I got a really awesome, phenomenal Christmas present this year. And now I need to know what you think about programs to archive, share, and (obviously) blog video clips.
For those of you who
haven't been obsessively clicking refresh at Julia's live in a hole, Julia's twins are here! A boy and a girl! After eleven miscarriages and thirteen pregnancies, she's finally got a full house. Un. Freakin. Believable. Way to go 13s!
When I was in junior high, I watched a man on a TV news magazine (60 Minutes is my guess because it was prior to the advent of the myriad of others) talk about the future of computers. He was a "futurist" and my dad and I listened avidly as he talked about the changes that were to come.
Our family computer was used for three main purposes at the time: playing a game in which you tried to build up civilization while some evil force tried to destroy it; checking e-mail, which was a very new phenomena; and writing my essays for school. My school had computer labs. We were learning to use DOS code to "draw" clunky square-based pictures (you know, because it's so useful), and how to type proficiently (okay, that one paid off). Most of my friends' families had a computer, too, and they were used much for the same reason as ours. Tetris. But we also knew many, many people who did not have a computer, and given the somewhat frivolous applications at the time, I didn't envision them investing in one anytime soon.
Which is why I was amazed when the futurist proclaimed that in the future, every family would have a computer. And that the computer would function as their portal to the rest of the world. There would be this "place" where everyone could "meet". We would find recipes, pay our bills, and "talk" to one another - all without ever stepping foot outside our front door. His eyes went all dreamy as he spoke and you could see him turn into his five-year-old self, geeky though he was, right there in front of you.
I was dubious. It sounded about as likely as the jet-packs promised to my father's generation. And, frankly, I told my dad, even if it did come to pass, it sounded sad and lonely. Who wanted to sit, cooped up in their house, performing all the functions they used to do in person but without ever coming eyeball-to-eyeball with another human being.
And why in the world would I want to "meet" someone in this non-existent "place", rather than go out and make friends with people I could size-up, and eventually hug? I raised my eyebrows in my patented family expression of doubt, rolled my eyes, and dismissed the whole thing.
Of course, now we know why he was the paid professional "futurist", and I was, well, a junior high kid.
Four years ago, on the eve of a new year, I decided I needed a new start. I needed to reach out in the ether and connect to others who had been through some of the same things I had. And the only way I could access them was in that very "place" the futurist had described decades earlier.
My blogging career, as it were, began at a precarious time in my life. It came at the end of what was easily the worst year of my life. A year that entailed trials and loss that many never endure - let alone endure in such a small space of time. As my bio detailed, I had lost three children, moved to a new home, and began a new career. I had endured numerous surgeries. I had become pitiable - something this perfectionist had never, ever seen coming.
And I was crazy.
I don't mean that in a funny, "man, you were really out there!" kind of way. I mean I had lost my mind. I was at the bottom of a big hole of grief and I did not know how to pull myself out. I was not sane. The "me" who began blogging four years ago was still in the thick of it: full-blown post traumatic stress disorder. I could not hold a thought in my head. Todd had to constantly repeat facts for me, up to a dozen times a day, and still I could not repeat back to him whatever sentence still hung in the air.
And the flashbacks were nearly crippling. One minute I was standing in the shower, and the next I was there in the hospital bed, holding Thomas and staring at his closed eyes. Or I was frantically tying on my tennis shoes in my bedroom while I sat on a red towel with my pants unbuttoned, trying to organize an emergency trip to the ER without rousing my sleeping relatives while I hemorrhaged over Thanksgiving. And then I would come to, and not know how much time had passed. Which is fine when you're in the shower - but not while you're pulling out into the "chicken lane" and crossing traffic.
Ironically, I did not talk about those things when I first began blogging. I was not ready to be vulnerable in that way. Not here. Not out in the open for everyone to see. And yet, I was ready to share something: my anger. And there was plenty of that.
Those early entries are bitter and sharp-edged. And there isn't much forgiveness for anyone who strayed into my line of fire. But it was necessary. I needed to put that anger somewhere, and I had only just found someone who showed me how. It was getupgrrl.
At the time of my third loss, I was part of several online message boards. I'd moved from "Due in March" to "Loss Support" to "Pregnancy After Loss" back to "Loss Support" back to "Pregnancy After Loss" and then finally to "Multiple Miscarriages". And there, Ollie posted about a blog she'd found called Chez Miscarriage. She warned that it was dark, but funny. And dead-on for the inexpressible grief and anger we all felt.
Chez Miscarriage was only a few months old at the time and I breezed through the entries in an hour. After ravenously awaiting new posts from getupgrrl for a few weeks, I decided I should get me one of those new-fangled blog things. So I did. And I focused what little energy I had on being crafty and strong and witty. And unleashing the anger and ire. And I found a whole network of other women who were doing the same thing. And I cannot underestimate how it changed me.
I also began seeing a therapist. And she told me I was crazy - which I needed to hear. And she told me to slow down. And my new doctor told me to slow down. And so I finally did.
And into that void of quiet stepped a whole world of women who were as real to me as if I'd met them over dinner. Better, in fact. Because in this "place" called the internet, we were more real, more honest, and less guarded than in real life. We had conversation about topics we could never have with our friends and family because they had never been on this path. We said hard things because we knew we would be understood for feeling so dark and unyeilding.
Slowly, my sanity began to return. Because my therapist and my newfound friends began to help me take it one moment at a time. They told me it was not only okay to be crazy, it was mandatory. And they said they would help me move through it instead of skipping over it.
Even though the vast majority of these new friends had not been there to witness me move through all that loss (though some of you did), they stuck around. And they held on as they watched me heal.
Recently, blogging as a phenomenon seems to have caught the attention of nearly everyone. It is now a subject of dissertation. A media trend. An advertising venue. A source of news and community. And as such, I've been contacted here and there to participate in groups or studies about the effect of blogging on this or that. Which got me thinking:
Without blogging, I never would have known exactly how full of it my first RE was.
Without blogging, I never would have had the courage to tell her to cancel my surgery and transfer me to her partner, thankyouverymuch.
Without blogging, I never would have know about Asherman's Syndrome and what questions to ask of my new RE.
Without blogging, I doubt I would have come back from my first scar-removal surgery to get pregnant with Hannah.
Without blogging, I would never have known that I was at a high risk for placental problems, or that they could be diagnosed via MRI. I would not have demanded to have one, and would have simply tried for a vaginal delivery. I would have almost certainly lost my uterus and potentially could have bled out.
Without blogging, I never would have had the courage to try for Caroline and endure the fear of another pregnancy and delivery.
But most importantly, without blogging, my life would have been infinitely smaller. And lonelier. And sadder. I would not have all of you.
In a Christmas card from a friend, I was recently reminded that happiness is a choice. It may not be a simple "yes" or "no", but it is a series of little choices that brings us around to happiness or sorrow. My friend told me that when she receives and e-mail from me I always look so happy. And she's glad that I keep choosing that path. I think she's right. And I thank all of you for making that possible - for lighting the way with your own stories, words, and yes... even cyber-hugs.
My hat is off to you, Mr.Futurist. You could not have been more right about this wonderful new world, filled with as much warmth and human touch as the old.
Thursday morning we took Caroline to see the GI doctor. I was, unfortunately, so addlepated from weeks of sleep deprivation (see also: swampbutt, horrible cold from hell, and load of word deadlines) that I was unable to fully grasp the nuances of her explanations.
But here's what I did get:
- She believes some degree of lactose intolerance is normal and even purposeful in the human infant. But there is a downside: the vicious circle that ensues if a baby receives an overload of lactose. In our case, this likely began with my oversupply issues. Baby gets too much foremilk (high in sugar and lactose), which irritates the digestive tract lining. This, in turn, causes the lining to become less efficient at breaking down lactose. Which causes an even greater buildup of lactose in the system. Which causes more irritation and even less efficiency... "I am Henry the Eighth, I am!" You see where I'm going, yes?
- The overall effect of this irritation is a digestive tract that's loaded with acid, acid-loving bacteria, mucous, and yes, blood. It turns the baby's system into a veritable water-park slide, sending food out the end with only the fairest blush of any digestive processing or absorption.
- The acidity, gassiness, and reflux are all part-and-parcel to this, and all cause discomfort.
- The digestive system's immune response serves a different purpose than that of the rest of the body: it is supposed to learn to accommodate rather than kill off. This is because the infant's digestive tract is trying to get ready for the food it will be eating in a short time. Whatever is coming through mom's milk is the diet the baby itself will be consuming, so the GI tract tries to get friendly with it's various components, bacteria, etc., rather than rejecting it.
Original Plan of Attack, or Operation SLOW DOWN, as I'm now dubbing it:
- Continue to keep milk out of my diet. The doctor agrees with me that the fact that milk elimination has thus far led to no improvement indicates that it probably wasn't the original source of the problem. (We're also factoring in that Caroline show no other signs of allergy, like rash, or stuffy nose - okay, cold aside, and that no one in our family has ANY food allergies.) However, it would not be wise to add more lactose into the equation at this point. So until Caroline's system recovers, it's no dairy for me. (Can I tell you how much this is killing me during Christmas. Killing. Me.)
- Continue with Zegerid. I'm using the new recipe the GI gave me, which is the same concentration, but diluted with water and Cherry Supreme Mylanta. This version also lets us cut out the Maalox as a separate dose. She also explained how the Zegerid works, using the sodium bicarb to knock out some of the acid, thus giving the active ingredient (which is the same as Prilosec) a fighting chance at absorption.
- Introduce soy formula. Funny story: I mentioned to the doctor that I wrote this blog and that it was a source of great information from other mom's who've been in similar situations. She took down the name of the blog, so she may actually be reading this (Hi there, Doctor S!). But she wanted to be clear that she is in no shape or form anti-breast milk. I believe her. But given that, Operation SLOW DOWN is aimed at getting Caroline's digestive tract to, well, slow down. And a heavier formula does that, whereas breastmilk - particularly the kind I'm brewing up this time - does not. We were to start off with a sip or two and move up to one ounce. Then we were to start alternating full feeds, one breast milk, one formula.
- At five months, begin rice cereal. Again, solid food goes a long, long way toward slowing things down. Not to mention, it gives Caroline a chance to absorb some actual nutrients. (Did I mention she was more than a pound and a half lighter than Hannah at the four-month check-up? And longer, to boot.) Hannah began rice cereal at five months and it coincided with the end of her horrific reflux. No way of knowing if there was a causal link, but it stands to reason.
Actual Plan of Attack:
- Caroline despises formula. It matters not if it's regular, soy, or caviar-priced Nutramigen. She rejects it with all of her being. Just ask my mom who had to call us out of a movie with friends to come home after nearly an hour of inconsolable wailing.
- Because Caroline is a mere week away from being five-months-old, I made an executive mommy decision: proceed directly to rice cereal.
- We began the rice cereal yesterday afternoon, fully aware that if she wasn't ready for solids, we'd simply retreat and give the formula another go. But, fortunately for us, she seems to love rice cereal as much as Hannah did and is easily consuming two or three teaspoons at each feed. Last night, she woke as often as she has been (which is to say every three or four hours), but only ONE poop! It was still liquid, but it had no mucous and had some YELLOW in it! YELLOW! We haven't seen that in more than a month and a half! It's the first night in weeks that she's woken up in the same jammies she went to sleep in.
All in all, I'm thrilled to have a plan. I'm even more thrilled at the idea of getting my contagiously happy Caroline back. And... sleep. Oh, how I dream of it.
For the first time in her three Christmases, Hannah is finally diggin' Santa.
She briefly considered wigging out, but watched Caroline and after seeing that Santa wasn't going to eat her, gamely sat on his knee. After a bit more furrowing of the brow, she finally conceded a few smiles for the camera and told Santa her heart's deepest desires... apparently a pillow and a blanket. Easy 'nuf.
Since Caroline's too young to care in the slightest who holds her, her turn was painless. It may be the only time we get both girls smiling at the 'ol man for the next few years.
How'd your wee ones do?
Caroline's baptism is this weekend. It kind of snuck up on us... just like everything else lately. I cannot believe it's about to be 2008, for example. Aren't we supposed to have a colony on Mars and cars that run on water by now?
Anyway, Caroline and I are quite sick with a cold we caught from Todd, who caught it from Hannah. It's been two weeks of non-stop fun here, with no real end in sight. I've also got crazy amounts of work which I've been tackling between the hours of 9:00 and midnight instead of slumping in bed with a box of tissues as any good invalid would.
But I digress. A lot, I know. Where was I? Oh yes, baptism. This coming weekend, which is, as you know the weekend before Christmas, was the only one that allowed my parents to be in town at the same time as both Godparents. So that's what we're going with. Plus, I think it's really neat to have it so close to Christmas - two happy celebrations.
Yesterday I got out my baptism dress and bonnet to make sure they fit Caroline. She's 4.5 months now, but the dress was hand-sewn by my mother and grandma and I wore it as a 3-week-old. Hannah wore it as a 6-week-old. Fortunately, Caroline's imminent good humor made the trying on and subsequent picture-taking quite painless. The good news: it fits!! Well, the bonnet, not so much. But close enough for the few minutes she'll have it on her head.
The bonnet, as my mom pointed out, was my mother's "something new" handkerchief at her wedding, then my bonnet, then my "something old" handkerchief, then Thomas's, Hannah's, and now Caroline's bonnet.
There are more pictures, as usual, on flickr. Now I just have to figure out some food for the gathering at our house afterward...
Funny story: I couldn't figure out how to turn off the flash when I was taking these, and I didn't want to risk losing her good mood while I figured it out, so I simply covered the flash with the palm of my hand for most of these. It kinda burned. :)
A look back at Hannah, courtesy Shelba:
I can't be stopped, people! I'm gonna talk about it AGAIN! That's right: Caroline's poop. (Be thankful I haven't yet resorted to posting a picture, folks.)
I've been off dairy for a week and four days. No improvement. The second round of stool cultures showed no cooties of the variety they test for. So I asked for next steps. My two pediatricians put their heads together and decided another round of tests were in order, in addition to a third round of cultures. I tried my best to gather samples, but when I brought them in yesterday it was nowhere near enough. But my main pediatrician did get to see the poop for the first time and was somewhat alarmed. She tested it there in the office for occult blood and said it was, "VERY positive for blood." Her emphasis, not mine.
She said we needed to see an GI specialist, but warned me that it may take four to six weeks to get in. Apparently the GI doc she wants me to see is swamped (ha!) right now because her two main colleagues are about to go on vacation, which means she's handling all pediatric GI situation for the whole city. The thought of watching my daughter poop blood for the next month, all while knowing she's apparently been pooping blood for a month and a half already, well it didn't make for restful sleep last night.
Nor did the new system we're trying for poop collection: any of you ever have to use the little adhesive baggies to get a urine sample from an infant? Well, we're trying that for poop. The first attempt last night was an utter failure. And now Caroline and I both have a cold, which I'm hoping isn't the same strand Hannah had last week, because that was awful.
But this morning, I was relieved when my doctor's office called to say they'd managed to get us in with the GI next week!! Huzzah!
In the meantime, we're going to try Zegrid. Anyone had that? My pediatrician feels that if we've tried Zantac, Prilosec, Maalox, and Zegrid, eliminated dairy, had an upper GI, and done three rounds of stool cultures - all to no avail - the GI will have a much better starting place for her diagnosis.
Needless to say, it's been a whole lot of fun around here lately, what with all the sickness and stool samples. I cannot wait to find out what's troubling Caroline so we can get her back to being the happy, bubbly baby she truly is. Even with all that's going on, you need only to utter a few high-pitched words and coos to get the most fabulous, gummy, beaming smile. She's such a trooper.
And not everything is poopy around here. Later I'll post about our trip to see Santa!
For those of you who haven't the foggiest what I'm talking about, last night's show was about a family who's two-year-old had arthrogryposis and a skeletal disorder. I missed the first minutes, so I'm not completely clear on the details - like whether or not they received their diagnosis prior to delivery - but I did hear them say that originally he was not expected to live.
This little boy's severity was closer to Thomas's than anything I've seen documented on television so far. Though still, Thomas's was worse. Watching shows like last night's is difficult in a number of ways, primarily because it begs comparisons. It is inevitable for me and anyone who's heard my story (and can manage to remember the term "arthrogryposis") to watch and wonder. And then the questions come. And the questions are sometimes valid, but sometimes they aren't. Because at the end of the day, their son is not Thomas, and Thomas is not their son.
I was so happy for that family: that their boy lived; that they were given a new home that helped them survive; that he had an older brother to interact with; that they felt blessed for every moment they've been given. And I was jealous. Jealous of the smiles he was able to give.
But I was also relieved. Relieved because of the reality of their situation and what I can extrapolate would have happened to us, had Thomas some how been able to survive until birth, and then managed to live for a few years. Watching the few things their son could do only reminded me that Thomas would not have had even that. Thomas's arms were fixed in a straight position, not bent, as their son's, which meant he would not have had use of his arms. The clubbing of Thomas's hands and feet was more severe, too. And surgery likely would never have been an option because Thomas's bone density was already so compromised.
And that's to say nothing of all the daily life-saving measures - the trach tube, the feeding tube, the colostomy bag, the physical therapy. I watched that mother's fear over their limited access to suction for his trach and my heart melted. We lived (and still do ) in a two-story home. Because stairs are out of the question, we would have had to build some sort of bedroom in the open dining room. The debt from medical bills would have bankrupted us, as it nearly did without any bills beyond his birth. We would have been unable to move to an appropriate house. I would never have begun my freelancing career - or any career, for that matter. Siblings would have been out of the question.
And then there's the aspect that scares me most: the pain. I did not hear this family address it specifically, but at least as often as he smiled, a grimace crossed their beautiful boy's face. He was bright - in possession of all his mental faculties - but unable to communicate beyond a few attempts at sign language (which again, Thomas could not have done). I remember that the physical, mental, and emotional pain of our son were Todd and my greatest fears as we tried to decide what do.
I am quite sure that those who disagree with our decision to end Thomas's life will see this as proof that we were wrong. I cannot help that. And frankly, it doesn't matter one iota. Because to wish for what that family had - to wish our decision away - would be to wish for a life without Hannah or Caroline. I won't do that.
I try to be as honest and forthright with you as I can be about Thomas. I try to do the same thing for myself when I see shows or hear stories of other's suffering from the disease. Because to create a revisionist history of what really happened won't help anyone. Do we know for sure that he would have died in utero? No. But we can be very nearly sure. Can we know if a miracle might have happened? No. But even the most miraculous picture was a grim one for Thomas. And I believed that allowing his suffering to continue in the hopes that God would literally, physically save him was tantamount to daring God, and it was backing away from the trust He placed in me to do what was right by Thomas.
Instead, I try to share that it does hurt to think he might have given us smiles. When the father in the show told of wanting to grab his son, pull out the tubes, and run away with him when he first saw him after his birth, I could do nothing but nod in agreement. But he didn't, because he was being his father. I remember standing in the shower, rocking back and forth while I held my belly, wanting nothing more than to run away - to keep Thomas safe inside and pretend that I knew nothing about what was going on. But I didn't, because I was being his mother.
I have been telling Thomas's story for five years now. In that time I've met and spoken with dozens of families who've faced the decision of termination. Some have, some have not. Every story is different, as is the outcome. But never in that time had I found someone who terminated because of a diagnosis of severe arthrogryposis. Until the five year anniversary of Thomas's passing when I received an e-mail from a woman who was already undergoing the long process of termination for a baby with severe form of the disease. And then the following week, another woman who had terminated years before but always felt isolated and alone until she found my blog.
I don't believe the timing was coincidental. It's just too eerie. I needed to know at that point in time that I was not alone. So for them, and for myself, I want to say that we made the right decision for our children. And had we decided to try and bring them into this world, that would have been the right decision, too.
I know that every time I write about this subject I run a very good chance of incurring hurtful comments from drive-by posters who don't really care to learn about me or my family. But I think it must be worth it because for every one person who tells me I have no right to say the Lord's Prayer, there are thousands more of you who lift me up and thank me.
So thank you for letting me share.
But I won't like it.
I'm giving up dairy. If you know me in real life, you know what a big deal that is. I'm practically a walking billboard for the dairy council. I drink milk with take-out Chinese food, for the love of God.
Taking Caroline off the Prilosec did nothing but bring back her reflux. She's back on it and the top half of her system is in working order again. We had her four-month check-up on Monday, and because of the persistent swampbutt, we decided cutting out dairy was the next logical step. That, and another round of poop collection. I was going to put it off for a day or two, but that very afternoon I saw what might have been blood in her diaper. That scared me enough to proceed directly to dairy free, no questions asked.
In my earlier research, I found a woman who had listed all the things you CAN have, instead of just those you can't. The link disappeared, though, so I'm glad I copied it. So far, so good. I actually rather like vanilla Silk and they make a coffee creamer, too. (Did you know that most non-dairy creamers have some dairy in them?!) I'm living on fruit, veggies, soups, and Luna bars.
Keeping things interesting around here, Hannah woke up Monday morning with a bug of some sort. It's gotten progressively worse each day. Since Monday was Caroline's appointment, we've spent the past three days tag-teaming, trying to keep them apart and happy (since Caroline got vaccines), medicated, poop-collected, and ourselves healthy. I have work deadlines piling up, but absolutely zero mental capacity to deal with them right now.
Todd is being a real trooper, doing the bulk of Hannah's care. I'm glad I married such a fabulous father. Wait, that sounds weird. Screw it, you know what I mean.
I'll post a more thorough update on Caroline at four months when we come up for air. In the meantime, send me your favorite non-dairy recipe or snack. :)
The first day of our Thanksgiving vacation was consumed largely by the nearly-nine-hour road trip. We arrived around midnight and settled ourselves in my parents' ranch house. They live a mile away in their home/bed & breakfast, so it wasn't until the next morning that we saw them. As we sat in the kitchen, making coffee and cleaning breakfast dishes, my dad made an announcement.
He started in all breezy and light, "So, I have some health news I needed to share with you guys." This made my heart leap into my throat, as my mind went immediately to cancer. His blatantly casual tone only made me more scared.
Apparently, when he went for his annual physical this year they did an EKG and compared it to one he had two years prior. There was a blip. His doctor said he couldn't be sure without further tests, but it appeared he'd had a heart attack sometime since the first EKG. So more tests were done, and sure as hell, there it was: a minor heart attack*.
Let me give you a little bit of background on my dad: Even though he's not actually a big man, he has an imposing personality. He always seems bigger than he is (ask any of my former boyfriends). He's also very physically fit. He was a sprinter in college at Baylor, coached by Michael Johnson's coach. He became an avid cyclist when I was in high school and he and I used to have muscle contests to see whose legs were more muscular. When he moved out to the boonies, he continued his physical activities, adding more hiking to his cycling and going on demanding vacations, like 15-day white-water rafting trips through the Grand Canyon. His cholesterol is fine, as is his blood pressure.
And yet, sometime over the past two years he had a heart attack that left a portion of the back wall of his heart dead. "Apparently, it's not a very important part," he assured me. I was previously unaware that any part of the heart was dispensable. The artery is 100% blocked. But test show that all his other arteries are find, with no blockage. I find this astounding.
If he had the attack when he thinks he did (after a friend's dinner party when he swore off over eating from the discomfort), he's ridden two extremely long bicycle rides since then and climbed to the MacDonald Observatory on his bike a few times as well (very high altitude and a challenging climb, to say the least).
His doctor has told him to keep up what he's already been doing in terms of diet and exercise, and they added medications for blood pressure and cholesterol, even though those aren't currently a problem. And, as if this had to be said, he should go to the hospital immediately if he ever feels any symptoms again.
My dad seemed very nonchalant about the whole thing. And my mom seems okay as well. She went to the last appointment with him and got all of her questions answered. What's more, I think I'm okay, too. My first reaction was to sort of blow it off (a bit of a "whew, it's not cancer" reaction). But it's still been dancing around in the back ground of my thoughts ever since then.
And I don't think I can be blamed for being a tad concerned. Afterall, when I began counting it up, I believe we have more friends with at least one deceased parent than we do friends with two living parents.
Todd's father died of a brain tumor when Todd was 18 (he was the same age Todd is now).
Todd's step father dropped dead of a heart attach just days after a complete physical.
My best friend's father died two months before her wedding when she was 23.
My good friend's mother died of breast cancer when we were freshmen in college.
My college roomate's mother died in a car accident while snow skiing while my friend was abroad in France.
Todd's cousin, Hannah's god father, lost his dad when he was in junior high.
Todd's best friend lost his father when he was still in grade school.
His wife lost her father a few years ago one month before her first son was born.
Another friend lost her father when she was still a toddler.
Yet another lost her father when she was in college.
I remember once when I was trying to decide where to attend college, my dad dismissed part of my reasoning as irrational. We already knew about my friend's mother's breast cancer and I was particularly scared of being too far from home, should something ever happen to either of my parents. "She's gonna be fine," he said, clearly annoyed, "they caught it early and she's going be just fine."
If life has taught me anything so far, it's that nothing is a guarantee. And ironically, though I'm not too, too worried about my dad's health, it has made me paranoid about what I'm dubbing the "missed pitch" phenomenon.
Each time I lost a baby, I would spend the next pregnancy focusing on the problems I had the previous time. And each time, we were struck with something entirely different - out of left field, if you'll humor me with my protracted and ill-fitting metaphor. We took our eye off the ball. At least that's how it felt. Like fate was playing a cruel grifter's game of cups. Or, less cruely, when my grandpa would shout, "Hey! Look at that!" and steal food off my plate when I looked away.
The missed pitch phenomenon makes me worry that if I spend too much time worrying over my father, something else entirely (but also not good) will happen. It gives me this ominous feeling that things are too good right now, that something will have to give to bring thing back into equilibrium.
I don't like it. Not one bit.
Minor heart attack, my ass**. There is no such thing.
*Okay, so technically this isn't an oxymoron. But it sure seems like it should be.
**Please understand that I wholly understand our family's relative luck and good fortune. There are many, many worse fates. I am ecstatic that my dad is in good health and that his surprise heart attack didn't cause him any major pain, debilitation, or death. If you've been less fortunate, please don't think I'm being an insensitive, unappreciative ass. Even though I may be.