We haven’t gone to the beach, or anywhere really, which to me is usually the mark of a great summer, but I think I’m actually having one of my best summers ever. Summer is sort of an abstract concept to me, these days, but it really only relates to the weather. My life is no longer measured in semesters. Claire’s developmental preschool is year round. My husband doesn’t get summers off from the ER, despite my never ending disappointment that only students get a summer break. And after getting over my weirdness about planning fun for just Etta and me because of “guilt” about Claire being “left out,” Etta and I have kind of gotten into a little routine.
On Mother’s Day, I had the amazing experience of reading part of my story in the Listen To Your Mother Show here in Little Rock. Now, even if you weren’t there, you can see my story and the rest of the amazing stories from around the country, thanks to the magic of the internet and You Tube. Today, I’m posting my story here, but I encourage you to watch some of the other videos too, from Little Rock and around the country. And, coming soon, for the first time, my husband will share his version of this story, both from the perspective of the man who was holding our baby girl next to my bed when I went into heart failure, and from the perspective of a doctor, who probably would have intubated me himself while we waited for the code team to arrive, if there had been a crash cart nearby. Luckily, he didn’t have to. Blessedly, all was well.
Here’s the story of how I discovered I have the heart of a mother:
I’m friends with a lot of hippie types who love the earth and animals and kale and stuff. I love all of those things too. But something that puts me at odds with some of those folks is: I take my kid to the zoo on a weekly basis. And it’s actually become one of my favorite things to do.
I love the zoo because it’s a great place to take my toddlers and also get some social time in myself. It’s outside, so Etta in particular is happy right off the bat. There are animals all over the place for practicing our words and animal sounds. It feels free, because we bought a membership, for what I thought was a very reasonable price. There’s a really great, fairly accessible playground where I can literally just sit on a bench and my kiddos can get themselves up and down the slides, even Claire. The entire place is stroller/handicap accessible. The food prices are reasonable, and they give members a discount. There’s a train and a carousel. And, most importantly, I can meet up with a posse of other moms, and we actually get to chat and hang out as we push our caravan of strollers around the zoo. Continue reading
The things kids do on their own that no one has ever shown them have so far been one of my favorite things about parenting. They really do rub their eyes when sleepy. They really do say “nom nom nom” while eating, even though they’ve never seen LOLcats. And sometimes, they show me the roots of cliched expressions. Continue reading
Many of you are probably aware of the fact that I almost died three days after I had my babies. I experienced an often-fatal complication called peripartum cardiomyopathy, something I had never heard of until it happened to me, but according to The Daily Beast is actually on the rise. The first sentence of that piece, where the woman describes feeling like her head was being held underwater, just felt so true to what I experienced as well– I often describe it to people as feeling like I was drowning inside my own body. As my heart went into failure, my lungs literally began to fill with fluid, and I could actually hear it crackling as I struggled to breathe, before I was sedated and intubated and moved to the ICU. Thank GOD I was still in the hospital 3 days postpartum, because there was a code team ready to save me. If I had not asked for one more day inpatient to work with the lactation consultant on breastfeeding, I could have very easily been at home, where I might have died. (After my near-death, I was put on some serious medicines which meant my breastfeeding days were over, but you could say that my desire to breastfeed saved my life!) Continue reading
Today, Etta and Claire’s nursery (in our old house) is featured along with several other twin nurseries in a post on Parents Magazine’s website. That nursery was a real labor of love, and everything in it besides the cribs and bedding was handmade, reused, or repurposed. It will always hold a special place in my heart as the place we first brought our babies home. Timehop just reminded me the other day that two years ago was the girls’ first night in their room in their cribs– they were ready at 3 months, but this mama slept on a futon in there for a week! Time has flown! Side note: does this mean I can add “design work featured by Parents Magazine” to my resume? Ha!
A year ago we said goodbye to our little rental house and moved in to a place of our very own. When we moved, the girls’ room was the first priority– I wanted them to feel comfortable and at home right away. The biggest difference between their first nursery and their current toddler room is that we left the navy floral wallpaper behind, and had their walls painted a lovely lavender. We’ve also ditched the crib sides for toddler beds (love that our WalMart BabyMod cribs converted so easily!), and added things like pillows and comforters now that we don’t have to worry about them smothering in their sleep (seems like just yesterday swaddling was my gospel and pillows were the enemy, now they have actual bedding!). I gave you a peek when we first moved in, but here’s their room as it looks today. Like, right this minute– I found out that the Parents post had gone live and tidied up a bit so I could show you how the nursery has changed to suit two two-year-olds.