Saturday, August 29, 2009

"She will yell to Hell with Georgia, Like her Mama Used to do....."

For those who don't recognize the title, its a line from the my Alma mater's song, Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech. Actually the REAL song has daddy but us gals at Tech would sing mama because we knew our daughters could do more than just dress in white and gold and walk around campus to cheer up the male students as the song suggests.

Being a Ga Tech grad, I do have my geeky side. I like sci fi and lets face it, I can be a dork. I pride myself on being able to relate to geeks and was always able to work with the most technical people in my previous professional life despite the fact I am NO engineer and would say I am NOT a math person - am clueless when it comes to technical stuff. NOTE: I was never an Engineering major at Tech, I went in and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Management.....which at the time was "the easy major" not so easy for me, I am just happy I graduated!

My darling husband is a web developer and yes, he is a geek also.....though a cool one from Cali. I have been wondering if Sarah Cate will become a geek with her genetics.

Despite the fact I have sworn in the past my daughter will not be a girly girl - which is now out the window as we are totally in a princess phase, I purchased the Rose Petal Cottage playhouse - hey it was marked down so cheap after Christmas they were practically giving them away! SC loves to take things in her cottage and just hang out sometimes.

I noticed this week through the little door, it was packed with some books.......along with a few toys

and on closer examination, realized she wants to be a developer like her dad. If you ask her about the said books, she will say "Animals", But I am sure she was brushing up her mad IT skills.
I think she is also preparing for our kitchen renovation as I found her looking at this book yesterday and saying "House" aloud over and over again.

Oh the books she pulls off the shelf. All this from a cute little one who insists on wearing her Snow White costume once daily and sleeps with 10 various Disney Princess dolls. I think she is going to be one smart, technical, handy, and artisitic young lady! Mom is so proud of her book choices. Perhaps she is destined to yell "To Hell With Georgia" like her mama used to do.

In order to honor my daughter and her geeky side and complex nature, my inner creative dork wrote this 5 minutes. It is sung to the tune of the classic Rick James tune "Super Freak".

She's a very geeky girl,
The kind who likes to hang with Mother,
She will never let your spirits down,
Once you get her on her feet.

She likes her princesses in hand,
Snow White's her all time favorite,
When she makes her Wiggles moves from the Sprout shows,
Its such a happy scene.

The girl is pretty smart now,
The girl's a super geek.
The king of girl who reads about - Java, A -S -P.
The girl is pretty wild now,
The girl's a super geek.
I really love to hug her,
Everytime we greet.

She's all right, She's all right.
That girl's all right with me.....yeah yeah yeah.

I am pathetic, but I love my little princess geek. I wonder how soon I will be totally embarassing her in public.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eight is NOT Enough

Five years ago today, on the eighth day of his life, my son Caleb left us. He was born severely premature and the double brain bleed he had on day 3 of his life started a downward spiral. Well downward for us, because we would have to say goodbye to him. Every night, the doctors braced us for the worst and he exceeded their expectations hanging on longer than expected. He was just born too soon to stay with us. The good news is Jesus died for us, so he went to heaven.

I am totally grateful for the fact I did get to see him and hold him, though I could only hold him once and it was pretty much the moment he passed away. Of course being the selfish person I am, I wanted more time - I felt and sometimes still do, I was gypped in the parenting department as eight days was not enough time.

My mom died when she was 54 and I remember my grandmother saying, "No one should bury a child". Granny was gone when Caleb was born, but those words haunted me as if she was standing next to me talking to me. Eight days was not enough..... eight years would have not been enough. I had so much love to give him, so many wonderful things to share - so much we didn't get to do or say.

But you know the entire 8 days of his life, all he got was my nagging, no yelling. Lots of stories and songs, many many prayers. I sang to him praise and worship songs - my favorite being "I Love You Lord" because it was all I could think of. I was worried and scared, but didn't want him to know. I wanted him to just feel my presence and love as a comfort in his little NICU bed. He had the prayers of many family and friends.....never any judgement or questioning of his opinion or disagreements with choices.....just prayers and support.

Yeah, I wanted to take him to the ocean and show him the mountains and lots of stuff I loved as a kid, but look where he ended up.....on the express to heaven. How can one top that, even a mother with all the best intentions and a heart full of love can't compete with eternal joy, peace and happiness.

I will try not to dwell on what I don't have, but its not easy. I am human and can be selfish - who doesn't want to get there way. Caleb would be 5 this year and in a perfect world, that is the time children are off to kindergarten....a rite of passage, the start of school. I think that is what I have been missing most this year, well that and a beautiful princess loving sister having a big brother to tease her and make her laugh. Sometimes the silence in our house is a reminder to me that something is missing.

In my loss support groups we refer to today as Caleb's Angel day...the day he got his wings and soared back up to heaven. Happy Angelversary My Sweet Baby Boy. I love you so much.....

Goodnight stars, Goodnight Air, Goodnight Noises Everywhere.

All good giving and every perfect gift, is from above coming from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
James 1:17

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I will never................

Its comical as an inexperienced female wanting to be a mom all the things you say you will "NEVER" do as a parent that completely go out the window when you are in the trenches.
I was thinking yesterday as I bought Sarah Cate some Princess Aurora pink sunglasses about my past vows and thought I would share.

See 1st paragraph and the purchase of some new sunglasses. We have 6 little dolls I got at the checkout at Target, which I was careful to make sure I got all. For Halloween, I am thinking Snow White as this seems to be SC's favorite. Note: We have never seen any princess movies, though I did buy Sleeping Beauty this week at Costco!

Color me beautiful, pink IS Sarah Cate's color. She looks fab in it. Plus little girl clothes are SO cute how can I not dress her up girly sometimes.

As a stay at home mom, the TV is my savior some days. I do try to limit it and I justify saying we only watch PBS or Sprout - PBS shows with a little advertising, but shoot I am so guilty of caving to this on.

Well, I justified the juice as SC was having um, movement issues and Apple Juice helps keep things moving. I also give her V8 Fusion which is all juice from veggies and fruits, no added sugar - plus its loaded with vitamins and minerals, that's how I justify that one. Andy introduced SC to chocolate milk after she had that febrile seizure and there is no going back from that one, though she still drinks mainly white milk.

You should see all the stuff SC sleeps with now. There are 3 pillows, 1 large Curious George, 1 medium and 1 small. 6 princess dolls as mentioned above, 3 baby blankets, a penguin stuffed animal, a rabbit, and 2 poohs of different size. Plus 3 or so books. BUT she does sleep 12 hours at night. We are about to go to a big girl bed, so soon all that junk will be gone.

Ok, I try to give SC her healthy food and I do limit the junk, but she LOVES her pringles. Also a fan of soft serve ice cream, cookies of any kind and of course Happy Meals and Chik Fil A. I am a chip junkie, I think she got the gene.

So there you have a few.......I know there are others. Oh well, the thing is I am flexible and adapt to change. So what I said I wouldn't do, well now I just do what works. Hopefully I am not doing any damage as I love my little pink princess more than I can say!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What a boy band man.......

I am going young this week.....

You know I was in my 30's during the heyday of the boy band. I was a volunteer teen group leader at my church so hangin' with the girl I got to hear all about those cute boys and their songs. I found it quite amusing.

Flash forward a few years, our man of the week has leaped out alone in superstar status - the curly headed blond kid is now a man. He can sing, he can dance, he can flash Janet's boobie on TV - although he did say he was sorry about the wardrobe malfunction and apologized to all who were offended. I used to think our man of the week was so overexposed that I didn't want to like him...... but darn it, I couldn't help but come around. His music is a bit pop for my taste, but its catchy and I have found myself singing the words after the song is over. I think I developed my admiration after his work on SNL, the dude is funny! Really, he is a funny guy and can totally make fun of himself - check out the digital shorts on Hulu - crude yes, but they totally make me laugh still - and my favorite dancing cup o soup in Give it on up to Homelessville.

I give you - totally TOO young for me but what a man.......

JT - Justin Timberlake

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

Last weekend was one of those weekends you just dream of as a mom. Great family time, fun activities with family and friends.

Friday Sarah Cate and I went to the zoo with my friend Myra and her daughter Geneva. It was hot, but a great day at the zoo. After Myra left, decided to swing back through really we were there from 11 to 3! Sarah Cate loves riding the Carousel and the Train. She picked the Panda to ride this time.

Saturday my friend Jean - sorority sister from my Ga Tech days, had a fantastic Birthday party on a party barge on Lake Lanier. We shoved off at 3pm, so it wasn't too crazy hot or crowded. The weather was just glorious, perfect day to be in the lake. Sarah Cate LOVED being able to be in the water with daddy. She also loved running in and out of the water on the island we parked on and watching the big kids go down the party barge slide. Sarah Cate was so worn out that she fell asleep on the way home at 7:30 and didn't wake up until 7am the next morning!

Sunday I was able to enjoy a baby shower for my friend from St Andrew Jacki, who is due in 2 weeks, so it could be any day. It was so nice to get out of the house alone and visit with my "church friends". I can't wait to meet baby Chaz - he is so lucky to have 2 older siblings Lexi and CJ who both are really excited about the newest Webb family member. Poor Jacki has been on bedrest well since the first trimester. She has had a hard pregnancy, but looked JOYOUS.

Of course I have no pictures to share, but what a blessing to be able to enjoy life with family and friends. Moments like so many over the weekend I just stop and Thank God for my family - wonderful husband who is an incredible provider, fun friends and the ability to be able to enjoy so many things on this wonderful planet of ours - and conveniently local.

Life is good.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Woman's Work - thanks for the reminder John

With the passing of John Hughes this week, I am reminded of many great films from the 80's. Really the man was a genius......Being the music lover I am, I started thinking of all the amazing soundtracks from these from my generation. I think one of the most amazing sequences in his films if from She's Having a Baby in which the baby is breach, they have to do a an emergency c-section and Jake the dad, played by Kevin Bacon is sitting out in the waiting room. The movie is about newlyweds maturing into the roles of man and wife....and the wife who really wants to be a mom. In the c-section sequence, Jake is in the waiting room anxiously awaiting the outcome of the operation thinking back on his life with Kristy his wife portrayed by actress Elizabeth McGovern whom I completely envied in the looks department....seriously THIS was the look I wanted back in my youth.

There is a song playing during this scene, A Woman's Work by Kate Bush. As the song plays, from Jakes perspective we see montage of flashbacks to happier times. This goes back and forth with shots of him in the waiting room and the anxiety of the moment....really brilliant filming that tugs on the emotions. From what I have read, Kate wrote the song for the film - the song is from the man's point of view. I have seen this movie several times. Tonight, as I was watching the scene - the first time I have seen it since losing Caleb, I couldn't help but think of Andy. I was completely overcome with emotion and wept.

Being that its August, I am thinking of my son Caleb who was born 5 years ago August 17th. As I was watching the scene, I couldn't help but think about the birth of my son and its critical nature. I went into labor on August 12th at 23 weeks pregnant - they couldn't not do anything but stop the contractions. Caleb's leg was in the birth canal and I was 4cm dilated. I was in the hospital for 6 days, Caleb had dropped further and there was no stopping the delivery. 24 weeks is the first week a premature baby will be given any chance of survival...meaning if you deliver before then most hospitals will let nature take its course, ie. the baby can't survive on its own and passes away.
Five nights into my hospital stay to try to keep the labor away, I felt what I thought was fluid leaking and pressure. I told the nurse and she told me a doctor would look at me first thing in the morning. Sure enough, he had dropped and I had to deliver. I had 2 options:
1. Deliver naturally and let nature take its course or
2. an emergency c-section in which I would be knocked out completely - situation was critical at this point - and the baby would be taken to the NICU.
What I remember, true or not who knows based on my state of mind , there was a 50 percent chance the baby would make it, but an 80% chance something would be wrong down the road due to the extreme premature birth..... asthma, blindness, cerebral palsy.....the list of possibilities was scary - mild to severe possibilities , and yes the Neonatologist had gone over this with us several times . Despite the odds, we wanted to give our baby a chance. We desperately wanted our baby.

So off they whisked me to the OR after filling out some forms - I acknowledge there is risk in this delivery including death.....CHECK. Andy held my hand down the hall as far as he could then we said goodbye - I told him if something happened and a choice had to be made, chose the baby which Andy told me later was not something he wanted to hear - a reminder I could be at risk as well I suppose. I made the sign of the cross and asked God to please give me my baby and let him live as they gave me my anesthetic and was wondering who the heck all the people in the room were. I was out fast and in hindsight know the procedure went VERY quickly .

I now think of Andy in those few minutes it took to take our baby from my womb, so tiny and so early. My sister and her husband were with Andy in the waiting room and said he was pale and looked scared. Poor sweet Andy, his family on the other side of the country. Maybe in a small way from She's Having a Baby I can see the angst Andy was facing....of course our situation was much more dire than in the Hughes film as even if the delivery went smoothly, the odds were not with us. I wonder what went through Andy's mind as they whisked the incubator with our child past him from OR to the NICU. He had a brief glimpse, but had to wait until both the baby and I were stabilized after the delivery to see us.

I woke up to Andy holding my hand. I hurt and just laid there as the morphine kicked in to numb the pain of the surgery, literally moaning. I can still hear the emotion in Andy's voice and see the tears in his eyes as he told me we had a son.....we didn't want to know the sex until the baby was born. He said the baby was in the NICU appeared to be good considering - doing as well as could be expected and was a good size - 1.5 lbs and 12.75 inches long. After the morphine kicked in, they wheeled me down to the NICU in my post op gurney and Andy at my side.
I was amazed the first time I saw our son. He was just stretched out in his little bed. He looked like he was waving at us...the picture above is Andy holding his hand the first time we saw him. I remember in my drug enduced state Andy's smile and wonder at our tiny son. Our baby's eyes were fused shut and well it was moment by moment is what they told us. We saw him pee...which was a riot, as it went straight up in the air from his tiny little penis. We laughed and they told us that was a great sign. We picked the name Caleb, it was actually Andy's favorite name.
I got a fever and was afraid to go see Caleb the next day, I didn't want to compromise his health - I regret to this day not going to see him. Andy jumped into fatherhood like a natural. He bought a book on preemies and was spending every spare minute reading up. As often as he could, he went and spend time with Caleb. It was hard being the parent of a baby in the NICU, we could go in any time EXCEPT when they were doing procedures, when they were moving babies in or when a family was saying goodbye to their baby. I can't tell you how frustrating it was to go down the hall to the NICU or to call and ask if it was OK to come only to be turned away - of course it was for the safety of the babies and the privacy of the families.
On the 3rd night of Caleb's life, he had an intraventricular hemorrhage - severe bleeding on both sides of the brain at the highest level. This is why I still wish I would have had that time on day 2....but Andy was there for him. He would go down and to him and talk to him telling him how much we loved him. Caleb knew Daddy's voice - and the nurses told me he turned to Andy when he was talking to him . They gave Caleb no chance of survival, but he was a fighter. Andy was looking forward to Kangaroo care - skin to skin contact with the baby which is a regime in the NICU. We had him for 5 more days...which really surprised the doctors, but in the end his tiny body couldn't fight off the inevitable.
Andy's mom flew in and got to meet her grandson they day before he died. Our family got to go say goodbye to Caleb and then Andy and I went in and were with him when he left this life. His passing was bittersweet as he was no longer suffering and I think he was on the express to Heaven. Before the very end, I got to finally hold him - he was in my arms looking at me with the one eye that opened when he left us. We spent some time with him bathing and dressing him. I sang to him and we read him many stories. Andy was such a wonderful father in those 8 days and told me as hard as it was for him, he would never be able to understand the depth of my loss since I had been carrying Caleb in my womb and he had been apart of my physical life those 24 weeks.
While I would be a liar if I told you I fully accepted what happened, as I worked through my grief, I realized the 8 days we had as a family were a gift. Some people never get to see their child or hold their hand. I could have never realized what an amazing father Andy was without this experience. I honestly could not imagine how much he loved or loves me by how he was there for me in my grief and thinking how he looked when I told him "take the baby if it comes to me or him".
And so I sit and think about a filmmaker who created a montage of what its like to go through something incredibly frightening for the one you love - the one you have pledged your life to and your unborn child. I think about the words of a song from a father in anguish confronting a critical situation for his wife and unborn child. Its powerful. I knew it before - and tonight I realize what an amazing man I married. Wow, thanks for that John Hughes, as life moves on from one day to the next, often in a humdrum and unexciting way......its great to be reminded of what I have in my husband.
If you haven't seen the film, well here's the clip.... and the lyrics . Thanks again John - the amazing Kate Bush was a wise choice for this film and the montage is incredible. Rest in Peace.