Friday, July 6, 2012

Rebecca Update

I haven't posted on Rebecca for awhile and you are definitely due for an update.

She is home and has been since April.  Her brother and sister-in-law moved in with them (both were unemployed at the time and had the flexibility to do so) to help provide the care she needs.  She is fairly able to do menial tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and other toiletry things, but she has trouble navigating more complex things, like cooking. She also cannot drive and has a multitude of doctor's appointments to go to every day, so it was a very fortunate thing that they had family able and willing to step into the role of caregivers and companions.

Her husband is in residency and his schedule is crazy busy.  He works long shifts, sometimes not coming home for two to three days at a time and grabbing whatever sleep he can at the hospital.  This was something that she had gotten used to before, primarily by keeping her own schedule very busy (a full time career and very busy social life) and also maintaining a strict exercise routine (she is a marathon runner).  She is still busy with appointments and goes to the gym daily, but I can tell that his schedule is harder for her to deal with now.

Her doctors tell her that she will know the full extent and permanence of her injuries at six months (September).  Physically, she is kicking ass and taking names.  She goes to the gym daily and is  trying to rebuild her strength.  She still has to use a cane to help with walking, but that is mostly because she gets tired very easily and the cane helps with that.  She has PT three times a week.  Her coordination is still a bit off, but considering where she started, she has come a long way.  The biggest thing she battles right now is the fatigue.  This is a girl that used to be non-stop, and learning to slow down is a challenge.  She still gets short of breath and heart palpitations, but her doctors assure her that this will pass and is only an indication of her body still recovering and not any permanent damage.

Her vision is back to a degree that is truly a miracle, and yet a great diappointment to her.  She is legally blind with very poor perhipheral vision.  She can see you if you are directly in front of her and can recognize you if the light is good enough and you are close enough.  She can read large text print in very bright light.  But driving is out of the question.

That makes returning to the career she has had for over a decade a current impossibility.  She has to be able to drive in order to return to work.  At this point, that isn't looking good. 

Her short term disability is out already, and they live primarily on her salary (her husband makes a salary as a resident, but his student loans are now in repayment and are astronomical).  Her pay is now cut to 75% of what it was.  This is a liveable amount, but they have a lot of medical bills starting to come in.  She goes to several appointments, each with their own co-pays, each week.  They are paying $200 in co-pays alone each week.

Whenever I talk to her (and it is rare that we talk anymore), she sounds desolate, depressed, and sad.  She has said repeatedly that her life is awful and while she knows she should be grateful to be alive, she has a hard time feeling gratitude.

The last time we spoke, she told me that she hated me because I am pregnant.  She added that she hates all of her pregnant friends.  I tried not to let that hurt me, because while I know the hurt of seeing people pregnant when you can't be, I can't imagine how that would feel when added to all of the other injustices that she is facing.

As for infertility. . . her doctors have cautioned her that pregnancy might be out of the question for her, even if pregnancy could be achieved.  They suspect an underlying clotting disorder, but she is still on massive quantities of blood thinners, so they cannot test her for those disorders until after she is off the medications.  They are waiting to do those tests and see where everything is in September.  She doesn't really want to talk about it, and I can understand that.

I call a lot, but she rarely returns my phone calls.  Occasionally, I manage to catch her, but she usually cuts our conversations off a few minutes in.  I have tried to make plans to see her, pick her up for a coffee or pedicure, drop by, etc., and she is always too busy.  Another girlfriend had a brother with a brain injury and she said he was the same way.  It took a long time for him to emotionally recover.  The only times that I have seen her are times that I drop by without asking, and the reception I get hasn't been good.  When we do talk, I can see how angry, sad, depressed, and unhappy she is.  I try to get through the walls she has put up, but I also am keenly aware (as I know she is, too) of my very obvious pregnancy.  I know it hurts her to see me and that is the last thing that I want.

So. . . that is where things are for Rebecca.  I will keep being there for her and trying, because she is too good of a person and friend for me to walk away from.  I do think it is better for me to keep reaching out, even if it means getting pushed away, so she at least knows that I am thinking of her.  I miss my friend and I wish there was more I could do for her.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

You Should See My Heart

I am 25 weeks pregnant.

My little guy is moving and grooving up a storm.

In fact, as I type, he is making my stomach move side to side.  He is also giving me massive heartburn, but that is another story.

We are 99% set on a name.  Andrew Robert.  Andrew just because we like it (it was on our short list of favorites when we named Will) and like the option of two short versions; Andy and Drew.  We will likely go with Drew.  Robert is my dad's name, and we are keeping this part a secret, to surprise him when the baby is born. 

The nursery is set up, as in all furniture is up, the bedding is in the crib, and I have started washing, folding, and putting away little newborn and three month size clothes.  We are 100% moved into our new home, but only about 50% unpacked.  What that means is that I have a garage filled with boxes, filled with stuff that I clearly don't need. 


Being a working outside the home mommy is tough.  News flash, right?

That being said, being a stay at home mommy is tough, too.  After seven months of being a working outside the home mommy, all I can say for sure is this:  Being a parent is tough and there is give and take, no matter what you decide to do.  There are benefits to working for sure, just as there were benefits to staying home.  I find myself balancing things just as much as I did when I stayed home; perhaps I am juggling some different things.  There is the omnipresent Mommy Guilt that nags at me no matter what I am doing, it's just guilt about different aspects of my life now.

I will say that having a nanny has made my life exponentially easier and I love the fact that most mornings, the kidlets are still happily sleeping as I depart for the day.  We only used out of the home care for about two months, and every morning was so stressful.  I am sure I would have gotten a better routine down eventually, but it is nice not to have that crazy rush in the morning, especially on mornings that I have to leave super early. 

Our nanny is incredible.  She is great with the kids; creative, fun, and engaging.  She has a lot of energy, which is definitely a BIG plus right now (since my energy is flagging).  In addition to keeping the children happy, healthy, and safe, she also does a lot of extras around the house, including dishes, laundry, mopping, and vacuuming.  As one of my girflriends says, "It's like having a wife!" 

Emma will be turning two (TWO?!?!?) in just a few weeks.  That is just mind-blowing to me.  Equally mind-blowing is how amazing she is.  I know, I know, I am hardly unbiased, but trust me when I telll you, she is an incredible little girl.  She is just so precious.  I seriously fall in love with her more and more each day.  She is so sweet, so sassy, so full of spunk.  She has her toddler moments, and has even thrown a few full-on tantrums, but overall, she continues to define the word "easy" in a child.  And while I may have just jinxed myself, I will say, she has always been easy and laid-back, but she still has her own mind and isn't afraid to express herself.

Will is going to be FOUR in August.  This is equally insane to think about.  He is quite the Big Kid these days.  Three was a challenging year for us and he still whines a lot and has the occasional tantrum that kind of comes out of nowhere.  But he is also far more independent, able to do a lot for himself, and he is a very sweet and kind big brother.  He is excited for his baby brother to arrive and I was thrilled to watch him with my nine-month-old nephew this past weekend.  He was so gentle and caring and I can't wait to see him with Drew. 

The other day, I was in the grocery store with my two lil' monkeys.  They were behaving well, but you know how it is, they are still distracting.  I was trying to pay at the check-out and they both chose that moment to "need" something.  The cashier said, "Boy, you have your hands full, don't you?"

I shrugged kind of helplessly as I attended to Will's request for water and Emma's for her Clifford book and put in my customer loyalty number all at once.  A sweet older lady in line behind me leaned forward and said, "Don't you worry, honey.  Your hands might be full, but think about how full your heart is!"

I loved that.  Absolutely loved it.  I get a lot of eye rolls, rude (yes, rude!) comments about being crazy for having #3, and etc.  It gets tiring sometimes, when people ask how I will handle it all.  And I think back to the days when I didn't have any children, didn't know if I ever would, didn't know if I would ever be called mommy.  And there is not one minute that I will spend in this lifetime wishing away these three sweet babies of mine.  Not one. 

Yes, it is crazy. 

Yes, I am tired.

Yes, there are days when I feel overwhelmed and worry about how I will handle it all.

And then, I think about my heart and how filled with love it is.  And I think about how it used to be broken.  And I know that I am so much luckier than I ever could have counted on or dreamed of when it comes to the babies I have been blessed with.

I want to get this made into a t-shirt, or maybe stickers, or a banner that I carry around with me.  Because it is so true.