Monday, November 24, 2014

hospital stays and littles.

shilo spent half of the first year of her life in and out of the hospital, and has had other short stays off and on since then.  our longest stay was three months straight.  i had lots of things i had to work through as a result.  Jason and i have talked through our emotions a million times.  as new layers come up, even now, i know i can go to him and talk it out.  i've also seen a professional counselor to work through some of the issues.
when you're three, the words to describe how you feel are limited.  no matter how much we talked with big during all of this, and how much freedom we give her to share her thoughts and fears, even now, almost three years later, her ability to completely and adequately share her emotions regarding all of this, are limited.  even seeing a counselor who is amazing, she still isn't able to put all of her fears into words.  they come out, just in other more subtle, and generally annoying ways.
so the last few weeks with big have been atrocious at times.  she goes from yelling and telling me no to being unwilling to do anything other than stand or sit right up against me, and tell me she loves me over and over again.  and then, doing the same thing with Jason.

turns out, that the idea of her mama going to the hospital, and her little brother being born in the hospital might just be causing her a bit of anxiety.  it took us a little bit to figure it out.  but, it makes sense.  her reference for hospital stays is half of her family being an hour and a half away, her parents stress levels being through the roof, and spending lots of time at other people's houses.
today, i sat down and had a conversation with her about what she thought was going to happen.  it's a tough road to navigate because while i can give her run down of what usually happens when someone has a baby, i cannot tell her that everything will be okay.  i cannot tell her we will be home in a couple of days.  i can't make any guarantees to her.  so i can just give her the basics of what to expect.
i have a call in to the hospital to see if we can walk through with her to show her where we will be, and what it's usually like.  but, to be honest, this is super hard.  there are no children books on how to help your kid navigate a 'routine hospital visit' when she has some ptsd from hospital stays.
at this point, i'll spend the next eight weeks telling her over and over what it will likely be like when i go into labor.  i'll reassure her about who will be taking care of her and little.  and, even then, she will continue to tell me things throughout the day like, 'i don't want tiny to be in the hospital' and 'i hope tiny doesn't have seizures.'  all i can say is, 'me too.'

Monday, November 17, 2014


parenting is hard.  knowing what is best is hard.  push backs from the world around, the experts, the blogs, the strangers who comment, they are hard.  we do our best to choose what works for our children.  we parent Abigail and Shilo differently.  they are two different beings. 
these past few weeks I have been confronted by outsiders with the questions.  the why homeschool for Abigail?  a professional telling us we are 'limiting' Shilo by choosing not to push speech therapy and oral communication on her.  I stood my ground. 
and then I went through my days watching my girls.  wondering.  did we make the right choices?  are we doing anything well for these two little that we are trying to parent, and raise, and love to pieces?  are we being selfish in our choices?  are we limiting them?
and like the amazing little beings they are, our girls show us, and remind us why we have chosen the what we have, and why it is right.  for now.  getting to send Abigail out into the snow this morning, before we started school work, all bundled up, and full of light and laughter reminded me how great it is that she still gets to spend so much time playing.  we can get all of our school work done, and she can have lots of time to run, and play and be six.  and that is a beautiful thing for her.  and for me. 
almost ready to play.

and shilo.  and language.  and limits.  oh, if they could only see what we see.  a little girl who crawls over and asks for music, and then does her best to fingerspell, 'lecrae.'   three.  my three year old is trying to spell.  and then she tells me, amidst wiping banana in her hair that the banana she is eating, is a fruit.  and indeed, it is.  and i'm blown away that a little girl who can't speak many words, can communicate things to me that I did not know she even had in her little brain.  as if those reminders weren't big enough, weren't sure enough for us to know that we made a choice that took the limitations of speech away, and left her with language, we find her signing, in her sleep.  yes, people who use sign language as their first language do indeed talk in their sleep, with their hands.  and, it had never occurred to me.  but, the beauty and greatness of it left Jason and I laughing and full of joy.
parenting is full of choices.  there are some absolutes.  there are things that are never okay, and things that always are.  and most of us are limping our way along trying to figure out if we are doing, or saying anything right.  we're full of guilt, pain, and shame from the days we have been less than stellar in the parenting department.  we put the pictures out there for the whole world of the things we are doing well.  and, we watch those around us trying to measure up as better or worse. 
when my parenting and my decisions are called into question I quickly become defensive and snarky.  you see, most of the things i'm doing with, for, about, my children, those were things we decided with deep love for the ones who we were deciding about.  questioning those things feels a lot like questioning whether my love for them is.  and it is.  so i'll do my best to assume that your choices come from a deep well of love, the exact same place mine do. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

a few belly pics.

I have had multiple people ask for belly pictures.  However, I won't post them on facebook because I know for people who have struggled with infertility, miscarriage, or infant loss, pregnancy pictures can be really painful.  So instead, I'm going to post a few here, and people can look if they want, and they aren't in their face as soon as they open their facebook page.   Also, I wanted to take a few pictures tonight because it's snowing here, and I love the snow.  
7 weeks.

18 weeks. on vacation in st, maarten.

29 weeks.  where's your baby brother?

30 weeks.  preparing him for what is to come.

31 weeks.

31 weeks. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

things that are and aren't appropriate.

yesterday, shilo and I got a rare time out of the house with just the two of us.  it was to get her g-tube changed so not a fun experience for her.  however, whenever it's just her and it, the staring numbers drop substantially.  apparently, not having two children, of two different races, makes me stand out less.
i'm a very obvious pregnant at this point (almost 30 weeks).  no more questionable bump.  all of my weight gain is in the front, and most in my belly (some is slightly north of it).  this helps set the stage for the question that I am still trying to 'shake off.'

we had been put in a room to wait, and a nurse comes in to do the once over on meds etc. for shilo.  she looks up at one point and says,
'oh, your family is expanding.'
'yes.  we have a little guy due at the end of January.'
'how exciting.'
she then looks at shilo, and back at me.
'so, is there anything wrong with this baby?'

1.  she is a nurse in a pediatric doctor's office that specializes in caring for children with special needs.  this alone means she should have had the sensitivity training to know it was not an appropriate question.

2.  she is a nurse, and therefore, I would think she would know that Down syndrome is extremely rarely inherited (there is a form of translocation Ds that is.  not important to understand, but you are welcome to research it more if you care).  (obviously shilo is adopted so this is a mute point, but she seemed unaware of that fact)

3.  IF by some chance there was something going on with this baby, perhaps I don't want to talk about it with a complete stranger.  or at all.

4.  it's really none of your business.  like, at all. 

I still have been unable to shake the question.  I have no idea what I even said in response because I was trying not to cry. 
if you see a pregnant mom, and she has a child with obvious special needs of some sort, you don't have the right to ask if this next baby has anything wrong.  even if you are super curious.  even if you work in the medical field.  it's just not your business. 
things you can say:
congratulations.  you look beautiful.  do you know what you are having?  have you picked out a name? when are you due?  is big sister excited?  
these are all things I don't mind answering.  at all.  (or being told).