Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I am proudly announcing that I have seen the new Twilight movie 3 times in one week. :) Yes, I love it and yes I will be 31 in less than a month. It's not so much the movies, although they are entertaining and the effects are getting better with each movie (in my opinion), I'm in love with the books.
I never was a real reader when I was younger. I would read the necessary books required by the state of Georgia and the education system, but other than that...I wouldn't really read for pleasure. Until I was on bed rest with Matthew. Fortunately for me (and the rest of my family) bed rest only lasted three months (helps when someone arrives 2 months before they were supposed to also - really cuts down the couch time).
My mother had just started her membership into a neighborhood book club. After the news of Matthew's condition, I wanted to do something that kept me from thinking and dwelling on it. It's hard wondering if every minute of the day if your child is alive or has suffocated due to cord compression and lack of amniotic fluid. Needless to say, it ends up taking a toll on your spirit. I had to escape. My mother mentioned a book they had just finished reading in her club - The Other Boleyn Girl. What did I have to lose? I gave it a try.
I got sucked into the pages of drama, lust and death in light of the royal house. Seeing history unfold in a new light about an old story everyone knew. It helped me forget my problems for a moment. I needed that moment; it enabled me to breathe without the pain in my chest and smile without the tears coming to my eyes. I escaped my own drama of life and quickly turned to the other books in the series to keep the masquerade of normalcy up for others to see.
Then Matthew was born. My world turned upside down. Everything I knew about caring for a baby was thrown out the window. He was special with unique needs. How many mothers force upwards for 14 medicines into their two month old, decant formula because the minerals (even in kidney friendly formula) are too high, and create a clean/sterile environment to pulse dialysate into a 4 pound baby for 12 hrs? I don't see too many hands going up... I had to unlearn everything I had learned with William. This kept me busy.
Even though I was busy, the quiet moments would be hard. I still had my child to hold and to love, but mourned the "normal" things in life I wouldn't get to do with him. I had to grieve for the loss of feeding my son. One of the hardest days was when I was told my son was slowly starving himself to death. He was malnourished and due to that developing nutrition deficiencies that are only seen in 3rd world countries. I was told that with his case of rickets - they would have to go in and individually shave each bone so he would be able to walk. Many times I wondered if I had pushed too hard to keep him alive in utero to let him endure so much pain on the outside. It ate away at me.
My bad month was October 2008. Matthew had 6 procedures that luckily were grouped into only 4 surgeries that month. He was NPO 7 times for 12 hours for longer. At his heaviest - he weighed just shy of 10 pounds. He was 4 months old. NPO nights were the worst, I didn't sleep because he didn't sleep. How could he when his stomach was knotting up in hunger? William was 16 pounds at 4 months and lapping up cereals and stage one baby food. Thirty two ounces of formula were NOT enough for him. Matthew would only get 3 oz of formula in before he tired out and went to sleep, waking up 2 hours later for another go. One night he was NPO for surgery the next morning that was put off due to his calcium levels. Twice he was NPO because his potassium was sky high and peritoneal dialysis wasn't working any longer. He was not allowed even the decanted formula because even a few mils of potassium could trigger cardiac arrest. He went 22 hrs that day without taking any food in - I still tear up thinking about his screams.
Yes, October was bad for me. Seeing my son's smooth baby skin transformed into landmines of holes as the surgeons played hopscotch with his PD catheter. And finally demanding that they allow me to feed my son in the only way that would guarantee him nutrition, via his g-tube. I would leave our small room once in the morning when our favorite nurse would come in while Matthew napped and scampered downstairs to eat a donut. I was back in 10 minutes and it only took that long because it was about an 8 minute hike going and coming from the cafeteria. My world existed in that small 6x9 room. My window overlooking the helicopter landing site. I hated hearing that helicopter - I hated what it meant. Some child and their family were going through things much worse than we were.
I stayed by Matthew's side, because I felt it was my job to monitor him, feed him, bathe him. Hold him when his IV blew out, bicycle his legs when the gas from the surgeries got to be too much, and calm him back to sleep after he had cried himself to a state of exhaustion. I needed to get out, but I couldn't leave him. So, I escaped once again.
My mother brought me the newest book they had read in her book club - Twilight. I was HOOKED immediately. Engrossed in the romance, fantasy and teen angst. I was swept into yet another world, this one full of possibilities that one can create in their own mind and world of make believe. I devoured all four books in the three weeks we spent at the hospital. Like I said, I didn't want to leave Matthew physically, but for my own health and heart I had to escape somehow. It through me back to my own teenage years when everything was possible and I was still in search of my white knight. (sparkling skin was optional) ;)
People wonder why I am so engrossed in this saga, why I see the movies over and the books again and again. Because it helps me to escape reality. I think we all need that from time to time. Mommies of special needs kids - maybe a little more than most. It's not just Team Edward or Team Jacob (though I do have my preference!), it's about checking out for an hour so that I can be there for the other 23 hours of day and continue being strong. My kids need me, all kids need their parents. And all parents need their me time. These books helped me when my me time was non-existent, but highly necessary.
Ian is leaving...I don't know when...for the gulf coast soon. I will escape again when I am making my way through single parenthood. Finding time to schedule clinic visits, make therapy appointments and get William to preschool on time. Oh yes, I will escape and I will be a better mother for it.

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