Sunday, March 25

Dreams and Nightmares

When I was little I was very philosophical (obviously :O) ).  I used to wonder what it would be like it our whole lives were really just a dream of a giant.  And if he woke up what would happen to us?  Why it was a giant, I will never know.  But I always wondered.  (The giant never woke up, by the way, and I'm still here.)

Now, year later, I still wonder if I'm in a dream.  It's not a giant's dream anymore.  Instead it's just a dream I can't wake up from.

Some days I am just so okay.  I can tell Colby to kiss Connor's "heart" or tell him that the picture on the wall is Mama, Dada and Connor, or that he an Connor used to share room in my belly.  And it's just matter-of-fact.

Other days I am just so lost.  Almost 3 years later, I still feel like this can't possibly be my life right now.  I feel selfish saying that because I have three amazing, healthy, happy kids.  But I still can't believe it.  How do you process that your baby is dead?  It becomes normal.  A way of life.  But it doesn't ever stop knocking you out when you least expect it.

Three years ago we were fighting against infertility and miscarriage, but we had seemingly won.  And we really thought that was it.  We were just so naive.  And so wrong.

So lately I feel stuck in this dream.  It feels like there has to have been some mistake.  Or that I made up Connor and his death.  That couldn't have really happened to us, could it?

And it all makes me feel so isolated.  I don't want to bring up Connor to everyone I meet.  They don't need to know that I really have 4 children.  That my first baby lived and fought for his life.  That I held him as the doctors told us there was nothing else to do.  That I held him as he passed away.  That my heart literally broke on July 21st and that there is nothing anyone can do about it.  Instead I don't say anything.  I keep pictures of Connor out in my room at school.  I wear my MoD shirts.  I keep my angel necklace on, but I don't say anything.  But in not telling them, I feel like no one really knows me.  Unfortunately Colby & Connor's birth and Connor's death has succeeded in changing the person that I am.  It shook me to the core and there is no denying that I am a totally different person that I was before- for better or for worse.

I wonder all the time why things happened the way they did.  I will never stop blaming myself for the boys' early birth.  Yes, it was most likely inevitable due to IC, but my pregnancy with the girls proved that things could be done to prolong the pregnancy.  I just regret that we didn't know that with the boys.

But I also wonder why Connor?  What was so fundamentally different about him from Colby?  How could Connor have a massive brain bleed, a pulmonary embolism, a PDA that refused to close, high blood pressure, and a life-ending infection when Colby was comparatively very healthy?

All I do know is that it's not getting any easier as time passes and instead there are days when it actually seems like things are getting worse.  As I get further away it feels more like a nightmare that I can't wake up from.  No matter how old I get, or how healthy the kids are, or how much we accomplish, I'll still be a mom to a baby that died.

Thursday, March 22

March for Babies 2012

We have a lot going on - and nothing at the same time.  :)  It has been in the 70's and 80's around here which is absolutely amazing for March in New England, so we've been outside as much as possible.  Colby's getting over pneumonia and the girls are getting over the worst yeast rashes ever.  (You know it's bad when the doctor comments "Wow, that's a lot more serious than I expected.")  Colby's almost totally potty trained.  The girls are itching to walk - and they're so close.  My graduate class is winding down with a few final papers and projects.  We're making the final 50-day push at school.

And the March for Babies is coming up.

Last year our family team, Connor & Colby's Crew, raised over $9,000 with the help of amazing friends and family.  2 years ago we raised just under $9,000.  This year we're aiming for $10,000 but fundraising hasn't really picked up yet.  I'm hoping it will, but I'm grateful for every little bit we get.  My brother is walking in San Antonio as his finals won't be finished in time to be home for May 12th.  My sister-in-law (almost- she and my brother are getting married on June 23rd) is walking with friends in New York.  It's so amazing to see how much these kids I love so much have touched others lives.

Like last year I made a video to share our story and to hopefully inspire donations.  It hasn't worked like I hoped yet, but it still makes me smile.  (And cry a little)  Here's the video for 2012 on Youtube.

The HD link is here.

If you'd like to donate to our team I'd greatly appreciate it.

Donate to Connor & Colby's Crew.

I have lots more to write about our goings on.  The potty training adventures.  Mobile twins.  Sicknesses galore.  The girls 1st birthday.  Our trip to Texas.  And on and on and on, but first I should write that paper and do the powerpoint presentation due Sunday.   That hasn't been started.  :-/

Sunday, March 11

Potty Time

So... sick again.  Seriously?

BUT Colby has been in underwear since Friday night and he has only had 2 accidents.  We put him in diapers to sleep for naps and night, but he was dry for nap time too.

Exciting, but more proof that he's growing up way too fast.

Sunday, March 4

Kids vs. Work

Life has been busy.  That's an understatement of epic proportions, but it is what it is.

We got hit with another doozy of a sickness.  The kids came out unscathed and we're all alive, so I'll call it a success.  But seriously?  Can we be done for the season?

It might be the winter, the constant sickness, the zero time to breathe, stress at work, the combo of all of them.  But I am so over being a working mom.  I started teaching 6 years and I loved it.  LOVED it.  I had wanted to teach since the 3rd grade, so it was great to be living my job.  And I know that I am SO lucky to have gotten to do it for the past 6 years.  But somedays I just feel like I can't handle it anymore.

Statistically over 50% of teachers burn out by their 5th year.  So when I hit year 5 and I was still it in I felt like I was good to go, but not so anymore.  I still do like it.  Love it even.  But I'm stuck between motherhood and teaching.  I cannot give 100% to either avenue (and add in grad school & wife-dom too) and I hate it.  But I still try.  Any minute I am home I am 100%+ about the kiddos.  Play & feeding & diapers & baths & stories & bed.  Motherhood, right?  But once they hit the hay (however fitfully because sleep?  They still don't get it.) I can't shut off my brain.  Then I have lesson plans, guided reading lessons, correcting, homework, anchor charts.  And grad class work.  And the normal laundry, dishes, bottles, sweeping.  But by midnight I'm so drained that I have to stop even though I easily have another few hours of work I could do.  So I go to bed, wake at 5 to get the day started, am in the car by 6:30, at school by 7:30.  I get through the day and try to steal minutes to get ahead, but it never works.  Instead my todo pile get precariously high.  My recess & lunch are spent catching up.  Then the end of the day comes, I shoo the kids out, pick up some of the mess (because for some reason by the end of the day there are 52 pencils on the floor no matter how often they're reminded to PICK UP).  Soon it's time to grab my bags so I can be home to let off the babysitter by 3:30.  But again, as I walk out that door I have hours of work left to do.

I never seem to get ahead because I'm not willing to sacrifice that time with my kids.  Because Colby was a baby just days ago I swear.  But now he's 2.5 going on 12 and too funny for his own good.  The girls were tiny babies needing new carseats because the regular ones were just too BIG, but now they're on the verge of walking and destroying the world.  And I can't keep up.  I can't miss this time, I won't forgive myself.  But I also can't keep half-assing it at work.  I mean, I work my butt off, but not the same way I used to.  Not the same way I want to.  Not the same way these kids deserve.

And that's where I'm stuck.  I went into teaching to be the best teacher I could be.  To give these kids the best start in life.  To make them LOVE school.  To be new and innovative and fun and educational.  I vowed to be the kind of teacher I would have wanted.  The kind I would want MY kids to have.  Because I believe in what I'm doing.  I'm in a job where I CAN'T slack.  I can't slack today and make up for it tomorrow.  I can't do it because it will impact a life forever.  I can't call this year a bust and vow to do better next year.  I just can't.

So I'm left exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling defeated by my job.  I can't slack so I am still giving 100%, but feeling behind and beaten.  And then I'm told I need to be more social.  That I need to do more to be part of the group.  That I need to stay later to have time to chit chat.  But I have those three balls of beautiful energy waiting for me.  I have the reasons I wake up and live waiting for me.

So I'm feeling torn.  SO torn.  And I know it's not a new dilemma by any stretch of the imagination.  But I haven't felt this over it before.  I haven't felt so strongly that I could walk away and really be OKAY with it.  But practicality hits and I know we NEED my insurance (million dollar babies, anyone?) and my pension will be nice when those days come.  But we need to rework something because I have a feeling that I can't go on feeling like this for too long before things get bad...