Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Bringing Kerri Back.

The fact that I can see these words appearing on this screen is proof that I made it.
I have survived yet another swipe with death.

I have just come out of what was the worst virus of my life.
There were a solid two days when I thought I might ACTUALLY die. My life was flashing before me. I was having all sorts of really weird memories.
Most of them about the odd ways my old boyfriends dressed, strange jobs I've had and roommates I'd had that should have been INmates.

I was scared to go to the doctor because of fear they'd tell me I had mere moments to live and I just wasn't ready because I haven't even been shopping in New York yet.

Last Monday night, the whole family got sick.
It started with Tessa yelling, "Mommy! I frowed up" into the baby monitor at 1:00am.
We Greens use the baby monitor as less of a monitor and more of a cheap intercom system.

Before daybreak, they mayhem had progressed to Justin and Alena both throwing up and me trembling in the bed with chills.

It's really not prime newborn care-taking situation to have a fever yourself, while your three year old lays face down in a bucket on the other side of you.
It's really hard to nurse with one hand, hold back someone's hair with the other, all while feeling sickness overtake you, too.

I didn't even know Justin was sick until Chloe told me the next day. I had been counting on him to take care of us all.
He'd gone to sleep in the room with Chloe when Tessa had come into our room in the night. I thought he must have escaped it.
That dude was down for the count. Head in the trash can.

And now it was Valentine's Day, nonetheless.

Nothing says true love like simultaneous contagion.

We called my mom.
Because that's what we do.
We have a Bat Signal, of sorts.
And thank GOD for her, because we never would have survived the week without her. Never.

Valentines Day was spent with me in our bed shaking so hard, I think I chipped paint, and Justin down on the couch wrapped up like he was scaling Everest, ALSO chilling.
Or so I heard from my mom, who was running back and forth between us giving updates and taking orders.
I had a brief moment of being really glad we'd earthquake strapped the bookshelf.
It was pretty extreme.
We barely spoke two words to each other all day.

The girls just played, and kept coming in staring at me like, "But....Who's going to make LUNCH?"
I feel like I lapsed in and out of being conscious.
There was something about a mermaid baby, but I can't be sure if that was real...

And one of the worst parts of the whole thing was that my best friend, Lisa, had just flown into town days before and we were supposed to be doing a laundry list of things we'd planned, not the least of which was to watch the rap battles on 8 Mile - VERY IMPORTANT - and all of that was just thrown right down the drain.

By the next day though, everyone in the house was totally better.

Everyone but me.

I was actually WORSE.
Of course.
Because WHY on EARTH would I think I should get a break?

I mean - I only just had a baby.
I'd only just brought LIFE into the world after hours of hard labor and what ended up being TWO epidurals and a jab to the raw nerves of my spine.
Why should I get off easy?

Well darn it if that sickness didn't get worse and worse and worse.
I'm glad I never looked in the mirror because I'm pretty sure I looked like the scariest person you can imagine.
(Joan Rivers?)
I have never had an almost 104 fever for even one day before, let alone 7.

The bedroom had started looking pretty dreadful.
Like I hoarded sweat drenched tank tops and pain reliever bottles.
I was changing my clothes 8 times a day. First I was freezing. Then I was burning up. I gave up on putting the clothes away and instead just piled them high by my bedside for easy middle of the night access.

I wasn't eating.
My entire diet consisted of water and medication.

The baby stopped nursing.

The horrors just kept on and on and I thought, once again, that the end was near for me.

And in the midst of all of this, Justin came in to the room and stood at the foot of the bed.

He gazed at me. I thought, thinking of some loving words to say to me in this, my dark dark hour.

I waited, thinking he was surely about to utter some sort of affection.
Then he said the words every sick wife yearns to hear.

"How long has it been since you washed your hair?"

*blink* *blink*

Yes he did.

Alena kept showing up telling me how sorry she was I was sick and how she didn't like it because,
"You're usually the one who takes care of US and when you're sick it seems weird."

I took this to mean she wasn't liking the carrot stick and lunch meat dinner they were currently eating.

In some ways I think it's been good for them.
They'll appreciate me a little more, I think.
They'll realize that there IS a value to parting your hair well while it's wet so it doesn't dry funny because of those weird callicks.
They'll now see that it's nice to have someone around who contemplates balancing a meal and making sure not all four things on the plate are orange.

Justin's totally stepped up his game.
He went to the grocery for me. He's been bathing the girls and getting them in bed. He's made phone calls and totally taken care of business.
It's making me realize I can relax a little bit.
They ARE capable.
Imagine that.

When I finally came downstairs after almost days spent only in my room, I realized there is some damage control that needs to happen.

There was a Costco sized pan of Cinnamon rolls on the counter accompanied by a VERY large bag of Reeses Pieces.
And though I realize that the "CLEARANCE" sticker on them must have made them EVER so appealing, they are still something I'd never allow to enter our home if I was lucid.
The cabinet now holds a bag of Golden Puff cereal.
The kind in a bag.
I have a general rule just to never buy cereal in a bag in the first place. It scares me, just by nature.
The very first ingredient is sugar.
And if you don't recognize Golden Puff cereal, that is because you probably didn't grow up in a house that would buy something like that.
Or Kool-Aid. Or Tang. Or Spam.
Or any of the other accompanying "side dishes" that go with this childhood memory delicacy like Justin did.
He unpacked it from the grocery bag almost as carefully as he pulled Paige out of her car seat the very first time we brought her home.

Justin Green. The Golden Puff Gollum.

It was clear that Tessa had been on a candy free-for-all. Possibly for days. She feels about 8 pounds heavier.
She keeps repeating, "Candy is NOT a snack" as if she's trying to remind herself. Not sure THAT'S working.

And I'm pretty sure I heard some weird chirping sound coming from the direction of Chloe's hair.
I'm scared to stick my hand in there.

Today was the first day I've gone outside.
The wind felt strange on my face.
I had to fight the urge to not lay down on the park bench. I just sort of caressed it like a creeper while the girls ate snacks and fidgeted with their shoes.

I guess it all has taught me a lesson as well, though. That maybe I DON'T want to always be sleeping and have quite as much quiet as I thought.
I missed making the girls lunch and putting them to bed.
I missed the daily routine that can seem so repetitive at times.
Those kids are wild beasts, but MAN it's boring when you don't have them and you're listening to your 6th loop of the Relaxing Guitar cd you bought at Target while you wait to take more Advil.
A childless life seems so boring now.

It's why I HAD kids, actually. So I wouldn't wind up one day alone on my death bed with nothing to do but write my medication schedule on my mirror with eyeliner so I don't overdose.

The week long nap was OK, but now,

I'm bringing Kerri back.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baby Steps to the Blow Dryer

It happened.
I had the baby.
And thank goodness, because I was starting to worry I'd be like the woman I saw on TLC last winter who'd technically been pregnant for 60 some years.
She never delivered her baby and it somehow turned to stone inside of her.
Only in India.

No thanks.

Those last few weeks are brutal.

Things were swollen on me that I didn't even know COULD swell. Feet, fingers, eyelashes.
I felt like the Elephant Woman. Cloaked and hiding in a passageway.
Waiting to lash out and eat the brains of the next person who told me I looked like I was going to pop.

The idea of walking, (and I use that term loosely),
from the living room to the kitchen about made me cry.
The girls had taken to rolling in the ottoman from the living room and positioning it by the pantry to climb up so they could fetch their own snacks rather than even ask me.
They saw the look in my eyes.
They knew it meant not to mention Cheese-Its.

In the end, high blood pressure and low blood sugar won out, and
after a trip to Costco for a couple of rotisseries about made me pass out into the Turbo Tax display, it was off to the hospital for induction a week earlier than expected.
I thought I'd go in and they'd just monitor me for a bit, but an hour later and we were placing calls to try to figure out what to do with the girls and what on earth they'd eat for dinner now that Daddy was in charge of it.

It's funny the things you think in an unexpected moment like that.

I remember that I was just worried I hadn't packed my under-eye conceiler.
Justin was worried he hadn't finished the dusting.

The delivery was not my favorite of the four. It was long and dramatic with lots of nurses whispering things.
I have decided to name it "Horrors of the Epidural Space" because the epidural took two separate anesthesiologists and 8 different times of being punctured in the spinal column.
For a good time call: 1-800-Induction.

Not awesome.
My back looks like I gave a woodpecker a piggy back.

I almost gave up and just told them to forget the epidural.
For anyone who knows my feeling on epidurals, this is a big deal.
I also did not mention the hitting of a nerve, sending my leg kicking out towards a panicked Justin and a feeling that I'd been shot through the body with a lightening bolt.
All this as the very MALE anesthesiologist asked me to hold as still as possible while he muttered things under his overpaid breath.

I'd like to see HIM try to hold still as a 9 inch needle is shoved in and out of his spine during strong contractions like a jackhammer.

I mean. I'd REALLY like to see it.

Like - He'd better sleep with one eye open after putting me through that.
After commenting, "Hmmmm. That's interesting"
as I described the pain that had shot through my leg.

BUT, after 8 hours of labor and a near cesarean,
Paige Allison Green made her debut into this world at 5:00pm on Friday January 27th.

Dark, beautiful hair. Big, puffy lips. Scowl just like her Daddy.
She is, of course, perfect in every way.

I had my doubts about this, however, the first two nights in the hospital, when she cried and farted and pooped every 6 minutes.
The nurses kept bringing her back from the nursery looking frazzled.
That really scared me. These are people who are trained to deal with all sorts of mayhem and Paige was wearing them out.
I was feeling pretty scared of what I'd gotten myself into.
I couldn't even sleep.
By the end of my hospital stay, I had had approximately 11 hours of sleep over a span of 5 days and even that was broken sleep.
I'd just laid there blinking at the ceiling for DAYS.

The nurse was rattling off a list of do's and don'ts with a new baby and I just stared right through her imagining her head to be a giant Starbucks symbol.
Yada, yada, yada, Lady.

This is number four.

The first days home are surreal.
You're getting in a flow.
Your p.j.s become a uniform.

Your kids are asking what's wrong with your hair and why you're walking "that way."

At least mine are.

Tessa's favorite thing is to tell me daily, "It's OK, Mama. It takes awhile for your tummy to go away."

Thanks, Tessa.
Post-Baby Weight Loss Guru.
She is SO very knowledgeable.

All I can say is I am so thankful for my mom.
How do people even DO it without their moms?
She washed dishes and made dinner and answered the calls from the bathroom of, "I'M DONE!!!!" so that I didn't have to.
She massaged my feet and my neck and was just THERE.

Justin's doing well, too.
He's a great dad.
At least when he's awake.

He doesn't do so well with the middle of the night stuff, however.

The first night, as I finished feeding Paige and was re-swaddling her to put her back down, for a brief moment he opened his eyes and then he actually said the sentence,

LOUD snore fully inserted into the sentence in the place of the word "thing" - which I had to just IMAGINE he was trying to say.
Had he REALLY fallen back asleep mid sentence?
I was feeling the love.
Feeling the support.

I had to laugh.
I did.
Out loud, actually.

Then, I had just laid her down and was about to turn off the light and his snores got louder. I nudged him to turn over, and he did. But he kept turning. Right out of the bed. He rolled to a stand like a martial arts expert and then just started walking.
Around the end of the bed. Around to my side. He started to reach for the baby. The one I'd just spent 2 hours getting down.
I said, "What are you doing?"

A look of recognition came over him.
A look of, "Oh. I'm not supposed to be here."
and he said, "I'm just coming to check on her." and then he walked back to bed.


She's been doing great, though. The worries of the first two days have proven unfounded.
Waking only once or twice a night to eat and then going back to sleep.
She's a champion.

I'm so grateful.
I'm too old for the shenanigans Chloe put me through all over again.
I was really worried about that one.
I guess all the "Please, please, please, PLEASE GOD - Don't do that to me again" prayers fell on listening ears.

I just CAN'T be driving around Santa Rosa in the middle of the night trying to get a baby to sleep.
A person can only watch so many 2am infomercials.

I'm slowly getting back in the flow.
I have now blow dried my hair for the last several days straight.
My legs are shaved.
I have at least 4 items of makeup on and 2 items of jewelry at all times.
It may TAKE me until 3:00pm to do all of that, and you probably shouldn't look too closely at my eyebrows, but it's getting done.

Next stop: Pants that button and zip.

I really can't believe we have ANOTHER one.
What on earth is THIS one going to be like?
One can only dare to imagine.

I look at her peaceful sleeping face and think,

"I'm not fooled by you. Tessa was peaceful, too."