Thursday, March 31, 2011


Today was a good day as for as mom-ness goes. I was super tired this morning, probably worn out from all the cleaning I did yesterday, and since I must brag I'll tell you that I sanitized the entire down stairs bathroom, washed all the doorknobs and shined them, wiped down the doors and hinges, sanitized all switches, cleaned the kitchen, did all the dishes, swept the tile and mopped it, dusted the furniture, did 2 loads of laundry, cooked 2 meals, took the kids AND the dogs on a walk, vacuumed and CLEANED the carpet! Not only that but my husband and I managed to watch Inception while both Micah and Isaac took a nap. Nice! So that was all yesterday, and needless to say I was wiped out from all that stuff. And then when you don't get a good night's sleep because a baby is waking you up all night, it kinda doesn't help.

So starting out feeling like an old hag, you would think today would have been very "blah". But it wasn't. The hubby came home and I got to shower, well actually I took a bath. Then Micah came to join me and get a bath. That was fun. I'll say it's a lot easier to wash your baby when you are in the tub. We played and floated him around and he seemed to like it. I wondered a little if the feeling of being in warm water would bring flashback memories of being in my belly. Then of course that led to other sad thoughts but I just let it pass on by.  So then we ran some errands, got Isaac some new shoes because his feet are growing. He wanted to try on hats at Old Navy because I put one on Micah. It was cute. Nice to be out as a family without having to worry too much about a crying baby (he never did) or RSV now that it's warmer.

So when we got home I unloaded Isaac and we came into the garage and right there on the rug was a gorgeous yellow butterfly. One of those big ones that everyone pictures when they think of a butterfly. I showed Isaac and first he goes to grab it but I pull him back to show him. He thought it was funny that it moved it's wings. He's never really seen a butterfly before...well seen one and realized what it was. You could tell it was still wet, like it had hatched from its cocoon in the garage somewhere and was airing out its wings.  Those big beautiful wings seemed foreign to the butterfly, as it fluttered one side and then the other. It then walked along the rug...probably used to doing so during those caterpillar days. It's really quite amazing that such a beautiful and delicate being can come from such a funky blob of fur and stubby legs.  I guess that can be used for a metephor for a lot of things in life.  I'll let you pick yours.

(not the actual butterfly but it looked kind of like this- more yellow) Darn. I should have taken a picture.

So I figured the garage probably wasn't the ideal starting point for this little guy's life, so Isaac and I found a piece of cardboard to urge him to crawl on to. We walked him out to the grass and I set the cardboard down and he walked off, wings flapping a little in the breeze. Hopefully this way the sun and breeze will help his wings dry off. Isaac had a set of huge rubber bugs that his Mymy gave him, one of which was a big yellow and black butterfly similar to the one we found. I brought it to him so he can associate them together, so that he knows a real butterfly is not a fake plasticky thing but something real, alive, and delicate.  Of course his 2 year old understanding of delicacy got about as far as attempting to wack the real butterfly with the fake one (don't worry, I saved him).  So we backed up a little and then waved good bye to Mr. Butterfly.  It was a sweet moment to watch my young son have a little bond with a butterfly, and to hear his sweet little voice say "bye bye bu-erfly". We shut the garage door and waved bye once more, Isaac wouldn't stop until the door was shut.

The cutest part I think, that touched my heart the most, was that he asked me two more times to go see the butterfly. Of course, I was sure that hours had gone by and butterfly must have gone by now, but we went out anyways. I'd rather him go see for himself and let me try to explain it then just let him keep wanting to see. Poor kid needed some closure. He looked around the grass for a little while and asked me where the "bu-erfly go?" I did my best to explain it, using my hands to be the butterfly flying a way. I don't think he got it so much as he just moved on to other things (laying in a bush). Such a cute little mind he has.

Hopefully we'll see more butterflies soon. 

(P.S. I am curious if we might have accidently stowed some butterfly cocoons from Japan, and that maybe this was a Japanese butterfly? Is that possible? It looked awfully familiar to the ones they had there. Hah.)

The One Question I Hate

I'm not going to lie. It's been off and on rough for me the last few weeks.  Ever since Isaac's birthday was coming around the corner I realized that on the 28th, Micah would be 5 months old.  Five whole months. More importantly it's been 5 whole months since I found out the awful, no good, very bad news: that his twin brother, our son, Jeremiah was gone.  Sometimes I feel like that day was a very bad dream. I hate that Micah's birthday is blended with grief. I wish I could say it was one of the best days of my life. It wasn't. It was one of the worst and scariest.  Maybe if I were to look at it positively I could say it was the strongest day of my life. The day I had to face such heartbreak and fear for the life of my surviving twin, born so very early. The day I had to be strong for my son, for my husband, for my family. I had to rally people together. To be happy for Micah. To have enough resolve to be able to go into that delivery room and birth my two sons, knowing full well that one was gone and the other was still so early...well I knew there was danger for him and for me. 

I guess all those memories are flooding back.  They are compounded by the unavoidable reminders of what could of been. That viral video going around with the twin boys talking to each other or doing karate (I haven't watched it, I'm just going by comments) is one example.  Another are the friends who have twins that are experiencing everything there is to go with having twins.  It just breaks my heart. For Micah. For me. For what should have been.

I really wish this was easy to move on from. I'm not walking around in self pitty all the time. But I still hurt. I can't help but look at Micah and see double. For that I will always be grateful, that they were identical, because then at the very least I can try to imagine just what Jeremiah would have looked like during his life here on earth. 

And that leads me to my least favorite question, the one I've begun to hate.  "How old is he?" I hear that everywhere we go. I always sigh, and say something along the lines of it being a complicated answer. He's 5 months but he should *almost* be 3 months. Most people don't understand even after I have told them that just because he was born then and is now 5 months does not mean that he should automatically be the size of an average 5 month old nor should he be developmentally like one. It means he should have been developing into a newborn for the first 10 weeks of his life, and the it all grows from there.  And of course the worst part of the question is that it reminds me all over again about my story...his story---their story.

I wish I could kiss my Jeremiah's chubby little baby cheeks right now.  I'm glad he's in a better place though.

Micah & Jeremiah holding hands

Monday, March 28, 2011

Birthday Boy Memories

Today was Isaac's 2nd Birthday! It seems like he had a whole birthday weekend since we celebrated on Saturday and a little on Sunday. Especially since he was born in Japan, his birthday was kind of yesterday if you want to get picky. ;) He was a good boy, and we've been having so much fun with him. He has tons of hot wheels cars now and car tracks and fun toys. Thankfully he didn't get too much otherwise I wouldn't know what to do. I swear we have too many toys as it is. And he's only 2.

Speaking of only being 2 I cannot believe how fast they grow. I try REALLY hard not to get so excited that he is growing and learning so fast, because it is really fun.  I love how much stuff we can go and do with him and how he can interact, learn and just do with the world.  Yet, time is not always our friend and a large part of me wants to hold on to every moment I have with him. He wont always be my young baby boy. He will grow up and God willing have a fulfilling life.  I guess unfortunately I know that life is not always so simple and I fight a level of anxiety every so often. I just have to appreciate the time we have and try not to rush it.  I want him to grow. I do. Part of me just wants to squeeze him so tight he stays this way forever.  I'm fighting a mopy feeling from other fronts, so instead of letting all *that* get me down on his day, let me share a little something special. Probably my favorite moment of my life.

As a mom I have to also give myself some credit on this day. It was just 2 years ago that I gave birth to my first born son. I was overdue...big ole belly on a tiny frame. I had tried everything to get that darn baby out and despite walking around at 3 cm for 2 weeks this kiddo wasn't going to budge! I felt doomed to wait until my induction day that we reluctantly set for March 30th.

The night before we had invited people over play games, hoping a certain someone would decide to ruin those plans. Didn't quite work, but I WAS miserable. I had been sitting on a yoga ball and when I got up I could not put any weight on my right leg. My sciatic nerve was pinched so bad. After everyone left I got into a warm bath with the aid of my husband. Soaked a little and then got out and the hubby went to bed. I laid down on my bed, about 1:45 in the a.m. (hey, I was still very much a night owl and I still had the luxury of sleeping in since I was childless thus far--well I tried to sleep in as much as I could before I nearly wet the bed or starved to death.) My husband had just fallen asleep and I was browsing and posting on a mommy forumn on my iTouch.  I had two tighening contractions in a row, just like braxton hicks. They were a little uncomfortable but I was used to that by then, after all I had been a walking contraction for a month at that point. 

The 3rd tightening came and with it my son pushed against it and with that came a reverberating *POP POP* sound and feeling. Disturbed, I let out a "What the hell was that?" Just loud enough for my husband to say, "What?". I thought, and it felt like, Isaac had broken a bone in the womb. It was so loud, and felt so strong. I thought maybe my water had broken as I had read about an audible sound. But no water gushed. I mentioned that it could be my water to my husband who was about as coherent as a bag of dog food. I got out of bed to see, walked a few steps into the hall and WOOOOSH, out came practically all my water just flowing down my leg and unto the floor like it does in the movies. Despite wanting this baby out with all my might, I suddenly felt very very scared and intimidated by the task I knew was at hand.  That baby had to come out some how.  Unless I had a C-Section, which I was praying against, I was the only person that was going to be pushing that baby out...of MY nether-region! AH.

My husband perked up and we were both in disbelief. We got my mom who was staying with us and I called L&D. They told me to come in even though I was hoping to labor at home for a while. Fortunately I didn't but we'll get to that later. We loaded up the hospital bags, let the dogs out for a quick potty and got in the car. By that time my contractions were coming. Practically all my water had come out, my belly looked like I was maybe 6 months pregnant. Contractions more and more frequent...and then I start to shiver. Uncontrollably shivering, in a car, teeth chattering away, and having contractions was not a fun adventure.  Luckily it was at night and no cars were to be seen. Still every bump was a doozy. I held onto that handle and breathed like nobodies business! I jjust went from 0 - Labor in 15 minutes!

My husband dropped off my mom and I at the Naval hospital front and the front desk people so helpfully pointed me in the right direction without offering a coupled-over preggo, with a towel between her legs, breathing heavy, and stopping every 5 steps for a contraction much help at all. Thanks for the wheel chair 18 year old Navy boys! Ahem. So we go to the elevator and I swear on my stretchmarks I had 3 contractions just on the ride to the 5th floor. At this point Gravity was not my friend. It hurt like the dickens and each new one was worse. I felt like bowling ball was sitting on my cervix, which happened to be not only on fire but also full of crampy crampiness. So fun.  They walked me to a room to be monitored, gowned up (or down?) and tested to see if my water had really broke. Yep, pretty sure it did.  My contractions were better on the bed but still rockin my world. All I wanted was epidural, epidural, FRIGGIN EPIDURAL!

So after an appointment or 5 with the bathroom I made it out and a nurse walked ahead of me to show me to my delivery room. It was fortunately at the end of the hall. I felt like I was walkin' "the mile".  I stopped about every 30 seconds for a contraction as she rolled her eyes. My mom not so secretely wanted to slap her. Got to the bed...I got hooked up. Checked my cervix and I was at 5cm. This was about 4:30a.m. I want to say. My contractions were hard hard hard. They lasted about 1.5 minutes and were 30-50 seconds apart and yes you read that right. From that point it was kind of a blur. No really, I took off my glasses so I couldn't see hardly a thing. I rolled, I moaned, I cussed, I shed a tear or two.  Then came in the God-send himself.  My main man Trevor (Oh yes, I remembered his name and considered giving Isaac a new middle name) came in the room wearing a smiley face bandana. He was the anethesiologist bringing me my epidural.  The epidural didn't hurt a bit, it was hunching over (pushing against my husband who was going delirious and pushing me up?) over my pregger belly having a billion contractions from hell. Cameron almost passed out and quickly hurried my mom over to hold me up. She did a more helpful job and they got it in asap. Instant bliss. I fell like a whole new woman!

We all decided to hunker down for what could be a long day, so rest was a must. About an hour or so of just laying there I was starting to get bothered that I felt like I really, REALLY had to go to the bathroom, especially during contractions. Heck, I didn't wanna poop on the table and with an epidural you just never know! I told my mom and we told a nurse and she got the midwife to come in. I hadn't even met her yet and she came real quick to check me. Barely a few seconds goes by and she pulls of her gloves and exclaims "You're done!" ??? "What?" "You're done. 10cm dilated, fully effaced and +2 station."  Woooweee I was so not ready to go into labor. I was expecting endless hours of waiting...and um, some sleep first! At this point I had been awake for about 20 hrs!

They raised up the bed, we practice pushed, waited, let my body labor him dowon without me pushing etc. All in all it was about 5 good pushes, in which I mentioned somewhat out loud that "IT HURTS!!!" We still laugh about how I must of scared the heck out of other laboring moms in the area by letting that one slip. Heh. But I had to push through the pain.  I somewhat regretted not tapping that epidural button just one time before pushing, but hey, I'd rather feel than push for 3 hours. I focused on the diamond pattern on my gown so as to not close my eyes and I pushed as hard as I could.  Out came my boy and it was the most amazing experience. He say his hands reach out so strong, he cried, they put him on my tummy and rubbed him in blankets. He grabbed my finger (while wailing). It was just amazing.  I think that memory--the first time I laid eyes on him, having his natural, unwashed, little baby body lay on the OUTSIDE of my belly for the very first time.  He was healthy. 4.5hrs of labor from start to finish. 9/9 APGAR.  Life was perfect. I'm glad God gave me that experience.

We spent 2 days + a few hrs extra in the hospital because my blood pressure was high during and after labor. It was what seemed like the longest 2 days of my life---waiting for the chance to take my baby boy HOME.  And then now, it's been 2 years. 2 whole years. Time sure does fly. After all we have been through as of late I am so thankful for that experience, that miracle. I am thankful I went overdue.  I am thankful I felt so much pain for such a short while. I am thankful I could have a screaming baby boy placed on my belly in his first moments of life. I am thankful that I was able to feel like 2 days in the hospital, with the baby in my room, was a long time.  You learn to appreciate that kind of stuff. More than anything, I thank the Lord for giving me such an amazing person to be my son.  Isaac means Laughter. He stays true to his name.

Friday, March 25, 2011


No, not the network. CBS - Crying Baby Syndrome. I made that up, so if it's really some sort of syndrome don't get it confused.  I diagnosed Micah with that today on my walk because seriously, this kid likes to cry! Honestly I feel bad for the poor kid. He is so fussy sometimes it must suck to be him.

Thankfully it isn't all teary eyes and angry cries all the time.  He has quite the smile. And boy do those baby blues just light up when I look at him.  He loves to smile at me, he loves to look at faces and be played with. He likes to sit up and watch the world.  He wants to be held. All the time. Which is great, if I had all the time in the world to just hold him. Yet I have a toddler who makes messes, and dogs that need to be fed, and yeah I need to shower, do laundry, cook, clean.  I try to hold him whenever possible. And I do love it. He doesn't like carriers for the moment, I think once he gets a little bigger and stronger I can put him in the hip carry or joey hold and he would enjoy it. For now, he's *almost* to the point I could carry him forward facing. But now he doesn't like to be restrained. He wants to stand. He wants to kick and play and look around. So strapping him to my body does seem to be working anymore... I tried the Bumbo a week ago or more and he just gets mad. He's *almost* ready for it. He is doing great with head control, and he likes to sit (or jump) on our lap so I don't really get why he doesn't like that.

My brother said it best last weekend. "He cries a lot."  Yes. Yes he does. He cries when I feed him, sometimes. He cries when I don't. He cries just to cry it seems and usually cries if you put him down. He HATES being in the carseat AND the car, which as you can imagine makes me really want to go for car rides anywhere. I hate that it should be easy to just go take a baby out with you. But it's not. His crying makes situations stressful. If I had the opportunity to go hang out with people I generally weigh the options of should I go or will it be just Micah crying? Is it worth the drive of doom? At the zoo, we usually have a good crying episode.  I'd love to take the kids and the dogs on a good hour long walk everyday, but no, Micah rather it be kept to a brisk 15 minutes.  Yeah, that's me with baby wailing in the stroller as I practically run back to the house, hearing his cry echo through the canyon of garage doors. I'm pretty sure he doesn't like it when I take a shower because he cries the instant I get my hair wet. And thinking of getting a sitter...oye. That's a lot to ask someone to do.

He does suffer from moderate reflux, which he is on meds for. He seems to be doing better in that department.  And fortunately we discovered that he has thrush on his tongue so that could be part of why he can be fussy at feedings. We called everywhere and no one has Gentian Violet here, so I'm ordering it online I think. We have given him some Tylenol on occasion for the pain, and we've tried swabbing his mouth with Club Soda (something I read about home remedies for thrush).  But he's only fussy sometimes. And it is getting fewer and further between feeding fits. Maybe the soda is working? I'm starting to wonder if it's over stimulation since we have zero issues with feeds at night time. He is more aware of his surroundings and I notice that most of these fits are when we are away from home.

Isaac was such an easy baby. He hardly ever cried. He spit up a lot. A lot a lot, but he was dubbed a "happy spitter". He was chunky, and happy. He took naps pretty easily. He was content with whatever. He was sleeping way better at night by now, and I'm going by Micah adjusted age of almost 3 months. He did 8hrs then fed, slept 4 more. Sure he had his days, and the bouts of fits here and there, but nothing like this. I feel for moms of fussy babies everywhere.  It changes how you live your life. And more than just the average baby would. It's having all those things about having a baby---you know, the normal stuff---feeds, spit ups, diaper changes--- PLUS the fact your baby cries at random and often. So if you venture out, it's either you are somewhere far away from what you wanted to be doing while trying to soothe the unconsolable child, or everyone with you is blinking slowly at each other while losing the power the think since the constant wailing depletes brain cells of everyone in a 100ft radius. There really isn't anything more stressful than being out in public trying to feed a screaming baby where everyone stares at you as you try to lovingly wrestle your hungry but angry baby to the boob without giving everyone around you a show.  Or driving home in rush hour traffic while your baby cries like you've abandoned him forever to starve to death in the back seat of the car. For 25 minutes. Nothing you can do but just hope he doesn't choke on his own tears and pray against all red lights and putsy drivers.

I'm glad that he seems to be getting a little happier, which is probably attributed to his new interest in his surroundings (maybe a double edged sword at this point, being as though that very thing is why he doesn't do so well in different places). It's great to see him doing so much new stuff. I'm glad he is developing on track milestone-wise (things EVERY preemie parent watches for). He's starting to intentionally grab and hold my face. I love it.  He smiles most the time that he isn't crying or asleep. He laughs kind of, more like chuckles maybe? He coos more. He talks to us. He kicks like crazy and if you hold him up on his feet he likes to march or walk (I've got video of this). He is so good with his head now that he can actually hold it up without resting on my shoulder.  He is also starting to get interested in looking and grabbing at toys. I got him staring at his hand this morning and it was pretty cute. I feel bad that he might be so uncomfortable that it makes him so upset. He probably misses his brother too. I'm most likely just spoiled from having such a good first baby, that it makes this seem so much more difficult. I would like to just get out of the house every now and then and not have to worry about Micah deciding he hates life in the real world.

I wish I had a better picture of his smile on hand, but for now you can just look at how cute he is! Maybe one day when I can get my computer out of safe mode I'll be able to upload pictures from my camera. Hah.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2 Years Ago

 2 Years Ago.

I was probably pretty miserable. Not probably, I was. I was past my due date, huge for my small frame... and at that point I was convinced that I would be pregnant forever. I had tried everything, within reason, to try to go into labor. I faced an induction scheduled for March 30th. We walked till my pelvis was split in two. My back hurt. My ribs had little room. My skin was pretty stretched, although some time later with the twins I would experience much worse.  No doubt the questions and You're still pregnant?s were annoying. Little did I know, but very much did I hope, I would be giving birth to my first born son in just a few more days. It would be the most amazing experience of my life.

Fast forward to a year ago and we were excitedly planning a beach party for his first birthday party. Wishing away the rainy Okinawan weather. By this time he was walking on his own. Playing a little with cars and trucks, balls and more. Such a very happy child, he always has been.

Real time I can hardly believe my little boy is almost 2. And my, what a difference a few years make! It's crazy to think that 2 years ago he was a squished 6lb13oz baby boy in the womb. Now he walks, runs, jumps off the couch. He plays with race cars. He says "race car" which sounds a little more like "ge car".  He kicks balls, throws balls and has even started catching them.  He dances to any music. He likes to torture the dogs.  He is speedy. Some how he figured out how to "shoot" at me with our automatic nasal aspirator like a toy gun.  He loves dinosaurs "RAWR!", whales and sharks "Whale, whale, whale!", and chocolate which has gone from being pronounced "coch" to "cocholeight".  He is a good big brother (although not the best and being quiet when the baby is asleep).  This kid is a rock star.

He'll be 2 years old on March 28th, technically the 28th Japan time, since he was born at 6:29am in Okinawa.

I'm so excited to see him change and grow, and yes, even experience those fun toddler tantrums, over the next year. They grow so very fast.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Sick. Again.  But I'm finally feeling better. I wish I could be keeping up with the blog but when you have sickie toddler with a sickie mom (yours truly) it's hard to prioritize online blogging.  We had some good friends come down last weekend and had a ton of fun. I'm pretty sure Isaac got a bug from their kiddo and now it's had a little party through most of our family. Micah seems to be fairing alright. Hopefully it stays that way! Isaac has a runny nose a little still, but mainly a cough that wont quit.

Hope to catch you all back up later. I know you miss me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Something to be Excited About

As you most likely already know, I'm obsessed with the Dog Whisperer and learning everything I can about dog behavior and how to handle it. If you knew me when I was young, you would know I loved dogs.  i.e. My mom face painted me to look like a Dalmation and I would run around the house on my hands and knees, pant like a dog, bark like a dog, act like a dog.  I have been a long time dog sitter. I have fostered dogs. Adopted dogs. I just love dogs! So what on earth could be a better job for me and my life right now than to become a CERTIFIED dog trainer? Nothing I could think of!

I got the idea on whim, and started searching how to become a certified personal dog trainer. I came across the Animal Behavior College and looked into it. Problem was most dog trainer school cost thousands of dollars. Having to already pay off my student loan, spending even MORE money on school didn't sound appetizing. Then as I read through their program I noticed a hi-lighted blurb saying that Military Spouses can get tuition for free! To good to be true? I had to find out. So I put in to request more info.  The next day a admissions counselor called me to talk about it. She told me about the program and then asked me some questions to see if I was eligible for MyCAA funds.  Luckily I am, having and active duty spouse who just happens to be an E-5, which is the highest rank he can be for me to receive the funds. Sweetness. I don't have to pay a dime for tuition, and just $75 for the application fee.

Classes are self paced, which is nice, and I get paired up with a local trainer for hands on learning.  The best part is that once I am done with the program I can make between $80-$150 and hour. Not bad! I can also make my own hours, and being a SAHM that REALLY helps out!

I'm so pumped! I needed something to put my mind to. What better way than to get a job doing a hobby I already love. The other awesome part (and the reason that the military pays for it) is that it's considered a portable career, and I know I can do it wherever the military moves us. I suggest that you look into something similar if you are a military spouse. MyCAA pays up to $4000 for Licenses, Certification and Asssociates Degrees. They have a decent list of job options to, well beyond just animal services.

Woof. Woof.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Worst Thing about being a Military Family.

Leaving friends. Making friends. Watching friends leave you. Making more friends. Leaving friends. It sucks plain and simple.

It truly is a blessing to meet so many great people. So many new people. So many people from so many places. Okinawa was a blast. We made great friends. I was fortunate enough to hook up with some people online and make connections that I literally had friends on Island the second we landed.  "M" picked me up from the airport! We had fun, we hung out. We were fortunate to have a big handful of friends to get along with and do similar activities with. We aren't a partying couple. We're more of a get-out-of-the-house-and-do-something-cool couple.  Or a have everyone over and play games couple.  We met friends that matched us in Oki.  I personally had a great group of ladies to hang with.  And then, they move.  Three to four year tours are the norm overseas, so you can expect a steady flow of inbound and outbound people. Sure, you meet someone who has the island totally wired and can show you around, but they've been there for 2 years.  And that means that in 2 more years, Sionara. They leave. And now you have 2 more years.  So you make more friends and you become the friend that has the island totally wired and can show them around. But you've been there for 2 years. Now you leave.

So here we are. Back in the CITY I grew up in. Sure we have a few old friends here. My best friend (and still current BFF(repeating of course)) moved away to Colorado before we moved back here. I might know of people around here. People I rode horses with. People who I went to school with. People my husband used to know or work with.  Four years is a long time though.  Four years and they have gone on with their lives. Four years and we come back with kids and tragedy.  Tragedy kind of marks you as "that" couple. They still have their childless freedom. Sure, we are one of those people that try to get out, preemie permitting, but let's face it with young children you just can't go do anything and everything. At least not as fast and worry free as they can.

We need to meet some people that get it. Someone in our age group, with little kids and similar values and hobbies.  Isaac is enrolled at the Little Gym, and you would think that maybe we would meet someone there. Strangely enough none of the parents talk to each other! I try to and it's like talking to a wall. They give you one-word replies and body language pretty much states: leave me and my kid to do what we want on our own.  It's like no one wants to make friends.  At least in Okinawa pretty much anyone American there is going to be military affiliated. You all try to talk to each other, and almost everyone is open to making new friends. Everyone in Okinawa knew that you had to reach out because sooner or later your current friends were going to leave you.

I'm finding myself missing the friends we had in Okinawa a lot. We don't have that here and it sucks.  I have great friends spread out all over the States and even the World. That's what happens when you live four years in a foreign country.  For most of them, thanks to Facebook, we keep in decent touch. Some more than others. We are fortunate to have one of our best friends from Oki stationed at a base about 6hrs away. That drive is doable.  But it's not a give you a call and hang out tonight kinda thing anymore. Bummer.

The other day we were at the zoo and there was a couple, our age, with a toddler son and baby in the stroller. Just like us. I wanted to say, "hey, let's be friends." But I thought that would be creepy. So I didn't say much but a a little "hey" and flash an understanding smile.  Man. Even people at church, albeit friendly, are not just ready to pounce on the opportunity of acquiring new friends. 

It's getting boring.  The only problem is, we might be leaving within a year or more. Maybe. And part of me just doesn't want to waste the energy to make close friends just to leave them behind.  Boo.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Saw the Baby

Early Intervention Appointment Update for Micah

Well, nothing special. But nothing special is a good thing! They came over, and since we had to switch to a different clinic because our last one closed down, we had a lot of paper work to sign.  All that aside, they asked us a few questions and checked him out a little and says he looks perfect and like a normal 2 month old baby, which is what he should be.  I knew he was, but you always wonder what if you are totally missing something. I think a mother just knows. I know my baby is so smart, and so perfect.

They said he is right on track for all his milestones and then some. The fact that he rolled over about 3 weeks ago is "amazing".    I thought so too.  As I had mentioned, a couple other preemie moms mentioned that his rolling over could be due to too high of a muscle tone. I asked the therapists about this and they said that he didn't look like he had high tone. At least, not in a bad way. She said he obviously has a strong trunk, since he can hold himself up well in a sitting position and he is strong, but she said that is great and what they want to see. She said that it becomes a problem if he is just stiff like a log and doesn't bend. He can bend, in fact he likes to be curled up on mommy's chest. That made me feel much better.

So for now we just keep up with him and make sure he stays on track. Nothing to worry about now. Such a relief. I know that every child will have potential obstacles, but I'm glad that right now, it looks like it wont be anything too life altering for his sake. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Look at the Baby

Tomorrow afternoon the developmental therapist comes to check out Micah. I'm curious to see what they say. As far as I know, to the non-expert but self-educated eye, he seems to be coming along perfectly. It's quite the relief to see this.

Let's back track for a second. For those of you who don't know, Micah was born all extra poofy with fluid. He weighed a whopping 3lbs 6oz at birth but he was so full of fluid he lost that in a matter of days (peed it out all over the isolette bedding) and dropped down to 2lbs 5oz. Other than that he did pretty good in the NICU. When it was all looking bright, the grade 1 IVH aka Intraventricular Hemmorage aka minor almost non existent brain bleed had gone away. Yay! Worse news. Minor cystic PVL (Periventricular Leukomalacia- damage to the white matter in the brain near the ventricles) was revealed on a head ultrasound and confirmed by MRI. Now, the prognosis for this is all over the place. Pretty much anywhere from you would never have any idea, to he might be clumsy or have vision problems, learning disabilities etc, or he could be completely handicapped or rendered mentally retarded. Cerebral Palsy is a bomb often dropped in those conversations. Bleh. Initially I was the biggest worry wort ever. I watched every move. Every leg kick, every cry, anything he ever did or didn't do had me hyper analyzing. I was obsessed. I couldn't relax. I googled--I know, I know, but I had to. And most of the research there made me feel worse, while some gave me hope.

What it all came down to was that you can never know. The brain is "plastic" they say, as in it can wire and rewire. The best advice was given to me: "Don't look at the MRI, look at the baby."  This is important because something minor on MRI can cause major disabilities in one child while another with vast white matter injuries can be completely normal and fully functioning. In a way, it helped me relax, but in another I was still bothered that I couldn't have a real diagnosis, not yet.  I just have to let the passage of time do its thing and see as we go.  I have done everything I can do in my power to help him have the best chances. I breastfed (well, pumped initially) from the start. I've prayed--boy have I prayed. I love him. I hold him, wear him. I interact with him. I challenge him. I massage him. We do tummy time. That's about all I can do now, at his age. It wasn't until we got our first EI (Early Intervention) visit where they said he was doing so well, even up to his actual age in some places. His vision tracking was great. His motor skills were awesome. All he had was one thumb that liked to stay tucked, and after a week or two of me stretching it out that's gone too. I was so, SO relieved!

Fast forward back to Live and now my boy is smiling, laughing a little, getting excited, kicking his legs, cooing, gurgling, grabbing at everything his had touches, looking around, recognizing faces and surrounds, curious, sitting well in our arms, holding his head up, making eye contact, bearing his weight on his legs for a short time, and he even rolled over once on his tummy! So far he is doing great! Honestly, the day he smiled at me--REALLY smiled at me--50lbs of worry melted off my back. So far, all is good. I'm pretty sure Jeremiah is still giving him strength, just like he was there for his brother in the NICU.

So tomorrow EI comes back and I guess will do another evaluation and set up a plan from there. The only thing I wonder about is his ability to bear weight on his legs. I was impressed that he could already do it so well but someone mentioned to me that since his adjusted age is only 2 months, that is early to be able to do that, it might be due to high muscle tone. But, then again I think back to Isaac and how strong he was. He always wanted to stand no matter what. Heck, he was pushing off out laps so much we put him in a jumparoo at 3 months! I think it's just his genes, but it's nice for someone to give him an expert looksy. I personally think he's fine.

I'll keep you all updated!

Then. October 28, 2010 - 3lbs 6oz (and losing)
Now. Feb 27 - 10lbs 6oz. (4 months actual and about 9 weeks adjusted)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Hope I Don't Become an Animal Hoarder...

Because then I would end up on Animal Planet on one of these TV shows with poop stained concrete and broken windows. On the bright side I'll have 30 dogs. Hah! Seriously though, I'm sitting here watching this show and almost everyone has had a tragic loss in their life.  It made me think about how losing Jeremiah and all made me just want more dogs. Like a doggie addiction.  Then again, I've wanted more dogs my whole life.

I'd feel satisfied with another Rhodesian down the road, but much much more down that road. For one, my plate is pretty fully. For another, I would like to make sure puppies don't eat my furniture while I'm upstairs changing poopy diapers. And probably more importantly my husband would not appreciate it very much.  Ideally for me, 5 dogs would be the perfect number. Maybe 4. Definitely not 30.  O.K. Phew, I don't think I'll be one after all. Maybe 30 would be cool............


Being a Pack Mom

Blogging for me has been a long time coming. I've been through so much in the past 6 months (and 5 years more than that) you would think I could write a novel or two. I plan on it. Someday. When I have the time. But now, I feel like I have next to ZERO.  My life is pretty crazy, so crazy in fact I dread hiring a baby sitter for fear they would charge $40 an hour. I sure know if I got paid for this job I would accept nothing less than that. But I love it.

What makes it so crazy? Well, we just moved back to the states from living overseas in Okinawa, Japan for 4 years. I came back early, since I was pregnant with twins who were due in early January 2011.  Our first born son will be 2 at the end of this march. I flew over 24 hrs travel time back to the States, ALONE, with a dog (my husband had the other 2), a toddler, and two in the womb (22 weeks pregnant).  It was shortly after my husband came here to join us at our brand new empty home (all our goods were in a crate on a ship somewhere in the Pacific) that I began to have problems with my pregnancy. That whole thing was a fiasco, and it deserves it's own blog post if 80, but long story short I ended up in preterm labor at 30 weeks just to find out we had lost a twin. Then our house stuff came. Then we got sick. And sick again. Baby in NICU. Toddler at home. Lost a child. Moving into a new house. Now we're fighting. NICU baby comes home after 6 weeks in. One of our dogs keep running away and nipping at our toddler so we find him a new home. What do I do for my birthday in January? Get a new puppy. But it's a Rhodesian Ridgeback-my dream dog. How could I say no to that? I thank God for putting that dog in my life.

So, that's just a small nut shell explaining what has gone on in recent days, and maybe you could imagine what my home life is like. I'm sure people out there have it way crazier. Props to you all! I personally must be addicted to chaos, and I really enjoy my life although it does get stressful at times. This is where being a Pack Mom comes in to play. I think it's safe to say I have a healthy obsession with the Dog Whisperer, and as a Cesar Milan-minion I have tried to employ the "Pack Leader" concept in my life. I think there is something so beneficial of trying to create a balanced life, and compose yourself calm and assertively. It sure has taught me to control my emotions and my actions. More than anything it has helped me gain peace in a life that repels it. Yet, it's always a struggle.  Grief doesn't just go away in a day, a week, or a month--our four months apparently. A young baby is still hard to get used to--the sleepless nights, etc.  Add that to the preemie layered cake of running like a ninny from RSV,  problem shooting reflux, colic, and always wondering how his prematurity and other issues will affect him. And then there's Isaac, my toddler. There is NEVER a dull or mellow moment with that child. Peace is not in his vocabulary (actually it is, but what might sound like "peace" actually means "please"). But he is smart and fun and a great kid to get your mind off the darker things in life.

I just have to remind myself. Be calm. Be patient. Those thing's I'm good at. Be assertive. I have to work on that one.