32 Things To Do Before 42

August 19, 2010 at 9:55 am | Posted in I's for reals, Me myself I and me again | 2 Comments
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(Inspired by moosh in indy‘s forty by forty post.)

(She’s lovely and candid and I have a half-dozen listings that she has because don’t we all?)

 1… get a passport.

2… settle on a business name and run with it.

3… teach Evan to read.

4… sell my work.  Print it, frame it, exchange it.

5… plant a vegetable garden (and ya know, not kill it).  Actually cook/eat veggies as opposed to letting them rot on the dining room table.

6… renovate something (successfully!) in my home.

7… go on a huge anniversary trip with my husband.  Preferably, somewhere where you have to fly over an ocean to get to it.

8… go somewhere spectacular just to shoot with photographer friends (and I mean another country spectacular). 

9… take Evan to Disneyworld.

10… make NICU bags for parents of new preemies.  (Kinda like these)

11… write a children’s book.

12… get a present from Tiffany’s in a Tiffany’s box. 

13… pay off all my debts.  (And not acquire them again)

14… make a couple more attempts at talking my husband into another child without driving him into the mad house. 

15… create Evan’s family tree.  (An comprehensive one and a beautiful, handmade one)

16… start a new family tradition.

17… photograph the Aegean Sea and Islands and surrounding countries.  (Maybe combining with #7 or #8?)

18… read a series of books of historical accounts and the origins of the major and minor religions.

19… create a legal will.

20… loose 30ish pounds.

21… change someone’s mind to the better.

22… stop drinking pop altogether (or Coke if you’re from Georgia) / (or soda or soft drinks if you’re from other places).

23… host Thanksgiving dinner and cook everything from scratch.

24… have a surprise party (but someone else would have to throw it because I would know and…nevermind).

25… take Evan camping.

26… adorn my walls with photographs everywhere.

27… raise $5,000 for the March of Dimes ($945 down, $4,055 to go!)

28… host a kick-ass party.  One where you watch the sun rise before you head to bed.

29… stay at a super swanky hotel.  Eat at one of their super swanky restaurants.  Order lots of room service.

30… photograph the stars with an open shutter.

31… participate with Evan in a charity event every year.  Each year something different.

32… have my portrait done.  Like it.

What’s on your list?  Not only what you HAVE to do but what you WANT to do as well.

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On Being an Advocate

August 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Baby Weight (Evan), I have unleashed the crazy, I's for reals, Putting on Baby Weight (Pregnancy) | Leave a comment
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It all starts in utero.  It’s not a conscious decision, but one you ponder endlessly anyway.  That glob of cells… is there a heartbeat?  I’m 16 weeks… why haven’t I felt the baby move?  Is that a Braxton-Hicks contraction or a baby-is-on-its way contraction?  I haven’t felt the baby move.  I can’t hold down water.  For me it was: I have a bad backache and something that feels like heartburn.  It all ends in the same question:

SHOULD I CALL A DOCTOR?

For me, pregnancy was easier.  There wasn’t a helpless child in front of me.  I wasn’t feeling well but I can feel the baby move.  The baby is good.  I didn’t want to be that woman who calls the doctor for every little thing.  I was sustaining life with MY MIND and damnit, that makes me hardcore and if that means dealing with a bit of pain then so fucking be it.  Well, we all know how that turned out.  I didn’t want to be a pest so I suffered in silence without making a phone call.  I figured I’d mention it at the next regularly scheduled OBGYN appointment, if it was still bothering me.  My pride/meekness/laissez-faireness could have killed myself and my baby.  Thank goodness concern rose above my obstinance and I called the doctor about the pain.  Evan was born 6 hours later. 

All bets were completely off when you have a sick baby in front of you.

That newborn with a fever?  Did that: December 1st (Our 1 year wedding anniversary), 2am, ER.  The book from the pediatrician said any baby under 3 months with a fever over 101 needs to be seen immediately.  I called after hours.  I was told to go to the ER.  The ER doctor tried to scare us with a spinal tap “if we really want to find out what’s wrong, but I’m sure it’s just a virus and you don’t want to put your baby through that dooooooooo? yooooooouuuuu??”  I was annoyed; he was making me feel awful for coming in and wanting to know what was wrong and I hadn’t even pressed the question.  It was drowned out by the relief I felt because Evan was OK.  But lemme tell you, if the euphoria high of relief were not coursing through my veins, I would have slapped the bastard.  I’m not a fucking doctor.  He would have been much more annoyed if I acted like I was.   Not only was I worried, but I was directed to go there.  I paid for the service with my cash and some good insurance.  I am Evan’s advocate.  Get irritated the with the parents who refuse to be an advocate for their children.  Treat me with some respect, please.

I am now in toddler illness hell.  For a child that is obsessed with washing his hands and a mother obsessed with Clorox, you’d think we’d have a fairly healthy kid.  But no.  Kids get sick.  And with every. little. cough. you get to feel like a bit more of a failure of a parent.  Woo!  A sniffle! Go me. 

I don’t, I swear I don’t, send my child with the doctor with every little cough he gets.  I don’t call the nurse’s line with each sniffle.  I don’t go to the ER for every fever.  When I feel it’s necessary, I do.  If I’m extra worried and I need reassurances, I do.  (They don’t call it a Mother’s Instinct for nothin’.)  But you know what?  Who cares if someone does go in for every little thing?  I mean, really?  They go to someone, pay for a service… who really cares if it’s not necessary?  Like getting your oil changed every 100 miles.  (Which reminds me…)  Change my oil and take my money… YOU’RE WELCOME

This is not to say you should go to the ER for a splinter because they have to treat you even if you can’t pay.  This isn’t saying you should insist to be seen first by a busy doctor with sicker patients.  But I should feel free to schedule an appointment.  For no reason other that I want a doctor to take a look-see at my child.  I have insurance.  I’m going to pay.  Please provide me service.

Parents don’t want to be that person.  The one always calling the doctor.  Worried about every hangnail.  I know I don’t.  And I know that sometimes I pause before I call the doctor because of it.  I look at my child with a 105 fever and worry that if I call they doctor they might scoff at me because their book SAYS that a 105 fever is nothing to be worried about.  I’ll lose sleep… not because of another $20 co-pay or the fact that I’m out of vacation hours… I’ll lose sleep because I don’t want the doctor to not take me seriously because I bring my child in too much.  I feel stupid typing that.  I am Evan’s advocate.  He can’t roll his eyes at me because I’m being silly and call the doctor himself.  He can’t even tell me what hurts.  I have to be the one that describes the slight change in Evan’s behaviour or sleeping habits.  I have to detail his appetite.  That’s my job.  Being that I’m not a medical expert, I tell the doctor the symptoms.  That’s their job.

My tirade comes from an odd batch of symptoms Evan has been producing lately… fevers, rash, peeling fingertips and toes.  Weird.  I called the nurses line and she tells me it’s no big deal and I’m OK with that answer and I go about my merry way.  The next day there’s more weirdness so I get uncomfortable and call again.  This time I want to see a doctor.  Hi, if you don’t think something is wrong I’d like to just come in… a doctor can take a look and put my mind at ease.  I got sighed at.  I heard the rolling of eyes over the phone.  As in, “I’d like to bring him in for an appointment” then, “*sigh* holdon.”  It infuriates me.  Rudeness.  To a customer.  To a worried mother.  Fuck that.

I’m on the look out for a new doctor.  STAT.

STFU

June 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Posted in I shouldn't have even posted this, I's for reals, Me myself I and me again, Pain | 2 Comments
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So.  This post has been sitting in my draft file for-evah.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it for 3 reasons.

  • There is a lot of cursing involved.
  • There is a lot of talking about lady bits and their malfunctions.
  • No one likes a complainer. 

Here are the reasons I posted it anyway.

  • The cursing is APPROPRIATE for me in this post.  Besides, I have a feeling no one really fucking cares about it anyway.  Damnit.
  • My lady readers are not weirded out by lady bits.  If they are they need to make friends with their lady bits.  My male readers are way too hardcore to be weirded out by a little bit of lady bit talk.  (If I’m wrong?  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED)
  • My knee-jerk?  I’m not complaining.  But, alas, there is some bitching going on here.  However, awareness is good as in “Hi!  I’m Endometriosis!  I want to get stabby!  Let’s be friends!” and “Yes, I say I’m fine but I am in a lot of pain but you really don’t want to hear about it because you’ve heard it before or you’re more comfortable with talk of flesh wounds.”  Also? I just HAD to get this off of my chest and out of my draft file.  Close or read on:

 

Endometriosis (from endo, “inside”, and metra, “womb”)

You know what’s supposed to be inside my WOMB, Endometriosis? A baby. My womb is supposed to be a warm hospitable enviroment in which to grow a child.

And the misnomer, by the way, is a dick move. YOU aren’t even INSIDE my WOMB. You’re all outside of it… on my intestines and ovaries… hidden in corners like a little bitch.

You disguised yourself for years. Deceiving doctors and making me loopy with pain then making me question it. If no one can find anything, am I really in pain? Am I THAT much of a pain wuss?

You didn’t show yourself until they opened me up and looked you in the eye. Burnt you. You hid and grew some more.

Then, just to trick fuck you, we conceived our baby boy. You hadn’t invaded my tubes yet and you didn’t make me infertile like you do 40% of us.  (You are such an asshole)

Suddenly: Bliss. No pain.
He arrived and I was feeling fine until now. Now you’re stabbing me and whispering in my ear:

“I’m rotting your insides”

 “The pain’s not going to stop”

“Are you sure you should take another pill?”

“You’re going to have to get all your insides ripped out.”

(That last was said all sing-song like, the prick!)

But you know what I’m really tired of?  The way you’re making me feel.  The way I’m letting you make me feel.  The sadness about a choice: hysterectomy or not – it could help (COULD being the operative word here) (Operative being the intentional pun there).  I don’t always get a choice when it comes to depression but right now I’m putting myself there.  I’m opening the dark closet and pointing the way. 

Fuck. That.

You know, Endo, you’re just pain right now.  Good, old-fashioned pain.  WHOOP-TEE-DO!  You couldn’t even kill me if you wanted to.  I’ve known LAUGHTER with a higher mortality rate. 

So you know what I’m going to do?  I’m going to do what I always do with irritating bitches such as yourself.  I’m going to ignore you.  I’m going to roll my eyes at you when you’re at your loudest and quietly be proud of that accomplishment.  I’m going to label the bottle of  pills my “STFU ENDO” pills. 

That’s right Endo, SHUT. THE FUCK. UP.

I’m getting down on the floor and playing with my son.  I’m going to get out of bed and spend time with my family.  I’m going to run.  I’m going to gracefully live with your pain.  And the next time I see you in the operating room?  I’m totally going to kick your ass.

I was in pain here. See how my son's knee is jammed against my ovary? Ouch. WORTH IT.

A Quick Note on Marching

April 26, 2010 at 10:49 am | Posted in Baby Weight (Evan), I's for reals, The Others | Leave a comment
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You are now looking at a girl who has walked another 6 miles.

Wait…

You are now reading the words typed by a girl who has walked another 6 miles.

The March of Dimes / March for Babies walk was Sunday.  It was cold and rainy AGAIN, but we made it.  My husband, Evan, myself and the lovely Miss Di that watches Evan while I work… his other mama.  🙂

And oh did we make our goal: $480!  My goal was $400.  As a group “Evan’s Family” (be inspired by my naming abilities, people), we brought in $645!  A-freakin’-mazing!

We arrived and registered and took off. 

Evan’s a “Preemie in Name Only” type of preemie.  Early but healthy.  No NICU time.  We were so lucky.

It was so heart-breaking to hear and see people’s stories of babies that did not make it.  But it made the tales of babies that survived the odds that much more inspiring. 

The trail was treacherous and there were many a pick-up vans along the way to tempt us into giving up but we walked the whole damn way, damnit.  Evan walked for about 10 feet.  (Lucky bastard)  He was walking waaay too slow and had an aversion to walking on the sidewalk.  We need to practice that one I think.

All in all a good day.  I’m working on thank you notes right now.  I would like to get a special little photo like last year but he knows how to run now.  Here was last year’s:

Thank you.  So very, very much. 

Save Little Lives

March 31, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Baby Weight (Evan), I's for reals, Love and all that other mushy stuff, Putting on Baby Weight (Pregnancy), The Others | 3 Comments
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“We don’t have time to induce you.  We have to take the baby now.”

Those are the words that I heard 10 minutes before my son was born.  It wasn’t like a hospital drama or my favorite show, House.  They didn’t tell me that “We don’t have time” meant that I didn’t have time and that I might have a seizure and die before the medication to induce labor kicked in.  They didn’t pull Wayne aside to tell him how dire the situation was or how sick and drugged I would be for the next few days.  They didn’t explain what HELLP Syndrome was and they didn’t tell me the risks to our son.  They didn’t talk about the risk of bleeding out during the c-section due to my non-existent platelets nor did they tell us what to expect from our preemie son and how he would be wisked away immediately. 

“We don’t have time to induce you.  We have to take the baby now.”

We nodded while trying to get the million questions we had bombarding our brains in single file.  Before that could happen, Wayne was handed scrubs and told to get them on and I was prepped for surgery. 

Then a little baby was born.  4 lbs, 14 oz.  First apgars were low, the second ones were better.  He got some oxygen, he got an IV, he got a heart monitor.  But he was fine.  He was almost fully cooked.  I got to hold my baby right away even if I couldn’t room with him for four days.  He was well enough to go home before I was.

We were lucky.

Sometimes, a TINY baby is born.  1 lbs, 6 oz. First apgars non-existent, second ones are low.  ventilators and feeding tubes and monitors.  Incubators and unpronounceable drugs.  These babies are not fine.  Not cooked.  They can’t be held.  They can’t come home.  Some don’t ever make it home.

That’s not fair. 

I walk for March of Dimes every year because that thought takes my breath away.  Take a couple weeks of gestation away from Evan and that could have been him.  It could be any of our babies.

What would I do without this in my life?

The March of Dimes looks for ways to make sure all pregnancies are full-term pregnancies.  They support these preemies and their parents.  They research treatments for vision, heart and lung defects.  They support NICUs.  The March of Dimes started back in the day to find a cure for Polio.  Guess what they found?  That’s right, a cure for Polio.  And when that happened they didn’t celebrate and go about their merry ways… they found a new mission.

I found one too.

My family and I walk on April 25th, in Grand Blanc, MI.  Come walk with us!  We have a new person or two (!) walking with us this year and I am so excited!  There are walks all over the nation, go here to find one.

Donate.  Click the button below or click here and sponsor my family and our cause.  Every dollar brings tears to my eyes because I’m so thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful people.  I’ve been tearing up a lot.  I try to act hardcore about it but it’s not working.

Get learnt.  Be a voice.  Mention HELLP Syndrome to your pregnant friends and family.  Know for your wife or for yourself.  We all know of at least 3 pregnant people at a time.  It’s not as uncommon as you might think.  I know of two dear woman personally that had HELLP as well.

H (Hemolytic anemia) EL (Elevated Liver enzymes) LP (Low Platelet count).  Basically means your red blood cells are being destroyed and not regenerating, your liver is failing and the goop in your blood that clots your wounds is low.  All of this eventually shuts down your liver and kidneys.  Seizure.  Coma.  Death.  It can be related to pre-eclampsia but there is some debate on that.  Personally, I didn’t present with pre-eclampsia symptoms (high blood pressure, protein in urine) but most women do.  I was also much sicker after Evan was born.  The fact that I didn’t “look” like a “normal” HELLP patient makes me appreciate my doctors even more.

My symptoms were a pain above my pregnant belly which I associated with heartburn and a backache.  (It was my liver and kidneys).  I felt nauseous and had a headache.  Some women also have blurred vision and tingling in their hands and feet.

Walking. Donating. Being a little HELLP expert.  You’re saving lives.  THANK YOU SO MUCH.

This Is My Brain On Metaphors

November 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Baby Weight (Evan), I have unleashed the crazy, I shouldn't have even posted this, I's for reals, Love and all that other mushy stuff, Me myself I and me again, Rewind, The Others | 2 Comments
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Years and years and years ago my mind was a mess.  As you remember I’m Bipolar.  I was always depressed and never consistent with my medication (if I was even taking it).  Like a lot of people with similar issues, I had what some call “suicidal ideation”.  I had an out.  I had a plan.  It was like my morbid little teddy bear… if things got hairy I could snuggle up to that.  Things weren’t so bad if I always had thatThat was also my little secret.  Not many knew of my plan and those that did never knew about my back-up plans.  I could tearfully confess that my teddy bear was there, destroy said teddy bear with the confessee and proclaim absolution, smile and grab other teddy bear out of hiding.  Safe. 

You might not understand how safe it feels to have a plan.  On the outside looking in, things may not seem that safe at all.  Life is precarious on a hair trigger (That would have been HILARIOUS a few years ago).  You spend days terrified that something will set off your loved one and the plan gets carried out.  It’s terrifying to think about.  But to me… it was safe.

Why the hell am I talking about suicide?  Well, because things have changed for me.  And things have not changed for a lot of other people.  Things may not have changed for you.  But it can.

This was my mind during the time of the teddy bear:

full

Confusing and loaded.  There was nothing in there that told me, “Ya know Amber, that’s kinda fucked up.”  And anyone that would say that (and many people did)… it just wouldn’t get processed.

Then Wayne came along.  My husband is NOT a bullshitter and he certainly isn’t going to tell you what you want to hear.  ESPECIALLY when it comes to this.  He told me that if I committed suicide he would not go to my funeral but he may drop by later to piss on my grave. 

The hell?

At first I was kinda pissed.  I’m fragile, damnit!  Kid gloves, sir!  His view was that he loved me.  He wanted me around as did a couple other people (heh), he said it would be selfish to do such a thing.  And then I thought about people being pissed off at me after I was safe and felt like shit. 

At long last my teddy bears were gone.  Not forgotten, but not there.  Wanted, but not an option.  At first I felt trapped.  Then I felt safe… with him.  He became my Permanent Marker.  He covered up some of the confusion and disaster in my mind.  It was still there, but I really couldn’t get to it:

PM

A few more years crept by and my biological clock was ticking JUST! LIKE! THIS!  Then this guy came into play:

bw

I knew that of course there would be no more thoughts.  No more plans.  I “knew” it like I “knew” getting cut in half for him wasn’t going to hurt.  I convinced myself of it.  I was a big fat FAIL if not.

Evan came along and suddenly things changed again.  He was my Eraser:

eraser

Poof!  It was gone.  ALMOST not even there.  But there’s some residue left behind and I’m glad for that.  I need to remember what it was like to feel that way.  I need to try to recognize those souls that are cuddling with that teddy bear when I’m not looking.  And, I guess, I had to tell you.

(There’s HOPE and HELP.  This is a good resource: http://www.preventsuicide.us/hopeline-new/)

(Will you find a Permanent Marker or better yet, an Eraser?  I don’t know.  I hope so.  That’s what you should do too: HOPE.)

Pneumonia, Fails and Puppy Dog Tails.

October 7, 2009 at 11:34 am | Posted in Baby Weight (Evan), I's for reals, It's OK to be confused... I am, Me myself I and me again, The Others | Leave a comment

Happy Reunion Day!

It’s been so long I feel like a need to throw one.  I’m going to get some punch and balloons.  I’ll be the fat girl in the corner wearing the ill-fitting dress.

So September is over.  Life isn’t shiney… nor is it ever, but I’m not feeling particularly stabby either so that’s good.  Here’s your run down.

The flu wore off and by the weekend I was wanting to get out of the house.  Thinking that some walking would do me good, I took Evan up to the mall.  Half way through I was wheezing.  “Fuck.  I’m REALLY out of shape.” I was thinking.  Monday morning I could scarcely breathe and I left work for bed.  By the time I had to pick Evan up from daycare I was in really bad shape.  I almost called Carrie to ask her if I could drop Evan off with her so I could visit the ER.  However, I didn’t know if I could even do that so I toughed it out.  Later Evan was having a hard time getting to sleep because the mommy-machine wasn’t singing to him.  He’d lay his head down on my chest and then pop it up and give me the WTF face, “Sing Rocking Lady!”  Oh well.  Pneumonia goes away and I hope it never comes back.

This past weekend I took Evan to the Renaissance Festival.  He was too adorable.  His Grandma bought him a Jester’s costume and he got his face painted.  He also discovered that HE LOVES PICKLES.  (Must find more ginormous pickles)

Picture 2744

Picture 2747

Picture 2756

Picture 2762

Picture 2764

Evan’s grandma later springs for a Psychic reading.  I’m afraid I didn’t hear all that she said.  Something about writing a book.  Being more confident (Read here and here about how cold readings are done). 

Then she flipped over a card and looked at Evan.  “Is he your only?”

“Yes”

“You’re going to have one or two more”

“Ah. No.  My husband doesn’t want another and I got sick with him.”

“Oh.  OK.”

Then she flips over another card.  “Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

Then she flips over another and another.  “BE VERY VERY CAREFUL!  If you are not planning for another, be careful of an opps baby.  The last 4 cards have been fertility cards.”

I ooze my need for fertility, people.

In related news, the Psychic’s son was named Evan and she got sick with him too.  And Evan’s going to be a doctor.  Obviously, he oozes smart.  I could have told you that.

And the McNamara household would not be the same without some sickness going on.  My 11 year old dog, Angel is sick.  She has a condition called Addison’s Disease and is currently in a Addisonian crisis.  It used to be Cushing’s Syndrome, but the vet overmedicated her for that and she got the opposite, Addison’s.  Every 23 days we have to take her into the vet for a steroid shot and every night she gets a steroid pill.  Last year when I had Evan her shot went by the way side (she was due about the time I had Evan and that info was written on my calendar at work).  She got really sick after about a month without her shot.  She had to stay at the vets overnight for fluids.  This time she was about 2 weeks late (Flu, pneumonia, and a husband working nights).  She also hasn’t been to the groomers and is WAY overdue.  Well, she got sick fast.  She should have some leeway and she got none.  She’s at the vet getting fluids now and she’s still not doing well. 

 [if ((DOG = SICK) and (ME <> FULL PAYCHECK)) then “Extremely Screwed” else “Can pay bills only”]

Our other dog Homee is extremely pissed at the situation and showing it by pissING all up in the house.  This combined with money and poor little sick dog never seeing fair hubby is very stressful.  Throw in the fact that I had to block my Visa because some dumbass stole my number and used it online?  Let’s just say I am well within the right to double the Ativan.  AND I HAVE.

Steps

September 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Baby Weight (Evan), I's for reals, Love and all that other mushy stuff, Me myself I and me again, Putting on Baby Weight (Pregnancy), Rewind | Leave a comment
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Our home was built in the 1970s.  Due to this fact, we have a “mirror corner”.  It covers the corner of our living room from floor to ceiling.  You can kinda see it in this photo in the upper left corner:

IMG_0674

 You can watch yourself in this mirror as you go down the stairs from the bedrooms.

I remember walking (ok, waddling) down those stairs about a year ago with my big pregnant belly.  I’d catch myself in the mirror and unconsciously place a hand on my tummy. 

Then a short time later, Evan was born.  Wayne and I would so very carefully tip toe down the stairs.  We would clutch the hand rail in one hand and hold not-even 5 pound Evan in the other.  We would place ourselves in the exact middle of the staircase… careful not to accidentally bump his head into a wall on the way down.  We’d search the area for our little dogs, not wanting to trip on them and hurt the baby.  I remember pausing on the steps.  I remember seeing a small fold of blankets in my arms as a gingerly inched down the stairs after my c-section.  He was so tiny.  You could scarcely see his face poking out of the swaddling blanket.

IMG_0662

Soon after I was walking confidently down those stairs as I watched how natural it looked for me to be cradling an infant in my arms.  I didn’t need a handrail.  Even the dogs knew to run down the stairs if I shouted, “GO!” 

Months would pass I would see myself walking down those steps as I had Evan on my hip, tickling his side while we bounced down the stairs.

And again as I clutched a heavy sleepy Evan against my chest with his arms around my neck.

I pause on the steps and look into that mirror and realize that in a year Evan will be crawling up and down those steps on his own.  I can see myself waiting and watching at the top of the steps as he slowly makes his way down. 

I know in the future I will see Evan running up those steps to his room to go play.  I can see him running up those steps to slam himself into his room because he’s mad at me.  I can see him rubbing his eyes as he stumbles down the steps in the morning for breakfast.  I can see him missing a step one day and me kissing his boo-boo as he cries.

It’s not easy to swallow the fact that this baby is going to be a kid one day.  A kid that can walk and run and talk back to me.  It’s hard to imagine that one day I won’t have to carry him down those steps.  One day he won’t want me to carry him down those steps.

One day I won’t be able to carry him down those steps.

August

August 6, 2009 at 10:42 am | Posted in I have unleashed the crazy, I's for reals, Me myself I and me again | 2 Comments
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 I always question my diagnosis of Bipolar.  I’ve been inked with the stamp of BIPOLAR II.  This is a fancy name for serious depression with cycling hypomanic episodes. 

I often wonder if I actually have manic moments or if I could just have depression.  Then I remember that time I spent all night brush-scrubbing my white painted walls with Clorox bleach and then WIPING all the walls with a cloth with Clorox cleaner and finally wiping the walls down with water because the smell of bleach was thick and then vomiting because FUMES!  By 3am the apartment was aired out and I was pacing and freaking out because the walls were cleaner than the floors.  So I put away the ladder and got down on my hands and knees and cleaned those with a brush.  Then I used a tiny toothbrush for the grout whose bristles wore down to half their original size by the time I was done and then I threw up again because BLEACH IS THE ONLY THING THAT CLEEEEEEANS!  I’ve taken out drawers and polished the backs of them because don’t they get dirty too?  OF COURSE THEY DO. 

My manic episodes usually consist of irritation (to put it oh-so-delicately), speed-talking, being an extrovert when normally my idea of a party is reading a book in bed by myself and needing everything to be JUST SO.  My manic times also refuse to believe in the magic of AMBIEN and 5 of those motherfuckers will not quiet my brain enough for sleep.  And you know those hospital dramas where someone is all crazy or spazzing out and a doctor yells out, “Ativan, STAT!”?  I take an Ativan every night and when I’m manic I keep taking them until I go down which can sometimes be about 48 hours.  Dozens of those little pills won’t make the mania go away. 

Not to say I’m some sort of monster.  I’m quite normal.  Thanks to my miracle doctor, Dr A and some good old fashion tough love from my husband and myself.  I’ve been on the same meds for years now and I take them religiously.  You might see me cry or I may clean your house but you won’t see the crazy. 

But I can feel it.

Especially now.  August marks a yearly decline in my own little private roller coaster.  By September, I’m normally think in the muck.  The funny thing is that I don’t usually recognise it.  Every year without fail, (except last year while I was pregnant because, let me tell you, an occupied uterus really made all the bad shit go away), I make a frantic call my Dr A’s office to schedule an appointment right now.  I’ll burst into his office worried sometimes crying and always saying the same thing, “It’s getting bad.  I can’t figure out why.  I’m not sleeping but I go straight to bed when I get home and I can’t get out of bed in the morning.  I’m always crying, I’m being a complete bitch to everyone.  I’m having panic attacks all the time.  I can’t concentrate or remember anything.  I’m hurting.  I’m sick.”  Dr. A will stare at me for a moment and deadpan, “It’s August.”  Oh.

This year I’m at the top of the hill bracing myself for the plunge down.  I’m forcing myself out of the house by scheduling my free time in advance.  I’m holding myself accountable for every move I make.  I’m staring at my son who depends on me.

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I’m so lucky that I have found the right combination of tricks that help me cope.  A good base of medication.  A few prescriptions for emergency only.  A husband that understands the disease but still doesn’t put up with my shit.  An awareness of my emotions and what actions they cause.  A knowledge of what’s happening to my body that I can refer to when I get unreasonable.  And most importantly, I hold myself accountable for my actions.  No matter what state of play my brain chemicals are in.  No matter how bad I’m hurting I do everything I can to minimize the effect it has on those around me. 

But don’t get it twisted, I’m hurting none-the-less.  Those little tricks I have?  They take the edge off and make the crazy invisible to the rest of the world.  I hope.  It took a looooong (all those ooo’s mean reallllly long) time to get those tricks mastered.  Yet every year I’m terrified the depression is going to go deeper than the tricks. 

It’s an uphill battle I always face while I’m going down.

Leeeeeeavin’ on a Jetplane…

June 22, 2009 at 11:54 am | Posted in Baby Weight (Evan), I's for reals, The Others | 1 Comment

… and now I’m finally back again.

We’re back.  We’ve been back.  And you, my pretties, have been the last to know about it.  I sorry.  I CAN HAZ ACCEPTED APPOLOGY?

Evan and I left for Arizona last Saturday.  After a teary daddy dropped us off, Evan was stuffed into a Baby Bjorn and I flopped a backpack onto my back.  I lugged the suitcase behind me and we went to ticketing to check in.  Evan’s boarding pass read, “MCNAMARA, INFANT”.  Went we got to the awesome TSA dude, he looked at it and said, “Wow, a lot of mother’s are naming their babies, ‘infant’ lately.”  *snort*

We got through security smoothly and headed to our gate.  I stopped at a coffee shop and asked for a bottle of water and a large cup of hot water.  At our gate, I mixed a bottle for Evan and a bottle of cold water for later.  Then I poured the rest of the hot water in with the cold water and whatdoyaget??  WARM WATER.  I’s a genius.  (okok, BCUCFO Teresa, gave me the tip)

Evan was uninterested in the bottle.  “Eat?”, he said “EAT?  Look at all these PEOPLE!  Look SHINY over there!  I wanna touch THAT!  AAAAAHHH!  WINDOWS!  You didn’t say there would be WINDOWS!  Getthatstupidbottleouttamahface!

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So we spent the time waiting to board looking out the window and scratching at shiny things.  Before the plane boarded I made a quick run to change Evan’s diaper.  Then I went back to the gate and then “!!!!” shit, I forgot to pee myself, so I ran back to the bathroom and peed with Evan still in the Baby Bjorn.  (Sorry Evan for your wee little complex I’m creating for you.)

Back at the gate, I stood in front of the line and reached for our boarding passes.  And then checked my pocket for the boarding passes and then asked Evan where I put the boarding passes.  About 5 minutes later I ran up to the bored looking gate agent and said something like, “BOARDING PASSES!  OMG!  I’m not a terrorist with a baby!  I need to BOARDING PASSES!”  And he rolled his eyes and printed me new ones.  Whew. 

Our seats where in the last row in the aisle.   It wasn’t a terrible flight.  I know, right?  Sure there were throwing of toys / squirming of babies / bottles refused / naps fought / getting bored of mommy.  But there were also no ear issues / pleasant and even helpful neighbors / constant stream of people standing next to us (for the bathroom) that Evan could flirt with. 

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Arizona was wonderful.  It was great to see my Grandmother and Uncle. 

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  I ended up buying (or rather my Grandmother ended up buying), a pack ‘n’ play while we were there because of my grandma’s tile floors and my fear of co-sleeping.  It worked out pretty well. 

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I was also very happy with the car seat that was borrowed.  It was installed perfectly.

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For the flight back, we got a delayed plane.  Err.  Once we got on, I had a window seat this time and as I was stuffing all the toys and diaper packs and bottles… Evan saw BOTTLES and he WANTED A BOTTLE RIGHT THIS MINUTE!  So he screamed.  I stuffed it in his mouth and he finished as we were taxiing to the runway.  When it was gone he tried to fall asleep and couldn’t, so he screamed.  The lady next to me laid head down and covered her ears.  Oy.  Thankfully, a couple minutes later he fell sleep for 2 and half hours!  HALLELUJAH!  When he woke we played for a little while until the plane started to land.  And, what is this?  My ears start hurting.  And Evan starts crying… cause his ears are hurting too.  He wouldn’t take his water bottle so I broke out the emergency distracter/swallow starter.  A BLOW POP*. 

 *Disclaimer:  I don’t give my nine month old candy.  Don’t look at me like that.  He was hurting and annoying the fuck out of everyone.  Hurt+Annoying=Candy.  Did you not know that?

It totally did the trick.  I whipped it out and he stared at it, silent.  And I took a lick and he took and lick and SWALLOWED.  So we shared the lollipop.  And he was happy.  Sweet Success.  (See what I did there?)

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  On an extremely sad aside: my Grandmother went into the hospital shortly after we left.  She’s still there and hardly able to breathe.  (She has COPD and smokes.)   (Community Message: Srsly, STOP SMOKING NOW).  I hate that there is nothing I can do for her. 

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