The Next Step   

...getting through life one step at a time.

...getting through life one step at a time.

Monday, August 25, 2014

How to Thank a Mom for Being a Mom

Just wanted to toot my own horn a little cause I think I hit a home run with this one.

My mom has basically moved in with us to care for my girls (and me) as I recover from ankle surgery. Of course, it's my right ankle, so I can't even drive until I can put weight on it again. It's been about 20 days with another three weeks ahead of us.

I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to express my gratitude other than just saying "thank you" a million times a day.  So I bought this book for her, and then wrote a little poem to go with it. Nothing quite says "I love you" like declaring it in public, so I'm sharing this with you all now. I hope you enjoy it, and share it with your mom if you like.

Of all the moms I love and know,
There’s one for me, just like snow.
Uniquely shaped like God intended,
Many parts carefully blended.
Facets deep and cut just so,
A work of art, just like snow.
Each flake amazing,
Refractions blazing,
With just a little shining light,
Each one becomes a glorious sight.
But while flakes of snow are but fleeting,
The heart of a mother is ever beating,
With warmth and joy and loving care,
Giving everything, a soul laid bare.
Forever serving others first,
Despite her own needs or thirst,
This person, this woman, this mother,
Fills a need like no other.
To everyone who has come to know,
She’s unique and special like the snow.

--Lori V.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

5 Stages of Bed Rest

When I was pregnant with the twins, I was on "modified bed rest" for about two months - which basically just meant house-arrest. I could peruse the fridge as I pleased, bake whatever morsel I was craving, and had no trouble making it to the bathroom every 15 minutes, or as needed. I just couldn't leave the house. Grocery delivery and detailed, specific lists for my husband pretty much took care of the day-to-day issues.

Two weeks ago I had ankle surgery that was apparently 40 years in the making, but only took about 14 months to plan and execute. I had "an osteochondral defect of the distal tibia" (a cyst in my shin bone) and "an os trigonum on the posterior talus" (accessory bone on the back of my ankle bone) that were idiopathic (they don't know what caused them, most likely present at birth.)

I scheduled the surgery for the last week of the summer semester so I would have as much time as possible before the fall semester to recover, so I could get on with my massage therapy training. Turns out, I was slightly misinformed about how long the recovery would be. When I asked the surgical coordinator she gave me the blanket "everyone recovers at a different rate." When I told her I was off pain meds after a c-section in under two weeks she just said, "Oh, you'll be fine then."

What she did NOT tell me about, was the mandatory 6 weeks of no weight on my ankle. I was told to elevate the ankle for 4-6 days after the surgery, but nothing about non-weight-bearing for weeks.

I'm still not sure how I am going to manage massage therapy practice on one leg. But it will be among the top questions I ask next week during my follow up appointment with the surgeon.

Until then, I'm on bed rest (for real), and am sharing with you now the 5 stages of bed rest that I've discovered over the last couple of weeks. Thankfully, my mom basically moved in with us to run the house while I recover.

1. Sleep. For the first two days after surgery I pretty much slept the whole time. I hibernated between doses of medication while my mother chased my three girls around the house and made sure every one was fed. Unfortunately, the medication was not of the same caliber as what they gave me for the c-section, so I don't have any fun stories about how I could make the bed swing to and fro, and side to side.

2. Irritation. After the numbness wore off, the itching started. And the plastic device wrapped around my ankle that could be hooked up to a pump to circulate ice water around my ankle began to feel like that plastic suit they make you wear in a sauna as part of bizarre weight-loss programs.  And the plaster half-cast splint thing running up the back of my leg intended to keep my ankle immobilized gained 10 pounds daily. And the cotton batting covering all of the aforementioned surfaces began to resemble wool socks, causing sweating and overheating in just one foot. And every hair on your head is pushing back against your scalp and twisting into a rats nest that you actually fear will encourage rats to take up residence in your hair.

3. Bliss. The incredible two to three days after you hack into the ace-bandage-wrapped split to remove one of the sauna-status-inducing layers. Your mom is bringing your meals to you in bed, your DVR is chock full of shows you have been wanting to watch but your kids interrupt you every 2.2 minutes, and your head is no longer too heavy to follow the rapid fire jokes of The Big Bang Theory.

4. Boredom. Your DVR has nothing left but new episodes of Bubble Guppies, and reruns of dumb shows your husband likes to watch. Your first outting to get a hair cut (to get rid of the rats nest) lasts less than an hour and wears you out so you feel like you are back in Stage 1. After you recover from your hair cut, you have enough energy that staying in bed all day is no longer an attractive plan. You start to over-post on Facebook like when you first joined and had no idea what to post on Facebook.

5. Experimentation. You start thinking you can cook dinner on one leg, so you start making home made macaroni and cheese, including shredding the cheese. You are so pleased with your success, you decide to clean up too, instead of leaving everything for your mom to clean up later when she returns from the grocery store with your three little darlings. Then one of your crutches slip in some water you spilled, and your good food slips a little too. And you understand what the recovery nurse meant when she said, "For safety's sake, if you have to touch down, it's not a big deal."

I keep flipping back and forth between Stages 4 and 5 - and right about now, the itching is starting to come back a little.

That follow up appointment where I hope they liberate my ankle from hot and sweaty confinement can't come soon enough (two more days!!)
Though I'm wondering if it will hurt at all. Judging from the length of leg hair I can see, and the assumption that it is growing and weaving amongst the cotton fibers inside the splint, I can only imaging a velcro-like ripping sound when it's all removed.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"The Talk"

I have dreaded this for 6 years, 8 months, and 26 days.  And it just happened.  On the way home from getting cupcakes, and playing one of those pianos out on the street.

"Um, Mommy?  I have been thinking about T a lot lately and I'm wondering, why she doesn't have a dad."

"She doesn't need a dad, she has two mommies who love her very much."

"Oh, um, but, I thought *everyone* had a dad."

"Well, no.  Maybe it started out that way, but lots of people don't have dads.  Their dads could have died, moved away because the parents got divorced, or they might not have been able to take care of a baby so they gave the baby up for adoption."

"Adoption?  What's that?"

"Well, that's when the woman and man who, um, *had* the baby couldn't take care of it, so they found someone else who would love it and take care of it.  T is adopted."

"What?  So she *had* a dad?"

"Uh, well, yes.  Everyone starts out with a dad, that's um, that's how we get babies.  You know about blood cells right?  All the tiny little blood cells make up the blood, right?"


"Well, it's the same with babies.  But instead of just blood cells, there are mom-baby cells and dad-baby cells and they come together and become one bigger cell and then start growing into a baby.  And the baby grows inside the mom."

"Do the people eat the cells?  How do they get in there?"

"Um. No.  How much do you really want to know here?"

"I want to know EVERYTHING!"

"Oh.  Okay.  But this is NOT something you discuss with your sisters, they are too young, and this is NOT something you talk about at school - it is NOT appropriate school conversation."


"So, no, they don't eat the cells.  The dad has a penis, you know that, right?"


"And the mom has a vagina."


"So the man puts the penis in the vagina and squirts the baby cells into the mom, where they meet up with her baby cells and start growing a baby.  And when the baby is born, it comes out of the vagina - or like when I had your sisters, because there were two in there it was too difficult to do that, so the doctors cut me open to get your sisters out.  The mom and the dad who do that are called the "biological mom" and the "biological dad" but that doesn't mean they will be the mommy and the daddy."

"Oh. So, WHY doesn't T have a dad?"

"Well, because her biological mom and biological dad couldn't take care of her, so on the day she was born, they gave her to her two mommies who love her very much and have raised her and taken care of her.  Families don't all have to have the same parts - they just have to have people who love each other very much and take care of each others.  Like Auntie Heather, she's not related to us, but we love her so much she is part of our family."

"Oh, right.  Okay."

****Silence for the rest of the ride home as she mulls this new information over.*****

"So, um mommy?  I didn't know about that other part - I thought all babies were cut out.  Was I cut out?"



(And I swear I heard her gag just a little.)

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