Pregnancy woes, nursery wins, and a tiny savage witnessing it all

So, last week we had our regular OB appointment on Tuesday followed by the fetal echo on Wednesday. The OB appointment went well, the fetal echo was kinda crappy. First off, I just hate ultrasounds at this point. They are uncomfortable, frustrating, and generally open more questions than provide answers. Wednesday’s appointment was no different. They looked over the heart and determined that the pulmonary artery WAS in fact bifurcated and that the rest of the heart structures looked “normal,” BUT that the pulmonary artery was slightly dilated before the bifurcation, there was mild to moderate leakage from the artery, and the ductus arteriosus “appeared torturous.”

So what does this mean?

“We will follow up to see if it resolves.” “Yeah, but what if it doesn’t?” “We will follow up after birth.” “And then? Are we looking at surgery?” “Unlikely.” “Sooo, what will we be doing, then?” “Continuing to monitor. It may be idiopathic and fine.” “But if it isn’t?” “We will monitor for signs of any issues.” Okay at this point I nearly punched the woman. Answer the question and quit being vague. If you’re a big enough physician to say ‘There’s a potential problem,’ then you damn well better be ready to explain. Finally, I said, “WHAT WOULD CAUSE THIS THAT HAS YOU SO WORRIED?” “It is probably idiopathic and will resolve on it’s own.” At this point I give her a death glare and use my scary voice, “What. Could. Be. Causing. This??” “Um. It could be a sign of a connective tissue disorder. But that’s rare. See you in 4 weeks.” Yeah, I pretty much loathed that cardiologist because she ignored me the entire scan, then provided a craptastic explanation of what she saw and what it meant. Basically, she provided zero concrete information, yet she flooded us with new worries. I will not be following up with her in four weeks. Or ever because I hate the air she breathes.

To say I hate appointments and pregnancy is like the understatement of my life. It is miserable. I have been officially diagnosed with polyhydramnios. My fluid levels are now straddling the line between mild and moderate poly. I cannot breathe even a little bit unless I sit straight up. I no longer sleep and eating or drinking anything makes it even more difficult to breathe. Imagine cutting the amount of lung space you generally have in half. Now, for funsies, half it again.  That’s what I’m dealing with, and it totally blows. It also causes a lot of pain. Not normal late pregnancy pain. Like major ascites kind of visceral pain. I ended up in the hospital this past weekend because I could not breathe and could not walk. I literally hobbled out of work on Thursday because I was contracting so badly. This too is due to the excess fluid. My body is all “WTF man, I can’t handle this fluid.” I got admitted to L&D, and got the full pre-term workup: hydration, pain meds, magnesium drip (satan’s infusion), and labs. Now I’m fine, Clark’s fine, but I won’t say that it’s been such an awesome ride, because it’s actually been total shit.

Moving on to lighter and brighter!

I do not have gestational diabetes! Woo! That is one positive thing. Another is that Clark’s nursery has taken off as of late and is looking more and more perfect.  I despise themes, and his nursery is basically a smorgasbord of boy like Darcy’s was a smorgasbord of girl. The walls are a really light blue yet still neutral-ish. His crib skirt is navy/cream mattress ticking, and there’s a big cowhide rug on the floor. I also really like mammoths and moose, so he has big stuffed versions of both on his bookshelf.

We moved all of the nursery furniture out of Darcy’s nursery and into Clark’s with the exception of the crib. We are going to transition her in the next couple of weeks to her big girl bed! It’s pretty precious and is already in her room. She thinks it’s a trampoline and will likely knock her teeth out jumping on it. She’s unconcerned and unreasonable though, so I’m not wasting too much worry over it.  She has had this recent language explosion. Her most recent additions to her vocabulary include, “It my!” (It’s mine), “Buh-bay” (baby), “Peese” (Please), “Heyyyy” (self-explanatory), and “Key” so that she can set off the panic alarms on our cars from the kitchen while playing with said key. She also becomes a total savage when we “force” her to leave any activity she wants to continue. A real-life screaming, hitting, BITING, savage. Since I can’t really pick her up much right now (seriously, it’s sad), Ben has been on the receiving end and it’s comical. We obviously don’t laugh about it in front of her, and out in the public it’s pretty embarrassing, but come on. She’s 18 months old, and is basically still an animal with animal instincts. She’ll outgrow it. I just hope she does before I’m the one manhandling her.

Ben and I are trucking along. School is hard for both of us, and I am less motivated than most at this juncture. Just trying to stick it out for another month and a half. Ben is getting ready to go to out of the country this weekend, so I’m a little concerned about dealing with Darcy by myself: just the general lifting and chasing because of contractions and inability to breathe and all that. We’ll manage fine though, that little tyrant and I. She’s my girl and gives me many kisses–and tells her daddy “No!” almost every time he asks haha! She’s a funny one, that girl. I haven’t ordered a Halloween costume for the Darce-bird either. I don’t know that I will. It seems like too much effort, and I need to focus my energies on breathing, so I don’t die to death while attempting to sleep.

Anywho, I hope this look into my life hasn’t seemed too dismal. I’m 30 weeks pregnant, so not much longer until I meet my sweet little Clark. That is the good stuff. Pregnancy may totally suck, but my new baby will be worth it all. I cannot wait to meet him and kiss his little face. Maybe Darcy will be more forthcoming with kisses for Clark than she is for kisses with daddy. Then again, Clark probably won’t be sporting the facial hair her daddy does. I’m rambling. Carry on good people. God is good in all circumstances. Love to all.

 

 

When you’re just keepin’ on, keepin’ on

Or, life lately

We had our appointments with our OB (regular baby-doctor) and our MFM (Maternal/Fetal Medicine aka high-risk baby-doctor) physicians this week. It started off with the MFM appointment, which Ben couldn’t come to. I went in, did all the vitals, etc. Then they asked me to lie on the reclining table thing while the tech scanned me. This was awful. You see, on a daily basis since about 18 weeks, I feel like I cannot breathe. It was a major complaint of mine when I was pregnant with Darcy, but it is 10x worse this pregnancy. No position helps unless I am sitting straight up, or leaned forward like a 75-year-old man with COPD.  So, after about five minutes, I said, “I’m really sorry, but I need to sit up now.” They said, “Oh, we’ll raise the head of the bed. That will help.” “No, I am going to puke if you don’t let me sit straight up.” Then everything starting going black, and I started sweating, and I thought I was going to die. So, my sonographer finished the scan with me sitting straight up. “Wow. You’re really symptomatic, how do you sleep at night? Reclined?” First of all, thank you Captain Obvious. Yes, I am super symptomatic because I CANNOT EFFING BREATHE. Secondly, reclining is terrible. You’ve just witnessed this. And I do not sleep is your answer. I wake up every 45 minutes to an hour to try to readjust. Well, this information concerns the MFM physician, and he says I might have congestive heart failure. WUT? Then he follows that little pearl up with, “I mean, do you exercise?” “Well, I ran a half marathon last December, and ran 5-10ish miles a week up until 15 weeks with this pregnancy.” “Oh okay, then. You’re probably fine. We just don’t see many small mamas with this much trouble breathing.” Anyway, he examined me and determined that I was just “super symptomatic,” and I wasn’t in congestive heart failure.

That was how things began. Then we discovered that based on my scan I have borderline polyhydramnios. This means I have almost too much fluid, which can contribute to a litany of pregnancy issues including “breathlessness.” Clark looks the same—skull is funky, foot is clubbed–AND is measuring a couple of weeks ahead of my due date. Also, because he is a wiggle-worm, MFM couldn’t get great images of his pulmonary artery, and I’ve been referred for a fetal echocardiogram. I also failed my 1-hour-glucose screen that day, so depending on my results of my 3-hour-test that I took today, I might have gestational diabetes, too.  Then the doctor said he wanted me to get another genetic screening test done, but the first we had done wasn’t covered by insurance (you do not even want to know the price tag on that one). So, I asked if it would change the treatment plan, and he said no, so we declined the test. Anddd, basically Tuesday’s appointment was a huge pile of suck.

I’m okay with it all now, but Tuesday, I was distraught. I try to stay positive, and I know that these physicians’ jobs are to rule out any issues, but I’m at the point where I do not desire to know one more possibly negative thing about this pregnancy. I just don’t care to know. If it isn’t going to make a difference, then I don’t give a damn to know if or what kind of chromosomal abnormality MAY exist in Clark. Unless I start passing out, I don’t want to know if my heart function is shitty because of CHF. I have enough information at this time to decide I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANOTHER DAMN THING. Because everything is “possibilities” and “probabilities” and “increased chance of” and/or “potential problem.” For some, knowing everything brings peace. For me, it brings doubt, and I don’t want to give Satan any more reasons to tempt me to doubt the goodness of God. I just don’t. I truly believe that God will give me the strength to deal with whatever comes our way WHEN it actually comes our way. One of my favorite books concerning faith is Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. She was just an incredible woman filled with wisdom, and she kind of agrees with me on the worrying thing.

Corrie ten Boom said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

And the more information that something “could be significant” or “could be nothing,” the more I worry.  Ben and I have different perspectives when it comes to hardships and faith. Ben always believes that things will get better. That it IS going to be okay. I personally believe that saying things “will get better” is an invitation for things to become exponentially worse. I’m truly not pessimistic, but even you have to admit that the scales of fairness, statistics, and equality seem a little warped, and not in our favor. I believe that Clark won’t be healed, but that God will give me the strength the deal with whatever comes our way when he is born. My sister keeps telling me, “Clark will be who he has been created to be.” And that brings me comfort. God has allowed all of this. He has created Clark for His purpose, and He loves this baby far more than I could ever imagine. Just like He loves me. And that is good. It is the good stuff in the ugly situation, y’all. Beauty from ashes, and it will be beautiful.

As for grad school, I withdrew from one of my classes. It was an exhaustive, research-based, labor-intensive class, and I just don’t have the get-up and go for that and my other clinical-based grad school class, 40-hour work weeks, being a high-risk baby incubator, and existing as a functional human. It’s beyond my abilities at this point. So, this skews my overall ‘graduate as quickly as possible’ plan. I now feel at peace with this decision, even though it felt like a huge personal failure at the time.

Darcy is hilarious. She is rough and tumble and so, so much fun. She loves to run to me and shove her face in mine and just giggle. She also has about 10 bruises and six scratches from her legs to her face, and both knees are skinned and scabbed. Kid plays hard. Also, we got an incident report from her daycare because of an altercation regarding possession of a toy. Darcy had toy, friend wanted toy, a struggle ensued, and Darcy bit the hell out of friend. Ohmylanta. I’m sorry, mom of bitten child. My daughter is unreasonable and will fight to the death for her teeth to be brushed, so a perceived threat over a toy will likely continue to be dealt with a heavy hand (teeth). Sorry. She doesn’t bite at home.

Anyway, that’s all for now in our lives! I promise, I plan on writing a fun, non-heavy blog later on in the next few days detailing our first trip to Ikea with baby Darcy. Bless you, if you’re still reading along. Love to all.

Thoughts on baby Clark, Jesus, and how I’m a demon lady

To spare some of you from reading through a long blog, I’m going to address a few things up front. Soooo, first things first: There’s not an update on Clark, yet. Our next appointment with maternal fetal medicine is in a couple of weeks. Next, if you can’t handle Jesus-talk and cursing, my blog really isn’t for you. I’ve already fully admitted that I am a flawed person. I mean, I sniff hamburger meat a few days after the expiration date to determine whether or not it’s really expired or just kinda expired. And then, because I also live dangerously, I cook it up and eat it if it’s of the kinda variety. You see? Flawed. And I have reason to talk about Jesus, and I have reason to cuss. And don’t expect to get a spiritual or theological awakening, either. It’s mostly a confession of my own terribleness. I digress. 

Okay, so I was raised in the church of Christ. Only COC’ers will appreciate the capitalization consideration I took in that last sentence, by the way. I don’t necessarily identify by that church of Christ label. I’m a sinful woman who happens to love and want Jesus, and yet I have some major struggles with this faith. You see, I’m a doubter as well as a sinner. I get a lot of anxiety when people discuss the day they were saved. Because I can’t really pinpoint when I was. Oh, I can tell you when I was baptized, but I can’t tell you for sure that I was saved then. I was straight up told that if I wasn’t baptized, then I would burn in the lakes of fiery sulfur for all eternity. As an eleven year old, I was motivated, man. No fiery pits for me. But there was no big change in my life. I was still an eleven-year-old punk doing punkish crap, and I started to doubt my salvation. Like, “Am I safe from sulfuric fires?” This fear was further spurned on by the old, “If you don’t know whether or not you’re going to heaven or hell, you’re going to hell. When you’re saved you’re given blessed assurance of your salvation.” Well, shit. Blessed assurance I did not have. Now after all this time, I was back in hell’s corner. From there I have battled throughout all of my Christian life. I’ve grown a lot, and felt God’s presence, His goodness, and His blessings, but a lot of the time, I’ve felt like God’s stepchild instead of one of God’s chosen. I believe in Jesus. I know He exists. I know He can heal baby Clark, but I doubt that He will. I hope He will, but I doubt He will. I know that He has done crazy cool miracles in this world since He created it. I know He sent His only Son to die for all people in this world. And yet, I doubt He will heal my son for the same reason I’ve always felt just a * little * on the outside of God’s unending love; His miracles aren’t…well…for me. The pain and growing and just enough spiritual growth are for me. And I know that so many of you want to pray for me to deepen my faith and change my mind, but you won’t. I think it’s going to be my lifelong struggle. A couple of years ago, I confessed this to a minister of a church I was desperately trying with. I told him basically what I just wrote, “I KNOW and truly believe God exists, I just don’t put my full faith in Him, and I know that’s wrong.” His response, “Yes. Well, Beka even Satan’s demons believe in God. That’s not enough.” Damn. So, I’m stepchild status because I’m basically on par with the demons. I really am effed. It’s okay you can laugh at that, I don’t seriously think I’m on par with Satan’s minions. And, I also totally realize his answer was un-therapeutic at best, but I won’t lie, it occasionally concerns me on a spiritual level. Especially when this demon-Christian woman really wants her son to be healed. So that he won’t have to suffer. And if I’m being honest, so I won’t have to watch him suffer through big surgeries or handicaps. This leads me into the “non-update-baby-Clark” part of the blog. We don’t have concrete answers. We have confirmation of one defect (clubfoot) and strong suspicion of another (skull deformity/craniosynostosis), and therefore the possibility/probability of some type of chromosomal abnormality. So, the obvious questions in most people’s heads include something along the way of, “Wasn’t that what Darcy had?” or “So there’s probably a genetic reason, right?” and “Are y’all going to get an amniocentesis?” or “Are y’all going to try to have more children after this?!” Or maybe because all of these questions ran/run through my head, I just feel like they’re running through yours, too. I’ll share what I feel comfortable with as I feel comfortable sharing it. But to answer these 4 questions—Yes. We don’t know. No. Who the hell knows at this point?

 You know what I am thankful for? I’m thankful to my sweet husband Ben who brought me coffee this morning at work because I had a bad morning and initially failed my first test of the semester. I’m thankful that the other students in my class were my equal in dumb and missed the same questions I did on this morning’s test because the teacher threw those questions out—I now pass! And I am deeply thankful for an amazing tribe of friends who love this old demon-woman so well. Your thoughts and prayers and sweet gestures of love are so appreciated.

So that pretty much concludes the crazy faith-related storm inside my brain a lot of the day. I am not all doom and gloom. I feel lucky to be this little one’s mama, and I cherish each kick and flutter. I don’t constantly meditate on the bad or possible bad. Rather, I plan his nursery and tiny blue outfits. I plan on how to keep him safe from Darcy, who is a tyrant and tiny, yet strong, bully. Mostly though, Ben and I pray for baby Clark, laugh at our daughter, and love this life we’re in.

 

 

 

“It’s not supposed to be this way…right??”

What does it mean to you when your world gets rocked? How do you react? Are you angry? Devastated? Maybe just numb? You could even be like me and experience all of those big feelings in a predictable, repetitive, and exhausting movie reel. Up until recently, I’ve had three such occasions where the floor has lurched beneath my feet, and I’ve fallen on my face. You know, the situation or moment where the image of life as you had planned it is irrevocably blown into ash. Whether or not I directly influenced these world-rocking experiences, I thought I was as low as I could possibly go each time they occurred. And yet, each experience has brought me lower still.

When I was young, I was very much in love with a boy until I wasn’t. Telling him I didn’t love him anymore, and I couldn’t marry him was the hardest thing I had done in my life at that point. Like any decision you make in life, it causes ripples and the effects were felt for months. Cold shoulders, hurtful gossip, and some really awkward encounters in my small town were a few of the mainstays for the months to come. During that period, I felt lonely and abandoned by friends and family alike. It was the most alone I had felt in my life. I thought I would rather disappear than keep going, and I naively thought that it was probably the worst thing that would happen to me. Yeah, I was 21 and knew nothing.

We had a perfect ultrasound at 8 weeks. The doctor told Ben and me that the baby looked amazing, and that we should tell our family and friends the great news. “After seeing a healthy heartbeat on ultrasound, the chance of miscarriage is only 1-3%.” We told our families. And then, four weeks later after our next appointment, we had to un-tell them because during that ultrasound my doctor said, “I’m so sorry, dear. I just don’t see a heartbeat. There is no heartbeat.” For unknown reasons, our baby died, and my body hadn’t realized it yet. I was still sick and throwing up because my body was supporting a baby that had died 2 weeks earlier. It could be another month before my body caught up with what we already knew; our baby was long gone. I remember being aware of a strange high-pitched noise. It took me a solid minute before I realized that it was me. I was the thing making the painful noise, because I was in inexplicable pain. We scheduled the procedure for the following morning, and I took a week off of work. The worst of the aftershocks came in the immediate weeks to follow although now and again, I feel the emptiness of that loss almost as acutely as I did that day.

“Her forehead is very prominent, and I feel the ridge you mentioned. We need a stat CT scan.” And there went my “peaceful” introduction to parenthood. Darcy was 5 weeks old, and at her first real well-baby check-up when our pediatrician made the aforementioned statement. She was diagnosed with craniosynostosis less than 2 hours later, and we left the “well-baby” appointment with a new appointment with a neurosurgeon in 2 days time. My beautiful baby girl was going to have her scalp peeled back, skull removed, bones cut into pieces, and then jigsaw-puzzled back together with plates and screws. It was devastating. I, like any new parent, felt like my daughter was beautiful and perfect, and yet I was hearing that her forehead was too prominent, head too narrow, and it was all caused by an eventually brain-damaging birth defect. Unless, that is, she got her skull cut into pieces and put back together in a better, less brain-damaging way.

This isn’t some cutesy post to tell you how much “God grew me through each scenario” and “How grateful I am.” Now, I AM grateful for these experiences, I did experience growth, but if there had been another way, I would have taken it. I would taken that other, easier, gentler way in a heartbeat. I have experienced deep and real and life-changing hurt in my life. Hurting or being hurt by others, experiencing great loss, or being given more than you can possibly handle isn’t some right of passage to get awarded a “Hey! You made it!” medal. I don’t really think God works like that. I do believe that God makes good out of bad. I know God makes good out of bad. I just don’t think he causes the bad. God didn’t turn everyone against me or abandon me. God didn’t take my baby. He didn’t “give” my daughter craniosynostosis, either. But He did bring beauty out of our suffering. He met me in my suffering, and when I felt like my world collapsed around me, He was unchanged. He was still good.

Romans 5:3-5 states, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Now, I straight-up struggle with the “rejoice” part. Maybe when Jesus comes back and I’m all sanctified, I’ll rejoice at my past sufferings. But, I won’t be fully sanctified until Jesus comes back, so for this life-time, I’ll probably just have to be content to struggle with that. Anyway, throughout my life and my “big experiences,” I have grown in perseverance, and character, and hope. I’ve been blessed by such incredible people who have crawled down to my low, crumpled state and just loved me and stayed with me, especially when I felt utterly unlovable and unworthy. I have had the opportunity to offer comfort to other mamas who have experienced loss through miscarriage. I’ve been able to reach out to mamas of craniosynostosis babies and tell them that there is light and life on the other side of that scary diagnosis. It’s a goal of mine to reach and help as many as I can. In fact, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 sums it up rather well, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

Because of my suffering, I can be a tool of God to help others who are suffering. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful that I too can experience the comfort of those who have battled the “ugly” before I’ve had to. I’m thankful because I’m going to need their comfort in the weeks and months to come. Unfortunately, I’ve been given more than I can handle once again, and once again I’m scared and I’m angry and I’m numb. As you can see, I’m really not all that original in my feelings. One day, I wake up and I’m okayish and I think it will all be okayish. The next day, I’m a rollercoaster of all the big feelings. It’s actually annoying how regular my emotions are. Anyway, we’ve named our baby boy Clark Elliott Rayner. Baby Clark has some issues that have become apparent through our ultrasounds. While we don’t have all the answers yet, he has two ultrasound anomalies that make an underlying chromosomal abnormality more likely than not. Today, our new high-risk physician confirmed the findings; club foot and skull deformity. The skull deformity could be craniosynostosis, or maybe not. Our high risk doctor couldn’t say for sure. I won’t lie. It’s been very, very hard to hear that something is wrong…again. I am prayerful and hopeful that God will heal my baby. I know that He can. But I also know that He may not. He. May. Not. And that’s going to have to be okay. Ben and I have so many things to think about right now, and are learning as much as we can in an effort to anticipate Clark’s medical needs. I will update as I can. Until then, love to all. ❤️ 

Why the internet is stoopid

And airing out a diaper rash is a bad idea found on the internet

Stop reading now if you aren’t into reading about potty stuff. Just stop and wait for a post that details the other parts of my life. If you’re game to read on…

Darcy came back from the beach with a pretty horrific diaper rash. To be fair, she arrived at the beach with the start of one, but it only got worse with sand, wet bathing suits, and the heat. I was trying everything; A&D ointment, Desitin, a concoction of an anti-fungal, Desitin, and Aquaphor. Nope. This rash wasn’t budging and poor baby D was uncomfortably tugging at all of her diapers. Now, if you ever even Google anything about diaper rashes, “they” tell you that you should simply “let it air out.” This basically means letting your un-housebroken toddler run around naked and hope for the best. After exhausting all of my ointments, powders, and creams I decided to give it a try.

Ben was out of town for a wedding (how convenient for him), and I had the Darce-bird all to myself for all of Saturday. The day started off innocently enough. We went to return some maternity clothes at Old Navy, we went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We went to eat lunch at a cute little Italian café where Darcy refused the food and stared directly at an older couple for the entirety of the lunch date. Not awkward at all, Darcy. We went to Trader Joes for groceries—insert heart emoji—I freaking love that store. Then, we went home, fed Darcy a lunch she deemed worthy (Easymac-whatever, Darcy) changed a poopy diaper (this is important), and put the Darcy to bed. When she woke up, I had decided it would be naked time. This rash was out of hand, and she had already pooped, so the un-diapered Darcy show was a safer option now.

About an hour and a half later, she woke up laughing and with a heavy, heavy diaper. Perfect! She’d peed recently. It should be safe. I took off her diaper and brought her to the living room. I turned around to put up the baby gate to the back hallway, and when I turned back around, she was gleefully splashing in a puddle of her own urine. Awesome. I grabbed her and took her to the bathroom to clean her up, pulled out the Clorox wipes and thought, “Well, we’re probably ok now.”  Within 15 minutes she peed the floor again. What in tarnation? How often does someone pee? I mean I’m pregnant, so I totally get a bye on the every 15-minute thing, but seriously? So, I cleaned her up again and we moved to our outside porch. Safer this way. Hotter this way, too. Kind of a pick your poison thing, and I was over wiping up pee.

Darcy is such an adorable exhibitionist. She was toddling around like the emperor who lost his clothes. I definitely sent a booty picture to her daddy. She walked over to the ottoman of one of our outside chairs, looked at me and giggled, squatted and shot out three poop balls in a span of about 5 seconds. Now, I am a nurse. I have seen patients’ chests’ cracked open at bedside, I have been inside OR rooms, I have cleaned up all kinds of poop, but I have never seen poop balls fly out of a tiny booty at that velocity in my life. It took me a minute to get my wits about me. In that minute Darcy straightened up and firmly planted one of her chubby feet right in IT.

*Mental scream*

I finally snap into action and grab her, booty facing out, foot firmly held at a distance, and carry her football style into the bathroom for a quick scrub up. Inwardly I was thinking, “How do people DO this?! It’s only been like 45-” looks at clock-“30 minutes?!” After a very quick scrub up, I grab paper towels and head back out to the porch to clean IT up. But it’s gone. The poop balls have disappeared. No. Oh God, please no. NO! I hear Libby smacking her lips from somewhere behind me, and my suspicions are immediately confirmed. Libby ate the freaking poop. What fresh hell is this? I’m not even sure which small creature is more disgusting. The pee-puddle-splasher/poop-ball-shooter, or the poop-ball-eater. At this point, I was done. If Desitin could not fix this rash, then Darcy could just keep it forever. Sorry, not sorry. Diaper back on baby. This diaper stayed dry until bedtime, by the way. Imagine that *eyeroll*

The moral of the story is that the people on the world wide web are idiots. Do not follow the crunchy, holistic, craptastic (see what I did there?) advice “they” spout on internet forums. They are idiots, and obviously have investments in the Clorox wipe business. Darcy’s butt is perfect now, and basically all I did was change diaper brands, and slather it with every cream known to man, including the dangerous and awful Talc-containing power. OoOoOo-arrest me now. May your parenting endeavors leave you with great stories and funny memories. And may you have dog-breath freshening treats on hand. Until next time, love to all.

Beaching, Not sleeping, and rocking family T-shirts

A couple of months ago, Ben and I decided that after our summer school classes, we really needed a break. Like a beach-trip break. So, I scheduled it for the second week in August and we booked a 1-room condo on the beach. We talked it out and decided to stay only Monday-Friday, so that we had a weekend to get our life together before the following Monday. We figured we needed at least 1 bedroom, so that after Darcy went to bed at 7:00pm, we would be able to enjoy time together and watch movies, etc. So, the magical Monday comes and off we go to the beach! No work, no school, no extra stress.

We stopped to get a few groceries once we got into town, so that we wouldn’t have to come back to the store after we checked in and got settled. Darcy was pretty good on the way, but was pretty over it by the time we got to the condo. We decided to just eat a frozen pizza the first night because putting Darcy back in the car to go out to eat was going to be miz for everyone, other restaurant patrons included. That night, we put her to bed, made cookies (I brought homemade cookie dough—it’s the best, I’ll post a recipe later) and sat on the balcony listening to the waves.

Then we went to bed. Not sleep. Bed. Oh and it’s not what you’re thinking. Get your head out of the gutter. It’s because sharing a room with Darcy is something I have not done since she was 2 weeks old with very good reason. I kind of remembered it was awful, but I was also knee-deep in postpartum blues/overwhelming “omg”-ness, so I didn’t REALLY remember. My memory has now been refreshed. She is so freaking loud when she sleeps, and is pretty much the crappiest roommate ever. I swear. See, she sleeps all soundly, but MY GOD she moves constantly. You know what movement in a pack-and-play sounds like? Do you? Allow me to enlighten you if you don’t know. It’s like this. Swish, swish, swish. SWISH, SWISH, SWISH. Scratch Scratch. SWISH SCRATCH SWISH. On top of that we have typical Darcy noise. So to mix it up a little it was: Swish, Cough, cough, sniffle, Scratch, SWISH, ALL THE NIGHT LONG. Oy vey.

The following morning, she woke up laughing at 5:20am, ready to tackle the day. Thank god for Ben. He grabbed her and took her away, so I could sleep until 6:00am. Sleeping didn’t improve (for us), but luckily Darcy really did enjoy the beach. She got worn out after about 2 hours and needed an indoor break, but did well overall. Except the following night at the restaurant when she ran away. Yes. My 16-month old hit the deck and speed-crawled under 4 tables stopping only under some random lady’s chair. She then screamed as Ben pulled her out from under the chair. It was very special, and we totally flew under the radar at that restaurant *snort *.

We got loads of people-watching in from our balcony, which is awesome and my favorite. Ben and I mostly made fun of all the families that dressed in all white for beach pictures with their kids. They were trying SO hard, and the children wouldn’t look at the photographer, threw sand at each other, cried, etc. It was hilarious. I’ve already written of my disdain for constant photography, and I just feel like beach pictures for the annual Christmas cards are so DONE. I also don’t send Christmas cards. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you either. Sorry, not sorry. Don’t take it personally if you love white beach pictures. Most people throughout the South think they’re adorable and totally get you because they do the SAME thing. I don’t get you at all, but I’m just a person with weird thoughts and a blog to discuss them. Ignore me and carry on with your white-linen ways. You see, Ben and I love to make fun of ourselves, because we have more fun like that. We totally want to be uncool and Griswoldy. So, as a part of a new vacation tradition, we had custom airbrush T-shirts made for our family. Oh yeah. Complete with a sunset background, palm trees, and dolphins. Hell. Yes. We got baby Darcy a matching airbrushed onesie, and it is just hysterical.IMG_4860-2

Here are the rules to the family T-shirt:

  1. It must have “Rayner Family Vacation” written on it.
  2. It must be tacky and scream, “I am absolutely a tourist in this city!”
  3. It must include the name of the city in which it was bought.
  4. It must be worn proudly all day. Even to restaurants.
  5. You must not tell anyone that it is a joke, so if someone says, “Nice shirts,” In a total, “That’s a lame shirt,” kind of way, you have to brightly respond, “Thank you!” Refer to #4.

I guarantee you our family beach pic in our airbrush shirts are way cooler than the white linen crew. Also, there was a gorgeous rainbow that appeared just before we took pictures, so I’m fairly certain that Jesus loved those bad boys, too. I’m so proud, I may have to do a Christmas card after all just to show them off. Love to all. Even all you classy linen people 😉

The B-word that stole my necklace

So this particular instance occurred in my very own neighborhood about a year ago. This woman, who shall remain nameless, has recently vacated her home and moved to a new location. If you meet a woman meeting the description to follow, then be forewarned that she is a necklace-stealing harpy. For the record, I am not mocking anyone with a disability or physical impairment. I am simply relaying one of the stranger encounters in my life. Anywhooo–

For my birthday last year, my mom asked me what I wanted. I honestly have such a hard time with telling people what to give me. It’s rare that I have something I feel like I need or want. Last year though, I thought immediately, “I’d like a simple Kendra Scott necklace.” I knew they were around $50 and were something I could wear daily. I told my mom and she said to pick it out, and let her know which one so she could order it. I picked the rose-quartz colored stone with a gold chain. Simple. My mom filled out the order form and happy birthday to me!

2 weeks later, I remembered I hadn’t received my necklace. I checked my email (my mom used my email, so I would get updates), and it said the package had been delivered 5 days prior. I investigated further and saw that my mom accidentally reversed the last 2 numbers when inputting my address. That address didn’t even exist. I called the postal service and sat an obnoxious amount of time on hold pressing different numbers to be directed to a new robot, ad nauseum. Finally, I spoke with someone who said the necklace had been delivered to a different address since the address my mom put in didn’t exist. The following conversation followed:

  • Me: “Hmm. So you saw the phone number listed, couldn’t find the address, and just delivered the package to a random house with some of the same numbers listed on the address label without ever calling to verify?”
  • Postal worker person: “Uh…yeah…I think that’s what happened. You can file a claim if you want. Or, like knock on their door.”

“Or, like knock on their door.” Okay, then. So, I decided that since I was dealing with these amaze-balls employees who really cared when I filed my claim, that I was never going to see that necklace unless I went rogue. Like knocking on the door and getting that Kendra Scott back. Unfortunately said individual WAS NEVER HOME! Seriously. Every morning on my morning run (I was training for a ½ marathon at the time), I would stop at the address (containing some of the numbers in a different order of the delivery address) and knock. And knock. This continued for like two weeks. The postal service would not budge my “pending” status of my claim. I had been left with no options, and now I was on a mission. Then one morning, I struck gold! I thought. More like striking pyrite…

A white Altima was in the driveway! SOMEONE was there. I pushed the running stroller up to the door and knocked. And waited. I rang the doorbell and immediately heard the startled yapping of a small dog. “Yesss! She can’t ignore that!” But nothing happened. I rang the doorbell again, setting off a renewed barrage of incessant, little-dog yapping. “Shut the F@#$ UP!,” I heard from within. “Uhh…okay. Think positively, Beka,” I told myself.

Nothing could prepare me. The door swung open and this woman filled the doorway. She was wearing a white, see-through, floral-printed muumuu that was dangerously close to releasing her boobs. This was not helped by the leaping, now snarling, ugly little dog in her arms. “What”—dog lunges at me—“do”—dog lunges and boob almost exposed—“you need?!,” she halfway growled. At this point I decided I didn’t want to know what was going to happen to the boob situation and focused on her face. Mistake. She had one eye. Like empty socket on the left, squinty eye on the right. I cannot make this up, and now I don’t know where to look. “Um, my necklace was delivered here almost a month ago by mistake,” I said, completely transfixed by her empty eye-socket. “I ain’t got no necklace. I been outta town, and my son picked up my mail, but no necklace.” “It was delivered here,” I said, standing my ground in this ridiculous scenario. “Was it…uh…worth much?” she questioned, fixing her eye on me. “It’s a birthday present from my mom, and I’d like to get it.” “Well, I’ll let you know if I see it,” she said backing into her doorway with her rabid, still growling dog. “Do you need my number? Or my address? I live right down the street,” I said quickly, realizing my chances to get my present were about the same as her eye re-growing. “I know where you live,” she said. And then she shut the door in my face.

I went back 2 or 3 more times, but she either ignored me (I could hear her yelling and cussing at her dog), or answered and said she, “ain’t seen no necklace.” It was really special.

Whatever.

Thank you U.S. Postal service for that delightful encounter. Thank you for delivering the necklace to an address of your choice. Thank you lady for being dishonest and for the general frightening experience of meeting you and your tiny, growling minion.

My mom just laughed and bought me another necklace.