Thursday, October 31, 2013

No bueno

Hubby and I have been struck down with food poisoning for the last two days.  We suspect it was the sushi we order from a new place on Monday, though it's kind of odd that it didn't hit us until Wednesday morning.  As someone who has not thrown up in over 10 years, it was a shock to my system how violent it can be.  Every single muscle in your body tightens up and forces "the bad stuff" out of your body.  And the rest of the time, you're just in misery until your body is ready to release again.  It's horrible.

Timing wise, it hit me in Wednesday morning as I was getting up for work - so that was the only good thing.  I just stayed home to rest.  Hubby was feeling "off" in the morning, but not bad.  He was able to bring Connor to day care before heading off to work.  By noon, he was home too.


Today was a little better for me.  I had more energy and was able to bring Connor to day care and get him ready for their pot luck/Halloween party in between meetings.  No coffee for me today, but I did enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate from Starbucks in the afternoon.  Surprising good!

As we wind down the day, I'm thankful to be making a fairly quick recovery.  Tummy is still sensitive, but I'm glad to have some energy to take care of my family.  No sick days from being a parent. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


On Friday, February 15, my maternal grandmother passed away.  She would have been 91 on Feb 28.

I mourn the loss of my last grandparent.  My beloved grandfather passed in 1991.  He was 79 years old.  I had just finished my freshman year at SDSU, and came back that night to the devastating news.

My last memories of him are happy ones.  Hearing his voice tell me he loved me when I spoke for him for the last time on the phone.  And the last time I saw him was when he was waving goodbye to me from the window of his home as my parents drove us away after dinner that night.

Those are cherished memories.

With my grandmother, the feelings are a little different.  She had been in a nursing home for almost three years.  With each visit, we saw her quality of life diminish until her final days where she barely acknowledged our presence.  As my mom explained, grandma became very depressed.  Understandably, any new friends she made at the home, well, they passed.  We weren't able to see her as often as we would have liked.  Any colds in the family prevented us from visiting her in her delicate health.

Having a new son, her great grandson, in day care led to even more colds and mysterious viruses that prevented me from seeing her.  Fortunately, she did meet him several times.

During his first visit, he grabbed onto her hand and started smiling immediately.  I hadn't seen grandma smile in years, but she was beaming that day.  It was a beautiful moment, and I only wish there were more of them.  My boy just stared and smiled, and kept reaching for her hand.

My son will never remember his great-grandma, but I will make sure he knows her through pictures. We made sure to get a four generation picture at Christmas. 

With grandma's passing comes great relief within the family.  Sounds horrible, but I mean that she is finally at peace.  It was difficult seeing her deteriorate the last few months.  She lost interest in food, and ultimately, stopped eating completely in the final days of her life.  She went to sleep and never woke up.

My mother is an incredibly strong woman, and in this loss of her own mother, she only worries about me and how I am handling it.  I can't believe her.  Here I am worried about her.  My mother is my best friend.  I don't want to even humor the thought of losing her.

I hope now with grandma's passing that my mom can find peace and can breathe freely.  She was a dedicated daughter who did all she could for her mother, before and after grandma had to move to a nursing home because of health reasons.

A prayer for my grandmother:  Po Po, I hope that you have found peace and that you have reunited with your family in Heaven.  Please don't worry about us.  We are a strong family and will support each other in every way.  We mourn our loss, but we take comfort in knowing that your suffering has ended.  That you are once again running and laughing and enjoying 'life'. We love you and will miss you until we see each other again one day.

Tales of old

How often do I hear my mother tell stories about me as a baby or a little girl?  A lot. Over the years, there are the occasional new stories, but for the most part, it is the same few stories repeated with as much enthusiasm as if it were being told for the first time. I admit, my first response is usually, "oh not again."

And finally, now that I have my own child, I get it.  As a mother, there are moments in your child's life that only you will experience.  Whether it's the first time your baby wraps his delicate, but surprisingly strong, fingers around yours.  Or the moment you raised a spoon of "whatever puree" to your baby's mouth and watched his expression of tasting something other than breast milk for the first time in his life. Those are your moments.  And unfortunately, you will be the only one who remembers them. 

These moments I had with my son, though experienced not long ago, are already treasured memories.  One day, it will be my turn to look back and in an attempt to relive those moments again, I will be telling (and retelling) my grown son these stories.

Already I've been sharing my "favorites" with friends.

Connor is at the age of crawling.  He hasn't quite mastered doing it on his knees yet.  He, more or less, shimmies on his tummy - pushing off with his feet.  My husband calls it the "commando crawl."  One day, Connor and I were on the floor and he started to shimmy away from me.  He got about 3 feet when I grabbed both of his ankles and pulled him back towards me.  That didn't stop him - he just started crawling again.  Again, at about 3 feet, I pull him back to me.  And again, he started crawling away from me.  By this time, I wanted to see how many times we would play this game.  Once more I pulled him back to me.  This time, he paused for a short moment, and then started flapping both arms and kicked legs, and let out a whine of frustration.  It was hilarious.

I may have told this story once or twice... but it was a wonderful little moment I shared with my son, and I want to relive it over and over.  I've become my mother.

Friday, August 03, 2012

A motherly rant

When did society become so quick to judge and push that what feels right for one is right for ALL?  We've become so afraid of everything, it's ridiculous.  Is this generation so screwed up by things our parents did when we were children that this is a backlash against how we were raised? 

These are the hot topics that irk me every time I read an article about them.  I've learned to skip those articles now.

Harness = leash
Playpen = cage
Formula feeding = you're a bad mother
Spanking = you're an abusive parent
Antibacterial everything = you're protecting your child from germs.

If my son is a runner, hell yeah I'm putting the harness on him.  Better to pull him back if he starts running across the street and I'm not quick enough to pull him back in time.  And spare me the "you should teach your kid..." lecture.  A toddler running is a toddler running.  No time for hoping your teachings kick in before he steps off the curb.  How many kids have you seen break off from their parent who wants to hold their hand because they want to walk alone?  The parent may grab their hand again, but for that brief moment, that kid was free to run.  You have to know your child and discipline as such.  No two children are the same.  I'd like to think that if I wasn't holding my son's hand, he would just stand there next to me. 

Playpen = yes, we have ours ready.  We have a small condo with no storage.   Until my son learns what is ok to touch and not to touch, occasionally he will be in the playpen while mama takes a shower or needs to do something that requires her not to be like a hawk on him ever second. 

Formula vs. breastmilk, every family has a different preference and reason, and it's their choice.  Butt out of their business.  One is not less of a mother if they chose to use formula.  I was a formula baby and I know that my mother loved/loves me beyond words.  Currently, I am breastfeeding my son, and I love him just as much.

Spanking = if my kid is bad, yes, there will be spanking.  I will not beat the sh*t out of my child, but if needed, I will spank.  I was spanked as a child.  I am not mentally scarred for life.  I do not consider myself abused as a child.  I was spanked when I was bad. 

Germs = my son needs to build up an immune system.  A kid is going to get dirty.  I'm not one to have everyone bathe in hand sanitizer before coming over to visit and play with my son. 

In my own opinion, we're raising a generation to be afraid of everything.  I don't want my son to live like that.  Of course, I am aware of various diseases and such, and he will get the vaccinations he needs.  He will wash his hands after playing in the park, but I'm not going to be spritzing his hands with sanitizer after he touches everything.  Sometimes too much is enough - and there's just too much judgement of others.

I feel I've been a good mother since I learned I was pregnant with my son, and I will continue to be a good mother as he grows up.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's a boy!

On May 30th at 7:43AM, we welcomed Connor Dylan to our family. He's a beautiful baby boy.  An impressive 8lbs 6oz and 21" long.  He has a full head of black wavy hair, and dark, almost black, eyes. 

So what happened on his birthday?  I had been feeling tightness in my belly for almost a month, so I didn't really think anything of it anymore.  However, the morning of May 30th, around 4AM, something just didn't feel right.  I was so uncomfortable.  I couldn't sleep.  After being annoyed for a few hours and realizing sleep just wasn't going to happen, it slowly dawned on me that the tightness was getting stronger and happening in regular intervals.  But I couldn't possibly be in labor.  I was supposed to have lunch with a friend that day, and we had scheduled a c-section in two more days.  That's how a sleep deprived mind thinks.  Thanks to my handy iPhone app, I determined that the tightness was probably a contraction and that they were definitely about 5 minutes apart. 

Brilliant me, I lay there in bed trying to convince myself that this couldn't really be happening.

Around 5AM, hubby stirred and I told him that I might be in labor.  We called the Labor and Delivery ward at the hospital and they said come in "now".

Well, of course I had to shower first.  If I was going to have this baby today, I was going in fresh and clean.  I did skip the make-up, so at least I wasn't being too vain.  A quick, last photo of the "two" of us and we were out the door, suitcase in hand.

During our 15 minute drive to the hospital, the contractions got stronger.  I was still OK, but I did have to take some deep breaths.  When we arrived at the hospital, a nurse was walking toward me in  the lobby and asked if I was Denise.  Yes.  "Well, thank goodness.  We were getting worried that you weren't here yet."  Sheepish grin.  "I had to shower first..."

Quick elevator ride to L&D and within 15 minutes I was being hooked up to monitors and getting "checked."  No time to waste.  I was 7 cm dilated already.  WHAT???

Long story short - I arrived at the hospital a little after 6AM and Connor was born via c-section at 7:43AM. 

In a way, I'm happy it worked out this way.  I would have been so anxious if we have gone to through the scheduled c-section two days later.  As it happens, I had no time to panic.  I was prepped, brought to the OR, and before I knew it, hubby was by my side.  After some small chit chat with the doctors, I finally asked, "Are they going to start yet?" 

"Oh, they're already in.  Get your camera ready.  The baby will be out soon."  WHOA!  Before I knew it, hubby was snapping pictures of whatever was going on on the other side of the tarp blocking my view.  A few more seconds later, I heard the most beautiful sound in the world.  My baby crying.  Not a long WAAAAHHH like I expected, but a short yell.  Then a silence that was probably only a few seconds, but to me it felt like forever and I started to panic.  Then there was more crying.  Thank goodness.

After weighing him and checking on vitals, Connor was swaddled up and handed to my hubby.  Father and son together for the first time.  It was amazing - even from my upside-down view.  I didn't get to hold Connor right away, but that's OK.  I touched his beautiful little face and told him how much we loved him.

At that point, Connor was taken to the NICU for observation, and I had to be put back together.  The last time I went through this, I was in great pain.  I mean, yelling for drugs pain. This time, it was still incredibly uncomfortable as they were putting things back where they belong and patching me up, but all I cared about was that my son was here - and in a short while, he would be in my arms.

It's a new adventure for all of us.  There's nothing to prepare you for parenthood.  The feelings you experience looking at your child for the first time.  Reality sets in that in just a few short days, you will be sent home - and that's it.  You have a child to raise. 

Be as it may, at this moment, all I want to do is love my boy. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

To my dearest Dylan...

My dear baby girl, in a couple of weeks your little brother will be joining our family.  Not a day has gone by in the last year that I don't wish you were here.  How different things would be if we had been able to do something that would have helped you to stay with us.

We would have celebrated your first birthday and you'd probably be walking and talking by now.  I see other families on the street with their baby girls and my heart aches for you, my angel. 

As Connor gets ready to make his grand entrance to the world. we've been preparing for life with baby.   So many things we planned for last year, but stopped, we had to complete now. 

I actually had a baby shower.  So many caring friends who mourned with us last year, gathered this year to celebrate in anticipation of your little brother.  Friday was my last day at work.  I've officially started  my maternity leave.  Your memory still in everyone's hearts, but they look forward to a new life for this little family - one that will start with tears of happiness this time.  I want to do the same, but it's so very hard.  I don't want to let you go.

I look around at what would have been your room and see all the cute pink things now replaced with blues and greens.  Your little leopard shoes are now storage.  In their place on the shelf, a little bunny dressed in blue.  A little bit of you for your little brother.  You were my little bunny.  Connor will be year of the Dragon. 

Oh my Dylan, how much I wish you were here in my arms today.  How I wish there was something I could have done for you.  All I can do is believe that you know how much you are loved, and that you will always be remembered as our first child.  Our precious baby girl.

I love you.  Forever and always.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The countdown begins

It's been an emotional journey, and we haven't even reached the end yet.  In all ways, this is just the beginning.  There have been many, many tears during the last 8 months.  Most of them in memory of my little girl. 

April 5th would have been Dylan's birthday.  Instead of a big one year celebration, my husband and I had a quiet evening thinking back on the year that still seems so surreal to us.  We each silently wished our baby girl birthday wishes and felt blessed that we had her for 25 hours. 

In celebrating her birthday, we knew that we would mourning our loss the next day.  It was a difficult two days to get through.  For me, I buried myself in my work and somehow I realized I was able to survive my first year without my daughter.

Today, April 27th, I look forward to the memory of walking down the aisle 11 years tomorrow to marry my best friend.  We didn't have the big celebration that I thought we would last year for our 10th anniversary - but you know... 

This year, we will start off our day at a baby class to learn how to bathe and diaper our baby one day.  Yes, we are clueless parents-to-be, but we're trying!  Afterward, we will go back to where we began our journey together and have dinner the Lafayette Park Hotel.  Maybe we'll see another couple starting their life together with a wedding in the courtyard.  It is April and a Saturday.  It will be heartwarming to see that.

We have 5 weeks left to go!  Our baby boy is due on June 1st.  Are we ready?  No.  Will we ever be?  No.  All I know is that we cannot wait to meet the little guy and to give him so much love.  Our whole family is very excited and I know when he takes his first breath and lets out his first sounds, I will finally be able to breathe again.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Week 30

We've reached week 30.  I can hardly believe it.  Last year at this time, at 29 weeks, we were given the news that our baby girl had congenital heart disease.  I was also going into preterm labor and was in the hospital for a week.  We didn't know if Dylan was going to be born two months early and if we were going to lose her right there and then.  From that point, it became a daily waiting game.

Ultimately, we had to say goodbye to our Dylan after just 25 hours of being born.  Our world crashed down and we've struggled to go back to a normal life.

A few months later, we were blessed with the surprise of being pregnant again.  This time, with a boy.  To be honest, I was crushed, because I wanted my Dylan back so much - I wanted a girl.  And in feeling that, I am so guilty for not loving this boy from start for who he is - not who wasn't able to replace for me.

There is no replacement of Dylan.  I realize that.  And this little boy will be her younger brother.  She will watch over him and protect him as only a big sister can.