Friday, August 26, 2011

The scare

So yesterday I was getting ready to go into work for some meetings.  Beckett was playing with cars downstairs and Harper was running around the upstairs with me.  She disappeared for a few minutes and came back to the bathroom where I was with something purple running down her chin.  It took me about 30 seconds to realize it was children's ibuprofen.  I ran into her room and found a bottle of medicine 75% gone with splashes on her table and floor.  I ran back to her to realize her little pajama shirt was covered in the sticky sweet medicine as well.

I ran to the phone and dialed Dustin's number three times, each time he didn't answer.  I had no idea how much medicine was in that bottle.  I had remembered Dustin getting up with Harper the night before, he had given her a dose due to a persistent cough we were trying to help her through.  Dustin called back and I told him what happened.  I was so angry... I was so scared... I couldn't believe this could be happening.  Dustin told me the bottle was about half full when he dosed her the night before.  I felt paralyzed, what should I do.  It seems a little crazy in hindsight that I was so paralyzed.  Every day at work awful things happen, people stop breathing, hearts stop beating and I fly into action.  I can handle those situations without every getting stressed or loosing my cool, but this was not like those times.

It took me 5-10 minutes to realize I needed to call poison control.  A very kind soothing voice talked me through the process.  "How much does the baby weigh?"  "How much could she have possibly had?"  After a few minutes the very level headed nurse reassured me that Harper would have had to drink more than the entire bottle to have hurt herself.  Deep breath.

But as soon as I hung up the phone I was overcome with uncontrollable sobbing.  My shoulders shook, I couldn't catch my breath.  Dustin called to say that the pediatrician's office said we needed to call poison control, I could barely pull it together enough to say that I had already done that and everything was okay.

Just like that, it seemed like everything could have changed.  I knew that she was fine and that this situation was going to be alright, but I couldn't stop thinking about the what-ifs.  What if it had been one of my medicines?  What if she had gotten into something that really could have hurt her?  What would I do without her?  How would I go on?  How would I EVER forgive myself?

It seems so clear now how lives can change in just an instant.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Harper Kate- the wonders of 2

Oh how I love certain stages.  If you know me at all you know I love 6-10 months.  Babies are so sweet and cuddly at this stage.  They can sit up on their own, but sweet mother, they cannot move.  Such a fun stage!

In the same vein as 6-10 months is 2 years.  I love this amazing stage of growth and language explosion.  It has been so fun to watch Harper really grasp communication and use it to tell us what she needs and how she feels.

In the last couple of weeks she language has become much easier to understand.  Just a couple of days ago she said, "Mommy, turn on light please."  and "Mommy, Harpie Kate look pretty in dis' dress."  So sweet! That being said, Harper has been a huge challenge on the eating front.  Just when I think we have broken down a wall and gotten her to eat some kind of protein or veggie she is right back where she started.  I would estimate she is still only eating dinner a couple of times a month at this point.  So frustrating.  But I refuse to feed her mac and cheese and grilled cheese every night as she requests!

Things I love right now...

1.  She is an adventurous swimmer too.  She is constantly trying to wiggle away from me in the pool.  This summer she actually ran away from me at the neighborhood pool and straight into the water, crazy. I had to jump in to save her!

2. She loves her baby dolls.  We recently went through the traumatic process of taking away her pacifier.  It is such a hard thing for a mom and dad to do.  Because it means you are messing with sleep, and sleep is so... well... it's wonderful.  But we talked about it for a couple of days and read a book called No more Pacifier for Piggy.  Then we gathered up the pacifiers and put them into an envelope and took them to the post office to "mail" to babies.  Then to Toys r Us for a special big girl present she got to pick out for herself.  She picked a toy she loves at a friends house called "All Gone Baby".  You can feed her food and give her juice.  She loves to do this.  It is so weird that the mothering instincts seem ingrained in her at this point.  She loves on her babies, feeds them, sings to them, covers them up and takes them on walks, so sweet!

3. She loves to sing.  I would say her favorite song is This Little Light.  She is so good about trying to sing along.  She really loves singing Happy Birthday, recently was singing Happy Birthday in the car, she always starts singing it to herself (a.k.a. Harpie Kate).  But this time she sang it to "Mommy Kate" and "Phoebe Kate too.  So cute, she thinks everyone's name is followed by "Kate".

I never believed that I would be a mother to a girl.  Weird right?  I don't know why I didn't think that was in the cards for me, but I couldn't be happier to be Harper's mom, I just hope things slow down a little.  While I love all the changes she is going through I am sad that the smiley little baby is gone.  Just look at this face, wouldn't you miss this phase too?


Beckett is in a very moody phase right now.  It can be hard to deal with, I remember other moms saying that 4 was such a magical age for their children, that all of a sudden they were easier and could handle themselves on their own.  This is not true for Beckett.  The age of 4 has made him much whinier.  And I would argue more sensitive to small things.

For example, I came home from a trip to Chicago for work a couple of months ago.  Within minutes of my arrival Beckett has pulled the curtains down in the living room.  I was pointing out this issue with him when he quietly dropped his head and walked out of the room.  He sat down and just fell apart, crying, sobbing, gasping for air.  So sensitive.  I am not that terribly sensitive of a person, so this has been a challenge for me.  I am constantly toning down my first instincts in responses so as not to break his little heart.

Some things I love about this age...
1. Beckett is loving swimming, he finished a couple of weeks of swim lessons this summer and would go swimming any time, anywhere!  I so enjoy watching him explore the water and get more and more adventurous.

2. He is VERY into picking out his own clothes.  In fact he often gets dressed before even coming downstairs in the morning.  He is constantly asking me if "this shirt is handsome" or which shoes he should wear.  He wants to wear his Royals jersey and soccer uniform EVERY day.  I really need to get more pictures of him in these clothes.  I guess I'm more likely to grab the camera when he is wearing something I would pick!
3.   He is always up for a dance party... got to love a boy who loves to dance!

4. He loves to do art projects.  Tonight for the first time he sat down with the cover of the coloring book and the exact picture from the inside (uncolored).  And tried to make it look just like the cover.  So cute!

5.  Beckett is an amazingly adventurous eater.  He'll try anything.  He never wants to hurt my feelings if I made something new, so if he doesn't like it he'll say, "I liked it mommy.  I just didn't like it so much."  So sweet.

As he rapidly approaches 5 I am so happy that he is not starting kindergarten this year.  I can't believe he is approaching that stage of life already.  It feels like just a couple of days ago that my water broke at JC Penney.  And although this stage has been hard I know it is just a season, so I'll wait for this storm to pass, knowing that if I stay strong in what I want to build in him that this season will pass.

Monday, June 13, 2011


It really is amazing to watch time fly by you, as if it is in a hurry to get somewhere.  Two years ago today I was in a hospital room... feeling frustrated that Harper was down the hall in the NICU.  Because today is her 2nd birthday it seems like a great time to write her birth story and some the things I love most about her in this stage of life so far.

My due date was June 12th, I woke up at 3:00 am on June 13th with contractions.  Up to this point I hadn't really had many contractions (unless I was doing chest compressions in a code, then I contracted every time!).  But this particular morning the contractions woke me up, I stayed in bed through the first hour of contractions, sometimes getting up for the actual contraction or kneeling on the floor by the bed, but as soon as it was over I was back to sleep.  By 4:00 I was awake enough to go ahead and get up and go downstairs.  I figured there was no need to wake Dustin up yet, who knew, this could stop at any moment. At this point contractions were 10 minutes apart.  I watched some mindless TV for a couple of hours, watching the contractions come closer and closer.  Finally around 6:00 am I decided to call the doctor's office and wake Dustin.  Contractions were 6 minutes apart and more intense.  I called the physician's office and Dr. Carter called me back, she said to go ahead and head in and she would see me there.  I got in the shower while Dustin called both sets of parents.  His parents were coming to our house to be with Beckett and mine wanted to come to the hospital.  The shower was great, so much more comfortable!  I got dressed and threw a couple of last minute things in the bag.  We were still waiting for Sharon and Gary.  Around 7:00ish I was outside trying to get through a really tough contraction.  I was bracing myself on the front porch rail and moaning... Dustin stuck is head outside and said, "really, out here?"  I yelled at him to find out where his parents were.  They were getting "close" they said... so I kept breathing through contractions that were really intense now.  Around 7:30 they finally arrived... turns out they were lying about being close before.  I walked down to the car, as soon as it started moving a contraction hit me, I asked Dustin to stop so I could stand next to the car, it felt so awful sitting still while in pain.  After the contraction we were on the road, I dreaded each contraction I had to endure in the car, I tried to breath and change positions, but mainly I remember squeezing Dustin's hand and asking him to put really hard pressure on mine to distract me.  We got to the hospital around 7:50, Dustin ran to get a wheelchair, I told him I could walk but was secretly really thankful he went to get it.  He pushed me quickly down the hall and through the maze that is St. Luke's to get the L & D area.  On arrival the nurses were expecting someone by a VERY different name, I think it was "Pam" something, apparently I hadn't done a very good job stating my name when I talked with Dr. Carter.  They took me to a triage area to check me... I got undressed and the nurse put monitors on me while going over the basics of what number baby this was, who was my Dr., what was my due date, etc.  I can remember her asking if I wanted pain meds and if so what kind.  I told her, "if this is what 4 cm feels like I want an epidural".  She tried checking me twice and couldn't ever feel the back of my cervix, but she told me she was pretty certain that I was at 10 cm and ready to deliver.  Crap!  I was nearly that lady giving birth in her car on the side of the highway... glad I made it!  She uphooked the monitor and asked me to follow her across the hall to a delivery room.  As I made it outside the triage area my water broke in the middle of the hall... damn.  On to the delivery room where I remember asking to stay out of the bed, all pain is worse while lying in bed, but the nurse really wanted to get a look at the baby's heart rate.  So I lay down and within 5 minutes was pushing.  I will admit it didn't go as fast as I wanted, I think I pushed a total of 20 minutes.  Every contraction felt like an eternity, I just wanted someone to pull the baby out.  I felt exhausted and like I could never do this.  I'm pretty sure I expressed all of this with a few curse words throughout.  Dr. Carter arrived and I remember asking where was Lee, my midwife.  Dr. Carter said that she could call Lee but she knew she was on a camping trip with her family and would not make it in on time.  I remember asking for something for pain but then when it arrived was clear enough to say that I didn't really want it.

Finally at 8:21 on June 13th she was here.... perfect, pink, screaming and a GIRL.  I was utterly shocked.  I was just sure I was having a boy, but here she was.  We were so lucky that St. Luke's has a policy about leaving the baby skin to skin with mom for 1 hour after birth.  I just lay there with her, studying her, talking to her, nursing her and soaking it all in.

When it was over I remember feeling kind of embarrassed that I hadn't really even introduced myself to my nurse or physician.  So as Dr. Carter was doing my "repair" work I can remember looking over my legs and saying, "hi, I'm Kristin Sollars, it's nice to meet you."  and launching into chit chat about how she had delivered my friend Theresa's baby just a few months ago.  I can remember introducing myself to my nurse and telling her I worked here at St. Luke's too.

I can remember Dr. Carter collecting cord blood since we had opted into a new cord blood banking process that had been set up at the hospital.  I can remember my nurse sticking me twice to get an IV started to give me antibiotics since I was GBBS+.  After our hour as a family my sister, brother in law, dad and mom came into the room.  Everyone knew I was having a girl but my mom who wanted to find out when I did.  When I announced it was a girl she was so excited she just started screaming and crying, to the point that one of the nurses started crying too... so fun.

We all passed Harper Kate around, talking about the delivery and ohhhing and ahhhing over how perfect and amazing she was.

She was eventually taken away for her bath which was when she had some trouble breathing that eventually lead to lab draws and a 4 day trip to the NICU.  But that experience is for another day.

Today I marvel at Harper.  She is such an amazing little person.  I love her curly thick hair and I hope she always thinks it is as beautiful as i do.  I love her BIG blue eyes and the funny way she wrinkles her nose when I take her picture.  I love her fat little girl arms and legs.  I love the way she runs and could watch her run around the playground all day long.  She is so in-love with her babies and wants to dress them, push them around in their stroller, feed them and give them a pacifier.  She loves her paci too, something we will have to get rid of this summer for sure, but for now it is so sweet and I love that it is one of the only baby she has left.  It cracks me up when she comes to tell me she had a poopy diaper and needs a change.

Her eating habits could make me scream.  She really only likes to eat bread, cheese and fruit... in short if it isn't that great for you she loves it.  But I know that one day her tastes will change and this too is only a short season of our lives.  She loves to rock in the rocking chair in her room, looking at books and singing, "this little light of mine."  She LOVES her brother, she follows him around and repeats what he says all day long.

Yesterday she took about 20 rubber ducks out of a bad following a baby shower and lined them up in a perfect line by the front door, she was so meticulous and proud of what she had accomplished, I loved watching her work.

From the first minute she has reminded me that she has her own time table and way of doing things.  I love you Harper, from the first minute I lay eyes on you... to just a moment ago when I put you to bed.  You make me smile.  You make me laugh.  You make my life complete.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Harpie's Mommy"

I feel like I haven't really seen the kids for days, with a fun girls weekend followed by me working the holiday and the 2 days after that besides kissing them when I get home I haven't really had much time with them.

But yesterday Dustin was working out early so I got the kids ready for preschool/daycare.  As I was dressing Harper and putting on her shoes she leaned forward and hugged me with her adorable little fat arms, probably my first actually hug from her (up to this point she mainly just laid her head on me when I asked for a hug).  As she hugged me she said, "Harpie's mommy."  What?  "Harpie's mommy."  Me, "Harper and Beckett's mommy."  Harper, "No.  Harpie's mommy.  Beckett and daddy."

Cracked me up!  Apparently we are making gender decision lines in our house already!  So sweet!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What the mama bird taught me....

So right outside of our kitchen window is the greatest magnolia tree, at least that's what I call it.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed a robin had built a nest right by the window.  For the past couple of weeks I've watched the adorable mama bird snuggle into the nest knowing that she must have some eggs that she was keeping warm on those cool spring nights.  I was desperate to show Beck the nest and eggs, we watched the bird from the kitchen for a couple of weeks and finally convinced Dustin to get out the ladder so we could peek into the nest.  Sure enough there were 2 baby birds in the next with one unhatched perfect blue egg.  What fun!  Such a fun chance to talk to Beck about babies and how different animals take care of their little ones.

But that mama bird really got me thinking.  One night while washing some dishes I watched her fly back to her nest and promptly feed her little ones.  I started thinking about the different phases of "feeding" my babies.  From the endless nights of breast feeding, to the transition to bottles and feeling bad about not making it to a year breast feeding either little one.  To making baby food for cute little chubby babies who screamed in their high chairs.  To really struggling with Harper and how she refused to eat anything but fruit and carbohydrates.  It is ingrained into us as mothers to nourish our little people.  Every creature does it, so no wonder I find myself obsessed with how to feed Beckett and Harper the very best things I can.

This week Harper ate her first meat without it being hidden in something else.  Since she was 9 months old I have been placing meat and veggies on her plate with every meal... and for a year and a half she has not touched a single bite.  I wish I was being dramatic, but really, she doesn't even put a bite in her mouth, she absolutely rejected all meat and veggies.  So imagine my surprise when I turned around this week to see her take three big bites of turkey off of her dinner plate and eat them.  Sweet relief.  I hope this sticks.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

So what does it mean to be building a cathedral?

A sweet friend, Lindsey, sent me a great e-mail a while back that I totally found uplifting.  Here it is...

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from  England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of  Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To  Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.  At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're going to love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Since receiving this e-mail I have found myself thinking back to how amazing the work of a mother can be.  I am especially reminded of this on the days I am clearly "carving birds" in places no one will see.  Those are the moments that matter the most, the times when I have a teachable moment with Beckett or Harper that no one will see or ever really know about, but those are the moments that I get to help build the parts of them that will matter the most later on in life.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why blog?

So Dustin has been asking me for months why I haven't started my own blog.  It's true that I do enjoy reading other people's blogs I wasn't really all that sure that this was right for me.  But the reality is that I am forgetful... and my mind is full of "important things" all day long.  I spend a ton of time remembering patient details, medical histories, plans of care, medication details, shopping lists, birthday lists, car repairs and other stuff that I forget about the phase of Beckett's life when he would say, "have it", "touch it", "hold it" for everything he wished he could get his little 2 year old hands on.  So this will be my way, my way of remembering those little things that I don't want to loose about the most important people in my life.  This will be my place to remember funny moments between Dustin and I, hiking adventures with Beckett and the trials and tribulations of trying to get Harper to eat something besides carbohydrates, because one day I will forget just how hard I've been working to feed her!

This is the document of how I am building a cathedral that I will never see finished in the lives of my children.