Amelia is 2 years and 7 months old. Lately, every time I ask her “How old are you?” she responds with “THREE!” The first couple times she said that, I just gave her the “you’re silly” face and said “Whaaat? You’re TWO!” …today when she said it, I suddenly looked at her (sitting on the floor in Gideon’s “treat spot”, waiting for gummy vitamins like a puppy) and realized she really is almost three years old. I’m not sure why it hit me so hard, but for some reason anything over the age of two is just… a kid. I sort of feel like anywhere from Zero to TWO, you’re still a baby. A toddler, at least. Three? That’s just a little kid. That’s not even a toddler. So much has happened this year that has made me look closer at my life, to pay more attention to things, to be more grateful for things. Nothing dramatic or traumatic or life altering… it’s just been a busy year with a growing girl who is constantly changing and it constantly makes me pay attention to everything.
Dustin became a teenager this year. That was pretty huge for me. It’s mind boggling, if I think about it too much, how fast life goes by. I can close my eyes and vividly re-live the day he was born and the days following his birth as if they were yesterday, or even this morning. You replay a memory many, many times. Probably more than you’re even consciously aware of. Replaying to the point where it’s like memorizing a movie or a song or a poem or someone’s face. I really can replay it as if he was born yesterday. Thirteen years have passed and that… is just twilight-zone MIND boggling.
Amelia turned 2 years old in February. Just an amazing, ridiculously awesome thing. I say it often, but only because it is so true… I never TRULY grasped the term “Bittersweet” until I had this girl. Watching her grow every single day is the most amazing and saddest thing I’ve ever experienced. I know now what so many millions of Mother’s have said before me, that I wish so much that she could stay a little baby, but what an amazing, unspeakable miracle it is to be able to watch her grow. In a way, I can’t wait to see the amazing woman she turns into and I’m sure that she will. She is a firecracker, a total goofball, a crazy tornado, an intelligent, independent, beautiful, compassionate little angel with combat boots and a magic wand. She has the most beautiful imagination. She loves to sing anything from “Disney” to “Michael Jackson” to “Journey”, “Bing Crosby”, “Mary Poppins” and much more… She often will stop in the middle of a song just to say “I’m singing *this* Mommy”. She does like to narrate everything she’s doing. “I’M RUNNING AROUND!” “I’M JUMPING!” “I’M ROLLING AROUND!” She needs to do everything herself. Even if you just did something, she will undo it to make sure she does it HER. SELF. This is not always cute, but this is my challenge as a Mother… patience to let her DO. IT. HER. SELF. She rarely holds still and is very often ignoring us completely when we’re trying to talk to her… but oh my goodness, that smile. What an amazing thing it is. I look at her often and STILL, over 2 1/2 years later, think “Wow. She is mine.”
Shortly after Amelia’s second birthday, we lost Gram. My beautiful, angelic, amazing Grandmother. We didn’t see each other often because of the physical distance, but her absence has been heavy. I feel like she visits me now as often as she wishes she could when she was physically here… I feel her often and I think of her often. Today is her birthday and I woke this morning thinking of her and remembering the way she smelled and the feel of her soft, soft skin the last time I got to hug her and she kissed the spot she always kissed when she hugged me, right under my ear. I remember that moment, dropping her and Pop off at the airport. I remember so clearly the second we pulled away and I could no longer see them, I burst into tears and I told Bart “I feel like I’m not going to see them again.” I don’t know why I felt that way at that moment, because at that time, years ago, there was no immediate concern for either of them to be leaving us anytime soon. I just felt it. But I am so grateful for that last moment with her. That last day with her. Listening to her beautiful voice with her adorable accent. I loved listening to her talk. Being in her presence was always like being in your favorite place in the world. I miss her very much and losing her has made me regularly think of how much I will miss my Mother the day I don’t get to talk to her anymore. And it is such an incredibly painful thing to imagine.
Shortly after Gram passed, we were extremely fortunate and blessed to have Pop come and visit us for a week. I can’t even describe what that week was like for me, but I’ll just say that it was amazing. I could listen to that man talk about his life for countless hours, for the rest of my life and never, ever tire of hearing his voice and his stories and his amazing memories of his childhood, his life growing up and his wonderful memories of his beautiful “girl” Irene. “My beautiful girl”, he calls her. What an amazing thing to imagine: being with the love of your life for over 60 years and still referring to them with such adoration. I have looked at Bart many times since then and reminded myself how lucky I am to have him and how I can only dream that when we are 86+ years old, that we will still love each other as much as this.
A month after Gram passed, Grandpa Kroeber passed away. This was an interesting experience for me. We were not close. I barely knew him. I had some negative feelings toward him from past disappointments. But to watch your parent lose a parent is something I’ve never really thought much about. To watch my Dad lose his Father… it was sad. That’s the best word for it. When I asked him how he felt, he said he was sad for what would never be. For the relationship he could never have with his Dad now that he was gone. How amazingly grateful I am for my Daddy and the relationship I have with him. How grateful I am for Bart and the relationship Amelia has with him.
In June, I listened to a voicemail from LDS Family Services saying that I had correspondence waiting for me. I haven’t received a physical letter from Dustin’s parents for a handful of years, so this was extremely exciting. I was SO excited, I asked my neighbor to watch Amelia so I could drive to Provo and go by myself. I’m always emotional when I have to go to that building (usually when I’m dropping a letter OFF), so I just wanted to do it by myself. When I got there, I was shaking when I told them my name and that I was there to pick up a letter. The woman went to the back and came out holding blue folder. I’ll just say it… I was crying before she even reached me. I think I may have squeaked out “thank you” before I turned around, clutching that folder to me like a life jacket in the ocean and basically ran out of the building crying. LOL Yes, I’m laughing, because visualizing it just makes me laugh. I got to my car and let myself cry for a few minutes. Then I opened the folder. There was a framed picture of Dustin. A picture I actually have an original copy of. In the picture, he’s a year old. Although this one was drawn by Dustin. So, more crying. After my vision was partially useful again, I picked up the letter and read the first sentence. It was that moment that I realized this letter wasn’t from Magui or Geary. I have in fact, literally, had dreams about this moment. The moment I received communication of any kind from Dustin himself. I kind of think that in this moment, I may have briefly left my body. Sometimes in a movie when something super dramatic happens, the scene kind of freezes and shows someone moving in slow motion… maybe falling down or having their life flash before their eyes… that’s kind of the only way I can describe how this felt. I totally realize that to the average person, I’m sounding SUPER dramatic right now, but there is just no way you can compare any other feeling to this experience. There’s just no way you can understand. It was just surreal that he was “talking” to me. And SO casually. He’s funny and quirky and so, so intelligent. He reminded me a lot of myself. His favorite word is Banana. Yes, he said his favorite word was Banana and then proceeded to randomly say it two more times throughout the letter. HAHAHAHA He ended the letter by asking me to answer some questions about myself. Simple things, such as my likes and dislikes. My talents and “Nontalents”! My favorite flower. <3 Then, he said “I hope you have questions for me.” What other word can I use other than “amazing”? Wonderful. Blessed. Surreal. Awesome. This letter could probably sustain me the rest of my life. It confirmed that he does in fact know about me and even more importantly… he is doing extremely well. Nothing could even be better than that knowledge right there.
In July, I attended an Usborne Books & More “party” online. Jessica invited me. I had no idea what it was, but man, I fell in love fast and almost immediately signed up to be an Independent Consultant. Yeah… ME. I never, in a MILLION YEARS thought I would be selling anything. And to be honest, when I signed up, I had NO intention of selling. I just was told that Consultant’s got a 25% discount on books, so I thought “hell yeah!” It’s the same reason I “joined” doTERRA… I love the oils and signing up as a member allows me to buy them whole-sale instead of marked up! And I’ve never once sold those, so this was the same plan. But man, it almost took zero effort and I was hooked. The extra money is a great feeling, I won’t lie… but seriously, every time I get new books delivered for Amelia, I feel amazing. Even more than that… when someone I run a party for gets FREE books, well…. that’s an even more amazing feeling. Speaking of amazing feelings… at the beginning of the Usborne adventure, I decided to do a Book Drive (fundraiser) to give books to Primary Children’s Medical Center. My goal was $750.00 and Usborne would match 50%. When everything was said and done, I raised $1,670.00 and Usborne matched that at 50%. It was an indescribable feeling to be able to deliver four full boxes of books to that hospital. The entire experience was very humbling for me, seeing how many people were willing (and GRATEFUL) to donate and some with very significant donations. It was just a really great reminder of how amazing people are when given the chance.
Heidi, Matty and Brennan came to visit the end of July/beginning of August. They were here for over a week and it was so amazing. It gave me a small glimpse of what it would be like to have them local. It also made me cherish the little time we had with them. It’s difficult to have a sibling live so far away (when you’re used to your entire immediate family being within a hour drive), but even harder, I have discovered, to have a nephew that I don’t get to watch grow. Brennan turned a year old a few weeks ago and again, the whole “time FLIES” problem comes into play. We were lucky this year to see them around Christmas time and then AGAIN in July (twice in one year is rare considering how difficult it is for them to have the time off) and it’s amazing how much he changed in such a short time. He started walking a couple weeks ago! Just crazy!! I am grateful to still have a relationship with them, even if it’s a long distance one.
Bart turned 30 on August 5th. It was a pretty big milestone of course, but I took a simple picture of him and Amelia next to his birthday cake (with the big “3-0” candles on top) and after looking at that picture a few times have found myself just amazed at how far he and I have come. Not only have we been together since we were 17 year olds, but we have had our fair (and not so fair!) share of ups and downs. Major, major downs. I’m extremely proud of how hard we have worked to stick to our commitment to each other and I’m so proud to be his choice. What an awesome person he is. Looking back on the type of person I was before I met him and how HARD (oh man… just so, so, sooo hard) he fought to help me get out of my damaging lifestyle, I really am in awe by him. And I can’t wait to see what he’s like in another 30 years. 😉
Now that I’ve narrated my entire year up until this point, I get to talk about how my month of September has been. On September 2nd, I had a doctor’s appointment. Short version: I have Type 2 Diabetes. My A1C level was 6.6 (Diabetic is 6.5), so it’s not in super crazy, damaging scary range, but it’s still something I’ll have to manage for the rest of my life. I was then referred to a Diabetes Specialist (fortunately, the same people I saw when I was pregnant with Amelia and had Gestational Diabetes) and a Nutritionist. This, oddly enough, was an amazing appointment and I left there feeling very encouraged and almost excited at the prospect of getting healthy, with a goal of working hard to lower those numbers into a healthier range. I’ve been prescribed Metformin and put on a pretty specific carb focused diet (I don’t want to say “low-carb”, because the average low carb diet is not nearly what I mean here…) That is the slightly daunting part of this diagnosis, but I’m hopeful that in time, I’ll get so used to the strictness that maybe I’ll know how many carbs are in what without having to look at every single label and calculate every single thing. But for now, I’m just working really hard. Already seeing positive results in my blood sugar tests (testing at random times, twice daily for the next few months to get a really good idea of how I’m functioning) and have lost about 9 lbs. I am hoping that if I can be as open as possible about this that Amelia will grow up having pretty good knowledge about it because I have to face the facts… chances are she will have this disease when she’s older. My hope is simply that if I can teach a healthy lifestyle as early as possible, maybe she won’t be diagnosed when she’s 29.
You know, life really is good.
This year on Dustin’s birthday, I find myself trying to focus more than ever on the amazing things I have in my life. I often think too much about what I don’t have, what I don’t know about him, all the things I haven’t witnessed over the past 13 years… and this year is no different in the sense that yes, I do still think about all those things. Actually, I think about those things even more the older he gets, because the older he gets, the more of an individual he would become, so I think about what kind of person he’s becoming. But this year I’ve been focusing a lot more on what’s in front of me. I’m not saying that I don’t think about him, but I do focus a lot on the child that I have with me and how blessed I am to have her. I admit that sometimes I get extra jolts of emotion to my heart when I hug her and think of the one I can’t hug.
***This post was saved as a draft this year on Dustin’s birthday. I wasn’t able to finish it and now I thought I might as well delete it since it’s been sitting as a draft for 9 months. Instead, I’m going to post it as is, because that’s just what really happened.
It’s been way too long since my last post and I’ve been feeling like updating for a few MONTHS now, but haven’t found the time. Life sure is busy (who’da thunk??)
I have really been wanting to write a super “fact-filled” entry here, but with things as busy as they are, it just isn’t going to happen the way I want it. LOL Instead, I’m just gonna start writing so I can get it recorded like I want!
First of all, Bart and I continue to be jaw-droppingly (it’s a word) amazed at how quickly Amelia picks up on things. She does something new every single day and it is seriously a JOY to watch. I am constantly overwhelmed with love and gratitude for life, for Bart and for how hard we have worked to be where we are. I’m grateful that I get to be with her every day. Yes, even on days when I have to close myself in the bathroom for a few minutes to take deep breaths. You didn’t think I did that? Oh yes, I do. This toddlerhood is not for the faint of heart or short tempered. LOL I am SO, so, so, ….SO grateful that I have been blessed in life with extreme patience. Sometimes I don’t even know how I have the amount of patience that I do (and I 100% credit my Mother for that one… seriously, she’s an amazing woman for not eating me as a child) but I am a damn good Mom. For realsies. And I have NO problem saying that and feeling proud. You know what makes me really proud? When Amelia waves to people in the store and says “bye” (she says “bye” as a greeting AND as a farewell, FYI), or when she blows kisses to children at the park that she’s never met before. When she hugs and kisses her toys, or when she randomly backs her little butt up to sit down on my lap (even if she only stays there for 1.5 seconds before she zooms off to her next task). I love when she gets sleepy, she starts to go up the stairs, blowing kisses as she goes, saying “bed”. She likes her bed and never fights laying down. She doesn’t always sleep (really, she’ll sit in her bed for MORE than an hour just babbling and chillin’ until I’m sure she is not actually gonna fall asleep 😛 ) I love that she does that. She loves purses, things in her hair, shoes (although she doesn’t like wearing shoes in the car… I have no idea why), cars, tools, electronics, water – holy cow, she likes water – drinking it, playing in it, throwing it, squirting it; you name it. She “talks” NON-stop and 90% of the time, we really have no clue what she’s saying, but she looks you straight in the eye and babbles whole paragraphs as if she’s completely serious. She gets very upset when you say “I don’t understand”, so for the most part, I just do not say that to her. I’ll just pretend that I understand. Most of the time a simple “Yeah!”, “Oh really??” or “Woah, that’s cool!” will suffice. Sometimes it does not. It’s clear when she’s just telling you something and when she needs a response or is asking you something, because she’ll repeat herself over and over (we’ll just keep guessing what she’s trying to say) until you get it. When you finally understand what she’s saying, she makes it clear when she’s satisfied. It’s just…. amazing. It’s amazing to witness a person’s brain develop. I’ve been very close to all of my nieces and nephews growing up and even had a HUGE part in their development, but it is SO different on a day to day, minute by minute basis.
So… for some “stats”: Amelia has gone through a MASSIVE growth spurt over the past few months. She had a checkup at 15 months old (which I’m finding is not very common, because most people that I tell are like “15 month? HUH??”) but at 15 months old, she was 30″ tall and weighed 24 lbs. Just three months later at her 18 month checkup, she was 33″ tall and weighed 26 lbs. HA! So suddenly she’s tall (I believe it’s like the 90th percentile). In general I really don’t pay too much attention to “Percentiles”, but it’s just amazing the jump she made. LOL I often find myself looking at her and feel overwhelmed with how big she’s gotten. I really SO clearly remember her being this tiny little girl that fit right on my chest and I got to cuddle and kiss her ALL day with very few bathroom breaks. LOL (Man, I’m so glad that I did that!) Now, that little girl barely holds still for more than 2-3 seconds at a time. She loves being outside, running, spinning (“Spin spin spin!”) and throwing food on the floor. She’s definitely started some small tantrums that usually involve covering her face with her hands (I have to FIGHT the urge to laugh when she does that… it really is so adorable, but I don’t want her to now that :P), or flopping onto the floor and is usually over things like me saying “Amelia, please do not eat the garbage can” or “Amelia, please don’t stand on the table”….. “Amelia, please don’t wash your hands in the toilet” “Amelia, please don’t climb up the oven(and/or dishwasher)”. She rebels sometimes by doing things she knows (and yes, I’m confident in saying “things she KNOWS”) she isn’t supposed to do… For example, if I say “please don’t eat the garbage can”, she may scream and run over to the blinds and start pulling on them while looking straight at me. Sometimes she’ll even make the “AH!” sound that I make when she’s doing something she shouldn’t be. Or she’ll run over to the china cabinet and pull on the drawer that she’s constantly being told she shouldn’t open. It’s funny to see her testing her boundaries, but I won’t lie… it can be frustrating. I figure I need to keep my frustration at bay though, because I feel like this is NOTHIN’ compared to the years to come. I often think about how I rebelled as a teenager and think “if my worst concern right now is broken blinds… lets hold onto that.” Man, she likes to climb and rarely wants help. It’s only a matter of time before she climbs (and most likely FALLS) out of her crib, forcing us to convert her out of the last bit of babyhood and into a “toddler bed”. Sigh. I am not ready for that. I’m not ready for her to get out of bed by herself and come get ME, rather than me go get her. I’m 100% positive that I’ll cry when that time comes. She’s growing so fast. I used to think that I knew the definiton of “bittersweet”, but alas, I did not until this girl entered my life. It’s the closest word I can come up with in my mind that defines our current status of growth. Bittersweet. Letting go of amazing things is always hard. Letting go of a little baby and letting her run around to fall and hurt herself, to climb and break things, to dancing and crash… it’s hard. It’s bitter… but oooh so sweet to witness. Oh so sweet. She is so sweet and loving (very loving!) and silly. She will do anything she can think of to make you laugh… and when she finds something that makes you laugh, she’ll remember it for next time and do it again. She’s going through a phase right now of doing EEEEVERYTHING that Daddy does. Everything. Last night at dinner he was brushing something off of his shirt sleeve and she watched him, then did the same to her shirt. He sneezed at one point and she “sneezed”, too. She picked up her cup to drink when he did. She took a forkful of broccoli when he did. He started howling like a wolf with his head thrown back… so she did. I watch the two of them together so often and have to fight back tears. There are almost no words for how I feel. He’s amazing. She is amazing… and they’re both “mine”. Amazing.
For as long as we’ve lived in this house, we’ve had a picture magnet on our fridge of Dustin. Every once in a while I’ll point out to Amelia who it is. Well, the last few days, she points to it and asks to hold it, so of course I let her. She has now started saying “Dustin” (sounds like: duh-diss). This morning she sat on the couch holding that picture the entire time I was preparing breakfast. I was able to stop what I was doing a few times to take a couple pictures, but she basically didn’t move from the spot and kept pointing to the picture saying his name, sometimes kissing the picture and once I turned around and she was hugging it saying “Aaaww Duhdiss!” Yes, I may have had tears in my eyes, but it really was awesome. I love that she will know who he is and that he’ll know who she is (which reminds me, I have been meaning to send him an updated picture and want to do that by at least Christmas). Time flies so fast. Dustin will be 13 years old this coming January. THIRTEEN! Wow.
Ok, I will confess that what has been typed so far in this post has happened over a period of about a week. LOL So I’m just going to post it as is. I left out a lot of stuff I had wanted to add, but Amelia just laid down for a nap and if I don’t take a shower now, I may not get a chance today!
I really, really love my life. <3
Wow. Our baby is a full year old. What an amazing and surreal feeling. This tiny little person that was once building her body inside mine has been in our home, in our life and in our arms for 12 full months. It’s so amazing for me to watch her develop and grow and learn every single day. She literally changes every single day. I love the person that she is. She has such a spunky, energetic, happy, silly, loving personality and I love watching her become her own person as time goes on.
Surreal. That’s going to be the magic word probably throughout this entire post because it’s the only word that even comes close to this feeling. It’s even hard for me to put into words what I’m thinking… but I’ll just keep writing and see what comes out. Sometimes I can’t believe how blessed I am to be this girl’s Mother. So often I find myself looking at her, amazed that she is here and she is mine. Ours. I can’t help but think about how different it felt to wake up this morning, knowing that today marks the day my baby was born, and not feel “sad” the way I do on Dustin’s birthday. That probably sounds bad, but it’s true. I feel sadness on his birthday’s. Obviously it’s sadness for myself, but regardless, I’m not excited for that day. Maybe someday I will be. I was excited this morning. I woke up super early (no idea what time is was… I specifically made myself NOT look at the clock, but the sun was not up yet 😛 ) and just waited for her to wake up. The second she made a noise, I got out of bed and checked the monitor. Long story short, she slept in until almost 9:15 (SHEESH!) so I just sat around and waited for her for hours! LOL When she finally woke up and I was sure she was actually awake (standing up, bouncing on her bed, babbling “mamamamadadadadadababababababa”) Bart and I went into her room and as I normally do in the morning, I went in and said “wheeeere’s Ameeeeelia?” and I got a squeal and this face in return:
Well? What can I say…?
Oh how amazing it feels to be able to hold and hug and kiss my baby on the anniversary of her birth. Something about it is just indescribable and I had no idea how it was going to feel, but she is real, she is here and she is mine and there are really no words that exist to adequately describe this feeling.
Of course there is a part of me that feels “sad” that this baby is growing up so, so quickly, but there is a huge amount of joy that comes from watching it happen. It’s also nice to know that WE are responsible for her and the ridiculously awesome little person that she is. We did that. We’re doing that. LOL It’s amazing.
Bart took today off, so the three of us went out to breakfast at Denny’s together. Amelia got a celebratory (FREE) bowl of banana slices for reaching such a momentous milestone in life and we enjoyed our morning as a family. I don’t think I will ever get tired of being with these two.
We went to Petsmart and visited the kitties and of course Amelia’s favorite, the fish:
Then we went on a drive for a while, saw cows, horses, sheep and birds and made sounds for each of them, then came home and with a massive energy boost, climbed up and down the couches (which she has only been able to do since last night) and giggled like crazy until nap time.
We had a birthday party with all the Kroeber’s on Saturday at Heather and Christopher’s house (I’ll try to remember to post pictures later on when Heather is able to go through them – THANK YOU Heather for being willing to be an unpaid photographer) which was so great for me. I know that Amelia isn’t going to remember it and I know that Bart didn’t really think it was necessary, but of course he was supportive and went along with what I wanted to do because it really meant something to me. And I was so grateful to be with my family to celebrate it. They are the only people that really understand me and why something like this would mean something extra to me. I was pretty proud of myself for not being overly emotional about it, but I admit I did start to tear up pretty heavily in the middle of everyone singing “Happy Birthday” to her… That was just when it really hit me and I was so overcome with happiness that I was actually having a birthday party for MY baby. Harmony made a delicious cake with cupcakes surrounding it (it’s a clock, because Amelia is pretty obsessed with clocks!) and Amelia LOVED it.
I was pretty surprised that when she dove into the cupcake, that she didn’t seem to mind the frosting stuck on her hands. Normally she does not like things stuck to her fingers, but she just kept shoveling it in and smashing it into her mouth until the whole thing was gone. I had told myself I wanted to get a video of it, but of course while it was happening, I didn’t think about it. I am hoping Heather got some decent pictures of the process. As usual when Heather tries to take pictures of Amelia, she (meaning Amelia) was pretty tired and not super energetic (bless Heather for still trying, even though the Photographer in her probably cringes at NOT getting perfect pictures!) but it was very fun and overall Amelia was happy the whole time.
Tonight Lisa, Zack and Xoe came over and we had a little party, just the 6 of us (7, including Gideon, of course). It was a lot of fun and of course, she got tons of stuff from them. Lots of awesome books (with the thick pages that are easy for her to turn herself without ripping) and as usual, lots of clothes! I think between Lisa and Zack, we’ll probably never have to buy Amelia clothes until she’s a teenager. LOL Really though, I appreciate them so much. And I love that they love Amelia so much. Since we had an entire cake left over from her party on Saturday (since Harmony made tons of cupcakes, the cake itself wasn’t touched), I had just kept it in the fridge and we had it tonight. After thought: I should have taken the cake out of the fridge a while before we intended on eating it because the frosting was cold, so kind of firm. It still tasted just as delicous, but would have been a little funner for them to see Amelia swim in the frosting the way she did on Saturday. Heh. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. She certainliy made enough of a mess that we just hosed her down in the tub (thank goodness for the shower “hose” extension 😛 ) and put her in one of her many new sets of jammies. BIG kid pajamas with no feeties! (I tried to get a picture, but she wouldn’t hold still long enough… but the ones she’s wearing right now in bed are Care Bear ones.)
What a crazy, loving, fun filled weekend this has been. Now it has passed and our baby is 1 year old. Before we know it, she’ll be 2… and 20. LOL What an amazing adventure.
It’s funny how memories of past dates in your mind just never lessen. The memories stay just as clear as they were the day after they happened. I’ve thought a lot about specific memories that have stayed clearer to me than others. Not necessarily significant ones, like one time when I was a kid, maybe 10 years old, I was laying on the livingroom floor doing my homework and my Dad came in and started tickling me. I don’t know why that memory is so vivid, but it is. It makes me wonder how our mind chooses what to hold in higher priority than other things. I know this all probably doesn’t make sense, but I’ve had a couple sleepless nights lately (as you can probably tell… ha) and these are things that I think of. lol
I remember very clearly the morning of January 10, 2002. My parents and I left our house in Santaquin fairly early, around 6 or so in the morning. I was being induced and was supposed to be there around 7. We stopped at McDonalds in Payson and I got a breakfast bagel, hashbrown and orange juice in preparation to not eat for God knew how long 😛 (Since they don’t let you eat while you’re in labor!) I don’t remember the process of eating it, although I know I did because my Mom urged me that it was important to eat something. Just a small piece of the memory that my mind chose wasn’t important to keep. LOL I remember feeling really shakey and scared. I remember sitting in the back seat and hugging my belly, trying not to cry. I knew that as soon as he came out, he wouldn’t be mine anymore. I remember thinking that if I could keep him with me for just one more day, I’d be grateful. I didn’t want to let him go. I didn’t want to stop feeling his love in my belly. I was the only person in the world he knew and loved. I was important to him and he needed me.
I remember getting to the hospital way faster than I thought was normal. I also don’t think I was really “there” for most of the drive. I don’t remember my parents and I talking, but I can’t be sure. When we got to the hospital, my parents checked me in, they brought us back into a room and told me to change. I remember that I changed into the ugly, stiff hospital gown and that at one point one of the nurses told me I was supposed to take my underwear off too. I hadn’t. I didn’t know it was necessary until the baby was to come out. I remember them starting the IV and that it hurt a lot because they had to try multiple times to get it in the top of my hand. I don’t remember much about the initial setup other than that. I seem to recall being kind of “out of it” and not paying much attention. I don’t remember when, time wise, but my Midwife broke my water with a thing that reminded me of a crochet hook. Everyone seemed a little concerned because my water was filled with meconium and talked about the risk of the baby having possibly inhaled some of it. When the contractions started, I remembering throwing up a couple times. My Mom held one of those tiny little hospital “pans” (not a bed pan, but those tiny ones that I believe are meant for throwing up) and I remember thinking that was the stupidest thing I ever saw and that if I was going to throw up, that little thing wasn’t going to hold all my puke. (It held it just fine because I didn’t throw up that much, but the point is, I remember thinking it…)
I remember after a few hours of labor, my Midwife kept checking my chart and looking concerned. I remember words like “heart rate” and also words like “blood pressure”, “baby not responding”, but mostly I remembering feeling very scared at the tone in her voice and the creases between her eyebrows. They had warned me before inducing that at any point if at any point the baby was in danger, they would do an emergency c-section. (At the time, that was extremely scary to hear… at that point in my life, I didn’t know that they basically say that to EVERY woman who goes in to be induced… you have to agree in advance to allow them to do an emergency c-section if it becomes necessary.) I remember thinking I would do ANYTHING they told me to do if they could just make sure my baby was ok. I think she realized that she scared me at that point, because I started crying and she came to me and reassured me that it would be fine. They’re probably trained to say that to people who are freaking out in situations like that. Heh. But hey, she did well. They told me that their best suggestion was for me to get an epidural to lower my blood pressure and hopefully the baby would respond better if my body wasn’t “panicking” as much. I remember being annoyed at that word, because I did not feel like I was panicking. I was in pain, but I thought I was doing well. The mind and the body are NOT “one” when you’re in labor! lol The mind is a powerful thing. They knew beforehand that I did not want an epidural. I even told them not to give me one even if I asked for one during labor. Usually when I tell people that, they think I’m crazy. No, I’m not a hippy, nor do I believe epidurals are evil. Keep in mind that when I became pregnant at 15 years old, I was also addicted to cigarettes, cocaine and probably alcohol. I was doing almost every drug that you can think of that didn’t involve a needle. If it was smoke-able or snort-able, I was doing it. When I found out that I was pregnant, regardless of how dumb of a teenager I was or how selfish a person I was, there was zero hesitation in my mind that I could not be doing those things while I was pregnant. (Maybe it was because I was being raised by a Midwife/Nurse and was no stranger to knowledge of the potential effects…) My point is that as a 16 year old girl in recovery from drug addiction, I did not want drugs to help me bring a person into the world. I didn’t want to not have control of my body, as was my personal experience with many drugs that I had done that put me in horrible, damaging situations that I couldn’t prevent because I was not in control of my body and mind. So, while the epidural is a great option for many, it was not desireable for me. – At this point in the labor, when she suggested the epidural, I became very frustrated and basically asked what my other options were. She felt strongly that nothing else was going to help. They had already put an internal monitor into Dustin’s skull because his heart beat was hard (nearly impossible) to read through the “strap” monitors (I don’t know what those are called that they velcro around your belly.) Still, his heart rate was barely better than a flat-line and he was not responding properly to contractions. I remember her saying some other things (I was in the middle of having contractions, so I don’t think I can be blamed much for not remembering much of this 😛 ) and then the words “risking the baby dying” were said. I agreed to the epidural. I remember the man having a really nice face. He looked kind. I remember the shot hurting a lot more than they said it would. I felt like I was being electracuted, or like a thousand bees were stinging me, starting at the middle of my spine and shooting outward like vines. I felt nauseous and light headed. They said it would take just a few minutes before I lost feeling in the lower half of my body. I was extremely nervous. To add another piece of information (that I admit contributed to my “fear” of epidurals), I had a friend who had a baby just a few months prior to this who had an epidural and described that she was SO numb, that when it came time to push, she could not. She couldn’t feel when she was supposed to, nor could she feel or control anything in her body TO push – basically when they told her to push, she would… or so she thought. Nothing would actually happen. She described the nurses having to basically push on her belly to get the baby out. I will say that it wasn’t as bad for me. Once I became numb, obviously I didn’t have control over my legs. I also remember farting once, which for some reason my mom and the other nurses thought was great (no, seriously… they seemed pleased…..) but I thought it was so funny that I farted without me knowing it. Usually you’re aware when it’s gonna happen… so it’s weird not feeling it! Regardless of being numb and not being able to control farts…. I was still feeling the pressure of my contractions (they just didn’t “hurt”) which I was grateful for. It meant that I was going to know when my body was contracting without them having to TELL me. Hours of this went by and Dustin’s heart rate was still fairly concerning. After about 14 hours of labor, my Midwife came in to check me. I was dilated to a 4 and had been for about 10 hours. I was at a 2 before I was even induced, so I had only progressed 2 centimeters in over 10 hours. She told me that she was going to talk with the Doctor and that we needed to start discussing a c-section. I have no recollection of who the Doctor was, but she had consulted with a doctor many times throughout the labor because it was turning out to be high-risk and Midwives generally bring a Doctor in when there are medical concerns. He came in with her to talk to me and my Parents. Again, I don’t recall who the Doctor was. I don’t remember anything about him (his face, his build, hair color… nothing. But I do know “he” existed and was there…) they talked mostly to my parents about what would happen with a c-section and what to expect, etc. I do remember very clearly at this point looking up at my Dad and him telling the Doctor that he needed a few minutes alone with me. They agreed and everyone (including my Mom and I also think Lena was there) left the room. I don’t remember us talking or anything particular, but I do remember, more clearly than almost anything, my Dad’s hands on my belly. I don’t remember the words he said, but I remember looking down at his hands as clearly as if they were there right now. I remember his tears, although I don’t remember actually seeing him cry. I was focused on his hands. He wasn’t talking to me, he was talking to Dustin and he was praying. The only way I can describe the way I felt is that if I were to ever in my life doubt my Daddy’s love for me, all I would need to do is recall this memory and it would be impossible. I could feel all of his pain, strength, weakness, dedication, heart, soul and every ounce of love in this moment. I don’t talk in detail about this particular memory very often because it’s so indescribable and private, but I needed to write it now in more detail than I have in the past. I’m not sure how long we were in there alone, but the Doctor and Midwife came back in, as did my Mom and probably the nurses (seemed like there were suddenly a lot of people). My Dad talked to them and for some reason the Doctor agreed to give me 30 minutes. If I hadn’t improved in 30 minutes, they were going to do the c-section with no further delay. 30 minutes later, I was dilated to an 8. Everyone was in such shock, there was no speaking for a couple minutes. The Doctor and Midwife were talking and looking over the chart. The nurse updated the chart (which they later printed and gave us a copy of) that showed “Emotional Support from Family”. Immediately after that, Dustin’s heart rate improved. About an hour later, it was time to push. There were a lot of people in the room. There was a “team” waiting for Dustin (there was a little bit extra caution because of my water being filled with meconium) of about 4-6 people, my Midwife, my parents and Lena. My legs were numb and I could not lift them into the stirrups OR hold them there, so my mom held my left leg and Lena held my right. My Dad stood up by my head. I remember my Midwife asking me if I wanted a mirror to watch the birth and I partially yelled/snapped at her and said “NO!”. Everyone thought it was funny and I think it was my Dad that said “Well, I think she’s sure about that!” When she told me to start pushing, my Dad was counting to ten with each push. He thought it would be funny to start saying “booorderline ‘leven!” (Have you ever seen “Gone Fishin'”? Well, if you have, you’d know…) about 50 minutes later, Dustin was born. She flopped him on my stomach as she took care of the cord, placenta, whatever else she was doing. All I know is that it literally felt like she threw him on my belly and it felt so weird (physically weird… my stomach was mush and after being used to a solid mass for 9+ months, it was a very strange feeling). I remember looking down at him in utter shock. I remember thinking he was enormous. Everyone talks about how they see their baby and think of how tiny they are. I thought he was huge. His skin looked gray and was covered in goo and snot and blood and making a very strange sound that I thought was choking. He was only there for a very, VERY brief moment (it felt like a little longer at the time because I just stared and felt very scared) but they took him as quickly as they were able and suctioned him out. When I heard him cry, I immediately started hysterically sobbing. It’s actually really hard for me to describe this moment and as I’m recalling it, I’m having a hard time typing because my eyes are filled with tears. The relief that he was ok was overwhelming. Immediately following this relief was sadness that he was no longer inside me and the deepest sorrow I’d ever felt, knowing that he was no longer mine. I don’t like to admit that because it was a very selfish way to feel, but it’s true. Words really cannot adequately describe this moment. Most women talk about this moment in such a happy way, hearing the first cry of their newborn baby and the happy release of tears. I truly felt, more than I had ever experienced up until this point in my short life of 16 years, that I wanted to die. The pain inside my chest was so severe and so very real that had I not acknowledged where the pain came from, it’s possible that I could have confused it with a heart attack. It’s the only time that I had actually understood the term “heart ache”. They gave him to me a few minutes later, wrapped up in a blanket and with a little beanie on his head. This is one part where the cliche fits perfectly: He really was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. He was so perfect, so beautiful, SO cute and chubby. The gray had gone away and he had the brightest rosey red plump lips and pink cheeks. He looked up at me and I held him to me and sobbed. I’m really not sure how long I stayed there and held him and cried like that. I was vaguely aware of a LOT of other things going on. People in between my legs and around the bed, touching me, moving me, moving things around… but it’s as if the world had muted. You could have been speaking directly to my face (for all I know, people may have been… I’m really not sure) but I didn’t fully see, hear, or feel anything else in the world. I had a moment of not thinking about the fact that this baby was not mine. My mind emptied of everything going on in my life, in the world, in existence. I didn’t think of anything but this little face looking back at me. I have NO detailed recollection of anything else for quite some time. I don’t remember people leaving or anything else happening. I actually, many times, have even wondered how much of this memory is real or if it’s something my suconscious created, as if pausing a memory and putting it on endless repeat. That sounds crazy, but that’s kind of the only way I can describe it. That’s why I don’t know if the memory is real and we really did lay there for a very long time, or if my mind has just held that small bit and has stuck it on repeat forever. Because logically and in normal situations, at some point fairly soon after the birth, they take the baby for feeding (since it was advised that I not breast feed) but I don’t remember. The next memory I have is in the morning in a completely different room than the one he was born in. I think I sept for a little bit after they took him (I don’t necessarily remember that, I just know it from other people’s accounts of the night) and that at some point when the nurse came into the room and asked if I needed anything, I asked if she could bring him to me. I know a few select (authorized) friends came to visit. I do remember that when Melissa, Hillary and I believe Daniel came to visit, they had told them I was not there. This is because I checked in under an alias name (my Mom’s maiden name) and forgot to tell them that they needed to give that name. The nurse had come in immediately to tell us and when we figured out who it was (by her description) my Mom ran out to the parking lot to get them before they left. Other than that, I only remember vague details about people kind of coming and going, but nothing in particular. My next vivid memory is when my case worker came. I know that this particular memory I have told many times before and in detail. Of how she had come to give me the relinquishment papers. I was later told by my parents that she had told them she’d never seen anyone as strong in that moment, which I found surprising at the time because I didn’t think I was strong at all.
I’ll be honest, I started writing this blog today because I hardly slept at all last night thinking of all of these things… and this morning I thought if I wrote, I could get my thoughts and feelings out and it would help. Accepting and acknowledging my pain is the best way for me to then let it go and continue with my life. Right now I’m struggling to continue typing as it’s proving to be much more emotional than I thought it would be. It’s hard to describe something like this. Reliving the memories isn’t necessarily the thing I’m struggling with. I’ll just say that I really thought this year would be easier. This is the first time in 12 years that I am actually a Mommy on his birthday. I’ve finally been able to experience the sheer joy and awesomeness that is true Motherhood. I thought that because of this, maybe this year on his birthday and these “anniversary” dates, it wouldn’t affect me as much. It’s hard for me to admit because it’s so much easier to pretend I’m strong, but this year has been harder and more painful than almost any birthday that I recall, other than his first. The memory of these days I had with him and the day (13th) that I last saw, held, touched and felt him in my arms are always a little emotional… but this time, I’m finding that because I DO know now how it feels to watch a child grow, to hold her and kiss her and witness her changes and personality growth, I am so strongly, painfully aware now of what I have missed. I had nothing “real” to compare it to before, so the pain was simply missing the baby that grew inside me. Now, I’m feeling the true, very strong, very real pain of KNOWING all the amazing things that I did not get to see or feel or be apart of and the result is… again… indescribable. (It is very difficult to describe feelings that you’ve never before had to people who have also never had them…) All I know for sure is that what is also “indescribable” is the love that I have for Amelia and how grateful I am to have her. I know how it feels to miss moments in a child’s life and not be able to watch them grow. Because I know how this feels, that is why I cannot put into adequate words how grateful I am to be apart of this little person’s life and how blessed I am to be able to watch her be. That is why I can say with 100% honesty that I am grateful for all the moments that I have with her. I know that many women say that anyone who is grateful for ALL moments is either in denial or just trying too hard. For someone who has felt one of the worst pains that there is in the world, I AM grateful for the hard moments. Even in the frustrated moments, I can feel myself smile. I think too many people take for granted that they get to witness their children breaking things, or going through obnoxious, exhausting phases. People take for granted that they’re living LIFE with their children and that the very “real” things are the things that some people wish they had more than anything. A broken glass or colored on wall or stitches or hearing your kids fighting… I’m not saying that you should logically be standing there, listening to your kids scream and cry and say “aw you guys are so beautifully amazing!” but I wish for you to be able to take a breath and say “They are real. They are here. They are mine.” and be grateful. Not grateful for the negative or frustrating *thing*, but for the reality.
Yesterday Amelia said “Dada”. I’m not 100% sure that she was using the word in reference to Bart, but he was playing with her and she was saying it over and over and over. Normally I would just think they were sounds, but “d” is not a letter she normally jibbers with her normal squealy talk. So her using the “d” sound so clearly was new… and she was excited when she was saying it. We’ll have to pay attention over the next few days to see if she really knows that “da-da” means “Daddy”. Either way, it made me so happy to watch Bart’s face light up as she was saying it over and over. He was even trying to record her. Dunno if he got anything worth sharing, but we’ll see.
Today, Amelia climbed the stairs all by herself. She has barely shown any interest in them before other than maybe crawling up to the bottom step and looking up. A few weeks ago, she “stood” on the bottom step (used it to stand up, didn’t actually stand ON it), but that’s it. Then on Sunday, out of nowhere, she started climbing them and she did. All 14 of them. It was so fun to watch. The first few steps were slow and shaky and then she just had it down and sped up them as fast as her body could keep up. I really love watching her learn new things. I didn’t get a picture though because I was too excited to think about it at the time. LOL
Oh, and she also turned 9 months old today. (SHEESH!)
It has been quite a while since I’ve updated and I can’t believe how fast time has gone by since Amelia came into our lives. It seems to have sped up so much, our baby is already 8 1/2 months old and all I did was blink. She’s such an enormous blessing in our lives and I will never stop saying it, but I am so, so grateful that I get to be at home with her every day and watch her grow and learn new things (which sometimes is a minute to minute basis!)
One of my favorites moments of every single day is first thing in the morning, when she first wakes up. She normally wakes up before we do and I wake up to the sounds of her squealing and jabbering coming through the baby monitor. I will lay in bed for quite a while and just listen to her, because it makes me smile. When I finally get up and go into her room, the second she sees me, she gets super excited and scrunches up into a ball and then kicks and laughs and grins non stop. Seriously, can you think of a better way to start your day?! Recently, (over the past few weeks) she started pulling herself into a standing position, so now when I go into her room in the morning, half the time she is already standing up, grinning as big as she can. All I can see over the edge of her crib are her eyes and the tops of her cheeks. She is just so funny.
She has developed the awesomest personality (as if it wasn’t already awesome before!) she’s definitely a character and is starting to make silly faces and do silly things to make us laugh. When we do laugh, she gets so excited and breathes really fast and grins so big her eyes nearly shut (sometimes they do!) She has the coolest laugh ….really, not so much like the average baby’s laugh… hers is… I don’t even know how to describe it LOL Well, it’s like a big person’s laugh in a teeny body. LOL She is now getting into anything and everything that’s possible and constantly crawling around and exploring. She likes to go through things, hardly ever around things… such as climbing over and through the dining chairs, table, high chair, etc. she’ll just climb over the base pieces and flop on the other side when it’s too high. This often results in her calling for help because she gets stuck in places she doesn’t fit in, or her body is too small to make it over such big obstacles. She just doesn’t know that yet. She’s extremely independent and doesn’t hold still much, unless she’s very tired. She makes me laugh every single day and I love not knowing what adventures (trouble) she’s going to get into every day. This week she discovered that she could lift and dump Gideon’s water bucket… and she thought that was oh-so-hilarious. HAHAHA Even with the huge puddle of water I had to clean up, I couldn’t help but laugh and kiss her because of that grin on her face.
She is growing so, so fast!!!