Thursday, April 17, 2014

Admitting It Is The First Step

I readily admit that I have a problem. I'm addicted. It's that simple.

Some days I just can't help it. Most days. Ok, just about every day. 

Hour after hour - popping vicodin, yelling at people, making poor life choices. I just can't stop. 

I'm addicted.

I'm not totally to blame, though. Had Netflix not decided to add House, M.D. to their streaming video choices, I would not be addicted to watching the pill-popping doctor and his cohorts hour after hour every day. I watch House while doing dishes, while doing yoga, while checking email, while making dinner. Having a Kindle just makes things worse, as I can prop it in the kitchen cabinet or on my bed, or on the dryer. 

At least I'm getting stuff done while feeding my addiction. I guess it could be worse - I could be addicted to pain pills. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


You said I need to stop being so negative all the time - that I need to concentrate on the blessings in my life and stop wallowing in my illness. 

I don't think you understand.

When I talk about how my illness is affecting my life or post something about it online, you read it as whining, while I'm merely stating what I'm experiencing that day. Just as you post about what you had for dinner, how much exercise you got, how cute your dog is, or an anecdote from your most recent adventure, I sometimes talk or post about how much rest I needed to make it through the day, requests to my body to please be kind, or my most recent adventures at the doctor's office. 

This is my life. 

My life, every day, is managing my health  ...and doctor appointments - so many doctor appointments.  I need to manage my levels of activity and rest, balance that with household chores, homeschooling, volunteering, child-wrangling, and everything else involved in living life. And then there's dealing with my dietary needs, my kids' dietary needs, and my kids' health issues. 

It's not that I don't see the blessings - I do and appreciate every single one of them - it's that sometimes the blessings in my life come in the form of a day of rest, medication, a kind doctor, or that I have a community of support who comes to my aid when they know I'm not doing well. Your perception of my misery may just coincide with my perception of the myriad blessings in my life.

If things in my life are bad enough that I'm constantly talking or posting about feeling ill, perhaps instead of assuming I'm not appreciating the good in life, you could offer support or kind words to increase the good that is my life.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Forward movement. Progress. Whatever you want to call it, I'll take it.

After long weeks stuck in the quagmire of ill children and autoimmune disease-related misery, I've finally started moving forward. I've cleaned out cabinets and drawers, cleared shelves, and coordinated shopping lists and coupons saving my family lots of money. We've rearranged, reexamined, and prioritized. 

Even the smallest accomplishment seems momentous these days. It was a long Winter, which seeped its way into Spring and only now are things starting to feel as Springy as they should.

Open windows inspire cleaning and rearranging and letting go of accumulated comforts to make way for change. 

And change is coming. Soon we will get estimates on demolition and rebuilding of a rotten wall of our house, and hopefully soon afterwards, the process will be underway. Once that is done, and deck rebuilt, we transform the basement room into a haven for our younger teen, setting off the first domino in the Great Bedroom Switchapalooza. Teen younger moves to the basement room, preteen kicks eight and six out and across the hall to teen younger's old room, and half of preteen's room gets converted to the "kids' lounge." Teen older, not liking change, stays put in his room.

It feels as if I'm awakening to a new Spring in my life and all the opportunities it offers. Letting go of the clutter allows me to open up to the bounty life has to offer. Concentrating on the positive opens my heart to fully appreciate the plentiful blessings even the most bleak circumstance can offer. 

This is the year we Get Our House In Order. From the literal structure of our house to the atmosphere inside of it; from the health of our bodies to the health of our minds and our spirits; from finances to food choices to building a firm foundation of faith, I awaken to the possibilities that lay ahead. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What Home Looks Like

Homebirth has made its way into many conversations lately. People seem shocked that I would have given birth at home, and even moreso that I can't imagine wanting to birth anywhere else. I have had a medicated hospital birth, a natural hospital birth, a natural birth center waterbirth, and two waterbirths at home. I'd love to say that all my children's births were beautiful in their own way, but the fact of the matter is that Alexander's birth was quite traumatic to both of us. His birth, however, led me down that path to gaining confidence in my body's ability to birth, which in turn led me toward homebirth.

People seem to think that homebirth must somehow require courage. It took courage for me to get into a vehicle during labor to be driven to a hospital and to be able to find my center in an unfamiliar hospital room with equally unfamiliar people coming into and out of my room, including the doctor that I'd spent 6-10 minutes with on no more than twenty occasions. It didn't take any courage at all to relax in my own house surrounded by loved ones and under the care of experienced midwives who knew more about the body's ability to birth than any doctor I've ever met, and who spent no less than an hour with me at each appointment, were available by phone anytime should I have a question or concern, and who took the time to get to know me and my family. And besides, I felt ... well ... at home. 

Homebirth may not look the way you imagine it would. My first homebirth looked like this...

Midwives chatting
Gramma reading

Mama laboring
Paparazzi clicking
Coren was my first child born at home.  His was my easiest, calmest, least painful birth. From when my body started pushing to when he was out was a grand total of seven minutes. 
Brother born

Gently floating
Coren's birth was attended by two midwives, three siblings (ages 6, 5, and 3), his Gramma and Papa, "Aunt" Rachel, Daddy, and, of course, Mama. He was born in our dining room, as was Alia several years later. He weighed 10lbs 14oz. Really. We checked. Three times.

Cord cutting

Mamamilk guzzling

Nurse checking
During labor, I was encouraged to move, to eat, to drink, and to listen to my body. After birth, I had people making sure I ate and drank, making me comfortable, cleaning up, and making sure baby and I were healthy and that breastfeeding got off to a good start. There were plenty of hands to hold baby while I showered and whisk the older kids away to give Mama, Daddy, and baby some quiet bonding time - and so the big kids could organize a Birth Day Party.

Birth Day Partying

Family meeting

Life is Good 
As we lay in bed with our newborn baby that night, we marveled at how seamlessly this child entered our lives ... how normal and natural and full to the brim with love the entire day was. And how wonderful it was to be in our own bed, at home with our older children, on the night of the first day of our baby boy's life. 

(Photos by Gene Talbot - my wonderful Dad and my kids' loving Papa)