Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
I have now experienced two of these Big Miracles in my life. The first was witnessing the birth of my second niece. If you've ever been blessed enough to witness a delivery then you know what I mean when I say that there is nothing so Miraculous as the birth of a child. One minute she was someone we dreamed and wondered and hoped and prayed for and the next she was in this world, waving her hands and crying and already developing her own unique personality. I remember thinking, as I stood there watching my niece take her very first breath in this world, "how can anyone NOT believe in some kind of a God when faced with the birth of a child?"
Most recently I experienced another miracle. Russ' aunt recently had a brain aneurysm. Or rather, a "nest" in her brain that began to bleed out. And did so rather rapidly, so that in mere hours half of her brain was filled with blood. The outlook, at first, was grim. Say your goodbyes the doctors counseled, as they wheeled her into surgery. Next, the words, "well, she made it through surgery, but we have no idea how much of Her will be there, or what the damage will be." Next, "her vision and speech may be impaired, we are going to keep her in a medically induced coma for a few days." And finally, a mere 24 hours later, "she's going to take a nap, then we are going to get her out of bed and walking around." Even the nurse admitted that she had never seen such an amazing recovery. We drove up to see her and I swear, you would never have known (aside from the shaved head and bandages) that the woman had brain surgery less than 24 hours earlier. She was sitting up, her color was good, her eyes were clear and she was talking and joking. Joking!
Here's the thing- everything, and I do mean everything, conspired to make the worst possible situation into the best possible situation. She happened to be in Boston when her symptoms became alarming enough to warrant a 911 call. Surrounded by family, with a trained nurse by her side. She was rushed to Mass General, and a doctor there had the smarts to get her into surgery within 30 minutes of her arrival. She was also operated on by the head of neurosurgery. If any one of those things didn't happen as they did, the chances are strong that she would not be with us today....or she would not be the woman that we know and love. She is a walking miracle. A testament to the fact that there are some things in this world that just don't make sense. Yeah, you can argue science, medicine, technology even, saved her. But for me....I believe there was someone watching out that day. Someone who saved her life.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This post has been percolating in my head for awhile now.....ever since the holidays in fact when my mom and my brother were trying to get my sister to say if she was going to have another baby. My sister responded, "I don't want to be pregnant again." To which my mom said, "Your pregnancies weren't that bad." To which my sister (rather cleverly I might add) replied, "They were uncomfortable." I decided that was it really--that word just describes it all.
(Let me interrupt this regularly scheduled commentary to mention that this is by no means a venting post. Being pregnant is a glorious miracle that I am thankful for every day. Don't let anything I say here detract from that....)
But, my sister nailed it--even with an easy pregnancy, and let's be for real for a moment, although it took awhile to get here, my pregnancy has been relatively easy without major complications (another reason to be thankful). However, it is UNCOMFORTABLE.
Let's break it down (or at least start to) a la Jenny McCarthy:
Barf-o-Rama a.k.a. Morning sickness:
Clearly the person who named it morning sickness was a man, trying to trick all women into thinking you would only be sick in the morning. What a cruel, cruel joke. Morning sickness happens. But so does mid morning sickness. And lunch time sickness. And afternoon sickness. And dinner time sickness. And even middle of the night for no apparent reason sickness. Another untruth (at least for me): it goes away once the baby starts moving, or you hit your second trimester. I've had periods, days in fact, without throwing up. But if I had to count, I think that in 34 weeks of pregnancy, I've had maybe five weeks where I didn't throw up at least once-and probably several times. (And one of those weeks was the week we first found out I was pregnant.) Throwing up was the thing I hated the most even before I was pregnant. You can imagine my feelings on it now--needless to say I'm tired of it and ready for it to stop.
Snorting, snifing, sneezing a.k.a. stuffy nose:
OK, this may not sound like much to you, but imagine having a permanantly stuffy nose. I mean you wake up in the morning and you are stuffy. You go about your day and you are stuffy, you lie down at night and have to wait until your nose clears enough so you can actually breath through it. Not the biggest of deals, admittedly, but I'm thinking I should have bought stock in Puffs before I got pregnant. Between blowing my nose, wiping my watery eyes after throwing up and going through gobs of tissues when I get a bloody nose....let's just say we have gone through several boxes.....
A-A-A-cho! Get me a tissue I'm bleeding! a.k.a. bloody noses:
As I alluded to above, bloody noses are also a glorious side effect of pregnancy. Who knew, right? I've never had one before being pregnant and well, I hope I never have one again. Not the biggest of deals, again, but still, one of those minor inconveniences in life that you'd just rather not have. The worst is never knowing when I sneeze if it will turn into a bloody nose or not. Like I said, I should have bought stock in Puffs.
Get the heck out of the way, I need to pee! a.k.a. frequent pee breaks:
Really, there's nothing to say about this other than the fact that it's amazing how much you really do have to go to the bathroom. Now that I'm in my third trimester I literally get up every 1.5-2 hours at night just to go to the bathroom. Good training for when the baby comes and I'm nursing, not so much fun now when all you desperately want is a decent night's sleep. During the day, my kids are so used to me sneaking out of the classroom to run down the hall they don't even bat an eye. I don't even ask the teacher next door to keep an eye or an ear out because I do it so often!
Flopping and wrestling a.k.a. sleepless nights:
I can't remember the last time I slept for a full eight hours. I have decided that the reason you are so exhausted during pregnancy is not only because you are creating a human and every single body part is shifting or shrinking or stretching while working harder than it ever has before, but also because you just. don't. sleep. Early on in your pregnancy you learn that you aren't supposed to sleep on your back, because of decreased blood flow to the baby. You can't sleep on your belly, for fear of squishing the baby (and, of course, because your belly simply gets too large). Which leaves your side. If you are a side sleeper this is not a problem. I am not a side sleeper and never have been. Largely due to the fact that I already have a minor case of scoliosis (my back is curved funky) in both my upper and lower spine as well as a permanent disability rating in my back courtesy of an idiotic woman who rammed into my car from behind several years ago. What this means for me is that sleeping on my side HURTS. A lot. So, I wake up often, to roll from one side to the other. Except, because I sleep with a body pillow (which, incidentally, doesn't really do any good other than to support my belly a bit) is more like a wrestling match than a roll. Sometimes, through no fault of my own, I wake up on my back, and then I lay awake for hours on end, waiting for baby girl to kick so I know she's OK. The first few times this happened I panicked and cried....now I just stay awake until she moves, which often takes awhile because she's sleeping too.... I try to time my wrestling matches with my bathroom breaks, but it doesn't always work that way. So, for me to be up every hour either rolling or peeing is about typical. Needless to say, I'm exhausted. Sleep? What's that? (The funniest part about this is that I feel as if, throughout my entire pregnancy really, people keep telling my HUSBAND he looks tired. Or, my husband tells me how tired he is. I continue to be my usual sympathetic self, the man does work hard after all, but I'm waiting for the day when I lose it and remind him that he is tired because he stays up late playing video games while I am tired because I'm carrying around our daughter!)
Carrying the weight of the world....on your back a.k.a. back pain:
It doesn't start your third trimester, as people will tell you. It starts sooner than that. For me, it started when I started sleeping on my side. Although during the day it wouldn't be that bad, or I wouldn't be aware of it as much, when you wake up with a sore back, you pretty much walk around with one all day long. It does seem to be getting worse now that I'm in my third trimester though, so everyone was right about that much.....
This is one of those be careful what you wish for stories! Throughout most of my adolescent and even college years, I wished my boobs would be just a bit bigger. Now that they are, I seriously don't know how women with large boobs do it. They just get in the way! While I enjoy having cleavage for the first time in my life (and I won't tell you what Russ thinks of them) I'm ready to go back to my normal size. Which, I know, won't happen for awhile.....
Will someone please remove the red hot spike from my calf? a.k.a. leg cramps
This is something else I had never experienced before pregnancy. Sure, I had the occasional charlie horse, but nothing compared to the leg cramps that you get while pregnant. For me, they usually happen at night (of course they do!) or in the early morning when I attempt to stretch. (As an aside- you know that stretch you do when you first wake up? Arms overhead, legs stretched, toes pointed, your entire body just s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g? Yeah, I haven't done one of those in AGES. You just can't.) Anyway, leg cramps- they really do feel like someone is driving a red hot spike into your calf. You can't do anything while your entire leg just tenses uncontrollably except grasp it tightly and try not to cry out. Usually when I have one of these I'm awake for awhile afterwards (like I said, sleep? what's that?) and then my leg will be sore for literally days after.
I need a ______ RIGHT NOW! a.k.a. cravings (or aversions)
Truthfully, I haven't had many of these. Russ has really gotten off easy I think. No late night runs to Dairy Queen for him! But every now and again we'll be driving along, and I want something. Most recently, when we were registering, I wanted Strawberry Lemonade that they serve at Chili's. Now, I would have been fine if I didn't have it. But I really really really wanted Strawberry Lemonade. And I needed it too, right away. (Yes, I got one.) I've heard stories though of women who eat buckets of mushrooms, or vegetarians who become meat eaters because they must have steak....can't say I've really experienced any of that. Although, come to think of it, I have really wanted a turkey sandwich. No idea why, probably because I can't eat it. Nor have I had any aversions. Food commercials used to make me sick my first trimester, but then again, everything made me sick my first trimester. But there isn't one food that I really can't eat or don't like. Maybe that's the silver lining to all the throwing up?
I have nothing creative or clever to say about either one of these. They stink. And they are also rather permanent-at least for me- and even more so during my third trimester. I swear, between throwing up and alternating between heartburn and nausea it's amazing I've gained as much weight as I have!
There are a thousand and one other little tidbits about pregnancy that make it rather uncomfortable--like the bloodwork you have to go through, or the sugary drinks you have to drink for your gestational diabetes test, or the fact that your entire body just doesn't really feel like your own anymore, or the fact that as you get bigger you get so unwieldy that simple things like tying your shoes are impossible, and standing up becomes difficult....but for now, this list covers some of the basics.
Here's something I know--or at least I think I know--women who have been pregnant don't tell you about any of these discomforts. At least, not until you are pregnant yourself, then the stories come out! Why is that? I am convinced it is for two reasons: all of these discomforts are nothing compared to actual child birth and secondly (and perhaps most importantly!), I suspect that the moment I meet my daughter for the first time and look into her eyes and feel her little hand wrap around my pinky....I suspect that all of these minor discomforts will just fly right out of my head.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The shower itself was absolutely wonderful....held in my mother in law's house, catered with some delicious food, and some really neat touches to make it personal. Everyone got to sign a large rock, that is going to go into my vegetable garden, and they also got to create bibs for our little girl! My one request was that I not get stared at TOO much and my sister in law, very sweetly, organized some fun games for the guest to play while I opened the presents. Oh, and everyone was asked to bring a book for baby girl and I got SO many good ones, with very few repeats! Russ and I have already started reading her bedtime stories, in eager anticipation of the nights when we get to snuggle her in our arms while reading to her. Plus, I love that her bookshelf is now considerably fuller than it once was!
We also got some amazingly generous gifts, including the pack and play, stroller and both the infant and the toddler car seat! The pack and play and stroller already sits, assembled and ready to go, in our living room. And Russ eagerly installed the car seat base into his car....We also got a lot of clothes for baby girl. I think she has more than me already!!! And I, of course, spent Sunday washing, sorting and folding....all in all, it was a wonderful day, filled with sunshine, family, happiness and love....
Mom S. and Beth--thank you so much for being the amazing family that you are, and for blessing me with so much love that my heart swells. I am beyond lucky to have married a wonderful man, and to have been welcomed into his wonderful family!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Recently mine appeared in my life after an almost five year absence.
Our last conversation--on the phone when he was still in town--was tear filled and emotional. Something along the lines of him telling me he loved me and could imagine a life and a home and even children and pets with me but could never, ever marry me, and me wondering how in the world that made any sense at all. I remember he wanted to see me after that conversation and I just couldn't do it. What do you say to the man that just tore out your heart? I thought it best for me to let him drive off so that I could get on with the business of getting over him. I still think that was the right decision....
It took awhile for me to move on. I dated others, and compared them all to him. If I could say that if he walked back into my life I'd leave my current boyfriend, then I knew that current boyfriend wasn't the one for me. Is that horrible? Maybe it was, but there it is, the raw truth.
So, now he is back in town-for now at least. Married with a child, although his wife is not really in the picture. I knew I'd run into him eventually--he is, after all, friends with my brother in law and currently working on their house. I wondered what it would be like to see him. If there would be some dramatic emotional meeting, where he apologized to me for being a jerk, told me he made the wrong choice all those years ago.....where I could tell him that hindsight has given me 20/20 vision and I could see clearly now that we were not, after all, meant to be together. That me being the me I am, and he being who he is, would never have really worked out, even though I still believe I could have been good for him--brought some stability to his world that is still so out there and confused. But it never would have been the partnership that marriage is meant to be, and ultimately, it never would have lasted.
Well, I saw him again for the first time a couple of weeks ago. And twice since then. I'll admit that seeing him for the first time in nearly five years felt like a punch in the stomach, and, quite literally, took my breath away. But there was no tearful reunion. In fact, there was barely an acknowledgement of my existence. He studiously avoided making eye contact and didn't even really greet me. Rather anti-climactic actually. The two other times since then have been similar to that first meeting. I once sat down next to him, to at least engage him in some sort of conversation, and it felt.....awkward. Odd. We chit chatted about trivial things while I sat there and wondered how our conversations got reduced to the weather and little girl clothes when, even from the beginning of our relationship, we never talked about minor things....And I looked across the room at my husband and thanked God then and there for not letting me marry this man who I barely recognized as the guy I once thought I loved. For instead bringing me a man who loves me for me and who loved me enough to ask that big question that has entwined our lives for eternity. I don't need closure. I found it myself, a long time ago.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sorry for the language (guess my blog isn't G rated anymore!) but no other word will suffice.
I'm not going to rehash it here-first of all because who wants to read about a really horrible week? It will just bring you down. Secondly, because it was rough enough the first time around and frankly, I don't want to relive it. Suffice it to say by Friday morning I was barely holding it together, and, in fact, did actually start crying on the phone to a friend as he tried to direct me to the place where I was to get yet more blood work done and then continued to cry (mortifying!) when I actually arrived at said location. (Luckily the woman blamed it on hormones.....which I'm sure did in fact play a large part!)
But the week is over.....and I came out of it with one clear thought: I am so blessed.
I try to be that person that is always aware of just how lucky she is. But I'll admit that I, like so many others, get caught up in the minutiae of life. There is nothing like a horrible, incomprehensible tragedy to make you realize just how lucky you are....
Let me start with the first, and most exciting blessing in my world right now: our baby. We are seven weeks away from her arrival and she is becoming more and more of a reality. While I am beginning to get a bit more nervous about labor (although my fears seem to center-at the moment- around my water breaking at school and also not being able to find Russ when I actually do go into labor), mostly I find myself so excited at the thought of finally meeting her. I can't wait to stare into her eyes, and smell the smell that is uniquely her and feel her tiny fingers wrap around mine. She truly is a miracle.
My second blessing is my husband. Have I told you lately, dear Internet world, just how amazing he is? When I first met him, I knew, very quickly, that he was The One. I had absolutely no doubts at all that this was the man that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Somewhere along the way he also became my best friend. And then, my soul mate. As we go on this new journey together, preparing for baby, having endless conversations about what she'll be like, discussing how we want to raise her...I just couldn't do it without him and I couldn't imagine doing it with anyone else.
My next blessings are my family. If you know my family at all then you know just how generous, kind, funny, supportive, loving, intelligent, hard working, dedicated and wonderful they are. I am lucky to have TWO families that are all of those things and more. My life is richer for having them in it and I consider myself the luckiest sister, daughter, daughter in law and sister in law.....
There are many more blessings in my life that I could share with you--great friends that support me in all that I do and are always there to listen, a job I love in a district that is amazing, a home that is cozy and perfect for us, an amazing world that is just starting to vine and green and bloom and sprout bringing with it the promises of a new spring....like I said, I am so blessed.