Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, November 24, 2008

Feeling Sick

"Are you gonna puke?" Angelina asks me when I tell her I'm sick. "No, sweetie, I'm a different kind of sick." A couple seconds of silence. Wheels turning as she tries to process what that means. Process fails. "Well, can I see it when it comes out?" (This is her asking me about whether she can see the puke when it comes out.) My daughter is obsessed with bodily functions these days. But I try to explain to her again that I'm not that kind of sick. Rewind to about a half hour ago and I'm screaming in her face about I don't even know what. All I can remember is that all of the sudden, I was angry and yelling at her. Then I was fine. Then it registered in my exhausted brain that I scared her. Hugs, apologies... Then the guilt.. The kind that makes your stomach churn.

So I'm trying to figure out how to explain to her what just happened. It's a tough feat when I'm not even sure I really know. So I tell her I'm sick, that we're trying to figure out what's wrong and I don't mean to yell at her like that or scare her in any way. The thing is, a 4 year old doesn't process the reality of such a situation like an adult would and I have no business expecting that she'd understand. So what am I supposed to do? She does understand 'sick' so that's my first attempt at trying to explain. I tell her I love her and that I'll try very very hard to not yell or scare her anymore. She seems to be OK with this and walks away, but not before asking one more time if I'm going to puke. Then her attention is stolen by a new Barbie movie she wants to watch.

That type of mood swing for me has been happening more regularly lately. I feel very tired afterward. I want to just crawl in bed and fall into a deep sleep. I have three babies to take care of so I can't. But I don't know how much I can handle while trying to figure all this out. My seizures, if that's what is truly wrong with me, have slowly been changing me into a completely different person. I don't like it. My husband doesn't like it. And I'm pretty sure that when they have to experience it, my kids don't like it, either. A lot of the time, the seizures manifest in little ways.. I say little but I really mean ways that are just unnoticed by others. Dizziness, "pop rocks" in the back of my head, funny sounds and smells..sometimes I think I see things that aren't there.

But some of the time, they manifest in an outburst of rage. This is very scary. Who knows what sets me off but all of the sudden, I am screaming and saying horrible things and I can't even really see anything. And then just like that, as fast as it came on, it's over. What's left is usually a confused and tired Mommy and very scared little babies.

I want to be able to be a normal functioning Mommy for my children. I don't want to scare them or yell at them and I don't want to end up hurting them. They deserve so much better than what I am right now. It's bad enough to have to worry about changing the imperfections of my personality that already halt my ability to be who they need me to be for them... Now on top of that, I have to deal with this issue, something I have no control over accept to keep trying meds until I find one that actually works with out any intolerable side-effects. In the meantime, I am stuck being a slave to these seizures and if it's not them, then it's the side-effects of the medication.

The first medication I was on made me break out in this horrible full-body rash. I stopped taking that and waited for the rash to go away. Now I'm on a different one which I started taking last Tuesday. This past Saturday, though, I woke up feeling horrible, like I hadn't slept in days and I felt very strange and then I was screaming at my husband, saying horrible things to him but it was worse than any other time. It reminded me of how I used to be when I was on Topomax many years ago... To sum it up in one word, CRAZY. All the time. OK, so that's 4 words.. But that's how it was. I figured that maybe it wasn't the seizures but the medication that was affecting me that morning. So I stopped taking it.

This morning I called my neurologist and had to leave a message, as is the normal routine. Don't know when she'll be getting back to me. I also don't know what I'm supposed to do if this medication doesn't work either. Try yet another one, I guess.. I'm already so done with this entire process. The whole thing is making me so sick that maybe I really will puke after all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Add "Surgeon" to The List

I've been many things as a mom. I have been a nurse and I've been a cook, a chauffeur and a bather. These things are givens. But I have also been a designated sock finder, a personal groomer, a punching bag, an alarm clock, a coloring companion, and on those rare occasions when there's just nothing else that will work, I've been a comfy pillow at nap time. I think most of these things are probably in the job description of every mother. And there are many other aspects yet undefined. Last night, I got to add another title to the long list. I became a surgeon.

So last night was my first surgery. I have to say, I was a little nervous. I had never performed surgery before on anything... Ok, actually, yes I have. But a broken purse strap isn't nearly as important as something that belongs to my children. I knew so much was riding on the outcome and I knew I had to make sure my patient made it through. I don't think that there's ever been a crisis that big in the house before but last night, it all came down to Mommy being needed for yet another task that I'm sure wasn't described in the manual.

Oh wait...I never got a manual.
It all went down like this: Crazy bedtime routine as usual.... We recently moved Aidan into Angelina's room so the baby could get used to her crib (which is in Aidan's room) without being disturbed. Since then, the evenings have dragged on, leaving little room for even a glimmer of a quiet moment for Mommy and Daddy to relax and reconnect. So, I am in the back of the house, busy finishing some stuff on the computer and shutting it down for the night while hubby is in the front of the house checking on the giggling crazy kids for the millionth time. It's about 10 or so and they have yet to go to sleep.

Suddenly, I hear my hubby, Joe, saying "Mommy, come quick, we have a problem..." Joe isn't sounding too panicky or desperate so I don't get that horrible sinking sick feeling in my stomach like something major has gone awry but I do hasten my step as I make it out to the living room. I find my husband standing there with some little piece of cloth and before my sleepy brain registers the words that are coming out of his mouth, I realize what it is. Taggie. He's saying "I went in there and Aidan was on his bed frantically turning his Ishy (Aidan's pet name for his blankie) round and round, searching for the tag. I tried to help him get the right edge but then I realized that Taggie was no longer attached. So I looked on his bed and quickly found it."
Meanwhile I hear Aidan in his room crying "Taaagggieeee...." My heart sinks as I imagine my little boy back there clutching Ishy so tightly as if he thinks his beloved blankie will disappear too and in my mind's eye I see the crocodile tears gushing down his cheeks, soaking the crippled blanket. "Where's your sewing box?" Joe asks as I'm already on my way down the hall. I retrieve the old tin candy box I use as a pathetic excuse for a sewing kit (I'm not Martha Stewart and can do a basic stitch and that's about it), and I make my way into Angelina's room where I confirm the images I had in my mind a few seconds before. Aidan is sprawled out on Angelina's bed, crying and asking where Taggie is while his sister is trying to comfort him and recount to me what had transpired over the past few minutes in the way only a 4 year old can.

I get to work immediately as Joe tries to calm Aidan down by reassuring him that the all-important
Taggie will soon be reattached and Ishy will once again be whole. I am instantly taken back to a few weeks before when we were at my brother's house and my sister in law is discreetly warning me about how "Taggie" will soon be falling off and I should really get it sewn tightly back on as soon as possible. The poor tag has been dangling by a few thin threads ever since. We recently just washed Ishy and as I put it into the wash, I imagined the tag not making it through, being ripped off by the pulse of the washer or maybe even making it into the dryer but not back out. But somehow it did and then I once again forgot about the task of reinforcing its connection to the blanket.

Aidan's eyes start to light up and he's sort of half-crying, half-laughing with glee as he realizes that I am fixing his beloved
Taggie and that Ishy (and he) will survive. He keeps wanting to kiss Taggie and tell it that it will be all better. As I put the last few stitches in and make sure they're as tight and strong as they can be, Aidan's tear-stained face is drying and he's no longer crying those big ploppy tears. He keeps saying "Thank you, Mommy, thank you..." in a small voice saturated with pure gratitude.

I hand the needle back to my "assistant," Joe, to be pushed into the mini beanie baby bull I use as a pin cushion. I am instantly aware that it will get much more use in the years, and maybe even days to come. I give Ishy back to Aidan
, Taggie completely intact, telling him that Taggie needs to rest because he's tired from his ordeal. Aidan wants to sleep in Angel's bed so they snuggle up and Aidan lovingly strokes his blanket, telling Taggie "night night" as he kisses it over and over. We turn the light off and start to head back out to the living room. "I love you Mommy, thank you..." Aidan whispers through the dark.

A crisis just narrowly averted.

And, I'm happy to report that the patient made it through the night and is resting comfortably this morning, clutched in the tiny hands of a happy sleeping boy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our President-Elect

Ok, so I lied...I have one more thing to say now that the elections are over and we have a new President soon to be in office...

I'm trying to approach the subject gingerly, with out stepping on any one's toes or offending anyone. I imagine, however, that I will most certainly offend at least one person. And that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that does include me. So if anyone who reads this is offended, I am deeply sorry because that it not my intent...

Let me just begin by saying that I am not racist. Before I really understood all that our President-elect stands for, I was so excited at the idea of having an African American as the leader of our great nation. What a change in times, a humongous step for society and an amazing score for the African American culture! It makes my heart leap at the thought that our country was absolutely ready for an end to the larger ignorance that has given birth to such things as racism, which has plagued every corner of the United States for hundreds of years and still sits not-so-quietly in some parts. However, while we may have been ready for it, I think we may have jumped the gun a little with voting for this particular leader.

I'm sure there are tons of things I do not know about Barack Obama. But what I do know, I don't like. In an earlier post just before the election, I stated my feelings about his character. The fact that he has been elected for sure does not change how I feel. I don't even want to go back into that. The issue in this post is what I think about how he got elected. And this is where I may end up offending someone.

Barack Obama was elected by two categories of people: Those who are so obsessed with the idea of women's right to choose and those who are obsessed with the idea of having an African American president. The problem with the first group needs not even be said, really. Especially if you take into consideration the point of view of a Catholic Christian who is COMPLETELY against abortion, no matter what the situation. The problem with the second group is that most of the people in this category were probably African Americans themselves who couldn't see past the promising light of having a fellow African American in the white house. All they saw was this great accomplishment for their race and they didn't think to brief themselves on the topics of debate, the grounds on which he stood, or his character and shady background. Or maybe they did understand the issues and still didn't feel like they could let go of such a huge step for their race. They were willing to sacrifice anything for the prize. This is what I have a problem with.

I just don't get it. How can people be so utterly blind? I realize that everyone wanted change. I realize that he seems to stand for that. But I don't believe that it's necessarily change that will be for the absolute greater good, which is what we should all be striving for. So I'm a little bit angry...or maybe a lot. I feel like society must be in suicide mode. It seems like everything we do is a blatant stab at ending our existence in the most heinous ways. Abortion, suicide, drugs, diseases, homicide...

Like I've stated before, I'm not one for politics. I try to avoid the whole subject at all costs. This year this election has been so historical in so many ways. I couldn't sit it out. I couldn't just turn a blind eye to the subject of our nation's next leader and pretend like it wasn't my duty to be involved. I may not understand how everything works or every single detail about what so and so stands for (my guess is half of what they say is a lie anyway)... But I do know that I did have a moral obligation to pay at least half attention to what was going on and pray about it and decide who to vote for. To tell you the truth, I wasn't too happy about our other main option either but I felt like a vote for the third choice, the Independent party, would be a waste because technically, it would be one less vote counted AGAINST Barack Obama.

However, I have to concede at least some of my support to our next president. My sister posted a little note on her facebook page about how we need to accept him as our president and all of that. I agree. She quoted Matthew 5:43-45. This passage is about loving our enemies and praying for them. It's about them being God's children too. We need to support our president in any way we can, even if we don't like him. It's a hard task for me personally. I am trying very hard to at least utter some words of prayer for him. I try to pray that he will lead our nation justly and all of that but I also pray for his soul. Through all of my feelings, my anger about this whole deal, I will at least do what God asks of me.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not." Proverbs 3:5 NAB

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weaning Bella

When I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, I was told I should go on medication. Before I went back to my neurologist to discuss this and get a prescription, I had already done some research about seizure medications. Pretty much all of them stated that it was not recommended to nurse while taking the drugs. My heart sank. My daughter is just 9 1/2 months old, still nursing almost exclusively and she seems to need me so much more than I ever thought she would at this age. As I started the weaning process, I tried to prepare for the nightmare I knew we both were going to have.

Nursing Bella isn't just about sustenance. It is also about bonding, about comfort, about feeling safe and being allowed the stability the act creates, being allowed all aspects of the nature of a baby and milking them for all they're worth.
(pardon the pun!) How am I to all of the sudden tell her that she isn't allowed to have any of that any longer? She isn't allowed to have Mommy in all the ways she's used to. She has to instead eat more solids, take a bottle of nasty formula and go to sleep at night without the familiarity of a breast in her mouth and warm flesh to hang on to. She's too young to even understand the reasons and all she knows is that Mommy is no longer available. In essence, she is being forced to grow up a little.

I look at my beautiful brown eyed girl as I'm trying to make her take a bottle and she's crying and she's desperately trying to nurse but all she can have is this bottle filled with a thick substance that might be "good enough" for her but isn't perfect like Mommy's milk. And I ache. I ache deep within me for her and for myself. This shouldn't have to be so hard. Can she suck on that bottle and expect the perfect mixture of everything her tiny body needs like what she can get from my breasts when her saliva sends signals to my body? Can she still snuggle into my chest, wrapping her arms around my side and across my belly as she massages my flesh and stares into my eyes? This is a natural action that comes with the territory of breast feeding. It's the way God intended it to be. It does not come with sticking a plastic bottle with a rubber nipple in her mouth when all she really wants is to press herself against me, latch on to my full breasts and once again feel like she's part of me as she fills her hungry belly.

Twelve days into taking my medication, I developed a horrible full-body rash. I was then told to stop taking the medication immediately and wait for the rash to go away. Upon its disappearance, I would be put on a different medication. At first, I was thrilled. At least for a little while, I could nurse my baby again. But I realized that all of the weaning process I had already started would be completely erased if I went back to nursing her whenever she wanted. So I pumped. A few times. But that really wasn't working and she wasn't convinced; she's too smart to be tricked. Despite the familiar flavor of the milk, it just wasn't the same. So I have been continuing the weaning process, despite the fact that I have two perfectly functioning breasts producing perfectly untainted milk.
It's been a tough road. My rash has gone away and I will have to go back to the neurologist to get a new prescription. We still nurse a little at night but soon that will have to cease all together as well. I am starting to wonder...What do babies dream about when they can't fall asleep latched on to the warm nipples of their mommies' breasts? What sort of comfort can my Bella possibly get from cold rubber nipples that secrete some chemically engineered sour smelling liquid that doesn't contain even half of what she needs? And when will she be able to wake up from this nightmare?

Monday, November 3, 2008

All I'm Going To Say About the Election..

So I tried to stay away from this for as long as I could. Maybe I've been in denial or maybe it's just too painful to think about. I think it's human nature to try to avoid those things that are painful or even just uncomfortable in any small way. And I'm not really one for politics, either, but this election is probably one of the biggest history makers of all time. I've been developing a strategy for keeping my feelings at bay-avoiding the news, not thinking about the importance of any aspect of the election. My plan was to just go and vote. Originally my plan was to not vote at all. But it seems like I'm not so in denial after all and my human nature of avoiding painful things can only hold for so long before my human nature of caring kicks in.

The biggest issue for me and for a lot of other Americans is the issue of abortion, or women's rights if you want to stem it out a little. Every time I read or see anything about this issue, I cry. I don't understand how any woman, especially one who has children or is close to a child in some familial way, can think it's OK to murder an unborn baby. Lets not even address the moral aspect of taking human life just yet; but the confusing reality of someone actually believing that it's just an issue of "my body, my choice" is so ludicrous to me. People who say "well, I would never do it but I think people should be able to choose" are just stupid. If you have a reason why you would never do it, that right there should tell you something about the act: IT'S WRONG!

Now we go on to the moral issue. Life begins at conception. It's not about whether you believe this or not. It is the TRUTH. People make up stuff to convince you it's just a mass of tissue but this is just to help you (and themselves) sleep better at night. It's more comforting to convince yourself of something like that than to lay awake and wonder if you really are doing something wrong. The reassurance from society- doctors, the media, and certain presidential candidates helps soothe you into dreamland like a spritz of lavender on your pillow.

I ache deep in my heart for those who have had abortions. I imagine that their lives will never be filled with joy and they will probably mourn the life of those babies in some sad way for the rest of their own lives.

So on to the political aspect of this whole entry... Barack Obama's # 1 priority if he gets elected president is to make sure that abortion at any stage is allowed. He will make sure that the babies who survive abortion are continued to be left to die without anyone to help them. He might even go so far as making some crazy law that any individual who intervenes on the baby's behalf after a botched abortion is subject to criminal charges. I wouldn't put it past him. Barack Obama is SATAN. And if he's not Satan, he's one of his minions.

This is the ONLY reason why I'm voting; and my vote will NOT be going to him.

I feel like if he does get elected, my human nature of caring will cease and my human nature of avoiding things will once again kick in. Maybe I'll start with avoiding any unjust laws he passes.