Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving

Today is a day we celebrate all the things we are thankful for.

And though it is sometimes hard to remember all of the blessings we have, especially in those times where it feels like life is doing its best to bring you down, it can be helpful to be reminded of what you do have.

But today, we spent with my family.  As I was rocking my youngest to sleep, I was listening to my oldest having a conversation with her grandmother in the other room.

I don't remember exactly what she was saying.  But I remember just being in awe at the intelligence in her statements.   And how observant she was.

And it brought me back to this picture 7 years ago.


And how little we knew of what the future held and how scared we were.  She still wasn't eating much by bottle and we had no idea of what her long term issues would be (if any.)

I just had to smile, looking back on it.  And how thankful I am that it turned out the way that it did.  And how thankful I am that she is in my life, the lessons she's taught me.  And continues to teach me.







Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Beating those giants

"Don't you be afraid

Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight
He's right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall" ~Francesca Batistelli

Most days, I feel like the stones inside my hand are too small.  That they will never take down the giants in my life.

But when I heard this chorus (Francesca Batistelli again, for the win!) I immediately thought of my first born.

Her stones were incredibly small, but boy did they take down some giants.



I can't even take credit for her taking down those giants.  SHE did that.  All on her own.



I wish I could remember exactly the words our favorite nurse used to describe her.  Small, but mighty.

She's overcome so many challenges in her short life already and I know she'll overcome so many more.

You can't keep this child down.




"We could really live like this
Can't you imagine it
So bold, so brave
With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face" ~Francesca Batistelli




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

This kid. Oh how I love her.

She truly is so smart and aware, even if she doesn't want to share.



It's been a rough couple of days for me and I was just at my emotional end this evening and she was not in a good mood. We fought, and battled, and argued. Every night, I pray with her before she goes to sleep and tonight I started bawling in the middle of it. Her concern was immediate, and like a light switch. All posturing, stubbornness, anger towards me disappeared from her little body and you could see her face immediately become very concerned. She asked me why I was crying and I tried my best to explain how much I loved her and how much I hated fighting with her.  Her answer?

"Mom, it's ok.  Sometimes you just push my buttons and sometimes I push yours.  I don't mean to do mean things to you, you just push my buttons sometimes."

And then she finished up with this, as I cried even more,

"Now, go hug your husband."

The tears of sadness were immediately replaced with those of laughter.

How is it that one so small could know just how to make things better?  

I hope she knows, truly knows, just how special she is.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spend a moment in my head

It's hard to explain the thoughts running through my head on most days.


A cacophony of noise, never slowing, never ceasing.  I'm extremely observant, often sensing things to come before they even happen.  Many times, I've known a friend was pregnant well before they've told me and only because something in my gut said so.

I've been accused, many times, of being "over anxious," of bringing bad things to reality simply because I "believed" something bad would happen.

What they don't realize is just how many times and in how many ways that little voice in my head has been right.

The year my grandmother died, I mentally began preparing myself for her loss.  My grandmother was exceptionally healthy.  She had never been sick.  She had far outlived my grandfather.  She traveled everywhere and was living the life as a retiree.  That year, I began to have a feeling she wouldn't be with me for long.



She died that December.

The "voice" was right.

I knew from the beginning that something wasn't "right" with my pregnancy with Elisa.  I didn't know what was wrong.  I didn't know why I felt that way.  I thought it was just anxiety because of the two I lost before her.

I had no previous experience to go on, but my mind was screaming at me the week before I left for Arizona that something was wrong.  Even when everyone kept telling me everything was ok.  To not worry.  It would be fine.

And then, there she was, 11 weeks early.



That "voice" was right.

I was strangely calm with Aidan.  I'm not going to say I wasn't scared, because I was.  Because I knew what could go wrong.  I was worried that it would happen again, because I KNEW it could happen again.  But that "voice" was strangely quiet.



That "voice" was right.  He was my only baby to avoid the NICU.

I knew the endometriosis was back and with a vengeance back in 2014.  Even though I was asymptomatic.  That voice, again, was screaming in my head.  But I had no proof.

It took 9 months and 3 doctors before I had proof.  And a resolution.



That "voice" was right.

I knew in those final days with Avery, again, that something was wrong.  I didn't feel your typical excitement at knowing you were going in to have your baby.  That you'd made it again.  I kept telling myself it was ok.  She was 37 weeks.  I'd made it.  I was relieved because I wouldn't be in physical agony anymore.  But I also was terrified, deep down in the recesses of my mind.  I knew something was wrong.  I cried when they were putting the epidural in.  I cried when they laid me back on the table.  I cried when they lifted those sheets.

But I closed my eyes and I took deep breaths to calm myself.  And I won.


But that "voice" was right.

So, what's my point in all of this?  I don't really know.  I know I'm PTSD triggering.  I know it's because Avery's birthday is approaching.  I know I'm physically sick with anxiety, but what do I have to be anxious about?  I know I want to go into a room and close the door and never leave until this is over.

But, until what is over?

So I also know I'll stop that door and prop it wide open.  I'll take deep breaths, I'll square my shoulders, I'll hold my head high and I'll move forward.



And please, if I ever tell you that I know something is wrong, but I can't tell you what it is, don't tell me I'm worrying about nothing.  That it's all in my head.  That my "negativity" will cause bad things to happen.

Because, so far, that "voice" has a perfect batting average.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It seems we've reached the end.

Of a year.  And of nursing.

And sometimes, I really can't believe I made it.

I look back on those first pictures of her.


I remember those cheeks and just how chubby they were.  I remember how I feared I wouldn't make it this time as well, as they fed her bottle after bottle in an attempt to get her critically low blood sugar up.  How I refused to pump since I wasn't going THERE.  This wasn't going to happen again.

But then it did.  And I struggled to catch up.  Worried my milk would never come in since I waited so long to start pumping.


And it did.  And she came home.  And lost weight.  And was labeled as "failure to thrive."


And yet, we fought.  Through nursing and pumping and supplements.  Long nights and even longer days.  Finding out she was both lip and tongue tied, causing her inability to gain weight.


Only to be told by one uncaring doctor that our "parts just didn't match."  And that I should just give up and give her bottles.

But I didn't.

And she thrived.

And even though we are still a few weeks away from officially being a year, I know our journey is done as she gains more independence from me.  And let's not mention the biting...


But we finally did it.  Even when everything was so stacked against us.  The NICU.  The ties.  The weight gain.  The pain.

And while I didn't "fail" with my others, giving up so early as at the end of the day, they were fed.  And thrived.  And were happy.  But I so wanted to get there just once.  And I did.


And now it's on to even more journey's together.



This isn't the end, but the start of something new.  The best is yet to come.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Can it possibly be?

8 months of me?


Seriously, the happiest baby on the block!


I find it hard to put into words the joy you bring to our lives.  When you smile, your whole face smiles.  I can even tell from behind when you finally gift the stranger who is cooing over you with your smile.


Your brother and your sister live for your giggles.


And your kisses.  Your brother loves to get in your face and have you try to "wrestle" him.


But I can see that you can't wait until you can join them in their antics.


Oh, the joy you bring to our lives.  You were definitely a risk worth taking.  And I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Let it go?

Why is it so hard to just "let it go?"  The hypervigilence, the ever watchful eye on my oldest and her growth and development?

Why do three little words hold so much power over my emotions?

Would it be irresponsible of me to stop being so aware of her health and her development?

Is this just a side effect of her premature birth?  Or is this a normal "mom" thing?



This last weekend, I was trying to explain why it was so hard to let go of the hypervigilence I have when it comes to Elisa and her growth and development.  When she's doing so well now, 6 years later.

And think of it this way.  When you have a baby in the NICU, every morning you are greeted with a status report from the doctors after they round.  And every morning for us we were greeted with "She's doing great, but....."

And that but was always followed with some THING we still had to keep an eye out for.  That still could potentially befall her.  That she was healthy now, but things could change in the blink of an eye.

I know my preemie moms understand this.

Even when we were released, we were told how great she had done....but was given a list of things to look out for.  And avoid.  As it could mean life or death to her.

Think of the imprint that leaves on a person?  Walking out, finally after all those weeks with your baby.  Thinking, finally life will become "normal."  Only to be left with that "but" hanging over your head.

And 6 years later, I'm still waiting for that "but."  Is it safe to let go of that but now?  Is it irresponsible of me to let it go?



And I truly am looking for feed back on that.  Is it irresponsible of me to let that "but" go?  To take my eyes off of it and try to find some sort of peace from the fear that this is all a dream?  And too "good" to be true?  That she could have come out of this experience with no long lasting effects? 

Can I finally let myself off the hook?