Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No, I'm a better MOM

Lately I've been reading a lot of Mom debates.

  • Breastfeeding vs Bottle
  • Skinny Mom vs Chubby Mom
  • Working Mom vs Stay at Home Mom
  • In Home Daycare Mom versus School Mom 
  • Helicopter Mom vs Hippy Mom
  • Trendy Mom vs Goodwill Mom
My head is spinning. I'm trying to determine where I fit in as a breastfeeding bottle feeding some months skinny some months chubby working in home daycare helicopter hippy Goodwill Mom. I'm really sad I don't have a home. 

I think if we all just take a minute to take a deep breath and celebrate every breastbottleskinnychubbyworkingstayathomeinhomedaycareschoolhelicopterhippytrendygoodwillmom,we'd be a lot better off. 

What's your excuse? 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This too SHALL pass...and if it doesn't, PASS it.

Today I exchanged a conversation with another parent about our babies being in NICU. It brought a flood of emotions.
The day Jack was born my mind was blown and I was instantly terrified. For a moment I wanted to ask the doctor to put him back in there where he was safe from harm. No woman thinks like this I'm certain. Most women want that baby OUT by the time that day rolls around. I wanted him back IN.
I liked him in there all safe and sound and cozy. I liked being the person solely responsible for protecting him. When the nurse came to me to tell me his breathing was distressed and she needed to take him, I wanted him back in there IMMEDIATELY. I studied his face. What if...what if they got him mixed up with another baby? What if they didn't take care of him like I would take care of him? What if he needed me? He needs me. I have all of this on video, but I'm still to afraid to watch it. I'm afraid of what it will do to me to relive that experience of the most beautiful experience in life turning so ugly.
"I'm HIS mother. I'm HIS mother," I felt like screaming.

I laid helpless on the bed while they wheeled my 5-minute-old child away. The only moment I remember feeling that scared was when they wheeled my mom into surgery. I wouldn't relive that experience either.

I was terrified, but I didn't want anyone else to know. I was so scared in that moment. I just wanted someone to punch me out so I could recover and get to my baby. Suddenly every moment that lead up to that moment felt wrong. Life was at a standstill.

Eventually I recovered and I got to him and he was fine and just as beautiful as I remembered and all of those terrible emotions I felt in that terrible moment melted away and we made it together as a family. We somehow made it through those first four days in NICU together and we went home and today...

Today Jack is 19 months and happy and healthy and incredible and everything a mother would wish for her son. Today he still holds my entire heart in his tiny hand just like he did the very first time I realized he was growing inside me.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Years

It was a the middle of the night. You never want your phone to ring like that in the middle of the night. I didn't want to answer it because I knew who was on the other line. I knew. Maybe if I didn't answer it would all go away.

5 years ago tonight we lost you.

So much has changed since then.

Your son got married. He did. He stood at the front of the room surrounded by so many people you loved and he got married. Your absence that night was hard, but your presence was felt. He had a baby too. Can you believe it? Your son had a baby, a baby boy. You would be so proud of him if you were here today. You would. We have created a really happy life together. If only you saw your daughter now. She is the happiest she's ever been. It would make you really happy. All of your children are happy. They are wonderful people.

Your grandson's name is Jack. He's nearly 19 months and every so often I swear he points up at you and smiles. Every so often I swear you're with us. I can almost feel you in his room sometimes.

5 years ago we lost you. I know you were ready. I know the pain you felt outweighed the joy. I know you tried the best you could to hold on for your family, for your son, but he forgives you. I know the pain you felt leaving so early.

I understand the love you had for him. That conversation we had in the car, I get it now. I promise I'll take care of him and I promise I'll take care of your Grandson. You never got to meet him, but he will know you. I promise.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

On Our Walk

Today we took a long walk in the crispest fall air. The leaves fell slowly from the trees. I tried to capture it on video, but nothing captures the true beauty not even the newest HD video. We walked with no real agenda except to pick up the Sunday paper and maybe a cup of expensive corporate coffee.

We walked and you babbled on incorporating your favorite songs with chatter with an occasional spotting of a plane. You love planes. We walked. You talked. I breathed in the fresh October air. Inhaling and exhaling and thanking God for this morning with you...thanking God for you.

You screamed "Mommy" and I kneeled down to talk to you. You pointed at trees and leaves and other things I didn't quite understand.

We got that $2 paper and that expensive cup of corporate coffee and we sat outside next to the canal watching the river flow toward some unknown destination. This. Is. It. Make time for walks. It is here where you will learn the beauty of the world. It is here where you will learn to slow down, to view the world with your eyes open.

You can always take the world in with the same level of curiosity you had today as a 1.5 year old. Always.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tubes and An Angry Lung

Jack got tubes this morning. We had to report to the surgery at 7 am. I'm tired so this will be the short version of the day.

He wasn't allowed to eat or drink after midnight. Hungry baby=cranky baby. Cranky baby being pulled from the arms of his parents before taken into an unknown room to be put under by some people he doesn't know=really crank baby.

I could hear him screaming from the waiting room. Not my favorite moment of the day.

Surgery was fast. Before I could finish a cup of coffee we were in the consultation room with the doctor. Tubes went great, but the scope showed evidence of an angry lung.

After a few more minutes in the consultation room the nurse came to get us. I could hear a baby screaming once again, but this time it was followed by a deep seal-like cough. GREAT.

I took him in my arms. His eyes were still closed and he was very disoriented. I know this is common, I know this has happened 1,000,000 times before, but it didn't make it any easier staring down at my confused child with his eyes closed screaming and coughing like a seal. Nope, didn't make it any easier.

The nurse told me 50 things, but I didn't hear any of them. I. Just. Wanted. Out. Pretty sure they wanted us out too. No one wants to head into surgery after a screaming baby comes out. No one. They took us out the back door.

I felt calm as soon as we got in the car. Jack was still confused and visibly upset. As soon as I got him home I tried to feed him. He wasn't interested. He took an hour nap, woke up, ate, took a two hour nap, woke up and took another two hour nap. When he finally woke up from that nap he had a fever of 101.4. Of course I freaked out and gave him motrin which brought him back to....JACK. By 4 pm he finally seemed normal again. We took an hour long walk which we both needed, played, read and went down for the night. He's woke up a few times coughing. Not sure what to make of that. Can't say I'd like to do this day over again, but I'm looking forward to his ears feeling better.

Now, we need to see about that angry lung.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I'm Bored with this Debate, but I have to...

There are few things in life, you simply can't put a price on. The health of my kid is one of those things. When a doctor recommends tubes, we're going to get the tubes.

But at what cost?

This is the question I recently asked me ENT, surgery center and anesthesiologist involved in this 15 minute simple procedure.

How much is this going to cost us?

I have to give my ENT props. They had answers. After my $516.18 deductible was met, insurance would pay at 85% leaving me with a $75 doctor bill on top of the $516.18 deductible. Ok, I can manage that.

But the problem (you knew there would be one) happened when I called the surgery center who said I would owe $2,020 AFTER insurance. Ok, something isn't adding up. Is a 15 minute surgery $11,000? Say it ain't so. After a phone call to the insurance company, it became clear. The surgery center entered my deductible as $3,000.

Had we waited for the bills (like most Americans) we would have owed $2,100 versus $315 due to a clerical error.

Where does the anesthesiologist come into play with all this? I don't know...I couldn't get a name. Sad, huh?

There are few things in life, you simply can't put a price on, but you can sure as heck demand the facts especially when it applies to your child.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Letter for my Mother


Tonight as I leaned over Jack's crib and put my hand firmly on his belly, it hit me. You once did this to me. I am sure there was another level of exhaustion considering I was your third and final blood line, but I can picture you bent over my crib with your hand on my belly telling me "I love you so much."

Was it different me being a girl? Was it hard knowing I would one day grow up and be able to make my own choices and make my own way courageously through the world? Did it hurt you like it hurts me to think of the first time a kid will put Jack down...to think of the heartbreak it will cause the first time his innocence is temporarily robbed due to some kid saying something stupid? Did it cause an irreversible lump in your throat like it causes me to think of the day you would have to introduce me to the world's imperfections?

How did you explain that to me the day I came home and told you those girls on the playground wouldn't let me in their stupid club? I remember that day and I remember the way you took my hand and told me I didn't need those girls...I needed friends who loved an accepted everyone. You told me to go to recess the next day and ignore those girls with my head held high. And I did. And I found friends who loved and accepted everyone. I still have those friends.

Did it bring you to tears like it brings me to at this exact moment to think of the day I would realize the world isn't made up of brightly colored Fisher Price toys?

Here's the thing, Mom...it breaks my heart to know Jack will have to learn the ways of he world, but that day on the playground...that day was the foundation to push me through every other temporary disappointment. And you're the one who rose me above it. You're the one who pushed me out the front day the next door and gave me the courage to face my fear of failure. You're still the one.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who You Are at 1.5

You are becoming a little boy. Every so often, you will look up at me with those puffy cheeks with tiny dimples and you'll smile at me which makes me melt into a puddle on the floor.

You like shoes.

And socks.

And hats. We ask you where your hat is before we leave the house on the weekends. You put your hands to your head and if you don't feel your hat you run around the house frantically until you find it.
You love Play doh. I don't mean love in a sorta kinda like kind of way. I mean LOVE. The minute you walk in the door you ask for "Apple" which i have determined to mean play doh in your language because the minute I get it out your eyes light up and you plop yourself on my lap giggling and screaming "Apple! Apple!" You LOVE play doh. Who am I kidding? I love it too.

You talk a lot. Sometimes we understand it. Sometimes we don't.

You sing.

And dance anytime you hear a beat.

You look up at the "moon" in the morning and shout "moon." I have learned this is something you do with your Dad when he drops you off at school. I adore that you do this. I adore he taught you this.

You love the dogs. You prefer to sit on them. Johnny likes it. Myles doesn't, but he can't hear and that's why. You scare him a little.

You love being chased. You could play this game all day which is great exercise.

You sing on walks and touch trees. I LOVE it when you do this.

You love planes. You can spot planes I don't even see. You shout "plane." I like to think you learned this the day we laid in the back yard and counted planes. I like to think I taught you about planes.

You tell people you love them on the phone and say thank you when I give you food or a bottle. I find this incredibly endearing. Tonight at Target you shrugged your shoulders and thanked the cashier. It made his day. I know it.
You slap me with an open hand. I'm not proud writing this, but I have to be honest about who you are in this present moment in time. This has subsided since I started threatening Time Outs.

You understand saying goodbye and you plant an open mouth kiss on me. It's one of my favorite moments of the day until you leave and then I feel empty and sad only for a minute.

You stare up at me every night before you roll over and doze off. You wait for me to tell me how much I love you. It's like you know it's a part of the routine. You know I need it as much as you.
You are the rainbow in my sky. Some day I'll explain to you the significance of this, but you won't understand it until you're staring at your own 1.5 year-old just like I stare at you.

The rainbow in my sky.