Thursday, December 9, 2010

progress...

Soooo... things are starting to turn around slowly.

Braden is doing better in school (just the past two days... we had to have a conference with his teachers!)

There is PROGRESS on the porch close in! Concrete has been poured, and I've been told the framers will come anyday now. It's a great position, having my daddy switch services, but it makes it hard to complain about timelines!

Speaking of progress... we filled out paperwork AND emailed it in! Less than one month and we will be taking foster care classes!

I can't believe things are finally moving along!

All of the above --- and I'm finally starting to snap out of my funk :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

warning - whining ahead

So this week has sucked.

Not in an overly sucky way... just a generally sucky way.

Monday was rough, it always is after a good long weekend off. Nothing like a five day weekend to make you dread Monday.

Everyone was cranky at work... kids and teachers.

During 1st block I found out I have to go to a meeting tomorrow (thursday). Ugh. I get a day away from the kids ---> but short notice for lesson plans :(. And it's not a fun meeting.

Then, part way through my 3rd block, I was dealing with a minor infraction of a student, was about to write him up when he busted out with "I want to blow up your car."

Upside --- he won't be in my class anymore.

Then I get home and my beautiful child --- has a red card. He is having a rough week. It is now Wednesday and he has gotten a red card all three days. He didn't go to cubbies today, and if it happens again - he doesn't get to go to his friends tomorrow. We are trying to not beat him over the head w/ consequences, but there must be consequences that are natural for his behavior.

I just have a general crankiness and trying to shake it and it's just not happening. I don't know what's going on and it sucks.

I LOVE Christmas, and am just not in the spirit. I'm reading great books, trying to focus on the upside, but just want to press pause and cry, and sleep, and breathe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One of those Dreams

Last night I had one of those dreams. You know... one of those dreams that makes you go oh, I didn't realize that about myself.

There were a bunch of marching band references, but those weren't important. In the dream I was trying to get to somewhere, I needed to leave and go with my friends. I went to ride with friends and they left me and took my phone (it wasn't mean, it just happened that way). In my dream I wasn't angry with them, I think it was a big miscommunication thing.

But there it was, my friends were ahead of me, I was stranded in a HUGE town (think funky cross between Las Vegas and Orlando), and I had somewhere important to be.

All I could think was how scared, worried, and upset I was. I need to do something important, but I had no phone, NO DIRECTIONS, and MY FRIENDS COULDN'T HELP ME.

I was lost and alone with no clear directions.

Gee.... could this maybe be a not so hidden reflection on my feelings on starting foster care classes in January?

No directions, no clear path, and none of my real-life friends can help me... because none have been down this path!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

He hears

Yesterday,  I went shopping with my sister. We hit Old Navy and I humored myself and looked around at baby stuff. I was thinking how cute a particular onesie was... it had something to do with loving mommy (not quite this one, but this idea).

All of a sudden a tidal wave of grief overwhelmed me... would we put shirts like this on our next child??? As a foster parent, do we have our kids' rock these outfits? Would this shirt above mean the child was MY favorite gift or the birthmother's? Then the implications of not having one's child at the holidays... even if through their own shortfallings...

I was overwhelmed in that moment and practically ran from the infant section. My heart breaking and eyes wet. My sweet sissy came out of the dressing room and I shortly told her I was having a moment and why, and we left the store after quickly making our purchases.

I came home to our crib being delivered by our sweet friend and was able to put that moment out of my mind.

Later I was surfing the web and stumbled on a foster parent forum and some foster parent articles. I read an article (found here http://foster-care.adoptionblogs.com/weblogs/why-do-your-foster-children-call-you-mom).

I had to stop and read it, this paragraph was as if God was whispering to my bruised heart.

When that child leaves us they know that we love them. Whether a month or a year, you have made a huge difference in their life. Most of these children have never seen or been part a normal family. To call you Mom and Dad gives them a sense of belonging, security, peace, being loved, part of a family, and acceptance.

I also read the comments, this comment was a continuation of God showing me he had seen my pain

thmccarty says:


December 13, 2006 at 9:18 pm

I am an adult foster/adoptee. I called all of my foster parents mom and dad. It made it easier on me. I felt like I belonged to that family even if it was for a short while
So while I haven't decided about the shirts, the truth is, it doesn't matter. I will be their momma and my hubby their daddy, even if it is not forever.

Friday, November 19, 2010

2 questions answered

So! I didn't get the OFFICIAL schedule, but did get some information today.


I had sworn I would wait a week... but was going absolutely nutty waiting to hear back from the agency about the schedule.


So I called today, and... for some reason she didn't get the email! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA... I must have mistyped the email address.


I got the answers to my 2 top pre-class questions.


1. I can train with the agency that I want to train w/ even though my dad is on the board (whew b/c it's THE ONLY agency for area!)


2. She confirmed that we can start our training in January and be certified by May! She said as soon as we are certified, we will most likely starting calls!!!!!!!


The only bummer is that instead of being in just the next town - down the street from my parents, it's 1/2 an hour away :(. Luckily it's the same direction of my parents, but will add time to the whole journey on those nights, which will cause more time away from Bee. It'll be over a half our drive each way. She didn't tell me which night it will be, sort of stressful because we have "things" every night and I want to start preparing what we will drop.


When the classes were held near my parents they were Thursday nights, BUT, I think the ones at the "other" location are on Wednesday nights. I wonder if the classes are not in the area b/c they can't get a location - if that is the case - I may ask around to see if we can find a place (ahem ahem) (church folks) :).


I am amazed at how my mood has immediately improved! That and my gorgeous Bee got 5 GREEN CARDS this week. First time this year, and he has been in class since August. Finally! So happy. We are so excited because he has been struggling with his behavior and this is real progress.

Monday, November 15, 2010

a teeny tiny step

Emailed the head of the foster program yesterday

I asked for information for the next class --- i stated that we are hoping to accept our first placement in May.

Also, I asked if there would be any issues with the fact that I am the child of one of the Founding Board members. I wanted to be sure that it wouldn't become an issue of accused nepotism later on down the road.

I had really hoped that I would hear back quickly. No information so far. My parent has said that it wouldn't be an issue --- but I want to hear it from the officials.

It's not quite like peeing on the stick, but I feel like I am on a long ride to buy the stick.

I'm nervous they will tell me that I can't train through the group that I want to train with because of my family's history of working with the organization. I am nervous that they'll tell me that we should've started months ago and we won't get a placement in May (or at all during the summer). I am nervous will get through the training and they'll find some reason to tell us we don't qualify. I am nervous that Bee will not adjust to new children in our home. I am nervous I won't adjust to more kids. I am nervous that our hearts will be broken time and time again as children are in and out of our home. I am nervous... I just want to start this process. We have prayed about this for 4 years.

When I woke up after Bee's birth, we both knew exactly what our next step would be. I feel like we have been on pause for a few years and it's driving me bonkers!

Friday, November 12, 2010

6 months away...

God has truly blessed me with friends as I walk through this crazy time as a foster-parent-to-be.

Our plan is to take classes in January. Our best estimate is that we could have kids join us in May.

6 MONTHS AWAY!!!!

This path is so different that having had a biological child. At this point in a pregnancy - you shout it from the roof tops, you start getting stuff, it starts to feel almost safe - your past the scary first trimester.

We, however, are still quiet. Only our closest friends and family really know how close we are. It's not that I won't talk about it with those who ask, but it isn't a process easy to talk about. We don't do crazy facebook posts, etc.

One of my closest friends breathed the blessings of God into our life today. She found out her crib (which she is done with) has been recalled (as probably has ours). She is the much more organized type, and since she was breaking it down anyway - she got the info together and sent in for the recall voucher - and took me crib shopping!!!!

It has turned out better than if we used our old crib. We had a normal drop down crib --- with her voucher I was able to get a transitional crib (great for baby or toddler!)


This is the first thing we have officially purchased for our peanuts! Bee was excited and had hoped I would bring it home and was bummed when I told him it would be a few weeks.

Starting to feel like it is really going to happen!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Racism

Really thought that I would be able to spot racism.

I had thought the racism in my family was limited more towards the older men.

Today on facebook I saw this post from a close relative younger than myself...

Minorities, can't live with them. Can't live with them. No, really you can't live a fulfilling life with them around.

I sent him a quick message - reminding him that there is a chance that my next child could be a minority. I reminded him half his posts are about Jesus. He is an intense Christian. These things don't mesh.

I am heartbroken, confused, and not sure what this means for our relationship down the road. I have a feeling it'll mean less and less contact. If he can't see the error of his way I have no choice. I will not expose my children to such ignorance.

Very sad.

Monday, November 8, 2010

shopping therapy

sooo... there are all these cute shirts, etc. for pregnant mommies and even for adoptive mommies.... not much for foster mommies to be.

i know it's stupid... but it's a little different when one is a foster parent rather than an adoptive parent. the stability of the situation is a bit different. we cannot brag about it (not in the bragging ooo look what we did kind of way) but look at my cool kid and aren't we excited that we are adding to our family! and there's the whole thing that you don't out your foster kids as foster kids...

there are so many things we should be doing to get ready for the process...

getting the house truly clean and organized, etc.

but instead all i want to do is hunt around on etsy and other random sites for cute stuff... that i know doesn't exist and if it did i probably couldn't really wear anyway.

i did find one thing though... and think my hubby may actually get me for christmas...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Small things

It's funny... life is made up of the small things... they can make days great, or not so great.

Today I've been exhausted and slammed by the small things. I felt overwhelmed by a bunch of little things that on their own wouldn't be such a big deal, but layered on top of one another start to add up. I was feeling weepy and ready to snap.

I realized on my way home (late w/ people waiting to meet up with me) that I was letting the small things overcome me. My prayer group has discussed several times about how "the devil's in the details" is more than an overused phrase, it's the truth. Satan often uses the small silly things in life to weigh us down and keep us from shining the light.

As I was thinking this I realized I was behind 2 school buses, trying to make a light just over a railroad track. I felt my stomach knot. I don't know about other states, but in Florida.. school buses have to stop and open their doors and listen for a train at tracks. There was no way I was going to make the light and I would be at least 5 minutes LATER to my house for prayer group. I reminded myself it was just a light - I shouldn't let myself be overcome by the little things.

And then - somehow I made the light with time to spare. And that's when I remembered... God shows us His love and light in the little things too.

So today... I'm thankful for making the light.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Ghost of Blood Pressure Cuffs Past

I went to a urgent care center today. The short of it - I tripped on a haunted trail and sprained my knee.

I do NOT like going to the doctor, emergency room, etc. When I was in ICU following the hysterectomy my vitals were constantly being checked. I had a blood pressure cuff constantly on and it would take my blood pressure regularly and one of those clamp thingies on my finger. I don't know why I didn't prep myself for it today, I guess I wasn't thinking about it. I was cruising through the paper work, filled out date of last period (Sept 2006 - always fun to write that down), last pap smear (no cervix - no pap smear!), major surgeries - hysterectomy, all w/o a blink of the eye. I even didn't have a complete meltdown when the sweet girl behind the counter told me that my insurance says I have no coverage (breathing through that one... we will be at my benefits office Monday after work to get that taken care of). What freaked me out was having the nurse put the clamp thingie on my finger and realizing I was about to have my blood pressure taken.

Usually I can prep myself for having my blood pressure taken --- I get ready for it. I do tons of deep breathing, etc. etc. and can get it under control. This year (while getting my flu shot) the nurse actually mentioned that it was low.

Not today, as soon as I saw the cuff I could feel my heart rate pick up. I started to get that panicky feeling. And immediately got super talkative. I told the nurse I didn't do well with blood pressure cuffs, and she was nice, but there's no way to make it easy. She was understanding - and reassured me that while my pressure was high - it wasn't super high.


See the evil finger thingie and blood pressure cuff (in white)
*also must do disclaimer - 20 units of blood makes you puffy - that is NOT what I usually look like - forgive my vanity!

I have few clear memories of the ICU that have truly stuck. They are all jumbled. But I can remember that #*$&#& blood pressure cuff. It was on constantly and an automated machine would take it every 15 minutes or so. It got to the point that I actually bruised where they were taking it. I didn't have a literal flash back today... but as the cuff tightened on my arm... I felt the panic rise and all the feelings of grief, loss, confusion that I was feeling in ICU start to creep in around the frayed edges of my sanity. I beat it back, but it was such a bigger struggle than I anticipated.


I am honestly frustrated, I didn't expect it. I have been kind of self assured lately. Thinking I have healed and getting as close to getting "over it" as possible... I have been more focused on our future in foster care... then I get surprised by a an unexpected flash from the past.

Anyone else have something seemingly innocent take them back to a place they would rather not be????

Friday, October 29, 2010

Safe People

 ....raising a child is like pouring Miracle Grow on all your fears and character defects, so you have to talk about what's real, with safe people. Otherwise you are going to feel so isolated and deficient that it will damage your spirit.

http://www.salon.com/life/col/lamott/2003/10/24/letter

Hilarious post I found via someone who commented on my rage against the minivan post... "Letter to a pregnant friend."

This quote stuck with me because I have been truly blessed to stumble down this path of grief, growth, motherhood and madness with some pretty awesome women.

I have learned that no one is perfect. Even the women who from the outside seem to have it all and together, have their own struggles. And that helps --- none of us have it completely together and we all envy parts of each others lives... which in turns makes us grateful for what we DO have.

We are truthful to one another - we are honest - and by now it takes a look to know something is up with the other, but have the forbearance to not push for the details but just be there in the room and not run from the tears of others.

Since they are my most faithful blog followers (and I theirs) I just want to say (for the thousandth time) thank you both (and thank GOD for you!).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

there's a pair of us!

random occurence today of how small the world is...

i've always figured i would KNOW anyone else who has had a hysterectomy following birth. today i was talking with another teacher about how we can use blogs as resources in our classroom. she asked if i blogged, and i said not school stuff  --- i mentioned that i started blogging b/c i had been through something few had been through and couldn't find anything out on the web...

i basically just said - there were complications after my son was born and had to have a hysterectomy... she looked at me and said --- what??? i said it again and she just looked at me and said "that happened to me with my youngest..."

NO WAY!!!!!

we haven't had a chance to really talk yet (work and teaching had to resume) but we have said we'll have to sit and talk... i'm still amazed... we've been teaching together for 3 years and didn't know we were in "the same club"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Florida Girl

Yes it was late October in Orlando

Yes it was in the upper 70 degrees

Yes I am wearing a scarf because yes... I was cold.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's not just about "getting a kid"

This weekend something interesting happened. We were informed of a girl who is pregnant and not planning on keeping the child. The child is due around the time we are hoping to bring in foster children. We were "offered" the child. This is not the first time we were told about a child who is available for adoption.

It is hard for most people to understand. YES we would like to eventually add a child permanently to our family. I don't even want to say it is not our main goal... but foster care is the way we want to  must go. This is a calling so loud and clear. This weekend I didn't just say this but knew this deep in my soul.

God has a plan for us - it's different, it's crazy, and from the outside it may seem foolish to open our family open to the hurt that could come from the unknown.

I am scared. I am scared that a gorgeous baby (or two) will enter our home and I will fall in love. I am afraid that my son will fall in love. I am afraid that after we all fall in love with "Peanut" and we will lose them (him/her).

I am more afraid to my core that there will be beautiful children out in the foster world without families to care for them for the time they are in the system. They won't be loved as if they are family. They won't be cuddled and tickled and tucked in and kissed silly.

I am sickeningly terrified to imagine the things that my Peanut is possibly having to endure.

I have no sweet imaginings of random orphans falling into foster care. I worked at a children's shelter and saw the scars... physical and emotional first hand. I saw and heard of stories that I cannot dwell on or I begin to doubt all humanity for the cruelty that we can impart on our children. The sacred duty of motherhood and fatherhood and how some people fail their children in such unimaginable ways.

I know that their children available for adoption in easier ways that are less scary and risky. But they aren't my children.

MY child is suffering. MY child(ren) may only be with me for a short while. We will shine into their life hope, peace, and love. We will love them heart and soul.

The process of bringing MY children into our family will be painful, scary, and at times may make me feel like I am going to die.

It will be it's own form of labor.

But they will be MY children.

It's not about "getting a kid". It's about finding my children.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In the back of the closet...

In the back of my son's closet is a little blue striped dress.

I bought it a year before he was even conceived at a street fair in New York City.

I have kept it even after he was born and I knew I would never again carry a child.

I have caught myself looking at it more and more lately.

It is a symbol of the hopes and dreams I had.

There are new hopes and dreams.

Someday we may have a little girl in our life who wears the cute blue striped appliqued dress.

As the time draws nearer for us to begin our foster classes (3 months and counting), I find myself growing nervous and anxious.

Wondering about the future.

I wonder if anyone (who I can say is mine) will wear that dress.

What is in the back of your closet... what dreams are you still holding onto???

Monday, October 11, 2010

storytime

Tonight my lil man B was super hyper. He was truly wound up and crazy. For story time to calm him down I told him the story of Baby Peanut. I hadn't prepared, but just wove the tail as we cuddled.

Baby Peanut was sad because his momma and daddy couldn't care for him. Baby Peanut was lonely and couldn't wait to someday become part of a family that would love and care for him. Baby Peanut wants to join a family with a dog, a cat, and two frogs... and a big brother.

I've been searching and searching for stories about adoption and foster care and still haven't found quite the right book. It is such a hard concept to hold onto that some parents don't know how to care for their children.

If ANYONE out there knows of good books that specifically address foster care and preparation of bio-kids for the addition of foster kiddies --- please post comment!

here's one link: http://childrensbooks.about.com/od/adoption/fr/emmas.htm - we will be getting B this one!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Difficult Beginning to the School Year

Grief is never easy... and it always seems to grow and compound.

There have been quite a few things lately at work that have been one on top of each other. I love my students and try to connect with them... unfortunately this means by letting them in... you can be touched by their tragedies and sometimes their poor choices.

One of my students (M*)was killed in a car accident --- tragedy compounded by the fact the driver was going to fast (just teenager fast - she was sober) and the fact that M* wasn't wearing her seat belt. It's frustrating --- silly choices that lead to permanent consequences.

The 7 year old brother of another one of my students (a girl who was friends with M* and in the same class) was seriously burned. He was playing with a lighter while the father was draining gas from a lawnmower. Easy to judge - but seriously - one of those things where small choices lead to lifelong consequences. I see how this girl carries herself and can tell she is from a good family - no obvious bad choices. She has mentioned that with everything else they are dealing with - her father is battling guilt.

A former student of mine who has a special place in my heart was recently arrested... bad choice, someone made a derogatory comment and the two started fighting --- which the paper deemed a brawl --- on our school campus. Again... small choices that lead to lifelong consequences.

Another student has lost a young friend of hers to another tragic car accident in the area --- a father was driving with his four children. Another driver ran a red light (poor choice) and tore their car in half, instantly killing the 10 year old daughter. To see my student go from a bright happy bouncy girl, to a girl deep in grief, cuts to the heart.

It's heartbreaking to see all these split second choices that lead to lifelong painful consequences. I keep focusing on through all of this God is in control and has a plan.

The shadows are merging and growing... I am looking for HIS light to shine and chase the shadows away... I know it's there and I can see spots in the shadows... Holding fast to that for now...

Monday, September 27, 2010

What I want you to know: Emergency Postpartum Hysterectomy

Here's a post I submitted to Kristen at one of my favorite blogs: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/. She's doing a series called What I want you to know - don't know if it'll get posted, but it was a interesting to write - so I thought I would share it here.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

My name is Marilyn, I am 32 years old. I live in a small town on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I’m a high school teacher at a rural high school. I love my students, but my number one priority is my family. Outside my fabulous extended family, my family is made up of my husband of 9 years and my sweet 4 year old son.

The day my son was born was the best day of my life, the morning after – the worst. The short story is that after he was born, my womb refused to recontract and hemorrhaged blood. The doctors tried their best, but in the end the only thing that could be done to save my life was a hysterectomy. For the full story - http://ashadowofgrief.blogspot.com/p/what-happened-my-hysterectomy-story.html
I want you to know is it’s lonely. It’s (thankfully) uncommon. It’s hard to get firm statistics – they don’t really exist anywhere that’s easy to find. I’ve seen some numbers @ 1 in 30,000 births. If the average woman has 2-3 kids it’s 1 in 10-15,000. It’s not often that I meet another woman who has had a hysterectomy (under the age of 50) and even more unlikely that it was a part of their birth story.

I want you to know that my pregnancy was healthy… there was no warning, no I didn’t drink, smoke, or eat unhealthy foods. I was actually in prenatal yoga classes. I read every book and ate (and didn’t eat) whatever they told me was best. What I want you to know… is that I don’t regret being such a stickler for those rules when I was pregnant. Some may say it proves that “those things don’t matter”. To me… it shows that they did matter – who knows – maybe I wouldn’t have survived.

I want you to know that I don’t blame my doctors. It’s been insinuated that my doctors made a bad choice in deciding a c-section was necessary. Some people assumed we would sue. I have even had someone refer to complications with c-sections, look at me and then say “well – you know how dangerous they can be”. I remember being stunned and thinking how callous and presumptive. In my case, the c-section was due to a concern at the amount of blood they were seeing with a vaginal birth. I believe the c-section allowed the doctors to first see the extent of the issues, and later when they went back in, a quicker way to attempt to save my uterus. I want you to know I believe my doctors saved my life.

I want you to know BLOOD DONORS save lives. I have heard (and was guilty myself) of not donating blood due to a mild fear of needles. I now realize how selfish that is. It took 20 people donating blood to save my life. If I could thank them each individually I would. They gave me the opportunity to be a mom to my wild and crazy boy.

I want you to know it’s not my son’s fault. People have asked if he was “a big baby”. He was not. To me, it seems a strange thing to somehow connect him to my complications. I have heard a student I teach say that his brother almost killed his mother when he was born. It makes my blood run cold to even hear that joked about. I believe that my body was not created to carry more than one child. God has a different plan for how our family will be formed.

I want you to know when someone says “I am not able to have children” to regale them with stories of how God can do anything is cruel, you may not know what you are talking about. I have had sweet people tell me stories about how their neighbor’s granddaughter was told she would never have children and she has had 4 perfect births after they just forgot about it. That’s nice, but I have had a hysterectomy. There is no womb for a child to grow in. I believe God CAN do anything. But to tell me that I could carry a child, is like telling someone who has had a leg chopped off that God will regrow their leg. While I believe anything is possible, I don’t think it’s probable.

I want you to know I’m still grieving. I have a gorgeous little 4 year old boy, but every day I grieve. I grieve for the sweet birthing story. I grieve for the fact that his birthday is always a difficult day, we rejoice in his day… but I am overcome by sadness and fear on that day. I grieve for my dream children. The children I dreamed of carrying and birthing. I catch myself gazing at newborns, and I grieve that I may never again hold a newborn child I can call my own. I grieve for the first weeks of my days of my son’s life when I was in ICU and unable to be with my sweet boy. I grieve the first weeks of his life when I was in a haze of pain and grief so thick I could barely draw breath. I grieve for my husband who very nearly witnessed his wife bleed to death in a gruesome and horrifying manner. I grieve.

There’s so much more I want you to know… but just know that I exist… this does still happen today in this miracle age of medicine, childbirth is still a risky venture.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

wet eyes

it has been a rough week and a half...

i find myself listening to a sermon, bible study, teaching, working with my students, looking out at the class, looking at my cousin's newborn, thinking about visiting the newborn... and all of a sudden my eyes are wet.

i'm not sobbing, i'm not even crying - but tears are swimming

the sermon today was fabulous - Commentary on Revelations Chp 4. Not scary at all - the pastor centered the discussion around the visual of the throne and how it is representative of GOD being present and in control.

the combination of the unexpected death of one of my students and the continued longing for another child have combined and the result has been more than the sum of the parts

i breathe through the moments and continually remind myself HE is in control - i may not see the short term reasons ---- i already see how he is working in the lives of others students through the passing of one of their closest friends...

it is still difficult... and i have a feeling it'll be a continual battle with wet eyes

Monday, September 20, 2010

detached grief

this past week one of my biggest fears as a teachers was realized... i lost a student

5 students from my school were involved in a serious accident on the way to school 5 days ago, and a sweet girl i had as a sophomore and currently as a senior was killed - no one was wearing seatbelts and the driver was driving too fast

teenager stuff with adult consequences

talking to my father tonight about attending the viewing and the funeral he "reminded" me to stay detached at the funeral - that it needed to be appropriate.

i'm sort of chewing on that still - is that a good thing? of course i shouldn't become hystical - that would be hypocritical - i was not particularly close to this student, but the idea as the adult model figure to my students i should be detached - is something that makes me pause

many of the staff was concerned when i was crying at the short meeting we had to inform of us the students accident (i had already read it online)

the idea that it i needed to pull it together for the students is silly --- while i shouldn't be a blubbering idiot - for me to NOT shed a tear in front of them would be even worse. the truth is i lost it in there b/c i finally was away from the kids and could openly grieve - even then, i was holding back a bit...

I LOVE MY KIDS (aka students)- even when they are pains in the @$$es - i love them, they mean something to me and are important...

it's sad to think that culturally i am to "have it together" at an event that is meant for us to grieve...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Guilty Thanks

Thankfulls that I am almost ashamed to post...

70. An unexpected nothing to do night --- guilty pleasure is that it happened b/c my Gma called and cancelled dinner tonight

71. A full day (practically) to myself on Saturday --- guilty b/c I had little time with my son who I don't get to see tons during the week

72. additional time for JUST me tonight --- guilty b/c my hubby went to work to get more stuff done

73. Was able to get a few things done at work today unexpectedly --- guilty b/c it happened because I stopped class 10 minutes early (forgot when the bell rang!)

74. Sweet morning cuddle time with my little man ---- guilty because we need to get him to stop crawling into our bed at night

75. RICE PUDDING --- 2-fold guilty -- happened b/c I was making dinner and forgot that 2 cups of uncooked rice = 6 cups of cooked rice AND --- I ate all but one serving by myself in 24 hours

76. to NOT live near certain family members --- guilty - self explanatory

77. that my son's school was open on Rosh Hashanna --- guilty b/c I had off work and sent him anyway!

78. for TV shows that are online - guilty b/c now i waste even more time (i dunno - maybe it's less --- ???)

**** seriously though - super grateful for all the above, mainly felt bad about feeling the relief that we weren't going out tonight - then felt bad b/c they cancelled b/c they aren't feeling well

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

How hard can it be??? Wow... Let me tell you a story...

As a history geek --- I understand what labor day is --- Grover Cleveland's PR following the messy Pullman strike, honoring the union workers who died for unionization rights and reform for workers...

but that is not what my labor day post is about...

i happened across a poster yesterday outside the maternity store MOTHERHOOD... it said "Labor Day... how hard can it be?" They are giving away shirts and bags with this logo

wow... don't want to be the uber sensitive type but that ad hit me square in the gut. I try to avoid walking by those stores because they are honestly never easy, but to see labor trivialized was  hurtful.

Besides the women who are in my shoes and unable to carry a child again, what about the women who had births which scarred them in another way, or a had a labor which led to the injury or death of the child, or the families of the women who have died in labor???

How ignorant of a company that makes it business to deal with pregnant women to trivialize the labor process! How shortsighted, close minded...

This is not even paying attention to the women around the world in developing nations who die in child birth or of infection or hemorrhage afterwards everyday.

I pray I don't run into a woman wearing this shirt... I also I pray if I do, I don't inform her just how hard labor can be.

Monday, August 30, 2010

thankful 62-69

62. pecan encrusted grouper w/ citrus beurre blanc made by my chef-hubby

63. the ability to drag my touchas out of bed even when i am exhausted

64. that even though my 4 year old couldn't behave ALL DAY... he somehow pulled it together to be an angel at my grandparents

65. a case of MOUNTAIN DEW so i can continue to survive teaching 4 blocks

66. teaching 4 blocks - exhausting but a big bump in pay

67. getting a pay check

68. being able to turn down extra pay because i would rather keep my thursdays free to be w/ my accountability people

69. exhaustion that'll pass... and because of it... debt that will be paid off

Monday, August 23, 2010

first day back

4 blocks

99 students

B lunch (a lunch in the middle of a class - crazy)

barely awake

1 day down - 179 to go!

Monday, August 16, 2010

first days tug

today was the first day of work for hubby and self after our fabulous summer vacay

we are both h.s. teachers - it's great for schedule, can be draining to see some of the worst of our civilization rear it's ugly heads in how students "turn out"

the bummer of having a summer off, is that it ends. it sounds odd, but summer is so great that when it ends, it sucks. it's like seeing a glimpse of something awesome and then woosh ---- gone

i love the time i have with B during the summer, spending time with friends and family, naps (oh glorious naps), sleeping in, staying up late, not be continuously exhausted

the best is the time i spend with B - i love playing with him, reading, watching his mind tick as he plays with numbers and words, knowing who he is playing with, guiding his growth, etc

today i picked him up from his first day of daycare, was told he had a good day... and then tattled on himself in the car. he made a new friend and he and the new friend decided to tease another girl. that they weren't her friend and then they told her they were going to surf on lava and throw her in. he told me he said sorry, but i don't know. i'm sure it's normal playground teasing - i'm glad he told me - hope he really apologized, but upset with the teasing - don't know if he instigated it or his "new friend".  it sounds like something he could come up... just not a fan of him teasing. he sort of was a bully last year and was hoping we had worked this issue out. i was hoping it had clicked that it's not ok to be mean to others. i didn't want to hammer him on being mean - but we talked about it for a few minutes. i asked how he would feel if someone said they wanted to surf on lava and throw him in. he said he would not like it. i reminded him we are supposed to love one another as we love ourselves, and that means that we shouldn't do something to someone that would make us sad if someone did it to us. hopefully it'll click - mean kids are not fun, and i see how they are once they hit high school - and it gets ugly

anyway - should be working on syllabi and/or sleeping!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Big Day Big Changes

AKA - Be Careful what you pray for = you just might get it

AKA - Secrets Suck

AKA - How quickly life changes w/ in 12 hours

AKA - I will actually post about today on Monday when I am out of sworn secrecy on 2 major life changes ugh

Thursday, August 12, 2010

grateful 51-61

51. for unexpected 4th block teaching for hubby and self - equaling extra money not expected

52. a father who calls me w/ adoption tips... he's thinking about it, he knows it's our reality

53. the miracle of getting my house in order out of no where so my small group could meet

54. a husband who will take the child out for a bike ride while i watch WEST WING

55. pedicures

56. massages

57. the fact that i got a pedicure and a massage FOR FREE this week thanks to a dear friend and my gma!

58. kids who were quiet today while we prayed and met

59. friends w/ gentle hearts who cry at movies (even when i don't understand why :))

60. mountain dew... mountain dew to counteract benadryl :))))))

61. a little boy who LOVES wearing his cowboy boots (with shorts while bike riding)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

ahhhhhh.....

we aren't supposed to post about things like family being out of town but... ahhhhhh... this is awesome and weird!

Daddy and son went out of town to visit Daddy's family. I have been apart from my son a few times, but only once before has he left and I have stayed here. BOTH times have been to visit the inlaws. Last time I didn't go because I had JUST gone back to work, this time because I am teaching a seminar for social studies teachers and smartboards for my county. (don't be too impressed all of 8 teachers are coming ;))

What to do... well --- I had to go grocery shopping. I am NOT the cook in the household - hubby is. So... I picked up stouffer's mac and cheese to cook up and some diced ham to add... that should get me through the two nights I have to make dinner, and then I contemplated buying ice cream... and Winn Dixie had Ben & Jerry's was buy one get one!!! woo hoo - contemplation over

There is an odd peace being in my house alone. I will clean a little, organize alittle, work (boo!), get a massage (thanks to gma), a pedi (thanks to a friend), go to dinner and a movie w/ a friend --- woot woot

Crazy to think how excited I am to have two nights all to myself! The gentle joys of motherhood :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

"expecting"

so... here's hoping... i said the same thing last year and things fell through - so i am tempted to keep quiet as in a traditional pregnancy... but 9-10 mo's from now maybe we will be adding to our family!

we SHOULD be taking our classes for foster care in January and hope to be taking in kids next May or June.

i'm getting the really excited/scared feeling that i got last year at this time - may babies may be out there - OR someone is probably at least preggy w/ my baby

it's a scary feeling - what is happening to them RIGHT NOW??? as a clear marking of the difference between men and women --- it's not so much on the hubby's mind

VBS was at our church this week, tonight was the dessert reception to bring in the non-church families. I was blessed to run into a former church member who has traveled this road. she said she and her hubby were the same way. she couldn't help but think of the kids - but he was not consumed the same way.

We spoke for a while and she said she felt like the little bird in Dr. Seuss's "Are you my mother?" but she would see kids on the fost-adopt list and think "are you my daughter?"

I'm praying for my babies' safety - and will start including them in our nightly prayers... all i can do for now - trust them to GOD and prepare for the day that they will join us

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Immersion Therapy"

I was watching tv (shocker) the other night and there was a joke about immersion therapy... I laughed, and then realized ---> I had completed my own version of immersion therapy.

After B was born and we were dealing with the fallout of an emergency hysterectomy. I continually thought about how much it sucked and how badly I wanted to hide from women who were either new mommas or newly pregnant, etc. etc. So... what did I do??? Hung out with mommas and went to hospitals and watched births. YES... after a freakish complication nearly killed me... I surrounded myself with birth.

Did it work? I think so. I still feel a bit ill when I visit the maternity ward (esp. where B was born). But not to the degree that I have heard other women discuss on the yahoo group.

When my son was 6 mos old, my bff had her first child. I remember her sitting and holding my hand and trying not to cry while I was in ICU. She helped me pump (how awkward). She dealt with the absolute fear of almost losing me while 3 months pregnant herself. I remember driving up to her birth (actually one of her false alarms) and praying for everyone involved. I prayed for the person who cleaned the equipment, the nurse who would put in the needles, every little thing. When she went in for her scheduled c-section (after 3 false alarms), I sat in the waiting room and did the same thing. I read my Bible and prayed. I think her mom thought I was a bit nuts, but I was able to stave off an anxiety attacks I may have had otherwise. I was able to see her son shortly after he was born and feel happiness OVER the sadness. The sadness was there, but the happiness at her health and the joy of that sweet boy overrode it.

When B was 16 mos old,  I was so blessed as to be able to witness the birth of one of my prayer partner's second child. She invited several of us to be with her and be her support. It was an awesome experience and quite healing to see it all go right. 16 months earlier I couldn't have imagined myself doing it, but I did. I will say as a warning, I feel an intense responsibility and love for that little boy --- so to witness a birth is not something to go into lightly.

For those of you out there dealing with any kind of birth trauma --- I would highly suggest going along the same route - don't avoid it - dive right in! Maybe not attending actual births, but visiting new mommas and babyshowers, etc. If we avoid them, then they only get harder as time goes on. Pray the whole way, and have the support system I talked about earlier - and you will make it too.

***disclaimer -- I am not a professional therapist --- ask yours for advice, this is what worked for me

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How to Survive

For those of you who have found this blog and are members of this oh-so-fun club of pph survivors and hysterectomies...

Find support... on line and in real life...

How did I do it?

Online support
1.http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/pph-survivors/ --- this is the first group I joined. They are EXTREMELY active. I love this group - but there are some women who are quite angry, understandably so. I followed it for a while, but dropped out after a year or so. you have to write a letter explaining your experience - they try to keep wackos out. it was great just to know i wasn't the only one.

2. facebook (search pph survivors) - great way to get connected with some women who have been through the same - i started this when i was (mistakenly) not accepted to the other group. so far you just have to request to join - if there starts to be crazies - it'll be rougher to get in, but hopefully not. through this i have actually MET someone - and was interviewed for a study.

REAL LIFE

This has proven to be most important, I was so  blessed to have some awesome women come into my life just as I was beginning my journey as a mother.

I started off by surrounding myself with people. By the time B was 3 or 4 months old, I had joined a playgroup, was (still) running a girls' bible study, and attending women's bible study at my church. By the time he was 6 months old I had also joined an accountability group. This started with 4 women. Currently (yes currently 3 1/2 years later) there are 3 women. We share our life with one another, pray, do bible study (when the kids aren't screaming), etc. We actually just went on a week long journey together to Tennessee with our boys. woo hoo!

By surrounding myself with other women in the midst of motherhood I learned that there are problems for everyone. I have learned not to compete with tragedy. Just because they aren't going through "what I went through" doesn't mean I can't learn from them and they from me. It doesn't mean I can't hurt for them as they do for me.

Pregnancy sucks for some people - birth sucks for some people - and post partum sucks for some people.

Just because I had a hyster, just because baby showers and pregnancies, and other things sometimes (less than it used too!!!) are like a big ole sucker punch. Doesn't make other people's suckiness less sucky for them.

By joining with these women and supporting each other through life... I have continued to live!

Vacation Hangover... aka Momma needs a drink

Uggg... recovering from a vacation is reminding me of a hangover... complete with nausea and headache.

I'm so tired, but can't sleep... nausea from eating junk food (slim jims aren't what they used to be). I am also dealing w/ a caffeine withdrawal headache.

I ended up taking a "big" vacation this summer - had sworn I wouldn't as we are saving money for our much anticipated and promised room enclosure. (our closest friends know this was SUPPOSED to happen a year and a half ago --- but keeps getting pushed back). Anyway - a close friend's hubby decided to send us all (3 mommas + 4 boys) to Chattanooga. A great blast but thoroughly exhausting!

Coolidge Park, Walking Bridge, Sculpture Garden, Children's Museum, Moonpies, Incline Railway, Point Park, Covenant College, dinner with a cool family, super cool Pumpkin Park, and much much more!

Yesterday we drove 14 hours to get home - luckily no meltdowns!

The trip was great bonding for our boys - and the mommas bonded over the experience - not a ton of conversation (hard to talk around 4 boys), but I love the analogy I've heard of Jesus and his apostles --- he asked them to go fishing. Lots of time spent together not necessarily talking. True friendships are built not only on the occasional deep convo - but time spent together. The mommas definitely spent some time in the trenches together and I look forward to some time to swap war stories at another date!

Today is recovery, and slowly withdrawing from caffeine... but for now --- momma needs a drink - of mountain dew to chase off this minimigraine!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chattanooga Thankfullness

45. to quote our lil' friend EF... that "we are here!"

46. awesome carousel at Coolidge park

47. "Heavy Metal Music" sculpture

48. mountains - wow... FL girl is getting a kick out of the mountains

49. NOT getting sick driving up and down said mountains

50. having boys falling asleep so the Mommas can eat chocolate and hang out

Saturday, July 24, 2010

should i feel guilty?

sooo... B's new favorite activity... washing dishes


should i feel bad that i let him think this is an extra treat?


OR


should i seize the day and allow him to entertain himself AND get my house cleaner??

xxxxxx


so --- had to stop typing this post in order to have the question answered - DO NOT LEAVE A FOUR YEAR OLD UNATTENDED WASHING DISHES... i could hear water dripping... he got water all over the counters and floor...


oh well - at least the floors are clean (er)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Motherhood and Loss

This post by rage against the minivan is awesome.

http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2007/11/motherhood-and-loss.html

It's about motherhood and miscarriage - i love the perspective and think it works for those of us who have had a hysterectomy as well.

Allowing motherhood to be a balm for the soul during loss

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blessings 42-44

42. a friend who will host and tourguide a vacation that i wouldn't have been able to take this summer

43. another friend brave enough to go on this mad journey that involves 3 mommas + 4 boys under 6 in 1 minivan

43. my mom who will "hire" me to help her around the house so i can earn $$$ for my trip

44. a hubby who doesn't mind be ditched for a week

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

6 losses to come to term with when adopting after infertility

This episode of my favorite podcast has been convicting on so MANY levels!

http://fosterpodcast.com/episode-83-finding-child/

I will probably do a few posts dissecting this episode b/c it struck me on several levels - the first was the issue of adopting after infertility. I tend to not include myself in this category - because ironically I am quite fertile, just not able to carry a child anymore. This portion of the podcast hit me and made me face the fact that I am indeed in this category.

Interesting resource used: Book: Adopting after Infertility by Pat Johnston

She comes up with six losses one must deal with when deciding to adopt when infertile:

1) control over many aspects of life
2) individual genetic continuity linking past and future
3) the joint conception of a child with one's life partner
4) the physical satisfactions of pregnancy and birth
5) the emotional gratifications of pregnancy and birth
6) the opportunity to parent

YUP!

First - the loss of control of many aspects of life...
    - I do admit part of dealing with the hysterectomy following B's birth was the fact that it couldn't be fixed. No matter what, no matter who I know, or how "good" I've been or promise to be, I'm not in control - HE is.
     - also, now that we have decided to pursue adoption - specifically foster care adoption - I am in even less control with the birth process (and the pregnancy) even the early months, or years of life! We were so careful when preggy and when B was little to do everything "just right". i actually cried when watching "The Blind Side" when it came out that the bio-mom didn't read to him... that is what hit me - my future babies may not be being read to...

Second - the loss of individual genetic continuity linking past and future
     - basically the fact that the child will not be a link from my genetic past to the future - IN OTHER WORDS (in my humble opinion), my future babies will not "look" like us most likely - seriously, they may even be different race!

Third - the joint conception of a child with one's life partner
       - B is a combination of the best of my hubby and I, we see glimpses of each of us in him, we smile about little things that we see in him from each other - we "made" him together

Fourth - the physical satisfactions of pregnancy and birth
        - this is where I differ from many infertile adoptive parents -I've had the experience, which is good and bad,
GOOD: I got to do it, I know first hand that portions of pregnancy and birth suck BAD: I know what I'm missing - the quickening - first movements of the lil' bun in the oven, etc.

Something that stands out for me is breastfeeding. I know that sounds odd, but breastfeeding is one of those things that is a mix between physical and emotional (which is why it's stuck in here awkwardly). Breastfeeding was (besides my faith) that seriously helped me following B's birth. It forced me to bond and spend time with him, it was a problem that I felt I could "solve", I loved the cuddle time and truly felt I was doing something good for him. - I promise I will eventually post my breastfeeding story (trying to find it saved on my old desktop). I know that in many adoptions this is possible, in foster care - not so much.

Fifth - the emotional gratifications of pregnancy and birth
      - this is my biggest hurdle. The excitement and expectation of being pregnant, the belly rubbing (NOT by others - I loved rubbing my belly), how excited OTHER people are for you, the parties, registering for tiny little baby stuff, ultrasounds, hearing the heartbeat for the first time
      - there are the things that i missed out with B and don't get a second chance at - holding him first... heck holding him and remembering it within the first 24 hours, the whole having the baby born and put on your belly, giving birth and being able to immediately focus on joy - NOT be thrown into life change of infertility. I was so excited to have B, but had to deal with deep grief at the same time

Sixth - the opportunity to parent
     - while adoption will give us the opportunity to parent, depending on the age of our child, we will miss some of the early opportunities - first words, first foods, first walk, first tooth, baptism(?), if a boy what if they DON'T circumcise - how do you make that decision later on... it's kinda mean, etc. etc. etc.

What I loved about Wendy's comment on this was that these were not things to "get over" but things to think over and pray over and figure how to cope with!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

from the mouths of babes

i am ashamed to say my son doesn't necessarily know all my aunts and uncles by name and they aren't typically on the tip of his tongue - i say this because tonight something so sweet touched my heart

part of our bed time routine is to thank God for 5 things and the bless a category of people in our lives (friends, cousins, moms and dads - usually of friends or cousins, aunts and uncles, etc) tonight i started to do cousins, and B stopped me - he said no Momma I want to do uncles and aunts - i started with Dear God please bless aunt a... (we usually give sounds) i was ready to start w/ his Aunt A... (oldest aunt on his father's side)

he spoke first and said, Dear God please bless Uncle L..... (name full out)

i spoke in a previous post about the unexpected loss of my Aunt b... Uncle L... is her husband - my momma's baby brother.

Not a name typically on B's lips, he hasn't seen him since the funeral 2+ weeks ago.

God is awesome and great - i love that he brought my uncle to my sweet son's mind and therefore to my mind. I will be saying an extra prayer for him (and the kids) tonight... they are constantly in my thoughts and prayers, but tonight even more

Saturday, July 10, 2010

baby showers

went to an absolutely beautiful baby shower today, wasn't as apprehensive about it as usual.

i got a little nervous on the way b/c i started thinking about how sometimes women start exchanging war stories about whose delivery was "worse"

thankfully - none of that happened...

i did talk w/ the momma to be (not sure if she knows my hysterectomy story) she mentioned how she didn't want to "see" her birth (totally with her there) and that she would be happy as long as they put the baby on her belly after the birth.

i had to smile because i know how unlikely it is for the birth to be perfect. i just said, no matter how good or bad the birthing experience is it's worth it. i remember thinking a c-section would be THE WORST thing to happen --- oh if i had only known :)

i did get the wind knocked out of me by one thing... they played the ultrasound video in the background at the beginning of the shower - ouch. it hurt more than i would expect. i felt so petty, i just couldn't watch it. i am happy for them, but it was a bit like being sucker punched. they had music set to it, one of the songs i love to sing along to with B (Baby Mine by Allison Krauss). i watched a little and then stood so that i couldn't see the screen. if i watched much more i would cry - and not the sweet sentimental kind. it sucks - i def did better this time than at any other shower - but there are still times that it all comes out of nowhere.

i will never have another ultrasound, will never again hear my unborn child's heartbeat, will never have months to prepare for a child knowing the age and gender... true we could do surrogacy, we could do an adoption where we would find these things out ahead. i truly feel GOD has called us to foster - but i still catch myself grieving the "traditional" way of growing a family

Thursday, July 8, 2010

better is one day

after making my post last night and thinking of grieving what aunt b will be missing now that she is in heaven, and i thought of how does that mesh with the knowledge she is in heaven...

it doesn't

this song was stuck in my head - even though i cannot understand and fully grasp this with my earthly mind -

BETTER IS ONE DAY IN YOUR COURTS THAN THOUSANDS ELSEWHERE

it doesn't say thousands of normal crappy days, it says thousands elsewhere - they could be the most perfect days, and they wouldn't compare.

when we are with the Father - it will be better than sticky pbj kisses, watching your son hit a homerun in lil' league, even better than watching your daughter walk down the aisle...

i don't "get it" but i know it to be true...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

warning - thoughts processing

i know God in His providence understands His timing.

it's been a while since i've posted - lots of things have happened

in the midst of B's birthday and the anniversary of my hysterectomy and my 2nd chance at life - the loss of life has surrounded me

i know this is God at work in the huge symphony of life. i am not the only person who was touched by these people (even if only through a common friend). HIS timing is not directed JUST for me and my life, there are hundreds of others - but in 1 week - during the time I would have been in the hospital 4 years ago... I was surrounded by loss...

quick synopsis -

1. my grandparents best friend passed away @ 90+ years of age - sad, but not surprising or life shattering

2. one of my prayer partner friends lost her college bff (in her 30s?) - surprising, my heart breaks for my friend, and i grieved for her loss...

then... close to the heart, sudden, still in shock
3. my aunt b - 43 years and 8 days old - went to get her driver's license, got her picture taken, sat down and had a brain aneurism, taken to hospital - airlifted to second hospital... less than 12 hours from start to finish and she was gone

****
my thoughts are everywhere - but one has cropped up as i was thinking about blogging and the name of my blog.

shadow of grief --- sometimes the shadow is barely there, midday - sometimes it's long (late afternoon early morning) - that is not a new thought - the new thought - sometimes my shadow is engulfed in the shadows of the world (dusk/dawn).

even in the grief of my aunt's passing - the grief of my own loss reared it's ugly head. it's shadow merged with the grief of lossing her, of the grief i had seen my friend go through, the grief of my grandparents, the grief of my cousins and my family - a huge shadow of grief... shared with so many that the lines seperating the individual shadows were completely blurred and lost

what has torn me up (mostly) is that she has left her kids behind. as a mom - it hurts. i know she was saved - she loved the lord and had such faith. i know she is in a better place, i am amazed at her daughter's strength in her faith (and her faith in the faith of her mom) - but i think of how much it kills to see her kids grieving her... and i can't help but think of what if i had left B.

how much i would have missed - how much she is going to miss....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lessons I've Learned

1 Thessalonians 5
16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Verse 18 is difficult for me - to give thanks in everything (some translations say in all circumstances, whatever happens, etc.)

I should be thankful for my loss, hard to do - but w/ the readings I've been doing lately (Crazy Love, Francis Chan) if I BELIEVE - THEN I SHOULD DO WHAT HE SAYS...

So, yesterday was the anniversary of my "alive" date. The day I almost died. The day of my hysterectomy and my life was truly altered. Why should I be grateful this occurred? What has come of this? It's only been four years, so I am sure that I will see more and more later in life, but for now


- a few things I am grateful to have learned...

38. the meaning of James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.


- a verse I have often heard, the idea that we are not guaranteed tomorrow - there is the cerebral knowledge and the heart knowledge... we never know... have things right with all all the time - for we never know
 
39. tragedies/traumas/dramas/ are not comparable
- too often life is a competition of "woe is me" - "if you think you have it bad..." that mind set is foolish, grief is grief - end statement, no qualifiers.
 
40. I can survive (not just physically - but mentally)
- i remember thinking that i could never survive something so horrid as a hysterectomy (actually a few nights before his birth i was overcome by that exact fear - not prophetic - my normal morbid self) i have learned i can survive what i thought was impossible
 
41. enjoy what you have, do not focus on the grief of what is lost
- while i do believe grief must be processed, FOCUSING on that grief would rob us of joy - i was so focused on B after the first week or so... reminding myself that i had this gorgeous child, that i was to be the best momma possible to him, if i had overly focused on the loss, i would have been suffering a double whammy - losing not only the "dream babies" but his babyhood.
 

Monday, June 21, 2010

i have a feeling it's going to be a long week

i don't know how single moms do it

of course typically they go to work - i was home all day

my dh is off at a culinary instructor training in Miami and i am home all day w/ the gorgeous child. the first half of the day was great, i was thinking - a snap, i could do this... then naptime and (shock) no nap. he was out of his room every 5 minutes.

when 5 o'clock came and it started to sink in there would be no relief it hit harder --- esp since we were running to 3 stores before getting to my grandparents for dinner. B was an abolute PITA (pain in the a...) the entire time. logically i know he was tired. i know realize i should have had him in the cart, but am realizing we need to break him of riding in the cart since he is 4 AND hopefully this time next year we will have 1 (or 2) lil' ones who need to ride.

i am exhausted - haven't gotten half of what i had planned done and fell a bit defeated. was hoping to get my sis to babysit, but she has a bday party the night i wanted her to come. looking forward to tomorrow and thurs!

i really want to get the house clean before shaun comes home so we can start the summer off right


GRATEFUL
35. I am not doing this alone usually
- not only is my husband a good dad who does help out (esp bedtime routine), but i have family in town (usually).

36. PLAYHOUSE DISNEY
- part of my issue today is stayin up late - i love staying up until 2 am - prob is i don't want to get up until AT LEAST 830. Today playhouse disney had my lil man entertained for 3 hours (awful i know) but he woke up at 630 and i was in bed after 2!

37. praise music cd
- i have a generic praise music cd i bought at Target shortly after B was born - very uplifting songs, and have found that i can put it on and get work done... it is a positive "background" instead of the tv going and distracting me

grateful 24 -- 34 father's day

As it is (was) father's day - daddies are the theme for the day Since it is past 2 am as i am typing it will be shortish - no extrememly deep introspection tonight

my dad
24. he didn't suck as much as i thought in high school
- so... as any typical teenager girl thinks - i thought my dad was the worst (not evil - just soooo uncool, unfair and un-understanding, while i do still have a diff. style in parenting - understand him a bit more now and he wasn't as bad as i thought

25. his sense of charity
- while my dad is not an active church member, something that i will always admire about him and a trait that i am thankful to have witnessed (and hope to follow in) is that it is important to help those who cannot help themselves -

26. his desire to "fix" things
- had never realized how much i relied on my dad to fix things,and my absolute faith in him to do so until he couldn't fix things after my hyster. i saw how badly it hurt him NOT to be able to pick up a phone and call a friend or some random connection he had to fix things up. he did call a friend who worked at the hospital and a friend on the board to be sure that i could see B while in the ICU. he may not say - I love you - but i have learned his attempts to fix things for his girls is his way of showing us

my grandpa B

27. that he is still here and B is getting to know him
-  while B isn't quite getting to know the gpa i grew up with, he may remember him... if not i am thankful Gpa is getting to know him

28. his smart ass humor that i have been so blessed as to inherit

29. his love of gardening that i have not inherited
- i love his gardens and hope that B does inherit it

Poppy

30. his love for Christ that was an example my mother grew up with and therefore what she passed to us
-  some of my earliest memories include him as a deacon at the lil' baptist church in their town, also helping him prepare the communion... at his funeral it was standing room only, and person after person stood to testify how Poppy either led them or others to Christ, or how they witnessed his service to the Lord

31. his absolute love
- Poppy was not my mom's bio-dad, he married my gma when my mom was about 5. Something i hadn't realized until after he passed, was that the best example he gave me was that of adoptive love. he never adopted my mom, but she was her dad - she loved and he loved her and us. he showed me that i will be able to love my next children fully - while knowing it in my mind is one thing - having experienced it myself - i know we can do this

32. random wafts of sweet tobacco
- i am thankful for the scent of sweet tobacco... sounds wierd, but poppy smoked a pipe. my aunt amy(his daughter) and i were at the beach playground w/ our kids and a few tables over someone was smoking a cigar - the scent was sweet and so close to the cherry tobacco - we both noticed. i know he's not "watching" us. but it was great to think of him at that moment as his grandaughter and great grandson were playing together

Gpa A
33. his service to our country
- as i remind my students, our service men and women should be honored, not only do they risk our lives when in active duty, but when training

34. a heritage of faith
- while i never met him since he passed prior to my mom's birth - i did know his parents. super cool people, and i learned much from them - my ggpa had a hilarious sense of humor, served in wwi, and was the child (or grandchild - i forget) of a circuit pastor for the methodist church. i saw faith not only in my mother and her parents, but in the parents of her bio-dad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

grateful 4-23

to continue...

tonight's theme...
 
events of the day

4. a friend with a minivan who likes carpooling
- today we went on a field trip with our kiddies - only one in the group has a minivan - and we all fit in - (room for one more in fact, thinking it may not be big enough next summer!) a great way for our kids to learn to get along as they are in cramped quarters and we can't physically intervene

5. playgrounds and 6. cloud coverage
- not only did we go to a super cool playground today, but we also had cloud cover... not only did the boys had a blast on possibly the coolest free playground I have ever seen - but the mommas didn't melt as they played AND the boys could have played longer if the lightening alarms hadn't gone off... ooo...

7. lightening alarms
- love them - lets us know when to be safe - so many people dismiss lightening as such as a nuisance, but it is dangerous!

8. a science museum close by
- not only was it cool that it was close, but that the boys enjoyed it so much

9. GUAVA JELLY
- mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... not until I was older did I realize that not everyone eats guava jelly growing up. to me it is one of the best comfort foods - a toasted English muffin, butter, and guava jelly and I am in culinary heaven

10. old fashioned carousels
- do i even need to explain the whimsy and joy they kindle in my heart?

11. that our boys will still hold hands with one another
-they will eventually think it icky to hold hands with one another saying "it's gay" - one of my least fav phrases - but for now they are so sweet and innocent. they hold hands w/ one another - actually fighting over who they want to hold hands with so sweet :)

12. firefighter friends
- while i know you can get a tour from most firehouses even without knowing the people - so much cooler when you do know the person

13. modern paramedic science
- i hope to never ride in an ambulance, but it's nice to know they exist and that they are so capable

14. the funny ax thing (hannigan/halligan???)
- never thought about how firefighters get in to get us out - glad to see how easy it would be!

15. an extra camera battery
- even though i would have gladly stolen L's camera the entire afternoon - glad i had a back up! when we bought the camera w/ the funky battery  one of my "conditions" was that i had to have a back up battery

16. fire hoses
- again, something i hope i will never need but glad to know it exists

17. Air Conditioning
- again - something I don't need to explain - esp since i live in FLORIDA

18. iced chai
- introduced by my illustrious bff --- and soooo great on the aforementioned hot day in florida

19. the sway of the back seat
- a gentle rocking that def knocks out child (and tired momma)

20. LEGOs
- was hoping to hold off using this one - but since i'm doing the day's events - LEGOs that keep my (almost) 4 year old entertained while i get some quite time after a long day... AND he played creatively - not following instructions - he built the playground we had been to (complete w/ lightening alarm!) 

21. braised short rib pasta cooked by chef hubby
- mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm one of my newest favs 

22. free gift cards
- i had two gift cards i had gotten in diff ways - used both to buy fathers' day gifts

23. wines with funny names that make you laugh
- Chef Hubby had to buy red wine for the pasta - so i figured i would have a glass while i typed - the name of the wine - Mad Housewife - hope it isn't a symbolic selection!


***TOMORROW"S THEME --- fathers!**** 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Grateful

Some of my blogging buddies have picked up on a challenge and I am going to tag along...


1000 things I'm grateful for... tonight's theme items on my desk (messy and cluttered as it is)

1. flowers from farmers market in waterford crystal...
- when S & I were married, we had to GO BACK to register for more "nice stuff" for my parents' friends and grandparents' friends to buy us... therefore I have beautiful crystal w/ little money to buy flowers. BUT the beauty of these simple (and long lasting) flowers in the clean lines of crystal next to my monitor reminds me of the family I have to catch us if we need it -  and  that we can support ourselves if we keep it simple and pure

 2. the design of a margarita glass...
- this one sounds odd --- but have you ever looked at the engineering of a margarita glass - it is made so that every sip will have a little piece of the crushed ice

3. old friends 
- i have a stack of photos that I scanned for my oldest friend's 30th bday party (From 2 years ago - wow time to clean off this desk) the photos are from high school and college. While she isn't the strongest Christian, she definitely kept my feet on the straight and narrow in high school. When the fear of God was far from my heart, I would be worried about letting her down. The ONE party I went to in high school (ironically - margaritas were there) - I bent to some peer pressure and tried something I wish I hadn't. She found out and all but kicked my butt. In no uncertain terms she told me if I EVER pulled that again we were done as friends. Never touched the stuff again (hadn't found much attraction in it any way). I miss her like anything, she isn't able to come down alot, her younger sister lives with her so if I could go up - no place to stay... but I know this is one season in our lives and we will reconnect again.


more later...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sometimes I feel like I'm being teased...

I truly believe in the providence of God. I believe He has things happen for a reason and that He has a certain time line.

Today I feel teased by the what ifs...

This year B will turn 4. If things had worked out the way we had planned before he was born, I would be pregnant now. I would be either due late this summer or early fall.

Today I am ovulating --- how can I tell - b/c it hurts like a son of a gun. (Yes the Dr's left the ovaries after the hysterectomy so as not to throw me into menapause before 30). It's such a tease to know I am "fertile" but just can't carry a child.

If our original foster care plan had panned out, we would be waiting for a placement. We decided after much prayer (and tears) that we are not financially in the right place. Next year (come hell or high water) we will do placement.

So today, as I am home sick with my cute and cuddly almost four year old, I get an email from my mom (who only means the best) about a friend of hers. Her friend has just adopted an infant from foster care, and apparently she posted on facebook that the social workers are frantically looking for placement for FIVE infants - including a set of twins (one of my dreams).

I feel like I'm being teased. Having both of these happen on the same day is just mean!!!! I must have faith in Him and His timing. And in the meantime... I will re-read the Discipline of Grace chapter on adversity.

God has picked my children, he knows their name, when they will be concieved and born. I have to trust...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

my child

sweet crazy boy...

so smart it's scary...

what to say when you ask about your birth...

you already have, but you don't quite get it yet...

i tell you how happy i am to have had you... that you are my gift...

momma pushed and pushed, and the doctor said they had to hurry and get you out and they cut my tummy open to get you out...

that later, there was another surgery and my tummy was broken... that no more babies will grow in momma's belly...

how old will you be when you realize what that means?

human nature will cause you to wonder, i tell you now - i love you, it's not "your fault" never have i blamed you for what has happened. i blame no one... it's how it happened. i fear that you will one day wonder, and i know that i won't be able to calm those questions in your mind...

but know this always - I LOVE YOU

Saturday, May 29, 2010

As clear as mud

Lately  I feel like my brain is moving in slow motion. I try to have conversations but I feel like I'm five minutes behind all the time. Sometimes it is hard to hear, but a lot of the time I feel like it is taking me longer to connect what is being said with my thoughts as well.

I don't know if this is stress (i am a high school teacher in a public school in florida - and besides the expected stress of being a teacher ---- there are tons of legislative issues).

OR if this is fall out of mental fall out of B's birth.

This time of year is hard for me, 4 years ago I was finishing up work and getting ready for giving birth. I still can't believe it's been four years...

I tend to get tired and a bit bummed... but I fight for joy. It's a long process... but I refuse to allow my summer to be robbed of its joy this year.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers' Day

Mothers' Day... like many holidays are rough for those who grieve.

I think of my dream babies that will never be. I think of my future babies that are not with me yet. I wonder... will they spend their first Momma's Day with me?

I do not understand mothers who have not fulfilled their sacred duty. Being a momma is a gift and privilege. God has granted us a life to mold and shape. To neglect, abandon or abuse that responsibility is reprehensible to me.

Next year... next year at this time we will either be newly licensed or just about to be (if all goes according to plan).

I know that Mothers Day is not only rough for those of us who mourn with loss, infertility, etc. but also for those gorgeous children who are in emergency shelters or foster care.

Today in church we heard what a gift our mothers are to us. What to say to a child whose mother has abused or abandoned them. How do they see that reflection of Christ that we are to be?????

Praying for my future babies tonight...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Surviving through Blessing

After reading a friend's blog about her struggle w/ coming to God w/ the grief of a miscarriage... I thought of a song that spoke to me following B's birth and the following loss. It's a song that I think is good for any loss.


Blessed Be Your Name.

The end gets me...

You Give and Take Away...

I don't know of any other phrase that so fully captures my experience. I still can't quite sing those words w/o choking up.

I received such a blessing through B but lost so much... I almost lost the privilege of being around to be his mother.

My Heart will Choose to Say... Blessed Be your Name.

It's not an easy choice. It's one that I have to fight to do. The dichotomy of wanting to sit at his feet like a child and be comforted, while (like a child) throw a temper tantrum and scream at the top of my lungs, IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!!

Blessed be Your Name on the road marked with suffering, when there's pain in the offering...

How could this loss be an offering?

This is my constant plea, prayer and question.

If through this immediate loss, I am a better mother, a better Christian, a mother to children who would not have had a mother and father...

... does that make it worth it?...

To me that question sucks.

The children of my dreams will never be. For me to say sacrificing them is too close to saying I could have sacrificed having B.

Does it get easier?

Sometimes... there are days and weeks that it is easier, I see the good, I can rejoice in the good. There are moments that it is just as hard as those first few months of complete sorrow and grief. Those moments are shorter. I know they will never fully go away. I just remind myself... life sucks. There is a promise of something better, even though it is hard to hold onto in those darkest moments.

Friday, April 30, 2010

quote

scars remind us where we've been, they don't have to dictate where we are going...

from criminal minds...

but so appropriate.

the firsts... and seconds

the hardest things, are the firsts and the seconds.

the firsts are hard, because well they are the firsts.

the first birthday I had... almost 8 months after... just felt odd... celebrating the beginning of my life when i came so close to losing it and still hadn't come to terms with it

the first time going back to the ob-gyn, all the pregnant women... remembering the last time i had been there - with such joy and hope

the first time a friend became pregnant

the first time a friend became pregnant - and was less than excited (married, not planned, happy, but surprised)

the first time at the hospital again

waiting for my best friend to have her baby... sitting in the waiting room waiting for my sister-in-law to have her baby... attending the birth of my prayer partner's 2nd child (healing!)

the first time holding a baby, and the second, and the third and everytime - the ache deep where a baby would grow if things had gone differently

the seconds are often harder than the firsts... why... because you think you can handle it. and then it stings, the grief ~ the hollow sorrow

in a way it gets easier, but some days -  just when you think you're good again... it smacks hard... and you just breathe

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

to my future babies #1

My babies...

Watched a movie and I cried for you today.

I hope that your life is better than I imagine. I pray they are reading to you. I pray that you have cuddle time. I pray that they cover your eyes when things get scary.

I cried because they may not.

I cried because I wish we had the finances to fix things up so we could get you now.

I cried because I can't stop any pain you may feel. I cried because I love you. already I love you.

You are my babies, all of you. How ever many may come through our doors, however many may leave. You are my babies, even though you are not with me now.

~ Your Momma

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the shadow

so... the title of this blog...

a shadow of grief.

4 years

some of the happiest

but always sad

the sorrow is there, like my shadow.

after naming the blog, found an interesting link... it's not about this grief, but about losing a multipl child and having a surviving child. the listed feelings of grief... so close to what i felt.

check it out

http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/572_4045.asp

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Introspections

So i took an online survey about my birth experience and it has me thinking...



 I got a "blanket" email back saying some of my responses stating I may be at risk for PTSD or depression I keep thinking I'm in a good place - until i start thinking... if that makes sense

i can't quite remember all the questions...

but one asked how often you cry, etc. i'm actually not a big crier... used to be, but since... not as much. i tear up for others, but not myself often. one of the reasons i think is i COULDN'T cry when it first happened. If I had sobbed the way you would expect someone to do after finding out such news, the pain would have been beyond barable due to the stitches (longer than normal c-section, 2-4 hours of repair surgery ending in a hyster can be rough on the gut).

i started at one point during the longest night (alone in ICU and not sleeping with a nurse who couldn't figure out where my family was)... but quickly stopped b/c even the dilaudin didn't numb the pain of the stitches while crying.

anyway... i was going to say, i think its a timing thing... since we've been discussing grief in my small group (a bible study group of 3 momma's i'm in)... i've been thinking about the grieving process more, the lack of support and absence in the online blogworld stuff, and we have a blood drive coming up at school.

i always do a short reminder to my students of why its important to donate blood - they "know" my story. but it was esp. rough doing it this past time, grieving in my heart for myself and for a friend who has recently had a miscarriage

sooo... i guess my prayer request this week is that i continue to heal. it's always there... like my shadow, the grief of losing future bio children, the grief that B's first few weeks are lost to me... i remember bits and pieces, but it's hazy due to the pain, grief, shock and awesome pain pills

sometimes i think i'm good at looking fine and "healed"... but knowing i'm not... i need to take that grief to HIM more often

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seriously?!?!?

Our future as parents... well... as this blog is dealing with the grief of hysterectomies - obviously it will not be "traditional".

I am cool w/ all the options out there. I have no political/religious issues with foreign or domestic adoption or surrogacy. For my husband and I, we have decided to foster with the hopes of eventual adoption. We planned to start the process this January - but finances suck (as they do for the entire country) so we have delayed it a year.

Tonight I heard two people at church (different churches) say negative things about foster care.

The first was unintentional and I still don't think he gets why I was annoyed. 

Speaking to a girl whose family is currently homeless (in between rental and buying homeless - not vagrants) he said 

"do you feel like a foster kid, bouncing from house to house?"

I called him on it - fast. Basically just said that was rough - and reminded him that one day there would be foster kids in the church. He didn't get it. I thought it sucked b/c it trivializes a very traumatizing part of many foster kids lives. Foster kids today are NOT bounced as much, but even if they were... it's hurtful to joke about. 
That alone would not have provoked this blograge that is about to occur. 

After my bible study, I went to pick up my son from my mother's church. (She teaches a preschool bible study that he attends.) 

As I'm picking him up I overhear half a conversation... I shall paraphrase what a leader of this children's bible study said (as she is holding an infant - that from the context of the conversation would be safe to assume is HER FOSTER CHILD)
"We decided to foster babies. What with a 9 and 10 year old, we didn't want to risk taking in older kids. With a younger kid, there wouldn't be anything wrong with them"

ANYTHING WRONG WITH THEM?!?!?!?
Are you freakin' kidding me?!?!?

Nothing is "wrong with" any child. 
Older foster children maybe a bit challenging, but seriously - if  you're kids are 9 and 10 - they could handle a troubled 5 year old. That child NEEDS to see well adjusted kids, they need the positive role modeling.

WRONG WITH - you would think someone with training would be more sensitive and compassionate.
ARGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did not say anything, I don't know the woman.

Would love comments... if anyone out there is reading this... what would YOU have done?