Sunday, May 30, 2010

Poor Little Guy!

So Evan had rotovirus. Yuck. It started innocently enough--but, just as we were leaving for FL, it got worse. Now, if we had been planning a weekend away, I would have told Chris to go ahead with the girls and I would stay home with the sicko. But no, Chris was going to a conference and I was getting on a plane with two girls and a little boy who was blowing out of diapers like nobody's business. I figured when we got there, he would surely get better and I wouldn't have to worry about it. We got there on Saturday and that night he blew out of two diapers and vomited twice. On me. On Sunday he was a little better and I thought we would be okay for our hugely anticipated trip to Disney the next day (we had reservations for dinner with Cinderella--there was no way Megan was going to miss that!) He was fine for the day, but that night at the hotel, you guessed it...puke-o. So the next day when we got back to my mother's house, I weighed him. He had lost three pounds and was on his 6th day of eating nothing but breastmilk. He wasn't peeing a lot (hardly at all) and now the weight loss. I got very nervous and took him to the walk-in clinic at the local ER. Big mistake.

There, I met by far the worst doctor I have EVER dealt with. Unreal! He walked in and I was sitting there nursing Evan. He said, (with a HUGE air of superiority!) "Your child has diarrhea and you are giving him milk??" I responded, "Well, is the only thing he has eaten in 6 days, really. He refuses everything we offer."

"Milk is the worst thing you can give a child with an upset digestive tract."
"It is breastmilk!"
"It is basically the same thing!"
", it isn't--"
"You listen to me!" (he interrupted) "Is this your first child??"
"Um, no, he isn't..."
"Well then you should know this!"

At this point in the "conversation" I stopped listening. Because when I asked him to double check that there wasn't something stuck in Evan's stomach or perhaps check for some rare intestinal cancer, he told me that there was clearly nothing wrong with him because, "he looks too good." you are telling me that my child has a virus and I'm supposed to stop nursing him even though by your own admission, he looks good. When I told him about the weight loss, he said it was all water and that I had to get him hydrated. He suggested pedialyte. When I said Evan won't touch it, he said, "Of course not, you keep nursing him. Stop nursing and wait until he is desperate enough to drink anything." (So you want me to let my sick child scream it out until he desperately grabs for a drink that tastes like sea water??...sure...that won't undermine any trust my child has in me at all--yeah.)

So anyway, after that we left and I had tears of anger in my eyes for a long time after we got home. You've seen those cartoons where smoke comes out of the ears? It was happening to me! I'm in the process of writing a letter to the hospital about the experience--because not only was I treated like the dumbest mother on the planet, but I was told something that was so wrong, it could do serious harm to future patients! I mean, what if I was a first-time mom? What if I went in there with my sick 9-month-old and I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I had to stop nursing until my child was so desperate for liquid they would literally drink anything?? What if I was that uncertain mother who truly wanted to do what was best for her child and actually trusted this doctor to tell me?

Luckily, I'm not that mother and, once it was a confirmed virus and not that rare intestinal cancer I had started to worry about, I took my little guy home and nursed him as much as he wanted. The virus lasted about two more days and he has since popped out of it like a champ. He hasn't stopped eating for the past 3 days and has gained back all the weight he lost and then some.

And the hospital in Dade City is about to get an earful--because I can't imagine someone else having to endure that...or worse yet, actually trusting that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fun Post

I just wanted to send a quick Thank You to my wonderful sister-in-law who has continued to bless us with fantastic gifts. The list of what she has brought into our house is amazing--feather boas that leave their little pink feathers everywhere, arts and craft supplies that you wouldn't believe, glitter glue, tissue paper, puff balls, paint, scraps of fabric, more glitter glue, and, the best ever, another feather boa, darker pink...also that leaves feathers everywhere. But what to get Evan? I mean really...what could she possibly get him that would top a flaming pink feather boa? Oh...I know! A DRUM! Better yet, a TIN drum with balls that roll around inside it and sticks to bang on with! YEEE HAW!

And because of this, he is probably the happiest boy you have seen in a long, long time! Because his Auntie Melissa is trying to do nothing else but bring joy to my children. And believe me, she has brought a lot of that (did I mention the glitter glue??)!

And me? I will continue to buy stock in the Advil company and be thankful beyond words that my children have their Auntie Melissa to get them the things that I never, ever would. Because a girl needs a boa and a boy needs a drum--really. Thank you, Melissa...and be sure to let us know when you have stopped moving around from house to house and country to country, because Molly is growing up fast and I have a few gift ideas of my own!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Willows

I've had a lot of "depressing" things on my blog lately, not the least of which was Thursday's birthday wish to my friend to my friend Carol on her stillborn daughter's 7th birthday. And today I have another is Willows' birthday. He would be three today, had he lived. But, 28 minutes after he was born into this world, he passed away in the loving arms of his mother, one of my dearest friends, Laura.

But know what? If she had to do it again? She a heartbeat. (How can you say that? you ask...the saddest day of her life and she would do it again??) Yes, she would. Because in addition to that day being the day she got to hold him and talk to him, you need to know that in those 28 minutes he was living, he taught her a mother's love. He taught her what it was like to birth a piece of your heart and hold it outside your body, for as long as you might have to hold it (and really, none of us knows how long we have to hold our children). This lesson that he taught her, this love that cannot be described, she is now able to pass on to Willows' little sister, born so wonderfully alive last year and now toddling around with the same beautiful pouty lips as her brother. Do it again? Yeah, she would.

So as hard as it is to live in this world that I live in, where I know so many people who have lost a piece of their hearts, there are moments when you just have to know that all of us, all of us who live with this missing piece, are going to make it. We are going to take the lessons we have learned and use them as we continue down this path of living with grief. I know that Laura and Carol will never know how they would have mothered their first child or how their losses have changed their mothering, but I do know that, watching them now, they are incredible parents, not taking a single thing for granted. Now, I know many parents want to be able to say that about their little ones, that they don't take anything for granted...but these moms? These moms know, really, really, know what they have. And they are not going to waste a second.

Happy Birthday, dear Willows. Thank you for what you have brought to your family, and mine. And Laura (and Erik and Wynn!)--your strength never ceases to amaze me. I'm so glad you have come into our lives!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For Charlotte

I drove to Belfast today to hear an amazing woman speak about her life of love and joy with her "unschooling" family. I'll definitely write more about that later, as I need more time to digest it all and figure out how it all fits into my family.

But as I was driving to Belfast, I was listening (as we usually are) to NPR and I heard, "It is Thursday, May 13th and you are listening to The World..." It is the normal introduction to this radio show but today, I was fixated on the date. May 13th. Normal, random day for most people, but for my dear friend, Carol, it is the day she gave birth to her first daughter, 7 years ago, who, due to a cord accident, was not alive when she was born. It struck me because here it was, May 13th and I was going about my business and the radio announcer was giving news and going about his business and talking about world events that continued to go about their business...and yet, in western MA today, was a woman whose business paused for a while--long enough to make a birthday cake for her baby girl. A baby girl who has been gone for 7 years, but yet has been here so deeply she has changed the lives of most of the people who have met her mom.

I'm thinking of you today, Carol, and loving you and Charlotte. I don't know where I would be today if you were not as strong and wonderful as you are. And tomorrow, as you begin your 8th year without your first born, know that you have made such a difference in so many lives--and we thank you. Happy Birthday, Charlotte. I wish you could have blown out your birthday candles tonight.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day (Early)

Mother's Day is one of the worst holidays for mothers who have had a loss. This is especially true for mothers who have no living children--to have to live through a day devoted to mothers only to have everyone forget that you are a mother, even though your little one is not here. Luckily, I have never had to live through the pain of a Mother's Day with no living children, but I have lots of friends who have. I have a very close friend whose son died shortly after he was born in May of 2007. Last year, she gave birth to a healthy, wonderful little girl whose very breath continues to take their breath away on a daily basis. Imagine the pain and sadness she felt when, days before what would have been her son's second birthday (last year), she got a card that said, "Congratulations on your first Mother's Day!" (emphasis mine). Imagine how much more it hurt to know that this card came from a family member.

Because it wasn't her first Mother's Day, now, was it? For two horrible, awful Mother's Days before that, she was mom to this beautiful little boy--a boy with a tremendous abundance of dark, curly hair, a cute button nose and small, pouty lips. She was a mom who had gone through labor and delivery and had nothing but some photos and the memory of him in her arms to show for it. She was a mom without her baby--and, especially on a national holiday devoted to Mothers...well, that just isn't an easy kind of mom to be.

And, of course, even if you have living children, it is still challenging to celebrate a holiday devoted to moms when you are a mom who is missing one (or more). People who celebrate with you often choose not to mention the missing one (generally with good intentions--they don't want to remind you, as if you could forget) and sometimes it feels like the whole world just "doesn't want to talk about it." But do you know what? Most moms who have had a loss do want to talk about it. Or at least we want the option to talk about it. We don't want our babies to be the proverbial Elephant In The Room. Because Mother's Day isn't just about celebrating the work mothers do, it is about celebrating the love mothers have for their children--ALL their children.

To all the mothers in my life and all their babies, Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

She's FIVE!

May 6, 2005--what a day. Chris and I became parents for the second time, and for the second time, we missed a really cool birthday (Erin missed 3-3-03 by 4 days and Megan was only one day off from 5-5-05). But, neat as that would have been, it was not to be, because here she is turning 5 today, on May 6th. Can you believe she is 5? Me neither.

Megan's first year with us was exhausting. As I have said before, Megan was our "high needs" baby, right from the start. I know this is my fault--because Erin was so "easy," I had taken to bragging (yes, actually bragging) to friends about how great a parent I was. I would see screaming kids in the supermarket and assume it was because the parent clearly wasn't "doing it right" (whatever the heck that means!). So the Universe saw fit to shut me up. Thank you for that, really.

Once she could walk and talk, her crying subsided and she began to toddle after her sister. Always just a step behind Erin, we began to pick up subtle hints of her developing impish personality. A sly grin here, a giggle hiding from over there...she really learned how to be the most adorable little bundle of trouble. Her little freckled nose didn't hurt either!

Like her sister, Megan has always had a love of all things outside. Hiking, biking, kayaking, picking blueberries...she just thrives in this state of warm summer days, cool rainy puddle days, and cold, clear snowy days. Here she is at the top of the Beehive at Acadia National Park.

Megan is our little helper. Let her know what project you are working on and expect that she will jump to lend a hand. She loves working in the wood shop with Daddy and she is very good at planting gardens as well! She always dresses for the occasion!

This year has been an amazing time of growth for our little Goosie. As Erin has been homeschooling, Megan has been doing her second year at our local Montessori school. Without her sister out in front of her all the time, Megan has just blossomed into her own little person. Her kind heart and compassionate attitude towards all her classmates and friends is something that makes her teachers very proud (and us too!). She is learning math and reading at an astounding pace and, at home, working hard at riding that bike without training wheels! A hero to her little brother, Megan weathers his storms with ease--and she beamed with pride last week when he said her name for the first time. I admit that I, too, had tears in my eyes. Evan could not have picked a better big sister, just as Erin could not have asked for a better little sister. Megan is absolutely the "just right" fit for our family.

Happy Birthday, my Goose. I love you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Mower

So he says to me, he says, "I'll get the mower out and you can mow the backyard." (Which was my first mowing of the season and I love mowing, really, I do!) Later, as I'm crawling up the hill, all battered and bruised from having hit a tree when I had to LEAP from the running mower as it plowed down a steep hill and into a different tree he says, "Gee...I thought I fixed the brake problem...."

Um, no, you didn't fix it.