Monday, November 14, 2016

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

It was Saturday morning and I was getting ready to leave for my opthamology appointment. I needed to bring a few things, including my current contacts box and my dad's sunglasses he had left at our house a few weeks prior; I'd meet him after and drop off the glasses.  I got everything ready the evening before so I didn't forget anything.

I noticed my purse had fallen over while I was getting ready to leave in the morning and quickly just shoved everything back in and left.

Fast forward to checking out at my eye doctor's office.  I needed to pay my copay; took out my wallet......none of my stuff was in the little pockets, but haphazardly stuffed into the center.  That's weird.  I couldn't find a few of my credit cards but had at least one to pay with. The front desk lady made a joke about how her daughter gets into her wallet and flings things around too. Haha, yup, that's my Bitty Girl.

I get in the car and start looking through my purse looking for all my missing things and noticed my dad's sunglasses were not in there. Crap, I KNOW I put them in here.  I keep rooting through my things, finding random credit cards, my Costco card in one pocket, a few insurance cards in the side. No sunglasses.

Being the detective I am, I find a clue as to who went through my stuff.

Somehow I don't think my dad will be able to use the unwrapped, half-eaten sucker Bitty Girl left in place of the sunglasses.

I found the glasses in a mixing bowl under the island when I got home.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Kin-Der-Gar-Ten: mid 19th century: from German, literally ‘children's garden.’

I held your hand as we walked up to the school today.  A small line of nervous looking 5-year-olds and their parents milling around the brick wall, vying for a place in the shade.  I'm not sure who was holding on tighter, you or me; actually I know the answer, it was me.  You were sure of your place in the line, with your favorite Snoopy backpack and the airplane shirt you had picked out the night before.

As I held your tiny hand, it felt not as tiny anymore.  Emotions and memories started flooding over me as I began to realize the significance of this very moment.  You see, this is the exact moment I have worried about, prayed about, and planned for since before you were even born.

When they told me I would be giving birth just shy of the start of my third trimester, so many fears about your future were created.  Statistics were against you, terrifying terms were never-ending; brain bleeds, learning disabilities, autism, asthma, developmental delays, small size, deadly colds.  It was a daunting task to be given, to be your mom.  God gave us a terrifying path to cultivate this little life, but you did nothing but fight and flourish so we plowed ahead patiently (and let's be honest, sometimes not so patiently).

Your dad and I had a goal along with the developmental team at the hospital: get you ready for Kindergarten on time with your peers in 5 1/2 years.  We had no idea if that would ever be attainable but that was the goal.

There is hope in every garden. You start with a blank slate, plant the seed, and spend endless amounts of time cultivating, fertilizing, pulling weeds, keeping out pests, warding of things which can damage the plants.  It doesn't happen overnight, but slowly the garden starts to grow.  Your hard work starts to show as the garden grows roots and starts to flourish.

You fought every single second of your beginning but when you started to flourish, you took off like.....well, whatever plant grows really fast and strong (I'm a writer, not a botanist).

As we stand together waiting for your new teacher to welcome you in to Kindergarten, to the Garden of Children, I marvel at how normal we look.  No one would know you were barely two pounds at birth and spent your first six weeks of life in an isolette, another six weeks learning how to breathe and eat.  No one would know we spent your first 18 months at developmental clinics checking your progress, meeting with Early Intervention therapists to see how you learned new skills and what your learning style may be.

To the outside world, you are just a tall, smart, charismatic 5-year-old with a thirst for learning and all things outer-space. But we know the difference.  We see our miracle, our flourishing garden walking in the doors of a new school with sparkles in your eyes, ready to take on a new season.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a brown thumb.  But you, my son, are the most beautiful and important garden in the world.

Friday, July 08, 2016

People are People

"People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully?

So we're different colors
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Thought I've done nothing wrong
I've never even met you so what could I have done?"
      People are People, Depeche Mode

Cops are people behind their badge.  Are there bad cops? Absolutely. Are the vast majority good, decent people who serve and protect? Absolutely.  There are a few bad apples in every occupation, in every race, religion, gender, creed; it doesn't mean we should assume the entirety of that group acts or believes the same way.

Not all black men are criminals.  Not all cops are assholes with a gun on a power trip.  People are people and we need to stop categorizing and judging based on which category they currently fall under. White/Black, Republican/Democrat, Gay/Straight, Male/Female, Rich/Poor, Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Agnostic.  These categories aren't mutually exclusive and people who fall under one category are not exactly like others in the same category.

Everyone is unique and different; our differences are supposed to be what makes our nation great and instead we are letting it pull us apart.

I'm not give the "World Peace" speech and I don't think we're all going to hold hands and sing about our differences.  People can disagree, people can dislike each other, people can be confused by why people live, rejoice, or love a certain way; what we have forgotten how to do is respect each other, respect life.

There is so much hate in this world that I fear for my children and their future. Bad people do bad things, no category is immune to a few bad people within their ranks; but how am I supposed to explain to my kids that because one or two cops did a bad thing, some unstable person killed 5 other cops? How am I supposed to explain to them that a man was killed by people who are supposed to protect us, and that man may still be alive if he was a different race?

Stop fucking killing each other.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Joys of Parenting

There are those times in my journey as a parent that make me so proud and make my heart so happy it feels like my heart may burst right open from all the love.  The first time Munchkin said "mama", the first time he said "I love you", the first time he learned to blow kisses, and when he still likes to snuggle and tell me he loves me even though he's 4 1/2 (seriously, when did that happen?).

This is not one of those times.

Our nightly routine consists of Hubs putting Munchkin to bed, then I go in to snuggle, sing a few songs and get him some water before he drifts off to sleep.  His room is dark when I enter with just a small light emanating from his airplane night light.  I lay down on his bed and peel the covers back from where he's made himself an igloo and I can see the outline of his sweet face.  He extends his hand out into the darkness and I go to hold his hand.  Except for there's something in his hand. I ask with trepidation "Bubba, what is that?"

It's shit.  My child is not extending his hand so we can snuggle close, he's handing me a palm full of shit.  He had pooped in his diaper (yes, my 4-year-old still wears a diaper over night), didn't want it touching his skin so he got a tissue, pulled the poop out of his diaper, and was waiting for me to come in so I could change him.

This is what parental dreams are made of, people.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blinded Me With Science

I knew what I was getting myself into when The Hubs and I decided to have another baby.  My pregnancy would be full of extra appointments, extra ultrasounds, extra blood work, and constant monitoring.  I was aware it could end with bed rest, hospital bed rest or having another lengthy NICU stay.

However, just because I was privy to the logistics, I was caught off guard by how much I would feel like a science experiment.

I was diagnosed by something called Low PAPP-A, low pregnancy-associated plasma A, early in my pregnancy.  Low PAPP-A is often associated with down syndrome or, in my case, associated with placenta and pre-eclampsia problems.  At 14 weeks, this wasn't the best news I could hear but it didn't automatically mean I would run into problems.  There is not a lot known about why this occurs but it's not an automatic "you're doomed".  "We'll just wait and watch," the O.B. team said.

The radiologist looks for notching on my uterine arteries which can indicate the baby isn't getting proper nutrition and oxygen. Part of my monthly ultrasound is testing the flow of those arteries.  At this point I can read the ultrasound waves as the tech is performing the scan and know whether or not the notching is still mild or if it has gotten worse.

I can pull up my blood labs online and figure out what my protein levels are, my platelet levels, my hematocrit levels, uric acid, creatinine, and liver enzymes.  I know what the levels should be and which direction is good or bad.

I'm constantly on the lookout for swelling, headaches, ringing ears, and seeing spots.  I know the proper way to take my own blood pressure and what good and acceptable readings are.

I'm a fucking science experiment.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not looked at as a pregnant woman but as an experiment as to how long I can stay pregnant with all these variables before pre-eclampsia rears its ugly head.  The hospital is keeping my placenta after birth to study the affects of Low PAPP-A (it's a research hospital who just happens to specialize is Low PAPP-A research), and I've signed a waiver for them to anonymously use my medical records while they study HELLP Syndrome and Pre-Eclampsia and what happens in subsequent pregnancies.

While I'm happy I can do my part with their research, it's sometimes hard and I fall apart.  I'm just a mom trying to complete my family not Case Study 472.  I put on a hard front but underneath I'm afraid of all these conditions and feel like I'm constantly waiting for the other foot to fall.

I'm on bed rest so the other foot has been raised, there's no telling how fast it'll come down.  Maybe I have until 36 weeks, maybe I don't.

Guess they can put that in their notes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Worst Vacation Ever

Bed Rest: Day 10

I've been on bed rest for 10 days now.  I can't believe it's already been that long and in other ways it feels like an eternity.  I only have 30 days to go.

Being told to stay in bed, relax, read, and watch movies would've felt amazing even just a month ago, especially being the mom to an incredibly active almost-4-year-old.  No laundry? No cleaning? Being able to sleep all day?  Sign me up! But I don't like being told what to do.  You are FORCING me to stay in bed and have someone do everything for me?  How dare you!

It's been an emotional 10 days full of ups and downs.  I swing back and forth between knowing I'm doing the right thing for my health and the baby's health, and then feeling helpless and like a burden to those around me.  Absolutely everything is being done for me from groceries, cleaning, entertaining Munchkin, even down to asking someone to get me something to eat or refill my water.  For someone as self-sufficient as I am, it's so incredibly hard to ask for help let alone so much help.

However, I am determined to give this little girl in my belly the absolute very best start to her life and if that means I have to lay in bed all day and let my mother and husband do everything for me, so be it.  It's not forever; my scheduled csection (fingers crossed I make it that far) is 4 weeks from tomorrow so that's the longest on will be on bed rest.

In the meantime I have oodles of time for things like magazines, books, surfing the internet, online shopping (The Hubs isn't so excited about that one), and catching up on my DVR and Netflix shows.  For example, right now I'm watching White Christmas while updating my blog for you fine people as my velcro cat makes herself comfortable as close to me as humanly possible.

It's not all fun and games though.  I have the habit of over-thinking, obsessing, worrying and with all this time on my hands it's hard not to over analyze everything.  I check my blood pressure probably more than I should.  I worry about the effects of prematurity at whatever gestation I happen to be at the moment.  I think about the date and how LONG 4 weeks feels when my blood pressure can't make up its mind.  I live appointment to appointment and hope my labs keep coming back normal and unchanging.  I pray a lot.

But today is almost over and that's one day closer to having our sweet girl here healthy and chubby.  Every day counts and today is one less day she'd have to spend in the NICU.

Okay, back to White Christmas.  These songs aren't going to sing themselves.  "Snow. Snow. Snow. Snooooooow"

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's A Girl

So to start things off, I'm pregnant. I haven't posted anything about it yet just because life has been pretty crazy since finding out in May. Yes I'm aware it's now November.

My first trimester was pretty awful, complete with dizzy spells, a lot of nausea, and almost debilitating exhaustion on top of taking care of a 3 1/2-year-old.  Luckily my mom and sister moved out to Baltimore and were able to lend such a huge helping hand.

Of course the entire time I have been counting down to Munchkin's gestation of 29 weeks 4 days. Waiting. Worrying. Praying. Things continued to go well health-wise and I thought once the gestation passed I would be happier.

Munchkin's gestation came and went and it was such an emotional and surreal day. It was so weird sitting in my comfy brown chair with Munchkin watching videos as the moment in my gestation I gave birth to him ticked by on the clock. I cried at the exact moment; 29 weeks 4 days at 9:26pm.  And yet I was still pregnant. A minute went by, an hour. Wow, I've never been this pregnant. Or this pregnant. Or THIS pregnant.

What I wasn't expecting was the anxiety I have felt since shortly after that day. I'm on borrowed time. I feel like a time bomb with no countdown clock. I'm doing my best to appreciate what I've accomplished and relishing pregnant since this is it for me.

Tonight I sit here, 31 weeks 3 days pregnant. I'm 2 weeks past when I had Munchkin and this little girl is still inside and growing. However I'm on day 7 of bed rest. More on that next time; Lord knows I have a lot of time on my hands now!