Friday, November 13, 2015

It's A Very Fine Line Between "Normal" and Not

I've never kept it a secret that I was put on meds for postpartum depression and anxiety after Bailey was born.  In fact, I wrote a post about that very thing a few years ago.  And then another when I started wondering and worrying if I'd be dealing with those issues the second time around.  And now here we are, the THIRD time around, and I feel like I'm going crazy all over again.

The day I found out I was pregnant, I stopped my meds cold turkey.  It's not advised {and I definitely don't advise it} but I tend to be a worrier in those first {very important to the little one's development} weeks, and I've been lucky enough to not have any withdrawal symptoms other than a wicked headache that lasts a few days.  I'm up-front and honest with my doctor from the get-go and, while they don't necessarily condone it, they monitor me very carefully to make sure that both myself and the baby are doing okay.

See, the thing about meds (in my case) is that they do a very good job of keeping me calm and even without making it obvious to me or to the people around me that I am, in face, medicated.  There's no big "ah ha!" moment, no fanfare in terms of how I'm feeling.  Just, one day I wake up and it dawns on me that I haven't felt that crazy, anxious, "off" feeling that is usually present throughout the day.  It's awesome, it really is.  I'm a better mom, better wife, happier person when I'm medicated.  I just am.  But the downside to the medication taking effect gradually and almost un-noticeably is that when I'm not taking it, that effect is also minimal...gradual...not noticeable.

Until one day it really, really is.

I've been taking Fluoxetine since just a few months after Bailey was born.  I stopped when I was pregnant with Gerry and started right back after he was born.  When I'm taking my medication, I'm calmer.  Things don't "get to me" as much.  I'm not rage-y.  Messes, attitudes, the kids and my husband being crazy don't bother me.  Other people's opinions roll off my back.  I don't worry as much and I tend to not want to hole up at home all the time.  Physically, I've got the same back pain I've always had.  But mentally?  I'm good.  I'm happy.  Not in an in-your-face, over the top way, but in a normal, this-is-me way, if that makes any sense.  It's great.  But the flip side is that I don't notice those other feelings creeping up when I'm off my meds until they're right there slapping me in the face.

I'm an anxious person by nature, and it's only gotten worse since having kids.  Since they were born, I've had crazy nightmares where they're both in serious danger, Scott is not around, and it's up to me to save both of them.  Bailey started school in August and not a day goes by where I don't think about what, god forbid, I would do if there were ever a serious situation like a gunman or something at her school.  I tell her I love her and to have a great day every single morning before I send her off to school in her friend's mom's car, not only because I mean it, but because I live in a constant state of fear that something is going to happen to her at school and I want the memory of her mother telling her that she loves her {a happy and pleasant memory} to be one of her last.  It's gruesome and it's crazy to have these thoughts, but I do.  And I can't help it.

I've been feeling a lot of guilt, lately, that I don't spend enough quality time with my kids.  Yes, I'm home all day long with them...but there are also at least 4 other kids here with us.  It's fun, but it doesn't make for quality time with my kids.  By the time Bailey gets home from school in the afternoon, I'm waking the kids up from their naps, giving them a snack, changing diapers and putting on jackets and tying shoelaces, and running around to make sure that each kid is going home with the same stuff they brought with them in the morning.  After the last daycare kid leaves, it's time to cook dinner...then clean it up...and by the time all that is finished, I'm worn out and exhausted and it's about time for the kids to go to bed for the night. I tell them I love them before they fall asleep each night, but I can't help the worry.  Those intrusive thoughts that remind me that I didn't have enough special moments with them throughout the day, that make me wonder and worry that they don't know just how much I love them because I'm too busy running from task to task and stressing myself out over other people's kids.  It's terrible, it really is.  But I can't help it.

Bailey has been testing out quite the attitude these last few weeks.  Talking back, bossing the other kids around, and yelling {mostly at me} when things don't go her way.  Generally, we deal with that behavior by sending her to her room until we've all calmed down and we can talk to her about her behavior without anyone wringing anyone else's neck.  For the most part, it works.  But the last few weeks have been tough for both of us in this department, and I definitely haven't handled myself in the right way.  I'm quick to anger and even quicker to yell.  Instead of reasoning with her and letting her have a say, I find myself interrupting her tirade with a curt "No.  Not another word!  I'm the mom!  I'm the boss!"  And it just goes downhill from there.  Afterwards, I feel so guilty; and I always, always apologize.  I'm terrified that I'm somehow damaging our mother-daughter relationship.  But in the moment?  I can't help myself.  I honestly can't.  I don't realize how it's escalating, and the rational part of me that sends a constant reminder that she's just a 5 year old little girl trying to work through an issue just completely shuts down.  I hate myself this way.  But I can't help it.

Yesterday morning was an epic one here.  Bailey had a meltdown before school, which ultimately resulted in my yelling at her to go to her room and her screaming that I was the worst mom ever and was making her life miserable.  There was door slamming {her} and shoe throwing {me}, and I'm not proud of any of it.  By the time I'd sent her off to school, I was a wreck.  I had apologized and told her I loved her and to have a good day, same as I always do.  But I couldn't help wondering if she knew how genuine my apology was.  If, God forbid, something were to happen to her or to me that day, would her last and most recent memories of her mother be those of us arguing, of me yelling and sending her to her room, of anger?

I got through the morning, fed the kids lunch, and put them down for naps.  And it was then, sitting alone on the couch, reflecting once again on the shitty morning we'd had and how much I regretted it, that I got my slap in the face.  I was crying without realizing it, having these awful thoughts that I should be a better mom, that I'm not trying hard enough.  Then came the guilt-- I don't spend enough time with them, I don't show them enough how much I love them.  And then the stupidest thought of all--I don't know what they want for Christmas.

My mind never works in straight lines.  My thinking is sometimes all over the damn place.  So that one stupid thought about what to get them for Christmas led me down this crazy path of thinking that ended with me feeling guilty for not being able to provide for them as well as my sister and brother-in-law and other parents I know can provide for their kids.  And that thought right there was my slap in the face.  It is literally the very same thought I had way back when Bailey was 4 months old, and it was the catalyst for my seeing my doctor and being diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety.  It took me weeks, but I recognize it.  My guilt, my anger, my less-than-stellar tolerance for my kids' behavior...all the typical feelings when I'm not taking my medicine.  It was all right there.

But recognizing it doesn't make it easier to deal with or to forget about.

And there's the problem.  I see it now, and I know that this isn't normal for me.  But in the moment it's harder to notice it.  I need to go back on my meds.  I think, like most people who are medicated for "mental issues", I don't realize how different I am when I'm not taking them and I think that everything is fine and normal.  Until it's not.  After Bailey was born, it took me 4 months to bring up the subject with my doctor simply because I thought I was "fine" and that this was just my normal.  It's not, and it took me awhile to realize it.  Same thing with Gerry.  I didn't ask for a prescription refill until he was well into his second month simply because I felt okay and didn't think I needed them.  I chalked things up to hormones, to being the parent of two small children, to life.

I know that this rage-y, short-tempered, guilt-ridden woman will disappear in a few months when this baby is born and I'm back to being medicated.  I know that I love the hell out of my kids and that I always do what I think is best for them, and pretty soon I'll be back to the mother and wife they've always known and {I hope} loved.  But my fear is that they won't remember or trust it.  I'm so afraid that these last few weeks are going to be seared in Bailey's memory and that, no matter what I do, she'll remember me this way.  And that's a really humbling thing, being worried about what your child is going to think of you.

So, that's my Dear Diary moment.  I love my husband and I love my kids and I love being pregnant...all of it and all of them.  And I can't wait to be "myself" again and start showing them.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Week 20: Baby Is A...


Oh, dear God, another boy.  We're going to have our hands so full.

Our Level 2 ultrasound was scheduled for last week, so Scott took the day off from work.  We dropped Bailey off at school, packed Gerry up, and headed over to the hospital.  My gut had been telling me that this baby was a boy for a few weeks now, so I wasn't surprised when it showed up nice and clear on the screen.  He's healthy and growing just perfectly, and I couldn't be happier.

I'll admit, I'd been fairly worried in the weeks leading up to this ultrasound.  This pregnancy has been 100% completely different than my last two.  With Bailey and Gerry, I was starving all the time and had gained a fairly decent amount of weight by week 20 {think double digits}, and was having very specific cravings from very early on {Slim Jims and canned peaches with Bailey; Twix candy bars with Gerry}.  With this little guy, I haven't had a single craving and my appetite for the most part has remained the same as normal.  Some days, I have less of an appetite than usual.  My weight gain has remained under 10lbs so far.  I'm also not feeling much movement at all with this pregnancy, thanks to an anterior placenta.  I felt those first little flutters with Bailey at 11 weeks, and at 13 weeks with Gerry.  By the 15 week mark with both of them I was feeling honest-to-God kicks and pokes.  So when week 12 came and went this time and I hadn't felt much more than a teeny little stroke, I started to wonder.  When I hit week 16 and still hadn't felt actual movement I was legitimately freaked out.  I'd been having awful, awful back pain and headaches from the very beginning of this pregnancy and was worried that that, combined with the stress of Bailey starting Kindergarten and the craziness of running a home daycare, had somehow stunted this baby.  I would walk in for my monthly OB appointments and say a prayer over and over again until the doc found the baby's heartbeat with her doppler--then I could breathe a sigh of relief.  Until the next day, when my freakouts happened all over again.  I've never been more relieved than I was when the ultrasound tech pointed out the baby and said, "And your placenta is anterior..."  Finally!  A reason for the lack of movement!

Baby was wiggling all over the place during the ultrasound {not that I could feel any of it}, and we were able to get some great photos.  There's no doubt that he's a boy, and he looks perfect in there.

Baby #3

Gerry was pumped right away.  In the weeks leading up to finding out the gender, whenever we asked him what he wanted he said, "A baby brudder".  Being that he's the only boy surrounded by a sister, all girl cousins, and all girl daycare kids, I'm thrilled that he'll have a little buddy to play with soon.  Bailey is another story.  She wanted a baby sister.  Badly.  Scott and I have been preparing her for the possibility of another brother, but she just wasn't hearing it.  When she got home from school the afternoon of my ultrasound, she walked in the door with this giant smile on her face and said, "So do I have a baby sister?  Is it a baby girl?!"

I almost lied to her.

Instead, I plastered a huge smile on my face and said, "You're getting a!"  I could see the instant it sunk in that she wasn't, in fact, going to have the baby sister she wanted.  Her little face crumpled up and she threw herself into the couch.  She cried for a solid 15 minutes before we were able to calm her down a bit.

These two have very different feelings about the news that they're getting a baby brother

She's had a week now to come to terms with having another brother.  We've pointed out all the best parts about having only brothers-- they won't want to play with her makeup and hair stuff, she won't have to share her clothes and shoes, she gets to have her very own room and the boys have to share.  She's coming around and getting excited again, and has even thrown out a few name ideas.  And I know that once he's here and she can actually meet him she'll fall in love, just like she did with Gerry.

So that's where we're at right now.  I'm 20 weeks along {as of yesterday}and according to the ultrasound my due date has stayed the same.  My hips ache in the morning and I have wicked heartburn starting in the afternoon and lasting just about all night long, but other than that, I can't complain.  And-good news- I'm feeling some actual movement!  Not often.  Not even daily, really.  But just about.  And it's awesome.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Baby #3: 17 Weeks

I'm both excited and repulsed to be writing this post.  Repulsed because everybody writes posts like these when they're pregnant and I hate to "copy"; but excited because I enjoy looking back my old blog posts, and it will be fun to look back on these someday, too.  I was horrible at keeping track during my pregnancy with Bailey and, in fact, didn't start this blog until she was about 6 months old.  With Gerry, I took my fair share of pictures.  This time around, I want solid proof to look back on.  So here goes...

How far along:  17 weeks

Total weight gain/loss:  Hey, now.  A lady never discloses her weight.

Maternity clothes:  Yep.  Although, I can still get my yoga pants on and I'm mostly borrowing t-shirts from Scott at this point.  But when we go out in public, I wear maternity jeans and tops.

Stretch marks:  Yes, if you count the ones from Bailey and Gerry.  So far, this little one hasn't bestowed any upon me but I know it's only a matter of time.

Sleep:  I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old.  I haven't gotten a good night's sleep before the oldest was born.  As far as baby goes, sleep is decent.  I get up in the middle of the night to roll over or adjust the extra pillows I use for my back.

Best moment of the week: Yesterday!  I had some energy and my back wasn't hurting too badly, so I cleaned the shit out of the kids' rooms and mine.  Got about 4 loads of laundry folded and put away, cleaned off my desk, did some dusting.  It was nice!

Miss anything:  Alcohol and being able to climb the stairs without getting out of breath.

Movement:  Teeny little brushes and flutters here and there, but nothing major yet.

Food cravings:  None.  Not a single one.  Which is so weird, because I was craving very specific things with both Bailey and Gerry.  This time around, I'm not even really all that hungry.  {and not complaining about it, either!}

Anything make you queasy or sick:  Nope!  The first few months were a bit rough with random bouts of nausea throughout the day and night, but nothing for the last 2 weeks!

Showing yet:  I feel like I just popped at 15 weeks.  Before then I just looked extra chubby.  Now there's a fairly defined baby bump there.

Gender:  We don't know yet!

Labor signs:  None, thankfully.

Belly button in or out:  Still in.  It didn't pop out with either of my other pregnancies, so I'm thinking it won't this time around, either.

Wedding rings on or off:  ON!  I lost my engagement ring a few months ago {we highly suspect Bailey of grabbing and losing it} so my wedding band will stay on until and unless it needs to be cut off my finger.

Happy or moody most of the time:  A little bit of both.  My job seems like a lot of fun, but it can actually be really stressful, and by the end of the day I'm grumpy and moody.  I'm working on eliminating the biggest stressors and hoping that it brings my mood around.

Looking forward to:  Bailey's field trip on Friday!  Her class is going to Merrymead Farm and I'm chaperoning.  She's sooooo excited about it, and I can't wait to share that with her.  :-)

I was 15 weeks along in this photo...17 weeks now!

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Apple & Eve Voxbox Review

I received another voxbox* from Influenster a few weeks ago, and I can honestly say that this was one of my top 2 boxes.  I loved that there were things inside that both I and my kids could enjoy...and enjoy we did!

Here's what came in this Voxbox:

  • Apple & Eve Organics 1L  (Orange Pineapple)
  • Berrylicious Lemonade Organic Quenchers
  • Razzberry Apple Splash Organic Quenchers
  • Fruit Punch Burst Organic Quenchers
I'm not ashamed to admit that I immediately claimed the one liter Orange Pineapple for myself.  At 16 weeks pregnant, I've got wicked heartburn and my go-to (plain ol' water) makes it worse.  I'm trying to keep my weight gain and caffeine intake to a minimum, so this Organics juice was perfect.  As far as flavor, I loved it.  The orange wasn't too tangy, and there was just the right amount of pineapple...and it comes in an eco friendly container that protects both the juice and the planet.  I highly recommend this one!  {Even cooler?  This juice container came with a $1 off coupon for my next Apple & Eve purchase...sweet!}

As for the Quenchers, I loved that they were small juice boxes that fit perfectly in my kids' little hands.  Neither of them were fans of the  Berrylicious Lemonade flavor, but both the Fruit Punch Burst and Razzberry Apple Splash were a hit with them.


The kids thought they were cool because they got to drink juice boxes instead of a sippy cup, and these were super convenient for packing Bailey's school lunch.  Even better?  These are purely organic and sweetened only with fruit, and they've got 50% less sugar than the leading kids' regular juices.  As a parent, that's really important to me.  

Now that Bailey is in school full-time, we send juice boxes in with her lunch.  I hate Capri Sun (and I'll admit it's mostly because of all the gross videos floating around of people cutting open the juice container to find mold floating around in there), and other juices like Hi-C, while the kids love them, are so filled with sugar and other ingredients that I feel like crap sending one to school.  These Apple & Eve juices, though, are a definite staple in our fridge now.  I love that they're organic, I love that they're sweetened only with fruit and that they have less sugar than other leading brands, and the price is comparable to other juice products.  Plus, I feel good knowing that when the kids are sucking down juice it's something organic and healthier for them.  

Soooooo....this long post to say that I very, very highly recommend this product and will absolutely continue purchasing them in the future.  If you haven't tried it yet, or if you've got juice-loving kids who you want to fill up with a less sugary juice drink, get yourself to your nearest grocery store and grab some Apple & Eve!

*I received this product free from Influenster for testing purposes

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

We've Got News!

Baby #3 is on the way!

I'm at the end of my first trimester, and feeling pretty okay.  Exhausted and "big"...the typical pregnancy symptoms, but otherwise pretty good.  I'm nauseous a lot this time around, but excited to be adding to our crew.  We've seen the baby on an ultrasound, and heard the heartbeat for the first time yesterday.

Bailey is over the moon excited, and hoping for a baby sister.  Gerry is pretty indifferent to it right now because he has no clue, really, what's happening.  Scott and I are happy, nervous, excited, and all of the other emotions that come with learning you've got a new bundle on the way.

Here's hoping the next few months go by quickly and calmly!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Big Boy

I've been so preoccupied with Bailey starting Kindergarten that I haven't really updated much on how Gerry has been doing.

Before I go any further, I'm gonna bust out the mush and say that I adore this little boy, and he has me so wrapped around his chubby little finger.  He is, by far, one of the most destructive forces I've encountered in quite some time, but he makes up for it in the quiet moments when he snuggles up into my lap or gives his sister a hug.

He's got the goofiest sense of humor.  Seriously.  Everything cracks him up, and he's constantly making funny faces or noises to get our attention and make us laugh.  He puts on silly dress up clothes and parades around like a clown, and it makes his day to get a good laugh out of people.

Mischief is his middle name.  He's incredibly quiet and very stealthy, and he can demolish a room in .02 seconds if you're not paying attention.  Lately, he's taken to sneaking into the bathroom and pulling apart the toilet paper.  We generally try to keep it up high where he can't reach it, but there are days where that just doesn't happen, and I end up putting on a pair of gloves and digging torn up rolls of tp from the toilet.  Sometimes, he takes pity on us and just unravels a dry roll all over the floor.  He's thoughtful like that.

Despite his fascination with the bathroom and toilet paper, Gerry isn't potty trained yet and I'm pretty sure he has no intention of ever becoming trained.  He's stubborn, and often hides when he has to go.  I'll find him in a corner and, before I can say anything, he throws his hands out and says, "Mom.  I pooping...leave me alone."  To be fair, we haven't really gone hardcore with the potty training just yet.  I'm going to give it a few more weeks and enter that hell when we're both good and ready.

We've made the leap into a "big boy bed", and he's doing so much better that I expected!  A few months back, we converted his crib to a toddler bed and it was a disaster.  He wasn't sleeping, and I'd find him playing in Bailey's room, with all the lights on, at 3am.  It was madness.  This time around it's a different story.  We took him to Target and let him pick out his own bed (Ninja Turtles), and help Scott put it together when we got home.  It helped that Bailey was super excited about the bed.  Once he saw her enjoying it, Gerry decided that he liked it, too, and he hasn't looked back.

{Knock on wood} He's stayed in bed all night, and he does surprisingly well most of the time at nap time.  He hasn't actually napped since we switched to the bed, but he's good (most of the time) about staying in his room, and he'll entertain himself with the Kindle or with his toys until nap time is over.  I think he really likes that he has his own space he can go to when he needs a break from the daycare kids.  I often find him snuggled up on his bed with the kindle in the middle of the day and I'm glad he's got his own little place where he can go to unwind.

At 2 1/2, Gerry is rambunctious and funny, sweet and adorable, mischievous and messy.  He loves cars and trains, his sister, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and anything that even closely resembles fun and destruction.  I love to watch him play and interact with others, and his language and sentences have seriously exploded in the last few months.  He's a typical boy, wild and crazy, with some sweet and tender moments sprinkled in.  He's my little man, and we're so lucky he's ours.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Kindergarten: One Week In

So, we've survived our first week of Kindergarten!

If I'm being honest, I should say that I survived the first week.  Because, let's face it...I think we all knew that I was the one with the problem and not Bailey.  I'll admit that I cried like a baby after we dropped her off on her first day.  The house seemed so empty without her in it and Gerry missed her like crazy.  We're slowly getting into a routine, but I'm terrified that I'm going to forget to pack her lunch one day, or give her a snack that she hates and she'll be hungry.  Slowly but surely we're finding our footing.

My number one fear before Bailey started was that she wouldn't have any friends.  The rational part of me knew that she'd have a blast and would make friends easily.  But the not-so-rational part of me kept picturing her sitting all alone, missing me and her daycare friends.  {Who's got a big head, now?}  It made me so sad to think of her all alone and miserable during the day.  But then another mom and I got to talking on Facebook the other day, and she sent me this:

Name and face blocked for privacy

And it just made my heart so happy to read that and to picture her laughing with her friends instead of being all alone.  Crazy mom fears, right?

I'm interested to see if Bailey is still as excited about school next week, if the novelty has worn off or not.  Right now, she's loving it.  She says her teacher is nice, and she likes her friends, and she comes home and acts out all these school scenarios..."Mom, I'm gonna raise my hand and that means I have a question, and you have to say 'Yes, Miss Bailey?'".   She really likes the specials (health, gym, music, library, and art) and tells me all about what she did in that class.  She's really happy, and I'm really happy.

So far, so good!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sally Hansen #VoxBox Review

Influenster, you've been so good to me.

I received another VoxBox a few days ago, the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Box.  I was sooooo excited when my VoxBox came in because, hello!  Tanner for my legs?  Yes, please!  I waited a few days to try it out, and then gave it a shot over the weekend when my legs were freshly shaved and ready to go.

Not the exact bottle I received

Here's the thing.  I'm beyond pale.  Pasty is a good word, but it still doesn't touch the surface of just how pale I really am.  For the last 31 years, my legs have been white-white-white and I've gotten quite used to it.  So when I slathered on my Airbrush Legs, following the directions on the bottle to a T, I was super surprised at the color.  It was considerably darker than what I'm used to seeing down there.  I was too distracted to get a picture but, trust me, you're not missing out on anything.  The Airbrush Legs bottle that I received from Influenster was the medium hue, and I think that's what did me in.  I'm ridiculously grateful to have received this product, but I think that, had I gotten the bottle for fair skin tones, things may have turned out differently.

I was inspecting the color and making sure that I covered all areas (including the pesky knee and ankle) evenly when my 5 year old walked into the room.  "Whoa, mom.  What.  Is.  That."  I explained to her what it was and she said, "I don't like you this color."  To be honest, neither did I.  BUT there were quite a few things that I really did like about this product, and that's why I'm recommending it.

1.  The directions were very clear on the bottle.  'Squeeze a quarter size of product into hand; smooth on evenly to legs and feet; rub in completely.  Apply sparingly to knees and ankles.  Allow to set before dressing.  Removes easily with soap, water, and a washcloth.'  I'm not very detail-oriented, but these directions were easy to follow and to the point.  You'd have to be an idiot to screw it up.

2.  The product went on smoothly and cleanly.  I've tried self-tanner before, and it was very unfortunate.  The Sally Hansen product, however, went on so smoothly it was like putting on actual lotion.  It didn't leave any streaks, and my skin didn't feel greasy.  The quarter-size amount really went a long way, too.

3.  It washed off VERY EASILY.  I waited about 15 minutes to get used to having one ghostly white leg and one tan-bordering-on-orange leg, and then my daughter convinced me that the "colored" leg had to go.  So I stood in my bathtub with a washcloth and some soap, and prepared to be there for awhile scrubbing this stuff off.  Imagine my surprise when, it came off easily with just a little pressure from the washcloth.  That alone made me love the product.

The color wasn't a great match for me, but that's really the only thing that I didn't like about the Airbrush Legs.  I think that, with a lighter color, it might look a lot better, and I'll definitely be buying this for fair skin tones in the future.  If you're looking to add some quick color to your legs, Sally Hansen is your girl!

*I received this product free from Influenster for testing purposes.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

To My Daughter's Teacher On the First Day Of School

Thank you.

I just dropped my daughter off for her first day of Kindergarten, and you couldn't have been more wonderful.  You caught her eye from across the playground and immediately waved.  You greeted her by name, and with a warm smile, and you were totally okay (encouraging, even) with me hanging around for awhile before actually leaving her.  You looked me in the eye, smiled and greeted me happily, and pretended not to notice when I started tearing up while introducing myself.  {Thank you for that}.  Bailey was the first of your students to arrive, and you chatted with her for a little while before the other kids began showing up, asking her about her missing tooth, and telling her how much you liked her dress.  As other kids began to arrive, I watched you smile and greet them, and comfort the few who were a little hesitant and crying.  Bailey was so excited for her first day of school and so ready to get started.  I felt good about leaving her with you.  I'm confident that you know what you're doing.  I'm confident that my daughter is going to have a wonderful time in your class this year.  I can't wait for you to get to know her (and your other students) better as the year progresses.

But there are things that I won't tell you.

I won't tell you that I cried as soon as I was out of sight of Bailey this morning.  And while packing her lunch and laying out her clothes last night.  I won't tell you that, while I have every confidence in you and your abilities, I'm terrified to be leaving my baby with you {a virtual stranger right now} for 7 hours each day.  You see, from the day she was born, Bailey has been home with me.  I quit my job to be with her, and she's been my number one focus for the last 5 years.  I mean, she was only born just yesterday {or so it feels}.

I won't tell you how empty the house feels without her here right now.  She's my little buddy, and she's always right here with me, asking to help with the daycare kids or trying to finagle her way out of a nap.  I won't tell you that twice now I've turned to tell her something, only to feel a bit of crushing sadness when I remembered that she was at school.  I won't tell you that her brother is missing her something fierce right now.

I won't tell you that I'm jealous of you for getting to spend the day with her.  I'm jealous that you'll get to watch her make and interact with new friends, play on the playground, see her eyes light up when she creates something in art class that she thinks is just awesome {by the way, she's discovered clouds and adds them into every single drawing she does these days}.  I'm jealous that she'll be seeking you out for comfort, for help, for praise instead of me.  I'm jealous that she'll be coming home with stories about all the fun things she did during the day, and I'll have to smile and tell her how happy I am for her, while secretly being miserable that I couldn't be there to witness it, too.

I will tell you that you're so lucky to have her in your class.  To get to know her as she grows this year.  She's such an amazing kid, and I'm so proud of her.  I hope you will be, too.  I can't wait for you to get to know her little personality and her goofy sense of humor.  I hope you see her for the incredible little person that she is, and I hope you continue to foster and encourage her love of learning.  I hope that you'll be patient with her as she learns, and I hope that you'll be stern but loving when she needs a little discipline.

I've prepared her as best I can for school, and Bailey is so proud to be a Kindergartener.  Please love her, care for her, be there for her when I can't.  This first day of school is a huge step, for both her and for me.  When I hand her off to you in the morning, I'm placing all of my hope and all of my confidence in you.  I'm leaving you my most precious possession and, in return, I'm getting a "break" that I don't necessarily want.  It took everything in me to actually walk away and leave her {albeit smiling and happy} this morning.  Please understand what a big deal that was.

I'm passing the torch along to you now, so to speak.  Please keep the flame burning.  

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Diagnosis FSHD

It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Right after vacation, I took of 2.5 days of work to go down to Johns Hopkins with my mom as part of a clinical research study.  After years and years of mis-diagnoses and incorrect diagnoses, she finally got a definitive diagnosis of Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy {FSHD).  So, she and I went to Maryland as the "affected" and "non-affected" family members, and gave them blood samples and had a muscle biopsy done.  All in all, we were gone for 3 days...the longest I've ever been away from either of the kids.  And, as nice as it was to have the break, I missed the hell out of them.

Night one, Bailey called me in tears.  She missed me, she couldn't sleep, she wanted to know when I would be home.  It was rough.  Before I left, she gave me her t-ball trophy from this past season and told me to take it with me "to remember her".  So, as soon as I got to my hotel room the first thing I did was unpack that trophy and put it on the shelf across from my bed.

Our first day was a breeze.  We had to be at the hospital around 9ish, so we met for breakfast early, I filled up on coffee, and we headed the few blocks over.  After a physical, I gave 12 tubes of blood, and then my job for the day was done.  Easy peasy.  My mom took a little longer because she had more tests to do, but we were out of there around lunch time...just in time to walk around Baltimore a bit, grab some lunch, and stock up on little trinkets for the kids.

This bad boy was 45oz. of margarita deliciousness...and I downed the entire thing.  For lunch.

Day 2 was a little bit harder.  Mom and I were due at Johns Hopkins at 12:30 to check in for our biopsies.  We checked in, they gowned us up,...and then we waited.  For hours.  

I was awake during the procedure, and it was both fascinating and excruciating.  I had to lie down on a table in the OR and my legs, torso, chest, and arms were all strapped to the table so I didn't "try to help with the procedure".  My bicep was prepped and then a sheet was propped up on my chest so that I couldn't see what was happening (smart thinking, doc.  VERY smart thinking).  The surgeon injected a decent amount of lidocaine and got to work.

The procedure itself wasn't awful.  The sounds of the metal surgical instruments clanking together, the snipping of the "scissors" as my muscle was cut and removed, the feeling of blood trickling down the part of my arm that wasn't numb from local anesthetic, the thought of what was actually going on behind that blue sheet...those things messed with my mind in a way that was both cool and overwhelming.  I had fabulous doctors and nurses in the room with me, and they did their best to talk to me and distract me from what was going on but it was hard not to focus on the procedure.  I could feel my arm being tugged and kept picturing the muscles in my body the way they'd been shown to us in high school science text books.  At one point, my muscle tensed (I'd been warned the day before that this might happen)...while my arm was cut open and the muscle was being cut.  The pain lasted for about 5 seconds but it was the longest 5 seconds of my life.  It was so surprising and painful that my entire body responded, jerking once quickly and breaking into a cold sweat.  Once the muscle relaxed, it was smooth sailing again, aside from the tugging and cutting.  The procedure took a little less than an hour, and left a scar that's a little longer than an inch long on the inside of my arm.

My arm was pretty sore for the next few days, but it's getting better and we're coming up on the end of the 14 day waiting period (I can finally keep the bandage off and the stitches should dissolve quickly).  Plus, we treated ourselves to some of this amazing-ness:

Overall, it was a good experience.  I missed the hell out of Scott and the kids {and I'll admit I'm a little nervous to get the results from my genetic test back} but I feel good that I "helped" in some small way.


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