Happy Posts

Five Weeks in Vermont Postpartum

I thought we were crazy. Sure it sounded good, leaving New Orleans when it’s blazing hot to be in Vermont at the B&B (as we affectionately refer to my parent’s home), but packing up a toddler and a 3 month old baby was insane right? My motto with baby #2 was ‘how can I make it easier’? Every decisions from doula to dockatot to k’tan to king sized bed was guided by this and here we were, getting ready to leave this carefully crafted nest of comfort with our two dogs and two kids. Crazy.

I wasn’t even sure we were really going to do it. Every time my aunts checked in about our plans so they could meet us there there I’d remind them that it wasn’t in stone and I had Southwest tickets and it was all depending on how BabyG was doing. She was having some stomach issues that had already led to one late night emergency room visit so I wasn’t keen on leaving our pediatrician in another time zone. But I was trying to stay open to it while really being ready to bail at the first sign of trouble.

But somehow through my anxiety and fears I found myself getting on a plane with baby, toddler, and my Dad while A. started his two day journey with a packed car and our two dogs.

I was a wreck. I think we were both wrecked. We had spent the last two months with two kids on two different disrupted sleep schedules and A. I were like two ships passing in the night, occasionally sleeping in the same bed. It was not a good scene. We were exhausted.

And here I was, on a plane, leaving behind my carefully crafted nest to uproot to my parent’s house, extremely jealous that A. was about to have a night without any kids waking him up and two driving days where he could call friends to catchup or listen to books on tape/music to his heart’s desire. It sounded like heaven.

The first days were hard. Nono wailed that the room at my parent’s “isn’t my roooooooooom” and continued with his middle of the night wake-ups that now required A. to go downstairs and comfort him instead of next door. I started work again and had my baby, toddler, husband, Mom, four dogs, three cats, and a chicken in the background, as well as my Dad, my brother, and my brother’s dog intermittently coming in and out. I hopped off one call with co-workers exclaiming “I think my dog just attacked my Mom’s chicken, I’ve got to go!” (The chicken lost some feathers, but was fine.)

The weeks were carefully scheduled to accommodate my work needs and keep Nono busy since he was out of daycare and they flew by.

Suddenly it was time for my aunts’ visit which had seemed so far away, and then that was over too. Suddenly there weren’t weeks left, but days, and then hours.

And then it was the last full day.

Things had calmed enough for me to reflect on things by the end. The time was incredibly precious because of the family time on multiple levels:

For many family members, it was the first time they got to meet BabyG

For me, it was much needed time with Nono after a tough pregnancy made A. his primary caregiver and then the first couple of months kept me very busy with BabyG. Having Nono out of daycare was exhausting, but it gave me so much time with him after not enough for so long. And he is a hilarious and crazy little kid.

The four of us got to be together so much, when Nono was born A. took a month off after my maternity leave ended and I went back full time to an office. This time I used vacation to go back part time for June and I work remotely so we got to have 5 weeks of all of us together

My parents got to experience the amazing changes that happen in one of the early months with their grandbaby, the BabyG who left was a very different baby than when we arrived and they were there for all of the little moments of progression

My parents gave us support and a safe place to be while we figured out how to become a family of four and we got out of a very difficult period, we arrived a bit of a mess and we left ready to get back to our new lives

We got to reconnect with old friends and spend quality time with new friends. There is a big piece of my heart in Vermont with the friends I have there and the friends there span from childhood to college to San Francisco to in the last couple of years of when we’ve become friends

I spent a very important anniversary there. Five years ago I turned 30 and shortly after was diagnosed with some pretty lame cancer. We’ll never know if it was caused by the rhinestone birthday tiara my Mom gave me (I’ve never worn it since and I’ve never had cancer again, so I think evidence is pretty strong), but we arrived about to embark on a new chapter in our life in New Orleans involving kids and house and careers and instead got a frequent flyer membership to the hospital (just kidding, hospitals don’t give membership perks because the American healthcare system sucks). For my specific special snowflake diagnosis, the two significant anniversaries to reach without recurrence are two years and five years. It meant something to spend my 35th birthday at my parents (I think my Mom finally threw out the tiara) and be there with the family I have now in spite of what happened five years ago.

We’re going back in three weeks for a week. But who’s counting?

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A Mother’s Day With Two

My life was blown up the day that BabyG was born and the smoke hasn’t cleared so I’m not exactly sure what it looks like now. There are moments where I wish I could clear the smoke and rejoin the world where there is some measure of control/regularity in day-to-day, but most of the time I’m content to exist in the now in our small little world knowing that it will change and open up in months to come and these moments will be lost to time.

Having one kid, things changed but it felt like the change incorporated some of my familiar life, this time around I truly have no idea what life is going to look like, but at the same time, I have a clearer picture of “what do you think you’re life will look like in 5 years” than I’ve ever had before.

My first mother’s day I wore my rehearsal dinner dress from my wedding and we went to a craft fair, this mother’s day I wore shorts and it was a two tank-top type of the morning since my first got way too much spit-up on it to continue wearing. We started the morning in the sculpture garden and I cracked up as Nono touched sculpture butts and we talked about them. Post nap we went to the amusement park in City Park and we rode the carousel and train together and A.and I got to see Nono go on his first by himself rides. Wonderful.

In the morning Nono opened my mother’s day gift bag and took everything out “for me”, it was mostly food (I’m dairy free due to BabyG issues so indulgent food I can eat is pretty exciting and thoughtful). He then cried because I put his art he made me up on the wall instead of letting him play with it. Nono also gave me a card that he made at daycare that said, “I love my Mommy because she cooks chicken for me.” I’m not sure I’ve ever cooked chicken for him in his entire life. Then he asked me for money (change to put in his piggy bank, he doesn’t actually know what money is for).

A and I got to actually sleep in our bed together until 5:45 (when Nono came to get him) which was a rare treat and BabyG contributed the thoughtfulness by not doing one of her two hour staying awake sessions in the middle of the night which was nice.

Things are amazing right now and they are also really hard. Days are not really one vs the other but a combination that we do the best we can through. Maybe this isn’t a right now, but what life with two young kids will be for the foreseeable future?

But something I thought about that morning was my Mother’s Days are numbered, they’ll want to spend the whole day with me for a small portion of our lives. Normally I’m not a “make every day count” kind of person, but for this I decided that I only get so many of them, so I’m not going to use the day for “Mommy time” (ok I did take a bubble bath). I’m going to do fun things (that I want to do) with them.  These are hard days, but they’re also magic and I’m very lucky to have them.

♥ne

They told me it would go by quickly, but they didn’t tell me is that it would just keep getting better and better and I wouldn’t be left to dwell on the endings but would revel in the new beginnings.

A year flew by, but unlike other years, I felt incredibly present in it. I’m not surprised it’s been a year because it’s been jampacked and amazing.

A year has turned a little burrito into a laughing, walking, dancing, and babbling little boy. (more…)

Thankful

I’m split on the thankful piece. About 50% of me is very thankful and about 50% is very surly (and understandably so I believe). I’m going to try and focus on the thankful part right now.

What I’m thankful for:

1. My health. This one is a mixed bag, but I’m really thankful that I’m not sicker. I could have just as easily had cancer that had spread and I’m thankful it hadn’t. I’m thankful that it wasn’t in my lymph nodes and that even with the complications, I’ve healed well from my surgeries and haven’t had any illnesses through chemo (just knocked on wood). I’m thankful that I don’t need radiation or more chemo than I’m getting.

2. I’m thankful that the rest of my family seems to be healthy for the most part. This is a doozy and I think it would be tough on all of us if we had to worry about someone else this much too.

3. I’m thankful for A. I’m not surprised by how amazing he’s been, but I am so thankful that we found each other and decided to spend our lives together. I feel very lucky. I say “we” about almost everything I go through and have to mentally remind myself sometimes to say “I” because he’s with me every step of the way.

4. I’m thankful that my parents and I have the relationship the we do. I’m glad that I have their support and that we could live with them until we got our feet back under us. I know it’s hard for them that I’m not completing treatment where they can see me every day and I’m sorry for that, but I’m glad that we already had the relationship where we talk often.

Dinner with Mom and Dad

Dinner with Mom and Dad

5. I’m thankful for the last two visits I had with my brother and getting to meet his girlfriend who’s pretty rad.

Lil bro, me, and the lady

Lil bro, me, and the lady

6. I’m thankful for my extended family who did things like send me what I needed to be comfortably after surgery, send me an impossible 3D pirate ship puzzle, call daily for a while, fly across the country to spend time with my during chemo, take me golfing and for beers after I got diagnosed, and came by the hospital when I was staying there.

7. I’m thankful for A.’s (and now my) family who we’re now local with. We just had our first New Orleans thanksgiving together down here and it was great. I’m already looking forward to Christmas when more will be here. They’ve been so supportive from recommending an acupuncturist to taking me to the pharmacy when A. had an interview. I’ve also enjoyed how much the niece and nephew scar the crap out of our cats.

8. I’m thankful for my friends. I’ve mentioned before that I’m completely blown away by all the people who have offered their support and read this blog (I have analytics on this because I’m a total nerd). The things that people have sent have been so thoughtful, some being what I need physically, and some being what I need mentally because it makes me feel like you guys get me. You guys help me get through this impossible thing.

9. I’m thankful for the Hasenkitties. Their comfort, weirdness, and inability to know anything is wrong is what I need some days.

Neo and Myles giving me love and stare downs

Neo and Myles giving me love and stare downs

10. I’m thankful to have finally made it to New Orleans. It’s been a long road to get here.

Spanish moss on a live oak.

Spanish moss on a live oak.

11. I’m thankful to have 3 Taxol treatments left and to be chemo and cancer free in 2015.

12. I’m thankful for the puppy we’ll be getting in the not too distant future. The optimistic look on life and unconditional love is going to be a good reward for getting through this.

Not my puppies and not my photo

Not my puppies and not my photo

Apparently the last time I did this was 2011, so here I go again.