see here.

For today, it's a collection of thoughts from the only things I know.  Let's talk sleep.  I can't really talk about sleep as I have had so very little the past three months.  It is getting more and more difficult to feel even a little rested.  I have the typical ailments of late pregnancy.  I'm physically uncomfortable and it takes a lot to get to a decent position.  I have to pee every 45 mins to an hour.  I have the nasal congestion which is causing me to snore horribly.  Then, there are my restless legs.  Those are not unusual for pregnancy either, but I have it all the time and pregnancy is exacerbating it in the worst kind of way.

I first had symptoms when I was pregnant with Olivia.  They faded after she was born for a while.  I honestly don't remember when they came back with a vengeance.  Boy, did they, though!  I went through every dosage of Requip, the standard medicine prescribed, with little relief.  I remember when Olivia was nearing the end of her life and we were in bed all the time.  Her nurses would comment on my amazing jerking legs.  Once, I was in the ED with a migraine and my sister said they should be called something stronger like 'volcanic'.  If you aren't familiar with Restless Leg Syndrome, then I am so thrilled for you.  It's a neuromuscular condition in which your legs take on a life of their own.  Symptoms vary between people and so does timing.  Some only get it when they go to bed.  I do that, but if I'm sitting around relaxing or watching a movie or on a long car ride, it can occur.  A few years ago, when I drove with a friend to the Florida Keys, I remember them being so bad that I had bruises on my knees from them hitting the dashboard in the van.  Shortly after that, I was put on a different medicine that controlled them really well and I almost never had symptoms.

In pregnancy, none of those meds are allowed.  I have been dealing with this sleep-stealing beast for 8 months.  As soon as I get close to being able to doze, the tingling starts.  I can handle that.  Then, the burning comes.  It's like there is a hot poker being trailed up and down my legs, particularly my calves.  Then, the jerking.  Sometimes, the legs jerk without any thought control.  Others, I have to move them to try to get relief.  The only real relief I get is if Kelly massages them or a hot bath.  I don't mean warm.  I mean nearly scalding hot to cover my legs.  I don't cover all of me.  I know that's not safe either.  For some reason, the heat stops the torture.  There are times I wish I could sleep in that water because I think I actually could.

Last night was the worst night of the pregnancy.  I was so tired when I got home from work.  All I wanted was to lie down.  I did.  Then, about 30 minutes later, it started.  Kelly rubbed my legs for about 30 minutes and I was drifting off.  Next, the vicious jerks returned.  Around 2 am, I headed for the bath.  I lay in there for about half an hour.  Kelly also came and massaged them in the water.  When I got out, I cried when I lay back down.  I was so exhausted that I couldn't stop the tears.

Sometime before 3:30 am, I dropped into a less than refreshing sleep.  I was up again after 5 to go to the bathroom.  Then, I was up for good by 8.

Luckily, today is my day off.  I've had breakfast.  I'm watching VH1 and snuggled on my sofa.  It's another hideously rainy day here in NC.  If God and the Universe allow, I hope a nap is in my future.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Impending Pain of Labor and Its Current Mental Portion

I'm sitting here on the sofa after returning from our first childbirth class.  Emory has the hiccups and is apparently trying to swat them away.

Time is drawing near for him to make his grand entrance into this complicated world.  I am thrilled and have now reached the point where I'm afraid as well.

Why, you may ask, would I take a class since I've already given birth?  There are a few reasons.  First, my husband has never had children.  Second, it's been 13 years (minus 28 days) since I did.  Next, my labor with Olivia was not great.  Finally, it just seems like a good idea.

When I had Olivia, my water broke first.  It's not the norm, I hear.  Supposedly, only about 12% of women start labor that way.  Then, my contractions weren't regular, so they gave me Pitocin.  It's a synthetic version of a natural hormone that catapulted me into hard labor with no warm up period.  It's common to get an epidural for pain relief with Pit.  Our class instructor told us so tonight.  I tried one with Olivia.  It was almost as horrific as the eventual natural labor and delivery I endured.  For some reason, as we saw again when I needed a lumbar puncture last year, getting at that space in my spine is a challenge for physicians.  So, I went through the pain of that with Olivia, then the damn thing didn't work.  My goal this time is to have a better handle on natural pain management techniques.  If they don't work, so be it, but I wasn't nearly prepared enough last time.

I am truly afraid.  I don't need platitudes of  "You can do it!",  "Your body was meant for this!", or "Don't worry!"  You know what? I know I can do it.  I did it.  That doesn't mean it didn't hurt more than words can possibly describe.  Yes, our bodies are meant for it and women have been doing it for thousands of years.  That still doesn't mean it won't hurt.  I assure you, the first person to tell me not to worry will be punched in the throat.  Don't worry, you'll recover.

I'll go back now to focusing on these little acrobatics in my belly.  Except for the sharp jabs, they mostly make me smile.