Monday, December 28, 2009
and because I had a tough time deciding:
"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"~
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I'm sharing a recipe that was shared with me by a dear Australian friend from college. I wanted to make it one Christmas and lacked the fruit that is usually used so modified it to reflect a more Holiday-ish taste. This has been a holiday standard in our house ever since and my oldest daughter who turns 13 today, even requested the more traditional fruit version as her birthday "cake". I only have pictures of the fruit version, but it will give you a good idea. Enjoy!
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp corn starch
-1 tsp white vinegar
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Beat eggs whites until soft peaks form. Continue to beat, adding sugar one tablespoon at a time - be sure to scrape sides and beat whites until sugar dissolves before adding the next tablespoon. Once all sugar is added and dissolved, sprinkle corn starch and vinegar over top of egg whites and fold in gently. Spray and flour a large baking sheet. Place a dinner plate upside down in flour and draw around the edge leaving a circular shape in the middle of the sheet. Spoon egg whites into the circle. Spread out to the circle line and smooth edges up - keeping the outside edge of the Pavlova slightly higher than the center. (You want a bit of a "well" in the center). Bake in oven for about an hour and a half. The Pavlova will take on a pale color. The outside will crack and be somewhat crispy, but the inside will be marshmallow-y. Turn off oven and leave in with oven door ajar until cool.
-1 quart heavy whipping cream
1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups crushed peppermint candies
1 bar chocolate for curls/grating
Beat cream until soft peaks form, add sugar (to taste - we like ours slightly less sweet) and continue to beat until the peaks are at the stiffness you prefer.
Spoon whipped cream into the center of the Pavlova. Sprinkle crushed peppermints over the top and garnish with grated chocolate or chocolate curls.
Delish! Also fabulous as shown in photo with fresh fruit. (Grated chocolate is a must with that too!)
*A little history on Pavlova: There is some hot debate over who exactly is responsible for it - Australia or New Zealand, but what is not contested is that it is named after the Russian Ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured both in the mid 20's. Essentially this is a large meringue with a lot of fresh whipped cream and fruit.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The first time I had a NICU baby, I had one child at home - almost 3 years old. The second time, two children - one 6 and the other 3.5 years. I was torn. Wanting to be at the hospital every waking second - needing to be there, and wanting to be there for my other children at home, needing to be there too. I felt like a huge failure on all counts - my body failed my babies, I was a failure as a mom, I was a failure as a wife because the house was a wreck and I was a wreck too - notwithstanding I wasn't in great physical shape either - 3 weeks bedrest, hemorrhaging, csection - doesn't put you at fighting status. Being a NICU parent is emotionally and physically exhausting - even when things are going "well". Even once home, preemie infants are high maintenance - not a week went by without a visit to the pediatrician. Not having a phone call in to their office every other day was unusual. I had to keep a journal and calendar of all the medications and issues just ONE baby was having. Things were difficult enough even with another parent thrown in the mix to help out. I wish that more people knew and understood that prematurity is a struggle. When my pregnant friends say they can't wait for delivery and they just wish they could have the baby now - even weeks or a month (and once 2 months!) early - I tell them "you can wait." These are not just "mini" babies, usually they are doing about as well as can be expected for their size and gestation, and much of the time all you can do is be hopeful that every day will be a little bit better than the one before; they require critical care and time.
Today my preemies are 12 and 9 and beautiful and healthy. I was always amazed and impressed by my daughter's resiliency and serenity in the NICU. She was tough - tougher than I was. My son was tough too - but he hated every second he was in the NICU and voiced his displeasure often and loudly. You would never know to look at them today that their beginnings were difficult and trying - that there was a time when I didn't know if I should dare to imagine this day at all.
For more information on Prematurity or to participate in Bloggers Unite for Prematurity - please follow this link. This month is Prematurity Awareness Month and today is the day to help fight.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
I was going to be the coolest mom ever
You would remember days spent at the park, the zoo, the library
I was never going to be too tired
If I had made half the outfits I planned on sewing you - there wouldn't have been enough days in the year to wear them all
You would always know how smart and amazing you are
There were going to be many days we made cookies together
I was never going to be impatient
I would listen twice as much as I talked
I was never going to be cross
There were always going to be crayons and playdough
There were going to be lots of games
Everything you drew would be a masterpiece and carefully preserved
I would never be too busy
Music and laughter would always fill the air
I would dry your tears, not be the cause of them
I would never forget how precious you are
I would never forget to thank God every day for you
I would never wish you would just grow up
You would never doubt how much I love you
I would have sung to you - every day.
~i~ Aiden - November 7th, 1995 ~i~
Sunday, November 1, 2009
The worst education which teaches self-denial, is better than the best which teaches everything else, and not that.
A diet is definitely a miserable education in self-denial . . . particularly the day after Halloween.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
"Just when life becomes a habit I barely notice, I meet you, of all people."
Have you ever felt like this? Life just the same old, same old and then someone happens along and things just aren't the same again?
Monday, October 5, 2009
So, today's quote:
Horace Walpole - "Life is a comedy for those who think... and a tragedy for those who feel."
I liked this, it touched me on a interesting level as I consider myself both a thinking and feeling person. I find that if I can laugh about a situation- whether the irony or just the ridiculousness of it all, then maybe it is not so bad that I can't survive it.
What are your thoughts? How do you cope with tragedy or life events? By thinking through them or feeling your way through them?
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
For my Carena whom I will not know in this life, but hopefully in the next, and remembering always with love, another little girl and her mother, with whom we share this bittersweet bond of little girl lost . . .
August 7, 1998
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The cherry to this sundae was the infection I started coming down with by Monday evening and now I am taking antibiotics for that.
Really anxious for things to recover more so I can see if this sinus surgery is going to make the difference I hope it will or not. For now though, I am taking as many afternoon naps as I can . . .
Sunday, June 7, 2009
(The peppermints are to help with the nasty taste of all those sprays running down the back of your throat - yuck!)
I found this to be quite useful in soothing some of the residual aches following sinus surgery:
This is my Super Hero mask. Wish I looked as cool as Batman in it!
This is what Vicodin induced creativity gets you:
I found the irony of making a rabbit pendant while in a drug induced haze for my daughter rather funny. (Anyone into Jefferson Starship??) Probably funnier than I would have without the Vicodin.
For those of you who are into gratuitous flower shots:
For more Show and Tell, just follow your way down the Rabbit Hole.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Angel Zach 6/95
Saturday, May 30, 2009
With more to come in hues of apricot and palest pink . . .
The sight that thrilled me most alongside the feast of Lilies - first rose . . .
The bushes need some organic mulch - too much rain lately, so there are some spots on the petals. I can hardly wait for more to bloom - this one's fragrance was quite heady even by itself and even not full out open.
All these blooms leave me to heave a contented sigh . . .
For more of what the class has brought, see here.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I just didn't want to have to remember.
I've actually gotten pretty good at the year after year anniversary dates and such - I have had the luxury of time, lots and lots of time. Some years go by, a specific date a little hiccup in an otherwise all right year. Then other years, the hiccup is a massive spasm - one that leaves you gasping for air and trying to hold yourself together. Eleven years is a long time - a long time to hold onto a hurt, and still hurt. But hurt it did - eleven years later, a wee little one, begun and not finished, and harder than I expected. A hurt profound and confusing enough in complexities that I can only begin to verbalize it now - more than a month after the fact.
Forty was just a number to me. I honestly didn't approach it with any more regard than I have previous birthdays. I'm only as old as I feel right? The problem is, some days, I feel old - so exhaustingly old. I've told myself I'm no wus when it comes to aging - but frankly, I've decided that some of it really sucks. Big time - and this year? I feel really really really old. Some of it is because it feels like the warranty has expired on my body. There's aching and creaking and stiffness and other things that just really weren't ever there before - and allergies! I grew up with cats and now I'm allergic?! I always pictured myself in my waning years crocheting with a cat playing with my yarn. Reading a book with a fuzzy, purring friend by my side. The novelty of discovering a grey hair has rapidly dissipated. These are hardly unique injustices. What did hit me harder than I anticipated, was facing my past - and facing that past feeling so gosh darn old. Facing those anniversary dates have become something entirely different now - facing those past losses without a uterus. (I know - you're all rolling your eyes - there she goes again!) I told myself it wouldn't matter - that it would not change the who I am. I was right, and yet I was also wrong. I am still the same person - rapidly greying, metabolism slogging along ever slower with each passing moment - but the same. What did change were the possibilities. Not probable, but possible - and now those possibilities have been slid over into the impossible column.
Pregnancy is all about possibilities. Loss is an end to them. Hope for the possibility of pregnancy without loss is what kept me going. Loss anniversaries without hope of possibilities - horse of a different color, and I find myself feeling cheated all over again. The other women I see around me with their beautiful new infants that once left me sad and wondering if it would ever be me again, now I KNOW it will not ever be me again. That what if became a what is. I spent years trying to train myself to deal in what is, to ignore the what ifs in each new pregnancy. That was what I had to do to survive. If I gave myself into all the what ifs, just trying to get out of the first trimester with my sanity intact would have been impossible. So day by day, hour by hour and sometimes even minute by minute - I focused on "what is" - right now I am pregnant. For this moment in time - it could change in an hour, it could change tomorrow or a week from now, but for now this is what is. And minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day I remained pregnant, or I did not. I tried to keep from crossing that bridge until I had to. I have become so well trained in the art of what is that it now has become a stumbling block. What is is that the possibility of pregnancy and live birth is impossible. Not just improbable, but completely and utterly impossible. That is what makes each loss date this year especially poignant. Facing those losses again knowing that the possibility is forever gone drives home the finality of it all. For that, I mourn anew. Not the fresh, raw and jagged ugly mourning I did in the days immediately following - but a grieving nonetheless.
I wrestled with how to deal with this on my blog. How do I speak of this? It seemed somewhat ridiculous, even to myself. Things I thought about writing about - I would ask, is this relevant? Am I wallowing? Do I still need to let go? Did I just think I was getting on with my life and I really wasn't? 'Cause you know, I'm kind of struggling right now. Should I be? Quit being a weenie! Then it occurred to me - an epiphany if you will, it is all relevant. The woman in the grocery store aisle trying to decide between the one ply or the two ply tissue is the woman she is because of, not in spite of, everything that brought her to this point: the losses, the joys, the good, the bad, the ugly and the utterly amazing. This woman struggling with what to write because she wonders if it is relevant or not - I am who I am because of who I have been. I've been the woman trying to conceive. I've been the woman trying to stay pregnant. I've been the woman scheduling the d&c. I've been the woman going home with the empty arms and the woman with the crib that is going to get used. I've been down and I've been up. I haven't stopped to tally whether the ups or the downs were greater, it really doesn't matter because I am still standing. Aches and pains come with fighting a battle and,
with living a life.
Yeah, I am starting to see a great deal more grey hair than I would like to. I don't have to like it and I can live with it or bring home that box of Clairol. Maybe I don't have a uterus anymore, but that doesn't mean I've suddenly stopped craving that feeling of the possibility of bringing new life to this world - and it would be a little strange if it did, I have to feel something about it, right? Eleven years and a month ago I lay on a table in an emergency room and was told I didn't have a viable pregnancy - and sometimes even now, that day hurts still. All of it, every bit is completely relevant. What it is, is what it is - what I get to do, is choose what I do with it.
Caelan, April 21st, 1998, you have been and always will be relevant.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
For this week's current Show & Tell:
First bloom . . .
First yummies from our garden . . .
I have some red leaf lettuce almost ready for harvest - that and the radishes will help make a yummy salad.
More Show and Tell
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I go from 0 to 60 in a year's time. On the 16th of this month in 2002, I had my seventh and final miscarriage. One year later in 2003, almost to the day, I am holding my newborn daughter in my arms and thinking she will be another last. Almost 10 months prior I stood in my bathroom, belly exposed - riddled with bruises from twice daily injections. I had just prepared another one and as I made ready to stick the needle in, I caught sight of myself in the mirror and I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to do it, I wanted to be done. I was weary. Weary of temperature charting, weary of injections, weary of blood draws and follicle scans, of progesterone supplementation and baby aspirin, weary of peeing on sticks and crying in disappointment or crying in fear, and of running to the bathroom and checking, always checking. I'd had 2 miscarriages already that year. One, a multiples pregnancy with intrauterine sacs and one growing in my right fallopian tube. I dealt with mild overstimming and cysts rupturing and then my tube rupturing. Then, another HSG, to get the all clear to try again. Trying again, more injections, more scans, more peeing on a stick and then low betas. Betas that don't quite double - almost, but not quite there. Finally, bleeding, and crashing betas and me crashing, falling to earth and landing hard. Trying yet again - one month, two months, three months of the same and then that 4th month after. I hit the wall. I cannot do this anymore. I have done this for years, a full decade of loss - loss of babies I had created and loss of my sense of humanity. What it meant to be normal - to lay with your husband and without knowing what cycle day you were on or even what a bbt was, creating something beautiful in the moment and perhaps hoping, but not really knowing, until later. I didn't want to know anymore - what ovary they came from and to within 36 hours. And I was tired of loss. So, win, lose or draw - that would be it. No looking back. And finally, finally - choosing to stop, I felt relief. Not sadness, relief. So that day, looking in the mirror I knew I was done - no more injections. There would be no more after that cycle, no matter how it turned out. And it seemed as though this was it - all there was and all there would be to the story. We doubled my dose, my labs were poor, my ovaries bare of follicles - slow to respond, ten days, then twelve and finally - one follicle, 19mm, mature and ready to go and on the wrong side. The side that was bound up in adhesions and endometriosis - out of position. Scrap the AI. Cry for two hours in the car on the way home. Then, get up the next morning and get on with the getting on with my life.
Only, even though I thought I knew the ending - it ended differently than I expected, and one year, almost to the exact day after my last lost baby - I found joy again.
I never take another injection or have a follicle scan again. And the story doesn't end there after all.
Happy Birthday Sweet Sadie Rose and Happy Angel Day my Easter Lily
April 15th, 2003 and April 16th, 2002
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
1 | Give us a few words you would have used to describe your body, your health or your sense of physical vitality before the experience of babyloss—and a few that you’d use to describe it now.
Before - optimistic, hopeful - felt strong and capable. After - old, worn-out, less confident in myself and my body
2 | What do you do to take care of yourself? Has this changed?
I try to remember myself - nurture what I have rather than bemoan what my body is not or no longer capable of. I have to remind myself sometimes to stop and take a break, a warm bath, some quiet meditation, read a book, listen to music.
3 | Give us one or two words to describe sex or physical intimacy before, and then after the loss of your baby.
Before - Because of the rpl and infertility, sex was a means to an end, a chore - another thing to do on the "Honey Do" list; After - initially after a loss, it was horrific - emotional, usually involved a lot of tears the first few times because of the sense of having to start all over again. Now later - ttc years are behind us, "hey - I can have sex for sex sake?!" It's getting better - not as sad as it use to be and less of a chore now that it is because I can if I want to and not because I'm ovulating or the doc told me to do so and it's what I have to do. I know that isn't "one or two words", sorry!
4 | Has loss and/or grief left a physical mark on you (a scar, a chronic condition, insomnia, a tattoo)?
Anxiety, lots of physical scars - I spoke about the physical ones in a previous post. There were the csections, the d&cs - any or all of which led to the break in my uterine lining that allowed the endometriosis to grow into the muscle and ultimately required the loss of my uterus. The adhesions that still cause pain - but dramatically less so now because of the hysterectomy. The anxiety is the biggest thing - it affects my abilty to sleep, to enjoy things, to not worry about all the things that COULD go really bad.
5 | Do you medicate or control your emotions with food, wine, altered states, prescriptions? Without judgement, what have you gravitated towards in an effort to heal, and how do you feel about it?
I wasn't a drinker, smoker or a pill taker before my losses, but I can see some of the motivating factors that might compel a person to get caught up in those addictions. When there is so much "badness" that you feel, you just need something that feels good. For me it ended up being Dt. Coke (pathetic addiction I know!) and also needing anti-depressants that I can't seem to get completely off of. I try, go for short periods of time where I seem to do okay without that daily pill and then, it builds and builds and I have to go back on again. There have been times I wish I could just "check out" - not in a suicidal sense, though there have been the occasional wishes to just go to sleep and never wake up over the years; but a checking out in the sense that I just don't have to be present or involved and I can just hibernate or isolate myself. I withdrew into myself a lot and sometimes still do - not answering the phone, avoiding social situations, etc.
6 | Was physical healing important for you in the first year after your loss? What did/does physical healing entail and how did/do you work towards it? If physicality hasn't been a priority for you, what do you do that makes you feel stronger or more able to cope?
Physically I recovered pretty quickly, comparatively speaking. Not having to cope with physical difficulties on top of the emotional ones did make it easier to focus my energies on the mental. For that I have always been grateful - having major physical issues heaped on top would have seriously compounded the recovery period. Having my body back to it's prior state did help me feel like I was closer to being able to achieve my goals of getting pregnant again and trying to stay that way.
7 | If you could change anything about your body and/or health, what would it be? What would it feel like to be either at peace with your body, or at peace with this babylost state?
Some of those coping mechanisms were eating my feelings. So, I wish I could have found a better, less fattening, way of dealing with things. If money were no option, sky's the limit, I'd have a tummy tuck, seriously. I'm okay with the actual scars. What I want is a flat belly - and not for vanity's sake. Combo of emotional eating, infrequent exercise and stomach muscles that are completely shot after all they've been through, and yeah, I can see where people might make the assumption. I've endured years of people checking out the gut and assuming I am pregnant and commenting on it. When it was during ttc and I wasn't pg, it was aggravating. When it was shortly after a loss - devastating. Now it is just really depressing and reminds me that this gut is not going to be for a good reason ever again.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
And . . . ta da! These are my white Bleeding Hearts - though it is a little ways off from blooming. If you click on the picture and look very carefully, you can see some tiny, tiny buds beginning. Also, I've noticed I have some Columbines coming up in the middle of it - they seem to have wandered. I'm going to have to wait until every one "grows up" a little more so I have an easier time differentiating between Bleeding Heart and Columbine. The rounder leaves are the Columbines and the pointier ones belong to the Bleeding Heart. I'm hoping they will cohabitate nicely until I can seperate them.
My Lilies are really growing good - pretty soon I'll be subjecting you to more endless gratuitous flower shots!
Dh and I headed to Lowe's today for some home improvement stuff and came home with an Azeala bush and a Lilac bush. Aren't you excited? But, no worries - I really only get super excited about the spring flowers. Once summer hits - I prefer to stay indoors with the A/C, so I'll be all "plantsed" out by then.
You know the drill.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Enjoy my first little blooms of spring!
For more Show & Tell - see here.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
~Richard von Weizsaecker~
Last night I dreamt I was pregnant.
I am finding no matter what point you come to in this life, there are just some things you never get over - or perhaps, some things are like a bad habit, one you just don't know how to or just can't break, a knee jerk reaction - one that comes before you even have time to think about it. Pushing up the glasses you haven't worn since you got contacts. Checking the calendar to see when your "monthly gift" should arrive - even though it hasn't for six months now and won't ever again. Finding out someone I know is pregnant and feeling it like a kick to the stomach. That sudden, sickening, lurch. Those old feelings come back so easily, haunting me. A little pink bundle in the store - and overwhelming pangs of what might have been, what could have been, what should have been, follow me all the way out the doors and to the car and back home.
And I am one of the fortunate ones. Me. I can't even tell you why. Because I know I am no better nor worse than anyone else. No less or more deserving. Things just worked out this way. And I feel guilty. Even now, my past is trying to rob me of my happiness. That which I worked for, bled for and cried for - even now, it wants to taint my joy. And I feel guilty.
A friend who chuckles when she "confesses" to being almost through the first trimester "I thought we were done. Guess someone had other ideas!" And me, trying vainly, still trying to fit in, to belong somewhere, says "I thought I was done years ago . . ." and another friend who says "That is what happens when you are fertile." And I laugh - I have to laugh and I choke on that laugh. She with the children spaced far enough apart that you wonder if there is a story to that, a reason - a painful secret perhaps? Because I know those backstories, and those reasons, and those painful secrets. She doesn't know I know. So I tell her. I tell her my first babies are fertility drug babies because I didn't work right, my body didn't do what it was suppose to do. I tell her that personal bit of "dirty laundry" that my ovaries didn't put out eggs without prodding them with injected drugs. That they didn't for 12 years and then, when they were supposed to stop working as efficiently, they suddenly got it figured out. I tell her this, but I don't tell her that there were more than four fertility drug babies. I don't tell her of my angels. And I feel guilty. I feel embarrassed. ashamed. Why? It is a hard thing to admit sometimes - a hard thing to say I am imperfect. I didn't work right. I got myself pregnant with babies I couldn't keep. Couldn't hold on to. I still think of them. I still mourn them. I still wonder about them. And I don't mention them because I have babies I did manage to hang onto, obviously, and I mustn't appear ungrateful. And I feel guilty. It seems unbelievable at times. Amazing. And I lived it, I was there, and sometimes even I wonder. What was I thinking? Was any of that real? Were they real?
For those few weeks, a mere matter of months, they were mine.
I may not know what they looked like - whose nose they had, what color their eyes were or if they would have let me sleep through the night or not; but I remember how they made me feel. I remember how it felt to know they were there. For that, I would never change one thing.
And I feel guilty.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I think these are my Asiatic Lilies. They are kind of like a Stargazer Lily - but they are this amazing reddish-orange hue and have proven quite hardy and prolific over the years.
This little bit of green made me exceptionally happy when I saw it. I put in 4 Hydrangea Bushes last year. Two suffered an early demise following a run in with my three year old, a tricycle and our driveway. The other two lingered a bit longer, but didn't seem to do so well and I had doubts that I would see them again. Today I saw this and was absolutely thrilled - at least one bush survived! I can't wait to see which color this one turns out to be - the blooms also will take on different hues depending on the alkalinity/acidity of the soil.
The squirrels always seem to eat all my crocus bulbs and I always mourn the loss of those little colorful blooms. I was pleased to see they left these little purple guys. I can't for the life of me remember what they are - I just know they aren't crocuses. Maybe Hyacinth?
From the time I began having miscarriages - I have always had these in my garden. They are Bleeding Hearts - I have white and pinky red ones and they are the most unique flowers. They come back year after year with the bushes becoming larger and larger each year. I put these in when we moved here and they are starting to get quite bushy now after 6 years. I will have to take some pictures once they start blooming.
One of my rose bushes. This one has the most beautiful white blooms - they have the barest blush of pink to them. I lost one of my rose bushes last year to a brutal late frost - it use to produce HUGE hot pink blooms and the smell was unearthly! The previous owners put in Hostas and they get enormous and are often fighting my Roses for occupancy. I'm going to try relocating some of the Hostas this year once they start coming in.
All my neighbors have scads of daffodils and I only seem to have stragglers. One here, one there, another one over there - but plenty of green leaves which would imply there should be more than one. I think I have some other spring lovers in residence that have been so excited by these first blooms, that they just couldn't help themselves from carrying them off . . .
No sign of the Calla Lilies I put in last year - though they like things a little hotter. There is a little chipmunk who made a little nest in that particular flower bed and I think he may have made himself a winter's snack out of my bulbs. This is one of the entrances to his lair. (He has two.) Be sure to stay tuned for further updates to the Chipmunk Calla Catastrophe.
Lastly, I so wanted to get a shot of the Blue Jay I saw today - but he flew off before I could. He was big and gorgeous - the main blue of his feathers and the darker blue band absolutely breathtaking. He was definitely a beauty. Hopefully I will be able to catch a picture of one and maybe a Cardinal or two before too long to share with you.
Now tiptoe through the tulips and go see what the other kids have brought.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Sometimes I think they removed my creativity along with my uterus. (Either that or my muse. Perhaps there is a great deal more tied up in that particular organ than I previously surmised . . . hmmmm.) Trying to write, and write like I remember being able to, is not coming as easily as it once did.
Anyway - no more pain, or rather significantly less pain, is definitely good. No more hemorrhaging monthly, anemia or extreme pms - even better.
So, I'm glad I had it done. For me it was the right thing to do at the right time. Yes, there are moments now and then (like yesterday - those baby showers can still trip me up a bit), for the most part however, it's okay. I'm okay.
And that's the best I can come up with on a literary front - I'm okay. No Pulitzer contention there I tell you.
(Like I said - creation, creativity, it does make you wonder . . .)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I grew up in a very historical town - rich with architectural interest and plenty of mountains. So for me, it is fun to see many of these similar elements in whatever places I find myself since leaving home.
This one above and the one below are two of my favorites.
I thought this one was quite interesting. The building itself was rather ugly and plain for the most part, but up top on the roof it had something akin to brick pedestals with these urn-type things on them.
When I was trying to take this last shot - a man also waiting for the parade to start asked me what I was taking pictures of. He said I looked like I must have found something interesting and was wondering what it was. I told him I was just taking shots of some of the architecture around. Later during the parade I found out he was a photographer for our local paper. I guess he must have been hoping I had found something newsworthy! Nope, just windows and cornices.
Now, go look and see what the other kids have brought to Circle Time.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I typically joke when my husband is heading off on a business trip that I am always sick or will get sick and some disaster will ensue. Two Christmases ago it was the car accident that totaled our van and broke my foot. Many years ago, just over 12 - it was ending up in the hospital with a complete placenta previa that was abrupting while my spouse was in Texas. Another trip of his to Texas was when I had the worst asthma attack of my adult years, a 2 year old with RSV and a doctor who only agreed not to hospitalize me provided I found an adult to take care of me and I got my O2 sats above 90 before he sent me home. The month before our youngest was born it was an ice storm that knocked our power out for 36 hours. (Spent the day Matt left at Walmart with 5 kids and at 35 weeks pregnant because they had lights and heat.) Early last year there was the morning he kissed me goodbye before another such trip and said "Bye, love you and oh, the heater isn't coming on . . ." That year the switch telling the furnace the cover was closed was broken - open door, no work. Just this past summer it was the starter motor on my van dying. This weekend with 4.5 inches of icy snowfall, everyone sick to varying degrees and Matt gearing up for a business trip to Kentucky, we discover the heater doesn't seem to be working. The fan just runs and runs and the heat never comes on. I figure, of course, I'm sick, the kids are sick, the furnace isn't working and it must be time for Matt to leave on a business trip again. (He always misses the drama!) He tried replacing the thermostat yesterday morning before he left (the temperature inside the house had dropped to 54 degrees by morning) to no avail. I drove him to the car rental place after dropping the kids off at school. My head was splitting, I somewhat questioned my ability to drive, feeling weak and teary and just wanted to go home to my mommy. Trent had dragged himself off to Seminary Monday morning despite have a miserable weekend as well. He complained of a headache and just seemed to want to sleep non-stop. We all made it to church on Sunday, but he left in the middle of Sacrament meeting and didn't return. We found him in the Seminary room asleep on the floor. After returning home from church, he headed straight to bed. Matt complained he felt even worse than he had during the week and I took a 4 hour nap trying to find relief from my pounding head, queasiness and various aches.
So yesterday, after dropping Matt off at the car rental place and a brief foray to Walmart to procure more cold and flu medications and refill my asthma inhaler, I make the call for a repair man. He shows up and finds the problem with the fan right away - a bad switch. He also discovers our flue pipe is leaking. Yes, leaking, as in Carbon Monoxide leaking. "Did you say y'all have been sick lately?" he asks me. He is able to repair both problems quickly - neither of which is relative to the other. Without the bad switch, the heater would still have come on and we would not have had reason to call a repair man. If replacing the thermostat had solved our problem initially, again, no call to the repair man. No call to the repair man = ? We would not have known about the CO leak. I would have continued to chalk up how awful we all felt to being sick. Everyone is sick right now - our friends, the kids say that half their friends are missing from school. This is cold and flu season. Never in a million years would I have ever entertained the notion this was Carbon Monoxide poisoning - low level to be sure, but still, in addition to being legitimately sick. I also have carbon monoxide alarms on each floor of our home. According to what the repair man told me and also doing some research of my own, these alarms are not particularly reliable. I went out and purchased an alarm that shows the level of CO present in ppm. Even if the alarm doesn't sound, I will at least have a continuous reading of the CO level in our home. Matt called me from the road and said he was feeling a lot better - then I told him about the heater. In true unphased Matt style he said "Oh, it was good you got it fixed then." Also according to my research, it is not uncommon for people experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning to feel better when away from the source of CO. Matt is at work during the week, he felt worse at home on the weekend. I was very interested and concerned to see what condition Trent would be in on his return home from school. His room is right off the closet where the furnace and water heater sit - you access the closet through his bedroom. He came home from school a completely different kid. He was bright eyed and clear - looking and sounding 100% better. I asked him how he felt and he said he felt much improved. By evening, I too noticed that what I had attributed to cold and flu symptoms were much alleviated as well. Wow, just, wow.
The reason I am sharing all this with you is because also in my research I found this article that states accidental carbon monoxide poisoning kills approximately 500 people each year. Most at risk from dying from even low level poisoning are small children, the infirmed and elderly. Poisoning is not restricted to malfunctioning heaters during the winter time; one student died and several others were sickened due to a malfunctioning gas water heater at a Roanake College during the summer. The recent ice storms in Kentucky lead to the deaths of people who had to find other heat sources when they lost their power. Improper ventilation swiftly led to toxic CO levels. In the town where I grew up, this past December, a 22 year old mother died from CO poisoning which also seriously sickened her husband and 2 year old son. They had believed as I had so readily, that they simply had a case of flu. By the time they realized this was more serious than just a case of flu, it was too late.
This article outlines ways you can help prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning. I would add to this list regularly checking your gas appliances to ensure proper function/ventilation as well as installing carbon monoxide detectors that show you the level of CO present. Units can be found reasonably priced and fairly easily where you would also find smoke detectors and fire alarms sold. Our local Walmart had one for less than $30. My only complaint is that it is only battery powered and I would have preferred one that plugged into an electrical outlet with battery back up. A biochemist friend of mine says increasing your iron intake and even exercise if you suspect low level poisoning can help facilitate a quick recovery - anything that increases the oxygen levels in your body. Adding the cost of the CO monitor to the $90 charge for the repair man, I spent less than $120. The cost could have been so much more..
Saturday, February 14, 2009
1. What would be your perfect day.
Any day where I feel well rested and have full mental acuity! Seriously though - it is hard to say which would be "more" perfect for me - being at home, and by that I mean home where I grew up with family; or a day spent at the beach in Maine with family, which is where many of my happiest childhood memories center around.
Initially it was pretty basic, we told our oldest nothing. I figured he was too little to really understand what was going on, and since I hadn't even told him I had been pregnant, how or why would I tell him I was now un-pregnant? While I was correct in assuming it wouldn't be something he would understand to grieve at the time - he was grieving in his own way - grieving a loss of his own, albeit a different one from that of mine. He noticed his parents grieving and this became quite unsettling to him. My son was just a year old when I had my first miscarriage and still not quite 2 by the time I had the third. He is a very sensitive soul though and my grief, tears, anger, frustration were not unnoticed by him. This led us to realize that we needed to address the losses in some way for him/any future living children. My son and daughter were going on 4 and 2 respectively when I had my next set of miscarriages. This is when we opened that dialog. Mostly we kept it simple. From our experience before, we knew they would notice our grief and wanted to make sure they understood that our grief had nothing to do with them, they didn't make us sad and that they were safe and loved and still wanted by us. We told them that I had a baby that had started growing in my tummy, just like they had: but unlike them, that baby couldn't grow big enough to live outside my body and the baby died. We have always been very careful of the words we chose , because we didn't want to say the baby was sleeping or lost, as kids tend to think rather literally. We also had to tell them that I had to go to the doctor (for my d&c's) and that I would be sore afterward and we would need to be gentle while I healed physically.
About this time I put together a charm necklace with charms for each of my babies - born and lost and they have always known which charms were theirs and that the other charms belonged to the babies I had lost. Beyond that, specifics were pretty sparse. I also hadn't named any of those babies yet. Things changed after the 5th loss however, when the children were 5 and 3. I had lost my 5th baby the summer before and had just been referred to a specialist in St. Louis. In preparation for that appointment, I had my medical records which I was going to hand deliver. I was going through them and came across the pathology report for the 5th baby and discovered the baby had been a girl. This was not information our doctor at the time had shared with us. Following this revelation, I felt my grief returning anew. Now I wasn't just mourning a lost baby, I was mourning a girl, my daughter. My oldest son came across me a few days later fingering my charm necklace, and without knowing what I knew or even knowing which one of the 5 lost baby charms belonged to which lost baby, pointed to the specific charm for my last little one and said, "I know that baby, she's a girl - her name is Carena. I played with her before I was born." Then he turned and left, leaving me completely dumbfounded. We knew no one with the name Carena. Not of his little friends at school or church, no relatives, no cartoon characters - no one - with that name. This wasn't even a name we had ever entertained as a potential moniker for any of our children. Where he came up with this name, I could never figure out in any easily explainable manner - nor could I explain how out of the 5, he knew exactly which one was hers. This moment though, became the catalyst for a different level of mourning and healing. The kids - at least the older two do, know that the babies I lost have names now - but we talk about them infrequently . For awhile, my oldest daughter use to tell everyone she saw that she was "the 5th child and we had a bunch of babies that didn't grow and got dieded(sic)" These experiences showed us that they not only remembered, but also thought about them. I didn't realize how much until I became pregnant after the 5th miscarriage. I was horribly sick and ended up being hospitalized at one point. We told the kids that I was pregnant and that was why I was so sick and also why I needed to rest a great deal because things were pretty rocky. After finding out that I was pregnant, our son who was almost 6, started asking me every morning if the baby had grown during the night. He kept bringing me food all the time too - even though I never asked him to or expressed any hunger. I soon realized it was because he was concerned for the welfare of the baby and had remembered what we had told him about the babies we lost not being able to grow big enough to live outside my body. He was going to feed that baby as best as he could figure how to make sure it grew.
The younger children really don't know much about my miscarriages. My last one was the year before our youngest daughter was born. The two pregnancies following her birth resulted in live births - so the topic didn't come up. They are also still fairly young. They all do know however, that I have special Christmas ornaments that I hang on the tree every year and that those ornaments are for our babies who are not here with us. I really haven't worn my charm necklace in years. With all the charms on it, the thing was getting really heavy to wear. For a Show and Tell a while back, I showed the mother's bracelet I made as a replacement, and those little babies are a part of that as are my living children.
So, a long way of saying that our living children do know they were not my only babies - but also that the information that we did give was fairly simplistic and pertinent. We never made a big dramatic ordeal of the losses for them, but didn't keep them a secret either. We just made sure they knew enough not to be afraid when they saw our tears, that it was okay to be sad, or angry and to ask questions. With my losses all being so early, this just seemed the best way to handle something that would be rather oblique for them.
Well, I told you last week I flashed the high school varsity football team! Though, that really wasn't intentional. An intentionally crazy thing then? This may fall more under the heading of "dumb stuff I did because of a guy". I saved all my waitress tip money the summer after I graduated so I could take a trip to Utah to see the guy I took to my senior prom. He was a senior Air Force Academy cadet and I fancied myself madly in love with him. My big beastie of a car was not working and so I talked a friend of mine into letting me drive his car to Utah. All so I could go see this guy. By the end of the trip I had been through two cars (one broke down and the other I managed to wreck), my self-esteemed completely decimated when it became clear the object of my affection did not feel the same way and then had to find a way home back to Colorado - since I now had no vehicle and limited money. I wrote said former object of my affection a long-winded, rambly letter including lyrics to a show tune (something like 3 pages worth!) before I left and then found another potential boyfriend on the way home. Call it the Scarlett O'Hara effect - but I landed on my feet. Though I did spend 4 months writing weepy, depressing, overly dramatic entries into my journal. Maybe not so crazy - but I look back at that trip and can't believe I took on such an adventure at that age and didn't think it was totally nuts to do it. At the time - it really was the biggest thing I planned to undertake.
Oh it makes me absolutely crazy! I really don't understand people who are not LDS telling me - who is and have been all my life - what I believe. Does this make any sense? I know what I believe. I know what I practice. Do they think I am going to say "I didn't know that!"? I also think I would notice if we had any extra wives living around our house. They tell us we're not Christian - and this is despite the fact each one of our church buildings prominantly says "The Church of Jesus Christ". Absence of a cross does not mean absence of belief. There are the stereotypes - I have a large family because I am Mormon. Yet, I know more families - some I am related to, that have half and even a third of the children I do and they consider themselves contentedly "done". Family planning is a big deal in the church. Most of us follow the counsel given us by our leaders - have the children you can care for physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. The amount that turns out to be varies from person to person. Truly aggravating is seeing these misperceptions and stereotypes in the media. The most hurtful is when people who know me beyond a first impression, find out my religion, and all those stereotypes and media errors instantly color their perception of me and who I am as a person. All of sudden I am a completely different person to them, and I haven't changed at all! Ask me, ask me! Ask me before you believe everything you see on tv or read in the paper or heard from a friend of a friend who was related to a guy who knew somebody who lived next to someone they thought was a Mormon in Utah! In Jr. High I lost a friend who decided she couldn't like me anymore when she found out I was LDS. That was her only reason why she couldn't like me.
I have actually been discussing this quite a bit the last couple weeks with people following the recent birth of the octuplets in California. The most important job is to love my children. Unconditionally love them. To truly love them means their needs are more important than mine. That this love is not just lip service. That I teach them the things they need to know - whether it be manners or how to care for themselves. To equip them with the knowledge they need in order to live independently in the world, be a good person, a likeable person and how to love others and love themselves. With loving them this way also comes making sure they also know and feel that love from me. An all encompassing love - that utilizes not only my heart, but my hands and my brain as well.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
10 honest things about me:
and a bonus:
11. I am a total pragmatist/realist - neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I don't see the glass as half full or as half empty. I see a dirty cup that someone is going to have to wash (and usually it ends up being me!)
Saturday, February 7, 2009
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff heart questions -- was it he that bore?
And yesterday - - or centuries before?
The feet, mechanical, go round
A wooden way
Of ground, or air, or ought,
A quartz contentment, like a stone.
This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow--
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.
-All the things I might have known and all the things I might not have known because of them-
"The heart never forgets"
I use to sign my posts on spals with those words. I'm sure Loribeth remembers - she and the other baby lost mamas on spals held my hand a time or two during some dark and sad days, including this one seven years ago.
It's not an easy thing, to be mother to the unseen. To want to tell everyone that they existed and feeling like the only one who ever really, truly knows that. To be keeper of their memories, of an entire existance, brief, but real.
Thank you for remembering this day with me. For remembering the little beings who were. For getting it. For being here.
I've written of my little one before on this day - you can go here for the tale. It is long, wordy as typical for me, and raw. Just knowing you're here though, helps. It makes a difference.
~i~ Matthew Thomas February 8th, 2002 ~i~
Behold, I show you my Thespian Card. I was in my first play at the age of 5. My first role? That of "child". It was a musical - so I had songs to learn and sing. As with many musicals, there was also dancing involved. Since I was young (and cute at the time) my part in the one big dance number was to sit sweetly on the front edge of the stage and play with a dolly. I was to do nothing more than to sit, play with the dolly and sing. For some reason, on the night of the last show, I got it in my head I needed to do more than just sit, play, sing. So, when the dancers finished their number - which was a big square dance type thing and ended with them on their backs kicking their feet in the air, I decided to join them. They were wearing pantaloons - I was not. When you're 5 and cute - you can get away with flashing the audience in your days of the week undies with the polyester lace. I was a hit. Flash forward some almost 12 or 13 years . . . .
Definitely not as young. Still kind of cute though. Still not wearing pantaloons. This time I got to sing AND dance. We did a musical revue this year in high school. One of my big numbers was to sing "Baby Face" with 5 other girls. We started off sweet and adorable - note the big, dopey bow. We were supposed to end in a sort of burlesque-y grand finish with involved a chorus line bit of kicking and some shimmying. Given that we were a smallish high school with a drama budget to match, many of our costumes were pretty much spit and gum and mostly held together with safety pins. Our first performance was a matinee for the high school. The entire Varsity football team sat in the first two rows, together - a loud, rowdy and verbal bunch guaranteed to consider this an interactive type activity. When it came turn for our number, the other girls and I smartly marched out on stage and began singing and dancing. "baby face, you got the cutest little baby face . . . " Things were going quite well. Near the end of the song and before the chorus line kick, we were to kneel in a cheerleader pose. We knelt and when I stood up, caught the heel of my character shoes on the hem of my pinafore. So much for safety pins. So, now I am standing, heading into what it supposed to be an impressive show of shimmying followed by synchronized kicking with my dress around my ankles. Talk about a wardrobe malfunction. The first two rows are in an absolute uproar. I shimmied my pinafore to one foot and then kicked it into the front row. The show must go on right? And that, my good folks, is how I managed to moon the entire Varsity football team and earn my Thespian Card.
Now, stop snickering and go see who else is mooning the class . . .