Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Letter to an Earlier Me

Wow!  I am FINALLY getting to participate in a blog hop!  This is my first one so bear with me while I stumble through writing about something I wouldn't have thought to do on my own.

Dear Stacey,

You are 21 and deep in the wallows of grief.  But it will be OK.  You just lost your Momma, your best friend.  I know everyone keeps telling you that she is in a better place now, that she isn't suffering anymore and that time will heal.  And right now, that is so hard to believe.  Mostly because it is pure bullshit.  Time doesn't heal anything.  That wound will forever be there.  You just get used to the pain, that's all.  The next few months are going to be the worst in your life.  But it will get better.

You are going to try to go back to school, but you'll withdraw from classes.  You'll feel alone and you will be sure that you are going to stay that way forever.  Alone.  But I'm going to tell you that you are so wrong.  Because you are going to one day get the balls to buy a computer.  And is the world ever going to open up to you.  You'll meet new people from a lot of places.  Then one night, you will meet...him.  The one that makes your heart kinda race and your stomach do little flip flops.  Don't be scared though.  Self esteem never has been your strong point.  I don't think it is for any fat kid growing up.  You are OK though, you got a thick skin and moved past that.  You're shy though and you still think you are incapable of ever being loved by someone.  That no one could ever find you attractive enough to give a second glance.

He does.  He thinks you are beautiful, smart and ridiculously funny with sometimes a twisted sense of humor.  He won't find out about your potty mouth until a little later.  You will eventually meet him face to face.  It will be awkward, exciting, silly and scary.  However, you'll be glad you took the risk and met him.  You know why?  Because of him, you will get on an airplane for the first time in your life and fly three thousand miles away from home.  The place you've never been away from before.  The views and sights and experiences will be amazing and something you surely will never forget.

Know what else?  He is going to marry you.  The proposal is going to come out a bit...different, you'll both laugh...and cry.  It is going to take time though.  Having a long distance relationship is going to take its toll on both of you.  Those 10 months are going to be agony.  Lots of letter writing, emails and late night chats on the phone.  One night he's going to tell you he found a litter of kittens, 2 days old and near death.  You will coach him on how to get them out of danger and then how to care for them properly.  I kinda hate to break this to you, but he'll be bringing two of those cotton candy long-haired pain in the asses with him.  As an animal lover though, you'll be OK with that, even if you aren't a fan of cats.

I also want you to know that all of those doctors you've been to about your out of control periods, well some were right and some were wrong.  You are going to spend the next 11 years worrying about if you will ever be able to have children.  In about 4 years, it will peak because that is when you are going to get married.  You are going to go from doctor to doctor in hopes of getting a straight answer of what is going on with your reproductive system.  Everyone is going to tell you something different until one day you see a Reproductive Endocrinologist.  He'll tell you he can probably get you pregnant with medicine.  Eventually, you'll find the doctor that you stick with and who will deliver your babies.

What, you say?  Am I serious?  Yes, I am.  You are going to have babies....with an s.  Calm down, they won't be at the same time!  But they will be 14 and a half months apart.  Oh yeah sister, you have your work cut out for you!  But first I have to tell you that it isn't going to happen when you want it to.  See, you get distracted with trying to lose weight so you can be fit and healthy for a pregnancy.  Plus you've been told if you lose weight some of your girly problems will resolve.  So you did lose weight, a lot of it.  But those problems never went away.  Getting preoccupied with married life, a job that is drama central and it never seeming like the right time, you will avoid going back to the RE or talking to the doctor about Clomid.  Instead you tell yourself if it is going to happen, it will happen.

I'm sorry to say that it doesn't happen right away.  Not even after a few years.  You are going to be a bit more desperate by then.  Discussing things like IVF with your husband and the cost.  Knowing full well you will never be able to afford it on your income.  You will consider Clomid again, but find it hard to concentrate because of the hellhole that you call your job.  By the way, J was a way better boss.  She might have been crazy, needy and self absorbed but she never pretended she wasn't privileged.  You will curse the day that douchenozzle L took her place.  Well her and that mousy twat A who couldn't do her own job and did nothing but complain.  The stress from work will become so overwhelming that one day you will tell your boss you can't take anymore of her shit, and that you are quitting.  You'll say it sweetly and sarcastically at the same time and it will be freaking awesome.

Almost married seven years now, K knows you.  He knows you wouldn't have quit if it wasn't something you had to do.  He will tell you that together you'll work things out and don't worry.  One year and many interviews later you'll still find yourself unemployed.  But things are going OK on just one income.  K even gets a raise so things get a little better to boot.  Being a mother is still very much on your mind though.  You have watched A and her 3 children and have longed for your own. One night you are going to break down and cry to K and ask him if he will still love you if you can't ever give him a child.  You'll be terrified of his answer, but don't be.  K will tell you that he married you, not a baby maker.  A feeling of relief will come.  All this time you will think he resents you because you can't get pregnant.

About a month later, your period won't come...again.  You'll do nothing and just wait like you always do.  Until one day while having a funny conversation you feel your boobs and realize that they feel...different.  You'll think maybe its a precurser to your period and you'll be cranky and wicked tired.  Like, the kind of tired you've never experienced before.  During a chat with A you'll ask her if she's ever had her boobs feel heavier, bigger, different and she'll tell you only when she was pregnant.  The she'll stop dead in her tracks on the phone and squee with excitement.  You will blow her off and chuckle telling her it just won't happen that easy.  After a week you won't be able to stand it.  You'll take the test and you'll get a super dark "+" sign.

At that moment your life is going to change as drastically as it did today.  Your world fell apart this morning when the last blip on your mother's heart monitor went flat.  It is going to be hard.  Getting married, getting pregnant and having your children...without your mother being there to see it, experience it and give you advice.  Crying and missing her is really going to be full force during your pregnancy and man, once they are born you are really going to wish she was still here.  The moment you lay eyes on that darling baby the world is going to change again.  The hole that got torn into your heart today will be filled.  So yes, Stacey, things are going to get better.  It won't all be rainbows and unicorns.  Lots of rough spots litter the way.  Life will not get will get different.  And you?  You are going to be just fine.

By the way...on October 11, 2005, I need you to be more careful when going to work.  I'd like to avoid the head on collision with the bus that ended up breaking your leg.  Being laid up and rehab sucked big time.  Oh, and you'll notice I didn't tell you the sex of your babies.  That is because with at least one of them, you'll want to keep it a surprise until the big day.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed. ::wink::


Wordless Wednesday - The Tortoise & The Little C

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sleep! Where Are You?!

I'm completely wired at the moment.  However I am completely blank on a post topic, but too tired to delve into the one I've already started.  I know, it's sad.  But I didn't want 3 straight weeks of Wordless Wednesdays.  That makes me feel terrible!  I have lots of things to write about.  Well, maybe a few interesting ones.  And I'm going to stop rambling now because I'm making an ass out of myself.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Friend or Fowl

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Little C's Birth Story

I know it's been 12 weeks since Little C was born.  But I've been dealing with a lot of things in the last few months and so I haven't really had the motivation to write it down here until now.  If you've followed my blog at all you will know that we had a c-section scheduled for March 24th.  I'm not going to get into a debate as to whether it was necessary or not.  I have a happy, healthy baby.  That is all that matters to me.  My c-section experiences were wonderful and my recovery was crazy fast.  I healed beautifully the first time and this time I healed just as nicely.  Again, if you've followed my blog at all, you'd know how I felt about c-section versus the VBAC.

K and I decided to bank our baby's cord blood stem cells this time around.  Some people felt we were silly and that it is a waste of money.  Well, that is okay.  It isn't your baby and it isn't your decision and you are entitled to your opinion.  K and I have decided that this is what is best for our family.  We felt it was like life insurance.  Hope you don't need it in your 30's, but glad you do if something happens so your family will not have to take on the burden of such a huge expense.

Wednesday morning, March 24th at 5:30am we arrived at the hospital.  My husband was with me of course, as was Big C, my dad and my brother.  My cousin Ashley arrived a bit later, while we were in the OR.  After checking in and verifying all my pre-registration information, I was taken to a triage room and prepped for my c-section.  IV was started, and my blood was drawn for the maternal draw for the cord blood collection.  After a few minutes my doctor and the anesthesiologist came in to see me and we went over the details of what was going to happen.

After the usual chit chat, it was time to get the show on the road.  I slid out of my bed and kissed my Dad & brother and took my darling boy into my arms and I hugged him and kissed him and told him that I loved him.  It was different this time.  I was excited to see this baby that I have been growing for 40 weeks.  But I was scared.  Scared that I would be leaving my son without his mother if something went wrong.  Its funny how children change your outlook on things.  I slowly began my trek down the hallway to the c-section OR.  A nurse beside me pushing my IV pole, I waddled steadily, my husband walking beside me.

Thoughts began flooding my brain.  Will the spinal go OK?  Will the baby be OK?  Is it a boy or a girl?  Crap, we still haven't decided on a name yet!  OMG...this is really happening now.  Jesus, how did this day come so fast already?  Wait...I don't think I can feel the baby moving anymore.  Oh God, please let this go well and fast!  I want to hold my baby and know it is OK.  I hope Big C is behaving with Dad & J.  OMG...will there be the burning at the incision like it was last time?  Man, that sucked!  Will the cord blood collection go right?  I don't want it to be contaminated and useless.  Did I bring everything?   Please, please PLEASE God keep us safe and healthy.

Yeah....all those thoughts weren't helping keep me relaxed.  In fact, it was giving me more anxiety than I think I had ever experienced.  I felt my chest begin to tighten.  When we arrived at the doors to the OR...I kissed my husband and walked inside as he sat down in the chair outside the door and waited for the spinal to be done.  I sat on the table and the nurse smiled at me.  I remembered her from my last c-section.  She was the one who gave Big C his first bath.

The nurse told me to lean into her and to relax.  I felt the anesthesiologist swab my back and begin poking at my spine.  A few moments later he told me about the sting I would feel...and I did.  No big deal.  So he inserted the needle into my back, searching for the epidural space to inject the fluid that was going to numb my body from the waste down.  My chest is continuing to tighten.  The nurse squeezes my shoulders and tells me to relax again.  I take a deep breath.  I can hear the doctor behind me making sounds as he is trying to hit his mark.  And they don't sound promising.  Beads of sweat being form along my forehead and my legs and back are beginning to ache.  I feel the pinch of a needle pushing into my skin and I wince, but don't dare move.  The nurse again tells me to relax and that everything is going to be OK.  Another pinch.  I feel it 4 more times, but I don't say anything.  I just want this over with.  I see both my OBs standing there...waiting.  The anesthesiologist asks one of the nurses is Dr. So-and-so is in the hospital and can he come down to the OR and give him a hand.  My mind begins racing.  My chest tightens even more now.  OMG...if they can't get this spinal they are going to have to put me under., no, no.  I want to hear my baby cry.  I want to know everything is alright right away.  This can't happen like this.  I feel another pinch and then the exasperated breath of the anesthesiologist as he apparently misses his mark...again.

After a few minutes the other doctor walks thorough the double doors.  After some discussion, he comes over and begins pressing on my back.  I'm sweating pretty hard now and the nurse is rubbing my shoulders and telling me things are going to be fine.  Yeah...sure...they haven't been so far.  I feel another pinch, this time from the other doctor.  I wince a little and a few seconds later I feel what resembles an electric shock shoot down my left leg.  I stammer out, "I felt that" and they ask me in which leg and I tell them.  Phew.  Finally, its in.  Egads where the hell was this doctor before?  I didn't have this much trouble with my first child.  This took 30 minutes.  30 freaking minutes!!!  My heart is pounding, my chest is tight and I'm sweating bullets.

They help me to lay down and swing my legs up onto the table before I go completely numb.  Suddenly, I can't breathe.  Not that I can't feel it...but I start having an anxiety attack.  My arms have been strapped down to the table and my neck is hurting.  I can't move to rearrange myself.  I need to move.  OMG...I can't stay like this.  So I tell them that I feel like I can't breathe, my neck hurts....I can't move...I need to move.  I get a bit phobic when I feel trapped.  I start shaking and crying, which only leads to the tightening in my chest and now I am hyperventilating.  The anesthesiologist tries to calm me and tells me he is going to give me something.  One of my OBs rubs my shoulder and tells me I'm feeling like I can't breathe because the baby is squishing my diaphram because I'm now laying flat and that I'll be fine as soon as the baby is out.

I am still crying and all I can say over and over is I'm sorry, I'm so sorry but I can't help it.  Please, I'm so so sorry.  They assure me that it is normal and that before I know it the baby will be out and everything will be fine.  Soon I begin to feel my chest relax, my neck stops hurting and although I still feel like I can't breathe well, I am calming down.  I close my eyes and just keep telling myself that soon I'm going to see my sweet, darling baby.  Just a few more minutes and then I'll be so excited about the baby I'll forget about everything else.  The sedative the doc had given me was kicking in.  They finally brought K into the room while they finished prepping me for surgery.  He held my hand, and kissed my forehead.  I told him how I freaked out.  He told me he knew...he could hear it from outside.  Damn.  Now I felt really stupid too.  Stupid for freaking out like I did.  I looked at him and I asked him to just keep talking to me so I didn't start thinking about a million things.

So what is the first thing he says?  "Have you decided on a  name yet?"  I laughed a little.  That is what happens when you wait until 2 weeks before your due date to decide on names for your baby.  You are laying on the table and waiting for your baby to be yanked out, or you are bent over pushing your little bowling ball out while trying to decide on what to call him or her.  Everything went pretty quickly from there.  Before I knew it, I felt some tugging and I was being rocked back and forth a bit.  I heard the sound of the big suction, some soft murmurings of the doctors and the sound of a bulb syringe.  And then it happened.  The most beautiful sound a mother can hear.  The sound of her baby taking that first breath of life outside her womb and then crying.  I was so overcome that I began sobbing like a crazy woman and asking if the baby was OK.  The doctor poked the baby's head over the big blue drape and I laughed and cried at the same time.  Various voices were speaking all at the same time saying the baby was fine and how cute and what a beautiful baby and of course, Happy Birthday!

If you've followed my blog during my pregnancy, you will know that we did not find out the sex of our baby this time around.  We tried in the beginning, but it was hard with a fetus who was camera shy.  K and I were so excited and happy at hearing the baby cry and seeing 10 little fingers and toes that neither of us even bothered to ask the sex.  The doctors were murmuring once again about blood bags and the cord blood collection kit.  They were in the midst of collecting the blood when a nurse came over and asked, "Did anyone tell you what the sex is yet?"  I looked at her and shook my head no.  They carried the baby over to be examined.  The nurse leaned down and she said to me, "It's a beautiful little girl."  At that I fell apart again and cried.  I really didn't care what sex the baby was, I just wanted a healthy baby.  But a girl.  A girl!  I had a boy and now...I had a girl!

I'd like to tell you that instantly I knew what I was going to name her.  But, I didn't.  I had names narrowed down to 2 for a girl and 2 for a boy.  I knew I was going to name her after my mother.  We had it narrowed down to 2 choices.  Later that day it was pretty clear that she was going to be Little C.  My beautiful Little C.  Once we rolled into recovery the first person I wanted to see was Big C, but they wouldn't let him come back.  But my brother and father did come back and each assured me he was doing fine, although tired and starting to get cranky.  That's my boy!

I looked at my husband and I said to him, "We have a daughter."  A daughter.  I now have a son and a daughter.  I thanked God for the beautiful, healthy and amazing children he has blessed me with.  I try to thank him everyday.  I pray that he reminds me just how special I am to have them, how precious they are and to never once take them for granted.

On a side note, the incision did not burn like it did the first time.  In fact, the second c-section was considerably easier than the first.  I wasn't ready to go out and boogie across town or anything, but I had Little C on Wednesday and they told me the earliest I could go home was Friday.  So I did.  I even drove home.  Unfortunately, my first outing, other than taking Little C to the pediatrician was when she was 7 days old to my Uncle's viewing and funeral.  It was pretty much life as usual, except I couldn't pick Big C up...because he weighed like 30 pounds!

So that is it really, in a nutshell.  Little C was born healthy and is amazingly beautiful.  There were a few snags this time, which I really could have done without.  But the ends have justified the means.  I have a beautiful healthy daughter.  She was worth every second of it all.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Imagine If...

“Who ran to help me when I fell, And would some pretty story tell, Or kiss the place to make it well? My mother”

You are a mother.  The greatest joy of your life is your darling, sweet baby.  You would do anything for him, or her.  Now imagine that your child, your baby, who hasn't even reached his first year, is diagnosed with cancer.  Suddenly the world as you knew it begins to unravel.  Your child has cancer.

This is not an "imagine if" for The Chupp Family.  Beth's son, Keegan had it rought to start out.  Being born 6 weeks premature and he was already facing health issues right from the beginning.  But then he was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma.  He has already endured a 7 hour surgery to remove a tumor from his brain at the tender age of only 8 months old.  He is in for 6 long months of chemotherapy.  Beth has lost her job and the financial responsibility is going to be huge on this family.  

This is Keegan.  How precious is he?
You can help.

Joanna at Raising Madison has set up a fundraiser to help Beth in the fight to save Keegan's life.  Please head over to Raising Madison and read Keegan's Story.  Won't you join us in Karing For Keegan?  You can donate to help offset the huge financial costs for this family by clicking on the donate button under Keegan's badge in the top right-hand side of my blog.

This is also very real for Cassie.  Her son, Sam had a tumor removed from his scrotum at the tender age of 4 months old.  Days later he was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, which has an estimated 30% survival rate.  Baby Sam has already received 2 rounds of chemotherapy.  Cassie decided to go on "as needed" status with her job in order to take care of Sam.  Her husband's job does not offer insurance benefits.  So they have decided to pay for COBRA.  The cost is an extra burden on their family as now, without her additional income they can pretty much pay for their monthly bills and mortgage.

This is Sam.  Isn't he adorable?

You can help.

Jill at Baby Rabies has set up a fundraiser to assist in helping Cassie's family to offset the financial struggle they are facing.  Won't you #helpSam?  By clicking on the button in the top right-hand column of this blog, you can find out all the details in how you can be a part of Sam's fight for life.

If I had one wish and only one wish in the world, it would be that no parent ever have to suffer the loss of a child.  Be it born or unborn.  Before I close my eyes at night, I thank God for the health of my children and I pray for their continued health.  As a mother, I cannot imagine what it must be like for Beth and Cassie to be going through and experiencing this with their babies.  They are courageous fighters, battling with their children each step of the way.

So before you buy that next cup of Starbucks, make an appointment for your hair or eye up that pair of cute sandals for the summer, think about Keegan and Sam.  You could donate what you would be spending to their fund and help buy another month of fighting.  Fighting to save lives that have yet to truly begin.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Playing The PPD Card & Manning Up

So I've been doing my routine blog reading lately and have come across some posts regarding the legitimacy of PPD. I am saddened that Allison over at O My Family had to write a follow up blog entry to her post on being blindsided by motherhood.  It seems that some people assume that you cry that you have PPD when in reality you just can't handle being a mother.  You know, because it wasn't what you expected it to be. 

Look, if you don't have it, then no, you don't and can't understand.  And why does it have to be so blanketed?  Everyone has to fit a certain definition of symptoms to qualify and if you don't fit those exactly then you are a whiny attention whore who can't cope with having a child and should never have another one.  PPD is different for every single person that suffers from it.  Just like depression, anxiety, OCD and any other mental disorder is different to those it affects.  We are all different and so are our symptoms.

For example...I do not want to harm myself.  I don't want to push my car into a lake with my babies inside.  I don't fantasize about the ways to make it all go away.  I do not wish I never had children.  I do not wish I could disappear.  I don't dread spending time with my children.  Other women do.

I guess I fall into several of the PPD/PPA/PPOCD categories.  I am obsessive over my children.  Hypervigilant.  I constantly check on them at nap & bed time to make sure they are breathing.  I haven't been out with my husband alone since before my son was born.  I can't leave the house alone without calling home 95021387 times to make sure they are alright and I'm absolutely miserable when I have to be.  I sleep with a light on because for some reason my brain thinks it will prevent anything bad from happening to my children while they sleep.  Like a lamp is the cure-all prevention for SIDS.  I am constantly checking my rearview mirror...when my children aren't in the car with me.  I am constantly second guessing my husband when he tells me the kids are OK.

"Are you sure?  Did you see her breathing?  Did you look or are you just saying you did?"

Yeah...imagine how helpful that kind of behavior is on our marriage...hmm?

And what pisses me off more than anything are those people who think we are "Playing the PPD Card" in order to get attention.  As if 'our' depression/anxiety/OCD is worse than those people who deal with it outside of postpartum-ness.  Are you serious?  All mental disorders suck...whether you have children or not.  I never once thought..."Gee, it might be cool to have a mental disorder and get labeled by people I thought were my friends as being a nutcase.  And it would be totally awesome to have to take medication since I can barely remember to take my thyroid medication and how I'd rather suffer than take something for a headache because I hate taking pills so much.  This will be so sweet!"

Do you think I like sobbing uncontrollably at my screaming baby and just staring at her rather than being  a mother who can 'push through it' and soothe her and do what I can to comfort her?  I know every mother has those moments where you just need to walk away.  When you find yourself crumpled on the floor and crying because it is all so overwhelming.  But for those of us who can't push through isn't because we don't want to, it's because we can't.  No matter how hard we try we just can't stop ourselves.  It becomes something more than being an inexperienced mother who hasn't fine tuned her ability to deal with screaming babies. It becomes more than a woman who is labeled as selfish and told she shouldn't have any more children because she viewed them as a material object and thought they would be nothing but snuggles, hugs and rainbows.  When you become afraid that your irritability becomes so irrational that you might accidentally hurt your baby by trying to comfort her a little 'too' much or be a little 'too' aggressive with the rocking and jiggling.  When you find yourself screaming at her at the top of your lungs to SHUT UP because you cannot control yourself.  The feelings of overwhelming guilt, worthlessness and inferiority.  Knowing what a failure and how horrible of a mother you are because you can't be effing Donna Reed.

This goes way beyond motherhood not being what you expected.  I am not naive.  It is the hardest job in the world.  I have seen firsthand what my cousin, who lives 15 minutes away and who is more like my sister has gone through with her 3 (now 4) children.  No, it's not a walk in the park and I was never entrapped in some delusion that babies were easy.  Chubby little angels who coo and smile and always smell of Johnson's Baby Shampoo and never cry.  Please....for the love of God, give me some credit. 

I adore my children.  I wouldn't give up one day I've had with them.  There is no where else I would rather be than with my babies.  I have never wished I could go back pre-children.  I desperately wanted my babies and tried for years to get them.  I am grateful, blessed and undeniably fortunate to have them in my life.  I thank God that they are healthy and I pray that they continue to be.

Motherhood is the hardest job you will ever love...and I do love it.  I love being a mother.  I just don't love being irrational, irritable, paranoid and depressed.  So, I 'manned up' and got help for it.  I went to the doctor because I knew that as a mother I 'shouldn't' feel like I do.  I 'manned up' for the sake of my children and my relationship with them.  I want them to know me as a loving, supportive, comforting mother that would give her life for them, who would do anything for them, who would rather spend time with them, than do anything else in the world and who praises God everyday that she has them.

So I sought out help, I got medication and I am on my way to being the mother I want to be.  The mother my children deserve.  THAT what you call "MANNING UP."

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