Monday, July 14, 2008

Jon & Kate Plus 8 and other ramblings

Haaaaaaaaa ha ha ha! THANK YOU, KATE!!!!

I Tivo Jon & Kate Plus 8.

I used to think it was way too stressful to watch.

Then I developed a morbid fascination with it.

Now I can watch it, cringe, and laugh.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's the reality show with the parents who had a set of twins and then sextuplets. I only have one 3 year old and twin 4 year olds (newborn is not included in this since she's still in the potted plant stage). Knowing what life is like with that many children at approximately the same stage developmentally, I watch in awe as Jon and Kate handle SIX 3 year olds and twin 6 year olds--actually, they're all a year older now, but still...

I have always said I wouldn't compare my situation to having triplets because there are mothers of triplets out there who know just how untrue that statement would be. I had a whole year before I added a third to the mix, so I'm not going to insult them by suggesting we're the same because I had it MUCH easier.

But when they're all 2 and 3 years old, there doesn't feel like much of an age difference. It feels like juggling cats--very spastic, fast cats who are trying to get away from you. And there's a mob mentality involved. I felt that was true even when just the twins were conspiring to do something "interesting," "creative," or "fun." Christel, can I get an "Amen!" ????

When you have multiples, you don't always have the benefit you would if you had children of staggered ages because (hopefully) if your children are spaced apart, at least one has the ability to use self restraint, better judgement, or at least can tattle before something goes terribly wrong. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, which brings me to my next point before talking about Jon and Kate.

I never watched the nanny shows too regularly when they first came out because Ironman can't stand them. I can see his point because it's stressful to watch a house full of someone else's screaming, bratty children. This summer I have started recording them and watching all of the old episodes when Ironman is not around.

There's a distinct pattern--especially on Nanny 911. There are usually 4 or more children, and it seems that a majority of the time there are twins or triplets involved.

Another requirement seems to be getting the mother on tape screaming, "I'M DONE!" as she is on the verge of collapse.

And finally, there's always a husband who comes home from work, parks his butt in front of the t.v., and does nothing to help.

This brings me back to Jon and Kate. That man is a saint in my opinion. If he's home, he's involved. I realize there are a lot of dads like him, but according to Nanny 911 there are still a lot of dads who have a 1950's mentality. Ironman is kind of a 1950's dad. I feel it's safe to mention that because if he were embarrassed by it, he wouldn't do it. He plays with the kids and most definitely adores them, but any weekend time we get with him or help I get around the house feels like I'm having to ask him for a favor.

He works outside of the home. I work inside the home. That's where our responsibilities lie. End of story. Obviously it's that way because Ironman makes it that way. If I had any say in it, we'd do this parenting thing together on a regular basis. Ironman would defend this saying he's a manual labor worker, not some dad who sits behind a desk all day in an air-conditioned building. He doesn't have the energy to come home and help or do things on weekends because he gives 200% on the job so that (hopefully) some day he'll be promoted to a better position in the company. That last sentence is true, but I still wish he'd only give 150% at work so that he could have something left to give to his family.

I say all that because I can't believe the expectations Kate has of Jon. I think she takes him for granted. I was watching an episode today where Jon was filling sippy cups, styling the girls' hair, and keeping the kids out of his wife's way while she was trying to cook in the kitchen. And the WHOLE time she was complaining that he was having an "off day" because he wasn't helping enough. WHAT???? That man is always scrambling around dealing with kids as well as a full list of her other demands to check up on this, that, and the other. Have you ever seen an episode where he was home and not as involved in chores or taking care of children as Kate is?

Of course, he IS being filmed. And he does have an air-conditioned desk job. Also, I can't imagine many men would be horrible enough to not help their wife who is a stay at home mom of sextuplets and twins. As much as I admire the tight ship Kate runs and how organized she is, I fear that her constant criticism of a man who is definitely pulling his own weight with the kids is going to destroy their marriage. I hope not. Their lives are incredibly stressful....which finally brings me to the part of the show today that made me laugh because I could soooooooooo relate.

It was the episode where they were all in a furniture store picking out bunk beds for the sextuplets. Kate always has the desire to get her kids out of the house and involved in the world just as if there were only one of them. I'm not that way at all. I'm raising hermits because I know good and well we're not normal. I don't take my kids anywhere by myself unless I know it's a very controlled situation where I can escape quickly if things aren't going as planned. I'm not as bad as I used to be since the kids are getting older, but I would still never take them anywhere that I had to concentrate on a major decision involving thousands of dollars.

So Kate is looking for REALLY sturdy bunk beds, and the conversation arises about how destructive the sextuplets can be. Jon said the sextuplets have destroyed libraries worth of books, and Kate said, "it's not that any one of them singly would do it , its just the group of them descending upon things" and she did this gesture with her hands that I can't even described. It was kind of like monster claws grabbing something, and I COULD SOOOOOOOOOOOO RELATE!!!!

It felt SO good to hear someone else put into words what I've always felt and that I describe as mob mentality. People used to be mortified hearing the stories of my 3 toddlers and what all could go wrong in such a short period of time. They sounded like total heathens, and THANK GOD they've matured and outgrown it, but I always knew in my heart that singly, they wouldn't do the things they were doing (at least for the most part). It has to do with the sheer number of children matched with them all being developmentally at the same stage that is a recipe for disaster. I've never been successful getting that across to anyone without sounding like I'm making excuses for children who simply lack discipline. I felt so vindicated when I heard Kate express what I had always felt. It probably won't hit anyone else the way it hit me, but boy did it make my day today!!!

If you've been a reader of this blog for a couple of years, you've probably noticed I don't have a lot of kid stories left other than what can come out of their mouths. I used to have daily/weekly horror stories of how the house was destroyed within a matter of seconds thanks to toddlers who got out of their duct taped diapers, etc. My blog is not nearly as funny now, but I'm really grateful for that.

It can still be overwhelming. They still drop crumbs all over the rug. They can drag toys out of their rooms and into the living room in no time flat making it appear as if I never clean, but at least there's no poop in the toy microwave. There's no meat on the ceiling. When I walk past picture frames, I no longer find dried on apple sauce. The toilet paper no longer has to be locked up. Neither do the toilet lids for that matter. The potty chairs have been put away for a couple of years. I can understand the speech of 3 of the children (most of the time).

I continue to hear that it just gets harder when they get older, but for now it feels like a total relief to only have one child completely dependant upon me. Speaking of...she calls. Later!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Correction to c-section post

Correction: Ironman says I was wrong on what the nurses were calling "it." It was a spinal, not a spinal tap. Who knew I could be wrong? I guess there's a first time for everything. ;D

Mary and Stuff

Ironman and I were on an hour long road trip with the kids on the 4th of July. The two of us were talking and doing our best to tune out the noise from 3 of the 4 children in our PACKED to the gills minivan. Now that our family is a 6-pack, everything feels much more crowded...and only because of an 8 pound person.

Anyway, Ironman and I sometimes have to yell to each other to be heard over the background noise of laughing and singing...not a bad noise to be overwhelmed with, but the conversation went something like this--maybe not exactly like this, but something like this:

J: "Blah, blah. Yackety yack."

I: "Yes, I agree."

J: "Yada, yada."

I: "You're the most brilliant woman on the face of the earth..."

J: "Hold on. What are they singing?"

I: "I don't know."

J: "It's the tune of, 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' but they're not saying 'little lamb."

Ironman and Jennifer stop to listen....

J: It's 'booty crack.' They're saying, 'Mary had a booty crack' and laughing hysterically.

*blink, blink*

J: Oh my gosh. Those are your children. That's not my fault.

I: KIDS! You can't just sing, 'Mary had a booty crack' over and over again. You have to finish the song. (Insert more crude and disgusting lyrics here that I have seriously mentally blocked out.)

It's really not my fault. I'm going to have cards printed up for all their teachers when they start school explaining how none of the gross words or concepts they come up with are my fault. I'll ask that a copy of the card be placed in their personal records. I already have it all planned out.

The Verbal Vomit of my C-Section

New correction: If the word "tap" follows the word "spinal" in this post, ignore it.

Warning: This is long, and I have no time (or desire) to proof read it...

Another warning: This could also be considered graphic and gross by some readers..

I should be napping right now, but all I'm thinking about is my c-section experience. I think I'll use this opportunity to verbally vomit it all out so that I can hopefully STOP thinking about it. I'm also considering this to be "on the record" which means it can and should be used against me if the day ever comes that I think having another baby is a good idea.

Scratch that. If Ironman and I ever get to the point where we think it's meant for our family to be expanded upon, I'm not going to want to be told it's a bad idea. Just gently refer me to this post as a reminder of what it was like to be pregnant and give birth. I already know I'll argue that those two things are temporary and well worth the pain, but I want to remember just how bad the pain was. I can't believe it's already fading from my memory. Anyway, I'm a major "after thought" for my parents. It took my parents almost a decade to decide they wanted a third child. For that reason, I'm hesitant to say I'll never want another child.

As I've whined about in previous posts, I'm not one of those women who handles pregnancy with ease. It starts with the typical fatigue, all day sickness, and horrible heartburn and quickly progresses to a deep down aching in my bones that gets worse and worse and worse with time. I need to remember how painful it was to be still and how much more it hurt to move.

Regarding the c-section, if you're scheduled for one, don't read this. I don't want to be in your head when you're lying there on the table being sliced open. This story isn't a nightmare because everyone came out of it okay, but it's one of those downward spiral stories that seems like it's never going to end. At least it feels that way if you've lived it.

Background: I've had 2 c-sections before. I've had a LOT of surgeries before. I've had kidney stones three times. Despite how wimpy I sound, I've been told many times (even by doctors) that I have a high threshold for pain. Instead of making me stronger, I think that comment had the opposite effect on me. Now I think, "Holy crap! If I hurt THIS bad, it must be REALLY bad pain!" Anyway, I had zero fear about having a third c-section. I barely even remembered my other two.

Even though I have three tattoos on my spine (which I completely regret), that stupid spinal(That's the term they used. I no longer remember the difference between a spinal and epidural. Is there one? Now I'm really confused.) still gives me major anxiety. I don't know how I survived a couple of hours of needles with the tattoos, but the spinal makes me want to faint. It gives me the mental heebies like almost nothing else can. Ugh! I can't even stand to think about it. I'm not too fond of needles, but I had about eleventy million stuck in me during the fertility treatments to conceive the twins. I've had a TON of blood work done due to all my various ailments. Needles are a fairly frequent part of my life. But that spinal ....jeez louise! BLECK! That's the only part of the entire experience I was dreading.

But let me back up a little. We got to the hospital at 9 a.m. as scheduled. I was parched because I could have nothing to eat or drink after midnight and pregnancy puts me in a constant state of thirst. While pregnant, I drank 64 ounces of water in the middle of the night almost every night. I know this because I kept a giant glass beside my bed that was a 64 ouncer. While not pregnant, I might not even drink 24 ounces of liquid in 24 hours. Anyway, I tell you this to express just how thirsty I was to have gone 9 plus hours with no liquid.

The c-section was scheduled for noon. The nurse came in to get an i.v. going. The lab guy came in to draw blood.


Needles everywhere!

He was in and out just fine. She was digging in veins and having no success. I was squirming internally because I was getting another overwhelming case of the heebies. Another nurse was called in. She did more digging in veins thus causing my case of the heebies to grow so much I wanted to jump out of my own skin if she referred to my veins as "ropes" one more time. Neither nurse could figure out how they could possibly be having so much trouble considering how great and "rope like" my veins were. HEEEEEEEEEEEEBS! BLECK! BLECK!

Oh, and did I mention I had already gone into active labor at that point??? That makes TWO pregnancies now that I've had the joy of experiencing painful contractions when I wasn't supposed to because of the c-section. Whatever! I was watching the clock closely for the 12 o'clock hour because I knew the spinal would bring me relief.

Twelve o'clock came and went, and I wasn't even in the operating room yet. The nurses finally got an i.v. going at least. About 12:30 I went to the OR, did the icky spinal, and instantly felt like vomiting. With all the surgeries I've had, I've never thought I was going to throw up before the surgery started. Of course, I couldn't move, so they laid a bowl next to my head. Oh joy! Barfing horizontally.

My arms were already tied to the table. Fast forward through the spread eagle, naked, in a room full of (thankfully) women. Catheter, blah, blah. Couldn't move my legs anymore which bothered me more than ever before. Couldn't move my arms. I have panicky issues with being in tight spaces and/or not being able to move.

Mentally I was less than okay at that point. We very easily could have called it quits because I felt sufficiently traumatized. "Thanks, doc! I would like to go find the hell that has been scared out of me...if you could just let me go, please." I don't know how the baby would have exited, but I wanted to pretend like nothing was happening so I could go to my happy place. Note to Randa (in Barbie mode): Pretend like I didn't just get my veins violated, go into labor before my c-section, get a needle and a couple of other things stuck up my spine, get a catheter stuck up you know where, get strapped to a table, get an overwhelming urge to barf, and definitely pretend like I'm not naked in a room full of people who have all their clothes on.

I've never asked him, but Ironman looked nervous to me. I don't know if it felt better or worse to have him seem scared. It's very bad to be scared alone, but it didn't help to think we were in the same boat. Soon a few tears fell, and I had to admit I wasn't feeling comfortable with the whole situation. As soon as the nausea passed, the shaking started. NEVER in all my surgeries have I experienced shaking on the operating table. It always starts in recovery. The anesthesiologist explained it's something about the medication making your body think it's cold, so you start shaking to bring your body temperature back up. Since only the upper part of my body could move, my arms (still tied down) were trembling and pulling against the ties for the hour and a half or more that I was in there.

That's another thing, we were told it would take about 45 minutes total. I was in there at least twice as long FREAKING out because nothing felt like it was going as planned. Have you ever shivered really hard for over an hour? It's exhausting. All at once it would stop, and I would think it was over, but apparently that was just my muscles giving out. It got so bad I had to concentrate on clenching my teeth so I'd stop biting my tongue. I talked to the anesthesiologist through all of it asking if it was normal and if there was anything she could do to stop it. Nothing she did made any difference. She said I would stop shaking once all of the medication was out of my body which ended up being a long time after I was sent to recovery. I remember one of my visitors held my arm down while she talked to me as if my shaking was distracting her. Didn't stop my head or my other arm from shaking. Just made me that more conscious of how bad it was.

So my doctor located a butter knife and began sawing into my abdomen at some point. That was the reason for the twice as long surgery. Not actually the use of a butter knife...though I'm not so sure she wasn't using one...the cutting took FOREVER. The doctor claimed she had to cut through a lot of scar tissue. Then she did the typical, "You're going to feel some tugging and pulling." I expected it to be brief. I had no idea it would go on and on. That's usually said right before the baby is pulled out.

Want to know the added bonus I received? The lights positioned over my body were made out of a type of metal that reflected my torso just like a mirror would. I could see EVERYTHING. The curtain was up between my face and body, but right above my head (where my eyes naturally fell) was the reflection of my abdomen gaping open, blood, muscle, everything internally exposed. It's not cool to be awake and see yourself cut open from hip to hip and pulled open as wide as possible from top to bottom. I can't even stand to watch surgery on television. It was horrifying to see it being performed on myself. I tried to keep my eyes closed so that I could block it out, but when I closed my eyes, it seemed like I noticed the pain from shaking more. Before it was over, Ironman asked, "What's that thing on her chest?" The doctor answered, "That's her uterus." BARF!

Like I said, mentally I was not in a good place. It felt like they'd never get to the baby, and their small talk about the weekend mixed with the music on the radio was driving me crazy. Then finally they pulled Faith out. That's when she inhaled a lot of fluid, so they quickly started working on clearing her lungs. They took Faith and Ironman away to the critical care nursery, and I spent another half hour or more getting sewn back up, shaking, and wondering what was happening with Faith. Luckily they gave me reports as I was finishing up in the OR.

I was taken to recovery after that...still not being able to see Faith. The shaking continued there for quite a while. I had a few visitors briefly and spent most of the rest of the day alone. I was in recovery for over an hour. The shaking stopped when the meds wore off, and I was given one of those buttons to push when I needed pain relief. I kept telling the nurse that the pain was only getting worse with time and that the meds weren't helping. Her advice was to keep pushing the button frequently so that a nurse somewhere would be alerted to the fact that my pain wasn't being managed. At that point my doctor would be told she needed to write another pain prescription.

After spending my time in recovery, they wheeled me to my room, and each bump in the hallway was very memorable and very painful. When the nurse told me to scoot from the gurney to my hospital bed, I thought she was kidding. She wasn't. That should have been the point where I yelled at her that she wasn't grasping my pain level was nowhere near being normal or acceptable. I continued to tell her I needed my doctor to write a better prescription for pain relief. When she left, I told the next nurse who came into my room that I needed better pain management. I also told her my room was hot and that I needed the air conditioner to be turned on. She said it was on and that I was probably hot from the ridiculous "boots" I'd been wearing since before surgery began. Of all the surgeries I've had, I've never been put in the boots to keep circulation moving. They're like white casts that go from your ankle to the top of your thigh. They squeeze you really tight and then release just like a blood pressure cuff, and they do it non-stop all day and night. Very noisy, very annoying, and very hot.

More time passed, I was hurting more, and I was burning up. After about an hour, the nurse called maintenance because she finally agreed the room was hot. I had also spent all that time waiting for a fan which didn't come until I was moved to my new room. The brilliant maintenance man finally came. He tinkered with the AC. He left. He was gone a looong time. When he came back, he confirmed that the air conditioner was broken.

When I was moved to my new room, I was finally given a prescription to ease the pain. It was evening by that point. I still hadn't seen or held my baby. The more my pain was eased, the more incoherent I became. I was nodding off constantly. I tried to email family the news of Faith's birth, and I was able to write maybe one sentence before falling asleep. I'd wake up a minute or two later and finish a sentence or start another and fall asleep again. Even though I could barely stay awake or speak, I remember it all. I was very aware that it was obvious I was having to work really hard to get my thoughts out. I remember because it was SO frustrating.

Finally about 9:00 that night, I was able to move to a wheel chair and take the ride to see Faith! I couldn't hold her because she was in one of those special contraptions for babies with breathing problems, and she was hooked up to various things, but I was allowed to touch her. I couldn't stay long, but it was nice to finally see her. The next day she was doing much better and was moved to the regular nursery.

By the third day, I was doing much better. I left on the fourth day--a day earlier than planned. It's been almost a month, and I still have incision pain, but it's not something I think too much about. I take my prescription pain meds once a day if that much. The shooting pains are gone. The nurse said those were from my body being pulled apart. Thanks, nurse. I happen to have a very accurate mental picture to go with that description. Excellent lighting, by the way.

I'm looking forward to exercising if you can believe it. Obviously I want to spend a lot of time on the abdomenal region, but I can tell it's too soon to put that area through very much strain. The third c-section was definitely a doozie. That experience is the closest I've ever come to saying I can't have another child even if I want one. But at least everyone is safe and sound. It's not like I had a truly horrible experience...just super icky and not cool. Not the vacation from homemaking I had in mind.

Okay....verbal vomit of c-section is complete. Now I can rest except nap time is over.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Liars and Snooping


Why did I sign on to post something? I'm so sleepy. Now I can't remember.

OH! Here's something weird I heard yesterday. There's a homeless man I used to have a bleeding heart for. He's in a wheel chair, and I see him around town. For the past couple of years I've given him money or food if I have it. He'll say things like, "Thank you! God bless you. I'm not supposed to take my medication on an empty stomach." He usually sits on the same corner with the same sign begging for food. I used to see him every time I took Ironman lunch at work, so I'd plan to have things to give the man in the wheelchair. I'd actually be bummed if he wasn't there because I really wanted to help him. I figured there were a lot of people in the community helping him because eventually you begin to feel for a person you see struggling every single day. The wheelchair led me to believe his physical challenges prevented him from being hired on somewhere. I assumed he was in his 30's, but his long beard and clothing made him look like an old Vietnam Vet.

Anyway, in the past 6 months or so, his "crew" has grown. Now there are about 5 or 6 "homeless" people working that corner in shifts. When it's not their turn, they sit under an overpass with the others and shoot the bull. It's become quite a production. Then my mom told me she had read that someone had been watching these "homeless" people and had reported to the local newspaper that a van drops them off every morning and picks them up in the evening. I don't know the whole story, but apparently people in town are beginning to feel like the community is getting conned. If any locals know the details of this story, let me know.

This is the part I wanted to tell you...Yesterday Ironman's boss was in his truck at the intersection where the wheelchair guy was begging for food or money. When Ironman's boss told the guy he didn't have any money on him, the wheelchair guy cussed him out. That's when "boss" said something like, "Well, I guess you are what I thought you were then." Surprise, surprise, wheel chair guy JUMPS OUT of his wheelchair to attack the boss! Unfortunately for the "disabled" man, the boss happens to be a huge guy. He opened his truck door to hit the wheelchair guy and prevent being attacked and knocked the guy on the ground. The truck door was dented. Now the guy may have a legitimate reason to be in a wheelchair other than conning people. So weird. And I totally fell for it. I really thought he was legit.

I think you have to be a special kind of evil to pose as a needy person. They put doubt in our minds towards those who truly are needy.

Here's my latest snoop story. A while back I told you about the lady who bought a cart full of douche. That's when I confessed to spying on other shoppers and coming up with stories in my head of what they'll be doing later that night. Today I was behind a man buying 3 things...a new mattress, a large bouquet of flowers, and the largest bag of dog food money can buy. My mind is going wild. OH THE POSSIBILITIES!

Nap time. Sorry for the poorly written post. I'm lucky I can string two words together.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It's a Tough Job

So Ironman can gripe at me later...