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Friday, September 8, 2017

Grandpa

My mom makes a calendar for us every year. She puts together photos comprised of events that took place during that month the year prior. I love this, as it allows me to relish highlights and see what my sibs were up to this time last year as well. This month, Mom included a quote "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."

This day has become a family treasure.

Last year on this day we celebrated the 78th birthday of my Grandpa Gray, and honestly, we all knew it would be the last one we would have with him. Around this time last year, I was compelled to take my family over the mountain one last time to get some extra time in with Grandpa--but we can actually take this story back to six or so months before then.

Grandpa is not the first grandparent I have lost, and sometimes, one of those grandparents will visit my dreams. I had a very real dream where my Gram shared a message with me in a conversation we had--you need to get ready. It felt like a gentle warning and a tender mercy as I still feel lots of guilt over not going to see her when I felt I should before we lost her unexpectedly. Admittedly, when I woke up, I had no idea to what she was referring. Until suddenly I did.

Standing in my kitchen a few days after the dream, I looked out the window and knew. Grandpa. Maybe I started to pay more attention. Or maybe the older adults had just kept how quickly Grandpa was declining a secret until they could not anymore. But all I know is that his health, already not great, seemed to decline rapidly.

So, around this time last year, I NEEDED to be in Grand Junction. So, we went. And we spent some hours at the house. And my kids were so good. And Grandpa laughed and smiled as much as he could manage. I don't know if it was good or purely selfish on my part that we went. I didn't take a single picture of that visit. All I wanted to do was sit close. I wanted to listen to his stories and watch him laugh at his great grandchildren. I needed to hug him and tell him I loved him one last time--face to face.

And I am so glad that I did.




Monday, August 21, 2017

The Start of School

As you can imagine, we had a pretty chaotic yet quiet summer this year. Visitor after visitor came and spent time entertaining my big ones while I tended to new baby. But we didn't really get to do much or go lots of places. My kids are the best though, and Quincy, Tessa and Beau spent hours playing together and entertaining me while doing so.

So, now we are at the beginning of the school year. Cami is almost three months old--still on her oxygen--and doing really well. Beau is about to lose his best friend, Tessa, to all day kindergarten, and this mom is afraid that this means that my life is about to become a little crazier keeping up with my energetic two-year-old. We'll survive it just fine, but Beau has already tried to follow sister into school. He even hugged me good-bye on Tessa's first half-day. Sorry, kid. Not your turn yet.

This girl has had a great start to first grade already! We got the teacher we hoped for, and she already knows her because Mrs. Moroze was Q's preschool teacher before moving to first grade last year. So, she knows what to expect. And Mrs. Moroze knows my quirky Quincy. She got a FIRE sticker the first day of school (which is a school-wide reward system) and it seems that every day is better than the last. I think it is wonderful that Quincy is so excited to be a big first grader. She told me that she already feels like a scientist as they are learning about science. She won't get more specific that just science, and when her dad asked what she was learning about in science, her response was, "Uh, science," (Duh, Dad!)

This crazy independent girl is beyond excited to be in school all day just like her big sister. Tessa has been ready for this for so long, and I am thrilled that she loves school so much already. Her teacher is the same teacher Quincy had last year, so Tessa already feels very comfortable with her. Tessa has two half-days to learn how Kindergarten works and then she starts full days. She has friends from preschool in her class, and she is excited to make new friends. On the first day she asked me twice if I could go ahead and leave so she could get down to business. Yep. That's my girl.

We are so proud of these girls. We had a long talk together about being kind and courageous this year. We talked about making friends and how to include everyone. Then, I watched my Q take the hand of her hesitant friend on the first day and march confidently into school. I have watched both my girls run and hug their friends and then turn to introduce themselves to new friends. I am so proud of the little people that they are. Cheers to a glorious new school year!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

So This Thing Happened...


Okay, anyone who is friends with me knows that OBVIOUSLY we had a baby girl--earlier than expected. But, I thought I would go ahead and share the details of our girl's arrival. She made quite the dramatic entrance into the world.

Sunday, May 21, 2017, I sent my sisters a somewhat frantic text message that evening because I had started spotting, and it was a bit unusual looking (I won't share details). They proceeded to talk me down as it could have just been nothing because (here is something no one tells you) sometimes you just bleed FOR NO REASON when you are growing a human. And it is stressful and keeping calm about it is not easy. However, the sisters talked me off my ledge and I shared the fun information with Nick (ah, marriage!). The next day there was a little more of the same, so I checked in with the nurse at my doc's office. We came to the conclusion that there was nothing to really worry about at this point, so I continued to simply monitor.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017. things looked a bit different, and I was feeling very uncomfortable with the change in the look of the very red blood. So, in to the doctor we went. AND ALL THE BABIES WERE BEING BORN. Seriously. All the rooms were full. All the extra rooms were full. I spent the night in the triage room where the bleeding got progressively worse. After an ultrasound where NO evidence of any tearing or placental issues were found, two more steroid shots (just in case), and dinner at 11pm, I woke to the great "when should we have a baby" debate. After a morning of monitoring me and baby, the decision was made to have a baby at 5pm. Then that decision was changed,  and the doc on duty debated waiting until the following morning to ship us off to the OR for my c-section. After much debate and a long talk with me, she decided to go ahead and perform the surgery on Wednesday evening at 8pm.

So, on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 8 pm, as I was still signing consent forms, I was rolled back to the operating room. And as I left Nick outside to wait, my whole being was overcome with an intense sense of absolute terror. It took all the willpower I had NOT to jump down and try to run away. However, I slid onto the operating table, squeezed a pillow and my nurse through the spinal, lay down, threw up, and waited for Nick to come sit by my head. He will tell you a very different story, I am sure, but after what felt like a very long time, a SILENT, FLOPPY, GHOST-WHITE baby was rushed to the corner of the OR. I watched in shock as the nurses frantically worked on my baby as I whispered over and over again, "PLEASE cry, please cry, please cry" until there was a quiet sound from her. They stabilized her and rolled her past me while saying, "Look at your baby. I need to get her out of here."

I was taken back to my room for all post-op procedures when I was visited later by the neonatologist who wanted to have her air lifted to another hospital for treatment. You see, I/we had experienced a pretty severe placental abruption. Basically, my placenta was separating from the uterine wall, and to make matters worse, it also just kind of fell apart (split in two) as they were pulling her out. She lost a crazy amount of blood and received FOUR transfusions that first night. FOUR! The concern then obviously becomes the amount of oxygen she didn't have, so she was sent to a specialist who turned her into a baby Popsicle. As in, her core temp was cooled for 72 hours to allow her brain and organs to heal while in a slower state. This is really a rather remarkable thing, and it is something that has only recently been done to babies as early as 34 weeks gestation. Which means we barely made it.

You guys. The miracle that is my youngest child was made possible through miraculous event piled upon miraculous event. I try not to say it often, but we ALMOST lost her. And I just can't...

We spent 17 days in the NICU: three as a popsicle, eight long days until I could hold her for the first time, and nine days learning how to eat. She came home on (and is currently still on) a little bit of oxygen. She eats well. She sleeps well. She is getting all the love from all her people, and we are so blessed, so happy, so grateful for it all.

I was reminded that angels attend to and watch over our sweet babies--in the form of nurses, doctors, and actual angels. I promise you that the NICU is watched over closely and attended to regularly.

So, as we love hard to and put this ordeal behind us, I am happy to introduce Camille Jay--our pretty little caboose.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Be Brave

Courage is found in unlikely places. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

It has taken me some time to decide what, exactly, I wanted to focus on in this 2017 year. However, in a conversation I had with a friend of mine--one of those crazy soul mate kind of friends with whom I have never actually met face to face--it occurred to me that it is time for me to stop living the life I have been and focus on really living my life. I am sure I have said it to people a thousand times, but I will type it again here: I have been in survival mode/barely getting by for far too long. The biggest crisis of my life thus far happened when I was just a tender 32, and I JUST TURNED 37, for goodness sake! It is high time that I dug myself out of the hole I have been hunkered down in and figure out this life thing! I am ready to have FUN again. I don't want to be a casual observer anymore. I don't want to watch other people have the time of their lives while I hide in my house under the guise of needing to always take care of my children. Do you know how happy they are (well, minus Beau, but he is clingy boy these days) when the momma leaves them to play with someone else? THEY LOVE IT! 

I'm rambling...honestly though, how does a person actually DO this? How do I become braver in my life? How do I convince myself in the moment to take risks? Will I remember to say yes when my first instinct is to say no? When doubts and fears start to take over--which they obviously easily do--will I be able to push them away? 

My half-life (yes, I know that sounds rather Voldemort-ish) needs to come to an end. I'm a pretty fascinating person with a really fascinating story to share. I deserve all the good things, but good things don't just happen when you are sitting around waiting for them. I need to be an active participant in life. In the world. In my community. Good grief, you guys. I am going to be a freaking mother of four this year! You cannot be a mother of four and be boring. You just can't! 

So, I will do my best to update the blog better this year about all the really fabulous, terrifying, exciting and fascinating adventures I am going to have this year. Yes, pregnant and all. This is happening!