Birth Story

Let me start by saying how much I love my sweet Celia… each and every day pregnant was worth it to bring her here.  That said, I was ready for her to come by week 37.  I know, I know… the longer the better and healthier… I get that but at a certain point, after so much discomfort… well, I just wanted to have her in my arms.  Of course I tried to savor it… swollen cankles, insane heartburn and sleepless nights and all because I knew she would be my last pregnancy.  The feeling of her turning in my belly and kicking me is something that I will never again experience so I tried to really enjoy every last minute… but it was rough.

So when I was at my 39 week appointment and the doc asked if I wanted to get things going… I jumped at the chance.  I came in 2 cm dialeted and left 3 :)

Of course I didn’t really know when labor would start but when 3:30pm came and passed I started to get discouraged.  That was the time I started active labor with Lucas… and went grocery shopping because apparently I am crazy.

I went on with the rest of the day with my family on high alert.

Around 8 I started feeling the beginnings of labor but just a twinge here and there. I really second guessed myself… which I found odd considering I’ve done this twice before. I talked to my mother-in-law to let her know we might require her babysitting services fairly soon.

At some point the contractions became clearly contractions and I was certain I was in labor. I was talking again to my MIL (have I mentioned how much I love her?) and I had to pause several times to get through a contraction. The only thing stopping us now was consistency… they were so sporadic… 16 minutes… then 5… then 20… nothing regular. To which the on call doc said to ‘monitor and call him when they were consistently 5 min apart’. Right about then was when my MIL came over to sleep on our couch… just in case we had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. Better to sleep a full night on our couch then wake up in the middle of the night and have to hightail it over here.

So we all sat around chatting while I bemoaned how long this was taking. I complained about the irregularity and the pain with no progress. I just wanted to get started so we could get this show on the road. My MIL suggested, several times, to get up and walk around but I was too lazy/tired.

Around 11 we decided to attempt sleep. We still had 2 boys to take care of the next day and whoever that responsibility fell to should be well rested. I stood up to make my way upstairs… I didn’t really think I would sleep but at least I could play on my phone while Adam and Sandy did :) I took about 5 steps and I doubled over with an intense contraction… and then 4 minutes later I doubled over again. I stood there and again… 3 minutes later had a contraction. Zoinks.

I went to the bathroom and without getting too graphic, it was clear we needed to leave… now.

I stepped outside the bathroom and told Adam ‘now is when we kick it into high gear’. He grabbed our bags and we were out the door in less than 5 minutes. I didn’t even call the doc… I saved that for the ride to the hospital.

We were in the car driving at 11:45… for some reason the time sticks in my mind.  We get to the hospital and start the check in process… all the while in increasingly intense labor. I was kicking myself for not filling out the pre-registration forms… procrastination at its finest.  We get through there and head back to labor and delivery.

I am still doing ok at this point… contractions are intense and they shut me up but otherwise I am being my normal half snarky half sweet self.  We get to our room around a little after midnight.  I get hooked up just to check on the baby… she finally checks to see how dilated I am… 7 cm!  I was actually somewhat impressed.  I was really getting uncomfortable so the nurse unhooked me and let me take a warm shower… best idea EVER!  It didn’t take away the pain… it wasn’t a magical warm shower… but it did help dull the pain.  I stayed in there until I could no longer stand through a contraction.

I laid down and the nurse checked… 9.5cm.  I told the nurse that she needed to break my water… I was ready to push and baby girl wasn’t waiting anymore.  She said she had to wait for the doctor… she couldn’t be the one to break my water.   I politely told her to get him in here now… she called the front desk and requested he move faster.

Doctor walks in and I tell him to break my water now.  I remember this with Lucas… they waited and waited to break my water because the midwife was delivering 2 other babies at the same time and wasn’t there… and I was in excruciating pain the entire time.  Pain that should have been used to be pushing… not waiting.   I wasn’t about to wait any more.

He sits down and breaks my water at 2:18am.  I gave one half push and could feel her move down a bit.  Then I pushed with all my strength and let out what can only be described as an amazon like scream.  And that was it… one push and she was here.  Born at 2:20am. The first thing I said after she was born was “Oh my God, I love you so much”.

After a few minutes when things died down, Adam texted his mom ‘here’.  For a split second she wondered why had it taken us so long to get to the hospital… then it hit her. Biscuit was here already!

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Breast vs. Bottle

Best laid plans…

I knew without a doubt that I would breastfeed Celia.  Of course I would.  I fought like heck to breastfeed Chase and I had trials to endure when I breastfed Lucas… maybe, just maybe Celia would be easier?  After all the labors got progressively easier, maybe breastfeeding would too.

Best laid plans…

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly at the hospital.  I thought she was getting a good latch so when the lactation consultant came at an inopportune time, I smiled and said “Thanks but I got this.”  At home I was definitely sore but she seemed to be latching ok and she seemed content.  She was very sleepy so feedings usually went pretty quick which was fine with me because it was starting to feel more and more like sandpaper attacking me.  All the sudden a week had passed and pain was intensifying and it was all over… not just the concentrated pain like you expect but an overall radiating to my back pain.  The real kicker… and the real panic in my heart was that Celia was losing weight. She was born at 7 lbs and 9 oz (biggest baby!) and she had steadily gone down to 6 lbs 14 oz… then 6 lbs 13 oz… to 6 lbs and 11 oz.

I had gone to see lactation consultants where I had a complete mental breakdown… my friend Katy can attest to this since she witnessed it.  It was a combination of the boys being disobedient lunatics, her weight being so far down, the fact that she was 4 days away from 2 weeks old and no where near her birth weight, the idea that my milk was decreasing because she wasn’t eating all that I had or eating often enough and the sheer pain I felt every time I went to feed her.  It all came crashing down… and hard.  So much so that the LC’s asked Katy to let me know about a postpartum depression support group. And she wasn’t off base… I was slipping dangerously close to depression.  I cried when I couldn’t latch her properly and I cried all through the night when I had to nurse her.  I was miserable and my whole family was suffering.

The bottom really fell out when I weighed Celia Sunday afternoon (on a legit baby scale) and she was down to 6 lbs 11 oz. She was just not gaining any weight.  Adam and I exchanged a look of disbelief and I cried.  I knew something needed to change.

So when Adam happened to be picking up a couple things at the grocery store, I texted him and asked him to get a can of formula.  I cried as he bought it.  I cried when we made the first bottle.  I cried as I put it to her lips and I cried as she sucked it down like she hadn’t eaten that well in… well, all her life.  Hell, I am crying now.

It hurt like hell to admit breastfeeding defeat but it was necessary.

  • She wasn’t gaining weight or eating enough to satisfy her.
  • She wasn’t latching properly, no matter how hard I tried.  And I tried… latch, wrong, pry her off, relatch, wrong, pry her off, and so on and so on.
  • I cried at every nursing.  I actually feared my daughter.
  • My milk supply was already down because of all the issues.
  • I was not a happy mom… to Celia or to the boys.
  • I was very close to falling into a depression.
  • I was not enjoying my last baby.

The first couple bottles hit me pretty hard… I definitely spilled tears over them but it got easier with each one.  It was nice to see her eat and look content and peaceful.  And I have to admit… it was nice to see her attack a different nipple. Just being real here.

I received a lot of support and people did suggest pumping and giving her breastmilk that way but after a lot of thought, I just couldn’t see how that was feasible.  Pumping takes a lot of time in and of itself… especially when all I have is a rinky dink handpump.  It was perfect when all I needed was a little here and there but when it comes to getting milk on a regular basis… I would have needed something a lot more powerful and I don’t have $200+ to shell out of that kind of pump.  Nor do I have the time to bottle feed and then after that, worry about pumping… I still have 2 other very active kids that need to be taken care of as well… not to mention any sleep that I may want to get in between Celia’s feedings.

The decision didn’t come easy for me… I debated heavily but in the interest of Celia’s health and my sanity… we made the switch.  I kept telling myself my mom would smack me upside the head and remind me that I was bottle fed and so far, I’m doing pretty well.

There are pros to bottle feeding…

  • I feel a sense of freedom.  We can leave the house… something I didn’t want to do while I was still cringing and wincing in pain every time she ate.
  • Adam and the boys enjoy feeding Celia… a bonding experience they would have otherwise missed out on.

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  • And the most important factor… Celia is gaining weight… the scale reads 7 lbs 5.5 oz (as of October 4th!)

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And when it comes down to it… this beautiful face being happy and content is worth more than my best laid plans.

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Milestones this Summer

A few key moments in our summer…

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Chase got his first big boy bike and wasted no time breaking it in.

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Adam discovered a love of wood working… especially with found pallets.   Sadly the bookshelves are still unfinished… life and kids tend to stimey efforts to finish them.  One day it will happen!  Then he’s moving on to bunk beds!  YAY!

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Chase has become much more comfortable in the water… taking risks he never would have before.   Note to self – get him to swim lessons ASAP.  I’ve been so lax on that :(

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Lucas is officially potty trained!  Hallelujah and hooray!  I attempted the dreaded potty training back in the early part of the year but he would have no part of it.  Instead of dragging it out and making life miserable for both of us, I put away the underwear and went back to diapers.  Then, out of nowhere and months later, he showed interest and we tried again.  It was almost immediate success.  He’s proving to be an ‘on my own terms’ kind of kid.

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Lucas transitioned to the toddler bed… and into Chase’s room… all in one night!  Chase was MORE than thrilled to have his little brother in his room (and still is… most of the time) and, of course, Lucas loves being in a room with his big brother.  They go to bed at the same time and for the most part, they do really well.  Lucas can be a little loud and frustrating to a tired Chase but we’ve had many conversations with Lucas about respecting your brother and many conversations with Chase about overlooking the small stuff.  It seems to be working :)

One of the best things about mornings is when Lucas finally realizes… “Da WIGHT is green!” – he comes running out of the room and into our room to let us know.  Love love love that clock!

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I sprained my ankle… at 7 months pregnant.  I’m an overachiever like that.   Thankfully I was only out of commission for a day or so… hobbling around pregnant with 2 young kids underfoot is a recipe for more disaster!

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Lucas broke his collarbone.  Apparently a typical break among children… who knew?  For about 2 solid weeks he was visibly injured and acted so… after that, he was back to his heart attack inducing self.

The story is as follows… we were home cleaning for dinner guests that night.  Chase and I were in the master bedroom and Lucas was coming up the stairs to join us.  I heard a scuffling and then a thump.  Then I heard the scream that tells you that something is seriously wrong.  Looking down from the top of the steps I saw him belly down on the hardwood.  The most jarring thing was that he wasn’t moving around or getting up.  Then I screamed and ran down the steps.  Initially Adam and I were concerned about a head injury… a broken bone really wasn’t on our radar until much later.  Adam convinced me that I needed to get him to the ER ASAP so off we went.  During this time Chase was the biggest trooper of all time.  He grabbed whatever I needed and followed close behind wherever I went.  He also comforted Lucas as much as he could. He’s a pretty amazing big brother.  Thankfully the ER staff wasted no time getting Lucas back and checked out… a possible head injury will move you to the head of the line.  They ran a cat-scan and an x-ray (neither of which I could be there for since I was 8 months pregnant <insert sad face>).  Thankfully everything head injury related came back perfectly normal… but the x-ray showed a green stick fracture on the right side of his collarbone.  They sent us home with a sling, a wrap and information… as well as a referral for a follow-up orthopedic appointment.  We still have a little more follow-up to go but he’s healing well… he’s still supposed to be taking it easy but you try to convince a 2 year old that!

All in all it’s been a great summer… here’s to a beautiful fall and the addition of our little girl.

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Wow

I never mean to go this long without posting… and I always have things that I could post about… time just seems to slip away.  I blinked and it went from May to September.  Of course there is a good chance that I slept most of that time away… man has this pregnancy kicked my rear.

I’m not sure if it is the 2 very active boys I still have to care for or if it’s because she’s a girl or if it’s simply because it’s my 3rd pregnancy and my body is just downright tired but holy sleep deprivation.  Most likely it’s a perfect storm of all 3 things.  Which typically culminate around 1pm where I lay on the couch and promptly pass out.  Poor Chase… I beg and plead for him to sit and watch shows so that mommy can close her eyes while Lucas is down.  Usually he is very accommodating… he really is the best kid ever.  Still, I feel bad because I could be spending all this quality time with him… something he craves above all other love languages… but my body just will not allow it.  I know being a mother is tiring but this is unparalleled exhaustion.   Add in the insane acid reflux, backaches, clogged ears, puffy and swollen feet… well, it’s just a lot to take.  I don’t want to wish my time with biscuit away… this is the last time I will ever get to feel a baby rolling, kicking and moving inside me and it really is the most amazing feeling but I know that when she decides to make her appearance, I will be more than happy to see her!

The whole family… and my extended family… and all my friends are so excited to meet this little one.  Seriously, she is one LOVED little girl already.  Not only did we have a really fun gender reveal party where Leah went above and beyond in making the box to reveal the pink balloons but I was thrown 2 baby showers!  Christine put together a great party for all my friends in the Baltimore/Annapolis area and Bekah and my MIL managed to throw a surprise baby shower, in my own home, with my Hagerstown friends… still not sure how she managed that one but I think Adam helped :)   I’ve felt very blessed and fortunate through this entire pregnancy.

The countdown is on… her due date is 17 days away and I was 14 days early with Chase and 7 days early with Lucas.  I can’t wait to meet this little girl.  She’s already captured so many hearts and she hasn’t even taken her first breath yet.

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portrait courtesy of Joy Michelle Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A proud moment

Let me start by saying we have been going through a rough patch with Chase.  There has been attitude and drama that I thought I wouldn’t see until the teen years.  It’s been ugly… and sadly most of that is my reaction considering he is 5 and I am *ahem* older.

As we all are, I’m a work in progress and I realize this.  I forgive myself (and ask for forgiveness) and try to start each day brand new.

All that being said, there are those moments that stand out as ones you will cherish as long as you live.  This past Tuesday had a couple of those moments.  A friend and I decided to check out a homeschoolers day at a local recreation park (Antietam Recreation for anyone who is interested!)  We thought it would be interesting… maybe we could sit in on a seminar they were having… maybe we could meet some other homeschooling mamas… you know, get involved.  Yeah… we had the youngest kids there… and by youngest I mean years younger than most of the other kids.  Whoops… oh well.  We quickly ruled out any seminars and just decided to explore.

First came the horse rides.  Chase wavered from yes, then a hearty no when he got up close to the horse, then decided to try it… spurred on by his friend E’s insistant “just do it Chase!” I was so proud that he did it… he conquered a fear and rode the horse.  Moment #1.

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Then we explored some more.  Chase and E went on the swinging carousel.

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I snuggled with my baby (while he’s still THE baby!)

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We all took a wagon ride.

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The kids bounced while the mamas sat back and marveled at the energy they possess.

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Then we came to a ropes course and Chase watched several kids hold on and glide easily over a landing pad.  He asked if he could try.  I of course said sure and he gave it his all…

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and promptly fell to the ground… not hard, the counselor and I were there to ‘catch’ him.  Regardless of actual injury, his pride was hurt and he started to cry.  I pulled him aside and tried my best to explain that trying and failing is better than not trying at all… and rarely are we great, or even good, at something the first time we try.  He eventually calmed down and moved on.  He did bring it up a couple times and I just repeated myself over and over again… hoping that this lesson would sink in.  Fingers crossed.

Chase then caught wind of the canoes on the water and from then on out couldn’t think of doing anything else.  We had to go boating… to which his little brother was in complete agreement.

I was not in agreement.

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However, when in Rome…

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I think my face says it all.  But I did it.  I got in the canoe and I paddled around… eventually figuring out how to stop going in circles and actually propel us forward.  As I pulled one side of the oar out to row on the other side, huge drops of water would fall on my lap, thereby soaking my jeans.  I thought to myself “ugh… I’m getting all wet.”   Then I remembered I had voluntarily put myself on a boat ON THE WATER… duh… getting wet should have been something I was expecting.  I smiled at my own silliness.

The boys did great.  Chase enjoyed paddling, although anytime he was paddling I was struggling to counteract the circling motion ;)  Lucas was completely silent and still the entire time… I think he was just in awe of actually being on a boat.

Once we were done with the canoe we walked by the tightrope over the river again.  Now Chase had attempted this before but with my friend and her daughter while I stayed back with the littles.  He got a few steps out and came back… it was too scary.

He wanted to try again so this time I went with him.  I stepped out first and walked backwards coaxing his steps.  He cautiously stepped forward, little by little… occasionally telling me that I was too far ahead of him and to wait.  The whole time he was telling me he didn’t think he could do it… until I pointed out that he was already half way across.

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He was scared… the entire way across, with every step, he was fearful.  I heard it in his voice and I saw it in his face.  But I also watched him take action and not let that fear stop him.  It was amazing.  I am tearing up thinking about how proud I was that he was standing up to a fear.  I kept telling him fear is inevitable, still doing what scares us… that’s being brave.

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Victorious!  Love this kid.

And this is the moment I will remember tomorrow and for the rest of my life.

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Gloss Over

Yep… gonna glass over the fact that I have been MIA blogwise for months.

Consider yourself glossed.

What a wonderful Mother’s Day this has been.  I could probably say that every year but it’s always true.

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We finally found a church that we feel very good about attending.  The pastor is engaging, very likable and very intelligent.  The music is upbeat and makes me happy to be worshipping.  The kids program is out of this world awesome.  It’s a homerun.  All that to say, we decided to look into having Lucas dedicated.  We filled out the application last week, sat in on the class as soon as we turned in the application and this week stood before the congregation and agreed to raise him to the best of our ability in Christ’s image.  It was wonderful.  It felt like a completion of parenting that had been left undone.

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Adam surprised me on the way home with a stop to Lowes where we picked up a backyard swing that I have been wanting.  He actually picked a different one than I originally thought but true to form, he was right… this one is WAY better.  It converts from a sitting position to a laying down position which gives it a real hammock swing feel.  Once it was put together, Adam, Chase, Lucas and I spent about an hour swinging on it.  Chase cuddled up next to one of us and Lucas yelling “Dis is SO much fun!”  I took a couple pictures because I never want to forget that hour.

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It was a really awesome day.

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I wasn’t sure I would feel like that because this day always reminds me of my mom and my loss.  I thought I would have a harder time but I didn’t… something I think Pastor Mike helped me with.  A few weeks ago he spoke about death and our perceptions.  He questioned why people say “Oh, how sad, (s)he never got to do XYZ”… in my case “Oh how sad, she (my mom) never got to see her grandchildren”.  He instead encouraged us to see that as a Christian, death is the beginning of something wonderful.  A ‘life’ that here on earth, even in our wildest imaginations, we can’t conceive of.  That ‘XYZ’ can’t compare to the absolute joy and fulfillment that they are now experiencing   He went on to say, sure… be sad for those of us who are left behind… be sad that we have to live without them for a time but don’t be sad for those who are in heaven.

I am sure I am not doing the sermon justice… Pastor Mike is much more eloquent and poignant on stage then I am on my laptop but I hope I am getting my point across.  I’m not sad for her.  I miss her terribly but I don’t want my mom here on earth broken.  I want her healed, whole and basking in God’s presence in heaven.  And I am ok with that.  I have an amazing life filled with sorrows and joys and I thank God for every bit of it.  Best of all, I have the knowledge that I will see her again… this life is only temporary.

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Advent Day 2

Today it was “play a family game of hide and seek”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the first time I hid and I surprised Chase with the camera… very happy with the result ;~)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucas was really getting into this activity… he swung this door open at least 6 or 7 times… each time we all cheered and laughed ;~)

 

 

 

 

 

GAH!  I’ve been found by my baby!

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Advent Day 1

The tradition is back!  We started yesterday and our activity was “dress up in Christmas stuff and take fun pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucas getting into the swing of things…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brothers being silly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sweet Christmas boy.

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Probably for the best

Lucas woke up at 5:45… for the 8th day in a row.  Well to be perfectly honest some of those days he woke up at 5:15.  I never quite know what to do… get him up and go downstairs?  There is only so long he will accept that daddy and chase are still night night before he goes and screams up the stairs.  Or I could go in and rock him with the ridiculous hope that he will fall back asleep and I might get to close my eyes for 5 minutes before the day actually begins.  Or I could ignore him.  Well ignore isn’t the right word… more like listen to his wailing and fluctuate between feeling like I am doing the right thing and feeling like I am the worst mother ever.

The best thing about all 3 scenarios is that the husband manages to sleep through everything.  How is that and how can I acquire that gene?

Lucas also refused to nap.  And when I say refused I mean vocally and at a high volume.  This is the 3rd day in a row for the nap refusal.

This is all from a kid that a week ago I would have bragged ad nauseum about.  A few books, a quick song and cuddle, turn on the aquarium, situate tractor books and baby, get covered by a blanket and night night mama it was.  He was like clockwork.

Which is ironic because clockwork ruined him.  Stupid daylight savings time.  Extra hour my arse… I should calculate all the lost hours and throw that back in their face.  Anyone know who ‘they’ is?

And Chase has been awesome.  When he wants to be, he is the most awesome dynamic kid I know.  But when you make spinach lasagna for dinner, well… he crumples into a heap on the floor fake crying and moaning.  Thanks buddy, my hard work feels justified now.  That’s just one small example… the attitude, the talking back, the eye rolling.  Dear Lord I am not ready for the teenage years.

Oh… did I forget to mention the coffee grinder broke this morning.  Not after it ground the coffee which would have been MUCH more convenient… nope, before the grinding.  I doubt whole beans in a french press would have done the trick.  And don’t think I didn’t think about a baggie, some beans and a rolling pin… it crossed my mind.  So no coffee until I could get out of the house for the morning.  Normally I can’t work the microwave before coffee so you can imagine operating a car.

The day was rough… oddly productive but rough.  Constant yawning, trying everything I can not to snap at the kids just because I am tired (because of them mind you but that’s neither here nor there…), trying so very hard to focus my thought enough to have an intelligible conversation with my 5 year old.  Who… if we were in a competition, would have won today… hands down.

I even almost told him that today was the day that Nonna went to heaven.  I came so close but I just couldn’t have the conversation… not today.

Maybe I was supposed to be in this insane fog.  Maybe it helped deaden the pain a little.  If that’s the case then thank God because the pain I am in is intolerable… without the fog I might actually just lay down and die.

You would think after 8 years that pain lessens but it really doesn’t.  I don’t cry as often but when I do, it’s every bit as intense as watching her take her last breath.  I miss her terribly.

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34

I’m the age my mom was when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

how in the world did she deal with that? I was 7, her mother had just died and she was going through or had just gotten divorced. talk about a full plate.

what did she think when she looked at me? how did she survive and more than that, live through it? what did she do when she left the doctors office? who was her first phone call? did she cry?

looking at my wonderful husband and the 2 sweetest boys ever… the thought of leaving them…

I can’t finish the thought.

I’m 34. what if I have it? a sharp pain in my arm. a powerful headache. an unexplained stomach pain. what if I’m walking around with a ticking time bomb in me?

it may seem like I’m blowing it out of proportion but I know about metastatic cancer. I watched it hurt and ultimately kill my mom. her legs hurt, her arm hurt, it was on her skull and in the end, in her lungs. the lungs are what finally killed her. but it was all breast cancer. it was those cells spread throughout her body hurting her.

it’s like mom who is nurse and has a sick kid, they know too much.

I didn’t have these thoughts until this year. 34 is the magic number.

I talked with my doc… you know, that doc. he spoke like a friend… a friend with amazing empathy and knowledge. a friend free of judgement and full of time. not sure how he does that but he does.

I’m not crazy, he said so. it’s normal and I won’t feel like this forever… I might not even feel like this next year.

I’ll keep handing it over to God because I can’t do this on my own. every arm pain, every headache, every unexplained stomach pain… I’ll turn the fear and the anxiety over to God.

I won’t let it control me.

but I am looking forward to 35.

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