Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New pics!!

Jesse recently turned one month old. Yay! To celebrate, here's some new pics. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Keep moving forward

We recently saw the movie Meet the Robinsons. I hadn't been aware of it until I saw the preview while watching another movie. Jennifer had already seen it and when I expressed interest in it, she started going on and on about what a good movie it is and how much she liked it. (Apparently, our neighbor took her along to see it at the theater when it came out.) Since I'd gotten such raving reviews of it from her (ha), I decided to rent it.

And I'm glad I did!

It's definitely a good movie. No part of it is cheesy and, as a 30-something parent, I thought it was a movie other parents in my age group could enjoy. (Or maybe even just other 30-somethings, period! Not just parents....)

The Walt Disney quote at the end was the real kicker, though. Walt Disney is someone I have always admired, and his quote is yet another one of his quotes that has inspired me. "Keep moving forward" is a part of his quote included at the end. And during the movie, where Lewis is frustrated over being unable to fix the time machine and Wilbur keeps saying "keep moving forward," that right there has also inspired me. How he just keeps saying "keep moving forward" no matter what.

That is something that I have started to do, as well. I've seen quite a few movies where the good guys lose in the end, but they NEVER gave up! They tried. At least they tried. They kept going and going. Even when people said they weren't good enough, they didn't have what it takes, the odds are piled against them, etc., etc. They STILL went after what they wanted to do. They tried, anyway. And even if they lost in the end, even if they died in the end, their story still moved me, still inspired me, still strengthened me. As it has done for others. They NEVER GAVE UP! They kept their dreams alive no matter what.

But more importantly...they kept...moving....foward.

I used to live by the quote "be like the arrow, always moving forward and never looking back." It's quotes like this which inspire me and keep me going on.

I've had my share of failures. I've had the odds piled against me. I've had people tell me I'm not good enough, I'll fail, I'll never get anywhere, I'm not smart enough, rich enough, successful enough... The list goes on. Believe me, I've been through it all.

But I'm not going to give up. I will NEVER give up on my dreams!
I will keep on keeping on.

I will be like the arrow.

And I...will keep moving forward. My dreams await me, and I will never give up to make my dreams come true.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The playlist in my mind

I didn't lose my hearing until I was 13 years old. By then, I'd heard a good deal of music. After I lost my hearing, I wore a hearing aid. The hearing aid helped me to still enjoy music in some way, though I couldn't hear it as good as I used to. Mostly, I relied on memory, waiting until the lines were sang and singing along with what I could remember. Enjoying new music wasn't something I tried to do, though I WAS curious about the current bands and popular songs. Of course, being deaf, I didn't make it my mission to learn all about them. Music just wasn't that big of an interest for me anymore. My sisters and brothers pretty much compensated in that regard, showing me lyrics to new songs, offering cues to when lines were sang and pretty much filling me in on the different types of bands out there. (Well, SOME of them. I normally didn't hear about a band until I asked about them or they were mentioned in conversation.)

After I lost more hearing, enjoying music like before was impossible. As strong as my hearing aid was, I just couldn't "hear" the songs so good anymore. I couldn't talk on the phone anymore, either.

So I was left with what music I WAS familiar with up until then. So it has been since. And from time to time, those old songs will play in my mind. I guess you could say I have a personal collection of favorite songs in my memory. Some of them I don't remember as well as before anymore -- like, I forget how the music went or how the lines were sang -- but most of them are there and they are songs I still enjoy even today. They're old songs, true, but I still enjoy "listening" to them, even if I "listen" to them in my mind or even sing them once in a while. I guess in this way, I'm keeping those songs "alive."

Sometimes I wish those songs could REALLY be playing when I'm remembering them, so that my children can enjoy them, too. I don't know how that would be possible, unless one of my sisters was willing to take the time to burn a bunch of CDs for me. I guess someday they will hear them. (I DO have an 80's Pop Hits CD, and my daughter LOVES playing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Yeah, I remember that song, too.)

Some people have iPods and their own playlists and burned CDs. Me, I've got the music I remember in my mind. And when I recall those songs, playing them in my mind, I can still enjoy them just as much as I did when I could hear them.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Missing him

(Note: An introduction
http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474976758599 )

There are a lot of pains that I carry. Some are easier for me to carry than others. But there is one pain I have that will never go away: Living life without my one true love.

I know that there are people who have opinions about this. And they'd like to use those opinions to silence me on this subject. But, I will not be silent. I will not! I know what is true. I know what I went through... And I know that he is real. I believe in him. And I always will believe in him. He will always, ALWAYS be a part of me, a part of my life.

The "him" I speak of is Jonathan. The man in my dreams. But he was more than just someone in my dreams. No, I no longer believe that someone who LOOKS like him and shares his name is him. I refuse to believe this. It's just not possible. But what I mean is...I know that Jonathan and I once shared a life together. In a previous lifetime. Our love has survived even death. Even though we are not together in this lifetime, he found me. He found some way to get through to me. And I know that someday....maybe I will find him. Maybe our roles will be reversed and it is I who will visit his dreams.

If the whole thing wasn't some kind of story, it should be. It does have the elements of a story, doesn't it? Well, it's all true. It's a TRUE STORY. It REALLY happened. People who don't believe in this kind of thing probably suspect I have something wrong with me. There are people who just don't believe in these kinds of things. That this kind of thing could possibly happen. Well, it happened to me. And I stand by it.

It's so hard to live it, though. You can't imagine how painful it can be to live your life without your true love there in this world with you. Well, I imagine I am not the only one to be separated from my true love. But it is indeed a pain unlike any other. My arms ache to hold him, even though I never REALLY held him and will never get to until this life ends. I yearn to be close to him, to look into his eyes and touch his hands. These are part of the pain that I live with.

Another part of that pain is guilt. Guilt over....marrying another. I know in one of the dreams, Jonathan and I DID marry. But that's not here or there. (Nevertheless, I still acknowledge him as my husband, even though it was in "just a dream." Perhaps the dream was representative of past events or of the degree of love and commitment we share for each other, but the bond we share shall never break.) In this lifetime, I am married to someone else. I feel guilty, but I know that I must do what I must do in this life. I must do what is expected of me, both as a Christian and as a woman. I must do what is right.

And that also is a painful reminder. Doing what is right. I know that in helping Jonathan to cross over, to go home, it was the right thing to do. But I did that out of love and not out of duty. I wanted him to be happy and have peace. Not wander the earth or...through dimensions anymore. It was painful to do this, because doing this meant he would not be in my dreams anymore. He would be home. I miss seeing him in my dreams.... It was the closest we could have to sharing some kind of "world" or "life" together. Now we don't have that anymore. And I have nothing except the memories to remind me of him.

And I have our love. No matter what happens, and no matter what people say, I am always going to love him. And I suppose I am always going to miss him, too. I have accepted that I will never see him with my eyes in this lifetime. Oh, I'll see pictures of that someone who LOOKS like him....but that won't be him. I have accepted that this pain of missing him is one that I must carry with me. I may write poems inspired by our love....I may occasionally shed a tear or whisper his name when that pain gets to be too much to bear...but I know that this path in life is one I must walk, and walk alone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Small sacrifices

I recently saw the movie "Late Marriage." Watching that movie sure left me feeling depressed. The character, Dooby, ended up marrying the woman his family WANTED him to marry, and not the one he REALLY loved. He did this to appease his family's wishes, not his own. He gave in to family pressure, and that right there was what left me feeling depressed.

I know all about family pressure, and about giving in to it.

I have lived with the regrets because of giving in to family pressure. And it's not just my own family who I have had to make sacrifices for or give up something/someone for. It is also my own child's.

Some people just don't understand this, but I'm the type of person who would do ANYTHING for my children. And I really DO mean anything. I would give my own life for them! They really do mean that much to me. They mean the whole world to me. My children are more important to me than anything and anyone in the whole wide world.

Some may say "well, what about YOUR happiness?" My happiness can come later, after my children have grown.

Before I had more than one child, it is my daughter who has influenced the choices I have made in life. It is because of her that I have made certain choices. And even though I have regrets because of these decisions...even though some decisions mean I must live without some things and some people....they are the choices that I MUST live with. Because they are choices I made for her.

And now I have another child, too. And I will be making choices because of him, too. Both of my children matter to me more than any words can say. And while "sacrifices" are usually seen in a negative light, I don't regret making sacrifices for them. I would do ANYTHING for them. They are worth it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The other "woman's choice"

I wasn't sure if talking about something like this was a good idea.Sometimes I worry about the things I discuss in my blog -- like, if people take them the wrong way, or something. But I really feel it's important to discuss this issue, not so much to defend my decision but maybe in some way to let other women who make this decision know they have a "soul sister" out there.

Before I had my baby, I was of a mind to feed him formula. Having gone through the routine before, I really felt formula-feeding was the more convenient option for all of us. My husband, however, felt differently.He wanted me to breastfeed. His stand on this issue is that it is the healthier option for our child. Even though I reminded him that our daughter was formula-fed (after one week of being breastfed) and that she turned out just fine, he still felt that breastfeeding was the way to go.

I'd previously had a bad relationship experience with someone which affected my views of breastfeeding, so I didn't feel too good about it. It just really affected me so deeply that I struggled with how to approach breastfeeding my own child. (I'd rather not discuss what happened. Let me just say that I paid the price for trying to have an open mind.) So for a while, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to go through with it. I wasn't sure if I COULD go through with it. Even as I talked to my husband about this, and about my feelings which resulted from it, that didn't change his desire for me to breastfeed our baby. So I had to work out my issues on my own, which I did succeed in doing.

After I gave birth, we set to the task of breastfeeding the baby. Since I had not been able to learn that much about breastfeeding, I had a WHOLE LOT of help from the nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital.They tirelessly worked with me to help get a hang of breastfeeding. Even when I faced a positioning challenge because of my left hand being unable to hold my son's head when he was on my right side, they were constantly available to help me and to educate me on breastfeeding. My husband was very supportive, too. When I finally learned how to support the baby on my right side despite my physical challenges, I was overjoyed. I soon experienced the bliss of breastfeeding my baby and the bond we shared during such an experience. I finally understood that bond. I thought I was silly to have such reservations over breastfeeding before, because ALL of those issues just went away. They meant nothing, NOTHING, compared to this. It was just such a wonderful feeling, unlike any other in the world.

Then something happened. Amid the nursing and in-between pumping that I did, I noticed something on one breast: A blister. When I saw it, I was horrified! I was stunned! HOW did that get there?? It was right next to the nipple, and there was NO WAY I was going to put that into my son's mouth! So I decided that I would nurse/pump on the good side, then supplement his feeding with a couple ounces of the formula the hospital gave to us. At least until the blister healed. (Yes, it WAS painful and soon became irritated. I had to cover it with a bandage.) I tried to pump milk on that side, mainly to keep the milk supply up, but it was just too painful.

Luckily, I had an upcoming appointment with a lactation consultant. I figured I could talk about this blister and see what my best course of action should be. When I showed her the blister, she reacted with the same kind of surprise. She said it looked like the baby had been biting there, though I couldn't recall that kind of sensation from previous feedings. She also found a new blister on the OTHER side! Good grief!! She gave me some Soothies to wear, which would help heal the blisters (they were UTTER heaven, especially since the right side was becoming engorged) and we talked about my options. I told her all about how I'd been feeding the baby up until this point. We talked about the possibility of my pumping milk to keep the milk up until I could nurse the baby again. She also mentioned the possibility that I could stop the milk supply and give him formula -- mainly because the whole pumping thing would become an inconvenience. She knew I had another young child to care for, and that there was nobody else at home to help out.

I sadly looked to where my daughter sat on the floor, playing with toys. Hubby was sleepily slouched over on a stool, half-awake. (He'd only gotten a couple of hours of sleep.) I knew she was right. She said if I pumped the milk, I'd have to do it every three hours until my full milk supply came in. Then I'd have to ALSO squeeze feeding the baby in there somewhere. Hubby was taking the week off from work to help out, and he'd been wonderful about it, really. But he had to go back to work soon, and that meant I'd be alone with the kids all day. I had NOBODY else to help out. Nobody else to keep an eye on Jennifer so I could disappear for 15 minutes every 3 hours to pump milk. I mean, how could I expect a 6-year-old to behave? And what about her school? What if I'd be stuck pumping milk when she gets out of school and then I'd be late to pick her up? What about the baby? I couldn't do the pumping in our room while he's asleep, because it would wake him up. That meant leaving him alone, for 15 minutes. Sight unseen. I couldn't do that! What if Jennifer went in there and...DID SOMETHING?? Picked him up or something?

Anything could happen. And I....would not know until after it happened,because I wouldn't be able to HEAR any of it. Or even see any of it. (It's not like I'd be pumping milk on the living room couch. And I don't let Jennifer in the same room I pump in, either. It's a very private moment for me. Hubby isn't even in the same room when I pumped milk. I just didn't feel comfortable having an audience.)

So, it was true. It really wasn't doable for me. I couldn't nurse the baby until my blisters were healed. I couldn't pump milk, either. As much as I hated the thought, I would have to stop the milk. I'd have to stop breastfeeding my son. This realization hurt so much. It was so painful and tears came into my eyes. I started feeling guilty. I started feeling SO inadequate and like such a failure. I just felt horrible. I knew it was the best decision for me to make, but it still hurt to make it. I had to do what was best for the family, even if it meant that it hurt and even if I ended up feeling like a bad mother because of it. (Oh, I did indeed feel like a bad mother. There is just so much pressure on women to breastfeed.)

I told the consultant that I would stop the milk and switch to formula-feeding for good. She noticed my reaction and said, "You seem very sad about this decision." She went on to say that breastfeeding is not right for every family and that I have done a wonderful job in breastfeeding Jesse so far. He at least had SOME breastfeeding during the first week of his life, and that was important. The important nutrients were given to him and he would be okay if I switched to formula-feeding. She was VERY sympathetic and very understanding. She did help me feel a little bit better, but as we left the appointment, I just felt awful about myself. I hated the whole situation. Now I WANTED to breastfeed my child! But...given the circumstances...I could not. It just couldn'thappen. Part of me wanted to be a "martyr" about it and find SOME way to safely continue with my plan to pump the milk and feed the baby in between making sure my other child was safe and not doing anything with the baby while I wasn't available to watch both of them. But, I knew that wasn't possible. I just couldn't do it, and that's that.

When we got home, I felt miserable. I just felt horrible. I went into the bathroom and cried and cried. I felt like I had let my child down. Like there was something wrong with me. I was so depressed and just riddled with guilt. It was awful. I tried to cheer myself up, thinking things like "I can drink coffee now!" or "I can eat spicy and garlicky foods now!" But even that didn't cheer me up. NOTHING cheered me up. For the next few days, I was a zombie. I fed the baby formula, hating myself each time I did. And, yes, I DID drink coffee. And tea. And soda. But there was no feeling of joy or happiness over being able to drink them again. There was nothing except the reminder that I wasn'tbreastfeeding anymore.

After a while, the melancholy faded away. I just accepted it that I wasn't breastfeeding anymore. The engorgement went away, my blisters healed and soon my breasts felt "normal" again. Yes, I mourned that "empty" feeling they now had, still feeling a sting over my inadequacy. But I knew I had made the right decision for all of us. Well, maybe not as far as the baby's health is concerned....but definitely as far as his safety is concerned.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sleep-deprived haze

Today, Jesse turns 10 days old. Woo-hoo!

Looking back so far, I can only use one word to describe it all: Muggy.

Seriously, we are ALL going through some heavy sleep-deprivation. For the first few days, I only got about 4 hours of sleep each day. There was ONE day not too long ago I got 6 hours of sleep, but so far, we're still going through the whole "not getting enough sleep" stage of new babyhood.

I am sooo glad I let editors know I'm taking downtime after baby's birth. There's no pressure or deadlines to face. Meanwhile, though, the OTHER stuff we have to do in life is getting a little....neglected.

For example, here's a summary of things that happened because of our sleep-deprivation:

--I forgot ALL about a prescription I had at the pharmacy, which my doctor faxed over before I left the hospital

--We forgot to put the garbage out for trash day

--We forgot to check the newspapers for the birth announcement (I wonder if it's too late?)

--I ended up saying something in an email to a good, longtime friend which UNINTENTIONALLY hurt that person's feelings (I swear I don't even KNOW what I am saying half the time! Or remembering what I'm saying.)

--We forgot to help daughter with homework so there was one day that she didn't get her homework turned in.

Of course, we have been having the usual crankiness and carelessness because of this sleep-deprivation. Hubby and I have gotten into a spat or two, but we make up later on, knowing we're both just tired and running on empty. We have also been trying to get this house back in order (it was a DISASTER when I came home) but it is taking a while. On top of this, we're trying to get EVERYTHING post-baby in order: All his paperwork and medical stuff taken care of. For the first week, we sure did a lot of running around to appointments and making phone calls.

I myself have also faced obstacles because of the sleep deprivation. I have YET to pay a writer whose article I bought for the E-zine. And every time I remind myself, I forget again! ARGH! I also haven't been able to put out the November issue (I'm the only person who does it and I haven't really had the time!) and I feel guilty about that even though I let readers know the November issue might be late because of a pending birth. I haven't been able to do ANY writing besides this blog, though I've had plenty of ideas for stuff to write, which I've scribbled down. (Hopefully, I can find the chance to get them written up soon.)

But the lack of writing is something I keep thinking about. I don't feel guilty about THAT, because I know that taking care of the baby (and myself) are more important. And they're not stuff anybody is WAITING to read/publish, anyway. But what I also think is...what would happen if I DID try to write them? My brain isn't even functional these days. I get soooo tired, sometimes I almost fall asleep right when we're having dinner! And sometimes I can't even think straight. AND when I'm typing stuff, my work is littered with typos I have to go back and fix. If I try to write...would any of it make any sense? Sometimes I think of the writing I want to do and either confuse myself or end up not making any sense to myself. Would I be able to even write what I plan to write, without messing it up? I can't even THINK of how that could go wrong at this point, but I'm sure there are ways it could happen. So maybe it's just as well I'm not able to write them. Yet.

Too bad the same can't be said for me driving anywhere. So far, no accidents. So far.