Wednesday, March 28, 2012

33

Usually the meandering of my wondering about "how to look" on this blog leads me to a place that says, "You must write things that don't make you look bad."

And then I remember that "looking good" for others is no longer top shelf in my list of priorities.

I turn 33 in 2 days. I told my brother four years ago, as he turned 33, that this was the age Jesus was when he died.

No pressure or anything!

33.

I am overjoyed to be turning 33. I am overjoyed at more days I've gotten to take more breaths, to feel the sun on my skin, to empty the dishwasher, to rummage in my dinged-up cupboards for the tops to all of my Tupperware.

I remember thinking when I was about 7 or thereabouts, that when I turned 30 on my golden birthday I would be really old. 30 has come and gone. 30 was a haze of miscarriages and pregnancy tests.

30 was hard.

I can breathe again, or I'm learning how to. The "learning how to" part comes at this cost: the fear that my incessant talking about what happened on July 19, and in the 7 years before, will cause some people to believe that I am "stuck in the past" or "not grateful for what she has."

If I've learned anything in the last 7 years it's that sorrow and joy can coexist. If sorrow is the dark of the yarn, then joy is the lighter-colored flecks throughout.

Sorrow gives dimension.
Joy gives color.

The most NOT helpful comments I have heard in my healing are from people who say, "Just be thankful you didn't die!"

I am thankful that I didn't die. I really, truly am. I'm also learning, each new day, each tentative step forward in this desert of unknowns, this new hall of mirrors, this new land I've never been before, that this journey may be a long one.

I'm OK with it.

I'm OK with figuring out how a se*x life that isn't centered around conceiving is supposed to look.
I'm OK with not really knowing how to feel when a friend announces a pregnancy.
I'm OK with feeling relieved that I never, ever will be pregnant again.
I'm OK with feeling alienated and jealous when others talk about their blissful births.

And then...isn't the mothering part so much more than the birth? Isn't the mothering the binding up of tiny wounds, the kissing words of encouragement onto downy heads, the tucking in after weary days?

Isn't the mothering everything that happens after? Isn't the mothering in the day-to-day details, the thrown-together morning lunches, the rush out the front door?

8 months out from Phoebe's birth, things don't look like I expected them to look. These last 2 months have been a bit brutal, in parts. My sister in law who was in Hawaii for a month wanted to know if I was really OK.

This place is my outlet, the place I come to figure things out. I promise, this blog is a one-dimensional representation of who I am. I'm not this melodramatic and dark and moody in everyday life. In fact, I may be actually kind of fun! A friend wrote me an email the other day and told me I reminded her of the U2 song "Stuck in a Moment".

Ha! That's the fun of OCD! You get stuck with one particular thought over and over and over again and it's very, very hard to get it out of your head. It's also hard for me to differentiate between "real" feelings and the things that OCD is telling me are important. Is what I fear "real" fear, or is it OCD fear and blown totally out of proportion?

Either way, if I don't work through these feelings of loss *now*, they'll come to bite me in the butt later. I'm all about dealing with them head-on.

I guess I just wanted to say something. To get this out there. I'm thinking of going to a counselor, just to talk it out; have an objective 'other' sitting there telling me that this is just an end of a well-worn chapter,

that the rest of the book is going to be pretty damn good.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

an aside

Phoebe ate a flower that the kids picked from our yard. I am trying to identify it so as to ascertain its poisonous properties.

(shorthand: I'm a meathead who should have been watching.)

I found this photo during my serach. This is for you, Catherine! It reminded me of you for many reasons.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

more calls

I told admissions I needed to talk to my husband about the little guy we got called for last night. I ended up deciding that his particular situation was more than I could handle.

Just got called right now about a sibling set: 4 year old and 5 month old.

One of these times we'll be able to say "YES!" and it will be right!

If you are wondering if there are kids out there needing YOUR home, read my blog history...what are you waiting for? Become a licensed foster home!

Monday, March 19, 2012

my memory

Tonight I am emailing back and forth with my sister in law. She's more like a sister, really. I was telling her how some family members were telling us that we should sue the hospital.

This was not even 24 hours after Phoebe was born.

Some people just aren't ok with something being "wrong". They want to fix it. There has to be a reason that the thing was "wrong" in the first place. If they can't find it, it has to be someone's fault.

I've been getting the "you seem sad" comment from friends. I have been. I've been feeling sick and sad and just needing to process. It must be the hot weather that has brought the old traums to the surface.

Saying "I'm glad I didn't die" doesn't do anything for me any more. It's not helpful in sorting all this out in my head.

No one tells someone who's just survived a violent bank robbery, "Oh, I'm glad you're safe! That's all that matters."

Wait, actually, maybe they do. The people who haven't been INSIDE the bank with the gun in their eyesocket say things like that.

The people in the trenches? The people who've been there too? They don't say it.

They know not to. They know there's a shared remembering that doesn't need words.

I've been reading blogs of other women who went through what I did, roughly. For your information, I've found THREE. Three blogs. Not 3,000, 300, or 67. 

THREE. Three women who had a post partum hemmorhage, emergency hysterecctomy, lived to tell about it, and were brave enough to process it all on this big old thing we call the internet.

I read these women's storeis and I cry and I experience emotion I thought I'd left in room 228.

My doctor encouraged me to look to the future; to put this all behind me. She told me I may need to talk to "someone" at some point because what I went through can trigger a sort of PTSD. 

I told her she didn't need to worry about me; I was just "Thankful to be alive. Fine."

There it was again.

The girl who walked into that hospital, very pregnant, flip flops and pink painted toenails is gone. She's not coming back.

The girl who left that hospital 7 days later was in shock. She wanted to "Just go home", she wanted to "just hold the baby", she wanted to "just be left alone", she said things like, "everyone, please stay. don't go yet."

She didn't know what she knew, but she knew she could never "unknow" what it was that was hiding. She felt the thread of words slowly unwinding themselves from around the hollows of her heart, but she knew that some words need to hide awhile. 

I gave my testimony at MOPS and it was funny and some people cried. I guess it was a success but I also know it unlocked something in me. Some sort of undoing I'm not sure I was ready for. People thought it was inspiring, and that I was strong, and that I was lucky.

And yes, all of those things. But to them, it's a story. It's a story they can hear and file away and save for a rainy day. 

I don't get that luxury, and I think I'm jealous of them.

I find "Are you healed now?" such an obscene and naked questeion. I don't know how to answer it, honestly. I see now that the only way I could convey to someone else some of what I felt was to say, 4 months out, "Healing from a hysterectomy can take up to 6 months."

When 6 months came and went I'd say, "Feeling totally back to normal can take a full year."

I didn't know how to say this, which is what I have finally figured out how to say. The weight of it on my tongue feels good:

"There is no normal once you've lain upside down on a hospital bed, the awful realization slamming you cold that nothing you say or do will matter in the saving of your life."

"There is no feeling in the world like watching the limbs of your newborn rise and fall as you struggle for your life."

"Nothing could prepare me for the look on my husband's face as I lay there, dying. Nothing."

Questions of physical healing just seem so paltry and sun-blanched. I don't know what to do with them.

"I nearly died, and I accepted it in those 15 minutes as the room swirled around me. I focused on my breathing and I did not focus on my children. I could not. I expected to never leave that bed again, but then I did. I don't know what to do with that."

Tonight I sat across from my husband, asking him questions for the 800th time. Questions like:

What started it all?
What were you thinking?
What was I doing?
Where was the baby when I coded?
Who held her?
What did my dad say?
Were you with me when they took me to cut me open again?
What was the first thing I said to you when I saw you again?

So much of that I don't remember. So much of that I want to, but when I try to hear it with my mind's ear, all I get is white noise.

Some words just need to rest, to gather momentum, to gain color and vibrance and meaning before they can be spun into the ribbon of the world. 

It's so frustrating, though, sitting here while I wait.

I can't remember,

so I ask.

I ask,

because I don't want to forget what I can't remember.

I don't want to forget because there's something in it for me - 

something akin to waking up slowly, terrified that your dream or your nightmare, you can't remember which,

is slipping away.

But he?

He is my memory.

call

Just got a call for a 2.5 year old. Thinking of taking him. Thoughts? Are we crazy? Wait. Don't answer that.

8 months

Can you guys believe it's been 8 months? This was taken a few days ago. I suppose after you've gone through starting solids with 4 infants you get a little lax on what you allow them to eat. :)

video

Friday, March 16, 2012

AppSmitten

This is a great way to get the best apps for YOU. You take a few surveys, and then the app finder does the rest! I've tried it, and it really finds apps tuned in to what I need: child care, cooking, yoga, etc. There's a super cute one on there for kids today called "Lep's World", in honor of St. Patrick's Day.


Try it out! 



Thursday, March 15, 2012

loss, my old companion...

I posted this this morning on a friend's blog. She asked about how others felt physically after having had their hysterectomies. My fingers just sort of vomited and then I re-read it and had a huge epiphany. Can you see it?


*****************


I *always* feel overly emotional and exhausted after having a baby. The only time in the last 7 years that I haven't felt overly emotional is 2 years after my son was born, before my three miscarriages. I feel like my body was "levelling out", so to speak. Then I delved headlong into pregnancy hell and the ups were high and the downs were low.


Now, 8 months out, I'm still feeling this way. Having babies has been SO hard on my body. I have had 6 pregnancies and 5 uterine/abdominal surgeries in a 6 year time span. My body is just TIRED in general. My MIND is tired.

I think my grief over losing my uterus isn't really grief over losing my uterus so much as it is just trying to figure out where to go from here. 100% of my energies have been focused on trying to get pregnant, staying pregnant, miscarrying, thinking of best times to conceive, trying not to vomit before ultrasounds, hoping there is nothing wrong at the "big" scan, trying to manage anxiety that gets worse DURING pregnancy, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

I had had my tube (I had lost one in an emergency ectopic surgery two years before) tied that morning and know that regardless of losing the uterus or not, I would have grieved the loss of my fertility...which...let's face it...to me, is the loss of my constant compaion, "loss".

Loss has become so commonplace in this area of my life, I've realized it's where I'm most comfortable. I feel this vague feeling that danger is just around the corner, and I'm trying to prepare for it. I hate that feeling. I suppose that's some form of PTSD. 

I don't know "how to be" when things are normal. Like the soldier coming in from the battlefield, the milk on the grocery shelf looks foreign to me.



"This is what 'normal' looks like? How do I do this?"

It actually makes me quite anxious, not to be preparing for one or another kind of loss, pregnancy or otherwise. I don't know what to DO with that pent-up energy that was, before, always being used to console myself in one way or another.

trifecta

Stomach flu, a cold, and pink eye. All at the same time. 

I was telling her how sorry I was she was so stuffed up she couldn't nurse when I noticed yellow gunk in her eye. Three to six seconds later, she barfed on my black shirt.

I decided that would be a good time to call the kids in for supper AND talk to the neighbor.

With barf on my shirt.

My baby is an overachiever. My house is a disaster. Guess what I'm doing today?



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

it's all relative

In case you were wondering:

The 2 and 3 year olds we said "yes" to ended up being placed with a relative.

So, we wait!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

very interesting

Yesterday I got a call for a 2 and a 3 year old. I said I would think about it. 

Today I played phone tag with their social worker.

We may or may not be getting them.

Yes, I am crazy...just in case you were wondering!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

advantages

There are certain advantages to having Pink Eye.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Norah Jones and Me

Norah Jones and I have the same birthday. Same year, too.

Scott is serving the kids leftovers.

We said "no" to a 1 and 3 year old who were really really active.

I can't handle that right now.

Still waiting for the "perfect" call.

Phoebe has one bottom tooth. She army crawls.

My baby is growing!!!!!!

It's divine.

I look at her and shake my head at the miracle, like, all the time.

gangsta teddy bear


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Save the Storks

by Kristen Walker

David Pomerantz
On March 13, in Dallas, TX, an organization you’ve probably never heard of is going to revolutionize the pro-life movement.
It starts with a kid from Philly, a bus in New York, and an idea that brought him quite by accident to the city where Roe v. Wade started — the city where he hopes abortion will finally meet its match.
David Pomerantz, 23, does not look like a pro-lifer or a practicing Christian. He looks like a vegan hipster with emo hair. As a matter of fact, he sort of is a vegan hipster with emo hair. If you visit his loft apartment in an industrial section of downtown Dallas, he will offer you fermented tea with organic honey. You can lounge in a beanbag chair and talk about art while he surfs his Macbook and plays indie music and talks about Jesus.
A polite, friendly young man with a laconic kid-from-nowhere accent and a direct blue gaze, David Pomerantz — “Dave” to his friends — does not jibe with the stereotypical image of the angry activist holding signs outside a clinic. And he doesn’t mind, because that’s not the kind of pro-life activist Dave is.
He hails from Philadelphia, but he was attending Word of Life, a two-year Bible institute in New York, when he met Chris Slattery and Julie Beyel of EMC (Expectant Mother Care), a Manhattan pregnancy resource center. He was astonished to find that EMC had formulated a “new model” for approaching women outside abortion clinics.
EMC had a bus equipped with a sonogram machine. By approaching women outside the clinic with the offer of free help, with no mention of a pro-life ideology, they were able to see a staggering success rate. In fact, by their estimate, about 70% of women who got on the bus for a sonogram decided not to abort. In one day, they saw nine women decide on life for their children.
They did some simple math, and realized that if this success continued, 15 to 25 women a week, or about 800 a year, would choose life.
Excited by the possibilities inherent in this new approach, Dave contacted his friend and mentor Joe Baker, who flew in from Philly to see the results firsthand. Equally impressed, the two began to ferment the idea that would become Save the Storks.
Dave was already planning on attending Southwestern Theological Seminary in Dallas, so he headed down south. With Joe Baker developing the art and marketing, and the generous help of Dallas-based organization Get Involved for Life and other private donors to bring to life a sleeker, smaller, more mobile ultrasound vehicle, they were off and running.
Save the Storks was born. Or, if you prefer, flown in through the window.

“We don’t want to intimidate anyone. We don’t want to force anyone. We just want to serve.” Dave is the Local Director for Save the Storks. Today, along with Daryl Harshbarger, Head Female Client Advocate, and Julie Beyel in town from New York, we are having pizza (some of it vegan) in Southeast Dallas. Dave is explaining to me why Save the Storks is a new kind of pro-life action.
“No one is offended by our activism,” he says. “We’re delivering a loving message in a strong way.”
Here’s what happens: a woman is walking up to an abortion clinic. She is approached by Dave or Daryl or another member of Save the Storks.
“Hi, how are you? Would you like a free ultrasound?”
This is the approach. There is no dangling rosary, no graphic pamphlet, no doom-and-gloom. Just an offer of free help from a non-threatening, friendly, smiling young person.
And then there is the Stork bus.
The stork was chosen as the mascot because of its comforting, unoffensive, nostalgic connection to motherhood and pregnancy. We can all remember old cartoons where a smiling stork would fly in a window and lay a swaddled baby in a crib.
What Dave and the others weren’t aware of until later is the text of Job 39:13-17.
The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but are her feathers and plumage like the stork’s?
She abandons her eggs on the ground and lets them be warmed in the sand.
She forgets that a foot may crush them or that some wild animal may trample them.
She treats her young harshly, as if they were not her own, with no fear that her labor may have been in vain.
For God has deprived her of wisdom; He has not endowed her with understanding.
This is the kind of thing that makes you whistle the Twilight Zone theme music.
The Stork bus, however, is free of all Old Testament references. It is a bright, lovely blue on the outside, and the inside is clean and free of clutter, with a welcoming but no-nonsense clinical feel. There is a little couch for the mother to sit on and speak to a counselor, and a padded bench where she can lie comfortably.
The ultrasound machine pulls out from underneath the bench. It is operated only by a licensed sonographer whose work is frequently reviewed by an OB/Gyn. In the back there is a small private toilet for pregnancy testing. It isn’t the slightest bit cramped or unpleasant; these mothers get only the best. The completed bus with the ultrasound machine was paid for by private donations to the tune of about $140,000.
The Stork bus is by no means the first mobile ultrasound vehicle — it was Chris Slattery’s mobile sonogram bus that inspired Dave and Joe in the first place — but it may be the smallest, lightest, and most practical. It doesn’t require a permit or special permission to park. It will fit in a parking space or even at a meter.
It is an abortion clinic’s worst nightmare.

So now this woman, who was going to go into an abortion clinic, is able to have a pregnancy test and a sonogram without ever reaching its doors.
But what happens now? She’s heard, “Yes, you’re pregnant! You’re this far along! There’s your baby! Here’s his heartbeat!”
So what does she hear next? “Good luck with that?”
Nope. Save the Storks is directly connected to Get Involved for Life and the two pregnancy centers it operates in Dallas, one uptown and one downtown. Also, needless to say, any expectant mother will be welcomed by whatever pregnancy center is closest to the bus at the time. The Stork team is prepared to call a cab for the mother if she needs a ride.
In other words, unlike the abortion clinic, the Storks and the pregnancy centers are in it for the long haul. They are going to get her what she needs to take care of herself and her baby, body and soul.

I don't know about you, but I would be totally comfortable peeing in there.
“The heart of this ministry is the Gospel,” says Dave, after asking for more vegan marinara sauce. “There are two causes every Christian should take up: orphans and widows. This encompasses both.”
It is part of Save the Storks’ mission that every woman who steps on the bus hears the Gospel message. While this may seem off-putting to some, to the Storks it is an essential aspect of caring for the mother that goes along with the physical support and counseling she will receive through the pregnancy center.
“She is just as important as that child,” says Dave. “We aim to improve her quality of life… The major issue here is the devaluation of life, and the answer to every injustice on earth is the church of Jesus Christ.”
“Our ministry is designed to meet all the needs of the woman,” says Daryl. At the pregnancy center, every mother will receive whatever her personal situation calls for, be it help with affordable medical care, legal aid to escape from an abusive boyfriend, life skills counseling, mental health counseling, spiritual guidance, and more.
Which of course begs the question: if the Storks’ mission is in fact successful and Dallas pregnancy centers see 800 or so more mothers every year, how will they handle the added demand for resources?
The answer is simply: us.
“The churches need to stand up and start giving to their local pregnancy centers,” says Dave.
Without the generous help of good-hearted people giving what they can, pregnancy centers can’t work, and by extension neither can the Storks.


Daryl Harshbarger, Head Female Client Advocate. I don't think it's a requirement that you be extremely cute to be a part of Save the Storks, but it obviously can't hurt.
Abortion clinic workers and management are used to seeing protesters outside their clinic. What they are not used to is a name brand.
The Save the Storks bus is slick, recognizable, welcoming, and — horror of horrors — it sits in between a mother and the abortion clinic doors. With a simple offer of no-strings-attached help — “Would you like a free ultrasound?” — and a bright, comforting image, it appeals to the desperate woman before she reaches the clinic.
She is not confronted. She is offered help. And while I firmly believe that virtually all sidewalk counselors and activists outside clinic are there for no other reason than to help women, the Storks are able topresent help first. That is the key. The average clinic sidewalk approach is, of necessity, “Please don’t kill your baby. Here’s why. And here’s help.” Because they have their awesome bus, Save the Storks are able to say, “Here’s help. Now please don’t kill your baby. Here’s why.”
Because they don’t have to lead with agenda, there are no warning bells for a desperate and defensive mother. There is only a friendly face.
This new model will absolutely revolutionize the front lines of pro-life activism.



Joe Baker, National Director
What is the battle cry of the pro-abortion movement? “Choice!” It is their mantra. What do you constantly hear from abortion advocates? “These desperate women feel like they are out of options.”
Right here, on four wheels, parked in front of the clinic, is another choice — one they might not even know they have. Inside that bus is an image of their baby waiting to be seen. Connected to that bus is a support system — in short, options.
Dave and the team have high hopes, and they should. The approach is breathtakingly simple and, if early tests are any indication, profoundly effective.
As mentioned, the Storks take to the streets of Dallas on March 13. Meanwhile their website is up and running at SaveTheStorks.com with the purpose of raising money to take the program national. A Save the Storks bus is not cheap, and it takes people to run it. While Dave and his team get things off the ground in Dallas, Joe is in charge of building a national movement.
The thought of a Stork bus in every major city in America should bring a smile to your face. Every one of these buses represents hundreds of lives saved every year.
I have met Dave and the gang. I have been on board the Stork bus. And I have never been more excited about a pro-life idea than I am about this one.
You probably are having the same reaction I did. You are probably thinking: “What can I do to help?”
First: spread the word. Use Facebook, Twitter, Twitbook, whatever, to share with people how awesome this is.
Second: go to SaveTheStorks.com now and volunteer. They need all kinds of stuff — bloggers, artists, counselors, you name it — all across the country to be part of their national team of Save the Storks volunteers. Whatever your talent is, Save the Storks can probably use it to help get Stork programs off and running across the country. You — yes, you! — can be a part of this movement from the ground up.
Third: donate if you can. Save your Starbucks money for a few days and buy a ridiculously cool Save the Storks T-shirt. Wear it and tell people about it. (I promise they’ll be curious.)
In just a few days, Dave, Daryl, and their remarkable bus hit the streets of Dallas, the city where abortion rights were born. As a native Dallasite, I hope what started here is ended here. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Save the Storks becomes a major factor in helping Dallas — and the country — see an end to abortion.
_________________________________________________________
Kristen Walker is a writer and comedian who makes people mad on the Internet. She is Vice President of New Wave Feminists and enjoys taxidermy, yachting, and 19th century French poetry. Stalk her relentlessly for fun and profit.
Live Action on Facebook

Friday, March 2, 2012

Breitbart




If you know who that is WITHOUT Googling him, call me.

We can be friends.

Farewell, Breitbart. I will miss listening to you and nodding along while I fold laundry. Your eloquent and passionate insistence on conservative principles in a crazy-ass world entertained and informed while I diapered, bathed and fed.

The voice of a true patriot has been silenced...or, in the ultimate irony, maybe not. The hypocrisy of the left that you always loved to expose is once again apparent in the glee that many on that side of the aisle are displaying upon hearing of your demise.

I think you would have enjoyed pointing that out.

a wrinkle in time

Scott got back from Salt Lake City, all in one piece!

He brought the kids each a Disney ball and a 3-pack of gum.

I got these:
So. Last night I went to a Bunco party put on by my new foster mama friend.

I was sitting there at a table where one lady was talking to another about her dermatologist.

"Was she in a car accident? Was she very badly burned?" I thought to myself.

"Was her face horribly disfigured by phosphoric acid during a science experiment gone awry?"

No. Apparently some people just go to the dermatologist!

The subject turned to Botox, and the possibility of getting it. I said, 

"Did you know that Botox is actually a form of bochillism?"

They looked at me blankly.

I turned to the lady next to me (who it turns out I went to college with) and said, "You definitely know when a culture is too affluent. People start doing Botox."

Blank stares.

I looked back at my Bunco card and scribbled something.

The lady I was talking to shook her head and rolled her eyes.

Sometimes I should just keep my big fat wrinkly mouth SHUT!