Monday, December 9, 2013

Premature assumptions

I always assumed that moms with sick children or with babies in the NICU were simply more capable. They were genetically filled with hope, gifted with a wealth of confidence and oozing with fortitude. They were proof that God never gave a person more than they could handle. They were born to weather trials; wired to somehow make it look easy.

Then, one day short of 32 weeks, I was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia and delivered my 3 lb miracle baby. I was completely unprepared for the size of my minuscule son, for the trauma of the entire situation. I was terrified that there was simply no way that a child that small could survive. The reality in that moment was overwhelming. The delivery room was filled to capacity with doctors and nurses tending to my tiny baby's needs. I immediately succumbed to grief and self loathing. I had evicted my poor baby before his body had a chance to prepare for life on his own. He must be terrified, surrounded by so many people, what kind of Mama does that to their baby? (Obviously, logic fled the scene shortly after I was told that Owen was to be delivered 2 months early...)

As I was heavily medicated, I was not given permission to go hold my new son. Many hours after delivery, as an act of mercy, the nurse wheeled me in to see Owen before moving me to the recovery room. The medication impaired my vision quite a bit and it was hard to see my son in the incubator. He was so tiny. Simply putting my hand on his back seemed to cause him distress. There was no way that I could comfort him, soothe him, or make it better. It was 24 hours before I was allowed to see him again.

I chose to focus on what I COULD do for him and began working to produce milk for him. It did not seem enough but I clung to it and committed myself to it with fervor. I felt so incredibly unprepared. For so very many things.

I was unprepared.

So very unprepared for the near paralyzing fear that I had not had the chance to do my research on premature babies. What is the best treatment? How can I help him thrive? Can I simply trust that these medical professionals are making his health their priority? WHAT CAN I DO?? [and so I pumped]

My mind and heart were not prepared for the sight of my baby. He almost did not look real to me. His skin was saggy and he was literally covered in hair. His face was mostly covered by the breathing apparatus and foam glasses to protect his eyes. I had no idea what he looked like. I could not see his face. It broke my heart that I could not simply pick him up and comfort him. That the touch I had hoped to soothe him with could cause him great distress. [and so I went back to my hospital room and pumped.]

I was unprepared for my complete disregard for my appearance. I could be seen traipsing down the hospital halls in my hospital gown and socks heading to see Owen every chance I got. I had a singular focus and my appearance did not register. (Sadly, this seems to have become the norm, even 8 months after the fact.)

I was unprepared for how quickly the jealousy and distrust I harbored for the nurses that got to see Owen all day long turned to acceptance. then gratitude and friendship. The men and women taking care of Owen became trusted friends as we worked together to give Owen every thing he could possibly need. [I just kept pumping. Pumping. PUMPING.]

I was so eager to get out of the hospital that I was completely unprepared for how difficult it would be to travel back and forth to the NICU. I had never heard of Kangaroo care but I was committed to giving Owen that very same care at least twice a day. I also encouraged dear hubby to get there at least once a day. My hubby was able to bond with Owen in a way that he had not been able to with our first born. He had hours of uninterrupted Owen bliss. He was able to provide something for Owen and found the experience very fulfilling.

My house, my husband and my other children became obstacles that kept me from spending my time with my dear, teenie baby. It became difficult to divide my time and my attention. I found myself biding my time until I could sneak away to the hospital to cuddle my tiny man. It was almost as if he was comforting me as much as I was comforting him. I still count those late night cuddles as some of the most precious moments I have had with Owen. I was bipolar at home. At times I threw myself into my housework to distract myself from the reality that my baby was still in the hospital. Other times, the laundry waited. I accepted many, many meals from my friends and family. I allowed everything not crucially important to fall by the way side.

Road rage did not begin to describe what came over me if anyone slowed me down on the way to the hospital. Anyone keeping me from spending even one more precious moment with Owen was in danger of bodily harm. Not kidding.

Breastfeeding. Yes, it would seem impossible for a child that itty bitty to breastfeed. I thought the nurse was out of her ever-loving mind to even suggest it. It seemed to mirror the classic David vs Goliath battle. I will not go into any more detail but my little man never stopped trying. Bless his heart! [Do not get me started on the personal pumping hell that I was in. Breasts and plastic are not friends and they will never be. At one point I was ready to disown the painful masses that had taken over my breasts. All that pumping was not as easy as it sounds.]

I was blown away by my little fighter. He was making such great progress that I was moved to tears of pride on a regular basis. He seemed to be handling the situation better than I was.I was giddy with each ounce he gained.  I celebrated all of my successes as well. I never could have imagined how proud I could be when I was brave enough to change his diaper on my own. The first time I picked him up out of his incubator without assistance. His first bath. The day I finally figured out what all the beeps and flashing numbers meant. I dearly wanted to take a victory lap for each personal victory!

Oh, the crush I developed on his doctor. Surprisingly, I was enamored with the doctor wearing the high-water scrubs and sporting the long gray pony tail. Oh, the teenage blushing and the silliness that came out of my mouth when he would stop by. Kind doctor tolerated my geeky affections which made me love him more. Don't fret, I am convinced that my husband harbored the same crush on Doctor Ponytail. I adored him for the wonderful care he took of my precious baby. Dreamy sigh.

I had a newborn but I was able to sleep at night...for the most part because I had a whole team of people taking care of Owen. It was like easing into having another baby, in a strange way. I didn't have to figure it all out on my own. I had SO much help! Despite that, I was so eager to get Owen home. He had spent 30 days in the NICU and the routine was exhausting. 30 days seemed like a lifetime to simply visit my baby. 30 days WAS a lifetime. I wanted to see Owen all day long. I wanted life to regain a little bit of normalcy. I was therefore completely unprepared for the near paralyzing fear when I was allowed to take my now 5 lb baby home. I was overjoyed and completely FREAKED OUT.

Lucky for me, Owen continued being the superstar that he was at the hospital at home as well.

I was wrong. Mothers with children in the hospital are not better equipped or genetically wired to handle the situation. They are simply mothers. Mothers with extraordinary children. I had underestimated the strength of a mother's love. It will weather all, endure all, climb every mountain and go to any length to care for her children. It is really that simple. As unprepared as I was, it all worked out.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

*singing* Me me me me; Me ME ME ME

This is more than a little self indulgent, but isn't that the prerogative of the blogger? To air whatever one wants to whenever the urge strikes? Mmmmhmmm. I had hoped to have a loftier message for this blog and indeed, I used to blog about more important subjects but today. . .I am in a ME sort of mood and yes, I AM singing Bobby Brown's My Preogative as I type, and drink coffee. I am a multi-tasking fiend!

I went for a jog this morning. I cinched up my hands-free pumping bra as a sports bra (over my tshirt and sweater of course) and off I went in the rain. Before the end of the first block I was panting, my feet were soaked and my running shoes were waterlogged. Awesome. I succeeded in jogging more than I walked and the makeshift bra held up just fine; likely because my jogging looked alot like walking. Because of this *ahem* "jog", I am going to have to type faster than my brain can think; before my useless muscles completely freeze up from the shock of activity and render myself paralyzed.

The DMV brought an ego-centric epiphany of sorts on Tuesday. I was equal parts shocked at how poorly I masked my irritation that it took 68 minutes to renew my license and proud that we all survived the ordeal. I had baby and Evan in tow and we survived. Mostly because I simply let Evan run around shouting, allowing more running and shouting the longer we waited as I tried to resist the urge to stab myself or someone near to me in the eye with a pen. Seemed only fair. Moms with children should be allowed to renew licenses via mail or online AND we should be allowed to use whatever picture we want.
Any one of these 3 pictures would do just fine on my license. :)

To have my license capture me on a sleep deprived morning, pre-caffiene. . .well no Mama should have to show anyone that picture. . ever. In my spare time, I am going to completely re-vamp the DMV and the current license policy. Instead of listing a weight, we should be allowed to put a dress size. . .that we would all still lie about. Hmmm.

I finally amended the height and weight portion from the stats I was able to list when I got my license a million years ago. It seems I have shrunk 2 inches in height and more than made up for that in girth. Awesome. I resisted listing bloodshot as my eye color and hair? Well luckily they called my number while I still had some hair on my head.
me. 5 years ago. 

I got the kids and I back in the car and realized that I felt a little traumatized. Yup. I have been to Calcutta, Kenya, the Middle East. I have seen and done things that SHOULD have been forever traumatizing. And yet, the DMV...the DMV traumatized me. The reality slammed into me. I am no longer 10 feet tall and bullet proof. When did that happen and how can I reverse it?

Home. Sigh. Home. I pulled the new license out to look at it. GASP! What have the past 5 years done to me and why do I have SO MUCH MORE FACE? (clearly I needed more face to grow more hair on it.)  I thought that the past five years have been more tame than the 20 before it. Obviously, I have been sitting here spending ALL of my time aging and growing more face.
SO much face!

While I have been expanding and aging, some amazing women have been changing the world. Literally.

My dear friend Kara has been on the adoption journey of a lifetime. She had fallen in love with a ginger baby doll in Russia, had committed to bringing him home when Putin pulled his nasty trick. Heartbroken she pulled herself together and continued on her journey to give an orphan a home. THEN she found out she was pregnant! She gave birth a matter of weeks ago and she is currently in country and met her son yesterday (with new baby in tow.) The joy of that meeting was nearly my undoing. What an incredible testament of the power of one and what God can do when people say yes. Feel free to fall in love with Kara and her family.

And then there is Kim. Sigh. Kim. I need to take a moment to thank Facebook, Reece's Rainbow and the Oregon Zoo for the friendship I have with Kim. She is such a bright light that I cannot find enough glowing adjectives to describe her. She has said yes to God in such an amazing way, taking her family with her to Ukraine to volunteer with orphans. AHHHH-MAZING! They leave next week. I really cannot recommend following their blog enough. It is a made-for-TV movie waiting to happen. (in my opinion they should all get to play themselves in the movie because they are all too cute for words!)

So. . .while I have been sitting here aging and slapping you all upside the head with poor grammar and self indulgent drivel, there are people out there CHANGING the world for the better. I have my hands full right now, so perhaps I can focus on changing the DMV for the better.

Drive safely out there people, you do NOT want to see my license or my massive face frowning at you! Talk about traumatizing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What love can do

On Oct 17th 2012 little Evan walked into the room where Eli, Husband and I were anxiously waiting. Our world tilted on its axis and life was never the same.

[I have so much that I want to say but I must warn everyone that I am in the midst of some serious sleep deprivation courtesy of my lovely little boys so I apologize if sentences run on, suddenly end or make no sense whatsoever. This is the reality that I am living in and I did not want the day to go by unacknowledged. .. so this is my disclaimer.]

This was the photo in the file. The photo I said "no" to. Silly me. This is the boy I thought I would meet. With the super sad eyes. Such a forlorn little face.

In walked this little guy. He had our hearts immediately. Worlds changed that day.
Our first moments with Evan. Look at those cheeks. He did not make eye contact once during this meet and greet. 

One year ago we met a little boy and we said yes. What a crazy journey this past year has been. Evan has grown and changed right before my very eyes. He is speaking and joking, fighting and testing. Running and building, eating and playing, hugging and pushing. All the things he is supposed to be doing.  He is no longer the baby that we brought home, but a boy, a student and a strong- willed, loving son.

Looking back I am SHOCKED by the transformation!

Eli and Evan quickly bonded and learned to play together.  Evan was so teeny compared to Eli and his motor skills were shaky at best. Walking and running was clearly not something practiced regularly.

Our first play date. He was clearly uncomfortable. 

Oh, what a convoluted and heartbreaking path led us to that room on that fated day, waiting for the child that was clearly meant to be ours. God has such a way of opening eyes and hearts, even the most conflicted of hearts and filling them with blessings.

It has been a hard, frustrating, scary, tiring, joyful, amazing and wondrous journey. In reality, we are still just at the beginning of this journey, but it is totally worth looking back to see how far the year has taken us. What love, patience and faith can yield.

Thank you Evan for changing my life. For opening my eyes. For making me better. For being such an amazing brother and friend to Eli. For replacing my fear and trepidation with love and laughter. For making me cry with love and frustration. For making me learn and grow for your sake. For the never ending piles of laundry created by your need to be fashionably dressed....when you deem clothing to be necessary. For "lubbing" me in the way that only you can. You amaze me and I love you so very much.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I am on the couch again. I just finished some ice cream and I am tempted to open the bag of tortilla chips. The couch has been vacuumed and the cushions laundered. The rug has been shampooed. The bottom drawer in the kitchen has been reclaimed. Spaces once occupied have been refilled and in a quick manner. The gaping hole in my heart cannot be refilled and therefore, I am eating my pain. It does not seem like I can eat enough to fill the hole left by one teeny dog.

Last night I stayed up late just to cuddle our dear Wicket. We knew back in April that the end was looming. Knowing the morning could not be delayed, I desperately wanted to soak up a little more time with our once feisty friend. I cuddled and cooed, snuggled and gazed into his tired, trusting eyes, refusing to go to sleep. Dreading the morning.

Six years ago our family grew to include the furriest and most loved member of our clan. We named him Wicket. I carried him home in the palm of my hand. He was THAT small.  His personality and massive under-bite made him formidable. You can see that we used a weed whacker box as a barricade. It worked.

Previously, I had a life long fear of dogs. Whilst in therapy for the attack in Kenya, I found that I was no longer afraid of dogs and I hankered for one BAD. Despite Wicket's size, he was still able to strand me on the couch with his tiny and ferocious bark. Hubby found it endlessly hysterical that I was not sure how to handle this teensy but feisty ball of fluff. Honestly, it took several months for Wicket and I to adjust to each other enough for me to risk stepping down from my safe perch on the couch.

We had a terrible time trying to potty train puppy. He was a drinking and peeing machine. Admittedly, it is hard to potty train a dog that has you cornered on the couch for so many hours a day.
My brother dog sat for us when we went on our honeymoon and I remember him saying, "this dog never stops peeing!" Unbeknowst to my dear brother, who kept Wicket's water bowl filled to the brim at all times he was exacerbating the piss machine. He ended up taking Wix out for a pee every 20 minutes for a week and we came back to a house-broken dog. Best wedding present ever!

Eli and Wicket have grown up together. (Sigh, must stop here. The screen is too hard to see through the tears.) Eli was the only one that thought Wix's "trick" of dragging his butt on the rug was gut bustingly funny. They had a special understanding.

When he was just one year old he was diagnosed with poor back legs and he had surgery on them to stabilize them. Once he could finally be groomed again, the groomer found a lump on his front leg. . .cancer. Another surgery. Poor pup had 3 sore legs but continued terrorizing the socks in our house and protecting us from the mailman and our pesky bills. He continued to prance around the neighborhood with such swagger. He was unstoppable. Or so we thought.

Wicket never met a cat he didn't want to chase; a dog he wouldn't stand up to; a stick he wouldn't turn into saw dust;  a yard he didn't want to roll around in or a person he would not lick to death. Wicket loved people and the feeling was mutual. Everyone that met Wicket loved him. Most chose not to lick him to death, though they may have been tempted. He was one of a kind and will be missed tremendously.
Rest in Peace Wicket! I love you!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Faith, Hope and Mickey Mouse

Those that have been following my meandering path through life and adoption have heard me lament many a time: adoption is hard. It taxes your energy, pushes your faith to its limits, drains your bank account and just when you think you have nothing left to give, adoption asks you to give even more.

My dear friend Kara started the process to adopt precious Nico and then a nice warm fuzzy man a million miles away decided he did not want Nico or any other waiting orphan in his country to be adopted. Mourning the loss of her sweet boy, Kara and her family waited and prayed, and then stepped out in faith again. The faith of this family is incredible.

Kara and her dear family are now working to bring home Colton, a darling sweet boy with DS. A boy that turned three just this weekend. The added expenses from changing direction, the stress and grief have not shaken them. Firm is their resolve to bring a needy child into their home, heart and family. Read more about them HERE.

Grace under such pressure is not seen much these days. They are hosting a MARVELOUS giveaway to raise the remaining needed funds to bring Colton home. Let us bless them and reward their faith with our support. It is not selfless, there are tickets to Disneyland at stake. Mickey Mouse will personally thank you for supporting this awesome family on this incredible journey.

Check out this epic giveaway!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When I was high

I have attempted to get my thoughts down several times and eloquence is just out the window. I mentally wrote this post several times whilst high and dingy on meds and it was at least humorous....without the meds I really cannot guarantee much.
Oh So Pregnant.

On Saturday I was huge. Pregnant and miserable. Huge. I found myself sitting in the hospital debating whether or not to get checked out. I feared something was amiss and I feared in equal parts that I was simply a hypochondriac about to rack up an insane medical bill for a little peace of mind. When I got up from my indecisive perch, I was heading home. . .and instead my feet led me to the front desk to get checked out.

2 hours later I was in an ambulance headed to a different hospital. A hospital equipped to handle the tiny baby that I was likely to have soon. It did not matter that we were supposed to go buy our mini van that day. That I was not due for 2 more months. That we were not ready at all. . .that baby was not ready. I was shuttling to an outcome that no one was not prepared for in the least.

And then I was high. My vision was scrambled, my mind was in shambles and I was about to meet my new son for the first time.

The whole experience was more than traumatic and I think that I will be working through it for quite some time. My baby boy is tinier than I could have imagined but he is so strong and is showing the world just what he can do and I am blown away by him. He does not seem to be bothered by the change in his plans. He is rising to the occasion and making the best of things. He is showing his Mama up in every way possible.

Looking back I am ashamed at myself. Oh I spent so much time moaning about how miserable I was pregnant. Trust me.. .I was MISERABLE! So very sick. Do not get me started....

I abhorred the sight of my swollen face, avoided pictures and was an all around pain in the butt about it all.

Shame on me. My dear boy was safe and snug in my super sized hotel. If only I could have focused on that a little more and focused on my own discomfort a little less. The outcome may not have changed a bit, but I recognize what an honor it is to care for such a little warrior in such an important way. There are no do-overs as much as I might beg for one.
My first chance holding Baby O. Bliss.

I love you, little man. Thank you for showing me what true strength is. I look forward to watching your amazing progress, I have so much to learn from you!

How is it that such an ordinary pain in the butt like myself can be so blessed with such incredible children? Please dear God, do NOT let me screw them up. They are awesome.

Friday, April 5, 2013

More than ready to party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

It snuck up on me again! I had planned to be prepared, but that would totally be out of character. This is my second blog party, and it feels like I am waiting in line to be chosen for dodgeball. I have  donned my sweat band and knee socks, laced up my shoes and pulled out the t-shirt that screams "notice me!"

My blog started out as a lamentation about life, miscarriage and picking up the pieces but morphed into our adoption and new pregnancy journey. Change is good and the other stuff was too depressing anyways! Despite all the excitement and change, my life now revolves around the quest for blissful, uninterrupted sleep.Since my quest for sleep is not the most riveting of topics for a blog; I post about anything my husband or two children do that tickles my fancy. My 3 year old just peed ALL over the bathroom floor. ..

Let's PARTY!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


The hip bone's connected to the back bone
The back bone's connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone's connected to the head bone....

If only this was really true. 

My hips no longer feel connected to anything. Clearly my neck bone has withered into rolls of swollen fat. I have more rings than a tree and I can only hope that everything leaves a beloved stretch mark so I can forever remember the awesomeness of this pregnancy. 
Added at my own risk.  This was taken yesterday. Those that know me know this is not a typical look....those that dont can judge. Enjoy. 

In my sleep last night I somehow injured the spot on my arm where my bicep used to be. It must be a phantom pain because there is clearly no muscle left there (or anywhere in my body.) I tried to pick up Evan this morning and my arm failed to give me an assist. Lucky for Evan he has a steel like grip that never fails him and my little koala hung on for dear life while my right arm hung limply by my side...aching.  My head bone failed to register the fact that my body is useless and I attempted to walk downstairs. This simple act clearly illustrated that my hip bones were no longer connected to anything. Ezekial is falling down on the job. Clearly.  They are free floating entities with minds of their own. They do not often wish to go in the same direction at the same time and produce wonderful groans from my mouth bone. 

My head bone is wishing it could fall asleep for the next two months and simply wake up with a body that is once again properly connected and functioning. ..with a new precious baby to show for it. 

Dem bones dem bones...gonna walk around. But maybe not for the next two months. 

**disclaimer. This is not a pity post. I should be offering this up or gaining some character from the experience. I refuse. Instead I am sharing my misery instead of a lovely update about Evan and Eli. Boom. With a soundtrack which Eli sings as "dem boings dem boings gonna bonk around."  Blame my head bone. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

What it looks like

It is not always pretty. Seemingly never easy and yet, it is the greatest undertaking I have ever attempted....some call it parenthood. I call it crazy.

We got home from our first family vacation with Evan last night. I was SPENT. My legs, ankles and feet were swollen to ridiculous proportions and I thought to myself "was it really worth it?" I swear I aged ten years in 7 days.

I watched the boys playing and running off their excess energy while I elevated my ginormous feet and for the first moment all felt normal. It didn't feel like I was getting used to having 2 three year olds in my house. It didn't seem too loud, too crazy, too much. My boys were just playing and I was simply enjoying them. Haha. It sounds so silly as I read this . .but I am in tears reliving the moment. I didn't realize what an effort the past three months have been, that even the little moments were a transition that required focus and energy. What a blessed little moment last night.

I love Evan the same as if he was my biological child. It took some doing, but it is there and I cherish my houseful of little boys. I cannot illustrate the love or explain why it took such effort.. . but this is the result and it is more beautiful than I can stand. I am such a lucky girl.

Evan when we met him.
Evan today. Grown out of his 18 month shirt! Yippee!

Goofing with his big brother
 And Evan soaking up the good life on vacation. What could be sweeter?