To The Moon and Back

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The Luckiest Mom in the World July 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 6:03 pm

Isabella and I have spent the past 4 days in a different World. We are currently living in a World where your pee is measured, your food is liquid, your veins are poked, your blood is taken, your visitors wear masks and use big words, and you are stuck in a bed that is less comfortable than a road paved with dirt and gravel. We have spent 4 nights and 5 days in this World, and although I am screaming from claustrophobic insanity on the inside, I am a smiling, non complaining Mama on the outside. The room we are in is small.  There is no bathroom and to use the bathroom, I have to ask an already very busy nurse, if she can watch my child while I run down the hall to go. The only time I can leave this tiny room is when friends or family come to visit our girl and I run quickly out of the door to escape for a tiny portion of the day.  Showers for me come once a day, when Daddy comes to relieve me for a few minutes. These are also located down the hall. The water does not get hot enough and the shower head is extremely low.  There is no bed for me to sleep in at night and I have made a recliner my home for the past few days. Besides being claustrophobic and unable to sit still for too long, both of which are just ME, I have issues with clutter and messes. So after pacing the small perimeter of the room, cleaning and picking up any trash and clearing clutter, I spend the next 23.5 hours in my recliner staring at my girl. I could stare at her for the rest of my life and not get bored or grow impatient.

This week, we were forced to imagine our lives without her in them. We were forced to go to a place that no parent should have to go to.  Surgery was on the table just a few days ago. Surgery on a child who is taking blood thinners, whose heart is weak and whose body is frail and so unable to fight infection on its own that she has to be here, within the 4 walls of a tiny hospital room any time she catches something as simple as a common cold.  Surgery scared us.  We knew the risks. We were unsure of the benefits. We prayed and prayed hard and when surgery was taken off of the table, we thanked a God that I had not talked to in months because I had been angry at him.  We rejoiced.  We pictured her high school graduation, her wedding, her children.  We pictured her life. Here. With us.

Through all of this, Isabella has been true to herself.  Except for a few bad moments involving scratching and biting a Respiratory Therapist and screaming at a Phlebotomist, she has been her normal, happy and sweet self.  Those 2 incidents came when she was beyond her limit of how much she could take.  She had hit her wall hours before and just could not deal with any more. I watched her react to those 2 things with tears in my eyes.  That was not my daughter. That was a child who has been stuck in this room all week, who has endured several needles going into her veins and taking blood, who has silently allowed nurses to wake her up every time she falls asleep to give meds or take her blood pressure. That was a child who had reached her limits and was being shoved beyond them. That was a child I had never seen and one I have spent the rest of our time here making sure doesn’t appear again.

Bella lights up the room.  When someone walks in, her smile and sweet voice is the first thing they notice.  She lifts my spirits when I am the one who is supposed to lift hers.  She loves with her entire being.  She is selfless and giving.  She is honest and loving.  She is strong and courageous. Isabella has been our miracle since the day she was born and still is.

We are stuck here, in this room for what we hope will not be much longer. I am stuck in this recliner for what I pray will only be a few more hours.  Yet, I could care less.  I am here with one of Gods gifts.  I am here with a child who would do anything for anyone.  I am here with a little girl who believes I have the ability to make her better with just a kiss.I am here with a child I can stare at for hours and not get bored.  I am with a child I would give my life for, a child whose beauty is endless. A little girl who shines from the inside out. My child.  My daughter.  From where I sit, I believe I am the luckiest Mama in the World.

 

 

Priorities June 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 3:48 pm

Anyone who knows me well knows that I place my Husband and children before anything else. Their welfare, happiness, and health will always come first for us. Nothing else matters when my kids are unhappy or ill.

I was recently told that I place too much value on others opinions of myself, on my social media “persona'”. This made us giggle a bit.  I believe social media is the same for a lot of people.  You share your triumphs, your joys and experiences with parenting, work and home life.  Most choose to not air dirty laundry and those that do are normally accused of sharing way too much. No one lives the perfect life but we all post the good stuff. I don’t post the things we go through as a family because I don’t feel like it is the business of the 500 plus people on my page.  I don’t post about the little arguments my Husband and I have behind closed doors nor the disagreements we may have with extended family or friends because it is simply not anyone’s business.  I want my children to be able to look at the things we post about when they are older with pride. I don’t tell them about things that we adults go through because preserving their innocence is important to us. Facebook is somewhat of a brag spot. We brag about our children’s good deeds, their achievements and triumphs.  Its also a place of support during hard times.  We post about our loved ones during illness or loss. We ask for prayers, we keep family and friends who cannot be here with us in person in the loop.  It is not a diary though and the things I do not tell my children, I also do not post about. Facebook does not even make the list of what is important in my life.  Its a great thing to connect us to those we can’t catch up with on a daily basis. It’s social media. We do not post things for sympathy and have never posted for attention. In fact, we leave things off so that we are not bombarded with either of those.

I also do not feel the need to respond to people like the one mentioned above. My actions as a Mother and Wife speak for me. I am in no way shape or form a perfect person and those who know me well will be the first to admit that I am not without flaws. But I do work hard to overcome those flaws and cracks beneath the surface.  I do believe that you can never stop trying to be a better person, parent, spouse.  I feel sad for those who are content with the person they are in the way that they do not allow room for change or growth.  There is always room for improvement.

I believe that the 5 people in my house are more important than the outside World. I devote myself entirely to them. Period. If they are unhappy or ill, everything else gets placed on hold.  Our lives are very much on hold right now because 1 of those 5 is ill. Isabella has what is called  “mitral valve incompetence” or “mitral valve insufficiency”.  Valve issues are common and a lot of times can be left untreated. We are dealing with the kind that needs treatment, as she is getting. I spend my time caring for her and her siblings.  During my down time I am researching her condition and alternatives to surgery, planning fun activities for all 4 of them and spending time with my Husband who often gets neglected during the day because my focus is on those babies.  Nothing else matters to us right now except our children. Petty disputes and disagreements, hurt feelings over misunderstandings – those are things that will have to wait until all 4 little people in our home are healthy and happy.  It is poor taste to come to someone who tells you they are going through a storm, with drama or disputes. Let them carry their family through the rain and then bring up your situation. When one of the people you love most is hurting, your focus should be on them. Everything else can wait.  2 of the 5 in our home had a rough start to their summer. Their hearts were hurt and plans put on hold while the adults in their lives work to repair damage done by another.  Our priority is our babies. Healing and mending their hearts and never adding to the pain they have endured because of anyone elses bad choices.  I did not air the cause or even the fact that they went through a struggle and are still healing on Facebook.  It is not the place.

I often blog to vent or to update those close to us on the things going on. Sometimes I blog to clear up any misconception. This is one of those blogs. I feel that those who are close to us, those who have shown they care, those who love our family, know exactly who we are.  Those who call to check on our littles, who sit with Bella when she is ill or bring her movies to watch in bed and visit her when she has to check in to her least favorite room at the hospital, offer support when we need it most, they are the ones that this blog is not for.  We are so grateful for the friendships we have and the love shown towards our kids. We love our friends like family and adore their children the way they adore ours.

This blog serves one purpose. To let those who have any misgivings about our priorities know exactly what they are.  That way, when you bring whatever issues you have to us, you will no why it is ignored.  I think sometimes our feeling are hurt when another boldly states that we are not a priority to them, but instead of  sitting around with those hurt feelings, it is better to try to understand why that person feels that way and what is going on with them that makes them place you at the bottom of their list of priorities.  God has given me beautiful children. He holds one of them in His arms in Heaven. Another was placed in the arms of others to raise and love as their own.  The 4 in my home are not loved any more than those 2 but they are placed higher on our list of priorities because God has chosen for us to raise them, guide them, love them and protect them.   If the 4 littles we have been blessed with are placed higher than our other 2 flesh and blood, than surely people will understand that drama and arguments are nowhere in our sight.  It is not because we do not value all of the people in our lives, but because to us, those things are of little importance to us right now.

 

Purging June 11, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 3:46 pm

Hatred. Anger. Negativity. Blame. These are all things that are extremely harmful for your body as a whole. The past month these things have invaded our home. They are feelings that we don’t allow in our family, yet when those feelings are directed at you from your family, its a different ball game all together. Its a lot easier to rid your life of negative people when they come from the outside. When those people are on the inside, its truly painful.

I am  so happy to have a husband who supports me, yet won’t hesitate to tell me when I need to let go, move on, or even apologize. I have parents who have been doing the same since the day I came into the World. I have a big sister who backs me up, yet lets me know with no holds barred, when I am in the wrong. I have friends who listen to me vent and hold my hand through the rough patches that come from just living life. I am truly blessed.

We have gone through a lot of changes in the past weeks, yet as always, they have only brought us closer. We have rid our life of negative people. People who were once family but who allowed toxic relationships and blame to win over logic and love. It was rough. While we may have put those relationships on hold, we cannot put our love for them on hold. Family will always be family. Our door will always be open. It may be years from now or it may be tomorrow, but when those people knock on our door, we will greet them with open arms and let the past be the past.

I am not a perfect person by any means. I am not a perfect mother or wife. There are things that I am working to change within myself and residue from past mistakes still begging to surface. I am not who I have been, but everyday, I get a little bit closer to being the woman I want to be. Relationships, whether they be with friends or with family members, that hold your past over your head, have to be changed or ended. Anything or anyone who attempt to stop you from becoming the best version of yourself should be carefully considered. People who only want to cause you harm or hurt the hearts of those you love should not have a place in your life. Its a hard truth to realize, and to come to. We love those people and mourn the relationships, but move on. We are thankful for the good times that were shared between us all, and pray hard that there will be more in the future.

Sometimes, purging can be a good thing.

We have found our happy and plan to hold on tightly.

All 4 of my babies are out of school for the summer. We are enjoying spending our days laughing, playing, swimming and being together.

I have decided to change my blogging style to a lighter one. Sharing the journey of parenting my 4 children and being a wife to an Active Duty Airman along with a few surprises will take over my normal blogging style. I will also be changing some of the privacy settings on here so that people we don’t know, and even people we do know but don’t want to share such intimate memories with will not have access to pictures of our kids and the stories of the things that we do.

Stay tuned! Life only gets better as we live it!

 

Ramblings to my Child May 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 9:45 pm

I love the way your tiny nose wrinkles when you are up to no good.

I love the way you look at me, your big brown eyes full of so much love and and honesty.

I love the way you melt into my arms when I hold you.

I love the way you smell right after a bath.

I love the sound of your voice, no matter what time it is when I hear it.

I love the way it feels to watch your chest rise and fall with each breath, because I know what it feels like when I don’t see it move.

I love the sound of your heart beating, because I know how frail and weak it is.

 

I love you so much sweet girl.

When I watch you sleep, these are the things that swirl through my mind.  No one can know what it is like to live in our World, unless they too have lived in a similar one.  Each word is a blessing.  Each day is a gift.  You, sweet child, are my miracle and no matter how many breathing treatments, no matter how many temperatures we take each day, no matter how many doctors appointments or surgeries it takes. Not a moment with you will ever be taken for granted.  Ever.

One day, we will look back on this and think about how very brave you were through it all.  I am just as proud of you now as I am sure I will be then.

 

 

Hang In There Mama April 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 9:33 pm

I have often said that there is no love that compares to the love a mother has for her children.  There is nothing that can replace that love and nothing that can take it away.

The past 2 weeks have been crazy, to put it mildly.  I have spent the past 7 days sleeping with my 6 year old  in either a hospital bed, her Cinderella Carriage bed at home,  or my bed in the room I normally share with my Husband.  Since Isabella has been sick, he has slept on the couch so that I could get up to give her breathing treatments and meds throughout the night without worrying about waking him.  It has been a horrible week.  Through it all, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of calls, messages, and texts containing concern for our baby and offers to help that we have received.

Bella is going to be fine eventually.  We know that, we believe it, and we try to focus on that. Its a draining process for your mind to go through. I know that there are people that have been on the wrong end of conversations with me this past week.  They have offered advice that I just didn’t want to hear, and because of that, I snapped.  I am not normally that person.  I smile and thank people who give unwanted advice.  I listen when I don’t have the time.  I help when I have a million things of my own to do. This week was different.  My baby is sick.  I have slept a total of 12 hours in the past week.  I have 4 other people who need me just as much, and because of that, I am pulled in 5 different directions. There is no excuse for flat out rudeness and if you have gotten that from me this week, I apologize sincerely.

But……

Sometimes people just don’t want to hear what you have to say.  There are times when silence is better than giving advice on a subject you know nothing about.  Sometimes all a person needs is to know that you will be there for them, without judgement, when they need to cry, yell, scream, and vent.  Telling someone who is 2 seconds away from a complete meltdown to “toughen up. Your child needs you and this is not about you” is the wrong thing to say.  That someone knows that their child needs them.  They know because they spend every waking moment with that child, caring for her, giving her medicine, cuddling her, singing to her and doing whatever else they know will make her comfortable and happy.  That someone knows its not at all about her.  She knows because it has been days since she has showered, read a magazine, relaxed on the couch, watched her favorite shows.  Instead she has been researching the surgery her child is scheduled to have in between packing lunches, going over homework and driving her kids to and from activities and school.  She hasn’t had one thought dealing with herself.  Sometimes your advice is not advice.  If you don’t know what to say in a situation, don’t say anything at all.

Life has been rough for us the past few years.  We have overcome many obstacles and because of that, we have grown closer as a family.  We are strong. We are hopeful.  We are bonded. We don’t need sympathy, we don’t need anyone to feel sorry for us.  We always come out on top and Bella is no exception to that.  She is tougher than the 5 of us put together.  She is our sunshine, our ray of light on dark days.  She is our joy. She is the baby sister, the sibling that the others just cannot say no to the only one amongst each other that they will still cuddle with and do things for. She plays with angels in her dreams.  She has an unexplainable connection with her best friend in Heaven.  She is special.  We have known that since the day she was born.  She is unlike any other child I have ever met and I believe she is that way for a reason.  She needed the strength, the happy attitude and approach to life, the astounding ability to find the good in everyone, to appreciate the smallest of things and make them the biggest for everyone else, to get through the road ahead.  She is special for a reason.

The best advice I have been given came from a sweet friend whose daughter is Bella’s Cardigan Angel. The friend who lets you know they are there, without judgement, any time you need to vent, scream or cry,  so that you can get it out and continue to be strong for your child is a keeper. I am so grateful to have these kind of friends.

 

 

My Hero April 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 9:32 pm

I spent the past 30 hours in a state of panic, worry, and confusion.  The only thing holding me together was the knowledge that my beautiful daughter was watching every expression on my face, every movement of my body, and every reaction to the words her nurses and Doctors were saying. 

Isabella woke up Monday morning feeling a bit too tired.  She had spent the weekend riding bikes, eating junk food, playing dress up and watching movies, with her best friend. They stayed up late talking and playing. I watched her carefully, but ignored my gut instinct to make her sit down and rest because watching her get to be a normal kid was just too awesome of a sight to interrupt. Monday morning she was fine.  A little tired but fine.  She came home from School even more tired, but coughing and wheezing as well. By 4pm, we decided it was time to head to Urgent Care.  She was diagnosed with Pneumonia and sent home with meds and orders to rest and report to her Doctor in the morning.  We had a very rough night.  I slept on the couch so that I could hear her if she called me.  She slept for about 2 hours total.  Every hour or so she would wake up coughing and gasping for breath.  I turned her oxygen up each time and by morning it couldn’t go any higher. After dropping the other 3 kids off at School, we headed to her pediatricians office.  After a few tests, a breathing treatment, and a chest x ray, she was admitted to the hospital.  I have never been so afraid in my life.  We have spent many days surrounded by the 4 walls of a tiny room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  Many weeks dealing with IV’s, monitors, and blood draws. We still are not “used to it”.  This time was different.  We know that our little girls heart is not functioning like it should be.  We know that illness only makes it worse.  We know that pneumonia is not a good thing for any child, especially a child with underlying issues. Knowledge doesn’t always help.

Bella pulled through, only needing one night in the PICU. We are now snuggled up at home, doing every 4 hour breathing treatments, monitoring her heart rate, and giving an assortment of bad tasting meds.

We knew deep down that she would be okay.  We knew she would come out on top.

What we did not know, was how gracefully she would do it.

I have wrote often of my daughters sweet nature, ability to see the importance of the little things, and happy go lucky attitude. Most people who read my blog posts or facebook statuses feel like they know our girl without ever having met her.  She is tougher than anyone I have ever met. We know this, yet watching her and seeing all of those things in person is a completely different experience.

I learn so much from my child, just from watching her fight off a common illness. I have learned how to be brave, how to smile when there seems to be nothing to smile about, and how to find the good in people who seem to be filled with only the bad. This week, Bella was feeling miserable.  She was sad, tired, hurting and angry.  Yet, she still found things to smile about.  The sun peeking through the blinds of her hospital room, the Tangled DVD her Daddy brought to the hospital for her, the tiny angel pin that her nurse was wearing, the dinner her Nana brought to the hospital for her at bed time…..She smiled about all those things and more.  She is not only my daughter, but my hero.

The World would be a much better place if it were filled with Bella’s.

 

 

Don’t forget the big things April 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 1:26 pm

I woke up this morning an hour before my alarm was due to go off.  I decided to get started on my ridiculous amount of caffeine intake and run water to soak in the tub before the kids were due to get up.  While sleepily setting my Kurig for the largest cup of coffee possible, I forgot to put the right sized mug underneath and didn’t realize this important fact until there was coffee all over my counter and floor.  While cleaning my mess, I also forgot that the water was still running in my bathroom. On to the next mess. Since my bathwater was no longer hot, due to the fact that I let it run for a good 15 minutes, thus flooding my entire bathroom floor, I decided to skip the soaking and take a cold shower.

I went to the laundry room expecting to lay my kids School clothes out and head to the kitchen to start breakfast.  Instead, I stumbled upon my daughters only pair of pants, clean and folded, with a gaping hole in the knee (which by the way, when asked, she had no idea how it got there). Insert huge mommy tantrum, complete with stomping and uttering words I didn’t even know were in my vocabulary.  After a frantic call to the man, we decided he would leave work and head to Walmart to bring home pants, sans holes. Problem solved.

Only, that led me to my next issue.  Apparently, before I went into the laundry room, I started cooking the pancakes my kids were supposed to eat when they woke up.  I have no memory of doing so, something I contribute to the fact that I had only had 1 cup of coffee at this point. After scraping the burnt pancakes off of the skillet, I ran to get a broom to bang on the smoke detector, which actually acted as a wonderful alarm clock for my kids.

As I stood in my sons room, ready to grumpily order him to get dressed, I remembered the importance of my attitude.  I smiled, climbed in his bed, and tickled him awake.

The rest of the morning was awesome.  There were a few tears from my drama queen of a 6 year old because I wouldn’t let her wear her pink lalaloopsy knee socks with her school uniform, a few grunts from my son because I made him “search” for his belt without assisting him, and some arguments from my daughters because I wouldn’t allow them to eat the sugary snacks everyone else gets after leap testing today and instead made them take, gasp, a granola bar.

While doing all of my morning tasks, I stopped my daughters in the hall and hugged them.  I told my son what a gentlemen he was when he held the bathroom door open for his little sister.  I told my girls how beautiful they are, and my son how handsome he is.  I frequently dropped what I was doing to remind them that they are loved.

The result of this was 4 children who got out of the car in front of their school feeling happy, loved, and secure.

Sometimes as parents, we get so caught up in the little things that go wrong, that we forget about the BIG things that can turn it all around.  Its our job to build our children up no matter how we are feeling inside.  My oldest daughter is teased about her teeth every single day at School.  She could care less.  She comes home and tells us how awesome she is because she knows that she is beautiful and those words that come out of the mean kids mouths mean nothing to her.  Her Daddy loves her, her Mama is her biggest fan and her siblings stand ready to kick the behinds of anyone who teases her.  She is secure.

We have to build our babies up so that when others try to knock them down, they stand tall.

Our morning was amazing because we made it that way.  We didn’t let the little things cause us to forget the big things.