Sep 18, 2014

Sometimes Life is Hard

There's just no way around it. Sometimes life is hard. I've realized that no matter how carefully I lay my plans out, life is never going to follow them. A few weeks ago Aaron had some really scary health issues and I'm finally feeling like maybe I can talk about them. Be prepared. This is long.

On a Thursday evening Aaron came home from work saying he wasn't feeling well. He sort of passed out and was feeling dizzy but he was having no other symptoms (that we knew of). We put him to bed early that night thinking he was just exhausted from starting a new job and needed a good night of sleep. It was nagging at me that something wasn't right but it was hard to say that we should go to the doctor when there weren't any real signs that he needed help.

Friday he went to work. He still wasn't feeling great but he wasn't in any kind of pain. He was feeling dizzy again and really tired. Everly and I picked him up from work because we were going to my family's cabin for the weekend. We talked about it and decided to go even though he wasn't feeling great. A little R&R sounded like exactly what we were looking for. When we got there (a 5 hour drive because of traffic) Aaron was pale and clammy and all he wanted to do was sleep. He went to bed and I continued to worry quietly. He still said he wasn't feeling any pain so we decided to let him try and sleep it off again.

About 12:30 in the morning he suddenly climbed out of bed and wandered into the bathroom. I was just drifting off to sleep but something woke me up hard and gave me a terrible feeling in my stomach. I knew I needed to go check on him. When I did I found him completely blacked out and unresponsive. I cried and panicked for about 7 seconds. Then I snapped out of it, got my dad, and we got Aaron to the car. We took him to the local hospital ER of a very tiny town. The nurse there listened to me explain what was going on while she started an IV to get him fluids. At that point he was as white as a person could be and still very clammy. He wasn't responding coherently but he was opening his eyes occasionally. He kept asking me where we were because he didn't remember anything leading up to our hospital trip.

When the on call doctor arrived in the ER he immediately ordered a blood transfusion for Aaron. He came to talk to us and said that all the little signs were there for internal bleeding (mostly that he was having black, tar-like stool) even if Aaron wasn't experiencing any pain. We started the blood transfusion to help his body try and recover and he had to have 4 units of blood. This all happened while Life Flight was on their way to get us and move us to a much larger hospital. We needed to have a specialist take a look at Aaron and figure out where the bleeding was happening before we could make any decisions.

When the Life Flight helicopter showed up the whirlwind began. They moved Aaron to the portable bed, strapped him in like a mummy, and loaded him up. I followed them out to the helicopter pad and after a little chat with the pilot they said I could come along. It was a long half hour flying through complete darkness and suddenly we made a turn and the skyline lit up. We got to the ER at the larger hospital and Aaron was soon taken back to have a stomach scope and determine the extent of what we were dealing with.

Aaron had several bleeding ulcers in his stomach. By the time he made it to the ER at the small hospital he was down to 1/3 his usual blood volume and he was excruciatingly close to death. Through the transfusion we'd restored that to about 2/3 of his blood volume but he was still very weak. The bleeding had slowed and they were hopeful it was going to stop on its own but we were still in a very scary place. The first 48 hours after bleeding ulcers are pretty critical and Aaron had to say for observation at the hospital. After all the adrenaline and worry coursing through my body I felt like I was crashing. The reality was terrifying and I've never been so scared in my life.

Through the entire experience I kept telling myself that I would not, could not lose my husband. He was not going to die. It was hard to tell myself this because it could have easily gone the other way. There were a million tiny things that could have gone a different way and ended my husband's life.

For the last few weeks I've played them all through my head over and over again. What if I hadn't followed him into the bathroom to check on him? What if I'd taken him to the doctor when I felt like I should, even though we had no real reason to think he needed it? What if they hadn't had the right blood type for Aaron's transfusion (we were SO lucky they had 4 units of his type at that tiny hospital)? What if the doctor hadn't realized he was having internal bleeding because the major signs weren't there? There are enough what ifs to make me crazy. Sometimes they do.

We're still healing, still processing. Sometimes Aaron looks at me and says "I almost died" and we hold each other tight and feel so grateful that he didn't. All I really know is that I'm grateful. I'm grateful for Aaron, for the people who saved his life, and for our family for supporting us through it all. And I'm grateful for myself because when it came down to the pressure I didn't fail.

Aug 28, 2014

Eighteen Months

It's been strange the last 6 months to not do updates about E. She is growing and changing every day and yet after the first year it seemed... strange. I don't know why. She's 18 months now and for those not counting, that means she's lived outside my belly for TWICE as long as she lived in it. She is truly the most amazing little girl. She loves to play, she has a wild heart, and she's fiercely independent. She loves to do things on her own. 

Over the past week she's started stringing words together. They're not quite sentences but they're something. She says 2-3 words together to really get her point across. And sometimes she says a word that I wonder how she even knows it! Beyond saying real words, she loves to talk and talk in her own language and loves when I respond. She tells the best stories. 

Everly loves to dance! If music comes on she instantly begins wiggling her little body along with it. She can't seem to help herself. She climbs on everything and always has a scrape or a bump somewhere on her body. She doesn't slow down. It's so much fun to watch her develop and explore the world around her. Some days it's exhausting to have such a high energy child but really, I wouldn't have it any other way. This is who she is

Jul 28, 2014

Why I Sometimes Post Breastfeeding Photos

When I was pregnant the idea of breastfeeding was SO strange to me. The world tells me that my breasts are sexual objects and they should stay that way. Intentional or not, that's the message that young girls receive. Still, I knew all the amazing benefits that accompany breastfeeding, how good it is for your baby, and the cost comparison pretty much had me sold. I knew that I was going to attempt to form a breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. 

We were lucky. She had a great latch even in the beginning and although it took weeks for my nipples to become desensitized and callused enough to nurse without pain, Everly did amazing. As I watched my body nourish my baby I was in awe. What an amazing gift that women have to be able to feed their children with their bodies. Everly was even nursed once by a good friend when I couldn't be there to do it for her. Everly continued to grow and soon I had a fat little baby that loved her mama milk and nursing. 

At about 6 months I started to get that question. You know the one, "When are you going to stop breastfeeding her?" It bothered me. Why were people expecting me to stop feeding my child? Why did they think this beautiful relationship needed to end? I was committed to making it past 12 months. One full year of mama milk. But I was also committed to breastfeeding my daughter as long as she thought we should. That became my answer. When she tells me she's ready to stop. I don't care if you breast or bottle feed your baby. I don't care if you use a cover when breastfeeding or if you do it out in the open. I do care that you feed your child and I trust each mother out there to make the best decision for herself and her baby. I do care that mom and baby are both comfortable when baby is eating. I do care that women's rights aren't violated (which happens far too often).

The reason I like to share pictures occasionally... well there are a few reasons. The first is, my breasts are not sexual objects. They were MADE to feed Everly. That is literally their purpose. They were made for her and I am proud that I'm able to use them that way. I also share pictures so other women know that it's okay to be a little more open about breastfeeding. It's a perfectly natural, normal thing. Every time I breastfeed in public I get a few strange looks. That doesn't stop me. I will always put my daughters needs first and if she needs to eat I feed her. I share pictures because I'm proud of us. Really, I'm proud of Everly. She does all the hard work and she grows beautifully because of it. But mostly I share pictures because breastfeeding is amazing. 

I treasure my breastfeeding relationship with Everly. It has been nothing but magical. I've had some aches, some pains, some sleepless nights because my sick baby only wanted to breastfeed. There are times I realize life would be so much easier if she wasn't quite so dependent on me. And yet we've found a way to always make it work. We've found a way to keep going. I hope she wants to breastfeed for many months to come but I also know that when she decides she's done it will be okay. It will be gone before I'm ready and I know I'll miss it when she's finished. Until then I'm going to soak up every lovely moment of this part of our lives. 

xo Sue

PS. Read more thoughts on breast & bottle feeding babies.

Jul 24, 2014

Magic Moon

Did you see it?
Did you see the Magic Moon?
It was breathtaking.

xo Sue