Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Family Vacation

I decided last Sunday evening to plan a surprise trip partially to celebrate my wonderful husband's birthday. We wanted to do something special before he leaves for Officer Candidate School in June too so this was an awesome opportunity.

We got a great deal on 2 round trip tickets and 7 nights at a hotel. We were also able to get our rental car for free for the whole week because of our United Mileage Debit Card.

Joseph did awesome on all the airplane rides. We had two on the way to Colorado Springs and two on the way back home to Detroit. Joseph is an amazing kid. He slept in a double bed almost completely by himself the whole week. He enjoyed seeing the sights and meeting new people.

All in all it was an awesome trip. We couldn't have asked for it to go better. We are blessed to have such a mellow, well behaved toddler.

It was great to get away and have family time without distractions and "real" life stuff getting in the way. It was just what we needed, and I'm so thankful that we were able to spontaneously take this trip.

Check out my facebook if you would like to see pics of our trip!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Miracle of Birth

Today is Miles's second birthday party. For those of you who don't know Miles, he is my cousin Dana's son. Which yes, makes me his cousin, but I think Dana would agree with me in saying that we both feel more like aunts to each other's children than cousins.

This birth sticks out in my mind a little stronger than most others. Honestly, it's because I played a bigger part in this one than in any birth before or after for that matter (obviously other than Joseph, who I'll get to later in this blog). Miles's birth on March 2nd was the cornerstone of Dana and my adulthood. At least that's how I feel. This was something we looked forward to being a part of since childhood. This was something that we were sharing together. Since we were young we dreamed about being pregnant together, and our children growing up to be as good of friends as we were and playing all the time. We were doing it. At the time when Miles was making his way into the world I was currently pregnant with Joseph. If I remember correctly I was about 14 weeks along.

Dana and I lived in great anticipation of this moment. Dana had been having signs of early labor for a week, and for anyone who knows hormonal pregnant women, waiting is darn near impossible for us. But, after many restless days and nights, finally it was time. Time to go to the hospital. Time to get this show on the road.

The plan was not for me to be in the room when Miles was born. I was there for support. I guess I kind of had the role of the cheerleader. But when everyone else was sleeping, I was the one who stayed up with Dana. Helped her through her contractions. Played skipbo with her. Played nurse advocate for her when she needed something. And tirelessly defended both of our stances on natural childbirth to any yahoo who may offer or suggest any form of pain meds. This was something Dana and I had agreed completely on for both of our labors. I was there to be her supporter, her friend, the only other person there as completely hormonal as she was.

Fast forward about 12 hours into the hospital stay. Fast forward past the pitocin drip, the 800 people in the room, the 90th bathroom trip (for both of us), the water breaking, and then breaking again because it didn't really break the first time.. It was time. I was asked to stay in the room, and I was about to be part of something life changing. Don't get me wrong, I've seen births on tv. But this was a front row seat to, in my opinion, the biggest most amazing miracle God had every created, life. Anyone who has ever firsthand witnessed a birth understands completely what I'm saying, and I'm sorry but anyone who hasn't seen it up close and personal just won't get it. At least not completely get it.

Approximately an hour of pushing. Arms tired from holding back her leg. Body tired from being up all day and night and from just merely being pregnant. Voice tired from coaxing, shouting encouragement. I'm sure she was tired too. But at last he was here. Miles was born. Finally. An amazing day. An amazing miracle. A wonderful thing to be a part of.

Just starting my second trimester of pregnancy though, I felt a little nervous. I knew that I had no choice, but I would be doing that in 6 months, give or take (wound up being less). Maybe I shouldn't have seen that I thought. It made me a little scared. I would be doing that soon. Okay, lets be honest, I was slightly terrified. But, nothing can change the fact that I saw what would stay in my mind and heart as one of the coolest, most amazing things ever. I will never forget the noises of that day. I will never forget the smells of that day. I will never forget the shear exhaustion and excitement I felt. I was knocked out and I didn't even give birth.

So, let's bring this full circle. This whole story as amazing as it is, does lead me up to something, believe it or not, just a little bit more amazing. The birth of my son, the birth of my godsend, Joseph. I know, I'm bias. There are some very important births that have happened in my life, some I played a bigger role and some not really a role at all, but the kids mean so much to me now. Oshyn, Aimee, Andrew, Amerie, Darwin, Alexis, Miles. All amazing kids. But, I'm sorry, like I said, I'm bias. Joseph takes the cake, or the ribbon, or whatever the prize may be.

We had by no means an easy time with Joseph. Most of you know that we tried for a year before getting pregnant. Something that just amazes me. When you're just starting out, and you don't want, can't afford, aren't ready, you try so hard not to let this miracle come to be. But when you want it, it's so out of reach. Frustrating, unattainable. For those of you who get pregnant just by sitting too closely to your husband, this doesn't apply to you. The women who have tried, failed, cried, doubted, worried that there is something wrong with themselves, their husband, blamed every unhealthy thing they've done in their life, this is for you. I'm on your side. I'm on your team. I know the frustration of taking negative test after negative test. I know all too well the charting, and calendars that come into the picture when things aren't as easy as everyone warns your they are. I know about the pillows and the waiting. The endless waiting. God has a plan, and sometimes his plans and our plans aren't always the same. But alas, a year into trying, a miracle occurred. I stared at two lines on a stick with pee on it with disbelief, and disgust. What an evil trick for this stupid stick to play. Didn't it know how to play this game properly? I get one line, I cry, I mope, feel sorry for myself, and throw it in the trash. The test must be broken. It had to be. I'll take another, and another, and another. When they all kept coming up with two lines I figured they were all from the same batch, a bad batch. I went to the store crying. I went to the store to get a digital test. One that would in big bold letters tell me what I knew to be true, NOT PREGNANT. At this point, we had been trying so long, I was certain there was not a miracle going on inside of me. My goal was to prove to myself and the stupid stick, that I was not pregnant. It wasn't really happening. I mean, it had been a year. Could it? Really? I got my stupid digital test and took it home. I used it as directed and before I could even lay it on the counter a big, bold, beautiful word appeared. PREGNANT. Huh, really? Amazed. Shocked. Happy. I actually jumped up and down for joy. Something I hadn't done since I was a child. Life had begun. Not only inside of my womb, but also the life I had been waiting for. My life. It truly was beginning.

Fast forward. Through the sickness, the pains, the leaks, the tears, the hormones, the kicks, the tumbles. The most amazing feeling. Pushing on my belly and feeling it push back. Fast forward through the swelling, the blood pressure rising, the liver pains, the fear, the doubt that I couldn't carry the baby to term. Fast forward through the trip to the high risk OB, through him telling me I needed to deliver at 32 weeks because of this pre-clampsia/PIH, through my doc assuring me we would make it to 36 weeks. Waiting, resting, trying to follow bed rest, trying to still prepare for our son. Through having to see the OB twice a week, having to go to L&D twice a week for NST's, having to have my blood drawn 2-4 times a week. Fast forward through my fear and doubt that I wasn't cut out for this, my inability to protect my child even from the womb, my doubts, my fear, my anxiety. Finally getting to 36 weeks exactly and hearing the doc say tomorrow morning we're inducing. Hearing him say, things are getting too bad, it's too risky. It's safer for him to be out here than in there. More tears, more doubts. One more sleepless night. One more sleepless night. The night that felt like the shortest and longest night of my life.

Fast forward through the pitocin. The unending supply of pitocin. The internal uterine monitor, the internal scalp monitor for Joseph. The inability to labor the way I wanted. Not being able to move or get up to pee. All of MY plans for laboring up in smoke. There would be no laboring in the shower, no laboring on the ball, no walking. Fast forward through the doubts of everyone else. Everyone but two people. Kimmy and JJ. Everyone else pressuring me to get the epidural. Crying, pleading, feeling like everything was slipping away. Finally giving in after 20 hours of exhaustion and nagging to the stupid epidural. Fast forward to me telling the anesthesiologist that I hated him for giving me this epidural that I didn't want. Stupid epidural. Three epidurals later. None of them working. 33 hours of intense labor. 33 hours of breathing, and focusing, and hoping and praying. Two episiotomy cuts without anesthetic. Fast forward to the doctor laying on top of my belly to try and get this stubborn little boy to come out before his stats dropped anymore. Relief. Release. Lives changed in an instant. My boy, my son, my child, my hopes and dreams, all born in a split second.

Fast forward through the exhaustion of laboring hard for a day and a half. Through not hearing him cry. Through not feeling him laid upon my chest as I had always envisioned. Fast forward past asking over and over what his APGAR scores were so I could properly digest how bad he was doing. Through the placenta, and being stitched up, and so many damn minutes of not seeing him, not hearing him, them working on him. Resuscitating him. Breathing for him. Suctioning him. Finally faint noises. Not even categorized as cries. But noises not the less. Seeing him for the first time. Having to fight and beg and plead to see him before they whisked him away to the NICU. Seeing him. Loving him. Hearing nothing else in the room. Loving him. Completely. Knowing my life had begun. Knowing my life had changed. Knowing that I never thought it possible to love someone so much in such a split second. My love. My Joseph. My heart.

Nearly nineteen months later and nothing's changed. He's my life. I was born to be his mother, and he my son. I love him with such a force I truly doubt there is anything stronger in the world. He's amazing, and perfect, and priceless.

So, as I wrap this up I just want to say how blessed, how thankful that I am. Some things are worth the wait, worth the pain, the effort. Joseph is one of them.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm just me

I have an inclination to write more. I think blogging is a very therapeutic outlet for pent up frustrations and feelings. I think this will be beneficial. But, what to blog about?

Do I write about the mundane-ness of an average day? Should I contemplate bigger problems and try and solve world issues? I'm not sure where to start. The only time I've been truly consistent with blogging was when I was pregnant. I had so much to say then. Why do I have trouble figuring out where to start now?

In all honesty, it's not for lack of things to say. I have many ideas of what to write about. Should I use this as an outlet to air my frustrations? I don't think I could be that bold. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone close to me. But, then again, what about those who aren't close anymore. Do I have it in my heart to rehash things of that nature? I don't want to write a controversial blog that would draw negative attention. So, I guess for right now, I will just write more about me. I will try and give a greater insight for those of you who may not know much about me.

I am a sensitive person. Completely overcritical of myself. I feel like I don't accomplish enough, and then some days I feel as though I do too much.

I am an introvert. I feel more comfortable at home. I hope this is something that Joseph is not. I want him to be outgoing. I want him to feel comfortable in large groups. I want him to feel comfortable with talking to people he doesn't know. This is not me though. I'm a homebody.

That's not to say that I don't have good friends. I guess it's just my measure of what is an appropriate and normal amount of communication and togetherness differs from other peoples ideas. It's been like this since before high school. I feel like the bonds of a good true friendship go deep and don't necessarily have to be tended with constant seeing each other or talking. I guess that makes me distant. Some people understand it. Some people don't. I like the friendships where I can pick up where things left off. The relationships that don't take much to thrive. Is this strange? Don't get me wrong I like human attention, but I guess I'm not as driven for it as some people. There is an exception to this rule though, Kim, Jeremiah and Joseph. I will never, can never have too much of them. Talk to them too much, see them too often. But why is this not true for everyone else? I'm not sure. I think this is why I've lost several friendships over the years. I don't have what it takes to manage the upkeep of being a good friend. It's not like I'm purposefully distant. It's not like I don't like seeing my friends. It's just in my heart I would rather be with the family I am closest with.

Like I said, I guess I just believe that the roots run deep. When we lived in Colorado I only talked with my family once a week usually. I talked to my dad even less than that. It didn't mean he still wasn't my dad. It didn't mean I loved him less. It was just a matter of he was my dad, and would be regardless of the amount we talked. I guess that's how I see friendships. The problem is not everyone sees it this way. Then, I feel like I'm being a bad friend, when I'm really just being myself. This probably doesn't make sense to a lot of people. I don't know how else to explain it.

This probably isn't all my fault either. It's a nature vs. nurture issue. My mom is a lot this way. She really didn't have many relationships outside of the home when I was growing up. My dad and us kids were her priorities. I think I feel much the same. I've wrapped Joseph and Jeremiah around me, much like a cloak.

When coaxed out of my cocoon I am capable of socializing. It just takes a little bit to warm up. For example, I don't really like talking on the phone. Okay, let me rephrase that. I don't like making the call or answering the phone, but once I'm in the conversation I'm happy. It's just the first step. Also, I love hanging out with people like my BFF Melanie, or other good friends like Liz, Jessica or Dana. Also, I enjoy seeing the great people at St. John that I have come to love as family. But, it's that first step I always stumble on, making the call, making the plans. I always enjoy myself once we get together, it's just making that first move.

There's probably some deep rooted answer. I guess that's for a therapist to answer. And it's not really that I mind being this way. It's my sensitivity. I don't care, but I care what other people think. What other people say, to me, and behind my back. I try. But, it's hard to be someone other than me.

I make play dates or plans. But I always fall through on the followup. Not purposefully. I just don't think about it, and then by about that point I'm a "bad' friend. I'm trying though. To socialize more, come out of my shell. I am doing more at church than I ever have. I am going to extra church things other than just Sunday church. I am making an effort. But there's something so comfortable about keeping myself covered up and only really exposed to a couple of people that is reassuring.

So as I come to a close, I wonder about something. Am I doomed to have all my friendships flounder? Am I really not as good of a friend as I think? Or are the ones who don't understand me not as good of friends because they don't accept and love me the way that I am, faults included? I had what I felt was a very strong, very deep relationship end recently. Someone I grew up with, went to school with, got into teenage trouble with, and was able to share the pain of a sibling that had passed away with. Someone who I planned to always be friends with. Perhaps my efforts weren't good enough. Perhaps it was both of our faults. Perhaps we just grew into two different adults that were no longer compatible as friends. Life is like that though. Sometimes the people you think you can always count on will become the people that you are least likely to be able to depend on, and vice versa. For example, when I met my best friend Melanie 10 years ago, I didn't know then that we would become as close of friends as were are today.

But in the end, all I can be is me. Love me for me. Be my friend because you love, appreciate, understand me. I try all the time to be better, but I'm faulted, I'm jaded, I'm broken and I will never live up to everyone elses expectations of who or what I should be. I'm just me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Blog

So, I thought I would sign up to do blogs on here since I don't really use Myspace much anymore, and Facebook doesn't really have an area to blog. So, here it goes. I hope I can be more consistent on writing/blogging than I have been recently.

There's been a lot on my mind lately. Hopefully this will help get things off my mind and onto something else tangible so I don't have to think and worry so much about stuff.

Let me start by saying how much I love my life. I love being a mother. This is by far the most important, the best, the most amazing, the most challenging, and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I still can't believe I played a part in making this little person who so affectionately calls me "Maama." He's an amazing child. He's everything I dreamed he would be and more. I love him with every ounce of my heart and soul. I would and will do anything and everything for him. He has changed me so much and impacted my life so greatly. I was born to be his mother. I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life right now.

I finally was able to fulfill my life's dream of being a stay at home mom in October. It's been a great experience. Some days are harder than others. It is everything I imagined it would be and more. I love it. I wouldn't change it for anything. I know some people who stay home and would rather be working, and I know some people who work and would never even want to stay home. I am not this person. I love being home. I feel like this is what I was born to do. To be a mom. I feel like I am contributing more to the world than I would be if I was working outside the home. It's a great job, but I know it's not for everyone. It is for me though, and I love it.

The most challenging part of becoming a stay at home mom was because I become a stay at home mom at the same time as Jeremiah left to start basic training in Georgia. So, I had to learn to be a single mom. This was a challenge. Especially considering I had never lived on my own before. I live with my family until I was 20, then I married Jeremiah. I have never had to be completely on my own. I learned a lot about myself. The most important being, I am stronger and braver than I ever imagined I was.

So, there's a lot of confusion from everyone about what is next for Jeremiah as far as the military is concerned. He has a lot of training left before he can really do anything. The next phase of training will be OCS (Officer Candidate School). We haven't talked really much about this. I think we both haven't talked much about it because we want to be sure of what is happening before we tell everyone. As it stands right now though, unless something happens, Jeremiah will be leaving for OCS the second week of June. This part of the training will take approximately 8 weeks. After this he goes for his specialized job training and that training can take as long as 27 weeks. Again this is new info, and we aren't 100% sure he is leaving in June, but it is looking that way. We will know more in a few weeks.

This has to be done to further his career in the military, for our family to be supported, and for us to do things that require more income and more stability (ie, more children, purchasing a home). I'm not really looking forward to being a single mom again, but this isn't forever, and we'll get through this.

Also, on my mind is something very sad. We have a pair of very close friends that have been married about as long as we have. They are currently going through a separation and look as though they are headed for a divorce. This is sad on so many levels. It hurts to see this happening. I hurt for both of them. I hurt for the children. It's also going to be challenging to find out the best way to still be friends with both parties. I hope this is possible since they are both great friends, but I'm worried it won't be. I pray and hope that God's will be done. I pray and hope that things can be resolved, that things can be healed, and that things can made anew. If not, this will probably prove to be an extremely messy, long, and painful divorce for everyone. I hope this doesn't happen, if only for the children.

As I wrap up this first blog, the last thing currently on my mind right this minute is something that will come as no surprise to many of you. Baby fever. I am really looking forward to having another child. I am really looking forward to being pregnant again. I know I had one of the hardest pregnancies and labors, but I look forward to doing this again. I know it will go even better a second time. I am excited to give Joseph a sibling. Baby fever definitely comes on faster and stronger once you already have one. Hopefully soon we will know more of what is going on career wise and be able to enlarge our family. I look forward to this.

So, that's about it. Yeah, there's a few more things in my head, but it's Joseph's bedtime, and he had a shot today and is having a not so good reaction to it, so it's time to put him down.