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.

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


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: - 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...