Wednesday, October 7, 2015

An Important Moment

Just before Baby Girl was 3 months old we had a “moment” together.  I will never forget the feelings that washed over me at that time.  I’ve experienced many moments since then but as this was the first, I want to share it with all of you.

Baby Girl was snug in her swaddle and sleeping in the bassinet next to our bed.  She had been asleep for well over an hour.  BJ and I had just settled ourselves in bed.  She started grunting and making cute little baby noises.  I could hear her lifting her legs and then lowering them.  She would fuss a little and then stop.  I was afraid to raise up to see if she was actually awake because I didn’t want her to see me peering at her.  I was tired and ready for bed.  BJ and I were whispering to each other:

Him – do you think she’s awake?

Me – I don’t know, she’s not really crying so it’s hard to tell.

Him – do you think she’s hungry?   (that was his answer for EVERYTHING because of my low supply issues).

Me – No, she ate really well at bedtime.  If she’s awake maybe she’ll settle herself and drift back to sleep.

At that point she started fussing more and then she broke out into a real cry.  I am not (nor was I ever) a person that can let a baby cry so I got up in the dark and scooped her up out of her bassinet.  As soon as I held her close to me she stopped crying and fell right to sleep.  BJ said the magical words that washed over me like a giant emotional tidal wave…”she just wanted her mommy.”

It hit me and I think I actually stopped breathing for a few seconds.  I am a mommy and not just any mommy, HER mommy.  I cried as I held my sleeping baby, listening to her rhythmical breaths.  I became more than just a caretaker of an infant.  More than just a milk machine and diaper changer.  I was made aware of the fact that I actually comforted my child and made her feel safe enough to just fall asleep in my arms.  It was pure magic.  I was transformed into a Mommy that night.

Up until that point there were what felt like 100 other instances that I was floundering around trying to figure out how to comfort her and to ease the crying and the fussiness.  There were plenty of other nights before this (and after this) when I held her but she kept crying and the only thing to ease her tears was for her to be nursed back to sleep.  But this night was different.  This night she just wanted to be close to her mommy…and I was right there because I am her mommy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Timeh.op Reminder

When I opened my Timeh.op this morning to see what cute picture I had taken of Baby Girl this date last year and the year before, I was jolted back to this day one year ago…

I had dropped her off at daycare like any other day.  She was sweet and cute and smiley.  I had been working for about half an hour or so when my cell phone rang.  I saw the daycare’s number on the screen and knew something must be up.  We will name the daycare provider CJ.  CJ proceeds to tell me that my sweet girl has a fever of 101.5 and that I should come and get her.  Drats.  It’s up to me because BJ is on a big job that he was starting that very morning and he had all of his equipment on site and he wasn’t really reachable.  So I finished up a few quick things and started on my way.

About 15 minutes into my journey, (after I left BJ a message that I was going to pick BG up) my phone rang again.  It was CJ.  My heart skipped a beat as I shakily said hello.  This is what she said:

Yeah, something isn’t right.  I think I’m going to have to call 911.  BG is lethargic and not really responsive.

My heart sank and my stomach turned.  My mouth went dry and my breaths became quick and shallow.  I told her to definitely call the ambulance and that I was on my way.  I told her I’d call BJ again.  I could barely concentrate on anything.  I began crying and begging God not to take my baby from me.  I called BJ and left him another message.  My next thought was to call my sister in law because she lives very close to daycare and I wanted someone from the family with her until I could get there.  I called and got her voicemail.  And then I lost reception and was cut off before my message was complete.  I dialed again.  She answered and I hurriedly told her the situation and asked her to go over there.  She left right away.  BJ called me and I had to tell him everything again because he didn’t listen to his message.  He was leaving the worksite and heading to the hospital.  I called CJ to see what was happening, and so did BJ.  It was a frantic 45 minutes after that.  There were so many phone calls going back and forth between everyone.  CJ quickly told me that BG seemed ok but she could tell that BG didn’t feel good.  They were playing outside and CJ was holding her.  She put BG in a small chair while she tended to another child.  When she turned around BG was slumped over and she thought she fell asleep.  Her eyes were slightly rolling backwards and she was pretty limp.

My SIL rode with BG to the hospital.  She was talking to me while on the way.  I’m crying and can hardly focus on the cars around me.  I was trying to keep myself aware of my speed.  I told her that BG had fallen the previous day and busted her lip on the hardwood floor but that she was fine after that.  I mentioned a bug bite she had on her lower back.  I was trying to think of anything important to tell them.  My mind was racing.  I gripped the steering wheel so tight my hands ached.  I was holding that steering wheel like I wish I had been holding my daughter.  I remember just begging and begging God to let her be ok and not to take her from me.

I finally arrived at the ER and went to the front desk.  I was told she was in the waiting room. What?  I hurried over there and my SIL was holding BG and BJ was filling out papers.  BG didn’t even raise her head when she saw me.  She didn’t reach for me.  Nothing.  It was like she didn’t even know who I was or that I was there.  I was so scared when I saw what condition she was in.  She was drooling on my SIL’s shoulder.  I took her and held her.  She was dead weight in my arms.  I asked what the hell was going on and why wasn’t she being seen?  I went to the check in desk and told them that they needed to get someone to look at her because something was very wrong.

They sent someone out and thankfully it was an old friend of BJ’s.  I frantically but coherently told him that something was very wrong because this was not my child.  It took some hemming and hawing but I finally got him to agree to take her vitals again.  They had said she was stable in the ambulance so they weren’t rushing her treatment.  Her temp had gone down a little but her heartrate was up.  And she didn’t even care that they were messing with her.  This child can’t stand when strangers touch her or even look at her so I knew something was very wrong.

We spent the next several hours talking to staff, holding my girl down so they could put the urine catcher on her lady parts (that was awful), forcing and Tylen.ol down her throat (she finally started fighting back), wrapping her up like a burrito so they could draw blood and start an IV of fluids.  They decided to do a chest x-ray.  They wheeled us down to the x-ray room on the bed.  They asked me if there was a chance I was pregnant and my answer was yes (more on that later) so I could not go in with her.  It killed me to be away from her.  I was standing in the hall for less than 5 minutes but it felt like an eternity.  She was inside that room and I couldn’t hear or see anything.  When the door opened, BJ was holding her and she was wearing a hospital gown.  She was the cutest little patient I had ever seen. And she SAW me.  She REACHED for me.  She was ALERT.  I don’t know what happened but she seemed to be getting better.  I took her in my arms and just squeezed her.

Back in the room they gave us a bottle with some water in it.  She started drinking it and she even smiled and acted a little goofy.  Her poor arm was wrapped in one of those hard plastic things to keep her from getting to her IV and bending her arm.  She didn’t like it very much but she was a trooper.

Everything came back normal.  They looked in her eyes and her ears and they said that she had a bit of an ear infection.  Then they told us she was dehydrated and they were sending her home.  Um.  Ok.  She was drooling and crying real tears and she filled her diaper and her fluid catcher…that doesn’t sound like dehydration to me but whatever.  They didn’t find anything else and told us to see her Ped the next day.  BJ went back to his job site while I waited for us to be released.  They thought that maybe she had a seizure from her fever but they never confirmed that and I guess there’s no way to accurately prove it.  She was never shaking or twitching, just lethargic and non-responsive.

CJ came by our house that evening and recounted everything that happened that morning.  She said that BG drank plenty of milk that morning with her breakfast so she didn’t know where that diagnosis came from, either.  I was so touched that CJ wanted to come over and check on BG.  She had been so scared, too.  In 14 years of being a provider she had never had to call 911.  Leave it to us, right?

The Ped saw BG the next morning and was confused as to why they said she was dehydrated, too.  He said her numbers were a little low but that it did not constitute dehydration.  Hmph  Stupid ER.  He checked her out and did a few tests on her to gauge her mental state and seemed happy with all of her responses.  He also said that her ear was a little pink but not much.

Needless to say, that was the scariest day of motherhood so far for me (at that time…more to come).  BG has had much higher fevers since then and has never had that reaction.  Her Ped thinks it was some sort of neurological episode but without a recurrence we will never really know what happened that day.  Thanks to Timeh.op I just relived that whole experience.  It makes me want to shudder.  I thought for sure that God was going to take her from me and I was so far away from her that she would “go” without her mama by her side.  I was certain that day that the dreaded other shoe was falling.  I love that little girl more than my own life and I am forever grateful to have her and that she is healthy.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The A-ha Moment

I’ve been wondering why it’s been so hard for me to come here and write.  I used to write a lot.  It’s so helpful to write.  It’s my own version of therapy.  I would venture to say that a lot people that have a “life” blog are better at expressing themselves through writing than any other method of communication.  That statement holds true for me.  I’ve always been this way and I don’t think I will ever change.  When I try to verbalize my feelings I get choked up and overcome with emotion and I tend to not say the whole truth.  When I write, it all comes out.  I spill my emotions onto the page in front of me and then I hit “publish” and I feel better.  I also feel a little trepidation at what people will think of me.  I’m always worried that someone will think badly of me or misunderstand my words and get angry with me.  I guess another personality trait I have is to try and please everyone.

It recently dawned on me that I haven’t been here much because it hurts to come here.  It hurts just as much to try and write through my feelings and thoughts as it does to verbalize them.  I’ve been hiding my emotions for so long that I don’t know how to break through the wall and let myself feel again.  I still have plenty of feelings but I don’t let others see them very often.  Of course I let everyone see me smile and laugh.  No one gets to see me sad, lonely, depressed, anxious, scared, and angry or any of the other emotions that could be construed as negative.  Because after all, what could I possibly have to feel negative about, right?

I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread (and a 5mg Lexapro every morning) and if I open the gates I will fall into a depression like no other I have ever experienced.  I’m scared of being swept away by a flood of pent up pain, anxiety, fear, anger and failure.

I need to write but I’m scared to.  I’m scared to voice the negative and give it life on the outside.  As long as it’s stuffed way down deep it doesn’t have a chance at over taking me.  I have control over what I write even though I don’t feel like there is much more in my life that I can control.  So my rationale is that if I don’t write it then I don’t have to feel it.  What a vicious circle I live in.

I thought I could come here and write about the positive things (because there are a LOT of positive things) that happen(ed) but I feel sort of fake and disingenuous if I don’t write the truth.  So I haven’t really been writing.

I’m also concerned about my daughter’s and my family’s privacy.  I’ve been so open about things here that anyone that knows me IRL would be able to figure out that it’s me.  If they can figure out that’s it’s me then of course they know who Baby Girl is.  I never really thought about how my writing could affect the Little Guy because most of my past life details won’t really affect him.  However, Baby Girl is a different story.  I am her mother and what I write has the potential to affect her in the future.  She is related to the family that I write about and while I don’t care much about the details I’ve shared, she may.

I’m hoping to regain my strength to write and face my emotions.  Until I do, you may still see some time lapsed posts rolling through your blog feed.  Thank you for sticking with me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Four Songs

I started singing to Baby Girl when she was in the womb.  I don’t know all the words to very many “kids” songs so it was tough coming up with songs that I could sing without the help of a CD or the radio.  There were a few and I would sing them when I wasn’t listening to other music.

I don’t think I sang to her in the hospital.  It was a hectic, jumbled time and my days and nights had no separation.  I don’t think the light behind our bed was ever turned off so the lighting in the room was pretty much the same all the time.  That changed once we got home.

We turned lights off and people actually went to bed for the night.  It was quiet and peaceful.  It helped me get back on a regular sleep pattern (even though I wasn’t sleeping much, my body knew when it was supposed to be sleeping).

While trying to get BG back to sleep I would walk the floors downstairs and sing to her.  I started singing songs that I knew all the words to and that I hoped would be soothing to her.  Mainly I just needed easy songs to sing.  The first one that came to mind was Jesus Loves Me.  Perfect.  There’s not many lyrics so that song was over pretty quickly.  The next song that popped into my head was Jesus Loves the Little Children.  I went with it.  I learned these songs when I was probably 4 or 5 years old so I can’t believe that I even remembered the words.   Next up was the ABC song.  This one is great because I can make it fast or slow, cheerful or more low-key.  The next song that I wanted to sing to her was a challenge.  There is a lot of emotion tied up in the last song because it’s the song BG was named after.  It’s a song that my Grandmother used to sing in church.  She would close her eyes and sing this song and tears would run down her cheeks.  It was an emotional song for her because her mother used to sing it and because my Grandmother was very close with God, that song was like a hug from Him.  That song is Amazing Grace.

I tried for weeks to sing this song to Baby Girl.  I couldn’t get through the first few words without breaking down into a puddle of tears.  The PPD and regular post-pregnancy hormone shifts made it impossible to sing that song without the grief I was feeling from the loss of my Grandmother.  It wasn’t just my loss.  When she died I knew she’d never get to meet any children I may have been able to have.  Losing her was also Baby Girl’s loss and that made me sad.  So for the first 8 to 10 weeks I was only ever able to get through the first 3 songs of our routine.  I only know the first verse so after I sang that verse I would hum it over again.

I have been singing those same 4 songs to Baby Girl every night as I put her to bed.  There’s been a handful of times when she’s been so tired that I haven’t finished all 4 but I don’t count that as breaking the streak.  J  She’s now almost 26 months old (what?!) and it never gets old.  We are to the point now where I can tell that she’s pretty tired and can’t focus on reading books anymore so I will ask her, “do you want mommy to sing, now?”  And she will nod and I will sing and she will fall asleep.

I’m sure that there will come a time when she will not want me to sing to her at bedtime but for now I will keep singing those 4 songs while I watch her drift off to sleep in my arms, ever thankful and gracious that I have her to sing to.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Saturday Mornings

I love Saturday mornings.  For about a year now we have had pretty much the same routine in our house and I am perfectly fine with it.  It never gets old (at least not yet) and I look forward to it all the time.

Baby Girl wakes up between 6:15 and 6:45.  I groan at how early it is and then I get up to go to the bathroom while BJ goes in and collects the baby.  He brings her into our bed and holds her until I come out of the bathroom.  I climb back in bed and she just about breaks her neck to come over and snuggle with me.  The first few times we did this she fell back to sleep for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.  That was awesome but didn’t last too long.

We lay there for 15 to 30 minutes…just snuggling and hugging and talking.  She’ll point to things and I’ll tell her what they are, she’ll spring up and laugh and then fall down on me again.  I have to practically beg her to give daddy some snuggles, too.  She has turned into quite the mama’s girl in the mornings.

We eventually get up and I change her diaper and we head downstairs.  I grab her milk out of the fridge and we turn on the TV and snuggle up and watch one 30-minute cartoon.  Then I pass her off to BJ and go in the kitchen to make her breakfast.  She is wise to this and has started coming in the kitchen and getting under my feet.  Stinker.

While she’s eating, I clean the kitchen from the night before (I go on cleaning strike Friday nights because I’m tired and lazy and just want to do nothing) and grab a quick bite to eat.

After she eats I leave her in the living room to play with BJ while I get dressed and ready for the day.  She usually fills her diaper at this point so one of us will change her and then I’ll get her dressed.  By this time I’m about to start running around like a chicken with my head cut off because somehow time always FLIES by when I think I’m doing a good job of staying on track.

I pack up the diaper bag and load it and my purse and phone into the car, get her shoes on and rush out the door…late as usual.  Where are we going in such a rush, you ask?  We go to story time at the library on Saturday mornings.  It’s awesome.  We usually show up right as it’s starting but I’ve actually gotten a little bit better at getting us out of the house on time.  We only live about 7 or 8 minutes from the library so you would think I could get us there on time.

I love story time because it is something we can do together for years to come.  She loves going.  She dances and plays and acts silly and cuddles with me.  She used to be the youngest in attendance but more toddlers and babies have started coming.  I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest mother there but I don’t really care about that.  What matters is that we do this together and that she learns to love books and reading and singing and dancing as much as I do.

Story time is one of the few activities that occur on weekends for toddlers.  It’s almost impossible to find something for us to do on Saturday.  Almost everything that our county offers takes place during the week and during the day.  Just about everything is geared toward the stay at home mom.  This is great because I know that stay at home moms need activities to keep their kids busy and themselves sane.  The problem with that is that we working moms struggle to find things to do on the weekends.  Baby Girl would be just as happy to stay home and play all day and take TV breaks but I can’t do that.  I’m a mover and a shaker on Saturdays so I need to get out of the house.  Sunday is a different story.  I’m perfectly happy to lounge around and not do anything on Sunday.  But Saturday mornings…those mornings are the highlight of my weekend.  I’m sure I’m more excited to go to the library than Baby Girl is right now.  I think I'm more enthusiastic about these things because I never thought I'd get to do them.  I never thought I'd be a mom at the library so I'm sure I go overboard with the dancing and singing and such.  That's ok...she's too young to realize that I'm probably embarrassing her.  LOL

So yeah, I went from sleeping in on Saturday mornings to being woken up before the sun comes up and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I love our Saturday morning routine and I hope it’s something that we can continue for years to come.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sibling Rivalry - Sort Of

We have a problem.  The first step to getting help is admitting that there is a problem, right?  This problem is not one I was prepared for.  It’s one of those things that you don’t really want to talk about for fear of what others may think.  We have kept it pretty quiet thus far.  We elude to the problem very vaguely and with humor while trying to cover up the problem.  It sounds a little like infertility, doesn’t it?  It’s definitely not that.  Not anymore, anyway.

The problem is the relationship between our Baby Girl (BG) and the Little Guy (LG).  When people ask us what he thinks of her we are very honest with our answers.  He loves her to pieces.  He adores her.  He’s great with her.  When people ask us what she thinks of him we cringe and stammer out a less than truthful answer.  She loves him.  They play well together.  It’s hit or miss…you know how toddlers are.


The truth is that she doesn’t really like him.  She doesn’t like it when he tries to pick her up.  She doesn’t like it when he touches her or holds her toy or even lays on one of her blankets on the floor.  If I ask him to put her in her high chair she takes off running and tries to hide from him.  Sometimes she will come into the kitchen and try to hide behind my legs…all the while whining and trying to get away from him.  She has hit him on several occasions.  She refuses to tell him “night, night”.  She acts like it’s the end of the world if we ask her to give him a goodnight hug.

He’s never been mean to her.  He’s never alone with her.  He “picks” on her sometimes like a big brother does but it’s nothing that should make her behave this way.  It’s very upsetting to me.  It’s upsetting because I want to tell him to just leave her alone.  Stop trying to get a hug.  Stop trying to pick her up.  And then the other side of it is that I’m upset because I don’t know how to fix this.  She’s 20 months old (how did THAT happen?) and I feel like I can’t leave her with him for fear that she will have a complete meltdown.  He’s 13 so I know he could handle watching her for short amounts of time but the anxiety I would feel while away is just not worth it.

We are always inclusive when we are playing with her.  We include him in everything and try to make playing with him fun.  We hug him to show her that hugging him is ok.  Nothing is working.

There are times that she completely surprises us and sits with him on the couch while they watch cartoons.  And there’s times that she sits on his lap while he reads her a story.  When we are playing on the floor we can sometimes get her to happily include him in our activity.  When we are eating dinner she will be silly with him across the table.  He will take her outside and they will color with chalk or walk around in the driveway by themselves.  Those times are the rarity, though.  It breaks my heart because I know how upset he gets when she pushes him away and wants nothing to do with him.  He loves her so much and she acts like he’s the enemy.  It’s awful.  BJ gets annoyed with her and tells her to “stop acting like that” and “why are treating your brother this way?”  “Quit being mean to your brother”.  I hate that he tells her she’s mean.  It’s not untrue but I don’t like it.

It started when she was about 13 or 14 months, I guess.  It’s getting worse as she gets older.  I just don’t know how to handle it.  He’s with us 50% of the time meaning every other day and every other weekend so it’s not like she doesn’t see him enough to grow attached to him.  I really thought that by now she’d be excited to see him and sad when he leaves.  Instead, she refuses his hugs and couldn’t care less when he’s gone.  Well, that’s not true.  She does ask about him when he’s not there but not in an “I miss my brother” sort of way.  It’s more of a “where is he?” and that’s it.

Anyway, I’m at a loss here folks.  I do not like talking about this with people because they get a look on their face that makes me want to crawl into a hole.  I’ve had one person ask me if the LG has done something to her.  Ugh…I know he hasn’t.  He’s never alone with her.  I feel ashamed and I don’t even know where to turn for help.  I don’t know people with children this far apart in age.  The only reference I have is myself.  I’m 8.5 years older than my brother.  The thing is, he wanted to be with me all the time while we were growing up so I can’t understand why BG wants nothing to do with her big brother.  Any advice out there?  I’m feeling rather defeated right now.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ahem...It's Me...Again

I know, I know.  I keep saying that I’m coming back on a regular basis because I have so much to say and then I disappear for months again.  I’ve been doing some thinking and I have come to realize why I haven’t been back here.

It’s just too hard.

It’s too hard to revisit the pain, depression, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, uncertainness, fear and exhaustion.  Every time I start to write a post I stop.  I get overwhelmed with emotions.  The ones I just listed and others as well.  See, there’s this thing called Survivor’s Guilt and I have a hefty amount of it.  I know I shouldn’t, but I do.  Those are the reasons it’s so hard to come here.

The problem is that I need to come here.  I need to tell my story.  Ever since I started telling my story I’ve found this space to be my safe haven.  I can share my craziest of crazies and my saddest of saddest and yes, my happiest moments too.  I want to come back here.  I need the outlet and I need your guidance and your support and your advice.

I’m sure I’ve lost most of my readers and that is to be expected.  With my absences why would anyone stick around?  If there is anyone left out there that can help me navigate my feelings of parenting after infertility I would welcome them with open arms.  And as any of my regular readers know, I’m a step-mother, too.  Oh my goodness, the trials and tribulations of helping to raise a 13-year-old boy are numerous to say the least.  I need help.  I need to voice my concerns and my feelings and have people give me another point of view.  I like it when people give me another way of looking at a situation because sometimes I can be so caught up in it that I can’t see straight.

I think I will start in the here and now and fill in the blanks as I go.  I don’t need to post novels, I just need to post.  I have to work through my feelings and this is the best way I can think of to do it.  I don’t want to see a professional so I do what so many other people do:  I post my inner most feelings and thoughts on the internet and let readers have at it.  LOL

I hope there are still a few people out there but if not, that’s ok too.  I need to do this for me and my well-being more than anything else.  And this time, I mean it.