Mom-notony

I keep thinking I’ll write something really interesting or profound, but right now, everything looks the same.  I’m Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” listening to “I Got You Babe” every fucking morning.  Except instead of Sonny and Cher, I have baby coos and cries and toddler squeals.  I love my kids, of course, and I love to snuggle with them and take care of them — but I love other things, too.  I love to be a person.

I stay up late to have some time to myself and watch whatever TV shows take me away from life for a little bit — make me laugh or cry.  I feel like all my posts end up sounding the same, but that’s life.

Today’s excitement (other than my dermatologist appointment) was when my toddler returned from a trip to Legoland with my parents.  He was really excited to be home, and I was glad to snuggle with him.

I keep thinking back to when my life was exciting.  I used to wonder what the night would bring.  My worries were insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  Now, I worry about every breath each of my kids takes.  I worry about their development and progress.  I worry about the potassium in everything, because my little Baby B’s kidneys can’t process it.  When she’s able to really swallow food (something else to worry about) and eat table food, she can’t have anything with salt, spices, fat, butter, or sugar.  Cake frosting has too much potassium for her to handle (not that I’d just feed her cake frosting, but it’s an example).

Maybe one of these days I’ll say something more exciting.  Until then, I’ll keep snuggling my littles.

Ten Years Flies By

Ten years ago, I was packing up my belongings to move from my parents’ house and away from my friends and teaching job so I could attend law school.  I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Prior to going to law school, my main source of information about how law school was came from the movie “Legally Blonde.”  I was concerned that I needed to have a nice, plain black leather purse and get rid of my pink tweed bag because I didn’t want people to look down on me.  Of course, that’s before I attended orientation, where one fellow’s idea of “business casual attire” was a tank top and basketball shorts (this guy was special in general, though).  I realized that everyone was just learning what this was all about, and although there were some douche-y know-it-alls, the majority were fairly normal (well, law school normal).

I met so many people who changed my life during law school; mostly for good, even if I thought it was bad at the time.  I made life-long friends who have been my confidantes, partners in crime, study buddies, workout partners (briefly), wing women, football and concert buddies, chat friends, mom friends, cheerleaders, therapists, and more — and I would like to think I’ve returned the favor.

I went out a lot: partied like it was my job and drank too much at times.  I had so much fun.  I studied more than I ever have.  I learned so much.  I had my heart broken and trampled.  I found out what I do and don’t want in a relationship.  Without that insight, I may not have found my husband, and we wouldn’t have created this wonderful life together.

That fateful time that started about ten years ago (and ended seven years ago) is what really shaped me and made me who I am.  Even though I may not always love being a lawyer (although I miss it right now), I wouldn’t trade my law school experience for anything.

Break Time

One of the hardest things about being a stay at home mom is that I never get a break.  I’ve had horrible neck and shoulder pain for 4 days, but it doesn’t matter.  My son was vomiting all day on Saturday, so I was right there with him…and then I got sick.  I haven’t left the house in three days, and I’ve been living in pajamas.  But I can’t call in to work tomorrow.  At least my toddler is feeling better, so he is going to go to the babysitter’s house.

Last Tuesday, I went out to dinner with two of my close friends from my teaching days.  We all had baby girls last year, so there were three adults, one toddler, and four baby girls.  My toddler was literally climbing the walls (a short dividing wall), and we all spent most of the time feeding and dealing with our own kids.  I had to hold Baby B because she cries if she’s not being held.  By the end of the meal, I wondered why I had even bothered to spend money going out when I didn’t even get to have a conversation with my friends.

I know it’s important to spend time with other people, but I feel like none of the time I spend with anyone is quality time.  It’s really discouraging.  I can’t even speak a full sentence.  My closest friends and I communicate mainly through Facebook and text messages.  There are days when my husband and I don’t say anything that’s not kid-related, let alone snuggle.  All of my kids want my attention, and they need my attention, but how do I give it to everyone?  As I held my Baby A last night and rocked her at bedtime, I realized that I miss that.  It’s so rare that I can snuggle with her.  Baby B usually takes all the snuggles and needs all the attention.  My toddler still has someone read to him and snuggle him until he falls asleep, but the majority of the time, I feed both babies in their Boppy pillows, then Baby A goes to sleep on her own while Baby B finishes her bottle.  Then, Baby B gets snuggled to sleep.  She snuggles and nuzzles all night, because she needs that comfort in order to sleep well.  The time I can spend with Baby A makes me both happy and sad, because I can’t be with all my kids at the same time, and it seems like little A gets the shortest amount of time from me.

I feel like I’m a full-time mom to Baby B, a part-time mom to my toddler and Baby A, and a per diem wife to my husband.  I don’t know when the dynamic will change, but it has to — for the sake of my sanity and my marriage.  I don’t know when I will be me again, or even if the “me” I once was is still there.  It’s so hard to try to keep up with everything, and I can’t; I feel guilty constantly.  My husband and I have to get some time alone together to reconnect without the kids interrupting.  We have a long weekend in NYC planned for our fifth anniversary in December, and I can’t wait.  I am sure I’ll miss the kids, but we need that time together.

In other news, Baby B saw the neurologist last week for a follow-up visit.  He seemed happy with the progress she’s made through therapy, and he said he would contact our insurance company to try to get her more than the 90 allotted therapy visits per year.  However, he was not hopeful that it would be granted.  He’s ordered a swallowing study to see if she’s aspirating when she swallows.  In his words, “that’s what usually gets kids like this [with brain injuries] later in life.”  I, of course, heard that as “that’s what usually kills these kids,” but my husband heard it just as “that’s what causes problems with these kids.”  Either way, we don’t want her to have problems, and we certainly don’t want her to have to be tube-fed.  If only the insurance companies would see the progress she has made since beginning therapy in May.  We will still get her the therapy she needs, but it would be wonderful if the insurance would cover it without hassle, like they should.  I’ll just send them a video of her with her big smile and bright eyes, and they won’t be able to say no.  Or I’ll just fight them until they say yes, but I’m hoping we don’t get to that point.

OH!  And Baby A is getting her first tooth — the bottom right tooth.  Plus, she is saying, “MAMA!”  She’s said “Dada” a few times, but mostly she says, “Mama.”  I’m so proud and happy, and it makes me feel even more guilty that I don’t snuggle with her more.  I know that Baby B needs it and cries whenever she’s not being held, but I want to hold all my kids and snuggle all of them equally.

New Therapy

Baby B already goes to physical, occupational, and speech therapy multiple times a week, but the pediatric dentist who performed her lip and tongue tie severing procedures recommended craniosacral therapy.

What the hell is that?  I have no clue.  If you google it, you’ll see craniosacral therapy defined as:

  1. a system of alternative medicine intended to relieve pain and tension by gentle manipulations of the skull regarded as harmonizing with a natural rhythm in the central nervous system.

With the recommendations of the owner/speech therapist at the therapy place, we set up craniosacral therapy for Baby B.  I couldn’t tell you what happened.  It looked, to me, like the therapist put his hands on the baby’s chest and back and she squirmed around.

During the therapy, he asked what the birth process was like, and I told him that she was a c-section.  The speech therapist explained that she spent some time in the NICU, and he asked if it was for breathing.  I said, “yes, initially; but she stayed to get the MRI of her brain and monitor her kidney function.”  He asked if she was ok now, except for her head size, and I said no, because she still has kidney problems and might need a kidney transplant.

After about twenty minutes, he said that it seemed like her body was done, but he still hung on to her feet until she calmed down.  The therapist said that the body has its own intelligence and knows what it needs to do.  He said that her body needed to go through the birthing process, and he asked if I noticed that she seemed to be moving around like she was going through the birth canal.  I think I held back my super-skeptical face, but he probably could read the skepticism anyway.  “I know it sounds like hokum,” he said, “but it works.”

When he left, I kept shaking my head.  It didn’t even look like he was doing anything, but he tells me that her body needed to go through the birthing process?  It was just too weird.

But — in the last week, I have noticed a change.  The other therapists have noticed.  Her arms and hands are looser.  Her back is straighter and shoulders are back more.  Her legs and hips are more limber and looser.  He could burn incense and chant incantations for all I care — if it helps her move more and feel better, I’ll do it.  I can’t wait to see what the next sessions will do for her!

The Eyes Have It

Last week, we revisited the place where our babies’ lives were saved, at Jackson Memorial Hospital.  Specifically, we went to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute with Baby B to see what we could do about her crossed eyes (strabismus).  The local ophthalmologist saw her, heard a bit of her history, and said that he probably was not the right doctor for her, because he didn’t really work with children who have neurological problems.  We appreciated his candor, but it felt like a wasted appointment.  However, he referred us to Bascom Palmer, and we realized that it was the best decision for our little one.  The ophthalmologist (and his team) were very thorough, and the appointment took about five hours.  At the end, we were told to patch our little one’s good eye for half of her waking hours.  We could be doing this until she’s ten YEARS old.  She also may need surgery, but the good news was that each of her eyes independently seems to have pretty good vision, so she doesn’t need glasses yet.

I had a lot of feelings as we went to Miami and drove onto the campus of the hospital, which is also the campus of the University of Miami medical school.  Somehow I missed that fact back in September, so now it makes more sense that there were 30 people in the operating room when I had the TTTS laser surgery — they were medical students!  I was brought back to September, to walking into the emergency room, asking where the Fetal Therapy Institute was, being told to walk that way, take the elevator, go down the halls, etc.  I remembered sitting at the fountain with the kind nurse who brought me preemie diapers to put in my bra (they had no nursing pads, but the surgery made my milk come in quickly), talking about her kids and watching a little boy play in the area.  I thought about the hours-old tuna sub that I didn’t really eat the night before surgery while I had the long ultrasound.  Although I didn’t really walk around the hospital in September, just being so near to where I experienced some of the hardest times of my life brought back a flood of emotions.

I looked at sweet Baby B, with her bright eyes and long eyelashes, her tight muscles and crossed-eyes, and I was so damn grateful that I had these memories of Jackson Memorial.  Without that surgery, I believe she would have died immediately, and Baby A may not have lived either.  The TTTS had progressed too far for their 26 week bodies to handle.  I am so thankful for the world-class surgeon who performed the surgery, particularly as he has since stopped practicing and stepped down from his position at the Fetal Therapy Institute.  He performed the surgery just in the nick of time (based on Baby B’s current health, I feel comfortable saying that even waiting a few more hours would probably have been fatal).  The babies were not born in September.  They did not have to spend months in the NICU in Miami.  We did not have to bury either of our girls.

Even though Baby B has a lot of issues stacked against her, she is still happy (unless she’s not being held — then she’s mad), beautiful, and lights up so many peoples’ lives.  The people at therapy love her.  Even the therapists who don’t work with her will seek her out to say hello and remark on how much she smiles.  She’s moving her arms and opening her hands more.  She’s getting on track to sit.  She’s a snuggle bug and can only sleep when she’s snuggling with someone.  She loves people.  She loves her family.  She laughs when you nuzzle her belly.  She’s just our little sweetheart.

Baby A is almost sitting on her own.  She’s trying out food and making all kinds of different sounds.  She likes toys and raspberries blown on her belly.  She grabs her toes a lot and tries to take off her socks.  She’s very calm and loves to sleep, but sometimes her sister wakes her up.  She can roll over, but sometimes she forgets and gets stuck — and then she really complains!  She kicks and grabs and is also our little sweetheart.  Both babies are just perfect.

After a picnic with other moms of multiples and seeing some of the babies, I felt a little sad about how Baby B doesn’t look like Baby A, even though they’re supposed to look alike.  My husband said the best thing he could have, “Baby B isn’t supposed to look like Baby A; she’s only supposed to look like Baby B.”  (It sounded better when he said their names, but I’m not ready for them to be out there yet.)   Even though they don’t look totally alike, they have the same little noses and perfect baby lips.  Their eyes are the same deep blue/gray, and they both have long eyelashes.  They like to lay next to each other with their hands and arms entwined.  I think that Baby A is going to make sure her sister reaches her full potential (the rest of us will help, too, of course).

Top Ten Reasons Why Being a Lawyer is Better than Being a Stay at Home Mom

  1. My boss never screamed at me and kicked me in the chest repeatedly.
  2. Even the worst clients never vomited on me every. single. time. they saw me.
  3. I was never expected to hold out my hand so that my boss could spit unwanted food into it.
  4. Even if my boss berated me, it only lasted for a minute or two.
  5. No judge ever screamed at me for 30 minutes and insisted I stay right there to listen.
  6. I never had to wipe anyone’s ass.
  7. I was able to go to the bathroom by myself.
  8. The sound of quiet is preferable to screams.
  9. I could listen to The KVJ Show on my commute instead of screaming or “Toddler Radio” on Pandora.
  10. After work, I could go home and stop working.

Love Wins

Today the Supreme Court of the United States decided that every person has the right to marry whomever they love.  I’m thrilled that family and friends now can have the right to legally marry their partner, whether they are gay, lesbian, or straight.

It’s nice to know that my kids won’t have to worry about being who they are if they are in love with someone who is of a different race or the same gender.  Just as marrying someone of a different race isn’t a big deal now, I think marrying someone of the same gender will not be a big deal in the very near future.

Let’s all celebrate rainbows and equality — every day.  Life is too short and too hard to have to fight about basic human rights.