My “Weight”

I’ve been a little tense lately.  I haven’t felt much like myself.  I’ve been feeling, heavy, in a way.  Like I’m carrying around a lot of stress, a lot of emotional weight.  At first I figured part of the problem was a lack of sleep and the general frustrations that come with having 2 young children.  I started thinking, “Things will get better when A goes back to school in September.”  But the truth is, I’m dealing with a lot more than having my kid home during the summer.

I feel there is a lot being asked of me right now.  In addition to a pregnancy/new baby…the whole thing was highly charged, emotionally, since it was right on the heels of losing the twins.  I still haven’t had a chance to come down from the emotional high I was on for the duration of my pregnancy.  Less than 2 weeks after C was born, there was a shitstorm with Hubs’ job and so began the process of him quitting and starting his own company.  It wasn’t as simple as turning in a resignation.  There were many things to manage, many things to consider…one of the biggest issues being my medical needs relating to my skin cancer diagnosis.  I find myself stuck at home a lot yet I still feel my house is a disaster.  I can’t seem to get anything cleaned during the day.  I don’t manage to get out of the house much…it’s not easy.  Plus, I’ve cut my spending dramatically in order to preserve our savings as long as possible.  I rarely get “me” time.  The Hubs and I haven’t had a date in I don’t know how long…hell, most nights we don’t even really talk.  Strangely enough, even though he’s not traveling and is working from home, we seem to have much less time together than before.  He works all the time and after the girls are asleep (a whole ‘nother problem) I just want some alone/quiet time to surf the web, catch up on my blogs/message boards and spend some time without someone needing or wanting something from me.  Or touching me.  Bedtime in this house is a disaster.  If A doesn’t nap…she’s a bear.  If she does nap, she won’t go to sleep at night.  C goes down pretty easily, but is awake within 30 minutes needing to be rocked back to sleep.  She’s still up at least twice a night to eat and about 50% of the time, she won’t settle down and go back to sleep.  For example…she was up at 4:45 this morning.  Bedtime just adds to my frustration that has mounded up during the day and by about 8pm, I’m ready to run out of the house screaming.  It’s like the straw that breaks the camels back every.single.day.

But I signed up for all of this and I own it.

Nothing on my list of complaints is surprising to me and I’ve taken it all on voluntarily.  I can’t even fix the sleep issues because I’m too big of a wuss to let C cry and I flat-out don’t have the time or desire to read one of the several sleep books available.  But my list of “issues” isn’t even what really bothers me.  My problem is the guilt I feel for being frustrated about any of it.  The guilt that comes from knowing I should be thankful everyday, for every moment I get with my husband and my kids but finding myself, at the end of each day, wondering if I’m actually looking forward to getting up the next morning and doing it all over again.  I wanted my kids.  I pined for them.  I prayed for them.  And they are both more precious to me than anything else I’ve ever known and I would do just about anything to see them happy.  I’ve known the heartbreak of loss and I know what it’s like to wonder what my life would look like if I hadn’t lost the twins.  I know what it’s like to long for a moment with them, no matter the circumstances, to be able to touch them, to hold them, to tell them I love them…to know them…if only for a moment.  I know what it’s like to beg for a glimpse into what life could have been like if things had gone differently.

I feel awful…so damn guilty for complaining about any part of my current life.  And I feel like a horrible mother and a horrible person for not being able to be joyful in every moment in every day…especially where C is concerned since I was so fearful of her not getting her at all.  I sometimes find myself fearful that something else tragic is going to happen…wondering if I didn’t learn my lesson wholly the first time around.  I desperately need something to lighten my mood…something to relieve some of the tension I constantly feel.  Someone or something to take some of this weight off my shoulders.  I took A and C to the mall yesterday to play on the indoor playground.  On the way out, I passed a double stroller with 2 matching carseats (black and white damask with hot pink trim) each holding a teeny-tiny, sleeping baby girl.  It was as close to tears that I’ve come in quite some time and my heart still hurts thinking about it.  I’ve managed to avoid seeing a brand-new set of twin girls for over a year and my first encounter just came at the wrong time.

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Gremlins

I read this quote yesterday, and it makes me smile every time I think about it.  “You have to hang in there, because two or three years later, the gremlins will return your child, and (she) he will be wonderful again.”– Jill Eikenberg

So true for my life right now, and adding that bit of humor is what keeps me going through the day.  I love my kids, every one of them, completely, but I’m pretty sure they’re out to destroy me.  I’m actually beyond thankful today.  6 weeks ago A found a disposable needle in a field and punctured her finger.  We’ve had 2 rounds of blood tests…one immediately and one at 6 weeks.  We heard from the doctor yesterday her final blood test came back completely normal.  Thank God.  It was, so far, the scariest thing I’ve encountered as a parent.  Having your 3-year-old tested for Hepatitis and HIV is just plain wrong.  But all that aside, I find myself dealing with a 3-year-old that is absolutely convinced the world revolves around her.  I presume most 3-year-olds share her sentiments.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing…tending to C, talking to the Hubs, dishes, laundry, making the bed…she’s not happy if my attention is not on her 100% of the time.  I feel awful because it seems everything else and everyone else, in my life is being neglected.  If I’m making the bed, she wants to be jumping on it.  If I’m doing dishes, she wants me to get out her playdoh, or markers, or stickers, or anything she can come up with to interrupt me doing the dishes.  If I’m folding laundry, she wants to roll around in the piles.  If I’m tending to C, she wants to be in the same room and try as she might, she’s just not capable of being quiet…so putting C down for a nap with A in the same room is basically impossible.  We’re on the final stretch of summer here and it shows.  It’s hot (too hot to be outside for a good chunk of the day), she’s bored, I’m bored and I struggle to get out of the house with both girls in tow.  I’ve just had C for the past 24 hours…A spent the night with her grandparents and while I’ve missed A, it’s been so nice to run a bunch of errands and have some time to sit and breathe.  I wouldn’t give up any of it though.  As crazy and difficult as it is, I love it.  I’m looking forward to August and September too.  A will go back to school in September and I just signed her up for a 1 day per week preschool at our local zoo.  She’s going to have an absolute blast.  She didn’t want to do dance again, so zoo school it is.  We tossed around the idea of her playing soccer, but during the fall the games would interfere with Aggie games, so….yeah….maybe she can play soccer in the Spring.

Like most mothers, I’m sure, I find myself constantly striving to be a better mom to A.  The past few weeks have been especially hard.  I told Hubs I thought maybe I should go back to work…that being home with her isn’t the best thing.  I don’t think I actually feel that way, but geez, when nothing you do seems to work in terms of teaching or disciplining, you’re left wondering if you should just wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.  I’ve been so close, too close, to walking out the door at 5 o’clock several nights and not coming home until late, late at night.  Just dropping everything, because I’m frustrated and angry, and leaving.  One of the things my mom taught me is to never leave the house angry.  That lesson has stuck with me for a long, long time.  I did get some time away this week, spent a few hours running errands alone then split a bottle of wine with Aunt D.  It did wonders.  It’s amazing what a few hours away will do for my sanity.  I’m going to start doing it more often.  Even if I don’t plan it for myself, my volunteer obligations are getting ready to kick into high gear and I’ll be forced to spend time away from home, the Hubs and the Littles.  I’ve been struggling lately because it seems my needs, wants and desires come dead-last in this family.  And I guess that’s the plight of a mother, but it’s still a hard pill to swallow sometimes or in my case, most of the time.  I sleep until the girls wake up in the mornings because C is still up several times a night, I don’t nap during the day, and I fall into bed bone-tired at night.  There’s just nothing left for me at the end of the day.  I know it’s all temporary…in the blink of an eye C will be done nursing, she’ll be sleeping through the night, A will be back in school and I’ll start convincing myself it’s time to try for another baby because I’ll start longing for days like the ones I’m currently experiencing.  But isn’t that one of life’s biggest challenges?  To take what you KNOW and take what you FEEL and somehow morph them into one consistent thought and action?  I’m working on it, but I’m just not very good at it.

Mr. Golden Sun-1 B-0

I’ve been neglecting this blog.  I just haven’t had much to say and honestly, adjusting to 2 kiddos and a husband that now works from home hasn’t left me with much down time where I can quietly gather my thoughts and write about what’s on my mind.  I so miss writing here though, sharing my thoughts and my photos.  This has been a good outlet for me and I need to carve out some quiet time and space in this busy life so I can write.

I find myself angry these days.  I’m feeling unimportant and purpose-less (is that a word?) and it sucks.  It’s a very trying time in my life.  There’s been a ton of stuff happening and I’m feeling the weight of it just camped out on my shoulders.  I’ll share it all with you, but let’s start with the most current of stressors.

I have/had skin cancer.  It sucks.  I had a small, flat spot show up on my face near my hairline when I was pregnant with A.  I assumed it was a hormonal change and figured it would go away.  It didn’t.  I’ve had 2 more pregnancies since then and I had another spot show up while pregnant with C.  This one was closer to my hairline but was a raised bump instead of a flat patch.  It was really quite gross…almost wart-like.  I’d mentioned it to my GP over the years and he was nonchalant about getting them biopsied and inspected.  I wish he’d been a little more insistent.  The only reason I had the biopsies done when I did was because we’d met our deductible for the year and wanted to have everything taken care of while I was only responsible for 10%.  Since Hubs was leaving his current position and would be losing that insurance, I decided to get it taken care of.  Needless to say, both spots came back positive for basal cell carcinoma.  The most common form of skin cancer, slow-growing, rarely spreading, but skin cancer none the less.  To have both spots removed I went to a dermatological surgeon that performed Mohs Surgery leaving me with 2 gaping holes in my head.  Thankfully, he was able to get clear margins on both spots with only one cut (the Mohs surgery is where they do the pathology right there and keep cutting down and around until they remove all the cancer).  I was cauterised, patched up and sent straight to the hospital (my 4th stint in a hospital in 3 years) where the plastic surgeon used a skin graft to close the opening closest to my hairline and stitched up the opening closer to the center of my forehead leaving me with a 4cm incision site.  Lordy.  I’m now about 4 days out from the surgery and I closely resemble a cyborg.  Even though I have no idea what a cyborg is or what one looks like, I’m pretty sure I resemble one.  The last time I left the house was last Thursday morning when I went in for the initial surgery with the Dermatologist.  Did I mention I spent all day Thursday with a horrible migraine?  I was begging for drugs once I made it to the hospital.  I haven’t been able to wash my hair since then and I just took my first shower where I took painstaking measures to scrub the skin I could get wet yet carefully avoiding my bandages and incision sites.  My hair is disgusting.  It’s matted with blood and gunk in 2 different spots that I can do nothing about until the sutures are removed later this week.  I’ll go to scratch an itchy spot on my scalp only to find it caked with dried blood.  My eyes, bridge of my nose and cheek on one side are puffy, and there’s bruising under my eyes.  I can’t wear my glasses thanks to the swollen face and the fact I can see the bridge of my nose and part of my cheek, thanks to the swelling, is driving me batty.  And my mother in-law wants family pictures next week…  The skin graft was taken from behind my ear and there’s bruising down that side of my neck and my ear is swollen and numb.  There’s no bandage where the skin graft was taken and I’m supposed to keep antibiotic ointment on the incision site so I constantly have goo running down my neck and into my hair as my body heat liquifies the ointment. The actual incision site on my forehead looks like I’ve taken a gunshot wound to the head.  There’s a bolster sewn over the skin graft to keep it in place and the incision in the center of my forehead has slightly bled through the tape so it looks like a big, bloody spot about the size of a quarter in the center of my head.  And everything is starting to itch.  My girlfriend says that means it’s all healing…  I was secretly hoping for some nice, clean, white soap-opera type head bandages…no suck luck.  When my doctor suggested getting these spots looked at saying it could be some basal cell carcinoma, he said it was no big deal to get them taken off and that would be the end of it.  Holy hell.  This whole ordeal has been waaaaayyyyy more of an ordeal than I could have ever imagined.  You can only imagine the amount of appointments this has all required…and I requested to have all of it done by the end of June so I’d only be responsible for 10%.  It’s been less than calm around here lately.  And we’re not done.  There are still 2 spots on my head I’m concerned about.  One on my forehead and one in my hairline.  There’s also a spot on my leg I’m watching.  And of course, I’ll now be closely monitored by a dermatologist, for who knows how long, to check for any new moles, spots, growths, etc.  Sigh.  It could be worse I suppose, and there’s always a chance I’ll never have another cancerous spot show up, but for now I’m suffering some major consequences.

So, how did I get so lucky as to have some lovely skin cancer at the tender age of 31?  I’ll tell you.  I have no idea.  We had a pool growing up so my sister and I spent our summers outside…I’m sure that didn’t help.  I also had a convertible when I turned 16 and had the top down all the time, probably another contributing factor.  I layed in tanning beds in high-school, college, and even as recently as when I got pregnant with A.  I canceled my tanning membership when I found out I was pregnant.  I didn’t tan non-stop or year-round, just a few months here and there throughout the year.  The biggest factor though, seems to be genetic.  The dermatologist says fair-skinned, blue-eyed folks are just more prone to skin cancer.  It’s not that I haven’t taken precautions throughout the years, I’ve always been diligent about sunscreen on my face, but like most people, I didn’t really focus on the hairline.  I’ve always worn sunglasses, so my eye area has been protected, but I’m not big on hats.  Also, the hormonal changes from pregnancy does weird, weird things to your body…this was also confirmed by the dermatologist as a contributing factor.

I’m sure my girls will ask to tan when they get into high school.  The answer, is a resounding HEEEEELLLLL NO!  I will, however, agree to let them spray tan.  I know all too well the vanity of a teenage girl and I’d rather appease their vanity with a spray tan than have them go behind my back and lay out in the sun slathered in baby oil because they don’t possess the ability to understand there are consequences to their actions.  I don’t blame my parents though…the warnings about sun damage and skin cancer 15 years ago were not what they are today.  And to be fair, as a child, I never burned…I was super tan all summer just from being outside.  My poor girls though…both have my fair skin and blue eyes and you can bet I will be FANATICAL about sunscreen usage and sun avoidance.  Oh, and I’ll be investing in some fun hats for myself!

So that catches you up for now.  I left out a few things though. The pastor of our church is leaving at the end of July.  It’s a big deal because I would really like some stability, SOMEWHERE, in my life and his leaving came out of nowhere.  We had our first trip to the ER a few weeks ago.  A was staying with my in-laws since I was in DESPERATE need of a break and she spiked a fever and was having trouble breathing.  I was practically out the door before Hubs even got off the phone with his mom.  She ended up in the ER at 11:30 on a Tuesday night diagnosed with a sinus infection and RSV.  We spent the next several days nursing A back to health while keeping her and C separated since C getting RSV just wasn’t an option.  Then a few days later A found and poked herself with an unidentified, used needle near a parking lot.  Seriously…what kind of asshole leaves a used needle (turns out, it was a disposable needle from and epi or insulin pen) near a parking lot?  At this point, once I realized she’d actually punctured her skin, I lost it.  I’d had all I could take.  I was sick to my stomach and I cried.  I cried for A, for all the doctor visits I knew would come, for me, for our family, for the desperation I felt, for the fear I felt, I was just done.  We’re still not finished with that whole ordeal.  Her doctor ordered blood work (um, NOT fun, AT ALL) immediately to check for really scary diseases like HIV and Hepatitis.  At the 6 week mark, when anything she may have contracted would show up, we have to check again.  Hubs has left his job and is now self-employed, full-time and we’re all home. All the time.  It’s an adjustment and comes with a MAJOR learning curve.  And because I seem to be a glutton for punishment, we’re headed out of town next week to spend the 4th of July with my in-laws at their place in Fredericksburg.  It will be fun, but their place is only 600 sq. ft. or so.  It’s close quarters.  Should be, interesting, to say the least.  I’m planning to drink lots of beer and wine.

So there it is.  My life lately, in a nutshell.  It’s stressful right now and I’m in need of a break.  I’m in need of some good stuff, some positive stuff to start heading our way.  I feel wound up, stressed to the max all the time.  Hopefully I can find time to get back to regular writing.  It helps me so much to be able to get my thoughts out and it helps to go back and re-read when I feel like I’ve been standing still and no progress has been made.

Oy.

This day.  Oh, this day.  Ugh.  It has just been a rotten day.  First of all, it’s been cloudy/rainy here for the better part of a week.  I’ve seen the sun once in the past several days.  It’s starting to take its toll on me.  My morning started out with A calling for me on the monitor.  When I wake up in the mornings, I try to judge the time based on the light outside.  I turn the light on my clock off (it tends to give me a headache if I sleep with the light on…high-maintenence, I know) so unless I groggily reach for my phone, the light coming in from the windows is my best gauge.  This morning, it was still fairly dark so I though A just needed to be tucked in and told it wasn’t time to get up yet.  So I pulled my butt out of bed and stumbled into her room only to discover it was past 7.  Clouds.  Rain.  You see where this is going.  “I’m hungry” a whiny voice says to me.  “Ok, fine” I sigh.  “Get up and we’ll go get some breakfast.”  My day started out 90 to nothing.  She was hungry, but wouldn’t eat.  Sigh.  Life with a toddler.  She wanted to play, we had somewhere to be.  She kept asking me to play with her and not only did I not want to, but I had to get ready.  Dance classes are on Wednesday mornings and we leave at 9:30.  This week was “Watch Me Week” which means they set up chairs and invite all the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, distant cousins, family black sheep and all the random strangers they can find to sit on the perimeter of the room and watch class.  Sigh.  This has never gone well.  I warned my husband and mother-in-law that while they were more than welcome to attend, she would most likely spend the entire class in my lap.  Both of them disagreed with me, I still don’t know why.  It’s not like I haven’t done this before.  To complicate things further, I had to take Hubs to pick up his rental car this morning which threw my whole schedule off.  By the time we left the house for dance class I was frazzled, and my back hurt.  I HATE to be that way in front of my husband.  I don’t like for him to think I can’t handle it when he’s out of town.

Dance class went exactly as I expected it would, she curled up in my lap and whined the whole time.  I was close to tears by the end, ok middle…seriously close to losing it right then and there.  I was so frustrated with my mother-in-law trying to convince her to participate (like I hadn’t already said these things to her and I won’t answer the same question over and over again.  It just gives her the attention she wants so I just wanted my mother-in-law to STOP TALKING TO HER), I was frustrated that once again, I’ve got the only kid in class that won’t participate, I was frustrated that my husband was being overly nice to A when I wanted to pound her, I was frustrated that she wouldn’t sit still and wouldn’t be quiet and kept disrupting the class (“I’m hungry!” “I want to go home!”  “I want my blankie and bottle!”  over and over and over again) and I was beyond embarrassed because once again, I’m convinced everyone is looking at me thinking, “Geez, she can’t control the one she’s got, how does she think she’s going to manage an infant too?”  Sidebar: I’ve learned not to judge other parents too harshly, you just never know what’s ACTUALLY going on in their life.  A kept asking to go home, and I said no.  At one point I took her out of the class to have a talk with her about sitting still and not talking during class.  Told her that all her friends were performing for their family and if she didn’t want to participate, she had to sit still and be quiet.  It didn’t do much good, but I don’t believe in discipline without explanation…even with a 2 year old.  Anyways, I felt it was important for her to sit through the class, that by leaving she would have got what she wanted, so we stayed.  I’ve decided I’m not going next time…it’s just not worth it.  We’ll skip that week.  And the 100+ bucks we’re going to have to spend for her Spring recital?  I might as well wipe my ass with it and flush it down the toilet.  So Hubs was headed out of town right after her class, but we thought we’d stop at Starbucks for a quick cup of coffee before he left.  That went terrible too.  She whined and squirmed the whole time.  She kept complaining she was hungry so I offered her some of my croissant, but she kept demanding green apples.  I still don’t know where that came from, we don’t eat green apples around here.  Red ones, yes, tons of them, but no green.  Whatever, I grabbed my latte that I never even had time to taste and headed home.

I get home, cut her up an apple and make her a cheese quesadilla (she’s starving, remember?) that she proceeds to eat a tiny bit of and declares she’s done.  Fine, kid, whatever.  You’ve got 30 minutes with the tv then we’re both taking a nap.  Only, 30 good minutes was too much to ask for.  Because my doctor’s office called to tell me I failed my 1 hour glucose test yesterday and I needed to come in for the 3 hour test ASAP.  Oh, and I’m also low on iron, so I’ll need to start taking a supplement.  Now, neither of these things surprised me (based on my pregnancy with A), but it was just too much before noon.  I called my husband bawling.  I just felt like a parenting failure all the way around.  From my morning with A right down to not being able to stay healthy while I’m pregnant.  Also, I’m peeved at the nurse that called…I know most of the nurses at my doctor’s office but I don’t know this one that called.  She was so insistent I come in right away I finally had to be kind of rude and tell her flat out that I have a young child, a husband that travels and frankly, carving 4-5 hours out of my day to come to your office to do a 3-hour glucose test is not something I can do without some planning.  So calm the eff down, lady, I’ll take a look at my schedule and get back to you.  Geez.  Also, did you look at my file?  AT ALL?  I’ve done this before you know…

So my nap was pretty good.  But my afternoon hasn’t been much better.  My child is just in a mood today and while I think consistency is the best way to shape behavior, I frankly just don’t always have it in me.  You didn’t say please?  Fine, whatever, I’ll just get you what you want.  No, we’re not reading a book right now but since you’ve asked me for the zillionth time, fine, I’ll give in.  I know it’s bad.  But I’m just so beat-down today.  To top it all off, I get a text while I’m giving A a bath tonight from an old friend.  She had a really random question, which was no big deal, but proceeded to ask me how I was and if I’d had to twins yet.  I thought most people in my life (past and present) had gotten this memo.  I was left to explain, via text, that we lost them in March, stillborn at 19 weeks, blah, blah, blah.  She felt terrible, of course, but that got me thinking more in-depth about the girls than I really wanted to today and now I can’t shake it.  This day has just been too much.

A is still awake in her bed.  She’s been calling for me, I keep ignoring her.  Also, the dogs are going a bit stir-crazy thanks to the rain which means I’m about to blow-off my to-do list and lock myself in my bedroom.  For the record, non-pregnant B would have a glorious dirty gin martini right now.  Then probably another one with an Advil chaser.  So if there’s anyone out there that would like to have one on my behalf, please, enjoy 1 (or 2) for me.