Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Short What Not to Say and Some Fun Halloween Shots!

You should totally sue.

Yeah, I don't think so. Seriously, the only time anyone should say those words is if they are a lawyer who also has intimate knowledge of the situation, they know there was gross negligence, and there's a time to say it that isn't wildly inappropriate (I had someone not a lawyer say this to me while I was in ICU, you know, trying not to die). I do have 2 lawyer friends and one of my best friends is in law school. None of them said a word about suing because there's nothing to sue about.

I'm pretty aggressive (you're shocked, I know). I also research everything. And if I can't research it, I'm asking knowledgeable people for information. I'm just Type A like that--even my trainer jokes about how Type A I am about exercises. If I thought for one second that there was anything weird that went on, anything that the doctor didn't do, or did do to cause all this, you can bet I'd be in a lawyer's office pronto. But I am not. So believe me when I say that there was no negligence.

On a fun note, look at these photos I took! This is the original of the one above. I did some photoshopping to get this nice, spooky look. Seriously, I think I'm going to blow this up and frame it for our halloween decor next year.

I did the same thing to this photo. Here's the original. I took both of them at Autumn's school's halloween event. There's a small graveyard there and I liked the contrast of the pretty princesses against the backdrop of the gravestones. I enjoyed learning some new ways to do photoshop, too. Whenever I'm fiddling with it, Mike always comes by and tells me how irritating he'd find it to work on photos or art. I like it, though. I told him it's probably like how'd I'd find taking apart and repairing computers tedious but he enjoys it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fitness Update

Well, as promised, I started beginner TRX training! We did some more traditional stuff, too, but I began with pushups, pullups, tricep pulls, and one legged squats using the TRX cables. Jonna is certified and was excited when she heard about the types of skills I need for my various martial arts endeavors because she thought that I'd be a good candidate for that type of training. It turns out that my body hasn't forgotten its alignment and balance so we got to it a lot faster than I expected. It was a lot of fun and I could tell it's going to be good for me. I certainly felt it on Thursday...even the muscles over my clavicle hurt! I didn't even know I had muscles there!

Backing up a little, I got to go to a seminar with the guys from Innovative Martial Arts in Michigan on Sunday. They come down periodically and this is the third time I've had the opportunity to train with them. We did a session on knife combatives as well as gun disarms...I can't remember what that section was officially called because my paper is in my bag in the car. I was just looking at it in aikido today. I had a fantastic time...I worked with one of their students who came with them and he was very patient and worked with me as I moved pretty steadily, not as slowly as I might have thought. I always enjoy working with Chuck, Don, and anyone they bring. I'm glad my friend Chuck Sullivan brought me along back in September of last year! Going on Sunday really reminded me what I am working towards in getting back into shape--other than fitting into my clothes, of course. Even Jonna commented that the seminar had obviously boosted my confidence!

(No kittens were harmed in the course of our studies.)

Last big thing is that next Thursday is the last preschool class for this session. When the next session begins in November, I'll be doing the preschoolers and the k-13 class. I'm pretty excited. So, if you know anyone interested, let me know! I'll post more information later on. I have some pictures but I haven't asked parents if I can post their kids online so I just have the one of Autumn above. I use ribbon twirlers to get them to do the correct motion for the circular blocks, but they also get to have some fun with the twirlers before class. The photo below is of Autumn carrying my suitcase of Aiki goodness to the car. :) She's so helpful.

Oh: My weight is still 116 pounds. Monday I weighed in at 115 but I popped back up to 116 Thursday until today, so sad. But, other than that, it's been a great week for fitness!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Am the Face of Stillbirth: Day of Remembrance

Today is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I only recently found out that such a day exists. A couple of weeks ago we got a flyer in the mail about a candlelight ceremony that took place at Baptist Women's Hospital this past Tuesday. It led me to do a little bit a research and I ran across a notice that there was something called a Walk to Remember that took place last Saturday in Collierville.

I contacted the organizer Robin Cross who is with CrossHeart Ministries (incidentally, her husband leads a GriefShare group for which is the same support study that Mike and I are facilitating for our group) to get on their mailing list because I'm interested in getting involved in raising awareness for miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. Penny and I had been talking about attending a walk in Denver but, really, I'd rather do the work here.

Stillbirth and infant loss has been in the back of my mind for some time, although it never crossed my mind that it might happen to me. But we live in Shelby County which has one of the highest (maybe the highest?) infant mortality rate in the nation. Part of the reason is because of the heartbreaking amount of poverty we have in the area. Little or no prenatal care, teens having babies, all around lack of information is a big problem so they began the Healthy Start Initiative to "specifically focusing on reducing racial disparities in perinatal outcomes, such as low birth weight, prematurity, and infant death."

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Many of you may not know that I grew up in the area where they are focusing much of the work and, in fact, my mother had two miscarriage, both somewhat late term, while we lived there. I had assumed that because I no longer lived in poverty, I wouldn't be touched by this particular tragedy. I assumed that because I am healthy, eat healthy, am fit, have an acupuncturist, live in a nice neighborhood, have excellent doctors...I assumed this wasn't going to be my story. Maybe it's arrogant to think such things but there you go. The fact is that sometimes things just happen. I may never know what caused the placental abruption, although the doctors have theories based on after the fact information.

Back to what started all of this, I couldn't go to the candlelight ceremony. I probably won't light a candle in my window like thousands of people will do at 7pm tonight. Not yet. I'm not ready. And that's okay. But for now, what I can do is tell my story. Take away some of the stigma. Open some of the doors that women have closed for centuries around infant loss. And maybe through talking and writing and walking, we can all heal together.

Which brings me to a blog I found...I think I am going to submit my story to it. There's something powerful about Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. It's where I got the badge I've posted above and the sidebar. I'm hoping that if someone finds my blog, they find some hope, and I think it's neat that someone is out there making that happen on such a large scale. Sometimes just knowing I'm not the only one helps. Seriously, I cried when I looked at the 2000 Faces graphic, representing the 2000 women who lose their babies every day.

At our last GriefShare meeting, one of the discussion questions asked what we wanted our legacy to be as we grieve. I want the people watching me (us) to know that I hurt but that I have hope. And I want them to know where my hope comes from. I'm not sure what that looks like yet other than just living the way we have been living but we'll see.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” –Louise Erdrich

I remember you, Garrett, today and every day. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Haircuts and Fitness Updates

I got a haircut. A Team Effort haircut. Friday I went to my mom's salon and I didn't realize until I got there that she had scheduled me for right before she was heading out of town. I had a picture and the cut didn't look like it'd be that hard to do so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal. And the cut really didn't take that long but when she was done, it didn't look anything like the picture. I figured, whatever, it looked okay so I went home so she could be on her way.

I decided to practice styling it before heading to Alabama and THANK GOODNESS I did. >.> After washing and drying my hair, I realized that she had given me a shag...I looked like Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett (DON'T JUDGE I READ GO FUG YOURSELF THAT'S HOW I KNOW). Poofy on the top and super, super thin at the bottom. Even better? She had missed a HUGE CHUNK on the side. So after some panicked phone calls because by now my mom was in Missouri, I found out that SuperCuts was still open so I went in and said "just give me a bob." So now I have a bob. And I have gotten compliments on it. All's well that ends well but, jeez, if I had known I was going to get 4 inches cut off, I would have picked a cooler haircut.

ANYWAY. I have midway fitness pics!

But first, let me relate to you a conversation between me and Autumn:

Autumn, after poking my tummy: Mama, your tummy is squishy.
Me: I know, that's why we've been going to the gym a lot lately. I've been exercising.
Autumn, completely deadpan: It's not working.

Le Sigh.

Again, excuse the mess. This mirror is in the pink room which is the staging area for other projects. Like sorting garage sale stuff.

Weight: 116 pounds
Body Fat: 26%

I am not sure why my body fat percentage jumped up...maybe I'm retaining water? I dunno. BUT FOUR POUNDS!!! That's a lot for a short person like me!
I had what I think was my 5th personal training session yesterday and it went great. I've improved across the board with the weight I can handle--I even did a few leg presses at 200 pounds! We are also doing a lot of work on my stabilizers, balance, and body alignment which is fun. I've been expanding my bosu ball routine, one cool thing I did was stand on the flat part of the bosu ball while Jonna and I threw a ball back and forth. She's also introduced me to more kettle bell motions and a couple of new, interesting machines. I will have to take pictures sometime.

It's been encouraging because she says I have good balance, focus, and body alignment, which means I'm not starting from nothing. And my body is remembering what it is supposed to do without much protest. Everything has been so safe and gentle that despite me hurting all over, I haven't had many problems with any of the incisions. So, yay!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

All the Questions a Little Miss Can Ask in the 20 Minutes After She Awakes...

Is baby Garrett still in Heaven?

Can I bring him a blanket because he is cold?

Was I in heaven before I was born?

Where is heaven?

Can we visit?

We still can't skype baby Garrett?

Is God holding baby Garrett?

Can we have another baby?

Can I have a picture of baby Garrett?

Is his marker like my marker and can I put it in the shadow box? (she heard us talking about the grave marker, she's thinking a crayola marker)

Can I show his picture to my teacher?

Can I carry baby Garrett's cloth (a bunny burp cloth that was supposed to be his) to school and show it to my teacher?

Can I sleep with baby Garrett's cloth?

Why can't I visit baby Garrett in Heaven?

Can he come see me?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Helping Out a Little Miss: Separation Anxiety Solutions

Today is supposed to be a fitness post but there's not much to report on that front. I am still 118 pounds although my fat scale tells me I am down to 24% so I guess that's good. The training sessions are going really well but not really blog-able at the moment.

I thought today might be a good day to talk about Autumn and what's been going on with her in the context of losing her little brother because four months ago today, I went to the hospital and tomorrow Garrett would have been four months old.

One of the somewhat unexpected consequences of all this upheaval is that Autumn has suffered some serious, serious separation anxiety. On the day I went to the hospital, I called Penny to ask her to stay with Autumn, told Autumn I'd see her later, and then Autumn didn't see me for 4 or 5 days. When she did, we had to tell her what happened to Garrett and she was completely freaked out by what she still calls The Crazy Bed there at the hospital. It's understandable that she would be struggling to process everything.

After things got kind of normal-ish, whenever we dropped her off at school, the gym, or Sunday school, she went into total meltdown mode. A lot of people chalked it up to a phase but I really didn't think that was it because, well, I just know Autumn and I knew this wasn't "normal" for her. So I did some research into separation anxiety after a parent's illness or a sibling's death and got some ideas.

First, we tried talking to her, reassuring Autumn that we would not leave her and she would see us again. We already did this but we also made extra effort to be super chill about dropping her off anywhere so that she wasn't feeding off of our emotions. That didn't help. Then, we tried a security item. I let her choose one of my necklaces to wear at school so that when she touched it, she would be reminded that we would come back. Autumn chose this one, which someone anonymously sent to me a couple of weeks after I got home from the hospital.

It worked for a little while. She called it her brave girl necklace and never wanted to leave home without it, which I thought was sweet. However, the necklace stopped doing its thing for her sometime after I had hernia surgery and she ended up being mostly at Lainey and P'd's house again because I was having a little more trouble than expected with the recovery.

After a couple of weeks of frustration, and one particularly heartbreaking drop off where I could hear her wailing as I walked to the car in the parking lot, I hit on the best idea ever. She asked for some things this one week, I was trying to think of ways for her to kind of earn them and suddenly, it hit me! I made her a sticker chart. There are four rows with five spaces in each row. At the end of each row is a star. Every time she goes to the gym, school, or church without crying at the door, she can put a sticker in a spot. Originally, it was just going to be school, but she bargained in the other two places. :) Smart kid, huh?

Last Thursday she got her fifth sticker so she got to choose something out of the treasure bucket! The bucket is one that her friend Josh gave her for her birthday. I drew a sign for it and put in four items since there are four rows on the chart.

I didn't want to just put in "stuff" so in addition to the doll she chose last Thursday and the remaining Tinker Bell doll, I put in a ticket to make cupcakes because Autumn read Pinkalicious and has been asking to make pink cupcakes together. I also made a TCBY ticket. She and I rarely go out for ice cream together so I thought it'd be something fun and different for the two of us.

I am an amazing artiste. I have missed my calling, right? Bahaha. Right.

This has worked like a dream. I told my counselor about what's been going on with Autumn and she thought both the necklace and behavior charts were brilliant ideas which really helped ease some of my concerns that I had created a monster, haha. Or that I was solving problems with material goods. But, I've built in a way to ease her off the chart. Once this sheet is filled, she has to fill two rows to get into the treasure box on the next sheet. And then after that, if it hasn't naturally fallen by the wayside, we might do a whole sheet to get something extra special. She's happy.

And I am happy. Also, I need to think of some nice gifts for Autumn's teachers because they have been amazingly patient and kind through all of this trial and error. I am ridiculously thankful to them all. If you're a teacher and have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.