2014: Strong Enough to Birth the Children, Then Get Back To Business

Remember 2014?

Almost an entire year in which I left this blog alone.

Luckily for all 38 loyal followers (thanks, by the way), I have a journal! Which I use to record my life! And so I can share with you that this year was amazing, and also a motherfucker. Excuse me for not being coherent: it’s been a long time since I’ve written much save research papers and to-do lists miles long…

January

I am killing it with journal writing! I always challenge myself to write something daily (a mere sentence will do) and I always fail around day number three.

But what I know:

Ailie gets tubes in her precious, perpetually-infected ears.

I am seriously inspired by a Pitbull song (“I just wanna feel this moment”) and decide I will stop worrying about what others think about me. I will be more authentic. I will not let fear of failure stop me from ANYTHING.

Also: my kids do not sleep this month AT ALL. J’s mom comes for a visit.

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February

I’m 34!

Bruno Mars performs at the Super Bowl, and Jonah Hill hosts SNL. Yes, I record these things in my journal because I’m sure someday I’ll find them fascinating.

Our old buddy the Real JC comes to town.

Hendrik calls me “stupid mommy.” Burn. Ailie starts saying all the words.

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March

We start estate planning. You can imagine that someone with anxiety is really awesome at writing a death dossier.

HBO’s True Detective = bad dreams.

Spring!

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April

My impressive journaling skills equate to nothing written during April NOR May, but I recall this month is Easter. We celebrate with lovely neighbors at a morning brunch.

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May

Hendrik is 4! We rock a Batman party at my gym. Gigi comes to visit!

Then we hightail it out of Texas and visit Riviera Maya in Mexico. At check-in, I’m pretty sure Ailie chugs complimentary champagne as we attempt to convince the front desk that they MUST give us the crib we ordered. On day two, Hendrik spikes a fever and we make trek number one of 564 to the onsite doc. Both kids are eventually diagnosed with strep and an ear infection (H), so they are in pretty good moods. Don’t worry: we still manage to salvage the trip. We do water aerobics, and make many trips to the swim-up bar. Twice, I even escape to the adults-only pool with O Magazine and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. And I get a massage on the beach! And we eat delicious French cuisine and discover our kids like to be quite fancy.

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June

Beginning in June, we spend lots of time at our town library. They offer story time and movie-and-popcorn afternoons, and all kinds of amazing programs for learning and beating the 110 degree heat. Uncle Ry comes for a visit, followed by Mom-Mom. We swim nearly every day. We renovate our kitchen. J and I celebrate Father’s Day in Deep Ellum at a Phox show, except we don’t get to see Phox because they don’t plan on coming on until 11:30 PM and OLD.

We start thinking about another baby.

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July/August

We make another baby. (I know because I take 756 pregnancy tests. I love a good pregnancy test, and this is likely the last time I’ll get to take them ALL and feel my heart pound with excitement as two blue or pink lines appear.)

I tell J on our 6th wedding anniversary. (It’s hard to keep that secret for 36 hours.)

The kids and I take off for Philly for a whopping three-week sojourn. I feel incredible for two days, and then morning sickness kicks in. I puke a few times. I feel mostly awful every moment. Still, Vanessa and I drag our kids into Manhattan and have a mostly great time except we are both prego and ill. But the Facebook photos don’t show the vomiting. #nofilter

And regardless of my queasy-state, it’s always great to spend time with family and friends. (We even have an amazing eighth grade reunion, which is a blast even though I am forced to drink NA beers.) Mom-Mom’s back goes out again, or so we think.

Baby girl turns 2! I start my LAST semester of graduate school. We have our last first prenatal appointment.

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September

J’s parents come for a visit. Mom-Mom discovers her back is fractured in several places. She has a procedure to fill in one of the cracks. My morning sickness finally ebbs.

Hendrik and Ailie begin preschool, A for the first time. The year gets off to a rocky start for Hendrik (he puts up a fight about going each day; I research and speak to the teacher and the school director and other parents and a child therapist and agonize over switching schools: so of course after four weeks he’s completely fine).

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October

Uncle Mike and his girlfriend Megen visit Texas. Halloween is a blast with Ailie winning year’s most original costume (ELSA) and Hendrik rocking the stealth ninja attire.

Ailie and I become fancy theater-goers at a viewing of Snow White at a local Fort Worth theater.

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November

This month.

The good: Thanksgiving day Eagles/Cowboys game with the kiddos! Thanksgiving celebration with good friends before they move to China (again)!

The iffy: Mom-Mom goes into the hospital because her back pain is now excruciating. She stays there for six weeks.

My stepfather’s mom dies of ovarian cancer.  She was a fantastic lady who took care of the elderly well into her 80s and was politically active in her community.  A loss for so many.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, my contractions won’t stop. They aren’t painful, but I’m alarmed. We go to Labor and Delivery. They try three different drugs but the contractions still come 2 -3 minutes apart for most of the night. The good news is my cervix seems to be pretty oblivious. Labor does not seem imminent. I’m sent home the next day on strict bed rest until another cervical check in a few days. I’m also told I need to take Procardia (a blood pressure med used to treat preterm labor) every 8 hours on the dot until week 36 (this is week 22). I’m skeptical, but I do as I’m told. One nurse advises me to check my blood pressure before dosing: if it is below 90/50, wait to medicate.

Bed rest with two small kids is a certain kind of hell. I had the foresight to at least pick up Oprah’s 20th anniversary DVD from the library the previous week, so I’m set. J, bless his heart, gets to work.

After two days of not moving, I drive to the OB. Cervix still looks great! Another nurse tells me I still need to take the Procardia until week 36. I’m still skeptical, but I’m still contracting intermittently, so I heed her advice.

December

J is 38! We have a small celebration at home with cupcakes and homemade cards and gifts. J and I have been pretty stressed with all that’s been happening, but I feel that we’re out of the woods and tell him so in his birthday card. He goes away for his annual hunting trip with the fellas.

The kids and I have a great weekend together. On Sunday, as I get ready for a birthday party, I notice my left eye is bright red. I make a mental note to get to the eye doc the next day, as my eye has obviously not healed from the bout of conjunctivitis I had a month prior.

The birthday party is great fun (lots of my mom friends are there), and I reluctantly round up the kids to get home. As I lean down to get Ailie, my vision feels a bit funny in my left eye. I stand up thinking it was a trick of the light, but no… a dark curtain is settling over my eye, mostly occluding my sight. I’m panicked. I find another mama, R, and pull her aside.

“Um, I can’t see out of my left eye,” I say quietly. “I don’t know what to do.”

The moms mobilize, because they are rock stars. R calmly says that it’s fine, but we should probably get to the ER. My friend J loads me into her car as R assures me she’s got the kids. I call husband J and fill him in; he’s still about 1.5 hours away from home. After a few minutes, my vision returns, though it’s become blurrier.

I cannot believe I’m at the hospital for the second time in two weeks. I’m frightened. At this point, I begin to remember the eye redness… my only solace against the thought that this is obviously a BRAIN TUMOR. Or a stroke. Or a blood clot in my head. The usual, you know?

After a few hours, I’m sent home. J arrives just in time for discharge (after picking up the kids, putting them in bed, and finding a neighbor to come and sit). I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist at 8 AM the next day. Because the vision has returned and my eye is now BRIGHT RED, the ER doc assumes it is an infection and not a blood clot.

The appointment goes as well as I can hope. I’m diagnosed with an eye inflammation called iritis and given steroid drops. I’m told the blindness could happen again, but everything else looks great with my eye. My 20/20 vision (corrected – without spectacles I’m totally blind) is 20/50, but I’m told that will return to normal as the eye heals.

My wonderful neighbors take the kids for me that afternoon so I can finish up my marketing final.  I submit my paper and can’t quite comprehend: I AM DONE WITH GRADUATE SCHOOL.  After 3.5 years, I’m done!

I start to feel better about the eye situation, until of course, I’m getting the kids ready for school the next day.  I bend down to grab Hendrik some clothes, and the curtain of darkness returns.  This time, I’m nearly completely blind in the eye.  And I’m alone. With my kids.  Who are still whining about milk and breakfast and pants.  I call the eye doc.  I call J.  I call our neighbor, who rushes over to help get the kids ready for school.  Her husband will escort me to the eye doc as J rushes home from work to get the kids to school and meet me at the doc’s.

The vision comes back again as I freak the HELL OUT.  Now the blurriness is far worse: 20/200 as compared to 20/50 YESTERDAY.  I sob a lot in the doc’s chair, and the kind staff assure me I will be fine.  I see another doctor, and she posits that the vision loss is not related to the iritis.  She looks up possible side effects of Procardia, and finds “transient blindness” has been reported.

So to recap: Mom’s still in the hospital. I’m worried about preterm labor.  I’m on shitty blood pressure meds that make me feel lousy and are probably causing me to go blind in the one eye that’s also got a weird inflammation that no one’s ever heard of.  And I can’t see for shit.

I’m pretty cranky.

I have a regular OB appointment that day, and I bring my doc up-to-speed.  She advises me to stop taking the Procardia immediately, although she’s not convinced the blindness is related.  Her husband is a renowned ophthalmologist in our area (naturally), and she calls him while I wait.  He sees me the next day, with pretty much no news except the inflammation is gone.

And so, I soldier on, careful not to move my head too quickly or really lean over at all.  After a day without Procardia, I feel energized.  I return to the eye doc after a week, and my vision is back to 20/50!  I’ll take it.  He instructs me to wean off of the eye drops, and assures me my vision will return to normal very soon.

H gets the flu (despite having received the flu mist), and he and I snuggle on the couch together for a few days watching Christmas movies (have y’all seen this gem?).  I whip us up healing cocktails.

I skip graduation that Saturday, though I’d already bought all the garb.  I’m not feeling up to the pomp and circumstance, and H is still not recovered completely from the flu.  Nonetheless, I dress up in my cap and gown and we take family photos.  I am proud of this accomplishment.  J throws me a surprise graduation party with a few of our close friends.  He’s decorated our table at the restaurant with balloons in my school’s colors.  He showers me with gifts: new business cards, lots of alma mater gear, and a brand new laptop/tablet hybrid.  I am spoiled and happy.

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A few days before Christmas, my mom is diagnosed with leukemia.  Her prognosis is pretty good, pending a bone marrow transplant within the year.  Her treatment begins in early January.

And now?  Now I am nearly 33 weeks pregnant with a rather large and unruly baby who kicks and wiggles just as much as my first two.  I feel like my vision is mostly back to normal, but my eye is a slight yellow color which I am hoping is not some permanent reminder of the trauma she suffered.

It was a great year, despite lots of unpleasantness.  Each day I am thankful for the little things we take for granted (ahem, SIGHT) and healing.  I’m happy this turkey is still cooking, and if he/she were born now he or she’d be pretty solid (I’m ENORMOUS).  I am happy my mom is on a road to recovery.  I’ve got big plans for 2015, and I’m feeling particularly fearless.

I wrote down these words in the file of quotes I save (everyone does that, right?):

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” (John A. Shedd)

How was your year?

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “2014: Strong Enough to Birth the Children, Then Get Back To Business

  1. I’m so excited to read about your past year – your entries were missed! Congrats on baby #3, your beautiful family and stay strong in the year ahead.

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