Loving the here and now…

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Being a mommy is my most favorite thing in the world.

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Focusing on the here and now leaves no room for “what if’s.”

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Easter, Love, and Letting Go…

I have this ferocious need to capture little moments with my kids.

Sometimes it’s to the point where I have to stop what I’m doing and just BE in the moment.

I try to remember that I will have and do have lots of time with them.

This year with my perfect part time job that went away and turned into just kill me full time, has left me feeling scattered and sometimes afraid.

Afraid that I’m missing the big things and little things in my family’s life.

Except for this weekend.

I decided to put it all down. Lay all the cares, worries, and stresses behind.

Just play, enjoy, relax, and not stress for the perfect picture or activity.

So there was dirt, mud, and easter egg dying…

Rowan and his best buddy just HAD to dig in the mud in the garden...

Rowan and his best buddy just HAD to dig in the mud in the garden…

We dyed eggs and got all messy...

We dyed eggs and got all messy…

They really can't NOT touch each other, like all the time.

They really can’t NOT touch each other, like all the time.

I want my boys to love each other. I may encourage random acts of affection a little too often.

I also may hear lots of screeching and giggling because of it.

Look what we found!

Look what we found!

Oh, the matching outfits.

When we lost our baby, I never thought we would ever find matching outfits for our boys.

Because they are over four years apart, it is really hard to find matching outfits.

These outfits make me smile.

Can you hear my heart healing as we speak?

Counting up their treats...

Counting up their treats…

Although the Best Friend is not technically ours, we’ll still claim him.

Even the kitty got in on the fun...

Even the kitty got in on the fun…

Hubs came up with a brilliant idea to put some change into a couple of the eggs…

They were all so excited to get money!

Isn’t a few coins way better than chocolate?

Speaking of chocolate, we had all natural candy, vanilla meringues, caramels, and jellybeans this year!

Thank you, Trader Joes!

And the cake?

Just a little messy, but pretty dang colorful for being all natural!

Just a little messy, but pretty dang colorful for being all natural!

Homemade frosting, all natural candy and sprinkles…for the win!

This Easter is a new beginning of sorts.

It’s a day to reflect on where we place our hope, how we can have more faith, and knowing Who holds our future.

This girl is starting to find her hope and faith again.

Starting today.

Babies having babies and the beauty in what is…

The combined total weight of the two babies were barely seven pounds.

They weren’t twins, yet they were so similar.

The parents who struggled to conceive them.

The ones who paid thousands of dollars in care.

The ones who ended up delivering very early.

Both parents so very involved in their care, jumping at any opportunity to do kangaroo care.

I barely had any hands on time with them as their nurse, because the families were so very present.

Then, there is the young teenager who delivered her baby yesterday.

She struggled, she cried, she pushed, she screamed, she gave up, then tried again.

All without drugs.

All without a secure future.

All with barely the beginnings of a high school education.

All with a mother’s heart.

She cried at the placement of her brand new baby on her chest.

She said the words, “mama loves you, baby.”

Although these families are so very different, there is one thing the same.

They love their babies with every ounce of their beings.

I am one of the lucky ones who gets to be present when a woman becomes a mother.

It might be for the first time, it might be for the ninth time.

No time is the same.

Each baby unique, special, and with its own gifts.

Some of us know that life isn’t guarenteed.

Even when it’s with new life.

Hearts may be malformed. Vessels imperfect. Organs immature. Functions failing.

But it doesn’t change how I view them.

They are messengers.

They are beautiful.

They are unlike any other.

And if I just keep remembering that, my belief in good things can be sustained.

I can take a deep breath and say thank you to God and the Universe,

for allowing me to have just a bit more faith,

a bit more love,

and bit more acceptance of what is.

*what I love about this angel picture is that it represents strength, endurance, and justice to me.*

*what I love about this angel picture is that it represents strength, endurance, and justice to me.*

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The Many Good Things and Filling My Heart Space…

There was this moment…

I caught it on camera and my heart melted.

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My two monkeys playing before going to bed.

Then there was this photo captured on the front page of our newspaper…

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It’s the closest we’ll get to being famous and I’m perfectly okay with that.

Then there was this moment when the Little had to be JUST like the Big.

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I am totally in love.

Then my work wasn’t horrible! We had good resuscitations, good Apgars, and miracle abounding!

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I almost forgot what it was like to smile at work!

Then, a wonderful Twitter friend became an IRL friend!

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Tonya and I had lunch together and it was lovely.

I’m pretty sure we could’ve talked all day.

Her blog is amazing. Her story is even more so.

She’s inspired me to train for a 10k! That’s right. Running for fun.

Who knew?

Also, she rocked the LTYM show audition and will be participating.

I will be cheering her on.

You should read her blog. http://www.lettersforlucas.com

So, that’s the fun, amazing, heart filling moments I’ve had lately.

How about you? What’s filling your heart space?

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She Needed Me…(my submission piece for LTYM)

 

It happens.

Life.

Death.

I just happen to work where I may see both at the exact same time. I’m trained to be the personnel who tends to a baby’s first breath. As a nurse, rarely my services are needed to sustain a life, but in the event it happens, I’m there, along with a team.

This particular day I was needed. But not in the way I thought.

She was born many weeks too early to survive. Her little body pushed from her mother’s warm, loving interior, into the cold world. Her heart beating, trying it’s best to give it a shot, though her lungs were far too underdeveloped to oxygenate her vital organs. She lay still. Her nurse wrapped her in a warm blanket and handed her to her devastated parents to hold.

But after nearly an hour her parents were done. They asked the nurse to take her, do what you have to do, weights and measures. The nurse gently set her in the crib and started to walk toward the nursery.

I saw the look on the labor nurse’s face. Sad. Confused. Unsure. I asked if the baby had passed yet, she looked at me and said no. No? I asked confused. Why on earth didn’t parents want to hold their dying baby? I can’t imagine.

Oh wait. Yes, I can.

The overwhelm, the horror, the grace, and fortitude that came to reside in my soul after the 26 hours of labor I had to deliver my own stillborn son came flooding back in an instant. I held my breath and swallowed hard.

I told the nurse I’d take her. I pulled the blanket to the side that covered her tiny body. Still warm, I could feel there was some life in her. I carefully wrapped extra blankets around her so that the crib didn’t look empty as I walked in the hallway to take her to the nursery.

When I arrived, I made my way to the back where there was privacy and a curtain. I took out my stethoscope and listened. Nothing. And then a very brief series of heartbeats, irregularly fluttering in her little chest. She was still hanging on.

I walked quickly to the blanket warmer where I grabbed a nice warm blanket and I gently wrapped this precious baby girl in it. Her little head peering out from the swaddle I sat down in the rocker and began to rock.

But something told me she didn’t want to be rocked. She wanted to be held, but not rocked. So I stood up, walked around and held her close to my chest. I talked to her. I told her she was not alone. I told her I would hold her until the end.

After about a half an hour of walking with her in the crook of my arm, I assessed for signs of life. Again, the fluttering of a little heartbeat still present. I told her that I was going to weigh and measure her. I assured her that I was not going to do this because I was assuming she was gone, but that I do this for every baby. I took two sets of footprints, two sets of handprints.

For I know all too well that there will not be any first day of preschool pictures, a first lock of hair, or a first visit from the tooth fairy. Then quickly I wrapped her back up in the warm blanket.

I looked around the nursery and miraculously it was empty now. The hustle and bustle of the day had settled and it was just this baby girl and I. I took a seat behind our desk with one of our swizzle chairs and gently back and forth we swayed. I began to sing one of the lullabies that I sing for my boys.

We swayed and sang for nearly 20 minutes. I had to stop myself from reaching down and kissing her tiny head that peeked out from the blankets. I listened with my heart, melting with gratitude that this precious girl needed me. To just hold her. To just be in my arms.

The time that we swayed seemed like hours. I imagined her body feeling comforted, warm, and loved. I reminded her that her mommy and daddy loved her very much. I told her they did the very best they could. I told her that she paved the way for her future siblings. I thanked her for being so beautiful. I told her that she mattered. I told her that she would not be forgotten. I told her that there would be peace that passed understanding.

I closed my eyes and rested with her in my arms. I hoped she could hear my heartbeat through the blankets. And when I opened them again. I knew she was gone. I could sense her energy had lessened; her delicate mouth began to open. It was time to assess her heart rate again. But instead I held her a little longer.

Indeed she had passed. A sadness came over me. But a peace filled my heart. I thanked her for letting me hold her. I thanked her for needing me. I sent my well wishes to her, her parents, and her future siblings. I asked her to say hello to my baby that was in Heaven and hoped he would usher her into her Creator’s loving embrace.

I was needed that day. Not in the way I’m used to being needed. And in the process, I realized that I needed her.

I was filled to the brim with gratitude, love, peace, and grace. The ache in my soul from losing my stillborn son almost four years before was soothed in her presence. She filled a gap. A wondering for me. She gave me the opportunity to BE in the moment of life and death.

An amazing baby with an amazing message, and for that I am so grateful.

 

The Great Epiphany that’s Not so Awesome

We’ve all been there one time or another. Life dishes out more than you think you can handle.

Like when your toddler teethes and wakes every few hours on the week that you have that important meeting.

Or your washer goes out and your kid threatens barf and you can’t even imagine how your are going to cope if he really throws up.

When the car battery dies and you’ve just spent your extra money from your paycheck on something else.

Or the children will not stop arguing and fussing over the simplest of things.

It’s enough to make you crazy.

And then you do something even dumber. You step on the scale.

After months of adding weight training into your fitness routine, you see that not only have you gotten a lot stronger, but you are now up 5 lbs from where you were four months prior.

Stress.

After texting my husband that I bought a fat tester machine online and telling him that I am about to jump off a cliff, I hit the elliptical defeated.

Near tears I wondered why my clothes still fit but they aren’t loose.

As I turned on my Crisis playlist, I thought about what my husband had said, “keep a food journal”.

The thought of writing every, single thing down that goes into my mouth? Ugh. It reminded me of when I was postpartum and desperate to lose those last 20 lbs.

And then I had an epiphany.

I saw something so clearly about myself.

I am struggling for control this week.

My toddler had his fourth surgery of his short, little 3 years of life. His second set of ear tubes.

This in itself was not a devastatingly stressful time, however, it wasn’t easy for me.

It’s a perfect example of having no control.

I didn’t get to choose the time, the day, or his reaction to the anesthesia.

Though I have to admit I did pull strings and ask a certain anesthesiologist to put him under.

See? I told you I’m struggling for control.

But I digress…

I realized today, maybe for the first time ever, that when things get really out of control then I may look to myself to find faults.

I apparently like to beat myself up and mention to myself and my husband that I’m fat, getting fat, or my butt is rounder and plumper than I’d like it to be.

I nit pick my fitness routine and diet until I am fully defeated.

Really? Is that what I do?

How ridiculous! Why do I do that?

Maybe I do it to put the focus on myself and something that would be “rational” about getting upset about?

Maybe I think that getting mad at myself will distract me about feeling out of control with my kids’ behavior, their fussiness, their medical issues, my stressful work hours?

Wow. Whoa. I get it.

I heard it loud and clear.

But now that I know this about me. What do I do to stop this thought process?

I need to celebrate the fact that I can run a 5K and not fall over dead.

I need to be pleased with my size 4 and size 6 jeans that fit.

But I don’t.

But I want to.

But I’m not sure where to start. Except that I am aware of it.

Awareness is the beginning of change, right?

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Disappointment and Digging Deep

This week was really kind of a rough one.

It was the end of Christmas vacation for my big guy and back to first grade he went.

Although that wasn’t so difficult, it was the signal of more change.

The winter has fully set in.

There is ice in the hummingbird feeder.

The leaves are wet and dark.

The grass is muddy.

My sweet Reiki kitty is sleeping all day long.

My mood is not great.

On my work days, I get up and drive to the hospital before daylight breaks and leave long after the sun is down.

The 12 hour shifts are so long. So, so long.

At work I am seeing people who are frustrating and drug seeking.

I am fighting to find some compassion.

I want to yell at them that they need to JUST STOP.

Then, news that a sweet girl lost her rainbow baby this week just about did me in.

I found myself being annoyed with the nursing students watching me bathe a newborn.

I found myself thinking how mad I was. But at what? I’m still not even sure.

The Universe? My hospital? My patients? What?

So, I came home from work, took a shower, read and rocked my boy to sleep, crept in and snuggled my already asleep 7 year old.

I couldn’t get over how long and lanky his arms were as they peeked out of his comforter.

Then, I went to that place that all baby loss moms go…extreme gratitude for what I’ve been given, but extreme sadness that everyone doesn’t get a happy ending.

I was kissing the beautiful, healthy cheeks of my boys while others are grieving.

I fought a lump in my throat all evening.

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Then, this morning I decided to take action.

We went to the gym.

I listened to my Crisis playlist.

I worked through my uncomfortable feelings of sadness, irritation, anger, and frustration.

I sat with them and just let them be.

I was mindful to not let them take over my heart.

I didn’t give them the power I know they wanted.

Instead, I played soccer with my boy.

We laughed and giggled and ran around until we were thirsty.

We chased and shouted, “good job!” when we made goals.

I lifted him high in the air when he ran at me full speed.

I smiled and felt good.

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And then I realized I was no longer emotionally wrecked.

I had dug deep and found contentment and joy in the moment.

Isn’t that what emotional pain teaches us anyway?

To be present in our moments.

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