Monday, January 24, 2011

The Unforgivable Choice

Choices, we make them every day with immense ease. How do you take your coffee? What will you wear? Which kid will you wake first to start the day? What will you make for dinner? These are the easy ones. Then there are the hard ones. How and when do you explain death to your child? Do you tell a friend her husband is a jerk and is disrespectful of her? College fund for kids or retirement? But even these seem like cake when you are confronted with what feels like a lose-lose, simply unforgivable choice.

Choosing between your children. Maybe choice is the wrong word. Prioritizing among your children’s needs certainly may be more accurate (and definitely feels better to say it this way) but in the end if you are the kid who didn’t have the priority need than you simply were the one who wasn’t chosen.
To look into the little, needy face of one of your children who is pleading for your time and attention and turn away to another is so wrong, so unnatural, so painful and despicable feeling. It is just simply unforgivable.

Yet, in the face of this seemingly unforgivable choice what can we do? I spent months choosing between my kids. I was in the hospital, away from two of my kids caring for my third (both while in my body and out) for over two months. I was choosing to care for the one who it seemed needed me the most. I would talk on the phone daily to my other two and listen to their requests for me to come home, to hug me, to have me tuck them in. Over and over again I had to tell them no because I was keeping their baby sister safe. Sometimes that was an acceptable answer for them, they had other things to distract them and they said “okay mama” and went on about their day, other times they didn’t give a rats ass about this supposed baby they saw nothing of; they wanted needed their mother and mama was choosing another over them. 

I like to think that my children each being one of three will in time learn from occasionally being set aside for one another to be empathic, compassionate, generous and will grow a servants heart. I also want them to know they matter and even their smallest need is indeed important, because after all when you are five and need help finding the green hotweel with the red flames not getting it really could cause one to have “the worst life ever.” I like many a mothers have resorted to sharing the real tragedies of the world, the reality that some kids don’t have parents, food, homes, and terminal illness in an attempt to give them a little perspective. But is that really fair? Is it fair to say to a two year old who is asking to be rocked while the baby simultaneously needs to be nursed with some peace and quiet surrounding her, “Listen honey, I know you want mommy right know but you can’t have me. But take joy in the fact I will be with you in 20-30 minutes unlike some children in Africa whose mommies have died of AIDS”  Ok, an over-reaction perhaps, but “just a couple minutes honey” feels the same because even in this small moment I am choosing between my kids.

Enter emotionally overextended Mama. Because I tell one to wait at any given time, I ensure I make up for it later, so needless to say I spend my days running the circle of children attending to physical and emotional needs. Trying in vain to make each feel as important as they truly are to me; to make up for any lost moments we may have had. To remind each one of their uniqueness, their own special place in my heart and that yes, no matter what I have time and space for each of them.  But do I? On whose scale are we measuring, mine or the kids? Because I am sure they are different. Am I overestimating my own importance in their day to day life? Is having the need of a PB&J (NOW!) really about needing mom to care for them or just about getting something in their stomach and would sending them on their own to the fridge for a pre-packaged lunchable suffice?

Mi Prima often tells me I over-analyze, and that all these worries are mine, not the kids. I suppose she is right. To some degree I am creating my own worries and issues.

But when they are grown, will they know? Will they know that every day I CHOSE them, each of them?  Will they know that it is their spirits that keeps my heart beating? Will they know that every day I look deeply into their faces and see every glimmer, every question, every worry and I bury it in my own heart? Will they know that even when I had to choose one of their siblings that they still mattered more than they will ever know?

Perhaps not…until they are a parent themselves that is.
And it is I, not them I suppose, who has to learn to be okay with this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Itty Bitty is…
Fancy Dancer
…the girl I want to be when I grow up.

I love watching you grow my amazing child.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Baby Zen

I have made a point since starting this blog to protect the identity and particular details about my kids. Less because I am fearful of the internet, but more because I believe in letting my children’s lives and journey through it be their own; to be told in their own time and to the degree to which they choose to share with the world. Because of this I have also chosen to not share pictures of my kids. However today I am breaking my own rule and sharing the following picture with you and my hearts story that goes with it. I hope my little Zen will someday read this and not feel intruded upon but relish in the beauty of it.

Born at 31 weeks our little Zen was 4 days old and weighed just 3lbs 6oz the first time I was able to hold her. Prior to this I had only been able to place my hands gently on her. No rubbing. No patting. No stimulation. Plastic separated us. I could only slide my hands through holes in her isolate. No kisses. No gentle whispers letting her know I was there with her.  My body actually ached for her. I felt like I couldn’t really breath yet, everything in me was tight and anxious. I had enough drugs in me to put a horse down and I still was unable to sleep. I needed to hold her. I needed her to know I was there with her. I wanted her to smell me and feel me. I believed in the healing power of my touch, yet I was told no, to stay back, to touch “just a little”. Everything about the first few days felt so very wrong. I had no control, no ability to help my tiny, frail hurting little baby. I had to trust people I didn’t know, or in some cases even like very much. I pumped. I pumped milk like Zens life depended on it. It was all I could offer. I filled the NICU freezer and had to have the hubs take a cooler full home. I kept pumping, I was pumping hourly. The nurses clearly thought I was insane. They brought lactation in to encourage me to ease up but I was compulsive. No one got it; it was all I could do. I could do nothing else for her. I was unable to keep her safe in me and now she was here in this harsh sterile environment separate from my body and there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t even kiss her. She was buried under wires, tubes and gauze. Her eyes were covered, she had a c-pap on which covered the entire lower half of her face. I wasn’t even sure what she really looked like, but I knew she was beautiful.  And I knew she needed me to hold her close. But it was possible I needed it more.

We started the process of bringing out some of her lines and c-pap around 9pm, I waited up all night for the green light which came at 5am the next morning. The moment I pulled her into me time stopped. Right then, time stood still. The loud, buzzing NICU went silent; all I could hear was the sound of the two of us breathing. I could feel her little body relax and I, for the first time in months, took a deep breath. I felt a little light headed, euphoric. My milk was gushing out of me and I suddenly knew what “Heaven On Earth” really meant. It was a perfect moment, one of healing and love…and faith.

Holding Baby Zen for the first time

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaack!

Hello?...Anyone still here?
I hope so. I have missed you my little internet world. However, the immediate needs of my family have not provided time, or more pointedly the emotional energy to write.

So five days after my (albeit testy) last post our little Baby Zen was born just shy of 10 weeks early. She came early in the morning after a couple of hours of contractions. Because I had a complete placenta previa (Google it if you need to) this was an extremely dangerous situation for her and I so ended up with an emergency c-section. Someday I will write in more detail about the full experience of my long hospital stay prior to Zens birth as well as the months that have followed with her in the NICU and all the adjustments our family has been through. These things will take time. I still need time to process and time to find the right words for feelings that are so very overwhelming.

However, we are home now. My beautiful family is all together again, with our new little Baby Zen completing the mix. I wake up each morning with all three children snuggled in with the Hubs and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

So for now I will offer a simple update on our little family.
The hubs has been the rock star of all fathers these last several months. He had managed all of his usual duties of job, home and community while also being primary caregiver. He continues to keep milk in the fridge, bathrooms clean, diapers changed and the children fed. He is amazing, he is my rock, he is my hero. I am so grateful to the universe that of all the chance moments that have taken place in his life and mine that we have ended up parenting our children together; I simply cannot imaging having my kids raised by any other. Rock Star and Itty Bitty are gaga over baby and also busy figuring out the new dynamics of our family. It is interesting to see their need of reassurance that they still have a place, a special place within our family. Baby Zen spends her life nursing. She has almost tripled her birth weight and is doing stellar across the board. The healing powers of mothers milk is amazing and beautiful. I went a bit against the grain with orders for formula supplements and other things believing that my milk was the most pure healing agent she could be given. I am proud I followed my mama-intuition on this one.

The last few months have introduced my spirit to many things I look forward to writing about and exploring further with you. Things like what really is the role of a mother? Being your childs advocate in the medical world that often gives little validation to the organic nature of mother/child. Processing overwhelming guilt as a mother and how do you NOT allow it to smother your children. Accepting help from others… embracing humility. HORMONES! Bio-identicals and other options for natural healing. And my personal favorite, unrelenting anxiety-ugh. Sounds like fun huh? Ok, fun may be a stretch, but if you have read my space long enough, you know my writing will still be peppered with fun little stories of poop, vomit, and all sorts of inappropriateness!

Stay tuned, I have missed you my friends!
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