Tuesday, July 31, 2012

First LLL meeting in Pittsburgh after our move

I went to LLL today.

Met the lady who I emailed with 3 months ago (yep checked the email date) she is one of the 3 leaders. She remembered me, which made me feel better... She was sweet and right around my age with a 4 and 2 year old who liked to rough house... she had her own issues of keeping them calm without loosing it... she was NOT like Jenn and just chilled out with her kids doing their thing. Might have had something to do with her boys screaming...

Atlas behaved mostly... it was neat to watch him. He was nervous. HE kept coming back to me and pointing to the kids he "WANTED" to play with and getting reassurance from me. YES!!! GO PLAY!

There is another little girl there born on Aria's birth date. Pretty little thing :) Her mom and I exchanged numbers and facebooks.

I feel so stupid... like had *I* not been the outgoing one... then I never would have met ANYONE!

The tandem meeting is 2 Tuesdays away. They corrected me an said it was mostly TODDLER nursing... There needs to be more clarification and Orlando needs a Tandem group STAT! (Cindy) Apparently it is kinda common... well in bubbles like ours.

I cried when I left, with 2 kids strapped on me, headed up a busy-ish in-town road up (the hill) to my car, which was parked in front of a town home (that was 3 stories tall and the lady coming out said the only parking rules were that street sweepers came on such and such day) .. and then realizing that the kid parked on the sidewalk went first, and luckily the road wasnt busy when #2 little went in... All I really have to say is thank God for GPS. really.

Life is an adventure and I am just holding on with eyes closed... except when a road is involved.

I dont think I want a 3rd kid. But I REALLY mourn pregnancy and birth.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Aria Luka Hazen - Born Friday June 22nd - after 2 pushes and 3 minutes

And suddenly we were 4... no really. In about 3 minutes...

I had had 4 random days (within 2 weeks) of contractions after I started losing my plug (starting Wednesday June 6th.) I didnt lose my plug with Atlas until the morning of the day I went into labor (and lost it all at once) and since Atlas' birth was so fast I immediately went on high alert with Aria and summoned my first time mom instincts that I had skipped the first time around.... EACH time I started having contractions.

*Contractions - Saturday June 9th what might have been 37 weeks and 3/4 days [Atlas' bake timer], but according to US it was still 36 weeks

*Contractions - Sunday June 10th
Then (June 14th) Bob went out of town to buy a house in PA and Mom came into town and watched Atlas for me so I could go out for my birthday (June 15th) (OOT). After I dropped Bob off at the airport, I headed to Kelli's and she checked me. I was 2 cm and 40% effaced. That made me a little nervous to be closer, but I knew I would NOT give birth without Bob by my side. I didnt make this kid alone, I wasnt laboring and birthing without hi!

*Contractions - Sunday June 17th, Bob was back in town that morning

*Contractions - Thursday June 21st, this was the longest at 7 hours. I went to see Kelli Friday morning June 22nd to get her to check me...I was finally 4 cm and almost effaced, but she laughed at my eagerness.

Each of these times I had alerted my closest 51 friends, no really, we are a super duper tight mommy-clique and they were all promising to be AT my house if I went into labor and Bob was not there... and I know for a fact that 90% of them would have been. Heck, they would have shown up if given permission even if he were there. We are kinda birth freaks in that kind of way.

So on Friday, June 22nd I wasnt too concerned that this was finally for real. However we had dinner and I had trouble sitting... which was what happened when I was in labor with Atlas and didnt know it. After dinner we went for a long walk... walked twice around the subdivision, stopping to throw my head under the handle bar every 2 minutes and 30 seconds for a total of 35 seconds. While they were consistent, they were not the 5-1-1 you read about.

I alerted my midwife, Kelli Johnson, before we went walking that I was having contractions yet again. She said to shower and see what happened... but we went for a walk instead, I could shower later. I recall LOVING the heated spray on my lower back during labor with Atlas. I told Kelli the walk had regulated them.

 I talked a few times to my girls on facebook about when they actually called their midwife to head over... some waited until the got in their birth tubs, others much earlier, I have fast labors and my midwife had her granddaughter at the bounce houses at Monkey Joe's... so if this was another false alert I was just a royally bad person.

I posted a screen shot of the contraction timer on my phone and then left the computer with the ladies all calling for a webcam and lighting their candles. I realized things were slowing down again because I was on facebook and damn it I was going to make this night #5 (of false labor) if I was not careful. So I got off facebook and started texting my point of contact with these girls, SarahB, from the floor of the bathroom between contractions that had me rocking on the floor on all 4s. At one point I got a text from Kelli saying she was calling the birth team. It was 9pm.

I took a shower, shaved my legs, washed my hair, put on mascara (something I had vowed to do before Atlas' birth too, but alas missed) and got out of the shower to my birth team walking through the door and suddenly crumbling over to the floor again for a contraction.
I remember hearing them and thinking if it happened right here do you think they'd notice, I was behind the bedroom door with it closed. I got through that contraction. Its amazing how much you can get done between contractions! I jumped up, threw on clothes, opened the door... and *BAM* back on the floor rocking while they hardly noticed and went about setting things up. Several times Chylain or Sharon would come over and squeeze on my hips, opening them up and releasing pressure. Most of the time that felt good, sometimes I didnt want to be touched.

Kelli checked me again, threw her head down and laughed. I got so frustrated - "WHAT?! Did I really not progress at all?!!?" "Oh no, you are at 8cm! You are just in too good of mood, no one is this happy at 8 cm :)"

10pm - Immediately Bob was calling mom - GET HERE NOW.

I had been texting and calling my photographer since the middle of the day but not reached her. So my last reach out to my little friends in the computer was to get Erin Monroe on her way over. When she had learned of us moving to Pittsburgh 2 weeks after the baby was set to arrive (or 5 days after my due date, but I was getting her out before then!) she was eager to get to be a part, but I didnt want to change my plans too much so I asked if it was OK to have her on backup. She was more than happy. Bob was calling her, my girls were texting and facebooking her. (She took most of these pics)

Chylain and Sharon were filling up the birthing tub, Kelli was doing whatever it was she does between knitting a baby hat and birthing a kid and Bob was getting Atlas to watch Cars.
I asked when was it normal to get in the birth tub and they said I could get in at any point. The water was too hot the first time I tried to get in, a few minutes later it was perfect. I asked if people normally get in with underwear on or go ahead and strip down. Chylain said its hard to birth a kid through underwear, but I was feeling modest for a split second.

11pm - I had Bob turn on Indigo Girls, he apparently also turned on the webcam to video. I later found out he had cameras set up around the room for quick access.
11:19 - The ladies were all watching Cars in the living room with Atlas, Kelli was busy knitting. I let out a slightly panicked moan when I felt a hard contraction and heard Kelli say "it's time, let's get in there." They all came in and started taking heart rates and compressing my hips.
Bob and Atlas were squatted near around talking to me and playing with the water. I reached down and could feel the head. The contractions got even closer together and I realized Kelli had given me space as we had discussed, but I cried for her to come help. She felt the head and told me I was doing fine. I remember needing to bare down and telling her "No no no no no, I'm not ready." She told me, "Yes you are." Just that simple. I had been waiting for this and she was right, I WAS ready. The dog barked and Bob thought someone was at the door, Kelli demanded, "Forget the door. Get back here." I kept thinking it might be Mom. It wasn't the door, just the crazy dog.
11:21 - I heard myself get loud and focused so hard to tone it down deep. I would not scream, I would have the lowest "OOOOOO" I could have. It gave me a focus. OOOOOO was to OOOOpen my cervix up and allow my baby to slide out like "butter." The dog started barking, Atlas burst into tears, Bob hugged him and they just watched.

I OOOOpened and Kelli said, "Head is out." I felt and then did not stop pushing. It didn't even hurt after that point, it was pressure. She slid out. I flipped over. They say it was so fast that this next pic is from a cell phone and that they actually missed the "coming out party"but she was on my chest a split second later. I kinda wish I had let her swim around for a few seconds.
Kelli - "She's out, She's out."
Bob - "Pick her up! Get her"
I rolled over and lifted her to my chest.
She was out.
It was 11:24pm.
I was in disbelief. "She's out?! Really?" I knew I was holding her, but I couldn't believe here she was.
The girls started draining the pool to get the water level low enough for her to nurse. At 3 different times Kelli asked if we were ready to cut the cord, I said no, I wanted to try to birth the placenta before cutting it.
Contractions had continued after her birth, that happens for several days. During one of those contractions, the placenta folded and was able to be guided out in one beautiful piece. I dont remember the reasoning that we finally agreed to clamp it other than the cord had stretched and was empty of pretty much every drop of blood possible. It was later partially dried and encapsulated and half of it was tinctured by Full Circle and Amanda Johnson.

I dont remember when we announced her name, but Aria was handed to Bob and I was helped to the shower. That hot water felt so good cleaning my body. I got out and Kelli checked me and needed to give me 2 little stitches. While lying in full glory my mom (ARRIVES) knocks and goes to open the door. I tell her I will be out in a moment. I was so happy Mom had made it, sad it was a little late, but she was here! Once I was cleaned up I went and cuddled with my family and fed Aria.

Kelli took Aria's weight (7lb 5oz) and head size (13.5in just like Atlas) and chest (13in just like Atlas) and waist (13.5in just like Atlas) and length (19.5 or 20in, shorter than Atlas). They all laughed when she started doing her foot prints, her little cold purple feet were turned pink with ink, but then back to blue when wiped clean. BUT... this might have been the pinkest baby ever born to Kelli and her birth team! My child was hot pink! The camera does not lie.... that is pretty much accurate.

 baby booty!

As Kelli was filling out the birth card, the middle name was asked and Bob agreed to Luka immediately. He has his "Luke-I-am-your-father" baby now. And I have my beautiful song baby.

I took a few pictures with my birth team when they were done cleaning up and a few with my mom.

The ladies left a little after 1am and the photographer a short time later. We sat up doing nothing but talking. Bob took Atlas, who had been up without a nap all night, to bed, laid him down and Atlas passed out within seconds. Then we got Mom set up on the couch (which in my defense is super comfy) moezzied on to bed. Aria did not sleep well.

Atlas woke up at 6:30am and I brought him back to our bed to see his baby sister. Mom spent the first part of the day with us and then went home. ... and the babymoon began.
I knew that you magically just get more love when you have a new child, but to be honest, I felt my heart double in size. I didnt just suddenly LOVE this child, I suddenly loved everyone... a.lot.more.

Oh, and unlike Atlas' birth... I was out jogging Friday morning :) I never stopped.

.. and then the Oxycitocin wore off, we moved 1000 miles away to Pittsburgh (from Orlando), and I struggled through a short bought of PPD. But around 8 weeks I recognized signs and am still able to fight it off.

Today we are golden. I truly feel like I have *survived*.

Friday, May 11, 2012

AP is the life for me.... and why!

Not even sure why this is controversial. In my bubble of mommies we believe that children no matter how little are people who deserve respect, but also learn differently and we need to care for them tenderly to grow them into healthy well adjusted children.

Attachment Parenting (AP) relies on several very distinct parenting choices. Not to say that you must excel at each of them or even incorporate them all. Whether you choose to AP or not doesnt decide if you are an outstanding parent or not. It is simply a way to parent that works for us. And whatever works for *YOU* and your family is what you should do.

Here are some AP styles we incorporate and why.

Breastfeeding - DAMN SKIPPY. My child has been sick twice. When my husband or myself has been sick, my awesome body has faught with the strength of an active healthy adult to make me well.. and all those wonderful, natural, healthy antibodies went straight to my child who never caught what I had. Plus its cheaper and safer than store bought chemical laced powder. I know what is in it. And children who are nursed tend to grow up to be healthier with healthier BMIs and stronger immune systems

EXTENDED breast feeding - yep, we still do it. I technically tandem nursed the entire time... I pumped and donated 13K ounces while nursing my baby. That is the equivalent of feeding 3 babies a year! My child didnt have any solid foods for the first 9 months bc I wanted to make sure he had complete gut closure so he could avoid some of those nasty food allergies that sooo many children get due to food being introduced too early, yes, even baby cereal at 4,5,6 months. I quit pumping to get pregnant and immediately got lucky! I have since STILL been tandem nursing... I nurse my 25 month old as I grow my new baby. No one is lacking and momma gets to indulge in a little more food that normal to keep up with all this nutrition I am producing. I dont have a timeline or a date that I plan to stop nursing my son. When he is ready I will be too. He almost weaned himself at 23 months old... then he changed his mind. I know we wont always have this bonding experience, so I am OK with it as long as he is. However, new baby will come first very soon ;-)

Co-sleeping - We did it. We couldnt keep it up after he started rolling around b/c the dog also... CO-SLEEPS with us and would likely eat the child. When my child was new, the only way I could expect to get any sleep was to co-sleep and let him nurse whenever he needed it. A nursed baby needs to eat every 2 hours... ya see, breastmilk is the perfect baby food and is digested perfectly so it doesnt sit and sour in the childs belly... so when it is digested, little baby is hungry again. I enjoyed the firs 3 months of mommyhood and I did it well rested. Women who tend not to get enough sleep during that difficult transition also are at higher risk of suffering from PPD. And that is not good for any one.

Baby wearing - STILL DO IT! My child is a runner and sometimes it is just not a good situation to have him "loose" in. When we are in a store, I dont have to worry about leaving my child in the cart, he is on my back, happy and looking over my shoulder. When he was an infant I was able to keep up with housework which helped me feel like a productive member of my family. Plus it is fun to carry him with free hands. We do plenty of park activities and I play with him a LOT, so it isnt like I am keeping him confined. He likes being worn :) Plus, there are some really stylish and fun wraps you can use!

Baby Led Weaning - This is where instead of buying the shelf stable baby purees you actually wait until your child is interesting in EATING, like a real person and then letting them explore food. It's messy and the food doesnt really stay in their mouth in the beginning. But that is OK. They are exploring textures and flavorings. For our family, we chose to wait until our child was 9 months old to begin to let him explore foods. All of his cousins have food allergies, not for any reason their parents caused, but there are ways to help deter those allergies. One of those ways is to ensure Gut closure. A baby's intestines are not fully developed when they are born... and they take a different length of time to fully strengthen and "close." When you have full "gut closure" a child will better be able to fully digest the food it eats. Otherwise particles of food can cause irritation and infections and furthermore, allergies. I'm not exactly sure of the science behind all of it, but I do know the only thing our child has ever had an allergy to was Feta Cheese, and we gave him that soft cheese far too early. I think the first real food Atlas enjoyed was steak. This is one smart kid!

Several sites that are talking about this:
Time Magazine
Further info from Time Magazine
more possitive articles
Healthline on Time
Today Show info on Time 
Breastfeeding a 3 year old IS normal
Positive notes on the Huffington Post

"[It's] really ironic that at a time when the news is full of stories about moms who neglect their kids, who don't feed them or tan them against their will, that somehow we're entitled to judge the people who are spending too much time with their kids in a positive way."

"Above all else, Ford said her family practices attachment parenting, which *includes* breastfeeding beyond the recommended one year mark, but *it's not her rule book*. *She does tell her children no*, she and her husband go on date nights, and she doesn't feel like the young ones are running the household." 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Here we go-ohhohh

Not sure what this year will bring. I know I will be having a baby. She has to come out. But beyond that I really dont know what else this year will bring.

We've been offered a new job in a new state. Problem being that we are expecting a baby in the next 6-7 weeks and they want him there in 3 or 4 weeks.

We have planned a beautiful home birth, we have the tub, the midwife, the photographer... I've had the Blessingway, my ladies have their ceremonial cords and are waiting to hear about the birth, rush over, bring food, cuddle the baby and cut the yarn off their arms.

Moving is long and tedious... it takes packing, unpacking, figuring out where everything is... lifting, heavy lifting, carrying.... all things I would be useless at before and after baby.

If hubby goes early, or rather, when they want him, then we risk me birthing without him. I could go with him, but finding the right birth team is not just something you go to a store and pick up. He says he could jump on a plane... but my birthing is pretty darn quick. When I got going last time it was about 2.5 hours... he doesnt want to be without me.. and I NEED my best friend with me. We are a team and did this together, we need to birth together too.

My mommy group is the most amazing support system I have EVER encountered. Sure we will always have facebook, but crying on the shoulder of a computer can totally ruin the screen.  I could join LLL up there, hope to find an Attachment Parenting group that will accept me and my quirks and my so-not-AP techniques (on occasion.)

So maybe he will get a really awesome counter offer and we can stay... maybe the new job can wait 2 weeks after the baby comes... and we can just pack up and move once she arrives... maybe I can pack up all my buddies and stick them in my pocket and carry them with me.

I'm scared. I told myself... Dont get worked up over it until you have to. He could have a million interviews and only 2 people want him (the others would be stupid... but we know that happens in this industry.) So nothing to worry about until things happen. Right?! OK it's happening... now what?!

Other things that happened today -

Red Light Traffic Court - got lucky and they let me pay the lesser fine, but still stuck me with court fees

Heard back from the Bone Marrow Donor program - Due to my spina bifida occulta and Spondylolisthesis I am only eligible to donate blood and the cells from that... thanks to last years thyroid cancer, I am off the list until January 7, 2016... I'm bummed out, but overwhelmed with so much else that this actually took a back burner and I never saw myself putting it there. I sure hope the person who I matched gets a good match with the other 2 or 3 matches found nationwide. FTR - I was the ONLY match through the NBMD, I am only guessing that there are a few others through another program.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When the time comes...

If every I am forced to have RAI (Thyroid cancer and Total Thyroidectomy January 7, 2011) then I need to remember to re-read THIS POST.

It talks about how long your body might still be radioactive... we all process it differently.. so how safe *do* we need to be!?! Apparently more.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Avalon's Birth Story - December 27, 2007

Hi, this is Avalon's mommy, Sydney. Avalon was due on December 27th of 2007, but I went into labor naturally on December 30th. These were some of the grumpiest time dragging days of my life. Seriously, I can't even really remember what happened in those 3 days, other than I mostly sat around and waited. I don't remember having any nesting instincts. On my actual due date, Simon and I walked around Walmart trying to get things going (it was cold outside!). A nice lady came up and said, very sweetly, "Oh you're so cute, when are you due?" I actually growled "TODAY!". Poor lady, she walked away so confused, but I bet later she realized I was mad about it.

So on the evening of the 2nd, we went to bed yet another day without a baby. I slept quite well actually for being so huge and uncomfortable (I even laid on my back at one point, I think). At 5:15 am I felt a bit wet and my first thought was "why am I sweating?" as I woke up. Then I realized that my water had broken! I woke up Simon, who was instantly in action mode, getting the bag and trying to rush me out the door. I told him that I had a few minutes since I wasn't having contractions. So I took a shower, but was so exited I was shaking. I also told Simon to take the sheets off the bed, and that I was so happy we bought that "bed protector thingy". I then lazily got dressed, trying my best to stay calm. I brought multiple towels to put in the car, because I was leaking like crazy. It was a fountain of water, or felt like it. Probably was more like a drip, but in my mind I was swimming.

We went down to the hospital, South Seminal, and the lady at the desk was all very calm and saying "well, we'll have you wait it out a bit because it doesn't look like you are in labor". She said this because Simon and I were laughing and smiling. Then I told the lady that my water had broken. And she started moving then! Got me in a room for checkup immediately. Got shuttled down to the first room where I changed out of my clothes and into a gown. The nurse checked me then told me to walk to the labor/delivery room. I stood up to follow Simon and his mom (who had just arrived, my parents were in route from Fort Myers) I yelled for the nurse, because I was dripping on the ground and really embarrassed. She laughed and said don't worry about it. But I was so embarrassed!

Got moved into the very nice labor room, and laid around a bit. I can't remember my exact numbers, but I was progressing nicely. At one point a nurse took pity on me and brought me breakfast, telling me not to tell anyone that she had done that. I ate the whole thing.

At one point, maybe 2 pm, my labor started to slow. The Dr came in and checked me, I had stopped progressing and Avalon was running out of air. I got scared here because, hey my kid needs air right? So they put an oxygen mask on me. I also requested an epidural. I have scoliosis and was scared about the prospect of them even being able to find the right spot fo rht epidural. The woman who does them came in and was very helpful. I explained my feelings, and she understood. So she took a long time finding the right spot (the whole time I was miserable sitting up bent over) but got the needle in right and I felt better after. Since my back is all wonky, and my hips are strange, my midwife and I had talked multiple times about the small chance of a C-section but she felt that I would be ok and be able to go naturally.

After the epidural was in, things got into motion again. I had just the right about of pain-numbly goodness. I could still feel everything, but it took the edge off. Avalon's heart beat was slowing and she was still lacking some oxygen, but the Dr said we'll wait it out a bit. He did mention pitocin, if I didn't progress more. At this point, Simon's mom got him Taco Bell and they were watching a movie. I was so pissed at them because the food smelled awesome and I couldn't see the TV since my glasses were off for the oxygen mask! I kept staring at them and giving them the stink eye. But I told Simon to eat since only one of us could.

Suddenly, things picked up, and fast. I felt the need to push out of no where, and the nurse (who was so awesome!) was right there. She had me do a couple small pushes to see how far things were. She looked a bit surprised, and ran out to fetch the Midwife. The midwife I had worked with my entire pregnancy had left the practice a few days before I went into labor, but fortunately I had met the one I had now before. The midwife came in, and said "You're ready to push". My reaction was "duh". So I pushed for a bit about 30 minutes. She said I was doing really well, and went to change her gloves. She said, ok I need you to stop for just a minute, and I said "I don't wanna!!!!" Then laughed with Simon. POP Avalon came flying out right then, into the Midwife's hands- she hadn't put on her new gloves yet. Simon and I just kept laughing and crying, and the midwife was laughing too as she put our gorgeous new baby girl on my chest. In truth, I was a bit grossed out cause she was covered in stuff  but that went away quickly once I looked into her eyes, and kissed her head. Simon got to cut the cord, hand shaking and scared he'd hurt her.

The birth team (the ladies who take the babies and get them clean) hadn't been called yet because I was going so quickly. So they rushed in after I got to hold her for awhile.

Avalon weighed in at 8 pounds, 21 inches, she was born at 6:10pm. She looked like a 3 month old. All her apgar scores were 10, with one 9 which changed to a 10 in 5 minutes. At one hour old, she was already picking up her head and looking around. The nurse came in at one point during that and said "She shouldn't be able to do that". The midwife came in to check on me and told me that she had never had a mom laugh during labor, and she was so happy to have been a part of Avalon's birth. She was a little teary eyed too. She said I did so well and that 30 minutes of pushing was her personal record.

A lot of my family and friends were able to come see her soon after she was born, which was a really awesome experience to have them there.

We had some breastfeeding issues in the hospital and after, but got it all figured out at about 5 months. Avalon's such an awesome kid, I'm so lucky to have her. And I will NEVER forget that she was born with laughter.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dear Mommy...

Dear Mommy,

Thank you for loving me so much!

I know that I am almost 2 and that means exploring new things around me and growing up. That means I have to test my boundaries, otherwise how will I learn them?

Thank you for making me milk for the past 23 months. You have really helped to mold and shape my life and my immune system. And it is wonderful to know that I will miss out on many of those yucky stomach bugs and viruses that would hurt and make me cranky. I am kinda like Superman in that regard!

I am growing into an independent little guy and you have taught me to listen to my body and know what to do. I stop playing and "shake it off" when I get hurt. I drink my water when I am thirsty and no longer require a splash of juice. I have always loved my squishy squash and the other veggies you have allowed me to try. I even think I would like to eat a raw onion, whole. Thanks for taking my to pick strawberries and not freaking out when I taste sticks and rocks. After all, they might be good... I just want to find out.

I know that you are sad that I am growing up and not needing you to make me milk. I don't want you to be sad. I want you to know that I have really enjoyed our cuddles and snuggles and sharing that time together. There is no one else in the world that could pull it off quite like you could, Mommy. My body is telling me that you are doing such a great job giving me good fruits and veggies and grains that I no longer require your milk. I know you will miss that time together, Mommy, but there are a lot of other things we can do together. I love to run into you and knock you down! It means I love you very much and trust you not to move and let me run into the table (again.) I also enjoy feeding the kitty snacks and squishing her with hugs. Speaking of hugs, I like to rub your belly and hug my sister ... and while I am there, I will beep your belly button a few more times.

Mommy, you should be proud of how long you stuck it out and how healthy you made me. I am proud to have you as a mommy and your dedication to me shows me exactly how much you love being my Mommy! Please don't be sad, be proud of who you grew me up to be!

I love you this much!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Take time to smell the flowers... No.SERIOUSLY.Stop.

*Lessons I have learned from my child*

Sunday Atlas wanted to walk into church, so once I got him to the walkway I let him take his time. He stopped at the end of the walkway and leaned over to smell the flowers. They were little flowers no more than 3 inches off the ground. But to a 22 month old, they were significant and deserved to be smelled.

We got closer to the door, I glanced up to see Gene Mellott standing at the door as he does every Sunday, holding the door open. this was the second time this day he had opened the door... and he closed it again when Atlas saw the flat round concrete disks the children from Art in A Park had made by hand. He decided he wanted to jump from rock to rock.

I was losing patience but looked up to see Gene still watching him. One more potted flower to go.

Atlas stopped again and smelled the last of the flowers. I shook my head and Gene and I both laughed. We made it inside and Gene closed the door behind us.

Gene passed away early Monday morning. While I wish I had hugged his neck one more time, I am so grateful that we shared one last precious moment. Gene was a staple at the church. You just *know* he will be there when you go, so you smile and say hello and find your seat. He just helps the flow of the church and you don't think that one moment someone will be here and the next they wont.

I have learned a lot from my child and I will be the first to admit that I often dread stopping to smell the flowers.. I'm in a rush to get things done before I get exhausted. But on this one morning like all others, I am glad we did. I know that God planted that lesson in Atlas to show me.

Rest in Jesus' loving arms, Gene.
June 3, 1935 - February 6, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Can you hear it? I can hear it... click click click

That is the sound in my head. All 3 of my remaining brain cells randomly running into each other. It doesn't hurt, really... just kinda makes me wonder if an elf has been coloring my roots.

I'm talking baby brain.

I swore by it when I was pregnant with Atlas. Then somewhere in the 18 months of non-pregnancy I completely forgot about it and forgot the helpless feeling of forgetting what day of the week it was ... several times in the same day.

Baby brain is very real.

The only logical explanation these 3 brain cells keep clicking back to me is that I am low on blood. This blood sucking parasite is totally frying my brain!

And what is worse... during those 18 non-pg months I truly believed I must have made it up out of sheer exhaustion! REALLY?! Like I could pretend to be this forgetful!
ooo ooo ooo
Do you have a clue?
You don´t have a clue
All the blood to your brain
Is in vain
All your stupid friends love you for your mind
I´ve seen you, perfectly designed
Don´t make me smile, don´t make me smile
All you thoughts are perfectly unkind
Don´t make me smile
All the stars in the sky
Just crossed your eyes
All the blood to your brain
Is in vain
It's insane
... CLUE by Frente
I can only imagine what my husband is thinking. The other day he left while the baby was asleep in his big boy bed and came home to find me passed out on the couch and the kidlet sitting in front of me watching the news. Come on, I knew he was sitting there at least.
Surging hormone levels and new priorities may explain why pregnancy brain happens.
"There are 15 to 40 times more progesterone and estrogen marinating the brain during pregnancy, and these hormones affect all kinds of neurons in the brain," says Louann Brizendine, MD, director of the Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco. (more)
 Where as I? I forget. But I think it is bc the baby needs the blood more than I do. ...little does it know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bed Time Prayer

I saw a beautiful prayer today! Made me wonder if this is how it really was supposed to go and who in the world would have cut it down? I say my prayers every night. I thank God first for his love, for my husbands love and then my child, my future child and my health. Not sure what the "correct" order should be, but it works for me :)

‎~Bedtime Prayer~

Now, I lay me down to rest
I thank the Lord; my life is blessed
I have my family and my home
And freedom, should I choose to roam.

My days are filled with skies of blue
My nights are filled with sweet dreams, too
I’ve no reason to beg or plead
I have been given all I need.

Beneath the subtle moonlit glow
I thank the Lord, so He will know
How grateful I am for my life
In times of glory and of strife.

The times of glory give me hope
The times of strife teach me to cope
Thus, I am much stronger in turn
Yet grounded, still, with much to learn.

Now, I lay me down to rest
I thank the Lord; I’ve passed the test
Of yet another day on earth
Grateful for its abundant worth.

This day has been a special dream
From morning ‘til the last moonbeam
Yet, should the coming dawn bring sorrow
I’ll rise, thankful I’ve reached tomorrow.

-Jill Eisnaugle

Saturday, January 7, 2012

1 year ago today I became cancer free... maybe

1 year ago today I had cancer surgery.
Child birth was less scary.

At the time they didnt even *know for sure* if it was cancer but decided to remove a major organ from my neck to check and see.

They took out part of my thyroid, the right side, sent it to the pathologist while I lay on the table unconscious. When the results came back that the cells were still abnormal, they took out the left side and only then closed me up and sewed me back together.

They told me I would only need to spend 1 night in the hospital, but after that first day I was still so groggy and scared to move that I requested 1 more day to heal and regain my strength. There was no way that I could go home and not hold my child and be told to rest instead of play. There was no way I would have the strength to play. I stayed. Later that day Gabriel Giffords was shot outside of a grocery store, a little girl and several others died.

It took 8 months for my medications to get straightened out and my thyroid hormone levels to get to an acceptable level to be given a "green" light to get pregnant again. The next day I stopped pumping in hopes of getting my cycle back. To date I have donated 12,442 ounces of milk to Get PUMPed. I have 600 more ounces in the freezer out of fear that I could dry up and still want to give Atlas my milk. One day short of 4 weeks later, my cycle returned and 3 weeks later I was pregnant.

At our baby's first ultrasound I also had my 1 year thyroid ultrasound. I had had the previous ultrasound 5 month prior and there was no thyroid and no parathyroid damage. This time however they discovered that my thyroid was growing back. There was a nodule the same size as the encapsulated cancer nodule. If I were not pregnant now, I fear they would tell me to wait.

As soon as this baby is born (Due July 4th) I am having another biopsy and then they will decide from there if I will need more intense procedures.

My endocrinologist wants me to have the iodine scan. They give you a small dose of radioactive iodine to see where the thyroid cells have floated off to throughout the body. This radiation is specific to the thyroid as your thyroid is the only organ that will attract the iodine that the radiation is connected to. That also means that nursing might be out of the question.

That is a big deal to me.

There is no test to prove that it has all made its way out of my body. Not if I have the low dose "scan" or the mega dose "2 week isolation"... the radiation is not a light, it is a pill and it can seep out with bodily fluids including things as simple as sweat. Not hot and muggy jogging sweat, but even sticky finger or hot neck kind of mild sweat. If that radiation come in contact with another being, then what organ in their body can attract the radiation? Their thyroid. Then what can they end up with? Thyroid cancer. Yes, nursing will be done.

The whole thing scares the hell out of me. For one, my "cancer" is gone and not coming back. it was fully encapsulated and removed. Nothing spread. Radiation destroys your bones. I don't even want to risk my health further by doing something I don't need.

The whole situation sucks. And I am scared.