Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Feeling: Gone!

Am I a horrible wife, who is complaining and throwing a fit for nothing? I don't think so, but I thought I would get someone else's opinion just to be sure.
About two months ago, my husband and I went through our entire house looking for blankets, hats, and gloves that we no longer use. The plan was to donate them to a shelter downtown so that the items would go straight to those who need them the most. My husband works downtown and OFFERED to take them in for me. About a month and a half went by without the piles and bags leaving his trunk. Finally, last week he came home and proudly announced that he had donated them. I was so happy. He remembered, and we were helping the people who need the help the most (especially at this time of the year).
Tonight while watching the news, a commercial for the salvation army came on and I asked him if that was where he took the things. He said no, that he had taken them to the Goodwill on the way home from work. I'm livid with him! I know that donating to Goodwill is a good thing to do, but I wanted to give them to people who can't even afford Goodwill. I wanted to give them to people, not have them pay for them. I wanted people who sleep in the cold to be a bit warmer because of us.
I spent the last few days feeling very good about our donation and about how our unused items would make someone else's life a tiny bit better, and now I feel like that was taken from me! We obviously can't get them back to give to a shelter, so I'm left with frustration and anger at my husband. I offered several times to take them in myself and he said that he wanted to. We discussed our plans several times, so I know there was no miscommunication. He was just being lazy and wanted me to stop "nagging" him. So am I wrong to be angry?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Change in Perspective

For the past four days, Joe and I have been a bit concerned about whether or not I received a shot after Liam's birth that could cause complications for later pregnancies. I'm RH negative which is problematic when you are carrying a baby that is RH positive. Your body can actually attack a RH postive baby without proper vaccines. The issue usually doesn't occur until the second pregnancy because your blood needs to mix with the babies blood in order for your body to create the antibodies that are harmful to baby. This doesn't usually happen until birth. This is why you are supposed to get a Rhogame shot within 72 hours of the birth, to help stop the production of those antibodies. If you don't get this shot your body will make the antibodies and they will be waiting for your next pregnancy. If the new baby is also positive, the antibodies will attack it and can cause death and other serious complications.
When looking back in my hospital records there was no record of me getting this shot and I have no memory of it being given. I called my doctor to ask her about it, but of course she was out for the day. So I called the hospital, but they would not release the information without written consent and then the records would be mailed to me. How much stress can you take?! Without it I would have about a 50/50 chance of having a baby that my body would reject. The thought of putting my husband, son, family, and myself through those odds was so scary! I had already decided that if I did not receive the shot, I would not have anymore children. I have an amazing son who I love more than anything, and I can not imagine thinking that I was about to get another one and then loose it because my own body hurt it. There is absolutely no way I could deal with that!
The records finally came in the mail last night, and after hours of searching pages of records I could barely understand, we finally found it. A record of the shot being given (it was the very last thing, on the very last page of the stack that was sent to me). I feel a great deal of relief and I know Joe does too (even though he says he was never worried). Thinking that there was a possiblilty that I wouldn't be able to be pregnant again, the my son wouldn't have any siblings, that we would never get to use the cute baby names that we finally agree on, all made me realize how much I do want another baby. There are still a few things that we need to do to prepare, but I learned a lot about how I really feel about a second Baby Brooks and about how heart-broken I would be to know that it wasn't going to happen.
Sometimes you need the option to be taken away to really realize how you feel.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stealing Candy from my Baby

Being home all day has increased the power of my sweet tooth. I've been trying to steer clear of the waiting candy that was left over from Halloween. I've done a pretty good job too, until a couple of minutes ago. I had just finished doing the dishes when my son's candy bowl caught my eye. Yummy treats poking out just high enough for me to see them. Now Liam has his own bowl for the candy that he got while trick-or-treating and Joe and I have been really good about leaving his candy alone. We have our own, and we want to make sure that he gets what he worked for.
Well, all that 'good parenting' stuff went out the window when I saw a banana Laffy Taffy! I love those. After eating the delicious candy, I did feel guilty for a couple of minutes. But then I realized that there are reasons why eating that particular piece was actually a good thing for my son. Reasons: he is too little for candy that is that chewy, it's not good for his little teethers, he still has a lot of candy to choose from, he doesn't even like real bananas-so I bet he wouldn't even like it, and I could go on and on. But I will spare you the long, drawn out list. Really, I'm a better mommy because I ate my son's candy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Abnormal and Irritated

About a week ago, a co-worker stopped to talk to me about my bald head. To my surprise, she knew that it was alopecia and not the usual assumption, cancer. After talking to her about her son and the difficulty they have had trying to find support for alopecia sufferers in our area, I've been on a bit of a mission to set something up in the Portland metro area. To help with this, I turned to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. to get information on how to start.
I tried to network with other alopecia sufferers to see what they do and just to talk about this disease. But guess what!? Almost anyone who says that they are associated with alopecia is trying to sell magic hair creams, hair transplants, wigs, or dermatology services. I find it sickening that when people who suffer from such a stressful disease, try to reach out to others who know what they are going through, they are bombarded with ads telling them that they need to be fixed!
I'm not saying that everyone who has alopecia should go without a wig, or stop trying to find a cure. I too wore a wig to hide the bald spots for a long time and I still might be tempted to try anything that has had success and is not as invasive as most alopecia treatments are. It took me a long time to come to terms with alopecia being a permanent part of my life, and I have no intentions of going back to the person who was afraid of what others would think.
There should be support for those of us who are fine with being hairless and in fact, are proud of it. I think of my lack of hair as I do any of my other physical traits. It is as much a part of me as my blue eyes and short stature. I don't want to hide who I am and I don't want to be made to feel like I'm alone in these thoughts. We alopecia sufferers need a place where we can feel comfortable to be who we are. Wig or bald, patchy or totalis, confident or stressed, we all have the right to be who we are without others telling us to be 'normal' (as if that were a real thing).

Baby Fever

There are pregnant people everywhere! I friends who are pregnant, co-workers who are pregnant, and there is always a healthy helping of women with baby bumps when out and about. I don't know if this is why, but lately I can't stay away from the "when's the next one coming along?" or the "Liam needs a baby brother or sister." Joe has been ready for a while, but is patiently waiting for me to "come around". Don't get me wrong, I want at least one more kid in the future, but I also feel no rush. I love my son more than anything and right now I feel like he is more than enough. Sure, eventually I will be ready too, but why is it that the second your baby is born everyone wants to know when you'll be popping out the next one. I think that it is funny how my husband was the first to bring up another. Of course it's easy for him to say "on to the next!" when his body doesn't have to recover from pregnancy, labor, nursing, etc.
I had a pretty easy pregnancy and I think my son is on the easy end of the little one spectrum, but it is still a lot of work and I'm not sure I'm ready for double. I'm also a bit concerned about how easy Liam has been. I'm sure that he is just tricking us into having a second one and they will be a monster! I know I will love the new baby just as much as my first (even if he or she is a monster), but why rush it? We have some goals that we would like our family to reach before baby number two comes along and I don't think that this is wrong of me.
I want to take Liam on a real family vacation just the 3 of us, since once the next one arrives this will not be an option again. If possible, I would like to move/remodel so that our house is better set up for two. Also, I would like to be financial comfortable. I don't mean have all the money we want, I mean have our budget/work situation figured out, since this is a major reason for stress at this point. I just started working part-time and I would like to enjoy the extra time with Liam for a bit. And finally, I want to be able to have a baby on our schedule. With Liam we had to get pregnant at a very specific time to maximize my maternity leave, which was extremely stressful for both Joe and I.
Now even I go back and forth on whether or not I'm ready. There are days when I see my pregnant friends and think that I miss it and I'm ready to go through it all over again, but then there are days that I'm not. Until there are more 'ready' days than 'no way' days, I think I'll stick with the one I have. But keep posted. I may change my mind, but I will do it when we are all ready- Joe, Liam, and I.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Evil Naps!

Over the weekend I was so tired from a long, exhausting week that I took a nap a day. Now, I never to do this! I hate taking a nap because I always feel terrible afterwards. That groggy feeling is far worse to me, than just being tired. I also hate taking naps because I never get to choose when I finish them. The few times in the past that I gave in and went to sleep, either Joe or Liam decided when it was time for me to wake up (never has it happened that I was actually ready). Needless to say, my body got attached to the mid-day siestas and I HAD to take another one today. And guess what!?! Not only did Liam wake me up for good, but Joe called and woke me up half-way through. This is horrible! I hate this feeling and now my body is working against me. I need a way to get out of the evil pattern that afternoon naps have put me in.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

An Old Lady vs. Embarrassed Driver

Joe told me a story yesterday about something that happened to him earlier. He was taking a walk while on a break at work and he had to stop at a crosswalk to let traffic pass. While he was waiting an elderly woman (he estimates as being in her 80's or 90's) walked up and also waited for the cars to pass and the walk signal to change. When it did, they both starting walking across the street. When they were almost to the other side a waiting car lurched forward just a bit. Apparently, the elderly woman began to scream (not mutter or yell, but scream) obcenities at the driver while flailing her arms in the air.
The driver was not the only one who was shocked. This little old lady, hunched and a slow-mover, was using some pretty rough language and was livid that the driver has "almost hit" her. Everyone around stopped and watched and the driver looked like he was about to pee himself (according to Joe). But what was Joe doing?! Trying his hardest not to begin laughing hysterically, worried that she would then turn on him.
This got me thinking about old age and how a-like it is to being young. It is what I would like to call the bell curve effect of life. When you are young you can and say anything that you think. No inhibitions or worries about others' feelings. Old age seems to have this same effect on the elderly. They don't care what they say or who they say it to.We also deal with these outbusts in the same way. We do one of two things when a child/older person says something we find rude or out of the ordinary. We either snicker as quietly as possible because we know we should not condone their actions, but it is just so cute we can't help it, or we give them a stern look and try to explain to them why what they said was wrong. Either way, they continue to say what they want.
I want to be that way when I'm older. I have spent a lot of my life not saying things, and I would like to think that someday, I will be able to say whatever I feel without a care in the world! I don't want to do this because I want to hurt people. I want to do it because I know that I can say exactly what I think, and my family and friends will just right it off as the words of a "crazy old lady".

Friday, November 4, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

Many years ago, when I was still in high school, I was approached by a woman at a fair. She gave me the look that I am so used to and before she began to talk, I was already preparing myself to tell her "No, it's not cancer. I have Alopecia. Then I would explain what Alopecia is and she would say, "Oh, well, I have a friend/family member/acquaintance that has cancer.....yada yada yada. But this conversation went differently than most had. She asked me if I had Alopecia and told me that her young daughter (who was hiding in the distance) had it too. She explained to me how excited she had been to see me and that she couldn't wait to tell her daughter that we shared this wonderful auto-immune connection. I was so confused! This had NEVER happened before. In the 10ish years that I had been dealing with Alopecia, I had never met anyone who didn't think it was cancer, let alone someone who actually knew what it was like.
The little girl and I struck up a friendship and went to dinner/lunch a few times. She was very shy and very sweet. The last time that I saw her and her mom, she told me that I had been her greatest role model. That before me, she thought that alopecia was something to hide from. I was so proud and touched by these comments. Then I went off to college and we lost contact. I was reminded of her today, when a new co-worker walked up to me with that oh-so familiar look and a "Can I ask you something?". Again, I prepared the usual answers, but again, I was surprised. She too asked if I have Alopecia and when I said yes she told me about her son who also has it.
She too, made comments about how excited she was to talk to her son about me and how I show it off. She talked a lot about the Alopecia conventions that are all over the U.S. and about how much support there is at them. We talked a lot about the lack of support groups here in the northwest, which made me think, once again, of the plans that I have had in the past to get some sort of group together close to home. This is now my goal. I want to help those who struggle with this disease. I want to help them see that it is nothing to be ashamed of and to help educate those "cancer questioners".
For me Alopecia has been a blessing, not a curse and I want to help others see it that way too.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Agony of it All!

I hate this time of year! The next three months are going to be horrible! The holidays are the busiest and most taxing for me. No one thinks about me or how I'm feeling right about now. They are running around enjoying holiday parties and treats and then use me when they feel guilty. I can't believe that there is a whole bag of Costco candy in the cupboard, do they really think that that is a good idea? They always get too much candy and I think that they do it on purpose just to torture me!
Not only does everyone rely on me to make them feel better about themselves, but they never think about the difficulties and pain that they cause me in the process. I don't know why people always come to me anyway. I'm not good at comforting people and I tend to make everyone feel worse when they visit me. I wish that everyone would take a second, think about what their doing, and learn some self control, because someday they will wear me out and I won't be able to comfort or (in most cases) frustrate them any more. But guess what?! They will just replace me anyway. That's me- abuse me and then replace me. What a troubled and tormented life I lead!

These have been the thoughts/feelings of my bathroom scale.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pain has it's Advantages

Yesterday, I had one of my tattoos touched up. It is so funny how the things that bring us so much joy once they are here for good, tend to be the most painful, excruciating things to get through. This is true with tattoos, child birth, weight loss/exercise, job interviews, (in my experience) cooking, school....and the list goes on and on! Strange! Another weird connection- you tend to forget how grueling the process for each of these was. You only remeber the "good" parts- your beautiful baby, the slim jeans, the amazing job with benefits, etc., until you are in that situation again and then it all comes rushing back!!
Moral of the story: nothing worth anything comes without discomfort.
"The pain passes, but the beauty remains." - Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Dilemma

Happy Halloween! A bit late, I know. But I hope it was a good one anyway. Over the weekend Joe and I experienced one of those unexplainable parenting situations. On Sunday Liam went down for a nap, completely healthy. In fact, he was feeling better than he has in weeks: no runny nose, cough, fever....nothing! But when he woke up two hours later he had this horrible cough. Yesterday when I picked up Liam from daycare, his cough had gotten a lot worse. I was already planning to call the doctor, but decided to take Liam home for a nap and make the appointment for the afternoon. Well that didn't work! When we got home Liam said that he wanted some milk, so I was in the process of pouring the milk when he started to cough. He coughed so much that he couldn't breathe for a second, which made him upset, which made him cry, which made it so he couldn't breathe....and so on. So long story short, I took him the the doctor right then and there and was told that he has croup. If you don't know what croup is, it is inflamation in the windpipe that mades it difficult to sleep, eat, and is accompanied with a "barking", horrible cough. They gave him medicine and I took him home for a nap.
The dilemma comes with the fact that it was Halloween night and Liam (and yes, his parents) had been looking forward to his first real trick-or-treating experience. Should we take him or not? Well, he didn't feel the greatest, but the doctor said cold air could help the cough! I took today off to stay home with him, but he looks so cute in his pirate costume! What to do? Well, we took him and it was great! He had so much fun and the cold air really did help his cough! He slept better last night than he has in a week or so.
This was the first real situation where I had to weigh the "parental" decision, with the "but I want to go!" decision, and the child in me won! I am so glad that it did. We made lots of memories and Liam actually seems to feel better (which I am sure, is due more to the steriods that they gave him than the cold walk we took knocking on strangers doors). Hey, if my delusion helps me justify taking a sick kid trick-or-treating, oh well! The scary thought is that this won't be the last situation where I have to weight the "want to's" with the "should do's", and I just hope that I don't make selfish decisions at the wrong time. Being a parent is hard!