I love my siblings. It’s hard having a lot of kids. And my parents have a LOT of kids. But one of the things that keeps me going as my family expands is how much I love my siblings. I wouldn’t trade a single one of them for growing up with a nicer wardrobe, ski trips, or more time at the beach. Not even more time and attention from Mom and Dad. The older we get, the more I appreciate and value my sibs’ places in my life. I know my boys will feel the same way.
I feel so blessed that everyone is nearby for now. It probably won’t last forever but I hope it does. Chase is one who talks about making his escape from the Arizona desert. I tell him he can’t. Life would be far too boring without him. I mean it.
Chase is fun! He is funny and I find myself always keeping one eye on him to make sure I don’t miss whatever crazy comes next. Chase says what we’re all thinking and too polite to say. What you see is what you get. Chase doesn’t put on airs for anybody.
He is great with the kids. Chase is a kid. Which makes him a great uncle.
It’s been so awesome to see him become a father himself. He’s a natural. He loves his son.
As much as Chase loves his son, he loves his wife more. He is ridiculous about it. If you are around this cute couple for as long as 90 seconds you can see for yourself. Chase loves his wife.
And what’s not to love? Kim’s adorable! We all love her. One of the best things about Chase is that he comes with Kim.
Chase is there when you him. He’s supportive and open minded about all my crazy ideas. He’s all the entertainment we need for any family gathering. Chase, don’t leave us! (For long, anyway.)
We love you.
Happy birthday, little brother!!!
The kids and I were on our way to visit their dad in the hospital a few of weeks ago when I (starving) ripped open the bag of Fritos we’d just bought as a treat for dad and shoved a handful of them in my face.
“Those are for Dad!” 6-year old Chris protested.
“Yeah? Talk to me the next time you have a baby in your tummy,” I snapped, tossing back another handful.
I’m not so great at being pregnant. Why then, (you might ask) am I doing this a fourth time? I have three shining examples of the end result sleeping like angels down the hall. Would you quit if you produced that quality of work? Didn’t think so. Still, those nine months required to cook a new member of the family don’t go very smoothly for anyone involved.
It’s hard for me to admit that I suck at pregnancy. Of course, all of you who see me on a regular basis already know this about me but I expect more of myself.
Allen was planning a camping trip with my brothers when we found out this baby was on his way. It was scheduled right around the end of my first trimester and Allen knew he was out. “Why?” I asked him, baffled.
“Well,” Allen hedged, “you’re pregnant. You’re going to be tired, I don’t want to leave you alone.”
“I’ll be fine! What, you can’t leave me because I’ll be three months pregnant? Me and the boys manage just fine without you here, you know!” Was he insinuating that I’m incompetent? I’m pregnant. Not broken.
“I don’t think you’re remembering how sick you get,” Al added softly, not making eye contact.
He was right. It was awful. I couldn’t function. Poor guy had to pick up all the slack. If he had left me at that point, as sick as I was, as tired as I was, after his semester had just ended… well, we won’t dwell on that. It wouldn’t have been pretty.
Things got somewhat better. I’ve been functioning. Living. Until the third trimester. I swear it was that day that I swelled up. And the back pain. Ow!!! My hips feel broken. Though the swelling finally abated, it was immediately replaced by killer Braxton-Hicks contractions and a fierce second round of “morning” sickness.
My arms and legs get shaky at the mere thought of physical exertion.
I feel like I’m going to cry. All the time. Okay, so I do cry! All the time! Everything is wrong, everyone is mean, my house is a disaster, I’m a failure of a mother, I can’t walk!
Allen and I laugh about the women we call “terminally pregnant”. They quit showing up, helping out, being part of the world in any way. Why? They’re pregnant. Makes perfect sense to them if not to the rest of the world.
But here I am: Almost two whole months before my due date and I’ve given up walking. I want to give up everything else but I’m not quite there yet. I’m still getting to the kids’ school to help out a couple of times a week. I do some small amount of grocery shopping. I get all the important laundry done. I even make dinner a couple of times a week. It could be worse. It will be worse.
What do I have to say for myself? I’m sorry. To everyone who knows me… everyone in my life: I apologize. I’m doing my best. I’m quite obviously failing but I’m giving it all I’ve got. I’m sorry if you don’t get a birthday present or even a card. I’m sorry if I snap at you on the phone. I’m sorry if I yawn while you’re talking to me. I’m sorry if my kids’ reading logs aren’t filled in and signed. I’m sorry that my house is a disaster even though I knew you were coming. I’m sorry that I get angry so quickly. I’m sorry I haven’t checked in. I’m sorry I didn’t call/email/text you back. I’m sorry I’m so whiny. I’m sorry I threw up with you on the phone. And I’m sorry it will all probably get worse once the baby actually gets here.
Thank you for loving me anyway!
Me, driving and singing quietly: Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand…
Jack: MOM! Don’t do that!
Jack: Stop singing that song!
Me, hurt: Why?
Jack: It’s embarassing. *sigh, eyeroll*
Me, looking over my shoulder to verify that, yes, we are in fact the only two people in the car: Ouch.
Me: Jack, you are an angel.
Jack: No, I’m not!
Me: Yes you are!
Jack: No I don’t even have wings!
No we haven’t had the baby. It’s a bit soon for that yet. That ugly hand of Allen’s Thursday morning (need I remind you?) definitely signaled the need for medical attention. We called the doctor before his classes after dropping the boys off at the bus at 7:20 but they couldn’t get him in until the next day because of Al’s school schedule.
I reluctantly dropped him off at class at about 7:40, got home and my phone rang. Allen was in pain and vomiting and I knew what that meant. I picked him up before his 8 o’ clock class even started, talked him out of going to see his doctor and ran him right back to the hospital he’d been seen at the day before.
He was admitted at about 8 in the morning and started on IV antibiotics as I suspected he would be and our fun 3 day hospital journey began. Gilbert Hospital was great. They fed me and the kids when we were there and took care of all of us, the nurses were patient and fun (with one exception) and I loved the small hospital feel.
I had no idea when Allen was admitted that he’d be there quite so long and I stewed and fretted alot about how much school he was missing in his first week back. (Okay, so I’m still doing that.)
Our friends and ward members were unbelievably supportive and they made it so I could be there to harass people when it looked like Allen’s hand was going to explode (we still didn’t know if he was going to need surgery at that point), they made sure my family was fed, my kids were entertained and I didn’t go crazy. I am soooo grateful for everyone who helped and everyone who offered help and support! It is only because of you people that I made it through last week without going completely crazy.
Thursday night I brought the kids in to visit their dad and we hung out well past their bedtimes. Allen’s hand was looking and feeling pretty bad still and I was kind of at my worst as far as worry and uncertainty goes. I don’t think I made a very good impression on the nurse that night.
Friday things were looking better and Allen saw a couple of doctors. Jack and I hung out for part of the day and it was looking like Allen might get to go home the next day.
Saturday morning I got the news- the man was coming home! YAY!!! His awful nurse ignored him long enough that he didn’t get his last round of antibiotics and was going to punish him for his existence by never processing his discharge papers so I brought in the kids for motivation. That did it. Twenty minutes and he was out.
Saturday night was a little rough. Thankfully our neighbor dropped by with dinner and we were able to just let Allen rest and adjust to his new meds. Sunday morning was more of the same but we made it to church and things have gotten much better since then. Al’s hand is doing better every day but it still looks pretty gross to me. I’m still working on finding meaning in this experience and I think I’ve extracted enough nuggets to last me for now. I’m sure it will all be clearer in the big picture.
If this story left you feeling lost, you should probably read the prequel.
I’m sure I’ve had worse days. I know I’ve had worse days. It’s just hard to remember in the middle of a truly, truly crap day.
Mistake #1: Stayed up too late the night before. Past 2 AM. Not a big deal when I’m not pregnant. Stupid when I am. I have too much to do and too much to stress about to get any kind of sleep. When I’m maxed out and overwhelmed, the quiet of the house at night is far too tempting. I took full advantage last night, watching Netflix and sorting and organizing to my heart’s content. I was therefore far too tired to get the kids up and to the bus stop by 7:20 leaving my husband to do the morning routine. I did, however, get up to see my boys off on their 3rd day of school this year… then I re-crashed.
Mistake #2: Letting hubby walk to school. The sweet man wanted to let me rest but I needed to get up anyway so I told him I’d get up and take him to school. He insisted on walking and out the door he went.
Five minutes later he was back in the house. “BRITT!” It was Allen’s distressed voice — used infrequently enough that it got my attention.And if that wasn’t enough, “Get up! I need you to take me to the hospital! The neighbors’ dog just bit me!” This was followed by yelps of pain and lots of freezer fumbling.
Oh, that hand was ugly. Swollen and bleeding everywhere. And my husband was all hyped up on adrenaline and acting crazy weird. This doesn’t work for me. I’m the crazy one. He’s my rock. I a little bit go to pieces when he does.
Mistake #3: In the throws of 3rd trimester morning sickness I have to eat within minutes of gaining consciousness. Or I get sick. Really sick. Instead of eating, I drove my husband to the hospital. Adrenaline carried me all the way there, so the sick part didn’t hit until the way home.
I threw a few bites of oatmeal down at home before dressing Jack and carting him off to his 2nd day of pre-k. (Cute little preschooler!!!)
Mistake #4: Called the kids school and told them I’d be running late to volunteer. (Sooo should have just cancelled!) Hungry, tired and shaky I drove back to the ER to catch up with Allen. Hed been washed up and x-rayed before I walked in and the doctor followed right behind me to stitch him up. Apparently Al was very lucky. The bite was quite deep, almost through his hand but just missed hitting anything important. “It was almost a surgical strike, ” the doctor explained pointing out where the tooth had gone through right between two tendons. Thank you! Some good news. And it was welcome.
The doctor put in one stitch to hold things together but said they have to leave bite wounds open since they like to become infected and abscess if closed. As it is Al has to be on two different antibiotics to keep the risk of infection down and he’ll just have to keep the wound rinsed out all day. The major problem here: he works with a nursing home full of infected people. MRSA is part of everyday life. He can’t work. Doctor’s orders. His boss didn’t take it well.
Mistake #5: Took Allen to class. It was the first day of his anatomy lab as well as a couple of other classes and he didn’t want to miss them. With him still riding high on adrenaline and the pain meds they pumped into him at the hospital along with the antibiotics I warned him that he was going to crash and to pass out at school. He was confident he’d be okay.
Mistake #6: Hungrier, tireder, and shakier, I booked it to the kids’ school. I parked, ran (on a 116 degree day) to the office to sign in and then ran to Chris’s class. Bad idea. I was sweaty and gross before I got there and it wasn’t too terribly long until I was breaking into weird pregnant, low blood sugar, too hot, not-terribly-hydrated sweats in front of the kids. I fanned myself with a book, did my time as well as I could and then booked it back out of there to pick up Jack from preschool… late.
Mistake #7: Wal-Mart. I had promised William lasagna for days and he was gonna get it! I just needed to get it into the crockpot (yes, crockpot lasagna) before 2 and I was cutting it close. Walking through Wal-Mart a funny thing happened. I grabbed Jack a cookie in the bakery, headed back to the dairy section and suddenly it felt like my brain dropped out of my head. Then I felt sideways and clammy and weird. Then the world snapped back together. A Wal-Mart employee was standing in front of me looking very concerned. “Are you okay.” Of course I was, I explained. “Are you sure? Do you need to sit down.” I did not. I got out of there as fast as possible, loaded the kid and the groceries into the car and my eyes locked on the McD’s across the street. Yes, I was that hungry.
Mistake #8: McDonald’s. The line was inordinately long but when I once I had that sandwich in my hand nothing else mattered. I tore into it… chewed… and then gagged. Two bites later I tossed the burger back in the bag. Not happening. And I gagged the whole way home.
That’s okay, I decided. I’d make something more appetizing once I had dinner in the crockpot. Two steps into my crockpot dumping, my chest heaving with impending breakdown, eyes teary, arms shaky and nerves shot I got the call I knew I’d get. “Britt,” It was Allen. I need you to come get me.” His voice was wobbly. “I’m not good. I keep breaking into cold sweats, I feel all fevery and I’m in so much pain! I need to lay down.” I yelled at him. I feel really bad about that. But I picked him up anyway.
It was actually easier to get the lasagna finished just with him in the house. I love my husband. I love when he’s home.
Mistake #9: Got too comfy. Started to recover and then almost forgot to pick the kids up from the bus. Got them. Was cranky and short with them all night. Bad, bad mommy. After dinner things started to turn around. I was feeling better, Allen was all doped up again, the kids had simmered down a bit. We were rolling along. I ran to Wal-Mart. Settled on the couch next to my husband. Got the call.
A friend had overheard my husband’s boss at work talking about him and what a wuss he is for not coming in to work just because of a dog bite. She didn’t plan to schedule him for any more work for the time being. Yeah, she did the same thing after Al’s dad died. He lost one of his regular shifts and didn’t get anymore on call work for a while. Awesome. Man, that woman sure knows how to turn a bad day tragic. I cried. The rest of the night. My husband reminded me I’m pregnant and crazy and that we’d get through this. I just don’t know why we have to. Every time something bad happens it shouldn’t affect our livliehood. Right?
Don’t worry, I washed all the pain away with a couple massive bowls off ice cream, smothered in chocolate sauce and whipped cream. That won’t hurt ’til tomorrow.
Worse things have happened. And to the outside, non-pregnant, non-previously-emotionally-wrecked observer my day may not seem as bad as it felt. That’s okay. Please just keep it to yourself. I thank you in advance.
UPDATE: And the saga continues. This is the hand this morning before it got uglier and the nausea and vomiting started.
My cute haiku loving friend Stephanie posts a funky haiku on her blog every Wednesday. I suggested that she turn the tradition into a linky so all the rest of us haiku-amateur schmoes can participate, and she listened! So for the last couple of weeks, she’s posted and I haven’t. I think I lost some friend points there so I’m making it happen today! The theme is exercise:
Soap, scrub, lather, rinse
Hot water washes away
Traces of boot camp.
‘Kay, so I’m obviously no pro as I mentioned above. And my poem isn’t quite as much about exercise as it could be but hey, take it or leave it. Now go humiliate yourselves as I’ve done and participate in Haiku Wednesday at the Shumway Family Blahhhg!