Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Long Way just Means More Growth

It has been a very long road with this little beauty. From years of infertility, miscarriages, high-risk pregnancy, bed rest, hospital bed rest, high-risk delivery, extremely needy baby, birth of a new busipix-from-phone-043ness as a result, panic attacks by 2 1/2, learning about Social Anxiety, learning how to help Bean function normally, tears….so many tears…….and today…..Kindergarten.

I remember when they first handed Bean to me in the OR, on a gorgeous Day in December.  So swollen from all the fluids I had been pumped with I could barely fold my arm to hold her safely. My ankles hurt, I was SO hungry and my c-section incision ached. pix-from-phone-042

Perfect in my eyes, she could do no wrong.

Our journey together has been filled with so many lessons in Life; I could never share them all. Lessons that have made me a better Mother, friend, wife, sister and daughter. Lessons that were either going to break our relationship or make it stronger. We always chose the second option. Together.2014 11 15_4102

Our biggest journey has been with her anxiety. We didn’t know what it was at first because it showed up randomly with a new environment. She would suddenly shut down and become very stand-off. At first we thought she was being a bit bratty and scolded her for it. But soon enough it started manifesting in ways that showed us a different perspective.

It got to the point where I would avoid certain Lines at Walmart to avoid ‘men,’ bought her ear defenders for loud noises, and let her keep her little routines and ‘quirks’ that seemed to make her feel safe and comfortable. We thought we had it all pretty well under control. pix-from-phone-062

Until – her first Panic Attack. It was late summer after she turned 3 at a bridal shower. The father of the bride came over and tapped her on the shoulder and said ‘Boo!’ (He was NOT trying to be mean)

Well, for Bean, we had told her there would be no ‘boys’ at this event and that shock, combined with the sudden introduction sent her into a panic attack. She had lost control.

What happened in the next 10 minutes changed the course of the rest of our lives.

FullSizeRender_1She panicked.

To an outsider, it probably looked like a little kid that didn’t get her way, having a fit. But this Mamma knew. I carried her outside and collapsed into the grass, in my dress and onto my knees.

I held her.

I let her scream.

She was shaking, in fear and started to sweat. I closed my eyes and started to whisper to her; ‘it’s ok to be upset. Mamma’s here. Mamma’s got you’. She tried the ‘deep breathing’ techniques we had developed with her over the years but she couldn’t catch her breath. She looked up at me, with those big old blue eyes and kept screaming as if to say ‘what is happening?’ She looked so confused and so scared.

Ultimately, it passed. She and Mamma needed a nap.IMG_9918

That day changed how we approach everything with Bean. We are now Always upfront with her whether it is a trip to Walmart or getting a shot at the doctors. We don’t keep secrets. We put her into pre-school a year early to get her into social situations as soon as possible, and even had the most wonderful teachers that Spoke ‘Beep-beep-beep” instead of playing the actual fire alarm.My Happy Kids

Then, today, after years of preparation, is the day I had to send her off into the world of Kindergarten. A day where I had to trust strangers to take in and care for and understand my daughter as much as I do.

21245248_770146373171020_1998876663_nUltimately, as I walked her down the hallway, she started whispering “I am not excited anymore, I am not excited anymore” as she squeezed my hand harder. I stopped, in the middle of a busy, crowded and noisy hallway and I said “It’s is ok to be scared. Mommy is scared too.”

“You are? Why are you scared Mommy?”

“Because this is your first day at school and this is my first day without you. And that scares me.”

“It’s ok Mommy- I will be ok.”

We turned & made it into her class. She placed her lunchbox into the red wagon, removed her coat and joined the other 2 kids on th21245370_770146396504351_1389321902_ne rug. I turned to leave, “Mommy?” she called out to me, (and secretly I wanted her to ask me to stay) “I love you!” She yelled in front of everyone.

“I love you more Bean.”

This little girl has Changed. My. Life.

Good, bad and ugly.

I am grateful for the journey and lessons we have had, and all the great adventures that are to come.

Learning from Silence

2017 is a scary year for me. I am phasing out Dreams I thought were once mine and standing at the forefront of what could be a Life Changing Adventure for myself and My family.

My biggest struggle has been in my appearance.; in looking into the Mirror and Not looking away. For more than 3 decades I have hidden behind concealer and make-up due to Scars and Cystic Acne. Unfortunately, because of these physical scars I have more than compensated with emotional ones that match. I am working on it and it has proven to be quite a journey. So I post today with no mask. No make-up, my teeth not even brushed and still in a robe.

I am terrified. But I am choosing to be Brave.

I sat this morning, before the sunrise, before the birds began to chirp and before even the old dog had woken me to be let out. I sat in the quiet crackle of the roaring fire, the puff of the diffuser and the coughing of my sick children muffled only by their closed doors. I sat at first staring at the orange and red in the flames and then at their dancing light show across the hardwood floors. I was trying to sit img_4641and wait for answers.

I sat on the couch at first, warm Lemon Water in hand, cross-legged and spine straight.

Fail.

I moved to the floor between the couch and the ottoman, legs straight out, mug in hand and spine erect against the couch frame.

Fail.

As I entered into prayer, my mind wandered. Oh how it wandered. I had a list of a million things to do. I tried to let the thoughts come in and come out but their abundance was so overwhelming that I could not focus on my prayer.img_4438

Pointless prayer once again. Fail.

I decided I needed to download. So I got a legal pad and a pencil and I wrote. I wrote down everything for the day from what we were having for dinner to what errands I had to run and phone calls I had to make.  When my hand finally began to cramp I literally tossed the pad by my side, since I was still sitting on the floor, and I bowed my head onto the ottoman, cross-legged and began to weep.

I wept mostly because I didn’t, in that moment, feel worthy of the tangible hand I felt on my shoulder to say “it’s Ok. Come as You Are.” The tears were for the overwhelming Love I have carried with me since I stood before Him almost 31 Years ago. They were for this Innate relationship We have since before Creation that I sometimes take for granted. The Tears were for wanting to follow the Path He has set for me but being beyond Terrified to walk it. They were for the inability to forgive few and the all seemingly ‘natural’ jealously I had for others succeeding in what I thought was My Path.profile-no-makeup

Sometimes we try too hard.

Sometimes we forget that we don’t have to talk to Him with a straight spine, perfectly planned moment ready to Hear what He needs to tell us. We forget that we are Weak and Sinful and it’s OK. We forget that we All have moments of shame and guilt. We All need an extra push sometimes. We are All Imperfect; All of the time. And that it is not only OK, but it is what makes us so beautifully Human and also what makes it so Sweet that we Choose to worship Him.

 

Shut Down the Chatterbox

I went for run tonight. My first in a week. I so desperately wanted to fit one in over these last 95 degree days but didn’t dare. I was excited for the sprinkle that was coming down and prayed with both kids before bedtime that it would continue through the night. We are so desperately in need of rain.

The run began and the rain continue to fall. Mile 1. Mile 2. Mile 3. The rain started falling a little harder and a bit heavier. Mid-mile 3 I decided to take the Main Road back home because it was better lighting and more open spaces. My thought, as the light disappeared, was that it might be safer. It added a half-mile or so, but I felt great and wasn’t worried. Mile 4.
run in rainI knew at this corner I had about 2 miles till I was done. Sound Cloud call was wrapping up and another about to begin and I still felt good. And then it happened.

Lightning. No thunder as a warning. No heavier rain to help me predict its arrival. Just a single bolt of lightning. It hit so close to me I could feel the electricity through the ground and it made my toes curl.
lightningWhat I did next was probably stupid, but I ducked under a tree in order to shelter myself from the rain as the thunder crashed. I pulled my ear plug out from underneath my now soaked #RunLikeKeith hat, pulled my phone out and shut it off and tucked everything back into my running pouch.

Then I waited. All I heard was the sound of rain bounding off the leaves and roof tops. I started to think about all the possible scenarios from this point forward;

If I get out from under the tree will lightning strike? Wicked Tuna says lightning likes a moving target? Will it hit me or the tree first? What is Graig starts to worry and tries to call me? If he cannot get through he will panic and come driving to find me. He cannot leave the house the kids are sleeping. If he leaves the kids he will have to call a neighbor and tell them I am running in this storm. The neighbors are going to think I am an idiot! I don’t need anyone else thinking I am an idiot!migrane

CRASH THE CHATTERBOX.

You know what I am talking about. That senseless and babbling voice between your ears.

Shut. It. Down.

I stopped it, took a deep breath and waited. After a minute of focusing more on my breathing then the storm I was stuck running the last 2 miles in, I finally heard it. That Devine whisper that comes from within. I heard it audibly.

“Trust me. Ready, Set, Go.”

Without another though my feet started to hit the pavement. Faster and harder than they had the first 4 miles, but with determination and without doubt.FullSizeRender (1)

There wasn’t a Single lightning strike or clap of thunder until I walked safely through the garage door.

You see, the first part of the run I was focused on the numbers; How far? How fast? How long? I compare myself to other runners, to my previous run and to friends and family that runs.

For the last leg, I simply focused on the journey and how much I wanted to be home, be with my children and my husband. I ran for them. I ran for me. I ran.

I was given a gift last month when I found a ‘company about personal growth disguised as a person care company.’  I followed a tug on my heart, a whisper and dove in with two feet.

So stop comparing and start being fair to yourself.

If you feel a tug on your heart – chase it instead of letting the chatter box talk you out of it.

Trust. This. Journey. Be the best version of you. #mywhy #lifebydesign

trust journey

Everything No One Tells You – Self Image Post Baby

So you spend 9 long months, nurturing and growing a human. You surrender your waistline, you eat things you swore you never would, you give up your desire for sushi, peperoni pizza and tuna fish and you switch from the Retin-A and Salicylic acid acne creams that were working for you, to some all natural store-brand crap that doesn’t work; all in the name of Motherhood.

By the time your little Bambino is ready for the outside world you have pleasantly put on 30-50 pounds, give or take.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No one tells you that  most of this weight will remain attached to your body after the child is removed. Your hips are wider, you have love handles for the first time and you have to continue to wear your maternity cloths just because you have nothing else that fits.

You will do everything you can to feel like yourself faster then your body allows from crash dieting, to extreme workouts, and even using rubber bands to hold your pants together just so you can convince yourself your pre-pregnancy clothes fit.

With my first pregnancy I was introduced to the world of Spanx. The idea behind it was great; a simple undershirt or slip to hold IMG_9199everything in place.  The downside? All that extra weight is also extra skin…..and your have nowhere to tuck that stuff in when you use Spanx.  Epic Fail.

With my second pregnancy, post C-section, I felt better sooner, but not like myself again and ready to exercise until about 3 months post-birth. Started slow and eventually lost the weight running for about a year. I was actually in the best shape of my life and at my heaviest … then, pregnancy #3! Surprise!

After you have a baby, your body still does not belong to you. Your boobs are bigger then you ever dreamed they could become, although you are kind of secretly hoping to slim your waist line Flinn and Momwithout effecting your cup size.  Your pelvis still feels like it could snap in half, your knees buckle when you bend and your feet ache as much as they did in pregnancy.

Intimacy? Even if you wanted too, you tell yourself that if you cannot look at your own body, then you shouldn’t make your husband. IMG_9273

No one tells you that there will be days you look in the mirror and literally Hate Yourself; blotchy facial patches, hormonal acne and bags under your eyes.

No one tells you that it will take you an hour to pick out an outfit because 1/2 of your choices make you feel fat and frumpy and the other 1/2 make you look like you are still pregnant. You will retreat and hide in your home because you have convinced yourself that you do not fit into the socially acceptable post-baby mold.

No one tells you that you have to love yourself no matter what your dream body looks like. There is no right or wrong to it all and it is only a matter of taking it slowly and enjoying the ride. For crying out loud…You GREW A HUMAN!!!  Not everyone is given that opportunity or that superpower – SO CELEBRATE!Mom and Grant

I went out for my first run post-baby #3. Two Sports bras to hold the weight and knee braces so they didn’t give out mid-mile. I was proud of a 12 minute-mile for a 3.2.

Run 2: The additional skin of my body didn’t bounce as much which made the run feel better. 11:20 minute mile for 3.3.

Run 3: 11:50 minute mile…my toughest run this week. I wanted to give up and came home hating myself.

Run 4: 10:28 minute mile for 4.6

Ladies, it is all about encouraging each other! Love yourself first and your love for others will be pure and unconditional. Be patient with yourself and remember it took you 9 months to put on the weight…it should take you at least that long to lose it! Stop comparing yourself to others and to what you believe society thinks you should look like and try to focus on the important stuff…

You ARE A MOM and already PERFECT in your children’s eyes.2014 11 15_4102

I am 30 Years Dead Today

Today I am 30 years dead.Accident 1

No, I am not making a joke about turning 30 years old, as I was already 5 years old the day I died.

Let me explain.

It was March 28, 1986, Good Friday and the family and I were on our way to Grandma’s house for Good Friday dinner and coloring eggs. I sat in the third row of the brown station wagon, driver’s side, next to my older sister. My younger sister and brother sat in the second row with Mom and Dad, obviously, in front.Accident 2

I fell asleep on the long drive just after my siblings and I ‘Care Bear Stared’ cars from driving too closely to the back bumper of the car. At some point the 5-point neon orange harness got uncomfortable to turn around in so the fun ended and I closed my eyes.

It was the intersection of Richards Grove Road and Route 32 the truck ran a red and T-boned our tiny car. I was asleep at the time, thumb in mouth and same hand covering half my face out of habit.Accident 3

The side window of the car had imploded into the car and shattered itself across my face with a force that pushed my left eye, under the eyelid, back into my head and aligned with my left ear. I was told that it looked like someone had sprayed my face with sparkles when they found me unconscious and still buckled in the back row of the car, as no bleeding had begun when my Daddy came to unbuckle me. Little did he know, that I was long gone, and already dead.

I died on impact. I went from dreams about Care Bear Cousins to a completely new place I could not have imagined. I was weightless, calm, warm and fearless. I felt as though I was at Home; the most familiar and safe place I knew and yet nothing around me was familiar.

There was a voice.

It was not an audible voice like you or I hear on a day-to-day basis, but more of an innate tone for which my ears were not necessary. I turned to the voice instantly with a desire to put a face to the voice.

A light. It was a light brighter than any lightning, explosion or sunburst I have ever seen. It didn’t hurt my eyes or make me want to look away but instead made me want to walk towards it. I did.

As I spoke back to this gentleman, he asked me if I wanted to stay with Him or go Home.

It was at this moment I realized I was in a word different from the one I fell asleep in an hour before. I started to hear commotion and my gaze went downward. I saw my tiny little 5-year old body lying on a stretcher along the side of a moving ambulance. I saw an EMT sitting in a chair while taking vitals and I saw the back of my Daddy’s head as he rested it on his folded arms against my side. There was a sheet or blanket of some kind covering my face and my father’s shoulders shaking, and his fist hitting the gurney caught my attention. I had never seen Daddy cry before.

I looked back towards the light and said, “I want to go Home.”

It was in the instant following that statement that I found my Daddy’s hand in mine and felt his breath and tears on my skin.

Then, there was Pain. There was pain along my entire body, in my eye, in my face. My head was pounding and I kept trying to lift my hand to take whatever was on my face, off. I wanted nothing more than to rub the ‘sand’ out of my eyes.

My Dad kept my hands at my side and I started to cry. Now I was scared. Now was in pain.

I must have passed out at this point because my next memory is waking up from my first surgery. There were bandages covering ½ my face, and they smelled. They smelled like cotton gauze, bacitracin and blood. I could not see out of my left eye and the bandage was tucked under my bottom lip in the most uncomfortable way.Accident 4

I had a frontal compressed fracture of the skull, broken nose and an eye they thought would have to be removed. Dad signed the papers to remove it immediately following the accident and returned to his prayer group. The doctors went in to remove the eye and as if Gods hand was present it moved directly back into its original place; 20:20 vision.Accident 5a

I was 5. I had just turned 5. Having a 4 year-old myself now I cannot imagine what my parents felt when this happened to our family. My near death experiences change me. Not just because I have come back from death but because of everything I had to face growing up as a result of the accident.Accident 5

I was bullied. I was ridiculed. I had multiple plastic, reconstructive surgeries for many years that followed to include one just after the millennial New Year to reconstruct my forehead.

As a child, I wore a hockey helmet to prevent my skull from caving back in after them pulled 50 pieces of skull bone out of my brain due to the initial injury of the accident. It was the Spring after the accident (about a year later) that I decided I would stop trying to make friends and stay inside at recess. Accident 6I sat in a hot pink bean bag chain in the book corner of my kindergarten class and played alone. While alone, I sang to myself. I don’t remember what I sang, but only that singing seemed to excuse me from hear the names the children called me; Monster, Scar Face, Ugly.

My teacher heard me singing and somehow I ended up agreeing to sing in the talent show coming up in a few weeks. More terrified to say no and disappoint her, then I was to sing, I caved and started making plans for my first performance.Accident 7

I sang Dumb Dog from Annie, with a good friend dressed as the dog and swaying to the beat as I sang, I looked at the cracks in the hardwood floor on the stage to my elementary school stage. I mumbled most of the song, but belted the crap out of the bridge when the time came.

I felt a warmth come over my body, I felt safe. I felt Home again.Accident 8

The moment the audience applauded, I remember looking up for the first time and feeling accepted for the first time since the accident. I was no longer being made fun of by my classmates, and I was instead being praised by more than just my family. I found a safe place and never wanted to leave.

 

Although I had found a safe place I will not lie to you and tell you that life was easy from that point. I faced long battles of depression, insecurity, debated suicide, suffered from anxiety and put myself in terrible situations that resulted in more emotional and physical trauma. I suffered a lot, but always found a place of safety on stage.

I often wondered why I was given a second chance at life when so many others are only given one shot and I try my best to live every day understanding that everything I have been through has only been part of the journey.

I just keep singing. That is who I am and who I know I was meant to be. I have never know in what capacity this would be or in what type of music. But today, 30 years Dead, I find myself given the opportunity to sing in our church’s Good Friday Service, which I have never been asked to do.

I cannot help but to feel as though this is my journey; to give back to the bright light and voice that gave my life back to me…not just on the Spring afternoon in March of 1986, but on Good Friday long ago, at Calvary.IMG_9158

Parenting for Real – When you Have to be a Super Mom

I was a Super Mom last night. Yup, one of those nights when you have to use every ounce of energy God gave you and then find the reserves to use and then just keep trucking….Women were designed to be Super Moms.

The evening started as routine for us these last few days. Both kids fighting a cold and nasty cough which seems to escalate when they play outside or just as they lay down to go to sleep. They both got their Allergy medication and extra vitamin C. Their humidifiers were on and diffusers locked and loaded with enough cinnamon and orange to stop any cough. In the midst of the hectic evening routine my son somehow got Cinnamon Essential Oil in his eye and I left the humidifier, filling, I mean, overflowing with water, while I tend to my son. My Husbands finds the flood now across the kitchen floor because my mind shut off all unessential tasks in order to tend to my screaming child and forgot about the running water.

Both kids in bed and sleeping. It was 6:59 EST.

I go to finish dinner dishes, Dad to iron his shirt and we meet in our room to finish the 2 loads of laundry that needs folding and sorting. I remind him that there is a dead mouse in the dropped ceiling and he needs to find it before it stinks up the house and he kindly smiles and reminds me that he is getting his hair cut the following afternoon.

Normal.Normal here

I jump in the shower and selfishly smile because there are no littles barging in and creating a cold draft of air into my steamy hot peace and quiet. As I go to get the homemade brown sugar-vanilla scrub from the recycled chopped garlic jar, I heard something. That must be one of the dogs.

Wrong.

It was my son. In the hallway and outside the bathroom door.

Immediately, as his mother, I forget I am soaking wet and try to dry my feet and turn off the water fast enough to get to him and soothe whatever need he has. Through the wall, to the other bathroom I hear a slam of the toilet seat, and flush and then footsteps of my husband as the smell of hand-sanitizer fills the air.

Dad got him.

I took a breath and started again to finish a normal nightly routine. 7:43

The Hubs and I finally get settled and look at the clock laughing that we are old and in bed some nights before 9:00. He shuttered at the idea of our friends finding out, but we are an early morning family, because right now, that is what our children need.

8:37 Cries from my Son’s room.

I go in this time thinking it will be a quick turnaround but something is wrong. He start tossing and turning and crying, which is normally soothed simply and quickly by my presences alone. He was grabbing at his right ear and telling me time and time again he wanted to walk. (i.e. be bounced in my arms and walked endlessly up and down the hallway).

I walk, but he continues to struggle to settle. I circle his room and he keeps rubbing his ear.

So if I know his ear is bugging him and he won’t settle then I need to soothe his pain.

Took his temperature: 101.5 = Tylenol.FlipSleeping

Pulled out a single dose of Bubble Gum chewable for the little guy and he happily took it.

I got into his bed this time, even though his mattress is really tough on this 33 week pregnant body and he found ‘skin’ like all long-term post-breast fed children do (pinching my neck). He started snoring and his pacifier fell out of his mouth, signaling me that I might be able to sneak out.the vapors

His grip on my neck tightened and he immediately started crying in pain again.

Too soon to go.

We repeated this dance 3 more times and each time he awakened, it was more sever crying.

I got a kick from the unborn and it was time to get up and get some reinforcement so I could empty my bladder.

9:36pm

With myself on the edge of our California King and my Husband on the other side my Son tossed and turned with fury for hours.

9:48 His knee in my face

10:02 His foot in my kidney

10:36 His finger in my eye

11:16 His rear end in my neck

11:45 His forehead touching my forehead. I felt his labored breaths go directly up my nose upon every exhale. I imagined all the germs, spit, snot and whatever else he had in his dirty toddler boy mouth, infecting my pores. It was nauseating.

12:05 His hands in my armpit

12:36 His toes in my ear

1:06 He wakes crying again. We toss and turn in what room he left me in my own bed. My husband grumbles as if this is the first time he has been awaken by the beast all night. I don’t think he realized I had not yet actually fallen sleep. His crying is more directed this time and I realize he was just as tired as I was.loves his mommy

This is when your Super Mom powers kick in. There is something that changes in a Mother when they realize there is a problem to solve with their children no matter how much or how little sleep they have gotten. My Son was just trying to tell me something and I needed to pull an Inspector Gadget and figure it out. It is these moments in parenting that separate those who can handle the big guns and those who cannot.

He did not want to sleep, but kept asking to watch ‘Mickey Mouse Cub-house’ instead = sleepy boy = sleeplessness.

Rubbing his left ear now but refusing to take any more medicine = he was so tired he was obviously not thinking clearly.

As he nestled into my body to try to comfort himself I felt how hot his forehead had become = fever. Possible ear infection.

I added up the hours between medications and decided we were due for Tylenol at 2:30.

Clock Check = 2:16. Close enough.

He refused the chewable, so I grabbed liquid and bribed him with ‘Mickey Mouse Cub-house.’ He took the meds, we together, got back into his bed, and pulled out the tablet. Unfortunately for us, the Watch Disney Jr application had updated and I needed to re-Happy Kidsload….No Time. We swapped out for PBS Kids and I prayed he wouldn’t catch on. With just 16% left on the battery life I closed my eyes and prayed for some time to sleep. I left him, watching Curious George and headed back to my room.

2:36 I closed my eyes.

3:01 the battery died. I heard my son trying to turn on his lights and get out his toys. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed my tablet, desperate for more sleep – or any sleep. 71% battery…

‘Mickey Mouse Cub-house’ worked, I stayed in my son’s bed this time, but not before checking on my daughter and getting a nice cold glass of water for myself and my Son.

My daughter was sideways in bed so I tiptoed over to adjust her. I noticed she was covered in sweat from head to toe and I thought….seriously? I am going to have two sick kids tonight? I gently placed her head on the correct end of her bed, kissed her, said a quick prayer that she was be healed in her sleep and left to go back into my son’s germ infested gas chamber.

3:21, I made myself as comfortable as I could and closed my eyes.

Bang. The IPad has fallen between the wall and the bed. Disaster. Again. 3:53

He started crying again, part due to how tired he was and partly due to the fact he couldn’t breathe well. My husband appeared in the door way and said “are you going to sleep or what?”

I wanted to chuck a shoe at him, but fortunately for him, my son’s slippers were not even within reach.

“Good-night love.” I said instead trying to kindly shoo him away.

Men were not made to be Moms. They need sleep, they need pain meds, and they need as much TLC as your children do. They were made to be strong in other ways; opening pickle jars, taking care of their families, trying to pick up and wrangle the children when Mom has had enough, to be an example of kindness and faith for the family and to be the protector. Men were not meant to be Moms.

I heard my soon yawn and I jumped at the opportunity of sleep. I pulled him in as close as I could get him; the tip of my nose touching the side of his and my eyelashes getting tangled in his as he cried. I remember feeling thankful at that moment for this little guy who wanted nothing more than his mamma. I was his Hero. I was his Super Mom.

“Sweet little boy, Mommy is right here. Let’s try to sleep. It’s ok. Shhhhhh. It’s ok” I whispered.SickBoy

I felt his whole body go limp and his pacifier fall out of his mouth and hit me in the lip.

I snuck out of his room and into my own bed. Grabbed as many pillows as I could find, propped myself up and closed my eyes. I prayed to quickly fall asleep but my concentration was broken by the unborn; with a severe case of the hiccups. It was 4:16

A Mother’s work is never done. Honestly, running on fumes at the moment and I wouldn’t have life any other way.

So the next time you are up all night pulling a Super Mom move, remember that these moments are a gift. Although they seem frustrating and annoying at the time, remember that these moments will be gone all too soon. You will wake up one day and it won’t be ‘cool’ to be so in love with your mom, they won’t need you to pack them a lunch with a heart carved into the peanut butter. They won’t need you to bathe or to pick out their breakfast.

The ONLY curse in parenting is that time doesn’t stop and they grow up too soon. So when God gives you these extra little moments to spend with your children….don’t resent them; cherish them.

My Happy Kids

Parenting for Real – When your Kids See Your Meltdown

BlocksmessToday my kids saw it. They saw Mamma reach her limit and crack.

I am not talking about losing my temper or yelling loudly. I am not talking about throwing the dirty laundry down the stairs forcefully enough to make myself feel better. I am talking about that moment when you literally reach a physical and emotional peak and there is nowhere to go but down. I am referring to that moment in motherhood that is extremely magnified when you suffer from anxiety and depression. I am talking about Parenting for Real while still trying to find yourself under all the negative talk the little voice in your head makes.

I don’t like to feel out of control. I like my schedule, I like my routine and I certainly don’t appreciate when people put pressure on me to step outside my comfort zone.

laundryMy kids saw me lose control today. It wasn’t even 8:00am.

I don’t know if it was the dirty clothes on the floor stretching from the hallway and down the flight of stairs. I don’t know if it was the yogurt covered raisins covering the kitchen tiles. I cannot remember if it was the mess of blocks that I had just put my OCD to good use organizing. I don’t remember what set it off exactly, but it happened.

My kids saw me drop to my knees and lose control of every emotion I was trying to hold in. They saw their Mamma’s anxiety take complete control over their life and for a split second they were scared of it, and me.

For scaring my children, I feel guilty. For having a complete emotional breakdown in front of them for the first time in both their lives; I feel no guilt. They needed to see me hit my limit so they understand that I have them.raisins

Too many of us suffer in hiding; silently struggling with anxiety and/or depression and a constant internal monologue that we cannot measure up. We fight the urge to ignore those voices, but fail miserably most of the time. We blame it on lack of sleep, being too busy, too distracted, hormonal, spread too thin, or not having enough support. We find every reason we can to evaluate and defend ourselves, but what we don’t do is forgive ourselves for being human. We feel as though, as Mothers, if we are not Superhero Moms, we are not good enough.

We put pressure on ourselves to keep a clean house, to remember birthdays, pay bills, work out a budget, plan dinner, play with our children and still try to support the family financially whenever possible. We were created to be strong because we are so tough on ourselves.

I got into the car to bring my daughter to school and as I turned up the radio, as demanded by the 4-year old in the third row, the words were piercingly poignant; I’m Gonna Dance to the Beat of Amazing Grace and Hold on to the Promise that you made, Cause I know whatever’s gonna come my way – You’re here with me and Its Gonna Be a Good Day.

So here I sit, an outgoing introvert who suffers from anxiety, with my son on my lap and a fresh cup of coffee, trying to fight the butterflies in my gut which want me to stop sharing this with you.

You. Are. Not. Alone.     EVER.

No matter which way you look at it.

So throw things, shout, cry or even hit a wall – but Don’t feel as though you don’t measure up as a Mother. You ARE a mother, and that is Superhero enough for me and my Kids.whywomencry

Everything No One Tells You – Trying to Conceive after Miscarriage

“You Never completely Heal emotionally from a miscarriage. When you decide to move forward with more treatments, it will sometimes feel as though you are turning your back on the child you lost. You will torture yourself with imagined scenarios of siblings, of your lost child’s reaction to your decisions. You will inaudibly consult your child on decisions that you feel they need to be a part of. A miscarriage creates a scar on your heart- and there is no healing scars. You just learn to live with them. Do not be ashamed of them. Embrace them, and make them part of your life. You will be stronger for it.”

We started our Gonadotropin injections as soon as we were allowed too, having passed the injectable class. It required a daily injection in the abdomen, a trigger shot, an IUI (Intra-uterine insemination) and the usual blood work and ultrasounds. The schedule looked something like this-

myfertilitychoices.com
myfertilitychoices.com

New Cycle:

Day 2- Blood work/Ultrasound

Day 3 through 11 – Injections + 3xs Blood work

Day 12 – Ultrasound, Blood work and an injection

Day 13 – Blood work, Ultrasound, Trigger Shot

Day 14 – A physical break

Day 15 – Specimen Collation, IUI,  Blood work

Day 17 – Progesterone Inserts 1-2xs daily as the doctor checks blood work very 5-7 Days

http://whenrugonnahaveababy.blogspot.com/2012/05/crinone-8_19.html
http://whenrugonnahaveababy.blogspot.com/2012/05/crinone-8_19.html

A side note about progesterone Inserts; They are disgusting. Stop reading  and move to next paragraph if you are easily grossed out. The are a cream filled tampon you must insert to which gravity applies. Think about it. They are gross and required everyday after an IUI during an injectable cycle. Invest in some panty liners!

Now, the Prince and I had been through the general process 3 times before this cycle and used to do every step together. Things changed after the miscarriage. We became very determined and goal orientated. instead of taking it step by step.

I no longer walked to the dungeon of shame with him and instead, I sent him on the 1 hour drive alone to give a sample before 8 am, as required, while I waited back at home for the scheduled IUI the same afternoon. It became routine; no longer enjoyable.

http://newmyanmarpyi.blogspot.com/2014_03_01_archive.html
http://newmyanmarpyi.blogspot.com/2014_03_01_archive.html

To be completely honest, I think the miscarriage took more out of us emotionally then either of us were willing to admit. We still had faith in the process, but had lost hope it would work for us.

Getting a shot in my gut was a tough transition from simply swallowing pill. Even though I took the class, there was still the mental challenge of sticking myself with a needle, on purpose. I envisioned myself trying to fall onto it, or sticking my finger or my husband instead of my love-handle. I knew that the greater purpose for this was a baby and that helped when my husband did the shots, but it was so different when I had to do it myself.

To add a little pressure, all of these medications were scheduled and needed to be given within an hour of the same time which they were given the day previous.

I recall one time in particular; I was on work travel and it was the first time I had to give myself a shot alone. At dinner, I snuck a piece of ice into my cheek thinking I could numb my gut in the bathroom. When I finally arrived to my stall, the ice was gone and I was faced with sucking it up and sticking it to my gut, all alone, or quitting.

I am Not.  A. Quitter.

At the risk of being found, passed out on the floor of a public rest room, with a syringe in hand, I took a deep breath, grabbed as much skin on my abdomen as possible and shoved that need in, like a butter knife into a well-done sirloin. As my hands trembled, I pressed the back of the syringe into the front and injected the meds into wherever the tip of the needle had landed (I could only imagine).

Success.

The only obstacle now was to exit the bathroom stall with an expression that explained the fact that my feet were no where near the usual ‘sitting on the toilet’ position and my skin tone had gone from a nice fuchsia to a translucent cream.Feet bathroom stallI smiled at the first person in the long line that made eye-contact.

I watched the tiles pass my feet on the floor, to pass the rest.

Round 1 – Not pregnant.

Round 2 – Not pregnant.

Round 3 – and the last round our insurance would cover….. and something went wrong….

Parenting for Real – When You Think You Got it Wrong

Today is one of those days when I feel like I got parenting all wrong.

I lost my temper, a lot. I did enough yelling to make my voice hoarse.

I carried my son out of a store this morning, screaming in an under-arm, football hold. I didn’t leave the store as he started his tantrum, but instead, put into my cart what I came in for and held him under my arm, screaming and kicking, as I waited in line, paid and loaded the shopping cart.

I still had to run into the grocery store to get a few necessities….tantrum #2.

I continued through the store and tolerated not only my son’s screaming and kicking from the top seat of the cart, but I also endured the stares, nasty comments and pointing from onlookers. I walked as slow as I needed too, continued to check my list and compare it with the items now in the cart and head to the checkout lane. As we waited for the cashier to finish the customers purchase in front of me, I handed my 4 year old a bag on M & M candies. She had been an angel during this morning of torture brought on by her younger brother and deserved an unexpected treat.

Kicking and screaming, my son, continued as we loaded the car, buckled and drove home.

Upon arrival, I took off his shoes, kissed his face as he swatted at mine and told him he needed to rest. I placed him calmly and quietly into his bed, shut the light and closed the door.

A well-deserved silence followed.2014 11 15_4063

A nice afternoon on our bikes, leaf pile jumping, playing with our dogs and in the neighbors hot tub and we headed home for dinner.

The tantrums ensued just in time for a bath and continued as I washed his body, his hair, put on a diaper and his pajamas. I combatted the pinching and the face smacking with a yell or a quick tap on the rear. Deservedly I think.

Instead of leaving him in the room this time I shut the door, left on the light and I sat on the floor; watching as his screaming continued. I didn’t try to talk to him, or to calm him down. I didn’t worry about how loud he was or how badly it was paining my eardrums. I sat and waited.

When he was ready, and not a second before, while still screaming, he made his way to me still criss-cross-applsause on his floor and he placed his arms around my neck. One big breath and he collapsed into my lap, eyes already closing and needing to rest.

I kissed his sweaty forehead and realized that through it all; the yelling, the punishment, the structure, the screaming, the kicking, the pinching… he still knew that I loved him. And that was a win for me.2014 12 13_3978

You see, our kids may not always get the best of us as parents, but they deserve it every minute of every day. We all struggle and we all have those days when nothing seems to go right. We tend to beat ourselves up every time our child doesn’t measure up to ‘normal’ instead of celebrating how they are unique. My son is usually very easy-going, kind-hearted and loving….what did I do to make him so angry today? Our internal monologue only deepens the knife we used on ourselves.

But – It’s ok.

You see, in those moments when you think your child doesn’t deserve your love, is when they possibly need it the most. Be kind to yourself and take comfort in the fact that you are not the only one out there having THIS day. There are other parents burning the midnight oil because they need a moment alone after a long day or they simply like to revel in the quiet after bedtime.

No one ever said that being a parent is an easy job, in fact I most often hear the opposite. You can only do what You believe is right for your family and for your children.

Be thankful that you have each other. Period. No matter what kind of day it has been.2014 11 15_4098

Everything No One Tells You – The Clomid Monster Returns

My Prince and I had just finished our first month on Clomid and were 2 weeks post our IUI.

MONTH 1: When you go through any kind of fertility treatments, the doctors always tell you NOT to take an At Home pregnancy test and to wait until Day 16 after an Intrauterine-insemination (IUI) to come in for the blood work. Well, if you have ever WANTED to get pregnant you know you listen to no one but yourself and you will be taking every test you can get your hands on.

Day 14 arrived after the IUI and a took a test. The Doctor’s fear is that you will get a false positive – you can imagine what trouble that would cause emotionally. Day 14 post IUI – Pregnancy test = NEGATIVE. My heart pounded with disappointment as I tipped the stick left and right trying to magically make a vertical line appear. I tried to convince myself that you can get a false negative as well and that I still might get a positive blood test in 2 days. Unfortunately, that was not the case. When you start your next cycle before Day 16 post IUI, there is no need for blood work.

MONTH 2: I was ready to try again with the Clomid immediately and for us, there was no reason to wait. We got the go ahead and began the entire process again. Pills – Day 3-7  Ovulation tests – Day 7-9 Wait for Pennywise Happy face. Dungeon of shame, IUI and wait 16 days.

The process, even though this was attempt #2, was feeling routine already.

At home pregnancy Test Day 16 – No vertical line. Negative. Again.

I cannot explain to you the level of disappointment you feel when you are doing everything right, but your body won’t respond the way you want it too. The shame you feel when your body cannot fulfill what it was designed to do. I am not talking about trying to lose weight when you don’t get your rear off the couch to do so.  I am talking about working out everyday, for hours, overtime and seeing no results. My body was a lie. It was a façade of what a woman should be but couldn’t figure out whether to wind it’s butt or scratch its watch.

I digress for mild humor.

We decided that maybe he 3rd time was the charm. So we started over again.

MONTH 3:  Pills – Days 3 through 7 Ovulation Tests  and ultrasounds.

This cycle was different. I went in for a routine ultrasound to count mature follicles and on day 10 there were more then the doctor wanted to see.

Dr. O, “We need to trigger you as you have 3 mature follicles and 3 more that will mature within days. I am going to prescribe you the trigger shot that you will need to inject this evening. You will return in 36 hours for your IUI.”

A shot??!? We decided to do clomid cause I hate shots! I mean – you are looking at someone whom at 5 years old needed 3 nurses, a doctor and both her parents to restrain her for a blood draw! I was experiencing a mini panic attach when, thankfully, I remembered that my Aunt was a nurse. I called, embarrassed, and basically begged her to give me a shot I refused to give myself. Since we had not told ANYONE we were in fertility treatments she was my best shot at keeping my privacy.

I mixed the meds, she filled the needle and I sat and waited. I felt my heartbeat speed up when she flicked the syringe with her middle finger forcing all the air bubbles to the top. She grabbed my stomach and jammed that sucker in like a knife. This was a good thing – cause if she hesitated, I likely would have passed out.

Trigger shot in, 36 hours passed, IUI and wait till Day 16.

It was Christmas morning, Day 14 Post IUI and I was determined to deliver good news to myself and my husband on this day. I knew that I could get a false + if I took an at Home Pregnancy Test, especially because we took the HCG (trigger shot) injection, but after a trusty ‘google search, I decided it was worth the risk. It was 6:00am and although I had to squint, I finally saw that vertical line. I remember distinctly, placing my left hand over my dropped jaw and my eyes welled with tears as my stomach turned and heart skipped a beat.

It was positive.

That day, during our sometimes awkward without children Christmas morning, I handed my Prince a box.  In it were two clay ornaments, one of Pink baby booties and the other in Blue. He opened it and sweetly gave me a hug whispering “Soon, sweetheart. All of this will work soon.” I said “Honey, it did work. You just got two ornaments because we won’t know for months if it is a Boy or a Girl.”

He was silent. His eyes filled with tears and he didn’t say a single word. He just squeezed me with the biggest hug I have ever felt.

It worked. I was pregnant. We were going to have a baby!