Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lost mom

Earlier this week I shared that other than mom-ing, wife-ing and work-ing, I don't have much going on.  I woke early one morning and was  What is this life and how did I get here.  I am usually a pretty content person, and I feel much gratitude for what and most especially who, I have.  But honestly, come on!  I have totally let myself go, in every which way.  And I'm not into it.  So I started to really take a look the last few days and so far, this is what I've found.  It means little, but to me, it's little pieces of a big puzzle.

In taking my first shower as a semi-awoke person (does that make sense?) I realized -- I buy the good razors for Kevin, but use whatever I can get for free from couponing for myself.  Do you understand how much BIGGER the area I shave is compared to his sweet little face?  I used his razor and threw mine in the trash.  Next, I evaluated my shampoo/conditioner/soap selection.  For whatever reason, my girls who are not toddlers by about a decade, still have a fondness for what surely must be simply taking any cleaning product and POURING IT RIGHT DOWN THE DRAIN.  They add a drop to their hair or body and then just upend the whole bottle.  Therefore, other than the good Dove soap bc of course we have sensitive skin, I buy whatever I can get for the cheapest amount.  Fine, good, frugal.  But meanwhile, this means I have gone YEARS without something as simple as my hair looking and smelling the way I want it to.  I don't even know what it is I want anymore, and I haven't bothered to find out.  This simple act of taking a shower illustrated to me that EVERY SINGLE THING I do, choose and use, has other people in mind.  

I believe it will make me a happier person, and better wife and mom, if I start thinking of myself if even just a little bit.  I don't know what that will look like yet, but it's been eye opening even just thinking about it.  And I know where I learned it, right at my mother's feet.  And she probably was wearing shoes that she wouldn't have chosen, but got on a good sale so she could spend the rest on my brother and I.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

5 years

This week it will be 5 years since we lost our precious surprise baby.  In a way I can't believe it's been that long, in another way it feels like much longer.  Sadness can sometimes make a single day seem like a week.  And yet during those 5 years my life has also held much joy, which makes that same single day pass in the blink of an eye.  I guess that goes along with being a mother in general - challenge/joy.  Weakness/strength.  Pain/laughter.  Loss/love.

I cry just at the thought of that baby.  My arms sometimes feel so empty despite all I hold dear. Perhaps those that know me, know our family, wonder why we didn't just go ahead and try for another baby if the loss is so great.  Kevin and I have never tried for a baby, and I am so sorry if that hurts anyone reading, as my heart is soft for all those that struggle to conceive.  That just wasn't our particular challenge in this life.  I got pregnant with Bailey at 23 years old, just a few months into taking graduate classes, and only a year into our "5 year plan".  I remember falling in the shower after peeking out at the positive pregnancy test, that I took only because I finally realized hmmm it's been awhile.  I even have a picture of the bruise on my back!  I went then to my doctor that day to take a blood test, not believing.  The nurse called and when I answered she said, "hi Mommy."  By that moment, just hours later, I was already happy at our unexpected turn of events.

Then when Bailey was diagnosed with CF, we didn't know what that meant for our little future family.  My dream was to have 4 children, but how could I knowingly bring another child into this world that has a 25% chance of inheriting both of our CF genes.  And how could I do something like pre-implanation diagnosis, where they filter out the disease carrying embryos and implant only the healthy ones -- that would mean I wouldn't have had Bailey?  I literally cried into baby Bailey's hair as I clutched her to me, wondering if she would ever be a big sister, and would the only baby I ever had possibly have a life of illness and die before me.  My grief during that first year of her life - the grief that what I had thought I had, a healthy baby, was gone...the grief that I felt my fertility and choices were taken from me..the grief that I was living in a pit of fear...was so much.  And yet again - the joy at being this precious girl's mother.  Loss/love.

When Bailey was 15 months old, I found out we were expecting again.  I was saying "I don't know how this happened" so much that my mom said  I needed to stop saying that, I sounded uneducated.  To this day I marvel at how Taylor literally fought her way into our family and it is SO her!!  And I also marvel - and praise with every bit of my being - how God knew best and took that decision from me, so lovingly.

I had always wanted a sister, and finding out we were having another girl made me so happy.  Bailey would be a big sister!  They were exactly 2 years apart (and 4 days!) and right from the first day, Bailey has been a wonderful sister.  I am so very thankful.  Life with Taylor was not always easy (challenge/joy!!) but not for one second was I not grateful beyond words that God had blessed me with these two girls.

Pictures of the girls from April 2012.

In 2012, Bailey was 8 and Taylor 6, we again find out an unexpected blessing was on our way.  When I delivered Taylor by c-section, I had a choice of having my tubes tied.  I agonized over that choice, knowing it's what I "should" do but at 26 years old, I just didn't want to say "never again."  I just couldn't do it.  And finding out we had conceived, I was so thankful I hadn't.  The first waves of shock quickly gave way to joy.  Looking back, right from the start though the pregnancy was not like my others.  I wasn't nauseous at all, whereas with the girls I was sick every day, right up to delivery.  My blood test HCG numbers weren't doubling/tripling as fast - pregnant with Taylor they were so high they had me come in for an internal ultrasound to check for "multiple" babies!!  But in late March we saw that heartbeat, and were fooled into thinking it was just a different kind of pregnancy.  Maybe a boy!  I hadn't tracked my cycle so they guessed that I was not as far along as they thought, and kept checking my numbers, which continued to rise.  But then I started to spot.  And I never spotted with the girls.  When I called to come in and be checked, they tried to talk me out of it, saying that was normal.  But I knew it wasn't.  I knew in my heart, something bad was happening.

In early March when we found out we were pregnant, we quickly decided to sell the house, our small 3 bed 1 1/2 bath.  So during spring break we stayed at my inlaws house while a crew came in and put in hardwood, gutted the kitchen and one bath.  It was a blessing and a curse that I was not in my own home.  My mother in law, a teacher also on spring break, was available to babysit when I went to the doctor for an exam, and then again for an ultrasound.  It was Kevin's birthday.  By then I knew, and I cried the whole way there.  The doctor couldn't find the heartbeat, and that never happened with the girls.  Because our insurance wouldn't pay for an ultrasound at our doctors office we had to go to a different facility, where I knew no one and the young girl giving the ultrasound didn't have an ounce of compassion in her eyes.  I pleaded with her to tell me what she saw, and she just said I had to wait.  I knew I did, I'm not an idiot, but I so desperately wanted her to smile at me like, "everything's fine, they missed hearing the heartbeat but here it is, beating strong."  Maybe that's why her eyes were blank...if she smiled it would have given false hope, if she had pitied me, she would have had a grieving mother on her table instead of a sad but still hopeful one.

Someone came in, I don't even remember if it was a man or woman, and told us there was no heartbeat and the sac was low, so I would miscarry soon.  They recommended a D&C, but I refused.  Honestly, I refused because I thought maybe they were wrong.  Maybe I'd be that fluke case.  Honestly, right up until the due date came and went, I wondered if just maybe a baby was still in there and we'd have our happy ending after all.  Grief messes with your mind.

One of the hardest moments of my life was returning to my in-laws house.  We told my mother in law over the phone but asked her not to tell the girls.  We picked them up, feigning normalcy, and took them to the church nearby that my husband grew up attending.  They have a memorial garden that is very pretty, and there we told them that our baby wasn't going to be with us here, but that we would see that baby in heaven someday.  I cry here at the thought!  My poor girls were so very sad.  Taylor especially took it hard, and still to this day often talks about the baby.

This was a Thursday, and we were at my in-laws through Sunday.  I had horrible cramps and bleeding over those few days, as I laid on the very old mattress in the spare bedroom by myself.  I missed my best friend's baby shower and my heart broke that I couldn't be there to celebrate her pregnancy, all because I was losing my own.  I read the Hunger Games trilogy, as there was no tv in that room and I didn't want to see anyone to be in a room with a tv.  I can't really believe now that I was holed up in that room for days with only books and my thoughts.  My grief.  On Sunday we went back home and after saying "wow" about the new kitchen - that had countertop, cabinetry and appliances all that I didn't even choose thinking we were moving - crawled into my own bed.

Monday Kevin went to work and kids went to school.  And it was that day, April 16th, that the baby left me.  I thought I had been miscarrying earlier as there had been so much blood already.  But I had no idea, and it was very merciful that I was in my house by myself to experience this sacred and painful passing. The pain was so strong and I needed to push, just like birth.  And I knew that was it.  The pain lessened finally and I stayed in the bathroom for way too long, almost as if when I left that room, I was leaving without my baby and I just couldn't do it.  But I did.  And I do.

Things people said - there must have been something wrong with the baby and it was spared a life of pain - / - God works things all together for good, He has a plan - / - maybe the baby had CF...all of these things did nothing to bring me comfort.  Everyone means well - I mean well when I try to bring comfort to someone - but really when there is grief there is little to be said to comfort.  And sometimes it actually makes it worse.  It was what people did that helped me.  My one friend brought groceries and others brought meals.  I remember one meal was brought by a girl from my MOPS group that I wasn't even close to.  No one else was home when she dropped it off, and I had not yet eaten that day.  The cats needed fed but I couldn't even walk downstairs to open a can of cat food.  It was evening, the food was hot and delicious.  So I stood at the counter, eating her casserole out of the container with a fork, and dropped some of the pieces on the floor for the cats.  Bite for me, bite for you Oreo. Bite for you Cocoa.  Bite for you Maela.  Bite for me.  Kevin and the girls came home to what was left of the casserole and that was an evening that I didn't have to worry about how to buck up enough to make something to feed everyone.  Even the cats.

"Thank you God for that chicken noodle casserole, it was so delicious.  Love, Oreo and Cocoa."  
Time went on and we live a life of joy despite that loss.  Our family has a hole in it and there is nothing to repair it.  We live around it.  I think a lot of families live around some kind of hole, and that is just life.  I don't think this was something in God's plan "I'll let you think you're having a baby PSYCH no you're not", I think it is just something that happened that He allowed, for whatever reason.  It just is.  Just like Bailey's CF.  It just is.  That's part of living in a fallen world.  Don't get me wrong - I blamed Him heavily for awhile, for Bailey's CF and for the loss of the baby.  But this is where I am now, and it is where I want to be.  I have to trust Him at His word, that He will redeem all for good.

So this week especially, I grieve, but I also live.  There are softball games, and a class party, and work, and cats, and drama practice, a house to clean and meals to be made.  Today I am delivering a meal to a mom with young boys whose husband is deployed.  Her husband is not there each night to help with bath time and tuck-ins, not there for Netflix and chill, not there to help bring in the groceries or help her get to sleep at night with his arm perfectly around her.   She's living around the hole.

I haven't written in a long time, despite wanting to so much.  My girls are older and I don't want to embarrass them if a schoolmate was to blunder upon my blog God forbid.  But I needed to get this all out, it helps me to keep moving forward.  That's the only direction there is, after all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

smack dab in the middle.

In just a few days, my firstborn will officially be a middle school kid.  I have not been handling this transition well, and in fact have literally made myself sick from the stress.  In all fairness, this has not been the only stressful thing on my plate recently, but the several days and nights worth of Ugly Cry added up to one sick mom.  3 meds later, I am getting better thankfully.  I am trying to CHILL OUT but that concept has never come easily to me.

Case in point.  Today I went to the dentist for my 6 month check up.  I sit back, the hygienist asks me how I've been doing.  We make small talk while she gets the instruments of torture ready (seriously, I'd rather go to the gyno any day of the week,  I hate the dentist!).   She then asks me how my girls are.  Bless her heart, she just murmured "you poor thing!" as she dabbed at my tears with the paper bib around my neck.   I pulled myself together by trying to joke around then, but the fact was I was in the dentist's chair crying, tears being wiped by a paper bib.  Pretty pathetic.

So why the crazy.  It's just so.much.change.  Bailey has been at the elementary school less than a mile from our house for 6 years - 6 good, relatively easy years.  I can be lazy - easy matters.  We know most everyone, the bus comes right to my house, at 8:45am (seriously).  But it's not just that.  The girls are together, and they love being together.  They look out for one another and when they see each other in the hall, coming or going from one "special" to the next, it's like a celebrity sighting.  

Next year Bailey will leave the house at 7am, which is earlier than she currently wakes.  She will have to wake up extra early because she has to do her treatment.  There won't be sitting at the table with the girls while they eat cereal and I nurse some coffee.  There won't be morning prayer by the front door, which we have done every single weekday, never missing.  Sure sometimes it was real fast as I heard the bus hauling down the street, but it was said.  Ever since pre-school.   They were in pre-k together at church (different classes but still), then Taylor started at Rice the same year Bailey did since she had 2 years of pre-k there.  So we have been in this routine awhile.  I also am nervous about middle school itself.   I did take much comfort in something her teacher said to me recently though - "Bailey is innocent but not immature."  She went on to say that yes, she'll hear things and learn things that I would like for her to never know about.  But her maturity will be there to guide her towards good decisions.  I agree and I'm thankful for that.

I'll miss the "littleness" that goes with being a grade school kid.  The class parties, the "all about me" projects.  The fact that as long as she's in that elementary building, she's still a young girl.  Middle school is a game changer and we all know it.  I hated middle school!  And I'm sure that's part of my problem, and Bailey might not have the same experience.   I hope.

Yes there's good to come.  Yes we are excited and looking forward to many things ahead. Yes this is NOT WORTH CRYING ABOUT...a few tears sure, but this is ridiculous.  Sleep deprivation compounded these feelings times, oh, a million I think.

I have had seasons like this before.  When Bailey started first grade, her first year away from me all day, I struggled very much.  Time moved on and so did I.  I will again.

I think I partly struggle because I'm just so in love.  How could I not be.  These years having young children have been difficult at times, but they are surely the best years of my life.  I know it.  That's why it's hard it's going so fast.

First day of kindergarten 

A few weeks ago, before her dance at school 
I'm so blessed to be a mom.  A lot of good, good stuff happens smack dab in the middle doesn't it though.  So I'm going to try extra, extra hard to look forward to middle school and not grieve for the end of elementary.  After all, I can't ignore the blessing that some cf kids never even see this age.  How thankful I am for her good health.  How thankful I am to have a great school system.  How thankful I am for all of these wonderful years and the years to come.  So no more tears (that's a lie).  But I am willing them to be tears of happiness and gratitude, not tears of sadness.

And lest we not forget....SUMMER IS HERE.  There is no sadness in summer!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

hippie moderation

I have commitment problems, obviously.  I took a nice long blogging break, didn't I.  I commit to people just fine...well...mostly.  I do keep meaning to see my two best friends from high school.  But really, I start stuff all the time, only to either get distracted or quit.  Why do I do that?  Case in point - all of Bailey's pictures from her first 2 years of life are in boxes.  This is back where you had a point and shoot camera and you got film developed.  Seriously!  So there are a million pictures because I'd take a ton trying to get the perfect shot.  Why are they in boxes?  I kept meaning to scrapbook them as at the time, I was into scrapping. Somehow with a baby that ended up getting a life changing, world spinning medical diagnosis, I never got around to it and the pictures piled up (imagine that).  Then when Tate arrived on the scene I knew for sure I'd never scrapbook again in my whole entire life, and I slipped pictures into photo albums once a month.  Until a few years ago.  Now I have pictures in boxes, pictures on my phones, pictures on CDs, pictures on memory cards...but no pictures on a computer, I am not that tech savvy.  This is huge on my to-do list of 2015 and what I have done so far?  Very little.

Then there's my self project.  Every year I make a "commitment" to work on myself.  Take vitamins, drink lots of water...add lemon and heat it up while you're at it.  Exercise, cut sugar, flour, bad fats, GMO's, MSG, etc etc etc.  Lose a bunch of weight while gaining a ton of much needed self esteem.  

I tell myself I'll yell less at my kids.  They take my quiet voice and counting down from 10 in the bathroom as an invite to listen even less, whine a bunch more and it doesn't take long - like January 2 - until I am yelling down the stairs for them to LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW IF YOU DON'T GET UP HERE AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND YOUR HAIR BECAUSE SERIOUSLY YOU ARE NOT HOMELESS AND WHY ON EARTH ARE YOUR CEREAL BOWLS ON THE FLOOR WE DON'T HAVE A DOG AND ARE YOU FIGHTING OVER BARBIES AGAIN?!! YOU HAVE A MILLION BARBIES HOW CAN YOU BE FIGHTING OVER A BARBIE!!!

I put myself on a money budget and that kind of works just like my diet.  All it takes is one well stocked Home Goods to bring on a binge.  Then the guilt.  

So here's been my new thing (let's hope I commit to it).  I want a happy medium.  I want to live in "moderation" like all the hippies call it.  I want to work on myself without hating myself. 

Today, I don't have to work.  I cancelled my dentist appointment because my throat really hurts so I have the whole day to do what I want.  Guess what, I'm going to watch my DVR'd Grey's Anatomy and not feel guilty.  I'm going to do one thing towards the plethora of pictures.  I'm going to drink some hot lemon water but I'm going to eat rye toast with my egg.  Because it's not devil's food, it's delicious.  I'm going to vacuum and clean not because I have to but because I love having a clean house.  I'm going to write my family love notes for their pillows not out of guilt that I lost my ever loving shit a few days ago over bad attitudes and drama, but because I love them more than life itself. I'm going to take pictures at the school dance, bring Bailey a big thing of icy Gatorade because it will be too hot for her, discretely cry as I watch her twirl and laugh with her friends and her crush, and marvel at how Taylor owns a room when just a few years ago she didn't even want to be IN the room.  I'm going to take a nice long walk this morning and smell the flowering trees, not because I am trying FOR THE LOVE TO LOSE JUST ONE POUND THIS WEEK but because it is gorgeous out and it'd be a sin to not enjoy it.  

I want to love life more.  I want to love myself more.  I want to lay my head on the pillow at night and not think about what I didn't do that day, I want to thank God I HAD a day.   And I want to look forward to my next day, not dread it because of all I "have" to do, knowing I'll fall miserably short.   

And guess what else - I'm going to write in this blog again.  Sometime, I really will, I promise.  :)  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I have one more year with a child that is in the single digits.  NINE!!!  My baby turned 9 yesterday.  I really, truly, completely can not believe it.  I remember so vividly the days that seemed to DRAGGGGG on, and here we are at a place where time is flying.  I remember calling Kevin, "when are you going to be home?  Why'd you take THAT way, that way is longer!  What are you near now?  The Wawa?!  That is still 15 minutes away!!"  Yes, I was that wife.  I was that mom.  The mom that feels like she's drowning, and I only had 2 kids.  But Taylor cried for years (no exaggeration), plus I had a kid with medical needs (therefore even more to worry about) and it was really hard.  This very blog all began late one night, as a lifeline.  I thought if I could write-it-out, it'd be a sort of therapy.  And it was, and it is...and I guess I need less therapy because unfortunately I rarely write.  I should write more, as I really do like venting via typing.

But back to the birthday girl.

Taylor came to us much like Bailey did - as an exciting surprise.  Ok more like a HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN?!  That shock QUICKLY turned to joy and I will say to my dying day, God has given me the best presents I never asked for.  How thankful I am to Him, to always know what I need before I do.  And yes, I even feel that way about the baby that didn't stay.

When I got pregnant with Taylor, Bailey was only 15 months old.  Again, I was sick throughout my pregnancy, just as I was with Bailey.  They think it was because my hormone levels were so high - in fact they were so high that I had to have an internal ultrasound to check for "multiple fetus'" (SAY WHAT?!) early in my pregnancy.  I remember begging the ultrasound tech to tell me how many were in there, but she wasn't allowed, the doctor had to.  Finally I said, just blink for how many babies you see.  She turned the screen towards me and blinked once, and pointed to one dot.  Bless her.  I am sure we would have made due, and given thanks, for however many there were, but with a baby at home with CF, and possibly more on the way, I did feel overwhelmed.  And I have a small house!

We elected to have a repeat c-section with Taylor because not enough time had passed for me to forget the gory details of my birth with Bailey.  I walked in to Virtua on October 7, 2005, early in the morning, feeling so ready and so happy.  Taylor was born at 8:11am - our anniversary is 8/11 so I thought that was really neat.  We were both able to see her be born, something we did not take lightly since neither Kevin nor I saw Bailey.  They handed her to me, I was crying of course, and first I noticed she had Kevin's ears, and oh my the chin!!  She had a deep cleft in her chin, just like her daddy.  I remember saying, she doesn't look like Bailey!  As I had expected my second girl I guess to be a clone.  And I remember saying Thank you God over and over, and that she was so beautiful.  I still say thank you God, and I still say she is so beautiful, all the time, every day.

In the hospital, touched with a bit of jaundice, I said "you are just our perfect little sweet potato aren't you?  You're our Tater Tot" and it just stuck.  And it suits her.  She is my Hottie Tottie, my Tater Tot, my Taters.  She is JOY she is FUN she is a DELIGHT.  And typing these words is my delight, because there was a time I couldn't have said that honestly.

When Taylor was a week or two old, she started crying, for hours, every day.  She actually slept well at night, thank the good Lord as I think I would have "run crying for the hills" - an expression my mom uses.  Nothing we did brought her relief.  They said it was colic, then acid reflux....she grew older and was still crying so as a toddler we took her to CHOP for an x-ray and diagnostic testing (she was perfect), to an ENT (who said she had polyps on her vocal cords from all of her screaming/crying..hence her raspy voice...but was fine otherwise).  We took her for allergy testing (she is only allergic to white birch trees), we took her to a gastro-intestinal specialist.  Nothing was internally wrong with her that would be causing her pain.

One Sunday night in February of 2009, Taylor was 3 years old, I googled "behavioral therapy for toddlers in Marlton NJ" as I started to believe the people that were saying it was behavioral.  That she was just stronger than me, that she "ruled the roost."  I knew in my heart they were wrong, that something was wrong, but I really didn't think she was autistic so what was it?!  There at the top of my search was a listing for Sensational Kids in Marlton.  They were giving free workshops THAT VERY WEEK on sensory disorders.  I googled sensory disorder and I KNEW I found something.  I went the next evening to their workshop and cried my way through it.  It was Taylor, all of it. I felt the weight of the world on me, and yet the weight of the world lifted.  I felt such distress that HERE IT WAS THE WHOLE TIME and yet such relief that IT had a name.

We enrolled her immediately in therapy through Sensational Kids.  We then started the process of having her evaluated through the school system to get her services.  She went to Sensational Kids twice a week until the start of the school year in September, where she was to attend the disability pre-school.  She was in a class of 7 children with a special education teacher (I wanted her to move into my house but she said something about boundaries), 2 amazing aides, and she received speech, occupational and physical therapy.  What a great district we are blessed to live in.  She was in that classroom for 2 years, and then the disability kindergarten for half the day and "normal" for the other half.  Then for 1st, 2nd and now 3rd grade she has been and is in an inclusion class, containing both children that are "normal" and kids that need a bit of extra help.  Next year she will not be, as it was this year they really thought she was ready to move to normal.

When she was 3, and I toured the preschool for the first time, I remember walking into the school and seeing a group of children walking to recess.  One girl was in the back, all by herself.  I prayed, with tears streaming down my face, please God bless that girl.  And please, please God don't let my child be her.  Please help her so she can have friends.  I couldn't even envision Taylor caring about friends, as she only was bonded to her family and wanted nothing to do with anyone else.  Playdates were torture - she'd hide in the bathroom, under tables or cling to me around my neck, her face buried so she didn't even have to look at anyone.  Meanwhile my other kid LIVED for playdates.  I longed to be like the other mothers, children happily playing, seemingly not a care in the world as they sipped their coffee.   Instead I had one kid that had to do treatments twice a day because she had a beast in her body that they say will kill her, and another kid who cried incessantly and hated life.   I felt sorry for myself.

To say I am thankful for all of the services she has received to develop coping and social skills, is an understatement.  To say I am proud of my daughter is an understatement.  To say I am in love with my child is another understatement.  My heart is just bursting with gratitude and joy for this girl.  She has come so far, and taught me much along the way.  She taught me to trust my gut.  She taught me patience.  She taught me that God answers prayers in His time, in His way.  I still don't understand God...I know there are children for which it appears healing never comes.  I don't know why.  But for our family, in this instance, God led us to health for our child.  Because of this, I have more hope when I pray for healing for my other child.

When Taylor was 4, she had her first school dance.  She clung to me and wouldn't set a toe down.  She hid her eyes on my chest and covered her ears.  And cried.  I couldn't leave, as Bailey was having the time of her life.  As we often did, Kevin drove separately and so brought her home.  I remember watching her leave, her daddy carrying her, and being so sad.

Last year at the school dance Taylor had a little following of friends follow her around, and she won a dance contest.  SHE WON A DANCE CONTEST.   The same kid who wouldn't set a toe on the gym floor.


I love you so much Tater Tot

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


My firstborn is about to be 11 years old.  Ahhhh.

At 23 years old, we thought we would wait longer having children.  Kevin and I were both working full time and taking masters classes.   I was pregnant with Bailey but didn't know it when we wrote up a "5 year plan" complete with what countries we'd visit (countries!!) on a weekend get-away in February of 2003.   Several days later, laying in my bed one morning counting how many days it had been since my last period (40-something), I decided I should take a test.  Ran to CVS and took it, then peeked at it while I was in the shower and promptly slipped and fell.  I still have a picture of the bruise from my hip from that fall.  I remember sitting on the shower floor, wondering if ALREADY I did something bad to my baby - I had gone snow tubing on our weekend away and now I fell?!

There was no cute way of telling the daddy.  I called him in a panic, my mom and best friend too.  Took a few more tests that day and swung by Labcorp for a blood test ordered by my doctor, who also got a panicked phone call.  I somehow managed to work, and I remember on my way home (can't remember if it was that day or the next?) I called the doctor's office AGAIN asking if they had the results yet.  The receptionist, who by now knew me and was laughing at me I am sure, said, "Hi Mommy" when I asked if the result was in yet.  I remember where I was, and I remember pulling over and crying.  By that point I was so happy.  I realized how much I wanted to be pregnant, regardless of our "plan."   This plan was better.

Pregnancy was not fun, as I was often sick, but I loved seeing my stomach grow and feel her move.  She was in utero how she is now...she'd find a spot and stay there, for a long time.  Sometimes I'd get nervous and try to bounce her around to feel her kick.  If someone wanted to feel her, by the time they'd put their hand on my stomach she was over it and not kicking anymore.

Our due date was October 18.  I had to see a specialist with Bailey because they thought I had a blood condition (which is why I wasn't on the pill - we practiced the "you can run but you can't hide" method).  In late September the specialist noticed my amniotic fluid level kept decreasing.  I wasn't leaking fluid, but there it was, less and less.  On October 2 I was admitted to be induced.  Kevin and I went to dinner first, I wore a nice outfit (why?) and checked in.  They put Cervadil in me and gave me Ambien, which didn't work I was up all night.  We played cards at one point I remember.  In the morning, her head hadn't even dropped, I hadn't dialated at all...we should have done a C-section.  But no...I took Bradley classes for 12 weeks, I wanted to go all natural.  I didn't want my baby having a drop of drug.

Shit got real.  A long story short (because I've already managed to go on and on) after a day of full pitocin, non stop contractions with no dialation, that evening I finally got an epidural.  Then I said my sorries and finally breathed.   A few hours later, her fluid even less, they said it wasn't a choice anymore, I had to do an emergency c-section.  I wasn't feeling well by this point (going through hell will do that to you) and had started to dry heave.  They ended up knocking me out, giving me general anesthesia to deliver.  It still breaks my heart that neither Kevin or I got to see our baby be born.  When I woke I was still so loopy but I faked being normal because I so desperately wanted to hold her.  She was so perfect.  She had Kevin's ears, thank goodness!!  And a perfect little face, little body... I just couldn't believe that something so perfect came out of me.

I was in love and I still am.  I still can't believe something so perfect came out of me.  I feel so honored that God used me as the vehicle to bring this amazing child into this world.  I can't believe she is mine still.

Her heel prick test came back flagged a few weeks later, for Cystic Fibrosis.  What is that?  Is that like CP, Cerebral Palsy?!  She looks perfect!  After we had gone home from delivering, we had to check back in for a night because of her bilirubin count.  I thought THAT was hard!  They had to access her vein at the top of her head, I had to fight to continue breast feeding, I had to see her be in an incubator, not my arms.  But this, this was hard.  Researching CF, taking her to get 3 sweat tests done, all inconclusive, before finally getting a blood test done (that is more expensive so of course insurance didn't want to do it first).  Then the call.  Holding my baby, saying over and over, "but she's perfect!  She looks perfect!"

I still do that sometimes.  I don't hold her while I say that, cry that I should say, but in my head, in my heart, I still fight her diagnosis.  But she's perfect, she looks perfect.  Not my baby please God not my baby.

But then I see her, I really see her, not through eyes of fear.  I see the delightful child she was, and the young woman she is becoming.  I see her youthful spirit but a wisdom beyond her years.  I see a girl that says I have CF but CF doesn't have me.  She is strong, she is kind, she is able, she is here.

She is mine.

Happy birthday love.  Thank you for being my girl.  Thank you for being my teacher, my hand-holder, my inspiration.  I love you so much it hurts.

11 years.  Thank you God.

Monday, April 28, 2014

double duty

I actually wrote for over an hour, composing a blog post that is not even done.   I started to get overwhelmed with it, so I saved it and here I am going to write about something else entirely.

Double duty meals.

I was talking with a few girlfriends this weekend about how much I love prepping and cooking meals.  My habit is to do bigger shopping trips every other week, with a weekly catch up trip for that week's deals with coupons and fresh produce.  They were surprised I think with how much I like it, but in thinking about it, I realized it's because I feel efficient and productive.  And I love when my family enjoys what I make.  My dream is to have an entire weeks worth of meals that all 4 of us eat happily, with no complaint.  But as it is, half the time I make the kids something else or they eat cereal.  I have bigger battles, people.

So here is our menu for the week.  I double duty almost everything I ever make.  Meaning whatever I cook, I plan a different meal out of the leftovers.

Monday - creamy homemade chicken soup.  I used leftover rotisserie chicken, that was from a meal I had served last week of chicken, potatoes, veggies.  I froze the chicken along with the veggies.  So today I made a roux of butter, diced onion and flour, added homemade broth and milk, tossed in leftover brown rice and the frozen chicken and veggies.  Took 15 minutes start to finish and it's ready to reheat tonight.  I made this meal this morning as I cleaned the kitchen from breakfast.  The kids will eat this but will pick out and bitch about all the veggies.  They will also have banana or applesauce and I'll make biscuits.

Tuesday - spicy italian chicken sausage links in homemade tomato sauce, pasta and salad.  I'll double the sauce so I have leftovers, and cook more sausage than we need, reserving for later this week.  The kids will not have any sausage, they only eat chicken, eggs and fish sticks.  If one morsel of the sausage gets in their mouths they'll gag and cry.  So they'll have plain pasta and use jarred tomato sauce bc mine is too full of "chunks" for their taste.

Wednesday - shredded bbq pork in the crockpot, cole slaw (for me - no one else will eat this), roasted potatoes.  The kids will have something else, not sure what, but quick and not heavy bc Tate has softball. Will make extra pork, remove before adding sauce and freeze it.

Thursday - Sausage sandwiches using the leftover sausage, adding roasted onions, mushrooms and red peppers.  I used these ingredients in my sauce earlier in the week and saved some to roast.  Fresh rolls, with cheese for Kevin.  Rest of the salad from Tuesday as the side.  Breakfast for dinner for kids - eggs, toast, turkey bacon.   Bailey can cook the breakfast mostly by herself and she will be happy I'm not crowding her bc I really only need to saute the veggies and toast the rolls for Kevin and I.  She will, however, complain about the smell of the peppers and onions.  Another softball night, so it's good this will take 20 minutes if that.

Friday -  SOFTBALL AGAIN.  Will feed kids before softball but Kevin and I will do a date-night-in when they go to bed.  I have steak in the freezer, I will throw it on the grill with asparagus (if it's not too expensive at the store today - substitute is frozen green beans) and cook slices of leftover cooked potato from Wednesday.  Reserve rest of steak for wraps during the weekend.   Meal will take only a few minutes to prepare.

Almost every single time I make meat I think about how I can use it again for something different.  Really, I do that with a lot of ingredients like fresh veggies, rice, pasta.  I plan a broad menu plan each month, meaning I plan what meals we want to have based on sales and items we already have, but I don't plug it into a day of the week until each Monday morning beforehand.  Weekends I don't plan, we have leftovers, eat out or eat quick things like grilled cheese and tomato soup.

So there it is - I filled my blog post goal for today of actually posting something, and avoided the emotional toll the other post was taking on me :)  Win-win.