Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Unexpected

I usually try to keep this blog's material to that of my kids, hence the name. Max and Madeleine are the most important people in my life (along with my husband), they are my writing inspiration. As I have become busier with life my blog writing time has fallen to the wayside. Max and Madeleine are still making crazy strides in development but it is not so obviously quick, not the light-speed changes that happen when they were babies. So, I have not written in months, and life has continued. Max and Madeleine have started their second year of preschool and love it. I have gone back to public school teaching and am getting use to it. Michael and I continue to make progress toward having the house and home that we envisioned all along.

Here is where I divert my attention from my children and let you in on a little secret about me.

My breasts can write their own story. From the minute I understood the power of them until now; they have their own tale. I have to admit I have grown quite attached to these symbols of feminine. When was the last time you thought about your breasts? Thinking of the milestones.... first bra, first bikini bathing suit (mine was red and purple flowers and I thought it was awesome!), pregnancy changes (that was a shock), first time my children fed from my own breasts (amazing!), and finally, my first mammogram.

Usually we get our first mammogram when we are 40 years old. At my last OB appointment my doctor recommended one based on her breast exam. I am 38. I wasn't looking forward to it. The suspicious area turned into nothing of concern, however, on the other side they found some calcifications. I know, I didn't know what that meant either and I'm not entirely sure that I still do. What I do know now is that they asked me to go in for a biopsy, which I did and it sucked. I waited 3 days to get the results.

When the office called with the results I knew it was bad because the radiologist called and not the nurse. The news was ambiguous. Although there is not a clear sign of cancer there are suspicious cells. I have been diagnosed with Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia. What I can figure out is that they really don't know and in order for them to know they have to take out a bunch of tissue and look at it under the microscope. I don't know what they will find but I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

My breasts have taken on a new identity, one that is completely unexpected.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fourth Year Thoughts

How can it be four years?! I waited my whole life for my babies and now they are here with me and I cannot imagine life without them. It is as if they have invisibly walked beside me and now I get to enjoy them too.

Most of you who read this know that Michael and I worked very hard to get pregnant. Furthermore, I had an extremely challenging pregnancy. When the kids were here all the hardship has been forgotten. Max and Madeleine have brought me more joy and wonder than I ever thought possible.

Four years.... time is rushing by and every once in a while I want to stop it and take a deep breath and hold on to this amazing experience, called child raising, for one brief minute.

I'm the luckiest girl alive to be so fortunate to the the parent of Max and Madeleine.

Four years. Wow. Four years.

Letter to Madeleine on Her Fourth Birthday

Dear Madeleine,

I cannot believe you are four! You have been waiting to be four for a long time now! Daddy and I keep telling you not to grow up to fast.

You came into this world with an agenda! That shock of blond hair and that fighting personality, we knew you were going to make the world stop and listen. You were born small and early but were such a strong little girl. I worried about you from the time of the pregnancy and I'll admit that from time to time I still worry, despite the fact that you continually show me there is nothing to worry about.

You amaze us everyday. You conquer challenges with such perseverance and force. This year your goal was to do the monkey bars at school. I think you were the first three year old to go all the way to the end of those bars!

You have also tried to spell and write your whole 9 letter name! You have done it! You have also learned to spell Mom, Dad, Zoo, Max and have memorized my phone number to boot! I love your spirit for learning new things. You are everything I wanted you to be, strong, smart, beautiful and nurturing. I'm so very proud of who you are.

Your favorites:

Toys= soccer balls, treadmill (seriously), bike, scooter

Activities= Biking, scootering, gardening, swimming

TV Shows: Caillou (still!), Kipper, Yo Gabba Gabba, Charlie and Lola

Movie= Shrek, Elf

What you want to be when you grow up: Rock Star, Hospital Worker (not sure if that means a doctor or a nurse or a prosthetist)

Places to go: Arboretum with Daddy, Zoo, Science Center, Logan's Pool, Gymnastics

Pretends to be: Teacher Tara, gymnast

Music: Justin Roberts, Caspar Babypants

Food: Macaroni and Cheese, hamburgers, pork, cherries, apple juice, donuts

I love you my sweet little girl, and I'm so proud of you,



Letter to Max on His Fourth Birthday

Dear Max,
It was four years ago when you came into this world. I remember that early morning like it was yesterday. I remember the fear that ran through me as I wondered if you would be okay coming out so early. I heard your cry and relief rushed through me from my head to my toes. I was amazed at the beautiful little boy in front of me. It was like I knew what you would look like all along! It wasn't as much of a surprise as I thought; you looked just like your mommy and daddy! You relaxed under the heat lights while you waited for your sister. It was like you were ready for the world to know you, so beautiful, so perfect.

You are now the boy I always wish I had. You are playful and sincere, smart and enthusiastic. You love music and now when you make up your own songs they rhyme and have rhythm. Daddy and I are so proud of you. I know that you feel music in a very special way and you communicate your feelings and thoughts through music.

Just like a typical boy you love superheroes! You think about the epic battle of good versus evil (or eavnal, the way you say it). And yet you are still aware that it is not okay to hurt others and you know that weapons do that and we do not play with weapons in our family. I will hold onto this memory tightly as I know that one day you will challenge what I say but for now you are satisfied.

Your favorites:
Toys= stuffies (especially Coco), superhero action figures, trucks (fire trucks, ambulances)
Superhero= Ironman
TV shows= Kipper, Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street
Movie= Shrek, Elf
What you want to be when you grow up: Doctor, Ambulance Driver, Tire Repair Man (anyone who wears gloves)
Places to go: Arboretum with Daddy, Zoo, Science Center
Pretending to be: Dog, Robot, Superhero
Music: Justin Roberts, Caspar Babypants, The Beatles
Food: Sushi, Yogurt, Candy (any!), Corndogs, all fruits (peaches, apricots, grapes, plums)

I love you sweet boy, you are my world.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

The People at Target

Are you tired of me talking about Madeleine's leg and situation yet?

I was at Target the other day. Alone. Rare. But True for this day. I saw a family. They happened to be of Asian decent and this may or may not mean anything. Anyhoosies, they had two kids with them. Two little girls who seemed to be in the 'tween' years (10-13ish). One of the girls, the younger one, was walking funny. I noticed and thought nothing of it until I saw her again and got a better look. One leg was shorter than the other. The foot on the shorter leg was pointed and turned out. The calf on the the shorter leg was very very skinny.

I was looking at a child who had fibular hemimelia, uncorrected.

All I could think about was how this little girl's hips must have hurt. And how about the havoc on her back. I stay on the treadmill too long and my post twin hips are screaching in pain.

So, why would the family not correct? Why would the parents not either lengthen or amputate? These are both recognized treatments for fibular hemimelia. If she had already undergone a lengthening treatment she would have also been fitted with an AFO (ankle foot orthotic) or a shoe lift.

I honestly almost ran up to the mother and said, "that is fibular hemimelia! my daughter has it and you should see her run, skip, hop, ride, climb, swim etc." Perhaps if I had felt there wouldn't be a culture and/or language barrier I would have. Perhaps it is none of my damn business.

I don't know.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Will the tears ever stop?

I'm so teary right now. It seems that everything is making me cry and the only reason I can come up with is that my kiddos are almost 4 years old. I cannot believe that these last four years have happened in a blink of an eye. I'm so very emotional thinking about their tough beginning in this world and that without the help of Assistive Reproductive Technology I wouldn't have them at all. Yes, it is certain that I am blessed.

Madeleine is getting a new leg in two weeks. This will be her third. I'm so proud of her for growing up and being so active and such a little delight but every time this milestone, this new leg comes I cry. Perhaps it is the reminder that she will always endure this. Perhaps it is the thought that time never stops.

I took her to this fabric store to get special fabric. It was not close to our house but it was the only one that had what she wanted. So we drove all the way there. It took 40 minutes. There was traffic and a lot of rain. When we got to the store we found the fabric that she wanted and bought it. The ladies that work there were asking me about what kind of project we had planned. They always ask. I explained to them Mad's leg situation and the buyers and cashiers alike had all the questions and curiosities of anyone. Well right when I was discussing what a brave and capable and well-adjusted little girl I had Mad decided to have a full-on meltdown. I mean in a huge way. Kicking. Screaming. Scratching me. The whole works. We promptly left and I cried in the car all the way home. I don't know why I cried. She has tantrumed before and I have dealt with it before but this was different. I felt judged by those ladies. Judged that I, as a mother, had to endure a kid with a deformed leg and a bratty little girl on top of it.

I think I felt the pain for my daughter. She will always be judged. And I will always feel that someone thinks I did something stupid in my pregnancy to bring this about. Seriously, I thought I was over this. I didn't think I would emotionally go through this shit again.

Today we went to a great Seattle landmark restaurant. We haven't been there in a while but it is comfy and neighborhoody and family oriented. Madeleine decided that she didn't want to wear her leg (sometimes it is uncomfortable to sit on her knees to eat, or in a booster seat with the leggie on). I took it off and put it on an empty chair next to us not thinking much about it.

Our table was next to another table that had a mother and two children. The little girl was 5-ish and her brother around 8 or 9 I guessed. While I was looking at the menu the mother told me that her daughter was curious about the 'foot' she saw on the chair. I pulled out the leggie and discussed the situation. I explained the whole thing:
-in utero the leg stopped growing
-born without a bone
-had to fix foot to accommodate the prosthesis
-goes on like a boot
-she can do anything you can do, climb, ride a bike, jump, run etc.
-no, it is very rare, not associated with twinning

What surprised me is that Madeleine climbed over to this little girl and pulled her pant leg up and showed her her residual limb. This is not something we share with strangers very often, if at all. Mad was so brave about it. She explained it so well and without missing a beat she said, "hey, you have a kitty on your shirt! I love kitties they are my favorite!" and then the little girl started chatting with Madeleine about the restaurant and it was like they were two best friends. Before they left, the little girl, Gabriella, came over to Mad and said, "I like your leg, maybe we will see each other again and we can play!" and gave her a high five.

This is the best case scenario. It will not always be like this.

Two weeks ago her leg fell off on the school bus. (yes, I know it is strange that they can take a school bus to preschool but they go to an inclusion preschool where the district provides bus service.) She told me that the little boy that sits across from them started laughing at her.

It is almost summer. Although you wouldn't know it because in Seattle it is raining and cold. But sometime soon we will have summer and everyone will see her prosthesis and all the questions, stares, pointing, whispering will come back. And I just have to get use to this and to be strong for my little girl and model the correct way of dealing with it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Zoo Friends

We are lucky to have a a zoo very close by. We have been members ever since the kids were babies. So many memories we have from the zoo. Here are some pictures from last Friday when the new Meerkat exhibit opened.

Madeleine and Max looking at the new Meerkat exhibit at the zoo.

Logan, Max and Mad with their new meerkats.

Later we ran into Brooke, Tegan and Beckett. Here are all the kids playing on the Komodo Dragon.

How Huge is big?

Really huge.
Just big.

So, we all went to Ikea today to pick up a few things. Nothing major, killing time, getting decorating ideas, buying kids dishes etc. and I saw this huge pregnant woman. She was major big. She was a pretty girl, not very old, maybe 30 and she was pregnant in a big way. She looked like she was a medium build and probably had a pretty cute athletic body when she wasn't pregnant but now.... woah!

I stared. I couldn't help it.

I asked Michael if I looked like that when I was pregnant and he confirmed. What!? He admitted that in the beginning I was cute and preggo but toward the end I was huge and big and I don't know what else.

It's a good thing I'm almost back to normal and I have two adorable kids to show for it!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Facebook Killed the Blog Writer

It has been too long. I have felt the absence of my journaling and am hoping that I can regain some blog control and contribution.

Can I just say that the fact that it has been nearly four years since my children were born is beyond me. I feel like myself again. Only this time I'm sporting a floppy belly, stretch marks and saggy boobs. I don't mind though. 5 years ago I was getting ready to do IVF in hopes of starting a family. sigh.

When I say that I feel like myself this is real. I'm the weight that I was when I got pregnant. I'm working, although in a different capacity, with what I went to graduate school for. I feel normal... only mom. And, I'm incredibly thankful for the success of my business, with my loving and loyal husband, and my smart and talented kids. It sounds hard to believe but I still can't believe that this is my life, that I have been blessed beyond comprehension.

Because of Michael and my struggles in getting pregnant the fact that we have two children remains an impossibility for me to comprehend. I know that I have been raising the products of my loins for 4 years but I still can hardly believe that they are mine, that they grew inside of me and then came out full people. I love it.

My dear dear dear friend is pregnant with her second. She, like I did, had a difficult first time around in pregnancy with plenty of unknowns and plenty of tears. The second baby is bringing her clarity in knowing what to expect and not caring if there are legs present or not. I was so extremely fortunate to join her for an early ultrasound. It blows my mind that I can be looking at my friend and essentially she looks the same as she always has and then we get a glimpse inside of her and there is a total and complete baby growing. A tiny baby with all four limbs, a heart and a brain and he/she is only 3.5 centimeters! A miracle.

I have another dear friend that just had her second baby and her first little boy. She had the birth experience she wanted and an incredibly pregnancy. I'm amazed that she made a person in her body. That he came out and she now has an individual to get to know, to shape, to love added to her family.

As I type this my babies are lying of the sofa watching Kipper with their daddy. They are clad in long underwear-type pajamas and they are discussing what they are seeing. They have full use of language and a command of their small bodies. They are my miracles.

Thanks for reading my random thoughts.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Leggies Here and Leggies There

I'm not really sure the last time I wrote about this but I often think about how Madeleine will always have to deal with the fact that she has a leggie. She will grow up with it and know that she is different. We have tried to water this down by contacting to others who have leggies so that she feels 'normal'. Right now a good majority of her friends have leggies.

She still reminds me, though, that she is different, sometimes. Tonight she said, "Mom, I wish I had two spread foots". ('Spread foot' is her word for her organic foot and my feet. Her manufactured foot is called a 'leggie foot'. FYI.) She went on to ask me if one day she could get a spread foot for her leggie. I replied with, "maybe one day", because honestly, I don't know. And, I wish this for her too.


Last week we went to Trader Joe's. Usually there is a man that stands outside and plays the violin. When the kids walk by we starts to play "twinkle twinkle" or some other kid-tune. Last week he wasn't there and standing in his place was a young guy with a leggie. He was probably about 25 and held a sign saying, "Disabled. Can't Work. Need Help." Honestly, when I saw him I scoffed. I thought, "of course this dude can work, whatever".

When we left Traders I showed his leggie to Madeleine and she moved closer to get a better look. I walked up to him and told him that my daughter wanted to show him her leg. He leaned down and gasped at seeing her prosthesis. He started to cry. He told her she was beautiful and he was proud of how well she walked. He asked me how long she had it and told me he couldn't believe how well she got around. He told me he lost his leg four months ago and was relearning how to walk. He said his disability hadn't come in yet and he was a bar tender. He was crying and apologized for it. I told him to keep his head up and that things could be worse. We gave him some money and went home and I cried. I'm proud of Madeleine and my heart breaks for this guy. He sounded so hopeless.

I'm proud of Madeleine. She will have struggles throughout her life but Michael and I have laid the foundation and I believe she will be okay.