Sunday, May 1, 2011

Heal these scars

Some people have scars that cannot be hidden, ones that mark their bodies in a way that they cannot cover up. Others stare at the mismatched flesh on their faces, their heads, their arms, or their hands, and wonder what tragedy caused them to carry that reminder around forever.

For the rest of us, life deals us whatever set of circumstances that leaves us wounded inside, where no one can see. Every one of us is left scarred in our own way, each to our own extent.

It can be easy to conveniently forget about the pain that caused these injuries, or the fact that you need to deal with them, when they don't stare back at you in the mirror every day. But sometimes, they come screaming back to the surface when you least expect it.

It's not always a bad thing, though.

I'll explain.

Some friends of ours had their first baby on Thursday night. I used my lunch break on Friday to go visit them at the hospital and take them a gift. The new baby was adorable. He slept with a sweet little smirk on his face and just seemed so happy. I was really glad for my friends as the new mom talked about how the baby was barely fussing, was nursing like a champ, was perfectly healthy....

But....there are these other feelings. Like the fact that I wanted to cry in that room, because everything was so relaxed, without everyone worried about things like, "Oh, the baby won't eat, what's going on with this, she doesn't want to eat...." "Nursing just isn't working right now, we're going to have to go ahead and supplement...." "She isn't strong enough for this bottle, you're going to have to feed her from this syringe..." "She has a heart murmur, she's going to need an echo, we can't discharge her until it's been sent up to Dallas to be evaluated by the pediatric cardiologists there...."

It's hard to explain exactly how I was feeling, because I wasn't expecting it at all. Sad, because this baby was only 18 hours old, and their family was already having experiences we were somewhat cheated out of? Or does that make me jealous?

At any rate, it's simple to say that as wonderful and incredible as Brooklyn is, our life with her as a baby has not been what most people would consider normal, although it continues to improve all the time. It was not what I expected or pictured when I imagined having a newborn. I have a million and one beautiful memories. But I have a lot that have also, I guess, scarred me as well.

So, this sweet baby's mom asked me if I wanted to hold him. Of course I did. But I have not held a brand new little one since Brooklyn. I took him in my arms and sat down in the chair by the window and let the sun warm my face. The most peaceful feeling had overcome me, pushing away the stress that I usually cannot rid myself of. The baby boy smirked and smiled and made his tiny baby squeaks as I rocked him back and forth. I just let myself feel....relaxed and calm and happy.

And I started thinking.

Time doesn't heal all wounds. Maybe a better experience, a second chance, is what really does.

I feel like time isn't the answer. More than three years since I had delivered my daughter, I was standing there in that recovery room ready to bawl. I felt like I needed to cover my scars like the man who is ashamed of his old wounds that stay exposed for the world to see.

So, for the very first time since having my daughter, I thought that I might be ready to try to have another child. The thought has not so much as crossed my mind in three years; when other people ask me about it, it completely overwhelms me. I can't handle it, I think. But the reason is, my brain has always automatically thought that everything would be just the same as it was the first time for us. We don't know parenthood any other way.

My worries are many.

But I have hope. I have faith that it could be different this time.

And I want to heal these scars.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Leaving my mark

She is a nearly-blank slate, this beautiful little girl.
She is starting to make a few marks of her own.

someone has to show her how.
by the words I speak,
by the way I say them,
by the way I touch her,
by the way I treat others,
by telling her how proud of her I am,
by telling her what a great job she is doing,
what a beautiful, wonderful, smart, lovely little girl she is,
and that I will love her more than anything, no matter what,

by giving her hugs,
and time,
I will draw on the slate that is my amazing daughter.

I want her to have the pieces that are missing from my own work of art.
I will tell her the things that I wanted to be told so badly.
I know how important these words are to a little girl...
And to a girl who is not so little anymore.

I have to be careful that my lines are drawn perfectly straight,
that my curves are perfectly rounded.
I hold my breath and pray
that I don't make any mistakes.
Because I can't erase any marks I make on this canvas.
There is no room for error with a responsibility of this magnitude.

I want her to love everything about the beautiful painting that she becomes,
and know that every mark I ever made
was with complete and utter love
for everything that she is
and will become.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I just received a call informing me that Brooklyn has been denied for her Synagis shots for RSV this year.

Apparently, our insurance changed its' criteria this summer and decided that babies with "congenital anomalies" would only be approved for Synagis during their first 12 months of life, regardless of how long those congenital anomalies continue to cause them problems.

I am so upset that I can't quit crying. I am ready to rip my hair out from the frustration. I have been jumping through hoops trying to get my HIGH-RISK daughter an H1N1 vaccination for a month now, with absolutely no success. No one has them. Not here, not Dallas. My only offer has been to give her one with thimerosol (mercury) in it. I think not. We've already had our autism scare and are dealing with delays as it is. I thought for sure when I took Brooklyn to see one of her specialists at Children's Medical that they would have the vaccinations. Nope.

I am absolutely terrified. Every day brings more news stories about the virus, more children dying. Every time a local child has died, the media has made a big deal out of stressing that the child "had a compromised respiratory system." I know why they do it. It's supposed to comfort parents of healthy children, and that's all well and good, but what about us parents of babies and children who do have those "compromised respiratory systems." Thanks for adding to the panic and anxiety and fear we already had.

I'm becoming more and more of a hermit with Brooklyn with each passing week. We don't go to anyone else's house. Birthday parties? I think not. Anything indoors with multiple people, I don't want her there. Stores, malls, restuarants, I am freaked out. I don't want to take her anywhere anymore. I'm just too scared. My anxiety level is ridiculous. Outdoor things seem less threatening to me. We took her to the pumpkin patch two weeks ago, but I didn't want her to touch anything. We went to the zoo on Halloween, and I was alright most of the time, but when we went in the penguin house, where it was warm and humid and crowded and seemed like a germ breeding ground, I wanted Brooklyn out of there as quickly as possible. I make up excuses why I can't go places with my friends. We are quickly becoming prisoners in our own home.

Can someone please give my little girl a break? I just want her protected from all of these horrible things going around.This doesn't seem like too much to ask.

The Synagis coordinator said that she is going to try to get Brooklyn's pulmonologist to appeal the ruling. So all we can do at this point is hope and pray for a positive outcome.

Monday, November 2, 2009

These moments

I like
the weekend mornings
when it is just she and I.
I wake up to get her from her from her crib and she smiles at me,
offers me her bink and says in her high-pitched little singsongy voice,
"hap-py, hap-py, hap-py, hap-py!"
She stands up, reaches out for me, and I pick her up.
"Good morning, Baby Bear!," I say, "Did you sleep good?"
She answers by giving me sweet baby hugs and kisses.
There could not be a better start to a day.

We head to the kitchen, where I make her a morning bottle.
The two of us go to the couch so that she can have her breakfast.
She still lets me hold her like a newborn baby when she takes her bottle.
We snuggle,
just she and I,
in our pajamas.
She lays her head against my chest,
I rest my cheek on her head,
and we curl up under a blanket together.
I notice that she drinks her bottle slower than she does at other times.
If I move my head the slightest bit,
she snuggles her body closer against mine,
pushing her head underneath the curve of my neck.
She is showing me that she wants to be close to me, too.
She likes our morning cuddle times as much as I do.
I am glad, because these moments seem so few and far between these days.
My baby girl is growing so quickly,
she is so busy,
she has so much to learn,
so much to explore.
She rarely has time to let her mommy hold her close,
no matter how much I crave it.

I cradle her warm, soft body in my arms.
We gaze into each other's eyes.
I stroke her silky soft hair,
I kiss her smooth forehead
and her plush, chubby cheek.
A dozen times,
a hundred times.
I tell her how much I love her
a thousand ways,
a million ways.
That she is my everything,
as if that could describe it fully.
The truth is, I can never find the perfect words
to tell her just how much of a miracle she is.

Then, all too soon,
breakfast is done,
and she reaches up to give me a kiss
before she toddles away
to find her next adventure.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I ♥ Faces: Week 42 - Halloween Dress Up Photo Challenge

Here is my little ladybug all ready for Halloween!

This was one of the few shots I managed to capture in between the 10,000 times Brooklyn threw her antennae on the ground. LOL. Oh well.

I may be biased, but I think she's the cutest ladybug ever with or without them. :)

Please visit I ♥ Faces to see lots of other little Halloween cuties!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doing it on my own: EPIC FAIL.

I have been an extremely bad blogger and reader lately. But I've been bad at a lot of things in my life, and I'm finally going to attempt to explain.

About four months ago, I finished breastfeeding Brooklyn and was able to switch antidepressants. I wanted to get off Lexapro because my doctor had told me that after a year, it caused weight gain. I had suspected that it was already responsible for the weight that had been creeping on and would not go away, no matter what I did. So my doctor had said to call when Brooklyn was weaned, and they would switch me to Wellbutrin, which is better for the weight issue. But when I called, they said I couldn't just switch, I had to wean myself off the Lexapro slowly. I had been taking 20 mg a day. I had to drop back to 10 mg a day for a 2 weeks, then one every other day for 2 weeks, then one every third day for a week. I was supposed to call them for the Wellbutrin prescription when I got down to every third day.

But by the time I got down to that one pill every third day, I decided that I was doing all right. And here's the thing: I was prescribed that medicine for post-partum depression. Can you really say you have post-partum depression anymore when you have a toddler? Hardly. I was a bit more emotional, I cried at more things, both happy and sad. I figured it was just the fact that I didn't have the pills acting as a numbing barrier between me and my life anymore. I decided that I was ready to feel everything again. I stopped taking the Lexapro, and I did not call for the Wellbutrin. I was done.

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for feeling like I was all right to turn into feeling miserable. I was sad and unhappy and overly sensitive and angry at everything, I didn't want to go anywhere, I wanted to sleep all of the time, I fought with my husband about ridiculous things that normally wouldn't upset me. I cried countless times every day, again, often about things that weren't even that big of a deal.

Dave didn't get the carseat out of my car before I went to work, so he couldn't go get Brooklyn's prescription like I had asked him to. She was going to miss a dose. It was his off day. Why did he have to be so damn lazy? I was so, so angry. Why should she have to suffer because he doesn't listen to me? Meltdown.

Brooklyn had diarrhea on her Tucker sling an hour before bedtime. I didn't know how I was going to get it clean before she had to go to sleep. Dave was leaving for work. Brooklyn was pulling on my leg screaming and fussing. I stood there bawling.

I don't know. There are probably dozens of these scenarios I'd rather not think about because they just aren't me. Normally. But I let it go on for months. Stubbornness.

I sat at my friend's house and cried and told her about what was going on. "You know what you have to do," she said. "You already told me you're not okay. That's what these medicines are for. You told me that before."

"But how are you ever supposed to know when you can stop? Am I just supposed to be on these pills forever or something? I don't want that. That's ridiculous."

"You tried it without them, it didn't work. You're not ready. You have a lot of stress. You have too much going on. Maybe you can try again in a year or something."

I still did nothing.

On a day when I was at work and had treated my husband particularly badly, I had been ignoring his calls for some time. I finally picked up the phone to talk to him. He told me how frustrated he was with me, but that he knew how bad I had been feeling. "I really think you weren't ready to stop taking your medicine," he said. "You need to call your doctor."

"I'm not same damn psych patient that needs to be monitored on their meds," I snapped back.

"I'm not saying that! You're the only person who thinks that! You're so hypocritical! You work in this job where you tell people they need to get help, where you tell people it's okay to be on these medicines, that they help them, and then you think you're the only person who's above taking them. You won't even tell your own mom about it because you're so damn ashamed of it! I don't get you!"

Here come the tears. "That's easy for you to say. You don't have to take them."

"But I would. If something happened at work or something, and it affected the way things were at home between me and you and Brooklyn, I would do it, and I know you wouldn't judge me for it, right?"

"Hold on." I had to get up and close my office door before the serious waterworks started.

"Okay," I said, "I just don't get it. How can Brooklyn be 18 months old and I still have post-partum depression?"

"Baby. You don't. You just have depression now."

Now I was bawling like a baby. "W-w-w-whyyyyyyy???"

"I don't know why, baby. We just have to deal with it."

"That's not fair. I wasn't like this before."

"I know."

"I hate me. I hate this."

"I know. But Brooklyn loves you, and I love you. And we need you to be happy."

It still took me two weeks to make myself go to the doctor. I did it though. I'm taking Cymbalta now. It's been three weeks, and I'm having a hard time on it. I am starting to feel less depressed, but I'm very, very sick to my stomach and exhausted all of the time. I'm also taking a new medication for my migraines along with it, so I'm not sure if they're working together to make me feel awful. The 14 pounds I've lost is not too shabby though. I'm working through it. This too shall pass, right? Just bear with me, bloggy friends.

So much for doing it all by myself.
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