Wednesday, February 4, 2015

saying goodbye

when she passed, i think the world went still.

peace came and carried her away.

silence, relief, and overwhelming sadness filled the air.

because it doesn't matter that she was leaving us for such a long time, the loss is still a stinging blow.

we knew her bags were packed when the diagnosis was inoperable cancer; she knew, too.

but the way she continued to live was effortless and easy.

her laughter just as loud, just as happy as we always knew it to be.

what's the saying? she who laughs loudest has the rest of us in stitches, too.

she made it easy to forget, even just for the moment, that she wouldn't be with us forever.

and that's the way she wanted it.

she celebrated the good things in life, both big and small.

she loved and cared just as she always had.

her words were always encouraging, uplifting, and generous.

they made you feel a little sheepish if you cried over a bad day.

because she didn't often cry over her bad days.

but she never held it against you.

tomorrow WILL be better, she would say.

and it always was.

the laughter was quiet in her final hours.

she accepted things to come, the eventual goodbyes we would all have to face.

we knew when she was ready, that she was okay with letting go.

we may not have been as ready for our farewells, but we were ready to let her say them.

i think her spirit did rejoice that day when she rose above us all.

embracing the family that left before her, regaining that laughter once more.

i imagine she's with them, celebrating, dancing at their reunion.

it helps the pain to ease, lets the sadness ebb just a bit.

we know her love is boundless and eternal for us all.

so we can share a smile about the party she's throwing in heaven.

and the silence fades away as her laughter echos forever in our hearts.

rest in peace, nana.

Monday, December 22, 2014

life in zoom

yup, i've done it again. i skipped almost an entire year of blogging. it's terrible, right? i wanted to keep this blog for documenting life for my son and yet this entire year just got away from me.

i'll try to zoom in on some details now, as we sit three days away from christmas and oh-so excited for it!

firstly: beaz turned four! can you even imagine? how on earth are we four years into this journey? he had a truly perfect birthday, equipped with family, friends, and a killer "brave knights" medieval birthday party hosted by his nana and myself. thanking my lucky stars that his nana is so creative, too, because she really helped all of my visions come to life for this super fun party.

secondly: we will have a new addition to our family in just 10 short weeks! had i not mentioned that? whoops! in june of this year we got a very welcome little surprise that we honestly weren't entirely expecting. it just happened in a really organic way, as these things should, and left us totally thrilled. our new addition will be another gorgeous boy (i say that because he just will be gorgeous like his big brother. he can't escape dashing good looks in this gene pool..haha). he is yet to be named, of course. that is a huge struggle at this point, but we might be closing in on a name... or maybe not. we really are fighting an uphill battle with this.

i am feeling primarily great at 30 weeks pregnant. the first trimester was sheer misery. i had 24/7 nausea, heartburn, and an exhaustion that might have let me sleep 100 years in a row. i somehow survived it and the entire second trimester was very pleasant. now that i'm into the third it seems to be coming back around again. this weekend i felt like absolute scum at the bottom of a dirty shoe and of course i had to work. today seems better, so i'm hoping it was maybe a passing stomach bug. i am having many more braxton hicks contractions than i ever had with c. seems like my body just knows how to gear up for labor this time around. i had to be induced at 42 weeks with c, and even then he was too stubborn to make his entry naturally. i really have no idea what to expect this time around. i wouldn't have a clue what natural labor feels like without having someone intervene, so here's hoping that i don't really have to know. i'm having a scheduled cesarean this time around (date yet to be set) due to the small facility at our little hospital; they really take precautions so that you have as little risk for complications as possible. since i had one with beaz, my doctor would prefer to do another this time. i'm okay with it. i made my peace long ago that i didn't have a natural birth with beaz. sometimes things can't be helped, like a certain boy who was facing anterior and giving me back labor while his big noggin gets stuck for 14 hours.

we are in full christmas mode now. i even managed, by miracle and determination, to finish all of my christmas crafting and shopping last week! never in the history of me vs the christmas rush has that ever happened before christmas eve. i just have some baking and wrapping to finish and then i am putting these pregnant feet up and enjoying the rest of christmas. c is so excited about everything christmas this year and i am having so much fun watching him wonder at all of the things i grew up loving. i keep a lot of traditions from my childhood alive for him. this was such a huge time of year for us as kids that i am having even more fun than i can describe this year. four is a really great age for imagination and the belief in all things magic at christmas. i keep certain traditions going, like candy canes on the tree to show santa came on christmas eve, my childhood advent calendar to count the days, pajamas on christmas eve. all things my parents did for us that mean so much. i've added a few more things to my traditions now, too. we have our elf on the shelf, gordon, who plays an important role in keeping the excitement going all month, on christmas eve we do a "christmas eve box" with jammies, a christmas movie, hot cocoa and popcorn to cozy up with. we typically make ornaments every year, bake our santa cookies, put them out with milk and carrots for the reindeer, and beaz and i read a lot of christmas stories and sing christmas songs as soon as thanksgiving is over. he's my little christmas elf, as e doesn't really get into the holiday as i do. to think that next year we will have another little boy to celebrate with makes my heart soar!

as i've been typing, the little guy has been active. he is certainly a mover and a shaker. he seems to be hosting a constant dance-off in my belly. the past two days he's been head down/feet up, so i've been able to trace the outline of his little feet with my fingers as he so nicely shoves them into my lungs. whatever his name ends up being, we are very excited to meet him in less than three months. just as before, i am as calm and ready as i was with c. it's just like more things falling rightly into place in our lives.

i wish you all a very merry christmas, happiest holiday season, and a wonderful new year ahead.

Monday, April 7, 2014

say it

i have been trying, for days, to find my way through something very difficult. something no one ever talks about; maybe something no one thinks they can or should talk about. finally i have realized that it's not that i want  to talk about it, but that i need  to talk about it. it was the fact that i read other women talking about it, read other women hurting over it and confiding in those who have been through it, that i knew i needed to just say it. just say it, kristina. 

it's been no secret that i love being a mom. no secret that i love my child. no secret that i've wanted to grow our family, for my son to have a sibling to grow up with. beaz has asked me regularly for about a year when he gets to be a big brother. e and i finally decided, march of last year, that we were both ready for it. it was an exciting thing at first, the anticipation of another child. then it became stressful and heartbreaking as every month i waiting for that pink double line, only to be disappointed. finally, in august, i had this feeling, just a knowing feeling, and we got our wish. the excitement was so explosive i could barely contain it. we kept it pretty quiet, you know, "in case," and we were so happy. a few weeks later it all went away. i remember, when i realized what was happening, whispering the words "no.... no. no. no. no no!" knowing that something that i had wanted so badly was slipping away and there was nothing i could do about it. the following day i was at the hospital with my best friend by my side, sitting in the waiting room of the lab. her hand around my shoulders while i waited to get my blood taken so i could get my RhoGAM shot. i'm Rh negative, so i need the RhoGAM after each pregnancy to prevent build up of antibodies against any future pregnancies. the shot took an hour to prepare, so we went back home to wait. the whole day i tried my best to keep strong, keep my self contained no matter how much my heart was screaming. an hour later i sat, hand in hand with my bestie, while we waited the obligatory 30 minutes after the shot to ensure there would be no reaction. then we went home and used our favorite cure-all to distract me: old episodes and bloopers of the office and junk food. the physical pain lasted maybe a day, and then it passed, but the emotional pain left my heart a little tender permanently.

a few months went by and i felt ready to jump back in with renewed hope. again, months crawled by and i felt bitter and discouraged as nothing happened. then, at the beginning of march, while edward was away on a business trip and beaz was with my parents for the weekend so i could work, i decided to just take a test for the hell of it. i had suspected it would be negative, but out of habit and that slight hope it might be positive, i peed on that little stick as i had done for months, and left it in the bathroom. because i hadn't been anticipating anything, i actually forgot about it for about 20 minutes. then, while i was trying to recall what i had forgotten about, it occurred to me that i had taken the test. i walked into the bathroom and picked up the little stick, giving it a glance of little interest. there it was, a very faint second line. my heart leaped: i was pregnant! i remember muttering "well, that was unexpected." i didn't tell edward until he got home that night-- actually, i didn't even tell him at all. he had been anticipating it and made a joke about it and my straight face broke into a grin. "are you really!?" he said. "yup, i just found out this morning!"

i made it a point not to get overly excited this time. i was focused, driven, to be healthy and calm so i could have a good pregnancy. i worked out almost every day, i cut out sweets, caffeine, fried and processed foods. i had migraines nearly every day, i felt super pregnant. i was tired constantly, but could hardly sleep at night. i cared about none of that; in fact, i welcomed it. it just served as a reminder of what was happening to my body. i waited what felt like an extremely long 8 weeks to have my first appointment with my OBGYN. he was my doctor when i had beaz and i knew and trusted him implicitly. when we met in his office, we discussed my previous loss. he closed my file and looked at me, "i'm not even going to make you go through all of this right now. i just want to get you through this first trimester, then we can talk about all of this paperwork and genetics and stuff. just tell me of anything i need to know and we'll leave the rest until later." we had a long talk about everything we felt was important and left the stack of paperwork alone. i was feeling good, feeling supported. i was lead into the exam room where i followed the usual routine. it's not like i was my first time or anything. my OB came into the room and told the nurse there would be no exam "down there" because of my history. he wasn't even going to risk it if he didn't have to. he went straight to the ultrasound. his first comment "your bladder is HUGE. you need to go pee!" i laughed, "i have had so much water today, sorry!" the nurse wrapped me from the waist down in those lovely paper "blankets" and helped me pad down the hall to the bathroom. we made our way back to the room, spirits still high. he set me up for the ultrasound again and decided he needed an internal approach. he switched the ultrasound up and we finally got a view of the sac. then the walls came crashing in.

as i watched the screen, trying to remember what i should be seeing, my doctor sighed. "this doesn't look good.. this is abnormally shaped. i don't like those edges. i don't see anything in there, either. kid.. i don't think this is a good pregnancy.. you should be 8 weeks.. but i'm measuring 6 weeks, 4 days.." i inhaled and held my breath. shit. fucking shit. fuck fuck fuck. no. please no. i couldn't exhale. i couldn't say anything. i just stared at the screen, holding my breath. my eyes burned as i tried not to cry. he pointed out what he was seeing, and i knew he wasn't telling me anything that wasn't obvious. there was nothing there. he pointed out a small shadow of something to me. "i can't tell what that is, it could be something. i want you to come back in one week so i can monitor it. the edges of the sac looking like this, a little sharp like that, makes me think it's the start of it breaking down. i'm sorry kid, i can't tell you anything until next week. you know me, i won't do anything until i know for sure, but if by next week there's no progress and you haven't started to lose it naturally.. i'll have to schedule a D&C." i smiled, or what i think was my best impression of a smile, and he left the room. i remember dressing, so slowly. i looked at my phone and saw a new text. e, who was stuck at work and had been waiting for news, asking if everything was okay. "no.." was all i could respond. i stared at the image frozen on the screen and my heart shattered. i walked out as bravely as i could, no tears. my doctor was waiting there for me, "one week, tuesday would be the best. i need you to call me immediately if you start spotting or bleeding. i have to get you in for the RhoGAM right away if that's the case." i made my appointment at the front desk and turned to leave. i marched quickly across the parking lot to my car, unlocked the door, and my face crumpled. the tears came, though i was still fighting them the whole way home.

e came home from work to be with me. i looked him in the eye, through my tears, and told him as much as this hurt, i was glad to know now. i was glad my body, for whatever reason, was going to reject this pregnancy if it wasn't the 'right one.' i had already read about miscarriages that happen early on in pregnancy, and, though there is no true rhyme or reason for most of them, there's believed to be a link between a poorly developing pregnancy and miscarriage. survival of the fittest: our bodies tend to reject a pregnancy that may not be developing right. a lot of these miscarriages happen so early on that we wouldn't even know we were pregnant. in that moment i was grateful my body was taking care of me like that and i wanted to trust it. but it was a short lived gratitude. i woke up the next day and found my body was rejecting this pregnancy as predicted at my OB appointment. i waited, as the spotting stopped for a few hours, to see if it was just post appointment spotting. a few hours later, i knew it wasn't. i called the office to find my doctor was out for the day and they insisted i go to the ER to get my RhoGAM shot and be checked out. i spent a few hours in the ER, surprisingly calm and accepting of what was happening, and then was sent home to let my body miscarry naturally.

the miscarriage really didn't get underway in any real affect until the following evening. suddenly i was in immense pain. the cramps were excruciating and nothing touched the pain. extra strength tylenol and heating pads were only mildly comforting. i spent the following days saying "it will get better tomorrow, it won't hurt like this tomorrow," only to wake up in more pain with each day that passed. i spent my days in bed or on the couch, accepting any help with beaz that i was offered. e spent the whole weekend caring for him while i could barely managed to sit up. that's when i started to resent my body. i started to feel like my body had betrayed me, denying me of something women are naturally born to do: carry and birth babies. i suddenly felt angry, frustrated, disgusted. i was hurt.
and just as suddenly, i was aware of one thing.. beaz.

he was truly my miracle. how had i not seen that? how was it that my pregnancy with him was so normal? so without consequence, without complications? i felt lucky that i had even been able to experience that. it didn't stop the hurt. i still want to grow our family, i still want that for him and for us. he's so loving, so generous, and so wishing for a sibling (well, a brother, but i know he would love a sister just the same). all of this made me understand my own strength. instead of giving up or giving in to the despair, it has made me ferocious and determined. even if we never get a second child, i will not be resigned to feel defeat. i will love beaz, and not feel incomplete if we never have another, but i will not throw up my hands, either. i owe it to myself to seek out answers, and to empower myself to move forward. i will not be too afraid to try.

i don't know who said it, or where it came from, but a quote i read once has been helping me through this: an arrow can only be shot forward by being pulled back.  if that's true, then i feel i am about to go very far.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

pssst! be thankful, mama

let's just cut to the chase-- i'm tired today. i have been up since 3 this morning and it's certainly not how i wanted to start my day. beaz decided he was going to fight bedtime until 9:30 last night, then decided at 3 this morning that he was just done sleeping all together. i did everything i could, tried every approach both stern and sweet, used every bargaining tool, flat out exploited every bribing tactic i could think of to get him (and myself) back to sleep, but no sleep was granted.

finally at 6:00 i gave up and we officially "got up" for the day. beaz played in the living room with the curtains drawn against the unlit sky, and i eventually shuffled to the kitchen for a much needed caffeine fix. as my one cup finished brewing, and i was stirring in my two scoops of sugar and my creamer, i glanced up at what seemed like a change in light outside the kitchen window. i gasped out loud and literally ran like a clumsy child into the living room, hollering "BEAZ! IT'S SNOWING! LOOK!" i drew back the curtains and he exclaimed in mimicking amazement, "WOW! I LOVE SNOW!"

and that's when that little voice inside my heart whispered "be thankful."

yes, yes, i replied. it is that time of year to remember to be so. but that pesky little reminding voice is always right. because in the moment that the beautiful snow started to fall in great flakes and collect on everything around us, my child mirrored my love of snow for this season, and i was ever so thankful for it.

so let's forget the sleepless night; the kind of night that brings me to tears from shear exhaustion. let's forget whatever made me murmur those un-mother-like curse words under my breath as i got up for the 26th time to try to get my child to sleep just ONE hour.  let's just remember this. this absolutely unexpected moment of beauty on this very tired morning. and let's always find some reason to be thankful. (and let's always have coffee in hand to aid us in the fight against sleepless zombies.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

from the ashes

i'd like to say, first, that i really do feel like this has been a rotten year. the collective total of absolute awful that's accumulated this year is outrageous and i am personally ready for a new year and some fresh perspective.

that being said, i'd like to tack 'house fire' on that list of 'awful.'

we really kicked off last week in style when we set fire to our kitchen monday morning. it all began with a pan of oil started for homefries and ended with our kitchen wall up in flames. i won't go into details here, as it's pretty embarrassing how both e and i managed to kind of tag team this disaster. needless to say, we all made it out safely and e was our legitimate superhero when he put the flames out with a bag of flour before the three fire trucks showed up to help us. c was so excited about the firemen and trucks, but exclaimed 'oh nooo, my pancakes got BURNED!?' when i explained what was happening. that freaking sweet kid. oh, to be two-going-on-three. there's so little to worry about in the world.

now we're in the middle of cleaning up the fire damage in the kitchen. above is just some of it. the smoke and soot really covered everything. we've been living on takeout and crockpot meals while we wait for the insurance check to cover a new stove, hood, wiring, walls, and cabinets on the one damaged wall of our kitchen. our cabinets are bare as they've been emptied and will need serious scrubbing and painting. our dishes are piled on the counters. our cupboard food is in plastic tubs on the floor. my recipes are all for the crockpot. and we are moving on.

i have been so overwhelmed for the past 3-4 weeks. really overwhelmed. i catch myself taking huge inhales and sighing a lot lately. like, a lot. there's been a lot to be upset about. and when i catch myself dwelling on it, i have to just stop me in my tracks. i really do have a lot to be thankful for. like, a lot.

so you won't find me hosting pity parties here. i don't have time for that. onward and upward, as it goes. the fire, as awful as it was, is a chance for a fresh start. building a whole new outlook. a whole new kitchen. a whole new start for our house.

i like to center my emotions around our home. it sounds bizarre, but i really feel that the home is where everything starts and ends. because inside of our home is everything to do with us as a family, as both individual people and as a collective whole. we start our days here. we breathe, eat, play, learn, mess, clean, laugh, cry, yell here. we end our days here. so my emotions are really heavily tied in our home. when it's not at it's best, neither am i. the scorched wall of our kitchen has really taught me a lot about how i feel about our home. i have a lot of hope for this place.  and the wall is just the beginning. i can see it's potential. and it's frustrating at times that it's going to take patience and time to make our home really look like us. to feel right. but it's just a process of growth. i look forward to the changes to come.

after a forest fire, trees can grow from the ashes. so, from a kitchen fire, a home can grow from the ashes, too. clean, fresh, new. i am using our kitchen remodel as the jumping off point for the rest of the home's remodeling needs. it's going to be great, i can feel it. and i think it will begin to boost my spirits as well. i'm kind of counting on it.