Sunday, February 15, 2015

birthday bash

I think it is safe to say that Marty Boy had a pretty good 2nd birthday.  Last year we didn't do much - just a little get-together with my family at my parents' house where we had some cake and ice cream.  It was strawberry shortcake because Marty loves strawberries, and we just kept it simple.  And I'm glad we did it that way.  This year, we made a much bigger deal of the whole thing.  In true "Rachel" fashion, I wanted it to be a birth week, but the only real big thing we did before the actual day was decorate the Christmas tree.  To be honest, he redecorated the dang thing every day it was up, so that festivity was a never-ending one.
The actual day fell on a Friday that Richard had to work, but he planned to take the second half of the day off to celebrate.  So while he was at work, I let Marty start the day exactly how he wanted to, watching a movie with his truck.

While he was watching his movie, I got his first gift ready: dinosaur bedding.  As soon as he was finished dancing to the music during the credits of his movie, I told him there was a surprise in his room, so he let me hold his hand and walk him in.  When I pointed out the dinosaurs he went crazy.  It was an even better reaction than I'd hoped for, and I'm so glad that I took pictures of it.

 I had to run an errand at the mall, which he is usually ok with.  But he ALWAYS runs to the candy machines and asks me for "pennies.". Until this very day I had always just told him I didn't have any pennies.  But it was a special day, so I came prepared!  He was shocked and so excited to get some candy.  He chose the little dog bones, this was his way of thanking me after putting the first one in his mouth.  I kept the rest in my pocket and gave him two at a time until they were gone, which was after we left the mall.  There has never been a smoother shopping trip in our history of shopping together.

I really wanted to pack the day full of fun activities, but didn't want to break the bank, so I decided to take him to the Hill Air Force Base Aerospace Museum, which is free.  Richard took him there once, but it was close to nap time and didn't last super long.  Marty remembered it, though, and he'd asked to go back a bunch of times.  It was a hit.  His favorite were the "big guys."

We went home for lunch, and my mom came over to surprise Marty with balloons.  He loved them.  And he loved showing her his dinosaur bedding.  Richard came home while the birthday boy was napping, and we actually had to wake him from his nap to head out for his big birthday adventure on time.  Waking him is never an easy thing to do, nor does it ever yield very positive results.  This day was no different, and I'm not sure why we thought it would be just because it was his birthday.  But Richard had come up with the really great idea to ride the FrontRunner to Farmington and take the boy to see a movie., and because it was such a fun idea I got super excited about it.  So that is why we woke him from a dead sleep on his birthday.
Although this picture doesn't show it well, Marty really did love being on the train.  He didn't really show us by smiling, but rather in getting pretty upset when we had to get off.  But then we watched the train drive away and he got excited.

I seriously think that it was when the clock struck 4:17 pm, and our son turned two years old that he threw the biggest and craziest tantrum he has ever thrown in his lifetime (up to that point - I'm sure he's surpassed it by now).  He wanted to run right out into the middle of the street, into oncoming traffic, but we wouldn't let him, so of course he had a meltdown.  He calmed down quite a bit once we got to the fountain.  We'd never been so grateful for water set to music.

We had a little bit of time to kill before the movie started, so we dropped by Madbrook and got a birthday treat.  I was confused when Richard said he didn't want a donut, but when Marty only ate the sprinkles off of his and Richard ate the rest, I realized that had been his plan all along.

We went to see "The Penguins of Madagascar," and we all loved it.  Marty especially.  When the movie was over, we went back outside to watch the fountains again before meeting up with Grandma and Grandpa and Sarah for dinner.  Marty gave Richard this mischievous little look, as if to say, "Get ready, Dad...". And then as we walked to dinner at the other end of the shopping center he proceeded to have many small versions of the previously mentioned meltdown.

He took a quick break from screaming his head off as we tried to save him from sprinting into the road to run a few laps around the clothing racks in a department store, and then he got right back to business.

We finally made it to dinner, where we had to just laugh as we told everyone what had just happened so that we didn't end up crying about it instead.

We had a little time left between dinner and when our return train would arrive, so we decided to cap things off with some frozen yogurt.  It's not a birthday without ice cream!
We rode home on the train with a boatload of youth who had come down from Idaho to see the lights at Temple Square, and Marty was wary enough of the train full of strangers that he stayed on our laps the entire time.  He showed a bit more enthusiasm on our return trip, but we were all so tired that none of us put up a fight when it was time to get off.
When we got home we brushed teeth, got in our jammies, and ended the night like we always do, with stories and snuggles.

We may have packed a little too much into one day of celebrating, and we really should have known better than to wake up our little sleeping beauty, but even when I think about those holy fits he threw I think it was one of the best days.  Ever.  We made a lot of memories, and we got to make a big deal about our favorite person in the world.  And there's nothing better than that.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I wrote this letter the night before Marty's birthday, Dec. 5, as Richard and I sat in bed talking and laughing and crying (only I cried) about how much we love our little buddy.  And, although it seems impossible, I think that in just shy of 2 months we love him even more than we did that night.

Dear Marty Boy,

Happy birthday!  You are 2 years old today (at exactly 4:17 PM).  Though I still call you my baby.  You will always be my baby.  And you think it's funny when I call you that.  I love making you laugh, and it's not hard to do.  I love the way you like to snuggle when you're first waking up, either in the morning or after a nap.  You still go after Daddy's ears like they might fall off his head at any moment and you just have to get in all the time with them that you can before they do.  And now, you've started nuzzling your face into the crook of my elbows.  I've stretched out many a long-sleeved shirt in order to bare my elbows for you, but I don't mind. 

You have more energy than anyone I know, and I love watching you use it.  You're always running, you rarely walk from point A to point B, and you jump more than anyone/thing I've ever seen.  You're a really good jumper, too - on the couch, the bed, the floor, chairs, stairs, you name it, you'll jump on it.  And you usually want us to watch you do it, too.  We love it when you say, "Daddy/Mommy, watch!"  Your jump is actually also part of your collection of signature dance moves.  Spinning in circles, shaking your booty and wiggling your hips, waving your arms around and flapping them like chicken wings are all in there, too, but the jump is really where it's at.  You're currently perfecting your "spin move" and incorporating it into as many parts of the day as you can: as we walk/run to the car, walk down the sidewalk, or jumping on the couch.  You even make your cars do spin moves as you drive them around the coffee table and furniture.  Speaking of cars, you're kind of obsessed.  Not only with cars, though.  Tractors, trucks, buses, bikes, trains, and especially ambulances are all part of the obsession.  I think it's safe to say that you almost always have a car in at least one of your hands, whether you're in the tub, climbing a ladder to a slide, or reading a book.  Your cars/trucks/tractors/trains are never far from reach.  Racing.  Did I mention the racing?  You can run from one end of the driveway and back again for, well, probably days at a time.  And the great thing is, you want us to do it with you.  We also race around the house when it's too cold outside, and when you need a break, you lay down and say you need to do some "feeping" (sleeping), and then 5 seconds later we're at it again.  I'm glad you want us to be a part of your races and your fun.

You're so smart.  I know I'm biased because you're my son, but I just think you are so smart!  You can count to ten (usually on your own terms, not often on command), and you do best when we play hide and seek.  Hide and seek is pretty fun to play with you because you love to find and be found - if you think it is taking us too long to find you, you start growling to draw us in, or just jump out and do that irresistible growl-laugh you do when you're really excited.  Back to counting:  you're favorite numbers seem to be six and seven, but Daddy and I have both heard you count from 1 to 10 without skipping any numbers.  You have a memory like an elephant.  We check out new books every week or two when we go to story time at the library, and before we return them you've got them memorized.  I know this because as I read them I will pause at the end of every other sentence and you will finish it for me.  And you will even mimic the way that I say them (like growling when I say "vroom," or making your voice higher to say "hooray!").  You're getting so good with colors - you've know green, blue, red, orange, yellow, pink and purple.  Even if you tell us that most things are "boon" (blue).  You're a singer, too, you know.  You can't really carry a tune quite yet, but you love when we sing songs, and you'll help us out with the words just like when we read stories.  Baa baa black sheep is probably your all-time favorite, and the one that you request most often, but you also love "ring around the rosy," "popcorn popping on the apricot tree," "once there was a snowman," "I am a child of God," and "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam," among others.  You love to look at books and be read to.  Your favorite books right now are "Bob's birthday," "Go, Dog, Go," Mr. Doodle had a Poodle," "Green eggs and ham," "Monsters, Inc.," and the musical book of nursery rhymes.

For only being 2, you sure have a lot of friends.  Every morning when you look outside and see the Hyers' house across the street, you immediately start asking to play with Hudson.  He may be two years older than you, but you guys play together pretty well.  And little Esther loves playing with you, too.  You always have fun when we meet the Johnson twins at the Tree House Museum, and it's pretty clear that you love playing with Emma while Mom is visiting teaching.  My favorite is watching you play with Maddie ("Mannie"), though.  You run and laugh and play and wrestle and dance better with her than any other friend, and it always sounds like you're being tortured when we have to leave her house.  I'm glad you have so many little buddies, and I hope that it stays that way.  Good friends are important.  They matter.  I think you're also starting to make friends in Nursery at church.  You have come so far since that first awful day at Nursery, when we were both in tears.  You still don't like going to the church, I think because you're worried we will leave you, but as soon as you walk in that door and take your teachers the star with your picture on it, you're happy to be there.  And we love picking you up - it is the highlight of being at church for us.  It was only about two months ago that we asked you what you did, and you actually answered us - you told us that you sang songs, and played with toys and bubbles.  It melted our hearts, and we were so glad and relieved that you were happy about it.  When we're pretending to be on the phone, you always call one of your friends (usually Hudson or Maddie).  You ask them how they are doing, and then you tell them about elephants.  Even when we are really on the phone with someone, like Daddy or grandpa or grandma, you almost always tell them about elephants.  Sometimes we haven't seen or talked about them for days, but it seems they are just always on your mind.

Your favorite foods include pizza, pesto pasta, pickles, pears, oranges (canned or fresh, you love them all!), macaroni and cheese, blueberries, quesadillas, cheese of any kind, hummus (you don't even need chips), tomatoes, goldfish/fishy crackers, bacon, fruit snacks and gummy vitamins, juice, suckers, ice cream, and popcorn.  Oh my, you love popcorn!  You call it "pop pop," and we love making it for you when we have a family movie night.  We also love that you love movies.  It used to be that you only had eyes for Elmo, but your movie interests have expanded to include the likes of animated films as well.  We've gone through long stretches where you'll watch only one movie, but thus far they've been really good ones: Wreck it Ralph, Monsters, Inc., Cars, Frozen, and currently you're quite smitten with Tangled.  I swore, before I had you, that I'd never let my kids watch movies.  What did I know?  We love watching them with you, and seeing you be excited by a story or character.  We love cuddling up on the couch as a little family, and then dancing like crazy to the music that plays during the credits at the end.  You also love to dance like crazy to Daddy playing guitar, but only if it's "loud" and "fast."  You get frustrated when he starts to slow things down or do some finger picking.

Your smile is to die for.  It was Labor Day weekend when you started to really cheese it.  You squint your eyes as much as possible, scrunch up your cheeks, and grin like the silly, goofy boy that you are at your core.  And now when we ask you for a smile, that is what we get.  It never ever disappoints us.

Some things that you really don't like are brushing your teeth, having your hair washed, getting in the car seat (sometimes), when Daddy stops throwing you high into the air, and coming inside before you're done playing.

You love dogs, but still get a little nervous around them.  You love cats so much that I think you might hug one to death someday.  I will try to prevent that for all our sakes.  You love jumping on your bed naked, and you're starting to tell me when you poop and want to sit on the potty.  You love your grandparents on both sides.  You still suck your left thumb and rub your right ear (and we still think that's ok).  You pick your nose and eat the boogers you get out if we don't snatch it away first.  You have one volume: LOUD. You love to help with laundry, and by help I mean make a mess of it.  You like to drive your cars on the inside of the dishwasher.  You laugh pretty hard when we try to kiss you at the same time (3-kiss!), and you love to separate Mommy and Daddy when they kiss each other.  Most nights it takes both of us to get you to sleep, Daddy first, then Mommy.  You've got a great throw (no matter what it is that you're throwing).  You love to help Daddy play the guitar, and you like to use picks to do it.  You also love to sit on Dad's lap and play the drums, and "help" Mommy vacuum.

More than anything, you're a sweet, smart, funny, happy, energetic, and loveable little boy.  You make us the happiest and proudest parents in the world, and you occupy the biggest space in our hearts.  Thinking about how much I love you brings tears to my eyes, and a smile to my face.  Thanks for making our lives what they are - it's sometimes hard to remember what they were before you got here, because they are so much better and fuller now.

Happy birthday, buddy.  We love you.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

november 3

It's been 3 and a half weeks since I wrote this post.  I couldn't bring myself to publish it, but now I feel I need to.  I don't want it to just sit and collect dust where I can't even look back on it.  This is my journal, and I need to have it "out there" as part of my closure.  That seems like the wrong word to use.  Maybe healing would be a better word.  Because I'm still sad, but I'm ok.  I'm healing.  And I'm so happy and thankful for what I have.  3 weeks ago:

I've never had a "worst day of my life."  I can easily think of the best: Marty being born, marrying Richard, Paul McCartney concert with my family.  Those are at the top of the list, anyway.  And I probably could have thought hard to think back on a fight Richard and I have had - there have been a couple of doozies - but I don't know if they would really fall under the Worst Day category, or meet whatever criteria there might be for something like that.  That changed on November 3, though.

Earlier this year, we started talking about when we thought we might like to have another kid.  It was kind of a scary thought, but as time went on, it was something we both knew we wanted.  And as even more time went on, we realized it was something we really wanted.  Like, not just something we felt like we needed to do so that our kids aren't spaced 5 years apart.  We wanted it.  So, I went to the doctor and had him take my IUD out.  About a month went by, I had my first normal cycle, and then we were on our family vacation and Marty was sleeping in the bed with us, so nothing happened right away.  We never had the "let's try" conversation, but I was paying very close attention to when I would most likely be ovulating, and let's just say we had a lot of fun.  As the days went by - if I'm being honest, I was actually counting the minutes as they passed! - I wondered if I might be pregnant, but I waited until well after I should have had another period to take a test.  I even told Katie when we were in Las Vegas that I might be, that I was almost certain that I was pregnant, but I was just a little scared to know for sure.  Because it was something that I wanted so badly that I didn't want to find out it wasn't real.  The week after I got home, I took it.  I didn't know if I should wait for Richard like I did with Marty Boy, and I was so nervous and kind of freaking out, so I just did it while he was at work.  Marty was eating a snack in his high chair, so I went in the bathroom and peed on the stick.  I left it in there for like 45 minutes without checking.  I was too nervous.  I got ready for my volleyball game, got Marty ready for his night home with Richard, and when they'd gone down to watch a movie together, I finally checked it right before I walked out the door.  POSITIVE.  This was a risky move, because if it had been negative I'd probably have been really upset, but it wasn't so I was thrilled.  I ran down to kiss the boys goodbye, and I told Richard there was a surprise for him in the bathroom.  He totally thought Marty had pooped in the toilet and I'd saved it to show him.  Funny how parenthood changes the list of things you get excited about.  Anyway, I was thrilled, and I felt a little weird about telling Richard that way, but I was excited for him to see that it wasn't just a turd in the toilet.  After my game, I looked at my phone, and Richard had sent me the sweetest text message.  I locked it and still have it saved.  I called him right away, and we got to be excited together.  Then when I got home, he gave me a big hug and we snuggled on the couch for awhile.  I apologized for being sweaty, and he said, "but the baby's not sweaty!"  It was fun.  We were really happy.  And we both decided that we were going to wait until we knew the gender until we told anybody if we possibly could.  Or at least until Christmas and then we could tell our families in a really fun way and have it be a fun surprise present for them.  I ended up telling Katie because I'd told her I might be, and my friend Rebecca who lives across the street, who I see almost everyday because Marty is obsessed with playing with her son Hudson, asked me point blank if I was, and I'm the worst liar in the world, so she knew, too.  I made the appointment with my doctor, and they said I'd have to wait until I was 8 weeks, so it would be the first week of November.

I kept feeling pretty normal, except for a week of awful indigestion which could have been from anything.  I also started to feel nauseated in the afternoons, which I chalked up to "morning sickness" or something, neither of which I ever experienced with Marty.  I kept waiting for my boobs to start hurting, because that was the big clue the first time around.  It finally started happening last week.  I still hadn't seen many symptoms, though, and I was starting to be a little nervous, so I took another pregnancy test.  Still positive.  I thought it would be, but mind monsters started getting to me, and I had to do it "just in case."  I was totally relieved.  Especially because I know so many people who have had miscarriages recently.  That always made me really nervous, but my mom never had any miscarriages.  I don't know if that means anything at all, but I remember Dr. Hartman telling me that if my mom got sick I was likely to get sick, and if she got vericose veins that I was more likely to get those, too, so for some reason I just lumped miscarriages with that short list of things that are hereditary.

Last weekend, the weekend before our Monday afternoon appointment, I started to get super excited.  I was basically counting down the minutes until we would get to see our little baby's heartbeat.  I confirmed with Richard that he would be there - he was going to leave early from work and just meet us there.  I asked him if I should ask Rebecca to watch Marty Boy, and he said no.  He wanted our little family to all be there for this exciting thing.

Monday rolled around, and it just felt like 3:00 would never come.  But it did.  Marty woke up at the perfect time from his nap, and off we went to the hospital.  He was a little nervous when we got there, I think because he remembered his old pediatrician's office, but as soon as he realized it wasn't for him, he was fine.  Running around the waiting area, chomping down his pickles I'd brought for his snack, and just being his perfect little self.  When the nurse called me back, I told her that Richard was on his way, and she said we could just get the boring stuff out of the way first: weight, blood pressure, etc.  We did, and Marty was just sucking on a sucker, with not a care in the world.  She led us to the exam room and asked me to take off my bottoms.  I couldn't remember if he'd done an actual exam at our first appointment last time, so I didn't ask any questions.  I just did it.  Marty sat on a chair like a champ, and we chatted while we waited for Dr. Hartman and Richard.  Hartman got there first.  He asked me a few questions, and determined that I was actually 10 weeks along, not 8.  He also said I didn't need to be half-naked because I had a pap-smear at my last appointment, but that train had already left the station.  When he was about to get started, like literally pulling my shirt up to squirt the jelly on my belly, Richard walked into the room.  Perfect timing.  He was all smiles, and I was so happy he was there.  He picked up Marty, and walked around behind Dr. Hartman so that he could see the monitor for the ultrasound.  He moved the thing around a bit, and I couldn't see anything.  He was super quiet.  He said that he was confused, asked who had done the tests.  I told him I couldn't see anything, and that I took two, one just last week.  He said that my bladder was so full it might have been making it hard to get a good angle on things.  I told him I didn't go to the bathroom for a long time because I thought they might need me to pee in a cup.  He backed up, grabbed another wand, and came back over.  He said that he knew I was having anxiety, and he was just going to do a vaginal ultrasound right away to ease my mind because he knew I'd go nuts in the bathroom if he had me go at that very minute.  He was right.  He finally got a good view.  No heartbeat.  Before he even said anything, tears started running down my face.  He took his time, making sure he got it right, but eventually he told us that there was no heartbeat.  Our baby had died at 8 weeks.  Two weeks earlier.  He apologized, said he'd let me go to the bathroom, and then he'd come right back.  I sat up, and Richard came over and hugged me.  I just cried into his chest for a minute.  I got up and went to the bathroom, which was connected to the room we were in, and then went back to the table.  Dr. Hartman came back in, checked again, apologized again, and then started to give us some information.  15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.  That sounded like too much to me.  He told me my options:  wait it out and let my body work things out on its own, or come in for him to do a D & C.  I didn't want to do it alone, who knows when.  I just wanted this nightmare to be over.  I told him we'd check with our insurance and let him know as soon as possible.  He was very nice, and answered all of our questions.  There weren't that many.  I tried to pull myself together, not cry as we walked out of the office, but the second I turned down the hall, the nurse who had walked me back said she was so sorry, and I lost it.  Kept trying to hold it together, but it didn't work.  I'm sure I terrified the two pregnant women in the waiting area as we walked through, and I felt bad, but I also didn't care.

Richard walked me to his car, which I wanted to drive home by myself, and then he took Marty to my car.  I sat there and sobbed, and then I called my mom.  Who didn't even know I was pregnant.  It had been so hard for me not to tell her when she took me to lunch for my birthday the week before.  When I bought a sweater dress and blouse that were just a little too big so that my growing pregnant belly would still fit in them.  She was at work, but I knew she would answer.  She was so sad.  Her voice got emotional, but I don't think she really cried.  At least not while we were on the phone.  She was so sorry, and she said all the right things.  I never stopped crying, not even after we got off the phone.  I started to drive home, though, and when I finally parked in the driveway, I texted Katie to tell her, too.  I thought about tell Rebecca, but I just couldn't.

Marty and Richard were out back picking grapes when I got home, so I went back to tell Richard I was home, and then just went inside and started searching for my insurance card.  I called the company, told them the situation, and the girl told me it was covered 100%, as long as it was "involuntary."  I could tell she felt so bad saying that, because I was still in tears, but I knew she was just doing her job.  It wasn't her fault I lost my baby.  I called Hartman's office and scheduled my D & C for Thursday.  It was the soonest they could get me in.  I also called Jackie.  She had a miscarriage right before getting pregnant with Maddie, and I just felt like I needed to talk to someone who had been through it, too.  I had no idea what to expect from the D & C, and I just needed to be reassured.  She was the perfect person to talk to, and she's been really amazing all week, calling to check up on me, sending me little text messages, and covering for me at our volleyball game on Wednesday.  She really is my best friend, even after all these years.

When the boys walked in a minute later, I told Richard about my appointment.  He hugged me, and I just kept crying.  Marty ran over and started tugging on our legs.  He kept saying "Mama," which eventually turned into "Mommy."  He's never called me mommy.  He started to give me big hugs - he does this when he knows I'm sad - the good kind, where he is the one who holds on longest.  And amid all of the "mommy's" he said, "mommy, wuv you."  He has never said that to me before.  He has said it to Richard, but not quite as clearly as it was this day.  He said it twice.  Richard walked back over to us, hugged us both, and I just kept crying.  This moment was the thing that kept me from shattering into a million pieces.  My sweet Marty Boy.

Richard had a guitar lesson that evening, so he got ready for that.  I usually make dinner while he's teaching, but I was in no mood to cook, so I put a movie on for Marty and drove to Cafe Rio to get us some dinner.  While we were eating, after the guitar lesson was over, there was a knock at our door.  It was my mom, and she'd brought us some pumpkin steamers from Kneaders.  My favorite.  She gave me a hug, but I didn't cry.  Then she sat with us for a few minutes and we talked for a little bit.  I can't remember if I cried the whole time she was here.  I think I was cried out for the moment.  I asked her to tell my dad, because I just didn't want to talk about it anymore.  And then I asked her not to tell anyone else.  It was so nice of her to come over, and I really appreciated just knowing that she was thinking of me.  Later that night, I got text messages from my dad and Sarah.  Both telling me they were sorry and they loved us.  I should have known my mom would tell my sisters.  She told Chelsea the next day.  I just told them both thanks, and not to tell anyone else.  Also that I don't want to talk about it when I see them.  The rest of that night is a blur.  I just can't remember it.

The next day, Hartman's office called and asked if I could come in on Wednesday instead of Thursday.  I said yes, feeling relieved and sad at the same time.  Relieved that it would be over one day sooner, and sad for the same reason.  It was so weird, the timing of that call.  Marty got tired about an hour earlier than normal, and he fell asleep really quickly for his nap, which never happens.  And not five minutes after I left his room, my phone rang.  I'm glad he wasn't awake to see me lose it again.  My mom got to the house for our Tuesday lunch shortly after that, but she only stayed for a couple of minutes.  We worked things out so that she would watch Marty for me, and then she told me to get some rest.  I didn't have much of an appetite, which isn't my style at all.  Usually in an emotional situation I'm an over-eater, but this was different.  I slept while Marty slept, and when he woke up I felt bad for being such a bum all day, so I took him to the Tree House for an hour before they closed.  He had a great time, playing with the trains, checking on the cow and sheep, and even drumming his little heart out.  I hope that my sadness hasn't affected him negatively.  It didn't seem to that day, at least.

That night Richard and I planned for him to be at the hospital when I woke up the next day, but for some reason I just kind of wanted to be alone before the procedure.  That's not really my style, either.  Normally I want to talk about and analyze things to death with him.  But this time I didn't want to dwell on it or talk about it up until the very moment it would happen.  I just wanted to read my book and try to keep my mind off of it as much as I could.  I knew it wouldn't really work that way, but I felt like I just needed some time to myself with this.  I really didn't want to be alone after, though.

The morning of November 5, Marty and I did our normal thing: we ate breakfast together, watched a show and got ready, and then we had to go to the store to get a stupid pill for me to take before the surgery.  He was such a good sport, being super playful and happy all morning.  We went home, and before I knew it my mom was there to pick us up.  I got the diaper bag ready for her to take Marty to Tree House, and then they took me to the hospital.  I checked in fine, but as soon as I sat in the waiting area I started to cry.  When I finally stopped, I read my book for about a minute before they paged me to fill out paperwork.  I cried up at the counter, and then again when my nurse came for me.  She was very nice, and as soon as I sat down in the consultation room, she grabbed my hand and gave me some tissues.  She took my vitals, asked me some questions, and then led me to my waiting bed and asked me to change my clothes.  The next nurse who came in to give me my IV started to tear up when she saw me crying.  She was very nice, too, and it was nice to talk to her about other things.  When she left, Dr. Hartman came in.  He asked how I was, and if I had any questions.  I said I was ok, and that I had none.  He squeezed my foot, and then explained some of the recovery stuff to me.  He said that it was going to be more of an emotional recovery than a physical one, and that I don't need to be examined by him afterward, but if I would like to I can make an appointment to talk with him in about a week.  I'm not going to, but I appreciated it.  I was crying, of course, and he squeezed my foot again before he left.  Those two little squeezes meant a lot to me, coming from him.

I ended up being in that waiting area long enough to finish my book, read the information they'd given me, and then try to take a nap.  I couldn't fall asleep, but I did start crying again.  Luckily it wasn't long before my anesthesiologist came in to start giving me drugs and wheel me to the operating room.  He patted my shoulder as I was crying on our way down the hall, and I kept hoping that I would pass out soon, but it didn't happen.  As they wheeled me into the room I could hear people laughing and joking around.  It was the nurses and staff who were going to be helping with my procedure, and it really made me mad.  As they helped me scoot from my bed over to the operating table, one nurse said, "are you just a little scared?" and I said "no." and kept crying.  I wasn't scared, I was sad.  I was devastated.  I was heartbroken.  But I didn't have to listen to them much longer because the anesthesiologist put monitors on my chest and then oxygen over my mouth and nose, and that was the last thing I can remember before I slowly woke up in the recovery room.

As I was working my way through the fog, I felt tears still running down my face, and I heard someone telling someone else to take me to 2nd phase recovery where my husband was waiting for me.  When I finally got there, I didn't see Richard.  I was really crying, and I asked where he was.  The nurse said she would go get him, and after no time at all he was standing right beside me.  He hugged me and I just cried.  Then he had a seat and asked me about it.  I told him what I remembered, and it was so nice to have him there. He'd had to wait about 45 minutes, and I felt bad that he was missing work, but I was just so glad to have him with me.  Our nurse here was so nice.  She brought me apple juice, and then she brought us both hot chocolate.  I'd been fasting, and even though I don't remember feeling hungry or thirsty, I drank my drinks so fast.  I didn't want to stay there any longer than I absolutely had to, so I changed my clothes, Richard went to get the car, and the nurse pushed me in a wheelchair to the curb where he picked me up.  Then we went home.  Marty was just waking from his nap when we got there, and he was kind of sad, so he came right to me and we snuggled on the couch for a bit.  My mom left to pick up Sarah (who had been walking to our house from the train station because by the time my mom was supposed to pick her up Marty was already napping and she couldn't leave the house) and get us dinner.  We were still snuggling on the couch, and Richard was playing guitar when they got back.  I remember my mom asking about how it went, but I don't think that we talked about it much after that.  It was just nice to have them there, and be a little distracted.  Marty was really excited to have Sarah there, and he was showing off for her big time, running around and jumping on to and off of everything, including Richard.  I was still feeling a little woozy from the anesthesia, and probably just from the day, so I started to lose steam pretty quickly.  When they left, I just wanted to lay down.  Richard fixed Marty some macaroni and cheese for dinner, and then he asked if I wanted to be alone.  I really did.  I don't know why, I just did.  So he took the boy over to Russ's house to do some recording stuff, and I stayed home and laid in bed watching a movie.

Rebecca had texted me while my mom and sister were over, asking if everything was ok because she had seen my mom taking care of Marty throughout the day.  I answered letting her know what had happened, and later that night she came over with ice cream.  Richard and Marty had gotten home, so Richard put him to bed while I talked with Rebecca in the front room.  I was starting to feel a little better, and wasn't near as emotional, so I was ok talking about it.  I was glad to finally tell the only other person who knew I was pregnant what was really happening, too.  I'm so grateful for her friendship, and feel so lucky that we moved in across the street from them.

Since Wednesday, I have felt a lot of different emotions, and I've had so many thoughts go through my mind.  Richard and I have talked about it so much, and we just have so much love for our friends who have had to experience this, some more than once.  He is so confident that we will be able to have another baby, and I want to be that confident, too.  Little slivers of worry and fear are present when I think about it, though.  I am starting to feel a little more normal, but these waves of sadness hit me occasionally and leave me crying in their wake.  It has happened in the car, in the shower, in bed, at the computer, on the phone, watching a movie with Marty.  No warning, just tears.  I've tried to tell Richard how weird it is to feel all of this - normal and heartbroken at the same time.  Like I should start moving on, but not sure how.  He said something that made me truly believe that he knows just how I'm feeling, even if he's not crying about it.  He said that it's hard to move forward when there's not really a sense of closure.  Agreed.  I found these quotes online that describe that feeling pretty well:

"I never knew until that moment how bad it could hurt to lose something you never really had."
"There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes."
"How do you say goodbye when you never got the chance to say hello?"

It's not that I thought I was special.  I knew that miscarriage was a possibility from the very beginning, and that is why we told ourselves that we were waiting to announce it to anyone.  But I think I wanted to believe I was special, and that I wouldn't have to experience it like so many I know have had to.  And I for sure know that I wasn't expecting it.  Even when I was feeling superstitious and nervous, I never really thought that it was going to end like this.  Although I've been wanting to "get it over with" from the moment I knew there wasn't a heartbeat, I just don't want it to really be over.  Because even though I hate this feeling of loss, I also don't want to forget it, and there is nothing for me to remember it by.  I think that is why I'm writing it all down.  I'm documenting it so that there will some proof.  Proof that we did get pregnant, and that we were so excited for our little baby to come.  Proof that our little baby only made it to 8 weeks, but that we didn't know it until 10 weeks.  Proof that although Richard is a rock who is holding me up, that he is also disappointed and sad and feeling a loss just like I am.  Proof that my heart can be so full of love for Marty Boy, but also broken for the little baby I will never know in this life.  Proof that I loved him/her so much even though we never got to meet, and proof that I'm not quite sure how to say goodbye.

I don't think that my situation is harder than anyone else's.  But I think that for me it is especially difficult to have happen now.  Now that I know.  I was so scared of being a mother for so long.  So scared of all of it: pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding, motherhood, marriage with kids.  And while we were busy being scared, we stayed busy having adventures, making memories, being in love, and having fun with just the two of us.  But once Marty Boy came along, he showed us how special life can really be.  The adventures we have with him, the memories we make, the fun that we have as a family (that I am IN LOVE WITH) are special in a league of their own.  My heart is changed, and I love being a mother, with Richard as the father, more than anything I could possibly imagine.  I don't think I could have known what an incredible loss this really is without knowing how special it was going to be to add to this little one to our mix.  I knew it, and now I'm feeling this loss on a more special level than I would if I didn't know it.

I'm going to keep on loving being a mother, with the best father and husband ever.  I'm going to keep having adventures, making memories, being in love, and having fun with my little family.  I'm going to be ok.  Eventually.  And I'm going to keep loving the baby I didn't get to hold or know in this life.

Friday, November 7, 2014

lagoon day

Every summer, my parents' employer hosts a work Lagoon day.  This year they offered to pay for all of us because they really wanted to show Marty off to all of their friends and coworkers.  So, we let them.  There was a little drama with scheduling because although we'd had it planned for months, it ended up being the day that Richard had to harvest the honey from his beehive with Spencer Bowman.  That sadly meant that Richard didn't get to stay for the entire time, but he did get to see and be a part of the very best things that happened that day.

We started out playing the little games set up for families with kids, and then worked our way to the pavilion for bingo and lunch.  Bingo didn't last as long as it used to now that we've got Marty, but watching him stuff his face and cleaning up the mess after him was more fun than continuously losing at bingo anyway.

We hoped that he'd love the rides, but were a little nervous that after we'd let my parents bank roll this day he might hate it all and we'd leave after a half hour.  He loved just about every stinking minute of every ride.

There were moments when his face didn't quite show the level of enthusiasm that I think he was actually feeling.  Like this, for instance.  Not a lot of emotion on that face.  But did he want to get off of that helicopter when it came time?  No way.  Also, I didn't let him suck on every handle bar in the park.  I just tried to pick my battles and be realistic about the gross things that my toddler is inevitably going to do.  It made for a much more relaxing and enjoyable day than it potentially could have been.

I'm sure people thought we were totally obnoxious as we yelled Marty's name and leaned over the railing to wave at him every time he came around on a ride, but we didn't care.  I seriously almost started to cry as I watched him go on his first solo ride.  He was totally fine, didn't need us at all.  He loved it, and he laughed and waved back to us as he went around and around.  It was one of those moments where I have to focus on really enjoying so I don't get sad that he's getting to be such a big boy.  It's a bittersweet thing.  Just a little bit bitter, and whole lot sweet, though.

I swore to Richard that we wouldn't go on the train because the "zoo" that it drives through has "animal cruelty" written all over it.  But when Marty saw the "choo-choo" my soap box disappeared and I HAD to take him on it.  The kid loves trains, I love him, so what was I to do?

I was sad when Richard left because I didn't want him to miss even a second of our son's first amusement park experience, but it kind of wound down quickly after he left.  We rode a handful of rides, went back to the blankets to take a breather and eat some snacks, and then walked around for a bit.

The last ride he went on (two times in a row) was the merry-go-round.  I'm glad we ended on such a good one.  He was starting to lose steam, but this one perked him right back up.

Richard was planning to come back if we thought we were going to be staying late into the night, but I called him and told him not to worry about it.  After running on all cylinders all day long, Marty finally crashed hard-core.  And when my mom and I sat down for a minute because we weren't chasing him around anymore, we realized that we were spent, too.  So, we packed up the car and headed home.

It sounds silly, but Lagoon was magical that day.  That chamber of my heart that magically appeared when Marty was born was beating a million times per minute while I watched him having so much fun.  I love watching him experience something for the first time, and getting to experience it with him.  And I love it even more when Richard and I are both a part of it.  Parenthood is chaotic and hard and tiring and sometimes makes me feel like I am going nuts, but it is also the most special thing in the universe.  It is joyful and funny and fulfilling and completely satisfying, and there is nothing that makes me happier.

2nd annual family trip

Last year we went had an east coast adventure when Richard graduated from the DCELP program in Boston.  We invited our dads, and it was 11 days we will never forget.  We loved that vacation, and we've always said that we want to be a family that makes fun memories and has travel adventures together, so at the end of August, we took our second big family trip.  This time we went to San Diego.  Although Richard and I both decided we wouldn't really want to live there (even if we could afford the cost of living there!), we had a great time.

It all started with a short flight.  Marty was a champ, and I seemed to have packed just the right amount of snacks and toys for all three of us to stay entertained for the entire time.  Next, we hopped on a shuttle to pick up our rental car.  That wasn't anybody's favorite part of the trip.  Not even the second time we went there, on our second day, to trade in the car for one with a working air conditioner.  But I will say it was one of the best decisions we made the entire trip.  No AC = no bueno.

We stayed at a hotel on Point Loma Naval Base, right in San Diego.  Richard was able to get us a screamin' deal because he is an Air Force employee.  We will probably only stay on military bases for the rest of our lives, or at least for the rest of the time Richard works there.  Whichever lasts longer, I guess.  It was that good of a deal, and it was that nice of a place.  It was also within walking distance of a shopping center that we killed a little time at.

The only real plans we made were to visit the San Diego Zoo.  We had recently been the Hogle Zoo with Scott and Megan, but we both wanted to see it, and we thought Marty Boy would love it.  The first thing we did was take a bus tour of the entire park, thinking it would help us get oriented, and that way we could decide what we really wanted to walk around to see.

The park was humongous, and totally overwhelming.  It was incredible, but definitely not easy to navigate.  Even after the bus tour.  We were constantly looking at park maps and  making U-turns.  There is no easy way to make a big loop and just see everything, either.

We spent a lot of time looking at the monkeys/gorillas/apes.  And thank goodness the boy wanted to play on these statues for awhile.  Richard and I were getting to the point where we were kind of over the zoo, but felt like we really needed to stay longer to get our money's worth, and also to show Marty a good time.  Even though he was probably over it, too, because he was throwing A LOT of fits.  Anyway, we took a little break, ate some snacks, and got right back to it.

It was worth every sweaty minute when we got to the elephants.  This kid loved them.  And we loved watching him love them so much.  I think he said the word "eh-fint" (elephant) more than any other word that entire week.

Our other favorite exhibit was probably the hippos and the lion.  They were both huge, and right up close to the glass, and really cool to see.  It makes me sad to say that it was behind glass.  Even though this zoo had amazing exhibits, it was still a little sad to think of all those animals in captivity.  Our tour guide told us that it is a facility that breeds endangered animals, and saves lots, too.  So that's something, I guess.  Anyway, we saw a lot of really cool things, but after like four hours we were ready to call it quits.  So we found a park map, located the gondola ride, and trekked it over so we could get back to the front gates and get the heck out of there.

Richard took Marty and I back to the hotel so we could take a nap, and then he drove around and explored the area a little bit.  Then he took us to a place he thought we'd really like: Mission Beach.  He was right.  Our first stop was a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant.  TO DIE FOR.  Basically my dream come true.  Mine had macaroni and cheese in it, and I loved every bite.

Next, we went over to the pier where all the action was.  There was a roller coaster, lots of rides and games, and even an "indoor" surfing competition.  We watched that for a little bit, but then we hit the jack-pot and took Marty on the merry-go-round.  I know this picture is blurry, but he was so happy, and this is the only one that really shows his smile.  He was so excited!

We let him choose which animal he wanted to ride, and he insisted on this cat with a fish in its mouth.  He loved every minute of it, and frankly so did we.  There is just nothing better than making this kid really stinking happy.

In the mornings we ate breakfast like hobos, with our hands, on the floor.  Except that we were in a hotel.

Our first trip to the ocean was on a private beach at another Naval Base hotel.  There were multiple "campuses" for the base, and this wasn't the one we were staying on.  But it was nice that it wasn't very busy.  We all lathered up with sun screen, and headed straight to the water.  I was shocked that Marty did shove fistfuls of sand into his mouth within the first ten seconds of being on the beach.  And I kept thinking I was surprised it hadn't happened yet, but never said anything out loud for fear I would jinx it.

He loved the water, as long as it wasn't "getting him" too much.  we played in the very shallow waves for quite awhile.

And then a wave finally got him, and he was basically in our arms for the rest of the time we were in the water.

He really loved the salty taste of the water, and kept licking his hands.  

And then, I can't remember if it was Richard or myself, but one of us brought up the fact that no sand-eating had taken place thus far.  Big mistake.  Shortly after, the sand-eating commenced.  Woof.

The combination of the sun, running in sand, and playing in the water pooped our little buddy right out.  But we didn't let that stop us.  A couple of friends had mentioned a BBQ place called Phil's, which was really close to our hotel, so we stopped there for lunch.

Definitely the best local food we ate while we were there.  We should have gone back a second time (when we sadly happened upon the worst seafood of our lives), but we didn't.  Luckily, though, we went the first time, and enjoyed every finger-licking bite.

Later that day, we went to La Jolla to see a bunch of seals.  They wreaked.  Bad.  It was kind of cool to see, but we'd waken Marty from a nap, and he wasn't too thrilled about it, so it really wasn't anyone's favorite vacation memory.

He didn't want to ride in the stroller, and he didn't want to be held.

He also didn't really feel like walking.

It started making us feel a little crazy.

But then we found a little ice cream/bakery called The Baked Bear where they make delicious ice cream sandwiches out of whatever cookies/brownies/doughnuts you want.  I got mine with one brownie, one cookie, and the best birthday cake ice cream ever.  It turned my frown upside-down in no time.

We then headed back to the beach.  I think it was still mission beach, but just a different stretch.  More conducive to actual beach activities.  Pretty sure Marty was happy to be in a giant sand box for so much of our trip.  I really had to just not think about the mess we would eventually be cleaning up from sand being in every crevice of his body, clothing and diaper so that I could let loose and have as much fun as he was.  It wasn't hard to do when this infectious little tornado was by my side.

He made his way under the pier, calling it a tunnel.  We spent the rest of our time that evening running through the tunnel.

This time on the beach was one of the big highlights for me on the trip.  Just taking it easy, no time constraints, and being fancy-free with my boys.  It made me feel lots of good feels.

We met up with Richard's cousin Byron Halsey and his wife Ashley and their kids at the Festival of Sail the next day.  It was downtown at the docks, and they had a handful of actual pirate ships docked for us to tour and explore.

It was a hit, complete with a baby farm animal petting zoo.  Marty was feeling extra shy and didn't really want to participate in that portion of the festivities, but he still had a great time running around with the Halsey kids.

He was not a big fan of the pirates.  But he didn't mind when they gave him a gold coin.  He stuck it right in his mouth. Big surprise.

Richard and Miles got to help raise the sails on one of the pirate ships.  

After the festival, we were all starving, so Byron and Ashley walked us through a farmer's market to one of their favorite pizza places.

And after the tired and hangry (hungry + angry) kiddos had eaten their fill, they were right back to goofing around.  It was fun to watch Marty make new little buddies.  And it really just made me wish that we lived closer to the Halseys because we had such a good time with them.  I hope we can see more of them, more often in the future.

That evening, after naps, we drove back to La Jolla to see the San Diego temple.  We walked around the temple grounds, waiting for it to get dark and for the lights to come on.  I had a very specific "memory" of seeing the San Diego temple when I was in high school, and it involved colored lights.  Like pink, blue and purple lights shining on the temple so that it looked like a magic castle.  Well, we waited around for a bit, but not long enough for many of the lights to come on.  Only normal lights.  Richard didn't believe me about the colored lights, so I called my mom to confirm.  She informed me that it was actually the Disneyland castle that I was thinking about.  No colored lights on any temples.  I could have sworn...

While we waited for my magical lights, Marty made the most of his dad's available ears.  And I don't think that Richard minded one little bit.

We also tried to get the perfect family selfie, which Marty obviously thoroughly enjoyed.  Sorry buddy, you're stuck with us forEVER.

Sunday was lovely.  We slept in, played in our hotel room, and watched the U.S. Open.  I've never really watched tennis before in my life, but I started to really get into it on our trip.  So did Marty.  When we would get home from wherever we'd just been, I'd grab the remote and ask him if he wanted to watch tennis.  Eventually, he started to say "ten-eese" when we walked into the room.  Smarty pants.

We went for a Sunday jog, that eventually turned into a Sunday stroll, that eventually turned into us renting paddle boards in a nearby marina.  I'd seen people doing it, and from day one I told Richard that I wanted to try it while we were there.  I got my wish, and this was by far my favorite thing we did on the vacation.  Originally, we were just going to rent one board and take turns because we weren't sure Marty would like it enough to sit still on the board.  So I went out first.  But by the time I turned around, I saw Richard on a board, and Marty Boy sitting in front of him, loving every minute of it.

We were only out on the boards for about 30-40 minutes, but it was awesome.  I loved doing something new and so different, and having Marty be a part of it with us.  He was such a good sport, and I'm glad that we could make that memory as a family.  It seriously makes my heart swell just thinking about it.

Later that day, we went to dinner at Byron and Ashley's house, and we didn't take a single picture.  The food was delicious (tacos), the kids played together so well, and we just had a really great time.  We stayed until after their kids went to bed, just talking and getting to know them better.  They were so hospitable and generous while we were there.  We have never experienced anything other than those things from any of Richard's family that we've visited on our travels, and those things always end up being some of our favorite things about our trips.

We also went back to Mission beach that day for Richard to meet up with one of his old high school friends, Miles Edwards, that he played in the band Stick Man Riot with.  I think it's safe to say that Marty was pretty tired.  You know he's exhausted when he can't even get the fruit loop all the way into his mouth.

Miles is a lifeguard in San Diego.  That day he was working out of the portable shown in the bottom of this picture.  Richard went down to visit with him, and listen to some of the old tapes he'd found of them performing while I relaxed with a sleeping toddler up on the boardwalk.  It was nice, but I got super hot and sweaty sitting in the sun, so I made my way down the beach, and just so happened to find myself cooling off with another scrumptious ice cream sandwich and The Baked Bear.  Marty woke just in time to help me polish off the last couple of bites, and for Richard to meet up with us and head back to the hotel.

Our last full day of vacation was spent seeing more of San Diego's sights.  We started at some tide pools, that were really cool, but because the tide was kind of high we actually couldn't see them all that well.  Still, it was beautiful scenery, and made for some really great pictures.

I'm not sure if it was the lack of a structured schedule for a full week, or just that he was feeling exceptionally moody on this particular day, but Marty was riding an emotional roller coaster.  He would go from happy and running around like this...

To pitching a fit and collapsing in the dirt like this.  It happened at least twenty times that day.  And probably ten of those were at the tide pools.  It didn't take me long to realize that the tantrums ended faster if I just let him lay on the ground, so I quickly stopped trying to quiet him or get him out of the other tourists' way, and just let him collapse and get it out of his system so that we could get to where we wanted to go in less than 127 hours.  I'm sure people without kids, or who have older kids and can't remember what this phase is like were judging the crap out of my parenting.  But I really hope that those who are in similar stages of life were silently giving me a round of applause. 

We hiked up to a lighthouse that I now can't remember anything about.  Except that the walk up there took five years because of the string of tantrums that occurred along the way.

But we finally made it, and it was very cool to see.

And there were plenty of tiny rocks, so Marty was basically in Heaven.

We had more time to kill, so we drove back to Balboa Park (where the zoo is located) and walked around to see more of those sights until we just couldn't take any more of them.  

Lots of walking, some climbing, lots of playing and some more tantrums.  We were all pooped.

And we were also starving.  So we got way more ice cream than we needed, and kept eating even after we were stuffed.  It was a fun day, but we were kind of grasping at straws trying to think of things to do.  This was a good sign that we planned just the right length of trip and would be happy to get home.

So, we all snuggled up in the queen bed for one more night, and woke up way too early to return the rental car.  It was either come home early in the morning or in the evening, and we thought we'd want some time to recoup from the trip.

We were right.  They both slept the entire flight.  I read a book that I had taken on the trip, which I thought I'd finish in no time, but actually cracked open for the first time on that flight home.

I'm so thankful that Richard has a job that allows me to stay home being a mom full-time, and also allows him to take time off for special family time, not to mention one that lets us live a life that can include these fun family adventures when we stick to our budget and save up.  It was also great that his job hooked us up with the great/cheap place to stay.  I'm glad that Richard and I are on the same page when it comes to family trips and making those lasting memories.  And I love that travel is the thing that Richard and I fell in love with doing together before we added our Marty Boy to the mix.  Maybe someday we'll take a vacation without him, but right now I can't even imagine that.  The trips we've taken with him have been so special.  That is our life now, and I'm so happy that it is.  I love making these memories, and I'm excited to see what new places we go to to make more of them in the future.  I really think we could do New York with a kid(s).  And I think I'm slowly convincing Richard of that, too.  So maybe they won't be new places, but definitely new experiences and memories as the little family I adore and am so happy to be a part of.