Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2009

OrdinaryAndAwesome.com is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. OrdinaryAndAwesome.com is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

In case you needed more proof that my kids are cute:

Miss Eden and her chunky cuteness:
IMG_9443

Keagan poses for the camera:
IMG_9450

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I want to tell my story. I want to tell everyone who may happen to read this how I got to the place I am today. There’s a lot to tell… but I think it’s worth telling.

My husband and I met and married young. Nick turned 22 one week before our wedding. I turned 23 a few months after. We were (and are!) madly in love and very happy to be together. We knew we wanted to have kids young, but were waiting on health insurance to come through with his work at a small software/ video game company in Seattle.


(photo by Chris Purdum)

We bought a home in the midst of the housing bubble. We were given what was at the time a great deal by some friends (who subsequently used the profit to adopt their daughter, which in the end, makes all of our troubles worth it if you think about it.) I remember thinking what a sound investment we’d made. At 22 and 23, we were home owners and proud of it. We were told that we could expect our home value to double in less than five years. I’m sure you can guess that it did not.

In April of 2006, our insurance finally would cover pregnancy. So we tried. And got pregnant right away. On June 12th, while on vacation to California, I miscarried our first child. It was a painful, heart wrenching experience made worse by an insensitive ER doctor who was flat out rude to us when we went to him for help. He delivered the news that we were, in fact, losing our child like you’d tell someone what the time was or that their shoelace was not tied. Matter of fact, no emotion, no sympathy, bored even. When I burst into tears, he said “What? You wanted it?” Of course I wanted my baby. This was my first bitter experience in the world of western medicine. It would not be my last.

We spent an unreal week in California and then went home to mourn. As soon as the doctors told us it was okay, we tried again and, once again, got pregnant right away. We were told we were due April 19th, 2007. We were so excited, but very, very scared.

I didn’t really like my OBGYN, but the clinic was the only one in the county my insurance dovered. At the time, I never thought twice about seeing a midwife. It sounded like choosing to have worse care to me. I don’t know that anyone could have convinced me otherwise at the time.

I had a hard pregnancy with lots of morning sickness for the first half and lots of preterm contractions dubbed preterm labor that had me on bedrest for most of my third trimester.

On April 10th, I went to bed having contractions. This was not unusual for me by any means and I didn’t think much of it. On the 11th at 3:00am, I woke up to bloody show and called the hospital as instructed by my OB. They said to come in, and I did. They told me I was in early labor and to come back when it was going strong. I went back in that afternoon, with contractions a minute apart- and was not even dilated 2cm, so they sent me home again. I went back in again at 4:00am on the 12th and had only made it to 4cm, but was admitted.

This is where it gets hard for me. I trusted the medical personnel as I thought I should. I thought they would help me to make good choices and that my baby would be safe. I was wrong.

I can’t really know what went on for sure, but I do know that a nurse told me a few hours after my arrival that I was between 5 and 6 cm dilated and that my water had broken. She told me that if I wanted and epidural, I needed to get it then or it would be too late. So I did. Only when they were done with it, I was informed that I was given a spinal “because you’ll probably end up with a C-section.”

I didn’t have it in me to fight with these people. I wasn’t educated enough. I wasn’t strong enough. I was annoyed, but I kept my mouth shut. After a few minutes of having the dang thing in, I wanted to rip it out. But I left it in out of fear and knowing that I would still have to pay. I hated the way it made me feel. I felt concentrated pain but was unable to move. It was miserable.

Then, I was checked again and found to only be at three centimeters dilated with my water still in tact. I was so mad and confused. I wanted to cry. I may have. I was exhausted.

They sent in an Ob, who said he was checking me for dilation. Instead, he broke my water without my consent. Once again, I was mad, but didn’t know how to speak up. It’s not like they could unbreak it. And I probably would have consented, but I wanted to participate in my own labor.

Eventually, I got as far dilated as I would go, 9 1/2 with a cervical lip. They told me to push through it. I pushed for three hours before an Ob showed up. After she’d been there an hour or so I was yelling to have the spinal removed. It was if I wasn’t speaking. (I actually asked Nick later if I was really asking, he said I was screaming.) I was so tired. I hadn’t slept in more than 40 hours. I said I couldn’t do it anymore. What I wanted was encouragement, a break, anything. What I got was intervention. She (the Ob) said that I was not going to make any progress pushing and I needed either the vacuum extraction or a C section. I asked if the vacuum was safe. She said yes.

She turned the damn thing too high. She pulled so hard that the seal broke and she flew back and hit the wall. Then she stopped using it and told me to push. (Remember, she said I couldn’t push him out a few minutes before!) After 30 min, I pushed out my son at 11:56pm on April 12th, 2007.

He seemed perfect in every way. He got nines on his APGAR’s and was doing well, besides the fact that he cried loudly. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. It turns out his screams were so loud because his brain had been damaged by the vacuum and he was in pain.

We had a beautiful 20 hours as a family. Then he quit breathing when I was trying to nurse him and turned blue. He was taken away from me and put in the nursery.

Very long story short, after a lot more abuse from the hospital, staff ignoring and insulting us and not keeping is informed about our son, Keagan was eventually transferred to the highest level NICU in our region because he had bleeding in his thalamus. He stayed there until he was eleven days old. I had to wash my hands for three minutes to even touch my child. I was not allowed to nurse him for five days. I was only allowed to hold him when given permission. It was hell. I’ll never be able to put into words how it feels not be separated from your child, to need to ask to pick up your baby crying for you… to not be able to nurse your child as he nuzzles into you, rooting hungrily. There are no words and I still ache today for the time that was stolen from us.

We couldn’t tell if his brain was okay or not because the bleeding was too heavy. Once it was controlled and he stopped having seizures (what the episode at the hospital turned out to be, he had eleven before the transfer and a few after) they did an MRI that was inconclusive. They sent us home telling us that we’d be back in four months when the blood was all gone to see what we could find out. We were left with the possibility of brain surgery when our son was 4 months old.

After that MRI, we were told that his brain was injured by the course of his birth and that the improper use of the vacuum suction was most likely to blame. They could not tell us for certain – because they can’t speak against doctors in that way… but the paperwork all said because of the course of birth and the only thing unusual about the birth was that darned vacuum.

A few months later, Keagan had a seizure, something that’s happened a few times since and will probably happen again. Because of the scarring on his brain he’ll always be at risk for them, though at this time he is not considered epileptic. His seizures tend to be fever induced, which are normally harmless, but because of that scarring he has, risk of complication is higher for him.

So not long after we got home, the medical bills started to roll in. Oh my goodness does it ever cost a lot of money to stay in a NICU. Even with insurance and stable jobs, we were in over our heads.

Keagan had too many appointments for me to keep my job. It just wasn’t realistic and I thought I could get it back later. I was wrong, the economy tanked and I didn’t have a position any longer. I applied everywhere I could and did not get hired.

The company Nick worked for was falling apart. He sought employment to avoid being laid off. He found it, but had to accept a paycut.

We looked into refinancing to a lower interest rate so we had more money each month to pay bills. We were fooled by a crooked mortgage man. We kept thinking the loan we had sounded bad, but every time we’d ask, he’d mention the Truth in Lending Act and how he couldn’t lie. Well he did, and things got worse for us. The interest rate soared up each month, along with the amount we owed on the house. We should have had a lawyer look at it, but we couldn’t afford to do it. Looking back, we should have found a way.

We tried to sell our house. We found a buyer for a short sale, as the value had fallen greatly. The offer came in our third wedding anniversary. We felt so much hope that day. That night, we renewed our vows on a small local beach with a few friends in family- and a tiny new life, in my womb. It was a beautiful, happy night.

The bank accepted the offer and we moved out.
Then, somehow the deal fell apart. We got another offer from the same buyer. The bank accepted. We waited. It never finalized. The buyer walked. We got yet a third offer from a new buyer.The bank rejected it, then foreclosed.

We’re now financially ruined, living in a small duplex and making ends meet. We have learned so much through this all… learned to educate ourselves about medical issues. Learned to live simply. We are who we are because we’ve been through this heartache.

I’m now the first person to advocate for natural healthcare, especially in childbirth. I think that the way pregnancy and birth are treated in this nation is a joke. I think that a lot (not all) of OBGY’s just want to make it easy on themselves and care more about their schedules than laboring women. Though I still have anxiety problems when near hospitals due to Keagan’s birth and first weeks, I have healed a lot through the homebirth of my 2nd child. I now know how much better birth can be.

I also have learned so much about living simply. We really were not over the top in our level of consumerism by most standards, however we bought more than we needed. We didn’t need a 1700 sf home. We didn’t need a new car. We didn’t need new clothes. We could have done things differently. We didn’t and we’re paying the price. But I now know that I love our simple. clutter free life. It’s better for us, it’s better for the environment and it’s better for those with whom we share the planet.

So we’re the face of foreclosure. We are the victims of our medical system. We are your average family, just with a lot of life thrown into short years.

I don’t regret most of it. Do I wish I’d been better informed of my birthing options and made better choices? Of course. But I can’t change it. I am always going to wish that I had done better for my son, for his brain…but I can’t change it. He’s doing so much better than we’d ever hoped. We are blessed beyond belief. And even though it’s been hard, God provides. We’ve always managed to stay fed and sheltered, even when it came down to living with my parents a few times for a little while. I wish we’d waited a few years to buy a house? Do I wish I didn’t let society’s pressures tell me I needed to buy one? Yes, but then again, I know we helped our friends in their path to adoption, so, as I said, that all makes it worth it in the end.

We’re better for our heartache. We’re better for our pain and we’re ready to tell people about it now. I don’t want people to make our mistakes. Please, if you’re pregnant and reading this, look into your options. Hire a doula… she can help you so much through your birth. Look into midwifery and natural childbirth. Do not let anyone near you with a vacuum extractor. And if you’re thinking of buying a home, be sure you’re ready and make sure you know why. Renting isn’t all bad.

So there it is. This is how I came to be a crunchy granola mama on a mission for simplicity. As long as it is, it’s the short version. 🙂 I hope I’ve helped someone with my tale, but if nothing else, it’s healing to write it all out.

Read Full Post »

What Does Naptime Look Like?

IMG_9430

IMG_9431

I probably should have done something more productive than take photos and play in photoshop with my time. Especially since they so rarely take naps at the same time. My children, however, were too angelic to pass up.

Read Full Post »

Here’s a conversation from last night:

Hubby: Keagan, where’s your belly button?
Keagan: (points to his belly button)
Papa’s belly button (points to Papa’s belly button.)
Mama has a belly button.
Hubby: Yes she does.
Keagan: Gramma has a belly button. And Grampa.
Hubby: Yes, they do.
Keagan: Mo-mo (Hubby’s mom) has no belly button.
Hubby: She doesn’t?
Keagan. Nope. Mo-mo has no bebo. Not yet.

And another from this morning.

Mama: Keagan, I love you.
Keagan. Thanks.

Read Full Post »

So my little Keagan is one bright kid. He’s always been ahead of what is expected of his age group and he is constantly making my jaw drop with his observations, skills and vocabulary.

We’ve planned on homeschooling from the get-go and as he gets older I become more and more sure of this choice. At two and three months, he is already doing a lot of what’s taught in Kindergarten. This is with minimal parental guidance (he is two after all, no need to push!) I can’t imagine how bored he’d be being “taught” his ABC’s in three years. I could see him really being a problem for a teacher, honestly. He’s stubborn as a mule (and comes by it honestly hehe) and does not sit still well when he does not want to do so. Like when you try to show him how to do something he’s known how to do for months. I can only imagine how he’d act out if he were bored and forced to stay in his seat.

I have the heart of an unschooler. I really do. I want him to learn as much as he can through daily interactions. Keagan, however, craves structure. He loves it when we sit down and talk about letters and their sounds, when we count together, etc. This child once sat while I read him an entire 350 page book. (A 2nd grade reader with only a few sentences per page, but still, that’s a long time for a kid who at the time was 22 months old!) He asked for another book when I was done.

So this week we started to do a loosely structured curriculum of my own making. Taking a bit from http://www.letteroftheweek.com, but mainly just flying by the seats of our pants, we dived into the letter “B.” He already knows all the letters upper and lower case and their sounds, but I thought it would give us something to tie it all together with. I know most people would have started with “A,” however we had lots of books on hand that went with “B.”

We made a “B” collage. We read lots of books about bears. Keagan went around the house telling me what starts with “B.” (“Baby starts with B. B buh baby…..B buh bath… ) We made a bird collage, talked about their beaks and their wings and then went bird watching in our neighborhood. (Surprisingly few birds were out that afternoon, but we had fun anyway.) He made a point of telling me which b’s he saw throughout the week were “big” and whuch were “little.” All in all, Keagan had a blast, I felt like I was encouraging him without pushing him, and I tried not to feel too sad that I was not really unschooling the way I’d planned. I mean, we’re homeschooling so that Keagan can learn in his own way… he just happens to be a boy who asked his mama to show him how to read at two.

I’m barely beginning in the world of homeschooling and I am already learning so much. Homeschooling works because we don’t have to do things a certain way and because we can follow the lead of our children. It’s interesting to see the paths they lead us down.

Read Full Post »