…the end is where we start from.”
Welcome to www.MommyEverAfter.com.
It is so nice to have you.
Here, let me make you comfortable.
For the past four and a half years I have spent every day hanging out at a simple, static, steadfast site over on WordPress.
Mommy, Ever After started when I was the new mother of a two month old baby girl. I had always loved to read and write, but found myself, at that time, with no resources that were actually helpful when it came to being a new parent. Everything was either a tale of absolute enchantment OR a hyperbolic message board of terror.
So I took a leap of faith and somehow figured out how to make my very first post.
It didn’t even have a title. I used multi-colored text. Take a look:
and by the end of day one I seem to have gotten a bit more bold:
I did not know what I was doing or where I was going (or, to be completely honest, how to even define a “blog”) but I knew it felt good. And people, being voyeuristic by nature, started to read and I, being brutally honest by nature, shared it all; the good, the bad, the inane, the insane, the heavy and the hard.
I will soon be publishing a post that is a guide to this new site, because thanks to the incredible folks at Brand Revive, I have a real, big girl website now, with pages, categories, sections and more. I don’t want you to miss a thing.
But for now, I will either assume that you are an old friend, having traveled with me over here from .wordpress.com (thank you, by the way–so much) or you are new and can lose yourself in the hundreds of archived posts I have up there, neatly categorized, under “A Happy Story”.
And, I will say that the old Mommy, Ever After isn’t here anymore. That chapter has ended.
Welcome to a new beginning.
And what better way to start than with a prologue…
Emergency rooms 3 and 4 were connected, separated by a thin curtain that could easily be opened to make it a makeshift suite of sorts. In room 4, in a stretcher that appeared humongous, lay my son, 3 days shy of 2 months, hooked up to an IV, oxygen monitor and receiving O2 through a tube in his nose. In room 3, I lay, dizzy and disoriented, hooked up to an IV and receiving my third bag of fluids. A nurse handed me a yellow pill. Potassium. She told me that I was deficient and to swallow. We were in a suite in the Emergency Room of a hospital. He and I were together, but still so far apart, as we were each confined to our beds. He and I were ailing. He and I were both being poked and tested and medicated. He and I both needed help.
That snapshot is from exactly this week last year. It is also the prologue that I have written for my book proposal. Yes, I am writing a book (or at least I am trying), and at the rate I am going, the book is writing itself. I have a literary agent shopping my book to publishing houses, and I am hoping to find a good match. My story will be told in the way that it is presented above: “A Happy Story”, “A Hard Story”, and then, ultimately, “A Hopeful Story”.
When I say the book is writing itself, you can probably conjure examples that I have shared from the past year; the flood and subsequent CO poisoining; my hospitalization; the incredible closeness of my group of friends that has now become a family;
But what you do not know is that this past weekend, at the very time that we were supposed to be on a plane to St. John, we were back in the Emergency Room with my son.
Not only were we back in the same hospital, but we had the same nurse that he had had exactly the same day the year before. She wears a necklace with three charms symbolizing her three children and I remembered their names.
Being in the small triage room was surreal. How are we back here?
But, fortunately, we were not there for a feverish 8 week old with a terrible respiratory virus.
My son had an allergic reaction to Penicillin, swelled up, we called the paramedics (our besties!) and we took him to the closest hospital with the Peds department, which happens to be where we spent this week last year, as he was inpatient, on oxygen, as I was fighting for my life in my own way.
This is where the story gets kind of crazy. Before our planned trip to the Virgin Islands, I asked my Pediatrician if it would be safe to give my son a small dose of Benadryl in order to calm him during the flight (please don’t judge. This is the baby who slit his wrist on my coffee table 3 months ago). He approved, but suggested that we test out the drug on him before flying, as in rare cases it can have the opposite effect and actually make kids more wired and not at all sedated.
So, Sunday morning, I was being treated for my severe ear infection, my daughter for her own infection, and my son, prophylactically, as he was fussy, warm and pulling on his ears. Before his nap that morning I suggested giving him some acetaminophen. My husband chimed in and suggested Benadryl instead. At that point, we did not know whether our trip to St. John would be postponed or completely cancelled, so we thought a solid nap would do both of us good and it was the right time to experiment, so we dosed him up with the proper amount of the antihistamine.
But he didn’t sleep well. He was restless. And red. And, actually, my husband and I were laughing at him when we finally brought him downstairs, because he was acting–
forgive me for not being able to find a better way to say this–
He stood, staring at the vacuum cleaner for 20 minutes. He doesn’t stand still for 20 seconds, ordinarily.
And we were cracking up. Evidently, he was in that small percentage of kids who have a paradoxical reaction to the drug.
But after his 20 minute date with the vacuum and some other strange behavior, I noticed that his eyes were swelling up. The redness on his cheeks had intensified and on his forehead there were big hives. His eyes swelled to near slits as I spoke to the 911 operator.
The problem was, he had not just been given one new medication in that 24 hours, he had been given two.
The police arrived immediately, before I could even change out of my pajamas, and the paramedics soon thereafter.
On the way to the Emergency Room, I just laughed. “This must be a joke, right? This year is just a joke.”
As it turns out, by the time we were seen by the Pediatrician in the ER, his swelling had gone down some. This lead them to believe that he had experienced an allergic reaction to his second dose of amoxicillin, and that the Benadryl, the coincidental, serendipitous drug, actually helped to start calm down the effects. Had we been on the plane to St. John, his allergic reaction would have happened at 30,000 feet.
The doctors and nurses were so nice. It was so much better than last year, when he had to be put on breathing tubes, given a spinal tap, a catheter and IVs, and when I was losing my mind.
But it was then that I did something that I rarely do these days; I started to cry.
I cried to the nice doctor in the dark blue scrubs and white coat.
“He has had so much happen to him in such a short life; he is only 13 months old and look what he has been through.”
But it was then that I remembered my recent epiphany;
My son has not only survived some crazy medical and safety situations, a crazy mother and an all around crazy first year, but he is huge and thriving. The doctor looked at me and told me to look at my son.
“He is a moose!” she said.
And she is right. He is so strong and resilient and now that he has had six emergency room visits, he is tougher than ever.
He may be a moose, he may be strong, but he is still my baby.
This is a hard time of year for me. It is the one year anniversary of when I was supposed to go to Brown’s postpartum unit,
when he got hospitalized,
when I was forced to wean him against my will,
when I had akesthesia as a reaction to Abilify,
and when things really started to crumble.
While my real support system became stronger than ever, some real, trusted people let me down, and it was a blow that was hard to handle when I was already in such a weak state.
This week last year, I truly did not know if I could go on. It is scary for me to admit that, but I would be doing you a disservice by being anything less than brutally honest. I was low, like many other people I know who have been or who currently are suffering.
And so, I have decided to do something about it.
I have already proclaimed that this will be the year of really living; of celebrating things big and small, by organizing parties and dates and by making an effort to tell the people around me how much they mean to me.
But there is something else.
This year I want to be a better person.
I want to let go of all that has weighed me down, not just for the past year, but for my entire life.
I want to be good to people. I want to go out of my way. I want to give back. I want to help. I want to be vocal and make a difference.
And that is why I decided to take yet another leap of faith, bigger than my intimidating first blog post back in June of 2010.
I have decided to put my all into Mommy, Ever After, in an effort to help others. When I have opened up about topics like postpartum, anxiety, depression, fear, doubt, self-worth and other hard things to touch upon, I have received an incredible outpouring of support and gratitude. Most of it you do not know about. Most of it has been private. Most of it has been me making emergency phone calls to friends in crisis, or driving to the hospital to hold a hand, or giving someone my phone number to use 24/7. And I do not say this in any way to applaud myself. I am humbled by the fact that there are people who trust me enough in order to confide in me their deepest of secrets and fears.
And so, in moving forward, I will have those “pity party” moments, but hopefully much less than the dance party moments.
I will continue to be an advocate, a voice, a friend.
I will strive to be the woman whom I have always dreamed of being; lighter, happier, and more content.
I will celebrate the big, of course, but also cherish the mundane.
Last night, before bed, my husband and I had just finished the last installment of the NPR Serial Podcast. We talked a little about our thoughts and then I asked him to tell me a bedtime story. I wanted him to tell me about the last few episodes of Homeland, a show that I haven’t watched in several seasons, but that I was curious about, based on all of the hype. He is the best at telling stories.
And he looked over at me and I was smiling, my full face in an enormous grin.
“What?” he asked with a tiny giggle.
“I get to go to sleep next to you,” I said. “I get to have a sleepover with my best friend every night.”
And with that, he kissed me and told me stories of Iranian leaders and CIA infiltrations until I was sound asleep.
That was how I ended my day. And then, as it does, the sun rose this morning, and there was a new beginning.
And today I did some things right, and other things still need work, but guess what?
It is the beginning. I put an end to something dear to me…
and from there, my friends, is where I shall start.
(Featured Image via Lindsay Dochtery Photography)