Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday - April 17, 2014

Our Wedding Day - April 19,. 2008

This Saturday, Chris and I will celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. So much has changed in our life since we said "I do". We've moved to a 2 bedroom apartment, we had a beautiful little boy that has brought more joy to our lives than we could have ever imagined possible. We've got different vehicles, we've got more debt. We've even changed jobs a few times. We've loved, we've lost. We've fought, we've made up. We've tried and given up. We've succeeded and we've failed. We have a new little boy on the way. 

But through it all, we have loved each other. We have made it through things that would otherwise tear people apart. When others thought that there was no way that we could ever possibly make it, we did. When the cards were dealt against us, we always managed to come out on top. 

We are polar opposites, but we are exactly the same. He is the other shoe that makes my perfect pair. When I fall, he picks me back up. When he falls, I laugh. LOL, no just kidding. Okay, maybe only partly kidding. Humor is something that is never lacking in our lives. We laugh at ourselves, we laugh at each other. But we are always laughing together. 

We live a simple life. When we were dating we used to always dream about the huge house we would have and the fancy cars we would drive. But as we have moved through life together, we have come to realize that those things aren't the things that make a marriage. Having dinner together after a long day, even if it is pasta for a second night in a row. Sitting on the couch watching our favorite shows, even if we don't say a word. Snuggling at night while laying in bed and him waiting for me to fall asleep before he rolls over to face the other way. A simple text message to say "hi, how's your day". A hug when nothing is going right. A pep talk when you feel at your lowest. Knowing that no matter what you do, there will always be someone in your corner. Having someone to come home to, a home that no matter how small or messy at times, is ours that we have built together. Having someone to tell you you're right or wrong. Honestly. 

The last 6 years have been some of the most rewarding and challenging times of my life. But I wouldn't trade them for the world because I know I am going through them with my best friend. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday - April 10, 2014

Painting my closet

Happy Throwback Thursday! 

This is a picture of me from around 1984 or 1985 when I was probably about 4 or 5 years old, the same age my own son is now. Can you tell by the outfit? 

We had just moved into our new house at the time, and I wanted to help paint the closet in the room that my brother and I shared for a few years. We had a pretty cool room. It was small but complete with bunk beds. I, of course, being the oldest, got the top bunk. We had a small toy box in there too and even a record player, yes, record player. LOL.

I still have those same crazy curls! But thankfully not the same clothes. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday - April 3, 2014

It wasn't until recently, and by recently I mean like last Thursday, that I jumped on the Throwback Thursday (#TBT) bandwagon on Facebook. I enjoy seeing all the gems that others post, tagging people that they have reconnected with from their past or others that they have remained friends with all along.

I honestly didn't even go into today thinking about what picture I might post. But as I sat at my dining room table going through mementoes from when my son was born nearly 5 years ago, I came across a picture that when it was taken, I didn't realize that one day, I'd treasure it so much.

                                                          Aunt Barbara and Brandon

This is my dear Aunt Barbara meeting her great nephew for the first time. She passed away last August and the void that has left in all of us in indescribable.

But on this particular day, she was so excited to see him and hold him. Her and my Uncle never did have kids of their own, but all their nieces and nephews were like their own. She loved us like a mother would and was so immensely proud of everything that we did. She bragged about us to her friends and co-workers, called for every birthday. She celebrated all the special moments in all our lives. She was one of the most thoughtful and kind people I have had the honor of knowing.

I remember on that day that we couldn't get down to the nursery fast enough for her. She was so excited she was practically shaking. She took a bunch of pictures that day and put them into a little album for me.

The beach was always her favorite place to be and she was thrilled that my room had a beach view. So thrilled that one of those pictures is a view of the beach from my hospital room window.

This picture and the album she made me are something that I will always treasure. I miss her dearly, but I know that she is with all of us, always.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Not So Birth Plan

When I was pregnant with Brandon, I never gave too much thought into how I would give birth to him. I always, naively, thought that my water would break, we’d rush to the hospital and I’d give birth to a beautiful little baby boy. Then, I’d get wheeled out of the hospital, baby in my arms and off we’d go, a little happy family.

I never once imagined that he’d be early, except he was, by 7 week. I never once imagined that I’d end up having a C-section and that I would not get to hold him right away or that my first sight of my little boy would be him getting carried upside down across the operating room. Nor did I ever imagine that when I was ready to come home, that I would be wheeled out, empty handed, my little boy remaining in an incubator. I wasn’t prepared to come home and be a mom without my little boy there too. But that is how my not so birth plan went.

I have always accepted the fact that if we were blessed to have another baby, I’d have another C-section. I’d joke that I was okay with never feeling labor pains or risking my water breaking in aisle 5 of the grocery store. I was content. It was what it was.

Then yesterday, while we were watching reruns of Mad About You, I realized how I am really not content with that at all. It was the episode where Paul and Jamie are having their baby. In typical Mad About You humor, there are some funny moments leading up to the reason your watching; to see the birth of their first child. Paul encourages, Jamie pushes and before you know it, out comes this perfect little bundle of baby girl. And to anyone that has had that traditional birth experience, you know that isn’t how it really goes.

But I wouldn’t know. At least not from my own experience.

Cue pregnancy hormones. I start to cry. Now my husband will tell you, I don’t cry at TV. I’m just not one of those people. But here I was sitting on the couch…crying. And it wasn’t until he asked me what was wrong that I stuttered out, “I don’t get to have that”. It was then that I realized how much I was not okay with having another C-section and how much I wanted to have a normal birth experience. I wanted to hold my slimy little baby and look into his eyes and say, “hi, I’m your mommy”.

But I don’t get to have that. And here I am, 5 years later mourning the loss of a chance at a normal birth.

Would I risk it for my own selfish reasons? No. But I will always wonder.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Here's to 2014!

Happy New Year to all!

As I sit and reflect on 2013, I am reminded of all the things, both good and bad, that it held. We laughed, we cried. We loved, we lost. My husband, son and I had our health. We had food and a roof over our heads. Our bills were paid. After 3 years of writing and editing, I finally published my first ebook. My brother and sister-in-law became pregnant with their second baby. We also found out that we would be welcoming our second child into our family as well. My husband started a new job that will set us up and prepare us for retirement. Seriously, am I that old that retirement plans are a concern? And after nearly 3 years, we are a 2 car family again. Many happy occasions.

But with all the good, there will always come the bad. In May, we both lost our jobs, I still have not returned to work. My aunt became ill with cancer and has endured chemo, surgeries and a long road ahead of her. We said goodbye to my dear Aunt Babs far too soon.

I never make New Year's resolutions, frankly because I don't keep them. But I always look forward to the promise of a new year and a clean slate. There are many exciting things happening in 2014 for my family and those around us. And I am excited to share those moments with them and you.

My wish for all of you is that you make the best out of every day. Leave the pain and hurt and anger of last year behind and wake up each day with a new perspective. Every day, not just New Year's Day, is a day to start over. Be thankful for what you have and work hard for the things you want. Make things happen. Be kind. Love each other. Remember that a simple smile or "good morning" to a stranger could change their day. Pay it forward. With a little kindness and care for those around us, the world will be a better place. Be the kind of person that you would want your children to be. Put down the technology and spend time with your children; you will never get these years back (this I am personally guilty of). Slow down. Take the time to do the things you love, the dishes can wait.

Here's to a happy, healthy and joyous New Year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cancer - Would You Want to Know Your Risk?

When I was younger, my grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I never really understood what was going on except that she had cancer and went for chemo and lost all her hair. She pasted 16 years ago. Since then, cancer hasn't been something that was talk in our family. We were all pretty healthy.

Until this year. That nasty little C word reared its ugly head. My aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Fortunately, early detection and treatment options have advanced by leaps and bounds and she is kicking cancers ass.

However, by recommendation of the doctors, they have suggested that all of my grandmother's children, most critically, the women, get tested to assess their risk with a BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 test. Those results will then dictate who in the next generation should be tested. My generation.

My mother had a full hysterectomy a few years ago, so her risk of ovarian cancer is, well, zilch. But unfortunately, that does not change my risk factor. Although it would be easier that way.

So, before going much further, I did a little research on what this test was and how it would assess my own risk in developing these cancers.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that produce tumor suppressing protein. These proteins help repair damaged DNA. If wither of these genes are mutated, they cannot properly repair damaged DNA and as a result the cells are more likely to develop into genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 test for these mutations and determine the lifetime risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer. Once of my grandmother's daughters have been tested and she has an 84% chance of developing ovarian cancer and her and her doctor have decided a hysterectomy is in her best interest. 

I called our insurance company today and we are fortunate that they will cover the test at 100%. But now I sit and wonder, do I want to know? What would knowing my risk do? Would it change how I live my life? Would I live my life in fear? Would I elect to have a full hysterectomy? What if I am pregnant with a girl, am I potentially putting her at risk someday? 

So, I'm curious, would you want to know and how would it change you?

Friday, November 29, 2013

And baby makes 4

By now, the news is out to our family and friends. Our little family is growing by 1.

It took a while for us, well me, to decide that I wanted to go through all that again. My first pregnancy was nothing short of awful. From almost the minute the little window showed 2 lines, I was throwing up. It was so bad the doctor prescribed an anti-nausea medication to help, but it did little to ease it.

As early as my 12th week, I started with a pregnancy rash. My OB and dermatologist both had a very hard time identifying what exactly it was. Most pregnancy rashes don't present that early. It was absolute torture. The prednisone did help though.

Everything stayed pretty awful until about my 25th week. At this point I just started to feel like I was enjoying being pregnant. That too did not last long. At my 33 week check up, the soon tech determined my little guy was too little, my fluid was low and the blood flow through the cord was restricted. Off to the perinatologist I went and was quickly admitted to the hospital with no determination on how long I'd be there.

A few short hours and an emergency c-section later, we met our little 3 lb. 4 oz. baby boy. He was perfect, but would spend the first 3 weeks of his life in the NICU. Something I never considered and I believe it changed me forever. The NICU is a tough place to be. Many babies there were much worse off than my little guy, but seeing those parents and babies, well, it's something you never forget.

Fortunately, the prednisone I was on for the rash was enough steroid to help his little lungs develop and we were soon able to bring him home.

That whole experience was enough to make me never want to do that again. We got lucky, he was healthy and did we really want to test fate again?

But 4 years later, here we are again embarking on another journey. So far, this pregnancy has been vastly different. The morning sickness isn't anywhere near what it was with my first pregnancy. It's rare and that in itself is a blessing. I'm exhausted, but I'm chasing after a 4 year old and don't have the downtime like I did before. I'm just over halfway through the first trimester and am hoping my luck continues.

Understandably, each doctor visit will be met with a little more anxiety, but I am doing all I can to prevent the problems I had before, although, no one really knows what went wrong.

Thanks for coming along on this truly awesome journey!