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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Path to Baby #4: Pt. 3

We started the process and right away, the memories of how much IVF sucked came back to me. The hormones, all of the appointments, being poked and prodded, sticking my stomach every day (the silver lining was that there was more of my stomach to stick) and the feeling of failure when my body wouldn't respond. I was 37 when we started and was reminded constantly that I was of "advanced maternal age." Only in fertility and modeling is 37 old. The thing is, it doesn't help the ego at all when they keeping talking about your "old eggs." The worst part of the whole thing was when they did retrieve 4 eggs and all 4 fertilized, we waited on pins and needles to find out whether we'd have any to implant. They don't tell you over the phone. They either call and say, "I'm sorry. We don't need you to come in for a transfer" or "Come in now for a transfer." With PGD, they have to send the embryo's out so we had no choice but to transfer the embryos that survived the process and didn't have CF five days after they retrieved them. I was very uncomfortable with that because when I had gotten pregnant with the twins, it was a three day transfer.

We got the call to come in for the transfer and I was so excited, I could barely get it together for us to get there. When we were in the middle of the cycle, I would look at a picture I had of Nico and the twins as encouragement. The minute they called and said come in, images of what this baby would look like filled my head. Would it be a boy and look like Tommy or would it look like Nico? Would Isabella get the sister she dreamed of and would she have her same curly hair? Would I finally get one that looked like me? I couldn't wait to be pregnant again! I couldn't wait to feel a baby kick again and I couldn't wait for that dreamy state of knowing there was a little person growing inside of me. When we arrived, reality came down on me like a brick house. All but one embryo had CF. I tried to be optimistic but I was really hoping to put back at least two. I was so sure it was going to work if we put back two. With one, it felt like all my old eggs were in one faulty basket. I hated CF. I always hated it but especially right then. Why couldn't it just go away? Why did it have to glob onto everything I loved? I saw it as my own personal killer of dreams. We transferred the embryo and the wait began to see if it worked. It did not.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Path to Baby #4: Pt. 2

I think at first I was shocked that Leo was serious. He is an only child and was never really vocal about how many kids he wanted. After we had Nico and were trying to get pregnant, he would tell me it was okay and that he'd be fine if we just had Nico and that he was an only child and he turned out okay (I am going to refrain from adding anything here but I could). When we got pregnant with the twins I asked him about that and he admitted he told me that to make me feel less pressure. I think Leo was a "go with the flow" kind of guy and whatever happened, he would have been fine with. If we had one, he'd be happy. If we had three, he'd be happy so when he voiced and made the effort to have a fourth, it really meant a lot to me. We discussed it and said we would only do one cycle of IVF. We weren't going to torture ourselves. We'd try and if it was meant to be, it would happen. If not, we'd be able to say at least we tried.

We went to see the same doctor that helped us get pregnant with the twins and we decided that we would screen the embryos for CF (the technical term is preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD) and only put back the ones that didn't have it or were carriers. I know this is very controversial and we got flack from many but we didn't see it as a statement against Nico and Tommy. Even though I was doing my best to stop feeling guilty, I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if we gave another one of our children CF. I lost a lot of sleep over this issue because if we knew that Nico had CF before doing IVF for the twins, Tommy wouldn't be here and that thought guts me. My life would not be as full as it is without Tommy. He is the absolute light of my life and to think of him not being here...well...let's just say, he is proof that everything happens for a reason and I thank God every time I look at him that we didn't find out that Nico had it until he was 3.

The kicker was that it was going to cost us $5000 out of our pocket. Things came to a halt because we just didn't have that kind of money to spend on something that wasn't guaranteed. We could maybe come up with $1000 but $5000? We just couldn't do it. I was upset to have been that close to having another baby and have it end because of money (as so many have to do because insurances still think of building your family as an elective and infertility as not a real medical condition).

What happenend next people can view as luck or a gift from God. I choose to believe it was from God and that he really does work in mysterious ways. We were getting ready to do the dinner fundraiser we did and donations were coming in. We recieved one from someone who had already donated several very expensive items including our highest raffle giveaway with a note in it that said, "Please accept this donation for your family. We would like you to use this money for something other than the fundraiser. Take a family vacation. Do something for you and Leo or something for your family. God Bless." In the envelope was a check for $4000.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Path to Baby #4.

When you suffer from infertility and have kids but want more, some feelings never go away. The feeling of sadness that something that is so easy for others and so hard for you never goes away. Each time I would hear someone was pregnant, I would be happy for them but sad for me which in turn made me feel selfish. The most basic thing that women for centuries did with ease, my body would not do. In my mind, it was a total failure, even though I had three beautiful kids (which is why I was in therapy). The ache for the big family I had always dreamed of didn't go away just because I had my three kids. It stopped becoming the focus and would only sting once in awhile but it always hung there. When you have a number in your head of how many kids you want, when you don't have that many, it feels like someone is missing. It was a running joke when we would go out to eat with the five of us and they would sit us at a table for six. One of us would make a joke of how God was trying to tell us something. Even though battling CF was still a black cloud over us, it didn't make wanting another baby go away. It felt like a big pie and it wasn't fair that CF had 2/3 of the pie. If we had another baby with CF having 3/4 of the pie, it would have put me over the edge but if CF had half, then it didn't win and seemed more manageable. Why I saw it as CF winning, I don't know (maybe because I saw it then and still see it now as something that steals our joy). My therapist explained it and it made sense at the time but I can't remember now. I just know that was how I felt. I hated that it was winning.

For five years, every month I would wonder if maybe I was pregnant and every month, I was not. Some months, like when the twins were babies or after the Pepto Bismol episode, I would feel relieved but more often than not, I was disappointed. So roughly, that was 40+ months that I was disappointed, a week where I was angry or depressed because it wasn't happening. It didn't help that Isabella would pray every night for a little sister because she hated being the only girl. Once, when Leo was going to China, she asked me if Leo could bring her back a sister. That fifth year, while sitting in the doctor's office with some issues, he told me my options: Go on the pill (I hated the pill. I gained weight each time I was on it and how was I supposed to get my miracle baby if I was on the pill?), hysterectomy (NO!!) or get pregnant. I told him I was still praying that I would get pregnant on my own and the baby wouldn't have CF since those were the two things that broke me. All would be right in my world if I could just do that. He stared at me being a logical man and said, "Well, it's time to face reality. It's not really happening so if you are serious, you need to look at the next step. See the specialist and get the ball rolling." I love, love my doctor but I left feeling very deflated. I wanted another baby but could I really go through IVF again? Would Leo even want to? He hadn't brought up having another baby in a long time.

I went home and the conversation Leo and I had will go down as one of my favorites. He, of course, doesn't remember this conversation but he also doesn't remember the one thing I send him to the store for so he really isn't a reliable source when it comes to remembering things. I, on the other hand, would never forget a conversation so monumental in our relationship. He asked what the doctor said and I told him the three options and said sadly, "I guess I'll just go on the pill." He replied, "What if you didn't do that?" I got mad and said, "I'm NOT having a hysterectomy!" He replied, "What if you didn't do that?" I looked at him, mad that he wasn't listening and said, "The only other option is to get pregnant," to which he replied, "Yeah, what if you did that one?" I stared at him afraid to believe what he was saying was true. We were never on the same page about that and there we were, on the same page but what did that mean? I told him that the ball was in his court and he needed to talk to his HR person and look up the insurance. I didn't have the energy to look into it only to have him change his mind. The next morning when I opened my email, all the information was there. My heart swelled with hope that he was serious.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friends

Because I spent all week stuck in my house with sick kids, I had a chance to watch reruns of "Sex and the City" which is one of my favorite shows. When it came to the finale, I was bawling. Carrie was leaving and she was saying good-bye to her friends and she said, "I had a thought today. What if we had never met?" That made me think of all my friends and ask, "What if we had never met?" All of us have friends that bring something to our friendships that fulfill us and makes us better people. We have friends we call right away with good news because we know they will celebrate with us. We have friends that we call right away with bad news because we know they will rally and talk us off the hypothetical ledge. We have friends we call when we want to go out and let loose a little bit and ones that will drop everything if we need them. If we are lucky, we have friends that are all of these wrapped up in one.

I think about friends that I have from each stage in my life. I love that even though life gets in the way of us talking everyday or seeing each other often, when we do talk, it picks up where we left off and that closeness remains. I think that is what makes a "forever friend". Whether we like it or not, our friends shape us one way or the other. If we talk to a friend and we end up belly-laughing, we are in a good mood for the rest of the day. If we talk to a friend and the conversation is off, it has the potential to put us in a bad mood the rest of the day. I firmly believe that we parents can do our best to raise our kids with the morals and values we hold true and we do have an impact on our kids without a doubt but...our kids' friends will have a huge impact on them. I'll give you an example: My parents told me where they stood on drinking under age. In high school, the people I hung out with really dictated whether I drank or not. It wasn't that I was at parties taking a huge stand against drinking because of what my parents said. I was dating a guy that didn't drink and because he was always in training and my best friend didn't drink, I was never in a situation where it came up. I went to parties and remember people being drunk but they were making such asses out of themselves, I wasn't interested in joining in. I hung out with a crowd that all had aspirations of college. I knew my parents wanted me to go to college and even though I didn't want to leave my boyfriend, it was the sharing of dreams with my friends and how we influenced each other that got me there. It saddens me because one of my friends that had the most influence is no longer with us. She and I went through some really difficult times and some really fun times. We shared some of life's biggest moments in our youth and then after we would talk for hours about going off to college and starting a new adventure, we lost touch. It is ironic that she was one of the biggest encouragers of me going away to school and that was the very reason we lost touch. I'll never pick my kids' friends but I will always pay attention to who they hang out with.

The guy friends I have had throughout my life have been invaluable to me. Their insights into the male brain, the laughs without the drama and the shoulders that are always bigger than mine for me to lean on have meant the world to me. It sucks that no one tells you that at some point guys are going to get married and their wives might not always be on board with the friendship. Even if the wives don't care, the friendship goes to the back burner (as it should) and it is different. I still wouldn't trade it and I disagree with Harry. I think men and women can be friends.

I went off on a little tangent there. My point is that I have great friends. I have friends that I count on and keep me sane. My life is more full with them in it. Since having Gia, sixteen months ago, sometimes among all of the chaos, I turn around and it is just Gia and me and though I love the time I have with her, I miss my friends. My sisters and cousins included. There aren't many conversations that go uninterrupted and get togethers are far and few between. I need a girls' weekend or at the very least one night a month where I can connect with them again. Where deep conversations can take place without me having to say hold on while I grab Gia before she falls down the stairs. Where I don't keep saying, "What?" because Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is playing too loud in the background. If we see each other at Target or at a baseball game or in the neighborhood and I am talking a mile a minute, it's because I miss you and want to connect for the 5 minutes I am actually out. Which makes me think again, "What if we had never met?" How many experiences missed out on and how many laughs not had and how sad that would be.

P.S. For my friends wondering, each time I watch "Sex and the City" I imagine it is the four of us (doesn't matter which group of friends it is) and I am always Carrie (the writing thing gets me). You Samanthas, Charlottes, and Mirandas out there, you know who you are. And if there are more than four of us, I make up a character so no one is left out.

Friday, May 27, 2011

TV Recap

I thought we were on our way to being done with all the sickness but I think God is trying to tell me I need to eat less. I cannot shake this flu. Gia woke up at 1:00 and Nico woke me up every ten minutes from 3:00 on. He had a bad headache and couldn't sleep. Then at 6:45, he woke up and said he felt fine and needed to go to school because of how behind he is in math. I fully expect a phone call before school is out. Being sick, I have spent an enormous amount of time catching up on all the shows I watch and some of them had their finales so my list will be shorter in future posts.

Celebrity Apprentice: I was happy John Rich won. I was not happy how Def Leppard came off looking. I wanted them to go with the flow and feel for John Rich's charity but I think in the end, they saw it as another gig and were only going to do what was in their contract. I might be making excuses for them because I am going to see them in July and I don't want to think of them as being jerks. When they took the stage and sang "Pour Some Sugar on Me," my neighbors, if they could see in here, got an eye full because that song brings me right back to senior year of high school and I can't help but throw my hands up and belt it out.

America's Next Top Model: I had a feeling when Tyra cut their hair for the judging and Brittani walked out with the pixie cut that made her immediately look less harsh and more likeable, she was going to win. I thought Molly took better pictures but both had the worst personalities so either way, the winner was going to be an ugly person on the inside.

American Idol: Again, I really had no opinion on this one. I LOVED that in the finale, they had all the other contestants talking about how young the two finalists were and someone said, "Go to prom!" Was anyone else struck by what Scotty said? He said, "We've been together since the beginning and we are going to stay together." What does that mean? Did I fast forward through something that would explain that?

Sister Wives: This show started out as my curiosity getting the best of me and whatever they set out to do by doing the show, they succeeded with me, because I love these people and want to see them be able to continue to live their lives the way they want. Besides having to uproot their family to Vegas, these kids are well-adjusted (maybe Mariah has some issues) and these wives are happy so who is anyone to say their way is wrong? Why does the law have anything to say about marriage anyway? I believe that for ALL marriage. When they were trying to leave (and how sad the way they had to), and they got all the flat tires, I had to laugh because that is totally something that would happen to us.

Real Housewives-Orange County: I can barely stomach these shows anymore. I cannot STAND Gretchen. The fact that she acted the way she did when Vicki texted Tamra that she was in the hospital shows how unbelievably immature and s***-stirring she is. Why did one event have to take away from the other? Why didn't Alexis, the Jesus-tooting Christian, stand up, announce that their "friend" was in the hospital and offer a prayer before the fashion show? Done. All drama averted. Instead, she let Gretchen talk her into being upset and seeing it as a setup. I don't really like Tamra and her snark and over the top sexiness and I used to really like Jeana but no more. I can't for the life of me figure out why she is involved in Tamra and Simon's divorce? I'm still not sure if I like Peggy or not. So who does that leave to watch?

Real Housewives of NY: I'm in the middle of this one from this week but I will say, it feels like this season is being heavily edited to show Ramona to have a drinking problem. I think she is crazy and rude (she needed someone to help her unpack?) but I am just not on board with the drinking problem yet. I can't stand the sound of Jill's voice. I still think Kelly is not all there. I liked Sonja last season but she is a piece of work. Is it for shock value? The way she looks down her nose at everybody makes me want to fast forward through her scenes. I thought she and Ramona were incredibly rude on that trip. I don't care how pompous LuAnn sounds or is. I can't help it, I like her.

The Real Housewives-NJ: Tried watching and Melissa and Joe are such incredibly bad stereotypes of Italians, I had to turn it off again. I will say that I feel the same way about Teresa and Joe as I do Sister Wives. Their debt is their problem and between them and the people they owe. I don't find her as disgusting as her fame-seeking, throw your family under the bus while bad-mouthing them all in the name of attention sister-in-law. Even if she was pretty, who could see through the ugliness of her envy of Teresa?

The Voice: Still love Blake. His duet/battle this week was strange. I didn't like the style of the one girl and the one that won didn't seem too happy about it. I thought the song choices the judges picked were strange, too. Love this show and hate that it is on at 9:00 because we really like to watch it as a family and I really like my kids to be in bed by then (they never are but I would still like them to be).

So excited that So You Think You Can Dance is back on.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Email

I have said before that I answer emails right away because I am usually at my computer writing. At the very least, if you email me at night, I'll email you the next morning. Maybe because of this, my expectations are too high. I don't expect emails right away. People are busy, life is crazy for everyone but never? Or days later? Weeks later? I just don't understand how you run a business and never answer your emails or don't answer them for weeks. I used to call my cleaning lady (or the boss's daughter because she was the contact person) and ask if I could switch my days or if I had questions and the same thing would happen. She'd have to hang up with me and contact my actual cleaning lady or ask her mom. I thought email would be better because I could ask my question, she could get the answer and email me back. This has not been the case. I ask my question and there is no answer until I email again or call and ask if she got my email and she says yes and acts like she has already answered me. I am in that cycle right now.

I am still floored with the people that we have entrusted our children to. Their lack of communication shows how little they really do care (whether that is the case or not). I emailed Nico's teachers just letting them know that he wasn't feeling 100% and that he wasn't slacking but didn't want to miss school and did they notice anything? I was trying to figure out if he was coming down with what the rest of us have or if he was just tired from his crazy schedule. Half the teachers responded with two answering my question and one saying he has checked out so she can't tell if it's because he is sick. I wanted very badly to respond and say that he isn't the only one that has checked out. Having half your class fail a test and still count it without reteaching and letting them take it again sounds like someone else has checked out. I didn't say that because I just want to be done. I remember when Nico was playing basketball for the school and he was going to miss a practice because of the fundraiser we did so I emailed the coach telling him. I wanted Nico to just tell him but he was afraid his coach was going to be mad. There was never a response. Not a "No problem" or "Good luck" or even "I'm not happy about him missing and he'll have to sit for the first half of the next game." Nothing. I guess he felt that he didn't have to since he told Nico it was fine. I remember my dad coaching (for all my life) and he loved those kids like they were his own. He didn't just care about them on the field or court, he cared about them off as well so maybe he set the bar too high. As far as me letting the teachers know he was sick, I probably didn't have to and maybe they were bothered by the email but how about, "Hope he feels better." I keep hearing, "Wait until high school. It is so much worse. There is no communication at all." I get that and I think that by then, he'll be ready to handle the communication on his own and I actually look forward to passing the baton to him but he isn't in high school yet. He is only 13 and they shouldn't stress "communication is key" if they don't plan on holding up their end. Believe me, I know that not everyone has to care about my son, but I would hope that the people he learns from, whether in school or in sports do.


Edited to add: I might have been a little harsh with the one teacher that said he has lost focus or checked out. She did hope that he felt better and to keep her posted.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting Tired of This

Going on day 3 of being sick and I think I'm finally ready to admit I have the flu. I was feeling better yesterday until I ate and then got sick again. Tommy was watching TV with me last night and I fell asleep watching The Voice. Suddenly, he was shaking me awake demanding to know if the world was ending. Yep, while I was asleep, he was watching the news. It's funny that I worry so much and police what he watches on tv and in movies to avoid certain images in his head and here, he watched the news and it scared him so much that he was afraid to go to bed and afraid to go to school this morning. It didn't help that he woke up to a clap of thunder. After I talked him off the ledge and sent him to school, I put Gia down for a nap, threw a load of laundry in, sat down to do a post about the shows I watch and the phone rings. It was Nico who was in the nurse's office and needed to come home. He had a fever and ached all over. Thanks to one of my friends (K.T.), I didn't have to go get him. She went for me. Here we go again and the question is, how do I keep Leo and Belle from getting it?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sleep and Silence

I love my sleep. I love that every time I go to bed, I dream so it is like going to a movie every night. I can't remember a time when I was sick like this. I have said it before, moms can't get sick. There is no one that you can call to substitute for you. Just because you don't feel good (or caught something from your kids), stuff still has to get done or be taken care of. There isn't enough Mucinex or Advil to make me feel better. Belle, my sweet, mother's helper, did to me what she does a lot. When I don't need her help, she is right there, cleaning, playing with Gia (who sometimes doesn't want to be bothered) offering to help even though I have told her she is free to do what she wants. When I desperately need her to play with Gia, she rolls her eyes and stomps her feet and says, "Why do I ALWAYS have to be the one that plays with her?"or "I don't know what I am supposed to do with her." This was the case yesterday. I tried sleeping when Gia did (luckily, I think she sensed I was sick and took two naps) but whenever I closed my eyes, the room would spin. I did sleep on and off. I think I must be on speed dial on the nurse's phone at my kids' school. They called me again to tell me Tommy had a headache and stomachache. I know I had to have sounded mad because I know he is just doing what he is supposed to: if you don't feel well, you go to the nurse but C'MON! I get a call once or twice a week. She asked if she could give him some Coke and see how he does. I said that was fine but in my head I was thinking, If you give him Coke, he'll have a stomachache and headache all the time just so he can come and have you give him Coke. Then I told her I was sick hoping she'd get the hint of, Don't call me unless it is a real emergency. Then around 2:15, I get a call from a friend that our school is in partial lockdown because of an armed robbery down the street from the school. I was on edge until all three kids were home safe and sound but a thought occured to me. If someone could walk in with a gun or a knife at CVS, the same could happen at the Walgreens that I am always at. It happened right down the street. I have always felt safe here. Even when there was an armed robbery at a bank in the area, I still felt safe because I don't go to banks anymore. But at a small convenience store? That hits a little too close to home and suddenly I don't feel as safe. Now that Nico is 13, he has a little more freedom and frequents that CVS. What if he had been in there? It makes me want to tighten the reins again because I am scared of what could happen. The robbery weighed heavy on my mind and I was exhausted by 8:00 and went to bed but only fell asleep for a half hour before I woke up and couldn't fall back to sleep. I have this weird insomnia thing happening (remember the workout DVD's I bought on an impulse because I was up watching infomercials which, by the way, ebay refunded my money so I love them again). I woke up with the stabbing stomachache at 1:00 (didn't get sick this time, though) and then Gia started crying. I thought she'd fall back to sleep and I did let her cry for ten minutes and then when she didn't stop and I went to get her, her stomach was growling. I felt terrible. She is the worst eater out of my three kids. It doesn't matter what I give her to eat, she takes two or three bites and is done and the only way she'll drink milk is with a bottle so weaning her is not going well. I fed her and put her back to bed but then I was up until 5 and then my alarm went off at 5:45. And so the day begins whether I like it or not, complete with an orthodontist appointment for Nico where I am sure both of us are going to get a big lecture on why he should be wearing his head gear because he is not. How do I explain to this orthodontist that I have much bigger battles I fight with Nico and that the head gear just isn't one of them? Breathing easy trumps straight teeth.

The world can do a collective sigh of relief because I have lost my voice. This cough I have is an annoying one (what cough isn't?) in that it hurts really bad to cough and the cough is stuck in my throat. I have tried drinking hot tea or soup but nothing is helping. It is stuck there and it hurts to talk so much to Leo and the kids' relief, there will be no lecturing or yelling, only silence coming from me. So, if ever there was something you wanted to say to me without me being able to answer back, now is the time to do it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Big Mistake

While praying that Gia gets better (her nose is finally not a faucet) and for Nico and Isabella to not get what Tommy had or Gia has, I apparently left myself out. Big mistake...I was up all night coughing and throwing up. It is safe to say that strawberries and chocolate will now be a thing of the past and far future. There is a tiny man stabbing the inside of my head and stomach and I need him to go away. Normally, I'd be really happy that it is nice and sunny but the bright sun woke Gia up at the crack of dawn.

I have a bunch of posts that I have been working on but I don't think I am going to get to them until tomorrow. I plan on sleeping any chance I get until Leo comes home to take over. Wouldn't it figure that he took half a day last Friday so he could watch Gia and I could go to Tommy's class? Had I known this was going to happen, I wouldn't have gone to Tommy's class (since he took that opportunity to show me that he is the class clown and I could have done without that knowledge).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Freedom

Gia is still miserably sick. She was clingy and crabby all day yesterday. For the first time in a very long time, I was looking forward to a baseball game. I had to miss Tommy's double-header but Leo was going to come home after so I could go to Nico's game. I could not wait to sit in my old blue chair and actually watch the game while talking to friends I haven't been able to see in awhile. The game started at 5 (Tommy and Nico played at the same field) and I got a text from Leo that read, Nico is pitching now. I am just going to see him bat and then I'll come. What?? The whole point is for ME to see him play. I was tired of getting updates on what he was doing at his games. I wanted to see for myself. I texted him to hurry and waited on edge knowing that freedom was coming soon. Knowing it was coming gave me all the patience in the world when Gia would cry that she wanted to be held and even then, still cried. Leo finally came home and I spouted off what Gia needed and where Belle was and left. Ahhhh....for even the short ride over, it was nice listening to the radio instead of the Gia CD that says her name 150 times. I got there in the 5th inning which was disappointing to have missed that much but one of the best feelings in the world is when your 13 year old son looks around and his eyes fall on you and his whole face lights up. I smiled and gave him the thumbs up and he gave me a smile and a head nod. It made me wonder if, when he has other games and says for me not to worry about missing it, he is bummed that I am not there. For the two innings I was there I saw him make a great catch at right field and hit twice, one of which was a line drive to left field. The icing on the cake is that they won. Another great feeling is when your 13 year old comes up to you after the game and hugs and kisses you in front of his friends. I know that will probably change so I am enjoying every moment that he still does that.

After the game came the real freedom. Finally I was able to go to dinner and eat food that wasn't chocolate and strawberries or nachos. There was so much talk about the world ending yesterday and in light of that, I ate like it was. Leo gets to spend so much time with our friends after games and it was nice that on top of eating great food, I was finally able to catch up with friends. I even had a margarita and it was freaking delicious! Today the freedom will continue in that I am going to church (hopefully the walls won't fall in when I step foot in there) and the store before Nico's game that Leo gets to go to (it absolutely killed him to miss Nico's game yesterday). No one is up yet so I don't know what the status is on who feels okay and who feels sick. I bet you can all guess what I am going to pray for while I am church.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Where Do I Fit In?

Just a quick update. I thought Gia was just not 100% yesterday but she started coughing and sounded terrible so I took her to the doctor (I do know when to pull my head out of the sand). She has an ear infection and he is pretty sure walking pneumonia. The only way to confirm it was with an x-ray and since he was going to put her on an antibiotic to cover it, there was no point in putting her through that. I got a call from Tommy's school. He had a rash all over his body. I went in, saw that it was a reaction to his antibiotic and gave him Benedryl. Leo did me a huge favor by coming home and working from home so I could go read to Tommy's class without bringing Gia. He won points by bringing me sushi. I called our CF nurse and Tommy's meds were changed so I am hoping that in a few days, all illnesses will be gone (praying that Nico and Isabella will not get it). So I don't have to think of the chaos of the weekend or having sick kids, I am going to write about something besides my family today.

I have said here a bunch of times how I dream of being a published writer. I love to write books and am working on a few. On the very good advice of a very good friend, I checked out The Romance Writers of America website and found that none of the books that I am writing technically qualify as romances. This is what the website said a story needs to be considered a romance novel:

A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

Every one of my books revolves around a love triangle. It isn't a subplot, it is the plot. The woman is torn between the two men. The whole book is about the two different relationships and the reader doesn't know who she is going to pick until the end or near the end. They always say write what you love and those are my favorite kinds of movies and that is how I see my books, as movies in my head. My favorite part of writing is that I, myself, don't know how the story will end. After I get an idea, I do an outline and then I start writing but the story doesn't always end the way I think. The characters develop (I hope) as I write and sometimes my original idea develops into something new. I know it sounds strange but they tend to take on a life of their own and I love that part of the process.

The other problem is that I am having a hard time deciding if I am writing an adult book or a young adult book so I start editing for the one and then I hit a road block and go back to editing for the other so I am definitely having editing issues. Plus, I have really grown used to having these characters around so it is still fun to write scenes for them. What is interesting is in writing some of their backstory, I ended up writing two more short stories. Then, there is the love triangle story but within that, there are three more subplots. I think what I have to do is research the young adult fiction genre and see if I have enough written to do a small series. Even writing that I would have enough for a series is exciting.

It has occurred to me that because I might not fit anywhere, this book might just stay a movie in my head.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Can't Shake This Mood

This isn't going to be very long because I know I have a lot to be grateful for but OMG, I am crabby. Did you ever just feel like you were in a funk and wanted to crawl under a rock? I can't even stand myself right now, I am so crabby, which is why I should just stay away from people. I don't want to bring anyone else down. I'm sure being stuck at home with two sick kids this week doesn't help (Gia still isn't 100%). I wanted to go out to celebrate my sister's birthday but Nico had a game and every babysitter I could have called was in a talent show at school (Could I have really left her feeling sick?). Tomorrow, I have to go in and be the mystery reader for Tommy's class which I am trying very hard to act excited about but the last thing I want to do is bring Gia into a school with her not feeling great. Leo had a business dinner Wednesday night, got to go to Nico's game last night, went to basketball this morning and has poker club tonight. I WANT/NEED A BREAK! I have said it before and I will say it again...HATE THE POKER CLUB! I am going on record as saying if he does the poker club again next year, I am going to be mad and it's going to be a fight because it is unfair that he gets something set in stone that come hell or high water, he goes to. It doesn't matter if birthdays or concerts or friends get together on the 3rd Friday of every month, if I want to do something, I have to get a sitter because God forbid, he misses poker night. Logic would say that I should get a Friday of every month too but even if I try to do that, Nico will have a game or something will come up and my plans go up in smoke. Plus there are only so many days in a week or weeks in a month and they fill up pretty quickly. It's a harsh statement but I will say it: I am fully aware that life changes when you have four kids especially when one is a toddler but it just seems unfair that it only changes for one.

Best part of yesterday, so this isn't a total "Debbie Downer" post, was going to Panera with Gia who felt that every person sitting alone working needed to be talked to and then going to Cosley where the sight of ducks made her squeal but then she lost interest in the animals and wanted to hug every child she saw. There were a lot of crying, scared kids at Cosley running from Gia.

I hesitated before posting this but then decided to write it on behalf of all women married to frat boys.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Isabella's Own Chaos Pt. 2

I have already written about how it has always been a fantasy for Leo to plan a trip, arrange childcare and sweep me off my feet to an exotic vacation spot. Poor guy has tried a few times and it never ends in the fantasy I have dreamed of. When Belle was three, Leo surprised me with a cruise that we were going to take at the end of summer. A week and a half before we were supposed to leave, Isabella woke up in the middle of the night throwing up with a high fever. I went to pick her up and she screamed in pain. Off to the ER we went (not with Leo's blessing of course) and this time I made them test her urine before they did a spinal tap and sure enough, she had one of the worst kidney infections they had seen in a long time. She was admitted and they could not get her fever-free long enough to release her. There was only one doctor from our practice that made rounds at the hospital and guess which one it was? The Jerk. He wouldn't let her stay in the hospital until she broke the fever. He told me (again) that the hospital wasn't a place for kids to stay when their parents didn't know how to take care of them and I was perfectly capable of giving her meds through the IV and that the insurance companies shouldn't have to pay for my fears. I don't have to tell you how much I loathe this man. Her first day home, her fever broke. If he would have just waited one more day, she wouldn't have had to come home with an IV and we wouldn't have missed the cruise. Hate, hate, hate him.

We switched urologists to a more aggressive one out of Lutheran General and I remember at the appointment, the doctor asked me if I was planning on having more kids. I asked him why and he said because this condition was a genetic. I answered, "Then, I guess not. We are done." My mental state took another hit as I wondered what the hell was wrong with my genes that I couldn't make a healthy child? I had three kids and they all had medical issues. Not small ones but big, life-threatening, organ damaging ones. In my mind, the medical community had their hands on all of them. The difference and silver lining was that Isabella's problem could be fixed. She ended up having surgery to correct the reflux. She was in the hospital for three or four days and now has the same kind of scar I do having delivered her by c-section. When we left, the doctor gave me a big packet of the things I needed to do differently and I remember feeling very overwhelmed with all of the needs of my three children (people remind me all the time that it could be worse and that there are worse things to have than CF or urinary reflux and I know that. It does not escape me that there are kids worse off and my heart goes out to them but I can honestly say those words and reminders serve no purpose other than making me feel like crap for feeling overwhelmed). I tried to do most of them but now the only thing I do is make sure she changes out of a wet bathing suit right away. She has been fine, thank God. It's pretty sad that when she was going through it all, at the tender age of three, she knew enough then to be proud of the fact that she had something, too. She was happy about the very thing that broke my heart.

Leo and I didn't talk about having more kids for a year after that. We never prevented it but for just one year and the first time since we had gotten married (except when we were already pregnant), we weren't trying to get pregnant. That didn't last long since the desire for having another baby wouldn't go away. For me, CF, the urinary reflux and the infertility didn't make me want another baby any less. It just made me sadder that having to deal with all of them together made it nearly impossible.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Get Out of the Freaking House

There is a book out that several people have said sounds like I wrote it. This is hugely flattering to me. It's called Go the F*** to Sleep. I could have written it since I admit, I have muttered these words under my breath hundreds of times. My kids view bedtime as a punishment no matter what. It can be 11:00 at night and I'll tell them to go to bed and Isabella will cry (every single time) that she's sorry and she promises she'll be good but please don't send her to bed. I have tried to explain to her that bedtime is going to come every night. No matter what. Every night she has to go to bed. Nine years old and still gets upset.

Anyway, I did not write that book but I would like to write one like it. It would be called, Get Out of the Freaking House. I admit that while other parents are kissing and hugging and wishing their children luck on there way out the door, I am yelling these words. Not all the time but enough. Just so you get a picture of why, I'll tell you about our morning this morning. I woke Tommy up to shower and since Belle did last night, all she had to do was get dressed and fix her hair. Of course the outfit that she picked out last night to wear suddenly didn't fit her so she proceeded to sit on her bed doing nothing. Gia was sick with a high fever yesterday so thankfully, she was still sleeping. I reminded Belle of that because she has a tendency to have loud outbursts. I went in the bathroom to hurry Tommy up and then went downstairs to make lunches. Tommy came down the stairs with no shirt on and asked where his red shirt was. I asked him when he last wore it and he said, "I don't have one but I'd really like one to wear with these pants." Ughh...I send him back upstairs to find something to wear. Meanwhile, Gia woke up and still didn't look right. The twins went rushing in but I stopped them because neither were dressed yet. Gia was crabby and clingy. I made breakfast and waited for the twins to come down. Belle finally did and I was happy to see that she was wearing something besides the pajama bottoms she has tried to wear the last three days. Tommy was taking forever and finally he came down frustrated and near tears. He couldn't get the button on the jeans he wanted to wear open. Luckily it was an easy fix since it was a snap (not really sure where he found ones that still had a snap on them but whatever...they still fit).

Tommy didn't get his treatment done because he was busy aggravating Gia by doing whatever he does that makes her grunt and cry. When he does that, Belle yells at him and I yell at him and yet he still thinks what he is doing is hilarious. Belle found Gia's box of vanilla wafers and squealed with delight that "Finally you bought something I want to take for snack!" Then I caught Tommy dumping a bunch in a baggie and saw that they had emptied the box for their snacks. I took Tommy's bag and put half back and that was when all Hell broke loose. Belle saw what I was doing and flipped out that she "needed to take a lot." I put half of hers back and she started yelling and crying that she is going to starve and she needed more! I'm pretty sure her head spun around but I was too busy putting away cookies to see. I told her and Tommy piped in that if she ate all of those, she'd get a stomachache but that only made her more mad (now that I think about it, I am not even sure those are an okay snack to bring). She went on and on about how I have no right to tell her how many vanilla wafers to bring and that I love Gia more because I buy her everything she wants. I told her to watch it because she was being borderline disrespectful and then she said something about not wanting to end up in the blog. While this was happening, Gia was screaming because Tommy felt the need to be in her face and touching her face and wanting to kiss her face and she is still sick so she was having none of it. By this time, it was one minute before the bus was coming, I didn't care about vanilla wafers or snacks or if they went to school naked, I just wanted them out. That's when I yelled, "GET OUT OF THE FREAKING HOUSE!" And now if I ever do write that book, you know the backstory.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Real Housewives of New Jersey

I just watched the premiere on my DVR and I hate to say it but I don't think I am going to be able to stomach watching this season. I thought Danielle was bad (and still think so) but Teresa's brother is the worst. He perpetuates every negative stereotype of Italian men. "Gino, don't clean up. That's a women's job." Joe wants a home-cooked meal every night and the kids have to be clean? I already don't like Melissa, the new housewife. I can tell you that I have said "Congratulations" a bunch of times at events for my sisters and nobody ever thought anything. Now if any of them told me to "Walk the **** away," there would be plenty to fight about. I felt like every time Joe Gorga was talking, it was an audition for a Godfather movie. "And my family has done me wrong." The whole, "You're my father. You're my ****** father." Such bad acting. I kept wondering, why is this guy on my screen? I think Joe, Teresa's husband, is not the nicest guy and without her brother on the show, he would have taken the award for biggest tool but lucky for them, he is on the show so he is spared that award. I guess deciding to go on these kinds of shows while your family is strained is not good for the family but good for Bravo but do these people realize that they were at their son's Christening (albeit a complete extravagance and over the top show of money)? Melissa kept doing the sign of the cross which I found completely ironic and she lost me that she was this religious "Thank You, Jesus," person right after she said, "I'm a cook in the kitchen, a lady in the parlor and a whore in the bedroom."

I have always thought Teresa was over the top and sometimes hard to watch with her delusions about her chauvanistic husband but she still made me laugh. I love Caroline Manzo and her smothering mother bear ways and I think she did something right because her kids seem to be the sanest. I think Albie is HOT! Unbelievably too young for me but I know cute when I see it. I like Jacqueline and have a little crush on Chris (even though I would have gotten up and walked out if he kept shushing me...hate to be shushed) but I cannot stand Ashley. She is a spoiled brat and I want to fast forward any scenes with her in them. I do not enjoy the two new housewives (Kathy, the cousin with the strange husband is solely there to stir up trouble) and wish they would get rid of them and bring Dina back. I LOVED Dina!

I have watched all the installments of the Real Housewives (even D.C. as boring as it was) but I don't think I can watch this one. Joe and Melissa Gorga are just too much (and I watch Mob Wives so that is saying a lot).


Edited to add: This episode was really bugging me so I checked online and the majority of people feel the same way which makes me laugh. Melissa has a FB page as a public figure and is getting ripped apart by the public. I thought I was alone in not hating that Joe (Teresa's husband) stuck up for her after her brother told her to walk away and that he walked away from doing the shot. It wasn't right that he charged them but I felt that Melissa and Joe started that whole thing.

Also edited to add that I finally watched Celebrity Apprentice and DEF LEPPARD!?!?!? My favorite band of all time (going to see them in July)is going to be on the show! And...I don't know what it is, but I am a little bit in love with John Rich.

Another School Rant

I can't help myself. I am so angry that I need to vent. I HATE junior high. I especially HATE junior high math and at this point it is taking everything in me not to tell Nico that I don't care what he gets in math this quarter. I just want him to be done. We decided to drop him down because we cannot go through another year the way the last two have been. I went back and looked at his grades and ISAT scores up to 6th grade to see if there were any red flags that would lead him to struggle this much and as I suspected, there were none. I'm telling you...teachers have more power and influence than we think. As a teacher, if more than half my class failed, I would think something went wrong with the way I taught it and I would throw the tests away and reteach it. Am I alone in that? How can a teacher feel good about what she has taught if more than half her class failed? Apparently, the teachers where Nico goes to school don't feel that way and they don't even give them a chance to fix their mistakes. An "F" is an "F" and that is it. I am so done with this subject. I like his teacher in that she has never given up on Nico but lately some of her decisions and comments have been irritating. First, and this was not just Nico's fault, we had a time management issue when he went back on his twice a day treatment. He had a baseball game and a huge homework assignment. He didn't get it finished and my kids are so trained to not use CF as an excuse that when she asked him why he didn't finish, he said it was because of baseball, which it was but since they only do the twice a day treatment every other month, we forgot what it was like to have the treatment and baseball and homework. Nico struggles with math homework when it is quiet. There was no way he could concentrate on what he was doing while the treatment was running. She sent me an email and I explained what happened. I revoked the 504 plan so I expected that his grade was what it was and didn't want special treatment. Lesson learned and we would make adjustments. I did not like when she said that Nico said he put baseball ahead of academics. I wanted to say that I wouldn't blame him for putting baseball first. He's getting a lot more out of baseball than he is math at this point. I didn't say that. I didn't say anything because I don't have anything nice to say at this point. Then, last night, after half the kids failed her test, she assigned 80 math problems. Nico finished 20 of them in her class and had 60 left to do. Wouldn't it figure that he had a baseball game last night? He hit two doubles, he caught and threw a guy out at 2nd and pitched three innings. He came home with a big smile because they won their game so a future as a mathematician? Probably not. Baseball player? Maybe...

(The reality is that I can see him as a middle school social studies or language arts teacher and coaching. Not that I don't think he has what it takes but he is only 13, so I have no idea if he has what it takes.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicago Weather

Okay, I get that in February I have no business whining and crying about how cold it is. I live in Chicago (well, suburb of) and I should expect it to be cold. Knowing that doesn't stop me because every winter, I cannot believe it is as cold as it is. But, c'mon...we are supposed to be a four season state. What in the world happens to spring every year? I remember having it as a kid but I can't for the life of me remember the last spring we have had. I remember a day around Nico's birthday where I thought, "Yay! Spring is here!" Then the next day, it was frigid again. How is it possible that on Tuesday, I was at a baseball game in a tank top and sweating and by Thursday, I was missing Nico's baseball game because it was too wet and cold to bring Gia out and by Saturday, I was sitting in the bleachers with my Columbia winter coat, Tim Riggins sweatshirt (that I swore I would never wear in public but couldn't find anything else in my car) and a blanket and was still freezing? While we are on the subject of cold baseball...why don't we start at the end of May and play through July? Baseball is a slow sport to watch as it is. Add to that first time pitchers and cold weather and I'm pretty sure it is a form of torture. I admit that the only way I enjoy baseball is in the sun with a cold, adult drink. Little league in April and May doesn't offer either of those.

Then, the rain...let's talk about the rain. Do you know why I don't live in Seattle or Ireland or why I didn't enjoy my trip to London? Yep...the rain. Do you know what the rain does to my thicker than normal, not quite straight, not quite curly hair? Anyone remember Monica's hair (from Friends) in Florida? Mine rivals that. It is not a good look and too layered to throw up in a ponytail and since I have the world's smallest forehead, hats don't work either. I remember being in Hawaii and it started to rain and Leo and I kept playing tennis right through it or I remember running through the rain in high school during the summer and laughing. This is not that kind of rain. This is cold, uncomfortable, leave you wet all day kind of rain. Anyway, we have had more games cancelled (which means we have had to squeeze in make-up games) which at the time, it's nice to not have to sit in the cold, wet stands but that inevitably means that the make-up game will conflict with something I planned since we didn't originally have a game.

I just want to know when Chicago (or the suburbs of Chicago) became a two kinds of weather kind of place: freezing and sweltering. I either don't want to leave my house because it is so cold, it is uncomfortable or I don't want to leave because it is so hot that it is uncomfortable.

All of this being said, I know that if I am in the bleachers watching Nico or Tommy and it is sweltering, you will not hear me complain and if you do, remind me of this past Saturday and I'll be quiet pretty quickly.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Bucket List

I sat home last night while Leo took the twins to my in-laws and then went to Nico's away game. Gia is still not 100% and hasn't been napping that great so she went to bed early. The Bucket List was on and it got me thinking of my own.

1. Publish one of my children's books.
2. Publish one of my novels (maybe this one should be finish editing them so I can submit them).
3. Go to an all-inclusive resort.
4. Learn to speak Italian.
5. Go to Italy.
6. Find out all about my ancestry.
7. Buy my dream house.
8. Make a lot of money doing something I love.
9. Do a mural for someone besides myself and get paid. (See below. I don't know if there are any copyright issues but I didn't make any money off of either of them. One was for Isabella and one for Tommy.)
10. Truly forgive someone that has hurt me.
11. Seek out and find someone from my past and tell them how much they meant to me.
12. Memorize and make my Mom's gravy and homemade raviolis.
13. Learn to be organized.
14. Go back to school to be a family and children's counselor.
15. Go back to Hawaii but this time with my family.
16. Attend a writer's conference to see if I have what it takes.

I'd be interested to hear what is on others' lists.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Therapy, Ignorance and Wise Words

I continued going to therapy once a week for the first two years of the twins' lives. I had the hardest time dealing with the idea that one different decision and the boys would have been spared. They were paying for who Leo and I fell in love with. I could not stop blaming myself and wondered how the boys would ever be able to forgive me. The guilt was crippling. I loved my children, I just wanted a different life. I wanted to wake up and have it be a bad dream or a mistake and have someone call and say, "Oops, we were wrong." It took years of therapy to accept the life I had and that I was already awake and that call wasn't coming. I had these children that looked healthy and acted healthy and they were telling me they were sick. I read on a website this:
"It's one of the most insidious of diseases. Young cystic fibrosis patients often look healthy and fit, but inside, their own bodies are slowly killing them."
It is this very thought that keeps me up at night and only by praying do I find peace about it. Leo telling me that this is happening to all of us as we get older puts it into perspective, too. Going to their appointments and hearing that their breathing tests are above normal even for kids that don't have CF helps, too. I dreamt of taking them to some remote island where everyone would leave us alone. People didn't really get it. They would take it personally when we wouldn't go out or to their parties but after Tommy was released from the hospital, I was terrified of him getting sick and having to go back in the hospital. There came a time when Leo was getting pressure about not going to anything anymore either so we went to a party and one of the kids was there with a fever and not feeling good. The mom said he woke up not feeling that great and then looked at me, shrugged and said, "What are you going to do? These things happen." Well, how about staying home? I get that the kids couldn't live in a bubble and that they were going to get sick but I was afraid that what would start out a little something would end up a CF something and then I wouldn't know how to take care of them. I remember one well-meaning friend ask me, "Do they know they are sick?" I immediately said, "They're not sick." I am sure I seemed like I was in denial but shock was more like it. One friend (who I don't talk to anymore) said to me when her child was being tested for it for poor weight gain, "Well what are the odds that two kids from different families in the same social circle would have it? Since your kids have it, I am pretty sure mine doesn't." I'm so glad I could put her at ease going into that test. I was tutoring at the time and when I called to cancel, I told the parent what was going on and her way of comforting me was, "Well, at least you know how your kids are going to die. The rest of us have no idea how or when." Why in the world is it comforting to know that? Nico had made friends with a little boy in one of his park district classes and she had asked for him to go to their house. I explained what was going on with him because at that time, I didn't think there was anything to hide. He didn't have a sexually transmitted disease and he wasn't contagious to anyone but as I was talking to her, she was backing away from me and said, "Well, I'll call you and we'll set something up. Next week is pretty busy." That call never came. Whether I like it or not, those events shape the way I handle telling people and how I view this disease. I know there are stupid people out there and I won't be able to avoid all of them but it is probably one of the reasons why I sometimes feel the need to hide under a rock. I said before that it might appear that I am in denial but I really believe that you have to be a fighter with this disease. That you can't let your guard down and let it in. I don't see my kids as being sickly so I don't treat them that way. I don't want anyone to treat them that way.

Therapy and meds helped me to cope with the day to day raising of the kids and it helped me to see past the disease in order to do so. It was the wise words of my uncle that snapped me into a different way of thinking that I still carry with me today. One Christmas Eve when the twins were two, I was talking to my uncle and he asked how I was doing. I remember having a heavy heart with the guilt that consumed me. I told him that and he said, "What if you didn't look at it like CF was something you gave them? What if you stopped looking at it like you gave them a death sentence and instead think of it as because of you and Leo, you gave them a chance at everlasting life?" Without getting too deep into this or sounding preachy, I have always believed that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Up until that conversation with my uncle, I only thought of Heaven in terms of the people that I loved that had died being there and how to keep my kids from getting there too soon. It was his words that made a peace come over me. Without Leo and me, my kids wouldn't be born and would not have the chance for eternal life in Heaven. For anyone that questions religion or God or Jesus or anything or wonders how I can still believe in anything, it is because I have to. It is the only way I can love my children so freely with the threat of a life span hanging over our head. I would never love them less because they have CF but our hearts have a way of putting up walls to protect themselves from extreme pain and for me, nothing is worse than losing a child. If you know me well, you know that I don't know how to love with walls up and with just that one conversation, I felt the walls come down. CF is bigger than me but not bigger than God. I could let it keep stealing our joy or I could put my trust in God and have faith that the boys will be okay. I choose to do that because even I get tired of crying.

A good friend explained to her kids that Nico and Tommy battle CF and sometimes it makes them not feel very well. I like that. I say that instead of they "have" it because it implies that they are fighting it and with my faith I believe they will win.

For those that have never seen this video, it gives a snapshot into our lives. The funny thing is that Leo spoke a lot more than was shown but like I said before, he is a mumbler and that doesn't work for videos. Apparently, I am loud but I am clear so it was mostly me. I was seven months pregnant with Gia and was having a painful vein issue so understand that it was not my best look. :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

We Are Normal and a TV Recap

At least for the moment. Tommy's nurse just called and at this point, we can breathe a sigh of relief. All of Tommy's tests came back normal so we can start him on the low dose of antibiotics to prevent the leg welts from coming back. Gia's doctor called and her blood work came back normal as well! Even though it is Friday and the stress of everything we have going on this weekend is sinking in, I am thrilled that our prayers were answered and I was finally on the receiving end of an "Everything is fine" phone call!

I am finally caught up on all the shows I watch.

Celebrity Apprentice: Ding Dong! Both witches are gone! I cannot stand Donald Trump and if he becomes president, our country really will be in the toilet (just my opinion). I would like to see Marlee stand up and fight to win this. Still love the Johns. Meatloaf, Meatloaf, Meatloaf...will I ever be able to listen to my Bat Out of Hell CD again without seeing him crumble into a mountain of tears? I was impressed with his debating skills against Star, though. Now that Star and NeNe are gone, I don't care who wins.

America's Next Top Model: So glad that Alexandria is gone. Her slow talking was driving me a little crazy. I am sad that Hannah is gone. She has more beauty inside and out that the other girls have but I can see that she might have been too sweet to handle the industry. I am rooting for Molly. I think both girls are ugly on the inside but Molly at least takes pretty pictures. I can't stand Brittani.

Real Housewives of Orange County and New York: The whole competition thing with Peggy and Alexis was over the top. They are supposed to be friends? Glad my friends and I have never competed in a modeling competition. I still can't stand Gretchen but thought it was pretty funny that Slade's mom alluded to the fact that he sponges off of Gretchen. I think Lynn might be the dumbest person on television. Tamra is way over the top. I don't think anyone is surprised that Vicki's marriage is over. Over in New York, they are a bunch of liars. Do these women forget that they are being taped? Sonja is this season's crazy lady. What is up with her? Pecking order? Flashing her behind every chance she gets? She is just so rude. Ramona's eyes are so strange. She looks deranged. That lunch with Cindy was bizarre.

American Idol: I was a James fan. I am also a true blue 80's hairband fan so I loved his style. I will buy whatever CD he puts out just like I am a huge fan of Chris Daughtry. I think he will be better off even though I will miss him on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Haley is our CF nurse's niece and I am also a country fan so I don't care who wins. I just hope someone tells Scotty to stop singing out of the side of his microphone.

Sister Wives: It is the first train wreck I can't stop watching. Anyone watching can see how conflicted these people are about their situation. The one doesn't want to move. The kids don't want to move but they have to or their family will be split up. Why is polygamy illegal anyway? They aren't hurting anyone. A moral issue? Maybe but a legal one? Wasted tax money, if you ask me.

Mob Wives: This is the other train wreck. There are times when I don't even know what they are saying because everything is bleeped out. I cannot believe Renee said she is 40 years old. Do I look like that? I'm sorry. I thought she was closer to my mom's age. Obviously the "mob life" takes its toll.

The Voice: I LOVE this show! Still LOVE Blake Shelton! I think he is hilarious. This is another show that the kids and I watch together so I love it for that as well.

Bethenny Ever After: She got on my nerves on the Housewives because I thought everything had to have some witty remark attached to it. I enjoy seeing her real emotions (I don't enjoy my birthday either but c'mon with the sobbing in the bathroom) trying to navigate having it all.

Pregnant in Heels: I can't help myself. I don't enjoy her accent but I do enjoy the strange women she meets and works with. What did some of these women think the last 8 months of their pregnancy? Some of these women have said, they don't like kids or they aren't getting ready for the baby because they are having a hard time accepting that this change will take place. I do feel for Rosie's infertility issues. She's brave to go through that on television.

Friday Night Lights: I already watched this on DirectTV and really won't watch until Tim gets back from prison (I get the time thing because he was shooting a movie but couldn't they say he went to be with Lyla?). I did not like Becky last season but as long as she stays away from Tim with the desperate teenage crush, she is more likeable to me. Still love the Coach and Tami. Love this show.

Again, I admittedly watch too much television.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Displaced Stress

I appreciate it so much when Leo goes to the store for me. Normally, I would jump at the chance to peruse the Target aisles without any kids but sometimes, I just want what I need and I don't want to spend more money than I planned so I'll have him go. What is frustrating is when he goes and forgets the one thing I asked him to get. I have now gone 3 days without strawberries and chocolate and I think it is why I am crabby. It has not been by choice. I bought strawberries and when I went to go wash them, they were moldy. Yuck. I have the gag reflex when it comes to mold and it being on the strawberries was extra disappointing. So I sent Leo to the store after the boys' games with a list of things and guess what he forgot? I could have cried real tears except that I thought about how ridiculous that would be (again, I realize I have a problem). Gia had her check-up yesterday and got two shots and so she was feverish today and very sleepy so I didn't get a chance to get out of the house. Tomorrow, the microwave is getting fixed (hopefully the tech person will be able to fix it) so I won't get a chance to get out again so the thought of being trapped at home without my favorite treat made me a little meaner to Leo about it than I should have been. When he realized he forgot them and after trying to tell me I didn't really need them but seeing that I clearly did, he went back to Target to get them for me. Now, that is a sweetheart and a good man that knows his wife well and knows what makes her happy (and was also afraid when I started to blog angrily).

I think I am on edge, not really because of the strawberries but because Leo's mom is coming home from Florida for the summer. I should have known that my food issues were tied to this since I ate a dozen chocolate chip cookies. I did proceed to exercise in the middle of the kitchen right after to which my children looked at me like I was the biggest embarrassment ever. I don't know why they can change or be naked in front of our picture window but I do a few jumping jacks and I am the weird one? My mother-in-law and I are getting along fine right now but every summer we have the same issues. She gets mad because she doesn't see the kids enough and whether she admits it or not, I know she blames me. Those of you reading this that have read from the beginning can clearly see that our schedule is insanely busy. I don't do it on purpose and really, I don't do it at all. It is what it is. I think the hardest thing for her to understand is that we can't just drop everything because she is home for the summer. I am not going to skip seeing my family on Sundays in order to see her on Sundays just because she chooses to spend her winters in Florida. The silver lining is that she really does understand that Leo and I need time for just us so she'll babysit. She can't really take all of the kids overnight so I still can't go to Vegas with Leo (Vegas won't even be an issue unless I book my own trip). Anyway, I will probably have her babysit once in awhile during the day so Gia can get to know her and I can steal away to Barnes and Noble to write. I just hate the pressure of "we need to always be close" so much. That is what stresses me out. That, and the fights that Leo and I inevitably have because she calls him upset that I don't call enough or she misses the kids or we are too busy. I hope I am stressing for nothing and that this summer will be different.

Double Trouble

I couldn't wait to move out of our house in Bartlett. We needed another bedroom and a bigger basement and at the time, I wanted less yard because Leo wasn't and still isn't really a "lawn guy". The twins were around 2 and in toddler beds and when one woke up, they would wake up the other one and if that child wasn't ready to get up, he/she would be crabby the rest of the day. Naptime was a nightmare. The day I knew they needed to be in separate bedrooms was when my sister had stopped over for lunch and when I went to check on them, they weren't in their beds. I was fuming that they had left their bedroom and was calling out to them. There was no answer and my sister and I started to panic looking all over the house. I started yelling that if they didn't answer, they were going to be in big trouble and still nothing. I admit, I was freaking out. We went back in their room and just as I was about to yell again, we heard giggling. We looked at each other trying to figure out where it was coming from. Their room was very small. We heard more giggling coming from the closet. I had already looked in the closet several times so I was very confused. I looked again and still nothing. Our closets had the white wiring shelving throughout them and suddenly, my sister yelled, "I see feet!" I looked and sure enough, four little feet were on the wire shelf. I moved the clothes aside and there they were hanging from the top shelf. Let me repeat, two 2 year olds, hanging from the top shelf!

Back to moving out of Bartlett. The twins were about two and a half and while throwing things away and packing things up, I had a bunch of bags (Have I mentioned I am a hoarder of bags?)in my room. I was on the phone with Nico's school arguing about enzymes during snack (should have been a foreshadowing to later issues) when Tommy came down the stairs and said, "I don't like this pink candy." He was holding a bunch of wrappers that I didn't recognize at first. I thought, since it was after Easter, that he had gotten into the Easter candy but that would have been too simple. I went upstairs to find Belle in the middle of 30 empty wrappers. "I LIKE this pink candy!" I looked at the wrappers and it dawned on me...it was chewable Pepto Bismol wrappers. I kept asking stupidly, "Did you eat them? How many did you eat?" I was frantic but the twins just looked at me like I was crazy and they weren't that far off. I called the doctor and they said to call poison control. I called them and they kept me on hold forever so I thought we were in the clear. Nope. The woman got back on the line and said, "Go directly to the ER. We'll alert them that you are coming." Turns out there is aspirin in Pepto Bismol so it posed a danger to them. I took them and after they forced charcoal down them (turning me into a leopard with all the black spots on me from getting spit on), a $1000 lunch and a 9 hour wait to see if it was out of their system, they were sent home. They are definitely double the blessings but, and I say this with a lot of love, they are without a doubt double trouble.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

No Time to Feel Sick

I have said before...the mom can't get sick. I'm not feeling sick as in, "I can't get out of bed" sick. It is more of I have a splitting headache, my stomach is off and I am so tired, I could sleep for a week. I think it is stress-related. Our microwave broke for good yesterday morning. I didn't realize how much I depend on it. It heats Gia's bottles quickly (I know...we are working on weaning but it isn't going great this time around), makes her chicken nuggets quickly, and cooks Nico's after school food (Hot Pockets)quickly. It dawned on me that almost every food I eat, I need the microwave for. It heats the chocolate for my strawberries, the cheese for my nachos, my microwave popcorn and my rice for my soup. That leaves scrambled eggs and apples and peanut butter. I wonder where Gia gets her picky eating habits? Anyway, the repair guy isn't coming until Thursday.

Gia woke up in the middle of the night. At this point, I am looking forward to potty-training because it will mean that teething is over and I'll get some sleep. I have her 15 month check-up today and I dread taking the kids to the doctor. I am always afraid it is judgement day. Did I feed them well enough for their weights to be normal? Are their heights normal? (Remember when there were no charts and some kids were short and some were tall and some were skinny and some were not?) Are they hitting their milestones? I want to be of the frame of mind that they will do it when they are ready. Gia proves that to me all the time. She walked late but she's running around now. She said words late but she entertained all of Convenient Care's waiting room yesterday with her babbling. I know she'll give up the bottle when she is ready but will my doctor feel the same way or will I get a lecture on the detriments to still being bottle-fed? While we are on the subject of Convenient Care, I put off Gia's blood test for as long as I could but had to do it yesterday. Why? Why did I have to do it in the first place? She's fine. Why do we have to go looking for things? Couldn't we have waited until there was a problem and then look to see what it was? I know the answer to that. Some kinds of issues, if you wait until you see symptoms, it is too late. I get it. I just don't like it. Plus she is getting shots and I always worry about how it will affect her.

And...I overslept. It was not a good feeling when Nico came in and said, "Are Tommy and Belle not going to school? It's almost 7:45." Yikes! I jumped out of bed, kissed Nico goodbye (who was about to miss his own bus) and started waking up the twins. Tommy jumped up right away and headed for the world's fastest shower. Isabella...now that is where the knot in my stomach came from. I just bought her a bunch of clothes for the warmer weather. She is very picky about her clothes. It was all stuff that is comfortable but fashionable enough for school. She LOVED them and went to bed happily knowing what she was going to wear today. I thought, Great! No fights tomorrow! WRONG!! She came downstairs and said, "Mom, what should I wear?" I don't feel good, I overslept, I have a long day. I have zero patience for this question especially since it was finally decided the night before. Here is how it went:

Me: We already decided. The peace shirt with the biker shorts.
Belle: I thought I was going to wear the butterfly one with biker shorts.
Me: The peace one is better because it is longer and has shorter sleeves. It's going to be hot out. Wear that.
Belle (starting to cry for no reason): I like the butterfly one.
Me (feeling very frustrated): Why would you ask me what to wear and when I tell you, cry that it isn't what you want to wear? Pick out your own clothes then.
She stomped up to her room and came down with the butterfly shirt on.
Me (forgetting what the butterfly one looked like): That doesn't match.
Belle: Yes it does.
Me: You have pink biker shorts and there is no pink on that shirt.
Belle (getting more and more agitated): Why'd you say it looked cute last night?
Me: I said it would look cute with black biker shorts and that I'd get them for you the next time I went shopping.
She must have remembered that I said that because she stomped back up the stairs saying things in a voice I am sure only dogs can hear.

She proceeded to burn her first set of waffles, cry that the ones I made her weren't hot enough, complain that I never do book order, cry that she isn't going to do well on her multiplication facts (that she is supposed to do with Leo but she keeps forgetting to ask him at night), and finally...the hair. I didn't even attempt to try and fix it with the mood she was in. I told her to throw it up in a ponytail with a new headband and was she grateful to not have to have me do it. Nope. She stomped all the way up the stairs saying, "You never help me with ANYTHING!"

It can only get better from here, right?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

I had a great Mother's Day. Leo let me sleep in. The kids gave me the sweetest gifts: necklaces and books that profess their love for me and that I am the "BEST" mom. Nico bought me P!nk's Greatest Hits cd and Leo brought me a salted, caramel hot chocolate. Then he gave me the best gift I have gotten in a long time. A platinum ring with the kids' names and birthstones engraved around them. I have to laugh a little because it was on time and it is beautiful, really beautiful and the company got it wrong. They left off Nico's name. I need Nico's name on there so Leo is sending it back. Poor guy...he tried very hard and I have to say other than the company's screw up, he hit a homerun with this one. Plus he got me a card that said I was a "Hot Mama" and these days, with the way I have been seen out in public, you gotta love that. With the exception of trying to do Belle's hair, I don't think I yelled at my kids once. That, alone, made it a great day.

We went to my sister's house and she hosted the nicest party with the most delicious food. She lives in my Nana's old house so hosting a party there comes with a lot of pressure because my Nana had the ability to make every party the best party and today, my sister did just that.

I also feel I need to say that while I am celebrating today, this day for so many is a day where their hearts are breaking and the unfairness of it makes me so sad. There are so many wonderfully deserving women out there still battling infertility or biological clocks and I pray that God continues to hear their prayers and answers them. To be around people celebrating what they want so badly is testament of strength. When do they get their day? There are just as many people living child-free and happy about it and though they probably don't care one way or another, there is no day celebrating their decision. A friend of mine said this today and I think it is perfect: Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, women waiting to be mothers or women living child-free by choice! I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Lot To Be Thankful For

Since today is Mother's Day, I want to do a post about what I am thankful for. Besides my health and the opportunity to do the two things I love...raise my children and write, I am also thankful for:

Leo. There are not many men that would have stuck around when the craziness hit. All kidding aside, I am thankful that he works hard to provide for us. I am thankful that he has kept me laughing even when there wasn't much to laugh about. I am thankful that after 22 years, the spark is still there.

Nico. I am thankful that he is still sweet to everyone he meets and has a way of making people feel comfortable and accepted. I am thankful that he still comes to me and wants to talk about what is going on in his life. I am thankful that he is healthy and keeps battling against CF.

Tommy. I am thankful that he is healthy and laid back. I am thankful that he still wants to cuddle and loves so freely. I am thankful that he has his dad's sense of humor and that he doesn't need any help with math.

Isabella. I am thankful that she is healthy. I am thankful for how well we know each other. I am thankful that she is as helpful as she is. I love how in tune she is to other's needs and is so giving. I am thankful that Gia loves her so much so I can get a little break from time to time.

Gia. I am so thankful that she is here and she is healthy. I am thankful that she can make me remember what it feels like to not have a care in the world except to laugh until our stomach hurts. I am also thankful that teething is almost over.

My parents. I am thankful that they are healthy and able to go to my kids' games and have Sundays together. I am thankful for the strong family ties they instilled in us.

My sisters. I would be lost without them. I am thankful that I have four built in best friends. They are happy for me when I am happy and they cry with me when I am sad. I am thankful for their acceptance and love. (My cousins could be included in this too since we grew up more like siblings.)

My Gramps. I so happy he is healthy enough to be my biggest fan encouraging me to do the things I love to do. I'm glad I get to see him every Sunday.

My friends. I am thankful that I have such a close-knit group of friends that I could call anytime for any reason and they would be there for me. They don't have to stick by me but they choose to so for that I am thankful.

All of you reading this. I am so thankful that a dream I have had is slowly coming true. I am thankful that you find what I have to say interesting enough to keep coming back. Your support means the world to me. Thank you.

My faith. It's always been there...taken a few hits from time to time but I would not be able to be the mom for my kids that I need to be without it. It has literally saved me and for that I am thankful.

Right now I am thankful that Leo took the kids to Target so I could write in peace while listening to my favorite music. Loving this day so far...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day of the Past

If you have read the blog up to this point, you know how much I wanted to be a mom and you know how long I waited. I couldn't wait until Mother's Day. Finally I was a MOM! And then, like a brick house falling on me, I found out that Mother's Day was not about me. It was about my mom and my mother-in-law and I was not happy about it. I had visions of breakfast in bed made with love by Leo and gazing into my baby's eyes knowing that he/she made me a mom. The day would be filled with all the things I loved to do. We'd go to church and when the priest/pastor asked the moms to stand up, I'd finally be able to stand up. Then Leo would give me my gift that would be fabulous and something I always wanted. Instead, I have to split the holiday between my mom and Leo's mom. For years, we did breakfast with his mom at their house and late lunch at Amalfi's with my family. Then I took a stand and Leo took the kids to his mom's while I did what I wanted. Then we've had baseball tournaments (as much as I like baseball, that is not what I want to be doing on Mother's Day). If church has happened it's not without yelling and screaming and a mad rush to get out of the house. Instead of standing up proudly, I stand up really fast and then sit quickly hoping that I don't have a spit-up stain on me or bed-head from the three hour sleep I had the night before. Nico has tried to bring me Frankenberries for breakfast which I thought was adorable. Most of the time, the day was filled with getting ready to be somewhere that was not of my choosing. As far as gifts (Leo, if you are reading this, sorry), I can't for the life of me remember them. In his defense, Father's Day isn't much better. For the longest time, Leo had fishing tournaments so my gift to him was not complaining about it.

One Mother's Day in particular stands out in my mind. Leo and I had a few friends we wanted to see that lived in Texas so Leo and I decided to drive there. Nico had just turned 4 and the twins were 7 months old. On the way, we were going to stay with my friend that lived in Missouri and then we were going to drive together to see our other friend. It just so happened that we were driving back to Illinois on Mother's Day which I had reminded Leo of. After saying goodbye to my friend in Missouri, we stopped at an Osco Drug store for diapers and formula. When we got home, Leo asked me if I wanted my gift. He presented me with a box and a card. When I opened it, I saw that it was a bear candle. It was two black bears and a votive candle in the middle. I gave Leo a look that said, "What the heck?" It's not that it wasn't a lovely gift. I don't want to sound ungrateful but it was so out of left field. I mean we had a big fish hanging over our mantle (which was proof that I can sacrifice for Leo since I HATE that thing) but I wasn't looking to make it a "wilderness-themed" room. I was just about to try to kindly tell him that a gift like that only shows me that he doesn't know me very well and that it's not so much that I didn't like the gift, just that it seemed very much like an afterthought that no thought at all went into when Nico said, "Do you like it, Mom? I picked it out myself." I felt terrible for what I was about to say. I told him I loved it and kissed him. I opened the card that Leo told me he picked out just for me. I looked at it and asked him if he was serious. He was dead serious (so clearly he had not intended this as a joke) and went on about how he picked it out for me. I tried not to be smug when I said, "Really? Then you meant to give me a birthday card from a pet to its owner?"

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pet Peeves

What are your pet peeves? My biggest one is when things don't work like they are supposed to. Cars, appliances, houses, bodies...you name it and it makes me crazy when I go to use them and they don't work. Nothing puts me in a worse mood than when I am driving in my car in the winter and the windows are icing up from the inside. Yesterday, I went to heat up the chocolate for my strawberries and my microwave wouldn't work. It was flashing some code that is non-existent in the troubleshooting part of the manual. I finally got it to work at 9:00 last night. Instantly that put me in a bad mood. Our television is broken downstairs. I have no idea why but now everyone is fighting over the one in my bedroom which is where I watch tv. I don't want to stop watching Real Housewives so that Belle can watch iCarly because Leo and the boys are watching a basketball game. So my tv time is ruined because Belle is sobbing that no one in the family loves her. When I want to take a hot bath, it is infuriating that the hot water only runs for 3 minutes. This pet peeve probably stems from the infertility and the CF because all I have to think about is how my body didn't work the way it was supposed to while we were building our family or what happened when Leo and my genes mixed and it takes awhile to get out of that downward spiral.

Don't you hate it when someone hurts your feeling and you call them out on it and they get mad at you? They are mad at you for being upset with them for hurting your feelings?

The double standard is another thing that can get me going. It can be Leo wanting something and buying it without a thought but when I want something, it is a discussion and most times it is decided I don't really need it (Leo has never made me feel bad for buying something but the mere fact that I feel like I have to ask is what I hate) or someone being mad at me because my kid didn't invite their kid over but it's okay that their kid didn't invite mine. While we are on the subject of that, I think parents should just let the kids work it out. I am lucky that as the kids are getting older, that is becoming the case. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of grief over the double standard when Leo goes to Vegas in June and I am home with the kids but that isn't fair to discuss until it happens.

Right now, waking Nico, Tommy or Belle up and then 5 minutes later going back to see that they are still sleeping ranks up there with pet peeves. On that subject, finding Nico sleeping in a towel outside the shower is annoying as well.

Leo thinking he can sleep in on the weekends.

40 year old men that play recreational sports and get injured so they can no longer give their daughter a bath at night.

Doing homework on Sunday night at 9:00pm or Monday morning. (Growing up, there was a rule in our house that you had to do homework on Friday before you could do anything. My dad was smart because it got it out of the way but I HATED this rule so on principle alone I don't have this rule but I have to give him credit for making us stick by it and if I would just suck it up, this wouldn't have made this list.)

People that text while you are talking to them (Sharon, next time we are out, I am turning my phone off). I don't care so much if they are talking to you and texting...more power to them if they can do both but doing it while someone is talking to you is the equivalent of walking away while you are talking.

Emails that aren't answered within a day. This is especially true for businesses and teachers. I am on my computer writing my books while Gia naps so I see my emails immediately and if I don't answer them, I'll forget so this pet peeve might be a result of that.

Mumbling. Being a from a big, Italian family, we are loud. If you want to be heard, you have to talk loudly. When people mumble, I want to say loudly, "If you have something to say, say it so we can hear you!" My hearing isn't that great, especially in a loud room, so this might be the reason this bugs me. Unfortunately, Leo is a mumbler so that should make growing old with him a hoot. I'll see his lips move and get mad because I can't hear a darn word he says.

I'm going to stop now because the more I write it and say it in my head, the more I don't like the phrase pet peeve. But again, I ask...what are yours?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tommy's Ordeal and Breaking Down Walls Pt. 3

I think the doctors and nurses saw that I was falling into a deep depression (I suppose the not being able to stop crying gave it away) because they kept introducing me to other parents whose kids had CF that were on the floor. Kids that have CF shouldn't be around other kids with CF because they are contagious to each other. Another unfairness of this disease. They can't even be around people that they can identify with (except for their brother who they don't always like to be around). The people were very nice but it felt like I was looking into a crystal ball of what my future would be like and it was very overwhelming and very scary. After hearing, "Oh, you think this is bad, wait until he needs a feeding tube and it gets infected," or "This is nothing. Little Susie gets a blockage every once in awhile. Now that is painful." The one that put me over the edge was, "While she is here, they are testing her for Diabetes. It's common for kids with CF to have it so no big deal. You'll be doing it at some point, too." I decided that talking to other parents was not a good idea. At least not for me. I said a prayer that night (the second one since we found out that Tommy had it. The first was the night he went into the ICU) asking God to spare the boys what the other kids were going through and to please give me the strength to be the mom that they needed. I made a vow that night that I would not let CF be the focus of our life. I was going to parent them the way I had intended to so that when they are 60 (living life fully since we will have for sure found a cure by then), they can look back and say, "My parents never treated us differently because of it. We had a normal childhood like everyone else we knew." I know normal is relative but I wanted CF to just be something that they battle when things come up. We'd take care of it and we'd move on. I vowed it wouldn't define them. I would teach them to fight and rail against it and keep doing what they love to do. I decided that I would take on the burden of the "what ifs" and the fears if it meant they wouldn't have to. Fast forward to today and this is still the way we handle things. I let them cry and talk about how much it sucks because it does and then I try and plant the seeds of faith and how God made them the way they are because they are strong enough to fight until a cure is found. That they might have CF and it is hard but God will never leave them and will give us all the strength to help them through it. (When I am desperate, telling them they will defy the odds and be a professional athlete with it usually helps too.) For now, that seems to help them in those moments.


As Tommy started feeling better, his little personality started to shine through and he charmed everyone, including me. I fell completley in love with him. He let me hug and cuddle and kiss him and no matter what they were putting him through or doing to him, he smiled. He was easy to make laugh and that was what I spent my days doing. He turned 4 months old while we were there, got rotovirus and never had a full night sleep without someone poking and prodding him but in the end, he got better and became the fighter that he is today. To look back at the time before he went in and remember that I had a hard time bonding with him hurts me because when he wants to be, he is a little ray of sunshine with an old, old soul that I love dearly. I pray all the time for me to outlive the boys (the girls too) because I don't want to live in a world where they aren't here. CF or no CF, I don't think that makes me much different than any other mom or anyone that loves someone with all of their heart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tommy's Ordeal and Breaking Down Walls Pt. 2

Tommy went in on a Friday morning and Leo stayed with us that first weekend. My parents stayed with the other two. If you have never been to Children's Memorial, each floor is designated certain diseases or body systems. We were on the respiratory floor that was pretty high up there. Even riding the elevator would make me cry. A family with a young child would get on and press the 4th floor and it would make me tear up because that was the cancer floor. It just seemed too much to be in a hospital where it was filled with sick kids. Tommy kept pulling his IV out of his arm so they put it in his leg. I woke up Sunday in the middle of the night to Tommy covered in blood. I frantically tried to see where it was coming from while Leo got a nurse. It was his IV again. He kicked it loose again. It was decided the next morning that Tommy would need a PICC-line (peripherally inserted central catheter or in regular language: an IV that is surgically put in because it is going to be in for awhile). Leo went to work and I stayed with Tommy waiting for his surgery. They took him and I waited alone. It took longer than they had anticipated and when they brought him back, they told me it was because he woke up in the middle of it so they had to give him more anesthesia. HE WOKE UP!! IN THE MIDDLE OF IT!! I couldn't imagine this little 3 month old baby waking up during a painful procedure. He must have been so scared. Seeing him on the bed so listless, something in me snapped. Leo arrived and I asked him for the keys to his car. I've already said how terrified I was of driving in the city and at that moment, I didn't care what or how I was going to drive out of there but I needed to get out of there. I could not spend one more minute looking at my baby afraid he was dying. Leo saw how desperate to get out of there I was and told me he'd stay with Tommy but I needed to find a ride home. I called my now brother-in-law who lived in the city at the time and asked him to bring me home. I will never forget how he dropped everything and did that for me. I bet he doesn't know how much he saved me that night. I missed my other two kids so much that it was good to be with them but the next morning, my mother-in-law's husband brought me back. Again, I was so grateful for the people that rallied around us.

I went back to the hospital and went back to the grind of watching him do nebulizer treatments and chest therapy and meeting with all the doctors and trying to get a 3 month old to eat applesauce to take enzymes. One of the doctors mentioned how some families opted to go home with the IV and finish out the meds at home. He had to be on them for 14 days. I didn't know what was worse...being stuck at Children's for two weeks or bringing home a sick baby and have to administer IV meds, nebulizers and chest therapy on top of Nico's medical issues and another 3 month old. The doctor made the decision for me. He said Tommy should stay in the hospital. I admit...I was terrified of having to do the IV.

At the end of the first week that we were at the hospital, the most terrifying thing that I have ever seen happened. I was a big fan of ER at the time so I thought I was used to seeing people bleeding or coding and that sort of thing. Well, I will tell you I was hugely naive to think those things, in real life, wouldn't affect me. The little boy in the room next to us, coded. Our rooms were connected by a big glass door so there was a mad rush of people going in and out and we had front row seats to see what they were doing. The little boy was four years old (Nico was almost 4) and wasn't breathing. The mother was outside screaming. I started crying for what she must have been going through and every fear I had up to that point was right in front of me. I remember calling my sister whose daughter was 4 at the time and I think she cried right along with me. A nurse came in and thought she was offering words of comfort by saying, "Don't worry. He has asthma. Kids with CF don't just stop breathing. They don't die like that." I can tell you that those words offered no comfort. The little boy was ventilated and moved to the intensive care unit. No one would tell me how he was or if he lived which made me think that he didn't. How awful for those parents to sit and watch their young child suffer like that. I could feel the depression of what was ahead for us settle in.


Sidebar: Thank you to my neighbor, T.J., for surprising me with delicious strawberries (and I did get the Elmos for Gia, thank you)! I enjoyed them with chocolate after enduring a day where I was reminded again why I don't like playdates during the week and sleepovers on the weekends. I owe you one! K.E., thanks for the wine!