Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm Taking the Pledge... Will you?

Wow, Christmas has come and gone, New Year's come and gone, and my dedication to blog during Christmas break didn't stick around either.  Surprise surprise!

However, tonight I feel compelled to write about something.

Living in a small town, you get used to hearing all the bashing women do on each other...  From "guess who was out at the bar last weekend?" (because God forbid any respectable woman enjoy a night of music and dancing with friends), to "did you see what she was wearing?" or any other form of gossip and/or nastiness.  Although many women claim they don't judge others, a good amount of them aren't truly being honest with themselves.  I have distanced myself from people who choose to spend their time degrading other women for one reason or another because:  1) I don't have time or energy for other people's drama and 2) I'd much rather spend my days with a positive outlook and have a few friends than be popular and miserable because of all the cattiness and two-faced women.

I can count on one hand the few close friends I have, and that does not include my sisters.  I have chosen those friends because I know I can go to them with any issue I am having without fear of being judged, criticized, or turned away.  I know my life isn't perfect, and I love my close friends for being honest with me, being my backbone when mine seems to slip away, being excited for me when I'm not quite sure how I feel, and being my own personal cheerleading squad!  I owe them so much for helping me get over the endless amounts of hurdles in my life.

That being said...  I'm taking The Mom Pledge:

The Mom Pledge
I am a proud to be a mom. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my online activities. I can lead by example.
I pledge to treat my fellow moms with respect. I will acknowledge that there is no one, "right" way to be a good Mom. Each woman makes the choices best for her family.
I believe a healthy dialogue on important issues is a good thing. I will welcome differing opinions when offered in a respectful, non-judgmental manner. And will treat those who do so in kind.
I stand up against cyber bullying. My online space reflects who I am and what I believe in. I will not tolerate comments that are defamatory, hateful or threatening.
I refuse to give those who attack a platform. I will remove their remarks with no mention or response. I can take control.
I want to see moms work together to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can be used as weapons. I will not engage in that behavior.
I affirm that we are a community. As a member, I will strive to foster goodwill among moms. Together, we can make a difference. 

I am taking this pledge not only online, but in real life as well.  I would like to completely rid my life of negativity that comes from outside my home in hopes that I can make a more positive home environment for my family.  
By taking this pledge and ridding my life of negativity towards other women, and people in general, I am hoping to show my children that we are all EQUALS, that no one person is better or worse than another, simply that we each lead different lives and make different choices based on our family's needs, wants, and goals in life.  Bullying, degrading, and demoralizing based on socioeconomic status, race, gender, health, and/or intelligence has NO place in my life!
If you'd like to make the pledge as well, please visit the Take the Pledge Campaign.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Lights, a Baby, a Little Man, and a Broken Mirror

After a successful photo shoot with my baby girl, Gunnerman decided it was his turn...  and I ended up with a broken mirror...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Potty Training a Terror

Since I'm off on Christmas break, I thought this would be the perfect time to try to potty train my little monster, since we'll be home all day every day together.

We've been working on this whole potty training thing for a while now.  He has two potty chairs, and I just bought him a padded seat that we can take along with us anytime we go anywhere.  He does much better sitting down than standing up, and I'll let him go either way, but I refuse to let him sit on a nasty toilet in a public restroom.  So, until he's tall enough to reach the potty to aim while standing, the padded seat will go with us wherever we go.  If you see someone out and about with a potty seat sticking out of her purse or diaper bag, that's me.

I also increased our stock in underwear.  He has about 20 pairs now, and on a bad day, he goes through about 5.  On a good day, 2.  I think today is going to be a bad day.  He was playing here in the living room, and I heard the unmistakable splash of urine on the tile.  Normally, I'd go grab a dirty towel and clean it up.  I don't know if it's the lazy feeling I have today, or if I'm trying to get him to not want to pee on the floor (or maybe a combination of both), but I made him go get a towel and clean it up.  He fussed the whole time, but maybe it'll be a reminder for him next time he decides to just go in the middle of playing.  Diapers and pullups...  nothing but a convenience when a little boy is playing.

If I can potty train Gunner, then maybe, just maybe, I can start fixing his behavior as well.  These fits he throws, well, they're not really fits, they're reigns of terror.  He goes from being a happy little boy, and if he doesn't get his way, he starts screaming, throwing punches, and trying to kick.  I seriously think that if I can't get this under control, he's going to be one of those kids you see going crazy on their mom on a silly talk show.  The only difference is, there won't be any acting.  The good thing is, these fits he has don't come around as often as they could.  Some days are good, some days are REALLY bad.  Those are the days I wish it was legal to lock your kids in the closet and hang them by their toes.  At least I don't think it's legal...

Off to save my house from the little ones...  Sometimes I think there's no hope for this house (or any house we live in) until they're about 16.  Even then, I'm going to question it.  Maybe 18.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Voting has begun!

Voting has begun for the contest I've entered!  Please help me reach the top 10 by voting for my pictures!  The 7 pictures with the most votes are automatically in the top 10, and then the other 3 are chosen by Jill, the blog owner.

All you have to do is go to Baby Rabies and click "like" under picture #17.  Thanks a bunch for your help!!

Here is my submission:

Friday, December 9, 2011

"A Baby Story" meets "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant!"

Ahhhh, the birth stories.  What mom can have a blog and NOT include their childbirth stories?  Those that had "normal" childbirths, that's who!  Up until almost 3 years ago, I was one of them!  The only exciting thing about my first one was that I was a wimp and asked for demanded two epidurals and then begged the doctor to just cut me and pull her out, because I didn't want to push anymore.  An hour was long enough for me! (Dislcaimer:  This post is not for people with weak stomachs.  Turn back now!  This is your warning!)

Then along came Gunner.  I was working for Best Buy, driving around the little Volkeswagon.  Yes, I was a Geek.  I did service calls and worked on people's computers in their home.  That morning, before work, I noticed that I had lost my mucous plug.  No biggie, it could happen weeks before actual labor, and I was 35 1/2 weeks.  I went to work and let my supervisor know what was going on, and she decided that (even though my only service call for the day was next door) I was going to stay in the store and she would do my service call.  So I pulled up a chair (my back was KILLING me that day), and started working on some computers.  A few cramps here and there throughout the day, but I figured they were just Braxton-Hicks.  

When I got off work, I went straight home to take a test for one of my online classes.  Since I had a clock handy, I was able to start timing these Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Irregular.  This is not labor, I still have a month to go.  After the test, I went to pick my daughter up from her afterschool childcare.  From where we lived at the time, it took about 10 minutes each way.  7 minutes, regular.  That's odd.  

I called my mom (a nurse) and mother-in-law on my way back home to let her know that we might end up going to the hospital just to get checked out, but that it was probably nothing.  The minute I got home, I let my husband know the situation on my way to the bathroom.  Blood.  REALLY not good.  I frantically searched for the phone book to call the "Call-A-Nurse" program at the hospital.  Pointless.  Got a recording that said they were only open Monday through Friday, 8 to 5, which I think is pretty pointless considering I could call my doctor's office during those hours!  

So reluctantly, I decided to call the clinic where my doctor worked.  I didn't want to be one of those women that called at every sign of false labor.  But there was blood...  my call was justified.  After the operator paged him at home, he told me to go ahead and go up to the hospital to get checked out, it was probably nothing.  At 8 o'clock at night, off we go to the hospital, Emma in tow.  

Once we were in triage, the nurse decided to start playing 20 questions.  

Nurse:  How many weeks are you?  
Me:  35 and a half.  
Nurse:  Have you had any complications?
Me:  Just the bleeding
Nurse:  How many times have you been pregnant?  
Me:  Twice.   
Nurse:  How many children have you had?  
Me:  One.  
Nurse:  Have you drank or used drugs at all during this pregnancy?  
Me:  No, although I smoked a little crack, is that ok?  
Nurse: chuckles.  (I wonder if anyone ever admits to really doing that, and what the nurse is supposed to do?)  Oh!  I guess we should get you checked out to see if you're dilated at all!

My daughter was sent out of the room for this, which is ok, I wasn't ready to traumatize her quite yet.  After a little poking and prodding, the nurse determined I was already dilated to 7 centimeters already, and said we weren't going home.  Great.  Just great.  I didn't bring a single thing, no camera, no clothes, NOTHING.

After a few calls and text messages to all the people on my "going to the hospital" list, I was finally settled in a room, and, since I didn't think to leave Emma with anyone, she was sprawled out on the couch in the delivery room watching cartoons.  A little before 10 o'clock, my visitors started showing up.  After a short time veryone was shoved out of the room while the anesthesiologist gave me my epidural, and I was soon relaxed and feeling good.

My doctor came in, checked to see how much further I had progressed, and said "Let's have a baby!"  And then this quaint little room that was almost like a hotel room suddenly turned into a hospital room.  Lights pulled out of hidden compartments in the ceiling, gowns, gloves and other equipment wheeled in from no where.  I asked my mom and mother-in-law to be in the room during the delivery.  Honestly, it was a little weird to have my MIL in there, but she hadn't witnessed any of her grandkids' births, and she didn't dare move down to where she could see anything, anyway.

I remember my doctor telling me to push.  Apparently it was a good one, because Gunner's head was already out!  Halfway through the second push, he's telling me to quit pushing (my husband says Doc was basically pushing Gunner back in because I couldn't NOT push)!  Next thing I knew, Gunner was being weighed and wisked off to the nursery.  My baby boy was 5 pounds, 13 ounces, almost 5 weeks early, and I hadn't even gotten to hold him yet. 

We spent a few days in the hospital, making sure his temperature was regulated well enough, and that he was eating well.  After 3 days, we were finally released.

Then along came Tanner.

Three weeks before I was due to have Tanner, my doctor went on vacation.  Imagine the movie "Knocked Up", and her reaction to finding out her doctor, who never took vacation, was out of town.  I freaked, and it was similar to the movie, except with more laughter.  (That's why I love my doctor, he's not all serious, all the time.  He loves to joke and kid around.)  But really, I was concerned, because Emma was a week early, and Gunner was a month early.  Me carrying a baby to 40 weeks just didn't seem possible.  

Almost halfway through his vacation, two weeks from my due date, I started having contractions around 1 in the morning.  They were irregular, some would last 30 seconds, some would last longer.  I decided to go ahead and call the clinic to talk to whichever OB/GYN was on call that night.  He told me to wait until they were 4-5 minutes apart and regular for an hour before I went to the hospital.  Around 5, they completely stopped.  Confused and exhausted, I went to bed.  The following week, we were due to have a bad snowstorm, so I called and scheduled an appointment to see if I should possibly get a hotel room close to the hospital so I wouldn't have to drive 20 miles in ice and snow in the event that Tanner decided to make her debut.  I was only dilated to a 2, but the doctor I saw (since mine was still on vacation) said it probably wouldn't be a bad idea.  We got a hotel room, but no Tanner.  

Then, on February 1st, my husband broke his right ankle... walking in snow...  that covered ice.  Awesome.  Nine months pregnant, a 23 month old monster who weighed 35 pounds, and a husband who had to keep his foot elevated at all times.

Monday morning, contractions started again.  It was 3:15, and all I could think about was how bad Monday was going to be if I was up several hours timing irregular contractions.  They were regular this time though.  Since everyone was in bed, I tried my hardest to get things together for the hospital.  I'm such a procrastinator, I didn't have a bag ready.  I take that back, I did have a bag that had an extra toothbrush and toothpaste and a few necessary toiletry items.  About 4:45, the bleeding started, like it did when I had Gunner.  I called the doctor on call, the same one that I saw before the snowstorm.  He said to go ahead an go to the hospital.  I woke my husband up, and he laid there until I got everything ready.  I wasn't in any rush, I assumed I had a couple hours before she would make her appearance.  Little did I know, I was wrong.  Dead wrong.

Between contractions, I carried my pillow, bag, the camera bag, and the infant seat to the car.  My husband was trying his hardest to get ready, and Emma was sitting on the couch in the living room, groggy.  I let one more contraction finish before I got Gunner up and picked him up over the edge of his crib.  That was fun.  Sat down during another contraction, and told TJ that we needed to get to the car quick before the next contraction started or I was going to drop Gunner.  

Everyone was finally in the car, and we were off.  Oh, I forgot to mention who was driving.  Me.  Remember, broken right ankle.  That's typically the one people use to drive.  I delegated him to making phone calls.  Since his mom ran the jail at the sheriff's department in our county, he asked her to call them and request that they NOT pull us over, and they called it in to the county we were heading to.  

Halfway to the hospital, the contractions were coming about a minute apart.  Why the hell did I have to take my time packing?  Every time a contraction started, my foot let off the gas a little.  I don't know why, because I needed to get to the hospital, FAST!  

As we got into town, I handed my husband my phone, told him to hit redial, ask to talk to the doctor on call, and tell him that he needed to be at the hospital like 5 minutes ago.  The contractions weren't letting up AT ALL.  The doctor told him something I was not expecting...  he said we needed to call my doctor, because he was back from vacation...  at 5:30 in the morning.  I'm not real sure what was going through my head at the time, but I was stopping at red lights and cursing as I neared the hospital.  

I pulled into the valet drive at the hospital, so they could park my car and we could go in.  As I started to get out of the car, I put one foot on the ground, and then sat back down.  I looked over at TJ and told him I wasn't going to make it inside, she was coming, NOW.  He tried his hardest to get around the car to my side, and I was doing all I could think of to not push, but the pressure was intense.  The poor lady working the valet station came around the car and quickly retreated, unsure of what to do.  I'm assuming she went to call for help.  I couldn't hold it any longer, I was pushing and couldn't stop.  By the time TJ made it around the car on his crutches, her head was out and between my legs.  He looked down and freaked!  I was yelling, Gunner was screaming and crying because his momma was yelling, Emma was trying to comfort Gunner, TJ was yelling for doctors, and the poor valet lady was absolutely stunned and unsure what to do...

Then he asked something I will NEVER forget.... "Do you want me to just pull her out?"  OMG!!!  NO!!!!!  He would've dislocated her shoulder and/or ripped me from one hole to the other with serious repercussions!  I told him to wait until another contraction started and I would push and he could just ease her out and make sure he didn't drop her!!  At 5:41, after one more push, out she came, and she was in my arms.  I was in shock.  I sat there and looked at her for a few seconds before my husband told me to put her on my chest and try to wrap her up in something... anything!!  Then he started screaming at the valet attendant and asking where the doctors were and said, "Isn't this the emergency room?!"  I had to calmly tell him no, that I had pulled up to valet, where they told me to go when I did my pre-admission...  It would have made too much sense for me to actually pull up to the emergency room for help!

About that time, the pediatric respiratory therapist was coming into work.  (I found out through talking to him during my clincals on the pediatric floor that he had parked in a different area of the hospital than he normally had, and was actually early for work!)  He pulled his jacket off and wrapped it around her.  About that time, the nurses from Labor and Delivery finally made it down to the front doors, without any equipment.  An emergency call was made across the hospital's paging system, but nothing was ever said about it being a delivery of a baby.  So one of the nurses rushed upstairs to get cord clamps and scissors to separate the two of us.  As the respiratory therapist was about to cut the cord, I stopped him and asked if TJ could cut it.  I know, silly request at the time, but it was important to TJ since the doctor did it so quick with Gunner to get him off to the nursery and into an incubator.  

That was the last I saw of Tanner for a few hours...  It was painful to be up in the delivery room, finishing the delivery of the placenta, and then transferred to the postpartum room, and still not see my baby girl.  Everyone else had been in the nursery checking her out, coming back and telling me how beautiful she was, and I couldn't see her with my own two eyes.  (She had to stay in the nursery because she was on oxygen due to her traumatic birth and the low temperatures she was brought into.)  Then the nurses brought me some pain medication.  Stadol.  My gosh, is that some good stuff, or what?!  Around 11, I finally got to go see Tanner.  She stayed in the nursery that day, and I had to feed her in there.  Finally, they let her come to my room.  It was such a joy to have her in there with us!

So now, this baby has some work to do if it's going to try to outdo Tanner.  I'm not exactly sure if it's possible, but I wouldn't doubt that God has something up his sleeve to test me even more!  He definitely has a sense of humor! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shame on Skippy!!

We joined the land of the "Elf on the Shelf" this year...  Unfortunately, Gunner (my two-year-old), the one that needs it the most, doesn't understand the concept behind "be good or Santa will find out."  He's the tasmanian devil reincarnated.  Yesterday, he pulled one of the buttons off my laptop.  Today, he broke another TV.  Yep, I said another.  About 8 months ago, he broke a fairly new LCD tv, and tonight he broke the replacement plasma TV.  The kid has an arm on him, and mommy has a temper.  After his punishment (I still don't think he understood), he came in the living room, crawled up in my lap and said he was sorry...  and then said we could put new batteries in it.  I love that stubborn, bull-headed, soft-hearted little boy of mine, no matter how crazy he makes me!

Back to our elf...  We named him Skippy.  Skippy hasn't done many adventurous things around here, except bungee jumping in the bathroom.  He's just been watching a little TV (before it was broken), hanging out with the ornaments, and watching from various places in the house.  

As the story goes, Skippy and the other elves report back to Santa at the North Pole each night, letting him know how the kids have been.  I guess Skippy decided he was tired of being good and reporting back to Santa, because last night he raided the kids' piggy banks and make a visit to a different kind of Pole...

Shame, shame, Skippy...

My kids didn't see Skippy this way, thankfully!  However, I might be able to get past the shock and embarrassment if you could help me win an "Inappropriate Elf Contest."  Yes, I think an iPad 2 would most definitely help me forget this traumatizing event!  When voting begins, please be sure to "like" my image (details of this to come soon), once a day, every day!!

Baby Rabies

...tell Him your plans!

...and here it starts. Again. I think this is the 4th blog I've started, with the intentions of keeping up with it, but of course, life happens and I quit writing. I like to write, and sometimes it's about meaningless things to others, but to me it always has some meaning and feeling behind it. So this is another attempt at documenting my sometimes twisted, frequently exaggerated, humorous, crazy life!

Three and a half years ago, my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I had 3 kids. I had one from a previous marriage (Emma), and he had 2 from a previous marriage (Josh and Ella).  We spent many kidless weekends partying with friends, staying up extremely too late, and enjoying life as we knew it.  In the blink of an eye, everything changed....

After some car troubles with a Chevy Trailblazer (keep in mind, they have a third row seat, seating a total of 8 people), we decided to buy a new Ford Edge (which seats 5).  It was perfect for when we had all the kids, and had plenty of room for throwing stuff in the back.  Two days later... a positive pregnancy test.  Yep.  God decided we needed a little ankle biter running around.  Which also meant that my brand new car was no longer big enough for our crew.  Little did I know at the time that antibiotics pretty much negate the pill.

I started back to school to pursue my nursing degree when I was 5 months pregnant with Gunner.  My classes were easy (prerequisite classes) and the professors were fine with me missing a week or so when I had him.  He decided to surprise us a month early (story for a later date) but it was perfect timing because he came about 2 weeks before Spring Break.  He was born on a Tuesday night, and after being discharged Friday, I was back to school the following Monday.

Fast forward 17 months...

I had been back on the pill for a bit, but my Aunt Flo was pretty unpredictable with her visits.  Sometimes she would bring all her friends and make a party of it, sometimes she would come alone and it was a light and easy visit.  After a very brief visit, and then no visit a month later, I decided to tell my husband.  The kids (Emma and Gunner) and I went to visit the hubby at work (several hours away, so we stayed at the same hotel he and his crew were staying in).  I decided to let him in on what was going on, and we decided it would be smart to at least take a pregnancy test.  Honestly, I thought my body was just messed up.  I hadn't taken any antibiotics to screw with the effectiveness of the pill, and I'd taken them every day, generally around the same time.  So I took the test anyway...  positive.  After visiting the doctor and calculating my due date off of a sonogram, I came to the conclusion that I got pregnant one night after celebrating the success of my first semester of nursing school.  (I'm starting to wonder if alcohol also screws with the effectiveness of the pill!)

Seven months later, Tanner was born (another story to come later, I have had some interesting childbirths!).  Tanner is a girl.

Today I am finishing up my second to last semester of nursing school, and in May I will officially be Ashley Stewart, RN.  My passion is with babies, and I dream to work at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  This semester, I found out that they do a nursing residency program.  It's very competitive and difficult to get accepted, but I was going to attempt it anyway.  I even looked into a couple other residencies in the metroplex at other hospitals within the NICU.  I started working on my resume, talking to professors and clinical instructors about recommendation letters.  I was so excited!

Two and a half weeks ago...  

It happened.  Again.  At my last doctor's appointment with my OB/GYN a few months ago, we discussed a tubal ligation.  He only does them on Fridays, and with my clinical schedule, I needed to wait until they were completed in order to have a full weekend to recover.  The same weekend I had my last clinical, Aunt Flo was scheduled to visit.  She had been pretty predictable, since I decided NOT to go back on the pill (a lot of good it did me the two times before).  Since the hubby was only home 9 days out of 27 (and me being exhausted from the demands of nursing school, a 2 year old, and an infant, the sexual activity in this house was minimal, much to the hubby's dismay), and we made sure to use protection, it worked out for us.  Or so I thought...

Aunt Flo still hadn't made her visit by Monday morning.  Damn.  Three days late, and another positive pregnancy test.  God HAD to be testing me!  I was DONE having kids and ready to schedule my tubal!  Instead, next summer, I won't be starting a dream residency at Cook's or Medical City, I'll be at home, with 3 kids, aged 3 and under.  Lord, please.  You know my patience is already wearing thin.  Please let my kids survive the next 5 years without being locked in the closet so mommy can have some quiet time.

I do find the humor in all this.  God has a plan, and apparently it's MUCH different than mine.  At first, I may be shocked and upset, but I always end up laughing about the situation and loving every minute of it.  I love my babies more than anything in the world, and another one just means more love in my life!  The only thing I ask is...  Please Lord, let me make it IN the hospital this time...