Posts Tagged ‘Family’

The questions I hate most these days are ‘What are you doing? ‘, ‘So what have you been doing lately?’, and my all time fave, ‘So what is it that YOU do?’ (that one is usually asked by people I first meet in relation to what career path I’ve chosen)

What DID, DO, or WILL I?

Absolutely nothing, thanks for asking!!!

Well of course that’s not what I say…. I mean, not out loud anyhow. I usually say ‘not much’ or mumble how being a Mom keeps me busy (If they only knew my son is in Grade 5, makes his own lunch every day and is very independent outside of school.), or I try to just change the subject. ‘What are YOU doing?’ seems to be a good enough reply. People like talking about themselves generally, and are only too happy to take the focus off of me and onto themselves.

Ring ring…. Ring ring…. ‘Hey! How are you? Whatcha doing?’ is how many people start a phone conversation….

And by text, it’s know different. ‘hey? Are you busy? Can you chat?’


Now I don’t think I’m THAT cynical, but the more I’m asked that, the less I want to talk to anyone these days.

What seems like an easy and benign question to ask is one of the most painful ones for me to answer. It is extremely frustrating at times. And it is a daily reminder to me of WHAT I AM NOT DOING, and WHAT I CANNOT DO.

I am not driving a car.

I am not going to school.

I am not working, nor am I working towards a career….

Vacuuming? Nope.

Laundry? Not today.

Out with a girlfriend? There aren’t many of those left.

I can’t even chat about a funny conversation I had the other day. Chances are, the conversation did not take place!!

Unless you mean the conversation that I had with my body. I have lots of those. I just don’t like sharing them with too many people.

I sit for 6 hours every day. By myself. Sure, I knit, make jewelry, try to write…. I play with my sweet puppy… I eat lunch (usually). I try and make time go by faster…. And I take a walk in the afternoon when my boy gets out of school.

But there’s only so many times I can stand having conversation about WHAT I’m knitting and whether it rained or not on the way to school!!

This life isn’t just about the pain we feel, the medication we take, or the appointments we have to go to. It doesn’t just effect our HEALTH. It effects everything.

The next time you bitch about your job, or do the laundry…. Remember how privileged you are to be able to do those things.

The next time you want to share an absolutely fascinating conversation you had, or movie you saw…… Remember how lucky you are to share those things.

The next time you stress over your paycheque being too small.. Remember that you HAVE a paycheque, and celebrate the fact that you can earn one at all……

And if you are like me, know that you aren’t alone…. And the next time someone asks you what you’ve been up to ‘these days’, tell them you’ve been working hard. You’ve been climbing insurmountable obstacles and working hard to be the hero in your own life.




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It is easy to get lost on the MS. Oosterdam if you aren’t paying attention… I honestly don’t know how people find their way around the HUGE Superships that are 4 times the size of our ship!

We made our way to the 4th Floor – The Upper Promenade Deck, and very happily found our cabins… 3 in a row on the Starboard side of the ship.

If you have ever been on a cruise ship, you’ll know that the cabins are cozy… There are 2 beds convertible to a queen-size bed, bath & shower, sitting area which has a hide-a-bed couch, private verandah, floor-to-ceiling windows.Approximately 254 square feet including verandah.  They aren’t huge by any means, but if they are organized correctly, they make a comfortable home away from home.

I had to share the next picture because it makes me LAUGH every time I see it!  This is Tim standing in the shower in the our bathroom.  When I say ‘cozy’, by my 5’3 standards it truly is.  For Tim, who is over a foot taller than I am, ‘cozy’ takes on a whole new meaning!  LOL!


Our luggage wasn’t in our cabin when we first arrived, but within minutes there was a knock on the door, and our suitcases showed up, one by one.  We buzzed about the 3 cabins, comparing them, and the boys went out on the balcony to sit in the sun while I started unpacking and organizing the closets…

I couldn’t WAIT to show Tim the rest of the ship, and explore every nook and cranny!  But before that, we had to take part in the Muster Drill.  It is a safety drill that by law you have to participate in at the beginning of every cruise.   We went and found our Lifeboat, #11, and then we were off and running!

Michelle, our wonderful travel agent, surprised us with a few extra goodies, including a special dinner to start off our cruise, in the Pinnacle Grill.  On a cruise you have different options for eating meals.  If you want a casual eat-anytime meal, you can go to the Lido deck and eat at the buffet, you can also eat in the dining room for more formal service, but the cream of the crop is the private restaurant known as The Pinnacle.  I REALLY wanted to experience eating there, so I was both pleasantly surprised AND excited that we would be eating our FIRST dinner there…. We cleaned ourselves up, went on deck to see the ship pull away from the terminal….


Bon Voyage!!

And then we headed down for dinner….

The Pinnacle is only something you can describe as opulent…. It has over-the-top decor, but it isn’t ‘tacky’.  It is very well done, down to the silver chairs and the artwork, it is something that would be considered ostentatious anywhere else…I thought it was beautiful.

I soon realized that I had NO self-control after looking at the Menu… It all sounded SO yummy!  It was so hard to decide!!

I started with an Amuse Bouche, a tasty morsel to wake up my taste buds!  It was a sea scallop with a pumpkin puree… unusual, but really good!! Next I had the lobster bisque… and I thought I had died and gone to heaven… it was SOOOOO good!  Tim agreed, as he ordered that too, but my little dude enjoyed a Prawn Cocktail, and the prawns were as big as my fist!!


Tim and I thought we would pace ourselves and SHARE an order of crab cakes, but we a bite in we wished we had ordered them for each of us.. they were decadent with a crispy panko breading, with sweet and rich crab inside, they were perfect!  Oh how I wish I was still on the ship… 😉

For dinner I had the “Land and Sea” – or in other words Steak and Shrimp.  I choose the creamed spinach and rice for my sides, but I had to try my sister’s Lobster Mac and Cheese… It was the richest dish on the table, much too rich for my tummy, but it was delicious!

Tim had the Steak Dianne, and it was so much fun to see it flambeed table-side!  I wish I had taken pictures!

And to end off a WONDERFUL MEAL, I chose the Baked Alaska with Cherry Garcia Ice Cream and Flambeed Cherry Sauce… SOOO SWEET… SOOOOO RICH… and TOOOO MUCH… I only ate half my dessert, and washed it all down with a decaf Cappuccino.


I did make a mental note that if I was lucky enough to go to the Pinnacle again, to order the Creme Brulee… Tim and my Dad both  had it, and it looked incredible..  It has a perfect sugary crust, and was served in 3 different flavors….Oh Lord… I resigned myself to taking home a few pounds extra…

All of us were really tired after a very long day, and we were all STUFFED.  We said Goodnight to my parents, and after a chilly walk on the lido deck, we also retired to our cabin.  The beds were turned down, chocolates were left on our pillow (like we needed any MORE calories), and with 2 days at sea, we knew we didn’t have to set a wake-up call…. ahhhhh…. I hoped to have a LONG and restful sleep.

I was so incredibly sore, but so very happy to share these memories with my family.

Buenos Noches everyone…..


To Be continued…

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MS Oosterdam at San Diego port.

Image via Wikipedia

My pain woke me up before my alarm did… another really crappy sleep… I cannot believe I am still moving to tell you the truth, it must be the adrenaline…

I woke up before my boys did, and IMMEDIATELY made myself a cup of Starbucks coffee, which was complimentary in our room.  I opened the drapes and went out onto our balcony… and there she was in all of her glory…

The MS. Oosterdam, all 936 Feet of her, and weighing in at close to 83,000 gross tonnes, she is regal and definitely a site to see!!  For those who aren’t familiar, she is owned and operated by Holland America Line, and was christened in 2003 by Her Dutch Royal Highness, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands.  It is an absolutely beautiful ship, and awesome in the truest sense of the word… It is hard NOT to be in AWE of her…

To give you a little bit of personal background, my first cruise when I was 6-year-old.  I have been absolutely blessed in my life to have been able to travel.  It was, and still remains a BIG part of my education.  While back home my elementary school friends were comparing name-brand clothes such as Benetton (the United Colors of) and Esprit, I was experiencing a taste of 3rd world countries, and watching children my own age beg on the streets.  It is something that has stuck with me my whole life.

3 years ago my Dad was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer.  It shook my family to its very core.  When hospital staff come into your private room and suggest you get your affairs in order, it is a clear indication of what your prognosis is… It was terrifying.

Because it has been years since we went on a family vacation, my Dad decided to book us ALL on a trip.  He very PURPOSEFULLY booked it a year in advance – it gave him something to look forward to, and something to fight for… and fight he did!!  We celebrated a YEAR after his diagnosis on the Oosterdam on a 7-day Mexican Riviera Cruise… and TWO YEARS later we are doing it again…  A MIRACLE!!!!!

Because my honey had never been on a cruise, it was SO exciting for me to be able to share every MOMENT with him!  I couldn’t wait until he opened his eyes, so he could take a first glance at the ship what we’d call home for the next week!!

After the boys were both up and at ’em, we got our luggage read to be picked up and taken to the ship, and made our way downstairs to meet up with the rest of my family.  We snacked on Banana Bread and Lemon Loaf, has another coffee, and toured the hotel once again before we got picked up by a shuttle which took us to the cruise terminal.

My honey was so in awe of the process, and my little dude was a CRAZY monkey!!  The excitement was tangible… You could feel, smell, and almost TASTE it….

The process of ‘checking-in’ was MUCH easier than I thought it would be, and before we knew it we were being called to board the ship!


(Insert Angels singing here… “AAAAhhhhhhhh” LOL)

We boarded, and after a slight emergency (Mom lost her purse!!  It has all of her ID in it, and we all panicked and stopped breathing the moment she realized it was gone.  She had to get off the ship and go back to the cruise terminal while we waited, and a million thoughts went through our heads.. An ANGEL turned in my Mom’s purse the MOMENT they saw it!  There are still wonderful people on this earth!!  THANK YOU to whomever it was who turned it in!!) we headed to the dining room for a special ‘Welcome Aboard” Luncheon.  At this point most of the people getting on the ship would go to The Lido Restaurant, an AMAZING buffet-style cafe.  Because my parents are seasoned cruisers, we got to sit down in the dining room and take it all in….

We began our meal with an Artisan Salumi plate, an appetizer consisting of cured meats, and freshly baked bread with the creamiest butter ever!!

We then had a cup of Cream of Broccoli Soup finished with toasted pine nuts.

For lunch I had the Mango Chicken Salad, while my boys decided on a less than standard cheese burger (even the burgers are First Class!)

And for dessert, a Fruit tartlette with creamy custard…. And just so you know, my family was SHOCKED that I didn’t pick the chocolate mousse!! 😉

After our bellies were full, and we had a chance to process the day so far, we headed to deck 4 to find our cabins!!!!

Stayed Tuned for the Second part of ALL ABOARD!!! Dec 4th

To Be continued…

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Sailing takes me away...



There is something that keeps making my heart beat fast… I get sweaty palms even thinking about it…. I am already losing sleep over it, and I need you all to share your experiences with me to put my mind to rest…. HELP!


As some of you might now, traveling and being a Chronic Pain Patient don’t really go well together.  If any of you have had to endure a long road trip while suffering a flare then you will know what I mean.  The thought of having to drive across the city is hard enough to wrap my head around – but traveling across states, or even to a different country can be OVERWHELMING!! Heck, these days going from room to room can be quite a task!

Before 2010 ends I will have the JOY of going on an AMAZING trip with my family.  This means the absolute world to me, and not just because I get to go away and enjoy a little R&R…  This trip is something that is so much more than that to me.  I get to spend 8… EIGHT uninterrupted days with my family, and I cannot think of a better gift than THAT!!  When life gets in the way, and pain gets in the way, and you are a ‘single’ (not to offend my honey, because really I am NOT a ‘single’) parent of a very LIVELY 9-year old boy – that is ENOUGH to deserve a holiday… right?

It is way more than that to me though.  My son has always come first in my life, and parenting him has always been a joy, but I don’t get to experience a lot of ‘fun’ time or ‘down’ time with him.  He is with his Dad on the weekends… after the homework is done, the laundry has been put away, the banana bread has come out of the oven… After my little dude has been scrubbed behind the ears, his teeth checked for cleanliness (GO FLOSS!), and the latest Grade 4 crisis has been averted… He goes to spend the weekend with his Dad, and I spend my downtime alone.  I CANNOT WAIT TO EXPERIENCE EIGHT DAYS OF FUN WITH MY BOY!!!  It isn’t a chore, it is MY reward for being the best Mom I can be, and the BEST gift that my little dude could give…Make sense?

Also, this is the FIRST holiday my honey and I have been able to take together… minus the 3 day getaway to the mountains last year.  It will be the first time that I get to wake up to him, drink my coffee, hold hands all day, kiss him sweetly before bed -AND- have nothing pressing to do other than appreciate each other with nothing getting in the way.  Oh yes, the honeymoon isn’t over yet 😉  We actually LOVE to spend every waking moment with one another… maybe it is because we have NEVER spent every waking moment with each other HA HA HA!  All kidding aside, he is my best friend, and I couldn’t think of anyone I would want to take this trip with.  The few months after we became a couple I went on holiday without him…. And I felt like a part of me had been amputated… THAT is when I knew that this relationship was different from anything I had ever experienced before.  I remember watching the sunrise one morning on the balcony of my cabin (we were on a cruise), and I prayed that the next time I was fortunate enough to see another sunrise over the ocean that it would be WITH my honey.  And my prayers have come true!!  THIS is my gift to HIM for being the most wonderful man I know, and for being my care-taker, my friend, the best step-dad my boy could have AND all the while fighting for me and AGAINST my pain everyday.

And last but certainly not least, this holiday is giving me the opportunity to spend EIGHT DAYS with my awesome parents (My sister and my niece too!).  I am sure there are some who would roll their eyes at the notion of going on holiday with their folks, but I can only think of how LUCKY I am to have them in my life, and be sharing this with them….. For many reasons.  Both my Mom and Dad are miracles – and I will save that for another post, but believe me they are.

We grow up, move out, have families of our own… and the phone calls and the visits with our parents tend to wane.  As a child my MOST favorite memories were when we went on holiday.  I don’t know if I fully appreciated the experiences then.  I mean I did, but I don’t think I had the maturity to realize the true impact those days had on my life.  My parents gave me an education that no school could have given me.  They let me see the world.  They let me experiences foods, and sounds, and cultures completely foreign to me, and all of that became a part of me as I got older.  To be able to create MORE memories like that with my family means everything.  THAT is THEIR GIFT TO ME…

So why do I need your help?  It all sounds close to perfect doesn’t it? So why would I be losing sleep?

I AM SCARED.  The last time I traveled I was MUCH more stable health-wise than I am now.  I really don’t want to ruin this holiday by having my pain become the controlling factor in all of this.  I want to be able to give my family a gift because they have given me so much.  I WANT THEM to NOT have to worry about me… for just a little while anyhow.  When we get back to normal life, and life gets back to being about homework, and laundry, and cooking, and driving to Walmart at the very last-minute to pick up art supplies for a project my son has ‘forgot’ to do… I WILL let my family worry about me then, because they have earned that right.  They have walked this road with me.  I just want to give them a BREAK from all of it for a while.

Sooo…… after we get up at an UNGODLY hour, and get to the airport a few hours before take-off  it will be a VERY long day for me… 2 planes, 2 airports, having to take off my shoes at every security checkpoint.  Sitting on those WONDERFULLY comfortable airplane seats for 6 hours, managing all my meds, trying to cram a whole lot of experience into a city that we will only be in for a day, living out of my suitcase, a hotel bed, and a trip to the marina before getting on our ship… Whew, that is only the first 24 hours of our journey…

How do I get through that day intact?  How do I pace myself through a frenetic day of excitement, physical stress, and fear.. (let me explain, I have a fear of flying… it isn’t very rational I admit, I am a wimp.  I will give birth to 10 babies without drugs and be okay, but as soon as I start taxiing of a runway, I feel like I am going to die).

For most ‘normals’, the stress COMES with planning a vacation – and once they are on their way they are good to go!!  For me – it has been 6 months of pacing myself through shopping, planning my medications, having anxiety attacks over what shoes to wear (and NOT from a fashion standpoint), running that day over and over again in my mind to see if there is anything I haven’t thought of yet, stressing over what PANTS I am going to wear…and that is only just to be PREPARED to go….  The GOING part is a different story.

I know living a chronic life comes with a lot of challenges – BUT I don’t want those challenges to turn into road blocks for my family…

PLEASE, if you have any travel tips, suggestions, things that help you when you travel, or if you can share your experiences with travel, I would be SO appreciative!!  I assure you, it won’t just help me, it can help a lot of other people!! I must not be the only one who is intimidated with traveling!


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The Strength of a Woman can carry the weight of the world – Sarah Pezdek-Smith

My Mother is probably the strongest woman I have ever known.  I don’t say that because she is my Mother… I say that because it is true.  She has been a true example in my life of how tenaciousness, fortitude, and belief in one’s self  makes up a “Woman”, and dedication, selfless love, and compassion is what makes a “Mom”.

Now I won’t lie to you, my Mom and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, like when I was 15 and thought that running away was a MUCH better alternative to doing my homework and keeping curfew (what was I thinking?!?!?)… yes, haven’t we ALL put our own Mothers through the ringer at least a few times in our lives?  I know I have!!  But one thing is for sure, there might have been times that my Mom didn’t exactly like me, but she loved me regardless…. 😉

When I became really ill I was already a Mother myself, grown up and taking care of my own little one.  I went from SUPERMOM to incapacitated and debilitated in about the time it would take you to say those two words… It happened very quickly, and hit hard…. and I went from the one who nurtured to the one that needed nurturing.  It was so much harder than I can even express in words.

I went from holding my 4 year-old son in my arms to being the one needed to be held…

I went from the one cooking the meals, to the one who was served dinner in bed…

I went from thinking that I had it all together and needed to rely on nobody but myself, to feeling like I was nobody without SOMEBODY to take care of me…

I lost all of my strength and power not only as a mother but as a woman.

And my Mom was there to help me pick up all the falling pieces….

Now I don’t exactly know if I wanted her to at first.   There was a big part of me who wanted to remain stoic and steadfast and do all the ‘fixing’ and picking up myself.  It was really hard for me to have to go from a caregiver in life to a taker… I hope she knows any attitude I have ever given her as a result was only my fear talking.  It was because I didn’t believe in MYSELF, not because I didn’t believe in her.

Soon after my health fell apart my marriage followed suit.  My Mom spoke to me woman-to-woman and told me the things that she wouldn’t tolerate in her own life.  It made me take inventory and think about the things that I couldn’t tolerate it in mine.  I made some of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make… and when I didn’t have any courage to keep going, I borrowed some of hers…. She had enough for the both of us.  I owe a lot to her, and probably never told her exactly what she has done for me, but aren’t we all like that at times with our Mom’s?  I know in her heart she knows… that is how a Mom is wired.

My Mom now suffers from chronic pain, and it makes me really sad.  It is the one thing I never wanted to have in common with her, but I do.  Her courage and the way she faces her pain is further testament to who she is as a woman…. She never complains about ‘hers’ because she is too busy trying to make mine better.  She is truly selfless… resilient…. supportive…. and she IS everything I could ever want in a Mom and a friend.

It is true, the strength of a woman can carry the world…  I know this to be true, because my Mom has carried mine.

What woman in your life can you honor today?


This post in dedicated to all my readers who have heavenly Moms.  Some of you have lost their Moms recently, and I wanted to tell you that I am thinking of you and carrying you in my heart. xoxoxo

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When I woke up yesterday morning, it only took seconds for me to check in with myself that all familiar BURN followed by the throb… yep, it is going to be THAT kind of day…. again….

I don’t know what is harder, to be hit OUT OF THE BLUE with a nasty flare, or to live with one for a very LONG time… I think they both are horrible to tell you the truth.  That incapacitating FLASH of pain that takes your breath away vs. the 95th day that you wake up and the flare hasn’t ended….  It starts to wear on you, wear you down, take away dignity and self-respect (why does it do those things?  Is it a bad case of Fibro Guilt?  I will leave that for another post on another day…).  It just ends up being too much to deal with each and every day without reprieve.  That is normally how my life is… I will have 3 good days, and 6 months of pain-hell.

And yesterday was another one of those days…

I stumbled out of bed and limped to the kitchen to make myself a coffee, and take my meds… There is no waiting today, I thought to myself.. Today is my little dude’s birthday…. Please God don’t let my pain mess this up…

Of course my little dude was already up… he had been up since 3:15am!!  Mental Note:  Next year, do NOT let him open his present the night before… and don’t get him something that can actually OCCUPY 6 hours of his time in the middle of the night… get a football, or a bike or something… not a video game system, and especially not a hand-held video game system that he can smuggle anywhere he pleases at 3 in the morning…

Once I was up, I was all smiles… HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE DUDE!! But inside was a completely different story… groan, grunt, sigh, blah…  oh and why is it I can only turn my neck to one side today and not to the other?? grunt, groan, wince…. I cannot let this ruin today…

I hopped in the shower, hoping above all hopes that my meds would kick in, and I would get relief… but that time didn’t come… out of the shower, hair and make-up, a birthday phone call from the Grandparents… and nothing.  NO RELIEF AT ALL.  I promised my son a birthday lunch wherever he wanted to go, and that was what I was going to do… I just needed to somehow put this crap aside for a few hours….

I forced myself to walk to the Restaurant as it was a beautiful day.  Holding hands with my little one, I could feel the throbbing start to take my breath away – but I kept trying to ignore that part…

As soon as we were seated, I started rifling through my purse for something… ANYTHING to take… a Tylenol, Motrin, something with codeine… hell if I had a Vitamin C I would have tried that just for the placebo effect!  I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE IT…. HELP….  PLEASE GO AWAY…. (Am I the only one who tries to make deals with my pain?  Yes, I speak to my pain… maybe I need help of another kind!).

And then a calm came over me… I sunk back into the booth-seat, dropped my shoulders, took a deep breath, and stopped fighting…. And instead of engaging my pain in conversation, I engaged my SON in conversation…. ‘So what has been the best part of your birthday so far dude?’… We sat and chatted for an hour and a half… casually ate our lunch… I even ordered a coffee and dessert!!  I normally don’t do that because I am way too sore by then, and just want to get up and get moving….

We held hands on the way home, taking the long way, walking through leaves and breathing in the warm Autumn air.  It felt really good.  My Pain was still VERY present, it still wanted to pick on me… but somehow I felt like I was in the driver’s seat… for the first time and a REALLY long time.

The rest of the day was lazy… My little dude went back to playing with his birthday present, and me, well I went back to being picked on by my pain…. but I am thankful for the short while that I could give my undivided attention to the greatest love of my life, and not the agony….

I woke up this morning with that all too familiar burn once again… followed by the burning… and funny enough I now can’t move my neck AT ALL…. Sigh…

But today as I am bullied by my pain, it will be somehow easier to take.  My pain didn’t bully my son yesterday… and that is what matters to me.

And if you are curious, THIS is what a Nintendo DSi Hangover looks like….



So this is what it looks like when a 9 year old stay up all night!!!


I swear he can sleep in ANY position!!!  Ha! Ha! Ha!

What a great way to end a wonderful day!!!

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Méga vessie chez un embryon porteur d'une tris...

Image via Wikipedia

Just days after I conceived I knew I was pregnant…. and I just KNEW I was having a boy.  I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.  Don’t ask me how I knew, because I am not really quite sure… but I knew… When God closes one door he opens another, and after grieving over the loss of my brother so hard – I knew the moment I found out I was pregnant that this was  the circle of life continuing… I was having a boy, and I would name him after my brother…. I took a test, told EVERYONE I knew, and named this little peanut all within 2 days of seeing those two beautiful lines on the ‘stick’.  I was having a baby!!!!

My pregnancy didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked…. at 17 weeks I had my first ultrasound, and a few days later I received a phone call from my Doctor at 7pm one night.  “We found an irregularity in the ultra sound.  Your baby has hydronephrosis, which means he has an enlarged kidney, which can be a marker for Down’s Syndrome.  You need to be referred to the high-risk clinic, and I will arrange you to meet with genetic specialists…. You should get a phone call in the next few weeks”….. I was dumbfounded, devastated, confused…. This was NOT the way I had dreamed my first pregnancy would go…. What if he did have Down’s Syndrome?  Would I be a strong enough Mother to be able to take care of a special needs child?  Would my baby be okay?  The weeks to come were a bit of a blur.  I remember crying a lot….

At 24 weeks I went to the hospital and sat beside 2 genetic specialists as they fully explained the process – they used pie charts, and scribbled on a piece of paper before pushing it in my direction… there was no guarantees they said… It was my choice whether I wanted to take the chance or end the pregnancy.  For the most part it all sounded like “Wha wha wha wha wha” to me… It made me red in the face, it made me hold me breath… Were they saying what I thought they were saying?  T-E-R-M-I-N-A-T-E the pregnancy?  Try again?  In that moment I KNEW that this was MY child, and he would always be my child, no matter what struggles he may go through… God gave me to my parents for a reason, and this baby was given to me for a reason also… “I have made up my mind, this is my child, and I am not terminating the pregnancy.  I will deal with what comes.”.  And that was that.  I went home felling like the weight of the world was off my shoulders.  I was going to enjoy this pregnancy as much as I could, and I would deal with what was to come when I crossed that bridge.

I went for many ultrasounds after that, each one to measure my peanuts kidneys… and each time they were measured they shrunk a little more… even .01 of a mm was cause for celebration.  I was my boys cheering squad long before he ever made his entrance into the world….

October 3rd was my due date… and the day was really unremarkable… nothing happened…

October 4th,

October 5th,

October 6th….

What is going on??  How come this little one isn’t wanting to come out?

I was getting SO uncomfortable….

I tried walking up and down my street in slippers at 4am,

I tried acupuncture and herbs…

This baby wasn’t wanting to come out…

October 6th, 7th, 8th… The phone calls and emails increased… Have you had that baby yet??? Um… No….

On October 10th I went back to my Doctor, and he booked me for induction on the 12th, and told me to go home and to stop worrying.  He said this baby is not going to come before the 12th, and he’d meet me at the hospital then…

And half an hour after I left his office my back started to hurt… REALLY HURT… I wanted to go for lunch, so we headed downtown to my favorite pub, but when we got there I had lost my appetite.  Why is my back hurting so much?  It seems to come and go in waves….

All that day I felt cranky, and felt a lot of pressure in my back… but I was in complete denial that I could be in labor.

I went home, paced for a while, realized I didn’t feel like doing anything, or being around anyone, and I went to bed… and slept until 4:15am…

I woke up with the most horrible pain in my back, and tried to get to the bathroom… it went away as soon as I hit the bathroom door, and then started again 15 seconds later… oh my god… I am in labor!

My contractions were 2 minutes long, and less than a minute apart… As my ex-husband followed me around the apartment, I tried to do my hair and makeup (sorry I know that’s the last thing I should have been doing, but I was in autopilot).  I called my Mom, and she was on her way – there was NO way I was having this baby without her!!  By the time she got to the apartment I was on the toilet wanting to push….  Against my better judgment they both took an arm and carried me off the toilet and out the door……

I don’t remember much of the car ride, but I do know that by the time I got to the hospital I would have taken an epidural in my big toe if it would have helped… I was in so much pain… There was a reason for that.  I was  8-9 cm dilated…. this baby was coming quickly…

No time for any medication of any sort, no time for the massage with lavender oil, or the CD I had made… Enya wasn’t making an appearance at this event…. I was put into a delivery room as quickly as they could get me down the hallway, and I was told before I made it on the bed that I could start pushing…. Oh my god, I am not ready for this….  It was all happening so fast!!  I felt so lost… I felt a panic attack rising from my chest…. “Look at me” my wonderful nurse said.. “I am going to help you through this”…  My Mom took my hand, and my nurse planted herself right in front of me, so I could see her… These strong women gave me courage… I started to push…

My beautiful baby boy was born a short time later, but he was born way too quickly.  I knew in a heartbeat there was something really wrong.  He didn’t let out a cry… it was more like a pathetic gurgle… Why is he not crying??!!??  He was very quickly ushered out of the room, and I was left helpless on the bed… alone….

Before I knew what was happening he was already in the NICU, sedated, breathing tubes down his throat, IV’s in his head and belly button… He was a ‘wet baby’, amniotic fluid had filled his lungs… I didn’t know then that almost all babies who are born this way simply don’t make it.  The baby I had carried for over 9 months, fought for, cheered for, prayed for…. he was fighting for his life, and there was absolutely nothing I could do.  I have never felt so helpless in my entire life, and I hope not to feel that helpless again.

The days that followed were a frenetic blur of neonatologists, nurses, tubes, and a lot of tears…. I was placed in a private room because it was so hard being with the general public of the postpartum ward.  All of these women were soothing and cooing at their new babies, and I was without mine.  He was across the hallway fighting for every breath….

My Mom held me up, and was my strength… My Dad was my comic relief, and his hugs said more than his words every could… My sister was the one who brought me food and made me eat…. They all stepped in and took care of me as I was on autopilot… all I could think about was my baby boy….

He fought, and he fought hard… and on the 5th day he was taken off the respirator and put on oxygen… and he took a breath, and then another… and the nurses all hugged me and celebrated as I cried…

He breastfed, and then he pooped, and then his oxygen saturation levels went up… and each time one of these things happened they celebrated with me, and I cried…

10 days after that my precious baby boy came home on oxygen.  He was finally coming home… Our lives still full of tubes, and tape, O sat levels, and jaundice… but he was finally home.

And he was perfect.

And just like a puppy who grows into his big floppy ears – he grew into his kidneys… they completely healed on their own… Those geneticists were wrong…

This weekend marks the 9th year anniversary of that frantically wonderful  day…. The day my baby boy was born… The day I found my greatest love.

It all seems like just yesterday….

Happy birthday my little dude…  I cannot begin to tell you how much I love you…

You are my reason,

My love, My life.

And I love you more than every grain of rice, every planet in the solar system, AND every piece of lego in the world…

I know when  we play that game I always let you win…

But you will realize one day when you have a family of your own,

There is no greater love than the love I have for you.

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