Sunday, December 29, 2013

This is it, folks.  My last post for 2013 (most likely, given my track record).  I've been trying to decide how I feel about this.  So much has changed for me that I'm really off of my game, like I'm not even in the same league anymore.  It's all gone strangely too fast and weirdly too slow at the same time.  It's being in a tornado with a strange calm and then another blast hits you again.  Always some vortex in which we measure what our lives have brought to the world.  As always, I have no really big insight.

We built a house this year.  It's amazing and we love it.  It has crayon and marker prints on the wall already, but it adds character.  We were planning on painting it anyway so technically it isn't a problem.  As soon as I can figure out my phone, I'll show it to you in the different stages of production.  Actually, I'll try it now. 


Just kidding.
That really isn't our house. This is the house I talked about, the empty shell where the poor retired couple lost all of their retirement money.  It's obviously beautiful, but most definitely incomplete.
This is my house:
Here's the master suite:

Kitchen which is obviously not finished. We had to wait for the countertop. 


Second floor laundry room.  That rocks.  I hated going up and downstairs all of the time.
Part of the stairs:

A close up of the railings.  I hated them at first, but now I love them.
I won't bore you with pictures of the kids rooms but they're cute.  Emmett's nursery is done in monkey themes and the older boys are done in The Cat in the Hat.  There is also a loft that separates the main suite from the kids room which is great for a toy room/exercise room.  There is a formal front room and an office, which I claimed immediately.  My scrapbooking stuff needed a home.
I'm another year older and hopefully I'm getting wiser. I don't know. 
This year has been a year of extremes.  It has been both very, very bad and very, very good.  All of the uncertainties that I will face in the next year are before me so I go into the holiday season with a little trepidation and a lot of anxiety. 
It's late.  Generally I have my most profound thoughts when it's late and I'm up working on my blog but tonight I have nothing to say except that I wish that I could invent a time machine.  I would go back to the me of three months ago and tell myself to wake up in so many ways. This year is over but who knows what the next year will bring?  I'm scared to think about it, truly scared.  My kids grow older and I'm starting to see a little more of their personalities.  Emmett, for example, is a daddy's boy.  I never thought that would happen.
I started writing a book like someone suggested but things became so chaotic in my life that I've been completely unfocused and unable to put into words what I feel in my heart.  All I can say is that my life is measured by small bits of time that I hold onto as closely as I can.  Those moments are my lifesavers, keeping me afloat when everything else seems to not make sense.  Those moments are what will make 2013 the most memorable.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Stepford Wives Syndrome Guilt

It's simple enough.  I have it.  There isn't a cure for it unfortunately.  If someone could invent a simple injection, it would be nice because I could stop feeling the pressure of keeping myself and everything else together.

I have four kids.  That's a scary thought.  They depend on me for diaper changes, food preparation, and the occasional tuck into bed (that part is generally left up to daddy).  But there's holes in my day so big you could drive a semi through it.  Some days it's the kids or the house. 

Do you know those women at the bus stop with their kid with their hair perfectly coiffed and their makeup smoothly applied?  I'm lucky to be out of my pajamas at 7 a.m. when the bus comes.  Who am I kidding?  I'm lucky to be out of bed at that hour.  I let myself sleep since the kids can dress themselves.  Dave can pour their cereal and the bus stop is in front of our house.  We are the laziest family you will probably ever meet. Oh, and yes, I said cereal.  The sugary kind.  I think right now it's fruit rings but we also have golden puffs.  That might warrant a CPS call to those perfect women.

I have this guilt that nothing gets accomplished because I want EVERYTHING to get done. My stomach is in knots because I still haven't put together my office or my closet.  My closet looks like it threw up on itself.  We still haven't unpacked completely from our last trip and we'll be leaving again in a week.  Thus, I have what I like to call "Stepford Wives Syndrome Guilt." I wanted this house.  I thought it would be nice to have room to spread out.  All I can say is I'm glad we don't have more square footage or my guilt would probably multiply by a thousand.  There is only one room in our house that I think is actually done and that's the guest room/nursery.  It took me forever to do but it's adorable.  When I can figure out this picture thing (windows 8 sucks), I'll add pictures. There's still work to be done in all of the other rooms of the house: hanging a shower curtain in the kids bathroom, actually cleaning the kids bathroom, folding the boys laundry (my nemesis), you guessed it..  I have something to do in every room from the bottom floor to the our room.

I don't meet my husband at the door looking all fancy.  In fact, the majority of the time my hair is just up in a clip so the baby doesn't  pull on it.  I'm usually wearing a shirt that has spit up on it, and I'll be honest, I'm losing weight but not enough to lose the muffin top I have with pretty much everything I wear.  The good news is I'm almost at the lowest weight I have been at in five years.  Thanks to my friend, who keeps me motivated to actually walk, I usually get a little exercise in everyday. I don't know whether my husband has even noticed but it's a twenty pound loss and I'm super proud of myself.   I have about 20 pounds to go before I'll be happy again, but a good Stepford Wife would weigh between a 0 and a 4.  A 6 would be pushing it.  I'll get there one day.  My friend was recently complaining that her "fat pants" were a size 8.  I wanted to punch her in the face (just kidding, twinsie.  You know I love you).  I think it's easier to bounce back having just one kid though.

Being a Stepford Wife would mean that there would be a hot meal on the table when Dave gets home.  Not going to happen.   First, I don't cook.  I really try but most of what I make is a fail.  I don't know why. I don't enjoy cooking at all because despite my ability to follow directions, something always goes wrong and I create something that the kids complain about and we all try to gag down. Yep, not Stepford Wife material at all.

So, let's review: I'm not a Stepford Wife because the house is a mess, there's no dinner on the table when daddy gets home, and I look like a wreck when David walks through the door.  That pretty much sums it up.  Oh, and did I mention our kids aren't perfect either?  I think they're just kids but David's expectations are slightly higher than mine.

How do they do it?  How do parents do PTO and soccer practice?  Balance ballet with violin lessons?  That's where the guilt comes because you know that there are women doing these things and will actually sleep at night without having to get up and blog about their failures.

Stepford Wife, I'm not.  Sorry, Dave but it looks like you got the cheap version, like the pretend Barbies that will lose their head in no time at all.  I don't have a term for me yet.  I'll have to work on that.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's twilight, the kids are hyped up from a late dinner, and I don't feel like cleaning.  So here I am again.  Twilight is the worst time of the day.  There's something gloomy about it, the foreboding stillness and the knowledge that darkness will come.  I don't like the dark.  Dark things happen in the dark.  Some of you will understand that.  Other people will just roll their eyes.

I realized that in the 3 years I have had this blog I've never really described myself.  I kind of like that.  My friends know who I am because I share my postings on Facebook, but to the rest of the world, I'm just a nobody who writes random things about her life.   I've also never truly described my husband, that guy I've been married to for 13 years.  I don't know if I'll ever do that either.  He's just a man.  My man.   I claim him most of the time.

I've waited so long to write that darkness is now looming.  It's going to be a bad night.  I see all of the stuff that I need to do tomorrow and I'm overwhelmed.  So much to do.  So little time.  I wish I could just ignore it and I go to sleep but I know that sleep will be just out of reach, playing with me, and making me more and more anxious.  Oh how I hate the night.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Journey from "Normal"

I just got into a fight with my husband.  Sometimes that triggers the urge to write.  I guess I channel my inner Taylor Swift after all.  However, there will be no guitar and no award shows for me.  I get to blog instead.

A friend of mine whom I knew years ago recently sent me a Facebook message.  She was curious about how I've come to be me.  Actually, Katie, I don't know how I've come to be me.  Something must have happened that triggered something in my noggin.

As I said, Katie was a good friend in high school.  We shared lockers two years in a row, had so many of the same classes that I can't even remember them all.  I brought candy to share in our Honors Biology class and we played games with it.  She was smart.  We had the same undergraduate degree but Katie was very educated and went on to get her PhD.  I can call her Dr. Katie. 

All right, that's the background of why this post is happening.  I laugh about being crazy but I have several things wrong with me that I wish, wish, wish I could fix. I like to make people think my life is a joke but it's a reality and it sucks.

I was "normal" in high school.  I could sleep without having to take anything.  I didn't suffer from depression nor bipolar disorder.  I was just me.  The old me that I miss tremendously.  I was smart. I was an athlete.  I had friends.  Nothing in high school would ever lead you to believe that I would turn into this.

I had a boyfriend.  We were together all of the time.  I loved him deeply.  He proposed.  I accepted.  The only catch is he had to serve a mission for our church.  We were separated for 2 years with nothing but letters to keep us together.  Half of my heart left when he left.  When he left, the separation anxiety started.  I spent an entire month in bed.  I showed up at school only to turn in papers and to take tests.  I didn't want to do anything.  I cried.  A lot.  There was really no relief from the pain.

My mom finally took me to the doctor.  He made a stupid joke about having thyroid cancer.  Ha ha when 10 years to the day I actually did get thyroid cancer.  He prescribed an antidepressant.  The plan was to start me on medication for a year and see if I could go off them and be "normal" again.

I guess it kind of worked because my husband liked me for me.  I was still taking the medication but I was functioning.  I even had a job while I went to school.  However, I started showing signs of being ocd.

My husband joined the Air Force.  Suddenly my separation anxiety skyrocketed.  I held myself together for the six weeks he was at Basic Training,  but when I saw him at graduation, it felt like the wax that had been holding me together melted.  I had come undone.  I got to spend a couple of days with him but the last night before he had to report back to Basic Training was one of the worst nights of my life. That was the night I had my first panic attack.  It lasted for about 3 hours.  I ended up at the hospital where they gave me some Ativan and sent me home.  I knew it would be several more months before I would see him again because he had more schooling to go to and I had to go home.  I fell apart that night.  That was the first time I had ever had to take a benzo for attacks but it would most definitely would not be the last.

David and I struggled secretly with fertility for four years.  No one knew we were trying to get pregnant.  We kept all of that to ourselves.  We never even sought out help from a doctor.  We just kept trying and believing it wasn't our time.  I had many panic attacks over those years. Silly things would set them off. I had a psychiatrist that I worked with that I absolutely hated at first.  He never seemed to listen or care about my problems. My episodes meant nothing to him. In reality, they were small ones where an Ativan would calm me down and make me go to sleep.  Oh, those years.

Then one day, as I explained in a previous post, we got the surprise pregnancy we had wanted.  I had to stop taking some of the medications that I was on but my psychiatrist, who I actually grew to love, and I made the decision that some medications were a necessary evil. 

Ava was born.  She was beautiful and perfect.  She had ten little fingers and ten little toes.  But something went wrong at about six weeks after her birth.  While I loved her, I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't happy.  She was rolling over and smiling.  She was sleeping well.  She wasn't big on food but that was no big deal.  We were working on that.  She was wonderful, and yet I felt detached from my child and I cried all of the time.  I just couldn't stop.  By the time she was nine weeks old, I knew I needed help.  I called the suicide hotline but ironically their number had been disconnected.  David still didn't think there was a problem but I knew that this was something that a mere Ativan could handle so one day, while he was upstairs in the bathroom, I kissed her on the head, put her in her swing so I knew she'd be safe, and drove myself to the hospital.  Postpartum depression is not a pretty thing and it was the first time that I had experienced it. I agreed to go inpatient to a psychiatric ward for a few days to get my medications changed and get myself well.  I've never regretted that decision even though I did miss my daughter like crazy.

How else can I answer your question, Katie?  Hmmm,  I'll just say I'm not a good manic, I don't remember what my psychiatrist saw, but they were definitely signs of mania.   I'm a rapid cycling/mixed manic depressive, which basically means I can be both manic and depressed at the same time and obviously I cycle quickly.  I can wake up in the morning not knowing who I'm going to be and it's scary.  I'm not a fun manic.  Some people like it because they get all of these great thoughts.  I do too but they come so fast that I wish there was  a pause button on my brain.  It's like watching a shooting star, which is beautiful and then being attacked by the entire night sky. I physically shake out energy through my body.  Mania is bad.  It means that I'm damaged goods.  I'm that can of corn that got dropped on the floor, all dinged up, and put back on the shelf that no one wants anymore. 

Unfortunately, being bipolar isn't enough for me.  I may or may not have borderline personality disorder as well. It's very similar to being bipolar and they often overlap.  I've had different psychiatrists say I am, I've had different psychiatrists say I'm not.  I fit the definitions, like reckless driving, intense emotions and mood swings,  aggressive behavior, and feeling empty inside. I've done those.  I've even got a record.  However, I don't like the diagnosis. Nobody wants a personality disorder.  That's even worse than the damaged can of corn.   A personality disorder you can't really fix.  You spend years in therapy and try to manage.   However, since I do respond to medication, my psychiatrist thinks that I'm at least more bipolar than anything else. 

What does it take to keep stable?  2 anti-depressants in the morning with 4 milligrams of clonazepam (the generic form of Klonipin, which is like Ativan's grandfather), and a mood stabilizer.  At lunch, I get 4 more milligrams of clonazepam and the mood stabilizer again.  After dinner, I take a different mood stabilizer.  Finally, my nightly cocktail.  You guessed it.  4 milligrams of clonazepam, 30 milligrams of temazepam , and a final mood stabilizer.  I know I'm forgetting medications but you get the general idea.  The problem is this will work for now.  In say, six months, I'll have an episode and this will have to change.  Oh and the temazepam, my regular doctor says is what they give old people to help them sleep.  I'm moved beyond Ambien.  My life sucks that bad. 

I really don't know if that answered your question.  I can only tell you that at one point, something triggered in me and I just lost myself.  I'd like me back, please. 

I hate being the damaged can.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So THIS is what being an adult feels like

Because it kind of sucks.  Some people won't get this post.  Some people will.  I write mainly for that crowd.  If this is something that is truly no big deal to you, read no further because I'd hate to waste time in your day.  If you think of animals as just animals, you won't understand this.  If you can understand how they become a part of your family, I write to you.

I am truly heartbroken right now.  Truly.  I can't stop crying and unless someone forces me to eat, I just don't.  I can't.  I feel like I have been bombarded, like the last person standing in the middle of a Dodgeball game.  Is that how you spell Dodgeball?  I guess I don't really care.

I received bad news that the cause of all my sickness is my animals.  I've been tested before and pet dander never showed up on the list. For some reason, though, according to this doctor, my asthma is bad because of my pets and I'm even showing scarring on my lungs from the asthma attacks and treatments.

The only solution we have is to give away our animals.  I cry just thinking about it.  Remember those precious dogs that I saved so they could stay together?  Who knows what will happen to them.  Ava's cats are going to be separated for the first time in their lives as well.  And poor Dinah.  We've had her since our first house.  She's been with us through a dozen moves and just as many years.  I found a shelter that promises they're a no-kill shelter but our animals won't be adopted out at the same time and our little family is out of sorts because of me.  As for Missy and Shadow, they stay.  Pet dander or not, I drew a line in the sand. I'm not losing everything because of one man's diagnosis.

I should have got a second opinion.  I should have.  Those adorable dogs will probably have no problems getting homes.  Their only setback is their age.  Being 13 is rough.  I pray they get to stay to stay together because they were meant to be a team:  "Laurel and Hardy." 

Being a grown up sucks.  I have to tell Ava that her animals will be gone on Friday.  She is attached to the dogs already and telling her that she's going to have to give up her cats is going to rip my heart out.  I know children bounce back and she'll probably forget, but will I?  Will I forget her face when she hears the news?  Will she cry?  I don't really want to know frankly.  How long will it take before I can get the sound of Dinah's meow out of my head or forget seeing sweet little Hardy lead Laurel into the house? It gave me a panic attack thinking about it yesterday.  Dinah's only offense is she sheds too much.  Really?

 The worst part is that I feel fine.  I take medication for my allergies and my asthma. No big deal.  I could completely continue that without getting rid of anybody but David is adamant that since the doctor has said my lungs would improve, we do it anyway.  Again, I should have got a second opinion.

Everyone is pushing me to make this change.  I have nobody to stand with.  I don't even have a friend to talk to about it because everyone believes this is going to make a huge difference.  It's not.  I know that.  I wish I could scream it in everyone else's faces because I know this is an overreaction.

Being an adult sucks.  My heart is breaking and there's no one to turn to to make the hurt go away.  If only someone could invent heart bandaid's.  Until then, I'd prefer to just keep my toys and pets and play in my corner, thank you very much.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sand castles

Depression is worse than awful.  There are no words to describe the deep abyss one feels when they feel at the worst.  Despair.  Darkness.  Madness.  Sadness.  All of these fit into the giant ball that rounds out the crazy.  Please stop.  Please let me be normal.

I can barely control the mad thoughts that tangle into my head without screaming aloud.  How do normal people act?  How can I pretend to be one of them when I really want to just give into the madness?  What keeps me from falling over and giving into the unknown?  I don't know.  It's a question I haven't answered in my head.  I have yet to master my emotions, to mask my pain and to drive myself towards the courage to  continue through each day without the fear that comes from this disease that I have to carry.

Depression hurts.  It's physically painful, mentally challenging, and emotionally draining.  It effects  not only me, but my family as well.   Hearing my son pray for mommy to get better every night is heartbreaking.  I try.  But it's an act and I can only play the role for so long.  I need an understudy if this is the life that I've been given.  Unfortunately, there's no understudy in the wings so I must carry on.  I try, I honestly try.

I wish I could write what I'm feeling.  I wish my fingers could type what's in my heart, what I'm feeling.  But no words are possible.  I hurt for my family.   I don't like hurting them.  I remember happier days but they're so long ago that they're really distant memories.  I feel like they're like sand flowing through my fingers and they're slowly disappearing.

There are some memories of Ava at the beach.  Her little footprints in the sand.  I remember watching her crawl.  I have so many more memories of her than the boys.  I have no idea why, but I assume it's the psych meds.

I remember Noah's birth.  He was huge.  I remember they tried to put me to sleep after his c-section but it didn't work.  All I did was hallucinate and talk about all of the pretty boxes falling from the sky.  I fell in love with him at first sight.  Sadly, that euphoric love didn't last forever.  I feel for him.  I will love him to death and beyond, but he has seen the manic me and the depressed me too many times for him to feel at all like a son should feel for his mother.  My responsibility.  I failed him.

Ammon, on the other hand, won't let me not love him.  When I'm mad at him, he uses his big brown eyes, hugs my legs, and smiles.  He has taken to toddler fits, but I have learned to just walk away.  It works. He's a sly one, that kid.  I caught him in the pantry sucking on the honey bear.  Yes, you read that right.  He was trying to chug honey. Poor kid.

And poor, Emmett.  He's a munchkin.  He had his nine month appointment today and was only 14 pounds.  He's doing ok for length and head measurements, but that 14 pounds is a killer.  We've got to bulk this kiddo up.  Now that he's done projectile vomiting at me, we're friends again.

These guys are the reason I hold onto the sand as tight as I can.  It may be slipping through my fingers but  there's hope left.  If I try hard enough,  I maybe, just maybe make a sand castle with that sand I I have left.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Night shouldn't happen

I have never blogged at night.  It's always been an early morning thing when I can't sleep and have something on my mind.  This is a little different for me.  It's a little unnerving actually.  I just took my medication and I'm wondering how long it takes for it to make me do the equivalent of drunk dialing. That would be great. If I tell you all that I love you and start singing songs from the 70's, you know that the Klonipin is fully functioning and my hands should be removed from the keyboard.

So, today I was a hero.  To myself anyway.  Someone that I know was fostering two very sweet dogs because their owners had their trailer foreclosed.   She couldn't keep fostering them anymore though because she had 8 dogs in her house!  Eight!! They weren't hers but still I can't imagine.  She was begging for help and had been for a week for someone to take these sweet little guys.  They were scheduled to be put down tomorrow due to their age.  The no-kill shelter was full and no one is going to adopt 13 year old dogs, let alone the 2 together.  In their 13 years they had never been apart.  So I took them.  I already have my hands full.  Yes, I already have a dog (although she's on vacation with the woman who sold us our house), but I saved the lives of two innocent little guys.    Oh, and they're sweet.  In the entire time we've had them, they've never barked.  They've let the cats smell them.  They're just cute in every way.  It was my good deed for the day.  Pictures of these sweethearts will come, I promise.  I found my camera so I can actually include pictures in my blog again.

The rest of my day was rough.  Being a staying-at-home mom is a lot harder than you'd think.  It's like a zookeeper, trying to keep the animals in their cages.  Ava and Noah are usually pretty good on their own, but they can be quite mean to Ammon. Sometimes Ammon stands his ground, but often he comes downstairs to "tell" on the others.  All he can do is point and cry, and I'll ask him if they  had been mean, and he'll nod.  I can't wait until he communicates. 

I've been working with Emmett on sitting.  We've got super developmental delays there.  He doesn't sit yet, although he does scoot.  He also gets up on his knees, so any day now, he'll be off and running and we'll need ANOTHER gate in this house.

Uh oh.  Medication is starting to work.  The wise girl would stop writing but now is the time when I'm open to anything and everything.  My fingers are free.  Until I can't see no more, my heart is spilling out what it wants to say.

I am so over this house.  It was built just the way I wanted it but I'm the only one who seems to take pride in it.   Dave, in hi infinite wisdom, bought the kids a huge box of Poptarts the other day at Costco.  We now have Poptarts all over the house.  Can I get acquitted for Poptart rage?  He should have known better.  I'm tired of being the only person unpacking, especially since my back is in so much pain. 

I'm sorry to complain, but damn, my van sucks in front end accidents.  The only relief that I'm going to get is pain management, which I've heard is shots.  Yea! As if the Botox wasn't bad enough.

And the fools cancelled my Botox for this month.  If I have to wait 4 months to get on the list, heads will roll.  Funny.  I didn't even mean for that to be related to neurology. 

Ok, here's the real blog.  You know the stuff you want to read about?  It's almost my anniversary.  David and I have been married 13 years.  That's a long time, people.  There's been some really good years, and then some really rough, hanging on by your nails while you hands are digging into a cliff type of years.  Year 13 was like that.

He doesn't read my blog, I think, so I think that it's safe to say that I'm going to make him a thumb drive of music that has inspired us over the years for an anniversary present.  It will be a challenge because we have moved on from the sappy love songs of the first years of marriage to something more mature.

We fight.  We kiss and we make up.   At the end of the day, we're still together whether one of us is sulking or not.  We're in it for the long haul so it hardly matters.  The inscription inside my ring says  "Together Forever" and truly I have to believe that.

Writing at night makes me write all over the place.  I don't think I like that.  I prefer to have a more civilized and organized blog.   The space in my head gets quiet when the medication starts to work.  It tells me to stop.   I should listen.

Monday, July 22, 2013

There is nothing like a glowing computer screen and a quiet house.   I love to write in the early mornings because it gives me time alone, to put my thoughts together without having to deal with children arguing, screaming, or David interrupting me about something that is usually unimportant.

Someone told me that I should write a novel.  While that is a very sweet compliment, I only know reality.  My reality is not what I imagined. 

Fiction would be nice.  I'd love to be able to write something that is creative and fun, but my brain only functions in the real world, which is sad because it would be nice to imagine myself away sometime.  Falling down the rabbit's hole like Alice in Wonderland would be a sweet escape from diapers and teething, homework and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. 

I can only write about me.  I have stories to share that, hopefully, if told right can be entertaining enough to forget the fiction.  I don't always have time to write because I can only write when my babies are sleeping but my life is better than fiction.  It's true.  It's in your face. It's reality.  I share it without shame and hope that my readers feel the passion I have for my writing, for what I have to say.  I may not be able to write fiction, but I can tell you stories that are just as entertaining.

Robert Pattinson almost killed me... the very least he almost destroyed my marriage.  Or perhaps I should blame Stephanie Meyer.  Either way, one of the two made me wish I had married a vampire.  I'm not interested in being indestructible or living forever, but the adoration that never leaves, well, let's just say that Robbie played that part up a little too well for my liking.  As I watched his complete devotion to his Bella, I used to think that I got the bum end of the deal.  I thought about it too much and eventually ended up in the psych ward because I lost my perception of reality.  I started to resent David for not letting his life gravitate around mine, that my life wasn't the pole that his life spun around.  Let's get real...David is never going to adore me for life.  The cutsey newlywed stage left years ago and now we've settled in the "we're approaching middle age and have been together so long that we know each other's idiosyncrasies."  Robbie never did that.  Bella is a lucky girl.

Approaching middle age is kind of weird.  In your head you're the same person you were in say, high school, but your body says either wise.  I personally gained eighty pounds from my 18 year old self.  I blame it on my second child because of his birth weight but the truth is that I just like food.  Somewhere around 26, my thyroid decided it hated me and it jumped on a train with my metabolism.   Eating the same foods that I could previously eat made me approach a number twice the size of my high school self.  The self hatred began.  Then came the psych medications, which helped skyrocket my weight even more.  I was a mess.  No one told me that pysch meds would make me gain weight because of the carb cravings.  I just took them like I was told.

My health changed. I couldn't run anymore because I developed asthma.  Who develops asthma so late in their life?  Oh, that's right?  Me.  I win when it comes to all things detrimental to my health and well-being. 

I got cancer.  Those words are scary enough even if the survival rate for your particular type is high.  Cancer is cruel, but under the age of 30, brutal.

What most people don't know is that the cancer left me a shell.   I gave up religion and started to drink.  I couldn't understand how a loving God could make a person go through so much.  Physical pain is something that I would never wish on my worst enemy, and the mental pain that I was experiencing, well, that was enough to put me away for a few days.   I finally gave up drinking when I almost died.  Alcohol poisoning is no joke.  I blew a 3.6 when I was sober enough to even take a breathalyzer.  I was 4 1/2 times over the legal driving limit, and very lucky that my liver was functioning because with the Percocet that I had taken, I shouldn't be here.  Then I realized that God really must be looking out for me.  

In a novel I started reading recently, I came across a passage and it struck me.  It felt like it was written for me, and for me alone.   It reads, "God does not make the way smooth for those He loves.  He sends hardships to try them.  Those that God loves best are those that suffer the worst."   (The Constant Princess, Phillippa Gregory). 

God must really love me, I think.

Like moving through jello,

I was slowly heading toward the little SUV in front of me and I knew that I couldn't avoid it.  I was braking but my brakes felt useless against the death wagon I drive.  Apparently it takes more time to stop a mini-van than it does to stop a little car.  Who knew, right?

We collided.  The car in front pushed into the car in front of him and I found myself in serious trouble.  My seatbelt didn't lock and I was thrown forward.  I smashed my head against the steering wheel then the momentum drove my head back to the headrest.  My knees slid forward and hit the dash.  I did real  damage to my body.

Luckily, I don't have anything truly seriously wrong with me.  There aren't any brain bleeds or broken bones.  Sadly though, I have these chronic pain problems that keep me up and make it so that I have a hard time functioning.   The hit on the steering wheel caused a concussion.  I now have short term memory loss.  I can't remember things told to me minutes after we discussed them.  It's frustrating as I have to carry a planner and cell phone just to remind myself where I have to be and who I'm supposed to meet.  Oh, and don't get me started on the physical pain.  The whiplash hurts so bad that that I can't sleep at night and holding a squirming baby is pure torture.  I've been here before.  I know it can last for months but I don't remember it hurting THIS bad.

Two days ago, I dropped a toy on my foot trying to clean the toy room.  It's now all bruised.  I can honestly say that I hurt from my head to the bottom of my toes. 

Man, this is a depressing post.  Some days are like that though, right?  Especially at 4 in the morning when sleep eludes you because pain is just too much to bear anymore.

Monday, July 15, 2013

So, have you ever wondered?

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be locked up in a psych ward?  I can tell you.  I've been there, done that on so many occasions that I should get frequent flyer miles.  Delaware, Ohio, even Alabama are some of the places that I got to see.  Some hospitals are better than others, like any other medical facility.  St. Jones hospital in Delaware was really good. We had therapy, group time, exercise time, crafts, and really good food.  In contrast, the other facilities I've been in have involved mostly coloring in the Day Room.  Yes, you read that right.  Coloring.  Nothing makes you more sane than a few markers and a some geometric shapes to color to get your mental health in order. The food in Ohio was yummy, but there had to be a trade-off somewhere and it was actually doing something productive with our time.  We colored.  And colored some more.  

There were something you have to know about St. Jones.  Only about six chairs in the Day Room were actually comfortable and soft.  We would all rush for these plushy pleather chairs whenever we got up,  or were taken back from an activity since the other chairs would hurt your back.  We sat in the Day Room for a good part of the day as we waited for therapy and activity transition so it was funny to see grown men and women scramble for chairs.  It became a game that the less medicated always won.  I'll admit, I was usually victorious, but I was a good winner.  I never gloated to those who had to sit their fannies unto the less desirable. 

Every few hours, the medication window would open and we would all line up as the registered nurse in charge of the pills that day gave us what we needed.  Most of the time this process took forever, so at the sound of the metal window going up, another mad dash would began.  I'm ashamed to say that I did at one time push an old woman in a wheelchair out of the way to get there sooner.  I'll burn for that but I really needed my anxiety medication.  And it wasn't a real push.  It was a slight nudge with my foot.  It's not MY fault she went further than I expected and people actually saw it happen.

On my next stay, karma caught up to me so my soul might be safe after all.  I thought I was happily roommate free because there was no mattress on the other bed in my room.   As fate would have it, I soon would cohabitate with a woman in a wheelchair.  Isn't it funny how fate has a way of turning around and biting you in the butt? 

On her first night, Mrs. X refused to go to bed.  She was falling asleep in the Day Room and wanted to stay there.  I know this because I could hear her all the way down the hall from our room.

"Leave me alone," she yelled as the nurses told her they were going to take her to her bed.

"My feet, my feet," she screamed, as she stubbornly tried to stop from being moved in her wheelchair.  It was to no avail.  She was brought to our room anyway.

The nurses tried to convince her to get into bed.  Mrs. X pretended to be asleep.  Finally, they gave up and with a sympathetic smile toward me, they left.  The second they left the room,  her eyes snapped open and shifted toward me.  I smiled and tried to return to my reading.  I couldn't.  I couldn't help but notice she was not sleeping and was staring at me in an eerie "I might die at any moment or I might be possessed and kill you" look.  All righty.

"Good night," I said.  I turned out the light. I didn't want to see her anymore.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that I wasn't scared.

I awoke in the morning (which says a lot, doesn't it?) to an old lady who needed someone to change one of the adult diapers that were so neatly stacked on our dressers.  She started asking me about her relatives and whether each and everyone of them were ok.   My first thought was to respond "How the hell should I know?" After all, I was in a psych ward, folks, and I'm not known for being diplomatic when I'm locked up.  I bit my tongue though and reassured her that they were all doing well.

I started for the bathroom for the brief period we had in the morning to get to the Day Room to start the day.  Let's face it, I wanted a cushy chair.  I started to brush my teeth when I hear her tell me that she and her husband " didn't have intercourse"  during their visit the night before. 

I choked on my toothbrush.  Toothpaste flew out my mouth and splayed across the mirror.  That mental picture was enough for me. I had to leave my room. 

Another day in lockup, I finished the longest game of war in my life.  I played against a man who alternated between suicidal and homicidal idealizations.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realized I should probably let him win for these reasons but I'm too my competitive.  Besides, it's a game of chance so he can't be that upset about it, right? I figured if he was waiting for me in the parking lot with a tire iron when we were both released, I chose wrong.

It is amazing how many people "visit" a psych ward and believe they are there for no reason.  They refuse to accept any responsibility for their actions, for their faults, for their behaviors.  They blame their spouses, their children, even the cops.  I've even heard of someone blaming Dr. Phil. It makes you want to scream that it will only increase their stay because they're fighting a machine.  We're just cattle trying to make it through and get out.

People often walk around like zombies.  One woman across from where I was eating on one of my stays fell asleep in her lunch.  She was so heavily medicated.  Her manic state was so bad that the nurses couldn't deal with her so they doped her up. 

She returned to the Day Room and volunteered for a game of Spades.  That was really interesting.

Once, in Delaware, a man lost his pie privileges.  At lunch, he attempted to break the dessert rule.  Anyone who had two dessert plates on their trays were caught and had to put one back.  I don't even like banana cream pie but the pie at this particular facility was to die for so it upset quite a few patients when he came up with the ingenious plan to quickly shove two pieces unto one plate, leaving the empty plate on the cooling rack. He got past the dessert monitor easily.  His mistake, however, was that empty plate.   Seeing as how it was the last piece of pie, the other patients complained.  A full scale search was launched.  Like any good boy, Mr. Y had saved his dessert for last.  He was immediately busted.  No more pie for him, which was a shame because it was really that good.

After awhile, you see people come and go and you start to get down on yourself.  You always want your freedom.  You start to feel like "where is my get out of jail free card"? And then you realize you traded it for your sanity and lost the damn game.

The woman who was so doped up came out of her medication stupor enough to start having a conversation with her pillow.  It made me kind of want whatever she was on because she was not suffering through the hours as much as I was.  However, I did kind of get offended when she wandered into my room, stripped off all of her clothes, and tried on all of mine.  The staff came and got her, wrapped her in a gown and brought her out.  I laughed but I felt sorry for this ball of energy and her medication-induced dementia.

There are other memories but these are the most poignant.  Being locked up is a miserable experience, especially when all they allow you to do is color and bring in a dog once a week for therapy. 

If you've ever wondered about being in a psychiatric ward, I've been there.  I'm not proud of it, but there you go.  It's blatantly unpleasant but sometimes it's just what the what the doctor ordered.  After all, don't we all need a little crazy in our lives?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I used to be a writer.  It was always my essays that were chosen to be read in school, in Spanish or English.  Now my Spanish is limited to "I'll have the numero tres" at Taco Bell and my writing sucks.  I'm fairly confident that every child that made itself nice and cozy in my body took all of my thinking skills so I'm lucky NOT to be in the corner drooling.  However, if you listen to David, I do that anyway.  Don't get me wrong.  I complain about them, but I do have 4 beautiful kids.  They just drive me bonkers.  If it wasn't for my medication, I WOULD be drooling in the corner and rocking from the lack of brain function.
I imagine myself as Taylor Swift but with less angst.  I have lots to be angry about but less good looking men in my past.  My three relationships are hardly worth Grammy nominations and I definitely don't have the goods and the beauty of the singer.  I don't know who that leaves me as except the fat mom who at one time had high hopes for herself and now sits at home and wonders where the hell it all went wrong.
I am unhappy.  There.  I said it.  It's been brewing inside me for years but I've never actually written it out.  I'm the Crazy Girl in my family.  My husband has to divvy up medication every night like a psychiatric nurse and every day I take those pills and hate myself even more.  All I ever wanted was to be a stay at home mom and now, given the chance, all I do is moan about the situation.  I can't even go back to work because I take almost 50 pills a day for my mental conditions.  It's a little outrageous.  I really am Crazy Girl.

There is a house here in Arizona.  It's beautiful and huge.  But it's a shell.  It was never completed because some poor couple put all their retirement money into building it and then the construction company went bankrupt.  They lost $750,000 in the deal and had no retirement left.  I can't imagine. But I'm that house.  On the outside, I'm *mostly* structurally stable, but on the inside, well, that's a different story.  I feel like that shell and I have empathy for that house.  He and I have a lot in common.

This is my blog and I can say what I want, right?  Well, here goes.  I had a hysterectomy in March.  At the time, I thought it was the best decision I could possibly make.  Now I'm starting to regret that choice.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not wanting another baby but I've been in such a funk since it's happened that, well, that medication is truly necessary.

In every marriage, there are good times and bad.  We all know that.  It's in marriage vows, right? You vow to honor and cherish your spouse in those times.  Well, let's just say that this has not been the year for David and I.  We SHOULD be happy.  But we can barely stand to look at each other.  I don't know how we got off track, but if we don't get back in tune together, I might have to learn to play the guitar and channel my inner Taylor Swift. My mantra is that things can only improve.  Hey, Taylor Swift always bounces back, right?  This was our 13th year of marriage and 13 is an unlucky number.  Year 14 is one month away and I imagine it filled with unicorns and rainbows because things WILL be better or you'll be hearing some really awful song lyrics that will make you cringe and wonder if they have put me on way too much of something.  I wonder how Taylor Swift does it?
I hate technology.  I just wrote an entire blog and my computer ate it.  And I'm typing without an a key because the bugger just doesn't want to stay on.  I'm not an advocate of Asus computers.  But on the with the show.

So on June 24th, I played the idiot. Again.  Driving home from an appointment that had been cancelled without my knowledge, I see someone driving ahead of me STOP, even though there was no on coming traffic, to make a right turn on a busy intersection.  The car behind him was able to stop just barely in time but unfortunately, as hard as I braked, I rammed into them with the death wagon.  Luckily, my car sustained most of the damage, and even better, I was the only one hurt. 

The police were called and I asked for medical help because unfortunately for me, my seat belt never locked and my air bag sensors were too low to go off.  At the collision, my head sprung forward and I hit it on the steering wheel and then it bounced back and hit the headrest.  I was in major pain.  Thankfully, it was determined that I didn't have a brain bleed but unfortunately, I do have a concussion.

If you have never had your head hit a steering wheel before, let me tell you what it feels like...well, actually, I don't remember.  I may not have a brain bleed but I do have short term memory loss and as I like to say on here, it sucks donkey balls.  I have to carry around notebooks, a daily diary, and a phone constantly so I can remember what I'm supposed to be doing.  Dave will tell me something and it's instantly forgotten. He thinks it's because I'm not listening, but it's a stupid head injury.  And it hurts.  Goodness does it hurt, even days later.  I have excruciating headaches that just don't go away.

If that isn't bad enough, I've discovered new places that are hurting.  My neck, from being thrown forward.  My back from tensing up  to try and avoid impact.  And the worst of it RIGHT NOW, my knees which are all bruised.   Living in a multi-level home where I have to climb stairs is pretty rough. I'm assuming that they too must have hit the dash board because they're purple.  Driving for long periods is probably the punishment I deserve for every wrong thing I've done since it hurts that bad. 

So that's it.  We got our van back yesterday.  Almost $6000 worth of damage.  I'm so talented.  I, of course, got a traffic citation and have to take care of that.  I haven't called on that yet.  The citation said the police officer gave me a card with details on what to do.  Well, if he did, he did it while I was lying on a gurney in a trauma room with a neck collar on so I'm pretty sure that disappeared.  It's all right though.  I can take the on-line class and get an Arizona driving license.  Those suckers don't expire until you're like 60. 

I think sometimes I shouldn't be allowed to be out of the house.  I've been pretty content with my kiddos here the past few days and truthfully, I'm scared to drive anymore.  I've learned to really keep my distance, but I have yet to get back in the van.  I'm scared I'm going to have a panic attack the first time I drive the thing, but I'll be ok.  Like I told my mom, I always am. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Non-Viable Baby

Almost a year to the day of last year, I randomly discovered I was pregnant again.  It truthfully was a random surprise. I'll let you in on a little secret though. I actually like taking those "pee on a stick" tests, even if I'm scared of the results.  It's got an element of surprise.  It's like a crystal ball, a vision of things to come. It's either going to make me ecstatic or it will feel like ice cold water is being poured through my veins.  That all depends on the state of my mental health at the time, of course. Either way, it's like a fortune teller of the future.

Like potato chips, taking one test is usually not enough.  If those lines appear, I have to follow through with at least 2 or 3 more "just to make sure." Hey, at 88 cents at Wal-Mart, they're a bargain. I have a whole drawer of tests saved in  Ziploc baggies from testing with each of my children.  Yeah, the grossness factor is quite high with that, but apparently I'm a hoarder when it comes to positive pregnancy tests.  At least they're in a bag and I'm not mounting them in the nursery, right? Don't ask me what I'm going to do with them either.  I haven't thought that out yet.

Anyway, back to last year.  Since I'm basically clueless, I decided to take one of those fun tests because I have no idea how the hell my body works. I shouldn't have been surprised that it was positive because I managed to not only pee on the stick but also on my hand and watch too.  Yep, I went there.  It was gross. Starting off with a test like that could only mean one thing...and why not?  Everything else in my life is chaotic especially when I need normality.

Truthfully though, I was shocked to see those pink lines.  Yes, yes.  I understand the science between how kids are made, but remember the part where I said that I have no idea how the hell my body works?  I attempted natural family planning. I obviously failed.  I thought I had got the hang of it, but those lines proved me wrong. In hindsight, if you don't know how your body works, natural family planning is really not a good form of birth control. It's basically playing Russian Roulette with an automatic.  It's only a matter of time before it catches up to you.  It really shouldn't have been any surprise that Numero Quatro would be joining our family. The concept of having four kids had me more than a little unnerved however.  Four kids meant that we have almost filled our mini-van.  You know things are getting serious when the next step in your family's future is a 15-passenger vehicle.

Within a few days though, I had things happening that had never happened before in my previous pregnancies.  I rushed myself to the hospital.  I was examined, probed, and ultrasounds were done. It was the middle of the night.  I was scared and alone in my room, shivering in my paper gown for what seemed like an eternity. The doctor finally returned.  She confirmed that she did see a sac on the ultrasound so I was "technically pregnant."  However, it appeared abnormal and things didn't look right.  She was very sympathetic but she didn't think the pregnancy was viable.  I suddenly felt like the floor had opened and I was in some sort of wonderland.  I was very confused and unexpectedly heartbroken. The doctor gave me some pain killers, and sheets of information about  my "threatened abortion." I  I left feeling numb and disoriented. I discovered in those moments how much I wanted this REALLY wanted this child.

Two miserable days later, I finally met with my real ob.  My appointment began with a resident examination.   She too prodded and probed me. I watched the back of the ultrasound monitor and wished that I could will it to show something other than what I had previously been told.  She finished and said that she agreed with the ER doctor.  She said the dreaded words. It truly was only an abnormal sac and I wouldn't have a viable child.

She quietly and quickly left the room to get her supervisor.  He was as rough as they come  After his not so gentle ultrasound, he confirmed what everyone else had said. Numero Quatro was not going to happen.  I laid on the table and cried for several minutes.  He left so I could process this news. I sadly got up to get dressed., but before I could actually finish putting on my clothes, Mr. Doom and Gloom came back to the room. I was still dressing as he awkwardly starting telling me what to expect about miscarriage. I finished putting my shoes on with tears pouring down my face. I felt defeated.

My family was in the waiting room, waiting to hear what my ob had to say.  I couldn't face the kids because I didn't want them to see how much pain I was in. Poor Ava.  I will always remember her chasing me down the hall and wanting to know if the baby was okay.  I was in so much pain and shock that I couldn't think straight.  I couldn't stand to break her heart so I closed her out. Unfortunately, my reaction was probably the opposite of what she needed. I just couldn't bring myself to say the words aloud.  I hopped on an elevator before she could see my face.  I'm fairly certain that Dave must have warned her that something was wrong because by the time they caught up to me, they were silent.

Then out of thin air, another doctor took me under his wing.  He took over my chart. He began a blood panel and brought me in for blood tests...lots and lots of blood tests.  Every day I went back to donate a vial just to see if my hcg numbers were rising at all.  After awhile, I had permanent marks from all of the needle pricks.

The numbers weren't great but they did rise. It gave me a small chance to hope. I felt like I was holding my breath and treading in deep water, but I was holding on to something at least.  He had thrown me a lifesaver while the other doctors had left me to drown.  Despite my weak numbers, he kept pulling for me. A week later, he brought me in for yet another ultrasound.  He was silent for a long time.  I expected the worst.  To my utter amazement, it never came.  After an excruciating amount of time, the doctor turned the monitor toward me and he pointed to what was my sweet little baby with a precious heart beating away.  I cried, but this time it was tears of joy.

However, this pregnancy would prove to be no cake walk.  One obstacle after another plagued our little fighter.  First we had the Fifth's Disease scare.  Oh, the benefits of preschool.  Noah brought that little gem home one day. For a child, Fifth's Disease is pretty much just that...a childhood disease. A little fever, a lacy rash and it's done.  However, expose an adult who has never been exposed to Fifth's Disease, especially a pregnant lady, well, it becomes a little more scary.  Or maybe that's just me because I'm the anxious sort. And of course I did the ultimate of the ultimate of wrong doings.  Never Google health problems.   Dr. Google will either diagnose you with Crones disease,  Celiac problems, or tell you that you have three months to live. Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration but Dr. Google did predict Numero Quatro's imminent demise.  Off to the lab I went to drain more blood in my desperation to hear that I had become immune at sometime in my life. I waited on pins and needles for the results to come back.  The doctor told me that it was an "all or nothing" sort of wait.  If I was exposed, I'd be immune and there would be no problem.  If I hadn't been exposed, I wouldn't be immune and the baby would either make it or it wouldn't make it.  There was no in between.  My anxiety shot through the roof.  Every day I waited for word about my baby's future.

I waited.  I waited.  I waited some more.

 Wouldn't you know it?  The results returned one day but the doctor completely forgot to share the information with me.  I waited another long week until I met with him again.  When I asked him if the results had been returned, he sheepishly looked through my file and said that I was immune, and wouldn't you know it, that information was available the previous week.  I'm pretty sure he probably should have left out that last part.

Then came time for the anatomy scan.  This is the fun part of pregnancy as all women know.  The thought of whether or not you're going to be holding a little princess or a little prince in your arms in just a few short months is exciting.  We gathered our little family and headed into the ultrasound room so that we could see the first "real" shots of Baby Quatro.   Everyone knows that their little alien profile is the cutest thing ever. And how cute is it to see those little hands and feet kicking away at mom's bladder, ribs and kidneys?  These are the things that women dream about. This was it.  Our three little kiddos were going to see their little sibling in just a short while and of course mommy and daddy wanted to know if Ava was going to get that little sister she had been praying for.

 The warm gel was squirted on my stomach and the instant the ultrasound doppler was placed on my stomach, I could sense this baby was going to be difficult.

"Do you want to know the sex?" asked the technician.

"It's a boy," I said.  I mean, really.  How could I miss it?  We immediately had a shot of the goods.  He was not shy when it came to showing his gender.  In fact, he was quite proud to show himself off. The technician tried to get the measurements she needed but wouldn't you know it.  All our little alien wanted to do was prove that he was a boy.  We poked at him to move him into a different position and he retaliated instantly.  We prodded at him and got the same results.  I walked around, drank cold water, and tried lying on my sides.  Nothing.  This little stinker was giving us nothing but scrotum.  After about 45 minutes, the technician admitted defeat and told us we'd have to come back to get the measurements the doctor needed.  She handed us the pictures she had printed for us to take home.  I looked at the four pictures.  We had a beautiful picture of his heartbeat and 3 really clear shots where the tech had pointed out "it's a boy."  No cute little profiles, no hands or feet, no, nothing of that nature.  We got three penis shots.

We had to return three more times but we finally had all the measurements we needed.  Little Boy Quatro had all 10 toes and all 10 fingers.  We got to see his profile.  Things were looking good.

And then it all went downhill.  At 35 weeks, I happened to mention at an appointment that Quatro hadn't been moving as he normally did.  As a precaution, the Nurse Practitioner sent me over for a non-stress test.  I wasn't worried.  I had multiple non-stress tests with Ammon and they were always fine. I mean, really, I was expecting to have a couple of monitors on, wait for a few minutes, and I'd be on my way.  Nothing at all to be scared about.  I went over to the Perinatal Center and got hooked up.  I had really great nurses who were keeping me distracted but I couldn't help but notice that something was off.  Quatro didn't look right on the monitor.  His base heart rate was fine but there wasn't much change. We could hear him moving, we even buzzed him a few times, but his heart rate never really varied..

The Perinatal Team said that I needed further monitoring and this was beyond what they could do.  I was wheeled over to Labor and Delivery and got hooked up quickly.  Immediately, the nurses went into action.  I had IV fluids started.  Juice and water were shoved at me and I was told to drink as much as I could.  Still nothing.  Baby Quatro was as mellow as mellow could be.  I was reassured by his kicking but I eventually had to have the monitor turned away from me because he was starting to terrify me with his non-reactions (is that a word? It is now!)

My doctor was paged three times to be brought up to date on my condition.  She decided that it was imperative that I be admitted.  I didn't know it at the time, but the way that Quatro was acting is the first sign of fetal distress.  They wanted to keep us close so they could c-section him quickly if necessary.  The nurse that came to tell me that I would be staying was incredibly awful. I had no intention of leaving when I heard my baby was in trouble.  I was so worried about Quatro that I would have done cartwheels down the hall to keep him alive if that's what was required.   He and I had been through so much together through those 35 weeks that there was no way I would have left.  However, she approached my room with the worst possible way of explaining why I was staying.

"You can't go home," she said.  "I cannot guarantee if we let you leave now, you'll come back with a living baby."

Shock. Shock and more shock.  Who says things like that to a distressed mom?

I was wheeled upstairs and settled into a room.  I couldn't sleep after the fear of hearing my baby was in danger.  I was even more frustrated when the monitors slipped off my stomach and none of the nurses came in to fix them.  I laid there and worried that if they weren't really hearing his heartbeat, he could pass at any moment.  It was a frightening night.

Early in the morning, my doctor came in to read my strips.  She said that nothing looked incredibly alarming so she didn't want to c-section him immediately. She wanted to buy more time to let Baby Quatro's lungs  develop.  However, I began doing non-stress tests almost everyday.  Almost everyday he failed.  They began leaving me on the monitors for shorter periods of time and sending me for biophysical ultrasounds instead.  Those weren't much better.  He wasn't practicing breathing.  My baby was calm but not acting like he should.

We realized it was my medication that was making him respond the way he was.  The doctor told me that Quatro's life depended on me.  He told me that if I stopped taking it, the poor little man could go into withdrawals and he would most likely die in the womb. For the next two weeks, I cried.  I cried when I took my medicine.  I cried while I watched him fail his tests and ultrasounds.  I was hurting my baby.  I couldn't take much more.

Finally, two weeks after things being so awful, I called my doctor.  I was sobbing.  I was hysterical. I literally could not watch my baby fail his tests anymore, especially knowing that I was the reason behind his problems.  I talked to the doctor and she finally agreed to do his c-section a week early.  She rescheduled me for 38 weeks exactly.  I felt so much better knowing that an end was in sight.

October 18th was the big day.  It was a long busy day.  We had to find sitters for the kids, get everything in order with the hospital bag, and put the dog in a kennel.  I was nervous, but mostly for the baby.  I wasn't sure if he was going to have strong lungs or if he'd be in the NICU.  I was afraid that he was going to withdraw from my medication. The NICU team was ready and waiting. I was seriously frightened.

I finally got set up in my room while they gave me the details.  The anesthesiologist bragged that he was 2 for 2 with epidurals and spinals that day and so I had nothing to worry about.  Unfortunately, I would be the one to break that record. It took him five times to get that stupid needle in my back.  Finally I yelled at him to just put it somewhere because it was hurting and I didn't care anymore.

My doctor was great.  She didn't talk much, but she was very efficient.  She got to Baby Quatro very quickly.  He had a cord around his neck but once he was free, he was a screamer.  There was no doubt that his lungs were developed.  He was rushed off to be monitored  because of the medication and his complications he had been having for the previous three weeks. I didn't even get to see him as they whisked him out of the room, but I could tell he was tiny.

Eventually, a nurse returned to tell me that he had passed with flying colors.  Me, however, well, I was in not too good of shape.  I was taken into the recovery room where my blood pressure crashed and I needed shots of adrenaline to get it back up again.  The pain started almost immediately so the best nurse ever  found a doctor to prescribe two pills of Percocet.  In the recovery room, I began freaking out about the fact I couldn't move my legs.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to but I started to have a panic attack.  Enter doctor  and some medication. The nurse had another surprise for me.  The doctor had found a mass in my intestines during the surgery.  She had cut it out for me.  Not going to lie, that thing was quite nasty looking.  It was a large marble size ball of disgustingness.

But I digress.

 Eventually I got upstairs and got settled. FINALLY, they brought me my baby.  My non-viable abnormal sac had become a 6.67 pound infant.

We named him Emmett Martin Weston Holst.  He's proven to be a fighter.  He's also the most difficult infant we've had but we love him.  He's our little caboose.  We have no more kids in our future.  It's bittersweet that this chapter of my life is over, but the complications from Baby Quatro was an eye opener.