Friday, May 29, 2009

Sometimes I Just Don't Understand

I'm going to a funeral tomorrow...for a baby. 24 hours from this moment I'll be there. I'm sick to my stomach already. I've never seen a small coffin, and really, I wish that I could go my entire life without ever seeing one. I wish that this could be a world where all babies are born whole, full term, and they're supposed to. I wish that no one ever had to learn that, in real life, not everyone gets the happy ending that they should, and that sometimes even the youngest, most innocent of us all is taken too soon. And it's in these cold, hard moments of reality that I wonder why life has to be so terribly cruel. Parents should be allowed to look into the eyes of their child with joy and exuberance, not fear and anguish. They should be able to write chronicles of their child's life in a baby book, not an obituary. As a mother, my heart aches for any parent who has been through this and, all honesty, my heart begs to never be one of them.

Since Little spent her time at Children's, I've become so painfully aware that no matter how much you love your child, no matter how hard you pray, no matter how completely you devote yourself to your family, regardless of what kind of person you are, regardless of economics and everything else, sometimes you lose. And that's just a really difficult thing for my heart to swallow. I know that all of life is uncertain, but this, more than all other things in life, keeps me up at night. Why does this have to be part of the plan; the loss of children. And despite my hours of contemplation on the subject, I've yet to come up with a single reason.

How dear my babies are to me. How closely I hold them to my heart each and every day. How tightly I wrap them in my arms and kiss their soft heads. Today I will do it a thousand times more.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Embracing Exhaustion

I don't really have much to add to my blog today, just that I'm tired - as Little was up most of the night last night for unknown reasons. I have no idea what time she initially woke in the night, but after hours of having her toss and turn and whimper and cry between us, at 4:22 we broke down and gave her a bottle (I know the exact time because I'm the lucky one that got to get up and make the bottle. Sweet.). And when she was finished? She slept, which was wonderful...for 30 minutes...when she woke up crying again. So finally at 5:30 AM, at exhaustion's door, Hubby and Little and I passed out together, face down in a row, and slept the deep sleep of the dead. I don't even think I had the energy to dream. I remember nothing...until at approx. 7 AM when Big tapped me on the arm and asked if she could join us. Why not, right? Yes, scramble in, quick! And be stealthy...we don't want to wake Little!! So in she hopped...and I had no sooner gotten the covers over her when up popped Little, ready to play and thrilled with the arrival of her role model. A moan of disbelief was shared by Hubby and I. We did our best to play dead for the next hour or so, while the girls hopped and crawled and trampled on us, pretending to be horses and cats and a seemingly random variety of other barnyard and domesticated animals, until there was no denying it anymore, it was getting late and I had to get up for work...damn adult responsibility.

So that's my story today. I grumbled when I got out of bed this morning. I'm exhausted and undeniably cranky. And while it's tough...really really operate on such little fuel, I still find myself taking a moment to acknowledge how totally fulfilled and blessed I am to be at the point in my life when all 4 of us still fit in the same bed. I know there will be a day all too soon when our morning snuggle sessions will come to a very teenage attitude-y eww, Mom, don't kiss me in front of my for now, I'm embracing it. Even if it means that I don't get to sleep through the night for the next 5 years. So be it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Latest Find...

Do you see this picture?


That's my bathroom in the condition it was left shortly after Hubby and I put the girls to bed last night. Messy? Uhhh...yes. But SCREAMS a little girl and a baby RULE this joint...and so? I love it.

Sometimes right in the middle of a mess is where you find your joy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

...get a really cute Medic-Alert bracelet and wear it while you make lemonade.

I'm in the market for a Medic-Alert bracelet for Little...for her pacemaker and such...and I was led here, to Lauren's Hope, by a friend of mine. (*MWAH* Sue) All I have to say is that if I were a little girl who had to wear a Medic-Alert bracelet 24-7, I would beeeeeggggg for one of these!! And if I were the parent of such a child, I would shell out the cash to buy her one, because really? Wouldn't it be wonderful to turn something they would potentially feel awkward and embarrassed about into something they could feel pretty wearing?! They are recommended for kids age 6 and up, so when Little gets a little older, you can bet we will be visiting this site and ordering one for her.

This company gets my big time, kudos, 5-star, you're a genius award (I just made that up...but really? it!).

For now, I ended up ordering her a plain, old stainless steel one with her name engraved on the front and the words "Complete Heart Block, Pacemaker" on the back...except they insist on engraving in all caps so it really says "COMPLETE HEART BLOCK, PACEMAKER" which seems a little !!!!!! and over the top to me, but hey, who am I, right? Maybe I should have added "HANDLE WITH CARE OR MY MOM WILL MAKE YOU WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN!!" be polite and give them fair warning and all. Darn. I'll have to make a note of that for her next one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Product I Love!

Hello friends. Meet my new favorite product...the Bibbity by Kiddopotamus. Everyone say hello to her...I'll wait...

Hands down, BEST bib I've ever tried. Made completely of rubber, there is no laundering this bib. All you have to do is wipe it down after each meal (when you're cleaning up the high chair tray anyway) and VOILA! clean bib ready for the next meal! (Can anyone say less laundry makes Mommy very happy??) I know what you're thinking...isn't a rubber bib kind of awkward and uncomfortable? Well, at first, I'll admit, I thought I had wasted my money, as it is a bit awkward to put on your child...kind of stiff and wobbly at the same time...weird...but if you press on through the initial awkwardness and use it a few times, I really think you'll soon find yourself all how did I ever live without you?? at which point the wobbly stiffness ceases to matter. As for discomfort? Little doesn't mind wearing it at all. In fact, I think she's clearly more bothered by my taking pictures of her during meal time than she ever was by the bib. She's all whatchutalkinboutwillis at me. (See below.) Nice.


And finally...the very BEST feature of the Bibbity...the pocket. ::angels heard singing::
In all honesty, I kind of stumbled upon this fantastic find when I was (aimlessly) wandering around our local Babies R Us one day (as I'm known to do because, really? Who knew pacifiers came in so many colors! And the rattles?? Gah!). I was merely looking for a cloth bib with a pocket for my little stain magnet whocan'tseemtokeepherstrawberriesoffherlap, when all of a sudden there it was! Since it's made of rubber, the pocket stays open creating a near impenetrable trap into which the renegade food pieces must fall. It seemed a little "Available on TV Only!!!" to me, but I thought, what the heck...I'll bite, and I bought it. Let me just say, Goodbye strawberry stains! You will not be missed. ::celebratory dancing:: See? It works! (Actual Goldfish and graham cracker demonstration seen below. Doesn't she have great eyebrows??)


And? My favorite part? (yes, there's more!) After the renegades fall into the pocket? Little reaches in and retrieves them...and...eats them. If fact, one day when Hubby found it next to impossible to get Little to eat a. single. thing. for him, he (in a moment of genius!) threw some Goldfish crackers into the pocket...and??? she ate them. Now tell me that's not worth $6!

So...for a mere $6...I'd say if you have a little one who requires bibs and haven't tried one of these yet...go out and get one right now! It will make you swoon. Promise.

(note: If it doesn't make you swoon (which I would find extraordinary but, you know, maybe you're not as easy to thrill as I am) don't even bother suing me...unless you really want a couple of half burned jar candles and a stick of string cheese...cuz, really that's all I have to offer. The Bibbity is not up for negotiation.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

One Too Many Episodes of "A Baby Story"

My 3 year-old has a birth plan. Yes, a plan all mapped out for the day that she'll give birth to her first child and make me a...*gulp* Grandma. And I won't be allowed in the delivery room. She informed me of all of this yesterday as she was sitting at the kitchen table while I prepared her lunch. All of a she sudden blurted out:

Big: I have a baby in my tummy, Mommy.

Me: Oh, you do?

Big: Yep. My babies are in my tummy, waiting for me to grow up and meet my prince so I can get married and have my baby.

Me: Oh, uhhh...oooooookay.

(Trying to think on my feet. What do you say to this, exactly? Explain birth control at age know...until the right prince comes along?! Explain how babies are made and why she doesn't have one in her tummy...but then have to explain why Mommy did?! Explain that sometimes princes turn out to just be ugly frogs who have a lot of hopping to do, so maybe settling down with the first one that comes along isn't a good idea?! So, I said nothing. Someone needs to give a class on these things. I suck.)

Big: Are you going to see my baby when I have her?

(apparently it's a girl, though she told me that there are actually 3 of them in there right now...2 girls (named Rose and Daffodil) and a boy (named Dave)...who knew?)

Me: Yes! I'm going to want to see your baby just as soon as she's born!

Big: Well, Mama...she's going to be red when she's born...and cry.

Me: Oh, she's going to

Big: Yeah. And she'll cry. You can't come in when she's red, but she'll get washed up and then you can come in and see her.

Me: Uhhh...ok. I'll pencil that in.

Big: Ok. **smiles triumphantly**

Me: **runs in and turns off the Discovery Health Channel**

So, I guess at least I'll be prepared when the time not be allowed in the delivery room and stuff. Glad we got that potentially uncomfortable conversation out of the way...20 years in advance. And how great of her to! Wait...I do have at least 20 years, right?? Maybe I should go make sure that that's part of the plan...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


What a boring word. The implication of it simply suggests that something is average, not extraordinary, not know, boring. And in most cases, simply put, boring is most cases...but not in all cases. I'll use the non-boring form of the word "normal" in a sentence to demonstrate, ok? Ready?

Little's heart tests today showed that she has normal heart function.

And another...

Little's echocardiogram showed a normal, healthy, just-like-everyone-else's-heart, heart.

Can you even believe it? No more heart failure. No more function issues with her pacemaker. No more oral medications to improve her heart function. Her heart function is normal! I mean, sure, she'll still need her pacemaker for the rest of her life, but as long as her actual heart muscle is healthy, she should be able to live a totally normal life! Thank God for normal!!

Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Because Sometimes I Just NEED to Be Mad

Yeah, so this really isn't my best week. I'm a big, crabby, assholey mess inside...and I'm not even up for changing my mood. I am, instead, wallowing in my funk. Kind of counter productive. Meh.

So of course part of what's bothering me is what's going on with my Dad. He does seem to be doing well after the surgery and has already passed the "which toe am I pinching" test put before him by some of the surgical staff, a good sign that he's getting the feeling back in his legs, (and thank GOD for that), but, unfortunately, I have one more mountain to climb yet this week and I'm struggling just a wee bit.

Little's quarterly cardiology and pacemaker check-up is scheduled for tomorrow morning at Children's Hospital, and I am all sorts of nervous about it. My pretty girl hasn't had an echocardiogram in nearly 6 months, and tomorrow she will be having one to check on the function and health of her heart in a way that can only be done with an echo. I seriously can hardly breathe in anticipation. And it's silly, really, for me to get so worked up about it, as the last echo she had showed nearly *normal* heart function...which was truly more than we could have hoped for at the time...but 6 months have gone by since that last test, and my head knows that in that amount of time, anything could have changed in there.

It was only a little over a year ago that we originally found out that she was in heart failure in the first place, and less than a year ago that she had her last surgery and things started to improve for her health-wise. All of it recent enough for me to remember every grueling detail of what took place between those two dates, though I suspect that I'll never forget. And while, most days, I'm able to stay really positive about things, reminding myself how truly lucky we are to have a, now, healthy Little with us each. and. every. minute. of. each. day, some days I just can't help but get pissed off about all of it. When I read articles about how Complete Heart Block only occurs in 1-2% of all pregnancies in mothers who have autoimmune issues (so that's an even smaller percentage of the population), and that only a percentage of that 1-2% of babies will require a pacemaker, and only a percentage of those babies will go into heart failure (and it's like, 5% people, not 50%...which makes her, what? Like 1 in a million??) I just can help but get pissy that all of this happened to my otherwise perfect little girl. My beautiful, spunky, sweet little girl.

If only I'd known that I had an autoimmune issue, maybe we could have been under the care of a rheumatologist who would have been on the lookout for the early symptoms of her condition...if only I'd had my ultrasound at 20 weeks instead of 18, maybe we could have caught the heart block sooner and stopped it from becoming so severe...if only we could have fallen into that other 98% of autoimmune pregnancies whose babies turn out healthy and fine...if only so many things. And sometimes, I just NEED to be mad that my little girl is the 1 in a million, because it's really not fair and the sheer bullshit factor of it all just pisses me off...and that's where I am today. Be warned.

So tomorrow we'll begin the routine, that we've come to know so well, of getting Little ready for her sedation and her echo. And we'll take deep breaths as we sit by her bedside, watching the reds and the blues of her blood flow flash up on the ultrasound screen, while the tech. measures and the doctors evaluate, and we'll pray like we've become so accustomed to doing...and we'll wait because that's all we can do. And I'll be hopeful. And I'll stay positive. And I'll take whatever news the doctors give us with as much gusto as I can fathom...tomorrow. But today...I'm just going to wallow and be angry.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Prayers for the Big Guy

Ok, not the Big Guy, but my big guy. My Dad is having spinal surgery today, and I'm all sorts of fidgety nervous about it. It's not like he hasn't had surgery before, probably more than the average person actually (two knee replacements, an ankle replacement, and an eye surgery in the last few years) but this one is different. Today the stakes feel much higher.

Imagine the most stubborn, hard headed, independent person you know...I'll one?...OK, now multiply that stubbornness and independence by 50. That's my Dad. A good old fashioned, macho, hard shelled, tough as nails, pride filled, hard headed man. The kind of man who refuses to use a walker during the recovery for his knee replacement surgery because, really? A walker? He'd rather not. That kind of man. So when my Mom told me that a few months ago he had electively stopped driving because he didn't think it was safe anymore, I knew something big was wrong.

A few weeks later Hubby, and the girls, and I went over to my parents' house for a regularly scheduled Sunday dinner to find my Dad using a walker to get around the house. It was then that I really found out what was going on. My Mom told me that my Dad's legs were going numb, and threatening to give out when he was up and about, so he had decided that it was probably better for him to just use the walker. Except I knew that for my Dad, there was no just using a walker. I *panicked* but didn't let it show. They made him a doctor appointment. That was about a month ago. Since then things have only gotten worse.

Following the doctor appointment, my Dad quickly went from walker to wheelchair...wheelchair. Essentially too proud to ask anyone for help previously, my Dad now found himself unable to really do anything without the assistance of someone. He went downhill so fast. The reality of it all was written all over his face, almost like embarrassment. It was almost too much for me to even meet his gaze, for fear of seeing the look in his eyes. Horrible is really the only word I can use to truly describe it.

The MRI reports showed that the nerves that run from my Dad's spinal column to his legs are being pinched by a malformation of bone in his spinal column (caused by osteoarthritis), causing almost all feeling in his legs to be cut off, hence the weakness and numbness. The only way to fix this is to go in surgically and "clean out" that extra bone formation, un-pinching the nerves and *voila* giving him feeling back in his legs. If all goes well, once he recovers from the surgery, he'll be able to get up and go and do whatever he wants again. However, since he's been unable to be active for quite some time now, the recovery process may turn out to be a little more drawn out than usual in my Dad's case. In fact he mentioned the words rehab facility...and frankly it's too soon for me to be able to wrap my mind around that.

Of course, when I talked to my Dad last night he made no big deal of what lay ahead of him today, talking mostly about how he was dreading getting up at 5 AM to get the ball rolling. I tried to talk to him a little bit about the surgery and he quickly changed the subject and asked me what the girls had been up to in the 24 hours since he had last seen them. When I told him that Little had taken 5 steps in a row for the first time last night, his voice filled with sparkle and pride, as he gushed about how my daughters are "really something". Just like him to avoid the topic at hand if it has anything to do with him suffering. He really is such a stubborn man, but it was nice to hear him smile.

So as I sit and therapeutically type this post, I wait. I've already heard from my Mom once this morning, to find out that my Dad has been taken back to the surgical room. That was almost an hour and a half ago. We should have about another 30 minutes to wait before we hear how everything went. And of course, I'm anxious to find out, but also well aware that that's not where the nervousness ends, because then we get to wait and see how the recovery goes, and whether the feeling will return to his legs. And really all I keep thinking in the meantime is please, God let it be good news...

Update, 12:09 PM: He's out of surgery. Surgeon says things went well and he's stable. He'll be in recovery for a while, then move up to his room. Good news!

Update to my update, 3:23 PM: He's in his room, awake and on pain meds. So far so good. YAY! OK, no more updates. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Signs of Summer

Hand Picked Flowers in Vases

Teeny Tiny Painted Toenails


The First Popsicle of the Season

Little Girls Planting Flowers with Grandmas

Hubby Passed Out on the Couch in the Middle of the Day from Tree Pollen


Ahh...yes. After taking her sweet time, I think she's finally here. Sqeeeeeeee!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Teething and Hooha's and Baseball and Such...

Yes, is a variety post. One that will be filled with small snippets from the lives of me and Hubby and the girls...because really? Nothing BIG is going on. So, there it is. Let us begin. teething. Or least that's the word that's been used to account for the random stretches of vicious crankiness and sleepless nights that have been ongoing in our household for the last 11-1/2 months. At 4 months old, when this whole craptastic mess began, I took Little into see her doctor...fearing that something must be wrong with my sweet little girl for her to be acting this way...and was told that her gums were swollen and ripe (eww!) and it appeared that the horror we were experiencing was all attributable to good old, run of the mill teething. Excellent. No drugs for that. So, holding tight to the pediatrician's reassurance that she would soon be getting a tooth, and all of us a little relief, we bravely soldiered on through the sleepless cranky routine, waiting for the day that the freakin frackin first tooth would appear and save us all. And then it did...approximately 8 months later. Yes, 8 months, friends. Dear God. And in the last 3-1/2 months, since the first tooth popped through, we've seen the arrival of 4 more front teeth and all 4 of her first molars...and have nary had more than 3 nights in a row of sleeping through the night. In 11-1/2 months. And really? It's killing us. Slowly. But I have hope. Since the discovery of the final molar's first point this week...I have new found hope that we are nearing the end of this phase of torture they like to call teething. Three more molar points, a few bottom teeth, and 4 eye teeth and we're done with this part of the gig...and my heart will leap with joy upon their arrival! So, you know, we should be sleeping great in about another year or so. That's reassuring.

And now...our next topic...Hoohas. As the mother of 2 young girls, it is inevitable that I will have to deal with some Hooha issues at one point or another, so it is unfortunate, for all involved, that I suck to it so much. Really, at the mere mention of the function and/or technical names of any one of the many girly bits we are all brought onto this planet with, I blush like a 12 year-old. I fumble. I stumble. And I embarrass myself during each and every conversation about these things. It must be really fun to watch.

Without going into too much detail, Big has has something similar to a diaper rash for a bit now and it just isn't going away. I've tried this and I've tried that and finally, when she started crying about it, I decided it was time to call her doctor. The first time I called, about a month ago, I got a nurse who made a comment about how little girl Hooha's are different than our Hoohas in that our girly bits are so much looser than theirs (and yes, she used the technical names). And all I could think was "Did she just comment on the condition of my girly bits?? Together with her girly bits??" because, dear Lord! I'd rather prefer that my girly bits not be generalized, thankyouverymuch! And now? I'll never be able to look her in the face again...especially now that I know what I know about her most private of areas. It just isn't right.

And try upon try, hope upon hope, none of this nurse's *sage* advice has made this issue go away...and Big was in tears again last I sucked it up, and called her Dr. again this morning. This time? I have to bring her in. Joy. When I informed Ms. Big that we would be heading to see her Dr. this afternoon so that he could help make her owie not so owie anymore, I was met with an exasperated response. "WHAT?!" she said, "He can't look at my butt!! My butt is dirty Mom!!" and it was at that point that I was reassured that this is going to be one big, fumbly, embarrassing cluster *&^%. I can only imagine what she'll say in his presence...and I can can only wish that I'll be able to handle it without dying. Should be fun.

And our final of. Tonight...if I live through Big's appointment this date night. Oh thank GOD!!! Yes, it is with great anticipation that I've been waiting for the arrival of this day. Hubby and I are going to Miller Park tonight to watch the Brewer's play dinner time...and we won't be home until loooooooong after bedtime. Can I get a Hallelujah?! Grandma, being the brave soul that she is, has agreed to come over and not only feed the girls dinner...but also...put them to bed...both of them. And I suppose that unless you've been present for bedtime at our home before, you're wondering what the big deal is. And then I would have to explain to you how, for some reason, as the clock strikes 7, our wonderful, beautiful, precious, girls hit the wall at 60 miles per hour, and turn into...well...tired, mischievous little heathens...and I can say that because I gave birth to both of them. So tonight, I'm going to sit in my plastic-y stadium chair, and have a drink, and watch some baseball with Hubby...and I will enjoy every. last. minute. of. it. All hail Grandma!

The End.

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