Friday, October 24, 2008
October is difficult. Halloween, especially.
I'm blessed to have had three grandfathers in my life, but the memory of the passing of two of them is triggered every year by Halloween decorations. My parents had spent the day decorating our house for Halloween on the day my first grandfather died. Dad picked me up at my after school job to tell me, and I came home to a plywood coffin on the porch. Two weeks later, my other grandfather died, and when we returned from both funerals the decorations were still there. When my dad pulled the decorations out the next year, I screamed at him.
October is when my Eleanor would have been due, she'd have been a year old this month. I can't imagine life without Joseph, but sometimes I imagine life with Eleanor. Would she have been serious, like Emily, as a baby or giggly like Joseph? My living children are blonde, but somehow I always picture Eleanor and Benjamin with dark hair like mine. I'll never know.
Benjamin was lost in the month of October, on Halloween night. It was the last time I wore a Halloween costume, though I'm sure that won't stay true forever. He'd be just over 4 now. The year before last, I "ghosted" the neighborhood with suprise treats of candy on their doorsteps in his honor. It seemed the kind of thing he'd have laughed over, sneaking around to leave treats in the dark of night.
I didn't do anything like that last year. After we took Emily trick or treating, we got her to bed and then I couldn't stop contracting. I spent the rest of Halloween night on monitors in labor and delivery and getting extra doses of terbutaline, hoping there wouldn't be another October loss.
This year, we're taking both kids to trick or treat after the closing the sale of the home we have lived in for the last 8 years. I'd like to think we're starting a new chapter, with excitement about halloween - less tinged with sadness.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
If only you knew how those two words get me at my very core. I'm not sure the day will ever come that I say those words and don't find myself a little suprised at them. They fall in the same category as the words "my daughter" and "my kids." Sometimes I find myself saying those words just to hear myself say them. Have I told you today how lucky I am to have you?
Enough about me, this is about you. (And me) Mostly about you.
Nine months is such a neat age, watching you in the magical in between space between infant and toddler. I want to press pause and keep you in this place a bit longer, where you still go down for your naps fairly easily and cuddle against me when you are tired instead of straining to get down and walk away. Of course, there are times you strain against my arms as if you expect to be put down so you can walk away - but you just aren't there yet, and for now I am glad.
Crawling all over the place, scooting, danger rolls, whatever it takes to get where you're going - you are all over it. Your focus shifts across the room to whomever is most active, whoever will make you giggle, whatever object strikes your fancy. Is it shameless bragging or mother love that makes me boast that for now I am your favorite? A little of both, I'm afraid...though I think I might be slipping in the ranks some days. I can make you giggle and smile, but your sister does it best. We've had strangers in the grocery store ask her to repeat the noise or gesture that cracked you up, because your laugh is like sunshine but loud and infectious at the same time. People beg to hear it over and over.
You've got your two bottom, middle teeth and the top two are rapidly approaching. You smile big, toothy grins that melt us all. You are truly our sunshine boy and it is often a competition to see who is going to get to you first after your nap. Notice I didn't say in the morning? That's because mama loves you best. Don't forget it. Oh, and something about nobody else wants to get up that early. Mostly it's that I love you best, though, I swear.
You're active and engaging, and you've learned that Mama, Dada and hi are words that will get you a smile immediately. Your sister has been trying to get you to say "Emily" for some time now, and she might just save her pennies to buy you a pony if you do it soon. She'd give just about anything to hear it, though she reminds us you can't say many things because you don't have all your teeth yet. I have to admit I'm a bit glad you don't have them all, as you're still going strong on nursing.
At 17 pounds, you're not a heavy guy, but if I ever remember to measure your length I'm sure we'll find you're fairly tall for your age. If you keep trying to pull up on things, it's only a matter of time before you're standing. From then on, we know nothing is safe, so we're hoping that holds off for just a bit longer. Maybe that's selfish, but we have an awful lot of packed boxes around this place right now.
You're healthy and perfect in every way, and we're so lucky to see you growing and thriving. Did I mention you eat like a teenage boy? Last night I literally lost track of everything I'd fed you until I looked at the samples of everything you'd dropped on the floor. We call you Joey Garbanzo because you can't get enough of garbanzo beans. Of all the things you eat, that's your favorite besides milk. Who knew?
I have more to say, but guess who just woke up?
So, I wrote about my sick daughter, my son's 9 month check-up, the stresses of moving and my tendency lately to avoid sleep as if it's something I hate instead of the thing I crave most. I wrote and wrote and then got frustrated because I couldn't post those things here, couldn't prove that I was actually making good on my promise to blog every day for a month.
My internet connection is back, but I'm in a funk over the whole thing. It should be easy to shake it off and realize that it just doesn't matter whether I made the commitment work, but I'm so frustrated at the fact I wrote every day but still didn't meet my goal because they items weren't posted.
Off to sulk.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Then she said, "he said farty naughty."
It certainly sounds like she's right. What in the world IS he saying right there?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
At 7pm local time, I'll place a lit candle on my front porch - adding to the many being lit across my town, state, country... to be part of a wave of light bringing recognition to those who are all too often grieved in silence, when noone is looking.
I'll light the candle for Benjamin, Eleanor, Mary Catherine, Rivi, Aimee and Dana, Ashley, Gabriel, Maya, Kylie and far too many others.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
We're making plans for painting, getting estimates on carpeting and our current house is about 65% packed. We're starting to reach the point where there are fewer items that can be packed without needing them later or running out of room to put the boxes. My husband's band practices in our garage and right now his drums are in their cases in anticipation of his gig tonight. Part of me wishes we could keep them that way until the move, as there would be a ton of room in the garage for clearing things out of the house for painting, etc. The guys will be practicing here until the end of the month, though, so that isn't an option. *sigh* that's good and bad - good because I'm going to miss my husband's practices being at our home. I enjoy the guys, enjoy the music and love having my husband home so quickly after practice. Now he's going to have a drive after each practice night and that stinks. Trade-offs.
This house is starting to look less and less like our home. I'm trying not to think too much about how sad I'll be to leave it, just how glad I'll be to enjoy the new home.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Today I found a comment left by Emma that I'd missed because I'm having some spam issues with my email. She left it regarding the post below, where I talked about some of the warning signs for postpartum infection. (linked below) She's absolutely right that low grade fevers are still important - most of the time when I checked mine it was 99 degrees. It was only when I was deathly ill that it spiked high, and by then I was desperate for help. She's also correct about the bleeding. Even though I bled profusely on the delivery table, my postpartum bleeding stopped before I left the hospital. That should have been a huge warning sign to my care providers.
I want to tell you thank you for putting your story out there. I'd read your blog when I was pregnant, and when I started feeling Not Right after the birth, I remembered it. I got help pretty quickly, and I think I may be on the road to being okay -- I've got a ways to go yet, but at least I'm starting to improve, and we've got a Plan B in place. A couple things I want to add to your discussion of symptoms, if that's okay:
Bleeding too little can be a sign of trouble too, as surely as bleeding too much. I stopped bleeding two days after the birth, and didn't think anything of it. Turns out I was still bleeding, but it was all building up in my uterus instead of coming out -- not good.Even a low-grade fever can be a trouble sign when coupled with other symptoms. I thought I couldn't have an infection, because surely I'd have a higher fever instead of piddling around in the 99s. Again, wrong.Postpartum infections are serious and scary. Your story helped me get out of this one with my uterus and my sanity intact, and I thank you. I hope that's some comfort to you, that you've helped at least one woman.
When I read her comment, a dam broke within me. On one of my visits to the doctor, before my D & C, a doctor commented that she'd seen another woman the day before who was also fighting a persistent uterine infection. That woman haunts me in my sleep, as I can't shake the questions of whether she's ok, whether she finally got rid of the infection and if she still has her uterus. I have laid awake at night, wondering how many new moms are facing a danger they don't even realize, chalking their soreness and fatigue up to delivery and having a newborn.
My illness was costly, and has affected every aspect of my life in some way. My health, job, home, finances, marriage, relationship with my children, etc. have all been affected in some way and there has been a reminder of at least a portion of that every day. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel from a physical standpoint, though my immune system is shot from months of fighting illness, months of antibiotics and two surgeries. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though I know the hardest work is mental and emotional.
Emma, I am so relieved to know you are doing better and glad to know that you'll follow up until you're sure the infection is completely gone. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to let me know my story helped, that what I went through wasn't for nothing. It hasn't been easy to write about all of it, but I kept thinking that if I could help just one woman, if I could keep just one family from going through what we did, it was worth every second I spent sweating over what to say.
Most of us don't really get to find out if something we did made a difference. Thank you for telling me that I have - it's just the kind of salve this wounded spirit of mine needed today.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
However, the ability to do a great floor like this means that some things are going to have to wait a bit. That includes new light fixtures. Below is the dining room. There's a lot in there now because the seller hasn't removed everything yet. None of the furniture shown in this picture will remain in the room.
This room forms an L with the living room, which has two fixtures on the wall that coordinate with this one. Whether those will be removed altogether, replaced or painted to match this one has not been decided.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Today I talked with the seller, who I love dearly and suspect I'll keep in touch with long after we've signed on the dotted line. I made arrangements to stop by tomorrow with a flooring sample to test against the colors of the flagstone fireplace and we'll be talking about which carpet stays for now and which is going to go (she's going to steam clean the carpet that's staying).
We haven't done any work on the house yet - though they've already started the process of replacing the roof. I'm glad I have my before pictures already, or I'd have missed out on a piece of the transformation.
They're planning to have everything out of there soon, which means it won't be long before we start doing things like painting and ripping up carpet. Construction dust coming to this space very soon, complete with pictures.
In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how I can manage to get several items from IKEA to my doorstep without paying hundreds of dollars in common carrier shipping fees. We have one coming in about 18 months, but I want playroom storage a bit sooner than that! LOL
Thursday, October 9, 2008
He sure shoves that notion out the window when it comes to packing. The man keeps trying to make up boxes and mark them miscellaneous and I swear he's about to find himself in one of those boxes he's thrown together. He'll find himself keeping company with two extension cords, a statue of a ceramic wolf, three books, a set of cookie cutters and the remove for the VCR just because he fit in the box with them.
The box will be labeled "Misc. stuff" and will probably sit in the garage because nobody knows where to put it until I've searched enough boxes that I find him again.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I don't know how many I've had since the one that diagnosed my PCOS, but it's too many. Yes, they are old hat to an extent and definitely not the worst thing I've been through. Not even the worst thing I've been through in the last year, or the last 6 months for that matter. I've never had one that I wasn't nervous about. Hoping for a cyst to go down, hoping for proof of ovulation, hoping to see a heartbeat - so many times I've gone in with fingers crossed.
While I'm feeling much better physically (with the exception of this lovely virus Joseph and I have) I have some concerns. While the rest of me is getting smaller, my lower abdomen is getting bigger. I have a fullness and discomfort there that doesn't make sense, and some issues I had before that had seemed to resolve after my last surgery are making a reappearance. Generally, my best description is that something feels wrong. Not very specific, I know, but a feeling I've learned to trust.
Thanks to my mom's lovely history of ovarian cancer at 26, my surgeon had already made a plan with me that I'd be needing annual ovarian ultrasounds and CA125 tests but those weren't scheduled to start until a year from now. He'd gotten a good look at my ovaries during my hysterectomy, but based upon how I'm feeling I'm opting not to wait until next year. It's probably just a simple cyst. I've had them before, they suck, but tend to resolve fairly quickly for me.
Here's hoping I get enough of an answer today that it's not one of those "hmmm, we're not sure" appointments, but not anything bad.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
For months before anything actually happened between Tim and me, Cynthia had been accusing me of liking him. Accusing, I say, because he was not my type. Something I repeated over and over. He was (and is) older than me, by 8 years. He had long hair and played drums in a band. The guys I dated weren't anything like that description. Think fraternities. Think clean cut, not quite preppy type guys. They listened to music at parties and concerts, they didn't play it. Because we all know what musicians are like. ;)
I'd come home to the apartment I shared with Cynthia and her soon to be husband, tell her about my day and she'd squeal "you like him!" which somehow evolved into "you LIKE him" and then the inevitable "Oh my God, you're in LOVE WITH HIM!" Emphatically denied each time and each time followed with "he's not even my type."
One day she put her hands on her hips and said, "do we need to review where 'your type' has gotten you so far?" My only answer was of the "besides, he's not into me" variety.
Turns out I was wrong. All the way around, completely wrong.
I liked him, I loved him and he'd already fallen for me. Our jokes in the office had led us down a path we hadn't even seen and then suddenly there it was.
On Oct 6, 1997 I was getting ready for an out of state trip to my cousin's wedding, so I stayed late at work. He stayed too, and before he left he hugged me. The next day, more work to do before leaving, I stayed again. He stayed too.
I was standing at the filing cabinets, putting away a monster stack of files. He had been sitting at his desk, but then got up and walked over to me. As he leaned in, I started to panic a bit but the kiss erased all rational thought from my brain. My knees, previously unshaken when it came to kisses (and there had been some good ones prior to him) turned to jello.
When the kiss was over, I walked over to my desk, sat down and tried to collect myself. When I could walk again, I walked over to him (not knowing he was freaking out) and kissed him within an inch of his life.
There was no first date, no "will you go to dinner with me" but a conversation about how we'd see each other outside of work, etc. We skipped right into the relationship, except that the next day I had to leave for another state and would be gone a WEEK. The agony!
I came back from that trip, and we've been together ever since.
On this day, eleven years ago, we were alone in the office and he kissed me in front of the filing cabinets. (We had filing cabinets! LOL)
I still get weak in the knees when he kisses me.
Happy Anniversary, sweetie.
Monday, October 6, 2008
And I dropped my sick, sleeping son on the floor.
For the last week, his sleep has been awful and so mine has too. Saturday night I realized my throat was starting to hurt and by Sunday it was awful. I realized chances were good that my son might have been feeling sick all this time too, and when I looked in his mouth it made total sense. We're going to the doctor as soon as we can get an appt today, but in the meantime Sunday was rough.
We were in the rocking chair in his room, having both finally fallen into a deep sleep for the first time in what felt like forever, despite it being almost midnight. It was only about 30 minutes ago that he fell out of my arms.
I feel awful. He cried, but only briefly, then settled back down with no signs of major injury though of course I'll be checking on him and for signs of concussion, etc throughout the morning now. Even if we had turned a corner on sleep, that's over now, but that's my fault. Typically, I lay him down awake, and I should have tried harder not to fall asleep in the chair. Typically, I use the boppy so there would have been something between him and a fall. Tonight I was too tired to grab it. :(
I can't help thinking about the dream. It makes so much sense, it's practically transparent. Between that, how awful I feel physically, how much worse I feel about dropping him, I just can't stop crying.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I finally had to spell it out for him, "No. Thank you. I don't want to sit on the couch while you bring me things to pack. I need to STOP for at least an hour. I feel like crap, I think I have strep and I have not had more than a few hours of sleep each of the last seven nights."
I love that he wants to help, but right now I just want him to take over with the kids and leave me be for a bit. Is that SO hard?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I love adding an extra blanket to the bed, bundling my children in an extra layer of soft clothing and having an extra excuse to scoot closer to my husband. I'm glad to trade lemonade for hot tea and ice cream for apple pie. Maybe it's the nesting type instinct it brings out it me.
No matter what it is, today looks and smells like fall. The temperature is cooler, there's a bit of rain falling and my yard is covered with the first leaves to drop from the trees.
This will be my last fall in this house. The one that greeted us after our wedding, unchanged but feeling different. It was this house that saw us bring our babies home.
I think today I'm going to stop packing long enough to get cozy for a while.
Friday, October 3, 2008
One of the things they say downtown is that you should marry someone who makes you laugh. It's true that looks fade, health can deteriorate, hair falls out and wrinkles appear but a sense of humor keeps you going.
It's been a stressful time around here for what feels like forever. I seize up every time I try to make the list my counselor asked for months ago, the one where I list out everything that's happened in the last year. Partly because the list keeps getting longer, mostly because I just don't want to think about it. Laughter, however, is what is keeping us going. There are times when we'll be in the middle of a conversation and my husband will say something so funny that we laugh until we're crying, until our stomachs hurt and we just can't stop.
It's in those moments that I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I feel in my heart we're going to come through this ok. Despite the days we don't communicate well, days when the stress of the past and the present feel weighty and oppressive, days when the other side feels a million miles away. We make each other laugh and in those moments, all is right.
Sometimes those moments sneak up on us. It's happened that we're in the middle of a heated argument,even, and one of us says something funny and the argument fades away. Ninja funny - it sneaks up on you. For that, I am grateful.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
So, for today, here's what I'm doing to make it better in terms of the environment.
I've stopped using a lot of harsh chemical cleaners, and found that the simpler ingredients work just as well, if not better. For example, I get my laundry detergent recipe here (I use the powdered one) http://www.thefrugalshopper.com/articles/detergent.shtml, made at home with ingredients I can find easily at my grocery store. I've started making my own detergent for the dishwasher as well - 1 TBSP washing soda (NOT BAKING SODA) to 1 TBSP Borax. It works better than any I've ever bought. I fill my rinse aid dispenser with vinegar. My laundry is cleaner and softer, my dishes cleaner and free of spots.
I try to combine my trips and map them out in such a way that I can combine errands whenever possible. I use my cruise control on long stretches of my drive and pay attention to areas in town where I don't actually need my foot on the gas pedal to maintain momentum. I was surprised to find how many areas where I have been keeping my foot on the gas when I didn't need to. I've improved my gas mileage (and credit card charges for gas) substantially - and the less gas I use, the better for my wallet and the environment.
We already recycle as much as possible through our city's recycling program, and whenever possible I try to avoid excess packaging. Another bonus of making my own detergents - less waste of packaging.
As the kids outgrow clothing, I'm finding people who will need them and are willing to pay a bit for them (but less than a second hand store would charge) so I know they'll have more life after they leave our home. In our son's case, we've received a lot of hand me downs from a friend, so we're doubly lucky.
We're trying to buy toys that are less likely to break quickly, creating more junk. We're also not buying many toys to begin with. As my daughter has outgrown certain toys and baby items, we've passed them on to my nephew and they are now making their way back to my son. Being more environmentally aware (I'm the last to claim I'm perfect at this) is definitely having an economic impact as well. We've cut back on our spending by a lot.
This time next year, I'd like to be able to say that I spent the summer growing a good portion of our own vegetables and was able to can and freeze many that we'd need for the winter. I also have set a goal of a compost bin to help with that. I hate to see food go in the trash.
It's all little stuff, but hopefully it just keeps adding up.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I liked my OB, really really liked him as a person, but one of my irritations with him had been that throughout all of the excitement of my pregnancy he seemed so calm, so unfazed by what was happening. He cared, but his lack of intensity about it sort of pissed me off.In that moment, I realized that seeing him worry meant something was very wrong. I saw a bead of sweat roll down his cheek and realized I was shaking and cold.
He finally answered tha the others were working on him, and I watched my husband stand there, one hand on my son, eyes going back and forth between the two of us. A nurse answered my original question by saying "They're just trying to pink him up a bit."
I assumed the placenta was already out, so I was surprised when I heard him murmur to another nurse that it wouldn't deliver. I barely registered the two shots of pitocin they gave me to try to get it out, and I'm not sure what I thought was happening when the blood was rushing out, but I suppose I just assumed it was fluid from the pregnancy. I remember hearing what I thought was water hit the floor and wondering how their could have been any water left in the bag.
The next thing I knew, the doctor was instructing the nurse on how to press on my abdomen, and I realized his fist was inside and he was pressing from inside and out. It is a blessing in some ways that I was worried about my son, because I didn't scream until later when the numbing medicine was injected to take care of my torn urethra. That was a moment when I regretted not having any pain medication, and it would be the last time for a while that I didn't.
There are things I didn't find out until later, and there is a blessing to not knowing even if the later realization hits hard enough as is. The short version is, my son tore me up and down on his way out, but the speed of his delivery saved his life. The hemorrage after, my placenta that didn't want to deliver and my state of shock endangered my life. I didn't know until much later that the transfusion team had been called and was almost to the door when they finally got my bleeding to stop. I wouldn't know until later that Joseph's initial breathing issues were most likely because of the brewing infection he'd been living with, and that my failure to contract to deliver the placenta and the bleeding were all classic signs of infection.
I didn't know that 10 days later I'd make a call to my OB's office to tell them I was running fevers and not get a call back, or that 12 days later we'd be rushing my son to the ER, blue and limp, because he was skipping breaths. Didn't know that the infection in my cervix and uterus was also in his lungs, stealing his oxygen and was about to kill him until it almost did.
I didn't know how many times I would wonder just how much a pair of sterile gloves costs, and wonder why they couldn't have just used those when doing all those preterm labor checks.
What you don't know really can kill you.