Thursday, December 31, 2009


Last night I had lots of contractions, but they petered out around 3 am. This morning we had a OB visit, and a BPP. Baby Sam looks great....but holy wowza he is BIG. BIG. The wand went from waaaaaaay down low checking his head, to waaaaay up on the right to his butt and up to the left to his feet. He is apparently very very comfy. And did I mention BIG?

Okay, we aren't talking Hercules size here, but with Lily as my only other experience, he seems HUGE. :) He may easily outweigh her birthweight by 3 lbs. It's kinda crazy to have such a "normal" pregnancy. God is so awesome.

No dialation as of yet, but I am thinned out and effaced. Doc said it's just a waiting game now. And as much as I am ready I know it's not up to me.

So I'll wait.

But I don't have to be happy about it. :D

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just for a day

When I look at her now, at almost 3 years old, I still see the tiny being she was when she first drew breath. I remember her lips meeting my breast for the first time. I remember the way she would look at me as if I was her entire world. And I was. I was her sustenence, I was her shelter. I met her every need.

It was exhausting and lovely. It is hard to put into words those first few weeks with my baby girl. She made me a mother. She filled my dreams. She was so sweet, so helpless, and so beautiful.

And now...she is growing into a little girl. She is slipping from my grasp, wanting to do things on her own. She wants to play her own games. She wants to have her own agenda. And it hurts, in the sweetest of ways.

It is such a slippery slope, this motherhood thing. It is a constant dance of letting go and holding tight. Some days I find myself crying after she is in bed because I feel as if all I have done is fuss at her all day. Some days I don't want her to go to sleep. Some nights I want to hold her until she slips into dreams like I used to, watching as she let go. I nursed her to sleep until she was nearly 2, and now, I lay her in her big girl bed and walk away. It is as it should be, I know...but my heart feels differently.

Nothing could have prepared me to be a mother. For looking at my daughter and seeing through her 3 year old attitude to the small being she used to be. For seeing her grow, and being proud and also devastated by how fast the time goes. I look at her and want to ask God to slow things down, just for a while. So I can keep her here, on the cusp of needing me and not needing me. So I can still be the face of her world before she turns outward.

I mourn the baby she was. I look at pictures and see the toothless grin, the sweetness. She was a delight and a joy. There was no drama to our relationship- only mutual adoration. Now, it's different. There is discipline and challenges. There is out and out defiance. There is dramamtic fits and time outs. All of the simplicity is leached away now, and it is a real mother-daughter dynamic. Again, it is as it should be, but my heart remembers that sweet cherubic angel whose eyes used to follow me everywhere, whose arms lifted to me, whose grin lit up my world.

Of all the things life has taught me these past 3 years, it is that I will always see my baby girl in my little girl. Now matter how old she is, or how stubborn, or how angry. I will always see the tiny angel she was when she came into this world. She is the only thing in this life that has ever been entirely mine. She made me believe in family and love and togetherness. She made me believe it was okay to need someone so much you would die for them. She saved me, and she gave me a reason to believe in all the things I thought I didn't need.

But if somebody out there has a secret to reversing time, just for a day, so I can hold that little butterball with the megawatt smile, I'd give anything for it. Just for a day.

She is my life. I am lost in her.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


In what has become a Christmas tradition, I put the dog and Lily in Christmas dresses and snap a few pics. This year, however, was like something out of a very bad movie. It involved lots of cheese to keep the dog put, lots of squirming by the kid, and lots of inefficient and downright sabotage-like behavior on the part of my husband. To give him credit, though, he was laughing a bit to hard to actually help.

Here are a few outtakes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Both sides now

Dear Mom,

I am thinking of you today. I don't know why, really. Sometimes you come so fully into my mind I know you must be near. I look at our Christmas tree and just wonder where you are. Do you see me? Do you see the memories I am trying to create for Lily?

I am so much further into my life than your sickness ever let you get. Married, settled, 2 children, friends and family. Sometimes I still think of the bad times you and I had...but I also realize I don't give you enough credit for the good times.

Remember when you let me open all of my Christmas presents early? I had had a bad day at school, and was crying. You never could stand to see me cry over other people's cruelty. It would make you wince, wring your hands. So you pulled all of my gifts from under the tree and watched while I opened them. I remember looking up into the blind hope in your eyes. I knew you hoped it would make me feel better, because you didn't have the skills to help me.

You did try. I know you did. It gets overshadowed by all of the darkness... but I know you tried. You reached so far past yourself to try to love me. I wish I could have told you that before you died. I was 19 and had no foresight. I was angry and sad. I wish I had known the power of forgiveness.

But wishing doesn't change anything.

Do you see me? Do you watch as I rock Lily, or as I wash Samuel's clothes and fold them away? Do you see me laugh and cry? I wish I could just know that you know I have forgiven you. That you know that I understand you so much more now.

You were so ill. You tried all the wrong things to cure yourself. But there I was, needing all the time. And so the strength you should have used to help youself you poured into me. There must have been a great wrenching of your soul as you pushed away your demons and tried to care for me and love me. I am a mother now, mom. I understand so much more than I ever dreamed I would.

Nobody helped you, because you wouldn't let anyone near. It's so hard for me to think that a simple medication could have healed you, mom. It's even harder to know that you were diagnosed and got treatment while you were terminal with cancer. You saw life as it should be seen the last few months of your life. You wanted to live. You wanted to be a mother. But it was too late. There are no words for that kind of injustice.

I feel you now. I know you are near when sadness wells up in me. When it is one of those days that I can't escape it. You come and sit with me. I know you are here. And I know you are trying, as you always always did, to love me as you could.

You gave me a gift wrapped in a curse, mom. You gave me love trapped behind glass. It was as if your disease buried you alive over and over, and you dug your way out. For me. It never lasted long, but I remember the mother you tried to be. I remember the times I fell asleep on your chest. I remember when you came to me at night just to watch me sleep. I would wake to you, weeping over me. I know how full of pain and regret your heart was in those moments. How filled with sadness you were.

I wish I wish I wish....

So just know, wherever you are, that I know. I know you tried. I feel you come to me. There may be times I am still angry with you, but there are also times like these, when I wish for just one more minute to tell you all of this. Forgiveness is a beautiful tragic dance. It is even harder when you are dancing alone.

Today I am remembering a little girl, standing in the bathroom doorway watching her mommy fix her hair. I am remembering the smell of your perfume, and the way you would catch my eye in the mirror as you curled your hair. You pulled on your dress, and I caught my breath. You were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I remember the scent of you as you bent to hug me, to kiss me. I leaned in and smelled your neck. You pulled back and tenderly kissed my forehead. You looked into my eyes, and I saw my mama.

I remember who you were beneath it all. Thank you for showing me that person, so that I can carry her with me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trip to China

So, when Lily first was born, many many people asked if she was adopted.

No, seriously.

Actual conversation with a Wal-Mart checker:

"She look asian. She adopted?"

"Ummm, no. She's all mine."

"She don't look like yours. She looks asian."

" Well, if she's adopted, someone has alot of explaining to do to my vagina."

"Oh, you got her from China?"

One of Mark's friends-

"Damn Mark, you baby look mad asian."

My own aunt:

"She looks nothing like you!!! She looks foreign."

So, yeah, okay. This bothered me for a while, but I guess I could kinda see their point. I was relieved, however, when she grew out of it.

Then, a friend snapped a picture of Lily and I realized there may have been a mistake in the hospital:

Guess I knew what I was doing when I named her Lily.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Have you read the Bible story of Hannah and Samuel? It's beautiful and sorrowful. Cliff notes: Hannah is barren. She is greatly saddened by this. She goes to the temple and prays to God to give her a son. She promises to dedicate her son back to God for life. A priest of the temple, Eli, hears her prayer and tells her God is listening. She goes home and concieves a beautiful son, Samuel. And when he is weaned, she takes him back to the temple to live. She sees him only once a year, but she kept her promise. She gives him wholly to God and to Eli to raise.

I've always known of this story, but when we were trying to concieve Lily, I read it often. After I miscarried last January, it was an almost constant source of comfort to me.

When I decided to try for another baby it was with hesitation. I was scared of my own pain. I didn't want another loss.

On Mother's day, we went to church. As the music played, I laid my hand over my womb, and was brutally honest with God. "I want this. I want my boy. I want to be pregnant. I am scared to trust. I am scared to walk out on your promises. But God, if you help me to concieve again, I will face all of it, knowing you are with me. And if I never, ever carry to term again, I will still love you. Any child I have will be yours, forever."

That was the day my Samuel began his life.

I think about Hannah. I think about her going about her day, her hand over her stomach. I think of her smile and her joy. I think abut how she must have held Samuel to her breast as she nursed him. How she must have brushed his hair away from his face and watched him sleep. How she must have praised God for his life.

And I also think of her walking the slow hill up to the temple, holding her precious boy. I see her, in my mind's eye, turning to kiss his cheek one last time. I think of her watching her boy walk up the steps of the temple holding Eli's hand. She must have known what she was doing was right, but I can't imagine how her mother's tender heart was screaming out for her baby.

She dedicated his life to God, and God blessed her with many more children. Samuel went on to become a prophet and to teach many other people about God. Destiny.

The day I got a positive pregnancy test I had my own temple moment. I went to my knees and promised God that whatever came, I knew this baby was His. If he lived one day, or a hundred years, he would always belong to God first, me second. I drew on God's peace, knowing my child's days were already determined by a wisdom higher than mine.

And I can tell you honestly, there have been a few moments when I had to fall back on this knowledge. Spotting, sickness. A horrific bleed at 20 weeks. I was terrified and shaking each time, but I knew anything that came was not up to me. I dedicated Samuel to God, and I am determined to keep my promise.

So here we are, 33 weeks. He rolls and kicks inside me. When I think of him, he moves. When I lay my hand on him and pray, he grows still. I have prepared my home for him. I have allowed him deep into my heart. I love him fiercely.

I am accountable for much more than ever now that I am a mother. I have a responsibility to show my children who God is, through my actions and words. I have to look at my sweet Lily and realize that she is only mine for a moment, but God's forever. I will look at Samuel's face and see my promise. Not mine, His.

Samuel Given to the LORD
21The man Elkanah and all his house(W) went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD(X) and dwell there forever." 23(Y) Elkanah her husband said to her, "Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him;(Z) only, may the LORD establish his word." So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24And when she had weaned him,(AA) she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull,[c] an ephah[d] of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to(AB) the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young. 25Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26And she said, "Oh, my lord!(AC) As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. 27For this child I prayed,(AD) and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD."

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I never used to think there was much truth to the idea that pregnant women were forgetful, emotional, hormonal, and irritable.

Oh don't get me wrong, I was ALL of those with Lily by this point. But I was also diabetic, on bedrest, and my hands didn't work. So the reasons for irritability were compounded.

Well, I have been initiated into the last few weeks of a "normal" pregnancy, people. And it's not pretty.

Let's just say, if you see me coming and want to run the other way, I won't blame you.

Now, I am not complaining. On one hand, I am uncomfortable and crabby. But on the other, I am enjoying just feeling normal baby stuff. Back pain, contractions, kicks and jabs. Insomnia, heartburn, and the infamous "baby grunt". It's all new to me.

At this point with Lily, I had just started showing and she was already falling off the growth charts. Officially diagnosed with IUGR when I was 28 weeks, she went to 0% at 36 weeks. My little man here is at 35% for growth. It's a huge difference.

So I am feeling all of what typical gestating mommies feel. The huge ROLLS the baby does, the jabs to the lungs and ribs and bladder. The pressure on all internal organs. The uncomfortable positions he gets himself in. Lily spent all her time head down, resting her little head on my placenta. She was always curled up and quiet. Needless to say, my monkey is on the olther end of the spectrum.

Just in the past 2 weeks, however, there has been an addition to this little circus of pregnancy. Crankiness. Irritability that comes plowing out of nowhere, running over the innocent. I am riding the big boat of hormones and I am taking hostages.

It's funny how this, out of all the symptoms, has bothered me the most. I feel nutty and out of control. Everything rubs me the wrong way. Hell, I got pissed at our tree out front because it was losing it's leaves in a windstorm. Now who DOES that? Who gets mad at a tree for being a tree? Me. Gah.

Anyway, the other night when I was cleaning the garage at 3:00 am, I had a revelation. When I feel irritable, I can just take my anger out on my house, by cleaning. So I tried it. I vacuumed half a room before I was out of breath. It was a victory.


Yeah, there's a point here. Hold your horses.

I am officially going to play the "crazy pregnant lady" card from here until the birth. You can either laugh at me or get mad at me if I am crabby and irrational around you.

But remember, at this point, I am sure to be much much bigger than you. I may not be fast, but I am sneaky. And I won't hesitate to sit on you.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I was 12, living with a foster family in Vegas. My dad lived in the same city. I had in fact been sent to him to live with he and his wife, but when I arrived on the plane from Omaha, an old white pillowcase stuffed with dolls in my arms, he told me I was going to live with an aunt. An aunt I barely knew. In colorado.

I was broken and sad.

Then a family my mother and father used to know and we still visited with took me in. They had three daughters, a beautiful house, and I would have a stable existence.

I craved love. But more than anything, I craved acceptance. To be heard and known. To be understood. I got love. They loved me. But could anyone understand me then- no. I couldn't articulate what I needed. I clung and lashed out. I was in pain, but didn't know how to ask for help. I was angry I had been so brutally abandoned, by both parents, in the space of 24 hours.

I tried to fit in. I was an odd duck. I didn't understand how to live in a family that didn't hit. I was lost. I felt loved by them, but it was in an odd, distant sort of way. Like a pet, or a stray puppy. Outside the circle. But I tried to force my way in, tried to fit.

One of the daughters was getting married. I was asked to be a bridesmaid. I felt so excited and happy. Here, here was proof that this family loved me and would keep me forever. Proof I belonged. Proof I was saying and doing the right things.

The day came. I walked the aisle. I smiled.

Then came pictures. I posed with the wedding party, smiled. I gripped my flowers tight so I wouldn't drop them.

The family moved in for a photo. I stepped into frame. There was silence, and then the photographer asked me to step aside.

My heart fell. I turned to look at the family. None of them would meet my eyes. I stumbled down the altar steps, blinded by tears. I watched, my flowers hanging limply, as they smiled and posed. I slipped away silently to the bride's room.

It was quiet, makeup littering the tables. Open boxes stood in a line, waiting for boquets to be placed back inside. I looked at myself in the full length mirror and I felt, for the first time, my "otherness". I didn't belong to anyone. It was me, just me, in the world. My heart felt carved out. My throat burned with the need to cry.

The door opened, and a family friend slipped in. Her face was the picture of sympathy.

"They love you honey." was all she could say.

I nodded.

But I knew. Love is not enough. You can love anyone. It is the taking IN of somebody that creates a connection. It is the acceptance of everything they are, and everything they will be. It's an extra step. It's standing in the gap for that person, and devoting yourself to their well being. It's something I knew I needed, but never got...even though I tried.

Sometimes I wonder about that picture. A simple wedding photograph. Everyone looking their best, smiling. A happy family on a happy day. But if the frame was widened, what would you see?

A little girl, standing to the side. Her flowers down. Her face unguarded, looking at the family with her heart in her eyes. An alien in a strange land. Outside the circle. A turned corner in her being. A knowledge no child should be familiar with. Knowing it was just her, alone, in the world.

I'd like to tell you that I learned something from that day. I'm sure I did, but everytime I think of it, I can feel freshly the pain. I wonder that nobody else around me in that moment HEARD my heart breaking. I still dream about it often. It's one memory that I cannot seem to frame into a lesson for myself.

So maybe I am not supposed to. Maybe the only thing I can learn from it is gratitude that I have been blessed with a family and acceptance NOW, and can treasure it.

But I can't help but wonder, sometimes, about what would have happened had they simply pulled me into the picture and allowed me to belong to them, just for that moment.

I guess I will never know.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Dear OB's office,

Well, we made it 32 weeks without you pissing me off. Last time it was only 9 weeks, so I congratulate you.

I'm gonna fill you in on a few things, k?

You are offering a service to ME. I am paying YOU. I put money in your pockets. You are not doing me a favor by deigning to have me as a patient. I am respectful to you and your staff, but that's gonna change soon if your staff keeps acting like their head is lodged firmly where the sun don't shine.

When I call to reschedule an appointment, can you not act like a total jerk because you have to do your JOB???!!! Huh??? Can you just make it easy? Huh? A little compassion maybe, when I tell you I don't have childcare for my appt... it's not like I'm bailing to get my nails done or a bikini wax, for God's sake.

I don't like Dr.-----. I WILL NOT see him under any circumstances. Yes, I know he has an open appt every damn day when all the other docs are booked. There's a reason for this. He's creepy and inappropriate and I am surprised he hasn't been brought up on charges of malpractice. If he is on call the day I deliver, I will be taking a resident. That's how strongly I feel. When I tell you I won't see him for personal reasons, there is no need to be snippy. I am entitled to say NO, despite the fact that you are deigning to see me.

The waiting room. Is it too much to ask for a People magazine while I wait for you to get your crap together to see me an hour after my appt was scheduled? Instead, I am stuck with retirement monthly. It's an OB's office- spring for a Cosmo,eh?

Your nasty nurse in the lab. She sucks. She has no personality, and she can't take vitals for crap. She never smiles. She never makes small talk. She snaps her gum in my face. I can't stand her. Neither can anyone else, including the rest of your staff. Fire her, and you will have alot more happy preggo people.

I AM NOT A COW IN YOUR HERD. DON'T TREAT ME LIKE ONE. Don't shuffle me in and get rid of me as soon as possible. Your male OB's, for the most part, suck. Your female OB's rock. That's why you can never get an appt with them. None of the males truly LISTEN. And if you don't listen, especially in your field, you could miss something very crucial.

So why do I stay, you ask? Simply put, you are supposed to be the best OB office in town, and my fave doc in the whole world works for you. She delivered my daughter with such care, concern, and professionalism that I had to stay for the second baby. But frankly, I feel like cattle each time I come to your office. I don't care so much for myself, but for the small being I am carrying, could you please treat me with some dignity and listen to me for once?

Fat chance, huh? Well, I had to try.