Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful for my Anniversary

The Triptofan in the turkey should make posting tomorrow nearly impossible, so I am doing this a bit early.

Because Friday is the anniversary of my stroke, it seems fitting that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have so much for which to be thankful.

First, I am thankful to know that I am a child of God.  Looking back over my life, He has always been with me but during the years since my stroke, I have needed Him like never before and been very vulnerable. Perhaps that has made me more receptive. He has been here all along but I have been more open for Him to pour out His blessings. I feel closer to Him than ever before and I can honestly say that I am thankful for the opportunity to let Him in.

Second, I am thankful for my Robert and my 3 wonderful children. Words are inadequate to describe how happy I am to be with them. Nothing in my life is more important. They are the reason I fought so hard to live. I am thankful to know that I get to be with them forever. But I am so happy to be with them here and now.

Third, I am grateful for my extended family. Parenting my babies, parenting me, keeping Robert sane, visits, etc. I still get tears in my eye when I think of the love they show. Shanae even did my toe nails for months. That takes true love.

I am also very thankful for others with big hearts. From the doctors taking a bit longer and coming up with a way to save my life to the guy who held the door for me today and every kind act in between.

"There is no small act of kindness." Marjorie Pay Hinckley

It has been 6 years. SIX! I can't lie, this life is hard. And costly (my broken phone for example). You know that feeling you get when it starts to get dark on Sunday night and you know you have to go back to work or school in the morning? I get that feeling every time I have to walk across the house or even go the bathroom at night.

But I can never deny the miracles I have seen. I am grateful that I can walk across the house. Right now I am making a pumpkin trifle for dinner tomorrow. This is the girl who could not move or even breathe without help. Every second of every day is a blessing to me. I truly am thankful. And very happy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tommy, Eye, Phone

The last few days have been funny and not so funny.
First, a little update on how I have been feeling.  Oh yeah, I don't use those words. Luckily Scott (my doc) and Karen know the magic cures for illnesses. His never taste as yummy but they both have helped me heal.  Actually, I am finally starting to feel alive again, and although I tire even easier than normal, I can even leave the house for short times.
So Robert has been doing everything and doing a great job of it. But it was Tommy's "Star Student Week" and we only did the minimum. That was not okay with Tommy. He told us that he wanted to bring a poster and have Dada come and "prescribe" (describe?) the pictures on the poster. So I emailed his teacher and got the week changed. A narrowly avoided tragedy.
Yesterday I was holding my phone while walking through the kitchen. I was not holding or doing anything else but my hands are shaky and weak since the stroke and my phone just fell. The screen shattered. Unusable shattered. $250.00 to fix shattered. Great, I can just take that from the piles of money I have just lying around. Oh, I don't have those. Merry Christmas to me. And Happy Valentines, Anniversary...
I went to the eye doctor yesterday. I really like Doctor Patel. He asked Jain to spell her name and was very pleased that it was an Indian spelling. So after that, the two of them were good pals and she even got him to give her the good candy. Anyway, I got my tear duct plugged. He explained that the duct acts as a drain like a sink and keeps normal eyes from constantly weeping. My eye barely produces any tears so plugging it may help it from feeling so dry all the time. Keep your fingers crossed. During the quick procedure, he told me a couple of times about stinging or pressure I may feel. Um, I don't feel anything.
After, we had to go to Sam's Club. It was sample day so Tommy asked if he could get some "examples." How could I say no to that?
After all that, I fell asleep last night and didn't even stir until Aleq ran in to my room AFTER church. That makes 3 weeks in a row that I have missed because I have been sick. Cough Syrup with Codeine (I cough all night without it) may have had something to do with today. I am feeling it. Going to church is like filling a car with gas. I need the spiritual nourishment I get there. I always feel stronger and happier after going. I love learning and thinking of Christ. I miss it. I'll start resting up and preparing for next week. I'll start setting my alarm earlier and earlier. have "getting ready" drills, doing extra push ups, cutting out soda etc. I am in training.
But I'll start training tomorrow, I need a nap.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


This post will be short because I am sick. Really sick. I have Pneumonia once again. My doc says my chest x-ray looks no better than a month ago so I am on a tougher antibiotic. Most of the time when I have this I bounce back after a few days but that has not been the case this time. I have been in bed for this whole past week. I even turned down shopping with Karen! Her husband said he knew it was bad when he heard that.
But WOW!
My mom was able to spend 3 days at my house driving me to the doctors office, cleaning, cooking, taking kids places, doing Jain's hair, etc. When I finally ventured out of my bed, I found snacks for the kids, laundry soap, and even tapioca pudding made just for me.
Roberts parents came here both Thursday and Friday and made my kids lunch and cleaned and let me just sleep.
Karen has brought me dinner, brought me dessert, made me dessert, checked on me every day, driven my boys to school and was the secretary who passed along messages to her husband and would then give me his medical advice.
My visiting Teachers have been unreal, yet again. Texts, calls, meals, prayers...
My kids are truly a blessing. I have been sternly told by my 6 year old that I was not to get up, they have brought water and juice to me, have sweetly snuggled and watched T.V. with me (Phineas and Ferb is quite funny) and have generally taken care of me. Aleq even decides when I have had enough and takes the others downstairs.
And of course, Robert. He makes me so happy. He does so much and never complains. I think it is much harder on him than he admits. He puts up with my coughing all night, gets the kids off to school, arranges sitters or help for me every morning before work, then comes home and does the job of two people every night. And every night we lie in bed and quote MASH lines or he tells me stupid things they said or did at work (I'm pretty sure it's like a college dorm there complete with juvenile pranks) and he never stops amazing me. He is totally exhausted but still manages to have the energy to make me laugh. How could I ever really deserve him?
I am reminded once again that although I am just one person, God loves me and my family and works through others to bring us peace. Not always quiet, but peace.

Oh, I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Yet another birthday has passed. I'm just saying that Robert will not be allowed to even look at me in February.  Anyway, it was Tommy's 8th birthday on Friday but we had his party on Thursday. He got an actual "friends" party this year as it is his special birthday. He was super excited about his party but starting Cub Scouts and getting baptized are even more exciting for him.
Also, an advertisement for Classic Fun Center--no set up or clean up for me. Just walk in and walk out and Tommy had the time of his life!!
Laser Tag was a hit

Blowing out the candle on his Angry Birds cake

Anyway, as with the others, I want to write down a few memories surrounding his birth.
We were building our house so we had temporarily moved into a lovely little apartment. It was cheap, month to month, and McDonalds and KFC were literally in our back yard. There was no dishwasher, the front window moved with the wind, and no matter how much I scrubbed, Aleq's socks were turned brown by the linoleum. We had a screaming mom next door, gang members below them and LDS Missionaries below us. Super nice place.
We thought the timing was right to have another baby and, once again, BAM! First month. Now, as I have stated before, my pregnancies are no fun. I was really sick again. I spent a great deal of time in the bathroom.
Luckily, CARPET had just been installed in the bathroom. Seriously? Carpet in the bathroom?! But it was much more comfortable to lie on. The sink, toilet and tub were very pink and the counter was pink tile. I could always smell frying chicken from KFC and I learned to be very comfy in that pink bathroom. Thankfully, I knew which meds to take so the violent sickness only lasted a few weeks.
It was a much easier pregnancy than my first, mostly because I knew what to expect and how to manage or prevent discomfort.
I was induced so it was a very calm morning and afternoon. I had the epidural which stayed in place, and had only mild discomfort. Around 8 hours after I was started, Tommy was born. Seriously, that is the way to have babies! I didn't even break a sweat.
He had a HUGE head. I think it had it's own gravitational pull. Both my dad and Robert's dads have big heads so he stood no chance. I always tell him that he needs a big head because his brain is so big. He likes that. But sadly, he is growing into it. It is still big but more proportionate.
I have a funny memory of him just after the stroke. He was barely two and had my sister had given him bright orange sweats and bright yellow rain boots. My brother had given him a little leather pilots jacket. They were all given at separate times and in no way meant to be worn together. But he put them on together and never wanted to take them off. The sweats had to be washed at night.
My first room was at the end of a very long hall that he would strut down like he owned the place. As he walked by, every head would turn and huge grins would erupt. He had every nurse and Therapist wrapped around his finger.
My sweet boy.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


***WARNING*** This post may contain TMI.

Seriously, two birthdays in two days is fun overload. I PROMISE if I see another piece of cake in my lifetime it will be too soon. Oh yeah, we have another birthday party on Thursday. Yep, all 3 kids in one week. Not planned.
Since I am too tired to think, I thought I would write down some of the events surrounding Aleq's and Jain's births.
My sister had struggled for years with infertility before becoming pregnant through IVF, and I had the same condition she did so Robert and I were gearing up for the whole process. But the first month of trying, BAM!
I had gone with Robert to San Francisco where he had a class. When we met for lunch I brought him a pink and a blue flower. He had no idea what that meant so I had to explain it to him.
I got hit on while I was walking to meet him. The guy said something lame about wanting to leave his heart in San Francisco. Sooo not the time to hit on me!
Then, I got really sick. Being sick in a hotel is even less fun than being sick at home. And airports are even less fun than that! At security the lady asked if I were okay. No, I'm always this pale/green. Can I lie down while you scan me? Robert left me alone while he went to get food. He came back with a Chili dog with onions. I ran for the restroom.
At home it only got worse. I had a little bed in the bathroom and lived on Sprite and saltines. Robert would poke his head in before leaving for work and again when he came back. Thankfully I had a wonderful, understanding boss who let me work from home on a laptop in my bathroom.
Finally it was time to see my doc. I never made it to the exam room. He saw me in the hall and casually asked which hospital I preferred.
So began a really fun (awful) pregnancy of I.V. treatments, pills, fighting with the insurance company, etc. I was healthy other than being sick for the full pregnancy.
On Halloween of that year I dressed as Mr. Potato head and Robert shaved the middle of his head and attached long hair to one side and made a comb over. We went to a party where my hugely swollen feet were a hit. My cousin had a great time pushing on them and seeing the dents left by her fingers. My BP was still really low but my doc was paying attention to make sure all was good.
When we went home I was ready to sleep but Robert insisted on shaving the rest of his head. Good thing because-
I woke up really early the next morning and knew for sure. We called my parents and my dad came over to help with a Priesthood Blessing. Then we were off for the hospital.
We waited and waited for the little guy to make his entrance. My epidural came out twice and my doc was not at all happy that I was hurting when I didn't want to.
Robert liked the name SEVEN. Really. So I made him a deal that if the baby were born right at 7, that could be his name. Not 6:59 or 7:01.
He was "sunny side up" and they used the vacuum and forceps to get him turned and out. He was born at 6:59. Whew!
His weight at birth was 7lbs 8oz. The next morning it was over 8lbs. Babies don't gain weight like that so his pediatrician thinks he was really 8lbs 7oz at birth. He was 3 weeks early, imagine his size if I had gone full term. Ouch!

My pregnancies are really hard. Not really dangerous (thank you anti-nausea pills) but I'm not really a good mom or wife for a few months. Robert and I had been talking about a baby but one Sunday I told him that I just did not feel ready yet  and maybe we could wait a few months. We both strongly felt that there was a little girl waiting so it wasn't a question of IF only WHEN.
The very next morning I got a strange pimple. I had the fleeting thought of what if? But no. We were using two forms
Later that day I was in the dollar store and saw a pregnancy test. $1. So I bought it and went home and took it. It was light but positive. I called my friend, Karen who was grocery shopping and she offered to pick up a real test for me. Her poor daughter was sure people there thought it was for her.
When Karen got to my house I showed her my dollar store test and she just laughed because it wasn't really light and definitely positive. So was the one she brought.
Honestly, I could not stop smiling. Sure, I was surprised but sooo happy! I was too excited to even think so I just called Robert at work to tell him. He was happy too.
A few months later...
We had finished celebrating Aleq's 5th birthday, his party was on the 3rd, and I would be induced on the 6th and I would be home in time to celebrate Tommy's birthday on the 8th. Perfectly timed, right? Wrong.
I woke up early and in pain on the 2nd. I showered, woke Robert and called my mom to come stay with the boys. She said she had been expecting my call that morning. Spooky.
I remember sitting at a high school crossing on the way to the hospital and thinking they were walking so slowly and couldn't they just hurry? Don't they somehow know I'm in pain here?
Ana Jain was born within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital. Robert had to get the insurance card out of the car and no one thought I was that close to delivery so he went out to get it and nearly missed all the fun. I got the epidural as I was pushing. Yeah, too late. My doc says that anything I may have yelled, does not count because I was in labor.
She was tiny, only 5lbs. 3 oz. She was 4lbs. 13 oz. when we took her home. Full term, just little. She still is.

Only 6 more days and it's Tommy's turn.