Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Birthday Wishes

I've been asking Annabella what she wants for her birthday off and on for the past couple of weeks.  Invariably, she says something about food.  The most recent:

Me:  Annabella, what do you want for your birthday?
Jason:  Do you want cookies or cupcakes or brownies? (she'd been oscillating between those choices)
A:  Brownies
Me:  What else?
A:  Ice cream
Me:  Yes, we'll have brownies and ice cream, but we have to have something else.  We can't just eat brownies and ice cream.
A:  Brownies and ice cream and brownies.
Me:  OK.  We'll have brownies and ice cream and brownies, but we have to have something else.  How about pizza?  Or hot dogs?
A:  No, I want brownies and ice cream and brownies.
Jason:  How about spaghetti or pizza?  (we often have to repeat options at this age)
A:  No, I want brownies and ice cream and brownies.
Jason:  How about bunnies and cheese?  (bunny-shaped macaroni and cheese)
A:  Yes.  Bunnies and cheese and bunnies and brownies and ice cream and brownies.
Me:  Okay.  Well that's what we'll have then.  Bunnies and cheese and bunnies and brownies and ice cream and brownies.

You'll never guess what she asked for for breakfast this morning after I sang her happy birthday :)

I think it's safe to say she's looking forward to dinner tonight.  Here's hoping she likes her presents too.

3 years old

My dearest Annabella,

Today you turn 3 years old.  Three!  I can hardly believe it.  And yet here we are.  We have officially exited the terrible twos (you hear that, Boo, you can stop being so stubborn all the time now...)  You are able to do more and more every day.  I'm starting to get glimpses about who you are, who I think you'll be, and I'm just so excited for you.

This past year has been a big year for us, but I think the biggest change for you has been getting used to your little sister.  Watching you two learn to play together is so sweet, and so frustrating (you can knock off all the fighting now too, please...)  I love how you want to give her hugs and kisses and play peek-a-boo with her, but I just wish you knew how to do those things without smothering her and knocking her over.  I love how you share your toys with her, but I wish that you'd share all your toys with her, not just the rejects you've decided you don't want at that moment.  But really, you two are great together.  Nobody can make Genevieve laugh like you can, and I know you're a great big sister, and that you two will be such great friends one day.

You are very sweet-natured.  When G pulls your hair, you say, "don't pull my hair baby".  Or when she pinches you, you say "don't pinch my skin".  And can I say that I'm very thankful that your first inclination isn't to just sock her.  You are very cooperative with your daycare teachers (though I've heard that they've seen your stubborn streak a little more recently right around nap time.)  You love to sing and we can often hear you singing quietly to yourself in your carseat.  You whisper when you are uncomfortable.

You are starting to understand the world, to remember things, to grow up.  Watching you watch movies melts my heart, because I see you light up and laugh at the funny parts.  If I say that we can do X after Y, then when we finish Y, you ask about X.

You love scissors, sweeping the floor and using the dustpan, coloring, reading books, swimming, Monkey Joe's, the park, the ball pit, Little Mermaid, CinderBella, Shrek, getting snuggles, cooking with us, getting and wiping off kisses, and playing with stuffed animals (especially putting them to bed).

I can't wait to see what this year brings.  There are so many things I want to do with you, and you are right on the cusp of being able to do them.

Mommy loves you to the moon and back.  Just don't grow up too fast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who stole my baby?


I know it doesn't seem possible, but you  turn 1 year old today.  Where did the time go, you ask?  Well, Mommy doesn't know.  To Mommy, you are still my tiny little baby.  My tiny little baby that weighs more than just a little bit, who your Daddy and I affectionately call "El Hefto".  My tiny little baby who says Momma and Dadda and bye bye and all done and others that we've lost track of and signs more and all done and milk and walks and laughs and wrestles with your sister and jumps off the slide and wants nothing more to be a big girl like your big sister.

How did this happen?  How did my tiny (ok, you were never tiny, little miss 9lbs and 1oz at birth) little baby turn into a full-blown toddler?

We've had a rough year, you and I.  With Mommy battling some rough postpartum depression and then losing Grandpa, Mommy hasn't always been able to enjoy or love on you as much as I would have liked.  And for that I am truly sorry, Genevieve.  But I want you to know that your Mommy loves and adores you to bits and pieces.  And I am so incredibly proud of you.

I love you, Stink Butt, to the moon and back.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

PPD, Part 1

I've tried writing this post over and over, but I always come up short.  I'm hoping to push through and hit "Publish" at the end of this attempt, but only time will tell.  I want to succeed.  I want my girls to have something to look back on in case they go through the same.  Every sentence I type takes so much out of me though.  So here goes nothing.

This year has sucked.  I think it's been the hardest and worst year of my life to date.  

One year ago today I was still pregnant.  I was one day past my due date, and just ready to have this baby already.  I was excited to meet her, but having gone through labor and delivery one time before, I knew first-hand that it sucked and was terrified to do it again.  I had more confidence this time around, knowing that my second baby didn't have the same size issues as my first, and that by all accounts there was nothing to be afraid of.  Everything had been going swimmingly.  Sure I'd been exhausted and virtually unable to play with Bella for the last few months, but I was in the home stretch.

Then I went in the hospital on the night of the 19th and had to be induced.  I'm still saddened that I didn't go into labor naturally.  As silly as it is, a big thing I regret about my decision to be done with babies is that I will never experience this, never have my own story to tell about what it felt like, where I was, how it went.  My story will always involve IVs and Pitocin and being resigned to knowing that I was making the right choice for my baby and myself, no matter how much I hated it.

The next several hours were pretty uneventful, or at least as uneventful as labor can be.  I don't remember very much about that night and the next morning.  I remember playing cribbage with Jason to pass the time until the contractions became too much.  I remember deciding I wanted the epidural, and being disappointed in myself for not laboring on without it.  I remember letting the doctor break my water even though I had specifically said before that I did not want this.  I remember that my nurse's name was Bert.  I remember that I let a nursing student be involved in my care, expecting a 20 something female, and instead got some kid that looked like he might be a college freshman.  But really, most of this is a bit of a daze.

At some point the next morning, it was time to push.  Pushing out a 9 pound baby is not easy, but Genevieve was born at 11:28am.  I wish that I could say that I fell in love with her immediately the way I did with Annabella, but things were different with Genevieve.  She was born blue, and stayed blue for awhile.  My first active part of mothering hurt her, as I tried to pull her up to my chest, but her cord was short and wrapped around her body, and I inadvertently pulled it tighter.  I watched helplessly as every healthcare worker in the room descended on my baby to aggressively run her with towels and blankets to try to pink her up, growing more and more anxious that something was wrong.  Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I was able to hold and love on my baby.  But I felt so weak, and so numb.

I continued to feel weak through the day, so much so that I was afraid to hold Genevieve.  After some time in labor & delivery, they moved me to the recovery wing even though I was still so shaky.  I remember thinking that I felt like I was losing blood, but I told myself that I was just so shaky because Genevieve had been so big and pushing her out had taken so much out of me.  

It wasn't until 6 hours after her birth that I started hemorrhaging blood.  By that time I'd sent Jason home and was alone with Genevieve.  The next few minutes were traumatizing, really.  The confusion, the panic, not being able to care for Genevieve as she lay crying right across the room, watching the nurses continually cleaning my bedding, putting new pads under me, only to rip them off as I soaked them with more blood.  The blood just kept coming, in huge clots.  

With Annabella, I had been so afraid that something was wrong with her.  And I had thought that I would have to have a Cesarean after hours and hours of labor without progress.  So when I was able to deliver her without the C Section, and she was healthy, the adrenaline and euphoria rushed through my body.  My baby was there, she was healthy, and life was awesome.

With Genevieve, I'd been so confident that everything would be fine.  I had no reason to believe anything different.  I don't know if it was that lack of relief (because I hadn't been scared before), or being scared for those first few terrifying minutes after her birth, or the trauma of hemorrhage, or the weeks of weakness after the hemorrhage when I still was uncomfortable holding Genevieve without help nearby.  Or it could have just been plain old body chemistry.  Who knows, really?  Whatever it was though, something pushed me into postpartum depression.  

This postpartum depression is really what I'm hoping to write about, but I'm still not sure I can face it head on enough to address it.  My fingers feel heavy on the keys, and I think of people I know reading this, and not understanding, and the thought is enough to make me stop.  But I want to write about it, for my girls.  Because if heaven forbid either of them go through PPD, I want to help them in any way I can.  And I feel like telling this story might help.

I think I've hit my limit for today though; so I will have to leave the rest for another day.  To be continued, I hope.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

December 21, 1936 - August 18, 2011

He squeezed you like he meant it when he hugged.

He grew the best tomatoes.

He could be silly, even at the end.  (I so wish I had my camera when he showed the girls how to go down the twisty slide at the park.)

He stored trash bags and paper towels in his 800 pound safe.

He loved to eat, but wouldn't touch something if he knew it had butter in it.

He was the hardest worker I've ever known, working 70 hours a week until the cancer and chemo forced him to stop.

He was handy.

He watched Lifetime movies.

He adored his grand babies.  Nothing made him happier than holding them.

He could talk your ear off on the phone.

He was brave, never letting on how much pain he was in.

His garden was always immaculate.

He was a hunter, a farmer, a maintenance worker, a trolley driver, a gardener, and a truck driver.

He loved his sisters, and still called Patsy his baby sister.  He tried to keep his siblings together when times got tough after his parents left them, and he worked to reunite them later.

He had true and loyal friends, the kind who drop everything to help you load stuff up and do whatever they can when they hear the bad news.

He bounced me on his knee when I was little, and asked me who his little boy was.  When I'd say "Grandpa, I'm not a boy", he'd ask where his monkey was.  When I'd say "Grandpa, I'm not a monkey!", he'd exclaim, "Sure you are.  I see your curly tail!"

 He taught me how to add.

He killed the biggest spider I've ever seen (that wasn't in a cage.)  That spider can still make me shudder.

He showed his love by giving you produce from his garden, seeds, and plants.  And when he said he'd give you some turnips, you'd end up with a grocery bag full of turnips.  If he gave you tomatoes, you'd go home with 30 or 40 pounds of tomatoes.

He believed in putting 100 cans of everything back each year.

He was my Grandpa.  And I miss him.