Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dreamers embrace routines

One of us is way more excited about this walk than the other.
It has taken some getting used to.

We waited forever for Kenna to come home.  And we worked our butts off to make it happen.

We struggled to make the home ready for her, safe for her.  We struggled to learn how to care for her, since this little one came home with hardware and pumps and monitors...oh my.

It wasn't easy.

Ah, but we know that anything worth having is worth working for.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  We don't do anything halfway.

So we threw ourselves into being Kenna's parents.  And it worked.  Kenna is thriving.  We are thoroughly exhausted.  Finally we have managed to get organized.  We have managed to establish a routine.

Parents live and die by routines.

In having a routine, I am able to accomplish more.  I am writing more for Yahoo!.  I am writing maintaining Suddenly *Not So *Single Journey five days a week again.  I'm even dabbling over here, rekindling my dreams.

Most importantly...I have started exercising again.

Technically, I started two weeks ago.  I worked out twice that week.  I hurt so bad, I took the weekend off and most of the following week.  I managed to exercise again twice that week.  But on Monday, I vowed to start the week right.  I wanted Kenna to get some fresh air.  So, I am walking with my little girl.  She mostly sleeps in the stroller.  And I'm good with that.

I have even managed to get more work done around the house.  We are organizing and remodeling...for a change.  And it is starting to feel comfortable to me.  I needed that...on account of I spend so much time at home.  

Before I know it, life will be a comfortable new normal.  I'll be back in my writing groove.   I'll be feeling fabulous about our year.  I hate feeling like I am wasting time.  Time...is precious.  And time with family and friends...even more precious.

Hope you have time for family and friends and that your routines let you grow.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dreamers believe...

Make your life full of sunshine and rainbows.
There was a post I read on Facebook yesterday:

Having a sad afternoon. Overwhelmed by both the mass media and by individuals and groups very nearby. Feeling like those who are greedy and selfish really do out number those who are giving and compassionate.

The post made me sad.  

I don't believe that for one moment.  How could I?

For the most part, I am blessed to be surrounded by good people.  The reason for this is that I have no room in my life for bad people.  They drain the happy and the positive energy.  They create a black cloud and take up space in my head that I need for other things.

I believe that the mass media is too quick to report all the bad stuff going on in the world and sensationalize it.  I think this is why so often the bad seems overwhelming.  So, I have all but stopped watching the news.  Too much negativity.

There is good all around us, everywhere, every day.  We just need to dig deep and search.  And the funny thing is that once we start practicing that, it is easier to do.  It takes less effort to find the good.

Yesterday, I was sad and overwhelmed.  I took my moment to grieve, to let it all go, and then I worked to find my happy.  It didn't take much.  Kenna is doing so well.  I credit all the love and attention she receives in our care.  We have patiently and diligently worked to make our home comfortable and esthetically pleasing.  I am blessed with a loving and supportive husband who is great at talking through everything with me.  We share common goals and dreams.  We make beautiful plans.

Yes, there are bad people in this world.  Yes, bad things happen.  It's all how I choose to react to it that makes the impact on my life.  It's all about who I choose to share my life with.  It's okay to be selective.  It's okay to let people go.  It's important to make the changes that will help me get where I want to be and have a life I'm proud of, a life that makes me happy, a life where I can share happiness with those I love.

Feel like there are too many bad people in the world?  Make sure you eliminate the bad people from your world and you'll feel much better. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When dreams are placed on hiatus...

Meet our little dreamer. Kenna is a very big adventure.
I started this blog about a year and a half ago as Sam and I were researching our options.  We knew that we wanted a different life, a better life, a life less ordinary.  Winter is always a rough time in the construction business and we have months of down time.  Yes, MONTHS.

Now you might think this is wonderful.  Oh, but we are purpose driven creatures.  And when Sam suddenly has no purpose, things get tense.  He frets.  He frowns.  He is no joy to be around.  And still, I love him through it.

We were looking at living those down months...elsewhere.  We toyed with the idea of owning a sailboat, traveling the Caribbean, making a living online.  Then we soon discovered that we weren't meant to sail.

While there is something truly beautiful about sailboats...and we loved ours...a 27ft Lancer...there is more to it than that.  They are a lot of work.  Sailing is no small task.  It's not all pretty sails and sunshine.  Nope, there is docking...which after crashing over Memorial Day we realized we clearly sucked at.  There is a lot of maintenance.  And so many things can go wrong no matter how well you prepare.  This we discovered over Fourth of July when despite leaving at the perfect time for the tidal charts, despite having an experienced sailor with us, and despite having plenty of gas, we were dead in the water when a u-bold broke that held the front stay and our entire mast, jib, and main, came down.

It seemed like we were destined for adventures on land, or by cruise ship.  And cruise ships aren't cheap.

We started a new adventure: marriage.  We just celebrated our first anniversary on Monday.  And with that new adventure, we decided to get to work on the biggest adventure of all: raising a child together.  Kenna was easy to make, but ridiculously hard to come by.  She was born 16 weeks too soon after weeks of bed rest and tons of complications. 

I wouldn't change a moment of it.  How could I?  Because of all we've been through together, that baby and I have a special bond.  We have a deep understanding.

And because of all the special care she still needs and receives, from therapists coming to the house, to the many appointments with her pediatrician and a host of specialists, our adventures are limited.  Why, my typical adventure is now grocery shopping or running errands.  Exciting stuff.

That is why I currently live vicariously through others.  I explore their adventures.  I gather ideas and fine tune our plans.  It is enough.  For now.

This revised dream...involves an RV.  Yes, we will be land lovers and visit the water.  It's safer that way.  One day, we will be ready for our adventures to begin again.  We will find new purpose for the off months.

But first, I need to fund it.   

Monday, April 23, 2012

Letter to a new NICU mom

Dear Christine,

I know how very challenging it is to be a mom.  And you are suddenly a mom in spades: triplet girls, all sharing the NICU with Kenna.  It's something like being baptized with fire I imagine.

As the seasoned mom of two teens and a 24 week preemie, if I can offer any advice or insight into this experience it is this...

First and foremost, bask in the beauty of each moment.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the medical speak.  It is so easy to be distracted by all the tubes and probes.  See past all that and enjoy each special moment with your babies.  I know that each day, Sam and I would go in there and get the updates on Kenna's medical condition and then focus on all the good stuff...like whose fingers and toes she had, what color her hair was going to be, and all her adorable expressions. 

Remember that while the NICU and your babies are the focus of your life, you still need to achieve a balance to stay sane and healthy.  While there are nurses to care for your babies at night, don't feel guilty taking in a movie with your husband or taking a day trip as this journey goes on.  It will mean so much to your mental health and the babies need a sane mommy.  Sam and I ran away to the beach for a day trip.  We visited Kenna before we left and we called and checked on her when we made it home that evening.  And in the middle, we connected like we so desperately needed to.

Keep in mind, daddys are different from mommys.  I need to be there every day.  I need to see and hold Kenna.  I need to speak to the doctors and nurses and be on top of everything.  Sam needs to focus on work during the week and comes on the weekends.  It isn't that he is deserting me or not supporting me, it's not that he doesn't care about his daughter.  It's all about making sure Kenna has a home to come home to.  You and your husband will figure out what works for you.

This is a roller coaster ride.  The highs are so high.  The lows are gut wrenching.  There will be many of both.  In the end, you will be able to look back and see more good than bad.  You will bask in the each small victory.  And when the lows happen, you will put on your game face.  Know that it can change so quickly...even in the course of a day.  The day that Kenna was diagnosed with NEC, she wasn't quite herself in the morning and by five in the evening she was limp and practically lifeless.  If I didn't believe in the power of having primaries before that, NEC sealed it. 

Which brings me to the this suggestion: find your babies some primaries.  I have night primaries and day primaries.  I love the team of nurses assembled.  They are smart and funny and talented and everything I could hope for.  They are superb communicators, whether it means sharing news or talking me off a ledge.  They help me hold it together.  They help me even more when I can't.  They are part mind reader, part miracle worker and all heart.  My primaries send me pictures and messages by text.  They are more than nurses and have become friends and family.  You will need that.

Never forget that you are the mom.  You can stand up to the doctors and offer your opinion.  I spoke to the doctors about how I wanted to approach the Bubble CPAP after NEC.  I voiced my thoughts on feedings.  I have questioned the necessity of tests.  I'm Kenna's biggest cheerleader and her biggest protector.  I have known her longer than anyone.  The same is true for you and your girls. 

During this time, don't be afraid to ask for what you need from your husband, from the nurses, from the doctors, from friends and family.  It's okay to tell people that they can't come to the hospital right now, that they will see the girls when they come home.  It's okay to tell your husband that you are tired and can't cook.  It's okay to take it easy.  It's okay not to be in touch with everyone every day.  They will understand.  Take care of you so that you can be there for the girls. 

Most of all, understand the importance of positive thinking.  Miracles happen every day.  If you look hard enough, you can find the good in everything.  When Kenna was diagnosed with NEC, I decided that, on the bright side, I could now work on building up my milk storage.  When I brought clothes she couldn't wear yet, I looked at it as less laundry.  And when there was no progress, I rejoiced that she was stable.  There is always a silver lining. 

I'm sure I have way more advice to impart, but it will all come in time.  Just know that you are surrounded by many caring people.  Let them take care of you and your girls.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dreamers apologize...

I'm sorry that I haven't been writing as much.  I'm sorry that I haven't been doing well with keeping you informed and in the loop. 

To say that we have been busy is a gross understatement. 

We have about torn the house apart over the past month.  There is an order to all remodeling projects.  And what started as a simple plan of replacing the ancient carpeting in the house with hardwoods so that Kenna could breathe became so much more.  The ceiling in the bedroom had to be scraped first.  The walls had to be painted.  It forced us to finally commit and finish the great room.  It made is finally paint the hall and change out that light.  It forced us to finally turn our master bedroom into the oasis we needed.

I've been busy reconnecting with Rachel.  In so many ways, we are back where we were before with the constant communication and sharing.  There are still some wounds that need to heal, but this is a very promising start.

And I've been busy with court.  It's a long story.  Let's just say that our gentleman's agreement only works if both parties adhere to it.  I'm a lady.  I've kept my word.  And my ex...well, he is no gentleman. 

Bishop has been a challenge as of late.  The floors are a bit much for him.  He acts like Bambi on ice.  And he's been sick.  The seasonal allergies are killing him.

What little free time I have goes to cleaning and gardening and time with Kenna...because Sam has given me the house of my dreams, so I need to take care of it.  He's given me the gardens of my dreams (herb and vegetable) so I have to maintain them.  And we all know that Kenna is what happens when two dreamers fall in love.  She's had a bit of a rough spell, but I just go and love her through it.  It's working.

Kenna is in a crib now.  And she's doing so much better breathing.  And if we can just get this feeding thing under control...she'll be practically ready to come home. 

There's this magical place we've heard about...the Special Care Nursery.  It's where babies go to grow and feed before coming home.  It's the last stop in the hospital.  And we're working on getting there.  It's close.  I can feel it.

And while we work toward all this...my apologies for not being better at posting.  Of course you can follow our progress daily on Facebook

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dreamers know sometimes wishes are horses

You know the saying.

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

Well, this dreamer is riding.

Exactly six months ago, Rachel moved out.  It wasn't a nice move.  It wasn't an easy move.

I was pregnant and having her leave so abruptly on such bad terms to go live with her boyfriend really hurt my feelings.  And I didn't know how our relationship would ever recover.  There were plenty more hurts along the way.  She ignored my Thanksgiving calls and texts.  She wasn't in touch for Christmas while I was on bed rest.  She ignored my congrats over her graduation and we weren't invited.  And she never contacted me when I had Kenna.

I often wondered how we could ever repair that damage.  The truth is...love finds a way.

I heard she was having some problems and I did what mothers do.  I reached out.  I knew that stubborn teenage pride would prevent her from contacting me.  And so I contacted her.  A door that was once closed, locked, and nailed shut...opened.

We have been talking daily since by text and on the phone.  The closeness we always shared didn't die.  It didn't even fade.  It's more patina now.

We're making plans to all get together, to mend broken bonds between Rachel and step-Sam.  He took this just as hard as I did.  He and Rachel had a great relationship...the closeness I had always hoped she'd have with her own father.  They talked and joked around.  He took her job hunting, helped her return applications and brought her to interviews.  He would pick her up from school and bring her to the doctor.  He was the best extension of me.  And together, they would do really sweet things for me...like make dinner, plan surprise parties, and buy me presents.

I've missed our family.  Sure, Keenan has been more outgoing without Rachel around.  At the same time, I need all my children with me.  To say that I'm thrilled to have her in our life again would be a gross understatement.  We're all going to benefit from this.  Rachel needs her mom.  She even needs step-Sam.  Kenna, she will have a big sister and a big brother.  And Keenan won't be stuck in the middle...not that he ever seems impacted by tension.

This dreamer is riding high and riding happy.  Life is good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dreamers know that questions lead to answers

It's been a crazy couple of days for Kenna.

She hasn't had anything to eat since Monday afternoon.  And according to our nurses, she won't have anything to eat until at least Friday.  She has to get rid of all of the dye from the last test yesterday so that they can do an upper GI test. 

Rumor has it, she was really good.  And apparently she has been more mellow, but not in the concerning way.  The doctor was quick to assure me that she was still our little spit fire.  And I like that.

So for now, we have more questions than answers, but I have to believe that the answers will come.

There is a good chance that there is simply a blockage somewhere.  Or maybe there is some scarring from the NEC.  There has to be a reason why our baby, who used to eat like a champ and never had residuals, now doesn't digest an entire meal. 

And we need to figure it out soon.  My freezer runneth over.

Yeah, I know.  We haven't talked about my milk supply in such a long time.  I figured you kind of missed it.  All I can say is...our freezer is full.  I have virtually no solid food in it.  Thank goodness Dad and Vicki had a freezer for us.  I don't know what we'd be doing otherwise.  And to think Sam was worried we had purchased it for nothing.  Ha!

So, I'm waiting for Sam to go and visit Kenna today.  It will be a later visit.  And I'm good with that.  It gives me time to get more writing done.  I have been slacking lately.  I've just been having a difficult time concentrating on anything productive.  I've been mostly killing time until I can see Kenna.  And I know it's bothering Sam.  He's focused on work and taking care of our family.  And I focus on taking care of our family and getting Kenna well.  There's a good overlap there.

We'll get through this.  Soon we'll have the answers we need.  Kenna will get better.  And she'll come home.  Not soon enough, but for good.  And that is the happy thought I hold on to.