Monday, August 22, 2011

It's been ages, I know...

When my life fell apart two years ago, I stopped blogging. I didn't want anyone to know what was going on in my life. I was ashamed of what I was going through, how I felt about it, how my family suffered. Of course I blamed myself for everything.

I think it's time for me to break my silence.

When I posted in March 2009 about exploring some new possibilities for supporting my family, I had decided to go to school to become a CNA, then later return to college to finish my RN degree.

In April, police came to our home and told us my husband had been accused of a really heinous crime. I felt like somehow I'd been holding my breath waiting for something godawful to happen and this was it.

I completed CNA school in June and thank god I did, because in July he went to court and was given a no contact with minors order. Any minors, including his own children.

I was suddenly a single mom of 5.

I did what I had to do. I found myself a job as a caregiver. And then another, because the first one wasn't enough to make the bills.

I spiraled horribly into a deep, dark depression. I withdrew from all of my friends and most of my family. I began to think that my life was nothing but work, clean house, go to sleep. Rinse, repeat. I was working 75 hours a week, seeing my children for 2-3 hours at most out of the entire day, 6 or 7 days a week.

This whole situation sucked the joy out of my life.

I've since divorced, found a new relationship and had another baby, moved, gotten a new job (only one this time!) and really should feel better about everything. I don't. Or at least, I haven't yet.

But after 2 years of living with this, I am ready to start finding the joy in my life again. I got so caught up in the horror of my reality that I forgot the simple peace, love and joy that exists in a beautiful family such as mine. My life is much easier now than it was back then, but I never "came down" from the stress, shock, sadness, grief and everything else I felt when my life fell apart.

There I go, using that phrase again. Yes, my life fell apart.

But I've since picked up the pieces and put them back together again. The picture doesn't quite look the same anymore, but it's still beautiful. I'm done holding my breath, waiting for it to be beautiful again. It is.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The story of Ayla

Friday the 13th. I'm 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant and my boyfriend, my oldest son and my roommates leave for the county fair, leaving me at home with the 4 small ones. I cook, I clean, I bathe them all and get the 3 smallest kids in bed. I flop on the couch in the garage just *exhausted* until my boyfriend arrives around 10pm. I can barely keep my eyes open as we trudge up the stairs to bed. I collapse into bed, trying to stay awake and spend some time with him but I end up falling asleep in the middle of Weeds. I have a really strange dream and wake up a little confused around 12:30, when the first contraction hits me like a ton of bricks. I'd had some bloody show for a few days but I thought it was from the "stretch and sweep" my doctor had done on Wednesday. I get up to go to the bathroom and see quite a bit of blood and clear fluid, and after being dropped to my knees on the way out of the bathroom by another contraction, I know it's go time. I climb back into bed, trying to let my body rest as long as possible, and also trying to stay quiet so Troy can rest after his long day in the sun and not be totally useless later when I know I'll really need him. Every few minutes, I sit up on the edge of the bed and try to remember every coping technique I'd ever learned to make it through the next contraction. After about an hour or so, I'm crying and shaking through them and I think "I should probably wake him up. We should go." but they were coming so close and lasting so long I couldn't put together a single coherent sentence enough to even talk to him. Suddenly I feel his warm hand on my back, exactly where it hurts the most, and I instantly feel a million times better. He stays with me that way for a while, dozing between them as I am trying to, when I have a sudden mood shift and I feel a sense of urgency that we *must* go to the hospital right that second. I start shaking uncontrollably and feel hot flashes as I try to dial the doctor's office. In my head, I'm freaking out. I'm in transition. If we don't hurry, I could give birth on the side of the highway. I've had a few births where I hit transition and had a baby in my arms 15 minutes later. I'm like "Let's go NOW." We get our bags together and I put on some pajama pants. We wake our roommates to let them know we're leaving and we get in the car. The wretched, wretched car. Oh god, that car ride was *the* longest ride of my life. The contractions feel like they're right on top of each other. In reality, it was a 7 minute ride, tops. In my head, it was hours and I feel such sudden, intense pressure I'm afraid the baby's gonna fall out in the hospital parking lot. Troy, bless his clueless heart, has to be informed that I am NOT walking anywhere and I need a wheelchair. He parks me in front of the ER check in desk and goes to park the car. The nice ladies behind the desk start asking me questions and a contraction hits and I start shrieking and crying and they look at each other like "Oh shit." Thankfully, he's back quickly and we're on our way up to labor and delivery. We get checked in and the nurses ask me if I want an epidural. I answer wearily "Can I have it now?" They get started on the paperwork, the IV, and getting in touch with the anesthesiologist. I'm examined and determined to be 5 centimeters. Shit! I thought for sure I was ready to start pushing in no time. I feel discouraged and even more ready for some pain meds. Thankfully he's only a few doors down from my room and he comes to visit me within a short time. While I'm curled over my belly sitting on the edge of the bed, I hold onto Troy for dear life trying not to move during the epidural because I know if I do I could be seriously hurt or paralyzed. Yeah, how's that for motivation? I have a few contractions that almost kill me, and then blessed sweet relief. I feel a million times better. I lay back and relax, and my poor tired man runs home to swap cars so our roommate will have the right car to do the job that is scheduled for 8am. He's not gone long, and lays down to rest for a bit after he gets back. After about an hour I meet the doctor who will deliver my baby, because my regular doctor of course picked this weekend to go on vacation. I hate this doctor immediately and hate her even more when she checks me and says I'm only at 8cm. In my head I'm going "WTF is taking so long? With my last 3 babies I went from 5-10cm in less than an hour!" The doctor offers to break my water, and I agree, anxious to get things going. After 45 minutes, she checks again and I've still got a cervical lip and she discovers the baby is asynclitic. Oh wonderful. No wonder it was going so slow! So we wait some more, and I'm feeling a little sheepish that I was so panicky to leave the house. After a while I start to feel a lot of pressure and suggest to the nurse it might be time to see how pushing goes. The doctor comes back and says there's still a bit of a cervical lip but she can push it out of the way and see if that works. And it does, after a few pushes the baby starts to move down, albeit slowly. She rotates a bit, then suddenly her heart tones start dropping. They give me some oxygen, and move me from side to side. The doctor puts in a scalp electrode and tries to move the cord that is being compressed alongside her head. (This is known as an occult cord prolapse.) I keep pushing, the baby keeps rotating, moving from ROT to ROA then finally to LOA and her head is almost out. Her heart tones improve and as her head emerges I feel her kicking on her way out. As she's born, her arms flail out as if to say "Here I am!" and she pinks up and starts crying. I feel a little shaky as I take my first look at her, knowing what kind of bullet we just dodged. I look up at Troy, not sure if he realizes what just happened and how scary it was. I peer at her little face, immediately recognizing her daddy's nose and her mommy's mouth and chin. She has gorgeous squishy cheeks, beautiful long fingers and a head full of dark hair. Her APGARs are 8 and 9, and she weighs in at 7 lbs. 12 oz. and 20 in. long. And she's fine. I breathe a sigh of relief, put her skin against mine, and realize that all is right in the world.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

5 months, a little belated

I can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief. After months of stress and worry...

EVERYTHING is fine with regards to Lucius's health. His eye straightened itself out. We saw a pediatric neurosurgeon and she said that yes, his head is a little small and a little narrow and tall, but is fine, the neurological issues he was having with the clonus in his legs is gone, HE'S PERFECT. He rolled over yesterday for the first time and now weighs an astonishing 20 lbs. 12 oz.

He snorts when he laughs and has a sparkle in his eye that just melts my heart. He is a wonderful, smiley, happy baby and I am so, so thankful that he is okay.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2 months old

Oh my beautiful sweet boy. What an incredible 2 months we've had. Things are settling down now that you are healthy and I am starting to relax a little about everything and just focusing on being your mommy. It is my favorite thing to do with my day and I could easily spend the rest of my life snuggling with you.

You have grown so much already. We'll find out soon exactly how much you weigh, but you were 12 pounds 2 weeks ago and I'm guessing you've gained another pound or so already. You have a great appetite, despite all the other hurdles you've overcome you never once stopped enjoying your mama milk. You are holding your head up very well these days and you enjoy a reprieve from the constant snuggling by laying in the bassinette of the pack n play to watch your teddy bear mobile. You often have conversations with those bears, and it makes me smile to hear your voice.

I am in awe of you and your beauty and strength. You inspire me to be a better person. Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy. It is an honor to love you.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Saturn return

I've experienced a lot of life-changing things lately. Lucius's pregnancy and birth really spun my head around and I realized that having a safe, healthy mom and baby was a million times more important than how the baby arrived. Then he got sick and got sick again and I realized that doctors, hospitals and medicine aren't ALL bad, and that avoiding Western medicine like the plague actually prolonged our illness and suffering needlessly. I realized that it's okay to let some of the holy crunchy checklist slide, because the most important things are in my arms or asleep down the hall and everything else is just gravy. I realized a course of antibiotics to be rid of a sinus infection in a few days instead of suffering for weeks is actually a really nice thing, and that a pack of Pampers is worth its weight in gold to an exhausted stressed out mommy or daddy who simply does not have the energy to wash a load of diapers, change an outfit because the cloth diaper leaked, or wake up 5 times a night to change the cloth diapers. Here's a pretty big one: I realized a baby with a compromised immune system is better off being vaccinated than being at risk from dying of a preventable disease. I realized a moses basket, pack n play or yes even a crib can be a really nice place to lay a sleeping baby down while I clean, cook, shower or hug my other kids for a while. I realized that although wearing a newborn baby in a sling for a quick shopping trip totally works, a 2 1/2 shopping marathon, not so much. There are times when bringing the baby bucket into the store and using it to hold the baby even for a little while can help me to not feel like I've dislocated my arm. Also in the last few months, I've figured some things out that were causing so much extra work and money because I was being stubborn. I realized that shopping at Wal-Mart saves my family almost $100 a trip. I realized that corn dogs or chicken nuggets were okay for lunch sometimes.

Most of all, I've realized that I've been caring entirely too much about what people think about me and the choices I make for my family. I'm letting some things slide that I was very adamant about before, and I feel GOOD about it because I have more space in my heart and mind to tend to the little people in my life that matter a million times more than winning the crunchiest mom on Earth award.

I'm heading toward what they call the Saturn Return.

Wiki has a good explanation:

The Saturn Return is an astrological phenomenon that occurs at the ages of 27-30, 58-60, and finally from 86-88, coinciding with the time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun. It is believed by astrologers that as Saturn "returns" to the degree in which it occupied at the time of birth -- approximately every 29.5 years -- a person crosses over a major threshold and into the next stage of life. With the first Saturn Return, a person leaves youth behind and enter adulthood. With the second Return, maturity. And the third and usually final Return, a person enters wise old age.

The first Saturn Return is famous because it represents the first test of character and the structures a person has built their lives upon. According to traditions, should these structures be unsound or that a person is living out of touch with his or her true values, the Saturn Return will be a time of upheaval and limitations as Saturn forces him or her to jettison old concepts and worn out patterns of living. It is not uncommon for relationships and jobs to end during this time of life restructuring and reevaluation.

But the Saturn Return is not all about painful endings. During this time astrologers note that goals are consolidated and people tend to gain a better vision of where they are going in life. There are added responsibilities and a person may reap the rewards from his or her hard work. Many major life milestones seem to happen around the ages of 29 and 30. This is why astrologers believe that the thirtieth birthday is such a major rite of passage because it marks the true beginning of adulthood, self-evaluation, independence, ambition, and self actualization.

I'm definitely re-evaluating everything and finally figuring some things out. I've got a plan for the next few years and it feels good. It's a little scary because I'm making plans to do some things that are a bit outside what I had originally planned for my family but it's a good solid plan for us moving forward instead of staying stuck in the same place for god knows how long waiting for my husband to find a job.

I hope to be reporting back in this blog someday that all my plans and dreams came true.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I wish Stacy and Clinton would pay me a visit

I'm at that weird in-between stage of postpartum where I definitely don't need maternity clothes anymore, I can wear my pre-pregnancy jeans just fine but I feel so awkward and uncomfortable in my clothes that I end up wearing sweats and t-shirts most of the time and I am totally rocking the frumpy mom look. Sigh. I need a personal stylist, and while I'm at it I'd totally take the Bank of America card to go shopping with. :D


The MRI and EEG both came back completely normal. His primary care provider at the moment is incredibly incompetent and entirely too busy to actually pay attention to her patients so we are in the process of changing clinics and doctors and from there we will figure out what, if anything, needs to be done next.

I'm incredibly frustrated with our soon to be former clinic, but so relieved that at least his brain works right.

Oh, and he's up another pound from last week to a whopping 12 pounds. At 6 weeks and 3 days old, that's pretty amazing to have gained 4 pounds already. Growing like a weed, my little man!