Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Right now.

I drive to work in the dark and drive back home in the dark. It's a very confusing thing, this leaving before most of the world has opened their eyes for the day and then coming back to my family when most others have already sat down to share dinner together. My days are marked by headlights, that first cup of coffee, the snooze button and fighting my eyes to open long enough to get a proper shower in.

Something happened recently that shook me a little harder than I thought. I'm an intelligent person, lurking a bit more towards the half empty side side of things. But I still obsess a bit too much over the "what-ifs" and not the "how it really is" parts of life. What if the zombies really do take over, what if that scratch on my hand turns into a festering boil, how long will I survive if I don't manage to find something for lunch RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND. I live my days with my feet firmly planted on the ground but my head somewhere just about the cloud line. Some moments can be stressful and I may get lightheaded from the elevation but, really, everything moves along just fine.

And then there was an oops, followed by a couple more because we were just kind of "Oh, what the hell" about it all. Babies make you do funny things. Yes, I'm referring to my sex life and no, I probably shouldn't be. But, oh, what the hell, right? I certainly am not itching to fill my womb again any time soon but, once the possibility had presented itself and shook my hand, I couldn't help by think about it. It, a little baby, just like the two little babies I kiss and hug to sleep at night. I know how babies are made, I know how cycles work and how long that lady egg has to meet her gentleman caller sperm friends and then the funny little dance that they do if the courtship stage works out for them. I know the percentages and the possibilities and the likelihoods and the equations of the whole thing and so I understood that really, there was no Prom going on in my uterus. And yet there was my brain, jumping at the chance to do it all over again.

But there I was, feeling every symptom in the book right on schedule. Was this little one a boy or a girl? I picked out a name for each, just in case, and filed them into the back of my brain. Would this one be more of an Eli or a Sam? Where would it sleep? How would I hide this at work? Oh, the perils and pitfalls of having an imaginary baby! We didn't talk about it much, what had happened. There was an agreement made that everything would be just fine and we would survive and thrive and all of that good stuff. Other than that, nothing else was said. But I wouldn't be far off of the mark to say that there was a bit of excitement bubbling under the surface in our home.

As the symptoms intensified, the sticks remained negative. Well, truth be told, all but one. There was one, the second to last one that I took, the little pee stick that could with a very slight second line. I saw it, I know I did, but I didn't say anything. The next day there was a negative and then, that night, my period came in with the final verdict, and that was that. My brain gave birth to a little imaginary baby, but my body knew better.

Like I said, I'm a smart woman. I know that I was never pregnant and that my mind led the race that I could never win. It is what it is, this I understand. But I think my mind never came back down to where it usually rests, it must have taken a detour on the way back and now it's lost. Leaving bed has become increasingly difficult, my brain is ten shades of I don't know and all I want to do is curl up into a ball and close my eyes. All of this happens from time to time, it's not something I'm unfamiliar with, it's just not something I was prepared for this time around.

I'll trudge through the muck, come out on the other side, take a shower and be good as knew. But, for now, I'll be over here, sorting through my brain and not saying much of anything. I'll let you know when I'm ready for that shower.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

April 2012

I woke up on Sunday and, at some point between a cup off coffee and Murray telling me what the word of the day was on Sesame Street, I flipped through the calendar in my brain, did a little math and realized that it was the day that my youngest turned 7 months old.

Cue a sharp intake of breath, followed by a slight heart murmur, a big gulp of my lukewarm coffee and then a return to our normally scheduled program.

But, really, seven months had already passed since that day in April when we woke up before the sun had come out, kissed our first born on the head and told him we would see him soon. Seven months since we took that way too familiar five minute drive down 35W north to the hospital, parked in the same ramp and on the same level we had done so many times before and calmly checked into L&D. Calmly.

See, this day had been the planned baby evacuation day for about a month at that point. My doctors won't let me carry to 40 weeks because of my diabetes and, because I had not gone into labor on my own, I needed to have a repeat c-section. I was exactly 38 weeks pregnant and would have done just about anything to have that fat little baby who just loved to dig his butt cheeks in my ribs for hours at a time freed from his uterine prison. I knew what to expect this time around, how I would be prepped for surgery, how bright the OR would be, I sat completely still as the anesthesiologist poked those needles into my back, made small talk and laughed with the seemingly endless amounts of doctors and nurses in the room. J was there, well rested and ready to go, holding my hand and laughing with me. He was able to take so many pictures, something we weren't able to do last time, something that was so important to me that I couldn't even put it into words. Sam calmly came into the world, just as I had when I walked through the doors. As my OB pulled him out of me she said, "Well, he's not as big as I thought he was going to be!" He was perfect and chubby and he had a full head of black hair, just like I had when I was born. I remember smiling until my cheeks hurt, poking his little fat body and staring in wonder at his hair. I did fall asleep for a minute or two during the rest of the surgery, it was like I was in the middle of some twisted full body massage. I was positive and happy and ready for the newest direction my life had taken.

I never let him out of my sight after that. He was with us from the minute I was wheeled into the recovery room until we brought him home with us four days later. I sat for hours in my hospital bed, staring in amazement at just how wonderful this new little man of ours was and how much he looked like me. Stroking his hair, feeling his warm skin and little chest rise and fall against mine. I took all of the pain pills they offered this time around, was up less than 24 hours later and I even managed to take a shower the night after he was born. Sam's time in me, his birth and my post-partum recovery was like night and day compared to his brother. We were now confident in our skills as parents, we knew there was no way to break a baby as long as we weren't trying to do so. We could ride this bicycle again, only 16 months after we first climbed on, with our eyes closed.

And now here we are, already into month seven. Before you know it I will be sharing pictures of Sam with his little dimpled knuckles shoved into a birthday cake, frosting smeared across his beautiful face. I truly cannot remember a time in my life going by as quickly as this time with him has, and I know it will only get faster as the days and seasons and year change. 


I hope that I always remember this time. A time when he can sit up on his own, when he grunts and growls for the spoon to reach his mouth faster, when placing him on the floor in one spot means he will be in an entirely new position faster than you can blink your eyes. Two little teeth have come in and he seems to constantly be rubbing his tongue over them. His little chirps have transformed into forceful proclamations in a language only he can understand and the word "Dada" has been uttered more than a few times already. It truly is my favorite time during that first year of life, when the little pinkie mouse of a person becomes a true presence in life.

I love you, my little Sammy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

December 2010

Twenty three months ago yesterday, I was being sent into the OR to have an emergency c-section, four weeks before my due date. My blood pressure had finally reached its limit after being on bed rest and my stubborn baby was still sitting butt-down in my uterus. A nurse hugged me tightly because my body wouldn't calm down enough for the needle to be safely pressed into my back and John Mayer was playing on the radio. They brought J in and, even after being warned by friends, he naturally looked at me on the table, all cut open with pieces of me hanging out on a table next to my body. They pulled a tiny little version of Eli from me, he cried and it really was the most wonderful sound I had ever heard.

I spent the rest of the day in a haze of magnesium sulfate, pain killers and the stench of my own vomit in my nose. The most unimaginable amounts of it kept coming out of me because of the drugs I was on for my blood pressure, I remember being given a tiny little pan that was the shape of a kidney bean, the expectation was that it could hold what I was producing. Instead, I ended up getting more all over myself and my bed than anything else.

The next day a huge blizzard came, exactly twenty three months ago today. Google tells me seventeen inches of snow moved into this city that day. The hospital became a ghost town as I watched the world inside my room become a more contained version of what my life had now become. A baby screaming, sleep deprivation kicking in and never being able to get comfortable enough when I was given the opportunity to sleep. Nurse checks every hour, endless pills, blood drawn so often that the tape they used afterwards ripped the skin off of my arm. And that baby, that little beautiful peanut of a person, he seemed to be as irritated as I was at the entire set up.

We went home, driving through the streets that were clean and empty the day I arrived, now with piles and piles of snow everywhere. I sat in the backseat next to the little man I helped to create, with my blood sugar incredibly low and the intense feeling of fear taking over my entire world.

But we made it. Those first weeks, months, year are a total blur. I look back on pictures from one year ago and it's like I'm taking a glimpse into the life of someone else. My lanky toddler, the kid who can correctly identify every Sesame Street character, who knows the alphabet, thinks most colors are purple and who is still the worst sleeper in the universe, he used to look that that? There was a time when he couldn't run laps around the living room and break into the refrigerator to eat leftover spaghetti? You mean he used to just be a blob? No way. But here we are, 29 days until my first child turns two. TWO. 

It's pretty amazing, actually.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I woke up this morning, stumbled into the living room to open the computer and saw the results from yesterday's election. Yes, I stayed up way past my bedtime to see who was crowned King of the Land, but I was anxious to see how my neighbors voted on the local issues.

I'm pretty proud to be a Minnesotan right now.

This is the state I grew up in, came back to after a long absence and the place I will have my final moments in (at least, that's the plan at this point.) I have given birth to my children, married my most favorite person ever and watched the sun rise and set for many years in this place. We may be somewhat passive aggressive, our accents surely provoke giggles in other parts of the world and a majority of us seem to not understand what the purpose of the left lane on a highway is for but, all in all, we're pretty good people. Yes, we look each other in the eye and say hello in passing and the word "pop" gets thrown around way too much for my liking, that I understand. Our longest seasons just might be all of the wrong ones and most food groups come with a stick shoved into them, but this is the state that has my heart. Like anywhere else, all of us do not agree on everything, but at least most of us came together yesterday and agreed that certain groups of our neighbors are just as important as everyone else.

I do think I can speak for everyone when I say that we picked Michelle Bachmann so that you have something to chuckle and roll your eyes at. What can I say, we're generous like that.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oh, tomorrow.

I posted this picture on Instagram this morning.

I have horrible anxiety. Terrible, terrible anxiety that makes me a beast to be around sometimes. I went on meds after Eli was born and they've helped me tremendously but, here we are on the eve of election day, and I think I need to up my dosage.

I'm going to be very blunt, I am terrified that Mittens is going to win tomorrow. You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. We cool? I just so happen to believe that Mittens is no good. It scares me that I will wake up on Wednesday morning in a country that is run by a dude who wants redefine the rights every woman currently has over her own uterus. I'm terrified that Widow's Peak McGee is going to be second in charge. And, on a local level, I'm scared that the majority of the state I love, the state I was born in, left and came back to will not be OK with everyone being allowed to marry the person they love the most. Something that I was allowed to do when we decided the time was right. That my neighbors and friends and co-workers will continue to have their rights restricted just because they love people who happen to have the same genitalia as they do, ugh, it's awful to think about.

So much to think about and digest and hope for. I am placing my faith in the unknown, putting my hopes on strangers and closing my eyes and holding my breath that we can all decide what we think is best for us as a country and go and make our voices heard. I'm going crazy over here.

I'll do my civic duty tomorrow and, regardless of what you believe, I hope that you do as well.