It’s been a while now

The exhausting chronicles of the poop show we call our lives

Hey all. I’ve been kind of absent lately because my life is a massive poop show. For real, y’all. Lots of poop. I digress.

Okay, so it started at the beginning of July when I decided for sure I was going back to grad school to finish my MSN for Family Nurse Practitioner. Since I am returning to that god-forsaken program, and I only have three semesters left, I cannot work 5 days a week nursing the preschool children of EBR Parish. Sooo that means I had to quit my beloved school nurse job, which was just tragical–Side note: if things can be magical they can be tragical–Now because I loved my job so much, I told them I would stay on for a few weeks to set up the preschool for the start of the school year. It helped them out and until my semester started, I was free to help. School prep starts at the end of July and of course Clark gets sick and can’t go to daycare. It’s the usual–fever, snot everywhere, basic cold symptoms, etc. He can’t go to daycare, and Ben couldn’t take off work, so I have to miss some of those days. The other days he just had to suck it up and come to the school with me. Instead of healing, he gets worse, so I miss work again. Turns out he has an ear infection. Mom/Nurse of the year, y’all. He gets put on a 10 day course of antibiotics. When he goes back to get his ears rechecked, the infection is still there, because of course it is. He gets a new 10 day course of antibiotics.  He gets better only to be immediately followed by a new fever. After 20 days of antibiotics he ought not have a single damn bacteria anywhere, so we go BACK to the doctor. Oh, its just a virus and after 4 days of sporadic fever he gets better…again. So basically, I struggled to finish my commitment to my job. I felt like such a jerk calling in on my last two weeks but what can you do? Anyway, I start the Fall semester and my clinical rotations. Then Clark gets another virus consisting of constant diarrhea and his worst diaper rash ever. It was seriously worse than some chemo diaper rashes I saw when I worked at the Jude. I pulled out all of my nurse tricks and that rash just got worse. He screamed when anyone touched him or if his bottom touched anything–so I had to miss several days of studying, and even worse, my scheduled clinical days. At this point in the second week of the semester, I was already feeling WAY behind in school work AND clinical hours. Finally his stomach calmed down. His rash got better. Then, I-kid-you-the-eff-not, he gets the cold symptoms AGAIN. WTF?!! This has been six weeks of hell at this point. I just know he has an ear infection, because he’s fussy as hell and his ears aren’t draining like they should be (he has tubes). So I skip the pediatrician and go see his ENT this past Monday. Yep. His tubes are nonfunctional and his eardrums are bulging with trapped fluid. Homeboy needs new tubes AND his adenoids removed. Le sigh.

Y’all. I haven’t even wanted to update my blog because I swear these past 6ish weeks, I have struggled. STRUGGLED. I have not been living in “the joy!” I have been consumed by stress and anxiety and just plain exhaustion. Clark is still not sleeping through the night, the kids’ daycare has been sporadically closed for holidays, and any days I should have “off” for studying, I haven’t had.

Now all you women who love to say “Oh but you’ll miss these days!” Don’t. Just don’t. Don’t be annoying and tell me how much I’ll miss having sick kids that need more surgery with money we don’t have on energy I lost a long time ago. Oh yeah, ENERGY. I now have hypothyroidism! Hahaha! Life literally killed my thyroid gland. Well, that and genetics. That little pearl of a diagnosis also happened during the 6 week period where our pets heads’ were falling off.

Y’all. I’m tired. I’m hanging in there, but I’m tired. And, I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not looking for anything other than to tell any readers out there that life can be hard sometimes. And not, “There’s a greater meaning to this struggle” kind of hard. More the “What fresh hell is this?!” kind of hard. So, even if you saw my cute beach pictures with my kids, know that Clark has woken up twice a night for about 2 months now, and no one gets sleep. Know that I was that crazy mama at the Crab Trap very publicly spanking my kid for trying to run into traffic. Know that I’ve gained like 15 pounds in 2 months because of my totally useless thyroid gland. Know that I occasionally want to drop out of school, leave a “Dear John” note for my husband, skip this joint altogether, and head to Aruba: Vacation for one, please. I’ve doubted that God has good things for us, and I’ve felt like Job.

It’s okay to say it sucks. You don’t have to use qualifiers, or say the strong-person things. You can say, “This sucks.” And I’ll nod and offer you a hug and a stiff drink to better enjoy your pity party. You’re entitled to it because you know that eventually it will get better. That’s why we hold on to little nuggets of hope here and there. Still sucks, though. Anyway, may your storms be brief, your blessings many, and may you be kind always. You never know when someone is struggling to stay upright much less survive Baton Rouge traffic with a shred of her religion intact. Love to all ❤

 

Help me, I’m stupid.

And some questions to help me get smart

So, in one of my previous posts, I detailed the weekend before Ben’s birthday. We went to the coast, ate fancy, and basically were #goals. His actual birthday fell on the following Tuesday, and I still wanted to do something special for the actual day. I got cards from the kids and myself AND I ordered a cookie cake for him. Ben really loves cookie cake. It’s his request every year, and I usually get it from a particularly awesome bakery in town. That bakery is kind of out of the way though, and this super awesome grocery store, only a half mile from my house was just remodeled and has a bakery. So I call, and I order a cake. Here’s where I went wrong. I had decided that didn’t want the small 8″ round cake, so I decided I would get a sheet cake. My mom always makes sheet cakes when we have a crowd and they are pretty huge. So I knew I would want half that amount since it was just Ben, Darcy,  and I. Being a reasonable person and all, I ordered a 1/2 sheet cake. It was like twenty-ish dollars and I thought that was a little high, but whatever. I told them to put a lot of icing on it because Ben loves that.

I go to pick up the cake.

Me:”Hey, I’m here to pick up a cake for ‘Rayner’.”

*sets massive box on counter*

Me:”Oh, no, you see I ordered a little cookie cake.”

Bakery:”Here it is!”

Oh shit. I ordered enough for an army. You see, what my mom refers to as a “sheet cake” is actually 1/4 sheet cake. I wanted 1/8 sheet cake. But because I am an idiot, I ORDERED DOUBLE WHAT MY MOM MAKES FOR OUR TWENTY-PERSON FAMILY. Lord, help me from myself.  It was beautifully done, and honestly at $20ish dollars,  it was a damn steal. Anddd I learned my lesson. We had cookie cake for days, so it could have been worse. But, I’m really thankful I didn’t order a whole sheet cake.

In honor of that act of stupidity, I’m going to post a few questions I have for the greater world. Some are legitimate questions while others make fun of people who have crappier judgement than even me. I can’t help myself y’all. Feel free to help me out here, people.

  1. Why are workout classes/gym memberships so dang expensive? Is it necessary to pay $1 a minute for a class? I’ll just wear ratty tennis shoes and run around my neighborhood, thank you.
  2. Are lunchtime margaritas a thing? Or does ordering one make you look like an alcoholic? I’m asking because I’m going to eat Mexican in the next hour and this is a priority right now.
  3. How often is it acceptable to check up on favors? You know, when someone offers to do something to help you out, but you don’t hear back from them? You don’t want to be all, “Hey girl, remember that time a week ago you said you would help me?” but you feel kinda like, “Look here lady, you said you would help me. I’m gonna need you to do that.” When and how do you check up on that?
  4. Why do they have tube tops and crop tops for toddlers? It just seems so weird to me. I’m just really confused on this topic.
  5. Do people really make that much money with MLM? From the way people post, they’re making a lot of money. Is this real life, or are they lying? This is an earnest question y’all because I want to buy all the things.
  6. At what point do you quit trying with people? Like you’ve tried to foster a relationship with them, and they are just not very responsive. I’m not talking about random people, but people you’re “supposed” to be close with.  When do you give up? Or are you just supposed to keep at it forever?
  7. Is there anybody  that actually watches movies on Netflix? Like doesn’t play on their phone the whole time, agrees with partner/friend on which movie to watch, actually enjoys the movie?? If so, throw suggestions my way.
  8. How much spit up requires an outfit change?
  9. How often does a child really need to bathe? Especially when he or she screams like a banshee the entire time? Please don’t say daily.
  10. In light of the whole “Me too” and feminist movement (rise up, ladies!), are we still shaving our legs? Because that’s the important question here. I won’t if you don’t!

So, here are my stupid questions along with a little pearl of advice–don’t order a 1/2 sheet cake if there aren’t at least 20 people present. Unless you like cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a minimum of a week. I actually did enjoy that part, so maybe I’ll ignore my own advice on that…

The “Girls’” trip

No boys allowed. Not even Clark

I always question people who say they are not close to their siblings. Like, why? I’ve already shared my love letter to my brother, but I also have two older sisters, and I talk to them all the time. Every summer, my mom, 2 sisters, sometimes my sister-in-law Lakon, our combined 4 daughters, and I go on a beach trip. We first started this tradition when my eldest sister was in high school, and then it was interrupted for a few years while she and my other sister were in college, med school, grad school, etc. Basically they were too busy building their fabulous lives to go on vacation with me. Those bitches 🙄.

The girls’ trip. No boys are allowed. Not even tiny ones. I mean, think about it. Guys always want to do things on beach trips instead of just relax. Also chicken salad and fruit aren’t enough to satisfy them for lunch. So, basically they aren’t allowed to come and poop all over our trip. Seat’s taken, you can’t sit with us, bye Felicia 👋

Anyway, when Katie (#1) was pregnant with her first baby, we started up the tradition again. We stayed in a hotel on that trip, and Katie was all, “I’m cool, no worries. Y’all can watch TV while I sleep. It won’t bother me!” Five minutes later, the room next to us was being a little loud. She shoots up out of bed, grabs her slipper from the floor and begins smacking the wall, “BE QUIET!!!” She promptly lay back down with her eyes closed. Anna (#2) and my mom and I exchanged glances, turned off the TV, and wordlessly went to sleep at 7 pm 🤫. No one wanted that wrath (or slipper) directed at them.

We’ve since mostly stayed in condos, occasionally hotels, and most recently at my parents’ new beach house. We eat chick food, are supremely lazy, and laugh a lot.

One year, we were staying at a condo in Gulf Shores, and my niece chunked her baby doll’s pacifier off the balcony. She then cried and cried for it because toddlers are rational. We looked for ages, but never found that one. Then there was the year that Lakon had to dig a belly hole in the sand to accommodate her very pregnant belly. Then there was the year Katie took a muscle relaxer for her janky neck before playing cards and just got stupid. Probably the only time I’ve been able to beat her because she was literally moving in slow motion. I’ll never beat Anna. She’s a freak and can play a whole deck. Ugh, and last year I was about 11 weeks pregnant with Clark, and Darcy wasn’t walking yet. Toting her and our beach gear while I was miserably ill was awful, so Anna and Mom did the grunt work on that trip. Also Darcy was basically just miserable on that trip. She was demanding (surprise, surprise), and hated the beach after about 30 minutes. We tried to make it more bearable with a baby pool for her to play in. My sister Anna had to blow that bad boy up and ultimately it did nothing to convince Darcy that the sand and water were not the devil. Anna still bitches about that.

This year, we had our first stay in my parent’s new beach house. It is just beautiful, and I swear we had the best time! I should mention that Katie is a gourmet chef. Seriously, she is amazing and everything that we ate was sublime. My favorite was a sea bass dish she made. Also she mixes fabulous cocktails, and I was the only one to benefit because Anna is pregnant and my mom doesn’t drink at all. Katie and I also took the kids crabbing one night, and it was hysterical. Katie’s daughter is a beast at catching things and crabs are no exception. Anna’s kids–not so much (God bless ’em), but seeing all of them chase after those crabs was hilarious. We then took the golf cart off-roading. Not exactly intentionally, but memorable all the same. I really haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

Anna has had a difficult pregnancy and doesn’t need to carry anything but herself, so Mavis, Katie and I carried all our gear to and from the beach each day. This wasn’t a problem until one afternoon where Darcy decided she needed to be carried across the sand. I told her, “No.” Cue the full-on meltdown. She screamed from our spot on the beach all the way to the boardwalk. We passed by a tent of people laughing and they pointed to her and said, “Does she happen to be about two?” “Uh, yes. How ever could you guess?” They just laughed and said, “Darcy, what’s wrong?” Darcy cut them an evil look and continued to sob. But guess what? The next day when I told her no, she didn’t cry (as much). So, I’m counting that as a win. 

My mom plans all these precious parties for the girls during the trip. She picks a theme for every night and it was just the cutest thing. The first night was a barn party, the second, a unicorn party, and the final night was a pink pirate party complete with a scavenger hunt. It was so much fun! The adults had just as much fun as the little girls. My mom really is amazing. She cares about all the little details and makes everything so special. She’s always been that way, and I strive to make similar memories with my babies.

Ladies, if you weren’t so fortunate to be born into a girl-tribe, then you’ve gotta make your own. Pick your friends and hold them close. Go on the beach trip. Help your girl out when she is big and pregnant and basically useless, and forgive them when they’re being a bitch (never me). Cook the amazing food and laugh at each others kids when they faceplant during a tantrum. Go off-roading with the golf cart. Make fun of each others hairy arms and talk about everything from Jesus to snissing to sex and all topics that fall in between. You can google snissing if you don’t know what it means, but if you’ve had a child then you’ve experienced it.

If you were born into a girl tribe, then you are lucky. Super lucky. Foster that relationship and love each other hard. Just because you aren’t close now doesn’t mean you can’t build that relationship into something worth having. Look, I love my sisters, but I definitely still argue with them. For instance, two weeks before the beach trip I told Katie she was uncompassionate and sucked at being a sister. Three days later, I apologized and told her that I knew I was actually being crazy, but she still sucked and was old AF. It’s all about balance, you see. I love these women so much. I mean, they’re control freaks and judgmental and not nearly as funny as I am (God bless ’em), but I love them and couldn’t imagine my life without them. I am #blessed.

Results?

And my crappy Lazarus analogy

Negative. Mayo Clinic has deemed the results negative, but did acknowledge an elevated level of glycosaminoglycans. They believe this to be from contamination, or could be a sign of some other disorder. So though the answer is not a perfect and resounding “NO!” it is more of a “Almost assuredly and mostly no.”

You would think I would have jumped for joy, but instead I felt immediate fear. What if the elevated levels mean that he actually does have Hurlers?! What if we have to repeat this test?! I CANNOT WAIT AGAIN! I will kill myself. I will jump in front of a bus. I will die because I cannot take one more ounce of stress. These thoughts were immediately followed by more fear that by me saying ‘I can not take any more’ that I was issuing a challenge to God to give me more pain and anguish to prove that I can take it. Cynical, I know.

I put too much faith in science and logic and exactness. Jesus knows that about me, and He wants me to trust in Him whatever the outcome, and I struggle with that–with saying, “Whatever the outcome, I love and trust in You.” Because a part of me, the sinful part, does not feel that way. I love Jesus when I receive His blessings and goodness, and I often lose faith in Him when “it’s not fair.” Jesus knows this about me. So, I believe He gave me a lab result that wasn’t quite perfect. And I reacted predictably–in simultaneous relief and despair.

I am reminded of John 11 account of Lazarus. Jesus loved Lazarus and knew he was very, very sick. Despite this, Jesus stayed where he was for 2 days and said (paraphrased), “This will not end in death, but this will be for God’s glory, and God’s Son will be glorified through this.”

Y’all. Lazarus died. He had been dead for 4 days by the time Jesus came into town. Lazarus’ sister Mary told him,”If you had been here, Lazarus wouldn’t have died!” And then Jesus opens the tomb of a dead man, tells him to get up, and he DOES! Like a mummy, Lazarus walks up out of the tomb. Seriously on the mummy part. John 11:44 says his hands and feet and face were wrapped in cloth 😱

What I’m trying to say, and probably failing at, is that God rarely gives me expedient, nice, and tidy answers. He gives me halfway answers, prolonged waiting times, and frustrating questions. I forget that an answer of “maybe” is not the same as a hard “no,” and sometimes I forget to be grateful for that. Jesus is working for something huge, here. Bigger than huge, even. My despair is caused by putting my faith in the world instead of the One who created it. Shame on me. Jesus is healing my baby. I’ve seen proof of it over and over again, and I still doubt. And today, He answered our prayers. Thank you for your prayers. I am blessed beyond measure by those who love and pray for me and my baby.

Clark is an overcomer, and we are mighty when we unite in prayer. Love to all ❤️

EDIT: I was hesitant to submit this update because my pediatrician wanted to talk to geneticist to clarify the confusing results. I decided to believe in the negative result. I pressed submit and my pediatrician called me immediately. He said that the Mayo Clinic geneticist said the elevated level was from craniosynostosis and NOT Mucopolysaccharidosis. You will never convince me that wasn’t Jesus. 😭👏🏻🙌🏼❤️

Splitting my face with a plastic sword

A sappy post dedicated to my brother

Caleb and Beka/Beka and Caleb.

We are the “babies” of the family. You see, I am the youngest of four children. (1) Katie and (2) Anna are only 3 years apart, but Anna and (3) Caleb are 5 years apart. Caleb and (4) Beka–well, we’re only 19 months apart. So, you can see that there is A) Katie and Anna. & B) Caleb and Beka. I am lucky–I was born into a really great family, and I am close to every single one of my siblings. But Caleb is different. We grew up together and are bonded in a way that only siblings one school-grade apart can understand. We knew all of the same people, were in the same Sunday school classes, and hit major milestones together. He was ahead of me by one year, so there were always those times that he briefly left me behind. Like while I was still in Jr. High as a freshman, and he was a sophomore. Or, when I was finally a senior, but he left for his freshman year of college. But we *get* each other. He’s the only person in the world as funny as I am, and I can tell what he’s thinking. I can feel it when he’s sad even if he’s far away. He shares all of my childhood memories even if he remembers them “differently.” 🙄

As I am feeling sentimental today, I’ll share a few of them with y’all.

One of my earliest memories involves Caleb killing a snake. It was the summer I turned 4 and I remember a small snake was caught in one of our pool gutters. We always loved emptying the pool gutters because of all the bugs and frogs in them, but on this day there was a small pissed off snake wrapped around the handle of the basket. Using a stick, Caleb bludgeoned and killed it. I remember thinking he was so brave. I don’t know that he even remembers…

When we were kids, we both played together and fought together often simultaneously. Once, while we were actually playing, he split my face open with a plastic sword. It was a Wednesday afternoon, we were playing outside, and we were told to come inside, so we could load up and go to church. I told him that we needed to go inside, but he insisted on his stupid, “Duck!” game. He said, “I’m going to tell you to “duck,” as he swung his sword at me. He told me to “Duck!” and I did. “This time, I’m not going to tell you to duck.” I wasn’t quick enough. BLAM! The sword cracked against my left cheek, just below my eye–hard. It hurt, but when I put my hand up to my cheek and pulled it back down, my hand was absolutely covered in blood. I screamed. Supposedly, you could see my cheek bone. I had to go to Memphis, and have a pediatric plastic surgeon suture it back together, so I wouldn’t have a massive scar. I’d probably be a lot hotter without my disfiguring injury, you big jerk. 🙄 Honestly, if you’ve ever seen it, you probably thought it was just a dimple, but it was a Caleb-made dimple. Injuries aside, we spent our childhood playing outside all day everyday; going fishing, catching crawdads, and playing in the hayloft of the barn, threatening to throw each other in the horse troughs. He was my built-in playmate.

In college, our relationship changed Surprisingly, it was the time we were most distant even though we were in college at the same small university. A lot of that probably had to do with who we were each dating at the time (we were constantly going in different directions), but also because I was pretty unforgiving and felt it was my duty to use separation to punish Caleb for whatever I deemed offensive. Now we are not twins, but we are far closer than your average siblings, and the pain that comes with separation (physical distance or emotional) is real. Even so, when I needed him, or when he needed me, we jumped to each others’ aid. When he broke his ankle by being an idiot, I helped him to and from the bathroom and to and from Algebra class at DSU. When I was at death’s door and some awful nurse at the DSU infirmary accused me of being drunk, he came to my dorm to rescue me. I had a sinus infection, bilateral ear infections, bronchitis, and a 103 fever by the way, you hateful shrew of a nurse. So even though we were mad at each other, we still helped one another.

Luckily, the rockier part of our relationship began to smooth out when he met his amazing wife, Lakon. Ugh, I love her. She’s the best, man. I mean, I can make fun of her for days–she makes it SO easy–and she’ll just throw it right back at me. We can laugh at Caleb’s expense, play cards for hours, and lay on “$150 rugs” at 1 am. She’s the best, and has become a real friend to me. I just can’t tell you how much I love having another sister. So, when I first started dating Ben, I really wanted Caleb to like him. Caleb, although kind to just about everyone, does NOT let many close to him. If he doesn’t like you or feels like you are “uppity,” he will hold you at arm’s length and avoid you. I did not want that for Ben and by association, me. Luckily, I didn’t have anything to worry about. He and Ben got along well at first, and are now basically best friends. Caleb calls Ben just to chat, and he DOES NOT DO THAT. They have major bro love, and I couldn’t be happier.

As we’ve gotten older and adultier, we’ve just become closer. When Darcy was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, Caleb loaded up his family and came to Baton Rouge within 3 days. When my 20-week ultrasound with Clark showed abnormalities, Caleb immediately called and told me he would be there that weekend if I needed him. When he graduated from Chiropractic school, I drove across 3 states for a total of 8 hours to see him. That night after I arrived, I was sharing a hotel room with my parents and my father started snoring. It was the worst. I called Caleb at midnight, and he drove to my hotel to bring me to his house to let me stay on their couch. Less than 24 hours after arrival, I loaded up and drove the 8 hours back. On my first official Mother’s Day, I was neck-deep in postpartum depression. I was exhausted, tired, and lonely. Ben arranged for Caleb’s crew to join us at his parent’s lake house as a surprise. It was the best surprise ever.

And now, Caleb is headed off to a new adventure in Florida. It’s stupid because I don’t get to see him much, but I feel the distance. He feels farther away because he is. And knowing that he won’t meet us at the house when I go home to Tobie stings. It’s hard. I’m so, so happy for him and his family, but I am also selfish, and I want him to stay close. I don’t want him to move on and make this fabulous life without me, filled with people I don’t know. It was hard enough lending him to St. Louis for school! Either way, he knows that if he ever needs me, I will drive forever and ever to be there. I would hitchhike across America for that boy because he’s the one I love best. I love you, Bubby!

The DMV, phone murder, and “Sh”

Boring occurrences in my newly boring life. Thank God for that!

Four years ago, I went to the DMV in Christiansburg, Va. I needed to get a license with my new married name, so that I could update my nursing license and have everything consistent. It was as bad or worse than any DMV in Mississippi. They wouldn’t accept my proof of address. I brought the envelope the Social Security Administration sent when they sent my updated social security card. Rejected. Apparently it wasn’t as official as the AT&T bill that was sent to my house with my name on it. The one I had to get out of line (after waiting 1.5 hours) and drive back home for, come back with, take another number, wait another 1.5 hours, and THEN hand to the dragon lady who approved it right way. Le sigh.

Anyway, since that lovely experience, I have successfully avoided the DMVs in Ohio and Louisiana…until this week. It was time for me to become a Louisianan, and that’s hard for this girl. Because I kinda resist belonging to anywhere new. Anywhere other than my little hometown. When people ask me where I’m from, I always say, “Well, originally I’m from a small town in North Mississippi, but I live in *insert Virginia/Ohio/Lousiana* now.” So maybe that’s part of it.

Nah. Let’s be honest, it’s mostly that the DMV is the devil’s playground. Filled with long lines, screaming children, coughing adults, and DMV employees ready to deny your paperwork and send you to the back of a line stretched all the way out to freaking Serbia. I was a big girl, though. I went. I got all of my paperwork together the night before and reserved my mother-in-law to watch Clark for the morning. I was going to get there well before opening (8:00), so I could be first in line. Then life happened. Clark took a long time to nurse that morning, the Clark drop-off took a little while, and I made a wrong turn on the way to the DMV. So, when I pull up it is 8:05 and there is already a line, 40 people deep wrapped around the entrance, and an additional 20 people seated on the waiting area having already checked in. Mother eff. That is exactly how I planned for things NOT to go.

From there it was actually pretty uneventful. I checked in, waited an hour and 15 minutes, almost had my proof of address rejected, then finally obtained my new drivers license. Honestly it could have been way worse. It was very boring though, because I didn’t have my electronic companion to distract me. You, see my new(ish) iPhone had suddenly stopped working. Yeah, it said “No service.” No matter what. This happened one month earlier and I had to pay a small fortune to upgrade early and get a new iPhone. And now this new phone that was crapping out in the exact same way as the old one did a month ago. I left the DMV and took it to Sprint where they told me that Apple had probably killed my phone. The second phone in a month. She told me to take it Apple to get it fixed. Ugh. So off to the Apple store I go where I signed in, walked over to the food court and got a pretzel and then came back to talk with some Apple person at the “Genius Bar.” 🙄

You see, I am so not into the hipster, blue ponytail, tech-savvy thing. Look, if mermaid hair is your thing, I don’t judge. I’m just not a very dubstep-listening, bohemian dress-wearing, free-bleeding,  hookah-smoking individual. I mean, I still don’t even know what the Cloud is much less what it actually does. And I have an iPod nano. And I wore the worst pair of mom jeans in college when you’re supposed to look totally hot. So, I’m not a trendy, “with it” person. So, the Apple store is like my personal hell because I have zero tattoos, and all I know is more gigabytes means more pictures of my dog and kids.

Anyway, they confirmed I had yet another dead phone, and then told me they had to send it off to Apple. They were going to give me a loaner phone for the meantime. Unfortunately the first two loaner phones wouldn’t cooperate with my SIM card. “Wow. That’s unusual,” Apple hipster said. “Um not for me. This kind of stuff always happens to me. I’m the black widow of electronics and technology,” I joked. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be positive! It’s not your fault. I will help you until you have a phone. Don’t blame yourself,” He replied very seriously. Soooo it was awkward because obviously he just didn’t get me and apparently thought I was something close to suicidal because he called over 2 other associate hipsters to help with my SIM and “soothe” me? It was strange. Whatever, man. Thanks for helping me out. I will be sure to be very serious when I pick up my phone–no black widow jokes.🤐

So there. I adulted hard by going to the DMV, Sprint, and the Apple store all in one day. Give me a cookie! My kids are the most fun lately.

Darcy talks non-stop and she puts an “sh” sound for s’s. So, cheese becomes “cheesh,” mouse becomes “moush,” etc. My favorite is applesauce or “appashosh.” She also LOVES to be bossy. Like she yells, “No! No!” at Libby while Libby is asleep on the couch doing nothing. She has started majorly stalling when it’s bedtime. Her nighttime routine: We always read 2 books, let her turn on her fan, say goodnight to the other parent and baby, rock for a while, then bed. Now she has to say goodnight to the other parent and baby and Libby and the TV and the lamp and the couch and the dust bunnies (for real) and/or whatever other object she feels like saying “night-night” to. Lately, she also has to “wash” her hands in her play-kitchen sink before rocking to sleep. It’s just funny to watch her stall. She’s officially obsessed with baby cock. Yeahhh. She’s changed from calling him baby *clicking noise* to calling him “baybee cock.” I mean, it’s not a sound, but does it have to be slang for penis?! 🤷‍♀️Whatever, man. It is pretty funny.

Clark is recovering from his surgery very well! He’s sleeping well, and eating well, and honestly you wouldn’t know he even had surgery except for the incisions on his head. He’s a velcro-baby though, just like Darcy. He NEEDS to be held 24/7 by me. Which is awesome except I need my bath at night to be away from the world and lately he’s totally screwing with that. I guess I’ll keep him anyway. SO that’s what’s new in my world. Pretty boring. I’m aware of that. But after the last few months, boring is nice. Love to all!

Coffee, neurosurgery, and the ability to hear

My second go-round with craniosynostosis

I didn’t prepare much.

With Darcy’s surgery, I prepared for days in advance. I bought the snap up/zip up onesies, I packed multiple bags, I gathered snacks, etc. This time I just couldn’t because I knew better. I can prepare all I want, but ultimately it doesn’t relieve my anxiety. Knowing Jesus is in control, and that “it is what it is,” tends to outweigh the fact that I packed the perfect onesie and have quarters for the vending machines.

The Friday before surgery we had baby Clark’s pre-op blood work done. Within an hour, the ENT’s nurse called me and said that his hemoglobin levels were low-8.7 and his wbc were low-4.6. Basically this means that Clark is anemic, and going into surgery, it’s not great to be anemic because this surgery involves significant blood loss, blah blah. We went back to the lab for a redraw to confirm results, and his pediatrician told us the surgery would likely be cancelled.

Agh.

I was so disappointed, and I called the neurosurgeon to see what the plan was. Her nurse told me, “Yes, *Dr. Whosit wanted me to tell you…Clark is anemic.” I said, “Yeah that’s what I’ve heard. When should we reschedule the surgery.” Confused she replied, “The surgery is still on. Dr. Whosit says it’s perfectly safe to proceed! Now, when they place the tubes in his ears, if they find ANY pus or evidence of infection, the neurosurgery will be cancelled because of the risk of cross-contamination. Until then, the surgery is scheduled to proceed as planned.”

Mavis (aka “mom”) came to Baton Rouge Sunday afternoon for support, and to take care of Darcy the night(s) we spent in the hospital. We ate Mexican and tried not to think much about the following day.

We woke up the morning of the surgery, ate chocolate croissants because they are delicious (thank you Trader Joes), drank all the coffee, played with Darcy, and took her to school as usual. We then turned around and headed to the hospital. Now, the surgery took place at the hospital I used to work in. I still work for that health system because the school nurse program is a subsidiary of their children’s hospital. Anyway, it was comforting to have the surgery take place there because it feels like home in that hospital. The people are great there, it’s a great hospital, and there is a CC’s located inside the hospital, so obviously that’s perfect. For non-Louisianans, CC’s is Louisiana’s Starbucks.

We got there, checked in, immediately finished up registration stuff, and then proceeded to Clark’s pre-op room. I’m pretty certain it was the same pre-op room Darcy was in. We changed him into his gown, new blood work was drawn to check his hemoglobin levels, and we played with the happiest baby we know. We met with his ENT, the neurosurgeon, and anesthesiologist for last minute surgical conversations and final consent forms. Signing the consent form sucked because I had to discuss possible outcomes for the surgery which included: hemorrhage, stroke, and death. Then I signed the consent form anyway, and we wheeled my little one down the hallway to the sterile hallway. They stopped the crib and told us this was the stopping point. I bent down, laid my hands on him and prayed that Jesus would protect him. Then I kissed his cheek and watched him roll away.

Within about 10 minutes, the ENT came out and said she was finished. She said she placed the tiniest tubes she had ever used. There was fluid behind each eardrum, but more significant was that one ear canal was completely plugged with vernix. Vernix is the cheesy looking stuff on babies’ skin when they are born. Somehow his ear canal got plugged up with it! There was no pus, so the neurosurgery could proceed.

Being flu season, there are signs EVERYWHERE throughout the hospital saying to go home if you have any symptoms of being sick. People, however, are inconsiderate idiots. There was a man in the waiting room coughing every 2 minutes. Without covering his mouth. It was that rattling, disgusting cough and I went to the desk to request a mask to throw in his face, but they were “out.” I couldn’t just sit there and get tuberculosis, so I went up to my old unit to see my old coworkers most of whom had been sending me encouraging texts already because they are so wonderful. When I get up there, they give me the sweetest card, a gift card to CC’s, and this walking dog toy that Darcy is completely obsessed with. I nearly cried. There really is no friendship like nursing friendships. I mean how many people will willingly help you place a flexiseal before going to lunch? Google that if you dare. Anyway, God really does place people in your life for specific reasons. I love them all.
An hour or so passed and I got a phone call from the OR. The surgeon was coming out to speak with me, and I needed to go sit in the conference room. Wow. It seemed too soon for them to be finished, and that was scary. Had there been a complication?
Both neurosurgeons walked in with big smiles and said that they were finished, it went perfectly, and the little booger was headed to the PACU! Clark required a big blood transfusion and FFP (fresh frozen plasma), but he was doing well and should be extubated (breathing tube removed) shortly.

Within 30 minutes we got to see little man in the PACU. He was so precious and sweet and perfect. He had the tiniest nasal cannula delivering oxygen to his little nostrils. One of my nurse friends came to the PACU to see me and it was so good to hug her neck! They transferred him to the PICU, and we went up to see him. Now that he was uncovered, I could see that he had 2 IVs, an art line, and a foley.

He was still requiring some oxygen but only 2L. I tried to nurse him, but he was completely gorked from anesthesia and too sleepy. A few hours later, he did nurse and it was good to hold him. I occupied myself with discovering Apple Music which is a BRAND NEW THING in my world 😲
My old coworkers, friends, and family can tell you that I am not tech savvy. At all. I still have an iPod nano. No music has been downloaded onto that bad boy since 2012. I listen to burned cd’s from high school and college on car trips. I had an Iphone4s forever. Like with the old-style charger that no one had when I was working 12-hour shifts. It was a dinosaur and I couldn’t even download the iPhone updates. So, now I have a semi-current iPhone and just discovered that for $4.99 a month, you can have unlimited downloads. What?! So yeah, I spent the next few hours downloading music while baby Clark slept, and Ben worked on homework.

The night came. And we had one very *awesome* recliner to share. I was exhausted, but every time I almost fell asleep, Ben would move or sigh or do something else equally aggravating. Finally, I told him if he moved again, I might kill him. So, he got up and went to the rocking chair that sounded like a cat getting its tail chopped off whenever the chair was rocked/moved even a fraction of an inch. Yeah. Not happening. I made Ben come back to the recliner, and he and I lay opposite of one another. Like my feet in his face vice versa. We fit much better than way and got some sleep. I woke up at one point because Clark was stirring, and his heart rate kept jumping to 130+. I nursed him, changed his diaper, and requested pain medication. He calmed down and slept well.

The next morning, the surgeons rounded and said that if Clark’s pain was controlled and he ate, pooped, and peed then he could go home! She asked us to pick him up and handle him well to see if pain was going to be an issue. We gave him some Tylenol, and he was just fine! Cooing and eating and playing. Better still, he could HEAR!

https://raynershinecom.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/img_3302-2.mov

We left early afternoon, went home, and napped.
Two days later, and Clark is doing so well. He gets a little restless, but with medicine, snuggles, and lots of kisses, he is just fine. He will have his first helmet appointment tomorrow afternoon. They’ll measure his head and get him all fitted for his new accessory. He should have it within the next week or two. It’s been night and day from Darcy’s surgery, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Clark has had minimal pain, a short hospital stay, and wonderful care. My family and friends have been more than supportive, and I cannot thank them enough. Love to all ❤