Monday, April 29, 2013

Good babies

I was on a shuttle in Las Vegas recently, and overheard a conversation between the parents of a "good" little baby and another passenger.

"She's such a good baby," they said of the child who was quiet and content even though she was on a shuttle at 4 am. "We keep expecting her to act up at some point, but she's just so good."

"I had two good babies," the other proud momma said. "It IS possible. They both slept so well on their own."

"Well, some days I have to rock her to sleep when we catch her on a bad day" said proud momma #1, "but most of the time she just sleeps on her own."

As a mom to two strong-willed, opinionated, GOOD babies myself... I really wanted to chime in.

"I had two good babies myself," I wanted to say...

Madelyn was a such a good baby, she knew that she felt most at peace and safe when in her momma's arms. So she made sure I knew that's where she wanted to be ... All the time.

She was such a good baby she knew that her acid reflux hurt her when she was flat on her back ... Even when her mommy didn't know what was wrong. So she communicated her need in as strong of a way as she knew how.

She knew that mommy's milk made her tummy feel better, and helped her feel comforted when she was overstimulated or overwhelmed. So she rooted and nursed often (I mean, she rooted and nursed all of the time.)

She was such a good baby, she experimented with her communication (how loud can I go?) until the desired effect was reached. She knew herself well enough to know what she needed, and trusted that her mommy would provide. So she made sure her mommy always knew how she was feeling.

She was such a good baby she still developed well, even when I was exhausted from meeting her constant needs, and didn't respond to her in the most peaceful, loving ways at times.

She was such a good baby because she didn't give up on herself, her needs, or her mommy and daddy.... Even when we were all exhausted.

She was such a good baby.

Little miss is also a good baby.

She gets passed from person to person. Sometimes it's too much for her and she shows us when she needs peace and quiet.

Little miss doesn't like diaper changes ... She doesn't like being held in one place. She's so curious about her world that she just wants to crawl around and see what everything feels like ... In her mouth of course. She's so good at discovery.

Little miss is good at letting us know when a transition is too sudden for her. She is good at letting us know what food tastes good and feels right in her mouth ... And what doesn't. She's good at telling us when she wants to be rocked, and when she wants to be put down.

Little miss can't say words like most 1-year-olds. She doesn't eat like most 1-year-olds. And she sees more specialists than most adults I know. But she charms everyone who meets her. Every day she tries, and tries, and tries again without getting discouraged.

She is such a good baby.

My babies may not sleep on their own or through the night like most babies. They may not have gone to other people well. They may not transition from arms to floor, or arms to carseat, or arms to other arms without a lot of fuss.

They both may have needs that make me feel overwhelmed at times, and under prepared.

Both my babies may be high-needs. But they have been good babies.

But even if they didn't do anything ... Even if had had nothing to offer... Even if they never reached one milestone.... They are good.

Just because they're babies.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baby Nolan's Story

I am so honored to share precious Baby Nolan's story. I so hope that you will take a few minutes to read about this sweet little boy.

Dayna is a brave momma who had to make a decision no one ever wants to make. Her story deserves to be told.

I am helping Dayna through my business to raise funds for her March of Dimes walk in honor and memory of precious baby Nolan. If you'd like to help, click on the link below to shop for Arbonne. 35% of your retail order will go to March of Dimes, in honor of Nolan.

April 24 is the last day donate funds for Nolan's walk.

 -- Rachel

Baby Nolan's Story


I found out a week before Christmas that I had placenta previa and placenta percreta. They said they usually don't detect it until about 24 weeks. Most cases don't hemorrhage/bleed as early on as I did.

I hemorrhaged two times in the beginning of November, one of which times I passed out in the bathroom, while home alone with the kids and had to call 911. One set of paramedics had to watch my kids until my mom got there. My kids were freaked out. I ended up staying 3 days in the hospital and having 2 blood transfusions.

I was then sent to a high risk doctor at St. Joseph who sent me to have an MRI. When the results came in, she called and said I had to go to UW medical that week. I went and they said my placenta percreta was basically like having a rapid growing cancer. When the placenta grows through the wall of the uterus it invades other organs. Because they can't leave any kind of placenta tissue or it will just continue to bleed, they would have to take all of what it invaded.

The MRI showed the placenta had already invaded a good amount of my bladder and also looked like it had started growing into my bowel. They told me my best chance to live was to deliver under a controlled surgery and told me there was a very high chance I still might not make it. I had to make the choice which made everything even harder.

How is a Mother supposed to kill their baby?

 I begged them to wait till 25 weeks so he could have a chance. They said I would have to be admitted in the hospital for the rest of the pregnancy and if I choose this then they would have to push the pregnancy till I started bleeding again or at 30 weeks. I could bleed out at any time.

They said if I started bleeding again the would have to do emergency surgery and would not have all the specialists needed for the surgery. They also said Nolan would not be like a normal preemie because if I start bleeding he would be losing his blood too. And because I had already had a couple of major bleeds and one that needed 2 blood transfusions that early on, it scared them. She said she didn't even think I would even make it to 24 weeks without bleeding out.

I know I made the best decision, but still one I regret every day. I will always have the what if’s.

Even with the controlled surgery, I lost 6 ½ liters of blood and I had to have 14 blood transfusions. I had a 9 ½ hour surgery, 2 days in the ICU and 8 days total in the hospital. I had to have a full hysterectomy, and half of my bladder removed.

In the recovery room, I was able to hold my sweet baby boy, although he was already gone. He was perfect in every way. He looked just like his older brothers and sister. He was tiny, only weighing 9.2 oz. I didn’t get to hold him long because of just being out of surgery. They told me I could ask to have him anytime during my stay, but I could not bring myself to ask again. I was afraid . . . but I now wish that I held him more.

10 perfect, tiny toes.

I had a rough recovery while in the hospital. I had low spinal fluid from the epidural which caused the worst headache of my life and nonstop throwing up. They ended up giving me 3 different blood patches, each worked for a short period of time. During one day/night I got so bad they sent me in for a head CT (that I don’t remember because I was so out of it) and pumped me with  IVs to help my body replace the fluid, which finally started helping. I had to have a catheter in for a little over 3 weeks while my bladder healed.

Nolan Mason was born on January 5, 2012, and passed shortly after. He was just about 21 weeks gestation. We found out he was a boy at 14 weeks, and his brothers were so excited to be having a baby brother. We buried Nolan Mason on Feb 3, 2012. We know he was with us that day because the weather was blue skies and sunny and 60 degrees out.

Always remembered.

We miss and love him every day. He is talked about and thought about every day in our house.

Walking in the March of Dimes last year in honor of Nolan.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On being a (crappy) foster mom, and other misc. musings

I should be cleaning my kitchen right now.

Ha ha . . . that's how every blog post of mine should start.

I should be doing laundry . . .
I should be finishing emails . . .
I should be relaxing or reading a book . . .
I should be sleeping . . .

I always have things to do, and every time I sit to write, I think about how I SHOULD be doing something else.

But I know that I really SHOULD be writing, because when I don't my mind gets jumbled with thoughts and feelings, and I have a really hard time processing how I feel.

One thing that's been on my heart is that I feel like a crappy foster mom.

There. It's out.

There are things that I didn't think I would do as a foster mom, and now, I've done them. And I feel super guilty about that.

Mainly, this revolves around respite. But also day care.

Maddy and I have been sick. I had a cough last week, but it was manageable and not really concerning to me. Once Ryan came home from being gone for a week, I think my body finally gave itself permission to REALLY get sick.

I started having coughing fits that brought me to my knees and made me feel like I might pass out or suffocate. Sometimes at night, I really wondered if I would be able to breathe. Every deep breath (and by deep, I mean not intentionally shallow) brought on crazy spasms, and I just coughed, and coughed and coughed. (Those of you who saw me, or talked to me on the phone, you know it wasn't pretty.)

On Easter Sunday, it got better during the day, but at night at my mom and dad's, I was just plain miserable. Maddy started complaining (hmmmm, that's the understatement of the year) . . . Maddy started crying, whining, and throwing fits (much better) for hours and it was hard to console her.

For a few minutes, we got her calmed down and we had a short and sweet Easter egg hunt, but then it was back to the crying and writhing around in pain.

My mom suggested we try to get respite the next day for little miss . . . and while I am opposed to it on a conceptual level (I would NEVER let a complete stranger come pick up Maddy and take her for the night), I knew I really couldn't handle both girls on my own. Or even with Ryan. (Honestly, the four of us adults had a hard enough time taking care of both kiddos.) So I arranged for respite care for the following day and night.

That night was horrible and reaffirmed my need for respite. I think I finally went to sleep around the time the sun came up, and Ryan took the girls and let me sleep till 10:30. At some point, the respite woman came and picked up little miss, and I didn't even have it in me to crawl out of bed and say good-bye or talk to the mom. I stayed in bed with Maddy till after noon, because she was still throwing fits and writhing about in pain. (And of course, all she wanted was mommy.)

Ryan played nurse and brought us everything we could need, and doled out the meds.

I took Maddy to the Drs, and that took about every ounce of energy I had. Turns out Maddy had another ear infection, and her ear drum likely ruptured --- which accounts for the writhing around and inconsolable crying. (I've had my ear drum rupture before, and man does it hurt!)

Besides the trip to the drs, and a short stint on the couch to watch a movie, I pretty much slept for a day and a half. And Maddy spent all that time with me. When she starting throwing up as a result of her antibiotics, I thought, "Yep . . . there's no way I could've handled two tonight."

And today, when I got up again after noon. . . I really felt like the rest did both of us good.

But it bothered me that little miss was at some stranger's house. No, that's not entirely it. What really bothers me is that having little miss with a stranger didn't bother me ENOUGH.

I wasn't up all night worrying about her. I wasn't calling or emailing or texting. I wasn't being the helicopter mom I imagined I would have been if it were Maddy.

And THAT is what bothered me.

I mean the girl was picked up by a stranger, spent the night at their house. Then was picked up by a case worker I hadn't met, and taken to see bio parents. Then taken by same (new) caseworker and brought to us. It seems like that would be confusing to her.

Am I not as attached to little miss as I am to Maddy? Why do I assume she can handle being with strangers just because she's a foster child? Does that make her a different breed of human  . . . the kind who is more resilient and less in need of security? Why would I think it's ok for little miss but NEVER think it would be OK for Maddy?

Which is the exact same struggle I have with day care.

I am very thankful Maddy never had to go to day care. But here I send little miss off for a few hours twice a week, and I wonder why in the world I'm doing it.

Ok, Ok,  I know why. So she has some sort of stable place. Because if I don't, then I'll lose day care for good. And what would happen if I really needed it after all?

But if we were to have one of our own, I'd never send one off to day care, and keep the other one home. So why am I doing that now?

When little miss got home today, she looked more confused than happy to see us. She warmed up to us again after a bottle and bath, and seemed to enjoy our walk outside. She played cute games and smiled and giggled.

But I wondered if passing her off this soon would affect her attachment to us. Is day care affecting her attachment? Is she just getting passed around too much?

SO there you go. I feel like a crappy foster mom because I've always wanted our foster child to feel as much like our family as any of our bio kids. And treating one different than the other just feels wrong to me -- but I keep doing it.

So what to do?

In other news, I really do want to write a book. It's been on my heart and mind for some time. But sometimes a book seems so big, and my blog seems so small.

I thought about submitting an article for an online magazine. But the thought of it scared me, and I wondered, "Who am I to write for a magazine??"

Then I thought, "Silly me. Why would I think people would want to read an entire book if they couldn't stomach an 800-word article?"

It's so easy to dream big -- but when it comes to the small things that lead up to your big dream, it's just as easy to feel daunted and back away.

If my business has taught me anything -- it's that the small things lead to the big things.  So I guess I need to write that article.

One last thought -- I still really want to be pregnant.

I know that sounds weird, because I have a baby in my arms and I love her so very much. I don't understand this need to have a child in my uterus. But there you go. It's still a longing I feel every single day. I can't get rid of it, and I can't explain it. It just is.

But we definitely aren't trying. After stupid period from hell last week, we (I) decided I had had enough. Every month, it gets worse and I feel so out of control with my body. So birth control it is.

Ok, Ok, one last thought -- for real this time.

I just want to say thank you. Thank you, mom, for the laundry and food. Thank you friends for the amazingly delicious meals you blessed us with last week. Thank you Bethany and Kristin for helping me with laundry. Thanks Kristin for the awesome babysitting, and clean kitchen -- and time watching "Call the Midwife."  Thank you Jessica, Jeanne and Cherie for the clothes. Thank you Stevie for the gift card and absolutely precious peapod. Thank you Syndi for always offering to help. Thank you Deanna and Darin for giving little miss an awesome first family, and for being so supportive to our family throughout this time. Thanks for trusting us with your little girl. And thanks Deanna for arranging meals!

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, or kept up on my facebook page, or followed my blog, or encouraged me in so many, many ways.

Thanks everyone for being the hands and feet of Jesus by ministering to us in so many special ways.

Love to you all,