laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Why My Daughter Doesn’t Have a Mirror In Her Room


Have you ever been in a house so filled with mirrors that after you leave, you’re thinking, Man, I’ve seen enough of myself for a really long time… Maybe I’m the only one. I’m guessing not. I just do not like mirrors. I mean, I like that they can shine light throughout places where there is no natural light. And that I can see if I’ve got my head screwed on straight or not. Obviously, they have their place.

Maybe it’s in part the fact that I am not someone who checks the reflection before running out of the house. If I happened to consider whether or not I’ve done my hair today, I just grab a hat. (I’m not knocking women who take the time before they leave the house, it’s just not the way I am wired.) Messy shirt? Grab a sweatshirt! Are you starting to get the picture?

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Now, there is my daughter. She is beautiful. Curly auburn hair with eyes that match. Spunky and oh, so cute. And I have this super cute mirror that I have been dying to paint and put in her room. One that I had in my room growing up. One that came from a beloved Grandma. BUT… I just don’t wanna put a mirror in her room. Not because I’m afraid she’ll be vain. If she wants to put on every single princess dress and prance in front of a mirror- I’m good. Know what I’m not good with? The way she stands on the couch and smiles her big toothy, yet toothless grin and painstakingly takes stock on how many more teeth is she going to loose, how long will there be an empty spot, and what if they don’t come in perfectly straight?! Now I’m not sure where my 7 year old got that notion from, that her smile looks funny. But it’s there, in her pretty little head. And I just think that there is so much more to her then whether every tooth is exactly straight. And I want her to know that there are things that are SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT. Like most things.

After a brief chat about her standing there, staring at her teeth, I wrote her this note:

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It is easy to get wrapped up in being pretty. Today, let’s focus on being pretty KIND, pretty FUNNY, pretty SMART, and pretty STRONG. That would be pretty AMAZING.

I’m hoping she takes note. Because she is kind (if she thinks I’m stressed she’ll leave her play and help me, no questions asked), and funny (and sarcastic), and smart (as a whip), and strong (she can probably do more chin ups than you can), and amazing, and beautiful. But I don’t think that just pretty should be the word that describes her. And the words that do, well, you might not find them in the mirror.

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No Longer A Baby


I know, I know… how can I even show my face around here? And I deserve it. Leaving you all high and dry. Ok, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. But bear with me. I’ve been parenting and vacationing and organizing and garage saling and birthday-ing and working… you know, living. I do have happy news, I have had consistent clients from the get go, which is pretty exciting if you ask me! In fact, I have clients through February! (How awesome is that?!)

But the thing that drew me back here… well, really I’ve been thinking about doing a post for over a week now. Sharing various stories and laughs and pictures, but the thing that made it necessary to do today… is simple. Littlest is 2. I know, I know…it does seem like just yesterday I was recounting his birth (horrors and wonders alike)! And then I was dealing with the aftermath of his birth around his first birthday.

And now here we are, his second birthday. My baby is two years old.  My baby is no longer actually a baby. My house will no longer contain any babies. My house will never again be home to a baby. A baby will never again belong to me. Do you see the digression? Do you feel it? I feel it. I’m pretty sure I’ve been feeling it for about a month. I’ve become incredibly emotional and perhaps even a little irrational. You see, I would’ve been the little old woman who lived in a shoe, who had so many children she didn’t know what to do… and I would’ve liked it that way. Lots of people look forward to the end of babyhood and enjoy toddlerville and the elementary years; I am not them. Ok, that’s not entirely true- I do enjoy toddlerville and I am enjoying the beginning of our elementary years. But I am not a mama who looks forward to babies no longer being babies.

Obviously (as I’ve said before, I know), I would never trade Littlest’s sweet self for the option to have more children. But it is still bittersweet to watch him grown and to know that this is the end of babyhood. And childbearing. I’m even sad that I’ll never labor and birth another baby. That’s right, I’m in that deep.

But in the midst of the sadness, there is this deep thankfulness and joy. I have my boy and I get to witness his growth! My itty-bitty boy who never should have survived the pregnancy and his mama who almost bled out without anyone noticing. I have him. I cuddle him. I teach him. I try to ignore him listen to him. I love him. And looking at him today, I still see the miracle he was the day he was born, and the miracle he’s been every day in between.

The day we brought him home

Littlest E, you will always be the baby (as all of my children will always be my babies) and a constant reminder that miracles happen every day and to every day people. I am so, so blessed and thankful to be your mama. Happy birthday, my boy.

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The Tough Answers


So we all know life has some tough questions, but sometimes the questions come easy and it’s the answers that are the hard part. Such was my experience today.

Today we were sitting at the table having lunch, when I got asked such a question. Biggest E was asking me if I named him when he was still in my belly. I said yes, and then told him the story about how I came home from work one day and told his daddy that I knew what his name was, and that was what we named him. Then Miss E asked about her name, and we talked about who she was named after and why. Frankly, I was enjoying this line of questioning, and was completely unprepared for what came next.

Mommy, how do babies get out of the mommies’ bellies? Um, what? Mommy, what do the babies do to get out of the mommies’ bellies? (*pause for moment of panic*) Well, they come out of the mommies’ bodies so that they can be born. But where do they come out of the mommies’ bodies? (*pause for longer, bigger moment of panic. Trying to think of appropriate ways to describe to my 4 1/2 year old where babies come out of*) Before I’ve stopped panicing, he simply asks, Did God just make a special place for babies to come out of? (*Huge sigh of relief*) Yes, God made a special place for babies to come out of. And did He make a special way for them to come out? Yes, sweet boy, He certainly did.

Thank the good Lord for pauses and moments of panic- sometimes that’s what we need in life before doing and saying something unnecessary.

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Blessings Abundant


Ok, so I started out by doing a “know your blogger” survey, but I felt like you knew nothing more than my pets’ names afterwards. So then I started going back and forth on ways to tell you about me… but I’ve decided that I’ll share myself as posts continue, and so this post is really just what’s on my heart right now.

Blessed: my life has been more blessed than I ever dreamed it could be. Not in ways you might see just to look at my family and I, but trust me it’s there. We all know people who just seem to be “lucky” -always getting the promotion, winning the prize, finding the lost treasure, and while we are so happy for them- we don’t fit in that category ourselves. Thankfully my husband loves a good fight, because over the course of our marriage we’ve had lots of those. Not with each other (well, maybe some of those too) but with people and companies we’ve dealt with. It’s kind of the if-it-can-go-wrong-it-will kind of thing. We’ve got oodles of that. Important thing in the mail… it’ll get lost at least twice. And then sent to the wrong address. Cancel an account. They’ll continue billing us for MONTHS without ever sending a notice. Even after we’ve called multiple times. These kinds of things have become the norm for us. So if you’re wondering where the luck or the blessings happen… I am too. Ok, that’s not entirely true. We’ve been blessed with each other in our marriage, we’ve been blessed with our children. We have family and friends who are blessings and bless us frequently. Maybe we’ve always known that we were blessed in those departments, but this last year we have had out eyes open to just how lucky we are.

I’ve always wanted kids. For as long as I can remember. The kind of person who you know probably within minutes that I adore children and would have as many as hubbyman could handle. That’s not to say that I didn’t have a period of time (but not more the few years in between high school ending, going to college, and getting married) where I thought a career was on the forefront of my life’s horizon. And then I got married. And all of the sudden it was like everywhere I looked there were babies. And I wanted one. Bad. Hubby tried to keep those feelings pacified by getting a pet. But he was on nights and I worked days, so we got a cat… turns out it didn’t help. In fact, it kinda backfired. So during his deployment in Japan, and probably out of loneliness, he agreed to try for a baby when he got home. We had a very short time line. Obviously that wasn’t a problem. We knew I was pregnant in less than 4 weeks from him coming home.

Pregnancy, for me, unfortunately, wasn’t the dream I’d envisioned. Instead of “pregnancy glow” I had IVs keeping me hydrated because I was so sick and couldn’t keep anything down. Hubbyman says I smelled like I had applesauce coming out of my pores. I probably did. It was pretty much the only thing I’d eat because it was the easiest in reverse. And that was all 9 months. With all of my children. It’s a blast. Needless to say, for me, they’re more like 9  months of guilt for not being all happy and glowy. But the birth… well, let’s just say I’d rather give birth than to feel the way I feel all 9 months of pregnancy! Biggest E’s birth was amazing. I was so proud. Of him and myself. Miss E’s birth was also good. The Dr’s missed it, but the important people were there and that’s what really counts.

Figuring I’m just saying my children are my biggest blessings? I’m getting there, I promise. (and yes, they are my biggest blessings, but that’s not completely the point) After MissE, hubbyman felt like he was done having children. After all, as pretty much everyone we came in contact with would point out, we had one of each, why would we want anymore? While I always assumed I’d have kids, I never really thought of a number. Since Big E and Miss E are only 18 months apart, the early months/years were… well, the first couple months were a struggle. Just as I started thinking that maybe I was content with just two, I had a miscarriage. I’d only had an inkling that I could be pregnant, when it was over. I was so, so very devastated. And it was then that both hubbyman and I knew that we would have at least one more. While we had no idea it would be so soon after, we knew it would be eventual. 4 short months later, we knew we had Littlest E on on the way. I was a nervous wreck. I just had this feeling that I couldn’t shake and assumed it was because of the way my last pregnancy had ended. By 8 weeks we knew that where the umbilical cord inserted into the placenta was not centered like it’s “supposed” to be, but was on the top of it, over a placental lake (or a pool of blood in real people terms). By 20 weeks we knew that he was very small. 13th percentile small, 5 weeks behind my very accurate dates small. By 24 weeks he was now a week AHEAD of schedule. And while that was a relief, I still had that nagging feeling. My midwife was so nonchalant that even when I brought my mom (who is an OB RN, a doula, lactation consultant, parent educator, and infant massage instructor….you get the picture) along on a visit to ask questions, Mom was satisfied as well. Let’s fast forward through the rest of the pregnancy, the rest of the midwife visits, and ultrasounds I had. But let’s pause just to mention that they wanted to do frequent observations, but still continued to tell me there was nothing to worry about. Riiight. Like any woman can really know something COULD be wrong and not worry about it… it’s pretty much engrained in our DNA that we’re going to worry. So worry I did. But I also prayed. I prayed more in those 9 months than I have my entirely life previously combined. And I’m a prayer.

Enter his birth. (11 days early instead of the 10 days overdue like his siblings) We get settled in the room and I’m about to jump in the shower or go for a walk when the nurses start freaking out, because they’ve FINALLY gotten ahold of my charts. And right there in black and white it says that his umbilical cord is only attached by 20%!! Twenty freakin’ percent! Are you kidding me?! Apparently that was something they didn’t think I needed to know. Like the fact that I should have been on bedrest the whole time and not MOVING and lifting and emptying boxes! UGH!!! Obviously, it still makes me a little angry… Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. After hours more of labor since I was now stuck in bed and not “allowed” to move around or walk or anything else that helps both labor’s progression and natural pain therapy and with them awaiting a C-section (because of the insertion the fear was that it would become unattached when my water broke and he would essentially bleed out). Ethan entered this world (and not via Csection, thank you very much Dr. do-it-my-way). Pink and screaming and very healthy… tiny (less than 6 pounds…3 pounds less than Biggest E!), but healthy. And then came the placenta. The umbilical cord was NOT attached. I repeat, not attached. It had some veins coming out of it that had hooked on to either side of the top of the placenta with the middle of the placenta crumbling. Between my mom and my grandma they have over 50 years of OB nursing between them and they have NEVER seen a baby born with a 0% insertion, because they just don’t survive in utero. In fact, they sent it to pathology to study. (Starting to get the picture?) Medically speaking, there is no reason why he had that growth spurt and then continued to survive. Unfortunately, our adventure did not end there. Even though they knew my placenta had not been whole… they didn’t check for more pieces, or watch my bleeding. Even after I’d repeatedly told my nurse that I’d never had this much bleeding with either of my other children, let alone the fruit sized blood clots. FOR HOURS. Until I could no longer even sit up without passing out (over 4 hours later) did they even ask a Dr to come and consult. Unfortunately, he had a laboring patient down the hall and didn’t want to take the time for a proper DNC (which means going to another floor for operating and putting me under)… so without doing that he decided to just do it in my room, for an hour… using various painful techniques trying to pull the little pieces of my placenta off my uterus. After reaching the point I could not take anymore and having already told him so, repeatedly, only to have him make comments referencing my apparent pain intolerance. Telling me that if I would just settle down he’d be able to do it, how it was no big deal, not a painful procedure, among various other insults. I said all of my labors have been well over 12 hours and all of them have been without any form of pain medication. I know and can handle pain, thank you very much… and while I am willing to endure it for my babies, I am not willing to for you. Finally, at 3 in the morning, they had to take me up to surgery to have an emergency DNC done. While it means I was bleeding for a very long time, it also meant that my little peanut had more time to eat! And eat that boy did! Thankfully my milk supply was already pretty much in (I could hear the big gulps and see the milk on his face)… that’s probably a big part of why he was able to thrive so well. So…that awful night (unfortunately there was more awfulness that occurred, but I just highlighted the most important) and 2 blood transfusions later… we were both alive.

So…long story short…or long story, shorter than whole long story, but still long… After hubbyman had his vasectomy (for multiple reasons but a top one being that after all my in-room specials I’m left with holes and scars and would likely have a very hard time maintaining pregnancies. So the vasectomy was our way of making it our choice, and not something that was taken from us.) he and I got to enjoy some quiet time without “the big kids’ while he was recovering. And during a conversation he asked, “When is our lucky break?”  Suddenly, I felt the knowledge welling within me. Not that I believe God gives us “bad luck” or anything like that, but I know, for us, Littlest E is our luck, all rolled in one. He was, and is, our miracle. And we would not trade all the bad luck, or hard times, or long, obnoxious phone calls for him. Ever. He is our lucky break. He is God saying, even among the rest of the crap you have deal with in this life, I’m still here. Thinking of you and protecting you. And He knows the important stuff.  He knows me. He knows that on a daily basis I will look at my son and think of the miracle and the blessing he is, which in turn makes me think of the miracle and blessings Big E and Middle E are to my life. And my hubbyman. And our parents, and siblings… and all the REAL blessings our life contains. No matter how long I’ve been on hold to resolve the latest issue.

Littlest E at 6 months and 20 lbs

*I would also like to add a very special thank you to all our friends and family who kept their thoughts and prayers with us through Littlest E’s pregnancy. (Not to mention all the meals our family and church family provided!) The blessing of it is not lost on our family.

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