Friday, May 28, 2010

The story

Phew. I need to get that post off the main screen, it's making me cry every time I see it.

Let me tell you about Wednesday. Cameron had some minor surgery scheduled for the morning (a follow up on the surgery he had last August). It was so minor, I wasn't even really worrying about it - just a few stitches, really - but where they are necessitated him going under anesthesia. We figured since we would be going right by the nursery where I found the tree, we would pick up the tree. And then I figured, since we had the tree, maybe I should call our minister, and put Nora's ashes in the ground that night.

You know, since we didn't have much going on that day.


It was SO hard having Cam go in for that surgery. When we got into pre-op, of course Cam made friends with another little boy, and was sitting on the floor playing blocks. When it was time for his procedure, Aaron went with him and held him while they put a mask on him to get him to fall asleep, and he freaked out. I wasn't there, because I'm just not that tough - but even Aaron had a hard time with it. Then, waiting the hour it took for the surgery was just SO HARD. I was really worried about him, and when they finally called us back as he was waking up - I just sat there and held him and hugged him and cried. He was totally fine, of course.

On the way home, we stopped to get the tree. Which at first, they couldn't find on the lot - so I was freaking out. It was really hard for me to find a decent-sized, pink flowering weeping cherry (not like I had specific needs or anything). But we finally found it, loaded it the truck, and realized that it was REALLY REALLY heavy. Like 400 pounds heavy. So at first, our plan was to get the ashes in the ground, and then Aaron's best friend would come over on Thursday night and put it in the ground (an idea which I didn't really like - I just didn't like the idea of her ashes being there without the tree over it, but I figured that was the only way we could do it). When we got home, he obviously needed to get it out of the back of his truck - he couldn't drive around with this tree in the back for a day - so called a friend on the street. The guys almost managed to get it out of the truck on their own, but another neighbor saw what we were doing, and came to help. He is the kind of guy that knows everyone, and he was like - I'm calling a friend who is an arborist. He has a tree trolly that we can use.

At this point, the minister is here with the ashes, and we've got 4 guys in the front yard digging the hole a little deeper. I got the kids to sleep... and I come back outside, and turns out that our across the street neighbor was having a bunch of guys over to watch the Celtics. So now, we've got 7 guys, Aaron's friend from down the street (who, by the way, wife is one week overdue with their second child, and here he is helping us basically bury our newborn) and the minster standing around this hole, waiting for the tree trolley. We break out beers, start talking, and it's turning into something totally different than I expected. All these guys are father's and you can tell - they want to help. When the trolley finally arrives, the arborist is like - dude. That hole is way to big. So then, we've got seven guys in the hole, with shovels - dirt is flying.... and it's time to put the ashes in. My first vision of this was just Aaron and I and the minister. I look around, and realize that these guys aren't leaving. And Aaron and I look at each other and realize that it's perfect. We've had random people help us all along the way, and it's just right that these great guys are with us. The minister said the perfect words, Aaron put her ashes safely in the tree, and we finished planting the tree.

A totally emotionally draining day - and I've taken Thursday and Friday off work. I even allowed myself a little wallowing time yesterday. I brought the gang to daycare, and just laid in bed and cried a little, ate some cookies, and slept. In the afternoon, Suzanne came over and we knit and gossiped. Today, I'm going to do a little sewing and then housecleaning to get ready for the weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Welcome home sweet Nora. We miss you so much.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Aaron and I (and his Aunt and the kids) had a perfect anniversary weekend. We stayed in a cottage in Bayside, ME - near Camden. It was absolutely beautiful. Our bedroom overlooked the water, we were within walking distance of the beach... and everyone did wonderful sleeping (thank god). I forgot Maggie's meds, so of course when she was upset on Saturday and Sunday, I was nervous that it was her reflux. But she slept great both nights, so I think she is getting better on the that front (and also the meds are long lasting, so I think that they had some impact even though she didn't get any).

We arrived on Friday and explored the little community, and of course, went out for lobsters for dinner. We were in Maine! We sat down for dinner at 7 (Cam's normal bedtime) but he was such a trooper. Everyone slept great once we got home - but Maggie was up at 4:30 for her bottle (I could complain, but I was feeding her on the porch over looking the ocean and a beautiful sunrise). She went right back to sleep - but Cam then woke up at 5:30. So - we had an early start! While Aaron and Mary showered and got ready for the day, I took the kids down to the water, and MAN did Cam love that. throwing rocks in, filling up his bucket... such a cutie. We spent the rest of the morning exploring the area. Got back to the cottage for naptime - and everyone got in a little nap.

We then went to Francine for dinner while Mary stayed with the kids - what a wonderful place. They printed us out our own special anniversary menu (same menu - it just said Happy Anniversary on the top - but what a nice touch). We talked and laughed and just had a good time.

Sunday we all woke up, cleaned up and packed up and let cam got say BYE BYE to the beach (too cute) and had a great ride home. We stopped in Portland, ME for lunch - and both kids slept and relaxed in the car. The list of things that I was worried about was SO long, and the weekend went off without a hitch. So wonderful.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why being strong sucks sometimes

In my family, I'm know as the strong one. The tough cookie. The one who can take pretty much anything. And Aaron, if possible, is then, by definition, even stronger - as he is the one I lean on when I need support.

When we had the ectopic pregnancy, not many people in the family said much - I'm guessing because they didn't know what to say. Someone did send flowers - and that struck me as a little weird. And when we had the miscarriage, not many even knew we were pregnant. So we dealt with it. I remember finding out that one of the women on my street with a broken ankle had meals delivered for WEEKS to her, and feeling a little cheated that after my m/c - no one even offered food for us, but didn't think much of it. And I recognize that we don't really throw out a 'help us' vibe. People did really step up when my FIL had he stroke, and that was wonderful. Of course, the pain of dealing with someone who has a stroke isn't a quick fix. Aaron is still struggling with issues with his father 2 years later (his refusal of PT, moving to new facilities, and his very obvious depression when we visit him). But since the major event has passed, it just isn't talked about much.

When Nora died, loads of people swooped in right away. And we were taken care of. We had friends basically move into our house for weeks and answer phones and be sure we were fed and help deal with things like memorial services for a child and things a 35 year old should never have to think about. To this day, I am SO thankful to the wonderful network of friends that we have surrounded ourselves with and am totally grateful for it. Now that I'm 6 months away from her death, and I have time to reflect on it... it was our 'chosen' family that helped us. Mostly friends and more removed relatives. One of Aaron's brothers didn't even attend the memorial service, and the other never even called him to check up after it. Never. Like in MONTHS. I guess people just assume we are OK. And we are pretty OK. But as OK as you can be when a child dies. Which, while we are coping pretty damn well - we still need help. And hugs. And people showing concern. And love. And support. Because some days, I just want to cry. Or scream. Or drink 15 margaritas.

We DO get great support from a select few. We have an aunt in town that loves our kids to pieces and checks in on us weekly. And there are friends on the block that will take care of the kids so Aaron and I can go to the movies to reconnect as a couple. And other friends have offered up vacation houses so we can go away for nice weekends - which we are taking advantage of this weekend, in fact. And I have friends that I have lunch with weekly that listen to my random freak outs.

But sometimes it is very apparent to me that we are the most put together couple in both our families. We have such a strong relationship that everyone just assumes we are OK. And while it is great - doesn't mean it doesn't hurt a little when people don't even call to check up on us. Or stop by and say hi. Or respond to emails that are blatantly reaching out for connection (as Aaron did this week to a brother. Who 48 hours later hasn't even acknowledged the email).

So I call bullshit. I don't want to be the woman who is so sad that she can't raise herself out of bed - but I bet I would get a little more attention if I was. I don't really know where I'm going with this post - but this is what I'm thinking about right now. It isn't like I want people at my doorstep asking 'How are you' (because in all honesty that is hard to hear and answer. We are OK. But there is a new level of OK. Like I say I'm OK pretty much anytime someone asks. But for me, a good day is one in which I don't relive that whole evening over and over and over again in my head.). I guess I just wish that those who are supposed to care the most did. Or acted more like they did. If that makes any sense.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Getting there

This weekend was our most productive and fun weekend that we've had in a long time. We had the guy to our house to dig the hole for Nora's tree, and also do some grading in the backyard in prep for the swing set. He arrived at 6 AM on Saturday, and I was so excited for Cam to wake up and see the digger... when he did wake up and I showed him? He was shaking he was so nervous about it.

Sigh. I hate that. When you are SO SURE your kid is going to love something and it freaks him out? After a while he was having a good time, though.

We had friends over for brunch, and I made a really tasty stuffed french toast. These are 'newish' friends - from our daycare. Their son is turning 2 in about a week, and there other son is just about to be 4 months old. We kept commenting the whole morning that we HAVE to be friends, because there aren't many people that could have a sit down meal with us and not be annoyed!

After they left, both Cam AND Maggie took naps in their cribs (this is a first for Maggie) and they slept for a good 3 hours! Aaron and I were able to transplant some bushes, I was able to plant some day lilies (I'm a bit obsessed with day lilies and want to have one whole side yard of ours filled with them) and even stack some wood. So, our yard is really shaping up - once we get the back yard growing grass and the play set up - it's going to be a lot of fun to finally be able to spend time in our yard.

THEN, we had the next door neighbor girls babysit while we went to see Ironman 2! That was all just Saturday! Sunday was also great, going over and getting the playset, going to the town beach and playing in the sand, flying a kite....

Just a perfect weekend. Perfect weather, perfect fun... pretty perfect kids and husband too (but don't tell them I said that!).

Friday, May 14, 2010

His real name

I've decided that always calling my son Hulk here - while it made sense in the beginning...I need to end it. I spend more time editing my posts after I write them to replace Cam with Hulk. So - this sweet little boy?

His real name is Cameron. AKA, "Cam", "The Cam Man" or "Cameroni, the Massachusetts treat"(that last one you have to sing to the tune of the Rice-a-roni ad, lol)!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How we do sleep training

I'm going to guess that more than a few of you are going to be shocked by my version of sleep training. But many have asked what we do, so I figured I'd tell you what worked for us.

The very first step is getting them in a bedtime routine. We did this with Hulk from the get-go, and took us about 6 weeks to start with Maggie. But around 6:30 (or whenever the babies start getting super tired, rubbing eyes, whatever) we go upstairs for a bath. We have fun in the tub, and then put on PJs, have a bottle and go to bed. With Hulk, we were able to just put him right to bed with a binkie almost from day one (and now that he is older, he brushes his teeth, reads a book... the routine evolves, obviously). We never rocked or walked him around - he was a born sleeper. With Maggie, that was another process. With her gas/reflux issues, we would hold her, and rock her and pat her butt until she fell sound asleep (it took like 40 minutes, minimum). But once we got her on meds and the right formula, she also would go to sleep with really no crying after that last bottle.

Then next step is to be ready for them to be in their own rooms and in a crib. We did this with Hulk at 3 months and Maggie about 3.5. Now, we've already had the bedtime routine in place for a long while, and they are going into the crib awake/aware (we don't put them down fully asleep). Both kids would fall asleep fine. The problem with both of them was night time wake ups. Hulk would go about 7 hours, and then wake up crying, and Maggie after only 3! This was where I needed to do the sleep training. With both kids, I waited until they slept through the night once on their own (so - like for 10 hours). I know I was lucky in this - because not everyone will get this - but these nights assured me that they could make it all night without a bottle. It was easier to believe with Hulk - as he was such a big kid!

Then comes my version of sleep training. Hulk was over 6 months old, and Maggie was over 5 months (I've been told not to try sleep training until at least 4 months). At this point in their lives, they both had very steady pooping habits (neither would poop in the middle of the night) and I can tell what they are crying about (ie. there is a very specific THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG cry for both of them). And what I do is this. Once we decide to sleep train, when they wake up crying (assuming it isn't the 'there is something wrong' cry'), I ignore it - but having the video monitor is a huge help with this. I don't wait 5 minutes and go in or anything. I just wait it out. With Hulk it was 1.5 hours the first night, with Maggie it was about an hour of solid crying. The second night was about 30 - 45 minutes, and then the 3rd night was 10 minutes. And then they both sleep through the night.

Yep. I'm brutal. I just don't see the point in going in after 5 minutes and comforting them. It's hard. Really hard to hear them cry like that. But I'm of the mind that learning to comfort themselves and go back to sleep on their own is a really important skill for both them and us. With Cam, I would sometimes go in and give him a binkey - but NEVER would pick him up, unless there was something obviously wrong (ear infection, poop, something that he NEEDED). And Maggie isn't a binkey gal - she is more of a fist/finger sucker - so. much. easier.

Sure, I take a hard line. But every morning I'm greeted with a big smile, and we get pretty good night's sleep. Of course, at this point, Maggie is still waking up for her bottle at 4 - 4:30 (which is somewhat brutal) but it's better than at 2 and then AGAIN at 5! We will get there with her - once we start solids I'm hopeful that the 4 AM bottle changes to 6, but for now, a full 9 hours of sleep is really awesome.

I was a little nervous that it wouldn't work as well with Maggie as it did with Hulk, but she was perfect! Last night, night 4 of sleep training, she fussed for maybe 3 minutes around 1 AM.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Well, this weekend was pretty good! Both Hulk and Maggie were super stars with traveling and sleeping in pack-n-plays. We got to see everyone, and Hulk loved going to the family bakery and walking around with his cookies. We spent time with Aaron's grandmother - who is trying to help mend the rift that has gotten a bit out of control with Aaron's brothers (the final straw was that his brother didn't come to Nora's memorial service. It makes me angry as I type it. No matter WHAT you feel about your brother, if something as tragic as a child dying happens - you go. You support. You show love). She has an idea of a family reunion with all the boys there (he has 2 brothers) to try and make it work. We'll see. But we did give her an earful on how we felt and are doing and I think it was good for all of us.

I'm in the process of making a plan to go there over 4th of July weekend. Aaron wants to go hang out with his buddies in CA again, and I totally want him to go. Going to Nantucket should be a great way to get a visit in, and get me some help for the weekend alone. I may even sucker a friend to come with me. We shall see. It so great to make travel plans knowing that Hulk will adapt pretty well to the trip/sleeping arrangements. He is so easy going on other stuff - it was strange last year that we couldn't get him to sleep away from home. He is a big creature of habit, that boy! Like father like son, I guess.

I decided to start sleep training Maggie on Sunday night. She has been a little pain in the butt for nighttime wake ups. She wakes up around 2, takes a few ounces of a bottle, and then passes out again until around 5, at which point she'll only take a few more ounces... which then in turn stresses me out, because I need to time her reflux meds to at least an hour after the last bottle, but an hour before the next - so if she only had 2 ounces, I get nervous she'll be flipping out while I wait until I can actually feed her. Sunday night, she slept until 12 and cried for about an hour, and then slept until 6:15. Last night, she was up at 1 for just a bit, and then back to sleep until 5:45. I think we are making progress! I don't mind waking up at 5 - I know that will be the case for a while, but the midnight wake ups when I'm pretty sure she wasn't even that hungry - we will work on those.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Please make it stop

Maggie slept all night on Weds night. From 7 PM to 5 Am. Aaron and I were awake from 1 AM forward. Neither talking to the other, because to admit that we were awake would be admitting defeat in some sort of way. I laid there pretending to be asleep so I wouldn't have to be the one to go check on her in case there was something wrong.


And Aaron admitted later that he had the very same issue. I know that people are going to comment that they had that same feeling the first time their baby slept through the night, but I'm going to say it the nicest way I can - you didn't. You really don't know the deep, dark sinking feeling that your baby, who has never slept more that 7 hours - has not made a peep for 10 hours and what that may mean.

I hate it. I hate that the further I get from Nora's death, that I sometimes feel worse. I know it's two steps forwards and one back, but I hate this. I had to take benadryl last night just to fall asleep, because I'm freaking out. We are doing pretty well now, but if something else were to happen? Seriously? I know that I wouldn't make it. I just wouldn't. No one is that strong. And I really want to NOT be that person. The one who goes through life waiting for the other shoe to fall - because really, it already has, right? After infertility, an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage and then the loss of our baby - it seems like enough for a lifetime. But what if it isn't.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

This weekend we are going to Nantucket to see Aaron's mom for Mother's Day - and since I'm in the mood to divulge deep, dark secrets... I've finally come to acknowledge that I'm not going to get to enjoy Mother's day until our parents are gone. My mom is pissed that I'm not going to see her (when we haven't seen Aaron's mom on Mother's day since we've met) and I'm 100% sure that there will be drama this weekend, as that is the way Aaron's family rolls. And I am stressing out over mother's day gifts and cards not sent and all that shit and I'm just tired and annoyed and guess I need to just let it out, huh?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I've decided.

I'm going to give myself a break. I'm always thinking about what I should or shouldn't be doing, and I'm sick of it. Here are the things I tend to stress out about (wait until you see how silly some are)
  • Drinking too much coffee. I haven't slept a full night in over two years. If I need caffeine to make it through the day, who cares?
  • Going to the gym. Sure, I like to go. And yes, I spend $28 a month on a membership. But if I only can mange to go once a week? That is fine!
  • My flabby belly. Giving birth to 3 babies in less than a year will do that. I wasn't thin before, so I need to get over it that I'm not thin now.
  • Drinking alcohol. I can have a drink every night if I want! I wasn't drinking at all because I somehow decided that I shouldn't 'need' a drink to calm down. Well, guess what!? If a glass of wine or a gin and tonic helps calm me down at the end of the day (a day that involves a toddler that seems to only whine, a 5 month old that cries a lot, two needy dogs and working full time), so be it. It isn't like I'm getting wasted every night*
  • A clean house. HA HA HA. I have this delusion that I can keep my house nice and clean. And tidy. HAHAHA.
  • Worrying about Maggie and her sleep. And her eating. And when she'll start sitting up. I'm just going to let this go. Sure, I want her to sleep all night. But guess what? She is my last baby, and this too shall pass. If we have to stumble into her room every night and fed her a bottle to get her back to bed, so be it (thankfully Aaron agrees and we have been rotating nights). With Hulk I was so much more laid back, and I really want to be in that same place with her. I need to figure out how to get there.
  • Worrying about Maggie when she IS sleeping. Last night, she kept pulling her little tag blanket over her face. And freaking me out. Even though I KNEW it was fine. I finally let myself go in and take it off her face (When I got back to bed, I watched her on the video monitor, and she rolled a bit, did a deep sigh, and pulled it BACK OVER HER FACE. She is out to get me.) She is big enough and strong enough that she is rolling onto her belly at night - so in my heart of hearts I know a little blanket isn't going to do anything.... but that is the place I'm in.

And I'm a bit angry about the mental place I'm in. I hate it that our culture has made it so I AM worrying about the above things. That too much caffeine or alcohol or not enough exercise or what your children eat or drink and if they sleep or don't are all some sort of reflection on you. Like I would be a better person if I only drank water, was a size 6, had a house that looked like it belonged in a magazine, a baby that slept through the night, a toddler that calmly used baby sign language to communicate and ate all his dinner every night. It's total bullshit and I wish I could let it all go. So that is what I'm trying. Because really. Too much caffeine? One drink a night? Not going to the gym every day?! Letting Hulk go to bed after a dinner of peaches and crackers? Jesus. Some people wish that this was what they were stressing out about.

* I have to say, I was watching the morning news and they were doing a big report on stay at home moms that drink during the day. I laughed out loud when I watched that. Because I can totally see it. Throw some vodka in your water bottle and the fact that your toddler WILL NOT STOP WHINING doesn't seem all that bad. Ha!

Monday, May 3, 2010


Ok. I know it's wrong, but I'm happy to hit the workweek! We had a WONDERFUL time this weekend, Hulk LOVED the beach - and we stayed at a friends house instead of the bunk house, and it just worked out perfectly. We even found a place that delivered wine with our pizza on Friday night! Both kids did great - Hulk slept through the night both nights and even napped in a pack and play at the beach (in a room - but I was SO impressed! This summer is going to be awesome if this is how well he is going to travel!). Aaron got an insane amount of work done around the house too - but I'm wiped out. We got home on Sunday, and it was crazy hot, Hulk was so excited to be home he wouldn't nap right away, and I was just burned. I dropped them both off at daycare with glee, and I'm now here happily thinking about work stuff.

But I wanted to share some pictures of the weekend - the best part of the weekend for me was walking over the dunes with Hulk, and he looked out over the beach (all that SAND!) and the water... and said.... Wow. Too cute.
We pretty much played in the sand all day:

He wasn't super sure about the waves though:

So I held his hand:

And finally we got close, and he thought it was really funny!

When Hulk napped, Suzanne and I got to knit for a little bit - and of course Maggie helped:

Just a really great weekend. I had so much fun playing with Hulk - something I don't get to do a lot (at least concentrated one on one) anymore. And the weather was just so perfect - it was a real treat.