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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rumors and Feelings

I am so hurt.  I was so excited to get back to Guam, and since I've been here, I've been told things that were said about me when I was gone.  Not only are these things absolutely ludicrous, but they are so insulting.  At first I laughed because the first rumor I heard was so stupid.  I couldn't believe someone could even come up with it, much less repeat it.  But the rumors I've heard more recently just hurt me.  They are also absolutely ridiculous, but to think that people who I thought were my friends would say these things breaks my heart.

I told myself that I was going to let it roll off my back, and not even give a response.  But the more I think about it, the more upset I get. So I AM responding.

First rumor: Katie Beth came early because I drank NyQuil throughout my pregnancy.

How it's false: I had Katie Beth 7 weeks early due to HELLP syndrome.  You can look it up.  It is similar to pre-eclampsia, only much worse.  My liver was shutting down and my blood pressure was sky high.  Even if I did drink NyQuil all the time, which I did not, it wouldn't have caused either of the two main symptoms of HELLP syndrome.

Rumor: Katie Beth came early because I was still working out hardcore, I was mowing my yard, and I wasn't eating enough because I didn't want to gain weight.

How it's false: Working out - Umm.. Yeah.. I still went jogging while I was in Hawaii, which wasn't even very far into my second trimester.  Once I got to Guam, it was simply too hot.  The only "hardcore" exercising I did was Jason and I would go for walks after dinner.  That isn't very hardcore.  I did mow my yard.  It isn't much work, ladies.  I would do it in the morning before the heat became unbearable.  I never, ever once pushed myself too hard.  In fact, my Dr. was extremely pleased with me for continuing to exercise because I got diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes.  Exercise is the one thing they tell you to do, as well as controll your diet.  Speaking of diet...

Not eating - Are. You. Kidding. Me???  Clearly the person who started this rumor was never around me. I ate like a horse. I ate all day every day.  I am so incredibly sorry that I didn't gain the weight most people gain during their pregnancies.  Oh wait.. No, that's not true either. My Dr. advised for me to gain no more than 15 lbs the entire pregnancy, because I was overweight to begin with.  I was perfectly on track to do that when I left Guam.  Five days before Katie Beth was born, I had gained 10 lbs.  The day she was born, I had gained 19.  I gained 9 lbs in 5 days because of water retention.  Another symptom of HELLP syndrome.

Rumor: I forced myself into labor because I was told that Jason wouldn't get Paternity Leave since I was in Mississippi.  So, naturally, I forced myself to go into labor early so that he would get emergency leave.

How it's false: Again, ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  I was fully prepared to have Katie Beth without Jason's presence.  It hurt me so much, but I knew that going home to Mississippi was what I needed to do. (And, by the way, thank God I did!!)  I had every Power Of Attorney a girl could need to have a baby without her husband present.  But beyond that, and beyond the fact that I didn't go into labor AT ALL, much less on purpose, what kind of woman would sacrifice the health of her unborn baby just to get her way?  Is that truly what some of you think of me?

Most of you will never know how many nights I spent crying myself to sleep because I couldn't take care of my baby.  She was in an incubator 20 miles away when she should have been in my arms.  To think that any woman would do that on purpose is not only hurtful, it's shameful.  Yes, I was incredibly sad that Jason wasn't home.  But that was totally eclipsed by the fact that my baby was in the care of nurses, and all because my body wasn't well enough to keep her healthy in the womb.

I didn't advertise those feelings because I was trying to stay positive.  That Katie Beth was so wonderfully healthy was a miracle, and I chose to focus on that instead of all the "what ifs".

I don't care to know who started these rumors.  Clearly this woman or these women are not my friends.  If anyone who heard these rumors was my friend, she would have squashed it immediately.  But you know who you are, and shame on you.  I hope you understand how truly hurt I am that these things would be said, when they could not be further from the truth.
Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reflux Sucks

I guess bits of Katie Beth didn’t get the memo that she wasn’t supposed to be a preemie.  We have been struggling with acid reflux since the day she came home.  Reflux is common in babies nowadays, but it’s worse in preemies.  Their little gastro-intestinal systems just aren’t ready for the real world, I guess.  I wonder why it’s more common now than before.  Or maybe it isn’t really more common; maybe we just know what to call it.  Maybe thousands of babies who were called colicky just had reflux.  That would make sense considering that reflux rears its very ugly head at about 2 months, peaks at 4 months, and is over around 6 months.  So to all of you who were called colicky, you may have gotten a bad rap!
For over a month I tried Zantac and it never worked.  A lot of times I think it made her spitting up worse.  To test that theory, I stopped giving the Zantac on a Sunday, and she didn’t spit up again until Wednesday.  Even though she wouldn’t spit up, there was also the problem that she wouldn’t eat enough.  Poor Katie Beth went from eating 3 – 4 oz every 3 hours to only eating 2 oz. And let me tell you, those 2 oz were a struggle. 
Every meal was a fight.  She’d push against me, arch her back, scream, cry, and turn away from the bottle.  And that was just meal time!  She had to sit up-right for at least 30 minutes after every meal or she’d spit the entire thing back up.  But that really didn’t matter because you couldn’t lay her on her back anyway or she’d get the hiccups within 1 minute.  So she did a lot of sleeping in her bouncy seat, and when I was so exhausted I couldn’t take it anymore, on her tummy.  Yes, it’s true that babies aren’t supposed to sleep on their tummies.  Babies with severe reflux, however, are sometimes only able to get any sort of relief on their tummies. 
The night after I had finally convinced her pediatrician to give her Prevacid, she slept for 5 hours.  The next week she slept for 6, from 12:30 to 6:30.  The night after she did that for the first time, my sweet baby finally slept all the way through the night!  People kept telling me how one morning I would wake up in a panic because I hadn’t heard her.  I thought it was a myth that veteran parents tell us newbies to give us hope.  Nope!  It really happened!  I jumped out of bed and scrambled for her crib to find her sleeping soundly.  I placed my hand on her back to make sure she was breathing and she arched and squirmed.  She was annoyed at me for waking her up! 
She’s been on the Prevacid now for 3 weeks, and she’s doing a lot better.  She’s back up to 3.5 – 4 oz for every feeding, which is age/weight appropriate.  Ah, weight.. I have been obsessing over my daughter’s weight like a mad woman.  In the 4 week span where she wasn’t eating enough, she only gained 1 lb and 2 oz.  That is not enough for a baby as young as she is.  At her age, she should be gaining 1 lb every two weeks or so.   Her rate was roughly 4 oz a week.  Since then, however, we’re up to 5 oz a week.  At her last appointment she weighed in at 8.15!  So we’re getting there.. one Prevacid solutab and bottle at a time.
Friday, December 17, 2010

Travel Blessings

Sometimes one just has to sit back and realize how truly blessed he or she has been.  I feel that way about my life in general, but this trip has been one blessing after another.  It’s as if God Himself wants us to get back to Guam, I swear.  Here’s how our trip went:

The coolest question one can be asked at an airport ticket counter is “Are you military?”  I’m a dependent, yes.  “Are you traveling on orders?”  Here I pause…  No, technically I am not travelling on orders.  I do, however, keep a copy of Jason’s orders with me, as well as a copy of everything else I need to exist as a military spouse. Well, my flight was going to Hawaii and the orders say Guam….. Sooo… “Yes, I have this letter stating that we are to be moved to Hawaii.”  It’s totally not the same thing as orders. It’s the letter I have to use to sign up for housing in Hawaii, that states that the boat is moving there.  Did she know that? No. Did I get 2 free bags? Yes. You also get to check 1 baby item for free, so that took care of the Pack N Play.  Here is Blessing #1.

We got to the airport, and after saying goodbye to everyone, it was time to go through security.  I let the first TSA agent know that I had a few bottles of formula, and she told me that I would have to go through the pat-down process because of all the liquids.  Whatever.. I didn’t really care.  She warned me, and I had a feeling it was going to be like that.  Well, I didn’t mind doing it, but good grief!  It took forever!  Because I had roughly 40 oz of liquid in my carry-on, I had to be patted down, and every single item I was carrying on had to be looked through.  They went through each compartment of each bag, and all over both the carrier and the stroller with this little wand that was supposed to detect whatever it was they were looking for, I guess.  If every person of suspicion were to go through that process, we’d be safe for eternity.
On the SkyLink at DFW

On Flight #2  - You can see how she hates flying.
See how stressed she must be?

Ok, I got to the gate and the lady let me know that no one had purchased the seat beside me, so I would be able to take Katie Beth in her carrier instead of gate-checking the carrier and having her sit with me.  (Blessing #2).  Flight #1 went off without a hitch.  She didn’t even fuss because of the change in air pressure.
We got to DFW where we had a 1 hour layover.  It wound up being just enough time for me to get to our gate, change her and get her carrier and stroller gate-checked.  This was going to be a full flight, so she would have to sit on my lap.  I had the aisle seat, and I had sat down next to a lady who was in the window seat.  There wasn’t anyone between us.  You can bet that I prayed as every single person walked past us.  “Please don’t sit here, please leave this seat empty.”  Blessing #3.  Though it did kind of suck that I hadn’t brought her carrier, it was nice to be able to have some space with all of our junk.  Flight #2 went well, but she did get just a little fussy with having to stay on my lap.  The flight attendants were so super sweet about holding her when I had to go to the restroom.  I thought I’d be able to manage not going, but a 4 hour flight is a long time!
Wardrobe change in Seattle

On the Tram thingy at Seattle Tacoma

We got to Seattle where we had a 2 hour layover.  That turned out to be enough time for me to change her, change her clothes, feed her a little, and even grab a bite for myself.  Yay!  We got to our gate for the flight to Honolulu.  They were announcing that the aircraft had changed, and we were now on a larger plane, but with fewer seats.  Why do they even make those?  Now the flight was overbooked by 8 people.  So there was no way I could hope for an empty seat next to me, nor could I purchase a seat for her.  “You should treat yourself and upgrade to First Class!” the ticket agent says.  “Oh, sure..” I thought.  But how much are upgrades?  “Our first class has a lot of empty seats on this flight, so I can offer it to you for $200.”  Are you kidding me??  $200 to have a huge seat, lots of space, and be able to lie back during this awful 6 hour flight?? – Orrr.. Is this Blessing #4??  Yes, please!  I have to say, that I never want to travel any way ever again.  First Class is everything I hoped it would be.  We sat down and I was offered a Mai Tai.  There was a pillow and blanket waiting in my huge seat.  They served dinner and drinks and waited on us just like we were favored house guests.  I’m telling you.. I’ll never go back to Coach.
In First Class!

Mai Tai's and loungy seats. This is the life!

One of our boat’s new spouses contacted me a few weeks back to let me know that she was in Hawaii, waiting on the boat.  She offered airport runs for anyone who might need it.  Well, I took advantage, but only after I had spoken with her a few times and knew that we would hit it off.  Blessing #5, Athena was waiting on me at baggage claim in Honolulu.  She even had some pretty leis for Katie Beth and myself.  So sweet!  She helped me with my ridiculous amount of luggage, and drove us to the BOQ where I was staying.   (Insert for randomness – I stayed just 2 doors down from the room where Jason and I stayed for 3 months back in the Spring.  It was like going home, I swear.  But it was really weird to be in there with Katie Beth, and not Jason.  Though now that I think about it, it just felt like a duty night.) Anyway, I can’t wait to get to spend more time with Athena.  I really do think she and I are going to be good friends.

I got settled in to the room, and as I was unpacking KB’s Pack N Play, I decided to call the flight recording at Hickam.  Keep in mind that I was calling the recording religiously for the past week in Mississippi, and there had only been 2 flights to Guam in that week.  I was so nervous before I left home!  Anyway, I called the recording, and they have announced a flight with a roll-call time of 1125 the next day.  That is perfect, except I’m now regretting having put the Pack N Play up at all.  That thing is a monster to get zipped back up in it’s case!  We both slept well.  I showered and we got ready to head for the terminal.

Hanging out the next morning
What I’m about to call Blessing #6 should really just be an everyday thing, but since it’s not, it’s Blessing #6 – my super helpful and friendly cab driver. I didn’t have to lift a finger other than to get Katie Beth’s seat buckled up and get her in it.  Same thing for unloading; all I had to do was go and get the luggage cart, and he even loaded that up for me. He did all of this with a smile on his face.  I was so happy for a friendly person! I’ve had some awful cab drivers in the past.
Chilling in the AMC terminal at Hickam

On the bus that would take us to the plane
I went in to check us in for the flight, and I asked how many seats were on this one.  53 firm seats!  Woohoo!  I knew that even though we were flying Category 5 instead of Cat 4 like we are accustomed, we’d make the flight. So there’s Blessing #7, especially when you consider this: I knew that I had been calling the recording for a while and only 2 flights had been listed.  I found out it was a bit worse than I even thought. I met this girl who had been home visiting family (in Tylertown, MS of all places in the world). She had been stuck in Hawaii, trying to get a flight back to Guam for 10 days!  She even slept in the terminal for 6 of those nights so she could avoid having to pay for a hotel. She finally made the flight that I was on, and she was so excited.  She went on to tell me that she had been told that this one, and the one leaving later today (with only 15 seats) were the last 2 flights before Christmas.  Holy Moly! I made it JUST in time!

Katie Beth's first Space A flight
So here I sit on the plane, with just a few more hours before I’m back in my own bed, in my own house.  Katie Beth is asleep on a couple of blankets on the floor in front of me.  That’s the best perk about Space-A travel, by the way; getting to stretch out!  She’s been out for over an hour, which would never ever happen in her carrier.  I’m glad too; she needs the nap.  Jess is picking us up at Andersen this afternoon, where I’ll have to run to the Exchange and buy a crib mattress for my little Pumpkin.  She’ll get to sleep in her own bed for the very first time tonight!  I know she’s as excited as I am!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How I feel about it

Far From The Home I Love - Fiddler On The Roof

How can I hope to make you unterstand
Why I do, what I do,
Why I must travel to a distant land
Far from the home I love?

Once I was happily content to be
As I was, where I was
Close to the people who are close to me
Here in the home I love...

Who could see that a man would come
Who would change the shapes of my dreams?
Helpless, now, I stand with him
Wtaching older dreams grow dim.
Oh, what a melancholy choice this is,
Wanting home, wanting him,
Closing my heart to every hope but his, 
Leaving the home I love.

There where my heart has settled long ago
I must go, I must go.
Who could imagine I'd be wand'ring so
Far from the home I love?

Yet, there with my love, I'm home.