Ninja Kick

Funny Pregnancy Pics

Life is so unpredictable.

I’m the type of person that likes everything laid out. I like understanding all the possibilities so I can plan accordingly. Living in a constant state of unknowns is not easy for me. This has been the reality of my existence for the past few months.

My appointment this morning went better than expected, especially after the terrifying dog attack yesterday, my unexpected fetal monitoring in the hospital last week, and all the unknowns I’ve been dealing with. I was still with a lot of what ifs but even more relief.

Before we began the ultrasound I told my doctor that I was suspecting that she was now breech. She paused and said “I pretty much expect every possible worst case scenario to pop up with this pregnancy so I bet you are right! This one is going to be your troublemaker… she’s already keeping us on our toes…” she grinned at me and I told her if I was a betting woman I could have made some money on this. As soon as she touched the ultrasound probe toward my cervix we both saw feet and laughed. We seriously laughed a lot. I probably shouldn’t have laughed because it’s very serious stuff if she doesn’t turn. She was shaking her head and thanked me for having such a great sense of humor.

What else can I do? Honestly, the breech at 31 weeks is the least of my concern with everything else.

The biggest concern of vasa previa that was going to cause a mandatory early c-section between 34 – 36 weeks has been ruled out. It’s. Been. Ruled. OUT. The membranes that were exposed are not visible anymore. The blood flow in the umbilical cord is healthy. My placenta moving up which also caused no more membranes and/or umbilical cord to block my cervix. Oh and the placenta itself isn’t blocking my cervix either! I’m honestly not used to the small statistic of BEST case scenario working in my favor… it’s usually the opposite. I will freaking take this change, gladly!

At around twenty three weeks we thought I was going to deliver a micro preemie because of vasa previa and placenta previa. I was bleeding, contracting and showing all the signs. I was stuck on bed rest and dealing with all the scary possibilities. My cervix was completely covered with the placenta and umbilical cord and membranes. We looked at the scans and the progression was amazing to see… like the evolution of my pregnancy. It was truly the best possible scenario.

My doctor said “Normally, these two things being resolved naturally would mean life can go back to normal… but…”

Always a but…

I also have had a placental abruption (we don’t know how bad of one it is) and with my daughter being breeched, after my “she-hulk” moment, I have to continue to stay on modified bed rest. DOH.

However, the risk of a stillbirth have dropped significantly. The risk of my health has also dropped… though, with an abruption there is still a lot of concern but the vasa previa had a much higher mortality rate. It’s trading the lesser of two evils but I’m relieved.

What we do know right now is that she is very healthy. I’m losing weight but she is gaining again. She is measuring at approximately 4lbs and “seems very long”. She is a little bit bigger than expected at this point and that is a good thing compared to the last scan when she was showing to be very small.

It is also possible I may not have to get a c-section. It is also possible I may carry to full term without risks. Neither of these things were a possibility just a couple weeks ago. A couple weeks ago I was having to prepare with the possibility of having a premature daughter and hospital bed rest. Now, these things are not ruled out completely just yet but they aren’t mandatory. 

This has been the hardest few months of my life. Right now I’m so relieved I want to dance around like a happy drunken monkey. I can’t. But, I want to. 

For months I’ve been telling myself, “I’ve got this…” but now I’m really feeling it… and I have many amazing supportive people to thank through all of this.

I’m due on June 11th and have two months left. I’m hoping the final stretch of this pregnancy is smooth sailing. I was in a lot of pain today and still not feeling like my usual self, but I slept most of the day and woke up feeling like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

It’s a damn good change of pace. I’m thankful for it.

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I’m an animal lover, but I am also very cautious of them. I’ve always taught my kids what to do if a dog attacks them or how to behave around dogs. It is a constant lesson that I try to reiterate to them. When we are hiking and camping they are all quizzed about the predatory animals in the area and how to avoid problems. As much as you prepare for a worst case scenario you don’t ever really expect it to happen with your kids… at least I didn’t.

Yesterday the kids had their normal routine of playing out front with friends and neighborhood kids. I got a recliner chair for the porch so I can sit outside with them while on bed rest. My friend and I were talking when my neighbor drove by and I saw he had a new dog. I noticed the dog right away because it started to bark at the kids and even tried to get out of the van by jumping out of the window. It kept its eyes on the kids, barking the whole time and my instincts told me this was going to be bad.

Everything happened fast…

I stood up and kept my eye on the van. As soon as my neighbor opened the door the dog bolted for the kids. I was running towards the kids at the same time and yelling at the top of my lungs before anyone really knew what was going on. The dog’s fur was standing up, it started biting at the kids who were trying to run away and it knocked my son off of his wiggle bike. I was only a couple steps away when he started to bite my son’s back. The dog backed away as soon as I got close but it was biting at me, barking and I was expecting it to attack me. I made noise. I grabbed my terrified six year old son in one arm to hold him up as high as I could and had his wiggle bike in the other hand. My daughter said it looked like I was going to start hitting the dog with the bike. The dog backed off when my neighbor finally got close but the dog never stopped his aggressive stance. My son was crying and I was still screaming at my neighbor. I don’t even know what was said but all I knew was that I was truly terrified and it was a feeling almost unknown to me.

It was all honestly a blur.

Thankfully my son’s injuries weren’t bad. He has scratches, bruising and a few puncture marks where you can see the dog bit him. I was grateful that I go there in time. I was relieved the dog didn’t go after the 17 month old toddler who was outside. I was happy no real harm had come to any of the kids. I cannot imagine how bad it could have been had I not reacted so quickly.

Instincts and adrenaline are a funny thing… I reacted before I even really knew what I was reacting to. My body has been in a lot of pain with this pregnancy and I usually can’t even get up off of the couch without wincing. I felt nothing during all of this.

When the adrenaline subsided and I stopped shaking that’s when my body started to let me know how bad of shape I felt I was in. My son was okay but I became aware of what this could have done to my unborn daughter because of all my complications. I thought I felt terror when I saw a dog going after my son… this was a different level of fear.

The more time that went on the more pain I felt. I had a check up in the morning and we had planned on doing an ultrasound. If any of the big scary signs came up I knew I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I did fetal kick counts. I changed positions every time I started to have contractions. I tried to hide it from the kids how bad I felt and I waited for any signs of distress. Besides all of the pain everything seemed to be mostly okay. My abdomen felt completely different. She had been transverse for a couple weeks and after the incident she was sitting really low. It was painful. I felt like I was being stabbed from the inside of my lower girly parts. I spent the night tossing and turning and worried that I was going to go into early labor or that the membranes from the vasa previa would rupture or that the placenta abruption was going to become worse. Every worst case scenario was running through my head.

When I’m in a moment of real vulnerability I usually withdraw. I usually just kind of hide out and wait for the smoke to clear. I was really shaken up and put it out there what happened. I’m thankful for all the friends and family who were thinking about us, giving support and offered help.

It helped. A lot.

I read a lot of the comments from my Facebook and texts to my son and it comforted him. I often have a lot of apprehension about sharing difficult things with my rad people online because it’s not attention driven. I was well into my pregnancy complications diagnosis and bed rest before I shared it with anyone outside of a small group of friends and family. What I share I usually try to have some kind of meaning – humor, inspiration, awareness or uh mostly humor. One thing that I have learned with my pregnancy complications that the great world of the interwebs is more than we often give it credit for… it is a place of amazing support and awesomeness. And to be totally cheesy – love. Sure, there is a lot of hate bashing and parent shaming that goes around but I try to tune out all that noise and focus on the things that don’t suck.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that you all rock and I’m thankful for it.

Though, I would really like a totally uneventful, uninteresting and BORING life until my baby ninja arrives! 

My son snuggled with me all night, he woke up a few times crying about dogs and I took comfort in knowing he was okay until my appointment in the morning…

Thankfully, everything with my baby and pregnancy was okay. (Continued on another post)

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Making the Most Out of Bed Rest

by Leila on March 20, 2014

Bonding Moments on Bed Rest

He insists on snuggling with his baby sister daily.

One of the biggest hurdles during bed rest has been not being able to bond with my family the way I am used to. It’s really hard at times, but we try our best to get through it.

I’m the type of Mom that would love to drop everything and go camping for the weekend.

I’m the Mom that will say, “Let’s go to an amusement park for dinner!”…

I’m the Mom that will gladly invite all of the kid’s friends over and have play dates, pool parties or let them run amok like wee little lunatics.

I’m temporarily the Mom on bed rest that can’t do any of the things that I am used to and I am thankful that our family has mostly adjusted well. 

The priority, of course, is keeping my daughter cooking as long as possible, but I need to also consider my other kids. I’ve learned to accept that things are different right now and look forward to when we can go back to our usual crazy life after she is born. I’ve researched and planned about three dozen camping trips already!

We bought a double recliner last week so I could be comfortable while having snuggle time with the kids or to be able to sit with them and help them with homework. It’s been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made and it’s helped bed rest significantly.

Bonding on Bed Rest

We read together more. We make origami. We draw, paint and make crafts. My six year old loves making journal books that we put together. We find ways to bond while taking life one day at a time in a more mellow setting. We talk about the summer often, I think it helps everyone look ahead.

I get drawings like these that make my heart melt – Does anyone else notice how terrified my son looks in his own drawing?

Bonding on Bed Rest

When I am on my feet and trying to take a prego belly selfie I get photobombed by my daughter… because she can’t help her hilarious self.

Prego belly selfie photobombed

For now, I’ve realized I’m the Mom that finds different ways to bond with my kids while not physically doing much on bed rest. That rocks just as much as us going on an adventure. Life, as always, is what you make of it… and I refuse to allow it to suck just because I can’t go out and do what I want with my family.

Live, laugh and ninja kick – and invest into a super comfy chair if you are able to while on bed rest.

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A Huge Pregnancy Bed Rest Milestone…

by Leila on March 19, 2014

Pregnancy Bed Rest Milestones

This pic was taken a few days ago after a really tough day.

My son always knows how to make things better.

We made it to the third freaking trimester!!!!

In early January I casually announced my pregnancy with an illustration of a big family with a baby ninja. In late January I found out I was having a girl and I was told to take it very easy until I had my follow up with my doctor. I was put on modified bed rest days later.

I started out with “just take it easy” modified bed rest to “don’t do much of anything” bed rest. I may end up on hospital bed rest if my symptoms don’t improve and each day my body is reminding me to do less and less. It’s frustrating but I am staying positive, keeping busy and taking it one day at a time.

When I started down this bed rest and pregnancy complications road I was 20 weeks. The statistics were scary at that time… if my daughter had been born at that point she would have had a less than 40% survival. I was losing blood, contracting and had all sorts of bad things going on. Bed rest has helped tame my angry uterus to keep my lil baby ninja cooking.

The first big goal was to make it to the third trimester. That seemed like a lifetime away and at times seemed impossible.

Today I said goodbye to my second trimester and welcomed the third. We are in the home stretch now. We are at a point where my daughter’s chances of survival are greater if she had to arrive today.

If I could dance right now I would be doing a super happy monkey dance while singing “Just keep cooking”.

I have no idea where the last 8 weeks have gone and I hope the next 8 fly by as smoothly. I’m so grateful to be where we are right now and surrounded by amazing and supportive people. Our world is full of awesomeness.

We got this, my baby girl… just keep cooking and Mommy and Daddy will see you soon. Don’t rush it, keep incubating and stop trying to play the congos on my cervix, please.

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Waiting for his sister

Except.

That word isn’t something you want to hear when you are at a prenatal checkup. It paralyzes you as it continues to echo in your ears.

Except… except… except…

There is no amount of delicate bedside manner that can make a blow like that any less painful.

It’s just one word. One freaking word that halts you.

Except would be an amazing word if it was followed up with something like…

Except, she’s wearing a ninja mask.

Except, you are further along than expected, she’s going to be delivered today healthy and painlessly. Yay, no more pregnancy!

Except, we found a million dollars while we were examining you. Here is your cash – cleaned up and sterilized of course.

Oh that last one painted a weird visual. Sorry, everyone.

In the fraction of a second all of this ran through my head as soon as my doctor said “Except…”

Yes, even the bit about the million dollars. My mind has strange coping mechanisms for stress.

I have placenta previa – which means the placenta is too close to my cervix and that makes natural delivery complicated – this is pretty common and not a big concern.

But… there is always a freaking but… in addition to that I also have vasa previa – which means there are vessels that aren’t in the right place, and are exposed, which means there is a possibility of them rupturing which puts my baby at risk. If there is a rupture I could lose her within minutes. That right there makes every other insignificant complaint I could have possibly had irrelevant.

Thankfully, this was all caught early and doesn’t pose a developmental concern. She can keep cooking until it’s time for a c-section (which I haven’t had one before) and be out of harms way so long as there isn’t a rupture. Vasa previa is very rare, hard to diagnose and not preventable. I feel like those three things are a common theme in my life when it comes to health hurdles my 11 year old daughter. When it is caught early that increases her chances of survival which is all I can focus on right now. As always, I have to make the most out of the cards I was dealt while trying not to freak out.

I’m on modified bed rest until, what feels like, the end of time and space. This isn’t easy for someone like me who is constantly going. I have to reduce my stress, which resulted in some massive purging of negative people and situations in my life that I refuse to waste energy on. I have had to become comfortable asking friends and family for help. I have to fight everything that is naturally me by slamming down my brakes and doing what is best for my daughter who needs to “Just keep cooking”. I’m at a point where the stress doesn’t consume me because I’ve had to force myself to get there. It’s not easy since I usually reduce my stress by finding solutions and the only solution is that I sit, wait and hope for the best.

I’ve made a long list of projects I’ve procrastinated on so I can keep busy. I cannot sit around and watch TV or play games all day because that weighs me down. I have to feel productive at the end of the day even if I can’t physically do everything I am used to doing. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, living in fear of losing my daughter, or complaining about this situation I am going to spend the next few months accomplishing all I can while sitting on my butt.

I almost didn’t share this news. It’s taken me weeks to decide to go “public” with it. It feels different when I share hurdles that I help my loved ones overcome compared to something that is about me. I get very uncomfortable when I’m not 100% and this isn’t the sort of attention I like. I also don’t like to cause anyone stress. Above all, I absolutely hate feeling vulnerable.

I would rather avoid the subject and then months later casually mention, “Oh and by the way, I was on bed rest for 4 months and couldn’t really hang out… sooo, whatcha wanna eat?!”

The friends I’ve known for a long time can probably go on for hours about all those “Oh and by the way” moments I have thrown at them after the fact. Sorry, guys! (Insert evil laughter here)

The reason I changed my mind is because I’ve realized there are a lot of parents who are, or have been, in the same boat as I am. Those parents who have had to play the waiting game and hope that their babies keep cooking as long as possible are more common than I ever realized.

We all want to have healthy and thriving babies, and we try not to think about those worst case scenarios. But, what I have learned in this past month is that there is so much strength in embracing these challenges and taking comfort in the miraculous success stories. I’m choosing to share what I’m going through so I can not only explain why I may pick up obsessive habits like making hats, but, to also connect with others who are finding themselves in a similar situation. Maybe my experience will provide some comfort or raise awareness no matter what the outcome.

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my “Nothing can hold me back” attitude and I plan to do just that with this situation as well. I’ve had several friends express how inspiring I am when life throws obstacles in my way. Truthfully, I don’t see myself as inspiring… I just try to get through every crazy situation with the least amount of damage while focusing on the kickassery times that are just beyond the struggle.

It is going to be a long road. I am hoping for the best while making the most out of each day while my daughter continues to cook in there and uses my ribs and abdomen as punching bags.

Live, laugh and ninja kick to happiness. Always.

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Birthday Parties in the Classroom

When a food allergy debate pops up on the interwebs I start getting flooded with links and my awesome people asking me how I feel about it or asking if I will chime in. The scenario is usually the same – Someone out there is annoyed that his or her child cannot bring what they want to school because of someone’s food allergies. This week Carina Hoskisson on Huffington Post is asking why my child’s allergies mean she cannot bring her homemade death cupcakes to school for her beloved child’s birthday.

Update: The same article was also posted to “Today’s Mama”. 

Well, she isn’t asking about my daughter specifically, but very well could have so I decided to answer directly. Carina, let me clear up some obvious misconceptions you have about this topic and maybe give you some insight so you, along with your friends, can stop whining about this potentially fatal topic.

“All over the country parents are being asked to accommodate the specialized needs of other people’s children thanks to the skyrocketing number of food allergies and food intolerances. (They both have similar symptoms, but intolerances are generally considered less serious and not life-threatening.) “

Correction – Parents are being asked to accommodate the specialized needs of children who have a disability and need to have a safe, secure and functional school setting so they can attend for the purpose of school. That purpose of school is to learn, not to eat cupcakes or celebrate your child’s birthday party. It doesn’t matter if there was one student or twenty in the classroom – their disability and legal rights trumps your preferences for birthday parties. Period.

You can throw a pity party with cupcakes over that fact if you want.

Additionally, reactions to food allergies and a food intolerance are very different. One should not be taken more or less seriously than another. Intolerances should not be considered less serious because you are assuming there isn’t an autoimmune disease that is triggered by said intolerance. Ultimately, it is irrelevant if it’s an anaphylactic reaction or an intolerance because both are an unfortunate disability for that child. Don’t make light of either of them because you simply don’t understand the difference. We live in the age where information is at our fingertips any time we want – use it.

“To a certain extent, I get it. “

No you obviously don’t…. But, nice try.

“I would never endanger the life of a child over a peanut butter cookie; that would be ridiculous.”

Then you are obviously ridiculous because you contradict this attempt at making yourself not seem like a selfish person who cares more about the type of cupcake you want for your kid rather than the well being of a child. Or did you mean you would only accommodate over a peanut butter cookie and not any other fatal allergens?

“My children’s school requires that we only provide store-bought treats because some children have allergies or dietary restrictions.”

You are misinformed and assuming on this one. Most school districts along with PTA policies state that any food brought to the classroom for celebration or part of an event has to be store bought and pass safety regulations. This has to do with liability. Same goes for school events when they have to research vendors who are serving food. Your lovely, homemade, buttery, gluten-stuffed cake may give the kids food poisoning. No one wants their children being fed listeria, e coli or salmonella no matter how delicious you claim them to be.

“I don’t always get to eat what people are serving, but I certainly don’t demand that my friend make me a separate cake for me on her birthday.”

Your egg white allergies and sainthood for not demanding that your friends make a separate cake have nothing to do with what is appropriate inside a classroom. It’s honestly a little pathetic that you would even try to compare the two just to make you seem like you “get” it.

“Some schools have even gone the route of banning all classroom birthdays and celebrations, which is ridiculous.”

Actually, a lot of school districts banned classroom parties because they take up valuable classroom instructions. All schools should ban classroom birthday parties from school NOT because of food allergies but because children are in school to learn not to eat your damn cupcakes for your child. Why is the classroom YOUR platform to have the party you deem worthy of your kid? Why do you feel entitled to take away an hour of instruction from twenty to thirty other kids because you want them make your kid feel special? You think it’s selfish for your child not to eat cupcakes or whatever crap you want to bring, but a lot of people don’t even want their kids eating junk food or taking away classroom time for your kid.

The classroom is not for your celebrations no matter what the occasion. Have a party at the park after school. Prepare whatever the crap kind of cake you want in your home and have thirty kids get hopped up on sugar on your own time and dime. It’s not the school’s responsibility to host your child’s party, but it is the school’s responsibility to keep their students safe.

“However, my kid shouldn’t have to forgo his birthday cake because yours can’t eat it.”

“The fear of one shouldn’t outweigh the rest.”

“Let’s stop the allergy insanity, and let the rest of them eat cake…”

This is where I lose my temper on people who have little common sense or compassion for others.

No one is telling you to forgo your son’s birthday cake because another child can’t eat it. You are being asked not to do it in the classroom that would harm another child.

I will be very blunt about this – Your child’s birthday cake does not mean more than my daughter’s life. If you truly think that your death cupcakes are more important than a child’s life, then I am so thankful not to know you. It makes me sick that parents would try to fight to put my daughter’s life in danger over a birthday party at school.

Your child’s birthday party in the classroom could easily take away the rest of my daughter’s birthdays. Could you live with that? Or would you just justify a tragedy like that with “Well, it’s the girl’s fault for even being in my kid’s classroom.”

Your view on how your child’s birthday should be celebrated in a classroom is completely selfish, uninformed and you should be embarrassed for sitting down at your keyboard and whining about it. You should seriously stop whining about how hard the world is for your child’s birthday party to be inconvenienced because of food allergies and maybe be a little thankful that this is the least of your worries in your, obviously, perfect world.

The road of food allergies for my daughter has been filled with people like you and I have gone out of my way to do everything in my power to work with other parents, make sure she is safe and even throw down her legal rights over their entitled preconceived notions. Ultimately, we always win and situations like this help me weed out the people who are not worth our energy. I am constantly thankful for the caring, open minded, selfless and compassionate people in my life that don’t even flinch at any accommodations they CHOOSE to make for my daughter’s safety.

They love her that much not to be such a jerk over what she cannot control and that could end her life.

I do not know you at all. I am trying so very hard not to judge you. I’m simply going off of what you have put out there in your article which, to me, just screams “Yet another uninformed, entitled parent, who doesn’t want to think outside the box and they want to bitch and moan over the world not being the way they want it to be”. I do hope that you can see outside your misinformation and assumptions and maybe grow a little more from this.

However, if you still think that your child’s cupcakes inside the classroom are more important than my daughter’s life then I will gladly show you multiple things that you can shove somewhere uncomfortably. 

I’m not going to apologize for my tone, harsh words or visuals. They also make me laugh despite how angry I am.

For everyone who gave me a heads up about this article – Thank you. For all of you who I know through my blog, or “real life” who have been cheering my daughter on or appreciating how much I advocate for kids who deal with people like this or those who are in the same boat as us – this is all for you.

For my not so baby girl who now reads my blog regularly and helps encourage me to keep fighting the good fight for her – I love you and your health hurdles have never been and never will be anything negative in our world. They are simply you and nothing more. Don’t let people like this hold you back or get you down. You are an amazing self advocate who is compassionate, caring and a better person for the struggles you have had to face in a world surrounded by people like this. I’m proud of you. Focus on the rad people out there who have your back. Oh and please… clean your room! 

Thanks for stopping by my ninjas. Let’s all keep living, laughing and ninja kicking to happiness and a, hopefully, more compassionate place.

Update 2/23/14: I decided to finish an article about how I manage food allergies and classroom parties for my children. If you are looking for some insight on how we make it a success and overcome hurdles hopefully you will find it of use. Thank you all for the amazing response to this. 

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Ninja Family And a Baby

When you have a big blended family of four kids, ages 6 – 14, it may seem crazy to add one more.

But, who cares?! hehe

In June we will be bringing another little ninja into the world and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been wanting to announce it for awhile but couldn’t think of how I wanted to go about it. I do plan on doing another trashy preggo photo session but I’m not quite rockin the pregger belly, yet, to make it entertaining enough.

If you missed these pictures from before here is my favorite:

Funny Face Friday : Pregnancy Pictures

I started writing this weeks ago and got caught up on the visual part of it. Do I want to take some picture with a bunch of shoes? What about wookiee slippers? Ninja masks? Oooo Ninjas! I thought about how I wish I was able to use illustrator so I could make a family of ninjas.

Then I realized that I love learning new things, the internet is a free resource of information and I spent hours, while sick with a cold, learning how to make ninjas in illustrator.

I officially had no more excuses to procrastinate on the announcement! I’m terrible at making announcements like this. It’s a somewhat obvious quirk of mine. Plus, look at those cute ninjas!

Look, I just got around to officially announcing my engagement that happened well over a year ago so I know I kinda suck at this whole announcement thing. I probably would have waited even longer had it not been for the ninjas.

I also broke the news to my Dad about the baby in an e-mail because that seemed like an okay thing to do, if you are me. Yes, in an email. In my defense I hadn’t seen him much lately because he’s been crazy busy and I had my head in a toilet for months. Apparently, this is not a normal way to break the news but it was better than a text, right?! I know… I’m not right. Sorry, Dad!

Now… before I get a bombarded with texts, emails and calls with “How could you not tell me!?” let me explain…

Honestly, this pregnancy hasn’t been easy and I don’t like to make anyone worry. I waited to say anything because there was genuine concern that something may happen, or, may not happen depending on how you look at it. I felt like the first couple months or so were a blur living each day trying not to get horribly sick and trying to think positively. I’ve lost a lot of weight. I haven’t felt right physically and emotionally. I’ve been more hormonal than I am used to (I am usually below zero on the hormonal meter) and I’ve just been kind of processing, dealing and trying to stop vomiting every time I think of food.

Do you know how difficult it is to be online when the mere sight of food makes you barfy and everyone is constantly sharing pictures of food? Pinterest and I had to break up for awhile but, we are better now.

Anyway…

I was terrified. Genuinely, terrified that something may happen. I don’t like to be a downer and this pregnancy has been a difficult road.

This made me feel a level of vulnerability that I just wasn’t dealing well with. I go into shutdown mode. On top of all that there were a lot of people trying to bring unnecessary negative mojo and drama into our lives that I just didn’t want to deal with. So, I also went into apathetic towards stupid people mode. I had to back out of some commitments and took a break from blogging. We also had a lot going on personally that made it feel like there was an avalanche of wtf-ery falling on top of me.

Mostly, I just puked a whole lot.

The news started to trickle to friends and family. And by trickle I mean I took every opportunity to spring it on unsuspecting friends and family. Everyone has been so supportive. A few of my friends literally almost fell over in shock. I have blindsided others with blurting out “I’m pregnant!” … “What?! Who… you?!” “No, I’m just kidding… wait, no I’m not!”

I also learned that if I go to a Girls Night Out and don’t order wine right away that some of my friends immediately pick up on the fact that I’m growing a sea monkey.

I have the raddest people in my life and I am so sorry they have to put up with me.

Going into my second trimester was a sigh of relief… and some panic because I must plan all things. All the time. Always. As well as have backup plans to my plans and know every variable of possibilities. I spent months getting through my puke-a-palooza and now I feel like I am running out of time to get things sorted. Then again, I kind of always feel like that.

Looking at our situation it can seem a little crazy. Between us we have four kids. Two that are biologically mine, two that are my step-kids, three live with us full-time and all we consider our own no matter the biological connection or not. It’s just our family and how we roll. And now just one more. JUST ONE MORE. After this… one way or another… my sweetie, will be getting fixed.

You heard me.

Lucky him!

This year was the first time in years that I can remember not waking up insanely early on January 2nd to purchase camping spots for the summer. I couldn’t even talk about how I wasn’t planning camping trips and I avoided all the “where are you camping this year” questions during the holidays because we hadn’t made the big announcement yet. This is how much I don’t make sense… my pregnancy is messing with my usual camping routine and I could spend hours rambling about just that.

Yes, I do plan on camping with an infant. It’s actually easier than you may expect because they are super portable at that age. That is a post for another day.

Anyway, I wanted to share our great news and ask that you all please keep happy and healthy baby thoughts coming my way. I’m hoping for a girl (though some days I wonder if I am insane for that) but either way I will be happy. I just want another happy, healthy and fun little ninja to fill our lives with insanity and awesomeness.

Thank you all for being a part of the awesomeness, too.

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I expected middle school to be a complete nightmare for my daughter. Not JUST because middle school aged kids are hormonal and my memories of those times were… well… insane. But, because her situation with her health is a little different.

The past two weeks have been hard on her physically. She had a bad allergic reaction, her gastrointestinal issues flared up, eczema and hives covered her entire body and she just felt terrible. This leading up to school starting has been nerve wracking.

When you have the usual frustrations and concerns over your kid entering middle school and then add life threatening food allergies, autoimmune issues and gastrointestinal problems it’s a recipe for freaking-the-crapsticks-out! She was affectionately referred to as a “bubble kid” when she was a baby. Back then things were bad and our road was really rocky. It was difficult to say the least. Back then it seemed unlikely that she would be able to be in public school… and it didn’t seem at all possible for her to attend middle school.

Here we are, 11 years later and still fighting the food fight with a positive no bullshit kind of attitude. Well, she’s the positive force and I’m the no-bullshit bulldozer. It works. I’m constantly amazed by the challenges we overcome and the young lady my daughter is becoming. I look back at everything we have been through and I am just beyond thankful for where we are today.

I never thought I would feel like “Today is a freaking amazing day” on the night before she starts middle school.

I was expecting a ton of hurdles and frustrations managing her health needs, new admin staff and lots of teachers. I thought I was going to have to go in with guns blazing and flipping my shit to get what she needed.

Instead? I’ve been texting, emailing, meeting, calling and laughing/joking with those who oversee her. Everything we needed we got and THEN some and without question or complaint. They have had some amazing success stories with kids who have even more complicated IEPs and they get it. I was thanked for being so informed, logical and having a solid IEP. This response felt amazing. I am thankful for all her doctors, previous teachers and school staff that were there along the way.

Oh sure, we learned a LOT from those that were naysayers and general pains in my ass along the way as well. People who push me only supercharge my instinct to fight back harder and we had to fight a lot.

She starts her middle school adventure tomorrow with a safety net that we both needed. She is able to start school knowing that she has a plan in place with informed and friendly staff that is looking out for her.

This is huge. This is not what I expected. Every step of the way I became more and more relieved. I kept waiting for that one thing… that big hurdle… that something that would deflate this amazing feeling of woohooness.

It never came. That hasn’t happened before and I’m appreciating it right now.

This is only the start and I know we will face more hurdles along the way. But, for right now I am thankful that she will be able to start the day just as any other typical kid. She can start this adventure knowing that everything is taken care of so she is in a positive and safe environment. She can focus on worrying about meeting new people, getting lost and who she will know.

Guess what she worried about tonight? Her NAILS! She wanted me to paint them. She wasn’t stressing about anything other than her nails. That, right there, may seem silly but for me it was exactly as it should be.

I can spend the morning with less stress knowing that all will be well.

Because we make sure it always will be well and this time it was just that much easier.

Maybe I will learn from her and do something about my nails in the morning and be thankful that is all I should worry about.

Thank you all for being supportive to her and joining us on this journey. It may sound cheesy but I truly believe you have to ninja kick those obstacles out of the way to happiness.

She is my proof.

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When you have an infant there is nothing more frightening than them being really sick.

It consumes you.

All you want is for them to feel better again.

When their illness goes on for longer than it should you are overwhelmed with worry, guilt and a hint of terror.

How bad can it get? When will my baby recover? What if they don’t?

Don’t ever Google that shit, by the way. Nothing good ever comes from Google when your kid is sick.

Panic sets in at some point between the sniffles and unexplainable symptoms. Your adrenaline kicks in, you feel knots in your stomach form and there are moments of helplessness.

Sometimes all you can do is cry, alone, in the bathroom before facing it all again.

Doctors often say things to make it worse. They mentions possibilities and worst case scenarios. Of course, you focus on those worst case scenarios until the results come back.

Usually, you are sent home with a prescription, some hope and eventually get answers.

You eventually see your baby start to get relief. You see your baby heal. You wake up one day and forget that sinking feeling of despair when you were playing out the worst case scenarios.

The worry fades.

The panic has washed away.

Life goes back to normal.

Life is typical again.

When your chronically ill baby doesn’t have a typical life that worry never fades.

When your baby has life threatening health issues the panic never washes away.

When your definition of normal is living in a constant state of concern and consistent frustration from people who either don’t get it or don’t give a shit you really live for the good moments.

You live for the small bumps in the road in between the devastating ones.

You long for the days where it’s just a cold instead of something worse.

You hold your baby a little tighter, a little longer and a little stronger when you live each day knowing the reality of the pain and finality of the precious life ahead.

I’ve been holding on to mine through the 11 years of her difficult life and all those emotions have never faded, subsided or washed away completely. Our relief is temporary like a small sigh before you have the wind knocked out of you.

People tend to complain a lot online and, naturally, it irks me. There are days where my feeds are full of whinese more than anything positive.

When I hear people complain about their kids having a cold or any of the normal injuries and illnesses in childhood I truly wish they realized how lucky they are. I’m thankful, for them, that their frustrations and concerns are temporary. Sure, I’m even a bit envious.

In some cases where someone is always complaining about their minor illnesses or injuries like it’s the end of the world to get attention I just want to samurai slap them. I’m not a saint, obviously.

The cards we were dealt with supercharge us to make the most out of life. It has shaped me as a mother and molded the young lady my daughter has become. I know this and love our lives as well as where we are now despite the hurdles we ninja kick out of the way.

That doesn’t stop me from knowing I would trade or give anything to have a temporary feeling of worry, panic and annoyance with my child’s illnesses.

So would she.

Random Tidbits: I started writing this months ago when my daughter made an interesting observation about whining about illnesses. She rarely complains when she gets sick. She doesn’t do it for attention and she just wants to hide and get through it. She doesn’t like pity. She told me one day, “How come people who aren’t really that sick complain like they are as sick as I get but I never act like that?” Her and I talked about it in length and she concluded that they must just be very lucky to be able to complain so greatly over such minor things. She is rad like that. 

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Earlier in February I urged everyone I knew to create some smiles for others for Valentine’s Day. This is something we have done as a family for years even before getting involved with Girl Scouts. We get friends and family involved in making cards or being a part of our service projects and this year we put the word out to my online network as well as to a couple local schools.

We have a small Troop right now of six girls and these kids were able to deliver over 300 handmade cards to the Veterans Hospital. That was empowering for them. When we sorted through the cards and made our final count they were in awe of the response.

It made them feel like they can do anything if they work at it and that is a feeling I hope that sticks with them.

Additionally, we had dozens of online friends who reached out to their local community to take action and make a difference in someone’s life. This was an opportunity to talk about how we can make a difference in other people’s lives who aren’t in our own community. The power of influence can spread very far if you try hard enough.

The Valentine’s cards and candies they got from their classmates was exciting for the day but it’s the cards for a cause that made the loving memories.

For those of you who took the time to pass the word along and those of you who participated we thank you all. If you missed this idea… we look forward to next year!

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