Sunday, December 31, 2006

The new year can't come soon enough

I was planning to sort of do a year in pictures today. Before miscarrage. Everything is before I lost the baby. Instead, I'm just going to point out some of the good things that happened this year. I've spent enough time and words on what has gone wrong.

Marriage. July 24, Guy and I were married by a stream in Montreat. It was perfect.

Family. My parents moved around the corner from Bro and Sil. Mom has been declared in remission. Nerves are cooling and settling down. Dad is, well, one out of two parents is still good.

Work. I quit one job, leaving my precious school in the capable hands of someone new and a great Board of Directors. I got a new piano and am enjoying growing my career as a performer and teacher.

Self. I learned what it felt like to be pregnant. I learned what it meant to love someone you hadn't even met yet more than you could possibly ever love yourself. At the same time, I learned how to love myself better because I was carrying my baby. He taught me the reason my body worked the way it did, looked the way it did, and how to enjoy every glimpse and every moment of it.

I'm trying so hard to end this year on a positive note. That would be completely dishonest though, now wouldn't it?

No matter what else has happened this year, I'm afraid I have to admit that 2006 will always be the year that I lost my baby. My first baby. The one I have waited on for close to 10 years. Please God, let 2007 be better.

Every moment of forever

It is late. I have slept so much the past two days that I find myself awake at 1:21 AM. Awake laying next to my husband. So as I lie here (totally unsure of the use of lay and lie), I can stare at him while I type this (thanks to high school typing class). And I can tell you that I married the most wonderful man in the world.

He is why I will get through this. Not because I am not strong enough on my own, but because I want to be better for him. I want to get up and be with him. Try again. Get better and move on so that I don't miss a moment of life with him.

Cheesy? Perhaps. True? Most definately.

He said that I can take as long as I need and be as sad as I feel. I will. There is no getting around that. I still feel like they sucked out my heart along with everything else 2 nights ago. I am still empty and lonely. I still cry, and I still feel like I will always miss this baby.

What I am saying though is that I don't want to stay that way. 24 hours ago, I was convinced that I did. Convinced that I wanted to remain in the sorrow and loss of my baby. It felt like the sorrow was all I had left of my baby, so that is where I planned to stay.

The more room that Guy gives me to grieve though, and the more support he shows when I need it just lets me know that it won't last forever. I will be able to move on eventually.

He said today that I will be sad forever at the loss of my baby. I just won't be sad every moment of forever.

Time for a cuddle. Sleepy Guy is calling.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Building steps

This afternoon I realized something. This is the kind of sad that doesn't go away. This is kind of devastation that could keep me in the bed for as long as I let it. That is the key. How long am I going to let it control me?

At least a little bit longer, but not 24/7.

Guy came in this afternoon, and remember, we are still in Tennessee, 11 hours from home, staying at my parents' house, and says, "I really need to get some air."

I had two choices. I could let him go alone, or I could, for him, get out of the bed and attempt to go somewhere. I chose to get out of the bed.

It wasn't easy. He helped me shower. He helped me get dressed. We decided, as the dressing occurred, that we would go to the mall and buy me some non-maternity clothes. I had packed nothing but maternity clothes for our trip, and that was one thing keeping me from getting up and getting dressed. I chose the least maternity looking clothes I had and went with it.

The funny thing is, I loved looking pregnant. I have had incredibly sorry body image for so long, and as soon as that belly popped, I couldn't stop looking in the mirror. It was amazing to me - the changes that were occurring and how beautiful they were. I loved the belly.

Now, I'm obsessed with not looking pregnant anymore. I'm talking about buying a treadmill. Eating plain baked potatoes. Eating nothing. Whatever - I just don't want to be mistaken (there's that prefix again) for a pregnant woman.

There are things that the doctor here did that I think were both medical and for my emotional stability. One of those things was the drug he gave me to shrink my uterus. I understand that it also helped the bleeding and what not, but it was a real gift to stand in front of the mirror this afternoon and not look pregnant anymore. Side note: the doctor who didn't know me from adam took the most amazing and precious care of me. If you find yourself in Jackson and in need of a doctor, you should so email me right now.

The crazy part is, we did buy some new jeans. They are a freaking size 16, but we bought some new jeans. I cannot believe I just admitted that. Back to the crazy part though - I was still happy with the way I looked in the mirror. A gift from my baby. Decent body image. Am I reaching for a positive? Maybe.

It's going to take a hell of a lot of them to climb out of this hole though. One tiny positive at a time.

Totally not moving on

Miscarriage. It is a word that implies that you did something wrong. If you think about it, all the other "mis" words are words that you could avoid. Misspell. Misstep. Mistake. Things that you do that you could have prevented. Miscarriage. What a cruel word.

I am told there is nothing I could have done. While I logically believe that, I have spent today wondering how I could have not known that my baby had died. How did I walk around for 3 weeks, talking to him, playing the piano for him, feeding him at least a milkshake every 2 days, and not have known that he was gone? I believe that there was nothing I could have done to save him, but couldn't I have at least know he was gone?

It is so lonely without him. I had gotten so used to it being, "me and the baby." Now, it is just me again. Guy is here for me, but we have reached that phase though when he is ready to be up and doing things to get his mind off of it, and I am still lying in this bed sucking down the Percoset as often as allowed. He is busy repairing whatever he can find to repair in my parents' home.

I went back to the Babycenter Boards today. I had to go to the site to ask them not to send me anymore emails about my baby. Not surprisingly I suppose, the thread started for women who misscarried babies due in July 2007 is full of women more my own age, more like me. A lot of them were first time moms in their 30's with older husbands. That was strange. I had a pregnancy ticker on my signature. In fact, I had it on my sidebar here too. It is gone. I sobbed when I deleted it.

In fact, I sob a lot. Not just cry. Flat out gasping for air sobbing. I sob when I wake up from a nap and remember all over again that I'm not pregnant anymore. I sob when I can't force the image of little Cleatus just hanging there on the ultrasound screen with no heartbeat. I sob when I go to the bathroom and there is still blood. I have sobbed so much that the Percoset doesn't even touch the headache I've created for myself.

You see, I wish there had been something I had done. If there was, then I could prevent it for the next time. I could fix it and make it not happen again. Instead, I have to just try again and be terrified that whatever I couldn't prevent from happening to my baby this time will happen to the the next one.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The rest of it

I lay strapped down in the OR like I was on a crucifix. Both arms extended, I was left to soak myself in the tears I couldn't reach to wipe away. My terrible vision left everyone looking exactly alike in their green scrubs and caps. They would flutter in front of me, introducing themselves, telling me what their role was. I just wanted someone to dry my face.

Guy walked down to the OR with me so that I could wear my glasses as long as possible. I hate not being able to see. As soon as he left me, the tears came and wouldn't stop.

I knew my baby was dead, but I didn't want them to take him. I didn't want to stop being pregnant with him.

The lights above me were big and looked like flowers through my nearsightedness. They were purple and green and I was trying to focus on them and ignore all else.

The anesthesiologist (I think) leaned over and said something about that I appeared to be healthy except for the smoking. I squinted at him and said, "What?". He was confused I guess and asked if I smoked. I said no and he said, "Then you are in good health." I replied in my best smart ass while practically drowning in my own tears, "Right. Good health except for the baby losing and all. Thanks."

It is probably wise not to smart off to the man in charge of putting you to sleep and waking you up, but I couldn't help being pissed because that same man couldn't seem to read my chart properly and messed up the focusing I was trying to do.

They put me out rather quickly after that, and the next thing I remember is a new voice asking me if I'm alright. The only thing I could say was, "Where is my husband?" Apparently I was pretty adamant about it, because they let him into recovery with me against the rules. I think though, that it was also very late at night.

Guy stood next to me and fed me ice chips. My throat was dry and hurt from the tube that was in it during the surgery. He rubbed my head and talked to me, but I don't remember what he said.

In the room, I slept. Guy slept on the chair that turns into a slab. Kim took care of me all night as though she were an angel. I don't know how nurses are as kind and open as she was and yet are able to work their way through so many different patients every shift. It has to be draining.

I woke up around 3:30 and needed to go home. The tears started again, and I couldn't stop them. After a successful trip to the bathroom, Guy helped me into my maternity clothes and we left. There were prescriptions to fill, and I had to buy pads. I haven't bought pads in years.

We stood in the aisle of Walgreens, staring at pads and wondering which ones to get until a stock girl rolled a cart of pregnancy tests behind us to restock the shelves. Tears again, grab any pads, and head home.

I have never in my life wished so badly for something to not have happened. If there is any possible way to go back and make this not happen, to have my baby back, just please, let it be. I've turned to the typing today. Trying to work this thing out. Trying to find the pain and then find a way for the pain to stop.

I am now open to suggestions because nothing I am doing is working.

Finding out

It was just a precaution. Sil called her OB yesterday to see if they could work me in just to check things out. The spotting had gone on for about 24 hours, but I wasn't concerned. I had spotted after the doctor's visit and a few times after sex. Standing in the kitchen though, I became quickly aware that it was more than just spotting.

Still, I was thinking positively. Guy and I drove to the clinic and talked about how this was just a little nerve rattling scare. I told him, and believed with all my heart, that everything was going to be fine. I was not going to lose our baby.

The tech tried an abdominal ultrasound first. She said that she couldn't see what she needed to see from there. My palms started to sweat and Guy held my hand a little tighter. The vaginal ultrasound was confusing to me at first. Cleatus was bigger, and I thought he was moving, but later realized that it was the tech moving the instrument, not my little guy moving. The tech went to measure him and it came up on the screen as "9 weeks, 2 days."

That is when I turned my head away and started to sob.

She went to get the doctor. I asked him to try again. Please look again. Please try once more to find my baby's heartbeat. We looked again, and there was nothing.

I don't really remember from there. We moved from office to office filling out paperwork for the D&C. I was there and people were talking to me, but I wasn't there.

On the way out of the clinic, we passed by the pregnant woman who had been sitting across from me in the waiting room. She was smiling and saying goodbye. I didn't mean to look at her, and I'm sure she wished she hadn't looked at me. I know that look. It's like seeing the people coming from the back of the vet's office holding just a leash, an empty collar, and a used Kleenex. I pull my own leash in and lean down to whisper in my own pup's ear as they go by.

She looked at me as I walked by clutching Guy's arm and ignoring the tears streaming down my face, and she took a step back. She took a step back into the safety of her own pregnancy and away from the, "Thank God that isn't me."

I would have done the same thing in her shoes. I would have done anything to be in her shoes.

12 weeks

At 12 weeks yesterday, I gave in and bought baby clothes. Sil and I were at Old Navy and she helped me pick out the most precious "Baby's First Christmas" onesie and a pile of other gender neutral clothes. Mostly gender neutral. I threw in a onesie with a bulldog on it because a) I just knew my baby was a boy and b) It was possible to put pink pants with it and thereby qualified as either or to me.

We left Old Navy, picked up 36 Krystal burgers for the crew, and headed back to Sil's house. We had gotten new pj's and matching shirts for Lovely and my little Clone niece, and a pile of 50% Christmas randomness to show off and gloat about their cheapness. However, as I was standing in the kitchen serving drinks to the kids, I felt blood began to run down my leg.

Eighteen hours later, I am in my parents guestroom, being not pregnant.

Cleatus died at 9 weeks, 2 days according to the ultrasound. That was the day of the concert - the first day I needed maternity clothes. The D&C was last night here in Jackson. He was with me exactly 12 weeks. 12 weeks and you are supposed to be so much safer. Less risk. Everything is supposed to be alright.

They gave me plenty of prescriptions for pain, but none of them can touch where it really hurts.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

On the subject of miracles

Believing in miracles is something that I don't do. Miracles happened in the Bible to tell stories. Stories were told in the Bible to teach us something and connect us under a common faith. There was a scientific reason the water turned to wine, or it was just a story. I didn't care which, because my faith has never been based on a literal interpretation of the Bible.

Someone recently commented on my spirituality or lack thereof. It is interesting to me that anyone feels they can judge how spiritual another person is or is not. To me, spirituality is a personal thing. Someone can comment on how unreligious I have become, but they have no idea about my spirituality.

It is all in the definitions of the words. I realized that when I started thinking about my momma and the miracle we seem to have been given. What I realized was that I had been defining the word much too narrowly. If I take a step back and look at a miracle as being given something that you didn't expect and didn't deserve, then my life becomes riddled with miracles.

My momma was not supposed to go into remission. Two months ago, she lay in a hospital bed, being sustained by a life support system, ovarian cancer taking over the spaces in her abdomen where she used to have ovaries and a uterus. Today, she is at home, taking care of herself and my father. She has been declared in remission. No cancer. Maybe next time, but right now, there is no cancer.

Maybe there is an explanation. Maybe there was something in their home in California that acted as a toxin. Maybe it took this long for the chemo to work. Maybe she ate some magic beans. I don't really care. I'm accepting that while there is most likely a medical explanation for what has happened, we will never know it, and I should accept that it is a miracle. It is something we didn't expect and didn't deserve. It is a gift.

As I sit in my music room, blogging here, there is another miracle. Lovely is sitting at our piano, playing her little heart out. "Jingle Bells" and other Christmas tunes are ringing out, along with her running commentary on whatever wrong notes she might hit. Having her for a stepdaughter is something I never expected and did nothing to deserve. She is a gift.

Most of the people in my life right now are miracles by my new definition. Guy of course. The timing of our finding each other had to have been a miracle. Loving his family like I do - miracle.

Boo and Pilot, miracles. Having them in our lives has been nothing short of one. She got me the gig with Dude, has been the best friend I've made in this town, and most amazingly, she has stood by me with unfailing loyalty. It's nothing I expected or deserved.

My students, all miracles. I have had so many changes and moves in my life the past couple of years, and they are still with me. It's certainly nothing I expected or deserved, so I deem them miracles as well. Their playing and determination is miraculous too, and I'm not just saying that for the brave one who reads these thoughts although she is definately one of the miracles in my life.

Finally, how on earth could I make it through this pregnancy without believing in miracles? Everytime I read an update on the changes in this baby from week to week, I am in awe of what is going on inside me. I am also completely freaked out by how very little control I have over it. Sure, there are medical explanations, and women have been having babies forever, but this is my miracle. Something I didn't expect. Something I didn't earn. Something I wanted so badly. Something I'm sharing with the other biggest miracle in my life, Guy.

But the biggest miracle of all is that my momma might actually get to know this grandchild after all. There is no better time than Christmas to be reminded of what you believe, why you believe it, and how faith never really dies.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More preggo brain

After my true confessions on how my hormones affected our Thanksgiving dinner and the cooking thereof, I thought that I would get a handle on my flakiness. Au contraire.

Since then, I have continued to do things which deserve admission to absolution from the blogging community.

You know how granola bars come in packs of 2? And sometimes you might only eat 1 and then wrap the other one up for later? That's what I did. I saved one. Then, when I was packing Guy's lunch one day last week, I thought that the 1 granola bar would make a good morning snack. It might have, if he hadn't opened it up to discover that I had already taken a bite out of it. The ensuing phone call of, "Why are you eating parts of my lunch and then packing them? Are we really that poor?" was rather humiliating, and yet I found myself laughing until I almost wet my pants.

You know how sometimes your new clothes come with stickers on them that tell what size they are? And sometimes you are so excited about a piece of new clothing that you want to wear it even before you wash it? That's what I did. I got some new maternity jeans (and no, I'm not having twins) that were so cozy and cute that I brought them right home, cut off the tag, and wore them to Costco. Then, as if I needed to advertise because people couldn't just tell by looking, I left the giant sticker running from my butt down to the middle of my thigh that said:
"Large Grande Large Grande Large Grande Large Grande Large Grande." Beautiful. I was so proud.

Next I'm going to have my pj bottoms embroidered "Wide Load" across the back and forget to change out of them before leaving the house.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Things everyone should know about my Bro

Since my Bro might joining us around here, I thought there were some things that you all needed to know.

My Bro taught me to fear the toilet monster. If you didn't make it out of the bathroom before the toilet gurgled, the toilet monster would grab you and take you back down. The noise of a toilet flushing haunted me for years. I occasionally still shudder at that gurgle.

My Bro taught me that Talladega was a bad word. As in, "Mommmmmm! He called me a talladega!"

My Bro used me for slumber party entertainment. There was the old putting my hand in warm water to make me wet the bed. There was the filling my hand with toothpaste and then tickling my nose. He taught me to always lock my door at night when he had company.

After all the torture though, if there is one person in my family that I know I can count on, it's Bro. When my parents made what seemed to us to be a absurdly random move to California 7 years ago, Bro and I made a pact to always spend Christmas and Thanksgiving together. That was of course, 2 kids ago for him and it hasn't always worked, but hey, we made a pact, and we've done the best we could at keeping it.

This year, the day after Christmas, we are loading up the car and heading to Tennessee. Guy hates to travel at the holidays. He might think I've forgotten this little piece of information, but I haven't. He didn't bat an eye when I said that I would really like to spend time with my family at Christmas.

Now that he has met my Bro in person, he totally gets it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dirty rotten dog

This is a bad bad bad dirty dog. She tries to hide it by being beautiful. She is a princess. She will even try to con sympathy out of you for her bum eye. Don't let her fool you. Besides, that bum eye was a gift from some vet friends of mine. Any other vet would have just sewn the socket shut. Instead, this spoiled dog got a fancy silicon implant so that she would still be a gorgeous setter. She is rotten.

Princess Dirty Dog is a counter surfer. She likes to go in the kitchen, put her paws up on the counter and see what yummy treat I have stupidly left out for her to eat. Sunday night, she really did me in.

We had company coming for dessert. Not just any company, mind you, but the vet friends. The very same vet friends who gave Princess Dirty Dog her new eye. I made a pie. Not just any pie, but Guy's favorite Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie. The very same pie that I messed up at Thanksgiving. This time I didn't mess up. It was perfect and beautiful.

I set the pie out on the counter, and waited a couple of minutes by the front door since our house numbers don't show up in the dark. As I let in our guests, Guy started yelling in the kitchen, "You've got to be kidding me! Bad dog!"

Princess Dirty Dog had eaten the pie.

Had I not been bawling my eyes out, I would have thought to take a picture of that pie. Instead, I had to settle for a picture of her the next day with more crap on her nose that she got there by counter surfing. Damn dog.

Still though, somehow she worms her way back into our good graces. I don't know how, but she does. She ate Guy's favorite pie and still there is this:

Bells, whistles, and other Christmas miracles

Mom didn't call after all. I did talk to my Bro. I told him to tell Momma to just call me tomorrow. The thing is, I knew that she would be giddy with excitement, and I just wasn't there yet. That probably sounds crazy.

Her cat scan showed no evidence of cancer. None. Nada. Not one speck. They had also redone her ca125 just to make sure and it had dropped another 10 points down to 14.

They have declared my mother cancer free again. Remission. Her next appointment isn't until March.

Any normal daughter would be falling all over themselves with delight. I still sit skeptical. So much of the news we have gotten from doctors over the past almost 4 years has been bad. I'm waiting for that proverbial other shoe.


Whymommy pointed out to me last night though that whether I believe in miracles or not, that the information we got yesterday was indeed good news and I just had to accept it at that.

She is so right. As usual.

I will call my momma today and be happy for her. Better yet, I'll call her today and be happy with her.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Text message

From my brother at 1:32 PM:

"Cancer is apparently gone. No details yet. Mom will call."

Curtain call

Saturday was a big day. The group I play with performed with a 200 voice choir in the symphony hall here in the lovely capital city. We have played on that stage before, and we have played on TV before, but never on that stage on TV. Plus, we were playing mostly brand new material. It was a little stressful.

Full dress rehearsal started around 10:00 that morning. Wouldn't you know that as I was drying my hair that morning, I looked in the mirror and saw, oh my word - my bump. Cleatus determined that the very day I was already going to be in front of the 10 pound adding camera, he wants to make an appearance as well. Luckily, my organza pants had an elastic waist. The sweater though - well, the sweater was shorter in the front than in the back. I guess that in itself isn't so new. My boobs are ginormous. However, Guy proclaimed (proudly, I might add) at the end of the night,

"You so looked pregnant up there on stage."

That's so cool. Of course, to some people I might just look chunky. I have no control over that. I did think ahead enough to get a manicure and stop by Kerry Catherine and get my rings cleaned. They always do a close up of the pianist's hands. I wanted those puppies to sparkle. Make Guy proud. He said that the camera was swooping in at me, so I hope that they got that shot.

Overall, I think the evening went pretty well. We held everything together, and Dude has an amazing way with a crowd, no matter what the setting. I don't know if it is his day job that gives him that - he is a morning news anchor - or if it is his personality. He just makes everyone feel at ease. He is a pleasure to play with.

The coolest part of the evening though was having my family in the audience. I could even see the from the stage. You can only see about 10 rows back because of the lights. But there they were, Guy, Guy's dad, and Lovely. There they were, smiling at me, and it was awesome.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

That's whatssup, Doc

Today Guy and I went to the doctor. I have a great doctor. She is really cool and rolls with the punches extremely well. Plus, she got Blue Cross Blue Shield to start paying for my mammograms when I turned 30 even though my mother hadn't had the gene test yet. Soft spoken, but carries a big stick I like to think.

When she walked in she said, "Well you've been busy."

I guess in her time, I have. One year I go to see her and tell her that my husband and I are going to adopt. The next year I tell her that I've given up on that and I would like to go to a fertility specialist and talk about sperm donors. The next year I tell her I'm getting a divorce.

Now, I sit before her, gown open to the front, sheet over the legs, smiling, laughing, and holding Guy's hand. She has never seen me smile much.

And I'm pregnant.
She is my doctor, and I can tell that she is genuinely happy for me.

That is pretty cool.

She moved my due date back to July 12 again and said that everything looked great.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh me of little faith

I'm so ready for answers. There has been limbo in my life for so long now that I should be used to it, but I never get there.

Guy's job is in limbo. He does an amazing job of keeping me calm while keeping me honestly informed. We are not scared that he will be unemployed, we just don't know how and where he will be employed. His company has reorganized his department, and we are waiting to see how the positions shake down. Or, we move to Connecticut. It's cold there and people will think I talk funny. Because I guess to them, I would.

My parents are in limbo. Even though they have made the move to Tennessee, they are still not settled. Daddy doesn't have a neurologist yet, and he gets worse every day. Momma, on the other hand, has seen her new oncologist and went today for her first chemo treatment since she got sick in September and spent 9 days in October on life support.

Here is the kicker. Somehow, from the time she saw her oncologist in California until the blood work done in Tennessee last week, her ca125 levels dropped back into the "no cancer" zone. They didn't give her any chemo today because without more tests, they have to assume that she doesn't have cancer present right now.

Lab error? Probably.

Miracle? Probably what my folks are saying.

Am I a terrible person that I don't believe that it is possible for her cancer to just shrink itself and go away? I want to believe it. Really, I do. The reality is though, that a lab error is much more plausible and the time that they spend celebrating the miracles could be time that she could be being treated.

You would think that I could just give some good news about my folks and be happy about it. Maybe someday, but I doubt it.

Meanwhile, I could tell the stories about my Daddy peeing all over the bed and then peeing all over my sister-in-law as she tried to help him clean up. I could tell the one where he got so confused one night that he tried to throw a punch at my brother and then told him in his best Vietnam War voice, "You're gonna regret this day for the rest of your life."

Or I could tell the story about how my youngest niece has attached herself to him and claimed him as her very own PawPaw. That would be the best story I guess.

In December, they will meet their new granddaughter. Lovely is looking forward to it. She is excited to have more grandparents, which I think speaks volumes for the ones she already has. They are excited to meet her too. Momma has asked for a Christmas list, and Lovely is the kind of child that hasn't really asked for much, so I might have to ask her to think up some more things. I find that funny and refreshing all at the same time.

I don't want for any of the children to get their hopes up. We have had these conversations with Lovely and I know my Bro and Sil have had them with their children as well. MawMaw and PawPaw (I really hate those names) are sick. They are fragile. We have to take care of them. One day, maybe soon, we won't have them anymore. The children have had to adjust to this just like we have. Lovely will not get to know her new grandparents very well before they are gone.

Or who am I to say? It's Christmas time. If we are ever going to get a miracle, shouldn't it be at Christmas time? Oh me of little faith.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm laughing now, really

I'm making lists. There are lists of things we will need for the nursery. There are lists of things that I need to do to get my freaking house on the freaking market. There are lists of baby names. Tonight, I give you the list of things that made me cry this week.

1. The ultrasound and tiny heartbeat.
2. Guy carrying my pee through the doctor's office.
3. The news story about abused dogs (that one isn't new though).
4. Pupstar crawling not just into my lap but on top of my computer just to be that much closer.
5. Grey's Anatomy.
6. Another news story about a mom and her two babies found dead in their car in the carport (okay, that one really is quite sad and okay to cry about).
7. The fact that I didn't have the yogurt required to make my smoothie.
8. Lovely leaving Thursday morning and not coming back for another week.
9. Not being able to button my favorite jeans anymore.
10. The Amy Grant Christmas album. I was embarrassed for myself as that happened.
11. Taking a family picture for the Christmas card.
12. Turning on the lights on the Christmas tree.
13. More than one blogger and their insights on motherhood, labor and delivery
(and yes, I read every word), and losing their dog for the night.
14. Pulling into the parking lot of our very own brand spanking new Trader Joe's.
15. The giant hug and smack on the cheek when I told the Dude I play music with that I couldn't gig in July because Cleatus the fetus should be appearing as real live baby then.
16. My mother's voice over the phone. I don't even know what she was saying.
17. The picture of my grandfather from his college days. I was hanging it in my studio.
18. The pet of the day on the noon news.
19. Twiggy singing "In My Life" on the Muppet Show with a background montage of her modeling photos. I'm not even kidding.
20. The card that one of my best friends sent on the day that Guy and I were supposed to have our family wedding. It was this past Saturday. Needless to say, my parents are too sick to come, my brother is stuck taking care of them, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't have squoze into my wedding dress at this point anyway. Thank God we eloped when we did.

On the upside, Guy bought me some new boots tonight from my most favorite shoe store. They are quite fabulous and have no heel. We are getting concerned that I'm going to send my pregnant kapooshy flat on the ground if I continue to wear my standard 3-4 inch heeled boots all the time. I am a girl who must have boots though. Don't you think they are fabulous?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just don't pat her on the back right now

The biggest disagreement I remember having with my best friend was back in high school. She thought the paper luminaries that lined the sidewalks in my neighborhood were pretentious. I thought they were beautiful. It was probably the first time I agreed to disagree with someone, so I credit her for teaching me that all important skill.

There are so many things she has taught me. The most relevant things lately are about motherhood. She has never given me bad advice, so I'm relying heavily on her as we both incubate our little ones. This is her second and my first.

Whymommy has a beautiful mix of left-brain and right-brain. There are times when I feel like I am in on that secret; like she doesn't share that right-brain with very many people. I have been packing up my house for the past several months and came across a journal that Whymommy gave my in high school. It was inscribed "From one closet writer to another." As we both blog now, I guess you could say that we have come out of the closet. See you later, Tom Cruise.

As she blogs, she handles honesty gracefully. During her pregnancy, she has been plagued with sciatica. It has put her on 8 months of bed rest. Dealing with constant excrutiating pain can be handled a few different ways. You could write about it and hope you get sympathy. You could write about it out of anger. You could simply not write about it so that you wouldn't burden people with the ugliness of the situation. Whymommy chose to handle it differently.

Without ignoring what is a significant part of her life, the pain, she has been able to write about this pregnancy as a mother and a scientist. Is she in pain? Yes. Is it controlling her life? Only certain details. Is she still focused on Widget and the incubating Whybaby and their development? Absolutely. But she writes with the calm precision of her left-brain and crafts those words beautifully with the right. That is just who she is.

She posts about learning opportunities that she has found for Widget even when she is stuck on the couch. She posts about braving the playdates even through the pain. She posts about the hope of physical therapy and is honest about the disappointment of finding out they were wrong.
She continues to post, no matter how she is feeling, and I continue to learn from her. I hear encouragement in her words, hope, contentment, and love. She helped give me the courage to leave the professional world as I thought it should be and make a new life and new work for myself at home. Stay-at-home-part-time-self-employed mother. SAHPTSEM.

There is something else amazing about Whymommy. She has been able to accept help without feeling like it is a sign of weakness. My parents still have trouble with that. Watching someone struggle and refuse help is frustrating and sad. I am so proud of her for allowing her in-laws to come into her home and help them with Widget, the cooking, the cleaning, whatever. Whymommy has been able to maintain her dignity through a time when she is flat laid out. She even had Thanksgiving at her house with all the grandparents and who knows, maybe she will feel up to Christmas too.

If you haven't gotten to know her, you are missing out. I hope you will go spend some time with her today and be inspired. I certainly am going to just that.

This post was prompted by The Mom Trap over at Club Moms. A little bit of loving on your favorite expectant mommyblogger.

I think he looks like Guy

Introducing Cleatus the fetus.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stuff on the side

I have been having a great time playing with this blog design by Zoot. Although it would probably be easier if I got a book on stylesheets and html, I have instead, just looked through her code and been trial and erroring it to add on to the side. It is loads of fun.

So what do we have?

There is the "me" section. It's not very informative, but I do rather like the picture because Lovely took it. She is actually quite good with a camera. Especially for a 10 year old. I have yet to write an "About Me" entry. That is because I am not that interesting on the whole.

Next is the pregnancy ticker. It is too small, I realize, but I wasn't about to have something out of line with the rest of the sidebar. If you rightclick on the ticker, you should be able to select "view picture" and then see the ticker. That is if you are as interested as I am in how many days I have left to be pregnant. Which you probably aren't. The butterfly is pretty though.

Then we have the lovely button from Cool Mom Picks. If you still have shopping to do and would like to do it from home, I strongly suggest that you click here. It has some great suggestions for Christmas presents for anyone on your list.

Below that is the
Kind Blog button. This very much suits my new blogging mantra, "Blog unto others as you would have them blog unto you." It helps keep me in check, even with the unpredictable hormones.

Everything below that is pretty self-explanatory I suppose. You can see my links list. I only put people on that I check more than once a week. With my attention span being that of a gnat, often I will go to someone's blog, enjoy it, and then forget that I ever went there. So, although the list is small, it is
people who I really enjoy reading.

Meeting the little guy with the big Guy

It's official. We have a heartbeat. And a new due date. I'm a little more pregnant than we thought, which is just fine with me.

The ultrasound was Monday morning. Guy and I went to the visit together. It was a "nurse talk," which meant that we simply met with a nurse and she talked a lot. Just as I was feeling completely underwhelmed, it was time for the ultrasound.

My brother has named this little guy Cleatus the Fetus. It's annoyingly catching, and Guy has picked up on it too. So Cleatus it is - for now.

Cleatus was right where he was supposed to be. In fact, everything was just as it should have been. The heartbeat was strong and we could hear and see it. He looked like a little shrimp. Guy and I both cried, but also both waited until the tech left the room to do so.

I have waited so long for this. This happiness that has been completely unexpected, unscripted, and unbelievable. It is not enough that I have ended up with a man that I love, respect, admire, and simply love being around, but now, well, now I am carrying his child.

I knew I wanted to be a mother, but I never knew that I would want to be pregnant. Maybe that sounds strange, but I always just looked at pregnancy as a means to an end. It is so much more than that though. It is 40 (give or take I hear) or so weeks of bonding with baby and father. I have this time to become a mother.

One last thing: if you haven't figured out how sweet Guy is by now, let me give you another example. The man carried my pee to the lab Monday. Granted, it was double bagged and you couldn't tell what it was, but he knew. And he carried it anyway. I love him.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Braving my way back

After last week's hormonal mind vomit onto the keyboard, I've been a bit blogging shy. Not that they are under control now, mind you. I just spent several minutes sniffling and drying my eyes while reading the latest on Zygote Daddy.

Side note: Guy likes to read over my shoulder while I blog. He prefers to read my thoughts as they go instead of after whatever editing I give them before hitting the publish post button. Not that I do that much editing of course. Hi, Guy.

In honor of my hormones doing more than just sending me into crying fits over Christmas ornaments, movie trailers, glimpses of Lovely and Guy snuggling on the couch, and running out of milk, I give you the list of things I forgot last week:

1. I left out a cup of cheese from the shoepeg corn casserole.
2. I got out the corn syrup for the pecan pie, assembled the pie, baked the pie, ate some of the incredibly awful pie, and then realized (the next day) that I had never opened the corn syrup and added the cup that the recipe required.
3. I forgot to put the biscuits in the oven to rise right away, thereby offering buttermilk hockey pucks as the bread with Thanksgiving dinner.
4. I forgot to add the semisweet chocolate to the black bottom banana cream pie, a pie that I have been making for 8 years now.
5. I forgot to do the laundry.
6. I forgot to feed the dogs. Twice.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but you get the idea. I have pregnant brain.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Okay, it was so totally hormonal

Three hours later, post house cleaning and showering, I can honestly say that it was totally hormonal.

I have got to learn how the "save as draft" button works. Good grief.

Wishing it was hormonal

The biggest loss of my divorce was not my husband. I wanted him to leave. I was happy once he did. The biggest loss was that of friends.

Most of my friends were friends through marriage. I have never been one to collect lots of friends on my own. I was never one of those girls who would have a weekly "girls' night out" and drink pastel cocktails while giggling about the bartender's cute tush.

There have been five women in my life who I could call steady friends, best friends, and now there are four.

Two of those women have had their own challenges brought on because of my divorce. Their own husbands are good friends with my ex-husband. T has handled it graciously and with care. The other chose not to. I don't know why either. I was in the same position with her during her divorce, and my Ex and I lay down the law right away. Her Ex was not to be mentioned, he wasn't welcome in our house, and I didn't want to know if the two men spoke or saw each other.

Maybe it was different because she was the one that was left. Maybe she felt more empathy towards my Ex. Maybe I'm giving her more credit than she deserves because it hurts too much to think about how easily I was discarded by her.

There was a day when she said to me, "You just aren't sad enough."

I am changing my life for the better, and she wanted me to be more sad.

I think what she was really saying was, "You aren't sad enough anymore to make me feel better about my life."

It's too bad she left me when she did. It was just a couple of months before my father's biggest slide downwards into Lewy Body Dementia and my mother's diagnosis of metastatic ovarian cancer. If she wanted to see sad, I can do sad now.

The interesting thing to me is that she and I were friends during a period of time that my family claims I was not myself. That is one of the things they love about Guy. They see more of me, the way I used to be, now that I am with him. As soon as I started coming out from under the weight of a marriage that was drowning me, my friendship with her started to crumble.

Most of the time, this doesn't bother me. I miss her, but I don't miss the way she treated me the last few months of our friendship. Today though, I came across a set of photos on Flickr. I was looking for some pictures of T's little girl's birthday party this past Saturday. Instead I found a set of pictures where T and her family drove to VA to visit my former friend and her husband. Again, the husbands are friends.

It didn't matter though. My mother has always said that I am loyal to a fault. If someone wrongs one of my friends, then I will write that person off for life. I am a bridge burner in my personal life, and during the period of time when I tried to get better at it, I just ended up collecting a whole lot of people who drained the energy out of me. I have torched a bunch of bridges over the past 2 years, and I usually feel much better for it.

The problem is that sometimes I can't understand why my friends don't have the same trait. Looking at the pictures of T sitting there smiling and having a terrific time with this woman who had hurt me so deeply, frankly, it cut me to the bone.

Logically, I understand that it isn't fair of me to expect all of my friends to act the same way I would. Emotionally, it doesn't matter. All I can think is that if someone treated T the way this woman treated me, I would never be able to maintain any level of friendship with them, no matter what. And that hurts.
While I would like to blame this on hormones, I don't think I can. I would really like to not have this bother me, but I don't know how to just turn it off.

It didn't bother me when T and her husband sent out an email about something my Ex had sent their little girl for her birthday. I know they are still friends, and I wouldn't expect anything different. I wasn't abused or tortured in my first marriage, just deceived and disappointed. My Ex did not hurt me half as much as this woman did, and the pain he did cause was not intentional.

Of course I am too scared to talk to her about it because I will most likely say the wrong things and make everything thing worse. I know I can't handle losing her as a friend too.

Maybe it is hormonal. God I hope so.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wimpy preggo

This is the time of year when my sinuses try to ruin my life. Usually it is a day of misery followed by loads of drugs including the miracle squirt or two of Flonase and an extra dose of Diet Coke. Now, it has become the source of migraines and the need for lots of sleep. In other words, I'm not getting anything done.

I am a person who likes to get things done. And yet, I have done nothing but take a hot shower for the purposes of steaming my sinuses and then go back to sleep. I'm fighting the urge to get up and go regardless of how I feel because what if this is my body fighting off a full blown sinus infection? I would really like to paint my porch and get ready for a yard sale tomorrow, but I sit here, with dog and laptop sharing my lap, not doing those things.

There might be drugs I could take. I could call the nurse at my OB's office and ask if my beloved Flonase is safe, but the last phone call made me feel stupid for needing to ask a question in the first place. Crying would be detrimental to the whole trying to mend my sinus thing I've got going on.

Why the wimpy label? Because my best friend has been on bed rest since her 2nd month. Her back and hip pain is so intense that she has days she cannot move. There are not drugs or therapy that she can have on a consistant basis, and so she endures the pain. For her baby. For her family. I do not know how she has done it. To trade her pain for a little sinus pressure would be a no-brainer for sure.

I guess it is okay to just sit here for a day and pay attention to my body. It's not like the work won't be there tomorrow. It's not all about me anymore.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lovely's Christmas list

We haven't told Lovely yet about her pending sibling. Guy wants to wait until after the ultrasound finds a heartbeat. We did find a very cute monkey wearing a grass skirt who hulas when you pull its cord. The tag names the monkey with Lovely's name, so we bought it for her as a gift from the baby.

The best part though is Lovely's Christmas list. It includes the traditional TV for her room, iPod, clothes, and craft kits. Thankfully, it did not include the disturbing Barbie RV complete with hot tub. At the end though, she turned to Guy and said that what she really wanted though was a little sister. A brother would be okay too, but she would really like a little sister.

This makes us think she is going to be quite alright with the news whenever and however we decide to tell her. I hope so.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Preggo meltdown

Welcome to hormone central. Today, we have a lovely story of a pregnant woman cracking before your very eyes. It goes like this:

I started taking folic acid when I found out I was pregnant. Correction, I started taking it as soon as my dear friend T found out I wasn't and scared the crap out of me by hurling a bottle of it from her own cabinet at my head. Now, I take it religiously. 400 micrograms a day.

Today, I called the nurse and asked if my doctor could go ahead and call in a prescription for prenatal vitamins since my appointment is still two weeks away. She sounded shocked that I wasn't already taking them and didn't know that I could get them over the counter. I told her that I was taking my folic acid and she told me that I was only taking half the correct amount.

It is probably no shock to previously pregnant women that this sent me into a crying frenzy after I hung up the phone. I sat on the couch, stunned that I could already be the world's worst mother before my little zygote even grew out of its little tadpole tail. Guy called right as I was melting down and just laughed at me. I told him I was obviously trying to kill our baby by not taking the prenatal vitamins. He just laughed. Silly schmoopie. People have had plenty of babies without prenatal vitamins. You are just fine.


Can I just say again how magnificent he is? If I continue to gush about this incredible man, will you all roll your eyes and skip this part? Probably, so I'll just keep it to myself.

Besides, I have to go to Target and buy my prenatal vitamins and the new Damien Rice cd. Because I'm not emotional enough right now. I love that man too. He writes the most beautiful songs and orchestrates them like hanging tinsel on a Christmas tree strand by strand. Every instrument is carefully placed, the lines are simple, and when you stand back, the overall effect is stunning. I'm quite sure it will make me cry.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Another person that hates me

Why then, does the belligerent woman working the drive thru window of the Bojangles hate me so? I told her that I didn't want sweet tea while I was having to yell into the giant menu speaker while getting rained upon. She insisted that I did. In fact, I wanted sweet tea and french fries. No, no ma'am, I do not, thank you. I would like mashed potatoes with no gravy and I do not need a drink.

Why then, does she try and hand me a giant cup of sweet tea at the window?

I say, "I don't want any tea, thank you."

She sneers and says, "It comes with the meal."

I say, "Thank you, but I still don't want it."

She sticks her chin out and says, "You know you paid for it."

I say, "I understand, but I don't want the tea."

She expels a loud puff of air through her nostrils, takes the tea, tosses it into the trashcan behind her like she was hitting a 3 pointer and shoves my food through the window.

I ask for extra napkins because the inside of my car is now drenched from the rain pouring in the open window. She hates me even more as she generously gives me three.

Monday, November 06, 2006

It's all about preggo

I promise this will not just turn into a pregnancy blog. For one thing, I took the second pregnancy test and refrained from taking a picture of it. So there.

First-timers though are constantly aware of the changes I have found. Scanning through some of the pregnancy boards, I have read open conversations about boobs, gas, constipation, and God forbid, hemorrhoids. I am slightly afraid.

I am also slightly hungry. All the freaking time. The thing that sucks about it though is that absolutely nothing looks, smells, or tastes appealing to me. This is a very weird thing for me. I absolutely love to eat. I love food. I love to cook. I love to bake. And now that I need to eat, there is nothing that I want. Strange.

Then there is the tired. It is at least an hour before I used to go to bed and at least an hour before I wanted to go to bed. An early bedtime for me is bizarre, and 6:00 AM is not a favorite hour of mine, and yet that seems to be the new pattern.

Things smell funny. I smell funny. Body washes that I have used for years smell awful once I get out of the shower. World Market almost made me hurl yesterday; I think it was some unfinished wood furniture. Guy smells sweet though, like sugar. It is a good smell, but I know he didn't used to smell like sugar.

Tonight I was talking to my daddy. He asked how I was doing and I assumed he meant because I was pregnant and all. I told him I was always tired and hungry, but felt just fine. He told me to go get my thyroid checked. I reminded him I was pregnant. He pretended like he hadn't forgotten.

I guess some things are going to stay just the same.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A little light reading

I have 2 books about how to be pregnant because I don't know what I'm doing. They are both kind of annoying really. While I appreciate the information, I get going reading and feeling like I'm learning something and then they will throw in a "Dad Tip." These are pull out boxes on the page with stuff for the Daddy. One of them says,

"Dad Tip: Give your partner a lot of hugs. May women enjoy more hugging and cuddling during this very special time."

I'm not kidding. That is the tip. Here is a more useful tip that I would have included,

"Dad Tip: Quit telling people that your wife is pregnant by slapping her ass and saying, 'My boys can swim!"

But no, their tips include,

"Dad Tip: Bring home flowers for no special occasion."

Isn't that probably one of the things that led us to needing a pregnancy book in the first place?

I offer in its place,

"Dad Tip: When your partner tells you that she has to pee on the spice aisle of the grocery store, do not respond with, 'Again?"

But no, this book gives us nuggets of wisdom for those prehistoric sperm shooters we call husbands like,

"Dad Tip: Buy a present for your partner and the baby."

Aside from all this nonsense, I'm learning quite a bit. I have quit the caffeine, skipped sushi, of course corked the wine. We went to the Costco and loaded up on organic fruit and veggies, hormone free meat, and whole grain goodness. I'm exercising and getting a lot done around the house.

Most of what I've learned is that I'm not insane. Lots of pregnant women crave ice cream and have a metallic taste in their mouth.

One question that I have not had answered though is this: Is there any records of your dog knowing that you are pregnant before you do? I swear I think that Pupstar knew. She started acting more protective of me and
will not leave my side for about 3 1/2 weeks now. I swear I think she knows. She is, of course, the smartest dog in the world. Evah.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Out of the bag

Momma is going to start chemo again. Her ca125 came back higher than it was before she started chemo this last time, so that is really disappointing. The news also included that she would be on chemo for the rest of her life. The rest of her life obviously, depending on how well she responds to the chemo.

Guy told them our news. I still couldn't. Not with her crying on the phone about her news. So he called them back and told them. I think Daddy got it. Momma certainly did. She said that they could really use some good news and that it was the best news she could have asked for.

I guess I should have told them days ago. Then again, I wasn't sure that I believed it myself. I took that 2nd pregnancy test that comes in the box just to see.

Very blue. Very quickly.

Very pregnant.

Friday, November 03, 2006

How much do you tell?

Momma goes to the oncologist today. She is rightfully very frightened. Today she will get a new estimate of the rest of her life.

The chemo was going well if you consider what it was doing to the cancer. Her ca125 had dropped into an almost safe range. She was well on her way to being on the 3 end of the number of years she had left to live.

Then came the pneumonia. After having the fever and cough for several weeks and finally being admitted to the hospital, put in the ICU and being on life support for 9 days, the chemo now looks like it wasn't going so well after all. She is pretty scared that they are going to tell her that she shouldn't take anymore. Or worse yet, that while she had been on hiatus from it and trying to recover, that the cancer has taken over and is unstoppable at this point.

I haven't told her that I'm pregnant yet. Each time that I call, she is so busy trying to tell me how alright they, and it exhausts me. She does this thing. If there is someone that she feels like is getting picked on or unfairly treated, then she does this passive thing where she makes sure to tell you all the good things they've done. Growing up, she would do that for my brother. She would try and passively change my dad's mind that my brother was a screwup. It never worked. And he wasn't, by the way.

Now, she is doing this for my dad. Every time we talk to her, we have to get the update on how well Daddy is doing. Nevermind the fact that while she is telling my brother the wonderful news on my father's miraculous recovery, he's in the other room falling off the air mattress that is supposed to be where my mother is sleeping for now. Hitting the floor, my mother's accolades are interrupted by unintelligible yelling, and Mom having to call out to him that she can't help. Oh yes, they are doing just fine.

I tried to have a conversation with my mother about the difference in being a wife and a caregiver. I have tried to help her understand how my Bro and I dealt with Daddy when he got mean and nasty. I have tried to encourage her to step up and take control so that Daddy will relax more and be easier to manage.

The bottom line is that she is incapable of seeing him as someone who is sick.

She still needs to see him as her husband and her rock. Really, if I step back from it, I can understand that. She needs a rock. God bless her, the woman has metastatic ovarian cancer. Doctors are telling her that she is going to die sooner rather than later. Her children are telling her that her husband is already gone just when she needs him to be there the most.

So how much do you tell each other? What is she leaving out of the reports? We know that he is yelling at her and berating her because he was doing it while she was still in the hospital. The fact that it is not his fault, rather the disease's fault doesn't make it hurt any less. Is he hitting her? Probably not. Would she tell us if he was? Probably not.

She did tell me about five years ago that he would hit her in his sleep. Part of his REM sleep disorder, this was probably one of the earliest symptoms. My reaction was to tell her that they needed to sleep in separate rooms. She never mentioned it again.

We keep so many secrets to be such a close family. I don't understand. Now, I'm keeping my pregnancy a secret. Part of me just can't get happy about the news as it relates to them. It just reminds me of how much they will not be with me. Another part of me doesn't want to tell her because I don't want it to effect her decisions about further chemo. Is that really my choice though, or should I let it be her?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Endings and beginnings

It's my last day at work. Well, one job at least. I will still have the other two part-time jobs.

So I'm leaving one thing and moving onto another.

Guy said I shouldn't tell too many people yet because you never know what will happen. Good thing we are a small circle of friends here I guess.

Friday, October 27, 2006

October isn't over yet

Breast cancer awareness month. Yes, thank you. I'm quite aware of breast cancer. If you would like to visit a site that supports breast cancer research all year long, you can visit the fine folks at Bringr.

There has been a lot of talk on this blog about ovarian cancer, but I can't ignore the fact that this all started with breast cancer in 1980.

My mother was just a few years older than me when she was told that her odds were not good and that she needed to "get her house in order." She fought. She won. She is still here.

This is my youngest niece featured on my awareness poster. Myself, my little clone niece, and MerMer here all have to be extra careful. Cancer is a part of our genes.

On my 30th birthday, I had my first mammogram. I had some cake too, but first I had my first mammogram. Might I humbly suggest that you schedule your annual in the month of your birthday every year. It will help you remember, and catching breast cancer early will make every birthday that much more important.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The house is not a home

When we got married, Guy had a house, and I had a house. Guy's house is bigger. My house is older. His house won. So I am left with this little house in a great neighborhood that I have to say goodbye to. I don't want to, but I also don't want to own it and let someone else live in it. I am far too much the control freak to be a landlord.

In 2000, I had not realized that I would leave my first husband. What I had realized was that he would never make a living and that we were spending everything we made. I talked to my granddaddy who said, "Buy a house." Sage advice, but strange advice for a couple of poor musicians.

However, my friend Boo had just bought a townhome. She was single and also a musician. I was in awe and inspired.

The market was good, a mortgage was relatively easy to get, and I did want to buy a house. I started looking in an area of the city where the homes we could afford would be old and small, but that I felt like would increase in value. It was my only plan for getting ahead in life. Plus, it was my own little piece of the planet.

Once we bought that house, things began to change. I began feeling the burden of responsibility financially and at the same time wanted to start a family. Instead of being able to start a family, I had to put my Ex through more school. To feel that mothering connection with somebody, I started fostering dogs. My Ex was home less and less and I was home more and more. When it came time to split, it didn't take either of us much time to figure out that I was staying home with the dogs, and he was moving out.

The things he took were unimportant. It was the things he left behind that have mattered.

A sack full of letters from when I lived in London.

A tiny tux from before he hit his mid 20's growth spurt.

All the grunge cd's including the Singles soundtrack.

The four track recorder.

And in a drawer that I must have opened 3 dozen times before I learned my lesson, he left a broken keychain. It was pewter; an abstract naked man and woman. It was wrapped in a note from him that talked about how he would always love me even when it wasn't easy.

I would open the drawer and then shut the drawer. A few weeks later, I would go to clean out the secretary again, open that drawer and then just shut it again.

He also left a piece of hardwood flooring. A random piece of hardwood flooring that he was going to do a home repair with. It sat in a corner in the bathroom for years. Our house, like our marriage, was never tended to or cared for and the plans my Ex always had were never completed.

My little house has had a facelift in honor of its future owners. Years of vinyl flooring has been removed and replaced with tile. There is fresh paint. New gravel has been spread on the gravel.

Guy and I have done it ourselves, together. Each tile we have laid is part of the foundation for the rest of our lives. Each repair that he and his father make brings me closer to being able to let go of the past. Each load of my belongings that leaves that little house, making it a little more empty, has me feeling more confident about where we are moving.

We are moving forward.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kids:0, Lewy bodies:1

All of the blogging issues aside, I should try to start writing about my time in California. It was quite the scene.

After the issue with the Nose, I boarded a plane and headed to Sacramento. GPS in hand, I rented a car and struck out for my parents' house with no warning from me. Guy did call Daddy that morning and told him, "Sir, I've just put my wife and your daughter on a plane to come see you." To that, Daddy chuckled and replied, "I wish you hadn't done that." Oh boy.

I took a piece of advice from my incredible sister-in-law and stopped at a grocery store. At the local BelAir, I purchased flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, and sour cream. I was stocked and ready to go with ingredients for a pound cake. When I pulled into the driveway of their house, my cell phone rang. It was Daddy. He wanted to know where I was. When I told him that I was in his driveway, all possibility of animosity melted away. He sounded just like my nephew when he said, "Really? You wouldn't tease me, would you?" I told him to come outside and met him at the end of the sidewalk with a big hug. The pound cake turned out to be secondary to just holding each other for 60 seconds.

As much as I would like to hit publish post right there and forget about it, I can't. That night, I got 90 minutes of sleep. Daddy was up and down all night long. He had accidents in the bathroom, needed his pj's changed, needed help getting in the bed, and needed me to remind him that Momma was in the hospital. The next morning, he was banging on my door at 6:00 AM to get up for the day and help him get dressed.

It is hard to shield your eyes from your naked father while trying to help him put on clean boxers. The dignity lost is from both of you, and I can honestly say that I wished I didn't ever have to do that and so did he.

There was an open wound on his leg. The open part was the size of a quarter. The infection spread to at least the circumference of a baseball. He insisted that it was not infection. I got a Q-tip and wiped off some of the puss to show him. He screamed at the pain, looked at the Q-tip and said that it didn't come from him. Oh boy.

He wouldn't let me take him to the doctor, but (if my ex-husband ever laughs at anything I say again, it will be this statement) he let me put Neosporin and a Band-aid on it. So I did. Twice a day. By the time I left it was beginning to grow some new healthy skin and had quit oozing through the Band-aid within the hour. Nasty.

The next day at the hospital, Daddy got lost trying to find the ICU where Momma was. He introduced me as his sister and told the nice lady that we were trying to find his mother. When the doctor came in the room, he fell asleep in the chair while the nice doctor explained that my mother would have to be moved to a nursing home for rehab. For those of you just joining us, my mother is only 65. Yep. 65.

At this point, we are going on about 40 hours of me being separated from Guy with about 90 minutes of sleep under my belt. I was not stellar.

The doctor pulled me into the hallway away from my father and asked if I had power of attorney for my parents. In my sleep and schmoopie deprived state, I just laughed. If I had known that there were power of attorney papers in the very room where I attempted to sleep the night before, things would have been very different. I explained to the doctor that my father was sick and he and my mother refused to accept the ramifications of that disease. Hell, they refuse to accept the actual disease and just call it Parkinson's. He would just have to try and communicate with them as best he could.

Sure, the doctor told us that Momma would have to go into a nursing home for rehab. Unfortunately, my daddy was asleep and drooling on a chair in the corner. The next day, he turned on me. It became my idea to separate them and to put Momma in a nursing home. I couldn't make him understand that she would come back to him once she was strong. I couldn't convince him that the doctor had talked openly in front of both of us and I just happened to be the one that remained awake. This started the children conspiracy theory. The theory in which his son and daughter were out to strip him of his dignity and keep our mother away from him.

This was the next day, when I had gotten just another 130 minutes of sleep that night. The week was not going to go well.

Advice of the day: Never suggest to your daddy who is only congnitavely challenged 90% of the time that he wear Depends to bed. I guaran-freaking-tee you that you will suggest it to him in the 10% of the time that he is all there. Sheesh.

The golden blogging rules

Updated below.

My dear friend at
Toddler Planet emailed this morning. She always knows just what to say. I guess that is what happens when you have been friends for 20 years.

She sent me to a post by Dooce in which she talks about being outed by her brother to her parents. There is an accompanying newspaper article to go with it, and I have just read the whole thing with the same urgency that I guzzle my first Diet Coke of the day.

There was also an article in the News & Observer yesterday about blogging. After pondering all the information overnight, and now adding in the article about Dooce, I think what I find most helpful today is from Anton Zuiker. Mr. Zuiker basically said to blog unto others as you would have them blog unto you.

That has really got me thinking. Before, I was boldly spewing my feelings and opinions out through this keyboard. It didn't matter to me if what I said was nice or not, it was simply how I felt. If I play by those rules, then I really don't have any right to ever be upset with Guy's Ex for the things she says or writes about me.

I had this feeling that since she felt no shame or remorse in completely bashing me, fabricating all kinds of nonsense about me, and stalking me for over a year, that I had license to let loose on her through my anonymous blog. Am I the pot or the kettle?

The golden rule is a good one to follow I think. If I say that the things she says about me are not fair because she doesn't know me, then oops. All I know about her is what Guy has told me and what I have learned about her through the hundreds of voicemails she leaves at our house. I believe him of course, but from a larger perspective, it is not exactly a fair and accurate depiction.

All this to say, I guess I'm not so worried about anonymity today. Maybe tomorrow I will be. Today, I would like to just blog unto others.

Izzymom also had some rad blogging rules to follow here: Be good to yourself.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New name, new game

That's it. The old blog is in place. I did some editing and will work to remain more anonymous. Do not confuse anonymity with shame. Don't confuse me wanting anonymity equaling having something to hide.

I have nothing to hide.

In my blog though, I would like to be able to write openly and freely. I would like for it to be an outlet. A place that I can rant if I choose to rant. A place where I can discuss with myself the unpleasant conversation of what would be easier, for Momma or Daddy to die first. There are things that I don't want to share with my friends over coffee. I want to share them here. If I get too morbid, you can always click away from me and try again tomorrow. I have good days and bad days, just like you.

There is at least one person though, who wishes me harm. I think we all have at least one person in our lives that would choose to hurt us over choosing to turn away. For this person, I will remain anonymous.

Anonymity doesn't mean that you can't connect with other people I don't think. It also doesn't mean that you won't hurt the people you write about if they find out. It does mean though, that you won't know who I'm hurting if I rant. Anonymity for them as well. I suppose it's only fair in a world that is far from fair.

There is too much to write about my trip to CA and my parents right now. I've been reposting for about 3 hours, and I'm ready to put the pc to sleep.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

De-blogging was a sad thing. I started my blog in May 2006 in order to have a journal outlet to mainly talk about my parents. It was a hugely cathartic experience, and in the venture, I also found several bloggers who I enjoy reading. I had no idea there was this huge blogosphere out there.

Since May, I have gotten married, become a stepmom, watched my parents' health ride a fast and downward spiral, and had to do some major growing up of my own.

Along with my new marriage came a very unstable ex-wife. Last week, she found my blog and left a voicemail after each entry she read. Most of them were unintelligible screaming, but regardless, the message was clear. She was really mad. I guess I don't blame her on the one hand. Some of the things I had said about her were not nice. Warranted, but not nice. It never occurred to me that she would read it. It was my outlet. Had I wanted to hurt her, I would have just emailed her the posts and had her read them for herself.

The blog was anonymous. If you didn't know it existed and weren't part of the story, you would have no idea who these people I write about are. The one thing I did recently was to create a link to a real life blog about my mom, and I suppose that is how the Ex found it. It wasn't very smart on my end, but if the Ex had a hobby besides being my internet stalker then it wouldn't have mattered. She is always looking for information about me to have fodder to put me down to other people and compare herself. It is quite sad really. She is technically old enough to be my mother, but is really quite emotionally immature.

I tried not blogging for a bit. That wasn't fun. I got pent up. I wrote to one of the bloggers I really like and asked for advice. Zoot said to start again. So I return to the blogosphere, this time with new pseudonyms and no pictures of faces. I am going to repost all the old posts with the correct date on the post even though the blog date will be different.

Thanks to those of you who encouraged me to start again. Although I won't quote the name of the last blog just in case the Ex remembers it and searches for the phrase, but if you were with me before, then you know that it only makes sense to give it another go. Granddaddy would have agreed. Today is now tomorrow when I get to start again.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My mother was awake today. She was mostly coherent and able to carry on a conversation. I am so glad. When she was moved into her new room, the first thing she asked me was, "Do I get to see your ring?"

I had almost forgotten that I hadn't seen her since Guy and I ran off and got married.

Before she moved though, and in her ICU fog, she looked at me, who was there in person, and asked, "Is Bro coming?"

My brother. I was standing there with her and the second thing she asks is where my brother was. There are some people who would be offended I think. Me, I'm just glad she is still herself. She assumed I was there to take care of Daddy, and she was looking for her momma's boy. There is comfort in familiarity.

And he's coming on Thursday. Good boy.

Oh my dear god. I can't believe who I'm sitting next to at this very moment.

Her name is Elsie. No pseudonyms here, she is really Elsie. She is my dad's new home health care provider. I don't know if he will keep her or not, but if not, I'm going to try and get her to come to North Carolina.

I could not have asked for a more perfect person to come into my parents home and attempt to take care of the most proud man in the world. She is, and I kid you not, from Mississippi. Even though my dad tried to push her off on me and have nothing to do with her, it only took 90 seconds after I told him she was from Mississippi to have them sitting in the same room and chatting it up.

Thank god.

I still had to get him ready for bed and put on his pj's and such, but people, I'm getting ready to go to bed and sleep all night. For real.

In the past 72 hours, I have had about 4 hours of sleep. I'm at my physical and emotional wits end, and I'm so excited to be sitting next to Elsie. I wish you could meet her. She is my new most favorite person.

The exhaustion I feel is what my mother must have been feeling for the past two years. I am a wimp compared to her.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Today my mother woke up. One of the first things she said to us when we got to the hospital was, "How do I get out of here." Rock on, Reverend Mother. Rock on.

I was so excited to hear her want to get out. Want to not be sick anymore. That was before the tears started.

I had to ask, when Daddy left the room, I had to ask, "Momma, can you tell me why you are crying?"

She opened her eyes and said, "I'm tired of fighting. I wanted so much for you and Bro, but I'm tired of fighting, and I need to go now."

I asked her what she could possibly give us that she hadn't already given, and she said,


What in god's name do you say to that? Has she been sneaking onto my blog, into my brain, and knows that what I mourn now, before her death, are the memories that won't be made. I sob when I think of how Lovely won't get to know her. I weep when I think about going through pregnancy without her. And I completely shut down when I consider the fact that she won't be here to baptize any of my babies like she has my nieces and nephews.

Or then, there is the explanation that she really is my momma. My nearest and dearest. Not a best friend, because she is, more importantly, a momma. You can't be both, you know. But she knows me better than anyone else. And she hit the nail on the head with,


I've got to get out of the future. There is plenty I won't be able to share with my momma. But if I'm 100% honest with myself, I have to remember that I should have lost her when I was 7 and she battled late-stage breast cancer. So I have 26 years of memories that she fought her ass off to give me.

Thank you, Momma. No matter what, I promise that I will stop being angry that I will lose you soon. Thank you for staying as long as you did. I do not take that for granted. I'm sorry that it only made me want to have you forever.