Friday, May 30, 2008

beautiful.

Sitting in the sun in the backyard with Brett and Elanor, blogging from my new laptop (yay!), Elanor lying on her little mat in the grass, cooing and singing to herself and wiggling around, ice cream in my belly, my mom cleaning my bedroom, a friend bringing dinner...what a blessed life.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

processing

The past week has been something of a roller coaster. After happily coming home last Sunday, (I was SO READY to leave Harborview, but that's another post entirely), I wound up back in the hospital, only at UW this time, from Monday to Wednesday because of a blood clot in my arm.

The clot is taken care of, and I am home once again. Let me first say that I am very glad to be here -- both here on the earth and here in my own home. Hospitals get really, really old after a while.

That said, everything about life is an adjustment right now, and lots of adjustments at once are not very easy. I hope this post doesn't come across as being too whiny. I really am grateful to be alive and to be home and to have the support that we have, don't get me wrong.

Anyway, the biggest adjustment from all of this is that because my incision needs to heal, I cannot pick up Elanor until at least mid-June, which means that I basically can't care for her until then. Sure, I can change her diaper if she's already on the changing table, and I'm feeding her when she's brought to me, but I can't pick her up when she cries or hold her when she wiggles. It's really, really hard.

We're also not co-sleeping anymore, which I have loved up until now, because I can't get her flipped over to nurse on the other side and we are afraid of her kicking/bumping my incision. Plus I have been taking pain medications, which are not ok to take when co-sleeping. On top of that, she'll sleep through the night if she's with someone else, and it's just been easier for our family to have her sleep at night. I think she knows when her food supply is right nearby and that keeps her wakeful, so not having me right there helps her sleep.

There are lots of people here helping, which is really nice, and I am so grateful we have so many friends and so much family nearby. But it's also hard...I am an independent person who likes to have my own space, so having lots of people here, doing things in ways that aren't bad, just not how I would do them, is challenging for me.

I'm just feeling a little...weird, I guess, about everything. I haven't processed what happened (the fact that I almost died -- oh, my; it freaks me out to think about that. It sunk in a little today when my friend Marci told me that she was just distraught for the four hours the other morning when she didn't know if I was alive or dead), and although I am home and so happy to be here, I feel very out of place and not sure at all what my role is. Sure, I know, my role is to get better, but being the person I am, there's only so much lying around on the couch I can take. I don't even have anything to read, for Pete's sake.

Compounding this is the fact that my memory, my wonderful, accurate, tack-sharp memory, is completely fuzzy. I don't remember what happened, I usually can't remember what day it is, I can't remember which family members were here when. It's very difficult for me. I usually remember everything -- and I mean everything -- with razor-sharp precision. Like what Brett wore on a date to dinner at the Taco House to meet his aunt in June 1999, and the fact that we talked about her recent trip to Dallas and how Brett wanted to go there to see Dealy Plaza and go to the JFK museum someday. You know? That kind of accurate. And now I can't remember the day of the week or the pin number for my ATM card. It's really disconcerting and honestly pretty frightening for me.

Enh, ok, enough whining. I'm really doing ok; I think today has just been a little strange. A lot of days are probably going to be strange for a while. I feel moderately ok physically, so it's the first day I haven't really done much lounging around, and I'm just not sure how to mesh wanting to be up and about with needing to recuperate.

Anyway, that's the update. Health-wise, I'm doing wonderfully; mentally, it's all starting to sink in...but I'll deal with it in time. It's all just a process, I guess.

**Edited to add: Thank you all so much for your comments, emails, thoughts and prayers. It means so much to me to know I have so many amazing friends, many of whom I've never even met in person. It's really encouraging to hear from all of you!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

long story short

Because it's late, and because I'm tired, and because I'm still in the hospital (yeah, that's dedication -- posting from the hospital) and because of what happened, this is going to be short.

On my birthday, May 13, Brett woke up at about 5:45 to hear me gasping for breath. He couldn't get any response from me, and Elanor started to cry, so he took her downstairs to his mom, who was there helping care for Elanor. He went back upstairs and I was blue and unresponsive, so Brett called 911. Brett's mom came upstairs and gave me chest compressions and CPR before they arrived and, to put it bluntly, saved my life.

Basically, I had a cardiac arrest.

Yeah. I know. I can't think about it too much and I don't think it's sunk in well yet.

I don't even know what exactly happened, and I've only just started remembering things today. I am still very forgetful, which is in part due to all of the drugs I've had in the past four days, and in part due to the experience itself.

So I've been at Harborview (which I'll have to write about in another post sometime; it's a post in and of itself) recovering. They put in a defibrillator yesterday (May 16) and amazingly (by the grace of God, really) I am up today, talking, walking, took a shower, and most wonderfully am off of narcotics and was able to nurse Elanor.

The amount of support my family has shown me has been incredible. (Becca, that includes you.) Thank you to all of you who have emailed, sent cards, posted on Facebook. It means a lot to know how much I am loved.

I've got more to write about this, or at least I will at some point, but I don't know how much I'll be around my blogs (this one and at Seattle Mom Blogs) in the near future. Please feel free to email me or call me if you have my number...but my blogging time is going to be limited to some extent just because I really do feel better if I stay in bed. But we'll see. If the past few days (and how quickly I've healed) have been any indication, I'll probably be back more quickly than I expected.

Thank you for all your prayers. I'll try to update soon.

Friday, May 09, 2008

you know you're tired when...

You see a headline and think, "Why are they talking about mushrooms seizing Beirut neighborhoods?"

And then you realize that they're talking about Shiites, not Shiitakes.

Sigh.

I'm really tired. I would really like some decent sleep, and soon...but it's probably too much to hope for. Even a couple of hours of uninterrupted, solitary sleep would be lovely. But that's not likely to happen anytime soon, for multiple reasons, including the fact that this weekend is going to be busy. Good, and full of lots of fun socializing, but really busy.

This working parent thing is hard. Before I left for work this morning, Elanor was being fussy, but when I'd pick her up she'd calm right down. It was so hard to leave her, even though she's with Brett, knowing that she was upset and I could calm her but I couldn't because I had to go to work. I can't even think about her right now without feeling really sad; I miss her so much.

Oh well; I guess this is just what life is like these days. I'm trying to have a positive outlook (and, really, most days I'm succeeding moderately well; today just happens to be a grumpy/tired/meh day) and be thankful that I have a job at a stable company, where the pay is fair, the boss is nice, the benefits are good, and the co-workers are people with whom it's fun to spend nine hours a day.

Ok, rant over...thanks for listening.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

nine years

Dear Brett,

Nine years ago today, I was nervously anticipating our first date together. I have a picture somewhere of me getting ready, waiting for you to come pick me up in your grandma's car, awkwardly wearing a tux (such a departure from your usual band t-shirts, spiky belts, and ratty jeans!) and looking just as nervous as I felt. The picture shows me looking excited, skinny, and, above all, so young.

But then, we were young, just two high school students on the way to prom. Who knew it would end up like this? I certainly wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me then that in a few years we'd be married and have a baby girl.

I remember, after the photo shoot at my house, going back to your parents' house for pictures, standing in front of the tree in their yard, dropping the wrap to my dress in the grass and putting it in your mom's dryer to try to get it dry. I remember Rachel, still a little girl just 10 years old, grinning and jumping up and down around us and asking nosy 10-year-old questions like, "Are you gonna get married?" I remember your mom telling your dad to go get the picture of them from their prom to show us and thinking that it was sweet your parents had dated and gone to prom at the same high school we did, and now they were married and their son was going to prom.

I remember our fancy Italian dinner, and how you didn't know what to order and you basically wound up with a plate of cold cuts (my, how things have changed, foodie that you are now), and then after dinner walking around through the Park Blocks, holding hands and rolling your eyes at the construction workers who asked if we were going to prom, then telling them that no, we dressed like that every day.

Strangely enough, I don't remember much at all of the dance itself, except that when it was over you kissed me on the cheek. I certainly don't remember anyone (maybe it was Jessica Risdon?) taking this picture.

What I remember more is sitting in the car at the water tower, listening to Elliott Smith and having you ask me if you could kiss me...and then making out in the back seat until the sky started to get light and I realized I had to be at church to play piano in the youth group worship band in two hours. Whoops. Boy, was my mom mad when I came home at 5:30 in the morning! (It was worth it, though, I have to say.)

The nervous excitement and shy awkwardness of those first months of our relationship have long since faded. I used to think that I'd be sad when that butterfly feeling went away, but it's been replaced with such an incredible, deep, contented devotion that I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Being your wife is a huge blessing to me. In some ways, it feels like the past nine years have gone by in the blink of an eye and it was just yesterday we started dating, and in other ways, it feels like I've always been with you. We have changed so much since that day nine years ago. Some of the changes have been hard ones to weather, but we have weathered them, and I am so glad. I can't help but look forward to the next nine years with anticipation and excitement for what's to come.

Happy anniversary, love. Thank you for being my best friend.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

my husband is amazing

I just heard from Brett a little while ago -- he made the semi-finals at the United States Barista Championship!!!! I am so, so proud of him! This means that he is one of the top 25 baristas in the country! Plus, it means that he met his goal in going to the USBC: all he wanted to do was make the semi-finals, and he did!

He will go on around 2 p.m. central time tomorrow. If you want to watch, it is live online at this link. His co-worker Natasha made the finals as well; she goes on first at 9 a.m. central time.

The competition in this round will be fierce; there are several past USBC winners in the group, plus he is up against all of the people who one the regional competitions this year. Still, like I said, he made his goal, so I'm sure that anything else is just icing on the cake for him.

Ever since I got his text message this afternoon that he made the finals, I cannot stop thinking about how incredible he is. I am so proud of him and so amazed by his talent, skill, and hard work. He has really worked his butt off the past month or so getting ready for this. I'm thrilled that it is paying off, and I'm honored to be married to such a hard-working and talented man.

Say a prayer for him (and for Natasha) tomorrow, if you think of it!

Friday, May 02, 2008

motherhood

I thought about saving this post for Mother's Day, but I decided to just go ahead and post it a little early. You can think of it as a reminder that Mother's Day is coming up quickly, I guess.

Both my mom and Brett's mom were up here recently for a week (separate weeks, back-to-back) to help watch Elanor. As much as I love our families and as much as I love having company, three weeks straight of family (my sister was here, too) is a lot for anyone to handle, especially for Brett and me since we tend to really value our independence.

But both visits with our moms turned out to be wonderful and completely un-stressful. I've been thinking about why they were so great and I've come to some conclusions.

Since I've started the journey to become a mom, I've seen some interesting changes in my relationship with my mom as well as with Brett's mom. It's been fairly imperceptible, and has happened by degrees -- there was no huge watershed moment of transformation, although my miscarriage as well as Elanor's actual birth were both big markers along the way.

It's hard to describe what exactly has changed (but I'm going to try, and probably use a lot of unnecessary words in the process), except to say that both of those relationships are better than ever these days.

I find myself calling both my mom and Brett's mom a lot more often just to chat: to tell them about what Elanor did today, to tell them about something funny that happened, or to ask them a question about something mom-related. This is not the norm; sometimes I'd go a week or more without talking to my mom, and months without talking to Brett's mom. Now, I feel like at the very least I should let them know what's going on with Elanor, since I know that aside from Brett and me, they both want to know more than anyone every little cute thing that she does and every new skill she masters.

Anyway, I'll start with my mom...suddenly, since Elanor has been born, I find myself having sooo much more understanding about her mom-ness. The biggest part of this is the mom-nagging, which used to drive me completely nuts.
  • "Be careful! Call me when you get there! I worry when you take the bus at night." (No matter that I'm nearly 27 years old and have lived on my own for nearly 10 years.)
  • "You're tired? Well, have you eaten any protein or had enough water today?" (Yes, Mom, I know, food and water are important for humans.)
  • "Don't forget to thank [so-and-so] for the baby gift!" (I know, Mom, I'm not completely socially inept.)
  • "You're home alone? Make sure you lock your doors!" (Sigh.)
You know. Things like that. It used to drive me nuts when she'd nag. I'd think, "Um, yeah, I KNOW, Mom! I'm a grownup! I can take care of myself!" Now, I don't mind. She can nag all day long...it's all a part of how moms express their love; I get that now, even though Elanor isn't old enough for me to nag yet.

And Brett's mom...well, Brett and I have been together for nine years now, so we've had a long time to get to know each other. I think we have always had a better in-law relationship than most people, but over the past two years -- especially over the past several months -- it's gotten much more close. We are open and candid with one another these days, and our relationship is much less formal than it once was. It's really nice. I feel like we're on the same team, so to speak -- the "We Love Brett and Elanor" team.

Having Elanor, in addition to some other family things that have happened, has helped to bring about that change. It's made me understand how strong the bond is between mother and child, which, coupled with the fact that having Elanor has made me feel closer to Brett than ever, takes away that underlying sense of competition that marks so many mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationships. There's no need for any competition; I don't feel at odds with Brett's mom. We are on the same team, the "We Love Brett and Elanor" team.

I'm so very blessed to have such an incredible mom and such and incredible mother-in-law (not to mention my sister, my sister-in-law, and Brett's sisters). And Elanor is blessed to have wonderful grandmas and aunties who will help Brett and me teach her about life and God and love and, well, everything.

Here's a fun picture of Brett's mom, me and Elanor, and my mom from about a month ago, when all the ladies went to the beach.

Happy Mother's Day, Mema and Noni. I love and appreciate you both!

So, fellow bloggers, tell me: did your relationship with your mom or your mother-in-law change after you had a baby? If so, was it a good change or a bad change?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

miscellaneous

Sorry for the lack of updates. We've been really busy; besides having our moms in town (mine from the 12th to the 19th and Brett's from the 20th to the 26th, my sister and my niece were also in town from the 26th until yesterday. Plus we were getting Brett ready to go to the United States Barista Competition in Minneapolis to compete again, so that has made things a little crazy as well.

He's in Minneapolis now, living the high life, apparently, since he got bumped to first class on his flight and he's staying in a really nice hotel. He won't be back until Monday night around 11 p.m., so it's just Elanor and me until then. I'm taking vacation from work tomorrow and Monday; I figured if he got to go out of town without me the least I could do was take vacation and stay home with my girl!

I'm really excited for him to compete. This will be his third competition, and he just keeps getting better. His signature drink this time is out of this world amazing, and his cappuccinos are pretty incredible as well. I wish I could be there to see him! Ah, well, I guess the live blog will have to do. Anyway, if you think of it tomorrow (Friday) around noon, say a prayer for him!

Our visits from our family members were really fun. It was good to get to spend time with all of them and I know they all loved having one-on-one time with Elanor! It's so nice being close enough for them to come visit easily; since they're in Portland it's only about 3 hours. Much closer than if we were still in Maine!

Hmm, what else? I'm pretty exhausted. Working full-time and having a baby is seriously tough, especially since Brett's been working from 6 a.m. to usually around 9 p.m., doing both his regular job and all of his competition prep. I'll be really glad when he's home and we can get our lives into some semblance of a routine -- one that will hopefully include having help in the evenings and going to bed by 10:30.

Elanor is hilarious these days. She coos and squeals and laughs and loves to interact. The little sounds she makes are SO adorable. I cannot get enough of them! I need to record them; maybe I'll try my hand at a video post when Brett gets back from Minneapolis with the video camera.

She's also cutting teeth. Her two bottom ones have been little nubbins below her gums for a couple of weeks now, but in the past day or two they've gotten much more pronounced and red. She sits and sucks/chews on her fingers or her lower lip all the time, and is constantly putting toys in her mouth and gnawing on them. She's very, very close to rolling over, and she's grabbing toys and putting them in her mouth now.

I feel like there were a number of things I wanted to blog about, things that are far more interesting than what I've written here, but I can't remember what they are. *sigh* Oh well. Maybe I'll remember them and have a chance to blog some more tomorrow or over the weekend!