Tuesday, February 28, 2012

food: mostly dinner


My prayers of late have focused on serving my family with love and joy.  Bah, I'm not very good at it.  I've been on the computer and my phone less, watching less "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera" (why did no one tell me of this show?!), reading less, sitting on the couch eating chocolates less, and doing more housework, cooking, laundry, and cleaning.

The other night I made J made a new recipe.  I just found it online.  It was really good and J was so happy I came up with something new he fell to the ground and wept.  Not really, but I think he wanted to.  I'm so lucky that he is willing to cook after working all day.  And that he is patient with my cooking skills, or lack thereof.  We eat a lot of the same, because I don't like making new recipes (usually involves a meltdown) and I have no kitchen confidence.

I'm content knowing I cook with few processed foods, but I think J would like a week where I don't prepare spaghetti.  Speaking of processed foods: last night I made baked potatoes (fail - takes so dang long in the oven, never turns out) pork chops, and steamed vegetables.  When I go to the store I stare at those rice boxes, and dinners you pop in the microwave, and hamburger helper boxes, dreaming of how easy dinner would be if I utilized them, but I always turn my cart around, buy our usual foods.  This time I indulged!  I bought one of those steam bags of vegetables from the freezer section, you just pop it in the microwave, it inflates, you eat it.  It was fine, but I was a bit freaked out by steaming vegetables encased in plastic in the microwave.  Okay, that's not processed, it's more pre-made.

Part of our food issues stem from my inability to try new things.  Another large issue: I don't like a lot of foods. I'm SO picky, oh goodness it's pathetic.  I have the palate of an average three-year-old.  But part of this whole serving my family with love and a good attitude thing is about change.  So I am going to try one new recipe a week.  I think.  I hope.  I'm scared already.

So tell me, what's your favorite dinner recipe?  Go ahead and throw gluten free things my way too.  I'm taking B to the naturopath on Friday and I'm pretty sure dropping wheat is going be suggested.  I'm afraid I won't be able to consume sufficient calories if wheat is removed from my diet, but if it will make the rash go away, I'll do it.

And if you know a good, affordable chef please send them my way.

One more thing: Bennett's birth story was featured on Mama Birth today.

Monday, February 27, 2012

photos and a laughing baby video!


Three


Two


 Loves hanging upside down. Lots of tick, tock, baby clock around here lately.


This darn rash makes me itchy.


He looks so old here!


Redhead?


Current favorite onesie. One of those hat, sock, shirt, no pants moments. We all have those days, right?


Let me out, mama, please. I slept for thirty minutes, I'm good to go!


Bid for freedom. Removal of sock done by self.


Chasing B


Sunday, February 26, 2012

easter dresses


break my heart.  This is the beginning of the hard time.  I can sense it coming.

I'm blogging over at Among the Circle today.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

blocked


Struggling with writer's block a bit.  Counseling on Wednesday did a number on my head, can't figure out how to get words out anymore.

There is a new post up on Among the Circle and it's fabulous.  Spread the word about this wonderful site, please.  I am working on my first post, hope to have it up within the next few days.

Had my second round of injections yesterday.  No head shots this time, just back!, abdomen! and thyroid.  Maybe that's what's doing my head in.

Best blackout curtain suggestion: tin foil.  A little low class, but I bet it works.

Bennett rolled from back to tummy twice before bed last night.  This morning he did it again, looks like he's mastered a new skill.

The itching is out of control.  That is the most likely reason I can't write.  Bennett is sleeping with me most nights now.  I have to pin him down so he doesn't itch.  You try sleeping while holding a baby down, it's not easy.  Friday is last round of injections for me, first visit with the naturopath for him.  We need a solution.  We are too close to insanity due to frustration for comfort.

Over and out.  I'll be back when I can string a coherent sentence together.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2.23.12


Blogging while B sleeps next to me, haven't done this in a while!  Usually I'm out, out, out until he wakes.  I brought him in bed with me night before last because he scratched his sweet forehead to pieces and I wanted to prevent him from doing more damage.



He slept well, probably because we kicked J onto the futon he slept on in college which he refuses to get rid of.  If I could drag that thing down the stairs and to the curb I would.  That one good night netted me lots of sleep, and B did well last night too.

Found out B was exposed to pertussis, no maybe about it anymore.  I'm so glad I went to the doctor as soon as I suspected he was sick.  Even though he is vaccinated he hasn't had the full course and pertussis is not something to mess around with.

B is two months away from six months old.  Six months seems so big, too big, half a year already.  He has mastered shrieking, goodness has he.  He shrieks for every emotion: happy, sad, mad, frustrated.  Our ears are hurting, but we always laugh when he does it.  Pterodactyl baby!

We bought a seat that attaches to one of our dining room chairs so he can hang with us at dinner, gnaw on baby spoons and carrots.  I'm glad we chose this instead of a high chair, hopefully it works out for us.  I like that I can set it on the floor too.  He loves smacking the tray with his hands and toys.  I don't think I will be starting solids in two weeks.  It's more work for me and he's happy with mama milk.


B is doing well with sitting.  He still needs someone next to him, but he can now recenter himself some of the time when he starts to fall.  I put pillows around him too.  After his dive off the couch, and J's estimation that it knocked 10 IQ points off, I want to protect his sweet head.


I've spent this post trying to remember what I wanted to ask you wise people. Just as I was going to give up and hit publish (I can't remember anything lately) it came to me: blackout curtains - Use them?  Which ones?  Is the backing toxic?  If yes, is there a brand that has a non-toxic backing?  We need to put a set up in B's room, but I haven't felt comfortable with the notion of super toxic curtains in his room.

B is snoring, his head pressed against my side.  Love that he's sleeping, it's good for his little brain, but I can't wait for him to wake up so we can play.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Will Carry You Giveaway


I've been waiting for the winner of the book to contact me, but haven't had any luck.  I did a redraw this evening and the new winner is kate with this comment:

What a beautiful thing for J to say to you. I love that. I also love the words of this book...the sacred dance of grief and joy. Joy is definately filtering through my grief now and there's alot of guilt associated with that. If I don't win the giveaway, i'll buy the book myself! Peace be upon you Angela.


Please send me your address - rodman.angela@gmail.com - so I can put it in the mail!

oh, this cracked me up


I'm having a week of hating natural products.  Last night I told J, "I bought diaper cream at the store, like real stuff, not just some herbal mix.  I'm done with herbs, I want his diaper rash to go away!"  Add in antibiotics and I''m pretty far from where I like to be parenting wise.  Before too long I'll be serving Kraft Mac n' Cheese for dinner.  I don't know why J hates it so, it's the best processed food out there.  The fluorescent cheese, which may not actually be cheese, the strange consistency of the noodles, the bright orange end product ...

But then this afternoon I put black tea bags all over B's face in an attempt to control the irritation and itching.  It didn't work.  Natural remedies, I just can't quit you.

I'm sure many of you have seen these videos.  I'm really sorry there's a bad word in the title, please ignore it.





Laughed so hard I cried while watching these.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

cataloging worry


I've been told by my counselor to write out the worry, the moments when the baseline anxiety spikes.

It seems to me I am the most anxious when I can't see Bennett.

When I'm in the shower while he bounces in his jumper in the doorway. Sometimes he likes to hang out, watch the dog, listen to the shower, observe life, so he goes quiet.  I worry he is gone, that someone has walked in the house, picked him up, and walked out.  Two seconds later he starts bouncing again, feet slapping the hardwood as he babbles away, and I stop listening, finish my shower.

At night when he is snuggled in his nursery, sleeping soundly, I worry he will die in his sleep.  He likes to be warm when he sleeps, and we want him to sleep soundly, so we wrap him in two blankets.  I worry he will suffocate, that it will be our fault if he dies because we wrap him in blankets.  He is older now, able to turn his head well, we keep the blankets wrapped around him and well below his shoulders, but I still worry.  I pray over him, ask the Lord to send angels, his sister too, to sit nearby and watch over him while he sleeps.

When I'm frustrated because he won't sleep, or we've had a long day, or we're simply not working well together I worry someone, some unknown who decides these things, will take him away.  I don't know if that away is the final away - as in death - but I do know he would no longer be mine because I'm not patient or appreciative enough.

The worry stems from her death, yes, but it also stems from the fear that I am a terrible mother.  And terrible mothers don't get to keep their children.  I've shed the notion that Charlotte died because of something I did - or didn't - do. Mostly.  But when things are rough with Bennett, when I'm worn down, overwhelmed by being a mama, the primary caretaker as well as a wife, when it feels like a lot to manage, I wonder if she died because someone - again, that unknown being - decided I wouldn't be fit to mother Charlotte. And down the road, in the distant, or not so distant, future this person will decide I'm not fit to be Bennett's mother.

And now we are in the midst of this possible pertussis madness (try to say that three times fast) accompanied by Bennett's good friend: the all over body rash. I'm staying calm - I know this because I have not screamed at J. Screaming at J usually means there is something else going on, and more often than not it's anxiety.

After speaking with his doctor this morning we've decided to put him on antibiotics just in case he was exposed to pertussis.  Before Charlotte died I may have said, "It's just a cold, he's had two doses of the vaccine, we don't know for sure if he was exposed to pertussis, let's wait and see, let it run its course."  Now I'm the mother who gives the medical student sent in before the doctor a suspicious stare.  Medical student, really?  My baby may have been exposed to pertussis, send the doctor, and a mobile lab, please.

B chews on Sophie while we wait for the doctor


But who doesn't parent differently after a loss?  Mamas are supposed to protect, and I couldn't protect Charlotte, so now I have to restrain myself so I don't overprotect Bennett.  He doesn't deserve a mama who cannot stand letting him out of her sight.  It's not fair to him.  He needs a normal childhood, not one that has been overshadowed by a sister who isn't even here.

These last few days have been hard.  Bennett falling for the first time, the rash, the possible illness, but I've managed to keep my wits about me.  J and I have been a little short with each other, yes, but I blame any shortness on the persistent rash - it makes us crazy to watch it break out and be helpless to stop it despite the use of every recommended cream and lotion.

There has been some worrying lately, but it hasn't been out of control hand wringing can't sleep because the baby may die if I don't watch him every second worry.  It's so strange to look back on where I was just after he was born.  I was so calm, so certain he was fine people commented on it.  I'm not sure when I went from that state to one where anxiety is king.  I wrote about how great it was to not feel anxious on September 19th.  Now it's February 20th and I worry so much sometimes I feel like I can't breathe.  I am trying to work through this.  I am doing my best to find a way back to that mid-September bliss.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

whooping cough?


Pertussis has possibly inserted its evil self into our lives.  My mom and two of my nephews are on antibiotics for possible, but not confirmed, infection.  I was feeling fine about the issue since B has had two of his pertussis vaccines.

Then he coughed twice last night.  This morning he was sneezing and coughing within minutes of waking.  I called his doctor immediately, doing my best not to panic about the fact he may have whooping cough.  We are to go in tomorrow morning for a nasal swab, but the culture won't come back for 72 hours.  The doctor said antibiotics are not necessary yet, we will have a better idea of what to do after our appointment tomorrow.

J is coughing now, as am I.  Not much, but enough for J to say, "We all have pertussis!"  We're not sure if he should go to work tomorrow or not, it's all very confusing.  Pertussis isn't very common anymore, but there have been outbreaks all over the valley this year.

I'm trying to stay calm.  I was staying calm.  Then I looked at the statistics ... eeek, I hope he's not infected.  I am SO glad we decided he should have the pertussis vaccine.  I am watching him like a hawk.  He's not coughing very often, but every time he does I hover over him.  We are to watch for fever and difficulty breathing.  If either, or both, crop up we are to take him to the emergency room.

My counselor says I need to keep on top of my stress when things like this happen.  Kids get sick, it happens, I can't lose my mind every time.  She said stressing out doesn't help anything, and makes B stressed out as well - he gets stress hormones from my milk and picks up on my mood in general.  Lots of deep breathing - and chocolate eating - happening here.

I sent B out with J this morning to work in the yard.  He had a great time, loved hanging out in the Ergo while J worked on filling the raised beds with dirt.  I brought him in for his nap after an hour or so.  He had bits of dirt all the way down to his diaper.



I didn't want him to get cold, so I dressed him in a long sleeve onesie, jams, pants, a sweatshirt and hat.


Look at how much space J is making for growing food!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

weekend fun


This is going to be one of those helter skelter random posts.

**
I am very excited to be part of Carrie's new project: Among the Circle. Among the Circle is a website for those who are expecting after a loss.  Go check out the first post.  I am excited to be one of the regular contributors.

**
B is doing fine despite his dive for freedom yesterday.  I'm still mad at myself, but have to remember it happens to every parent at some point.  He doesn't even have a mark on his sweet head, even though the way he flipped ensured he hit the top of his head rather solidly on the hardwood floor.

**
This morning we went to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese's.  Oh my good gravy.  I absolutely understand why parents would pick this place for a birthday, or why kids would.  I's fabulous, they have a great time, it's perfect for little ones, but I'm in need of a good strong drink after spending the morning there.  The parents were super smart, they booked the earliest time possible.  It was wonderful for the little ones to have the place all to themselves for a while.  When we left it was quite busy.

For those of you living outside the US: Chuck E Cheese's is a place with small rides (think car that goes up and down outside the market), video games, an indoor play structure, and pizza.  The games spit out tickets which the kids (or adults) can turn in for prizes.  There is a mouse who hosts your birthday party, he does a little time with each party, and walks around posing for photos and meeting the kids.  The mouse - Chuck, I guess - speaks in a New Jersey accent. I'm serious.  Whenever he does his birthday routine they turn on an audio track featuring a man with the heaviest Jersey accent I've ever heard.

We received tons of tokens as part of the birthday package.  J had a great time playing games with his friends.  Bennett stared, drooled, and eventually passed out from over-stimulation.  I took him on one little car ride.  I didn't fit in the car, he was not impressed, but we did receive a snap since mama chose a "photo ride."

The picture was bad before I took a picture of it with my phone. Now it's just creepy.


Hope you're having as much fun as we are this weekend!

Friday, February 17, 2012

B's first fall!


I don't think watching two babies is in the cards for me anymore.  I was over at my friend's this afternoon watching B and her little one, who just turned one.  Her boy was getting into the electrical cords so I set B down on the couch to move him to a different area.  I sat B up in the corner - WHAT WAS I THINKING?

He flipped off and hit his head.  Oh my goodness, it was terrible.  B screamed and cried, the other baby decided to join in.  At one point I had both in arms, walking and shushing and praying.

Every baby falls, I know.  Every parent does things like this, but the first time is just awful.  I feel horrible about it.  B doesn't have a mark, so far, and he stopped crying after ten minutes.  I'm sure he's fine, but it's going to take me a while to feel better.

2.17.12


B has mastered screeching.  In one week he has learned ba, da, and screeching.  My very verbal boy is now in overdrive.  He talks all the time. When we go out people comment on how mellow he is.  You should see him at home, people.  We drove to my parent's house a couple weeks ago.  It's a solid fifty minute drive, if not a full hour.  B talked the whole way there.

We are having a lazy day at home.  This week we had somewhere to be Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday AND Thursday and we have plans Saturday and Sunday.  I needed some time at home today to do some cleaning and sleeping.

Every day I dress Bennett as soon as he is awake.  I like to have a really consistent bed and morning routine, I think it helps him know the difference between night and day.  I could be totally wrong about that.  Anyway, B has been in his pajamas all day and now I'm wondering why I insist on dressing him everyday.  Jams are so easy!



J has spent the past few evenings working on raised beds.  We are going to attempt a food garden this year.  I have no idea what I am doing.  It's funny, not that long ago growing a garden was second nature.  Everyone did it, it's how you got your food.  Now I'm looking at seed catalogs, planting times, harvesting times, and scratching my head at how much thought it requires.

I gave cloth diapers a (very small) try this week.  Conclusion: I am way too lazy to cloth diaper.  I'm not thrilled with Seventh Generation, he is having a ton of blowouts, like every time he poops, so I think we will finish our stash and then use the diapers we have.  No matter what we do he breaks out in rashes.  As soon as one clears another one starts.  We're managing, but there are days when J and I feel like screaming if B scratches his head one more time.  We hate to see him miserable, but nothing is working, not even hydrocortisone cream.

B is napping, I should do the same.  I saw Dr. B yesterday (I'm at the clinic every week right now) and she said I must rest more or else I will never be well. Having a thyroid disease makes life hard.  Seven years after diagnosis I'm still learning to live peacefully with it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

the inadequacy of words


What a day.

My mom and I were driving to my doctor appointment this morning, talking about various things, when she mentioned a friend of hers who recently found out the baby her daughter is carrying has a condition not compatible with life.

This evening my phone rang as I was finishing B's bath.  It was a friend whose husband is close with someone who just found out their baby has a condition not compatible with life.

The twenty week ultrasound is about so much more than finding out the sex.

My friend asked for advice, what to say, what not to say etc.  I gave her a few bits of advice, but was mostly lost on what to say.  What I wanted to hear may not be what someone else wants to hear.

I suggested contacting Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.  I recommended the usual grief sites, provided my email address, but I wasn't sure how a birth at twenty-one weeks works.

Do they get to hold their baby if they want to?  I hate to use that word - get - it's their child, but I can't think of a different way to word it.

Does Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep offer pictures for that gestational age?

I recommended bringing a special blanket to wrap the baby in because he or she will be so small.  Are there clothes for babies of that age?

And what did people say to you after you lost your baby, or babies?  What did you want to hear?  What didn't you want to hear?  What helped?  What didn't?

My heart hurts for the families experiencing this.  I hate that anyone has to live through loss like this.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

conversation


B ends up in our bed between 4 and 5 am every morning.

7 am:

B: "Baaa Ba Baa BA ba ba SQUEAL!"

Me: "Why are you awake?  What time is it?"

He kicks his feet, sticks his fingers in his mouth.

Me: "You must sleep better.  Mama is tired, I don't want to get up."

B: Giggle

Me: "I'm serious."

B: Baa ba ba aaaaa."

He has just learned how to make the baa sound.  He is fascinated by it.

Me: "Would you like milk?" while using sign language.  I want him to stop trying to pull my shirt off in public when he wants to eat.  I told J, "It's like us going to the fridge because we're hungry.  He's doing the same thing, but his fridge likes to keep covered in public."  My analogies (I'm not sure this even qualifies as one) rock when I'm running on a few hours of sleep.

B looks at me like I'm crazy.  I make the milk motion with his hands.  He laughs.

Nursing ... AND "baa baa ahhh baa."  He has now mastered talking while nursing.

Kind-of.

Me: "Aren't you hungry?  Try to focus.  Shh, we can talk after you eat." (Mama is trying to read emails on her phone ...)

B: Nurse - "Ahhhh, SQUEAL, baaaa" - PUKE.

Me, while dropping phone far away from puke: "Really, B, really?  Perhaps you should do one thing at a time."

B, while putting hand in mouth and smearing puke all over his face: "Baaaa!"

Me: "Why is my hair wet?  Did you puke in my hair?  How did that happen??"

good morning!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

love


J broke the no gifts rule.  He does it every year.  I never buy him anything.  It works.  Strange as it seems, this is our balance.  Someone at his work has a second full time job (!) at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, so he asked her to put together some chocolates for me.



There's a lot of how we met stories floating around the blogosphere today.  I thought about writing ours up, but I don't really feel up to it today - a bit of heart ache is slowing me down - so thought I would give you the short version.

- We met at university.
- He was friends with my roommates, but didn't actually attend the university anymore (dropout!)
- Love at first sight for both of us.
- First thing I said to him: "Hello, would you like some cheese?"
- But then: nope, guess I was wrong, not interested.
- Interrupted my studies - he picked up my pencil, threw it in the other room and said, "Ooops, dropped your pencil."
- Would not leave me alone.
- Banned from apartment.
- Called unexpectedly.
- Showed up at my door for a movie.
- Three weeks later we star gazed in a park near the university and talked about marriage.
- June 10, 2006 we married after finishing our respective degrees - though he still had his externship to complete.



Like I said, that's the very, very edited version.  J had a bit of flair then, still does now, but it's changed.  I'll never forget our first kiss, and not just because it took place outside a dorm at my Quaker university (shocking!).  He dropped me off outside my dorm, turned around to leave, stopped his car, jumped over a set of low bushes, grabbed me while I was swiping my security card, kissed me, and kept running.  Lovely, yes?

Time for dinner and a movie.

I hope your day was filled with love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

day of hearts


Valentine's Day: we don't do anything, never have, which is why two years ago my baby shower was on this day of hearts.  We had the shower early, because my sister was going to be living out of town closer to the day.

I think I have two choices here: fall apart because two years ago she was alive and my sister threw me a beautiful shower, or remember the day as a good thing, a time when friends and family celebrated Charlotte and my pregnancy.

I'm hoping for the latter.  I'm trying to call the goodness of it forward, even though looking at pictures of the four pregnant women at my shower makes me shiver.  One in four women lose a baby in the US - or so the statistics say. That picture illustrates it all too well.

In three months we will celebrate? mark? live through? her second birthday. This morning I told a friend I don't want to lose myself on that day, or for all of May.  I want to be the best mama possible to B, and I can't do that if I don't shower/refuse to leave the house/can't force myself out of bed.

The fourteenth of May is Charlotte's Day, yes, but it's also just another day that comes around every year.  As is Valentine's Day.  I need to grieve, our whole family needs to pause for her that day, but pausing is different from stopping, unable to move for the grief.

It's unbelievable how the greatness of grief can transform into a small - though extremely heavy - package I carry around every day.  I don't cry very often, I can handle Valentine's Day without going to pieces, I think I will be okay when May comes around.

Do I wish I had a nearly two-year-old girl with reddish hair sitting at the table coloring hearts for her daddy?  Yes.  With all my heart, yes.  But I'm learning that it doesn't do my heart good to dwell in that place of wishes.  The best thing I can do for her is keep living.  Love her brother and daddy, be a good mama and wife, be content and know that God is at work here.  Even though I can't see the greater picture, He is in control and watching over us.

**

Happy Valentine's Day, sweet girl.  Love you, miss you, hope you are eating a giant cookie with pink sparkles and heaps of frosting.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

hope


During worship at church this morning we sang one of my favorite songs: I Have a Hope.  My faith brought me through the time immediately after Charlotte's birth and death, my pregnancy with Bennett, everything in between, all that's come after.

It's hard to maintain faith sometimes, hard to believe in a loving God when I don't have Charlotte here with me. I don't understand, there's no reason, no why for her death.  When I spoke to the counselor on Thursday she said, "No autopsy then ..."  I responded, "Yes, we had an autopsy done.  There is no cause of death."

No cause.  Cause of death unknown.  If I think about it - stop all other thoughts, focus on breathing and that one idea I feel overwhelmed.  In our modern world how can we not know?  How is that possible?

In the nearly two years since her death I've learned I can't lose myself in the why.  I believe there is meaning and reason, I just can't see it yet.  Yesterday I was listening to the radio when Laura Story's Blessings came on.  The lyrics spoke to my heart and experience.


'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise""

I don't write about my faith very often.  I hope you know I am a follower of Christ even if I don't proclaim it daily.  Sometimes I feel the need to share my faith, let you know God loves us.  Even in our darkest times, when life doesn't make sense and the unknowns overwhelm, He is there.

**

Lyrics in full:

Tommy Walker: I Have a Hope 

I have a hope, I have a future
I have a destiny that is yet awaiting me
My life’s not over, a new beginning’s just begun
I have a hope, I have this hope

God has a plan, it’s not to harm me
But it’s to prosper me and to hear me when I call
He intercedes for me, working all things for my good
Though trials may come I have this hope

I will yet praise Him, my great Redeemer
I will yet stand up and give Him glory with my life
He takes my darkness and He turns it into light
I will yet praise Him, my Lord my God

My God is for me, He’s not against me
So tell me whom then, tell me whom then shall I fear
He has prepared for me
Great works He’ll help me to complete
I have a hope, I have this hope

Goodness and mercy, they’re gonna follow me
And I’ll forever dwell in the house of my great King
No eye has ever seen all He’s preparing there for me
Though trials may come, I have this hope

There’s still hope for me today
‘Cause the God heaven loves me 

Laura Story: Blessings

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Saturday, February 11, 2012

cousin time & pictures


My nephew needed time with his mama today so I headed over to watch my niece (my back isn't hurting as much).  Oh my goodness me, there is a reason one cannot have babies too close together.  Spending the afternoon with a five month old and eleven month old was exhausting!  And fun.  At one point I said, "stop trying to eat each other!"  Never thought I would hear that come out of my mouth.  Proud of myself for taking this on today.  Baby girls make my heart sad, but it's easier now that I have Bennett.


After hitting up a play my nephew's fun day continued with a trip to his favorite place: Applebee's.  We made it super exciting by joining in.  We walked in with a five month old, five year old, eleven month old and two adults.  They seated us at a table.  Booths are a bit easier with young ones.  I told my sister we need a banquet room, preferably one that seats fifty.  I understand why people with little ones often prefer to stay home.

**

I have a lot of pictures on my phone.  Quality isn't always good, but thought I would share fifty a few:

Four-five weeks old




Eight weeks old




Nine weeks


Mama needs sleep


Babywearing


Holiday snooze


Ergo love



Mama has the flu



Loving on Sophie before we left this morning

Friday, February 10, 2012

Are you always this tense?


Today was not my day.  I wrote that earlier post - at 9am - and then it crashed.

I was playing with Bennett upstairs while getting ready.  Bent down wrong, stood up wrong, breathed wrong ... I have no idea what happened, but I threw out my back.  I had to be in a town forty-five minutes away, so hoped it would improve as the day went on.

When J came home shortly after I did he said I should call the chiropractor for an emergency appointment.  I was all whiny, it's almost 4, I don't want to drive over the bridge to that part of town at this hour ..." and now I'm thinking I should have.  J is always right.  It makes me crazy.

My appointment was with Dr. B's husband, the other Dr. B if you will, was at 12:45.  I dropped B off with my in-laws, settled him in, and went to my appointment.  I didn't see the doctor until 1:40 and the appointment only lasted fifteen minutes.  Infuriating.

He didn't know why I was there, I had to explain why I was seeing his wife, before he stuck me with needles.  While massaging my neck before administering the shots he said, "Are you always this tense?"  Yes, yes I am.  The counselor noticed it yesterday too.  I don't relax, sorry.

And telling me I am getting one shot out of three, but only one today, and then sticking me with six or eight needles - lost track - NOT FAIR.  The one in the head was completely uncalled for.  Why do naturopaths always go for the head?  Every time I've had acupuncture I've had to say no, not the head, I don't like it.  Three sticks to the head this go round - yikes.

I'm sure he thought I was crazy.  I kept muttering, "birth is worse, birth is worse," (I despise needles) and when he asked how I was doing I told him I was, "breathing, just doing my birth breathing."  And of course he asked how many kids I have.  That should be the first thing on any medical chart of mine.  Her baby died, don't ask unless you are prepared to be kind about it.  He was speechless, stayed quiet for a while.

While waiting I couldn't sit down comfortably because my back was thrown out.  I would sit, stand, pace, sit, stand, pace.  The receptionist checked on me a few times.  Apologized for how far behind he was.  Asked if I wanted to reschedule.  I said, "I drive forty-five minutes to get here.  I don't want to cancel, but if he doesn't see me by 2 I'm leaving and taking this up with the other Dr. B.  I exclusively breastfeed and I'm sure my son is not taking a bottle right now."

I was right.  He hates the bottle, though he started on it in the NICU.  Using a bottle and spoon my mother-in-law got an ounce down him.  This might alter my plans for J's birthday.  I can't leave him overnight if he won't eat.  He will have some solids by then, but not much.

Tried cup feeding, tried strew feeding - well, with water - so drinking, not feeding.  I think we need to try a sippy cup.  What's your favorite brand?

Two posts in one day - whew.  I'll leave you with a picture of Bennett on our walk tonight.

Northwest baby: he's wearing his first Columbia fleece.


2.10.12


I almost made it up the stairs to ready myself for my doctor appointment this afternoon (needle in the throat!) while Bennett is napping.  But I had to email J some information, and then I started catching up on blogs, and now I'm here.

First counseling session yesterday!  Shew.  (I meant that as an exhalation or exclamation, apparently it means "to prove").  I came away with the distinct impression that she does not think I need counseling.  When I mentioned my anxiety issues she asked if it was normal first time mama anxiety.  I don't think so - but maybe? Giving it a bit more time, a few more sessions, see what comes of it.  Next week Bennett is coming with me.  I do appreciate that I can bring him along, I'm rather attached to that boy (even though I dream of shopping at Target while someone else feeds him).

Last night I asked J to take me out to dinner.  When I do something I don't want to do, or dread, I want a reward.  I think my mother programmed me this way. (Not a bad thing!).  I remember not wanting to go to a dentist appointment once (ever, I hate the dentist) and my mom said if I went I would get ice cream.  Or maybe it was the orthodontist?  I had braces for a while and a headgear.  Or maybe I didn't have the headgear, maybe that was my sister.

So one session down, we'll see how it goes.  I told her about this here blog and now am a bit paranoid - what if she reads?  I asked J this at dinner and he said, "Well, she'll get some insight on you."  True.  And a bit scary.

I have to get ready.  Leaving the house three days in a row is hard (yesterday, today, tomorrow).  I have to shower, put clothes on, dress the baby.  When Bennett woke up at 5:45 yesterday morning I sat at the table eating breakfast with J.  "If we both worked we would have to do this every morning - ugh!" I said as I hunched over my toast.  And then I took the boy and forced him to go back to sleep so I could catch another hour of rest.

I love my life.  I don't understand it, why it had to take this shape, but I love having a baby in arms.

Watching the birds, cars, street sweeper


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Five months!


Bennett's time in the womb seemed to last two years, but his time as an infant is speeding by.  I'm tired and there's a lot happening in the next few days here so no long paragraphs about how amazing Bennett is this time around.  He is wearing a three month onesie in these pictures, time to clean out his closet - again!




Just for fun, one month old

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

suspended


While in the bath with my boy this evening we had a nursing moment. (Thank you for the bath ideas, getting in with him is helping a ton!).  He stopped splashing like a mad man, turned his head and made the noise he makes when he wants to nurse.  So I picked him up, settled down in the warm water and let him nurse away.

He hasn't held that still while nursing since he was a newborn.  He stretched out, belly to belly, his feet almost touching the tops of my knees now *sob, sigh*, relaxed completely and nursed.  I asked J to bring me a towel to drape over him so he wouldn't get cold.  He almost fell asleep, it was the sweetest thing.

And of course I thought about the water birth I've never achieved.  I almost had it with her, not allowed with him.  I envy those pictures of blissful mamas with newly born nursing babes, towels or blankets draped, big smiles, tears of joy and relief.

If I had another baby how much would the desire for a good birth factor in? Tried it with Bennett, failed, had it with Charlotte, she died.  Perhaps the whole experience isn't something I will ever have.  Perhaps for me it's good birth ------> dead baby, tough birth ------> living baby.

I want more babies, but I cannot fathom a third pregnancy.  I cannot even imagine who I would birth with, or where.  So I nurse, cuddle, kiss, smother my boy with all the mama love I possess.  I nurse his hours away from being five months old sweet baby self in the bath with the knowledge that it may be my only time.  A sweet moment tinged with sad, bittersweet come to life.

My first counseling appointment is tomorrow.  I wanted to be all nonchalant about it, but, well, I really would rather not go.  Wish me luck, or bravery, or something - please.

sleep deprived dream


Would you let someone else nurse your baby?  I had a dream last night that I lived with all my friends and we all had nurslings - most of us do! - and babies were fed when they needed to be fed by whomever was around.  It sounds like a commune, but there were televisions and access to Target in this dream so that's not too commune like.

This is what happens when I don't get enough sleep.  I dream of going to Target by myself while someone else feeds my baby.

I love breastfeeding, I love that I am giving Bennett a good start in life - though my immune system is faulty, so I may not be giving him the BEST start possible - but it is tiring.  I am his sole source of food.  It's daunting to think of it like that.

He slept great last night, down at 7, up at 10:30, down at 11, up at 3:45, down at 4:15, up at 7:30.  Ideal night.  But I'm coming off days of less than ideal nights and at 10:30 when he wanted to nurse I thought I was going to cry. (Going to bed at 9 did not help matters). And then he started clawing me with his hands.  I don't know why he does this, I think he just can't hold still even when nursing (he is so active, when I pray over him at night I ask the Lord to calm his busy body so he can sleep peacefully).  His nearly frantic arm movements were making me crazy so I clamped his hands to his sides with my arms and tried to stay awake enough to hold them down.

When he was finished nursing I went back to bed and had my crazy dream. We lived on a beautiful property, acres of golden land, we had gardens, and nice houses.  Our kids were lovely children of the forest: healthy, strong, sweet. We took turns nursing so we all slept plenty.

Life was grand in that dream, friends.

I love being a mama, but the way our culture (western) does the mama thing is strange.  Mamas are burnt out, tired, resent their kids, resent their husbands, want something more from life ... etc.  There's so much competition, and camps, and sides, and right and wrong.  I think mamas should support one another, love one another, help one another.  Raising little ones is hard, yes, but so important, and rewarding too.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2.7.12


We're having sleep issues, forgive me if this post isn't coherent.  I have a lot of questions, thought I would ask you smart people rather than google.

* Bennett is very, very interested in food, but I am trying to hold him off for another month.  I give him carrot sticks to gum, which keeps him interested at the table, and the other day I gave him a chunk of banana to play with.  He did not want to give it back, he gripped it in his little baby fist and licked it like a popsicle.

Playing with baby spoons.



When we start solids how exactly does it work?  Do I nurse, and then give food, or give food and then nurse?  Do we start with one meal a day, or go right to three?  When do I start giving him water to drink?

What do you mean I have to eat with this?!



* Thanks to Bennett's skin issues we have to give him a warm water bath every day.  This issue is so confusing: some say bathe every day, some say don't bathe very much.  Our doctor said the latest research supports bathing every day in warm water without soap so that is what we are doing.

Please tell me there is an easier way to bathe him.  The infant bathtub is NOT working for us.  Well, it works, but I hate it.  It says it's designed for newborns and toddlers.  HA!  Bennett doesn't fit in it very well now, there is no way he is going to make it to toddlerhood.  I use it in the bathtub because he splashes so much, but holding on to him while hanging over the side of the tub is awkward and uncomfortable.  I was looking at bath rings online, but they're $30-$40.00 and as soon as he can sit up on his own we won't use it.

* We are still waiting for his first tooth (teeth?) to come through.  He's been working on it for two months!  Once it's through do we need to start brushing his teeth?  Should I be running a washcloth over his gums now?

*  This last one is J related.  He says he doesn't read here very often, hopefully he skips this post.  J will be 30 in April and I want to do something for him, especially since he won't expect it from me.  I would love to go to Hawaii with my boys, but two years of heavy medical bills makes that impossible.

Ideas?  Suggestions?  Should I throw a big surprise party, or ask someone to watch Bennett so we can have a night away in Portland?  I read a book recently where a wife took her husband to a public garden on his birthday. They were walking around and slowly his friends wandered in to the garden via various access points and then they had a big party.  Lovely idea, but I couldn't orchestrate that.

The boy is awake.  Thanks in advance for helping me!

Monday, February 6, 2012

heart of grief


A couple days ago I wrote about contentment, wanting more for this space, for my life.  This morning I received an email that shattered my heart, left me crying for a mama and family I'll never know or meet.  These emails come in waves: one a week, three a week, a week without and then four.  And that is where the contentment lies, I think, in knowing that people can say whatever they like in an email to me.  I won't judge, I won't blame, I won't criticize.  I will take your baby, your story, your tear laden words, and place them in my heart next to my sweet girl.  I am blessed when I receive these stories, when people choose to sit before their computer and craft their pain into words to send to me.  Yes, these stories make my heart ache, but what is life without some ache?  This morning I've been reminded of the women spread across this world with empty arms and teary eyes.  Hold your babies close.  Tuck your lost ones in tight, down in that corner of your heart where babies who leave too soon snuggle.  Be kind.  Love, forgive, accept.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2.5.12


The Super Bowl is my favorite American holiday - if it can be called a holiday.  I could take or leave the fourth of July - though I do love our independence - it's usually hot and loud, but the Super Bowl warms my heart.  Food, football, family, friends, what's not to love about the Super Bowl?  It feels so American to me too, almost more than hamburgers on the grill and apple pie with vanilla ice cream melting on top.

This is our third or fourth year hosting a party.  If we had a big enough house we would invite a lot of people.  As it is we cram quite a few into our little space.  I make chili and cornbread, others bring chips, candy, veggies, soda, and we eat the entire time the game is going.  It's better than Thanksgiving, I think.

Two years ago, when the television was upstairs and we made people hike up and down for food, I patted my belly and said, "Well, Charlotte ..." before looking at my sister to see if she caught the slip.  She did, but she kept the name quiet until we shared it after her birth.

Bennett has never watched television.  Well, he watches two minutes of youtube videos - monkey riding backwards on a pig anyone? - while J cuts his nails, but other than that no screen time.



Since the television was in the middle of the room today and impossible to avoid we let him stare and drool to his heart's content.  If someone tried to turn him so he couldn't see he would crane his neck until he was flipped back around.

We've finally sorted his rash, well, the source of it.  It's caused by a virus, which explains why it crops up when he has a snotty nose.  I'm glad I went to his doctor and demanded answers.  We've had to resort to cortisone (steroid) cream temporarily, there's really nothing else we can do.  The other creams aren't effective enough and every rashy spot is an area where disease can enter his body, so we must clear it up.

Sometimes I have a hard time balancing my natural inclinations with the modern medical world.  I want Bennett to be healthy and comfortable, but I don't want to turn to medication right away.  I think there are often other avenues which work just as well, if not better.

Yesterday we had a family gathering and my mom was able to snap a picture of her three grandbabies under one.  Bennett is going to have so much fun with his cousins when he is a little older. He did his best to hold still for the pictures.


A while back I had my hair cut in my old style - angled bob.  It's a bit more work, I regret it a little.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2.4.12


Talked J's ear off on the way home from a family event this evening.  I've been praying for guidance for this space, for my writing, for my future.  I've been turning a few questions over in my mind:

Do I finish the book I've been working on?  Can I?

If I do, what then?

Do I seek a place to write that will give me money in the bank?

I want to feel content (writing wise) but I don't, so maybe there is something grand on the horizon?

Will what I want come to me, or will I have to find it?

I explained to J that her death gave me back a love of writing.  I don't want to waste that.

I see others who succeed in this world of blogs and my jealous heart wonders why I've been left out in the cold.

Though I really haven't.

I feel lucky to have a blog that people read.  I feel blessed to have so many comment.  Perhaps this is enough, these wonderful connections I make with people all over this planet.  Perhaps a feeling of contentment is on the horizon.

I hope I don't sound ungrateful, or whiny.  Just doing a lot of thinking.

**

If you are reading this and would like to pay me to write, please do.

Wouldn't it be nice if an opportunity fell out of the sky like that?

sister


I talk about Charlotte around Bennett.  I point out her picture, say her name, mention what clothes and things we bought for her and use for him.  When he chatters at the ceiling I ask, "are you talking to your sister?"  Right now he has no idea what I'm saying, who I'm speaking of, but when he is older he will.

How do I incorporate her into his life?  How do I explain Charlotte to him?  Do we continue to speak of her casually, so he grows up knowing he has a sister somewhere, not here, not alive, but somewhere?  Do we have a serious sit down discussion?  I know there's a book, but it seems tacky to me (no offense to those who have it/use it).
Maybe it just needs better artwork.

Children are perceptive.  I think they often understand heaven and the idea of death better than adults.  Maybe if we say, "you have a sister, she was born before you, but she's in heaven with Jesus now," it will click, he'll just understand.  Maybe believing in heaven makes it easier, because she is somewhere other than gone.

I think/hope/wish we won't have to explain it to him.  I want him to have met her in the passages between life and death where babies wait to become and breathe.  I want there to be a connection between them I cannot understand, if only because I want him to know his sister even if he cannot have her in his life.

It's complicated - all of this - so very complicated.  When I was desperate to have another baby I wish I would have seen the landscape to come, the vast miles of confusion and questions I would have to traverse with a baby in arms and a baby above.

Charlotte is part of us.  Her pictures are all over the house, her rose - still blooming! - and stone in the yard.  Her short life changed us, shaped this family.  Someday we'll find a way to explain her to him.

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