Thursday, December 24, 2009

He chose to

I have such mixed emotions about today. It’s Christmas Eve but my thoughts today have been on where my life was two years ago. I had flown back to the Great Plains to be with my family for Christmas. I had a ritual of traveling back to see them alternating every-other year. In 2007 I flew home with a lead weight the size of Texas in my heart. A little more then a month earlier I had undergone a D&C surgery after nine days of living through hell on Earth. The doctor’s words will haunt me forever, “I’m a little concerned, I’m not seeing a heartbeat.”

My husband and I had been living the bliss that comes along with a first pregnancy. What I wouldn’t give to get that ignorant bliss back. Sure, I had read about miscarriage. I knew the statistics. In my pregnancy journal I had even written a little note in the sidelines “12 weeks next week! Less then 20% chance of miscarriage!” But even though I was educated on all the facts I still thought that miscarriage only happened to other people. The elusive “statistics people”. Surely they weren’t happy healthy newlywed 23 year-olds. I imagined the statistics people to be old, deformed, crumbling.

So when the doctor told me that she didn’t see the heartbeat I went into a state of total disbelief. We had been in for an ultrasound a few weeks earlier and had seen that tiny little firefly flicker on the screen. We had been told “Congratulations!” and given a print out of our beautiful little bean. And now it was gone? How could that be? I didn’t feel any different. When did it happen? Was I doing some mundane task like brushing my teeth when her little heart stopped beating? To make matters worse I was not able to have the surgery to remove her from my body for nine days. The doctors thought that maybe I had an infection and it wouldn’t be safe to operate on me. So for nine days I lived with the reality that there was a tiny one inch dream come true dead within my own body.

So I flew home for Christmas that year with an encyclopedia of questions weighing on my mind. My family tried their best but they really didn’t know what to say to me. So they generally said nothing which made me feel even worse. I went with my Mom to midnight mass at the church that I had grown up in. A few rows ahead a tiny little baby boy with flirty eyes peeked over his mother’s shoulder. I tried several times to ignore the baby and just listen to the readings. But the readings themselves were so full of baby talk it was almost worse. Why was Mary so blessed? Why was God so selfish that he took my baby away from me? Why was God punishing me? Later in the mass my Mom made the mistake of pointing out the baby to me. That was exactly the opposite of anything that I needed at that moment. Her asking “Oh isn’t he cute?!” put me in the awkward position of having to come up with an answer. “Ummmm…. (mumbling) yeah.”

Then the hot tears came tumbling down my face. I tried as hard as I could to blink them back until they burned my skin and I had to let them spill over onto my black winter jacket. Once they started I couldn’t stop. I turned and tried to hide myself as I walked through the crowd as the Christmas incense still hung around me in the air. I felt like all the faces in the pews were people I had known from my childhood. I wondered what they would think of me. I spent the rest of the mass in the bathroom trying to calm myself down. At that time I didn’t realize where I would be today in these last days of 2009. It took another miscarriage, months of therapy and an amazing support group to get me here.

And now today when I go to mass I’m that mom with the peeking boy over her shoulder. “Blessed” doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel. It’s because of my miscarriages that I truly understand how fragile life is and how truly blessed I really am. Sometimes I wonder if women with the raw bitter emotions of a recent miscarriage will see me and my smiling baby and think that he was handed to me on a silver platter from God himself. I wonder if they figure that I’m a young mom so I must have had an easy pregnancy. Sometimes it just amazes me how life can turn around so quickly. Suddenly I’m on the other side…feeling almost guilty, unworthy of the little angel who is asleep beside me. So this Christmas I am on my knees thanking God with all my heart that he chose me to bring this beautiful life into the world. I now understand that he didn’t have to. He chose to. Thank you God and Happy Birthday Jesus.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow Day

Growing up my favorite book was about a snow day where the kids realize that Daddy is stuck at home with them. Maybe it was my secret dream. My mom ran an in-home daycare so we were with her a lot. It was always so exciting when Dad got home from work. Today I'm enjoying the frozen tundra lifestyle with my very own snow day.

So far I've enjoyed:
  • chips and salsa in bed for breakfast
  • black & white Netflix movies
  • sleeping in until 10
  • basking in the warmth of the space heater
  • online shopping
  • Skype
  • coffee
  • baby smiles with the pacifier still intact
Ahh, I had almost forgotten how much I love snow days. I think California could really benefit from a few days where everyone had to slow down, stay home, and snuggle up.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Little feet

I love the way his little feet stick out of the blanket when he nurses. They look disconnected from the rest of his body as if they are growing out of the blanket. They remind me of the smashed witch in The Wizard of Oz. I like to imagine where these little feet will travel someday. These same little feet will lead him someday when he wanders into his first day of school, his first job, his first heartbreak. Maybe someday they will grow into huge monster sized feet. But right now for this little moment in time they are just my little feet to enjoy and munch on and daydream about.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Muumuu Christmas to You

When we moved my husband didn't have a job for about three weeks. So this year for Christmas we are pinching pennies like much of the world. So for the lovely ladies in my family I found these gems at my local thrift store. They are muumuus*, or "house dresses" if you prefer. I will force the women in my life to wear these on Christmas morning while we open gifts. I've always had a love for old clothes. If I only had the guts to go traipsing around town in one of these. Because, seriously? How comfortable would that be? And it has pockets. And if I've learned anything lately it's that pockets are my best friend. There is always something that needs to be deposited into that lint filled void. But if I did wear one to the grocery store I'd also have to have curlers in my hair. And my hair is much too short for that.

*Why are they called that? Am I even spelling it right? "Muu" (moo) because they make you look like a fat cow? Why do the most comfortable things in life have to be so unflattering?


One thing that I didn't have to leave in California was my itunes. Thank you dear baby Jesus. Because music is helping my sad heart heal. One of my favorite nights so far in Midwest Ville was seeing one of my new favorite bands. It's a new/old band because it is made up of many of my old favorite singers. But now they are singing together. Yay. This song became my motto when I was crying and driving down the 405. I was on my way to Ikea *tear* for the last time before we moved. The lyrics:

"I got a lot

Lord, I got a lotta losin’

Friends and heroes

Packin’ up and movin’

And one of these days

I’ll be left with nothin’

But memories and no time

So I better get

Yeah, I better get accustomed

‘Cause, I got a lot

Lord, I got a lotta losin’


It was like Conor Oberst himself wrote that song for me personally as I was driving down the 405.

Here I am.

My older brother and I have always had a very special connection. He is mentally retarded and is addicted to music. My role in life became being the in-home entertainment superstar that he dreamed of. I know that I would have become a dancer regardless of if he was in my life or not. Dancing just runs in my blood. But I don't think I would sing so much. Constantly. All the time. If it wouldn't have been for his love of hearing me. Much to the rest of my family's dismay I loved always having the willing audience that my brother gave me.

So when my Mom called me in California 4 months ago and said, "We need someone to take care of Ben. His day program isn't working out. He needs to be at home with someone who cares about him." What was I supposed to do? I had a newborn baby and I lived 2,000 miles away. It became an issue that my husband and I had to sit down and write a pros and cons list about. The cons of staying in California boiled down to very selfish things. Things like "...well if we move I can't shop at H&M or American Apparel anymore....I can't hop on the freeway and get lost in the vintage stores on Melrose anymore... Our son can never know what it's like to have an annual pass to Disneyland if we move... I can't go to the beach on the weekends and lay around with the yellow sun giving me skin cancer if we move..." We did leave behind my husband's mom and sister who we are close to. But what type of mother would I be if I chose Disneyland over taking care of my own brother. So we packed up and moved back to the Midwest.

Moments like this make me 100% sure that it is the right decision to be here. Lex will grow up close with his cousin. Even if she does attempt to poke his eyes out at any given chance.
Then I see this photo from my wedding sitting on the kitchen counter and I just want to cry. Pack. Move back. I want to be there. I want to be with all of my loving friends sitting on the front porch in January drinking Malibu and pineapple.

Being here is really hard sometimes and my old life in California becomes almost a figment of my imagination. So in moments like this morning when my brother is on the floor yelling unintelligible sounds at me, mad that he can’t communicate to me what he wants, biting his hand, trying to bite me, halfway dressed- I just have to remember that it is better for us that we are here. I made a choice to take the high road even if I'd rather be driving to Melrose. I'm finding that I'm really struggling with the high road. I'm lusting after my sunny beaches and college friends. But I'm here in negative temperatures taking care of my brother and trying to find happiness.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Maybe it was my Dad who put the wonderings in my head. He was always talking about those ol' pioneers. Driving through the Great Plains in the middle of the winter he would look out the window of our old brown minivan and say, "How do you think those pioneers made it across this state in the bitter cold like this? How did they drive their covered wagons over the rolling hills with snow drifts six feet tall? How did they find enough food and water?" His questions would make me ponder a bit and then I would just come to the conclusion that I sure as heck was glad I wasn't a pioneer.

But now as a new mother I often find my thoughts drifting as I stare across the bedroom while nursing my baby for the sixty-fifth time that day. How did the pioneer mothers make it through the great rolling plains without a pacifier? Did they just sick their finger in the baby's mouth? My little man likes that too- but he finds a way to clamp down right on my cuticle in the exact spot that makes it excruciating.  Were they forced to use a stick off of the ground? Maybe they widdled it until it was smooth... And after I think about it too much I just give up and once again come to the conclusion that I'm sure as heck glad that I'm not a pioneer.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hello world

So I decided to jump on the bandwagon (again) and start a blog. Why? Because I have a wee little baby man and I want to talk about him all day long. And now I can.