Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Grandma

4 Mar

I said goodbye to my Grandma on Sunday. Mom called to say we should come, so I did, and I brought my brother with me. We sat in her room, we talked. We talked about how sunny it was that day, how hot it was in her room, we talked about nothing. I watched her. I thought about how much she didn’t look like my Grandma anymore. I watched as her body struggled to breathe. Machines sustaining her. They tell me she was comfortable, I hope that’s true. She didn’t move or speak, her eyes stayed closed.

My Mom and Grandpa left. My aunts left. Laird and I sat there, and talked about nothing. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to be the one who left her alone. So we sat. When we decided to go I didn’t know what to do, Laird suggested I say bye. It made sense, though didn’t feel like enough. Nothing feels like enough. How do you…What do you say in that moment? I knew nothing I said or did would be the right thing. I put my hand on her arm, and said goodbye. I had nothing else, I could think of no other words. I turned around and stepped away. I didn’t want to cry in front of her. I didn’t want to cry at all. “I don’t want to do this”. “Just, turn it off?” Laird asked, suggested maybe.

That’s how I’ve spent my days since Mom called Tuesday morning to say she was gone. I’ve been turning it off. Except when I can’t. Like in the morning before the kids get up, or when I’m driving, or watching them skate, or standing in my closet putting away laundry. Those times I can’t turn it off. At night, at night I really can’t it stop. The flood of words, the burning in my throat. It doesn’t feel so easy to make it stop in the dark, when it’s quiet, when my mind has nothing to stop it from going there.

I find myself fighting, searching for the words. I want to be able to describe her. To say who she is, who she was. I get stuck thinking I don’t know. She was something different to everyone. I realized this more than ever watching my Grandpa brush her hair and speak soothingly to her while she was in the hospital. She is the love of his life. They should have celebrated their sixtieth anniversary this year. After all that time he’d sit beside her and hold her hand while they talked. She was so much to so many people. I can’t know all of that.

What I do know is what I think of when I think of her. I think of her big, warm hugs, her laugh, she was always quick to laugh and she loved it. Her humor, we had to laugh with her, she made sure of that. I think of peanut butter snowballs, thumbprint cookies, her cherry cheese cake, the most amazing turkey dressing there has ever been. Her always perfectly done hair and her red lips. I remember her gardens, the huge one full of vegetables, and berries, huge raspberry bushes that she’d walk right into to get the best berries which I’d try my best not to eat carrying them into the house. All of her flower beds and all the plants lining her windows in the house. I can hear her calling my Grandpa, from downstairs, or in the garage, or outside, “Reg!” It was dinner time or I wanted him for something, or she wanted him to tell me a story or some detail she couldn’t remember. His mind is a steel trap. I remember her stubbornness, not so much because I saw it, but because I knew we shared it. I remember her hugs.

When the hospital would call and say it was time, we would all go. And even in those times sitting there with her you couldn’t get anything past her. A joke or a silly remark we thought she didn’t hear. Her quick wit was still there, and her laugh. Every time though she would prove them wrong. She’d turn it around, she wasn’t going quietly. I’m not sure she did anything quietly.

She was the biggest personality in the room, she loved to talk and laugh. She loved to be with the people she loved. And she loved us fiercely. I was never uncertain of that.

Tomorrow she is to be laid in her final resting place. I know she’s ready, she fought long and hard. The worst is for the rest of us. The ones saying goodbye. All I can do is remember, hang on to her voice in my mind. And most of all, her hugs, I will remember her big, warm, you-know-she-means-it hugs. I love her, and I miss her. But I am so thankful to have had her as my Grandma.

 

Eggs

16 Oct

A few years back, while I was pregnant with Logan, I thought a bit about how thankful I was that we were able to get pregnant. Then I thought about people who may not have it so easy. I thought about the people in my life that are in same-sex relationships, if they wanted to have families it would be harder. I pondered being a surrogate. I enjoyed being pregnant, I got wildly ill, but once that passed I loved the feeling of that life inside me. I loved having that ability, I still love it. I mulled over doing that for someone else.

When Logan was born, when I held him. When I watched him. When I felt him close to me and sensed his connection with me, the one he came from. I realized that a baby I carry is not one I could easily let go of. To feel them grow within me, and then to say goodbye, was too hard a thought to bear. Those women who can do it amaze me.

While we were trying to get pregnant the second time, it wasn’t easy. It took months. I hated my body. I was so mad at myself for not being able to do what was supposed to be natural, basic, my purpose. Looking back, reliving that anger, I thought again about helping someone else through something like that.

This past summer I started looking into what I could do, how I might contribute. I felt confident that carrying a baby for someone else was more than I could handle. It felt exciting and like something I could do in the beginning. I feared that once I was in it though I would want out. And that’s not something that seemed wise to take on feeling the way I do.

The other option is egg donation. I looked it up. What I came across was the common concern people seem to have. That women feel some connection to the offspring created from their egg. They share DNA, and for some that means family, in the emotional sense. For me, that means we share DNA, I share DNA with people I have never met. Some people go so far as to say to give your eggs to someone else is to give them your child. I don’t see that, I certainly don’t feel that. My children are the ones I’m raising, the ones I watch as they sleep, the ones I hold when they’re sad or sick, the ones I clean up after day after day. I don’t think their genetic make-up has anything to do with my love for them. If I believed that a genetic connection automatically meant an emotional connection I would have an even harder time rectifying my absent father.

I decided. I sought out a service that connected women wanting to donate or be surrogates with intended parents. I filled out the profile and submitted it. I got an e-mail saying my profile had been posted to this site. When I looked at other available donors on the list it seemed some had been registered there for some time, but were not currently in the process of donating eggs. I expected to wait indefinitely, perhaps never have my name picked. My profile was posted to the site on July 1st, on July 2nd I got an e-mail asking if I was willing to be a donor for a man who had selected my profile. My heart raced, I had already made the decision, I was ready but I really didn’t expect it so fast. Yes, I said yes. I wasn’t totally sure what it meant right away though.

When you look online for what it’s like to be a donor you come across varying accounts, I didn’t know the exact process. I didn’t want to assume that sites that told me it would be a certain way were correct. I wanted to know from the people I would be going through the process with. First step was a forty-some page package I needed to fill out before my screening appointment. Health history, intentions behind wanting to be a donor, genetic and family history. A lot of question, I had to call my Mom, and I had to call my Dad. The forms clearly said that if for any reason I would not be able to acquire the necessary information I should not pursue being an egg donor. The thought that my genetic father having left would affect my ability to help someone else was simply unacceptable, so I looked him up. I asked my questions and he answered them. It was quite civil, I could have been a telemarketer.

Next up an assessment by a psychologist, to make sure I was doing it for appropriate reasons. And that I wasn’t going to try to claim any children as my own in the future, I assume.

Then came the screening appointment, it was near the end of August. I still didn’t know if I was even acceptable as a donor. The tests involved blood work, internal and external ultrasounds and a physical. I had an IUS, something that would need to be removed if we were going to proceed. I had read a lot online about the removal, particularly in cases like mine where the strings that were meant to be used for removal had ‘migrated’. It was going to hurt, more than it had when I had it put in. I was scared, I wanted them to give me something so I wouldn’t feel it, the nurse brought me Advil, thanks. I told the doctor I was scared, he asked me what I do for a living. I’m a Mom. “Well, I couldn’t do that”, he said, “but this is what I do.” Okay, I laid back with my arms over my face, barely breathing and bracing for the pain. The nursed nudged me, it was over. Oh! Fear left me as I realized I hadn’t felt it. This doctor knows what he’s doing.

During the physical the doctor informed me that breastfeeding could not take place during this process, if I wanted to proceed I would need to wean Bella. I was a bit hesitant, she had been two for a couple of months. She was only nursing at night or if she wasn’t well. I knew it wouldn’t be fun to say no, it hurt my heart to make her cry. It was her special connection to her Mommy, only we shared those times. It took four days or so, she would go to bed with water in a sippy cup. We tried a bottle and she didn’t have a clue how to use it, I hadn’t thought about it. She had never used one before, it was a foreign concept for her. We got through it, I hope I haven’t done some unseen damage to her by stopping before she was ready. It was never my intention, I had defended her right to continue as long as she wanted. Then I waffled, I convinced myself it was for a good reason and that she had nursed longer than her brother and he is perfect. It still saddens me a bit, I could encourage her to start again but she has stopped asking so I’m going to let it lie.

The ultrasound showed a cyst, they’re not uncommon. The doctor told me he’d like to drain it, right away. I was terrified, it involved needles, and not in my arm. He said I could come back another time if I wasn’t prepared to do it that day. I knew if I left knowing I had to come back for it I wouldn’t sleep, I would go through every minute fearing what was to come. We did it, right away. Scott joined me in the procedure room, I watched on the ultra sound monitor as the mass slowly disappeared. I shook and cried in the recovery area. I didn’t know that was there, something was growing inside my body that i didn’t know about. That had become a substantial size and could have ruptured or twisted at any time. I could feel the empty space in my abdomen where it used to be. How had I not known it was there?

Over four hours later we were about ready to leave and the doctor informed me that he saw no reason why we couldn’t proceed. He sent me home with birth control pills to start in order to sync my cycle with the surrogates. We would start the IVF cycle in September assuming all the tests came back good.

I e-mailed the nurses. When would we know? The tests were good, we could move on.

I met with a lawyer, we had to discuss what I was committing to and what my responsibilities were. Also what the responsibilities of the intended father were. What would constitute a breach of our contract and what it would mean for us if either of us chose to back out. I wasn’t backing out, I wanted to do it. I was ready and excited.

The thought that in a few weeks I may have helped in the creation of an embryo  for someone who otherwise would not be having a child was exciting. It felt really good to think I could do that for someone.

Next up was my first appointment with the IVF medications, Scott drove me to the clinic in Toronto and the nurse showed me how to mix the medication, prep the needles and inject myself. I did the first two injections with her to ensure I was doing it right. I would do these two injections every morning for five days then come back to the clinic for a third. Four days after that I would do a final injection to prep the eggs for retrieval then they would put me to sleep and remove the eggs.

The first time I went to do the injections myself I was nervous. It was a Saturday morning, Scott was at work. The kids were eating breakfast. I had to do the injection at the same time every day. I had done it at the clinic at eight the day before, so there I was eight in the morning mixing the medication.

There were two needles, one in a pen, all I had to do was dial the dose then stick it in my tunny and depress the end until the full dose was in. Not too scary, and if I didn’t look I could barely feel the needle itself. The medication burned a little though. The second needle was a syringe. I had to mix the powder medication with a diluting solution then put the needle on the syringe and inject, again into the abdomen. This one was bigger. That Saturday morning I concluded I would prefer to get the worst one out of the way first, so I prepped the syringe. As I reached the end and the plunger was all the way down I got hot, and dizzy, and nauseous, and heavy. “Mommy has to lay down”, I mumbled as I slid to the floor. I was sweating and this black haze was surrounding my vision. I sat there, staring at the fridge trying to breathe and stay awake. This must be what people feel right before they faint. I can’t, the kids are here, there are needles on the counter, no one would know that I was unconscious. I stood up, I still had the second needle, the pen. I could handle that, no measuring required. Just get it over with then I can lay down. On day two Scott was home, I talked to him while the medicine went in. The other three days of those two needles I would call Scott in the morning and have him tell me a story while I injected myself. I needed the distraction, I also needed to know that if I did pass out he would know and be able to come home, or send help.

Side effects of my medication, most common ones anyway, headache, fatigue and irritability. Check, check and check. What I didn’t really expect was the feeling of my ovaries. As in I could feel them, I knew where they were. I asked the doctor, yes he said, the medication is causing your body to prepare multiple eggs, you normally only produce one per cycle. Your ovaries are swollen and will likely be heavy feeling. Cool.

It was a Tuesday. I was at home. My phone rang. The nurse asked if I was available to talk to the doctor. My breathing picked up, why is a doctor calling me at home, I had an appointment the next day, it seemed odd. They had told me when they drained the cyst that they could send away a sample for testing. I walked into a different room with the phone against my ear. Fear building in my stomach, the doctor came on the line. The tests that they had sent away that day had come back, unfortunately there was a problem. Breathing halted. The doctor has an accent and the first thing I heard clearly was “cystic” my mind went immediately to that cyst, the fact that it hadn’t been my first and what the tests may have revealed. I was wrong, it wasn’t anything to do with the cyst. They had found that I am a carrier for cystic fibrosis, he informed me that I should have my husband and children tested.

I didn’t understand what I had been told. I didn’t know what it meant, I’m a carrier. I should have my family tested. I went immediately into emotional denial and looked it up online. I learned pretty quickly that being a carrier means that I do not have cystic fibrosis but that I have half of the needed information to cause it. It’s hereditary and if Scott was the same kind of carrier that I was than there was a chance our kids could have the disease. I saw that 1 in 29 Caucasians are carriers, but that there is more than one variation of the mutation and that it takes two of the same kind to cause the condition in offspring. I could not find anything that told me at what age I would know for sure my kids were or were not affected.

The doctor hadn’t been able to get ahold of the intended father yet but we would proceed as planned for now until there was a decision from him. He may choose to proceed as usual and freeze the eggs until he was tested and ruled out that we may be the same kind of carrier, he may choose to pause until testing was done and possibly resume later or he may cancel all together.

I went to Toronto the next morning as planned. Had an ultrasound and sat down with a nurse to discuss the next medication and when I would be coming in next. She informed me they would need me in for one more day than I had planned, I was trying to figure out how I would work that out. The kids couldn’t come to this clinic and Scott had been driving me but he couldn’t take another day off work. The nurse went to talk to the doctor about it while I tried to figure it out, he came into the room while telling the nurse he would explain it to me. I was waiting for the you have to come here when we say and that’s all there is to it speech. That’s not what I got.

He sat down and sighed. They had talked to the intended father. He was weary of going forward knowing I was a carrier for CF. The doctor explained that at that point the plan was to give him a bit more time to decide, I would go home with my new medication and await instructions as to whether to proceed or not. I asked then if there was a way to know if my kids had cystic fibrosis, he asked me how old they are. “There are too many variables” he couldn’t say. I stood at the elevators waiting, fighting back the lump in my throat willing me to cry. Just get to the car, you can cry for the ride home.

My head was spinning, had all of this been for nothing? Were my kids sick? I read the night before that people with CF don’t usually live past 35. What if we wanted more kids? Would we take the risk again knowing that I’m a carrier? What if they decided to pause then start again, would I have to start the IVF all over again? It had been harder than I expected. As we reached the car I was trying to push the pain out of my head when my phone rang, it was a nurse from the clinic, “Where are you? Can you come back up?”

Back up the elevator and to the waiting room, the nurse called me after a bit, “The doctor will see you now.” He had just gotten off the phone with the intended father. They decided to stop for now, to wait for more tests. I had to go back down to the car and bring up the medications they had given me, there was no sense in holding onto them not knowing when, if at all, I would be using them again. Down the elevator again, don’t cry, just go home.

I got an e-mail later that night from the woman who runs the service that had connected me to the intended father. She was saying how upset she was with the way they were handling the situation, and said she didn’t think being a carrier for CF was a reason to terminate the process. What? A decision had been made? News to me. When I called her she wasn’t sure, it wasn’t until the next day when his lawyer informed my lawyer that I had been released from the contract, he didn’t want to proceed.

Ouch.

It hurt, more than I would have preferred. So much had happened. I was so excited. It was over. I was back in a place of being disappointed in my own body, how had I not known? Mad at the clinic for letting us proceed without having all the tests results back, it took four weeks for the genetic tests to come back but they had proceeded without them. I was also a bit confused, in some ways I was relieved. The IVF had made me feel not great, I had already decided it wasn’t something I would do again. And I had been nervous about being put to sleep for the retrieval, I’ve never been put under before. What if I didn’t wake up?

The woman who runs the service explained that it would be difficult to find intended parents willing to pair with me now that we knew I was a carrier. She asked if I was interested in being a surrogate. I closed my eyes. I thought about it, again.

No, I said no.

Sure I like being pregnant, and I would LOVE to be able to do that for someone else. But I wouldn’t be well, I wouldn’t be able to be there for my kids in the same way. I would have to have another c-section. I’d be out of commission for a while. There were more risks, risks I’m not willing to take when I have children of my own who need me. If I didn’t have kids, if they were grown up, I could probably do it. But not now. And I’m sorry, I wish I could.

Looking back the experience was not entirely negative. I met some very lovely people, I got rid of a big, scary cyst, and I learned about the CF trait that I carry. Something I would never have known otherwise. We are in the process of getting the kids to a genetic counsellor, it takes months.

If you’re interested in being a donor, I would recommend it. Being able to help someone like that is a wonderful feeling, I would guess, it was for me as I got close to it. Go here to learn more or start the process. You’ll meet Sally, and you’ll like her, I did. She answered all my questions and tolerated me excessive e-mailing, and was genuinely kind and helpful and every step.

 

 

Terry Fox According to Logan

16 Oct

This wasn’t my plan for today but Logan told me a story and it was just too long for a Facebook comment.

This is his first year of school. He’s learning new things every day that he goes. Some things, sayings and personality traits I don’t love. Other things, a true love of learning, a fascination with books and the library, and a brand new layer of little boy confidence, I love.

Recently, the Terry Fox run took place. Although he was not there for the run itself they did a walk around the school and learned a little bit about the fundraiser and Terry Fox. It is my assumption that from what knowledge the children gained they have talked about it amongst themselves. Logan informed me today of the story of Terry Fox, and how he’s going to come back to life.

According to my little monkey it goes like this,

“Terry Fox had cancer in his leg. So they took off his cancer leg and put on a pretend leg. But he died from the cancer. We raise money so the doctors can make medicine for Terry Fox. The doctors give him the medicine and make him chew it up and go into his tummy. Then the cancer goes away. When the cancer goes away they can take off the pretend leg and put his real leg back on ’cause the cancer is all gone. Then he comes back to life.”

I sat there, staring at him. What do I say to this. I tried to explain that the money we raise is for doctors to make medicine for cancer but that when someone dies they can’t come back. He is adamant that the medicine will bring Terry back.

A statement he likes to make these days is something along the lines of, “I’ll do/say it the way I want to.” As in it may be incorrect but he is going to continue to do it his way. Someone suggested this to him and it has been a struggle for me ever since. I prefer correctness. I prefer his confidence even more so I’ve walked a thin line for some time now.

A Long Time

16 Oct

It has been what feels like forever since I last wrote. It’s really only been a few months but in those few months I have realized just how much writing does for me. Back when I wrote more regularly I didn’t see it, since going months without writing though, I now know why I should keep up with it.
I went quite some time not having anything to say. And sometimes having something to say but feeling unsure as to whether or not I should say it. This right here is my ramblings, so no big expectations please. I’m using the iPad which is pretty irritating to write on. I prefer to feel the clicking of the keys under my fingers. The clicking keeps me going and I can type thoughtlessly for extended periods of time. On this screen keyboard thing however I just don’t have the same flow.
Lately I have been lying in bed thinking about things I might want to write about. It feels good. I feel motivated, which to be honest, I haven’t felt about much of anything in some time. I don’t know why, I have found myself in a rut.
I got stuck, I felt a bit trapped. Not like, “oh I’m so miserable in my life” trapped, just stuck in the same day to day routine and feeling like I can’t get out from under a pile. A pile of laundry to be specific, and other housework. I’m really not into cleaning. I should be, and when I am I love my clean house but the pile has just felt in surmountable. I’ll get on that, tomorrow, maybe.
This is a good place to start, I think. Maybe if I de-clutter my thoughts I’ll find it easier to de-clutter…umm…everything else. That probably makes sense.
The list of things I’ve been rolling around my mind recently. It’s not a huge list, it’s a smaller list but the things are bigger.
I’ve written before about my father. The one who contributed half of my DNA. About not knowing him, never having had an actual conversation with the man and what that might mean to me. I don’t totally know, I feel differently about it on a regular and changing basis. A choice I made in the last few months required that I speak to him. It was nerve wracking. When I called I shook and rambled and didn’t make any sense. So, I plan to soon attempt to make sense of that by writing it all down.
That “Big Plan” I wrote about before, I’d like to examine that all over again and see where I’m at. I don’t completely recall all that I wrote. It’s a problem I have, getting super hung up on something and feeling really passionate about it, then dropping it and moving on just as quickly. When I’m in the middle of whatever it is, it means a lot to me. Then I get distracted, or something, and my full steam ahead drive just sputters. Is it a character flaw that I move on so suddenly or does it mean that I simply know when to let go? Maybe both.
I often consider delving into my relationship with my mom. That makes me uneasy though. I don’t know exactly what direction to take or what it would mean for that relationship if I did. I’m still too afraid of it I think. Some would say that some things just aren’t for sharing. In most cases I’d likely disagree with this. I am an open book. Just try to shut me up, if someone is willing to listen I’ll share till there’s nothing left to say. I this case, however, I might just agree.
That choice I mentioned, the one that put me in the position of needing to call my father. That choice was to become an egg donor. I made the decision in the summer and when I did things moved very quickly. Much faster than I expected. I knew I would want to write about it. I also knew I would want to wait until the experience was over. To have the full perspective and to know decisively how I felt about the whole thing. It didn’t go the way I expected. I need to get that out of my head, to share the journey.
And finally something else that choice to become a donor brought me. News that scared the crap out of me at first, because I didn’t know what it meant, and because all that it means is yet to be seen.
I feel sorry that I haven’t written. I’m not sure to whom. Perhaps myself. Airing my thoughts out on this platform is truly cathartic. The thought of sharing personal details is quite appalling to some, I can see why. It could be scary, and maybe the fact that I want to share with the world my thoughts says something about me. Something negative, on some level do I think my thoughts are so significant that friends, family, and strangers should read them? Probably not. Right now I’d say that I over share out of purely selfish intentions. I enjoy getting it all out of my head, and sometimes telling someone just isn’t the same as getting it all organized and out down on paper. Well, on monitor.

Social [network] Experiment

18 Jan

Sunday morning. It was not my day. The kids were sick and less than impressed, and things just weren’t going the way I wanted them to. On my way to the shower I quickly hopped on Facebook. I had an update, a comment on something I posted on my wall. I responded, and my snotty mood seared through my fingers into my comment . Oops. Probably should have thought about what I was truly pissed off about and paused before replying there. Too late. It took me a bit to realize that my retort was both unnecessary and rude. That’s it! I know what I’ll do. Still peeved, now more at myself than my initial problem I deleted the Facebook app from my phone, and the iPad. I removed the quick link thingy from my google chrome home page. How badly do I really need Facebook? I am going to find out.
I am about two and a half days in. I intend to look at it again on Sunday sometime after lunch. A week. That seems like enough time to break the habit, to see if I’m addicted. Pretty sure I am.
The thought of deleting my account all together crossed my mind, but it felt brash. I use it as a storage utility to some extent. There are pictures on there that I am not totally sure of the location of otherwise. I know I have thought in the past, “I’m never going to delete this account so I know my pictures are safe here even if my computer crashes”. My addiction to the site tugged at me, do you really want to start again? Will a new account ever be the same as this one? No. Will you actually go through the process of finding all the pictures, sites, likes that you did before to compile them back in one place? Nope. So, it’s staying intact I’m just pretending it’s not there for a while.
I have read those comments about the evils of Facebook and social networking sites in the past. How they diminish real relationships. How people spend less time talking to one another in person, or on the phone then they would otherwise. How they instill a false sense of connection to community. All that scary business of how bad bullying gets in the younger crowd. The inappropriate pictures kids post of themselves. The boldness some people feel while sitting behind their screen that can sometimes remove otherwise appropriate inhibitions. Like my snotty comment. Would I have said that in person? No sir-ee.
Of course there’s a pile of positives. Keeping up to date in one convenient place. Finding groups and pages where that bring together people of similar views and beliefs together. Easily organizing events and keeping track of guests. Sharing everything from pictures to movie likes with the world, or just your friends. I feel like I’m reaching a bit to find exactly what is so great about it. I look at it so many times a day you would think there would be a super great reason. I know a lot of my reason is because I spend so much time at home, with my kids. It keeps me feeling less alone. That feeling it provides is a false one though. And it’s stopping me from actually seeking out the connection that really matters.
All this makes me think I should just delete it all together. The inner pack rat can’t let go. So my goal is to find some balance. To check less often. To be less invested. I want to share with friends and family. I enjoy finding articles and posts that intrigue and inform me. I like knowing that if I ‘like’ or ‘share’ something that strikes me it will be forever stored on my timeline so I will be able to find it later to reference it, or finish reading it, since sitting down to read anything more than a blurb usually results in my kids special mommy is preoccupied radar peaking.
Many self help sites will tell you that it takes at least 21 days to break a habit or retrain your brain to kill an addiction. It may be the addiction speaking, but that seems a bit long. I don’t have an addictive personality usually. If I decide to quit something I usually can pretty quickly and easily. So one week. I will not go to Facebook.com. I will not download or re-install the apps onto my other devices. I will suppress my what if someone is trying to reach me through Facebook feeling, because that’s dumb. If something is truly important people are not going to use Facebook to reach me.
On a side note I have this order in which I think the importance of what you are trying to communicate dictates the method you use should go. The ‘hey what’s new?’ is for a fb wall. A slightly more personal but not needing to be read urgently message belongs in the fb inbox. The communication that needs a more timely response is for texting. The still wanting a timely response but lengthier thought belongs in email. And of course the need to convey right away one belongs to the voice call. Obviously these are not the only ways I use these things, and not the only way I expect others to use them. I don’t post personal or intimate notes on peoples walls. I don’t send emails with nothing but hey what’s new in them, unless the person doesn’t have Facebook. I do however make phone calls for any and all reasons. I think this is becoming less common though, for me, for the people I know. I go to call a friend and sometimes stop and wonder if I should just message them in one way or another. Do I need to bother them right now? Of course if I think about it flipped around I am always happy to hear from my friends. It’s never a bother to know that someone was thinking of me or wanting to talk to me. If I am busy it’s not hard to say that and call them back later. That concept seems obvious. Before texting, Facebook and routine emailing that was what we did. We are not so futuristic and ‘modern’ that using a telephone is passé, are we? I mean, I know when you look at your phone your like so how do I make calls with this thing anyway? I know when I first got mine I was like where’s the dial pad? How do I access my contacts? They no longer serve a single purpose, which is lovely, but I kinda miss the joy of chatting away on the phone. Of playing with the cord or bouncing down the hallway because we got out first cordless phone. Sitting beside the phone full of anticipation hoping that boy I gave my number to would call. Snarling at my little brother for trying to listen in. Maybe even hanging up in a hurry because I was so excited and nervous that someone I liked answered the phone. Memorizing phone numbers. Seriously, I have to think about it before I dial Scott’s number on some else’s phone. That’s bad.
Just in case you were wondering WordPress is supposed to publish my posts to Facebook automatically for me. If for some reason that doesn’t work I won’t know so I may not post this until I return to the world of fb on Sunday the 22nd sometime after lunch.
Ciao for now!

I Don`t Know What Is

12 May

It is overwhelming and in my opinion a touch unfair how many books, shows, magazines, websites and who knows what else out there telling us how to parent our children. And the people? It seems everyone person I come across can tell me what I am doing wrong. What I am doing right almost never comes up. Granted, some advice is obviously needed. And there has been many occasions where I have gone looking for help on websites, in books and in my monthly subscription to Today`s Parent. When I was feeling uncertain about what to do regarding feeding schedules, when to expect teeth to break through, basically things that are more medical and often related to milestones.

So what is all this `help`accomplishing? Well, in my experience it has thrown so much guilt and shame at me I wanted to curl up in a corner. Parenting is tough, and scary. And the aim of all of the advice is supposed to be to make this a bit easier. But it is simply too much. Have you read Today`s Parent? There are contradicting articles in the same issue. They are displaying different opinions and options but to a parent who is just trying to find the `right`answer it is confusing and frustrating. So here is the big secret that I have learned so far and I want everyone to know and I would love to scream up from some elevated position. You have to do what is best for you and your family! There are a million ways to approach the many situations you will come across in your journey as a parent, people will try to tell you the `right`way. But what it comes down to is what is going to work out best for your family. There have been a few situations so far in my parenting life where I made an against the common thread decision and got a considerable amount of negative feedback from people in my life and read that I was doing the wrong thing in those books and magazines. It still upsets me, and I have spent so much time defending my position that any time these things come up I get my back up and go immediately into defensive and often argumentative mode.

The first came before I even gave birth and my almost due over sized pregnant self was quick to anger and not impressed when no one in my life wanted to agree with me.

The following, and everything I write, is obviously my opinion. And as such is not intended to tell anyone how to do anything. I do not really care and certainly do not judge the choices anyone else makes. What I say is in regards to the choices I have made and nothing more. See above advice if you don`t believe me. You have to do what is best for you and your family!

So, this first situation. It might be slightly awkward to discuss and it doesn`t come up much in mainstream conversation. But that`s silly it`s a real decision that people are faced with. Circumcision. There I said it. In both of my pregnancies to did not choose to discover what the sex of my baby was. I didn`t care. And so the the topic of circumcision was not a decision that was always on my mind. In fact I had not even considered it. It seemed to me that everyone I knew was circumcised and I was under the impression that it is just something you do. A part of having a boy was having that procedure done. So Scott and I have have said to each other yeah if we have a boy we will have it done, and that would have been the extent of the talking on the matter. Until one of my appointments with Dr. Bos. I don’t even know how or why it came up but he asked me, “If you have a boy will you have him circumcised?“ Yeah, with a bit of a shrug, as in isn`t that obvious? was my response. Why? His next question. I suddenly felt stupid because I didn`t have a real answer. Well, doesn`t everyone? I thought it was just something you did. Would you have a girl circumcised? NO! Of course not that`s horrific (my opinion). Then why do it to a boy? Unless I had religious reasons Dr. Bos informed me, there was no medical reason to have the procedure done. He then informed me of the risk, like with any procedure, of infection or error. And did I know that it was a procedure you have to make an appointment for at a later date? They no longer do it while you`re still in the hospital after the baby is born. And you have to pay. A few hundred dollars is what I have heard. The information I have gathered is that there is only one doctor locally who will perform this procedure and I have yet to hear good feedback from parents who have taken their boys to him. So now I had new information and I felt silly for making the assumption that I would just do that to my little boy. If as a grown man he really hated his foreskin he could opt to go through the (yes I know very painful, but it would be his choice) procedure to have it removed. If however, I had it chopped off for him and later in life he wished I hadn`t he`s S.O.L. I came home so Scott with this new choice, he was not impressed. It came up at family gatherings. Nobody was on my side. Everyone had a horror story of someone who knew someone who didn`t have it done and experienced complications requiring they have it done later on. And oh I did not know how much it would hurt my little boy if he had to have it done when he was older and more aware. HELLO people!!! It hurts when they are babies too. Have you seen those baby shaped molds they strap an infant into in order to perform the circumcision? Jeez. If you haven`t I invite you to find the episode of Penn & Teller`s Bullshit on this topic. When I heard the baby cry on that episode I almost threw up. And it wasn`t even my baby! I don`t know the kid. But I do have babies and the thought of them crying that way was physically painful for me. Despite the fighting and the disagreements we did not have it done. And I often come across someone who has had a bad experience having it done, or read a new article on why you shouldn`t I feel very relieved that I stood my ground and protected my little boy. From something I almost just did because everyone does.

If anyone is offended or put off I am sorry you feel that way. This is a place where I intend to express my thoughts and feelings. They are in no way meant to hurt anyones feelings I am just trying to be honest.

My second parenthood battle was brought up in a small way before Logan was born but was not a full out fight until I held him in my arms. At one of our prenatal classes we were learning about where baby should sleep. You know there is advice out there from every angle. The main opinion though is that baby’s crib should be in Mom and Dads room and baby should sleep there for at least the first six months. If for some reason Mom and Dad do not have a giant bedroom many experts suggest putting a mattress on the floor for Mom or Dad to sleep on in baby’s room so that baby can sleep in their crib but have a parent close at hand. Yes I think this is ridiculous. One mom to be in my class said there was no way she was going to have baby sleep in the same room because every little noise that baby made would keep her up all night, a monitor was all she needed. I was horrified but each to their own. My plan involved one of those side car style bassinets that attach to the parent bed and keep baby at the same level but in their own space, I was afraid of crushing him or her. Logan was born, and on our first night in the hospital he laid beside me on the bed. My fear of squishing my baby in my sleep had disappeared and the thought of him being anywhere other than at my side was not acceptable. By my side is where he stayed. A family bed, co-sleeping, whatever you want o call it Logan slept with us. He nursed until almost 18 months and when he woke in the night all I had to do was make sure there was easy access to boob. And we both barely even woke up. More sleep equals happier Mommy and baby. I heard though, oh boy did I hear it. It`s not normal. He is going to be a big baby. He needs to learn to be independent. He`s going to have to sleep on his own eventually. One little tidbit even implied that inappropriate feelings may occur since Logan and I are the opposite sex. Wow, did people ever hate that I had my baby in my bed with me. And after months of me bearing my teeth every time someone told me it was wrong they started asking, in what they thought was a nonchalant way, if he was still in our bed. I stopped talking about it. I didn`t bring it or anything that could imply that he was in our bed up. I felt ashamed. The way people had been treating me in this choice had caused me to pull back and not even try to deal with it anymore. Logan had croup around 17 months of age and was admitted to the hospital. They were going to put him in a crib so I had to request a full sized bed that I could sleep with him in. The nurse that took of us overnight was young and very sweet. She repeatedly brought me reports of all the other nurses who disapproved of me laying in bed with my son. She said she didn’t care but they were saying it was dangerous. It had been my experience that when he was sick I could respond much quicker if he needed me because I was right there and so especially while he was sick I would stay with him. The nurse came in at one point and said she had done some research and found that co-sleeping was only dangerous under certain circumstances. If the parent was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially tired or was a smoker. Some other things as well, but you get the idea. If a parent was going to be less responsive than it wasn’t safe. Obvious right? And yet people, even many nurses hear or read a portion of research which says it may not be safe and jump on anyone who sleeps with their kids without looking at the full picture. During my pregnancy with Bella my emotions intensified and this was when I was able to come to terms with it and be at peace with the choice I had made. All along I knew I was right, doing the right thing for my family and I finally fully felt that way. I had sought out and enjoyed some articles that supported my view. I loved one which talked about people in less developed countries who always had shared beds. It was a normal way of life, and those little boys were hunting wild boar at four years of age. And that article brought me to the conclusion that before we in developed countries were in these multi room houses that we also slept with our kids. It was normal even for us at one point but then it became cool to have several bedrooms in our homes and so we kicked our kids out of our warm beds and left them in the dark of their own. And you know what else I realized? That someday my child was not going to want to snuggle with me. Some day he would be too big and way too cool to lay down beside his Mom and fall asleep. So damn everyone else I was going to enjoy every moment that I could. When Bella was born and we spent our first night in the hospital she snuggled up on me nursing regularly. Around ten o’clock that night or night nurse came in and offered to take her from me. No thank you. “Well I’m not comfortable with you falling asleep while she is on you like that”. I really wanted to throw something at her or at least scream in her face but I had to deal with her ALL night so I smiled and said no I’m good thanks. Every 45 minutes she came back in and offered to take her, and every time I made Bella was at least laying on my boob if not actually nursing so that I could say she was feeding. Did I sleep that night? Hell no! I should have thought, that was the point of me being there, recovering from surgery and rest is a big part of that. Guess who my night nurse was on night two? Yup the same one. She even tried to tell me Bella shouldn’t have been nursing as much as she was. Actually we are supposed to have as much skin to skin contact as possible and she can nurse every second if she wants she is brand new you stupid b*tch. I’m still a touch angry at this woman. We survived, Bella now sleeps every night beside me, stretched out and taking up more bed than her little body should allow. And Logan like his own bed in his room these days. He often wakes around 3 AM (which is new for us, in our bed both kids sleep on average a solid ten hours at least) and Scott goes to see him and ends up spending the rest of the night in Logan’s room. We have found a sleeping arrangement that works well for us and we enjoy it. I hope that everyone is able to find something that works for them and they can stick with it without flack from anyone.

The last point I am going to touch on is not really a fight. Most people would actually agree with me on this one and the medical advice supports me as well. Breastfeeding. Logan did it until he was 18 months and would have longer but my milk dried up because of my pregnancy with Bella. It was tough and he and I cried together at night when he would try and try to nurse and get nothing from me. And now Bella nurses, not as enthusiastically as her brother but a very regular part of her day. I`m not going to go on and on like my other two points. You pretty much know why nursing is important and if you are a parent I am sure you have heard the `breast is best“quote that is thrown in your face constantly. And it`s not easy. I will never say it is. It is a battle full of pain and self doubt. Before I left the hospital I was bleeding, Logan spit up blood once and when I freaked the nurse reassured me that it was my blood coming out of his mouth and there was nothing to worry about, it happens. My irritation on this topic involves lots of nameless people who scowl and glare at me when I nurse my baby in public. Those can`t you go into the bathroom or something comments that send me flying off the handle. No, I cannot go into the bathroom or something, are you going into the bathroom to eat? Not even two months ago we were at the wellness center in the family change room after our weekly swim and Bella was nursing. We were sitting on a bench amongst the lockers and we were both fully clothed. There was barely any boob exposure. A little boy came up and asked me what she was doing. Eating was my answer. What is she eating? A fair question but before I could come up with an answer that might make sense to him his mother grabbed his wrist, glared at me and yanked him away. They need privacy she barked at him. Are you mother effing kidding me? Oh right I forgot nursing my child was basically porn and I was evil for doing it in public. Jeez people. Let`s be serious. Was she not just swimming with him? Did she make him close his eyes while she got changed so he wouldn`t see anything inappropriate? The kid might have been four. Re-freaking-diculous. He saw some side boob, oh my god call a therapist he is damaged for life!

Breathe…I have to remind myself. I get so annoyed sometimes….

So the point of all of this rambling is this. I don’t know what is a … a perfect parent. I don’t know what it is to do everything `right`.

When I became pregnant did I know what I was getting my self into? H-E double hockey stick NO! Did I know I was going to be a part of a two parent team who had to pin a 16 month old down and pry his eye lid open just to squeeze some gunk into it that was going to make it hurt even more than it already did? (damn you pink eye) No! There are some things about this whole having kids thing that SUCK! When I know that I have to put them through something unpleasant that is going to be good for them, and I have to hold them down as they cry it makes me sick to my stomach. But there is so much good stuff it doesn`t even matter. Am I perfect? Heck no! Have I made all the right choices? Not likely. Am I really good at being a parent? I think so. Why? Because I love it, and I love my kids. When Logan was new and I was crying in my doctors office because I was exhausted and overwhelmed he told me, “ All he needs is love and those dumb things (pointing at my boobs)“ and that made me feel better. It gets more complex than that as time goes on and they grow but the basics remain in place. Love your children and let your experience and knowledge of them and what works for your family guide you though all the tough decisions you have to make. You are going to make mistakes. That`s OK. Do what you can to come back from them. The fact that you worry about weather or not you are doing the right thing says to me that you are a good parent. If you are walking around thinking you have all the answers and you are infallible I fear what the future holds for you.

Nugget, Bean, Bum, Lella

7 May

She has quite a few names around here. My sweet little Bella. My darling, my peanut, my princess. The most perfect girl in my world. She’s sweet, cuddly, curious and quick. She knows what she’s not supposed to do so she watches you for a reaction while she does it. She is so much smarter than she can communicate yet. She tries very hard to talk and walking is already underfoot. She has taken every step on her developmental journey earlier then her brother and she has no intention of slowing down. She is determined and working on being more stubborn than her Momma. She is quite the little girl and I love her more than I ever knew I would.

There I was say two and a half years ago with a little baby boy crying myself to sleep at night at the thought of going back to work and having to leave him. I couldn’t do it! How could I ever leave him. Oh no, panicked and frantically trying to find a way to get out of having to go back to work. It was a scary time for me and it started when Logan was only a few weeks old. I got better with time and slowly adjusted to the thought. Work was much better than I expected, and before long I was enjoying my time at work. But I was always thinking about having another baby. Trying to get pregnant. My plan had been to be pregnant when I started back to work. Guess what? Getting pregnant is not always an easy endeavor. We started trying, I mean really trying in January of 2009 and didn’t get pregnant until the end of that August. How much did I hate my body? Why couldn’t I do it? This is what I am made for isn’t it? I’m young and healthy, I have my life together. I’m in a good relationship, we both have good jobs and a nice home. This is when I should be getting pregnant but my body would have nothing of it. It bred more than a little resentment between Scott and I. I was annoyed the majority of the time and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Good times. And for what? Well constantly feeling like crap and crawling from bed to the toilet to throw up in the morning for one. Sweet! I’m so glad I got myself into this I thought. But I couldn’t complain I had been wanting it for so long that I couldn’t utter a word of displeasure now that I was finally pregnant. Logan would come into the bathroom in the morning and pat my back while I was sick then pretend to vomit in the toilet himself. My little man, always there for me. I remember crying at work wanting to go home because I felt so horrible but not wanting to use up the sick day in case Logan got sick at some point and needed me off. It was pretty much awesome. I was lucky though, the sickness only lasted about four months and soon I was on to feeling huge but otherwise great. Honestly, even with the sick part, I love being pregnant. I love the clothes I can wear, lots of flowy tops and dresses and super comfy everything. I love the way people treat a pregnant woman. I felt warm and cuddly all the time and the anticipation of what was growing inside me made me super happy.

Logan had been born via c-section out of necessity. I had been in labour for something like 14 hours with almost no progress so they wheeled me into the OR. It was scary sure but I was so out of it after that super long day I don’t know that it really phased me as much as it could have. This previous c-section meant the doctor was not willing to induce my labour this time around. And he gave me a deadline, if I didn’t go into labour by May 25th on my own he was performing another one. I was pretty sure my body wasn’t going to do it on it’s own so a c-section would be my fate. I asked for an extra week but the doctor turned me down. We already know you have big babies he said, you don’t want to push it.

People always ask as you get closer to your due date if you are excited. Yes of course, very excited to meet this new little person. But also really anxious to get those first few weeks over with. I knew what a c-section meant. I would be useless and in pain, you don’t realize how much you use your core muscles until they get sliced in half and you can’t anymore. Every bend, twist and turn sends searing pain through your mid section. It doesn’t last long but it feels like forever while you’re in the middle of it.

OK all you Moms who delivered your babies naturally, with or without drugs. I understand that it was very painful and a difficult thing to go through but please don’t complain about it too much to c-section Moms OK. Specifically c-section moms who did not choose c-sections. I cannot express my sadness over the fact that I have not been able to deliver a baby myself, and will likely never be able to. I have learned to get over how much this upsets me when I remember that what matters is that my kids were born safely and are healthy, but every now and then there is a twinge of sadness.

In the weeks before the due date, once I was off work and had more time to sit with my thoughts a new panic set in. What did a new baby mean for my relationship with Logan? We’re close. We would hang out and go on dates. We went to the movies and out for lunch just the two of us. We went swimming together and snuggled up on the couch to watch movies. He’s my little man and I am crazy in love with him. Would I be able to love a new baby the same way? I wasn’t sure. Would my new love take away from my love for Logan? I was afraid. The night before the section I could not sleep, I cried, and paced, and took pictures of Logan as he slept. I didn’t want this I thought. Everything is so perfect with my little man why did I have to mess with it?

There was no one other than Scott I wanted with Logan while I was in surgery. The thought of worrying about him while I was utterly useless and strapped to a table scared the bejeezus out of me. And I didn’t want the day to be upsetting for him so being with his Daddy would maintain some normalcy. As we waited outside of the operating room I was scared. A little bit for the surgery, a lot for the putting in of the spinal but mostly for what might happen to my relationship with my son. I would look at him and cry and try not to let him see me cry. The nurses seemed concerned about me going into the surgery alone and offered to let both Scott and Logan into the OR with me. But I had built up my courage to do it alone and I didn’t like the idea of a toddler watching his Mommy undergo surgery. It would be fairly quick so the boys waited in the recovery area.

The spinal went in and I laid down. The warmth of the freezing went through me quickly and I was fine. My anesthesiologist was great and I chatted with her for most of the surgery. Then I felt a pull and a weight being lifted from somewhere in my numb middle area. “Looks like Logan” I heard, and I thought, oh I was right another boy. Which is what I was prepared for. I was pretty sure I couldn’t handle a girl. “Oh she’s peeing” was the next comment. Peeing? Wait a minute…SHE??? I was overtaken by a rush of emotion and I was sobbing instantly, I could not believe how happy I was to have a little girl. The pediatrician had her on the little examining table thing. I could see her and I kept reaching for her, she cried and all I wanted was to make her feel better. This big scary world was suddenly all around her and her Mommy was strapped to a table just feet away unable to get to her. But they soon gave her to me, untied my arms and laid her over my chest. It’s OK Bella, I’m here, I love you. And then away again to be held by her Daddy and meet her big brother while they closed me up.

The second time around and planned a c-section is a lot easier. Really the hard part is when the pain killers wear off.

I wasn’t sure at first. Would my love for her be as big as it was for Logan? Maybe it sounds bad but the fact was that I didn’t know her the way I knew Logan simply because she was new.

Now I am sure. Turns out you can love number two as much as number one and it stays strong for them both. My capacity to love doubled. And now when I look at her I well up with incredible love, joy, and amazement. She’s my little girl and I now love pink things. I want to shop for dresses and sweet little shoes. I am so excited for girly outings and just chatting with her about everything.

I am so fortunate. To have this beautiful little girl and a wonderful little man. People always tell us we have the million dollar family. I don’t really get it, unless you look at the fact that you spend twice as much with one of each. If you’re not interested in dressing your girl in her brothers hand me downs you’re pretty much starting from scratch as far as clothes are concerned.

She is perfect. My love nugget, my Bella bean, my baby bum, and as Logan says, Lella.

%d bloggers like this: