Sunday, January 5, 2014

Remember that time you had the flu?

Do you remember how your entire body ached, and no matter how much time you spent in bed, you never felt rested?  Do you remember how many times you said, "I wish this would hurry up and pass?  I wish this would just be over?"  Do you wonder where I'm going with all this ;) ?  I'm going to tell you about my flu that never ends.  My chronic pain that has been diagnosed as Fibromyalgia, although fibro isn't supposed to be progressive, and I just keep getting worse.  I'm going to tell you about it, because I need to.  I need to get this story out of me, and I need to try to make people understand what it's like to live with chronic pain.  It's barely living at all.  This blog probably isn't going to feel like or sound like me, because it's the 'me' that I don't like to show you.  I need to get over that too...

I really didn't make a New Year's resolution so to speak.  I have lots that I hope to accomplish this year, and so many things that I want to change, but resolutions always seem to be broken, and this feels way too important to break.  All I really want to do is accept myself, my body.  That doesn't mean accepting the fact that I seem to gain weight daily now and that I can barely walk to the mailbox without my legs feeling like jello, but accepting that the person I am now isn't physically the person I used to be, and learning to love and take care of that person anyway.  I want to eat more healthy.  I want to exercise more.  I want to move away from my endless supply of motrin and aleve that I take like candy and try to find more holistic approaches to my health.  I want to stop being so angry with my body, and start trying to care for it.  I want to remember that I'm only 38, and I have (Lord willing,) so many, many years left.  I want to stop being sad when I think about the future, because my body already feels like it's 80.  I can't imagine physically being that age and still feeling like this.

I've always had issues with chronic pain.  I started having migraines when I was in middle school, and then degenerative joint disease (DJD) in my 20s, followed by endometriosis and adenomyosis in my 30s.  At one point I think I went years without a day that my head didn't hurt...  But I dealt with it.  I'm a fixer.  If something is wrong with me, I fix it.  Migraine meds for my head, surgery for my DJD, (both knees, the left side of my jaw and my right foot, so far), and a total hysterectomy for the others.  All of those things made a difference.  My knees don't hurt now.  My jaw doesn't lock up and hurt.  I don't have abdominal pain for three weeks out of the month.  But now my entire body hurts, daily.  And I can't fix it...  I don't sleep well at night...  One of the most painful things I do is hang up laundry. Who knew that the act of putting clothes on hangers would  be so, very painful?  Really though, everything hurts.  I'm actually crying as I type this, because I'm working on laundry today...  I'm not crying because it hurts, I'm crying because I'm so frustrated.  How am I supposed to work out, when I can't hang up a freaking load of laundry without having to rest??  Don't feel sorry for me though, that's not what I want.  What I want is to get this out.  What I want is to learn how to live like this.  What I want is to stop feeling oddly embarrassed because I have a chronic pain disorder.  What I want is to start being honest.  What I want is for you to not look at me and others with chronic pain the same way that I used to look at people who had it before.  Karma, baby.

I used to work in a doctor's office and I remember people coming in with chronic pain disorders.  I remember thinking that they just wanted painkillers...  That's half the reason that I refuse to take anything stronger than aleve.  The other half is I'm only 38...  If I start taking prescription meds now, what do I have left to fall back on?  Where do I go from here?  I need to be present for my kids.  I need to hold it all together.  So I just hurt.  On a typical day, my neck and lower back hurt.  My upper arms, lower legs and feet.  All four quadrants of my body, pretty much all the time.  You don't even know how frustrating it is.  If I sit too long, it hurts.  If I stand too long, it hurts.  Everything hurts.

I have to make a confession, and I know this will sound awful.  I feel awful saying it.  You may understand why I'm saying it or you may judge me harshly.  Either way I need to say it so you understand just how devastating this is starting to be for me.  I told Thomas the other day that sometimes I actually wished that I had cancer...  I normally don't tell Thomas how I'm feeling.  I usually sugar coat it like I try to do with everyone.  He's my partner, but he's in another country, trying to do his job.  He doesn't need to worry about me.  He doesn't need to feel like he's letting me down in some way.  It's hard enough for him to know that I'm bearing the brunt of taking care of our entire family without knowing that I'm starting to lose my faith.  On this day though, he asked the question at a time when I was too depressed to fake it.  He asked me how my pain was, and I told him.  I told him that I am depressed every day now, because I can't imagine never getting better.  I told him that if I had known I would be dealing with this now, I never would have had Jace.  Not because I don't adore him, but because I wouldn't have intentionally had another child if I had known he would be an active 5 year old with a mom who didn't feel like she would ever be able to keep up.  And I told him how hard it was to have something wrong and to look fine.  You are probably wondering if I'm crazy or if I think that this is worse than cancer, or what?  The answer is no, of course no- but if I had something wrong with me that wasn't just a chronic pain issue, I feel like more people would understand.  People would know why I was tired all the time- it would make sense.  People would expect me to hurt.  They would understand when I didn't feel like leaving my house, or even my bed.  It would make sense when my brain was so foggy that I couldn't even think...  People wouldn't question it.  It's not about one being worse than the other, it's about one being legit.  Cancer is legit.  Fibromyalgia is just weird and misunderstood.  It seems like an excuse.  It's not...  If you only knew how much I wish I was the old me, you would understand how legit chronic pain is.  Learning to love this new me feels like an uphill battle, and as we all know now, I'm lucky to make it back from the mailbox...

I really don't want to talk about this now.  Like I said before, I don't need you to feel sorry for me, I just need to get this out.  I need you to understand.  I need to move on and embrace my new normal.  I need to stop abusing myself and start trying to improve whatever parts of my life that I can. I need to stop faking it, and acting like I'm fine, because I'm not... And if you have chronic pain too, I need you to know that you aren't alone.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Why I LOVE!! and Hate Social Media

I think it's safe to say that I don't just love social media, I am in love with it. I looooovvvvvvveeeeeee it.   Through social media, I stay in contact with friends and family no matter how many years or miles are between us.  I use it to vent and to brag.  I use it to find out what book I just HAVE to read, and what movie completely sucked.  I use it to watch your kids grow and to see how you've decorated your living room.  I use it to find tips and to get ideas.  I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  I love the Internet.  As we all know, there are two sides to every coin, and with love there is often hate.  This world wide web that I adore to pieces, comes armed with a sharp edged sword.  Of all the things that I've learned on my beloved laptop, the fact that I am a totally shitty parent seems to be the one that people feel the need to remind me of most regularly.

Years ago, I joined a site called CafeMom.  At first I had no idea what to expect, because I had never been part of any type of message board.  As I learned more about the concept, I got excited!  Here I was, a stay at home mom, away from my hometown for the first time and in a place where I didn't know a soul.  To find out that I could "meet" people without ever even putting my bra on, was like, amazing.  A total cure for the loneliness I was completely overcome with when we first moved to Ft Benning.  As a concept, it was a good one.  As a reality?  Terrible, terrible idea.  Now don't get me wrong.  I have met women on CafeMom who I adore and who I believe I will be in contact with forever, even though I've never met most of them face-to-face.  However, CafeMom was the first place that I learned just what a terrible parent I was.  So, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to share with you the horrors I have committed in my 18 years of parenthood.  In no particular order:

1.  I let a kid CIO.  "Cry it out" for those of you who like me, had no idea wtf CIO  meant for the longest time.  Yes, my name is Leigh Anne, and I let my poor, neglected child cry himself to sleep in his warm, cozy bed, under our more than adequate roof, with a belly full of milk that I personally created.  I had no idea that in addition to providing for his/her every need in life, I was also expected to forever neglect my own sanity when I just mentally couldn't deal any longer.  Ok, technically I tried to let all three CIO at one time or another.  Will and Parker were pretttttty darn smart though.  They could make themselves puke in .5 seconds, thereby ending the CIO and creating more work for my already frazzled mind.  Jace however, lacked that puking on command capability.... So, while Thomas was gone to school for 6 months, during which I spent EVERY WAKING MOMENT of my life attending to Jace, I began letting him CIO.  After two nights, I was rewarded with a child who put himself to sleep at night, with no tears, and who let me know he was awake in the morning by babbling happy gibberish into his baby monitor in the morning.  Clearly, I am the devil.

2.  My sons have no foreskins.  Yes, I have to confess that I just let those little effers be chopped off willy nilly, without a care in the world.  Recently, through my force fed education, I have learned that this can be linked to PTSD in the future.  I can only imagine those group meetings.  "Hi, I'm John.  I have PTSD because I was deployed to Afghanistan and an IED hit our convoy.  I watched my battle body be blown into tiny bits, most of which covered my face."  "Hi, I'm Will.  I have PTSD because my mom had me circumsized.  An event that I have ABSOLUTELY NO RECOLLECTION OF."  Anywho.. finding out this crucial info had me quizzing both my husband and Will about the loss of their apparently crucial piece of body tissue.  Both of them emphatically agreed that they had no interest in having foreskin.  I think Will actually said it was "gross".  I don't know, don't care.  Between this and having Parker's ears pierced as a baby, I have clearly proven that I have no respect for my children's ownership of their own bodies, and they should probably be put into foster care.

3.  At times, I have actually disciplined my children if they were throwing a tantrum.  You see, when my 2 year old decided to hurl himself down on the floor in the middle of a restaurant because he wanted to cut his own chicken, or he didn't want to cut his own chicken, or he didn't want chicken to begin with, or he wanted chicken, but he didn't want it, because toddlers are completely effing bipolar, I didn't realize that he was merely expressing his frustration with the struggles of being a toddler, and that I was supposed to look on with a patient smile while he worked through this inner demon.  No you see, I smacked that ass.  It is a small wonder that the older two haven't been arrested yet, or taken me to court for legal emancipation.  I should probably suggest that to them...

4.  I breastfed with discretion.  My kids probably secretly hate me for not just whipping my boob out with absolutely no consideration for anyone else around me, and for attempting to be discrete.  My inability to share my areola with the general population, will no doubt be the subject of many a counseling session in the future.  I chose to use a blanket, or turn away from other people, or find a nursing area, or hell, even use a bottle when I was out and about.  Why did I neglect the basic needs of my child (which is apparently turning his mother into an exhibitionist,) in order to meet the needs of others?  Two reasons.  1.  I kinda believe that only my husband and/or nursing child should see my nipples, and 2.  I thought that being respectful of the people around me was an important part of life.  Clearly I should be shot. My kids would have fared better with some enfamil....

5.  I forward faced at 12 months.  I never knew that apparently my 12 year old should still be locked up tight in her rear facing car seat until she is of an age to drive herself.  At that point, she can forward face, but only because it is slightly more safe if she can actually see the road.  I mean, I know now, because I can barely log into facebook without seeing a video of how to properly latch a kid into a carseat, and which way it needs to be facing.  Personally after having watched some of those videos, I think the only real solution is to never leave the house.  

6.  I let my kids eat McDonalds.  And drink sodas.  They had solid food before the age of 6 months.  I have given them nitrate sticks dipped in ketchup, and I don't buy organic apples.  They would fare better in Ethiopia than in this house full of refined sugars and white bread.  I do try to limit these things now, but I don't forbid them.  I'll be waiting for CPS to knock on my door.

Moral of all this?  None of us have this parenting thing down pat.  We ALL make mistakes.  I guess I just don't see the point of trying to make other parents feel bad just because their choices aren't your choices.  Unless they are smoking around their kids, in which case I will join you on the soap box and wonder why we can't bring back tarring and feathering...  

Being a parent has been the single best thing that I have ever done in my life, and you know, it comes with a fair amount of guilt involved as well.  I wish we could start supporting each other instead of lecturing each other.  I wish we could make this whole thing a little less stressful by not sitting back on our high horses thinking that we are clearly doing this thing the right way, and anyone who does it differently is wrong.  

I logged into facebook this morning to see that a toddler just lost his battle to cancer.  I think about this poor child.  His poor family.  I think about the amount of pain and suffering he had to go through in order to try to beat this, and I think about the pain and suffering that his parents felt just watching that.  I think about all this and I wonder one thing.  Why are we not being outraged about childhood cancers, or children who truly are abused or neglected?  I get that we all have our "causes", but at the end of the day, I have to wonder why people get so worked up about whether or not my kid has a "intact" penis, when there are children who don't even have food to eat.  Who go to bed hungry at night.  I guess I just don't get it....  In the meantime, I guess I will just have to be grateful that my kids are healthy, and beg forgiveness for the times that I've failed as a parent.  Mostly I'm just going to be grateful.  The rest will work itself out in the end.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Sharts, Oh My! (Part 1)

Subtitled:  Ooops, I thought I just had to fart.

As mothers, we all know that there is nothing worse than a sick kid...  Other than a sick husband, but we will get to that later.  Honestly though, there is nothing worse than seeing your child feel terrible and not be able to make it better.  If we are being truly honest though, and we are, then we have to admit that there are others reasons that it completely sucks to have a sick kid.  Two in fact.  Three if you are married.

The number one reason there is nothing worse than a sick child?  Admit it, at some point in between realizing that Little Johnny is done for the count, and feeling terrible that they are feeling terrible, the realization that you are about to have twice the amount of work and half the amount of sleep for the next few days, is invariably  in the back of your mind.  Girl, you know it's true.

The second reason?  You  also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are most likely going to be the next victim of whatever is going around the hizzy.  It's basically unavoidable since you will be knee deep in whatever disgusting substance is coming out of whichever contaminated orifice.  Despite this, you will still be responsible for everything you are normally responsible for.  At this point that means, twice the work, half the sleep, and the feeling that you might die, or you just wish you could.

Finally, and this only applies to married moms, there is the possibility that your oldest man child (the one you married) will catch the bug also.  Prepare yourself for the joys that this can hold.  I've had my entire reproductive system removed and still got around better than Thomas with the sniffles :/.  Of course this also means that whatever limited assistance your spouse was able to offer, will cease.  Time now.

Why, am, I such, a, comma, hog?,

Anywho.  Last week RSV, croup, ear infections, and colds in general, hit the Hollen household.  Hard.  I truly did feel terrible for my little man.  He was hacking and coughing, and just generally felt like poo all around.  I really knew he was sick when he didn't want his morning hash brown from McDs.  What?  Yes, he does have a hash brown from Mickey Ds every weekday morning.  Don't judge.  Anyway, he felt terrible, and I did feel terrible for him, but in the back of my mind I was also thinking, "Effffff.... Emmmmmmm.... Ellllllllll".  When Jace gets sick, he coughs.  Any action then triggers that cough.  Running?   Coughing.  Crying?  Coughing.  Sleeping?  Coughing.  What is the end result of all this coughing?  Vomiting.  Despite the fact that he has coughed until he vomits at least 4 bazillion times in his 4 years on this planet, he still hasn't made that connection.  This means that I will be cleaning up vomit ad nauseum.  Pun intended.

Stay tuned for part 2...  And there will be a number (errr part) two.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My life isn't a battle

for politicians to wage- and no one else's should be either.

I'm not a statistic.  I'm not a stereotype.  I'm just a person.  I don't want to get all deep on you, but recent events have made me think more and more about this habit we have of judging books by their cover.  

Anyway... this blog isn't really about any of that.  It's about a teenage girl who got pregnant when she was 18, and thought she'd never be anything more than a statistic in a world where people passed judgment on unwed moms, and where strangers in church would ask if she was a Christian because she wasn't wearing a wedding ring.  It's about being brave when the world thinks you are wrong, and growing up while you are also responsible for someone else who is growing up.  It's about making mistakes left and right, but somehow... somewhere...  doing something right... because above all else, it's about the perfect, perfect boy that was born to that teenager and about how she could never look at him without seeing God's hand, even though she didn't deserve him... or Him.

I used to wonder how in the world I was chosen to be Will's mom, (and then Parker's, and sometimes Jace's haha).  My world was so full of mistakes and yet somehow, I was given the most precious blessings I've ever known.  It's humbling.  It's also enlightening- for me anyway.  Even though I was a sinner, even though the Bible clearly says not to fornicate, I was chosen.  CHOSEN.  That word is huge in every way.  

I just stumbled upon this beginning of a blog tonight.  I originally started it a while back.  I don't know why, or where I was going with it then, but whatever the inspiration behind it was then, I'm inspired all over again now. 

As you know (all 12 of you, my followers haha), I have three kids.  Three glorious, hilarious, sarcasticious (what?  I felt compelled to keep with the -ious suffix...) loves of my life.  They make me laugh, cry, beat my head against the wall, and generally pray for (depending on the occasion,) patience, peace and gratitude.  This blog is about my firstborn though.  He's going to be 18 this month.  The same age that I was when I found out I was expecting him, and more than likely the sole reason for every good thing that has ever happened in my life since he came into it.  I was lost for so long- and I won't pretend like I was magically found when I became Will's mom, because honestly that didn't happen for a while, but all of my life for the last 18 years has been measured by whether I was just that girl I used to be, or Will's mom.  The honor has been all mine.

Will has been spending this summer in Fort Leonard Wood, MO, at basic training- learning how to be a soldier first and foremost, but also learning how to be a man.  If your kids are still small, you can't imagine what it's like to see them as an **almost** adult.  When they are born, and someone places them into your arms, your head is filled with what ifs about their future, but ultimately, that life isn't your's to decide.  It's theirs.  A few years ago, when Jace was brand new, I stood at a funeral for a fallen soldier, and I prayed that none of my children would ever serve our country in this way.  At that time, I probably believed that I would do whatever it took to change their minds if they even considered such a route.  Life is full of curve balls though.

I truly believe that being a good parent means that you teach your children what they need to know about life, and then you trust them to make the right decisions.  This belief has caused me a huge amount of heartache, because it's meant that I've had to say goodbye to Will too many times in the last 6.5 years, because he didn't want to be part of this army brat way of life.  It's also brought me peace though, because all I really want in this life is for my kids to have the life they want to live.  I can't lie though, knowing that Will wanted to stay close to home (Kentucky), made it come as something of a shock to me when he started begging us to sign the paper work to let him join the military.  I'm never truly whole without him here.  Now that he wanted to make this move, even though it was with the National Guard, and not Active Duty, meant two things:  1.  My prayer that none of my children would ever join the military wasn't going to come true, and 2.  Now my time with Will would be even more complicated- scheduled around the 'needs of the Army' in every area of my life.  I was a little hurt too.  Why did he want to be a part of this world now, when he didn't want to be part of it living and traveling with me?  Sometimes all you need is to wake up.  Will is going to be 18.  Then 19. Then 20.  Then 30.  and on and on and on.  The time had come to practice what I preached.  His life has never been about me, and truth be told, I wouldn't have it any other way.  As a parent, your first instinct is to protect, protect, protect.  Noble desire for sure, but also a noose in so many ways.  Let up to me, I would just weigh him down.  On his own, he can soar.

So I said ok.  I signed the paperwork allowing my 17 year old to enlist with the Army National Guard.  (It didn't happen quite so abruptly, but I will spare you the 47 phone calls between his father and I, and the 50 conversations I had with Thomas, and the no doubt, 60 convos between Craig and Lorri, and the million convos between any and every combination of us and Will.)  A million times I've signed my name in my lifetime.  Never has my signature held so much weight.  For 18 years, I have tried to do everything in my power to ensure that Will is true to himself.  So far, that's netted me an amazing kid who I can't even believe I'm blessed enough to know, let alone to have given birth to.  He's smart, hilarious, athletic, and good.  Really good.  He's not perfect, but he's mine, and I believe in him.  I have to have trust and faith in him from here on out.  A watched pot never boils, and nothing can truly thrive if it's not given the space to do so.  All of my love, hope, and pride means nothing if I don't shower my children with it.  It's in God's hands now.  He took a leap of faith in me not once, not twice, but three times.  Now I have to have the faith in Him to believe that Will's military career will begin and end and he will have the rest of his life ahead of him for whatever next journey he chooses.  Whatever it is, I will be on the sidelines cheering him on, no matter how near or far we are. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Life will never be the same...

nor will my body for that matter.

Today is Parker's birthday.  What better way to mark the anniversary of the birth of your children than by reminiscing about how ridiculously awful their entrance into this world was.  Wait- am I the only one who does that?  Surely not.  I have always heard people say that you forget all about the pain once you lay eyes on those little blessings.  I call bullshit.  Was it worth it?  Of course.  Do I remember every minute of the hellish 17 hours of labor?  Nope, but neither have I forgotten the pain!

Way back when I was just a child of 19 and preparing to give birth to Will, the hospital where I would be delivering required you to pay for your epidural in advance.  Feeling very much like, 'this is what my body was created for', I opted against one.  Right before I went into labor, I remember telling my mom that since she had five kids, I knew childbirth couldn't be that bad.  Her response?  "Oh honey, I was knocked out when you were born.  The whole family knew what you were before I even woke up."  Yikes.  This did NOT sound promising, but again, I fully believed in my ability to give birth without an epidural- and I did.  I did have a couple shots of stadol.  I'm not sure in what dimension that is supposed to block the pain of your uterus turning inside out, but whatever....  Mostly they just made me see double.  At any rate, I not only survived labor and delivery without an epidural, but it wasn't anything that I felt like I couldn't handle.  I only lost my cool once- when I overheard my grandmother telling someone, "They might send her home."  This was after they'd broken my water and inserted internal monitors.  The mere mention of going home without a baby turned me into the exorcist.  Sooo things I remember about the day Will was born:

1.  Trying to stay focused on my 'focal point' while remembering to breathe.  During much of this my sister was standing right in front of me with a sympathetic look on her face while she bobbed up in down in front of what I was trying to focus on.  On second thought, she might have gotten snapped at too.

2.  My mother repeatedly looking at the blood pressure monitor and then taking off running for the nurses.  I had mild pre-ecclampsia.  Let's just say, Mom didn't help my blood pressure.

3.  Being hungry.  Very hungry.

4.  Finally having the baby and looking at Will for the first time.  I was instantly hit with the feeling that he was his own person.  My entire pregnancy I'd thought of him as an extension of me.  Seeing him and realizing he was more than just my extension was amazing and oh so scary.

5.  Begging for a cheeseburger, which I can be seen eating in the videos Vanessa shot.  It was a long day for her too ;)  But yes, most of the film from after Will's birth is people passing him around while oohing and aahing, and me sitting in bed shoving a burger and fries in my face while looking like a deer in headlights.

6.  And finally, Will being taken to the nursery for the night and me being taken to a room to get some blissful sleep.  Instead I stayed up all night waiting to lay eyes on my boy again....  Becoming a mother was sobering and scary, but the single, best moment of my life.  It was love at first sight...

Fast forward a few years, and I'm expecting Parker.  I'll never forget telling Will he was going to be a big brother, and more importantly his reply:  You need to get fixed or something. You know like when we took the dog to the vet?  Sadly our dog passed away while being spayed.  I'm just going to assume Will wasn't thinking about that when he suggested that I go.  I'd like to think that he changed his mind when he first held his baby sister, but I think I'd be fooling myself.  Just a couple months ago he said, "When it was just me, I got 100% of your attention.  Then you had Parker and I was down to 50%.  When Jace came along I got 33.333333333% (I'm pretty sure that's the number he used,) of your attention, so it's a good thing you can't have any more or I'd be knocked down to 25%."  That's my Willio... always thinking of others hahaha.

Anyway, while pregnant with Parker, I obviously had no intentions of having an epidural because labor and delivery with Will was fine.  Throughout the years, I'd even scoffed at friends that had epi's because I thought they were weenies.  It's probably occurred to you by this point that Karma would be biting me in the ass at any moment, and yes she did.

Labor with Will and Parker was remarkably similar.  With both I started contracting at around 3-3:30 in the morning.  Both were born within minutes of each other that evening.  One at 7:39 pm, and one at 7:41.  (Don't ask me which was which.  These are the things I forget.)  With both they had to break my water, and with both I was given pitocin to speed things up.  Here is where things start to change- With Will I was ok with no epidural.  With Parker, I would have traded her for anything that might possibly numb me.  I didn't just think that, I actually said it at some point.  Thank goodness no one took me up on the offer.  I declined stadol because it didn't work with Will and  just made things fuzzy.  In the end, I went from 7 to 10 in a matter of minutes.  Literally, 5-10 minutes.  At some point in there they gave me a shot of something.  When Parker came out I was pretty much high and afraid to hold her.  I had to put a hand over one eye to try to see just one of her.  It was bad business.  This is where I start to forget, because I don't have a clue what happened for the next few hours, other than the only thing that was truly important to me was that Will be the first person to see her.

Sooooo after the horror of Parker's childbirth, I was NOT going to rule out an epidural when Jace came along.  I hadn't firmly decided one way or the other, but it was definitely staying on the table.  With Jace I had pre-e again, only this time worse.  I started losing part of my field of vision, and so they admitted and induced me at 37 weeks, 5 days.  At some point I did get an epidural, for two reasons- 1.  Thomas talked me into it, probably so I'd stop yelling at him for just sitting in a chair eating anything he could find in a vending machine while playing on his iPhone, and 2.  Because a lot of what happened after Parker was born was a blur, and I kept hearing these stories about women who had epidurals and had glorious, pain free deliveries and actually knew what the hell was going on.  Even with Will, the end was just a blur of pain and 'Please God make it end', so I wanted to see what was different.  

First off let me say that so far I universally hate military hospitals.  There may come a time when I feel differently, but I wouldn't put money on it.  With Jace, first of all no one knew how to hook up the internal monitors.  Because I was on pitocin and magnesium for my bp, it was important to be able to monitor him...  I don't remember how many people were crouched down there trying to hook it up, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out they were bringing in the cleaning ladies to 'have a go at it'.  Then came the epidural man.  I had been assured that he was the best in the hospital and I was soooo lucky that he was working.  Well I'm not so sure, because it took him two tries to get my epidural in the proper place.  He then started accusing me of my spine being strange, because clearly he couldn't have just made an error...  I don't know if it is or not, but I do know that you don't accuse a woman in labor of anything if you want to keep breathing.  Finally with monitors and epi in place, I drifted off to lala land, and I liked it.  I can remember as I was drifting off to sleep thinking, "Why didn't I do this with the first two?!"  Famous last words.

At some point they came in to wake me up and check me.  I had completely stopped dilating after getting the epi.  I'd been at 4 when I went to sleep and now 5 hours later, I was still at 4.  They bumped up the pitocin, and that's when things started getting crazy.  First the internal monitor started going crazy.  I think it beeped for at least five minutes before I noticed because the epi had worn off...  Oh yes....  Pain, like a mind-numbing, primal, someone put me out of my misery pain, took over my entire body.  At this point they are trying everything to get Jace where he can breathe.  I spent what seemed like forever on my hands and knees while they tried to reposition him.  I'm positive everyone in the hospital was in my room.  There were at least 10 people at this point.  The horror of all horrors was the fact that my cervix started swelling, and so instead of dilating I actually went from 8 back to 7.  I vaguely remember someone giving me a shot in my arm to stop my contractions because Jace couldn't handle them... All this time the monitors were still going crazy, and when I could think, it was, "Why aren't they just getting this baby out?!"  Apparently that's because none of the doctors in the hospital at that time were OBs.  Yeah...  It was a couple family practice doctors.  When the OB finally showed up all I can remember thinking was "Praise Jesus, Hallelujah".  I think I kissed the anesthesiologist.  By the time I hit the OR, everything happened so fast that Thomas walked in right as they were pulling him out.  He was completely purple.  Thank God he started screaming and turning pink immediately, but to this day I think, 'What if the OB had been any later?!"

So while Jace was off being weighed and measured and all that good stuff, I was left with the doctors who were trying to repair the fact that they cut through my cervix when the made the incision.  Oh, and btw I could also feel them sewing me up.  Not like, "OMG I have a knife tearing into my abdomen pain!" But I could feel stinging every time they stuck the needle in and I was petrified it would suddenly get worse.  The anesthesiologist insisted that I could not be feeling pain....  Since I begged to differ, his answer was to shoot me up with some versed so I'd shut up and go to sleep.  Worked for me.  We'll skim over the fact that I was severely anemic in the hospital and yet no one checked my blood again before discharging me.  That trip back to the hospital a couple days later to be offered a transfusion so that I could walk up my stairs without feeling like I was having a heart attack was fun.  You know in movies when someone is bleeding to death and they say, "It's so cold..."  Yes, it is.  

Soooo how does all this relate to today, Parker's 11th birthday?  Because despite ridiculous pain, having total strangers up in your hoo-ha, stretch marks, ever present maternal guilt, and saggy boobs seems like a hefty price to pay, but it's not.  I would have given more.  I still would.  Each of my children is the best part of me and the best thing I ever did.  I would die for them.  I will love them forever, without fail.  I will immediately think of them any time I count my blessings.  They are my everything, and the fact that I have given them life, feels like nothing compared to everything they've given me.  No matter how many mistakes I've made, no matter whether I deserve them or not, God has given me these babies and they are amazing and the most perfect children for me.  They are funny, smart, and perfectly imperfect, and I could not ask for more.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Long time no blog....

Hola Amigos!  This is my first blog from Texas and I'm still not sure that I'm ready...  No matter how batty my kids drive me, since they are pretty much the only thing I blog and/or talk about, you've probably noticed that they are not only vital to my life, but also my identification in general.  Moving to Texas without one of them basically makes it hard to breathe.  Something about blogging about my life when part of it is missing is just harder than I can explain.  The good news is, no matter how many miles are between us, Will still gives me material :)

The good news, and the bad news:

The good news is, technology makes it easier than ever to feel close to someone no matter how far away they are.  

The bad news is, technology makes it easier to only call your mom when you want her to transfer money onto your debit card.  

Honestly, even though I joke about it, I'll take what I can get.  Whether I'm putting money on Will's card or sending him the code to an X-Box card that I just bought, it makes me feel like I'm still vital in his life even though I'm days (and by all appearances,) light years from home.

Speaking of light years, Welcome to Texas!  Now that I've been here a few weeks, I have some observations to make.  Actually the first observation came about while we were still traveling....  

1.  Texas is huge.  Of the 1200 miles we traveled to get here, most of them were in Texas.  I left Kentucky, and passed through Tennessee and Arkansas while it was still daylight.  The rest of that glorious trip, (and by glorious I mean me, two kids, and a cat in a vehicle that was so packed I couldn't see out the windows,) was spent in Texas.  Which brings me to my next observation.

2.  For years I've been reading about how everything is bigger in Texas.  Much has been made of it's size...  I learned from my friend Jen that you can actually fit Texas into Alaska not once, but twice.  You don't hear as much about that though, do ya?  Wanna know why?  Because much of Alaska is still in it's natural state and Alaska knows that you don't brag about the size of something unless you plan to use it.  Which brings me to number 3.

3.  The entire second day of our trip here was spent in a barren wasteland.  As far as I can tell, once you get past Abilene-ish, it's mostly tumbleweeds, and final resting places of big, rusty, metal things.  Honestly, I was ridiculously excited by the first tumbleweed I saw.  I suddenly identified with Snoopy's brother Whatshisname who was besties with a cactus.  When you've spent countless hours looking at nothing but dirt and wind turbines, a tumbleweed passing in front of your car is not unlike seeing the last inhabitant of a ghost town...

4.  At some point I realized that I could probably ignore the speed limit and just drive as fast as I wanted.  I came to this realization when I realized that there wasn't even a gas station for at least a hundred miles.  Which begs the question- Hey Texas!  Did you ever consider the thought of posting some sort of warning?!  Something along the lines of "Get gas now, or you're about to be shit outta luck"?  If you lack proper signage, you could spray it on the side of one of those big, rusty, metal things.  I say without a trace of humor that God had to have gotten us to a gas station because my gas light was on for ummmmm  an hour?  Yeah.  I can't remember what astronomical amount I paid for gas there, but I would have paid double.  Seriously.

5.  By the end of Day 2 two things happened.  1.  We were home.  Praise God.  and 2.  I was pretty sure I would never get in my car again. 

6.  El Paso is huge and I need to learn Spanish.  Like yesterday.  I practically  had to do charades at Wal-Mart one day in order to find out that the checker was ready to close their lane.  No amount of smiling and nodding fixes the fact that the checker is telling you they are closed and you are still unloading your cart...

Please excuse me while I go and downgrade my phone to one that doesn't have apps.  Jace has been shoving my phone in my face and whining about race cars for the last 8 minutes....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just in case you're thinking

where in the world did LA get the title for her blog??   Remember this song?

There's a line in it that says, "Here's your life, welcome to it."  For some reason, every time things get especially crazy, that line goes through my head.  So now you know, and no more sleepless nights for you :)  Now you'll also be able to envision me humming this song on a regular basis.  The people around me are so fortunate.