Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beauty is pain

I have a new hobby.

Typically I am a hobbier hobbiest (yes, I know that neither of those are real words). I like to try a lot of different hobbies, but rarely stick with one for more than a few months.

That sound you just heard was MotH yelling "YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN".

Humph.

However, I'm afraid this "hobby" is here to stay. In fact, it will likely require MORE effort as time goes on.

What is this new hobby, you ask? (ask....go ahead. I'll wait.)

Plucking strange, wiry hairs from places on my face that should NOT be growing strange, wiry hairs. (Now that I think about it, should ANY part of my face grow strange, wiry hair? I think not.)

What. Is up. WITH THAT?!

Can I get a few nods of sympathy from my fellow sisters?

Men have NO idea what we do. Sure, I could go "au naturel", but really......does anyone want that?

Do I REALLY want my boys complaining that mom gave them WHISKER BURN?!

Perish the thought.

Do you know the only thing WORSE than having to pluck these errant hairs?

Pinching the skin and wounding myself. Nothing quite announces to the world "Hey, I have the beginnings of a mustache" like a bloody little scab just high enough on the lip that you could never convince someone that you bit yourself.

It's almost as attractive as the tell-tale scab above my eye that announces to society that I pluck my eyebrows in a bid to avoid Bert-dome (of Bert and Ernie fame).

But do you know what REALLY chaps my hide?

My mother, when I rant about this, says "oh, I get one out of my mole and I just shave it off".

Thanks, mom. Clearly I get my sasquatch genes from dad's side.

But hey, pain for beauty doesn't stop there! Oh no, there is more.

Let's add to the list.....

*burning my neck/forehead/STOMACH! with a curling iron
*getting hair sucked into the back of the hair dryer (and enjoying the resulting charred hair smell)
*poking my eye with the mascara wand
*having to fish eyeshadow pieces off my eyeball
*shaving the bikini area (which is ironic, since my "area" hasn't seen the sunny side of a bikini in 15 years. Be grateful.)
*shaving, exfoliating and otherwise sanding the rough skin off of my feet for sandal season
*trying to blow dry my hair with a round brush. Trust me, that's not a mistake I'll make again. I thought I'd need the jaws of life to get that dang brush out of my hair. The only other time my hair tangled that fast was when my brother stuck one of those cars you pull back and it drives forward in my hair.

And that's just what I came up with in five minutes!

My sister was recently telling me about a lip plumping lip gloss she bought. I told her "you know, they put cayenne pepper in that to irritate your lips and make them swell". She said "I wondered what that was! I'm afraid to kiss the baby with it on because it MIGHT BURN HIS FACE like it does my lips.".

Yet has she stopped USING this lip irritant? No, because BEAUTY IS PAIN.

Is any of this SANE? We scoff at people that willingly inject themselves with toxins in a bid for a smooth forehead, yet don't we (okay, me) secretly think "I wonder if that works....." when we stare in the mirror?

I'm telling you, men have NO idea the type of maintenance that is required.

Oh, and next time you see me and I have a scab above my lip, I jabbed myself with a chopstick.

Really.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dropping in to say "hi"

I'm crazy busy with a project at work and by the time I am home (or by the time I stop working for the day), I don't want to be anywhere near a computer.

Hopefully things will settle down soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Derailed

I had a post forming in my mind and I was suddenly derailed. I was going to make an Ode to MotH post (borrowing from the two fantastic posts made by Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy) and suddenly feel a very strong need to share something else.

The irony is that I can't think of a single person that reads this blog that doesn't already know this story, or a version of it. Yet I still feel compelled to make this post, so here goes.

I was raised in a Christian home. My parents saw to it that we regularly attended church and many of my fondest childhood memories involve church camps and retreats.

I had many "bursts" of spirituality. I would get emotional during songs and was moved during special church services. I considered myself a Christian.

MotH had a similar upbringing and I knew enough about God's wishes to know I needed to marry someone with a similar faith.

Unfortunately, neither of us were living our faith by that time. We married and then didn't step foot in another church for several years. We both drifted far from God.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when I found out I was pregnant. Actually, fast forward to July 10, 2000. That is the day my water broke on AM's twin when I was only 20 weeks pregnant.

We were told by many doctors that the chances of either baby surviving were extremely low. I was given a "goal" of 24 weeks (the point of viability) and parked in a hospital room.

On the morning of August 1, I woke up and got ready for breakfast. A new perinatologist (high-risk ob) came in and did an exam. I knew something was wrong since they hadn't done an exam since I was admitted (risk of infection). I was soon to find out that I had partially delivered our daughter.

She lived only a short while and died in the arms of a nurse.

AM arrived that afternoon. I was exactly 23 weeks pregnant. I now know that the reason they didn't deliver him via c-section was that they felt he had virtually no chance of survival and didn't want me to go through major surgery. We were told that the best we could hope for was a sign from him that he was a fighter.

He came out and actually cried. Such a small, delicate sound. Nothing like the loud, gusty wails of a newborn. He sounded more like a mouse.

He was rushed to the NICU and I was taken to the OR (I began to bleed badly). When I woke up in recovery, I expected to be told that he was dead. I was shocked to hear that he was still fighting in the NICU.

Over the next couple of days we got a crash course in extreme prematurity. I will never forget when the neonatologist came in my room and told me that AM's blood sugars were very high and that was nearly always an indication of a significant brain bleed (brain bleeds are the cause of many disabilities associated with prematurity).

We needed to make a decision. They could keep trying to save him, but the chances of him being "normal" (if he survived) were less than 10%. We would likely have a severly handicapped child (we were told he would likely be blind, deaf and brain damaged). Or we could choose to stop treatment and let him die peacefully.

I pray that none of you reading this is ever forced to make a decision like that.

My heart cried out to save my baby and that was, thankfully, the decision we made. Looking back, it's obvious to me that God was working on our hearts. At the time, I didn't see it. I just knew I wanted them to save my son.

That afternoon the doctor returned to my room and, in amazement, explained that AM did NOT have a brain bleed and that he had never seen that before (when blood sugars shot up).

After everyone left that day, I ended up on my knees crying out to the God I had virtually ignored for years. It was suddenly so clear to me that AM would survive ONLY by His will. Every medical evidence pointed to him dying or being severely disabled. We were given virtually NO hope that there would be any other kind of outcome. I was finally driven to the point where I had to hand it over to God.

The next part of my story may cause some of you to doubt my sanity. Some may pass off what I'm about to say as the fanciful imagination of a mother. I will only say that I know what I experienced and I know what happened.

I walked in to the NICU shortly after giving my son to God. As I approached AM's bed, I SAW the hands of God cradling my infant son and felt an overwhelming voice whisper to me "he will be okay, trust me". Flying in the face of everything medical science was telling us, my God told me AM would not only survive, but that he would be "okay".

Perhaps what God gave me this image to help me understand that He was there, I do not know. I DO know that AM was being held in the hands of an Almighty God that heard the cries of a desperate mother.

Over the next weeks and months, there were moments when we were told AM might not make it. I remember one evening I was visiting AM and he suddenly had a "spell" (blood O2 levels went way down and heart rate slowed dramatically). I stepped back as a team of medical personnel rushed to his bedside and proceeded to resuscitate my son (chest compressions and "bagging" him to force his lungs to open back up).

As I stood there with tears streaming down my face, that small voice whispered again to my soul "I promised he would be okay, trust me".

On November 22, 2000, we brought AM home. He is now a healthy, happy, "normal" eight year old.

He is exactly what God promised me he would be.

The story doesn't end there. Two years ago, I was in bed and suddenly felt the need to pray that God would remove from me the fear I had of getting pregnant again. As I laid there, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the peace of God. My fear was removed.

This time, the voice of my heavenly father told me that if I ever got pregnant again, things would be fine.

As most of you know, I delivered a healthy, full-term son on November 9, 2008. In fact, had he been delivered on his due date, he would have been born on the same day AM came home from the hospital.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, this was not the topic I had planned. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to write this, I only know that I had to.

I also feel that I have to address something people have skirted around but rarely asked. Why did God save my son but not my daughter?

I don't know the answer to that. However, I DO know this. She is with Him and our separation is only temporary. THAT gives me a peace that passes understanding. In His incredible love and mercy, He cares for her now and someday I will see her again. Our separation is only temporary. Isn't that amazing?

There are no goodbyes for those that find their rest in Christ.

I know that many of you read this because the majority of my posts are meant to be funny (I'll let you decide whether or not they are). However, if there is even ONE person that reads this that is unsure of their relationship with God, I will say this.

There is ONE God and He loves you like crazy. Christ died for YOU. Even though there are millions upon millions of people on this planet, He cares for YOUR concerns as intimately as a father cares for his beloved children. YOU are His child and He wants a relationship with you. If you don't have one with Him, ask Him to show you the way.

He loves YOU.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Life as Mii

So I finally created a Mii last night on the Wii.

All in all, it was okay. She doesn't quite have my hair, but she's close enough.

Then I fired up Wii Fit for the first time.

Things rapidly went downhill from there.

First MotH did his body "test". It told him he's overweight (for the record I disagree) and 47. He was less-than-pleased and I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Because if it said he's overweight, I knew it would only be worse for me.

It was worse. So very much worse.

Not only is it a blow to the ego to watch an electronic gadget declare me "obese", but must they also make an animated version of my huge self?

She danced. She ran. She sagged in defeat (stupid balance exercises).

She looked like Humpty Dumpty pre-fall.

Correction. I look like Humpty Dumpty pre-fall.

AM started asking "why is your Mii so fat, mom?". That was immediately followed by raucous laughter and yet another suggestion that I call Weight Watchers. He's a funny one, that boy of mine.

At least my Wii "age" is only 27.........a full 20 years YOUNGER than MotH's age of 47.

Of course that means that if our house catches fire, he's too old to drag my fat butt to safety.