Monday, January 25, 2010

Memory Lane: Not quite the Autobahn, but a wild enough ride.

This is a picture of me 5 years ago to the day.It was me giving myself my last insulin shot before bed. The next day I was scheduled for a c-section and would say " Hello, Noah!" and then " Toodles!" to my gestational diabetes.

I remember the pregnancy well,I still wear those pajama pants, and I don't think I look all that different than I do in this picture, but it seems like a lifetime ago. Sure, it was Noah's lifetime, but it seems like a long time. More than five years.

Some moms look at pictures of themselves pregnant and think " where did time go?" and " it seems just like yesterday that I was feeling you move and kick me from inside." I am not one of those moms. Maybe I will be, someday, but now? No. When I think back, I think to all the work, all the challenges, all the wonderful days, but I can feel the difference between the mom in that picture and the mom I am today. It's a big chasm.

Noah is our 3rd and last child. I was days shy of my 42nd birthday when he was born. The line we give is that perimenopausal means  " you can still get pregnant". But I knew I could still get pregnant. Although the chances were slim that I would, we didn't do anything to stop it. The truth is that was the second pregnancy within a year. 7 months before getting pregnant with Noah, I had a miscarriage at 10.5 weeks. On Thanksgiving. After cooking, and serving the family meal.

 I had found out I was pregnant with that child the day before I was scheduled to go in to get my tubes tied. The same doc asked, upon confirming that I had lost this baby, if I wanted to get that done. I couldn't. In my head I could not go from pregnant to never being able to have another child, although we did not plan on having any more.

The other line we give is " once we found out where all these babies were coming from, we put a stop to that!". This is entirely true. When Noah was delivered I did have my tubes double knotted. I KNEW this was the end of the baby making for me. While my sweet OB hummed as she worked on my fallopian tubes, my newborn son was struggling for breath. He was born with premature lungs, an easy fix once he got to the right hospital, but we didn't know that at the time. We just saw another baby heading to the NICU unable to get a breath. We saw another child whisked away from my arms, unsure of what was wrong with him but having a sickening feeling of deja vu.

Luke was born that way 6.5 years before Noah. He had a very rough entry into the world. For medical reasons, he couldn't be held until he was a week old. Actually, Bekah even did a NICU stint after swallowing a wad of meconium. Then Noah. Three babies, three trips to the NICU. Two of them via ambulance to Childrens Mercy Hospital. Cut, knot and hum away Doc. We are done. We are grateful for what we have, but we knew the challenges ahead of us. Or rather, we knew the challenge of uncertainty that was ahead of us.

The mom flashing a goofy smile in that picture, she didn't know what her next few weeks would feel like, look like, or how they would play out. She had forgotten the feeling of nursing, and sleep deprivation and the tug of her heart when a newborn makes eye contact. She could not know what it would feel like to have her first and middle child bond so deeply and so quickly with the newest member of her family. She couldn't foresee the triumphs and challenges of being a mom at such an age. She had no clue as to the joy and hurdles that would lay ahead of her and her family. But she can now. In her rear-view mirror. And those five years have been a long and curvy road.

I'm not writing this looking for sympathy by any means. I want you to see the gratitude that I have in my heart for the wonder that is my children. For this late in life surprise baby who tomorrow celebrates his 5th birthday. Happy Birthday, Buddy!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Giddy to Snapped In No Time Flat

After three long weeks of school vacation followed by bitter cold and another week of snow days, I awoke this morning giddy. I skipped out and flipped on the TV. The scroll at the bottom of the news, the place we had looked first each day for the previous week was different. Instead of school cancellations I saw stock prices. And then I saw news headlines. YES!! School is back in session!! Elated I packed lunches and took Beks to school.

In our little town, the Elementary School, Middle School and High School share a campus. A service road, with two major road accesses, connects all three schools. Each school has a bus lane and a drop off lane. The rule is that cars do not belong in the bus lane. Sure , it takes a few minutes in traffic to follow the rules and drop your student off in the car drop off lane, But the rules are there for a reason: safety.

I know that our school drop off situation is similar to other schools. And I know my frustration of people who think the rules do not apply to them is shared by many. The problem that I mostly have is the safety factor. High school students ( and yes, some parents) who feel that the rules are for others and drop their students off in, or at the entrance to, the bus lane. Sometimes I blow my horn , sometimes I just catch the drivers eye and make a " naughty!" face". Mostly I just rant to Beks. She rolls her eyes, often laughs but mostly she knows me and rolls with it.

Today, however, I saw a parent and a high school student, two cars, pulled off to drop middle school students off by the bus lane. The road was icy and slick. I had enough. The accidents that I had imagined for the past two years were highly probable today. We all had been out of practice with our school week routines, and the road conditions made for a situation that inexperienced drivers never could prepare for. There was no cars behind me, so I stopped, got the high school students attention and signaled for him to roll down his window as I rolled down Beks's.The parent in the other car was already cutting in front of me to make an illegal U-turn, I could only honk at her.

As the kid rolled down his window I realized I knew him. His sister, getting out of the car, had been in Beks class before. Heck, I think she had even played at our house  before. His parents are acquaintances of mine who I really adore. I know this kid to be kind and sweet and funny-- a good kid. But it was too late, I couldn't turn back or say " hey, Jacob! Say hi to your mom for me". No, I had to tell him that was not the drop off lane.

I wish it could have been a kid I didn't know. I wish it could have been one of the kids who stops in the middle of the road and really causes a hazardous situation. But poor Ethan got two years worth of memories of those kids in my comments. I didn't yell, but it may have been more anger than he was used to ( his parents are VERY sweet). He said " ok" , but I'm sure the unsaid part was " you crazy lady".

Then, from my passenger seat, Beks said very loudly  " Please excuse my mom!" uuuugggh. I just committed a huge middle school social faux pas. My stomach dropped and I apologized to her as we drove on to the drop off lane. She said it was ok, but if I was here I wouldn't have. She got out and said to me what I normally would have said to her " have a marvelous Monday!" Commence Internal Self Abuse!

An hour later, I was backing out of our driveway to take Noah to school. Thanks to illness and really cold weather that kid had literally been home for three weeks. He NEEDED to spend time with kids his own age. He needed to go to school even more than I needed him to. As I was backing out of the driveway I backed straight into the 4 foot pile of snow and ice at the end of it. I got stuck.

I would like to say that I calmly dug us out. But calm was nowhere to be seen. " Are you KIDDING ME!!!??" I muttered as I went to get the snow shovel and deicer out of the garage. Then I accidentally dropped the bucket of  deicer IN the garage and hauled out the motherload of curses. My 4 yr old , still strapped in his carseat then heard words that he should never hear. He heard combinations of curses that I never would have imagined could go together, and yet were flying out of my  mouth.

Fifteen minutes later I finally got on the road. Huffing and puffing from my workout, I spent the drive to school apologizing to him for what he heard, telling him that is not the best way to handle stress, and pleading for him not to EVER use those words.

In this brief morning that should have been filled with giddy bliss I embarrassed my 13 yr old, taught my 4 yr old creative cussin'  and gave myself the Mother of all Guilt trips. And we all know no one does guilt like a Mom.