Monday, December 31, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 31

Small Celebrations

It is the last day of 2012 and the last day of my small celebrations month.  When I started I was really worried that I would not be able to do this. That it would be too hard or I would flake out. But I didn't. Not only that but it was pretty easy. Some days were less exciting than others but that is life isn't it?

Tonight I decided to share something I learned on December 19th. Nolan had his first appointment with a developmental pediatrician at Phoenix Children's Hospital on the 19th. It was at this appointment where I heard the nurse practitioner say those words I did not want to hear. "Nolan is 'at risk' for Autism". I can't say I was surprised or shocked but it would be a lie to say that it didn't hurt my heart. Ever since he started his therapies in June and I started learning about sensory processing disorders I started reading about Autism. 'At risk" for Autism is a common term used for children under three years of age, kind of a pre-diagnosis so that the child can qualify for therapies like ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and music therapy through state and federally funded organizations. The recommendation for Nolan is to continue his weekly speech and occupational therapies and add weekly music therapy and 25 hours a week of in home ABA therapy. Yes, 25 hours a week. ABA has been used to support people diagnosed with Autism since the 1960's and has gained wide support in the past 10 years. Early intervention and intensive focus is the key. So now there are more acronyms to learn, more evaluations to schedule and more applications to fill out.

Like I mentioned before, when Amber (the nurse practitioner) first said the Autism word I was hurt. I didn't cry. I don't think I even sighed. It wasn't the first time that it was just me when I was given difficult information. I have practice at that. I close up and wrap myself in protection until I can take the time I need to process. Then I came home and started telling friends and family, still in shock. And then just a couple of nights ago I cried. Not because Nolan was given this diagnosis but because he has worked so hard just to be here, with me, ever since he was conceived. He is so strong and so loving and so full of Light and I REFUSE to allow anything on this physical plane, in this physical world, to ever dim that. I will give Nolan everything possible to support his growth and development, the top of that list is my unconditional love and every ounce of fight I have to clear the way. I am continuing his NAET treatments along with starting Reiki treatments in the next month or two. I don't assume to know how this will go, especially after the past couple of years, but I do know that this beautiful star child of mine will always know that that he is loved and that he can do and be so much more than any diagnosis that might ever be used to define him. He is the light of God, as we all are, and I will work to make sure that he carries that as a knowing that goes far deeper than any human experience he may have. 

My sweet baby boy who draws people to him so that they stop and smile. I have even had some adults who stop the stroller by getting in front of it to smile and try to make eye contact with Nolan. I have seen how some people even seem to be surprised that they are engaging him. There is a joy in this child that is so complete; I will nurture that with all the love I have in my being. I am the Indigo Child who came in to this world clear the way for and to support the Prism Children coming in now. I just didn't know that one of them would be my own son.

So my celebration in this last day of 2012 is that Nolan is my son and I am his mother. Thank you to everyone who came on this month long journey with me.

Christmas Day 2012

New Year's Eve 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 30

Small Celebrations

Here is to a wonderful movie with my mom on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Les Miserables. 
I saw it on the stage in Washington DC over 20 years ago. A good friend of mine got tickets for us while I was visiting. Amazing seats!  I remembered nothing from it other than I was really moved. So when I saw it was coming out in the movies I knew I wanted to see it and talked my mom into joining me today. 
Once again I was moved to tears.
Fight. Dream. Hope. Love.

This is a picture is my favorite subplot.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 29

Small Celebration

Split pea soup. Homemade from left over Christmas ham. 
Sooo, good!
I love soup. I really do. One of the some reasons I have a tough time with AZ summers is because it is too hot to have soup.  :)

And I love sleeping all night long. Thank you Nolan.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 28

Small Celebrations

New friends and Old friends

This morning as I left to go to work Nolan's speech therapist, Tara, came in for his one hour in home therapy session. He saw her and smiled and waved his hands in excitement. Nolan is a very warm and loving little boy.  It can take a little time for him to get to know you but once he does he is your friend. My little boy loves his therapists, Tara and Andrea. He flashes his wonderful smile and lets out a giggle or two when they come to visit. He will sit in their laps and play with them. It always warms my heart to see how these women won his trust and that he truly enjoys his time with them every week.

This evening I had a wonderful dinner with a dear friend, Elizabeth, from grade school. I met her when my family moved to Wahoo, NE during 5th grade and then we moved away at the end of my sophomore year. To this day that is the longest I have ever lived anywhere.  She still lives in the midwest but her family decided to spend some time in Phoenix over the holidays so we made plans to get together for dinner tonight. As soon as I saw Elizabeth I knew it was her by her smile. She and her parents were a huge part of those years of my life. I have many memories with her and spending time at her parents house. I really feel as though I reconnected with a good friend  tonight even though we hadn't seen each other in almost 20 years. 

Here is a picture is of two silly young teen girls in the midwest in the early 80's.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 27

Small Celebration

I see trees of green, 
red roses too. 
I see them bloom, 
for me and you. 
And I think to myself,
what a wonderful world. 

I see skies of blue, 
And clouds of white. 
The bright blessed day, 
The dark sacred night. 
And I think to myself, 
What a wonderful world. 

The colors of the rainbow, 
So pretty in the sky. 
Are also on the faces, 
Of people going by, 
I see friends shaking hands. 
Saying, "How do you do?" 
They're really saying, 
"I love you". 

I hear babies cry, 
I watch them grow, 
They'll learn much more, 
Than I'll ever know. 
And I think to myself, 
What a wonderful world. 

Yes, I think to myself, 
What a wonderful world. 

Oh yeah.

This song just makes me smile.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 26

Small Celebration

I officially re -enrolled in college! 
I signed up for four classes today. I decided to work on finishing my bachelors and I even changed my field of study. I have about 1/2 the credits needed. I was focusing on psychology, a natural for me, but it never completely resonated for me. I never wanted to be a therapist. Life coach, hypnotherapist? Yes. Therapist? No. So, after the many changes and challenges I have experienced over the past couple of years I have realized that what I truly, truly wish to do is use my voice, my words and share my passion for communication. :) 

I learned so much about communication in my years as an airline employee. I watched how people talk to each other when they are stressed, fearful, in pain and in joy. In all my years with the airlines it is very possible I have watched over a million people be and act. I learned how to talk to people who were crying, sick, drunk, screaming in anger. And on a couple of really bad days I learned how to manage a riot. I learned how to be confident even when I was shaking in my shoes, because the group needed someone to be a confident leader. I learned how to keep 137 people interested in a safety demo on the plane. The key was being interested in what I was saying. If I was interested they were more likely to listen to me. So I made it a game, made it fun. I learned how to calm the energy of an entire aircraft of people with what I said and how I said it. I announced to the passengers on my plane getting ready to depart San Diego on September 11, 2001 what had happened in New York and DC, and what was going to happen next with their flight. The Captain and the First Officer refused to make an announcement to the passengers on board so as the first flight attendant, I did.

Then I started classes at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and I learned about "holding space", being neutral and grounded. Being centered and coming from an open heart space, listening in love and acceptance. I learned that sometimes when I speak it comes from a deeper more powerful place than my own simple human wisdom. I learned how to honor the place someone was in and not judge. I started to see how these simple acts of communication changed the entire experience of a conversation. It is amazing what can and will occur when the person(s) you are speaking with  knows that they are safe, truly safe, with you. There is healing in that space. I learned it and then I started teaching it.

And most recently, my sons have helped me to learn how to have deeply intimate conversations and remain detached from the outcome. I learned that sometimes the best and most loving act of communication I can do is to listen quietly and offer love. I learned that we are actually empowered when we can speak of our own fears, pain and weaknessness. 

And now recently I have been feeling limited in the work I have been doing and what I wish to do because I do not have a degree. It is time to change that. I have much to learn. I have much to teach. I have much to create and I understand that now is the time for the next step. And so, a bachelors in communication here I come!

I am grateful to the million + people who have taught me these things. Whether they were in my life for a decades or for a moment. And I am grateful for the millions more I have to learn from. I am celebrating.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 25

Small Celebration

Santa came last night.

Christmas Day - I went to sleep last night asking Eli to give me a sign on Christmas Day, just to say hi and Merry Christmas.  I woke up and took a quick look at Facebook. Someone posted this video, just because. I had this song played at Eli's service.

It was like Eli wished me "Merry Christmas mama, from Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

I didn't get to see all of my family
I had a wonderful Christmas with Nolan, my mom, Lucas, Whittney and Aden.
I learned that Nolan isn't that interested in opening presents. Actually didn't really care about it at all except for the golden gift from grandma - an "Alpha Pig" action figure. One of the characters from Nolan's favorite PBS cartoon, Super Why. He was soooo excited he just didn't know what to do with himself. He was clapping and laughing, almost over stimulated.

This is him studying Alpha Pig with he was still in his packaging.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 24

Small Celebration

Christmas Eve traditions 
- Cuties Clementines
- Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life
- Walking around looking at Christmas lights (next year it's Zoo Lights!)
- Wrapping Christmas Presents
- Going outside, look up at the stars and wishing my Eli a Merry Christmas
- Make sure Nolan goes to bed early enough to not have a meltdown
- Remember that Love really is the most important thing
- Teach that to Nolan

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 23

Small Celebration

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir 

My absolute FAVORITE song of the season is Carol of the Bells. I really like the Trans Siberian Orchestra version but I have to admit that my personal favorite, the one that brings tears to my eyes when I hear it is the  version by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The version my mom used to have on vinyl. The one I would put on the turn table and turn it up over and over and over again until I felt delirious joy at the sound of their voices. Yup, that one.

So, in honor of the season I shared my favorite song with Nolan tonight. He listened intently to almost all of it. :)

I am including both versions in this blog. Please listen to both if you haven't before and let me know your personal favorite.

Trans Siberian Orchestra


Mormon Tabernacle Choir
(not exactly the same as my mom's album but close)

And the lyrics

Hark! how the bells
Sweet silver bells
All seem to say,
"Throw cares away."
Christmas is here
Bringing good cheer
To young and old
Meek and the bold

Ding, dong, ding, dong
That is their song
With joyful ring
All caroling
One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From ev'rywhere
Filling the air

Oh how they pound,
Raising the sound,
O'er hill and dale,
Telling their tale,
Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer
Christmas is here
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas

On, on they send
On without end
Their joyful tone
To ev'ry home

[Repeat from the beginning]

Ding, dong, ding, dong

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 22

Small Celebration

Finally finishing putting the ornaments on the Christmas tree.  We used our small artificial tree this year. It stands about 4 ft tall. It has been up for almost 2 weeks but I just could not get motivated to decorate it. My heart wasn't in it. So today, I decided to do it anyway and I am glad I did. So pretty. 

And this is a wonderful ornament I got from my SIL this year. My little snowman family. Me in red and my boys in green. One on the earth with me and one with the stars.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 21

Small Celebration

So first things first, I am celebrating the world did not end. I still have many things to do on this earth.  :)

Second, I received a Christmas card created in remembrance of my Eli in the mail today. Created by the organization  They light the candles on October 15th every year and then send everyone a personalized picture of it. I don't know if this is actually a Christmas card, but that is what I am calling it.

On the  back is this poem ~

The world may never notice 
If a snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder 
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms, 
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.
The little one we long for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you. ~ Unknown

Third, I have started a new job part time outside of the home. Five hours, four days a week. I haven't left the house on a regular basis for this long without Nolan in months. I am celebrating the opportunity to do this work. And I am realizing that young man Nolan misses me when I am gone. When I got home tonight he would not let me out of his sight and we laughed and played and hugged like we couldn't get enough. 

And fourth, I had an attractive, younger man flirt with me today. I was thrilled! And then I realized that I need to get out of the house more often, flash my smile and laugh with people of the male persuasion other than my son!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Month of Small Miracles - December 20

Small Celebrations

I talked on the phone with one of my brothers today. He has gone through a lot of difficult changes the past couple of years and is looking at some more coming up. He is busy working crazy hours and I am busy being me so we don't talk as much as we would like. J has a great sense of humor and we always laugh when we chat. 
It was good to laugh with him today.

This picture was taken during our "hat" Christmas a couple of years ago. Everyone got a hat for Christmas. J decided to wear his in a slightly different way. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 19th

Small Celebration

Today's celebration is simple. Because some days the mountains in our path seem so much bigger than what we can do in the moment. 

I am celebrating that I can go to sleep tonight and after a good nights sleep it will be tomorrow
And tomorrow is another day to change the world.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 18

Small Celebration

Celebrating traffic delays and highway closures on a Monday morning.  I had a 9am job interview this Monday. It was only about 13 miles away but in trying to be the organized planner I left my house around 8am so that I could make sure to give myself the time I might need to find a building that, according to the person I was meeting with, was hard to find. So I leave my house and get on the freeway. As I am waiting for the on ramp light to turn green for me I notice that traffic is starting to slow down on the freeway in front of me. By the time I actually get on the freeway it is almost at a dead stop. Nothing I can do now but sit there and try to get off at the next exit. That next exit is two miles down the road. That two miles ends up taking me an hour to get to. At 8:30am I called the person I was meeting with to let her know I would be late and why. Her next appointment is 10am. She gave me the choice of rescheduling or getting there as soon as I could. I went with getting there as soon as I could. I finally get off of the freeway at 9am and within 30 minutes I am walking through the door. During my drive I kept hoping that I would be shown why this delay had to happen today and that it wouldn't negatively effect my chances for the job. When I got to the office I was only able to meet with the person who was to interview me for about 15 minutes.


After that I was able to step into another office and have a 45 minute conversation with the owner of the business. We clicked  and connected. And I am happy to say that I was offered the job this afternoon. I really, truly, completely believe that my opportunity to talk with the owner of the business like that is what got me the job. Had I left my house 5 minutes earlier I would have been past the accident that caused the freeway closing or a possibly even a part of it. Had I left 5 minutes later I would have seen the freeway was closed and would not have gotten on it and probably would have gotten to the interview on time and not had the one on one time with the owner.  Interesting....  :)

So, I have been hired as a Program Coordinator at "Mad Science". They create after school programs and day camps for kids that focus on science projects and experiments. The schedule has flexibility with the perfect hours to fit in with my life. My first day of work is Thursday. Another opportunity in the educational field!  I am ready!

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 17

Small Celebration

I am late on this one. I'm sorry.
I got a phone call from a friend last night. Her husband was in the ICU from a gunshot wound.
I left my house at about 7p and stayed with her until some family were able to make it in from out of town.
I am celebrating the bullet only hitting his lungs and not his heart. I am celebrating the quick response from the medical staff to save his life. I am celebrating that his light is still shining on this earth. 
I got home at 3a this morning. Soon I am hoping to celebrate my son taking a a nap today so that I can take one too.

Love to all of you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 16

Small Celebration

There are times when my mind moves so quick that my typing cannot keep up with it. This is one of those times. Guess we will see how this works.

Since I learned about the deaths in Newtown, CT I have been on edge. I felt like I was wandering around lost and nothing I did could change that. And then finally, tonight I cried. I cried in pain and sadness for the parents left with out their children to care for and watch grow up. The tragic end to those 20 lives on Friday touched off my own grief and sorrow that I still carry with the death of my Eli. Tonight I stepped outside in the cool dark night and cried as memories of the morning of Eli's death ran through my head. His heart rate was slowing but when I sat next to him talking to him, touching him, he stabilized  He knew I was there. And it held his death at bay. For a little while. Until it didn't anymore. I remember sitting numbly on the couch in the room when his heart stopped and the medical team worked to revive him. I didn't cry. I didn't move. I just stared. When they were able to get his heart beating again I looked to the doctor and he nodded and I went back to his bedside. I talked to him, told him I loved him and that I would give him everything I had to help him fight. But if he needed to go I would be ok. He started to crash again and the doctor asked me if I wanted them to begin resuscitation again. I looked at his little body and I knew the fight was over. I screamed no, in a voice that still does not seem like it came from me. And that was it. They quickly removed him from all of the tubes attached to him, wrapped him in his star blanket and handed him to me to hold. He died in my arms. I can see all of this like it happened just moments ago and sometimes, like tonight,
 it feels like it was just moments ago.

So, why am I sharing this now? Because I finally cried the tears I needed to so that I could understand and share what I am feeling about what happened in Newtown. My situation is different but I understand the death of a child like only someone who has experienced the death of a child can. I am familiar with the road those 40 parents and hundreds of family members and friends will walk, crawl through and throw themselves down on in rage, hopelessness and bitter ugly grief. I am still on it. I feel their pain, truly feel it in my own body and I wish that somehow I could do something so they would not have to experience it too. But I can't. Not now. Their children are already gone from this earth. And there is nothing that can be done to change that. But I believe that there are things we can do as a society to try to stop it from happening again.

My small celebration tonight was to have my son fall asleep in my arms. Now that he is a big boy he does do that very often any more. But tonight, I got to hear him breathing, watch his eye lashes flutter. As he relaxed fully and completely in my arms, safe. For this moment, safe.  Which actually is not a small celebration but one of the biggest ones I could have.

This picture is of my Nolan at about 3 months old, or if he had been born on his due date, maybe a week old. This is how he fell asleep in my arms tonight. How I wish I had both my boys here to rock to sleep tonight.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 15

Small Celebration

Nolan is learning how to mind his P's and Q's.
Part of his sensory processing disorder is the need to chew. So, I ordered him something he could chew on. A "P" and "Q".
These items were created to help children like him manage his need to chew and give him something that is safe for him to chew on.
We got them in the mail today. He seems interested in them. Let's see if they work.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 14

Small Celebration

It was a difficult day today. I was on the verge of tears much of the day. I felt and thought about the trauma the survivors will have to heal, the pain of those who had a love one die and especially those parents who are facing their first night of not tucking in their child in to bed.

Then, in this sadness, I remember

I believe in the power of Love. 
I know that the power of Love is real and can, has and will change the world. 
I also believe that Love is a verb, an action or string of actions. 
Love is the choices we make in every day life. 
Today I have seen many posts about prayer for all involved in the events of Newtown, CT this morning, including my own, and I think of an old African proverb

"When you pray, move your feet."

So as we pray may we move our feet so that we can be that Love in action and change the world.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 13

Small Celebration

The rain and cool air and clouds
And cool air
And rain.

It's BEAUTIFUL in Arizona right now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 12

Small Celebration

Another Nolan celebration. This one always makes me laugh. And I needed that today. 
When Nolan and I play - "I'm going to get you"... He runs to the same spot behind a book self in the living room. He laughs hysterically as he "hides" from me. Then he gets so excited with the anticipation of me finding him that he can't handle it and will jump out and run right into my arms laughing and screaming with a big smile on his face. No matter how long or difficult the day may have been for me, I can't help but to laugh as loud as Nolan when we play this game.

Additional celebration - going to bed  before midnight. Heck! Going to be before 11p!

Nolan -the blur- as we play.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 11

Small Celebration

Nolan has been talking up a storm. Of course he is using his own language and I don't have a Rosetta stone for it but we have been making it through okay.
And then today he said "mom". That is a daily occurrence now. Yay!  But it gets even better than that.
After saying mom he said something that sounded just like "I love you." 
Is that what he really said? I have no clue but I know that in my world, in my mind, in my heart that is exactly what my little boy said to me today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 10

Small Celebrations

This is an easy one.
I have been on a number of sensory processing disorder support pages in which parents have shared how their sensory child had problems sleeping at night, whether is was falling asleep or staying asleep. Boy, did that resonate with Nolan's experiences recently. The lack of sleep we had both been facing was leading to more difficult days for Nolan with unexpected melt downs. And mornings for me where my body hurt, I was so tired. So I was ready to try something fairly natural that would help Nolan, and then me by default, to sleep at night. Last night was the first time and I must say it worked!!!
Nolan slept all night. :)
And I decided to try the 3mg of melatonin too, just because, and I slept too! A wonderful sleep. I woke up refreshed, relaxed and even energized! I literally felt like a NEW person!
So tonight is another melatonin night in hopes that Nolan and I can continue this pattern of good, healing sleep. 

Yay for sleep!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 9

Small Celebration

Today was the first day in months that I have had an afternoon to myself. No classes to teach or grade. No sick child to take care of. Not sick myself. I was not needing to catch up on sleep due to Nolan not sleeping. I did not need to try to nap because I was sick. 
So, you may be asking yourself, what did I do?
I watched one of my all time favorite movies - Love Actually - with my mom. A wonderful movie with a number of stories about love interwoven together. It is real and sad and romantic with the British humor that makes me laugh until I cry. It helped me to remember that I am a romantic sometimes too. It was good to be reminded of that. In small celebration, I thought I would include a link to THE BEST minute of the movie. 
The Pointer Sisters sing "Jump" and Hugh begins to shake his hips.  
Just try to watch it and not giggle.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 8

Small Celebration

This year's Christmas cards where delivered today. Since my boys were born I have been doing a photo card. This year I found a card that I loved. It was the first one I saw when I went on the Vista Print web site.
Peace, Love and Joy
Peace is my Eli. I know that peace is in his soul. I feel that peace radiate from him when his presence fills my space, my mind.
Love is me. I remember when I understood that to Love was the reason for my life. My boys have taught me more about love than I could have ever imagined. I know they were meant to be my sons. And I was meant to be their mother.
Joy is my Nolan. His existence in my life brings me unmitigated joy. It thrills me when he expresses his absolute joy. Just chasing around the house saying "mommy's gonna get you!" brings out his joy. The smile on his face could light up Phoenix for a month.
And finally, I decided on the first Christmas of my family that every Christmas card would have a star on it, somewhere. It would be my way of knowing that even though Eli may not be in the picture or sign his name on the card, he would be there. My son who plays amongst the stars. 

I love my Christmas cards this year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 7

Small Celebrations

Finding my passion again. 
Feeling inspired again. 
Being able to make decisions to move Nolan and I to the life I wish to create.
All of these things occurred today.
I have gone through a number of changes: financial, career and life focus. In this past month I felt like I lost sight of the direction of my life. I could blame it on an extended lack of sleep, stress and being sick, but more than that I think I went through an energy shift and change of perception. One that has helped me to clarify my intentions.
I am so very thankful for the clarity that is showing itself in my life now.
I am celebrating!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 6

Small Celebration

I have two today.  :)
First thing that I am celebrating is my sister and her amazing job of completing her bachelors degree in education! She texted me a picture of the letter from her school congratulating her on her accomplishment. And she has decided to go on to getting her masters in special ed! A choice close to my heart. She has inspired me with all the focus she has put into her life to make the changes she decided she wanted. I could not be more proud of my sister right now, for all that she has done. 
I am a member of a group of TTTS parents who reach out to other parents who have recently lost their child(ren) to this syndrome. We offer to send them a grief package. I am thrilled to say that I have been a member since the beginning and that I am honored to be a part of such important work. Losing a child(ren) during pregnancy or after birth is a very isolating event. So few people know what to say or do to support the parent in their grief and the grief can be so debilitating that explaining or showing others what they feel or need demands more energy than they have. I know that there were times when remembering to breathe felt like it took all of my focus just to complete. So we personalize our grief packages to the loss experienced by the grieving parent. We try to send little gifts that say "I remember your child(ren) and I grieve their death also". I just sent out my 5th package today. While I absolutely hate that there is a need for this group and I hope that one day that need will stop; it means so much to me that I can be a part of this amazing group of loving and supportive people. Once a child has died we can't stop the grief. We can't fix the grief. But hopefully we can make it a little less lonely. When I say it is my honor to do this, I mean it. 

Here's a picture of my sister and my son from August 2011.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 5

Small Celebration

Today was a difficult day for a couple of reasons Woke up with a migraine. Having a heck of a time getting anyone to look at my resume and say "Hey! I need to hire this amazing, talented, wonderful woman!" Sometimes Nolan's upcoming evaluation with the developmental pediatrician weighs on me. I had a sometimes time with that today.
Today I also had a follow up appointment with my endocrinologist. I had my thyroid removed in 2011 due to a cancer diagnosis. Then in my year follow up ultra sound they found a small mass in the supposedly empty area where my thyroid used to be. Alarms went off, they talked about full body scans, a dose of radioactive iodine.. Instead we went with wait and see. I had another full blood panel done and went in today to get the results. My blood was tested for thyroglobulin - the classic marker for problems after a thyroid has been removed. Because I have no thyroid my body should not be making any thyroglobulin, So if the number is even measurable it can indicate a problem. The results of the test today? My thyroglobulin levels are so low they cannot even be measured!!!  Wonderful news. Basically a negative for my one year follow up for cancer. They want to do another ultra sound to see if there is anything to see but right now there is celebration going on.  :)
Today I got a wonderful Christmas gift in the mail! I joined in a Christmas ornament gift exchange in one of the grief groups I am in. I did this last year and my person never sent me a gift. This year I took part again and the person sending me the gift sent it early! It is two beautiful personalized ornaments. One with both of my sons and one in remembrance of my Eli. I am grateful to my friend Shaina for taking the time and energy to have these wonderful gifts created for me and my sons. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 4

Small Celebration

Today I celebrate my clients. I have made a number of changes in where and when I see my clients since I opened up shop in 2009. There were many that I lost with all the time I had to take off due to the pregnancy, my boys and my health challenges. And some others left when I decided to work only via the phone or skype. But the clients who have made these changes with me I am so thrilled to have. I had a powerful client session today and it let me experience again the joy I feel when I am able to support someone in their personal growth, awareness and transformation. It helps to remind me that I am good at that. And I feel as though I am fulfilling a deeper purpose in my life while I assist someone in fulfilling theirs. There is no more beautiful feeling in my professional life than when I know I have done this. 

This is one of my work spaces. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 3

Small Celebration

Nolan has a difficult time getting to sleep sometimes. I think it might be related to his sensory issues but I don't know for sure. It is something to talk to the developmental pediatrician about when Nolan has his appointment in a couple of weeks. So today at nap time he was yawning, rubbing his eyes and rolling around on the floor crying so I took him up to bed. He laid down immediately, curled up and closed his eyes. And then for some unknown reason 25 minutes later he was up. I have learned that when this happens I often need to go in to "remind" him that he was going to sleep. So I get him out of the crib and sit down in the rocking chair in his room.  I love these times together. It's just he and I. During the day Nolan is so busy that his hugs last about 2-3 seconds until he is off to do something else, but during these nap times he is happy to sit quietly in my lap. We giggle, sing, play hand/finger games. He likes to take off my glasses and play with my eyelashes. He thinks it's hilarious. That quiet, cuddly time is precious to me and it seems to be to him too because he calmed down and when I laid him back down he was quiet and asleep 10 minutes later. Maybe he just needed some alone time with mommy. Or maybe he knew I needed some alone time with Nolan.

This was taken a couple of months ago but here is a picture of my little boy in his crib "reading" his book. With his sweet little "I just woke up" face.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 2

Small Celebration

My mom and I finally had and took the time to get the garage re-organized!  We had someone working on the dry wall in the garage and when he was finished he was going to move all of the boxes back to where they were. Well he never finished the job and just disappeared so we needed to clean up. Then the nasty cold, flu and various infections hit the house making us all sick for over 3 weeks. I had neither the energy nor the interest. So we squeezed our cars into the garage. It was kind of comical as we would inch our cars in and out. Claustrophobic! Finally today, while Nolan was visiting his other grandparents, mom and I got out there moved everything around and even swept the floor. Ahh, it is so organized and clean. It feels like a breath of fresh air when I walk in there. It seriously makes me happy. I am definitely a person who becomes disorganized in a messy place. And now it is no longer dangerous to park in our garage!
It's is amazing how things left undone can weigh on us.
 Even the little things.  :) 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Month of Small Celebrations - December 1

December, Christmas, the holidays.

This is my third one without my son Eli to celebrate with Nolan and I. The first Christmas I was numb. Nolan had been home from the NICU for only a month and Eli had only died three months earlier. I was struggling to remember to breathe and still trying to heal from a traumatic pregnancy and birth, an extensive c-section and a stressful grief filled hospital stay. I was caring for a medically fragile child and filled with worry. Sometimes getting out of bed was an accomplishment.

The second Christmas, last year, I was rear ended while sitting at a stop light on December 5th. It was a five car accident and I was hurt. I went to the emergency room that night and then went home. Once again, sometimes getting out of bed was an accomplishment. I lived off of pain killers for months. I couldn't lift Nolan up at all. If it wasn't for the help of my mom I don't know how I would have cared for him. Christmas was tough but once again I was numb to the full experience of not having Eli here with us.

This year I have come to realize that this year is going to be the time for me to fully experience the holiday grief. I have been crying regularly and at unexpected times for the past couple of weeks. I know this grief needs to be expressed and released and I want to do that. I will allow myself to cry as I need to and honor my sadness
Within that I need to make sure that I honor the celebrations of the holidays. I love Christmas, always have. I have some amazing memories of Christmas with my family as a child and as an adult. I want to make sure I continue to have those memories for myself and for Nolan
I have chosen to make December a month where I make sure I see the small celebration everyday. And today is December 1st.

Small Celebration

This morning I was able to set Nolan's bowl of oatmeal on his tray. I gave him a spoon and with a little help he fed himself. He was so excited to do it he yelled "YAY!" after the first 5-10 times. When I had to step away from his high chair I took his bowl and set it on the table and he threw a fit until I gave it back to him.  This is a big celebration because this is the FIRST time he has ever been able to have a bowl of food on his tray and not play in it.  His sensory issues would interrupt his eating and it would be almost impossible for him to do this. I am so proud of him! And even better than that he was proud of himself.

In closing I wanted to post a picture I created last night. December is TTTS - Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome - Awareness month. We need more general OB's to understand the dangers of TTTS for identical multiples pregnancies. We need more mothers pregnant with identical multiples to be knowledgeable about TTTS. We want more twins+ to grow up healthy and together.